Le Weekend

Dec. 2nd, 2008 08:52 am
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So, despite the persistent sore throat (which has lead me to be worried about whether I got something icky in the small cut I found on my finger during one night shift (and hence whether I should have done an incident form and gone to occupational health); I have to remind myself that I had the sore throat *before* the cut, and therefore my paranoia should shut the f*ck up) we held a pretty darn spiffy Thanksgiving.

Nikki and Kate supplied turkey, James some truly delicious wine, and us the veg, the cooking space and the, uh, space. Our house isn't huge - but we managed to squeeze 5 around the table without too much difficulty - and thanks to Kathryn's careful scheduling the food all landed up being cooked and ready to eat at the right time. We had a traditional US dinner consisting of Turkey (one of the rare occasions we've cooked meat, although I let Nikki do all the prep ;) ), Sweet potato casserole, Sage Cornmeal biscuits (anyone know where you can get Cornmeal in the UK? We brought back an entire kg of it from the States - in our case), Home made stuffing spicy sausage and sage stuffing, Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, Gravy, Wine, Schloer & Root Beer... and for desert, made with fresh pumpkin - Pumpkin pie with whipped cream / pseudocream.

It was a vast amount of food. We have, as is traditional, a fridge half-full of turkey. Yesterday Kathryn made one of our pet meals, Artichoke and Cheese Tart - but replaced some of the onion with... Turkey. Today I'm going to have a second slice of tart for lunch and some... Turkey :)

We attempted to fob off much Turkey on Nikki and Kate, and later on James, as well as some of the remaining produce from the Fried breakfast for the day following (Pancakes, Sausages/Beans/Hash Browns etc, which Nikki very generously cooked).

So much food!

It was a delight, though, to see everyone and have everyone here. I have new admiration for dog owners though. Pepper and Eddie occupied our house for one day - and very well behaved dogs they both are too - but the amount of hair and dirt they left behind is truly astonishing. Our venerable and aged Dyson DC01 wept tears of frustration as it attempted to suck and beat the hairs off the carpet*; and the sheer quantities of hair that we swept up in the kitchen - well - I am much impressed by those who keep dogs and keep their houses clean. I've no idea how you do it. I do, vaguely** recall that when living with Daisy there was an amazing amount of fur-deposits around the house, and that vacuuming was often a multi-bag-emptying job (with the then quite shiny DC02).

Anyhow, we spent the evening engaged in a War on Terror which - amazingly - we (the coalition of Nikki, James, Kathryn and I) beat down the terrorists (Kate - who managed to at one point have Terrorist cells in virtually every country). James wishes it to be known that while the Coalition won, he won the most*** ;)

Sunday, Kathryn and I had a fairly lazy day (apart from the hoovering, sweeping and laundry) leading in to a week of work in which my shifts are 'not great'. Two long days**** and two late shifts. This weekend just gone was the last and final weekend I get off until after Xmas - the only reason I have a weekend off then is to prepare for nights. And to ice the cake of awful shifts - Kathryn is off for two weeks over Christmas - Christmas week - which I'm working (except the weekend after) and New Year's week - which I'm on nights. The day she goes back to work is my first day off after nights.

Bloody fantastic that is :(

The only compensation is that while December is a 3 week month pay-wise and January a convenient 6 week month (urk!) then the pay I get in January should be less painful for it because I should get a bucketload of enhancements. Making it through the December / January months is always somewhat difficult. I am faintly tempted to move my pay straight into my savings account when it comes in, and give it back to myself just before Xmas (an idea which only just popped into my head).

And, can we all have our 'make it a nice day and Kate-be-well' heads on for Friday - 'cos 'beccamog really needs a service, and however much I try and put it off it's time and I should do it. Even if it's bloody freezing (like today :( ).

As a side point - changing your name is complicated as a Registered nurse - especially when people randomly say things like 'hey; your civil cermony certificate isn't signed' and you go 'oh, no it isn't, arse'. Virtually everyone's accepted it except NHS Professsionals, which makes it doubly complicated because my name on the Register has now changed. Anyhow, jobs to do today include faxing my statement of entry (from the Nursing and Midwifery Council) to all and sundry and also ringing Cumbria's Registrars and saying 'oi, should our Civil Partnership Certificate be signed'? 

* although I think its filters probably need changing again - what with us having had builders in and much dust being sucked through the poor benighted object.

** all too well, actually

*** Having all of North and South America under his control

**** Sort of my choice.

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So, more from the delayed update fairy.

Today Kathryn awoke me with a kiss and the information that Obama had won the US election. I was hopeful but wary, considering that I'd spent some of yesterday watching the video / reading the Rolling Stone article on Republican maneuvering to remove nearly 20% of voters  in some areas. And listening to NPR yesterday the discussion of malfunctioning machines, and then reading the news last night and finding that optical scanners were causing problems... well... it all boiled down to me not being utterly convinced that the election would go the way the voters intended.

But all that's in the past - although I think some true electoral reform may be needed - in regards of making sure those who are registered to vote can vote, and maybe kicking Diebolt's arse for manufacturing such attrocious voting machines :)

At any rate, it's pleasing news. Maybe the world can get on with moving forward into a nice, sensible future, rather than attempting to bring back the inquisition.

So, on the topic of local news; Kathryn and I have been making use of wedding gifts - we tried out the new teapot a while ago and it was excellent - the cool thing about it is you can stop the brewing process; so once the tea's ready, it stays in the pot ready, rather than going yicky. That, and it looks cool too. It is the Bodum teapot - much in the line of the cafetiers, but for tea. In fact, you probably could use the cafetier to make tea, should you wish. I may indeed try that at some point, for a one cup pot of tea.

We've also used the new mixer; it's very, very nice. It does really quite yummy dough - and the metal bowl can stand near the fire being as we have no 'warm place' (i.e. there's no airing cupboard) to put the dough in to rise. In it we made Calzones, which are yummy, and enabled us to christen our new baking tray (well, cookie tray, technically). And yesterday we had our first pasta experiment - which also seemed to go fairly well. I didn't quite get the mix right in terms of consistency, and have realised I don't need to bother with the hand mixing bit; I can just dump it all in with the dough hooks and it can do all the faffing. But, once cooked it tasted like pasta (pasta is just egg and really, really fine flour. Who knew!); and I suspect that given this (mixer related) information we may be able to produce pasta somewhat quicker.

The pasta maker got christened yesterday too - although we need something to clamp it to; so I suspect in future I'll make pasta on the dining table because yesterday it was a two person job to make pasta ('cos it kept sliding around).

I was going to post a picture of the pasta, because I was quite proud (a million italians are weeping right now), but unfortunately I've no idea what I did with the batteries from my camera. Not that they're really working now - it's on it's third set and they're nearly dead - I ought to take a whole bunch for recycling because it slaughters them. I'm not quite sure how or why, but they end up lying in the gutter after about 6 months of use; they still take an age to charge, but the camera only works for about 30 shots or 8 flash shots before they give up and start crying.

But I still can't afford a shiny new SLR, so another set of batteries will have to be sought.

In other, other, news; I appear to have sourced a 3.9 ratio Diff for the minor. This will mean (a) she'll go faster for less revs (the original diff is 4.22:1); (b) she'll have a diff which isn't producing little shards of metal as we go along (which is, I think we can all agree, a bad thing); and that (c) I need to get off my arse and sort a gearbox. The diff in question needs reconditioning, but honestly? 3.9 Diffs don't come up *that* often, (3.7 Diffs even less so); so one that needs some new bearings is quite honestly a good find.

I've stuck a post on the MMOC to see if someone will pallet me a slightly knackered old gearbox - and if they will I may have to take over a spot of floor and strip and rebuild it. It's a little scary, but me and my trusty Morris Manual (and a selection of tools) should be able to manage it. No, forget that; we will be able to manage it.

Sadly, the DAF has developed a new noise; although the DAF owners club reckon it might not be such a disasterous noise as I first thought - so the Minor's due a service, and the DAF is due a service, and I need to run the Minor up to Leamington again to get the leaky oil-breather changed. It's at this point that I could do with access to a garage.

And in the final piece of news; I've re-sealed the shower, again. What I pulled out was, to put not too finer point on it, manky. I cleaned within an inch of it's life, and sealed it with fresh silicone sealant. What happens now is up to the gods. And now? Now it's time for me to go dunk myself in a bath - 'cos I'm giving the sealant lots of time to dry out.
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So, it's been a bit of a week, really. Well, couple of weeks.

What started as a one week kitchen renovation ended up taking 4 weeks and a day; and still isn't actually finished; we're missing two drawer/cupboard handles and there's some filler that needs sanding, the walls, sadly, still need painting and the outside render also needs painting. I'm thinking spray gun for that :)

But, for all my complaints about their atrocious scheduling, having to almost shout at them to get the gas connected - a day late - rather than as they wanted to - two days late (and the day after Kathryn's mom and her partner arrived). The experience as a whole was incredibly draining - but, and I have to keep saying but - the kitchen is great. For all the fact it's cheap units and formica worktop, for all the fact the handles are plastic and the doors are veneered in plastic, not real wood; and for all the absence of silent closers and such. It's pretty. It's big. It's a good space to cook in.  And after 2  years without a kitchen at all? It's bloody awesome. The new doors add so much light, the new lights (while hideously energy inefficient - plan is that as they blow we'll replace some of them with LED Faux-Halogens - although apparently they're more decorative than 'bright') add so much more light to the previously dingey kitchen. There's still lots to do in there. Painting, boxing in the pipework around the boiler (can't afford to box in the whole boiler!); etc, etc. But. It's come together and the room's going to be gorgeous when it's painted.

Despite us cutting costs on tiles (grey natural slate, not the nicer multicoloured stuff; ceramic tiles not stone on the walls) they still look the part. I am very pleased.

Also: Very nice people gave us very nice presents. We have a stand mixer, a pasta maker, a salad spinner, kitchen utensils, a gorgeous teapot (and a cookie sheet of awesome cookie proportions) ; and as I think I said before many other non-kitchen items. But our kitchen looks the part. In fact, our kitchen is a really damn nice place to be at the moment.

What was slightly unfortunate is that for reasons which I'm not quite clear on, the dishwasher blew the 30A fuse on which the entire house runs the first time we used it. Kathryn's mom and partner were here, we were desperately clearing up to try and make the place habitable and suddenly it became aparent that there was no power... anywhere in the house (apart from the lights).

Unfortunately I'd not noticed that the previous owner had lost an important (ceramic) bit of the 30A fuse (why would I?!) and thus it toasted the fusebox a bit when it went. I've now got a replacement fuse, and surround but at the moment it's currently back 'together' as best I can. I still don't entirely know why it blew the fuse. I took the dishwasher out, and in a paranoid moment at B&Q ended up checking each and every socket in the kitchen (with a cheap and cheerful socket tester); I'm wondering if they managed to do what they did with the washer, and catch the cable somehow on the casing, which appeared to make the case live - but I couldn't find any damage on it. I've now run the dishwasher twice without incident (with me going a little mad running around touching the fuse casing every five minutes).

So, the kitchen is more or less finished. I'm keeping a little money back for reparing the washing machine door they broke and to encourage them to turn up with the two missing handles... it's also finally made me sort out networking on Ubuntu. The music (and actually, the video) is all shared out from the file-server in the lounge. This is fine, except that the laptop didn't know about it. Now it does. I've spent the morning going "I don't know what to listen to, there's so much"... *grins happily*.

In other news I did the ATNC course. For once in my life I get to be quite smug. The pass mark in the exam (we no longer sit the same exam as the doctors, ours is short-answer and theirs is multiple choice) is 80%. I got 92.5%. Pleased? You betcha. I got to play at putting in chest drains, needle decompression (which I am actually allowed to do, in an emergency, apparently); intubation (which I'm not allowed to do ;) ), surgical airways (you guess), jet insufflation.... It's useful to know what's needed and what landmarks there are to do these things because sometimes you do get the new baby doctor who's mind goes blank when faced with blood everywhere, and needs a little guidance ("it goes there... ideally now...").

It was incredibly stressful, and not aided by me not having any annual leave so I essentially worked 5 long days (4 of which had 4 hours travel time) and 4 short shifts in 9 days. Knackered? Definately. Pleased? Very much. Of course it helps that I've something huge and fantastic to look forward to *grins*. Despite all the stress of the course I have to say I thoroughly recommend it; looking back I am incredibly pleased that I did it, and I can say I enjoyed it hugely. Really and truly it is a great course (at least, if you look after trauma patients).

And so we come on to the truly massive event of the weeks... Kathryn and I are to be wed. Well, civilised. Again, I'm mixed - there's an awful lot of excitement and wanting to bounce around the place but it's tempered with nerves. It's a simple ceremony and a simple event, we're not expecting launches of 1000s of balloons, or 50 doves to descend at the appropriate moment. We're going to basically walk in, say vows, walk out. Then we do photos, then we eat. That's the day. But we've put a lot of effort into getting the day sorted - well, more into asking our friends to do things. We've got a poem we want Lauren or Chrissy to read, we've not typed it up; hell I've no idea where it is apart from I think I know which book it's in. We've not printed out our vows yet. We've got our wedding favours to make.

But lots has been done. It's all more or less ready. Although I'm confused as to what we have left to do - apart from packing and so on. Anyhow, I've got a few Wedding related tasks to do now; so I shall be off to see if I can organise such things. For example, it turns out we're entitled to free dinner at the hotel every night we're there; and my mum was hoping that we could all eat together tomorrow - at the hotel - because she's staying there with her hubbie too. So, plan of action is to ring them and see how late they serve food and whether Kathryn's Mom and Partner can eat there with us (which they should be able to!). Anyhow. I shall be offski.

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Okay, so I shouldn't be looking at e-bay. I can't afford anything anyhow, and I've no space for one, but sometimes it's nice just to windowshop. In this case, I was looking at DKW Junior's (I just wondered how much they sell for, and how common they are). Being as it's a german car I stuck it into ebay.de and lo, I found 2.

The 61's cuter than the 62. But it being ebay.de the text was all in german - and so translate.google.com was hit upon, and lo the following text did spue forth:

"Small crack in the sky. The cars in front of potential purchase should be viewed! No guarantee / warranty. The stain on the passenger is only a shadow. Fun bidders will be prosecuted!"

I suspect it's not accurate. Either that or the description's certainly odder than most of the ones on Ebay uk.

I am, I conclude, sick. Not hideously so, but enough that I'm off sick again tonight. My throat feels awful and I suspect I've been spiking temps on and off. I've sucked my way though a bunch of USian throat sweets, drunk a surprising amount of water for a night shift and still feel fairly awful. Since I've got ATNC on Monday, I think it's best to take the night (and the weekend which I have off) off and be better by monday.

It also means that enduring the builder* working on the kitchen (there better be plural builders present today, and it better be fitted today, otherwise words shall be had) shouldn't be too bad, 'cos I can doze and look at ATNC. I've not managed to do the pre-test test yet, because, well, I feel underprepared.

Although, really I ought to just sit down and do it. Nor have I made flash cards, which I wanted to do, and was hoping to do... So I might try and do them this morning...

On the bad front, I managed to unintentionally cancel our booking for dancing after the wedding.

The conversation (a couple of weeks ago) went thus:
"Hi, this is the Whatever** hotel; you enquired about booking a room for a venue after a wedding"
"Oh, ah, we've already booked a place, but thank you for ringing"
"Okay, bye!"

Now, we - as I understood it - had booked a place and were waiting for a confirmation letter from them to say it was booked. At no point did they mention that we'd booked it, that they might be known by more than one name... Oh no.

It's only when we rang to confirm today that we found out that the Lamp-Lighter Bar has an alter ego, a pseudonym it uses to evade detection. And thus it was that we discovered we'd cancelled our own booking. You'd think that she might have mentioned that we'd actually *booked* it, not just enquired... but apparently not.

* Distressingly back to singular yesterday - and only present for 2 hours.
** This is, apparently, the other name of the dual identitied bar which we'd book.
It's their secret identity.
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My apologies to Kate, when I first met her, for tarring the whole US with the one-size-fits-all-America brush. Again. I can't believe how awful I was when I met her, but thankfully she, being a very generous person actually allowed a second chance and eventually I learned to stop being mean about the US...

So I just spent 3 weeks in Washington state Read more...or just leave it at the summary... )

Awesome time. Fantastic Holiday. Lovely people. :)

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So, it's been a bit of a busy week and posting (while it's been in my head) has been a bit of a not-happening-thing.

Amazingly, on Tuesday Jonathon at JLH informed me that Rebecca was (or would be) ready to pick up that evening. Sporting a new MOT, and despite the gearbox sounding like a blender filled with spanners, all the work that was paid for and asked for was done, with the exception of a few piddly jobs. I chatted with Kathryn and we decided to head up after work on Wednesday and bring Rebecca back to the fold.

We flew up there on Wednesday, the trains being amazingly good to us (although Virgin had double booked our seats, but we found a pair together elsewhere on the train); and the timetable's incredibly irritating, because you arrive from the FGW train in Reading just after the previous Leamington Spa Virgin train service has left, so all the staff go 'oh, platform...no, sorry, you've just missed that one'...

Having got there we were met at the station by Jonathon (who really is terribly nice), who also kept us entertained with tea while we waited for Rebecca to make her way back from the engine-place. She'd gone back there because she'd sucked up a bunch of crap from the petrol tank and wasn't idling very well. Carb cleaned out (and apparently 'could do with a rebuild', *sigh*); she returned. She sounds *fabulous*.

I've missed that A+ series engine. It doesn't clatter musically the way the A series did (mind you, all my engines have been pretty worn out), and is apparently now developing a shocking 75bhp, approx. ISTR that it was originally rated at around 56 or 65bhp, but I doubt that the A+ I had was developing more than around 50 or possibly 40. It was pretty sick. And by the time we got up there, probably around 30 :)

Anyhow, she sounds lovely, and quite sporty. But, in the way that's traditional, Jonathon reckoned that they cold just pop the new heater control valve on, so we'd not cook on the way home. That 15 minute job took a couple of hours (waiting for the car to cool down, tap not fitting, different tap not fitting, studs going in, coming out...) - and when we finally went to leave, just as they'd locked up the garage and the gate they realised that Jonathon's car had a flat tyre... and Jonathon was leading us to the nearest local petrol station...

We finally started making our way home at about 2100... And finally got home, having not eaten dinner, just after 2300. I fell into bed and then had to get up at 0500, to get to work. But it was nice, driving the minor. The reason the journey home took that long is we have to run in the engine. People don't seem to bother (or know) about running in engines anymore. But having just forked out a grand for an engine I'm going to give it lots of love; so I've been good about not taking it far over 45mph (I've not even hit 50 - as 45 was the limit that was proscribed by the engine builder).

Apart from the sidelights stopping working (ack! turned out to be a corroded fuse) and the starter motor jamming on (and not working once, I think I need a new solenoid), it's been trauma free. And I'll tell you something, she's darn nippy. Roundabouts in particular are standard-suspension-pushing.

But one of the *bestest* things about having Rebecca back (apart from the stupid grin it puts on my face) is that we took her to my mum's house at the weekend - and drove my mum to her wedding. Paint all washed and shiny (at least in quite a few places - particularly the back where she's been painted, the roof which they 'mopped' and the bonnet which they seem to have also polished), sporting a cream ribbon (which Kathryn went and got, 'cos she's a *star*), we carried my mum to and her and her new hubbie from her wedding; which felt quite fun.

The wedding itself was really beautiful. It was a small affair, my mum and Paramito invited only close family and a few friends; in all I think there were 10 or so people. The Register Office in Newbury is really grand - it's a huge old Edwardian manor, and is quite beautiful. It's just a shame that you only get a few seconds for photos - but James - who is also an awesome friend - came and took photos of the wedding.

The rain even stopped long enough for M&P to be photo'd outside. It started again as we did the group shots...

Once we got back to the house, and everyone was being fed by my mum (who remains a truly awesome cook) the weather cleared completely and we spent the afternoon and evening hanging around outside in the sun.

Then Sunday we hurtled (for very low speed values of hurtling) back home, tidied and greeted Ali and Kris - two of my friends who Kathryn'd never met and I'd not seen for 2 years! We had a fairly chilled afternoon just sat chatting. There was a lot of catching up to do, and it was just really good to see them. With all my friends being so far away (well, um, 45 minutes in their case *embarassed*) it's sometimes easy to forget how generally awesome they are.

We then spent the evening doing a wedding gift list. We'd not been really intending to do one - on the basis that there's not much we *need*. But the requests came in for one; so we sat down and worked out things that'd be useful, or that we want, but that aren't insanely expensive. Annoyingly Ikea have no gift-list system, and their gift-card system is a non-online one. What planet are they on?!

*le sigh*

Finally, today's been spent working on the house; well, more accurately it was spent at work, then in the supermarket, then working on the house. As it's now ten to 12, I think it's time for me to head to bed...I've run out of plaster and the wall is as smooth as I can manage in my tired state :-/

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So, yesterday after my Violence and Aggression training (I'm just not aggressive enough with patients ;) ) I headed in to Theale to attempt to get the newly MOT'd Jejy Taxed. The government are usually overjoyed to make off with your cash, but giving a tax disk to a non-V5-having vehicle owner is a discretionary act, and may actually not be possible where the V5 lists the car as having the wrong tax band (Disabled == free tax; I'm not disabled, so need Private / Light goods == not free). At any rate, the chap was friendly, polite, cheerful, and determined not to give me a tax disk. More frustratingly I have to go *back* to Theale when I finally do get the V5 (the timescale for which is entirely dependent on whether the old owner deigns to send back the letter saying 'yes, I've sold the car') - because they can't simultaneously issue a new V5 *and* change the tax band. No, they're two separate and distinct processes which cannot be combined. *le sigh*

So I rode back, and on the way back came to a decision. I would get a new bike jacket. My old jacket has done 5 years of hard abuse. It's seams are disintegrating (relying on the hidden for extra-strength seams), the zip is broken, and it doesn't even make a pretence of being waterproof anymore. Riding in the rain had become one long shower... since I may be stuck commuting on the bike for a month, possibly more, since the Minor continues to be a disaster area (did I mention, my old 1300 engine was apparently the subject of a welded repair both to the head *and* the bore, and is thus not worth reboring and rebuilding), and the V5 for the DAF could take 6 weeks to come back...

Not only that, but I'm hoping to do some Agency work this week, although ironically today (for the first time in several days) I've not got a message saying 'please come work for us'. Argh!

So I stopped off at Hein Gerick (well, stopped off == rode through Sloughland's awful traffic) and examined the huge range of women's jackets (ha, all 4 of the textile ones). Was seduced into buying a better one than the one I was going to get (it's more waterproof than the cheapest one, which I was looking at), piled it all onto the back of the 'zed and rode home.

It's black, again, which is not what I really wanted; I wanted something with better visibility than my old jacket, but they didn't have it in any other colour. Mind, it'll show the dirt less, which is probably good given how filthy I was after riding home yesterday.

And more stress? Because having so little money that bills are impossible to look at without wanting to hide, working more than full time, planning 2 wedding ceremonies (although, to be fair a lot of that's being done by Kathryn's Mom, Kathryn's Dad's Partner, Kathryn's sister and my Mum), running 2 classics (well, theoretically) and struggling to keep a very sickly MZ on the road isn't stressful enough I've agreed to go on a 5 day ATNC course (ATLS and Nursing, not observing this time)... partly in the week before our wedding.

It's one of those 'take the opportunity or possibly loose it for years' moments, and biting the bullet I took it.

I'm scared witless, but there y'go. Anyway, I'm going to shower and then chase the agency and see if they need anyone in A&E anywhere this afternoon. I'm all set to go... 


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This week has been incredibly hard work - mostly due to short staffedness; well, that and doing 1.7 extra shifts. I know it's bad when work call me at home and invite me to come in early,  because I'm about an hour away from work, and if they've reached the stage of calling someone who's going to take an hour to get in, it's going to be bad.

We've actually been short, I think, every day I've been on. Our new method of work requires one extra nurse, and the shifts quite simply aren't being filled. No one wants to do either of the new shifts - the early one is not different enough from an ordinary early, and in fact makes you leave at a worse time. The late shift goes on waaaay too late; meaning that, well, no one wants to do that either.

Which has lead to us really, really struggling. Now I'm qualified to not-triage (we do something simpler and quicker than triage), this has also lead me into a minefield of being annoyed and frustrated. It is the most unrewarding job of all time. One of the most amusing things is that we pick people up who we think are likely to need an xray (mechanism of injury, obvious deformity, etc) and then will inform the doctor that we suspect they'll need an Xray. Quite often they'll listen to the mechanism of injury or the description from us and just order it without seeing the patient. In fact, I think I've only every had one turned down - who was later Xrayed anyway. That certainly doesn't mean I've caught all the people who need X-rays, but means I generally catch the ones who are likely to. But much to my amusement, a poster has appeared at work reminding nurses that we're not allowed to independently order Xrays for patients without our knowledge being assessed. I presume someone has been doing that; but the fact is, the Xrays that get ordered by me, following discussions with the Dr and them writing the card? Well, it's essentially the same thing...

I do, however, want to get a lot more knowledge on proper triage assessment, because I'd like to be better able to assess injuries.

One other thing I'be picked up from a much more experienced nurse is to not say that I'm a nurse. We have a variety of protocols for 'nurse led referrals' - where we can see, assess and refer the patient without involving a doctor. Ear, Nose and Throat; pregnancy and gynae problems can quite often be sent straight to the specialists without wasting the patient's time on two examinations and telling the story several times.

This is a great idea - except that when you say it's a nurse led referal, some docs have a strop and say that they have to be seen by an A&E doc; this is often all the more frustrating as you've spent 10 minutes bleeping them and trying the wards they're on to try and find them. But my new method - which is really the only method I've known, is to say "Hi, this is [my first name] in A&E, I've got a referral for you...". This seems to work much better, although they do still get a little stroppy sometimes...

I've actually though, looked after a lot of really charming and lovely people. People who you feel real full-on good about looking after. You shouldn't have favourites, and I have certain masochistic enjoyment when I'm looking after the stroppy indepentent sort, or the mad-as-a-badger-with-UTI-or-other-infection sort, or indeed the dementia-pissed-off sort. But looking after nice people who are just nice, is really a bit pleasant.

Anyhow, all this work has got in the way of quality snuggling time with Kathryn; which has been quite distressing. We have however made some progress on the wedding and the ceremony in the states. Although they've both ended up being lots bigger than we originally planned. It's funny how these things expand and expand :)

It's also led to slow progress on the DAF. Well, that and the hub puller's frustrating absence from my life. All that's left to do to make it road-worthy (not, you note, finished or anything. But roadworthy) is to reattach the end of the bumper and to unseize the brakes (well, I say 'all', it may be that the brake cylinders are shot). These are potentially trivial jobs, but I can't actually *do* the latter because the hub-puller ordered from e-bay more than a week ago hasn't turned up. The seller's not answered an email yet, either, which is also frustrating.

I've busied myself with prepping (in a very limited sense) and painting the new metalwork. One side's got a coat of Nissan Arctic White on the sills and a bit of the back quarter (which looks a little whiter than the rest of the car, but never mind). It's a gash job, I should, really have spent time with filler and carefully prepped things. But I didn't have time for niceties and I'd rather get paint on there to protect the new metal than worry about getting it looking pretty. It also turns out my wire-wheel has vaporised, which is frustrating. I'll have to go and pick up a new one. because the area by the rear window needs cleaning up before I fill it.

And the side I sprayed (with one coat) and had left all the masking on so I could spray today? Well, it's rained overnight...

....which is terribly annoying. I'm hoping the sun (which has come out now) will dry it out and then later in the day I'll be able to throw another coat of paint on. I've had to take off all the newspaper though, which is quite bothersome.
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Yes, today's one of those rare days when I'm writing original content. I've been reading a fair bit lately (well, one book, but reading it quite a lot) and we've also been watching Men In Trees / The L Word / Father Ted and the odd episode of Pushing Daisys. I've been watching House and Yes Minister as well, which just shows how little work you can get done if you really try.

I've been feeling though, the lack of creativity in my life. I don't *mean* to watch TV when I come home, but quite often I'm just exhausted and sit down thinking 'oh, I'll just watch one show while I have some tea' and the the exhaustedness which was following me home gets through the door and catches up with me. And that's kind of it, I'm stuffed. There's still plenty left to do around here, but we're holding off on the kitchen until I'm less in debt. Plan is to tackle the two bedrooms which are (hopefully) just a touch of plaster and some paint. Somewhat less trauma than removing an entire concrete floor and having it relaid, a doorway bricked up, a new doorway opened and so on.

But in the name of doing something nice for a change (instead of, for example, sitting around the house reading stuff on the internet, watching TV or reading - all of which are pleasant enough but one does need a break, and it's nice to get out with my beloved) we headed in to London.

The plan, such as it was, was to tackle some of the time-out treasure hunts, spend some time lurking in bookshops and get something to eat... 

Kathryn had yet to see Foyles, and wanted to do so, and so after a nice little lunch in the Foyles Cafe we started our afternoon with a tour of Foyles. Yeah. See, we're both slow in bookshops when they're tiny. Foyles used to be the largest bookstore in the world; it's probably still the largest in the UK. We entered the store around 2pm and left around 5, carrying only 2 books... The list of books we could have bought was huge; I could happily spend thousands of pounds there.

Which would of course, be foolish. When would I have time to read that many books? But hey.

It being slightly later than perhaps intended, we headed off to do the Literary treasure hunt. It wasn't really a hunt, as such, in that they basically tell you exactly where what you're looking for is, and what it is. And apart from a few slightly clunky bits of navigation, it worked well. It was, however, nice to see a bit of London that, well, I've not really seen since my childhood, despite being really very cold...

We also ran into a couple of people doing the hunt themselves, although they were doing all 5 and we - in the end - only did one (it was bloody freezing).

Having satisfied ourselves that CC&K would be open for desert we headed to Palm Court for dinner; supping on fine cocktails (well, one each) and eating fine food. Being rich would actually be quite handy.

Finally, we finshed the day in CC&K, and headed home to bed.

...then on Saturday we got a phone call in the morning - the wedding dress place we wanted to visit was open that morning - my mother was coming with the hope that we'd get to go visit it, and so we quickly made an appointment and headed in. It's a weird experience being fitted for a dress. I've never been fitted for anything in my life, not by anyone else, and so being prodded and poked and squashed into a dress was quite a novel experience. But, the women there were great - they didn't make us feel bad for not having much in the way of a budget; they let us try on loads of dresses, and my mum's and their advice combined to get us two good possible combinations.

Obviously we're going to try some others too; but that first experience was important - it's quite unnerving to be in your undies in front of lots of people you don't know who're pulling you into dresses... And in the end it was quite fun; and Kathryn looked truly stunning. Even I didn't look too shabby :)

We then had a chilled out day at home - sorting out music and french lessons for my mum and Parmita. Today's been a chilly day; the snow falling steadily all mornind, but distressingly not settling even a little.... I'm hoping for more... but a peaceful day of paperwork and snuggling lies ahead.
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I'm surprised by my restraint, although until yesterday I'd not fixed either of the laptops and the dead G5 continued to vex me, so posting would have had to be done via Kathryn's laptop or by the TV-Hackintosh. Yesterday I finally got around to stripping down the Dell laptop, it was broken in rather a lot of places; the screen's casing's disintegrating, the connectors seem to be working loose; but thankfully the power-supply connector hadn't broken. Despite feeling crunchy and loose, it's actually the cable that had died and pulling one of the spare powerbricks with a new cable from the attic had it working again. Still no battery though.

And the screen, while clear and sharp still, has a serious flicker issue which isn't related to the connector on the board. So rather than being back with a laptop that I can close and open at will, I'm still with one that has to stay in a fairly fixed position. And the screen casing's cracked around all the screws that hold it together; so moving the screen without proper care is prone to making the screen casing come apart. Still, it's all araldite-and-wire'd back into some sembalance of a structure. It's nice to be able to pick it up without the whole thing flexing disconcertingly.

I've stripped the hard-drives out of the G5 and will give the company who repaired it a ring as soon as they're open; see if I can't get that back up there to be looked at again. I am concerned though as to why the supplies packed up again. I'm switching things around though, it's no longer going to be the video server; which will, frustratingly, make the machine in the lounge somewhat noiser, but should mean no more network streaming issues.

As for the house (renovation photo set number 19), well, I spent thursday generating as much dust as it's humanly possible to create, but this time I sealed the kitchen off from the rest of the house and channelled away with my wall chaser. While it is an ace tool, it's also the most manky job in all of christendom. On the plus side I've got two electrical boxes to sink and then we can put the wiring where it should be. I removed all the wiring from the immersion heater - all the way back to the fuse box, in the end. The distressing thing is this house's wiring is a mess, there's no proper ring main to speak of, there's just little pseudo-rings scattered around and linked by a big junction box (hidden) and spurs running here, there and everywhere. I could, were it not for the Part P regulations tidy it all up. Chopping some chunks out, drilling some new holes, etc, and I'd have a downstairs ring and an upstairs ring. But because I'd then have to call in an electrician to check over all the work I'd done; and to re-do wiring in the kitchen requires ('cos of Part P) even more in the way of work that's nice-but-not-required (as far as I'm concerned, and the electrician I spoke to agrees :) ) that I'm better off leaving it all alone and just putting new sockets on the front so it all *looks* nice.

Incidentally, while pulling down the wall, I came across a Daily Mirror from 1963. Sadly it'd suffered from being right near the filler pipe from the cistern and was disintegrating pretty badly. Also, whoever put it in there then decided to use cement, not plaster, which probably didn't help it any and made it somewhat hard to separate from the wall and from the huge clump of concrete. There're some shots of it in my newly created 'Renovation Finds' photo set.

Never mind.

In other news (at least not house related news), I broke my Cafetier today. I'm quite distressed by this, being a coffee lover. I have a filter maker, but that makes a minimum of 2 cups, and I've got a little 'filter in a cup' which is just dandy, but I can't just sit on the couch and have that. I have to make it then bring it in. So a new cafetier will have to be sought.

I rather liked the one I had :-/

And in other, other news. I went up to JLH on Saturday to see, well, what remains of Rebecca. It's pretty distressing still, the car's visibly got lots of work to go - and seeing what Charles Ware had done; panels (structural ones) that are meant to meet other panels and fall about an inch short? The boot floor (the *new* boot floor) was rusted through because they'd not protected it with paint... It's another 2grand just to put right the mess they've made on that side.

So, anyway. i've got an interview with the unnamed nursing agency in 2 weeks, so I need to dig out all the relevant paperwork for that today too. In addition to working a long day and a late. And hopefully heading towards reducing that debt again :-)

And one thing I've not discussed is the Wedding; which I really should, but which warrants a whole post by itself (without my finger hurting each time I press a key (walls, slipping claw hammers and fingers don't mix, incidentally). But, if any of you out there know a good seamstress... I'm going to talk to a colleage at work, but more options is always better than less if you ask me. We were thinking about doing a sort of gift-wedding; because we *have* everything (well, everything we *need*). Traditionally, marriage was move-in-together-start-a-new-home; but for us, we've got a home, we've got a complete dinner service, we've got tables, chairs, toasters, ovens, bed-linen, furniture, glasses, a fridge, a washing machine, a blender... We considered the possibility that instead people could gift us bits of the wedding (or something towards them), but we came to the conclusion (having discussed it with people) that this was more odd than normal, possibly even 'too odd'. So instead we're pulling in friends who can do things (or who know people who can do things) to keep costs to something we might be able to afford this lifetime.

So; on that note, if you know anyone who's a seamstress, that'd be handy, and if you'd like to do something for the wedding, shout - or we won't know :)

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