Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Christmas 2008

So Christmas is all over and new year beckons. Cath, Emma and I spent Xmas day at home, Caths Dad, came to visit for a few very enjoyable days. As you can imagine Emma got a stack of presents, the highlights being, A till and shopping bag full of play groceries which she is carrying around everywhere, a Happyland School and playmat that she loves, and an "In the Night Garden" play doh factory which she is amazed by. Cath cooked a fantastic Christmas dinner assisted by her dad (While Emma and I played with toys), after lunch we went for a long walk down the thames to work off the excessive food and by the time we got home it was dark. Present wise I got a fab PWEI hooded top, some DVD's, the latest Jasper Fforde novel and National Trust membership so did pretty well. Boxing day it was time to get out of the house properly and blow away the cobwebs, so we went for a walk up the Uffington White Horse, it's very old and impressive and at the bottom of the Hill is a rather strange flat topped grass hill where legend has it George slayed the dragon, Emma got really cold while we were out (it was about 3 degrees but really windy) which she was not happy about at all, so off we went for a little walk around Wantage (Apparently this is where Alfred the Great came from) and then home into the warmth.
The day after that it was time to visit more family so we drove over to Guildford to see Sam and Sarah (Caths brother) and then on to Horsham where we stayed at Caths Mum's for the night. Caths Mum cooked a lovely Turkey Pie dinner for us and Anna and Lee (Caths Sister and husband) and of course we exchanged more gifts.
Sunday it was back to Abingdon via Guildford again, for a quiet evening in watching a film "Bank Job" and guzzling a little more festive cheer :)
Yesterday we went for lunch at the Barley Mow in Clifton Hampden, it's a really old thatched pub which apparently was featured in "Three men in a boat" food was fab and Emma loved the fact the pub was empty and she could run about like a loon. After lunch we dropped Caths Dad off in Reading so he could get a train to Gatwick for his flight home.
Although I have had 2 colds in the last month I'm now starting to feel like I've got that bad flu that lots of other people have had recently just wish it could of waited until the new year was over, but hey I'm sure I'll feel better with a couple of glasses of champagne inside me.

Favourite Food of the weekend. Xmas dinner, especially the fab turkey we got and the organic veg.

Favourite snack of the weekend. Pizza Express Mozarella Garlic bread (mmmmmm)

TV Highlights of the festive weekend, Gavin and Stacey and The Royle Family which were both fantastic.

Seasons greetings to you all.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Xmas has started

I'm not on call anymore woohooo, I celebrated this by drinking too much wine last night and now have the head to prove it. Catherine's Dad arrived from Holland last night to stay with us for a few days over Xmas, it will be nice to have him around he's good company and Emma will really enjoy having her grandad around over the festive period. So I'm in my final few hours at work, finish at 2.30pm until the 5th of January, then despite my best efforts I still need to go to a shop and buy a present (there's always one left on Xmas eve isn't there) then it's just wrapping to do and I think we're sorted. Present report and some festive pics will follow in the next day or two.
Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and successful new year.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Last Minute Xmas shopping

Well we are all done but as it was a nice day we thought we'd venture out and have a look round the shops. We went to Henley on Thames, its a lovely place that we did consider living when we moved to Oxfordshire but its a 20 mile trek to work. Anyway Emma continued her desire to walk everywhere, she's come on in leaps and bounds in this area in the last couple of weeks especially now she has started to hold our hands while walking down the street. Anyway some picture of our visit to Henley are here:


Guardian Q and A

I generally only buy a newspaper once a week, I used to buy more but never got the time to read them. These days I get the Guardian on a Saturday it has enough to keep me going for a few weeks, its easy to read and not extreme in its views. Lots of different sections, I really like the Money and Work sections but my favourite is the Weekend magazine, I really enjoy the columns by Tim Dowling (god knows how his wife puts up with him or vice versa) and Lucy Mangan at the start, the 'What Women don't understand about Men' and until it's recent demise Stephen Fry's technology column, anyway I hear you say "Where does Q and A" fit into this? Well one of the sections they have is a Q and A of a famous (well not always) person. I thought it might be fun to answer the same questions (as honestly as I can in a public forum anyway) so here goes:

When were you happiest:

From a personal perspective now (I have all I ever wanted), from a work perpsective probably when I started at RIPE in Amsterdam.

What is your greatest fear:

Unhappiness for those I love. Premature death (sorry for the morbidness the rest of the answers are much more cheery)

What is your earliest memory:

Watching the men landing on the moon on the TV, which would make me 1, but then it could of been a repeat.

Which living person do you most admire and why:

Anybody who puts their own life/happiness on the line to make the world a better place.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself:

The ability I have to wind other people up without realising I am doing it.

What is the trait you most deplore in others:

Selfishness and Ignorance.

Aside from property whats the most expensive thing you have ever bought:

A car we bought nearly new in 1998 about 7,000 pounds I think.

What is your most treasured possesion:

My memories.

Where would you like to live:

I'm really happy to be back in the UK, but would love to spend some time in Australia and if I was super rich maybe a place on an island in the Indian Ocean.

What would your super power be:

The ability to learn and retain anything instantly.

What makes you depressed:

Death and hunger in the poor parts of the world.

Who would play you in the film of your life:

John Simm if he can do a Yorkshire accent.

What is your most unappealing habit:

Not putting the lid back on the shaving foam.

What is your favourite smell:

Freshly cooked good quality bread.

What is the worst thing anyone has ever said to you:

Youve been made redundant (I'm sure there is something worse than this but its the only thing I could think of)

Cat or dog:

Cat, without a doubt, I like dogs too but they just don't compare.

What do you owe your parents:

My attitude and outlook on life.

What or who is the greatest love of your life:

My wife and kids :)

What was the best kiss of your life:

Le phonographique Leeds, November 1997, she knows who.

Have you ever said I love you and not meant it:

Definitley but I didn't know it at the time.

Which living person do you most despise and why:

I'm not really a despising kind of person, I never really give that much hatred much thought.

What is the worst job you've done:

First job when I left school, I was a mechanic working on trucks, it was cold, hard, dirty work and I only did it for 2 days. Potato picking was probably much harder work but I remember that fondly as I got on well with the people I was working with, its amazing how much of a difference that makes.

What has been your biggest disappointment:

At the time the breakup of my first marriage, and in particular the affect that had on the relationship with my kids, I'm kinda glad it happened now because of where it got me.

If you could edit your past what would you change:

Nothing without my past I wouldn't be where I am now.

If you could go back in time, where would you go:

December 25th 0000 Israel to see what all the fuss was about.

When did you last cry and why:

Reading the 999 transcript article in the Guardian the other week, there was a story about a woman who gave birth on her own while on the phone to 999, it was very powerful and moving.

How do you relax:

Watching films and TV generally, playing video games sometimes.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life:

A lottery win.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you:

Expect nothing, and be excited as you have no idea where you will be this time next year, life is a rollercoaster ride.

If you feel like it please reply with your answers I'd be very interested to see them.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Full Flow

So Christmas preperations are in full flow, presents seem to be arriving on a daily basis (mostly for Emma) I got a surprise xmas bonus which was nice (and is already spent).
Today was secret santa day at work and I got a drumkit in a box, basically its a book, dvd, pair of drumsticks and a rubber pad to practice on, this is atcually really cool as I've wanted to learn to play the drums for years and this is a way to start off without being too noisy. Anyway I seem to of got over the flu now (although I did think I'd caught something again for a few hours yesterday) so hopefully I will be able to post a bit more in the coming days, I'm oncall until Tuesday though which means my sleeping patterns can sometimes be a little erratic. Missed three gigs this week which I would of really liked to of gone too, Levellers in Oxford, NMA in London and The Damned in Oxford, these kind of weeks always seem to fall when I'm oncall. Well thats all for now, next maybe a post with more of a point and some coherence.

Saturday, 6 December 2008


I've got flu (of the man variety) and feel like crap, so normal posting is suspended for a few days.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Think the internet is safe :)

Some of you may know I do DNS for a living (amongst a few other things), there was a lot of activity in my industry earlier on this year when a huge hole was found in the DNS system by a researcher called Dan Kaminsky. Below is a link to a story about this in Wired, you don't have to be technical or even know about DNS for this to be an interesting read, if you are an internet user and think you are safe then read away, its fascinating and scary :)


Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Well they say that travel broadens the horizons and I won't argue with that. I am just at this very moment filling in my first ever passport renewal, yes I have only had one for ten years which considering how much I have used it feels kind of strange. I was a very different person ten years ago when this first passport was issued (I applied because Catherine and I were going on our first ever holiday abroad together, we went to Nice in France for a long weekend) .
I am pleased to say that even though I'm a bit fatter and wrinklier I'm much happier with the passport photos I took today than the one I have been living with for the last 10 years (maybe I won't be saying that in five years time). It's reflections like this that make me incredibly excited for the next ten years and what it has to offer, if it's half as exciting as the last ten then it will be incredible. So it's a short post but one with me in a very happy state of mind. I'll leave with for posteritys sake a list of the stamps in the departing passport.

New York: April 23 2004
Amsterdam: April 27 2000
Chicago: July 23 2007
Vancouver: November 5th 2005
Malta: June 22 2003
Tokyo: February 23 2006
Seattle: November 11th 2006
Hong Kong: March 6th 2006
Melbourne: February 24th 2006
Dallas: March 18th 2006
New York: June 3rd 2008
Bangkok: August 27th 2002
Sydney: March 6th 2006
Register Amsterdam: February 7th 2001
Dutch Immigration: January 5th 2001

Top wishes for destinations in the new passport.

South America
San Francisco