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Saturday, 9 July 2011

Uni or what

It's decision time for Dan - where does he want to go? We went to see City University a few weeks ago, looking at the

Engineering Department. We have sort of coached him into the direction of 'Aeronautica Engineering' and listening to the lecturers etc, yes, he thinks this is what he wants to do. (and specialise in Space technology). I've did quite a lot of research (Isn't Google wonderful!), and it looks like Aeronautical Engineers won't have problems finding jobs, as not many people chose to study this difficult subject, and good qualified personnel is hard to find. So, Nafees and me think this might be a good career for him.

Now the next decision.... currently, he hasn't got good enough 'A' Level grades to try for the best Uni's. Yes, with the grades he's got (C's) he can get into the not so good Uni's - the one's which are further down the ranking. But who is to say that Uni Ranking is the only important thing!! But then I know that it does count when applying for jobs where you got your degree from - unfortunately employers are biased. Yesterday, we went to see Southampton University, which is one of the top ones, and they require 'straight A's'. Not a chance at the moment. He is actually contemplating to repeat this year, and he seems to think this will give him A's.

The other thing is... there is us trying to visit all those Uni Open Days. Gosh, that is exhausting in itself. 2 hours drive to Southampton yesterday, and 3 hours back (due to M25 traffic), petrol money. The other Uni's which are potentials are much further away i.e. Wales, Liverpool, Sheffield. I guess I'm going to be busy in the next few weeks, as we have to fill in the application for Uni from September onwards, and deadline January. So, watch this space.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Stephen King ' The Dark Tower - The Drawing of the Three'

The second book in the 'Dark Tower' Series by Stephen King.

King fans are, it appears to be, clearly devided when it comes to the 'Dark Tower' series. They either love them (best of all the King's books), or hate them (Really can't get into them). I sort of joined the latter group, and had trouble getting into the first part. it is just a lot more fantasy than your usual King 'Small Town America' horror. So, I guess, if you are not into fantasy, you might not enjoy it as much as, lets say 'It'. Saying that, the supernatural plays a part in almost all of King's work, so it is certainly worth giving the 'Dark Tower' series a go, and certainly a must if you are a big King fan like me.

'The Drawing of the Three' continues with the story of Roland, the Last Gunslinger, introduced in the first of the series. He continues his journey across the 'Mid-World',  this fantasy world created by King, in his quest to reach the 'Dark Tower'. Here, he finds three doors which will lead him into modern day New York, and he will meet 3 people who will play an important part in his continous journey - the defiant Eddie Dean, the courageous, volatile Odetta Holmes and serial killer Jack Mort.It is this link to modern days which made this book much more interesting for me, und King's ability to draw with words is just, as always, outstanding - here weaving fantasy worlds with modern day gritty realism.

(parts taken from blurp).

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Joy Fielding 'Whispers and Lies'

Product Details
The nurse Terry Painter lives a quiet life in a small town in Florida. Since the death of her mother, she leads a quite life, so she decides to rent a garden flat in her house. The lively Alison moves in, and soon Terry and Alison become firm friends. However, slowly but surely, Terry starts to suspect that Alison is not  all she seems to be, and gets worried when she comes acress Alison's diary. A cat a'nd mouse game starts between the two, and Terry thinks she is slowly losing her mind. What are the reasons for Alison wanted to get close to Terry?

I enjoyed this book, and read it in the German translation. Apart from the silly translation of the book title 'Schlaf nicht, wenn es dunkel ist' which literally translates to 'Dont sleep when it's dark' (??), the book translation was good, and made it a page turner for me. The story was nicely put together, the plot moved along at a good pace, and was believable as was the ending. I will definitely put more of Joy Fielding in my To Be Read pile.

Twin Restaurant Dartford

Went out with Debbie, Claire and Angela on Firday. We went to Twin Chinese Restaurant in Dartford and overall had a great time. The restaurant is a 'all you can eat' restaurant, but much better than some of the buffett restaurants where you can tell they are using the same base for all the dishes and just put different vegetables/meat in it. This restaurant is different as you pay one amount (£15.90 at the time of writing) and can eat as much as you like, but you still order it from a waiter. Desserts and Drinks need to be paid extra.

We went there at 8pm, it is surprisingly big inside. We had ordered a table, but I think one would get away without ordering, as there was space (not a lot though). The waitress came promptly, and so did the food (within 10 minutes).We had a platter of starters and duck/lamb wraps, after which I was basically already full. For the main course, you have the choice of over 50 different dishes - all the usual Chinese dishes eg black bean, sweet and sour... too many to mention. Again, you can order as many different dishes as you want, and we ordered about 15 different ones who all come in small(ish) dished, a little bit like a tapas restaurant really where you can share all across the table. I guess this setup is particularly good if you are with a crowd of people. The service was very efficient , quick and never pestering all throughout the evening.

Than, around 9pm, the restaurant pulled a few tables together to make some space in the middle, and a small band started to play for entertainment (1 man on keyboard, 1 man on guitar, 1 woman singer). Music was mainly 70s/80s, plenty of ABBA. The singing was good in my opinion, and as there were also quite a few birthday parties in the restaurant, the atmosphere was relaxed and happy, people were singing along (including us!)and started to dance - the happy mood was catching.

Two small minus points for me: Once the band started playing, it was almost impossible to hold a conversation, it was just too loud. And we all felt that we had quite a bit to drink (I think I had about 7 or 8 Barcadi with Cola), and we were still completely sober. This is not necessarily a bad point - I don't want to be legless going home, but I guess the drinks must have been watered down a lot which is not really fair as you pay for it, and it is not cheap.
All in all though I will definitely be back.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


Went out with Nafees on a Bonnie walk to the lake - doesn't happen often, and now already twice since we are back from Pakistan.

Kept reviewing all the writing software, and me thinks that I don't really want/can afford to spend money on this particular item at this moment in time ! But made a start hand-writing notes for the autobiography. Maybe notebook (the traditional one that is, not the electronic version!) and pen are the future for me.

In the news: terrorist attack Pakistani Airforce base in Karachi. What is so shocking for me is that we visited the Airforce museum next door when we were there a few weeks ago, and apparently the terrorists got access to the airbase via the museum - I know the layout, it is very close and can see it clearly in front of me. Still, I wouldn't hesitate going back to Pakistan.

Audrey Niffenegger 'The Time Traveler's Wife'

From the blurb:

'This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare's struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.'

This story was well advertised and publisised, so I was aware of what it is all about - not sure if this was or was not helpful when reading. On one hand, I think had I not known tbeforehand how Henry does this time travel thingy, I think it might have been too confusing for me to read the book, especially the first few chapters. But maybe it would have been better to get me into the story if I hadn't known so much about it without reading it. Not sure here, and this may be the reason why it didn't grip me as much as I hope it would. However, what an idea for a story! I have to admire the story telling idea and how Niffenegger puts it all together. Gosh, to do any sort of timeline when writing the novel for this must have been an absolute nightmare, and maybe this is where I got myself into a pickle with this story as I kept looking for some sort of coherent timeline. But nonetheless, this is a wonderful and endearing story which will have a steady place and libraries and reading circles.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cross stitch update

Here we go - not much to show but this is what I was working on last week when I did had time for my hobby which is hardly ever during the week.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Updates on my work - cross stitch

I worked on this whilst in Pakistan and on the plane - in Pakistan whenever I could sneak a few minutes to myself LOL. It's one of the 'Tiddles' cartoon cat designs from Peter Underhill of Heritage. While I usually do not like any stitching to do with cartoon and/or cute, I like these - they make me smile. Not that easy to stitch though surprinsingly, as they have tons of thos 'squashed stitches' so typical in Heritage designs

Now I finally start to get a bit enthusiastic about the wedding picture. You can really see Nafees' face emerging!
Well, I'm going to be forever and a year on the backstitch for the Lilliput Lane, it just doesn't move. Need to put in the hours on this me thinks.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Back from Karachi

and here is the blog I created only for the Karachi pictures:

I have not edited any of the pictures, no photoshop or anything done... for lack of time, as many people have asked for the pictures. So, there they are, an undiluted view - and I will be adding more throughout the day.

We had a crazy, wonderful, exhausting time in Karachi, were we (DH Nafees, DS Imran, DD Ruby and me) stayed from 01. April 2011 to 15. April 2011. So many relatives who wanted a piece of us LOL. The weather avaraged around 35C, but a very dry heat, so we didn't feel it that much. Though, on the last day, I got really sticky and hot, so we managed to escape just before it becomes the really hot season now.

OK, back to normal life now! Managed to do some cross stitch in Karachi and on the plane, and will post some updates on recent work later.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Ruby's textile work and a view from the Thames

 First of all, I want to show this cushion cover which Ruby made in school (textile lessons). I think it's fab - I've never been able to sew so I admire her even more for it, and it's nice and colourful which I like. Oh, and I haven't done any embroidery for ages, just too busy at the moment with other things.
It was lovely weather today, so I took Bonnie down to the Thames for a walk.

It is a lot of fun to take pictures with the new camera, and carrying it is no problem whatsoever. I'm also now seriously trying to grips with Photoshop. I've bought one of those 'The Idiot's guide to...' books for Photoshop, but it is massive and very technical  - I found it too hard for a complete beginner like me. I mean, I'm usually quite good with the computer and with new programmes, but Photoshop is just so vast. There a quite a few online tutorials around thanks goodness, and this one is an excellent one for absulute beginners:

I'm slowly working my way through the lessons, and while I still get stuck sometimes, I think I finally get the hang of it. The pictures above are not edited with Photoshop, only in the Canon's ownZoomBrowser EX software, so only basic edits like cropping, levels and Tone Curve were done.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Medway's snip and my new camera

And here he is, our little man - or not any more? Yes, Medway's had the snip today. Dropped him off at the vets in the morning amidst loud protests from the family (and from him!), but I'm just too aware that not castrated tom cats will just stray and get into fights, and also... he started spraying around the house - now that's something I can definitely without. So, here is his first picture as a new 'man':

My new camera arrived last week - after a week of reading endless reviews online and (most importantly I guess) trying compact cameras out at the shop, I went for a Canon Powershot SX210. One off the main selling points for me was the exceptionally hight zoom range of 15x optical zoom, so I've almost got a mini-DSLR which can easily fit in my pocket. The other point was that I am used to the Canon models e.g. the buttons, software, layout is easily recognised by me, and this is so much easier than getting used to a completely new model.

The first few days I went through all the shooting opions and found it surprisingly easy to get to grips with it, in short  - I love my new camera. ok, it won't replace an DSLR, but it has many of the functions a DSLR will give you and is so handy for travelling, well, even if I walk the dog across the road, it is much easier to fit this little baby in my pocket, and also I won't attract unwanted attention as I sometimes feel quite uncomfortable having a big and very expensive looking DSLR around my neck.

So, here are a few shots from last weekend and today:

Beacon Wood Country Park, view to Southfleet

Beacon Wood Country Park

' The Bridge' Estate, just across the road from us.

Again, at 'The Bridge', view to Dartford Bridge.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Sophie Kinsella 'Can you keep a secret'

 I've got some many books still stacked up here on my windowsill, ready to be reviewed. Read most of them ages ago... So I better make a start with this one. I have to say - I haven't joined the E-book revolution yet (i.e. Kindle). Firstly, I don't really like the feel of holding this min-laptop device and reading a book on it, clicking a button to go to the next page. I don't know, can't really describe, but I have to turn a books page when I read to get my enjoyment out of reading a good book. Maybe I will have to try it for a while... no doubt technology will go more and more forward, and one day there won't be any more print books, or they will be the exemption, so than it is not a big deal for me, but in the meantime I shall stick to a good old-fashioned book. Also, I've got over 100 books still on the shelf, waiting to be read, and all my Stephen King Books are the old-fashioned type, so I don't want to download them again!

So, chick lit time. Yes, I admit, chick lit is my guilty pleasure ever know and again. And Sophie Kinsella does it to a 'Tee' as they say. in 'Can you keep a Secret' we meet Emma. She works in the marketing department of a soft drinks company, and in the first chapter, gets send to an important business meeting to proof her worth. well, it's hilarious, she hasn't got a clue and just gets everything wrong, but it's also a wonderful caricature of those so-called more serious characters in 'business' life. On the way back from her meeting, sitting in a plane, during a few turbulences, she thinks the plane is going to crash and spills all her secrets to the (goodlooking ehmmm) stranger sitting next to her. Not life-changing, horrible secrets, but the little secrets which we all have at some stage i.g. bra cup size, lying on your CV, feeding orange juice to the plant of that colleague you really hate etc. Only, the stranger isn't really a stranger at all, and when Emma comes back to work the next day she finds out that he is the Company's mega-rich executive. the comedy from this is great, and it makes a perfect train-commute or beach read.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Holidays booked and photoshop (ped)

 Well, after 16 years... I will be going back to Pakistan on holiday to see DH Nafees' family. Veeery excited and happy. I will be going with Nafees, Imran and Ruby. Dan is going to stay here in the UK, mainly for our pets. He is going on his on holiday with his mates in the summer to Greece, so its not a big deal. What was holding us back to go was mainly the money - flights are not cheap especially when going with all the family. but hey.. if we don't do it now we'll probably never do it. So there it goes, we've finally booked it and will be going in April.

here is a picture from my walk yesterday, taken in Beacon Wood Country Park: Ruby said this tree looks like a toilet seat lol

I've also played around with simple photo editing software - still can't get to grips with Photoshop. One of those days I will have enough time to get into it.


And I've got myself a new toy - eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new 'baby' - a Canon Powershot SX210 camera. I wanted to get a compact camera for the holidays. Can't really take the big Canon EOS DSLR with me. Firstly, it is heavy to carry around, and I don't really want to walk around in Pakistan with a big fat camera hanging around my neck. So it will be much easier to have a little compact camera in my pocket. I went for Canon again, as I basically know the brand, and have all their software already on the computer etc. First I thought about buying just the cheapest camera, but than I thought I might as well spend a tiny bit more and get especially better zoom. So, the SX210 has 14x zoom, so perfect. I ordered it off Amazon, and should be with me in the next few days. Oh, the excitement!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Wedding Picture

I have been working quite a bit on the wedding picture last week, but because of the massive Confetti stitches, there isn't much to see. I like the way DH's face emerges though. One thing... I'm not too happy with the coverage, especially on the black parts its showing,  through quite badly, well, I notice it anyway, but I can't fact to start again.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Years Resolutions

Ok, here we go, the inevatable New Year's resolutions.

1. Save money / don't spend money on credit card.
Yep, it's the year of austerity or so the government says, and I've got no opion but to join in. Credit Card needs to be paid off before I consider putting any more money on it. So. that means, I will not buy anything for which I don't have the money in my current account in the first place. Hopefully, by the end of 2011, I will have my credit card paid off.

2. Continue my Weight Watcher's Journey
So far, I have lost 1.5 Stone (app. 10kg) on Weight Watchers and going to the gym. I have lost it a bit of the Christmas Holidays but this was expected and is not a problem. So, back to points counting and gym, already feel better today ;-))

3. OK, for the benefit of this blog... I try to write regularly.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Stephen King 'The Bachman Books'

In the late 1970'/early 1980's, Stephen King wrote a few novels under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, according to him mainly as an experiement to see if his books are liked only because they are from 'the Stephen King' or whether even if published under a completely unknown name, still would have commercial success. Well, his cover was blown and Bachman 'outed' as King. Nonethe less, the 4 Bachman stories in this compilation are a must for every King fan.

RAGE - a high school teenager becomes a gang-of-one in a terrifying display of rebellion.

THE LONG WALK - A chilling look at the ultra-conservative America of the future, where a gruelling 450 mile marathon is the ultimate sports competition - my favourite of this story compilation.

ROADWORK - An immovable man refuses to surrender to the irresisteble forces of progress.

THE RUNNING MAN - a macabre tale of the future's favourite TV gam show, where contestants risk death at the hands of hunters to win a billion dollar jackpot. This was made into a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but as so often, the book differs slighlty in the story, and well worth reading even if you know the movie.

©2009 The Pegster | by TNB