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Monday, April 30, 2007


Yep, it's the last day of April (where is the year going?) and I got paid today.

What's more, the bathroom has now been painted, and some of the floorboards have been replaced. The plan tomorrow, apparently, is for the electrician to do his stuff, and the bath to be installed.

Then, the tiling, then the flooring. We should really start to see some changes now. But, I've included an up to date pic so you can see where we're at.

Just watched the latest episode from 'Lost'. Wow. What a great show, and the cliffhanger is terrific. I've just updated my iPod with the latest podcast 'The Lost Initiative'. Fans discuss the theories and the goings on about what's happening on the island. It's totally over the top, but a great listen.
Had a lovely weekend, and we went cycling in Heaton Park yesterday. Even I got my bike out and went for a ride.

On Saturday, I bought a bike carrier, so we can take the bikes away to Center Parcs. It works out cheaper than hiring them, and also means we don't have to queue for ages.
We also went swimming, so overall, a very keep fit kinda weekend.
That's about it really. I'm off for an early night. I stayed up and watched "The Sting" last night. A great film with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. If you've not seen it - watch it. The music is also fantastic, with one of my all time favourites, "The Entertainer", played beautifully on the piano.

Sleep well.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Who needs a title - just read...

It's Thursday at last.
Over halfway through the week.
On Monday evening, we spontaneously decided to go to the theatre. There was an Agatha Christie play at The Lowry, called "The Unexpected Guest" and I quite fancied going to see it.
Since I had finished work at 3 o'clock (due to a late finish on Friday), there was no particular rush.

So I booked the tickets, and got seats 6 rows from the front. Excellent view, and the play was terrific. Normally we go to shows, but this was something different. No song and dance, just good, old fashioned acting. And it was very well performed.
I've decided to give up the spread-betting business. It was not doing my health any good, and it's impossible to concentrate when at work. Still, the shares still exist, and I'll keep an eye on them.
In fact, I can report that in the 8 weeks since I started, the value of my holdings has risen by £100. Not a bad return on investment, with Stagecoach seeing an 18% rise on their own.
Find me a savings account that returns that amount!
Bathroom is now plastered and looking more like a room. Waiting for the electrician to come and put the lights in.
So, off to work now. More regression testing - borrrring. Still, that's what we're there to do, so will make the most of it.

Have a nice day

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy St Georges' Day

Here we go again. You'll notice from the time of this blog, that I'm up early ready to attack another day.
The weather is looking very overcast, although we've come to expect more from April.

Yesterday was my nephews birthday party. He's 2 today. There was a bouncy castle in the garden, and thankfully it didn't rain, so the boys threw themselves around a bit.

My brother-in-law is due to restart the bathroom project, now that his wife is home, with their newborn. She is so tiny (the newborn, not the wife).

I took Number Two for a short bike ride yesterday. Well, he wanted some exercise, and he needs to get more confident. However, I did notice that the saddle is a little too low, so his knees come up to his chin, as he pedals. I'll sort that out next weekend.

Number Three is extremely active now, seemingly being able to get anywhere. Now he can kneel up at the table in the lounge, that area of safety is no longer.
So last week I forgot to mention my latest fuel bill. A HUGE £700 for one quarter. Followed by a letter from Powergen, telling me that my monthly direct debits were being raised to £287. Ouch.
I called them, and we finally managed on a £160 monthly DD, but I had to settle £200 up front! I know fuel prices had risen (and are about to drop again) but that was crazy. And I gave the readings, so it wasn't even an estimated bill.
On the spread betting front, I'm not going to get too greedy this week. I have read some articles, done more research, and am going to put a plan in place. Nice and steady.

It wasn't a good week on the shares front either. But by close of business on Friday, the markets had rallied, and now my holding is at its highest point. So, good news there.
Right, that's a quick update for you. I'm going to gather my stuff togethere, and head off to work.

There'll be more later in the week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spread 'em

Quite a lot has been happening over the last few days - not least the fact that my brother-in-law plumber has become a dad 3 weeks earlier than expected. So the bathroom re-fitting is now on hold for approximately a week.
Place your bets - I wish I had. The Baby successfully chose the winner of this years Grand National, Silver Birch. The odds were 33/1 but I didn't place a bet, so failed to capitalise on his brilliance!

On the subject of bets, I have recently started Spread betting.

This is a method of speculating on a number of things, whether financial, sporting or political. I am more interested in the financial specualtion, and it is great fun watching how the markets perform and taking a punt on what will happen next.

Last Friday I bet (£2/point) that the FTSE100 would go up in value. It was a roller-coaster ride until lunchtime, when things started to even out, and I finished the day £70 up. Not bad for a starter.

I'm using a company called IG Index and they have a training programme called Tradesense. This is a six week course, during which the bets can be just pence, therefore allowing you to get comfortable with the overall concept of spread betting.

Finally - some news on my shares. Not a good week. The market dropped quite low on Thursday, which meant some of the value was reduced. However, Stagecoach bounced back like a trooper.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hot Stuff (and I don't just mean the plumbing!)

Just In - New photos showing progress of the bathroom.

Here you can see the plumbing for the shower on the wall, and the new pipework for the bath, under the window.


Malaysian Grand Prix

Phew! That was one of the most exciting grand prix races I have seen in years. The Mercedes Mclarens of Fernando Alonso disappearing into the distance, and Lewis Hamilton as he held off the attack from Felipe Massa, and later in the race, Kimi Raikkonen, was a joy to watch.

It was breathtaking, edge of the seat stuff.

That is what Formula 1 is all about.

With Lewis having taken 2nd and 3rd place in his first two races, I'm looking forward to his maiden grand prix victory.

Roll on Bahrain...

I started by listening to the race on BBC Radio 5 Live (on my digital radio) and watching the pictures on ITV. I then decided to join the rest of the family, and finished watching the race with ITV commentary. I have decided, though, that I will get a couple of cheap 'transistor' radios and take them to the British Grand Prix later this year. I can then hear the whole commentary and know what is happening on the part of the track I can't see (which will be most of it!)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I've not written for a while, so thought I would take this opportunity to play catch-up.

The bathroom work is moving on apace; the first fix is now complete, with all plumbing in place. The ceiling has also been done, and the new loft hatch in place. Next job is to plasterboard the walls.

More photos will be added soon. So watch this space. Well, not this space, but another entry in the blog!!

It's Bank Holiday weekend, and today we went to Moss Bank Park in Bolton. The weather was scorching (reaching an unseasonal 18 degrees). The kids had fun in the sun, sandpit and on the fairground attractions. Number One Son also had a go on his Heeley's; to the amusement of many.

The Baby had fun crawling everywhere, and discovered that he can climb up steps (although has difficulty coming down, without hurting himself). I sat him in the climbing frame this evening and he enjoyed looking out of the different openings.

Tomorrow we're planning on going to Chester Zoo - the weather is expected to be exceptional again, so should be fun.

It's also the Malaysian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton is 4th on the grid, so fingers-crossed for another fine performance. I wanted to wear my Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes top, but The Wife has decreed that I can't wear 100% polyester t-shirt to the zoo! I don't see why not. Other people wear their favourite football shirts.

So you're wondering how the shares are looking? Well, it's been an up and down week, but on the whole, progress has been good. But - as I've said before, it's a long-term thing, so let's not worry about the small downs, and hope for the eventual growth.
Mind you - the legal battle between Sky and Virgin could have a nasty effect...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

And The Wall Came Tumbling Down

Just a quick update on the bathroom, now that the wall has been removed, we can now see the space we'll have.

It's encouraging, and I've added a photo to embelish the point.

The dark line down the left side is where the wall was, and in the background you can see the outlet for the toilet. Just above the toilet is a window. This wall was the original external wall, before the extension was built, and therefore will, once again, be boarded up.


As for the weekend. The Wife has worked hard to get the house clean for Pesach, and I've worked hard building a Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer - and yes, I've had to include a photo of that as well...

Okay - so you can't see much - but it took 2 days to build and is worth every penny.

Right. Gotta go. 24 is about to start; then Lost.

Good telly on Sundays.


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