A story of commitment, journies, sleepless nights, new toys and competition

Well, that’s quite possibly the longest blog post title I’ve ever written.  But with good reason – I have a lot to say in this post.  So feel free to skip bits that you find boring, I won’t be offended.  Just don’t expect me to mow your lawn for free unless you’ve read every word.

For a slightly more complete description of the above title, allow me to elucidate.  This weekend started on Friday, which was a little odd, with Phil and Esther’s wedding.  That was followed by a fairly taxing drive back home, and very little sleep that night on account of my cold.  On a lighter note, I picked up my new computer on Saturday (on which I am writing this very post), and in the evening I had a house full of people to watch the final of I’d Do Anything, Doctor Who and Pushing Daisies.  All in all, quite a busy weekend, and most of that happened without my wife – Ellie was helping out at a church weekend away, so I haven’t actually seen her since Friday afternoon.

Phil and Esther’s wedding

This one has been a long time coming.  Phil and Esther got engaged way back when they were both at uni, so it was such a delight to be able to be at their wedding on Friday.  It was in Cromer, which is north Norfolk, in the big Anglican church there.  You can’t miss it, in fact.  As you come into the town, down the hill, it’s right there looming over the rest of the small seaside town, visible from pretty much everywhere.  Unsurprisingly, we didn’t get lost, and as far as I know no one else did either.

What was most amazing though was how ‘them’ the service was.  Phil wasn’t dressed up to the nines like a traditional groom, he was just wearing a suit.  His shirt wasn’t even tucked in all day.  Very him.  I think he would have felt uncomfortable if it had been any other way.  The entrance music was an odd choice, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, a very moody, tense, almost sinister piece of organ music.  Still, it seemed to work, just about, and set the tone for a totally untraditional wedding.  There wasn’t much in the way of liturgy, there were only three hymns, but it was all very relaxed and friendly, and there was even a bit of cheesy music played over the PA while they were signing the register.

The two funnies moments were both down to Phil, no surprise there.  The first was when the vicar said “Phil, will you take Esther to be your wife…” and Phil jumped in with “I will” before the vicar could finish the rest of the passage!  Hilarious.  The vicar, poor chap, couldn’t keep a straight face through that whole section.  The other funny bit was when the vicar asked Phil and Esther to hold each others’ right hands, at which point Phil held up both and looked at them to try and work out which was his right hand.  Again, typical Phil.

The reception was held at a hotel down the road, which was very pleasant.  After a photo session and the throwing of confetti we were all ushered into a conservatory where we were served cups of tea and the wedding cake.  Yes, going against all the traditions once again, we had the wedding cake before the meal.  It worked well though, giving us something to do while we waited for stuff to happen.  And the cake came in three flavours (fruit, sponge and chocolate), and was adorned with dolly mixtures.  Nice touch.

The meal was in a big tent (posher than it sounds), and was very nice.  Not overly complicated, nothing fancy or wild, just something simple to keep us happy.  Pie and chips was an interesting choice for a main course, but it seemed to go down well.  After that came the speeches, which in Phil’s case was more like stand-up comedy.  It’s been a while since I’ve heard Phil talking in public – I’d forgotten just how funny he is.

I have plenty of photos, which I shall no doubt put online in due course.  [EDIT: photos are now online, see Media page or log onto Facebook]

More miles on the clock

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay too long into the evening, as we had a long journey back to Colchester.  Having left Ellie to go off to look after someone else’s church’s creche for the weekend, I was given the task of taking PhilB (yes, another Phil) to his parents’ house in Norwich.  That added on an extra hour to our journey time, what with the detour and a short break and a cup of tea.  Under normal circumstances it wouldn’t have been a problem, but unfortunately the driving was made harder by the fact that I had a cold.

Now, I’m not one for succumbing to the so-called “man flu”.  I don’t say I’m ill unless I really am, or at least until it’s causing me problems.  I wouldn’t have said anything on Friday were it not for the fact that it was making me unusually tired, which clearly isn’t good when you’re driving any sort of distance along unfamiliar roads.  Thankfully the tea provided by Phil’s mum was much appreciated, and kept me going a little longer, and Anne-Marie (who I was also transporting back to Colchester) kept talking to me to keep me awake.  Not that you can really fall asleep in a Mini, bouncing along the road, but it helped to keep me alert.  Thankfully we all got home safely, after a 200 mile round trip, and I was in bed by about 1:30am.

No time for dreams

Unfortunately, sleep didn’t come easily that night.  With a blocked up nose I found that I couldn’t actually breath, which caused significant problems.  In order to maintain a steady air flow I was forced to breathe through my mouth instead of my nose, which for some reason doesn’t come naturally to me.  As such, the effort of keeping my mouth open kept me awake.  The moment I relaxed and was about to fall asleep my mouth would close, and then I would be wide awake again to avoid suffocation.  Not good.  If I got 2 hours sleep that night I would be impressed.

I got up at 5:30am to get a drink to whet my dried out mouth, and at 6:30 I gave up on the idea of sleep entirely and just got up.  Somehow I managed to get through the rest of the day on very little rest.

Welcoming the heavyweight

A consequence of being in Norfolk yesterday was that I wasn’t at home to take delivery of my new computer, so I had to go and pick it up from the DHL depot on Saturday morning.  I wasn’t expecting it to be anywhere near as heavy as it was, so that was my first surprise.  Other than a little cosmetic damage (it’s second hand) it looks in fine condition.  I lugged it upstairs to the study and plugged it in, and it booted into Mac OS X Leopard – lots of fun!  Actually it doesn’t look hugely different to my old Mac as far as the desktop goes.  Sure, there are some differences, like the funky dock and the semi-transparent menu bar, but on the whole it’s still the same operating system.  Just a lot more polished and significantly faster.

First impressions are good though.  The dock reflections are cool, even if they are an unnecessary bit of bling, but I expect the novelty will wear off eventually.  The stacks are pretty neat too, visually, though they don’t really provide any additional functionality that is going to change the way I work; I could easily live without that feature, but I’m not complaining now it’s there.

I did spend some time trying to get online though, but that wasn’t the fault of the computer, I just forgot the password for our wireless network.  And it’s not like I could find out what the password was by looking at the other computers, because they wouldn’t tell me – security, eh!  I remembered in the end, thankfully, so all’s well.

I’ll probably do a proper review at some point.

I’d do anything with a Doctor who brings people back to life

In the evening I had loads of people round to watch my TV, in light of Anne-Marie having family round and hence her living room having had a prior booking.  The final of I’d Do Anything was in two parts; at the end of the first the votes were counted and three were taken down to two.  Then there was a gap of a few hours before the final votes were counted and the winner declared.  I’m not saying who the winner was just in case anyone recorded it and has yet to see it for themselves, but let’s just say I was pleased with the result.  I was also pleased that the winner was the only one to pronounce the final three words of “As long as he needs me” with the right vowel sound.  All the others – without exception – sang something more akin to “As long as hay nayds may”, which always got on my nerves.  Well done to *the winner* for being able to sing a loud and clear note without having to show off her tonsils to everyone!

Also on TV that night was Doctor Who, in the library, with a packed lunch.  Suitably random.  I’m not going to bother with a full synopsis or write-up, as Anne-Marie will no doubt do a far better job than me!  Oh, and Pushing Daisies was also good.  As always.  Good clean fun.  As long as you don’t mind the dead bodies.

In conclusion

Yes… erm… I think that’s everything.  Apologies for the longevity of this post.  I won’t apologise for the length, because I’ll no doubt write equally long posts in the future at some point.  Still, if you’ve got time to read all of this then you’ve clearly not got any work to do right now, so reading a massive blog post will give you something to do, so don’t feel too guilty.  Unless of course you have actually got work to do and have just spent far longer than you should have done reading my blog, in which case… err… thanks.  I think.

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