Monday, June 30, 2008

Bridesmaid pics

So the day dawned and after 18 months of dieting and working out, my best friend Kelsie got married and I was a bridesmaid. I say 18 months of dieting and working out....I've certainly worked out consistently over that time. I have stepped and aerobocised and run and lifted weights and sweated a LOT! And I'm now gearing up for a 10km run in September (sponsor me here if you haven't already: and thanks to those that already have!) For all this working out I feel great.

However, I haven't as such, dieted really...I have drastically changed what I eat and how much alcohol I drink but I haven't been on Weight Watchers or Slimming World, I've just tried to be a bit more sensible. I've fallen off the wagon a lot but if at first you don't succeed and all that, I've always tried to climb back on and stay on the straight and narrow. I've lost 24lbs and gone down a dress size and one of the most satisfying things of all has been to throw away my bigger clothes :) My big aim now is to carry it on and lose another dress size in time for Kieran's wedding and my friend Alyson's wedding next year.

She had a beautiful day in the end - glorious sunshine all day and everything went swimmingly - great speeches (not too long, always a good thing I find), great food, great company and the Bear Hotel was a fantastic venue. The only downside was that at around 9pm, I was showing off, doing a Nigella Lawson impersonation of all things (yep, finger sucking I'm afraid) and managed to knock an entire glass of red wine down my lovely bridesmaid dress! Luckily we were staying at the hotel and someone whipped me away up to my room, rinsed the dress out and got me changed PDQ! And happily the dress isn't stained :) So here's a few pics to see the new and somewhat improved me, oh and the bride (guess it was her day too) and Alyson who was my fellow bridesmaid and Carl too.

Love Kate xxxx

Sunday, June 22, 2008


We had a lovely holiday in France. We spent a couple of days with Matt and Sue where Brian was put to work chopping logs and strimming grass though the weather was a bit damp. Then we went down to the Haute Alps de Provence into a very nice gite, where the weather also improved and we had a nice time pottering about.

However the Tuesday morning we found a piece of bread on the floor that looked like it had been nibbled and assumed it was field mice, which we weren't that concerned about. However the following night when Brian went to the loo he saw a rat disappearing round a corner. Not mice then. Got up in the morning and scrubbed every surface in the kitchen/lounge area before we made a cup of tea. We wondered whether to go or stay and decided to stay but told the owners and asked for a cupboard we could put everything away into, as it was open shelves and curtains. They put down poison and got a cupboard and we washed everything and put it away, and you have never seen a kitchen which I run looking so tidy in your life! Nothing was out. Brian heard noises that night but saw nothing, and I didn't hear anything because I had earplugs in to block the snoring. The following night however they had decided to invite the neighbours in for a rave. There was a small roofspace above the bathroom and there must have been 2 or 3 in there judging by the noise, there was another one under the roof tiles and Brian saw one disappear behind the oven housing. This was all at 2 am. I had a really strong desire to hide under the bedclothes though what good that would do I have no idea. The bedroom was actually ok as all the walls had been plastered whereas the living room was stone and there must be small gaps between the render. So in the morning we packed up and I threw out my toothbrush (just in case) and went to tell the owners. They were a young couple, mid 20s and had only had the place since january. They were setting up a business making tapenade and special mustards etc plus the gite. They had people due on the Saturday and this was Thursday morning. So poor Veronique went to get the refund for the 2 nights we weren't staying, and came back in tears. So there we were patting her on the shoulder and giving lots of good advice about getting the rat man in, finding a farmer with a good terrier etc. Brian had already given lots of good advice about renovating the building (already done a stone cottage and really know what needs doing advice). We both felt quite parental in a way, but it was impossible to stay.

So we went south and spent the first night outside Aix en Provence within sight of
(Brian on path up to Mont)
Cezanne's Mont de St Victoire, and had a fabulous meal. The next day was wet so we abandoned the idea of staying somewhere beachy and pushed on to Nice, which is where we were flying from on the Saturday. Nice has the most appalling road signage ever! We saw the airport but couldn't get to it, so eventually headed for the sea and drove back along the Boulevard des Anglais, where we found an Ibis to stay the night. We had the worst meal I have ever had there, in fact my meal was inedible. However we had a nice potter round Nice the following day and went for a swim in the Med. But Nice has an awful beach, really stony and really, really hard to walk on.

Brian outside a gallery in Simiane de Rotonde - uncanny eh? Such a not-french name Brian

Then we went to Pembrokeshire and had a nice pottery time there. We were on Abereiddy beach on the Saturday (glorious day) and had a picnic and went for a walk along the cliff, but didn't go for a swim because the water was seriously cold. However we decided that actually the temperature of the water was the only thing we preferred about Nice compared to Abereiddy, which is lucky really as we are going to spend much more time there than in Nice.

it was such a nice break. Going back to work......

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Look at this

Well me again! Having got the house clean I feel totally justified wasting time on the computer!

Here is Trev in front of the Trevi fountain in Rome

Here is a geezer in front of geysir!

Ho ho ho! (note to self, better stay away from manequin pis when we got to Brussels later this year

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Well, me again! I have people coming over tonight and I am meant to be tidying up the house but I keep finding myself doing something else. I am up to date with all my games of scrabulous so I had better have a quick blog before I tackle the kitchen! (Actually, I may have to have another cup of tea after this)
Anyway, we noticed on holiday that there are many words in Icelandic that clearly have similar roots to English. Obviously, the nordic, germanic thing. For example, Foss is a waterfall and in the north of England a waterfall is a force. Also a church is a Kirkja which is like the Scottish word Kirk and also the German.
Heaven knows they are not pronounced easily even if they do have a common root to our own language. I took the view that I should be like Ian McKellan on Lord of the Rings ie. Morrrdorrrr.
Anyway while Trev and I were discussing the similarites somewhere in the back of my mind I remember hearing that in English most household words come from german roots, such as house and most ruling words come from French, such as parliament. However, I'm not sure if I just imagined that I heard that so I would be interested in other's opinions.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


We have just returned from an amazing holiday in Iceland. It turns out that we are not the new Aunty Peggy after all - we were just heading in the wrong direction, before. We had one day of rain but after that it was sunny and clear (although obviously it didn't get up much above 15 degrees).
It being June it was light all the time. I took this picture from our hotel room at 00.15. The guide books claim it did get dark but I always have to go to the loo in the middle of the night and it was always light enough to read a book outside. However, the downside of that of course is that it must be equally dark in winter. We stayed in a small town in the North which is surrounded by three mountains. Apparently the sun goes down at the beginning of December and it doesn’t manage to rise above the mountains until the end of January.

The hot water is heated geothermally so it all smells a bit sulphur like. It seemed worse in Reykjavik or we just got used to smelling a bit eggy. I always like to think of Trev as Lord of the Farts so he was in his element.
The land is amazing we saw geysers, lava fields, fjords, waterfalls and rifts. I should have paid more attention in geography in school.
The roads were quite exciting and, luckily, fairly empty too. As there are hardly any trees you could see for miles ahead so overtaking was a fairly simple option,which probably pleased the Icelandic drivers who could overtake us. Actually, our rough guide did warn us that Icelandic drivers do literally tear along the dotted line as they drive, but the roads are so empty that it did make sense. Some of the roads are gravel, Trev had a very exciting driving experience avoiding the potholes in them. Our Toyota Yaris did outstandingly, but in hindsight I think we would go for a four wheel drive car. There are some roads that are so rough that you are only allowed to do them in a four wheel drive.
Our accommodation and food was universally excellent. Apart from the night when we arrived in Isafjordur which was about an 8 hour drive from anywhere else only to discover that the hotel hadn't opened for summer. Fortunately they had booked us into the other hotel in the town! It is a VERY expensive place to holiday. There are not many places that make London look like a cheap date! A bottle of wine with dinner would have cost us £35. We had bought some over with us and then Trev went and topped up at a booze shop which was only open one hour a day and you had to access through a flower shop. Then they put the wine in brown paper bags like winos in American films. Talk about guilty pleasures.
The other thing we loved looking at was the bird life. There are snipes and puffins and arctic terns everywhere. The terns are very bold and apparently later on in the year they attack people! There were lots of eider duck who make a very comical noise. We took a boat trip to an island where there is one farm which makes it’s living from eider down. The ducks always nest in the same place every year and will sit on the eggs for 4 weeks not eating but they will go for a drink once a day and that is when the farmer goes to collect the down. They then process is to get rid of the bugs then they go through it by hand to clean it. No wonder eider down is so expensive. The farmer on the island lay on a tea for us involving lovely home made cakes. An Icelandic man on the trip had a slice of each of the four kinds of cake then he went back for seconds – he had 7 slices of cake! Clearly he was laying down his blubber for winter. Luckily he didn’t sink the boat.
Anyway, it is a wonderful place. We would love to go back and I would highly recommend it.Here are some photos if you want to see more you can go to our Picassa page here


Reykjavik from Hallgrimskirkja

A gravel road over the mountains. The snow hadn't melted properly and there was a howling gale so the picture was taken from the car!

There were plenty of these everywhere. Although they have short legs you MUST call them horses, not ponies. Apparently they have 5 gaits.

Drangajokull Glacier from Isafjordur