Sunday, 31 July 2011


Here are two pictures I took of Nottingham last summer:

I took this picture from a parking garage for one of the shopping malls, I think the one for Westfield Broadmarsh.

This is of the Nottingham Council House from ground level. My brother and I should be going to Nottingham next weekend, and staying there for a week. If I am in the main area of the city I will see if I can get some more pictures.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Rogue Valley Manor

Most times when we went to Downtown Medford during our life in Southern Oregon we could see the Rogue Valley Manor buildings (I think their names were Main Manor and Skyline Plaza, and the area is a retirement complex), as their position of top of a small mountain rising above the city made them easy to spot from afar. I always loved watching the towers get closer as we drove into Medford.

For several years, I wanted to take a picture of them, as I liked the buildings, and I was vocal about this, but the circumstances were never right to get a picture of them (the most common cause was not having the camera with us). In our last week in the United States, a chance finally arose for me to get a picture of them, but rather than just one picture, I took a few. Here is one of them:

It was taken in the evening from a parking lot for a shopping area, and I was able to get a picture without a car in the way. I do miss the varied views of the Rogue Valley Manor: I always thought they were impressive looking buildings, and I have not moved from that opinion.

Friday, 29 July 2011

My "Recipes": "Andrew’s Very Healthy Salad"

Episode four of the My "Recipes" series: Andrew’s Very Healthy Salad.

1 very large bowl.
Two big bags of any kind of salad.
Caesar Dressing.

How to make it:

Mix salad and dressing in the bowl.

My verdict:
Err…what? This is not a “very healthy salad”; it is just a salad with Caesar dressing on it! If anything, adding any sort of dressing is likely to make the salad less healthy, not more. This should definitely be filed under “What the…?”

Thursday, 28 July 2011


For the last week and a half, we have been itching a lot due to mosquito bites. We have had more bites recently than we ever had at any one time while living in the United States or our times in Nottinghamshire and then Cambridgeshire (I rarely even get any insect bites). Northamptonshire is further inland than Cambridgeshire, and to our knowledge we are not directly near a river, so it was baffling to us where all these bites were coming from.

Mum had a look in the back garden a few days ago, and she found a large water feature...and the water in its pot was stale, with loads of mosquitoes flying around it, and their eggs on the water. Now we knew the source of our bites! As such, we put some soap in the feature, and then dumped all the water that was inside the pot.

This seems to have stopped the vast majority of our insect bites. We are still itching, and have had a few more bites from left over mosquitoes, but once they go that will be it. At least this mosquito problem was controllable!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

2012 Summer Olympics in a year

In exactly one year from today, the 2012 Summer Olympics will take place in London. I have not followed an Olympics since the 2008 one in Beijing, nor watched any since the one in Turin during 2006, but this one I might read about while they are ongoing, as they are being held here. This will be the third time that I have lived in a country while that country is holding the Olympics (Atlanta in 1996, Salt Lake City in 2002). If anything, I just hope the Olympics will be a success and go well for everyone.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Chess (II)

I blogged early on about Chess on how it is my favorite board game; I also mentioned that my Chess set has been packed for a long time and that I hoped I would get it back soon. Well, I am pleased to say that today we found the box it was in and unpacked it!

I know that it is just a board game, but I have really missed my Chess set. Granted, it is old, but it is intact (save for some minor bits missing from a piece or two), and of course, it is mine. :)

Monday, 25 July 2011

London Bridge

You have most likely heard of London Bridge. People, regardless of country, think it is a majestic and architecturally-beautiful looking bridge that towers over the Thames (the river that winds through London) as it crosses the water. In reality, this is London Bridge:

The bridge people often think is London Bridge is called Tower Bridge, and it is this one:

As with Big Ben/the Clock Tower, the name for one subject is being used to describe another, except in this case, it is two completely different structures having their names used wrongly rather than the name of an object inside a building being used to refer to the whole structure itself. I suspect with London Bridge/Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge is incorrectly called "London Bridge" because it is an icon of London like the Clock Tower, and is assumed to be the main bridge (hence "London Bridge"). Even when I went onto Google Images to find an image of London Bridge to link to, a large share of the images that came up were of Tower Bridge.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Blue sky with clouds

Clear days are great, but blue skies with clouds are as well; and yes, that is a plane in the picture.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Amy Winehouse

Over the last couple of hours, the news has been reporting on the death of Amy Winehouse. I have to admit that I was not a heavy follower of Amy Winehouse, but I did like the songs of hers that I heard, and it is sad that a lot of her media coverage for the last couple of years mainly focused on her drinking/drug problems. On a purely human level, I was concerned about her troubles and hoped she would recover from them.

I hope in the long-term she will be remembered for her music and any contributions she made rather than her personal issues. I may not have known her personally, but the early death of anyone can be upsetting to us all.

Amy Winehouse
14 September 1983 - 23 July 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011

The ginger and black cat

Remember my posts about the ginger and black cat with the ginger eye patch? Prior to us leaving Littleport, we found out from the lady next door to us that the cat's name is "Fudge".

So far I have not seen any cats at our current location. There have been people with dogs, and judging by the abundance of birds, I doubt there are many cats around this part of our town.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The morning alarm

A silly thing happened to me this morning: last night, my brother and I were listening to 19 by Adele in my CD player/clock/radio unit (it is his disc). He went to bed after we listened to it, but he left the disc in my player.

I have an alarm on my unit to wake me up in the morning, and it can be set to different modes (it was still set to CD from the night before, as I had forgotten to change it). So, when it went off at 6:30, I was woken up by the music of Adele. However, as I was half-awake at the time, I assumed Heart was having a morning filled with commercial-free Adele songs, or my brother had changed the radio dial to another station that was doing the same thing.

Either way, I listened for over half an hour, believing it to be a radio special, and due to my half-awake state, none of the Adele songs registered with me as the ones I had heard before I went to bed (I even thought I was hearing music from her new album, 21!). It was only when I was curious what station it was set to and turned the dial to check that I became aware of what was going on. After facepalming myself at thinking it was a radio special, and for forgetting to change my unit's settings back, I stopped the CD player.

I felt like a chump, but the feeling did not last long as by now I was completely awake, and the whole event provided a few laughs for other family members and for myself. I hope it makes a good blog post too!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Footpaths (again)

One of my early posts was about footpaths in the United Kingdom. Here is an image of what a standard "public footpath" sign looks like:

I should note that most are not crooked like this one is, and they normally also point exactly to a path rather than in the general direction of one (the public footpath here is the bare track going around the bushes behind this sign). Still, this shows what they look like, and this sign is in Littleport.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

My "Recipes": "Andrew's Non-Boring Iced Tea"

The third episode of the My "Recipes" series is Andrew’s Non-Boring Iced Tea:

1 Gallon of Iced Tea .
2tsp sugar.
1 slice of lemon or grapefruit

How to make it:
Do not put all the Iced Tea Mix in or it will be a waste and taste horrible.
Put at least a large cup full in!
Add the sugar and lemon.

My verdict: this sounds no more exciting than how iced tea is made normally: lemon and/or sugar are the standard practice, and I doubt grapefruit would make it “less boring”. I am guessing by the “do not put all the Iced Tea Mix in” instruction I meant for the reader not to put the entire gallon of the iced tea mix in the jug the drink is being mixed in (I think I may have made an iced tea that was
too strong once). I also note I did not specify iced tea mix until the preparations.

Monday, 18 July 2011

On Fergie's second album

It was about this time five years ago that Fergie (Stacy Ferguson) released her first single, "London Bridge", from her debut and only album The Dutchess. It is hard to believe it has been that long ago: I had always liked her and her vocals from the Black Eyed Peas' music, and I was really looking forward to her solo work. I was not to be disappointed when I heard her music: it was all grand, from catchy tracks like "Fergalicious" to emotional songs such as "Big Girls Don't Cry".

While The Dutchess was a success, five years on, there has not been a second album from her. Over the years I came across information that said she was "going to release it in a few months" or that it was "coming soon", but nothing that was an absolute confirmation, so I dismissed what I read, though I did pay more attention to articles that said she was "working on it".

Even though I think it is unfortunate there has not been a follow-up album to Fergie's debut, I can understand why one has not been released as of now: since The Dutchess, the Black Eyed Peas have had two highly successful albums, so she has been busy with them; but she also got married to Josh Duhamel, and that is certainly a higher priority than a second album.

Of course, in the end it is up to Fergie if she releases a second album or not, but regardless, The Dutchess is one of my favorites in my music collection, and its songs make me think about the period when her solo work was at its most popular on the radio. Anyway, I hear the Black Eyed Peas on the radio nearly every day, so it is not like she is going away anytime soon.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

"Sentimental" - Julian Velard

A couple of days before we moved from Littleport, I was in a store to get a few last-minute groceries. While in there, I heard a song on the store's radio I really liked the sound of. I took note of a couple of the lyrics, and put them into Google when I got back home. It turned out it was a song titled "Sentimental", by an artist called Julian Velard.

"Sentimental" is a really nice, gentle song, and I like it: the instrumentals and vocals are great, and I was surprised to see that the album it comes from was released only a few months ago. I think it comes under soft jazz/piano, but whatever the genre, it is a fine song. While I will have to take a look some more of Julian Velard's work, what I have heard so far has been good, and hopefully I shall be adding his new album to my list of albums that I would like to buy. I am very glad I was in the store that morning, otherwise I would not have heard "Sentimental".

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Full Moon (again)

I have to admit that I am surprised at "Full Moon" being one of my most popular blog posts as of this writing. As such, I have uploaded the video I mentioned in that post. It is not very is just a video version of the pictures.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Full Moon

I was testing my camera out the other evening and ended up taking some pictures of the full moon. My camera was not able to take perfect images of the Moon, but these still look pretty neat!

These might look like the Sun, but they are definitely of the Moon, and were taken in the late evening when there was still a little light left. I have a video I took of it with my other camera, and in that the Moon looks like a bright, featureless ball in the dark sky.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Bizarre joke

During last Christmas a family member told me the following joke. They said it was one that they had heard at Halloween, and could not work out why on earth it was a funny joke. Here it is:

"What do ghosts eat for breakfast? Ghost cereal!"

No one could work out how it became a joke, or why it was even considered funny (if anything, we laughed at how not funny it was). "Ghost cereal" does not appear to be a play on words like "boo-berry" or "ghoulash"; in addition, a key word in the joke question (ghost) is also being used in the punchline, which often ruins a joke.

Just now I Googled "ghost cereal", and I found this in Google Images. However, all I saw was what looked like regular brands that merely adopt a "ghost" theme for Halloween, but nothing that gave any meaningful insight into the origins of the joke.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Move videos

Here are two videos that I took on our move day. I only took a few movies that day, and nearly all of them contained my family members in them, so therefore most will not be uploaded. These two, however, are safe, and I am sure they will be pleasant enough:

This one shows a brief part of the landscape on the A14 while going from Cambridgeshire to Northamptonshire.

This video shows the flags at The Fox Inn (along the A14) blowing in the wind.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

On guest bloggers

I have created a page regarding guest posting to my blog. I have a few rules laid down on that page, and I will most likely tweak them as time goes by.

Move images

Here are three images from the move. I do have a video or two as well, and I will post them at a later date.

Some landscape near The Fox Inn, taken from inside our car.

The three flags at The Fox Inn. Despite there being more clouds in the sky in this image than the first one, they were both taken on the same day, and only within a few minutes of each other!

This was taken in a town called Kettering. The weather changed a lot throughout the day, hence the rain in this image!

Monday, 11 July 2011

My "Recipes": "Andrew's All Chocolate Sandwich"

This is the second episode of the My "Recipes" series: this one is Andrew’s All Chocolate Sandwich: 

2 Slices of chocolate bread.
1 bottle of chocolate syrup.
1 Chocolate Orange.

How to make it:
Get the chocolate bread and spread as much chocolate syrup as you can on it.
Stick the Chocolate Orange in between. (In pieces)

My verdict: this sounds even more sickeningly sweet than the first recipe. Chocolate bread, chocolate syrup, and chocolate oranges (I am referring to Terry’s Chocolate Oranges here) are nice on their own, but I really do not think they would be nice as a sandwich, and I most likely not want any more dessert for a week if I did eat it.

The “spread as much chocolate syrup as you can on it” instruction is unhelpful as well: if anything, I would spread the chocolate as thinly as possible on the bread rather than smear half a bottle of it on each slice. However, I should note that I prefer open sandwiches with no spread at all on them, so I likely would not even put syrup on anyway. My recipe also implies the whole chocolate orange should be used, and eating a whole one of those on their own can make you sick. If one of these sandwiches was ever made, I would recommend eating it in bits rather than all at once.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


In the last couple of months, I have been using Skype. The reason for this is because I have a laptop with a built-in webcam and microphone: while I have owned this laptop for a year, it is only recently I have made use of these features. So far I have mainly been using Skype to talk to my grandmother, one of my uncles, occasionally my Dad, and also my brother when we have wanted to test a couple of things on Skype.

If any regular readers/official followers of my blog use Skype themselves, and would like to chat, please let me know and I will send you my Skype details so you can contact me (I would also prefer it if you are a blogger yourself, then we will both sort of know what to expect from one another). Of course, time zones and schedules (I will still be busy with unpacking and all that for the next week at least) will need to be taken into account when talking on Skype, but other than that, I look forward to talking to you!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Heart Northamptonshire

I blogged over two weeks ago that I listened to Heart Cambridge on my radio, and that I would miss the station when I moved. I am pleased to say that the station I am listening to at the moment is Heart Northamptonshire! (I think it is also known as "Heart Home Counties".) As the time of this writing, Harriet Scott is presenting, and it is good to know that I will not have to miss Heart, the presenters I listened to (thanks, Mr. Beale!), or any or its music now that I am living in Northamptonshire!

Friday, 8 July 2011

The move

Note: this is a long post!

As exhausting as moving day was, it went a lot smoother than I had anticipated. We got up at ~6:00 in the morning to put away the things that could only be packed at the last minute (bedding, the inflatable beds, the kettle, etc.), so that we would be ready for when the removal people came at 7:30. We did have everything ready before then, and were well on time, but when Mum phoned the removal company at 8:30, we did appear to fall behind. Worse yet, the weather looked like it was going to throw down a massive amount of rain.

It turned out that one of the removal guys was sick, and he had to be replaced with someone who was on their day off; plus, they had got stuck in traffic. They finally did arrive at 9:20, and when they came, the three guys surveyed all our belongings to figure out the best way to get them all into the truck. In addition, part of our moving package allowed us to have the moving guys disassemble pieces of furniture if we chose to have them do that, and as such, they had to see what they had to take apart.

Fortunately, with two guys taking the furniture out of the house, and then the garage, and the other guy in the truck fitting everything in, we were soon back on schedule. Even better, the rain only came in a few brief bursts, rather than chuck it down, and the guys were able to use the small showers to take breaks. Despite one of guys also having to disassemble a few pieces of furniture, they got the entire job done in about three hours…a far cry from the estimated 4 ½ hours to complete the task. Once they left to go to Northamptonshire, we did a small amount of cleaning in the house, took a few pictures/movies of the place, say goodbye to our next door neighbor, and then left our (now former) home in Littleport, Cambridgeshire.

We stopped off in Ely briefly to hand back the keys to our old place. While my brother and I were waiting in the parking lot, I spotted both an American flag and an English flag on top of a building! (I am not referring to the flag of the United Kingdom here, but rather, the flag of England itself.) I have never seen these two flags together before, and so I took a few pictures of them. We then left Ely and took the A14 to go to Northamptonshire.

On the way to Northamptonshire, we stopped off at a pub on the way called The Fox Inn to have lunch. At this pub I had a burger, and I have to say that it was the best burger I have ever had. In fact, it was so nice I shared a little bit of with my family (except for Mum, who was already having a burger) so they could try it too (if I think something is really tasty, rather than have it all to myself I prefer to share a little bit of it so others can see how good it is too). Outside the pub, three flags were being flown: the pub’s personal flag, the UK flag, and the US flag!

Our next stop was the agents’ place to pick up the keys for our new home, and once we had done that, we went to our new home in Northamptonshire. The removal guys were waiting for us there, but they had not been waiting long, and besides, our scheduled time to arrive at the place was about 5:00, and we were there before that time. It took an hour to unload the truck (my brother and I helped with this) and for one of the guys to re-assemble the furniture he had taken apart back in Littleport. They left once they were done.

As for the evening, Mum, Dad, and my brother went out to buy some sandwiches for dinner while I stayed to sort a few things out in my new room (I have my own room again now, for the first time in over a year!). After dinner, we got a load of unpacking done, despite the long day, and Dad even got the internet up and running (hence the brief post from yesterday). Not surprisingly, the house is a mess, and it will take time to sort it all out, but we are getting it done. I am glad we are living in a bigger house now, and there are more people around here. At least this was also a short move in camparison to moving halfway around the world last year!

Finally, I do have a few pictures and movies of the trip to Northamptonshire. When the equipment to transfer pictures from my camera to my computer is unpacked, I shall upload them!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Back quicker than expected

That was certainly an exhausting day! I will blog about the move later, but for now I just want to say that I am back, and quicker than expected. We carried our modem with us in the car, and since internet is available at our new house, I can log on! More to come once I have slept and there is some time available from all the unpacking we now have to do. In the meantime, I am off to bed!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Here comes the move

The move is taking place tomorrow, and I have limited time to blog about anything with all the last-minute packing we have to do today. I will be taking a brief break from blogging, as I will not have any time to post anything for a few days or so due to the move (plus I probably will not have any internet access for a couple of days at first too), but I promise that I will be back soon though!

Now, we are off to Northamptonshire! Thanks everyone, and see you all soon!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Fireworks! (again)

As promised, here is a video of the Fourth of July fireworks. Unfortunately, I could not see the fireworks very easily from my window, but they could clearly be heard (I was also in a hurry trying to find my camera to record what was going on). As such, the video is mainly sound rather than effects, but some small flashes of light can be seen.

It may not seem like much, but I am pleased that I did get to hear fireworks and see a little bit of them!

Monday, 4 July 2011


Well this was unexpected: in my last post I mentioned about a lack of fireworks, and just now from my bedroom window I listened to and watched a small Fourth of July fireworks display! I do not have any time at the moment to post a video of it, but tomorrow I will get one up. This is both exciting and a nice surprise!

Independence Day

I would like to wish a happy Fourth of July to my American friends and followers, as well as to anyone else happy to join in! Yes, I still do celebrate the Fourth of July, regardless of the change in country, as it was something we celebrated for so long. Of course, today has not been that exciting here, as it is only days to our next move, but there has still been time to celebrate. Sadly, I do not have any fireworks, but coincidentally, "Firework" by Katy Perry has been playing on my radio while I have been typing this up, so that is something then!

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Ouse riverbank

Another walk today, this time all of us going out. We took a walk down the riverbank by the Ouse, and followed it quite a way down before we turned around and headed back home. I took a load more pictures, including the following. I hope you like them!
The above is a picture of the part of the Ouse near where we live.
Ely Cathedral, taken from far away with my camera on maximum zoom.
There you go trolls, trolling the Ouse is banned: you could get a fine!
Finally, the Littleport sign itself!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Wheat fields

I went out for a walk this afternoon, as it was a very beautiful day and it was a good idea to get a last walk in before we move. When going down the road we normally like to walk on, the nearby fields were filled with wheat, and I took a large amount of pictures. Here is one that I took:

As I said, a beautiful day. Seeing the wheat fields in bloom added to that.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Local cats (again)

The ginger and black cat with the ginger pattern on her eye that I blogged about yesterday outdid herself today: while we were in the living room sorting a few things out, Mum heard something from the kitchen, and when she looked over she spotted the cat coming in through the open window! My brother and I merely watched the cat as she noticed that we were looking at her, and after looking at us for a few seconds, she slowly turned herself around and went back out of the window.

That was not the last of it though: I went to the kitchen window to watch her walk slowly away, but then, another cat jumped up onto the window ledge and attempted to come in, this cat being black with white feet. It took two seconds for this one to notice that I was there, and it jumped back down almost immediately after that.

Both of these occasions were times when I wished I had one of my cameras on hand!