Friday, 27 July 2012


With the house move being away from Luton, it is no longer feasible for me to walk to work. I've considered cycling (I recon it'd take me an hour ish), but haven't done anything apart from just think about it. So commuting is now done using one of the selling points of Flitwick when we were choosing an area to move to-the train line.

Working in St Albans, Liz has been getting the train from Luton for some time, so we'd need to live somewhere near the train line for her to confined working. Luckily for me, I could get the same train line to Luton, which I've been doing for a week or so now.

Initially the price was somewhat of a surprise, but I am used to not only off peak prices, but using a railcard also, so. The difference is noticeable. I've talked to a couple of colleagues who commute by train and the recommendation is to get a monthly ticket (best cost ratio, I think after that the returns are diminishing).

In my years of getting the trains off peak, I got one of my first experiences with disruption yesterday. Must be a morning train thing.

I listen to podcast on the way to work (I've been a week or two behind since not listening to them while on paternity leave), so generally ignored the people at the station till I got to my platform, where ii noticed there was more people than usual. Then I saw the big delay signs...

I bumped into someone from work, who filled me in (signal failures near Bedford), so we wandered down the platform, away from the crowds to make use of one of the benches.

A little wait later, and a voice came over saying that someone had stolen some cables preventing trains from running. They seemed to put a lot of emphasis on the words 'cable theft', I guess to try and shift commuter anger away from them...

Sitting and waiting for a train (they were going to send one to Flitwick and back as it wouldn't be able to get to Bedford), we saw the fast trains zoom past. I was informed that they weren't affected by the cable theft due to being engine powered. Interesting. "It'd be nice if the fast trains stopped for us to help out due to the fault" my colleague suggested. "They probably would if the rail companies weren't privatized" I replied.

For some reason, it took a while for the train to decide to move platforms, and then actually do it, but we were eventually on a train and on our way. Not too late to work, about 40 mins I think. Maybe cycling isn't such a bad idea...

There were still delays on the way back, I found as I arrived at the station after work. While the prospect of getting the train one stop to get a bus wasn't great, it was a nice day and I wasn't going to let something like travel disruption ruin it.

One ice cream later, and I am waiting on the usual platform for the train to Luton. I hear there is one arriving on another platform, so start wandering towards there. Not rushing, there'll be another train soon if I miss it. My original train started to arrive as I had just got up the stairs, so I stuck with my original platform instead.

Getting off at Luton and heading for the exit, I thought I saw Bedford on the travel plans for the train I just got off. Checking the list of stations and seeing Flitwick, I asked a man in Orange for confirmation (I thought Luton was the terminating stop). It was going on as normal, so I got back on, and was on my way home, without the bus.

A fairly pleasant journey overall. I think I was lucky, both that the trains I needed to get arrived in a timely fashion for me, and also that my train commute is fairly short, so I am less affected by delays.

New house

After a long wait, I finally have a house of my own to live in, and not be renting.

We had always planned on buying a house as soon as we could, and knowing Kaleb was on the way had an interesting effect of focusing, for saving for a deposit and actually looking for somewhere.

Our first decision was roughly where. While I liked the 15 min walk to work, we had decided to move to somewhere that was not Luton. As we would both liked our current jobs and neither of us could drive, we had to find somewhere that we could both get to work via public transport (as neither of us could drive).

Harpenden was ruled out pretty quickly (very expensive), St Albans was ruled out just after (still expensive). I had commuted from Watford to work before and it wasn't overly enjoyable, so we would have to be looking north of Luton instead (which I wasn't too bothered about as prices seem to go down the further away from London you go).

Someone had told Liz that Harlignton was nice (one stop after Leagrave-part of Luton), so we had a wander round one day. Seemed a little pricey, and of the 6 shops there, seemingly a nail salon, hairdressers and gun shop were more important than, say, a butcher. The convenience stores didn't stock nappies; Liz noted the availability of which might come in handy when Kaleb was born.

As we still had some time left in the day, we went to the next stop north to Flitwick. A short wander around near the train station and we found it to our liking. Large supermarket next to the station (so access to anything we might need), and the house prices were around what we might be able to afford.

After our trip to Wales in march, we started looking at some places online. Picking out a few we liked, we arranged some viewing. We looked at 3 in total, two being unsuitable for our needs, but one being just what we wanted. Close to the train station, the supermarket and some schools, with a garden. Three bedrooms was one more than we immediately need (and thought we could afford), but it means its urgent for us to need to move again in the future as we have the space to expand.

We put an offer in, and was told later that evening it was accepted. We had hoped that, being first time buyers buying a house with no chain it would be quick (6 weeks they said...) So we could move in before Kaleb was born, but it took a long time so we only moved in a couple of weeks ago.

I'm already liking it more than Luton, its a lot quieter, even near the train lines they're not too loud (nothing compared to planes taking off and landing) and everyone seems friendly. Still in the process of moving everything in, and I suspect we'll have some boxes that need unpacking lying around for a while yet.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

And the little one said...

Kaleb will be 7 weeks tomorrow, and its surprising how fast he's growing. Grew out of newborn clothes a few weeks back, and we can see him taking up more and more room in his Moses basket. Yet when I hold him he still seems tiny, so he's now growing too fast yet.

Developmental wise, he had a further advancement the other day. I had got back from work, send put him face down on his playmat for some "tummy time". After a bit of a wriggle, he managed to turn himself over! Laying there on his back, looking around. Liz was having an excited squee, and I tried to get a video of him doing it again, but he didn't seem up for a repaying performance.

He did the reverse later on. Sort of. I lifted his legs up to put a new nappy on and he flipped himself over onto his front. I kind of helped with that one though...

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Last Avacyn Restored draft

Me and Liz organised a trip to Hemel the other week, to see everyone and bring Kaleb along.

As the M13 release was imminent, it would be the last time we would draft Avacyn Restored. Well, last time for me anyway, Liz planned to look after Kaleb and maybe get a board game in.

I can't remember too much about the draft (my first pick being not very memorable), apart from the fact that it was very diverse. End of the first pack I had a playable in all colours, but mostly green, so decided to stick there and see what else I could get.

In the end, I had more black cards as a secondary colour, so went with that. Deck was a little lucky, but had 2 each of the black common two drops, and some fairly aggressive green, so it was looking good. Two trusted forcemage and a wolfir silverheart were the top cards, and both interacted well with wandering wolf and howlgeist.

I lost the first game of the first round. My opponent had some good fliers which I couldn't do much about. I won the next two games by gathering more creatures to push damage through. A quick interlude to test out my modern infect deck, and I was on to the second round.

First game of match two, I won with the wolfir-howlgeist interaction. In the second game, my opponent played the hexproof soulbond creature before another one, so I was able to remove it before things got silly. A close game later and I git the second win.

The third match was very quick, I won both games with an aggressive trusted forcemage with blades bracers. And wolfir silverheart which was actually passed to ne last pack by this opponent. I'm sure they regretted that... The second match ended with both paired and a joint assault for lethal.

I think ended the night 3 matches up and one game down which I think was a good way to end the set :-)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Busy weekend

Apart from the weekend he was born, I think this weekend has been the busiest we've had with Kaleb. This is most likely down to the large amount of travelling we did. 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Department of Redundancy Department

I feel somewhat fortunate that my bank was not one of those affected by recent computer glitch that caused issues to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest. It did, however, give me pause to consider holding multiple bank accounts again (I used to when I was a student; my old child account and student account), so I am not completely screwed if something happens to my bank. 

I was reading in the Private Eye yesterday that the RBS in the past few years cut a number of technology staff (and off shored some others), and now the major problems they are facing are caused by computer problems. 

I was extra amused when I read that because on the very same day, using a cash machine while out shopping, the RBS branded machine asked for me "PIN Number". I had a look to see if the cash machine I was using was labelled as an ATM Machine (it wasn't)

It would appear that there were no jobs cut at the Department of Redundancy Department... ;-)