Tag Archives: update

It’s been oh so quiet…

I have just noticed that I haven’t written any blog entries for a while. I believe the cause is a mixture of 1) nothing too exciting happening and 2) when something exciting happened, I was just too lazy to write about it.

So, what “exciting” things have happened lately?

Ludovico’s Concert

Since watching “This is England” a few years ago, Jon and I have loved Ludovico Einaudi’s music. For those of you who don’t know him, he is an italian piano composer who creates very melancholic pieces that really evoke images into your head. There’s no way that you can listen to his music without being touched in a way or another.

After listening to an advert for his latest album on Spotify, I decided to check out his website and saw that he was just in the middle of a tour around the UK. The following day he was going to play in Basingstoke! Without a doubt, I booked two tickets for the concert.

And there we went. We took the train when we noticed that it would be faster than actually driving and got to Basingstoke with plenty of time to go around the shopping centre and nose around for a while. We decided to eat in Wagamama’s despite Jon’s preference for Nando’s (the queue was smaller at Wgmms!). Ate, went to the Anvil, had a drink and got to our seats. We had been wondering if we were going to be the youngest people at the concert, but we were quite impressed to see lots of people our age and even younger ones (with their parents, of course)

The musicians came on stage and the concert began. The music was fantastic, the musicians so talented.. It was awesome. Suddenly, I keep looking at two of the mucisians on stage and keep thinking “I’ve seen them before, somewhere else“. Finally the penny dropped and realised that Ludovico and all the musicians were all seating next to us at Wagamamas!!! I can’t believe I didn’t notice earlier and I would have asked for a photo and signature!

Some friends run a charity called M.A.D. for Africa (M.A.D. = Make a difference). It’s totally family-run and they don’t take any money out of the cash they collect, which means that all of it goes to the actual charity. They are building (they have finished it now, actually) a school in a small village in Gambia, and they are considerably transforming the quality of life in that village.

They hold Charity events every year and Jon and I have attended them from the beginning. The format for the event changed this year, though, because they want to make it more accesible to young people, so rather than hosting a formal dinner and having an auction afterwards, this year they held a Quiz Night.

It was so much fun. I do love quizes, although sometimes it has become apparent that I do not know enough about the British popular culture and have been to quizes where I’ve only been able to answer a couple of questions only. However, this time I was quite good! We even managed to win and all (*smirking all proud*)

Ripley Bonfire and Fireworks

Went to the Ripley Bonfire and Fireworks night for the second year running, with Mum and Dad, Paul and Olga. We had to park in first car park that we found, because it was getting late when we got there and had no idea if we would be able to find anywhere closer to the field. The problem was that this car park was miles away and we had to walk for quite a while in the dark to get to the main street where we were meeting P&O.

The bonfire was, I believe, even bigger than last year’s, and it took forever to burn down. Fire is such a wonderful thing to watch (a safe fire, I mean) and, even better, it gets you warm! This was a bit too big, I think, and we were a bit too near. Towards the middle it was getting a bit uncomfortable to watch, everybody was too hot… but we managed.

We didn’t move somewhere else as I had suggested to watch the fireworks, and unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy them as much as expected. We were still tight next to the bonfire and the big, bright source of light was spoiling the sharpness of the fireworks. There was also a big cloud of smoke on the way, so most of the time you had to look through this cloud to see the fireworks.

Next year, if we’re still in the area, I’d like to go again, because it’s such a big bonfire and fireworks. But I’ll definetely move somewhere where the bonfire can be behind me when the fireworks start, rather than in front of me.

Here’s a photo from last years bonfire (I didn’t take my camera this year)

Bonfire

Moving house?

Jon and I have now finally decided that we don’t want to stay in this house anymore. It was perfect for us when we first saw it 3 and a half years ago, but sadly, it is now too small for us. We’re thinking of moving out of this area (being this close to London makes property prices be so much higher than anywhere else!) and try to get a 3 bedroom house in some other area like Bracknell, Camberley, Guildford, etc. We could even consider going as far as Basingstoke.

The questions now are these:

– Do we want a new build or a “second hand” house?
– Will we be able to get a better mortgage deal if we leave Northern Rock?
– Will we manage to make a profit when selling this house?

I hate finances and numbers, they make me nervous and depress me. I am leaving all the heavy thinking to Jon because I can’t be bothered to worry about all those things. I rather worry about the colour we will get for the new curtains in the dining room! 

And this is it for now. Read you soon.

In the last few weeks…

I thought a little update was due, so last night I decided to write a little blog to tell my adventures (none, really) in the last few weeks. To my surprise, my website was down! I have never had this happening to me before. At first I thought I had the wrong address. However, I’ve got it saved on my favourites, so it’s not like I typed it wrong… Then I thought someone might have hacked it and suddenly I panicked thinking that I had lost everything! Lastly, Jon just said that the server was probably down and it would be back to normal soon. Relief.

Life’s been ok in the last few weeks. Summer is DEFINETELY on its way out and now that I think about it, I have hardly had any chances of wearing any of those pretty dresses I bought for the honeymoon. At least I wore them in Hawaii!
If you look it up on Wikipedia or anywhere else, I am pretty sure experts would consider Britain to be “seasonal” (opposed to “tropical”, for instance) However, we only seem to get three seasons a year rather than the normal four. That’d be: spring, autumn and winter. We had a lovely spring, then autumn came, and it seems like we’re two weeks into winter now. No, not really, only joking. I must admit that, if not hot, we’re having a few sunny, warm days lately, and any weather of the kind is always welcome.

At the beginning of August, Jon and I went to see Crim’s race in Ringwood. I knew it wasn’t going to be a “normal” race, but nothing had prepared me for what I was about to see (Did I already write about this in my last blog entry? Sh*t, I can’t even check if I have!)
Well, basically, it was a “Banger race”.
If you, unknown reader, have never been to one, you MUST. It is quite an experience, and you won’t be able to say EVER that you know what the real England is until you’ve seen it and experienced it with your own eyes. It is just pure entertainment. Just good fun.

A few days later, Jon and I were invited to the theatre by my friend Celia. It was her wedding present, as I hadn’t let her give me any cash at the wedding. We went to see “The Cherry Orchard” at the Old Vic. Funnily enough, she gave me the tickets for safekeeping a few weeks before, as she thought she might lose them… And I lost them! I hadn’t panicked so much in long time. Especially because I knew they weren’t cheap tickets, and the show might be full if I needed to buy replacement ones. Luckily, when I called the box office they told me that they could print a second copy without any extra charge, which made me really happy.

The play was FANTASTIC. I had never been so enthralled and fascinated by a theatre play. The acting was just simply outstanding, and apart from Ethan Hawke, there were quite a few amazing actors.

Play

The Saturday of that week we went to the Rally experience day, driving past the Cotswolds (and that is my previous entry)

The following Saturday were invited to our second “The Horror” BBQ in Portsmouth. I must say that I really enjoy The Horror & partner’s company, and their friends are quite amusing too. And, everything has to be said, food usually is NICE at their barbies!

The following weekend was the Bank Holiday weekend. We took Friday off as well and headed off to Bristol and South West Wales for a mini holiday, visiting Pat and Steve at their B&B. Bristol was promising, but disappointing in the end. It was promising for two main reasons:

          The Banksy Exhibition at the Bristol Museum, and

          The city, being a university city, looked like it had much more to offer than we actually saw. Summer holidays and a Bank Holiday weekend meant that it was pretty much empty and many of the amenities simply weren’t open to the public.

The day before we set out we saw the Bristol Museum website where it warned people about the size of the queues for the exhibit. We laughed it off and thought that it was probably the employees of the museum trying to scare people off. But no. They weren’t joking.

The queues were HUGE. I have never seen anything like that. We arrived at more or less 10:30 in the morning. We asked one of the ladies who was looking after the queue and she said something like this: “mmm, it’s 10:30, queue times are approximately 6 hours, we close at 4:30… mmm, no, I don’t think you’ll make it in. I wouldn’t queue if I were you” WHAAAAT?

Queue

Wales was nice, I quite enjoyed it. Everything very much like still in the 60s, villages were very traditional and you could feel a very strong feeling of “welsh nationalism” around. You don’t get that in England, unless you see someone wearing an England football shirt. (I’ve heard that a lot of people in England are afraid of showing off their “patriotism” because of being told off or even denounced by non-British who say they are OFFENDED by the flags. Un-fooking-believable.)

Pembrokeshire

Last weekend was a very quiet one. Jon went out on Saturday with John and Dave to film their “Mange” film… A horror film by Vulgaria Productions. Need I say more?
However, on Friday it was me who went out to a Spaniards meet up. I was only 4 of us for most of the night, and then just 3. Not the big turn-up that I was expecting. I suppose that the next one must be organised with a bit more time. It was a very pleasant evening, I enjoyed the company. However, at some points I felt a bit weird. I haven’t had any real Spanish friends for a long time (Olga and Celia almost don’t count, as I speak in English with them most of the time!), and it was strange for me having to communicate and think in Spanish. Not only the language, but also the customs, mannerisms and sayings. I’ve been in this country long enough now to appreciate its ways and I like them, I feel “at home” when I express in English (most of the time, I must say) and having to go back to Spanish is almost painful! I feel bad and even embarrassed when I fail to communicate properly in my mother tongue…

And that’s it more or less up to date. Next week I’m off to Ireland/Northern Ireland for three days, and then on Friday we’re going to a Murder Mystery evening. Lots more to tell after then!

PS. I’ve uploaded this at work after all. This morning the website was still down! But because I’ve done this at work, I didn’t have any of my pictures from hols, etc, with me… So thanks to the people who uploads their piccies to the web so I can download them! 🙂

A very overdue update!

I’ve been lazy. I must be honest and admit it… I haven’t updated my blog for so many weeks now because of pure laziness. But, I must also say, that the best part of those weeks I’ve been so busy! Honest!

Wedding:
Well, the D-Day came and went, everything passed so quickly that now it just seems a distant memory. It is such a shame that one spends so many months preparing so thoughtfully for that day, and then on the day you are so nervous about everything that for a moment you can’t even enjoy it.
I did enjoy it though. No, actually, I loved it. I was extremelly nervious during the hours previous to the actual ceremony. I was getting ready in my room, and lots of people kept coming and going and telling me things of what was going on downstairs. But I wanted to BE downstairs! Somehow I couldn’t understand why I had to stay hidden, when everybody in the hall was having fun! (Jon tells me though that he was not having fun. He probably was as nervous as me…)
The time came for me to go down and walk the aisle with my bridesmaids and uncle… When I entered the ceremony room I somehow stopped seeing people. I saw one or two faces, the rest were a blur. Until I saw Jon… I suddenly felt this rush inside me. I think it can only be described as “happiness through my veins”.
The ceremony was beautiful. I couldn’t have dreamt of a more beautiful wedding. Everything went smoothly and much better than planned. I thought I would struggle with the vows, but I managed to get some proper English pronunciation off me and deliver them properly. Even after I had cried! My brother did the most beautiful reading and I got all emotive and sensitive… And I cried.
Then we did all the official pictures… That was fun. I decided then and there on the spot that I wanted to throw my bouquet in pure American-film style. That was so funny and everybody loved it. The problem was that afterwards the photographer said: “you’re going to need that for the shots now…” But nevermind, the bouquet managed to stay “alive” for the rest of the day 🙂
The wedding breakfast was a bit disappointed, as the caterer managed to completely screw the dishes we had booked with them. That got me in a bad mood for a while, and I felt terrible for the guests as the quality of the food was rubbish compared to what we had been promised (I must now say that Gorse Hill were good as a venue, but still have lots to improve on). The speeches after the dinner were fabulous. Jon’s speech made me cry (again) and laugh so much… Steve’s was hilarious, even with visual help of Jon’s “embarrasing” baby pictures. And my brother Jose’s… well, that one, though improvised, was also very moving and made me cry (once more)
And then the party started. All the evening guests had arrived by then. Jon and I were getting ready to do the first dance when suddenly saw that Graham had prepared a surprise… A table football appeared and Jon and I had our “first game” instead of a “first dance”!! It was fantastic and everybody loved it. I played Jon. I beat him. I played Graham. I beat him. I played Dave Flanagan. I beat him. I played Pablo… He beat me!
And we danced all night. I hadn’t danced so much since the 90s… 🙂 I felt a bit guilty for not talking to people a bit more. Lots of people made the effort of turning up on the night and I barely talked to them. But I was having such a good time that I couldn’t leave the dancefloor! We finished at 2 in the morning… my feet gave up on me…

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Honeymoon
I am not going to write a big blog about the honeymoon because Jon and I kept a diary during our holiday (courtsey of Paul and Olga) and we’re going to transcribe it into our website (www.mariaandjon.com) very soon, with pictures and videos of our adventures in LA and Hawaii.
I will only say that it was the holiday of a lifetime. The jetlag left us exhausted for a few days, but it was more than worth it. We WILL be going back to Hawaii one day. It’s too beautiful to just visit once.
Hightlights of the holiday?:
– Two chopper rides
– Bodyboarding
– Snuba diving
– Haleakala crater at sunset
– Eating pineapple!

After the Honeymoon
Going back to work was painful. Literally.
I was so clumsy and slow for the first day, making all kinds of mistakes… I think it would have been more beneficial to the company if I hadn’t come back at all; I wouldn’t had lost them any money! (£30, yes, I know…)
But the thought of an early weekend kept me going. We had only gone back to work on the Wednesday, so we had a very short week. On Friday we went into London to see Derren Brown’s new show, Enigma. It was brilliant, mind blowing… I still think about it, try to figure out how he did things, but it’s just of my reach.. my mind is not developed enough to understand such craftsmanship!
I can’t tell waht happened in the show, as it wouldn’t be fair on anyone reading this who might go and see the show themselves (not that anyone reads this anyhow…) but I’ll just say that it was better than seeing it on telly (although on telly or DVD they often tell you the secret behind the trick, and in the live show you just have yourself or your partner to torture finding an explanation)
That same night, after the show, we decided to go for a little walk around London. This was Friday 26th, the day after Michael Jackson died. We were walking towards Trafalgar Square when we realise that the base of Lord Nelson is full of people. As we get nearer we see that it’s people “mourning” Michael Jackson! It was quite something. Definetely weird. What really struck us was that 80% of the people gathered there weren’t older than 20 years old. I am not saying that there aren’t any real fans of MJ who aren’t younger than that, but it seemed to us that a lot of people were taking the event as an excuse to get drunk. I mean, MJ hasn’t really been in the spotlight for any original music merits since 1991… making all these people 12 years old? Of course, we’re talking about the King of Pop here and I am convinced that everybody on the face of the planet has at least once in their lifes listened to a MJ song.
We stayed the night in a hotel in Charing Cross and the following day we took a trip to the Science Museum. It was quite good, but we didn’t see it all. We must come back some other time to finish all the levels we missed. After the museum we wandered around South Kesington looking for somewhere to eat and we came across a very good Spanish Restaurant called Casa Brindisa. I don’t normally go to Spanish restaurants here in the UK because they ALWAYS disappoint me. But this one… This one was great. Every single plate that we ordered was delicious. I was really impressed. I have already recommended it and I have to make sure to go back there, as it brings quite nice memories of “home”.

People ask me how married life is and I always say: Same as before. But I lie. It’s not the same. It’s even better. I love Jon with all my heart, and every minute I thank the gods for given me such a wonderful life…

And that is pretty much it. We’re now filling up our calendar for July, meeting friends and family every weekend… And somehow we thought that we would have all the time in the world after the wedding!