Monday, 31 July 2006


We have just returned from a three night stay in Liverpool. It was lovely to see Ant's family again (Jack is pictured above, taken on Ant's new camera phone). We stayed with his grandparents as usual. We went up for his friend's, Rachel's, wedding on Saturday. It was at a swish golf club, with lots of food and fun. We saw lots of his old friends there and enjoyed talking with them.

We had a great meal with Ant's mum and sister, Stephanie. I love talking to Stephanie and every time I see her I realise we have a lot in common. We are both neat freaks, I discovered this weekend. I helped do the washing up and we chatted about hating mess. Ant laughed at us both; he indulges my obsession most of the time. (He took over the washing up tonight so that I could go online--how sweet!)

Etta and Jack have a new door mat I really like. Unfortunately I still left something behind this afternoon--my jacket. I guess they can't list everything on the mat, even if I need that much help!

And on Thursday we are off to Canada for two weeks (Ant) and three weeks (me). We are really excited about it. Anyone want anything? Let me know. Tomorrow I am going into the city to pick up some books for Dad and I'll take other orders.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

that burger was so tall... made the table look short. had to duck to get through the door.
...the air was so thin I could barely breathe.

Ant and I went out for a spot of shopping today, then ended up at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Ant had a burger with pesto and mozzarella. I had this massive creation with goat's cheese and aubergine. It was so huge I ate it with a knife and fork and I couldn't really finish. I also had a delcious (although strange sounding) lime milkshake. Ant had a chocolate milkshake and a side order of chips, which pushed him over the edge. We both had to waddle away afterwards. Matt and Bree were right to recommend the Gourmet Burger Kitchen to us all these months!

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

no more laptop!

Boo hoo. I had to give my laptop back today. I will be computer-less for about two weeks. I will have to pester Ant to use his so I can still blog. Or maybe I will go to the library up the street. I am so addicted to blogging and reading blogs that I cannot do without it.

avoiding spam

I have been getting a bit of comment spam lately. A computer program comes along and starts commenting on my posts and filing up my inbox with junk. So I changed the comments procedure to avoid this. When you comment, you will read a word and copy it to prove you are a human. Please take this as a positive gesture on my part to encourage real people to comment and to ignore robots. :) Thanks.

Friday, 21 July 2006

end of an era

It was the last day of school today. After dismissal we went to a staff member's house for a BBQ. We sat outside in his garden and just chatted, ate, and relaxed. How lovely.

Sitting in the garden relaxing.

More relaxing.

Dancing to relax... and it worked.

Feeling much more relaxed.

I got a card from the staff on the occasion of my leaving and a bottle of champagne. It's been my colleagues this year who have really made it a good one. They have been so supportive and helpful. We work well as a staff, pulling together under pressure. I don't want to lose touch with this group of really great teachers and friends.

Saturday, 15 July 2006


I have ordered my new MacBook! I'll pick it up when I'm home in Halifax in a month.

Sonya complained about the other picture I posted of the MacBook. I had problems finding a nice shot, so this half one had to do. At least it shows the built in camera that's included. There's a nice virtual tour on the Apple website.

Friday, 14 July 2006

look ma, a print!

Here is a post for my mother. I bought this blouse for work last week and I thought of her. This is the first print blouse I have ever liked!

Monday, 10 July 2006

Our usual weeknight look: working hard at our side by side desks.

new laptop?

I soon have to give back my school-issued laptop. Since Ant and I have had two computers we have spent many evenings working side by side at our desks. I don't really think we can go back to sharing one. When we did I never got to use it! Since September I have enjoyed my computer and also have been much more productive. School comes to an end soon, and the laptop must return to its home. So I have been saving and thinking about what to buy to replace it (since my new school won't issue me with one).

My brother Paul has almost got me convinced that I should buy a MacBook. Ant and I did some investigating online yesterday and I see that one I want-white, 13" screen, 1GB RAM, and 80GB hard drive, probably. It's a thing of beauty. And I love the small size. Ant's laptop is just too big for me. And heavy.

So I am looking for feedback. Matt and April are firm Mac enthusiasts and Paul described Mac users by saying, "We all love our computers fanatically. There's got to be something to that." (He has an Apple G4 with two monitors side by side; very swish.) Any comments from blog-land?

The MacBook. Isn't it beautiful?

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Clockwise from Ant: Ant, Benoit, Bree, Matt, Matt. Watching the World Cup and enjoying floats.

Ant's birthday BBQ

Last night we had a BBQ for Ant's birthday. We invited Matt and Bree, Matt and April, Benoit and Phevos (on Ant's course), and Justin. Benoit, Phevos, and Justin were enlisted to thread the kebob sticks and Matt helped me barbecue. We sat outside on the new chairs April bought earlier in the day.

After eating vast quantities of kebobs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, and spinach salad, we headed in to watch the World Cup consolation match. Benoit and Phevos tried Coke floats for the first time (and didn't really like them). Matt and Bree stayed latest, playing Risk with us, which I bought for Ant for his birthday.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Campers clearly enjoying themselves.

Paul's news

Paul, my wonderful brother, works at a camp in New York called Timber Lake West. He takes video all day and edits it all night, creating videos that can be viewed on the camp's website. This is done primarily to help the parents stay unstressed about how their kids are doing at camp. He's been working there for three summers and you can see how good he is.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

his and hers Sunday lunch

An example of how different Ant and I are! We went into the kitchen to make some fast food for lunch after church. We saw a carton of eggs. My idea was to make up a salad plate and hard boil a couple of eggs. I rounded out the protein with cheese slices. Note also the beetroot and carrot salad I made yesterday.

Ant toasted two slices of bread and served up Welsh rarebit--spicy scrambled eggs with cheese--and three sliced of fried ham. We were each so pleased with our delicious meals.

My dream car, the Audi TT. How beautiful.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

happy Canada day!

Canada Day in London

Last night my Canadian friend, Justin, and I went up to Trafalger Square for Canada Day London. We listened to Canadian bands, and waved our flags.There were loads of people there, all wearing flags like us.

I bought a CD of one of the bands, a Halifax group named The Heavy Blinkers. I haven't listened to it yet.... I'll let you know how it is! They played three (or four?) songs and I quite liked them. Sort of pop-y in a 70s-ish way.

The National Gallery is in the background. The Canadian Embassy is also on Trafalger Square.

It really made my Canada Day to find the cafe on the square was stocked with Canadian specialities. These are the two things I really miss (from time to time). I also love dill pickle chips, but they were sold out.

ID cards

I received this rather long essay over email from a colleague. I haven't checked any of it and it appears without references, so take it with a grain of salt. But it brings up some interesting points nonetheless.

I have always believed that ID cards were a good idea and not very different from a photocard driver's license, until I read the article below. This has unsettled me to say the least. There's a lot of this kind of legislation going on at the moment that needs to be more widely known and resisted. This was written originally by Francis Stonor Saunders the former arts editor of The New Statesman, author of The Cultural Cold War, Diabolical Englishman and The Devil's Broker and was awarded the Royal Historical Society's William Gladstone Memorial Prize. She lives in London.

"You may have heard that legislation creating compulsory ID Cards passed a crucial stage in the House of Commons. You may feel that ID cards are not something to worry about, since we already have Photo ID for our Passport and Driving License and an ID Card will be no different to that. What you have not been told is the full scope of this proposed ID Card, and what it will mean to you personally.

The proposed ID Card will be different from any card you now hold. It will be connected to a database called the NIR, (National Identity Register), where all of your personal details will be stored. This will include the unique number that will be issued to you, your fingerprints, a scan of the back of your eye, and your photograph. Your name, address and date of birth will also obviously be stored there. There will be spaces on this database for your religion, residence status, and many other private and personal facts about you. There is unlimited space for every other details of your life on the NIR database, which can be expanded by the Government with or without further Acts of Parliament.

By itself, you might think that this register is harmless, but you would be wrong to come to this conclusion. This new card will be used to check your identity against your entry in the register in real time, whenever you present it to 'prove who you are'. Every place that sells alcohol or cigarettes, every post office, every pharmacy, and every Bank will have an NIR Card Terminal, (very much like the Chip and Pin Readers that are everywhere now) into which your card can be 'swiped' to check your identity. Each time this happens, a record is made at the NIR of the time and place that the Card was presented.

This means for example, that there will be a government record of every time you withdraw more than £99 at your branch of NatWest, who now demand ID for these transactions. Every time you have to prove that you are over 18, your card will be swiped, and a record made at the NIR. Restaurants and off licenses will demand that your card is swiped so that each receipt shows that they sold alcohol to someone over 18, and that this was proved by the access to the NIR, indemnifying them from prosecution.

Private businesses are going to be given access to the NIR Database. If you want to apply for a job, you will have to present your card for a swipe. If you want to apply for a London Underground Oyster Card, or a supermarket loyalty card, or a driving license you will have to present your ID Card for a swipe. The same goes for getting a telephone line or a mobile phone or an internet account. Oyster, DVLA, BT and Nectar (for example) all run very detailed databases of their own. They will be allowed access to the NIR, just as every other business will be. This means that each of these entities will be able to store your unique number in their database, and place all your travel, phone records, driving activities and detailed shopping habits under your unique NIR number. These databases, which can easily fit on a storage device the size of your hand, will be sold to third parties either legally or illegally. It will then be possible for a non-governmental entity to create a detailed dossier of all your activities. Certainly, the government will have clandestine access to all of them, meaning that they will have a complete record of all your movements, from how much and when you withdraw from your bank account to what medications you are taking, down to the level of what sort of bread you eat - all accessible via a single unique number in a central database.

This is quite a significant leap from a simple ID Card that shows your name and face. Most people do not know that this is the true character and scope of the proposed ID Card. Whenever the details of how it will work are explained to them, they quickly change from being ambivalent towards it. The Government is going to COMPEL you to enter your details into the NIR and to carry this card. If you and your children want to obtain or renew your passports, you will be forced to have your fingerprints taken and your eyes scanned for the NIR, and an ID Card will be issued to you whether you want one or not. If you refuse to be fingerprinted and eye scanned, you will not be able to get a passport. Your ID Card will, just like your passport, not be your property. The Home Secretary will have the right to revoke or suspend your ID at any time, meaning that you will not be able to withdraw money from your Bank Account, for example, or do anything that requires you to present your government issued ID Card.

The arguments that have been put forwarded in favour of ID Cards can be easily disproved. ID Cards WILL NOT stop terrorists; every Spaniard has a compulsory ID Card as did the Madrid Bombers. ID Cards will not 'eliminate benefit fraud', which in comparison, is small compared to the astronomical cost of this proposal, which will be measured in billions according to the LSE (London School of Economics). This scheme exists solely to exert total surveillance and control over the ordinary free British Citizen, and it will line the pockets of the companies that will create the computer systems at the expense of your freedom, privacy and money.

If you did not know the full scope of the proposed ID Card Scheme before and you are as unsettled as I am at what it really means to you, to this country and its way of life, I urge you to email or photocopy this and give it to your friends and colleagues and everyone else you think should know and who cares. The Bill has proceeded to this stage due to the lack of accurate and complete information on this proposal being made public. Together & hand in hand, we can inform the entire nation if everyone who receives this passes it on."