2006 Archives - wibbler.com

All Moved In!

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I’m not entirely sure you should be allowed to move house over Christmas.
movinghouse.jpgFirstly, there’s the financial absurdity. December is an expensive month anyway, without having to hire vans, feed helping friends, pay solicitors and start a lifelong mortgage. Then there’s the sheer organisation needed – for me, organising my morning’s breakfast is a bit of a struggle. So, here’s how Christmas went, Wibbler-style.
Moments after I wrote the last entry on here, the computer was switched off. NTL are not renowned for their efficiency – as a former post highlighted – and I resigned myself to defeat when they told me of a 2 week delay in transferring the services to our new pad. The delay horrified me, as you can imagine. So I employed a tactic straight from the annals of MoneySavingExpert.com. I claimed that Sky could install it in a week, and I wondered what NTL would be able to offer instead? Cue slight panic at the other end, culminating in 3 months of free NTL bills as an “apology”. I’m going to have to start lying more, I reckon…
So, back to the Big Computer Switch Off. Comprehensively tangled wires fought to say outside the packing boxes, and it was while I was grappling with them that Nick turned up.
Nick had very kindly taken a day off work to help clear our complete tip of a flat. The first thing we needed was a van, and off we trundled to Apex Van Rental in Burpham, only to find I’d forgotten a vital piece of identification. “You’re one of *those*, aren’t you,” said the woman on reception, clearly indicating that I needed a few more brain cells. Nick burst out laughing, while I nodded and sheepishly got back in Nick’s car, tail between my hefty legs. Eventually, we found the ID and got our mitts on an enormous van for only £25 a day. Bit of a bargain, I thought, especially as I’m bound to wreck it before sunset.
Slowly, throughout the morning, Michelle, Nick and I made a human chain down the two flights of stairs, piling the van high. Well, fairly high – it seems all our worldly wealth can be contained in half a van, which is a tad depressing. At 11am, a call came through that started a bodily wave of relief – the sale had been completed. We’d legally gained a house, and a whole load of never-ending debt. Woo!
At 2pm, after much-needed Domino’s pizzas – Texas Barbeque and Pepperoni Passion, since you ask – we set sail for the new house. There, waiting for us, was the previous owner, keys in hand and eager to show us how the house worked. And then… and then. The previous owner walked into the distance, and we all looked around in wonder. It was a great moment, and we took it in.
Only for about 5 minutes, mind you. We’d barely had time to investigate the garden before half of Michelle’s family breezed in with advice and cleaning products, giving the house a good once-over. They were closely followed by DFS, who with spectacular timing had managed to deliver on the very day ot the move. After we’d made them take the sofa covers off and put the wooden sofa feet on, a strong smell of leather rose from the seats. Then Sarah and Michelle’s sisters rocked up, plus her aunt, niece and nephew. It was like Piccadilly Circus.
The rest of the day was a bit of a blur, if I’m honest. I slowly became less and less excited – and more and more tired – as the trips backwards and forwards from the van and the flat took their toll. Michelle and I slumped into bed at 12.30am. The lights of the large Esporta gym over the road flooded the front bedroom as we dozed off – who needs a gym when you can have a workout like this?

We’re outta here

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Well, today’s the day. I probably should have mentioned it before – but Michelle and I have bought a house, and we’re moving today – which kinda explains why I haven’t even stopped to post over here recently. Just before Christmas, which as you can imagine adds a certain urgency to the thing. We’ll still be in Guildford, but in our own pad, with a garden – which I’ll have to pave over, obviously – and a shed, which will be my new alcohol-based bar. There’s SO MUCH to do, and so little time…
I’m sure, after I’ve recovered from box-moving and paid a few visits to the chiropractor to be told off for not lifting boxes correctly, I’ll fill you in. However, there may be a slight delay – the ever-efficient NTL cannot reconnect us to phones, TV or internet until 27th December, the little buggers…

KFC – Chicken Addicts Only.

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I’d like to raise a severe allegation against KFC. I would like to suggest that they are putting some sort of addictive ingredient into their mashed-up batter-covered chicken burgers and Buffalo Toasted Twisters. Why else would there be, last Friday, a 30-person queue of overweight, spotty people winding out of their restaurant in Guildford on a rain-filled night last Friday?

Online food shopping – why on earth not?

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foodshopping.jpgI’ve just completed our once-monthly online food shop, and it it reminded me of someone the other day complaining that they couldn’t afford the delivery charges. But there really is no reason not to do it. We live on the second floor of a place with no lift, and every time we shop online at Tesco we get the added bonus of seeing the exasperated face of a bloke lugging four of five crates of food up two flights of stairs. It’s fun, I assure you.
So, in a moment of full-on philanthropy, here are the arguments against online shopping – and the answers to knock ’em down.

1. They can’t usually deliver when I want.
Far be it for me to promote someone who’s already the top of the grocery pack, but Tesco are the way forward. They have two hour slots for delivery (if that’s not enough, Ocado from Waitrose do one hour slots) and can usually deliver within a day.

2. You have to pay for delivery.
True, you do. But with a little knowhow, you can cancel out the charge. You can get £5, £10 and £15 off your shopping total by using the codes listed on the Tesco Voucher Codes website, or reading the Voucher Forum on MoneySavingExpert.com.

3. It’s not secure.
It’s as secure as going into any shop. In fact, it’s more secure than that, as all the transactions are done by computers rather than people. So if you buy anything anywhere with a credit card, there’s no reason not to shop online for food.

4. You can’t potter around picking up other things you might like.
No you can’t – and this is surely a good thing, no? You don’t spend money on things you didn’t need in the first place, you don’t add more inches to your waistline, and you don’t add more pennies to Tesco’s bulging moneybags.

So what’s not to love about online food shopping?

The Prestige – the ultimate twist?

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I saw The Prestige with Michelle last night. It’s a movie with a whole load of big names – Michael Caine, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie and several others – and it’s directed by Christopher Nolan, who did the stunningly clever Memento a few years ago. The Prestige is a great film too – all about two rival magicians and their obsession with each other’s tricks. The title comes from a description of the three stages of an illusion – first, the setup (“pledge”), where the magician shows the audience something that appears ordinary; second, the performance (“turn”), where the magician makes the ordinary act extraordinary. Lastly, there is the “Prestige”, where the effect of the illusion is produced.
I left the film marvelling at the twists and turns, but it appears there is even more to the film than meets the eye. The final line of the the film implies that “you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it. Because you want to be fooled.” the film may have a “Prestige” all of its own – as the posters on The Ultimate Twist (IMDB) are discussing. I won’t ruin it here – but suffice to say you should go and watch. The tagline – “Are you watching closely” – couldn’t be more apt. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, the above links do give the game away a bit…

Catching up with life…

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Over the last couple of months, work has been more than busy. For those who don’t know – and those that usually forget every time I tell them – I’m a Software and IT specialist for a pharmaceutical company that seems to be growing exponentially. My combination of roles is taking it’s toll though. As the company grows, I’m feeling a bit like the last bit of jam at the end of the jam jar – rather thinly spread. Two large IT projects have been launched, while all the time supporting the UK software base, conducting all the training and being a general IT monkey. Getting in at 8am and leaving at 7pm is not a load of fun – and hopefully after a bit of discussion last week things will pan out well in the new year.
And because of this – and the 4 websites I’ve built recently – nothing really happened on wibbler.com, as several readers are at pains to point out.
However, I this the site is due a revamp, don’t you?

A bit of Stuff

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“Don’t come too early, cos I’ve got a late night with Renault people. And Hannah.”

Jac’s certainly not wasted time since his release from a long termer a couple of months ago. One woman in particular seems to have become a regular fixture at his new house in Putney, and this latest snippet of information was like a red rag to a bull. Nick and I were due at Jac’s on Saturday morning to visit the Stuff Show in Hammersmith. We hadn’t met Hannah, and decided it was about time we forced Jac’s hand. We turned up on his doorstep at 8.30am, eager as a couple of beavers. It was a freezing morning, and after a couple of rings of the doorbell, I gave him a call.
“Morning Jac. How are you feeling?”
“I see. We’re outside your house.”
“Let us in please.”
“You utter *****.”
It still took him a few minutes to gather his senses and open the door, by which time we were slowly turning to icicles. Turns out he wasn’t too impressed with our early start, his hangover still in full force – and Nick and I instantly made the most of it, laudly stomping round the house and requesting breakfast. We took ourselves for a short tour of his new pad, and as we entered the front room he hurriedly removed items of clothing and underwear from the chairs and floor. “Had a good night?” I asked, catching a glimpse of Hannah round the door. “Hmmmm,” he replied. Nick and I gave ourselves a look of mirth.
A couple of sausage sandwiches later, we’d met Hannah, teased Jac (“she seems nice,” was met with a Jac-based scowl) and hurried him along. After discovering I’d got a parking ticket for NO REASON AT ALL (complaint pending on that one, let me assure you) we arrived at the Stuff Show and took in the gadgetry. It was actually a little disappointing – far less stands than the year before, and the stands that were there were mostly selling MP3 players. We left a few hours later for lunch, discovering that Putney is actually very nice, and that Gourmet Burger Kitchen is an amazing place to go for cracking burgers.
So, a bit of a revelation – I’ve found a bit of London I actually like! Check me out…