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Linkblog – June 25th to July 27th

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Links between June 25th and July 27th:

Just so you know, this is an automated recent overview of the Linkblog, a collection of interesting links I find on my travels. The archives are here: http://www.wibbler.com/category/linkblog/

Destination Thailand

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(video at bottom of post)

“Take your bags, Mr Simon?”

DSC01789 (by wibbler)It was hot, sticky and my body was silently cursing me with every step I took, thanks to the excessive jigging and bouncing around on the dancefloor the previous night. After getting up at 6am and being driven to the airport, we (well, I) hobbled to the nearest bookshop in Heathrow Terminal 3, Michelle looking concernedly on. WHSmith yielded a couple of books and a game of Travel Cluedo, and after a bit of breakfast we nearly missed our flight. It was the biggest plane I’d ever been on, and the in-flight movies kept me awake for the 11 hours to Bangkok, followed by a further 2 hours to Krabi.
And so here we were, in Krabi International Airport, with a very helpful lady wanting to help with my bags. There was nothing I would have liked more – I was wincing in pain as my joints – and, let’s be honest, the chafing – had taken their toll. But I’d read that most helpful people at airports are mainly after a financial tip, so we declined and were escorted to our private transfer for the hotel.
DSC01897 (by wibbler)As we were driven to the hotel check-in, we battled our sleepiness and watched out the window in amazement. The scenery was just as breathtaking as I’d been warned – huge cliffs and mountains looked down on forest of greenery, with the local people wheeling carts of goods around or driving like maniacs. There appear to be little rules for driving in Thailand – nothing gets in the way of a Thai car and its destination.
After half an hour, we arrived at the stunning check-in desk, had cocktails and cold towels, and got another private transfer to the nearest beach. The hotel, we discovered, can only be accessed by boat, so we clambered over the sandy beach to a boat, and took the 3 minute trip to the resort.

And what a resort it was. In summary, the room had possibly the best view in the place, the food was amazing, the trips we took were brilliant, and we couldn’t have had a better time. And why am I skimming over all the best parts? Well, because I’ve finally completed our Honeymoon Video, which neatly shows everything we did in the next 10 days. It took a while to find the relevant songs and then cut the video to the beats… but now it’s done! The full size version is awesome – but that would have ground the internet to a halt, so there’s a smaller resolution version below.

It was an amazing trip, and we couldn’t have done everything we did without these wonderful people who contributed the the wedding, reception and honeymoon – there’s a message for you at the end of the video.

So, thank you all – and enjoy the video (speakers on, there’s cracking music, and little titbits of us talking…):

Direct Link: Simon & Michelle’s Honeymoon – 26th April 2009

This is the third and final part of a three-parter about our wedding. Feel free to read the other two – Part 1 – Getting Hitched and Part 2 – A Great Reception.
There are photos too – Official Wedding & Reception and Unofficial Wedding & Reception and Honeymoon.
And, of course,the Honeymoon Video. I spoil you.

Wedding Diary – Setting the scene

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ClockI am not one to rush (except when I’m eating, which I’ve been told is virtually record-breaking). Our engagement, when the final wedding bell tolls, will be over 2 years in the making – and that seems to me just right to balance the stress with the planning. Of course, you may be eager to get it done for personal or time-based reasons – in which case, prepare for stress and pangs of worry for the few months of singledom you have left.
What people always told me was that things will creep up on you, which I dismissed as poor planning. But I’d missed a crucial factor – despite careful planning, there’s a big load of things that can’t be done until the few weeks before – and sometimes even the day before – the wedding. Normally, you can only meet with the vicar/registrar a couple of months before, at the earliest. You can’t finalise any food costs until guests have confirmed (and chosen their food, if you’re into the whole menu selection thing).  So prepare for a whole month or two of panic. Do everything you *can* do earlier than you planned.
To help with the planning, I drew inspiration from my best man Jack. He is a Man of Spreadsheets. He has mastered pivot tables, column widths, equations and linked sheets. Behind every project of Jack’s, there is an organised and well-formatted tabular wonder.
So, behold: Wibbler’s Wedding Spreadsheet. (imagine BIG trumpets fanfaring about now). It’s made for UK bods, but I’m sure can be adapted easily. It’s also made for a fairly big screen. It’s generic enough for most couples having a more traditional wedding to use – but for those getting married on a whim in the rainforests of South America, not so much.
IN SUMMARY: Don’t stress, do everything before you think you need to do it. Use a spreadsheet.

(This is part of the wibbler.com Wedding Diary series. You can contribute to our Honeymoon Fund if you’re feeling generous… 😉 )

Wedding Diary – In the Beginning…

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Anéis | RingsWeddings are big things to organise, especially when you’re not one of the lucky blighters that can afford wedding planners. And when you’re a man with the organisational skills of a worm (that’s me I’m talking about, folks), it’s a tough nut to crack.
There’s no best way to do it. There’s no definitive guide, despite the shelves of books in WHSmith devoted to the event. There’s hardly ever someone you can ask every little question to. So, I’m going to write a few posts, each with a different wedding planning subject and telling you what went right, what went wrong, and what to look out for. It’ll take in most things that we’ve come across in our journey to the altar, in the hope that someone like me finds it in the future and thanks his or her lucky stars.
It will probably have a male-based perspective – I am a male-based person – but if there are any gems of advice I dole out, they will probably be for everyone to think on. Of course, it may be that we get things spectacularly wrong, and we’ll look back on these posts and laugh. Or cry.
Feel free to keep coming back to this post, as I’ll be using it as some sort of useful index thing.

(Oh, and feel free to donate to Simon and Michelle’s Honeymoon Donation fund. It’s not quite as worthy as Comic Relief, but far more useful…)

Wedding Diary – Index

0. In the Beginning (this post)
1. Setting the Scene

An Actual Update

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Tumbleweed

Tumbleweed

“I looked at your website just now. That was a waste of two minutes.”
Simon H was right. Nothing much but automated updates telling you where else I’d been while I wasn’t tending to the one website that started it all off! So here is an update that isn’t written by a web robot.
These last few months have been an ever-increasing whirlwind. The combination of an increasing remit at my *real* workplace, the increasing collection of websites under my burgeoning wing, and an impending wedding (more on that in later posts) all combine to make wibbler.com slightly dull.
I turned 30 a couple of months ago – a fact I was desperately unwilling to announce to many people. Jac and Michelle had other ideas though, and organised a stonking 30thsurprise party (photos here) that was set up at my own house while I was innocently watching Burn After Reading at the Guildford Odeon with Michelle. Thank you to everyone who managed to keep it quiet – or downright lie to me – and come along to celebrate just how old I’m getting. It was the first time that something had been organised around me that I hadn’t twigged about – I must be getting on a bit.
And isn’t time flying?! I’ve been 30 for 2 months already, and it seems like only yesterday that I was nursing the hangover from hell. Friends are starting to slide up the greasy pole of success, and the next 10 years are going to be a hell of a journey for all of us, I’m sure. Not least for Michelle and I, who are getting married in April.300_117275 Awesome stuff. Michelle, true to form, has been incredibly organised and nearly everything is already done. All that’s left, more’s the pity, is to pay for the blooming thing. One phone call a month ago involving flowers and photography increased our expected costs by £1000 – my face afterwards was a little like a bulldog chewing a wasp.
And now it is nearly Christmas, and it’s nippy. Winter chills are running through the economy too, with my old employer, The Pier, biting the shopfloor dust. I still have a few friends from those days, a couple of whom are still there. The Pier was a tale of two halves. On the one hand, it seemed inefficient – how can a company who had a more than 50% markup on a majority of items go under? And on the other hand, the customer service was legendary, mainly championed by its founder Alison Richards who left the company 2 years ago and died last year. Customers love the place, and so do the employees. pier_logoEven now, it seems like a retail family that are very sad that it’s all ending. If you’re on Facebook, the group “The (sinking) Pier” shows the loyalty the employees still have to the company. That’s something you can’t get in more places – but perhaps the lack of ruthlessness perhaps could have contributed to its downfall.
So, there are the main events in a nutshell. I’m planning on a few wedding-themed posts, and I’m planning to write more generally on inane topics. If you’re holding your breath, I have sympathy with your lungs – I only managed this post because I’ve had a few days holiday… 😉