Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Blog stuff

I finally got the shoutbox in place, although I am going to move it from it's current location at the bottom of the blog. Not had any comments yet though, I am hoping that people are just shy or haven't seen it! It was really easy to install, just register on the shoutmix site copy a bit of code to your blog and voila, instant box, could not have been easier.

Currently I use sitemeter to monitor visitors to my blog so I can also tell whether I am writing to myself or not - as long as I have one visitor a day I am happy :) However, from 18 June till today my meter showed zero visitors each day? I started to get a little paranoid until I realised that I had actually deleted the meter from the site accidently so it was not recording visitors! So please, anyone who visited during the last 6 days, come back and be counted - ha ha. In the few weeks that I have been going I have had 472 visitors ... woo, it feels a little strange that all those people are visiting my bit of cyber space out of curiosity!

I would really like to change my template in blogger to one with 3 columns but I cannot find one that really suits what I am looking for. I think you have to scroll down too far on my page when I post a large post. This is one of the reasons that I only show one post per page now too instead of the whole months worth at once. I would like a fatter middle column and a skinny one each side. Personally I have a widescreen so I do not know how much of a standard screen my current blog fills, all depends upon the resolution I guess. Is anyone actually using a 3 column template that just fits perfectly to their screen size?

Picasa is another of my recent discoveries. I first read about it on the geeks on tour website where they actually give video tutorials on how to use it. I looked at a couple of videos so that I knew that it would do what I wanted it to do before I spent time downloading it on a mobile connection. Wow it is easy to use. Within 20 minutes of downloading it, I managed to upload 2 albums of pictures and add 2 slideshows to my post yesterday - and they worked first time. I'm very proud of that one - big up to the geek too!!

Finally, my ad sense income has now reached a dizzying total of $6.06 - stunning! I was going to replace the adverts with the shoutbox but now I have decided to keep them and actually learn how to make them look nicer with pictures etc. Personally I never take notice of adverts on websites myself but I figure if I leave them there and I can make $25 by Christmas then I can blow it on a bottle of baileys (the starbucks I was saving for previously is so last week!) - all I need now is the roaring fire and christmas tree to drink it in front of. Hmmm, do RV's come with wood burners?

Monday, 23 June 2008

Been busy .....

I feel quite tired, there has been a lot going on in the last week or so.

the hen party in Cambridge. This was great. There was treasure hunt, followed by punting and pimms and then games ... what fun. I didn't stay on for the cocktail/vodka bar as although I would have loved it I didn't fancy travelling home on the train on my own after having a few drinks ... and in a vodka bar with 15 friend there was a sure chance I would have had a few drinks too many, I am so weak! The pictures are the Bridge of Sighs, the river Cam with punts, and our student punter :)

I also went to London
again for another meeting. My London navigation above ground it getting better - ya boo sucks to the tube. I have made it walking from Pall Mall, through St James' Park, via Westminster to Millbank where our offices are without getting lost. I even took pictures this time which involved me looking like a complete tourist .... only for you do I make this sacrifice. The wee house surrounded by trees is in the middle of St James Park in London, wouldn't expect it would you?

We are getting on with selling our bits and bobs. So far we have had had a few enquiries about our moped that we have for sale despite not actually having placed an advert for it yet.

I have set up a google picasa albumn for this and our Kawasaki ZX 636 Ninja motorbike which will shortly be advertised. This is my first foray into online photo albums and linking them into blogs so if it doesn't work i'll try harder next time! Please be gentle :)

I think our BMW may actually be sold. We have had an offer that will probably go through at the end of the month. It finally feels like we are getting somewhere.

This afternoon I had to go to the rheumatology clinic at the hospital for
continuing investigations into my spasming hand. I got as far as giving a specimen, getting weighed and measured (although I have no idea what this has to do with a suspect trapped nerve) and then found out that the doctor had just nearly feinted and could not see me. Great ... just love wasting time. Suppose it cannot be helped though and I would rather not be couped up in a room with a possible sick man though - he could have been contagious!

I ended up coming home early and relaxing outside. I asked Mr P to help drag a picnic bench through from the picnic area and I sat outside on the lap top, occcasionally throwing the ball for the pooches. I may have partaken in a tipple or too also. The weather is glorious at present, need to make the most of it :)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Google adsense .... humph!

Got to ask, own up, who clicked on an advert in the last couple of days?

I loaded Google adsense as an experiment when I relaunched the blog a couple of months ago. In the first month-ish my Google adsense income totalled $3.75. I found this quite amusing as it would nearly cover a starbucks latte (to which I am addicted) - hence using an american company to pay for my american drink.

I then decided that if the total didn't hit at least $200 a month (only joking - hugely optimistic me, did you know we are also having a long hot summer too?) I would remove the adverts and replace them with a shoutbox.

However, someone has now increased my total to $3.88 - an increase of 13 cents. I'm all of a dither now ... what if I can actually make about 20 cents a month, by christmas I could probably afford a hazlenut syrup to go to with that latte! Quite exciting!

The indecision .... ooo! Actually, I have decided that as I have not managed to figure out how to add a picture advert (to the side column) I will just replace the adverts with a shoutbox. It will be much more useful and I have used them quite happily on other blogs as it is great to be able to post to other blog owners and readers. I'll probably change it this weekend if you want to pop back next week and be the first to post in it to say hi!

Besides ... do google not realise I work in £'s and the exchange rate is horrific?!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Birthday boy number 2 and a lazy few days

The end of last week and the beginning of this week were beautiful. Sunny, relaxed and work free for me. Bonus points on every front!

I took part of the week off as my sister in law (who doubles up as our dog sitter as we will not leave the dogs in the van in hot weather) was having work done on her house and didn't fancy the dogs sitting and eyeballing the workmen - as if! As it was so hot Bodie and Reef just didn't want to move anywhere during the day.

Even getting up to drink was an effort. This was good for me, I got to lay in the recliner with my feet up and catch up on some reading ... bliss!

Really I should have been looking at fixing the blooming shower again but the spanish just kept on flooding back as it does quite regularly on hot days ... manana, manana I thought ... as I slathered on more sun cream.

I seem to remember there was one wet day which was just after the grass was cut - happens every single time without fail. Grass gets cut, it rains, grass ends up all over the van. Does anyone else suffer with this or are we just victims? The flippin stuff gets everywhere and the whole episode lasts for a least 2 weeks - by which time the grass needs cutting again. Bummer.

Last sunday, it was Reef's birthday, he was 2. He had an excellent day, walked lots, ate lots (mainly chicken) and took quite a liking to the birthday glasses in which he went exploring. He actually found a cat laying in the long grass and didn't know what to do, i'm not sure who was more shocked, him or the cat. He reverted to type after the cat had moved though and pursued it like a professional. He only wanted to play, not sure the cat saw it like that though. it was probably wondering what the hell type of dog wore glasses.

Just in case you think we routinely humiliate our animals by dressing them up, I would like to assure you we don't, they just wouldn't stand for it and they have a full range of expressions to communicate this - ha ha.

On wednesday it was back to work for me and the start of Mr P's day's off. I had to go to London for a meeting again so I have now decided to treat each trip as a chance to explore - rather than a chore - to see if this affects my willingness to go there. Usually I hit London, jump on the tube and get to the venue as quickly as possible so I never see anything.

This time I decided to walk the length of Oxford Street to see why everyone raves about the shopping there, followed by a walk to the meeting venue. Note to self: don't ever do this in heels again. I was ok, much better than the tube and I did see some great buildings but I didn't want to get the camera out and look like a tourist! ha ha. I did manage one picture of the Mall, that is Buckingham Palace in the distance. It is taken from just behind the meeting venue so I could run and hide afterwards. :)

I'm off to Cambridge tomorrow for a hen do. Treasure hunt, punting, picnic and vodka bar ... sounds like a plan!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Moving day

Today I moved the van.

This may seem like a small task when you say it quickly but as we have been stationary for some time, things have built up and moving becomes a major event! Mr P was at work so I decided to just get on with it. We were only moving from private land to a CL - a matter of a couple of hundred yards but it was a chore.

Personally I have moved

1 vw
1 moped
1 motorbike
2 pushbikes
1 motorhome

This was 6 trips, walking back each time. I could have just put the pushbikes back on the back of the motorhome and driven them up but I figured that the exercise would be good for me. I got soaked moving the motorbike. I just managed to cover it up at it's new location before it bucketed it down with rain. It was dripping off my nose, running down my neck and my hair was plastered to my head but I did manage to provide some amusement for those watching - dry people I salute you!

Today is only about the 3rd time I have ever driven the motorhome. It is not that I can't, it is just that I don't. Mr P automatically drives, as he has been driving longer and I just do not find the need. However, I figure that since we are selling it this year I have a bit of catching up to do. Actually, it is really easy to drive, even being a lhd. It handles really easy and just rolls along on its own.

The big task was actually trying to get the van into move mode. When you have been stationary for some time you tend to build up so much rubbish and unnecessary items that if you move the van the suspension would probably collapse in surrender. That and the fact that flying debris is never good when driving across a grass field that contains ruts.

4 hours of tidying and binning papers, magazines etc and ta-daa, we are probably a couple of kilo's lighter .. ha ha. 30 kilos lighter if you count the tanks.

Also today I received a message from a regular on a motorhome forum I frequent. They were just letting me know that they read my blog and found it quite useful as they were considering fulltiming in the future. I think this is really cool, it is really nice to know that I am not just talking to thin air, my mam and Marie who sits next to me at work! :)

I also think it is a really nice idea to let someone know that you actually read their blog and what you think. With this in mind I am going to start contacting writers of the blogs that I read regularly just to let them know I am here and am reading :)

Please do take a look at Haganap's blog, for sure they seem to be getting around more than we do at present (green with envy despite the weather on their last trip) and we live in the van so visit http://panagah.blogspot.com for their story.

Note to self: must take more pictures. I promise to try harder in the future.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Birthday boy, fresh food and other bits

It is Mr P' s birthday today ... only 4 years left now till the big 40. Strangely enough the last 2 of our male friends to hit 40 have suddenly upped sticks and emigrated, the first to New Zealand, the second to Australia, I am really looking forward to 2012! :)

My friends landed safely in Sydney, checked on their pooch who is in quarantine for 30 days and have now headed north to search for somewhere to stay until they can buy land/property.

I need to set myself up on skype in time for them getting a regular internet connection so we can talk over the internet. Can anyone recommend a good webcam for use with a laptop and 3G/HSDPA dongle? I think I will need to investigate quite thoroughly as I don't want to buy a really super high quality webcam/headset only to find out that my internet connection cannot keep up with the picture quality. I assume this would be an issue anyway. I'll keep you posted.

We have researched the best ways of selling all our bits. I am going to create an online album containing photo's of the cars/bikes and then place adverts (online and in one issue each of Volksworld, Autotrader and biketrader) referring buyers to the album. Personally I hate calling up someone on the strength of a tiny picture in a magazine to ask lots of questions re condition and I would rather be able to access lots of pictures of what is for sale. Hopefully this will stop lots of daft questions coming our way too! :) The surfboard, kayaks and psp are going on ebay.

We've also spend some time looking at smart cars online. From what we can tell some of them have slightly more space behind the seats than others. We would need one with maximum boot space else the dogs are going to look garfield like against the back window. I think it is time to get out there and physically look at some as not many dealers are forthcoming about boot measurements on the web.

Big news for us ..... our local farm shop has just opened for the season. Wahheeeyyyy! It is always a big event when we can stop buying most of our food at the big supermarkets and start buying it really fresh locally again. It saves loads of money as everytime we go to the supermarket we come back with at least £40 of crap we don't really need - it is a habit that I just cannot break. I see a bargain buy it and then end up binning it when it goes out of date as we didn't need it in the first place!

At our nearest farm shop there is veg, fruit, fresh herbs, lamb and beef - nearly all sourced from nearby farms. You can also pick your own strawberries, not that I would, I mean there are already punnets there in front of you when you arrive ... why would I feel the need to get on my hands and knees and get them myself? I'm not that much of a convert. There is no stress, no crowds, no junk food (ok they have ice cream and cake too but I am in denial) and we also get to walk the dogs into the bargain.

If you are up our way, pop in and see Hill Farm @ Chesterton, and you'll get a warm feeling about not aiding the big chain store to push out the little local suppliers! Unfortunately I took a photo when the shop was shut ... it is open now ... honest!

If you can't get here, find out where your own local farm shop is, I promise the food tastes so much better as it is picked fresh that day (or the day before), has very few road miles on it. Even Mr P the extremely fussy eater does not have a bad word to say.

We spent the today relaxing - both having taken the day off work. Mr P polished the VW in preparation for the pictures to be taken and he also replaced all the petrol pipes. I went up town and picked up some dog bones, henna and a starbucks latte - I am such an addict. Although I do promise that if the farm shop had an espresso machine I would be right in there! haha.

Both Bodie and Reef were chilled today and lay outside of the van. I managed to snap a picture of them looking like they are joined at the hip. In reality they both just did not want to relinquish any space to the other on the wee mat they were laying on on the gravel. It is quite a feat getting good pictures of them as they are both usually see the camera and run. This time I fooled them and used my phone. I also got a picture of Reef the frog tucking into to a new bone.

I'm going to stop rambling now .... till the next time :)