Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hail to the Tuck Shop Queen!

I had a great day on Saturday helping out Kat and Doug at their festival of American Football. I was given control of the tuck shop - maybe not the best idea knowing my love of chocolate ;o) Graeme came along too and was my stock control minion - lol! As soon as the local kids heard about our crazy, crazy prices, we were inundated with nedlets. However, most of them were ok, although we had one boy continually annoying us and asking for his ball back (he'd nicked it from the youth team and Doug caught him out). By the end of the game, we had nearly sold out of everything (except 7-Up and Lidl crisps) - yay us!
*hugz* to Kat and Doug. You both did wonderfully on Saturday - don't let lack of numbers bring you down!
So, that was our highlight of the weekend. Lowlight was Graeme's PC playing silly games on Sunday. First, we thought the hard disc had died and we'd lost everything. Thankfully, it was nothing as drastic. There appears to be some sort of conflict between drivers/firewalls/other random software, which made our HD inaccessable. It seems to be sorted now (fingers crossed). I had a moment of terror when I thought all my Sims had been lost - lol.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How cool!

A Pocket Watch for Druids

All self-respecting druids should have one I think :o)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Nit-Pick of the day...

While I am on a roll with ranting, why on UKS does "faith" equal Christianity? I am fed up with seeing "faithbooking", "faith CJs" and "faith swaps" which consist only of Christians. Do they believe they are the only ones with faith?! Do they have some sort of monopoly on the term that I'm not aware of?!

I've thought about posting a comment to that effect many times but I expect I would just be flamed. I suppose I shouldn't expect anything else when in the US, Mormons seem to be involved in most of the scrapbooking companies. I think it's all part of the reason that I have been going off scrapbooking. It's marketed as something for white Christian families with kids. I'm afraid I don't fit into that demographic but I feel my memories are still valuable and something to preserve for future generations. Maybe I'll just stick to photo albums and journals!

Blimmin Letting Agents Part 2

According to Living Space Estate Agents (105 St Pauls Road, Islington) website:

"Whatever your property needs, when you contact Living Space Estate Agents you can be assured of friendly and professional advice. We pride ourselves on being an innovative, efficient and highly motivated company with the highest quality service levels being paramount."

Obviously, this is only referring to the service they provide for landlords, as the service they provide for tenants is certainly not professional and nothing short of a joke.

Graeme and I viewed some flats with them on Saturday. The agent who did the viewings was actually very good, give him his due. We decided, after some thought, to take a property on Beresford Road in Harringay. The agent assured us once we paid our holding deposit, the place was ours. So we trailed back to Islington to fill out the paperwork, including a reference check where they basically wanted everything except your soul. We would have to pay £75 each for the pleasure of them interrogating our bank, employers and possibly our parents about our financial status. Anyway, while we were there, the manager of Living Space mentioned that the landlord of the property wasn't happy because we were waiting three weeks to move in. Apparently, it had taken him ages to get the flat back on the market and he wanted to be making money on it. Fair enough I suppose, but it's not our fault he was ages sorting the place out for rent. We explained that we were moving from Scotland and Graeme had to work notice etc, so three weeks was the best we could do. The manager then contacted the landlord with this information. Graeme and I then sat for 1 hour in a hot London office while this landlord decided if our money was good enough for him or not. Finally, he phoned back and basically suggested we "compromised", meaning he extorted an extra week's rent out of us to secure the flat. I was livid but we both thought for the sake of £200, we'd at least secure the flat. We paid the holding deposit (in cash, apparently they don't take anything which might give the payer any form of security) and left.

After all that nonsense, I was really upset by everything. I had a bad feeling about the move and by Saturday night, I was on the brink of giving up my job and just staying in Edinburgh.

So, it didn't come as a surprise, when Graeme called me yesterday afternoon. Living Space had been in touch with him and told him the biggest cock and bull story I've heard in a long time. Apparently, the landlord had received another offer for the flat. Now this is renting, not buying. Since when did renting involve offers? This supposed offer didn't go via the estate agents he was supposedly letting the property through - very fishy. Anyhoo, if we paid an extra £5 a week rent, then we could keep the flat. Now, it might only be £5 but he had already had an extra £200 out of us for a week where the flat would be empty. I just wondered where the extortion would stop - it might start with a fiver but could soon progress to more. Graeme and I felt we were being conned and everyone we spoke to felt the same. So, this morning Graeme told them we weren't paying the increased rent and if we don't have our holding deposit back by Friday, then we'll be consulting our solicitor.

In short, I am very annoyed at our treatment with Living Space Estate Agents. I feel we were part of a big con from start to finish, in order for them and the landlord to get more money from us. I certainly will not do business with them again, and I would recommend them to nobody.

Unfortunately, it means we have no where to move to at the moment. Eep! I think we'll have to work something out a bit better. I don't want us rushing into renting a place now. I think I'll have to put my job start date back another week to give us more time. It really is very confusing and hard to know what to do at the moment.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Blimmin letting agents....

The phone is now off the hook. I am fed up not being able to get through a morning (let alone a day) without the phone ringing. They all seem to have a problem understanding what "maximum" means. I don't know how many times we have told them how much we want to spend on rent, yet they continually offer us properties outside our budget!


On a positive note, I have grown rocket :o) Nope, not something to go to space but the lovely, leafy green stuff. They are only little seedlings at the moment but I see great potential for them. I love how quickly they grow - yesterday morning they were just little leaves popping out the soil, now they are stretching towards the window at an amazing rate. I almost don't want to eat them :o(

Muddling through....

I think those are the only words that can describe it at the moment. I seem to be lost in a sea of doubts over everything. Thankfully, my brain has done it's usual and become all numb and cotton wooly to prevent any kind of deep and meaningful thinking. Sometimes it's a useful mechanism but it does seem to prevent any sort of real productive behaviour.

I think I shall immerse myself in some arty projects for a few hours to see if that helps.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

All about me....

This is my completed jigsaw piece for Lori on AN. The topic was "all about me". I decorated it in my favourite colours (note to self: peel off the shiny original piccy before you try to cover it next time) and added little elements to reflect parts of me. The blue blob in the bottom right is a macrophage - the cells I studied for my PhD - and reflects my love of science. Next to it, at the bottom, reflects my love of art and creativity (bit more obvious this one). Bottom left are three oak leaves to reflect druidry and also my love of nature. Top left is Edinburgh Castle to represent my home (although that's all about to change). Top is a pumpkin as I love Samhain and pumpkins in general. Finally, on top right is a coin usually found on bellydance constuming (they have a habit of escaping though) and that's for my love of dance.

Simple really :o) I am pleased with how it turned out and in some ways I wanted to keep it for myself - lol! However, it's on it's way to the US now and hopefully Lori will have it soon.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sore bits I never knew I had!

Yesterday's bellydance workshop was fab! It was called "Come to the Dark Side" and focused on the darker, more gothic side of tribal fusion. The teacher was Heidi from the Domba! troupe and she was excellent - good fun and taught at the right pace. We learned about 6 different moves/combos and put them together into a short choreography. I thoroughly enjoyed myself - the music and style was much more like what I practise at home.

The only downside is the aching in my muscles today! I really think I must have used muscles I didn't know I had. We did quite a thorough warm-up yesterday with loads of stretches. If I can remember and practise them all then that should help my dancing :o)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

All spare time this way please!

Well, I told you I'd be begging for more time! Hardly a week has past since the job offer and I have realised that this moving malarky is going to be quite a challenge. We've contacted loads of letting agents who have replied to us, but seem to have totally ignored the price range and locations we asked for. Typical, I feel we'll get on better once we are actually down there.

I'm still trying to sort out my references for my job too. My boss at the exec can't give me a reference as my employer (I was agency staff) but he will give me an informal reference. I've been trying to contact HR at my new job but the woman I need to speak to is never there. In fact, I suspect she is a fictional character entirely!

Yesterday was a good day though. Kat and I went on the hunt for free Docrafts stamps - lol. Eventually, we ended up in Dalkeith at Paperlace, which seems to be the nearest stockist to central Edinburgh. Thank you House of Fraser for stopping Jenners being stockists! I bought some lovely 8x8 paper packs (green and purple of course) and another set of alphabet stamps. Can never have enough alphabet stamps!

Today, I've made a list of things Graeme and I need to do. It is now stuck on the fridge where we can see it. Well, Graeme did say he needed a list so he's got one! Now, I am off to tidy the living room and try to progress on to the craft room.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I love it when all the pieces fall into place.....

Well, my interview went well on Friday. So well, that they offered me the job via email on Friday evening :o) I couldn't believe it. This was the job Ian had said to me to go for earlier this year, but it had then been filled. A similar position became available again and I stupidly missed the deadline for applications due to incorrect info online. However, they still interviewed me. I wasn't going to go as they gave me so little notice but my parents and others bullied me into it. Thank you - you all must have known something I didn't.

I can't help but thinking that this job was meant for me. It's the kind of thing I wanted from the beginning. I'll be organising conferences for a large scientific group. Conferences which I'll get to go to :o) I'll also be able to network with people from all areas in science - ideal when I need to move my career on! I really can't wait to get my teeth into something challenging again.

So, now begins the mammoth task of organising a move to London. We'll need to find somewhere to live first. I'm going to email some estate agents/letting agents today and attempt to organise some viewings for when we go down in a week or two's time. Hopefully, we can decide on something fairly quickly. We'll need to organise for the flat to be let out too. It all needs to be cleaned and tidied up, while we pack our own stuff.

It really is very exciting. I just think of all the opportunities awaiting us. All the shows (Wicked!), exhibitions and bellydance workshops that I'll be able to go to. I've felt for so long that my life had ground to a halt. I know that soon I will be begging for more time.

I truly am thankful that everything has come together so wonderfully (now if Graeme got a job too, it would be perfect). I feel utterly blessed at the moment!