Welcome to SpaCeMonKeY UK, the blog of Helen Wells (nee Berrington, aka FieryFred) since 2002.





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SpaCeMonKeY UK

Tuesday, January 30

Hooray, I'm feeling a lot better! I think my whatever it was last week is finally going away. Woo! Made it through the weekend taking lots of painkillers, nice.

We had a busy weekend, you see. Ali, Piers, Rob and I went to Eastbourne for the Children's Ministry Conference. We went Friday lunchtime and arrived at about 4.30, registered, did a couple of seminars and then made our way to the B&B.

The B&B was probably the worst place I've ever stayed, not that I've stayed in many. I think it was called Merevale, it was on Cambridge Road. It cost £30 each per night and the first night it was absolutely freezing! I wore my dressing gown and socks over my nightie to try and keep warm, I've never stayed somewhere so cold. In the morning the milk had odd bits in it, possibly cream (though they weren't there the second day). The coffee was the strongest I've ever tried to drink, I put so much milk in it that it was cold and it was still horrible! Ack. Anyway, thankfully we weren't on holiday to enjoy B&B's, we were there for the conference.

Over the Saturday and Sunday we did lots of things, praise and worship and talks with all 1400 or so people in the same auditorium, and lots of seminars. I tried to do all the ones about songs, since that's mainly what I do at Hullabaloo. My favourite session of the weekend was the one with Ishmael. He seemed like a really nice guy and he taught us several songs with easy actions. I bought the CD he was advertising, should be able to use the songs without too much trouble. Hooray!

Rob and Piers did lots of the drama/storytelling/puppet type sessions, I'm sure they're going to do many entertaining things in the future.

We got to watch several very entertaining people. Steve Macbeth was hilarious with his disappearing banana trick (it was supposed to be a bandana but the wrong props were in the box, apparently). Bob Hartman was a great storyteller, as was James Hamilton. And Julia Plaut subjected us to a brilliant rendition of her classic song "Mister Cow".

We headed off home back to Leicester after a bit of lunch, making it back in time for dinner. Lots of stuff packed in, gave us plenty to think about...

Wednesday, January 24

Cold today... it snowed a bit overnight, though it's gradually melting in the sun. There's still some snow in the back garden though, where it's shady.

I've been off work all week, dunno what it is really, woke up a couple of times boiling Sunday night and yesterday I had an awful headache; quite how the things are connected I don't know. I do feel a lot better today though. Yesterday I said that and then ended up feeling awful, so maybe I shouldn't tempt fate. :)

I have watched lots of Monk while I've been sitting at home, and managed to complete all the puzzles in the ruins in Lost in Blue. And I've read a book by Joanne Harris called Coastliners. It was very good, I'm looking forward to reading her other books. I read Chocolat first. Hadn't seen the film but it was the most famous of her books. But Coastliners was good too. Yay!

Sunday, January 21

Brr, weather's definitely taken a turn for the colder!

It's Rob's birthday today, so this morning we didn't go to church but instead went to the music shop Rob bought his saxophone from (they were opening specially for a one day sale). Bought quite a few bits including a few sax things and several things for Ali to try and make her play an actual guitar instead of just playing Guitar Hero for hours. I think the lady managed to add 10% onto one of the items instead of taking the sale 10% off, but she was being quite confused about everything so I was expecting something like that to happen. Oh well.

Yesterday we did other birthday celebrating things; we had a few people around for lunch and went out to a Japanese restaurant in the evening (we booked!). We went with Ali, Rachel and Rob's parents. It's called Little Tokyo, it's very small and busy and cheap but very good. We had lots of different starters, including sushi which was actually very nice, then all sorts of lovely main courses. I had a Teppan dish with Udon noodles, which are yummy. Yum yum yum.

My brother John has bought a new car, though he didn't manage to get it so that he could visit us. He's not getting it until Wednesday. It's a blue, T-reg, Ford Focus LX. He seems quite happy about it, though he was already looking for a new ICE system for it. Well, a new CD playery thing, anyway. Not sure if ICE implies all sorts of silly things.

That's about it really, Rob's busy killing people in Medieval Total War at the moment, so maybe I'll go and do something interesting. Not that I quite know what that is. :)

Thursday, January 18

Ho hum, today was a bit of a mixed bag really. It's been very windy round here, though it seems to have been windy all over the UK. No damage to our property, as far as I know, but part of one of Mum and Dad's sheds flew off (corrugated iron). It's the one where John (my brother) keeps all his tools and things. He'd tried to engineer some sort of temporary roof using pieces of wood, though apparently it will act more as a channelling device for water than something to actually stop the water getting in. If it rains, which hopefully it won't. They're in Essex, as opposed to Leicester, where I am.

Other bad John news is that he's had a crash and caused at least £500 of damage to his car, so looks like new car time. I think it's only worth about £800. They said there's no guarantee that they wouldn't fix it all and find something was out of alignment, so it would cost even more to fix. I think he's looking at Ford Focuses. He was supposed to be coming to visit this weekend for Rob's birthday (that's my husband). This is the second time he's written a car off by having an argument with a kerb...

Other news is more 'me' related. Went to the doctor yesterday because I've been having an odd time lately, I keep crying at just about anything that happens. I was painting the back door on Sunday and couldn't stop crying because it wasn't perfect. And I nearly cried watching Herbie Fully Loaded... I don't think it should have that effect really. Apparently I have some of the symptoms of depression, though they could be being caused by anti-baby pills Microgynon. I don't think I'd be the first person for them to cause problems with. I think I've been a bit emotionally inclined since getting married, but I'm pretty sure it's not Rob's fault. So it might be the pill. I hope so, if it's not better in 3 months of not taking it then I might have to have anti-depressants. :(

Hopefully it's been getting worse because of some sort of pill taking cumulative effect, or maybe it affects me more because I've lost lots of weight (3 stone so far, if anyone cares!). I know some drug dosages depend on body weight, so perhaps the pill works like that too. I suppose I would always have been susceptible to it, just shows up more now. If it is that. Which I really hope it is. Feel like I'm going a bit mad really!

Anyway, better go to sleep now. (Something I do very well, apparently not what you should be like if you're depressed...)


Saturday, January 13

Well, today wasn't entirely as productive as it could have been. We went into town to see if we could get a new hamster. I'd checked the pet shop had some yesterday but by the time we got there they'd all gone! We were very sad.

Not much else to report really. I did a bit of research at work about lime kilns at Barrow upon Soar. It was a massive industry there, I was trying to map various ones from old maps etc. Photocopied some bits from a few books but could do with some more material. Might write something about it (seems a bit of an odd thing to do for fun, but hey).

Still playing Lost in Blue, might play it a bit more in a minute and see if can get my lady companion over the lake to stand on a switch with me (hmm, odd). It will take much preparation to make sure we don't die...

Wednesday, January 10

I've been playing Lost in Blue quite a lot, bought it with my Christmas money. It's interesting, less annoying now I can cook better things and the two characters aren't constantly dying from starvation and dehydration. Japanese games are different to Western ones - sometimes a bit inexplicable, but generally good.

Rob's been playing Medieval Total War 2. Apparently the pope keeps telling him to stop killing people. Honestly...

Monday, January 8

Oh no... Leicester's branch of Woolworths is closing this week! Every high street has a branch, why is ours closing? Maybe they'll open a new one when the Shires Extension opens. Hmm.

Sunday, January 7

Just switched to the new version of Blogger - the Google sort. Not sure what the differences are really, but I'm sure I'll find out eventually. :)

I'm updating to the newest version of iTunes as well... hope it works this time, had to fiddle around reinstalling an older version last time. It didn't work at all well, couldn't play a song without weird skipping. *sigh*

Since James blogged about the music of 2006, I thought I would too. First of all, a few comments on things he mentioned:

Mardy Bum - Arctic Monkeys: Well, mardy can't just be a Leicestershire word since (as far as I'm aware) they aren't from Leicestershire. But still, it certainly isn't in widespread use. The Monkeys are ok, though I think the enormous hype surrounding them has calmed down a lot now.

Yeah Yeah Yeah Song - The Flaming Lips: Definitely a cool band, I liked Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. :)

Over and Over - Hot Chip: Possibly one of the catchiest toe-tapping songs of the year, in my opinion. I've had 'like a monkey with a miniature cymbal' as my quote on MSN for ages. :D

Lady Sovereign: Well I'm not sure we want to encourage chavs, but I did like 9 to 5.

Lily Allen: She earns the dubious honour of being the only artist I've bought an album by and almost immediately re-sold. Yes, it's catchy, but the words are so horrible. It's hard to think anyone could live in such a grim world of jealousy and despair and actually enjoy it. Hmm.

Starlight - Muse: I love this song too, it's a bit of a departure from the norm for Muse (it actually sounds fairly different to their other songs whilst still sounding distinctively like Muse). Muse can have a tendency to end up being slightly depressing, bit like Radiohead. But I would like to add a note about Knights of Cydonia, which has a very strange video merging science fiction and cowboys. It's great stuff.

County Girls - Primal Scream: Yeah, this song rocks!

Snow Patrol: I'd pick Set the fire to the third bar as my fave SP song ever. The video is just so beautiful it's amazing...! Watch it and see what I mean!

I have also had the same problem with Sandi Thom. :D

My personal picks of the year, album wise, are probably...

The Feeling - Twelve Stops and Home: A masterpiece of an album with no bad tracks and some truly classic pieces of work. Particular favourites are Fill my Little World, Never be Lonely and Sewn... better stop there before I name all the tracks on the CD. :)

Razorlight - Razorlight: A very talented band, brilliant guitar playing as well as bass and drums. Something to aspire to I think. Particular favourite song is America, though the whole album is growing on me every time I listen to it.

Other notable albums of the year, for me anyway, have been the second album by Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah, though I'm getting slightly fed up of I Don't Feel Like Dancin', Lordi - Arockalypse and The Divine Comedy - Victory for the Comic Muse.

Video of the year, however, goes to Oasis - Masterplan, for this Lowry-style, er, work of art. Very clever, must have cost loads. Woot!

I will stop there, I think. :D

Wednesday, January 3

Hum, looks like Lycos have wiped the 'Fun Factory' site I made out of existence. Sadly I didn't have copies of my fanfic etc anywhere else so that's gone for good, I suppose. Guess there's not much I can do...

Here we are in a new year, then... lots has happened since last time I blogged, obviously! Christmas went well, my brother John visited and we had the festivities in our house, with Ali. Had lots of nice presents, though I haven't played with any of them much. That's because we came to Southend for New Year and have been staying with my parents (and John). I didn't bring many presents with me (left Guitar Hero 2 behind).

Hovis (our hamster) made it to Christmas but was gradually getting more and more decrepit. He died on 28th, Rob found him all curled up in his house, as cute as ever. He's buried in the back garden now. He lived with us for 2 years and 4 months, which is a good age for a hamster. I'll miss him. He loved climbing, and used to go up to the top of his three-storey cage every night and inexplicably turn round and round inside the little plastic house up there. He was funny.

On that depressing note I may end for now. I could say that I'll try and blog more what with it being a new year and everything, but I'm sure I say that every year and it doesn't happen. I don't think many people read this anyway. But for those of you who do, I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year.

I leave you with one of the highlights of Jools Holland's Hootenanny this year - Seasick Steve and his three stringed guitar. I would have linked to Adrian Edmondson's excellent rendition of 'Anarchy in the UK', where he does a trumpet solo having never played the trumpet before, but no-one has put that on YouTube!

And if anyone cares, PopPopMan.co.uk is now completely up to date. :)

He has a bowler hat, go figure.


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