Archive for Family

Christmas Cheer

So it’s fast approaching the end of the noughties and the festive cheer is upon us. I’m spending Christmas in North Wales and despite the poor weather on the roads all the family have made it here and the surroundings are really festive.

The mountains are snow capped, the sunshine is warm and low in the sky, we have real fires burning in the various grates and a real Christmas tree that I had the privilege of cutting down myself from a local grower. Keep on the look out for some fabulous photos of the country scenery that I’ll be popping into my gallery in the new year!

After relaxing over Christmas with my family I will make my way across country to Leeds where I will be seeing in the new year with the old crowd. It will be fantastic to see everyone again – I certainly do miss the regular social activities when I’m down in Swindon.

On the websites and communication front, I’m going to be a little less contactable over the festive period on account of my travelling around and the lack of connectivity in the countryside. While I will be receiving and reading e-mail on my BlackBerry I don’t expect to reply to any of it until the new year. If you need to get in touch with me urgently you can call my mobile – those who might need to have the number already.

Keen readers will have noticed that I’ve closed my forums until the new year. This is only a temporary measure and has been done to prevent people thinking I’m ignoring their queries – it’s Christmas and I won’t have the time or the inclination to answer technical questions. Please save up your issues and ask for help with them when the forums re-open and I’m around to answer.

Above all I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my family, friends and regular blog readers a very merry Christmas and prosperous new year.

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Relaxing Weekend

I’m back in Swindon after taking a well needed break from the daily grind by heading off to the East Coast for the Saturday and lunching with my family on the Sunday.

The weather was most pleasant on Saturday and the atmosphere in the marina was wonderfully peaceful compared with the hectic nature of my last couple of weeks at work. I spied a couple of fantastic photography subjects but unfortunately had neglected to bring my camera – I’ve made a note of them for next time.

As far as the family catch up goes, Hannah is settling in well at Law School and has already been able to explain some of the more interesting points with me which is great. The positive difference it makes in academia when you are truly enjoying what you have to study is immeasurable.

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Mothering Sunday

Mothering SundayThis weekend I’ve been staying with my family in St. Albans and today we got together with other family members to go out for a big meal for Mothering Sunday. I took a few photos around the table and before the meal and you can see them by clicking the thumbnail on the right. It’s always nice to get together with family and I would have to rate today as one of the best gatherings for a while.

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London Boat Show

After a hectic week at work I headed to the London boat show on Sunday with my family to have a look round at all the new vessels for sale, not the mention the myriad of equipment one can buy for an existing yacht.

There were a few things at the event that gave us food for thought in terms of new equipment for Burnaby but in the end we just ended up wandering around, taking in the sights and buying a few books from the various stands. Of course one can’t miss out the fact that there was a Guinness stall so we stopped there for a pint and a bite to eat over lunch.

The three main things of interest at the show for us were a company that built boats entirely from wood using traditional methods, a fully operational lifeboat that we got to have a tour of and to top it all off, the opportunity to walk around the HMS Westminster which was moored in the Thames outside the show.

You could tell this was a genuine warship by the positioning of various warning signs around the ship pertaining to missiles and guns. My favourite sign read Danger! When warning rattler sounds, missile about to fire. I guess that also amounts to “Please don’t touch” ;)

All in all it was a good day out. I’d recommend you catch it while you can but unfortunately it’s all over until next year – the show ended on the day we went!

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Boxing Day Walk

Thumbnail of my parents in Verulamium parkIn an attempt to make up for the over-indulgence of Christmas day I went for a boxing day walk in Verulamium park with my parents before we sat down to lunch. Seeing as I can never resist the opportunity to take a few pictures I was accompanied by my camera. Sadly the battery ran out rather quickly after all the flash use on Christmas day but not before I’d taken a few nice shots which I’ve uploaded to my gallery.

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Family Christmas 2008 Photos

Family Christmas ThumbnailAfter a thoroughly enjoyable family Christmas with a huge meal and all the trimmings, not to mention a relaxed evening and a fair few drinks along the way, the photos from the day are now online. You can view them over in my gallery.

This year I got the tripod out so that I could be included in the family photos around the dinner table and took a few more pictures of people opening their presents, some of which captured expressions reasonably well, although I’m not sure how much I’ll be thanked for putting some of the shots online!

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Easter Holiday

Easter came early this year, more so in fact than in the 90 odd years easter that preceded it. Still it was the end of term and for that a short break was called for.

At the start of the vacation period I spent a few days in Middlesbrough with Heather where we spent time chilling out, going on day visits to local areas, practicing our cooking skills in the evening and solving a murder mystery puzzle (its amazing how engrossing they can be once you get started!). It was nice to really chill out for once and also properly enjoy days out and relaxed evenings which although we very much enjoy we hadn’t been able to do for quite a while due to work commitments.

Another thing that occupied some of our time while away was Heather’s Victorian dolls house that she is building from scratch. I spent a few hours with her helping to get the painting right, fix some of the hinges and ensure the house all fitted together. This is a really special project as it isn’t just a normal dolls house but one of considerable size. It has 10 rooms with an attic, basement and traditional frontage. It’s going to be fantastic when its finished. I don’t have a picture of it but I found one on the web to give you an idea of the kind of thing I’m talking about.

During the holiday I also got a chance to get my camera out and take a few shots of the places we visited. Most of these involved boats of some description but there were a few others, in particular some spectacular shots of stormy weather at Whitby. We climbed a lighthouse to get a better view and were nearly blown off. It was one of our best days out for a while.

After my break with Heather I spent some time with my family over the Easter weekend. I got to see my sister which, now she is at university, is a rare occurrence. We all went out for a meal together on Easter day which was a very nice affair. During the rest of my stay with my family I spent time fixing things around the house, relaxing, having the odd drink, and meeting up with James to catch up. When I wasn’t doing all that I chilled out on the computer throwing radiators at people.

Sadly all good things must come to an end and I had to return to Leeds to continue work on my project which is pretty much all I have been doing since. Still as I keep reassuring myself it will all be over soon and hopefully the standard will be good enough to clinch the mark I want.

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Family Christmas

So I’m back on the blog again, coinciding with my return to Leeds after spending Christmas with my family. It was a pleasant break which was very relaxing given how busy the tail end of last term had been. I did get some work covered but I kept it light so I could rest up for the exams and tumultuous term that lie ahead. It was fun to see everyone and I still can’t believe how much food I got through over the festive period. I still feel full from Christmas dinner!

For those looking for the photos I took of all the various family gatherings, you can view them in my gallery

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Bonfire Night

BonfireOn 5th November I headed out to the Hyde Park public bonfire and firework display with Heather. It was a really enjoyable evening and the heat from the fire made it almost feel like it was a summer day – I certainly didn’t need my full winter coat! It seems amazing that over a year has gone by since I was last at the display, but its still as good as I remember.

The smell of bonfires and the thick air that comes with firework smoke always remind me of growing up in St. Albans and the huge firework display laid on in Verulamium park every year. Its amazing how vivid a memory such smells can conjure up.

I decided to take my camera along and setting the ISO up high I tried to take some night time shots of the bonfire and the fireworks afterwards. I was rather impressed with the results considering I wasn’t taking all that much care with my photography (I was too busy watching things with the naked eye!) and have thusly shared them with the world in my gallery.

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Back on the blog

Well, this is a turn out for the books. I’m blogging again! I never thought I’d be away from the blog for this long since I first started it, but somehow I got side-tracked on so many other things that I just didn’t realise how long it was since I’d posted something, then when I did realise I wasn’t really in the blogging frame of mind. Still, I’m here now and I intend to get back to proper regular posting as that’s what goes down the best.

So what have I been doing to keep me from my blog? Quite a lot actually so I’ll give a quick run down.

  • X-Lab LogoLarge amounts of work at X-Lab

    My lack of blogging started with a lot of pressure at work to get the first version of the X-Lab lab to lab messaging system finished and presented to a group of people who could help us to take the project forward and get interfaces with existing lab systems written for it.

    To cut a long story short, 12 hour days, numerous late nights and a lot of coffee and pizza deliveries saw us through and we got the system completed on time and suitably impressed those at the demo to allow us to take the project forward and (hopefully) get it deployed in labs when we have finished version 2

    This, for me, feels like such a great achievement as I’ve never worked with Microsoft technologies quite so much as this before and to get a success like this felt really great. I hope that I will be able to see the project fully succeed in the future as its one of those things that has the potential to positively impact thousands of people.

    Watch this space!

  • Heather & Kieran in WalesHoliday with Heather

    At the end of July I went on a long weekend break with Heather. We stayed in North Wales and did a little sight-seeing and plenty of relaxing on the beach in the surprisingly abundant sunshine which bathed the region. It was our first chance to have a holiday away together and we both really enjoyed it, not to mention the fact that it was some good quality “together time” before Heather headed off to Middlesborough to stay with her family for the rest of the university vacation. Feel free to check out some of our holiday photos in my gallery.

  • Kieran in JerseyHoliday in Jersey

    Last year I went to stay with Michelle in Jersey and this year I went back to stay with her again. Its a great place to go away on holiday and its always nice to go and stay with friends.

    I was fortunate enough to be able to get out on Michelle’s Dad’s boat and take some pictures from off the coast of Jersey and my trip also coincided with the annual battle of flowers parade which was as spectacular as it had been the year before and with a whole new set of wonderfully decorated floats to enjoy.

    One of the highlights of the trip was going to Jersey Zoo, founded by Gerard Durrell and having read Durrell’s books on animal collecting it was fascinating to see what his trips and writings from around the world had created.

    The weather throughout the week was excellent and when I wasn’t socialising or on sight-seeing excursions I spent most of my time walking along beaches or lying in the sun reading books. It was a well needed rest and lots of fun to boot. Michelle has some great friends and it was really nice to see them again. Thanks to Michelle for letting me stay!

  • Catch up on work and student society planning

    Since return from my various holidays I have been playing catch-up trying to get a mountain of work done. There is not much to report here except that I hate paperwork and I never realised that agreeing to do so many student run websites was going to cause this much work to be thrust upon me in August. Ok, thats a bit of lie, I did know but took them on anyway as I know I can do a good job and it will be nice to have my name on a load more student sites and to see them used and enjoyed by new students and committee members alike. Getting these things done will also get more things on my portfolio which is always good for business.

    One of the really good things which has come out of this surge of work is the opportunity to work with Christina Fowler, a recent graduate and expect in graphic design, she is assisting me by completing the design work for the new Leeds RAG website. Its nice to be able to spread work in this way and also share ideas. If all goes well I look forward to working more with Christina in the future, her work is certainly very impressive.

  • Claire's Otley Run random pictureSocialising

    Seeing as its the summer holidays I have been taking every available opportunity to attend parties and go out for meals and drinks with friends. Drunken arrivals back home have been one of my main reasons for not keeping this site as up to date as it otherwise might be! There are some great pictures floating around facebook of some of these evenings and there are also some really good ones of Claire’s birthday Otley run in my gallery.

As you can see I’ve all round been pretty darn busy. Still I’m not going to avoid blogging for that length of time again, in fact I hope to go back to writing here on a regular basis along with other blogs and forums that I have been neglecting lately.

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