Sunday, November 27, 2005

Another Weekend At The Hermitage

We are become homely people.

I say this because this weekend we have hardly left the house. Such communication as we have had with the outside world has mostly been digital.

We had Scott L over on Friday evening and downed a few bottles of wine and ate junk food – I’d been out and shopped for wine but wandered straight past all the fresh food in my desire to get to the alcohol. (Well, I was a bit rushed as Waterloo Tube had been closed, so the trains were hugely overcrowded and delayed…)

After a late start, Saturday was laundry day. There’s something in my makeup which just won’t allow me to pay to have all the washing done at the laundrette, despite Brett’s urging. Somehow it just seems a needless extravagance when we can so easily do it ourselves. I don’t mind him getting his work shirts done, as that saves a huge amount of time ironing, but paying to wash t-shirts, shorts and socks is just a waste.

In between times, I also did some pushing of numbers around on a spreadsheet trying to make them look like the deposit for buying a house (but they didn’t, no matter how I tried.)

The realisation that the year is nearly over made me think about end-of-year stuff; resulting in much tidying up of files on my laptop and a decision to replace one of the backup drives in the server which is too small to handle the amount of data we now need to backup. In the process I also realised that there were a number of picture galleries on my website that weren’t actually linked from anywhere, (they were ones I’d put up in a hurry and had just sent out a direct link to), so I spent a while tweaking my site. I also added a couple of new(ish) photos to my ‘exhibition’ gallery, where I show the pictures I think are better than average. (So far there are only about twelve from the several thousand I’ve taken since I got the digital camera. I am reminded of the quote about monkeys, typewriters and Shakespeare…)

Finally, as I was contemplating my diary and the snowballing of events towards December 25th, I realised that not only was there limited time for shopping (Brett promises me he’ll update his Amazon Wishlist today!) there was even less time set aside for seeing everyone before we (and they) head off for our family Christmases, so I did my typical last-minute organise-an-event thing and invited them all to dinner at a date to be determined in about a fortnight.

Today, Sunday, has been in a similar vein; somehow the morning slipped away browsing the web and suddenly it was midday. We headed down into Wimbledon town for lunch and set ourselves the goal of buying Christmas cards

Now buying Christmas cards might not seem like a big deal but for me it’s one of the early stresses of the festive season as I want cards that are (a) attractive, (b) not excessively religious, (c) not excessively cheesy and (d) decent quality. Sometimes that can be a real challenge. This year however, it was straight forward; we found a variety of Christmas Carol-themed cards in WH Smith which seemed appropriate (since we have festive songs going round and round in our heads at the moment.) Now all we have to do is write them and get them distributed in good time.

Yeah, right!

This afternoon I popped into PC World to pick up a new hard drive for our server (did you know you get about 10% off if you select the product at their website and then go and collect it from the store an hour later, rather than going straight to the store. I don’t know how the economics of it works for them, but they certainly work well for me!)

This evening has mostly been hardcore financial grinding. I used to be meticulous about my financial record keeping and budgeting, but when my PDA had problems around May this year it all kind of fell apart. I couldn’t enter the transactions immediately they took place and I inevitably forgot to do it afterwards, so the whole thing fell apart. Tonight I caught up. Luckily the version of MS Money we’re using has some rather smart import features, so I was able to import the last six month’s transactions directly from my bank and only had to manually enter about a month’s worth.

Once that was all complete I felt better about my money; I realised that my ISA was back in profit (I got into it just before the market fell away at the turn of the decade and was running at a loss for a year or two.) I also realised that the shares that the company paid me as part of my bonus this year are actually worth a decent amount of cash – albeit that I can’t realise it for a while yet…

Ah well, if I don’t die young I’ll live to be a reasonably well provided-for old man.

I should also make sure I get my beauty sleep so that Brett still thinks I’m a reasonably-cute well-provided-for old man! So, Goodnight!

No comments: