Monday, 28 July 2014

Digital and real farmer...

My latest craze over my mobile phone is a game called ‘Hay Day’! I think I’ve been playing it nonstop for more than the last month. At first I can’t say I was overly impressed. I found the graphics and theme nice but I didn’t think I could get hooked. I had the impression that I’d be bored easily due to the lack of storyline since the only thing you have to do is produce, harvest and sell your farm's products. But after building and expanding my farm to accommodate new types of livestock and vegetables / fruit, I find myself been drawn to it and keep going back. 


 

I’m not sure which experience level I’ve reached and the moment. I’m still trying to keep up with my ship orders and farm expansions. I can’t say that I have the most beautiful farm, but it’s functional and I although there are some micro transactions in the game to speed things up and buy beautifications for your farm, I haven’t caved in to do it.


On another hand, I’ve been having a very good harvest this year in real life so far. I first planting some vegetables when I moved in with JJ in his old place, some years ago and I got intrigued and kept doing every year since. This year in my new house, it was no different. JJ built a very nice vegetable patch on the right hand side of the garden. There, after seeding the vegetables in pots indoors I’ve transferred some courgettes, beans, lettuces and tomatoes outside.

 
The vegetable patch can be seen here on the left at the back of the house.
That photo was quite early on.

The size of the courgette!
 
One courgette - two trays of lasagne! 

Green salad from the garden to your plate.
 
Green Beans
 
For the time being we’ve tried beans, courgettes and lettuces from the garden and they’ve been amazing. From a single beans plant we got so many pods! We also got some massive courgettes which we’ve used in lasagne twice so far! I can never get bored of lasagne! We’re trying to use whole-wheat pasta, low calorie sauces, cottage cheese instead of ricotta and various vegetables or soya mincemeat instead of the real thing. The output might sound a bit bland, but it’s amazing. Believe me.
 
The tomatoes are still to come

 
I can't say that I completely know what I'm doing while growing the vegetables or tomatoes. I'm just going along trying to keep them slug free, water them regularly and add some extra plant feed to them from time to time. I have lost some of the vegetables because I didn't pay attention to harvest them in time. But overall I'm happy with the results and doing a bit of gardening is quite therapeutic from time to time. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

View from the top

It’s been a while since my last post and I have lots of catching up to do with your blogs. I will get down to it though. I’ve missed doing that. In my part of the world life has been very busy and time just flew by.

In the house front, we undertook the project of creating a new patio (?) in the back of the garden. Do you call that a patio or a deck or what? Instead of going with a wooden deck, we decided it would be easier to put slabs to create a bbq area next to the small shed. JJ had some days off work and he loves working on the garden, so we went for it. After checking YouTube / ‘how to’ videos and things online we went for a quick dry and easy slab layer solution and ordered bags and bags of them. We also got the number of slabs needed. Thank god that JJ’s good at DIY. I was basically the little help boy, but I believe I helped a lot by carrying various stuff around and taking care of the minor details.


The final result is quite good. We didn’t manage to get the exact elevations we wanted but I think that it looks quite decent and functional. JJ is still working on the final touches but we’re almost done. We will order some grass to put on the sides of the path…

On a very different note, it was my beloved ‘JJ’s 40th birthday last week! He insisted on not doing much about it, but I couldn’t help myself. He was working an early shift that morning and finished around noon. So, I did the same. I booked half a day off work and met him at home. I took Penny for a small walk while he rested for half an hour, since waking up at 3:00am can be a mood killer. After that we jumped on the tube and headed to ‘London Bridge’! There we went up the elevator and went outside in the 69th floor to admire the views from the top of the Shard!

Tower Bridge with the Isle of Dogs at the back

The birthday boy and me with the Thames at the back

Facing west

We were really lucky with the weather. It was sunny with some occasional clouds here and there casting beautiful shadows over the buildings. Since it was a weekday the place wasn’t very crowded and we were able to freely walk around and enjoy the experience. Unfortunately the sunny sky meant that we couldn’t take many pictures with us and the background view together because we either came up really dark or the background very bright. We managed to take some photos nonetheless. Overall, the views are breath taking. The building is perfectly situated over the Thames overlooking the whole city. Especially in days with good visibility, you can see for miles.

View of the City

After that we headed to a delicious dim sum restaurant overlooking the Tower Bridge. We were able to sit outside and enjoy the weather. We couldn’t stay long or have lots of alcohol since JJ had to get up the same time the next morning as well. But I hope that he enjoyed the day as much as I did.

And to wrap things up, here’s a few pictures of Penny:

Enjoying a day out in Clapham Common

Going crazy for a tennis ball

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Various News Update

It’s been almost a month (minus a days) since I started my new eating habits. It’s been going generally well and it’s been much easier since JJ is doing a diet with me. I’m proud to say that the amount of delicious bad stuff like red meat, bread, cheese, chocolate, fried stuff and sugar I had during that month was kept to an absolute minimum. When you start looking for it, you can see that substances like sugar is basically everywhere! You can’t help it. But at least I've stopped the full fat cappuccinos with extra brown sugar. I used to have 2 to 3 a day. That should count, right? Overall I've lost about 5 kg in the last month, which I have to say I'm quite happy with. Now, my BMI is 24, down from 25.7, although I believe that the whole BMI as an indicator is a bit flawed. And that was only the first month.

On another medical issue, since my half marathon last March I've been having some issues with my right knee. I noticed it during my first recovery run after that race. I went to a physio and he said I have ITBS. It has to do, I assume, with the amount of running I do over tarmac, the sudden increase of mileage and maybe lack of post running stretching. Since then I tried to rest it but had to keep on training since I have another half marathon this Sunday in Hackney (RunHackney). Unfortunately the pain didn't go away and I had to cancel my race for this Sunday. I’m a bit disappointed because I would have ran it with JJ and it would have been great to run between the buildings of London’s Olympic Park. But alas, I won’t. At least I’ll go take photos and cheer for JJ and another friend who’s doing the same race. I’ll try to do it next year. At the moment I’m waiting for NHS to be properly referred to a clinic to get treatment.

So overall I can say that dieting is going great but exercising not so well. At least I still have my personal trainer at the gym.

Not sure about the sun during the English summer, but the rest...

Changing subjects, I can also now say that I became an IT team leader! I used to belong to the team that I now lead, so I have experience of what we do and how. However, I've never had a similar position and it might prove challenging, but at least for the moment it’s going well. Although I have noticed a couple of days ago some grey hair on my ‘fringe’. Could they be new?

Anyway, I’m at the process of recruiting for my old position in the team. That is way more time consuming than I thought it would be, but can at least be fun. I can now easily say how NOT to write a CV. The things I've seen… For example starting your CV by demonstrating your hobbies is not a very good idea! Is that the most important thing you can offer to the role? Especially if your hobbies are online or ‘live’ poker! Yes, these are genuine pastimes (who am I to judge?) but at the same time if they are the first thing I read about you, I can’t help but think ‘possible gambling problem’. At least he didn't add porn or illegally downloading copyrighted material. Adding that you've worked for a serious IT company for only 9 whole days including a weekend, is also not a good personality indicator.