A weekend away

It was a long weekend for most workers in Britain because Monday was a bank holiday. The train stations were extraordinary busy as most people, myself included, have chosen to travel within or without the UK before the summer ends.My husband and I went to Preston, a town in the North West region of England to visit a couple. They just moved down south from Glasgow and have rented a country house to settle down for the time being. It is such a lovely home, I loved it the minute I got out of the car. The front garden was immaculate with carpet grass that makes you feel like lying on it under the sun. The house boasts 4 double bedrooms with 5 toilets/ bathrooms! It also has a good sized dining room and a lovely lounge with extremely comfortable sofa. It’s almost a house to dream for.The highlight of my weekend was our trip to Lake District. We went to Ambleside and the town was so idyllic. In order to capture the serenity of this famous place, we challenged ourselves with a 3 hour walk and hiking. In fact, there are various walking trails and we just chose one that led us to Loughrigg Fell as we were told that it’ll be worth it. On our way up, there were walls at parts of the trail that were built using stacked slates partly covered with moss. It felt as though we were on an adventurous journey in the LOTR’s ‘Middle Earth’. There were also lambs almost everywhere that add a tinge of life to form the picturesque country view.

Grasmere lake

We climbed to the crest of Loughrigg Fell which is 335m high and the sights were breathtaking. I have to confess that the journey was a lot more interesting than being at the top. My hubby has taken a few photos which I have posted here as I think they deserve more admirers. Except the crowd that packed the town due to the long weekend, it was otherwise a perfect getaway.

Grasmere Lake 2

I won’t complain about the weather as I didn’t expect it to be all sunny. I was last in Lake District about 6 years ago and I almost forgot how pretty it is. It’s definitely worth going again and I suspect that will be soon too.That just about summarised my weekend and it is a little bit of a pain to be back home in the city centre after a 4 hour delayed train journey. Reality is a pain when you realise that you are stucked in it.:)

Corner shops

Today I paid a rare visit to the corner shop just down the road from where I live. As one could easily have guessed, I went there for the milk. Although the corner shop was not a place I particularly enjoyed buying my stuff from, it was convenient for me. I bought a 2-pint bottle of milk, and it costed me the same as buying it from Sainsbury in town. I was surprised, as I thought corner shops should price slightly higher to survive these days.It’s a pity that more and more corner shops are being squeezed out by big supermarket chain, not just in the UK. I remember back in Malaysia, when I was a kid, the owner of a sundry shop used to deliver groceries to my house on a motorbike. All the goods that were delivered were recorded in a little “555” booklet, and we only needed to settle the payment once a month. In the french movie “Amelie”, the groceries delivery boy even possessed keys into apartments so that groceries can be delivered “safely” into the apartments. That was the kind of trust and relationship people had with the local sundry shop back then, which I think was lovely.Come to think about it now, after 20 years, this kind of home delivery service is now back on the menu as one of the list of services big supermarket can offer to the consumers, at a cost and without the personal touch from someone you are familiar with. For groceries shopping, it’s hard to see how this service model can gain more market share or be profitable for the supermarket, and be valued by the customers. Nevertheless for the corner shops left in the UK, which do not do local delivery, and make little effort to personalise their service, I’m afraid that their days are numbered.

Growing herbs

Herbs growing may not appeal to many people but it’s definitely one of my favourite past-times. It is so exciting to see your plants germinate then growing inch by inch each day. The joy of being able to harvest herbs from your backyard whenever you need them for cooking is simply irresistible.With autumn approaching, rain began pouring since two weeks ago. I was rather worried about the plants at my backyard as there is no shelter from the rain. You will need a rather sophisticated green house in order to balance the sunlight and rainfall which is a luxury that I cannot afford at the moment. However, it appears that my worry may be needless after all. The plants are flourishing ever since the rainy season started and the herbs are growing faster than ever. My basil plant has doubled its size since 2 weeks ago. You can feel so much life in these plants just by looking at them each day and it gives you so much satisfaction.At the moment, I only have basil, coriander, parsley and thyme in my collection. Hopefully I will be able to add more to my collection when next summer comes. My immediate worry is to think of a way to keep my plants healthy throughout the winter. Otherwise, I might just have to sow the seeds again next spring. I still have so much to learn about growing herbs. I would love to be able to complement the herbs to my cooking in time. So much about herbs growing for now and I will keep my fingers crossed that they will continue to flourish before the winter comes.

Expectation

LFC Watched Liverpool kicked start their season this afternoon. It was a disappointing afternoon. Against a newly promoted team, Sheffield United, Liverpool, although not with their best eleven, should have enough quality to have won the game. The first half was awful. Before the match, I was all excited, and so looking forward to the start of the season, as I genuinely, despite the setback today, believe that Liverpool finally have the squad to win the title this year, after surrendering the crown for 16 years. But the team was playing so poorly in the first half that my emotions slowly swung from excitement to anger, angry at a team I’ve supported half my life and which I’m so passionate about.Such is the danger of having expectation of anything, especially high expectation. Actually, football game is a bad example to talk about expectation (but I am going to do that anyway). In this modern time, football is a crazy game, too much money is involved. Fans have to pay ridiculous amount of money to watch a game at the stadium and players are earning a lot of money, from ticket sales, merchandising, sponsorship etc. There you go, I pay to watch, you perform, that’s the mentality most fans have. That’s hardly surprising really, as we are all brought up to expect certain level of service from things we pay for, from the electronics we buy with warranty to the service we can expect to get from eating in McDonalds.Take away the money, and you can see that it becomes difficult for fans to have the same level of expectation from the team. As with all competitive game, the players want their team to win, which is the goal of the game, to win. If they try to play it differently, then they are not playing the game. Ok, without the money, some fans still have a lot of expectation from their team, particulary one with an illustrious tradition of winning trophies like Liverpool 🙂 Now what? Think I’ll continue later, gotta go out 🙂

Cron jobs

For those of you who don’t know, a cron is a unix command normally used to schedule a job that is executed periodically. Yeah, I know, but I’m excited because I finally know how to schedule tasks to run on my server, and it is so easy! “crontab -e” is the key. I can now schedule google sitemap generator to generate Sitemap at 00:00 everday and output it to the root directory of my site. I am happy 🙂

Life and death

Ever since I am 10,000 miles away from home, there is a fear that has been bugging me. This morning, I got a call from my best mate from Singapore. It is not usual and I know something must have happened. It turned out that one of our very close friend’s mum just passed away. I felt very sorry for what had happened but at the same time I was relieved. I am not ready to face matters of life and death yet. I have serious problems handling babies and at the other extreme, I don’t think I can handle if any of my family members passed away.Sometimes I do wonder what truly happens when one dies. Are there really spirits? How do you know for sure if you have not experienced it yourself. I am not a religious person. If I am at all religious, it will only be scientifically religious. That’s probably related to my education background and the fact that I have more questions than all the faiths I ever have in anything. Even when faith exists, it’s based on my past experience and logics. To have so much trusts in something that cannot be proven in any way is, to me, an alien concept.I don’t even know whether I should give my friend a call. I am not particularly good in handling situations like these and I don’t even know what to say. I mean, all I can think of to say is, be strong, take good care. It just sounds so superficial and to be honest, there IS really no best words to use.I can’t help but to relate sickness to our lifestyle. Honestly, it doesn’t cost much to be healthy. Ever since I start taking care of my diet and staying active, I feel rejuvenated and refreshed everyday. All you need is a few fruits and some salad everyday. It doesn’t take much preparation. Well, I have to agree that it may sound bland to some, but with a bit of ideas, it does actually spice up your food and health too! With a bit more time, I will probably share my ideas. But for now, it’s time to take my bubble bath.p/s: You might find some meal ideas at eDiets 🙂

Electoral roll

I remember laughing at an advertisement sticked on a bus persuading people to get themselves registered on the electoral roll in return for better credit ratings. Not so funny anymore when I found out that the two credit ratings agencies – equifax and experian really do use the electoral roll information when they compile my credit histories. So this time I was quick to reply to the council when I realised that my name wasn’t registered to vote on this new property that I recently moved into. Basically equifax and experian use the information on the electoral register as a source for your name and address. So if you weren’t on the register, you have one less source in your credit report to back that you are living in your current address.I used to think that if i didn’t owe any companies any money, or didn’t have any bad debts, I should have good credit history (having mentioned that, it’s probably worth spending £2 to get a copy of your credit history from equifax and experian, just to make sure that the credit history that they compiled reflects your actual position. If they weren’t you should definitely inform them). However, it appears that it doesn’t quite work like that (sounds like it’s coming from the stupid Nationwide advertisement) :). In fact it’ll do your credit history some good by owing banks (say loan or mortgage) or credit card companies some money, but do remember to make repayments (with some interest) on time. By doing so, it shows that you are a good debtor, not running away from debts, and making repayments promptly :)But why is it necessary to build a good credit history? Well, it depends. For me, I want my credit history to work for me when I need to borrow a large amount of money, especially in the case where the amount is much more than my earning power.

Finally up and running

What should normally take 5 minutes to set up ended up taking me days! To be fair to wordpress, if you are using a third party web hosting service, it shouldn’t really take you much time to get wordpress installed and there you can start blogging. I know I should shoulder some blame as well, as I tried to host this website on my home machine, which wasn’t equipped with php and mysql initially. But to later find out that it was actually a simple mistake in the wordpress package that was preventing me from getting this done sooner was absolutely deflating. That closing php tag, which was one short in the install script, was costly because it confused me into thinking, for days, that my web server wasn’t configured to work as required by wordpress, which uses php and mysql. But on a positive note, much was learnt during the process, as is always the case when you play with Linux. Avoid using pre-compiled binaries if you have multiple packages that you want to link together. Compile from source always gives you control over what you want and don’t want.