Thursday, March 25, 2004

eh10 can remain eh10

I'd almost forgotten about that...

oor hoose

Yep, we can finally say that. The flat we are currently living in is pretty much ours - it will be once the missives are complete and we exchange on 16th April. Yay! Can't quite believe it finally happened. There was much anguish, gnashing of teeth, a wee bit of playing hardball, and it has taken a wee while to come to terms with the fact that we are not going to be moving, after spending so long thinking about moving and trying to make it happen.

We can reclaim Thursday nights and Sundays, and Monday nights when the espc website is updated. It's quite a relief!

The weather didn't really get much better in Amsterdam, but we had a good time anyway. Our hotel was fab, even though the climb up the stairs to our "Mae West" room on the third floor required mountaineering skills (the stairs were very steep). Only 5 rooms, I think, so quite homely, and breakfast definitely fuel for the day.

Other highlights were the Van Gogh museum, and the Anne Frank House - incredibly simple and quite sombre, but an affecting experience. It reminds you of the impact that one young person's writing and experience can have, and even managed to keep the ubiquitous American tourists quiet for an hour or so. Shopping continued to be a worthwhile pursuit, as was cafe-hopping...mmm...applepie...yum...

Off to France on Saturday. It seems like our feet have barely touched the ground this week!

Saturday, March 20, 2004


Hello from the Netherlands - a really windy and sometimes rainy, but rather charming, Amsterdam. Nice to be here and away for a weekend. We're in the depths of touristville just now (the first time today though) and consequently are suffering an attack from loud Americans (do they come any other way when abroad?) in the internet cafe.

Our time here didn't start so well - I got our Hotel Keizerhof muddled with Hotel Keizergracht. One was much closer to the railway station that the other...we had quite a long walk! And I felt quite silly. Ah well.

Since then, we've had lots of amazing coffee (not at "coffee shops", though), are well-fed, and have visited lots of uber stylish design stores (and seriously considered Easyjet's reaction to taking chairs as hand luggage). The highlight of the day so far has definitely been the discovery of Kitsch Kitchen - the ultimate antidote to beige.

Sunday, March 14, 2004


Something I didn't consider in our quest for a new abode...postcode. If we move out of EH10 I'll need to rename my blog. I can't believe A hasn't factored this into his "consider every possibility and rank it" spreadsheet yet. That's probably why things haven't worked out for us so far...

More unsuccessful offers found us fleeing Edinburgh for the day yesterday, to an altogether more friendly place...Glasgow. The great thing is it's only 45 mins away on the train, so no pre-planning required.

It rains lots more in Glasgow, and, true to form, it was pissing down when we arrived - meaning that our first purchase of the day was a brolly! By afternoon, though, the sun was shining through a very moody sky, and the views from the top of the Lighthouse were spectacular. Not a real lighthouse, you ken, but a centre for architecture & design, housed in a Charles Rennie MacKintosh designed building, complete with an uber stylish design store, the best views in town, and some great exhibitions. We checked out the latest Hungarian architecture in preparation for our trip there in June (geeks that we are) and were astounded by some of the daft suggestions in Re:Motion - an exhibition about sustainability (eg. flood the site of Waverley station - Edinburgh's main train station - and use seaplanes as transport to/from Edinburgh instead).

Retail therapy was achieved without even buying anything - just wandering around the ultra-trendy Open and checking out the latest t-shirts, sneakers and other treasures is enough to lift the spirits. Glasgow's apparently the best place to shop in the UK, after London. It beats the pants off Edinburgh anyway.

As always, the weekend has flown by. Next weekend we have three days in Amsterdam, though, and the week after that we'll be in France. Yay.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Sabotage update

Last night the was the first viewing of our flat. Our landlord - Grimm by name and nature - was brusque and businesslike as always, seemingly forgetting that this is actually our home as well as a sales proposition. He came armed with accessories - a horrible standard lamp which nonetheless cast a very nice light, and pictures which he hung above our bed - no questions, no apologies, just down to business and please put away that unsightly ironing board. At least he said please.

He hadn't reckoned with all our deviousness though. We have two lamps in the living room which cast a very nice light, but there is no centre light. The only other lighting option is a seventies-style fluoro concealed behind a pelmet - we never have it on as it is hideous (and shows up all the flaws in the paintwork). I woke up one night last week with the cunning thought that if the lamps were not working, the fluoro would have to be on. A. embraced this wholeheartedly, and set about breaking the filament in one of the bulbs. Throughout the whole disturbing and bizarre (second) helicopter episode of ER (I thought it was quite sad that no-one found Romano - his pic on the end credits the only reference to his fate) he shook and rattled this lightbulb - to no avail. It remained intact, but not when subjected to the same treatment after spending a night in the freezer. See, physics study comes in handy for something! We thought we'd been scuppered when we got home after the viewing, as Grimm had swapped the bulb with that of another lamp in our bedroom. But someone must be looking out for us, because it wasn't working either.

Rereading the above paragraph, we sound quite mad! We probably are!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

No news is never good news

Another week and a bit, another ten houses viewed, another two offers, and ever more astronomical prices. Waiting to hear whether your offer's been accepted, every minute past noon means the probability has shrunk. Yesterday, it was 4:30 before we found out...not a fun afternoon!

In a twist to the tale, the flat we are currently renting is also for sale. We thought we might be able to sneakily buy it before it went to market, but our landlord's solicitor stymied that plan. So now we're working on sabotage - stinky food, dirty washing, Andrew's even dismantled the toilet cistern. Actually, he did that (at 2am this morning) because something seemed to be wrong with the overflow mechanism (I just thought it was raining outside), but even though it's now fixed it looks like something's badly wrong so we're thinking about leaving it off!

Snow was in the air. It's been gloriously sunny for about 10 days straight. Mightily chilly/frosty/frozen canal kind of weather, probably the coldest of the winter so far, but beautiful. Things are changing, however, and rain is on the cards, according to A's brand new all-singing, all-dancing weather station. It tells us the temperature and humidity in different rooms, as well as barometric readings, moon phases, the time (synchronised by radio - so it just found the correct time moments after him turning it on), wakes us up in the morning, and probably other things I've forgotten about. He's in gadget heaven, and I'm feeling quite chuffed to have chosen such a popular pressie.

Great Oscar results! It's a shame to have missed watching it at the beloved Embassy, and to be so far removed from the action & celebration. I didn't manage to watch it at all - no amount of national pride could drag me out of bed at 2am (with a cold) to watch it, and I don't think the news coverage here was particularly comprehensive (perhaps even a bit cynical).

Mmmm...I smell some risotto action in the kitchen...