Lost Rambler

Life in the family lane

Saturday morning passtime

October 1, 2007 by LostRambler

On Saturday mornings, when we get up early enough, the wife and I bundle the kids into the car and head off to Shootash, just outside of Romsey, a pleasant 20 minute drve down the country lanes to the west of Southampton.

The reason we go to Shootash is that there is a car-boot sale there. For those international readers who may not be familiar with this traditional English event, imagine a field full of cars, arranged in rows. Behind each car there is a table full of the stuff which the owner of the car is selling. The place has an air of festival about it; there will be at least one fast-food van selling burgers and hot-dogs and at least one ice-cream van. At a good boot sale there will be a mix of traders (who make their money by buying and selling junk) and people who have had a clear-out and want to make a little holiday money.  We far prefer the latter as you pick up almost anything for pennies.

Car Boot Sale

We love the sales for two reasons. Firstly it’s nearly free entertainment (there’s a very small entrance fee): Nosily raking through other people’s junk is fantastic fun. Secondly, we usually find something we need. Among our best purchases have been a trampoline for the son, garden-grown vegetables and more baby clothes than you could shake a stick at.

Posted in family, life |

Overheard on the street…

September 26, 2007 by LostRambler

Walking to my car yesterday I was on the other side of the road to another person who I didn’t take much notice of. However, it turned out she had a really loud piercing voice, and despite the several meters distance between us I couldn’t help but hear every word of her side of the conversation she was having on her mobile phone. By the time her voice started to fade (I was walking significantly faster than her) I slowed to catch the rest of it:

Is Michelle there?

Well, Chantalle’s been telling everyone that Christine is pregnant, but she isn’t.

Yeah, but now Steve has found out and Christine is really angry. You haven’t seen Chantalle have you? Christine is looking for her and she’s going to kill her. I need to find her first.

Ok, well tell your mum that I’ll be around in a couple of minutes.

Up to the last line I’d assumed she was a 16-year-old girl. I had a surreptitious glance in her direction. She was older than me, and I assume her two friends are too.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Christine eventually does catch up with Chantalle.

Posted in huh?, life |

A Korean Room

September 22, 2007 by LostRambler

I went to London on Wednesday for a meeting. I couldn’t believe the price of a peak time day return. Over £50! The meeting went well. It was at the University of London, and we were almost finished by lunchtime, so decided to work through. I left at around 3pm really, really hungry.

I decided to wander back to the tube in a random direction (you can always find a tube station by walking in a random direction in central London) so as to see a little of the city. Would you believe I stumbled upon the back entrance of the British Museum. A Korean exhibition room was signposted, so I checked it out.

Korean Pots

It was full of Korean things. Imagine that, a little bit of Korea in the middle of London.

I decided I had to get home, so I walked through the museum to the front and out to find lunch (a spectaular burger) and a tube station (where I met a colleague by random chance).

My journey from the back of the museum to the front took me from a small door surrounded by small galleries through progressively bigger and grander spaces, until the main entrance hallway was reached. This was one of the biggest and grandest rooms I’d ever been in. Exiting, the front was a huge columned facade that was grander than the entrance hallway. I recommend everyone go through the museum like this. I would imagine going through in the right way would mean every room is slightly less than the previous, which doesn’t seem like as much fun to me.

The experience left me hungry for more as aside from the Korean room, I saw glimpses of the what could be seen.

Posted in travel |

Another one…

September 14, 2007 by LostRambler

I have another nephew. This is nephew number five for me. He’s having some minor difficulties in feeding, hence the IV and feeding tube.

Little Cahner

His birth-weight was 3.24kg (7lb 2oz), and aside from a little trouble starting to feed, both Mother and baby are doing really well.

Cahner, Mummy and Daddy

It’s really nice to have another baby in the extended family. My mother now has 10 grandchildren!

Posted in family |

Quantum baby

September 14, 2007 by LostRambler

Well, my household is all healthy again. The son is consistently sleeping through the night, the wife’s tonsillitis is now all better and the daughter is, as always, a smiling bundle of joy. We though the son was an easy baby, but the daughter has set the new standard. She’s all smiles, and when she cries (which is extremely rare anyway) all it takes is a little cuddle to get her to stop.

She’s also learning to crawl, or at least we think she is. I say that because we’ve never seen her move. When we’re looking at her she lays on the floor quite happily, kicking and waving with great gusto and an absolute absence of locomotion. She will quite happily stay in one place grasping for toys that are just out of our reach all the time our eyes are on her.

If we then watch TV for a minute, pop to the toilet, stir a pot on the stove, get a drink from the fridge or even blink, the next time we look at the daughter, she will be in a completely different part of the room, in a completely different position.

But we’ll never see her move.

Posted in family |

What a mess

September 5, 2007 by LostRambler

The son has a really nasty chest infection for which he is on antibiotics. He’s been ill for over a week, and is not eating. He has shrunk a nappy size. We’re very worried. He coughs all through the night and wakes himself up. He has trouble going to sleep.

The last one I can do something about. I usually sit in his room and do something on my laptop while he falls asleep. Today I thought about clearing up my desktop. I didn’t have time. I did take this picture of it. Would you believe there are 218 icons on my desktop. I really should be more organised.

My Desktop

By the time I had arranged them for the picture (no mean feat), the son was fast asleep.

Mission accomplished.

Posted in family, life |

On trains and international relations

August 30, 2007 by LostRambler

Korea installed a high-speed rail link between Busan and Seoul. At the time, I said the following:

When a country goes shopping for a fast train they basically have two choices. Japan, a country located a scant few miles away from Korea, has the bullet train. France, on the other side of the world, has the TGV. Korea wanted a to buy a handful of fast trains. In some strange twist of business, politics, or just sheer spite, the Koreans chose the French train.

Well, it seems that the UK has the same statement to make about France. We just bought some high-speed trains for the 2012 Olympics. Did we choose trains from our close neighbour and European ally, France, or did we get Japan to put them on a boat and sail them half-way around the world?

I read in the local paper yesterday that the first of 30 Japanese bullet trains were offloaded in Southampton a few days ago.

It makes me wonder exactly how these decisions are made…

Posted in huh? |

So go the nights…

August 29, 2007 by LostRambler

Two nights ago I slept badly. The son kept wandering into our room at all hours of the night. I put him back to bed three times, then gave up and slept the rest of the night on the very small sofa in his room. I got up stiff, tired and irritable.

Last night, I had barely fallen asleep when the son started crying. I went to check on him and found he was hot to the touch. I undressed him, gave him some paracetamol, sponged him down and rooted around in the house for our thermometer. He was running a fever of 39.2, and that was after I had worked for 20 minutes on cooling him down!

I still get freaked out when the kids get sick, so I took him to the local hospital’s A&E department. The triage nurse measured his temperature (38.2), gave him some ibuprofen, then sent us to wait in the children’s waiting room.

About three hours passed.

The son’s normal temperature returned almost immediately, and with it came his usual upbeat personality. He spent the whole time doing anything energetic he could think of. He ran around, pushed his pushchair, played with the toys, pressed the buttons on the vending machine, climbed on and over the chairs and pushed me around in a wheelchair, all the time making loud and happy noises.

I spent the whole time trying not to fall asleep.

When we were called through, the Doctor took the son’s temperature (perfectly healthy), checked his ears and throat (perfectly healthy) and said that it was probably a virus and just ‘one of those things that children get’. We were sent home with some ibuprofen.

We arrived back at about 3:30am, and I collapsed into bed and fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning, I was not awoken by the wife. She, sweetheart that she is, tiptoed around the house all morning. I was not awoken by the son, who is quite content if the TV is on. I was not awoken by the daughter, who is generally a quiet baby anyway.

What woke me up was the digging up of the road outside my bedroom window. There’s nothing like the sound of a pneumatic drill to shake away the cobwebs.

So, it’s 9:15pm, and I find myself once more sitting outside the son’s room waiting for him to go asleep. All that’s really on my mind is getting to bed myself, and the hope that the night will gift me with at least six solid hours of deep, uninterrupted, beautiful sleep.

Posted in family, life |

For the relatives

August 19, 2007 by LostRambler

Here’s the most recent video of the family, picking tomatoes in the garden and jumping around in the kitchen.

Posted in family, video |

The poor need not apply…

August 16, 2007 by LostRambler

I’m livid.

I found out a couple of days ago that I need to extend my wife’s spouse visa due to an immigration error, just so that I we have the privilege of living in the country long enough to apply for permanent residency.

That doesn’t sound like a terrible thing until you consider the current charges for ‘form processing’. To extend her current visa will cost £395. To apply for permanent residency will cost £750. If you add into that the money that we originally paid for her visa (I don’t recall exactly, but it was in the hundreds – let’s say £300), you get a grand total of £1445. Here are some conversions for clarity:

British Pounds 1,445
US Dollars 2,863
Korean Won 2,708,028
Euros 2,135

Now, for most people – certainly for me – if this isn’t the money I take home after a month’s work, it’s most of it.

But what does this pay for. What am I getting for this?

This money is necessary to process the forms that will allow no action to be take against my wife.

Ultimately, the service I get from the government for a month’s salary is an assurance that the government will not break down my front door in the middle of the night, drag my wife from her bed, put her in a van, drive her to the airport and put her on the first plane to Korea.

There’s a word for this.


Posted in government |