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Last week’s recap

On Wednesday I thought, I don’t feel like posting right after 9/11, I’ll write something Thursday. On Thursday, I went out for drinks with co-workers, and after a few beers, whatever little desire for blogging I might have had was encompassed by the strong desire for bed…

On Friday, I went to gym after work, and the end result was not unlike the preceding Thursday… I was fully prepared to allocate some time to blogging on Saturday, only we spent the day in London and returned home after midnight. So here we are, on Sunday, and I have not posted anything for practically a week…

But there is hardly anything newsworthy to report, anyway.

The passport epic has finally come to an end. We obtained proper UK stamps in kids’ new passports, with very little effort, expenditure (at least, from the perspective of our personal finances) or aggravation. Interestingly, because their passports were stamped in-country, they got residency permits, while Natasha and I still have UK entry clearances. The attorney who handled the process assured me that the effect is entirely the same.

The gas service adventure is on-going. We had a technician come to the house, confirm that the “new” gas meter is the correct one, and now I have to call British Gas again and negotiate what it means for our payments, since the current bill in my possession lists an incorrect meter and, therefore, invalid readings.

I’ve been to the gym three times during the week, including an amazing feat of going at 5:30pm on Friday afternoon. As opposed to, you know, going home… The plan is to work it into the schedule in the middle of the day, but I am sure that it will unlikely happen too often… I haven’t figured out how to make the experience even a tiny bit enjoyable, but at least I have not searched for an excuse to skip it yet, which has got to be chalked up to the win column… The afterwards combination of aching muscles, diminished energy levels and the general feeling of wasted time is bound to get to me one day if I don’t see some results pronto, though.

I haven’t played any more golf since the girls returned, but I may sneak a round in this afternoon. Especially, since Natasha has expanded her badminton career into tournament participation, and will go and play some today. I feel deprived…

We took another trip to the South Bank, for the Thames Festival. Street entertainment, variety of food, craft and souvenir stands, children activities, lots of beer, huge crowds… After a fashion, it was fun (certainly better than spending the day at the house), especially given the gorgeous weather, but yours truly would exchange it for a visit to some gallery or castle in a heartbeat… Southwark Bridge, closed to motorized traffic, was transformed into fair grounds, impersonating a sandy beach, a pumpkin farm, a bar lounge and a biergarten in various parts… We walked alongside Thames from London Bridge to Waterloo Bridge, which is undoubtedly more pleasant with none of the crowds…

The bulk of the week, though, was spent by Natasha – with my involvement in an occasional advisory capacity – on planning our various travels for the next year. Not everything is finalized, but certain things are. We are taking a weekend trip to Bath and Stonehenge in a couple of weeks, then going for a week in Loire Valley in October. In early December, we’ll drive to Koln to partake in Christmas markets in Germany. Going somewhere warm for the Christmas week was in the plans until we realized that even my seemingly limitless vacation days would all have been used by that time. We have to be home for the New Year’s anyway, since Becky leaves on a school ski trip to Switzerland in the very early morning of January 2nd. We are doing likewise as a family for a week in February.

The March/April period remains undefined. Becky and Kimmy, inexplicably, are having their spring breaks consecutively, so any long trip would require us to take one of them out of school (which, as I have mentioned somewhere in the past, is subject to limitations, including criminal penalties, at state schools like the one Kimmy attends; given how much we pay for Becky’s school, it is simply stupid to have her miss classes). We are, however, looking at the possibility of going for a long weekend to Wales and also to Holland to see tulips.

End of May will see us on Costa del Sol in Marbella. And then, for summer, there is a six-week Catalonia-Provence-Tuscany villa vacation for the ladies, which I will be joining and re-joining a couple of times. We already have the Spanish and Italian villas lined up, and Natasha is looking for Cote-d’Azur accommodations near St-Tropez for the middle leg.

Other weekend trips are likely to be worked into the plan at a later date (to places like Lille, Ghent, Antwerp), but a trip to the US is unlikely. Despite the fact that our MAXjet debacle in August has turned into a Virgin Atlantic treat, we still did receive free round-trip tickets from MAXjet as compensation, valid for one year to any destination that it flies to (there are only four: New York, Washington, Las Vegas, Los Angeles). We probably would not mind spending a week on the West Coast, or flying home for a week, but we do not see how to work that into schedule…

And this is as good summary of the last week as I can come up with.

Posted in Chronicles