luckykaa: (Wolf)
It's been a busy bank holiday weekend so far. Taking a break for a cup of tea and some blogulaton.

[livejournal.com profile] flickums arranged a trip to Sheffield on Easter Sunday. Dealing with travel on a bank holiday weekend makes it feel like car hire miht make sense. Hiring a car allows other things to be got out of the way. It also means we get to get out of Manchester for a day.

So we went to Bradford. There's not a lot in Bradford. It has a reputation of being a bit of a dump - although I didnt really see that. One thing it does have is the National Science and Media Museum. Flick suggested we should go, and I've wanted to get there since it was called The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. So we set off, got there in no time at all, and then got very lost trying to find somewhere to park in Bradford.

We had fun. We were shown how to make sonic spinners! Had a look at lostsa of photos. Flick bought me a cup of tea and a scone, but then found that I'd taken her wallet out of her bag and not returned it, so she bought it with my money. Ther is a nice exhibition of vintage cameras and a very interesting floor all about the impact of television. They also have a video games lounge. I challenged Flick to a game of Pong and got my ass handed to me. We also played Gaunlet. I was Thor. Flick was Thyra. Flick foolishly went to the first exit on the first level, leaving me to struggle to get to the exit to level 8 all by myself. I dies first but my score was higher. Also had fun in the Wonderlab. These hands on science things seem like fun, but I do wonder if kids really learn anything from them.

Today I had a car and the spare room is feeling a bit full of junk. I rather like the idea of having a spare room with a bed in it, so I rented a storage locker and moved the bike and boxes cluttering up that room into storage. It was nice and cheap. Bit of an issue is actually getting in. The entrance is not very wide. The road with the entrance on is very narrow. Fine for getting a Corsa in, but I hope there's another entrance for larger vehicles. Also quite a bit of crazy to-ing and fro-ing as everyone wants to go in and out of the same entrance. Still, after 3 trips, I have a clearn man-cave and lots of stuff out of the corridor.

Couple more things to get done today and then I can finally put my feet up!
luckykaa: (Wolf)
So, having breakfasted, unloaded the van, and turned the new flat into a box fortress wed decided to get an early start to Ikea.

Holly The Evil Satnav took us most of the way there but decided to send us right when the entrance to the store was to the left. Damn you Tomtom! Why can't you store entry points? Once again I was uirged to make a u-turn which I ignored. Instead I took a wobbly route around the streets to turn around. Plenty of room to park but no specific parking spaces for larger vans.

Too early to eat so we set off. For those not familiar with Ikea, the bulk of the store is a showroom, where items are labelled with a location in the self service storeroom. You write down the item code and location of the items on a pad (provided at various locations) with a pencil (also provided) and pick up the flatpacks at the end of the trip. Smaller items can be picked up on the way, and put into a heavy duty plastic bag (also provided). [livejournal.com profile] flickums started loading the bag with scented candles.

Sofas first. We needed to test several for snugglability.I found there was free wifi, plus a handy app for the shopping list so downloaded that while testing the comfort of the sofa. The sofa was quite comfy. Had a tryout of the desk I liked the look of. It was too low. This is why it's better to go to a showroom than mail order. I did find the idea of a pop-up power socket kinda cool but it was horribly expensive. My vanity demanded that I get a wardrobe with mirrored doors. Actually it was a really nice configurable design. I have a rail various hooks, a couple of shelves and some pull out drawers. Will enjoy building that. Also bought some under-bed storage now that I have a bed I can store things under. Have since realised that I probably went overboard here. I won't have access to two of those drawers.

Was a little disappointed at the pickup area. The sofa was way too big and heavy for the two of us. And the staff weren't willing to help. Also the hinges for the wardrobe were out of stock. Although decided to go for a 4 pack instead of a 3 pack, oddly, for the same price. Decided to get an armchair as a temporary measure while I decide on the sofa situation.

But, mustn't forget the most important aspect of any Ikea trip: meatballs! Flickums insisted. I was tempted by the loganberry jam.

Really should have bought some jam when I was there.

Also a cutlery tray.

Maybe I should head back. Get the jam.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
I really need to get rid of some of my crap!

Left work early. Picked up keys at letting agent and got a feel for the place. Letting agent was surprisingly quick and efficient. Gave me loads of time to pick up van. It was a pretty damn large van! But I needed that. Holly the evil satnav kept trying to tell me to "Make a u-turn". Not something I really want to do in a van, even if they do have good turning circles.

Had the cunning idea to pick [livejournal.com profile] flickums up at East Midlands Parkway. Parkway stations are in the middle of nowhere so have heaps of space for stopping a van at the pickup/drop-off area. So picked up a flickums. Arrived at Leicester. Ate pizza. Started watching film. Gave up because tired! Went to bed instead. Picked up a mattress on Saturday. Almost got the wrong one but nice man in the shop spotted that the mattress 4'6" and the bag was lying.

Parking in Leicester is always an adventure. A space opened up nearish the flat. Just along the T-junction opposite the flat. Took it as soon as possible. Another space opened up 4m closer. Reversed into that. Then, miraculously, a space opened up that was actually on the same street! Flickums was duly dispatched to stand in the space and prevent anyone from taking it in the minute or so it took me to drive round. Lucky that she did. Someone would have nabbed it without her there.

Spent hours loading stuff into the van, and playing box Tetris. Fitted everything in quite easily. Box avalanches caused: 1

Was getting late so decided everything else can be ferried back in a small, impractical sports car. Stopped at BK on the way back for a burger. Unloaded much of the van. Caused just 2 more box avalanches when unloading. Also everything had shuffled about when driving.

Once I had TV unloaded and router, I decided to fight the internet. I lost. The internet refused to function. Decided to call it a day, dump mattress on the floor and put sheets on it. We needed sleep!
luckykaa: (Wolf)
Getting keys to new flat today. Moving stuff there tomorrow. Ikea on Sunday.

I seem to be inordinately excited about this trip. I think it's because I'm still a bit of a materialist at heart, and want my own stuff. Even if it is highly generic Ikea stuff. Ikea is generic, but inexpensive, reasonably stylish and unless you get the cheapest stuff, durable enough. If it does break it's easily replaced.

I want a nice rug! And I want some under bed storage. And more shelves! And a decent computer desk.

Just wondering whether I want one of their sofas.

And what colour to get.

Must remember to get a colour that doesn't hide remote controls.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
I need to find a flat in Manchester.

There are a handful of properties available on Rightmove and Zoopla. I rather want somewhere that either has a lift or not too many stairs. So not too keen on top floor flats. I prefer unfurnished because I have my own bed and futon and various storage units. I want to be near the metrolink because driving in Manchester is a miserable experience. I want a second bedroom. I'd quite like a gas or halogen hob, cable TV and not too expensive. That limits my options a lot. I also want somewhere available fairly soon.

Trouble is there's not really a lot of time to look for these places. Letting agents only operate during business hours. I can't call around in the evening. I can call at lunch. So I called a couple of places. Both of them were gone. I have no idea what they don't remove the ads from the site when they're not available but it's bloody irritating.

Several of these places are available in November or December. That's no bloody use.

So that leaves remarkably few flats.

I think I need to compromise one something but a decent kitchen (with an adequate cooker) means a lot to me, and at the rental prices here I really think that a landlord can afford a couple of hundred quid for a semi decent hob. I'll probably accept that I still need a furnished flat. My furniture doesn't take up too much space after all. The other possible compromises are price, location and number of rooms. Not sure whether a single bedroom will be enough of Flickums moves in.

This is really frustrating though. And then I'll have the hassle of actually moving. I can't be bothered with this!
luckykaa: (Wolf)
Part 3 of the epic "Luckykaa moves home" series

I signed up to Three before I moved in, because Vodafone PAYG seemed really bad value for money. And I knew I'd want some sort of internet access short term. Figured tethering would do me for the short term.

Arrived at new flat. I got reception near the window, if I stood in exactly the right place. Zero bars. Not quite good enough for reliable browsing.

Thought I'd try to get Internet on a Stick. Tesco is open 24 hours. Sadly the local superstore didn't sell them. The big out of town store probably does but theit phone store was closed b the time I got there. (Was also planning to buy food but all the freezers had broken so that was out of the question too). Considered buying a pair of scissors but since they were all packaged in ways that need scissors to open I decided against that too.

Ordered a new SIM from Gifgaff. It took a long time to arrive but I may have ignored it initially because it looks like junk mail. Still, plugged it in, and set it up, and didn't have internet access. No information on how to get internet access.  No number I can call. Only help is available online. It's that damn Zen scissor riddle again!

Eventually using the slow unreliable Three connection I got information on how to set up giffgaff internet. And it worked! It was fantastic! Fast reliable solid 3 bars! It meant I could actually use the internet properly until Cable guy arrived.

Cable guy arrived after about 10 minutes.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
Hired a van at the weekend. It was really nice. Brand new, with aircon and a handy reversing indicator. Paid extra for a full tank of fuel, before realising that it was only really worth it if I brought it back almost empty. Surprisingly nice to drive, although I felt I was about to tip over every time I went round a corner. Am actually tempted to get a practical car when I replace Megatroff. Fun though a sports car is, a 10 year old MG is a little shaky.

Went to the storage locker. Loaded what I could into the van. Decided that I didn't absolutely need my DVD collection, especially because I lacked storage for it.

Needed to dash back after a short time at home because Flickums was visiting. Got home late. Went straight to bed. Flickums arrived the next day and in order to prove she is the best girlfriend ever, helped me unload. Was considering moving the living rom to the spare bedroom and the spare bedroom into the living room but way too much hassle. And there was snuggling to do.

Realised I really need more storage. And a coffee table. Also needed food. Flickums suggested that since I had the van, we go to Ikea and get meatballs (thus confirming beyond any doubt that she's the best girlfriend ever!)! The ikea in Leicester turned out to be a figment of Google's imagination. But meatballs had been sugested so we had to get meatballs!

Meatballs were duly eaten. Furnishings were bought. I now have the potential joy of assembling a vast quantity of Ikea furniture.

Been a fun weekend.

We did completely fail to see Starlord and the Raptors. But that can wait.

New Flat

Jul. 6th, 2015 01:29 pm
luckykaa: (cortina)
Have now moved into new home. It's an odd place and not quite perfect. It's furnished, but I have furniture. The living room is miles away from the kitchen. It has 2 bedrooms and I only need one (one will become a dining room).

The kitchen is upstairs. This is weird. [livejournal.com profile] flickums declared it The Upside Down House. I agree wholeheartedly.

But on the plus side, it has a good kitchen (gas hob!), is in a good location and has heaps of space. Plus a few cubby holes where I can keep my junk.

Semi moved in.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
So, having thought about things and slept upon things I decided I really liked the 2 bedroom flat. So I called and was told they were in a meeting so they'd call me back. I called again when they didn't. Apparently the place had been taken.

So I arranged to see another flat. Walking distance from the city centre. Not perfect but it had a lot going for it, including already being wired up for cable. Decided it was more than adequate, So I rang up next day. Apparently it had been taken.

Looked for another place online. Rang up to arrange a viewing. Taken.

It's at this point that I start to feel I'm being taunted. At least if I do buy a place I can be sure of a rental income if I need it.

So, the most recent place was actually on the edge of the city. And the buses don't get as far as the railway station, but it does have a few things things going for it:

It's slightly cheaper.
I could get to work without city centre traffic woes
It's absolutely awesome!

I was a little reluctant when I saw it was in a bit of a tatty area, and there was no stairway carpet, but it's exactly the sort of layout I like - combined kitchen/living room. Gas hob (difficult to clean but good for cooking), fully refurbished - the builders are still finishing off! Bedroom is suitably large, it has a bath, there's a shared outdoor area. Also they're going to install the carpet.

So I've asked for an application form. I still fear I may lose out, but this is abut as quick as I can go.
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
Finding a place to live is stressful. It would be easier if I wasn't working... So far I've managed to look at a whpping 3 places!

Place 1 was a house. Out in the middle of nowhere.

I don't want a house.

Place 2 was a hobbit hole. Small but cosy.

The induction hob was tempting. There's something to be said for a city centre location. Can get it furnished if I want. Very small though. Basically a large kitchen with furnishings. I liked the agent. She seemed keen and knowledgable, but not pushy.

Place 3 is another city centre location.

Small living room. Really convenient for John Lewis! Spare room. Could actually set it up so the small bedroom is the bedroom, the large one is the living room and the living room is the dining room. Tempting, but expensive.

My other problem here is that the flats each come with a washing machine. I already have a washing machine. No idea what I'd do with that. It's better than the included one.

Oh well. Two more to look at today. Perhaps they'll be better.

I am tempted by the hobbit hole, as a 6 month stop-gap measure. I'd at least be able to move some of my stuff up, and I could move in immediately (or as soon as I bedsheets and duvets). I could keep most of my stuff in storage in Brighton. I do only want this place until I can be in a position to buy.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
I tried selling my bike today.

I was a little annoyed that the receipt had vanished even though I had kept it around for most of the last year. Still the guy remembered me. And while he was willing to offer me money for the bike strongly discouraged me from accepting it. Which was nice of him, I guess.

His suggestion was that I take it to the park and sit there with it and a for sale sign. Seems fair. Hope the eather's nice tomorrow.

I still have a flat screen TV to shift. It's a little too good to just abandon but ther seems to be no interest on Craigslist and there don't seem to be a lot of second hand shops around. I don't really care about the money although I do have an aversion to giving my landlady too many freebies. She's got a couple  of pots and pans and a good knife and a set of scales.

Aside from that I've spent a lot of the day cleaning. God, what a bore! Still, the bathroom is clean except the floor. The kitchen is clean except the sink area nad oven. The living room os clean except the table and skirting boards and the bedroom is clean. The rest can be done over the course of the week.

Moving out is such a chore!
luckykaa: (Wolf)
Have finally moved the last of my stuff into the new apartment. Not as nice as the old one but at least I get to stay here for more than 3 months. Took a total of 4 journeys. I guess it would have been easier to have hired a car but I dread driving in Berlin.

It's a good location. Granted it is a little further from the station. Still walking distance if I don't feel like waiting for a tram though. What's great is that it's in Prenzlauerberg! So easy to get to all the places that the various social groups like to organise. Went to an Internations event under the TV Tower the other day! Kinda cool bar. Little hipsterish perhaps. TV Tower itself looks like it's worth a visit.

Having moved in I went and bought a new telly. Then I went and bought groceries because I have my priorities right. However I still need to do another shopping trip because once again the kitchen facilities are rubbish. No decent knife, no small saucepans. The frying pan is a shallow saucepan which is find for a lot of potential frying but I really need sloped sides. Boards are not colour coded so have no idea which I should use for what.

Having got used to the fact that everywhere is shut on a Sunday I was going to do a bit of shopping on Saturday afternoon. There are several kitchen shops and similar. Turns out they close at 1pm.

So, just the epic task of unpacking and organising to do. Sigh.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
So, I was hoping I'd have more time at this flat. Despite crappy internet and being a bit impractical for public transport, it's actually rather nice. Sadly the landlord wants it back.

So, I went on a website. Saw some suitable canddidates. Was a little preoccupied with car and work and didn't respond immediately. By the time I agreed to see them they'd all gone. Actually that kept happening. Have decided I need to pounce on these places as soon as I get told of them.

Since seen two places. First one wasn't quite right.

First place - tiny TV stuck on the wall. Scruffy kitchen. Scruffy bathroom. The place could really benefit from a trip to Ikea. The bedroom was nice, being in the basement so a good few degrees cooler than the rest of the place.

Second place Sort of adequate. I decided I'd accept it mainly to remove the flat hunting stress. I realised today that I had the email address wrong. Oh well. Will see what happens
luckykaa: (Wolf)
So, I have returned to Britain.

Moved out of my place in Brussels. Found I had nowhere to live except my parents. Now this is fine for a short time, but I think if I spend more than a week there I'm not visiting but living with my parents, which is a bit sad really. So I put out a call for people I know with a spare room. fortunately for me, [livejournal.com profile] shebit had a room becoming available, and hadn't had time to interview for other people so I took that.

Have now moved in, and moved surplus stuff out of my parents' place. Somehow this stuff has expanded considerably. I probably need to throw some of this stuff out. I have no idea how I got it to Belgium in the fist place though. I only did a couple of trips I'm sure. It's obviously breeding or something.

Now I'm looking for my next contract. Samsung didn't want me. But then that's based in Staines which is dull. TomTom wanted to give me a second interview, and that's based in Amsterdam. Have also had interest from an oil drilling services company in Norway, and one agent suggested a Finnish games middleware company which may be a little too games related for my taste but worth a look.

So if I get that I'll be moving on again, and have to work out what to do with what will probably grow to a vast quantity of luggage without my adding to it. I also have a storage locker full of my stuff. Stuff that I would like to be reunited with at some point. I'm a materialist and I miss my possessions. If I get this job I'll really want to get a flat and to shift it from storage to wherever I end up living. I guess Sean (my "man with a van who can") who helped me with my washing machine last year would be able to drive to me if I get the Amsterdam job. If I get the Norway one or the Finland one this is less likely.

Anyone know where I can get a sapient pearwood travelling trunk?
luckykaa: (TV)
One of my favourite ways to spend an evening these days is to make myself a tasty dinner, sit down in front of the telly and put on a DVD (or watch something TiVo watched for me).

Last weekend I thought I'd see Scott Pilgrim. Put it on. Decided it's the sort of film that's best watched in company, and so put on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen instead. A pretty terrible confusing mess of a film that I'm pleased I didn't pay actual money for. Wasn't even amusingly bad in the way that Transmorphers: Fall of Man was.

But anyway, it occurred to me that I haven't actually done a video watching evening for ages. It used to be a regular Friday evening thing when I was in Bristol. It did help that I had friends within a couple of minutes walk from where I lived, of course.

I should do this again.

Wonder if I could persuade [livejournal.com profile] tyrshundr and Andrew to drop by.
luckykaa: (Robot)
It was a shame to turn down a friend's invitation, but this place is a tip, I have a visitor tomorrow.  I seem to spend so much time just keeping this place tidy.  I'm not even in a lot of the time.  Junk just piles up.  And I have the eternal issue of too much junk and too little storage space.  I should get rid of some of this stuff.

The problem really comes from those weeks when I have 2 weeks away followed by a busy weekend.  I produce a whole load of laundry, have a car full of stuff to clear up, have most likely spent a weekend making stuff that produced a pile of debris.  It builds up.  So I now have a slightly tidy home, and while by bedroom is still a tip, at least I can see where the floor is.  I shall have another attack tomorrow.

Next step is to work out what the hell I should do with my computer setup. I suddenly have too many printers.  I should probably retire and dispose of the Deskjet 550C but that seems such a shame.  Plus, I have far too much media that only works with the inkjet.  Seems a shame to waste it.  Ink is getting harder and harder to source though and less and less reliable. 

Failed to get any writing done.  Maybe I'll bash out a few words later but all I want to do is collapse.
luckykaa: (Default)
I'm told I need to get on the property ladder.  Terrifying theough the prospect is, I agree.

Right now I barely have enough for a deposit.  this will be resolved by waiting.  I'm working and not spending that much (aside fromt he absolute fortune on travel and lodging), so should save up a reasonable amount pretty soon. 

Should I stay in Brighton?

I do love the sea.  It's so nice that it's so close.  And I really do like the friends I have here.  The downsides are simply that it's an expensive place, and it's really impractical for work.  The odds are against me ever getting a contract in Brighton and I'd really rather avoid going permie again.  I certainly want to avboid the games industry ever again.  This means that wherever I get a contract, it will involve crawling through or around London at least twice a week.

Then there's the cost.  Brighton isn't cheap. 

So where else could I go?

There's London.  I think I could afford a shoebox.  I really never liked living in London that much.  Noisy, crowded, hard to see people.

Bristol is pleasant.  I don't have that many friends there any more and would feel like a step backwards.  Plus it's too far from Brighton and London.

Oxford I'd love.  I know a whole bunch of geeks, some of whom even like me.  It's a lovely looking city.  Young, energetic, and full of smart people.  If I did decide to get a proper job, there are many companies, and I even have friends who work for them.  Sadly, expensive again.  I couldn't afford anywhere central.  Also have no idea who's where.

The other options are Woking and Reading.  the people I know there are lovely, but they have the problem of being Woking and Reading respectively.

In related news, there was mention that I may be working in Bristol at some point.  This would be rather nice.  Not sure if it would be a full-time relocation or what though.  Neither does my current employer.  Will keep you informed.
luckykaa: (Default)
Well, Place 2 was taken.  Place 1 is still available so will take that.  Hopefully landlady will not murder me in my sleep.

Decisions are so much easier when there isn't one.
luckykaa: (Default)
Saw two rooms.  Both quite nice.  Both have parking, are within walking distance of work, kitchen access and likeable enough people.

Can't decide.

Place 1: The landlady - Val - could talk for England. Natter natter natter. Was difficult escaping.  But she's a nice sort and intelligent - likes card games and old movies and a whole lot of other stuff. 

Place 2: Sharing with 1.5 young professionals (One person who stays there all the time the other disappears to tour with his band.  Is apparently very considerate with noise).  Place is a little tatty, but the room's larger.  Does have cable. 

So it's a question of whether I want companionship or personal space.

The other prospective tenant of place 1 came at the same time as me.  Turns out it's my project manager.  Would say I was surprised but really, since the landlady mentioned the other person was called Stephen and ProjMan - Steve - was talking about finding a place to lodge, I can't say I was totally shocked.

Edit: So chatted to my mum about this.  She started talking a bout a Roald Dahl short story about a remarkably similar situation where someone found a lodging for a new job and was murdered.
luckykaa: (Default)
Maybe I'm just being too choosy.

What I want is somewhere convenient for Welwyn garden city (ideally train-able or even better - walkable).  That does give a decent selection of places.  Also must have somewhere to sit, somewhere to cook, somnewhere to shower and somewhere to park.  Ideally also a desk.  I'm sure that's not asking too much.

The thing is a lot of the nice looking places aren't available until 8th August. 

The first place I saw was perfect. Sadly there was a lot of interest so I didn't get it.  Arranged another place but the owner decided to let it to a friend.  Emailed several places (most people don't give phone numbers) but don't seem to get a lot of replies.  Looked at a couple of places today.  First one there was no answer.  Second I felt I'd get very lonely and miserable there.  It was a huge place where I'd be essentially on my own.  Been there.  Done that.  It's very miserable. 

I can afford hotels for the entire duration of the contract if I must.  Would rather not but I can afford to be a little choosy.  

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