September 2009 Archives

New Speakers

Well, the exciting world of music has now opened up to me, having been tempted by new speakers for ages and never really being able to justify spending however large an amount of money to buy some good high quality but loud speakers, I was browsing the other day and discovered the Logitech X 230 2.1 set, which I have to say, are able to kick out a lot of Bass, a little too much for my liking on anything other than with the Bass turned right down. However the quality and experience they provide is excellent for £25-30 speakers.

Unfortunately now poor Charlie is relegated to the other room whenever I want to play music ;-)

Long live the Prodigy and Pendulum! (and Innerpartysystem too...)

New Phone

After a lot of hassle, I have finally been able to upgrade my phone. Orange have given me a brilliant deal on minutes and messages for the next 18 months - since September 2006 I've been paying £25 a month for 100 minutes and 1000 texts.

Now I am paying a mere £10 a month and getting 400 minutes and unlimited texts ("unlimited" being capped at 3000) so even if I only use the 500 or so texts a month I have been using since moving to Scotland, I'm still better off.

There is a price for this, however. I originally owned the Sony Ericsson K810i, and I have to say I loved it. It's been run over, dropped out of windows, thrown across the room and suffered barely a scratch. After the Samsun E900 I had before, the K810i seemed near indestructable. Therefore I was looking to upgrade to a better Ericsson.

I asked on the phone with Orange which phones I could have, and they said the C510 or the W595. I like both, but was reluctant to go back to sliding phones after all the problems I and others have had with them, so the C510 won out - then Orange told me they could only do it me in Silver.

NOOOOOOO! It just looks so wrong in silver. Please, can I have a black one I asked. No. So I gave it a little while and phoned them back. I'd rather have the W595 in blue and look after it than the C510 in silver. Yes, that'd be fine, they said. But we only have the W595 in Pink, and we have no idea when or if we'll get the blue ones in again.

NOOOOOOO! A silver phone or a pink phone? So I chose the lesser of two evils. I caved and got the C510, purely because the camera is better on it than the W595.

Now I am the proud owner of a phone that looks very much like an out of date Nokia. I am going to buy a cover for it ASAP, and probably won't take it out in public.

Only 18 months until I can upgrade to a new one!


When I adpoted Biscuit it was a chance for me to try and give a better life to something that needed it - Biscuit was an adult hamster who obviously wasn't loved any more, so I wanted to prove to her that she was loved and could have a happy life after all.

So when she died, that purpose of mine was fulfilled - I'd given something a home that genuinely needed it, rather than going out and buying a "mass produced" baby hamster, or some other poor creature Pets at Home decided to sell for a profit with little regard as to where it was going. Understandably the lack of something "needing" me for food and cuddles left a bit of a hole so a hobby formed with Kev and I in going into pet shops (particularly those with adoption centres) and seeing what might need us.

When I went to Tamworth to visit Mum, I mentioned this to her and we ended up going to the Pets at Home there to see who was in.

There, catching 20 winks (instead of the usual 40) in a small cage in the adoption corner, was Charlie.

Charlie is a sort of butterscotch coloured hamster, and at the date of his adoption (Tuesday 8th September) he was four months old. And, in case you hadn't gathered, a boy. He also has only one eye.


Nobody knows how Charlie lost his eye. Some speculate that he lost it fighting a grizzly bear in the Rockies, though the guy at Pets at Home came up with two suggestions;

1:- Charlie caught his eye on something ill-placed in his cage after he was purchased as a baby, on one of his over-energetic climbing sprees.
2:- Charlie hasn't ever left the pet shop, and after getting too old to be kept with other hamsters lost his eye in a fight with a brother.

Either way he thinks he'd been in the vet-section of PaH (yes, they actually have a vets in many stores now) for a while as his eye socket healed over, but since it cleared up he'd been up for adoption and nobody wanted him.

At first I was entirely against the idea. Mum and Kev pestered for about an hour, but I was sad - so soon after saying goodbye to Biscuit felt like I was betraying her. But when I thought about it, I figured that logically looking after another adoption animal would be better than buying one, or spending forever going into pet shops and going "Aww..." and so, Charlie came home with us.

Kev has agreed to take joint responsibility of him and we're all slowly beginning to make friends. Charlie is naturally very jumpy if you catch him on his blind side, so we've been making extra effort to make a noise when we do have to pick him up (when he tries to jump off the bed etc.).

Hopefully in time Charlie will be as good a friend to me and Kev as Biscuit was - although he will never be a replacement, we will love him all the same.

An Ode to Biscuit.

Biscuit, a fully grown female Syrian hamster, was abandoned in Llandudno in January, 2008. Frightened and alone, she was placed in a rehoming centre in Bangor, fed and made to be fat and lazy for almost a week before Kev and I came along.

She was taken to Bryn Teg, and lived a warm and cosy life surrounded by people who loved her very much, even if it took her a little while to love us back. By day, she was a fat, lazy, ginger hamster who spent much of her day asleep. By night, however, she took on her superhero life as a fat, lazy hamster, spending many of her evening hours wide awake on her super-sized wheel, running and running and running and running and running.....

It is also widely believed that Biscuit’s real name was Professor B. Iscuit, a genius creature who arrived on this planet by accident and has spent a great deal of time working on a way to return home. To begin with she was greatly amused by human science – Hamsters have known where to find the Higgs Boson for some time, and it’s not where we’ve been looking. In fact, you’d be surprised at where it really can be found. I was laughing for days when I worked it out. However, after time spent with us travelling the length and breadth of the country and being spoiled rotten with peas and porridge and other tasty snacks, she decided to stay and live out a normal hamster life-span. She even helped me complete my final year dissertation, running about over the keys on my laptop with suggestions.

And so when I moved out of Bryn Teg, Biscuit travelled up to Scotland with me and Kev. This is when things sadly started to change.

Not knowing Biscuit’s real age, we expected the inevitable expiration of the ambitious, adventurous hamster. Some people speculate that Biscuit was recorded in the secret journals of Genghis Khan, “a feared and vicious creature, even I’m scared silly. No creature hath fury like a ginger creature – and no ginger creature hath fury like this hamster,” meaning Biscuit could be thousands of years old. A local vet put her age at what we had surmised – somewhere between 1 and 1.5 years old when we got her.

In Summer 2009 (so when she'd've been 2.5-3-ish) her health began to rapidly degenerate; the vet's assessment was that the two lumps that had slowly grown on her side were either kidney or ovary cancers, and without her access to hamster-science there was nothing to be done. Her time was up. So we said our goodbyes, and she would like you all to know she enjoyed her stay with us.

So now, she has kicked the bucket. She has shuffled off her mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. She is an ex-hamster.

And she will be sorely missed.

Hello! Goodbye Uni, goodbye Biscuit …

Right. Sorry for not updating for a while those of you who do read this - I've been really busy finishing my last year at Uni.

I did my dissertation on changes to sedimentary regimes due to tidal barrage schemes. It doesn't sound very interesting, but I found it fascinating! That scored a first in the end, so I was quite delighted with that score!

I graduated  with a high 2.i (68%. Grr.) so I'm really pleased with that mark- now all I need to do is get a JOB.

Biscuit died last month. I've missed her ever so much - I'll write about it in a separate post. It's amazing how much you can love something so small, and how big a hole they leave when they go. But she helped me through Uni and for that I'm eternally grateful to her!

I have every intention of keeping this better updated from now on. Promise. When I have something exciting to say, I'll say it, instead of thinking "I really have to update the blog at some point...".