March 21st, 2011

Photo - leaves

Work Stuff...

I think I told most people about this on Friday when I actually saw them, but since Forgetful has just managed to annoy me again (and it's only half-ten), I need to vent it...

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That aside, on Friday we went to the Briar for Lloyd's birthday drinks, and did nothing all weekend except (as usual) play Super Mario Galaxy. IT IS INSANELY ADDICTIVE.

On Saturday I was in a baking mood for some reason, and after deciding that biscuits were too much of a hassle (my kitchen is too small for dough-rolling) ended up making a chocolate-orange cake with marmalade cream, as it was the only one in the book Paul would eat. As yet he has not eaten any of it. :P It turned out okay, though I might use pre-crushed almonds next time as my blender didn't do very well at those - but in the alternative, it whisked the egg whites in about 15 seconds. :) (I only discovered my blender had a whisking attachment about a month ago, after looking in the box for the slicing blade, finding a strange round attachment and looking in the manual to find out what it was...)

The marmalade cream was amazing, though. I will definitely make that again if not the cake. :) Here is a recipe for the cream if anyone wants it:-

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I also made us a steak-and-ale pie, made with Guinness (belated St Patrick's Day celebration) which was AMAZING. The Guinness really seems to work well because it's so thick, and the gravy was lovely. Also I never buy supermarket braising steak any more because it's better quality from the butcher.

We also bought two pheasants from the butcher (for £9.99!) and had one for Sunday lunch - wrapped it in bacon and shoved apple wedges into the cavities before roasting - which was nice. Still a bit of meat left so I can have pheasant sandwiches later in the week. :)

Anyway, nothing much else to report. We're two days behind on typing today thanks to my doing police tapes on Friday (go figure) so today is going to be busy, and that's about it. Over and out.

Oh, I also need to do a bit of an update about our current house-hunting status and adventures thereof on Saturday, but I'll do that when I get in later.
Google - Home

House Hunting Adventures, as promised...

Okay. So on Thursday I got it into my head to Make A Change. I have been suffering lately with... well, I suppose one might call it "ennui". I get this thing sometimes where I just want to DO SOMETHING, like get a new job or move house or shift furniture around (see also: "spatial cleansing" tag). So on Thursday night, out of morbid curiosity, I had a look to see what sort of typing jobs there might be in Birmingham which paid reasonably well.

Obviously there was bugger all in Birmingham - plenty of "typing from home" stuff and a lot of temporary / part-time positions, but most of the full-time positions are on what I was earning in BCC when I first started, and quite frankly I'm struggling as it is. Then I spotted one via Reed for an audio typist position at a legal firm in London, for £20K a year.

First I was like,"Okay, what's the catch here?" and then figured out that actually, £20K in London is probably the equivalent to what I'm on now here, and if I were to live in London I would be worse off, and if I didn't it would all go on hotel/lodging and travel. Aside from that, (a) job stuff is terrifying and (b) 147 people had already applied for it.

So instead I started house-hunting again. After several fruitless hours Paul and I discovered a "three-bedroom cottage" on Barn Road, which is literally five minutes away from where we are now, for £525 a month. For Kings Heath / Moseley that's insanely reasonable. There was no photograph on the website (always a bit dubious) and the website for the actual letting agent (Easy Lettings) was rubbish, and aside from that we couldn't find it anywhere else on the internet except the one "catch-all" website it was listed on.

So on Saturday we walked down to Barn Road to look and see if there were any houses to let. Riiiight at the very end of the road we did indeed find a house to let, with an agency called Midland Housing. On getting back we Googled them. They're asking for £800pcm, which frankly is extortionate for a three-bedroomed house, but I presume it's because the postcode falls under the all-holy Moseley and thus they can charge what they like. I think they'll be sitting on that one for a looooong time.

That was disappointing, to say the least, as if it had been anything up to £600 we would actually have considered it, if only because it was a lovely house and would be SO EASY to move into. Boo. :(

I've spent a couple more hours tonight searching on rightmove.co.uk, scouting out all of Birmingham and the outskirts (including Bearwood - there are loads of houses on the road where I grew up, and at least Sandwell Council aren't complete bastards like BCC), and have come to the conclusion that if I want to live in a nice area, in a house with a decently-sized kitchen and windows which are not pointlessly tiny, I need to pay about £100 more than if I don't. There are plenty of good-sized, affordable and attractive houses - and they're all in the shit bits of Birmingham. I don't want to live in Erdington/Sheldon/Perry Barr/Hockley/Handsworth/etc. I know that doesn't leave me much option, but I don't want to end up somewhere awful, with terrible neighbours or a high street where I have to look over my shoulder...

I am probably insanely over particular. We tried searching Kings Heath and Moseley and came up with nothing (except tiny houses, obviously), and there was a BEAUTIFUL place on Russell Road in an old Georgian house with the most AMAZING kitchen I have ever seen... but it was a shared house. The rent was stupidly cheap, too. I want to live in that kitchen. :(

Soooo yes. Still fruitlessly hunting. I am also constrained by my inability to drive and my reliance on public transport, so every time I find a house which is affordable, in a nice area and looks remotely promising, it turns out to be in the Arse End of Nowhere. Considering we can't afford a proper place to live until they either bring back 100% mortgages (not looking likely), we win the lottery or someone gives us money for a deposit, renting is currently the only option and even THAT is being scuppered, mostly by my desire to actually live somewhere I feel safe at night and can bloody well get to.

BEING A GROWN-UP IS HARD.

PS: Seriously, landlords/builders/converters, stop it now with the tiny kitchens. Or with the massive kitchens with NO BLOODY CUPBOARDS. Is it such an alien concept that people actually WANT TO COOK THINGS? Jesus.