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My iPad doesn't charge any more. I checked more than one cable and also my phone and it's definitely the iPad that's at fault. I tried looking up fixes online but nothing worked. I use my tablet all the time so this is nothing short of a catastrophe! Fortunately I had a birthday recently, which included money as a present, so I went online and bought another one. It's due to be delivered later this evening.

It's funny. Normally I spend ages and ages researching and thinking and overthinking about these things. Not this time! I need a new iPad and I need it now! It also helped that the one I chose turned out to be one of the only ones actually available. I like to think of that as a sign.

In other news, I finished the Lego Grand Piano last week:



There. That looks a lot more like a piano, doesn't it? You can connect it to the app via Bluetooth and the keys move while your phone plays music. Not the keys for the actual notes, of course, that would require a lot more engineering inside the build, but it's still pretty cool. And one of my favourite things is the piano stool, which can be raised and lowered by turning a knob on the side. Sometimes it's the simple things that please me the most!

I'm currently working on sorting out my photos to make a post about my trip to Hastings and Rye. I took pics with both my camera and my phone thinking it would be interesting to compare them. It used to be the case that my camera always took the better pics while my phone was a good back up for situations when I couldn't easily get to my camera. Now I have the iPhone 11 I thought the quality of my phone pics would improve but still wouldn't be quite as good as the camera. Turns out they were miles better! I know a lot of the problem is me (I keep saying I'm going to go to a photography course and learn to make proper use of all these settings!) but I have taken pretty good photos with that camera in the past, so I was a bit disappointed that these didn't come out that well.

I was also annoyed to find that the dark marks that marred a few of my Wales photos are also on these ones. I had thought it was dirt on the lens but I've cleaned that a few times and they're still there. So now I'm wondering if it's dust on the sensor. Which is trickier to clean and the thought of attempting it makes me a bit nervous. But then if I don't I'm just going to end up with more marked photos and that's no good. I suppose if I break the camera I have an excuse to buy a new one! Although not for a while since I've just spent a load on a tablet. And, to be honest, with the way phone cameras keep getting better and better it might not even be worth it...

And speaking of my phone, have a pic I took of Tormund on our walk last Sunday:


So pretty.
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Hastings and Rye Birthday


Birthday presents!

Yes, the world has completed yet another lap around the sun and I am another year older.

Last year I celebrated my birthday by building the Lego NES. This year I am building the Lego Grand Piano. For background viewing I watched Anne of the Thousand Days (after visiting Hever Castle on Sunday I was on a bit of an Anne Boleyn kick) and have now started The Queen's Gambit, which is really good and makes me wish I was better at chess!

I'm about a third of the way through the build and it doesn't look much like a piano yet:


It's getting there though. The bar turns, which is good for future key movement.

Also, I found it a fun coincidence that Sporcle released a piano themed badge today. I made sure to earn it today too.

My birthday cake was a Jempson's chocolate cake that I bought in Rye. I have very fond memories of their chocolate cakes and it lived up to all of them! I do plan to make a proper post about my trip, but most likely later in the week. For now I'm celebrating turning another year older with a glass of Gusbourne Brut Reserve (also a souvenir from my trip that I'll talk about in more detail later):


Also pictured: Rye sheep. Plus I'm using the Bayeux Tapestry glasses which also keep with the theme!

And finally, here is my epic birthday poem:

Has it really been an entire year
Since I mentioned being prime on here?
37 seemed to zoom on by
Time to give 38 a try
Merlin - Gwen Crown

Hello, September!

I usually make a post at the beginning of September saying how much I love this time of year. And I have no plans to stop now! So here we go...

I must admit the weather doesn't feel particularly autumnal yet. But then it is still technically summer. Or maybe it does feel autumnal and it's just that the weather has been like this for weeks now so it doesn't feel any different! I'm going to Rye and Hastings at the weekend so I hope we have good weather for that. I don't want a heatwave but I would like some sunshine.

TV-wise I haven't heard anything about when Bake Off might be coming back. I hope it is going to be on this year cos it's a big part of my autumnal viewing. Not the biggest though. That honour goes to Strictly, which I do know is coming back cos the celebrities have all been revealed. Apparently the launch show is on the 18th, which is earlier than last year but still a bit later than usual. Normally it's on on or around my birthday.

My birthday being another good thing about this time of year. I'm not sure what, if anything, I'm going to do on the day itself. But I might try and consider the Rye visit a birthday trip.
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Short(er) Hair

Happy Bank Holiday Monday everyone! I hope you all had a good day. I was at work from 7:30 this morning so didn't have a holiday myself, but looking at the weather I don't think I missed out on much!

Last week I had my hair cut. I've been meaning to make an appointment for ages but anxiety kept holding me back. Especially since I wanted to try a new place, and that's always scary. But I finally mustered up the courage and I'm really glad I did. After almost a year without one my hair desperately needed a cut! And I decided to go back to the shorter style I had a few years ago cos I remember liking it:


The first picture is just after the hairdresser cut, blow-dried and styled it. The second picture is after I let it dry naturally. To be honest I think I prefer the second, which is good cos I'm a very lazy person!


Also, a couple of weeks ago I gave blood. It was my 25th donation and the staff there gave me a card, which was really nice of them. And a few days later I received this in the post:


A letter, donor card, certificate, and pin badge! How lovely!
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Sound Sensitive Dog

I said in my last entry that Tormund hadn't made a mess in the house, so naturally when I came home from work the other day I found that he'd thrown up and had a bit of an accident on the upstairs landing. I don't know when exactly it happened, but Mum said he did get scared by a car coming in and ran upstairs, so we're thinking that's probably what caused it. He seems fine otherwise and has been eating and drinking as usual so I'm trying not to worry too much (easier said than done with me!)

It's funny; we went from having a deaf dog to having a very sound sensitive dog. So many things that were never an issue with Tilly we now have to be careful about. I'm already wondering what we can do to help him cope with all the fireworks on and around Bonfire Night in November.

It's good that we have quiet woods nearby where we can take him for a walk, although even then there are still some noises. He's not bothered by every sound, but when something does spook him he pulls on the lead really hard. That's not great when he's 30kg and very strong! As well as almost pulling me over, I also worried that he was going to hurt himself by putting so much pressure on his neck. So we bought him a harness:


Doesn't he look handsome?

I wasn't sure how he was going to react to it. Tilly would have hated the thing and refused point blank to move with it on. But he was so good. I wonder if he's worn one before, cos he let me put it on him no problem. And then he jumped up and put his paws on my shoulders, which was very sweet. He had no issues walking with it on either and all in all seemed very happy about the situation. But maybe that's just cos he loves going for walks!

And, cos I'm constantly camera happy, have some more pictures of my gorgeous good boy:

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Trying to be Positive

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Lately I've been feeling particularly stressed and unhappy, especially at work, and worrying about pretty much everything, which is not fun. So in this entry I'm going to try and be positive and focus on things that have made me happy recently:

1. Tormund. He's just such a sweetheart and I love him so much! He seems to have settled in well and looks happy here with us, which is wonderful. He still sleeps by the side of my bed. He loves going out in the car. We take him for walks up the woods nearby and he is so well behaved. He's so well behaved in lots of ways, really. We've discovered that he knows his name and will come when called. He knows 'sit' and 'wait' too. He barks when people come to the door, which is actually quite reassuring, but doesn't make noise for no reason. So far he hasn't chewed up anything or made a mess in the house, which to be honest we were kinda expecting due to nervousness and being in a new place.

2. Star Trek: Lower Decks. I've been meaning to watch this series for ages and finally got around to it the other day and I absolutely love it! It's so much fun! It's a great series in its own right with its own characters and storylines, but I do really love all the references to previous Star Treks. It's like a love letter to Trekkies and part of me does wonder how much it will appeal to newcomers, but then it's not really intended for them. That's one of the things I particularly like about it too. They don't explain the references they make, they just expect us to get them. And I love, love, love Beckett Mariner. I mean I love pretty much all of them, but especially Mariner.

3. Sims 4: Seasons. I've been considering buying the Seasons expansion pack for a while now but wasn't sure it was worth the money. So I decided to buy it on a bundle deal along with the Realm of Magic game pack and Spooky Stuff stuff pack. I haven't really done much with the latter two yet, although I am looking forward to delving into the magical realm, but I'm really enjoying Seasons so far. I love how pretty the weather is. And I do like how the different weather affects my Sims, even if it does make some tasks harder. Previously I could stick an easel in the garden and have my Sims practice any time of day, but now they get upset if I make them paint in the rain. And gardening is more challenging cos the plants only grow when they're in season, rather than all the time like before. I also absolutely love the thunderstorms. I know people say they get old quickly cos of how scared your Sims get, but I just love the atmosphere they give. It makes me feel like I'm safe and warm inside while a storm rages on outside.
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Exciting News!

So, a few things have happened since I last updated:

1. I got my second Covid jab a week ago, which means that a week from today I will be fully vaccinated and able to go to all the nightclubs I want. Which is zero.

2. Last weekend saw Rob's and Mum's birthdays so he came up to visit. I once again made Mum work for her presents:


There were eight bookmarks, each with a different type of cipher on, which she had to decode. Then she had to sort the results into four pairs. Every bookmark had a different colour tassel and the Happy Birthday card had various flowers with different coloured petals. She had to find the petal colours that corresponded to the tassel pairs and take the numbers at the centre of those flowers. One of the colours of each pair also corresponded to one of the colours on the padlock, which is how she could tell which number went where. And, simple as that, she had access to her presents.

But, to be honest, most of Mum's birthday was focused on something else. Because that was the day that we went to Battersea. Which brings me to the most exciting event that has happened recently:



His name is Tormund and apparently he's a Collie crossed with a Portuguese Podengo. As I said, he's from Battersea and the whole process went really quickly. We noticed him on the website on Wednesday. I emailed them on Thursday. They phoned Friday while I was at work and had a long conversation with Mum. They then video called us later that day so we could both see Tormund and how he behaved and wanted to know if we were still interested, which of course we said we were. The vet nurse called me on Saturday and gave me various details about his health and what they've done since he's been there. Then on Sunday Rob drove us up and we brought him home.

I thought it would take longer and they might ask us to visit a few times, but they said that it would be better to get him settled in a home and he'd warm up to us there. So that's what we've done. He's free to take himself off and hide in an empty room if he wants, which he does sometimes, but other times he chooses to stick near us and seems perfectly happy. Often he'll lay down near where I'm sitting and he sleeps in my room so I think he likes me.

He also seems to like the cuddly dog that I have by the side of my bed:

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I got these lovely flowers from work as a thank you for pretty much running the place for most of this week, which was very nice. It always feels good to know that what you do is appreciated. But I'm also very glad that it's Friday and my work week is over. Very much looking forward to a relaxing weekend!

And to keep everyone updated on the family football sweepstakes - It all comes down to me vs my brother. Meg has been knocked out. I will not be playing myself. The stakes are higher than ever. One of us will emerge victorious and claim the Coveted Chocolate Football. The other will fall at the last hurdle and wail in despair. Who will it be? Only time and some men kicking a ball around will tell.
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Family Football Update

The round of 16 and the quarter finals are over and our family sweepstakes currently looks like this:

Mum has been knocked out of the tournament. She can no longer win the Coveted Chocolate Football.
Meg has gone from being in the strongest position, having three teams in the quarter-finals, to only having one left. Rob also has one team left.
That leaves me with the other two remaining teams. I am now the only person who could end up playing themselves in the final. It also means I am now the frontrunner for taking home that sweet, sweet chocolate. It's already in my home, of course, but you know what I mean.