If it’s good enough for a princess

I recently spotted this pic of Princess Mary of Denmark, who also happens to be Australian, cycling her kids around in a cargo bike:

This image comes from a Daily Mail article but if you Google “Princess Mary cargo bike” you’ll see there are lots of images just like this. This is obviously something she does regularly and not just a one-off thing. No wonder she looks so terrific and what a fantastic example – to have a princess cycling her own kids to school. Most other people in her position would a) get the nanny to drop the kids at school and b) use a gas-guzzling SUV to do it.

I’m still lusting after a new cargo bike. Maybe for Christmas or early next year. In the meantime I get to research them and I recently discovered this cool tilting cargo trike from Butchers and Bicycles:




My cooking isn’t so bad after all

My sister flew back to London early this morning. Last night I made lentil soup for us all for dinner. When I said this is what we’d be having my sister looked at me as though I’d announced we’d be eating monkey’s brains then she added, “I’ll just have left-overs”. But once I started cooking she was encouraged by the smell to give it a try. It turned out to be a hit, so much so, that she had another bowl of it for breakfast this morning :) If anyone wants my red lentil soup recipe it’s here and it’s delicious.

Today didn’t start off so well. When I dropped the kids at school I somehow managed to chain my handbag to the bike. Then when I was unlocking it, the chain- which is one of those coil chains and has a bit of a spring to it – flicked back as I unlocked it flinging my keys into a gated part of the school grounds. Ben very kindly offered to retrieve them for me but had to climb over a high fence with spikes on top. Fortunately he made it over and back in one piece but it was one of those moments where I thought it’s a good thing we don’t plan to have any more kids.

We discovered this weekend that our lawn mower has gone missing somewhere en route from New Zealand to Scotland. I think it unlikely that someone has stolen it because it’s a very, very old push mower which we bought second hand about 10 years ago. Why would anyone want that? It’s also a strange thing to lose because it’s not small and easily misplaced. It’s the only thing we’ve lost in the move which probably means we’ve been fairly lucky.

Slains Castle

We took my sister to Slains Castle today. It’s a castle ruin about 25 miles north along the coast from Aberdeen. It was a scenic drive along the coast through undulating fields of farmland overlooking the vast expanse of the North Sea.

Slains Castle’s claim to fame is that it supposedly inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula after he visited the area in 1895. There is something eerie about the place with its dramatic position on a cliff-edge. People have plunged to their deaths here which was only too evident by the flowers and messages left in memory of the last death a few years ago. Needless to say we kept the kids on a tight leash.

The castle is completely free and not managed by any historical societies. Apparently it fell into disrepair early last century when the then owner removed the roof to avoid paying taxes.

The castle is absolutely enormous and a fascinating place to visit. The views were also superb, and nearby Cruden Bay with its huge sandy beach, delightful.







I took my sister op-shopping in Aberdeen yesterday and I think she’s now hooked. I bought the skirt I’m wearing in the next pic which I think is probably too short for a 40-year-old. However my sister, who is only 29 I might add, convinced me otherwise. Too short?



Cruden Bay is in the background of this next pic.


Daniel and Elizabeth are building sand castles on the beach in the distance in this next one. Daniel said afterwards that it was as much fun as playing on the iPad. Lofty praise indeed.


Just before we went to leave we all visited the public toilets in the carpark at Cruden Bay which I have to rate 10/10 as far as public toilets go.They were so clean and well-equipped. I was sitting in the car waiting for my sister and playing on my iPhone when I heard the door of the car next to me open followed by, “Shit!”. She had nearly hopped into the wrong car and the owner had even left their doors unlocked so Cruden Bay must be a fairly crime-free place :)

When pleasing the neighbour becomes impossible

Our neighbour returned yesterday after a two-week holiday in Crete. We specifically organised all the ceiling repairs to her flat for while she was away so that she didn’t have to be here for any of it. This is what she wanted. So naturally we thought she’d be really thrilled to see it all done when she got back yesterday.

But she’s not happy about a couple of things. One is that the join between the ceiling and the coving is slightly different in the place where they replaced the ceiling to that in the rest of her kitchen. I can see what she means but to be honest I didn’t notice it until she pointed it out. It’s purely aesthetic and as far as I’m concerned, insignificant. The other problem is that there’s a crack in her bathtub which she said wasn’t there before she went away. I can’t imagine why any of the workmen would have gone into her bathroom. The toilet is in a separate room and while they may have used the toilet I see no use for her bathroom. There’s a laundry with a sink right next to the kitchen and this is the more likely place for them to go if they needed to wash something. It’s very odd and I have no explanation but offered to ask the team for her about it.

It’s fair to say that I’m beginning to lose patience here. I think we’re starting to reach the conclusion that pleasing our neighbour is an impossible task and probably not worth the stress and expense. So far this has cost us £1980 and that’s not including our own expenses for the plumber and eventual replacement of our kitchen floor which we probably won’t bother doing for some time. It looks like British Gas will refund us a small portion of this for their role in the damage to the ceiling but it won’t even be half. The stress and expense has grown out of proportion to the original problem due to incompetent plumbers, the British Gas engineer who pulled apart the ceiling, and an unreasonable neighbour. I’m beginning to think we should have just told our neighbour right from the start to sort it out herself with her own insurance company and we’ll pay the excess. I thought that doing something nice would be a good thing but it has just been one disaster after another.

Oh and the saga with BT continues. We discovered yesterday that they changed our phone number without telling us. Ben rang them this time and they’re going to change it back on Monday.

The good news is that my sister is here for the weekend and we’re going to take her somewhere interesting today.

Spiders on a plane

It’s less than two weeks until the GM!! What’s the GM? It’s the annual Grand Meetup for the company I work for. We’re a distributed workforce and so once a year the entire company gets together for a week-long bonding session. In less than two weeks I’ll be flying to Utah, USA.

I hate flying. I’m terrified of flying. But I’m looking forward to the GM; the non-flying part of it anyway. I feel like I’ve got to know so many coworkers via text only that I’m now looking forward to meeting them in person. There will also be 23 of us on the same flight from Europe so there should be someone I can dig my fingernails into should the plane go down, or worse, should a flesh-eating spider gorge itself on my leg.

This week has been a great week although it’s fair to say that my idea of a great week just now is no water leaking into the downstairs flat. There have been no water leaks so far this week and we’re already at Thursday. The ceiling downstairs has been repaired and all that’s left is the painting which is happening right now. There has also been a stream of young, handsome men in and out of my neighbour’s flat doing the repairs so it’s not all bad. And my sister has rebooked her flight and is coming this Saturday. She promises not to sleep through her alarm this time. Fingers crossed! Things are looking up.


Exposed pipes

The ceiling has been repaired in the downstairs flat. Here are some pics of the damage. The first image is after leak number one, the second image is after leak number two, and the third image is our kitchen floor.





It’s quite astonishing how many layers there are between our home and the home below. Our neighbour has a false kitchen ceiling, and then the original kitchen ceiling (both had to be replaced), then some wooden floor boards, then another layer of wooden floor boards, then particle board, and then laminate flooring. All these layers span a distance of around 1 metre.

Now that I know where the pipe is, it seems crazy that the original engineer thought he could get to our pipe from below. He would never have reached it. They should have gone through our floor right from the start (GrahamWithHats you were right).

Why do they bury pipes beneath floorboards? We’re contemplating installing new pipes in our kitchen and keeping them exposed all the way from our hot water cylinder to the kitchen sink. Exposed pipes can look really nice and it’s impractical to bury them. Expensive too. I found these pics on the web. I doubt our kitchen will ever look as trendy as that first one but you get the general idea.

Thin Ice

A little while ago I donated to the Kickstarter campaign to bring the Thin Ice climate change documentary to US television. My name is even listed on this page. WooHoo! I haven’t heard anything about it for some time and so went looking to see what stage they’re at. It turns out the documentary began airing on public television in the USA in July this year which is fantastic.

The documentary was made in collaboration with Victoria University and Oxford University and is very good. It’s the best climate change documentary I’ve seen. Here’s a clip from the New Zealand Herald reporting the story:

Ceiling repairs are currently underway in the downstairs flat and I’m hoping to make it through the week without having to ring any utility companies or plumbers. Although Ben had to ring the city council this morning because there was a problem with our recent council tax bill. To our shock and horror the lady on the phone was able to sort it out immediately. Ben described her as “disturbingly efficient”. We think she may have been hired by mistake :)

Edinburgh – day 2

Today we went to the MC Escher exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two. It was brilliant. There was quite a long queue but they’ve installed a timber maze on the front lawn so I waited in line while the kids and Ben ran wild in the maze.

It was well worth the wait because it was a fairly comprehensive exhibition with four Escher-filled rooms of art including the famous ones like Waterfall, Drawing Hands, Relativity, and Ascending and Descending. Ben found it particularly good because there were some quite mathematical pieces there like a Möbius strip and tessellations on a hyperbolic disk (= a picture of a circle with a pattern of animals on it). The kids weren’t particularly enthusiastic about it but I think that’s because they were so exhausted after racing around the maze for 30 minutes.



MC Escher stickers all over a street lamp:


Some pics from our wanderings:

IMG_3225  IMG_3224




Then we headed to Waverley station to catch our train.


I really dislike Waverley Station. It’s always ridiculously crowded and they have a strange numbering system for the platforms which confuses me. Have a look at this sign:



It says Platforms 1 and 20 via the escalator. Why 1 and 20? Why not 1 and 2? They’ve stuck platforms 19 and 20 with 1-7 which is unnecessarily confusing.



We’ve had a great day in Edinburgh today. First stop this morning was Laid Back Bikes where I got to try out an Urban Arrow. This is one slick bike. It weighs and handles similarly to the bakfiets but has electric assist and so is easy peasy to pedal. I’m in two minds about having electric assist; I’d like the option but I’m worried I’ll get lazy and lose my thighs of steel. I was mostly interested to see whether the kids could fit inside and whether there’s growing room for them since I’m expecting to be using a cargo bike for some years yet. The rain cover went over Daniel’s head but only just. He’ll probably be too tall for it in a year or two.


As the kids were climbing out Elizabeth said in her loudest voice, “Daniel wiped his snot in the bike”.

We need to pay off all the plumbing bills before thinking about a new bike again but it was good to try this one out while we’re here. I was impressed with all the cycling infrastructure I saw in Edinburgh, too; it looks to be much better than in Aberdeen.


Then we went for lunch at a vegetarian/vegan cafe. There aren’t any exclusively vegetarian cafes in Aberdeen so this was a novelty for me. Daniel, however, was not impressed and shouted out loudly when we first walked in, “I want meat”. He doesn’t get to eat meat at home but I let him eat whatever he wants when we go out and he’s definitely a carnivore. I don’t think I’ll ever convince Daniel to go veggie.

After lunch we went to Dynamic Earth, a science attraction featuring a simulation of time travel back through the history of the universe and the Earth. There was a volcanic eruption, 3D flight, rainforest exhibit, an iceberg and lots of other things. Both kids absolutely loved it. Daniel in particular was mesmerised the entire time. Elizabeth was a little scared, especially during the volcanic eruption, but she still had a great time.


It has been nice wandering around this beautiful city. Edinburgh has a great vibe and I’ve enjoyed coming here again. We visited the castle on our last visit and so we don’t plan to do it again this time but I took this photo of it towering over the city streets:


We also wandered passed this little garden which was created in 1910 as a place for children living in nearby slums to play.



It’s only money

I keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not currently starring in a Monty Python skit because that’s how the last few weeks have felt. I only wish I was. According to BT someone was supposed to be moving into our house today but no-one ever did; surprise, surprise. I was a bit disappointed in the end as I was hoping to hand over not only our phone and broadband but also our plumbing problems. But alas, our plumbing problems are still ours.

The Polish fellow we organised to do the ceiling repairs downstairs came over today to have a look at the new damage and I ended up bawling my eyes out. He must have felt sorry for me and offered to do it again for free. Can you believe that? I immediately felt really bad and cried even harder because I wasn’t crying so that he’d do it for free. They have mouths to feed too and we can afford to fix it so I said no, absolutely not. But I suspect he’ll give us a good price. They’re going to return on Monday to start the job again.

If something good has come out of my dealings with BT it’s that I think it has made me better at my own job. So many of my conversations and emails with their service representatives left me feeling completely exasperated. On one occasion I asked the lady I was speaking to why she didn’t believe that I hadn’t transferred my phone to another company. She said, “Of course I believe you, you’re a valued customer”. But actually she didn’t believe me at all and this mattered because no attempt was then made to figure out what had gone wrong and to fix the problem. They were just empty, meaningless words.

But it’s all just money in the end and not terribly important. The things that matter are all fine. We’re all healthy and the kids are very happy and have the best school ever. Right now I’m sitting on the train heading off on an adventure for the weekend and am very happy about that.

A hole in the copper water pipe

The leak was finally fixed fairly late last night. Here it is:


There’s a nail hole in the copper pipe which supplies hot water to our kitchen sink and dishwasher.

The plumbers never showed up yesterday morning; only the gas engineer who fixed the problem the first time but as you can see, he didn’t fix the problem the first time. The loose join in a waste water pipe must have been a red herring. He told us yesterday that he was pretty sure it was a leak in mains hot or cold and so he left without doing anything since it was a plumbing leak rather than a central heating leak.

But the plumbers did not show up. They didn’t want to come. We signed up and paid for British Home Care cover for the property on the 19th of September when the previous owner’s policy expired on the same day thinking it would be a good idea to continue the cover. The previous owners have had this cover for many consecutive years and apparently never had a problem like this before. The idea behind the policy is that if you have an emergency like water leaking into a downstairs flat you can ring them and they’ll send someone to sort it out. But we must have a mark next to our property saying “difficult problem” or something because no-one wanted to come and fix it.

I rang several times yesterday getting increasingly desperate on the phone because water was running continuously into the downstairs kitchen. Finally I got someone who said we’d have to rip up our linoleum floor before they’d come to fix it. How are we supposed to do that? We don’t have tools for ripping up a kitchen floor. That’s why we purchased the Home Care policy.

In the end I had to call my own plumber who was very good and did quite a bit of investigative work before narrowing it down to a pipe leaving the hot water cylinder. Then he started cutting with a circular saw and found the source of the leak. Once he had done all the hard work the plumbers from British Home Cover (Dyno Plumbing) came out and replaced the section with the hole. On the whole, Dyno Plumbing were completely useless and I intend to complain to British Home Cover about this. Why should we pay them for emergency repairs when we need to pay for our own plumber anyway?

Now there’s a hole in the ceiling downstairs and a hole in our kitchen floor. I couldn’t care less about our kitchen floor. I don’t even want to fix it. At the most I’d like to put down a board we can lift up at any time should this happen again. I’m also keen to draw on our linoleum with a heavy marker pen a map outlining all the pipes, where they go, and what they do.

No-one has any idea how the hole in the copper pipe got there. There were no nails anywhere nearby and the cold water pipe was nested right next to the hole. Possibly a nail has been wedged in there for years and years and was the only thing stopping water from seeping out. Two weeks ago it must have started to come loose producing the first water leak. For some reason it got wedged back in. Then two days ago, maybe with the workmen poking and prodding the ceiling, and then me turning on the dishwasher forcing hot water through the pipe which expanded it, the nail fell out completely. But this is all just speculation as none of us has any idea.

How much is it all going to cost? We don’t yet know. The first ceiling repair cost £1500 of which we have already paid £1000. The Polish workmen who did the work have yet to give us a new quote. Our insurance will probably pay to fix our kitchen floor, but as I said already, I’m not sure that I want to fix it.

I wonder what new surprises next week will bring?

The leak returns

I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing about my domestic problems but there are more and writing about it seems to make me feel better. So here’s the next chapter.

The new ceiling went up in the downstairs flat today and while the workmen were plastering over it water started dripping again. They alerted me to the problem right away. I had turned on the dishwasher in our kitchen before the dripping started and immediately turned it off. But there must have been quite a bit of water in the pipes because it continued dripping for some time.

We phoned British Home Care as we have continued the cover which the previous owners had on the house and it was British Home Care who came out and fixed the leak last time. The first time round they sent out a plumber who spent an hour or so shuffling around looking very confused. This plumber decided it was a central heating leak and so they sent out a British Gas Engineer instead. It was this engineer who pulled out the ceiling in the downstairs flat and discovered the source of the leak was indeed a plumbing issue – our kitchen waste water pipe. A join between two pipes had come loose.

When we phoned again about the problem today we explained that it’s the same plumbing issue. However British Home Care wanted to send out a gas engineer because they were the ones who fixed it last time. The gas engineer came out and said we needed a plumber. The plumber came out and said he needed to speak with the engineer who found the source of the water last time but not before he ripped apart the new ceiling and was unable to figure it out himself. Since when do plumbers use gas engineers to find waste water pipe leaks anyway?

So now the ceiling repairs are stalled. The neighbour’s ceiling has a huge hole in it again. Her kitchen is a terrible mess but thank goodness she’s away for two weeks on holiday. The plan is to have it all fixed by the time she comes back. The plumber and the engineer are going to rendezvous tomorrow morning to figure out who is responsible. Meanwhile we can’t use the water in our kitchen.

Oh and I got a funny letter through the post from BT today. It was addressed to “The Occupier”. Apparently one of their customers will be moving into our house on the 25th of September and will be taking over our phone line :)

Problem solved

I think my BT woes are finally resolved. I changed my strategy when I rang them this morning and instead asked how I find out who my provider is since they say it isn’t BT because I’d like to report this third-party company to Ofcom. After being transferred to three different people and waiting on hold for longer than it takes to dry washing on the line in Aberdeen mid-winter, it turns out the third-party company is BT. In other words, there is no third-party company. BT transferred my account to itself and somehow the front-line staff could not see this information. All they could see was that my account was transferred to another provider.

This is the problem with large companies like BT. Front line staff are the ones dealing directly with customers but they don’t give them sufficient power to resolve issues. When we moved house we moved to a different house on the same street. Maybe their system couldn’t handle a change of address when the street and postcode remained the same? Who knows? I’m just happy not to have to worry about it now. I’m happy to have BT as my service provider just as long as I never have to speak to any of them on the phone ever again. Apparently they’re also going to refund me for the cancellation fee.

Problems with BT and autism

We’re still having problems with BT and I’d by lying if I said it wasn’t stressful. I feel powerless and have no idea how to resolve the problem. Fortunately we haven’t lost internet or phone so far but I received another automated email from BT on the weekend, same as the one from a couple of weeks ago, saying “Sorry to see you go blah blah blah”. I tried contacting them via Twitter and someone emailed me on Saturday and the email is quite extraordinary. Here’s a copy and paste of some of what they said:

Yes that’s right it seems you may have enquired about services from another provider in the not to distant past which is the reason for the current situation you are faced with.

We did send you notification of this and this correspondence did advise of what actions to take should you not with this to go ahead. Unfortunately you left it to late to contact us a we could not stop the request to transfer your services to the other provider you had previously contacted.

You would indeed have had services up and running as you advised but not with BT Retail.

I honestly haven’t, cross my heart and kiss my elbow, signed up with another provider. Every time I ring 150 to see who my provider is the message says, “Hello, thanks for calling BT” which seems to suggest BT is my provider still. No other provider has contacted me at any time and I haven’t signed up with anyone else voluntarily. Each time I contact BT, with the exception of a nice lady this morning who was more confused than accusatory, they say my phone services have been transferred to another company but won’t say who. The lady this morning said she couldn’t see who and she had no explanation for why 150 tells me the service is with BT. How I could have made a transfer twice in the last month without my knowledge is a mystery to me and I’m yet to receive any kind of correspondence from this third-party telecommunications provider because as far as I’m concerned there isn’t any other company.

I have no idea how to fix this or what to do next. I’m tired of ringing them and explaining the situation over and over again. We have wondered what would happen if we just did nothing, since our service is up and running, but I don’t want to do that because something is clearly wrong. It’s as though BT keeps transferring our service to BT and we’re stuck in some kind of loop. But the people I talk to about it don’t believe me and assume I’ve transferred the account away from BT.

I work in support and if anything good has come from this it has made me realise how powerless you are when you contact support and how we expect the people on the other end to believe what we say. I hope I already always do believe my users and take their concerns seriously but this just reinforces it for me.

On a lighter note we need to get Daniel some new shoes and I asked him whether he had a preference for the type of shoe he wants. His only input was that he wanted his shoe to look different from everyone else’s. I was quite impressed by this because most kids want to look the same as their peers and so I asked him why, thinking it was because he wanted to be unique and to stand out. It turns out he just wants to make sure his shoes are never confused with someone else’s when they take them off at school and leave them in a pile somewhere. He wants to make sure no-one else accidentally puts on his shoes. There’s something so cutely autistic about that and very Sheldonesque.

In town without my car day

Today is “In town without my car day” and as big advocates of the pedestrianisation of city centre streets we thought we should go along and lend our support. They had closed off some streets to cars which was marvellous and put lots of fun activities in their place like a giant water slide, a climbing wall, bikes to ride, dancing, a giant snakes and ladders game, bouncy castles and lots of other things.




I had a go on a trike with two seats at the back, a bit like a rickshaw I guess. The bike was a bit small for me and so it felt very odd. It also felt less stable on corners than Busby.


Ben can spin a plate on a stick.  A useful skill.


The waterslide looked like fun but you had to buy tickets and they all sold out a couple of days before the event.


Aberdeen City Council has plans to pedestrianise some city centre streets. I’m not sure when it will happen but I’m hoping sooner rather than later.

Fyvie Castle

My sister rang first thing this morning sounding very upset because she had slept in and missed her flight and was consequently unable to come and visit us this weekend. We were all very disappointed and so we took off for Fyvie Castle to lift our spirits.

Fyvie Castle is an enormous 13th century castle about 28 miles NW of Aberdeen. It houses an impressive collection of Gainsborough and Raeburn paintings and is quite palatial on the inside. It looks like something out of a fairy tale and is a popular place for weddings. Indeed, there was a wedding in progress during our visit today.

There’s a loch in the castle grounds with a very pleasant walking path all the way around. It’s supposedly home to otters but we didn’t see any. Our kids are so noisy that most of the wildlife scatters well in advance of our arrival. The castle gardens were also lovely and have a very productive vegetable garden.









We booked the electric car – a Renault Zoe – which has a range of about 80 miles. The distance to and from Fyvie Castle was at most 60 miles so we had more than enough range. We could have gone much further because when we got back the Dashboard said we’d only used 41 miles in total. This is because the car charges while you’re driving. When you coast downhill, for instance, you can see the battery charging again.

It’s so nice to be able to take off to a castle whenever we want and also to have so much choice.

I ate a box of chocolates yesterday

I turned 40 yesterday; I’m officially middle-aged. I didn’t do anything exciting other than eat almost an entire box of chocolates. I didn’t even feel sick and I’m unlikely to put on weight because a) I’m vegan and b) I’ve got Busby. The interesting thing about Busby is that there’s a positive correlation between my age and the amount of calories I burn cycling each day. This is because Daniel and Elizabeth are in the bike and they’re getting older each day too and consequently heavier. I can’t see any way to avoid this without starving them or cutting off their limbs from time to time. But I’d probably get in trouble if I did either of those things. And so with each passing month I’m burning more calories carting them around everywhere. It’s marvellous. Although I don’t think it’s very marvellous when I’m huffing and puffing up a hill.

We haven’t had any leaks with the house this week, thank goodness, and I’m starting to fall in love with it again. I’ve been sneaking out to the garden whenever I can to keep on top of the weeds and just to admire it. The house itself is also very spacious and comfortable. A couple of the bedrooms have some funky 1970s carpet going on but fortunately we don’t use these two rooms very often. One is the dining room (we eat in the kitchen mostly) and the other is a spare bedroom so my sister will get to enjoy bright blue paisley carpet this weekend. We’ll replace the carpet at some point or just rip it up and chuck it out.

Life is pretty good. I haven’t got any complaints.

Incompetence at BT

A week ago I wrote about how BT emailed me to say they were sorry to see me go and that because I had cancelled my contract early I would be charged. I was a bit confused at the time because I had never cancelled my account and nor did I wish to cancel my account. I rang then and spoke with several different people the last of whom assured me that my account would not be cancelled and that I would not be charged for this phantom cancellation.

Today I received my bill and it is over £200 because it includes a cancellation fee. So I rang them again to explain that this is a mistake that I haven’t cancelled my account, that I don’t wish to cancel my account and that both my landline and the broadband are still up and running. The person I spoke to didn’t seem to believe me and kept saying my account was closed. I asked her how I could be using my phone to ring her if the account was closed and she said I must be with another provider. So she asked me to hang up and she would ring me back on my mobile so I could ring 150 on my landline to find out who the service was with. I rang 150 and it said, “Welcome to BT”. So then she said I should ring faults because it was likely a fault with the line.

By this stage I was losing my patience and I said there’s no fault with the line; it’s working perfectly. This is a billing issue and can you please sort it out and ring me back when it has been fixed. Now it seems they’re going to create an entirely new account and send out another hub even though the one we have works perfectly well. We don’t want another hub. What a colossal waste!

Not once has a single person apologised and there’s been no guarantee that we won’t lose our internet connection during this ridiculous process. I know that people make mistakes and that large software billing systems have bugs which can create issues like these, but why can’t they say, “Sorry for the trouble, we’ll sort it out for you”. Instead it was suggested that it was my fault for signing up with someone else when I never did!

We’re famous

There are a couple of photos of us in today’s EveningExpress taken at the Wee Jaunt yesterday. Not such a great one of me because it looks like I’m flashing but fortunately you can’t see anything.


Ben showed his photo to a PhD student at work hoping to impress him but his response was, “It would look more impressive if they took off the training wheel”.



Wee Jaunt Aberdeen

Buying a house seems to have sapped all the fun out of lives so we decided to do something to rectify the situation. This morning we participated in the Wee Jaunt Aberdeen, a Pedal for Scotland initiative to encourage cycling and raise money for a children’s charity.

They closed off several roads in a 6 mile route around Aberdeen for 3 hours so we got to pedal on traffic-free roads and it was bliss. The route took us past Torry Battery, which we visited a month or so ago, and further along the coast. There were some lovely views but it was very hilly! Had I known there would be so many hills I may have chickened out. It was hard work on Busby with both kids inside. I knew I was exhausted by the end of it when, as we were cycling on an almost flat road I found myself trying to change into a lower gear only to discover I was already in the lowest gear.




It started and finished in Duthie Park where they had lots of different bicycles to try and a climbing frame. I got to ride a penny farthing which was fun and not as difficult as I had imagined. Ben had a go too and we got this little video of us riding it:

We’ve got other fun things planned for this month. My sister is coming next weekend and the weekend after that we’re going to Edinburgh. Woo!