Going to the Chapel...

June 2006

I can't remember when the fateful day way was - I'll I can remember is that it happened.  When we got engaged back in February 2005, we set a provisional date of September 2007 for the Wedding.  When we found out earlier this year that we were pregnant, we thought September 2007 looked optimistic.  After going through the trauma of miscarriage, we felt certain that the experience had pulled us even closer together, and we knew more than ever that we wanted to get married.  So we decided to bring the wedding forward, and we started looking round for venues and stuff.

Originally, we had planned to marry in a register office.  We'd talked about getting married in Scunthorpe, where they have a nice little register office, and then having a party later in the day, or on the next day, in Wakefield.  We went through numerous iterations on a theme, and then somehow we ended up talking about getting married in a hotel and having an evening do there too.  We wanted to get married in September, and only 3 months or so away, it was going to be difficult to get a venue.  By chance we stumbled upon Cedar Court Hotel Wakefield, which was just one junction down the M1 from where we lived, and we booked our Wedding for Friday 29th September.

A New Addition... Woof!

June 2006

It's a Saturday afternoon, the girlfriends Sister is round our house, and it's an innocent conversation, but a sinister question.  "Can we get a dog?" asks Liz.  And I said "Yes".  Not, "Let's think about it darling".  Not even an "Let's talk about it later".  Just "Yes".  So out comes the Yellow Pages, and we're searching for a dog.  We find a Rescue Kennels that open on Sunday, so we go, we spy a lovely little puppy.  He picks us, and 30 minutes later we're walking round Pets at Home, with Liz carrying our furry bundle of "joy" in a blanket - and loving the attention she's getting. 

Tell you what - any single guys out there, talk someone into lending your their cute little puppy for the weekend, and go round the Pet stores.  You'll get more attention from the ladies than you've ever got before.  Two hours later, and he's chewing my best mates shaggy rug, and doing his business on the lawn.  We took a few days to decide on a name, opting for a twist on my best mate's suggestion of Dave, Dave the Dog.  We went for Doug, Doug the Dog®.

In the weeks that follow, Doug causes a multitude of havoc.  He destroys our Sky+ remote, and chews his way through several pairs of my socks and underpants, and any tea towel, sponge, or dish cloth he can get his teeth around.  Not only that, but any toys we buy him come to a destructive end in a very short space of time, hence earning Doug the nick name of Doug the Destroyer.

When I first wrote about Doug, I named the kennels where we got him from.  I've changed my mind on this.  Yeah, they were rescue kennels and I like to think that this particular doggy got a good home with people who care for him.  But, they gave him to us with no checks, no questions, no nothing - except us handing over £99.  We walked away with a 7 week old puppy with only a blanket.  We had no previous experience of looking after a puppy, and we had no idea that it was a bad idea to remove a puppy from the litter before 8 or 9 weeks.  Apparently, this is the time when they learn about an 'inhibited bite' - which basically means that they learn that biting actually hurts the person or thing that they are biting.  Doug had a bit of a clue about this, but not a lot, and I believe it's made training him much more difficult.  So, you've been warned - if you ever do get a puppy, don't remove it from the litter until it is at least 9 weeks old.

Sometimes things go wrong.

April 2006

At the beginning of March 2006, we found out that we were pregnant.  So we started to plan a life around a baby, and plan our finances towards supporting our own family.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.  We miscarried, without explanation, and our dream of our first child was stolen from us.  It was a very difficult time for us both, and at times like that you wonder if you are really going to get through it.  We never realised until that point, that miscarriage is actually quite a common thing, and we were surprised to learn that so many people we know had been through the same thing.  It doesn't help the pain at the time, but I suppose it does provide some comfort when you realise that other people have been there, come through it, and been successful at starting a family.  I'm not quite certain how it happened, but that baby that was never to be brought into our world got a name - Triangle.  That's how we remember him.

A Family Christmas.

Christmas 2005

Christmas 2005 was a special time. The very first Christmas that Elizabeth and I were living together, our first Christmas together in our very first home together.  We bought a new Christmas Tree to celebrate, which was a bargain at only £2.50.  Well, £2.50 a year if we keep it for 25 years.  We went to see my parents for Christmas dinner, then in the afternoon Liz's Mum, Sister, and Sister's boyfriend came round for tea.  Me and Liz's Mum, Joan, started on the Baileys, and within an hour we were starting to slump down the sofa as the half pint glasses of chilled creamy Baileys began to take effect.  Yummy.

On boxing day, lots of people came round, and we had a really good time.  I don't really remember the presents, I just remember having a nice rowdy time that night and enjoying being with family and friends, just how it should be.

Another new home.

August 2005

It's hard to believe really.  I lived in the same house with my parents for 19 years, moved into a flat then 5 months later buy a house.  I have that house for a little over 13 years and then sell it and move into a rented house in West Yorkshire with my fiancé.  Then 5 months later we move into our new house, in Ossett, West Yorkshire.

Martin, the 5 month rental man.  Ha.  Anyway, our new house is a three bedroom semi-detached in quite a nice cul-de-sac.  Well, its actually more like a multi-sac, cause there's cul-de-sacs everywhere.  The house has a small backyard, a drive way that will just about take 4 cars, a small front lawn, a downstairs toilet, quite a large living room, quite a small dining room and a compact kitchen.  We love it.

It's an interesting story about how we came to get this house.  Our landlord had given us notice to quit after the 6 month tenancy was up, this was with about 2.5 months to go.  Great.  So, we get slightly panicky - we have about 10 weeks to find somewhere to live and buy it (or rent it).  So we work out the finances, and are amazed to find the bank will lend us about £170k.  Which is kind of interesting, because we feel we can only actually afford to borrow around £120k.

We spot a house in another area of Batley (where we were living).  It's an old house with a modern-ish extension.  We go to look at it, and we hate it straight away.  It's £106k and we start to think we might not get what we want for our £120k.

We go driving round Batley looking at houses we've seen within our budget, and we're not liking what we see.  Then we stumble on a house a few hundred yards from the first house we looked at, and it's gorgeous.  No decorating required, fantastic condition, just about 6 years old.  And it's just under the £120k mark (by a whole £50).  We have our offer accepted, and are over the moon.  We get a survey done, we get the mortgage moving, we're about to get the searches done.  Then we find out the vendor hasn't got a property, and won't commit to a completion date.  Now there's about 6 weeks left.  So the brown stuff hits the spinny thing, and we're in full on panic mode.

We're once again trawling the net looking for a house to buy, and seriously considering going for another rental.  Then we find this house for sale which is £10k over budget, but looks really nice.  We go look at it and notice the house under the same roof is also up for sale with the same agents - but £5k less.  We went round the property on a Saturday.  We liked it, it was well decorated, and didn't need anything doing to it before we moved in.  And no chain.  Bonus.  But we'd also arranged to see the property next door, on the following Wednesday, and it was £5k cheaper.

On the Wednesday morning before work, I looked at the agents website and am stunned to see the house we are going to look at that day has been reduced by £5k.  Right into our budget.  We go look round the house at lunchtime.  It's the same as next door, but just not as tidy. The house was 7 years old, and the curtains and carpets are the ones originally put in by the builders, and it probably hadn't been painted in those 7 years.  But it's now £10k less than next door, and £10k will buy a lot of carpets and curtains, and paint.  As we walk out from the viewing, another couple arrive.  We phone the agent and make the offer of the asking price there and then.  By mid-afternoon our offer is accepted and we have a tentative completion date.

We had to chase, even bully the solicitor and bank a few times, but we got completed on the day we wanted to - and a whole 3 weeks before our rental expired.


A degree in time...

July 2005

On the 2nd July, I received a results letter from the University of Lincoln.  This letter informed me that after a prolonged part-time degree course lasting 6 years, and after two years night school at college before that combined with Open University study for a year, I've finally finished my Honours Degree in Business Studies.

I'm overwhelmed with relief that this 'project' is now over.  It's not easy studying part time at any level, and combine that with a job where you're working 60 plus hours a week as I often was at SSL International and you've got a challenge.  I achieved Lower Second Class Honours - which I'm disappointed in, because I went into this looking to achieve a 2:1 as a minimum.  However, when I moved job to SCM, which was over 50 miles away from where I lived, I knew the commute of over an hour each way would have an effect - and this has shown in my results over the last two and a half years.

So, yes, I'm disappointed in the result, but I have achieved an Honours Degree whilst working full time.

New Home

June 2005

So, it's now the end of June.  I moved out of my house in Scunthorpe on March 25th - Good Friday, and moved into a detached house in the White Lee area of Batley, which my girlfriend and I are renting.  My house sold on Friday 13th May - lucky, eh?  Since then we've been trawling websites looking for a property to buy.  We viewed one house, which we weren't too keen on, then a week or so later we went round another house which struck us both as being a lovely property. 

After the last move, neither of us are really looking forward to the actual process of moving.  However, we would dearly like to be in our own house by the end of the year - and if we get the house we want, it's only 10 minutes away in the car, so that move should be less traumatic.

I'm sat here updating the website on the laptop, while the girlfriend sits across from me, putting photos in a photo album.  I'm actually about to put some new photos into the photo album - so be sure to check that out.

Quitting Scunthorpe!?!

February 2005

Well, here is the next instalment of BIG news.  This month I put my house up for sale.  I've lived here for like a million years (13 or so), and now I'm leaving.  Since I took a job in Leeds in October 2002, I kind of made up my mind that I would have to leave my beloved Scunthorpe one day, and that day has arrived.  I'm tired of driving over 100 miles a day, 5 or 6 days a week to travel to work - I've even done the trip twice on a few days!  But, even being a man, I can't hide the real reason - I want to be closer to my true love, in fact, I want to live with her.  So I'm going to.  Liz - I can't wait darling!

Girlfriend!  Fiancé!

December 2004

Hmph.  Look what happened.  I go to the Christmas Party, have a really good drink, have a boogie, and more good drink.  I talk to a girl, kiss her, and go 'home' (aka back to my hotel room) by myself.

A few days later, I'm sat having lunch with this girl.  A few days after that, we're having dinner and then going back to my place to snuggle on my sofa.  Now for the really mad bit - I've known this girl for over 2 years!!!

So, it's a little bit mad, but I spend the next few weeks falling in lover with her.  And now I just don't want to be without her, ever.  So much so, that I took her away from it all (well, took her to Cleethorpes), and led her by the hand onto the beach (it was blowing a gale, and it was FREEZING!), got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.  She said yes.  (Yay!)