Monthly Archives: July 2010

Wedding#7 “I’m thinking of changing my name… Had a word with the marketing department.”

Changing one’s name is definitely the most onerous thing one has to do when getting married. No doubt some of you will be snorting at that sentence and thinking of all the other things that are far more work. Nonetheless, when you work in a school, it’s a right pain in the arse for the following reasons:

  1. No one reminds you to tell the head’s secretary that you’re changing your name. I think it was when the timetables first started coming out that I twigged that the coding was wrong.
  2. Not only that, but I’ve had to ask for a special set of initials – being ‘TA’ in a school would be extremely confusing, as it usually stands for ‘teaching assistant’.
  3. You have to tell the children well in advance that you’re changing your name so that they have time to get used to the idea (as with any other piece of information, such as “this is your fifteen minute warning to pick up your pen…”). Then they can enjoy practising it and trying to use it. This confuses the less bright ones, who then think you’ve got married over the weekend and proceed to try to hug you. In fairness, it does affect them slightly – their form name changes by one letter. They don’t seem to mind. We minded very much when our form tutor got married at school, because we desperately wanted to remain ’10OC’ – read it quickly and you’ll see why. I’ve said to them that I don’t really mind if they can’t manage the new name for a bit. Change is tough for 14 year olds.
  4. Everybody seems to take it personally if you don’t tell them specifically that you’re getting married. The large diamond/Facebook doesn’t do the trick, apparently. Should I have worn a big sign all year saying “I’m getting married on…”? This applies to the kids who aren’t in my tutor group as well, so when their timetables came out they came flooding in to ask who this mysterious “Mrs X” was.
  5. I can’t write my new surname without consciously thinking about the letters. Too many tall consonants. Must practise.
  6. Also, I keep forgetting I have new initials when coding up all the stationery.
  7. Irritatingly, the data system has decided that I no longer have an initial – I have become the entity “Mrs X”.

I’m sure everyone who changes their name when they get married has similar issues (I haven’t even started looking at important things, like bank accounts and passports). Maybe I should just have persuaded Dan to change his name instead…

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Wedding#6 Getting there, getting there…

Haven’t posted for a while – wedding things have been happening in a fast and frenzied fashion.

Would you believe that people don’t want to buy us towels and a garlic press? I was under the impression that wedding lists were meant to be domestic and boring. Tell you what, though, we’re going to have a hell of a chuck-out after the wedding. Bye bye all the crappy Argos and Tesco cutlery and kitchen stuff we bought when we first moved in together.

Just the peripheral things left to do now and I realise I’m supposed to be some kind of monumentally stressed-out Bridezilla by this point in the process, but I’m failing heartily. We’ve paid the hotel (don’t get me started on  how much we’re paying for one day of our lives), met the registrar and just about decided on the music. Still loads of things to pay for, although our parents’ generous contributions have helped with that (particularly paying for the Dress). Found out yesterday that the alterations to the Dress (inevitable, you’d have thought) are going to be an extra £125 – and the seamstress doesn’t take cards. Hmm… having said I’m not stressed out, it’s sounding like I am. I’m not. Really. I’m just appalled at how much everything costs. I’m sure we paid less (ignore the deposit for the purposes of this sentence) to buy our flat.

So, the shoes crisis. The issue was that I proposed wearing DMs as an alternative to totally un-me bridal shoes, which will also hurt. I don’t usually wear heels. I certainly don’t wear 3″ heels. Mother had a small fit and we’ve had to come up with a compromise to keep everyone happy. Thus, I shall be wearing proper shoes (from Shu Shu in Pinner) for the ceremony and photos (keeping their use down to about an hour and a half) and metallic pink DMs for the rest of the day! I’m going to keep an eye out for thick socks with hearts on them to go with the boots.

The meeting with the registrar did make things seem a bit more real, particularly as it was held in the room where they do civil ceremonies at Harrow civic centre, so we sat in the chairs they use and Jan, the registrar, mimed out the beginning of the ceremony. Choosing readings has been difficult – once again it’s a question of finding something that’s not cliched and sappy.

So, four weeks to go until it’s all over and we can jet off to Malta and some peace and quiet!

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iPhone 4: first thoughts

Okay, so I’m about three weeks behind everyone else on the iPhone 4 front. However, the phone that is taking 2010 by storm is now mine and from only 24 hours of ownership I can confidently say that it’s already making its mark.

A substantial upgrade

Some context is necessary, however, to explain just why I’m finding this new handset to be just as revolutionary as it is. I’ve made the upgrade to the iPhone 4 from the iPhone 3G. The 3G was, and is, a fine phone, and has served me well. However for a number of weeks it’s been running iOS4, which as many users have realised does the iPhone 3G no favours at all. It seems that iOS4 is trying to fit too many features across too great a range of handsets and it’s simply too demanding of the iPhone 3G’s hardware. I found that simple tasks such as texting became extremely slow and would often crash the app. Running apps while listening to a podcast – a task causing no problems at all under OS 3.1.3 – suddenly led to stuttering, apps crashing, and on occasion the iPhone crashing entirely. I stuck with iOS4 as I wanted to easily set-up the iPhone 4 using the existing restore, however the weeks of waiting did severely test me.

The delivery of my iPhone 4 yesterday finally saw end to this torment. Setting it up was simplicity itself, using the last restore point from the iPhone 3G and O2′s astoundingly straight-forward SIM swapping website. The hardest part of it all was getting the micro-SIM snapped out of the card it came in.

Using the restore point meant that the iPhone 4 was immediately familiar, with all the apps in their usual places, yet the speed increase was instantly noticeable. The iPhone 3G has always struggled with Twittelator Pro; my Twitter client of choice. As a result I’d always switched between it and the quicker Twitter for iPhone (formerly Tweetie) app. Now, Twittelator offers all the speed you’d want. It’s universally quick and responsive, and a joy to use, overcoming all of my bugbears with it on the 3G.

I quickly realised that the performance limitations of the 3G had actually greatly influenced the way I’d been using the phone and apps on it. iOS4 had caused such instability and performance issues that I’d avoided using certain apps and generally taken a cautious approach to using the phone’s functions as a whole. Essentially I’d not been using the phone to its full potential; shackles now broken with iPhone 4.

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The Fat Aubergine

A new café has recently opened on Ricky High Street, adding another option to lunching options. We already have Cinnamon Square and Brown Sugar established as firm lunch time favourites on the High Street, with Neros for coffee and snacks and Cafe in the Park at the Aquadrome. So how does this latest contender fare against the existing choices?

The Fat Aubergine makes much of its shakes and smoothies. There’s a bewildering variety, although Brown Sugar already offers a strong selection. As with Brown Sugar there are several menus around which makes it trickier to make a choice than perhaps it should. We both intended to have dairy free options and went for fruit smoothies and shakes, however missing the small print from each menu ended up with yoghurt and a milk shake respectively! They were tasty enough, but you don’t necessarily want to have to spend a good deal of time reading to make a simple choice.

We were more disappointed by the food, which is already prepared and not made to order as in Cinnamon Square or Brown Sugar. This meant that some of the choices were already sold out, and we felt there were relatively few fresh options available; something the competition does well.

On the whole, although it’s nice to see new businesses on the High Street, we didn’t feel Fat Aubergine offered anything that wasn’t already available from other cafés. It’s not the easiest of markets either, as Cinnamon Square uses its award winning homemade breads and is better than ever in its recently expanded form, while Brown Sugar’s deli format offers a superior selection of fresh food. For the moment at least we’re likely to stay with our current regular favourites for weekend lunches.

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