Sunday, January 20, 2008

January Break in Prague

Wallenstein Palace from across the river

One of the advantages of living back in the UK is all the cheap flights to Europe, so before christmas I had decided that for Saima's birthday that she (as well as myself) deserved a break, Saima especially has been working insane hours and as I knew she would have a decent chunk of time off I wanted to take her somewhere with a little culture. So that ruled out Dudley near Birmingham, but meant that Prague would be perfect.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and headed straight to the hotel in the center of Prague, which with all the McDonalds and KFC's you would of thought that it was any city in England, so immediately we knew that we would need to travel off the square to see a more authentic Prague. After check-in we headed off for a little reccy to get our barings, it's something I always like to do, as I hate getting lost. So off to find the National Theatre in time for our visit to the Ballet that night, yes you heard me right... The Ballet.

The Ballet was something I had never been interested, but considering that Ballet is about the flowing of movement, strong poses and the lines of motion it makes sense that I would enjoy it as much as I did, I had managed to get hold of 2 tickets 5 rows from the front, and if we hadn't been 10 minutes late for the start we would of been able to sit in them. Luckily they said that they could let take our seats at the interval, but that first of all meant that we had to STAND in the gallery at the top of the theatre (I'm scared of heights), but it did give us a great view of all the action.

All very formal, Saima looked amazing so what better thing to do than head to a bar afterwards for a couple of Czech beers and Mojito's for the lady, followed by McDonalds... It was late.

So Saturday we headed off to another part of the city and checked out a Salvador Dali exhibition, and some of the other sights of Prague, all the pictures can be found here. Then for dinner we ended up in the Poshest restaurant I think either of us have ever been too, in a underground grotto with a grand piano player. Thinking about it now I have no idea how they got that piano down there.. Regardless the food was pretty good although not the best, but managed to bluff my wine tasting prowess so that we ended up with a cheeky little Czech number, the name escapes me. I had completely forgotten that the smoking ban in England has made eating out so much more pleasant, as the ban isn't in effect in Prague, so the guy on the table next to you is quite happily puffing away over your salmon steak...

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Tut Tut Kristjan, you should know better

Coming back to England in August and buying a car was something I was looking forward too, managed to get hold of the money, got all the correct documentation, and even managed to clear all the points off of my existing UK Driving Licence, Brilliant!

So on the 3rd of September I proudly drove to work on the A4 Bath Road the route that I would be following every day during my time at Pivotal, maybe a little bit excited and *Flash* at the bottom of a seemingly quiet hill, and this was my FIRST journey to work.

I didn't think much of it, but I'm sure I would of if I had seen the flash... The thing is I didn't, as it was one of those digital cameras, the ones that don't need a film AND are connected straight to a network the zips your information back to the DVLA immediately. In fact they are so quick now that you could have a letter and fine in the post before you arrive at your destination. The problem is, the registration documents on a newly purchased car don't get to the DVLA as quick. So when that speed camera information arrives at the DVLA they cross check it with the registration and send out the appropriate action, but if your car isn't registered they can't get you and are allowed a further 6 months to track you down.

This means that I had thought that I had gotten away with my little "mistake" so carried on driving the same way. Luckily when I did finally receive my penalty I was offered the opportunity to take a Speed Aware course under the tag-line, "3 points or 3 hours your choice".
Obviously I chose the course, and was re-educated in the ways of the careful driver, now I've always considered myself as a safe driver, but then again most people do. But the 3 hours was actually very interesting, I'm not going to preach so your safe, but some of the key facts that came out.
  • Think of each camera as a bunch of flowers, it's there for a reason and that reason is usually several fatalities or critical accidents, by law cameras aren't allowed to be placed randomly on Urban roads.
  • 3rd gear = 30mph, 4Th gear = 40mph, plus only use 5Th gear when going 50mph or more, that way when your car starts screaming at you to change you know you are probably going over the limit in an urban area (may seem obvious but is a useful little fact), also staying in 3rd will slow you when descending a hill.
  • There is no excuse, imagine if the excuses you gave had to be given to you once a friend or family member is injured, would you accept it, all about perspective.

Now I'm sure you all knew that, but I have to admit that with over 12 years of driving, I had got so used to driving that I had forgotten a lot of these points, which is completely my fault and I hold my hands up to that. If you have a hobby or play a sport you keep up to date with the rules, everyone does, that's just the way it is.

But it seems that driving is the only everyday activity/hobby that the more we do the more we forget... Suppose I should do out a buy a new highway code, well it has been over 10 years.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Chino Latio NYE 2007

New Years Eve in Leeds, Saima, Justin, and Saima's friends Hannah and V, relitively early start, pretty late finish, if my memory serves me right I'm pretty sure that I was involved in some sort of dance off that I'm pretty sure I won... But I have no real idea.

More pictures can be seen here: NYE in Leeds 2007

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