Friday, 27 May 2011

101 things in 1001 days: number 85 - list 25 different species of animal I've seen in the wild

Completed: 11th April 2011.

While out in Cyprus in the first week of April (which I just realised I still haven't blogged about, fail) I did a lot of wildlife spotting. We had to compile species lists during the week, and when I remembered that I had this task on my list I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to tick it off.

So, here is my list of 25 different species of animal I've seen in the wild, during one week on the Karpaz Peninsula in North Cyprus (4th - 11th April 2011):

1. Hooded crow - Corvus corone
2. Collared dove - Streptopelia decaocto
3. Jackdaw -Corvus moedula
4. House sparrow - Passer domesticus
5. Common Swift - Apus apus
6. Egyptian fruit bat - Rousettus aegyptiacus
7. Crested lark - Galerida cristata
8. Marsh harrier - Circus aeruginosus
9. Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
10. Eurasian kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
11. Red-rumped swallow - Hirundo daurica
12. Little owl - Athena noctua
13. Eurasian Scops owl - Otus scops
14. Cyprus wheatear - Oenanthe cypriaca
15. Northern wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe
16. Isabelline wheatear - Oenanthe isabellina
17. Wryneck - Jynx torquilla
18. Hoopoe - Upupa epops
19. Blue rock thrush - Monticola solitarius
20. Black francolin - Francolinus francolinus
21. Short-toed lark - Calandrella brachydactyla
22. Cretzschmars Bunting - Emberiza caesia
23. Quail - Coturnix coturnix
24. Masked shrike - Lanius nubicus
25. Glossy ibis - Plegadis falcinellus

(Spot the one species that isn't a bird!)

101 things in 1001 days: update

I haven't been progressing as quickly as I would have liked with this due to having a massively busy term, but now that I'm free for the summer (well, sort of) I've got plenty of time to tick a load more off my list.

So far I've completed 6 things from my list:
23. Give blood - completed 24th January 2011
40. Make a new friend
51. Try Geocaching - completed 27th January 2011
67. Have a picnic - 3rd March 2011
85. List 25 different species of animal I've seen in the wild - completed 11th April 2011
93. Become a PTA - completed 19th February 2011

And these things are in progress...
35. Try 50 new foods - 5/50
76. Eat at 10 new restaurants - 3/10

I'm hopefully going to get round to blogging about all of these at some point!

And I'm still looking for suggestions for the last 8 things on my list if anyone can think of something fun for me to do...

Thursday, 12 May 2011

This is what my Wednesday nights look like for the next 12 weeks... (a.k.a. the 2011 Big Cross Stitch parts 1 and 2)

... watching The Apprentice while working on some cross stitch.

It's the biggest piece I've ever done, and I've got a feeling that it's going to take me a loooong time.

I thought it would be cool to keep a record of how I'm progressing with it, so I'm going to take a photo of how far I've got every week.

Here's how it looked at about 11:30pm last night...
(it's a 2-page pattern, and that's about half of one page and it's not finished. And I haven't even started on all the backstitch yet...)

I'm aiming to get it completely finished before this series of The Apprentice finishes.
I've got a lot of work ahead of me...

Saturday, 7 May 2011


So even though I said I don't want to whinge on this blog and that I want to keep it positive, there are times when I need to have a good rant and let it all out otherwise I start to go slightly mad. Plus I'm pretty sure no one reads this anyway, so what does it matter? And I guess I don't feel happy all the time, so having a moan once in a while is an accurate representation of my life, right?

For the past week I've been stuck in bed and haven't left the house because I've got glandular fever. I have no idea where I got it from (no, I haven't been going round kissing random people...), but I think I probably got it somewhere in Cyprus or from the nasty recycled air on the flights there/back. Eww.

About a week after I got back from Cyprus I noticed a weird inch-or-so long lump in my neck, which I thought was just a swollen gland but it was kind of odd as it was only on one side, and I felt completely fine. I started to feel gradually more and more run down and emotional and just plain blah as the weeks went on, but it wasn't bad enough for me to bother with the hassle of having to register as a temporary patient to see a doctor at home so I decided to just wait it out.

After a couple of weeks, I managed to make it back to Falmouth and have about a day here feeling fine, with only a sore throat... then last Sunday night I woke up in absolute agony every time I tried to swallow. I had a look at my tonsils and they were a bit swollen and had had white bits on, so my first thought was "Crap, I've got tonsillitis... meh, it'll go away in a couple of days". Boy, how wrong I was.

I spent all day Monday in bed falling asleep at random times because I felt awful and couldn't keep myself awake. My mum kept pestering me to see a doctor, but being a bank holiday meant the surgery was closed.

Tuesday morning I woke up nice and early to get myself a doctors appointment, dragged myself up to uni to hand some work in, then walked down to Penryn to go to my appointment. The doctor prodded around at the lumps in my neck a bit (which by this point had swollen even further, but they were only swollen glands), had a look at my disgusting tonsils (which now had black bits on as well as white bits. Yeah, gross.) and took a blood sample to test for glandular fever. I was quite shocked as I hadn't even considered having it, but he said it wasn't too likely and was just a possibility. He gave me a course of antibiotics to clear up the tonsillitis, then I headed home (nearly passing out at the bus stop and again on the top deck of the bus, which was an interesting experience...).

Thursday afternoon I got a phonecall from the doctor saying my blood results were back... and that I've got glandular fever. Yay for me :|. Because it's viral there's nothing that can be done to treat it, so I just have to wait it out and it could be weeks before I feel back to normal. Then it hit me that there's no way I'd be able to do my essay due in on the 10th and my exams on the 16th and 19th if all I wanted to do was sleep, and I couldn't even sleep anyway because my tonsils were so swollen that I could barely breathe (and every time my tongue fell back in my mouth while I was asleep it completely cut my air off and I woke up, which happened 3 or 4 times a night). Eating was stupidly difficult too because there was just no space for food to get through when I swallowed, ergh. So anyway, I emailed one of my lecturers and explained the problem, so I've got a two-week extension on my essay and I've deferred my exams until the end of August.

(Here's where the rant starts. If by any slim chance anyone happens to be reading this, I apologise in advance for coming off as a moany bitch because I'm not really like this, honestly! I'm just feeling uber crap due to being ill)

I'm missing out on attending Helston Flora day with St John today which I've been looking forward to for literally a year. I'm beyond gutted, and it really doesn't help that Steve keeps phoning me to tell me how the preparations are going as it unintentionally rubs it in my face that they're all going to be there having a good time while I'm stuck in what's effectively solitary confinement. It was also a bit of a kick in the face this morning, when I'd wanted to have a nice long lie-in and forget what day it is, to be woken up by Steve asking me to find out if Matt was ready to go (which of course he wasn't), then I couldn't get back to sleep so I've been dwelling on it all day. I'm really really hoping I'll be better by Royal Cornwall Show now, because if I'm not I'm going to be so upset it'll be unreal.
I'm kind of beginning to wonder whether I should even bother going back to St John, because I've been there a year and a half now and I've basically done fuck all. I haven't treated anything more serious than a small cut, I've done over 100 hours on duty since I joined but most of those I've spent sitting on my fat arse, I don't do anything in my role as "treasurer" other than count loose change and pay it into the bank every now and again, I'm going to be an absolutely shit trainer (when I eventually finish 7303), and yet somehow I've been made out to be amazing when actually I'm pretty much completely useless. I feel like a fraud, so I'm really considering packing it all in and letting Frankie take over from me as vice chair/trainer next year, because in all honestly she'll be much better at both of those things than I would be, and after the extremely close vote between Steve and Frankie for who gets to be president next year it makes sense for Frankie to be vice chair as people actually wanted to vote for her and people only voted for me because I was the only person who went for that position. And none of the people I meet in different divisions remember who I am anyway even after they've met me several times,showing that there's basically no point in me being part of St John because I'm not good for anything other than occasionally being a dogsbody.

I'm also really wishing I hadn't deferred my exams now. Realistically I know it was the right thing to do, because I've lost out on so much revision time now that I would perform terribly if I sat the exams in a week and a half's time, but now everyone else is revision while I'm stuck here ill and needing some company, and then while they get to celebrate finishing exams and having a nice long summer free from having to worry about work I'm going to have exams and revision lingering in the back of my mind and spoiling everything. I'd been so looking forward to the summer too and being able to be carefree and do whatever I want, but now I know I'm going to have to spend weeks revising, thus spending yet more time by myself.

I feel like life's permanently letting me down. Every time I think I'm picking myself back up something comes along and brutally shoves me back down again. Like when I came back after Easter, I thought things were starting to look up and I only had a few weeks until I was free until October... and now I'm alone (yet again), ill and bed-bound with a nice long summer of revision and bad feeling to look forward to.

I feel so let down by university and everything it promised to be... "You'll make loads of new friends!" "You'll do so many fun things!" "You'll learn so much!" "You'll have the time of your life!"... NONE of those things have been true for me, and it's a huge slap in the face when everyone else I know says how much of an amazing time they're having at uni and I'm literally the only person I know who hates the damn place and wishes I hadn't bothered due to the massive debt it's lumbering me with so what is basically 3 years of misery (and that's not including the masters I'll probably have to do to make this degree worth anything, urgh.)

I just want the whole damn experience to be over, and I want my life to work out the way I want it to for once in fucking while.

If you read all the way through this, I salute you.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The never ending saga of my attempt to order from Threadless

Back in March, I placed an order for these...

... from Threadless, a US-based t-shirt site, hoping they would arrive before I left Cornwall for Easter. It said maximum 3 weeks delivery time, so I thought they would have plenty of time to get here.

Unfortunately, they didn't :(

4 days after I'd left, when I was in Cyprus, I got a text from one of my housemates saying that a card had come through the door for me from Royal Mail saying I had a fee to pay on a parcel. On top of the £38 or something I'd already spent on the shirts (yeah, I know, most expensive t-shirts ever), I now had a £15.35 customs and admin fee to pay for bringing them into the country. I was pretty miffed, but the t-shirts are cool and I'd been looking forward to getting them, so when I got back from Cyprus I paid the fee.

I then discovered that the delivery office only holds parcels for up to 3 weeks before returning them to sender...
It was the Easter holidays, so the house was empty.
Empty house means no one would be in to open the door for the delivery.
No one in to open the door means I'd have to wait until I get back to get the parcel from the delivery office.
I would only be getting back 3 and a half weeks after the card was left.


Luckily another one of my housemates was already back, so she kindly went to try and collect the parcel from the delivery office for me...

... but when she got there they couldn't find the parcel. Erm, what?

So they took her number and details, but she got back to the house to find the parcel had already been delivered and as it didn't look very parcel-like she hadn't noticed and it had become buried under piles of stuff on the kitchen table.

Panic over, the t-shirts were safely in the house and ready to wear when I got back.

So I arrive back a week ago, plan on wearing one of the t-shirts the next day, and excitedly tear into the parcel to find...
Excuse me, but what's with the one on the right?! Where's the blue one I actually ordered?!
Mega disappointment right then.

From a little bit of noseying around on the Threadless site, I discovered that the t-shirt I'd received is called "Hibernate" and the one I'd ordered is called "Hibearnation". An easy mistake to make when packaging up orders I guess, but whoever was doing it should've noticed that the t-shirt on my invoice was described as jade in colour, but that one is clearly black. Sigh...

It's all been sorted now though, they're sending me the correct one free of charge and I get to keep the incorrect one (anyone want to buy it? :P).
Fingers crossed the right one turns up and there's no faffing around like last time!

I wouldn't say I'd never order from Threadless again, as it this kind of error could happen to anyone and the delay and the customs charges was nothing to do with them, but it's certainly made me hesitant to shop from foreign websites if this is the amount of hassle it causes!

Update: I've finally got the right t-shirt, wooo! It arrived a lot quicker than the first two (I'm guessing because it didn't get stopped by customs) and it fits perfectly. I'm a happy bunny now :D