Is our life too highlighted?

by Anna Parsec
Updated: June 2, 2024
14 minute read
Anna is being massaged by mum (Talking Therapy)

This Sunday evening I am sitting at the desk that was relocated to our bedroom. Why would we do that? Ask James. Well, I can probably contribute to the answer. My mum has arrived for the summer and our study has been turned into the guest bedroom from our study. My mum wouldn’t mind the desk staying there and there was definitely enough space. However, James insisted that the desk be moved.

I am listening to Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, writing this post and James is working because we want to stay slightly ahead of the game before Monday morning.

Lots of things happened this week. We hoped to have 2-3 highlights of the week but instead we are having 2-3 highlights a day.

Monday 27 May 2024

First Unnecessary Bike Ride

It’s nice to have a bank holiday because it ends up being our only day off in weeks. We somehow do too many things over the weekend otherwise. Hence, we wanted to take it all from that late spring bank holiday. James definitely considered driving somewhere and see something new.

The best option would have been to have the National Trust or English Heritage pass and then go to one of the nearby palaces. However, since my mum was meant to come for the whole summer, it wouldn’t have made much sense to get the pass for two when we really need it for three people. We probably still need to find the best value for money with that.

Instead of all those fancy plans I suggested we go for a quick cycle in the neighbourhood along the Shelley Cycle path. It was nice but because James finally had his GoPro we had to stop a million times for James to take it out of the pocket, film and then put it away. Also, something we could improve in the future.

Our neighbour Ross has lended me a lawn mower to sort our front garden. This interaction gave him an opportunity to ask whether we can walk his dog Shadow as Ross was unwell. James was very happy to do that as he considers himself a professional dog walker at heart. That was a nice rainy walk which all of us enjoyed.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Our Focus Day Or Not

It was a very funny, unusual and busy day. We were meant to have it as a focus day when James works on one of our projects for 10 hours or so and I was meant to be focused on my research. We laughed all day about me making a decision to have it as a focus day because it did require lots of focus but nothing connected with work.

I was meant to have my first driving lesson in the UK but soon I realised that I left my driving licence at MSSL and we had to push back the lesson until next week. Once it was all sorted, at 8:30 the electricity went off. It was then when we realised that the power cut has been planned for the whole day on 28 May. We would have gone together to MSSL to work from there. However, the mattress, the bed frame and a couple of other deliveries were meant to be delivered which meant that James couldn’t have left the house for long really.

Somehow the day has turned into me becoming the mission controller and James being the driver. What he did in the end:

Received and collected the bed frame
Went to Tesco Extra to top up petrol and withdraw cash
The mattress has been delivered while James was out even though the app said it would arrive at 15:00 in the end
Collected the garden table from Burgess Hill (30 min away from us)
Our John Lewis parcel with bedding for the new bed have arrived while James was out
James collected me at MSSL after a day of this mission operations and my scientific research
the electricity has come on while we were sleeping after our busy day
Rhododendrons season
Wednesday 29 May 2024

Calm before the storm

It was meant to be a relatively chilled day like a calm day before the storm. Our chilled day is pretty packed anyway though.

I had a nice bath in the morning with our new candle and then did lots of admin and science at MSSL. You can read about what I was doing here.

James played football but he wasn’t very pleased that his legs ached a lot so he could barely move on the pitch. This football injury affected his pace at Tesco when he was doing the weekly shop. We are doing an experiment: each of us is in charge of the weekly shop on alternate weeks. The person in charge decides on recipes and can veto any naughty food or really any food if they see fit. Also, we decide whether it’s done online or in person. I am winning at the moment (not like it’s a competition though). I definitely did it much faster, with less effort, online, and at least £10 cheaper.

Thursday 30 May 2024

Piano Moving Day & Mum's Arrival

The main uncertainty of this day was: will the grand piano fit in through the stairs. We were putting off this move for 3 months. Both our piano mover Klaus from London Pianos and ourselves. Finally, we just decided to give it a go. Klaus arranged 4 people to help with this highly challenging and bone breaking job.

It is my fourth piano move with Klaus (to West Kensington, Crouch End, West Hampstead and now to West Sussex) and each time I am amazed by what he does and how professional, skilled and experienced he and his team are at moving musical instruments.

They arrived, evaluated the job, stripped the piano the most they could (legs, lead and the action with keys). After that it took them 7 minutes to move it up the first level but every single minute or rather second of those 7 minutes required high focus, coordination, teamwork and strength. The piano was in with just a inch or two leeway. I was extremely happy and relieved!

Anna is happy with her grand piano being moved inAnna is happy with her grand piano being moved in
Piano moving day GoPro montage
Grand piano being moved to the first floorGrand piano being moved to the first floor
Getting the piano up the stairs - Full GoPro Video
Friday 31 May 2024

Mum's Arrival

This day started shortly before midnight when James and I were driving towards Stansted airport and saw my mum’s plane ahead of us landing. She spent 2.5 months with us last summer and arrived again for this summer.

In the morning we had brunch with James’ delicious sandwiches (he is really good at those!). Then my mum massaged me as she is a professional manual therapist. We obviously chatted a lot!

Later that day before making curry for dinner we had a walk in the neighbourhood fields to show mum how it’s all looking.

Anna is being massaged by mum (Talking Therapy)
Saturday 1 June 2024

Saying Yes

Unfortunately, I am a bit crazy and saying yes to too many things. One of those was visiting the working session at Croydon High School for girls and helping them with their mission operations.

Fortunately though, it was a very curious visit where I learned a lot. Hopefully, I have contributed to the team as well. It is a separate subject. I’ll cover it here.

In the meantime, James was at Adam’s as it was sort of nearby. After school James and Adam picked me up at 3pm, we shopped for ingredients for hot dogs and went to Adam’s house. We had some lovely time chatting, catching up after not seeing each other since the Philippines in December. It was great having a meal with his mum there, eating our hot dogs and drinking Pimms (first of this season!).

Later Adam’s friend Ash arrived and we started watching the European Champions League Final (Real Madrid – Dortmund) and boxing. It was lots of fun!

Anna at the Astrogazers meeting
Sunday 2 June 2024

Sunday - A Day of Rest

We started resting nice and early – at 7am everyone was up. My mum and I seem to be early birds anyway. James was up too but he doesn’t think it was because my mum and I were actively chatting in the kitchen and drinking tea.

I was really looking forward to testing my grandma’s samovar (Russian old school way of boiling water for tea) that my mum has brought and Russian glasses with glass holders called podstakanniks (the Russian railroads still use the podstakannik extensively in sleeper carriages). I made scones which resulted in having an Anglo-Russian afternoon tea in the garden with our neighbours joining us.

After that we decided to pop into the garden centre Buckland Nurseries just to have a look around. I was overwhelmed and consumed at the vegetable racks because probably of my maternal grandmother’s inclinations. I got courgette, pumpkin and dwarf peppers. On Saturday Adam gave us tomatoes too. I’m going to have so much fun! Fortunately, I have my mum to assist me.

Anna and Gala in the garden centre

On the way back we went to The Pheasant pub. James and my mum probably thought that they were having Russian and English lessons respectively. I tend to walk them through the respective language’s nuances and explain all the pronunciations, translations and – especially – tenses in detail until I am confident they got it. As you can see I’m not cutting the slack.

Once we were back at home mum made a soup with stinging nettle which slightly shocked James but he was happy with fried potatoes and mushrooms that followed after that.

Soup from a stinging nettle from our garden
We know the next week won’t be any more restful than this week and there will be so many highlights again. I guess we will rest when we are dead.
27 May – 2 June 2024
One week at our rented house
GoPro annual subscrioption for our video library (with 30% discount which we got for entering a new card since the old card has exprired)
Lots of travel here and there – hence, lots of petrol used. Plus we paid for airpoort fees.
Food shopping including small shops
Amazon purchases and presents for James’ birthday on 14th June
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