Friday, January 15, 2016

Wow, over two years since I last posted! And what a crazy two years it has been! As it is your 9 year anniversary, let me fill you in on the highlights:

Lucy's Travelling

About 1.5 years ago, Lucy went to work in New Zealand! She worked in a hospital in Greymouth for 6 months and did a lot of travelling around New Zealand and Australia. It really sucked when she went, I remember saying goodbye to her at the station right before work then going to the work toilets to cry. Back then we didn't know how long she'd be away for (up to 9 months) and we had no idea how it would affect our relationship. Despite our daily texts and video calls twice a week, I missed her like crazy, especially as I was living on my own just doing my PhD every night and she was having the time of her life. It was really hard times, especially when she came back for her interviews in the UK because her head was all over the place and I thought she might dump me. But she has been home for a year now and last week was our 6 year anniversary (although she was/is currently in Thailand/Vietnam travelling with her NZ friend, which brings back bad memories for me!). Our relationship is stronger than ever, and we both agree that being apart for so long strengthened our love. Also on the bright side, I had a cool trip to Australia / New Zealand to visit her!

Australia Holiday

Imagine my excitement as I set off to Australia on my own to meet Lucy after months of being apart! I had never flown on my own or ever left Europe! And I was about to go on a 24 hour flight via China. I was scared by the excitement carried me through it. We had been planning this holiday for months and had so much planned! I remember getting out at Sydney airport and seeing Lucy's beaming face. The jetlag probably enhanced how surreal it all felt, but again my excitement kept me awake... Until I could hardly keep my eyes open in the restaurant!

Our schedule was totally packed! A little too packed actually. A few days to chill would've been nice!
The holiday was amazing, of course! Apart from Lucy got very ill with a skin infection and had to take antibiotics which made her very sick! Typical! But she pushed through so well and we had such a great time together. Here are a few photos:

New House!

That's right, Lucy & I bought a house!! We had been looking at houses several months before she went travelling. Then she found out she was definitely going travelling and we started to doubt whether buying was a good idea. But we have been here over a year now and we love it! While she was away, I was battling the solicitors (who took 5 months before I could move in!) Then, with help from Phil (with his van) I finally moved in 3 months after Lucy was gone.
The house is three floors and three bedrooms. It was a new build, so it took a while to make it feel cosy. But now that Lucy has been back we have made it our own. I have surprised myself with how much DIY I have done! And we haven't ruined anything yet, thankfully!

New Baby Niece!

8 days after I moved into our house, my baby niece was born! This beautiful little lady called Kimmi:
It is amazing watching her grow. She called me and Lucy "itch" and "ee!"

New Cats!

Our house has been graced with two cute pussy cats called Mimi and Bobcat! They are sisters and were just over 1 year old when we bought (for free!) them off Gumtree. I love them! Even if they are slowly destroying our lovely house, it's somehow worth it!

PhD Finished!

Can you believe it? There were times when I thought it was impossible, but somehow, after 3 years full-time and another 2.5 years working on my commuter train and evenings/weekends, I have finally conquered the beast! I am now officially Doctor Coombs! I have my graduation ceremony this summer, where I shall dress in silly clothes!
The viva exam went very well and my supervisor was very impressed! But despite that, my examiners were very meticulist and gave me 10 PAGES of comments to correct! It was the last 10 weeks I would ever spend on my thesis, and I am so glad to see the back of it!

New Job!

With my PhD out of the way and boredom at work setting in, I started looking for something new. I had three interviews and eventually decided to go for Dyson as a robotics software engineer! I have been there just 2 weeks and already love it! It is such a cool place to work, so much better than my last job. Not to mention a 25% pay increase! The average age is probably my age and everyone seems nice. The place is huge! It's easy to get lost, but there is so much interesting stuff to look at, it's like a museum! It is a very secretive job so I can't say much, but the work is so much more interesting and suits me far better than my last job. Good times!

New Car!

The only down side to my new job is that it is out in the sticks a bit, so I need a car. So yesterday, I bought my first ever car! It's a Fiesta Econetic! Pretty cool, eh??
Lucy will also have a long commute soon as she has accepted a GP training course in Swindon for 3 years. Hopefully we can endure the commute as we really don't want to have to move! But we'll see.

Wow, so much can happen in 2 year, eh! I wonder what I will be telling you about next time....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2012 Summary!

Hey hey! As usual, sorry it's been so long. But I swear I've been way too busy! I am still doing my PhD, but I've also had a new full-time job since October! It's in Bath, so I commute on the train each day (over an hour each way!). So forgive me if this post is little rushed (not even a map, I'm afraid!).

What happened in 2012!? So much. Can you remember my band Ocean Red? Well I played another 6 gigs with them (bringing my total to 11) and we even recorded our own single with a video!!! Check it out:

How cool is that! Anyway, after a series of events, we have unfortunately broken up now. But I'm still so into music! I'm enjoying my guitar, piano and singing so much, and I even recorded/mixed my own song with Speed! Check it out!!!:

Pretty rough, I know, but I had loads of fun making it and can't wait to make more!!

Later in the year I moved into a flat with Lucy! It's lush and right in the centre of town. We've been getting along great! Haven't even argued! It's coming up to our 4 year anniversary, omg!! Here's our flat:

As I said, I'm still finishing my PhD, but I feel more positive about it now! I am far less stressed now I have a nice job to fall back on. Working on the train is better than I thought! I'm very focused! I sure miss seeing my PhD buddies everyday though. Here's a cool presentation I did for them in the summer:

Here's the selection of holidays I went on:

Peak District with Lucy: we had a lot of fun considering we picked the middle of nowhere! There wasn't much to do but it was relaxing :-)
Barcelona with May and Speed: Finally a nice sunny holiday, it felt like ages since I had been on a beach! Unfortunately we fell out a bit at the end, which I was sad about, but we're all better now. 
Pembrokeshire with Lucy: Kinda similar to the Peak District, I guess! Not amazing but it was nice to chill out and we went on lots of nice walks. 

Blissfields Festival with friends: It's the second time I've been and I hope to go again!! Such a great atmosphere and nice weather. Great friends, too!
Brighton with Lucy: This was part of a road trip! Did I tell you Lucy passed her driving test?? We saw lots of things including a tropical rainforest (indoors!). 

I saw some fab gigs! I saw Blink 182, 6 years after I first saw them! Saw Brand New again, saw Ben Howard. Saw Jack Dee, very funny! And The Lion King show was great!

And how could I forget to tell you I got surgery on my arm to get that weird thing off! ...I know, I'm so vein aren't I (get it!!). Here's the before/after:

It's healed up a lot more since then though!

Great talking to you blog. I still think about you a lot, even though I don't have time to post. Hope you're keeping well. On to 2013!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011 Roundup!

Happy new year, Blog! Can you remember my 2010 roundup? Pah! I spit at 2010! 2011 was clearly where it was at, and I'm going to explain to you exactly why with an itemised list. We've got a lot to get through, so let's get started right away:

2011 Travel Map: 
Homes: Including Lucy's parents. I visited them over Christmas.
Speed/May's house: Went to Alton Towers at Speed's and Go Ape at May's. Ooh! And we all went to Amsterdam with James! Incredible!
Bath/Prague: Just a few of the places I visited with Lucy. Prague was amazing!
Joe's stag do: My new brother-in-law!! Can you believe Rachel got married this year??
Recording studio: I had so much fun with my new band! Play my first ever gig (first 5 gigs!). So much more to come!
Blissfields: Had such a great time. The first music festival I've camped at!
Les Arcs skiing: Seems so long ago now, but I loved it so much!!

Other cool things that happened: (Dr.) Lucy graduating! And I've been with her almost three years now, and it's incredible. I've also felt less stressed with my Ph.D., this year. Think it's because I moved into a fun new office!

It's been a crazily busy year, but that's ok, isn't it. I just about managed to fit everything in and it's been wonderful. I'm quite excited about 2012, too. Could it be the year I complete my Ph.D.? Loads of exciting stuff with the band, and plenty more cool trips, I'm sure!

I leave you with a photo of the Christmas meal with my Ph.D. pals. I took it with my cool new smart phone! That's another great thing that happened!!

On to 2012!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Band!

Omg, hi Blog. I thought I'd drop by to tell you about the new band I'm in! That's right, I'm in a new band, but this time it's a proper band! A gigging band! Let me tell you about it from the start...

After watching Dad/Joe's band at the wedding, I was determined to get into a decent band for once. I looked at a few ads on websites and I was so lucky to find the perfect one! Good music, plus they rehearsed just at the end of my street!

They're called Ocean Red. I met-up with them for drinks and they were a really nice bunch of dudes. I learned all the songs from their demo and jammed with them the week after. Thought I played pretty badly, but give me a break, it was the first time! And they were very forgiving.

Before I knew it, they wanted me to play a gig! I had never done a gig before! And I had still only rehearsed with them once! I said yes, but made sure we had another two rehearsals the week before the gig. I was pretty nervous!

The first gig I would play was a charity show in an art gallery. Turns out Charlotte Church was going to be there because her boyfriend's band were playing too! So I was even more nervous! But actually, when the day came, I wasn't too bad. The place was so nice and chilled-out that I felt pretty relaxed! And yeah, Charlotte church was there watching us, but it was no big deal!

I've played another two gigs with them since then and I didn't feel nervous at all for the last one! Just really enjoy it! Next one is on Thursday at a fashion show,—cool!!

Ohh! And how could I forget that I went to a recording studio with them to record a new track! Get this, it was at the house of the guitarist from Motorhead! His son runs the studio, so I didn't actually meet the Motorhead dude. I had never recorded my bass before, but it went totally fine and I didn't mess up at all!! Really interesting to see all the behind-the-scenes of a band!

It's so much fun! I wish I had more photos but I don't yet. I'll keep you updated!!

Oh, by the way, Lucy & I saw Portugal. The Man play Bristol last night! They blew me away, so impressive! They've come a long way since we saw them in London! Can I also just mention that I had a nice weekend at May's with Speed & Hobday (we did Go Ape, a high-ropes course!) and a lovely time with Lucy at Noah's Ark Farm/Zoo. Speak soon!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rachel & Joe's Wedding

Hey blog, can you believe my sister Rachel got married?! I guess I can, I mean, she's been with Joe for, like, ten years now, or something crazy. But, still! The wedding day was perfect, of course! Let me tell you all about it...

It all started on the 28th of August. Dad & I went to Joe's Parents' house in the morning to put on our suits. I couldn't believe how calm and easy Joe was. I was way more nervous than he and I wasn't even getting married! We drove to the manor for the ceremony and the guests started arriving. Eventually, the ceremony starts and dad walks Rachel down the isle. I say walk, he was practically running and Rachel had to hold him back! He was really nervous, you see. Really, really nervous because he knew he had to give his speech at dinner later on.

The ceremony went smoothly and we all relaxed and chatted and watched the (amazing) magician and had our photos taken before dinner. By the time we started dinner, dad was looking like a ghost from the nerves. But when he finally got up to do his speech, he was completely fine! Told me afterwards that the nerves just went away as soon as he joked to the audience about how he was "bricking it". The food was great, too! Although, I couldn't eat it because I was too worked-up. Here's me with Lucy just after food:

After the food, we were free to roam the grounds and find our hotel rooms. But I didn't have much time for that because I had to carry on with my usher duties! I was on the door for several hours at the evening do; welcoming guests to the masquerade ball. Once the party really got going, Joe/dad/Victoria's band kicked-off. They were brilliant!! And I danced for most of it (especially as the singer kept singling me out and telling me to come back and dance!!).

Me & Lucy snuck out (when a power cut put the gig on hold) to get our pictures drawn by the caricature! But the artist was really eggy and he didn't draw us very nicely (he was meant to finish his shift 30 minutes earlier!):

Anyway, after that we pretty much just danced the night away and rocked back to our hotel rooms in the wee hours. It's great that Joe is officially part of the family, now. He's been like a big brother to me for as long as I can remember. And I'm so happy for Rachel! In conclusion, it was an extra-special day, and I give it 10 out of 10.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hiya! Here's my second summery summary, I guess. Let's jump straight in, shall we.

I think I last left you right before my holiday with Lucy to Prague. That's right, we went to Prague. Only for a few days, mind. It was great!

Great food (went to an incredible steak house), great hotel, great weather, great scenery. It only rained once for about an hour, and boy did it rain! Biggest thunder storm I have ever seen! We jumped into a pub for food just before it started, then watched it by the window for ages. When it finally stopped we walked home without getting wet at all! So lucky.

We did lots of nice stuff! Must've looked like real tourists with our book of top ten things to do in Prague! I'm not sure why but we didn't get any photos of us together! But luckily, through the power of image editing, here is my (terrible) attempt to have a picture of both of us:

I look like a giant compared to Lucy, woops!

Moving on. The weekend after, I went to Nottingham for Joe's stag do!! I can't believe he's marrying my sister NEXT WEEKEND! Wow. The stag do was brilliant! 9 of us went (including my/his dad and my uncle). We did paint-balling and quad-biking and we went to lots of bars/clubs. On the Saturday night, Joe went to the restaurant, bars and clubs dressed as Snow White! Wish I had photos (sorry!).

Oh man, I just remembered the house party I went to the weekend after. It was at Steven's house (and Marc and Amy's). And the theme was geek chic!

It was so much fun! I knew those red trousers would come in useful one day!

I think that pretty much brings you up-to-date. Like I said, next weekend is my sister's wedding, I think it's going to be huge! I'll tell you all about it, obviously. Before I go, I'll leave you with a picture from last weekend, when I went back to Bristol to watch Joe's band (who are playing at the wedding) play their first "test" gig:

Check out my dad getting funky with the bass! It was a great show :-)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Summer Post!!

Oh boy, I've been up to so much lately!! Let me give you a quick update.

Firstly, I think it's only fair that you know I have moved house. But not far! Just across the road, 3 doors down. Here is my bedroom:

Yeah, that's right, it's a digital piano. I dabble in it, now! It's going well! I can almost play the whole of "Don't Stop Me Now"!!

My weekends have been jam-packed. Let me take you back three weekends ago. I took the train up to Chester to visit Speed. He lives in a nice new house there with the lovely Dawn. Hobday and May also visited and we went to Alton Towers together!! (Sorry, no pic!!). And we did other fun stuff. Then on the Sunday I had to travel for 6 hours on the train from Chester to Romsey because it was Lucy's dad's 60th birthday party! I was a little nervous to meet all the family, but it was all fine and they were really nice!

Weekend after and it's Speed's birthday. I went up to visit (again!) with a few friends and we had a great night out at one of his favourite gay bars:

Ok, fast-forward to last weekend and I'm with those same people (minus Speed and May, i.e. Steven, Gareth and Amy (and others!)) at a music festival!! It was called "Blissfields" and it was near Lucy's parents' house. It was the first time I've ever camped at a festival and it was super fun!! Here, see:

Told you!

Finally, in other news: Lucy passed her medical degree!! She's a doctor, now!! How strange is that!? I bought some champagne to celebrate. The ticket said £25 but when I got to the till they asked for £35!! I think I went rather pale, but bought it anyway (and it was lush!!). Here she is on graduation:

Anyway, loads more exciting stuff happening soon, keep ya posted!!! ;-)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Coffee Shops"

Omg. So, yes, I tried cannabis in Amsterdam. ... What! Give me a break! It's legal out there! And I'd never do it here. I've never been interested in doing it, but I'm glad I did. I thought it was real interesting, so I'd like to write a blog about it to help me remember my experience.

Friday, we bought a spliff, but it was more tobacco than weed. It did nothing for any of us.

Saturday, we bought a bag of stronger stuff. It was called Amnesia. We smoked quite a lot, then sat around for 10 minutes, while I was thinking "ahh, nothing's happening again". But we suddenly realised I was stoned when James asked me a question and I had no idea what he had just said and I struggled to say anything at all in reply.

Believe it or not, I wasn't high in this pic, but it was minutes before.
It hit me like a tonne of bricks! From nothing at all to total weirdness. The first thing I noticed was that I could not make any new memories! I literally couldn't remember anything that didn't happen in the last second. I guess that's where the name "Amnesia" came from. But it wasn't just my memory, even my eyes couldn't keep up! It was like I was watching a video with a really low frame rate. Every image was separate, and I could only remember the last five or so images. So weird!

It took me a while to realise that my actions weren't really affected. Only my observations. I could still have a reasonable conversation, but I felt like I was observing my own actions (with a delay). Like someone was talking for me, and after a second or so later, I would hear what I just said (and strangely realise that it made sense!). Every time I said something, it felt almost exactly like how I feel when I sleep talk when I'm only half awake. It's always "wow, what did I just say? Oh man, my brain is just not here right now..."!

I then realised that my mouth was also very delayed. I would take a sip from my drink, but only feel my glass on my lips after I had put it back down! Then I would feel the delayed fizz of the drink going down my throat. Eventually, I lost all sensation in my face and my mouth felt like it had been injected with local anaesthetic.

I was very self-conscious as I really believed that I was talking far too loud and that everyone else in the bar could hear me. My voice sounded very different, too, but friends convinced me otherwise. I wanted to see if my legs still worked, but I was worried I'd make an idiot of myself! I went to the bathroom but I ended up going for the ladies accidentally! The bar man called over to me and I apologised and went to the men's. (Later, May told me that I didn't look totally stoned, it was just a genuine mistake). I didn't actually need the toilet, I just wanted to see what walking was like. I waited in the toilet trying to remember how long I had been there so I didn't look weird, but it was very hard to judge time!

Strangely, I felt pretty good! After the first 10 minutes, I went through a panic/paranoia stage (think I did too much), but it was pretty easy to get out of. It took me a while to appreciate my state of mind (thought it was pretty rubbish at first), but I got more and more relaxed with my state of mind, and I really started to enjoy it! It wasn't very practical for everyday life, but it was really interesting. I'll sound like a total stoner, now, but it really felt like I was discovering a different dimension of my brain that I had never used before. It was amazing to see what our brains are capable of. I'm so used to this steady, sterile, predictable state-of-mind, so it was great to see my brain from another angle.

Ooh, we also did Shisha on Saturday. Went well with alcohol. Made me feel a bit smoother.
On Sunday night, we got some more weed. Unfortunately for us, they only had the strongest stuff left in stock. It was called "Purple Haze". We did some, felt nothing, did some more, felt nothing, did even more... Then we started to come up. Much slower, this time. It was nice! This time there were no crazy memory effects or anything weird. It was a much more smooth transition. I just felt happier and found things funnier, I guess. We were all having a great time. The funniest part was when one of us thought that our legs were glued to the floor! Couldn't move them at all!

...Then about 20 minutes in, a few of us started to panic. Myself included. It was harder to get out of the panic, this time (I actually felt like I would throw-up). But I managed, just about. But everything from that point on just went downhill... It made us all feel really miserable and depressed. I felt very serious. My memory was smoothly erasing itself, I felt very confused. We sat in the bar for several hours just hoping that it would wear off soon. But it wasn't going anywhere. We decided to try to walk home because the fumes weren't helping at all.

We got home and went to sleep. In the morning, We couldn't believe we still felt stoned! This stuff wasn't wearing off! I wasn't too bad, I just felt very disconnected from my brain, all day. And the next couple of nights I woke up in the night with a strange, stoned feeling. Anyway, I'm fine again now. But Purple Haze really put me off ever trying cannabis again. Shame, because Amnesia was really fun!! Ahh well, I'm glad I had the experience. Onto heroin next!