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Anna and Pete

As always, given that I couldn't care less about new year's, new year's eve was uneventful and new year's day wasn't painful. Not a bad thing, really, given that I was back at work on the 2nd. Lots of professionally exciting stuff has happened over the last two weeks (although I doubt any of it would actually sound interesting, so I'm not going to bother - I don't mind writing mundane stuff and having it found to be boring, but I'd hate for it to happen to exciting stuff). Most of the actual days, however, seem to have been me coming home feeling I haven't got anything done, only for Bec to ask how was my day, at which point I think, "well, actually, I did this and this and this and... actually it was quite a productive day."

I have a new year's resolution (actually, I have several, but I'm not taking any of them seriously. I'm do some of them, but not because of any arbitrarily timed resolution) - I'm going to get fit. In honour of that, I have joined the gym. I have gone a few times with a friend of mine, Davide, as well as swimming and going for a kick of the footy (a real one). So far I have only missed one day - it's been a good start. We have also done some house stuff - we bought a sofa bed for the spare room.

We timed it well - we had some friends of ours from Ballarat, Anna and Pete, come and stay last weekend. So last Saturday, Bec and I went to synagogue in Cardiff before waiting for their train to arrive. Unfortunately, with the vagaries of rail in this country, they arrived a couple of hours later than we expected. By the time we picked them up and went to millenium stadium, where we were going to go to a tour, we just missed the last one. Fortunately, one of the people there very kindly offered to take us on a quick unofficial tour. He was good, even if he did keep apologising for not knowing much (and still gave a very good tour, answering our questions and telling us lots of stuff). We got to see them laying the pitch - they were trucking in lots of dirt on concrete pallets, and they were going to put the turf on after they had finished. It is a huge logistical exercise, and I couldn't help but think it would be more efficient just to not have sporting grounds with a roof.

We then had a half of Brains each before heading back to Swansea. Sunday, we went for a walk along Cefn Bryn in the Gower before going for lunch at the Greyhound (I like smoke-free pubs - particularly those which serve lamb roast). After lunch, we went to a castle near Llandeilo (the same one as when Mum was here - those photos are on Bec's site). We then had an ice-cream in Mumbles before heading home for dinner.

Dinner that night was Rebecca's home made lasagne. It was funny - just by coincidence, Pete had had a lot of lasagne, and was rating the lasagnes he had had. Bec scored 3rd so far (above those Pete had in Italy - yay Bec!)

Besides that, life is returning to normality, or would be if I could work out what is normal anyway. Today, I went on a training course on building effective research teams. Yet another good training course they have put on that I have been to.

And because it has been a while, here is a very, very brief review of "A postgrad in the rye":

Holden Caulfield was a postgraduate student...he took a couple fo days off and he ended up being committed to an asylum.

Ok, perhaps a few more details would help, but it would just be padding. To be honest, I didn't particularly enjoy the book. I found it long, dull and pointless. I didn't feel any particular sympathy with Caulfield, and his ending was no particular disappointment. I suppose I should at least give his thesis title, though. Umm... he was investigating "The Synergistic Effect of Stress, Alcohol, Truancy, Smoking and Mental Health on the Probability of Successful Completion of Thesis-based Research." He found that the synergistic effect had a negligible impact on successful completion, as his thesis was published despite being written entirely as a first person narative.

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