20 November, 2006

What a marvellous weekend

I am, it has to be said, feeling someone what tired and satisfied after an amazing weekend of fun with my friends. Most of them, it appears, are leaving the country forever, but nevertheless: superb.
On Friday I got home from work and cooked Rosa dinner as she slobbed out on the sofa in a knackered and immovable way. My poor lady's sleeping has not improved much and so she's still (semi-)functioning on half a night's sleep all the time. She wanted to come out to Sami's leaving do, but couldn't make it in the end, so I went solo, and met up with a whole load of people in The Lansdown in Clifton, which is a lovely pub.
Sami is off to America forever, because he is in love and she is in love and their world is golden and glowing. Awww.
Also in the pub was a whole load of strangers and a whole load of old friends from Clevedon who we'll be spending New Years with. It sounds like it's going to be an excellent event. We've an ancient YHA Hostel with no-one else in it and nothing but countryside around us. There will be just enough drinking and raucousness and fun to complement the cosy fireside nodding and board games and, weather permitting a few trips through some muddy Wlesh backwaters turning maps around, scratching our head snad trying to trigonometry from far-off mountains.
Saturday night was spent hectic as hell. One of my best mates from secondary school came to stay with his lovely wife Sam, who is a postie. Poor Sam had been up since before dawn, nevertheless we dragged her off for some food at Budokan in town (quality sushi and noodle-soup kind of affair, we got a small but cheap meal deal before 7, which was a bargain!) and then had a few pints at the Zero Degrees Micro-Brewery on Park Row. Zero Degrees is like a 50s science fiction writer's depiction of a brewery or pub in the year 2000. All shiny metal and ... [Here I stopped writing and went and did something else, running out of steam completely]

13 November, 2006

Pickled Eggs

After the last post it seems a bit weird to post such a mundane thing, but I guess really getting into pickles could be a normal reaction to fatherhood.
Last night I watched the latest episode of In Search of Perfection on the cable Watch Again thingummy and made pickled eggs.

This is the recipe I used for the eggs, which smelled proper nice, but I can't check for six weeks (i.e. Christmas)

  • 2 and a half pints cider vinegar
  • 12 eggs (preferably organic ones)
  • 2 blades mace
  • 12 cloves
  • 1 ounce (25g) pickling spices
  • A couple of hefty jars - I had to finish off some gherkins and still had too much vinegar and not enough eggs

The recipe is really quite simple: You hard-boil the eggs and put them in cold water, you boil the vinegar with the spices (all wrapped up in muslin) for 10 minutes and then put it all in sterilised jars; put half the vinegar in first, then top up once filled with eggs.
Sterilising Jars is a pain. I always end up chucking them in a pan of boiling water and then putting them in a low oven (160 oC) for ten minutes.

My hope is that this will be ready for Christmas, with my sloe gin, elderflower wine (which will free up the demi-john for blackberry wine with the blackberries in the freezer) and the ancient mincemeat from last year. It's a homemade wholesome gargantuan festive feast. The only shame is Rosa won't eat the eggs or drink the booze, poor thing.

10 November, 2006

I'm going to be a daddy.

Cutest foetus on the planet.
Check out this gorgeous blob. One of the sweetest blob things in a load of dark water one could look at. Of course when I was looking at it it was beating it's heart and twitching around a bit as a midwife pushed a ultrasound scanner into my girlfriend's belly.

What to say? Well, aside from that bombshell of news

  • Yes, it was planned, after some discussion and attempt to reach various comprimses we realised that actually if we really wanted kids there was nothing not money to stop us. Babies, technically are free. But like every too-good-to-be-true offer it's the accesssories that really sting the pocket. So we're going for it and screw anyone who gets in my way.
  • This is my Queen's 14th week of pregnancy; due date: May 10th 2007
  • As you can see from the picture the sex of baby is inderterminate (lady's have slightly outtie innies at this stage, anyway.)
  • We're thinking waterbirth at home

I can't think of anything else at this stage. The shock and excitement has kind of worn on so that I'm used to the idea now.
Just wait til I'm holding a 0 Days year-old in my arms, then I'll be shitting myself!

07 November, 2006

The ordinary madness of Charles Bukowski

If the video's bust, click on this!

I look forward to getting time to actually watching this later. But I love Bukowski and the first few minutes seem to imply that this is a top documentary. Watch, if you like.

Bastards nicked my laptop

Some bastard nicked my laptop from my house on Friday. I think I've got everything backed up, but if anyone gets offered a cheap Compaq Pressario in Bristol, let me know!

This does mean that I now have to indulge my techie side by doing some computer shopping for a new one (and my religious side by praying that the insurance pays up when there was no sign of a break-in), any recommendations?

That is all.

Random crate of beer

I missed a delivery from a parcel company yesterday, and when I popped home to pick it up from the driver returning today, it was a crate of beer.
24 beautiful bottles of Corona (looks like I'll be picking up some limes on the way home tonight!).
It took me ages to remember that I had entered a competition last month (the same time as I won those Starter for Ten tickets). I think the first prize was a weekend away, but this will make a lovely weekend in.
I'd big up whoever it was who promoted this if only they'd sent me a note to say congratulations, you've won a fantastic box of beers. Nevermind, thanks Corona (I assume).


01 November, 2006

Perfection - the TV series

Last night the TV series started. I was pleasantly surprised by how personable Heston Blumenthal came across as being. My expectations from his photos and writing manner was that he would be a lot gruffer and more surly in that kind of blinkered obsessive way. The man himself seemed quite charming.
The programme was good, but having read the book I expected it to be far more in the documentary style, following him around as he weighs the dry weight of potatoes and gets lessons in feeding sausage meet into a lamb’s intestines.
Instead, each half-hour episode looks like it is taken up with a small amount of his research (having read the book it could be over an hour for each dish, but I would like that; I like to know the reasons why each potato is good for sauté rather than Bombay wedges) some of his talking head saying about why this dish is special to him (I reckon this will invariably be down to childhood nostalgia) and the rest is just making two dishes in a TV kitchen.
I was double-excited to see dry ice ice cream being made at last, though. Gonna get me some of that stuff (If anyone wants to get in on some of the ice let me know as you can only buy it as ten 1kg blocks, apparently). In summary, I was pleasantly surprised by the charisma of Dr Blumenthal and the program overall. I would have liked to see more of the research and less of the putting-the-recipe-together bits. But that’s just me, I’m sure most people were happy with the already fastidious attention to detail and amazing chemistry as it was.