Thursday, 28 August 2014

Baking dramas and dull days.


Before I go any further, can we just talk about the absolute television gold that occurred last night on The Great British Bake Off?

After a highly fraught technical challenge involving Tiramisu, emotions were running high as the contestants embarked on a round featuring Baked Alaska. After hours of slaving away over sponge and meringue, they were faced with the unenvious task of setting their ice cream on a boiling hot summer's day. One of my personal favourites - the lovely Irish Iain, looked as though he was doing quite well....... until the sinister Diana 'accidentally' removed his ice cream from the freezer, leaving it out on the hot worktop. Needless to say, complete drama ensued and Twitter appeared to go absolutely crazy. I've even seen a couple of ice bucket challenges in aid of 'Justice for Iain'. Throughout it all, even after the utter condemnation of Paul and Mary, he still held his own and refused to even mention that it was Diana's fault. I did try and find a clip of Diana's stealth ice cream attack but all I could find was the aftermath - equally as humorous though.

You have to laugh - we've seen wars, terrorist attacks and racist outcries yet nothing captures the nation quite as much as a sabotaged Baked Alaska. God bless Britain and its priorities!

Edit: I just read on the BBC website that Diana has now voluntarily left the show due to 'medical reasons'. Drama drama.

Anyway, back to reality. Today was one of those days that seemed to drag on relentlessly - completely uneventful and completely dull. Work is starting to pick up as the school admin assistants are starting to return after summer. I'm sure that you can tell by my tone how excited I am...

I did however treat myself to an hour's nap and a pizza tonight. I never partake in either of those things (especially the nap) so things really must have been dull.

I'm just hoping that the weekend picks up at least!

Forgotten times and gameshows.

I feel ultra cosy tonight. Nothing special, just cosier than usual. Maybe it's because I've finally started to feel caught up at work or simply because it's the only moment today in which I've been able to sit down and chill? Who knows; all I know is that I'm cosy and that shall be my word of the night.

Today was the dreaded 'Weakest Link' themed gameshow afternoon at work. We do it every year just before September (our busiest period due to the schools going back). I'm presuming that other countries have some form of The Weakest Link? Most of these successful gameshows tend to be exported to death so I'll presume you've probably heard of it. It's meant to be a kind of morale boosting exercise whilst also providing an opportunity for the customer service agents to brush up on their knowledge. It's also great for the newly recruited temps to mingle with the permanent staff. It's a always a huge success and the guys love it but my god, it takes so much planning. I've been organising it for what seems like weeks and, gratuitous whinging aside, that's easier said than done whilst also trying to the run the Customer Service Department with most of the other managers off. Needless to say, I donned my Johnny Cash attire, channelled the acid tongue of Anne Robinson and fun was had by all. I'm kind of jealous of the first place prize though - a cow shaped milk jug (not as random as it seems as we work with dairies). I almost stole it for myself.

We still have a few days left before the dreaded September where we all become slaves to the wage from 7am to 7pm so I'm going to force myself into making sure that we're fully caught up and ready. Thinking about it, I suppose it's our version of retail's Christmas after all.

Adam has just been given a promotion so no sooner had I got in this evening that we had to venture into the city to purchase some new work clothes. No rest for the wicked. Despite my insistence that he has enough clothes to open a GAP, he was adamant that he wanted something more 'managerial'. He cracks me up sometimes. As per tradition, I wandered around the other shops whilst he busied himself with clothes; bought myself a coffee and grabbed a brand new office chair that was luckily on offer in ASDA (of all places). I'm resting the old derrière on it now and I have to say, it's quite comfortable for the price. Wonders never cease as to what supermarkets will start selling next.



One of my best friends from back home (Alysha), sent me a message yesterday informing me that her cousin Marie had found an old bible in their attic full of old photos. Marie bought her house from my Nan after my Great Uncle passed away a few years ago. It had been in my family since it was built; first home to my Great Grandad before my Great Uncle. She is currently in the process of renovating it before selling and came across the find in the far corner of one of the attics. I asked Alysha to send me a couple of photos with her phone so I could see what they were of and preempt my Dad and Nan before collecting them from her. It looks as though they are from the turn of the century (1900-1925 ish) but I have no idea who the photos are of. My guess is that the little girl is most likely my Nan on her Dad's knee. As for the other photo, I have no idea who the ladies are and, strangely, the bible is addressed to a Phyllis White. I personally have never heard of a Phyllis White but that means nothing in my family. To this date, my Nan has never ever spoken of her mother and a quick call to my Dad confirmed that his Grandmother has never been mentioned to him either. He told me to go ahead and take the stuff to my Nan but he warned me to tread carefully as he isn't sure how she will react if any of it relates to her Mum. He suspects that she may not even admit it and try to pass it off as someone else's photos - obviously this is impossible as my family have been the only ones in the house previously. I know that it's a sensitive subject but I really want to know what happened with my Great Grandparents - how sad would it be if my Nan took that to the grave with her? I have a fantastic relationship with my Nan so I'm hoping she'll open up to me. Fingers crossed. I'm extremely interested to know who the soldier is in the second photo. I'm pretty sure that it must be World War I and that looks like an African uniform, maybe Egypt? To my knowledge, I've never heard of any family members fighting in the Great War so that would be quite the revelation. To be honest, I don't think that many men returned from that war at all; such a sad time for many English families.

Now, after that short history lesson and the stresses of the day, I'm all showered up and ready to hit the hay. I generally detest sleep as I feel as though I'm wasting the precious night but I have to admit that I'm extremely excited to finally get some rest. The waking up early part has not even crossed my mind yet so I'll bid you all a fond farewell before I give that sickening thought any time to manifest.

God natt alla! (as they'd say in good ol' Sweden)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Legacies.


This is what today looks like - as predicted, it has rained non-stop. I really did miss my calling as a weather forecaster. Maybe I should look into that?

Adam apparently managed to offload our old TV unit onto some unsuspecting bargain hunter on Facebook. He was supposed to pick it up today but he turned out to be a no show so I've just wasted the day watching TV. How ironic. I'm now almost done with season 2 of Gilmore Girls - my life clearly needs evaluating.

I always whinge and whine, talking about how much I love total silence so you'd think that a day of pouring rain would have given me that. Well it did, however I've failed in doing any of the things that I reserve for peaceful days. I still have the rest of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way to get through (one of my life ambitions) but I constantly forget about it. When I do remember, I find myself putting it off for another day. Don't get me wrong, I love the writing style and fluid prose but 'In Search of Lost Time' is a completely different reading experience to what we are used to. It's almost like reading as an art form and love of words rather than to read because you want to know what happens. A completely alien concept to most of us, myself included.

Adam has been at work since 6am and I have no idea when he is home as he appears to be ignoring his phone. Not that it matters; I'm sure that my position on the sofa would remain unthreatened.

On a final note, I was devastated to hear that Richard Attenborough passed away yesterday. I recognise that he was no spring chicken but it seems like I've lost several links to my beloved childhood lately. First Robin Williams who was the focal point of almost all of my favourite childhood films (back when it was normal to regularly visit the cinema on a Sunday). Then came Lauren Bacall. Before you start to wonder whether I just look good for my age, I'm aware that she wasn't directly a part of my childhood but I will always have fond memories (though not so fond at the time) of my Dad watching back-to-back John Wayne films on Sunday afternoons. He was obsessed (hence my name), but of all the leading ladies, she will always stand out for me. They seemed to have a far deeper connection on screen and, in my opinion, you don't see that kind of raw chemistry on the screen any more.

And now Richard Attenborough. Frustratingly, I had to explain to Adam that no, he is not 'the wildlife' guy but as soon as I mentioned Jurassic Park, he knew exactly who I was talking about. I vividly remember Jurassic Park when it came out and although that silly old blockbuster film was only a drop in his ocean of talents, it is the one I connect with the most. It came at just the right time in my childhood and I unashamedly admit that I was indeed one of those children, running around the playground pretending to be a velociraptor. What I wouldn't give to go back to the simple life!

The passing of these stars that, in my mind seemed immortal, reinforces the fragility of life and it really does hit home that these are real people who have done real things and lived real lives - just like you and me. I guess I need to come up with some kind of legacy sooner rather than later. I mean I'd just hate to be remembered as 'the guy who watched the entire seven seasons of Gilmore Girls in the fastest time'. Urgh.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Puppy party.


It's bank holiday weekend and as (most of) the nation prepares for a much needed day off work tomorrow, I spent the day dog-sitting.

My work organised a VIP day at the Superbikes in Cadwell - all inclusive bar, food and up close and personal in the Yamaha tent. As much as I love watching bikes whizz around a track 400 times in succession (does my sarcasm translate well in text?), I decided to sit it out. One of my colleagues Lisa, really wanted to go but she had no-one to look after her puppy Lola. Naturally I volunteered for the sake of karma.

Lola isn't even a year old yet and I completely forgot how much energy puppies have! We got Skye when she was about one so, luckily, she wasn't too much of a handful. Lola on the other hand..... well. She seemed obsessed with cuddling up to Skye and kept trying to lie beside her. After a few 'hairy' moments, Skye seemed to succumb and go along with it. She's a good egg really and has the patience of a saint. I actually quite enjoyed walking around the woods in what will probably be the last of the British sunshine. The temperature has dropped considerably and rumour has it that rain is on its way and ready to stay. It's no great surprise really - the weather usually starts to become unpredictable towards the end of August. Roll on autumn.

I guess you could say that my day has been uber-productive. I managed to watch Beverley Hills Chihuahua 2, Cinderella Story and Legally Blonde...... all because I lost the Sky remote for six hours. Okay, so maybe not that productive but at least I managed to get up early and make use of the day. I'm known for hating mornings and quite happily letting them pass by - total night owl.

The parking debacle has taken a change in direction if nothing else. After my note being on the car for several days, the girl in question eventually came to her car whilst I was in the living room earlier. She seemed to be taking a lifetime to reverse out so I was convinced she was reading the note. Upon further inspection from the upstairs window, it appears that she drove off with it still on the windscreen. There is literally no helping some people. Anyway, as per routine, she hasn't returned at all today so my guess is that she is a girlfriend from afar and visits every other week.

After taking Lola back to Lisa's this evening, I noticed that yet another car was parked over their drive way. My cries of hallelujah were, however, extremely short-lived as the car has now moved outside our house. For one split second, I actually thought they had got the message. No such luck.

God I love the human race and my awful intolerance. I hope you guys had a nice relaxed Sunday!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

he hath risen.


Oh, hello there. Please don't be too shocked at seeing me on your blog-feed once again (if I'm still on any!), I've just been slightly useless at posting lately.

The reason being is that I've been trying to keep a written journal over the past few months; I bought a new Moleskine, some new pens and was determined to commit. I suppose I did in a way and I managed to write on most nights for the best part of three months. In the end, as much as I hate to admit it, I began to struggle in finding time (I'm so tired most nights after work and it's easy to forget just how long it takes to physically write a journal entry in comparison to typing one). I actually have a callous on my middle finger now which makes me feel very highbrow but I'm only human and it started to bore me. I mean you should write because you want to, not because you have to. Needless to say, I've knocked it on the head but promised myself to still physically write in my journal whenever I feel the urge or when a major life event occurs (whatever that may be). I hate myself for being a product of the modern age!

Nothing that major has happened since I last posted (probably another reason why I struggled to commit pen to paper). Summer kind of appeared for a few weeks but now seems to have disappeared once again as per tradition in this fickle weathered country. I'm not going to complain, I make no secret of the fact that I generally detest summer and feel far more comfortable during autumn/winter. Woe is me! We had a beautiful Supermoon here last week and I spent hours setting up the camera and waiting for the clouds to clear. I wasn't hugely thrilled with the results but the image above is probably the best one I got. I really do love night photography and I'm making it my mission over the new month or so to try out some new things. It's just so hard to get great results in poor light.

We holidayed in Egypt again back in July. Some of you may remember that we previously visited Egypt during winter but this time we decided to try our luck in summer. Big mistake. Think of the hottest day you could ever imagine, multiply it by ten and then imagine enduring it 24/7 for ten days. That's what it was like and it didn't seem to make a blind bit of difference whether it was night or day. Despite not being a fan of summer, I do quite like hot whether when I'm holiday (it's the different mindset that does it) so I actually very much enjoyed it. Adam on the other hand is quite a sensitive soul - he likes to think he's a sun baby but in reality he struggles and always manages to wind up with some kind of phantom heat rash whenever we go abroad. Needless to say, we survived and it was nice to just have ten days in the sun, not having to worry about anything and sipping all-inclusive cocktails. We didn't even have the sheer trauma of visiting the pyramids this time so the holiday felt very relaxed.


Now I'm sitting here watching a documentary on TLC about Stevie Nicks (major idol!) and contemplating venturing into Lincoln city centre to pick up a few things. I've actually just placed a note on one of the new neighbours' cars that seems hellbent on parking outside of our house and preventing us from parking. Despite this, they have a perfectly fine space of their own at the other end of the street. The mind boggles with some people - I think common sense is a dying trait. I do feel a bit dirty doing the whole 'note on car' thing and I would normally knock on the door but I've never even said hello - I don't want to be rude after all, I just want to give them the heads up that it causes issues for the end houses and I don't really want to make a huge thing of it. After all, some people don't realise there's a problem until you tell them (annoyingly). Even the new people over the road are already aware of it; after just two minutes of introducing myself, they asked who the car belongs to. It actually rarely moves so I'll probably be in for a long wait but I'll keep you posted. I'm just hoping that they aren't homicidal...