Monthly Archives: July 2010

what a night

Tonight we were childless, they were spending the night at their grandad’s, so we decided to do something we very rarely get to do…..we went out for the night.

Jo came out with the usual “surprise me” cop-out of thinking of anything so I suggested the cinema, quick trawl of the listings to find that there’s only 2 adult films playing ( and by that I mean as in not a cartoon type thing ) Predators…..lots of guns explosions and aliens, and Inception….I knew nothing about this film, so it had to be that one. Booked the tickets online, thought what the hell, we don’t go to the cinema often I’ll splash out on the VIP seats. £17.50 it cost me for 2 tickets to see a film.

The journey to meadowhall was uneventful, mainly because the traffic was moving too slow for anything to actually happen, but we arrived in plenty of time and made our way to the food court to fill our rumbling bellies. On the journey down Jo had been on the internet and found the menu for the Gourmet Burger Co. and we’d already decided what we were going to be eating on arrival….so we were a little surprised to find that it’s actually a Handmade Burger Co. in Meadowhall not a Gourmet one….bugger. As luck would have it though, the menu was virtually identical, and after a few short minutes perusing we had decided to share a Caribean burger with mango and stuff, and a milano burger with mozarella and pesto. Both were ordered medium-rare, a side order of chips, one of onion rings and a couple of milkshakes.

The milkshakes arrived a fraction of a milisecond before the food….so obvioulsy they had to milk the cows especialy…how else could you justify such a wait for flavoured milk. Then the food arrived, the burgers looked delicious, the chips looked nice and chunky and the onion rings…..looked like they’d come from Iceland (the freezer shop not the bankrupt ash spewing country). We cut our burgers in half and swapped so we could enjoy both delights, and I picked up my Milano burger and was just about to take a big bite when something caught my eye…..well, failed to catch my eye. It was the colour pink. In every conceivable way the colour pink did not factor in my burger. There was not a hint of pink in the bread, this is good. The pesto was not pink, this is good for this pesto should have been green. The mozzarella was not pink, which I should be thankful for as one can only assume the chef may have lost a finger if it was. Alas, the burger too was devoid of the pale red hue. What greeted me was a nice uniform greyish brown of a well done burger, don’t get me wrong, it was a tasty, juicy burger…but well done. Ah well, I took a bite anyway, my teeth slid through the bread like tooth enamel through slightly stale bread (I’m getting better at these similies), my bottom dentures met with the hot juicy meet of the (well done) burger, and my top set of pearlers met with what can only be described as the closest thing to absolute zero you will find in a cheese (that’s 0 degrees Kelvin or -273 degrees celsius…pretty damn cold), I apologise, that may be a slight exaggeration,  but it was bloody cold. The mozzarella had come straight out of an industrial fridge, been sliced and then dumped onto a hot burger, it was not a good combination. But the pesto was nice.

The Caribbean burger was, like it’s counterpart, well done, and topped with a slice of tomato almost as thick as the burger itself (I believe it may have shared fridge space with the mozzarella) and some strange concoction of sweetly sour mango flavoured goo. It wasn’t bad actually.

The chips were nice to start with, but had the odd texture of being very dry and floury and sucking all available moisture from their surrounding environment….including my mouth, the presence of strange gnarly blackened husks of manky potatoes did not enliven the dish. And the onion rings, I shall not dwell on the onion rings, the burgers may have been hand made, the chips may have been freshly cut, the only thing the onion rings can claim is that they were indeed ring-shaped. I chipped a tooth some point during the meal, I’m blaming one of them buggers.

After a swift perusal of a few shops, we proceeded to the cinema, the tickets were already collected, we just needed to purchase one of those strange but delightful frozen but fizzy drinks you can only find in cinemas. No, darn it, it’s a long film, we’d get one each!, except for one little thing. It’s friday night, possibly one of the busiest nights of the week for the cinema, and you can pretty much guarantee that the frozen fizzy foodstuff will be popular……if they’d bothered to freeze it on time. Yes we couldn’t have one as none of the machines were frozen, they were all churning round chilled sludgy syrup rather than slush, I was not impressed.

Ah well we set off for the screen, clutching the tickets and looking forward to sampling the delights of the Leather Reclining VIP seats with extra legroom. They were Leather, they did recline and they were seats. They may have had extra leg room, and you’re average gnat may well have been able to stretch out in comfort. The may also be in pairs and have just one little arm rest so you can snuggle with your loved one…..but they don’t give you that option when you book. So I we ended up about 2 foot apart. The seats themselves were comfy, ill give them that, not once did my bum fall asleep during the epic film, and that’s saying a lot.

The film, was long, this is true, it was very long, at one point I almost forgot how it started. I believe the length of it was simply to justify fitting in all the wonderful graphics sequences around the convoluted story. It was interesting, and kept me watching to the end, and the fight sequence in the corridor was an odd one, plus there were a couple of one liners that raised a giggle, but it could have done with being just half an hour shorter. I will not be rushing to buy it on DVD when it comes out, but I shall console myself with the knowledge that I could have been sat 2 foot away from Jo drinking something other than frozen fizzyness watching either a cartoon, or 2 hours of nonstop gunfire and blood.

So al in all a good evening, relaxing now with a coffee and Ameretto and looking forward to a nice lie in.

Achy Breaky Back

Some of you may find this hard to believe, but recently I’ve been doing a lot of hard work.

My Other half/significant other/love interest/soul mate etc has been on an ongoing plan to de-clutter both her life and her house. She has 2 small boys…you can imagine how hard it is to de-clutter. So for the time that I’ve known her we have been doing small things to improve the house, de-junk her life and generally make things better.

We started off with small things for her, buying a box file for paper work, clearing the top of cupboards, buying tubs for the boys toys. But things have progressed. Her craving for order would no longer be satisfied by alphabetising her bookcase, her lust for home improvements have gone beyond buying a new lamp, her desire to embrace a sense of self acievment has surpassed throwing away out of date food.

In short things have escalated somewhat, but in a good way.

There was a declaration made not long ago, it was short, inspiring but also daunting “I’m going to hire a skip” the ramifications of this short statement were twofold. First of all, in one foul swoop we should be rid of the vast majority of the junk. Secondly, we would have to sort out all of that junk before the skip arrived.

We had already made a start on the junk collecting, there was a small pile beside the garage already, and it seems that some bone idle sod who no longer lives at Jo’s house had decided that the garage roof was a good place to store an old wardrobe. but that wasn’t enough, there would be more room. So I spent an entire day in the garage. I moved things, I emptied things, I repacked things, I swept, I tidied, and eventually…..I found the floor.

This did go some way to improving the pile of rubbish that was gathering, but a lot of the stuff was too good to throw away…thank the lord for Freecycle. Over the space of a few days the garage gradually emptied of the crap it had been gathering, mostly in part to 2 visitors who were more than happy to get rid of some other bits for us. Funniest was the lass who turned up in a little teeny tiny Clio and went away with a huge chair, 4 boxes of books, a pendulum clock and a didgeridoo. She must have been good at tetris.

Alas despite all my efforts in the garage there still wasn’t enough crud to fill a skip. There was nothing else for it. Threats had been made about the trees in Jo’s garden previously, and now was the time to cash in their chips. armed with nothing more than a bow saw, 2 sets of loppers, a long-handled pruner and a chopper we set to the evil things. It didn’t take too long, in no time at all the trees were reduced to piles of potential firewood, albeit huge piles of potential firewood.

That was the easy part. I don’t know if you know anything about trees, but it appears they have an odd way of growing. They start off with a thick bit in the middle and then little bits “branch” out from it, and more little bits from them and so on and so on. This makes it a right pain when you’re trying to cut it up to fit in a skip or a shredder. I took us longer to clear up the felled trees than it did to get the bugger down in the first place.

So now. There is a small pile of firewood for my chiminea, there is a small pile of mulch for the garden, there is a large expanse of grass where there used to be a jungle, and for now, there is still a huge bloody skip full of junk sat on the driveway waiting for the nice skip people to come and take it away. They better bloody hurry up.

101 things I may do at somepoint

The 101 challenge thing is well under way, so I thought I’d have a little review of what I have left to achieve.

Lets have a look at some of the things I have left to do:

10: Dejunk my belongings….. I am working on this, after 9 months in my new house I only have about 3 or 4 boxes of stuff left to sort and I am getting rid of most of it…honest.

14: Set up a birthday book….. Well, this may alter slightly, seeing as I am now the proud owner of an Iphone I’m pretty sure I can find an app for that ;o)

15: Fix the pile of broken electronic stuff….. hmmm, at the time of writing the list there was a small selection of toys that needed fixing, most have been done and are working, some were “liberated” by the boys and have disappeared, some were beyond repair. Looking at this challenge I have no hope of ever actually not having anything to fix. It’s just impossible. Not with the Destructo Brothers around. they have a very keen interest in how things work. I’m going to consider this one of the ongoing ones rather than an absolute challenge, much easier that way.

24 – 28 Visit various places….there are plans afoot, I shall say no more.

31: Play crazy golf….. I’ve got a week in Scarborough coming up….this shouldn’t be a problem.

33: Have afternoon tea….. Technically I’ve already done this one, when we stayed at the Wrea Head Country House Hotel….but it wasn’t up to my expectations, there were no sandwiches or cakes, just scones and biscuits….I’m holding out for the real thing.

35: Swim in the sea….. when i can find a bit of sea warm enough.

37: Go Snowboarding….. there are times when i can be slightly ambitious…this may have been one of them.

50: Cook a proper meal 30 times….. this could be tricky. Not because I can’t cook, but because Jo is such a good cook and enjoys doing it. Why on earth would I subject people to a huge wait for substandard food when she can whip up a luxury banquet from leftovers and whatever in the fridge in five minutes flat?

54: Drink no alcohol for 2 weeks….. No Comment

55: Do 100 push ups in one go……No Comment

56: Do 100 sit ups in one go….. see above

59 – 61: Learn conversational French/Spanish/Dutch….. what was I thinking? 3 languages in 3 years? get serious! I’ll be taking a hit money wise on these, but at least the charities will benefit.

65: Learn how to use the gizmos on my phone….. I’d almost done this on my old phone, but alas as mentioned before I now own an iPhone :o( the app store has hundreds of thousands of apps in it, I may be at this a while ;o)

79: Go a whole week without swearing……. Bugger forgotten about this one…..ah balls got to start again now.

80: do not get frustrated with stupidity for one day….. I am looking into hiring myself a small isolation chamber, seems to be the only option at the moment.

89: Start a list of 1001 things that make me smile….. you’d have thought this would be easy…and it is. For some reason I’m being really slack on this one. I shall make an effort to get this sorted, tomorrow maybe.

92: Raise £100 for charity….. I’m keeping an eye out for charity beer drinking contests, or maybe a charity PS3athon, no luck so far.

96: start following a sport….. I tried with the world cup, i really did, I got a wall chart and everything……still can’t see the appeal though. Ice Hockey is looking promising.

99: Win a competition….. Would make this one a bit easier if I started entering a few maybe.

101: Buy a bottle of champagne and keep it chilled until I’ve completed the challenge….. ah well, I did have a bottle of Moet sat in the fridge for this, but um, well, it kind of got drunk. Best get back to Rhythm and booze.

So in short, some challenges I’ve not completed cos I can be a bone idle arse at times, some not done as I was far to ambitious in writing my list, and a fair few to be having a go at. Keep watching, I’ll keep you updated ;o)

Camper than a row of pink tents…..

My last post was about America and the joyous time I had there, well that was over a month ago, and I’ve been busy since.

As the holiday was fresh in our minds, Jo and myself started discussing future excursions. A week away with the boys in the summer holidays, and a week on our own when the Boys go visiting family (can’t wait for that one)

Various options were batted about, and we’d virtually settled on a week for the two of us full board on a tiny gGeek island, when Jo had a flash of inspiration. Lets get a tent and go camping!!! I will freely admit I may have been a little hesitant to start with, given the choice of a lovely little local hotel on a Greek isle, wine on tap and local food whenever required, blazing sunshine and gorgeous vistas OR a sleeping bag under a nylon sheet, in howling wind, with a half hour trek to the loo, food flavoured with grass, aching back from being bent double and the prospect of having to erect and dismantle everything in the pouring rain (we are talking about camping in Britain here) I was ever so slightly erring towards the sunny option.

I will take this opportunity to give you an insight into my “Holiday History”. Up until recently it consisted of camping in various places around the UK. The most glam break I’d had was a weekend in a 5 star spa hotel in Edinburgh, cost a fortune but was a bit of a washout, other than that until 2 years ago every break, every trip, every holiday was spent camping in one form or another. So I’m fairly adept at the camping thing. I’ve camped in a VW Camper Van, a Land Rover, a little 3 man tent, a large 5 man tent, I’ve even been in a Wigwam. To be honest, I was ready for a break from camping, hence the sojourns to America, weekends to HOTELS in Scarborough etc. Now I will admit something here, when camping was suggested, my heart did sink a little. I was looking forward to living it up in hotels around the world, proper beds and running water, so I was a little reticent to jump on the canvas bandwagon.

Jo however has a different idea of camping to that which I am accustomed. One which I can safely say I could easily get used to. It didn’t take me long to realise that the slumming I’d done before was not in the same league as the “outdoor Living” Jo had in mind. Factor in the looks on the boys faces when you mention camping and I was completely sold. Theres no way I could say no.

It didn’t take us long to get kited out, although it appears we shall not be camping, we shall be Glamping. The tent is just that in name only. It has poles and a Nylon flysheet, a groundsheet and sleeping compartments, that much is as standard for tentage really. It also has a carpeted living area, a porch that is sealable and big enough to fit the camping table, 3 burner cooker (cheers Alison) and the food crates comfortable, whilst not hindering any movement, countless pockets for storage, a walk in wardrobe, a bedroom big enough to fit a king size airbed in (ok a double and a single pushed together but it works the same) and a living area big enough to swing a tiger in. We have a mobile mansion.

Now we did the sensible thing upon receiving the tent, we took it in the back garden, read the instructions, unfolded the ground sheet, folded it up again, packed it away and sat down with a nice cup of tea to try and figure out where was big enough for us to actually pitch the material monstrosity we had bought.

Jo had another brainwave, lets go camping….now I know some of you will be thinking “you’ve bought a tent….going camping isn’t a brainwave at all” or something similar, but the was logic in her madness (it’s usually there somewhere you just have to look for it ;o) ) It was a brilliant idea, so one weekend, we packed the car Tetris Stylee (the only way we could fit everything and the boys in) and set off for a weekend of trial camping. 10 minutes later we arrived at the campsite. Technically we were still within Barnsley, but we had lovely countryside vistas, a field to ourselves and a tap. Most importantly we had a house 10 minute drive away if it were to all go terribly wrong.

It took about an hour to pitch the tent, and another hour to unload and set everything up. It was quite easy to pitch, and rather  scarily large. The hardest part of the whole thing was keeping the boys occupied (and out of the way) which Jo managed quite nicely by getting the kettle on as soon as we had arrived and making sandwiches for everyone.

This was camping the likes of which I had never known. No longer did I have to stoop to move around, the bed was large and comfy, the carpet was nice and soft and warm, the tent had been designed to be lived in, there were pockets everywhere, the inflatable sofa fitted nicely and was relaxing, the food was more than just reconstituted mushroom protein in an insipid sauce. The only drawback was we were only there for the weekend. But we made the most of it.

As a sie effect though we now have a mini mountain of camping equipment to store…..so I spent last monday completely emptying the garage of the junk that had infested it,  much to the delight of Jo……but thats another post.

Erk!

Wow, just realised it has been over a month since my last blog post, how crap am I?

A lot has happened over the last month, I know theres a fair bit to tick off my list, and a fair bit of news to tell too.

But right now there is also an empty skip and a huge pile of rubbish that need sorting, so I promise when I find a spare few minutes over the weekend I will get things up to date ;o)