Monday, June 30, 2008

Oh What A Night 

I’ve still got marks on my neck from carrying Leanne on my shoulders while she sang 99 Red Balloons. They’re my battle scars and I’ll be sentimental about them if I want to be.

Our housewarming bash went well, I think.
Friends from various incarnations of our lives and four corners of the north traversed psychological and administrative borders in order to drink on our sofa and drop crumbs. Many hadn’t previously met, some we’d not seen for, like, yonks. There seemed to be a pretty decent mingle rate.
Looby and top dadblogger Crinklybee represented the internetosphere with aplomb, working their magik and bringing joy to all, and were last seen stumbling into the darkness at 2.00am with cans of John Smiths in their pockets to see them right for the long walk home.

Girlfriend’s playlist, seven hours of handcrafted perfection, went round more than once, possibly even twice. At some point in the evening most people either danced or enjoyed themselves - we’ll know for certain when the Customer Satisfaction questionnaires start to come back - and it was observed that Charlie is very funny.

Nothing got broken, nobody cried, all the beer got drunk. But on the plus side, we’ve got much more vodka than we started off with, so a Vodka Night surely beckons.
The biggest hit of the evening though, the brightest stars by some margin, were my Chocolate Coated Strawberries. If you want people to think you’re a culinary genius, this is how you do it:

A Free Man In Preston’s Chocolate Coated Strawberries
(Preparation time: all day)

1. Melt lots of plain chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or beer.
2. Dip loads of strawberries into the chocolate, then place on grease proof paper for the chocolate to harden again.
3. If you can be bothered and there’s enough space, place in fridge for a while.
4. Go and have a bath to wash off excess chocolate. You look ridiculous.
5. Serve. Feel terrifically clever as your guests ignore all the other food and go straight for the chocolate strawberries, making “Oooh!” noises, and “These are lovely. How did you make them? Gosh, aren’t you clever / incredibly attractive / can I sit on your shoulders for a while / etc.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bits and Pieces 

This and that, miscellaneous.

1. A May wedding. We processioned round a lake and into the woods, then gathered in a clearing by a well. It was a traditional neo-pagan handfasting job, with a neo-pagan priest and everything, a real proper wedding. The sun shone and there were children dressed as faeries and it was very jolly.
I wish I'd been Official Photographer because they didn't have one and it was a missed opportunity. We also thought the ceremony itself could have been improved by being more, well, scary. Yeah yeah, it was a lovely wedding and all that, but as a piece of theatre it could have been so much more. A pagan ceremony in the woods with candles and a circle of salt and not one child traumatised? I think someone needs to try a bit harder.
Instead, everyone had a good time and it was a very happy day. The bride and groom wore green curtain fabric.

2. A picnic by the beach after work. There's a nice spot a few miles up the road where Girlfriend used to go for family days out when she was a kid and I like listening to her talking about all that stuff.
Here's a picture of a simple man
enjoying the simple pleasures of being a bit rubbish at rock balancing.

3. Quite a bit of singing: barbershop and I've also found a good open mic night to inflict my unique talents upon. Research has shown that every third person in Lancaster carries a musical instrument about their person. It's not so bad provided we don't all play at the same time. And the other two in three don't try to read you their poetry.

4. Kate and Rich Manchizzle's baby viewing open day. A very enjoyable afternoon and young Molly is quite a honey despite considerable incontinence issues. K&R were in fine spirits and spent the whole time with daft grins on their faces. Babies are the new telly if all that mindless gawping is anything to go by. Kate's frittata was memorable too.

5. Lots of gigs: Eels, Twilight Sad, Elbow, Jens Lekman, Wildbirds and Peacedrums (beat-tastic), Iron and Wine, Fleet Foxes (they're hairy, they harmonise, they're fantastic), Richard Herring, Goldfrapp (looks like someone forgot their trousers again). All excellent and we're barely a quarter of the way through the year.

6. We're having a little housewarming thingy. On Sunday it was so wild and windy we drove back to the beach (see 2) and brainstormed playlists. Girlfriend has got it down to about seven hours worth now. We've decided that we're not allowed to veto each other's choices, but James Taylor? Supertramp? For a party?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

So Far So Good 

“Diversification is essential for survival in today’s rapidly changing marketplace,” Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader, told me this morning, apropos of nothing in particular. I’d only gone in for a hole punch.
“Too right,” I agreed. “Just look at the lady at the gate with the dreamy soft white baps.”
“Oh absolutely,” she sighed. “Just look at her.”
“No, I mean look at the way she’s expanded her product range,” I said. “She saw a gap and now she has us all eating out of her hand.”
“Oh, eating out of her hand...”

The lady who sells sandwiches and cakes outside the entrance has added Soups of the World to her portfolio and it’s been an instant hit. So much so that long queues form instantly upon her arrival and she’s usually sold out and cleared off again by midday.
“You’ve to be in there like a shot to have any chance with her Perugian minestrone,” said Stella.
“It’s a rum do,” I said, “when it’s eleven o’clock in the morning and your Moroccan carrot’s been and gone and all you’ve left to look forward to is home time.”

“Kapusniak,” said Ivan the Terribly Thorough, who was running a feather duster along Stella’s slats at the time. Sometimes he just seems to spring up from out of nowhere.
“Bless you,” I said, and offered him one of my antihistamines. “I always keep a few handy in my briefcase, because, well, you never know do you?”

Touch wood, I’ve not needed any so far this year. I hate queueing for anything.

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