Tag Archives: food

Cake

I don’t often get invited to someone’s house for tea and cake. Today I have been invited to two people’s houses at the same time. This means I miss out on birthday cake, but do get Chelsea buns. And there may be birthday cake later when I go round with card and gift.

We’ve had some snow today:

CIMG2741

a further picture, and some more church renovation snaps can be found on Flickr as usual.

A small plug for a great cause: Everyone should buy this book.

Although lacking in most lineup info, Greenbelt have some speakers booked.

Right off to eat cake – I’ll be a bit late ness, as I’ve not bought the milk yet, and it’s a bit treacherous out there!

A toast to the USA

It’s great here. For those of you that don’t know, I’m in Pittsburgh for the week, trailing after my super intelligent other half, and scouting out church-based hot dog restaurants. As a tribute to this change of location you will notice the steel theme, to celebrate Pittburgh’s industrial past (and present), and also the name change, more about which in about 2 sentences time.

Some things of note for people of a similar disposition to me when staying in America:

1) Don’t even bother looking for the Marmite. Instead, embrace maple syrup as a wonderful breakfast food stuff, but make the most of it, as it’s too expensive to have every day for breakfast in the UK.

2) It is possible to make tea in a coffee maker. As long as you put a few jugfuls of water through first to flush it through. Do take your own teabags though, and you’ll probably have to buy your own milk too, as coffee creamer is an abhorrence in tea. (photos may well follow soon of the coffee maker-turned-teapot in our room)

3) Cheap dvds – yes it is possible to get dvds in the states for about half the UK price. No, it is not worth scouring Downtown Pittsburgh for a decent dvd store when you can get them delivered to your hotel from most decent online dvd stores. More choice, less hassle, order enough and it’s free postage.

4) If you attempt to try every exciting or interesting foodstuff that you have not tasted before you will make yourself ill. Pace yourself, and save it for the really good stuff.

5) Even though food is cheap and plentiful here, do not over-order. You will make yourself ill. Pace yourself, and save it for the really good stuff.

Great things about Pittsbugh

– It’s very friendly, people actually say hi in the street
– The weather is great, lovely and warm, but not too oppressive (this point is subject to change)
– free internet access just about everywhere you go
– great food and plenty of it
– great cookware shops
– fantastic tacky shops – taking tacky to a whole new level
– wonderful, cheap museums, not been to all that many yet, but again that will change.
– street names engraved on the corner of the paving stones at junctions, great navigation for people like me that never look up when they walk around.
– very impressive skyscrapers, even the old buildings are really tall, even the fountains are really tall.
– hot dogma, as Rhys has mentioned elsewhere (see link at top of this post)

Not so great things about Pittsburgh
– too much coffee, not enough tea
– crossing roads (traffic signals, where they exist do not apply to turning vehicles, and any solid metal vehicle will take priority over a mere squishy pedestrian)
– toilets are scary, they flush with a vengeance, and very, very loudly
– tv is bad, with too many ads, and no Neighbours (although I do have that recording at home, obviously) to emphasise the quality of the tv here, I should point out that Deal or no Deal is a prime time TV event here, and the most watchable thing.
– It’s quite dusty here, there’s building work going on everywhere
– Last but not least, I have to type on Rhys’ laptop, which I can’t type on – apologies for any inadvertent typos as a result of this (rather than the usual common or garden bad spelling)

I don’t want to finish on a bad note, I love Pittsburgh. Provided you bring your own tea the USA is a great place to be, I’m not sure I’ll want to come home as soon as we’ll have to – but that’s the nature of holidays.

Kiss Me Quick, Squeeze Me Slowly…

Squeezy marmite? Can fully understand the phasing out of the smallest jars though – I mean, what’s the point?

Nice joke on Maggi’s blog.

I’ve just finished reading ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ by Kate Atkinson. Great book, a cast of thousands and lots of untimely deaths, but ultimately uplifting.

Surprisingly uplifting also was our Saturday morning viewing of ‘Trainspotting’ we chose life. We also chose to make a fantastic ‘lemon ice cream tart on a ginger nut base’, basic recipe from Nigel Slater, double quantities of brandy from the lodger.

Thanks to those who replied to my Zen tagging, Alice, you didn’t mess up sweetie, lots of zen/psychic hugs beaming your way that you can absolutely trade in for real ones when I see you and Baby B next, I would suggest going to the swings but it’s peeing it down and I need to think about starting dinner.

Oooh almost forgot, neighbours season finale today, catch it at 5:35, new exciting credits start tomorrow. We all have to have our little obsessions ;P

Oh dear

It’s not that I’ve done nothing this morning, but was wondering why the quite so severe lack of motivation until I realised that I was listening to Marvin Gaye – doh.

We had a great weekend, flying kites with no wind (again, doh), lovely tortilla wraps, refried beans do really make a difference and some great films – The Third Man, The Woodsman and Kes. OK not particularly happy films – the lodger likes her films to be a bit more entertaining and braindead (I think that’s what she said) and left us to it, but as I think I’ve probably said before, I’m a sucker for a miserable ending and would choose One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest over Shrek every time (for oh so many reasons but I won’t bore you today)

It was not a great weekend for liquids around me however, an entire large teapot full of (thankfully lukewarm) tea got upended over the breakfast table, narrowly missing the lodger. This should have been a good sign that I should opt out of communion serving in the evening service, but no, one of the pew cushions and a section of the floor will never be the same again. Good job we’re beginning major renovations really, whether they’ll let me serve when we get the nice new chairs remains to be seen…

…Well the Marvin Gaye CD has finished, need to find something with a bit more oomph – Any suggestions?

Also any suggestions for the Guardian quick crossword – we seem to have a Gilbert and Sullivan theme, which makes me a bit lost – to quote a certain recording artist – “What’s Going On?”

Nearly ready…

Most stuff is packed, the wall is pretty much gone (but the floor needs to come up now), and we’re very excited about setting off for Oz tomorrow.

As you can see I’ve changed the name of this blog in honour of our trip, not sure I’ll get a chance to update while I’m out there, but I’ll try.

TimTams here I come!

Hiya

So I’ve worked out I only need to update one or twice a month, as the comments keep everyone going in the between times. Just kidding, but no more promises to update with any more regularity, these are busy times (which probably means I’ll be updating in order to hide from all I have to do…)

The festivals review (that’s probably been so long awaited that most of you went past caring months ago):

The Gower Folk Festival

This was a really chilled out and relaxed weekend, no camping as it’s about 25 minutes drive away and a fantastic lineup. We had really been looking forward to seeing The Old Rope String Band again, and introducing their unique humour and skill to friends who had yet to come across them. Tragically only a couple of days before the festival Joe Scurfield of ‘TORSB’ was killed in a hit and run incident on his way to the pub in Newcastle. There were many songs and tributes dedicated to Joe, but the overall feeling whenever we thought of it was just one of disbelief. The thing about folk music is that it’s about real stuff a lot of the time. Often it has an emphasis on the tragic, but there is always a lot of poignancy at events like these, this one was just even more so. There were some great sets from Steve Tilston, Spiers and Boden and the Wrigley Sisters. We went also to the ceilidh and to the church service (a fantastic little place where the minister has trained as a postmaster so as to use the schoolrooms as a Post office during the week – sadly under serious threat of closure by the URC) and had fab veggie breakfasts and watched the ducks and caught up with old friends and met new ones.

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention

Or just Cropredy really. This was my 11th Cropredy, but my first on a canal boat – in fact my first stay over on a canal boat full stop, getting my ‘sea legs’ (technically ‘canal legs’, but that sounds odd) was fine, it was the land legs that were the problem (especially with everyone around swaying to the music) We were sharing the boat with Wood and Tracy who were, but are no longer ‘Cropredy Virgins’ according to the festival parlance. Wood was having a little trouble adjusting to some of the expressions and assumptions prevalent at Cropredy – especially the use of the word ‘god’ for Richard Thompson – an expression that I’m not going to argue against as long as it stays a small ‘g’. Musical highlights for me included Richard Thompson – always at his best at Cropredy, the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain and Beth Neilson Chapman. Jah Wobble was ok and Fairport started out a bit rough but got better. The boat meant that we managed to aviod the rain pretty much completely and it didn’t rain during Richard Thompson’s set for the first time in many many years. Fab weekend – but then it always is.

Pontardawe Festival

Another local one that we stopped in on for the afternoon, Rhys did some morris dancing along with my dad, and soon after decided to give it up (I thought he was quite good, but what do I know?). A pleasant enough festival, but I’d rather enjoy the atmosphere from the point of view of a punter than of the spouse/daughter of participants.

Greenbelt

Was as fab as ever, introduced Jacqui to it’s delights, and discovered a few new delights of my own – mostly in the form of pancakes. The new site layout worked really well once we all got used to the fact that it took a while to get from Stage 1 to Cedar etc. Didn’t do a lot of worship stuff, or spend quite as much time in the (relocated) Tiny Tea Tent as in previous years, but enjoyed a lot of talks and comedy stuff and bits of music. Jim Moray was as (thinks of polite words) diametrically opposed to my music tastes as I thought he would be. Wasn’t fussed over Duke Special either – went and looked at a thoughtful display of shoes at that point. Karine Polwart and Martha Tilston were both pleasant enough, and the Proclaimers were brilliant. Great to meet some wib-people at the meetup, and to hear the bloggers panel too.

Bromyard Folk Festival

Last year at Bromyard, Isobel was there, she was 9 years old and although she suffered from Cystic Fibrosis she seemed fine. We played games, mucked around, she was part of the Chinese Dragon parade it was great. She didn’t make it to Christmas, or her 10th birthday. At her funeral there was music from a lot of the people that she had heard and enjoyed at Bromyard and elsewhere. This year she wasn’t there physically but the memories of last year meant that she was present at the turn of many corners. Especially seeing the Chinese Dragon go by.

The first night of Bromyard was also the night that the other to members of The Old Rope String Band took to the stage with Joe’s girlfriend to perform a tribute. The balance was perfect, the right amount of sad reflection, but a lot of the hilariously funny spirit that we associated with the band.

The rest of the festival was thankfully normal Bromyard. A new veggie cafe has opened up since last year, the craft fair was very good as usual. Musically Colum Sands was great as were Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies. Artisan were fantastic as ever, it’s a pity in some ways that they are splitting up to start new projects, but I’m sure they will be just as good in future guises.

So that was the festivals review of 2005. Maybe I’ll see you at one or more of them in 2006?

Oblongular?

I was having a discussion with a friend who claims that ‘oblong’ is a mathematical term. I always thought it was what we were told a rectangle was before we were told it was a rectangle.

Off to lunch now – has to be Mexican fries and a milkshake – the big decision being strawberry, raspberry or banana?

All Christmassed up…

Swansea has to be the ice cream capital of Britain. Where else is it considered a normality to have not just one, but several ice cream parlours open all the year round without question? Where else would people gather for sundaes over the Christmas holidays and watch the waves breaking against the shore over a Knickerbokerglory in January?

I celebrated my Christmas shopping being finished by enjoying a Christmas pudding flavoured cone on my way home from town. Christmas pudding flavoured ice cream is the most fantastic invention ever, and a bargain at £1 a cone. I was well chuffed. Swansea’s main defence against becoming a cloned McCity is not Griff Rhys-Jones in a comedy drama, or Dylan B*@#%y Thomas’ legacy. It is ice cream. In January.

Here’s day 22:

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