Thursday, September 29, 2011


As you probably know (no point pretending that people I don't know read this), I have been quite sartorially steampunk recently. Not proper steampunk, pure steampunk, but more steampunk / military / Agatha Christie novel / explorer. Tweed and buckled boots. Goggles and caps. Cropped leggings and waistcoats. Jewels from the depths of ancient temples, and big floomfy skirts.

But there's another look that's been hovering in my mind for nearly a week, and I don't know why.

I want to be post-apocalyptic. Black and grey and dull greens. Layers and layers, patched and worn. Fingerless gloves. A satchel and sturdy boots.

I want to be the character who knows their way around the post-apocalyptic world. Not the protagonist, but the one who helps them when they stumble across this wasteland. The one who can spy the dangers and read the signs. The one who's scavenging and has cobbled together a rudimentary generator. The one who's quick and surefooted and knows the terrain.
Because, despite their almost inevitable death, they're always the coolest character.

Sometimes we walk home on the path through the golf course. It's bounded by trees and tangles of rosehips, nettles, brambles and grass. We can see the odd glimpse of a person on the fairway, and we can hear noises, faintly, from the road at either end. And sometimes we pretend that the world is different. We hear a siren in the distance, and know it's the ten-minute warning before the darkness comes. We move quickly, keeping watch for the movements of the creatures beyond the bushes. We eye the compound to the left, making sure that there is no-one there.

I wouldn't want to live there, but it's a fascinating place to visit.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Odd stuff seen on holiday.

Found in our room the first evening.

Flying dog!

Allegedly, Zeph drew this. I suspect it might largely have been my brothers.

Dave is a dhole.

The scariest children's ride I've ever seen.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Well, August was quite a busy month for us. As my anti-mental pills kicked in, we got out and about more.
We went to the zoo for Matt's birthday.

We went to the circus.

We saw Mitch Benn and Phill Jupitus doing stand-up, and I met Neil Gaiman at the Book Festival.

I've got out of touching with blogging (I know. Again, right?), so I'm renewing my vow to myself. Blogging every week from now on. Pinky swear?
Have some birds, because this post is long enough.

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

We wouldn't even recognise ourselves...

I have loads and loads of things to tell y'all about, and many pictures to share, but today I wanted to talk about something I've been pondering since yesterday.

Matt and I went grocery shopping, as we do most weekends. Normally we try to stick to what we need, but about once a month we splurge and buy more exotic foods. We were in the checkout queue, and we were eyeing our purchases.

When we met (12 years ago, minus two weeks!), we seldom cooked. We'd grill bacon, or put together simple pasta dishes. Mostly, we'd eat frozen lasagnes and oven chips.

Nowadays, our shopping features fruit, vegetables, pro-biotic yoghurts, couscous, reduced fat hummus and creme fraiche (I have a rule with things like this - if it doesn't affect the flavour, I'll choose low-fat. If it does, then I won't), fish, cheeses and meats. It certainly isn't some moral thing or even specifically a health thing. It just seems our tastes have changed.

We suspect that we might be middle-class ponces, whose pomposity knows no bounds.
We were certainly putting on the voices and going 'Ahawhawhaw' a lot at the supermarket...

I have been thinking about how we wouldn't even have contemplated buying this sort of stuff back when we met, and I was wondering what changed. Some theories:

Age: Maybe it is just that tastes change with age, as my mum always told me. If you'd told 19-year-old me that I would be enthusiastically eating courgettes and beans and aubergines and chickpeas, I would have laughed in your face probably nodded politely and assumed you were mad.

Cashflow: We are no way rich, but unlike 12 years ago, we are fortunate enough to have a decent-ish cashflow. This means we have more options.

Knowledge: For me, the best way to learn to cook was just to damn well do it. Other people learn other ways. Over the years, as I have moved from ready meal afficionado to enthusiastic cook, I have discovered that I'm not really a follower of recipes. When I find one I like, I will make the food to the recipe the first time, but then make substitutions, additions and subtractions on subsequent occasions to suit our tastes.

Experimentation: I made a joking passing comment on FB the other day regarding Matt and my's "quest to try every food in the world". That might be a slight exaggeration, but we're very excited by new foods, and that's almost entirely been inspired by people I know (Jay, I'm looking at you), books and blogs I read (especially Smitten Kitchen, with which I am infatuated), and just... pictures and flavours and imagination! I love love love when there's a day on which I'm wondering what to make for dinner, and my brain just goes "Well, we've got half a pack of feta. Ooh, and we have loads of peppers this week. Hmm, I wonder if we've got quinoa..." and it all snowballs from there.

Realistically, it's likely to be a combination of the above. And that's cool with me, because it's an infinite experiment! There are always new flavours and combinations and techniques to discover. I am having a ball with the cooking, and Matt's having a ball with the eating, so it's alllllllll good.

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