Archive for January, 2008

Until then I have dreams

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Clearing out, it happens to us all. One day you wake up and think I have so much clutter it needs to be sorted out. Well it happened to me this morning. I cleared thousands of emails I had stored from years past. I sorted out a lot of letters I have had from eons ago and sorted them out into piles which needed to be shredded. History has been erased, will I regret this, I do not know.  I have seen documentaries in which old and very often sad and lonely people clung onto the past by reading old letters and looking at old photographs. I take my hat off to them but I am taking the view that I will always have the future to look forward to and will never want to venture into the past. Pride comes before a fall and I just know that one day I will regret the actions of today but not right now. I pray to whatever Gods are out there that my memory never fails me.

The second round of Tai Chi took place this evening. It was not any easier than the previous week although I have been practising Bouji Walking and my forms all week. The perspiration still poured out of me although this a gentle exercise. No matter what my instructor told me my muscles were still in knots and my breathing erratic and I found it hard to relax as I was told to do. I do believe that it was the thought of people watching me get it wrong that made me so nervous. I have vowed to take a couple of Prozac pills before the next session. Am I going again? Definitely.

Genghis is still running the house. He has discovered the washing machine and lots more cables. There is a seemingly endless supply of things to keep him amused and occupied in Chateau Ghastanbury. One word from me and he does as he likes. I like independence in a creature, but not when he is living in my house. However I can forgive him because he is so cute.

The Traveller is home and he is coming to see me on Friday evening. I have made arrangements for him, The Beast, Teech and me to meet up at Château Ghastanbury for a drink or two and discuss where we are all going in the future. I feel certain that our futures are in some way linked together and as such we are going to discuss a plan that may be of benefit to us all. More news on that when we have met and patented our ideas or at least made sure no one else can pinch them before we put them into action!

Will I ever find the Utopia I crave? Possibly not but that wont stop me or others looking for it. Until then I have dreams.

Looking for a motorbike

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Genghis is still ripping the house to shreds but at last he has realised the meaning of the words, down, out and no. Admittedly this was learnt with the aid of a tap to the head. No this is not cruel, but telling him that jumping on the work surface just isn’t appropriate behaviour is some thing you cannot do with a cat. That type of explanatory nonsense is best left to sandal wearing veggie types who knit their own yoghurt live in Tee Pee’s and call their children Oscar and Pheobe.

Onto the week then, well sort of. Months ago The Beast and myself had decided we needed to become fit. We visited a gym and asked to be allowed in to look around. I wanted to check the facilities such as secure lockers, showers and changing rooms before I even ventured inside. I guess its not the sort of question you ask these days judging by the looks that the ladies on the kiosk at the entrance gave us. Eventually we got in after giving our name, address, phone number, age, occupation, marital status and I suspect would have asked us for DNA samples and the souls of our first born before we got to look around. We gave it a miss.

Yoga and Tai Chi is the way to go I exclaimed in a moment of inspiration fuelled by Carlsberg export and Gordon’s gin one quiet evening. TB agreed and we decided that Tai chi would be just the ticket. Not too strenuous, but just enough to stretch those muscles and get our hearts and lungs pumping again. To cut a long story short we went one evening a week or so ago and no one turned up. Feeling dejected after the build up of anticipation we headed back to Château Ghastanbury in despair and opened a few beers. We decided there and then we would give it another shot the following week.

Tuesday evening and TB and myself are in a class of people stretching, Bouji walking and breathing deeply in time to commands and music.  Perspiration streamed out of every pore I had and muscles I had forgotten I had ached. It is definitely not martial arts, its more like Yoga with venom but its still a work out and an hour passed all too quickly. By Wednesday morning I had problems walking and turning my head from the neck and head rolls I had performed the previous evening. Was it strenuous? yes. Was it fun, you betcha. Will I being going again? Most definitely!

Finally another close friend told me last evening that they intended to leave the UK and could possibly be gone before the end of summer. With those that have already left and those who have stated a definite time when they will leave, it would appear I have more friends out of the country than I do in it. When am I going? I hear you ask and what’s stopping me? Well I have a plan and it involves waiting until the housing market is back on its feet again. Meanwhile I am looking for a motorbike.

Genghis, mate of Shere is in the building.

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Well my life has certainly changed in the last few days. My mate, the Tiler, his mother in-law contacted me to ask if I wanted a kitten. I thought about it for a few minutes and asked the normal questions such as how old is it, is it tray trained, what sex is it and what colour is it. Its’ a male four months old tray trained and its mainly ginger with white bits. I was absolutely sold on the idea. I headed off to the shops to but some cat food and milk and some toys and went to pick him up. The result is I have a loveable, nay adorable kitten that I have christened Genghis. Well you can hardly expect some one like me to stand on the doorstep and shout out “ here Fluffy, where are you” beside what would the boys at the bottom of the garden say when asking him his name say when he announced in a squeaky voice that its Fluffy? He has taken over my house and my world. He has decided that my recently decorated dining room needs re-decorating and has started scratching the wallpaper off for me.

He obviously does not like any of the carpets I have chosen because he wants to rip them to shreds and as for the worktops in my kitchen, he thinks it is a great idea to jump up on them and flick things off to see what happens when they land on the floor. Consequently my house resembles a war zone. However he is happy and I love him to bits in spite of his faults. Every thing in my house is an adventure to him. Hence all of my curtains have become climbing frames and he loves all the wires behind my TV and the stereo. He loves walking across my key board as I type and it now takes me three times longer to make any post as it did prior to him being here.

I love him to bits and he is showing signs of being a regular chip off the old block. He loves big TITS. He has discovered that he can get away with shoving his nose in the cleavage of Bean Counter and not get slapped. Indeed the only comment was “Aw isn’t he cute”. It just goes to show that if you are cute and fluffy with big eyes and a handsome smile you can get away with murder. I have tried the same tack with various big breasted women over the years only to get my face slapped and be called a pervert. Genghis seems to manage this task with ease and be complimented on doing so.

I hope the mice are aware of his presence, he has not caught any yet but he is sure to scare the living daylights of any brave enough to remain in Château Ghastanbury while he is here. It is a precarious existence, he wrecks my house and I feed him and then he sits in my lap and purrs away quite contentedly. More reports will follow but for now Genghis, mate of Shere is in the building.

January may become bearable

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

January, it’s a depressing month. The nights are long the days are short, the skies are grey, the temperatures are low. Added to this is the fact that the bills start dropping through the letter box. January does not even have any events in it to make it more appealing. For example February is short month in which Valentines Day occurs. March is when the clocks go forward. April is when Easter normally appears and May has two bank holidays. June is when the summer solstice occurs, July is the start of summer and when the kids break up for the summer break, August has a bank holiday in it, September is when the kids go back to school. October has Halloween, November has Guy Fawkes Night and December is Christmas time. January does not have one single redeeming feature.

It is probably due to the fact that January is such a bad month that the highest numbers of divorce proceedings take place and it has the highest suicide rate of any other month, in the Northern Hemisphere at least. It was while I was bathing in the glow of my light box, furiously swallowing serotonin tablets and watching a programme about how the fast food industry is killing us that I started to wonder why I was here. Why have I not sold up and gone in search of the sun? I no longer have any ties here and no excuses to not go, well not solid, water tight ones at least. Yes the odd question has popped into my head such as what do I do with my stuff. I spent a long time acquiring it and when I had, it presented me with a reason for going to work.

The nice things or toys were my reward for doing something I did not enjoy. A horrible day at work was rewarded by coming home to a state of the art TV and hi fi system, a car that did not break down every 50 miles and a comfortable home that belonged to me and not to some one else. I have also asked what do I do if I ever have to come back? The thought of working on the nail counter at B&Q or selling the big issue and living in a hostel is not particularly appealing! In short us baby boomers have grown up with the notion that your job and your home are two assets that must be maintained and held onto at all costs.  I would love to do some serious travelling before settling down again. Leaving the UK is a one way ticket for me. There won’t be any coming back as there will be nothing to come back to. I will have no where to live and little chance of ever working again.

There is a way around this, I just have to think of it and then execute it. Until then I have some serious research to do and lots of people to talk to. With a bit of effort, January may become bearable.

Here’s to 2008

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

It’s a long way from the beginning of the new season but inspired by a new barbecue book I received for Christmas, I decided to give some thought about the events of the coming year. I checked out all of my equipment and decided to rid myself of anything that was past its best. The rest I placed in an all purpose toolbox consisting of knives, tongs, spatulas, aprons, gloves, hand cream, gas firelighters and other assorted sundries that I have found over the years to be useful. All my tools are now in one place and should I be asked to cook for some one at their place I merely have to pick up one tool box and everything I need, will be close to hand and easy to transport.

I then looked at my ageing grill and realised I had had the best years out of it and it was no longer up to my standards for the industrial use I put it to every year. It was time to order a new one.  Trawling the net to find bargains and end of year clearances produced a Billy Oh four burner gas grill in stainless steel for less than the cost of my old grill. Out came the credit card and it was despatched within hours. I also decided to go back to my roots and buy a decent charcoal powered kettle barbecue. Again trawling for clearance bargains I found a large Webber Kettle drum at an amazingly low price. I know I have said in the past that I would not use charcoal again because it was not as eco friendly as gas but there is no denying that some foods do taste better for being cooked over hot coals as opposed to either butane or propane. Pictures of both appliances are in the barbies/equipment gallery.

During discussions and correspondence from Ted Magnum who is at the moment in Argentina, he expanded upon the virtues of an Argentinean barbecue called a parilla. Consequently a parilla will be built at the home of The Beast and we are currently in the process of persuading Little Miss Sunshine and The Beancounter that it would be a wonderful idea if they built one too as not only would it be practical but it would add value to their homes. A picture of a typical Argentine parilla can be found in the barbies/equipment gallery.

This coming year I hope to find new recipes and new ways of cooking. I am also going to cook two identical items on both gas and charcoal grills for the definitive taste test. I also made the decision that Ghastanbury would no longer be held at Château Ghastanbury and would in future be a roaming event rather like Creamfields. As yet I do not know where the first one will take place but after lively discussions with some of the massive and I am confident that a venue will be found by June 21st.  

Here’s to 2008

Hello 2008

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Well that’s it, the deccies have come down and it’s all over for another year. So what did I get up to? Well at short notice it was decided to have Xmas dinner at Château Ghastonbury instead of Little Miss Sunshine’s house. This meant a flurry of activity to finish the decorating and have the house fit to accommodate nine guests on the big day. I finished the decorating on Xmas Eve and with the smell of paint finally beginning to recede I started prepping the dinner.

The day arrived and with it the guests, LMS, her beau and her daughter and beau. Chef, Bean counter and her eldest, myself and I did say nine didn’t I? Yes of course I was forgetting Angel the dog or four-legged eating machine, as it should be known. It was a great day and I fell asleep face first in the ample bosom of BC soon after the Dr Who special. Boxing day and I did it all again only this time with seven people instead of nine and although it was a much gentler affair it was still a wonderful day.

The day after Boxing Day the Driver came to stay with me for a few days but had to leave on the Sunday. He had not been feeling well and drove home to his local walk in health centre. From there they rushed him up to Wigan Infirmary where he spent the night in an oxygen tent. He had apparently suffered a huge asthma attack. He was to spend the next few nights there, struggling to get his breath.

Onto New Years Eve, for the first time in what seemed like forever but was probably only 10 years I celebrated away from Château Ghastonbury. A massive formed at BC’s house and we partied until the early hours. The highlight coming just before the bells when one of the youngsters told us oldies that “all of the cool people” go to the roundabout nearby a large supermarket just yards from BC’s pad. So about 20 or so of us trotted off to the roundabout to meet a gathering of assorted revellers and we all hugged and cheered. The more adventurous of us decided to have trolley races using the roundabout as a circuit. I have no idea how this happened but I found myself piloting a shopping trolley propelled by The Beast and LMS’s Beau. I understand the video footage is hilarious and is somewhere on U Tube. As soon as I can obtain a copy I will post it here. I am also led to believe that I finally made it to bed at around 5am but not before me and TB had attempted to make fire with a Leylandii tree in BC’s garden.

I went see the Driver in hospital on Jan 2nd and as he was being discharged that day I took him home. He has decided that it was a wake up call and has vowed never to smoke again. After chewing the fat for a few hours I was touched by his comment, “mates come and go. Friends are for life, I am proud to call you a friend”. It made me realise that I am blessed to have such a good social circle even though it is spreading further a field on what appears to be an almost monthly basis. News reached me yesterday that The Teech will be heading towards the sunnier climes of the middle east this September to take up a new post lasting for at least two years. Hopefully this New Year will take me further to reaching my goal of leaving these shores. 2007 has not been a good year for me and I am glad to see the back of it and so hello 2008.