So on Thursday last week, I started work again after 8 weeks off!
Now I'm not sure where the weeks went, as there at least 140 things still left to do on my mental check list, the written check list I can't find, my Outlook check list, and the list on the kitchen notice board. Now I know we went to Paris for 5 days, and I've met up with a few friends for lunch/ jobclub/ coffee/ moaning/ laughing (you get the drift, we did more lunch and coffee than the job thing) and I've spent some time in the garden (enjoying the sunshine, and watching the seasonal blight write-off all the bloody tomatoes again).
I did actually do some job hunting, but it was actually a friend that pointed me towards the one I am taking, and despite it being for a 6 month contract, hopefully it may go full time, and if not, the experience will be good. I am also incredibly grateful to Ali for ringing me up and putting the fear of God in me when she said, "can you come to an interview, the day after tomorrow!"
I was actually looking forward to it, mainly for the fact that I will be working again for a company that has credibility, purchasing policies, a canteen, occupational therapists, a decent pension scheme, car parking that doesn't involve something akin to off road driving, decent hours, and doesn't seem to be run by a despot. It will be like being dragged back from the dark ages.. And for the record, I was knackered after two days. You soon get out of routines!
I have been spending a fair amount of time baking and cooking while I have been off, trying my best to offset all the hard work Peter is doing to keep fit. We've worked out that if I bake two cakes at a weekend, we can't get through them all in a week.
And I am holding up my hand straight away, I didn't make these Macaroons, (I wish). We bought them in a wonderful shop in Paris, and they are divine. I had to try out the new camera, and hopefully I have done them justice.
This weekend was the Pidley International Teddy Bear Freefall Parachute competition, and we where in attendance, manning the raffle stall, and it is always a laugh and raises money for a good causes. After the weekend, it will be my time to start getting fit again. I will have about 8 weeks to get into shape before we spend a week walking in the Lake District, and I want to be able to walk for a day without getting out of breath!
The trickiest thing I always find is to get into a routine whereby you exercise, as we already have a good diet, however commuting to work and back for two hours a day doesn't leave much room before or after the working day, so I will have to figure out something, even if it's taking the bike out for a morning ride at the weekend and going for a walk during lunch at work. We shall see how it works out.
Now way back at the beginning of August, I was surprised by Sue over at "Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog's Tails" by her nomination of me for this wee award. Surprised mostly because I have been really bad at keeping up to date with reading Sue's blog, (and everyone else's too), I love it though when I do catch up.
More to the point, Sue writes from a very personal viewpoint and wears her heart on her sleeve, and on the occasion I went right back to the very start of her blog, I was struck by the openness and raw emotion I found, and I have stuck with her blog, and have found countless joy in her writing, and I have been humbled on more than one occasion, and for this I am thankful.
As for me, I started this blog way back, as some of you know, to get myself out of a mental fugue due to being unemployed for the best part of six months. Added to this I was given the encouragement to pick up my camera again, and go out and use it. That was nearly 7 years ago (30/09/2005) and despite some cases of the doldrums, I hope over the 7 years I have managed to entertain everyone.
I think my blog garners a small audience, however I am happy to have everyone around and visit. And maybe one day, I will get to catch up with everyone! The Morgan Mouses where perfect hosts on our trip to Australia (and Dancing Mouse has gone quiet for a while, has the wee mouse hung up her dancing shoes?), and it goes without saying that if anyone is coming over to England, then we are only an hour form central London, so lunch somewhere is expected.
There are a few rules that go with the award, that I am more than happy to comply with, so here they are;
- Add the award Logo
- Link the nominators Blog
- Nominate 5- 10 blogs you usually follow
- Let the nominees know that they have been nominated and add their links
- Say 7 random things about yourself
Well I have added the Logo, and linked back to my nominators blog (see above) The tricky part is nominating other members, as I have the same problem as Sue, in the fact that I regularly only check out a handful of blogs, with some of my favourite seemingly hitting the same impasse as we have all experienced, however here is my list;
- "A Wee Bit of Cooking" - Wendy (and her beautiful dog Marco), have kept me entertained and delighted with her photos form Scotland and delicious food photos and recipes.
- "Pink Granite" - The slices of life from Lee, and her husband Chuck, have kept me entertained, and our correspondence over the last few years through difficult periods on both sides of the pond, have made me realise that friendships can be forged and maintained with wit and humour.
- "Break the Illusion" - DaveyWavey is a bit of a celebrity, and a leading online voice for the LBGT community. He has a different take on life and manages to advise and inform and has an apparently boundless enthusiasm for life.
- "Lucullian Delights" - Ilva has to be one of the most inspirational of food bloggers and photographers that I link to. Her photos are sublime and her recipes, well, you just have to try them. She has been a voice of encouragement for my photography, and a constant source of waistline antagonism, as I try out her delicious dishes (mainly puddings... hmmmm)
A special thank-you goes out to my good friend JT, over at "Swimpig", who, as always, has my special thanks for helping me make that tentative step into picking up a camera again, and encouraged me to start the blog all those years ago, and who I don't spend enough time with.
So 7 random things, here goes;
- I used to be a member of the British Institute of Innkeepers. I managed a pub here in MK ( the reason I came here in the first place), and joined when I was awarded a Master Cellerman's award.
- I miss the sea. We live almost equidistant from the coast , and I miss the sound of the waves and walking along a beach, despite the fact that I don't like the idea of deep water, can't swim, but bizarrely love sailing. I could never go to a SeaWorld type of attraction, as the thought of walking through those glass tunnels of fish with tonnes of water behind the glass, gives me goose bumps just typing about it.
- I am not mechanical in any way, shape or form. I wish I could look at an engine of a car and think... "ah, yes it's...." but I can't.
- I hate it when, either on a menu or on a cookery programme, a classic dish is given a twist, whereby a key element of the dish is changed, making it NOT THAT DISH. For example - on a recent TV cookery show, the presenter was make an Eton Mess with her own twist. Now substituting the strawberries with succulent blackberries, I don't have a problem with. but making a meringue nest, adding cream, blackberries and a meringue top, isn't an Eton mess, it's a Meringue, filled with fruit and cream. If she then smashed it into bits, then it's an Eton Mess.... for f's sake.
- I adore Thai food. A Thai Red Curry is the best remedy for a cold.
- I still use some of the chef's knives I started college with at the tender age of sixteen. This makes them 35 years old (this month in fact) and they are the best knives I use. They are razor sharp Sabatier knives, made from carbon steel, and they are precious to me. Did you know too, that in an emergency, you can sharpen a carbon steel knife off the back of another? My college lecturer, Mr Frost, taught me that, and I have never forgotten it. The blades go black, but a good silicone paste will get them gleaming again.
- I hate shaving. I don't shave at a weekend, and while there is nothing better than a decent shave with a good shaving foam, a sink of hot water and a sharp razor, I just simply hate the fact that I have to do it every day for work. I like a beard and a moustache, and Peter doesn't, so I don't have one ;o)
So that's it. Big thanks to Sue again for the nomination, I'm off to sit and read for a while, before thinking of dinner, and then an early night, before work tomorrow. It will be my first full week, so I hope I get into the swing of things and don't end up completely knackered by Friday.
One last thing;
Happy Anniversary Lee & Chuck, 21 years and still counting
Lots of love and happiness x
Have a good week folks.