Thursday, 30 July 2009

The count down really has started

It's my last day in this office today. Tomorrow I am on leave, we then have the weekend, and then we're moving! Good Lord. They say (whoever 'they' are) that moving house is one of the three most stressful things you can do in your life - and I have to say, 'they' are not wrong. I am unbelievably stressed about this right now. I think about all the stuff I still have to pack, the furniture I need to take apart to get it out of the house, the stuff I still have to take to the tip... and I start getting all cold and shaky and feeling sick. It doesn't help that I have to be in here today, with no work, when I could be at home cracking on. *sigh*.

It feels weird knowing this is the last time (at least for a while) that I'll be sat in this office... it's almost like I'm leaving the company, but I'm not. Very strange. My drawers are clear, my desk will be by the end of the day, and that'll be it. I won't miss some of the people here. They get on my nerves far too easily, and I'll be glad to be away from them. But there are some here I will miss, and it's not like me to feel like that about co-workers. Still, when you've spent five years at a place, I suppose that's only natural.

So it's the end of an era today. I'll post up how the day turns out, but stay tuned to my twitter feeds and I'll try and keep a live feed going on how things pan out. Peace.

Friday, 24 July 2009

First post on the house move

Last night I went through ALL my clothes to sort them into three piles - keep, bin, charity.
It took longer than I thought, because I have more clothes than I thought. It was a good process, because I found some stuff I forgot I had, which made me think "Oh, cool, I remember that t-shirt" and stuff like that. (My Mighty Boosh t-shirt for example). Some of the stuff was pretty ropey, which made me wonder why I ever wore it in the first place. Once I had finished, I had a large pile ready for the charity shop, a smaller pile in the bin, and a much neater, tidier, ordered wardrobe.
Although the whole moving process is a massive pain in the arse, the whole 'clear out' process is actually good. I know that once we get to the kitchen, for example, it's going to be an excellent excuse to get rid of all the shite in the back of the cupboards that we haven't looked at since we moved into the house over eight years ago. Same for under the stairs, loft etc.
I also still have to tackle spider central - or the garage as it's also known...
Jebus - this place is like my idea of hell. Although I park the car in there fairly regularly, there is all sorts of crap that I've stored in there that has now created LOTS of little nooks and crannies and dark hidey holes where spiders the size of my head could hide. More than once, as I've gone in & out of the garage, I've glimpsed those horrible scuttling little movements out of the corner of my eye that means something with eight legs is looking to take a chunk outta my leg. And now I have to go in there and purposely disturb all the stuff in there. I'm scared.

Soundtrack of the day: "La Roux" by La Roux (on my iPhone for a change)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

So, my big news

I've been a 'soft southerner' for all my life. Born in St. Mary's hospital Paddington, living my early years in Harlesden in West London, then moving out to the suburbs of Greater London. This time is now coming to an end. Our family are moving North.

Specifically, to the North West... Stockport to be exact.

We have sold our house, bought a new one, and are now in the process of packing and clearing out all the shite we have accumulated over the years. This in itself is a massive job. Those of you who have bought a house know that this is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life, and this is the third time we've done it. However, there is a big difference between relocating within the same town, to moving over 200 miles up the country!

We have found a fantastic school for Jake up there, and he's really looking forward to our new adventure. My employer has an office fairly locally, and are allowing me the flexibilty to work there, so that's a big help.

And so, for the next couple of weeks, I'll keep you up to date with what's going on, how the whole move is going etc. I've been sitting on this knowledge for a while now, and it's been hard not sharing it with you all, but I have my reasons(!)

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Soundtrack of the day: "The Singles" - Inspiral Carpets.

Monday, 20 July 2009

This 'n' that

No post for nearly a week, and I know you are all missing me terribly (ha!).

There is one thing going on at the moment that I can't post about just yet. But it's been going on for a while, and it's a big deal, and VERY big deal, but I can't give any information right now. Some of my readers already know about it, but I'm not ready to announce it to my blogging world at the moment. Apart from that 'one big thing' there isn't really much going on. I am getting very pissed off at work with having nothing to do - I know, I know, "find something to do then you lazy bastard" is the cry itching to ring from your collective lips, but it's not that easy I'm afraid. Believe me, I would rather be coming in here, working my shriveled scrotum off, and then going home (because the day would fly by) rather than coming in and trying to look busy but it's just not doable. So the day draaaggs slowly by and I sit and clock watch. Its soul destroying.
Anyway, it's the school holidays now, so this week my family (including dog) are all going up to see my in-laws for the week. So I am a carefree bachelor for a few days! No. I'm a lonely, miserable man who misses his family for a few days and will have to fend for myself. I'm sure I can manage though.
Finally, I'd thought I'd post another recipe I found and tried and loved. Pasta with a crab and parmesan sauce. Ingredients to serve four.

400g white crab meat
2 egg yolks
8 tbsps double cream
8 tbsps freshly grated parmesan
250g pasta (tagliatelle or spaghetti)
salt & black pepper (preferably sea salt& fresh ground pepper)
cayenne pepper / tabasco sauce to taste
1 fresh lemon

Drain the white crab meat, pick out any bits of shell (if its not the tinned kind) and gently squeeze to get rid of any excess liquid.
Whisk the two egg yolks, then mix in the cream, parmesan, and some salt and pepper in a bowl.
Add the crab meat and gently stir in.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta as per instructions (preferably to a slightly al-dente texture)
Once the pasta is cooked, drain, place back in the pan but remove from the heat. Stir in the sauce, and allow the pasta to warm it through.
Add more salt & pepper to season, and if you like, add some cayenne or tabasco to flavor (I didn't do this as I had neither!)
Finally, before serving, squeeze in the freshly squeezed juice from half the lemon.

It is honestly gorgeous.

Soundtrack of the day: I've gone back in time... MJ's Bad, various Prince albums, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Depeche Mode....

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

So how did it go?

It was a good laugh actually. First of all the gripe - it wasn't a high enough standard that I really hard to work hard. You see, I tend to play to the level around me, so if I'm playing with / against good players, I work harder and play better. Last night, however, there were only three of us of a decent standard out of twelve, so after the first 10 - 15 minutes I couldn't help but ease off and just have a laugh with it.
That was the only down-side really. The rest of the game was just fun. Some of the players surprised in their ability, and one person was... I can't lie, he was shocking. He had obviously never kicked a ball in his life, and I honestly think number one son would have scored more of the chances he got, (seeing as he scored zero of them, that wouldn't be hard!)
As I haven't played for a good few months now I'm quite stiff and sore this morning, my back in particular, but it was worth it.
Now for another day of doing precisely no work. Yesterday I was in the office at 06.45, left at about 14.45, and did no work at all. This is a bad situation, but there's nothing I can do about it. I'm hoping to speak to someone today to get a bit of work off them, but who knows?
Have a good Tuesday children.
Soundtrack of the day: "Lungs" by Florence & The Machine.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Depart-mental football match

Now normally I don't really do much with the people in my department. I keep myself to myself, work here, and that's about it. However, last week, while I was out of the office (so could not squash this idea in its infancy) it was suggested that the blokes in the I.S department have a 6-a-side football match. Everyone jumped on the idea, like a group of winos finding a stash of meths, and before I knew it the teams had been decided and I was playing.
I tried to get out of it (asking the good lady "Do you need me here on Monday night? Do you?? Please?!?") but in the end I had no choice but to agree. So, after months away, I'm coming back out of retirement. Will my body cope? Will I still look ridiculous with my paunch running out in front of me? Only one way to find out...
So tonight, a gathering of sweaty, unfit, overweight (some of us) blokes will turn up and kick seven shades of shit out of each other. Well, maybe it won't be that bad. The problem as far as I can see it is there are only actually three 'footballers' - me, a young bloke who plays regularly twice / three times a week at a fairly high standard, and another bloke closer to my age who plays once / twice a week. The rest of the men in our department don't really play, or have never played, football. So it should be rather amusing. And despite myself, I'm actually looking forward to it.
So far this morning, some of the non-players have come up to me looking a little pale and sweaty and said "So, ready for tonight?" (one even did it at 7.30 this morning!).
No, I'm not 'ready for tonight' - I won't be ready until about 5 minutes before kick off. I think a lot of the non-players are going to spend the day geeing themselves up. But for me, I won't be ready to 'turn it on' until someone says "right, lets get started".
I'll give a full report tomorrow on how it went.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Two things that have turned me on recently

First of all, the Sky One program "Lie To Me". It stars Tim Roth as the head of a team of four people who basically spot liars. They are hired by all sorts of people, companies, even the government, to help spot someone who is lying. They have been used to tell if a criminal has turned over a new leaf, to help find a missing child, to find out who stole company secrets. They do this by 'reading' people and the tell tale signs that show if they are lying or telling the truth. The can be the slightest of things - the slight widening of the nostrils, swallowing at the wrong point, a twitch of a hand. I know I have not done the show justice with that description, and you're probably thinking it sounds boring... but trust me, it's not. I'm completely hooked.
Tim Roth is superb as the lead 'interrogator', and some of the story lines have been very clever. Unfortunately, there aren't many episodes left, but you still have the chance to catch it tonight on Sky One at 22.00. I caught up on the last three episodes last night, and two of the episodes brought tears to my eyes... they are that good. Highly recommended.

The second thing that I'm into at the moment is the new album by Florence & The Machine, called "Lungs". Check it out.

Soundtrack of the day: duh....

Monday, 6 July 2009

As I have nothing else to post about today...

... I thought I'd share the recipe I did on Saturday night: Sea bass & crushed new potatoes.

I got two fresh sea bass fillets from a certain orange branded supermarket, and some baby new potatoes. First of all, I boiled the new potatoes until they were done, as I knew the sea bass would not take long to cook. Once the spuds were done, I crushed them (kinda like mashing, but you only break them up into chunks, not into a smooth texture) and then added some extra virgin olive oil (not too much) freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, and freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.
Once the spuds were done, I heated a tablespoon of good quality olive oil in a frying pan, and when it was hot, put the sea bass fillets in skin side down. While they were cooking, I seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. After just three minutes, I turned the fillets over.
After two more minutes, I turned off the heat and let them cook for one more minute. Then serve.

Even if I say it myself, it was gorgeous, and the first time I've cooked sea bass. I recommend it very strongly. Even if you're nervous of cooking fish, it really was that easy.

Even though this isn't a cooking blog, if any of you want to share a recipe, send it to me via email and I'll post it up.


Friday, 3 July 2009

Damn my weak moral fibre

The weight loss is going crap. I know all the benefits of eating better, cutting out the beer, and starting exercise again. But I can't get my fat lazy arse in gear to do any of it. Part of the problem is the weather (although it is only a small part) because getting in from work when it's glorious and warm outside encourages me to sit in the garden with a good book and have a couple of cold beers. A cup of tea, or a glass of water, just isn't the same and you're a long time dead so why not enjoy it? But when I'm sitting at my desk and can feel my trousers restricting my blood flow to my legs, it can't be good can it?
It doesn't help I discovered a new beer in my local beer shop the other day. I've got a bit of a taste for light beers from Cornwall, and found one called Frothy Moth. It's like a real beer, but light and refreshing and very nice. However - last night, I had just a couple of bottles, and then in the middle of the night I got heartburn like a bitch. I mean REALLY bad, excess stomach acid the works. Horrible.
The reason for the need for beer was that Jake had played in the first couple of rounds of a borough cup tournament, 11-a-side format. The games were 20 mins each way, in a group of three teams, so Jake's team played their two other teams one after the other. It was really warm and humid, so hard work for the boys (and for the dads like me on the sidelines!) but they did really well, winning both their games. The first one 1 - 0 (Jake scored it) the second one 3 - 0 (Jake scored two). Even though I am biased, he played really well in both games. When he's in that mood, he's unplayable. I was a very proud father last night. But, I was a very HOT father, hence the beer-aid.
This weekend he has another tournament (6-a-side this time) and apart from that it's gonna be a quiet one I think. Whatever you're doing, enjoy the weather. Peace.

Soundtrack of the day: "La Roux" by La Roux (80's synth music re-invented for 2009).

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Cornwall '09 Part II

So after being woken again by the breaking sun, another morning of tea and sausage baguettes ensued. Mr. White and myself took another drive down to the beach to see how the surf was, and it was like looking at an empty swimming pool. Flat, calm, very nice looking... but no good for surfing. ARSE!
Still, as we were in Cornwall to visit the beach, we got our gear together and headed down there. Even though the surf was non-existent we still had a great time down there, playing more beach football (my poor feet are now fcuked - cut, bruised, blistered...), more chucking of the novelty flying disc, and for some reason one of our party has a fetish about being buried (I guess it's kinda like auto-erotic asphyxiation?) so we of course obliged. (Bear in mind, we are all in our mid 30's here...). Once he was satisfactorily encased in his sandy tomb (he didn't want his face covered - poof) all manner of hilarity and japes occurred. Sticking Oreo's to his head in the hope of attracting seagulls, covereing his head in his t-shirt so he couldn't see anything and then playing football around him, seeing if he could feel the rocks we were dropping down at around groin height. Oh, the things we do to the ones we love.
We then decided "Hell, we're at the beach, we might as well go in the sea" but we didn't want all the faff and hassle of cleaning the wet suits afterwards for what would amount to about 15 minutes in the ocean. So we all decided to 'man-up' and go in just in our speedo's. Fcuk me. I think my balls dropped out of my body sometime around sunset that day. Still, once you were in and got used to it you found tha... no, I'm lying. It was cold, cold, cold. After staying in there for about 5 - 10 minutes, we were all out again to dry off and doss about a bit more on the sand. And before we knew it, it was nearly 14.00 and time to go home.
Sunday afternoon was spent "chilaxing" (I know, its a shite word, isn't it? But I kept on thinking it over the weekend and it was getting very annoying... by I digress).
Then, we went into Padstow for drinks and dinner at the divine Pescadou fish restaurant. And after a post dinner livener, it was back to the chalet for one more nights sleep on the world most uncomfortable sofa.
Note: If you've never been to Padstow, and don't mind the connection with Rick Stein, I heartily recommend you going. It's a lovely place, with nice pubs, nice restaurants, and a beautiful little harbour. I will be posting some pics of the weekend, including Padstow, when I can get them off my phone.
Anyway - Monday morning, and time to pack up and head off for sunny London. One comment that painted a very vivid image - two of my friends were sharing the bedroom with bunk-beds, and the one on the bottom said to me in the morning "Now there's a lovely way to wake up. You sit up and take a deep breath and feel good, and then stand up into the cloud of noxious arse gass that has been seeped into the room over night. Gagging happens. It's not nice". A near-record breaking sub-4 hour journey later, and back into the bosom of my family.

So there we go. It was a great weekend, and I was right to look forward to it. I would say we are planning the same next year, but all of us are having rather large changes in our circumstances over the next 12 months and so I don't think we can get there for a while. Which is a shame.

I'll post some of the photos (when I've got the necessary permission / blanked out the faces to stop prosecution / photoshopped them to buggery) soon, so stay tuned. Peace.