Sunday, 30 November 2008

Feels like...

"Cold, grey, grim and damp" the weatherman called it.  It's probably the coldest day yet, the kind of weather I came expecting. But hadn't seen much of. So I added a layer of thermal underwear (that made me look like a cast member from Arende) and went out to buy groceries.  At least it wasn't raining.

When I stepped out of the International Store an hour later, the rain had arrived.  I hid in my jacket and consoled myself with a samoosa.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Tag cloud

As the number of tags increases, some of my secondary interests start showing.

Sunday, 23 November 2008


Some days feel like summer, with bright light and mild temperatures.  Some days are winter, with driving rain and a grim gray sky. 

Autumn is almost overlooked, just measured by the ever increasing amount of leaves on the ground.

Girl on the bus

Igloos have always fascinated me.  Using ice to keep you warm.  I love the contradiction.

Two stops before the university, a girl with an igloo cake gets onto the bus.  Lumps of marzipan shaped into rough bricks, stacked to form a low mound with a small entrance.  Icing sugar provides a dusting of fresh snow.  

A little snowman rolls around on the tray as the bus shakes and rattles.

I think we should all build our own igloos now.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Remember remember

The Secret Seven was my first Enid Blyton experience. And they had the best Bonfire Nights. So when I saw a little boy out begging "A penny for the Guy", a long forgotten memory of bonfires and fireworks and politically dubious celebrations was stirred up again.

The whole week around the 5th of November was marked with sporadic fireworks from all sides. I went looking for the celebrations on a wet Saturday night.

Wandering around the streets of Bitterne Park in driving rain, I found myself almost close enough to see, yet still too far away. Loud crackers and fireworks sporadically lit the sky only to be pushed back down by the wind and rain. And the exciting smell of burning wood stayed with me the whole time.

The world is in my kitchen

Pork chops come from Germany. Just like lemons come from Spain, brie from France, wine from Australia and lamb probably too. Avocados are from South Africa and cheddar is from Wales.

Bananas come from a tropical country with a fair trade agreement - it is unlikely that they'll become a competitive threat to the banana growers in Kent. Or Spain, for that matter. And I don't think the country is a strong naval power either.

Back to the pork: after generations of careful in-breeding and genetic manipulation we have pretty chops. A pale pink with a thin rind. Each one as big as the palm of my hand, maybe even a little bit more. Maybe they add water to increase the weight? At least they're pretty.

I make some mash with British potatoes, along with mushrooms (the Netherlands), cherry tomatoes (Spain) and braised leeks (UK). The chops are smothered in Dijon mustard (produced in France, packed in the UK) and a sprinkling of thyme (somewhere near the Mediterranean?) and slowly fried in my pan from China.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Happy Halloween

Jack-o-Lanterns line the wall.  A spider patiently waits on the ceiling.

I squash between a drunk vampire and a tall viking woman to get to the bar.  A lively zombie is operating the taps.  One of the Ghostbusters is waiting for his drink.  Alex and his droogs are collecting empty glasses.  A mummy is shouting into his mobile, wrappings dirty with ooze picked up somewhere.
No angels are out tonight - the best is a lone butterfly with droopy wings and an empty pint glass.  The Catwoman is there, along with someone with a whip.  A little red devil is flirting with the man with a big sword.  A skeleton is playing guitar. 

Two more zombies are making out in a corner.  Apparently being undead doesn't dampen certain basic needs.  At least they're not infecting the living.   

I'm the academic who preys on his students.  

Alex and his zombie.

Doing things

Wade was overwhelmed by her accomplishments and rubbed his forehead.  Sarah said, 'You know, big brother, doing all this stuff isn't the big deal it seems like.'

'It isn't, is it?'

'You know Wade.  In a weird way I think doing things is easier than not doing things.'

All Families Are Psychotic - Douglas Coupland