Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another restaurant struck of the list

Where have I been? No where in particular, just busy. Cook alongs, Australia Day BBQ parties/house warming parties, work... I have some posts I have to finish, but to make up for it, I offer a wee tale of embarrassment that happened to me last night, to keep you all amused...

I have a knack of getting myself remembered at restaurants (like the Yo! Sushi I go to where the waitress seems to think I work or live or huddle in a gutter nearby seeing as I eat there so often). Well, it seems I've done it again.

Our local Chinese is fab. I know that buffets are not peoples ideas of haute cuisine, and having had some amazing Chinese food in China last year, this is not exactly up there with the greatest chow in the land. But it's good. And it's 2 minutes from our front door. And a young male waiter is always really friendly with us, and when we walk in, he'll automatically bring us chop sticks, a diet coke, 3 Tsing Taos and know we'll herd ourselves to the family feedbag that is endless crispy duck with pancakes.

Well now he has another reason for remember who I am...

Last night I went out with our work Social club for our annual meal (and to be honest, free piss up). After our thai food, much debate of the events this year, the budget, gossiping about whom we don't like, and 8 bottles of wine between 5 of us, I went home a little bit, well, smashed. Unfortunately my ability to keep the crazy in doesn't work so well with that much white wine sloshing about, cause when I got off the bus, I passed our local Chinese restaurant, and saw all the waiters and chefs inside their little gated bit next drinking tea, smoking, and generally relaxing after a hard night of work. I then saw the waiter who is always really nice to us. Now remember, the crazy is spilling out everywhere, so I stop, and say in probably glass shatteringly loud levels "HELLO!! IT'S YOU!! YOU'RE FINISHED FOR THE NIGHT EH?! HELLO!!!". (oh the shame, the shame). So he gets up, cigarette in hand, opens the gate, speaks to me for a bit, asks if I want to come join them inside, to which thankfully I managed to mumble "no thanks, I'm stumbling home", then totter myself down the street.

So when Dr D suggested (and I'm sure his motivating factor was not the endless supply of spring rolls) that we go there for dinner tonight I flatly refused. I am not going back, as I will die of shame and pray that the ground opens up and swallows me whole.

Well, at least until the calling for crispy duck is too great for me to turn down... So I give it a week?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Come to me Gordon

When C & I were on holiday in Italy (well St Moritz to be exact) recently, we shared the largest, smelliest, kirsch spiked, cheese fondue I've had in ages. In fact, the cheese fondue, much like many people's fashion taste in St Moritz, seemed like a good idea at the time but on execution was actually was pretty horrid.

I know that I say "cheese dreams" quite a bit, but I kid you not, cheese fondue causes me to have the bizarest, freakout, never-in-thousand-Sundays-will-come-true, Lucy-In-The-Sky-With-Diamonds kind of dreams more than any other substance I've come across. After my fondue extravaganza, I had the weirdest dream that Gordon Ramsey was teaching me how to cook. Being Gordon Ramsey, he started yelling and screaming at me, telling me I was rubbish and what not, which pissed me off no end, so I yelled at him to go and sod off, threw my knife down and stormed out. The strange thing that happened was this: he ran after me, swept me into his arms, like his Rhett Butler to my Scarlett O'Hara, told me he wanted me to be his girlfriend(!), and couldn't bare to be without me.

Now this was a dream. A dream. If you can't fulfill your wildest fantasies with a world famous chef in a dream, then god knows when you're supposed to. Calv has accused me of being one of the most contrary people he's ever met, and maybe he's right. Cause rather than ripping Gordon Ramsey's clothes off, and saying "yes! yes please!", I said "um.. well, you're married aren't you? And you've got some really beautiful kids right? Yeah, I'm sorry about this Gordon, but there's no way I can possibly go out with you..". Yes. In my dream, where Gordon Ramsey was begging me to be his girl, all I could do was say mutter some prudish rubbish about him being married and say "no" (and no, I'm not saying that sleeping with a Michelin star chef whilst he's married is something that I condone. But come on - it was a dream!).

Well, today Gordon Ramsey on Channel 4 is doing a live cooking show where you are supposed to you cook along at the same time with him. He's making scallops with fresh salsa, steak with wedges, and chocolate mousse for afters. Here it is people. The dream was a sign! Now all I have to do is watch his show tonight, cook along with him, get mad, tell him to sod off, then calmly wait for him to rush from his live studio mid show, straight to my front door, confess his undying love, and see if I am as "good" in real life as I was in my dream...

I'll keep you posted with what happens... It's a sign.. Yup, defo.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

4 hours later

I think the seriousness of what I've just committed myself to is starting to sink in.. London to Paris. On a bike. Sacré bleu!

Unfortunately, I think that I'm starting to turn into one of those annoying "cycling bores" because when I got to the pub tonight, rather than really talking to anyone, I started pouring over the latest Evans cycle brochure thinking about all the gadgets and bits and bobs I am going to "need". And even worse, I started to bore everyone with the various details, pros and cons of each of the bits and bobs I now want to buy.

Please god, don't turn me into a "cycling bore". I hate people who constantly wax lyrical about the sport they do and can hold no other form of conversation. Please, please, please don't let me become one of them!

Somethin' stupid

I have today (before I lost my nerve) signed up to do the London to Paris cycle ride for Action Medical Research... it's a 4 day, 300 mile cycle ride from London to Paris (well duh!), via Dieppe, Lieux, Vernon and ending in Paris the day before the Tour de France. I'm not really sure why I want to do this, but I do. I'm kindof nervous and excited about the possibility of doing around 80miles a day from here and all through rural France... Actually, I'm mostly scared that at the end of the first 10 miles out of Blackheath, I'll end up in a blubbering heap on the floor, wailing "I can't go on! I can't go on! You'll have to go on! But give me a backey the whole way to Paris" .

I'll be asking everyone for sponsorship money very soon. I intend to aggressively campaign for sponsorship to the point of obnoxious, until people will want to pay me to just stay away from them!

At least this is one thing I'll get to do this year that I want to do. But more of that on another post.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Magic as a Simpsons Character

More takers!! Here is the Magic as a Simpsons character. Remember, if you want yours posted, make yours here and send it to me!

Dr D as a Simpsons Character

Takers already!Here is Dr D as a Simpsons Char (though personally I think he looks alot more like the Professor than this...)

Friday Moment of Zen: Me as a Simpsons Character

In a similar vein of "Me as an M&M", here is "Me as a Simpsons Character":

And here is "Me as a Simpsons Character Half Cut After a Night Out Looking For the Beckoning Lights of KFC":

If you have one you'd like me to post, email me you're pic and I'll put it up. You can make your own right here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Holiday Ruination - Thy name is Alitalia

"You know, this holiday reminds me of when we went to Italy last time in '98. Hey, thank god we don't have to wash our undies in the sink with shampoo eh!"
"Yeah, thank god".

So where the have I been for the last 3 weeks? C and I went to Italy for 10 days for a Christmas holiday with my parents, who came all the way from Australia. We went to Naples, met my folks in Rome, then travelled north to the South Tirol Alps in Italy, for a bit of Christmas cheer, a visit to the Vatican to see old Popey and to try our hands at skiiing.

But fate, Alitalia and BAA it would seem would have none of it.

I knew from the very first hour of my holiday that it was not going to go quite my way when I was on the Heathrow Express on my way to my flight, I went to take my travel card out of my pocket, and heard the the gut wrenching "tinkle" - the delightful sound of the key to my suitcase padlock falling into the heating grate. Calling Dr D in a giggling panic his helpful suggestions consisted of:
1) Breaking open the grate of the heater. Which would require either a blow torch or electric drill.
2) Use a sharp implement to break open the padlock. Like a screwdriver or a hacksaw. I had to then point out that "um, I'm going to THE AIRPORT. They don't let you take that sort of thing on the plane anymore you know".

Fearing for my clothes being stuck in my case for the next 10 days, I finally managed to get my spindly fingers in the grate and painfully fish out the key and believe me, never have I been so happy to see one small piece of metal before. I then got to the airport, dropped my bags off at the check-in. And that was the last time I saw my beautiful red suitcase for the next 12 days.

Ah yes, holiday ruination thy name is Alitalia.

When C & I got to Naples, Alitalia and BAA managed to not only lose C's suitcase but mine as well. And the lack of suitcases was to last pretty much the entire holiday. Like every good girl, I'd brought everything I'd ever need with me on holiday and more: my digital cameras (yes cameraS. Two), ipod charger, camera charger, phone charger, laptop charger, hair dryer, snow gear to go skiing with - gloves, pants, jumpers, scarves, beanie, my laptop, nice going out clothes, loungy night time clothes, t-shirts, shirts, underwear, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturiser, hair brush, hair products, elastics, band aids, medicine, socks, cool new jeans, big long black coat, and my lovely brown boots. Everything. Gone. Vamooshed. Disappeared. Where? No one, and I mean no one in the whole of Italy could tell us.

Alitalia. My god never has an name been more cursed than Alitalia. I blame every single mini crisis/disappointment/disaster to Alitalia:

At least we got to see Pompeii. Because of Alitalia and our lost bags did we get to see any of Naples? Well yes if you count the main shopping street and the airport. Did we see the museum housing all the interesting artifacts from Pompeii? No. Did we get to go to Vesuvius? No. Sorento? Hell no. We had to spend our time shopping. For clothes. And shampoo and conditioner and face wash. C & I became bag ladies whose entire worldly possessions were encased in plastic shopping bags.

My parents met C & I in Rome. I think they got the shock of their lives when they C met them in the baggage hall. Why? We frantically followed a tip off that the bags might have come in from London to Rome that day. Did we look at any sights in Rome? Not really. Did I spend time with my parents in Rome? No not really. What did we do the rest of the time? Shop for more clothes.

Don't get me wrong. I have the 2 perfectly functioning X chromosomes. But when it comes to shopping, especially forced shopping which comes with knowing that holiday insurance will only pay £100 and the only thing I wanted to buy in Italy where leather gloves, shopping for clothes that I know I have in my lost suitcase is not a great incentive. And at the end of it all, what did I have to show for it? 3 shirts, 2 jumpers, 2 pairs of under pants, some socks. I'll tell you what though, it dide make getting dressed in the mornings a heck of a lot easier. "I think I'll wear my jeans. Again. And which of the 3 shirts do I want to wear?"

The Vatican
My mum somehow got us tickets in to St Peter's for midnight mass with the Pope. I have no idea how she did it but she did. She was so excited about this, being quite a big catholic. However, thanks to Alitalia and our lost bags C & I spent all day shopping. Which meant we were knackered when we got back to the hotel. Which meant we left the hotel late, had dinner late, got to the Vatican late, were 4 people off from being seated for midnight mass. My mum was so upset, she went to the back of the cathedral and sat on the floor. I've never seen her so angry and disappointed in my life. It didn't help that if she had waited near where they were seating people eventually we would have got a seat. She stubbornly sat at the back, refusing to listen to me. When it came for communion she was openly questioning what sort of church requires you to have VIP tickets to be seated to hear mass, and starting to doubt her faith. I had to drag her up promising it would make her feel better. Little did I know this was would turn a bad night even worse. When as she got communion she went to walk away and the official grabbed her arm and started loudly telling her off in Italian and shaking her. Apparently, you have to take communion there and then in front of the priest as they are frightened that people, I don't know, are giving the bread to non catholics? Gasp. That's surely a worse sin than murder that will get you sent straight to firey hell and damnation don't you know. Whatever the random reason, it was the last straw for my mum, and she went to the back and started crying. Which in turn was the absolute last straw for me. No one makes my mum cry. I marched up to official and started politely but very firmly telling him off. When he indicated he didn't speak English, I just ranted at him in French. He thought I was speaking bad Italian of course so he got a security guard to come over who had to very slowly translate to the official that I was demanding he apologise to my mum for making her cry. To be fair, when the official realised what he had done, he became extremely remorseful, and he, the security guard and myself all went and found my mum, where he profusely apologised. Obviously in Italian. This made her cry even more, which then made me cry, which then had the security guard try to comfort me*. In the end, the official dragged my mum from the back of St Peters, forced everyone away from the barriers, and put mum and me in a great position to see the Pope walk past at the end of mass.

Alitalia - you ruined my mum's Christmas Midnight Mass. Bastards

* Dear God: Please don't send me to hell for thinking, whilst in the Vatican, oh angels in heaven this security guard is seriously cute and seriously nice. I won't hold it against you for not returning my clothes, if you don't hold it against me that I was thinking about flirting in your house. Thank you for your time.

The Alps
Ahh, the Southern Tirol Alps. The autonomous region of Italy, where German and Italian are both the official language. If you go from the border of Austria and Italy in South Tirol, there is a massive sign up that says "South Tirol is NOT Italian". We stayed in Eggen, a fantastic place to ski, enjoy the 2km toboggan slope, be in the -5 degree crisp weather. Not so good if all your COLD WEATHER GEAR AND SKI CLOTHES ARE IN YOUR SUITCASES ENJOYING THEIR OWN ROMAN ADVENTURE SOMEWHERE IN ITALY, NOT WITH YOU.

ALITALILA YOU BASTARDS. Everything. Snow pants, gloves, hats, thermals, everything. Somewhere, anywhere, but not with us. So Alitalia, on you I blame the fact that I still can't ski. I was going to go and learn. But no. I got to freeze my arse off in my jeans in -5 degree temperatures. No tobogganing. No skiing. No apres skiing!! Nothing.

However, we did have lots of time to go off exploring other parts near South Tirol, like Switzerland, Innsbruck, snow fields near Obbereggen. Unfortunately, since all my nice clothes were, I don't know, in Sicily basking in the 13 degree warmth, I got to visit St Moritz in my scummy jeans, whilst all the women were in their Bulgary, Prada and fur coats. The looks we got from the "bootiful people" which were withering at best. Distainful at worst.

So the holiday in general. How was it? Totally enjoyable isn't quite right. Relaxing wouldn't be quite right either. Frustrating might be a better word for it. Though, as I maintain some holidays just blend into each other, being so relaxing and enjoyable. Having to wash all your clothes in the bathroom sink with stolen hotel shampoo was a phase of travelling I had hoped I'd outgrown. Let's say: frustrating, unexpected, yet still strangely entertaining. And now I know I can at least survive with only 1/3 of the stuff I travel with. Who needs to change clothes everyday? That's just an unnecessary luxury.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

7.15 am

After 17 days of holidays (well, in fact it's been almost 20 odd days since my last week at work I was sick for 2 days) I have had to set my alarm again for 7.15. Argh, the idea of work after such a long (not necessarily restful) break is such a, well, drag. Tomorrow I have to go back to work. Workin' for da man. Puttin on my figurative suit and tie. Back to the grindstone. Ya di ya di ya da.

For the last 17 days C, my parents (from Australia!) and I have been to Naples, Rome, the Southern Italian Tirol Alps (were they don't speak Italian!), St Moritz, Innsbruck, Cortina and almost to San Peligrino. We've seen Pompeii, almost every clothes store in Naples (you know they don't have a big department store in Naples?), been accosted by a crazy old guy at a train station, had Christmas lunch of bread, parma ham and cheese in the car at a rest stop, fondue in one of the richest towns in Switzerland, seen an awful lot of rich bad taste in name of fasion, crazy cheese dreams and New Years Eve in London. All in all it's been a really, well, interesting holiday. But now it's back to work. Again. For another year. 2008.

Any resolutions? A couple:

1) I want to do a mini triathalon
2) I want to do the London to Brighton cycle
3) I want to start regularly brushing my teeth at night, not just when I remember. I've listened to too many nightmare tales of root canal, infected gums, painful wisdom tooth removal. Not for me thankyou very much.
4) I'm going to blog more. I've been slack. It annoys me.
5) I'm going to learn to actually enjoy porridge.

All my other resolutions are the usual lose weight, exercise more, save money, blah blah blah boring boring boring yawn type resolutions that I will say I want to do, but more than likely won't do.

I have a write up of the Christmas Italian Disaster holiday almost done that will bore you to tears. Just have to, you know, finish writing it up.

Otherwise, I hope that Christmas and the New Year has treated you well. I hope Santa brought you all the lovely toys you wished for. And God bless the fucking lot of us.