Wednesday, November 30, 2016

And we have DONE it.

OMGYOUGUYS. It's the last day of MyBloWriMo, and we have survived it once again. Well, in theory.

I'm currently on my way to some super feisty birthday tea for my friend Kaitlyn and it's gonna get REAL. I'm going to attempt to cure my head cold with some strong, burning herbal remedy. Nothing could possibly go wrong here. BECAUSE I SAID HERBAL. 

Speaking of - does anybody know if it's okay to put Olbas oil in the bath? Or Vicks? I want to mentholate my brains out next time I'm in there. Girl cannot BREATHE and Girl wants SOLUTIONS.

Okay so just now I went to get my coat for the walk to Hackney Central and saw Wolf's flannel lumberjack vest that he got in Japan and I stole it to put over my dress. I don't even feel sorry for doing this, even though it's his, even though it doesn't match what I'm wearing. It's like wearing a HUG. It is so soft and squishy and has the added benefit of looking super cool, like a cosy homeless person. He is never getting it back.

I'm looking forward to posting again soon! It may not be tomorrow - God forbid - but I am VERY good at Random Posting and in addition to Christmas shenanigans in Scotland, we're going to the Ice Hotel in Sweden for Wolf's birthday and that should not go un-talked-about. And if I can possibly do it, I may make MyBloWriMo a bi-annual affair and pick this self-torture back up in June, which also happens to be my birthday month so there will be LOTS TO BLOG ABOUT. Namely, me.

In the meantime, thank you so much for checking in this month: I appreciate every second that you gave to this/me/my ramblings. I hope you have a great holiday season, and . . . 

Big hugs and lots of love,

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

They don't call it 'dreaded' for nothing

WELL, YOUGUYS. I spent an entire season fighting the lurgy that was causing friends to drop around me, and at last it has caught up to me as well. It was only a matter of time, really: public transportation alone would've taken me down eventually. I've denied its onset for a couple of days - 'I'm sniffling because of ALLERGIES' - but this morning when I woke up, tissued glued to my cheek, I was forced to acknowledge that either allergies have gotten a lot more vicious or I've succumbed to a nasty little cold.

Man, Ron Swanson is really my spirit animal this week.

In other news, I am staying off Facebook - as a cruiser, not a poster - until I have watched the Gilmore Girls. I am determined to love it, regardless of what those 'last four words' are, and all the vague-complaints about it - even if there aren't any specific spoilers - are getting me down before I've even started. Stars Hollow is my happy place, and I won't let it be rained on!

In other news: must leave the house today, despite all desire to the contrary. This afternoon there's a CAMRA festival that oughtn't be missed, and tonight I have book club - and no sickness is going to keep me from a good old fashioned book rant. As for the other book clubbers I will be germing on:

Stay healthy, youguys, and see you tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,

p.s. I tried the Eat Festive Full Works Baguette and THIS was a Christmas sandwich! Now I've got to get my paws on their brie and truffle mac 'n cheese. I am sure it will provide just the healing I need . . .

Monday, November 28, 2016

It was no Good Wife, that's for sure.

UGH YOUGUYS. I just finished my book club reading for our meeting tomorrow and it was a big, fat pile of whyyyyyy. The chosen book was The Girls (the one based on Charles Manson's cult, so that part intrigued me, yay violence!) but the main character was just so . . . unpleasant. And the book itself (as I said to a couple friends around the 24% mark) is page after page of gross, overwritten pubescence. Her mom is weak, her crush is a loser, her friends are fat, she's obsessed with sex, and what beauty in the grotesque! The intimacy of popping pimples on the best friend's back, the 60's free-lovers with their long, split hair and scrawny, ashy knees and mosquito-scabbed ankles over bare feet splashing in algae-ridden ponds and isn't it looooovely her freckled shoulders spinning carelessly through the dust motes in the shimmer of the cracked kitchen window? Let's talk about her loose breasts and brittle fingernails again. Make it more visceral this time. Surely there's a blackhead on her sweaty neck that was missed the first go-round! HIPPIE-PROSE AND I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR IT.

I was recently part of a wonderful literary radio chat show - subject matter 'The Unlikeable Female Protagonist' and how difficult that was for Certain Genders - and one of the points of the discussion was how relatable the protagonist (male or female) had to be for enjoyment of the book to take place. I was all over the place on this matter, though I veered toward needing them not to be a-holes. I couldn't stand Jules in The Interestings and that tainted the book for me (why is she so DULL!) but somehow Humbert Humbert was okay. Holden Caulfield is absolutely intolerable to adult-me, but was adored - highlighted, dog-eared - by adolescent-me. So this is a moving target. But The Girls was basically:

Though it did make me understand how murder could happen. 

And in other news: only two days until MyBloWriMo wraps up! We all thought we wouldn't get there, but here the date fast approaches. What fortitude you've shown to THIS Unlikeable Female Protagonist. 

I hope your Mondays were slightly-more-than-decent (let's not raise the bar too high, it IS Monday, after all), and I look forward to tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Part III: With a Vengeance

OMGYOUGUYS. Happy Third Thanksgiving! This is the day that actual cooking is going to happen and I am going to put so much green bean casserole in my face that everyone* is going to be embarrassed. We've even pulled out our fancy dining table just for the occasion:

That's right. It's a folding card table, and our living room is now our dining room. I SAID it was fancy.

The other fun part of Thanksgiving is that as soon as it's past, I feel 100% free to put up the Christmas tree. I'm sure this will irritate all the December-First-and-Not-a-Minute-Before people, but I DON'T CARE THIS IS MY TRADITION NOW GO SCROOGE SOMEWHERE ELSE. Also, why do those people feel like they have the right to judge you for this? A friend recently put up her holiday decorations at the eager request of her children - this was like last week, not pre-Halloween - but you could tell she felt self-conscious about it because she was all apologetic when she posted the photo of her tree on Facebook. And for good reason: half the comments were variants of 'TOO EARLY, YOU INSANE WOMAN.' That's not their call! That's hers! So you know what? That IS my tree reflected in the mirror above, and I don't CARE if it's three days before some arbitrary allowance.

Okay, rant over. Sorry about that, apparently it's been building up. 

Al is currently in the armchair watching Game of Thrones with his headphones on and I can tell it's a good one because he's yelping a lot. He gets IN his shows. It's hilarious (also startling when the room is otherwise quiet). I don't watch the show because it makes me too jumpy, but that doesn't appear to bother him in the slightest. This is why I only watch shows like Good Wife or Gilmore Girls. NO MURDERS HERE, THX. 

Already, time to get cooking! This bird isn't going to roast itself. I hope your Sunday is sweet and relaxing and full of comfort and joy! 'Tis the season, after all.

Big hugs and lots of love,

*Me and Al. Nobody else has been invited for this reason.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Today I Did Nothing

Happy Saturday, youguys! You will be pleased to note that absolutely nothing has happened since last we spoke which sets up today's content nicely.

This is the first Saturday in a few weeks where I haven't either been out or working, and I am thrilled with the free expanse of time before me. I am going to do extremely valuable things with it, like take a hot bath and watch ten more episodes of Good Wife*. Moss all over this stone!

I AM doing a load of laundry, lest anyone think I'm a complete sloth. (But really. Who are we kidding.) I could probably do useful things, like start prep for my Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow, but why?

I'm attending another birthday party tonight, which will be fun (and a necessary impetus to get me out of my pajamas today). This one is going to be at Duke's Brew and Que, which means for the second time in two weeks I'm going to get some tasty, tasty ribs in me. What a carnivorous month this has been!

Okay, the tub is officially filled, it's go time!

I hope your days are great, and see you tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,

*I want to apologise now to my book club: The Girls is just not going to happen. 

Friday, November 25, 2016


OMGYOUGUYS. Here's a thing I'm learning today: I can't blog from bed. I usually work in the kitchen but today I thought I'd shake things up and try the bedroom (the living room is too cold unless I light the fire) but this is not working. I'm so LAZY in here. I opened my 'new post' tab, leaned against my pillows, and then immediately started cruising the internet. WHAT IS HAPPENING AND LOOK AT THAT CAT WHY SO SQUISHY

I wouldn't say it hasn't been productive, though: I ordered McQ's first Christmas present! Very excited about it, want to hand it over as soon as it arrives tomorrow but MUST RESTRAIN SELF. Impossible.

I wonder what's happening on Twitter.

Okay, nothing.

Is it time for first lunch? It's past noon . . .

Speaking of food: YOUGUYS I thought I was going to die yesterday. It turns out two Thanksgiving meals IS too much, unless you spread them approximately eighteen hours apart. Four, as it so happens, was not enough; by 9 p.m., I was sure I heard death knocking - insistently - at the door of my over-worked digestive system. But I couldn't stop eating - I mean, have you BEEN to Capish?! - so I kept shovelling in every gorgeous morsel, one slow bite at a time. IT WAS GIRL V FOOD.

And I WON.

In other fun times, the Pinner Panto was far beyond what I expected. The entire neighborhood turned into a Christmas village for the night, complete with rides and fairground food, and all the little shops dressed up and provided some sort of entertainment. It was like ST. ALBANS-sweet: 

The only flaw was the CHILDREN. Don't they know that the shop featuring an Elsa look-a-like was for ME?

And you thought I was kidding.

And then there was the CHILDREN'S CHOIR, like we wanted to hear their precious voices raised in song: 

The storm trooper in the shop agrees.

We survived, though, and only puked from cuteness, like, six times. 

Today I get to travel to Peckham! This is south of the river, so in a way even more terrifying than yesterday's suburbs, which at least had the decency to be north. I'm nervous/excited about the adventure but I've got my waders on and I'm feeling migh-ty brave. 

Happy Friday!

Big hugs and lots of love,

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Why can't you have two Thanksgiving dinners?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, YOUGUYS! There won't be any cooking here today - I'm saving that for Sunday - but that won't stop us from trying to get fat, anyway. We've got an awesome mini-holiday lined up: first, lunch at beloved Hawksmoor (steak of my heart, marrow of my bones), followed by the Pinner Panto, and then it all wraps up with a Thanksgiving dinner at Capish.


The Pinner Panto is a risky one since it's Christmas-themed and I generally try to finish Turkey Day before allowing myself to go mental, but I have a meeting out there so WHAT THE HECK, let's do it. I admittedly have a weakness for London villages, especially during the holiday season. Every little high street gets so frickin' twinkly and charming that everything inside me gets all welly and I start believing in Miracles and Snow and the Innate Goodness of People and it just gets very messy and sentimental for a bit.

Speaking of messy, I screwed up another grocery order. It turns out that 625 grams of mushrooms is A LOT OF MUSHROOMS. I got them for Sunday's green bean casserole but there's enough here to make ten of them so it looks like I'm going to be whacking these into every meal for the next two weeks. Mushroom omelette! Mushroom toasties! Mushroom ice cream!

Mushroom mushrooms!

But on the bright side, in continuing my new tradition of Eating Christmas, these beauties from Pieminister have also arrived! A very exciting recommendation by this foxy lady, these are going STRAIGHT INTO MY PIEHOLE, WHICH IS FINALLY AN EXPRESSION THAT MAKES SENSE.

I'll bet they'll taste even better with some mushrooms on top.

Before I waddle out, I want to thank you for reading this little blog. I know there's a huge demand on your time and attention these days, so I am thankful for the minutes you spare to come here. I hope you have a wonderful day; my heart to yours. 

Big hugs and lots of love,

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Food festivals are the BEST festivals

OMGYOUGUYS. Today was the last day with my manuscript and sending it off has to feel like your kid going to school for the first time: some sadness, some relief, a bit of wondering what you'll do during your day without it. I should've taken a photo of the pages wearing a '1st Day' sticker for posterity and included the milestone in my Christmas newsletter.*

Another first is happening today! I am having my first pressed lamb. Growing up in a cow- and pig-heavy state (country?), lamb wasn't something I had much of growing up. Or really ever until I moved to this fancy green isle. This particular treasure was a gift from a food festival on Sunday, when I had the good fortune to be backstage at a chef demonstration with One Of My Favourite People In The History Of People (let's use the acronym OOMFPITHOP to make it easier) and the show had leftovers. Pressed lamb, green beans and double goat's cream, to be specific, and they ALL made their way into my goodie bag. (I ALSO HAD A GOODIE BAG. GOODIE BAGS I THINK ARE MY FAVOURITE THING EVER.) This is going to be a far nicer meal than we usually get on a Wednesday night, and I am EXCITED. Like THIS excited:

Me on Sunday, high on free samples and tea with tonic and OOMFPITHOP

Alright, these beans aren't going to trim themselves so I'd better get cracking. Have a wonderful Wednesday night, and see you tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,

*This does not exist but if I ever did, it would be a full-colour 'zine that would land roughly mid-February and none of us would survive it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Yakety Yak, Don't Talk Back

OMGYOUGUYS. I am having a lot of trouble letting go of this book edit. It's so good and so involved that my comb is getting finer and finer as I continue to cycle through it and I can't stop teasing every little tangle, no matter how inconsequential. Someone take it away before it goes bald!

Oh man, I totally forgot it was Trash Tuesday and in our flat that means Hi Neighbour Night because we have the basement entrance and the building's bins are located right in front of our door. See those steps there? Under them is where our upstairs neighbours' trash cuddles with ours:

It's every little girl's dream to gaze out at the feet of the world.

So just now the upstairs neighbour came into our stairwell to get his bags and because I'm sitting right here, facing the window, we had to do the awkward-eye-contact dance in which we both saw each other but pretended not to, then realised it was too late so we turned back, but our timing was off so we each ended up half-waving at the air while leaving the vicinity as quickly as possible. He ran back up the stairs at a gallop - no easy feat with three bags - and I pretended I had to go into the kitchen to check on something I wasn't cooking. 


It's time to close the shutters - shoulda done that hours ago - and make dinner! Tonight my biggest goal is to bounce into bed with le netflee by 10 p.m. Want to find a program with baby animals so I can self-soothe before falling asleep. I dreamt I was petting a baby kitten for hours last night - is that the effect of hanging out with Chris and Katie?? - and it was the niiiiiicest. 

Big hugs and lots of love,

Monday, November 21, 2016

Guest Bloggers are my FAVOURITE

OMGYOUGUYS. We have two new guest bloggers today, and they're a COUPLE at that. I'm not editing much (other than, say, the 'tea' below) so that the full lovely of each writer carries forward.

So without further ado: Katie and Chris.

* Katie's narrative *

So . . . we just had book club. We met at The Earl of Essex. * oh dear, drama taking place about tea sharing and glasses -  we just wanted to share with each other, not the boys* We book clubbed 'The Name of The Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss which we enjoyed the rich writing style of, had fun in the world but felt could be a bit quicker (or at least, that was me. Plus he could have just snogged the girl and she could have been way more believable). Roni gave me her old black coat which exactly matched my description of the black coat I couldn't find anywhere. That lady is a G-6. And now we come to our main story. Sharona has finished editing the historically intense manuscript like a heroine. Like a boss. Okay - sidebar - I did not mention this: she is looking SUPER pretty. Sailor-chic. Cutest hat, her glasses are on point as ever and that stripey top. Chanel meets 2010s London.


* Chris *

The flickering edges of barely-printed, unread pages blast in a whirlwind before the unflinching precision of the S.H.A.R.O.N.A., crisped but never burnt, clipped but never cut, shaved but never sliced, refined but never reduced, in the twirling maelstrom of The Deadline. Beyond the horizon, lies peace. Beyond the chaos, lies The Correction, always sought, achieved and never fully satiated. Nothing escapes the gaze. Nothing will escape. No unworthy word will survive. After the culling is done, the world is safe is once more.

For now.

* * * *

I honestly don't know that more needs to be said, and this is why I befriend writers.

Big hugs and lots of love,

Sunday, November 20, 2016

On a Sunday night, a rebrand, and coooold

OMGYOUGUYS. It's Sunday night. I'm so sleepy and full of lamb curry and I'm desperate for all the sleeps but MyBloWriMo always always must go on - I'm nothing if not compulsive - so here is today's post, it is a photo. Tomorrow I promise will be a thing that is more than this thing because what a gorgeous weekend I've had - girlfriends and Magical Shops and Magical Bookstores and Food Festivals and did I mention lamb curry? Wolf made it.

Speaking of! It has come to my attention that my favourite mother-in-law, Betty, is not a fan of me referring to her last-born child as a wild dog. Crazy, right? TYPICAL MOTHER IN LAW. So for the sake of my relationship with the darling Betty - who for some reason won't start her own blog, even though she clearly has an expectation for the showcase of her children - we will now refer to Alan as 'A-frame.' Please join me with all enthusiasm for this construction-positive terminology moving forward.

Speaking of progression, the seasons in our neighbourhood are moving forward at full throttle. This was the charming dusk of two p.m. in our local green. A-frame pointed out that at least it wasn't raining, which is one of the points we seek when one leaves for and returns from work under the cover of darkness.

Not pictured: freezing cold, lack of desire to leave home comforts

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, and I hope you had a great weekend! If you are one of the lucky ones to receive snow, please to send it our way. So woooooonderful.

Big hugs and lots of love,

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I'm the worst vegan

OMGYOUGUYS. You want to see some meat porn? (#phrasing) Last Thursday took Wolf and I and the Welshman and His Lady O' the Cheekbones to Smokestak to try London's hottest new bbq joint and YOUGUYS. IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Apparently the head chef, some genius named David Carter, hails from Roka and studied in the States and all that experience brought us delicious, splooshy meatopia. LOOK. Just LOOK at these pork ribs:

I'll give you a minute to go change your pants.

Done? Excellent. Shouldn'ta bothered, we're going to do it again. Below, on the left: smoked girolles on beef dripping toast, crispy ox cheek, and cured pig jowl. On the right, pigtails. I was initially skeptical when Wolf ordered them but I was WRONG. WRONG, I TELL YOU. You know what they taste like? PORK CANDY. You just pick it up daintily between two fingers and nibble the meat round that bone like it's a miniature corn on the cob and then ORDER TEN MORE CUZ YOU'RE NOT SHARING. There is a reason this place is described as 'an opera about barbecue', and those reasons are below:

Pretty sure they fried the pig jowl toast. Pretty sure there's crack in the ox cheek bites. Pretty sure I blacked out at this point. 

Now let's talk about BBQ sides for a second. BBQ sides are not generally a thing that interest me. I mean, there's MEAT on the table. Put that vegetable away! And I especially don't care for potato products (as my family can well attest). They're just so . . . STARCHY. Get behind me, tuber! But the table went for the jacket potato with sour cream and I sighed mightily in resignation while pretending to be happy for them, and then THIS HAPPENED:

Pictured: Belle-of-the-Ball Brisket wondering how it got overshadowed. And it was TERRIFIC brisket. TERRIFIC. But the dish that made everyone coo and groan and lean back? THAT POTATO, DEVIL OF THE NIGHT. 

Also there was a sticky toffee pudding with burnt caramel, which for the sake of my younger readers, I won't talk about here. 

Then we took our gargantuan, satiated selves over to the Village Underground to see The Hackney Colliery Band and jump around to some big brass. And by 'jump' I mean 'heavy swaying, gentle wiggle'. Movement was not our strong suit. 

It was a great night. 

I'm off today for Lady Saturday Fun Day! I'm meeting the girls at Liberty to see the costumes and then we're going to have tea-tails at a posh bookshop. Then tonight Wolf and I have a leaving do for two lovely Irish friends who are heading back to Galway-town, much to the loss of London. (Sidebar: I wish mega boat travel was still a thing, because one day I'd like to stand on a dock waving a hanky at someone and weeping.) 

I hope your day is full of sweet, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sushi and shopping and spray paint and suds

AW YEAHHHH. It's Friday come AGAIN, what have we done to deserve this. I'm celebrating by spending my day editing and shopping for dinner. Shopping for dinner over here is one of Life's Great Pleasures. There's never just one store that has what you need, so you get to wander in and out of  assorted little shops and talk to humans over counters, and it's all just very nice. 

For example, on the menu tonight is sushi. So I'm off to the fishmonger:


And then we have the fishmonger himself: when I asked if it was okay to take a picture, he not only said yes, he immediately grabbed his tap-hose and sprayed all the fish down 'to make them shiny for you.' The results speak for themselves:


Then once I sorted the tuna, I had to pick up the veg. Another shop! Isn't this grand? I left the street where the fishmonger is located, though, because it's Fancy Town, all wine shops and bakeries and fancy butchers - which works when you're looking for high-grade fish good enough to eat raw, but outsmarts me for anything else. The green grocers there are all antique-wooden-crate, rustic-sign-board, flower-adorned pretty places that sell a designer selection of faux-organic produce at Victoria Park prices. Closer to home, my local veg shop is all cardboard and plastic, and they have a machete behind the counter to whack open the cassava root, and you'll never spend more than a fiver. 

Mircey Fruit: Keepin' It Real, since whatever year that font was in style.

I also had to go to The Tescos, but that's not photogenic or charming, so let's just skate right past and pretend we didn't see it. 

And just to make my morning more exciting: there's a row of derelict, abandoned shops right on the corner between our place and Where All the Shops Are, and today I passed a group of local women painting them pretty:

I don't know why This & That and Bankrupt Stock didn't survive. They had some decent wholesale handbags that were not at all of questionable origin.

Okay, back to work! If I hit my editing target early enough, I'm going to take a hot bath before dinner, and that would be my day won.

Big hugs and lots of love,

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Don't try this at home

OMGYOUGUYS. An excellent Thursday all around: the sky remained pitch black all day and since I refuse to turn on the lights at noon, I got to work covered in shadows. What cosiness!

I also got to try a new (to me) Pret Christmas sandwich: the vegan baguette. This was entirely a mistake - a lone sandwich left on the wrong shelf, and they don't come labelled - but when it came home and I opened it up and saw the error, I maturely decided not to go with my knee-jerk reaction (to fling it against the wall and slump to the floor wailing) and try it. After all, I *did* want to try them all, and maybe I would love it and want to eat it always! Maybe this is the first of many vegan food preferences and I could evolve into that person who's all 'Dahhhling, not the pork, you know I favour chickpeas.'

But then I put it in my mouth. And I don't know what went wrong here - was this an end-of-day creation, and the human who built it high/drunk/lazy/psychotic? - but this was AN ABOMINATION OF A SANDWICH. The parsnip puree was unholy, the carrots anemic, and the rocket - well, you can see the rocket - clearly wanted out of there as much as I did:

Not pictured: joy. Fulfilment. Any reason to live.

I did eat the whole thing - I can't throw away food - but I had to add bacon and cheese and tomatoes and sriracha to mask the wreckage. SUPER healthy, totally won. Definitely vegan now.

(If anyone has had a positive experience of this sandwich, please do let me know. Maybe this was a random abhorrent act against nature and I should try again.) 

And other exciting things happened yesterday! One, I had my first guest blogger, who delightfully opted out of using English and went full Kerouwackian Welsh, much to my delight. Look at this guy, hard at work in the coffee shop!

Best part: didn't even have to proofread it.

And our winter logs arrived! 35 bags of firewood delivered to our front door by the most cheerful Log Deliveryman one could imagine. I cleverly decided to leave them there all day, basking in the sun (see that ray of light below?) and waited until it got dark and started pouring rain to shift them - one by one - to the back garden. It only took me about 40 soaking minutes of tracking mud and splinters across the house so I think we can all admit that I made the right choice. Each bag is around 12 kilos so I would also like to point out that I moved 420 KILOS OF WOOD BY MYSELF. Between this and my newfound vegan-ness (is that the right word? Someone tell me, I'm new to this lifestyle), I am surely the healthiest person I know. 

They mock me, looking all snug and smelling so nice, right before STABBING ME TO PIECES.

Okay, I need to go - I've got a 7 o'clock dinner reservation and then tickets to a jazz show and I am definitely not fit to be seen by other humans at the moment - but I hope you have a wonderful evening!

Big hugs and lots of love,

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


OMGYOUGUYS. No time to post today so I gave the reins to my favourite Welshman. Here is his post.


 mae fy frind  Rona wedi ofyn i fi flogi ifo hi gan fo hi eshio flogio pob dydd.

y problem hi ydi fod hi ddym yn diallact y cymraeg!

Dan i wedi cael nosson gwych, ac rwyn am mynd adref heno.

Nos da Sharano ac Alan.

Mae pod nos yn gret nos

Sorrry for the welsh, but i'm from North Wales so most Welsh would disagree with my vocabulary





Tuesday, November 15, 2016

YOU go to Kyoto, then.

OMGYOUGUYS. I've done it: I'm only a few hours away from finishing my first run of the book. It has gotten far too exciting, though, so I had to flip to the end for spoilers in order to curb my anxiety before I lost the ability to see the trees through the forest.

Speaking of forest! See this below? That's a bamboo grove in Kyoto that Everyone Says is a Must-Do-OMG-Don't-Even-Think-of-Missing-It Japanese attraction. I can see why. It's a grove with bamboo in it. That's some pretty thrilling sh*t.

Not pictured: the millions of people taking the exact same photo. 

I jest. It was totally worth going to, if only because we took a river boat to get there, piloted by what I'm pretty sure were comedians, and when we arrived, we got to walk along the scenic waterfront and then wiggle through some scenic gardens and it was all lovely and quiet before we hit the 200 meters of forest and all heck broke loose. We promptly followed it with a Must-Do-OMG-Don't-Even-Think-of-Missing-It Japanese Pavilion, and hit Peak Tourist. 

Ah, the Golden Pavilion. You can tell I'm a masterful photographer based on my daring compositional choice.

Highly recommend, youguys. 

In other good news, I've got a flatbread on its way to my piehole and when I finish that, I may even *gasp* treat myself to a shower tonight. I know! I'm on a rollercoaster that just won't stop. 

Big hugs and lots of love,

Monday, November 14, 2016

I don't think the good guys are gonna win

OMGYOUGUYS. Ten minutes to dinner and it's blog post time. Wolf once again outdid himself with Sunday supper yesterday - he made a gorgeous za'atar rubbed lamb - and we happily had enough left over for dinner tonight. We NEVER have leftovers, mostly because we have no sense of appropriate human portion size. Any recipe that says it serves 4 we laugh heartily at as we scrape the pans clean, paws and faces covered in sauce and crumbs.

Today has been an excellently productive work day. Ten straight hours of straight bloodshed. The siege is really kicking off and I'm getting more and more anxious, notably given that a quick glance through History tells me how it ends.

Spoiler alert: Not the winner.

This picture was actually taken in Japan, where we got to see a parade that encompassed hundreds of years of Kyoto history. 'Kyoto Through the Ages'? Something like that. Anyway, a LOT of it was military and the generals were pretty fierce-looking. Also just pretty-pretty; their armour was clearly intended to distract the enemy with style.

Whoops! Time to go, dinner is ready. Until tomorrow, the uszh -

Big hugs and lots of love,

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sundays are for jazzin'

Well, here I am, Sunday afternoon, sat in front of the fire. Jazz is playing quietly in the background, on whatever Spotify playlist Wolf chose before he left to catch up with his friend, and I'm meant to be editing this book except I keep getting distracted. I make it through a few pages, and then I can't resist flicking through my open Chrome tabs, full of little (1)s and (2)s to let me know I'm missing stuff. So much is happening! Who can resist that bouncing baby fox? Adorable Joe Biden? Spirited fights over the electoral college? What an exciting place social media is right now. I don't know if any of us will survive it. And then there are the group chats to peek into: is Jess having more birthday crepes in France? Is Amber having a successful time meeting her boyfriend's family? These are all things I HAVE to know, and no attack on the Hexamilion Wall is going to keep me from checking in. Which is surprising, because the battle scenes in this book are thrilling, especially since the author, through devilish sleight of hand, has stirred up sympathy for both camps.

Where'd I put my water . . . it keeps moving around on me. Hmmm . . . maybe that's the problem. Maybe I need to move up to something stronger, like a nice big cuppa red tea. You can't sit on a rug in front of a fire listening to jazz with only two hydrogens and one oxygen. It's nonsense.

Speaking of, I need more logs for the stove. When is Wolf getting home? I suppose I could get them myself except they're covered in spiders and that's just not what I'm into. One came crawling out of the kindling half an hour ago and headed straight for my knee, an assault I bravely fought off by grabbing an iron fireplace tool and whacking at the floor until I had dented the wood nicely. The spider made a clean escape, which shows I haven't learned a bit of battle strategy from this book, not even from the Turks, who seem to approach things a bit heavy-handed.

So yesterday I went with a couple of girlfriends to see Abstract Expressionism at the RA and this quote at the entrance to the exhibit made me laugh:


Clyff's paintings - I feel like we're on a first-name basis, like Jackson and I - I'll confess were my favourite. We all agreed that looking at his work generated a visceral response not dissimilar to ASMR, and we circled the room for ages, letting his slashes of red or white or black or teal scritch-scratch away at our brains. 

It was no small wonder the afternoon slid away as it did; we were all doped up.


Okay, I must get back to the business at hand. I'm pretty sure somewhere someone has posted a picture of an unbearably cuddly pup and I cannot stand to miss it. 

Big hugs and lots of love,

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Art and consciousness and turkeys and what

OMGYOUGUYS. It's just after 11pm and I haven't blogged yet today and to be honest, it's impressive I'm even awake. The week we got back from Japan - just last week?? - we were passed out in bed every night by 8, and awoke, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, between 4 and 5am. These hours were oddly satisfying ('we should be farmers!' we exclaimed, imagining cute chickens in the back garden as we drank coffee and read the news in bed, frozen feet tucked firmly under the blankets), until the night we had a birthday dinner at 9:30 and nearly collapsed across the tabletop in a dopey stupor at 11. 'What is WRONG with us?' we moaned in the taxi on the way home, hoping no one had noticed we slept through the dessert course. Five minutes later, Alan had to wake me again at our door.

Today was lovely - delightfully full of art and girlfriends, and punctuated by a brief stop at Fortnum & Mason to look at all the beautiful delights none of us can afford. The best part of the stop - other than the biscuit tin that played Christmas music - was this window display:

THAT'S what they're going to fight over?? 

Okay, I've got to shut this down because I am dropping fast, but I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,

Friday, November 11, 2016

On ready meals, piracy, and . . . uh

It's Friday. We've survived this most tragic of weeks and there's hopefully a recuperative weekend ahead. I fully plan to spend mine listening to Leonard Cohen and weeping, how about you?

But first: more birthday parties. The first one's in central London, which is always fun this time of year. Everything goes Full Sparkle and it's like walking through a fairy tale.

 Abrupt Cat.

Also there may be food there, which is a plus. Whenever I'm working on a book edit, weeknight dinners tend to go to the wayside. If Wolf isn't playing football in the evening, he comes home as tired as I am, and I will often work until dinner then bed. So what happens? Curry. Pizza. Whatever we can order from The Wonders of Deliveroo. But this time, I planned ahead and decided we should try a ready meal. It seemed a responsible choice - after all, it's far cheaper than ordering in - and it would give us the satisfying illusion of cooking. So I added a frozen lasagna to our online grocery order. On the website, it looked normal. Big, even. It said it served two. The reviews were good. So I pulled the trigger and added it to the basket. Then this arrived:

What is this?? A lasagna for ants?? 

It was a high comedy. We were Oliver Twisting every precious, miniscule bite. Thanks, Waitrose, I guess we'll start that diet after all.

Heading back into the fray now with this most excellent of books - there was a pirate attack yesterday! So fun! - so until tomorrow -

Big hugs and lots of love,

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Michelangelo Dun It

OMGYOUGUYS. It's all going to be fine, according to what Facebook tells me is trending right now:

Yep. Totally normal. 

Apparently she's been spotted in LEGGINGS. Everyone SHOULD be talking about this.

Now let's get back to PXSD. It was a REALLY good day. For one, because I ate THE BEST CHRISTMAS SANDWICH OF ALL TIME, but also because after, Hannah and I went to the Royal College of Surgeons to hear a talk entitled 'An Anatomical Whodunnit? The Tiger Bronzes by Michelangelo,' all about these guys:

Do you think my deodorant's working?

In a nutshell, these uncredited bronzes have been attributed to Michelangelo for a variety of reasons, one of which is anatomical. So we got to hear the academic authority on the subject, Dr. Peter McSmartface Letters Letters Letters, tell us all about Michelangelo's approach to musculature in art and how these are perfect examples. It was all very interesting (more than I've made it sound) and also he spent some time on slides involving the words 'coiffured and blow dried pubes' - along with lovely examples of styles throughout art history - so I feel like I've pretty much peaked in art lecture quality and will never have to go to another one again. This guy has really raised the bar:

In both art history AND top tie-man-ship.

Then, after leaving the lecture hall, all giddy on learning, we cut through the magical Lincoln's Inn, which has to be London's Most Literal Place: 

'What should we call this one?' 'Old Buildings.' [. . .] 'Yeah, alright.' 

'No, but really, shouldn't we try harder?' 'Do you or don't you want to get to the pub, John?' [. . .] 'Fair enough.' 

 [ . . . ] 'Ah, forget it.'

And then of course, there's The Chapel. Is there anything more calming than a quiet London chapel in the middle of the afternoon? They just make you want to sit and breathe for a while:

In . . . and out.

And there's always the Stained Glass Comedies when you're done being contemplative: 

 Meet Wolverine, I've Lost My Kitten, Can't Touch This, and She Did What?

Highly recommend. Best Stained Glass Reality Show you've seen yet this year.

Heading into work now - this book is getting REAL and I'm expecting some executions soon - so keep on keeping on, comrades, and see you tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This world doesn't deserve cats.

Well, America, you've done it. You've made me CRY OVER POLITICS. This is an all-new low. I am honestly heartbroken. I've written and re-written a dozen statements that I keep deleting because it's all been said before and it's not enough and I can't assign words to the despair that threatens to break me and yet here I am, trying anyway. This is just like Brexit all over again: I did not expect humanity to do its worst and yet it just keeps topping itself. It's not that America has elected a Republican; it's that they've elected a bad man.

This New Yorker article by David Remnick sums it up nicely:
All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit; it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine. That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering.

Women of America, stay safe.

2016, we're no longer on speaking terms.

Big hugs and lots of love,

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Massive Anticipation + Crippling Anxiety = AWESOME DAY

OMGYOUGUYS. Happy Pret Christmas Sandwich Day!

So yesterday Wolf had gone to Pret to try and find the Best Christmas Sandwich of All Time for me but he couldn't find it ANYwhere so I went to the website to find out what cruel torture the Universe was inflicting and saw THIS:

A THANKSGIVING one, too?? Then I crashed as quickly as I soared: I was on the wrong website. This is Pret USA. Hmph. That's cool, youguys, go ahead and enjoy that. Whatever. 

So then I went to the real Pret site (yeah, that's right, I said it) and found THIS:

YOUGUYS. YOUGUYS. This is TODAY. And then my friend Di sent me this last night: 
And even BETTER - because clearly I can't talk about this enough - I just went to the Christmas menu on their website and they have NINE CHRISTMAS SANDWICHES THIS YEAR. NINE. There's even a ham hock and sprout macaroni cheese one.

In other news, I also think other things are happening today, like an Election. I see good polls and then I see bad polls and then I see good polls and the emotional rollercoaster has got me in a tailspin. America, be good today. I want to come back and visit and I don't want things to get weird between us.

Alright, I'm officially overstimulated by all the day's potential. I need to go take a hot shower and maybe have a wee rock under the bed. Have a great, calm day!

Big hugs and lots of love,