Monday, 29 June 2009

Alfie

On the 16th January 1988, at about 11pm, I was sitting in my cousin Sarah’s bedroom.
Wow, you may be thinking, what an astonishingly acute memory you have. Or, you could be thinking, why the heck do you feel the need to tell me this?
Well, I can definitely confirm my memory is not astonishingly acute. For example, sometimes I can walk up the stairs to fetch something, and completely forget what I am suppose to be fetching. Sometimes I can remember to do something vitally important, but then completely forget what I am suppose to be doing. And I won’t even mention forgetting to collect bags/cameras/purses from taxis/window sills/ cinema seats.
The reason I know this date, and the reason why I am telling you this date, is because that’s the day my cousin Sam was born. My little cousin Sam who is not so little these days. My little cousin Sam who now towers above me. My little cousin Sam who now has a baby of his own.
Three weeks ago I heard the joyful news that Sam had become a father. A father to baby Alfie. It brought the memories flooding back to the night I was at my cousin Sarahs, and we heard the news that baby Sam had entered the world.
Has twenty one years really passed?! Has it really been twenty one years since I held Sam, wrapped in his blanket, when he was two days old? The little boy I watched grow up and grow into a young man. The little boy who is now a father. Where have all the years gone to?!
But one thing I do know for sure, is how much Alfie is loved and cherished. How we have all welcomed him to the family. How proud we all are to hold Sam's son.
And you never know, in another twenty one years maybe Alfie will have reproduced and I will be toasting the health of his son?!
But for now, I'll just say, here's to many happy times ahead, and a big welcome to this mad world, Alfie.

Alfie.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Going...going...gone.

He’s gone.
Mysterious man has not so mysteriously disappeared.
Again.
It’s different this time.
This time I knew it would happen.
I was not surprised or confused.
I was not hurt or bewildered.
I sensed the outcome.
I was ready for the outcome.
I was even relived at the outcome.
You can’t pretend somebody is something they are not.
You can’t pretend a relationship can turn into something it can not.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to see him again, to listen to his explanations, to understand his reasons, to learn more about the man I thought I knew. (Crikey, I sound like an Elaine Paige and Barbra Dickinson song, I know his so well.)
People ask me if I’m okay, if I’ve heard from him. I’m honestly fine, I say. No I haven’t heard from him, I don’t expect to nor do I want to. I sense some peoples sympathy. But I laugh it off. One day I’ll get it right, I’ll meet Mr Right, I say. Until then I am happy to be single.
Again.
It wasn’t the perfect relationship I thought it would be.
He wasn’t the perfect man I thought he would be.
At least I know that now.
I’m not full of what could have been.
I now know it could never have been.
Funny how you can read the signs completely wrong.
Funny how sometimes something you are so sure of can turn into something you are not sure of at all.
Life goes on.
The sky is still blue. (Well, in England it's often more grey than blue.)
I haven’t fallen apart.
I haven’t given up on love or life.
I’m still going out with my friends and enjoying myself. I’m still taking photographs and writing my blog. I’m still enjoying life in the not so new office.
Maybe I’m a little more cautious.
Maybe I don’t want to get my fingers burnt again.
But maybe I know I probably will.
If you don’t take a few risks how will you benefit from a few rewards?
Life isn’t meant to be simple, is it?
Life is far from simple at times.
But who wants a simple life anyway? If everything was simple how would we learn valuable lessons? How would we appreciate the good times from the bad times? I’ll take the rough with the smooth. I’ll carry on realising some things just aren’t meant to be.
It’s nothing personal.
It’s not a tragedy.
It’s not a disaster.
It’s just the way it is sometimes.
And I’m fine with that.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Tigers in the sky

It is not ideal the night before you go on holiday to arrive home at three thirty am, without any shoes on your feet, plastic flowers around your neck, and a red sparkly hat on your head. I would even go as far as to say, it is anything but ideal.
However, there are times when ideal situations fly out of the window and are replaced by inappropriate, and often bizarre, situations.
I think the pre-holiday excitement must have gone to my head. Or maybe it was the fact my printers treated my new boss and I to tapas and wine in a charming, authentic, Spanish restaurant. And then I joined my friend at an 80’s revival bar, to celebrate her birthday. An 80’s revival bar where you can purchase flashing microphones, plastic flowers, red sparkly hats, and over sized glasses (we bought the lot). We enjoyed ourselves immensely, whilst declaring every ten minutes, “We’re going on holiday tomorrow!”
In my defence, I was long over due a holiday with my girlfriends. Therefore, I was ridiculously excited. My last holiday with friends (apart from my 3 day trip to a Cypriot wedding) was six years ago, to the beautiful island of Mauritius. And that particular holiday was shared with boyfriends, so it wasn’t a true girly holiday. A true girly holiday must have been the year before Mauritius, I think, to the pretty Greek island of Crete.
Despite the late night (or early morning, or whatever you wish to call it) before our holiday, my friend and I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, ready to meet our other two friends. I’ll be honest, we were a little tired, but what the heck we thought, we can sleep on the aeroplane. Airport shopping added to our moods, gold flip flops, gold bangles, magazines, and a jug of sangria at the airport bar. We were going to Ibiza! Cheers everyone!
Now, if anyone is contemplating visiting this Balearic Island, let me warn you – you will need plenty of money. You may need to remortgage your house or discuss a loan with your bank manager. It is very expensive. There must be the odd cheap restaurant and bar, we managed to find one in Ibiza town, but on the whole it’s very pricey.
17 euros for a red bull and vodka. 35 euros entrance fee to the worlds largest club. 30 euros for a piece of fatty lamb and grains of boiled rice. Do you see what I mean? We were shocked.
After an expensive beach party, expensive boat party, and expensive bar where we danced and spun around on a merry-go-round, we decided to supermarket shop for pasta, salad, fruit, and a bottles of cheap but-surprising–light-and-refreshing plonk. We knew we couldn’t carry on spending the amount of money we had been. (But I still managed to treat myself to a turquoise ring and white cotton dress during a cloudy day, when the beach and swimming pool seemed cold and unattractive.)
I would also like to warn you about the characters in Ibiza. There are many unusual characters walking around the quaint Ibiza town, and drinking on the luminous and loud streets of San Antonio. Drag queens, hippies, people who swear blind there are tigers in the sky, and all sorts of weird and wonderful men and women.
Ibiza is certainly an interesting place to visit. If you have a bank account brimming with cash, cash you are itching to spend, and if you are prone to seeing tigers dancing in the sky, this island could be your ultimate dream come true.

Can you see the tigers?


Ibiza tapas.


Ibiza harbour.


Expensive club.


Expensive meal.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Come Dine With Me

I do not have a lot of spare time to watch television these days, crikey I do not have a lot of spare time full stop. Spare time is definitely an exotic luxury. But the one programme I do like to indulge in, when I have the time, is a show called Come Dine With Me.
The concept is this – four evenings, four strangers, four houses, four meals, four marks out of ten, one winner.
A little while back my friend and I were discussing our mutual appreciation for this particular programme, and we decided to entertain ourselves with our own interpretation of Come Dine With Me - two evenings, two friends, one house, two meals, two marks out of fifty, one winner.
So, dear readers, with photography assistance, Come Dine With Us!





The first evening began at my friends house, and Italian was the theme. Italian music drifted through the speakers, Italian colours dressed the dining room and the dining table, and Italian scents wafted from the kitchen.

Italian colours.


In true CDWM style I grabbed the camcorder and browsed around my friends house, throwing random comments into the air regarding clothes, books, and rubber ducks.
After my filming, and amusing myself, I nibbled on the canapes and read the menu, suitably impressed with how the night had began.

Canapes.


My first course arrived, scallops, cooked to perfection, with runny egg yolk oozing over the dish. We toasted to the starter, and to our evening ahead. The wine complimented the food and our moods deliciously.

The starter.


After a little rest between the starter and the main course, where family trees and other such topics were discussed, the main course was brought to the table. Succulent chicken breast with melted mozzarella, on a bed of rocket salad and vibrant cherry tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Another knock out! A lady could become accustomed to this fine dining, with friend cooking!

The main.


And last but certainly not least, the dessert sparkled away. Gooey and gorgeous hot chocolate sauce filled the moist chocolate pudding, with refreshing strawberry ice-cream. It was the ideal finish to the scrumptious meal.

The dessert.



Without giving the game away, I recorded my verdict on the hosting, the food, and the presentation, whilst the chef hovered in the kitchen. The marking is a secret, it will be revealed after Come Dine With Me evening two. It will be my turn to cook (at my friends house, as I am not in possession of my own kitchen) and I already know my theme and the food which will be incorporated into my theme. I bet you can’t guess what it is! Don't worry, all shall be exposed in a couple of weeks, dear readers.
See how much fun this Come Dine With Me can be? Maybe you should try it with your friends. It's a good excuse to meet, and enjoy cooking and eating yummy food. As far as I'm concerned, that's a great recipe for a great night.
Until the next one...

PS I've been in Ibiza folks, hence the gap between posts. I hope you're all well and I shall be over to your blogs asap. Expect pictures of Ibiza very soon. Oh I'm such a tease.