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Monday, 30 May 2011

spring weekend

biking down to luddenham farm - everything green despite the drought




a pint up at the shipwright arms on the way home


sitting in the garden: wine, bbq, newspapers, and a great view


one blissed-out doggie

Saturday, 28 May 2011

smoke'm, smoke'm, smoke'm if you got'm




probably not quite what the fun lovin' criminals were talking about...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

and then the rain came

today the rain came - finally. it rained for a short burst on sunday, about 10 minutes or so, but that's really it since sometime in mid april or so. in england. crazy times.

actually, thinking of the rain on sunday - it's funny how what you're doing affects how you exerience time. we were having this conversation at work (about rain - it was the london conversation today), and one of my colleagues said, "but it rained for ages on sunday - we were playing golf - we got drenched - it was a downpour!" whereas we were snug in the anchor having a pint with hj&f and considered it a mere cloudburst over in minutes.

it poured today, no matter what you were doing. i was working late, doing a quick desk layout change on one of our offices. as i was walking back to st pancras, the rain let up, the sun shone through, and i saw this:



then quick as anything, the sky returned to slate, thunder rumbled, and the downpour continued.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

makin' bacon

ummmmmm. bacon. food of the god(less). no really - all that luscious pork-belly fat is not pious - it is much more adapted to the savoury salivatory depraved depths. yum.

we have been the very fortunate and very delighted recipients of a cold smoker, built by a friend of our friends. it is a thing of beauty, modeled below by the ever lovely n with his eager, but confused assistant, humphrey:


yesterday at the farmers market we picked up 1.3 k of pork belly. we've split in in half. one half we are brining (wet cure) and one half we are dry-curing. we're sticking to very basic cure recipes, in order to compare and contrast - just salt, sugar, and maple syrup.



this piggy needs to cure for about 4-5 days and we will smoke both sides of belly probably next saturday (as long as the weather doesn't get too hot).

this other piggy (ahem) is happily guzzling the "bit that didn't make a whole bottle" of last summer's gooseberry wine, bottled this afternoon. there's a chicken roasting in the oven and all is well.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

i have always been a lay-dee

yup - that's me, 3o-odd years ago.

i haven't changed much.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

the joy of jet lag

i was tired all day.
i fell asleep on the train on the way home.
i fell asleep for a minute in the bath.
then i crawled into bed and laid there for two hours wide awake listening to n snore.
jet lag has a sadistic sense of humour.

i've given up for a bit and come downstairs for a glass of wine and a whine (ha ha - see - sleep deprived - sorry). i'm always like this flying out this way. i thought i'd escaped it this time because thanks to going all sunday night and monday with no sleep, i slept ok on monday night. n woke me up at 1030 am tuesday (good thing - i would have slept all day), and last night i slept more or less. but tonight, alas, it has caught up to me.

i will try again in a bit, and will probably just lay there until i do eventually fall asleep. it's more getting up for work that will be nasty, but it's temporary and by the weekend i should be back in uk time all together.

i had a great trip and i'm so glad i went, but it's good to be back home. although winnipeg is not a city i would recommend for its architecture or its nightlife, it does have some things going for it. the rivers are magical to some extent, i think. people are very friendly. i can personally recommend the hendricks gin martinis at the rooster in osborne village after a happy evening guzzling and laughing with the most awesomest geo. (the only place btw that was not playing 80s rock music).

my parents are dealing with dad's illness in a way that makes me so proud of both of them. we needed to be together though - like that - it was important. some things you need to see for yourself to understand. it was hard to say good bye but i left, confident that we will handle whatever comes, together.

Monday, 2 May 2011

flight inconveniences

in winnipeg it is 3 am. in london it is 9 am. i should be landing in london at 1230pm. instead i am in toronto, where it is 4am, and i am waiting for my flight to reconvene. it all started well, my flight from winnipeg left on time, and i made the connection with no problems. we boarded, the plane was full, and then we sat. and sat. and sat.

first it was something to do with the engine. then someone left the flight and they needed to find his luggage. by that time the pilots would have been on too long and they needed a new crew. then after a few hours of waiting for them they booted us all off and gave us hotel or food vouchers. then the hotel coach broke down. i figured i might as well hang out in the airport, and i was starving.

the only restaurant open is a greasy monstrosity called the yorkville grill (the name is by far the most promising thing about it). they had cheeseburgers or chicken finger burgers. that's it. and no beer. or rather, they did have beer, glistening amorously behind glass but they do not serve after 2am. so no drinks, no sleep, and i actually ate chicken fingers.

of course, it could be alot worse. the woman sitting next to me is flying out because her brother died this weekend and she is trying to get to her family. there are alot of families with young children, and older people who will be having a tough time managing this. i am only tired, and will recover easily enough with a night or two of sleep (and BEER!)

the flight will ostensibly leave toronto at 8 am. we'll see. i hope so. all in all, it has been a wonderful trip but dreadful traveling. better than the reverse i suppose.