Category: Miscellaneous

My heart is pounding.

Business is the busiest it has been in five years. I keep forgetting to breathe and my heart feels like it is going to burst out of my chest.

There is no video gaming. Year of the Console is on hold.

I have been to the Netherlands again and have now returned.

I have two more countries to visit, immediately.

Harry is looking after me and my flat as best he can. He is cooking and taking care of household repairs.

I am making reasonably good money and that is the most important thing, out of anything.

I am desperate for Christmas to come so I can have some time off.

I have been at my desk since 4am. An influential client emailed me at 8am, singing my praises.

That’s all for now. I need to get back to work. There will be a lot of nice travel photos in due course. Thanks for your patience.

 

Happy 7th birthday, TLYW

We are seven! In fact it was the blog’s birthday a week ago but I’ve been so busy with work, I completely missed it.

Each New Year’s Eve, I do a review of the year on TLYW, but on the blog’s birthday I review the whole period since the blog started. A period which would not have been the same and perhaps could not even have happened without your readership and support! So thank you! Thanks very much indeed for reading along and sharing all my adventures.

By way of a little celebration, here are 7 of my favourite things since the blog started. I wish I had kept it my whole life. I wish blogs had been a thing when I was a child in the 18th century. Anyway. Here are 7 of my very favourite things, in no particular order.

Party in Trenton, New Jersey, 2016. What a TREAT! Thank you so much, Trentoners, for welcoming me while I was there on business from London.

South Africa, 2016. Beautiful. Had my 50th birthday here.

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Netherlands, 2017. What a lovely country! I would seriously consider living there and keep mentioning it to Harry. I had my 51st birthday here. You are still waiting for photos from this trip; there are plenty of them! Below, a performer on stilts at a fair in Den Bosch.

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Miami, Florida, 2012. The trip of a lifetime. I went to Disney and stayed in one of their most fancy on-site hotels for a week and then I went to Miami Beach, where I stayed in the breathtaking W Hotel. It was the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in and Miami is one of my favourite places in the whole world, due to the impressive Art Deco architecture. What I wouldn’t give to be there right now.

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Universal Studios

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Miami Art Deco, with pink police car

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Istanbul, Turkey, 2012. Such an amazing place. I took a sight seeing trip on the river.

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New Delhi, India, 2012. Sculpture park, as seen below. I wasn’t in India for very long but it was really educational. I’m going back this year.

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Egypt and Jordan, 2013. Gave me an enduring love for the Middle East. Become more peaceful, please, because I want to bring my tourist money to your countries.

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Not forgetting: France (several times, Paris, Nice); Sweden; Greece; Germany; Switzerland; Belgium; Hungary; Canary Islands; more United States including visiting friends in Michigan, also San Antonio, Texas; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Hong Kong; Shanghai, Beijing, CHILE! And in the UK: visits to Yorkshire to see my good friend C (several times), seeing U-Roy play live at the One Love Reggae Festival (lifetime ambition fulfilled, check), seeing Marc Almond play live in London (check), seeing a whole bunch of operas, ballets and classical music concerts at the Royal Opera House and Royal Festival Hall, London.

It’s been amazing. I hope there’s more to come because these have been the best years of my life.

I must go, business has gone wild and there is no more time for blogging. I will visit 3 countries in the next 4 weeks so there will be a lot of travel photos when we finally get to the end of the year.

Love you! Happy birthday to all of us!

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Real Food Market at King’s Cross, London

I was passing through King’s Cross between business meetings, and happened across the Real Food Market.

Bread, cheese and cheesy bread formed the basis of a couple of delicious meals with Harry. I was completely enchanted by the doughnuts and bought several, which I then realised I could not sanely eat, as I am already the size of Mariah Carey and I am supposed to be trying to look attractive for my new boyfriend, albeit not in a spangly leotard, so I took them downstairs to my neighbours.

Here’s a link to the official website. Recommended if you are in the neighbourhood.

http://www.realfoodfestival.co.uk/real-food-markets/kings-cross-market/

Dear old Mariah. Here she is, in fine voice in 1990. I didn’t listen to this kind of music back in the day, I wanted Biggie Smalls, Snoop and Ice Cube, but in retrospect I can appreciate what a great voice she had and that she was only about 20 or 21 at the time of this recording.

Apparently she has a new single out tomorrow.

Mariah Carey: Vision of Love (1990)

I have been travelling and there will be more food and travel news soon.

Camden Lock

A date with Harry. We went to the market at Camden Lock. It rained, because we like that in Britain, in the summer. It makes a change from the winter sleet.

Lunch. Obviously very important. I had a chicken katsu burger and sweet potato fries.

General outdoor scenes. Harry and I are falling in love and it is turning into quite a serious relationship. I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up living together or even getting married, if his parents can handle the shock of the considerable age gap.

A hipster selling moustache wax and beard butter.

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The fancy tea shop. Harry is a big tea aficionado.

The Japanese shop.

A stall selling candles. They all looked and smelled delightful but I couldn’t have any because they are paraffin and my lungs don’t get along with paraffin candles. I discovered this after I bought a huge sampler pack of miniature Yankee Candles in all different fragrances, so I sent them to my sister-in-law who I don’t particularly like.

I love the photo of this lady and her husband. It was very clear that she desperately wanted one of these candles, if not several, and spent ages looking at them, but her husband did not take the hint. Then she tried passing them to him in an attempt to get him to take an interest, but he was not having it. As you can see, he is not even looking. I felt bad for her. We had a little chat about how nice the candles were, because she needed somebody to agree that they were nice.

And that’s all the news for now, as I am super busy today. I have lots more photos to share with you, but they will have to wait for next time.

Stamppot

Food is a huge part of my life since I met Harry. We eat out. We cook at home and try out recipes. He is a good cook and is encouraging me and giving me confidence. This afternoon, I cooked and he wasn’t even there. You don’t see that happen too often outside of Xmas.

At work, I am learning about Holland so I had a go at making Stamppot, which is a Dutch dish. Stamppot roughly translates as ‘pot of mashed vegetables’. Here’s my amateurish cooking. The results were quite good and I even put some in plastic tubs in the freezer for later consumption. I felt very domesticated and quite victorious, even though I made plenty of mistakes and cooking has never been my strong point.

The essence of a stamppot recipe is this: get some root vegetables, eg potatoes, boil and mash them; get some green, leafy vegetables, eg kale, boil and stir into the mash; stir in fried onion and bacon pieces. Season and serve with pieces of smoked sausage.

Here’s my amateurish version that I did today, with extra bacon instead of sausage.

Realised that I needed to use up a bunch of interesting-looking vegetables from the farmer’s market, including these carrots. img_3928

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Chopped up a potato. Chopped up a red onion. Vaguely fried everything in butter in the saucepan for a while, with no clear idea of what I was doing, then developed a sense of purpose and transferred the onions to a frying pan. Left the carrots and potatoes in the saucepan for boiling.

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Looked around for more of the market vegetables to throw in the boiling pan. Cauliflower. Red cabbage.

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Chopped up another onion and fried with some bacon pieces and too much oil. I always use too much grease and have much to learn about frying.

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Don’t forget to boil some kale. Later realised I should have put the cabbage in with the kale, note for next time.

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Make sure everything’s cooked.

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Mash the potato (cauliflower, carrots, etc), add milk and seasoning – big spoonful of Dijon mustard gives it a kick. Stir in the leafy veg, bacon and onions. Yum.

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I loved everything about this recipe and will definitely make some different versions of it to try out various combinations of ingredients and also to get good at cooking bacon and smoked sausage, a subject of which I know little.

There will be more food posts soon. As I mentioned, it’s a big part of this romantic relationship I’m suddenly having. We are cooking and eating while getting to know each other. I’m quite fat but that’s not really Harry’s fault and is mainly because I secretly eat cake when he’s not around.

 

Church.

Diljit Dosanjh is an Indian actor, singer and all-round celebrity who works in Punjabi and Hindi cinema and the Punjabi music industry. I am mainly posting this for the excellent dancing, Indian culture excels at dance, particularly for men. Dance requires men to be strong yet agile, not so bulked up with inflated, balloon-animal muscles that it reduces their mobility. This is why you don’t see Captain America dancing.

Diljit Dosanjh: Sweetu (2014)

 

In which I waver and have dark moods.

I have been in a funny mood the last couple of days, since about Saturday evening. Irritable, pensive and gloomy. To what shall I attribute it?

  • Could be hormones. I am the right age for swinging hormones, or it could be a time of the month thing or it could be exercise-induced testosterone surges or whatever.
  • Eurgh, I have faulty lights in my house and I have to engage an electrician. If the whole place needs rewiring, it will be very, very expensive, running to thousands of pounds. This is enough to make anyone annoyed and depressed.
  • I went on a carb binge over the weekend because I was just so tired of constantly eating raw vegetables and watching my weight waver within a range of the same two pounds for the last two weeks. I am back on the healthy eating wagon as of this morning. I wrote that sentence and then ate several pieces of Mint Aero with my breakfast smoothie.
  • I want to do demanding exercise classes at my gym but at the same time I am plagued by various allergies and itchy skin right now and I know this is a sign that I’ve run down my immune system instead of boosting it. I need to rest and preserve myself and get my energy up, clear my skin, then resume doing insane classes at the gym where you heave weights around until you pass out.
  • There are certain aspects of work that I find annoying, which I guess is true for everyone. I’m not very patient with bureaucracy.
  • Being in an actual relationship for the first time since 2010 brings its own rewards and challenges. On the rewards side, it is a warm and mutually beneficial social exchange, we are genuinely fond of each other and my house is clean all the time. On the challenges side, I picked someone highly intelligent and observant who notices everything and is very interested in getting to know me. This is unnerving because it is something I haven’t experienced for a long time. Usually, my relationships involve making sure the other person is kept at a distance. We don’t discuss deep, personal topics. I discourage personal remarks and they don’t ask penetrating questions. We keep things light and cheerful. I now realise that I haven’t let anyone get to know me well for several years. I just don’t let people get that close. Also, it’s conceivable that I might be a bit crazy. You don’t notice this as much if you don’t let people in.

So that’s why I’m grumpy today. When I’m in a better mood, I actually have some nice photos to show you, but they will have to wait. Let’s have a tune instead. This is 90s rap artist, Da Brat. In this beautiful video, many famous singers and rappers of the era come together for a party and to see her perform. The vibe is gentle and everyone is happy. For me, the most special and poignant moment is at 1:26, where the late Biggie Smalls, arguably the greatest rapper of all time, arrives with four of his honeys, affectionately holding two of them by the hand. He was always a ladies’ man. Precious moments in rap history. Biggie died of fatal gunshot wounds three years later, in 1997, aged 24. If I could choose between having Princess Diana come back from the dead or Biggie Smalls, I would choose Biggie.

Da Brat: Give It 2 You (1994)