Howl’s This A Good Idea?

Remember last year when The Husband and I formed a Wolf Pack and ran the hardcore Winter Wolf Run obstacle course somewhere in Leicestershire with several chilly river swims? And remember what a silly idea that was? Yes, well. Sometime around New Year, when I was highly optimistic about my fitness or insanely drunk I signed up us again – for the Spring Wolf in late April. I’m surprised that my fingers had regained feeling enough to fill out the online registration.

Anyway, fast forward to now. The Husband is starting a job that will see him travelling solidly for the first two weeks, and in fact may well predict a pattern for the long term. But for now it means he is a non-starter for the Spring Wolf Run. A more cynical person might think that he took this job to get out of doing the Spring Wolf, but I’m not that person.

Still, it left me with the dilemma of competing as a lone wolf, which is not a good thing. Not only because doing this event is just plain miserable on your own and a tiny bit dangerous (who is going to haul me out of thigh deep mud?) but I’m in no way cool enough to be a lone wolf. Thank fuck for Facebook. A quick status update and boom! I’ve got myself a new wolf.

You may remember a lady foolish enough to try and outrun zombies with me in November last year. Well, she has clearly forgotten what a silly idea that was and has agreed to form a wolf pack with me. Moan all you like about Facebook, but when you need to send out an APB, this is the best way to do it.

Now, my only problem is trying to get fit enough to do this thing in under two weeks.

Hold me.

Posted in Fitness, Friends, Oh God Why?, Shit People Do, UK Life, Weight Loss | 3 Comments

On Your Marks

Chester Half Marathon is on the 18th of May. I signed up for this race back in my enthusiastic days of early January as a bit of a relaxing run and a motivator to keep up my fitness after the Paris Marathon. Which I would have totally nailed, of course had it not been for what we will call an unfortunate injury. But now I’m able to run again and the Chester race bib is probably on its way to me in the post, daring me to take my position in the crowd with the fitter competitors who will leave me for dust in the first ten metres.

If I am going to do this, I need to seriously start training again to even be able to finish it – a run that was a ‘medium run’ for me just a couple of pages ago on the calendar now seems daunting or exciting, depending on my current optimism.

Yes, it’s just over two months since I have put the lycra on and hit the Cheshire roads. Two months of relative inactivity, which, for anyone who has secondary lymphedema knows is a huge backwards step. Blood has not consistently pumped through my thighs at the required rate for a long time and the effects are noticeable. Sure, I’ve not gained any weight and I’ve not bloated up like it can do for some people, but I can tell the difference all the same. Those with this condition know the heaviness of limb, the stiffness and the aches that come with it. I’m barely able to squat and sitting cross legged is something I can only dream of. To you, I look well. And mostly, I am. I’m just lazy about managing this condition, given the excuse not to. Favourable weather conditions and a new bike will see this improve, I’m sure.

So, it’s time to charge the Garmin, activate the Strava and get out there and give this thing a shot. I have five weeks. All advice for someone attempting a half marathon with dormant fitness appreciated – leave your tips in the comments. And your encouragement, I’ll need plenty of that.

Posted in Cheshire Life, Fitness, Weight Loss | 12 Comments

Paris, Je T’aime

So yeah, like I said, I’m not running the Paris Marathon. I’m down the entrance fee (not transferable or refundable, fair enough) but there is no reason why I can’t still go to Paris, right? And, excuse the expression, but no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Exactly.

So, flights and a fabulous apartment just near the Arc de Triomphe paid for and an extra 4 hours to spend in the capital (not to mention the extra energy I will have from not dragging my ass around the 26 mile course) we went.

What went down in the city of love? Settle back, this is quite the photo montage.

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I think it’s almost illegal to blog about a trip to Paris without getting a dreamy summery day picture of the Eiffel Tour. So let’s get that out of the way.

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As is now habit, I organised us on a bike tour – the very same one I did with the girls back in September. The Husband wasn’t that keen. He’s an actual cyclist with padded shorts and proper cycling shoes, so this was the equivalent of him offering me a handbag from Asda.

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But he agreed on the basis I took flattering pictures and there was beer at the end of it.

It served a purpose (to cram seeing as much as we could into as little time as possible) and well, we had fun. Note though: they never once offered us a helmet – interesting for those in countries where skid lids are mandatory.

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I’m true to my word and we went for drinks afterwards. Fancy drinks, of course – this is Paris. And that means getting a frock on. Here’s another rare shot to prove I actually have legs.

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What better place to go for drinks than Harry’s Bar – hat tip to Bardon – an American style bar in central Paris. Home to the Bloody Mary, amongst other drinks, apparently.

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I was here for the atmosphere and the music. Of course.

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Then a booking at O Chateau, one of my favourite places to visit. The dishy french owner used to give wine tastings in his loft somewhere in the Marais, but he’s gotten so popular that he’s had to open a restaurant with a wine tasting room. Ooh la la. The food is even better than I remember it from September. This, for example was gorgeous, and I usually hate being served a plate of vege.

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Desserts are my thing and it was just as special as I’d hoped. Mine (above) was the ostrich egg styled white chocolate shell with mango sorbet and something creamy that probably doesn’t even have a word in English.

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The Husband plumped for a chocolate ice cream / nut / chocolate extravaganza. Well played.

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This of course is the famous bar and is the site of where some pissed up girls allegedly danced in the small hours to the Sound of Music. I have the footage on my phone of this. So do the bar staff, apparently.

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Lacking imagination and wanting more of that Harry’s Bar feel, we promptly placed ourselves back there for a night cap. My tongue was still blue the following morning.

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After all that drinking and eating, we decided to do what the french do. Then decided we didn’t know what that was. Apparently it is sitting around a big old pond in the city and staring at it. There are no fountains, no waterfall features, just a bit of water and two ducks.

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But sitting around staring at ducks makes you super hungry. So we went here.

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And contemplated eating this. I reckoned I would get maybe halfway down before I vomited it up. The Husband wasn’t as ambitious and thought maybe just the top layer or two would be his limit.

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Did you really think I wouldn’t squeeze in another shot of the Arc De Triomphe and/or me in another cute dress? Oh please.

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One of the four ‘love lock’ bridges. Here’s the deal: you buy a padlock, write your names on it, declaring everlasting love, lock it to the bridge and throw the key in the Seine. I didn’t buy a lock not because I’m cynical about love (The Husband really is a keeper) but because I firmly believe that the guy you buy the lock from comes along at night with a master key and some ethanol to retrieve the lock and clean off your name, ready to sell it to another doe-eyed couple the following day.

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We had a strong recommendation from my friend Red (see Maaaates) about a spot to eat. We tried going there on the first night, queued for 30 minutes until they told us the electricity kept going off and they were no longer cooking. Damn you Chartier, we vowed to come back another night.

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And we did. This is what it looks like inside. Nice.

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The curious thing is they give you your bill on the table’cloth’. There is a VERY good reason for this. I’ll explain later.

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Stomachs bursting with undercooked steak (sooo french) and frites, we signed up for another bike ride – this time at night. Because cycling through french traffic with no helmets in daylight is not dangerous enough.

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Fair play though, the night ride is excellent and we covered a lot of ground. About 8 miles all up I think.

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And Paris really is pretty as night falls.

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Our glamorous peloton recklessly dominating the streets of Paris. Approximately 20 to a group, which makes it easy to lose someone. Fortunately we didn’t.

Unfortunately, about halfway through, I started to feel a bit unusual. Remember that steak, the undercooked one from Chartier – the place the curiously doesn’t give you a receipt to prove you ate there? Yeah, that kicked in. I tried to deny the gurgling, then I tried to ignore it. I held it in for the next 3 hours. So did The Husband who began to suffer in the exact same extreme ways. We were both feeling decidedly ‘conservative of sphincter’. At one point, I sneezed and we both looked terrified until I assured him that I was still intact.

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But this picture will forever remind me of how badly I wanted not to be staring at the Eiffel Tower, but rather at a pristine convenience where I could have some quality time for ten minutes.

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Oh, yes, the marathon! The marathon (not my picture) took place of course over the weekend, and I was indeed very sad to not be on the start line. So sad I nearly ripped the medal off a finisher later in the day, running down the streets (fat chance they’d have energy to chase me, right?) and screaming ‘I could have been a contender!’ Except I didn’t. Probably got distracted by choux pastry or champagne. But there will be another chance for me. It’s still on my list.

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Besides, I was able to indulge in all the booze and blue cheese I could find. And the cakes, because that’s really the best thing about Paris – la patisserie. The very best.

There you go – a weekend in Paris. The next trip was going to be to Svalbard, but frankly, I can’t wait until the end of May, so I goaded Red into a weekend in the sun. I figured she owed me for that steak experience.

Stay tuned for adventures with Red, a Twin Bed and the Med.

Fat Tire Bike Tours – click here for their site
O Chateau – book yourself the best meal you’ll have in a long time here

Posted in Food, The Husband, This Expat Life, Travel | 17 Comments

Well, Burger Me

Oooh, I do like a good feed, don’t I? If I don’t get back into running soon, every pair of jeans I own will magically become ‘skinny’ jeans. But before the diet kicks in, I’ve got just about enough room to squeeze in a burger. And a newish place has opened in Manchester to fill this need. How new it is I don’t exactly know and cannot be bothered to Google search, but it’s in the Great Northern vicinity (central Manchester if you are otherwise unfamiliar).

Almost Famous Burgers plays on a American vibe, which translates as massive portions, no use for cutlery and everything is served in those plastic wax-paper lined baskets. You cannot get more ‘Murican than that eh?

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A tad misleading, there is no actual unicorn meat, magical or otherwise on the menu.

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This is what I ordered: a Awesome Frickin Chicken burger. It came bulging with slaw, iceberg lettuce and some condiments. On the right, a serve of Bacon Bacon Fries (over-seasoned chips with sauce and bacon chips).

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I tried to finish it, but frankly I let myself down. Not even close. I went for the high value items (the chicken breast) and left the bun pretty early on in the piece. It felt like I was in that gluttonous Adam Richman ‘Man Versus Food’ show. I got the sweats. And then I got thirsty. Really thirsty.

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Thankfully they have a selection of cocktails. This one had vodka, passionfruit and bubblegum. What wasn’t ice tasted good.

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Decor is a bit random and on the cheap side. Plenty of staged industrial type apparatus – scaffolding that defined areas without any real need. And a giant gorilla. Some people see two in this picture, but there is just the one.

Almost Famous – no bookings, but be prepared to queue, even at 4.30pm on a Sunday. They take your mobile number and send you a text when your table is ready.

Posted in Food, I Might Drink Too Much, UK Life, You Ate What? | 6 Comments

On Yer Bike

Spring has definitely sprung in the UK, which is to say that it has been greater than 12 degrees for two days in a row. With the warmer temperatures comes a sense of optimism for the great British summer. Down south, Londoners will be stripping off in parks, sipping their mochaccinos outside and complaining about how hot the Bakerloo line is.

Up north, we’re loving the better weather too. Going out at night without a coat is less likely to end in pneumonia, the working classes fuck off to Benidorm and the B roads get choked up with toned middle aged men in lycra.

I confess I have gotten a little caught up in it myself. Enjoying a sunny lunch at a rather pleasant pub recently, I pondered how nice it might be to cycle there and just how many extra calories I would deserve. Plenty, I reasoned.

So I went and checked out some cycles. Initially I wanted a Pashleigh, with a basket, leather handles and a chunky padded saddle. Then I realised that outside of Downtown Abbey, I’d look like a bit of a knobber on it. Yet, I wasn’t ready for a road bike because frankly I’m never going to go that far or fast.
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So I bought one of these. A hybrid. Which is (apparently) capable of a few hills, a lot of road and some light trails. Plus it has a grip-shift to change gears so I can pretend I am on a motorbike (noises optional). Most importantly, it will get me to various pubs around Cheshire. Whether it gets me home, that’s for another blog post. Stay tuned.

Posted in beer o clock, Cheshire Life, Fitness, This Expat Life, UK Life, Village Life | 2 Comments

Vert Encre

It’s probably written another way en francais but a) that adds to the irony and b) I don’t care. But whoever took their green marker to this bit of graffiti on the overpass where Diana Spencer was killed by the royal family did herself a mischief, has my respect.
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Posted in Awkwardness, Funny Shit, random shit, Shit People Do | 2 Comments

The Great Pub Search

I’ve got guests coming. Specifically, The Nutbag and her band of little gumnuts are making their way over this side of the world in the summer (am using the term ‘summer’ very loosely here to help set her expectations). Sure, I’ve got a few pubs up my sleeve that I routinely pull out for guests, but this visit warrants something special. The Nutbag is a real connoisseur of dining. Besides, it’s all the excuse I need to drink at every decent pub I can find in the county.

So, let’s get to ‘work’, shall we?

First stop is this little gem in an out of the way place somewhere roughly between Swettenham and Lower Withington.
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It’s called The Black Swan but inexplicably features a white goose on the building. Who knows why. Who the hell cares? The menu is good. So good I could have closed my eyes and pointed at random and not been unhappy with my selection. We scoffed the flatbread pizza things with a side order of spicy fries but other plates coming from the kitchen looked just as good.

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Oh and I loves me a good decor. This is a quite a floral extravaganza, but it really works. It feels genuinely well put together, not like some kitschy attempts at olde worlde charm I’ve seen.

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I have reason to believe there is live music on Tuesdays, so it’s likely I will need a mid-week trek here to see how that ol’ joanna sounds there.

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Not certain if this is a coincidence or they pay this guy to ride his horse past the pub every half hour, but it adds to the country feel.

And (more importantly) what about the bar offering? Good news. There are tasty ales on tap and the service is super friendly. The Husband has already mentioned arranging an all day session. He’ll need to find someone else to drive though.

Since I judge an establishment by its loos, I had to check those out as well. And the verdict?: not too shabby. Top marks for the Penhaligon’s liquid soap, marks off for the single ply. Bonus points for the shiny wall paper.

All in all, this one is a real contender. I’m almost sad I discovered it early in the journey, but it makes a credible yardstick for the process. A re-visit is definitely in order when I have more time. Especially on a sunny day when one could lounge about the massive grassy outdoor area, play boules and chow down on on pizzas from the outdoor pizza oven. Oh, go on then.

The Black Swan
Somewhere in Lower Withington (check the website)
01477 571 770

If you have somewhere you want me to check out, leave a comment. I have literally nothing better to do than eat my way around Cheshire. Bonus points if I get a discount.

Posted in beer o clock, Cheshire Life, Food, I Might Drink Too Much, Pub Of The Month, UK Life | 4 Comments

The One with the Girls on Film

A rainy Monday night and for whatever reason, I’ve booked (free) tickets to be in a television studio audience of a dating show. I had asked The Husband if he wanted to come. Bearing in mind that I have previously dragged him to the first taping of Britain’s Got Talent I wasn’t entirely surprised when he gave me a gentle ‘nah, you’re good’ response. Once bitten and all that.

And yet, as I love seeing how these things are put together (University Challenge for example does not stack the contestants on top of each other), I still wanted to go. I needed an accomplice. Local Manchester girl about town, Red, had never been to a studio taping and was vaguely curious. So she came. What a good sport.

The premise of the show (hosted by Brian McFadden) is that there are four guys and forty girls. During each round, the girls find out a little more about the guys and based on whether they like what they hear, they stand in a queue for the guy. The guy with the biggest, ahem, queue then gets to choose a lucky lady to take on a date. This is really a poor girl’s Take Me Out, I know.

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I told Red there would be beer. And I was half right. There was fake ‘stage beer’ in plastic bottles glued to the tables – not even enough to get us fake hammered. Sorry, Red. Being a single lass (shocking, I know!), I also encouraged her to sign up to take part in the show, but thankfully she declined. You’ll see why shortly…

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Cameras not strictly permitted in the studio, but by the time I took these shots I was bored enough to actually want to be kicked out. Anyway, this will give you an idea of the contestants on the show. Full of scantily clad fame-seeking attention whores, pouting incessantly whenever a camera was in front of them, scowling like a woman scorned when it wasn’t. Dancing to the club music, trying to look sexy, it’s what I imagine the inside of Tiger Tiger looks like at 3am right before the fights break out.

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The stilettos caused so much damage that the production team were frequently gaffer taping the floor back down. Given how often the contestants were collapsing in aching heaps on the floor, I can only imagine what the shoes were doing to their feet. The show took a bit longer than expected to record; could have been the newness of it, the challenge of directing a group of girls who were all sharing a single brain cell or the fact that Brian McFadden is not good at reading an auto cue. Or all of the above.

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Eventually a winner was announced and they were awarded a night out at a curry house. For reals. I’m not making that shit up. It wasn’t even a holiday to some shitty part of Tenerife. No wonder the 39 little darlings who didn’t win were pissed off; they’d just spent four hours standing around in uncomfortable shoes while an ageing boy band member made fun of their tits, voting for some guys who would eventually reject them. And they didn’t even get bus fare home. A sad day for forward-thinking women everywhere.

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It was enough to make you weep into your fake beer.

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Still, I got to see the Countdown clock. And that almost made it worth it.
Buddum, buddum, budda-ba-dah….booooo!

Posted in Awkwardness, Friends, Funny Shit, Oh God Why?, Shit People Do, UK Life | 25 Comments

Where’s Vegemite?

Haven’t posted one of these for a while. Mostly on account that I haven’t travelled much about the UK due to the company’s travel reduction policy. Basically, if I need to drive more than 17 miles, I need written permission in advance. Further than 50 miles and it goes in front of a panel of people who meet once a week to decide whether or not I should travel. Generally speaking, I avoid unnecessary paperwork and so not travelling suits me.
Anyway, this is not super recent, but it counts. Best guesses, please.
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I’ll even give you two pictures to make it easier.
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Note: I was actually with a reader when I took these pictures so they are disqualified from ‘guessing’.
You know who you are.

Posted in Travel, UK Life, Where's Vegemite | 18 Comments

Worse Things Happen At Sea

This was going to be a whole other post. Literally. It’s saved as a draft that I will delete at some point. And as much as this blog side-steps the absolute truth, the other post is now an utter lie. Or at least the ending is.

What you need to know is that I’m not running the Paris Marathon next weekend. I trained for it and I trained hard; that much is true. Through rain, sleet, snow and flood I ran 430 odd miles along some of Cheshire’s crappest B roads. I was running greater than two half marathons a week and recording some respectable times. Regrettably, I’ve had to pull out through what I will only describe as a highly unfortunate injury.

To say I’m heartbroken by this is an understatement. I tried to convince myself that I could still do it. I almost believed my own ignorant optimism. But in the end I consulted a professional. It was a flat non-negotiable ‘no’. Since you need a signed medical certificate to compete in French races, I had to concede defeat. But not without a lot of bellyaching about it, of course.

In fact, running was altogether off the agenda temporarily and this alone made me irritable. Running soothes me, takes the edges off life’s personal disappointments and makes my ass look good. I missed it immediately, like the love of my life had walked out without so much as kiss goodbye. I was bereft.

But as they say, worse things happen at sea (literally, where’s that bloody Malaysian plane?) and while I’ll be sidelined next weekend, I’m still heading to Paris and will be doing my best to drain their supply of champagne. I’ll picnic like a tourist at the Eiffel Tower, queue at The Louvre and gaze lovingly at The Husband (especially after a few glasses of decent fizz). Because, like listening to heavy rock, it’s hard to get too upset strolling the streets of such a beautiful city.

So, crib notes here is I’m not running the Paris Marathon. And that’s all I want to say about that.

Posted in Fitness, Sad Stuff, Things That Shit Me, Travel | 14 Comments

Gig Report: Nina Nesbitt

Been a while since I’ve done one of these, and indeed it’s been a while since I’ve been to a gig; to be fair it was Billy Joel and that’s kind of hard to top.

But I heard a song on the inflight entertainment aboard Qantas as we pulled up to the gate in Dubai recently which put me in a surprisingly good mood given it was a delayed 14 hour sector and I was lacking sleep or good oral aromas. I googled the lyrics I’d heard later and found it was Nina Nesbitt.

So who the fuck is Nina Nesbitt?

Further googling revealed she is a Scottish / Swedish songwriter who has had minor success with a little album called Peroxide. So I listened to the free snippets on iTunes and decided it wasn’t half bad and bought it. After playing it around the house I googled again to see if she was touring and indeed she was playing a gig this week in Manchester at The Ritz. At £12 a ticket it wasn’t a massive gamble and I knew I could sweeten the deal for The Husband with a pre-gig visit to Temple Bar: a former men’s urinal in a bar underground in the middle of the street. Sold.

Suitably merry on some tasty 8% German brew, I led The Husband around the corner to The Ritz for the gig, thinking it was about to start on the advertised 8.25pm slot. Given there was a 10pm curfew I was reasonably confident this would be accurate. Not so. Nina made us wait 20 minutes. I shifted uncomfortably reassuring The Husband it would be worth it and definitely nothing like that Kate Nash gig I took him to back in 2007. (I’m still really sorry about that).

Thank fuck she came on and belted out the tunes then, all was forgiven. More than forgiven. This ‘KT Tunstall For The New Generation’ had some great tracks in her arsenal and although the crowd was full of mobile phone film crew, we both enjoyed it. The Husband is quoted as saying “I didn’t hate that at all”. Praise indeed.

Side note: you can tell there are some young crowd members… They make signs. Never seen a 40 year old hold up a hand made sign at a gig.

Here’s a few snaps from my mobile phone. If you can’t beat em…
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Oh and a bonus for Bardon. Nina invited some randoms from the audience up to join her on ‘Stay Out’. What she was hoping for was a group of teenage girls to do backing vocals. What she got was a nervous girl with her parents. Dad is wearing a Christmas jumper, mum jiggled her oversized chest about on stage wearing leather hot pants. I tried to get a better shot but was laughing too hard to keep my phone still.
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Posted in Music | 8 Comments

Home

Home – that familiar word with an unfamiliar sentiment. I’m back in it, or somewhere thereabouts, probably. The trip to Oz feels already like a distant memory, and were it not for the crippling credit card statements that arrive through my letterbox, I’d not be entirely certain I even went. Usually I wrestle the paper statements from The Dog’s jaws, but this month I’ll let him shred a couple with his German efficiency (DNA tests revealed he is half dachshund).

I’m frequently asked (usually by my parents) when I am going to move ‘home’. It’s coming on 13 years in Old Blighty and I admire their hope and persistence. Truth is, I weigh up the pros and cons on a regular basis. Mostly, the argument for upping sticks back to the southern hemisphere comes down to weather. That said, the first five days of my holiday saw more precipitation than I’ve enjoyed in Cheshire for a while. That might have more to do with my shitty luck with weather on holidays than anything. Yes I’m really that powerful I can influence whole weather systems, sure.

However, I’m not moving, not any time soon. And although it disappoints my folks in the mother country to hear it (frankly, I defer the question and commonly say that we’d love to, because on some level we really would) I’m actually rather at peace with the decision this time around. Returning to the UK fresh off a mostly sunny vacation in the warm embrace of friends and familly, I expected to feel a stinging chill of isolation back in the UK. Perhaps it was the messages of my UK friends that were glad to have me back that warmed the cockles or perhaps The Husband left the heating on by accident while we were away.

But there are other reasons I am staying put. The kind of things you really only notice when you genuinely examine the possibly of leaving with eyes wide open, because I have done a lot of this lately. I’ve mentally imagined myself actually re-settling in the mother country, not just dining out at Pilu in Freshwater (very nice, by the way) or drinking with friends in the city. Actually picturing what my weekly activities non-holiday-style would involve were I to leave the wet island I inhabit. And surprisingly, there is plenty that I can’t imagine myself giving up easily in Blighty. See, within the UK I can enjoy my career from a non-urban setting in an affordable home, avoid a commute (other than to visit clients when absolutely necessary) and ski the French Alps. Those three things alone almost make it worthwhile. I can also spend the weekend in pubs with genuine character, while The Husband enjoys craft ale that he doesn’t have to seek out an overpriced boutique bar selling them for top dollar.

Australia, from what I can gather has about twenty clients in total that I would bother getting out of bed to work on, no work from home inclination, a housing market that would saddle me with debt long past my expiration date and a ski season that lasts as long as a British summer (and is just as good). As Frank Turner has screeched at us live on several occasions ‘no one’s yet explained to me, exactly what’s so great, about slaving fifty years away on something that you hate.’ He might have a point.

Not to mention The Dog who would suffer more than us. His ability to rapidly surrender (I’m convinced he’s actually French) in anything greater than 20 degrees like a rich tea biscuit in a fresh brew is a concern. Not to mention the fact he’d spend his separation-anxiety filled days on his own, worrying himself into a daily frenzy. 

So, this is home. Here. In the overcrowded land of stiff-upper-lipped overly-apologetic people. Besides, it’s nearly ‘summer’ and I have a trip to Paris in two weeks. Ask me again in November for the exact opposite response.

Posted in Australia, Cheshire Life, homesick much?, The Dog, The Husband, This Expat Life, UK Life | 28 Comments

Not Going to Per-Suede Me

Dear Australia. Can I be honest? I’m confused by all the suede. I’m seeing it everywhere in Sydney. Draped over the legs of those who can just about carry it off and also of those who really can’t. I know you’ve hit Autumn here and strictly speaking, fabrics should reflect this, but it’s still in the upper twenties and you have the air conditioning blasting in every building I’ve entered. So how about we wait a few weeks and hold off on the suede for now. 20140311-222947.jpg
Rather than, say, merge suede into short shorts, summer stylee.
Thanking you in advance.

Posted in Australia, Fashion, Weather | 3 Comments

Getting Pacific

Since my holiday back in the mother country I’ve been idly daydreaming about moving back. Given the market in which I operate consists of only twenty potential clients, I’d have to consider a career shift. But to what?
Then it struck me. I could be a journalist.
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Seriously. What’s the worse [sic] that could happen?

Posted in Australia, homesick much? | 7 Comments

The One With All the Mates

The very best thing about flying for more hours than there are decent films in current circulation is that at the end of it your mates are waiting for you with open arms and a seat at the bar in the sunshine.

One of my very favourite couple of mates are Dundee and Melba, a city-slicker pair of singles making this town their very own. And there is nowhere in town it seems they don’t know about. So when it comes to sitting back and letting the good times roll, I’m always in safe hands.

You might remember Dundee from this post where he inadvertently saved my life by daring me to get the Pap smear that would discover I had cancer. Having not seen him since this excursion, it was great to finally thank him in person, and Melba who enforced that both parties made good on the deal.
Here’s the official photo of that fateful handshake.20140309-080611.jpg

So, we got together this weekend and imbibed over a few bevvies and let the good times roll like we’d only been separated for days, not months. Because true mates can do that.
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Readers of this blog might remember that The Dame has also made Sydney her home. So, what better time to catch her than between international work trips for her birthday?
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She was in fine spirits (if not more spirits than I have seen her handle for a long time !) and called it an early night, but it was great to see her on top form.
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And of course, it wouldn’t be a party if Melba didn’t drop by, right?

But what trip would be truly complete without seeing the one and only Nutbag? Visiting from Canberra on account of a poorly child, Nutbag was in the city at just the right time for a catch up. Her sweet child gently asked whether we could go to the beach. The child has better manners than I do and tons more cuteness but hasn’t realised yet that she can get by on this alone, not yet anyway.
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The Husband managed to take her for a swim and not lose her, drown her or get her stung by anything.
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Nutbag and I didn’t enter the sea as neither of us were dressed appropriately or had the inclination to. Despite a Deep Diving Scuba qualification, I’m actually rather averse to the sea.
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Other than gazing wistfully at the scene, of course.

And that’s how we caught up with some of our friends. At least, the ones you will have heard of before.

Posted in Australia, beer o clock, Friends, homesick much?, The Husband, Those Antipodeans | 6 Comments