D4D

If brains were dynamite, you might just have enough to blow your nose.

Aussie Masterchef (Finished)

Way back at the end of August, I wrote about Masterchef Australia starting again on UK TV. It’s still one of my favourite TV cooking/competition programmes, but man alive, it’s a commitment.

It runs for at least an hour every weekday.  And it finished last night.  That’s a long-ass stretch of TV by anyone’s standards.

All the same, I’ve enjoyed the series (as usual) but I’m also finding myself slightly relieved that we’re done for another few months.

Shakespeare Park

Last week, I noticed signs around Milton Keynes pointing to a new development of homes, called Shakespeare Park.

I’d really hoped that they would make a big thing of puns/content based on Shakespeare stuff, but no, it’s all very dull.

OK, they’ve named most of the house types after Shakespearean characters – but still, there’s so much more they could’ve done

“Shakespeare Park – “

  • it’s no ordinary hamlet
  • Your home, as you like it
  • Your midsummer night’s dream

And that’s just off the top of my head.  I could probably come up with a bundle more.

I just think it’s a bit sad that Taylor Wimpey don’t seem to have tried…

A Very Foodie Week

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to make my birthday into a bit of a foodie thing, since starting off the whole “Eating on my own” thing with the Michelin-starred restaurants a couple of years back.

This year I’d taken the week off and booked a week in Northumberland, which made it even more fun.

So this year my actual birthday meal (well, the day after, but it counted) was at L’Enclume.  One heck of a drive across-country – two and a half hours each way – but still better than the five hours each way it would be from home.

Then during the week was an evening at House of Tides – which I love, and rarely miss taking the opportunity to go to when I’m in the North-East.

And finally, while I was in Manchester I visited a very new place, Mana, because it sounded interesting. (And it was!)

So it’s been a foodie week, and very enjoyable. But I might need to walk a lot over the coming week or so to make up for it…

Nasturtia

So far this week, I have been Unwell.  It was very similar to the episode in February where I was also spectacularly Unwell – thankfully this time wasn’t as bad, but it’s still been no fun.  Well, I say it’s been better, whereas actually it’s been just as nasty, but in different ways – and I’ve been more prepared this time to deal with the warning signs early.

In February I wasn’t sure what had caused it – I’d had a meal at a (now closed) Michelin-starred restaurant, and was pretty certain that it wasn’t food-poisoning in any way that I recognised.  This weekend was the same, no real idea of causation – although I’d had another couple of spectacular meals in the preceding days.

However, there’s only been a couple of common ingredients through the various meals, and with the whole set of symptoms being so similar, they’re what I’m looking at in particular.  (And this is also where it’s really useful to have taken photos of the stuff I’ve eaten, to be able to use them for reference on stuff like this)

The conclusion I’m being drawn to is that I have a *really* unpleasant reaction to either nasturtiums or marigolds. It takes about 24-36 hours to kick in, and then yeah, no fun at all.  In the case of this week, the lunch I had in Manchester on Saturday was very heavy in nasturtium garnishes, and I think that’s what triggered everything.  And looking at WebMD (via a Google search) I found that nasturtium can cause stomach upsets (look in the “side effects” tab) – which is one nice term for what’s affected me on both occasions.

I may at some point decide to experiment a bit, by trying another meal with nasturtium garnishes and see if the results are the same – but it’s not something I’m going to be eager to do.

In the meantime, it’s not an allergic reaction – and I’ll never be dramatic enough as to claim it as one – but at the same time I think it’s going to be something I might need to start mentioning to restaurants when I book in. Which sucks, but when all’s said and done, it could be a lot worse.  And at least I’ve now got a fairly good idea of what’s going on.

Daft as a Brush

In an ongoing thread, there are times where I realise I really am a silly sod. This is another of those things.

A fair while back, the Cowboy Junkies (one of my all-time favourite bands) announced they were coming to the UK. It had been a fair while since they’d been here last, and even better, it was happening the weekend after my birthday.  However, that was also the end of the week I was already booked up to spend in Northumberland, which was a Friday to Friday booking.  And they were playing Manchester on the Saturday, and London on the Sunday.

So I figured what the hell, it’ll be a weekend, and booked tickets for both Manchester and London. Well I was up in the area anyway, and the London one was billed as being different to the Manchester one (although that has since changed). So why not? (Other than mileage, of course)  I’d drive over from Northumberland to Manchester on the Friday, stay in a hotel overnight, do the gig on the Saturday night, and then drive home afterwards. Easy.

And then the plan changed a bit. When I saw the play Queen Margaret in Manchester, I realised how painless the journey was by train. So instead I figured I could drive home from Northumberland on the Friday – allowing me to get laundry and so on done in the evening and so on. Then on the Saturday I could get the train up, have lunch somewhere new and fancy that had grabbed my attention, then walk down to the hotel, check-in, drop off bag etc., go to the gig, stay overnight on Saturday, train home on Sunday morning, then down to London for Sunday night.

Yes, I’m an idiot, and an absolute loon. But I cut my mileage by taking the train, and improved my own safety by not driving home from Manchester late on a Saturday night. So that, at least, was sensible…

Doing Less while Getting Out More

This week, I’ve actually been away – I decided to take a week off around my birthday, and it all worked pretty well.

The other part of it was to actually do a bit less than usual – I made sure I hadn’t planned in stuff for every day, so I could do some down-time as well – and even for the days where I was doing stuff, I aimed to not be doing loads. (Although I did still drive over 1,000 miles over the week…)

All told, it worked out pretty well.  I had one daft day with a lot of driving, but the rest was a lot calmer. I even had a couple of days where I did very little, although enough that my nagging brainspace was still appeased.

Who knows? Maybe there’s hope for me yet…

2018/19 – What’s the Plan?

As has become traditional round here, it’s time for a list of what I’m aiming for and hoping to do in the coming year.  Some will be familiar (because I keep starting and not finishing) but I’m also hoping to get rid of a couple that never really happen, and maybe add a couple to replace them.

  1. Keep on working on losing weight.
    This one is a long-term thing, and one I’ve written about before. For me, it’s a struggle – I’ve worked with a number of resources this year so far, and feel better-informed than I was, but there’s still a long way to go. If nothing else, this year so far has eliminated a lot of options and bullshit.
  2. Keep on improving fitness/health
    Linked to losing weight, I’ve had more success with this one over the last 12 months, but there’s still stuff to do and improve.
  3. Continue doing the stuff I enjoy
    Various bits here – but basically, do stuff I want to.  Not as a “fear of missing out” (“FOMO”) thing, but just as in “I really want to see/do [x]” and doing so.  (This is, of course, in direct contrast to ‘doing less’ in the list below, so it’s a bit of a balancing act!)
  4. Be more sociable
    I’ve realised this year that I’ve been utterly crap with seeing friends – I’ve been doing a lot of stuff, but at the same time it hasn’t been overly sociable, hasn’t involved going to see friends at all.  And that needs sorting.

I’m getting rid of some of the longer-running goals. They’re still things I want to work on – I’m not giving up on the plans, just on the having them as goals – but it affects me more when I see my ongoing failure to complete/do/start them year on year.

So I’ll note them here as reminders, but they’re not part of the main “What I’m aiming for” list. See if it works better for me as advisories, rather than as targets/goals.  And those reminders are…

  • Writing
    I want to do more writing – I’ve got the ideas, but it’s finding the time, inclination and drive to get them actually going. I hope to schedule more in – I’ve also invested in some tools that should allow me to do so – but we’ll see.
  • Business plans
    As with the writing, I’ve got the ideas, but need to allocate time and energy to getting them to work.  In some cases I’m frustrated by time, in others by funding for getting them how I want them. We’ll just have to see how things go.
  • Doing Less
    This is kind-of related to the above two – if I could sort my brain out so that ‘doing less’ was better, then I’d hopefully have more time to spend on the writing and business ideas.
  • Plan Better
    And the final one, which controls all of the others – make better plans, notes, and be better organised.

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