As usual, my September is looking like it’ll be my normal levels of silliness, with lots of travel and so on.
And also as usual, it started with Meatopia, a festival of various barbecued meats. It’s one of my favourite events of the year – and this time I was at all three sessions. Because I’m a complete lunatic.
I had intended to be more sensible – going down for the Friday was still silly, but I’d intended to then park up at Barbican on Saturday, have a hotel on the Saturday night (being able to collect my bag from the car at Barbican on the way, and deposit it on the way back before Sunday) and then come home.
But then I checked the football schedule – and it turned out that Arsenal were playing at home on the Sunday. Not usually relevant, but when driving back on the Sunday, it would’ve shoved me right through all the traffic and people at Highbury, which would add at least an hour to the drive. And frankly, sod that.
So it meant a change to plans, and instead doing my usual thing, parking in Very North London, Tube to Euston/Angel, and walk to Tobacco Dock. Yes, I *could* have still used the hotel, but it meant that all the travel to and from the car to drop off clothes/bag etc. would’ve made it a lot more hassle and a lot less fun. So it was ‘easier’ to travel further, but on my terms and with less general fucking about.
All told, as well as a ridiculous amount of food, it meant I did six walks of 6km, as well as further walking on-site and so on, so all told over Friday, Saturday and Sunday I covered no less than 44km (27 miles)
Meatopia was totally worth it again, and I’ll be there next year.
At the moment, there’s an advert on TV for Just Eat, and it freaks me out a little bit.
There’s one part of it where they talk about people “ordering their usual”, and doing so at a specific time – implying that it’s the same thing every week. And that just weirds me out, that there are people out there who do the same thing every week, who eat the same meals with little to no variety.
At the same time though, it’s odd in other ways. I’m just as bad at being uninspired when it comes to meals and so on – but that’s when I’m just cooking for myself. If I’m paying for it (i.e. a takeaway, a restaurant meal or whatever) then I’m going to go for random stuff that I fancy eating.
So I think it’s the combination – that there are people who are paying for their meal and still only having the same thing at the same time – rather than *just* that it’s the same thing every time.
Anyway, it weirds me out – even though in some ways I’m also a massive hypocrite about it, as I’m semi-guilty of the same thing, but only in the privacy of my own home…
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.
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…
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.
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…
As part of my whole weight/fitness thing, I’ve been going once a week to a programme called Gutless for the last twelve weeks.
It’s been an interesting programme, basically one two hour evening session a week, which consists of one hour of physical exercise, and one of information and chat about food and nutrition.
For me, the exercise has been of more use and interest than the food and nutrition stuff (as I learned more for exercise techniques etc. than I did for the food/nutrition) but it’s all been a generally positive programme.
As with other things I’ve been trying this year, it hasn’t been as successful as I’d have hoped – for me, at least – but in general it appears to have worked well for the other members of the group.
For me, it’s given me extra ideas and stuff to do, as well as knowledge of better workouts and so on, I’ll take that knowledge and go forwards with it as well, so it has been a positive process.
I’m glad I’ve done the course – and the workout/exercise side is going to be continuing on as a separate programme we’ve worked out with the instructor from the programme – and we’ll see how things work out going forwards.
All told, I’m happy with how it’s been. I’d be happier if the weight loss had been better and so on, but I know that it’s also helped me make other positive changes, and right now that’ll do me.