Sunday, 30 November 2014

Jive Night: Pulsators

Friday night was the first jive night I've been to for a while. Miss T and I started the evening by going to a 30th Birthday bash and eating far too much chilli and rice, and then we all rolled ourselves up to the gig in time to hear the band start.

Pulsators are a local quartet headed up by the lovely Serena Sykes on vocals and then a guitarist, a drummer and a chap on a very handsome double bass. They were a little bit rough and ready but they were a lot of fun. Serena has a beautiful voice and at one point they spontaneously decided to do a song that they hadn't played live - or really rehearsed - before. They did a fair number of jivers which meant that most of us were on the floor for most songs, though they had a few fast ones and a couple of strollers too.

I had a wee chat with Serena while the band were packing up and she's lovely. She's from Huddersfield though she's been down south for about seven years. She started singing when she was 14. The band haven't been together long so they are not as polished as some of the other bands I've seen but they are really shaping up.

I got a couple of cheeky dances in with the legendary Phil before he got too drunk (he gave me an aniseed ball as well - I haven't had one for years!) and managed to stay on the dance floor nearly all night, and mostly with the lads rather than just Miss T.

Yesterday afternoon, my other dance teacher Andrew hosted an event to raise money and tins for the foodbank - it was £1 and four items entry fee. There weren't as many people there as a usual Tuesday night but it was a really nice atmosphere. Andrew and Kate taught us a couple of moves at the beginning for about an hour and then we got to just dance. There were a few people there I hadn't seen in a while and I got to meet a few new people who don't make it to the evening classes. All round a very lovely afternoon for a good cause.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Happy Day 100: It's Starting to Look a lot like Christmas

#100HappyDays Day 100: Town was packed today with people starting to shop for Christmas, the market is open, the lights are up. Middle B and I decided to get a bit creative today - we made red onion chutney, raspberry gin and she started sketches for a book she is making for relatives and I started stitching up a Christmas present and rounded the day off watching Strictly. Beautiful!

The gin won't be ready for a while but I don't mind, that means I have something to look forward to. And we still have jars left so maybe I'll make some jam at some point.

Caramelised Red Onion Chutney

8 red onions
1 chilli
2 bay leaves
25 ml olive oil
200g brown sugar
150 ml balsamic vinegar
150 ml red wine vinegar

- Slice onions and chilli finely and put them in a large pan with the bay leaves and oil. Cook over a low heat for about 20 mins to soften the onions.

- Once the onions are darker, add the sugar and vinegars and simmer for about 30 mins - an hour, check that the consistency is gloopy not too runny.

- While that is cooking, rinse out your jars in hot soapy water. Put a saucepan full of water on to boil the lids of the jars. Then put the oven on at 100 C and put the jars on a baking tray, once the oven is up to heat put them in for about 10 minutes to sterilise. Try to time it so that you can put the chutney into the jars as they come straight out of the oven. Use oven gloves and hot plates for this because both the chutney and the jars will be pretty hot.

- Using a jam funnel, spoon the gloopy mixture into the jars and seal them. Make sure that there is a bit of oniony liquid in each jar - when the mixture cools it will set more. Leave it for about a month to get the best flavour.

In time for Christmas! This made me about three small jars (250g) and two larger jam jars (500g). We used a recipe that was featured in the Guardian but was originally in Fraser Doherty's 'The Super Jam Cookbook'.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Happy Day 99: Graduation Day

#100HappyDays Day 99: Lots of dressed up graduates roaming town today and proud families snapping photos. A couple of those graduates were close friends, so I even got some celebrating in with them at the pub in the evening. It's the first time I've been out until 2am for quite some time, but we did go to Munchies and get chips after, just proving that some things in life don't change much - in fact I think I probably did that after my own graduation. I'm so happy for both of them, they worked so hard!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Happy Day 98: Lights!

#100HappyDays Day 98: The Christmas lights are now up and on in town! Twinkle twinkle.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Happy Day 97: Friends Reunited

#100HappyDays Day 97: I went into the big city after work to meet up with my friend Mary who I haven't seen for eight years, since her wedding in fact. We both ended up living in other countries and wandering around the place failing to grow up... and in the meantime lost track of one another. We met at the train station for tea and cake (with the biggest teapot I've seen!) and a gossip.

After tea (a copper leaved oolong to match Mary's hair), we had a wander to try and find a restaurant. We ended up going up a small street with nothing much in it apart from this light sculpture that changed colours and had a swing in the middle of it. Some one was having a good old swing as we walked past.

We finally ambled back the right way and had some dinner. It was such a lovely catch up, it was like we'd seen each other yesterday. We talked about what had changed and what hasn't, about our families and mutual friends, what interests we've taken up, what books we're reading. She promised that we would see each other soon and I promised to give her the dates of my holidays from work.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Happy Day 96: Mushrooms and Blue Cheese

#100HappyDays Day 96: Miss T made us jacket potatoes with mushrooms and blue cheese.... so much yum! So just so you know, we really love our food. Really, really. We even eat it out the pan, I'm not ashamed. I'm just glad I didn't get indigestion while dancing later....

Monday, 17 November 2014

Happy Day 95: Unexpectedness

#100HappyDays Day 95: I have been in and out of the library all day and spent the day with lots of lovely people. I have been singularly unproductive, but I've had a lovely day. I even bumped into one of my friends who has been away and is only back for 4 days - serendipity!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Happy Day 94: Christmas Beanies

#100HappyDays Day 94: My first encounter with Christmas this year... I don't think it's quite time to replace normal hats with Christmas beanies, wait til December maybe, but they are delightful!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Happy Day 93: A Jar Full of Delight

#100HappyDays Day 93: I spent most of the day with the lady I worked with for the last two years - I'm so glad we've kept in touch! She's no longer a student so now we get to actually be friends. We spent a very long time in a cafe catching up... and then I spent the evening having dinner with another couple of friends. Food and socialising, what more could you want from a Saturday? A jar full of delight indeed.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Happy Day 92: Everyday Miracles

#100HappyDays Day 92: I came out of a lecture and the sun was setting.

Some days you just have to pause and appreciate how beautiful life is.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Happy Day 91: Chinese Whispers

#100HappyDays Day 91: I've been tired and a bit grumpy and cold today... and then we had to stand up in our sign language class and describe our living room to everyone. I'd forgotten what it was like to 'present' something - I actually got really nervous. After that, our teacher Sean decided to lighten the mood and got us to divide into two groups and have a round of chinese whispers... in sign language! Our group started off with a mime of a cowboy strapping on ammo, smoking a cigar, getting on his horse and having a gun fight but by the time it got to me it looked more like the YMCA. The other group had a golfer who picked out his iron, shined the ball on his shirt, put the tee and the ball down, hitched up his trousers and took a proper swing at it, but by the end this had migrated into someone eating an apple and taking a slight swing with a cricket bat. We were howling. I actually cried with laughter, it was utterly hilarious.

I also had a really interesting seminar on the History of British English where we looked at a few words that have died out (lexical loss) - I particularly liked aspectable = visible, suppediate = furnish, expede = accomplish, eximonious = distinguished (ex in this case means out, so stand out), deruncinate = eradicate (take the roots out) and temulent = intoxicated. I'll just have to find some way of slipping a couple of these into conversation maybe.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Happy Day 90: Light Show

#100HappyDays Day 90: I was walking home through town when I saw this light show of snowflakes projected onto a wall. They were moving around and glistening.

I think it was coming from a window of the cafe opposite. Whatever it was, it made the dark way home much more lovely.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Happy Day 89: Occupation

#100HappyDays Day 89: Miss T got a job she applied for .... at my work... which means we'll be able to meet for lunch more often! Yaaaaaay!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Happy Day 88: A Little Bit of History

#100HappyDays Day 88: V's other half works at the Opera and they've been in town for a few days. While they were here some of the crew stayed in this gorgeous building so of course V and I went to help them pack up yesterday so that we could have a good snoop around. I think it dates from 1600s or something, and it was just as lovely inside as out.

The back patio faces onto the river

The cottages are all joined together with a courtyardy bit at the back. The view from the window

There were some lovely details inside - I was quite taken with the partition between the living room and the kitchenette

There was this amazing box in the bedroom

And the bed looked amazingly comfy

The staircase was little and steep

But the view from the top was worth the climb

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Happy Days 87: Brass Bands

#100HappyDays Day 87: V was down for the weekend and we went to Spoons for breakfast, then managed to catch the poppy procession. We also caught another brass band in the high street - they played Happy by Pharrell Williams, Build Me Up Buttercup, Parklife by Blur, Take On Me by A-ha, a track by the White Stripes.... yes, I did say Parklife, and yes it was a brass band. Genius.

Here is the more official brass band that was preceding the procession - afterwards marched some of the RAF, the Army, some Veterans and some of the younger air cadets and the like. There were many people out with their poppies for Rememberance Sunday.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Happy Days 86: Early Birds

#100HappyDays Day 86: I met Miss H and a couple of others for breakfast this morning. I love going out for breakfast, it's one of my favourite things!

(Buckwheat pancakes, banana, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and toasted almonds with warm berry compote, just in case you wanted to know).

Friday, 7 November 2014

Happy Day 85: In Which One Anticipates the Arrival of Some Close Friends with Great Enthusiasm

#100HappyDays Day 85: V is coming to visit tomorrow and she'll be sleeping in my room so I'm having a good tidy before she gets here. I haven't seen her for a while so it'll be nice to have a catch up. And I'm seeing Miss H tomorrow as well. It's all happening!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Happy Day 84: I Passed!

#100HappyDays Day 84: We got our results from our Sign Language exam last week and I got 18/18... woo hoo! Today we moved onto learning about houses and household objects - and we got homework... I have to draw a picture of my living room to bring into class next week.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Happy Day 83: Save the Date

#100HappyDays Day 83: I got this through the post - it's the Save the Date for a friends wedding! How exciting! I think it's going to be a corker of a celebration too if her pintrest boards are anything to go by. I was quite excited by the purple ink as well.... good thing it wasn't green or it would have raised my hopes of getting into Hogwarts.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Monday, 3 November 2014

Happy Day 81: Generally Lovely

#100HappyDay Day 81: I generally had a lovely day, I had some interesting lectures at work, I had a fantastic meeting with my lovely boss, and caught up with a couple of friends so plenty to be happy about but not much I could take photos of.... so here is a picture of the sushi I picked up for dinner on the way home. It was yummy.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Happy Day 80: Formula One on a Sunday Evening

#100HappyDays Day 80: Sunday Dinner, Strictly Come Dancing and the Austin F1 on the telly. Cracking race - some good fights between Jensen Button and Grosjean, not to mention Hammy and Rosberg. I'm glad Daniel Ricciardo got 3rd place. Fantastic.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Happy Day 79: Winter Sunshine

#100HappyDays Day 79: It has been absolutely beautiful the last couple of days, and I think it's set to be 16 degrees C tomorrow. I saw someone in shorts yesterday and the man on the radio talked about seeing a witch eating an ice cream  - certainly the warmest Halloween I can remember! Today was pretty similar, town was heaving with people, most of whom had no coats on. Fabulous!

I also bumped into a certain gentleman in Pret so we ended up having a coffee for a while. It was lovely.