Amsterdam trip - day one

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:58 pm
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
We had an early start, but not horrifically so. It was my first time travelling on the Eurostar, and it was lovely, with comfy seats and tasty food, but even more pleasant was the Thalys train from Brussels to Amsterdam. On arrival at the station we picked up an iamsterdam card which gets us travel and free/reduced entry into lots of museums and such, then took the tram to our hotel. The room is perhaps a little on the small side, but pleasant, and the bed is comfortable, which is the important thing.

We deliberately didn’t plan anything but unpacking and decompressing for this afternoon, which was the right call, as after all that travelling we were both feeling rather in need of a nap. We woke up around dinner time, and then went out for sushi (possibly an odd choice, but our first meal on our first holiday together in Prague was also sushi, so it seemed auspicious). It certainly wasn’t a bad choice - the sashimi was beautifully presented and very fresh, and the rice texture was spot on. My high point was either the scallop sashimi with tobiko, or the raw beef, avocado and cucumber roll, which was subtle and gorgeous.

After dinner [personal profile] obandsoller was feeling quite tired, so we came back to the hotel, and although my intention was to drop him off and then go for a stroll around the nearby Oosterpark, I ended up getting eaten by the inertia monster until it got dark, so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Amsterdam trip - day zero

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:55 pm
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
I decided that since we’d be leaving quite early on Saturday morning and had guests for dinner on Friday that it would be sensible to take an extra day off work so I didn’t have to pack in a frantic hurry. Obviously I then proceeded to plan an unnecessarily ambitious meal and fill the day from start to finish with Events, so had to pack in a rush on Thursday night instead… I got up fairly early and went for a run which finished at church. Somewhat to my surprise I found that the gates were locked, but I wasn’t foiled and managed to scale the wall and get in anyway (once past the wall the rest of the break-in was facilitated by the clever trick of having keys). I dropped off the cheques I needed signatures on, and spent a while trying to get the ancient (running Vista!) laptop working, as I’m hoping to get the people who count the collection to enter the figures directly into a spreadsheet rather than writing them down, to save me some data entry. I didn’t quite manage to get it working, but I did get a bit of organ practice inbetween interminably slow reboots…

I took the bus rather than running home, and picked up a last couple of missing ingredients, then began prepping the beetroot three ways (boiled and diced, roasted with balsamic vinegar, and finely sliced then deep fried, then baked) for the starter, and the venison meatballs for the main course. Naturally that took a little longer than expected, and I was a few minutes late out the door to head to [personal profile] charlie’s for lunch. They’d gotten out of hospital a couple of days ago, and were still a little fragile, but seemed massively happier than the last couple of times I’ve seen them, which was very pleasing to see.

I then had another session with the physio I saw a couple of weeks ago. After the first session I was absolutely amazed by how much difference he made to my back - I’d had a couple of days completely tension-free for the first time in months, and even after it started to creep back in, it was definitely less intrusive than it has been. This time he suggested trying acupuncture, which I’m quite sceptical of, but given his previous results I figured I’d give it a go. I’m still feeling kind of sceptical afterwards, but I’ll give it another couple of days to see how it feels then, and probably ask him to stick with the kinds of treatment he did from my first session in future.

Then home again, and more cooking until Stephani (winodw) and her newish partner Matthew arrived. I started with a failure, as she asked for a repeat of a cocktail I’d made her once before, but although we had all the relevant booze we were lacking apple juice. Oops. Still, we managed to find them something to drink, and I was pretty pleased with how the food came out. The new fella was quiet but charming, and they were adorkably coupley, which brought back fond memories of what Ramesh & I were like when we first got back together.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:53 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
15.A song that is a cover by another artist

oh, I know one for this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo

Chis Hadfield sings space oddity.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:55 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
14.A song that you would love played at your wedding

Well, I decided that Castemere was inauspicious...

I rather like this for an entry.although it's rather long, I think I'd have to extract the theme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfprcvuHoG8

(entry of the gods into valhalla, das rheingold WagnerL)

Lovely team!

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:34 am
wildeabandon: Champage bottle and flutes (champagne)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Today is my last day at work before my holiday, and rather unexpectedly my team just came in and gave me an early birthday present (and sang at me). They got me a very goth card, a bread & cakes recipe book, and theatre tokens. Considering that I'm a temp and I've only been here for three months, I'm awfully pleased and surprised that they bothered at all, but especially that they seem to have got the measure of me quite so spot on. Lovely team :)

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 04:11 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
13.One of your favourite 70's songs

I don't really have one... wikipedia claims this is c. 1570 and will do :-p

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT-ZAAi4UQQ

(Spem in alium)

Recruiting soup kitchen volunteers

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:56 pm
wildeabandon: A London skyline (London)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
My church runs a soup kitchen every Tuesday evening to support the homeless and those in food poverty in the area. We're looking for volunteers to oversee the project about once every six weeks. The church is about 5 minutes walk from Finsbury Park station, so easy to get to from anywhere on the Victoria or Piccadilly lines. More details are here if you're at all interested, and if not but you know people who might be then I'd appreciate you pointing them there or here.

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax

Jul. 18th, 2017 05:15 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Dancing in the sand)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
I've often wondered why my shoes seem to wear out more quickly than other people's, given that I don't wear them often and I don't walk very far. Only Tom said I walked more than other people so I went to find the statistics to prove him wrong and it turns out, he's right. So, I generally walk about 15000 steps a day, according to a few varieties of pedometer I've tried (10000 on sedentary days, 20000 on busy days) and according to the NHS an average person walks 3000-4000 steps a day. So no wonder my shoes wear out quicker!

I do feel like more walking would benefit me, though, I don't tend to do very well on 'moderate' exercise, I get sleepy and lethargic and sad.

Speaking of, I am seeing a response to the folic acid. I'm getting fewer pins and needles in my legs, and they're generally more comfortable. I'm still very tired a lot, though, and I still feel worse if I eat less meat.

Other stuff:
Reading: I just finished Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond, edited by John Joseph Adams, which is delightful and if you like Oz related stuff, worth reading
Watching: nothing yesterday, but I've been listening to LeVar Burton Reads, which is a podcast of short stories with an introduction and a few words at the end.
Playing: On the Underground, Colin and I drew! Child favourites at the moment are Hey! That's My Fish and Coup. I really like Coup, can take or leave the penguins.
Eating: orzo with a tomato, mushroom and mozzarella sauce for the adults and lamb chops for the carnivores.

Xen

Jul. 18th, 2017 03:00 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

This is the Xen remaining in my mind.
These are the memories we mourn today:
they know no bounds, and cannot be confined.
These are the fingerprints you left behind;
These are the shadows that you cast away.

This is the Xen remaining in my mind
who fights to heal, to hope, and to unbind,
who helps the homeless build a place to stay,
who knows no bounds, and cannot be confined,
whose voice supports the hated and maligned,
who builds a happy home where children play:
this is the Xen remaining in my mind.

You taught me that the hope of humankind
is in community that, come what may,
will know no bounds and cannot be confined:
the colours of your rainbow are combined,
reflected here, for ever and a day;
this is the Xen remaining in my mind
who knows no bounds and cannot be confined.

[in memoriam Xen Hasan, obiit 2017]

 

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 02:16 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
12.A song from your pre-teen years

strong memories of primary school discos... yes I know it is awful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XutaTTNihe0
(Blobby song)

Busy, busy, busy

Jul. 18th, 2017 11:17 am
wildeabandon: sushi (sushi)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
It's all gone a bit hectic. Definitely in a fun way, but at some point I should probably schedule some quiet nights in...

I mentioned last month ago that I was trying climbing again, and since then I've been going most weeks. So far I'm making fairly measurable progress in terms of each time getting up a route, or at least further up a route, that I got stuck on the previous week. I was particularly pleased because one of those routes hadn't been graded the first time I tried it, and when I came back to it the following week it turned out to be three grades higher than anything I'd successfully climbed before (I still didn't quite make it to the top, but I got past the move I was stuck on, and I'm fairly confident that I'm going to make it to the top tomorrow).

I've been swimming a bit as well, both on my own and with [personal profile] sfred. The funny thing about swimming compared to most other forms of exercise that I do is that whilst I'm doing it it feels as though I'm going fairly gently and not working very hard, and then I get out of the pool and all my muscles go "gosh, that was bracing!". I think it's a combination of the water softening the impact of the motion, and feeling as though the only reason ones breathing is constricted is because of being underwater half the time, rather than from the exertion, and as Fred pointed out, not noticing that you're sweating, because it gets washed straight off.

I had my first singing lesson in ages last week, to get in a bit of improvement before choir starts in September. I'd forgotten how physical singing is when you're doing it right - I think my core muscles were getting more of a workout then than from the climbing!

I've also been enjoying various dinners. Last month I went to Morito with [personal profile] borusa and a couple of weeks ago I went with my sister to the Barbary to celebrate her birthday. They both do Middle Eastern/North African small plates on barstools overlooking the kitchen. Both were very good, and in both cases the aubergine thing was the high point of the meal. On that comparison Morito comes out on top, because their deep fried aubergine with date molasses and goat's curd was so delicious that I ordered a second plate of it instead of pudding. The crisp batter/melty soft aubergine texture contrast was heavenly, and the curd was light and fluffy but with a warm richness just made to be cut through by the sweet/sharp molasses.

Last weekend had more delicious food. On the Friday [personal profile] hjdoom was in town, so I had the fun challenge of finding somewhere good for a coeliac vegan to eat. We went for Itadaki Zen, the vegan Japanese place near Kings Cross, which is always fantastic. We had a mixture of small dishes to start, with lots of crunchy textures and umamish seasonings and sauces, then six pieces of sushi, all exquisite. My main was decent, but Oliver's tempura really won the day. I was especially excited by the vine leaf and the seaweed. On Saturday Ramesh & I went out for a very (very!) belated celebration of our anniversary to St Moritz. We ate all the cheese. And then we ate all the chocolate as well, because why not. I didn't think the fondue was quite as good as the late lamented L'art du fromage, but it was still basically giant pile of cheese, so hard to complain too much. On Sunday I'd invited Beryl, one of the St John's grandames, over for lunch, and then delegated the cooking to [personal profile] robert_jones, who did us proud with a lovely summery pea and basil soup, roast lamb that was just perfectly tender, and strawberries in balsamic syrup.

Tonight I'm dining with [personal profile] borusa again at Rok, and planning a dinner on Friday, when I've got the day off work so can pull the stops out a little bit. Then next week Ramesh & I are off to Amsterdam, where cultural and culinary delights various await us.

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 01:16 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
11.A song that you never get tired of

So many. I nearly went with a Rick Roll. This one I thought about putting for Wedding but no.. that wouldn't bu a great choice really.

I do so hope he plays 'The Rains of Castamere.' It's been an hour, I've forgotten how it goes.[

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnuCsp_tVs0

(Rains of Castamere)

You. You are the problem.

Jul. 16th, 2017 05:58 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

I just got thrown out of a restaurant for shouting at another diner.

She’d been insulting her child loudly for about ten minutes. The kid didn’t do anything in response: she just kept eating.

“You can’t eat properly.”

“You’re gross.”

I don’t know what she thought the kid was doing– maybe not using a fork properly?

Twice the woman did that thing people do to mock disabled folk. “Dur-nur-nur-nur,” you know?

And this was all loud enough that nobody could ignore it. All the other diners were turning round to glare at her. I was wondering how to intervene. There was too much anger in my mind.

Then her partner said something quietly about how she was spoiling everyone’s lunch. She snapped back, “It’s your fault for not restraining the kid.”

At this point I lost it.

I jumped up, pointed at her, and shouted, “YOU. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.”

And I told her that children should be encouraged and praised. That she was setting the kid up for a lifetime of feeling worthless. And: how dare she treat a child that way? I don’t remember what else I said. I was full berserker angry by this point.

“Excuse me,” said the staff. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“Of course. I’m sorry,” I said to the staff. “I’m sorry,” I said to the other diners, and then: “But I’m not fucking sorry to you.”

I don’t think the woman will change.

I expect she’ll punish the child when they get home.

But the child will never forget this day.
The child will know that someone opposes her mother.
That someone can fight her corner.

That was a thousand times worth getting thrown out of the restaurant.

[Picture by Sailko, cc-by-sa; detail from Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence]

CW Islamophobia

Jul. 15th, 2017 09:20 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
[CW Islamophobia]

I just stopped for a chat with a couple of guys handing out Islamic literature in Market Street. An agitated man ran up to us. "That man grabbed the Qur'an you gave me and threw it in the bin!" "Who was that?" said one of the others. "That Christian preacher over there! And you know what he told me? He said the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim." I said something unprintable. The other man merely said, "Oh, it's him again," went over to the bin, and fished the book out again. Then they both went over and had a conversation with the preacher, which appeared from a distance to be civil at least on one side.

It was time for us to go, so we carried on up Market Street. The preacher was clearly homing in on us. We kept on veering left. He kept adjusting his course. Eventually we reached the wall. "It's all about Jesus," he said. "Indeed it is," I said. "You have to accept Jesus into your heart," he said. I glanced down at the tract he was holding out. In capitals in the Parchment font it read, "THREE STAGES OF JIHAD." "I have, thank you. I'm a Christian..." I kept pushing Kit's chair on past him. "Oh." "...and I have to say I think you're behaving abominably. You took someone's book out of their hands and threw it in the bin. You realise that constitutes theft? ..." But he'd gone.

If anyone was walking down Market Street wondering which faith to convert to, I think Islam would have been the unquestionable winner.

I am not happy with this shit happening in the name of Jesus. I am not happy with it happening in the name of the Church. I don't know what I can do to help. Ideas welcome.

new skill

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:12 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
It occurred to me that I should take up a new craft, so I could use the slogan 'Come for the embonpoint, stay for the needlepoint'

(no subject)

Jul. 13th, 2017 05:43 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
10.A song that makes you sad

oh so many, but I'll pick this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljijk2T8zV4
(Empty chairs at empty tables)

(no subject)

Jul. 11th, 2017 02:04 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
9.A song that makes you happy

hard. I don't think songs make make me happy, there are songs for when happy but that's not the same. Anyway this is quite cheering

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs3dPaz9nAo
(modern major general)

(no subject)

Jul. 10th, 2017 02:17 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
8.A song about drugs or alcohol

I thought about Madeira, but it's very... not good. So here's one I like, but it's not especially something I had an immediate answer to.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHje9w7Ev4U
(Hotel California)
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