Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pirate's Awesome Match at Lord's

Pirate played a cricket match at Lord's recently. It was quite the red letter day. (For the Yanks who don't know, Lord's is the most prestigious cricket ground in England.)

He opened the bowling and took 2 wickets, more than anyone else on his side, but not until the opposition had racked up 165 runs with their opening partnership. Ouch.
During lunch the crowd (yes, there was a crowd of about 3,500 people. We were all seated in the Grand Stand, where I took these photos from, so looking across the pitch all you see are empty seats, but that's because all the spectators were behind me) was entertained by a very good band.

At teatime the players were introduced to Princess Anne (that's her in the yellow dress. I was too lazy to paste an arrow in for you). I asked Pirate what he said to her and he told me that she enquired about his job, which he described for her. Then she went on to feign interest in the next player.

Finally Pirate got to bat. When he came on to the pitch it was looking dire for his side, as they had lost a lot of wickets quite quickly and gotten few runs. The team and the crowd were getting despondent. Then he came out and smashed a 4 off the first ball and the crowd cheered. He continued hitting 4s until he had taken the team from a position of almost certain defeat to a likely draw. At one point the crowd was even chanting his name! Pi-rat! Pi-rat! Pi-rat!
When he was eventually bowled they put his photo up on all the big scoreboards. He is even awesomer than I am. The end.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Awesome 80-mile* bike ride

I thought my little diversions about burning piers and silly memes would keep you distracted while I put this pots together, but apparently not. It seems some of you are paying attention.

And no, you can't have a lollipop. Because I said so.

After cleaning and re-oiling the gears on my bike, tightening and re-balancing the brakes, I set off yesterday morning at 10:40. It was a beautiful day, and already hot. I followed National Cycle Route 4 from Bristol to Bath, and then on to Devizes via Bradford-on-Avon along the Kennet and Avon Canal. I kept to the minimum allowable clothing, a sports bra and bike shorts. (Sorry, not photo of that.) Here is a series of pictures I took to document my journey.

Along the Avon Valley Antique Railway I spotted this gem of sarcastic graffiti:

As I was crossing over the River Avon (and stopping to eat some malt loaf), I saw this lovely red canal barge pass under the bridge. This is a bit of the Avon I know well, as it's part of the stretch of water where I scull. I've been under this bridge hundreds of times myself!

On the other side of Bath it was a bit quieter (just a bit, mind) but this wee faun didn't seem to mind all the families out enjoying the sunday sunshine:

An aquaduck! It's hard to tell from this photo (I couldn't get a higher vantage point), but this aquaduct on the K&A canal crosses over the River Avon, which is about 60 feet below. (That's my bright green bike in the foreground.)

A typical stretch of canal: peaceful and shady. Looooooooovely.

My dream home:

Thistles and lustrife in a cottage garden so charming Miss Marple herself would barf a rainbow at the sight.

*Proof! At this point I am 11 miles past Bath, which is 17 miles from Bristol, and I still have 10 to go. (I realize that doesn't quite add up to 40, but it's close. Work with me here.)

There's not much in this photo. I just liked the banding effect of the blue sky, ripe wheat, and green aquatic grass thingys.

An obliging heron:

Haystacks! Eat your heart out, Claude.

Yellow water lilies behind pink things. What do I look like, a botanist? Oh, yeah. *slinks away*

The Caen Hill Locks. This photo doesn't do them justice. This is one fucking spectacular piece of Victorian engineering. Absolutely astounding.

I wanna uh I wanna uh I wanna uh I wanna uh I wanna really really really really wanna Zig-a-Zig ah! (and Himself.)
We had a delightful time. Ziggi and Himself came to pick me up at the Devizes sports center, which was an easy landmark, right off the canal, and I know it because Pirate has played cricket there on several occasions. They took me back to their house and Ziggi made a very yummy lunch with chicken and potato salad and rolls. I was offered copious quantities of happy-making beverages (and I must say that the strawberry wine was especially scrummy), we sat by the pond-fountain-waterfeaturewithfish thing and talked all afternoon about life, politics, what have you. There were creature comforts in the forms of Fern, Suze, the Fredster, the rabbits, and Dolce the cat (who left large quantities of fluffitude on my shirt). What a great day!

On the way back I snapped this photo of the Locks from the top looking down. You can't see the series of locks well from this angle, but the sky is pretty.

That's a little better. (And yes, I had to ride all the way up that hill on the path to the left to reach this point. This at the end of a near 40-mile journey! Going back down again was fucking great, I can tell you.)

My favorite photo of the day: the pub beside the Bradford-on-Avon marina, with a hot air balloon. (If you click the bigness you will see the balloon is doing a burn, too!)

Close-up of the balloon. Hang on, what the fuck's that on the side? It's the porn balloon!

Another aquaduck. Even though I had a fairly high vantage point for this, you still don't get the sense of the valley that bridge is spanning.

Ah, that's better. I took this photo standing in the middle of the above aquaduct, looking off to the left. See what I mean now?

How stunning is this light? It was raining when I took this at about 9:30 in the evening. I was still east of Bath, and had about 20 miles to go to get home. My legs were fine. For the time being.

Just before getting in to Bath I spotted this unconventional, hippie-occupied canal boat. The chap who lived in was very friendly (and very attractive if I'm being honest. In another life, I totally would have.)

He has cool, homemade sculpture on the front of his boat. It reminded me of the water creature in The Abyss.

A field of asters

Entering Bath. This photo really doesn't capture the twinkliness of the city in the twilight.

Bath Abby. No, I did not steal this photo from their website. I took this myself, last night, with my fully automated little digital camera. Not bad for a total amateur, huh? (except you can see the handles of my bike in the foreground. whoops.)

After that it was too dark for much photography. I got home at about 11. It took me 3 hours and 40 minutes on the way out, and 4 hours coming back. By the time I was 10 miles from Bristol my legs were starting to shake. Fortunately the last few miles are the easiest.

Today I am fine. The only evidence of my journey, besides the photos, are
--> the blister on my ass
--> my incredibly tight right hamstring
--> the layers and layers of dust and filth caked on to my bike, which was sparkling clean at the outset.

It was a brilliant trip, and I will definitely take more pedal-powered roadtrips in the future.

In a word

I was just thinking yesterday, on my 80-MILE BIKE RIDE, that I haven't done a good meme in a while. I found this at Slaminsky's today, so I done stoled it. Here goes:

1. Your cell phone? Fisher-Price (it's hyphenated. That makes it one word. Word.)
2. Your significant other? Perfect
3. Your hair? Boring
4. Your mother? Trying
5. Your father? Adorable
6. Your favourite thing? sculling
7. Your dream last night? bizarre
8. The room you're in? MESSY!
9. Your fear? Alone
10. What you're not? Organized
11. The last thing you did before logging on? Cook
12. Where did you grow up? Bumfuck
13. Favourite drink? weissbier
14. What are you wearing? shorts
15. Your TV? nonexistent
16. Your pet? Nazi
17. Your computer? paperweight
18. Favourite place? river
19. Your mood right now? worried
20. Missing someone? Pirate
21. Something you're not wearing? perfume
22. Love someone? Eternally
23. Your favorite color? green
24. Kids? sooooooon
25. Your life? good
26. Tagging? Everyone!

Sad... and suspicious

The Grand Pier at Weston-Super-Mare has been destroyed by fire. It's quite sad, really. I've been there a few times. Hairy Man used to take me there for ice cream.

It also seems a bit suspicious to me. The new owners just spent loads on restoration and renovation. Can all you boys and girls say "insurance fraud?" Sure, I knew you could.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Tomorrow I am going to bicycle from Brizzle to Devizes and back! It will be over 80 miles round-trip. I am very excited. I will follow National Cycle Route 4 along the Avon from Bristol to Bath and then along the Kennet and Avon Canal from Bath to Devizes.

The weather will be beautiful, there will be aquaducts and kingfishers and shady beach forests and ice cream, and best off all there will be Ziggy!

News on Monday.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Pirate and I registered our wedding list through this company.

Now they are bankrupt. People have already bought gifts. They, and we, are screwed. This is the last thing I need right now.

Wank shit bugger balls damn shit fuck arse shit bugger goddamnit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Most refreshing cocktail ever conceived

I'm drinking this as I type, and it's lush as Eden. Goes down a little too easily, to be frank.

In a pint glass add:
juice of 1 sweet, ripe grapefuit
several splashes of gin
top up with tonic water.
Drink like it's goin' outta style.

Now it needs a name! Suggestions in the usual place.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

If I knew you were coming...

Who could have imagined that a blog with photos of cake-decorating travesties would be so fucking hilarious!

*wipes eyes*

15 minutes ago I was still a bit nervous about baking my own wedding cake.

No longer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I blame the sea gulls

for the absolutely shitty morning I had.

It was because the seagulls were squawking that I leapt from my bed and lunged for the water gun on the desk to shoot the fucking bastards,

Which caused me to get dizzy and black out because I got out of bed too fast,

Which caused to lose both my balance and my consciousness

Which caused me to fall off my desk (where I was kneeling to reach the window to shoot the sea gulls)

Which caused me to (somehow, I really don't know how this happened) to fall off the desk in such a way that I scraped my back against a corner of it, catching a raised mole on my back and ripping the thing off my flesh, creating a 10-inch long vertical gouge in my back.

The pain of which caused me to go in to shock (after I came to in a pile on the floor)

Which caused me to get all hot and feverish and nauseous

Which caused me to throw up all over my laundry before I could get it together enough to ring the doctor, which I eventually did, hauled myself up to student health, and got myself bandaged up nicely.*

I could have done it myself save for the difficulty of reaching my own back.


*The bandages all fell off in the 15 minute walk back to my flat. Fucking NHS can't even apply a bandaid properly.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Quantum Fishies

This is Wong-Foo:
Wong-Foo is not doing his job.

Wong-Foo's job is to eat the Quantum Fishies. The Quantum Fishies are the offspring of my two guppies, Preggers and Studly. (I'll get some photos up as soon as I remember to charge the batteries for my camera.)

Preggers and Studly are very good at their job. Their job is to make snacks for Wong-Foo. Wong-Foo's job is to eat the snacks so the tank doesn't become overcrowded. It's an eco system thing. Keep up, people.

But Wong-Foo has gotten lazy, and there are FOUR more fishies in the tank than there should be. They are the Quantum Fishies: Nuon, Gluon, Lepton, and Quark. They are little more than a pair of eyes each attached to a small, transparent body and tail. They do not swim, they do not move. They disappear from one location and instantly reappear in another place in the tank. It is not magic: it is Quantum Tankanics. They are here, there, and everywhere, few in number, but nearly impossible to count. They are the Quantum Fishies.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How I pulled my ass cheek

This weekend Pirate and I were going to see Wall-e, but I got the date for the release wrong and it wasn't out yet. Grrrr.

So instead we went to the club and stuck me in the nets to teach me how to bat properly. (Apparently the half-ton I got this weekend for the Bowl Movement CC was a fluke.) It turns out I'm a left-hander.

I started out as a right-hander, which is what would be expected, since I'm right-handed. But i just couldn't get the coordination right. It felt forced and contrived and totally unnatural. So I switched sides. After 10 seconds of feeling slightly weird it all came together and I was blocking shots like a pro.

Pirate is a good coach, if slightly exasperating. In his job he is a pirate trainer, taking kids off the street and instilling in them all the best pirating values. I got a good sense yesterday of how his wee piratettes see him.

Several buckets of tennis balls later (i didn't have any pads, so we used softer balls), Pirate's bat was feeling very heavy indeed, and my back was getting sore, so we called it a day. I woke up today with a pulled ass.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Movie Review: Prince Capsaicin*

"Nothing ever happens exactly the same way twice."

Except for, apparently, that line, which occurred word for word in the move twice.

That said, it was actually better than the book. I give it 2 1/2 musky gussets.

Oh, and Reepicheep was awesome. Eddie Izzard was perfect.

*cuz he be HOT, bitches.

Mega-girly Girliness

Not my normal scene, I know. But yesterday I had an uber-girly day out with one of my bridesmaids. After a nice lunch of posh salads and white wine in the Slug & Lettuce we went lingerie shopping for The Big Day.

I bought an ivory satin bosque that has more lift than a Saturn 5 rocket. It turns out I have tits.* Who knew?!

Then we went to see Prince Caspian and drool over the hot kid with the faux Spanish accent playing PC. *fans face* The really sad and surprising thing is that despite PC's hotness it was the wet-chinned public school prat playing Peter who got me going in the scene where he fights Usurper Shiraz. I mean god DAMN I loves me a shiny suit of armor. *fans faster* Really, it wasn't Peter, just the way he wore that tin can with the red tabard and looked all "I'm about to die but I'm so taking you with me you fake-accented fucker." Mmmm.

(this pic would be better if he wasn't pouting. that's susan's job anyway)

Then there was more food at Frankie & Bennies where we ordered some very contrived menu item calling itself 'The Americana.' I don't know what made it American, but it were tastee. Also more wine.

w00t for (occassional) girlyness and very decadent 2-meals-out days.

*Really awesome ones


So there I was, wandering around the House of Fraser going-out-of-business sale, listening to U2, I still haven't found what I'm looking for, coming over the loudspeaker.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Good Day, Sunshine!

What an amazing day it's been! I was going to write about the bloody awful day I had on Sunday at Pirate's cricket game, where the people at the Arundel Castle cricket ground were so unbelievably rude to me that by lunch time I was sitting by myself in the car, in tears, and wouldn't come sit at the table. Never in my life have I been treated so badly by complete strangers. So now I would like to proclaim loudly to all who hear that the Duke of Norfolk's 11 are the biggest, snottiest, nastiest, most condescending collection of stuck-up, aristocratic pricks I have ever met, and they can all go rot. To be fair it wasn't the players who were awful, it was all their hangers-on and the staff in the clubhouse. Cunts, the lot of them.

Some of what was said to me was so horrible it was funny, but to convey the true spirit I would have to type in an accent, which I suck at, so instead I'm going to tell you why today was so wonderful instead.

It started off with another mess of wedding reply cards, which are always fun. I haven't enjoyed going to the box to get my mail this much since I was 10 years old and expecting birthday cards with cheques in them.

Today I received a very, very formal acceptance from Pirate's great aunt Peer, who is the family aristocrat. I could barely make out her handwriting as it creaked off the personalized stationery, but lo and behold she's coming. No-one expected her to. Isn't that lovely? Yay for aged and decrepit relatives who do the unexpected!

We also got our first wedding gift today! Yay! It's the solid, Michigan maple, 3" thick, end-grain chopping board I asked for. It's 4 square feet. Proper chopping board. Very generous. (Now who will get me the knives to go with it, I wonder?)

Then I got an email from an old friend from High School that I haven't heard from in, like, geological time. He saw the announcement in the news letter and sent an email to the last known account he had for me, which still feeds in to my current account. We spent the day emailing back and forth, it turns out he's moving to Germany shortly, and would like to come and visit me over the summer, so I asked him to come to the wedding, and he said 'yes'! Whoopie! I haven't seen him in over 10 years. Amazing.

And last but not least (and this is the real cherry on the cake), the Hairy Man* I.M.'d me. We haven't communicated in almost 2 years. He took the breakup pretty hard, and I've never stopped worrying about him and wondering what he's up to. It's been a bit of a loose thread that I was never able to tie off. I tried to get in touch a couple times, but he ignored me, and so I left him in peace. And then tonight he Skyped me, right out of the blue. He's living with his new girlfriend, which makes me very happy. I wish them both well, and I hope it works out for him.

Oh, and a gift I ordered for the Pirate from Amazon arrived, so I'll be able to give that to him when he comes over on Friday.

Yay! Happiness abounds! (As does stress, but we don't think about that.)

*If you're new around here and you want to read more about the Hairy Man, click the 'hairy man' category on the sidebar. It's all there.

Friday, July 04, 2008

To all my British colleagues:



And, um, can we come back? Please?

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I'm not making this up. All you pay is shipping and handling, which is not expensive.

The US site.

The international site.

There's no limit and no strings. Get involved, bitches.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The next time you're making squash soup

or pumpkin soup or soup of that ilk, lob a generous splash of scotch in it, along with a dash of either ginger or cinnamon. Something about the smokiness of the scotch and the sweetness of the squash just works. Oh man does it work! Bubble it for a few minutes until the alcohol cooks off, and serve it with a squirt of cream.

Do it. Do it now.

Detailed instructions:


1 large butternut squash/sugar pumpkin/other orange cucurbita
4 Tbs olive oil
cracked pepper
2-3 cups chicken stock or 2 oxo chicken bullion cubes
1/2 tsp cinnamon OR 1/2 tsp ginger (if you want to use both, make a fucking pumpkin pie)
1/4 cup good scotch (if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it you Philistine)*
single cream or half-and-half to taste

What to do:

  • Cut the cucurbita in half, scoop out the seeds, cover cut side with oil, sprinkle with cracked pepper, and put face down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 F (175 C) until the skin is brown, shiny, and bubbling off the flesh.
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool, and scoop out flesh. Discard skin.
  • Whiz flesh through a blender with the chicken stock (this will probably take you 2 batches, depending on the corpulence of your chosen cucurbita). The texture should be nice and smooth, but a little thicker than you would want your soup to be. You still have the whisky and cream to add, remember.
  • Pour in saucepan, add spice and whiskey. Bubble for a few minutes until alcohol is cooked off. Or not.
  • Ladel out a bowl, add a splash of cream,** swirl it with your spoon so it looks like a photo in a cookbook, and eat it. You will like it. It is good.

If you really want to show off to your friends at a dinner party, toast the pumpkin seeds after you've removed them and save them for garish, sprinkling them on the surface of the soup right before you serve it. Your friends will hate you.

*my feeble attempt at imitating First Nation's delightful abusive cooking instruction

** Don't add the cream until you are ready to serve it. Leftovers keep much better in the fridge or freezer if you haven't added the cream yet.