Sunday, 1 February 2015

Week 4

I was so good, and started the week so well, with a salad for my lunch... and then, after my colleagues had eaten their equally healthy lunches, someone mentioned chippy teas. Now, for those of you who don't live in the North West of England (other places may do this, but it doesn't seem to be universal as it is here), Friday night is traditionally chippy tea night. It's believed to stem from the Catholic tradition of not eating meat on a Friday, and so a nice cheap source of fish for tea, is the local fish & chip shop. Now, other places (I know from experience) do things differently, but in the NW a 'proper' chippy, will also have a menu of (usually) Chinese food, which it was agreed, we would all peruse, safe in the knowledge that regardless of how fabulous the egg foo young sounds, we're there for fish and chips, and a fish supper is therefore what we will purchase.

The next part of the ritual, is paying close attention to what the person in front of you orders. It makes, again, no difference to your tea, but the thinking "Ooh, that sounds good" is as important as the fact that you go to the chippy in person, you do not order it for home delivery as you would with a curry. You also know, that no matter how many fish are in the hopper, they will have all gone by the time you get to the front of the queue and you will therefore have to wait five minutes for a fish to be battered and fried, but at least it's fresh then. One of my colleagues related a tale of entering the chippy to see a fish sat waiting and no other customers, in excitement, he ordered expecting instant fish and chips to be told that although there was a fish ready, it'd be three minutes for chips. Ahh well.

The last ritual of buying the chips (something that I've never done) is apparently to steal a chip before the package is wrapped (and also, therefore, before you've paid for them). Apparently this almost always results in burned fingers, and mouths, but it's apparently totally worth it.

Afterwards, we all take the fish suppers home (mushy peas are apparently the norm outside our house) and butter some cheap white sliced bread (as opposed to artisan bread, you can still have Warburtons like a good northerner) - we then discussed how you make up your butty (is it just chips, just fish, both? One of each? Do peas get an entry?) and more importantly what sauce goes on... one colleague shocked the congregation by admitting that he has his... "dry". I know. Others have chip-shop curry sauce (that special substance which cannot be replicated at home, purchased anywhere else, and is unique to chip-shops, someone else has gravy, I have the chip-shop barbeque sauce. 

After a somewhat lengthy discussion about this, we decided that Monday post-salad-lunch was the wrong time to discuss this, and changed the subject.

You can imagine how the fates surprised me on Monday night. Due to a variety of entirely unconnected strange circumstances, we ended up having a chippy tea (complete with barbeque sauce)!

Anyway... You probably had to be there, and engaged in the conversation, to understand, but it seemed perfectly normal, was very amusing, and more importantly, seemed to bring some cohesion to the team at the time. 

In other news, I finished reading Our Zoo, by June Mottershead about the founding of Chester Zoo, which is just fabulous. I can't imagine doing anything as out-there or outrageous as her Father did, but I am so glad the he had the vision, the determination and the success to make it work! Especially as they have emailed a tiny video clip of their three shiny newborn Sumatran Tigers recently! One of the things I particularly enjoyed, is that June discusses the war. It's not central to the book, but it still has a major impact, as it must have done to anyone who lived through it, but aspects that you tend to forget about. That rationing continued, and got worse, after the war. The oft-forgotten Liverpool Blitz, which affected the food supplies coming into the country. What happened to people like Kay, stranded in Blighty with his elephants at the start of the war. It's definitely a must read. But then Chester Zoo is very definitely a must visit too!

I also managed a few cinema trips... the first to see Wild, based on the book of the same name by Cheryl Strayed. A woman goes massively off the rails after the death of her mother, and decides, in an effort to pull herself together, to walk the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. It's funny, and moving, and some of the views are amazing. I don't think I'd be brave enough to try it myself, but I can sort of understand it. I might try something a bit safer... I'll stick to the forest for now I think! We also went to see Big Hero Six a second time, because it's fab. It's worth waiting for the post-credit scene too, although we were the only ones in the cinema who did!

LittleBit went on her first overnight school trip - to the forest! She had a whale of a time, came home covered in mud and entirely unconcerned that she'd been out in rain, snow and hailstones. Apparently, they walked through a river (I'm guessing the brook, but I shan't tell her that and ruin her mojo) whilst on a treasure hunt, she has told us *precisely* what makes a good toasted marshmallow (and which teacher toasts the best one), and how fabulous the camp fire was.  She came home with a bag full of mud-covered clothes, whilst our washing machine is on the blink. Luckily, we've enough clean clothes for at least the first few days of the week, and an engineer booked to attend tomorrow - fingers crossed s/he can fix it, and I can wash the muddy pile of discarded clothes sat in front of it! (I can barely wait).

Today is Beloved's birthday (and also my baby sister's) - so yesterday we saw little-sis (there was cake), and today, I left Beloved at home, on his own for a few hours in the early morning so that he could watch match of the day (without being told rude things about which football team he supports - which is obviously not the same team that I support). I went to the early Nordic Walking class, and then, then, I stayed for my normal class! I know, two classes back-to-back - I'm so brave! I took a picture of the brook in the forest (shan't show Littlebit in case she recognises it). 

After a lazy afternoon (during which Beloved was able to watch some more football, although he did have a few hours of overtime to do too - boo) we went for dinner at a local Indian Restaurant, which serves a buffet on a Sunday evening. The selection is between 4 different curries (with a few sides) and as a general rule of thumb, the further to the right the curries are, the hotter they are. So, I partook of the first two, Littlebit also stuck with curry 2 (Chicken tikka massala), but Beloved was brave (I say brave, normal for him) and took only a spoonful from each of curries three and four. Three was on the hot side of manageable (in his words "I could eat it") curry four was a lamb something (beginning with s) which was "vindaloo hot" and resulted in an almost comedy moment where I honestly thought steam was about to escape his ears! He enjoyed it, but probably won't have it again!

I haven't finished any new cross stitches this week, but I've worked on two - and hope to finish one, and then do some more work on Bettende Hande next week!

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