November 18, 2008

Manchester needs to move

I've just come back from a great weekend in Manchester, during which I discovered two things:
  • Manchester is approximately 362% nicer, cleaner and friendlier than London
  • Manchester is about two-and-a-half hours too far away by car
Given this assessment, I think the only workable option is for Manchester and London to switch places, so that I will only have to spend about an hour getting to Manchester from my house, and will therefore actually be able to see Manchester-based friends on a more regular basis. Therefore, I am adding the Manchester-London Reversal Project to my Total World Domination Plan(tm) and will implement it as soon as the plan comes to fruition, alongside the Guitar Solo Vetting Scheme and countless other life-enhancing changes.

Under the project, Londoners will be given the option of 'staying' where they are to live in Manchester, so long as they agree to discard their old London ways, in particular:
  • Forgetting that places outside of London (and especially north of London) actually exist
  • Barging into strangers on the street/tube and refusing to apologise in case it holds them up for a second
  • Charging exorbitant amounts for beer and, well, most things
There will be other conditions, the most important of which will be a requirement for all Bands I Want To See who book London gigs to also play in Manchester during the same tour, and others that I will add at a later date (when they occur to me). All in all though, I don't foresee to many problems with this one. I'm looking forward to bringing the project forward and rolling it out. Going forward.

August 17, 2008

Coldham's Crumble

I love food, but the kind of food I love best is the kind that comes free because it grows in public. Right now I'm digesting apple and blackberry crumble after a successful fruit-picking mission to Coldham's Common. I'm definitely planning to go back next week; there are tons of blackberries getting close to ripening.

Coldham's Crumble
Filling: take apples and blackberries picked from Coldham's Common. Core and peel the apples, wash the blackberries, mix them all together with some brown sugar.

Crumble mix: 4oz plain flour/2.5oz brown sugar/1.5oz butter. Rub the flour and butter into breadcrumbs and tip over the filling before baking at 190 degrees C for 45 minutes.


August 09, 2008

Knitting obsession

I'm becoming a bit of a knitwear obsessive. At the Folk Festival last weekend I kept spotting lots of garments that looked like they were hand-knitted and had to restrain myself from asking the wearers about them (I imagine they wouldn't have been best-pleased if I was wrong!). Simon thinks it's all a bit amusing, but I can just throw his model plane obsession back at him, so we're both super-geeks now. Anyway, it turns out I'm enjoying this new hobby so much I'm now planning on making all my Christmas presents knitted. I guess I'd better get cracking, since I'm not exactly the fastest knitter!

I've signed up for a Ravelry account to try and keep myself a little more organised with what projects I'm working on, but until that becomes active I'm going to attempt to keep track of what I've already done here.

So far I have two completed projects - the first being a scarf I made a couple of years back while I was in Nottingham, which I've never really worn. It was more of a practice project - all in garter stitch, which I don't find all that attractive and which, in any case, doesn't sit all that well round your neck - as you can see.

Continuing the garter stitch theme, I also completed this tank top in July - I prefer this, but I'm still not sure how often I'll wear it. It has a fine example of my cack-handed crocheting (I had to learn how to do this just for this top) along the neck and armholes. I'm fairly pleased with the result as a first attempt at altering a pattern. It fits!

July 26, 2008


Oh dear... on reading my last post, I've realised that my green-fingered ambitions have been somewhat foiled. The sunflower seeds, sadly, failed to produce any sunflowers (probably because they were planted too late) and, in a new turn of events, our landlord appears to have started working on the flowerbeds I was going to use. Which means I now have an enormous pot of mint growing in the windowsill, that really really wants an outside home. I think perhaps I need to recruit some people to help me find a patch of scrubland to plant it out...

On the other hand, I have picked up an old hobby and started knitting again. Strange how you suddenly rediscover things your mother taught you as you near your 30s. I'd forgotten how satisfying it can be... although I think I may need to learn how to be patient again; something I've lost since I first learnt to knit. I'll try and post a picture if I ever complete my current project!

June 01, 2008

Guerrilla inspiration

Today Simon and I went planting on Midsummer Common - we've sown sunflower seeds that came with my copy of On Guerrilla Gardening, which was given to me by Fiona for my birthday. I'm not sure whether she was dropping a deliberate hint, given that the new flat has no outdoor space to call our own, but it's definitely inspiring me so far and I keep spotting pieces of neglected-looking land that I want to make good. I may not be the most green-fingered person in the world, but I'm seriously considering giving it a go, starting with the courtyard outside our flat, which features a strange water feature that probably cost lots of money, and some flowerbeds that are untended and looking a bit sorry for themselves. Need to figure out an action plan though - what to grow, and when to plant it - hopefully without getting noticed! I'll try and post the results here at some point...

February 13, 2008

Moving house

I'm surrounded by cardboard boxes in a flat that's surrounded by fog. Tomorrow I move house, so Simon and I will get to spend Valentine's Day driving across town moving all our possessions to our new flat - hopefully by that time this fog will have cleared!

Up until today it's felt more like spring than the middle of winter, which has given me a bit of that 'fresh start' feeling while I've been packing. Today it's difficult to motivate myself, though, and I'm putting that down to the weather - although I'm actually excited about moving now, after the initial disappointment of finding out we had to find somewhere new. I'll miss a few things about living here, but it's hard to be upset when we're going to have Midsummer Common as our back garden. I just wish physically moving everything was going to be easier...

January 06, 2008


So, today the Christmas decorations are supposed to come down and the festive season is really over, which to me means I have all that cold winter to get through with very little else to brighten it up, and no cash left to spend either. Mind you, we still have plenty of wine and chocolate left over to see us through the dark nights, so it's not all bad...

Every year I tell myself I'm not making a New Year's resolution, but when it comes down to it I always end up with a big list of things I want to accomplish. I've come to realise this is a pretty bad idea, since it only leads to an inevitable feeling of failure a year later (of my ridiculously long list of about eight resolutions for 2007, I managed to achieve about two, and they were the easiest ones).

Anyway, since I have no money and no urge to go out into the cold, I think this year I'm going to stick to one resolution that involves staying in a lot - learning to play the guitar I bought for myself last year. It's been gathering dust for several months now, and I haven't managed to progress beyond playing the same few chords one after the other in very slow succession - mostly that's because I get frustrated with myself and give up too easily. I'm sure there are harder things I've managed to master, but those are mostly things I've done because I've had to. It's about time I did something just for the fun of it, so I'm determined to stick with it this time - and hopefully, in a year's time, I won't be re-reading this with a sense of failure...!