*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Er... hi.

If anyone is actually still reading this, you're probably surprised to see anything from me. I haven't been here for a while. And I'm not coming back.

However, I have revived/restarted the Dreamwidth mirror that I half-heartedly created when everyone started to leave, just in case the Tumblr migration means it now actually starts getting properly used as a platform by my social circle. If you want to find me there, it's the same username.

But if you actually want to find out what I've been doing for the last 7 years, you'll want to find me on Twitter which is where I tend to post content.

And so, farewell LJ!
  • Current Mood

Leaving Brighton drinks

Last time I posted I said that I didn't know what I was doing when my contract in Brighton ended.

Well, now I know. I have been offered a rather cool sounding job at the University of Lancaster, which will be starting in the second week of September.

I've found a house up there, and will be moving stuff in two weeks (just before the Discworld Convention... don't I plan well), having a couple of weeks up there around the convention, and then coming back to Brighton for my final week of work down here before moving permanently.

That being the case, i'm having some leaving drinks this Saturday night. In the absence of any better suggestion, this will be at around 8pm at The Bell in Hove, just off Blatchington Road (basically behind the big Tesco - cut through the car park).

Please feel free to let anyone know who you think might like to come.

Gosh, an entry

I kind of abandoned posting here. Not for any significant reason, more that once it was longer than a year, I felt that anything I wrote would be either an apology or seem not worth re-emerging for.

But i've been meeting various nice new people in the last few months, some of whom have LJs, and I got prodded. So, here's a post to say that I probably won't post again for several years. But i'm not dead, and I read all your entries, and occassionally even leave comments.

If you want to know what i'm up to on a day to day basis, I use twitter for that these days. Same username. I was never very good at sitting down to compose posts, so 140 characters sent from my mobile when the whim strikes suits me just fine.

A brief precis of my current situation - i'm living in Brighton at the moment back with shebit and moose_biscuit while working a maternity cover post at the University of Brighton. I have no idea currently what i'll be doing or where i'll be living once that contract ends in November. I'm also keeping myself busy being a member of the committee for the International Discworld Convention.

Want to know anything more specific? Leave me a comment and I'll probably reply. That goes for any time forward, not just the few days after this post is made.

Bye till next time!

Oscars and travelling

Had some friends round last night for an 'Oscar party'. I made dinner (baked salmon and roasted vegetables and potato wedges), and then there were multitudinous snacks, namely nachos, and homeemade salsa, and crudites, and crisps, and houmous, and dip, and cake, and chocolates, and more cake. We ate to keep awake.

I wasn't particularly suprised by any of the award results (except perhaps that Nick Park didn't win) and the ceremony itself wasn't up to the usual standard, and a little dull. Hey ho. It was still a fun evening. I'd seen a good proportion of the films and while there were some nominated i'd have preferred to win, nothing seemed unfair.

I've now got a week off work, and will be heading down to London tomorrow to see my family. I've already made some arrangements in the evenings (birthday drinks for a friend, meal with extended family, and attendance at the regular pub quiz with hobnobs - it would be nice to see folks there if anyone was pondering going) but if anyone Southwards fancies meeting up during the day i'm quite happy to hop on a train or in the car and wander about and find people. Let me know if you're free and we'll try and sort something.

Next Sunday is my birthday. I have no idea what i'm doing yet, if anything. I'm not particularly bothered by this fact :)


So, where were we?

Right. Looking back on my 'recent' entries, it seems that my last post to actually contain much content was in November. Shocking.

Obviously there's no way I can update on all the stuff that i've been busy with since then, and honestly it's probably not particularly interesting. So here's a potted summary. Yay lists!

  • My new job rocks. I love the laid back academic atmosphere, and the group i'm in does really cool stuff.

  • I'm working in the centre of Manchester. This involves commuting, about an hour door to door, which is not ideal but could be far worse and gives me time to read twitter and catch up on my magazine subscriptions.

  • Working in the centre means i'm able to be a lot more sociable with Manchester folks. My social calendar seems to be constantly full - in the last month or so there has seldom been a week where I have more than two 'evenings off' from being out and busy. This is good, but tiring.

  • Some of the time that I do have free, is dedicated to the business stuff. I've done several more Cook Clever courses, and they seemed well recieved. One recipient in fact is on here, I hope they had fun. I'm slowly winding down the Jamie Oliver stuff though I think, I just don't have time and the returns are not worth the effort it requires

  • Any *remaining* free time, i'm busy with my responsibilities for the Discworld Convention. Which, as per my previous post is almost full to capacity, eep! I'm really looking forward to it, should be a good 'un this year. I'm off down to Birmingham on Saturday for a meeting with the hotel to check everything is as it should be.

  • So now, a list of specific fun things that I have done in the past three months (in no particular order):

  • Been to the preliminary and first meetings of the Manchester Scifi Book Club, which meets at Madlab. The first book we read and discussed was The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. The one for next month (16th March) is The Drowned World by JG Ballard. The first discussion session was fab and i'm really looking forward to the next one.

  • There were those holiday things. Christmas, and New Year. Christmas involved my sister visiting, and lots of food. New Year's was a great party in London courtesy of bytepilot and thalinoviel. There was fire. Mmmm, burny.

  • Been watching the new series of Lost. Oooh, it's rather good.

  • Been watching Caprica. It's interesting so far.

  • We got Sky+HD installed! I'm not so fussed by the HD thing, my eye isn't discerning enough. But I *love* Sky+, I don't have to worry about missing episodes of things any more! I don't tend to turn the tv on unless there's something specific I want to watch, so if I am out or forget I easily lose track.

  • And finally, things that are happening soon that i'm looking forward to:

  • The 'Teawitter' twitter tea party on Sunday. I'm making homemade crumpets.

  • It's also Purim, so i'll be going to the synagogue saturday night, and also bringing homemade hamentaschen to the teawitter party. I did pre-prep on the dough this evening, it's a three day recipe (the pastry needs chilling overnight at two separate stages) so it's a good thing I only make it once a year!

  • The Oscars are on a week on Sunday, and i'm having a few folks round to stay up late and watch them with me. Oscar party, hurrah...

  • ...and I don't have to get up early the next day because i've booked a week off work. I shall at some point at the start of the week be heading down to London (until Friday), but i've got no particular plans there other than on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, so if anyone wants to meet up/hang out let me know and we'll try and sort something.

  • The week after that, it's my birthday! No real plans as yet, but it's a sunday so might go out for lunch or something.
  • lark

    Anybody looking for a dining table?

    Yes yes, I know I haven't updated for over a month. And for once it's not because i've not been doing much of note, but because i've actually been really really busy and not had much time to sit down and write about it all. I have been using google calendars a lot though (it's a lifesaver!) and using twitter as an aide to arranging things and occasionally comments on what i'm doing. So when I do have time to make a post I should be able to give a summary of my busyness!

    But for now... my parents have a big dining table that they have had for over 20 years, that wasn't new when they bought it. The wood is still good and strong but has quite a few scratches and marks in the varnish from lots of use. It seats 6-8 people, and has a leaf in the middle to extend the table so it seats 10-12. It has 6 (or possibly 8?) chairs that go with it which are upholstered but very shabby and worn. They did consider getting it restored and the chairs reupholstered, but were told it would cost more than a new dining set would, so they've decided to go with a new one. But it's a shame to take such a nice piece of furniture to the tip so they'd rather someone got some more use out of it. They don't want any money for it, but have said they don't really want strangers coming to the house to collect/look at it, so freecycle is out.

    Anyone interested? I've asked them to send me a photo.

    Boxing day

    Hmm, it appears that I may have to spend boxing day afternoon in Liverpool and be at a bit of a loose end from 3.30pm until at least 6pm.

    It's a long shot, but I don't suppose there's anyone up that way, that perhaps might be watching Hamlet, that I could pop by and visit? ;)

    Steak and Ale Pie: posted as a memory aid...

    ...because that's definately being made again!

    Steak and Ale Pie (8 portions, more or less)

    1kg braising steak cut into large cubes
    4 large carrots cut into chunks
    1 *extremely* large and fat leek cut into slices
    2 large onions, roughly chopped
    half a bottle of old speckled hen
    some plain flour, salt and pepper, a bay leaf
    about 1.5 pints of beef stock (from a stock cube)
    1 packet pre-made puff pastry

    Made in a slightly odd order because I realised halfway through that my saucepan wasn't as big as i'd thought:

    Onions and carrots sauteed on a medium heat in a little olive oil. Taken out and put to one side. Heat turned up high, beef added in batches with about a tablespoon of flour sprinkled over per batch with salt and pepper (normally i'd toss the meat in flour before adding to the pan but I was being lazy because I didn't want to get another bowl dirty). Meat taken out and put to one side. About 3 tablespoons of beer poured into the pan, and used to scrape up all the browned flour to make a sort of beer roux. (this again was not how i'd usually do it, but it worked really well!). Thick goopy roux taken out and put in a jug, a little more oil added to the (now pretty mch clean) pan. Leeks sauteed on a medium heat until softened. Everything previously set aside except the roux added back into the pan and given a good stir. A pint of beef stock added, plus the rest of the beer, plus the roux. Stirred and brought to the boil, then left to simmer for about 2.5 hours. I added the remaining half a pint of stock after about an hour.

    Pie filling placed in a pie dish and cooled (I put it in the fridge overnight at this stage, because it turned out hobnobs wasn't going to be home in time for dinner. So I had leftovers from the previous night and the pie got postponed). Pastry rolled out thin enough to cover the entire dish, laid over the top with the edges overhanging slightly and pinched in to stick to the sides. Baked for about 40 minutes to an hour until the pastry was puffed and brown. Nommed with mash and boiled cabbage!

    Just a reminder

    Last mention, I promise!

    If anyone else was interested in any of the Jamie Oliver cookware stuff, last day for orders is Wednesday. (They'll be delivered to you before xmas, with a free catalogue and recipe folder, delivery free with over £100 or a fiver otherwise. Er, UK only i'm afraid).

    You can see the catalogue here: