Weekends…

Weekends are usually one of these two things. Either it would be the most productive days of the week — when you do everything that you’ve planned the whole weekdays, such as getting the allotment plot cleared, weeding the flower border, baking three different bread in the kitchen (just because you can), writing seven chapter of what soon will become the next bestseller… or even have a lot of walking and grocery shopping for the week ahead.

Or, you turn into the most useless creature of the planet. Glued to the sofa, watching the daytime weekend TV program (which is essentially the dumbed down version of the daytime weekdays TV program), and munching the content of the sharing pack of crisps yourself. Sometimes, if you can be bothered, you might make some effort to brush the crumbs from your clothes…

But whichever it is…

Weekends are the best because you can be alone.

I don’t know about most of you, but socialising is not really my favourite thing to do.

While some people get energised by being among the crowd, I found it makes me very uncomfortable and tiring. I could spend the whole day cleaning the gunk and grease from the oven, and feel very cheerful by dinner time, but I will be completely wasted after two hours of having a constant conversation. That’s probably why I am not a good host for any visiting guests.

Anyway… It is going to be a long weekend — they call it bank holiday weekend here.

I kind of hope it is going to be a fun and productive weekend, but nobody knows. Who knows I will wake up tomorrow morning with a nasty spring flu (a.k.a terrible terrible hayfever reaction), and couldn’t even be bothered to even step out my front door. Hey! That’s not a bad idea. I could stay at home and write some more, or finish another knitting project…

Right… see you again soon.

x

P.S do

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writing a story?

“ everybody has a novel inside them” and “a writer writes, an editor edits”. Two phrases that I have heard. I seem to have two novels stuck inside me, and I forget that he I ever finish them an editor will correct the awful grammar and spelling… assuming that they ever get finished and are good enough to get an editors attention.

Yes. I have attempted to write.

When I had the germ of my “main” novel I was very excited. It’s a kind of “in the future/science fiction/social commentary” kinda thing. I got less and less excited when over time I realised that a lot of my “original” ideas had been done before. The longer I sat on my story the more often I saw other ideas crop up in the science and technology periodicals.

The second idea is a pretty well used format. A kinda dystopian “mad max” style world where the two main protagonists start off as your average Joe who have been transported to that alternate universe via a catastrophic accident instigated by an experiment with the LHC  at cern. 

They progress through the story by going on a journey to find answers (to why they are there and how to get back). They start of as relatively decent people but have to toughen up in order to survive. 

I am hoping that it will be a (darkly) amusing tale filled with action (guns, explosions) and weird stuff 

 Incidentally, I was planning on using that same LHC accident as background for my main novel – our earth gets flipped into a parallel universe for a micro second. It’s screws up the orbit when it returns so there has to be a planned exodus of the surviving population before the our planet wobbles off and becomes uninhabitable.

……Yeah, something like that anyway. 

One day…. One day I’ll knuckle down and flesh out a bit more. 

I suppose, too, that I should actually learn how to plan and structure stories too. Right now I have ideas and, as Indiana Jones once said “I’m making it up as I go along”

Feeding The Alien Pt.2

I know that I said earlier that I don’t know why telly programs need to stop before announcing the top 3, but I have my suspicion. Some grumpy dude that I ended up marrying likes to rant about how short the attention span of most British telly audience, and that could be one of the reason… but of course… it is the suspense. And the adverts… obviously.

Okay… nobody cares when I am stating the obvious. Let’s just crack on… Shall we? The top 3 of food that I tried in the last 6 years in the UK are:

3. Black Pudding
I think my husband was a little bit careful when explaining what black pudding is, when the first time we bought it from Aldi. I can understand why, though.
The idea of food in this country is very sanitised, that black pudding, haggis, and offal can be off putting for some people. Heck… they don’t even like the idea of eating fish that still have head on it, or chicken that has feet attached to it. Where I come from… those are the proof that what you eat is still fresh — just slaughtered before it goes to the wok. So yeah… I can understand why black pudding could be off putting for some people.
Black pudding, my kind ladies and gentlemen… is made of processed pig’s blood… and bits, and herbs and spices, and rolled and cooked so they look like a big fat black sausage. And then you slice them so that you can shallow fry them in the pan, usually to be eaten with a proper full english fry ups. Heavenly!

2. Trifle
I think the first time I tried trifle I couldn’t really appreciate it because of the massive amount of jelly. But when my mother in law introduced me to the traditional English Sherry Trifle… boom! It was the mother of all English dessert. Dare I say that it is better than italian Tiramisu? Oh yes I so dare… Especially with those boozy sponge.
What are you getting from trifle really? There are trifle sponge… soaked with booze (+1000 pts). The next layer is custard… English custard. I love deliberately mention Creme Anglaise in front of Grumpy just to provoke his grumpiness. And the next layer is whipped cream.
Should I say more?

1. Twiglets
Aren’t you surprised? I mean, I have mentioned marmites before, but it is not the same with twiglets, really. You kind of have to pair marmite with something, but twiglets… you can just have it. It is just not so easy to find them on offer.
Do you know that Twiglets taste better when you buy them on offer?
My mother in law loves Twiglets too, and I tried to bring her some every time we go on a visit to their place. And it was hard… so hard not to keep taking a fistful of the yeasty goodness from that black bag every time she offers to share. Yes… I am every mother in law’s dream…

There you go… If you are new in the UK too, and you think you want to take your culinary adventure to the next level, those are the things you might want to try. Good luck 😀

Morning post

… or whenever I get enough Internet signal via my phone…

I was  reading yesterday’s post from my beautiful alien and noticed that she speculated as to whether I would moan about the weather yesterday

Yes. Yes I did

Because I was on a slightly pitched roof that was at least 100 feet up. got caught out several times with the hail. And rain. and icy wind. 

I definitely deserved the monika “grumpy” yesterday

Feeding the Alien Pt.1

One of the best thing of being an alien in a new place is that I got to try new stuff. And my favourite new stuff to try is the food. I am still discovering new tastes here in the UK, even after being here for almost six years. And the last one I tried was Hot Cross Bun… t’was Easter and I was curious — and the bun was okay.

If I have to make a list of the best food I have tried in the UK, it would take forever. So I will just pick my favourite 5 of food I have tried for the past 6 years in the UK. It is not an easy task, and I don’t care if anyone has ever bothered to challenge me to make this list, but… challenge’s accepted.

5. Eton Mess
I learned about this food on my first summer ever in the UK, and it was called so because allegedly it is originally from Eton — yes, the posh school. Eton Mess is basically strawberry, in whipped cream, and a messy crumble of meringue. I had that all summer, almost everyday… and I did blame contraception when I put on some weight when I went back to my hometown.
Eton Mess is the dessert that woke the sweettooth in me. Something that I never was. It is like a gateway drug, that lead you to a massive selection to British favourite desserts: creme caramel, apple/rhubarb/pear crumble, egg tart, banoffee pie, bakewell… No I am no cake person, but I am a sucker to pastries. And it started from a bite of Eton Mess..
What a messy diet…

4. Marmite
I learned about it just days after I arrived in the UK, it is apparently a part of the introduction to Britain for the foreign student. Yes… Marmite is quintessentially British. However, the way it was introduced, didn’t really invoke my curiosity. I mean, yes they told me it is something that either you will love or hate… but I have to say that if these people are a marketing officer, they need to be sacked immediately.
It’s just when my grumpy husband, who also happens to be a proud English grumpyman talk about what it is about to be British, that the conversation about Marmite came up again. He was aghast knowing that nobody has ever introduced me to Marmite before.
Yes, it is still something you either love or hate… I just happen to love it.
P.S. Do you know that in Malaysia, you can order Marmite Chicken? Yes… if you happen to be in Malaysia right now, and you love Marmite, and you have never tried Marmite Chieken (or Chicken Marmite? Now I am confused)… go to a Chinese food restaurant, you might be lucky enough to find one. Good luck!

Ha ha… I stop it right there… for now. I know that it sucks, but I learned from the British telly programs, that when you make lists of whatever, you need to stop before going to the top 3. I don’t know why… but I am a good learner. So… see you next time for the top 3 😀

Weather Wonders

Where I came from, there is no winter. The days are either sunny and dry, or slightly wet to a little bit flooded. The temperature ranges from warm enough to get your bread dough happy, to hot enough to fry a sunny side on the pavement. I used to like cloudy days, because it means that the slightly cooler wind would slip through the opened windows. I used to love the rainy days, especially that moment before the rain falls, and you can smell it… the smell of the rain.

The smell of the rain, though… That idea used to be very romantic. Until QI popped the bubble for me. Apparently it’s just the smell of the fungi being frisky. I wish I have never known that, because now everytime I thought of the smell of the rain… I am actually smelling fungal sex.

Ew!

ANYHOO…

Spring, eh? Try again… Pic taken last month by the way…

The reason I wanted to say something about weather is that it is apparently the favourite topic of conversation in Britain. I didn’t know why, because coming from a place where weather is pretty much predictable, weather is a quite a mundane topic. However this is not the same here in the UK.

It is hailing outside. In April.

You saw strawberries on the shelves, they are in season. You saw the flowers blooming. You think it is spring, don’t you? Especially because it is bloody April. You would have thought the day of scraping frost from your car window the first thing in the morning before going to work was over. But nope, my dear Watsons… not here in the UK.

Overnight, the temperature dropped, the wind had changed and that warm clothing you thought you would never see again until September is back on the rack.

Bloody hail… (was going to go out to take video of it… but… yeah right)

Is this how the universe is punishing us for voting for Brexit? If this is how they’re trying to give us cold shoulder… phew… what a shoulder. Maybe someone deliberately forgot to send the memo to the Great Britain to start Spring-ing.

Oh well… Luckily, I am indoors… I wonder how Grumpy would grump tonight when he come home from work… That would be interesting 😀

x

The Obscurity of The Seconds

You know what? It is ironic that this is actually my first time writing about my second entry.

I woke up thinking and reviewing in my head about my first post, and wonder how many people in the world is actually thinking that writing the second blog entry is actually a bigger achievement than writing the first one. I mean, yes it is definitely hard enough to start a blog, and make an introduction post to random strangers in the world wide web….

But following that up?

I learned from my experience that being consistent is more difficult than starting something. It takes mental and sometimes physical discipline, and willpower. Pick anything else than blogging for examples.

Dieting? It is easy to sign up for a slimming program, and lose your first kilos in the first weeks. But when it gets harder to shed the pounds… Some people gained back whatever they lost, with some extra on the backside. Going to the gym? Yeah… of course. Sign up for the annual gym membership after new year, and see how many is still coming back during the summer for the sixpack. Some people get their sixpacks somewhere else… most probably from the beer chiller.

Writing a novel? Oh… tell me about it. First chapters are always the most wonderful start. I don’t have to look further than my own folders to see the unfinished businesses these princes and princesses have to settle.

So, I think The Seconds are way underrated.

People celebrate their first jobs, their first cars, their first time doing the hanky panky on their first car with their first serious lovers. People remember the first US president, the first guy landed on the moon, the first black woman won Oscar… Even all you care about the aliens are all about the first bloody contact. I mean… really?

But as much as it is so cool to be remembered as the first… that is never the point, isn’t it? After a breakthrough, there should be a continuation of that, shouldn’t it? It’s kind of pointless to start something that has a potential to be awesome, if it has never reached to that potential isn’t it? Like having a real awesome knitting pattern for a cheerful Christmas jumper, and then casting on 174 stitches, and then never go past the ribbing (hands up if you hate ribbings!).

Have I told you I am a knitter too? No? See? Introduction doesn’t take you anywhere… You need the second post to know that I am a knitter. Maybe the next post to know more about me and my grumpy husband too. Who knows we will get more interesting by the day? Who knows after few entries you would think, “hang on a minute… they’re actually a bunch of arseholes…!”

First impression is not always right. It is totally overrated.

So… for the first time in my life… I dedicated a whole blog entry for the seconds in the world. The second wives or husbands (you don’t want to discriminate), the step parents, the silver medalers, the second children (or worse… middle children), the mistresses and concubines, the second in commands… I raise my cup of coffee to salute, and celebrate you…

To finish up this entry, let me remind you what AVIS rent a car said (and what a damn good slogan it has made) some odd fifty years ago: “we’re only number two… so we try harder…

x