Sunday, 31 August 2014

Farewell Chinese

Yesterday evening I had a bit of a cooking faux pas. It's been a little while since I've made rice and without a measuring cup or a set of scales it is a tad difficult to portion out two servings of rice. So I guessed and it went horribly wrong. So wrong infact that I managed to severally burn the bottom-side of the pan which belongs to the people I was house-sitting for. I was desperate to remove these markings via any means necessary. Went on Google for tips, some included vinegar, others salt or baking soda and none of them worked.

A metal scourer seemed to be my only option so I headed into town for one. At first I reckoned any courner shop would do them, but alas that was a no. Went deeper and deeper into Bristol, visiting a Tesco Express, Sainsbury's Local and a Morrison's Local as well as a petrol station but still nothing. I was forced to trek over to Cabot Circus area until I found one. I was outside for a good hour in the end before I returned and successfully removed the black from the pan.

Just came back from a lovely well done Louis/farewell Theo Chinese meal and I am currently packing like a madman getting ready for my move-in tomorow. Back to Bournemouth I go!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Cheap, cheap eats

Retreading old ground for my day out in Bristol with my Girlfriend, I took her all the places that Jamie and I discovered a few months back. Started with Cabot Tower, which is in my opinion, one of the best things to do around the city centre because it's free, relatively unknown and gives you a great view of the entire landscape. Getting up the hill was a bit of a mission, especially since it actually decided to stop raining for a few minutes and get a bit too sunny for comfort. After that I again went to Bristol Museum to show off the stuffed animals and French portraits.

Highlight of the day however, felt a bit peckish after being out and about for a bit and really fancied a snack, went into Tesco for some grub and I discovered that they mark down their sandwiches hours before the expiration label. I got a chicken ceaser salad sandwich for 18p! When was the last time you bought anything for 18p or less, let alone a a bit of food! Well chuffed with that.

Thursday, 28 August 2014


Met up with my old friend Jack Crovetto who I haven't seen for about two years. Mission Burrito was out lunch destination to demolish a wrap the width of a human thigh, tasty stuff and I got another stamp on my loyalty card, only 8 more to go! We also spent a fair bit of time playing theis card game called 'Citadels' which was this fantasy themed city building thing that I was absolutely terrible at. Sometimes you can be a character who can steal everyone's money if, and it's a big if, you can guess what card the other people picked. I squandered this opportunity every time. I really enjoyed it though, I would play it again and hopefully do much better.  

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Early/Hungry Riser

My bedroom door was brushed open by Mia the cat early thing morning. Expecting a bit of feeding no doubt. I typically lay in a little, neglecting them slightly. Usually they have their breakfast around 9:00 but I sometimes let it slide to a comfortable 9:30. Mia came rolling in at 6:30 though, so I humoured her, got out of bed and started to leave the room, she got excited about the prospect of being fed and then I shut my door and stuck a chair behind it so she couldn't get in. Does this make me a bad person?

In the meantime I finished Season 4 of The Wire and made a bit of headway on a script I've been working on for a 'webisode' about two guys living together in an apartment. It coming along in a very slow manner but so far I am mega pleased with it.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Louis' Magical Ikea Trip

Finished off a handful of my little jobs today, the most important of which being that pesky camera hire. With that all done and dusted I could enjoy my trip to Ikea with Mum and Louis to get him some inexpensive cutlery and washing up brushes. We also stopped to get some meatballs at the cafe while we listened to Louis moaning about how he has never had a conversation with a woman with the emotional depth of the scene from The Shawshank Redemption when they are all drinking beer on the rooftop. Apparently he has high standards.

Got back in a little after 9pm to find that I neglected the warnings that one of the cats is a 'fridge thief.' Literally half of my chicken had been nibbled on because the fridge doorstop wasn't wedged in with the force of a sledgehammer. Tomorrow I plot my revenge.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Cherry Pie for a Quid?!

This house-sitting week I feel is going to be a nice transition for me to get back into the swing of uni life. Mark and I did a weekly shop mostly for myself and I was blown away to find that Tesco do a freshly baked cherry pie for a quid, half of it is currently sitting in my belly. This time away from some of the video game related distraction I found at home has also enabled me to watch some more film again - we watched Werner Herzog's Nosferatu this afternoon. Mark hadn't seen a Herzog before and I think that caught him off-guard for the style of film which was very slow paced and designed to created a hypnotic sense of atmosphere at the cost of Mark's patience. I just had a 'Rocket Fuel' coffee so I was perky though-out the film and enjoyed it seemingly a fair bit more than he did. 

Cat Food

Spent a majority of the day along with the company of two cats who are apparently quite vocal about when they want their dinner. Yesterday they each turned their nose up for food at 7:30 and were content in rolling in the sun a little while longer, today however one of them physically lead me to the pantry and knocked over the cat food box at 5:30. Make up your mind! I thought he was still satisfied after nibbling on my raspberry jam sandwich yesterday.

Mark joined me later on to check I hadn't scribbled insane things on the walls from being home alone and after he made himself some dinner I inadvertently offered a 5 hour Breaking Bad marathon. After watching 3 episodes I said we could either watch until we finish series 4 OR watch Werner Herzog's Nosferatu... he chose the former and I am now very much done for the night.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Biscuit Dunking

Had a wonderful dream last night. I was back in the Victorian times when seemingly the 'biscuit with tea' craze was kicking in, however whenever they were served together tea was spooned onto the biscuit rendering it soggy and difficult to eat. Being the eccentric chap I am, I showed them the novel idea of dunking your biscuit into the tea, at first folk though I was mad but then it was slowly beginning to catch on. Just as the smiles erupted I was woken by a very crude rendition of 'I Don't like Monday's' On the piano downstairs as Mark decided to try his hand with some loud music to wake everyone up. I was mere moments away from getting a biscuit dunking Nobel Prize in my dreams but sadly I was just a man-child contorted in a sleeping bag.

No matter though, I needed to be awake to face the day and to re-visit the Bristol Museum of art and natural history with Mark and Lucy to get out of the house. When we got back they made a hasty departure since Mark was running a tad late for a bowling game and I hastily made my way to the DVD player to get my fix of The Wire which is almost impossible to watch if it isn't shown in 4:3 aspect ratio I discovered.

Now I've had my din-dins and am tucked away on the top floor of a very tall house wishing I hadn't read so many 'Creepypasta' stories yesterday before house-sitting alone...      


I am currently sat with the lock-smith after we failed to re-enter the house we were meant to be house sitting.

It all started out so well, me and Jenny drove up to Bristol after rush hour to beat the traffic while listening to Classic FM. Shortly after arriving Mark made us a pukka mozzarella, tomato and pesto sandwich and I did an awesome drawing of a hipster penguin on a chalkboard wall. After a little while of milling about we hit the town for some dinner, I wasn't feeling paying too much for food so I just went to Subway while the others went for Italian. Bellies full I challenged the others to a 'walking vs car' race, myself and only myself supporting team walking. Spent about 15 minutes power-walking for my life, I laid a fair amount of smack-talk down moments before and I didn't want to eat humble pie. Surely enough though, I arrived waaaaaaaay, ahead of the others so I treated myself with a nice sit down. Seeing Mark arrive dangling the keys was a good sign, it was getting somewhat chilly outside and we had all just bought snacks to watch a film. Mark goes to turn the key to no avail.

Crap. Ok, Mark has another go. Lucy has a go, I have a go. Still nothing. Probed all the windows for any give whatsoever but still nothing. We ventured round the back of the houses along a pitch black trail to the backdoor which was of course locked. My cat like agility came in handy here as walls needed to be scaled with precision and grace, I only broke a little bit of wall going over. Regardless of these efforts, everything was still all locked u back and our last resort was the locksmith.

The bloke from 'Lock Rite' came down very quickly for us and sorted us all out without much faff, this let us get on with out duties as good cat owners.    

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Slow Computers

I am pretty convinced that the computer in our study runs on steam or coal. In order to start it up you need to stoke the flames with some bellows and a poker like some kind of relic, at least that would explain why it's acting so slow. Opening a browser felt as painful as drinking 4 pints of cod-liver oil and trying to hire camera equipment on it was like trying to grease a hot pan using your elbows. It made an already awkward job so much worse.

Now I've got to go an pack for a potential week in Bristol, I will be house-sitting a few cats apparently with Mark, Lucy and maybe a few others. Never actually house-sitted before so this could be a real experience.  

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Return from YfE 2014!

Wow what a wild week and a bit it has been. Louis and I took a trip out to the little Italian village of Feltre on this year's Youth for Europe event and it was absolutely incredible. We met so many new friends from across the continent all united by a love to see the world. We visited some war graves, a brewery and even the floating city of Venice which was undeniably beautiful.

We got back late last night after going across countries via planes, trains and automobiles with Louis' mood slowly getting grumpier as the day went on. I played the role of the encouraging brother at all times, even while he complained about how hungry he was. So I found him a Subway and he chowed down on his food and then started to complain about how it upset his 'eating body clock.' My eyes rolled back but I kept quiet until getting home. Walking back through the door felt crossing a finish line. Shattered we collapsed into our beds and have been slowly recovering today.

I have been asked to do a full write up of our trip for our Twin Town newsletter so expected that soon.

Friday, 8 August 2014


Just spent a manic day packing and preparing a presentation on WW1 before heading out to a friends house to play some very intense Mario Kart with Mark. After a few rounds of that we turned to a card game called 'Hanabi' which went against every natural instinct of a card game but it worked really well. Very different and very fun, if you know some friends who are up for a teamwork challenge then this deserves a look

Once again I will be venturing out into Italy on a Youth for Europe holiday with Louis and a bunch of other friends from different countries. As a heads up I will not be back until August the 19th - long time I know. To make matters debatably worse is the fact Louis and I are living off what we can fit in our hand luggage for 11 days. Just hope we can cram in enough clothes for that time into our carry-on cases.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

guardians of the Galaxy

More than anything, today I learnt that I knew nothing about stars or constellations; especially in regards to the Dipper family. I didn't even know there was a family, I knew about the big one. The ol' saucepan, bear thing, but I had no idea that a smaller one even existed. This little factoid was given to me after I watched Guardians of the Galaxy which was ultimately a fun but flawed film. The characters were all solid and some of the gags were winners but the story just kinda rushed you between locations a little bit too quickly at times. Which is a shame because clearly a lot of effort went into the costume and special effects but scarcely do we get a chance to really absorb any of the worlds our heroes visit and at many points I found myself asking myself 'What is at stake at the moment?' This made it a little bit difficult to care about the outcome of the final battle. But for a Summer blockbuster it certainly ticks a few more boxes than usual and is probably funnier than several comedies out there.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Freezer Treasures

Rustled up a curry for Louis and myself since we were home alone. We didn't have na'an or poppadoms as a side part, but I found something just as good in the freezer in the form of these mini Indian infusion cupcake things; box was covered in reindeer and santa hats so I figured it was time to retire them from the chiller. Even better though, a packet of old and frozen profiteroles surfaced too with a one hour defrost time. Louis had one and declared his hated for them which left me to unfortunately consume the rest. After our meal however I played probably the most disappointing game of DOTA I have ever played tonight.

Dan, Louis and some of his mates joined us for a standard game with a pretty nice enemy team, even when we stared winning they always had a friendly remark to make about our play. Just as the tables turned in our favour however everyone was kicked from the server. This means that we were all booted from play for a technical reason BUT we could continue the game by reconnecting. Determined to win, we spent 20 minutes stating at a loading screen waiting to re-enter, our hearts sank when we returned. One player managed to avoid all the server problems and played without us.

To put this in perspective, imagine a football game where a few minutes before the final minutes of play everyone was forced to freeze and not move a muscle. Except for the one guy on the enemy team who was free to move around and score as many times as he wanted. It wasn't fair and it just plain sucked for us.  

Monday, 4 August 2014

Paths of Glory

To commemorate 100 years since the start of The Great War Louis and I watched 'Paths of Glory.' Once again I am reminded of the assault for the Anthill and the bitter court scene that follows and the defeated authority in Kirk Douglas' voice as he utters the immortal line:

'Gentlemen of the court, there are times when I'm ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one such occasion.'

There is such a profound and focused quality that permeates throughout the entire 85 minutes of the film. Most shockingly, it manages to present a war film with good people and bad people without ever showing you who the soldiers are fighting against, depicting a hardened, almost inhuman military we scarcely ever see in lesser movies. Everytime I see it, I always find something new to appreciate and I will never fail to marvel at the sense of injustice presented.   

It's films like 'Paths of Glory' that remind me why I love watching films. When I first put the DVD in two years ago to watch it I didn't know what to expect (obviously there was some quality assurance since it was Kubrick) but it's once of those very, very rare films that I instantly fall in love with and the kind of film I am forever on the lookout for.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ladies Afternoon

Lured into having a girly day with Jenny and Lucy with the promise of getting out of the house for a bit. Mostly with the ulterior motive of purchasing a new nerf gun but I was unsuccessful in that department and was instead subject to handbag shopping! Ah the horror! We did manage to stumble on a relic of my 90's childhood: pic'n'mix! Wilko had a nifty deal on the glorious stuff so we crammed a massive cup full of candy and divvied it up while watching Legally Blonde. Thankfully Jamie has since joined the party and restored some much needed masculinity - I could sense my testosterone drying up before he showed his face.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Lady Drink

I cracked out the grapefruit beers I bought in Germany when Louis got back. At the time of buying them I was with my host's 18 year old daughter and her 16 year old brother, I picked up the beer with affection. 'Ah, Louis and I really enjoy grapefruit shandy' I thought to myself adding it to the basket. I was then told it was a 'lady beer' by both of the kids I was with. This deeply hurt my manhood. 'It's a Summer beer!' I retorted quickly to re-instate some confidence in my decision, which turned out to be very correct when we both drank them while re-play through The Walking Dead. It's certainly nice to have Louis and his interesting music choices next door again.    

Friday, 1 August 2014

Back from Braunfels

Back from Germany and well settled back into English life. In between drinking copious pints of weissbier we saw an East/West Germany checkpoint and the lovely little of Braunfels including it's castle and the mustard shop; which opened its doors while I was down there.

Today I have been sliding back and forth between odd jobs while listening to 'Since I Left You' by The Avalanches. I cannot quite pigeon hole the genre of music into anything recognizable, even my phone classes it ambiguously as 'Plunderphonics.' While it's not quite dance or psychedelic rock, it certainly is pretty damn special. I'm eagerly awaiting the return of Louis from Bournemouth, I'm looking forward to hearing his stories of the past week while drinking the grapefruit beer I got in Germany.