Sunday, 13 November 2011

Give peas a chance

I had a hankering for some pea and ham soup. This is a meal that I like to cook over a couple of days starting with soaking the gammon shanks in water overnight to get rid of some of the salt.

I boiled them this afternoon with an onion, some parsnips (all I had in) and a few peppercorns.

While they were cooking I started the dried peas going. We have to use dried peas because F says they taste better. I disagree but I'm outnumbered. Or something.

These two lovely ingredients combine to make this luscious greenness that I will devour with crusty bread tomorrow. Not all of it though, this pan will last a few days!

I'm pretty sure that the pictures won't insert as I intended so that's a feature I'm going to have to play with...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Mobile blogging

I've just downloaded the Blogger app for my iPhone so I thought I'd give it a try to see how well it works.

So far, the main problem has been logging into my account but it seems to be ok just now.

Maybe with my blogging tool always with me I'll be able to blog more.

Anyway, just as an experiment there should be a picture of an 800 year old Peruvian chap below...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

More Abersoch

I realised that I'd not posted any of the other pictures from Abersoch, or indeed blogged about the adventures we had. When I say 'adventures' I use the term loosely! 

We took a trip to the magnificent Caernarfon Castle, where there was lots of spaces for the kids to run around and explore.

The castle has lots to see. This was the site of the investiture of Prince Charles in 1969:

And the architecture is absolutely stunning:

On our way back to Abersoch, Nick told us of a World War 2 bunker that he'd heard of at Llandwrog and asked us if we fancied stopping off there. Well, it being in the vicinity, what did we have to lose? As it turned out, we lost an hour of our lives in possibly the most desolate seaside spot in all of Wales...only joking, Nick! To give you an idea of what it was like there here's a little video I took:

And here's a picture of said bunker - really magnificent and I'll be sure to go back soon...

There was also an aircraft museum in the vicinity but I didn't get any pictures there. Because it was closed. We did have a nice drive round it though. Interestingly, there is an ancient hill fort situated there:

And the kids had fun playing in the sea...

And N got absolutely soaking!

We all had a really fun time during our week in Abersoch!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

What a feeling!

This is it. The letter they sent me to confirm my degree classification. They can't take it off me now!!

I left university halfway through the course the first time around. Truth is that the time probably wasn't right for me to be studying for a degree, the planets weren't aligned in the right way and the butterfly on the other side of the world wasn't flapping its wings for me. I think I had to work in a job I didn't enjoy for a few years so that I could truly understand the benefit of a university education.

I'm quite sure that passing the course when I was younger would have been easier, yet I don't think it would have been as rewarding. I'm also quite sure that I wouldn't have had anywhere near the success that I have enjoyed to date. Education is wasted on the young.

There have been some very difficult times over the past three years, times when I thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew, times when I really didn't understand the concepts that I was trying so hard to grasp. I was very lucky to have people behind me to support and encourage me through those times. F would sit and listen to me waffle on about legal concepts, asking questions and giving me ideas, all the time helping me to get matters straight in my head and to find out where I had gaps in my knowledge. 

One of the lowest points came when I got the result for my first coursework of the 3rd year. I handed it in full of hope and was dismayed to score only 50%. I made an appointment with the head of law who had marked my script and it would be fair to say that he didn't pull his punches - he tore that thing apart. I then went on to fail my formative exams miserably. That didn't bode well for getting grades good enough for a 2:2, never mind anything higher. I was so sure of my failure that I'd not even told F the date for the release of results until the day before.

I'm still not quite sure how I managed to get the results I achieved. I know I did a little bit of revision every day for about six weeks before the exams. I recorded myself making "journeys" out of my revision notes and listened to the recordings in the car and somehow all that information stayed in and subsequently came back out in a coherent form in the exams. I managed to get an A in every exam giving me 3 A's and a B overall - The B coming from Equity & Trusts which was the coursework that I'd failed so miserably.  

And now I've been awarded a first. The best degree you can get in a difficult subject. It feels good, even though I'm still concerned that the decision will be rescinded because there's been some mistake! Now, I have to repeat my success in order to achieve a distinction in the MLP. This time, I'm sure that I can do it. I think the shock of failure gave me a kick up the backside this year and I hope that next year, the power of self confidence and the knowledge that I can do it will spur me on to bigger and better things...

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Abersoch - Part 2

I'm back with another instalment of the wonderous Welsh adventure!

When we went for a wander down to the beach at the end of the first day some of the scenery that greeted us was fantastic...

Gracie busied herself running along the beach. Kai, Harry and Sam were more adventurous and started exploring the rocks...

Nathaniel on the other hand, being a junior entomologist, had to see what bugs he could find - he seemed incredibly pleased to find this woodlouse which must have been 20-30mm in length

Anyway, after some grub we retired to our various bedrooms and in the morning we took another trip to the beach for some sun, sea and sand. Unfortunately, the sea had already been claimed by some rather less pleasant holidaymakers

This, apparently, is a moon jellyfish. They have a very mild sting, but we weren't to know that and given that there were literally thousands of them (think Michael Caine in Zulu but with the Zulu's replaced by jellyfish) on the water's edge we didn't take any risks. Undeterred, we had a good play in the sand and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves

It's safe to say that a fun day was had by all. After eating our tea outside we went back to the pub where some of the adults decided to enjoy alcohol responsibly. We went back to the house where they proceeded to enjoy alcohol irresponsibly. Okay, I admit that I'm just jealous because I can't drink anymore! 

After a fine night's sleep we all arose refreshed and ready to face another day (*snigger*). A trip to Criccieth was in order and that will form the subject of my next exciting (stop yawning already!) post. For now, I'll leave you with this view of the harbour...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Abersoch - Part 1

The blogging bug has bitten again and I have decided to come back for another round of posting. When I say posting, it implies posts in the plural, so perhaps I should have phrased that differently - I'll be the first to admit that my blogging activities have been somewhat erratic.

However, whilst I'm here I might as well make the most of this bout of enthusiasm and tell you about our recent holiday. My lovely parents (have a look at for my Mum's wonderful blog) paid for the family to spend the week in Abersoch in North Wales, a holiday destination that I visited several times when I was less than knee high to a grasshopper. These trips took place around thirty years and I honestly didn't recall a lot of the landmarks but I do remember having fun there.

The holiday party comprised my parents who now seem to have got to that age where they purchase matching jackets...

My brother, Nick, and his wife Alison who was a little hungover on the day this picture was taken and really wouldn't thank me for posting it...

My two boys, Kai & Nathaniel (Kai is back left and Nathaniel is in the middle with the purple t-shirt) and Nick & Alison's children Sam (centre behind Nathaniel), Gracie (next to Nathaniel) and Harry (back left)...

And finally there was me, and I seem to be seeing how many chins I can fit onto one face...

Unfortunately, F couldn't join us because someone had to stay behind to look after the hounds of hell. For the purposes of this post she will be represented (for no apparent reason) by this tiny bird sat on an anchor...

The anchor is located near the harbour beach in Abersoch. This picture was taken on the day we arrived in the town. The weather was glorious and we all took a stroll along the beach - after a visit to the pub for a swift cola...

More next time...

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Money - part 1

Here's a little thought that enters my head every now and again and has me going around in circles.
We all use money, don't we? I have a ten pound note and I use it to buy bread from the shop. The shopkeeper uses the ten pound note to pay his supplier. The supplier uses the ten pound note...and so on.
But what is the ten pound note? What value does it truly have? This is the bit that gets my head spinning. It seemingly has value to you or I because we can "buy" things with it. What it is in truth though, is a promissory note. English bank notes say on them, "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of [insert value]" - that is their worth, the promise itself. But what would you get if you attempted to redeem that promise? People have tried at the Bank on Threadneedle Street but they have been turned out, the doors locked behind them and the police called. The promise is empty because there is nothing of worth backing that money.
It's a very clever illusion and it has us all trapped. We simply swap promissory notes that have no value.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Changes are afoot in the world of me. As I have both Crohn's and Meniere's I should really watch what I eat but the truth is, I don't. I eat what I want, pretty much when I want. I had got into the habit of having a bacon roll every day at college and some kind of pudding every night after tea. I know it's not good.
I was told a while ago that we should look at our bodies in the same way we look at a car - if you put rubbish fuel in you get poor performance out. This makes sense. The performance of my vehicle has been very poor of late and I think it's about time for a major service and rethink of what sort of fuel I put into it.
I seem to live in a state of perpetual tiredness coupled with brain fog. There's the constant worry of suffering from a vertigo attack or stomach cramps. I think by altering my diet that I can alleviate some of these problems. And that's just it. I'm altering my diet, not attempting to starve myself. I'm attempting to change habits - less meat, more fruit and veg, less sugar, more nuts and seeds, less gluten, more berries.
So, as well as the other rubbish I occasionaly post, this blog is going to be a record of how I'm doing and feeling. I don't expect miracles but I do hope to feel better.