Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Autumn is well and truly upon us

Now apologies for A) the week long hiatus in between posts and B) the shortness in length that I know this post is going to be - I must slackly plead work I'm afraid. We have had our several hundred overseas students arrive and - well - they kinda take up a bit of time.
So for now it's a quickie (drag your mind out of the gutter) and a pic of what we affectionately refer to as the 'giant polo'. [It kinda looks more polo-like when you can see more than just the silhouette.]

The nights are drawing in and the leaves are turning some glorious colours and the conkers shine and twinkle at me from the pavements edge each morning. There's a crispness to the air but whilst the sky is blue I can take the cold. Best give the docs a polish and retire the flip flops for another year I guess, autumn will be held off no longer!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Another week passed, another year older!?

Wow - it's a week since my last post - how very slack of me! :-P Extremely busy time at work this time of year I'm afraid but I will do my utmost to get a more substantial post in before the week is out. For today, well 'tis my birthday (although I'm still @ work :-/) and here's my great random gift from my friend that specialises in them - space invaders ice cubes. They just have to be made with colour in for the different spaceships doncha think? lol. Enjoy your day one and all.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

12 Bore Hard Core

Lol. Having enjoyed the clay pigeon shooting at the weekend I was enthusing to a friend and mentioned that as we were all 'ladies' and complete novices they had given us 20 bore guns rather then 12 as the kick is lessened. 'Ha- that's a childs gun' he responds and thus the challenge was on. So last night, in the rain, we went out with a couple of his 12 bore shotguns for a little practice. I must admit to being somewhat apprehensive as people had been telling me I'd have a black and blue shoulder after but it was fine. As long as you're holding it right the kick really wasn't a problem. Testament to the teaching skills of the guys at Ashcombe I reckon, oh- and my friend of course. :-p It was a tad loud mind but we had ear defenders at the clay pigeon shooting...
Picked up some lovely looking sweetcorn from the friendly local farmer on the way back. My friend declined to be photographed for the blog so you'll have to make do with that. :-)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Activity weekend

This weekend was a friends hen do. This involved Go Ape in the morning - for those of you unaware of this it's basically throwing yourself around an obstacle course in the treetops. Good fun with some slightly hairy moments given that you're 30-40 foot up most of the time! There's zip wires down from each section, something I'd not been on before but LOVED.
Then we had lunch and regained the use of our 'land legs' and moved on to the next section in Ashcombe Adventure Centre. First we did Archery followed by Clay Pigeon Shooting. Again I've never done either before but both were very enjoyable, my favourite being the shooting. The instructors there were top notch as well, I really want to go back for the quad biking.
After all this excitement it was back home for a quick change, don a pair of wings and a tiara and out for dinner then clubbing. You must forgive me for being somewhat knackered on the sunday! A top weekend all round. I was going to leave you with a video I took coming down one of the zipwires but Blogger seems to have other ideas. :-/ A couple of pics instead then; did I mention it was pretty high? :-D

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Chillaxin Evenin in the Country

Sometimes I think we forget to take a space every so often. A wee step back, a 'tiny pony' moment if you like. I recommend that we all do it, if not once a week, maybe once a month, or whenever you can. Go away, run away, TURN OFF THE FRAKKIN PHONE and just...chillax. Hell, look at the stars - you know - they've only been there for several million more years than you so, er, think they're worried? Watch a shooting star, even think about watching one if you can't see one right now. Hold that thought that one day you might be the one there watching the shooting star and hold that idea close to your heart; and then relax.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

What a game!

Saturday was the opening game of the season for Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club. It was also our first game in the premiership; at home, against SW rivals Gloucester. We had a lot to prove having just joined the premiership, especially as prior to the game the bookies were giving 4-1 on favourites for us to get relegated again. Grrrr...
5 minutes in and we scored the first try of the game; the season; our premiership run, on our own home turf. Nice.
5 minutes later and Gloucester had answered with a try of their own, failing however to convert it. In fact I don't think their man got any of his kicks that afternoon, including one that bounced off the post. Oops!
Half time saw us nicely placed at 16-5, having gathered more points from various penalties courtesy of the kicking of Steenson. Or 'Steeeno' as he's known in the stands. :-D
Gloucester scored another try in the second half (once more unconverted) whereas we garnered our points solely courtesy of their infringements. However Chiefs gave a great second half, almost scoring a second try and seeing off the Gloucester opposition; despite some mighty tackles! Suffice to say the final score of 22-10 had us gleefully mentally rubbing the bookies faces in it and looking forward to a great season ahead.
I think it's fair to say that prior to the game many of us weren't too sure how it'd go, and I certainly thought the result would be a hell of a lot closer than it was. How happy I am to be proved wrong!
If you're about when the Chiefs are playing at home I urge you to take the opportunity to see a premiership rugby game in this excellent stadium if you can. If you're further afield you'll just have to rely on my sketchy match updates!! Lol - not really, for a far more comprehensive match report see the Chiefs site, although it may be slightly more biased even than mine was! :-D

Monday, 6 September 2010

On pet-ownership

One breakage so far. Not too bad I suppose.
The pet owning public are however, I have come to the recent conclusion, well and truly off their rocker. Given that Zeke is a recent acquisition I have been visiting pet shops somewhat more regularly than previous - hence the kitchen is now a trip hazard zone of vibrating toy mice, balls with bells in and other such miscellaneous kitten related frippery. I have yet to turn Zeke into a little stoner though but if I wanted to this company seems to have it covered for all your cats 'nip needs. Lol - look what I spied in a local (very good) pet shop - cat nip bubbles!! What a brilliantly useless item with which to extract cash from the pockets of deluded pet lovers. Another highlight (that I earnt myself strange looks for as I snorted out loud in the shop) were puppy nappies. I kid you not. Yes - the world has truly lost it's head and descended into full on consumerist madness.
Added later - not really the same thing but this post sums up some of todays world's failings for me. And has a nifty picture of a tiny pony. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

New rugby season is nearly here - Woop woop!!!

And with it our first season in the giddy heights of the premiership!! As a warm up we had a friendly against Cardiff Blues on Saturday 21st August. We hedged our bets a certain amount in the first half but a late surge saw us achieve a respectable 21 - 26 by full time. Next up is the first game of the new season with a SW grudge match on our home turf against Gloucester. Should be interesting!
A very big up to my very good friend who has gifted me a season ticket this year - you are indeed a star kind sir. :-D I reckon it's so he can have someone to go with but hey... it's a lovely gesture that made me grin like an idiot. Looking forward to the season ahead - you can do it boys!!

Pearl Barley and Carrot Soup

This was a bit of an experiment on my week off with a view to submitting it to the No Croutons Required challenge, which for this month was based on carrots. In the end I wasn't happy enough with how this turned out to send it in but with a few small tweaks I think this could be a nice satisfying warming autum or winter soup at a fairly frugal cost. I'll document how I made it and what changes I think it needs.

Warming Barley & Carrot Soup
1 cup pearl barley (dried)
0.5 cup yellow split peas (dried) [leave out next time]>Pour boiling water over to cover and leave to soak overnight / mine was 24 hrs.<
3 pints veg stock
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp black onion seed
1 tsp fennel seed [leave out next time]
1 tsp celery seed
0.5-1 tsp dried chilli flakes; to taste
0.5 onion finely chopped
2 tbsps EVOO
1-2 cloves finely chopped / crushed garlic
200g grated carrot [Up this next time to 300g]

Drain off and rinse barley & split pea mixture. Add 2 pints of veg stock and bring to the boil. Simmer covered until done. [The barley was done in 15 mins but the split peas took a lot longer. Next time I'd lose the peas altogether and put more carrot in. It'd be a shorter cooking time then as well.]
After 30-40 mins in a clean large heavy based frying pan dry fry off the seeds and chilli flakes for a few minutes to release the flavours. Add the oil to the pan, then the garlic and onions. Saute gently to soften. [Next time leave out the fennel seed; you couldn't detect it in the medley of flavours so no point in having it in.]
Meanwhile grate the carrot. Add the onion mix to the barley. Add the 3rd pint of stock and the grated carrot. Simmer for 15 mins.
Can leave as is for a rustic finish or blend for a far silkier texture. If blending do so in batches loosening with a little extra stock or water to your preferred consistency. [I added an additional 0.5pt water.]