I was going to prepare a long list of Resolutions, but I prepared an old-fashioned baked fish Spencer with fries , zucchini, mushrooms and home-made tarter sauce instead. It lasted about as long as my resolutions do, but tasted a whole lot better!
Wow! I am so full I can hardly breathe — but loving it. It is hard to imagine that the Western Lake can continue to improve its already lofty standards, but it does, every time.
As I lie here, flat on my back and belly straining for the ceiling, my mind reviews the two dozen or so times we’ve been to the Lake this year and I cannot find a fault with their food or service. Yes, you may have to wait a half-hour or more for a table, sometimes in the driving rain; but you know why you are doing it, because the reward is so worthwhile and tangible: the finest tastes, fresh and steaming, served with multiple sauces and a variety of teas; and all at a bewilderingly low price.
One of the joys of the New Year is knowing I can go back another couple of dozen times in 2014 and never be disappointed. Bravo!
In my sporting life there have been some wonderful high points this year, but today just wasn’t one of them.
After giving the Australians a right thrashing in the Test series in England during the summer, our cricket team travelled to Australia for the winter series primed for victory and with all the odds in our favour. Today, we find ourselves down four Tests to zero after yet another comprehensive defeat by the Aussies.
Our cricket has been shockingly bad — batting, bowling and captaincy; and it looks as though we need to have a thorough shake up of the entire team — just when we thought we had a group together that would be victorious for years to come.
Still, we have the next sumo basho in a couple of weeks, and the cycling season starts with the Santos Tour Down Under in three weeks. This sporting life can only improve!
This morning — and maybe into lunchtime — the rain was just steaming down. But I just went up the Drive for some shopping, all prepared for a wet walk, and there was nothing but blue sky, and the lightest of breezes. It could have been April. A very pleasant surprise.
Christmas season, in the West at least, has become synonymous with food, and that sure has been the case in our household (though truth be told, we never go short in the eating department).
Monday night, with all the buying and wrapping done and out of the way, we splurged on sushi, sashimi. ika karaage, ebi sunomono, gomae, and tempura vegetables. A treat.
On Christmas Eve, we started the day with egg on beans on toast, with sausage and bacon. That could probably have been enough but, after a small sandwich for lunch, I cooked an apricot-glazed pork loin, with glazed carrots, Yorkshire pudding, and gravy. That was darned good. And then we sated ourselves with small squares of turkish delight with pistachios. Mmmmm mmmm.
Christmas Day we started with another large cooked breakfast. In the evening we did the turkey business though, having purchased a turkey way too big for us, we had it cut in half and shared it with a friend. The ever-loving did a wonderful job of cooking the bird, along with mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, peas, brussels sprouts (so big they needed their own postal code), and another fresh-made batch of my Yorkshire puddings. Delicious and, of course, way too much.
Toast was all we could manage for breakfast today. However, while out shopping for milk and potatoes at lunchtime, I managed to squeeze in a Tim Horton’s Extreme Italian sandwich and hot chocolate. Tonight I am making a chicken curry with rice and cucumber yoghurt. I’m looking forward to that.
Tomorrow or Saturday it has to be dim sum at the Western Lake. The other day has to include bubble-and-squeak for breakfast with the leftover mashed potatoes and brussels. Probably beans, too.
Then, as we slowly build up to the New Year, I will gradually expand further and further until I burst at the seams!
Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, cryptographer and computer theorist was granted a Royal pardon today, almost sixty years after his death. He had been found guilty of gay sex in 1952 and killed himself with cyanide in 1954. I have a number of thoughts on this.
First, Turing clearly deserved a pardon and I am glad for any surviving family he may have.
Second, the British Government did not pardon him — this was a Royal Pardon granted by the Queen, only the fourth such pardon issued since the War. Other than Gordon Brown’s “apology” in 2009, the British Government and therefore the British people have still done nothing to alleviate the guilt they should feel over their treatment of this man. That is disgraceful.
Third, a “pardon” from a criminal conviction assumes a guilt. That is morally wrong.
Fourth, and most importantly, this pardon does nothing for the tens of thousands of non-genius British men who suffered unbearable harm from the very same law under which Alan Turing was convicted. The only right thing to do would be to issue a general pardon for all those so convicted. Otherwise, what we are saying is that it is now OK to have been gay if you were a genius, but the rest of you can rot in hell.
Surely, in 2013, that is just not good enough.
I am all bought out and wrapped up for Christmas. I don’t even need the extra day tomorrow!
I didn’t sleep well last night — or to be more precise, I woke up a dozen or more times; each time in the middle of the exact same vaguely unpleasant dream that I can no longer recall.
Shaving, showering, ironing etc etc.
Then there was the garbage and the recycling to take care of.
Then a trip up the Drive to fill up the Christmas stockings. And a return home for laundry folding.
And that brings us to now. Yes, you guessed it — nap time!
These busy days are going to be the death of me.
During the high winds the other day, the roof on our patio was seriously damaged. The snow the following day made sure the injuries were fatal.
Oh well, you might say: It is winter, who the heck uses their patio in winter? We do.
Our apartment is quite small, and the patio (which, being on the ground floor and facing the garden, is much larger than you might think) adds a significant amount of living space. It is furnished with table and chairs, flowers, lights, heater, plant preparation tables, barbecue, and tool storage. Around the end of October we fully enclose it with transparent heavy-duty vapour-barrier plastic and its stays cosy and warm until we open up again in spring. The loss of the roof, therefore, was something of a disaster.
Since I built the frame for about thirteen years ago, I have replaced the roof about half a dozen times and have become something of an expert in getting it done quite quickly and efficiently. However, it involves using ladders and such both inside and outside the patio, and the snow and ice remained crisp and deep in the garden this morning. I had decided to wait until it had thawed (I am more of a prevaricator than a handyman), but the patio felt like a freezer box and so I changed my mind and got on with it.
Now, a few hours later, it is done and I feel good about having done it. The ever-loving is also pleased, which is great, and the patio is starting to warm up again. Phew.
It is 11 minutes past 9am and we have slipped into winter. Yesterday’s snow is like a guest who arrived for the party while you were still laying out the table, and is staying around long after everyone else has gone home.
But we can be positive now because every day gets longer from here on in, and every day brings us that much closer to spring.