One of the lads at uni is called Piran, an odd name that I didn’t attach any meaning to, until today!
It turns out that Piran is a Cornish name, and Cornish Piran certainly is. He sounds like a comedy extra from some west country drama, or a peasant from Doc Martin or some such, but he’s a character and we like him making us laugh with expressions like the unwritable “Wass he like?” which apparently means “How are you?” and his acknowledgement of everything is made with a rolling “Right on”.
For a Geordie I have disappointingly little accent, which is odd seeing both my folks and most of my friends could be identified from just a couple of words.
Anyway, this is about Piran. He told us that the 5th of March is huge. It’s St Piran’s Day apparently and that means you have to eat a lot of pasties and drink gallons of beer. I love pasties and I love beer so no problem there then. Piran did the day in style and ordered a box of pasties to be delivered from his favourite bakery back home, and then found a pub selling Doom Bar in the Toon, rang them up, and told them that he was prepared to run their first St Piran’s Day festival and guaranteed they’d triple their sales of Doom Bar on the day.
It was a riot!
We got all the people we like from uni down to the Mash Tun and Piran supplied the pasties. The only rule for having a free pasty was that you were only allowed to drink Doom Bar, or this lovely stout like drink called 1913 which turns out to be Cornish as well.
Right. We know now. St Piran’s is on the calendar.
Sounds pretty foul to me.
But this is the strange name of a most fabulous ale.
Quoted on the Beamish Hall website where it is brewed as “A blonde session beer delicately hopped with English goldings and claimed to cure all manner of things including baldness flat feet and face ache” .…, well, I certainly get a touch of face ache now and then, or is it face acne I suffer? I like to think that by face ache they mean faces that are now pleasant to look upon become gradually more appealing as the pints of Neck Oil do their work.
Neck Oil is a brew from the gorgeous Beamish Hall Hotel away down the road in the wilds just outside of Stanley, County Durham. We went there a while back as one of Shaun’s brothers works in the micro brewery leaning the trade off the old boy who creates some truly excellent beer.
Shaun’s brother is allowed to buy a few kegs at Christmas at a healthy discount and so, being the polite lad that he is, he bought several, and brought one up to our res last night. Now, apart from the fact that he caught the train up, I can barely forgive him for bringing just the one. ‘Twas gone in no time, but by ‘eco, we enjoyed every drop.
Were it not for our generally, and sometimes desperately, impecunious state, i’d insist that we head south, stay the night, or the weekend, at Beamish Hall, and do our bet to drink it dry.
Instead we’ll just have to rely on bro coming soon with more.
Tonight I have created a winner in the kitchen.
I have to record it so that I can do it again some time soon. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures. It didn’t last long enough!
Shaun had acquired a big joint of topside.
I have a big Le Creuset casserole that I found discarded and have cherished ever since.
And together we will feed an army of hungry students in a very fine fashion – even if only now and then. All they have to do to thank us is to bring a bottle of red wine to drink, and another bottle of red wine for the cellar that Shaun and I dream of one day owning – not a cellar in the sense that the Daily Telegraph might be excited by, just a few bottles in the corner of the bedroom will do us both fine.
Here’s what went in the pot tonight.
1.5 kgs of topside, sealed in the pan first.
a big onion roughly chopped
a bunch of celery
half a small jar of black peppercorns – honestly!
a bottle of red wine
the old jar of course grain mustard that has been there for ages
a bag of mixed lentils and grains
a bunch of carrots roughly chopped.
It went in the oven in the morning at full temperature. After ten minutes I turned it down to 100 degrees. And then forgot about it for a full six hours.
It fell to pieces and was utterly wonderful.
Oh bloody hell it was good.
Friday is sorted. Now, on with the wine.
I’ve been telling people about the film, The Selfish Giant, all day long. I like it when you have seen something that other people haven’t heard of, but with this one it’s a little disappointing that no one seems to have caught up with it. I wanted to find someone cool to share its impact with.
The more I tell of it the more I want to see it again. I often think that the first time you watch something you have to be so in tune with the story, but part of the problem with that is that you miss a lot of the nuance that the film makers have put so much effort into.
I wonder if I could go to Manchester and ask Kristen to see it with me?
Would she think it was odd that I’d go so far just to see a film? And then I’d have to at least assume that I couldn’t stay the night so I’d have to get back too. It takes three and a half hours on the fastest coach, most are about four hours. God, I’ll look desperate, and I know she doesn’t fancy me. What do I do?
It’s amazing how writing stuff out slows my thinking a little and helps me get to the answer.
I’m going to call her, rave about the film, as I’m sure she’ll love it too, and then say that I’d love to go with her but it’s a shame that we live too far apart. I’ll be angling for an invitation to Manchester, and she’ll know it. It’s then up to her if she likes the idea or not. She can invite me. Or just humour me with interest in the film.
I’ve got to do it. I’m nervous as hell though!
I have helped a few people putting in slide wardrobes over the past year, and just like labelling and database tasks, it seems that once you have done a good job for someone they share the story with their friends, and before long there are other folk ringing you up to have similar jobs done.
And for me it’s quite rewarding as the work is easy – OK the doors weigh quite a lot and if someone needs a job doing upstairs then you’re grateful of a bit of bel, but beyond that it’s an OK one man job, and an easy two person effort.
Slide wardrobes give you full room height storage solutions that make your room seem bigger, and help you hide all your stuff. Of course if you have a big room you can fit them quite a way from the wall, but even if you just have 80 or 90 cmd spare space you can still have a huge wardrobe.
There are quite a few place stat supply the doors with runners and all the shelving options you could wish for. I have started to recommend Slide Wardrobes Direct because they have got everything right every time I have worked with their product, and the people have said the prices are good too. Look at some of the lovely options on this link: Great slide wardrobes.
It’s quite funny that I have started doing jobs like this considering I just peel my clothes off at night and leave them on the floor, on my floordrobe as I call it.
It’s good for me because I don’t think I’d go looking for work, but it is good when something comes along.
I have very few possessions in the world.
I like life like that.
I am enormously proud of the speakers that I was paid with the first time I did a database job for someone.
I love my RAF great coat that dad managed to get from one of his mates years ago and that I have worn most days since.
I have a single saucepan – but no ordinary saucepan, it’s a flame orange Le Creuset casserole, it’s big, very heavy, a little bit chipped, and I use it for everything I cook, unless I use someone else’s slow cooker.
And yet despite this spartan approach to the world of stuff, I have just fallen in love with a particular car. That might not seem like an odd thing to say, but I can’t even drive.
Dad’s dad had a crazy little thing called a Lotus 7. You think of Lotus and you think of low, fast and exciting cars that all seem to have names beginning with e, unless of course it is old enough to just have a number.
Grandad used to take me out in this Seven as he called it and it was the most exciting think that used to happen to me. He never had a roof on it, in fact I don’t know if he even had a roof for it. He always smoked strong cigarettes that burnt down really fast when he was driving. Dad tells me when I drag up the memories of the car that it wasn’t very fast by modern standards, but to my memory it was the fastest car on the road – and I have just seen its modern interpretation. It’s called a Caterham 160. It looks like this: and I want one! I don’t even care that someone who looks like a goth throwback as I do will look utterly stupid in it, I want one.
Not nasty, no blood and guts or anything obvious like that.
Just deeply thought provoking. It actually made me want to take my folks to see it, bbut on second thoughts maybe it’s better that I just suggest they go.
We have never been properly hard up, and dad would always maintain his standards even when funds were tight because he wasn’t working. He had his leg in plaster for weeks once and they wouldn’t let him work, but then they paid him really low sick money, I remember that being a time of watching very penny, not eating enough, and no heating.
This film deals with kids who aren’t bad kids, but who make their own way and try to make a go of scrap metal – first by stealing someone else’s stolen cables, then trying it the hard way on the streets, but always tempted back to the theft route.
It’s hard, yet beautiful. It’s the friendship between two kids. It’s the wet Yorkshire grim mill towns. It’s a scene of pylons, or cooling towers, or just rough ground, that somehow touch you all the more because they are real.
Shaun insisted that we go, and that’s unusual for him as he’s nearly always in doors gaming, or trying to write his own game. But I am so delighted that we went. I feel strangely uplifted by what in actual fact was a quite depressing film. It certainly made me feel rich with the little I’ve got, and appreciative of the discipline dad metered out, even though I hated it at the time.
Most of the time I just slob my way through life.
I’m good at studies, but that’s largely because I actually enjoy learning and understanding new stuff.
Good at studies, but I feel that I’m useless at pretty much everything else.
Fortunately I keep finding new bits of work when I’m down on funds that feel like a college assignment. This beer job that I mentioned is brilliant. The guy who owns the business used to work in a bank, but when he got made redundant at forty five he sat down and worked out exactly what he wanted to do. He decided that he wanted top do two things – own a campsite and run it super well, and own a small brewery.
He decided to perfect the brewing first, and he has done a blinking good job. At the moment he has an IPA, a mild (which he assures me is going to come back into fashion), and an amazing brew that he calls a dark IPA, it’s smoky and chocolatey at the same time. You couldn’t have more than a couple at a time, but it’s a memorable flavour. His isn’t Buxton obviously, but this is a similar ale, and a similar high strength.
I introduced him to DataLabel and ordered a set of custom self adhesive labels that are linked straight to a barcode scanner, and then onto his database. These will help him track what stock he has, what age it is, and by doing that he’ll know what he need sot shift and when, without having to go back through his records every time.
He asked me how much I wanted to do the job and I said two hundred, and do you know what? He said no, have three hundred, and half a mini keg of each brew, with the simple proviso that I have a party and share on Facebook where the beers are from and where to buy them.
Only trouble is I’ve never had a party before – but I’m sure as hell going to do so now.
What a cracking job!
I certainly wouldn’t be complaining about it as a commercial scam to get us to buy more flowers and more cards and more over priced meals. I’d love the opportunity to be part of it all.
How strange it is that only in the last few weeks I have gone from not being very bothered my girls, to thinking about them all the time.
Kristen told me that I need to sort out my dress sense.
She bought a sweet little wooden message plaque too, that was far better than a Valentine’s card. It could be quite a deep message I guess. It says “Love is like water, we can fall in it, drown in it, but we can’t live without it”. I could have got quite the wrong message from that were it not for her explaining just this thought to me and why I should go find a girl – and at that point unveiled the little plaque as a reminder of why I need love, and better dress sense.
I wonder if they do one that just says “Stop, look in the mirror. Are you really going out like that?”
Blimey. I have no dress sense at all. I put on what I took off last night. Unless it smells too bad.
I have never really thought about clothes, other than to occasionally notice that a particular girl looks good in what she’s wearing. I don’t think mum or dad are very bothered either, and that’s probably the root of my ambivalence.
I couldn’t even say if I’m ugly or just normal. I’m definitely not better than normal.
But I guess if I’m to change my relationship status I’d better start thinking about these things. Instead of wandering around in some stupid besotted dream thinking about Kristen and her girlfriend and what they might be doing to each other.
Anyway I have something a whole lot less pervy to think about as I have got myself another cataloguing job. I did one ages ago for a mate who runs the Richer Sounds warehouse, and he has recommended me to someone he knows who needs a similar job doing at… wait for it, a microbrewery! How cool is that?
I eft home quite young I guess.
I didn’t have to, and father said I would be back in a week. But I think that was his way of ensuring that I wasn’t.
Now I go back home more often and spend more time there, but back then I couldn’t wait to get away from the place.
I wanted to be my own man, not just because I was going to study, it was more about proving something. And I’m bloody glad that I did it, but the funny thing is that “Being a man” bit. I feel less a man at the moment than I have in years.
When I met Kristen last week I was so vulnerable, and she had an amazing way of exposing that vulnerability as a stage in healing it.
She spoke with words that sounded beautiful in her mouth.
She talked with energy and enthusiasm about the way a bit of flooring met a rug, and the old sofa in the hall to the house: here look at this. The funny thing is that I can see it now, but I couldn’t until she pointed it out.
So is being a man the ability to talk artfully to a lovely woman?
Is being a man the need to shout on the terraces when you team is winning, and when it’s losing?
Is it about fighting and drinking?
Or is it about somehow creating your own blend of the above without deliberately being led from one reaction to another, just somehow knowing?
I’d ask my dad. But he’d just tell me to man up!