Saturday, 13 April 2013

Food, Glorious Food: The Encore

On Wednesday I was in Nottingham. That in itself is unusual for me. I was meeting someone. Also unusual for me. It happened to be a male. Yes! I know, boys are evil and covered in cooties. Anyhow, that ‘date’ if you can call it that (he turned up hungover, unshowered, wearing tracksuit bottoms and a bobble hat. No not that cute Jayne hats everyone’s talking about recently. A hideous green and black thing) went alright, despite the whole... ick factor. I was wondering why he thought that turning up to meet me for the first time dressed as he was, was a reasonable thing to do. Surely he’d try and impress me, wear his nicest clothes, shower etc. Moral of that story boys is: make an effort when you’re on a date, even if it is a weird pseudo date done on the fly. And don’t go out the night before.
As I was saying, it was as the... thing... was ending, when I was returning to Nottingham Market Square to catch my bus that things got interesting. The Square was covered in tents and marquees and I could smell food. A lot of yummy food. I had a look around. It was some sort of food festival. I wanted to go.

And that my friends is how I found myself, the very next day at 11:30 in the square again. I took my friend T with me. She’s much better company and makes me laugh. We hadn’t eaten all morning, wanting to save as much room as possible for food. We decided to walk around first, see everything that was available before we bought food. There was much squealing as we saw cute things and tasty things. We wanted all of the food and all of the trinkets. It was fun. And then, as we were making our second trip around the food festival, this time with the intent of actually getting food T squealed and ran off to one side. She had seen something called a kuksa at the Finnish stall. Unfortunately I happened to be between her and the stall and almost went head over heels into the stall next door. She squealed over them for the next few minutes, had a very rapid conversation with the nice stall lady before eventually we moved on. She was still debating buying one.

From Finland we ended up in Poland. We had a Polska Barbeque Sausage, split in half, covered in ketchup and eaten in the beer tent set up behind it. We decided it was still a bit too early for beer. The sausage was delicious. Served on proper Polish bread, it was like a fancy hotdog and even more delicious. Each bit took me back to my trip to Poland around the time the nation was voting on joining the EU (I was 14 and all I remember is the food, the singing and the drunkenness when it was announced). Then, bellies slightly less empty than before we continued wandering.

We decided to try something really different and had a kangaroo burger. That’s right, you heard me, I ate Skippy. Well I say ate but really I nibbled at it, gagged a little and shoved my half of the burger at T. For the record kangaroo tastes surprisingly similar to steak. I don’t like steak. With T munching away at her Skippy burger, sharing a Tweet with the rest of the world about it we continued our wanderings, looking for something for me to take the taste of Kanga out of my mouth.

T looking very happy
with her boozey drinks
We decided it wasn’t too early for booze anymore and tried Cider slushies. Probably a poor choice considering it was rather cold and I didn’t much like the taste but ah well. I got a shot of Vimto in mine (that's why it's purple) and we spent the next hour or so continuing to wander around. It may be possibly that those cider slushies made us slightly drunk for the rest of the day. Things start to get a little fuzzy and mixed up after this point.

I do remember a fantastic stall with a bunch of handmadecraft items and the most beautiful journals I’ve ever seen. I wanted one at the time but I couldn’t afford one. I still want one though as they are so gorgeous and each one seems to be made with love. *Hint hint* They were so pretty that I was actually afraid of picking them up.

I tried a very tasty Greek dish called Gyros; pork, onion, tomato, chips, tsatsiki and paprika all wrapped up in a slightly fried pitta bread. It was delicious and T and I shared it and wolfed it down in record time. I can still taste it and I want another one. What was most telling about the quality of the dish is that a bunch of construction workers were all queueing up to buy them for lunch. They were JUST THAT GOOD.

Like this but with chocolate buttons on it too.
Then we had what I think was THE BEST dish of the day. Sicillian Cannolini. It was tasty, it was tiny and it was so good that I wasn’t able to get a picture of it. I wanted it in my mouth straight away. It was also sold to us by a very enthusiastic Italian man who was loud and young and enthusiastic. T likened him to a puppy. I decided that although he was cute if he were a few years older his selling methods would be bordering on creepy. Either way the cannolini was good and I ate it before I could take a picture. T did try to remind me but I was preoccupied with the food so instead you get a stock image.

My second Polska barbeque sausage
We took a brief break to go somewhere else to warm up, I had a chai latte and got the feeling back in my fingers before we headed out to the food stands once more.
I insisted on another Polish barbeque sausage and this time we each had a beer while I munched it down. We started discussing Firefly and Serenity (where they fit together and how they're just cool) and the amazing work of the brilliant Nathan Fillion (mostly how he's gotten more attractive with age. He really is ruggedly handsome)  before we knew it we’d lost 2 hours and it was probably time to go home. We didn’t.

That is the face of regret. When you
realise you've been walking around
 with basically a bag of sausage.
Anyone know any recipes
for salami?
Instead we walked around, trying small bits and pieces of cheese and salami. I particularly liked a sticky toffee cheddar I tried and almost wish I'd bought some. I did buy something to take home though. I am blaming the Polish beer for the fact that I went home with £10 worth of salami in a carrier bag. I only realised the truth when I was waiting for the bus. T managed to get a very amusing picture of this moment.

it's even prettier in real life
Despite the rain and the fact that at times it was so cold that I could see my breath I think our trip to the food festival was great. I had fun, I ate a lot of food and I actually left the house during the week. Sure I wish I’d tried other stuff, taken more pictures and bought some of the crafts but there’s always next year.

Oh and T did end up buying that kuksa.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Food, Glorious Food

Today I'm off to the city, with my friend T. We're going to the Market Square and hopefully attending a food festival type thing that's popped up there. I will eat lots of food, take lots of pictures and have fun. Expect a post later or tomorrow.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

RoW80 Check In and Some Startling Realisations

For a long time I’ve thought that my blog posts need to be witty, informative and well written. It’s probably part of the reason why I haven’t blogged that much lately. Today though, as I was sat in the Arboretum (a small park in Nottingham for those not in the know which is probably all of you) I realised that this was complete and utter poppycock. Yes I use words like poppycock. My blog posts can be whatever I want them to be. It’s my blog and my voice, I shouldn’t change it for no real reason. With that in mind I want to tell you how my RoW80 is going.

1) Write 500 words of my own work a day. - I’ve not been writing any of my own stuff. That’s my first goal failed since I signed up.

2) Participate in Camp NaNo - Secondly, I haven’t written a thing for Camp NaNoWriMo either. All of my stories are still in the planning stages or partly written. I wanted to start with something fresh, something I haven’t tried before. So this weekend I’m going to sit down and plan it out, vaguely and quickly, and then I’m going to write it. Simples.

3) Work on new web-comic once a week - I haven’t worked on my webcomic idea either. Unless you count a few vague plans for a daily auto-biographical stuff which I suppose you could. Actually scratch that. This goal I’ve managed to reach. Last week I planned a couple of pages, this week I’ve planned a few more. I even have thumbnails. Maybe one day I’ll actually put them online.

4) Blog at least once a week - My blogging went wonky, I won’t lie. Mostly because of the reasons I outlined at the top. I had failed my goals and there was no fancy witty way to say it. Now, with no pressure of sounding informative or even intelligent, I can probably get more blog entries done.


In other news though my freelance writing is going swimmingly. I have a regular contract; one short story a week of 5,000 – 6,000 words, for $20. It isn’t much, I’ll admit, but it’s a start. It gets me into the habit of writing every day, of working to a deadline. Those are both things I’ve struggled with outside of NaNoWriMo. Now though I’m slowly conquering those problems. And with this freelance writing stuff I’ve come to another startling realisation.


Just because I’ve not got a full length novel to publish doesn’t mean that I can’t simply write some short stories and put them up for sale. It’s a smart thing to do in my mind. People can download them, read them and slowly they’ll start to remember my name. That way, if and when I eventually publish a full-length novel (either traditionally or through Amazon’s Kindle store and various other eBook outlets) I may already have a following. So for the rest of April and probably a large chunk of May I’ll be working on building a back catalogue of writing and figuring out how the hell to use that stuff. It’s a little confusing at the moment. If anyone knows any good sites that explain it in simple language then please let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 1 April 2013

RoW80 Round 2: Getting back on the horse

I’ve recently begun free-lancing. But that’s not what this post is about today. That is going to come another day.
Instead I’m telling you all what I plan on doing for Round Two of RoW80. Round One was a bust, I won’t lie. Things happened, my productivity dropped to near 0 and I essentially vanished off the face of the internet (this part at least). I’m not back on full power just yet but I’m getting there and one day, when I’m feeling stronger I will tell you about what exactly happened in January.
But, pushing the miserable stuff aside, my aim for this round of RoW80 is to just get writing again. I have a few goals but not as many as I usually set myself.

1) Write 500 words of my own work a day.

I’m freelancing yes, and that means I am actually writing more days again, but I’m not writing what I want to write. I’m writing for someone else. So, to get me back into the spirit of writing my own work I’m going to aim for a minimum of 500 words a day. It’s not much, it should only take me about half an hour on a good day but it’s more than I’m doing now.

2) Participate in Camp NaNo

I’m taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo this month so I’ll be trying to write for that. It’s pretty self-explanatory really.

3) Work on new web-comic once a week

I’ve been working on a new web-comic idea recently and so I want to make sure that I’m not just leaving it by the wayside as I focus on other stuff. I may even post about it a bit at some point.

4) Blog at least once a week.

Writing the blog is something I find very therapeutic and it’s something that I need to do more of. I realise that I need to start planning my posts more though. Usually I’m just writing them on the day they get posted and it feels like a bit of a cop-out. So I will do some blog series at some point this round... when I’ve figured them out.

So, there we have them; my goals for RoW80. Enjoy!