Friday, 14 December 2012

Desperately seeking ginger

It's that moment when you've just thawed out and you can't be bothered venturing into the cold again. But it's Friday and there is no wine in the flat (someone probably drank it when your back was turned). So you gaze hopefully into the fridge hoping a bottle of pink pinot grigio will materialise in front of your eyes.

It doesn't, sadly.

So you reach for the apple juice and prepare for a night of healthy abstinence. Then you notice the cooking brandy which is reserved for the Christmas pudding feeding. Looking alternately at the apple juice, the brandy, an idea forms.

Generously scoop ice into a glass and splash the brandy over. Making 'stuff you' signs at the Christmas pudding (the old soak) helps at this point. Add thin slices of fresh ginger to the mix and top with apple juice. Stir in the merest hint of orange flower water.

Sit back enjoy the music, blogging and rather lovely festive mix of flavours!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Contrary o'clock

We were chatting today, which, let's face it, is not exactly news, we chat every day. This time though, the capricious one decided that we should both blog this evening. Which is all well and good for her, but one of us was a teensy weensy bit irresponsible last night and is a bit tired.

The problem was... What to write about.

And the answer lay gently ticking on my wrist. Or at least would have done if I realised it had stopped this morning and needed a little persuasion to get going again.

Just like me then.

So. Time. My perception of time is vague at best. But I do know some things. First one is it's now been nine months since we moved in to Contrary Towers. Let's think about that. Nine. Months. And we've still not killed each other. I should point out that the nine months doesn't explain why I have a suspiciously large belly and get offered a seat on the underground. Oh no, that's simply down to pies.

The nine months was made of three distinct sections.

Firstly there was my Notting Hell period. This was mostly made up of me being deprived of culture and finding that if I booked anything then TFL would conspire to make me late, stressed and just a little bit cross. For time I also found everything was an hour. I simply couldn't manage the commute faster than that. Which was really frustrating. But I did get a lot of reading done as I slowly meandered my way from Mile End to Ladbroke Grove in those lonesome four months.

Next came the period of domesticity. And trying to find new work. For someone that had previously managed hours out of work the days turning to weeks then months became a little wearing. But it wasn't all bad and I took the time, in true contrary fashion, to think about stuff, make plans and then... Ignore them and turn my world upside down.

As you do.

The upside down turning happened near the end and was as quick as the preceding three months had been slow. Time has now taken on a degree of elasticity. For instance, no matter what I seem to do I am always late by roughly the same amount. This morning I should have been epically late owing to an extended discussion of last nights events, but no, same degree of lateness as normal. You see, I now have choices. I can significantly shorten my journey time if I'm prepared to travel the Central Line. A journey so pleasant that  it's listed in the River Styx guide to London as "best avoided".

Week in, week out I'm able to tweak my time experience with the careful stewardship of my watch. Except it's usually wrong. And today it stopped. I didn't notice.

None of this should be a surprise. The Contrary Towers dedication to time-keeping is remarkably lax. Take Saturday as a for instance. A good friend of the capricious one had arranged for her to meet the artist Chris Orr at his studio somewhere in West London. So I came along for the ride. The general plan was we'd go there for an hour come back, have a nap, and then go to our respective evening events.

We should have know there was a problem when we got there nearly ten minutes early after a mad panic before we left having realised that we needed to be somewhere near Penzance, or Chelsea, not sure which it was. The next bit went well too. Chris was an utter delight and certainly had me enthralled as he talked about his inspiration and technique. All too quickly we were finished and headed off to see if we could find food. By now it was noon and it's a truth universally acknowledged that my flatmate has to eat when she's hungry.

Luckily, we stumbled on the Battersea Grill which claims to be the best diner in Battersea. Ahuh. The food was wonderful, the portions... Crippling. As we still had loads of time, the decision was made to meander through Battersea Park, over the river to Tate Britain and then jump on the boat to Tate Modern and finally Canary Wharf. There would be enough time to nip in to Waitrose, grab some things and head home for that nap...

Which was why with the clock ticking oh-so-loudly we were both in a wild panic in Waitrose at 5:30 wondering where on earth the time had gone and, more to the point, who stole the promised nap?! And that's the thing with time. The sneaky bits add up, a ten minute wait here, a 40 minute stroll there, a minute or two at lights, a meandering walk by the river, thinking about collapsed scaffolding. All congeal together in to a singularity from which not even light can escape ensuring that what went on is actually hidden behind the event horizon.

It's the only possible explanation.

So with a quick hug I sent the capricious one off in to the Jubilee Line to head for an evening of tapas, whilst I sorted myself out and decided which 277 to catch up to Victoria Park to visit my bezzie. Now keeping in mind how much we had lost time during the day, you can imagine my surprise to arrive fifteen minutes before the agreed meeting time. Eh? It was my pesky timepiece again. It was by now so fast that the bus I thought I was catching was the one some ten minutes earlier. I thought I was doing so well.

The next day I had a plan. You can see already this is going to go well. I was going to wander to Wilton's Music Hall, then pop to Asda in search of a slow cooker. Then have a nap. I do like a theme.

A friend of mine saw I was considering Wilton's so suggested we meet up for lunch. Excellent idea, I like lunch. This then changed a little more and I was invited to a recording of Amnesty International's Secret Comedy Podcast. Oooh. I deleted my plan. It was a lovely afternoon, a meandering walk up from Fenchurch Street to Spitalfields, lunch at some fancy burger place and then a few hours almost in tears of laughter. Before I knew it, the day was gone and I was happily walking back to Tower Gateway and the trip home to Contrary Towers.

I think the problem with time is it really can't make its mind up. It's all about perception and, let's face it. my perception really can be epically bad without even trying. And even though I do try to pander to the demands of time and feign an interest in the passing numbers, it still somehow confounds me.

None of this matters. I got to spend real time doing what I enjoy best...

Being with friends

'Tis the season to be meh-ry

It's almost that time of year. Of enforced merriment, bogus bonhomie and a sackful of bullshit that makes my alcohol stream steam. If you haven't completed your Christmas shopping by the 31st July or got your baubles up by the start of December then clearly you are a miserable party pooper.

*party poops*

Which is very unlike me. And I've lost my tree fairy; she hasn't been seen since the move in March so perhaps she's contrarily scampered of to warmer climes and frankly I don't blame her. The only reason I can think of to feel so unfestive is sheer exhaustion. It's been a long drag since the summer and after a bout of back pain which is never to be repeated if I can help it, I've had enough. I'm even missing the firm's Christmas party because there is the vague chance that *somebody* mucked up and I'm off to the theatre instead. So even corporate festive is a little lacking.

On the bright side, this Friday afternoon sees me walking away from WC1 for nearly three whole weeks. I should be returning on the 2 Jan, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Some baubles this summer
Those of you who know me...and even those who don't, will be aware that I'm writing an essay about intellectual stuffs. But as this evening is currently demonstrating, there is something about the biting cold and freezing fog that wraps itself around your face and snogs the inspiration out of you. On an essay related note, happily last Saturday some thoughtful Lovely arranged for me to go talk to the artist I'm writing about, whilst this Friday I have a trip to the Royal Academy library. After that, it's fingers to the keyboard...

As for my festive plans, I shall see where I am on Christmas Eve. I shall procure a Lidl ham, I already have a pudding and a bottle of brandy; I mean, what could  possibly go wrong? Like writing a bah-humbug blog whilst sipping a gluhwein mugful of hot spiced wine, the inner glow may actually come out blowing a party hooter and surprise me.

Just like my tree fairy. She can't possibly miss a chance to dance over the lights...