Wow, are you still reading? After all my being slack? I like to think of it as a creative hiatus, not just me being really, really lazy and not bothering to update this at all.
Anyway, down to brass tacks, what’s new? There’s probably loads, in fact there definitely is, quite a few great things happened, but I’ll be damned if I can remember them all now. I suppose first and foremost for here is the house being finished (or near enough to count anyway). It’s taken a long time – six months as opposed to the twelve week estimate we were originally given by the builders… – but it’s been worth it. Central heating, double glazing, hot running water; as stupid as it sounds these things which are normal for most people are a real luxury now, and I love it! I spend more time in my kitchen than I do in the living room these days, it’s so bright and roomy, all I need to do is get around to wiring up a decent aerial for the TV out there.
Training’s going pretty well too. My usual TSD and Kickboxing are well and truly bolstered by the BJJ lessons, and if nothing else I’m sleeping really well for it. Five nights a week sometimes feels like just the right amount, and I can tell that sat here on a Monday afternoon, with one more session to go tonight, I’m looking forward to an evening off tomorrow. I’m already entered in my first BJJ competition, and I think it’s going to be a bit of a trial by fire. I’m competing at the Bristol Open, which is one of the bigger competitions in the UK, and after a scant three months training, I’m not expecting to come away with much in the way of success. I’ve competed lots of times now, so the nerves don’t bother me (although I doubt I’ll be able to say the same thing when they call me to the mat!), but I love the feeling after a competition. Win or lose it’s such a buzz, and I know I’ll learn so much, so I’m keen to go and see how badly I fare. I’m fighting at 100 KG+ which means I can be fighting anyone over that weight, which could turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on just how massively they’re built. My instructor has also told me I should compete in the Absolut (open weight) division too, although I don’t always like fighting the little guys, they’re fast and get my back too easily!
I’ve taken to baking pasties (I can’t bring myself to call them Cornish pasties, I’m Cornish already), and so far it’s going very well. I had to find something to test my new oven with, and what better to bake than THE tastiest foodstuff in the world? I had a bit of a disaster over the weekend, and it nearly brings a tear to my eye to think about it. We had four people coming over for something to eat (it’s a long story, which involves a drunk me offering to make pasties for everyone at a wedding the week before), so I baked six. The problem is I make biiiig pasties, and I could only get four on the baking tray, and with time pressing on and another two to bake I needed a stroke of genius. I came up with the idea of popping the other two on a wire cooking rack. I made sure the pastry on the bottom was strong enough to hold up against the combined forces of gravity and meat and potato filling, and stuck them all in for fifteen minutes on high heat to set the pastry. After about five minutes I heard some hissing from inside the oven and opened it to find that one of them had split underneath and was spilling its precious payload all over the place. I tried to rescue it with a combination of knives, spatula and the bottom of a cake tin, but it all went horribly wrong and it did the baked goods equivalent of self-destructing. I was not amused, not in the slightest. If Murphy could talk his vocabulary would have some colourful new entries in it, especially when I burned my hand trying to fish the veg out of the oven door. Note to self: always use a baking tray.
I’ll leave you for now with a quick before and after from the house, to give you some kind of idea as to why I’m so pleased.