Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tim for a song...

Another one of my lazy posts, but I hope you'll agree, something worth sharing.

This guy is Tim Minchin, a relatively new name to me, Australian now living in the UK and the rare combination of an incredible musical talent who is bloody funny too. After some recent research on YouTube, my current favourite is called "Not Perfect", more for the fact that it's a beautiful song than it's hysterical comedy content. Certainly worth a look.

This one however is a love song which I'm confident will have a wider appeal...

Apologies - due to further YouTube censorship, the videos I originally linked to have been removed. Don't let that discourage you, just search for Tim Minchin Inflatable You or Not Perfect to see them as someone is bound to keep re-posting them...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

On Yer Bike...

I remembered last night that in return for changing my current account, I have apparently got £100 heading my way, so I thought it would be appropriate (and traditional) to spend it before it arrived.

I've been meaning to get a pushbike for years now but I had no idea how hard it would be to get a reasonably priced one. Every bike shop and sports shop I visited seemed determined to push some overly featured contraption my way for hundreds of pounds but basically, I just wanted something to get me from A to B in a healthier and greener manner.

Of all places, I eventually found exactly what I was looking for at Tesco. It was clear from the box that I would actually be assembling it myself and there were considerably more parts in there than I'd expected. Sure I used to dismantle and tinker with bikes as a kid, but they didn't have anything like disc brakes or dual suspension.

The good news is that it actually came in exactly on budget. Well the bike did. I had overlooked that I would need a helmet, a pump, a speedometer/milometer (OK, perhaps I didn't really need that) and, sign of the times, a bloody substantial lock. The other significant extra I opted for was a rack for the car which means I can now look forward to some rides amongst scenery further afield than Lincolnshire.

It also means that if I fancy a crafty few beers, I can drive into town and leave the car, then when the beer has worn off the following day, cycle in and collect it again. Aside from burning off some of the the earlier excesses, it would also save me best part of £20 in taxi fares each time.

So I just need to start going to the pub more often again and this lot will practically pay for itself in no time...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

By George...

Happy St George's Day!
Another year and again barely a mention anywhere.

To my complete shame I usually find a suitable tipple on Paddy's Day or Burn's Night but I've no English spirits to hand and it's too late to go out and buy something now. In fact I was so late getting back from work tonight that I'm afraid I'm not even going to manage a cuppa having barely found time for a quick moan on here before turning in.

However, I heard about this a little while ago which makes me curious and although it may prove to be a bit of a gamble, I'm tempted to try it, if only to make sure I'm not caught out again in future...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Run like hell...

Ever since I started using the running machine regularly, it's always been tucked away in the back of my mind that once I have lost the weight I wanted to, what would happen next?

I was always lousy at sport as a child and although I don't actively partake in any now, I sincerely doubt anything has changed particularly. Having been reasonably successful so far in terms of weight loss though, I had recently begun to wonder.

Since the London Marathon first started in 1981, the family would sit around the TV at home to watch it and Dad would invariably say that perhaps he should start training and give it a go. I can report that in the subsequent 28 years, it hasn't happened yet but I have been told by several people I know who actually have run marathons that it does give you a tremendous sense of achievement.

So what are my chances? I know I have a brother-in-law waiting in the wings who would jump at the chance of someone to run a marathon with, but I guess my biggest problem is that I don't really enjoy running or jogging that much.

In all honesty I am an intrinsically lazy person and the only reason I keep to my current daily routine is that a mile or so each morning seems little effort on my part for the great results in weight loss I am achieving in return.

But never say never I suppose. A couple of years ago, I would never have believed that I would be prepared to jog over a mile every weekday morning, or even be able to for that matter. It isn't beyond the realms of reason that a mile or two could soon become three and 3.1 miles is the equivalent of a 5k race.

Whether 5k goes on to become 10k, 10k goes on to become half marathon and the half becomes whole remains to be seen, but certainly don't go looking out for me on TV next Sunday. I'm a long way away from dragging my still bulky frame around that sort of distance, even at a jog.

Perhaps a more appropriate title would have been: Run? Like hell...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nothing to do with me...

I know, three posts in one day - it doesn't happen often, but I've just noticed the site stats and I'm amazed to see its passed the 30,000 hits mark!

Of course, I'm delighted that the old blog is still generating interest but as usual, the truth is revealed when you examine the detail. However, informative, amusing, or just generally verbose I try to be on here, there no denying that most people land here as a result of image searches:

In fifth place, searching for this photo of Nigella

In fourth place, actually searching for "Seany" (I doubt they're after a picture)

In third place, searching for this photo of Emily Maitliss

In second place, searches for this photo of Samantha Janus

In first place, even though I posted the image at Easter 4 years ago, searches for this photo of some bunnies

In fact to be honest, given the choice of looking at those delightful people, or reading my inane ramblings, they've probably got the right idea.

However, to those who do keep coming back for the genuine content, no silly pictures, songs or videos this time, just my sincere thanks.

And of course, this post will have done nothing to help matters...

In the interest of completeness...

Another couple of items I picked up this morning were the original ingredients for the chocolate cake in a mug recipe.

So purely to fulfil my service to the reader you understand, I made another one tonight using caster sugar instead of granulated and self raising flour instead of plain. I suppose the sponge did come out very slightly lighter, but the difference was so insignificant that it wouldn't warrant buying the ingredients in especially.

I would have taken another photo for you but it seems to have disappeared already...

A Few Words About My Mate...

They say you either love it or hate it and I have never made a secret of the fact that I love Marmite. Indeed it's been mentioned on here before, whether I'm lathering it on home made crumpets, or trying to decide the best addition to cheese on toast.

I have dabbled in the Guinness and Champagne limited editions and have tried the supermarket own label, but there is nothing quite like the real thing. You can imagine my delight then when I spotted these in the supermarket this morning.

As I'm usually very careful with what I eat during the week (what about the cake in a mug I hear you ask), I like to pick up a treat, usually something like a pack of crumpets to dowse in the aforementioned spread or very occasionally bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon (trimmings on my budget).

My brother-in-law introduced me to the delights of humous on rice cakes last weekend so there was this weeks treat sewn up. Humous on Marmite rice cakes, absolutely delicious and as a bonus, reasonably healthy.

Seeing as I did a bonus mile on the running machine this morning, I'll bet neither pack lasts the day...

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Sneaky Advert...

I know the other blog is supposed to stand on it's own merits (or otherwise) but seeing as it's been not been updated for a while, I thought a quick plug wouldn't go amiss.

It's a bit of a far stretch from the music I usually listen to, but I suppose it's a classic of sorts and I'd had a few ideas while away with the family last weekend. So please feel free to check out my latest futile attempt at video entertainment here...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Here's one I made (and ate) earlier...

You have been warned. Not that this post is concerned with any intrusive examinations of any nature, but I'm about to share something that you may just wish you hadn't read.

Last week on Chris Evans' Radio show, they made a chocolate cake in a mug and tonight was the first opportunity I've had to see whether it actually works. I had to improvise using ingredients I already had in the cupboard, but as you look on the net, there are lots of variations on a similar theme out there.

The recipe is quite simple:
4 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp sugar (granulated)
2 tbsp cocoa
Mix these thoroughly together with a fork in a large mug, then add
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp milk
1 egg
Continue to mix these together until you get a smooth mixture.
Apparently at this point you can mix in extra ingredients if required such as orange peel, chocolate chips, or a splash of vanilla essence, whisky, rum, etc. I chose to keep mine simple for the first attempt.

Then microwave at full power for 3 minutes - this was sufficient in my trusty old 750 watt machine. Don't be surprised when the mixture rises above the top of the mug (thankfully, mine didn't spill over).

When it's done, leave to cool for a few minutes and empty out onto a plate. Or if you really can't wait, get a spoon and just dig straight into your mug.

Unfortunately, it is as simple as that, it really does work and if mine was anything to go by, it's delicious.

So there you are. You are now only ever 5 minutes away from a freshly baked chocolate cake. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A blog too far...

I gave much consideration before writing this post tonight as some things are probably best kept to yourself.

On the other hand, the whole raison d'etre of this thing was to share new experiences with you all in the hope that it may be informative, or at the very least, I could provide some amusement in the face of my adversity. So apologies in advance. You may wish to stop reading now, as today's tale revolves around somewhere entirely opposite from my face, adversity or otherwise.

The past couple of mornings this week whilst going through my daily routine of getting ready for work, lets just say I spotted something unexpected and rather shocking during my time spent in the bathroom. Not that I was in any physical discomfort or that there were any physical anomalies that I was aware of, but something was clearly quite wrong.

I tried some internet-enabled self diagnosis last night which (unsurprisingly) scared the bejeepers out of me and convinced me that having "cheated death" (man-flu stylee) from the mysterious shadow behind my eye, other gremlins could still be lurking.

So this morning, I thought it best to nip down to the surgery and get myself checked out. I explained the situation to the stand-in GP. It's very rare I get to see my actual GP first time, but in the hope that it may help me get in and out of the place quicker, I'll gladly talk to any professional in there who is prepared to listen.

I told him the details and the shocking potential diagnoses I'd found on the internet which led me to be there. His reply surprised me "So you were bothered you might have cancer then?" rather in the same tone as a big kid in the playground would have jeered and said "What are you scared of dogs for?"

Now clearly I'm no doctor, but from the little I do know about cancer, it is something to be pretty fucking scared about. I should also add that I didn't for one minute think that actually was my diagnosis, but I did think it was something worth checking out. What I hadn't thought through, was how I would be examined as he went on to explain it was going to be that examination; the one we have all heard about and laughed at on American sitcoms, but secretly hoped you would never actually encounter yourself. The surprise was such that I missed the opportunity to tell him that he ought to at least buy me dinner first.

Not long afterwards, I was called through to one of the exam rooms where I was shortly followed by the above-mentioned stand in and my regular GP who had decided to come along for the show. "Are you OK?" he asked. I couldn't avoid the absurdity that I was sat there in collar and tie from the waist up and below... a pair of socks, but said yes regardless.

I'll spare the rest of the details (as if anyone was still reading by now anyway), but everything is OK and as embarrassing or uncomfortable as the experience was, it is still a close call as to whether I would rather have been at work.

So how on earth do you finish off a post like this? With a song of course! Not the original video I'm afraid while the YouTube/PRS debate continues, but I couldn't think of anything more appropriate...