Saturday 22 October 2011

It's ski time again!

So early in the season this year! Luckily we are going to the Stubai Glacier, in Austria, which had two feet of snowfall this week and is currently at a depth of 80cm. So, plenty of snow - but undoubtedly plenty of chilly wind; I am nervous that I don't have enough warm clothes. I can always buy more clothes, though.

I feel like I've reached kind of a pinnacle of travel this year, as this will be my 6th foreign trip since January, and my third time skiing, with one more ski trip to go, at New Year. And people wonder why I don't want children!

Here are some webcams for where we're skiing in case you want to spend your time poring over them, looking for me. I ski in a pale pink jacket and a red helmet. I may be the one crying because I can barely manage six hours of skiing a day; but having done a first aid course with the leader of the ski course over the last two days, I am less worried about it than I was.

Leaving in 25 minutes for my shopping trip to terminal 5...oh yes, and then the flight! Back in a week. Don't tell me to break a leg.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Tuesday Ten

What if we lived in a world where being old was more desirable than being young?

1. The skincare industry as we know it would collapse. For a while, everybody would be smoking and tanning to achieve that cool, wrinkly look; then a whole range of aging products would appear in the chemist.

2. Presumably something similar would happen with plastic surgeons. I wonder if somebody would invent a facelift technique that adds crows feet. Perhaps back teeth could be removed to give that slightly sunken-cheeked look.

3. Young, nubile models would be replaced by their grandparents. Perhaps this would impact on fashion: lower heels. Warmer fabrics.

4. Companies would start to invest in solutions for problems faced by older people. Amazing leaps forward in technology would occur in the fields of hearing aids and bifocals. We might even see the invention of laser surgery to correct far sightedness. Maybe cheaper dental implants.

5. Trips to the grandparents would no longer be a thing to be endured. Hours would be spent looking through old photo albums and hanging on every word about what life was like in the olden days. Kids would retell these stories at school, and try and trump each other with cool grandparent stories.

6. Saga would be the new Club 18-30.

7. People would fake ID to make themselves seem older. I know this isn't much different to today, but it's generally only undeage people that bother with this. In the world I am picturing, I lie about my age and tell people I'm actually 39, whilst hopping on a sunbed every other day and smoking heavily to try and catch up to my fake age.

8. People might adopt powdered wigs, like the Georgians, to look naturally grey. Hair dye would become obsolete, as everybody embraced their greying locks with grace. I won't make the obvious joke about blue rinses because I can't remember the last time I saw one.

9. In relationships with big age gaps, people will start congratulating the younger member of the partnership on their good fortune in landing such a catch, instead of the older member.

10. Something would happen to the retirement age. I can't decide what. Part of me thinks it would go down, because the government would be heavily courting the over-60 vote and would probably have a larger percentage of over-60s. Part of me thinks it would go up, as older people achieved greater status and therefore issues faced by older people, such as ageism in the work place, would disappear. Older people would find it easier to gain promotion and be actively encouraged to remain in the work place, thus giving them a greater incentive to stay employed. That would mean more tax payers (for the moment I conveniently forget that more workers does not equal more jobs) which would lead to an economic boost, possibly funding higher state pensions.
In fact, if the over-60 vote meant more to the government, there's a whole boatload of legislation that might make it through the House. Well, there's a can of worms.

This was a bit silly, but in the words of Sheldon Cooper, what's life without whimsy?

Four days until skiing. Just sayin'.

Sunday 16 October 2011

Sunday Baking: a new book

I bought this book a few weeks ago.

I say's more of a tome. I was inspired by the Great British Bake Off, which, when I heard of it, I thought I might enter; I quickly realised I was massively under-qualified, bearing in mind I have never made bread and my pastry skills are severely lacking. This book is going to help me fill that gap. I anticipate a winter of home baked bread, pies and maybe even choux pastry.

But of course, I went straight to the cake section. My first recipe from it was the chocolate custard muffins which the author claims are the best chocolate muffins ever. He is not lying. I have found my new go-to recipe. I substituted the water in his custard for milk, which might account for their very crumbly texture, but I whipped up a batch this evening and frosted them with chilli lime meringue buttercream, which threatened to curdle and was barely salvaged. Hella tasty, though.

I don't know that I can copy recipes out of someone's book onto my blog. I don't want to break any laws, especially since it's only been out a month. The chilli lime buttercream was of my own devising, though - the finely grated rind of three limes, a very finely chopped red chilli (absolutely no seeds or pith, so it's a bit of flavour without the heat) and the juice of one lime. Very tasty.

I can definitely recommend this book if you want to become a better baker. The Kindle edition is out next week, too.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Of Apples and Chutney

I wasn't going to make chutney this year, because last year's apple chutney wasn't especially nice and I hadn't eaten any of it.

But then two things happened. Firstly, I made mango chutney (which is not season-specific) and remembered how much I enjoyed it, and how much Mr Z loves the way the house smells when it is doused in evaporated vinegar (his other favourite scents include petrol). Secondly, I came across a slow cooker recipe for pork chops which includes chutney and has become a favourite with both of us, and suddenly more chutney became necessary.

So, I got some plums from the deputy head at work, and some apples from my personal trainer, and I started looking for recipes. Here's what I came up with - Spicy Apple & Walnut Chutney, and Spicy Plum & Apple Chutney. Sensing a theme here? I think what I learned from last year's chutney making efforts was that apples need a lot of additional ingredients to make a good chutney; they are at least different types of spicy - the former, mustard; the latter, star anise and cinnamon.

Of course, I don't know how they taste yet. Damn maturing period.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Tuesday Ten

Ten Thoughts For The Day

1. Does my car have, "Please pull out in front of me: I brake for morons" painted on the front of it today?
2. I can't think of much I'd less like to do than spend this hour in detention going over old ground because you couldn't be bothered to do the work in the first place.
3. When is Spinning going to get easier?
4. Every week, I become more convinced that my theory about you is correct, but I hope I am suffering from an over-active imagination.
5. I haven't enjoyed teaching a group this much for ages!
6. I wish I'd been in this man's shoes - geology in action!
7. What made this pirated ship so much more important than all the others? Hmmm?
8. I wish I was disciplined enough that I could say, "I'm going to bed now and I'll get up half an hour early tomorrow to mark these last 3 essays," and actually do it. In reality, I'll go to bed, sleep until normal time, and disappoint 3 kids tomorrow.
9. How did that end-of-January deadline suddenly morph into end-of-November? Do you think I am in possession of superhuman ability?
10. I wonder, if I was a superhero and my superpower was that I never needed to sleep, whether I would miss sleep.

Feeling whiny, evidently (and full of questions). I actually wanted to make my list "10 blog posts I want to write but don't have time for" but then, that might have spoiled future blog entries.

Still. Only a week left until half term. Woop woop.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Tuesday Ten

Ten Pieces of Trapped Whinge

1. Why is time passing so rapidly? It's only two weeks until half term and I haven't done anything impressive at school yet!
2. It's been too hot to wear my new winter coat.
3. My foot muscle really hurts. I blame the sponsored walk.
4. Why am I so tired all the time? WHY?
5. Tomorrow I have to be nomadic and teach my lessons in four different classrooms because of bloody careers. Sigh.
6. I'm never going to get round to going to B&Q for paint samples and we're going to be living without heating for the next seven years.
7. Why don't I have enough time for all my hobbies? Hmm?
8. My bum hurts because spinning NEVER seems to get any easier.
9. I still haven't got round to writing about my adventures in Australia fully.
10. Words With Friends may work on my HTC but it's a battery hog and it doesn't recognise all the words on the two letter word list. My game is severely weakened: I am only currently winning against four opponents.

On the positive side, I managed to bag a pair of skis for £15 at a Salvation Army shop last week, I finished the sponsored walk quicker than last year, my revision guide proposal was approved and I'm going skiing in two and a half weeks, so I suppose I shouldn't complain really.