30 June 2012

School Prom 2012

I am snuggled in my cozy leavers's hoodie as I type this, having just got home from my friend Sophie's. Last night was our school prom, held at the local golf course where just about every school seems to go to. It was so funny to think that, aside from results day, this was the last time I would be with my year group before I move 'oop North'.

Ah, but wasn't everyone beautiful?? I wish that I had space to put every photo up!! We were so lucky: aside from a potentially hair-damaging wind blowing, the weather was perfect; no need for me to wear the peep toe tights that I had had to track down.

Sophie, Katie and I came in Sophie's brother, Alex's, Land Rover, with Alex posing as the coolest chauffeur. There were no space hoppers, helicopters, or limos, but my favorite transport of the night was a three person tandem, which is pretty wacky cool in anyone's books.

After we all went inside, we spent a lot of time milling around, mostly queuing for something like 45 minutes for photos. It was so worth it though: watching everyone pose is so funny!! Especially when there are too many people to fit in front of the screen without knocking it over...

The best bit was definitely watching Mr. Evans and Mr. Penny hit the dance floor. Mr. Evans is a tiny school veteran, who seems to have lead the History department forever. Mr. Penny is a giant, loud Geography teacher. The two are so close though; they really should have made up a bromance award just for these two!

Obviously a couple of the photos up here are from the photography company: I used these because I hadn't taken anything as good myself. All rights reserved to them, blah blah blah, hope you are all happy. But if it makes any difference, I would recommend them, and their name is just up there on the photos if anyone is interested. ;)

27 June 2012

Little Travelling Dreams: Steam Trip to Canterbury

Roll up all you anoraks!! Get your train spotter's notebooks out! Yesterday, my parents and I got up hideously early to spend Mama's birthday on a steam trip. We'd been preparing well in advance: new dresses had been bought and the picnic box(es!) were stuffed. We went to Canterbury; Dad's university town, although it felt like we were walking all the way there, as our carriage -the 13th back -was well off the end of the platform so we had to file on through the rest of the train. Standard class or no, it was impossible not to feel glamorous, or, in the case of the over-65 majority, nostalgic, as we settled aboard. Personally, I think steam is the way to travel: you get tables with covers and cushy chairs with headrests, all as standard. We started off the day with a gorgeous breakfast of almond croissants, which Mum had picked up from my favorite bakery, and complementary tea and coffee.

We spent the journey sat next to the most charming man -a fairly archetypal ''railway enthusiast'' (train spotter to you and me) in his mid sixties. His hobby was to essentially check off as many stations as he could whilst traveling by steam, so at any unusual stops, he would nip up the coaches in order to step onto the platform and check off another location. Unsurprisingly, his wife (not present) wasn't quite so taken by his interest as he.

We arrived at Canterbury in the middle of a beautiful day; perfect for wandering after a long journey. Canterbury is unspoilt and pretty, surrounded by city walls, and full of clustered, peak beamed buildings. At the Butter Market by the cathedral, we stopped for a pistachio ice cream, and listened to a teenage busking group, playing Mumford and Sons songs (in order to pay off a train fine!). The city was full of French children on a school trip, which gave me a little bit of French revision some 5 or 6 weeks after my exams.
After a couple of hours wandering we made our way back to the station, in plenty of time for another six hours or so of traveling. We circled around the south-east coast, passing the misty Dover cliffs. We finished off the afternoon with champagne and a ginger birthday cake I had ordered in from Betty's. A pretty perfect end to a perfect day.

22 June 2012

Little Eco Dreams: Monty Halls

On Wednesday evening, I was lucky enough to go to a talk by adventurer, conservationist and marine biologist, Monty Halls. Monty Halls has worked his way into the television scenes over the last few years, starting with adventure expeditions, most notably Great Ocean Adventures, and Great Barrier Reef. He then posted himself up into the inner and then the outer Hebrides for a few months at a time, living in a one roomed hut with a very bouncy rescue dog called Reuben. His most recent appearance on television was in BBC's The Fisherman's Apprentice. This series was particularly important as it raised awareness, both of the unsustainable nature of our current fishing policies, and of the need to support the small boat fishing industry. Fishermen are forced to throw back incredible amounts of dead fish back into the sea, either because the fish caught is unsaleable due to government regulations or because businesses refuse to buy fish if it is not selling for a premium. To combat this, Monty has set up a local co-operative where local fishermen reserve some of their catch to sell to locals in a kind of veg box scheme. It is utterly amazing to me that this hasn't already been in place, but you can thank EU polices for that.

During the talk, Monty discussed his path to his TV career -from a Royal Marine, to university exploration leader, to hitting television entry level with Superhuman. The stories and anecdotes were funny, engaging and fascinating. A running slideshow played the most awe inspiring set of photographs and films. The battle between my career ambitions of either building surveying (currently winning) and marine biology was reignited. At the very least, I am considering a gap year more seriously -spending the British winter in Australia volunteering around the Great Barrier Reef, and the summer in a cut-off wildlife reserve.
Throughout the talk, Monty's infamous and much-loved Reuben was on stage, drawing in a crowd of admirers during the interval. And, unfortunately, a stalker-style woman who took hundreds of photos throughout the second half. Please don't ever use flash photography at any event, talk or performance. It is incredibly off-putting and distracting to everyone in the space.

Coincidentally we happened to be sat just in front of a teacher of mine. When, the next day, I remarked to her that I hadn't realized that Monty Halls had started off in the armed forces, she gushed "Oh but you could tell couldn't you? My husband remarked that he was very tall and I just..  ahh".

Well there you have it. Funny, caring, and manly enough to set sensible women swooning. I think that calls for another television series being commissioned!

20 June 2012

Little Sailing Dreams: 1948 Olympic Torch

When I arrived at my sailing club, where I teach, to see the arrival of the 1948 Olympic Torch, I was not expecting to get asked to receive the torch myself!! The torch itself is touring along the South Coast -our club is the only inland sailing center to hold the torch -from the old 1948 Olympic sailing site in Torquay all to Weymouth. What we're holding in the photo is actually a replica torch -the original has long since crumbled and rusted, but it has still been displayed at Torquay sailing center.

I have to love my little ole' club for their impeccable sense of inventiveness -in an attempt to create a sense of ceremony, we had instructors and students lining the slipway to welcome in two of the youngest sailors holding the torch, whilst sat in a boat that was pulled across the road by my fellow 18 and under instructors (i.e. minions!). The torch was passed from sailor to sailor, like a ancient, tangible Chinese whisper before getting passed to me and one of the level 2's whom I teach.
Then there was the usual grimacing for the local newspaper, with one hand on the other torch, and the other holding the sail back as one of the senior instructors shouting "If you set that sail alight..!" In all, it was a lovely, typically bonkers, event to happen to our club, in unusually perfect weather conditions.
*Awkwardly not having my instructor's top... oops!

19 June 2012

Another Day, Another Exam..

Am I just ever so slightly jealous of my friends who have finished their exams? Yes yes yes! Yesterday I had two; today I had a three hour session. I kick-started my week the way we all like to: with a human geography paper. Before I'd left the house I was scrabbling around, tearing notes out of folders and exercise books: confident I was not. Geography exams are exceptional in the amount of statistics and case studies that require learning, but luckily for me, the paper mostly asked questions on subjects that I was more confident on. By the time the one and a half hours were up, I was feeling considerably better than before the exam.

Having a good hour and a half to kill, a few of us nipped down to a local deli for some early lunch before exam number two, German listening. At the time I thought I was pretty relaxed about German, although on hindsight, I think my fidgeting and pacing around the deli suggested otherwise....
We wandered back, bumping into my languages tutor en route, and got back in good time for the exam. We needed of bothered though; three people were late -two of them not turning up at all -and so we had to start a national exam over twenty minutes late. Fun fun fun.
HOWEVER the sun was shining as I walked back, so lets just hope it can hold on up there for a few more weeks.....

My three hour session today was for product design/design technology, which has got to be one of the weirdest exam. Timed sessions to 'chat' -all right, discuss -and permission to get up and wander. And I'm doing it all again tomorrow... roll on Friday!

17 June 2012

Happy Father's Day!

I was pleasantly surprised to open up my curtains this morning (too early!) to bright sunlight. I'd assumed that Sunday being Father's day was a recipe for rain. I dragged myself downstairs and stuck on the oven for a breakfast of croissants. Mmm. Frozen pastries are THE best thing.
We decided to go on a bike ride across to a pretty village near us, before cycling back for a late pub lunch. Being Father's day, we set off at dad's pace, so true to form, we set off over an hour later than planned. Never let anyone tell you that women take the longest to get ready! We cycled, first alone a canal, then through country lanes and the outskirts of a town. It always amazes me how pretty places can be just a few miles out of the center of towns, regardless of what the town itself is like.
We stopped off at my favorite tearooms at the village. The tearooms, an ancient Tudor lodge, have the prettiest gardens, and it seems to be forever summer there as I only end up going in on warm days.
After relentless teasing about her "slow pace" my mother charmingly suggested we swap bikes. Ouch. Mum's bike is a mountain bike, so cycling on a road is like riding a too-small bike. For the first time, I can actually understand why bmx riders always stand on the peddles.

We had a gorgeous Sunday roast at the pub, which actually belongs to the parents of a friend of mine. The food was heavenly. I had roast pork, with a little bit of stuffing on the side. The portions were very generous, so that a couple of roast potatoes slid across to dad's plate of salmon. Pudding looked too good to pass; a chocolate and rum torte, ice cream, and lime panna cotta were all ordered.

We cycled the last bit home. And you know what? I could have cycled all the way round again. Not bad!
Happy Father's day.

16 June 2012

Just a Little Bit Windy...

Phew. Anyone else get blown about today? Lets just say my bike and I had a narrow miss with the middle of the road, and that I was very glad to have a longish coat on over my skirt.
Bit of a slow day today. Dad and I made the most of being ushered out of the house while there was a viewing , and did the weekly food shopping at a farm shop. Personally, I am a little afraid of tea tonight being, at the least, a choking hazard, as my dad chose "something different" when choosing fish and picked skate wing -and he has got to fillet and de-bone it. Ulp. At the deli counter there was a little dish with samples of a cheese and ham croissant, and I'll admit, I went for seconds, as it was pure heaven. Food at its most dangerous!!

Then... quel apr├Ęs-midi!! Just a little boring. I didn't go out with my mother and grandma after mum pointedly said "you can come if you want, but I think you should be revising". So that was me stuck. After half an hour or so of flicking through my geography folder, I actually got the closest I'd been in a long time to an afternoon nap. I sort of dosed for twenty minutes. At this rate I'll be falling asleep on my favorite armchair by the fire on an afternoon with a small generic terrier curled up around my feet...

Hope you are ready for father's day....
E x

15 June 2012

Quiche Lorraine

Due to parent demand, I made another of <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/rkhooks"nofollow">Rachel Khoo's</a> gorgeous Quiche Lorraines. I'm afraid we were so hungry that the quiche got bolted down, with seconds, before I even thought about photos. But I think that my quiche came out well enough to deserve being represented by a photo of the original recipe by Rachel.
It is so easy to make, yet so good. Simply make a basic short crust pastry and chill, overnight ideally. Roll out the pastry into a greased tin and rest in the fridge while you prepare your filling: fry 150g a lardons until cooked; mix 4 eggs and 2 eggs yolks with 300ml of creme fraiche. Season, pour onto the pastry and leave in a 180'C/gas mark 4 oven for 30-45 minutes.

Then serve up and feel fabulous!
E x
Well *ulp* here it is: the first blog. I've been on and of the laptop trying to work out how to use blogger, so I guess that's a learning curve!! I've had my first day off from school this week, as I'm in everyone's favorite season -exam season. Not that I'm at all jealous of all my friends who have finished already...

Hopefully writing a blog will prove to be something that I actually keep up, as my perseverance levels are, shall we say, variable. There's a reason that I never mastered any instruments, despite all the in- and out-of school lessons provided!

So -a little bit about me. I am finishing GCSE's, ready to start A levels next year. Like most teenage girls, I have a love of shopping, though I mostly have to practice window shopping. I'm a total foodie with a huge appetite -I could spend hours in any supermarket's bakery section, and my current obsessions are Asian and deli-style foods. While I'm not always brave enough to put my hair in an updo and sashay down the street in a full, long skirt, I adore all things vintage -particularly tea parties! I care passionately about the environment, to the extent that I've been nicknamed ''recyclopath'' by my friends. So I'll do my best not to rant, okay?
E x
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