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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Meals on Wheels with Si and Dave

I've been very busy with working overtime at work and adding final edits to my A Christmas Carol script as well as making my costume and communicating with my German friends in Karlsruhe regarding my performances in early December so forgive me for any lack of blog posts of late.

The good news is that I have discovered that Si and Dave (The Two Hairy Bikers) have started a great new series helping the folk who volunteer and run Meals on Wheels for the elderly in the UK. I have watched two episodes of the series so far and have been blown away by the positiveness that has come from their endeavours to provide fresher food and encourage volunteers across the country. So

Well done to all, Si, Dave, and the experienced helpers (often older than the folk they provide for) and the inspirational younger folk who are keen to help in whatever way they can. I was particularly impressed by the catering college students and the young chap who'd been out of work for three years yet found new positiveness from helping others. Such a change from hearing about the alleged 'youth of today' who are 'apparently' completely selfish and think only of themselves. I think that the latter is a very broad statement and that the young can be developed or encouraged to be a caring society for the future too.

I can't wait for episodes three and four.

For details on the programmes go to

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Alien in my frying pan.


adjective /ˈālyən/  /ˈālēən/ 
  1. Belonging to a foreign country or nation
  2. Unfamiliar and disturbing or distasteful
  • - bossing anyone around was alien to him
  • - they found the world of adult education a little alien

  1. Relating to or denoting beings supposedly from other worlds; extraterrestrial
    • - an alien spacecraft
  2. (of a plant or animal species) Introduced from another country and later naturalized
    noun /ˈālyən/  /ˈālēən/ 
    aliens, plural
    1. A foreigner, esp. one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where they are living
      • - an illegal alien
    2. A hypothetical or fictional being from another world
        A plant or animal species originally introduced from another country and later naturalized
        You may have seen the image of Jesus in a mango (who hasn't?) or whilst cutting up a grapefruit but early today, whilst frying some eggs for a fried egg sandwich breakfast I caught the sign of an alien face in the frying pan. Yes you may scoff but over the last few days I have witnessed three double rainbows and have heard voices outside the house at three in the morning. Plus the supermarket I work in has had a sudden influx of foreigners (aliens) as customers. Are aliens trying to contact me?

      I took this picture at 5.40am this morning as proof.


      Monday, 12 September 2011

      Top tip for saving money on spices

      My work friend Paul recently asked me to do some spice shopping for him as he loves to make his own curries and spice blends. I found that by shopping at the ethnic stores around Nottingham that the Asian, Turkish and Chinese population use I saved him a fortune and got much better spices than you might get from a regular supermarket. I also found that the Jamaican stall in the Victoria centre had a big selection of spices and dried herbs and got some great Curry leaves from there. Shopping became an adventure and I was fascinated with all the food stuffs on offer, even though I hadn't a clue what half the products were in the Chinese mini supermarket!

      On a regular note: Waitrose do a great smoked mackerel pate which I love but find hard to get.

      Would love to hear of any of your 'food finds'.

      Thursday, 8 September 2011

      Big virtual hug needed.

      Been working very hard of late (NVQ, normal work and typing up my A Christmas Carol script etc) and only had one day off this week with a few night's of disturbed sleep; so as I type this up I'm feeling a tad shattered and under the weather... and I've got a late shift today. Blech! What I would give to put my feet up, have a nice soak in the bath, take the day off work and have someone give me big hug. Any takers?

      Tuesday, 6 September 2011

      Bruce Lee, beef curry and boiled rice

      When my granny, Ida Hanson, was alive I often used to visit her, during the 1970s, in her cluttered and tiny pensioner’s flat in the middle of Chaddesden – a very large council housing estate close to the city of Derby. This generally sweet old lady, with a tough cantankerous streak, had  a love of verbally attacking her black and white telly during the Saturday afternoon wrestling programmes; one moment she would be serving up strong heavily sugared milky tea and cream cakes and the next she would be vigourously lumping the bemused television with her gigantic handbag. The sight of bad boy cheating Mick McManus in his big  black wrestler’s pants was usually enough to get her riled up to a point of fist shaking fury. Granny fists of fury in fact.

      Aaah, the early 1970s, a time when I lived semi-permanently in cinemas eagerly lapping up the latest Bruce Lee film and wolfing down Chinese food from a take-away in Chaddesden. Back in those politically incorrect days this Happy Dragon establishment would have been known as (and I blush to type the words yet to come) … a Chinky.

      ‘Going for a chinky’ seemed the latest thing in culinary heaven to me back then. If I wasn’t hopping about in faux Bruce Lee fashion, side kicking the ‘evil privet hedges of Chaddo’  and un-self-consciously punching the Derby air with a fierce 'wah ja!'fighting cry guaranteed to attract vicious stray dogs for miles around, I would be dashing off to the local paper shop to eagerly purchase the latest Bruce Lee magazine with fold out poster. I was, Bruce Lee crazy. I just couldn’t get enough.

      Derby at that time was devoid of any proper Kung Fu or Jeet Kune Do classes so, a mate called Rob , and my eager self offered our skinny frames up to the rigours of Sunday morning sessions of Shukokai karate classes at a sports centre in Allenton. Oh me and Rob, we just couldn’t get enough of those endless push ups and sit ups, stretches and katas and hip crunching Mawashi geri kicks and blocking techniques and sparring with people twice our size and strength. We were fearless – we were the new Bruce Lee. We were raving bloody mad!!!! Rob left limping in agony after three sessions and I left shortly after having had various bits of my chained up racing bike stolen from petty thieves lurking around the sports centre. If only I’d stayed, I could have got my whole bike nicked.

      Still, there was ‘Enter the Dragon’ to watch over and over again and on the way home I could enter into the Happy Dragon owned by a Mr Li (co-incidence or what?) to purchase my fave MSG beef and onion curry and boiled rice take-way. I wasn’t encouraged to eat this at home because my Dad was averse in the extreme to accepting the ‘stink of foreign muck’ in the household. So I would eagerly scoff the food from the aluminium trays on the half hour walk home. I’d get into the habit of eating the rice first and beef curry afterwards, generally slopping a fair proportion of it down my front as I walked and ate. When I got home I would thoroughly enjoy hearing Dad moan on about the stink, the reek, the pong, the whiff, the stench and other dramatic turns of phrase regarding the odour of curry about me. And as for wasting money at the cinema watching Bruce ruddy Lee over and over, goodness me! Or as my dad liked to put it, ‘they must have seen me coming.’ Bless him.

      On occasion I used to go to the Shing Do Chinese restaurant with work mates in the butcher’s trade and invariably we’d order the dramatic black pepper T-Bone sizzling steak. Always a favourite with the English customers nervous of going too Chinese in our choices. Apparently, after all these years, it is still a favourite there. There was another restaurant on London Road near to the Odeon cinema that I used to frequent and order their roast half duck in Cantonese orange sauce with chips and peas and I thought myself as being extremely grown up and sophisticated going there to eat.

      Later on in life (1980s) I started to go to the Full Moon Tandoori restuarant on Normanton Road, Derby. Normanton has a very large Asian population and at the age of 27/28 I had never had an Indian meal. My landlord Mike Leech took me to the Full Moon for the delights of Indian nosh. Thinking about this, it is amazing we are so used to eating Indian dishes nowadays and are familiar with all sorts of foodstuffs and recipes and yet back then words like madras, poppadum and tandoori and such were all very new and exciting to me.

      Not sure that it was a 'tandoori' restuarant in the 1980s

      This was my first experience of an exotic night out. I even remember the waiter asking me what my favourite meat was in a way of helping me decide from the ‘foreign’ menu of unfathomable options  what to eat on that first visit. I think I might have had a mild lamb curry. Shame about the rough lads on table six being rude to the waiters and asking for the hottest vindaloo, drinking far too many lagers and behaving like bigoted ignorant prats. Actually, they’d already drunk too many lagers before they crashed into the Indian restaurant pissed up. I felt sorry for the polite staff dealing with these uncultured young men.

      Where was granny Hanson with her swinging handbag when you needed her? She’d soon sort ‘em out.