I have spent a happy evening at archaro's house eating a very good dinner. We started with a gin and tonic each, and then we started, at 8pm, a dinner that consisted of several courses:
- Traditional French onion soup (caramellized onion soup with a slice of French bread in it and grated gruyére on top).
- Welsh lamb with a leek fool and new potatoes, served with a glass of Auvergnat pinot noir (red wine).
- Gin and tonic sorbet (which was love).
- Field mushroom pâté with a slice of bruschetta and a balsamic vinaigrette, along with a glass of gavi (white wine).
- An Aberdeen Angus fillet steak with fine beans, new potatoes and an English mustard and clotted cream sauce, and a glass of Balgownie cabernet sauvignon (red wine).
- Cheese and biscuits (unpasteurized Stilton and Cheddar, and a pasteurized Shropshire Blue) with a single quinta vintage port.
- Half a melon, balled and then marinated in port and cherry brandy.
- Rosewater panna cotta and saffron & cardamom panna cotta with a glass of orange muscat.
- Coffee and delicious chocolate truffles, with cherry brandy!
After the cherry brandy, the amount of alcohol hit me like a train (I was not the only one!) and so we retired to bed after finishing supper at about 1am. A damn fine evening!
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This weekend my family and I are visiting my Great Auntie Margaret in Southampton, and so last night I spent the night in Peterborough and this afternoon has been spent wandering around Southampton city centre.
Some of the people reading this will live in cities that have a proper milkshake shop, like Shakeaway -- indeed, some of you may even have a branch of that particular business! My parents and I were introduced to milkshake shops by Shakeaway in Bournemouth, and my mother is rather partial to the chocolate & cherry flavour. In fact, she's made it her mission to visit all of their branches (not entirely seriously...).
When we got to Southampton, our first port of call was the bigger of the two Shakeaway outlets (one is a shop, the other is more a counter in a shopping centre), in which I had the milkshake photographed below:
It was lovely, but they did it with Milkybar instead of Milky Way, which made it a bit sweet for my taste. Afterwards we explored more of the city, discovering that the new Magic Mouse is alright but not as good as I hoped; that Hotel Chocolat do chocolate nibbles for dinner parties; and that Italian hog roast apparently means "no stuffing or crackling". I also didn't buy a Beach Boys album.
Then, Dad suggested getting another milkshake, and since I have no self-control, I plumped for a chocolate and peanut butter one this time around:
(The thumbs in the background are my Aubtie Jennifer's, and the milkshakes are chocolate with cherry, peanut butter and ginger respectively.)
Then we went to actually visit Auntie Margaret, and now we're preparing to go our. All in all, a good day!
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We went to another garden the day after we'd been to Heligan and Polkerris. This time it was a Japanese garden in St. Mawgan, which was very pretty. My brother bought a book on Japanese gardens to read and some wall hangings for his bedroom (he's very much into Japanese culture, and art). It was a beautiful little garden, I got a really good photograph of my little brother (he's about half a foot taller than me, but hey) silhouetted against some of the scenery and it all went very well. We tried to have a look at the Bedruthan Steps that evening, but it was decided that the weather wasn't suited to that sort of behaviour. We visited a pub called the Miners Arms in St. Agnes that evening, which served rather nice chicken stuffed with apricot, and had a couple of rather nice waitresses that kept the eyes occupied, too...
The Wednesday was given over to visiting some old family friends who lived in Peterborough before emigrating down to Cornwall around nine years ago. We'd only seen them once since then, so it was really good to be able to sit and have a coffee with them and see how they were getting on. As it turns out, extremely well! They were conveniently on the way to Goonhilly, which was our next port of call – it's reasonably good, but I really feel that it's aimed a little too young. There's absolutely no reason why a museum can't successfully appeal to the younger members of a family without being very patronising, and the film and exhibits at Goonhilly didn't quite manage to pull it off, which was a shame because otherwise it was awesome. There was also a model of a Sinclair C5!
The FutureWorlds exhibition at Goonhilly has a room at the end where the party make predictions on certain things – when humanity will colonise other planets, when we'll achieve time travel, what will be obsolete by 2050, stuff like that – and the results were quite interesting, but I'm not going to upload the photographs tonight (and my observations on said photograph might be worth keeping over to another entry anyway). Goonhilly is in the same area of the world as the Ship Inn at Porthleven, which is a brilliant little pub that you can't make reservations at and serves very good food. I rather wished I'd had the chicken instead of the ribs, but it was all very tasty.
The Thursday saw us do random shopping and suchlike in the morning, and the evening saw a visit to the Minack Theatre, to see a production of Third Week in August. With the exception of the skies opening and us all getting absolutely soaked, this was rather a good day, and the jacket potatoes were good!
Yesterday was the day that I got to go around St. Austell's Brewery, which is very well-known and well-regarded, and I sampled some excellent beers. They also sell a rum, 125 Navy Rum, that is 125 proof (71.4% ABV), which I would love to have bought a small sample bottle of. Unfortunately, they have discontinued the small, £3 bottles and now only sell it by the big bottle, at a healthy cost of £30.04. This is a bit much for me to spend on rum, since I'm not the biggest fan, so I plumped for a bottle of Walter Hicks Dry Gin at just over £11 instead – of course, I also got six bottles of excellent St. Austell beer and one of their Cornish Rattler Cyder (which, I believe, is done in co-operation with The Cornish Cyder Farm). In the evening, we had Mexican food as a special treat – Peterborough has no Mexican restaurants, so it's not often I get to have it.
Today saw me and my half-brother Dave drive from Newquay to Peterborough, which was fun and left me extremely tired. As some of you might have seen me tweet, we had supper at a bit of a rubbish diner on the A45 just after Wellingborough (going east). The parents had visited before but Dad said it had been much better the last time they went, he suspects it's changed hands. I spent a happy hour catching up with my girlfriend on the telephone, typed this (I washed my face and suddenly felt much less tired) and now I'm about to head to bed. Good night, all!
He was also being supported by a chap called Boothby Graffoe who claims (I'd guess correctly) to be the only comedian in the world named after a Lincolnshire Village. The website quoted on the back of the album of his that I bought at the gig doesn't seem to work, though, so I can't link to anything, but if you ever come across him playing anywhere, or ever see him mentioned online (or even do a Google) he's well worth listening to. He's a guitar-based comedian and his songs range from the thoroughly surreal to the hilariously funny and back again.
Oh, and noahismyidol says I have to talk about me more, so I'm doing my degree and I'm pretty damn happy with how life is going at the moment. Looking forward to getting home because I've got non-stop events from Saturday onwards. I may be at alexmc's party but since I'm moving home that day I've no idea how realistic it's going to be to get myself to Leytonstone, and I have Alton Towers on Tuesday, drinks with my best friend all Wednesday, Jonathan Coulton on Thursday and Orbital at the weekend, so it's looking like a good week for spending lots of money, and doing no earning or revising whatsoever. Ah well.
(Oh, and I made pasta earlier and it was delish.)
Speaking of which, Max came to Leicester to see me this weekend! It was very fun - we went into Leicester from the train station initially to do some low-level shop browsing (essentially, I went to HMV to ask a question and to KRCS to buy a software suite for the MacBook that's currently in Apple's 'orders yet to ship' list. Max went to Primark). After that, we went to see some zombie films at Day of the Undead - it was very, very good fun. We bumped into Simo, who was in attendance for the first couple of films, and said hello. Max and I saw the first and last films, skipping Versus in order to go and grab a bite to eat at Bella Italia, which was great. The films themselves, well, I'm not really an expert on these things, but I did like the zombie cows from the Irish film Dead Meat and the genius quote, "I kick ass in the name of the Lord!" which came from Peter Jackson's Braindead (which had some really funny bits).
Then we went back to my room, and I showed Max my TARDIS, and then we went to bed and woke up and went to Asda before coming back to cook brunch, which was in the shape of an omelette each. Not just any omelette though - these had mushroom, bacon, sausage, black pudding and cheese, and they were three eggs each (because I forgot I already had six eggs, and thus bought six more...). As a result, I now have a full freezer (partly because I froze the leftover bacon and a pack of sausages, mostly because I got to the 'Reduced to Clear' section just as they were filling it up and managed to acquire several extremely cheap ready-made things for days when I forget to go to dinner and end up being hungry).
Then we went into town, and Max had some trouble with trains, which is detailed on her journal, and I won't bother to document it. After Max had finally managed to stick two fingers up at Leicester public transport and actually manage to use it (I swear the city council here have designed the transportation system to put people off...) I headed to the pub just up the road from the station, where I met Gramps, his girlfriend and my girlfriend, Claire (!) and we had a couple of pints together whilst talking happy amounts of toot about anything that crossed our happy little minds. (Arsenal drew with Liverpool, if anyone's wondering.)
After that, Claire and I went back to hers, and watched an episode of Green Wing before sort of falling asleep on her bed and deciding we really should be going to bed. And, as such, I am updating LiveJournal. I have a fuckload of work to do tomorrow afternoon if I want to go out on Tuesday night... two units of first-year Maths, one unit of second-year Maths and one unit of Physics. At least it's dynamics, and not electromagnetism, which is made of fail (although I remain fairly confident that I got most of the questions right when I handed them in last week, it's just such a difficult topic compared to, well, the rest of Physics generally. Although I'm quite happy that my tutor is teaching one of the modules I'm taking next semester, because it'll be much easier to follow with the lecturer helping out...! Also, he hadn't done electromagnetism in a while when we asked him questions, which makes us hopeful that some branches of astrophysics won't have any electromagnetism in them).
But life, as they say, is good. I am going to be seeing two of my brothers next weekend when I go to Norwich, The Long Road Out of Eden is finally released tomorrow (I ain't getting the special edition that's released a fortnight later, as I've got the two songs that are added onto the special edition already through The Complete Greatest Hits, so the incentive to wait a fortnight is, at best, slim) and my new MacBook and iPod should be arriving either this week or the next. Oh, and I have a girlfriend, it would appear.
"Upon reading Jeff Evans' column, 'Ruby goes bananas for better beer' (Beer, July 2007) I felt compelled to write a letter to your column about it. I took a chum of mine, Richard, to a proper Indian restaurant near to me recently and whilst he ordered lassi, a traditional Indian drink, I ordered Cobra, which earned me a funny look.
"Later on in the evening, he explained to me that the waiters at a restaurant called Chamelee, in Leicester, which has won numerous awards for its food, advised him that in India, the drinking of alcohol with a meal is an extremely rare occurence, and that one should not drink beer or wine with any food whilst in an Indian restaurant. This is backed up by the Wikipedia article on Indian cuisine, which clearly says, "However the practice of drinking a beverage with a meal, or wine and food matching, is not traditional or common in India."
"In the light of this, I would advise him to try drinking lassi, or perhaps Indian tea, with his curry, as it will match the food he is eating better than the beers he sampled will."
I will definitely be partaking in their curry night on Thursday, I just hope I get there in time to have a curry - I finish at half past ten, unless I beg my managers to let me go early.
In other news, I've just looked through the selection of beers that Springhead produce, and only one is not named for an English Civil War theme - I'm not quite sure why they named all their beers except Springhead Bitter for Civil War buffs, but it would appear to be the case.