I’d like to make quite clear right now; I AM NO CHEF.

I think you’ve got the point…

I made myself what can only be comsidered a BLOODY hot chilli con carne the other day.

Check out what it had in it;

  • About a tablespoon of Chilli Oil (home made with Bhut Jolokia chillis)
  • 2 x Birds eye/Finger chillis
  • Good teaspoon of Naga Chilli Paste
  • Teaspoonish of Hot Tobasco
  • Tablespoonish of Fiery Chilli Ketchup
  • Teaspoonish of Chilli Flakes
  • Teaspoonish of Bhut Jolokia Chilli Powder
  • Teaspoonish of Hot Smoked Paprika

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For those of you not familiar with chillis, the Bhut Jolokia and the Naga are two of the hottest varieties wieghing in at about 1million+ Schoville Heat Units (SHU); the scale used to define chilli heat. A Jalepeno, to put it in some perspective, is about 2500 SHU.

Now I love my food hot…and this was.

I wouldn’t recommend for most people to try it, only if you really like your food with a kick (note; I eat Phall currys quite regularly – so hot they are not on most curry restaurant menus).

The rest of the chilli was just onion, garlic, mince beef, tinned tomato and stock cubes…so nothing out of the ordinary.

Try it if you feel brave…

Check this out for some of the ingredients; great chilli website!

http://www.chileseeds.co.uk/

I don’t normally do politics or religion and I tend to stay away from news, current affairs or anything sensible.  Most of my previous posts have been personal, possibly even intimate (not in a fifty shades way though…).

But I wanted to do a quick “review” of 2012, bit on a personal level I guess. I also don’t do NY resolutions, but I’m sort of including one here too…

I thought last year was awesome.  I’m not into outrageous statements of emotion or patriotism on a day to day basis; but 2012 kicked some backsides.

The NYE fireworks at the end of 2011 were the best I can remember in quite some time.  I remember watching them on TV with friends and being quite cynical; “yeah honestly we’ll do a great olympics and diamond jubilee.  It’s not going to be naff or anything”.

Well I got owned I don’t mind telling you. I had to put away my usual sarcastic cynicism – which I did thinking I’d be able to fish it out later on and apply both with the proverbial trowel. But alas. We (Britain that is.  I personally had minimal input) put a bloody good show, what? What a bloody fantastic year.  Despite the weather, the Queen’s refusal to sit in her expensive chair and some hoola-hooping pop stars the Jubilee celebrations were a fantastic show of what Britain does so well; pomp and ceremony. I have to admit, despite not being the biggest royalist in the world, I enjoyed (parts of) it.

And then “summer” happened and with it the bohemoth of the Olympics and Paralympics was dragged firmly into view.  And they were both fucking terrific.  On NYE I watched the “50 greatest Olympic memories” programme, or whatever it was called.  I found myself getting a strange feeling inside..I think it was national pride.  I seriously could have started 2012 all over again.  I got so caught up in the sporting achievements of so many great and inspiring people I would go through the personal sadnesses I sufferred again to get that feeling back.

Except, of course, I can’t do that.  What is gone is gone.

So I am hereby vowing to make 2013 the year I make myself proud of what I achieve; not of the personal triumphs of others’ but my own.  I have, since the age of about seven, wanted to write something (see my previous post “The Unbearable…” for details of why I haven’t managed up to now) and I am going to do it this year.  No excuses.  No bullshit.  I currently have five ideas for stories, either short or full length or whatever.  ONE of them at least is getting written this year.  I promise.

And so, very quickly.. Something heard this week that pissed me off…politicians wanting a payrise.  Seriously? (I have no idea why I am now writing in italics.  It just happened and I can’t change it back) A pay rise?  The number 32% has been bandied about.  That can fuck right off.  They have run this country into the ground, all of them left or right, and they want a raise.  Consider the fact that they already earn over twice the national average wage, plus benefits.  Bastards.

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Anyway (ooh, we’re back to normal) I don’t do politics as I said, so I’ll leave that for more intelligent people to debate.

Have a good year everyone.

About a week ago we bought our two year old a DVD set. Nothing spectacular about. It was a box set of animated films, special editions particularly made for a special time of year.
That’s right; we bought the Dreamworks Christmas triple DVD collection including such modern classics as Kung fu panda (po’s winter wonderland), merry Madagascar and Dragons (gift of the night fury).
I’ve sat and watched them today with my smallest as she isn’t feeling too good. A sofa and duvet day.

I have noticed a strange occurrence.
Only one of the three films (four if you include the extra on dragons) actually mentions the word Christmas. It’s in merry Madagascar, where they manage to shoot down father christmas’s sleigh. It would be hard to avoid saying the C word with Santa sat there in the middle of an African jungle.
The other two films totally avoid the C word, even though they are based around a “winter festival”. It’s ludicrous really.
Remember this is on a Christmas special DVD. NO-ONE would buy this set unless they celebrated Christmas. If they were offended by the concept of Christian celebrations they wouldn’t even have picked the bloody thing up.
Unless they were blind, maybe.
I’m an atheist and therefore have as much “right” to be offended by the enforced seasonal celebrations as anyone, but you know what?
I FUCKING LOVE CHRISTMAS!
So there.
Have a good holiday season everyone.
I mean; MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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I’m adding something on.  Another driver misdemeanour.

I did a little experiment the other day whilst preparing to take my daughter to school and myself to work.

Okay, to make it all proper and sciencey and to get any true results I may have to repeat the same experiment again (and again, etc) but I’m not going to. I’m happy with my results, thanks.

This could only really work at this time of year; and equally is only really relevent at this time of year but as this time of year happens, well, every year at about this time it will continue to be at least a little bit important.

If anyone has read the initial post regarding things people do in cars that pisses me off then they’ll know how long the list finished up being after starting only with the misuse of indicators.  I promise to try not to let this one do the same…

Thursday morning I went out to the car, loaded my daughter and associated baggage in to take her to school and me to work, as I said. It was cold; the thermometer in my car said -3.5 and it properly felt it.  There was ice on the outside and the inside of the windscreen and all the windows of my car.

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You see it all the time; people in the morning on the way to work leaning forward in the car to squint through the quarter of an inch of clear windscreen they could be bothered to remove the frost or ice from.  Heaters on full blast as they drive down the road unable to see anything.

So I decided to see how long it would take my car to clear completely.  No scraping, just a spray of de-icer on the outside and turing the engine on.

Then waiting.  I put some music on.

And waited some more.

I turned the music up.

And slowly; oh so slowly…

The. Windscreen. Cleared.

And how long did this little miracle take? half an hour? longer?

No. Eight and a half minutes was all it took.  The windscreen and all the other windows on the car were 90% or so clear.  I drove to work (after dropping daughter at school) and I could see.

Remarkable.

Or maybe playing this loud helped;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yoABwIlX3s

I’ve been trying for ages now to write. A book, that is. A novel. A full story.
It’s not for lack of ideas that I haven’t. I currently have four proper ideas down. A little bit thought out, planned and actually stored for future use. Two of them have been started in earnest.
If this were twenty odd years ago there would be reams of paper laying about with scribbles on but as it is its all just digital now, but the idea is the same.
I have worked out today ( I think I’ve known for ages) why I haven’t done much with them; why they only stay as ideas and never become best sellers.

FEAR.

What if my ideas aren’t any good? What if what I write is totally shit. Awful. What if my novel became the literary version of the Twilight movies (crap)? What if I am to literature what Jedward are to music.
What if people HATE me? I’m not sure I could handle that. Maybe I’ll never find out. Maybe ill write a book, some people will like it, others won’t.

Maybe I should change my attitude and be more like Tim Minchin; cest la vie.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fgl%3DGB%26hl%3Den-GB%26v%3Dh3cS–IkerE&hl=en-GB&v=h3cS–IkerE&gl=GB

I’ll try that.

Something happened to me today.

I got a feeling, an emotion, that I have never had before and hope to never have again.

We had taken our two year old to a Christmas party; loads of kids haring around shouting, eating sugary rubbish and hitting each other with balloons. There was an entertainer and Father Christmas made an appearance. It was all very festive (if a bit early in the month for my liking).

Part way through the entertainment, which consisted of some magic tricks and balloon animals and that sort of thing, the most horrific thing that has ever happened to me, well, happened.  It was over in no time; seconds really.  But it was truly horrible.

I couldn’t see my daughter ANYWHERE.

In a crowded, busy, noisy room full of laughing and shouting and music; she was gone. Disappeared. I hadn’t seen where she had gone, or who with.

Blind, ugly, unbelieveable panic rose up through me; clenching it’s fist around my throat and causing my heart to miss beats. I felt physically sick.

As I said, it was over before it began really.  I quickly noticed that my mum had also disappeared.  As had my dad.  I rushed over to a door and poked my head around it and there she was; laughing and joking with her grandparents.

I won’t ever be able to fully describe the horror I felt for those few seconds, and I hope to never have the opportunity to describe them again.

All’s well that ends well, so they say.

You live and learn, so the saying goes.
Never a truer word was spoken.

About half an hour ago I was in the kitchen at home preparing cheese on toast for my two year old and I for lunch. She asked for a little piece of cheese, and I obligingly gave her a little bit to nibble on whilst I made the delights to be served for us for afternoon grub.
Obviously (I say this as a dog owner) there was 30 kilos of black Labrador hanging around; waiting for anything to be dropped or just held at the incorrect/correct angle (this depends on point of view). The following conversation ensued;

Me to daughter; “don’t give the dog that cheese”
daughter to me “why not?”
me “dogs don’t eat cheese”
daughter “yes they do. look” *hands cheese to grateful Labrador*
d “see”.
me “oh. not quite what I meant, but I see your point”.
*dog licks lips and wags tail, walking away*

So what have I learned today? the truth is only a point of view; and toddlers need things explaining to them, or they have a tendancy to misunderstand…

Onwards and upwards, I suppose.

Yesterday I found WordPress as an “App” for me phone.
Hopefully this might mean that all the wonderful ideas I have when out and about should turn up here, instead of being forgotten about thirty seconds later.
Fingers crossed.
It’s just a shame I have a memory like a car crash.
Lets see where this takes us, eh?

A while ago “they” decided that, partly as a fiscal matter, turning off our street lighting between the hours of midnight and six in the morning was a good idea.

Firstly i don’t know who “they” are; local or central government…it really doesn’t matter the fact remains that for six hours the street lights are dark.

summer months; no great shakes…

winter months? proper horror story bastard dark.

My mum seems to think that this lack of street lighting in the local area (I actually think it might be a bit more universal than that) is going to manifest itself into some crime surge.

I am lucky enough to live in an area of low crime…I have dubbed where I live as “the town that crime forgot” before…somewhat flippantly but never the less there is a certain truth to it.

I can’t bring myself to say to my mum that she is being daft, irrational and reactionary.

I have a point of view on this that maybe somewhat different to other people; I have been on the other side of cime…

DUH DUH DUUUUUUUUHHHH

I was a copper for three years.

I seriously doubt the negative effects of this street lighting policy on the crime lvels in towns such as where I live; in a city sure it may be a bad idea, but it shows how peoples perceptions of crime can be askew.  My mum genuinely believes that crime rates will soar (from none to three, I could point out).

Anyway, this is all a bit of a jumble. Am I trying to make a point? maybe…probably that people like my mum should be much more concerned about the recent PCC elections and the effects that they will have on crime and policing than with wether a few hours more darkness will lead to a wave of crime and terror.

But mainly; seriously, are these people fucking stupid? Is it only me who sees the completely obvious answer to this issue? Turn off half the lights, thus saving instantly fifty pecent plus leaving enough lights to satisfy peoples concerns.  Bloody simple real

a really good idea; honest.

ly eh?

If you want to know more about the insidious PCC elections and the possible affects on our safety, read this..it’s quite worrying…

http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-patrick/the-rest-is-silence/paperback/product-20463881.html

I recently (August: if I’m truthful not that recently) undertook and completed (read SMASHED) the Three Peaks Challenge.

For those not familiar with this it involves the three highest mountains in the UK and twenty four little hours. You can put it together from there I am sure.

I didn’t expect to enjoy myself and that certainly wasn’t what it was about, but I had a ball.  I completed the challenge with two friends; good guys, solid guys.  We were raising money for Meningitis UK, a UK based charity whose aim is to find a vaccine for the disease to irradicate it.  I won’t go into the reasons for the choice of this charity; that is not my story to tell.

It felt good to do something positive in the name of charity, maybe part of the reason I had such a good weekend.  But the real good feeling came a couple of days ago when I read this;

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/green-light-for-vital-meningitis-vaccine-that-could-save-the-lives-of-countless-children-8324046.html

it made me feel warm on the inside;  maybe, just maybe, I helped this.

Okay, two things; I know it’s unlikely the few hundred pound I personally raised made that collosal a difference and; it’s crass to feel smug about work done for charity.

But that’s not really what I meant, I suppose.  It just felt good.

In your face, meningitis.

if you want to learn more about meningitis, go here;

http://www.meningitisuk.org/