Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

New Year’s Eve 2016

Thursday, January 5th, 2017 | Friends

It is hard to believe that this is the 9th year we have run a New Year’s Eve party. Luckily, the new additions to the circle have not detracted from the atmosphere. As ever, it was a pleasure to catch up with friends: new and old, near and far. It even featured a Skype call from Dr Murray who is beavering away with research projects in South Korea.

The food was popular. It appeared that we would have too much of it when we first started. However, by the end of the evening, a valiant attempt had been made to get through it all. There were plenty of desserts left over. This has worked out well: we’re still eating most of the cake people brought.

Despite the party going on until just after 3am, I still managed to make it up in time for the New Year’s Day Parkrun. The benefits of having a human alarm clock. NYD is a special day in the Parkrun calendar: it is the only day when you are allowed to compete in multiple events. Because of this, Leeds stagger their runs: 9am for Woodhouse Moor and 10:30 for Temple Newsam.

That represents my 98th and 99th Parkrun: next week, the big 100.

After that it was onwards to Miller & Carter for recovery steak. There I immediately piled into my body all of the calories I had just burned off. Venla was less happy here: a new year’s hangover will do that to a baby.

Next year is our tenth anniversary, and I have something rather special planned…

Gabriele’s birthday

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 | Friends

tgi-fridays

Do not tell TGI Friday’s know it is your birthday. They will make a lot of noise.

Anglesey Come Dine With Me

Monday, August 15th, 2016 | Food, Friends

anglesey-bread

For our holiday in Anglesey, Norman suggested that we take it in turns to cook dinner. This soon turned into a Come Dine With Me style event with teams and menus. Though I will add that we stopped short of scoring!

Sunday

Chris & Cara kicked us off. The starter was roasted tomatoes and honey-and-breadcrumbed butternut squash. This was amazing. Delicately roasting these produces fantastic results. I might have to steal the idea for our next party. The bulgur wheat was also good.

The main could have been better. You might think it was the high level of intoxication that let Chris down, but the biggest problem was that we couldn’t find any fresh fish on Anglesey! The only thing the island seemed to have was frozen cod fillets, that did not defrost in time. The homemade tartar with dill was very good.

Monday

Kieran & Shweta took day two. I might be doing Shweta an injustice by suggesting they were a team of two (or maybe not). She cooked up a kedgeree. Mine have always come out rather soggy, but this suffered no such problems. They even had a paired champagne to serve with it.

Tuesday

Elina and I tackled day three. We started with a hot and sour prawn soup served with a variety of breads and prawn crackers. For the main we did black bean chilli in sweet potato skins and citrous-soy marinated fish with a side of spicy blackberry chutney and cashew nut salad. Finally we finished off with Swedish super-gooey chocolate cake served with homemade ice cream and a sprig of mint.

Wednesday

Wales as shut while everyone watched the football.

Thursday

Norman and Tom took to the stage for the final entry. They slow-roasted a harissa-spiced lamb over the barbecue and served it with cous cous and roasted vegetables. This was all complemented with a yogurt sauce. Dessert was baked apples.

Anglesey

Saturday, August 13th, 2016 | Friends, Travel

anglesey-panorama

For this year’s group trip, we headed to the north coast of Anglesey where we had a villa booked in Cemaes Bay. As you can see from the photo above it is a beautiful location and the villa was situated right on the coastal path. A short walk down from there and you could find the nuclear power plant.

power-plant

Unfortunately, they did not have a visitor’s cafe. Local attractions were not that important though: we were mostly interested in the hot tub. The weather was good for us and after an entire day of drinking in said hot tub, pretty much everyone except Elina and I were horribly sunburnt.

beer-bottles

Not a bad effort for the first 24 hours we were there. The rest of the week consisted of barbecuing, more hot tub time, and occasionally going to the pub.

bbq-lunch

We also had a look round Beaumaris Castle.

Beaumaris-Castle

As ever, it was a super chance to catch up with friends that we see too infrequently. Roll on 2017…

group-photo

Dinner and Mario Kart

Friday, August 12th, 2016 | Friends

mariokart

Last month we met up with Craig, Zoe, Becky and Charlotte for some food at Cattle Grid. In a surprise twist, I had the ribs (to be fair, I did once get the steak. It was lovely to catch up with everyone, not to mention the generous baby gifts we received, including a little Superman outfit, complete with cape!

Afterwards we headed to BrewDog for a drink, and found that they had a GameCube with Mario Kart on. How I have missed that game. I am sure that if I actually had it, I would get bored of it pretty quickly. But the memories soon came flooding back as we dodged sand worms, bowser shells and banana skins. Maybe I should buy the baby a GameCube now, in case they stop selling them…

Harrogate pubs

Friday, June 3rd, 2016 | Friends

A few years ago, while I was working up in Harrogate, my friend Alan and I refined the art of pub lunch. At Buzz, Jason and I achieved pub week, which was no mean feet. However, we could only dream of the system Alan and I put in place. Sometimes with other colleagues, sometimes not, we got it down to a schedule.

Day Pub Notes
Monday Smiths Arms Nice way to start the week. Food was okay. Mostly, it was close.
Tuesday Squinting Cat Quiet, plenty of tables, big range of food and the barman was a character.
Wednesday Black Swan, Fat Badger Usally Black Swan, but occasionally we would drive into the centre for the Fat Badger.
Thursday Old Spring Well, Pine Martin Good specials, though roadworks severely hampered our journey times, in which case we would fall back to the Pine Martin.
Friday Square & Compass Bit of a drive to North Rigton, but worth it for the food.

This went on for months. We managed two team lunches in my current team this week. That was great, but I can only dream of the glory days…

old-spring-well

James’s leaving do

Thursday, March 10th, 2016 | Friends, Photos

james-leaving-do

Back in January, James left us, like a traitor, for a research job in South Korea. To commiserate is leaving we went for a meal at Red Chilli. I’ve only just found the photo on my camera.

Warrington

Friday, January 15th, 2016 | Friends

warrington

Earlier this month we visited Chris & Cara in Warrington. The darkness, rain and fog literally put a dampener on the journey. Between the weather and the traffic it took us two hours to get there. More and more it seems difficult to get anywhere without allowing for significant margins due to the traffic. Coming home was much improved though, making the journey in less than an hour and a half.

One of the advantages of Warrington is that even with the apartment blocks right in the centre you can find parking. They also have a Toby Carvery, so what more could you want in a town? Dinner was excellent, as was the company. Well worth the trip.

Jets v Dolphins at Wembley

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 | Friends, Life

For what I loosely described as a stag do, I headed down to Wembley Stadium for the Jets v Dolphin NFL game.

The seats were okay. We were in the premium club. I have previously wondered whether being in the lower tier would be better, but you do actually get a good view and can see the entire field. The only issue was that being on the north side we had the sun in our eyes, so being on the other side would have been a lot better. That disappeared after the 4th quarter though, and the view improved.

The merch was not run very well. We got there several hours early and they had already closed the NFL shop saying the queue was too big. Why they could not just run it throughout the entire game was unclear. They had other merch shops inside, but they had all run out of caps, missing an opportunity to make a significant buck out of Norman and I who were not prepared for the sun making an appearance.

The game itself was pretty good. It was nice to follow a game I did not care that much about as I could relax and enjoy it. Last time I saw the NFL at Wemeberly it was the 49ers v Jaguars. Obviously it was the Jaguars, so no chance of the 49ers losing, but it was still a little tense. It got very exciting when the Dolpins looked like they would make a forth quarter comeback but sadly it was not to be.

The food was good too. I had the world’s longest hot dog, which itself was covered in pulled pork. I couldn’t finished it.

A good day all round. Thanks to everyone who came to keep my company, especially my dad who drove there and back!

Visiting Hugh & Anna

Sunday, October 4th, 2015 | Friends, Travel

Last month we popped down to Burbage for the weekend to visit Hugh & Anna.

If Hugh was not a middle-aged man trapped in a young man’s body before, owning his own house has only increasing this vasty. They are like proper grown up people with furniture, and a garden, and a plan for where their lives are going.

Worse still, it is infectious. Hugh took me to the driving range at his local golf club and it was actually quite a lot of fun. I’m 28 years old, golf should not be fun!

They also have two new additions to the family, of the feline variety.

cat-1 cat-2 cat-3

It is difficult to take a good picture of a creature that insists on licking your camera lens.