1000 Shades of Grey
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The numbers game
Credit where it’s due to Jonathan, Mike and Stressqueen for this particular meme, which I picked up on. The idea being to describe each year of your life using the same number of words as years of life.

The challenge is certainly one that I enjoyed; I hope it all makes sense.

One - Fluids.

Two – Climb Fireguard.

Three – Broken leg Trauma.

Four – Notts Flats nursery school.

Five – Tonsils out – evil nursing care.

Six – He-man is master of my universe.

Seven – Utter first swear word: "dickhead" odd choice.

Eight – Master times tables and spelling test, start recorder.

Nine – Starring role: Lame Boy in Pied Piper of Hamlin.

Ten – Storming performance as Bill Sykes in school play – Oscar awaited.

Eleven – Quinn and Kristiansen put Stoke to the sword: I'm doomed forever.

Twelve – Off to High School, take to French easily, dream of learning German.

Thirteen – Can you tell me the way to the station? One German phrase mastered!

Fourteen – Decide career as Geographer not for me, also drop art and music for ever.

Fifteen – exchange trip to France blighted by penfriend being in Germany, stuck with his family: nightmare.

Sixteen – GCSE's bring much relief, even pass German despite severe lack of revision. Discover delights of beer.

Seventeen – frustrated by fact that girl I like has boyfriend. Nothing comes of our plutonic friendship despite hopes.

Eighteen – Realise career as mathematician beyond me, can not integrate to save my life, much to annoyance of teacher.

Nineteen - Head off to study history in Nottingham. Foolish attempt to drink 14 pints leads to hospitalisation with split head.

Twenty – FA Cup heartache for second year running. Become legendary sports reporter and consider journalism career. Get lost on way home.

Twenty One – Meet life partner, although spend whole year arguing. Convince enough foolish people that I'll be good student politician and win election.

Twenty Two – Eventually resolve issues with life partner after ill advised dalliance with younger woman. Go to Hong Kong and eventually move to London.

Twenty Three – Take dead end job as conference officer. Realise error of ways quickly and eventually decide on career in law. Quit job and enrol.

Twenty Four – Student again, supported by large loan from bank. Work harder than I did previously. Get married on hottest day of year drenched in sweat.

Twenty Five – Move in with in-laws and commute to London. Wife moves to midlands leaving me behind to finish course. Spend weekends travelling to see each other.

Twenty Six – Purchase house which needs some work. Realise previous owner of house was rubbish at decorating. Learn many new DIY skills and also start proper professional job.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Food for thought
9 medium onions
10 tins chopped tomatoes
6 tins kidney beans
4 large carrots
10 mushrooms
4 kilos minced beef
12 beef stock cubes
1 refill packet of coriander
1 refill packet of mixed herbs
1 refill packet of cumin
½ jar of chilli powder
¾ bottle of Worcester sauce
2 tubes of tomato puree
1 tube garlic puree
2 packets of frozen peppers
1 spoonful of sugar

4 kilos couscous

No, not my normal between meals snack, but rather that's all it took for me to feed over 40 people chilli on Friday night.

By some margin (36 more than my previous record), the largest number I've ever catered for single-handedly, it was a challenge of both my organisational and physical cooking skills, and I'm delighted to say it was one I rose to spectacularly.

Having agreed to provide one hot meal a month for the homeless people of Nottingham a while ago, it was with a fair degree of trepidation that I actually found myself piling up a supermarket trolley with the above ingredients. With two massive stockpots already procured it was then simply a case of prepping everything before chucking it all on to cook.

Several hours, a mountain of washing up, and one minor crisis (involving my needing to find another large vessel to transport all the couscous) later, I was gleefully handing over the bowls of still warm food to the people charged with distributing it to the waiting throng.

Only four weeks to go until I have to do it all over again – does anyone know any other good recipes for 40?

Oh, and in case you are wondering – less than £1 per head. Bargain.

Further to one of my previous posts, I now bring you this monstrosity.

The house down my street has been well and truly thrashed by a house about half a mile away. In the world of light polluting, I nominate this house as King. Anyone able to do better?

I particularly like the pine wreath that surrounds the entire front door - a bit like the horseshoe over the winners enclosure at Aintree.

Funnily enough, the house itself is also adorned by a festive little sign saying "NO CAROL SINGERS".

Good to see them getting into the festive spirit.

Make some noise
Happily, you'll now also find my musings appearing over on The Art of Noise, as I contribute to their ongoing A-Z feature. Having missed the boat with A and B, I've so far discussed the merits of Crowd Surfing and Dancing, with Echobelly due to follow shortly.

It's the brainchild of a number of bloggers, all of whom are well worth a read in their own right, but pleasingly together under one roof. A bit like Selfridges, only cheaper (much cheaper in some cases…).

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