Sunday, 18 July 2010

A glorious weekend

Well I’m sitting here on a lovely summers evening, the soothing tones (well to me at least) of Muse are gently coming through the back door into the garden, and I am sitting here in the garden typing up a blog at the end of a wonderful weekend.

Hmm, too many superlatives there I think...  Still I’m in a quite a happy place, long may it continue.

Friday evening was superb.  We had a small kerfuffle before we left regarding me and my other wardrobe.  I was afraid that was going to be the tone of the evening, but we left that at home thankfully.  We went a favourite restaurant of ours and enjoyed an evening talking, laughing and generally reminding each other why we have been together nearly 10 years now (and married for 6 of those).  The food, as always at that place, was fantastic.  Smoked Eel and toast starter for me, Carpaccio of beef for Mrs Stace, three very tender loins of lamb for me, a steak for Mrs Stace - very strange steak though, it came with gravy and two rounds of bread, nothing else...  They gave her some free chips and I gave her some of my vegetables – but the meat was lovely she assured me.  And finally, for desert, chocolate walnut brownie with white chocolate ice cream; I won’t try to describe it as it wouldn’t be fair to you.  But needless to say it was a wonderful way to end the meal.  Even if the ice cream was a little too rich and neither of us could finish both scoops.

We were going to try a new restaurant, on the edge of a man-made lake in the neighbourhood.  We thought it would be nice to look out over the water as we ate.  But...  We looked at the menu and decided not to.  I’m not the most activist person in the world, far from it in fact, but the there are a few things that I do know are bad.  Eating Blue Fin tuna is one.  We were watching a program on the BBC about it last year; the presenter interviewed the team of the Blue Fin Tuna Company about the fact that there are so few of the fish left that estimations are that there are 2 years left before it becomes extinct.  That would be closer to 18 months now I guess.  The people on the stand didn’t object to the study, or try to refute anything.  No, they just said ‘we know, but don’t worry the company has contingency plans for when that happens.’  That sentence made me sick, they are knowingly hunting an animal to extinction, and they think I am worried about their company when they kill off their product.  I couldn’t care less; I do care about needlessly killing off a species of fish though.  So any restaurant that has that on the menu is one that I won’t be visiting if I can help it.  So the nice new restaurant won’t be seeing us.  No doubt they’ll get enough other people going to stay in business.  I was thinking of sending a mail to them explaining why I think it’s wrong, but I doubt they’d care anyway...  OK rant over.

Saturday I woke early (damn) and made tried to catch up on reading the blogs I follow, and drank too much coffee (7 strong espresso cappuccinos).  Seeing as a friend who I had not seen for about three years was coming over with his Irish girlfriend we decided that we had better get the house in order (Rachel as I said on your post we struggle as well...) and sort the garden seeing as I was supposed to be BBQ’ing for them.  The garden was awful, for obvious reasons Mrs Stace and I just haven’t had the get up and go this year to get it in a usable state.  Nothing like a visit to fix that...  Mrs Stace did inside whilst I did the outside.  Three hours later and the green bin was full of weeds etc, the garden looked respectable and I wanted someone to sort the pain in my back, and fix the blister I got on my thumb from brushing.  I would love a bigger garden than we have (66m2) but seeing as the effort this one takes maybe it’s good that we don’t.

After that the furniture needed a rub down seeing as it had not been used all winter.  Well actually sanding and oiling, but I wasn’t going to do that.  I thought...  Whilst wiping it down I saw that with a little soap, water and effort with a green scrubbing pad from the kitchen it came up almost as new.  Why not I thought, it’s easy enough and I have time.  3 hours later you realise the difference between a small patch of chair and doing all 4.  And a six person table...  But at least it all looked great for when the guests arrived.

The evening was a little interesting.  When it’s been so long since you’ve someone you wonder what’s changed, and are they still the same person as before the left.  When I first met the guy I was 26 and he was 32.  I’m almost 34 now, and he turned 40 this year. A lot has changed, in both of our lives, certainly mine in the last 8 months.  But after a stuttering start to the evening it went great.  Catching up on old times, talking about things now (no I didn’t tell him about the last 8 months, not telling him was about the worst of the evening, especially when he asked why we had not done the work to the house that we were planning on doing this year).  We all spent an amount of the evening in stitches, all got a bit shocked when talking about his baby, and small daughter (who are now 8 and 13 respectively) growing up so fast.  Or else it’s us growing older so fast...

Today was just a lazy day to get over it all.  Relaxed in the garden (well after doing a second coat of oil on the wood) watched Rossi get an amazing fourth, after losing out on the last corner of the MotoGP (wishing my best to Randy de Puniet who managed to red flag the race when he started a chain accident that broke his tibia and fibia) and sat outside for food for the first time this year.

Well, it’s starting to get colder now, and the laptop screen is blocking the heat from the candles so I am going to call it and day and slumber until top gear!


  1. Glad you had such a great weekend!

    Good on you about Bluefin Tuna. It's hard to imagine any restaurant continuing to serve it. Chilean Sea Bass is another, and probably even more restaurants still serve that. So many wild fish stocks have just been plundered.

    We're lucky here to have a program called Oceanwise that's run by the aquarium. Restaurants participate in it, and they mark fish that come from sustainable stocks. Some (most I hope) serve only those fish.

  2. Top Gear is now so painful to watch since they have become so full of themselves and forgotten about the kinetic beauty of the best cars!

    Best thing about the show, every time they mention something I like they say it's a girls car.

    I am impressed that you know how large the garden is. Mine is just too large to manage, no matter how hard you work it can never be done. power wash the furniture leaves time to put feet up. Gardening is a bit like a gym work out, at least the rain has stopped after three days but no sign of BBQ weather yet.

    Caroline xxx

  3. I can't believe you couldn't finish the white chocolate ice cream. Yum. I would have stuffed it in my pockets to eat when I get home :-)
    My last house had a fair size garden but of course it ended up as a jungle. The council had to send me letters to order me to cut my hedge as it was blocking the pavement. When I moved to where I am now I was happy to find a house with no garden. I just have a small bit of yard overlooking my neighbours garden. I can sit out there in my deck chair and enjoy the fruits of all his labour ;-)

    Rachel XXX

  4. I got one of those letters too! Some people are just so a*** and fail to appreciate the beauty of nature preferring dead sticks stopping at the boundary!

    Have a few friends who enjoy overlooking other people's gardens but I like the privacy of my personal jungle.

    Caroline xxx

  5. Sounds like you had a top weekend. Plus, a snooze before Top Gear - what's not to like? ;-)

  6. Veronica: Here in Holland we have something called a 'viswijzer' (fish wisdon as a rough translation I think) that says which fish is good, wich is an OK second choice, and which to avoid. We use that when shopping in the supermarket for fish.

    Caroline: I know what you mean - it's kind of stopped being 'having a laugh' and moved more to the 'how stupid can we go'. case in point Jezza and Hamsters motorhomes yesterday...

    I only know the garden because it's easy to calculate. The house is 6m wide, we have 10m on the back of the house and 1 in front. I couldn't have done that if it had been an interesting shape :)

    Good luck on the BBQ weather, my folks had that when we were visiting earlier this month, arranged a day to have a BBQ, was really beautiful. Until 10 mins before we were due to start, then the heavens opened (to the point where someone stole the black isle again) and we decided to grill everything indoors instead.

    Rachel: I felt so guilty leaving it (poor chef getting the plates back) but it was getting to the point of that or seeing the mean in reverse - which is never as nice :)

    If I can keep ours in good shape with a few hours work a month then I'll be happy. Sitting in the garden most of the day yesterday made it worth it, and not sitting in front of the gogglebox just because it's there is going to be nice as well (if we stick music on and sit in the garden whilst the evenings are nice).

    Lynn It was thanks, I think the only downer was knowing that it was nearly over...