Week 18: In which our hero makes some significant advances towards a Brand New Life (or, Movies, mash and meditation)

My but what an ‘interesting’ week it’s been. Mostly I was working, five days out of seven getting up at 5am, but I still managed to squeeze in some newness; new thought, new action, and new intention. And a recipe, which was nice. First the food;

Mustard Mash

It’s probably a bit cheeky to describe this as a recipe, as really it’s just a way of making mashed potato a little less boring, but still it’s worth sharing so here goes.

mustard mash

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
a splash of olive oil
1 tsp whole grain mustard

Cook and mash the potatoes in the usual way, in a pan of salted boiling water on a medium high heat, for 15-20 minutes or so (until potatoes are soft and mashable).

At the same time fry up the onion in a frying pan until they are soft and a little golden.

Mash the onion and whole grain mustard into the potato. Mix thoroughly and serve with a nice pie (I had mine with one of Clive’s pies, yum!) and enjoy.

Now, down to business!

beginning buddhism

I’ve actually been doing some meditating this week. Only a couple of times, but at least I’ve made the effort to go on that cushion and do it. It hasn’t been easy, as there’s a lot of noise around me at the moment which is very distracting (God bless your neighbours eh?), but ultimately it’s all good practice and can only help to strengthen my mindfulness. To that end I have been aided by a decision I made on Thursday.

I’ve decided to lay off the booze. Not just for a week, but for… I want to say forever, but I’m not going to jinx it. I’m just going to take it day by day. What happened was I was having a good day on Thursday. I felt good, I was energised, I went to Tai Chi in the evening, felt great after that… then I went and had some dirty dirty beer. I didn’t want to, it was just out of habit, and I regretted it later. That night in bed, a little bit pissed and unable to sleep, I decided to pack it in completely, and so far it’s going great. There’s an element of not knowing what to do with myself of an evening, and I was a bit ratty over the weekend dealing with a touch of withdrawal, but I feel good and very positive about the coming weeks. I even poured away the bit of wine I had left rather than finish it off in an effort “not to be wasteful” so things are looking good. 🙂

Also I’m starting to make progress in getting my board game off the ground. I’ve arranged to meet a lad next weekend to see about doing some designs for it. If all goes well maybe I’ll finally make some progress with it; then who knows, maybe in a few months time we can go into production. It’ll take me that long to get the cash together anyway. For now all I’ve got to do is do some style sheets for Saturday, to show how I want it to look. It’s all good.

And finally, I thought I’d share some links and videos with you that have been amusing me over the past week. First there’s The Cleveland Show, the hilarious Family Guy spin off. If you haven’t tried it give it a go; you won’t be disappointed. New episodes available every Monday. Thank you 4oD!

Ever wondered how to professionally fold a t-shirt? Dave Gorman shows you how. Trust me, this is brilliant.

And my love of exploding things led me to this.


Dave Gorman: He’s a funny man

Just got back from the Dave Gorman show at the Hammersmith Apollo; his ‘Sit down, pedal, pedal, stop and stand up’ show which he took on tour last year (and which I just missed out on in Carlisle when I was up there for my brother’s wedding, though bizarrely enough he did cycle through the village my parent’s live in). It was excellent! Out of respect for Dave I can’t tell you anything about it. All I can say is, if you’re a fan, go and see it; you will not be disappointed.

The reason this was my new thing this week is because I went on my own. Not exactly ground breaking you might think, but it was new to me. And a bit odd too. I mean it wasn’t a real problem except at two points. One was the intermission, where I had literally nothing to do for a good 20 minutes. I didn’t need the loo, I didn’t have enough money for a drink, I just had to sit there and wait. Now technically this was an excellent opportunity to practice my mindfulness. Unfortunately for me I cracked; I called my twin brother and we chatted for the entire intermission. It was lovely to speak to him, but I did feel a bit of a failure (and I’m not even sure what at?).

The second was at a point in the show where you had to interact with the person next to you. This of course pre-supposes you know at least one of the people next to you (though the joke was that if you didn’t it’d be a bit awkward). This also pre-supposes the is someone next to you. I was in an aisle seat, and the two next to me never showed up, so they were empty. So there’s me, on my own and physically isolated from the rest of the audience, I can’t say it was a brilliant position to be in.

Now the moment didn’t last very long, and I’m sure no one else really noticed it, but I felt a bit sad at that point, that I was there on my own, with not even a stranger to interact with. It didn’t last long, and let’s not pretend I’m scarred for life, but I have to say on reflection that shows are better if you can find someone to go with you. But! don’t go missing out just because you can’t. There’s nothing wrong with going to shows on your own, it’s just funner with company. That’s what I reckon anyway, so there. 😛

Report 5 – Shepherd’s pie & Portabello burgers

Right, straight in with the recipes:

Shepherd’s Pie

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

3 mushrooms, sliced

200g veggie mince

1/2 cup of peas

300ml vegetable stock

1/4 tsp basil

1/4 tsp oregano

2 tsp tomato puree

2 tsp Braggs

salt & pepper

1 tsp cornflour

8-10 potatoes

Peel and chop the potatoes and put them on to boil in a large pan. Warm oven to 200 degrees.

Heat the oil in another pan on a medium heat. Fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms and carrots and cook for a few minutes (until mushrooms soften also). Add mince and peas. Mix herbs, puree and Braggs in with vegetable stock (made with boiling water). Pour over mince and veggies and warm through. Mix cornflour with some water and add to mix to thicken. Stir and simmer on low heat for a few minutes.

Put mince mix in a casserole dish and smooth flat. Mash the potatoes and cover mince to top of casserole dish. Pull a fork across top to ruffle it up so it goes a bit crispy (see pic). Put in the oven for half an hour until top is browned.

Portabello Burgers

Best for barbecues, marinate some portabello mushrooms in a 50/50 mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Grill for about 10 minutes on each side on a high medium heat. Stick in a burger bun with a handful of salad and a dollop of ketchup or burger relish and enjoy.

This is one I’m working on. I’m going to try a few variations, coz it seems too easy, but really it works as is so give it a go.

Pages done: None.

Recipes done: See above.

New things done: Wrote some limericks, agreed to do a charity sky dive (more on that later), bought a ticket to go see Dave Gorman (on my own, which is a bit of a departure for me as I always fill like a bit of a saddo going to stuff like that on my own; but I’m tired of missing out on stuff coz of other people being slow and rubbish, so sod ’em), and bought a ticket to go see a West End show (been in London for over 11 years and never been to a West End show, can you believe it?!?) which I’m going to on Wednesday for my birthday (which is Monday – I’ll be 36).

That’s it for now. A flying visit from me. Oh, wait! I almost forgot the limericks…

Work are having a Valentine’s competition. People are meant to send in their best chat up line and/or most romantic poem to win some worthless piece of tat or other. Now I absolutely LOVE it when workplaces try to pretend they’re more than just some meaningless place you go to trade your valuable time for a pittance of cash, so here’s the romantic poems I came up with. NB: I work for a Swedish TV company.

A rather posh girl from Nantucket
Who drank pink champagne by the bucket
would let you get far
for some good caviar
coz it’s salty, and boy could she suck it.


A lonely young lady from Sweden
thought one day “It’s love that I’m needin'”
but then after date two
(and some quick how’d-you-do)
realised all that she’d missed was the breedin’

nuff said 😉