…and a Happy New Year

Start as you mean to go on they say. I started 2012 by sleeping til gone noon, then lazing about the flat playing online games and watching movies. So, a lot like 2011 then, lol. πŸ˜‰

Ok, technically I started 2012 at the Sivananda Yoga Centre enjoying their new years eve celebrations. I went along early, did some cooking, some cleaning, a yoga class, then stayed for the puja, meal, and chanting for world peace into the new year.

It was a lovely evening, made all the more lovely by the company of good friends, the fine food, and just the all round happiness and positivity of the occasion. I’m really glad I went as it was an excellent start to the year, a year that hopefully holds a great deal of change for little ol’ me.

If all goes as planned, by this time next year I’ll be a trained yoga teacher with some experience, I’ll have visited Austria, Canada and Australia, and I’ll be contemplating a trip to Thailand to ride an elephant before heading back to Europe to see the northern lights. Then… well, who knows?

Of course, as they say, if you want to make God laugh tell her your plans. But still, you’ve got to give it a go because the alternative (same ol’ same ol’, day in, day out) just doesn’t bear thinking about does it.

last bit of christmas cake

I’ve made just 2 resolutions to kick off the new year. First is to meditate every day. That is the one area where I need most work. I want to do just half an hour a day. If I can manage to do that for 366 days (it’s a leap year this year, remember) I will consider it a significant victory.

My second is just for a month, but it’s to cook everything from scratch, and to not eat ready made overly processed foods all the time. I mean I don’t do too badly, but every day there’s a hash brown or Linda McCartney sausage in there somewhere (usually at the same time – oh Full English, how I love thee!). I’m going to make all my food myself for a while, thereby avoiding nasty stuff, convenience eating, and taking sandwiches to work every day.

Apart from all that my ongoing plans still revolve around writing, vegan cooking, and going out and having fun. Expect some developments on each one of these very soon!

And so there you go, that’s it from me for now. Actually, I think that’s enough to be going on with, don’t you? Happy New Year everyone. I hope you have a great and wonderful 2012!

Om Namah Shivaya. πŸ™‚

But The Worst Of It Was…

I think you’ll like this. πŸ˜‰

25 years ago, in a far away land called Cumbria, a 12 year old me (at the urging of his Grandma) entered a short story competition on local radio. There was but one criteria for the story, it had to end with the line,

“But the worst of it was I was eating a chocolate eclair at the time.”

Now by the time I got my entry in the ‘competition’, such as it was, was over. But they liked the story enough to get me in to record it so that they could play it out on air. I did, they did, and said Grandma (being quite a wise and proud Grandma) recorded it on audio cassette to enjoy again and again. (NB: for the very young out there here’s a link that explain what an audio cassette is.)

Fast forward 25 years. The recording manages to make it’s way off of tape and onto CD, then from CD to MP3, finally coming into my possession via the wonders of DropBox. This is where, for me, the true magic happens.

In a space of 2 hours I found, installed, and operated, some audio editing software to cut the 25 minute bit of radio down to a more palatable (and relevant) 2:32. I then found somewhere online to host it for free, and discovered a way to embed it into this blog, all so the world can have a laugh at my expense. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing!

So, without further ado, I present to you:

“But The Worst Of It Was…” by Keith Dickinson (age 12).

Man, how bad is that! ..lol.. I honestly can’t listen to the whole thing anymore, it just makes me cringe. And it’s doubly weird for me, coz the voice I hear isn’t mine but that of my twin brother. Seriously, is that what I sound like? It’s all just too confusing for me!

Still, I’m glad I got hold of the clip. A nice bit of nostalgia to start the year off with. My first foray into the business of show. 25 years on I’m still writing, and still unpublished, but the dream remains alive.

Maybe one day I’ll get on the air again. Bloody hope so anyway. I’d hate to think I’d peaked at age 12!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Dramas not withstanding, this could be my last post of the year, so I wanted to take the chance to wish you all a very merry christmas.

snowy globes

Just got back from visiting my family for an early christmas (I’m working 24th to 26th again this year :(). Took the train as I bought my new car a bit too late to drive up, and I already had the train tickets. Probably a wise move considering the amount of snow we’re getting at the moment. Anyone who says we’re not experiencing climate change I offer you exhibit A: the weather outside.

Mum made some lovely date cake using the egg replacer I’d left there last year, and I knocked up a nut roast on Sunday which mum and dad both had a go at, so there was plenty to eat. I also got to have a few fry-ups as well as a chick pea stew thing that mum and I concocted.

Came back first class again, but properly this time, not like last year where it was a weekend upgrade. This time I got free tea, a free hot meal, and a peaceful carriage with a big comfy chair. It was bliss. I tell you, I don’t want to get all elitist, but first class is the way to go.

Looking forward to 2011: A new year, and a new beginning. A new way of making money is definitely called for, and to facilitate that I’ll probably need a new place to live for a while too (somewhere cheaper, probably outside of London). I know what I want in my life, and what I need to move away from. And someone to share it all with would be lovely too, but that kind of thing seems to happen when you’re not looking, so what can you do? πŸ˜‰

Expect big things from me next year, I know I do! ‘Til then, have a marvelous christmas and a fantastic new year.

Cheers y’awl! πŸ™‚

Report 1 – 2010: A Space Oddity

Well, my illustrious start was cut short rather rapidly by a very nasty case of the flu (and proper flu, not man-flu, I looked it up). I have been laid up since Monday (the 4th) all sick and achey and feeling like crap, and haven’t done a thing except basic life maintenance, like dashing through the snow for fresh stocks of honey, lemon and ginger, all week. Thank God I got my bit of cooking out the way early!

But it means I haven’t been able to do anything else. No writing, no meditating, no nothing; just cough, sweat, and feel sorry for myself. And what really gets my goat is I was doing so well too! I was going to make this the year I meditated every day. Now I can’t sit for 2 minutes without coughing. But! it is an excellent opportunity to practice my non-attachment (non-attachment to the idea of meditating) so it’s not a complete loss. Never miss a chance to practice eh?

So, to sum up…

Recipes done: Pizza dough and Basic Tomato Sauce

New Thing done: Catch the flu and get sick as a dog

Pages done: None (I’ll have to try and rectify this a bit next week).

Not a complete bust, just not the start to the year I was looking for. Let’s see how next week goes. TTFN.

Start as you mean to go on (pizza base and sauce recipe)

Well my little neolites, 2010 has started off well. Only 2 days in and I’ve managed to meditate every day this year (haha), plus I’ve finally had a random book recommendation, sparked amusingly enough by my reading Tess Of The D’Urbervilles. It’s Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World, and it’s sitting in my pile of ‘stuff to read’ as we speak. Once I’ve finished reading Tess it’ll be next.

I’ve also done my two vegan recipes for the week. Check this out:

After all the roast dinners I thought it’d be nice to take a break, so I made pizza! Here’s the recipes to make your own.

The Base

1 tsp of Dried Active Yeast

1 tsp of Sugar

1/4 pint of Warm Water

150-200g Wholemeal Flour

Dissolve the sugar in the water, then add the yeast. Whisk until fully dissolved. Cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm for 10-15 minutes until it goes a bit frothy.

Whisk again, then add flour. Mix thoroughly adding more flour if needed until a good doughy consistency is found. Cover again and leave somewhere warm for 20-30 minutes.

(use this time to prepare your tomato sauce)

The dough should have increased in size by now. Punch it down and knead again for a minute or two, then cover and place back in your warm spot. Give it another 10-15 minutes.

(use this time to chop your veggies and grate your cheese)

The dough should be ready now. Press out into a flat round on a greased baking tray, cover with tomato sauce, veggies and cheese, Β and stick it in a pre-warmed oven at 190 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until ready. Eat and enjoy.

The Sauce

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp of Tomato Puree

1/2 tsp of Dried Oregano

Lightly fry the crushed garlic in a saucepan on medium heat with a little olive oil. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato puree, oregano, and some salt and pepper, and cook until it’s all gone quite mushy. Then either blend it to get it nice and smooth, or just use as is (ie: a little lumpy) like I did.

Not two very complicated recipes, but if you fancy pizza they’re what you need. Coming soon will be my nut roast recipe, which I’ve pretty much perfected over Christmas, a recipe for pilau rice, and possibly a one for naan bread if I can get it to work. Stay tuned.

Ciao ‘migos. Catch you next time.

End of year report

Well, Christmas was a quiet time for the Brand New Life. I was away most the time, so no new recipes, no script writing, and no new thing (unless you count Christmas in Portsmouth, which I don’t).

But that is what was; what is, is now. Tomorrow is a new year and a new beginning, and I intend to make it Brand New in every way I can. So, expect much experimentation from your little neophile here, and hopefully some significant advances in his efforts to build himself a Brand New Life. πŸ™‚

so, Happy New Year everyone, and for those that are interested here’s how my black and white photographyΒ turned out.