Greenland; Part 1, an extract from my diary

Posted On December 7, 2011

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So, again going through my old Bebo account I found another blog entry. This blog entry is an extract from a diary I kept when I was in Greenland for a month.  I was in Greenland for a month in the summer of 2006. Myself and another teacher, along with other adults, took 40 students on a trip to Greenland for a Duke of Edinburgh exhibition. The month consisted of kayaking, trekking and a residential. There were three groups of students and they all did each activity on a rota. It was an amazing experience (looking back on it). As the students were keeping a diary, I decided to also. It was tough going, I will write more about the experience later, but for now here is an extract from my diary. Please bear in mind, this was written 22 days into a trip where we were camping, had no running water, were constantly on the move, and were carrying our own food for the whole trip, needless to say, a bit of insanity kicked in.

“Day 22

The four of us started a fire to keep warm. We were chatting. Amanda stood up. She saw something. We all stood. We all saw it. It was a fox. We didn’t have time to determine if it was rabid. We grabbed rocks (well, I grabbed my camera). We watched it scuttle from bush to bush. Before anyone launched an assault I took some pics. Amanda launched the first assault. It was hit on the head and ran. It can back and sniffed its enemy (the rock). Next was Peter, but his gammy arm made him miss. A well positioned rock helped the rock ricochet. The rock hit it. The fox was gone. For how long?? We went places in twos from now on. The fear of rabies had caught hold. Burning stuff is strangely relaxing. That is until Aalish burns stuff. It all went quiet, until………….BANG. A small explosion unnerved us again. We flinched. Peter remained motionless. Is he dead? No, just in shock. Amanda forgot to remove a glass bottle. We could have died!!! We didn’t.
After some comforting conversations (about rabies) we retired to our tents, trying to sleep, but the excitement of the evening combated lethargy. Lethargy is winning………”

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What a stench!!

Posted On December 6, 2011

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OK, so I was going through my Facebook, and remembered that other social site, Bebo, remember that one. It had a blog attached to it, and I actually have written a few blogs, so I will be posting them for a giggle.

This next piece, happened on the 22/02/07 when I was living in the Isle of Man,

“Well, all I can say is that before you get halfway through this and feel like you can’t read on, out of sorrow for me, there is a happy ending.

Right, where do I start, maybe at the beginning, there’s an idea. Right, moved in to the flat in April last year, the drains were a big buggered (as in they were overflowing and on asking the previous tenant she said they usually do that). So there’s me with me big stick shoving it in a drainpipe trying to unblock it (I will tell you now, I wore protection. about 5 black bin bags covered anything that might get dirty, and I didn’t want to get dirty). So after about an hour of fighting the drain, I won, and it began to do its work and drain. This was ok, as it was just rainwater, nothing else. Well, months went by and no major blockage of drains happened (well, nothing my big stick couldn’t handle). But at the start of this week (my half term, in which I was meant to be relaxing) the drains started to block. On asking the landlord about unblocking the drains the week b4 we broke up for half term, he said he was onto it, and then asked if I could do it. Well, he told me he had someone sorting it out, this person being RON THE BASTARDING BUILDER (RTBB). Now, RTBB is a twat. I called him; he said someone would be out to sort it. In the meantime the drains were getting worse (the back yard was flooding with tissues). The final straw came yesterday, when (after spending hours cleaning the flat) the toilet and bath started to back up because of the drains being blocked. well, I was livid (and also sick). My hours of cleaning, tainted by the messiness of the bathroom. So I called a guy to come out and sort out the drains, he said he would be here at 8am. I could live with that, or could I. Well, the toilet was backing up with tissues (which I could kind of deal with) then there it was. What was that in my toilet? Why was a hair curling sponge in my toilet? I haven’t seen those since my mum used to curl her hair. Wait, that’s not a sponge. NO!! OMG!!!! I feel sick thinking about it now. It was a used tampon, in my toilet. OMG, I want to throw up. Now fellas, unused tampons look (kind of) ok, but a used one! I don’t even thing the girls would like to see that floating in their toilet. So I did what any chemist would do, I attacked it from afar with loads of bleach to get rid of the red colour in my bowl. I just want to throw up, I was so upset, annoyed and felt so dirty. Anyways, I didn’t sleep well last night because the toilet was making noises. So I was up early, the fella came at 7.55am, was so happy to see him. he tried to unblock the drains, it wasn’t looking hopeful, and the seemingly ok water turned into toilet water, there were turds and toilet roll floating in it. MINGING!!!!! well, after an hour and a half, the guy found the blockage and was in the process of clearing it. It took half an hour to unblock (as it kept blocking up). He has sorted it, the drains are clear, so 2 hours (and £156.45) later, the water is free flowing. The bloodied twat sponge is gone, I run the water again. I am much happier now. Oh, and through this whole process TWAT hasn’t a clue it went on and doesn’t know that he is getting hit with a bill first thing on Monday morning. PLUS I am going to charge him for cleaning products and I am going to charge him for the inconvience of not being able to use the bathroom for over 12 hours. Oh, and RTBB is still getting someone to come round, well, I will let ya’ll know IF they ever come.

Right, some of you will be laughing right now, please think of this, how would you feel if you were unable to use your bathroom in case you saw what you just flushed floating in your back yard. how would feel, having the smell of 5 flats worth of shit wafting into your kitchen. This is no laughing matter. And if you are still laughing, imagine seeing a dirty used tampon in your toilet. Now I accept the fact you women folk bleed, I even offer sympathy and chocolate when you feel down because of it. BUT to have that thing floating in my toilet bowl, that’s just taking it too far.

Anyways, it’s sorted now.

ta ta for now”

Piece of cake

Posted On December 5, 2011

Filed under Baking, cakes, home, Life, Uncategorized
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So in my wee Bio bit, I said I like to cook and bake. I should have said that I love to cook and bake. I have been cooking for as long as I can remember. I have always been intrigued by baking. I took every opportunity I could to bake. In Primary school, an afternoon club scheme was introduced. All classes were cancelled on Wednesday afternoons and all students would attend a club for the afternoon. Each student had to pick three clubs to do throughout the year, obviously the first club I picked was the cookery club, and I loved it. I remember making fruit salad, top-hats, rice crispie buns and 15s. Looking back, all of these were easy, but for students aged 7-11 (as each group had students from all the diff year groups) they were appropriate. I loved helping my folks cooking, and remember that my mum, dad and granny all cooked things in different ways. This made me aware that there was not only one way of cooking the same thing. It was my dad that got me into baking. He loved to bake and I always helped him. The first baking book I owned (which I still have) was Fast Cakes by Mary Berry. This book is a must for anyone who wants to start baking, although there are no pics, but the recipes are so easy. The first cake that baked solo was a pineapple upside-down cake, and I remember the simple mistake I made, I forgot to sprinkle the bottom of the cake tin with brown sugar, the pineapples weren’t caramelised. I didn’t make that mistake again. From there I moved onto Madeira cakes and different types of chocolate cakes. The Madeira cake was always popular at home, and I was soon getting requests for it from family members. By the time I hit exam time at secondary school (GCSEs and A-Levels) the baking was put on hold for several reasons which I may or may not go into in later posts. When I got to Uni, I had some more time and rediscovered my love of baking, but it was to take a twist. I was asked to make a Madeira cake by a friend for her daughter’s birthday. I had picked up a book (No Time Party Cakes) and decided to give making a novelty cake a go. The cake was of a Princess and was a success (for a first attempt). I enjoyed baking the cakes, and I enjoyed decorating them. I decided to make and decorate more. I was giving them as gifts to friends who either had kids themselves or younger brothers or sisters. I was making cakes and giving them as birthday presents to friends (being a poor student, saving money was a bonus). I had a placement year which was pretty eventful for numerous reasons, but I still enjoyed baking. I was working alongside people who greatly appreciated my baking experiments. One of the girls ‘J’, with whom I became close friends, was celebrating her birthday towards the end of the placement. I decided to bake her a cake. I remember it well, it was a mocha cake (she was a chocolate and coffee fan; I thought it was appropriate for her. She loved it, it actually brought a tear to her eye, she was so happy that someone would take time to bake her something. She later told me that it was the first ever birthday cake she had and he was overwhelmed with it. At that point I realised how something (which I was taking for granted, being able to bake) could make someone else feel so happy. I found a new reason to enjoy baking for others. In the final year of Uni, my nephew was born, my class mates started calling me uncle B, and one of the tutors heard about my cakes and wanted to make me a website, “Uncle Bernard’s Cakes”. I was flattered and a bit embarrassed as it was a hobby. The cakes then took a backseat as I was concentrating on exams again and then possible careers. A few years passed and I found myself moving to the Isle of Man to pursue my chosen career. I didn’t have any friends for my first year there, it was tough, so I found comfort in cake decorating, I was doing more cakes, and experimenting more. It was still just a hobby; I was ok at it, never thought of it as anything serious. I was being asked by work colleagues to do cakes for big events, I was asked to do a cupcake tower for a quadruple christening. And was honoured when a very close friend asked me to decorate her wedding cake. I remember the stress, it was the first time I was to work with royal icing, total nightmare, but I got through it, and it turned out well. After 3 years on the IOM I moved back home (not with my mum, I’d like to point out). I was still baking and making cakes. I was meeting up with old friends, they had seen my cakes on my bebo, and I was getting more requests.

As most of my friends still lived here, and were having families of their own, I had more and more cakes to do, I was loving it, I was getting to do more cakes, for all occasions and all different types, novelty sculpted cakes, plain cakes, christening cakes, and even wedding cakes. One of the ladies I worked with heard about my cakes and asked me to make her daughter’s wedding cake, again, stress, but I rarely back down from a challenge. The challenge this time was sugar flowers, something which I knew I was going to have to do at some point, and why not then. The feedback was amazing, the guests thought that the flowers were real; they all said the cake was amazing, and from it I got more and more requests for wedding cakes. I’m now back here going on five years, and I have had a constant stream of cakes to do for family, friends and work colleagues. There have been disasters; I will do a post about those separately. I never get too comfortable doing cakes, there is always an element of stress, but I think that’s part of the buzz.