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Posts Tagged ‘blanch house’

  1. Courses, cats and catering

    August 18, 2010 by superlative

    My first box of stuff from the Open University arrived a week ago, filled with lots of revision work for me to look at before the course proper starts in October. It’s quite a good idea really, as lots of people like me would take the maths module I’m doing as their first ever OU module, and it makes sure you’re all up to the same sort of level before it starts.

    I spent several days doing the Diagnostic Quiz, which showed me that I remember some things really quite well from my A Level in maths, but also that I had completely forgotten some other things and am generally quite rusty. That’s the point though, and when you mark the quiz the answers are all linked to a chapter in the revision book so you know what sections to study.

    So far I have re-learnt prime factors and logarithms (easy stuff really), and I’ve got a whole list of other things to look at over the next couple of weeks, including circle geometry and functions and whatnot. It has been quite nice to have something to do in the evening, and nice because it’s fairly challenging for me mentally. It’s a bit tiring trying to study in the evening, and I still have no idea how much of my time the course is going to take up, but I won’t know that until it starts properly I think.

    Generally I’m quite impressed so far though, as the materials all seem quite good, and they have a very good student website with a discussion forum for each module where you can talk to fellow students and get support and things. I hope I enjoy it and don’t resent having to work in my free time. I think I will enjoy it though. And Chris has signed up to do the next bit of his MA, so he’ll be busy doing his own study anyway, so it’s just as well I’ve got stuff to do.

    Aside from the course stuff, the last week has been a bit horrible because Mum had to have her cat Cleo put to sleep last Wednesday. She’d been generally winding down for the last couple of weeks, not eating any more and sleeping all the time, and Mum had been stressing about what to do with her. But then she took a turn for the worse and was starting to be properly suffering, so Mum decided she had to do something about it.

    Oddly and rather surprisingly, she took the decision to take Cleo to the vet last Wednesday morning, called a cab and went there on her own (didn’t want to wait for Dad to get home), dealt with the whole horrible thing of saying goodbye to her, and then WALKED back from the vets to our house. Now, it’s only about half a mile, but honestly that’s about three times further than she’s walked in years and years. I can understand why, because she’s been so upset by it all, and immediately afterwards she didn’t want to be near anyone else so she just walked it. But unfortunately that’s hit her with a full whammy of uber-exhaustion as well as her grief over the cat.

    And grief it has been. She cried for about two days straight, and a week later she’s still all over the place. As is always the case with Mum, everything is a catastrophe (no pun intended), everything affects her in the most severe way possible, and she just doesn’t deal well with anything any more. Any pet owner I’m sure can sympathise with what it must feel like to lose a cat, but Mum’s gone completely off the rails with it. I feel very sorry for her, because now she is completely on her own all day while Dad’s out, but I’m also powerless to do much for her apart from listen. Lots of people have waded in with helpful suggestions of getting a kitten, which has NOT gone down well with Mum who now says she never wants another cat ever again and has made my Dad cover the catflap up with plastic so she doesn’t see it. I’m fairly sure that at some point she should get another cat, because she needs the company and she loves cats, but it’s not going to be for a good while yet.

    So yeah, that’s been horrible. I don’t like it when she cries, it makes me cry, and although I’m sad to have lost our cat (we’d had her since I was 13), I could do without crying while I’m on the phone at work. She wants to move out of the whole house now, she says, because she can’t bear to be there without Cleo, but she knows that’s not realistic because she’s not well enough to move. So I don’t know, there’s nothing I can say to her really.

    On a lighter note, we had another gorrrrgeous dinner at Blanch House at the weekend. Sort of on a whim, because it wasn’t a special occasion or anything, and sort of as a late second anniversary dinner. I had seared king scallops with garden pea veloutĂ© and grilled pancetta for my starter (very Masterchef), and then pan-fried fillets of sea bream with buttered samphire, tomato confit, brown shrimps and lemon buerre blanc for my main. It was SO nice, and easily one of the best meals I’ve ever had. It’s just so lovely there, and although it’s posh it’s really friendly and the staff are lovely too. I want to eat there every day, but then I’d be a massive Billy Bunter with butter running down my chin and I think I would regret it.

    It was nice to do something normal and pleasant though, and be out of the house for a bit where Mum can’t ring me for support. I love her, but you can only lean on a crutch so much before you break it and I’m really flagging at the moment.


  2. Living a champagne lifestyle

    July 28, 2009 by superlative

    Amazingly, it has now been a whole year since I got married. I don’t know where the time has gone, it has just flown by. Saturday was our actual wedding anniversary, and we had a couple of nice things planned over the weekend which made it nice and special.

    Our wine rack has been half full for the last year with bottles of champagne we were given as wedding presents (about five of them I think), and recently we were told that champage doesn’t always stay at its best for more than a year or so. We therefore felt we had an obligation to start drinking it up, which in reality turned into us drinking four bottles of champagne in six days. It was actually really nice to do, as expensive champagne tastes very nice and is much better than the cheap stuff, and I was surprised to find how well it goes with a dinner of fish fingers, chips and beans. It is certainly a combination that I would try again.
    On Friday we had a wedding reception to go to in the evening, for a couple who had attended our wedding last year. It was out on Pangdean Farm in Pyecombe, a very nice country venue with a converted barn with lots of wooden beams. I was particularly impressed with the unusual choice of wedding cake decoration:

    and the bride’s beautiful sort-of-French-style wedding dress that was made by her very talented mother:

    A few friends of ours were there too, so we had a nice evening of dancing and feeling nostalgic about our own wedding.
    Then on Saturday, our actual anniversary, we went for a lovely meal at Blanch House, a posh restaurant in Kemptown not very far from us. We’d never go there normally, it’s a bit out of our usual price range, but Chris’ Mum was treating us, and it was GREAT! It was lots of high class masterchef-type food like this:

    and it was ever so yummy. It was also rather alcohol-fuelled, as we had champagne before we went, and then cocktails on arrival, and wine with dinner. It was all a bit of a blur by dessert I have to say, so we took a short detour home afterwards to sober up a little bit, and sat looking at our wedding photos together and feeling a bit gooey (that may have been the fault of the alcohol again though). And then we just had a couple more drinks in Vavoom before retiring for the evening.
    I was pleased to find that I didn’t have a hangover at all on Sunday, which I am going to attribute as well to the champagne being expensive, and to the six million calories I ate to soak it all up.
    So that was it – one anniversary down, and only 49 more until our golden one. Hopefully they will all be as enjoyable as this one was (and I won’t forget any of them, which is a very real possibility).
    I’m back at work today, but am only doing three-day weeks through the summer, so hurrah only two days left until the weekend! It is Brighton Pride this weekend, and they are forecasting heavy rain for Saturday. Oh dear. Pride is really quite depressing and pointless in the rain, as it is meant to be a day of drinking in the sun and looking at topless boys (a microcosm of my entire life, in fact). If it rains like they’re saying it will, I may not even bother going to the park during the day – I have mud at home I can squelch around in if I wish. And besides, I’ll have more champagne to drink up.