The Grim Adventures of a Refined Savage
Happy Birthday To Me…

It was my 31st birthday at the weekend and, as usual, my lovely lady spoiled me with awesome gifts, amazing food and epic cake (which I am currently eating a sizeable chunk of). The Birthday celebration really Kicked off on the Saturday evening when my lady took me out for a meal to The Junction, a local Bar/Restaurant well know for its high quality food and pleasant atmosphere.

All I can really say about the food is that, as always, it was amazing. I started with a terrine of locally smoke mackerel, dauphinoise potatoes and horse radish with a balsamic dressing and it was delicious, there was just enough acidity to the dressing to cut through the richness of the potato and the oily fish, without overpowering the dish. The freshness of the horse radish was evident and was just enough to lift the dish and provide a hint of heat on the tongue, it was an excellent counter point to the overall richness of the dish.

I washed the starter down with a very pleasant pint of Ringwoods excellent craft ale, Old Thumper and moved on to a main course of pan fried duck breast on a bed of stir fried summer vegetables in a hoisin sauce with spicy polenta chips. The duck breast was tender and perfectly pink in the middle, whilst having a lovely sear on the skin. The veg was al dente and maintained its own flavour well in the lusciously rich hoisin sauce. The overall flavour of the dish was suitably oriental whilst still maintaining an English aspect, from the choice of vegetables and simple, but very well executed flavour of the duck. My one criticism is the inclusion of the polenta chips, whilst very nice and having an interesting flavour of there own, they seemed entirely disconnected from the rest of the dish and were largely surplus to needs. I would have preferred to have seen a portion of deep fried rice noodles in place of the chips, as this would have better suited the dish and provided a bit of crunch and an interesting textural depth.

Kelly decided to forgo the starter and instead opted to go straight for a main course of a classic hand made steak burger, with triple cooked chips and a side order beer battered onion rings. The quality of the beef used to make the burger was apparent, it was tender, flavoursome and maintained the texture of the meat very well, something that is often lost when using beef of a lesser quality. The chips were fluffy, flavoursome and crisp thanks to the triple cooking process, they had been allowed to colour giving a very slight edge of sweetness to the flavour that worked well with a sprinkling of salt. The onion rings were crisp and the batter was light, the onion inside was not overcooked and as such had not taken on too much oil giving them a refreshing bite. It is very hard to criticise burger and chips at the best of times but when done with such a level of quality and consistency as is to be found here it is almost impossible.

Given the richness of my starter and main course I chose to follow these with a refreshing pale ale, this time in the guise of a pint of Boondoggle, a crisp citrusy blond ale, again, by the excellent folks at the Ringwood brewery. Having both had our fill from our main courses we decided to split a desert, Kelly made the excellent choice of a home made cheesecake & mango jelly with passion-fruit sauce. The combination of the richness of the cheesecake, sweetness of the mango jelly and acidity of the passion-fruit sauce made for an excellent palette cleanser and a perfect end to an delicious meal.

The remainder of the evening was spent in the company of Kelly’s parents sharing a few drinks and catching up. All in all and wonderful evening spent with good company and my amazing partner.

Happy Birthday To Me…

Dear Mum

Dear Mum

There’s a lot of stuff that I often find I want to say to you but never do and in all likelihood never will. And even though I am writing this to get a few things off my chest I am actually glad you’ll never read it because, even though we argue, I would never intentionally say something or do anything that would hurt you, I am not that kind of person.

I have been bullied for the vast majority of my life and off all the bullies I’ve had you were always the worst, you were the only one I couldn’t deal with. There are only two ways, that I know of, to deal with bullies. You either have to show them they can’t hurt you or show them that you can hurt them more than they can hurt you. Neither of which I could ever do to you mum, you’ve always known how to hurt me the most. Over the years I’ve learned to live with the constant nit picking, the pointless arguments, the persistent name calling, the continual undermining, the threats of violence and the snide comments. It’s just become a part of my day to day existence, to put it simply it has become the norm for me.

I have spent the vast majority of my life feeling that I don’t belong, I’ve never really felt like part of the family and it’s only in recent years that I’ve discovered that you can make your own family, the one forced upon you by birth doesn’t have to be the be all and end all. Thankfully I have my own family now and even a place that I really do feel that I belong and can call home. It makes me happy to be there and be with my family, even in the relatively short time that has passed since I got my home I’ve had some of the best times of my life there. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some good times with you, because there certainly has, but they’ve been very few and far between and are getting further and further apart with each passing year.

Throughout my teenage years and well into my twenties I would go to sleep at night hoping to not wake up, the thought most prominent in my mind throughout this period of my life was how I didn’t belong and that no one would actually care if I didn’t exist anymore. For the longest time the only things that kept me from doing anything stupid was my own stubbornness, the anger you caused me and a deeply ingrained dislike of physical pain. For the longest time those thoughts were never very far from the surface, thankfully they’re buried now and I never have to go back there again.

Mum, you have been one of the biggest influences of my life, you have played a major role in the person I have become and the person I want to be. Even though I know that it has damaged me emotionally and will continue to have an effect on my for the rest of my life, I have come to believe that my working through all the hostility you have often shown towards me has made me a stronger person and has made me better equipped to deal with many of the harsh things life will throw at me. Unfortunately it seems that no matter how old I get or how much I armour myself against it, whenever I’m around you, you still manage to bring out the worst in me and I hate that. For the last few years I have been slowly working to supress what you bring out in me and I genuinely believe that one day I will be free of that part of myself. Who knows, when it’s finally gone, when I am a better person, I might even be able to like myself.

Yours Sincerely

Your loving son.

Happy St George’s Day

Easter Holiday

Today was my first day back at work after a great week away with my lady. Being able to actually spend a full week with her is amazing, even though we have a house together, my working situation means we don’t get to spend as much time together as we should.

As is customary for our Easter holidays, we had decided to make the trip up to Scotland to visit relatives. This time however we decided instead of making one long 6 hour trek, we’d break it down into shorter journeys and spend a couple if nights in the lake district along the way. We settled on Kendal, partially due to it having a castle right in the town and partially due to the fact the it is fairly central and surrounded by lots of little, interesting places to visit.

Upon arriving in Kendal and having dropped off our bags where we were staying, we headed out on foot up to the castle ruins. They certainly did not disappoint, the ruins themselves are situated on a tall hill overlooking the town. From the top of the hill you could literally see for miles in every direction, you can definitely understand why this site was chosen for a castle, any invaders would be seen well in advance, no matter which direction they came from.

After exploring the castle ruins thoroughly, and taking a rather excessive number of photos, we decided to look around the town it’s self. By this point it was getting on for about 6 o’clock in the evening and we were getting hungry and fancied a bit of a drink, as we got back into the town centre we were very surprised to find it all but deserted. There is literally no night life in Kendal, no clubs, no bars, a mere smattering of run down looking pubs and only a couple of restaurants. After a depressing and completely fruitless search, we ended up heading back to the hotel and eating in the ‘Table Table’ attached to it, which was disappointing to say the least.

The following morning we woke bright and early with the intention of heading out to explore the area. After consulting the map we settled on our first destination, Browness Bay on the edge of lake Windermere. It was lovely, a gorgeous little town full of winding streets, old buildings and boutique style shops eventually opening out to a small dock area overlooking the lake. We spent a couple of hours just walking around taking in the sights and sounds, we bought ourselves a late breakfast from one of the many lovely looking cafes and settled down on a bench by the lake to people watch.

After a lovely morning beside the lake we, once again, consulted the map and decided that this time we should head towards the coast. Grange-Over-Sands seemed ideally situated being, more or less, directly south of Browness Bay and being close to one of the main routes back into Kendal, allowing us to return back to our hotel without actually having to back track on ourselves.

Grange-Over-Sands is almost like stepping back in time, it seems frozen in the past yet doesn’t have that run down feeling you get with many other Victorian seaside towns. We spent the majority of our time there walking up through the beautiful ornamental gardens then slowly back across the sea front. It’s a place that is definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in that part of the country, a relaxed reminder of a past time.

By the time we left it was already late afternoon and Kelly (Porphyee) was starting to get tired from driving, as I suck and can’t actually drive (legally at least).

Heading back into Kendal we parked up and decided to give the town another try, being a little earlier we actually managed to find a lovely little Thai restaurant, that was still open, and enjoyed an absolutely delicious meal.

We left for Scotland the following morning having both us decided that we’d love to visit the area again, but definitely staying somewhere other than Kendal.

Other Random Pics From Our Holidays

Visiting Lakes Car Museum

Visiting Kendal Castle

Finally got the full set after spending about £15 on Kinder Surprise eggs. It’s not that I’m a giant, hairy, overgrown child or anything.

Finally got the full set after spending about £15 on Kinder Surprise eggs. It’s not that I’m a giant, hairy, overgrown child or anything.

Time with my man.

porphyee:

I get over a week of my man being at home next week. Hooray! Gigs..castles…beers and kilts. Cannot wait.

I really can’t wait.