Month: February 2016

I found the holy grail.


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Cheesy chips and gravy!

Do you know how hard this is to find in the south of England?!?

I grew up with the expectation that chips from a chip shop could be served with delicious chip shop gravy and a smothering of cheese.

You don’t even *see* gravy on chip shop menus any further south than Birmingham. Apparently, it’s ‘just not done’. I have been sustaining myself for almost 10 years buying plain chips, and adding the cheese and gravy when I get them home. Thankfully, the chip shop is right next door, so the chips don’t get cold during this process. But FINALLY, yesterday – I found it. The holy grail of fast food, in the south.

Granted, I didn’t find this in a chip shop. The bloke and I ventured to a place called Bread and Meat for lunch. By chance, I saw something on the menu called ‘Poutine’, with a description of squeaky cheese and home made gravy. Heaven forbid we give something a common name here. This is Cambridge, dahling. I’m pretty sure the name justifies the £5 price tag.

But you know what? I’ll pay that £5 for cheesy chips and gravy, since that combination is apparently just not done down here. Just very much as a one off, for sake of my wallet.

If by some chance you have never tried this combination, I’d highly recommend it. Trust me.

Respect the facilities

First off, I don’t think of myself as a particularly judgmental person. However, there are some things that will make me judge people.

In particular, signage in toilets. Or office wide emails about toilet issues.

This may have been prompted by an office-wide email asking for the second time in as many weeks that whoever is flushing inappropriate material down the gents toilets and causing blockages to stop it.

The signage in toilets will make me judge the clientele of a building. Just how bad is the problem that a sign saying ‘Please dispose of your sanitary items in the bins provided’ is necessary? Even worse when you see the evidence of why this sign is necessary. Or ‘Please do not stand on the toilet seats’?

Of course, there is no way of knowing *who* the cause of these problems actually is without going all Big Brother and installing cameras. Which nobody wants, because … ick.

In my mind, you treat the facilities of a place that is not your home *better* than you would treat your own. Or at least in the same manner. Maybe the people doing these things are treating things in the same manner (ew.).

I guess my point is that these kinds of signs or emails should not even be necessary. You expect fully functioning adults to actually be toilet trained to a reasonable standard. Yet is seems that there is a minority who aren’t. And knowing that the culprit is a colleague is kind of icky.

So – don’t be that person. Clean up your own shite. Sometimes, literally, I guess. No one else needs to see or know. It shouldn’t even need to be said.

Respecting the facilities provided is really not that difficult. Leave things in the state you find them, at a minimum. It’s really not hard.

Fallout 4: Hangman’s Alley

As part of my on-going project to prettify all the settlements in Fallout 4, I’ve just recently created a video showcasing my interpretation of Hangman’s Alley.

Check out the video here!

This settlement is so far one of my favourites, though it does have its niggles. That said, I re-did this settlement a number of times to get it to a point I was happy with, and I’m pleased to show off the results.

I hope you all enjoy watching!

The first step into adulting.

I’m not sure what prompted my little trip down memory lane. That said, I do occasionally think back to various points in my life that I can acknowledge are crossroads.

We all get to a point in our lives where we know it’s time to finally cut the apron strings, and take that step – moving out from a parents house, and having to be responsible for ourselves.

It’s scary.

In my situation, I was living with my Dad. I’d recently graduated from university with a decent degree, so I was all set to begin my career in software development. Here’s the crunch part though – I was painfully aware that to follow my dream, and to continue following the path I had set myself upon, I wouldn’t be able to stay comfortably close to my family and friends. The jobs in my chosen profession were all down south. The closest thing to what I wanted to do that was located close to where I had grown up was a very poorly paid data entry job.

I guess this is why it took over 3 months for me to even begin a job search – and even for my Dad to mention that I should probably start job hunting. We both knew that me getting a job would mean that I would be moving over 100 miles away. I think it’s why we both avoided the subject for a bit. That said, my Dad was always very good about pointing me in the right direction of being a responsible adult, even when it was painful.

So, my Dad gently suggested that it was time to start job hunting. I got myself into adult mode, signed up for job seekers allowance, and started the hunt in earnest.

I had a job landed within 2 weeks. It felt too soon, but by this point, I was committed. I’m not sure if my Dad was surprised at how short a time it took. That said, I think that even if it had taken a month longer, it still would have felt too soon.

I remember my last night as a resident at Dad’s house, feeling incredibly melancholy as I sat outside just looking at the garden. I was less than 24 hours away from starting a new life in my dream career, but all in a place where I had no family and no friends. Maybe it seems dramatic – I was moving 120 miles away, but I have a car. It’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive. Phone calls are a thing. Somehow though, it’s not the same. I cried a bit, but I was still excited about finally starting to adult.

The first few years were tough. I think it took me 3 years to finally feel like my new city was home. I missed my family desperately. I still do, occasionally. I often wish I could live closer to them all. Moving out isn’t hard. Moving so far away is. I think if I’d known how hard I’d find it, I would have chickened out.

That said, I have no regrets. I feel that this was my first step into ‘adulting’, and I think I did ok. I’m also grateful that my Dad allowed me that small breathing space after gradutation to carry on being his little girl for just a bit longer before making it clear that I did have to start being fully responsible for myself. Thankfully, he brought me up to have the resilience and knowledge that he knew I would need to make it on my own. Which I guess is another thing to be grateful for.

That said, he’s not rid of me yet. Parenting is a 24/7 job for the rest of your life, and I phone him most evenings just to make sure he remembers this. When visiting, I am seen off with a carrier bag full of food and necessities. His house is still a place of refuge when life throws a curveball my way. It’s comforting to know that he still has my back, and should I need it, I can always run back there with my tail between my legs. I know that I’m lucky to have this. Even though my Dad has made sure I can adult with little assistance, knowing that he still wants to look after me has been a huge comfort over the years when life wasn’t treating me well. Just because I *can* do it all on my own, doesn’t actually mean that I have to – and I’m incredibly lucky to have that kind of situation.

Zoned Out

We all do it to a degree. You sit there, staring into space – right up until someone waves in your face (after trying to get your attention for an unspecified amount of time) and asks ‘What are you thinking?’.

The socially accepted answer is generally ‘nothing’.

I know in my case that this is my usual answer because my zoned out thoughts are generally a random mish-mash that if you shared, you would probably seem kind of insane.

Here’s an example of my typical ‘zoned out’ train of thought:

Ooh, if I refactor that bit of code, then this bit can actually work.

*random abstract software patterns*

I’m hungry.

That person really annoyed me the other day. I wish I’d said *awesome comeback* instead. That would have been cool.

I need to see Deadpool. That looks like my kind of crap.

If I had a lightsaber, it needs to be purple.

I like purple.

*imaginings of using lightsaber for everything*

If I cover the untoasted side in mustard before melting cheese on top, would that be too much mustard or a cheese on toast sensation?

Bear in mind that the above is a sample that can go through my head in a matter of seconds. And also a pretty good example of why I go to an effort to not actually share what I’m really thinking.

I’m pretty sure people think I’m crazy anyway. Oops.

The absent cottage

On Valentines Day, the bloke and I opted to go for a walk around Brandon Country Park. Well, I say this. The day happened to be Valentines Day, but we would have ventured out regardless of what day it was. Neither of us are particular romantics.

Anyways, we opted to walk the ‘Orange Trail‘, which is not as challenging as the website makes out. We did come across a few things that amused us though.

First off, the ‘lake’. It was more large pond sized. Which kind of set the tone. The next point of interest on our leaflet was the Fisherman’s Cottage and pond. When we got there, all we could see was a fence. We went a bit closer to investigate, and found an over grown plastic lined ditch, surrounded by a fence. After much looking, we eventually saw what we assume was the cottage – a couple of left over house bricks in a much fallen down wall.

Given the earlier label of ‘Lake’ for what was basically a pond should have set our expectations straight by this point. Why shouldn’t a not-quite knee length fallen down wall and plastic lined ditch be labelled Fishermans Cottage and Pond by that standard?

We never did see the next cottage that was highlighted as a point of interest on our map. We suspect not due to lack of looking for it- but most likely because it consisted of a few bricks that were completely over grown by everything else. Since we didn’t venture off the path to look, we’ll probably never know.

In fact, the only landmark that seemed to live up to expectations was the communication tower. Which was clearly visible in the skyline every time we were out of the woods.

In spite of my mockery of the lackluster landmarks, it was a great day out. I just wish I’d had the presence of mind to take pictures of the landmarks themselves.

Fallout 4: Jamaica Plain

First off, my apologies for the lack of posting over the last couple of days. I just really had nothing interesting to write. Work has been busy, and life has been drama free.

In the meantime, I’ve been busy and created another settlement video for my channel. You can check it out here.

There is something very satisfying about building up the settlements in Fallout 4. I’ve been neglecting many of the main quests just because I’ve blown my gaming time on trying to get a shack base perfectly placed. Since it was time enjoyed though, I’m not really sure that it’s time wasted.

My ultimate aim is to get each and every settlement in the game fully refurbished. I’ll be posting up a new video once a week, so please do check it out!

I had my ears lowered.

I got my hair cut last week. I had a good 4 inches chopped off, so my hair is back above my chin. Given that my hair was previously past my shoulders, this could be seen as a drastic change.

I much prefer having short hair. Not because I necessarily think it suits me better, but more because I am kind of lazy. Having my hair cut so much shorter means that it no longer takes me 15 minutes to dry and straighten my hair. It’s now more like 3. Which amounts to 12 minutes of my life I can claim back every day. It may not seem much, but it soon adds up!

So there you have it. My fashion choices are dictated by my desire to not have to spend any longer than 5 minutes getting my hair under control.

I was asked ‘What if your boyfriend doesn’t like it?’

At the time, I responded with ‘tough’, but I decided to expand on this here.

If the bloke is with me only for past shoulder length hair, then I would have made a pretty poor choice in boyfriend. I’d like to think that he’s going out with me, and not my hair.

Well, I decided on a small reality check, and asked him what he thought of it. In typical bloke fashion, he just replied with a noncommittal ‘It’s different’. Then mentioned that it’s my hair to do what I want with when I asked him to explain.

Which in my mind settles it. I suspect that most blokes out there probably don’t even notice a hair cut one way or another, and certainly have little opinion on it. This is supported by my turning up for work today, and the only person who has commented on the change is the lady who served my latte this morning. All other encounters today have been with male colleagues.

To sum up: Odds are the blokes I work with haven’t actually noticed. Either that, or hair isn’t really on their list of things to mention. So really, all this panic over a hair cut is probably a lot of wasted energy. It’s certainly food for thought if next time you go to get your haircut you start worrying over what your other half will think. I’m betting it’s not high on his list of priorities.

A more local escape room!

Last week, I posted about how I’d visited an escape room in Warrington.

Well, my local news site today published an article about one opening up close by. From the article, it seems to follow more of a mystery theme:

The game focuses on the life of Brent Chadwick, who had a troubled childhood and retreated into the room following the death of his mother.

The only way to escape is to find the urn of Brent’s mother’s ashes – but you’d better do it before he returns…

I’m super excited about this, as it’s definitely closer than 150 miles away. Which is awesome. I’ve definitely gotten a taste for this kind of thing, so I’ll be giving it a go as soon as I can assemble a worthy team!

I am very glad that these are becoming more of a thing. It makes a very refreshing change from the usual go out to a pub, cinema, bowling kind of activity I’ve been doing for most of my adulthood so far.