Friday, 28 July 2017

Still in Birmingham - July 2017

Good times with good friends. Crystal, Manu, Jackie, Ian and Helen
Since the last blog entry I think I have cooked three times, the last fortnight has been a whirlwind of socialising and eating, which has been great, but I think yesterday my body had finally had enough, half a day of a very poorly tummy, but the toast I risked at 14.00 was fine so that was it, I could still go out with Helen and Ian to Blue Ocean (Blue-Ocean-Cafe-Restaurant) for a very authentic Malaysian mee goreng!

The leg of kurzi lamb at The New Dilshad, Alvechurch
We've been for a Monday Club beer at the Old Mo (Old Moseley Arms) followed by a curry at Diwans (Diwan Balti) and to the New Dilshad in Alvechurch (New Dilshad) with Sarah and John for the kurzi lamb, this is a set meal, a whole lamb leg that you have to order at least 24 hours in advance so they can marinate and slow cook it to a tenderness that can be carved with a spoon! We did make a mistake, we ate the starter, not that it was bad, but we should just have had it put in a box to take away, as along with the rice, the vegetable dish, the mince gravy and the dessert and coffee it was all too much, MUCH too much.
Jackie doing her usual gnawing at the bone. Can't take her anywhere!
The lamb is a magnificent sight, obviously not seen before by the new, young member of staff who was taking loads of photos. It was also a talking point with the couple on a nearby table, she was thrilled when I took them a taste, but I have been that person! This was after I had said to Sarah at the works buffet meal that perhaps not Indian as we'd had a few, but this was different.... Add in to that that one of the meals I have cooked (and we ate twice so was actually two of the three meals) was tandoori chicken from scratch and vegetable biryani as living where we are on the edge of Sparkhill (Sparkhill High Street) it is possible to get any ingredient mentioned in any Indian recipe in either huge quantities, at a ridiculously cheap price, or both!

Sooty cat enjoying some fuss
We've been out for two lunches, one with Terry and Sue, (Brian's ex work partner), which lasted until the car park ticket ran out at 17.00! Then to Judith and Richard's in Ledbury where we had a rapturous welcome from all the animals, Fred cat running back 25 metres over the, horrible for cats, gravel for some special Fred love. Richard was very impressed when he actually witnessed Lottie, wuss cat, trotting towards me squeaking. The dogs were meanwhile being just as welcoming to Brian. As ever the time flew with loads of chat and good food. 

In Birmingham's China Town for a Sunday evening beer
Brian did a day helping Paul put up an archway in the garden while I sat and put the world to rights with Denise. Guess what? She did lunch, not as big as the previous two but with the leftovers from our Monday Club curry for dinner, perfect! We've had two meals with Manu and Crystal, one at theirs, and one a Sunday tea club with Helen and Ian, where we sit, like royalty, in one of many small Chinese restaurants in China town while Crystal orders amazing food in Chinese for the table. We say it every time, but she is fantastic and the meal gets better and better. 

Sillyness with the home grown veg Helen had brought for Manu and Crys
The evening started well with a pint in the pub, Helen to Manu "what time are we eating?" Manu "eight o clock, so plenty of time for another beer" Helen "which one are we going to?" Manu "haven't decided yet!" He wanted another beer and Helen was hungry, but joined up thinking? No, lots of laughter? Yes! After a second pint we drifted down to Helens favourite restaurant, which, unusually, was empty save for a young lad on his own. Helen started talking about tai chi when the lads ears pricked up as apparently he is a keen student of tai chi, he was soon demonstrating and manipulating Helen and Brian while the rest of us laughed and took pictures! (Birminghams Chinatown)

Helen doing tai chi in the restaurant
This isn't going well!
So apart from lunches out, daytimes have been taken up with the gym and bike rides, buying a car with mum, taking Sooty to the vets - she's lost 400 of the required 500 grams. I had coffee with Alex while Brian had coffee with Andy Vine who he managed to sell two of the four bike carriers that we'd bought (along with some roof bars) to. This week though, has been quite stressful and hard on the brain, having completed all the modules of the TEFL course and passed the exam with flying colours we were then presented with the first of two end of course assignments. This was not one but two lesson plans, we had foolishly thought two assignments, two lesson plans, but no, and until assignment one is marked we don't know what assignment two is! I know teachers rattle off lesson plans, but not us. We have spent hours on this, they say you can work together as long as the plans are different, we found it better to work separately and our plans are so different, can we both possibly pass? 
Jackie on her bike - yes it really happened!
We suddenly felt really under pressure as although we have until the middle of September to complete the course, they take a week to mark them, we move to Derby on Sunday and then have Charles and Caroline to stay so we had given ourselves till today to submit so they can be marked next week. If we hadn't got them in it would all have been getting very tight with trips to Scotland and then to London from August bank holiday.... The relief yesterday after submission was fantastic. Better get on and clean the house before Abi gets back and then welcomes new housesitters. The bed will barely be cold, we leave and they arrive on Sunday!
At Earlswood Lakes, about 10km away
And all looking a bit low in water level. Up to July there hadn't been much rain, but July has made up for it!

Sooty walking precariously round the edge of the wash basin. It's a bit blurred, Jackie took it, she's not used to taking photos!

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