Stuck At Sea – Who Would You Take?

This morning I read an article about two men who survived 33 days at sea. This particular article manages to condense their ordeal into three (longish) sentences.

Five weeks with one person in  a small boat. The men were 53 and 26 years old, no idea whether they were relatives, friends or lovers. Maybe they were complete strangers.

It made me think about, if I had to choose, who I’d would want to be stuck with.

Now, this is not even a “Who’d you take to a desert island” – at least you can park yourself on the other side of the island if you need some private space.  It’s not even being stuck in a lift when you know someone will save you somehow.

It’s like a poor man’s version of Life of Pi – and the more I think about it the more complicated it gets.  See firstly, there are the slim survival chances. Personally,  I don’t mind dying but as a Dutch comedian once said: ” It’s not my own death that upsets me, it’s the death of others that bothers me.” For that reason, my very cool sister, who I consider great company, is off the ‘Stuck at Sea’-list.

Despite these chances you’d want to be with someone who doesn’t panic. Survival rates are higher if you don’t jump off the boat come Day 4. People who need a lot of medication or inhalers are therefor also not ideal.

You would need someone who has a sense of humour, if you can’t cry about it, you might as well laugh right? It should also be someone who I could talk about fears and life about, I’m an extrovert: keeping it all  in would make my face break out. That would be the last thing  I’d want: Stuck at Sea and a flaky face.

Someone I could fight with without either of us holding a grudge afterwards –  because disagreements will definitely happen and that would be a very awkward boatride after Day 7. It would have to be someone I am not attracted to: trying to survive at sea should not be marred by raging pheromones.

Someone who I’d be so comfortable with that by the time we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of each other, we’re still ok in the same boat.  Slowly, slowly as I was thinking of all this, the person who’d I choose to be stuck with appeared. The question is of course whether that person would feel the same!

Stuck at sea with one person. Who would you take?

Food frustrations

I was going to write an update on “My 12 for 2012” but there is a matter more pressing to me. As I have no kitchen yet and too many lovely places to eat around The Square to succumb to the microwave, I have discovered that I have a few food annoyances. Firstly, a disclaimer:  I understand the children in Africa are actually starving and that because of the recession many people find it hard to feed themselves let alone give to charity, so I encourage you to show your support through this feed the world game on

My annoyances are terribly middle-class and not enough to shout about, still they provide just enough material for a midweek blog…

Burger Shack
Image by L.Richarz via Flickr

The Burger
The waitress asks you how you’d like your burger cooked. The only answer to that is ‘medium-rare’.When the meal actually arrives: the burger is well done. Now, it doesn’t make me angry but it disappoints me. Disappointing meals are sad. Please don’t create any expectations  if you can’t deliver- ok? Thank you.

A photo of a cup of coffee.
Image via Wikipedia

I’m not that old that I usually start my sentences with: ” I remember when…” but I remember when you could just order a black coffee in a cafe. Perhaps it’s because of the pretentious coffee houses around The Square but when I ask for a black coffee I get blank looks from the barristas.  The other day the guy even asked me: ” Do you mean an espresso?” No. If I wanted an espresso I would have told you. Just a black coffee. ” We have cappucinnos, lattes, Americanos, mochas.” Sigh. Ok I’d like an Americano please. “Would you like milk in that?”  ….

poached eggs - 8

If your chef can’t poach eggs, don’t put them on the menu. I’m also happy with scrambled (actually if you’d ask me the million dollar Runaway Bride question, the answer would be ‘soft boiled’) in any case, like the burger: just don’t give me the option.

Croissant, of unknown origin, associated with ...

Many a great start to my day happen with a croissant. It’s a little pastry of happiness. Just a plain croissant: no chocolate, no apricots, no sugared almond paste. A plain croissant, beautifully risen golden, flakey pastry glowingly shining goodmorning to me. So when I order one and you take your tongs to it because of hygiene reasons – fine: BUT DON’T CRUSH IT, YOU PHILISTINE!

Right. I think that was it. Rant over. Step away from Soapbox. Please feel free to go on with your day.

Perfect Space.

He said goodbye, he was going out for couple of drinks. Was there a bit of pity in his voice? It’s Friday night and I was sitting on my bed. Lonely lady, too old at 26 for a night out?

Please. For the first night in ages I’m alone. Surrounded by my own stuff, with a working bathroom and heating. For the first time in ages, I’m alone. Not surrounded by men from several European backgrounds. All very polite but with them comes the paint and the dust and the shouting. It’s what I signed up for, I know. Still.

Right now, it is quiet. I just ran a bath and picked a magazine.

Whatever you do tonight: don’t feel sorry for me.

Help me find 12 things to do in 2012.

Challenge me in 2012, not 2005... Image by studiocurve via Flickr

Let’s do it completely differently. Next year I’m going to start a new blog and I need your help.

The posts to this blog have been less frequent recently and I realised this blog functioned to discover/uncover what I wanted to do and then trying to achieve it: lo and behold (tears, tantrums and a couple of years later) I seem to be happily heading towards writing. Hoorah, tick: job done.

Now, I have decided to take the blinkers off and open up my horizons a bit.  I found this website called My 50 things to do in life. I have seen it before and I quite like the concept behind it: listing things you like to achieve in life and do it.

‘Life’ is a long and vague concept to me but as I was thinking about what I would like to achieve I decided to make my personal version. Please can you help me list 12 challenges for 2012. ( A bit like the Labours of Hercules, without the infanticide preceding it.) A little clarification:

The list needs to be a variety of big and smaller goals with a variety of challenge.
The world is the playground but the tasks need to be specific, eg “Eating a pastrami sandwich in Katz Deli, NY” rather than “Visit New York”.
It should also be something I have not done before.
My normal life will also still go on: I shall not enter a convent or go on a worldtrip. This challenge is not about me taking a GAP year, it is about living life during a recession: life still goes on, so you better make the most of it.

Lastly, the Common Sense Rules:

  1. Nothing that is deemed illegal – suffering for art has limits.
  2. No physical and emotional harming of living beings (and dead for that matter.)
  3. No surgical enhancement needed for any of the goals.
  4. No reversion of natural causes needed – I shan’t be able to raise the dead or  stop torrential rain.

While I’m thinking, I am open to suggestions – so please comment here or on Facebook, email me or just talk to me in person when you see me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

…but let us start in Devon.

I realise after writing this, I should probably have a category called: Food. After having written about Last Suppers and other food adventures in the past, here another account of how I like to spend my weekends.

After an epic coach trip due to the M5 accident over the weekend, I made it to Plymouth for Bonfire/ birthday celebrations. ( Ok, I have to confess – terrible friend as I am I did assume it was the former rather than the latter: oops. Anyway Happy Birthday Gem!)

The weekend was simply fantastic and filled with food: after the Firework display ( cued on music, what a job!) on the Hoe, we went for an Indian meal. All ten of us thought it was wise to order the set menu: 30 min later we could feed a small African nation with the content of our table.

A bakery near Kabul, Afghanistan
Image via Wikipedia It took 30 min but we ended up with enough bread...

The baskets Nan bread seemed to be multiplying and we lost count of the plates of sag aloo. The curry dishes were amazing and we realised that Sunday- best was a mistake: this was a meal that required joggers. Later desert was presented: two chocolate cakes with 3 Letter-shaped sparklers spelling the name of the birthday girl: Happy Birthday  M-G -E!

Sunday was a gorgeous sunny day, after breakfast ( poached eggs and grilled bacon on brown bread: practically healthy) we went out to the country side.

Noss Mayo
Image by rach2k via Flick

The idea was to go for a walk first to work up an appetite for a cream tea but unfortunately the rest of Devon had the same plan, so we ended up strolling through the lovely village of Noss Mayo. We just sat by the water, which was surprisingly clear, enjoyed the sunshine and watched the boats. It was beautifully quiet. We contemplated getting boats and retire here ourselves when we saw a man struggling to get to his rowing boat: it broke the romance, having a boat seemed hard work.

Probably the best cream tea in the world

We were not up for that and thus it was time for tea.

In the quaint little tea room in Newton Ferrers, they indeed served the best cream tea. Despite you just having ordered 2 fresh scones with jam and clotted cream to go with your cuppa, the tea cups all had a little biscuit on the side as well – just in case. (In case you are wondering:1. take scone 2.  first jam and then 3. clotted cream…) It was epic.

A traditional Sunday roast: roast beef, vegeta...
Image via Wikipedia

Oh then we managed to cook a roast at home. From scratch. This is not the real picture, there was no time for that… We did have home-made Yorkshires and the best roast potatoes: super impressed.

I might havegained weight but the stress patches on my skin are completely clearing up: Result.

To Adventure…and beyond.


It’s autumn. As I’m typing this, surrounded by the lovely smell of clean laundry (which is literally surrounding me as I still lack proper clothes horse) I can see the sun shining through the yellow, green and orange-brown melange of leaves on the trees on The Square.

Autumn always reminds me of the days I first got to the UK: term started in September. ( When not surrounded by clean washing, even the autumn smell can trigger memories.)  Though the first three months went slow and can only be described as a mixture of excitement, confusion and undiluted hell-on-toast, I’m glad my 17-year old self stuck with it.

I’m going to turn 27 this year, next year will be my 10th year in the UK.  And yes, that does make me feel a little old haha. When I first got here, I was only one-foot out of teenage angst hoping that at 18 the heavens would open and pour ‘ Adult hood’ upon me (it didn’t), at 20 I didn’t understand what people meant with “Still So Young” and at 23 I was fully engrossed in a complete quarter-life crisis: I always liked to do things early and dramatically.

Like Julie Andrews without the convent ambitions, I always longed for adventure: I wanted to travel, have an amazing life, conquer the world. I remember telling my mother that I would never want to work a boring “9-5 job”. The contract I just finished had me in the office 9-6: I like to think that is the Universe’s sense of humour.

Here I am, looking out over The Square: I’m happy with my choices – all of them, as one must have led to another.

My life is a modern day, real life adventure: it’s balancing the search for the Holy Grail with the means to survive as a modern equivalent of Herculean tasks, it’s a huge building site house instead of a Palace, and it’s many acts of human kindness rather than Godmother or Fairy Power that magically keep saving my ass.

There are good days and bad ( hey, even charitable Red Riding Hood made some crappy choices…) but the Quest continues and I am ready for the next chapter.