Dating epilogue

The following contains cliches for which I can only apologise and assure you that every word is true.

So, I deleted all my online dating profiles in May this year having decided I wasn’t enjoying it and that I really don’t need a man to make me happy. Life has been wonderful recently, in part because the 50 Things list is giving me something to look forward to every week.

3 weeks later I was doing some cava training before my big birthday (which was a great success- I managed to drink and dance till 6am without serious repercussions) and I ended up at the pub. You can probably guess what happened next. Yes, in the age old tradition I dragged a man home whilst blind drunk. I’ve known him vaguely for years, but we’ve never spoken more than a sentence to each other that I can recall. And yet, in the midst of the drunken blur I saw something I liked (may have been his dimples).cava_

Anyway, turns out we share a love of fiction, hammocks and making dice decisions amongst other things. I won’t bore you with all the details, except to say that I’ve never dated a grownup before. He can drive, make tea and even offers to pay his own way. What a revelation. He’s not only accompanied me on some of my 50 Things, he IS one of them.

Being brought up in a family of humanoid computers I don’t naturally touch people or express much emotion. We were happy and secure with no need to talk about it. And yet here I am publicly saying I like another human being. Eek! Must be my hormones, or some chance mix of pheromones.

We both passed our monthly review and I guess we’re now in a honeymoon period. Long may it last.

50 Things part 4

  1. ‘Making’ by Thomas Heatherwick

I treated myself to a beautiful book by the man that designed the Rolling Bridge at Paddington Basin. It’s so simple, effective and beautiful. Free to visit if you have a bit of spare time in London. You can walk across it, watch it roll up and marvel at the geometry.

Making book

Making book

The Rolling Bridge.

heatherwick_studio_lightbox_rolling_bridge

  1. Krakow visit.

What a lovely place. Poles seem very proud of their country, which makes a pleasant change from English cynicism, my own included.

I can’t recommend Travelzoo enough- really cheap offers in decent hotels. We also got a trip round Auschwitz which I’ve been meaning to get around to. There’s nowt I can say to express the impact and my sheer inability to believe what humans can do.

Anyway, on our tourist itinerary were the salt mine- very impressive; many churches and Nowa Huta, the Brutalist social realism dream.

Detail from St Francis church

Detail from St Francis church

My favourite church was Church of St. Francis of Assisi which is covered with Art Nouveau wallpapers. I thought one of the stained glass windows featured a man with a huge afro, but on reflection I think that was a shadow inside his halo. I’ve no idea- there’s no guessing what Polish words mean. The Lord’s Ark is pretty special too, built by volunteers, with it’s bit of moon rutile, shrapnel and a stone from the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican.

I won’t bore you with meals we had, but there’s plenty of very good veggie food in Krakow, particularly at Pod Norenami and Czerwone Korale.

  1. Sowing seeds seedlingsI mean to do this every year, but April comes around and I’ve not flexed my green fingers. So this year I’ve sowed some sweet peas courtesy of Katie JH and some poached egg plants and they’ve germinated! It’s like magic. I am the proud nurturer of some baby seedlings. I sincerely hope I don’t kill them.
  1. 1965 is a fine vintagetree 1965I treated myself and a few fine friends who are 50 this year to necklaces made from 1965 pennies.My friend Stuart has been making jewellery from old coins for many years and selling them at festivals, but he’s finally got a shop in Hebden Bridge- shameless plug for ‘Not a Full Shilling ‘.

    All handmade by a lovely man.

50 Things part 2

Mr Tom B has requested the full list because he ‘can’t be bothered to look every week’. I think such honesty should be rewarded so ‘ere you go Tom. There’s some blanks for unexpected events and the list may be subject to change..

1. Buy a magnum

2. Meal at Prashad

3. Habitat Garland

4. Buy a car

5. Watch Breaking Bad series 5

6. Krakow

7. Visit Katie+ quilt museum

8. Red Ladder theatre show

9. Budapest

10. Ragdale or Champneys with old schoolmates

11. Kneehigh theatre Rebecca

12. Womens Holiday Centre Horton

13. Luxembourg to visit cousins

14. Bonfire in garden

15. Butterfly house when they’re hatching

16. Sow some seeds

17. Forbidden Corner

18. Get a gardener

19. Orgiva

20. Walk to Goldenacre Park along Meanwood trail, at rhodedendron time

21. Tea at Sketch in London

22. Cream tea in London with family

23. Party

24. Beatherder

25. Isle of Lewes- lots of stone circles

26. Picnic at Armscliff Crags

27. Day in garden hammock

28 Castlerigg stone circle

29. Ambiente for tapas

30. Barcelona

31. Xmas with dad and Paddy

32. Fantasia at Kirkstall Abbey

33. Body mudpack + shower in Rita’s lovely bathroom

34. Go up a Fjord

35. Cheerful Chilli

36. Dough

37. Curry with Calderdaleites

38. Visit Rich

39. Aura photo

40. Visit Nik in Chesterfield

41. Reflexology

42. Yorks Wildlife Park

43 See some puffins

44. Massage

45. Visit seaside

46-50. tbc

50 Things, because I’m worth it.

2015 is the year I’m going to treat myself to 50 things I’ve always wanted to do, or just will really enjoy. I’m 50 in June and making this list to look forward to has definitely softened the blow.

Every other dating profile says ‘I don’t look or feel my age’ but it’s true, most of us don’t. So I can’t say these things will be sensible or grown up, but I’m going to enjoy this year until my bank is bled dry. And it should keep me so busy I won’t need to worry about dating. In fact, if I’m still single at the end of the year I’m going to get a dog and call it Proxy BF.

So, here goes:

1. Buy a magnum.magnum

Really? What am I thinking? I have no idea but I love champagne and this feels suitably decadent. I’ve not drunk it yet, but that wasn’t the point. Can’t imagine it’ll still be in my larder in 2016.

2. Prashad.

The delicious vegetarian restaurant that won Gordon Ramsay’s Indian of the year a while ago.

My mate Dusti took me to their tiny corner cafe oprashad2n a Bradford housing estate many years ago. The food was amazing and incredibly cheap. My mouth still waters when I remember my first bite of a savoury cake flavoured with mustard seeds called dhokra. So I went this year to their new Drighlington place with some very good mates and it’s still delicious but not so cheap. Sign of the times (and fame).

Afternoon Teas remembered

There’s not much I enjoy more than a good high tea: whiling away an afternoon with a good friend, drinking gallons of tea and eating delicious morsels. If only I was in an Agatha Christie film and could dance the day away.

It’s rarely cheap, but for a birthday treat I think an afternoon tea is perfect. Most offer glasses of champagne if you’re really feeling decadent.

Here’s my personal reviews over the last couple of years.

The Queens Hotel, Leeds

2 or 3 tiers of lovely food each. Pics from 2 of my visits to the Queens.

Image

Image

Variety of sandwiches sometimes open sometimes not, scone with clotted cream and strawberry preserve, selection of pastries, pot of tea.

Drawbacks: Feels like smokey dive as there are no windows.

Anthonys at Flannels, Leeds

Small but perfectly formed. Presented on slate, looked beautiful. Jam in tiny kilner jars. Lovely upstairs empty room, but leather seats a bit sweaty. Not enough food though! Scone was tiny. Good tea. Would go again, but have brunch earlier.

Quebecs, Leeds

The round Oak Room was great and we had it to ourselves.  Really disappointing food though- we had to send the curling dry sandwiches back- they’d obviously been sat around for a while in a hot kitchen. I had no reply to my email afterwards either.

Betty’s, Ilkley or other places in Yorkshire

Allround deliciousness.

Midland Hotel, Manchester

Delicious. Art deco room. 3 tier trolley.

Unlimited tea. Glass of madeira. Sandwiches, scone with butter/cream/jam/preserve. Cakes. Way too much to eat, but everyone took stuff home.

Only slight grumble- sultana scone, apricot/cream cheese sandwich filling.WRONG!

Radisson Leeds

Hardly anyone in there, so lovely quiet place to lounge on comfy sofas for hours and eat at leisure. (BUT the TV screen is a terrible idea- we managed to sit behind a pillar to avoid).

Medium priced cream tea, on a 3 tier stand: very fresh finger sarnies- egg mayo, mozzarella n pesto, feta n tomato, cucumber n cream cheese- veggie as requested. Then warm scones (well, not by the time we ate them) with jam n cream, tiny chocolate mousse tarts (would’ve been better without the pastry) and gallons of earl grey. Took my fruit cake home.

A special mention for the Marvellous tealadies at their newly opened tearoom in Leeds- delicious homemade cakes, gorgeous collection of  vintage teapots and cups, a quirky little slice of 50s heaven. They don’t do the whole afternoon tea stand thing- yet!

I’ve managed all these words on afternoon tea without mentioning  ‘quintessential’. Well done me.

STOP PRESS The Marvellous Tearooms do indeed offer tiered hight tea. Ill be trying it soon- looked delicious.