Daily Journal – September 1

Daily Journal - September 1

Transcription:

Piers’ Birthday BBQ

05:45
Wake up prematurely. Try to sleep unsuccessfully for next 2 hours.

08:45
Bugger it. Get up. Wash. Tidy. Make breakfast.

09:30
Groceries arrive too early! We have a huge mountain of food needing 2 delivery men. Unpacking takes forever.

10:30
Have breakfast.

10:40
Bujo photography + posts. So not a good time for this.

11:30
Get dressed.

12:15
Yikes! Where has all the time gone?! Start prepping party food. Everything is a blur from here.

13:45?
Piers’ family arrive and start helping!

14:30?
Guests start to arrive and Piers entertains them in the garden while we continue making food in the kitchen.

15:30?
BBQing starts late because Piers is too busy entertaining. Chef Humfrey to the rescue!

16:30?
Finished in the kitchen. Time to eat and enjoy the party.

19:00?
Guests start leaving in dribs and drabs in the next hour.

20:00?
Lisa, Freya and Ian arrive. We have a cosy candlelit BBQ dinner in the garden. Then we watch Ian on the VR racing simulator. At 11pm, the party is over!

 

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A year in two posts — Part 1

Since I haven’t blogged properly in forever, I’m going to do a summary of events (or non-events) in the last year or so, just to keep the blog up to date, in a manner of speaking.

It’s going to be mostly photos, so brace yourself for a storm of randomness.

 

March 2012 — Oxford

I first visited Oxford University (where Harry Potter was filmed) in July 2011 and was awed by the sight of this.

 

Oxford in summer

 

Then, I went back again in March 2012 and it looked like this.

 

Oxford in spring

 

The colour tone is a bit different because the first photo was taken by a Lumix and the second, an iPhone 4. But I was delighted to note the differences in the sky and the foliage.

I love how things and places can look very different with the changing of the seasons.

And Oxford, by the way, is enchanting.

 

April 2012 — Montessori

Four months into our course, we each had to prepare a group lesson based on the theme “Spring” and present it to our classmates (who pretended to be little children).

I decided to do an interactive lesson on how the change from winter to spring affects an apple tree.

I drew a bare tree on an A2 (four times the size of A4) mounting board, then drew and cut out paper leaves, blossoms, birds, insects and a nest and eggs.

During the lesson, as I explained how leaves and blossoms grew, attracting birds and insects, I allowed my “children” to stick each individual element on the canvas with Blu-Tack.

 

An apple tree in spring

 

It was very educational for me also because I had no clue as to the growth cycle of trees.

In Singapore, trees never do anything but drop worms on your head. I had to spend quite a lot of time Googling and reading just to make sure I knew the subject well because I had to expect children to ask precocious questions. (“Can I have the eggs for lunch?”)

 

May 2012 — Cute Children

I did my first teaching placement and fell in love with all the children, who say and do the most precious things. Well, not all the time. Sometimes they make you want to cry and other times they give you diseases.

During my year of training at the nursery, I picked up chicken pox and impetigo, and got the flu nearly every month.

Here’s one of a bunch of cartoons I drew for my teaching journal. This conversation really happened.

 

The precious things children say.

 

June 2012 — Garden Party

Piers’ parents hosted their annual themed garden party and the theme was the Queen’s Jubilee (the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne last year).

It was a really good party with extravagant costumes, food, wine and laughter.

 

Jubilee Party.

 

Jubilee Party.

 

Not really a costume.

 

I was too stressed with school at that time to prepare a costume so I just wore what I thought looked like a 50s-style dress.

 

July 2012 — My birthday

Piers took me to a nice restaurant at Poole Harbour (one of the world’s largest natural harbours) and then to Christchurch for a bit of romantic boating. It was a bright, sunny day, the favourite weather of the English, but not really for me, which explains the umbrella.

 

Piers the boatman.

 

Being a wimp.

 

August 2012 — Farm

We visited Longdown Activity Farm in New Forest. It’s kind of a children’s thing but what the heck, why can’t adults enjoy children’s activities?

On the way to the farm, we encountered horses blocking the road. That’s a common occurence in New Forest, which “includes one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England” (Wikipedia).

We had to stop and create a car pile up behind us, and then a woman came out from one of the cars and gently led the horses off the road one by one.

 

 

 

Then we got to the farm and I had such a great time, but Piers was very self-conscious because we were the only adults there without children in tow.

They have the usual farm animals to look at but the attraction is really all the activities you can do with animals, such as feeding and playing with them.

 

Cute!

 

Hungry!

 

More hungry!

 

September 2012 — Wedding

Piers’ sister got married. It was a lovely wedding, first at the church, then to her parents’ for a garden reception, dinner and dance.

 

Church wedding

 

Church wedding

 

Church wedding

 

Garden wedding

 

Garden wedding

 

Garden wedding

 

And that concludes Part 1.

My life was relatively uneventful in 2012 because of college. I was stressed out most of the time trying to complete assignments that never stopped coming. They only told us after we graduated that it was originally a two-year course that they crammed into a year to make it more attractive to foreign students.

O_o

Really.

Alright then, more photos and randomness coming up in Part 2!

Best birthday ever

Alright, now, nobody needs to wish me a happy birthday anymore because my birthday has been over for more than a week.

But thanks to everyone who did!

My birthday this year started with a hearty egg.

I mean an eggy heart.

 

A hearty breakfast

 

It came as a surprise despite the fact that:

  1. Piers makes me breakfast every weekend since he’s the better cook plus he has more time on his hands seeing as I spend all of mine putting on makeup so we can go out for the day without me having to wear a paper bag over my head.
  2. I knew how the heart egg came about because I was the one who bought the mould in the first place.

 

But it was a surprise because:

  1. While I have on occasion used the heart mould to poison my sweetheart with Asianesque junk food (e.g. Indomie Mee Goreng with fried egg), said sweetheart has never used the mould to make our breakfasts for fear of encouraging my overpowering penchant for filling the apartment with cutesy stuff.
  2. I am a blur fuck (begging you to forgive the language but this isn’t a crude phrase in Singapore; it simply describes the status of being generally clueless and unaware, a status in which I typically find myself).

 

I didn’t notice my hearty eggs until I was just about to pop them into my mouth, thereby potentially forever destroying any evidence of Piers embracing the cutesy culture I have been subliminally forcing upon him since we started dating.

“Whoa!” I said, noticing the special eggs at the crucial last moment, “Oh, hearts!”

I gave Piers my best beam and a hug and then scarpered off to get my camera for evidence collection.

The cutesiness didn’t end there.

After my hearty breakfast, a paper bag magically appeared behind my seat. One moment it wasn’t there, the next it was sitting there, encouraging me to combust in excitement with cute overload.

Like I said, blur fuck. I’m very easy to trick and impress.

The bag was pink and cute and appropriately filled with pink and cute things.

 

Hello Kitty presents

 

The presents were even more surprising. He’d observed and remembered the things I had liked or shown interest in during the times we’d gone out together.

And then it was time for me to hit the shower and turn my face into something that wouldn’t scare random kids in the streets.

 

Sheylara

 

After some makeup mishaps (eyelashes wouldn’t stick no matter what, resulting in me having to go without, not that it’s a huge tragedy since I don’t wear falsies most of the time, anyway, but just thought I should look more “special” on my birthday), we left home late.

Piers had made a lunch reservation at the posh and famous Chewton Glen, a five-star luxury country house hotel in Hampshire.

I had thought to wear a light summery babydolly dress on my birthday but Piers said I should wear something smart for Chewton Glen, so I wore this plain, dark dress which had gotten me through UK immigration without too many questions ask, so to which I’m very grateful.

I matched it with a pretty turquoise necklace I had received a week ago from Freddie, a long-time friend of Piers’ family. Freddie is in England visiting from Spain with his family. You’ll meet them in my next post.

It was a huge surprise because it was my first time meeting Freddie and I wasn’t expecting to receive anything at all.

 

Sheylara

 

(You can see the necklace more clearly in the photo before.)

This photo was taken in a Chewton Glen restroom. The place is so posh they call it Powder Room instead of Restroom.

 

Powder Room

 

Well, it turned out that not everyone there was poshly dressed so I could have worn my summer frock, but then it didn’t really matter, I suppose. Any dress in my wardrobe is a good dress, unless it’s a bad one, in which case it wouldn’t be in my wardrobe for too long.

 

The walkway leading from the carpark to the entrance of Chewton Glen:

Chewton Glen

 

The view from the entrance:

Chewton Glen

 

Our wing in the restaurant:

Chewton Glen

 

View from our table:

Chewton Glen

 

Chewton Glen is quite a lovely place. The restaurant used have a Michelin Star but it lost it when it lost it’s then hotel manager.

I’m not sure if the star came back or anything but I found the food really tasty, which was surprising since I seldom encounter tasty food in posh fine dining restaurants, which probably tells you more about the lack of fine dining experience in my life than the critical nature of my taste buds.

I wasn’t extremely hungry because of the hearty breakfast I had just a few hours before, so I ordered a soup and a fish.

Actually, I didn’t order a soup. What I ordered was this, without really knowing what it was I was actually ordering:

 

Cauliflower Velouté
Barkham Blue Cheese and Chives

 

And this was what I got:

 

Cauliflower Velouté

 

It was amazingness.

Ridiculously tasty, savoury and milky with a light blue cheese accent, with interesting grainy bits in the thick broth to tease the taste buds.

My main course was called this:

 

Pavé of Loch Duart Salmon
Asian greens. Thai style lobster broth

 

The baffling naming conventions in fine dining menus suggest why I don’t fine dine all that often.

Okay, that is a lie.

The truth is my credit card statement prefers listing such entries as “iTunes Store” and “McDelivery” and would get very cross if it saw something along the lines of “A very posh meal with a name you don’t understand which costs the equivalent of your life savings”.

Okay, that is also a lie, although there are a lot of “iTunes Store” and “McDelivery” in my credit card statement.

The real truth is that I have a huge tendency to drop forks or slam cups down on their dainty little dishes too hard or splash sauce on my collar for fun.

At least my body thinks it’s fun, which must be why it does that kind of thing so often.

I don’t find it particularly fun, myself.

But, equipped with one such body, fine dining ceases to be a wise career choice.

Here comes my Loch Duart pavé, whatever that is:

 

Loch Duart salmon

 

Okay, I just googled it. Pavé means “any of various food items having a rectangular shape”.

I don’t see how that word is necessary for my salmon dish. Does salmon ever come in any shape but pavé, except in Japanese restaurants where salmon head is served, so you get sort of triangularly instead of rectangularly?

I am going to cook Piers a fine dining meal one day. The menu is going to read:

 

Pavé of exotic luncheon meat
Pain à blanc. Fresh scored cucumbers

 

That basically means luncheon meat sandwich but I’m sure it’ll become tastier by 20% at least if it comes with a name like that.

Actually, my pavé of salmon was very tasty, sitting in its pool of lobster broth which tasted like lobster bisque, delightfully seafoody without being fishy.

I forgot to take a photo of my dessert. It was:

 

New Forest summer berries
Cornish clotted cream

 

Délicieux!

Having had quite enough poshness for the day, we wrapped lunch up by way of Piers taking the bill while I scooted off to the bathroom to clean my teeth and put my aligners back in.

After that, it was time for a stroll and some photos.

That is, Piers strolls and I take his photos.

 

Piers

 

Just kidding. He really hates when I do that.

He’s more agreeable to being photographed if I’m in the picture, too. But it’s always very hard to find a place where I can prop my camera and do a self-timer.

 

At Chewton Glen

 

After we’d had enough of despoiling the scenery with our gawking presence, we headed home. Piers apparently didn’t have any other plans for the day which involved kidnapping me to exotic location after exotic location.

So, what happened was that we arrived home, and then he said, “Oh, I need to go back out to get the thing.”

“What thing?” I said.

“The thing,” he said.

“Okay,” I said, although I didn’t know to what he was referring. But he’s always forgetting one thing or another in the car so I didn’t think much of it.

Or he’d have one thing or another to do to the car, like mess around with the stereo or exhaust pipes or carpet or roof or something.

 

Olive the TVR Tuscan

 

Anyway, a minute later, he came back with his hands full so I had to open the door for him.

His hands were full with this!

 

Flowers

 

And this!

 

Heart balloon

 

Third cutesy surprise of the day.

He had apparently instructed the florist to hide these in his garage while we were out.

And then we had the whole afternoon left to spend.

I decided that it would be fun to give Olive a bath.

Piers had bought a whole load of expensive cleaning and polishing material for Olive and I thought that it would be great to do something useful on my birthday for a change, since I hardly ever do anything useful the rest of the 364 days of the year.

We drove to his parents’ place (more space to wash cars there) where I received more surprises!

Peter and Piper greeted me warmly, wished me a happy birthday and then produced a present. Hot along their heels came Lisa, Piers’ sister, also with a present.

 

Birthday present

 

Birthday present

 

How very sweet and delightful. I’d never felt so touched on any of my past birthdays. I probably would have teared, but then I had already used up my tears when I opened Piers’ birthday presents and read his birthday card.

After all that merriment, Piers decided not to wash Olive after all because it was getting late. But we did clean her windows and clay her. We just skipped the shampooing and polishing and waxing.

I’ve never heard of claying a car but it’s such a wonderful thing.

You have a piece of mouldable clay which you rub all over the car, together with some sprayey fluid.

 

Cleaning Olive

 

What it does is that it removes all the bitty dirt and grime that sticks to the car even after shampooing and scrubbing and hosing.

You can feel the difference before and after. It’s really amazing!

Before, when you run your fingers across the car, you can feel spots, like tiny grains of sand, sparsely embedded across the surface. After the claying, the car is smooth as polished glass.

My job was to thoroughly polish each section with a dry polish cloth after Piers was done claying and wiping off as much moisture as he could, so that no water marks would form.

It was really hard work. There was so much surface to cover and I was winded after each section.

But the result was so amazing. Olive looks lovely in the sunlight and reflects sights so beautifully she could easily get a job as a mirror.

 

Olive the TVR Tuscan

 

Olive the TVR Tuscan

 

Olive the TVR Tuscan

 

Olive the TVR Tuscan

 

Olive the TVR Tuscan

 

Olive the TVR Tuscan

 

Olive the TVR Tuscan

 

Having done something useful, I then felt justified in retiring home for the night to relax in peaceful solitude.

But first, we went grocery shopping. Have I ever mentioned grocery shopping is one of my all-time favourite activities? I must have. It’s so great buying food you love eating.

Dinner was another Piers-cooked meal with wine and TV.

 

Dinner

 

Perfect cap to a great day.

I told Piers this was the best birthday I ever had and he didn’t believe me. Then he said next year has to top this year, and the next the last and so on.

Crazy ang moh, I say, setting himself up for such a task. But if he likes planning them, I like enjoying them!

Jetlag can have me

I’m back in Singapore and suffering from jetlag.

Went to bed at 11 pm and woke up at 3 am feeling wide awake and hungry because it was dinner time (8 pm) in England.

I SMSed Piers to tell him I was awake and he was, like, “Go back to sleep! You’ve got to get over this jetlag!”

But jetlag happens when it wants to; there’s no getting over it.

 

Sheylara

 

Speaking of jets, I was mysteriously upgraded to Premium Economy on British Airways (costs about $800 more one way). It’s a small, private cabin with about 32 passengers or thereabouts, nestled between Business Class and Economy Class.

There was enough leg room so that I didn’t have to get up if my neighbour needed to go to the toilet but that didn’t actually matter because my neighbour slept the entire way through the 13-hour flight, waking up only for meals.

Love neighbours who just go to sleep and don’t do annoying things.

She was a middle-aged Chinese lady who couldn’t understand English very well. When our flight attendant asked her whether she wanted tea or coffee, she said, “Yes, please.”

I was sitting in the first row immediately after Business Class so that meant incredible leg room plus the chance to exit the plane really quickly after we landed. That was great. I really hate being stuck at the back, having to wait for people to unload their cabin bags.

 

On the plane

 

I’m back in Singapore for only a month this time. Piers is flying me back to England on July 15 because he wants to be with me for my birthday (July 23).

How sweet is that. =)

And then I’ll be there for two months because his birthday is in September.

I feel a bit like a nomad, except a nomad has no fixed home and I have two homes. It’s a bit disorienting and hard to plan stuff. Like, do I buy Piers’ birthday present in Singapore or in England?

We’re on Gtalk video now and I just told him I’ll buy him a microwave oven for his birthday.

I don’t know how English people live without microwaves. They’re happy to spend 30 minutes cooking a handful of meatballs in the conventional oven when it can be done in two minutes in the microwave oven.

Sure, some things are better oven baked or stove cooked, but the microwave can save a lot of time for many cooking chores, like heating milk, for instance.

 

Swedish meatballs

 

Anyway, to the microwave, he said, “Nooooooooooo.”

Then, “You don’t have to buy me anything. I just want you here.”

Awwwwww.

But I don’t know. Don’t people always say, “Don’t buy me anything for my birthday,” and then feel disappointed when they don’t receive anything?

So, do people mean it when they say not to get them anything?

But I’m sure Piers meant what he said. He’s visibly mortified each time I so much as spend a pound on him. (And he’s really cute when he’s mortified.)

 

I think he’s going to be a lot more mortified when he sees this next picture.

 

Love note

 

It’s a love note!

=D

He had sneakily left it in a pocket of my handbag when I wasn’t looking, just before we left for the airport.

Can’t show you inside; it’s private!

I didn’t even know he’d done that until I was home in Singapore and about to go to bed and he told me on the phone.

He had placed it in the pocket full of junk that I usually don’t clear out for weeks (or months).

Sigh! Makes me miss him more.

 

It’s now 7:30 am. Piers has just gone to bed in England (12:30 am). It’s about the right time for me to wake up. I can hear the neighbourhood starting to get busy and noisy (I live by the main road so there are always traffic sounds).

But I think shall go to bed. Jetlag can have me.

Good morning!

Solomon Yeow wishes me happy birthday on Facebook

After the last two disastrous messages, I thought he would have disappeared from my life for good.

I was wrong, apparently.

A quick recap for those new to my blog:

This random Facebook dude sent me a rude pick-up message one day (read it here).

I didn’t reply it.

Ten days later, he sent me an obnoxious follow-up message (read it here).

I didn’t reply that one, either.

That was almost a month ago, and I thought that was the last of it.

Then I got a “lovely” birthday message from him last night.

How sweet.

Stan was the first to know about this because he happened to MSN me around the time I got this message.

I said to Stan, “OMG Solomon Yeow sent me a birthday message in Facebook!!”

And he went, “HAHAHahahahahaaa Holy Cow!”

I observed that Solomon Yeow must have copied the message from one of those cheeky birthday greeting cards, and Stan couldn’t stop laughing after that.

I don’t care what you guys are saying. Solomon Yeow is no pick-up artist (wannabe or otherwise), he’s a ctrl-c-ctrl-v artist.

But he’s entertaining, in a way, so thanks for all the fun, Solomon.

===

On a similar but not the same track, my friends got me an iPod Nano for my birthday!! OMG I LOVE MY FRIENDS TO BITS!!!

I shared a birthday cake with Unker Kell because our birthdays are a week apart.

We’re both 10 years old, if you must know, you inquisitive cat.

THANK YOU Minou, Kerrendor, Wang Wang, Morte, Talin, Joey, Hevun and Unker Kell!!!