Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Returning to the Scene of the Crime...

Sixteen years ago, to the date, I first met Mr G.  And give or take a year and a half that we had a long distance weekend-only relationship, we've been inseparable since.  It truly is 'the relationship that probably should never have been'.  On paper, you could look at it two ways.  One - this is never going to work, or my favourite and my choice; two - the odds were so stacked against you even meeting, that fate must have a hand in it.  The stars truly aligned for this one.  It's an easy story to tell, but not so easy to put on paper.  You know how you see those old couples who've been together for seventy years being interviewed, telling their love story, and they each chip in with their little piece, finishing each other's sentences?   It's one of those. Don't think either of us will see seventy years together though, sadly...

I told him at the outset.  There are four words that if you mention them to me, I'll dump you, on the spot. Love.  Marriage.  Engagement.  Babies.  Within four weeks, he had me head over heels in love with him.  I love you, I said.  Within 16 weeks, he got down on one knee with a diamond ring and he asked me to marry him.  Yes, I said.  Within 11 months I was expecting our first child, which we sadly lost.  Within 32 months, I was his bride.  His pregnant bride.  No, it wasn't a shotgun wedding.  I wasn't looking for 'happy ever after' with him, I wasn't looking for anything at that point in my life.  It just goes to show that when it's right, it's right.  It happens when it happens.  You either realise and grab it, even if the time isn't right, or you let it go and lose out.  No brainer.  I grabbed on with both hands, and it is the best decision I've ever made.  Trust me, I've made some bloody stupid ones.

He hasn't had the best of luck health wise these last seven years, and as a couple our lives just seem to lurch from one disaster, crisis, loss and upset to another.  But we're a team, one of us is always stronger than the other when needed, and no matter what, whether it's his deadpan, dry sense of humour, or my sarcastic wit (lowest form?  I think not!) a laugh is never too far away.  He's the love of my life, my best friend, my rock, the butt of my blog post jokes, the pain in my backside, the father of my children and my biggest cheerleader.  He has the patience of a saint, with me and me alone.  He puts up with my little autistic quirks and obsessions and finds them endearing (I think?  I hope?).   I salute you, Mr G.  You deserve a medal. Possibly two.  But at least one.  

So, hopefully sick buckets are now full.   Onto the important part.  Food.  

Wanting to mark our 'anniversary' with a romantic meal, also trying somewhere new locally, I scoped out TripAdvisor and found somewhere new in Bangor that looked reasonably priced and had great reviews.  Mr G vetoed that.  He wanted to take me somewhere.  I wheedled it out of him, eventually.  It was a surprise.  I don't like surprises.   He wanted us to go to the place we had our first meal together, the first whole weekend we spent together as a couple, at The Breeze Hill, in Benllech.  So, that's where we went for lunch. Returning to the scene of the crime.  Recalling that particular day, I'd opted for the gammon and he'd chosen the rump steak.  In those days they were a sight to be seen. At least an inch thick, and the size of a house.  You didn't know whether to eat it or ride it and you definitely needed guts of steel to finish one. People used to wrap half up in a napkin to take home.  Mr G was so nervous on our date that he couldn't eat.  So, I ate my gammon then his steak.   Atta girl!

Come to think of it, I paid for that bloody meal too...

As we entered I commented that I had no idea what the prices were like now, and we'd order a coke, slyly peruse the prices, and if too much we'd go and get fish and chips and eat them on the beach.   As Mr G got the drinks, I scanned the menu.  A touch pricier than a lot of places, most things two or three quid dearer than the 'norm' but not off the scale.  A full, varied menu, with a massive specials list too.  In keeping with my 'no cod, steak pie or gammon' vow, I opted for the Chicken, Ham and Leek pie with chips and vegetables and Mr G chose Steak and Kidney pie with chips and veg.

Both really nice pies, although we are wandering into dodgy territory here with a lot of people.  I saw a rant on one foodie website that a puff pastry lid doth not a pie make?   I suppose it is more of a stew with a lid on, but both were really nice, homemade, the meat was fall apart tender.   Worth the extra couple of quid? Yes, if you're paying eight quid for a frozen, catering company bought one, elsewhere.  Vegetables were cooked to perfection, food was boiling hot, and the waitress was so lovely.  Toilets were clean and smelled nice.  Big thumbs up for The Breeze Hill.  

After finishing our meal, Mr G asked if I fancied a ride drive and a walk.  Benllech or carry on to Moelfre.  I told him to choose.  So we went on to Moelfre, there's a little hippyish shop there, he said it would be nice to look around there without having a nervous breakdown that one of the kids would smash something expensive.   

As we walked up, Mr G mentioned that his old boss lived next door to the shop.  I hadn't seen Jim for at least ten years, and as we passed he was stood in the window.  He waved and invited us in for a coffee. We had a quick catch up before we had to leave to get home for the children.  I asked him what the food was like in the local pub and it had the thumbs up from Jim, so there's another place on my 'lunch list'.  All in all another lovely afternoon with my favourite person in the world.   Happy 'Meeting Anniversary' Mr G!  Love you to the moon and back x

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Lunch out with Mr G - Tap and Spile, Bangor

Saturday's Curry night was a resounding success.   Unfortunately so was the resulting hangover yesterday. One of those hangovers that has you vowing 'never, ever, again'.  Until the next time that is ...  I have never seen so little food waste, plates were mopped clean with naan bread, and my homemade onion bhajis were, according to Darren, the best he'd ever tasted!  That's what I call a compliment.  Either that, or he's only ever had crap bhajis...

So, yesterday I spent the entire day on the sofa with a fleece blanket.  I was as sick as a dog.  But as nights with friends go, it was fab, plenty of laughter and wine with the ladies outside on the patio, while the men watched the football inside. 

There was a pattern on that plate when she got it...

So, this morning I had a fed up Mr G, talking about his new shed, fence panels, paving slabs... and noticing the glazed look coming in his eyes, I decided I had to distract him.  Especially after I pointed out that he had at least another four weeks before I'd even contemplate letting him do anything like that.  He looked like he was going to cry and muttered something about 'end up crazy' (bit late...) so I told him to go get dressed.  I was taking him out.  Not like, with a shotgun.  Outside out.

We drove to one of our favourite places - Garth Pier - and parked up.  We love taking fish and chips or a baguette down to one of the kiosks on the end and having lunch there once in a while, but not today.

Today, this was our destination for lunch.  Whenever we walk past we always say we'll try it for lunch one day, so I secretly checked out TripAdvisor for reviews and it looked good!

Inside was lovely, a proper old fashioned pub, very clean.  As we were the only ones in at the time, I chose the best seat in the house...

The menu was very basic, but also very reasonable.  Ridiculously cheap.  Burger, scampi, lasagne, steak, mixed grill, huge baps and baguettes etc, and a specials board with three other choices on.  Mr G opted for burger with cheese and chips, and I - very unusually - went for the mixed grill.  I normally have cod or steak pie, but these weren't an option.  I'm also trying to eat different things when I go for a meal, for someone who is so adventurous in the kitchen at home, I'm boring to take for a meal!

This was my mixed grill, which weighed it at £6 something, which included an optional egg for 50 pence.  It was absolutely lovely.  The meat was gorgeous.  I think Mr G was a bit jealous when he saw him but his burger was lovely too and nice to have real cheese on instead of 'plastic' cheese.  I think he'll go for the mixed grill next time though ;-)  Service was very quick too, which is half the battle when you're hungry.  The background music was at just the right level and suited me down to the ground, a bit of Dexy's and Madness.  Ladies toilets were very clean.  And the coke was fizzy!  Seriously lacking in a lot of pubs these days, nothing worse than flat pop, especially the hiked up prices most places charge, where it's almost as expensive as buying alcohol! 

We finished our meal and Mr G said he'd take me for a coffee at the end of the pier.  I had slightly bigger plans as to what I was getting at the end of the pier... I also wanted to visit a little shop on there, a lovely man called Alan who makes amazing stuff from wood.  My nephew had seen our weather station and wanted one for his new log cabin, so Auntie Shell wanted to get him one as a little present.

When we got to the end of the pier I persuaded Mr G to upgrade my coffee to a cream tea, and we had that to round off our lunch.  The scones were amazing, as usual, even though I think the tea room has changed hands since we were last in.  The only thing that let it down was the coffee.  There was a sign that said our coffee is instant and this brand (not naming names).  I struggled to drink it.  For an extra quid or so, they could invest in a better coffee.  Because I'm less likely to go back now and pay £4 odd for just a scone because I won't drink the coffee?  Just my humble opinion. 

We strolled back down and Mr G said I should rent a little kiosk and sell takeaway curry from there.  He's not the only one who has said as much to me lately, well - about the curry, not selling it off the pier!  It's something I'd really love to do.  I just don't know how I would go about doing it.  I've ran my own business once before and once bitten...

Love this place and

I love this man.  Even if he does drive me mad.  So now, I need ideas to keep him occupied for the next month, that don't involve lifting, carrying, building or hammering.  This should be fun. 

M x

Saturday, 6 June 2015

A Mixed Bag of Tricks

I thought that this blog post was hoping to be completely negative.  Because, I won't lie, in essence, this has been a crappy couple of weeks on the whole.  But, upon reflecting, there were a few diamonds in the rough. 

We went away for my *cough* 29th birthday.  We booked a lodge in Llangollen, but I want to blog separately about that.  All I will say is luxury, idyllic, bliss.  With a Primark visit chucked in for good measure.

The day after we came home, Mr G had a follow up appointment with his consultant.  He hadn't recovered as he'd hoped he would from his last operation, where he had adhesions cut away that had formed between his liver and abdomen after his gallbladder surgery.  Three infections on the wounds, and in worse pain than ever.  Then, this lump appeared in his stomach, which gradually grew bigger.  As he had this appointment pending with his consultant he waited to see him rather than start the whole process over again in hospital.  Well - his appointment was 2.50 pm.  By 3.25 pm, he phoned me to tell me that he had a pre-op booked for the next morning and an operation date for the 21st May.  Yes, nine days after.  You can imagine my face.  Go on.  Imagine it.

I had a complete meltdown that lasted about two days before my determination kicked back in.  Yes, that means lists.  I batch cooked enough meals to last for at least a month.  I did a massive shop (think Christmas on 'roids!).  I did a bit of cleaning... The day before Mr G went in to hospital, my little brother was taken in too.  On Thursday Mr G had to be in by 8 am, and sat until 4.30 pm with no food or drink, to be told his op had been cancelled due to complications in theatre.  He was, quite naturally, a bit annoyed.  He'd psyched himself up for it.  But as I pointed out, some poor sod obviously had a worse time of it in theatre that day, and to count himself lucky it wasn't him.  The nurses couldn't be more apologetic, and said he was scheduled in now for the following Thursday and they would make sure he was first on the operating list that day.  

Eurovision night was an unusually quiet affair, just Mr G and myself, as I'd anticipated he'd either be post-op and not up for drunken company and scorecards, or - knowing him - that he'd still be in hospital.  So, we watched together, and checked our Facebook feeds to banter with friends who were also watching (don't judge!) and I saw that my newsfeed was full of people saying RIP to a woman.  My heart sank as I only know of one woman locally with that name, I phoned my friend and she confirmed it was who I thought it was and hoped it wasn't.  She was one of the first people from this town that Mr G and his friends met when they used to come down golfing.  He met her before he met me.  She was one of my Mum's childhood school friends, and her son was my first 'boyfriend' (think pre-school here!) and we went through primary and secondary school together, remaining good friends.  When Mr G and I met, she was the landlady of my local pub, which became our local as Mr G and I started dating long distance.  She was always a huge supporter of us as a couple, she threw his surprise 40th birthday party the week after we married, and she also held Caitlin and Dan's Christening party for us.  Just a couple of the wonderful parties and receptions she held for family and friends.  So many good memories for a lot of people in MB and further afield too.  

Wednesday night saw the second year of the resurrected MB Carnival's crowning ceremony, and for me it was something of a family affair.  My cousin was chosen as this year's Queen and my beautiful niece was her flower girl and my daughter was once again a majorette.  Thursday came around again and Mr G went back into hospital.  As promised he was first on the operating list and after a slight panic, where his consultant came to him about half an hour after he was meant to be going to theatre, to tell him there was a problem with the anaesthetist, and would he mind having the op done under local anaesthetic... again, my face as he was telling me this on the phone!  He eventually made it to theatre, as did the anaesthetist, and was put to sleep for the op.  As my brother was still in, I went in to double visit at lunch and Mr G was awake, eating the sorriest looking sandwich I have ever clapped eyes on, and drinking coffee.  So, no animal print bumpers this time!  He came home a few hours later, which was really nice. 

Saturday saw the actual Carnival day in MB and I took the boys up to have a look around, see their cousins and sister and have a few fair rides.  Then I had a lovely surprise when I finally got to meet my bestie M and her lovely fiance A for the first time in the flesh.  We met via Twitter some four years ago, both winners of the same competition and we hit it off.  Many phone calls, texts, emails and social networking later, we finally met.  After some cake, scones, welsh cakes and Bara Brith, I took them for a tour of the local beauty spots.  Far too brief a visit but hopefully the prelude to a longer visit soon.  

Wednesday we said goodbye to Rita bach.  Everyone knew it would be a big funeral, but I don't think anyone expected it to be so big.  Held at Bangor Crem, the queue ran right from the door all the way down the length of the car park.  I have been to some funerals in my life, but I have never, ever seen anything like it in my life, and doubt I will again.  The service room was full, the foyer, and a massive group had to stand outside.  After we greeted the family, I had a hug from her son who thanked me for coming, and I just waved my hand across the hordes of people milling about outside and said 'this says it all'.  I only went to the service as I didn't want to leave Mr G for too long, as I didn't trust him not to sneak off staining patio furniture or erecting his new shed (another shed, another story for another blog post).  However her friends and family went down to the pub she used to own and raised a glass to her, which I thought was a lovely touch.  

So after an emotionally draining few weeks, I've decided to take a few days out and look after myself and relax... no.  That would have been the sensible thing to do.  Instead, I decided to invite everyone over for curry tonight.  Feeding fifteen.  And not just any old curry, oh no.  Mama G has got a new BIR curry book.  So there's Tikka Masala, Ceylon, Vindaloo, Madras, Pathia, Passanda, Rogan Josh and Dhansak to choose from.  I'm going for the Vindaloo ;-)  I've even made homemade Onion Bhajis for the first time in about eight years.  I must be simple.  Got to be.  Not just a pork pie short of the proverbial picnic, but the sandwiches, picnic rug and scotch eggs short too!  But hey, we are only here once so we should make the most of it!  Have a great weekend, whatever you're doing :-)