Archive for October, 2015

Happy Pumpkinween!

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

If there is a vegetable in this world that I truly love, it is the humble pumpkin. So orange, so misshapen, so delicious with cheese. So despite my passionate dislike for all over-Americanised holidays, I do enjoy the increased number of pumpkins in supermarkets at the moment thanks to Halloween.

Last night, my housemate, Alice, and I got into the pumpkin carving spirit and made ourselves some jack-o’-lanterns. We combined this with making delicious spiced pumpkin and chickpea soup, using our little jacks’ innards. After long days at work, the soup was our main focus, but after eating, watching some First Dates and fuelled on chocolate, we got our knives out.

Alice went for delicate and detailed while I took out all pent up frustrations and used the hacking approach. This was my first ever pumpkin carving experience and it was surprisingly easy to do. The end results have turned out well and I am very pleased with Herman, the Spooktacular Pumpkin. He may look scary but on the inside he’s just a softie.

Halloween pumpkins



Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Last week, poet Lemn Sissay was inducted as Chancellor of the University of Manchester. He has become a hot topic (appearing on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs means you’re really made it in the world) as word gets about town about how inspirational this guy really is.

Adopted out as a baby and raised by a family in Bolton who later disowned him, he has had a rough life and yet brings a refreshingly positive and pragmatic outlook to life. Through his poetry and his work, he pushes the ideas of equality and belonging.

On Friday night, I went with my cousin, Les and housemate, Alice to see him perform as part of the Rochdale Literature Festival. I fell in love with him (how could you not with a smile like that) and his ideas, beliefs and his words. I don’t normally go for poetry, but the passion with which he spoke resonated with the entire audience. It was sad, beautiful and uplifting all at the same time.

I recommend listening to his inauguration speech which I think I will bookmark to listen to whenever I am doubting my decision to do this Masters degree.

Also check out his poem Inspire and Be Inspired. 

Ten things that have happened since my last post

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Life, hey? Crazy thing. Perhaps it has something to do with the arrival of Marty McFly from the past tomorrow. Or maybe it is just that time flies when you’re having fun or are just really, really busy. Anyway, quick catch up in dot point form. I’ve chosen to do the ‘ten things’ list as I recently had some work published on BuzzFeed (although posted under my client’s name) which truly brought home the fact that I am one of those people who fills the internet with rubbish. I’m sorry. But I’m about to do it again.

  1. I went to Oxford with uni and visited the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ashmolean. Two incredible museums; two very different spaces. Pitt Rivers was my favourite – an intense, ‘here is everything you could ever possibly imagine shoved into one space’ kind of a place. A feast for the eyes.
  2. I went to Liverpool with uni and visited the Worlds museum. Another fantastic experience – this time we got to go behind the scenes and look at the process of setting up an exhibition. My favourite part was seeing the workshops for the mount makers and set builders. I wanted to live there forever.
  3. I went to my first ParkRun. Every Saturday at 9am in parks across the world, thousands of people run 5 kilometres. I went to the run at Platt Fields Park and ran with about 250 people. I was the 21st girl which I was happy with.
  4. I am in the midst of organising a pop-up exhibition with uni. We have been put into groups and have been given objects from the Museum of Medicine and Health, which is located within the university. We have to create a pop up exhibition with these objects and it will be displayed at Chethams school of music in December. It’s a slightly onerous and scary task considering we have no equipment and limited budget but hey… how bad could it be?
  6. It hasn’t rained for two whole weeks.
  7. I’ve had some family time with my Aunty Kaye visiting from Australia. That involved a crazy-cousin-catchup which is always entertaining.
  8. I have been working in Central Library again and last week it was a Classroom/library buddy reunion session as four of us happened to cross paths in the reading room. It was one of the greatest moments of my week, seeing my work friends again and feeling that sense of camaraderie and nerdishness. Oh so squishy!
  9. I got a new mattress! This might not sound like news worth writing about, but try lying on a pile of springs for a month and see how you feel when someone says, “Yes, you can have a new bed and mattress.” Glorious!
  10. I have been watching an unusually large amount of rugby and gaining an unusually large amount of pleasure from doing so. Mr Pubert, as he will now officially be called, and I went to watch the Rugby League final at Old Trafford again. Last year’s match was highly entertaining thanks to our Wigan supporting neighbours, and Wigan were in the final once again. However, sadly Leeds were the better team this year and the crowd was far less entertaining. We did then go and have delicious korean food afterwards so that added a win to the evening.

So that’s my life for the last 20 or so days in 10 dot points. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Now I’m off to bed.

Sloe going

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

The weather in the UK has been remarkably awesome over the last few weeks. England has been basking in glorious sunshine and I have been able to wear skirts and have my legs out a few times. Yesterday delivered once again with sunshine and 17 degrees – perfect weather for my friend Jon and I to go foraging for sloes.

You might remember Jon from previous environmentally-related activities such as worm charming and chicken racing. He’s back, this time encouraging me to dive into bramble/nettled filled hedges along the banks of the Mersey river in order to collect sloes.

For the Australians reading this, a sloe is a mini-plum that looks like a potentially deadly berry. Turns out they don’t kill you, they’re just extremely tart and don’t make good eating. But when left to ferment in a bottle of gin with a heap of added sugar, they make an excellent alcoholic beverage. They also make you tell terrible jokes such as, “Geez, Jon, why are you working so sloely?”

At 5pm, Jon and I headed to Chorlton water park (that’s British for ‘park with lake’) and threw ourselves into the prickly growth along the river. There weren’t that many sloes which meant we really had to dig/get scratched to reach them. I received my first ever nettle sting which was as unpleasant as one would expect it to be.

How sloe can you go?

How sloe can you go?

Once we had collected a sufficient number, we searched for wild horseradish and rose hips but both were either difficult to obtain or underripe. So with our sloes, we headed to Morrisons to find the cheapest gin available.

Back at Jon’s place we began the sloe gin making process which essentially involved putting sugar, sloes and gin in a bottle and then shaking it. The hardest part is the waiting time – I can’t drink it for at least 2 months. So sloe… Stay tuned for more sloe jokes in December.

The beginnings of sloe gin

The beginnings of sloe gin

Starting School

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

On Monday of this week, I attended my first class of my Masters degree. It has officially begun and there’s definitely no going back now. It has been an emotionally tumultuous week for me for various reasons which need not be discussed in a public forum, so the stability of going to uni, being given course handbooks and discovering just how much work I have in store has been a weirdly stabilising.

There are more people in the course than I expected – there are 35 students, most of whom appear to be at least 5 years younger than me. This has surprised me a little as I didn’t expect so many kiddies to be interested in museums. It’s a good sign for museums everywhere.

The units look interesting, there will be lots of opportunity for hands on experience and I will do a placement later this year. Exciting times ahead! Except I have already had to start on a group project which is something I greatly despise… group work. A dangerous, stressful thing that will only ever end in tears.

Fancy uni

Fancy uni