Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Homecoming outpourings

I've recently made the momentous decision to return home to Melbourne. After 7.5 years in London-town, the last few years of which have been an almost vertical uphill struggle, it's well and truly time. A lot of people said "you'll just know when you're ready to go home", and that has turned out to be true. In fact, I've known it for quite some time. However, I gritted my teeth and focused on acquiring my UK passport - my own personal Holy Grail - with all of the hoops and hurdles and waiting and hoping that that entailed. When I finally got my hands on that little red book, it was an incredible relief. I don't feel English. I never will be English. I will always be Australian. But to have that option of returning to Europe should I choose to, to live and work without threat of a goverment enforced end-date, is a wonderous thing.

So now, to the business of packing up my life here, closing accounts, shipping the 7.5 years worth of crap that I've managed to accumulate - and saying goodbye.

Goodbye London.

I don't know how I'm going to live without you. Oh boy, you've gotten under my skin in the time I've been here. You've gotten so far under my skin, you're in my blood. You're part of me now, like my organs are part of me. How will I function if I physically remove myself from you? How long does it take to recover from a Londonectomy? Or maybe it's a Londonotomy: how will my mind work without the endless wonders of this city to stimulate it?

Goodbye London.

I love so much about you - the mass of diversity and the endless cultural clashes and mish-mashes that make you so colourful and so wonderful. I will miss your distinctive, erring on eccentric style. I will miss the dreamily beautiful Hampstead Heath, especially the old-fashioned tranquility of the Ladies Bathing Pond. I will miss the music, all that incredible music being made in bedrooms and basement bars and old concert halls and under railway arches all over this capital. I will miss your faded glamour, the cheekiness and good spirits that fly in the face of all the odds. I will miss the travel.

Goodbye London.

I won't miss the Winter. God, no. But I'll miss the glory of the Summer, the palpable sense of excitement that comes with the weather finally turning after another bitch-cold Winter. It was so great of you to put on this spectacular Summer, London - the best since I arrived here all those years ago - to see me out.

I won't miss Ryanair. I won't miss the horror of peak hour tube journeys. I won't miss the litter and filth and grey, the abiding grey that characterises this city. I won't miss the noisy, steaming, heaving pubs. Above all, I won't miss having to fly halfway around the world to see my family for a few short weeks every year. And to be honest, that is my number one reason for returning home after all this time - to be closer to my family, whom it has pained me to be away from (and whose pain my being away has no doubt caused). I can't imagine how lovely it will be to be once again enmeshed in my family's ever-expanding life. A wedding in October; my little brother marrying his long-term girlfriend. I can't wait.

Goodbye London.

But man, it's going to be hard to leave this town. It's going to be hard starting over, but actually leaving is the first and most wrenching step.

Goodbye London.

I will always carry the scar from where I removed you, to remind me of these years.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Week 13: Low-fat summer berry polenta cake

Possibly the last of the Cake Zone Cakes ever owing to termination of said agreement. Sadness.

As a gesture of goodwill, the lovely Dave made me one last cake to remind me what I'm going to be missing in my fuzzy, solo, Australia-bound future.

175gm margarine or low-fat spread
225gm golden caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150gm polenta valsugana (instant polenta from what I can tell)
100gm ground almonds
1tsp vanilla extract
2tsp baking powder
400gm raspberries
300g blueberries
zest and juice of one lemon

Cream the margarine and 175gm of the sugar together. Add the beaten eggs and polenta and beat until well combined. Stir in ground almonds, vanilla and baking powder. Gently fold in half of the raspberries and blueberries with the lemon zest.

Pour into a lined cake tin and cook at 180 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by heating the juice of the lemon with the remaining 50gm sugar by boiling in a saucepan for 1-2 minutes. Make small holes all over the surface of the cake with a skewer and pour the warm syrup evenly over the top.

If serving as dessert, invert the slices so that the fruit is at the top and decorate with the leftover berries and some marscapone.

Look: *** Lovely yellow, sticky looking cake.
Taste: **** Very lemony, which is always a good thing in my book. Nice and light tasting, perfect for Summer.
Texture: **** Syrupy and soft, with lots of interesting stuff going on - soft berries, crumbly polenta and the lovely sticky lemon syrup.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

OK this is just getting ridiculous

Even the New Yorker is in on the geek lovin'!!

NY geeks

Ah, graphs and geeks. Just like peanut butter and jam. Or vegemite and cheese, if you're a savoury person.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Things I've learned while cycling

1. Babies/toddlers can't get enough of you. If your kid doesn't look up and smile ecstatically at each bike that goes past, pointing their chubby fingers and saying "buh! buh!", then I'm sorry but there's something wrong with them and you really should check in with your paediatrician.

2. Cowl neck tops and cycling do not mix, especially when pedalling into a strong headwind.

3. Likewise wrap dresses.

4. In order of danger: trucks, buses, white van men, pedestrians, 4WDs, young men whose cars reek of marijuana, sedans, hatchbacks, Smart cars.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Red lights make me see red

Let's be clear about this: today, as I do every single working day when it's not raining, I broke the law. I, Kelly Sarah Reynolds, run red lights. Not just occasionally, but every single day that I ride my bike. Normally, I don't think twice about this, for several reasons:

1. It's far safer for cyclists to cross with pedestrians rather than battling the traffic as it takes off, especially if you need to turn right;

2. it means you don't lose momentum, and if you are cycling over 11 miles everyday, that lost momentum at every intersection adds up to one big pain in the ass; and

3. I don't like rules. They make me feel hemmed in, and my natural response is to bust out. Rules are for game shows and beauty pageants.

Today, however, as I rounded one particular corner, I came across a police car sitting in the line of traffic going in the opposite direction. AWKWARD. There seemed no point stopping and backing up, so I just pedalled gingerly on, holding my breath and waiting for the sound of sirens to puncture the early morning air.

And then... nothing. The sweet, sweet sound of silence.

Obviously they were on their way to something more important than busting a lone cyclist committing a victim-less crime - like a stapler theft at a nearby office? Or some blatant littering involving a piece of gum rolled up in some paper? Or an illegal release of a helium balloon that hadn't been approved by the local council?

I couldn't help but wonder - I have been watching a lot of SaTC lately - how great was that show? - the movies really don't do it justice - whether there wasn't a better way to organise the road so that cyclists could legally cross at the lights, separately from cars and without endangering pedestrians.

So here's my idea: continue the cycle lanes (which are already demarcated on the left hand side of most roads) through intersections, and add a green "cycle crossing" light next to the green walking man. This already exists in some random places, but there aren't defined places for cyclists and pedestrians, and it's not really clear whether it's legal for cyclists to ride through these lights or whether we're supposed to get off and walk. The pedestrian crossing lane would take prominence over the cycling lane, so that cyclists would have to slow down and give way to pedestrians, but if it was clear, they could just pedal straight through. I think this would go some way towards making the road safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and encourage more cyclists onto the road (which is what every city should be aiming for).

You're welcome, London.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Tightrope and shoes

How cute is she?? And those shoes, man. Love.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Epic insult compilation

*strong language warning!*

My personal favourite: "people that talk in metaphors aughta shampoo my crotch" (Jack Nicholson in some film where he still had hair and no gut)
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