Friday, 31 July 2009

Another touching story

Beluga whale 'saves' diver

A drowning diver has told how she was saved by a whale that pushed her back to the surface when she suffered crippling cramps.

Yang Yun thought she was going to die when her legs were paralysed by arctic temperatures during a free diving contest without any breathing equipment.

Competitors had to sink to the bottom of an aquarium's 20ft arctic pool and stay there for as long as possible amid the beluga whales at Polar Land in Harbin, north east China.

But when Yun, 26, tried to head to the surface she found her legs were crippled by cramps.

"I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me – I was dead. Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface," she explained.

Mila, the Beluga whale, had spotted her difficulties and using her sensitive dolphin-like nose guided Yun safely to the surface.

"Mila noticed the problem before we did," explained an organiser.

"We suddenly saw the girl being pushed to the top of the pool with her leg in Mila's mouth. She's a sensitive animal who works closely with humans and I think this girl owes her life."

Intelligent Belugas were among the first whales to interact with man and have facial muscles that allow them to smile.

In which, I managed to pass my driving test (sorry fely, copy-cat your trademark)

YESSSSSSSSS I am an official holder of a British Driving Licence !!!

It was the most tensed 40 minutes I have gone through in a while.

I still cannot believe that I am sitting here writing this post gloating about my recent 'success' !!

So I woke up early this morning and started going over all the different maneuvers in my head, all the tips and pointers to look out for when doing a reverse into a road, a reverse park behind a car and a three-point-turn on the road. I have all the mental markers in my head to make sure I remember all the right places and timing to turn the wheel once, or turn the wheel full lock or to straighten the wheels.

At 9am, my driving instructor Simon picked me up and we set off for some practice rounds before the test.

So as how I dreaded, all the 'MAGIC' moves from the previous lesson when no mistake was made had disappeared!! We did two practices in reverse parking and I touched the curb both times and had to re-do them!! (Sending beads of sweat, cold sweat, mind, down my forehead)

Then Mr.Simon patiently said, never mind, let's go do some reversing into the road. Aha, that i'm good at! So, off we went, in search of a corner I could reverse along into a road. And I had to re-do that as well!!! By this time, I was near to bursting into tears...

But Mr.Simon, being a good ol driving instructor (by the way, his number is 07711312881, if you're looking for a driving instructor around this area, he's really good) said to me in a calm, reassuring voice, "That's fine. It's not a problem. As long as you can demonstrate that you're a confident driver, everything will be fine."

With that in mind, I set off for my test with the tester sitting beside me.

Along the way, EVERYBODY was out to get me !! This postman was cycling erratically on the road and I had to swerve to avoid him; this granny decided to cross the road when I was approaching; and there were so many hills, steep hills and people kept popping out of their cars without looking !!! I did the reverse park alright, I guess (not brilliant) .. and I managed the reverse into a road without any hitch.. but my gear changing was AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL !! Like I said, there were so many hilllsss (damn all the steep roads in the UK).

Half an hour into the test, I was convinced I had failed. I misunderstood his instructions twice, indicating to turn when it wasn't time to turn yet (DOH); and at more than one point I wasn't sure if the speed limit was 30mph or 40mph, so I stuck to 35 (which is not very clever at all). Yes, I was told by Mr. Simon during practice, that you can strike a minor fault if you're going slower than the required speed limit (So I had this mental image of running everyone and everything down so that I can maintain the speed limit required).

Anyhoooo, back to the test scenario. I had sweat pouring down my back and from my forehead down my nose (Yes it was a beautiful sunny and glorious day).. and I looked at the clock and saw 10.54am, and thought to myself, surely, this test must be coming to an end now !! So after a few turns and a few more steep and bumpy roads, we turned round this corner and walahhh we were back at the test centre with Mr. Simon waiting faithfully by the side of the road (trying not to look disappointed or worried).

Then the tester said to me, " Right, Miss Peng, we have now completed the test (duh) and I can tell you that you have passed the test."....... Really?? Serious???? You're joking !!??


So it turned out that I had 11 minor faults (16 and I would have failed)... and sure enough, I got two strokes for gear changing (damn steep roads in the UK), a stroke here and there for reverse parking, and reverse into the road (I thought I did all right?!)... etc. Never mind, the important thing was, I passed !!

There we go, 6 months and approximately £350 later, I finally got my British Driving Licence !! Hoooray !!!

I am one step closer to my Fiat 500 !!!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Yours faithfully and Yours sincerely

Steve was typing a formal letter for one of his employees tonight when he asked me, "When do you use yours faithfully and when do you use yours sincerely?"

Being rather naive, I said , "Is there a difference? I always use yours sincerely."

And he said, "NO! There are rules to it."

I wasn't convinced.

So there was only one way to find out so I googled it.

True enough (those of you reading this might know the answer already and must be thinking to yourself what a thicko I am) ...

According to the great encyclopaedia of 'Google', when you do not know the name of the recipient you use yours faithfully; when you know the name of the recipient you use yours sincerely !!

Fancy that !! I never knew that !! Thank goodness I always end my emails at work with 'Kind regards'. So, I'm safe.

I learned something new today. To think I used yours sincerely all my life not knowing there is a rule behind it... tut tut tut.

Did you know that?

Sweet Success!!

Guess what?! Today, I finally managed to catch M1 at Lansdowne Roundabout!! I got down from B bus, looked at my watch and thought!! YES!! I am early. True enough, as soon as I ran across the road, the much sought after M1 loomed from a roundabout not far away.

So I tasted the sweetness of success by paying 50pence for my busfare instead of 1pound60 all because of the glorious staff discount card!
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

How cute is this?!!!

Pet cat catches the daily bus for four years

Casper, which is 12 years old, boards the No3 service at 10.55am from outside his home in Plymouth, Devon, and travels the entire 11-mile route before returning home about an hour later.

On the route, the cat passes an historic dockyard and naval base, a city centre, several suburbs and the city's red light district.

He has been making the journey for so long that all First Bus drivers have now been told to look out for him to ensure he gets off at the right stop.

Susan Finden (corr), 65, a care worker who is Casper's owner, said: "Casper has always disappeared for hours at a time but I never understood where he was going.

"I called him Casper because he had a habit of vanishing like a ghost. But then some of the drivers told me he had been catching the bus.

"I couldn't believe it at first, but it explains a lot. He loves people and we have a bus stop right outside our house so that must be how he got started - just following everyone on.

"I used to catch the odd bus too so maybe he saw me and got curious what I was doing.

"Casper is quite quick for his age so he just hops on to the bus before the doors close. He catches the 10.55am service and likes to sit on the back seat."

Rob Stonehouse (corr), one of the drivers on the route, said: "He usually just curls up at the back of the bus. Sometimes he nips between people's legs but he never causes any trouble."

Casper has travelled an estimated 20,000 miles but Mrs Finden says because he is getting old the drivers often have to shuffle him off at the right stop.

A spokeswoman for First Bus said the firm has put a notice up in the office asking them to look after the non-paying passenger.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


How many friends have you got on Facebook?

I've got 156. Out of the 156 'friends', there are only a handful that I communicate with on a regular basis. I don't really like to add just any tom, dick and harry who asked to be my 'friend' on FB. I don't see the point. When I want a friend on FB, I want someone that will really BE a friend and share funny stories, status updates and nice pictures.

A colleague at work told me one day that he's got 900 odd friends on his FB. 900????!!! You have got to be joking. But then again, he's 18 with an active social life. I needn't say more.

I have rejected many 'friends'. Some people might think that's being rude. Like I said, I don't see the point. I am quite happy with the friends I've got and I intend to keep it that way and 'filter' my friend requests.

Of course, having said that, it is always nice to find a long, lost friend from the dinosaur age when you were in kindergarten together. I found one like that not long ago, or rather, she found me. So it was a happy reunion with lots of picture viewing and comment exchanging. It's easier when people 'retain' their names they were known as in primary and secondary schools. Things tend to get a bit complicated when people start 'giving' themselves Western names like Apple, Grapes, Oranges, Cherries (no offence Sheriza, that's your given name so you're fine) or Lemons.

So when you get a friend request from a 'Lemon' so and so, you crack your head thinking -- who the heck is that??!! Where have I known her before??!! I wish I could remember who she is !! Arggggghhhh !!! You know what I mean?

I am glad I am known as Peng Peng and will always be known as Peng Peng, although some customers at work prefer calling me 'Pengy' and my other half sometimes calls me 'Pingu', after the cartoon penguin.

It's 9pm now, *yawn*... I have a long day tomorrow. So I think I'm going upstairs, have a shower and snuggle under the very soft, light and pure duck down duvet.... nightie night.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Fiat 500

This is my dream car !!

If money wasn't an issue, as in, if I had a full-time permanent job with a stable income, this will definitely be my next car. It's got such a chic, cool and smooth design meant for girlie girls! Not every one likes it though. Some people liken it to a giant egg with wheels. Egg or no egg, I love it and every time I see one on the road I can't help myself but drool over it.

Check out the inside !! Nice kan? *Wiping off drool*

But, I think when the time comes for me to get a car because I desperately need one, it would be a ten-year-old second hand car from the auction site, either a Peugeot, a Nissan, or an old Ford KA, because that is all I can afford.

I have been taking driving lessons recently to prepare for my test. You would think that with close to 15 years of driving experience, it should be a doddle to pass this test. You and I, are sorely wrong. I have accumulated 15 long years of bad driving habits and they were very, very bad habits. It didn't help that my driving instructor, Simon (who charges me 40pounds per lesson of 2 hours), told me that the UK driving test is the world's second most difficult test to pass in the world. Geez, thanks for making me even more nervous now. Dah la I pay him 40 pounds each lesson, and not to mention 60 pounds for the test itself. If I fail this Friday, I can kiss goodbye to 60 pounds and rebook a test and wait for another 6 weeks before there is a free slot for a test date.

Anywayyyyyy, I had another lesson today. Three reverse parking in a roll, no mistake made. Three reversing into a corner in a roll, no mistake made. Three three-point-turns, no mistake made. So, fingers crossed, I shall be ready to pass my test come this Friday.

Am not nervous, am not nervous, am not nervous.....


In my line of work, I come across stories about 'Poverty', 'Child Slavery', 'Social Injustice' and 'Human Trafficking', among many others.

I came across this company which produces Freeset bags and got to know the story behind each bag and would like to share this story with you.

The Freeset Story

Each Freeset Bag tells a story of one woman's journey to freedom. She used to stand with 6,000 other prostitutes in a small but well known area of North Calcutta. She didn't choose her profession; it chose her. Poverty does that. It robs people of their dignity and children of their innocence.

She still lives in the same area, but instead of selling her body she makes Freeset Bags. Now she has choices, the choice to work decent hours for decent pay, to re-establish her dignity in her community and to learn to read and write. Now her daughter won't have to stand in the street selling her body like her mother used to. Freedom has been passed on to the next generation.

Monday, 27 July 2009

The 'Widget' Lingo

I am officially obsessed with 'widgets'.

This evening I was sat at the laptop (as if I don't get enough of sitting in front of the computer at work), tweaking my blog layout with all kinds of magical widgets obtained online. And I was animatedly describing each function of different widgets to the other half and he mildly entertained me but in his head I know he's thinking -- Mad woman.

My current world is surrounded by people who love blogging and people who love reading others' blogs. I am one of the most faithful members of that club, and I love it.

This afternoon I bugged Bea -- Oh go home and write something in your blog !!

Yes, I am THAT obsessed.

What is it about blogging that makes people go on, and on, and on tirelessly, sharing their lives, their thoughts and their wonderful and precious life-changing moments?

What is so great about being able to read about what your friends, or even some random strangers, are doing or getting into, half way across the world?

What drives people to want to make their blogs look pretty, with all kinds of little gadgets and cutesy-wutesy pictures and applications?

One of life's greatest mysteries that me and my blogging pals can relate to quite easily !!

For those of you who are looking to change the layout of their blogs with attractive and free templates, check this out. It's brilliant.

And for those of you who would like to preserve your current template but would like to add bits and pieces of widgets, this is a great site. It's so easy to follow.

Good luck and have fun !!

It's not that bad after all.

My work can be nice sometimes.

There are people who call me by my first name because they think I've got an interesting and nice name (I've not heard that one before, certainly not in Malaysia, in primary and secondary school when I used to get bullied to death because of my name).

There are people who you can take the mickey of and have a laugh with because you see them everyday at the till and you get to know them.

There are very elderly people who are always very nice and polite and who say 'thank you' to you like a million times just because you pack their shopping for them.

There are people who are probably very lonely and are always desperate for a quick chat at the till.

There are people who think I look 23 rather than 33 (bless, they're probably being polite)... I always say it comes with being Asian, haha (Bea and Fely would agree).

There are children who smile at you and say 'hello' to you in the cutest and sweetest voice.

So there you go, I tell myself, it's not that bad after all.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Don't be rude.

My work can be shitty sometimes.

Sadly, some people seem to think that because you end up working in a supermarket as a check-out girl you do not deserve any basic respect or kindness.

There are people who come through the till without even looking at you or saying 'thank you' after you have packed their shopping for them because they are busy talking on the phone.

There are people who are too busy chatting amongst themselves and forget that they are being served by a human and not a machine.

There are people who complain to you because they cannot find a specific item that they want to buy and seem to think that you own the store.

There are people who become impatient just because you did not hear them correctly the first time and they had to repeat themselves loudly, with hand gestures, and assume you have trouble understanding their language.

There are people who give you a funny look just because they have to wait slightly longer in a queue due to technical errors with the till.

So, next time you are at a supermarket, be nice, because sometimes it does take a lot of effort to be friendly and happy at the till.

Saturday, 25 July 2009


After two weeks of miserable weather, summer is finally back so we decided to have an impromptu picnic on Evening Hill overlooking Poole Harbour.

If I had known I would use the camera on my mobile so much, I would have opted for a Blackberry Curve with a 3.2megapixel camera instead of a Bold with 2megapixel because this picture just doesn't do the view any justice at all.

Poole Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world (Sydney being the first) and it's a famous spot for watersporting activities like wind-surfing, sailing, kite-surfing, jet-skiing and kayaking. And Sandbanks beach which is located along Poole Harbour, is famous for its high property value. Being the world's fourth most expensive place to live in the world, you can imagine that some of the property there is owned by very rich and famous people. Everytime Steve and I drive past Sandbanks we always try and have a peek inside the grand and beautiful houses and point to a random house and say, "Oh, there's our future home !!" Haha, in our wildest dreams. One can dream, can't they?!

So we threw together some bits and pieces like cooked king prawns in a sweet chillie dip, bread, crisps and a huge box of fruit salad each (with nectarine, pineapple, watermelon and strawberry) which I thoroughly enjoyed.

So after the snack, it was time for a snooze and while I was lying down on the bench I saw this plate and took a picture.

I just think it's extremely sweet to be remembered of so fondly by someone. I wonder if 100 years from now, that bench will still be there with the reminder of how John Herriman used to love Evening Hill.

Then I suddenly noticed that there's a blackberry bush nearby and some of the fruits are ready for picking (me and fruit-picking always go together).

So with the empty container that we had our fruit salad in I started picking the fruits but only ended up with a miserable handful of the fruits which didn't even warrant a picture with the Blackberry.

Hopefully tomorrow the weather is nice again and we can go cycling.

What do dogs dream?

Sasha has two donut beds. During the day she sleeps in her bed downstairs in the dining room and at night she sleeps in her donut bed in our room.

Sasha doesn't bark much. The last time I heard her bark was a few months back, at a squirrel outside the window in the garden.

Sometimes I watch her when she sleeps, her nose twitches and sometimes there is a muffled series of barking coming out through her throat. It's so cute I cannot tell you in words.

I always wonder what she's dreaming of. Chasing after a cat? A squirrel? A ball? Or ...?

Friday, 24 July 2009

Home-made gravy

So this, according to my other half is how you make home-made gravy.

Roast some meat (Chicken, or beef or lamb).

Once the meat's finished roasting, remove the meat to allow to rest (very important, he stressed).

Get rid of as much fat as you can from the roasting tin but not all.

Chop up onion, celery and carrot into small pieces.

Put the roasting tin on the hob.

Throw all the chopped up vegetables into the tin and fry with the fat and the juice from the meat.

Pour a dash of red/white wine into the tin (optional)

Get some good quality stock (from boiling chicken bones or meat bones like beef or lamb, but if you are lazy, use a stock cube mixed with water if you have to but it won't be as good) and add to the roasting tin.

Let it boil for 5 or 10 minutes and then you sieve the liquid and mash the vegetables through the sieve which works as a thickening agent.

And that's real gravy !! Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Hope that helps Doria.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

My constant war with the bus!

Now that uni term has come to an end, the usual bus A that I take to go to M&S is no longer operating. So I have to take bus B and get off at Lansdowne, run to the bus stop on the opposite side of the road, and catch M1. Now timing is very very crucial here. For five times in a roll (yes I am keeping count) my B bus arrives at Lansdowne as the M1 pulls away from the bus stop on the other side of the road!! How annoyingly on schedule is that?! I have so far not succeeded in catching the M1 and had to catch 1c which is more expensive because I can't use my discount card.

One day, one day I hope the M1 will be delayed and then I'll manage to catch it somehow!

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Cleaning lady

One of the things we enjoy on a Sunday is a nice Sunday roast. My favourite meat for a roast is usually lamb, although a good rib of beef with yorkshire puddings swimming in gravy is not bad as well. So tonight we roasted a leg of lamb with Steve's famous crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the inside roast potatoes, accompanied by my favourite veg, sweetcorn and runnerbeans, and homemade gravy.

Sometimes when we can get our hands on a half-price Gressingham duck, Steve would marinate the outside and the inside of the duck overnight with five spice, garlic, soya sauce, rice wine, spring onion and other bits and pieces and make a traditional Chinese Roast Duck which I would say is up to Chinatown standard. Knowing my constant craving for Asian food, Steve always tries his best to cook all sorts of Asian cuisine for me. He has recently perfected his special fried rice; massaman chicken curry is also another favourite of mine; fragrant belly pork; and we've made prawn siew mai a few times.

I cannot cook to save my life. I do occasionally, stir-fry some vegetables (I think we are born to do stir-fry) but Steve does the cooking most of the times. So you can guess that my role in the house is cleaning up after the chef. It's a lot easier now that we have a dishwasher but unfortunately you can't shove EVERYTHING in the dishwasher, unless you have a commercial dishwasher which is almost the size of a fridge, haha (that would be nice). But I don't mind cleaning up, apart from scrubbing the baking trays which can sometimes be a pain in the backside.

Usually, we'll finish our dinner with some sort of dessert. But because we're trying our best to be fit and healthy this summer we're foregoing our favourite part of the meal. So no sticky toffee pudding, or bread and butter pudding, or rice pudding with my homemade strawberry jam (yum), or sometimes when I'm up for it, I'll cook 'Bubur pulut hitam', which is the one thing I can cook right, and it's yummy to be eaten cold with coconut cream.

Gosh, this is making me hungry now...

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Fun talk

In my line of work, it is inevitable that I meet lots and lots of new people every day and sometimes, you get to have some really fun and interesting conversations with some friendly people. But sometimes, it can go the other way...

Today I had an interestingly peculiar one.

After giving the customer a carrier bag, I said to him ,"That bag's not very strong, I hope you haven't got far to walk."

He said, "Oh, that's very nice of you. No, not far at all. Would you like to escort me?"

Trying to recover, I replied, perhaps a bit too quickly, "Er, no thanks."

He said, "Heh, a bit too old for you huh?"

I said, "He.. he.. he..(a very uncomfortable laugh that indicates I don't know anything else better to say)", as he hastily grabbed his bag and half ran away from my counter...

The lady behind him looking amused, said, "Emm, I see you're being chatted up? Must be really flattering."

"Errr.....he..he.. he.. (again the same uncomfortable laugh)," was all I could manage.

When the lady had left the counter, I thought perhaps I really need to work on being 'tactful' at the right time and not blurt out "No thanks!" faster than lightning... I should have said "Oh as tempting as the offer is, I'm afraid I'm going to turn it down."

What do you think?


Bitter Chocolate

Chocolate is an unexplainable pleasure. The way it melts in your mouth, filling the inside of your mouth with luscious pleasure, and leaving that nice and creamy after taste in your mouth. But there is a bitter story behind chocolate. 43% the world's cocoa beans come from the Ivory Coast in Africa. The International Labour Organisation says 12,000 children have been trafficked to the Ivory Coast to work in the cocoa farms under extreme and harsh conditions with no proper food and care, not to mention the constant physical abuse that they suffer.

It is very ironic that something that brings such pleasure to most people in the world, especially in the Western world where you find the most chocolate consumers, is actually derived from the pain and suffering of others in poor countries.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Remember Carmona?

Many many moons ago, I posted an entry about a dying bonsai that I had 'rescued' from work with a picture showing the bonsai looking sad and and in 'ill-health'.

Today I am posting more pictures showing Carmona looking great, on my desk at work and with a little friend next to her.

So I've got two bonsai's at work and one time my colleague thought it was cute and labelled them 'I am little tree' and 'I am BIG tree', as you can see on the sticky note in front of each pot. I love looking at my bonsai's when I'm at work. When my eyes get tired from staring too long at the computer screen, I find it relaxing and extremly calming just looking at them and appreciating their uniqueness and beauty. I must admit I am no bonsai enthusiast who cuts and prunes and shapes. I go as far as giving them water whenever they need them and also leaving my used Chinese tea leaves on the soil, apparently to make them 'grow' better (myth i think more than fact). Other than that, they are pretty free to 'grow' however they like, haha. As long as they don't 'die' on me.

I am thinking of adding more collections to my 'natural' surroundings at work and will keep you posted when I do. Mean time, try a bonsai, you'll never know, you might just enjoy it as much as I do.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Asbo on tomato planting

Reading the news this morning, I was quite amused by this news article. Basically, a retired grandmother who has grown two tomato plants in the entrance foyer of her council flat has been given an Asbo warning (anti-social behaviour) and was given strict orders by the council to remove her plants due to fire satefy precaution (and also someone in the same flat had complained).

You can only shake your head in disbelief and amazement at the kind of news the nanny state in this country has produced.

That prompted me to think about the kinds of 'potential' hazards in Malaysia that only we Malaysians can accept as normal and live with. During durian season, we see all kinds of temporary fruit stalls springing up along the road and even the highway set up from a range of materials including wood, plastic gazebo, curtain, cardboard, zinc or even straight from the boot of a car. You name it and they can do it. Or, how about that temporary mamak stall that is just round the corner from your house which has been there for yonks and it looks like it's going to fall apart anytime? Not to mention the wobbly tables with chairs that have legs that look about to snap if you put too much weight on them?

Living in a foreign country is the best kind of opportunity for one to look back at the relaxed and easy-going attitude that Malaysians in general have.

Sometimes people can be so petty. It's a common disease of humankind, not being able to rejoice in others' achievement and some people go to great lengths just to be a 'killjoy'. Only the other day I found out that in the UK, if you are planning to refurbish your home, or add an extension, or build a garage, you first need to get permission from the council, and then you need to let your entire street know what you are planning to do and if enough people are not happy with it, you don't get to build it. Funny isn't it? I suppose in a way it's to protect the residents in case someone decides to add an extension as big as Buckingham Palace, which would therefore block the road and so would slightly inconvenience the neighbourhood. But how likely is that to happen? And not only that, whatever you are intending to build, it must not cross the line of the front part of your house, in other words, you can only build beside or behind, but not out to the front because all the houses along the same street has the same 'line'. Odd, you think?

Don't get me started on the three different kinds of wheelie bins we have got at home !!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Runner beans

Apart from the beautiful and sunny weather (which means shorts and t-shirts) with long, golden light evenings well into 10pm, another thing to look forward to during the summer time is runner beans. I think we are very fortunate that at the age of 80, Steve's dad still religiously tended his garden back in early Spring and now all his hard work is paying off. This evening, I came home from work at the uni and because I didn't have my evening shift at M&S, I went out to the garden with a basket and started picking runner beans for dinner tonight. Nothing beats the feeling of being able to pick your dinner from your garden. I know it all sounds very cliche, but honestly as I was going round picking all the runner beans that were ready, I had this sense of pride and joy (eventhough I didn't really plant them, hehe)

This picture shows the runner beans still on the vine wrapped round the structure that Steve's dad built with bamboo. There are two of these structures in the garden with runnerbean vines, one put later than the other so that they don't all come up too much at the same time.

While making my way back to the house, I noticed sadly that this year we didn't get any rasberry at all from the bush. I was so looking forward to having loads and loads of rasberries like last year to make jam with but for some mysteriously unknown reason, the rasberry bush grew but did not bear a single fruit.

So as you can see, the bush just looks sad and unhealthy!! It's really puzzling because others have had their rasberry harvest and are continuously doing so and ours is just leaves with no berries.

Anyway I took my 'harvest' of runner beans into the kitchen and I also found a courgette which went into the basket as well, although not to be eaten together.

Before boiling the runner beans they have to be stringed and oddly there was something therapeutic about stringing the runner beans and I just couldn't get enough of stringing them. It took me no time at all and I had the whole basket of runner beans stringed and ready for boiling. Mind you, there weren't much to pick tonight because we normally get a lot more than that.

So there you go, one of the joys of summer, runner beans and they taste absolutely d-d-d-deeelicious !!

Monday, 13 July 2009

My latest obsession...

So last month, Steve rented the movie 'Twilight' because he thought that it was a chic-flick and that I would enjoy watching it (he'd seen it on the plane). Was he right about it or was he RIGHT about it?!!! Not only had I not fallen asleep (as I would with other movies, half an hour into the movie, regardless), after the film had finished, that night, I started reading the first book 'Twilight' and by the next day I was reading on the bus, on the toilet (i know, eeewe), at my lunch break, at my evening break at my second job.... basically I had my nose and face buried in the book whenever I can !! And when I can get away with it at work, I try to sneak a few searches here and there on the Internet on Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and reading every little petty news article about them !!! I was an adult with a TEENAGE OBSESSION over Twilight and anything to do with Twilight !!!

After I had finished reading the first and second book of the series which belonged to Steve's brother, I wasted no time in going out and getting myself the third and the fourth. Very sadly, I came to the end of the fourth book last week and I remembered when I was reaching the end of the book I was reading everything slowly, word by word, alphabet by alphabet (just picture everything in slow motion), trying to prolong this obsession that I have and to make the ending last longer than it should have been. Inevitably, it came to an end.

However, my obsession did not end there. I started researching the Internet for clips of the songs from the original soundtrack and started learning to play it on my digital piano. When I was given my most beloved digital piano as a Christmas gift last year, I had been meaning to get myself a proper pedal set because the pedal that came with the digital piano wasn't great and it was just a movable sustain floor pedal where you press down with your foot and the most annoying thing is that the pedal keeps moving further and further away as you press on it and before you know it you're stretching your leg painfully just to get to it. Eventually I just got used to it and never got round to getting the set.

So last weekend, pushed by my Twilight obsession, I made my Steve ring all the music stores around the Bournemouth and Poole areas, managed to track down a shop with the pedal set in stock and made him drive me out and got stuck in the usual Saturday shopping jam, just to get the pedal set! And I didn't even flinch or blink when I paid a total of 50pounds on my debit card for my pedal set so that I can play 'Eyes on Fire' properly on my piano !! Imagine that kind of obsession !! Not only that, not only that, I EVEN VIDEO-ED MYSELF PLAYING THE SONG !!!! how sad is that??!!

Oh by the way, am reading Twilight for the second time round...

Sunday, 5 July 2009

One of my random travel stories

Doria said she's keen to read about my travel stories so here it is. I remember one particularly interesting one...

Since our flight back to the UK departed from Singapore, we decided to stay one night in Singapore and get a bite-size taster of Singapoean food and lifestyle. So the quickest way to do this we decided was to visit Little India and China town. Not sure if there's such a thing as Malay town but we didn't have time for it anyway because arriving at Singapore at 9am, we managed to have a swim in the hotel pool (Steve insisted), explore Little India, have lunch at Chinatown, have dessert and some rest in a mall near the hotel and visit the Night Safari !! All crammed into one day...

So while we were in Little India, it was nice to see familiar shops selling garlands, accessories, punjabi suits, saris and all sorts. One particular stall that caught my attention was a lady sitting at a desk drawing some henna patterns on a customer's left arm. I was very intrigued and stood there watching. And Steve said to me, 'Why don't you try it?'. And I started getting really excited about it and the next thing I know, I am sat at the desk and the nice lady has started creating patterns on the back of my left arm. Steve even managed to take a short video of it and it looked fascinating how she was drawing the patterns while she's chatting away to nearby friends.

(unfortunately the video refused to load even after the 100th attempt so i've given up for now but i shall try again in future)

And the picture below shows the finished product. Very very nice!!

Of course after that I had to 'protect' my hand and avoid from bumping into people in the crowd in order to 'preserve' the longevity of the henna on my hand. And when it finally dried a few hours later, the top crust came off, leaving behind a light brown/orange henna pattern on my hand which lasted for almost a week and each time I looked at it, it reminded me of my really nice holiday :)

Random thoughts and updates

I figured it's been too long i have not updated my blog so i had to write something.. anything. So i've decided to go with just random, out-of-order happenings to date.

This morning i woke up with a start, thinking that it was Monday and that I was VERY late for work (i know, very sad). I glanced over to my bedside table and was assured to read 'Sunday', 8.53am on the screen of my Blackberry. Phew.

Had a lazy morning lying in bed and reading. Rang my mum and was told the parcel i had sent for Father's Day almost three weeks ago still hasn't arrived. Hmmm perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to include my used mobile phone in the parcel for my mum... maybe an even worse idea to label the parcel 'toy' when clearly, a mobile phone isn't a toy and whoever is going to open it for custom check will realise that too. SIGH never mind... let's hope it will turn up soon.

Was out hanging the laundry this morning and was pleasantly surprise to catch a glimpse of the 6 Red Arrows planes flying past in a formation of a triangle, perhaps rehearsing for the upcoming Bournemouth Airshow. It's a shame the show always takes place at a time I am not able to catch it. It's definitely an exhilarating and exciting experience and Fely can tell you that for sure as she's just been to one not long ago up on Biggins Hill in Greater London.

Have been suffering from a funny form of rash since last Sunday. We were having a bbq last Sunday and steve's dad decided to set up a hammock from a box that has been lying around in the garden for two years. So as soon as it was set up, I laid myself down on the hammock without thinking twice and that night, I started itching on the face and developed swollen lips that lasted till the next day. Since then i've been having an on and off rash that looks like hundreds and thousands of mosquitoes have bit me at the same time. The most bizarre thing is they go away as quickly as they come. Weird.

Can a person truly survive on virtual friendship... ie through fb and not ever meeting physically? I think so. I have been pleasantly surprised many times now on fb, the amount of support and love we all give each other on fb. I know it sounds sad (VERY SAD) when i check on fb and smile at the comments that my friends give me, and feel assured at the support my friends give me, and coo and ooo at the pictures my friends posted. Like Betty and Viola mentioned, they never really got to know the REAL me during the MPIK years (perhaps it's not such a bad thing, beatrice might tell you, haha)... And I used to think, yeahh I should have paid more effort in getting to know more people, people like Betty, Viola, Cherry, and even Ashley coz they are all so sweet (in their own way, of course)... but lately I thought to myself, we are creating deeper and more meaning friendships now, each and everyone of us. And the fact that we have known each other (at any level at all) and know what we are like, makes it so much easier to strengthen that foundation we already had.

However, what makes me sad sometimes is how people who used to be close to us before, now find that they have no time for us even through the convenience of fb or the great Internet simply because they devote their whole being to the newest part of their lives. I guess you can't blame them, but I wouldn't give anything up for I have now on fb, with friends that i never knew i had before :)