It's Cat Deeley!

It’s bizarre how the odd little things can trigger homesickness. In my case, it was not having anybody around to shout “From Birmingham!” at the TV when Cat Deeley appeared on-screen. Of course, my homesickness is exacerbated by having lived at home for so long; while my sister and I haven’t quite gone to the length of developing our own language like identical twins, we can have long conversations that nobody else can have a hope to understand without a twenty-year diet of cartoons, British comedy and the adventures of a cuddly toy that has a serious gambling problem.

and then I got off the bus. ah

And, despite my protests a few months ago, I have already turned into one of those expats that decries the state of the country I left behind. In my defense, I didn’t expect you to start breaking up the NHS, so I feel pretty justified. A few weeks of filling out health forms and potentially facing a $250 bill for getting an infected finger examined has given me a whole new sense of wonder over Bevan’s dream (and I was a fan before!). I hope Nick Clegg can sleep at night. Actually, that’s not true; I somewhat hope he spends every night being chased through a hellish dreamscape by a Cthulhu-esque set of monsters howling “What have you done?”” in an ear-splitting horrendous scream that threatens to fill his vacant soul. But I’m not bitter.

Anyway, it’s good to be back in Durham. And in denim. It feels so much nicer being able to come home at the end of the day, even if you’re never quite sure whether there’s going to be a raccoon in the attic or if the ceiling will just miss your head as a chunk falls to the floor. Yes, our house has a few issues, but it’s still pretty impressive - and a vast improvement over the hotel in Marina Del Rey where I spent so much of last year (okay, the hotel didn’t have a curtain of inchworms and was in closer proximity to Zooey Deschanel, I’ll give it that). We’ve even had a party; one of Stacie’s massive barbecue events where a poor pig gave up its shoulder for all of us (and the hordes of soy fields sacrificed their friends and neighbours for those amongst us who are vegetarian). We’re currently making plans for my birthday - it’s likely to have a Titanic flavour, even if my dream of flooding everybody in the basement at 2am won’t come to pass. Hey, I have toys and CDs down there at the moment! They’re not allowed to get wet!

Work is also progressing on Fallout. We’re putting together pricing of equipment and ingredients, coming up with flavour ideas, and heading off to The Cookery to get everything in place for launch. Expect a Kickstarter link to appear here shortly. There’s been a few set-backs, mostly down to the delay caused by me spending six months in Santa Monica, but hopefully by the summer, we’ll be up and producing sweet things. And yes, we will ship internationally!

Then there’s the actual real work. In my second week right now - still haven’t quite got a handle on day-to-day operations, but everybody seems very friendly. I’ve also hit a hat-trick on the success of my chocolates in the workplace. This company is a bit bigger than the previous ones, mind you, so some of the equipment we’re going to be putting any potential Kickstarter money towards will come in handy for semi-regular treats. And I still have a few non-sysadmin homegrown web/iOS ideas that I’m going to be working on in my spare time. Hoho.

One other thing that’s great about being back in Durham is that I have the chance to cook again, which I hadn’t done since July. Yes. Since I’ve got back, cooking has been limited to grilled sandwiches and my traditional pasta with pesto dish, but I have been talked into making roast dinner on Saturday (I tried to explain that it needs to be on a Sunday, but my explanation was little more than “because it just does!”, which isn’t a winning argument around here). I have never done this before, so obviously, I’ve decided that it should also be a test of our new sous-vide system. So, sous-vide parsnips, carrots, beef, served with mYorkshire puddings (the m is not a typo; the batter will be whipped and cooked in a microwave rather than made in an oven), followed with a deconstructed apple crumble. Because I’m crazy.

That pretty much sums up my third week back in Durham, I think. Lots more to come, hopefully. Oh, and it looks like I’ll be heading back to the UK for a few days in July, right during the Olympics. I think I’ll be avoiding London Village during that trip…