Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….


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BLIND (RAGE) DATE

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I’ve got a date tomorrow.

I’m going for a coffee with Groin Guy from the dating website.

This is probably my first date for about two and a half years, unless you count the aborted one I nearly had last year, which I’m trying not to think about, otherwise I’d probably bail.

My online dating strategy for 2013 works like this:

  1. Log on
  2. Check out my ‘matches’.
  3. ‘Like’ the ones I like the look of.
  4. ‘Like’ anyone else I like the look of even if they’re not a ‘match’.
  5. Be willing to meet pretty much anyone unless they are really awful.
  6. Answer any nice/witty/funny emails
  7. Follow up with a telephone conversation to see if there is any potential rapport.
  8. Arrange a 30-60 minute coffee for a first date.
  9. Bail if they show any signs of being a maniac.

 

Four and five are new additions to all previous strategies.  This is because some of the men I like in real life, I would never have ‘liked’ online on the basis of a profile only, so you can’t always tell what a person is like by photographs and blurb alone.

Really awful = anyone who is sleazy/creepy/pompous/racist/sexist/totally boring/boastful/up themselves.

GG’s email was quite nice and whilst our brief conversation wasn’t exactly scintillating, he may have been nervous and what the hell, I’m not exactly going out of my way to meet him.  I’m in the area for lunch with friends, so if all goes tits up, I won’t feel like I’ve wasted much time or put too much effort into it.  And we’re close to a shopping centre 🙂 .

I know, I sound like a real barrel of laughs, don’t I?!

But honestly, if you’d been on as many of these things as I have, you’d be a bit jaded too.  Suffice to say, I’ve met my fair share of freaks, pervs and maniacs, and the aborted date from last year was far too close a call for my liking.

The 2012 guy seemed really charming from the get go.  He looked like Maxwell (yum), he sounded creative, well read and educated, he cooked, even baked cakes, and said he was ‘in touch with his feminine side’ (not usually something I look for, but I went with it because of the Maxwell factor (did I say, YUM?)), and when we chatted on the phone, there was rapport aplenty, so we arranged to meet by the river the next day for a drink and a stroll.

When the big day dawned, it was gloriously sunny.  An auspicious sign, I thought happily ironing a pretty top to wear with my jeans.  If only I’d known.

I decided to travel by bus seeing as it was a lovely day, and even made an extra effort to be on time.  Half way to our meeting point, my phone bleeped.

A text.

I glanced at it.  It was from M and said ‘I’m running abt 15 minutes late, b there soon.’

Hmmm.  No apology.  Not impressed.

‘Now, now, don’t be so judgemental!’ my Good Parent chided me, ‘how often are you late?  Don’t say a word. Go, smile and be nice for a couple of hours.  It may be well worth your while!’

OK.

I text back saying ‘Not to worry!  See you soon, SS x’.

I arrive at the river and by now it is baking hot.  There is no shade on the side where we are meeting, and I’m cursing myself for wearing jeans as I’m starting to perspire.

Never mind, I told myself looking in vain for a shaded area, he’ll be here soon and we can go and get a jug of icy cold Pimms.

15 minutes later, radio silence.

30 minutes.  This place is rammed with tourists, so I’m getting jostled left right and centre.  I’m also getting my period so I’m slowly starting to get more and more cranky.  I go into a book shop hoping for respite.  The air con isn’t working.  Shit.

A trickle of sweat runs down the middle my back. I jiggle a bit hoping it goes down my jeans without staining my pretty, white cotton top.

40 minutes.

I.  Am.  Not.  Happy.

I know he’s coming in by bus but he hasn’t sent any more texts, grovelingly apologetic or otherwise, and my delicately applied looks-like-I’m-not-wearing-make-up-make-up is sliding off my face like the top layer of a cake left out in the rain, and I don’t think that I can take it.

Oh no.

Maybe a drink will improve my mood.

I join one of huge, barely moving queues, and five minutes in, the huge German guy in front of me swings round, whacking me in the face with his back pack.  I refrain from punching him in the kidneys.  Just.

Bollocks to this.  I decide to start to walk towards the tube station, and appease the GP by silently promising her that if I hear from him before I get there, I’ll go back and meet him, or better still arrange to meet him somewhere cooler.

Despite the fact that he’s an ill mannered, inconsiderate, arrogant twat.

Just as I’m climbing the steps to the station, my phone beeps.  I inwardly groan, run my hand across my sweaty forehead, and look at the message.  He is now just over one hour late.

The message reads ‘Am here, just walking towards the cafe, will be there in 10.’

I stare at it with disbelief.

So:

  • Over an hour late.
  • No acknowledgement of this.
  • No explanation.
  • No apology whatsoever.

Even the GP is afraid to speak.

I look up the steps and can just see that the little M&S food store is still open.

Fuck him.

I’m going to get a bottle of wine, some king prawns and seafood, salad, some strawberries, a carton of cream and I’m going home for a cool bath and a nice supper.

Surprisingly, once I’d made this decision, all anger leaves me.  I pop into the shop, gather my goodies, pay with a smile then run for my train and catch it with seconds to spare.   The back of my top is now drenched with sweat.

When I get out at the other end 20 minutes later, my phone is just about pogo-ing in my pocket.

I look at it.

There are six unread messages.

He’s finally recovered the use of his thumbs and index finger then?

The messages are sent at 3-5 minute intervals and go something like this:

  1. Im here!
  2. Im here!  Where u at
  3. Its boiling hear (sic) hun, can’t see u, u arnd?
  4. It’s me.  Where r you?
  5. M here, we had a date remember?  Were (sic) r u?
  6. SS, r u always this rude?  WHERE R U?

 

I can feel the anger start to bubble up.  Oh the irony!  But then I glance down at my chilled bottle of Frascati which glistens back at me reassuringly and tantalisingly, and I take a deep breath and know that all will be well.

I reply, with, as far as I’m concerned, the utmost restraint.

‘Hi M, I’m at Clapham Junction and on my way home as I’m a sweaty mess and have a blinding headache. Would have text you earlier but didn’t want to miss my train, but look on the bright side, you’ve only been kept waiting 20 minutes.  I waited 70.  Have a good evening, S’

Almost immediately I got a response.

I didn’t expect a belated, sheepish apology.  Maybe a grudging one would have been nice, but I was managing my expectations now.   What I didn’t expect was the shit storm that came back at me.

I received a total of aroung 30 replies, calling me all kinds of names from dickhead (?) to c***, telling ME I had no manners, that I had nothing to complain about, why didn’t I just sit on the grass (what grass?!) and chill, how he’d wasted his valuable time on an idoit ( 🙂 ) and a time waster like me, that he was glad I’d left before he wasted any more time on me, that I was a snotty bitch, I deserved a slap, that I should walk the other way if ever I saw him, he still had my photo etc, etc.  In the end I had to tell him to stop contacting me or I would report him to the website and the police.  He sent about five more after that, albeit less threatening ones, sticking to misspelt insults.

So, my gentle Maxwell morphed into a ranting, rabid Mike Tyson with ‘roid rage.  Not sure what happened to his feminine side.  Perhaps he bit off it’s ear and it fled, screaming, all the way across Waterloo bridge.

I arrived home, slightly shaken, a relieved, older, wiser and significantly stickier Sista.  I then ran myself a lovely, cool, scented bath and, calmed by my glass of cold vino, told myself I’d try another date in a week or so.

But I didn’t.  And haven’t since.

Until now.

I have no idea if the guy I’m meeting tomorrow is who and what he says he is, and/or how he handles rejection.  But we’re meeting in a big, buzzy restaurant which should be packed on a Saturday afternoon, and as pessimistic as I am, I can’t imagine that he’ll be more than five minutes late, but if he is, I have shopping to do and if he’s very late, I’m outta there.

I’ll also be carrying a cardboard roll of coins wrapped up in a napkin about my person.

Because in these days of ten year old photos, creatively crafted profiles, and carefully hidden personality disorders? You never really know who or what will be sat on the other side of that table.

Girls, take my advice.

Let’s be careful out there……


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BANANA DATE & WALNUT SCONES

Yes, I have more bananas……

Me and fruit eh? I buy it with the very best intentions but invariably it ends up festering in the bowl, and I end up googling like a mofo trying to find a way to use it up.

Today, the items on the brink of decomposition (yum) in question are:

2 speckled bananas

A quarter of a pot of low fat goats milk yoghurt

Around 3oz porridge i.e. not enough for breakfast

So I had a little mooch on the internet and found this recipe http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-banana-bread-scones-wit-155500 so decided to do a version of it.

Can I share one tip before we start and not just for today?

Always read the full recipe first.

In this instance, I didn’t.  Scones were the first things I ever made at school, and I frequently knock out a batch if friends are coming around, so assumed that this would just be a banana version of the standard fruit or cheese recipe.

But this version is a little different.

On the plus side, it’s in cups, and gives me the opportunity to use my nifty set of baby blue Nigella cups that have been languishing in my cupboard for the last decade :-).

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

INGREDIENTS

2 ripe bananas

2-4 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup (4oz) plain yoghurt

10oz wholemeal SR flour

3oz porridge oats

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder (shouldn’t need more as you are already using SR flour)

2oz butter

1/2 cup (about 3oz) chopped walnuts

8 ready to eat dates, chopped

Teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

A couple of teaspoons of demerara sugar

Pinch salt

(As you can see, I’ve replace regular flour with wholemeal and oats in an attempt to come up with a healthier version (post gorging on too much banana loaf), plus I’ve added some dates as traditionally you have to have some kind of dried fruit in a sweet scone in the UK. It’s the law ;-))

METHOD

1. Mash the bananas, put in that cup measure from Amerikee then top up with milk till full. Mix this in with the yoghurt and stir.  I added the cup of milk/banana to the yoghurt carton to save washing up.  It ends up thick, whitish and lumpy and looks like this:

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(it kind of resembles, well I won’t elaborate but suffice to say, I wouldn’t swallow it under normal circumstances.  It also seems like an awful lot of liquid.  Hmm.  Added a bit of vanilla essence and stir.  It looks a bit better.  Put it in fridge whilst you do the next bit.)

2. Mix the flour, salt, mixed spice and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter, cut into cubes then rub into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

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3. Add the sugar, dates, nuts and combine, then pour in lumpy white stuff and work in with a palate knife until a firm dough.

(Scratch the above.  It’s not firm, it’s pretty wet.  It actually looks like something from the Quatermass experiment.  I have to go and count my cats and make sure it didn’t ‘absorb’ them when I wasn’t looking.)

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(see the resemblance?)

4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, upend the glop onto it, flatten into a circle then cover it with more paper and freeze for 30 minutes.

(This is a new one on me.  These are scones Jim but not as we know ‘em.  I’m torn.  Do I play along or add more flour and stiffen it up and cook in the usual way?  Then it occurs to me, this is perfect because what you can do here is bake to order, i.e. cut off what you want to eat today then keep the others in reserve for a rainy day :-)!)

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5. Go into the sitting room and fret a bit.

6. After about 20 minutes, pre set your over to Gas Mark 6 400 F, then 10 minutes later, take the thing out of the freezer. It’s still pretty sticky, so score it into 8 triangular scones and carefully transfer as many as you want to eat that day onto a greased baking tray, sprinkle with a little demerara sugar then put in the oven for around 20-30 minutes.

(You might want to cook them all at once but I baked two by way of experiment)

7. Return the remaining scone to the freezer, (after making sure it hasn’t eaten your ice cube tray or oven chips) return to the freezer, leave until firmer then cut into individual scones to bake at a later date.

Then around 25 minutes later, take out of the oven and viola! This is how they turned out!  They don’t have the consistency or taste of traditional scones but are utterly delish!

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Two are just enough for tea for me, and there are more in the freezer for the next time I need a little sumthin’ sumthin’.  Bargain!

In the original recipe you will find a recipe for glaze that sounds yummy which you may want to try, but we don’t ice scones here in the UK.

Buns yes, doughnuts yes, scones no.  Far too unhealthy.

No we just split them open and smear each side with butter ;-).

Thanks for the original recipe Emma!

Enjoy!