This month began with one of my Challenge Weeks so I decided to try and stick to the themes I’d set for everyone else – eco-friendliness and creativity. I lasted one day!
- On both themes, I gathered all the sorry-looking vegetables in my fridge and made a soup out of them. I have named it SorryNotSorry Soup. I added some chicken, parsley and frozen sweetcorn and it was one of the nicest soups I’ve ever made. I will do this again. I’m not an instinctive cook and I’ve never attempted soup without a recipe, although I don’t always stick to the script. I still haven’t quite got the hang of buying food for just me so I either have no vegetables in the fridge or millions. I also tried on (and bought) some locked-up jewellery. I’ve only bought things for other people in Pia before, and I’ve only ever bought jewellery that was just out and not in a locked cabinet. It was a nice reward for myself on the anniversary of a not very nice thing. A good way to mark the occasion.
- Tried a new tea: Teapigs Popcorn Tea.
- Ate golden beetroot.
- First luxury reclining seats cinema experience. And a new film (Jason Bourne) but that doesn’t really count – most cinema trips involve a new film.
- Wrote a review of a place on Trip Advisor. The writing bit was creative and the place (Welney WWT) is ecologically important, so I’ve redeemed myself a bit here.
- I did loads of new things today and it felt like being on holiday, although not one of them was on the themes. Firstly I went to a gin festival. I like gin but I never drink it, except occasionally in cocktails, so it was very pleasurable to immerse myself in it! I tried four new gins as whole drinks (paired with whichever mixer the staff recommended for the particular gin) – Sacred, Only Premium, Four Pillars Rare Dry and Jinzu.
They also has cocktail demos, where I tried three – White Lady (new), Bramble (not new) and a gin elderflower mojito thing (new) – and two stands doing tasters of and talks about Curio Rock Samphire gin and Copperhead gin. Copperhead comes with three different blends, of which you add a few drops to your gin depending on your state of mind. It came in a beautiful gift box which would make a lovely present for someone (me). Although I think I preferred Copperhead Black Batch which was delicious on its own.
I could criticize several aspects of the event but we all had a very fun time so I won’t do it here. I am tempted to start buying gin just because the bottles are so beautiful.
Next up, an impromptu trip to the Heong Gallery (new) in Downing College (not new but first time I’ve been for something other than work or a psychology student’s experiment). This was to see Ai Weiwei’s ‘Cubes and Trees’ exhibition, another new thing although by chance I saw the trees being assembled in June. It was a waste of a new thing as it was supposed to be my new thing on 10 August but never mind.
And finally, we went to Calverley’s Brewery (new) and I tried two new beers, and ate delicious Rösti from the pop-up street food van that was there, Rösti Strasse (new). I had the smoked salmon version. Every time I look at this picture I want it again.
My mum said all the gin would make me cry, and after two gins and no lunch I was convinced I was going to have a terrible hangover but there were no ill effects on either front. Better than I deserved!
- The first new thing today was an accident – I had a pot of normal tea in a cafe. I don’t really drink tea and I asked for a cappuccino but she must’ve misheard me. The new thing voice in my head said ‘Oh, go on then’. The second thing was a new exhibition, the Babylon Gallery Summer Exhibition 2016, which has the theme ‘Ely Cathedral: Ship of the Fens’. There are far too many talented people around! There was artwork from 40 professionals and amateurs, and I wanted most of it. The cathedral is clearly a very inspiring place. The third thing I did was make okonomiyaki, which was VERY EXCITING and has been on my list to make since I first tried it in March. It involved several new ingredients (frozen squid, okonomiyaki sauce, katsuobushi and instant dashi). The fourth and final new thing I did was make my first GIF, so two creative things today, just in time at the end of my challenge week!
- Tried Zentangle. I can see how this would be addictive. I was only going to draw one. Very pleasing for someone who doesn’t consider themselves to be very creative. I copied all of these though.
- Got home late and was a bit stuck so googled ‘interesting things to read’ and found this and read all the suggestions apart from one that needed a subscription and another with a broken link. This was satisfying because of my current inability to finish reading a book, although I still struggled with the longer items. It’s very annoying when there are so many books I want to read.
- Attended/oversaw a new type of student welcome event at work. And had a new cocktail, Greek Gin. It was yum and very pretty so it’s a shame I forgot to take a photo. I’ll have to go back and have another one.
- Did a Zentangle that I didn’t copy.
- Was supposed to go to the Museum of Classical Archaeology in Cambridge, for a Drink and Draw event (I haven’t been to the museum before) but all my trains were cancelled and I couldn’t get to Cambridge. So I did some sketching in my garden: a rose, jackdaws on my roof, and some rhubarb vodka that I copied from a magazine. I tried to turn it into a virtual Drink and Draw event but most attendees just joined in with the drinking part. The vodka was for my friend who didn’t have any drink and asked me to draw her some drink. I’m nice like that.
- Went to a new restaurant, Market Street Brasserie in Ely. Had a delicious beef and mushroom fricassee but was too busy nattering to take a picture.
- Made a new recipe, from a newly borrowed cookbook (Itsu). It’s a nice book and I would treat myself to a copy but I am not supposed to be buying any more books. This is the Vietnamese Chicken Salad. I could happily eat this every day.
- It got to 21:30 today before I realised I hadn’t done a new thing. I was very tired and not really sure I could pull something out of the bag at this point. But I’d had the day off, and it hadn’t felt like a normal sort of day, so I decided I must have done something new, and I cast my mind back over the day to see what I could find. This is an aspect of the project I am finding quite useful. I am really terrible at acknowledging things I’ve done and if you ask me what I’ve done on a particular day, I often can’t really remember which gives me a constant feeling of wasting time and under-achieving, even though I don’t think that’s the case, at least not all the time! So today I did lots of not-new things and I reminded myself what a productive day I’d had, which was positive, but I also remembered that I had checked in the hedgehog house I borrowed ages ago and found an actual hedgehog nest for the first time (pictured), and I weeded and swept the patio (I don’t mind a bit of weeding but I don’t think I’ve ever weeded this particular patio and I’ve definitely never swept it) and I made a tiny path out of bark chippings and moved a heavy thing that I’ve never tried to move on my own before (and injured my foot in the process but only a small injury).
- Cooked Thai green chicken curry.
- Participated in a Twitter hour – #ElyHour. Had lunch from a new place – jollof rice (new) from Africfood, a new Nigerian food stall on the market in Cambridge. Delicious. Will add it to the list of things to try cooking.
- Wrote a restaurant review online (on OpenTable).
- Asked Google a question verbally.
- Went to the SeaLife Centre in Hunstanton, to a new beach (Snettisham) and a town I hadn’t been to before (Downham Market).
- Walked part of the Cambridge-St Ives guided busway. Today I just did Fen Drayton Lakes to Swavesey.
You grow up somewhere and you think you know it pretty well, and then it surprises you by both reminding you how lovely it is and showing you lots of new angles of itself. Shame I seem to have damaged the lens on my phone.
Also tried cucamelons.
- Tried out the headphones that came with my phone (and my phone’s radio). They’re not very good.
- Signed up for the British Heart Foundation MyMarathon. Somehow I will run 26.2 miles during September. All sponsorship gratefully received.
- Installed a running app on my phone.
- Tried cauli rice. I love cauliflower and can see the logic but I’m not sure I’d have it again. I microwaved it though – the alternative of dry-frying might be better and less soggy.
- On leaving the house for work I realised there was no way I was going to catch my train but this meant I had 15 minutes to kill until the next one. So I walked the scenic route to the station. Not a new walk but so different as a commute.
- Went to Five Guys. And first visit to The Light cinema in Cambridge since it stopped being Cineworld.
- Tried briouette (briouat). This was at Al Casbah in Cambridge, where they fill it with potato, green olives and soft cheese. Very yummy but I wish I’d taken the picture after I’d cut them in half.
- Had a drink in a new beer garden – Royal Standard in Ely.
- Had my gait analysed! Also first time on a treadmill. And went out on my bike on my own for what I think is the first time ever – only a very very little distance but if I try and do that most days, I might get more confident and less fally-offy and dangerous. And pumped up a bike tyre with a foot pump.
- More London new things – visited the British Museum, saw an exhibition in the British Library (Punk 1976-78) and went to a new restaurant – the German Gymnasium – which was my first solo meal in a restaurant ever. I survived and the food and wine were nice but I just ate really quickly on my own. So it’s a new thing that I can do but probably won’t be doing very often. Another hurdle overcome, though!
And another month gone…and two-thirds of a year doing a new thing every day!
Who’d have thought it.