I looked up the definition of Culture Vulture on trusty Google and found the following…
noun: culture vulture; plural noun: culture vultures
1. a person who is very interested in the arts, esp. to an obsessive degree.
Not really an appropriate description of myself except that I can appreciate arts…the only things I might get obsessive about are the slight OCD tendencies I possess around washing hands and checking doors are locked.
Anyway, as we head to NZ in the near future, I will be posting photos and also trying to give an impartial view of how even some of the simpler things may differ from the UK (and any other places I’ve been to). It will be hard to be unbiased as it will inevitably be based in some way on my opinion but I will spend some time circling around the aspects of life in NZ to hopefully guide anyone else thinking of making the leap…I am hoping that I can get a decent cup of tea, decent crisps, Marmite, a good pint of ale once in a while…but then really, I am actually hoping to find new things so I don’t want most of those…except a good cuppa!!! Why would you move to a new country if all you wanted was the UK but somewhere else?
I would consider myself to have pretty a eclectic taste in music. I mentioned my love of Level 42 in an earlier blog.
My record collection includes Keane, Andrea Bocelli, Def Leppard, Big & Rich, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Bryan Adams, The Darkness and the Backstreet Boys. Pretty varied…some may say strange…
Anyway, my wife overheard a snippet of a British folk group on Radio 2 last week called “The Lancashire Hotpots” and thought I would like it. How right she was. If you have never heard of them, look them up on Spotify. While the music might be lost on anyone not from Britain, it is a delight of humour from start to end about the common things in life.
Perhaps this is the start of a love of folk music…to add to a love of country. I had the pleasure of being at the CMA Fest in Nashville a few years ago which was fabulous…so many talented musicians and singers in one place – fabulous song writers as well. Country music is all about life…and those I enjoy seem to have a sense of humour…so much to enjoy.
Music often gives a theme tune to life…and life is good when your favourite music plays along.
I’m not Doc Brown…I’m not even Marty McFly…I don’t own a DeLorean and have not seen a flux capacitor…but I seem to be unravelling the secrets of time travel.
I am of course joking. I’ve had so many phone calls in the UK evenings with people in the New Zealand mornings of late that I am not sure if I am coming or going. I am having to work in 2 days all at once to know who I am talking to when and where…now that is time travel for you but without a flash car. I have applied for 7 jobs now and, unlike in the UK where it seems hard to get interviews, people are actually interested in talking which is a fabulous change.
It has been really interesting to see just how powerful Skype and FaceTime are in terms of elevating a phone call to something almost as good as actually being in the same room. Faster than 88mph…more like 12000mps. Hopefully one of these discussions will yield a new job…it looks hopeful so fingers crossed…having a role to go to will certainly help in our settling into our new home. My wife is already sorted so I am playing catch-up.
Technology is truly superb in these cases and will ultimately ensure that we probably see more of our family and friends when we get there than we do now…WOW!!!
I suppose the title of this post is slightly unfair to the restaurant in question as they are trying something a little different which should be applauded…but here goes.
Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolatier who produce some really good (though expensive) chocolates. My wife has enjoyed their products for some time. They recently opened 2 restaurants called “Roast + Conch” in London and Leeds with a chocolate-inspired menu (yes, in all courses of the meal!). On Friday, we went with friends to the Leeds venue.
I started off with a “Cow Heel” Soup containing dumplings with cocoa nibs in there. This was followed this with a Lamb Pepperpot with cocoa bits on the side and finished with a trio of sorbet (guava, pineapple-line and soursop cocoa). So, was it any good?
The food wasn’t bad but it wasn’t worth the price of the differentiation they are trying to put across. The cocoa-linked aspects of each course felt gimmicky and not something that was really exciting (there may be a reason why we put cocoa in desserts after all!). If you put the cocoa-ness to one side, it didn’t seem good enough to warrant a return. But yes, glad we tried it because new things are good. For me, the highlight was probably the pineapple-lime sorbet which says a lot. The staff were average and seemed a bit scripted and inexperienced. I can see the restaurant potentially not getting return business and being closed within a year but hopefully that doesn’t happen.
I told my colleagues at work today about my leaving the UK for New Zealand. I am lucky because I work with some genuinely nice people and I found it difficult to pass on this news. Everyone has been delighted for me though and for my managers who have known of my move previously, they have been really helpful which is a fabulous outcome in what is a daunting but exciting time.
It got me thinking about the hardest part of leaving your home country. For me, it is not, however, friends or even family which sounds really antisocial…it is a small blue Quaker parrot. We have lived with him for 10 years now and I have thankfully found him a place in a parrot zoo, where he will be able to live out his life as a bird with other birds like him. He has bonded with me and it is so hard to part…but having seen how he takes to my Mum when we are on holidays, I have no doubt he will move on to his new environment easily.
Anyone who has bonded with a bird will understand the difficulty of ending such a relationship…but at least we can offer him a modicum of freedom. For a small bird he has a big personality and will rule the roost no doubt.
Hello and Happy New Year!! 2014 promises to be very exciting indeed as we head for New Zealand. I am due to tell my colleagues at work on Tuesday so it will finally be out in the open. News to follow.
Anyway, I have just been on the EvoStik Northern Premier League website (click here), and there is a great story about how Ashton United in the 7th tier of English football are the second best form team in Europe behind European Champions Bayern Munich. I love stories like this because it shows how even the smallest teams can be giants at their own level.
Last season Bradford City reached the English League Cup final from the 4th tier…and Wigan Athletic won the FA Cup (beating Manchester City’s millions). Romance can still appear in the beautiful game sometimes – keeping it interesting. I only wish all fans could see past the point of their bias to appreciate such things – it is a game at the end of the day.