21 June 2006

Walk like an egyptian...

or Turk... or Armenian... or...whatever takes your fancy.... as long as you're shimmying!!

I went to my first bellydance party on Saturday and had an absolute ball! If I wasn't hooked on the belly dance before I definately am now!! What a night!!

I really had no idea what to expect when I got there and I nearly chickened out even though I had been frantically trying to get a costume made.... not to mention the weather... it was cold and I really wasn't too sure about waggling my belly about in those temperatures.

Tom (bravely?) said he would come along as my support crew... I didn't know what to expect for him either... would it be too girly... would he feel comfortable.... would there be other non-dancers there too?

I needn't have worried because as I've already mentioned we had a great time. It was in the format of a casual show. Different classes and got up and danced in groups as well as duets and solo performances. Then we'd have a general dance about and check out the trading tables ... a whole different market experience.... "I'll give 4 goats for that dancer!!" ... nah, just kidding it was all CDs, DVDs, costumes etc. Then rinse spin repeat a few times.

There were some amazing dancers there, all shapes and sizes and there was even one fella dancer. Ooooh and the costumes!! Wow... some great ideas and inspiration!! My costume will be getting some wholesale modifications before the next bash!

By the end of the night I was just buzzing. My teacher also belongs to a drumming group so those that were there started playing. It took about 30 seconds for everyone to get on the dance floor and away we went. Not all up and down simultaneously to the beat as with most dances but a swirl of different things happening all around you... the drums were infectious but eventually we all had to concede defeat and take a break.... there is only so much you can take before your abs are screaming for a rest.... damn you muscles!!

Mental note: must practice more to build belly stamina :)

And as for Tommy.... well he got beyond the whole "I shouldn't look, they'll think I'm a perv" and through to the "Hell they're bellydancers, they dress like this only purpose... I'm meant to look at the bods" stage he relaxed and I think he really enjoyed himself... Considering he was there and not watching the Irish vs All Blacks game has got to say something! In fact.... he said next time he'll dress up too ... as a sheik or sultan, and we'll take more friends next time and fill a whole table.... cushions and rugs and hookah pipes galore!!

Bring it on!!

12 June 2006

Do I have a guilty conscience?

Weeeee!!! Not me!

I'm actually doing it! My potato bread is vastly improved now that I know to make it thicker and my soda bread is a great success.... and so easy to make!!

Voila!! Ain't that a pretty sight!

I have to say though the tips from "my wee butcher" made all the difference! (Read on)

Despite Belfast being a reasonable sized city I experienced a real small town feel while I was there. It was a great novelty to walk up to the corner of the street and call into the butcher and baker to collect goodies to include in the breakast fry. It was not just the convenience of it but the banter that was part of the service.

My first visit went something like this...

My wee butcher (MWB) : Ach love how can I helpye?

Me: Good morning! I'd like half a dozen breakfast sausages, halfdozen slices black pudding, halfdozen white pudding and halfdozen of vege roll please.

MWB: Surely. Where's that accent from then? Australia?

Me: Nope.... New Zealand, I'm a kiwi!

MWB: Well then! What are you doing here now?

Me: I'm here to visit my fella's family and to learn to make a proper Ulster fry!! I'm an apprentice Frier!!

MWB: Well then - there's a qualification to aim for!!

..... and so the conversation moved on to explaining how we can't get the breads at home in NZ and that I would have to make them. I explained I now knew I'd been making my potato bread too thin and hadn't yet attempted making soda bread.

MWB: Oh!! Soda bread is the easiest thing in the world... it's so easy I don't bother my wifey with it and I can make my own. Just don't fuss with it, mix 'er up and pop it in the oven. Simple!!

Well... I gleaned a few more tips as well before I wandered back to the house to cook up the fry. What a nice way that was to start the day!!

The next time I visited MWB was a few days later. I was back to stock up on all the breakfast meats. I walked into the shop as it was opening to a warm welcome!!

MWB: Good morning! It's the apprentice fryer!! Well love, yer up early then aren't ye?

It was 9 o'clock in the morning and I'd been awake since dawn! These people have no concept of the early bird!!

Me: Early? Nah... I was up with the birds.

MWB: Why's that then? Have ye got a guilty conscience?

Ha!! Brilliant!! Again I got the run-down on the weather and a few more fry hints before I was off with my wee baggie o meaty goodness. If we'd stayed longer and I went to that wee butcher a third time I believe I'd have just about known his life story... although I don't beleive I ever got his name! It's certainly a refreshing change to the impersonal supermarkets and stores in Auckland and I have to say I miss it already. It is no wonder farmers markets are starting to flourish here in NZ.

In the meantime ... the butchers around here will profit for it as I try and recreate the experience here! I've already found one butcher that we enjoy the bacon from and another where we will get our black pudding in the future.... the search continues!!

1 June 2006

We're back!!!

We've been back in NZ for a week now ... and back to the reality of day to day life. We do however have a load of entries about the trip to try and catch up on as we get time ... so stay posted!!