Paul had New Year's Eve off and I can't really remember if we did anything now during the day - we went to Lloyd's on the evening to watch Birdemic (really quite terrible, which was obviously the point - it's like someone tried to make a film of Angry Birds and forced a plot out of it) and drink cocktails. The night before I'd not managed to get any sleep until about 4.00am so I was already pretty knackered before we got to Lloyd's - we were going to leave after the second film, namely Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but it took so long to start the frelling thing that we decided to go after finishing our drinks. For the most part, this was because Paul disappeared to the "spare" kitchen (i.e. Lloyd's dad's) where the drinks were being made, returning about half an hour later considerably drunker than before, at which point I'd had enough and wanted to go home.
The taxi then took 40 minutes or more to arrive (as it was gone 1.00am), most of which was spent with Paul asking me, repeatedly, where the taxi was. After the sixth time the entire room told him it was on the way. Sigh.
We got back around 3.00am. Despite being shattered, I think I still didn't get to sleep until gone 4.00 - not helped by the fact Paul was snoring because he's been ill, and I was feeling a bit sick. I slept in the spare room as a result of both. Annoyingly, I'd only had two bottles of cider and one cocktail, yet still woke up feeling hungover. Which is better than a migraine, at least.
New Year's Day was pleasant, though. Paul's mum came over around midday for a couple of hours, followed immediately by Darren and Andrea (and latterly Jade) for another couple of hours. In the process of the second visit I disappeared into the kitchen to make some bread, as it needed time to rise - my first ever attempt at bread, in fact, using a recipe from the Mary Berry book that Lisa bought me for Christmas. :)
We ended up having dinner ridiculously late. Well, the starter was on time - the aforesaid home-made bread (a 12-piece "crown loaf" which turned out so amazingly well I'm actually wondering what all the fuss was about regarding bread-making) with a baked camembert we picked up in Aldi over the weekend. NOM NOM NOM. The starter was really filling, which transpired to be a good thing...
The main course was the beef&beer "wedding pie" out of Jamie's Great Britain (a birthday present off Paul's mum), which I saw him make on the show and was determined to try. I actually misread the instructions and it turned out to take an entire HOUR longer than I thought - we ended up eating at about quarter to eleven. But actually? It was totally worth it. The pie was AMAZING. The beef just literally fell apart (as it also did when I shredded some of it in the mixer for chilli to take to Lloyd's) and all the other ingredients complimented it really well - red onions, pearl barley, even cheddar cheese. There was enough in the main pie for another three meals, plus enough leftover filling for an entirely separate pie, which is in the freezer.
It was topped with suet pastry - also my first ever attempt! I am definitely making pastry again, too, if it's that easy!
Actually, a lot of the credit must go to both my mixer (for the bread anyway) and my non-stick rolling mat, which I picked up at Livstil in Derby. I think it's quite probably the best £10 I've ever spent. I've used it now for scones (Boxing Day), bread (kneading) and the suet pastry, with absolutely no disasters. I think I've been putting off making things like that for so long because I've never had a big enough surface to roll out on, or too many appliances to work around, and it's always ended in disaster, but the mat has made so much difference! One side clings to the worksurface, the other side is non-stick for rolling out, with helpful measurements.
Next challenge: royal icing. I've had varying degrees of success with it over the past few years, and whether it works or not is entirely dependant on my rolling-out after making it. Come on, non-stick mat. One more hurdle before I'm a domestic goddess of baking.
(Oh yeah, at the weekend we had Alex and Dina over for dinner - pretty basic by our standards really - Indian style prawn toast as they'd had it before, a lamb roast, and then we attempted creme brulée for dessert, again from Mary Berry's book. It actually worked pretty well. What's the fuss over home-made custard? It's easy! Anyway, only minor disaster was that I set fire to the sugar on the top, but that's because my grill has only one temperature and is MADE OF BURNINATING. But it tasted okay.)
I am going to make bread every weekend from now on. So much fun. Katie was right, it's kind of addictive. ;) Actually, I wish I'd discovered it sooner, as kneading is a really good way of getting out your aggression and I could have done with the opportunity to beat something into submission...
Extra bonus: I don't need to buy a bread-maker, because I am BAKING MISTRESS SUPREME.
*ahem* Yeah. A couple of baking successes and I'm queen of the world. It's actually sort of awesome, after so many years of hit-and-miss or outright failure. ;)
Uhm, anyway. Rest of the week went thus:
Wednesday - washing up, laundry, tidying bedroom, some relaxing on the sofa. No sleep due to JC fic idea thwacking me in the head and demanding an outlet.
Thursday - gave fic idea an appropriate outlet, spent most of day re-reading the episode tags and getting a few loose ends typed up, after sitting on them for ages. Mostly because the idea in question was a stumbling block I'd been struggling to get over, then suddenly it clicked into place and everything else followed. Attempted to go to bed around 2.30am, as I was determined to get the majority of the pre-series 3 Angstfic typed up and I was keeping Eni entertained for her 21 hours of travelling, then ended up sleeping in the spare room anyway as I was restless and Paul was snoring, and I still didn't nod off 'til gone four. Again.
Friday - much of the same, though I attempted my other new PS3 game, Heavy Rain, as a break from battering Little Big Planet. ANOTHER gone 4.00am night, despite giving the OTHER idea which pestered me all night an outlet. Writer's insomnia aside, the changing temperatures lately haven't helped either.
Saturday - period pains of DOOM. Which kind of explains the creativity, I guess, in which case it's much preferable to homicidal rage and hating everything. Being hormonal has resulted in some pretty epic angst, writing-wise. ;) In any case, I spent the day in my jammies on the sofa, mostly watching the 30th anniversary broadcast of CITV and indulging in nostalgia. ART ATTACK. KNIGHTMARE. Remembering that I shipped Lynda/Spike in Press Gang even when I was seven. ALL THE THINGS ARE AWESOME.
Sunday - much the same as Saturday except I actually got dressed, and we took the tree down. Had lobster for tea, which is very tasty but a bit too fiddly for my tastes, and Paul had to take the head off mine before I could eat it. :P
Today: nothing in Winscribe, hence the entry. I really want to work on my latest JC fic idea but this environment is not particularly conducive to the style I want to write it in (i.e. angsty over-verbosity / pretty wording), so instead I might get some more words down on the tapas!fic, as it forms a section of the "Three Gamblers" episode tag and is pretty much the only thing I now need to do on the Tag Project. That in itself shows how productive I've been; a week ago I would have lamented how far I had to go before they were done.
I think the burst of Creek-related productivity is due to the announcement on Alan Davies's twitter regarding the upcoming Easter special. It was meant to be a Christmas special but, well, BBC are arses. As ever, I hold out no hope of a Maddy-shaped surprise, but I'm ever-alert to the tiniest mention, no matter how veiled. (TBH, at this juncture I'd be happy just to see the bloody windmill again; the last Easter special seemed quite lost and displaced without it.) The downside is the Epic Doomfic will have yet more story to include, though that is dependant on the episode itself. If it doesn't mould to my evil plan I'll just set the story as far as Judas Tree and leave it there. :P
It's kind of weird knowing the tags are finished. Except really, they're actually not. I've done all but one episode of series 3 (namely "Mystery on Crooked Lane"), for the most part because it's self-explanatory, but also out of a sense of utter DO NOT WANT when it comes to how things were apparently "resolved". I feel a bit cowardly for backing away from that episode. I got around "The Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish" and "The Eyes of Tiresias" by merely swapping the episode order - I was half-convinced they were the wrong way around anyway - and I'm starting to think that "...Crooked Lane" needs something. Just because... well, in the universe I'm building around the canon, that ridiculous anti-climax (sorry - but it totally is) does not remotely fit in. There are a few little ideas niggling at the side of my brain in order to explain it - for the most part the fact that they're in unfamiliar surroundings and the entire thing is too forced, and also, I suspect, they're entirely too sober for the sort of emotions / feelings it potentially brings to light. I don't know. I need to make it work, or the tags that follow will simply fall over on me in a Jenga-tower of logic failure.
At one point I might not have bothered... but I'm really getting the urge to post the tags to FFN now, and they're not quite ready for public consumption. Maybe even "A Lot to Answer For", when it has more substance (so it doesn't end up in uncompleted limbo). There's so little JC fic on FFN and only two stories of any decent length or quality, and it's not like I've never shared it before - indeed, I'm usually more than willing to email it to people simply because of the smallness of the fandom and the dearth of decent writing. I want to up the game. I want these stories to see the light of day, for other people to start thinking as deeply about the episodes and the subtext and the character dynamic as much as I do. I'm fed up of being that lone voice howling at the moon.
Except posting them means I'll have to do more. It started out as a tag project only for series 3, but I had to do "Black Canary" to kick it off, because in my head that's when things change. Then I wrote one for the pilot, and one for the Gordon Hill incident. There are plenty of other episodes that could warrant tags - "House of Monkeys" springs to mind, as does "Mother Redcap". All these little parts of Jonathan and Maddy's history are so important to the final outcome, and I feel like I've cheated them by overlooking them. I'm making canon where there is none, and I suppose I always felt it might be a difficult job, but now the majority of the initial tags are nearing completion (God, that still feels weird) I feel like I need to write more.
It doesn't help that I want to write a companion piece to the tags / actual canonic events, almost entirely Jonathan-centric, in the style of those "X times / one time..." stories. The provisional title is "X Times Jonathan Should Have Said Something, and One Time He Actually Did" (I haven't counted the times yet! :P) I wrote a few bits down for it last night, including - as I tweeted to Eni - probably the angiest Jonathan introspection in the entire world. And I can't share THAT story without sharing the ones it refers to - inventing / filling-in canon is entirely well and good, but only if other people have any clue what I'm going on about.
And you know, for a show which was produced as a mystery comedy-drama (or dramady, if you will), it produces a terrifying amount of angst. The show itself never approached its own canonic angst (like Maddy's mother) with any kind of integrity, which is entirely fair when you're constrained to six one-hour episodes per series, but in many ways I wish David Renwick hadn't bothered at all. If we'd never had these tiny character snippets, the 'ship would not have eaten my brain to the degree it always has. I've 'shipped these two for as long as I've watched the show - in fact, from before I watched the show - and that 'ship has become deeper and more complex than I gave it credit for - or indeed, than it has any right to be after only 19 episodes.
So, in any case, watch this space. My JC stuff might actually appear somewhere more exciting that my hard-drive. ;)
Also, that reminds me: I must email Kate (my short-lived Polish fandom friend - we lost contact in the midst of my house move and her new job and my subsequent lack of internet) and update her on all these exciting fic-related things. :)
Okay, I do believe that's long enough.
Leaving work early today as I need to go to Bearwood to buy a plunger - our toilet is alternately not flushing properly, draining slowly, or gurgling ominously. It initially did it just before Christmas then corrected itself overnight, now it's doing it more regularly and I'd rather try and solve the problem before we bother the landlord...