Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Somewhere out there...

Waiting...patiently...well not perhaps totally patiently but have no option but to wait to be honest. On Magellan (a jack-up rig), which is currently attached to Shearwater, and waiting for the chopper to lift from the Beach to take me home. Up just after 5 this morning to do a presentation at 6 and struggling to concentrate on anything else now for the rest of the day. Have finished an evaluation report and almost finished another report but got a cracking sore head now so can't really concentrate on something else. Might do some more knitting in a wee while but I'd really love to just sit and sleep. Better wait until I'm on the chopper.

Still remember the first time flying offshore, all bundled up in my survival suit and other safety kit. Watching all these guys falling asleep before we even left the ground and thinking "I'll never be able to do that!" Funny how you manage within a very short space of time. There is a certain skill in being able to fall asleep very easily whilst flying on the choppers or the fixed wing flights. The benefits of the choppers is that they are so damned noisy that no-one can hear you snore or any of those snorty noises that you make when you nod off and your head drops to your chest. Whoever said flying was glamourous lied...profusely!

Thing is - this trip I get to see the chopper (aka the paraffin budgie) landing on Shearwater which I think is pretty cool. Even after 3 years of doing this I still find the whole flying thing pretty smart. Watching something come into land on such a small area of space. Watching the manoeverability of the machines and their pilots. Flying past these structures in the middle of the North Sea that people are working away on. Making a living. Getting on with people in an enclosed environment. Sharing your living space with no, or very little, choice in who you might end up sharing a cabin with. Who you share your free time with?! You just do what you have to. If you enjoy your time it's a bonus but for most it's something they do to provide a life for others.

And when it goes tits up, as it invariably does for a proportion? When the separation becomes too much? Divorce, relationships breakdown, don't survive...they just have to carry on regardless. Sometimes it's a good place to be in those times. An escape from all the shit that's going on at home. Other times it's the last place you want to be. There is no privacy. Can't make a phone call without folk listening in - it's not deliberate, just the soundproofing isn't always that great. Can't come back out of the phone booth upset or crying as everyone will see. Can't let that macho face slip. Can't let folk see the pussycat that hides behind the North Sea Tiger. Surrounded by folk but feel incredibly lonely and can't go anywhere to be alone.

That's when it's hard.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Food Pron...

And another lovely wee jaunt was had to Londonium. I was there for a conference on the Friday - which was actually really good so no complaints there. Of course this did mean that I passed through Victoria which means that I was able to feed my crack addiction...also known as Krispy Kreme doughnuts...I only had 3 of them this trip which was slightly better than the last trip when I had 7 over the course of 4 days!

Then there was some wine on Thursday night - but only a glass each with our Chinese. We finished the rest of it on Friday night.

More drinkies on Friday night when we went to Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the Hilton Park Lane. A rather fine Bellini cocktail to start...followed up with some lovely Pinot Grigio.

And as to the food...we would have
liked to have this menu...

but instead we went for this one...

...which, truth be told was just gorgeous. Chicken to start and then there was some red mullet for me and some lamb for Pauline. Both were totally scoffed as elegantly as we could muster without picking the plates up and licking them clean!

And then there was pudding - and artistic combination of apples...not too sweet and not too sharp. As Goldilocks would say "just right".

And finally there were some delish petit fours to finish off. The chocolate jellies were sublime. Must investigate how to make them...!

And I did make a total t*t of myself at the stage where the coffee was offered. In my defence (weak, I know) please remember that I'm used to Aberdeen where proper coffee is still a novelty when eating out in a restaurant. They think they're making proper coffee but I beg to differ. It just doesn't match with Italy, Spain or Portugal. There are a few places who do a good job but overall they're the cafes you go to during the day rather than the places you go for an evening meal. Anyway I digress.

So, the waiter asks if we'd like coffee and I respond "do you do espresso?" Not a major gaffe but this is a place with wine waiters for heaven's sake and silver service - something I could still do if pushed after 12 years in the hospitality trade (though it's 8 years since I had to work in it). The waiter did just look at Ms P with a slight grin as I just twigged what I'd said. A bit "doh!" Of course they do espresso and any other decent coffee or tea you could probably think of!

And that's not the end of the food extravaganza. Saturday saw a trip to the Natural History Museum for the Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. It was astounding - some fantastic images. Then we tootled off to do a bit of shopping which did entail some trying on of some very posh frocks in Selfridges (thinking ahead for the bridesmaid gig coming up next year). It was fun. Most impressed when the guy guessed my size straight off. Then we wandered down to the ground floor cafe and has some afternoon tea. Totally unnecessary but ever so fine.

I like my food...!

Photo a day - April

Another month...

April 2007