I've been growing some peculiar tomatoes in my garden. These are not the first nor, looking at the green ones still to ripen, will they be the last. Officially they are San Marino Roma toms, excellent for paste and for oven roasting, but they look like they glommed onto regular round tomatoes to make little tomato weebles.
Just another one of the things I love about my vegetable garden; things aren't perfect and there are always surprises.
Which is in direct contrast to dog shows, where the dogs are meant to be perfect and there are rarely surprises. We were at a show with Meggan today and I just want to say bravo to the owner/breeder handlers.
Last year was not a very good year for writing. Come to think of it, last year wasn't very good for very much. Toby spent the better part of the year commuting to the UK, which meant that I spent the better part of the year keeping things together on the home front. Then, when it was all over and Toby came back home, we decided to take advantage of all those frequent flier miles, hotel points, and rapidly aging vacation days and fly to the southern hemisphere a lot via places that were not necessarily on the way.
The furry children did ok given that they were stuck with me for the longest time and only saw Fun Daddy on the weekends, when he wasn't so much fun as jetlagged. Meggan continued to gain confidence in the ring and got lovely blue ribbons at lots of different places. Tywyn, having completed his Canine Good Citizen training last summer, got the year off. But he will return to the canine books soon with some rally and obedience work. We can't have his pesky little sister getting all the pretty ribbons can we? Both puppies got into swimming. Meggan of course LOVES swimming to the point where getting her by a body of water without needing to get in it is nearly impossible. George continued to be peculiar and developed a small biting habit following a close call with our friend Callum's foot on the stairs. Emily remains adorable.
Of course we decided to throw the usual round of house destruction and reconstruction into the mix. 2007 brought one very serious project - the creation of a master suite where there was none. Where our past efforts have largely been cosmetic, this one involved a jack hammer and the slab. The dissipation of nervous energy was well worth it in the end with 3 separate rooms becoming one giant nest, complete with the most divine closet a girl could ask for. The before and after sequences, complete with the usual round of bad taste photos need to be witnessed in full. Wood paneling, crackle logs, owls, and now weird murals on cinder blocks under the stairs - and I don't believe I've seen everything yet.
Then, as I said earlier, we abandoned ship and headed south. First to New Zealand for a week's frolicking in hot mud. Well mostly we looked at hot mud, it was very therapeutic, but we did play in the water at the hot water beach. On the way back from Auckland we stopped in Sydney for one of the best things we've ever done. The weekend we were in Sydney just happened to be the closest weekend to my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Toby and I plotted with my dad to get my mother to Sydney for the weekend without knowing that she would be meeting us for dinner. I still marvel at the fact that my dad kept his end of the deceit going for nigh on 6 months, even down to concocting a story about how he'd won this trip and that they had to take it on a specific weekend. I, on the other hand, not being able to lie to my mother, had to stop calling for fear of letting something slip. In the end it was the Hilton Sydney who let something slip, but it was still a hoot. We had a lovely dinner at Tetsuya's which Toby would have enjoyed if he hadn't fallen asleep.
We were hardly back home long enough to change suitcases when we were back on long haul flights for Christmas in Australia with my mum and dad. We took the round about routing: IAD-JFK-LHR-HKG-MEL-PER-MEL-HKG-NRT-LHR-JFK-IAD and then our bags decided that they weren't done so they spent three days in Raleigh. The trip, as expected was marvelous. We went to Stonehenge on the way over, had Sunday Roast Lunch at a lovely pub near Woodhenge, drank lots of champagne, experienced the joys of fully flat beds on a plane, and arrived in Australia well rested and ready for a jolly good holiday. Best part of the holiday was teaching Toby how to crab in the estuary at my parents' house. This was something I really should have checked before we got married, but thankfully he passed the catching test with flying colours, although he's not so keen on cleaning his supper. But he'll do.
After we had eaten our fill of crabs it was time to go and destroy the seafood reserves of another country so we headed from Perth to Tokyo via Melbourne and Hong Kong. We left Melbourne at 11:59pm on New Year's Eve and got to see fireworks from the plane as we took off. Hong Kong was just a transit point this time, but was notable for the Cathay Pacific flight where the flight crew refused to serve me food because of my nut allergy and made a report to pass on to British Airways for our flight from Tokyo back to London. Neither Toby nor I believed that their report would make it anywhere near BA, since getting airlines to document allergies is basically impossible at the best of times, let alone trying to coordinate across partner airlines on flights more than a week a part. But somehow, they did. For 11 hours on the BA flight from NRT-LHR I was FORCED to eat only lobster. Poor me.
Tokyo was as brilliant as always and we were very well taken care of by our friends Ono-san and Jason. Ono-san took us a wonderful trip to Kyoto and invited us to his family's home to celebrate the New Year. We also did our first proper solo adventures in Japan this trip and even managed to navigate the subway unaccompanied. And, in my long-standing mission to try McDonald's in every country I visit, discovered that the Japanese 'beef' patties are in fact pork. Toby had far loftier in-country goals...On the last morning we were in Japan he made me get up very early to witness the tuna auction at Tsukiji market. While I whined a little about the cold and freaked out a little at some of the sea creatures trying to crawl out of buckets, it was a phenomenal experience and one that I would repeat in an instant. Especially the part where we had sushi for breakfast!
But that my dear friends, brings us well into 2008. Which is the subject of another post.