Friday, 2 March 2012

Welshcakes.

Bore da i gyd! March is here and Spring is on its way. I had the last remaining welshcake for breakfast this morning. I do love the humble welshcake - easy to make and always turns out ok despite the wildest  inaccuracies of quantities and lack of equipment - only really essential item is a heavy bottomed pan or griddle. I made them in the base of a stir-fry pan so could only do 4 at a time but adds a suitably oriental twist to the whole process (although said pan was made in France - how is it that France can still make pans and export to the east, where did the UK go wrong with its manufacturing? Don't answer that, rhetorical question!)

Improvised cooling rack and water bottle rolling pin and a measuring jug with fluid ounces on the scale to measure the sugar and flour. My maths is not great at the best of times but the welsh cake forgives all of this and magically appears in the pan, with the addition of a sprinkling of sugar and 'dyna fe' (welsh for voila?) a little bit of Wales in South Korea. As one of my colleagues, whose mother was Welsh, said - seeing them brought tears to her eyes. Emotional business, food from home (or maybe they just looked ok but tasted awful!)
The following day i went to Homeplus (Tescos in Korea - no slave labour here - as far as i am aware?) and bought  some kitchen scales and a cooling rack. I think i'll give scones a try next.

We've had a few poker nights since i last wrote - January's session was billed as Burn's night poker but with no haggis or bagpipes, poor Burns was forgotten in the rush to accumulate chips. Great fun and i'm sure Burns would approve. Bob and I have not been the most successful players - i blame the alcohol and my inability to do a poker face (silence i also find tricky) I'm not sure what Bob's excuses are - he should be great at it - after 21 years together, i can still not tell when he's being serious!

Last night's was called Mad March poker but the Welsh theme predominated and Y Ddraig Goch adorned the wall. Again, the proposed recitals of Dylan Thomas didn't happen which is just as well as when i read Fern Hill after everyone had gone home, the tears came flooding - alcohol and poetry, a dangerous mix!
It had been an emotional late night last weekend that saw Wales beat England for the first time ever at Twickenham - i still can't believe that statistic! I have never had so much unwavering confidence of certain victory watching Wales play and  frankly, that confidence only just lasted until that final try. The sigh of relief was deep and grateful that such confidence had been justified.

The weather has taken a turn for the milder so I'm glad we got a few days skiing in during the mid-term break. It was almost like a proper ski trip but really had me hankering after a week in the Alps - a solid week of skiing and and drinking simply cannot be bettered. We had a good time with friends and i'm pleased to say the Hat game made its first appearance in Korea. I was slightly worried as i had never played with such an internationally varied group of people but Hat won the day, despite some very vociferous insistence on rules! On the skiing side, i learned a couple of valuable lessons from helpful fellow skiers and the slopes were wonderfully empty as it was mid week. I also found a great way to spice up the intermediate slopes - head straight down hill a la Franz Klammer and endure the burning thigh muscles while trying hard to stay on ones skis. Great fun.

I wore a helmut from the 2nd day after Bob collided spectacularly with a  snowboarder. The aftermath of the incident rumbled on and eventually Bob reluctantly gave the guy a chunk of money to end the threats of being sued. It had been Bob's fault admittedly but it caused a blip of unpleasantness in an otherwise great few days. Thanks to Jules for organising it.

Earlier in January, we had broadened our horizons a little more and took a trip to Gumi, a smaller town a couple of hours north of here. We saw a frozen waterfall and a great volleyball match. The area around the base of the waterfall reminded me of the one up at Tir y Cwm, except that a) it wasn't raining and b) it was swarming with hikers. Great to get away, though and do something different. Anyting to avoid routine and time speeding up.

And so to Spring. The freezing temps and wind chill factor appear to have become a thing of the past and forecasts on the site i look at are all in shades of green rather than the blue of winter months. The weather here appears to be mirroring the UK's. On the whole, i'd say i prefer the Winter here - cold and crisp and clear. Koreans tell me this sort of weather, ie dry, should be continuing but there is rain forecast. I went for a run in a downpour - it was my first run after over a week off so was doubly difficult. The downhill speed skiing, strenuous though it is, was no substitute for running and my training has taken a setback. I will try to get back on track tomorrow with another long run. At least i won't have to put three layers of clothes on with gloves, hat and scarf - I won't miss the strange sensation of feeling cold after running up a hill for 20 minutes while dressed up in winter woollies.

Bob will be away when i run the Haeundae half marathon - he's off to Bangkok for Maths training (it's a hard life) Then Mum and David arrive at the end of term and we can't wait for that. We need to plan some sort of itinerary as they leave on their big trip in a couple of weeks and may be difficult to get hold of.

Bob's helping with a soccer tournament at school and i am lazing about. Next week I start ballet classes - don't laugh! it was all agreed after watching Nutcracker at Xmas., so later i need to find some sort of acceptable get up that will hopefully prevent the spectacle from being even more ridiculous!

May catch a movie later - we saw the Artist and enjoyed it and Tinker Tailor on the TV via the laptop was really brilliant (cinema version would have been better) It's great we can watch some films here as dubbing isn't common.

I'm off to do a draft plan for an Eisteddfod next year - I think it's just what the school needs to consolidate the House system and celebrate everyone's cultural creativity. And people still really need to know what a great little nation Wales is - an Eisteddfod will do this a little more effectively than a plateful of Welshcakes could ever do!







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