April 17, 2020

Uborka Lockdown Cocktails

Lockdown cocktails are now a normal thing at Casa Uborka on a Friday after “work,” for those of you who still take part in such mundane activities. Some of us are merrily furloughing along and spending our day acquiring and using vast quantities of flour.

Today’s cocktail hour was a happy party featuring the entirety of Team Uborka, only one of whom actually had a drink of any sort until Pete fetched the dregs of a bottle of tequila, which we finished in one slam. Also present were Gordon, whose sofa matched ours nicely (but no dogs); Lyle who managed not to swear a huge amount but may have made some slightly off-colour remarks but we forgive him, since they didn’t come close to Fluffspangle‘s graphic description of ways she could put down her dog. Lori brought a touch of glamour, and the Gammidgys brought a touch of tortoise. It was excellent in many ways and (apart from a latte that Pete made me earlier), the highlight of my day.

See you all next week!

  • Comments: 2
  • It was pretty good going for you. - Karen
  • I tried. And then knew I’d failed when I got the chorus of shocked “Lyle!” calls... - Lyle

Flour Girl

Let me tell you a story about when I worked in catering. One of my crappy jobs was ordering food from suppliers, which is probably not that hard if you know one single thing about catering, which it was quickly established that I did not. I was given a handy formula for working out how much to order, but if I applied it then the chefs moaned about tiny quantities of meat where the predicted order was only two portions.

This was before the internets were a thing, so the orders were done by phone, working from a paper catalogue. The dry goods catalogue was a huge dot-matrix printout listing each item alphabetically. Nobody told me the difference between 1×1000 candarel, and 1x1kg candarel, which seriously upset the diet chef when he had to open a LOT of packets to make diabetic jelly.

How is this applicable to the current situation, you demand, for everything must be made into a lesson we can apply in a pandemic. On opening my last bag of bread flour, I felt sad. And a bit stressed, because we eat a fair bit of bread and pizza, and because baking is a nice thing to do, it feels productive and wholesome and passes the time. And then a friend put me on to a catering supplier in Basingstoke, who delivers, and I opened up a glorious website of supplies, nothing marked out of stock, and all the types of flour. Now I am SURE I ordered 4×1.5kg of each flour, but apparently I ordered 1x16kg of each flour, and that’s fine, I’ll use it.

Large packages of food

So much flour.

Note also the single carton of passata (not 1×6 then?) and the ENTIRE BOX of chocolate raisins. Oh yes, that’s nearly enough for Pete. And I’m pretty sure the raisins are the reason he didn’t hit the roof at 8am when a pallet of flour was delivered to a small suburban semi with no plans to open a bakery.

  • Comments: 2
  • The tiny carton of passata makes me laugh! Poor little carton next to all the big mega-pac... - Lyle
  • I'm not sure which to comment on first, the flour hoarding (you awful person you!) or the ... - Gordon
  • Comments: 4
  • We're doing it again next Friday Mike. - Karen
  • Dammit, I never saw this! I shall raise a glass of espresso martini to you both in absenti... - Mike
  • Come on in then, we're open! - Karen
  • I've checked we have plenty of ice in stock and (shh! Don't tell the boss) I've already st... - Gammidgy
March 30, 2020

The Original and Best Online Cocktails

You are cordially invited to join us in celebrating wishing it was our wedding day on Friday at 5pm BST. A zoom link will be provided right here, for the Original And Best Online Cocktail Hour Invented By Uborka ©2003. As always, virtual drinks can be provided, but you are strongly encouraged to bring  your own, even if it’s just a nice cup of tea.

March 24, 2020

To have and to put on hold

Back in October Pete and I went out for dinner one night when my mum was staying. We went to a nice place we’ve been to before, called Valpy Street in Reading. It is an odd underground place that feels both crowded and cosy, but not uncomfortable. He spent much of the meal talking over whether to continue going to his archery club or not. When he eventually paused for a moment, I mentioned that there was another decision I wanted to talk about with him, and he said, are you going to propose?

I’d been following the Campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships for some time, and it had finally reached the point where we knew it was going to happen. There are many reasons why a civil partnership feels like a better fit for us than a marriage, not least the increasingly feminist view that we have of the world. More on that later. Having known and loved Pete for nearly 17 years now, I was confident that he would agree that it’s the right thing at the right time, so yes, I was going to propose. In fact, so confident was I, that I’d already ordered a ring redesigned out of my two ex-wedding rings and the diamonds from my mum’s engagement ring. If he had inexplicably turned round and said no to my suggestion, I’d still be wearing it, because I really like it.

The next step in our process was to figure out what it might look like. Big dress big cake big party? Doesn’t feel very us, and we’ve got four divorced parents to manage. Small bespoke do on a narrowboat? Even more of a parent-management issue. Do it all online? Seemed like a daft idea at the time. We made a list of everything we could think of to do with weddings, then crossed out the things we didn’t fancy; ice sculpture out, vintage cars in. Eventually we made a rule: if the idea doesn’t fill us with joy, then we won’t do it. We settled on a small signing in the registry office with two witnesses (Bernard and Pete’s sister), then a road trip round the country to go out for a celebratory meal with small family parties. Then maybe some sort of friend do in a pub at a later date if we feel like it. The road trip to include two nights where Bernard stays with grandparents, and we get a two night “honeymoon” at a fancy hotel in Grasmere.

A date was set, and then we had to wait for the registry office to give us the go ahead. I was in Manchester for work when they called me to confirm the date and tell us when we would need to go in for our pre-signing appointment. At this point they threw me a massive curve ball: Pete and I share the same surname, because when I was pregnant with Bernard, I did a deed poll. The deed poll hasn’t been lodged with a court, because it doesn’t have to be. It’s been used successfully to change my surname on bank accounts, passports etc. But for the purposes of a civil partnership, according to the registrar, it wasn’t good enough. We would have to use the words “Also known as [former married surname]” on the paperwork. This did not sit well with me.

I gave it some thought, and then wrote a strongly worded email, pointing out that since it is impossible for me to change my surname from [former married name] to anything else, as I have no ID in that name, I can’t possibly be considered “Also known as” that name. I was all ready for a fight, but they caved immediately, so a couple of sleepless nights for nothing there. Fucking patriarchy.

The date we have been looking forward to is 22nd May. Gorgeous Lori sorted me out with a dress; other costuming arrangements remained a bit vague. Actual pretty invitations were sent out! Guests were invited to contribute songs to the Wedding Road Trip Playlist. All we had to do was count the days down, which we didn’t actually do because it’s not that exciting.

And now what? Last week I paid a fee to rearrange to the earliest possible date, which would have been 3rd April. Last night Boris banned weddings. And yes, as plenty of people have told me, it’s only deferred to some unknown point in the future when we can celebrate and be happy, which rather undermines my genuine disappointment at not being able to do this nice thing when we expected to; as well as my genuine concern at Pete and I not being legally next of kin; and the fact is we’re as happy as one can be in these circumstances and signing a bit of paper isn’t going to make us more so. It was just a nice set of events that we were looking forward to, which now has to be rearranged in its entirety.