The big day

The big day

This is somewhat of a sad post really, but I’m going for it anyway, as today is a massive day in the life of Bryan.

I shaved (two days ago), someone noticed.

There is hope.

(photo credit: http://homemakermagazine.co.uk)

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Miracles

God does incredible things every day, sometimes we even get to see them. 

So my mum hasn’t been terribly well over the last 18 months, and as a result had to take almost that entire period off work. It was a really difficult time for us as a family, it just seemed like everything was happening at once, you know? But dad’s work was really nice and they let him take days off at a time when he needed to come home so she wouldn’t have to go to hospital on her own, and I really thank God for him, he really helped us stick together through what could have been a really horrible time. Diagnoses after diagnoses and prayer after prayer, eventually, God answered them all and she’s so much better it’s incredible! 

I’m only really appreciating the magnitude of the situation now, as they didn’t like telling me about what was happening when I was hundreds of miles away, there are things that are better said face to face, but I’m so glad that when that time did come, it was good news. 

The length of time she was off though meant that money was pretty hard to come by, which wasn’t great given on top of everything we normally have to finance, the student loan I’m getting doesn’t cover my rent. To top it all off, the landlords customarily ask for the first and last two months rent, which doesn’t sound like much, but one of the downsides to living here is that a single room cost more a month than our 4 bedroom house! But god delivered, yet again. 

When we bought the house, she took out some insurance protection thing, not the sort they badger on about on the TV, but still pretty standard stuff. For the whole period, and after, that she was ill, we didn’t hear a peep from them, so it was totally forgotten about. But when we really did need it, came through for us! Which means we have some breathing space for now! 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” – Rom. 8:28

B

…seriously. I’m getting paid to do this?

I love writing a new post, it means I’ve done something exciting! (I mean beta adrenergic agonists get my heart racing too, but there’s a time and place..) Today, I went on my first job as part of the photography society’s events team. Basically, other societies and the like hire us out to take pictures of their stuff, which is cool enough as it is, because it’s a great way to build up a portfolio if you ever really wanted to get serious, it’s really fun, and you get paid to do it. How could I refuse?!

The food itself was lovely! There was a nice variety from Indian lamb dishes to South African Bobotie, there was a Greek stand, a funky Thai stand and a jerky Caribbean stand, each looking as delicious as the last. It’s almost as if they replaced Gower Street with Brick Lane! I’m not really sure how strong the link was between this and Black History Month, but it’s nice to see so many different types of food, and if you’re into that, try Camden Market on a weekend (only, probably not on an empty stomach or you’ll leave with an empty wallet…)

Being my first event, I was a little nervous, it’s also been a while since I’ve done any proper shooting, this on the back of what was one of the hardest cycles I’ve done, but the weather was on my side, and the external flash worked really well (still getting to grips with itand overall, I’m happy with the way they turned out!

This was all practice for this charity ball I’m going to try and do as my second event. Suit up!

B

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These guys were great! They loved the camera

These guys were great! They loved the camera

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The noodles looked amazing

The noodles looked amazing

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steak sandwiches - heaven

steak sandwiches – heaven

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Most of the time, getting a decent picture is down to chance!

Most of the time, getting a decent picture is down to chance!

The boa takes the cake for the most beautiful kerb dish I've ever seen

The boa takes the cake for the most beautiful kerb dish I’ve ever seen

Wheels

Wheels

A quick Google will reveal that there are few things worse for your health than cycling in London. This was exactly what was going through my mind as I set out on my 3 mile trip to The City, and I’m pretty happy to say, I made it!

Back home in the overcast mines of Manchester, cycling is the reserve of the Buxtonites, those who will brave any weather condition with their Cannondales, dressed head to toe in dirt gear, face caked with mud and a beaming grin after conquering the three peaks to get to work. When they’re not on the road they’re in the garage, polishing their derailleurs with one hand and reading it with the other. Most cycling is the reserve of these powerhouses. As such, as an average joe, you stick out, somewhat, from the rest of the imitation-preppy crowd. Not so in London.

Now it’s not Oxbridge where everyone and their mother owns a bike, but here bikes are cool. Suddenly owning a vintage racer is the done thing, fixies are more than an exercise device, going green and looking like a dishevelled, sweaty mess as you walk into lectures at 8:59 is celebrated; cycling is cool!

I managed the whole trip in under half an hour, factoring in time spent getting lost and hauling my unfit behind up the slow hills. It was liberating, watching 205 after 205 streak past knowing you made the trip in a fraction of the time. Admittedly, there were some hairy moments but they’re to be expected on my first day. All in all, I’m definitely gonna give this a second shot. And hopefully with the money I’ll save, I can upgrade from my 8 year old hunk of junk!

B

A very Vapi-birthday


So today marked my departure from the teen age, my friends and I went out to this lovely German-Italian restaurant south of the river called Vapiano, and it was great!

“German? Italian?” I hear you say, well, the Italian part is pretty clear, they only serve pizza or pasta (±salad, I guess) and they make it there right in front of you, you get to pick the pasta, talk to the chefs if it isn’t too busy – waiting times are a little on the longer side but the fact that you can see them doing it there makes the time go a lot faster. It just seems like they’re doing something. Decor wise, it’s really green, lots of edible leafy plants to add a herby touch to the dish, and it’s huge! The paying system is german-ly efficient, you get a card that essentially acts as your tab for the night and you pay it off at the end. To top it all off, it’s really cheap, especially for a student! I would wholeheartedly recommend it if you’re ever in London.

It was really great having everyone around, we stayed and chatted until we got kicked out, it was just a lovely atmosphere and a fantastic way to end the day.  They also managed to out-happy-birthday another group of people who I did feel slightly sorry for! (I still don’t truly know what you’re meant to do/look/say when people sing to you, 20 years and it’s still catching me off guard!) I thank God for putting these guys in my life, they definitely made my day one to remember!

Now to go to sleep and wake up in 3 hours to catch a train home and see the rest of my family!

B

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Hasselback potatoes

This was the product of a really boring lecture and Reddit: Hasselback potatoes.

I can unreservedly say, and I am by no means a good cook, this is one of the easiest and tastiest things I’ve ever made! Try it out when you have some spare time and a few spuds lying around. Make sure to put two wooden spoons either side of the potato when cutting though, as you need to make sure you don’t cut all the way through. I melted some flora with basil parsley salt and pepper then sliced a little more between each fin. Then cook it like any other potato.

Delicious!

B

Brick Lane Festival

Just a minute!

Four gruelling hours of pharmacology into my Saturday, I’d had enough and decided to treat myself to some retail therapy. And It worked! I’m really unsure as to why it’s so relaxing but it is definitely my go-to pastime when it all gets too much. I actually managed to get what I was looking for too – always a bonus! 

This was followed by a beautifully made roast dinner at my friend Anna’s house with some of the guys from our bible study group, which was great! We’re a hotch-potch bunch from all over London as there aren’t enough UCL people to fully make our own group (I blame King’s College!) but I’d be bold enough to claim we get on the best, and definitely have the best socials. 

Tonight’s CU meeting also didn’t disappoint,. The room was packed, almost overflowing, people were sat on the floor, which is totally incredible, it’s awesome seeing so many new faces around and it’s got me so psyched for our holiday away! After which we went to the bar and played a game of just a minute! I mentioned it on a whim and before you know it, my friend Gideon was offering to be Nicholas Parsons and Ben was definitely taking on the role of Gyles Brandreth, waffling for 35 seconds at a time. It made such a change to the usual university bar scene, I loved it! I also got a first year nephew! It’s going to be really cool seeing him grow/suffer embryology during the year, haha! 

After quite a trying week in terms of house dynamics, it’s such a breath of fresh air to be able to escape all the drama and the fronts, as sometimes it can feel like a minefield, in more ways than one. Sometimes I really thank God for certain people he’s put in my life, without which I hesitate to think where I would be to this day. It’s got me thinking a lot about my future, and decisions that I’ll need to make for the forks that will inevitably crop up. 

It’s going to be a long 5 years! 

The N1 nightmares

So this weekend out shower almost burnt the house down, we had no hot water and I just found a massive patch of damp in my room, add this to the 0.1mbps wifi in my room and you get the perfect start to living by yourself!

So over this period of teething with the new house, I am realising that it’s harder than we thought. It’s by no means the worst, our differences are relatively minor, but I can’t put all the blame on the other guys because I guess I chose this too an I’m not perfect either! (especially when it comes to any sort of washing up – mum would love this) so it’s good, in a sense, that this is happening because we all get to see what we need to change in ourselves.

For me, I tend to let things slide too much, which, I guess doesn’t really sound like a bad thing but then nothing ever gets done, and soon, one small thing turns into this huge elephant in the room, you have to constantly dodge it when trying to get anything done, resulting in nothing but bitterness for something no one has a clue about. Definitely something I need to sort out. I also think honesty is a massive thing when it comes to living together because you’re together for a year or more, sooner or later whatever your agenda, it’s gonna come out.

We had a talk in CU today though by the evangelism sec, who had one brilliant line that went something like “I had to reach the end of myself before God picked me up and said “here, here is where we start””, and I think that’s pretty applicable to so many things that we try in vain to fix ourselves. Like this. Otherwise, I reckon we’d burn out, and what good would that be to anyone?

Big things to think over.

B

Weekends

So I took this weekend off from work and decided to enjoy it before lectures and labs get too intense, and it was totally worth it. Friday was the day I finally decided to join the Northern society, and it was an absolute blast, ended up meeting someone from my local area; small world.

Saturday was the first Christian Medical Fellowship barbecue, which was really good as there was so, so much food. I discovered cornbread – my life will never be the same, how did I live without this stuff! And it was just really cool seeing that there are so many christian on my course, a course where it seems anyone who isn’t a Christian is often pretty hostile to the whole idea. I did, however, find out that one of the girls in my anatomy group is, which is one of the greatest feelings ever. I now totally understand what Elijah must have felt when God told him about all the other prophets that had not bowed the knee (1 Kings 19). I have the feeling that so many big things are going to happen this year!

Today was equally as fun. I went up to Hampstead to visit my friend from back home studying at King’s College (their halls are beautiful, if not impossibly far away)  and we headed down to this huge festival in Shoreditch. Brick Lane is known for its alternative markets on a Sunday, but this was much larger. So much was going on, the food was fantastic! I think it’s more about the sheer number of people walking around looking at all the stuff that just makes you want to be a part of it. However, most of the market is inaccessible to the meagre bank accounts of London students so window shopping is all we could afford. There was, however, a lovely artist who pinned his art on one wall for his exhibition ‘Sell out butterflies’, saying anyone could take it! That totally made my day. I nabbed a cool looking lego piece that’s now on my wall. Full credit goes to the man himself, Alex Arnell – Thank you for jazzing up my wall and making my day.

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The Towpath

 

Either side of my new house is Regent’s canal. I walk over it every day going into university but last week I had a bit of time spare so decided to take a little detour and see where it would go. Both ways. The first, I’ll admit, had some direction. I wanted to check out the Towpath Cafe, a quaint little eatery a few miles down the canal.

One thing I love about London it just how diverse the environments can get. Walking along the canal, you often forget that you’re in the capital, lost in the peace and tranquility of the boats and the water. It made for a lovely little break from it all, and I would definitely recommend the Towpath cafe. It’s near impossible to walk past it without entering, the smell is simply heavenly. I felt truly sorry for the joggers running laps past this place, I guess it would act as fantastic motivation.

The other side of the towpath led straight in to Camden on a market day, where you can get almost every kind of food and clothing item! I’m normally not too keen on markets, but this one takes the cake for me. However, many people weren’t too keen on pictures (why?!) So I ate my lunch and left! It carries on to separate Regent’s Park and Primrose hill. This stretch is really quiet bar the odd boat or two. There was also this really unusual stretch where people seemed to have made a permanent home for themselves in their canal boats. In all honesty, it looked like such a cool place, there were tables, chairs, patios, decorations, fairy lights; at night, this place must look fantastic!

That’s all for now!

B

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Happiness

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I fell in love with this Nikon EM. The viewfinder, my word. I’ve never dabbled in film, but this would definitely make the list. Early birthday present?!

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Graffiti may be a problem in Central London, but then someone goes and does this.

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