Thursday, 22 May 2008

New Addition

I am so pleased to announce the safe arrival of a new member of the De-Giorgio Clan;

Beniamino John was born at 09:43 on Tuesday 20th May, 2008 and weighed 7lbs 12oz.

Trisha and Ben are now both home and doing absolutely fine, and whilst Luca has only so far made a passing acknowledgement of his little brother, he so far seems to be taking the change in his stride.

Here's a few pics, hope you like 'em.
As you can see, we're rather proud...

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Chinese for 9?

It started with just two of us. Sarah had agreed to help me out teaching at the Bradford All-Dayer, so I felt the least I could do was ask her to join me for dinner between the afternoon's classes and the evening party. Then I found that Maureen, Donna and Louise from our Monday clubnights were coming too, so it seemed appropriate to invite them along. Maureen especially as I'd agreed to give her a lift to the venue. Five of us.
The evening before, I learnt that Ben (another of our Monday nighters) was also at the event so it seemed like a good idea to ask him too. That'll be six, then.

I thought I'd got it sorted. Bradford is the curry centre of the north and twice previously Trisha and I had nipped for an Indian between teaching and partying. I'd even got a place in mind, the Nawab;- big enough to cope with a few of us at short notice, but small enough to be good quality, and reasonably priced to boot. And if they were full, hey, it's Bradford , I knew several others curry houses we could.
After the tango classes, I got chatting to Jamie, Bill Newby's tango partner and wondered if she and Bill would like to join us. Now we were eight.

Sarah was the first to throw a spanner in the works.
"Curry?" she said, disapprovingly, "I don't think that's a good idea, with the stinky breath that always ensues."
To be fair to Sarah, she had a point, but that said, where else was I going to find that was big enough to cope with nine of us at very short notice? Yeah, nine - Sarah had asked our friend Rick along too. I'd lived on the north side of Bradford ten years ago but a lot could change in that time and I only ever went out in threes and fours in those days.
I phoned Trisha after watching Doctor Who (thanks to Jan and Gary, oh heck, maybe I should've invited them as well?) and she was a little concerned.
"You've given yourself a real job there," she warned. "How are you all going to decide on what you want to eat, and then when you do, how are you going to find somewhere that can fit nine of you in at less than an hour's notice?"
Trisha had a point. These impromptu gatherings sound great in concept but can be a real pain to organise.
Back down in the foyer, I met with Sarah, Donna, Maureen, Louise and Ben to discuss what to do.
If only there was somewhere like Maxi's in York , I cogitated, they'd manage us all and everyone likes chinese food. Well, hopefully. Wait a minute, there's a Maxi's in Leeds and we could be there in fifteen minutes down the motorway!
Checking with those present, everyone really did seem to like chinese and the idea was received with universal approval. The first attempt to call and check availability wasn't promising though, the phone just rang and rang but nobody answered. Ben called directory enquiries to check the number. It was the right number but he tried himself anyway and sure enough, they answered straight away. Nothing personal, I hope.
Nine of us? In half an hour? No problem.

Right. Nine of us. Two cars? Oh wait. Ben and Rick both drive two seaters, Sarah's started drinking already, and Bill and I can only fit four each owing to him having a posh Saab convertible and me having a child seat in situ. Three cars then. After a two minute wait whilst Ben vanished and then reappeared, we finally got on the road and headed off in convoy. I knew approximately where it was and how to get there, though you wouldn't have thought this from our circumnavigation of Leeds as I missed my exit from the M621;
"It's that one isn't it?"
"No, I think it's the next one."
"Oh yeah, I think you're right."
"Wait a minute. No. It actually was that one! Oh well, round we go..."
I knew that the actual place was on set back from Kirkstall Road , on the North side, between the A58M roundabout and the viaduct.
Driving past it the second time, Maureen spotted it through a myriad of other buildings, far closer to the roundabout than I remembered. Unfortunately we'd already passed the turn off so another detour was in order.
Nevertheless, we all arrived in good spirits and were ushered straight to our table upon entry. From here on in, everything came together beautifully. We were all happy to share a set menu so we could just divvy the eventual cost up thereby avoiding lengthy discussions about who's had what and how they only had half a glass of wine and not three bottles like him over there and anyway I didn't have a starter.
The food was quick coming and when it came, was delicious. The company was both eclectic and enjoyable, with people from diverse backgrounds including an organic farming consultant, two zoo keepers, owner of a credit management consultancy, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a dance student, a college lecturer and little old me.
With all of us having a common background of dance, the conversation flowed between this and other subjects and covered topics such as why giraffes have blue tongues (to stop them getting sunburnt, apparently) and why Clive Anderson thinks one of a real lady's best qualities is her ability to wait.
Despite my early misgivings about organisation, it turned out to be one the most enjoyable dinner parties I can remember, and even better as it was followed with a great night's dancing back at Bradford afterwards.