I have actually done a bit of study today, and have even made a (tiny) start on the play writing course material, although most of my time has been spent experimenting with Photoshop Elements for the photography course. I have a way to go until I'm caught up on all that I should be, but I am making a bit of progress now, thanks to my dawn trip to the coast the other day.
The highlight of today has been going out for a meal with friends at the Italian restaurant half way down my street, Peppy's. It is, in fact, the only restaurant in Newcastle where I can eat out, because of the stupid number of random things that I'm allergic to, but they're ever so lovely at Peppy's and haven't managed to poison me yet. Before the allergies really took hold I used to go to Peppy's relatively frequently so I'd built up a rapport with Vincent (the owner) and the rest of the staff already. After the dramatic increase in my allergies (and the immunologist's eventual success in working them all out) I stopped going out for meals, so when I bumped into Vincent on the local shopping street one day after this and he asked why he hadn't seen me at the restaurant for a while I told him about all my allergies. He said he was sure they could cope and we got into a lengthy discussion about all the things I can and can't have, and how carefully things have to be prepared. I don't think he really grasped the extent of the problem, but he was willing to try catering for me, and as I was missing the sociability of eating out with friends I was willing to give it a chance too. Apparantly I'm not their only customer with severe allergies and they do seem to be quite allergy-aware, without being so paranoid as to think that if anything did happen to go wrong that I'd sue them or hold them responsible and therefore be unwilling to let me through the doors. Quite on the contrary. Take this evening for example; I phoned up last night to make a booking for my friends and I, and then took the flour along at lunch time for them to make pizza dough for me for this evening (yes, they are quite happy to make special pizza dough for me!). When I arrived at the restaurant this evening one of the waiters (Vincent's son), who was around at lunch time when I took the flour in, said he just wanted to check what the flour was. when I told him it's just wholemeal (I'm allergic to the sulphur dioxide used to bleach flour to make it white) he said he thought it was, but he wanted to check because when the chef was making my dough earlier in the day he'd made it too sloppy so they'd gone out and bought some more flour for me. That is beyond the call of duty, don't you think? So then I had a lovely meal, poison-free, utterly delicious and having been cooked for me in a restaurant. I was just finishing my meal when one of the waiters came in with a large plate of freshly baked bread that the chef had made for me out of the rest of the flour they'd bought and that I was given to take home. That is so lovely of him and definitely fantastic service, wouldn't you agree? You so often hear the negative experiences people have, and so often people do seem to be out to get what they can from these, but personally I prefer to commend those who do a good job, those who do that extra bit for someone, those who remind us that people are essentially good, and to put negative experiences down to bad luck, provided they haven't been caused by clear negligence etc. Bad things happen, but then so do good things and these are the things that should be celebrated.
I'm going off on a tangent now so I'll wind up. It's bed time anyway.