Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Culinary Activities!

Douglas likes pies. Chicken pies, Beef Pies and Pork Pies. Its fair to say he really likes his pies!!

We usually buy small pies - the sort that come in little cardboard boxes, and sit on small tin trays that you pop into the oven and have with mash n peas. Nice and easy to cook after a stressful day dealing with customers medical claims at work.

Due to dietary restrictions, there are not many varieties of pie in the shops that Douglas can eat, so we decided to have a go at creating one ourselves.

Douglas cut up some chicken, and made a stew with onions, carrots and other veg etc, and I did the pastry side of it - baking the pastry liner blind before ladling in hot contents, popping a pasty lid on top. I added the important pastry leaves and blobs decoration before brushing the whole thing with an egg and milk wash, and cooking it.

As you see, Douglas was rather pleased with the result!

You may be interested to know that the jumper that Douglas is wearing was made part by his late mum (DMIL) and partly by his Aunt (DAIL). We have two of these lovely jumpers, and we keep warm in them when its very cold.

Given less than half a chance, Billy also enjoys them. If a jumper gets left on the floor, or on a chair, sooner or later we will find that the larger of our two Sacred Beasts claims it for his own, and snuggles up on it very happily.

Well, its time for me to go to bed, to join Douglas, and probably at some point in the night, our very own cat shaped (and jolly heavy) paperweight, Billy.

Lilly, not to leave her out of this entry entirely, will exercise her vocal chords in the early morning whilst walking up and down my side of the bed, reminding me to leave my nice warm duvet and attend to her breakfast as usual :-)

Last weeks activities (part one)

Its time for a general update in the lives of Anna, Douglas, Billy and Lilly!

Last week at work, i and my colleague Jim decided we needed to have a look at the works compost heaps, and use our lovely big compost screw to mix the contents a bit. It acts like a cork screw, you drill it down into the heap, and use all your strength to pull it, and the "cork" of compost out with it.

Our compost isnt really doing as well as regular compost because it consists of 99% teabags, fruit and the curious biodegradable corn bags that people use to carry it down to the heaps. On advice from big brother, Compost John, I got a bag of shredded paper from the office, and have mixed it in as best I can with the contents of heap 1 that was started about a year ago.

You can see the compost screw at work here, and also my colleage Jim who helped to heave the contents of heap 2 on top of heap 1. It was hard work and very smelly!

Last Sunday was a nice early spring day, so Douglas and I decided to go up to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as I had never been. Sadly I really wasnt impressed.. there are not a lot of sculptures in the grounds, and they were all modern - not to my taste apart from this one, which was quite interesting. Oh.. there was one that looked a bit like a rusty iron backbone I quite liked too. Its featured on the parks home page.

The gallery was the most interesting. It featured the work of Rob Ryan, who is an artist who designs the most beautiful paper cut out pictures Ive ever seen! If we had had £300 spare.. just floating around feeling bored, we would have purchased one of his prints, but as we dont happen to have that amount of money to spend on a peice of art, we looked at his website instead! (Much cheaper, although you cant really hang it on your wall and enjoy it lol)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentines Day

Guess whos gone all Romantic?!!

Billy and Lilly snuggle down next to each other for a few minutes of leurve!

You dont realise how good it is till its gone...

On Thursday morning our central heating system wouldnt light. We thought it was just one of those things, but it still wouldnt light on Thursday evening, so we knew there was a problem.

I called up British Gas on Friday, and was offered a Monday appointment which I grabbed gratefully, as being without heating or hot water isnt much fun. (work very kindly said I could take a days holiday as an emergency to get it sorted) It turned out that a heating engineer was able to pop out on Friday afternoon (Douglas was having a day off)and have a look.

A rather new bloke came out, and said the motherboard was dead, and another chappy would come out on Saturday and fix it.

This newish engineer also took a look at our gas fire, meausred the Carbon Monoxide levels it was giving off, and told Douglas that it was spitting out the lethal gas at three times the safe limit!!!!! eeek! He put a warning sticker on it saying "do not use".. oh dear, another thing to mend! Well, rather that than us ending up with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning!

Douglas has now purchased us a new Carbon Monoxide detector, just in case it happens again. We did have one before but it bust, and we hadnt replaced it. Let this be a warning to all ye with gas fires. Go spend £25/£30 on a Carbon Monoxide monitor.. its better than being dead!

Another gas engineer came on Saurday, fixed the problem which was some wires from the motherboard that had come loose. It was sooo good to have heating and hot water back again.. it really does make us appreciate such luxuries!

I called up a gas fire repair company on Saturday morning, and they are coming out on Monday some time to sort that out. (My requested emergency day off will come in very useful, after all)

I wish we had never purchased a flue-less gas fire.. its given us quite a lot of trouble since we had it installed. Lets hope it can be fixed on Monday! I will let you all know.

Shopping Spree

The week before last Douglas and I decided that it was high time we got some lampshades for our house.

We had one lovely one and one grotty one in our lounge, one lovely one in our hallway and quite a lot of naked bulbs that would benefit from some adornment.

This is the lovely one we already had in our lounge.. we now have two of them!

I logged onto ebay, and spent a couple of evenings happily browsing lampshades using my Iphone, showing Douglas any I considered worthy of a second glance.

Before long, we had selected two rainbow bead chandeliers (this is one of the rainbow ones)

a white paper globe shade with some Japanese script on, and a duck egg blue shade, also with a Japanese feel to it. At the same time, I “just happened” to stumble across some very cute, and quite cheap charms to go on my bracelet. I had to buy 10 of them (for about £2, total)

Douglas requested some new Crocs (a plastic based shoe that’s very comfy and airy for him to wear at work) so I found a nice smart black pair in his size.

These shoes have air holes all over them. When they were brought out, someone invented little decorations that would fit neatly through the holes... and I found one of these I just couldnt resist!

How many husbands would put up with their wives putting a "Nessie" on their shoes?

Long live the Loch Ness Monster.. seen in the photo above :-) I think Douglas quite likes it!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Bringing back memories

My parents have gone on a short holiday, so I have been entrusted with the "Uncle sitting" duties from a distance.

My mum phones her brother (who is in his 80s, and not very well) on a regular basis - maybe a couple of times a week, to make sure hes ok, and to give him some company as he lives alone. These duties are now mine until my parents return :-)

My mum sent me a text saying they have got to their destination safetly this afternoon, so I rang Robert (the aforementioned Uncle) to let him know and have a chat.

He had been out in his car to a nature reserve on the coast in the Essex area, and had been listening to Classic FM on his radio. He heard a peice of music by Schubert that brought back some happy memories for him.

Robert had scribbled down "Schubert" and "Troika" on a scrap of paper, and wondered if I could locate the peice in question!

Douglas and both searched the internet using my little Iphone, but nothing came up, so I came up here to the computer which makes things faster and easier. Still nothing!

I phoned Robert back, and went through the Classic FM Playlist for earlier today.. still no joy! I went through the presenters names, and eventually Robert identified the presenter, and said it was his CD of the week. Armed with that info, I was able to find out that this desired peice of music was actually SCHUBERT: DIE SCHONE MULLERIN.

To further check that this was indeed the peice, I headed for You tube, and much to Roberts joy and surprise, was able to hold the telephone up to the speaker and let him listen to the first few bars.

Needless to say, I have now ordered this CD which will be delivered down to Essex some time next week.

I dont have many relatives on my side of the family, (two Uncles, one Aunt) so being able to track down an elusive peice of music, purchase it and send it off within the course of a half hour conversation makes me very happy.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Dress down day at work

Last Friday at work we had a “dress down day” we have one of those about once a month. We each donate £1 to the months charity to wear what we like for the day.

This month, one of our colleagues – Dennis - chose to support the RNLI as he was in the Navy for many years, then joined the RNLI, and is now a Governor within the organisation.

I made a batch of chocolate brownies, and purchased some crisps on the way to work, as there is always a cake/snack sale during the day to raise a bit of extra cash. My chocolate brownies always go down well, and it means I can have the pleasure of baking without the temptation of eating a high percentage of what I cook!!

Below is a photo of Dennis, “decked” out in his RNLI uniform next to a whole raft of raffle prizes. Please note that one of his daughters made the lovely cake!

Sadly, all I won was a strip of blue raffle tickets, but my colleague Ali who sits next door but one to me, won the cake!!!!!!!

The first photo is him on the phone to a customer, and the second one is him pretending to eat the lovely cake :-)