Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Rush Job

Forgot that Norma the Hair would be arriving at 9.00am, but luckily up early enough to write a short blog.
A 'pop-up' has just appeared on my screen to say the computer is 'malfunctioning' and I should click on 'clear' to sort it - which means the comp has to be switched off and then cleans up all the files, but have opted out for the moment so this blog can be completed. For all I know it is a hoax (virus) so need to be careful before I agree to doing anything. Enough probs with it at the moment, don't need more (although it might be this 'malfunction' that is causing many of the probs). If you see a blog or two from me over the next few days it may because I've followed instructions and made things worse.

Many chefs Alison, advocate blending a little lemon juice into cream to turn it into 'soured cream', so you weren't making 'second best'. Myself find that double cream is always the best to buy as it can then be thinned down with a little milk when beating to thicken it - this then turns it into 'whipping cream', which gives more whipped cream due to the milk than if just using whipped double.
Thin it down even further and it can become 'single cream'. Mix with lemon juice and maybe a little extra milk and double cream then becomes 'soured cream'. And - as mentioned yesterday, double cream (it has to have at least 40% fat) will freeze well. ALL cream will freeze, but the ones with less fat separate when thawed.

Great bargain minimiser deb. The charity shops really are the place to go when needing 'new' clothes. Many of them are truly new, as often bought by those who love to shop but end up with more than enough to wear, so they end up hanging in wardrobes, then bundled up with others to take to the charity shop so the lady has more room to hang the more recent purchases. We all sigh when we hear about women who spend a fortune on clothes, handbags and shoes, think they are so stupid - but at the same time very glad they did for this is the only way many of us can afford 'quality' at that level, for such low prices.
Norma (the Hair) loves dancing, and needed a dress to wear for a dance competition. Scoured the dress shops, didn't see any she liked - any that might have been suitable were far too expensive. Then she passed by a charity shop in Morecambe, saw one on the rails - went in to take a look at it and it was EXACTLY the dress she was looking for. She bought it for very few £££s, and when home founded it fitted perfectly.

Thanks for your two comments MimsyS. Don't know why I expect everyone to read blogs when having their 'elevenses', perhaps because some readers have told me this is the time they do. Myself don't normally publish my blog if it is past noon, although maybe have done once or twice - but always before 1.00pm. If late for any reason might just not do it that day, or maybe just publish one line to apologise for missing. If the comp fails and cannot publish at all, then I phone/text Steve to ask him to put a message up on this page to let readers know - which he usually does, but sometimes leaves doing this until later in the day.

Cooked chicken kiev's, oven chips and peas for B's supper yesterday. Myself fancied some Spam (yes, I love it), so had that with some apples, tomatoes and an avocado - odd mixture but the 'fruits' all needed using up.

Running out of bread again, so must bake another loaf, making extra dough again so I can experiment with flavours. B loved my mini-loaves, so will take the plain dough. cut off small amounts for each mini-loaf and work in flavourings to each, grated cheese, or walnuts, even a little extra sugar, dried fruit and cinnamon. If any are to B's satisfaction, then can flavour a full size loaf with his choice next time I bake.

Our gas statement came yesterday, seem to have got plenty of credit, possibly due to the warmer weather we have had recently. This means if it turns very much colder, have enough paid in advance to afford to over-ride the heating and have it on for longer each day without ending up the year owing too much (maybe not even owing anything). Considering we pay less each month than last year, with prices having risen since then am feeling rather chuffed.

We are still waiting for the electricity statement, let us hope that has not increased too much as normally we use the same amount of 'leccy' each quarter, whatever the time of the year, and our D.D. is geared to that (in other words, not much credit left over - if at all).

Winter solstice not that far away, so in a couple or so weeks the nights will be getting shorter, the days longer, and even if we have weeks of ice and snow we know that spring is on its way. Although - at the moment - we have only 8 hours of daylight (well it's getting light now - 8.00am, and gets dark around 4.00pm), on a sunny day especially it doesn't feel as though we live THAT far up north (by 'north' I don't mean north England, I mean globally). Must be the Gulf Stream that gives us a climate that is more towards the Med. at times.

Saw an ad yesterday with Roman soldiers in a snow-storm and it made me think how hard it must have been for the Romans when they came to England and began building Hadrian's Wall. This then led me to thinking how 'civilised' they were in their villas (further south) with underfloor heating and bath-houses.

When in Tunisia went to a wonderful museum in Tunis that held hundreds of mosaics in almost perfect condition, many used for flooring as we do carpets, with wonderful designs. Given a room with a mosaic floor, murals on the walls, it only needed a couch (probably with animal skin thrown over for comfort) and a table, and it would seem completely furnished. Minimalism Caesar-style.

Then my mind went to from the rise to the fall of the Roman Empire. The Greeks also seemed to go the same way, as have other empires since - even the British Empire. America was once, but now seems only to believe it still is. The only country that seems to have held itself together and progressed (albeit slowly - but don't they say that 'slowly, slowly, wins the race?- is China. Although already established in Roman times, it never did very much beyond looking after itself, farming being it's main 'occupation' no-one else was interested in it (other than perhaps Japan who had a skirmish or two). Only in recent years has China opened its doors and become a very great nation in its own right.

Suppose much progress has been made because Oriental people work hard - and for little money. We could all do that - but how many 'Westerners' are prepared to. They prefer to live on foundations built in the past by their ancestors, and for some reason expect those walls to keep standing. Unfortunately - however strong a wall - it does need constant maintenance to keep it intact. Which brings me back to Hadrian's Wall (and the Great Wall of China). We have only to see the skill and effort put into these, also into some of our great cathedrals to see how 'hard and good work' has stood the test of time. Now all we get is 'built-in obsolescence'.

Another thing that came to mind (obviously having one of my thoughtful days) was - after watching a programme about decay after death - was that our planet seems to have provided all the necessary for it to do its own 'house-keeping'. But it only needed to 'tidy-up' once living 'things' began to appear. Maybe foliage first, but then this had to be 'composted', or 'pollinated', so insects evolved to do certain jobs, then came animals, and dead animals needed clearing up fast, so we got flies, maggots, other creatures that ate the dead. Yesterday's prog. showed how a room full of food, mice etc, eventually rotted away, the bacteria doing all the work.
The amazing thing is that a one-cell bacteria was fitted with a sort of 'mobility case'. The bacteria had no heart, no blood vessels, no brain. Yet it had the 'intelligence' to move its 'surroundings' to the food it was aiming for.

Have a feeling that our world looks after itself very well and once it begins to get over-populated, then viruses will be ordered to gird their loins and do battle. Epidemics of flu )or other serious illness) over the whole globe with decimate the population. Maybe the power of earthquakes, volcanoes will be used for the same purpose. We 'assume' this is just force of nature - which it is - but who is to say 'the great scheme of things' hasn't had this built this into the master plan.
Of all creatures on this planet, the human race seems to be the only one who can upset the balance of nature (and doing so at this very moment). So why are we here?

Having also watched a programme filmed from a space-ship last night (Around the World in 60 minutes), saw how beautiful the world was from space. How much more beautiful it is living on this Earth. Personally, many places would be my idea of Paradise. They couldn't be more wonderful.
But what is beauty if it can't be seen - or even heard (birdsong etc). Not all animals see colours (although aware of its wave-lengths), but we see the full palette - why? Could it be that our 'life force' is the way our world is able to view itself? We are made from the 'dust of the earth' and return to it when we die. Why can't we be its 'soul' or 'spirit' as well?

This doesn't shove religion out of the window, but possibly make the Creator (we are not the much 'larger than life' than we already believe Him to be (for we are not the only rock in His universe). Who knows, who cares some might say, but we should care. At least care for our planet, care for ourselves, care for others.

Now you see what happens when I watch programmes that make me think. Doesn't mean any of what I've said it right. There are a few 'creatures' on this earth that are parasites. Maybe that is what we humans are and still what we are. 'The Meaning of Life' - if only we knew what it was then maybe we'd make a better job of it. On the other hand maybe this planet is our 'school' and we are here to learn the hard way. Don't they say that 'hands on' experience is the best way to gain the knowledge we need. So better begin rolling up our sleeves.

Feel I should apologise for the above. Too late for me now to delete and give a recipe instead. Could delete, but why should I? Take me as I am, warts and all.
Have to dash, time has caught up with me. Hope the comp allows me to be with you tomorrow. Fingers crossed.