Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Playing Catchup

Managed to work through most of what was on my list yesterday, but still carried a couple of things over, and the suggestion from Les about writing my blog later in the day I'm afraid - although sensible - means it wouldn't work.  Thing is I like to keep to the routine of this is the first thing I do each day (although recently have managed to do a few things before I begin), knowing that once my morning work-load is over I then 'give up' and go and have a sit-down to watch the mid-day news on TV, followed (most days) by Doctors.    Then I go into the kitchen to do a few other things, prepare B's supper etc., things that are 'no-brainers'.  Writing a blog later in the day my mind would not be so 'fresh' and you would probably only get a few words from me.

It would be interesting (and possibly useful) for me to know whether readers prefer an early written blog (some may like to read it while they are having their 'elevenses' cup of coffee), or whether most read it later in the day.  Also whether it is read every day - for there is no point in me writing every day if it is only read once or twice a week.  If that is the case I could write it on alternate days, not every day.  For that matter, does anyone read it over the weekend, for at that time I usually far fewer comments which seems to imply readers are finding better things to do that sit in front of the comp.

Another reason why I prefer to write early is that once I've published, the comp is switched off and I don't go back to it (unless expecting an important email) for the rest of the day.  If I did I'd be wasting even more time.

Yesterday lunchtime did manage to finish in time to watch a one-off Superscrimpers - this one dealing with the cost of weddings.  Over the past years it seems that at least £10,000 is expected to be the cost of a wedding (not even sure if this includes the honeymoon), and certainly those known about (acquaintance's children getting married etc), in all cases the couple have split up about a year later.  It is as if the wedding is just a reason to have a 'jolly', and nothing at all to do with matrimonial responsibilities.    In some cases I've known the families where their offspring and intended spouse have decided to have the wedding abroad, causing a great deal of extra expense to the family and friends who had to pay for their travel and accommodation to be there, and in one instance the parents had to stay in Florida for two weeks to look after the child (born before marriage as they do these days), while the couple honeymooned in Bermuda or somewhere expensive and exotic.  
None of these families were what I call wealthy.   And another gripe.  If couples have lived together for several years AND had a child (or several) isn't it shutting the stable door after the horse has left to expect to have a white wedding?  What's so wrong with a registry office and a small reception? Surely the money saved would have been much more useful?

Anyway, back to Superscrimpers.  It did show how much money a young couple could be spending each week on just 'living it up.  All that money spent on clothes, computer games, take-away-meals, and eating out.  Thankfully with the hints and tips they were shown, and the help (not financial) from friends and family, it did prove how cheaply a wedding could cost, and still turn out fantastic.

Certainly it makes sense to buy a cheaper wedding dress than those that cost thousands of pounds, after all it is only worn once.  What is so wrong with buying one from a charity shop - it may not even have been worn, the bride (or groom) changing his or her mind at the last minute.  The dress can always be altered, maybe embroidery or lace added, to make it the new bride-to-be's own design.

Didn't go to bed last night (again!), as wanted to watch some 'foodie' progs on BBC 4, one being a late repeat (about Escoffier).  Then switched back to watch a couple of repeats of 'Rip Off Food', the first I hadn't seen anyway.  By then it was 4.30am, so decided to stay up and read Alan Sugar's new book (not a biography as such, more about his feelings about things like 'elf and safety', political correctness, and a host of other things.  A joy to read, he thinks like I think (although of course he is far cleverer).  Managed to read half-way through, then it was 8.00am and by then thought I'd better go an get my morning going, have a coffee and then come and write my blog.   Don't feel a bit tired, think this is because A.S. has inspired me to 'get on and do it'.

My query Les, re the price of gas, was that you mentioned it took 2kw per hour to heat a room.  That is not too expensive (reading the cost per kw on the back of my gas bill).  But surely this doesn't cover heating all the rooms at the same time where the central heating is on?   We have four rooms with heated radiators, so the cost would be 8kw per hour?  As our rooms are quite large (we live in the ground floor of a 'gentleman's residence', and have high ceilings, it probably takes 3kw per hour per room to heat.
Some of the gas used is for cooking (hob only), but think if this amount was deducted from the winter bills, it would show how much we pay for heating.  Then divide this into days, and then into the hours the heating is on, then I should be able to find out.  Or Les, have you an easier way for me to work it out? 

Thanks Lisa for your several comments (each sent via the comment box of the posting she was reading at the time - but blogger sends them to me in my email box, so I was able to receive them all on the one 'inbox' page).  It was good to hear from you again, but so sorry you are having so many migraines.  You have had such a busy time as well (maybe that brought it one).
Yes, gooseberries are lovely, but take care when picking as the buses have loads of thorns.

Myself thought the £12,000 spent on groceries was far too much, but the family lived in London, an sometimes this does put up the price a bit.  If the lady shopped in smaller (family) stores, or bought organic/free-range, then she would spend a lot more than those who only buy from supermarkets..  Possibly they also buy wine to drink.  A lot of 'middle-class' eating is more by habit, with no thought to cutting down (or even out) what isn't really necessary.  

Am sure you will have fun using your breadmaker Catriona, I use mine regularly, but nowadays don't use it to bake a loaf from start to finish, just use it to make the dough, preferring to bake the loaf in a tin in the oven (the slices then being the right size.shape to fit into our toaster).  Haven't even tried using all the different settings for different breads.  Maybe I should.

As I tend to make almost a year's supply of jam or marmalade in one go, think the bread maker wouldn't hold that amount, anyway I enjoy watching the preserves bubbling in my old jam pan, and not even sure if my (now at least 10 years old) breadmaker does make jam.

Maybe it is not too late for you to ask the organisers of your office party to provide more vegetarian dishes Suzi?  They don't have to go on the already printed menu, just be offered to the party-goers.  It is surprising how many people do enjoy eating something that doesn't contain meat (or fish), and if outside catering are providing the food, then possibly the more vegetarian dishes and less 'meaty' ordered, the cost might end up cheaper. 

Fortunately for me, remembered yesterday that it is not next week we are having a dinner party, but the following week, so am able to slow down slightly and take my time catching up with what has to be done (other than food).  Still have this week's 'fayre' to work to - so today will see me making marmalade, and as it is Norma day tomorrow, then jam making on Thursday I expect.  Gingerbread probably tomorrow (better after keeping a day or two), then early Sunday morning will be making scones for B to take with the above to the club-house by 10.00 at the latest.

How lucky to have sweet chestnut trees close to where you live Jane.  We have chestnut trees lining our road, and loads of conkers fall over the wall into our garden, but these are inedible - but when cooked I believe can be given to hens mixed in with their mash.  At least the sweet chestnut tree leaves are a different shape to the horse-chestnut, otherwise people would be making themselves ill eating the wrong nuts.  I found a good recipe yesterday using chestnuts, but not time to give it today.  Will do tomorrow.

Before I sign off must reply to Cheesepare who mentions 'Jimmy's sausages' being now on sale in his area.   We've had them for some months now, but do find them very expensive considering they were SUPPOSED to be a cheap organic alternative to Tesco's 'Value' sausages.  They seem to be more expensive than the better quality branded ones they sell.  So have stopped buying them. 
Our butcher makes wonderful sausages, so tend to buy these now, but as I've still got my sausage-making kit, really must have a go at making my own.  When I can find the time!

Had thought about having a log-burner in this room (the only room that still has a chimney pot on the roof - the others being removed and the roof tiled over).  Don't think it would sit happily in this room as it the fireplace has a marble surround with a rather elaborate carved wooden mantel over, and although a deep-set fire grate (log or coal burning) would look good, don't think anything that extends beyond the front would look appropriate.  
We have an ingle in our huge living room.  It once obviously had a fire-place there as there is a chimney built on what was the outside wall of the ingle (this now built over to contain the upstairs apartment flight of stairs). The chimney pot for this has been removed but possibly could be replaced.  The 'hole in the wall' has been plastered over with just a small ventilator set in where the fire surround used to be.  Now a log burner would look good in there (and I wouldn't sit there shivering any more).

Superscrimpers is on again on Wednesday - this time all about saving money heating our houses, but of course I will have to miss it as there is a footie match on at that time and B won't miss that.  Perhaps if he paid the bills instead of me, he'd be more interested in finding out how to save money heating the house.

One final gripe - and a big one.  Could not believe what I was reading in the paper yesterday.  Apparently they will be new transmitters built over the country, believe to do with mobile phone connections etc.  These apparently will upset TV transmission, particularly Freeview channels (that is what we have), and this means we have to either shell out for a Sky subscription to enable us to keep watching or buy some equipment to 'filter'.   It did say their would be a payment to those who need to do this, but sometimes I feel technology is going too far.  What is wrong with the status quo?
At least this won't happen until next June I believe, trouble is there are two transmitters in this country that will first have their TV transmissions 'distorted'.  One down south, the other in Lancashire (the country where we live).  We haven't been here four years yet, and already we have had to pay for a Freeview box when the BBC closed down their transmissions.  Now it looks as though we will have to change the way we view again.  And none of it will be free!  What would happen I wonder, if everyone who had problems caused by the above, decided not to watch TV any more, then perhaps all that license fee the Beeb wouldn't then be getting, and all the advertising lost on the other channels might make a swift change to returning things to how they were.  If it wasn't that I might miss the next series of Downton, might just do that.

That's it for today.  I really must start as I mean to go on - my aim now to be write the blog then finish by 10.30am (although tomorrow it will be later as have to wait until Norma has left.  Am unlikely to wake early enough to write before she comes as I have to catch up on my sleep). Hope you all have a good day, and do hope more comments will arrive between now and my return.  See you then.