Thursday, November 01, 2012

Still weary!

A thousand thanks to Eileen for taking the photos of the canapes and to Steve who has managed to publish them for me.  Also to all readers who sent in kind comments after seeing them.  Was myself surprised how good they looked.   Think I previously gave a mention as to what toppings were used so possibly they will be easy enough to work out from the pics.  Was pleased to see that the Game Terrine was shown in one of the shots.

Yes Sarina, it was my B who was the 'sheikh' in the photo.  It wasn't supposed to be fancy dress, just 'dress to impress', most of the men wore dinner jackets and black bow ties, but one did dress up as JR Ewing ('Dallas') and my B as a sheik, so they sort of fitted into the 'Casino Evening' theme.

A blanket 'thank you ' to all who sent in a comments (most about the canapes), and am picking out a few that I wish to reply to in more depth. 

After cuddling my hot water bottle in front of me, I do then tuck it into the small of my back (as Sarina's helpful tip), this really does help to keep me warm, and my body heat also tends to keep the water in the 'hottie' bottle from cooling down too rapidly.  Wearing bedsocks also helps. 
Am sure it is sluggish circulation that makes me feel the cold, although the nurse says feeling the cold is common in 'older folk', and I must try to keep warm.

The community cooking/demonstrations as mentioned by Sarina is also an excellent idea, for anyone who wishes to help in this way, possibly a local church would be a good place to start.  Unfortunately I don't go to church, but am sure that 'outsider's' who have enough experience in managing on a low income (food etc) would be welcomed to share their expertise.

Giving a food parcel as a gift (suggested by Stephanie) is a great idea.  We used to give one to my mother each Christmas and she really appreciated it especially as it would contain 'treats' (like small tins of crab - which she loved) as well as the more sensible things like cans of soup, sardines, home-made jams,  marmalade, fruit cake, biscuits....

Think the urge to stock up at this time of year is an ancient instinct that most readers still follow.  Perhaps we also have a subconscious awareness that this year we may need to be even more careful to make sure we have what we need to keep us through the winter months.  They used to say that if there were a lot of berries (for the birds etc) on the trees and bushes, then we'd be in for a hard winter, but if this were true then it would be early spring when the plants would have to provide enough blooms to give the fruits, so how would they know that early?    But Nature has hidden secrets and within all of us are now also 'hidden' instincts that often come to the fore when the time is right (and we are prepared to listen).

From what you say Margie both Canada and the US have suffered during these last days of that dreadful storm, and of course I appreciate the enormity of what happened. It's just that having seen on TV some scenes of what has happened, was just reminded of similar scenes shown here in the UK when we have had 'something similar' happen and seemingly as bad, but luckily (?) for us not all at the same time. 

It probably sounds silly to compare like with like when we consider the flooding of part of New York, but we have had similar happen in our city of York after torrential rain as the river is also tidal and the rain flows down to the sea and the tide pushes it back up on top of the sea water.  They are now building property close to the river on stilts to allow for flood water to flow below.
In other parts of the country where flooding is common (and we've had a lot this year due to the excessive rain we've had),  it is common to see photos (TV and newspaper) of people wading through the streets almost at armpit height, and rubber dinghies bobbing along with the firemen and others helping to rescue people through their bedroom windows.  Often only the tops of cars are visible beneath the flooding.  Bridges are also washed away and people can be trapped in their own community for some time. Suppose we've sort of got used to it, it happens so often these days whereas in the past this was a rare occurrence.

Several years ago a whole village in the south west was unexpectedly and rapidly washed away when - after heavy rain - water from many streams cascaded down a mountain into a normally small river that flowed through the village, and the flood water took the whole lot out to sea, all the building and all cars that had been parked.  Luckily 'most people managed to clamber on the roofs and were rescued by helicopter before their homes collapsed.  But these are just regional disasters and probably the rest of the world never get to hear of them.

Several years ago we had a huge hurricane along the south of England and massive trees were uprooted, thousands of trees on houses, cars, across roads, railway lines.  I had to go to London at that time and saw streets of fallen trees, many of them crashed onto houses . 
In 1953 we had the flooding of the East Coast, with people drowned and homes devastated, and was recently reminded of Aberfan (when due to heavy rain a whole mountain of coal waste slid down on top of a primary school killing most of the children). 

There was a man in America on TV last night talking about the Queens section of New York (film footage was shown of the burning houses) and he said the flames reminded him of London (and me of Coventry) during World War II.  So I suppose, in a way it does seem to me as if we too 'know how it feels', and in many instances we never had any warning about what was about to happen, no chance to escape.  But of course we did get it in small doses, and not one one fell swoop as happened in the US. At least nowadays our weather forecasts are much more accurate and thankfully this meant than there was far less loss of life in the US than there might have been had there been no advance warning.

It is good to see that already New York is beginning to get back to (almost) normality, but as we seem to see mainly New York, and far less of the disasters (which I believe were much worse) along the more southern states of the USA, am sure there are many places where it will be months (maybe years) before things get back to normal. 

Of course I (we) have great sympathy for the people who have suffered the devastation in America for having everything happen all at once must be terrifying.  Whatever misfortunes we have had, at least it comes in small packages that we can cope with, and we should always be thankful of that. 

Yesterday made a big batch of popcorn that I tossed in some butter and sugar, and then drizzled with melted chocolate.  Filled a dozen small bags with these, then set about making a dozen chocolate muffins, hoping there would be enough for all the Trick and Treaters.  Guess what!  Nobody came at all.  Probably due to the fact it was raining, or is it that all the small children in our road have now grown up and decided it was more fun staying in and playing computer games.  Half of me was pleased that there was no continual knocking on the door, but I was a bit narked at having the basketful of 'goodies' left.  Of course B ate some muffins (heated in the microwave with cream poured over), the rest I will freeze - these can be turned into mini Black Forest Gateaux, used for the base of Queen of Puddings etc.  B also helped himself to several bags of popcorn, and no doubt he will eat these all up by the end of this week.

B had been helping his friend at the upholstery shop yesterday and came home tired.  I wanted to watch Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals before getting supper (B thinks Jamie O is the best cook on TV), and had planned to heat up some ready-cooked mince to make into a spag. bol for B's supper (would take me less than 20 mins to make), but when I went to the freezer found I had no pre-cooked meat so ended up frying some chopped chestnut mushrooms in butter, then adding a can of condensed mushroom soup and diluting it with chicken stock.  Have made 'mushroom soup' this way before and it really does taste good.  There was enough for two (easily) but B wolfed down the lot, then later had his Chocolate Muffins with cream.  He seemed satisfied.

Don't know what's wrong with me but I seem to have lost interest in cooking at the moment, probably overdid it last week.  All I want to do is think about other things than food.  Although have to say I still like to watch the Food Network (occasionally).   Also still finding I need to catch up on my sleep, now being able to sleep longer due to not having to think 'canapes', and so having more - and interesting - dreams.  I like dreaming, this 'other world' of mine is far more interesting that what is turning out to be a really boring 'real' life.  If only I could find something useful to do that takes me away from the house.  It would have to be 'useful', everything else would be (to me at least) a waste of time.  I waste enough time doing nothing indoors, doing nothing outdoors would be even worse.  Perhaps I should start writing a novel, or being to paint pictures again.

Anyway, that's it for today.  Let's hope I can soon get back to normal and begin thinking 'food' again.  There was a comment that mentioned oats, and the suggestion of using more in the dishes we make, so maybe - oats being incredibly cheap for the nutritional value - this is where I will start tomorrow.  So watch this space.  TTFN.