Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Better Late Than Never...

Apologies for a late start today.  The weekend didn't go as planned and has thrown me right out of routine.  We were expecting our grandson to visit (and sort out the computer during his stay), but unfortunately his car - taken to the garage for repair - was not ready, still waiting for a part.  As busy this weekend, and also later in the month (Indian feast) probably won't get to see Steve until June earliest, and then only if he can find time (he is very busy).

As the forecast was good, decided yesterday to go out with Norris and enjoy the sun and seaside. I changed into my summer clothes (much the same weight/style as winter, but paler colour and shorter sleeves).  As I was about to leave, B said I should wear my fleece as it was a bit cold.  And he wasn't wrong.  Fairly warm in the sun when sheltered, but a very cool breeze when away from the lee side.

At least warm enough for many people to be about, so decided not to venture into the town end of Morecambe, but go to Happy Mount Park and treat myself to lunch there.   Seems many families had the same idea, so I ended up with Norris crawling behind families (with several children and dogs on a lead as well)  that stretched themselves right across the pavement with no room for me to pass.
Many did move over, but several with mutters under the breath, and I felt a real nuisance.

When I got to the park, the cafe was full of people queueing, and again the park full, but good to see the children enjoying themselves so much (lots of things there for them to do), and I was able to scoot fairly freely, but as the prom walkway was empty (due to the chill wind) and all the pedestrians were on the other side of the main road, there was no room for me to go anywhere but up the back streets (thankfully clear) and return home.  However, had an hour out in the fresh air and did enjoy that.
It sounded as though most of the rest of the country was almost sweltering in the heat, and - for once - at the right time.  Most Bank holidays it always seems to rain.   It was so good to see Morecambe really thronged with people.   And that was at 'our end', normally not busy at all.

Three snippets in newspapers over the last few days, one was about a young lad who - by cutting out and using all useful food vouchers from papers/mags and off cartons etc, and also by getting other vouchers 'on-line', and also in other ways, managed to reduce his mother's food bill from around £100, down to just £10. 

Another article about "Children who eat same meals as their parents 'are more healthy'" It also goes on to say "busy parent's shouldn't feel guilty about eating at different times to their children, as long as the meals were the same....and good news for parents with busy work schedules. Cook in one pot for all".
Seems that children who eat 'kids meals' (chicken nuggets and chips etc) have unhealthier diets than those who eat the same dinner as their parents, and "the nutritional intake of children between the ages of two and 12 can have a profound influence on their susceptibility to obesity and chronic diseases in later years".

Another newspaper two-page feature was about the life of a GI bride, and how different she found life in America than over here, and not always for the better.  Extracts were taken from her book (The GI Bride, by Iris Jones Simantel, published my Michael Joseph), and I'm going to ask B to get it for me from the library as it looks as though it could be an interesting read.

It is often said that America and Great Britain share only the same language, and this is not always the same.  It is so easy for us to believe that life in America is always how we see in in the various US TV programmes and films, and am sure those who live over the pond believe that we are different to how we really are.

In two programmes watched over this weekend, saw Nadia G (Bitchin Kitchen) make a really lovely 'Shepherd's Pie', but she made it using minced beef!!!  Surely, SURELY, even in the US they know that beef makes a 'Cottage Pie', and it's obvious that it has to be lamb for Shepherd's pie.  Shepherd.  Lamb. Duh!!!
Even Anna Olsen disappointed me when she made sticky buns, THEN took the English version (Chelsea buns), and twisted  one half of the rolled, fruit-filled dough (split down the centre lengthways) into a spiral, then did the same with the second half, then twisted the two together before putting the dough into a ring-mould.  When baked had the cheek to say it was 'English'.  As far as I know we never EVER cook our Chelsea buns that way.

Thanks Eileen for explaining about 'geocaching'.  It sounds really fun, a sort of treasure hunt?  Am presuming not everyone is seeking the same prize, a different set of instructions given to each who take part? 
Thanks also for your mention of lower priced foods.  Was interested in the Aldi 'Sardinella', you said a small can, maybe slightly lighter in weight than the standard?  Tesco's cheap sardines (they used to be 35p but over the months have risen to 45p might work out - by weight - much the same as the Aldi.
Did see in this week's Sunday Supplement, that Aldi came out top for quality and flavour with their French Dressing. Much cheaper (and more weight) than any of the other four (M & S included).

There was a mention of the news (or was it in the papers?) that now - for the first time - people are having to draw on their savings to be able to afford to buy food.  Perhaps so if they persist in buying the same (expensive?) foods that they would normally buy.  Especially so if they never bother to cook meals from scratch.  It does seem that very few shoppers want to cook, let alone adjust their meals so that they use use different and cheaper ingredients.  As ever, the fault lies mainly with education.  It's been many years since schools stopped teaching cookery, and did they ever cover budgeting?  So, who can blame the youngsters (and even their parents) if they have never been taught such 'necessities' of life. 

However much we may believe that the amount a Foodbank 'supplies' seem to be like 'living on the breadline', let me tell you that during World War II, a full week's 'food rations' were far less in content than today's Foodbank's allocation - this meant to last only 3 days.  This does tend to put things into perspective.  We should perhaps be grateful for what we have (and there is still a great variety of foods that we can afford), and begin to stop relying so much on others to provide, and bring back the British spirit of 'making do'. 

Have not really done much in the conservatory Cheesepare, other than growing on my lemon and avocado 'trees'.  Have this week to sow the first batch of 'mixed salad leaves' (from the 99p packet bought with my 25p pension increase - making this £1 a month to turn into something worth a lot more).  The packet of seeds will probably be enough to grow four boxes of salad leaves, each enough to equal a couple of packs of supermarket mixed leaves, so working with the thought that a bought pack of salad leaves would cost me £1, then the home-grown would have saved me £8 (less the cost of the seeds).  Not bad for the first month's 25p.  The aim is to save even more with this month's 25p x 4 = £1.  But yet have to decide what to spend it on.

This week, and in fact off and on right up to the end of the first week in July, unusually for me, have about 9 different things arranged to do outside the house.  Several of these involve visits to the health centre for various check-ups, and most of these appts. are very early in the day, so will possibly not be writing my blog on those days (this coming Friday being one of them)  Also closer to the Indian Feast I have another couple of appointments (that I could do without being a busy time), so may be taking several days off at the end of the month to allow me to do the 'catering' without too much pressure.

I've always tried to write my blog each day, however pressured I am, but am hoping that you will understand (and not miss me too much) if and when I do take a little more time off.   In fact realised the other day I don't seem to have had a holiday for nearly 20 years, although B tells me that moving here to Morecambe is as good as having a long holiday.  They do say that moving house is one of the most stressful things that can happen to us, and as I didn't want to move anyway, had more stress because of this.  So can hardly call it a 'holiday'. 
It's unlikely I'll ever be going away again for a full week or longer, but a day or two off now and again is almost as good. Maybe I will be able to go on one of those mix-week coach trips.  On the other hand, if we have a summer of really good weather (we haven't had one here since we moved), then perhaps Morecambe will seem more like a holiday resort, and I can go out earlier in the day and have a scoot along the prom before the tourists emerge from their hotels.

Am sure all readers will have had an enjoyable and relaxing Bank Holiday.  When the sun shines we all feel happier.  I certainly feel a great deal better.  Hope you can join me tomorrow, and keep those comments coming as I just love having personal chats to each of you who write in.  TTFN.