Monday, July 08, 2013

Busy Week Ahead

Good to be back with you again after a hectic weekend.  Having paced myself re the making and baking of food for the club 'Tea' yesterday, B coming back at mid-day to collect the freshly baked scones (and the rest of the food), all thrown into disarray as on Friday he had a phone call to say he was to drive the safety boat on the water, so had to leave here at 9.00 and wouldn't be finished in time to collect the food. 
This meant I needed to be up really early to make/bake the scones - had to bake 50 so they needed to be done in batches.  Decided to stay up all night and have a few hours sleep in my chair so that I could begin baking at 5.00am.  This I did, and have to say it worked well, the scones being my best ever, well risen and most of them flat on top.  Not sure why they worked so well this time, maybe it was because I blitzed the butter, flour and sugar in the food processor instead of rubbing the fat in with my fingers.

No way could I go to the 'Tea' as I wanted to watch Andy Murray's match, and so very glad I did for - as you will all know by now - HE WON!!!   Expect half the nation was very close to tears, because I certainly was.

Once B had left at 9.00am, I set to clearing the kitchen, re-arranging things to make a better work-surface over the kitchen units, and also spent several hours in the garden planting up more containers (I'd scooted down to the florists on Friday to order more plants, the previous delivery being such good quality, and he delivered them Friday evening). 

Also decided to pick the redcurrants on Friday, but there were so many - a massive crop this year, so spent the later hours of Friday evening sprigging most of them with a fork, saving a few pretty bunches to use as decoration, these then went into the freezer.  Gathered more (twice as many) yesterday, and still have those to sprig and freeze. 

With B not being around to 'help', had to move a few containers myself, and although not overly heavy, it wasn't easy, and I seem to have put my back out - quite painful when I got out of bed, but manage with a stick, and hopefully a couple of painkillers will put me back on track.   Still have the last of the pot plants to sort out today, then must start on pruning away the excess foliage and remove long grasses and weeds, for this coming Saturday we have decided to have friends and neighbours round for a barbecue.

B will be busy (he says), his time spent this week in mending the broken - and very large - sunshade (the heavy wooden pole has rotted), and he also has to go to the supermarket to buy some lager.  All I have to do is tidy the garden, put the container plants around to look pretty, water them twice a day, tidy the house, clean the conservatory windows, plan the menu, order some foods, cook what can be cooked in advance, do some laundry, and hopefully B will help me move the two garden tables where I want them to be, and he'll also want my kitchen table outdoors, so that means I'm going to have to use my ironing board as a 'table' as I'm preparing the last of the food.   I really don't think B realises how much has to be done and how long it takes.  When the job gets done, he presumably thinks it's so easy he doesn't need to be involved.

Well yes, perhaps I should get him to do a lot more, but quite honestly it is quicker when I do it because I'd have to stand over B to make sure he does things 'properly, and that takes away time when I could be doing something more useful (and far more rapidly).   Not that I mind.  I'm glad to still be able to do it.  In a way, perhaps it is keeping me young (says she ignoring all the aches and pains).

Anyway, this year I'm not going overboard with the barbie.  B can happily cook burgers and sausages over the coals, and I'll have Tandoori chicken drumsticks already oven-cooked that can be kept hot over the barbie, maybe also some lamb koftas.  The rest will be cold 'buffet', possibly 'Tapas' type.  Salads of course.   Final decisions will be made later.

Because I'd had to switch the comp off (as it needed to update), it took nearly 45 minutes for me to reach this page (first having to read emails).  Time I really can't spare.  Luckily got up early enough for me to at least manage a few words.

Thanks to Taaleedee for her comment.  Sounds as though the seagull had a nest close by, for we too are getting dive-bombed in the garden off and on, although I think the gull that has the three chicks (still visible on the roof and growing every day) is used to us and fairly sure we are not there to harm them.  It's perhaps wise at this time of year to wear a hat when in 'gull nesting areas'.

Isn't the weather wonderful at the moment, although perhaps a mite too hot in the London area and on the southcoast.  We have been told to expect the temperature (in those areas) to reach 30C!  Here it is cooler as we are close to the coast and on Friday, when scooting down to the local shops, there was a really cool breeze, had to button up my coat to keep away the chill.  And that with the sun blazing down from a clear blue sky.   In sheltered spots it really is warm, and I am trying to sit out as much as I can - between potting up plants.

All the fuss and kerfuffle about the woman in Sainsbury's at the checkout, using her mobile phone.  Have to agree with many people (on the radio) who says that Twitter, Facebook, and mobile phones seem to be taking over our lives.   There was a photo of Peaches Geldorf (think it was her), still with her phone clamped to her ear (held in place by her shoulder) talking into it while she scooped up her baby that had fallen out of its pushchair and was lying on the ground.

During one Wimbledon semi (mens) saw the girl friend of one of the contestants start to key in a text message on her mobile, and this during a tie-break, when her man was close to winning (or losing - only a point between them).  You would think she would be interesting in the game, but she wasn't even watching, well she was watching something - her mobile keyboard!

On Friday I was scooting along the pavement when a young girl (probably about 12) was talking on her mobile, but for some reason looking back so she was walking towards me, almost backwards, and I had to yell at her 'WATCH OUT" before she walked right into me.

Thankfully, I take my mobile out with me ONLY so that I can phone B if my scooter breaks down (or I need collecting if he's taken me somewhere).  If I get a call or text, then will only respond if I'm not with anyone or actually 'scooting' somewhere.  There is something called 'voicemail' that I can refer to when I have time to find out who rang/text me.

We seem to be losing the art of face-to-face communication, and at this very moment am feeling a bit of a hypocrite, for isn't that is what I'm doing now?  Talking to you via the computer, not in person. How I wish it could be different.

Much is said about how people now seem to want to let everyone know - via Twitter - every part of their lives, and it could be said 'who cares?'  But again, that's also what I'm doing, so can only hope that by including some recipes and cost-cutting tips that means my 'chat' is a bit more useful.

There is a new series on TV, I think starting this week, with three chefs showing how to cook with a very low budget.  Am not sure, but I think they go into people's houses, maybe those on benefits, and can only spend the money that the family uses for food.  It will be very interesting to watch and I believe plenty of hints and tips to help us save (although I bet we already know most of them).

Depending on how I get on this week, hope to be able to blog each day, although maybe will need to take Friday and Saturday off being 'a bit busy' those days.  Will let you know later.

Forgive me not giving recipe today, but the comp being stubborn has taken time I badly need, and if I don't make a start on what needs to be done it will never get done.  And I need to keep on top of things.  Is this the new Shirley rising from the ashes?  Me, working hard?  Whatever next!!

Hope you all had a pleasant weekend enjoying our spell of good weather, it's amazing how the sun coming out puts a smile on our faces.   The sky is overcast at the moment, but it may 'dry off' later, although think our neck of the woods is down to have clouds for the first part of the day, so what better time for me to go into the garden and get the last of those plants potted up before the sun begins to dry them out.   Hope you can join me for our virtual 'coffee break' again tomorrow, if so - see you then.

p.s. only one comment was shown in my mailbox, but that was also playing up, so will check later and if I've had others then apologise for not replying to them.  Hope to sort this out by tomorrow.