Thursday, July 24, 2014

More to Life than Moaning....

One thing about going to the health centre is that afterwards B usually wants to go for 'a bit of a drive'. Today was no different.

The good news is that my results had come through, and despite my lapse from walking the straight path of diabetic dedication (all those anniversary celebratory meals recently), my results were either the same as previously, or slightly better.  The nurse was well pleased, and if they are the same at my next check (due end of December), from then on I need have only an annual check instead of one every six months.
My blood pressure was less than six months ago - and while I was in the surgery B took his blood pressure using a machine fixed to the wall in the waiting area and he said his b.p was higher than mine.  Not sure how those machines work, think B said all he had to do was stick his hand inside it and then it fed out a bit of paper showing his b.p.  Next time I go I will use it and see if it read the same as when taken 'properly' in the surgery a few moments previously.

I've also booked an appointment to see the doctor about my painful knees, but he is on holiday at the moment, so it will be about 3 weeks before I get to see him.  I could see a different doctor, but I like the one I'm registered with (very good 'bedside manner') so worth the wait.

After the above, B drove us to Red Bank Farm, a working farm that has a lovely restaurant in on of the barns.  B had a toasted tea-cake and a cup of coffee, and I had some cheese and red onion sarnies with coleslaw and a salad.  That was to be my 'brunch' (the grandfather clock there chimed 11.00am as we were about to leave.

As on the way there we passed a gate that said 'fresh free-range eggs for sale', asked B to call in on the return home, and as he drove through their gate we met the farmer who was taking a box of half a dozen eggs he to put in a box outside the gate (think people help themselves and trusted to leave the money).  So we paid him for the ones he had.  Six lovely eggs, two very large, two large, and two medium, five were different shades of brown, one was speckled brown, and - yippee - one was white.  It is YEARS since I've been able to buy white eggs.   Considering the average size of the eggs (large), the freshness, and the price being £1.50 for the six, this was much cheaper that the supermarket free-range which - of course - are not nearly as fresh.  So worth buying from there again (not much further than Morrisons in the other direction).

Am hoping that at least a couple of the eggs will have really rich coloured yolks, but the two smallest ones that B had for his supper (fried eggs, sausages and chips), had pale yolks.  I am going to check each egg before use in the hope I can find ones with yolks of the colour I like.  Not sure if it is the breed of hen that determines the yolk colour, or what they are fed on.  Can anyone tell me?

The view across the Bay was stunning, we could see Grange over Sands very clearly, and also the Lakeland hills behind.  Not a cloud in the sky until we reached home - and boy, it was HOT!  A few small wisps of cloud appeared as I sat in the garden, and due to the heat I couldn't stay there for very long. Never thought I'd say that. 

When I came in this room to check my email, write my blog, very nearly decided not too. The room was so hot and airless, but I remembered where the patio door keys might be, and luckily they were still there, so I opened one door and now am sitting with a cool breeze wafting through. What a difference it is making. 
Last night had to throw the duvet off the bed and just lie on the bed with nothing covering me.  The humidity had reduced slightly but the night temperature had risen to 75C.   Forecast is cooler/fresher air over the weekend, with the possibility of a few showers.  Believe Devon and Cornwall had raid today, and some thunderstorms.

As we drove home along the seafront, cars were parked nose to tail almost the whole side of the road by the prom.  All free parking, and there are not many seaside resorts that allow that.  Closer to town there are wider car-parks overlooking the sea where parking is charged, but about three miles of free roadside parking makes coming to Morecambe worthwhile.

Now that I have a clean bill of health (so to speak),  am going to try and enjoy life and stop moaning about things.  Do I moan?  Sometimes I feel that is all I do.  Having painful knees does make me a bit irritable, but as they hurt the most only when I get up (from the bed, chairs, in and out of the car etc), with between times not hurting at all, should count myself lucky.

Regarding flies Kathryn, hair spray is also fairly expensive, and smelly, so don't think I'd use any of those, however suddenly remembered how I used to make 'sticky stuff (fly paper)' that worked well, so hunted up the recipe on this site and very pleased to see it is still there.  So anyone interested in making fly paper, check August 2007, and it comes up almost at once - on the 29th (after a few recipes about making different types of bread).   As ever, I scrolled right down the whole of that month and there really are some very good recipes (that I had forgotten about), worth making, including some different ways to make mayo and salad cream without using eggs.  Also some alternative ways to make tasty summer salads.

Fifty years ago Pam was the time I had run out of money and was forced to make just about everything from scratch, using the few ingredients I did have in my larder (just basic ones like flour, sugar....).  Never know to this day why I decided to write down everything I made, and cost out every last little ounce (or even a pinch of...), also writing these down, but I did.  I even worked out the price (per ounce or metric equivalent) and wrote it on each packet for future reference.   There was no real need to do this, but something made me.

About a month later the local newspaper had a competition to find out if readers could feed a family of four on £15 a week (not difficult in those days), and again felt compelled to enter, so was able to use the above details and write a list of ingredients that would need to be bought to last a week, and it came to just over £10!
This won me the competition, and the editor said they'd never seen such detailed costing before.

This then led me to begin working out what I could make myself instead of buying (soft cheese, yogurt, cream, hard cheese - all from the cream (aka 'top of the milk) from the bottles left each day by the milkman.  I then suggested to a self-sufficiency mag that I'd read when visiting Gill, that it would be good if they could print something to suit people who lived in the suburbs, as not everyone kept a goat, or had an allotment etc.  So they asked me to write an article in return for six months free subscription to their mag.
This I did (after using up a ream of paper as in those days I really had no idea how to write but it was another 'compulsion' almost as though someone was pulling my strings), so after cobbling something together that I felt was dreadful but was published, it was this article the BBC researchers read that led them to asking me to do my first TV (as a housewife who could make party food for 20p a head!). Thing was I agreed to do it thinking it was for radio, and it wasn't until too late that I was told it was to be filmed for TV (a series called 'Indoors, Outdoors'), if I had know that I would never have agreed, I'm hopeless in front of the camera (at least was at the beginning, later I improved).

None of this would have happened if I had just cooked the meals and made what I could from what I had for that one month (after that B gave me housekeeping again), it was writing it all down that set me on the road to a life of constant cost-cutting and all the media attention that followed I didn't really enjoy, but went along with it.  There was no real need for me to continue being thrifty, but it seemed to make sense, and it gave me the feeling that that this could be my 'reason to be' (and think we all need to feel that) so carry on I did,  and do hope I'm not making myself sound more than I really am which is only 'just a housewife' who has the unfortunate habit of now not being able to stop 'chatting' about all ways to save money.

It is after 10.00pm and must put the light on as outside has turned into almost night.  Problem with having the patio doors open is that I now hear sounds that the double-glazing kept out.  Although enjoying hearing the sound of the small (two carriage) shuttle train from Morecambe to Lancaster that crosses the end of our road (where the station is), am not enjoying the intermittent sound of a burglar (or car) alarm that keeps making a noise.   No, no, that's pretty close to a moan, so must stop that.  Think nice thoughts (anyway it has stopped for a moment).

Went and sat in the larder this afternoon, lots of gaps on the shelves,  but am being firm with myself and not ordering replacements.  Have only 3 cans of baked beans left, but this weather don't really feel like eating them anyway.  Neither do I feel like making myself hot tomato soup for lunch, so those 3 cans of plum tomatoes will last for a while. 
The good thing about hot weather is that most of the time we don't feel like eating much at all, so what nicer way to save money.

On a high shelf there are quite a few small bottles that for some reason I seem to have lost interest in, don't even know what they hold, so tomorrow will get them all down and put them in a basket to keep on the kitchen table to remind me to use them.  Other people might throw them out, but so far haven't yet trained myself to go that far.  If I've bought (or been given) something edible, that it is going to be used, even if I have to invent a new way of using it.   More about this when I get around to doing so.

No recipes today - the thought of cooking or even preparing food this weather is not something most of us wish to do.  With me it is just salads, salads, salads, more a matter of chopping iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, courgettes, bell peppers, and anything else that can be added.  Then squirt it all with low fat salad cream, give it a toss and eat it.  Quite often I don't even want to be bothered to do that, making do with liquids (coffee or water, I've given up the fruit juice due to high sugar content).

However much I'm enjoying this lovely hot summer, deep down I'm almost wishing it was autumn with cooler weather and the chance to make and serve warming casseroles again.  And I'm not starting to have a moan, just thinking of the different delights that each season brings to the table, and able to have them to look forward to.  If we can avoid bad storms, hurricanes and severe flooding, then there is no lovelier place to live than in Great Britain.

So that's it for today (still Thursday as I write).  Returning late evening tomorrow, and then - as usual - will be taking Saturday off.  But who knows, if something interesting happens, I could write two blogs in one day.  So watch this space!  TTFN.