Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy Days!

Looks like mid-afternoon is turning out to be the best time for me to write my blog (apart from Tuesday's when I'm out then).
The meeting yesterday (church 'Circle) was very enjoyable.  Apart from the usual chatting about anything 'spiritual' that had happened to each of us (not everyone), there was new face (at least to me). Turned out this gentleman did voluntary work at the Winter Gardens in Morecambe (this building included in the list of the most haunted places in Britain?).  Speaking to him after the meeting he told me that he would show me round the building, and that he and a friend had done some filming inside the building and they had captured a 'spirit' running along a balcony, also a bright blue globe that suddenly appeared and whizzed past them, that was also seen on the film including the 'whoosh' sound it made.

For some reason I mentioned that my husband, although not interested in anything spiritual, said that it is well known that sailors, alone in boats in dangerous sailing conditions, have always felt there is someone 'else' sitting in the boat with them and this really helped them.
Turned out the W.G.volunteer had just joined the Morecambe sailing club, and had actually met B at their Friday social evening, so as B was parked in the church drive, was able to stop and have a chat with him. 
As I asked if I could bring someone with me when I had this 'private' guided tour round the Winter Gardens .  So watch this space and maybe this time next week we'll have been and there will be something interesting (or not) to tell you.

As well as the normal 'circle' meeting, I've arranged to bake cakes on alternate weeks for the Wednesday meeting (that begins with tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits).  My tray-bakes always stay fresh for a day or two, so I can bake on Tuesday morning, take to the meeting that afternoon, and they can stay in the church kitchen (wrapped!!) ready for the next day.  If I make gingerbread, then could make it on Sunday as it improves with several days keeping before being eaten.  All the cakes I make can be frozen, so if any left over they will be able to be kept for another day.

Even my knee was behaving itself,  I needed to use only one stick to walk down the church drive, and once in the room hardly felt I needed the stick at all.  After sitting for nearly a couple of hours, have to stay it stiffened up a bit, but not nearly as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago.
As the doc said it could take 2 days to 2 weeks for me to feel the benefit of the injection, and the two weeks is up tomorrow, expect that how the knee feels now is about as good as it can get - but am happy with that.

Unusually for me have felt more bright-eyed and bushy tailed than for weeks.  Often this 'feel-good' feeling comes a couple of days before I succumb, to a cold (maybe my body charging itself up to deal with it), or it may just be I was due for a bit of good luck.

This morning - another LOVELY day, went out with Norris and bought more wool (chunky and double-knitting), plus 4mm needles to suit the thinner wool, two stitch counters to fit on the needles, a wool needle for the sewing up, and am now (as they say in the US) 'good to go'.  Actually I've already started knitting another cushion cover, but have reluctantly laid that down so that I could chat to you, and then prepare B's supper (fish risotto).

While on the parade met my neighbour (the one I have coffee with on a Friday) asked her if she'd like to come with me to have a tour of the Winter Gardens.  She was thrilled, so that's sorted.  She was going in a different direction to me so we parted company, but as I needed to buy some silverside at the butchers, and he asked me to return in 10 minutes, I did a scoot round the block and then sat outside his shop until he had the meat ready for me, during which time my neighbour, on her way hack, caught up with me and we ended up returning home together,  it was not easy for me to keep Norris's speed down to walking pace,  I am used to scooting along (faster than I should - and even faster on the prom when there are very few people there.  Our end of the prom being often empty of people, they tend to congregate towards the west (town) end. 

Requested extra fat from the butcher to place over the silverside so that I can make beef dripping for B (that always cheers him up), but when I got home found there was not as much fat as hoped (I wanted LOADS) so added a bit of clarified beef dripping to the roasting pan in the bope that this would take up the beefy flavour and end up pretty much like the 'proper' beef dripping.  If it doesn't work to B's satisfaction, then I can always use the fat for roasting potatoes etc.

Thanks to Stephanie for the comment.  Not sure if the other comment from Anonymous was also from Stephanie (she mentioned she had made a mistake with the first).
Don't think our household building insurance covers legal advice, but will check.  Think we can sort it without heading in that direction, although the other advice - Citizen's Advice Bureau - is one worth keeping in mind.

It is true that the trees are fast changing colour, and a lot earlier than normal.  Sometimes it can be late October/early November before leaf-fall, but usually late when we have had a wet summer.
This year just about everything from flowers to fruit have been several weeks early.  It could be the very mild winter that caused this, and with the trees (these did seem to produce new leaves about the right time), it could be the very dry summer that has thrown the tree 'clocks' out.
Being old enough to have ancient memories of how our English weather used to conform, even able to plan picnics a week or two ahead, and choose the right time of year to go on holiday and avoid the rain, then following this 'tradition', we could be about to face a severe winter.  Nowadays we can't guarantee any weather anymore, although have to say, Morecambe seems to have its own weather, and usually a great deal better than the rest of the country.   When we moved here we were told we didn't have many frosts and rarely, if ever, got any snow.  Of course then we had two winters with quite a bit of snow (which I thoroughly enjoyed), since then - just frosts, rain, a few gales, and last winter barely one frost.  Even geraniums, left in pots in the garden by mistake, kept alive during last winter and have continued to bloom.

Perhaps if you brought the spinning wheel out of hibernation Stephanie, you might get inspired to use it again.  Sheep's fleece is so cheap (buy directly from a farmer) that if you do a lot of knitting and crochet, you will end up quids in.  Myself found spinning very relaxing, as with all craft work even those that take a fair amount of concentration.  Could be the sense of achievement when something is finished that gives an added bonus.

Have to say one of my major faults, (and yes I do have feet of clay - with as many feet as a centipede) is not finishing off properly.  In the past have been known to fasten my skirts with a nappy-pin rather than make a button-hole, or stitch on a hook and eye.  However, did improve. 
When my daughter-in-law did embroidery, she did it so neatly that you couldn't tell the back from the front, and I admired this so much.  With me I tend to like to get a job done as quickly as possible, preferably without cutting corners, but maybe I could take a little more care.  Am I the same when it comes to cooking?  No - this I really try to do correctly, as perfectly as possible.

When it comes to cooking, maybe I do take too much trouble with the appearance and maybe the subtleties of flavour.  When I use ground pepper, I always use white pepper when the food cooked is a light colour (such as white sauce - black pepper would show up as dark specks), and also have several different types of salt - rock salt, sea-salt, and pink salt (from the Himalayas), salt from Wales, and at least a couple more different ones.  Have yet to find out who sells kosher salt - recommended by several chefs.

Was making myself a tomato sarnie today (with some low-fat mayo spread on the bread instead of butter).  At one time used to put the sliced tomatoes on the bread, then season with pepper before topping with the second slice.  Now, once the bread has had its 'spread' (butter, mayo, marg etc), I then ahake/grind the pepper onto the bread - this way I can see the pepper is evenly distributed - before topping with tomato (or whatever filling I might be using that needs seasoning).  If I wish to add a little salt, then add this in the same way.

Time now for me to check to see if the beef is ready, then begin preparing B's supper (measure out all the ingredients: butter, chopped onion, Arborio rice, white wine, and poaching the fish - meanwhile heating up chicken stock, then just sit by the hob, adding ingredients in the above order, continually stirring (or almost continually - sometimes I am tempted to take a swig of wine, why should B have it all?).  After 25 minutes it would be ready, but have to allow 30 mins (turn out the heat, cover the pan and leave to stand for 5 minutes more) as B likes his rice slightly over-cooked. 

Have a feeling that if B ate in a Michelin 3-starred restaurant very little of the meal would be to his satisfaction.  For him there would be no enough seasoning, meat too rare, ALL vegetables would have been undercooked, and when it came to desserts (that he would like) the portions would be too small - and not enough cream!!
Thankfully I know exactly how B likes his food and try very hard to make it perfect (by his standard, not mine) so as it is nearly 5.00 really have to make a move. Back again tomorrow, can't say what time, probably mid-afternoon. TTFN.