Archive for the ‘home’ Category

When everything comes to a standstill

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

A winter scene

It’s just over a week now since we had a heavy fall of snow.

The local Council does a good of job keeping the main roads clear with it’s gritting lorries, but I live in a cul-de-sac which ends up like a skating rink with compacted snow on it and not enough traffic to clear it.

My car was hiding under a coat of about six inches of snow, so I’ve stayed in for most of the week. I haven’t needed to go out anyway because most of the things I usually do were cancelled due to the weather.

It’s been quite nice having a break, and the snow makes the countryside look so pretty, but it’s very cold. I think I’ve had enough of it now and will be glad when the snow finally melts and the temperature improves and things get back to normal.

Cold weather and hot food

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Thankfully the weather has warmed up a few degrees today. Last week it was really cold.

I spent most of the week in the lounge which was a little bit warmer than the rest of the house. It was so cold in the kitchen that I couldn’t stay in it for long. I had to put on an extra jumper and quickly get some food or make a cup of tea.

It’s a good thing that since I was made redundant last December, I’ve got into cooking. I’ve been making stews and casseroles in the slow cooker, and cakes and baked apples and roast joints in the oven. I like to fill up the oven when it’s on which meant that I had extra portions to put in the freezer.

So when the kitchen was too cold to stay in, I could get some already cooked food out of the freezer, defrost and heat it in the microwave and have a nourishing, hot meal to help fend off the effects of the cold weather.

Grape Hyacinth

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Grape Hyacinth

Another lovely Spring flower. I don’t know what it is about Grape Hyacinths, but for me there’s something special about them. I love their shape and colour and the way they’re made up of tiny little flowers. I suppose that’s where their name comes from, as they do look a bit like a bunch of grapes.

The Lost Post

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Three weeks ago I arrived home from work, picked up my post and saw one of those red and white postcards that told me that the Postman had left a parcel. It was a week after the clocks had changed so it was dark, and I couldn’t see or feel a parcel in the place that the postman said he’d left it, so I had to wait until the next morning when it was light.

I still couldn’t see anything. I hunted everywhere and moved everything in case it had fallen down, but I couldn’t find a parcel.

I phoned the number on the card and explained, and asked the postman to knock on the door as he went by on his rounds and show me where he’d put it. He arrived, he searched, but he couldn’t find it either. It wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

So where does that leave me? Knowing that a parcel has been sent to me, but not knowing what it is or who it was sent by. There was no information on the card, such as a tracking number or the name of sender.

The parcel had been sent by Recorded Delivery. That means that the sender paid extra to make sure that the parcel was put into my hands and a signature obtained. But that didn’t happen. So I’ve lost a parcel and the sender has paid for something they didn’t get. But they’ll never know. They’ll believe that they would have received the service that they paid for and I would have received the parcel.

The man at the Post Office says that I can claim compensation, but how can I do that when I don’t know what it was? I can’t find out, because they don’t seem to be able to tell me who it’s from. The whole thing is very unsatisfactory.

I had been waiting for an item from eBay which was late, so I thought that’s what it must be, but then that parcel arrived, so it wasn’t that. I’m not expecting anything else. It could be a birthday present that a friend had sent early, but no-one has contacted me to ask if I received their parcel.

It’s very frustrating and quite upsetting. Someone has sent me something and I haven’t got it. What happened to it? The man at the Post Office said that someone must have seen where the Postman left it and taken it. That’s awful.

So why did the Postman leave it outside the house when it should have had a signature? I expect he thought he was being helpful, but he isn’t being helpful now when he can’t tell me who my parcel was from so that I can find out what it was and how much I should claim.

So if you’re reading this and you sent me a parcel or packet by recorded delivery three weeks ago, please would you get in touch and let me know?


Sunday, June 6th, 2010

We’ve had some lovely hot, sunny weather lately and I’d been enjoying being in the garden, sitting on the bench reading my book or eating my lunch and catching up with the gardening. I wanted to clear one of the overgrown flowerbeds and make it into a vegetable plot.

Today I was planning to carry on with the clearing. I was just checking my emails before going outside, when I heard thunder. I looked up to see rain pouring down like stair rods! My washing! I’d washed lots of tops and T shirts and had laid them outside to dry flat in the sun. Now rain was hammering down onto them. I opened the back door thinking I’d run out and rescue them, but when I saw the rain I knew that I would have been soaked to the skin before I’d even got to them, so I stayed inside and watched with dismay as they got soaked instead!

This is a photo of my paved garden path which turned into a pond with more than an inch of water on it!

It’s stopped raining now and the sun has come out again, and my T shirts will have to start drying all over again. I’m sure we needed some rain, and we certainly got a lot of it, even though it didn’t last for long! My garden will have benefitted from it, won’t it?

A slice of porridge

Monday, May 10th, 2010

I often have a bowl of porridge for breakfast. It’s quick and easy to cook in the microwave, it’s good for me and it’s warming and comforting to eat especially when the weather is cold like it has been this winter.

This morning, I didn’t have a lot of milk so I used a bit less than usual, but I knew that would be alright if I didn’t leave it too long before eating it. I also decided to use a different bowl from the one I usually use. It’s wider and shallower.

I gave it it’s usual 2 minutes in the microwave, and left it for a couple of minutes before it would be ready and cool enough to eat.

Then the phone rang. It was my friend Annie phoning to discuss the cardmaking workshop we were running in the afternoon. Amidst thoughts of designs and papers and what equipment we needed, all thoughts of porridge went out of my head.

By the time we had sorted everything out, I must have been on the phone for quite a while. When I got back to the microwave and opened the door, a flat, solid circle of rubbery porridge greeted me. Oh dear! I hate porridge like that, but I needed some breakfast, couldn’t spare any more milk and so I told myself I had to eat it!

I had the bright idea of mashing up a banana to mix in with it to make it more moist and soft. It was a good idea, but completely unsuccessful! That porridge was so solid and rubbery that nothing could have been mixed in with it. So I ended up cutting each spoonful of porridge and adding some mashed banana to it. I managed to eat it, but I can’t say I enjoyed it!

So what did I learn? That the wide shallow dish probably isn’t a good idea for porridge. Using less milk than usual is only ok if I eat it quickly after cooking it, and if the phone rings as it’s cooking, I should answer it on the cordless phone and eat it while I’m talking!

Oh well, they say it’s good to learn something new everyday, and that’s quite a few things I’ve learnt today!

Bread pudding

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I think I’m addicted to bread pudding. It all started in the snow. I hadn’t been able to get into my local town to get any shopping and I was running out of food. I had some very dry, but not mouldy, fruit bread and some semi-skimmed milk that I’d got from the local shop. I don’t like drinking semi-skimmed, it’s much too creamy for me, but as it was all I had, I needed to do something with it.

Stale bread? Milk? Yes I had an egg, I could make bread pudding! So I did, and it was gorgeous! I’d added some more dried fruit and some mixed spice and also cooked a meal and a baked potato while I had the oven on.

I wasn’t in the habit of using the oven because when I worked until 6.00pm, it was far too late to cook something in the oven when I got home. Now I work until 4.00pm, there’s plenty of time to get a meal ready for the oven and mix up a bread pudding to pop in with it.

I’ve tried several different flavours. Chocolate is my favourite. The latest one I made was Ovaltine flavoured and it’s really nice! To look at, it looks as though it could be a heavy old fashioned pudding, but it’s not. It’s light and delicious! I want to try a marmalade flavoured one by spreading the bread with marmalade. Then there’s dates, prunes, oranges, banana, toffee……..

I was always throwing bread away because I don’t eat much of it, but now I don’t need to throw any away – I can use it all up making lovely, tasty, low fat bread puddings.

Let me know if you’d like the recipe.

A sad goodbye

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

A while ago, I wrote about my favourite radio programme. It’s on from 9.00am until midday, so it’s the show that I listen to while I’m at home in the morning before I go to work.

The presenter is very funny and quick witted and I really enjoy his banter. But he’s leaving and moving on to another job in another area. It’s his last show today. I’m going to miss it. I’ll also miss emailing him comments and answers to questions that he reads out with such humour.

Change is hard, even small changes. It will take me a while to get used to a new presenter with a different style, but that’s what life’s like. Nothing stays the same. There are always changes and we have to get used to them and move on. We can’t live in the past with memories that have long gone, we must embrace the future with all it’s discomforting changes, and be flexible enough to change with it.

The thaw that came and went

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

At last the snow we had struggled with was chased away by heavy rain and warmer temperatures. I could get my car out, and for two days, I drove to work on clear roads!

It’s looking really pretty again today, as it’s been snowing overnight, just as the weather people predicted. There are reports of closed schools and closed roads on the local radio. I’d like to take a day’s holiday and stay in the warm and off the roads today, but I can’t as I have a deadline to meet at work.

So I’ll put my boots and other snow requirements in the car and head out carefully. It’s nowhere near as deep as it was a couple of weeks ago, but apparently it’s a different type of snow that is more icy and slippery than the lovely powdery stuff we had before.

I don’t like the travel difficulties that the snow produces, but I do love the way the countryside looks. Here’s one of my snowy shots…..

Winter garden

It’s beginning to thaw

Friday, January 15th, 2010

At last it’s got a bit warmer. It was a few degrees above freezing this afternoon, and it’s started to thaw. For the first time in over two weeks, I can see a bit of the road I live on. The two ruts in the single track that cars have made in the snow have melted and I can see the road.

My car has been snowed into the drive for over a week. I hadn’t attempt to dig it out as I didn’t want to drive on the 4 inches of compacted snow that covered my road. There’s been a foot of snow in between the car and the road, so this morning when it was quite soft and beginning to thaw, I moved some of it by pushing it aside with my foot when I was wearing wellies. That worked quite well. I’ll have another look at in the morning and see if I can get it cleared so that I can get the car out of the drive.