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Friday night: 
South Indian cabbage with basmati. One of our very favourite meals – cheap, quick, nutritious.

Breakfast was taken at Fudge, which is at the top of our road. We had been heading over for a walk along the Humber estuary at the Hessle foreshore, but the car (bless it’s little alloy wheels) had other ideas, and died on the way. RAC got it going and followed us to Greg, the trusty Garage Man, who has replaced the alternator. So as a consolation, we had breakfast out – steak/philly sandwich for me. Nom.

That filled us up a bit, so we made a big potful of roast veg in the afternoon: a big butternut squash, three red peppers, a sweet potato lurking at the bag of the veg drawer, a big aubergine, a courgette, couple of red onions, garlic,chilli flakes, some chopped herbs from the garden. I do my roast veg in the Remoska, as it saves putting the big oven on, and they actually cook quicker. We ate it with rice, and it made another six portions – one is in the fridge to have with (probably) sausages tomorrow, and two went into the freezer.

You can do a lot with roast veg: have it with rice or pasta. Add chopped chicken or pork, or chorizo. Add some chickpeas or lentils. Cheap and delicious.

I’d made a visit to our wonderful local butcher, T L Norman of Princes Ave, Hull, on Friday afternoon, to get some eggs, and a piece of steak for Sunday night. We bought a set of serrated knives in Aldi a few weeks ago – nice and sharp, with red handles that almost (but not quite) match the red handled cutlery we already have. And they needed to be tested; what better than a nice piece of ribeye?

I made a return visit on Saturday, as we thought we would fancy bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast on Sunday, but as it happened we didn’t. I’d made a Finnish rye loaf with caraway seeds on Saturday evening, and did the final knock back/prove/bake on Sunday morning, and we just had fresh-baked bread and marmalade for breakfast. Actually, Pete didn’t even bother with the marmalade.

We had the steak late afternoon, with a baked potato and frozen peas, and extremely nice it was too. Later in the evening, I had three oatcakes with Marmite and an apple.

There was also a blackberry cake, which I shall relate to you in another post.

So, not much using up, as such (although the rye flour heap is slightly diminished) but very nice food all the same :)

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Scarborough at dusk

We currently have no car, for reasons I won’t go into here – that’s the subject of another post. So with the bank holiday weekend looming, and both Pete and myself desperately in need of a break, I did a bit of Googling and a bit of organising, and we took ourselves to Scarborough on the train. It’s dead easy from Hull – no changes, and £18 odd for a 5 day open return. So we picked up the 9.47 on Saturday morning, having collected coffee from the station shop to accompany the scones I’d brought for breakfast, and chugged our way north.

When we arrived, we checked into the Admiral guest house in West Square, just opposite the station. The proprietor put us in a room on the top floor – a long way up, with pigeons scuttling and scrabbling; quite Hitchcockian. But clean, comfortable, and £49 a night B’n'B. And an excellent breakfast to boot, and free wifi.

NomThen we caught a bus to Whitby – £6.90 return each. The double decker struggled with some of the hills, to the point where we wondered whether we might all have to get out and push, but we made it. We wandered all over the town (but not up to the Abbey because of my Knees), had a toasted sandwich in the George, while we wanted the last half of the Hull promotion excitement, had (well, *I* had), gin and lavender ice cream (yes, it was; it was sublime), and generally a good time. Then we caught the bus back, had Greek food in the George Michael in Scarborough (I kid you not) and a bottle of red, and then wandered down to the harbour, and had quite a lot more to drink in the Golden Ball. Which meant that I floated back up all the steps on a cloud of red wine :)

On Sunday, we had planned to take the train to Filey and walk back, but my stomach threw one of it’s very occasional wobbles (down to medication, I think), and decided that being too far from a loo was less than optimal. And that walk is 10 miles … So we ambled around Filey, had coffee in the Bronte Vinery, ate a Trek flapjack for lunch, and then I felt a bit better, so we decided to try the walk. But I only managed about 4km before exhaustion overcame me, so we walked across Blue Dolphin caravan park and called a taxi. Which took ages, but arrived eventually.

Went back to the hotel and had a couple of hours kip, then we went to the Hong Kong chinese restaurant, which looked like a throw back to the 80s, but whose food was surprisingly nice. Lamb in yellow bean sauce, salt and pepper pork, and 8 way duck. And then a very early night, as we were both exhausted.

Monday was Scarborough day – we walked about 8 miles, and my Fitbit says we climbed 60 flights. All the way from the station to North Bay, up the hill to the castle, and round said castle (well worth a fiver, believe me), then down through old town, fish and chips on the sea front (which was *heaving*, then down to South Bay about as far as you can go before you leave the town and back up the hill again.

4.30 train home, which was busy from Scarborough, but Bridlington station was awash with travellers – cannot understand why Northern Rail didn’t put another carriage on, as lots of people had to stand. And a taxi back to the house, because we could. Absolutely lovely weekend.

So a few days without the car were, in fact, better than with, given where we were. Scarborough parking is difficult to find, and expensive, and public transport round there is reasonably plentiful and not too expensive. But I wouldn’t like to be without a car all the time – roll on next week.

However, we will be investigating various rail options for future weekends away, because, to be honest, I’d rather sit on a train than in a car these days, and it makes you think about what to do and where to go.

More photos here at Flickr.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.


Feb. 11th, 2013 10:17 am
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As part of my new and absolute determination to get my weight under some sort of control, I have bought a treadmill from eBay. It wasn’t easy to shoehorn it into the house, but we’ve done it; it helps that it folds up. I’ve made a little nest on one of the bookshelves where my iPad keyboard/stand can sit, and am embarking on The Sopranos while I run.

Early on Saturday morning, I gave it its first real go – and did 4.1 miles in 58 minutes. Not, I think, to be sniffed at.  And then, because it was such a gorgeous day, Pete and I decided to go up and have a yomp at Flamborough. In fact, we turned off to the car park at Danes Dyke, and did the circular walk there. I managed the *exceedingly* steep steps down to the beach, and actually sprang up some of the ups, so I’m definitely getting fitter. There were snowdrops, and primroses, and even a handful of early daffodils; spring is definitely on the way. And there was mud. The bridle path was impassible if you didn’t have hooves and long legs, or at least proper boots, which I didn’t – I was wearing my wonderful Easy Walker boots, which are the most comfortable thing I own. But their grip is not as good as a proper walking boot. Sadly and painfully) I have plantar fascitis in my left foot, and these give me brilliant support, but I cannot get orthotic insoles into my leather hiking boots, so they’re a no go at the moment.

We also walked down to Flamborough village, and had a very nice bacon and brie baguette; well, I did – Pete had a tuna and cheese confection. All in all about 5.5 miles, I think. Map should be embedded below, but is here for those whose browsers are being difficult.

On the way home, we stopped at Hornsea Freeport, which was once a factory producing the glorious Hornsea pottery, and is now a raft of outlet shops, and had a look at walking boots for me that would both accommodate the necessary insole, and allow mud traversal. Bought a pair of Egret boots from Mountainwarehouse, and wore them all round the house yesterday (after I’d returned from a 3m round trip to Aldi, long way via Pearson Park :), and they seem perfect. There are loads of lovely walks round here, so I’ll get the use out of them.

And we watched Submarine, which is utterly wonderful. I commend it to you.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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Bridlington south beach

October? How the hell did it get to be October?!

The weather forecast for Saturday was lovely, so we decided to believe it, and headed up to Bridlington. I love Brid – it’s a nice little town with a lovely beach, both north and south. There’s a new park and ride, so we pulled in there, to find they charge £3.50 per vehicle – quite refreshing after Bristol, who charge per person, which is just the maddest thing if you’re trying to discourage traffic. During the summer, this entitles you to a ride on the Road Train, which I’ve never been on, but as it ends in September that’ll have to wait till next year. But we caught the bus, which deposited us by the harbour.

We had a mooch round the town – I popped (or nipped) into the local SpecSavers and got my new photochromic glasses adjusted for fit, Pete bought a pair of shoes [faint]. We can’t actually remember, either of us, when this last happened, as he simply doesn’t understand shoes. I resisted several nice pairs, because I am wanting a concertina. Yes, I know. We had lunch in a little cafe, I bought some knitting wool on the market, and some enamel cookware in the wondrous Boyes, then we walked back the mile and a half to the car park along South Beach, which was entirely lovely in the sun.

We stopped off at the fish shop in Skirlaugh, and bought two coral frags – our ration for the month. Pete was out with mates in the evening, so I had a reality TV fest with Strictly and X-Factor.

On Sunday I woke up at 9.30 –  unheard of for me – not feeling very well at all, with a sore throat and a real muzzy head. I made breakfast (in the Remoska – worked beautifully!), then laboured over a beef casserole, and that really finished me for the day. Poor Pete was working – urgent job for a client – but having had to wake me a few times, he eventually sent me to bed at 8, and I slept right through till about 7.30 the next morning. Still feeling a bit groo, but on the mend now.


Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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The road goes ever ... oh

The road goes ever ... oh

Poor Pete worked most of Saturday, as we had been running around on domestic stuff for a bit last week. I cleaned the kitchen, did a run round Anlaby (pet shop, returning buckets to someone we borrowed them from, Morrisons), and watched some tennis.

Sunday dawned *hot*. We went over to Skirlaugh to look at an aquatic centre, then over to Albrough (where the photo was taken) – frightening how the coastline is collapsing there. Despite huge red warning signs about the cliff collapse, and huge warning signs about unexploded ordnance on the beach, a gaggle of women were still determined to clamber down, but thankfully they decided not to.

We headed across to Withernsea, a smashing little seaside town. It was full, so we went over over to Paull to have a pint and a sandwich in the Humber Tavern. Good news! – crab salad on the menu. Bad news! – crab salad crossed off the menu. Ordered a prawn sandwich. They don’t do sandwiches on a Sunday. Sigh. Drank a pint of Tetleys and shared a bag of dry roasted peanuts with Pete. Came home and ate an apple. Not, perhaps, a healthy diet.

Slumped for a bit, then tried rockscaping the big tank, and Pete tidied up all the wiring onto a wall mounted block. Constructed a nice Thai stirfry with the raw prawns purchased from Morrisons, and then a blackberry and apple crumble with blackberries ditto. How I miss my brambles at the bottom of the Long Ashton garden.

And that was it, really. Today is HOT.

Oh, and forgot, i think, to mention that we saw Ukulele Orchestra of GB again on Thursday. In Hull! – so rare to actually manage a gig without travelling 80 miles :) Fab as always.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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Yesterday, big carb-free fry up for breakfast, then walked into town, saw X-Men: First Class (fabulous – best of the bunch),  dash in the rain to Ferens Art Gallery for a cup of coffee, and a look at the photographic exhbition (interesting, but badly lit), then home for chicken stir fry. And we made a start on The Shadow Line, which really is rather good, particularly Rafe Spall, who is terrifying.

Also changed the fish tank water, and moved it out of the fireplace, so we can see it better now. We want a bigger tank! and I have my eye on one on Ebay, but there’s no rush. God knows why they’re all so ugly, though.

This morning we sallied once more to Frisby Aquatics, where we bought two new plants, some stripy stones, three White Mountain Minnows, and a cleaner fish (total:  £15:10). All looking much nicer now.

Pete cooked dhal for lunch, and we have just been slumped on the sofa for the afternoon, in front of the fire. I’m watching Mad Men, and Pete is currently making cheese scones for supper. We’re supposed to be going to a showing of Inside Job, but it is absolutely vile out there, and I suspect that we shall remain slumped in front of the fire.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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For our own records, really. Another bank holiday weekend – Saturday Pete went out on a 26m bike ride, while I tackled the ironing mountain. And beat it.

Sunday, I tested the fish tank, which we set up on 25 April – we deemed it acceptable, so went over to Frisby Aquatics to purchase fish! I’ve been in there a few times, buying tank chemicals and asking advice, and always been very pleased with their service, so we have determined we shall use them always, not least because they’re nice and local. They recommended that we start with one for a week or so, and we brought home a Siamese fighting fish in black, with a lovely blue streak in his tail. He was briefly named “Pteppic”, but we have, I think, settled on George as a collective name for the fish, singular or plural.

George seems quite happy in his tank, is eating his fish flakes, and entertaining Ron and Henry a treat :)

After settling him down, we walked into town and had lunch in the Handmade Burger Co. We had a meal there soon after it opened, and weren’t hugely impressed; I actually complained about my chicken being cold, and they gave me a refund which was quite impressive. They also gave us a 2 for 1 voucher, so we decided to give them another shot yesterday; they are much improved, but the service is still quite slow, and whatever they brought me in a mug, it wasn’t coffee! Then we went and saw Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected – but it was far too long, and a lot of it was far too dark for my tired old eyes to see clearly. We were bad, and had both an ice cream (Ben and Jerry Cherry Garcia – om *nom*), and a large bag of Maltesers between us, and in fact we didn’t have any supper at all, we were so full.

Yesterday we’d planned to go for a walk on the coast, but it was chucking it down in the morning, so we didn’t. Instead we walked the long way round to the other side of the city, and back a different long way, purchasing a mop and bucket at the mid point. A rock and roll life, ’tis true. Before going out, we put a shoulder of lamb in the slow cooker, with aubergines, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, red onions, mustard seeds, onion seeds, garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric, cumin and coriander seeds. And tomatoes, lime juice and coconut milk. Pete made some little fenugreek dumpings to accompany it and it was exceeding nice. Followed by strawberries and ice cream.

Last night was quite frenzied, discussing almost the same thing with *almost* the same people in three different online media – it got quite confusing, and my keyboard melted :) And that was it. Back to the grindstone now.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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Took a couple of things to the framers in Anlaby – a mooooose (well elk, really) tea towel that Pete brought back from Helsinki, and was far too nice to just use, and a Paul Kidby sketch of Rincewind which we bought in Glastonbury about nine years ago, and has been rolled up in its tube ever since. I therefore have no idea how it got a couple of creases in it, but never mind. This place also frames tapestries, so I shall take my aubergines up there next week when I go to collect these pieces.

Also went to Fields to take advantage of their 1lb of sossidges for £1 – we bought four sorts of sausages, two of their stonking Cornish pasties, and a beef and stilton pie, which has been stowed in the freezer.

We picked up my fish tank from Beverley first (yay! fish tank!); it’s only a teeny tiny thing at 30cm cubed, but it’s enough for now, although I’m a tad worried that it might prove to be totally addictive. I can’t even start getting the water balanced yet, as it’s going in the fireplace that Stu and Rich knocked out over the weekend, and it only got the cement in there today, but no matter. I’m really quite excited – I’ve wanted an aquarium for years, and now I have one.

Then we went to Morrisons and did a megashop – not done one for two months; “what do we need?” “everything”. So we bought everything then came home and pretty much collapsed, after making a valiant attempt to tidy up. It doesn’t look much better, but everything that can be put away has been.

Can’t remember, really. Potted up some plants, took a Bargeful of rubble to the tip, lost the indoor watering can, went to B&Q (yes, again), called into the fishy place and bought some plants and sand for the tank, and Looked at Fish.

Today, I was brave and went to the dentist. And in fact it was OK – he’s a good dentist, and gentle, and I’m not nearly so spooked.  Took my bike there – first trip out this year, which is shocking I know, and went the long way round; about 4 miles, and my word, I can feel it!

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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The last few days have involved first fix electrics, covering absolutely every bloody thing in Yet More Dust, after I’d cleaned it all up. We went to Ikea while they were here, and bought a kitchen sink (which we now don’t like) and various bits and pieces such as a new rug for the dining room, and so forth. Got home to find total chaos, and they had discovered dry rot in the kitchen floor. Aargh.

Got someone in to have a look on Friday morning, who quoted us £850 to fix. Got someone else in on Saturday morning, who quoted £995. Both of them said they could do it this week, but the dearer chap phoned back on Sunday assuming we wanted him to carry out the work, only to be told that we could find no trace of him on Google*, he turned up in a plain van, had no business card, and we weren’t about to hand over a grand to someone with no public presence.

On Saturday we took the rubble to the tip, where we picked up a load of wood for the stove from someone who was about to dump it (hurrah), went to Asda (which was manic), then home via Anlaby to visit the inestimable Fields. We bought pasties (no longer Cornish), three sorts of sossidges for the freezer, a hand made Shepherd’s Pie and some pork stuffed with basil and ricotta (I’ve got no kitchen, OK?), and some cat bikkit that the Tribe particularly like from the pet shop up there – haven’t seen it anywhere else.

I spotted an ad in the local freesheet for a cats/kittens Open Day for Beverley CPL, admission cat food, so we bundled up the tins of Breeder food from Makro that the Tribe liked until we bought lots of it (sigh), and took that over to Woodmansey. We hardly saw any kittins, but no matter – the fud has gone to a good cause.

Then we drove over to Paull and walked a couple of miles along the foreshore; it was a beautiful day, and hardly anyone about, and we really enjoyed it. Then we went and had a Sunday roast in the Crown Inn in Paull, which was very nice. Home via B&Q, where we bought Danish oil for the worktops, and some spotlights to be wired into the external light point, and some spare bulbs for the lamp beside my end of the sofa in the living room, which turned out to have been unplugged …

The plumber came to do his first fix this morning – he very kindly rearranged everything so that he could run his pipes under the floor before DryRotMan did his stuff. Which he is now saying he might not be able to to until Saturday, which means messing the plasterer about again. However, we now have no water downstairs apart from the outside tap, so we have to wash up in the bath. I am never, ever doing this again.

It’ll be lovely when it’s finished.

*Not strictly true – there were two or three ads on Loot, none of which were for timber treatment.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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It feels wrong, somehow, to witter on about our trivial lives in the light of the appalling scenes from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami; I don’t have anything to say on that – it’s all been said in a far more eloquent way than I could.

Still, just to put a marker down for my own history, weekend was more kitchen-related expeditions, Reg Meuross in Elloughton, and not much more really. I’ll be glad when the kitchen is finished (build starts on 28th), but it’s all a bit ridiculous to whine when we could be homeless and shell-shocked on the other side of the world, so I won’t.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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A three day weekend as I wasn’t in our office on Friday, but instead left the house at 8 to get to a local hotel in order to start interviewing three candidates for deputy head at the school where I’m a governor. I can’t really say much about it, but it was a long and intense day, and I’m sure we made the right decision.

I was nearly late, though – I had a nicely worked out timetable for the early morning, which was slightly thrown by the arrival of the dishwasher at 7.30.I was in the bath, and Pete was still in bed and hadn’t heard the door, but we managed to get it indoors and I made it to the Pearson Park Hotel in time all the same!

On Saturday morning, the kitchen fitted arrived to do the final measuring before he makes the cabinets, so we feel things are moving on well there. Then we called into Merlin on Sculcoates Lane to look at beech and oak worktops, to decide which we might prefer, then we set off for Lincoln.

Lincoln involved sossidge innabun from the German stall on the continental market, good coffee and a cinnamon toasted teacake in Pimento, a hike down Steep Hill (which is), with a visit to The Bag Shop, where a handbag called to me so loudly I had to buy it. It’s an Owen Barry Tucket in grassy green, and just lovely.

Continued into town for a mooch, long walk along the river bank and bank, called into the Oxfam bookshop for a couple of books, had a cup of tea in a pub called the Witch and the Wardrobe (what? no lion?), then an early supper in the Laughing Buddha in Silver Street – all-you-can-eat Chinese, and cracking value at 8 quid each before 6 p.m.

Then we toiled back up Steep Hill (it really is) to head for the Drill Hall, where Mark Steel was gigging. The ticket receipt had no street name or postcode on it, but Google Maps showed us where it was. Except when we got there, the Drill Hall wasn’t. We asked a passer-by, who told us that it was down in town. Just along Silver Street in fact (aargh). My knees are bad at the moment, and thankfully I had a walking stick with me for the first time in months, so we set off once again down Steep Hill (it really is) and back to just pretty much exactly where we’d started out on Silver Street. I was in bits by this stage, and sitting still for what was an excellent gig, but still over 2.5 hours, didn’t help.

We decided to get a cab back to the car (you can guess where it was, can’t you?), but there was none to be had, so back up Steep Hill (did I mention .?) we climbed, into the car and home for about 12.30. I took a couple of ibuprofen and slept like a dead creature.

Today has been slumpage – apart from Pete chopping up more wood for the fire, and me nipping (or popping) up to the shop for some bits, we’ve done bugger all. Watched, and loved, Crazy Heart, caught up with online stuff, going to have an early night and possibly another soak in the bath before bed.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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The kitchen on its way to the tip

On Wednesday, we looked at the wreck of the house, kept telling ourselves how lovely it would be when it was all done, and realised that the dining suite we bought for £1.47 (yes, really) when we moved it really wouldn’t do any more. I had a quick look on eBay, and found an extending solid oak Ikea table, with six leather(ish) chairs, for £185 starting bid, stuck a bid of exactly that on it, and expected to be trumped. But no – we won it. Which posed a bit of a problem in the short term, because there is NO BLOODY ROOM anywhere in the house right now, and the old dining table has a microwave and pans and a plugin hob and god knows what else on it.

Thankfully, some friends came to the rescue, so on Saturday we took two trips to move the table and chairs in the GermanBarge over to their garage. The stuff is vair nice, although the table is a little bigger than we expected, but it’ll all look lovely. Brian and Lesley fed us firstly with coffee, and then with a lovely impromptu lunch, so thanks once again for your assistance!

We went home and resisted the temptation to just light the fire and slump; instead, we finished emptying the kitchen cupboards, and dismantled them, stowing them all in the aforementioned GermanBarge; the only thing left in there, cupboardwise, is the sink unit, and it’s empty, and we’ve blown the bloody doors off. Martin the KitchenMan will be coming to do his working survey at the end of this week. We had sossidges for supper from fabulous Fields (did a quick detour while in Anlaby collecting dining set), the final run for the old gas cooker, which the plumbering man will be removing when he does the plumbing. I’ve also ordered the dishwasher now.

On Sunday morning, we took up the carpet tiles and lino, and found some really rather nice floorboards underneath. The rest of downstairs has sanded and sealed original floorboards, and we keep wondering whether this would be practical for a kitchen. But probably not. We added these to the boot of the car, and trundled off to the tip; Hull City Council tip staff are fab, and help you with anything bulky, so it was a quick trip. Thence on to Wickes to look at paint (two tester pots bought), and a sausage, egg and mushroom roll for breakfast from the very excellent van in their car park.  Then home via Tesco for cat fud, taking down the old cooker hood (already gone on Freecycle), and then a hot bath each, and a slump.

Up early again this morning, as the gasman cometh, and again tomorrow when he returns with the relevant parts. Still, at least we’ll have reliable hot water then. Won’t we?

Documenting of the kitchen is here on Flickr, should you be interested.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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Lazy, really. We sauntered up to Dukes (cafe bar on Princes Ave, just at the top of the road) for a No2ID meeting, which was thinly attended. So much going on – ANPR, NHS spine, DNA database, census – but nothing to hang a campaign around now that the dreaded cards have gone, but we will soldier on. We stayed for a lunch of not very good burger – the fat chips were not in any way crisp, the stilton on my stilton burger was not melted.

Came home, lit the fire, Pete chopped up some wood. I watched Have You Heard About the Morgans, which was really not very good. Lazy.

Sunday was fairly lazy too – cooked a small fry up for breakfast, went to Beverley to Lakeland(s). Bought spring form cake tin, egg spray glaze (whoever heard of such a thing), vanilla extract, food tongs in one Lakeland. Had to be led away gibbering after spotting the most surreal thing in the store (and there are many) – a device for lifting a device for poaching eggs from the pan. Poaching devices come in two colours, poaching device device in just one – what a dilemma for the stylish chef! Picked up three bags of ground almonds for the price of two in Julian Graves.

Had a forage in the fabulous Boyes (as it were), picking up a mechanical ice cream scoop (top tip from Lorraine thingy who had a baking prog on the telly – ideal for putting muffin mix into the pan), a pepper grinder like a cat (*just* horrible enough to be fun), a pack of red hair dye.

Then onto the other Lakeland, where I found a leather jacket of fabulosity. It had a cunning sort of arrangement where an inner middle section/hood zipped in and out, for extra warmth. Pete insisted I had it, and the assistant very kindly unzipped the zip in/out bit to show me how it works, and then we all discovered it had a faulty zip, and it was the only size 14 they had (size! 14!). I prepared to lay on the floor and throw a tantrum, but was thwarted, as they offered to check stock at the warehouse, and found another, which will be delivered to the Beverly store on Wednesday, which is terrific. The swing ticket said £179, so I hope they don’t try to charge me the price on the web site!

Watched The Men Who Stare at Goats, which we thought was hilarious. Cooked moussaka, a slow cooker full of tomato and lentil soup, and some chocolate and banana cakes for the freezer (but we had to sample them).

In other news, the builders are here bricking up the back door and knocking through the hatch, so the kitchen works can begin and chaos will rule.  My single ring induction hob arrived this morning, and it’s cracking; I so wish I’d persuaded Pete that a full induction hob would be as good as gas, but there was no budging him. Builders were here at 7.30, so it feels like going home time now. I’m not looking forward to the next few weeks …

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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winter light and shadows

We are about to embark upon a kitchen refit; the prospect fills me with horror, but the end result will be worth it. Tell me it will.
Another thing that horrifies me is the cost of decent appliances – we have a standalone combi microwave (so it is a little oven and grill, as well as a microwave); we paid about £90 for it last year, but built in ones seem to start at the thick end of £600 and just keep going. I’ve been haunting eBay, and finally snared a Neff combi, plus oven, plus cooker hood, for £350 – result.

So yesterday morning we set off for Northallerton, on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, to collect them. We stopped at a Little Thief for an Olympic Breakfast en route, and it really was olympic – neither of us could quite finish it.

We met the chap (who is renovating a really beautiful house, including “just pushing the back wall out 3 ft” – lord knows what that’ll cost him!), and stowed the stuff in the German Barge; the oven went in the boot, and the microwave and hood fitted on the back seat. We wrapped them tenderly in old sheets, and set off for Staithes, a lovely fishing village on the North Yorkshire coast. It’s very steep, but we trolled up and down the hill and little stepped lanes and had a lovely time, finishing with a cuppa and a piece of really very nice coconut, lime and ginger cake in a local cafe. I had a bash at reproducing it yesterday, and my recipe is here.

After Staithes, we drove home across the moor, stopping in Malton en route. Malton is a nice country town, which apparently closes at 4 on a Saturday, but thankfully the nice butcher was still going. They had a BOGOF on pasties and pies, so we bought a couple of each, and some decent bacon. Came home and ate (home cooked) Indian fud.

We think the Neff appliances enjoyed their day out; we thought it a nice idea to give them a treat, as they will shortly be entombed in cabinetry, and set to work for their living.

Yesterday, I made cake, made soup from last week’s lamb bones and a stack of veg, cleaned the new cooker hood, cooked bagels with scrambly egg and bacon for breakfast, had meat and potato pie with cabbage and broccoli for supper, watched Raising Arizona and the BAFTAs … must have done more, but can’t remember.

And now it’s bloody Monday again.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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Richard Thompson, Grand Opera House, York | Jan 2011

How did it get to be 2011, FFS?

A quiet Saturday, involving a trip to Morrisons (rock’n'roll, eh), and The Taking of Pelham 123 later on. This was the Denzil Washington/John Travolta version, and frankly I thought it not a patch on the Robert Shaw one. Still, that is on the Blockbuster list and will no doubt turn up in the fullness of time.

All the rather weary veg from the the fridge were diced up for soup, and cooked off in the slow cooker, a chickie! was roasted, and a pudding was concocted from the last two plums and a huuuuge Bramley, with an almond sponge topping. We also consumed a bottle of red wine between us, and two pots of coffee – this latter was a Mistake, as we both suffered from a severe caffeine overload overnight.

Sunday therefore dawned a tad grooish, but a brunch of bagels, scrambled egg, bacon, black pudding and mushrooms helped a bit; we kept away from the coffee, mind. Watched The Hurt Locker in the afternoon, which I will need to watch again, I think, and then set off for the wilds of York’s Grand Opera House, to see the wondrous Richard Thompson.

It’s something I miss about being in Bristol – we have to travel to see favourite people, and we’ve done Leeds, Sheffield, York, and have tickets for Mak Steel in Lincoln in March. The only music gig we’ve done in Hull was the Ukulele Orchestra early last year. Still, York is an easy run.

We had a swift, excellent pizza in Il Bertorelli (gorgonzola and mushroom for me – nom), then into the theatre; our tickets were about 300′ up at the back of the Grand Circle, and apart from the need for an oxygen mask, the view was terrific. As was the music – a four piece band of drummer, bass, violin, and a multi-instrumental chap on guitar, wind and brass (no, not all at the same time). Very tight combo.

First half was all new album stuff, which we didn’t know, second was some old favourites. Lovely acoustic version of Al Bowley’s in Heaven,  storming rocking version of Tear Stained Letter, with lots of instrumental solos, and just the teeniest hint of community singing, and closing with a stomping I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight.

Nice easy run home in 50 minutes, welcomed (if that’s the word) by sulking cats. And now it’s Monday again.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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the unruly mob

The word went round via Twitter and e-mail that the BNP were planning a protest rally outside the mosque in Pearson Park on Saturday morning, so Pete and I thought we’d go and join the anti-protest.

We pitched up just after 11, to find quite a few people milling about, none of whom looked remotely BNPish. I know you shouldn’t judge by appearances, but even so … Lots of plod, PCSOs, and four mounted police turned up as the morning went on, and a Community Liaison or Development or Something plod with an impressive, if lopsided, moustachio’d/bearded facial hair arrangement, but still no BNP; they  were due at midday, but were apparently drinking in the Bull on Bev Road. The anti crowd grew, until there must have been a couple of hundred.

It was all tremendously civilised. People (from the mosque, I think) came round with plastic cups and kettles of tea, followed by someone with a jug of milk. There were cup cakes and biscuits. The SWP contingent (I think) tried to whip the crowd into chanting, with little success; it just seemed too aggressive, too tribal. For most people, it was enough to just be there.

At about 1.15, when I really couldn’t feel my toes any more, a few of us decided to repair to the Zachariah Pearson, for a drink and some hot food. We encountered a bedraggled group of BNPers on the corner of Pearson Ave and Beverley Road. They were  shepherded by a few police person, and wearing Santa hats (not the police), which struck me as a tad incongruous, and tried half heartedly (and unsuccessfully) to hand us leaflets.

Just as we got to the pub, I remembered that I’d left a pan of onions on a very low heat, and we thought we’d better go home. So we stopped in at the wonderful Tony’s Textiles for another of their excellent thermal door curtains, picked up some veg in Frutopia, and some potted bulbs and a simple holly wreath from Pollenation. I do like Newland Ave for shopping.

Then home for hot tea, a restorative Bushmills, and sausages, and a bit of a slump for the rest of the day.

Today? I plan, although with no real enthusiasm, to address the Kilamanjaro of ironing, have put a chicken and leek pudding in the slow cooker, will pot the bulbs into bigger containers, try to clear a path through the snow to the back gate so we can get the recycling bin out (with no real belief that they’ll actually come and empty it), and make a plum crumble.

Mounties PCSOs

Mirrored from kestrel.org.


Nov. 2nd, 2010 09:38 am
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Pete went to Finland last Monday (that’s 25 October) with his sister, to bury his mother’s ashes and see lawyers and bankers about her estate. He left me with a non-working boiler (see previous post).

Some friends popped in first thing Monday to take a look, but it was beyond their abilities, so I called the people who had fixed (if they did indeed fix) the pressure gauge a few weeks previously. They arrived after Pete had been delivered to the railway station, prodded and poked, tutted a bit, and said I needed a new PCB. They scuttled off to fetch one from their supplier, fitted it and … there was at least power, but no ignition. They prodded and poked some more, but couldn’t fix it, so that was £154 for not much.

In desperation, I phoned British Gas. They do a range of repair services, and I opted for the fixed price at £99, parts and labour, with a further 12 months at £20 for any other repairs (apart from scale related ones, which paints a lovely picture to me). This was the right decision, as in the end we had a new ignition board, new wiring and pressure valve to replace the ones that had melted(!), and it required the services of two BG engineers and two visits to fix – we had a little coven of gas vans outside.

On the Monday night we had a problem with the web servers that I didn’t know how to fix, and Pete was not answering his phone, so I panicked quite a lot. Hat tip and huge thanks to ICUK, our ISP, who sorted it out for me, working late into the night. There were some other bits and bobs that needed Pete’s attention, but they all got sorted thanks to the all-you-can-eat internet from a Finnish telco and his trusty netbook. But by then I was so bloody stressed and exhausted that I took Thursday and Friday off in a virtual sort of way, and just answered e-mails.

On Friday night I drove across the Pennines to Manchester airport to collect him from a flight due to land at 22:20. Which actually landed at 23:00, and there was a huge queue at immigration, so he didn’t get through til 23:20. There is *nothing* at Manchester T3 except a Spar. I had nothing to read, no headphones, and had a fairly miserable wait WITHOUT TEA. So we decided to stop on the way back, but UK services are very poor in the middle of the night, so we just used the loos and carried on. Was very nice to have him home, I can tell you.

The Merc is very enjoyable for that sort of run, but the wind across the Pennings was ferocious that night, and it wallowed a bit.

We had a slumping day on Saturday, and on Sunday went to look at Magnet kitchens (nice, but too expensive for my tastes), then had a walk round Cottingham, and a £6.99 carvery in the West Bulls, which was better than you might think.

And now – life is back to what passes for normal. I hope.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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Amazing – it wasn’t raining on Saturday! So I did some of the ironing mountain, and then cycled into town to return something to Primark, and buy some t-shirts for Pete. 15 minutes in one queue, and 10 in the other. sigh. Then I went to Wilkinsons and bought an ironing board cover and a new peg bag, as ours is disintegrating. It’s a rock and roll lifestyle, and no mistake.

We’re 1.5 miles from town, but I took the long way in, and a longer way back, and my trip was almost 8 miles.  Pete had gone elsewhere for the afternoon, and returned home with a backpack full of fruit and veg, including rhubarb. So I perpetrated a rhubarb crumble, which we had after eating dhal and chapatti, which he constructed. Slumped in front of Strictly and X-Factor after that.

On Sunday, we were planning to cycle over to Beverley to the Apple Fest, which was touted as having a Bird of Prey display amongst other things. As the morning progressed, it was clear that bikes were out unless they were amphibious, and as it progressed further, we realised that the whole plan was out – it just got wetter and wetter out there.

So instead, I finished the ironing (what a lot there was), made the filling and pastry for a chicken pie for supper, turned the heating on (oh the luxury of having working heating!) and decided to watch a movie for the afternoon.

We decided on Shawshank Redemption, which is currently ranked #2 on IMDB, and is just a perfect, perfect film. Before we started it, I dug out my Kaffe Fassett tapestry, which I have had for ages and hardly started. And after that, I dug out my magnifying daylight lamp, as I couldn’t actually see to sew. The tapestry is an aubergine. I did a Fassett cauliflower a few years ago, but I cannot find the damn thing – so annoying.

Then Pete assembled the pie, which we ate with a heap of broccoli, Channel 4’s Art programme (undecided), X-Factor (fixed), Downton Abbey (proving disappointing). I got quite into the tapestry too, which was nice – already wondering what to do next!

Lazy weekend, but there’ll be more of them now the autumn has et in.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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Saturday dawned much fairer and less windy than Friday had been, so we decided to trundle up to Flamborough for a nice brisk walk along the headland. And brisk it was indeed – so bloody windy that we could barely stand up at times, and certainly far too blustery to risk walking along the cliff edge. So we battled over to Thornwick Bay and back, managing almost three miles, but there really wasn’t much pleasure in it, to be honest.

Because I’m being quite careful with my diet again (details to come in another post at some point), we took a picnic. We had chickpea and tuna salad and a cup of tea when we got to Flamborough, and then some extremely welcome hot homemade lamb and lentil soup when we got back from the walk.

After that we drove up to Filey, but it was full so we didn’t stop. We called in at The Great Satan Tesco on the way home for bulk supplies of cat food, but vowed to cycle over to Morrisons for the rest of the shopping on Sunday. I don’t like Tesco, but we swap the cats’ tins around so they don’t get bored, and it was on the way home.

Sunday dawned … horrid. Damp and cold. In the end we took the car to Morrisons, and stocked up with sensible stuff for me to eat, then came home and slumped. Watched North by North West, which I love, and gave Downton Manor a try – not too bad.

So a bit of a lazy weekend, really – you can tell the weather’s getting seasonal …

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

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Skidby Mill

On Saturday, we decided to cycle up to Skidby Mill, a working windmill restored with Lottery funding (what isn’t these days?), with a Museum of Rural Life attached.

It’s not that far – about 6 miles, maybe – but there was a vicious headwind most of the way there, and the last bit is decidedly Up. To my shame, I couldn’t quite manage it, and had to push. And my calves ache like mad!

The museum is beautifully done out, with photographs of and quotations from people who worked the land in the 1930s and 1940s, and some “hands on” exhibits for people to try grinding grain between stones again. I was quite taken aback to be charged £1.75 entrance, as I thought museums were free these days, but it was well worth the money. You can climb right up to the top and see the miller milling (though I didn’t, as I’d never have got down again). You can buy the flour they mill, so we did, and we had a cup of tea and a very nice scone in the tearoom before heading home.

It was glowering a bit when we left, but the rain held off. We came back via Morrisons (so just over 12.5 miles all told)  and bought some bits, which I stowed in my nice new rear bike basket – I’m very  pleased with that, as it means we can go a bit further afield for shopping without the car. Pete is very hardy, and carries heaps of stuff in a rucksack, but my back doesn’t like that. I picked up some greengages for 50p, marked as exotic fruit (really? greengages?), and some white pudding, which I love – you hardly ever see it down south.

In the afternoon, I made a couple of banana and coconut cakes as an experiment, as we had a kilo of desiccated coconut in the larder. I have no idea why we bought such a huge bag, and working through it is going to take some time.

Sunday dawned grey and cold and rainy, and it stayed like that all day, which was irritating as I’d wanted to pop into town. Instead, we had a small but beautifully formed fry up for breakfast (1 rasher, 1 sasuage, 1 egg, 2 slices of white pudding, some fried potatoes). Then we turned a half shoulder of lamb into slow cooked lamb and lentils, and put up with the smell all afternoon. I watched Gosford Park in the afternoon, and the day was, generally, slumpage. First weekend day we’ve spent completely at home since last winter, I think, but was quite nice nonetheless.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.


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March 2016

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