Monday, 26 January 2009

Everybody's Doin' it........

Hecky thump - we're all at it. I just read Kath's 'My Simple Rhymes' where she shows us the decorating she's done to her little flat - kitchen mainly. Looks lovely. Mimuther's at it too in her living room, Hallway and dining room. Or, rather my bruv and sis are at it on her behalf - she's GOC.

And here are we, for which read 'Keith'. He has decided that our bedroom, hallway and living room need a major makeover. The hallway and living room will get a new wooden floor. He's quite certain the floor in the hallway will only take 2 days. hmmm.....! In his mind's eye he has the hallway completed by next weekend, hmmm-mm!

Then he's going to attack the bedroom. He wanted to put a wooden floor in there too but I put my little foot down with a firm hand. There's no way in this world that my tootsies are getting out of a nice warm bed of a morning onto a cold, unforgiving wood floor. You can't beat a nice shag (pile) in the bedroom when it's a cold morning. OH - - - <> woops - I've just had to go back and put in the word in brackets because I realised it read a bit rude!!! I suppose I could have changed it altogether but - well this blog is supposed to be me 'warts anorl' so here's a few warts!!!! I do hope I haven't offended anybody. It's what happens when you write down your thoughts. Not offending people, I don't mean - oh make your own mind up whether you're offended. You know me well enough by now!

Anyway, all these projects are to be finished by May so he can practise for retirement by sitting in the garden in the blazing sunshine. Ho Ho Ho - Where does he get these ideas from?

Know what he did this morning? Again? Went off to work at 5am but didn't leave me a key to open the back door with. Poor Sally was standing with her poor little old legs crossed wondering why I didn't let her go in the garden. I can't speak to him at work - as a chicken processing plant their phone number is secret because they're scared of animal rights activists. What do they think animal rights people are going to do over the phone? Make an appointment? So anyway, I left a message on his cell phone and, quite by chance, he called me later in the morning. Where? Just where, if you knew my hubby, you would never think of looking: the box where they should be! He NEVER puts keys in there, never. This is a first. Have we turned a corner? Has he overcome that most malest of blindspots and Got The Hang Of It. I didn't know whether to be mad or glad!

Finally, a little (I hope) problem that I wonder if anyone can help me with. A few days ago - last week maybe - I filled in a quiz on a site called something like to see what character of film star I am most like (Ingrid Bergman in case you're interested!). Now the thing won't go away. Every time I click on 'New Post' from my Dashboard the box that comes up contains the result of this quiz and I have to manually delete it all before I can start. Next time, there it will be again, just like the last teaspoon in the washing up. What have I done? How can I get rid of it once and for all? If it comes up again I may just have to publish it in case that's what it thinks I should do. I can't do it through 'Edit Posts' because it doesn't show on there. GRRRR.

Until next time.........

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Mum's Piggy Bank

A recent post by Ally (Life with Ally) made me smile and put me in mind of Mimuther when we were kids. Ally was talking about her washing machine having packed up but that it was easily fixed by clearing out the filter which was blocked by lots of small change which didn't get taken out of trouser pockets. I remember as kids we had a 3-piece suite (sofa and 2 chairs). It was very 50's; in fact it was very up-to-the-minute at the time. It was mostly greyish plastic with red inserts. Probably be worth a fortune today! It was worth a fortune twice a year or so then as well. The rear upholstery of each piece was held in place on the frame by a continuous line of flat-headed rivets. Whenever she was skint, off would come those rivets and the sofa or chair had to be manouevred into all sorts of positions and shaken about a bit so that all the stuff that had fallen out of people's pockets and slipped down inside got retrieved. She usually got our Syd, dad's much younger brother who lived with us when he first left school, to help her. I don't know if he ever realised most of the money they fished out was his anyway! There would usually be a couple of packets of Rizzla cigarette papers (dad used to roll his own), occasionally the remains of a sandwich or a few Dolly Mixtures, but the main loot - the money - was the aim. Mum's Piggy Bank! Sometimes she would get as much as 10 Shillings out of there. We call this 50 pence today and believe me it's not much, not when you consider that a loaf of bread was tenpence - less than 5p (one shilling) in today's money.

Talking about Mimuther, she phoned the other day and we were talking about books we had for sharing. We both have Michael Parkinson's autobiography "Parky" (he's a very popular talk show host and cricket fan). "Oh I do love Parky," said Mimuther, "I've taken him to bed every night this past fortnight." MOTHER - drink your tea!!

I am in a bit of a quandry. Because my right arm is very weak nowadays and I can't walk more than a couple of steps or stand for long without holding on I wonder if it's worthwhile to keep my sugarcraft equipment. I know I don't have the upper body strength needed either to make or handle the large fruit cakes usually wanted, nor to perfectly apply the almond paste or flat icing.

That's the lesser problem though. It's the flower equipment, I just don't want to part with it. I am - or was - quite proud of the sugar flowers I made, even if I say it myself. By getting rid of the equipment I would be admitting defeat completely. I have a lot of stuff and it would be worth several hundred pounds on eBay, though I probably spent a couple of thousand getting it together.

I should really try to make some flowers should't I? I haven't made any since about last April so how do I really know whether I can or not? If they look second-best I'll take up something else. OR I'll train myself to do the tricky bits left-handed, that might work. I've taught myself to use my left hand for all sorts of other things so maybe I can do this as well. OK, thanks everyone for listening to me rambling on. You've helped me clarify my thoughts.

Remember me telling you about that fabulous book "Baking - from my home to yours" which I was given at Christmas? My first effort was the Pound Cake on page 222. It was, strictly speaking, only a half pound cake as my Kenwood wouldn't have coped well with anything bigger. Keith loved it - buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture and it looked just like the picture in the book! Next is going to be the choccy muffins on page 215.

But not until I try those flowers!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

A New Rant

Just a short post today but still, I'm afraid, in ranting mode! My printer's ink cartridges finally packed up on Friday so new ones were desperate. As we were near Curry's on Saturday morning, in we went to buy some. £10-something each and I wanted 4 - flaming taters. But well you've got to have them haven't you? I've had these comparables (or whatever they're called) before and they don't last 5 minutes so I wanted genuine Epson Stylus ones. Oh well, I thought, philosophically, bang goes the skirt and top and, apart from a very loud rant in the car on the way to Tescos, said no more about it.

Until we saw them. There they were, in Tescos, for a little over £7 each - AND they had a multipack of all four at about £24! I was incensed and despatched himself back to Curry's to take them back and tell them why. He wimped out on that and just said he'd got the wrong ones for his wife and could they please credit them back into the debit card. "Well sir," they said, "This is not your card, it's Mrs M's," True but, as he pointed out, I couldn't go back myself. "Well it's fraud to use someone else's card," and the manager was sent for. Fortunately he saw sense and said he thought it would be alright as he was putting something in not taking it out. So poor Keith got out alive, and all for four way overpriced printer cartridges.

Hands up who knows what this is?
I know it looks like a doorstopper, and it sort of is, but actually it's today's Keithism.
It's actually a wheat bag acting as a doorstopper. It's fastened by string to the door handle so that when I want to close the door all I hve to do is throw the bag in onto the floor of the cupboard (it's what I use as an office and it's where I'm sitting now). When I open the door again the string pulls the bag out and it sits itself by the open door. Nifty huh? But here's the good bit: if I happen to get a neckache from sitting here I can just throw the whole thing in the microwave for a minute and you have instant drug-free relief from an aching neck! Oh boy, this guy missed his vocation somewhere!!

While he was at it he thought he might as well have a bit of a square-up in there. Normally hate it if anyone messes about with my officey bits and pieces. They may look a mess but they'r my mess and I know where everything is. What he did was put a bank of switches on the wall and hung the phone on the wall so I don't keep knocking t off, he cleaned the computer monitor - see h ow it gleams? - and he dusted AND POLISHED my desk and then put the papers carefully back on it. He sorted out all the eectric spaghetti under the desk too - BLESS THAT MAN.

I'm off to bed now. By the way, the baby I signed off with last time wasn't me I'm pleased to say!

This isn't me either, it's Mimuther on her 80th birthday

lots of love, Angie, xxx

Friday, 9 January 2009

Not a Lot to Say

I'm scandalized!!!! A common or garden-type sliced loaf of white bread from round the corner at the Spar shop: £1.87. Daylight robbery, that. While petrol is going down, down, down, everything else is going up, up, up. I heard gas and electric prices were to be lowered - Y~A~Y; then I heard that the utilities companies were going to use the problems of Russia refusing to supply some of its neighbours with gas as an excuse to raise our prices yet further, even though they're already getting beyond the reach of many people. Where does it stop? You can opt not to buy most other things until manufacturers stop being silly but - gas and electric??

"Baking - from my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan

Just look what Santa brought me. Ever since Marie at Oak Cottage started to write her Tuesdays with Dorie entries I have longed for this book.

I was not disappointed. The illustrations are beautiful and the short introduction to each recipe gives a real indication of how it's supposed to turn out. She even gives ideas on what you can do to ring the changes on a recipe and make it your own! It's not exactly bedtime reading as it weighs a ton but it certainly won't lie forgotten on the bookshelf.

I got a lot of other books too so I'm well set up with reading matter for now. Among them were biography of Diana Ross and autos of Gordon Ramsay (Humble Pie), Sir Michael Parkinson (Parky), Gloria Hunniford (Always with you), Dawn French (Dear Fatty) and Paul O'Grady (At my mother's knee - and other low joints). In paperback were Memories of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon and The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert, and all rounded off by Belle de Jour which has apparently become a TV series. Sounds a bit rude to me! I can't say I fancy the James Herbert or the "rude" one but I'll give them a go. I'll try and remember to let you know what they're like as I get through them.

I seem to have got my computer fixed. As some of you know if you've tried to email me with links or attachments, I wasn't able to open any of them. Well I can now so I'm back in business!!


Thursday, 8 January 2009

A Lovely Day

Ooooh - what an exciting day I had yesterday. Birthday cards and e-greetings, e-mails and phone calls and texts from all over the place. Normally the postman goes straight past but yesterday - loads of envelopes and a large jiffy bag containing all sort of lovely bits and pieces. Then when I had a look on my computer greetings from many blogging friends. People have often said to me that you can't call someone you've never met 'friend'. You jolly well can you know! Thank you to all my friends, wherever you live, for casting a magical spell on an otherwise mundane day.

And special thanks to our own Motherhen for the lovely 'Simple Rhyme'. I loved it! Now then Kath, when are you going to tellme when your birthday is? I've asked you a few times but you always manage to skirt round the issue. There, I've asked you publicly now!

You know, when I was little I could not imagine me not being famous when I grew up. I don't know that I had any firm idea of what I would be famous for though I do remember thinking when I was about 10 that I might be a singer! Ha! I know what brought that on: my friend's mum heard me singing one day and I overheard her saying to my mum that " ought to have her voice trained..." and " ought to get her joined in the Co-op choir, she could be a mezzo.....". That all sounded quite reasonable to me. I wasn't too sure how one went about training a voice but if they could train dogs...........! Despairing of the Co-op choir I decided to try, in the first year at Grammar School, to get in the school choir; not quite the dizzy heights of the Co-op but a start. They held a proper audition where the school's one and only music mistress put you through your paces. This scale, that scale, can you read music, here's a middle C - sing it a-n-d HOLD IT. Well, a puffed and red faced few seconds later and I was told I wouldn't do. Wouldn't do!!! I could have been back row! I could have been a mezzo!

I fancied myself as an actor as well but the best I ever managed was understudy to the role of museum curator in a sketch which lasted about 3 minutes. I can't remember why but whoever was to do the part couldn't so I was promoted. I had no lines to speak but my big moment was to be a dramatic and blood-curdling scream right at the end as the curtain fell. I practised and practised privately at home - well, as privately as a full blast blood-curdling scream can be. Nobody thought much of my 'rehearsals' least of all mimuther who had to explain to neighbours and sundry passers by that they were not, in fact, doing child sacrifices or pig sticking. Anyway, at the one and only performance never was a more bloody or curdling scream executed than mine. I was going for the element of surprise you see. Trying for Gothic horror and by golly..........the audience rolled about laughing! Even the teacher / director was helpless. I was never asked again though. Their loss.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


I don't know why we bother with New Year Resolutions! Mine rarely reach the start line, never mind the finishing post.

Give up smoking? Haven't smoked for 30 years.
Lose weight? That's an annual fixture, that one, and lucky if it survives ti the end of January.

Take more exercise? I wish! Being in a wheelchair it's difficult to do the kind of exercise that will help your reducing diet along and you wouldn't believe how your bum spreads out to fill all available space when you're sitting on it most of the time! It just kind of creeps. So anyway I just have to aim for a decent well-balanced diet and not too much of it, but I do that all the time so it can't really be a NYR.

Even this blog has crept onto the list. Right, from now on I am going to post something at least three times a week ..... well, two then. See? I'm dithering already. I am going to try though, seriously, and no excuses.

Although it's not quite 6th January (by when I was always told the decorations have to be down and the tree gone) I do feel that Christmas is finished now. Our tree has been relegated to the back garden in the hope that it might stay alive there for next year, there are no cards or anything adorning the rooms and the artificial 'snow' has been scrubbed from the windows. Christmas has indeed been well and truly scrubbed.

Now herein lay a problem when I was litltle. All had to be gone by 6 Jan - and my birthday was on 7th! I rarely got birthday presents ("too close to Christmas") or a party. The one party I can remember having was a very lacklustre affair because there were no decorations, not so much as a balloon, in case whoever oversees these things thought they were from Christmas and heaped bad luck on us!

Good thing we've had no snow this Christmas or else such birds as we get in our garden would have been hungry. We can't put out nice little bits like bacon rind or crusts because our Sally has taken to eating them, scaring the birds off in the process. Honestly, you would think she never got fed! She would turn her nose up though if I tried putting those things in her dinner. At 15, though, maybe she is in her second puppyhood!

Tightly furled little buds on the camelia

Spring, ah spring. I'm seeing signs of it already. The camellia is already in bud. Quite tight buds yet, they are, but hundreds of them. They will be the first things to flower in our garden. The bush will be a riot of deep pink blooms and I always feel it's doing it just for us. The people we bought the house off 6 years ago didn't take it because it never did very well and they thought it was just about dead. Well nah-nah-na-nah-na! We also have some yellow wallflowers that have kept on flowering through the cold, the snow and the frost. Are they supposed to do that?

I haven't taken the Christmas present photos yet so that entry will be toorrow now. Night night, sleep tight, mind the bugs don't bite..............zzzzzzzzzzzz