Rainy Sunday

I’m afraid to say that I’m in danger. Only a teensy bit of danger but it’s there. I have never been a particularly domestic woman. I do what I need to. I don’t enjoy cooking or cleaning.

Today I dodged the showers to pot up some of my plants. I managed to get 3 pots done before the heavy rain started again.

When i went into the kitchen to get myself some lunch I did something that is very rare for me. I made a Victoria sponge cake. Which we both had a slice of with our late afternoon cup of tea. It must be over a year since I last made a cake. Certainly not since my hospital stay last August, or even the weeks leading up to that as I was too poorly.

I have also occupied my time today reading and knitting. I’m making the sleeves for a cat face jumper. This will be my third one. I have made two for my granddaughter. One with a cream background and one grey. This one is white and has been commissioned by my daughter in law for her niece.

During the afternoon while I was knitting we watched two episodes of a Danish crime serial. I generally listen to the TV more than watch but with the foreign programs that mother likes I really have to keep up with the sub titles if I want to follow the plot.

This afternoon seems to have flown by but then I realised that I fell asleep for about half an hour.

Piece of cake

He told me that I was being very domesticated.

Ha he should know by now that I am not a domestic goddess. I do what I have to do.

Earlier this week I made a batch of cheese scones.

Last night I made a traditional victoria sponge.IMG_1934 For the first time in my life I managed to bake a sponge that came out more cake like than biscuit like. The scones I had made days earlier are more like rocks.

I am proud of my acheivement.

However I didn’t make it out of a fit of domesticity.

I was merely making use of ingredients in my store cupboard.

When money gets tight a woman makes the most of what she has in order to keep away the hunger pangs.

What shall I make today?

It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas

It has taken a while but it is beginning to feel like Christmas is on it’s way.

I made my Christmas cake back in October and finally this weekend got around to icing it.  It had taken me weeks to track down any marzipan in the shops but finally I found some.  Having spread apricot jam all over my cake before covering it with the ready rolled almond paste I set about making the icing.

I am not very organised when it comes to things like this, I knew I had two packs of icing sugar but didn’t realise until I started my preparations that I didn’t quite have enough icing sugar. By this time I had separated the egg whites, it was Sunday evening and I had been having a rare PJ day as I had been feeling off colour earlier. I didn’t fancy going out to buy more icing sugar at this stage. I could have waited until Monday and bought more sugar, but I didn’t want to wait. Mostly because it is getting close to the big day now and time was/is running out. With egg whites in small glass bowl and icicng sugar in large china mixing bowl I set to the business of whisking the egg whites. By this time I had realised my mistake. The egg whites should have been in the large bowl and the icing sugar should have been in my medium bowl (which has vanished).

Never mind I would find a way to do this. Have you ever tried to whisk egg whites vigorously without  letting them slop over the sides of a bowl that is far too small? …No well I don’t recommend it.

Once I had achieved soft peaks I started to slowly stir in the icing sugar, one spoon at a time. Still taking care not to let the mixture spill over the side. Eventually I reached the moment where I had to change tactic.  Carefully pushing the soft white powder to one side of the large china bowl (you know the type, smooth and white on the inside and patterned in a caramel glaze on the outside). The next step was to gently tip the egg mixture into the side of the bowl that was now nearly empty before then spooning the soft white sweet powder into the small bowl that had previously held the eggs. Now I was able to continue spooning the sugar into the egg mixture  until it was all mixed in to a shiny white runny gloop.

Hmmm well there was no going back now but the icing mixture was far too runny, perhaps I could just add a little caster sugar to thicken it up. I have in my cupboard, demerara sugar, soft golden sugar, dark brown soft sugar, or granulated sugar but no caster sugar. So granulated it was. My icing is now complete and crunchy.

Whilst I was battling with my icing Owl was having a battle of his own. He has now put up our 6′ pre lit Christmas tree. Having done this  we are now waiting for the decorations to magically appear among the artificial branches. Skater had got the tree and a large box of decorations down from the loft days earlier but it seemed that not all the decs were there. I wouldn’t allow Owl to go up to the loft himself so we had to wait for Skater to be available. Last night Skater obliged us and we now have all our decs in boxes and bags on the living room floor.

Our table is littered with gold and silver parcels after my mammoth wrapping session on Saturday evening. Once the tree has been dressed in it’s silver and red strings of tinsel along with baubles and other decorations also in the red and silver theme, I shall be able to place my parcels under the tree.

There have been many conversations with family members about who wants what for Christmas. Pug has booked his train ticket and will be arriving home on Friday evening. I won’t see him until later because Owl and I will be out having Christmas dinner with friends. Prodigal is promising to visit on boxing day with his better half in tow.

I am beginning to get the feeling that Christmas is coming, I just need to get Christmas eve out of the way first. I have booked my early morning taxi to get me to hospital for 7am. Hopefully I am near the top of the theatre list so will be home not too late (one benefit of being diabetic). I am looking forward to a Christmas day where I shall be looked after by my family and my sons won’t have too many disagreements over who is head chef for the day. Both Statto and Skater are looking forward to cooking for us.

Now I really should get some cards written before it is too late.

How are your preparations going?

I’ve got it!

I have been thinking long and hard to find it.

Today I got it

Today I decided on a working title for my book.

From today my book will be known as

The secrets of No 15

In other news I had a lovely visit from Statto and his girlfriend over the weekend. They arrived late on Saturday evening. In the morning I took them to the station so they could travel to Portsmouth. Statto was taking part in The Great South Run.  He did it in  78 minutes.  Later we went for a meal with my mother, my husband and my youngest son..

I also made my Christmas cake on Saturday.  For those of you non Brits this is what I mean. Traditional Christmas Cake

Next week I shall be having a minor surgical procedure at our local Super Hospital. Unfortunately my husband is unlikely to be able to take me, so some of my colleagues  have kindly volunteered to take me and pick me up. Thank you ladies.

Peggy Sue Adventure

 

Sunday 9th June 2013

After our adventures of the previous day we had a pretty quiet Saturday morning. Missy M had called the night before to tell us that the annual art and music festival would be in Novato and we should go. We visited our favourite diner Pepper’s for a late brunch of omelette for me and waffles for Owl.IMG_0757

Wandered back to our room and waited for the call to go and meet Missy M.

By the time we arrived at the festival the temperature was a massive 100 degrees, which is not good for walking about. We were all melting, I am sure we all shrank a few inches during the afternoon. There were lots of interesting stalls to look at. Missy M bought herself a dress and some earrings.  We all found this stand very intriguing.

IMG_0760 my favourites wereIMG_0759 Owl likedIMG_0463and thisIMG_0465

We walked from one end of the street to the other where we left Owl to listen to a live band playing while we went in search of ice cream from Missy M’s favourite ice cream store.  It was a blessed relief going into this air conditioned store full of every kind of sweet you could ever imagine and the sweet scent lingering in the atmosphere was hypnotic.  Missy M chose her tub of two kinds of ice cream and I had two kinds of sorbet which I felt would be more refreshing. Grabbing a bottle of water for Owl we headed back along the hot road to find my husband enjoying the music.

Cold desserts (rapidly melting) in our hands we meandered along back in the direction of the mustang. We had seen everything we could muster up the enthusiasm to see, it was just too hot to do much else. Even just walking at a slow pace felt like wading through treacle.

Once back at the car we decided it was time to collect Mr T which we duly did. I wouldn’t recommend travelling with father and daughter when the daughter knows her way around and the father doesn’t. Giving vague directions and not paying full attention to directions can lead to an interesting situation. With help from Mr T we finally found our way to a part of town we hadn’t seen before and a retail park that included several eateries.  We found ourselves at Pasta Pomoro one of Missy M’s favourites. Both teenagers chose a pasta dish whilst Owl and I both had a soft drink only as we were not hungry. It was nice to sit in partial shade just relaxing and chatting.

We were feeling tired and the teenagers had things to do so once the table had been cleared and left over pasta boxed up to take away we dropped them home and drove back to Petaluma and an early night. We were planning a busy day for Sunday.

Later we received a message that Missy M had left her makeup bag and car key in the mustang. She didn’t need them immediately but could we drop them off in the morning. Which of course we did even though Novato is in the opposite direction to Santa Rosa which was our chosen destination for that day. Whilst at the starlight the other evening we had picked up a free paper. Reading this we had discovered that Peggy Sue’s All American Cruise event was being held from Thursday to Sunday.

This morning the sky was looking a bit glum but we were confident that it would improve. Having completed our mercy mission we turned back north along Route 101 which didn’t actually take very long at all. Soon we were pulling into the designated car park. Already Owl was getting excited just seeing the cars parked around us, before we even got into the show itself.

There were mustangs, challengers, Bel airs, and corvettes every which way you looked. A slow walk through the car park to the field of cars, cars, cars and yet more cars. Owl was in his element. I won’t bore you with all the cars we saw, but here are a few.IMG_0764Since we arrived in California Owl kept talking about cars wearing a bra IMG_0787this was what he meant.IMG_0788IMG_0800bet you haven’t seen many cars that colour.IMG_0797and lastlyIMG_0803The weather never did improve, we were so glad we had our hoodies from the previous weekend. We didn’t see all the cars on display but after a couple of hours we decided that we had seen enough and besides which our feet were aching. Time to go back to Petaluma and call into Peppers for a drink and a slice of home made mandarin cream pie to share mmmmm.

mandarine cream pie

What a wonderful day

The day started with the usual alarm going off at 6am. Owl brought me a cup of tea, we shared cuddles and chatted until finally we managed to drag ourselves out of bed at 7.30. After a breakfast of scrambled egg on toast we changed into our clothes for the day. He into his grey suit and white shirt with a tie covered in red telephone boxes. I wore a red dress with my red spangled shoes and a black and red hat.

Right on time at 9am our friends Candy and Petrol arrived with an alternative tie for Owl (mustang cars).The Tie

We all set off in a hurry to our destination. On our arrival Owl and I were ushered into one room whilst our friends went into another.  Introductions made, paperwork completed it was time to get on with the business of the day.

Owl and I got married 🙂

After the ceremony and photos we had a drive through the countryside back to our home. Where we discovered not one but two deliveries of flowers. Skater joined the four of us for bucksfizz and chat. The post man very kindly shoved a handful of cards through our door. Our living room now resembles a florist and the scent is wonderful.flowers from mum Flowers from work Flowers from Dan & Charlottemy posyNext we went off to our current favourite pub for lunch. We spent all afternoon chatting and laughing. Before heading back home for cake and more champagne.

We have had a wonderful day.

Cakes and dementia

I went to see mother today, following the sad news of Friday. As I said before I really should see more of her than I have done since moving away last summer. I took with me a card from myself, Owl and Skater, a bunch of pink tulips and a box of pecan and maple pastries (box = 2). Owl came with me for the drive but didn’t come to mother’s he went into town to watch the rugby 6 nations match so that mother and I could reminisce without worrying that Owl would not know who or what we were talking about.

When we reached town I parked up at the Tesco car park (I hadn’t yet bought the flowers or cakes). At the store entrance Owl and I went in our separate directions, he in search of beer and rugby, me in search of cake…….it seems ages since I bought cake, they don’t feature in my diet these days.

It didn’t take me long to collect my basket of goodies. When I paid for these the young lad at the check out asked me if I had a car in the car park downstairs. (This is one of the new modern versions of Tesco where the shop is built above the car park). Admittedly I have not used this store many times but I have never been asked this before. He handed me a voucher with a code number on it to punch into a machine at the car park entrance. They are trying to encourage non Tesco shoppers not to park in their car park. (It is close to the town and free).

I joined the short queue, but when it was my turn that’s when the trouble began. First I had to key in the last three letters of the car registration. I do know the registration number honest I do but could I remember which way round it was? Damn stupid thing I tried putting in the 3 digits but it didn’t like that so it asked me to put in the whole number. So I put in three letters followed by three numbers but it just didn’t look right. Then it occurred to me that I was using the letters from my poor departed Toyota that gave up the ghost in a cloud of smoke somewhere near Guildford whilst being driven by Prodigal last autumn(fall to you lot on the other side of the pond). I cancelled all together and took my purchases back to the car, checked the number plate realised where I had gone wrong and returned to the machine to try again. This Time I put in the T for the year followed by three numbers (I had got one of the three wrong first time around) followed by three letters …..almost the same as my original attempt but not quite, this time the machine showed me a photo of our chevrolet. Now I could enter the code on the ticket which now told me the time I arrived and the current time. I was now free to drive away. But where was the barrier that would have prevented me leaving?

Minutes later I arrived at mother’s with my gifts. Cakes and white tea consumed we chatted and chatted as we have a habit of doing when we are together. Obviously we chatted about James, but we also chatted about other family topics. Interspersed by various telephone calls. The last of which was from this lady, a relative of my late father. Having told Jill about my impending marriage, mother passed the phone to me. After discussing my good news we then moved on to the topic of Jill’s blog. As you will discover if you read her blog, her father has dementia. Jill is currently living with and caring for her father, her blog tells tales of the problems she has encountered and how she has overcome these problems. Her aim is to pass on her new found knowledge regarding information that carers of dementia patients need to know. Please take the time to visit this very worthwhile blog. Jill needs to increase her reader numbers before the newspaper which is sponsoring her decides to close her column.

Whilst chatting to Jill I heard the quacking of my mobile (I like to have a ring tone that I will instantly know as mine) to alert me that Owl was ready to be picked up and taken home.