weekend 25/26 june 2011

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.

stick but no bucket

Last year, I thought about joining a Morris side – I love watching it, and it doesn’t look too difficult, even to one as terpsichorially challenged as myself.

I went along for a trial evening with Green Ginger Garland, but they weren’t for me; ladies only, further than I’d want to cycle on a winter evening, and just a little bit too serious.

A friend told me about the Raving Maes – we encountered them when we went to the Morris Festival in Lincoln last autumn, and after I’d spoken to them, I contacted them to see if I could join, but never heard anything from them. I was a bit unsure about the costumes, to be honest – an overweight, elderly woman doesn’t necessarily want to be seen out (or even in!) in a basque … And so I never chased it up.

Then my friend Lynn mentioned that she’d been out Morrising last week, and it transpires it was with Rackaback, a new mixed side formed in January, who rehearse a five minute cycle (or 15 minute walk) from home. I trundled along last night to take a look.

Readers, it was huge fun – they even let me have a stick! They just hurl you in at the deep end, and you have to try and keep up; I didn’t do too badly, at least they said I didn’t, but they were probably just being nice. I really enjoyed it, and I shall be there on Tuesdays in future – just loved it. Everyone went to the pub afterwards, and as home is between rehearsal hall and said pub, I dropped my bike off and picked Pete up so he could meet them all.

Rackaback Morris

weekend 11/12 June 2011

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.

Groundhog day

On 6th May last year, I was up early to go telling at the general election, and then spent the evening at the Duchess in York, seeing Show of Hands.

On 4th May this year, it was election day again – for the local councis, and the vote on the AV referendun, and spookily, we spent the evening in York seeing Show of Hands at the Duchess in York once again.

Last year, we saw the LibDem candidate come within a whisker of taking Hull North from Diana Johnson MP, slicing her 7000+ majority to less than 700 votes. The city council was safely in control of the LibDems.

Tonight, Labour control Hull council – last time they had control, they were officially deemed a failing council, and I cannot begin to imagine what is going to happen to our city now. Less than 50% of the electorate have voted against any progress towards proportional representation, which will set the cause back by at least one decade, and probably two.

I feel profoundly depressed.

Sky HD box

In other news, we had Sky HD installed ten days ago, due to the impending demise of our beloved Tivo, or at least the demise of its official listing service. We’ve only gone for the basic service so far, but I’m more impressed than I expected it to be. The Tivo it ain’t, but I can programme it via my iPhone, and it has behaved flawlessly thus far.

The Lady in the Van

Waiting for The Lady in the Van

We are very fortunate here to have the Hull Truck theatre, and last night we sallied forth to watch a performance of Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van.

We have a number of Mr Bennett’s works on the shelve, and have seen many more, but this one has passed me by in its stage manifestation; we do have the written version, however, and I’ve read it many times.

It was just wonderful – gorgeous set, stellar performance from Nichola McAuliffe as the eponymous lady, and the interesting construct of having two Alan Bennetts, discussing what they? he? wanted from his interaction with her.

Should this production come your way, I do recommend it most highly.

— weekend 19/21 March 2011 —

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.

weekend 12/13 March

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.

weekend 4/5/6 March 2011

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.

weekend 19/20 Feb 2011

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 …

taking your appliances for a ride

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.