Thursday, 31 July 2008

My Nemesis: Devil Cat

I don't know whether I mentioned it, but Romy gave me a very funny book called 'Devil Cat' which is a kind of comic book for cat lovers. Needless to say, Devil cat is an animal of the Tobermory kind, crossed with Macavity. He is also black, of course, and rather similar to my own Malvolio.

The pile of foliage in the back garden is rotting down a bit, but I will have to tackle it eventually. Meanwhile I have lunch at the fairly appalling Tai Tip Mein to look forward to today, preceded by a few hours pulling clothes and bedding in and out of the washing machine.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Cremated Pier

I was trying to post a blog about the pier at Weston super Mare which has burned down. Here'a a snap I took a few weeks ago.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Who ate all the Pies

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Creeper Needing Clipping and Old Tart

This is the wall with all the stalks hanging down. I can't reach to trim them off and I might see if Woolies have one of those long handled pruner thingies. Such a pity the garden has to look so revolting while the weather is so nice. It would be good to be able to relax outside with a Pimm's.

This blog has gone out of control and I can't detach the fruit tart snap. This is a tart I made earlier.

Creeping Creeper

The pile of rubbish which takes up the whole garden at the back. The stalks are very long and will take ages to cut up. I am dumping even more on this pile because the creeper has also crept to the back of the garden and is now trying to smother everything there.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Look at this - I bought this teapot with a matching jug, and managed to find a nearly matching sugar bowl. It cost a lot of money and I came back from work recently to find the lid open. Trying to close it I realised it had been dropped on the floor and the lid bent out of shape. My cleaner had been that day, and obviously had dropped it. She didn't leave a note of explanation or apology, so I will definitely have to review her situation. I may not be able to get it mended, which means I will have to look for another large silver teapot which will no doubt cost a fortune. I am rather annoyed.

Also, Dorothy tells me that our last visitor to the Barcelona flat has 'broken the balcony' whatever that means. Again it will probably cost a fortune to put right, and the residents association can stop us from having any more people in the flat. I feel a move to Barcelona coming on - though the flat is so tiny - and what would happen to Malvolio? I don't suppose he fancies becoming an indoor cat in Barcelona. Oh dear. I am feeling very sorry for myself.

However it is very sunny outside and I am making a fresh loaf of bread, so I may not shuffle off this mortal coil for a bit.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Theatre and Lunching Out

Went to National Theatre to see'The Revenger's Tragedy'. When I arrived, the whole area was alive with crowds of people watching a street theatre performance and the area in front of the theatre covered in fake grass with outdoor sofas, deck chairs and a bandstand. The play was a restoration drama done in modern dress. Rory Kinnear, playing Vindice, gave an excellent performance, but I always feel he is physically miscast. The production was very good, and the play full of sex and gore. However, by the first interval I had the feeling that the rest was going to be just more of the same, and despite the play really being very good, I went home. I had been rather tired before I left home, and was glad to go to bed.

Yesterday I went to Karen's house to lunch. Karen was one of my rivals on House Guest. Leslie A was there with her husband and cooking partner with husband . Karen's husband Martin and two daughters were there. Pity Romy was not able to come as we had a lovely day, but she was leaving for Spain. We had a delightful lunch: a superb lamb dish which involved marinating, then barbecuing the lamb which gave it a smoky flavour, accompanied by lots of vegetables, and followed by no less than three puds: A mango sorbet, a treacle and lemon tart (Gordon Ramsay recipe) and Karen's own chocolate cake - all delicious. There was lots of foodie conversation, and Martin kept the glasses so full that we did not leave until very late (not helped by the fact that my newly mended watch had stopped - I did not realise until I got home that it was nearer 8 o'clock than 6.)Those two really are excellent hosts - I was mortified when I discovered the real time.

I shall attempt to pop into town to buy some ribbon today, then if I have time, take the watch back to attempt to obtain a refund.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Spend, Spend, Spend

The other day I bought a Robomop which should arrive tomorrow.The usual red card was left yesterday so I think it came then, so have tried the Royal Mail redelivery website, to see if it works.I am looking forward to trying this new gadget.

Today it was raining and a sales catalogue arrived from Land's End so I purchased three polonecks for the winter and a dressing gown for Dorothy. Their polonecks are cotton and very comfortable. The weather is really dull, but will supposedly be brighter on Sunday.

This evening I have gone quite insane and bought tickets for five productions at the national theatre. The first one is on Saturday: The Revenger's Tragedy. The next one at the beginning of August is Afterlife. Will report back on these later.

Moon Pennies

First thing this morning Malvolio had managed to make rather a large scratch across my left breast before I managed to fight him off. It certainly woke me up. After feeding the monster I became more relaxed and managed to have a cooked breakfast followed by a leisurely bath. I got dressed, and put some clothes in the machine before venturing outside. The pile of creeper was so heavy I could not tackle it so decided to let nature take its course for a bit longer.

I picked some moon pennies (Honesty) which had become pale and took them inside to peel the seed cases, leaving the lovely central 'pennies' and put them in a vase. I shall dry the seeds a bit more before thinking about planting them either in November or next spring. It is easier to leave them in the garden until the seed cases blow away, but I can manage to collect the seeds this way so only the lovely mother-of pearl 'pennies' are left on the branches.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Food and Flowers

Looking forward to Sunday lunch with Karen, one of the competitors on House Guest. Romy will be off to Spain for a well deserved break. A card from my new sister, Sharon, arrived today. A thank you note for the flowers I sent and hoping we would keep in touch now we have met and all get on so well.

Madeleine rang and all is well, but her mother is not too sure about the place, so is giving it a try. Seems that her carer, a nice young girl, wept when she had to go.

Made some toffee flavoured Easy Yo. Toffee does not really go as a yoghurt flavour for me, but added a bit of maple syrup, which though it oversweetened it, improved it a bit, but shall stick to plain in future. There is only one more flavoured one, a drinking yoghurt, but it is berries, so will be OK.

Day off tomorrow and will tackle the garden. The heap of foliage has shrunk a bit, fortunately. I do hope Julian and Dorothy are all right. I shan't go to the SE1 Friday lunch as it is at Shad Thames ASK, which is a bit of a pain for me to get to. However, if it had been at the Pont de la Tour, or Blueprint, I think I would have somehow made the effort.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

The tart tastes fine, but is a bit soggy because of the prunes. Next time I will either slice some apples and dry them out before using or think of making it without fruit.

Trying to get used to my new hairstyle.

It is now Monday night. Spent a successful day in Brighton with the punters - lovely sunshine and everyone enjoyed the day.

Last night we went to see Shane Hampsheir who put on a very good show in Gravesend. Unfortunately the theatre cafe cocked up with the catering and the new chef had forgotten to organise high teas for 45. Eventually everyone helped and tea and coffee, plus quantities of scones, cream, jam and muffins in sufficient quantities were provided.

I am now exhsusted.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Prune Tart

The tart looks very good - apart from some reflections from the tinfoil. In the end I made it as described but with two eggs (having lost some filling) and some nutmeg and cinnamon seasoning. Maybe I should have added more than the seven prunes in Armagnac chopped up a bit, but we shall see. Maybe it won't taste as good as it looks.

One Fat Lady with Magenta Lipstick

Dear me, I was so fed up with my hair that I had it cut in a bob. I now look like an older version of Clarissa Dickson-Wright, only fatter. However I found some magenta pink lipstick and bright orange nail varnish by Lancome which cheered me up a bit.

Rushing straight to the cooker, I started making my other tart, this time with milk and cream as the yoghurt was not set, only to discover the mixture leaking out of the bottom of the cake team. With great presence of mind I rapidly poured it back into the jug, placed some tinfoil around the bottom of the tin and placed the tin in a larger one before chucking it in the oven.

Successful quiche mixture

I discovered some Jus-Roll shortcrust pastry which was already rolled into two circles in the freezer last night so removed them. Will think of something to make today, but last night I mashed some blue St. Agur cheese (1 pack) and fried three rashers chopped, of smoked streaky bacon and left to cool. To the cheese I added and mixed in half a pint of milk and a cup of Easy Yo yogurt. I then put in a bit less than half a teaspoonful of grated nutmeg, some salt, pepper and beat an egg in. Put the oven to 200, then buttered a removable base cake tin, put the pastry in bringing it up the sides a bit. Sprinkled a little parmesan on the base, filled with the egg, cheese and bacon mixture and put some more parmesan on top. Cooked for about half an hour, removed and let cool before removing the tin side (used a spring tin) and it was absolutely delicious. Had another bit this morning straight out of the fridge and it was still excellent.

I will have to think about what to cook in the other pastry - I was thinking of using some plain yoghurt and egg mix but sweetened this time - not sure whether to add fruit or I might rely on some spices. I could of course chop up a few of my prunes in Armagnac, place them on the base, and pour the sweet mix on top. We shall see.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Garden Disaster

The phone charger arrived at 7.45am! Then Malvolio's dry cat food arrived.

I had just popped outside to make sure the fish were OK and a scene of complete devastation greeted me: all of the Virginia creeper had fallen off my back wall to a height of 5ft and fallen all over my back garden (above). I cut off as much as I could manage but now the whole sitting area is covered in Virginia creeper, and the bit left on the wall is a bit too high for me to tidy it up. As it was, a huge piece fell on my foot and bruised it. Heigh ho!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Back with a Vengeance

Quite like this old picture I found of my mother. Very wartime.

Back at work again. Managed to sort out some bits and pieces. Made some rather good lemon yoghurt today. Did yet another machineload of washing.

Poor Nibby. When I rang her she was quite distraught. A power line had fallen when a branch hit it and knocked out all her electricity, i.e. everything in her house including a new air conditioner and causing explosions and flames etc. The electricity company said it was an act of God and she would have to claim on her insurance which of course means she has to pay the first $500, and she will not have enough to cover the mortgage. Every time she starts selling some paintings and sorting out her finances, disaster seems to strike.

Then Madeleine rang to say her mother is due to move into a nursing home, and her brother had started to interfere, disapproving of the home and trying to persuade her mother that she didn't want to go. We had a long discussion and she is going to try and persuade her brother that it is entirely their mother's decision, and her mother can return home at any time if she doesn't like the place.

Seems everything is going wrong and life is back to normal.

Monday, 7 July 2008


Present from a punter.

No delivery so rang the post office complaints department. Next day I will be in to receive it after no doubt staying in all day will be Friday, so no mobile phone until then.

Julian's birthday and I took them out to Bar Shu last night where we had a delicious dinner. I am a bit of a failure in the presents department.

Sent my half sister a bunch of flowers today to thank her for dinner.

I am still lying around sleeping, but managed to make a good coq au vin yesterday which I shall be eating for a day or two, and also collected my party pastry case set. May attempt to make some of these at the weekend.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Tired and Tiresome

Bristol rooftop view.

I have been falling asleep all the time, in between doing huge piles of washing. I made up 9k of compost from the Miracle Gro Compact compost. I must order some more. All you have to do is open the bag,and pour in 3 litres of water and it all puffs up. Now all I have to do is sow the lettuces and the beetroot. Very sunny today but rain is forecast for tomorrow. Romy rang while I was out and my phone charger is not at the Grand, so must have left it at Jury's in Bristol. I had ordered one on the internet for delivery today, but guess what? I found a red card and swear the postman didn't ring my doorbell so will hope it is delivered on Monday.

It was Julian's birthday on Thursday and will be Dorothy's on Monday so they may want to go out to dinner tonight. Will await the call.

I have ordered some more groceries which will come between five and six today, so I will have some milk and butter etc. Apart from a meal at the Lye Torng, I have been living on muesli with some yoghurt I made up when I arrived back on Thursday night.

Collected my watch which cost £111, but it had a new glass, was cleaned and serviced and has a year's guarantee. It looks very smart and new now.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Good If Exhausting Tour of Bristol and Torquay

Quite a long journey to Bristol. Unfortunately the place chosen for lunch proved very difficult to find, and when we eventually arrived, the food was hopeless and the service even more so. Pity as the riverside setting was pretty. Anyway Jury's in Bristol was totally central, the rooms were splendid and the food very good indeed. It was unfortunately drizzling and dull for our boatride, missed by two punters, but the boat returned after a call to collect one! Bristol is a very attractive town and plenty was happening. Our crowd were quite impressed by the number of hen nights, and some became quite involved with all this, one even acquiring a pink garter with flashing lights and hanging ribbons from the bride-to-be. An intended trip to have a closer look at the suspension bridge was thwarted by the size and weight of the coach, so we went on an impromptu 'mystery trip' to Weston Super Mare, where the sands were very accessible, there were plenty of places to buy seaside paraphernalia and a pier. There was also a largeish shopping centre nearby, so this was quite a success.

On Sunday we left for Torquay. The Grand was an old fashioned hotel where Agatha Christie had spent her honeymoon night. It had been refurbished in art deco style, and was ideal, with indoor and outdoor pools and jacuzzi etc. There was a large covered seating area with a bar in the middle serving very reasonably priced snacks and drinks, and a large open area outside, all overlooking the splendid Torbay. We did a trip to Paignton, a theatre trip, and a shopping trip, all successful. I met my brother Mike and sister Sharon. We had a curry locally, discussed family - it seems my father had remarried someone who looked very similar to my mother. Romy and I spent the last evening having dinner at Sharon's excellent new house in Newton Abbot. It was good to have met my new family and I hope we will meet again soon.

We returned on Thursday and stopped at a super little pub called Sally Pussey's Inn where we consumed absolutely gigantic salads and excellent puddings. I arrived exhausted and discovered I had left my mobile phone charger behind, so will have to purchase another.

Though I am very glad to be reunited with the vile Malvolio, the trip was a great success and enjoyed by all, with no hospital visits for once.