Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A Warm And Fuzzy Feeling

My grandmother used to grasp my hand firmly every time we crossed the road ... even after I'd grown up and become a mother myself  . And when she had to take her eyes off me for a minute , I apparently had a Guardian Angel , who she'd personally vetted and passed fit for service .
The warm , fuzzy feeling of being safe from any slight harm carried on till my teens , when I promptly made it my life's work to avoid the sensible and safe .
But now it's 2015 , the world has changed and Health and Safety have taken up Granny's role .

This last few days I've been warned about 'functional sharp points' on an otherwise perfect packet of colour pencils ...

and of the possibility of a problem with my box of Free Range Eggs . Under Possible Allergens , it baldly said EGGS .
Good to know , though I was more alarmed by the fluorescent white shells  . Perhaps next time , they could include the word Leghorn prominently on the box , as well  ...

The new packaging on Hema's cold meat range pulls no punches either  The smoked chicken fillet might , apparently , have traces of , among other substances  : fish, shellfish , beef ,  carrots , coriander , invertebrates  , kamut and oats . Fish  ??

I briefly wondered about the warning on the folder in Husband's new medicine , too .

Unsuitable for people with beards ?
No .  It seems to be  "Avoid if you can't swallow tablets" ... just in case you'd missed the word TABLETS on the box . Husband has survived .

But I think the leaflet in a sample tube of  Diaclin foot cream , being handed out the other day at the chemist , wins this week's prize for customer care . Should I  ever overcome my reluctance to indiscriminately firebomb any and all bacteria that might find themselves on my insteps , I hope I'd be able to work out how to apply the stuff all by myself .

But I'm still comforted to think they care  . I feel cocooned , in fact ....

Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Wind Bleweth ...

Yesterday I was woken by an express train , roaring past the bed . Well , not really ... you'd have read about it in the papers , if one had  ... but that's just what the wind sounded like , rushing down to the river .
I managed to get to the almost deserted market and back , but left the rest of the shopping for today .
Today it's worse .

Which makes me wonder what sort of sort of supper ... gourmet or otherwise ... I can conjure up from one and a half kilos of apples , five potatoes , a kilo of sweet peppers , a small bag of caraway seeds and a tin of sardines....

                                            ( I must stop playing with my food .    x 100 )

P.S. Thank goodness for freezers !

Sunday, 4 January 2015

It'll Only Last A Week ...

My resolve to be smarter and busier and  do more , of course . 
I used to but now I've settled on the sofa and have become almost L-shaped . So , while I'm reading a lot which is good , I'm becoming stiff and creaky and boring, which isn't . A bit of gentle exercise seems called for ... and , today being pleasantly windfree , a brief  bike ride  seemed an excellent start to my new regime .
It had an unexpected bonus in the shape of a  not quite brief enough conversation with a couple who seemed to be convinced that summer was a matter of weeks away ,
" It's Global Warming , you know . We're going to move to a fifth floor flat . And then we can have a little boat for shopping ." Tied up to their balcony/jetty , perhaps . They were quite serious . The characters in the last two books I've read , Keith Donohue's  The Stolen Child and  Ransom Riggs'  Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children , seemed quite rational in comparison . ( I heartily recommend both books  , by the way ... well worth becoming L-shaped for . ) 

Anyway the sunset was in itself worth the ride .

 I hope we all have a splendid year and that 2015 is kind to us all . And that no gaiters are involved .

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Eleven Shopping Lists Later ....

It's here !

With or without your crocheted beard and whatever colour your tree is , I hope your Christmas  is PERFECT !!!

Friday, 19 December 2014

The One Thing You Can't Be Without This Year

Among all the usual seasonal activities ; nearly forgetting to order the turkey , buying enough gift wrap to wallpaper St Peter's , buying yet more foil , lightbulbs and batteries , writing cards to relatives so distant that I can't remember what their children are called , hunting for globe artichokes that are smaller than footballs ... there now seems to be another  :

crocheting a Santa's beard for yourself or for a loved one ... preferably out of non-itchy wool .
( Sorry for the graininess of the photo . Our local free paper seems to be having an economy drive and is saving on ink )

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Are You Dreaming Of A Pink Christmas ?

No , neither am I .
But , according to the local garden center , various supermarkets and generous amounts of junk mail , that's what we're going to get , Bing Crosby notwithstanding .
Pink tinsel ,
      cup cakes ,
            poinsettias ,
                    paper napkins and
                            three foot high glittery squirrels .

 !!! Girl Power !!!
By which I don't mean feminism . ... no , I mean the Margaret Thatcher grip and iron control of the average seven year-old girl on her extended family.

Still , if your life is nor run by a small "princess " and you prefer a jokier Christmas tree , I've seen glittery tortoises in sailor hats , cows on skis and a bulldog in a feather boa ... oh sorry , he's pink .

Though you may , like this hairdresser in Groningen , have a more austere approach altogether .

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A Varied Diet

A few years ago , somebody or other recommended eating 40 different foods a week and I remember trying , and discovering that it was perfectly possible but a bit of a nuisance , really . Dozens of boxes of grains , seeds , cereals , nuts and pulses filled the cupboards and made me feel oddly guilty . And did a handful of capers and some chopped parsley really count as two separate items ?
Every now and then I'm prompted to try it again , so  when I saw Quaker's Multi Grain on the supermarket shelf  it seemed worth widening my porridge-bound breakfast horizons . Oats , rye and barley !

If you've not yet tried it  ..... in a word , DON'T.
If you really must have a go , ignore the cooking instructions entirely . Instead , unless you're smaller than a Borrower , mix  two  sachets of the stuff with extra water and bring to the boil , stirring ... you're aiming for the consistency of runny honey ... cook for 4-5 minutes , only letting it thicken/solidify at the end . Eat with lots of cream . Or , better still , throw it away and keep the cream for something nice .
I'll go back to making porridge my grandmother's way , soaking the oats overnight in water and then cooking slowly with a pinch of salt . A ham on rye sandwich for lunch and chicken soup with pot barley for supper will provide me with all three grains digestibly .

But I inadvertently discovered an instant answer to the 40 A Week quest when I grabbed a tuna and tomato sandwich at a station buffet on Tuesday . It tasted unremarkable if rather mayonnaise-y  . BUT , when I read the list of contents I was astonished to see that it had 53 ingredients ! To be fair , 4 were water and 5 were E numbers but even so ... one of these a week and I could give up the whole attempt to include amaranth and goji berries in normal meals .

Anyway , if I'm in need of a change , our local supermarket has just started stocking chocolate covered grasshoppers ...

though the reviews are mixed .