Sunday, 28 July 2013

Retail Therapy ... Of A Modest Nature

 By this weekend I'd recovered sufficiently to have a Nice Day Out .... Smitonius' idea .... and , as always , she was quite right .
I always enjoy a trip to Groningen and yesterday , with the sun blazing , it was particularly lively . The cafè on the corner of the market square , where you'd only sit if you had all the time in the world and no desire to eat anything till tomorrow , had a terrace full of comatose clients and no visible staff but did have a very nice black upright piano outside , which a young man was playing Thirties show tunes on . Very tempting , but I decided to save time and  chose a cafè a bit further along , which served coffee so strong it gave me palpitations . Perfect ! I had a lot to do .
So off to  Cook&Co for a handy gadget to add to YD's ever-growing collection of toys for her kitchen and yet another cookery book ... they might console her for being even more ancient than she was last week . The Italian deli for Lomo Adobado and vinegar . A browse through the C.D.s in a little shop that specialises in harder to find recordings .
 Then on to little places with lovely soaps , French stationery , pretty scarves or vintage china  . Past a tiny place where you can order a bespoke table or bookshelves , whose owner sat playing the clarinet . Cyclists wove in and out , a child bounced past on a Skippy Ball ( they must be in again . That's the second I''ve seen this week ) . People strolled along with ice creams or bags of cherries from the market .
Then suddenly the sky went black , it poured weirdly warm rain and I discovered I'd brought the umbrella that only opens half way up so nipped into the second-hand bookshop that stocks English paperbacks for a Euro and found six , including Armistead Maupin's Babycakes .
And finally the North African shop for the best dried apricots ever and lots of herby olives . All in all , great fun and not at all an extravagant day out .
 No , the real , rather disastrous,  loss of control was a few days earlier ... My unbending resolve to disembarrass myself of clutter and Not Buy Any More collapsed in the face of a snail . Meet Stanley ...

He did  only cost a Euro ....

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

It's Probably Too Early To Claim A Miracle Cure But ...

Sonata: I've been getting more and more weary , lately  . By last week , I thought if it got any worse , I'd be clinging onto the furniture to get round the flat and having to climb a flight of stairs was enough to put me off going to the library .
Today , while I'm not running the four-minute mile or auditioning for the Cambuur cheerleaders , I do look a lot less like Dracula's latest victim . Almost perky , in fact . I've started taking iron tablets and feel as though I've risen from the dead .
It's just a pity that I still can't do high kicks .... Next week , perhaps .

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Oma's Erupting Spiced Apple Cake


 You're not to laugh , it's not funny .

 Note to self : When recipe  makes a startling amount of cake batter , don't just pour it all into the loaf tin as instructed , till you think it's going to overflow . Use your common sense and  stop . You won't regret it .
 And no , you're not going to see a luscious slice of Oma's Actually Rather Nice Spiced Apple Cake sitting on a pretty plate . Having been sniggered at , it's gone all shy .

Nearly as shy as me , when the house painters swooped early this morning to do next door's windows . 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Not Totally Predictable , No .

  Friko , in her latest post , talks about the predictability ... or otherwise ... of  life  and , unlike others ,  feels that day-to-day control lies within one's grasp . I'd like to think it's true  I suppose it depends on whether you're  a glass half full or glass half empty person , certainly once you reach your sixties .

*But much as I'd  love to live a life of wild spontaneity , treats and new experiences , I don't . The occasional Day Out to somewhere unfamiliar apart , days tend to follow one another , rather like a procession of cowled monks .
 Still , it doesn't have to be dull .  There's always one's fellow man to provide entertainment , even on routine trips to the supermarket ... Yesterday  a couple ahead of me were rushing about with their trolley stacked  with an odd assortiment of groceries . "How about a magazine ? ", he asked  , sounding slightly desperate,  handing her one about cars .
 "No ! I've  explained this already  ! I said I only want blue and white things " .
 " Look , they've got blue Durex . Will that do ? "
"Perfect!... now a gift token and we can give it to him when we get there ".
 I think they were putting together a care package for their son who'd moved out and was a new flat-sharer . I went off trying to imagine previous generations of parents tossing condoms in among the instant mash and tins of soup , let alone colour co-ordinate it .

* P.S. No , Husband and I aren't  quite like this ... I don't really have whiskers  fortunately .. .but , when Y.D . packed up her things the other day to take them down to Amsterdam ,  I rescued  the contents  of  her doll's house and have put them in our storeroom . Yes , I know , I'm not very good at de-cluttering , but suppose there's ever a granddaughter ?