Inspired by the transformation that has happened to the hall/stairs/landing, last night I set to in the smallest bedroom, which is rather grandiosely known as the “server room”.

It’s really only a box room, but as it contains one wall of Billy bookcases, two big red plastic boxes for vinyl albums, four computers, a large corner desk and typists chair, a standalone air conditioning unit, a clothes horse (either collapsed or up), a shelf with a Moth record cleaner, a ladder (on wall hooks) and a cat litter tray, it tends to be a dumping ground.

So I cleared all the crap from the red boxes, which improved matters no end. The Bookcase At The Top Of The Stairs was cleared and moved for decorating, and we rather like it not being there, but it has returned pro tem. Top shelf for books to keep, which need putting away (all ours are in alphabetical order), middle for books to get rid of (Oxfam bookshop, probably). One binliner for electrical gubbins for the tip, one for general rubbish, one St Peter’s Hospice bag for charity shop stuff.

I took all the miscellaneous and many Microsoft Action Pack CDs out of the various bulky packaging, and filed them in a nice white Ikea box which was just the right size. I cleared the two ancient and non working Olivetti laptops (I doubt they’ve been powered on for five years or more). I collected all the hard drives, both internal and external, and placed them in one heap for testing. I took out all the bits I could find of the “spare” little PC, as we now have a “spare” tower PC since we retired the Windows server – it will be reassembled and Freecycled.

In the middle of all this, the chap came to collect and pay for the midi keyboard I eBay’d, and someone came for an ironing board hook that I Freecycled. And I cooked lentil lasagne, and watched that wonderful new Indian cookery programme.

Knackered now.

Still to do: move the two tower computers under the desk, check the old rack mount 1U server still boots and eBay it if it does, remove all the extraneous cables (there’s an ancient iPaq in there somewhere). It’ll be lovely when it’s finished.

weekend 29/30 nov 08

After giving up and getting up at 6.30 a.m. on Saturday, because a black kittin sitting on your face and chewing your ear is not actually conducive to sleep, and having found an extra three hours for the day as the LibDem questionnaire delivery has been cancelled, I had a lot planned. This is what we actually *achieved*.


  • finally planted the remaining ten hyacinth bulbs – the nine outside ones have gone in an pot of three and a pot of six, and the last indoor one is in a square glass vase filled with pebbles
  • checked model numbers and URLs for some of the stuff I want to sell on eBay
  • briefly entertained the secretary of the Rural Branch of the local LibDems, who hadn’t received my e-mail about cancelled deliveries. He brought his 6 year old son, who was fascinated by the Tribe
  • cleanertook a stack of stuff, including plastic bottles, dead freeview box, Le Creuset frying pan whose handle had fallen off, to the tip, and on the way back stopped at the hardware store at Backwell. We have driven past this shop dozens and dozens of times, and never gone in, and it was a positive treasure trove. We bore away two sorts of draught excluder, some white spirit, a hook for hanging a basket from the ceiling, a pack of curtain hooks (see later), two very interesting gadgets for cleaning glasses and phones (1 for upstairs, 1 for down). It was a real old-fashioned shop, and smelled of paraffin as is entirely right for such emporia. We shall visit again.

Then we ran out of steam a bit, and collapsed – watched Question Time and HIGNFY while we had lunch, and then watched five episodes of Come Dine With Me which seems to be on frequently, and thus the Tivo is always stuffed with them. And Saturday just sort of vanished, because then there was X Factor – why on earth is that leprechaun still in it?

On Sunday, we were a tad more industrious.

  • perlmonger put up the portiere rod in anticipation of the arrival of the door curtain today. This should have been a swift job, but Sod was well to the fore. He had to move the doorbell box, and put up a batten, and cut the rod, and and and, but after a couple of hours it was up. He also put up a mug rack in the living room for the holding of Hats, which looks quite nice
  • I got a load of stuff listed on eBay – there’s still some more to go, but it’s a good start. I hadn’t anticipated just how *long* it would take. The amp, mixer and keyboard all had to be unboxed and powered up. The keyboard had to be consulted on how to make it do a couple of things, as I’d forgotten, and thought it might be broken.

    They all had to be photographed, and looked up on the intertubes, and descriptions written. Gah. And the Gaggia ice cream maker has a pinhole in its bowl, so I can’t list that and I’m vexed. God knows how that happened – we’ve only used the bloody thing twice.

  • I cooked half a gammon – in ginger beer, with an orange cut into quarters, half a cinnamon stick and some star anise. That’s this week’s lunches sorted
  • cooked a piece of silverside as a pot roast – with port, mustard, shallots, carrots, all spice, balsamic vinegar, splash of fish sauce, bouquet garni. Cooked it very slowly, and it just about fell apart by dinner time. Served with red cabbage (from the freezer), sprouts and mash. Nom nom nom
  • spilt vinegar all over the floor while I was cleaning
  • lost the Ektorp sofa bed I was following on eBay 🙁

I didn’t: repot the wine, make a start on the horror that is the server room, get the two skirts and Crumpler camera bag and Polti Vaporetto listed on eBay, or do any other of the things on my endless list of Things To Do.

We have now rewatched the first four Harry Potter films, and so have just one to go. As I have a full governors’ meeting at the school tonight, and a Parish Plan meeting tomorrow, it will be Wednesday before we get to that.

And now it’s Monday, and onwards if not upwards.

weekend 29/30 mar 08

pastas, pulses and pickles
Originally uploaded by ramtops

On Saturday, I set to with a will, and the determination to complete Project Kitchen. And I won!

  • All pulses and similar enjarred (apart from some odd pastas, where I simply ran out of jars).
  • The the shelves above the cooker – everything taken off, the shelves cleaned with bicarb, then steam cleaned, then new and different and more appropriate Stuff put on them. This was horrible, and involved me standing on a stool, which surprised perlmonger somewhat, as i get verdigris if I’m anything more than 12″ above the ground
  • the crockery cupboards were reorganised – all the bowls and jugs were sorted, and moved to a different cupboard, while the everyday plates were shifted to a cupboard of their own, where they should hopefully be more accessible
  • the shelves by the kitchen door were completely sorted, and now hold only “spare” stuff – all current foods are now properly organised into appropriate cupboards. I also found room on there for the bits of the Kitchenaid food mixer that I rarely use
  • moved said Kitchenaid to the other side of the kitchen – meaning that the Magimix is far more accessible, and the mixer is more usable

This – I think – concludes the kitchen reorganisation, and took me most of the day.

Supper was sausages, with red cabbage and roast potatoes.

Today perlmonger took himself off to the Bristol Cycle Path protest celebration, so I had the place to myself – lovely 🙂 Went to the farm shop for Bits, did the washing, emptied the dishwasher, hoovered (well, yes – the Roomba did it for me), made a silverside potroast for dinner, and watched lots of Jericho – not quite sure whether I like it or not. It’s rather Lost-ish, but intriguing enough to keep watching.

And now to bed – I ache all over in a rather alarming pre-fluey sort of way, soI’m going to take a couple of pills and crash.

balance of Easter weekend

We didn’t do much Sunday – ate a humungous fry up for brunch (lamb and rosemary sossidge, apple-smoked bacon, egg, black pudding, beans, sourdough toast), and then some nice fresh home made scones for supper. And slumped.

Monday I decided to go to Ikeal. Astonishingly, perlmonger elected to accompany me. The roads through Bristol were very quiet; this was because everybody in the area was already *at* Ikeal, and it was *packed*. Still, we trundled round, buying 2 wicker hampers to tidy up Under The Stairs, a plastic mat with fish on for the cats’ food bowls, a new step stool, two mats for by the patio doors, and some tealights.

Came home and cooked dinner. We bought half a salt marsh lamb last year, and so we decided to cook the leg (why did we only have one leg, when it was half a lamb? Was it deficient in the leg department?). This leg of lamb was *huge*. And utterly gorgeous. Studded it with garlic and rosemary, and bunged it in the oven with a good sloosh of red wine. Had it with green beans and garlic in tomatoes, and roasted spuds.

While it was in the oven, we did indeed clear out the horror under the stairs, and put down the new door mats. So Project House is continuing well.

Last night, perlmonger chopped the rest of the meat off the bone, and we minced up most of it. We cooked some into Madhur’s Ground Meat with Peas, which unaccountably I have not put online yet. There are two more tubs of mince in the freezer, and some sliced lamb in the fridge, so thats [counts] five exceedingly generous meals from that joint.