Had a haircut this morning while Pete tinkered with my melodeon’s sticky buttons (she’s now named Aliss), then wandered down into Hull with Pete – wanted to return some stuff, see if Marks had any nice pasta bowls, etc.

Marks didn’t, Peacocks wouldn’t exchange as it was over 30 days (where did October go, please) and gave me a gift card, but I had a look in Schuh … They had some amazingly nice red boots, and Pete decided I should have them. So I did. Then we went and had coffee and a baguette in the Ferens Gallery cafe,  mooched about some more vaguely looking for pasta bowls (our wonderful thick, deep ones are starting to crack round the edges, sob), bought some hair dye (for me), some lighters, some long matches, some compost bin liners, some mince pies and a tub of cream.

Now a cup of tea, a quick and easy supper, and Strictly. Tomorrow promises chores in exchange for a roast chickie!.

Oh yes – here they are.

doc martens red boots!

Edited to add link to Boots of Fabulosity.

did you get the things we needed? (an occasional series)

We needed milk, and some cream to go with the rest of last night’s rhubarb and pear crumble. A coin was tossed, and I went up to Jacksons^H^H Sainsburys at the top of the road; I bet Pete wishes it had been him – it would have been cheaper!

I got the milk and cream, and …

  • two bags of Gala apples, half price
  • two bottles of Italian red wine, half price
  • two bunches of English asparagus, half price
  • and The King’s Speech – £8, with a bonus copy of The Madness of King George, which is an entirely splendid film

Not a bad haul! Now I shall return to trying to fathom out the complexities of our various domains vis-a-vis mailservers. My head hurts.

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 …

kitchen showrooms

I guess they must be like car showrooms – suffer a lot of people coming in and kicking the cupboards, with no real intention of buying. But we are looking to do our kitchen in the next few months, so we’re gathering ideas and so forth.

There’s a big kitchen showroom down on St Andrews’ Quay here in Hull – not cheap as the sheds, but not outrageously expensive, or so we thought. So we pootled down there this morning to have a look.

They do several grades of kitchen – from 1 through to at least 8, and possibly 12. Nowhere does it give any idea on the displays which price range it might be. The “from £xxx” posters on the wall don’t tell you what you get for the £xxx. So you have to speak to a droid.

We hovered by a desk, where someone was rustling papers in an important manner. “Lets leave him if he’s busy”, I said to Pete, but he put his papers down, and said “I can multitask”. Now, I might be a demanding customer, but I don’t want a salesman to mutlitask when he’s attending to me; I want his full attention.

He asked what appliances we’d need – we told him hob, oven, cooker hood. He asked for the dimensions of the room, and we told him how many windows. And that was it – he came up with a price of “ten or eleven thousand”. We asked what that bought – he said “a kitchen, with the appliances you want”.  This is a room 3.3m x 2.9m, by the way – we weren’t looking for gold plated stuff. We asked about fitting – another £2k. Probably. And that was it. No printed quote, no idea of what appliances, no notion of how many cupboards … nothing. I bet if we’d had them in to measure and quote it would miraculously go up another couple of thousand.

So we won’t be going to Kitchenhaus, and I suggest you don’t either. We’ll probably go to Merlin, the independent place on Sculcoates Lane, who will do as good a job for about one third the price.

skirted and booted

I’m wearing a skirt today. Now, you might think that hardly worthy of note, and I don’t blame you, but it’s only the second time I’ve worn a skirt this year, and I actually can’t remember the last time before that.

It’s brown, and quite short, and sort of flippy, and I wore it with thick brown tights, flat boots, and an olive top, and a sage green velour hoodie over it when I went out on my bike (twice, today). This is an outfit I would never have worn in the past … oh, 15 years, probably, but I look better these days, and more importantly, I have a much better feeling about how I look.

I had to go into town this afternoon, as my sunglasses needed tightening, and we didn’t have a small enough jeweller’s screwdriver. And Wah – the frame has cracked, lord knows how, and I don’t think they’re repairable. They’re only fake Ran-Ban Wayfarers from China, but I’m very fond of them and, more importantly, they’re very black, which is useful in the low sun we get at this time of year. Bah.

While I was in town, I nipped (or popped) into Primark to pick up another pair of the cheap velour trousers that are so nice for lounging about the house (£4 – how do they do it?). Brought them home and realised that I’d automatically picked up size 16, and I’m now a 12 in Primark trouser sizing. It’s a hard habit to break! Back to town on Saturday then.

A Chap is coming tomorrow to see if he can fix the boiler; if you could all keep fingers crossed that it is going to be a) cheap and b) quick to sort, I’d be most grateful, because it’s bloody cold now in the evenings.

weekend 18/19 sept 2010

Skidby Mill

On Saturday, we decided to cycle up to Skidby Mill, a working windmill restored with Lottery funding (what isn’t these days?), with a Museum of Rural Life attached.

It’s not that far – about 6 miles, maybe – but there was a vicious headwind most of the way there, and the last bit is decidedly Up. To my shame, I couldn’t quite manage it, and had to push. And my calves ache like mad!

The museum is beautifully done out, with photographs of and quotations from people who worked the land in the 1930s and 1940s, and some “hands on” exhibits for people to try grinding grain between stones again. I was quite taken aback to be charged £1.75 entrance, as I thought museums were free these days, but it was well worth the money. You can climb right up to the top and see the miller milling (though I didn’t, as I’d never have got down again). You can buy the flour they mill, so we did, and we had a cup of tea and a very nice scone in the tearoom before heading home.

It was glowering a bit when we left, but the rain held off. We came back via Morrisons (so just over 12.5 miles all told)  and bought some bits, which I stowed in my nice new rear bike basket – I’m very  pleased with that, as it means we can go a bit further afield for shopping without the car. Pete is very hardy, and carries heaps of stuff in a rucksack, but my back doesn’t like that. I picked up some greengages for 50p, marked as exotic fruit (really? greengages?), and some white pudding, which I love – you hardly ever see it down south.

In the afternoon, I made a couple of banana and coconut cakes as an experiment, as we had a kilo of desiccated coconut in the larder. I have no idea why we bought such a huge bag, and working through it is going to take some time.

Sunday dawned grey and cold and rainy, and it stayed like that all day, which was irritating as I’d wanted to pop into town. Instead, we had a small but beautifully formed fry up for breakfast (1 rasher, 1 sasuage, 1 egg, 2 slices of white pudding, some fried potatoes). Then we turned a half shoulder of lamb into slow cooked lamb and lentils, and put up with the smell all afternoon. I watched Gosford Park in the afternoon, and the day was, generally, slumpage. First weekend day we’ve spent completely at home since last winter, I think, but was quite nice nonetheless.

telephone support

I nipped (or popped) out for a pint^H^H litre of milk first thing – it was a beautiful morning, so I went the long way round; up Princes Avenue, round the corner to Springbank West, and through the cemetery, and back via the minimart I always call JLS (it’s some other TLA starting with a J). About 1 mile, all told.

There was quite a queue in there, which turns out to have been because the proprietor was sitting in front of his computer screen, phone in hand. The screen was displaying a list of options, with “3. Safe mode” highlighted; as I watched, the chap – whose English was less than fluent – was insisting it said “safe modem” to the unfortunate support droid on the end of the line, and then the screen flashed up a missing file error, proceeded to try and boot *Windows 98* (!) and returned to the boot options screen. This happened a few more times before he was instructed to power it off – standard support instructions, but I don’t feel that it would have been of assistance.

I very nearly offered to help, and then realised that way lay madness. So I paid for my milk, and some yoghurt, and came home to consume half a ruby grapefruit, and bran flakes with blueberries – a far more tranquil start to the day.

weekend 6/7 Feb 2010

“Quiet”, would best sum it up, I think.  Stuck a ham hock in the slow cooker in the morning, then took the car out for the first time in a fortnight(!) for the monthly Big Shop, and sallied forth to Makro (mainly for cat food, plus some other bits), Pets at Home (for cat litter), and Asda, for the stuff we couldn’t get in Makro, and also I wanted a basil plant.  We bought a few bits and pieces, and forgot the bloody basil plant.  Then to Grain on Newland Avenue, which we don’t like much, but is the only purveyor of Pete’s blackcurrant juice we can find in the area, and the butcher and greengrocer.

On Saturday afternoon, Pete put up a hanging bracked for the £3 hanging basket (planted, too!) we bought at Walton Street Market on Wednesday.  And then we slumped, apart from trying to work out how Reactive Cooking got hacked, and how to fix it … fix it we did, but how it happened is a bit of a worry.

Watched the last half of Independence Day on C4, which was entirely down to inertia, as the DVD is on the shelf!

On Sunday, we:

  • cooked a big fry up for brunch
  • made a slow cooker’s full of Gujerati beef (recipe to follow)
  • turned 5kg of carrots into wine – well, the start of wine; a couple of quid from Makro for a huge bag, had to be done
  • made some carrot soup with the stock from the ham hock
  • made cheese scones for Sunday tea
  • bottled 11 bottles of red wine

We also got up to date with Brothers and Sisters, which we really like – this season might have new writers, because it seems much wittier this time round.

And that was that.  Tonight we’re off to the Eagle on Anlaby Road to investigate the Hull Transition movement – we go out far more often here than we ever did in Long Ashton!

returned from Costco

Did quite well, really – 96 tins cat food, 2kgs of unsalted butter (which goes up every time), a pack of kabanos, 1 dozen bagels, 8 part baked baguettes, 1 gammon, 1 4pack of pancetta cubes. £102. Nothing we hadn’t planned for, which is rare.

Apart from*

which are *exactly* what I wanted, being both polarised and reactolites. £89.99 inc VAT; this turns out to have been a bit of a bargain, as a quick Google brings forth prices between £130 and £160. They’re Serengeti Merano Brown Fade, should you care. I’m sure you don’t.

* Actually I had planned to at least look at sunglasses. I need reading glasses too, but they didn’t have anything I liked.

And now I’m off to shoot the ice cream vendor, whose Popeye the Sailor Man is played at what I’m sure is illegal decibels, and is so distorted that it offends my ears.