Monday, 23 November 2015

lurching into winter

It snowed on Friday night. The snow didn't last beyond Saturday evening but it proved that autumn has definitely gone. It had lingered longer than usual really, being quite a dry and mild autumn, but we had gales last week and suddenly the trees are bare. So these pictures are my final fling of autumn, all taken in mid-October when we were visiting my parents.

 Looking at them now I'm realising how much warmth is in them!

I'm having a bit of trouble blogging because my knitting mojo is AWOL and I'm feeling essentially boring - how sad is that? I want to knit but I want it to be something soothing and easy. I have wool, I have needles, but can't make up my mind about a pattern!  As for being boring, well, I've been studying. Bit behind at the moment but life happens sometimes! I did my first assignment for this course a couple of weeks ago and got 84% for it which was a relief as this course is quite a step up from the one I did last year and it was all feeling a bit alarming. The first assignment is always an emotional hurdle I think.

I'd better stop now - Cat 1 is knocking things over, a sure sign that it's time the cats were fed and that I go to bed! I'll try to be (even) more fascinating in the next post.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

there's a light (over at Peeriemoot's place)

Particularly tough neeps this year!

Worth the effort though. I hung the jagged eyed neepie lantern outside the house while I took the kids out guising, carrying the other one with me and pausing to relight it every few minutes of course - there was hardly a breath of wind, but just enough combined with moving around I suppose! Every year I tell myself I'll get some of those little electric tealights, and every year I forget. However when we got back to the house the outside lantern was still burning, so that was pretty good going. Astonishing actually!

Friday, 30 October 2015

may contain traces of sugar

There has been a certain amount of Hallowe'en-inspired culinary creativity going on in the last couple of days.

 Miss M came home from school today with 'Dracula's dentures' today - two digestive biscuits, mini-marshmallows, icing sugar and food colouring. Pretty effective, don't you think?

And the Boy came had Home Ec. today so he came home with a chocolate apple - I'm quite relieved they didn't try toffee apples!

So they were happy eating their creation.

Miss M's school had their Hallowe'en disco last night so I was providing a bit of home baking. I made two batches of chocolate chip cookies because they're quick and easy, but they looked a bit boring so I did a quick batch of fairy cakes as well, and then looked on Pinterest for decorating inspiration, and rather regretted it. It turns out that some people really throw themselves into producing incredibly disgusting-looking Hallowe'en party food. I stuck with spiders' webs and eyeballs as being just gross enough to satisfy children, but not actually stomach churning to look at.

I'm not really cut out for fiddly cake decorating but these were reasonably easy using squeezy tubes of icing. Reasonably. That's me all baked out for a while though!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Mother's Ruin

Just not this mother.

Having investigated making scrambled egg, my next culinary adventure inspired by my fondness for crime fiction set in the first half of the 20th century was gin.
Specifically Gin and It, i.e. gin and Italian vermouth.

Despite my name I've never tried or even wanted to try gin, so this was genuinely new territory for me, or rather us, as My Beloved joined in.

So, gin. Gin, gin, gin. It's absolutely mingin' isn't it?

We tried Gin and It with varying proportions until the vermouth just about drowned out the gin. Then we tried gin and lemonade. At that point I gave up and had vermouth and lemonade which I *do* like. My Beloved persevered and tried gin and coke, gin and Irn Bru, and goodness knows what else. This evening we tried gin and tonic, it being the classic.

Not so.

Oh Em and indeed Gee.  Nasty medicinal topped with even nastier medicinal (I leave it to you which is which). It was like doing a Bushtucker Trial. I think we'll have to face it, we're just not cut out to be grownups...

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Can I manage another post before the end of September?

I think I can! Just. If nobody interrupts me.. *glares at family*


Time passes. Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.

Much later..

*grinds teeth*

So, to summarise..

1) 'The weeks are fairly flying in!' To be said every Wednesday, Thursday and twice on Friday.
2)  Pic above is borage flowering at last. I'd always heard that it's a bit of a thug in the garden so was surprised that none had come up this year, but it just appeared really suddenly and unexpectedly. Love that picture because of all the teeny tiny dewdrops on it. Took it this morning I think (it's all a blur..) which started out very foggy and damp but quickly turned glorious!
3) Totally immersed myself in Shakespeare last week (for my OU course, not just for a laugh) and found myself saying things like 'Why are you thus out of measure sad?' to the cat. Now reading the introduction to the required edition of As You Like It and getting bogged down in literary theory. Head hurts.
Also immersed myself in the swimming-pool last night, swam for 45 minutes and contemplated Polonius.
4) Aaaargh, everythung needs to Slow Down!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A post without a picture

I made scrambled egg for my dinner today. I hadn't made scrambled egg for years, and in any case it had never turned out well when I did. So why today? Well, mainly because I have this addiction to 1920s/30s-set crime novels, whether written then or set then, and it seems that your 1920s/30s murderers, victims, jewel thieves and amateur detectives all like to tuck into scrambled egg for breakfast (never cooked by themselves naturally).

It has to be admitted that I am very suggestible when it comes to food in books - I discovered my favourite recipe (lemon and oregano chicken traybake - can't remember how to link from my tablet) when I was reading an Ann Cleeves book in which a character was cooking a mediterranean lemon chicken dish, the very thought of which made me peckish, which led me to Google recipes.

So tonight, scrambled egg. Partly I wanted to make it because it had never been a success before, and I don't know what I did right tonight but it was perfect.  Don't listen to people who say it needs to be made with full-fat milk or (bleurgh) cream - I used skimmed milk because that's the milk we use, and it worked perfectly well. I think the trick is to stir the egg constantly. Damn, now I'm hungry again!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Ruins and Being Organised

The ruins pictures are just because I want there to be a nice picture at the top of the post in case I don't get post for weeks (again). And also because the pictures were taken last Sunday on a particularly nice day, so why not? The ruins in question are Bothwell Castle, some bits 13th century, some 14th, so it's doing all right really!

The kids have been back at school for two weeks now. The Boy Child is settling into high school - it's a big change from primary school but he seems to be adjusting quite quickly, and Miss M is adjusting to not having him at the same school as her. Not that they saw much of each other, but she knew he was there! So new routines all round. I'm due to start my next (and last) Open University course at the start of October so I'm looking at ways to be more organised. For the moment I'm trying to get all the course reading done before the course starts - some things are easier than others. I'm 40% through Gulliver's Travels at the moment and it's slow going, whereas As You Like It only took a couple of days.

I'm a great one for list-making. I am a pen and paper person when it comes to getting organised, although I use my phone and tablet for appointment reminders and so on. A while back I came across a mention of bullet journalling, which is a bit like making to do lists but with different symbols for different things. It can get very complicated and I'm wary of that - it could be a big timesuck, which is hardly the point - but I've taken elements of it so that I can keep track of things done, things started, things no longer necessary, and things moved to another day.

I did a search for bullet journalling on the wonderful world of Pinterest and discovered all sorts of amazing complicated systems involving multiple colours of felt-tip pens, loads of symbols and quite unfeasibly neat handwriting! Hmm. So the picture above is the reality of my own version, complete with post-it notes for other things to keep track of (shopping list, theme list for a picture-a-day group I'm a member of, that kind of thing). It's simple and not very pretty, but is working for me, especially on days when I have lots of not-very-big things I want to get done but might easily forget because they're essentially boring, or when there are things I need to get the kids to. I always start with 'Kids to school' so that I can tick something off at the start of the day!

So there we are, the start of a new academic year and all the resolutions that entails!