Little things

This is one of those blog entries made up of several observations, none of which deserve an entry to themselves.

I’m sat in my new kitchen waiting for my new cooker to warm up before cooking a pie, which I will have with mash. The oven is electric; the first time I’ve used electric at home although when I stay in holiday cottages the ovens are always powered by the spark. This oven came with an instruction book. Now I’m old fashioned, and content with that. To me an oven is an oven. Video recorders came with instruction books. Cameras come with instruction books. An oven should be intuitive.

This oven has a clock and timer on board. I can use the timer, says the book, to start cooking at a pre-determined time and for a pre-determined period. But for some reason it won’t switch the oven off. IN order to do this, I need to press buttons 2 & 3 simultaneously and then press button 4 or 5 (but not both) to set the time. Or maybe that’s to set the clock? One of the buttons sets the timer in hours and minutes but another function sets it in minutes and seconds. I’ve just spent ages trying to set 25 minutes only for it to stop at 24.59 because it was in hours and minutes.! Read the manual! But at least it has a light to enable me to see my pie as it cooks.

After they’d finished the kitchen (apart from the under cabinet lighting – one can’t operate properly without the under cabinet lighting but I am trying my best), I went shopping for stuff. Many would call this stage of the new kitchen process accessorising. I prefer ‘buying stuff’. In the kitchenware shop, I was looking to see what was available – I have no idea of what accesso… er… stuff I need for a kitchen so I wanted ideas. I came across a kettle. It cost £99! I don’t understand how a kettle can cost £99. In preparation for the disruption of replacing the kitchen, I bought an emergency kettle for £5.99. It boils water, which is all I ask from a kettle. In the shop, I celebrated saving £93.01 by buying a mop. (It cost £6.99).

I gave blood today – my 29th time. If you’ve never done it, do it tomorrow and help save a life. It’s quick and painless and you get a chocolate biscuit at the end. Part of the process includes making sure you don’t dehydrate and that you maintain your fluid level. In the past, this was in the form of advice to drink before and after donating, along with a hot or cold drink immediately after the session. Recently, they have started giving us a pint of water before we donate. Inevitably there is a wait between drink and donation. With my walnut sized bladder, this rapidly creates an overwhelming urge to visit the toilet as rather than replacing lost fluid, the water somehow senses I still have my full volume of blood and makes its way to the nearest exit.

Negotiating the table on which I lie while my lifeblood pumps out of me, the 20 minutes or so of actual donation and the walk to the drink and biscuit table can be awkward when the bladder is protesting. After the sweet relief of a visit to the toilet, it only takes a few minutes for the body to sense it’s a pint of blood down and start complaining but it’s too late as the water is gone. The secret, then, is to drink in moderation over a longer time.

I chuckled at the warning card they gave me to read which stated that I shouldn’t donate if I was planning on working underground or going mountain climbing afterwards. Needless to say, my summit bid for Pen y Fan via the caves of Dan yr Ogof have been postponed.

The nurse that supervised my bloodletting talked about what to have for tea and we agreed that pie and mash would be ideal. Hence I’m sitting waiting for my pie to cook in an oven that requires a degree in food science to operate. 

 

Fun Wednesday

I knew it was going to be an eventful day when I woke at 4am with cramp in my left leg. Proper, painful, grunt-out-loud cramp. Although the pain subsided after a few minutes, the dull ache in my calf muscle stayed there are threatened to become pain again with every movement. By the time Rufus popped his head around the door to remind me it was time to get up, it felt better but once I put my weight on it the cramp started again.

Accepting no excuses, Rufus insisted I let him out in the garden. I hopped downstairs and hopped to the back door. Rufus charged out into the white garden, undaunted by the snow that had fallen during the night. I paced up and down the hall, as the movement was easing the ache.

Minutes later we were both back in bed for a lie-in. Today, Rufus was having his hair cut and I’d taken the day off, as the timing meant I’d either have to leave him at the stylists for too long or spend a couple of hours travelling back and forth.

By the time I’d had breakfast, my leg was better and we set off for a walk on Cefn Bryn. The sun was still shining but a cold wind made it a little uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I hobbled and Rufus ran and we did a circuit of the top of the moorland.

The it was off to the hairdressers. I dropped the hippy off and set off for the Neath canal. I’d wanted to take a stroll down there before the weather closed in but I wasn’t sure how far I’d get with my still dodgy leg. I ended up doing about 2 miles and every step eased the aching muscle. I was disappointed at the amount of rubbish in the water; the canal runs right by an industrial estate and a lot of it must come from there. The built up land on which the estate sits seems to have been created from landfill, as where it has eroded, old tyres and other crap are poking through. But typically, on the return I managed to slip on a bit of loose gravel and twist my ankle. On the opposite leg. At least I was now hobbling evenly.

Next, it was shopping and lunch and I decided (just to be awkward) to tackle them in reverse order. But while I was enjoying a chicken salad sandwich (I weighed this week and it wasn’t pleasant reading), the phone went and it was the groomer to tell me Rufus had been styled and was ready to be picked up. I raced through the shopping and sped up to get him. With rough weather forecast for the afternoon, I wanted to let Rufus have another little walk before it got too stormy so we drove down the road to the old engine house of Scott’s Pit. It’s all that remains on the surface of one of the many little collieries that were scattered throughout the Swansea valleys.

Rufus wasn’t keen to stay out long and he turned around to head back to the car when the rain started. He was feeling the cold. Back in the house, he flopped out on the sofa and was soon snoring away. It’s a hard life being a hound, and more so when you have to keep your appearances up!

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More coffee stuff

I woke up yesterday morning, stumbled downstairs, set the bread off on it’s transformational journey to become toast, opened the cupboard for a fresh packet of cafetiere coffee and….

AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!

… no coffee. Not even a jar of solidified, 18 month old instant granules. I ran my finger along the shelf – there might have been coffee dust. Nothing. I even looked again, in case my caffeine-craving brain had missed a vital clue – like a large packet of coffee. It hadn’t.

I resorted to tea. I like tea, but it’s not coffee.

In work, I must have seemed ignorant and rude. But I knew there was coffee on my desk. It’s not called a desk, of course. In the 21st Century, it’s called a workstation. But it looks like a desk and performs the duties of a desk in a perfectly acceptable manner. And it’s not even mine, as I hot desk. But the coffee was there and that was mine and about 30 seconds after I’d reached my desk, I had a piping hot mug of coffee.

Fast forward (like my brain did once it had received the caffeine hit). It’s Saturday morning. I stumbled downstairs, set the bread on an enlightening quest to achieve the tao of toast, opened the cupboard for a fresh packet of…. oh… was it a dream…of course it was…there must be…..

AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!

It was later  so it was lighter, and in the daylight, I discovered two catering sachets of Nescafe (other coffee dusts are available). They both went in the cup, without me checking the use by date. Seconds after I’d finished the mug of … ahem… coffee, I was out and down to my nearest convenient purveyor of coffee for a packet.

You will be relieved to know that as I type this, a mug of Italian roast blend coffee is within reach, and in sight at all times.

 

Enshoppiliating

I had to go shopping after work today.

I hate shopping for food. The only good thing is that I only have to go to one place for it all. My local Morraldildlburys has it all. Unfortunately, it also has all the kind of people I don’t want to meet after a full day in a frustrating work place, rain enhanced traffic congestion and an annoying presenter on the news programme on the radio.

Tonight, I was unfortunate enough to be constantly encountering a couple who had decided to have an argument while pushing their trolley around. We carried out a graceful, synchronised series of movements that meant we passed each other on every other aisle. At first, they were discussing loudly a decision about going somewhere. By the second encounter, he was annoyed at her for agreeing to it without asking him. Then in quick succession, he was angry that she had ignored him, she was somewhat miffed that he was taking this attitude and, when I’d finally decided to leave without completing my shop just to avoid the inevitable and embarrassing conclusion to this spat, they started to shout about their parents.

In the past I’ve been to Asdesco and been very afraid of the clientèle, including the ones in elasticated leggings who should never be allowed to own such items. I’ve been there on slow night, when all the slow people appear from their nooks and crannies to be slow in the aisles. I’ve been there for OAP friends evening, when everyone stands around in the aisles, chatting and blocking the way. Sadly, I have also been there on singles night (which in Swansea is a Thursday). Not to pick up girls though, just beans.

And how come a tin of beans and a loaf of bread comes to £75?