I wrote this last night,but could not post as I had no internet. Surprisingly,this morning, which is wild,cold and wet, I’m able to get online. I hope it lasts and I may be able to post again later.
Well, we had a lovely day. Not the weather; that was resolutely grey, threatening, and occasionally delivering, rain, cold, and generally sulky. But Octavia made her first trip to das Boot and on it, with Older Nephew piloting, me on coffee, washing up and other Anneish activities as in the Famous Five. It is my boat after all, so it is only right and proper that I should be the chief wielder of duster, wet wipe, and wearer of rubber gloves.
We drank an impressive amount of alcohol while still remaining coherent and relatively sober. What that says about our livers I don’t know, and I’m not sure I want to know. MasterB, who had been distressed during parts of the car journey, voiding his bladder and bowels somewhere near Bow, spent most of the journey to the pub, The Shippe at Brandon Creek, where we enjoyed a very late but satisfactory lunch, under the pillows in the rear cabin. On the journey back to the marina he was keener to be near us, albeit hidden from view in a citadel of cushions in the fore cabin. Continue reading
Tonight Celia and I enjoyed our first g&t of the year sitting out in the garden chaperoning MasterB, who was, I am pleased to say, being very brave in the face of a fairly full on Hartley.
Last night, MasterB and I had a long session in the garden which delayed my bedtime by quite a bit. Hartley does not understand personal space and stayed close to me, leaving MasterB stuck under a car for a very long time until tempted out by play.
Perhaps not the best way to celebrate our Seventh Anniversary, but since his first night here in 2011 was spent confined to the bathroom in the company of his uninvited flea companions maybe it wasn’t so bad.
Today, pre and post g&t, but alas not during as I didn’t take my camera outside, I took some photos of Himself.
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It is often said that London is a series of villages. I’m not sure I buy that, but I would say it’s a series of neighbourhoods. Most people are very aware of and loyal to their neighbourhood. When I came to live in London people would talk about their manor. It’s not a term I’ve heard for a while, so I suspect that those a generation behind me would find it as quaint as I did expressions from the 1950s.
Celia, Octavia and I all live in the same neighbourhood. I couldn’t tell you exactly where our patch begins and ends, but two or three years ago Celia and I were walking in an adjoining neighbourhood when we spotted a notice for a book group. It was behind glass and the worse for wear from condensation. We peered at it, trying to decipher date, location and book. As we did so, a woman approached with a wide, friendly smile. Do join us, she said. We don’t live here, we answered, wary of trespassing on alien territory. We live up the road; we belong to a different tribe. Alright, we didn’t say the last bit, at least I don’t think we did, but I certainly thought it, despite knowing people from this other tribe. That doesn’t matter, said the woman, smile enhanced by a halo of blond curls. You’d be very welcome. Continue reading
Heading into the final week of Veganuary, and like my compatriots doing dry January, this could be a watershed moment, to continue or not. I think I know the answer, which is I shall return to being a flexi-vegan. Once I have eaten the few things already stored in the freezer that contain dairy I don’t think I’ll be hurrying to replace them. Consciously eschewing dairy has been easy, though I haven’t been to the pizzeria yet, and it’ll be the end of M&S meal deals as they barely manage a vegetarian option, let alone vegan. I’ve not bought eggs from a supermarket in months, so until and unless I can get them from hens kept as pets, eggs will be off the menu too. I have quite a bit of honey at home, and that’ll gradually be consumed as well. Whether I replace it or not remains to be seen.
So no, I don’t think I’m going to be a full-time, banner-carrying vegan, but 90% of the time you wouldn’t be able to tell. I’m certainly going to be eating a lot of fritters. After the success of the beetroot and spilt pea fritters I decided to play with my recipe, swapping the split peas for lentils, adding broccoli to the beetroot, and putting the rice flour in the mix to bind everything rather than the tahini. There were more ingredients – tomato purée, garlic, onion, turmeric, soy sauce if I recall correctly. The rice flour didn’t work as well as the tahini, I had to dust them all with more flour after I’d shaped them, yet still they were crumbly. I decided to cook two and have them with mushrooms and kale. I admit my hopes weren’t that high. Continue reading
The weekend has been a rain sandwich. Friday was glorious; bright blue skies and sunshine flooding the flat. It was warm on the street, though not exactly bikini weather, until the sun went down and the temperatures tumbled. Tomorrow is forecast to be a rerun. But the rain gods have held sway for most of Saturday and Sunday.
I was working yesterday, inside, so in the dry, but someone had definitely decided to economise on the heating. I was glad of my long sleeved thermal vest under my presentable work clothes. By the time I finished working the rain was having a pause. Good news as I was meeting Celia in a pub prior to taking in our second evening of Lumière London. We had explored installations in Mayfair and the West End on Thursday after attending a lecture at the Royal College of Physicians about William Harvey. Yes we really are that cultured, I haven’t even mentioned last weekend’s poetry evening.
On Thursday I took some photos, they probably aren’t great, I haven’t looked at them yet. But I didn’t photograph our favourite installation, seesaws in South Molton Street. They were soooo relaxing. I don’t know about Celia but I had to stop myself from entering a zen like trance. I could have seesawed for hours. We ceded our places to a young couple and walked about until the lights were turned off, impressed by some installations, underwhelmed by others. Maybe we are picky. Continue reading
Half way through January, aka Veganuary, and it’s going well. I still don’t know how to pronounce veganuary, but that’s a minor issue. A advert on television last night pronounced vaginal in a way that was wholly new to me and because of that caught my attention. Clever marketing or something else? For me vagina and vaginal are pronounced with a strong i so vaginal whereas the ad was more vadge-in-al. Bizarre.
Pronunciation aside, vaginal has little if anything to do with Veganuary. My twitter followers who are legion (not) will know I have been tweeting both pictures of some of my meals and my failures with split pea rissoles. While the flavour had me wanting more, the falling apartness was something of a failing. More frittata than rissole. that thought was a bit of a breakthrough. That and advice from Sabina via twitter. I know Sabina from our MyT days, which in blogosphere terms means we go back generations. She thought the mix was not fine enough. I intended to have a break and come back to the fray in a week or so. But a lone beetroot in the fridge got me thinking. So tonight I tried again, with a radical change in the recipe. Continue reading
I’m ending the year feeling much better than I anticipated this morning. The cold which I started on Christmas Eve was gazumped midweek by a much more aggressive version which has left me in no doubt that I am not stoic invalid material. As a headache gripped my brow in a rusty vice and left me feeling sick each time I bent down I yearned for my health to be restored so I could enjoy my cat, my home, my life.
Friday was a particularly low day. I went out to work telling myself I’d be fine. My nose ran almost constantly and grew redder and sorer by the minute. I began to feel self-conscious and embarrassed at the number of times I had to blow my nose and find yet another bin to dump a wodge of used hankies. Yuk. I went to bed early, then up betimes yesterday for another day at work. Less nose blowing, but still gripped by the vicelike headache and prone to sudden outbreaks of sustained coughing. However by the afternoon I was convinced I was on the mend. Home via the shop to stock up on more boxes of paper hankies where I realised at least half the local population is in the same boat as I am. I nabbed two of the last three boxes of my favourite brand.
I made myself stay up until half past seven and then climbed gratefully between the sheets where I slept for twelve hours with some interruptions for coughing, nose blowing and glasses of water. I thought I’d be fully rested and on the road to health this morning, but instead I should have gladly turned over and slept some more. MasterB desperately needed time and attention from me and was keen to play. Off I went to work feeling as though my body belonged to someone else somewhere else and my feet were not truly making contact with the ground.
Then magically, mid afternoon, something shifted. I’m still coughing, still blowing my nose rather frequently, but it’s almost eight o’clock and I don’t think I’ll be in bed for at least an hour. I’ve eaten a meal with pleasure rather than out of a sense that I need the sustenance, and I have a glass of wine at hand, my first for nearly a week. Admittedly I’ve not drunk any of it yet, but just looking at it makes me feel more festive. I’ve even lit the candles and decided the Christmas decs can stay up for another day or two. Continue reading
Christmas Eve. Three hours until midnight. My plan is to be fast asleep. Tomorrow starts with breakfast at home – still considering my menu: porridge with fresh fruit (ie the usual), or avocado on toast topped with mushrooms, garlic, tofu and fresh spinach. Just typing that I think I know which one it’s going to be. Continue reading
In forty-eight hours I shall be at Cousin’s. I’ve missed autumn, and now it’s the build up to Christmas and the shortest days of the year. I’m anticipating dark afternoons wearing a hi-viz jacket when walking Westie Boy, heat from the wood burning stove, and a cold bathroom.
What I hadn’t been anticipating until a text came this afternoon were cats. But I now know three cats have joined the household. What Westie Boy makes of them I am eager to see. Why three, what they look like and how they were acquired, I have no idea. I’m hoping they are able to come indoors. Cold evenings are the perfect time to have a warm cat on your knee.
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The plan is to see Uncle Bill on Thursday, so that’ll mean a trip to Belfast. I hope there’ll be a second trip too, but a week goes by very quickly. I’d like to go to the Fintan O’Toole lecture at Heaney Homeplace, but that’s on Thursday too, and I don’t think it’d work. Anyway, who would I go with?
On a long leash
A year ago it’d have been Ann D, but she since died. I think this visit is where I will have to accept that death has happened, because from here I find it impossible to imagine Cousin’s without Ann’s presence and conversation. Maybe that’s where the cats will come in. Cats for comfort and distraction.
For someone with little religious faith and none at all in saints as people able to intercede from beyond the veil on our behalf, I am quite demanding of Edward the Confessor whose tomb lies at the heart of Westminster Abbey. Continue reading