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Cup a Soup Chronicles II – Bachelor’s Mushroom with Croutons

Cup a Soup Chronicles II (22.02.21)

Batchelor’s Mushroom – ASDA 75p for four sachets

Well, it’s another grey soup, but this time grey is acceptable. Mushroom soup is meant to be grey. It’s also meant to taste like mushrooms and this one did, though a lot of it seemed to sink to the bottom as I drank.

You need to gauge things just right with the croutons. It takes a few minutes to get them nicely soft. Depends whether you like your croutons crunchy or soft.

When I prepare this one I stir, leave it to stand for a few minutes to soften the croutons and then stir again before drinking.

Bachelor’s Mushroom Cup a Soup

I normally drink the mushroom, and have only branched out because I need variety for a series of reviews. It would be difficult to have  a whole series based on Mushroom Cup a Soup of different makes. Who knows, I may even find a soup I prefer to mushroom.  It’s unlikely but it’s possible. Mushroom is one of my favourites.

Somehow I seem to have come to the end of the review without using many words. I’ve already said it’s my favourite, that grey is acceptable as a colour for mushroom soup and that the croutons are better if allowed to soften a bit. That really sums it up.

I only had one this time because, although I like my readers, I don’t think it’s worth having a stroke just to test a second cup of high salt soup.

Bachelor’s Mushroom Cup a Soup

That’s the difference between testing soup and scones – I could eat scones all week and not bother about it, because they seem wholesome.  Cup a Soup is just a sachet full of chemicals and strikes me of being a foodstuff that is nice once in a while – when you come in from a long cold walk for instance. It’s not something I’d want on regular basis.

Nutritionally it’s one step down from a Pot Noodle, and it’s over a year since I had a Pot Noodle. At least you get decent noodles in a Pot Noodle. It’s probably one step down from the box it comes in too, as that is lower in salt and, I assume, higher in fibre.

Ah well, next week it’s Oxtail. I used to like Oxtail soup when I was a kid. I’ve never had it as a Cup a Soup and it will be interesting to see what it’s like.

Bachelor’s Mushroom Cup a Soup – lower salt but higher in everything else than the Chicken Noodle

 

No Inspiration Yet…

At 10am on Sunday Julia posted the Covid test kit. At 10.30 this morning she had a text with the result. It is negative. Credit where credit is due – this is a very efficient piece of work and the laboratory staff are to be congratulated.

If I say that was the most interesting thing in my Sunday, apart from a salted caramel chocolate brownie Julia bought when she went out for a walk, you may see what a waste my day has been. Again.

Now that spring is coming I really should be perking up.

I stalled in my writing, decided to have a cup of tea and a sit down, and ended up falling asleep through the midnight deadline. I’m still not much better placed as far as inspiration is concerned,, because Monday hasn’t exactly been a day of laughs. I dropped Julia off at work, went to the doctor, found my blood testing forms weren’t ready, despite my telephone conversation and email, and came home to make toast, wash up and stare at a blank screen.

Last night I had a strange dream about my legs being paralysed. I woke to find that I was laying on my side with my feet caught in the duvet. I’m not sure how I managed it, but they were held tightly together and I was trying to kick my way free.

A doctor rang me in the middle of the morning, to check on the blood test request. We discussed a few other problems we have had over the months and she was able to unravel several mysteries about missing prescriptions over the last few months. I felt slightly guilty as (a) I’m not ill and (b) all the years spent to train as a GP should not be wasted doing admin. It’s just unfortunate that the admin team at the surgery couldn’t have done it. I am beginning to suspect that deep in the bowels of the NHS Electronic Prescription system, there are a number of random faults that keep casting up aberrations.

I am doing the menu for tonight through to Thursday now. It’s sausages with roasted veg – the accent being on carrots. Tomorrow will be sausage and mash with mashed carrot and parsnips, and onion sauce. I have too many carrots. Even carrot soup for Wednesday lunch isn’t going to bring the numbers down significantly. I’m going to start eating carrot sticks for lunch too.  Looks like carrot hotpot on Thursday…

 

 

 

 

Saturday in a Shut Shop Sitting Silently

Here’s a selection of what I did today. I photographed a Peter Rabbit 50p coin and put it on eBay. It was the first in the Beatrix Potter series, and Peter is the best known and most popular of the characters. It soon sold out when it was released in 2016 and  that coin – an ordinary 50p coin, but struck in silver, to proof standard, with added colour and a great deal of glitzy presentation, is now worth over £600. A lot of the others can be had for around £20 each, which still seems expensive to me. However, it pays my wages.

In case the word “proof” is throwing you, it mans they are produced in from specially prepared dies, striking specially prepared blanks. They are excellent examples of the coiner’s craft but o many different ones are now produced that they hold little charm for a cynic such as me.

The next item, a rowing medal from Oxford University, is more my sort of thing. It is engraved with the names of the boat’s crew around the edge. Several of them had famous connections though they aren’t that famous themselves.

Medal for the Commoner’s Fours 1866

I just went back to look for a link and couldn’t find it. It has sold already – six hours after we put it up for sale. The miracle of eBay!

People watching

This is a picture taken using my door mirror. I went straight from work to the vaccination centre on Thursday and had time to kill. I should probably have wound the window down completely, bit I didn’t. Another lesson learnt!

 

 

 

Very Little to Write About

Today, despite a promised heatwave, the day grew greyer and more blustery. The man doing our chimney stack is doing his best between outbreaks of bad weather and I hope it is gradually improving, as the wind increases in strength. It would be annoying if it all fell down when we were on the point of getting it fixed.

We have done Julia’s test kit tonight and it is ready for posting in our local priority post box tomorrow before 10am. The collection is at 11.00 and it has to be there an hour early for some reason – probably because the collection times aren’t very accurate.

It took ages to fill in the online forms and get it to accept an email address and the post code – it only accepted the post code when we used lower case letters. Nobody uses lower case letters for postcodes, apart from idiots on eBay who don’t know how to use a shift key or, probably, how to wipe their own noses.

Then we had the palaver with folding the box, because the perforations weren’t all done properly…

Sorry if this is repeating things – I know I’ve mentioned some of this before, or in answering comments. It’s because I’m getting old, we repeat things you know. I say, we repeat things you know…

Maybe premature senility is an undiscovered consequence of Covid vaccinations…

It seems a sad waste of a day when you can condense it into a couple of hundred words. I may have to plan something more interesting for next week. Perhaps another Cup a Soup review, though I don’t want to spoil you…

Looking ahead, I get my second dose of vaccine in May and the side-effects are said to be worse. To be honest, that won’t be difficult, considering there were none yesterday. If things don’t improve soon you will at least have my mid-May brush with death to look forward to, even if it is death from terminal hypochondria.

 

Cholla

The photos are from my baking days  a light rye bread with some uneven air spaces and a chollah that pulled round the joints, which I seem to remember is a sign of underproving. Baking was more difficult than it looked…

 

Vaccination Day!

I had my vaccination this evening. The nurse promised me an aching arm lasting a couple of days and flu-like symptoms lasting around 12 hours. So fa I have had a slightly achy arm, which wore off after about twenty minutes, and absolutely no other problem.  It’s all very disappointing after the dire warnings. I was hoping to have something to complain about.

Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t need all the information they told me to take, and I did need information I hadn’t ben told to take. As I told one of the nurses, I had come equipped for a vaccination, not a quiz.

Apart from that it’s been the same sort of day as usual, and I managed to eat my sandwiches by 11.30 as I was so bored. Only four parcels to do. Several infuriating customer complaints which are nothing to do with us – if Indian customs hold things up (as they are doing in two cases) we are NOT going to give refunds. We have three others on the go, two where the customer simply changed their mind but it is costing us money, and one where the customer claims they did not get the parcel but the Post Office has a signature to show it was. At one time eBay would tell the customer to get lost, but last time it happened they gave the customer a refund and took the money off us. I sometimes think eBay has become a den of thieves, and that the biggest thieves are eBay.  I will, however, not bore you with the details.

NHS Roulette

Do you remember me saying “At that point we will start the game of NHS Roulette to see what I actually get. ” in the last post?

Did you think at the time that I was being unduly  pessimistic, or unfair on the saints who run the NHS?

Well, after picking up my phone from the shop I went to the pharmacy, queued, got to the counter, asked for my prescription and was given a bag that didn’t look like the one I was expecting.

It seems that the stuff I ordered four weeks ago hasn’t come, but I did have a bag of things I hadn’t ordered. I would have ordered them today, as they were due. Unfortunately there was one item missing from that lot too – the important one. So all in all, NHS scores zero for efficiency, yet again. It’s a wonder they don’t actually kill more people with the number of things they get wrong. I used to take the view that they did dozens of things right for every on they got wrong but at the moment it’s running about 50;50, which isn’t great odds when you are gambling with your health.

It’s possibly sorted now, after a phone call, but you can never be too sure about these things. I await the next cock-up with bated breath.

After that, I booked a vaccination appointment. That was an experience. The web address didn’t work so I used the phone number. I was number 50 in the queue and they were answering two a minute, according to the running commentary. Sometimes my hopes rose when they answered four in a minute, sometimes they fell as the number decreased by one, or even zero. Eventually, I got through, and found out why they were so slow. They needed my NHS number, and, of course, it’s not something you either memorise or keep to hand, unless the people asking you for ti have thought to tell you in the text they sent. They, of course, didn’t think of that.

Then, after ascertaining which was my nearest test centre, they told me there were no appointments there and they were waiting for more to be released, which wouldn’t be released until tomorrow. That was interesting, because until then I thought that each day had the same times as all other days – silly me. They asked if I’d like to ring back tomorrow.

Let’s see. Would I like to ring back tomorrow and spend another 25 minutes hanging on – it’s an ordinary number, not a free one, and I am of an age where 25 minutes is a significant amount of time. I settled for an appointment that is further away. Strangely, they didn’t offer me on at City Hospital, which I can see as I type. They are doing them there because one of the neighbours is going there for hers tomorrow.

It will take 30-40 minutes for them to assess me before vaccination, then I have a 15 minute wait afterwards. half an hour before the vaccination? NO wonder it’s taking so long to give them all.

Pictures are random sky shots – one being a rainbow over the Ecocentre and the other being crepuscular rays over the lake at Rufford park. That is knowledge I have gained by reading Derrick’s blog.

Crepuscular rays at Rufford Park

Crepuscular rays at Rufford Park

A Busy Wednesday

Looks like I’m going to be having a busy day.

First, there will be a lot of teeth gritting to be done. They are drilling again next door, though it is gradually dawning on us that it might be floor sanding. It’s noisy, annoyingly irregular and travels well through the connecting wall.

Second, I have to book my vaccination. Or I assume I do. Julia has just had a text telling her she can book hers (though she has, of course, already had it). I haven’t seen a text yet but assume I will have got it too. (See below).

Three, I have to go to the shop because I left my phone there when we packed up yesterday. I was thinking of not going back for it, but if I ned to book an appointment I will have to go for it.

Long Tailed Tit - Rufford Abbey

Long Tailed Tit – Rufford Abbey

Four, I have to pick up a prescription and put a request in for another one. At that point we will start the game of NHS Roulette to see what I actually get.

Five, fill up the car. We haven’t been going out, so we haven’t used much fuel, but it has now come to the end of the tank and the warning light is on. With not going out much we tend not to pass anywhere to refuel so it needs a special trip.

Six, then there will be more gritting of teeth as the chimney man seems to have arrived, judging by the debris now clattering down into the back garden. Drill, drill, drill, clatter, clatter, clatter…

I’m going out now, and I could be some time.

Grey Wagtail - Rufford Abbey

Grey Wagtail – Rufford Abbey

The photos are some old shots from Rufford Abbey – I was particularly happy with the Grey Wagtail (though it’s not great quality) because I don’t see them often, and they are quite flighty. Long Tailed Tits are tricky to photograph, but at least they are common and you can keep trying.

Back to Work

Old Oaks of Sherwood Forest

Old Oaks of Sherwood Forest

First day back at work. Julia’s test kit is “in the post” but it’s of little interest now as we have counted off enough days to be out of quarantine. What a shambles. I was back at work today, but still can’t see why I am needed. It’s just that people are getting fed up with being inactive. The shop owner, thinks we should be doing things . I, having made inactivity into a way of life, am quite happy not to do things. I didn’t get where I am today by doing things. I was happy doing nothing, but all good things must end and I am now having to work. Of course, I have plenty to do without work…

We had pancakes tonight, with syrup and lemon. This, believe it or not, was not the high point of my day, but it was quite close.

I just looked for my phone and can’t find it. I think I’ve left it at work. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. This is most annoying.

I have been going through an old camera card and selecting photos to use. Today’s selection is  a selection from a walk around the old oaks of Sherwood Forest. It’s all changed now, with the new visitor centre and stuff. I haven’t been to the new one yet. It’s on my to do list, but so are a lot of other things.

Old Oaks of Sherwood Forest

Old Oaks of Sherwood Forest

Just a short post tonight as I have a lot to do. Towards the end of the week I will be testing mushroom Cup a Soup.  It’s a depressing thought that this is the best life has to offer at the moment. If you thought the last one looked grey…

Old Oaks of Sherwood Forest

Old Oaks of Sherwood Forest

Bread, Courses and Quarantine

Though I’ve had a few days which were mostly pointless, I have managed to get a bit done. I now have seven submissions waiting for decisions by editors. They are all properly prepared and sent out in the form requested, so it’s just the quality that remains to be tested.

Meanwhile I finally got on with the poetry course that stalled when they messed up the passwords just before Christmas. It doesn’t take long to put an end to a habit and it took them a couple of weeks to fix it, which was more than enough.

Last week I completed it, then started another poetry course. Unfortunately that was delayed because I noticed they had short course about Mexican Revolutionary Murals. I like Mexican Revolutionary Murals. I just finished that and will be returning to poetry once more. To be honest, they aren’t great courses, and the wiki article is much more detailed, but It’s a start. I probably wouldn’t have even looked at the article if I hadn’t spotted the course.

Today, I can. I believe, consider myself to be out of quarantine. I celebrated by going shopping and buying fresh bread. It makes things a lot easier if you can buy fresh bread between deliveries sandwich baguettes, rye sourdough, chocolate brownies

It’s an interesting word, because, like so many things, it indicates how much the modern world is a watered down version of previous centuries. Quarantine used to be a period of 40 days (it’s there if you look) but it’s been 14 through the pandemic and it’s now reduced to 10, as people are all complaining. From today the ten day hotel quarantine has started. I tried to read the details, but it’s confusing and as it doesn’t apply to me I decided not to bother. I have a head full of poetry and Mexican murals – there’s no room for anything else.

I have a simple solution to the problems of quarantine. I would simply ban international passenger flights and have done with it. We can do without them for a month or two. Next time there’s a pandemic I’d also immediately ban all flights. People who want to come home, and bring their viruses with them, can wait a couple of weeks then fly home to quarantine. I’d stick them in disused military camps, and when you run out of space I’d stick them in disused hangers or in tents.

It’s a brutal approach, I admit, but what would you prefer – some holidaymaker gets two extra weeks in a tent on Salisbury Plain or one of your elderly relatives dies?

Today’s random photos are seals – taken in the days we were allowed to visit.

Grey Seal at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

Grey Seal at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

Grey Seal at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire 

Lazy Sunday – not an Unusual Day

Today I have watched some TV, eaten chocolates, snoozed and cooked brunch. I have then pottered around on eBay, cruised the web, done some reading on WP and decided on the menu for tonight. Yes, eating loafing and little else has been the pattern of my day.

Depending on which government advice you believe (it is all getting a bit confused) we are either out of quarantine or almost out of quarantine.

It is nearly half past six in the evening and I am only just getting to grips with writing. I really am going tom have to start a procrastination diary to see how I manage to waste all this time. As I’m going to cook soon I will leave it until tomorrow…

I have enjoyed the ramble through old photos, and am feeling more inclined to get out, do some walking and take some more photos. On the other hand i still have the rheumatology specialist’s advice at the back of my mind – stay indoors and don’t even go to the shops. This advice has not been passed down via the NHS, as thy are currently vaccinating the over-65s. When thy get down to the over-60s and call me, this will be confirmation that I am not at any increased risk of death from Covid. Fat, high blood pressure and on drugs to supress my immune system, but not, according to the NHS, at any increased risk. So was all the talk of “underlying health conditions” just hype, or have the NHS, once again, proved to be bad record keepers. Past experience suggests both explanations are equally feasible.

My blood test results came back on Friday – a am in the middle of the range, but now have to have tests every two weeks or so until I can get back to three-monthly intervals.

I suppose there are worse things than getting up at 6.30 and visiting a building full of sick people…

Top photo is physalis, or Cape Gooseberry,  Inca berry or ground cherry. Easy to grow in UK as long as you can get them under cover. There is a decorative form – the Chinese lantern – which does grow outdoors but doesn’t fruit.

The other photo is the beach at Dunwich, featuring that well-known cliché – a fishing boat on the beach.

On the beach at Dunwich. The square block in the background is a nuclear power station, which you can also see in my Aldeburgh photos.