Tag Archives: salad

Thoughts about Water

It’s been wet for several days and there has been standing water on the roads. It’s been drier today and things are getting back to normal. This is a relief as my joints have been a bit creaky and I’m wondering if this is caused by the damp.

In many ways it is more like November than June. I remember a summer like this before. I must have been about twelve at the time and the mental picture of me staring out of a window at rain for an entire summer holiday is still with me. It has haunted me for years. The sense of loss, and being cheated out of six weeks of holiday, must have been really strong for me still to remember it so clearly.

Apart from that there is little I can think of to write about. Rain is not a terribly interesting subject, though if, due to the magic of WordPress, you are reading this in the middle of a drought, I can only apologise for my insensitivity.

I tend to stay off politics and other contentious subjects, as I don’t want to offend people, but I’ve only just thought of water in this context. It’s obvious really, when you think that the next series of World Wars, if we escape annihilation over religion, is likely to be over water. I have read that the Nile is likely to be a source of problems, and that the Portuguese are concerned with the way the Spanish are using all the water on the Iberian Peninsula.

When you have massive salad crops, as the Spanish do, you need water. Personally, I’d solve that one by banning lettuce, but you know how I feel about salad.

This is what happens when you mess with nature. Spain should stick to growing olives and grapes and we should stick to eating salads only in summer. In summer they are a necessary evil; in winter they are self-indulgent and wrecking the planet.

At last! I have found moral high ground concerning salad!

Normally I try to limit myself to one exclamation mark a day, but I think this discovery merits two.

A Very Relaxing Day

I had my lie-in this morning and lay in bed reflecting on a pleasant evening with family the night before. Then I reflected on how much better my stomach was feeling since I’d had a couple of bottles of kefir and filled myself with several billion gut-friendly bacteria.

It seems cheap and simple to make your own. I may have a go, as it’s not cheap to buy ready made.

Then, as usual on a Saturday, I realised I was going to be late. Julia made me a jam sandwich for breakfast, which is nutritionally poor, but very pleasant despite that. I felt the need for strawberry jam  two weeks ago, and have been feeling much happier as a result.

I managed to get to the shop (several minutes late) but despite this was still the first to get his computer into action.

We had customers most of the day and plenty of parcels to send. Unfortunately, though we did our bit, the Post Office was unable to do theirs.  The closest one was closed for the day and the next one was staffed by a woman who claimed she didn’t know how to process pre-stamped parcels. She said she “didn’t unserstand all these stamps”.

I’d like to be in charge of staff training for the Post Office.

I’d also like a cattle prod. According to Google it’s legal to own a cattle prod in the UK.

We had supermarket pizza with extra vegetables, coleslaw, cous cous and Aspall’s cider for tea. Cheap, easy, lazy and very pleasant.

It’s not the sort of food that you’d want to admit to, but it was very enjoyable.

If this was a food blog I’d tell you it was artisan pizza with mixed salads and craft cider. And I’d have remembered to take a photo.

 

 

The Scone Chronicles – Number 4

Before saying anything more, I am going to confess that this isn’t about scones. We went to Stoke-on-Trent, so we had Staffordshire oat cakes at the Middleport Pottery.

That’s a lot of links for one short paragraph.

It started badly when, after parking, we found that they’d changed the way in since our last visit.  A hearty woman redirected us, which was helpful but not what you want to hear when you are twenty yards from where you want to be but are being sent an extra 200 yards. One small step for a man with good knees – not so good when you have a bad knee and a stick.

It didn’t improve when I found that they don’t do my favourite oatcake now – no black pudding and bacon for me. I settled for sausage and cheese. Not a great combination, but the best one, I thought, for brunch. With hindsight I should probably have gone for cheese, tomato and mushrooms, but, with hindsight, I should really have gone somewhere else.

The cafe is better lit and cleaner than it used to be, so I expect they have someone new in charge. The oatcakes were a surprise. There were two of them, with salad.  That, to my mind, is how you serve trendy stuff like paninis. It’s not what I want from oatcakes, which is an old-fashioned sort of food.

To make things worse, the tomato in the salad was old and dried out, like it had been cut several days ago and stored.

The sausages were pretty average too – not actually bad, but definitely not good.

It wasn’t cheap, and, to be honest, I expect fresh salad. Mediocre sausages are, sadly, a fact of life, but there is no excuse for wilting salad.

Tea at

The tea was good, as was the pottery, which is made about 100 yards away.

 

 

 

 

Decisions…

I’ve delivered Julia to work, I’ve re-set my car clock to GMT and I’ve had a drive round to look at nature from the inside of a heated car.

I hadn’t intended driving round so didn’t have a notebook with me, and have returned with two haiku and a couple of notes scribbled on the back of a car park ticket. I keep meaning to get a recorder to carry with me – this phone doesn’t seem to offer that facility.

I’m now facing a big decision. Do I do the laundry or do I write a post? I think you can probably guess the answer from the fact you are reading this.

It will save time later, as the days soon pass and I’m so disorganised that it could easily be close to midnight before I actually press the button to publish. That’s what happened last night. I  started writing around 7.00 and it was close to midnight when I eventually posted. It didn’t, as you may guess, take me five hours to write. But somehow I managed to fill the rest of the time with eating, napping, watching TV, talking to Julia and surfing eBay.

At the moment “out of control” is the theme of my life. The garden needs tidying, the house needs a serious declutter and I have letters to write regarding both health and finance – all important stuff.

I have also lost control of my haiku. I don’t know how many I’ve written on my challenge (though it is at least ten a day, so I’m keeping up with it) and I still have a lot to edit,  type and index. It’s the indexing that’s tricky. They don’t have titles. They don’t lend themselves to numbering due to my habit of making and keeping multiple edits. Quite often they have the same first line (see previous comments on multiple edits). All in all they are slippery little creatures and trying to keep them under control is like trying to herd hamsters.

Looks like I’m going to have to look at numbering again, or risk upsetting an editor.

This post marks 21 successive days of posting. Early days yet, but I’m starting to establish a habit.

At this point the 21 days could be significant, as the old saying is that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This, as with so many things, is a myth. Newer research indicates that it takes between 18 and 254 days to form a habit.

Writing haiku, which was a development of my normal poetry writing only seemed to take a week to take hold but my broken blogging habit doesn’t feel established after 21 days. Eating salad would probably take 254 days to become a habit. Even at 254 days it wouldn’t so much be a case of forming a habit, more like breaking my spirit and me losing the will to live.

Hitler, Nazi, Boobs…

Yes, that got you attention didn’t it?

We’ve been talking about how to title eBay sales.

It all started when the Boss noticed someone was selling Churchill Crowns for what seems like a lot of money.  They add “WW2, Hitler, Nazi, Silver” in the title line and sell the crowns for around £12, We normally think we’ve done well if we get £1 and we don’t even bother to put them on eBay as serious coin dealers don’t consider them worth selling. Even the Westminster Collection, who are not known for their modest prices, only ask £3.50 for them.

It seems to me that words like WW2, Hitler and Nazi are attractive to people who want to spend too much on coins.

And “boobs”? Well, from what I’ve seen on sites selling seaside postcards the word “boobs” is used to stimulate sales. I have descended as far as “bosom” in my pursuit of sales (we actually sold three cards from the newly listed lot overnight). I’m not sure how much pride I’m prepared to swallow in the pursuit of wages.

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Bamforth comic card

It makes me proud the be an eBayer. Well, actually it makes me question the entire basis of my life, but I thought I’d try some irony.

It also gave me a catchy title for this post. The alternative was “Salad Emergency!” based on my experience of making a salad from random fridge contents after Julia used all the bread.

Quinoa, tomatoes, olives, red peppers, pumpkin seeds with Balsamic vinegar. My fridge is far too healthy.

Quinoa, tomatoes, olives, red peppers, pumpkin seeds with Balsamic vinegar. My fridge is far too healthy.

Or “Shirt Tragedy” because my fifteen-year-old shirt finally gave way under the stress of covering my amply proportioned frontage. The loss is less keenly felt than the loss of the cats, but cuts deeper than such things as cricket defeats and the passing of Little Chef and their All Day Breakfasts. I liked that shirt.

In a couple of months it will rise again, as part of our Christmas Wreath project.

It’s that or throwing it away. It’s too worn to make good rags and Julia says no self-respecting tramp would be seen dead in it.

 

Mental Freewheeling

A thought struck me this morning.

Our kids, though “young” in our eyes, are actually older than Julia and I were when we first met.

I’m having trouble putting that in perspective.

It makes me feel old, but it also makes me wonder if I’m treating them like children when they are really adults. On the other hand, maybe I’ll start treating them like adults when they start acting like adults. Until then I will keep providing logistical support and offering advice which is ignored.

That represents most of the thinking I did this morning because, after dropping Julia off at work, I went back to sleep for much of the morning. I was able to set the bedroom fan just how I like it and go back to sleep for four hours.

The new router finally arrived from British Telecom. It only took three months, five phone calls and (from them) multiple examples of poor customer service for us to get this far. At this point I think it’s fair to point out that this is far, far better than my experience with Virgin.

I’m still both impressed and appalled by the way I made tea last night. Julia didn’t know what she wanted, just “something light”, so I threw together avocados, prawns, rocket, coleslaw, tomatoes and thousand island dressing (or ketchup, mayonnaise and plain yoghurt if you require accuracy).

It’s impressive because I merely toured a supermarket pulling things from shelves and produced a reasonable meal. Even after forty years of cooking for self and family I’m still always amazed when I manage to do that.

On the other hand there are ecological issues with avocados and prawns, plastic issues with bagged rocket, tomatoes and coleslaw and some air mile and additive concerns too.

I should have done better at growing my own (we’ve grown virtually nothing this year) and I’m capable of making better coleslaw than the one we had last night.

I just looked up eco-guilt as I think that’s what I’m suffering from. It is a word, though without the hyphen. I like the hyphen but I suppose I’ll have to lose it. Also known as “green guilt”. There’s a whole post waiting to be written on that.

Meanwhile I’m a bad parent and mediocre husband – do I really have enough guilt left to encompass the plight of avocado farmers and plastic-eating sea creatures?

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George Orwell – Southwold Pier

Unfortunately not. I would like to worry about them, but it’s not going to happen until I can find more space in my (metaphorical) self-flagellation schedule. I’ll try to cut down on plastic, and I’ll try to eat less processed food, but it’s hard to remember when you’re busy and shallow.

Currently I’m reading a book about three friends touring the piers of England and Wales. It’s research, as I’m considering doing the same thing. I’ve always wanted to write a book so I may stitch together the blog posts on piers and give it a go.

One fear is always about word count – can I write enough words. I reckon the blog now runs to around 400,000 words which suggests that stamina and vocabulary won’t be a problem, though it’s still only enough words to do 80% of War and Peace.

I once read Gone with the Wind (400,000 words) when I was about 16. It took a weekend. I then moved on to War and Peace (500,000 words), lost my way in the family names, stalled, tried again and lost the will to live. That is a lot of words, though I feel War and Peace was probably easier to write than it is to read.

Obviously writing is not like bricklaying so just being able to stack words on top of each other won’t be enough. I have some regular followers/commenters who seem to stick with me so I suppose I must be doing OK

I’ve just counted the words I’ve written on two piers and two lots of fish and chips – 2,739. If I extend to crabs, winkles and candyfloss that should give me 75,000 words, which should be enough for a book. Add in the words I’ve done on marshes, butterflies and such and we come up to around 100,000 words, probably a few more if we get held up in traffic. This is likely to be too many.

It looks like I’ve just publicly committed myself to visiting over 50 piers and writing a book about it.

Having done that, and I did think about it before I wrote it down, I now have no excuses.

As I wrote that line I felt all my confidence drain…

What have I done?

 

 

 

The featured image is a picture of my lunch – quinoa, chia, pumpkin seeds, beans, chickpeas, sweetcorn, dill and spring onions, plus a mango and chilli dressing. Since I actually read the instructions on the quinoa and found out that you can use it straight from the packet lunches have become very simple – tear open a few packets, open a few cans, chop a smidgen of veg, mix. It’s very easy.

Lunch left me full and feeling virtuous. What it didn’t do was leave me feeling like I’d had a good meal.

I suppose that persistence will eventually pay off.

Before that I’d been to hospital for the regular blood-letting. It had been a bit thick last week and they decided another test was needed. If they had to rush about before work, deal with car parking then queue for a slot before being stabbed in the arm multiple times they might not be so keen on all these tests. As the needle slid in through the bruise left by last week’s test, all these things come to mind.

Then, to add insult to injury, the bleeding wouldn’t stop.

They put the signs up on the new shop today – my first day of proper work in the new shop. It’s looking good, though if you look hard enough you can see that fat bloke with the camera who gets in so many of my shots.

Collectors World, Wollaton Road, Nottingham

Collectors World, Wollaton Road, Nottingham

The final highlight of the day was sorting a thousand crowns for an export order, including brandishing an eraser in the vicinity of a few of them to make minor improvements. It’s a funny old world…

Charles and Diana Crowns – a marital mistake enshrined in numismatic form. It’s like me having a coin struck to commemorate my diet.