Tag Archives: shopping

Now, where was I?

As far as the blog is concerned I’m eating cake in Derbyshire. In real life I am back in Nottingham, where I passed three increasingly unpleasant days at work and finally had a day of rest.

Today, Sunday, I had a lie in, read, shopped, snacked, snoozed and cooked.

As I speak, I am on the verge of serving ratatouille with Lincolnshire sausages, and also have a pan of vegetarian cottage pie filling simmering away. Tomorrow we will have the pie, with a topping of mash, and on Wednesday we will have the remains of the ratatouille, probably with a baked potato.

We used to serve Italian style sausages with the ratatouille (Italian style meaning British sausages with Italian flavoured fillings) but they cost more and didn’t taste as good as a Lincolnshire sausage.

They are also better for use in sandwiches, and tomorrow we will have sausage sandwiches for lunch.

And that, for the benefit of future researchers, is the way middle-aged  men and their wives spent their winter Sundays in the early 21st Centuries. By the early 22nd Century you will probably need a license to own a sausage, or at least pay a punitive tax, and the use of plastic wrappings will be superseded by the use of potato-starch substitutes which can be composted or used as a topping on pies.

TESCO Top Valley - an hour later

TESCO Top Valley – an hour later

While I was looking for a potato starch/plastic links I found this one. It’s one of my favourite subjects, but I wouldn’t advise reading it if you are eating. In the 22nd Century people will probably wonder why we ever thought cremation was a good idea.

Back to work.

On Thursday I was referred to as “disabled” by my co-worker. It’s funny what goes through people’s minds. We were discussing whether coin dealers would have made it to heaven in Egyptian times as we spend a lot of times destroying dreams when people ring up with a “valuable” coin. I checked this up – I think we’re OK. If you read this, it’s about doing good deeds, not necessarily about valuing coins.

We moved on to Christianity and he asked me if I thought I would still be disabled in Heaven or if all would be corrected. This was news to me, as I didn’t realise I was disabled. Anyway, as I pointed out, we don’t go to Heaven after we die, we have to wait for the general resurrection and, theologically, only need a skull and two femurs (the Skull and Crossbones) to gain eternal life, so I’m not sure a dodgy knee comes into play at any time.

I then asked him if he saw me as “disabled”. He changed the subject.

We then move on to a couple of days of him continually arguing with the shop owner about minor details of what we do. It’s like being in the middle of a divorcing couple. Fortunately I was given a set of ear plugs last week (the reason is too long and involved to explain) so on Saturday afternoon I put them in. It helped cut out some of the noise.

 

Sometimes, when there is no other subject, I take pictures of wheels.

Another Routine Sunday

I eventually prised myself from bed just after mid-morning. I had been up earlier but my back was so stiff I’d gone back to bed to get some warmth and do some straightening exercises. At that point I fell asleep and, as I say, reluctantly emerged. I’m tempted to say “like a butterfly from a chrysalis” but that wouldn’t be an entirely accurate picture.

We breakfasted on what was supposed to be smashed avocado and eggs on toast but Julia is such a gentle soul the avos were no more than moderately roughed up. It’s a shameful thing to do, offering any sort of violence to an avocado – they should really be filled with prawns and thousand island dressing. Or mayonnaise with ketchup, which is my version. However, this is the modern way and Julia likes it so who am I to complain?

After that we had toast and marmalade whilst watching The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was the 1988 TV version with Jeremy Brett. I like him as Holmes, but there are several other versions of the story which I prefer. Holmes really should be in black and white.

Then it was off to the laundry for Julia and off to the supermarket for me.

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Shopping

The laundry was crowded, because it was a dull wet day. The supermarket was not crowded, but the people in it all seemed to be on a mission to get in my way.

That was the first part of then day. On our return I wrote the first 240 words in twenty minutes as I cooked pie and beans for a meal that was a mixture of late lunch and early tea.

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View from the Driving Seat

I then frittered the rest of the afternoon in front of a fire, watching quizzes, snoozing and drinking tea. No, not all at the same time.

It is now 8.00. Washing up is done, the roast vegetable as are in the oven for tonight’s meal and the ones for tomorrow are boiling as I type. We will be having gravy tonight as we eat roast veg, Lincolnshire sausages and Yorkshire puddings.

Monday night’s veg will, with the addition of last night’s rice (which is currently frozen, to avoid food poisoning) and some other bits, will provide another go at veggie burgers. I will have two on Tuesday night with ratatouille (Julia is dining out for a birthday celebration) and on Wednesday we will both have veggie burgers and ratatouille. My capacity for repetition of meals means I can happily eat the same thing for three or four days if necessary.

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You could chart my life from pictures like these

The timer just went off – time for a trip to the kitchen, where mounds of steaming vegetables are waiting for me.

Later I will return to load some photos and publish the post.

The writing has taken 37 minutes according to the kitchen timers I had running at the time. I bet the photos and Tagss take at least another 20, if not more.

This blog hates me – it’s just taken twelve trouble-free minutes to do the photos and Tags. It’s trying to make me look like a liar by doing everything the easy way…

 

 

Scone Chronicles XXIX – Dry, Disappointing and Drizzleless

We saw an interesting sign today whilst shopping. It was outside Wagamamas, and advertises “Vegan Tuna”.

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Vegan Tuna? No chance!

This is slightly confusing from a grammatical point of view. As a lifestyle choice, this is unlikely as I can’t see tuna ever sticking to an ethical vegetarian diet. It is even less likely from a biological point of view as tuna are made of meat.

I’m also tempted to say that there’s something strange about a vegan eating something dressed up to look like meat. Not just vegans, any vegetarian in fact. I’ve never really been a fan of any vegetarian food dressed up as meat.

We had Thai green curry tonight, with mini corn cobs, mangetout peas, broccoli, carrots and cashews. You don’t need quorn or fake tuna to make perfectly good vegetarian food.

Talking of which, and getting back to the point, vegan tuna is made from dried watermelon. It looks like thinly sliced tuna and, it seems, tastes like watermelon. It’s £12.95 a portion. That seems like a comfortable profit margin.

This isn’t actually the thing I was going to write about. We had coffee and lemon drizzle cake at Costa Coffee this afternoon after we bought socks.

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Coffee and Cake

The coffee was good, but it should have been considering the price and the fact that it’s pretty much the only thing they do. On a volume to cost basis it was reasonable value as it came in a cap that is smaller than some of the mixing bowls we use at home.

The cake was very lemony in a nice fresh way. Sadly it was also quite dry and very lacking in drizzle. This would be acceptable in lemon cake, but not in lemon drizzle cake. I won’t labour the point but it doesn’t say much for your professional standards if you can’t get the drizzle right on a lemon drizzle cake.

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Dry, disappointing and drizzleless

I will say no more.

 

 

This is the Way the World Ends

It’s three sleeps until Christmas, and about 80 sleeps until I embarrass myself in front of the Numismatic Society of Nottingham with a dull, boring and badly presented talk. I can feel the iron hand of doom closing around my throat…

I will not be able to look my fellow members in the eye and people will point at me in the street like one of the sad figures from a Bateman cartoonThe Man Who Couldn’t Use Powerpoint.

In the end, I suppose it won’t be too bad, but I am a bit apprehensive.

Meanwhile, having airily stated “Christmas is in the bag. There are a few things left, but the essentials are in place and we are ready to go.” just a few days ago, I came face to face with reality.

A late listing of things we needed for Christmas, which was supposed to be a few veg and bits and pieces, ended up filling a page on my pad, and filled a trolley (though just a small one).

Murder was contemplated on more than one occasion, though I also smiled a lot, gave way a lot and quipped “It’ll soon be over!” more than once.

It’s amazing how many people come out just before Christmas who seem never to have seen a shop before. They dawdle, they gawp and they get in my way. They have uncontrolled children, slack jaws and, often, resentful partners in tow. Zombies have more life behind the eyes, more spatial awareness, and more charm than many of these shuffling, gangway-blocking lost souls.

Today’s poem is dedicated to those shoppers trapped unwillingly in a vortex of Christmas shopping. It’s quite long but you can get the gist from the first part before scrolling down to the last line.

Yes, I do have a cavalier attitude to classic poetry, but life is too short to be serious about poems. This is particularly true where the poet has, as my father-in-law used to tell me, a name that is an anagram of “toilets”.

I’ve returned to Julia’s reindeer pictures for a bit of Christmas cheer.

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Mission Accomplished

I went shopping this afternoon, with the outline of a plan in mind.

We now have a turkey crown in the freezer which claims to serve 6-8. It should do for three plus sandwiches. The pigs in blankets are next to it.

The gammon and smoked salmon are in the fridge with sufficient shelf life to last until Christmas.

We have stollen, we have nuts and we have seaweed crackers.

I already, as reported, have the cheese footballs.

That is it.

Christmas is in the bag. There are a few things left, but the essentials are in place and we are ready to go. I’m beyond worrying about the quality of the turkey – all I want is a stress-free Christmas and now we have the essentials there is no stress. It won’t be the best turkey we’ve ever had, but it’s in the freezer and Christmas dinner is guaranteed. It might be badly cooked, or burned, but it will be a traditional turkey disaster, and I will have done my job.

At one time I used to shop for a siege, but the shops will be open on Boxing Day so there really is no need to stock up. I may put some bread in the freezer, but that’s the limit of my extra buying.

Cards are delivered or in the post and a few small gifts for my co-workers are in place.

It is now 9.00 and Julia has just come back from seeing a neighbour. I am going to serve the evening meal now and bask in the smug satisfaction of knowing that if Christmas were to be moved forward, I am ready.

And as I write that I realise I haven’t bought the cheese…

The pictures are minisheets of stamps – an extra way of making collectors buy more. They are buses, the Royal Family, Industrial Archaeology and Edward Lear. If we have room we just stick them on envelopes complete. Yesterdays’s collection is today’s postage, just as yesterday’s news is today’s chip wrapper.

Today’s poem is a cheery number that repeats that thought, though more elegantly, and with much more Latin than is usual in one of my posts.

Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam

Ernest Dowson

 

The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long. –Horace

 

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

The Difficult Second Potato

After several abortive attempts at writing today’s post I decided it wasn’t depression or politics, or even the crush of ideas and bitterness that was preventing me writing – it was trying to use the netbook on my knee while I sat by the fire.

Just after 10.30 I stepped through to the dining room with the intention of sitting down and sorting myself out.

It didn’t happen -there were comments to read and reply to and sandwiches to make for tomorrow. Finally there was washing up. Yes, washing up seemed preferable to sitting down and blogging.

I now have around 20 minutes to post and keep to my target of daily posting. I’m now limited by the time, and by the fact that I am slowly getting colder. Eventually, based on past experience, I will get so cold that I stop thinking. This is’t a bad thing because since the election I’ve mainly been thinking that everything is a complete mess. I have had to discard several posts because they were a bit too serious, and probably a bit too libellous. It’s one thing saying something to Julia, or shouting it at the TV, but once you write it down you have to prove it.

We had Hasselback potatoes again today. I was a little more relaxed with the cutting, and it did not go as well as the first lot. This is often the way with the second in a series. I tried the stir fried sprouts again too, this time with added chestnuts. I’m intending to have it at Christmas. We have settled on turkey for Christmas this year (as we have done for about the last fifteen years). We will also have roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, stuffing, bread sauce, redcurrant jelly and Yorkshire puddings.

I just noticed it’s gone midnight…

I know Yorkshire puddings aren’t traditional but Julia likes them so they are traditional for us. Personally, I’d rather have beef, pork or gammon. If anyone had suggested a nut roast I’d probably have gone for that. Even a goose. They are greasy but traditional.

It was the kids who got us back onto turkey – we’d been having beef or pork for years but they started to ask for turkey because all their friends had turkey. Now it’s become a habit. It’s not so bad now that you can buy a small crown roast – enough for a meal and a few sandwiches. Much better than the days of turkey curry, turkey stir fry and, finally, turkey soup.

I’ve started the Christmas shopping list and tomorrow I start the shopping. I’ll probably also start moaning about Christmas tomorrow.

Strictly speaking, our Christmas starts when I buy the cheese footballs. This is normally when they first appear in the Shops in Autumn, as it can be touch and go nearer to the day. I’m surprised, on looking for links, that I only seem to have mentioned them twice over the years as they are an important part of Christmas.

First the cheese footballs, then the ancient Santa card I bought Julia for our first Christmas. (I’ve also bought her one every year since, in case you are wondering), then the shopping.

The two pictures from the archives sum up the full horror of the forced jollity of Christmas, and the silent fury of a man who, having realised that he has wasted his life on trivia, will never break the bank at Monte Carlo, win a Nobel prize or, in all probability, look down and see his feet again.

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Time, I think, in my tour of British poets, to turn to Dylan Thomas. I’m sure you know the one I’m thinking of. I am, after all, a man of habit and small learning.

 

A Trip to Town

As if I haven’t suffered enough already it’s the Numismatic Society of Nottingham tonight and the subject is the Pre-Decimal Currencies of Scandinavia. As I know nothing about the subject there is a good chance I will leave the meeting after having been thoroughly educated. However, as I have absolutely no interest in the subject there’s a good chance someone will have to wake me up at the end.

I fell asleep in the auction last month but nobody noticed, which is good news, as I obviously didn’t snore. If I fall asleep tonight I may get away with it.

You’d think I didn’t really enjoy the meetings from my descriptions, but I assure you I do. There’s always something to learn and people to see.

This afternoon I broke a deeply ingrained habit and went into town. I am that desperate to find a birthday present. I did manage a small present, but the trip was mainly notable for a urinating tramp and a non-working car park ticket machine system which refused (a) to take payment and (b) to let me out even though I’d eventually sorted it out and paid..

And they wonder why people prefer Amazon.

Start with “You don’t have to pay £3.80 to park at Amazon as rude people push you out of the way, sales assistants sneer and tramps urinate in the bushes and swear at people who object.” After that, the decline of the High Street starts to look logical.

I’m now going to have a nice sit down in front of the fire before going out again as I’m feeling the cold. That’s something else you don’t have to worry about with Amazon. You can shop on Amazon whilst sitting by the fire.

Five Ounce Silver Coin

Five Ounce Silver Coin

The coin went in the post this morning – five ounces of silver. It’s really a medallion but has been struck as a £10 coin of the Channel Island of Guernsey. No, I don’t know why they make them. Maybe they just have lots of silver.