Tag Archives: Welsh rarebit

Reasons to be Cheerful

If you are of a certain age you will already be running a set of Ian Dury lyrics through your head. If you aren’t, you’ll be wondering what I’m talking about. It’s amazing what a few words can bring back to you. They have just taken me on a 400 word digression, which I have removed and repackaged. They will appear in my next post where I will pretend that I always meant to write a post on nostalgia and British cars.

Blame Charliecountryboyfor this, he mentioned the smell of vinyl seats in a recent post and that came together with thoughts on Ian Dury to form a post that took me back to the age of 19 and the late 70s. As the two thoughts came together the words flowed like automatic writing. Unfortunately they wren’t words about reasons to be cheerful, which was what the post is supposed to be about.

Anyway, back to the subject. I rose from my bed a little before eight, feeling relaxed, reinvigorated and ready for a day of hard work and creativity.

This is not usual.

After catching up on my blog reading (which is still weak and sporadic, I’m afraid) I made breakfast as I heard Julia stirring. Monday is currently a day off for me under the new shop rota, so we take a relaxed view of mornings). After bacon cobs and tea I decided what to do. I decided to watch TV for a while. Then I fell asleep. I have no ideas why, because I wasn’t tired, but I think TV might have switched my brain off.

The I read, made Welsh Rarebit for lunch and wrote and edited. The reason for the editing was that I managed to write 400 words of digression, as mentioned above.

Welsh Rarebit on sourdough toast – the bits are from the Dijon mustard – I use one spoonful to add texture then a couple of spoonfuls of English to add a bit of flavour. 

Reason to be cheerful number one is a blog post from Laurie Graves. Actually it could be one of several, but I selected this one because it cheered me up. It has pictures of raindrops on leaves and an iris. If you don’t cheer up when you see them you probably don’t like pictures of kittens, and there is no hope for you.

Reason to be cheerful, number two. I am breathing and “dum spiro, spero”, as the Romans used to say. They were very big on mottoes. This one, for those of you who weren’t condemned to do Latin at school, means “while I breathe, I hope”. It is an appropriate motto for a man who is approaching a stage in his life where he has to beat his trousers into submission and take a breather between socks when dressing in the morning.

I had been considering writing one of those lightweight humour books you see in charity shops, taking old age as my subject. Unfortunately, the more I looked at old age, the less funny I found it. Probably the worst bit is that I think I’m getting old, but the literature on age thinks I have years to go before I reach that state. I have turned into one of those crabby old gits who is old long before his time. I probably ought to dislike myself, as I have always said I will never become one of those people.

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Summer’s Day – looking over rooftops

Reason number three. It’s sunny. I like it when it’s sunny at this time of year as it’s generally quite pleasant. Though I often say I’d like to live in Arizona when I’m having trouble with arthritis, the reality is that I’m English and in times of great heat I am genetically programmed to turn pink, sweat and complain. Actually, the English are genetically programmed to moan about any weather, only the degree of sweating and the colour of the visible flesh varies. The Scots (I don’t want Tootlepedal to feel left out) are genetically programmed to complain about the weather, and to blame it on the English. He has some first class irises on his blog too.

Reason number four. I’m not losing my dress sense. I’ve noticed that as people get older some of them find it tricky to strike the right balance between fashion, age-suitability and taste. So far, I have not had that problem. The fact that I have always looked like I selected my clothes by a random rummage in a crepuscular charity shop means that it’s unlikely that declining sartorial standards will be noticed.

Reason number five. The Magic Rabbit. I only discovered this creature existed due to a quiz question answer this afternoon. It is a cheery thing just to see, and the name just makes it better. It really is adorable, and that is a word I hardly ever use.

magic rabbit

Magic Rabbit

They are already dying out, even though they were only discovered in 1983. Scientists blame climate change, though I think the fact that (a) they live on barren rocky mountains and (b) the Chinese will eat anything that breathes might have something to do with it. In terms of China and rare animals, the likelihood of extinction merely puts the price up. See the stories of the Passenger Pigeon and the Great Auk for proof of that in Europe and America. See my post Hitler and the Avocets for links to the stories of those fine, but extinct, birds.

A Disaster Averted

I’m giving myself ten minutes for this as I have other things to do.

I decided I would make us brunch this morning as I was up late and Julia was already busy with meetings. The menu was welsh rarebit (using up some poor quality grated cheese from ASDA), rye sourdough toast and scrambled eggs. It sounded quite sophisticated to me, and goes some way towards redressing the meat which has been creeping back into our diet. We never intended going fully vegetarian, but we were going to cut back. Lockdown has seen us eating quite a lot of sausages and bacon, so it’s time to cut back a little.

The problem came with the sourdough. I often cut it with a sharp carving knife rather than the bread knife as the crust can be a bit tough. This loaf was a few days old and was tougher than normal. The bread knife, allied to my poor grip, didn’t make much impression and I reverted to the sharp knife, using both hands to press down at the end and cut the tough bottom crust.

Obviously it wasn’t the best way to treat a foot long blade and it shouldn’t have been a surprise when the bread and breadboard slipped and I found a sharp knife approaching my abdomen at high speed. It shouldn’t have been, but it was. Old age and arthritis seem to have dulled my common sense. Just like the time my grandfather nearly severed his thumb cutting kindling or my grandmother stood in the kitchen sink to change a lightbulb. It’s a worry, though it’s also nice to think I’m taking my place in a long line of family stupidity.

Julia, alterted by the clattering and bad language, came to complete the cutting.

That’s the ten minutes, so I’ll stop there. The description of my scrambled eggs will wait.

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Blue Iris

I selected the owl picture because we all need wisdom at the moment and the iris because I like irises.

I’ve run out of Ham!

Fortunately my reserve of cheese has been able to make up the deficiency. The good thing about cheese, apart from the fact that it tastes good, is that it’s virtually interchangeable with ham. You can use tomato relish and Branston pickle on it, and if you make Welsh Rarebit you can even pair it with mustard. They can both go in omlettes, on pizza and, if you really must, in salad.

If I ever have to make a choice I may have to go for cheese, as it can go in Welsh Rarebit, as previously mentioned, and cheese on toast.

Talking of Welsh Rarebit, which makes cheese on toast into a meal instead of a snack, I was surprised to see how complicated it can be. I whisk a drop of milk into some grated cheese whilst heating gently, add the mustard and it’s ready. Sometimes I add Worcestershire Sauce and black pepper. Sometimes I don’t.  No beer, no flour, no fat, no roux.

In the Cold Dark Ground (Logan McRae, Book 10) by [MacBride, Stuart]

The tie I have saved by not shopping for more ham was spent reading an excellent crime novel – In the Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride. It’s the 10th book in the series, and I’ve missed a few out, so I had a bit of catching up to do. That’s the trouble you have if you hate paying more than 99 pence for a Kindle book.

It’s Tartan Noir, with lots of Scots and violence plus dark humour, exhuberance, convolution, complication dialect and a pig farm.

Sometimes it’s a bit over the top, and sometimes a bit irritating, but generally it’s a great book in a great series. When I get caught up with my reading pile I might buy a few more in the series. I’d go so far as to say if I could only take one crime series to a desert island it would be this one.

Thanks to Amazon for the picture again.

New Day, Old Photos

After being side-tracked by ebay I finally got round to adding the photos to yesterday’s post. Then I had the problem of letting people know that there were now photos on the post, as they are unlikely just go back on the off chance.

I was going to add them on this post and refer people back to the post.  Unfortunately I forgot. As a result I’m writing this post to refer people back (in case they want to look at photos of disappointing snow and a woman fighting a bird feeder). So that people don’t feel I’m wasting their time I’m going to add a selection of photographs.

The featured image is the poppies made from plastic bottles. They are still going strong, despite four months in miserable weather.

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Garden Gnome at Wilford, Notts

I thought the garden gnome was reasonably topical.

This memory problem isn’t an isolated one, I also forgot what my plans for tea were. Having agreed with Julia that I would make Welsh Rarebit, as we still weren’t hungry after our large breakfast, I went through to the kitchen, where the smell of cooking reminded me I’d put potatoes in to bake ready for…er…

I couldn’t actually remember what I’d been planning. Fortunately, baked potatoes and Welsh Rarebit seem to go together quite well, and with the addition of the remains of the gammon from last week passed for a meal. Don’t worry, we also had fruit to make it a bit more nutritious.

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Puffin at Bempton Cliffs

I threw in a Puffin photo because everyone like Puffins.

Tomorrow I’ll be throwing some vegetables into Monday’s stew so we will be a bit healthier. I’m planning on a few lentils too. It should be virtuous, even if it isn’t good.

It’s quinoa salad tomorrow too. If it’s true what they say about grains and salad and vegetables I’m going to be positively bouncing with energy tomorrow and stacked to the earlobes with vitamins.

 

First day of the next week

It’s the end of January and the first day of a new week. Being accurate, I suppose it’s the second day of the week, but it always seems like the first. It’s certainly the one that I treat as being the first working day of the new week. Julia, working from 6.00 to 16.30 on Sunday, doesn’t really share my enthusiasm for Mondays.

We originally said we’d have January off, and without us actually doing anything it seems like it’s going to work out just right.

Julia is looking about 10 years younger with the responsibility of running Quercus and the Centre lifted from her shoulders and is slowly becoming more cheerful. Meanwhile, I can feel my enthusiasm returning.

Julia has already had a couple of enquiries from people about her availability for work, but we’re taking things slowly and making sure we only take on work that suits us.

Nobody has asked me if I’m available yet, but I’m trying not to take it personally.

Julia decided to do the laundry this week as she doesn’t altogether trust me with delicate whites. I don’t either, to be fair, which is why I don’t own any. I do own a white shirt, which I wear with one of my two ties for special occasions. White shirt and black tie for funerals. White shirt and rugby club tie for weddings etc.. Everything else can be taken care of by a coloured shirt. (For these purposes lightish grey counts as white).

I went to the park and then shopping. They have been cutting trees on the island in the duck pond. Moorhens, Black Headed Gulls and Wood Pigeons were feeding on the grass around the pond, whilst nothing much was happening on the pond. The Mandarin, the Greylags, the Heron and about half the Tufted Ducks were all absent. I’m not sure where the next nearest pond is – I will have to look into it.

I’m currently perfecting some new recipes as part of my new commitment to eating a better variety of healthy food. We had tragically under-seasoned bean burgers bean burgers on Saturday, excellent sweet potato, ginger and chilli soup on Sunday (even if I do say so myself) and Welsh Rarebit for lunch today, which (after three weeks of trying) was just about right.

Now all I need to do is make it again, note the measurements and write the recipes. That’s the worst bit of the job. Apart from eating badly made bean burgers…