Tuesday 30 November 2010

Tuesday evening

A few photos taken a very short time ago.

Edited to add: just had the phone call - school closed tomorrow!

Tuesday lunchtime

. . . and yes, the snow came, saw and conquered. School was closed at 11:30 (at least we tried) and now I'm sitting at home wondering what to do with this gift of an afternoon. It's snowing beautifully outside and, apart from a short break, has been since whenever it started in the early morning. Oh, it does look pretty from this side of the window.

Maybe I can have a wee snooze!

Tuesday morning

. . . and, at last, we have snow. Not much, but it's definitely snow, not rain, sleet or hail. Very pretty it looks and walking to school will be pleasant (thank goodness for my boots). It needs to snow a lot harder for a snow day though - the road I can see from my window is quite clear and no problem to drive along. That's the problem with snow - it's not the children who can't get in, it's enough staff to supervise the children legally.

It will make life difficult if it does turn into a snow day - missed rehearsals would be difficult to catch up on! Fingers crossed.

Monday 29 November 2010

Monday afternoon

I shall be glad when November is over - assuming December is better. The washing machine has now totally given up. Like the freezer, it is very old, has given good service and really isn't worth the cost of a call out, so I've ordered a new one, to be delivered on Sunday. Like the freezer, it was on my mind to think about replacing it, but not this year! Ho hum, luckily I have funds in my savings account to cover the cost but it's now pretty depleted. What next? :0(

Monday morning

. . . and it's still bitterly cold. I gather there will be significant wind today as well so it's going to be arctic-like out there. I think a quick jog (well, drive) to Sainsbury's and back again will need to be as quick as possible!

At least the shed will be out of the wind! I might take the fan heater out there with me as I sort out the upright freezer. There's luxury for you! I'm welcoming the opportunity to actually deal with all the stuff with room and enough to spare. Anyone with a freezer knows how much of a hassle it can be to get the thing defrosted before stuff starts to thaw. Just for once, I won't have to worry about that!

It's a non-pupil day so I have rather a lot of assessment to get through, but in-between times I am going to try to get stuff done.
1. Making the blackberry jelly. It's been dripping overnight and now I have to measure the liquid, add the sugar (pound to pint, I believe, although I must check up on that) and then boil it away to setting point. It might have to be two batches. Then I intend to push the pulp through my mouli to make sauce for ice cream, etc.
2. Get the Christmas red cabbage done again. That's no hassle, it just has to be prepared and bunged in the oven.
3. Redo the Christmas roasties. That might not get done, we will see how the time goes.
4. . . . and, of course, the freezer!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I went into the kitchen yesterday evening to see that the washing machine had stopped at the end of the final rinse with code 4 flashing. I have no idea what code 4 means, the manual didn't say, which is a pain, but I Googled and found that I can get past it by switching off, turning to spin, switching back on again and pressing start. So it's obviously not a big broken bit! It's a Bosch Exclusiv F 1100, not all that new now (so I suspect not worth the call out charge), but please, pretty please, let it continue working at least until after Christmas. I really don't want to have to replace it so soon after the freezer. If anyone know what code 4 means, please would you let me know.

Stay warm!

Sunday 28 November 2010

Sunday late afternoon

. . . although it's almost dark and it's tempting to say it's evening. However, at not yet half past four, it's definitely still afternoon.

I have a new baby in the shed. It arrived about an hour ago and, after the half hour rest advised by the booklet, I turned it on to fast freeze and left it to make friends with the upright!

Tomorrow it will be ready to put stuff in and I have bought more sausages and bacon in anticipation of making more pigs in blankets. I've also got some red cabbage and apple to make some more of that too! Tomorrow's going to be busy - I also have the blackberry mush dripping into a bowl so will be making blackberry jelly. Nice.

DD and DG have just arrived so I'd better go!

Sunday morning

. . . and the frost lies thick over everything, making it look as if we've had some snow. It looks absolutely beautiful but I have no doubt the roads will be treacherous and there will be black ice about.

As I promised myself, I will be popping into town this morning, primarily to go to Lakeland, but also to get some stuff from the pound shop and to look in a few shops for fun. I wonder if the street market will be up and selling. if so, I might get some nice bread and other stuff. - for the freezer!

And then it's home to just wipe out the inside of the freezer before it's collected. That may sound daft but there were some fruity drips inside yesterday which I didn't get around to cleaning up and I ought to. Then I have to just shove up the upright freezer to make room for the new one, coming this afternoon.

I was originally intending to defrost the upright beastie today, but that would be daft now. I will get the newbie down to temperature and then just transfer the stuff from Oldie to Newbie while I defrost, and then have a jolly good sort out. I might even leave the stuff in Newbie for now, seeing as it will be virtually empty and see how it all goes, space-wise. I'll have a think about that.

While I'm waiting in this afternoon, I shall make some more Christmas cards. They're no great shakes as cards go, but I enjoy the activity and get satisfaction from the results.

Photos: While viewing the freezer disaster at stupid o'clock yesterday morning, I wasn't too far gone to notice some pretty patterns on the shed window. The other is the cards and the light is bad, as are the cards really! :0)

Saturday 27 November 2010

Saturday evening

It's been a long day, one way and another. After finding the freezer - er, I mean the not-freezer - this morning, I did what I had promised myself and took a trip in to our new Hobbycraft and indulged in some retail therapy which cheered me up temporarily. Close by was Comet and Curry (they do stick together those two, don't they?) so I took a look at what they had in the freezer line. It was all rather disappointing really. Very few chest freezers and the few they had were not at all what I wanted. I then popped into an 'amalgamation' shop - Miss Selfridge, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, etc, all under one roof and, three cheers, they did my size. I'm gradually, slowly shrinking into 'normal' sizes. Well, I had to celebrate, didn't I, so I bought a pretty top that was in the sale at £10 (from £25).

Then it was homeward bound to deal with the freezer mess. Some stuff has been salvaged, but a fair amount has been binned. Working out the cost is likely to be beyond me. How do you, for example, price out portions of blackberry and apple when the apples were windfalls and the blackberries foraged? The biggest loss was of time and work before the food was frozen and, of course, the time I am going to have to spend again, remaking the Christmas stuff I was so pleased about in an earlier blog.

So - the stuffing patties have been cooked and re-frozen, the pigs in blankets have been cooked and await DG's tender mercies tomorrow, I'm going to boil up the cranberry sauce again and refreeze when the new freezer comes and the Streele Farm blackberries are in pots now and will be simmered and jelly-bag strained before preserving in the usual manner. I've never done proper blackberry jelly because I kind of resent the 'waste', but I can push the pulp through my mouli to make blackberry sauce for yogurt and/or ice cream.

And yes - I've found a company that does next day deliveries and will be delivering the freezer I wanted (after research on the Internet and consulting Which), a Bosch, at some point tomorrow (weather permitting, I suppose). They will also take the dead freezer away for a price considerably less that the council wants.

So the day started miserably and has ended up much more hopeful, which is great!

Saturday morning and grrrrrrr

I have just popped out to the chest freezer - the one I defrosted last week.
Picked up a bag of fruit and - uh oh - it's starting to thaw. Rootled down and realised that an awful lot has started to thaw. I could cry - all those Christmas vegetables, prepared and ready. The pigs in blankets. My single portions of stewed fruit. The dips and pates. The runner beans. The Streele Farm blackberries (I can salvage them, at least, by jamming them). I suppose nothing is of huge value, but, oh, the work it represents!

I doubt anyone will be able to deliver quickly. And, of course, I have to be at school. There's no-one who has a freezer that isn't in full use, as far as I know.

Oh, I could weep, I really could!

Friday 26 November 2010

Friday evening

. . . and sing Ho! for a long weekend!

I heard some Very Important News today. We now have a Hobbycraft in our town. A real live Hobbycraft. On two floors, apparently!
So now I have to go to Lakeland, Hobbycraft and Homebase. Can't get out of it, I absolutely HAVE to go. Amazing that I've been paid today too - what a fortunate coincidence, eh? Life is good!

Friday morning

Thank goodness!! It's been a long week! but there's a sort of long weekend coming up, which is good - an INSET day on Monday is a welcome break!

After the fall, aches and pains of yesterday I managed a good night's sleep - very good, in fact, and do feel a lot better now. The shivers have gone, the back ache has gone and there's just some aching in the elbow and shoulder plus a knee that is going to turn all the colours of the rainbow before it fades. Nothing too bad or needing pain relief, thank goodness!

As always, I planned next week's eating yesterday. The routine works jolly well - on Thursday I plan the eating, on Friday I write the shopping list and on Saturday I do the shopping. To my surprise, I have so little food shopping to do this week I see no point in going all the way to Sainsbury's. I've let the home made yogurt routine slacken so need to get some fresh starter, but that's really about it.

As I will have some spare time tomorrow (because of not needing to do a big shop), I'm going to take advantage of this cold weather again. Last weekend it was the chest freezer which is now clear, pristine and frost free. This Saturday it will be the upright. All the stuff in the upright is packed in small containers as single portions of this, that and the other. Because of that, I am very careful about not allowing them to start defrosting and there's not enough room in the other to hold them while their freezer defrosts. However, this very cold spell is the ideal time to get it done: there's not a tremendous amount of frost build up so it won't take too long and the contents won't stand a chance of defrosting while I attack the frost with my hair dryer. It will also be the ideal time to redo my list of what's in there, which I have allowed to get a bit out of date, and to work out what really needs to be eaten soon. Luckily I label all the containers with what it is and when it was frozen.

It had better not warm up before tomorrow!!!