Saturday, 20 October 2018

Another Day, Another Dither

Today I started cleaning out the walk in cupboard.  It's almost the size of our bathroom, and had far more junk in it this morning than it has now.  I have filled DH's car boot with rubbish.  I feel like I cannot cope with the chaos that is this house a moment longer, so I am planning on chipping away at it, even as little as ten minutes at a time.  I have spent today looking at things and asking myself - do I really want this?  What is the worst thing that can happen if I throw this away?  Where can I put all this rubbish?

Speaking of rubbish, I put a complaint in about the whole bin nonsense and today the bins were collected unnecessarily loudly at 7am.  I'm still pursuing the complaint because my complaint was very much about the lack of communication.  I really regret the lack of sleeping in.

I'm hoping that I get better about shopping.  For some reason I thought it was a good idea to place a Morrisons order which arrived today, including a wonky veg box which I swore I would never get again.  The veg is fine, but I never seem to get around to using it all.  Today we had roasted carrots and parsnips cooked with leek with the mince cooked with onions and peas.  The men of the house enjoyed it a great deal.

Bear has got replacement shin pads.  DH took him and I don't think they were too expensive, but I am still unimpressed.  He also apparently needs £3 for Monday for some vague reason that is connected with fundraising.  Still, he totally rocked his piano lesson which is something.

Writing stuff - finally got the next instalment from the White Hart sorted after junking 2.5k words that just weren't working.  On the 31 Days of Halloween, Timothy Bateson has announced the results of his prize draw here

Friday, 19 October 2018

Thank Goodness It's Friday

I made a complete mess of my driving lesson today.  This includes getting stranded in the middle of a junction with traffic lights where I couldn't see the traffic lights.  Meh.  I did some awesome parking, though, so it could be worse.  Also, no casualties.

Tesco delivered today.  I was just short of the £60 to get a coupon off petrol.  I'm actually getting a Morrisons delivery tomorrow.  I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea, and I am going to have to rearrange the freezer, as I forgot about it until after the time had passed for me to update it.  Darn it to heck. 

In the pic from yesterday, my home is on the left.  On the right is a former Co-op which is now a hairdressers, pizza place and cafe with flats above.  One of the flats has a very inadequate bathroom window.  You can tell if they sit or stand to wipe.  Next door have reported them.  I just don't look. 

I am so tired, I'm just going to crawl off to bed now.  Sending hugs to all.

wherethejourneytakesme - it's an unadopted road which is split unequally between three owners, one of which is based on the Isle of Mann and one is a landlord that won't even fix leaking roofs.  The final one is DH and I, and I worry about the cost, although I think our share would be around one sixteenth.

justjill - our bins were collected from outside our house until mid August.  Nothing has changed on the road, so I suppose someone finally complained.  I am trying to look forward to the exercise.

Bless - I may try that once the driving lessons have settled down. 

Writing stuff - I was 2,500 words into the latest chapter from the White Hart and realised it wasn't very good so I junked it.  I hope to have this week's instalment up by the end of tomorrow as my second attempt is looking much more promising.  Timothy Bateson's '31 Days of Halloween' has a fun post about Halloween costumes here

Thursday, 18 October 2018

A Load of Rubbish

The driving lesson went okay today, no casualties and no other drivers wondering what the heck this learner was doing.  I did lose third gear at one point, but stuff happen and I sailed past the roadworks in style.  My poor driving instructor had to come back, though, as I managed to leave my keys in his car!  He gave the same look he gives me when I lose third gear.  I swear the dratted thing hides.

Then I came home to a letter from the council.  Apparently the surface on the road is a health and safety issue for the binmen, so the bins will no longer be collected from outside the house.  Instead we have some designated spots to leave the bins.  So once a fortnight I will be dragging a heavy wheelie bin up this slope. 

I know it isn't that bad.  It's steep enough to allow kids on skateboards and bikes to get an impressive speed when they hit the bottom, and I know that I can't go up the slope at speed, but it's not a mountain and it's only a few yards.  However I am not looking forward to it, especially when it gets icy.  Never mind, I suppose it's good exercise.  It is also an incredibly good incentive to cut down on waste.

Bear has just come home and found the uncomfortable truth that his 'okay to call and text for £27' phone doesn't have enough memory for all his games.  I guess I know what we are getting him for a joint Christmas and Birthday present.  Hopefully he will be a little more careful with any replacement 'nice' phone.

Writing Stuff - I have my first ever Guest Post!  With Rum Recipes!  AF Stewart is an awesome author who has just published the second in her series of Saga of the Outer Islands, called Souls of the Dark Sea.  It is a fantasy setting with pirates and she has kindly drafted a post for my blog which gives a little background - and rum recipes!  Check it out here.  31 Days of Halloween continues with a book spotlight on 'Instinct' by Anna Hub

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

I Made it to Wednesday

I just want to get to the end of next week.  Then bear will have his half term break and I'll take a break from driving lessons.  I'm just staggering on until then.

Bear's phone and a small Approved Food order came today.  Bear's phone looks fine.  DH is having a struggle getting it to connect to the phone network, but he's working on it, and it's picking up the internet.  The bus that bear gets has free wifi, so at least bear can be occupied while he travels.  I think I shall definitely go that route (if DH can get it to make calls and texts).  £27 for a less than perfect but functional smartphone is completely acceptable to me. 

The Approved Food order was also acceptable.  The dates on the fancy chocolates are long enough for me to stash them for Christmas presents and I picked up some extremely inexpensive Halloween decorations.  The new neighbours don't approve of trick or treating.  What can I say?  I am a complete hypocrite.  I grumble about Trick or Treating every year, and then as soon as anyone knocks on the door, I give out the sweeties in great handfuls.  I even practice looking shocked and surprised for the littlies.  Anyway, we are decorating for Halloween some time after 26th.

I am not sure about pumpkins.  They seem to make a mess and I'm not sure that it's worth cooking whatever DH and bear scoop out, but it's sort of expected.  There's a pumpking festival about a hour's drive from here, near Pontefract, at Farmer Copley's.  They have literally thousands of pumpkins.  I can't drive there yet, and poor DH is still having a lot of tension while driving, so we aren't likely to go, but it does look awesome.  However, most of the supermarkets have them.  I may see what I can pick up on 1st November for cooking purposes. 

Writing stuff - nothing from me, but there is a really interesting article “How the real world shapes fiction and vice versa” by Heidi Angell on Timothy Bateson's 31 Days of Halloween.  

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Convenient Dinner

So much for a healthy dinner cooked from scratch.

I softened some lazy garlic in some oil.  Lazy garlic is the worlds greatest invention.  Nothing smells of garlic except the food, it lasts forever and there is no waste.  Bear does not approve as he says that it is a wasteful and expensive way to buy garlic.  One jar of lazy garlic costs, at time of typing, £1.50, or roughly a penny a gram of garlic.  I can get 8 inexpensive cloves of garlic for that price, but that is not the greatest quality and I wouldn't get as much actual garlic bits for the food.  Also, my hands, knives, garlic press and chopping board do not smell of garlic.

Then I added some frozen chopped onion.  I may go back to chopping my own onions after I've finally passed my test (three hours again today, no casualties but I'm on my knees), but at the moment I consider frozen onions a lifesaver.  It doesn't go off before I can use it all, I can use a teaspoon full for a single omelette or a very large handful for a chilli or pasta sauce, and there is no waste.  At time of typing it is £1.00 for 500g or around a pound.  Fresh, wonky onions from Morrisons are 60p per kilo, and even with losing the peel they are considerably less expensive, but at least I won't see any of them rot because I haven't got around to doing anything with them. 

I then added 250g or around half a pound of lean mince.  Once that was browned I added some gluten free beef gravy granules, some mixed herbs and a large dollop of brown sauce.  Once I had stirred it in, I added some boiling water from the kettle and a generous amount of frozen peas (always cheaper than fresh peas and always available unlike fresh).  Then I added some chopped up tinned potatoes. 

I love tinned potatoes.  They are perfect in frittata, they are easy to store, they never sprout and go green on me, they don't need pre-cooking and a large tin of around 500g or a pound drained weight costs 35p.  At the time of typing, Morrisons' wonky potatoes are 94p per 2.5kg, which makes them slightly more expensive (although still inexpensive in themselves) and that is before they are peeled.  I warmed it all through and dished it up from the one pot I used.

Bear and DH practically inhaled it and have asked for it again soon.  I think the secret is in the brown sauce.  Apart from some worries about salt, it isn't as bad as a takeaway, is considerably less expensive and took only a few minutes. 

I think that once I have a little more of my time back, and I've sorted out things like the new downstairs windows and the re-wiring, then I will go back to buying fresh onions and potatoes.  It won't save vast sums of money, but it will save a few pennies and, after paying for all these driving lessons, I will be glad enough of that.  I don't think I will give up my lazy garlic.

Writing Stuff - not much to report today.  The October Frights is over, and I am catching my breath, but the 31 Days of Halloween is still running and today there is a teaser of what looks like a spooky take on the war in Iraq.  Things should get a lot quieter once we get to November.

Monday, 15 October 2018

I Mopped the Bathroom Walls

I mopped the bathroom walls.  It wasn't a brilliant success, but they are cleaner.  I was horrified when I looked at the patch near the window and I am hanging my head in shame as I post the 'before' pic.

I honestly hadn't looked.  I shall be looking closely now.  After using a mop with hot water and plenty of stardrops, I managed this

which is better, but still not brilliant.  I'm going to have to try a different type of mop and a step ladder.  The mop I used was a rubbish self-wringing one.  I think I will keep it to mop out the bins

What I think I need is a sort of sponge on a stick, like the one my instructor uses to demist the back passenger windows.  And speaking of my awesome instructor, I had another driving lesson.  There were no casualties, but I swear I saw some cones flinch as I rattled past the roadworks.  Also, bear has lost his shin pads.  I'm hoping that is the end of this run as he has lost his phone, his bus pass and now these dratted shin pads in the last few weeks.  The last time I saw them they were tucked in with his sports kit.

Writing stuff - I've written a short story for the last day of October Frights which is here if you are interested. The main links for October Frights is here and it may be worth a last quick look as there are still giveaways and prizes.  Timothy Bateson's 31 Days of Halloween is still going, and today's post, a quick spotlight on Carousel of Nightmares by Kerry E B Black is here

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Tootling On

Today has happened.  I have survived a Saturday.  I'm taking it as a win.

Bear has had a lot of homework set, so I have been encouraging him while I myself have had the concentration of a kitten in a feather factory.  I'm currently considering more vegetarian recipes after hearing about the climate change report and how eating less meat can make a difference.  DH also is muttering about guests staying here in January, and I can't let them come without getting the place decorated.  However I am not making any major changes or pushing major works until I've passed my driving test and the pressure has eased up.  Still, we had a frittata tonight with the mushrooms and peppers left over from DH's pizza, together with some onions and potatoes with a few olives chopped in.  Bear practically inhaled it.

Writing stuff - All sorts of stuff is going on in the October Frights and the link to lots of lovely writing, giveaways and such is here.   I have a small, reprinted piece of flash fiction here.  Today in 31 days of Halloween there is a book spotlight on Rheia, by Cassandra Page, which sounds really awesome.  And finally, an instalment of the White Hart is here.  I shall be glad when October is over and things quieten down!