Reflecting on my week #104

Well, the coronation chickpeas were a success, so much so that MOH even commented on how much he liked them. That was a shock, especially after the face he pulled as I was making them - they are easy to make, and are chickpeas mixed into a sauce of yogurt and mayonnaise flavoured with curry powder and some sultanas thrown in for good measure. I skipped the raw red onion, thinking of our work colleagues, but they’re on the lunch things to make again list (which is a list I just made up).

Well, sort of.

I’ve also been looking out for some vegetable accompaniments for lunch too, as salad isn’t really cutting it right now. On that list is roast broccoli with a soy dressing, roast kale, and green beans cooked with cherry tomatoes, and my all time favourite squash puree, or even roasted chunks of it. As well as adding to our five (or however many) a day, it’s a good way to fill us up.

And better than salad.

autumn leaves

The weather has turned in the last week hasn’t it, but thankfully there’s been more crisp, clear days rather than the grey, drab days and my walk to work through Greenwich Park has provided plenty of breathtaking views, and plenty of leaves.

At home we’ve been on boiler-watch. It’s become a regular task to replace them while the boiler is on. The engineer came on Friday and in the end it was fixed, but there was a bit of a hiccup along the way. After he left we’d had the heating on, but the house wasn’t getting any warmer. Checking the boiler we quickly realised it was overheating and a phone call from the engineer helped MOH resolve this, by turning the valves back on and allowing the heating to work as it should.

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With the temperatures dropping, having our heating working as it should was very well timed. There was a bit of a frost Friday morning too, so that called for a quick dash out into the garden to cover up the pizza oven with an old blanket and a tarpaulin. And then dash back inside again - we have become fair weather gardeners.

cat-batheing in the sun

Then on Sunday out came the sun, and this cat was making the most of it. And who could blame him?

I’ve a feeling though that the sun’s appearance will be short-lived, but then again next month I’m off to Barbados, so it’s not all bad!

Reflecting on my week #103

For most of last week we’ve been debating whether or not to watch the Rugby World Cup Final at home, or to head to the pub. Up until now we’ve watched all of the games at home, mostly as they’ve been fairly early. The one that was scheduled to be later, was the one that cancelled. In the end we didn’t make a decision until Saturday morning, after a fair bit of research during the week to identify the most suitable pub. That turned out to be one almost at the end of our garden (and over the road), which I’ve never actually been in before.

And so at 8.30 on Saturday morning after a very late decision we found ourselves queueing with plenty of regulars to get into the pub. And shortly after the rugby started we were armed with a pint of Guinness and a bacon roll, and a couple more of the former followed during the game too.

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As you’ll know the result wasn’t quite the one we were hoping for, especially after the game the previous Saturday, but the best side on the day won. And we found a pub that we’d happily go back to, and not just for the Guinness. The weather for most of the weekend, bar Sunday morning, has been pretty awful. At one point it looked like the big, free local firework display might be cancelled. We’d decided not to go this year, and I was pleased about that when I looked out the window.

Instead we spent much of the weekend indoors catching up with chores we’ve had little time to do during the week and some forward planning. You’ll know how much I like a plan, and it’s no different for our meals during the week. We have plenty of food in, and through meal planning, we’ll make the most of it for lunches and dinners this week and some for the freezer too, which during busy weeks are an absolute life saver, and it means we eat well too.

meal prep sunday

This weekend alone there’s now a slow cooked blade of beef chilli and some sag paneer in the freezer and for lunch respectively, added to the beef and butternut squash stew that’s already frozen and ready for when it’s needed. For lunches this week there’s already some buckwheat groats cooked to go with the leftover sag paneer, and some coronation chickpeas (think coronation chicken, but with chickpeas). There’s some plum crumble leftover too, which I’m sure will disappear quickly, and while the oven was on I roasted some beetroot which we’ll have with our lunches too.

We’ve branched out on our TV watching too; usually it’s plenty of home-type shows, Salvage Hunters and GBBO, other cooking shows. and sport. I record much more, but we tend to stick to our old faithfuls (or the same old c**p as we call it). Over the past week or so we’ve lightly-binge-watched The Widow, which it turns out was on ITV back in April. It’s the one with Kate Beckinsale, Alex Kingston and Charles Dance, and I suspect we’re the last people to actually watch it!

I’ve plenty more long-time recorded dramas to catch up on too, one day…

Our neighbour has finally started his building work, which will create a small, outside space for his first and second floor flat, on the top of his bathroom’s flat roof. It’s a challenging build, not least for the scaffolding, as he doesn’t have any ground floor access at the back. All of the scaffolding has come up the front, through the roof void, and down the back, and our view of it at the rear looks like this:

our view of next door's scaffolding

There’s a lot more scaffolding than we were expecting, but it’ll only be there for a month or so (we hope). It’s out the front too, and I’ve not quite got used to the view of the workmen arriving for work and heading past our bedroom window.

A ladder goes past our bedroom window

We’ve a couple of domestic woes too. Through the process of elimination, we’ve confirmed our boiler is leaking. We initially thought the water only appeared when it rained heavily, but that’s not the case. We now know that it leaks within fifteen minutes, which isn’t good news, so our plumber is due to come back.

The second is wasps. And not in gardening gloves this time, but in our study. Each time we’ve been in the room we’ve discovered one or two wasps climbing up the window, and so dutifully we’ve let them out. Keeping a tally, we realised it wasn’t the once or twice off we’d both thought. Yesterday we took a closer look, MOH was convinced they were in my craft supplies (they weren’t) and with things moved out of the way we’ve worked out they’re not inside, but are more likely in the mansard roof, somewhere, possibly behind the slates.

Of course, while I’ve been on wasp watch, none appeared. Talking to our neighbour (the one with the scaffolding) he too had noticed an increase of dozy wasps, and thinks they could be in the ivy growing on the ground floor flat’s walls. They could be, but it’s a really good time for there to be scaffolding up, not that I’ll be going up it, or anywhere near it in fact.

The joys of having a house hey?

Reflecting on my week #102

My day off on Friday was just what was needed. While I might not have stepped outside the whole day, I gave myself some space to empty my head, and got some chores done. It wasn’t necessarily glamourous but I’ve caught up with the washing (small wins, hey?) and ordered my 2016 photo year book. Yes, 2016, but in my defence it’s been outstanding for a while, so it’s good to get it done.

It’s not been all domestic bliss though, we thought we had problems with our boiler - and we still might - a pool of water keeps occuring; we’re not sure if it’s a coincidence that it’s been on heavier rain days, or not. Our dishwasher has taken to not emptying the water completely, leaving the bottom of the machine a puddle of dirty water, and my washing machine ate one of the towels.

Indeed.

We think we’ve fixed the dishwasher though. A plastic thing (technical term) became dislodged earlier in the week with MOH’s help, when he was trying to fix it. Some googling, which it seems dishwasher symptom searching is a bit like googling your own medical symptoms and best avoided, suggested our pump drain could have gone. Being a bit old school, I looked out the leaflet that came with it almost six years ago.

That helped us work out that one of the plastic parts under the filter shouldn’t have been loose - you’re supposed to need a spoon to prise it out, we didn’t. But it was one of those daft diagrams that made no sense, so it took the two of us longer than it should have to operate on the dishwasher. It seems fixed, so fingers crossed it’s nothing more than that.

It doesn’t solve the small puddle of water under the boiler though, so we’re keeping an eye on that. Of course the boiler is just out of warranty, it would be wouldn’t it?

So the towel. It was one of those big bath sheets, and one that’s soft and generally behaves. Emptying it from the machine and folding it so it was easier to air, but wondering why it didn’t fold properly, I soon saw it’s ripped along half the length. No idea how it happened, only that I’m sure it happened in the washing machine. It’s quite old (ahem) so it’s not the end of the world, but you can bet your life I won’t find one the same or similar.

MY GERBERA IS CONTINUING TO FLOWER

MY GERBERA IS CONTINUING TO FLOWER

Sunday was a much nicer day here than Saturday and we even got out into the garden. My time in the garden was cut short though, thanks to a wasp, but before that I managed to get the garden lights into the greenhouse and pack away the table and chairs, which had managed to dry out. The wasp, I discovered, was in my gardening glove, and it didn’t end well for either of us.

It stung me on the base of my index finger, and my finger and palm promptly swelled. The pain, was wasp sting painful, but initially I didn’t know what had happened, until I peered into the glove. There wasn’t room for us both, and while I headed inside in search of vinegar, MOH evicted the unwanted guest.

Guess who’ll be checking what’s inside her gardening gloves going forward?

Then there was the rugby, a great game for England on Saturday to reach the Rugby World Cup Final, and a not so great game for Wales on Sunday. Our biggest decision this week is where to watch the final next Saturday. I’d be very happy watching it from the sofa, but MOH is keen to head a bit further afield.

We’ll see how it goes, but I’ve a feeling I’ll be picking up items for a cooked breakfast on the way home Friday…