Monday, 31 January 2005

Food glorious food

My life seems to revolve around food.

A quick trip to Waitrose to buy a couple of things resulted in an embarrassing moment involving blueberries and me crawling around on my hands and knees. It also resulted in me managing to spend sixty squids. Quite how that happened I don't know but there is something about Waitrose that seems to make me spend a lot more squids than if I'd just popped into Tesco. That's why I only go to Waitrose when I've just been paid.

I made dinner (bolognaise) and some parsnip soup for lunch, whipped up from some home-made chicken stock I just happened to have to hand, of course. Then I made OH's trough box (that's a lunch box to the uninitiated). As we're both on a bit of a "watch what we eat" thing at the moment (Gillian McKeith has a lot to answer for), making his trough box isn't as simple as chucking a few bits of processed ham between to pasty looking bits of bread. Nope, it involves avacado salad (peel avocado and toss in lemon juice, chop lettuce, tomato and spring onion), fruit salad (peal and chop mango, peel and chop Kiwi, wash blueberries (dratted things) and raspberries) and freshly baked, home-made bread. Then once that's done I have to put The Lurcher's breakfast together. One box for me to take for Lurcher No.2 and one for OH to take for Lurcher No.1. That's before I even start to think about getting my food together.

Now, before you start to think I'm Martha Stewart out on bail, OH will be the first to tell you, and I will be the first to admit, that whilst I can cook a mean supper and provide a trough box extraordinaire, I have great difficulty in tidying up after myself. Consequently this feast-making few hours has resulted in my kitchen looking like a force 10 gale has blown through it, leaving a trail of debris in it's wake. Ho hum. Just as well I have OH to clean up after me. Worst of all, the whole process will have to be repeated tomorrow and every night this week. By Wednesday night I often find myself resorting to processed ham and pasty looking bits of bread.

Oh, and there is a new item at the top of the Devil's Food list. Avocado. The texture is awful, the taste is awful and it's...well, just awful.

Sunday, 30 January 2005

Bang bang

Having seemingly been successful in accustomising Lurcher No.2 to fireworks - there was a very loud fireworks party next door last night and he didn't bat an eyelid - we thought we might try introducing him to the gun this morning.

OH goes clay-pigeon shooting several times a month and I like to go along from time to time, however, as dogs shouldn't be introduced to the gun until they are at least a year old, I haven't been for some time. It wasn't hugely successful as Lurcher No.2 stood there shaking like a leaf as soon as the guns started. So I took him off for a walk somewhere much quieter. But slowly slowly catchee monkey and we have made a start. We'll keep trying for five minutes at a time, every few weeks and see how we go. If he never becomes accustomed to them, then so be it and I shall enjoy having Sunday mornings lazing at home instead. Oh dear! ;o)

Thursday, 27 January 2005

Nuggets of information

I was trawling the intermaweb the other day and came across these gems:

According to U.S. FDA standards, 1 cup of orange juice is allowed to contain 10 fruit fly eggs, but only 2 maggots. Thirsty!?

In Michigan, a woman isn't allowed to cut her own hair without her husband's permission.

On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament Building is an American flag.

Cat's urine glows under a blacklight.

American's are responsible for eating 75% of the world's daily chocolate intake.

The dot over the letter 'i' is called a tittle.

Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously

Ingrown toenails are hereditary.

Only humans and horses have hymens.

A full seven percent of the entire Irish barley crop goes to the production of Guinness beer. (As it should!)

The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. The only other word with the same amount of letters is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses, it's plural.

The longest place-name still in use is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikim tungahoronukupokaiwhenuakita natahu, a New Zealand hill.

Los Angeles's full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula" and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size, "L.A."

Grapes explode when you put them in the microwave. No! Get away!

A pig's orgasm lasts for 30 minutes. A pig's penis is shaped like a corkscrew.

It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. There's a very good reason for that so please don't try - your eyes would pop out of your head!

Charles de Gaulle's final words were, "It hurts"

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

Certain frogs can be frozen solid then thawed, and continue living.

When a giraffe's baby is born it falls from a height of six feet, normally without being hurt.

Reindeer milk has more fat than cow milk.

It was discovered on a space mission that a frog can throw up. The frog throws up it's stomach first, so the stomach is dangling out of it's mouth. Then the frog uses it's forearms to dig out all of the stomach's contents and then swallows the stomach back down again. (oooh,nice!)

Ten percent of the Russian government's income comes from the sale of vodka.

During menstruation, the sensitivity of a woman's middle finger is reduced. (It is also the most over used finger) Ummmmm......

The average chocolate bar has 8 insects' legs in it.

In the next seven days, 800 Americans will be injured by their jewelry.

In 2003, the U.S. Government spent about $2,000,000.00 on potato research. (40% of Americans eat french fries as their daily vegetable intake)

In Oblong, Illinois, it's punishable by law to make love while hunting or fishing on your wedding day.

The average American eats at McDonalds 1,811 times in their life.

Q-Tip Cotton Swabs were originally called Baby Gays.

In America in 1977, the punishment for smuggling marijiuana was 15 years less than the punishment for smuggling coffee!

To burn off one plain M&M candy, you need to walk the full length of a football field.

Queen Elizabeth II has a rubber duck in her private bath with an inflatable crown.

'Formicophilia' is the fetish for having small insects crawl on your genitals. Eeewwww

Sunday, 23 January 2005


I should have been writing this blog with a hangover. Although that would not have been indicative of me having a complete skinful last night because it only takes one drink to give me a hangover. But that's by the by because I don't have a hangover. And that's because I didn't have a drink. And that's because we didn't have a dinner party after all. And that's because all the people who were supposed to come to dinner, didn't. And that's because on Friday I took the decision to postpone all celebrations of the "oh no four oh". I had the lurgy and half the people that should have been coming had the lurgy and so wouldn't be coming after all. Not wanting to celebrate with only half my friends, I cancelled and we shall re-group in early March. Because.

This has left me and OH with a bit of a hole where the weekend should have been so we've been at a bit of a loss as to what to do with ourselves. The lurgy fizzled away without taking hold (hurrah!) so we've been twiddling thumbs a bit. Taking The Lurchers for nice long walks in the glorious winter sunshine - and not in the snow as the weatherman promised us. A trip to PetsAtHome resulted in a nice new cage for Chaz The Hamster and new feeders for the wild birds in the garden. Other than that, a quiet time has been had.

And I cried watching Stargate.

Friday, 21 January 2005

Uh-oh four oh

I've spent the years since my 30th birthday wondering what it woul feel like to wake up and be 40. I don't feel very different at all. Well, that's not strictly true, I do feel different. I've woken up with the lurgy. :0(

Thursday, 20 January 2005

I don't want to be morbid but...

....OH and I had to go to a funeral this morning and it got us thinking about what we'd want to happen to us when we finally depart this earth. Neither of us are at all religious so don't think that the "usual" funeral would be appropriate for us. Many years ago I decided I really couldn't be doing with a funeral at all, mainly because I thought no-one would bother to turn up and how sad would that be? So I decided I wouldn't take the risk of being a billy no-mates and would leave my body to science. It won't be much use to me so someone might as well get some use out of it rather than just feeding the worms. I know worms have to eat as well but, well, there's plenty of other things they can find to munch on I'm sure.

I did a little research on the intermaweb (what did we ever do before the intermaweb I wonder?) and did you know that strictly speaking, one cannot legally own one's own dead body and, therefore, cannot legally bequeath or donate it? So who does own it then? It's up to those who survive you to carry out your wishes, or not, should they decide to be awkward.

It also leaves me with something of a dilemma. I have registered as a donor so that any bit of me that's needed can be used by someone more needy than I obviously will be at that particualr juncture. But, if you donate anything other than your eyes, you can't leave your body for research. There also seems to be a few other caveats about leaving your body for research; it can't be done if an inquest has been carried out and a coroner has got his hands on you, or if the particular establishment you want to leave your body to is short of storage space....or staff.

So regardless of what I might wish to happen to me, it seems I might have to make a back-up plan for a funeral after all.

Tuesday, 18 January 2005


How could he not notice!!??

Breaking news: Hamster much improved this morning. Course of antibiotics from vet should hold a lung infection at bay. Yay!

Monday, 17 January 2005

Not just yet. Please, not just yet

Chaz, my hamster, is not well. As she is now two and a half, she is well into old age for a hamster. We'll be off to the vet in the morning but I'm steeling myself for the inevitable.

As my assignment is "Harry Potter and the Hamster of Fire", perhaps you'll forgive me if there is a delay in blogging it.

Saturday, 15 January 2005

ohhh I hurt!

I was totally led astray by the fact that I didn't hurt very much after I went riding on Christmas morning. So I went again today. And I hurt. A lot.

I think I know why. We have a new horse in the yard and everyone has been raving about how wonderful he is and the Senior Keeper offered to let me experience this myself. He's a big horse, 17hh, but not as wide as the hulking brute of a horse I rode on Christmas Day so I didn't think there'd be too much of a problem in the aching legs department. Unfortunately, I forgot to take into account the fact that he isn't a cavalry trained, push button horse, as the others in the yard are. He's an ex-hunter, from Ireland, whose idea of "push button" is "push the button and surge forwards, sideways, up and down all at the same time". That tends to have something of an "oh crap" effect on me. Consequently, my legs were glued to this horse for the whole 1.5 hours we were out and muscles were somewhat tense. But it was a fab ride all the same!

A hot bath when I got home might have helped soothe the hurt but there was no time. Get in, get changed and head straight out to Twickers for the Harlequins v Munster Heineken Cup match. Walking several miles to the ground followed by another 2 hours sitting on a hard seat and standing on hard concrete yelling at the Quins to get their butts into gear have taken their toll on my unfit body. And I hurt. Did I mention that?

The things we do in the name of fun!

Friday, 14 January 2005

We are sailing

I write to you through the wonders of Broadband! I can't believe I waited so long to sign up.... it's so damn fast! Having one or two teething problems accessing one of my e-mail accounts but I'm sure I'll get them ironed out. Especially now that I am brimming with confidence at managing to install it all by myself. For a complete technophobe I'm really quite proud of myself. Mind you, it's not that difficult given that BT give you step by step instructions that even a 2 year old couldn't fail to manage.

Other news....oh, there is no other news. Life is as exciting as it ever isn't!

Thursday, 13 January 2005

The call of the waves

Wanted. One holiday cottage in Cornwall or West Wales that allows The Lurchers and smokers, is by the sea, isn't in a complex with other "cottages" and has a private garden. Not as easy as you might think. I may have to broaden my search.

You see, the sea is calling me. I grew up by the sea and I miss it, there not being much of it in South West London. Every so often I start to crave the sea. Not to be in it, but to be sitting by it, listening to the waves pounding on the beach or the rocks. Once the craving starts, it becomes an itch that I can't scratch and becomes intolerable until I get to sit by the sea.

The sea is the balm that soothes the irritation.

Wednesday, 12 January 2005

A dilemma

My day started very early. In fact, it started before the last one had properly finished. I was just dropping off to sleep last night and my mind was wandering through what I had done during the day. Not a lot as it happens as I had been working on the Board minutes, at home - so I could get some peace and quiet. Once I'd finished, I'd popped out to the bank to pay in a cheque. The bank was closed but I used the DepositPoint facility in the lobby, with a paying-in slip from my cheque-book.

As my mind reached this point in it's wanderings, it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn't remember picking up my chequebook off the counter. I shot out of bed and turned my bag out onto the floor and emptied my coat chequebook. So 1am this morning found me on the phone to my bank cancelling the remaining cheques.

I don't write cheques very often and checking my last statement, I didn't think I'd written one since the middle of December so stopping the remaining cheques wouldn't be a problem. However, it has just occurred to me that I paid for my computer by cheque at the end of December and it hasn't come out of my account yet. And I've just stopped it. Oops! So now I have a dilemma....the bank have told me to re-issue the cheque rather than try to stop the errrmmm... stop, if you follow. But, a friend of mine seems to have this uncanny luck with clearing banks losing her cheques and the money not coming out of her account. So, do I do the decent hting as and upright an honest person and re-issue the cheque, or keep my head down in the hope that some of that luck has rubbed off on me and they've lost my cheque? Three weeks is a long time for a major company not to pay a cheque in, even with Christmas and New Year holidays. Isn't it?

Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Hot hot hot

Today our boiler was fixed and we have hot water again. Hurrah! For the last 6 weeks or so, having a shower in the morning had begun to resemble a military operation.

Go to bathroom and turn on taps in the shower.

Go to kitchen and turn on tap in sink.

Turn temperature gauge on boiler off and on again.

Wait for water from kitchen tap to run hot.

Return to bathroom to check water there is running hot.

Return to kitchen and turn off water.

Return to bathroom and have shower.

However, the gremlins moved in when we were away over the weekend and yesterday morning the water wouldn't run hot at all. Washing my hair in cold water first thing on a Monday morning is not my ideal way to start the week. Especially when I have to attend a Board meeting. Dearest Boss came to the rescue and let me use her shower. She has one of those shower heads the size of a dinner plate that sends water cascading down with such force that it's all you can do to stand under it.

I want one of those!

Sunday, 9 January 2005

Good times

I have just had a fantastic weekend.

As reported in my last blog, we were heading down to Wales for my Mum' 60th Birthday party. En route we stopped to see my bestest friend in Brecon. Well, it's not quite "en route", quite a major detour actually but what the heck, it was the closest we've been to that part of the world in a long time so major detour notwithstanding, I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to see her. It was something of a blustery journey it has to be said and as she lives out in the wilds, there were one or two moments when we wondered if we'd actually get there in one piece. But get there we did and although we were only there few hours, I'm glad we made the effort. We haven't seen each other for over a year and she's had a crap year. Although we talk regularly on the phone, it doesn't make up for a hug in person!

Friday night turned into a mini-party with just 6 of mum produced a box of old photographs, some of which were wonderful sepia pictures of my great-great grandparents. Some pictures were slightly more recent and there was much hilarity over those dating from the 70s. The clothes we wore!!

The party at my mum's on Saturday was supposed to be a quiet affair with people popping in as and when they could from 4pm on. By 7pm, a major party was in full swing! My whole family were there, including a few cousins that I grew up with who we hadn't expected. Several happy hours were spent reminiscing over childhood antics and forgotten memories. Also one cousin who is 14 months old and who I got to meet for the first time.

The Lurchers behaved themselves impeccably over the whole weekend and drew many admiring remarks from all the guests. Made me very proud they did!!

Living so far away from my family, it's too easy to not stay in touch and we seem to fall into that cliche of only meeting at weddings and funerals, with the funerals seeming to happen much more frequently than weddings these days. Once again we all agree to keep in touch....and with e-mail, we have no excuse not too. Yay for families!!

Thursday, 6 January 2005

Gosh! The life I lead!

Today's major news? I've signed up to broadband. How much more exciting can life get?

Today's other major news? It's my mum's 60th birthday! Happy Birthday Mum!

There shall be a party at the weekend so tomorrow will find me wending my merry way down the M4 to Cardiff. I go via Brecon to see my bestest friend. Hurrah! I haven't seen her in way too long and it will be good to see her. I shall also be seeing all my family at said party and we haven't all met up since I can't remember when. That'll be nice too!

Big little step-brother called last night. Haven't spoken to him in ages either. He wants lift back on Sunday....I should have known he wanted something, that's usually the only reason he calls. But hey, I love him anyway and what are big step-sister's for?

I'm not very good at seeing my family and friends very often am I?

Tuesday, 4 January 2005

Some people

You know how it is that some people just seem to make you want to argue with them all the time? There's no reason for it at all. You know the ones that by simply walking into the room and saying something, anything at all, makes you just want to contradict and question what they say? I can't explain it but this is one person that I really can't afford to fall out with but I really just can't seem to help myself. The fact that I suspect their motives and that it concerns something very, very important to me is really besides the point. I really am going to have to learn to button it before I press the self-destruct switch.

Monday, 3 January 2005

Wash day blues

My washing machine has been busy today. Load number seven has just made its way out to be dried. How do we create so much washing? There's only two of us for heaven's sake. OK, The Lurchers tend to create a certain amount....actually, thinking about it, they probably create more than we do - throws on the bed and sofa, covers on their 4 beds (as we feed raw bones and they tend to take them to whichever bed they choose to eat them (although not ours or the sofa you understand - that's not allowed), fairly regular washing of bed covers is a necessity). But all the loads created over the last 4 days does seem a little excessive.

I recalled to mind an article I read in a newspaper a while ago. It said that with the advent of the washing machine, society today tends to wear things once then put them in the washing basket, without really thinking too much about it. Or, more likely, not thinking about it at all. We've come to take for granted that we will have freshly laundered clothes to wear everyday. If we had to do the washing by hand as our grandmothers had to, we might stop to think about whether an item actually requires washing before chucking it in the wash basket.

I'm so guilty of this...although I don't actually throw things that I've worn once into the wash basket, this is only because I don't actualy possess a wash basket. Instead, things get thrown onto the bedroom chair and stay there for the foreseeable future. When the mood takes me to do something about the pile of clothes threatening to avalanche onto the floor, it all needs ironing before I can wear it again. I really don't understand ironing and as I feel that it is something to be avoided at all costs, the clothes don't get ironed - they get thrown into another metaphorical wash basket and transported to the washing machine whereby they are washed, shaken out and hung to dry so that no ironing is required.

The point of this ramble is that I have decided, in future, I am going to put my clothes away when I take them off and not leave them in a discarded heap (oh how my mother would weep tears of joy to hear me say that!). Less washing, less damage to the environment (which was the whole point about the newspaper article in the first place.

Sunday, 2 January 2005

Happy Bunny

I have finally bought myself a new computer. It's only taken me a year to get around to it. The reason for this is that I find myself experiencing palpitations at the thought of spending such a vast sum of money. I panic that my reserves will be depleted and that there will be nothing put by for emergencies. However, I managed to overcome that by virtue of the fact that my dear mother is giving me a rather large sum of money for my birthday so on new Year's Eve I went out and did the deed.

Very nice it is to. All black and silver and shiny and with a whopping 17" flat screen....very sexy! The technical details somewhat elude me but it's very fast and has 256mb of RAM which, as I commented to the salesman, was a marked improvement on the 34mb of RAM on my old computer. After picking himself up off the floor at the shock of the thought that someone was still actually managing to survive on 34mb of RAM, he commented "that's not old, it's positively antique". Maybe, but it kept going....just. And I have sound! Something I haven't had since my last computer's hard drive decided to terminate itself 3 years ago and the new sound drivers simply refused to load.

However, the problem with getting a new computer is what to do with all the stuff on the old one. There's a lot of stuff on there that I obviously don't want to lose, especially photographs. Important documents are not a problem as I've just e-mailed them to myself so they can be easily retrieved but trying to do that with the best part of 500 photographs is difficult, to say the least. A very helpful chat with SimonG and MMM rapidly disabused me of the notion that simply joining the two computers together with a length of wire was all that would be needed. Apparently it's a little more complicated that that. Well it would be wouldn't it? However, assistance is at hand. A good pal is slightly more computer orientated than I am and a chat with him this morning solved the problem in an instant. He has a USB memory stick, will bring it with him when he comes down in a few weeks and will spend the evening transferring everything over for me. Hurrah!

Isn't it nice having lovely friends!?

Saturday, 1 January 2005

2005 upon us and heralded, in London at least, by an astoundingly spectacular fireworks display. Perhaps I just wasn't getting into the spirit of things but as I watched, I kept wondering how much that display cost, and how better that money could have been spent.

But let's not start the New Year Blog on a downer, it is a time to look forward with hope and anticipation at what this year will bring. May it be a good one.

Happy New Year.