New years resolutions…can wait

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Happy New Year. Happy New Decade.Pinch punch first of the month and all that jazz.

I have spent today “away with the fairies”. We babysat last night for the neighbours who were doing event photography down in Cheltenham and didn’t get home until gone 2am. So despite having a lovely long lie in (thank you Mum for offering a sleepover to Spider  – that was a genius idea) I have spent the day not capable of sensible thought or the usual planning and organisation.

Well that’s not quite true I have vaguely cleaned the house (bought a new vacuum cleaner in the sales, so much more enjoyable (!) when you are not constantly stopping to rebuild your cleaning equipment) and Husband has been busy putting various bits of IKEA (swedish for “you will spend”) furniture together in our traditional yearly attempt to keep the clutter under control by finding different ways of storing it.

Tomorrow the kitchen is closed. Again part of trying to bring some order to the house. Husband and Spider are off to Homebase or some such place to buy paint and tiles to finish the kitchen off. We’ve spent 2 years trying to agree on tiles for the kitchen and finally decided the easiest way would be to paint over the red with something that gives us more options on tiles. My job is to go through the cupboards and decide what gets tipped or car booted, in between watching paint dry (because the plaster wasn’t quite dry when we moved back in, we never actually got around to painting the ceiling)…when the kitchen reopens it will mostly likely be making soup rather than cake as a) we have lots of leftovers to use up and b) we bought a new pair of bathroom scales when we went to IKEA. Cake is off the menu until February…if not longer !

Right I am off to bed. Hope the new year brings you all you all you dream it will….I love new starts…

I Cheated

 I have flicked a few pages ahead in Delia – to be honest I was getting a bit bored of boiling eggs – and I know I can boil an egg (I am after all the inventor of the egg sandwich diet)… what I can’t do successfully is fry an egg.

Not being able to fry an egg isn’t a big hardship in this house as apart from the occasional fried egg sandwich or a plate of egg and chips (best with champagne !) we don’t eat them – I could therefore I guess claim lack of practice for my ineptitude, but no, I am just useless at frying eggs.

 Anyway, for last night’s tea we had all the ingredients for corn beef hash, so I decided to try and beat the frying voodoo – second attempt I should add, as I’d made both this and the Chorizo hash at Christmas when I’d first thought of “doing Delia”.

 Well, to cut a long story short, last night was not to be the night the hex was removed. Things were going well at the onion frying stage, I missed out the potato cooking as we already had 300g of cold potatoes in the fridge (fully cooked though), deciding to be a tidy cook I was putting the top back down on our very cheap bottle of rapeseed oil, when pushing slightly too hard the flimsy plastic bottle collapsed, shot off the surface spilling oil all over the surface, all over the floor and all over me.

Top Tip – don’t wear dry clean only skirt when cooking, make an effort and iron something else so that it’s not your only spare piece of clean clothing…aprons can’t protect you from everything.

After cleaning up the mess, I finished the hash, followed Delia’s instructions to the letter and still managed to make a mess of the fried eggs!

Moral of this story: Don’t try to cheat, the gods will always find you out and punish you in one way or the other…the good news is that oil does wash out of fry clean skirts with the assistance of Johnson’s baby shampoo…now I just have to find a way of ironing the creases out of the skirt without burning the material…

Reasons to be cheerful, part 3

1.   On Wednesday morning as I was sitting on the floor of my parent’s kitchen and tying my shoe laces, Spider came in and sat on the floor between my legs, put his head on my chest and looked up at me and into my eyes. As I looked down into his eyes, I saw all trace of “mischievous imp” was gone and his hazel eyes were as soft as “a pleading spaniel puppy”. He spoke “I miss you when you go”.

2. Driving into Reading I noticed the red brick of Reading Gaol stark in the morning sunshine against a crisp blue sky (that tiny patch of blue that prisoners call the sky”). It reminded me of a similar march morning some 7 years ago when a chance encounter with a stranger in a shop sent my life spinning into a new direction. Indirectly this meeting lead to me meeting my Husband, its direct effect however was to pick me up from the bruised aftermath of a very bad relationship…in case you are wondering, I bought a pair of walking boots.

The quirks of fate meant that on the 3rd anniversary of that March day Spider was born. In 2002 I discovered how nice it was to be selfish and to follow your own dream for awhile. Thanks to Spider I have discovered how nice it is to follow someone elses…at least until Bedtime.

3.  I have a clean house. It’s taken awhile but I think I’m straight again and what’s more I want to make cake…a lot of cake !

Burning down the house…

otherwise known as “don’t try this at home”…

I have 2 burnt saucepans, the assorted boys in this house decided to usurp my movie night role of chief corn popper and go through 2 saucepans before I caught them and explained that this batch of popcorn is useless and they’d be better off doing it in the microwave.

Normal scrubbing just wasn’t shifting the debris. Driving home on wednesday night I suddenly remembered reading in The Cleaning Bible that you can sometimes shift the rubble in burnt pans with biological washing powder. On checking, sure enough a small scoop of bio powder, gently heated in a bit of water and then left should deal with the problem.

I tried it out as soon as I got home. As usual however just before bedtime (Spider’s not mine) I was trying to do 5 things at once.

I am pleased to advise that it works. I am also pleased to advise that my smoke alarm works, in fact all 3 of them do…and they are very loud. I can also report that a pan of biological washing powder dissolved in water when left to boil dry on the hob stinks the house out !