Thursday, 27 January 2011

Wet paint alert


Thanks to all those who commented about cats, health and food recently... we have decided for a gentle mixed regime: the vet recommended pouch of food in the morning, a mix of the vet recommended dry biscuits with her favourites to graze on, and, in the evening, we feed her a little poached fish or chicken. It is amazing how much difference these little changes have made: she is drinking less frenetically, hardly ever howls, and is overall happier and more relaxed.

We have had a decorator in - a proper 'handy man' - who has not only painted the bathroom and kitchen, but managed at the same time to fit two cupboards, peel all the stuck on lino tiles off the kitchen floor, clear the garden, mend the gate... sigh of happiness. He also made sure the cat took appropriate care of herself:

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Surviving In A Literate Society

from "Fiet Wil Rennen" by Bibi Dumon Tak
& Noelle Smit


Only two days into the week and I'm kapot! Next year , think long and hard before you have the 'flu jab . Before long at work , you may be The Last Man Standing .

And for the next three days , it being National Reading-Aloud Week , we're having a special breakfast for each group of pre-schoolers in turn , with guest readers , usually a Mum or Granny . Each morning will close with someone from the library and a special whizz-bang show . Last year's included tentbuilding and boogy-woogy dancing . This year's book involves an ostrich who runs through the wind . We're rather expecting an industrial wind machine and sound effects . As long as no "thunder" is involved . It makes some small children hide under the table .

So I need PEACE this evening .

Button tidying is an undervalued relaxation technique . Even a pile of perfectly ordinary buttons looks so much better in a nice jar

I have a basket full of Bonne Maman jam jars ( de riguer in button circles )

full of various colours and a jumbly overflowing tray of plastic , glass , celluloid , mother of pearl and metal treasures to sort out and "file" . That and a Margery Allingham whodunit on audiobook should help me unwind .

But first food , and Easy Supper # 26 :

chicken legs ( again , I know! I buy them by the dozen from a good local poulterer and , putting some jolly music on , skin them all and freeze them in pairs . Ideal for scratch meals during the week ) . Anyway , as I said , chicken legs and whatever comes to hand . Tonight it's leek , garlic , pumpkin , chick peas , chili , stock and some spinach thrown on top at the last minute to wilt before stirring through . A one-pan , one bowl , dip-your-bread-in sort of meal . That and something orange for pudding

should keep me upright for a couple of days more

oh , and a glass of wine . My apologies if I shown you this label before , but I like it .... and the wine's very nice too .

And early to bed . The baker will be delivering all the breakfast goodies each morning at 7.45 .

P.S. The first day was a great success . We were all there , large amounts of breakfast were consumed from bread and cheese to yoghurt and fruit , the best librarian came to read to us and his games were fun and not scary ( you can do a lot with a hair dryer and long strips of crepe paper when your audience is young ! ) and the mother who started the morning off with a well-loved kangaroo story was brilliant . The ostrich book was good too !

Roll on tomorrow !

Friday, 14 January 2011

A fat and old cat


My straight talking vet has called my cat fat and old! Apart from his singular frankness, though, he is a good vet.
Our tabby is now 14 going on 15 and, given that a number of other felines in our circle have been getting ill recently we thought we would take her along for a check up. She has early signs of kidney failure, but otherwise fine. So, although I doubt she made any new year resolutions featuring diets... she is going on to a special low-protein one. We elected to postpone any medication for now, as it appears she is still in the early stages. I am going to investigate home cooking for cats with renal failure as we like to feed her non-processed food in the evening. Any tips much appreciated! And here is hoping she will hang about for a while longer.

Monday, 10 January 2011

This Year's Good Resolutions , One Week Further On .

Jinksy , in napple notes , asked in her entry Are They Fading Already ? , what had happened to our New Year's Resolutions .

Well , I had deliberately chosen two easy-peasy ones and one almost impossible one so , to my surprise , one week later , I've done it !
The first one , Always to eat off a pretty plate , was certainly the easiest , given a cupboard full of jumble sale finds . Though today there was a slight hiatus , given a sudden change of plan which resulted in lunch being a banana sliced into a crunchy wholemeal roll , no plate available ... or , in fact , needed . But yesterday , for instance , even that Scottish staple , red lentil soup

looked slightly more refined in Swedish pottery .

As for the second , Exercise more ? As you can see the armstretching and bending is a great success

In fact , I've discovered that , in the right company , it can rapidly segue into a rousing rendition of "Head , Shoulders , Knees and Toes " which warms one up wonderfully and has to be good for one .

And the third , Buy a dress ? I've cracked it ! On a trip to Delft on Saturday , totally unexpectedly , I found THE dress ! It's not too tailored , nor is it alarmingly floral and it should take me to almost any social event 2011 can throw at me

The fact that it's hanging on the wall of a museum , Het Prinsenhof , is a mere detail . Now all I need to do is persuade H&M to make up this little number from the painter Anthonie Palamedesz 's "Elegant Company In An Interior " in my size for the Spring .

In fact , the whole day in Delft was a surprise and a delight . I hadn't expected it to be so pretty and , on an admittedly blustery January day , so devoid of tourists .
Yes , there were tiles and blue and white pottery .... even a blue and white caravan

But not all the tiles were blue and white anyway . I really wanted this parrot for my kitchen

but sadly it was firmly attached to yet another wall , this time in in the Lambert van Meerten museum .

The town is small , cosy and very pretty , is full of lovely museums housed in stunning buildings , and has one of the nicest greengrocers I've ever been into . " Of course you can buy one apple , mevrouw , which one one would you like? And a mandarin ? Certainly." I didn't ask if they had a pretty plate to put them on or they would no doubt have leapt to oblige . I must go back again , soon .

So what should I resolve for the 51 weeks left of 2011 ?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

getting fit with the iphone?


All the lovely food intake over the holiday, such as this lovely mince pie, has taken its expected toll:

Now, in this household, we are quite adept at loosing weight when needed given previous diet experience (succesful Weightwatching and 'no fat diet' prior to gallbladder operation). So we are not worried about the extra pounds, and will lose the weight by eating tasty vegetable curries and lots of fish. But the trick is to make loosing weight through exercise interesting in winter, particularly when joining the gym does not appeal in the slightest. As I am a bit of an Iphone nerd, I found myself reading a post on TUAW which mentioned Geocaching. Now, I realise that I am ten years out of date, as this activity has been going on for years all over the world, but I was genuinely surprised by the number of caches in Britain in general and London in particular. So, we took it upon ourselves to go walking around London and saw some lovely sights over the last couple of days. It may seem odd to wander about following co-ordinates in order to locate a thing the size of a film canister and write out one's name and the date, but it did mean seeing things we simply hadn't before.

This Ram stands proud on the top of an arch hidden in a snicket in the City of London:

these shutters are part of an open air project by artist Jason Goodall in East London. So many ice age animals set loose in the city!

This Victorian building was once the 'Necropolis Railway' for transporting bodies and mourners to Brookwood:
Sometimes geocaches are hidden in places familiar, but revisiting them is always a pleasure:

So, I hope to keep geocaching - even though my knees groaned at the shock of all those extra miles - all over town in 2011.