Wednesday, 24 February 2010

One goodbye will lead to another

Ian's work colleagues gave him a toy tractor, a book on llama breeding, some sheep shears and some money so that we can buy some trees for the land. The land has been heavily farmed and has no hedgerows or trees. We plan a small fruit orchard and would like to plant as many trees as we can to help us to subdivide what is at the moment an enormous field. He has two more days to go.

I also spoke to my managers at work about leaving and I think for the first time they actually believed that I am definately going. Hurrah!  As the time passes I feel more and more that it is the right decision and my days of doubt get less. The don't go completely but then I think if there was no doubt it wouldnn't be so exciting!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Moving forward

I met the new owner of my old bike at the station and handed it over. He was a young chap who had bought the bike for his girlfriend. I handed him the original receipt from 1985, which of course was written before he was born. That made me smile! I walked back, bikeless. The sun felt warm for the first time in weeks and as I walked back past a large tree a bird was singing so loudly that spring felt just round the corner.

This afternoon we listened to Joan Baez and I commented that we are so retro we are now trendy! Ian is advertising all his old racing bike bits on Ebay. His old, dented racing frame fetched £41. It feels quite nice to get rid of things that have been hanging around doing nothing. I am also sitting looking at virtually a room full of beer and wine as Ian has his leaving do at work next week and he is expecting about 100 people. It is a strange time for both of us. Sort of the beginning of the actual physical transition between here and our new life.

We also bought a bed, washing machine and a really fancy oven from ebay. It worked out well as Ian's friend is over visiting his parents in Derbyshire, which is just down the road from the showroom. He has also just purchased a new van and so was able to collect everything this weekend.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The cats arse

This morning was a bit of a rush. I rushed to put the bins out (too lazy to do it last night). I rushed around hanging up my wet washing, assembling my lunch and eating my breakfast. I grabbed the things I needed for my sports bag and then my handbag. That's when I had a panic as I couldn't find my purse. My last memory of it was from the evening before when I paid for some things in Sainsbury's in the self checkout and put the purse back in my coat pocket. I unloaded the car when I got back and rather than make two trips I carried everything in one go and then threw it all on the floor when I got in. So, my purse could be anywhere! I searched the usual places, the unusual ones and absolutely everywhere else I could think of. I had thoughts of it lying in the wet car park and of the money racking up on my credit cards! I phoned Sainsbury's but nothing had been found so reluctantly I got on the phone and cancelled my entire life. I spoke to call centres all over the world. I heard the strangest Irish Indian accent I had ever heard. I waited in queues, I gave out my mothers maiden name more times than I have ever used it in a day, and eventually, after an hour, found  myself cashless, cardless,  and identity less!

Wearily I walked downstairs and contemplated who I could borrow £20 from to last me to the weekend. I decided I needed a coffee and walked towards the kitchen. The cat saw the opportunity for food as got up to follow me and there underneath his big, fat, furry arse was my purse! I didn't think to look there!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sunday evening feeling

I am really happy as my old touring bike sold for over £100. I am not bothered about the money. I am just delighted that someone is going to have it who may get some pleasure from it and will appreciate the craftmanship and the simplicity in the design. The bike has taken me over the Alps and the Pyrenees and on various day rides. The person who has bought it is coming down to visit his grandma and will pick it up on the way. I also sold some old mountain bike forks for not too much to someone who is delighted as now he can finish his bike. Ian and I have both been in that position when we were younger when we had no money but desperately wanted bikes and other such things that were good. Tonight I feel the universe is in balance! ( I have also just drunk two large glasses of a very nice red wine so the world is wonderful!)

Lazy Sunday

The anticipation of waiting for the auction to finish on my Ebay items is just too much. So much so I am still in bed! Ian joined in this weekend and put his old racing bike frame up for sale. It has great sentimental meaning as he bought it in 1978 (when he was a mere teenager) and raced with it for several years until he discovered girls and university! We then went through and thought about other things that we could sell that we will not need in France, although personally I find the exitement too much to manage too many items at a time!

We had yet more snow last night, although thankfully just enough to dust the cars and grass. I can remember going mountain biking in Wales on the 18th February about 7 years ago and the temperature was 18 degrees whereas this year it has hovered close to zero for most of the month!

I had my usual 6 month follow up and the hospital last week. One thing that the robot on the telephone forgot to explain was that it was with a different consultant. When I arrived they explained that they had put me in to see someone else as my usual consultant was too busy. Now I don't really mind but I think it would have polite to explain that to me on the phone before I arrived! As it turned out the new consultant was actually very nice and quite easy to communicate with. She agreed that I may need to have some treatment for the terrible heart burn I've been having, wasn't too upset that I had taken it on myself to try out some self medication with some old tablets that I was prescribed a couple of years ago, was happy to prescribe another month of medication but did not agree with me that it didn't need investigating! I think she probably worked me out! I also told her about the plans for France as I will need to sort out specialist care there and she was quite helpful.

Anyway, enough blogging. It is Valentine's day and I have promised Ian some bacon sandwiches!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Even more snow

My bed was very warm and comfortable this morning; so much so that I went back to sleep and let my tea (produced by my teasmade) get cold. I eventually woke up and on the way to the toilet I peeped out from behind the curtain to get a glimpse of the morning. That woke me up pretty quickly as there was 6 inches of snow over everything! I had to go to Brighton today so I got up and walked to the station, picking up a colleague on the way. It was snowing hard as the train headed out of Eastbourne but by Alfriston there was nothing. We arrived in Brighton and stepped out into the sun. The streets were not even wet and we felt a bit daft wearing our walking boots and ski clothes!

I have now become an Ebay adict and check it several times a day to check how many people are watching my item and if I have any more bids!

Some of the snow has gone but there is still a good coating and as the temperature has dropped has frozen into ice.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Clearing out the shed

We have had a really quiet weekend; the quietest for a long time. Ian was tired as he is coming to the end of his job and all that entails and I have been trying to cope with a cold and chest infection for the past week. The only real thing I did this week was to put my old touring bike for sale on Ebay. I bought it in 1985 and because I am like that, I still have the receipt! It was my first decent bike and I used it for numerous one day charity rides and holidays such as the Bordeaux to Barcelona bike ride and the Prague to Venice trip. For the past 10 years it has been largely unridden, although after my illness I put it on rollers in the loft and used it to help me get fit again. I never sold it before as I never thought I would get enough money for it to make up for the sentimental attachment! However, it isn't going to France and I can't take it to the tip so I am hoping that someone will give me a few pounds for it and use it to build themselves a fixed wheel bike for riding in London (the latest thing for cycle couriers)! Time to move on!!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Talk to the robot

I have had a cold now for 3 weeks which has been rather depressing. I have noticed that my body does seem to deal with infections and colds but takes twice as long as it should. This week rather than getting better I seemed to be getting worse, so a quick call to my GP yesterday and I got a course of antibiotics  for the chest infection (although chances are it is viral and they will make no difference). I also gave up trying to struggle into work dosed up with paracetemol and spent the day watching TV, from the Dog Whisperer to Judge Judy! My GP surgery has an automated switch board, which means that you can book an appointment 24 hours a day. The female voice on the recorded message is about as irritating as they come!

My afternoon TV was interupted by the phone. When I picked it up it was a recorded message that I assumed was advertising so I hung up; however, when I checked the number it was the appointment departement at the local hospital. This really annoyed me. I have no idea what they wanted to tell me. I have an appointment next Wednesday so maybe it was related to that. I left a message on their answerphone:

"Hello, I received an automated message from you but as I assumed it was someone selling me something I hung up so I have no idea whether the message was important. My name is Lovely and I have an appointment with Dr Rock next week. If you need to tell me anything important about that appointment can you please call me back with a real person and not some bl**dy robot!"

I really resent public money being spent on these daft machines!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Relaxing with a good cooking programme

After a very unfruitful day I came home feeling stressed and spent the evening watching TV in a largely vegetative state. One of the programmes I watched was The Hairy Bikers: Mum Knows Best. In this programme the two unlikey looking cooks went around the country looking for family recipes handed down across the generations. It got me thinking about a very old cook book sitting on my shelves with a dusty hard cover and a yellowed brittle pages. I rescued it from my mother's house when she moved. I think it was probably my grandmothers as my mother wasn't much of a cook. The book was published in 1952 and probably written when rationing was still in force. It is called Practical Cooking by Elizabeth Craig and describes itself as
"a book of simple, econmical recipes and cookery processes that will help the modern housewife to provide nourishing meals for the family"
The recipes use simple ingredients, (no fancy spices or flavours), cheap cuts of meat, little cream or cheese and the occassional limited use of a little butter. There are sections on preserving food, making stock from old bones and tips for using left overs and bulking out meals. The recipes are simple but hearty and I reckon if our diet was based on this there would be little obesity and our carbon footprint would be reduced! It includes delights such as rabbit brawn, giblet stuffing, ragout of tripe, poor mans goose and apple tapioca. I may try out some of the gentler ones and review the results, but in the meantime I thought I would share Elizabeth Craig's forthright foreward!
The longer I live, the more I appreciate simple food. It doesn't matter how cheap it is so long as it it well cooked. To me, a perfectly cooked Irish stew is more appetising than chaudfroid of mutton cutlets. I'd rather have baked apple than ice-cream coated with whipped cream and decorated spun sugar.
It's no good telling me that you can't afford to be a good cook. You can't afford not to be one. The less money you have to spend, the more you should know about cooking. If I had my way I'd teach every girl to make the most of every scrap of food. It's a nonsense to say a good cook is born, not made.