Monthly Archives: April 2010

Notes from a Small Library

As many of you pointed out, Harborough Library has computers and I am using one at this very moment, although it is jolly busy and I had to book an hour’s slot, which won’t be nearly enough time.

I love and hate libraries in equal measure.  I never, ever use the library because I can’t get my head round the concept of reading a book and then GIVING IT BACK.  This is a monstrous idea, although the people who have just moved three and a half thousand of them from my old house to my new house may well beg to differ.  I also dislike the fact that libraries are no longer quiet.  As I type, I can hear a wretched baby howling in the play area (sic) and there is a school group in the children’s section who are talking in normal voices and clapping.  It’s all wrong.  Where are the crusty, sour-faced individuals insisting that if the old man in the corner continues to breathe in such a loud and wilful way he will be ejected forthwith?

On the other hand, a well-stocked library should be a haven of knowledge, creativity and mental exploration that opens a world of learning to anyone who cares to look.   Also, instead of scary librarians with dyspeptic personalities, we have a charming, well-spoken young man with a long ginger ponytail who clearly loves his job and can never give one enough help. Swings and roundabouts, you see.

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Filed under Community and shopping, Indoor Activities, Leisure

News from abroad (well almost)

Today’s post comes to you, by kind permission, from the headquarters of Unmitigated England.  Being as how it is the 21st century and we are all passengers on the information super highway, TalkTalk are unable to re-connect my internet for between 10 and 28 days.  I begged, I pleaded, I whimpered.  I offered them my First Born.  I told them I would spin bunches of fibre optic cables into gold, but their hard hearts were turned against me.  “Ahm sorrry Wartime Housewife”, Johannes told me in a comedy Afrikaans accent “It caan’t be done any soooner.  10-28 diys.  Is there ennything else Ah can do for you today?”.

I have really, really missed doing my blog this week, but life is so chaotic that it’s probably just as well that I’m unpacking boxes rather than writing beautifully crafted prose (ranting and raving, shurely? Ed.). 

My house resembles nothing more than the sprawling contrasts of a large city.  In the sitting room, a teetering skyscraper of banana boxes full of books ranging from ‘Alimentary Sphyncters and their Ailments’ to ‘Dante’s Inferno’, jostles amiably with a low level conurbation of sewing boxes and PE Kits.  A large box of miscellaneous electrical cables, chargers and adaptors sprawls lazily on the sofa like a workshop from the set of ‘Brazil’.   I fell that my role is that of an urban planner charged with slum clearance after a war.

Last weekend, I had the best team of helpers any Housewife could possibly hope for.  They all went far beyond the call of duty, particularly as they were reprising roles they had only played a year before, and it was all performed with cheerfulness and a lot of tea and biscuits.  I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, I am fortunate indeed to have such friends.

I have had to ease up on the unpacking though as, on Tuesday morning, my arms had swelled up like Popeye with rheumatism because of the huge amounts of scrubbing and lifting.  Come the weekend I will have a sitting room.  And perhaps some kitchen cupboards.  Steady on!

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Filed under Family and Friends

coffee

Grate Granny’s corns to make an unusual topping on a cappucino.

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Filed under under the net

No article today, for today my articles start moving!

No deep, meaningful and yet pleasantly amusing article today.  For today Sister the Second and I begin the removal In Earnest.  The kitchen is sparkling and my books are jiggling in their boxes.  I can just hear them, through the thick cardboard of the banana boxes in which they are packed – three and a half thousand little voices crying “Take us to the New House, for there we shall take on new life and be read voraciously.  Just make sure the sun doesn’t shine on our spines and fade us!”

Oh alright then.  Allons sie Allonso!!

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The process begins

Last night I got the keys to the new house.  I also took custody of a fridge freezer that the previous occupants said I could have and because of this I left a card and a bottle of Freixenet on their doorstep to say thank you and to wish them well. 

I hope it chokes them.  I opened the door with the key for the first time and excitedly looked around, having a reccy to see where things would go.  The main rooms were fine.  The kitchen, the larder and the cupboards however, were absolutely filthy.  There were dirty dishes left in the sink, stuff had been left in drawers and cupboards.  It is going to take an age to clean and the larder will need scrubbing out and painting before it will be fit to receive food.  

They did leave a telly though, but I may throw it out of the window into the swimming pool in a rage.  Except I’d have to build a swimming pool first in order to have one in which to hurl it and I may be better employed cleaning the kitchen.  Thank goodness I still have a sense of humour (sound of a bell clanging faintly in the distance as a tumbleweed dances across the dirt track in front of the house).

I take back everything I said yesterday about giving people the benefit of the doubt.  Pollyanna has evolved into The Grinch.

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Filed under Behaviour and Etiquette

A valuable lesson

Have you ever encountered someone with whom you have got on perfectly well, despite the fact that other people have badmouthed them?

I believe very strongly that one should only every judge people on how they behave towards you, for two reasons: 

Firstly, it may be that if you treat that person with honesty, courtesy and kindness, they will automatically respond in a similar vein.

Secondly, sometimes, without knowing it, our own natures allow other people the freedom to be at their best. 

And that is all.

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Filed under Behaviour and Etiquette, Family and Friends

My Sunday Pudding Hell!

All this from half a cabbage and a handful of toe-nail clippings!

As I was preparing Sunday dinner the other night, which, because the house is a mass of boxes, we ate whilst watching the unfailingly funny Shrek 3, a horrid realisation dawned on me.
We had NO PUDDING!  We also had no milk, hardly any butter, no cream, no chocolate, virtually no bread, no ice cream, no nothing and a raging craving for something sweet to finish off.

What I did have was 3oz butter, eggs, sugar, flour, an elderly apple, a tin of condensed milk and lots of ‘end of bag’ bits in the baking cupboard, which I was glad to use up in the interests of clearing out the cupboard.  So.

The oven was still on for the meat at 180/375/5
I greased a small pie dish using the butter papers I always keep in the fridge for this purpose
I sprinkled some dark brown sugar in the bottom
Then peeled and finely sliced the apple and scattered the pieces in the dish
I then made a basic sponge mix using the 3oz butter, 3oz sugar, 3oz self raising flour and 2 eggs
To this I added, a handful each of raisins, flaked almonds and 6 glace cherries – chopped
I beat in 2 tablespoons of condensed milk then spread the mixture on top of the apples
I baked it for about 35 minutes until the top was a deep golden brown
I then served it with condensed milk used like custard

I can’t tell you how much this hit the spot and goes to show that one can always make something from the bits hanging around in the larder.

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Filed under Food, Recipes