Saturday, 28 June 2008

when time stands still...

...Or not, as the case may be. I started baking for church today at 12.30 and had a very productive couple of hours. The time flew by and I baked lots. I had a little break for some ryvita and cucumber, a spot of Wimbledon and a glass of water, then carried on with the mammoth baking session.

I needed to go to the Scrapstore this afternoon to pick up a roll of paper for the kids work at church tomorrow, and had thought to myself at lunchtime, 'Wow, I think I'm going to finish baking in record time - I've got hours until the scrapstore shuts.' The next think I know, it's 5.05pm. I couldn't quite get my head round where the last three hours have gone. They got eaten, I think.

Friday, 27 June 2008

back with the kids

I have not been childminding for the last three weeks because they have had other childcare arrangements for one reason or another, and I have thoroughly missed my time with the kids. Today was my first day back with them, and there were many interesting conversations, as usual. Will still hasn't got his head round the fact that it is possible to be a vegetarian and a Christian.

As we were eating lunch, the following conversation ensued:
Will: 'How do word wars start?'
Hannah: 'I'm not sure, Will.'
Will: 'Yeh but how do they start?'
Hannah: Word wars?
Will: Yeh.
Hannah: 'I'm not sure I know what you mean by 'word wars'.
(By this point I was picturing a display board covered in battles of words. Whatever that looks like.)
Will: (By now insistant that I really did know.) Yeh, like world war 1.
Hannah:
(Penny drops. Lesson learned - listen very carefully to a four year old when he speaks and add in any possible letters that might have been exchanged for wrong ones in a sentence.) Oh, world wars.

And so I start trying to explain a little bit about relationships between countries and how they can break down, when Will interjects...

Will: I thought they were started by gays.
Hannah: Pardon?!!! (Ok so I didn't learn the previous lesson the first time. Let's try again.)
Will : Gays.
Hannah: (At this point I was thinking, 'ok, I know children seem to be learning about adult concepts much younger these days, but seriously?! Where on earth has he heard that wars are started by homosexual men?...)
Gays??
Will: Yes.
Hannah: Really?
Will: Yeh, like World War zero was started by cave men.

Right, so when Will said what sounded very much like 'gays', he was simply abbreviating cave men to 'caves'....I am clearly not down with modern abbreviations. (I did explain to Will that in fact, there had not been a World War Zero, and he wasn't too insistant on sticking to this false fact.)

I am pleased to say that the television has become less and less of a desired activity in the children I look after. When Will first started coming home from school at lunchtime, all he wanted to do, every single week, was watch Thunderbirds. Somehow (I'd dearly love to think it was my influence, but I don't think I can take the credit for this one), the calibre of the activities they choose to do has increased ten-fold. Today on the way home from school Will announced that we were going to play chess.

Now, no offence Dad, and anyone who enjoys chess, but I have never been particularly taken by chess. It is too much of a quiet, inactive game for me. But, I was a good sport and let Will teach me how to play. I was fully aware that he knew I was completely ignorant about the rules of chess, and so, being four years old and not understanding the concept that you are not meant to bend the rules of every single game to be in your favour all the time, was expecting Will to take me for a ride. But I am pretty sure he didn't. Even though I know very little about chess, what Will said made sense. He is scarily cunning and tactical for a four year old. He completely outwitted me - chess to me seems to be a game requiring high levels of wit - and secretly I was proud of him for doing so. I have to admit, the whole time we were playing, I had the name 'Kaspirov' going round and round my head. He is the one person I remember playing when Dad used to watch chess a lot on tv, and I still remember what he looks like.

Friday, 20 June 2008

my liquid diet (imposed by circumstance, not choice)

Smoothies consumed so far:

1.5 pints of vanilla snow. contains: 1 vanilla pod
2 tbsp caster sugar
generous slosh of milk (to replace apple juice when you don't have a juicer or apple juice)
300ml natural yoghurt

To be honest, this is pretty much like drinking runny, frothy yoghurt, which I quite like!



1 pint of banana, mango and yoghurt smoothie. contains - exactly what the list says.
When I came to make my first smoothie I realised my error in thinking late night shopping in tesco's was a good plan. I forgot a good number of ingredients, and substituted raspberries for strawberries, because the latter were cheaper. Only problem is, I don't have any nice strawberry smoothie recipes and the raspberry recipes I was going to use wouldn't really work with strawberries. This calls for some creativity...

a bit of minor 'surgery'

So, once again, I've been going through an uninspired blogging phases, hence the recent lack of posts. But today, I have a legitimate reason not to be working, and I have a few things to blog about, so here goes...

What is my 'legitimate reason' for not working? I have just - as in an hour ago - had two fat wisdom teeth removed. Eughh. That's all I can say. I am so unbelievably thankful for anaesthetic. The lovely dentist who had a brilliant bedside manner told us (me, the girl on work experience and the two nurses) about the charity he runs in Romania, and how the children there came running to him, begging him to give them an injection because they had all had teeth removed without anaesthetic. That just makes me want to cry. So at the moment I am blissfully unaware of how much my mouth is going to hurt when the anaesthetic wears off. Even though I can't feel any pain at the moment, my jaw is telling me that it didn't really like all of the tugging it was submitted to. And I do feel very much like a hamster, though apparently the steroids are meant to stop you looking like one. They had to cut my gums to expose the roots - hence classifying the procedure as 'surgery'. So I now have dissolvable stitches in my mouth in place of my gammy tooth. I kindly donated my teeth to the hospital for research purposes. It was the least I could do.

I am fully stocked up on delicious fruit and yoghurt supplies to make myself smoothies, as I'm going to be on a liquid diet for the next few days, which I am quite excited about.

I do a lot of baking, and I have noticed that recently the phrase, 'I've never tried this recipe before' comes out of my mouth a lot - at least once a week. This is not a deliberate thing - baking new recipes - which is kind of satisfying that it just comes naturally to me. This week, I baked Nigella Lawson's London Cheesecake. It was a disaster. As I read through the instructions and diligently followed them, I was already preparing myself for the high possibility of something going wrong, so I was not too devastated when it didn't work out. Still, I hate wasting food. I varied the recipe ever so slightly - I used the remainders of some orange and poppyseed biscuits I baked (recipe from this amazing site) for the base instead of digestives and had the recipe worked, I think this would have been a change that I could have been proud of.

Anyhow, the cheesecake was a disaster because you had to bake it in a basin of water, and my tin foil wasn't hardcore enough to stop the water seeping into the cheesecake. I tried to dry it off by putting it back in the oven at a low temperature but it was still soggy when I took it out. I had been thinking recently how I haven't had many disasters with baking, but I figure after this little disaster that the more I bake the higher the probability is that something will go wrong. So as bizarre as it sounds, I am kind of excited that I have got to the stage where I bake so much that things have started to wrong...hmmm...I'm not sure that there is any logic whatsoever in that statement - just put it down to one of the side effects of anaesthetic.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, so on my way home from the office I took a little detour along the path by the alotments that leads to city farm. I love it at this time of year where there is so much green foliage arching over the pathway. It's amazing how much shade they provide from the bright sunlight - I love the contrast of light that you get.



The picture of the butterfly at the top of this post is from city farm. I found it hanging on one of the trees there.)

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

a few photos from the last few months

Having had John's old digital camera for a good few months now, without a cable, I have accumulated a bunch of photos from lots of different things, so here are a few snapshots into my life over the last few months...



I appreciate signs like this when I park my bike...


When Sarah came to stay...isn't she pretty?


The observatory


lush clouds


a little friendly pig



a snowy icing sugar cloud



a little bit of sun flare

sometimes I like a bit of blurring

my lovely friend Nat from FP

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Bookbinding

Today I have learnt how to bookbind, which is something I've wanted to learn for quite some time. So, when the wonderful Sarah Trigg from church said she was going to do a bookbinding workshop, I was oh so excited. And here's what I made...




The inside cover is made from a book cover. Sarah has accumulated a number of these from the library where she works, and they work well for this type of project.

The finished product

lines of lemons

My slight mousse disaster at the start of the week left me with 20 egg yolks wanting to be used. So I made some lemon curd. I squeezed the juice of six lemons by hand, as I don't have a lemon juicer, and I am pretty sure I am developing repetitive strain injury in my wrists from my baking habits. I've developed a super speedy one handed chocolate breaking technique so I can break double the amount of chocolate by using both hands at the same time, but this is adding to the ache in my wrists. Hmmm...should I go on a fast from strenuous baking? I don't think so.

Monday, 2 June 2008

a whistlestop tour

Well, the long update I was going to write about the weekend I spent in the Gower never happened, and now a week has passed, so I have even more to write about. This means it's going to be a condensed version, told a lot through photos. The phrasing I am using is a bit odd because one of the letters on me (!) laptop has stopped working - guess what it is...I can't even write what it sounds like because that requires the letter itself. It's the second to last letter of the alphabet.

Jo and I had a productive planning time in the most excellent Tinto Lounge, accompanied with good coffee and lounge eggs...



I had a great evening babesitting, where I got to sew some cards and some trousers...


Helen came round and we had a scrumdidliumptious chicken caesar salad - the best I've ever had. If thee would like the recipe, let me know. Delicious...


Then we went to The Old duke which is a pub that has live jazz all week long. We met a Chilean dude who had just arrived in England and had not slept for 32 hours...Here are the Severn Jazzmen...



I baked some sponge drops for the celebration of Sarah's birth - man - having a missing letter is frustrating!



Here is a close up of the inside...



And here is a massive beautiful green beetle (not sure what it was) that flew around our patio a lot and loved our flowers...



Then I made mousse for 40 people which went rather wrong but turned out ok in the end...(thanks Mum for all the advice - I love u.)