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>It wasn’t supposed to be like this, surely?

25 April, 2010 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Death Cab For Cutie – Studio X Sessions

So – back at work – aren’t the weekends then free for rest and relaxation?  Why is it, now I’m working for The Man again, that I ended up working harder round the home today than I have done for ages?

Because the jobs don’t go away, I suppose, and maybe also because I’m now back at a proper ‘working pitch’ that I’ve more enthusiasm and energy to actually do the things that I would ‘eventually get round to’ before.

First thing, it was off to the supermarket to do the weekly shop.  My turn this week – Mrs W has suggested that going forwards we alternate – her turn next week.  Big shop this week, we both need ‘cutting-up’ for worktime lunchtimes and the freezer has been running a bit low.  I did make a schoolboy error at the checkout though – standing in a queue, laden down with a full trolley, and one of the supermarket kids calls me over to a free checkout.  Result! I thought – until I realised he’d set me up on a self-service lane.  Fine (I suppose) if you’ve one or two items – but not a trolley-full, surely?  Anyway, I got on with it, getting crosser and crosser as I had to weigh (and find the price for) red onions (under ‘O’ rather than ‘R’ in the menu) and mini ciabattas (described as ‘rolls’ in the menu – who would have guessed?) and get the girl to confirm I was eighteen and ok to buy booze.

Sigh.

Mind you,. I still finished quicker than I would have done had I stayed in my queue, so not all bad.

Back home, and after a delightful lunch of BLTs on the small ciabatta rolls I’d struggled to buy in the supermarket, and after the ManYoo-Spurs game, it was out into the garden for more chores.

Firstly, the mower and strimmer made their first appearance of the year, followed by the garden shears as I trimmed back a bush that was encroaching from next door – and then it was the turn of the electric drill, some wood and a raft of wood screws as I finally got round to repairing the fence that had been falling down all year.  Lastly, the rake and the hose came into play as I cleared and re-seeded the bare patch of lawn that had been ravaged by birds and badgers over the course of last year.

You’d think that would be enough, wouldn’t you?  Well no, the work continued, this time in the kitchen.  Although this turned out to be a really pleasant surprise.  We’d struggled to fit all today’s food shopping into the freezer, so to make room, I’d taken out some bags of soft summer fruits that Mrs W had bought ages ago for reasons that are still unclear to me.  I had half-hearted plans to mush them up and make some smoothies or something, until inspiration struck.

Crumble!

Did a quick search on t’internet, found a recipe, and got on with it.  The fruit I simply drained and placed in the bottom of a dish.  The crumble comprised 150g each of plain flour, porridge oats, demarera sugar and butter, mixed together by hand in a bowl until it got all crumbly and sandy.  Crumble topping on top of fruit, in a hot oven (180 degrees C) for half an hour or so.  It made the kitchen smell delicious and, oh, it tasted good as well!  We had it with some fruit yogurt that was lurking, although I’ve now got some double cream in for tonight’s leftovers.

A pleasant little download ep from American ‘intelligent rockers’ Death Cab for Cutie this morning.  We saw Death Cab (named after a Bonzo Dogs song) a couple of years ago at Latitude, and enjoyed them immensely.  There’s always a place for good, melodic pop sung and played with a bit of wit and style, and the Americans seem to be particularly good at it.

Here’s ‘The New Year’ live on Soundstage from a few years back…

>Day 81: Democracy at work

5 June, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Steve Earle – Train a-Comin

Not the most restful night’s sleep last night if I’m honest, young Pedro deciding to venture upstairs and join us. And whilst he was extremely lovable and affectionate, he purrs when he’s happy. Loudly. And I’ve already mentioned his bowel problems, which means we have to add fibrous supplements to his food.

This makes him fart. Not loudly, but my God. They smell. Badly. Oh, and on occasion, they are slightly liquid.

Too much information, I know.

Despite the above, I was out early today, to do the weekly shop. I’m getting good at this – shopping list set up on the iPhone (yes, there’s a specific application for just that), early start while it was quiet, ‘bags for life’ taken with me, logical progression up and down the aisles – and only one or two ‘little extras’ thrown into the trolley from off-list.

Today’s shop was made for me by a really nice checkout lady who paused to have a long chat with me about the quality of Sainsbury’s own brand gin compared to Gordon’s, her tipple of choice (“but only at weekends, I’m not really a drinker – unless my sister’s about”). I was happy to tell her that the Sainsbury’s brand (actually from their ‘taste the difference’ range, I think – ie it’s supposed to be decent quality rather than cooking gin) is a winner, robust and tasty with tonic and a slice. 43% alcohol compared to Gordon’s rather pallid 37% as well.

It helps when the supermarket is quiet, but being able to take time to have a chat like that makes such a difference to the quality of the ‘supermarket experience’ and it was very pleasant. In retrospect i wish I’d clocked her name and dropped the store a line. If only as a counterpoint to Mrs W’s ‘Ann Robinson’ approach to supermarket correspondence…although to be fair her latest missive about ‘tough steaks’ to Sainsbury’s did result in a £12 gift voucher. It was the steaks, of course, not the chef, that was the cause of the toughness…

Stayed out after the supermarket sweep to wander round Cheshire Oaks. Leisurely coffee and muffin, then round the stores. With Glastonbury approaching, my annual trawl to find the ultimate in camping/festival wear/gadgets is on. Today I picked up some new tent pegs to replace those lost/bent, some aluminium “water” bottles (which are unlikely ever to be filled with water, let’s be honest) and a big bum bag-type affair with two holders for said bottles and enough space for cameras, torches and the paraphernalia you need to carry round all day.

Back home, and after a bit of umming and aaahing, I went out and exercised my democratic right to vote. I was sorely tempted to exercise my equally democratic right not to vote, or to go and write ‘none of the above’ at the bottom of the ballot paper, but in the end I did my civic duty. How sad to see the BNP at the head of the ballot paper, along with other charlatans trying to drag the country down a route of hatred and isolationism. And how sad that I could find no enthusiasm at all to vote for any of the major parties, who have proven themselves to be morally and intellectually bankrupt in recent months (and years). I did find a party I could vote for on the long list however. A wasted vote in all probability, but a vote I could make and remain relatively true to my own conscience.

And no, it wasn’t the Monster Raving Loony Party either.

Had a second go at pizza tonight, and it was a distinct improvement on the (actually pretty successful) first attempt last week. I’m a lot more comfortable handling the dough, and got two almost round discs of dough that were relatively equal thickness throughout. I also got the toppings right this time, so that the ratio of sauce to dough didn’t cause everything to turn into a soggy mass but still gave the right amount of tomatoey taste to the pizza. Yum!

Pizza downed in front of The Shield, which is our current DVD box set of choice. Can’t remember if I’ve mentioned The Shield before, but whilst it’s not The Wire (what is?) it is both entertaining and intelligent. A hugely unsympathetic main character, who still manages to have you rooting for him through the twists and turns of his personal and professional life. Wonderful stuff and highly recommended. Think there’s a good few series to get through so will keep us going for a good while yet.

Soundtrack today – Steve Earle, continuing the alt-country flavour introduced yesterday. Train a-Comin‘ is one of Steve’s more rootsy offerings, and none the worse for that. Steve Earle himself is a fascinating character – married any number of times, through a range of addictions and a prison term, coming out the other end a (hopefully) wiser and stronger man. And he had a decent role in The Wire as well. Strongly political, and not afraid to rail against Southern orthodoxy in his views and his songs. Redneck he’s not.

Less political, and recently used to sell cider, I give you Steve performing ‘Galway Girl’. Just because it’s a great song. Love this performance as well.