Friday, 29 January 2010

Today's View

Today's View - Finally managed to get through all 7000 odd messages
lying around my googlemail box. All now cleaned up and labelled;
archived away to get virtually dusty and have virtual spiders cover
them in virtual cobwebs. Ah, life in the cloud.

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Quiet Office Today #boobase

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Trying to think!

Download now or listen on posterous
Memo.m4a (92 KB)

Trying to think and get some ideas sorted out.

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Monday, 18 January 2010

Great Granny Rowan's Cook Book and the Hairy Bikers

I've been watching the Hairy Bikers: Mum's Know Best on BBC2 or the iPlayer if I missed it. I got me thinking, I remember my Gran using a really old tattered hard-covered A5 notebook, nothing like a moleskine but one of those with the black cover and a red binding, casebound i think they call it. Anyway to me, back then it looked ancient as things do when your young. Well it got me think where was that notebook/cookbook?

My Gran is no longer with us and hasn't been for a long time now. I should probably explain it was my Mum's Mum. The maternal side of the family. My mum comes from a big family, the book could be anywhere, lost even.

Well I phoned my Mum and asked the question, steeling myself for, "I don't know" or "Well it could be your Aunt such and such or Auntie whoever" or the dreaded "I have no idea, I don't think anyone has it.". To my eternal surprise my Mum informed me that she now had the cookbook. I couldn't believe it.

However I my Mum enlightened me to the fact that the book wasn't my Gran's but my Mum's Gran's. Great Granny Rowan. It makes the book even older than I thought instead of being from the 1930's onwards, it now pushes it back to about the 1900's and probably older for some of the recipes.

I asked if I could get it and was told in no uncertain terms NO. Fair enough, as seemingly it's more than just a cookbook. It's a wee part of family history. It has poems and a few small love letters in it, not just recipes as I had always thought. However I have been allowed to borrow it. For a short time any how. The question is do I just copy the contents to scan them into the laptop? Should I transfer them to something like a moleskin? Start my on resource of recipes. Probably a better idea to that. I don't a laptop is to compatible with a kitchen cooking explosion! Easier to wipe down a notebook or moleskine.

Anyhow back to the book.

The notebook is stuffed full of recipes for cakes, puddings, jams, chutneys, furniture polish, all-sorts and not of the liquorice variety. Yes, furniture polish, I did say furniture polish. It's like a household manual. Full of little time saving and what would now be money saving ideas. Most of all though it's food, food and glorious food. Feed me.

I look that most of the instructions are either written in pencil or fountain pen but most of all the fact that there is more than one recipe for each cake, pudding, jam or chutney. Not only that but it's Mrs McFarlaine's Lemon Pie or Moira's Plum tart. Not just her on recipes but others too. Obviously sitting round at afternoon tea and swapping ideas and methods. It's such a great link to the past.

I can't wait to try one but I'm not much of a baker, sweet things and cakes are not my thing. I may try one of the chutneys. If anyone is interested I'll post a list of the recipes that are in the notebook and if they're some you fancy then I'll post the ingredients list and the instructions. Let me know by way of a comment.

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Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Vegetable Experiment - Year Two

After last years semi-successful experiment, it's time for part two, the sequel. The all important second album. 

Hopefully not a re-run, hashed up mix of year one.

It's getting to that time of year again. Well nearly, last year I was late in getting started, so I missed out on being able to plant a lot of vegetables as there just wouldn't be enough of a growing season for them. I need to to make a plan and me, I'm good at starting stuff like this but really crap at finishing it. Just like I was meant to blog about how the veg experiment was going. I think that lasted all of three posts! Hopefully this year I'll be better but please don't hold your breath!

I might as well give a quick recap of how year one's growing went. That's if I can remember what I planted, most of I can. I think. Well hear goes. This is what was in my main planters.

  • Cabbage - grew well but just never seem to come to anything.
  • Swede -  grew well and gave a few away as I had too many. Even gave away seedlings that went to harvest.
  • Spring Onions - Went well. Lost a few to the rain, the survivors were good and flavourful
  • Beet root - Was a mixed of my own batch only two survived to be eaten. Seedlings I gave away went on to be harvested.
  • Lettuce - Very successful until I let them go to flower and seed, died after that but got much enjoyment out of them during the summer
  • Carrots - Complete failure for some reason, sprouted, died.

In smaller pots and planters I had a few herbs and vegetables as follows.

  • Parsley - of the curly variety, grew well and is still clinging on even in this atrocious weather.
  • Thyme - same as the Parsley.
  • Basil - grew brilliant and have re-potted in doors and is growing strong
  • Peppers - Just can't grow them outside in Scotland, just didn't work
  • Chillies - Exact same problem as the peppers. Probably need a green house.

I'm possibly missing a couple of things which means they unfortunately didn't make it to harvest. Yes, it's a bit of and eclectic mix there but on the whole it worked.

I'll need to do some ground work this year to recharge the soil in the planters, in preparation of that I've got myself some chicken manure to dig in and turn over once the snow and ice melts on the balcony. 

Also I will have to look out my seed packets and find out exactly what I have. don't want to go buying seeds I already have. No point in that.

I really enjoyed the process. Maybe it's me as a country boy getting back to my roots, pardon the pun. I grew up around people growing stuff. I remember my Gran growing grapes in her greenhouse and used to make myself ill by gorging on them. I also remember being in tears in primary school after the teacher told me I was silly and you don't grow grapes in a greenhouse. She wasn't the only one. Tomatoes used to and still do get passed over the fence. 

It's great and I get immense enjoyment out of it. It is also something I want to continue and grow (sorry). I have grand plans but I me need a garden for that or at the very least an allotment but that won't happen in East Kilbride. I recently applied for one, £26 for an entire year and was informed that I was in a waiting list that was currently running at over 50 years. They're aren't many and it would appear to be very popular.

If anybody as any suggestions or knows what vegetables grow well in pots please leave a comment. However do remember I live in Scotland so we tend not to get great sunshine in the winter but my balcony faces a south easterly direction and therefore gets what sun there is the vast majority of the day.

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Today's View

Today's View - R is for Rowan.

Had to get a couple of shelves up in Rowan's room as she has a lot of
stuff, family and friends have been very generous. We have been
blessed in so many ways, therefore I took advantage of Papa Tookie &
Granny Bunten's visit today. Papas are handy for more than just
babysitting, you know.

Papa Tookie has a cordless 24v hammer drill, perfect for drilling into
brick walls and hanging brackets.

Now that's done it's off for some Sunday lunch and a couple of pints.

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Thursday, 14 January 2010

A dad for nearly five weeks

Well as of 22:10 on Friday night I will have been a new dad for all of five weeks. Five weeks since @babybunten aka Rowan was born. She has now been in our life for five weeks, nearly. How quickly she has transformed our world. I can't imagine what some things were like before Rowan came along, crazy as it sounds. Probably if your a parent yourself you'll understand.

My time is not my own any more, not that I'm bothered, I have a wee person that now depends on me and her mum for everything. It was daunting at first, scary in some respects. Now it's just fun and the best thing in the world even if we have a bad day. Other than moving in together and getting married, the decision to start a family is the greatest thing we have done. 

It has been eventful to say the least, to get where we are now; a failed labour induction, an emergency caesarian section, losing more weight than was acceptable for the paediatrician. Extra days in the hospital to ensure she was putting weight on, all before we could get Rowan home. 

All is now well or as well as it can be, as some days, bad days, the #evilcolic raises it's ugly head but even then you forget the bad nights when you get a gurgle or a smile (I know she's to young to smile and it's the hives but indulge me). Makes it all worthwhile.

Looking forward to the rest of the journey into fatherhood and everything it entails. How can I not? She gorgeous but then again, I'm biased. I'm her dad!

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Today's View

Today's View - More snow, meh.

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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Today's View

Today's View - after clearing number one car yesterday, thought it
might be prudent to clear number two car. Especially since it hasn't
been turned over in about a week and the chance, according to weather
reports that it's to get worse! Need not have worried, started first

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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The tree has been replaced

The Christmas tree and decorations have come down, to be replaced with
my new toys..... well Rowan's toys but I do get more fun out them just
now. :D

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Today's View

Today's View - much scraping and clearing of snow to be done. Rather
wouldn't but needs must.....

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Friday, 1 January 2010

This got delivered yesterday - Sigg Oval flask

This got delivered yesterday, it's my first gift from my daughter, Rowan. It's a Sigg Oval flask with mug. It's the 600ml version. I'm looking forward to using it this year. My current Sigg bottle is over 10 years old, battered, bruised and very much gubbed. This will be a great replacement.

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