Monday, 14 June 2010

Breaking radio silence....

So, the thing is, I'm aware that it's halfway through June and I've not posted since the end of May.  This doesn't mean I've been doing nothing, no siree.  I have been pretty busy but doing fairly mundane stuff that doesn't make for interesting blog posts.  Well, I say that but only because I'm a very lazy blogger - if I was as good a writer as, say, Katyboo or the very fragrant Jaywalker, then I could make the opening of a crisp packet interesting and insightful, but I'm not that great and I've found, after pestering the blogosphere with my mediocre ramblings for about 18 months now, that I need to have a proper, um, 'thing' to write about - my everyday pootlings are boring enough for me to live through, never mind inflicting it on any other poor sod.

My current daily timetable tends to run like this:

Anytime between 7am and 8am - wake up, or, rather, be woken up by Large Hungry Cat trampling over feet demanding to be fed.  Which bed I wake up in depends on how well I slept the night before.  I don't sleep well when it's hot or noisy outside, and if I wake in the small hours and TLH is lying next to me doing his One Man Band impersonation or Large Hungry Cat is snoring underneath the bed, then I find myself lying in the dark listening to them which is useless for getting back to sleep.  So I take myself off to the spare room which is quieter, darker and cooler than our room, and I shut the door so Large Hungry Cat or Smaller Stroppy Cat can't try and get in bed with me and dribble all over my neck.

Morning - Have breakfast.  Feed cats.  Feed garden birds.  Check how seedlings are doing in the plastic-houses.  Check Google Reader for updated blog posts.  Do stuff that needs doing like food shopping, going into town to pay bills, that sort of thing.

Lunch - any time between 12.30 and 3pm.  I have a weird inability to 'do' lunch.  Although I like food (there's a surprise) I hate having to think about what to make and panicking if there's nothing in the fridge.  I'm not a natural list maker but the one list I do make is the week's menu.  I learnt this from my mum - I thought it was a brilliant idea and so, so sensible.  On Sunday (or the day before you do the weekly shop, whichever day that is), get a notepad and decide what meals you're going to have for the next 6 days.  You can decide this yourself or you can try and rope in everyone else in your family to give ideas about what they'd like to eat that week. You can chop and change the meals around when you actually have to start making them, i.e., swap the Tuesday and Thursday meals around, or if you feel like just getting a pizza in, or going out for an Indian, then that's fine.  But you only buy the ingredients for the 6 meals you've planned.  Then you go and buy them.  Pin the week's menu up in the kitchen and Robert's your mother's brother. No more having to decide what to make, or last minute rushes to the shops.  TLH admitted that when we started living together and I instigated this regime (I'd always done it and wasn't about to start changing now), he thought it was a bit weird and cut out any spontaneity.  Yeah, well, spontaneity is fine if you're not the one who has to prepare the meals and go and get the ingredients.  Plus, like I said, you can mix and match and change your mind.  But he's now realised that it means you only have to go food shopping once a week, everything you need will then be in the house, you don't have to think about what you're going eat that evening, it really cuts down on impulse buying of stuff and, theoretically, keeps the food bill down.  Admittedly, there are plenty of times when I have to go back later in the week because I've forgotten something, or I really just fancy something else to what's on the menu, but it's a method I've used for about 25 years that works really well.  Except that I can only do it with evening meals.  I just can't seem to get my head around lunches.  I suppose this is probably because for most of my working life I worked full-time in offices so lunches were always bought from sandwich shops or staff canteens, I never had to think about making my own.  I've worked from home now for, ooh, about 6 years or so but I still can't get my head round it.  It's a case of when you're hungry, head to the kitchen and see what there is - it could be scrambled egg on toast, or ryvita with something on it, or perhaps sarnies.  Maybe a spot of salad if you can be bothered.  Perhaps just a couple of readymade Swedish meatballs straight from the packet with a lump of cheese.  But you then have to share the Swedish meatballs with Large Hungry Cat who knows the sound of the packet being taken out of the fridge and will wrap himself around your legs and howl at you until you give him one. So, yeah, lunch is done.

Afternoon - For the last couple of weeks, if not longer, I've spent most afternoons at my allotment.  This is because (a) it needs looking after anyway at this time of year but mostly, (b) the council come round to pass judgment on everyone's plots at the end of June.  This year they're coming round on 21 and 22 June and they have to be neat, grass cut, be as weed-free as possible and at least 50% cultivated with vegetables. And the only way I can get mine to the standard demanded is by sheer graft.  Everyone at the site is the same - there's a distinct air of panic and anxiety in the first weeks of June and everyone's there all the time.  The air is thick with the smell of petrol fumes from the strimmers and woodsmoke from the bonfires while plots are frantically beaten into some sort of shape.  Once the inspection's taken place and those not up to scratch have had their wrists slapped, everyone more or less downs tools, starts breathing again and relaxes back into the leisurely business of pottering around and not getting stressed out about a weed or two.  But, until that happens, it just gets a bit mental down there.  So that's where I've been.  I will spend an average of 3 hours there, and then stagger home, hot, sweaty and filthy to collapse on the sofa for half an hour or so before falling into a reviving shower.

Dinner/Tea/Supper - I come from Northern working class stock so in our house our evening meal was always called Tea or Dinner.  Mostly Tea.  Only posh people had 'supper'.  This is where the beauty of the menu comes into its own.  I try to make sure we eat at about 7pm, so anytime from 6pm onwards I'll head off into our kitchen, check what's on the menu for that day and then make it.  Sometimes it's something very quick and easy, other times it takes longer.  For instance, tonight I'm doing Beef Curry using Anjum Anand's recipe for Classic Northern Indian Lamb Curry but subsituting lamb (which I don't like) for beef.  And cooking it for at least 2 hours on a very low heat until the meat falls apart. It's an extremely easy dish to make but cooks for a long time.

Evening - This is spent, as in every decent British household, in front of the telly.  At the moment we're working our way through the entire Lost back catalogue, 2 or 3 episodes a night.  We're up to halfway through Season 4 I think.  Mind you, this is being put on hold as the World Cup has just started and we quite like a bit of footie in our house.  Unless England are playing in which case I quite like a bit of footie in our house - TLH can't cope with the tension of watching England fail again so runs away.  Literally.  I'll sit there, doing my Old Woman's Crocheting (I'm making a blanket for our bed for the winter), swigging beer from the bottle and making my own comments to myself about whether or not Rooney was onside and just what the feck the goalie thought he was doing.

Bed-time - Can be anytime up to about 1am.  Last night I hit the sack at 9.30pm but that was because we'd just done two outdoor craft fairs in two days and I was absolutely shattered.  These were the same fairs as we did this time last year, but I forgot to take my camera this year.  Having said that, village fetes don't change much so you could read last year's posting and just pretend it was this year's - except for what I got off the bric-a-brac stall in Chiddingfold this year.  It was a bit disappointing really - no animal skulls or stuffed piranhas, but I did manage to pick up a couple of DVDs for £1 each - Werner Herzog's 'Nosferatu' starring Klaus Kinski -

This is a deeply atmospheric film with an amazing soundtrack.  I remember taping it on VHS off the telly way back during the 1980s but left the tape with The Artist when we split up.

The second film was Kinji Fukasaku's film 'Battle Royale' -

This is a cult Japanese film about a class of unruly High School students who are carted off to an island and have to kill each other until there's only one left. I do love me some Japanese film and this one's great.  As you might have guessed, I don't 'do' chick flicks. I would rather have worms than sit through something like 'Marley and Me'.  Give me something shlocky by Vin Diesel or Jason Statham any day.  Or something Scandinavian and atmospheric ('Let the Right One In'), or Asian and violent ('Audition', 'Sympathy for Lady Vengeance' and, of course, 'Oldboy').  Or science-fictiony, especially if there's space travel involved.  But, please, nothing "heartwarming".

I'll read a little bit, then fall asleep.  Then wake up to start it all over again.  So, as you can see, there's nothing much to write about lately - admittedly last week we did go to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and I'm planning on doing a post about that very soon, but, in general, my life's not worth writing about at the moment.  But don't despair, I'll report back once I've got something interesting to say.....

How's your life going these days?


Monalisa said...

I'm exhausted after reading that...

Anonymous said...

Just write whatever you want, Mts J, I will read it. God knows my contributions to the blogosphere are dull; I really like the sound of that way of life - it sounds so much more satisfying than going to the office 5 days a week and wishing you were somewhere else.

I think I have Battle Royale somewhere (though I might be confusing it with Battle for Algiers) that storyline sounds distinctly familiar. Probably I have both. Despite a penchant for the most awful crap films (Attila) and poncy arthouse films (Lenin) both kids also have a marked taste for gore - possibly the result of being left at home with a Sam Raimi/George Romero fan during their most impressionable childhood years. I must dust if off and have another look.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - MRS J. Too much wine methinks.

Anonymous said...

I do the very same thing as you with the weekly menu thing: plan it out, go grocery shopping, then don't think about it for the rest of the week - just check the menu. It works extremely well for me too, and although people call me "anal", I retort that I'm simply "particular" and I only have to hit the supermarket once a week and I always have something planned for dinner - how many times do THEY have to go and what's for dinner at THEIR house?! I'm a little more lax with lunches as well, but generally, we do have lunch stuff in the house.

Mrs Jones said...

Monalisa - as I said, I've been quite busy lately and it's not about to stop soon!

Alienne - I did my stint of working in an office 5 days a week for about 20 years and working for yourself at home is SO much better although the pay's rubbish. And I read it as 'Mrs' anyway!

Pinklea - yes! A fellow menu-er! I don't understand why everyone doesn't do it. Takes little time to write down and then it's done for the week. It would drive me potty not to know what's for dinner each night.

mountainear said...

Soooooo impressed with your forward planning menu skills. Do agree that it is really satidfying to know what's going to happen and when but I still Can't get my head round doing it.

Any ideas about what to do with a glut of spinach?
Not sure I want spinach for supper every night this week.

Mrs Jones said...

Mountainear - just try it for one week & see how you get on. It dies make life easier, I guarantee it. As for your spinach, perhaps wilt it & freeze it in lumps for easier removal? Or perhaps make batches of Saag Aloo & freeze?