Wednesday, 30 December 2009
My ill health has allowed me to spend the entire day in bed, which is a rare treat. I have enjoyed looking at the BBCs Ma France pages which are really pretty good (I esp like the vocab -petanque though don't know how useful if will prove whilst trying to arrange x-rays and the like) and I have also endulged in some knitting pattern envy, which seems slightly justified, since I am near to completing a knitted item! How rock 'n' roll am I?
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Unfortunately, I burnt the H and Y and then remade them, but the bar in the H managed to explode slightly thus filling the kitchen with acrid salt-dough smoke...but still not managing to set off the smoke detector.
Did you know you can watch Olive the Other Reindeer on YouTube??! Bonus!
Friday, 13 November 2009
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
- I have been suspended from University for non-payment of fees. How did this happen? I genuinely do not recall getting any communication from finance.
- Due to suspension (see point 1) I can't register which is also a major PITA, and thus can't properly use the library etc etc.
- Pharmacy "gave away" 500 placebo tablets from my study to someone else, totally screwing up my research (possibly).
- Now I am public enemy No 1 with the pharmacy dept. oops.
- I have had to make an appointment to get a fast-track passport, at a cost of £112. No wonder people are having Staycations. Leaving the country is too bloody expensive.
- I have to drive 260 miles tomorrow.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
We had Scotch Broth for starters (1940's rationing, eat your heart out), then roast beef, roast pots, roast parsnips, green beans and gravy. Followed by panna cotta with poached plums.
I have never really eaten or cooked with plums before, but the more I try them, the more I like them.
I did actually make plum jam using plums off the plum tree in Gala. Not the eponymous Soor Plooms tree I should say, just the one in the low garden trained against the wall. I don't remember these as being terribly juicy flavourful specimens. I suspect the lack of cross pollenation, or some such hoticultural thing, might explain their tasteless demenour, but undetered, the young Emily, intreped preserver managed to pick enough plums off the grass and not be too scared by the bugs eating the fruit to make jam. It was universally dismissed by all and I recall it sat in the cupboard for quite some time. I didn't really like it either, truth be told.
Anyhow, I have got over myself and the plum jam fiasco and made this tonight;
250ml each of milk and double cream
1 vanilla pod, halved, seeds scraped out
Put all of the above in a pan on the heat and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile put 3 sheets of leaf gelatine in some water to soften. After your milk/cream has come to simmer point, take out the vanilla, drip-dry the gelatine briefly then add to the milk and allow it to melt in.
Pour the mixture in 4 ramekins, or pudding moulds. Put in fridge.
100g sugar - a mix of mostly castor with some soft light brown for variety
knob of root ginger chopped up
Bring all this to the boil. Stone 6 plums, cutting each into 6. Lower them into the boiling syrup. Cook for a few mins, don't overdo it.
Lift the fruit out, boil up the syrup to reduce.
To serve, dip the pudding basins in hot water and run a knife round the edge to ease them out onto plates. Plums on the side with a little drizzle of gingery cinnamon syrup over the fruit.
Hooray for autmn. A pudding well worth enduring long nights for.
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
So I wrote a letter back to the French dude, but was a bit worried about it not reaching (on account of the postal strike. Grrrr!) so realised I would need to bring me and him (or me and him, or probably he and I? Mum?) into internet commnication territory. No biggie really, but his email wasn't on his letter, it wasn't on-line, it wasn't written in the stars (or if it was, I missed it).
So, I called his secretary.
ON THE TELEPHONE.
You have no idea (1) how stressed I was about this beforehand and (2) how elated I was afterwards when it went well.
I was, rightly I think, concerned that I would come over poorly on the telephone. Perhaps the French equivalent of the policeman from Allo Allo, or indeed any of the characters. It is interesting to think that there will be a way of speaking French which is as funny to the French as their version of English.
So the conversation went really well and his secretary gave me his email address, I sent off my letter encouarging him to offer me a years post, full of exciting, education experiences, unique to Paris, to convice the folks here to hand over some dough to let me go. Exciting times, non??
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
It was something of a long shot to write to him in the first place, but he replied and said he could see no obstacle (sp?) to welcoming me to their unit.
So I have written back and asked him to explain what it is I will be doing in their unit so that I can impress the funding people here and try and wangle some euro out of them to let me hot foot it across la manche.
So I was speaking to my hallowed supervisor today who questions how likely it is I will have finished my research by next August, which is when I want to go away, and wondered how likely it was that I would have my thesis written.
Well, it's probably not super-likely, but here is a photo of me signing the marriage schedule, and let's face it, a while ago it wasn't super-likely that I would be doing that bit of writing either.
(how weird does my left eye look?)
I remain hopeful and have resigned myself to the fact that I will need to do some thesis writing every day in life for the next 10 months.
There we go.
I've said it, it's in virtual print, so I'll just need to do it.
Word count updates to follow. :)
Friday, 16 October 2009
I will definitely cook it again, it was absolutely lovely. I saw Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers from Oct 7th on the iPlayer (of which I am a big fan [Nigel Slater and the iPlayer, I should say]).
So, here's how it went.
2 duck legs (currently half price in sainsburys)
seasoned with plently salt and pepper, with a good rub of Chinese 5 spice powder.
2 bay leaves (I forgot) are tucked in beside them and then roasted uncovered for about an hour.
Make a salad by segmenting a grapefruit and an orange. Add to this some watercress. I used spinach and added a good grind of pepper as a watercress substitute.
Pile the salad onto the plates.
Remove duck from the oven and the meat will pretty easily fall off the bone. Chop up the meat a bit, divide between the plates. There will be some citrus juice in the bottom of the bowl in which you mixed up the salad. Pour the fat off the roasting pan, then pour in the citrus juice and disolve the pan stickings. Pour this over the duck.
I should have taken a photo of this, because it looked very close to Nigel's version on the telly.
I'd give it 5*, I await your comments after you try it too.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
I did not reaslise this, but in autumn one expects the isobars to narrow on the meterological reports which is suggestive of bad weather, storms, high winds and the like.
People are often rude about the weather forecasters - Mr Fish got a very hard time for reassuring all that there would not be a hurricane in 1987.
On that occasion, as we know, he was not right.
However, full credit must go to the meteorologists of the weekend Oct 3rd. They said there would be high winds. There were high winds. They suggested that there might be gusts of up to 70mph, there were gusts.
I know this because I witnessed the glory of the weather whilst climbing Goatfell, the large hill on the Isle of Arran. My chum and I got approx 2/3 of the way up, and then as we were crouching down to prevent getting blown over we decided we should go for the descent. It would be hard to explain to mountain rescue that our preparation for the ascent included 4 peices of fruit, a bottle of water and that our map was the Rough Guide to the West of Scotland.
It was a good climb though, my calves are still aching. My chum had completed a half-marathon in Donegal, the first 5 miles of which was up a hill, so I shouldn't have expected a leisurely stroll. It blew the cobwebs away though, and that's no bad thing.
Monday, 5 October 2009
HOWEVER, none of this happened because I didn't get to go to Paris.
All because of a pesky passport.
I had a sneaking suspicious that I wasn't entirely sure where it was, and the night before started to root around for it. After 2 hours of picking things up, going through all the bookshelves, the drawers in the filing cabinets, under the sofa, the bed, behind furniture, through all the kitchen drawers. I exhausted all possible locations and myself in nearly equal measure.
The French Consulate in Edinburgh were very nice to me when I phoned to ask if they would let me in their country bearing a copy of my marriage cert, a passport from 1999 and the photographic counterpart from my driving licence. Despite all my "I love speaking French" nonsense that I frequently roll out, after a cheery "Bonjour" from Edinbourg, I managed a reasonably confident "Bonjour" in response before anouncing -"I am a UK citizen!!". Everything they say about the Brits and their language skills was confirmed in that very moment.
Anyhow, to no avail. The French do not allow someone to enter their country bearing only their YHA membership card and a signed school photograph. And no, the damn thing never turned up and I had to call my chum and explain that Paris was fermé.
So.... we went to Arran instead.
Not quite the same, that's for sure but at least it was a holiday.
We rescheduled the flights and we are going to Paris in December- DV, passport agency allowing.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
I like to think that someone approves of my blog, enjoys it and washes it down with a nice chablis...
Monday, 21 September 2009
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
I had a look in town on Saturday and did see quite a few knitted items, with long loopy stitches, batwings, dodgy textured panels...
So I have purchased some mohair wool at a knock-down price. Enough wool for a long-line cowl neck loopy knit jumper in 60% kid mohair, plus the pattern book for a mere 20stg.
Now I went for Rouge. Trashy or Classy?
Sunday, 2 August 2009
Since I last added to the written detritus of the internet, quite a lot has happened.
1. moved house
2. had appendix removed
3. got married
4. been on honeymoon
Stories abound for all of the above, so I will make amends and document these occurrences in due course. In the meantime though, it transpires I was supposed to be doing night shift this weekend, which was news to me, so as some pre-work relaxation I am going to clean the house in the absence of a husband. Don't know where he is. Hmm. quite odd.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
I spoke to him on the phone later and since he was out and about at that point in time, checked whether he had taken the bags to the shop and not included the sleeping bag which was also beside the clothes bags.
No, he said, he had just taken the 2 black bags to Marie Curie at the top of the road.
I then quickly telephoned Marie Curie to apologise for my boyfirend handing in 2 large black bags of rubbish.
They were remarkably relaxed about this and had thankfully not started to open them up to see the contents. Jolene circa 1996 etc ....
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
You are all familiar with the scene.
Monday, 18 May 2009
I ordered a sofa from DFS a few weeks ago and at the time they told me it could be 12 weeks to deliver it. Which, under ordinary circs, would be ok, but at that point, the pending nuptials were 11 weeks away. I was becoming increasingly concerned that there would be no furniture in my livingroom when all my family were visiting. So, I wrote to DFS and said that I was getting married on the 27th June and needed somewhere for my in-laws to sit on the 26th and if they could find it in their hearts to help me with this, it would make a stressed-out bride a bit less frazzled. In other words, I laid it on thick.
Well...it worked. They got my letter today and phoned me to say that they will do their best to get the sofa to me in time, but if it looks as though it isn't going to be ready for delivery, they will arrange for some courtesy furniture to be delivered so there is seating for my family.
Isn't that just great?!! It was a particulary persuasive letter though, I have to say.
NB. do not spill red wine on the courtesy sofa.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Monday, 11 May 2009
Also the invitations arrived and they look magic. They were moderately priced, so I thought that a Blue Peter approach to the rest of the wedding stationery was appropriate. Pat said I shouldn't make them too good so that folk knew I'd done it myself. I think he underestminates our guests to detect DIY!