I have in my kitchen 2 and a half pounds of sloes and a litre of very cheap gin. As soon as I can find a receptacle big enough to hold all that and some sugar, I will have the makings of a very ‘merry’ Christmas. My enquiries among the church choir this evening did not bring forth the loan of a 2 litre jar I was hoping for, but they did know where the local homebrew shop is so there is still hope.
Tomorrow I will post pictures of our sloe-gathering expedition. Next year I will take a ladder and a stick with a curved end. The best sloes were well out of reach.
In other news, the most original welcome gift to the parish so far… a ball of wool, a bag of plums and an invitation to knit jumpers to sell in a local shop.
Rather a melodramatic title, but I think this deserves it. I have finally, after months of itchiness, boredom and eye-strain, finished the beast that is the clapotis. Never again will I knit in black. Never again will I knit with horrible yarn just because it was a present. I was absolutely determined to finish it off yesterday and was spurred on by catching up with some of the Radio 4 comedy slots that we recorded over the summer – Just a Minute etc. The ends are all sown in and everything, just a quick blocking and then it will wend its way to the lovely person who gave me the black yarn in the first place. Thanks Mum. I am grateful really. Only a week or so late for the birthday as well.
On another note – today marks the start of No Cake Month. No cakes, biscuits or other desserts in September unless through pastoral necessity (sometimes in this line of work you have to eat cake!). I only have 5 cakes of pastoral necessity allocated for the month, so this will require some delicacy. The plan was that college puddings would be offset by the austerity of life as a curate. The plan did not work due to the abundance of cake in the parish. There is a reward planned if No Cake Month is a success. I will keep you posted.
I’m not really sure what to post, but Mr F is still bugging me about not posting anything, so here you go.
I’ve been ordained deacon nearly 2 weeks now. It is a funny thing, but it feels like a lot longer. I’ve slipped into the new life quite easily, mostly thanks to my incumbent being superb.
Saturday is meant to be my light day, a bridge between my day off and Sunday. The main aim of today is to finish writing a sermon for tomorrow. Morning prayer was at 9 today, a welcome change from the usual 8am. After wandering home through the drizzle, I went upstairs to work. A quick check of emails, a quick look at some of the bits of paper that have appeared and I was onto the internet. Sermon writing seems to work best when I am ruminating on something at the back of my mind, with other things (blogs for example) at the forefront. I’m now almost at the point of writing it – got most of the ideas, some clue about the structure and themes. Just writing a blog post to get the typing going. In true vicar-style, I am listening to Test Match Special in the background.
Lunch today was very funny. Rusk, now 13 months old, is very serious about the business of finger food. Each item must be selected with care, checked in case it is a new foodstuff, passed hand to hand several times and then sometimes placed carefully in his mouth. He makes a little pile of food to his right of things he will only eat if he is still hungry when he has finished the nice stuff. Top foods today were cucumber and Gruyère cheese, followed by pear. Chicken was rejected and hummous with bread sticks looked promising, but he offered it to us instead of eating it himself. Apparently, my giggling at his antics is NOT HELPING.
Well, back to the sermon I guess. I’m rather looking forward to it. I’m preaching (and leading) at one of the small churches, with a congregation of about 10. How many people tomorrow will be preaching on sheep and shepherds with a soundtrack outside the church of the sheep belonging to the churchwarden?
In case I miss it, I will just mention that tomorrow will be the third anniversary of this blog. It has been brilliant being a part of the wibsite and will hopefully continue that way for years to come.
I bought these in the sale…
…so decided to make some cookies with the handy recipe included with them. It was after Christmas, so they needed to be healthy biscuits.
What do you think?
After that I tried out the number cut-outs.
It turns out that I am still a mathematician at heart and believe me, I could have gone quite a lot further before running out of decimal places and having to look them up.
Wife (from the queue at the till): Darling, they haven’t got any cream.
Husband (sitting at table behind me, surrounded by shopping bags): Right. That’s it. We’re going.
One wonders what sequence of events had led to him finding a lack of cream the catalyst for abandoning all hope of coffee and fleeing home. Perhaps a surfeit of sales?
I have bought rather a strange collection of items today.
- A butternut squash – from one of the greengrocers down the road. I had to walk past three greengrocers that were either closed until after new year or did not have any squash. There can’t be many places in Britain left where there are 4 grocers within a mile of each other
- Four sweet potatoes – ditto. I have discovered that Rusk will eat anything if it is mixed with sweet potato. I was a bit too creative yesterday with the veg combinations and he refused both the concoctions, I think on account of using Granny Smith apples which were too sour. Hopefully this will make them edible again.
- A row counter – just in case I start any more knitting projects before the project I am currently counting is finished
- 24 stitch markers – in grotty plastic. I lost the will to make pretty ones when I couldn’t find the fixings I wanted to attach the beads to. I am ashamed to say that I had to resort to Hobbycraft for both of these, although I did try my local craft shop first. My local yarn shop is closed this week. How foolish of them. I was in the mood to spend lots of money. By the time they are open again I will have no time to shop.
- A plastic box – to keep knitting things in. I now discover that I need about 3 more boxes.
- A gingerbread latte
- A bath mat – Mr F was fighting a losing battle trying to keep Rusk in his little bath without knocking himself out on the head of it. Now he is in the big bath, the problem becomes stopping him from rolling over or flinging himself backwards.
- 4 pillows – Is it me or do pillows just disappear? Maybe these will last a little longer than the previous set.
I did not buy a knitting bag. The search continues.
I went on my annual cheese quest to find some white stilton. No joy at T*sco, even when asking at the cheese counter. After several other cheese shops, I ended up at a very, very nice shop stocking many fine cheeses including Stinking Bishop. After sampling (and then buying) some smoked Caerphilly and some goat’s cheese called Rachel’s V, I asked about procuring some white stilton. Not having any in stock, and not being the first person to enquire, the proprietor rang up her supplier. It turns out that “artisan cheese makers don’t approve of white stilton” and consider it rather inferior cheese. Ah well, I shall look forward to telling Ma that. It is her influence that makes me go in search of it. There really is no better cheese to accompany mince pies. We’ve made do with Lancashire, but it isn’t quite right.
On Christmas morning Rusk and I were the only ones up and there was a fair bit that needed doing to food before Church. I therefore found myself sitting on the living room floor, peeling vegetables, surrounded by pans of water, toys and a small boy. Quite surreal.
Rusk’s favourite toy from Christmas was a rattle costing 50p. He chooses it above all other toys. He has figured out how to stay sitting up for a while by himself and is starting to get frustrated at not being mobile. People keep telling me that crawling won’t be far away.
On Boxing Day, the turkey was waiting to be disassembled, having been stashed in an absent neighbour’s fridge overnight. The only place that the cats don’t go is by the kitchen sink. For some reason they completely ignore that part of the kitchen. I now discover that Nemesis Cat, Es and Seph’s mortal enemy, has no such scruples. The turkey was surrounded by muddy paw prints. Thankfully it was well wrapped so Nemesis Cat made only a small incursion before being discovered red-pawed.
My lovely sister-in-law gave me some port in a wooden gift case. It took Mr F and I nearly half an hour to get into it. Is this some kind of plot to prevent alcoholics from getting an easy fix? We finally figured out that you had to slide a piece of wood to a particular place and then bend another piece of wood. Voila! The first piece sprang aside and the bottles were accessible.
I will post a picture tomorrow of my present from Ma and Pa. I know that it will make one particular person drool or covet. And on that note I think I will bid you all good night.
Various commitments are taking my time away from blogging. The essay writing has now reached the turn-the-internet-off-and-write-400-words-an-hour stage. Mr F has had a week off work and has been looking after Rusk. Much more exciting spending time with them than with my laptop! Oh and Christmas appears to be upon us. Hurrah!
This evening I have been sitting and watching the snooker, having wimped out of a 60 mile round trip to my current placement church’s carol service. After my fortnight of enforced rest I am trying to be a little more realistic about what I can achieve.
One of our achievements in the last week has been to move Rusk into his own room. It was meant to happen at half term, but we thought we would wait until he was well. Seven weeks later… it has been quite an ordeal, even if nothing more than the usual routine stuff of childhood illness. I have tried to explain to him that the list of illnesses with which he is banned from nursery is not a tick-list.
Anyway, other than that I have been gradually sorting out food for Christmas. The fruit for the no-fat Christmas Pudding has now been steeping in Brandy for 2 days. I do wonder if no-fat pudding is a bit of a hollow gesture, but it is the traditional family recipe so that is what I am going with. Definitely helps making your own puddings and cakes when there is a nut allergy around.
I am looking forward to meeting the turkey on Christmas Eve. I managed to go with my principles, curb my astonishment at the price, and get a free range turkey from the local organic butcher. It had better be good… Nice to know that the meat you are eating has had a happy life.
Right on cue,* the little one is stirring ready for his late night bottle. I had better go and see him.
*yeah, that is a snooker pun, sorry
In the grand scheme of things, a tiny mishap that is not worth mentioning. In my day to day life, a slight annoyance that causes no real inconvenience. So why do I feel so bereft when my favourite mug is broken?
It is a recurring problem since I seem to create a hierarchy of mugs from favourite to least favourite. Given that I use the favourite one on all possible occasions, it is bound to get broken sooner or later. I’m currently drinking coffee from the previous second favourite, but I’m not sure it is going to get promoted. I just don’t like tapered mugs.
So, the perfect mug has to be fairly wide, straight up and down or just slightly curved, not too small, quite chunky china and with a handle big enough to get all four fingers through. My efforts at finding a replacement on the internet have not been successful so I will go out at the weekend in search of a replacement.
Farewell oh lovely big red mug.
I have a new favourite recipe for most impressiveness for least effort. I thought I would share…
Microwave Lemon Curd
from the Sainsbury’s Microwave Companion by Sally Major
Timings based on a 650w Microwave. I have a 950w one and just stirred it more often. Makes 1 lb.
- 3 oz butter
- 8oz caster sugar
- rind and juice of 2 lemons
- 3 eggs, sieved and beaten (no really, you do need to sieve them to get the stringy bits out)
- Cut the butter into small pieces, put in bowl and microwave on high for about 1 minute until melted
- Stir in rest of ingredients and cook on high for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes, stirring 2-3 times, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Continue cooking on high for another 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until the mixture thickens. Leave to cool then pot and keep in fridge.
I followed this apart from the keeping in fridge bit – we ate most of it straight away. Yum.