This week’s Diary of a Freelance Writer can be found on Words Worth Writing today. The post is here, the new blog is here. All subsequent diaries will also be posted on Words Worth Writing from now on.
This is the LAST time I’ll do a link on Baggins Bottom. Please make sure you have the new writing blog bookmarked if you’d like to see it.
Thanks for visiting. :-)
Phew, what a busy week I had last week. A new book published on Tuesday, then 2 more paperbacks sent off for print. And in between I was trying to do some editing.
The diet is going in the right direction again. I’ve lost another couple of pounds, but the poet has lost an impressive 10lb so far.
But I wanted to share this picture he took (on self-timer) on our walk yesterday because, well, the double chin is smoothing out a bit, looking at this.
There’s another picture he took where I do look trimmer, but I’ll share that later this week. And we’re both finding our mobility is much better.
We’re sticking at roughly 4-mile walks at the moment because up until yesterday’s, my left hip was still struggling a little towards the end. Yesterday, it didn’t hurt at all. So I’d like to do at least one more 4-mile(ish) walk just to make sure it’s not a one-off.
Then we’re moving up to 5-mile walks (ish).
Food-wise, we’re sticking to 3 meals a day, plus a piece of fruit mid-morning, a yoghurt for me and a pot of rice for him for pudding at dinner time (lunch time), another piece of fruit mid-afternoon, and a normal pudding with tea.
We’re cutting down on sugar intake but we’ve started to increase fat again. And most puddings we’re making ourselves – a fruit crumble or a lemon/lime meringue pie, or reduced sugar muffins, etc.
Then we’re not eating of an evening.
It’s definitely working for him, I hope it’s working for me too.
Happy bunny this week. :-)
Kingsbury Water Park in the West Midlands is on part of my old stomping ground. It’s about half an hour from my parents, and as we were visiting them on Saturday, as we were early-ish, and as the weather was dry and mild, we decided to drop in on our way home.
We paid £3.50 to get into the car park … eventually. Both we and the person in front struggled to get the machine to accept all of our coins, and both of us also dropped money on the floor. We thought this was quite bad as, if you drop your money, you have to reverse so that you can open your door to reach it again, and if there’s a queue of people behind … We also thought there should be some kind of help facility.
First of all we parked right outside the visitor centre to pick up a map of the park, which is around 620 acres. And that cost us 50p. Then, when I asked her where was the best place to park for the bird hides, she said we could go out of the main entrance, in through another entrance, and park there instead … but we’d have to pay our £3.50 again.
While we understand that these places need to charge, and the park is quite well-maintained, we did think this additonal parking fee was a bit unfair. Why not give us a token so that we could use it in the other car park? Why not have one car park fee that covers us for several car parks owned by the same organisation?
Anyway, we stayed where we were, parked in a more suitable place, and walked the extra bit to get onto the path for the bird hides, first pausing to eat our picnic in the car.
This path took us through the Echills Wood Railway, which is currently closed for essential maintenance, and on through the woods, under the motorway, and around several of the different lakes.
Within about half an hour, with stopping for pictures, etc, we were at the first of the bird hides and the poet was able to set his telescope up.
We were rewarded with, amongst others, a cormorant, a little egret, lots of pochards, a pair of golden eye, some great crested grebe, plenty of coots and ducks, a shoveller, and a beautiful kingfisher (sorry, he was too far away for a photograph).
There are 3 hides along the hides path, all very clean and well-maintained. We were the only ones there, so I was able to let the dog off his lead while we were inside – dogs are allowed all around the park, but they are supposed to be kept on leads in the bird reserve part of the park.
On our way back to the car park we found ourselves beside the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, where the poet was able to take some pictures of boats and locks.
Because of the time of year, by the time we were almost back at the car park, the light had dimmed considerably. It was gone 4pm and there was a storm coming in.
Incidentally, I’m very aware that pictures can take their time uploading on some readers’ connections, which is one of the reasons I don’t share very many photographs following a walk. Let me know, though, if you’d like to see more. I do try to scatter them throughout other posts over the year, but sometimes it’s nice just to have a photo-blog.
MapMyWalk recently updated on my phone and I wasn’t sure what had changed … until we started our walk. The path was shown against a plain grid, instead of against an OS-type map thing, and I was worried it wouldn’t work.
However, when I went to share it on Facebook, it showed the map no problem. So I need to look into that.
Here, though, is our walk. We walked 3.48 miles and burned 455 calories.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
250g mixed fish
375ml semi-skimmed milk
50g button mushrooms
50g frozen peas
20g plain flour
40g low fat spread
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley
450g potatoes, cut into small pieces, boiled
2 hard-boiled eggs
1. We used salmon fillet, hake fillet and king prawns, but you can use whatever you like or you can get a mixed fish pack from the frozen section of most supermarkets, although we’ve only ever seen smoked.
2. Place the fish in a saucepan and cover with 350ml of the milk. Add the mushrooms and the peas. Bring to the boil, cover, and then simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the fish is tender.
3. Remove the fish, peas and mushrooms and transfer to a serving dish. Flake the fish roughly, removing any bones.
4. Blend half of the remaining milk (apx 14ml) with the flour and stir into the milk in the saucepan with a third of the low fat spread (apx 14g). Bring to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
5. Season and stir in the parsley.
6. Pour the mixture over the fish in the serving dish. Shell and chop the eggs and place over top of mixture.
7. Mash the potatoes with the remaining milk and half of the remaining low fat spread (apx 13g).
8. Pile the mashed potato on top of the mixture, flatten and make a ridged pattern with a fork, and dot with the remaining low fat spread.
9. If the pie has cooled, place it in an oven for apx 20 minutes, or until piping hot, on 170ºC fan. If the pie is still warm, place it under a hot grill until the potato is brown and the mixture is piping hot.
We served this pie with fine green beans and cherry tomatoes. It’s supposed to serve 4 and a quarter was enough for me. The poet, however, preferred half a pie.