Wormy’s kitchen

baking screenshot
Baking day (pictures: Diane Wordsworth)

I’ve had a bit of a slow start to the week this morning.

The poet’s gone to the Midlands for the day, and within seconds of him leaving, I saw there had been a fatal accident on the M1 and thought it was very likely that the motorway was closed. Sure enough, after I warned him, he confirmed that the motorway was indeed closed, right where he usually gets off. So not only was it closed, but there would also be lots of traffic. Big traffic. And the poet really is the worst navigator in the world.

After sorting out an alternative route for him, and talking him through it (he was on hands free), I finally made it to my desk where I also had a late breakfast. He’s under very strict instructions to (a) let me know the moment he arrives safely, and/or (b) call me the second he takes a wrong turn. So now I’m on standby until he gets there. He doesn’t have his sat-nav on as it’s usually a routine run for him, and he’ll need to pull off to get it all out and set up. It’s quicker and easier, and safer, for him to just call me.

To cap things, we had a power-cut here about half-an-hour ago too. But that gave me chance to empty the dishwasher and fill it up again – and, believe me, after the weekend we’ve had, the kitchen was like a bomb site. There’s at least another dishwasher load waiting to go in.

We did have a very busy weekend too.

Friday was mostly chill time. And he was trying to recover from a cold so he could perform Saturday night. Saturday morning we had a mad tidy-up session, only for our guests to cancel later that afternoon. But at least we got back to a clean and tidy house. Saturday afternoon we were shopping. And Saturday evening his band were playing in Wakefield, at a new venue.

On Sunday, we got up early because we were determined to do something with those cooking apples before they turned, and he had 2 lots of meat he wanted to slow-cook too – a brisket of beef, in the slow cooker, and a ham joint, which he boiled slowly. Unfortunately the elderberries had already gone too far, so those went into the bin. But the apples were still fine.

To take advantage of the apples as quickly as possible, we did buy some ready-rolled pastry. But an apple pie, some jam tarts, and 4 apple turnovers later we decided that while it does the job, it’s not as nice as my pastry. The jam tarts were made with his home-made blackberry jam, and the apple turnovers were because he’d just seen rhubarb turnovers on Sunday Brunch. I also made a crumble mix (he asked for a double crumble mix) and we made an apple crumble too. (This was where the elderberries were going.)

Then we nipped out to buy more empty jam jars and preserve jars, so we can make the apple jelly, perhaps some apple & sloe jelly, and maybe some more chutney or tomato ketchup later in the week, and we ended up having a bit of a spending spree.

The kitchen scales were starting to wear, with the dish already broken and us noticing one of the feet had fallen off yesterday. So we got some new kitchen scales that can measure dry and wet ingredients. The electric hand mixer I was given as a present back in 1984 was starting to smell of burning, and the whisks were falling out. So we bought a new electric hand mixer, but with a bigger engine, more speeds, a turbo boost and 2 sets of whisks. All of the feet have fallen off the glass worktop saver, which is see-through, and it keeps skittering across the worktop and was in danger of crashing to the floor. So we bought a new glass worktop saver with a print on it so we can see it. And the poet keeps leaving his toast lying around while it cools. So we bought him a new toast rack. (It’s the little things in life …)

We did remember the jars, and bought 6 jam jars and 2 preserve jars. Ee, it were like Christmas.

For tea he cooked a proper Sunday dinner, with 3 veg and Yorkshire puddings, but we were so stuffed after that little lot, we didn’t have any of the puddings. We have those to look forward to this week.

It’s a 4-day week this week for me, and next week, as the poet has booked a long weekend off work. He might be going fishing on one of the days, though, and it depends on where he goes and what the weather’s like whether or not I go with him. If I don’t go with him, I may work a normal day anyway. But we’ll definitely have at least one of the days off together.

I’d best crack on with some work, as even the diary’s all out of synch now. How was your weekend?

(By the way, the poet recently called. He’d not even reached Derby yet, such was the volume of traffic. There’s another motorway closure further down, the M42, so by the time he gets to Tipton, he may as well turn around and come back. Although he is also dropping in on my parents if he can.)

NaNoWriMo 2014 Day Fifteen – Sixteen

In only 11 days we move house. I’ve been doing loads and loads and loads and loads of washing which has, sort of, been killing 2 birds with 1 stone: firstly, the majority of stuff that goes with us will be clean and ready to use/wear; secondly, we’re having a right old clear out while we’re at it.

Of course, I had a bit of a clear out in January, and then another one in April. So much of my stuff is already weeded out and down. I still keep finding some things, though, that – actually – I know I’ll never use again.

We’re working our way down the freezer and through the food cupboards too, and anything past its sell-by/use-by date is going too. And anything that has just dregs in the bottom that we can only reach with a long implement. There’s not a huge amount of storage at the new house, so everything that we take needs to have a use.

At the weekend we had a proper blitz on paperwork too. There are some safety certificates the solicitor needs for the other house and we can’t for the life us find them – gas, electric and damp proof course.

So, this weekend alone we managed to fill another 2 charity bags and another 3 dustbin bags. But we didn’t find the safety certificates …

We didn’t do a lot else. On Friday evening the fog that had been lingering all day got steadily thicker and, as there wasn’t anywhere we had to be, we stayed in. On Saturday we only went out to do some shopping. And on Sunday we only went as far as the dustbins. We did cook on Sunday, though. I made the Christmas cake while the poet made bread, cream of mushroom soup, and a Sunday chicken dinner.

I didn’t do much work either. Even with NaNo, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really do resent working at the weekend. And before anyone jumps on me saying I should find time to do my writing, I do. But it is my job and I didn’t give up the rat race to work when I really don’t want to. And, unless there’s a deadline looming, I really don’t want to work at the weekends.

This revelation may have come this weekend because of the poet spending such a long time working away recently. But neither of us works at the weekends anyway, apart from when he’s playing in his band and I go along with them. The weekends are our time, and are already time-pressured with other stuff that needs doing.

So, while I was working through paperwork in the various cupboards and drawers in Abbey Road, I came across a previously written epilogue and author’s note for Catch the Rainbow. This morning, my first job (aside from doing washing …) was to have a go at rewriting these and adding them to the rest of the story. That’s been done now and the grand total of 850 words has been added to the running total.

While I was looking for electronic versions to edit on the computer (I’m such a lazy typist …), I found a number of letters and stories from friends who’d given me firsthand and eyewitness accounts of the key period and night in question. This is particularly welcome as I thought I’d lost one and didn’t even know I had 2 of them. I also found loads of previously planned scene notes and character notes that have all gone into the folder too. When I sit down to do today’s NaNo, I’m going to use some of this material to help. I’m a little behind and need a leg up catching up.

I do have several big editing jobs on the go at the moment, though, and had to turn one down Friday evening because she wanted it back “within the week”. Unfortunately, with a 103,000-word book, an 80,000-word book and a 30,000-word book all to edit before we move house (and lose internet connection temporarily), there was no way I could justify taking on any new work for the next 2 – 3 weeks. I also have snagging to do on 2 previously completed books as well.

I’m off to edit the big one, then, and then do some more NaNo later on. Oh yes, and more washing … Y’all keep nice and busy now.