Another new week

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Bullfinch at RSPB Old Moor (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

On Friday our last fruit and veg boxes (for now) arrived, and we were determined to use it all up before it perished. We didn’t get much chance to do that Friday because we were going fishing after collecting my car and didn’t get back until gone 9pm. We both had a good session: he caught 65 fish (yes, really – he didn’t “keep-net” any but he did count them); and I wrote 1,094 words of the short story I started last time, ending up with a 1,972-word story.

On Saturday we were supposed to be going to a local music festival but decided to stay home. I read quite a bit and the poet did some good fishing prep work he’d been putting off and putting off but that really needed to be done at some point. Son #2 has decided to take up fishing again, now he’s home from London, and he’s after spare gear from his dad and his grandad.

Before we went out the poet prepared a Lancashire hotpot in the slow cooker, using meat from the supermarket, potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms from the veg box, and fresh chives and rosemary from our own garden! I think the “from our own garden” bit was by far the best bit, and, of course, the tastiest! We finished off the strawberry flan, which was made with partially set jelly in the end and worked very nicely, but failed to find a replacement flan sponge for the one I ruined anywhere.

Sunday was a trip to Birmingham to see my parents. We made very good time and had a nice couple of hours with them. On the way home we dropped off a birthday card at his parents’ house and had an hour with them too. I asked the mother-in-law if she had a sponge flan dish I could borrow, and she did – but she told me to keep it, although she wouldn’t mind her glass pie dish back we’d had for several months by now! 😀

When we got home, while the poet made a cheese, mushroom and courgette omelette (mushrooms and courgette from the veg box …), I made my first ever sponge flan. I also made 4 small jellies and kept ¼ pint for the glaze. I still had strawberry yoghurt with mine, but the poet doesn’t really like yoghurt so he’s pushing the boat out still with single cream. What a scrumptious tea!

And so another week ends and a new one begins and, once again, it’s a fairly busy one. I have the usual writing work scheduled in, the usual job-surfing work, the usual editing work, but I’m also doing the tax return this week. Then, at the end of the week, we’re off to Harrogate for two events (one Friday evening, one Saturday), for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. And, on Sunday, the poet’s band is playing at a charity music festival.

What are you up to this week?

I promised a brilliant picture …

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Dragonfly (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

… and I always try to keep my promises. 🙂 Isn’t this a beautiful shot? It was taken at RSPB Old Moor last weekend when we went on our photography safari. He has a picture of it in flight too, but that one’s a little bit more blurred.

I’ve had a good week. I’ve been very busy and I’ve got a lot of writing work done (have you seen the word meters in the sidebars?). But the best thing is, showing up actually works. (surprised face)

I made a bit of a decision a few weeks ago to do any writing work in the mornings and any editing work in the afternoons. I’m much more creative in the mornings and have more energy for it too. Most of the time I get to the writing early, and I’ve managed a fair amount of wordage each time. Sometimes, things happen, I get into administrative wrangles, and I might turn up to my writing late. Instead of skipping it, though, I’m still turning up at least. And I’m still doing the writing work first, even if it means pushing everything else along and working late. I’m doing the writing work first.

This is a major achievement for me as my own work has always taken second, third or fourth place and often been neglected entirely. So all those “nags” who bang on about showing up? Pay attention to them. They know what they’re talking about.

I’ve been a bit light on the editing side of things anyway, having only a couple of short works in the bag with a couple of longer ones not getting here yet. But I’ve also been in negotiation all week with 3 different clients (1 existing, 2 potential new) regarding several new jobs, all of which are going to be considerably bigger than the average gig I get, and one of which I really, really would like.

Does anyone remember the cosmic ordering that went on the other week? Well, it seems I’ve won not one job from one of these clients – one of the new clients –  but three. And job #1 consists of several little ones. The work should keep me busy for several weeks.

Now watch all the others come in as well … (said she hopefully).

My car had to go in for its MOT this morning. The MOT actually ran out in May, but with getting married and going on honeymoon and everything, for the first time ever I completely forgot about it. Needless to say, the car failed. But we’re going to get it through today and then look at either selling it or chopping it in for a new one before the next 12 months are up. It’s a bit of a nuisance in what’s already a 5-week month, but it’s worth more to us with the MOT than it is without.

This morning my housework-half-hour included making a strawberry flan. But we couldn’t get any Quick Jel™ from the supermarket. So I tried to use ordinary jelly for the glaze but the flan sponge soaked it up like a, well, sponge. Now I’m torn between letting the rest of the jelly set slightly before pouring it on, or making a fresh jelly glaze with less water. A friend has just this second told me on FB than she always uses regular jelly but with less water for flans, so maybe I’ll just try for that first.

We’ve cancelled our fruit and veg boxes after today as we’re not using all of the goods they send us while they’re still at their best, as we often go gallivanting in the summer months and are rarely home to cook with perishables. But we’re still going to look for fruit and veg that’s in season and that’s good for us (such as super-foods like sweet potatoes and blackcurrants) and start cooking from scratch again.

In the week the poet made a savoury mince using mince, peas and sweetcorn from the freezer and carrots, onions and mushrooms from our last box. And for the first time in ages, half of it went into the freezer to eat at another time. (Wormy’s savoury mince is legendary, by the way.) We’ll also choose when to buy courgettes, instead of having 4 sent at a time, and he’ll make just the one omelette rather than one a night.

As part of this cooking from scratch, and with seasonal berries, etc, I’m going to have a bash at fruit flans, fruit crumbles, summer puddings and steamed puddings, as well as mixing fruit with yoghurt or having it with meringue nests and yoghurt. I do the sweet stuff, he does the savoury stuff. So any suggestions of what to do with seasonal fruit other than what’s already mentioned will be gratefully received.

Once we pick the car up at the close of business today, I think we’re going fishing. This will give me a good few hours away from any distractions – apart from cows, chickens and ducks – to carry on with that short story I started last week. It’s been a while since I wrote a 2,000-word story, but I think this one is definitely heading that way.

Tomorrow we have another local music festival to go to, but I think it depends on the weather. Last year we had press passes but this year we have to pay. It’s for a good cause, though, so that’s why we’re still hoping to go.

On Sunday we’re off to Birmingham to see my parents. If it’s a nice day, and if we make good time, we may visit a National Trust property on the way home. We also want to go and see the poet’s parents as soon as we can as it’s his dad’s 80th birthday next week.

Have a great weekend.

From the farmers’ market this week

P1030990On Friday, at noon, our fruit and veg boxes arrived. In our veg box we had: potatoes; beetroot; carrots; leeks; broccoli; tomatoes; mushrooms (in place of celery due to food allergy); courgettes. And in our fruit box we had: apples; pears; grapefruit; seedless grapes; bananas.

We tend to supplement potatoes and bananas, but the rest of it tends to last until the next box gets here. We do need a crock pot for spud, carrots and other root and tuber vegetables. But, generally, we’re using everything they send us and we have a variety of meals.

As it was the second Sunday of the month, we also nipped along to the farmers’ market at Wentworth. Here again we tend to see what’s in season or on offer, and use that as a basis for our meals and other shopping.

P1030994 This Sunday we bought: water buffalo sausages; water buffalo burgers; a giant Swiss roll; half a dozen pullet eggs; 2 ready made pies; a selection of colourful mushrooms.

I usually just buy closed or open cup mushrooms, button mushrooms and, occasionally, portabello or field mushrooms. So I had no idea what to do with this little lot. They did look pretty in their tray, though.

P1030997 The mushroom lady suggested a giant mushroom omelette, and that’s what I thought we were going to have for tea. But the poet changed his mind, having already promised me rosti potatoes one of the days. So he lightly fried the mushrooms instead.

We tend to use leeks instead of onions, and I suggested he do this for the rostis, which  he did. And I also had to go into the garage to see if I could find the steel pastry cutters, which I did.

P1040001I’ve never had potato rostis before, but from the way he described them, they sounded just like hash brownies. He made us 2 each and they were gorgeous. We’re definitely having those again.

Six bison bangers were baked in the oven to go with the rostis and the shrooms (he had 4, I had 2), and the entire meal was delicious.

We had the giant Swiss roll for pudding … well, not all of it. It usually lasts us a few days at least.

We’ve also been celebrating my birthday this weekend. On Friday evening we went to see Kingsman: The Secret Service and went to Pizza Express for our tea. We love Pizza Express. They’re always very busy, yet the staff are very, very well-trained, always seeing if we’re okay, always checking there’s nothing we need, always quick,always friendly and polite.

We got stuck in traffic going so were a little late, yet Pizza Express got us seated and served almost immediately. We both had their chicken Ceasar salad as it’s scrumptious, but we didn’t have time for pudding. Instead we had popcorn and chocolate in the cinema. We enjoyed the film too. 🙂

Saturday was spent in Birmingham and in Doncaster visiting the parents. We didn’t go out Saturday night as we were glad to be home. And Sunday we were supposed to be going for a walk after the market, but we got distracted instead by the craft village where they have a huge antiques hall. So we had about an hour rummaging around in there.

It doesn’t end there. This evening, after work, we’re off to Mexborough for a Chinese meal, and this coming Saturday we have a football game to go to. We’ve had quite a celebratory fortnight for both of our birthdays. 🙂

This week I have the “big edit” to shift electronically. I did send an email to the client to see if he wanted me to send it to the designer over the weekend, but as he didn’t reply I thought there can’t be the same rush there was. So I’ll take my time and get that gone – today, hopefully.

Last week I left gaps in the diary for editing work, and I’ll fill those in as I go along. I did, however, write in the writing work, study time and a few slots on the gig list. So I’m still, as ever, nicely busy.

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We have shelves

P1030989We’ve had a fairly productive week this week.

On Monday, after work, we nipped out to collect a routine prescription, making a mental note to register with the doctors closer to us. On the way back we went and bought the new shelves for an alcove in the living room.

On Tuesday, the poet had his annual review at work and officially received the news he’s been hearing on the grapevine and via others for about a fortnight. His role will be changing, which will mean much less travel (hurrah!), and he has roughly a 3-month handover.

He spent most of Tuesday evening fitting the new shelves, and claimed to be “happy as a pig in muck”. He does like his DIY, and I love that too. The shelves are floating shelves and, I think, look rather good and very “in keeping”.

On Wednesday we riffled through more boxes in the garage to (a) collect the rest of the books, and (b) decide what was going on the shelves. Aside from the hampers, which were Christmas presents, I think everything on the new shelves came from my old loft, and some of it hasn’t seen the light of day for nearly 10 years, such as my Alan Titchmarsh How to be a Gardener books 1 and 2, and my Discover Scotland complete partworks.

The lamp on there is currently wrong, but as soon as we see the right one, it will be replaced. And we need some bookends. But I think it all looks very nice.

That magazine rack also came out of my old loft, but was soon filled to bursting. The tall, grey pot in the top right-hand corner is one my mom bought me in Wales one year, a very long time ago (apx 1991), and the small black lacquer musical box on the bottom shelf (in front of the totem pole from Canada – 1999) was one my mom’s step-brother fetched her mother (my grandma) back from his national service in Malaya.

We only have the area beneath the stairs to sort out in the living room now, and then that’s done.

Also on Wednesday we did a mid-week weigh-in after starting our sort-of-diet on Sunday, just to see if it was having any effect. We won’t be weighing ourselves more than once a week usually, and the poet hardly ever weighs himself anyway. But we wanted to make sure we were on the right track with the not-eating-between-meals and making healthier choices. I’d lost a pound and he’d lost three! (Yay!) So we’re carrying on.

In other news this week, I’ve almost finished the “big edit”, I identified 2 more stories that were ready to be typed up, and one of those has been typed up and is currently cooling, awaiting a polish before it goes off on its merry way. I had a hair appointment yesterday afternoon, brought forward from today, so I knocked off work early and went shopping first.

When I opened the boot to load in the shopping, I was shocked to see the boot already full with 2 guitars and a foot-pedal-board, all in cases. This very valuable cargo had only been in there since last Saturday! I can’t believe we forgot to unload them and pack them away.

Then I was torn between taking them home or continuing on to my appointment. I decided to continue on with the idea that if I couldn’t park outside the salon where I could see the car, the guitars would have to come in with me, and I’d just have to risk all of the shopping being on display on the back seat. Fortunately, there was a space outside the hairdresser’s, and so we could all keep an eye on it. They came out as soon as I got home, though.

What a wake-up call.

Anyway, today I want to finish the “big edit” and get that sent off for printing. It doesn’t need any author feedback as all I’ve done is stylise it and fix any continuity issues. It’s due out later this month, so we’re cutting it fine with that one.  I’m also waiting in for our fortnightly fruit and veg box delivery, which should be here around noon.

This evening, we’re off for the first of my birthday treats – to see Kingsman: The Secret Service and have something to eat at Pizza Express. Tomorrow, we’re off to Birmingham to see my parents, and then stopping off at Doncaster on the way back to see his parents. We were thinking of going to a gig on Saturday night, but we think we may have enough on this weekend and, anyway, we’re not sure we fancy all of the company there.

On Sunday, my next birthday treat is to visit the farmers’ market at Wentworth, with, hopefully, a day out somewhere nice to follow. On Monday, my actual birthday, he’s taking me out for a Chinese. And next weekend, we have tickets to see Leeds v Nottingham Forest, which will be my first foray into Elland Road. We were going to go there for his birthday last weekend, but he had a gig Saturday night and we didn’t want to leave the dog on his own twice in one day, so we went to Derwent Reservoir instead.

Don’t forget, then, because it’s my birthday on Monday, we’re having a draw for someone to receive a free book. If you haven’t left a comment yet, there’s still time … Thanks to everyone who’s joined in so far.

Have a great weekend.