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I feel fairly shattered today.

I spent all of yesterday making Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns and a Gluten Free Simnel cake.  I can't believe it took me so long, but I get so tired nowadays that I have to keep stopping and taking a break.

I have to say that the Hot Cross Buns were totally Not Worth The Effort.  They rose OK, but the dough was sticky and difficult to handle and the finished buns looked more like rock buns.  They tasted OK-ish, but the texture was horrible, rather like a natural bath sponge and too chewy to be enjoyable.

The cake looks and smells right, but it is ominously heavy.  I had to get Charles to put it under the grill and take it out for me, and John to carry it into the dining room in its protective box, because I was afraid I would drop it.  It's true that my hands are particularly clumsy lately, but I don't remember a Simnel cake being that heavy before.

We had planned to have a Bull day today, but Charles had to go out shopping with John and no-one felt like starting housework at 3.00 pm, so John will clean the kitchen tomorrow morning (on Easter Day, bless him!) while I lie in and Charles will do the rest whenever.  I shall blitz the bathroom sometime over the next couple of days.  The worst room of all is my room.  It's untidy and inches thick in dust and Charles keeps saying he'll clean it for me, but keeps forgetting, and I don't like to nag.  Every so often I tidy it ready to be cleaned, but it just gets like a tip again really quickly.

I don't care whether the housework gets done or not, I want to spend time tomorrow and on Monday clearing out the yard so that I can get my pots ready for planting;  surely we can't have another awful year like last year when it wasn't worth doing anything because the weather was so foul?  Before I can do that, however, I have to go and buy a yard broom because the old one has fallen to pieces.

Oh goody!  A trip to the garden centre tomorrow!

I also have to decide how to rearrange the tiny space available now that we have a blue recycling wheely bin as well as an ordinary green one.  What with those two, and the compost bin, there's precious little room out there!  I want to buy one of the plastic raised beds I've seen in a catalogue so that I can grow lettuce and stuff, but I can't figure out where to find the space for it.

One of Charles' books arrived this morning, but he's expecting another one and so am I;  I'm also expecting a new pair of hair clippers so that I can do something with my awful hair.  I managed to trim part of it before the old ones gave up the ghost, but not all of it, so quite a lot of my hair is far too long and it's worse on the left side than on the right, because I managed to do the right side before the clippers conked out.  Even Charles noticed that it was uneven and cut a little off for me.  It's not like Amazon to take so long with sending things out.  Oh!  actually, come to think of it, the clippers were bought on e-Bay.

Yesterday Charles went out for a browse round the city centre with his Mental Elf;  I am so pleased that he was allocated to Christian.  They're of an age and have similar tastes;  they both like the same kind of music and SF books.  Yesterday Charles bought a staggeringly expensive Limited Edition CD.  I'm sure Mr Darling would approve his attempts to restart the economy singlehandedly!

Today we're having a small gammon joint.  I've already cooked it in my new pressure cooker, bought from Amazon; Charles has soaked the split peas and is at this minute making pease pudden with the cooking liquor.  I still have to bake the gammon, but it won't take long to do.  I'm so glad to have a working pressure cooker again, I've really missed it.  I must be extra careful not to destroy this one!  For some reason I find potatoes cooked in the pressure cooker taste much better than boiled potatoes.

Tomorrow we're having roast beef with all the trimmings.  John and I went to Sainsbury on Thursday and bought GF Yorkshires (Hurrah!  No more hockey pucks!) and Sainsbury's GF fish fingers as recommended by Linz and Dave.  Sainsbury had lots of nice GF things, so we came away with different sorts of biscuits and even Jam Doughnuts and Bakewell Tarts!  Charles pronounced them all excellent, so we shall go there for GF stuff in future.  Almost everything was Sainsbury's own brand and he said they were much better than the stuff we usually get from Morrison's; the biscuits were nicely crisp, I know because I tried a tiny piece of both kinds.

He and John went shopping today and Bless him, Charles came back with shop-bought Hot Cross Buns to make up for the disappointment of the GF ones I made.

Because I bought the gammon as an impulse buy in Sainsbury's, I'm not sure what to do with the nice big free-range chicken.  I thought I might freeze it for next weekend, but Charles wants us to have it on Monday;  I think I might be suffering from protein overload by then.  On the other hand, I could try roasting it in my huge new slow cooker.  I think it will fit in there.  I wish the slow cooker book would hurry up and arrive!

Oooo!  I do love Lesley Garret singing The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended; it's my favourite evening hymn and I plan to have it at my funeral, but it's amazing how much better it sounds sung by her with a full orchestra.  Oh dear!  She's now singing You'll Never Walk Alone, which I've always loathed;  even she can't make me like it!  I love the CD though

Considering how little my weekend has gone to plan so far, it's amazing how happy I feel this afternoon.

blackberry444: (Default)
I finally managed to get to the gym today for my cardiac rehab class.  I haven't been for weeks for various reasons.  I wasn't quite over my eye lasering, I caught a horrid sniffle from someone at the hospital, then had a horrible hacking coff after the sniffles and last week i just didn't feel like it.

I got there late because I was late getting up and then got lost in the Eldon Square Mall, but I did about an hour of very gentle exercise, followed by 10 minutes relaxation and I feel much better for it.  It's really nice there because rather than encouraging you to go for the burn, they encourage you to take it fairly easily and not get overtired, to do the exercises sitting down if you don't feel up to doing them standing.  It doesn't really feel as though I've done much exercise, but it's certainly lifted my mood!

I expect my arm muscles to ache tomorrow because I did some stuff with a medicine ball and don't think I realised quite how heavy it was till I started to feel exhausted.  Last time the tops of my thighs at the front ached like billyo, just from doing stepping while sitting down.

When I left the gym, I went to get some cash from the bank and then realised that today was the day for Farmer's Market, so I got John two bottles of bitter from Wylam brewery, plus a proper lager for me and Charles to share.  It was rather more expensive at £2 a bottle than what we're used to buying, but it may well be good for special occasions such as Christmas.  We shall have to taste it first, of course.  Apparently you can buy it direct  from the brewery, provided you ring up to make sure there's someone there first.

I'm putting something under a cut so as not to gross out squeamish vegetarians.

Don't read this if you're a squeamish vegetarian )

I never know whether my cut has worked because it doesn't show up on Preview or on one's own journal.

I've only just realised that Easter is only 10 days away and I haven't bought any Easter eggs for anyone yet. I wonder whether Costco have any left...... I would like to make hot cross buns and a simnel cake as well, but must look for recipes using GF flour.    Sigh!.............  Still, never mind, it's the marzipan that counts, after all.
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Because we didn't go shopping yesterday, I had to get up at 7.30 this morning, wake John and nag him till he got up. In the end we got to Morrison's by 8.45, but really not a moment too soon. Fortunately there was a disabled parking space right by the door, because it was absolutely freezing

When we arrived there weren't all that many people there, but by the time we left it was beginning to get rather overcrowded. I bought John breakfast in the caff, He had two bacon baps and I had one with extra bacon and an almond croissant, with a mocha coffee. Lovely!

While we were there I looked for gluten free flour but there was none. I did manage to find some incredibly expensive white gluten free loaves, English muffins, fruit cake slices and Bakewell tarts (£1.80 for four). Oh! And a sizeable bag of pasta! I've told Charles he must keep the bread in the freezer and just get out a few slices at a time because at £1.99 for quite a small and rather depressing-looking loaf, I don't want any wasted. He's very pleased that he can have Marmite toast again!

He had one of the fruit slices this afternoon and a bakewell tart instead of pudding. He gave me a tiny taste. The fruit slice was lovely, but the bakewell tart was very odd indeed, with pastry resembling very hard cardboard. Presumably you can't really make pastry without gluten.

We'd only been back from Morrison's a short while when the lovely sunshine disappeared and it started to hail........ horizontally.  A couple of the Asian lads from across the road came tumbling out of the house in their vests and bare feet to grab handfuls of the sleet.

Later on it hailed again, then it snowed for a bit, then it rained and melted all the snow, all interspersed with short periods of brilliant sunshine, but Boy!  was it cold!

Unfortunately, when I came to make Penny's Impossible Orange cake, I found I'd misread the ingredients list, making the quantity of ground almonds 2½ ounces instead of 2½ cups, so when I realised my mistake, I had to send poor John out to find some more. He couldn't find ground almonds anywhere!! Eventually someone in Morrison's suggested that he get flaked almonds and I could grind them, so he bought all that were left which amounted to three miserable little packets, which when I ground them and added what I'd already got, just made up the necessary quantity.

It's a remarkably easy cake to make, if extremely weird, but I never thought it would actually become solid. It's sitting in the tin waiting to be released and decorated tomorrow. It looks and smells very nice. I think that rather than being cake, it's a kind of sweet, baked, almond and orange omelette or soufflé!  We shall see tomorrow. 

I had a lovely unexpected invitation a couple of days ago to attend the wedding of the elder daughter of Bulbul, one of my Bengali friends.  We'll definitely go, but I have no idea of etiquette about presents or anything else.  People have suggested that I ask the family, but I think I shall ask another Asian friend of mine, because I'm pretty sure that Bulbul will tell me not to buy anything and, of course, I want to get them something.

John bought us a lovely Indian takeaway this evening and I'm still absolutely stuffedFortunately I suddenly remembered to take the goose out of the freezer, so I hope it will be defrosted in time to be cooked tomorrow, otherwise we shall have to have a very late dinner instead of an early one as we wanted!  Not that it really matters!

I have still not discovered how to listen to jazz on the MyClassicFM Player, but have found a couple of jazz stations I can listen to on the Internet with Windows Media Player, which I suppose is better than nothing.  Of course, it means I can't listen in the kitchen or the sitting room, or on my personal BAB radio in the garden, or wherever, which is an awful bind, but Sailor Vee, I suppose!
blackberry444: (Default)
I didn't go to my writing course yesterday because I woke with awfully painful knees and I just knew that if I did go it would ruin the rest of Easter for me, particularly as we were going to go to the gallery and I would have had to do a lot more walking and standing than usual.

John had a very long day yesterday. He had no sooner got back from a trip to Leeds when he got another job from Cramlington to Walsall and didn't get home till 11.00 pm. Even so he was awake before me this morning.

Today I feel rather a lot better, but I still haven't been shopping because John went to Morrison's at about 10.00 am and the place was swarming already. He thought I would find it intolerable, and I expect I would have done, too. So we'll have to get up early and go shopping tomorrow morning. I hate shopping !! I HATE SHOPPING !!

At least I've already got John's and Charles' Easter Eggs!

I've done absolutely nothing today. I really meant to make Penny's Impossible Orange cake, but I shall have to do it tomorrow afternoon now. I still can't decide whether to buy Hot Cross Buns or make some. I didn't even cook dinner, because Friday night's kebab night, isn't it?

When I say I've done nothing today, I have in fact spent several hours trying to make MyClassicFM Player work. I also spent hours trying to find a freeware program to find out IE's Content Supervisor password, because I wondered if the Content Supervisor was the problem.

I hadn't personally put any password in, so Micro$oft must have done it for me. When I tried to log in without a password, it gave me the coy little hint "What's the password, dummy?", which had me trying things like "Sooty" and "puppet" and variations thereof. In the end Charles guessed it. The password was "password". Now if I were to have taken that seriously and looked at it logically, the password should have been "What", shouldn't it?

Anyway setting Content Advisor or Supervisor or whatever it's called at a non-existent level, where I can view all kinds of evil and perversion made no difference whatsoever.

So far I have spent hours updating Windows XP, downloading and applying all the patches and SP2. I have downloaded and installed the latest version of Internet Explorer. I have downloaded and installed the latest version of Windows Media Player. I have downloaded and installed Firefox 3.beta summatorother because it was the only version which would work with the IE emulator (recommended by Classic FM Help desk), except that it didn't and screwed up the display. I uninstalled Firefox 3 betasummatorother, and finally today, I spent the afternoon seeking password assistance and altering IE Content Advisor/Supervisor.

Nothing Bloody Well Works !!
Sob!! Wail !! Gnash !!

What I have found is that Windows Media Player gives me access to lots of world-wide radio stations including several jazz stations, so I shall be listening to those instead when theJazz finally goes off air if I can't get this hootering MyClassicFM Player to work.

It's been snowing for a little while and the ground has a light powdering, but it's stopped again now. I do hope it's not too bad tomorrow when I have to go shopping. All I need is to slip and hooter up my knee/hip/back again.

Charles went to his ECDL course again on Wednesday and when he came back he was complaining about how boring it was, but I found out that he had been doing Excel spreadsheets, and had never done them before! I find that extraordinary since one of the things he did for GCSE was allegedly some sort of IT course. He knows quite a lot about computers and how to install hardware and so forth and also about Windows, but apparently hasn't used Excel, Word or Access or anything similar.

Well, actually, I know that he used to use a word processor at the office to write letters and send out bills, but I can't remember what it was. I shall have to ask him about that tomorrow. It may have been Lotus WordPro.

Even if he doesn't keep going to this course, I shall personally make sure he knows how to use Word, Excel and Access at least a little, because if he wants any kind of job, he needs to be able to use these things. Anyway, he should enjoy it. He's the only person I know who keeps an enormous collection of CDs in alphabetical order. I think I might try to persuade him to categorise the enormous quantity of electronic music he's made.

I must go to bed.  I really must get up early and go shopping.  UGH !!


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