Don’t Have Your Cake And Eat It

We took ourselves out for lunch today.

A nice run up to Bolster Moor and its award winning meat-based products for what is fast becoming our usual fare when we go there – the ploughman’s. A gorgeous mix of lots of sexy cheese and pork pie (with lots of nommy jelly) and all the other things you’d expect. Including a cute little loaf of bread.

It’s bloody lovely.

We don’t go enough, to be honest. But it’s usually heaving at lunch times as the beige invaders tend to gravitate there to eat and witter. But, thanks to the weather being crap, it was nice and quiet and relatively free of constantly chewing old people.

So we ate, and we drank and we chatted.

And we left, having decided that we would not go to the shop for any sort of cake-based treat because it’s Pancake Day and we’d be over-eating on all the things we’ve bought in specially to make the pancakes which are supposed to mark the using up of things you had which you would then give up for lent. As with previous years, I am giving up pancakes for lent. I have not yet failed.

Anyway, we made it five minutes – if that – down the road before we had a discussion which resulted in us turning round and driving back so that we could go to the shop and purchase cakey goodness.

Nine pound’s worth of cakey goodness, to be precise. Well, eight pound something of cake and a can of coke for Carole (who is giving up from Monday, as her catchphrase is soon to be).

I don’t know if we should be proud of that or saddened at how weak-willed we are.

We haven’t eaten the cakey goodness, though. Because of the pancakes situation. Which is entirely the reason we didn’t by them in the first place.

Tomorrow though… well, tomorrow I’ll have given up pancakes for lent so all bets are off.

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Attic Attack

It would appear that there’s a TARDIS at the top of the house.

Not so much the time and space travelling capabilities, but more the massive amount of space afforded by a seemingly small object.

Basically our attic is insanely full of stuff which we have started sorting out today. And by sorting out I mean removing from the house and depositing in a skip at the tip.

We’ve set ourselves a little target to go to the tip every day this week, as Carole’s off work and judging by this morning’s efforts it would appear that it isn’t going to be that hard to come up with stuff to take.

What adds to the fun of it all, though, is that the access hatch is in the back bedroom – you know, the one where we’ve decorated and you’re not allowed anywhere near the walls. The hatch is in the top of a cupboard because, you know, why the hell not and it’s a twat to get in and out of. I assume. It’s beyond my scope as a gymnast anyway so we have to send Carole up there like a Victorian child sweeping a chimney.

And then she starts throwing things through the hatch. Which is all well and good but when they ricochet out of the cupboard top like some kind of unpredictable missile heading towards the walls which we must never ever scrape then it’s a bloody scary thing. Not least because I certainly was not expecting to be attacked by an old cork noticeboard when I got up this morning!

Tomorrow, I think, we’re tackling a “piece” of carpet which is up there as that will give Carole a decent bit of space to work in.

Which makes me wonder how big this piece is. She’s already planning on taking a knife with her in case it gives her any trouble.

The mind boggles how it got up there in the first place…

Turn The Other Cheek

So we’ve moved the bed away from the drafty, plaster-blowing roof. We now know what the problem is, after a consultation with our tame roofer, and should be able to fix it pretty easily – it was a choice between the easy self-fix or taking the entire roof off, laying insulation and other things which would have cost a pretty penny.

But, for now, it means we’ve dragged the bed further into the room.

Which means, for me at least, it’s a bugger to get into bed.

Carole, somehow, has more room. And I am forced to either go behind the bed and then clamber over a chair – a chair which Peppa sleeps under – or shuffle along the bottom of the bed.

Both are fraught with danger.

If  go behind the bed, I am in a gap between the bed and the window. What this can mean, if I am not careful, is that I can pull the curtains open with my arse and accidentally moon the street.

Whereas the other way, should the radiator be on, there’s a decent chance I will burn my bum cheeks on the hot metal and Carole will wake to the sound of me screaming, a gentle sizzle as my flesh fries and the smell of a burnt bum.

Neither of them are particularly preferable.

I suppose either indecent exposure or branding is quite an incentive to get down to it and tackle the problem of the windy gap – the roof, that is, not anything else we may have been discussing.

But there’s also the thrill that comes from the perceived peril. The rush of adrenaline as I edge past a boiling radiator, or a curtain that moves so very, very easily. Both are like human versions of the game with the loop of wire that you have to navigate without completing the circuit.

Some people throw themselves out of planes, or swing from bridges on a bungee cord.

I choose this.

Extreme bedtime.

Schrodinger’s Oven

I love the unpredictability of our oven.

It’s one of those things where part of you thinks you should have a new oven, and part of you loves the fact that you have to second guess things like cooking time and oven temperature because it just seems to do whatever the fudge it likes.

Since Christmas, I’ve been knocking out one or two loaves of bread a week. And it’s only in the past couple of weeks that I’ve managed to actually iron out all the quirks of the oven and the timing to produce a loaf which doesn’t look like it should be sold as “well done” in Sainsbury’s. Seriously, they have well done loaves for sale. Normal people would call them burnt, but apparently it’s a thing.

Anyway, so yes, the quirks of the oven.

Today we made – or attempted to make – a Victoria sponge. The easiest of all the cakes. We mixed, we divided, we placed in oven. We licked spoons and bowls. We enjoyed it very much.

The oven, though, despite being at the prescribed temperature and enveloping the cakes for the correct amount of time just thought it wouldn’t bother with the middles. So we get to attempt it again, which is awesome from the bowl licking perspective, to try and fathom out what the oven actually wants from us in this instance.

I might have to buy an oven thermometer, so that we can find out that actually whatever we set the oven to is either way above or way below where it needs to be. And then we can mutter at it and discuss the merits of a new one. But preferably one that requires no wiring in because you know this house hates change and fights it at every turn.

I’m loathe to even think about replacing this oven because when it comes to be removed it’ll turn out that the gas pipe that feeds it is made from hopes and unicorn farts and needs to be replaced at great expense to the management.

In a lot of ways it’s easier just to experiment repeatedly – eating the results, obviously – until we get there.

And it’s sort of more fun, too, because literally everything is an adventure…

New Trick Into Old Dog Does Go

Today my mum watched something on catch-up TV.

That doesn’t sound like a big deal.

But, believe me, it is.

It’s huge.

She’s coming along in leaps and bounds!

Yesterday, while I was over there sifting through the nonsense in the garage, I had to give her a quick run down of how to access, view and generally use any sort of catch-up TV.

For starters, my dad had at some point purchased a Roku box which sat at the side of the TV gathering dust. My mum was convinced that everything on it cost her money, because she remembered dad saying that he wasn’t going to carry on paying for it as he wasn’t that impressed. Now, looking at the channels that were installed, I assume it was either Now TV or Netflix which failed to grab them. Or possibly Angry Birds, as they seem to have the gaming version of the box. Or maybe it was the cowboy channel.

They have all been removed now.

My mum is left with BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 catch-up services.

And bugger me if she can’t now manage to use them.

It was a rocky road, though.

For starters, let’s say the input is HDMI 1. Mum can’t call it that. She can’t even see that it is called that. As far as she is concerned, it’s HDM 11.

So I had that to contend with.

But what you soon learn with my mum is to just go with whatever she calls things. It’s easier in the long run, even if it pains you to do it.

And it did pain me.

Press the “home” button, became “the one with the picture of the house”and things like that. In fact, in the instructions she wrote for herself, she drew pictures – I kid you not – of what she needed to press. Partly, I suspect, because no-one – sometimes even her – can read her handwriting.

But, hey, you can’t fault her. The pictograms worked.

I just fear that she’ll abuse this power and watch Tipping Point and Take Me Out all the time…