Monday, January 30, 2006

Startling discovery

Yesterday I discovered that, despite all previous beliefs to the contrary, Black Cherry Yoghurt is quite nice.

I have been actively avoiding said yogurt for most of my life, but in the spirit of adventure I gave it another chance. I am now wondering what else I think I don't like but actually do. This is my list:

'Foods to try again once reaching adulthood'

1) Chicken supreme. (blueugh, this comes top because I HATED this as a child.I once threw up in a plate of it at infants school. The teacher couldn't tell the difference between the chicken supreme and my vomit so made me eat it, definite child cruelty. This might be a tough one psychologically, but in light of my cherry yoghurt discovery I'm prepared to give it one last chance)

2) Marmite mini cheddars. I like mini cheddars but not the marmite ones. At least I think I don't like them. I might do. Can you still buy them?

3) cauliflower Cheese. God, we used to have this for tea every week. It was the tough green bits I hated the most. Sorry Mum, I can now appreciate you were trying your best to feed a family of 5 healthily and economically, but it was truly gross.

4) Baked beans. Never liked them. dunno why. Avoided at all costs.

5) Liver. It's the texture and the taste. Disgusting. I have actually tried liver again quite recently and it was horrible so I'm not putting myself through any more torture.

I'm not a very fussy eater really; I'll eat most stuff when put in front of me. The only exceptions would be the Chicken supreme and liver. I would refuse those 2 dishes even if I was having dinner with the Queen.

Or maybe I'd make another startling discovery...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday afternoon conversation

Stephen: My cat woke me up in the night. It was playing with a potato on the stairs.
Roz: Thats nothing. I was once woken up by my pet rabbit humping a balloon.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pharmacological mix-up

Yesterday I bought some pain relieving gel for a mouth ulcer. It's called Anbesol. In my opinion this is a terrible name. It's far, far to close to Anusol, a common pile cream.

That really is a mistake you'd want to avoid when reaching into the depths of your bathroom cabinet. The thought of putting Anusol in your mouth is awful, topped only by the thought of putting Anbesol on your arse. Brings tears to my eyes.

I would hasten to point out that I have NOT actually made this mistake

*further update*
The instructions on the Anbesol tube say 'no more than 4 applications a day' and yet the effects only last for 15 minutes. What are you so supposed to do for the other 23 hours a day? Plus the taste really doesn't go well with chocolate birthday cake.

Happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday!

I had boiled eggs and soldiers brought to me in bed this morning, along with lots of nice cards and pressies, including:

Cookie cutters in the shape of a frog, a pig and a cat (husband)
4 Agatha Christie books (husband)
A green crinkly shirt (grandpa)
M&S gift vouchers (mother-in-law)
a windowsill propagator (sister)
a cheque on the condition I buy a garden spade (mum and dad)
(meal in restaurant tonight and onion sets and seed potatoes to come)(husband)

Thank you everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Shortbread Recipe

It occured to me that when I started this blog Christian said he hoped that it would contain girly posts with recipes and stuff. Not being one to disappoint, here is the recipe for the shortbread that I made last night:

Sieve together 50g cornflour and 125g plain flour.
Add 50g caster sugar and 125g butter.
Rub the butter into the flour and sugar. (It goes crumbly first but keep rubbing until it comes together into heavy clumps.)
Dust the worktop with flour and knead the dough.
Roll out into a 20cm circle.
Prick all over with a fork and mark out 8 slices.
Bake for 30 mins at 160 degrees on a greased baking sheet.
Take out and leave to cool for 10mins. (if you move it too soon it breaks)
cut into slices.

yummy (but not too healthy)


It's a well known fact that in the eyes of a man, his wife's cooking will never quite live up to the high standard of his mothers cooking.

I experience this regularly. My husband tells me all the time that his Mum's lasagne is the best in the world, his mums scrambled eggs are the best, his mum's macaroni cheese etc etc. He doesn't mean to imply by this that my lasagne is not very nice; (at least I hope so) he means it as a complement to his Mum rather than a slur on me.

So imagine my delight when last night, after I made a batch of lovely buttery shortbread Nick announced: 'Oh My God, this is the best shortbread I have EVER tasted'. I think I may have made a break through.

Just need to improve my lasagne now...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Shopping list

Shopping list: Things to buy from the Laird of Champfleurie.

300Kg of horse manure (for veg patch soil)
1 cubic meter of wood chips (for veg patch paths)
30m of logs on a roll. (for edging the veg patch beds)

I've made a new friend in our local Laird. He seems to work very hard. He digs out the poo and delivers it himself in his landrover. He called me yesterday to ask me did I mind if wood chips took an extra day because he had to chip them especially from some lime trees he had felled that morning.

Images of 'Monarch of the Glen' and Glenbogle keep springing to mind.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The good life

Nick and I have been doing our best Felicity Kendal and Richard Bryers impression this weekend. We have been creating our vegetable plot.

This was not as easy as I'd first imagined. First we cleared away all the weeds and sorry looking plants. The we began to double dig the new beds - backbreaking and sweat inducing, but much cheaper than the gym!

Unfortunately we discovered:

1) The earth is 50% soil and 50% builders rubble.
2) There is a man-hole right in the middle of the proposed carrot and parsnip bed.
3) The mains electricity cable runs 6 inches below the surface down the middle of the potato patch.

We haven't even started on the onion, bean or strawberry patch yet, so god knows what else we'll find! Even so it was good, honest, satisfying toil and I feel very good for it.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Gaff of the week

Property: rather swanky apartment in 18th century, Grade A listed, Edinburgh New Town Crescent.

Brief: Client wants new loo on the opposite side of the flat to where the drains are.

Problem: Only way to get soil pipe across flat to link in with drain is to drill large hole through the main structural beam that holds up the entire floor.

Solution: Structural engineer designed a rather clever steel plate arrangement that would strengthen the beam locally therefore allowing the pipe to pass through the beam without total collapse of the building.

Gaff: On visiting site today my colleague Zoe discovered the builders had drilled the 120mm diameter hole through the beam, leaving only a few centimeters of timber to carry the load.

Zoe's heart started to race:

'Where are the steel reinforcing plates?' she asked.
'Oh, we haven't made them yet, we wanted to drill the hole first so we could see what size we have to make the plate' they replied.
'Have you propped up the floor downstairs?'.
'er... no. Do you think we should?'.

Needless to say Zoe moved quicker than I've ever seen her move. Within 2 hours, after lots of angry phone calls, the plates were fabricated and fitted, and collapse of one of Edinburgh's most expensive addresses was narrowly averted.

New taste sensation

Nick: What are those green slimy things?
Me: Artichokes.
Nick: gross
Me: They're lovely. I thought we could mix them in with our pasta for a change.
Nick: No way. I don't like them.
Me: Have you ever tried them?
Nick: (pause)...No.
Me: well stop being so closed minded and try a bit.
Nick: (sulkily) I won't like them.
Me: Just try one, then you can decide!
Nick: (slowly putting a tiny bit of artichoke up to his mouth while pulling a disgusted face) okaaaaay...... (tatses artichoke) oooooh! these are nice!
Me: oh for god's sake...

24 debate rages

Nick is even more convinced he looks like Jack Bauer. (see Tuesday's post)

He insisted on making me watch clips from the latest episode, claiming 'look, he's had his hair cut exactly like mine - look, he's identical to me!' I had to grudgingly admit that, in certain lights, there maybe a passing resemblance. To prove his point Nick has e-mailed this screen shot so I can post it here for your consideration:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Conversation in corner shop

Me: (looking round shop for feminine hygiene products) er.. (embarrassed) have you got any tampax? I've looked on the toiletries shelf and you don't seem to have any...
Man behind counter: Yes, they are over there between the Bisto and the Cuppa soup.
Me: Oh right. How silly of me.

Moscow winter

I heard an horrific thing today. Apparently Moscow is having one of the most severely cold winters ever, with temperatures down to -34 degrees.

One of the main problems the Russians have is their culture of drinking heavily, alone, and often outdoors. The drunk people pass out, then freeze to death. The snow and ice covers them over. In the spring when the snow thaws the council workers have to clear away loads of dead bodies that were previously hidden from view. What a macabre job.

My plan for this winter (even though it feels quite mild today) is to wrap up warm and drink cocoa. Vodka can seriously damage your health.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Thank you

Could the kind person who sent me roses please identify themselves? There was no name after your nice message.

Interesting phenomenon part 3

I have often heard the expression 'waking up in a cold sweat' but I didn't realise this could actually happen.

For 2 nights in a row I have woken up, freezing cold and yet totally soaking in sweat. This has never happened to me before, and I don't think I was dreaming anything particularly disturbing.

It was a really nasty sensation which I am keen to avoid in future. Any tips?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

24 look-a-likie?

Apparently yet another series of 24 is out. I know this because Nick was all excited having watched the first 2 episodes.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason Nick loves 24 so much is that he thinks he looks like Jack Bauer. (Keifer Sutherland) I suspect he imagines it's himself getting into daring scrapes, running around with a gun looking cool, and above all getting to stay up ALL night!

Anyway, you can decide if he deserves this little fantasy or not...

Monday, January 16, 2006


I haven't been a member of a local library since I was a child. I have such nice memories of going to story telling sessions at the library when I was little, and sitting on a scratchy brown cord carpet. Then afterwards we would hunt through huge wooden troughs for new books to take home.

Anyway, we have joined our local Library, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I was half expecting wall to wall Mills and Boon, and while I admit the 'Family Saga' section was huge, there were plenty of other books I would like to read, including a good selection of new releases I nearly bought.

Nick was in raptures in the CD section, as well as in the 'graphic novels' section (comics to you and me) and all this FOR FREE! Hurrah!

Friday, January 13, 2006

creme eggs - already????

Why are there Creme Eggs on prominent display in Sainsburys already? It's January!!!

Here, should I ever own a shop, is the list I would work to:

January - sell off all the old stuff cheap
February - valentines day
March - Mothers day
April - Easter
May - Hmm, dunno really, must be something
June - Fathers day
July - Summer hols
August - Back to School
September - again, I must be overlooking something
October - Halloween
November - Bonfire night
December - Christmas

The appearance of Easter eggs out of sequence is very unsettling.

Whilst contemplating the eggs In Sainsburys I saw a man with the biggest nose in the world. His nose was so big he had special spectacles that would sit properly over his enormous hooter. It was also purple. I'm totally serious. Poor man.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Retail therapy

I have just purchased 100Kg of horse poo on the internet.

Somehow this feels strangely appropriate.

Monday, January 09, 2006

demise of the cheesy wotsit?

I heard on the radio today that Golden Wonder have gone into administration. I am distraught by this: The Golden Wonder factory is in my home town of Scunthorpe.

Both my sisters have worked there in the past and Eleanor (my middle sister) holds the dubious distinction of being the only employee ever to get motion sickness from the revolving crisp packet table. My youngest sister Grace worked there for 3 weeks more than Eleanor and was made a supervisor in charge of her older sibling, which I found hilarious. I think she was sympathetic when it came to allowing Eleanor to rush to the loo to vomit.

I don't think the money was that great, and coming home smelling of cheesy wotsits was a distict drawback. Even so it's always sad to hear when a good honest working class place like Scunthorpe faces massive job losses.

It's official

Decorating is no longer fun.

We have 2 more weekends of wielding those paint brushes and we will have completed out entire house. It took supreme effort to prise us off the sofa this weekend, but we did it and now the hall is no longer mottled peach with nicotine orange skirtings. Oh no. It is now the epitome of taste and neutral harmonious tones.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Reprive for january

Here's me moaning about January being bleak, and yet I totally forgot: THE DARTS!

Oh how marvellous this sporting televisual feast is! Night after night of match-fit althetes fighting it out on the smoke filled stage at the Lakeside Country Club, hoping to become the Embassy World Darts Champion. I love it!

I love everything about it: I love the polyester shirts with sponser's slogans emblazed on the back. (nike, adidas? - No - John Smiths, naturally) I love the player's nicknames: Tony 'Silverback' West, Phil 'The Power' Taylor, Andy 'The Viking' Fordham to name a few. I love the commentators: Bobby George festooned with massive rings and gold chains, spouting forth his darting wisdom.

One day I'll go there. I'll get pissed sitting at a long table, wear a jester hat and wave a bit of A4 paper with '180' scrawled on it. It's a serious sport that definitely should be allowed in the the London Olympics, without a shred of doubt.

Game on...

Friday, January 06, 2006


My boss's specs just snapped.

'It's alright' he said, 'They are only £2.99 form the chemist down the road, they are always breaking.'

'Maybe they are always breaking because they are £2.99 from the chemist down the road' I said.

'Maybe' he said, 'but when they break I keep the bits to use as spare parts for when the next pair break. I've got a whole box of them'

There is some moral here but I can't quite work out what it is.

New TV

We got a new TV last night. I did muster some enthusiasm; it's a nice shiny set with lots of pretty buttons and stuff, and I am well aware that if I wasn't married to Nick I would still be watching the 14 inch portable telly I bought 9 years ago.

Because of Nick and his penchant for gadgets I am one of the most tooled-up girls I know. My latest acquisitions are a palm pilot and a portable DAB radio.

I am desperately attempting to become an efficient palm pilot user. Don't get me wrong - I can work the thing, but I have difficulty keeping it fully charged so when I need to access the phone number of the dentist I don't have to use the back up system. (my old fashioned address book)

The other hurdle is that I have never been a great diary user. Up until now I have kept all dates in my head. This worked fine when I didn't have many appointments, and most of my friends know that the pitiful lack of birthday cards is not because I don't love them, but because I am totally hopeless. As I see it I have 3 main problems:

Problem 1: remembering to input the appointment into the palm pilot.
Problem 2: remembering to look at the Palm in advance, assuming the information has been entered.
Problem 3: Hoping there is enough battery when I do remember to look.

Luckily I have no problems at all when it come to the DAB radio. I could give up work and become a full time radio listener any day. I wonder if such a job exists? I'll ask Nick, he'll know...

Thursday, January 05, 2006


January is a depressing month isn't it?

Hurray you cry when your December pay check goes through early on the 22nd of December - more money to spend on pointless gifts and booze over Christmas! That cruel twist of the calendar means that January - all 31 days of it - is the longest, bleakest, skintest month of the entire year.

Pity me then, as my birthday approaches at the end of the month, exactly coinciding with the final melt down of my bank account, 5 days prior to the next injection of cash. I shall have to hope Nick has been a little more prudent with his budget.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Dear Secret Santa,

Thank-you very much for my new bag of green tea.

I have already enjoyed 4 cups of it today and I imagine that it will keep me going for at least 18 months. It is also nice to know that the tea leaves have not been handled by a million fingers and are totally pubic hair free, unlike the last bag.

Hope you had a good Christmas, and your reindeers are well. Please pass on my regards to all your Elves; they did sterling work yet again.

love Rachel,

Happy new year one and all

Well, here I am again. The 2 week break has whistled by in the blink of an eye and I am sitting back at my desk as if nothing ever happened.

Luckily I have photos to prove I didn't imagine the most bizarre and scary costume ever flaunted at a fancy dress party. Here is Chris dressed as a clown at New Year. Throughout the evening his white face paint cracked and flaked off. By the end he looked about 90 years old with bleeding eyes. Horrible.

Jane and Phil hosted the party and it was great. Cocktails all round and lots of air guitaring to the theme from 'Top Gun'. Unfortunately Jane peaked a little to early and was sick on her bedroom carpet at 10.30. Unstoppable party animal that she is, Jane was soon back downstairs and knocking back slippery nipples with the rest of them and even made it to Tim's house the next day for a roast lunch.

Christmas was also lovely and slipped by in a haze of sherry and afternoon naps.
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