Posted in Rants And Rambles on June 24th, 2009 by Coffee

We’ve had a couple of kitchen fatalities in the last couple of weeks.  Our can opener decided it doesn’t really want to open cans any more (pretty much the only reason for keeping a can opener in the utensil drawer), and we seem to have melted a couple of fish slice things over the last few weeks.



So, we finally got around to replacing them on Sunday.

One is complex piece of machinery, with lots of interlocking bits  and looks really quite complicated to go together, while the other one is pretty basic and looks like it could be made out of a reasonably straight stick and something a bit flatter.

One cost £3, and one cost £6. Go on, guess which is the more expensive!…

I am confused. Again!

Going one better…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on June 20th, 2009 by Coffee

Bec always complains that I never buy her flowers.  Which is true.  I think I’ve even written about that before. But now I think I’ve earned a few Brownie points by giving her a (very small) bunch of flowers I’ve managed to grow myself.


That’s got to be better than just buying them at a service station, surely? And it must go some way to making up for never cleaning the bathroom, doesn’t it?!

She did seem to be a little ungrateful though.  I think she wanted a slightly bigger floral tribute. Humph.

Oh well. there’s still plenty more almost ready on the plants…

Twice in one day!

Posted in London on June 20th, 2009 by Coffee

Today we’ve been for 2 bike rides!  One this morning to the shops and supermarket, and once this afternoon to see what the water fowl were up to.


Not much, was the answer to that!

The second ride was actually pretty short, but it’s got a huge hill in it, which is why I suggested we go and do that. If I practice it enough I’ll be able to get up there without getting dead, burning legs!! I can get up riding all the way, but it’s currently about the limit of my endurance.

When I say huge hill, I actually mean a main road flyover. I guess it’s not really that steep, but it is a very long climb. Well, it’s a bit of a climb… At least it’s a nice feeling free wheeling down the other side though.

At least there’s the birds to look at when we stop at the other end. Otherwise Bec would get even more bored waiting for me to recover so we can turn around and go back home. Luckily it’s a lot shorter climb on the way back, and a longer cruise down.


And no, the bike might look flash, but I think it’s only because it’s red. It was the cheapest one in the shop. We’ll see how long it lasts!

UK Unions…

Posted in Rants And Rambles on June 18th, 2009 by Coffee

The whole idea of unions has become a bit of a puzzler for me in the last few days.

On one hand we have had to endure another 2 day tube strike last week, the reasons for which I’m still not quite sure of. Was it for pay as it seemed to be to start with? Or to reinstate some apparent idiot drivers who lost their jobs for doing things like opening the doors of a train on the wrong side? (Maybe not so much of a big deal if they were in a tunnel, but I suspect it could be quite serious late on a Friday night at an outdoor station!)

Every time  we have to deal with another tube strike I always visit the great song that some guys put together ages ago. It’s still as relevant today as it ever was (except I think the tube drivers get paid even more than is in the song these days…)

I have to warn you if you’re going to visit this link that it contains some language that some might find offensive. No, I mean it, the language here is what some people might deem REALLY offensive! You have been warned! (But when you feel like you’re part of ransom demands on tube strike it can almost feel like there has to be a higher level of abuse to heap on them…)  If you’re still willing to subject yourself to it, here’s the link…

On the other hand we’ve got the BA pilots union today asking their members to agree to take a pay cut so they still have jobs in a year or so.  Now that seems like an intelligent idea!

One day I’ll work it out, honest.

Lettuce Eat

Posted in Plants and Gardens on June 15th, 2009 by Coffee

This one’s for Megan, who wanted a picture of the lettuce collection for some reason.  We went for 3 types of “cut and come again” greens. In the salad bowl are green lettuce, red lettuce and rocket.


We did plant far too many seeds, but we’re getting better at thinning them out.  The rocket has been a lot slower to get any sort of height, so we’ve had to protect that from being crowded out a bit. I’m not sure really how many that size pot will support. I suspect it’s not too many, but we’ll see.  Our attempt at relocating a couple to the pot that’s now spare due to the unexplained chilli demise doesn’t look like it was too successful…

Happy, Megan?!

Hungarian Potato Bread

Posted in Food and Drink on June 14th, 2009 by Coffee

Every now and then for some reason I stand in the kitchen and go though recipe books and on some rare occasions something catches my eye/brain just enough that I decide I’m prepared to put in the effort to cook it.  This Sunday’s effort was “Hungarian Potato Bread”.


Cramming potato through a seive was a bit of work I wasn’t really mentally prepared for in making bread, but with a little help (insert form Bec – a lot of help pushing it through the seive, but if I confess probably my only help though) we got through that process.

Once it was finally ready it was actually a lot, lot lighter and fluffier than in looks in the pihoto (apart from the very edge bits that were a bit crusty), and there really wasn’t anything left and we still wanted just a little bit more…

Would I make it again, even with all the hassle?  You know what, I think I would.  And I think Bec would like me to, too!

Personal Transportation – Day II

Posted in London on June 14th, 2009 by Bec

I think it is best to start this post with ‘ouch my %#$^£ arse!!!’….. not said once during the trip, but said many many times throughout. Especially after getting off and forcing ourselves to get back on the bikes! OH and that just didn’t come from Mike, my butt too was hurting from yesterday.  It’s amazing how tender it gets when you haven’t ridden a bike for a prolonged period of time. For at least a large number of months. Even years!

I am sure it can only get better the more you ride (here’s hoping)!

Even starting off on today’s travels was a bit daunting. We made a few bike adjustments (seats, brakes etc) from yesterday throughout our venture in the hope that it would assist our aching bits.  We didn’t go as far as we had planned due to the obvious issues. But we did manage to bike up some hills and then coast down the other side, and of course we stopped at a pub to rest our dear butts for a bit…. Then back on and off to get some groceries.

On the return trip (please note laden down with some very, very heavy groceries on our backs) we stopped at a little park to recover somewhat before heading back up the bloody hill and came across a number of little ducks lined up in a row (very cute) waiting to dive into the water….  But because we disturbed them a bit they kinda huddled together to get in there even quicker and we were too slow on the camera shots to get the row pics, but we got some pics of their quick getaway.  It was still a good excuse to stop for a minute! And any excuse would do for Mike!


All in all I would have to say Mike faired much better today.  But I am just not so sure he will be able to walk tomorrow. And I am not so sure that I will be able to race him to the tube tomorrow morning either. Give me a run any day!

Personal Transportation

Posted in London on June 13th, 2009 by Coffee

After relying on public transport for over 10 years now, we’ve finally had enough of the DLR and Tubes being out for maintenance every weekend that we’ve had to invest in some non-public transport. So yesterday we took a big red bus and went and bought ourselves some push bikes!  (I’ll spare you the story about how long it actually took us to get to the store.  That involved another DLR and  bus trip, coupled with a return trip back home to get the right address, then the right journey…)

Picking bikes was reasonably easy once we managed to grab the one shop assistant that actually wanted to help us buy anything!  Bec  didn’t want anything pink, and I just wanted a bike, and we wanted something that was actually in stock so we could go for a ride the next day when the weather was meant to be fantastic.

Strangely enough it wasn’t quite as easy as you’d think to match all of those criteria, but we just about managed it in the end. The only bikes they could sell us that met possibly the most important criteria of us being able to use them the next day were still broken down in boxes, and we’d have to make them up ourselves. Apparently not a big job, but it just meant we’d have to get two huge boxes home somehow first.

Or did we?…

A small brainwave later, and we were ensconced in a small alley just around the corner with bike bits laid out everywhere, and spanner and Allen keys in hand. A bit of sweat, swearing, grazed knuckles, some odd looks from passers by, and just one trip back into the shop right at the finishing stage to grab the sales guy so he could tell us why Bec’s handlebars kept turning around while  her bike didn’t, and we had some functional bikes on which to get home.

Then we just had to get home! Now if you know me well you’ll find it not too hard to believe that  currently I’m not the world’s best example of fitness. There were a few more stops then there really should have needed to be on the way home, but in my defence it was about an hour’s long ride, along some pretty busy mainish roads in London (weekend) traffic.  And did I mention that there were some hilly bits?  And that my seat was really too low so I felt like I was back on a BMX? And that tight jeans didn’t make it easy for my thighs to move? It gave Bec something to laugh about anyway. “Are you really that unfit?!”. Thanks, I needed that understanding and encouragement! And for that I made her ride behind me at my pace for a while while my legs recovered somewhat.

But we made it! And without even getting too lost on the way.The bikes then were put to bed for the night in the bike shed downstairs. I have to say that whoever decided to include a bikeshed in to plans for this apartment block was pretty much a genius.  Looking at other buildings you see bikes on balconies, in living rooms etc.  I’m just really glad we don’t have to deal with trying to get a bike in a lift, then through the front door.

How am I feeling today?  My back twinges a little, and my bum hurts! The first from putting them together, I suspect, while I’m not in much doubt about the why for the second ailment! But I’m still keen to go out today. After a bit of seat adjustment etc, and with a camera so I’ve got an excuse to stop a few more times now and then… I guess at at least I managed to avoid any chafing so far!

Now we’ll just have to hope we have a little more luck than our friend Pete and manage to not have them stolen, or at least until after summer’s over!…

Unexplained Demise…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on June 12th, 2009 by Coffee

I think we need to get Mulder and Scully to come around and have a poke around to see if they can come up with some sort of explanation as to why one, and one one, chilli plant decided to suddenly just go all floppy sometime on Wednesday this week.


I suspect it’s terminal. But I can come up with no reason why it would do that. It was a bit windy that day, but the stalk doesn’t look broken or anything. It’s seemingly just lost the will to live.  I’ll give it one more day to see if it revives, but if not at least it frees up the pot for something else to go in…


In other “garden” news, it’s flowers all round.  We’ve got coriander, sweet pea, chilli and capsicum flowers at the moment. I would like to say it’s pretty colourful, but  really I can’t.  Apart from the sweet peas, everything else is white.  And not particularly nice smelling either. I guess if we want colour we wouldn’t be able to have the veges…


A few radishes are almost at a munchable size, the lettuces are taking over the pot (we really should thin then more, but it seems to mean!),  the baby capsicums are growing daily, the dill and spring onions are still there and I think growing…


All go really!

Our first home grown salad!!

Posted in Plants and Gardens on June 6th, 2009 by Coffee

Tonight as part of our dinner we had a small salad made entirely from our own home grown produce!  Green lettuce, red lettuce, and spring onions! Yum!

Actually, when I say small salad, I really do mean small.  I can’t even call it a mini-salad. It was  more a micro salad made from “micro greens” (i.e. thinnings from the overcrowded pots), but it was still nice to eat what we’ve grown!


By the way, just to give you some idea of scale, the “bowl” it’s in is 7.5cm wide at its widest point!…

Thankfully we did actually have more than that for dinner!