Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Sorting out stuff

This morning we walked into the village for once, purely to visit the Co-op for things we can't get in the marina shops, such as Moroccan flavoured humous; we took the opportunity to buy a loaf of fancy bread too.

Back at the marina, we collected the floor treatment stuff that had been delivered to Reception and went on to the Farm Shop to get some sausages for tonight.

Just after lunch, I had a call from one of the secretaries at the surgery to arrange my Dermatology appointment. This means that I decided I should see the GP on Friday morning, got an appointment for that afternoon and on Tuesday I've been given my out patient appointment. Admittedly it's not until early March, but since there's no urgency about my condition that's not a problem. If when he sees the referral letter the consultant decides I should be seen earlier, they'll get in touch again.

After lunch, we went up to the lodge and finished buffing the newly oiled furniture, moving most of it into the wet room to make oiling the floors easier. We're busy for a couple of days now, and Cath the head cleaner wants to do some final spring cleaning in there, so it will be the weekend before we get started on that.

Back at the boat, I got a load of recycling together and took it round to the skips; the major downside to mooring on Yellowhammer is the long walk to the recycling point.

Since then we've been taking it pretty easy. Elanor and Sally are coming round for their Tuesday evening walk, after which the menu will be beef and chilli sausages with bubble and squeak.

For reasons I can't divulge just now, I'm going to be otherwise occupied for the next couple of days, so don't expect another full blog post until Friday – I'll see if I can do a quickie or two, though.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Still busy

We've had another productive day, but I'm in less of a rush tonight. It's meat-free Monday and I've got the frozen half of what I laughingly call Chennai Curry* to serve, so not much to do catering wise.

We went over to the lodge after breakfast, once Sheila had started the first wash load. I put a second coat of oil on the top surfaces of the coffee table, the dressing tables and the bedside tables; all the ones which have the hardest use apart from the dining table which has already been done. Meanwhile, Sheila buffed up the mirror frames that she'd oiled two days ago.

All that remains is for us to go back in tomorrow afternoon and buff up everything not already finished. Then we'll stack as much as possible into the wet room, whose floor doesn't need any treatment. Some special cleaner and oil should arrive later this week so that we can get stuck in at the weekend to do the wood floors.

Back at the boat, we had a tidying and filing session to take us up to lunch, Sheila all the while keeping the washing machine busy and tumbling stuff as machines became available in the laundry.

Since lunch, we've been round to Still Waters to get a replacement gas cylinder and to order a couple more bags of solid fuel, which will be delivered tomorrow. The new cylinder went on without any bother, I'm pleased to say. Testing with the proper spray found no sign of leaks at all.

The washing is all finished, though the last load won't now get tumbled until the morning. Sheila's doing a washing up whilst I type this, after which we will rest on our laurels for the evening.

One other highlight; we had an email from Susan at Braidbar asking us to be on the team at Crick again; hopefully we'll get a chance to meet up with Peter and Susan sometime in the next few weeks to plot and plan.

*Chennai Curry – it's Bean Madras...

Sorry, awful, isn't it?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Busy Sunday

It's been another of those bustling about days that hasn't left me much time to blog. I'll do my best to give you your money's worth though...

In order to have the bread done for lunch, I'd left it in the (unlit) oven overnight and knocked it back and shaped it before I made the first thing tea.

Straight after breakfast, we went up to the lodge and did most of the remaining oiling. Just some buffing and a second coat on the top of the coffee table to do now.

Back to the boat and baked the buns, reading the paper whilst doing so. Anguished pause once they'd come out; boat full of scent of new baked bread which is too hot to eat.

Finally had lunch with warm buns, yum.

Felt restless afterwards, so did a load of tidying up in the study and condemned two old cameras. The oldest still works and the other is the one with the defunct focussing system. Found their bags and put them both on the swaps table in the laundry, suitably labelled.

Elanor and Sal came and we had a frisbee session in field three as there are now sheep in field one and we don't let Sally get anywhere near sheep. As it was, she's written the frisbee off by chewing the rim to bits.

Elanor went off to get on with her weekend housekeeping jobs and I've been back at the boat helping with the big crossword since.

Now to go and buy milk before putting a venison casserole on for tonight...

Saturday, 24 January 2015

An easy Saturday

It's been a good day, but I've not a lot to say. We had a lazy start, then went shopping for kindling, firelighters and meat. Some pottering and Independent reading took us up to lunchtime, when the ale bread buns tasted very good though I say it myself.

Sheila stayed home to do some more furniture oiling whilst Elanor took me to the library. There, renewing my bus pass was very straightforward, once one librarian had shown the other how to do it...

We gave Sal a good run on the Washlands and came back to the boat for a family natter.

Stuffed pork loin chops with mash and peas tonight, methinks. And I plan yet more home baked bread.

This could get to be a habit...

Friday, 23 January 2015

Catching up

OK, stuff I forgot to mention in my hurry yesterday: our team (Jo, Wynne and ourselves) scored 54/90 in the quiz on Wednesday, a long way short of the winning score of 64, but still creditable. We were particularly weak on sport and music, but did well on history/geography and OK on general knowledge. A good time was had, in addition.

Wildlife: we saw a redwing and a flock of goldfinches yesterday and a fieldfare today, so the winter migrants are beginning to show themselves at last. Mind you, it felt more like early Spring yesterday, but has relapsed into yucky winter rain today, after a cold night that put a layer of ice right across the water. There was even a bit of a crunching sound as we got out of bed this morning and the heater exhaust had taken on the slightly echoey noise it makes when it's playing onto a frozen surface.

I've been worrying off and on over the past few days about a scabby lesion on the back of my hand. Although it didn't look too sinister, it wasn't going away, either, so I decided it ought to be checked out, if only to stop me brooding on it in the small hours. The symptom checker website said to get it seen within a week, so I rang the surgery.

Their appointment system now works quite well. For very routine non-urgent stuff, you can go online to choose and book your preferred GP but will have to wait between 10 and 20 days depending on who you want. To be seen the same day, you ring at eight o'clock for a morning appointment and at 12 for an afternoon one.

I did the latter; I was put in a queue with good info about my position and got through within ten minutes, when I got an appointment at 3.10. This was with Dr O'Hara who diagnosed a non-alarming problem which will, however, benefit from a dermatologist opinion – I'll need to wait for an appointment at the Royal Derby now.

Because I was out this afternoon, Sheila did a burst of oiling and buffing of the furniture on her own. We probably won't get any done tomorrow, as we're into Burton to go to the library for bus pass purposes, so the next session will be on Sunday, like as not.

Finally, bread: I made a batch of ale bread dough last evening and put it in the engine room overnight. It rose well, but got very chilled, with the result that I couldn't get it shaped and adequately proved in time to bake it for lunch. So I baked a couple of part-bake baguettes as a stopgap and we'll have the others tomorrow

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Late again

It's going to be another quickie as I'm all behind. The Opera Australia Pirates of Penzance DVD arrived from the States this afternoon, and we couldn't resist watching it straightaway. It is absolutely brilliant, one of their best, I reckon.

It uses the same staging as the Kevin Kline/Linda Ronstadt New York version, but with added touches as only OA can do it. Well worth the hassle of importing it and playing a Region 1 DVD.

Other activities: we've started oiling the lodge furniture and had a walk round the marina.

I'll be getting another one with Elanor and Sally later, and Elanor is kindly giving me a lift into Burton on Saturday to renew my bus pass at the library there. I tried to do it online, but the website didn't seem to be happy with the iPad, typically.

That's about it for now — see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A grey old day

Instead of snow, we've had occasional sleety rain on and off all day, falling out of a grey sky. Dusk is early; recently we've not been putting the covers up until nearly five, but I'm going to do them as soon as I've finished this post.

Are we downhearted? Not a bit; we've pottered on regardless. I've made some experimental bread using some of the malted flour diluted with wholemeal and white. Sheila is experimenting with a different jigsaw puzzle app on the iPad. The one she was using, Magic Puzzles, was very good, but had a strange effect that it seemed to stop the iPad from charging, whether the app was running or not. The battery symbol showed the right colour when the supply was connected, but the level of charge didn't go up. Restarting the iPad, or doing a hard reset, sorted it until the next time she used the app.

Very weird and not encouraging, so she's experimenting with a different app with, so far, no problems.

We also spent a bit of time in the lodge, getting ready to give the wooden furniture another coat of Danish oil and sorting out sundry bits and pieces.

As we've got a quiz night tonight, we had lunch in the Farm Shop, jacket potatoes and decaff lattes, very nice indeed, though be prepared to wait for your meal. (But not as long as you have to wait in the bistro in our experience.)

Back at the boat, I've baked the bread, which looks OK; we'll have some at around five, so as to be fuelled up and ready to go at seven.

Tomorrow is another day for pottering; let's hope the weather is a bit better.