Today's the day …


This is the day when our polycarbonate conservatory roof gets replaced with a solid one. It’s all my fault. I should have known when I had ‘the idea‘ that Mrs H would not let it go. It wasn’t as if it was a proper idea. I just said, after seeing the advert on the TV “I wonder how much that would cost?” Never thinking that anything would come of it. Then here we are, three months on and the thing is nearly down. Apart from having a new roof, we are having the windows and door replaced. They reckon that they can take the down and get the new one up and watertight in one day. I’m not so sure, although after two hours, most of it is down.

To cap it all, Mrs H is having a new floor put in too. It’s going to be that laminate flooring that we have upstairs. That wasn’t one of my ideas, in fact I don’t really think it is necessary, but there you go.

To be continued …

Should have been 'Day 1' …


For a few weeks now, I have been considering writing a journal. Nothing too over the top, just a few lines every day. I’ve been told that writing things down, helps with memory and trying to remember things. May all be rubbish, but it may just work.

So today was the day I was going to start. I’ve been looking for for something suitable to jot down my notes for a few weeks. What I wanted was some kind of soft backed book with lined pages. I wanted it about A5 or A6 size, but I didn’t want it to have dates. I already have a ‘page-to-a-day’ type of diary, and I don’t think it is suitable for what I want. This is what I found and it seemed just the job. It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered that it had plain pages with no lines. It wasn’t expensive, so I’m not going to take it back. It will teach me to read all the small print before jump in and buy anything.

So, I’ve taken the plunge and have bought one (another) from eBay which from the look and description ‘seems’ to be what I want. Price is similar to the other one I purchased and should be here on Wednesday. Fingers crossed, I should be able to start before the whole idea falls by the wayside.

The problem, if it can be called a problem is what to do with the other notebook. As I say, it wasn’t expensive so not really much point in taking back for a refund. I have a distant developing idea that I could use it as a sketch book, which basically what it is but I’m not sure about my artistic abilities. So who knows.

Patience is a virtue…


I had my INR blood test appointment of Friday. It is one of those finger prick tests that only takes about 45 seconds. I fact the pre-test questions take longer than the actual test, it is usually about a ten minute job. It was an early appointment, 9am. Don’t ask me why I chose that time, because as usual with me, I can’t remember. I pulled into the car park 15 minutes before my appointment as I hate being late. We have one of those self-sign-in screens which told me that I was the next in the queue.

I sat down in the waiting area and started to look at my phone, as I didn’t really want to catch anyone’s attention. However, there was a lady sat two seats away from me, that I had seen entering the centre when I parked. She was holding her yellow record book so I assumed she was waiting the same as me. She would have been (and I’m being kind here, I think) maybe three or four years older than me. I was amused to see her tapping her foot and humming along to the music being played in the background … “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones is not the kind of music I would expect a person of her apparent age to listen to. It wasn’t until I got home, that I fully realised that it was highly likely that she would have listened to that music.

But I digress from the main point of this tale. I glanced up at the clock and saw that it was now 9 o’clock.
She’s late!” said the lady, “She should be here before now!
I smiled and said something like “She has a long way to come…” or words to that effect. The clinician does have to travel over eighty miles from Newcastle to get to our Medical Centre, so delays are quite reasonable and understandable.
I can’t stay here all day, waiting for her,” she said. “I’m going to make another appointment!” And with that she stormed off. Meanwhile a gentleman had sat beside me and witnessed this bit of a tantrum. He asked me if she was the first in the queue and I said no, I was the first. He said he was the second, so that made the lady the third. That meant, her appointment was for 9:20 at the earliest, so why she was going off in a huff, fifteen minutes before her allotted time I will never know.

Ten minutes later, the receptionist came to inform the INR people that the clinician had been held up and would not be at the Medical Centre until early afternoon, and that she would ring to make new appointments.

I went to pick up my prescriptions and it was while I was discussing this with the dispenser that the title of this post came up. I was always under the impression that it was the younger members of society that had no patience … seems I could be wrong.

Being a bit crafty …


I’ve posted about this before, but I’m a knitter. I would say I am an average to intermediate knitter. I’ve tried other crafts, but card-making and scrap-booking (whatever that actually is) does nothing for me. I have tried embroidery, and I do enjoy it, but I can never find any embroidery that I want to do.

I’ve been knitting since I was about 7 years old. I can still remember (unbelievably) how I started. I had been playing with my grandfathers old toy cars, which were very old and was watching my maternal grandmother (do people still say that?) knitting a scarf. I was quite fascinated how these two sticks and some wool could make a scarf and I asked to show me. She cast on ten stitches and showed me how to do the knit stitch. I was hooked! Later, my mother showed me the purl stitch, cast on, cast off and a couple of other basic stitches, and I took it from there

Step Shawl
Headband

I’ve two knitting projects on the go at the moment. One is a step shawl that I started beginning of last year and I’m still on with it. It should be in DK on 5mm needles, but I’m using 4 ply on 4mm needles, so it’s taking a lot longer. The other is a headband. This time in DK on the correct needles. I do enjoy knitting headbands and have done quite a few with Arran yarn using a cable stitch.

I do get a few odd looks when I say that I’m a knitter, and I’m looking forward the looks when I mention that I’m learning to Crochet.

This post is in response to nansfarm.net and http://themainaisle.com/ Mid-week challenge

My take on it …


I’m having a go at a different type of post today. Rather than my usual ‘rants & raves’ I thought I would have a go at something that might be useful.

Photo: Randy Mayor

I was talking to a friend at work last week and the subject of Spaghetti Carbonara was raised. She was a little concerned about how to cook it, not least a fear of “raw egg” in the dish. I explained as best I could that egg is not raw, but that the heat of the pasta when the egg and cheese mix is added, cooks the egg in a light scrambling fashion. I explained my method, but she wasn’t taking up the challenge. However, another friend I had talking to later in the week, did have a go and has since told me I should write it down. So here goes …

This is my recipe for two portions of a medium size. I’ll start with the list of ingredients.

  1. 5oz to 6oz of Linguine or Fettuccine **
  2. Two cloves of fresh garlic, squashed but not chopped
  3. 4oz Pancetta cut unto short strips
  4. 1 egg
  5. Small handful of chopped Parsley
  6. 3oz of grated Parmesan cheese plus another 1oz for serving
  7. Olive oil

The trick is to ensure all your preparation work is completed before you start the cooking process.
(** I prefer either of these two pastas over spaghetti, as they seem to hold the sauce better)

  1. Firstly, put a large pan of salted water onto boil for the pasta.
  2. Next heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large based pan and add the squashed garlic and allow to gently cook without browning
  3. Remove the garlic and add the Pancetta and cook until fully cooked. then remove the pan from the heat
  4. Meanwhile cook your pasta for the required amount of time, bearing in mind that fresh pasta cooks quicker than dried.
  5. Beat the 3oz cheese with the egg and season with black pepper
  6. When the pasta is cooked, turn the pan off.
  7. Add the pasta to the pan with the Pancetta. Do not worry if some water gets in the Pacetta pan as this is what we need.
  8. Now, quickly stir the egg/cheese mix into the pasta and pour into the serving bowl.
  9. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and served the remaining cheese separately.
    Job done!!

I’m fully aware that this is probably not the most classic method, and cheese/egg stirring can seem a bit daunting, but the recipe works for us, and that’s half the challenge

… and that was that … more in the future? Who knows?

Giving it another go …


At the end of last year, in fact my last post of the year I mentioned that I was going to stick with Open Live Writer as opposed to the WordPress block editor. I was also occasionally using BlogPad Pro on my iPad. But things have changed a little since then.

I had read about my sites Media Library and decided to have a look and see what was in there. I was rather shocked to find that most of the images I had uploaded for my posts had duplicates. They didn’t appear to be taking up much space, but I wanted to know if it was ‘the norm’ to have duplicated images.

I posted a query on the WordPress forum and after a few questions and answers, it became clear that it was the desktop software (Open Live Writer and BlogPad Pro) that were causing the images to duplicate. It looks like a thumbnail image was being created when the main image was uploaded which was linked to the main image. As I understood it, deleting the thumbnail image would prevent the main image from showing or something like that.

The crux of it all was that the only way to prevent this happening was to use the block editor. It was also suggested, that as I prefer to use desktop software to write a post, that I should use the WordPress app instead.

So, I’m giving it another go …

From then to now . . . back to work


Jump forward to the 1st September and I am summoned, by works phone, to appear in front of my line manager. It seems, that although it was pre-determined how long I would be away work for recovery, I had to have an interview to discuss my “return to work strategy“. It was not a disciplinary interview, more of “fact finding interview” Fortunately I had already formulated my phased return, so I was able to show her my plan of action. There was a slight moment of finger wagging during the twenty minutes I was there, but I got over it.

Two weeks later, and another phone call. This time it was HR, who wanted to have a little chat with regard to my phased return. They said they could come to me at home, or if I wanted I could see them, at my nearest office. I opted to see them and made an appointment for the next day. This turned out to be a real discussion. I explained my plan, which was to phase my return over four weeks. One day, then two days, then three days followed by the last week of four days. The lady that interviewed me said the plan was a good one, but was worried that it might be too quick and they would monitor my progress. I did mention that I had had the same interview with my line manager and was told that it should not have happened. It seemed that because it was a pre-elective procedure with a set recovery time, I was technically not on sick leave.

The phased return worked well for me, and I managed to get back to working full time with very little problem. However, people were very understanding and I think they made special efforts to get me back to normal. In all truth, during those four weeks I had very little to do. In fact apart from reading work newsletters, catching up on emails and trying to read software manuals, I did very little at all. It became very boring and quite stressful.

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