An experiment…


Yesterday, I had this idea. I wondered that, if my birthday was not visible on Facebook, would anybody outside my immediate family  mention it. So I edited my profile and mad my DOB private. I was correct in my thoughts. Not one message. Sad really, that the only way people remember an event, if social media tell them.

Of course, it could be that nobody actually cares enough to post anything. To counter that, at 13:30, I made my DOB public again. Let’s see what happens now!

 

 

Interesting days …


Yesterday was a day I was a little apprehensive about. I was meeting up with an old school friend for lunch. We have met a couple of times over the past few years, but I seem to have School daysbeen trying to avoid meeting again. I can’t say why. We both get on together. We have similar interests and both enjoy reminiscing our school days. However, whether it is an age thing we always seem to talk about the same thing … teachers, school-mates, punishments and the general high-jinx we can remember getting up to. We did chat about our current respective jobs, but not much of anything else. Now the problem is, for both of us is a memory thing. He remembers many of the people we were with at school, and I only a few. But then again, I remember things that happened that he can’t remember. So it makes for an interesting lunchtime. We have both promised to ‘do it again, soon’ but I’m not sure it will happen.

<><><><><>

Today was K***s birthday. I did mention earlier that she was having a family break with her sister and father. I was going for the day to celebrate her birthday and have a nice lunch. That was the plan, and to all intense and purpose that plan was successful. The only downside was the location of the lunch venue. It was The Horseshoe Inn, in Levisham and was only 15 minutes away from the cottage Lunchthey were staying at. The place itself was great, and the food was mostly very good. I had Haddock and Chips. The fish was well cooked, but the chips seemed to be in the fashion of triple cooked chips. I’m not a fan really. They tend to be really dark, over cooked looking and not the golden brown chips I was brought up on. Always seem a little bit greasy to me. But back to the down side. The ride to get there was tortuous. It was all narrow, windy country lanes, but the worst part was the inclines and declines. At one stage the road sign said that the incline was 1 in 5 (an old sign which is usually replaced by one saying 20%) which is quite steep at the best of times, but when you factor in the twists and turns of the road, it was a bit of a nightmare. I drove most of the way without getting out of third gear and on the 1 in 5 stage, I was forced to drop to second gear. One of the most scarier drives I have taken, and then I had to drive back.

<><><><><>

K*** is back at some point tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it. I mentioned before about the noises, but not about the silence in between. I do like my own company, but I often find that I talk to myself as if there was another person there. I explain things that I know about, as if there is somebody with me that knows a lot less than me. Sounds a bit weird, but my doctor tells me that it can be quite a normal thing. To cap it all, there is nothing on the televisionTelly that I want to watch. I can’t watch the few programs we watch together, as they are being recorded for when K*** gets home, so if the telly goes on, it is usually and old comedy show or the news. the comedy shows I have watched before, and these days the news is so full of doom and gloom, that it is positively depressive. Still it does give me a little time to write a new blog post.

A nice day out …


Today was my birthday! All together now … “Happy birthday to me etc etc”. So, in order to celebrate this auspicious occasion, K*** took me to Ripley Castle.  We’ve been before. Many times it seems. But, my memories63 of this place are a little vacant. There were somethings that I vaguely remembered, but most things were I could not remember. Now I’m not sure if me or my brain has gone a bit lazy, but there appear to be a lot of things that I simply don’t Ripley 1remember. I’m going to speak to my GP again, the next time I have my check up. He didn’t seem to think that there was a significant problem, but I think I’m going to ask for some tests.

Back to today. It was a very pleasant day. Not as hot as yesterday, Ripley 2but just warm enough for a nice walk around the grounds. It looked like there was some kind of event taking place over the weekend, as there were a lot of signs with the logo “Yorkshire Warrior” all over the grounds. I understand that this is something akin to an ‘Iron Man’ challenge. We then had a nice lunch in the only pub in the village, The Boars Head before heading home to await the return of the youngest who had been on respite for a couple of nights.

All in all, a good day.

Birthday and other things …


I went on my old chat site Monday night. It’s a site I used to use a lot a few years ago. It was before Facebook became really popular and I used to chat most nights. But as with all things, it changed, became a bit of a hunting ground for not so nice persons and I kind of lost interest. I go on occasionally, but the people I used to chat to have moved on and no longer use the site. Still it was good to have a bit of a laugh and to lead on the pervs a little. I’ll probably visit a couple of times this week and then lose interest again.

<><><><><><><><><>

It’s K***s birthday today, and it’s a biggie. The Big 60 … she doesn’t read my blog so she won’t mind/know about me mentioning. It doesn’t seem to be bothering her as much as the last big one. She got a little depressed when she was 50. I on the other hand had no feelings either way. When I was 60, it was just another day nearer me finishing work. And it did come with some good benefits. Haircuts are cheaper for one, and I can also order the pensioners meals in cafes and pubs. I hate leaving food and some of the portion sizes can be quite large. We shared a sandwich in a local café/bar on Sunday and to be honest, it was a struggle to finish it between us. Don’t know what it is, but I cannot get the weight down. When I came out of hospital in 2014, they had fed me up to get my weight back to the 10 stone that I went in with. Four years on and I’m now just over 12 and 1/2 stone. Well, saying that ‘I don’t know what it is…’ is a bit of a falsehood really. The weight comes from a combination of late night snacking and alcohol which is something I need to deal with. I can do without both and have done on occasions, but when it’s 5 minutes to midnight and you’re waiting for the youngest to settle, there is nothing nicer than a banana sandwich and a not-so-wee dram of whiskey. That’s the problem I need to deal with.

I seem to have gone a little off track here! So what is the plan for the day. Well, I don’t have a plan. Looks like it’s not going to be a dry day so a walk may be out of the question. We shall have a nice lunch somewhere and have a relaxing day. On Thursday it’s the main celebration day. We are going for an family meal at an Italian restaurant in Tadcaster, which should be nice. We’ve never been before, but reports have only good things to say. I shall let you all know.

Don’t believe them …


I used to be a cook. From 1971 to 1986 I was a cook at the Leeds General Infirmary. In fact from 1983 to 1986, I was the Head Cook in the staff kitchen. All this is a little bit of background information for what I want to have a chat about. That chat is about pastry. Specifically short crust pastry. Now, when you watch these famous TV chefs preparing pastry (and I’ll not mention any names here) they will always tell you that it has to be done by hand .. No mixer/processor allowed!!! .. They will tell you that your pastry will be tough/dry/chewy and any other descriptive term for ‘bad’ pastry they can think of. They will tell you that you have to make it by had, if you want the best pastry. I want to tell you that’s a load of rubbish. When you are making enough pastry to cover pies that are going to feed 300+ people, making it by hand is a non-starter. Can you imagine trying to ‘rub-in’ 20lb of lard/margarine into 40lb of flour by hand!. You have to use a machine. If it works for large volumes, then it has to work for smaller volumes too. So here is my recipe for short crust pastry in a food-processor:

  1. weigh 8oz flour into your food processor with a pinch of salt
  2. dice up 2oz of cold butter and 2oz of cold lard into 1/4 inch dice
  3. chill butter and lard in freezer for 15 minutes
  4. add butter and lard to flour and process until looks like breadcrumbs
  5. add 3floz of very cold water and use the pulse function until the pastry starts to come together
  6. tip out onto a lightly floured worktop and gently kneed for a few seconds until all mixed
  7. wrap in cling-film and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes
  8. use as required

They key to this is the speed of the processing and the coldness of the fat. I takes less than 2 minutes to go from fat and flour to pastry, which means that the fat is still cold. I can assure you that it does work.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March is going to be an expensive month I think. Firstly, there’s Mothers Day and then there’s K***s birthday. This is one of those significant birthdays too. The big ‘six-zero’. Looks like I may need to move some cash from my savings account, but it should not be a problem really. We are going away for a couple of days on the weekend before the big day which will be nice. We’ve been to the hotel before a few years ago and it was a nice place. Good food, good scenery and it will be relaxing break for both of us. R*** is away for the weekend, so there are no worries about getting back for him. Just got to hope the weather is better than present. It has got a lot warmer overnight which has led to the snow staring to melt into slush. Much fun!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

FrontBackNow, here’s a poser. Which is the correct way? Front or back?  Is there a right or wrong way? I have no real preference at all but I know how K*** feels about it. For her it has to be Front. There can be no argument and it can lead to a lot of tutting if I put it the wrong way around. I’ve been in houses that drop down the front and houses that drop down the back. I’ve also been in places that have different preferences in different rooms. I’ve also been in houses where the loo-roll is sat on the cistern behind, which is an odd if not difficult location. So this is not a poll, just wondering that’s all.

 

 

Happy birthday to me !!!!


The ‘Big 60 +1’ today. I’m not really counting birthdays anymore, but everybody expects me to. They are just becoming different numbers rather than days to celebrate. I’ve got the the stage when I don’t really care. I’m reminded of the Tennessee Ernie Ford song Sixteen Tons, with the famous line “Another day older and deeper in debt …” which basically says it all.

No idea what we are doing today, and I don’t think I’m that bothered. Must be getting old.

And so the end of the first week…..


Well here we are, six days in and I really don’t feel any different. It seems that is will make a difference being this age as things might start to get a little cheaper. More on that later.

The ‘big day’ went as well as I could have hoped. I did not want any big celebrations or fuss that I think people might have wanted to plan, so it was a quiet day. I had changed my Facebook profile to not display my birthday, to see if anyone actually remembered. Guess what? Nobody did remember. It has come to something, when people, including some family members need a social media site to remind them of birthdays and the like! What was a surprise was, when I was searching for something on Google, I hovered over the graphic on the Google web site, and saw that Google sent me birthday wishes. Was a bit of a shock, before I realised that Google does actually know my birth date.

Lots of presents and a few cards, and a nice day out with K***s parents at Harlow Carr gardens. Then lunch at The Black Swan in Burn Bridge, near Harrogate.

One of the ways that being 60 has got a little cheaper is my prescriptions are now free. After my operation, I realised that it would be cheaper if I got a prepayment prescription certificate (or PPC). This drastically reduced the charges by over half. But, it seems that when you get to 60, the charges stop and all my medication is now free. The pharmacist, told me to reclaim the balance, and it looks like I may get somewhere in the region of £25.00 back.

= = = = = = =

On Wednesday we set off for a couple of days break at The Black Swan (different one from before) in Fearby, just outside Masham. We got there in good time and decided that we do the Black Sheep Brewery tour. It was a very interesting couple of hours, and if you are in the area, I suggest you give it a go. You will not be disappointed. Especially with the beer sampling you get at the end of the tour! Now this was another way that being 60 was a little cheaper. The tour cost is £8.50 per person, which includes 3 x 1/3 of a pint of beer as your sampling. However, and I never spotted this, if you are a ‘senior’ aged 60 or over, you get in for £6.99 and still get the beer at the end. It seems that there are a lot of places that do this kind of reduction for people over 60, and I’ll need to look out for them. One thing that bothered me a little, was that no proof of age was required ……. Maybe my little joke about being as old as I look was not such a joke after all!

We arrived at our place of stay, at around 4pm, booked in and then went for a short walk round the village. It seems that The Black Swan is the only pub in the village. It worried me a little, that it might be a bit noisy later on in the night, but it turned out not to be the case.

The restaurant/breakfast room/bar had an unusual collection. The whole of the roof was covered with chamber pots. Must have been over 200 hanging from the ceiling. It made for an interesting if somewhat bizarre display. Mind you, saying that the landlord seemed to drive everywhere in an old U.S. army jeep, so I suppose each to his own.

Thursday was the day we were to do what is known as “The Druids Temple Walk”. Now this is not as dramatic is it sounds. The Druids Temple is actually a folly built in about 1820, by the owner of the Swinton Estate, as a means of employment for local people. It is stated that it is a 5 mile circular walk, although to me it seemed to feel more like 8 miles! But it was worth it when we got there.

We had a quick visit to Thirsk on Friday on the way home. Nothing special there for me, I’m afraid, but K*** seemed to like the place. K*** likes to make our breaks last as long as possible. Me, on the other hand prefer to get home as soon as possible on the last day.

All in all, it was a good couple of days away. The weather could not have been better and the scenery was just perfect.

= = = = = = =

Monday will be interesting I think. The team I work with now, seem to like to ‘celebrate’ people’s birthday milestones, and they seem to know when everyone’s birthday is. Thing is, that I’m not in my main office tomorrow, so I’m not sure how things will pan out or what might happen when I go to the main office on Tuesday. I think I need to get some sweet stuff to take in on the Tuesday, but I shall just have to play it by ear. Before the last workplace review, the team I was in just did not do anything for birthdays. They didn’t even send each other Christmas cards, which always seemed unusual. I did get a ‘Get Well soon’ card after my operation, but it was given to me about 2 weeks before I returned to work, so I felt a little bit cheated.