Wednesday 31 October 2007

Happy Hallowe'en!!!

Not quite sure how it got to be hallowe'en so soon, but here are stage-by-stage pics of last year's pumpkin (designed by son, hacked by me). The fiddly eye cut-outs were a pain!

This year I only gave him the pumpkin
five minutes before he left for work, so surgery should be a little easier.

Mwah ha ha.

Sunday 28 October 2007

Cats and internal clocks


Ahhh. Butter wouldn't melt, would it?

And I suppose they thought they were being very restrained, leaving it until quarter past seven this morning to point out to me that I hadn't yet fed them.

They weren't to know that British Summer Time finished last night so all the clocks in the house said quarter past six...

Thursday 25 October 2007

Roving canapés

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. Yes, one of today's bits of business is to choose the menu for the Romantic Novelists' Association Winter Party.

The IMechE at One Birdcage Walk does splendid roving
canapés (so christened because the waiters wander around with trays of nibbles which hopefully won't have disappeared by the time they get to you), so narrowing it down to five hot and five cold takes some doing.

Let's see...
Chilled spears of asparagus and hollandaise shots --- tick
Cocktail Cumberland sausages with cheesy mashed potato dip --- tick
Crispy tempura vegetables with plum sauce --- tick
. . . . .
. . . . .

I should go and talk amongst yourselves if I were you. I may be some time.

Tuesday 23 October 2007

The bread of life

I'm making bread today (son and I get through a LOT of bread), so thought I would post a poem I wrote ages ago. It came out of a writing challenge to describe your favourite food. I think I was supposed to come up with something lyrical and beautiful (probably along the lines of Julie Cohen's terrific sex-and-chocolate workshop), but being on the contrary side and feeling somewhat hassled at the time, I produced this instead.

It, er, didn't win - but the bread tasted good.

No Mystery by Jan Jones

There’s no mystery to bread
... provided you remember to get the bowl out the night before
... to remind you when you stumble eyes half-closed into your
... early morning kitchen to

Get out the frozen yeast
Defrost for half an hour
... or as long as it takes to force your body awake with that
... first shock of coffee, get the children up and dressed,
... put the washing on, make the packed lunches...

Meanwhile rub the butter into the flour
... I made the coffee with just hot water and milk once - I
... still remember the surprise that I could actually
... taste the difference that time in the morning

Add some salt and make a well in the middle
Add sugar to the yeast then pour on
Two-thirds cold water, one third boiling
... using the rest for a second cup of gulped-down, searing coffee
Mix and pour into the flour well
Sprinkle with flour
Cover with a tea towel and leave to froth
... meanwhile turning off the Nintendo, cramming feet into shoes,
... plaiting hair, wiping faces, finding bags...

Knead together well
... when you get back from school after two false starts. Why
... do they always remember things thirty seconds out of the door
... and not the night before despite you asking?

And leave to rise in a warm place
... like money for the cake stall and oh, yes, the lace is broken on
... one of my trainers and I need it today, Mum, and -

Knock back
... when you get home from the supermarket
... weary in body and wallet

Divide into two oiled tins
Leave to rise again
... while you make a cup of tea this time, unpack the shopping,
... get the washing out of the machine, hang it up...

Then cook for twenty-eight minutes in a hot oven.

No, the only mystery to bread is what shops do to make it
So devoid of life.


Tuesday 16 October 2007

Most hated job

Today is going to have to be Desk Tidying Day.

It wasn't going to be. it was supposed to be an admin day. The trouble is that one of the things on the admin list is to update my website - and the instructions on how to do that are scribbled on a piece of paper towards the bottom of the pile on my desk. And as I was brought up never to waste anything, all my pieces of paper have lots of different things scribbled on them.

So I do know where the instructions are, I just don't know where they are.

..... looks at desk unenthusiastically .....

Of course,
I could simply wait for my son to return from his place of employment tonight...


Thursday 11 October 2007

Not so gone!

The deed was done. All her worldly possessions (actually not all of them, only the ones cool enough for student life) were packed into two cars and at the end of September her brother and I drove her to Warwick.

All the way up I was thinking that I simply couldn't believe I was taking my little girl to University. Where had the years gone?

Her brother fixed up her computer and checked the Internet was working. I bought her what might be her last square meal until Christmas. We drove home.

Communication was restarted by email. Maternal fears were allayed by the friends she'd made, the societies she'd joined, that fact that she'd discovered the local Tesco.

Then I get an email: "I'm thinking of coming home this weekend."
"Why?" I replied, distraught all over again. "I thought you were having a whale of a time?"
"Oh I am! It's fantastic! I'm loving it!"
"Then why do you want to come home?"
"Um, the laundrette in our block isn't working and I'm running out of socks..."