Sunday, 28 September 2014

Today was quince-picking day, a day earlier than last year, but much the same photographs. There were no quinces in 2012 but in 2011 I picked them on the 25th September on a much gloomier day than today, and in 2010 I waited until the 4th of October before harvesting.

This year has been a poor year for my quince tree. I have picked just twenty-five fruit with a handful left on the tree out of reach. Lots have fallen already rotten to the ground. Last year I had ten times as many and gave away hundreds for pig food. Twenty-five is an ideal number of quinces to have though. I need five or six to make around five jars of jelly and two to make a bottle of quince vodka. I shall bake some, stew some into a delicious purée and still have plenty to spare.


Thanks for all the good wishes for George as he embarks upon university life. Two trips from the car to his room was all it took to unload his stuff. We had a quick look round his room (a box just big enough for a bed, a sink and a desk) and the kitchen before heading to the welcome centre for lunch and then home. We were there less than an hour. No point hanging around so we left him to it. 
Interesting fact - Hull has cream coloured telephone boxes.

Student Provisions


Friday, 26 September 2014

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post I really enjoyed reading them. Such mundane domestic tasks may seem unimportant and perhaps we feel a bit silly to have rules and methods for performing them efficiently but I don't think so, consider this; 'the ordinary acts we practise every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest'.*


Tomorrow George leaves home. He's heading to the University of Hull to study Physics and drink beer. This is a Good Thing, he has spent the last year at home doing not very much and is in dire need of occupation and we are all looking forward to this new chapter in his life.

He is spending his first year in semi-catered halls of residence which means he will be provided with an evening meal but will have to find breakfast and lunch himself. This is also a Good Thing because as I said in this post his ability and enthusiasm for cooking is limited.  Although he won't actually need to cook anything I have equipped him with some basic kitchen equipment so that he can make eggs, cook bacon, heat soup and beans, and make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (I don't suppose he will for one minute). I have also packed him a box of provisions to keep him going for a couple of weeks.

Student Provisions for Breakfasts and Lunches

I limited fresh stuff to things he will need immediately. Sandwich fillers such as ham, hummus, eggs,  he can buy himself later. He may even buy himself some fruit and veg**.

A loaf of bread 

A pint of milk
A packet of butter
A block of Cheddar
A carton of longlife orange juice
Small packet of sugar (for tea)
Huge jar of Nutella
Huge tub of peanut butter
A jar of homemade apricot jam
A jar of homemade blackcurrant jam
A bottle of sriracha hot sauce
Salt and pepper
Small bottle of oil
3 tins of baked beans
4 tins of soup - the kind with lots of veg and beans in
2 tins of fruit
2 bottles of beer
A ginormous bag of homemade granola
A homemade fruitcake
A 4lb bag of apples

Equipment for a semi-catered student hall of residence

Most of these were my cast-offs, things marked with an asterisk were bought new.

A small non-stick frying pan*

A medium sized saucepan
A baking tray
Tin-opener/bottle opener* (he has a corkscrew on his Swiss Army knife).
Slotted spoon/serving spoon*
Wooden spatula
Fish slice (turner)
Cook's knife
Pint glass
2 small tumblers
Dinner plate, medium sized plate, side plate, bowl
2 forks, 2 knives, 2 spoons, 2 teaspoons
Set of plastic food boxes*

Miscellaneous items

Large packet of anti-bac wipes (apparently there are cleaners so no need for bottles of Cif etc)

Washing powder

It's very tempting to try to provide everything he might need and to tell him Everything I Know About Life, but I have to remind myself that the boy is now a man and will be able to sort his own stuff out. The work part of being his mother is done, now all I have left to do is worry.

George's Cake

*Attributed to the poet Thomas Moore although I cannot find the source.

** He won't

Pegging Out


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

To 'peg out' is one of the many British euphemisms for dying* but it also refers to drying, the drying of laundry on a washing line outside. Ali wrote a wonderful post about pegs and other domestic matters. She has an enviable collection of pegs. Mine is simpler, wooden pegs only for me. If I had coloured pegs I might be tempted to colour match them with the items to be pegged out, and as Ali says that would be taking matters too far and I am already enough of a laundry control freak as it is. I am reminded of my control-freakery every time I ask someone else in my family to hang the laundry and ten minutes after they have done it I'm out there re-pegging it properly.

You wouldn't believe the number of rules I have about proper pegging out behaviour.

1). Items must be thoroughly shaken before pegging to minimise the need for ironing. This particularly applies to tea towels.

2). Items must be turned the right way out. Exceptions are for jeans and other bulky items which must be turned inside out half-way through drying to ensure all the pockets dry properly.

3). Items must be folded over the line with the bare minimum of fabric to ensure quick drying.

4). Unless it is a really good drying day duvet covers must be looped on the line, ie a peg at each corner so that air can circulate.

5). Tops are pegged at their bottom edge and bottoms are pegged at the top edge. There is no reason for this other than because I say so.

6). Socks must never be pegged in pairs. They will take ages to dry. We don't have issues with missing socks in our house and I have never understood why people do -put them in the washing machine, take them out of the washing machine, where else are they going to go?

7). Take items down as they dry to prevent overcrowding on the line and consequent slower drying.

8). Be very happy when there is a warm breeze and blue skies and all three loads are washed and dry before 3pm.

You'll be relieved to know that I don't impose my pegging out rules on my family, I am properly grateful when they help, but I do find it hard to understand why they can't see the logic and sense of my method. Sigh. Tell me I'm not the only one.

*To kick the bucket
  To fall off your branch
  To rub out (this one may have been peculiar to my father-in-law)
  To pop your clogs
  To shuffle off this mortal coil
  To join the choir invisible

Just Now I Am......


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

~ Picking a messy tangle of sedum, black-eyed Susan, rose hips and michaelmas daisies.

~ Forgetting to take photos of the things I have cooked recently. If you are interested though, recent delicious things have been this chicken, my version of Salisbury steak, ham and pineapple pizza, a Thai-ish fish and mango curry and good old roast chicken.

~ Baking scones, lots of scones. Scones, I find are the perfect teenager-filler, quick to make, easy to make, cheap to make and sugar-free (although the teenagers do cover them with jam or honey). They have to be a decent size, at least four inches in diameter.

~ Chucking my hodgkin away. It had developed a nasty looking grey mould on its surface. My damson gin is fine though and soon it will be time to make the quince vodka.

~ Wondering whether I shall wake up on Friday morning in a different shaped country.

~ Hoping not.

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