Sunday, December 23, 2007

36F - Foggy wet start - John came

I've no idea where yesterday's Jasmine nudiflorum went. It vanished from my copy too. So I have reinstated it.

A cold, foggy, tree-drippy start to the day - you can see the water-droplets on the branches in Picture 1. Apart from the goldfinch upper right, I think this is a great tit. Do you think the title "Sorry I'm late, I'm with that table over there" would suit?

We nipped out fairly early for the purpose of last minute Christmas goods, greens etc., and milk and Morrisons was packed. Not easy to find a parking space and I suppose everyone thought "We'll go this morning because it will be busy tomorrow". Probably be half empty in the morning.

John came with Laura and Alannah which was a joy. Two such beautiful grown up granddaughters. Alannah now is much taller than me, and has the confidence to carry herself really well. She could be a model but fortunately has the brains to aim a little higher. Laura is fine and settling into Newcastle. It was lovely to see them and John says that 2008 will be his last working year before retirement. He has no firm plans and they intend to go away for perhaps 6 months in the camper-van before reaching any other decisions.

Tomorrow Steven and family are coming for lunch, together with Tracy and I have promised beef and onions so I thought I would make a start this evening. I managed to find a good-looking shin (maybe I mentioned it) and I can always manage 5 adults and 3 children from the Prestige base used as a slow-cooker. Having reached the stage illustrated all I need to do is set my alarm for 6-ish and cook it at about 110-115C for around 7 hours. That way it leaves my double oven free for roast potatoes, roast parsnips, and Yorkshire puddings etc., and the hob for greens, extra gravy, carrots etc. All being well, nothing will burn, stick, go soggy, refuse to rise et al.

Comments........Bungus. So glad you renewed friendship with an old pal (being chucked off slides notwithstanding) - one of mine, who taught me how to drive a patrol car has just died which is bad. I hadn't seen him for decades and would like to have done. This Jamie Oliver 'turkey carving' sounds interesting, even though we don't have turkey.

I also am keen on Robins. Apparently we English are nice to them and, in consequence, they like us and become quite tame. On the continent they are not nice to them, shooting, snaring etc., and therefore the Robins keep their distance.

Jill. I'm sure you are sensible to finish off the gammon joint in the oven. My guess is that slow-cookers don't suit anything where a glazed or roasted finish is sought. We also were happy that Alesha won SCD. We both voted for her after 2 dances, but then Matt did a brilliant 3rd dance. Rather stupidly I thought he also deserved my vote so I rang again. Thereby making my votes completely useless. On witnessing this Y thought that the balance had been tipped unfairly in Matt's favour, so she rang again and recorded a further vote for Alesha. Thank goodness it is all in aid of charity ! An excellent series though and we have thoroughly enjoyed it.

.......He's just off to check on his sleigh. Publication of RadioGandy maybe intermittent or hurried for a few days. Some of you are away anyway, or will be otherwise engaged. Have a great time. Catch you later.....



bungus said...

All right Jill, the Sheriff of Nottingham 'joke' was pushing it a bit but the Pearl Barley, as I acknowledged, was a stolen amendment from the great late Ronnie Scott (‘… we do have a fantastic professional comedian at the Club. We call him the chef … he’s half black and half Japanese and every 7 December he attacks Pearl Bailey.’ … and another ‘We also took on a Hungarian waiter. He didn’t understand the social security system when he first started to work for us and he used to stick Green Shield stamps on his insurance card. He got nicked for it – the judge gave him six months. And a tea set.’)

Sandra did a half gammon today (Sunday). Simmered in our largest saucepan (which it filled) with onions, celery and carrots, then glazed with English mustard and demerara sugar and roasted in cider. We had it hot for tea/supper with mash, leeks in white sauce, carrots, broccoli, the cider gravy and Cumberland sauce (which I love). Then I had oranges in a cointreau syrup with vanilla ice-cream. Christmas has started. There is, of course, plenty of ham left for cold cutting over the next week or so.

I now have the Winter jasmine macro picture and think that this is the way to see and appreciate it. The blossom so easily gets lost in the foliage otherwise.

A Great tit in a great hurry, I’d say.

Tesco was pretty busy at 3.00 pm yesterday but not absolutely frantic. Netto no problem. Farmfoods, the only place with a decent vanilla ice-cream (Carte d’Or, by Walls), almost empty.

If granddaughter Alannah could be a model it might be a preferred option. I am pretty sure that Frank Lampard, in spite of his intelligence and public school education, does not regret being a Chelsea and England footballer. But, of course, everyone should do what they want to do if it is within their grasp.

Hope the shin lives up to expectations.

Not exactly an ‘old pal’ who contacted me out of the blue. Apart from the mountain slide incident I only recall seeing him, to say ‘Ay-up Brun, Y’all right?’, perhaps half a dozen times between 1943 and 1960, usually at Field Mill (home of the Stags, ie, Mansfield Town FC). But like others such as Terry Hennessey, Gordon Bell and Chris John-Baptiste, someone I regard with a sort of affection.

Americans, as you will know, don’t have proper robins. Theirs are bigger and less refined. Ours, of course, to other birds including their fellows, are aggressive, bad tempered little creatures. What you see is not what you get!

Have a good Xmas everyone.
(I used to deplore the use of Xmas rather than Christmas until I realised, having seen 'Xians' on the printed page, that X is text for Christ and, therefore, a valid form).

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for Christmas to everyone.


mannanan said...

Hiya Graham just popped in after a long absence and caught up on all your skeet.Glad to see that you are still posting some great pics love the flying bird, great action shot.Hope the shin has turned out OK reminded me of the dinners my Mom cooked when I was a lad. have to agree with you about the Christmas card it is a bit awful isn't it though not a one off as we had a wierd one ourselves which I've written about on todays edition of my blog which you can read here...
Take care and I hope you and Yvonne along with all your regulars have a great Christmas and an even better New Year.....All the best.....Pete

Reg said...

Morrison's was very busy this morning , biggest problem getting out of the car park, queues right back past the store entrance and at all the petrol pumps. I am sure that we would be better off with out the traffic lights around the Sun Inn.
Also in typical Eastwood fashion, 11:30a.m. the public toilets locked up . Good job I was not desperate, more people in Easwood then I have seen before in the last thirty plus years. In years past on D.H.L.'s birthday the Mayor had to take Japanese tourists to her home (council house) because the toilets where closed!!! Reg