Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sorry I'm not around much at the moment and when I am I'm more than a bit distracted. Basically my mother, aged 85, is far from well and we can't see a happy end to the situation. I had to make an emergency dash yesterday to the big University Hospital in Cardiff to see her. Basically two of her vertibrae have fused together, another one is broken badly and the doctors don't know why or how it has happened. And the drugs she takes for her arthritus don't seem to be working properly either, something else the medical profession doesn't understand yet. So she isn't eating because of the pain she is in - not a good thing now she has diabetes. She's in hosptial for an indefinite period of time for tests, bone scans and more tests

Please think a special thought for my brother who lives in Cardiff and takes the brunt of the pressure of the situation.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Chicken and Watercress Soup

Here is a recipe that is very popular with the Husband. It's also cheap and easy to make and adaptable as you can add other ingredients to the finished soup. I've thrown in a handful of frozen sweetcorn into the soup in the past and to the batch I made this week I added a leftover sweet potato, peeled and diced, and just simmered it in the soup until it was cooked - it made a really good addition to the chicken and the watercress.

Chicken and Watercress Soup

1 kg chicken wings
1 medium white onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1 large potato, peeled and diced
the chickenmeat from the stock (excluding the bones and skin)
salt and pepper to taste
bunch or bag of watercress

To make the stock put the chicken wings in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then drain and rinse with fresh water to get rid of the excess fat. Then place the wings in a clean pot, cover with cold water again and add the other stock ingredients and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for an hour. Be sure to remove any fat that comes to the surface. Add a little extra water if the level falls below the bones.

Pass the stock though a sieve into another clean pot. Bring to the boil and add the diced potato. Simmer until the potato breaks down and thickens the soup (I cheat and use a potato masher when it's cooked).

While you are doing this pick the meat off the chicken wings, discarding the bones and skin. Add the chicken meat to the soup base and season with salt and pepper.

To serve chop up a few stalks of watercress and put them in the soup bowls and add the soup. Within seconds they are part of the soup. Delicious.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Modern Fairy Tale

Once upon a time
in a land far away,
a beautiful, independent,
self-assured princess
happened upon a frog as she sat
contemplating ecological issues
on the shores of an unpolluted pond
in a verdant meadow near her castle.
The frog hopped into the princess' lap
and said: " Elegant Lady,
I was once a handsome prince,
until an evil witch cast a spell upon me.
One kiss from you, however,
and I will turn back
into the dapper, young prince that I am
and then, my sweet, we can marry
and set up housekeeping in your castle
with my mother,
where you can prepare my meals,
clean my clothes, bear my children,
and forever feel
grateful and happy doing so. "
That night,
as the princess dined sumptuously
on lightly sautéed frog legs
seasoned in a white wine
and onion cream sauce,
she chuckled and thought to herself:
I don't think so.

Grin. Found on the web and I don't know who write it. But it speaks to me a lot though as I almost married someone like this - until I took a look at his mother one day and realised that this was exactly what she had taught him to expect of a wife and what hell she would put me through. I got out and have never regretted it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's working again, I think

The computer seems to be working properly again. I have to admit that although the Stepdaughter promised to find a Rentageek to work on it before she could pin her mates down to a time and date the Stepson came back and insisted on working at it. I was a little dubious - let's face it he's reading History at Cambridge and his computer experience is all what he has picked upby trial and error as first a schoolboy and now a student. It took three days but he seems to have sorted it out and the computer now seems to be working properly.

I have one problem though. The reason why I wanted to move iTunes to a new hard Disc with greater capacity is because it contains lots of audio books and unabridged books by such as P D James, Ngaio Marsh and, one of my favourites, Ruth Dudley Edwards. Each book having several CDs. All the tracks that make up each disc and hence each audio book have transferred. However the playlists of each book did not transfer over. As a result for each disc of each book just the tracks that make up each disc show up on iTunes as numbered as Track 1, Track 2, etc with no identification of which disc they come from and what the book actually is. As each disc starts from Track 1, and I failed to add anything that identified each book, it means that I now have the major task of identifying each book and working out the sequence of tracks that make up each disc and the order of discs tat make up each book. I think it's going to take me ages. Oh well, I should have added proper identification in the first place.

A few days ago I made four attempts to answer CopCar's question without success and I don't know if that was because of my computer or Blogger itself. So here goes. CopCar asked "Either those Yorkies are smaller than I think of Yorkies being, or Nimrod is, indeed, a mighty hunter--and larger than I had in mind. I'll need to go back for another look at the photo of Nimrod with your hat. Are Yorkies noisy? " What I tried to say was this: I may have exaggerated Nimrod the Mighty Hunter's strength somewhat but he is tough. Also although I've not seen the neighbour's dogs yet from memory Yorkshire Terriers are quite little things. I saw here that on average they are about 6 ins tall and about 7 lbs in weight, although I am sure I have seen adult Yorkies that are smaller than that. Anyway Ce Sera sera.

I have several letters to write now the computer is working. So Buffy and Peter (my cousin) -expect notes from me in the next few days.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Well, I managed to post here yesterday although it took ages. So I'm back again today. All is well, other than the battle of the Hard Discs. Life is generally going on. The Husband and I plan to go up to London soon to do a museum or art gallery - we planned to go today but there is something wrong with the overhead lines of the trains at the moment and we decided not to risk it yet. We had to put up with the trains when we were commuting to work every day and the luxury now is that we don't have to unless we want to and know that things aren't too bad.

We now have new neighbours. They moved in just before the Bank Holiday and comprise a couple, some kids and two dogs. They are obviously busy at the moment getting the house sorted out but seem nice people. I do have one concern, though, that keeps creeping through my mind loke a fog since they arrived: their dogs... I haven't seen the dogs yet but understand that they are Yorkshire Terriers. All the Yorkies I have seen up to now have been quite small and every time I think of that I contemplate the skills of Nimrod the Mighty Hunter. His kills have in the past included rats and squirrels which are a fair size for a cat(he lets smaller live prey loose in the house but never larger creatures which he kills and leaves the bodies in the hall for us to find). I now have a fear that I'll wake up one morning to find a dead dog there. Now I know that this is quite an unreasonable fear - as far as I know Nim has made no attempt to go into the garden since it became the dogs' territory - but I just don't want us to have poor relations with our next door neighbours, not to mention that I like dogs as well as cats. Oh well, Ce sera sera.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rentageek needed

Well I haven't thrown the computer out the window yet but it's been a close thing.

As I think I've said before, I wanted to transfer all the music, including iTunes, and photographs to a new hard disc to free up space on my Drive C. So I bought something called "My Book" from Amazon, an external Hard Drive which has 250 GB. I installed it without any problems last week and subsequently have spent hour upon hour upon hour ever since trying to transfer files to what has become my Drive F. I've tried everything, from using my iPod as a hard disc to transfer files over, reinstalling iTunes on the F Drive and even straightforwardly trying to drag folders from one drive to the next. Nothing has worked and I now seem to have links all over the place between the two drives. The end result is that the computer is now just working much slower than before, despite all the extra hard disc space, and I'm not getting anywhere.

I tried asking a question at Yahoo answers but the only reply received didn't help either. So out of sheer desperation I've sent out a cry for help this afternoon. My Stepdaughter has some of the best person and networking skills of anyone I have ever met. As a result she has a huge number of friends and acquaintances and so I wrote this afternoon to ask whether she knew anyone who could help me. She has focused in on one person and I am now waiting to hear when he can come around. In the meantime I am stuck with a computer going about the speed of a snail. Very frustrating!

I sincerely hope this goes through.