AS: 2021 The Untied Kingdom? - the British thread 2021

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  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Spent the morning dragging swathes of unhinged nasturtium off a corner of the garden. Then placing half a dozen rocks we brought back from Ireland (there'll always be a little of Co Down in Embra). Then putting in some primrose, viola and pansies.

    This afternoon I should, if I can summon the energy, turn the juice wrung from a couple of kg of apples into jam.
  • I am a bit churched out. The choir sang at two services this morning, our own at 9.15 then another church in the benefice for their Harvest at 11am. Came home thirsty and hungry, but as Mr Puzzler is away I grabbed a sandwich, glass of white and a big mug of tea. I’ll cook later. Salmon, potatoes, broccoli.

    Yesterday we had a day of discussions about our joint vision: five churches, five villages, two with church schools, one incumbent, one Lay Reader and one retired priest. Only 19 turned up and that included three Methodists, plus vicar and speaker. Quite promising, but we shall see. Decent bring and share lunch, but it had to be served to us (we could say what we wanted), though that was the only Covid restriction really. We soon dispensed with masks, and were seated cafe style, so not too close.
  • SarasaSarasa All Saints Host
    Our son has just gone back after his impromptu visit. It was a case of a quick one night visit now or not seeing him till at least November as he's got loads of work on.
    Yesterday was a bit of a wash-out as I felt so ill after my flu and pneumonia jabs. Fortunately despite very stiff right arm I am a lot better today. We took son off on the walk we did on Monday and really enjoyed. As we passed the Minster we could hear loads of clapping, not sure what they were up to.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited September 2021
    Sarasa wrote: »
    <snip>

    As we passed the Minster we could hear loads of clapping, not sure what they were up to.

    At a guess, Michaelmas ordinations of priests and/or deacons. It seems to be the custom for the congregation to applaud the newly ordained once the Deed is Done.
    :wink:

  • If it was the minster near me, they were saying farewell to their Head Verger.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I've had a lovely day with most of the family; we met up at a bistro in Kirkliston for lunch, which was most excellent (I had bread and olives to start, then a very good spaghetti carbonara, washed down with quite a lot of WINE). Then back to my niece's, where there was much cuddlage of Small Persons. :heart:
  • Glad you had a good day.

    We, reluctantly, headed out for a longer walk to check a cache, (because the reviewer seems to find new and different ways to query things that passed easily the last time), before the weather breaks. On our way out we watched a kite resisting being seen off by jackdaws, over the church tower, right in the middle of town.
  • Piglet wrote: »
    Now heading home on the train. :)
    Tell me, what's mask-wearing like on the trains and buses? Here it's supposed to be compulsory but I'd say up to 50% of passengers now don't comply.

    I'd say almost 100% of those on trains have masks, but, especially amongst younger men, they're often worn under the nose, or on the chin.
  • Here it seems that mask wearing is not required if:
    - you're young (and, especially, male)
    - you want to talk on your phone
    - you have a small child in a buggy
    - you're sitting at the back of the bus and have passed the driver.

    None of this is what the law says!

    And, as evry fule kno, a mask works just as well when it's worn around the chin!
  • Wesley JWesley J Circus Host
    Perhaps it helps some people in constant jaw-dropping events?
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited September 2021
    Here it seems that mask wearing is not required if:
    - you're young (and, especially, male)
    - you want to talk on your phone
    - you have a small child in a buggy
    - you're sitting at the back of the bus and have passed the driver.

    None of this is what the law says!

    And, as evry fule kno, a mask works just as well when it's worn around the chin!

    Same here in Merry Arkland (though there is now no law AFAIK)). Tess Coe was full of covidiots this morning, mostly the younger elements of that endangered species (specie?).

    It took me a while to get to Tess Coe, on account of the traffic queueing for a nearby petrol station. I think some of them were going to be out of luck, as I observed (when I eventually passed the petrol station) that most pumps were already closed.

    I think any further shopping needed this week will be done at the local Co-Op, and, if they haven't got exactly what I want, I'll make do with something else, or go without.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Purgatory Host, Circus Host
    I was welcomed into my week by Captain Pyjamas having an outbreak of vomititis which he presumably brought home from school*. Oh the joys of motherhood. :grimace: He seems to have got it out of his system now, and looked indescribably tired after all the excitement, so I think he's set for a mega-nap. There's that at least.

    I am contemplating a mega-nap myself. The weather is changeable but inclement, so I think it might be the way to go.

    * I enjoyed Stephen Colbert's joke the other day about how American kids are going to be able to get Covid vaccinations. They won't be able to spread Covid anymore, and can get back to spreading every other contagious illness known to man.

  • Same here in Merry Arkland (though there is now no law AFAIK)). Tess Coe was full of covidiots this morning, mostly the younger elements of that endangered species (specie?).

    Species. Both singular and plural of the word are the same. Biology knows of no word "specie"
  • You're right. "Specie" means money, specifically coins rather than notes.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Jam making attempt number 2. I was so afraid of over-boiling like the last lot, that I whipped it off the heat after the minimum time. However it seems not to be too runny in the still-warm jars, so hopefully will set.

    2kg of apples = 4 pots, which is a year's worth for this house. And still leaves me with a lot of apples.
  • KarlLB wrote: »

    Same here in Merry Arkland (though there is now no law AFAIK)). Tess Coe was full of covidiots this morning, mostly the younger elements of that endangered species (specie?).

    Species. Both singular and plural of the word are the same. Biology knows of no word "specie"
    You're right. "Specie" means money, specifically coins rather than notes.

    Thank you, gentlemen.

    I could have looked it up on Professor G Oogle's Magic Electric Interweb Answer Machine, but it's much better coming from Real Live Humming Beans!
  • Who, of course, looked it up on ...

    No, I did know it meant Real Money; but not coins alone.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Purgatory Host, Circus Host
    Firenze wrote: »
    Jam making attempt number 2. I was so afraid of over-boiling like the last lot, that I whipped it off the heat after the minimum time. However it seems not to be too runny in the still-warm jars, so hopefully will set.

    2kg of apples = 4 pots, which is a year's worth for this house. And still leaves me with a lot of apples.

    Do you like compote? Can be frozen or jarred.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    The jam sounds delicious - I'll bring bread ... :)
    It was extremely moist in these parts today, and I discovered just too late that the shoes I put on aren't as watertight as they were. They're eight years old, so they don't owe me anything, but spending a day with wet trotters wasn't much fun.
  • SarasaSarasa All Saints Host
    Loads of rain and wind this morning but things brightened up a bit this afternoon. We had a trip out to see Sir Isaac Newton's family home. A very enjoyable visit it was too. Husband really had fun in the science centre proving various Newtonian laws with beans bags etc. Somewhere to take our son when he's next up.
    I still feel rather rubbish after my flu and pneumonia jabs, so I'm having a lazy evening which will include BBC quiz programmes followed by a bath.
  • We were going to have our first trip away from our home town since February 2020 this week, but though we have a full tank of petrol and could get there, we’re not confident we could get home again. Thankfully the hotel has deferred our stay till the end of October with no penalties.
    So instead of celebrating Mr Bee’s 71st birthday we will toast our sapphire wedding anniversary. Unless the universe knows different…
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Congratulations on the wedding anniversary, Tree Bee! :heart: Shame about the trip away though - but probably wise.

  • Congrats on the anniversary Tree Bee; commiserations on the trip.

    I’d like a day trip out wandering round some old house or garden, some change from the monotony of life. With some nice tea and cake.

    Today I am recording some short welcome videos for my students. I’ve never done one before; I send out my welcome emails, arrange phone calls and obviously have tutorials but I thought a short 5 minute ‘hi’ on the website so that they can see and hear me early on, plus a few study tips, might be a good addition to my communications. I have 5 to do as I need separate ones for each tutorial group.
  • Sarasa wrote: »
    a lazy evening which will include BBC quiz programmes followed by a bath.

    I would have settled for the quiz programmes too, but a local poetry group were holding their first in-person meeting since before you-know-what, at a - what am I saying, THE -coffee shop within walking distance, so we went to that. It was terrific, cf. @Heavenlyannie, as you observed - the less you want to go, the more fun you will have!

    I was still recovering from the weekend's excitement, which was a two-day trip with Miss S, SiL and TIGs #1&2, to what the Simpsons call Blockoland! It's been booked for 4 months, in conditions of absolute secrecy because #1 didn't even know such a place existed and would have been consistently unbearable if he'd found out. It was all worth while to see his face when we turned into the car park...

    ...and yes, all 5 devotees had a fabulous time! Mr S was invited but declined politely on the grounds that trailing round a theme park with two over-excited small boys and their over-excited grandma was not his idea of fun! :lol:
  • Oh, @The Intrepid Mrs S, how fabulous.
  • I liked Legoland and shall remain ever grateful I managed to win tickets to it when my daughter was 10 or 11, so still just within the optimum ages to enjoy it. Our visit was around the end of October, and one particularly magical part of the experience was the lantern walk as it got dark - various people dressed up carrying lanterns followed by fireworks we could view from the park safely. It also meant we did the dragon ride in the dark. I don't recommend the water rides in late October.
  • SarasaSarasa All Saints Host
    That sounds fun @The Intrepid Mrs S . Great that you could keep it a secret from your grandson. I'm so glad you had a fab time, and I'm glad the poetry was good too.
    I'm feeling quite a bit better today, though my arm still hurts a bit. We have the excitement of a virtual meeting with a curtain fitter later.
  • Well, the Winter of Discontent has begun in Arkland, as the Dragon has been woken from his estival sleep, and is even now cooking me some nice Southern Fried Chicken. He will, of course, insist on being cleaned out, and fed with Coal and/or Logs, now and then, but already the ambient warmth is spreading through the Ark.

    A certain amount of Dust will also spread itself around, but hey...

    Now is the time for basic foodstuffs such as PIES and CHIPS to be bought, as I prefer cooking them in the Dragon rather than in the gas oven - bottled gas is Not Cheap...whether or not the price will increase as a result of the present Crisis is not yet known...

    BTW, I hope everyone has managed to get Petrol if they need it - many of our local petrol stations are closed, and those that are still open have long queues.



  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    One of the nice things about Kitchen Dragons such as that found on the Ark in the winter is BAKED POTATOES (one of David's favourite things), assuming you realise that you want them sufficiently far in advance that you can give them plenty of cooking time. And plenty of butter, obviously, and some grated CHEESE.
    ----
    Supper chez Piglet tonight was a bit of a fridge-clearing exercise. Prawns, mushrooms and tomatoes that wanted using up, cooked with a shallot, garlic, a pinch each of tarragon and crushed chillies, a splash of white wine and a splat or two of crème fraîche, and mixed with pasta twists. It was really nice, and on the table in half an hour, start to finish, which is no small consideration when you don't get home from work until nearly six o'clock (and have to feck about doing Lateral Flow tests twice a week when you get there).
  • I’ve just finished an evening meeting and was pleased to find my husband had cooked a very nice chilli with rice. Now having a hoppy beer.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Purgatory Host, Circus Host
    Well that was tiring. Captain Pyjamas went to the hospital today for one of those tests where they stick electrodes all over your head and look at your brain activity. Said test is conducted while the child is asleep, so they ask you to restrict their sleep the night before. Captain Pyjamas was put to bed at 10 p.m. and woken up at 6 a.m. I found it pretty exhausting, and I'm a grown adult. There's only so many episodes of Fireman Sam a body can watch, and I feel like we read every book he owns.

    There's a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture. He was a right grumpy little bugger this morning, but when he finally got there, forewarned by me that he was going for a big sleep, would he sleep? The heck.

    I'm tired.

    (TBH I'm expecting said test to come back saying there's nothing wrong with him. It's one of those "rule everything out" things.)
  • Firenze wrote: »
    Jam making attempt number 2. I was so afraid of over-boiling like the last lot, that I whipped it off the heat after the minimum time. However it seems not to be too runny in the still-warm jars, so hopefully will set.

    2kg of apples = 4 pots, which is a year's worth for this house. And still leaves me with a lot of apples.

    @Firenze my lockdown project has been the making of large quantities of marmalade and other jams. Our local winery/orchard has a glut of citrus due to lack of tourists, a friend has trees bearing generously, and our kumquat tree has delivered three flushes of fruit this year. Additionally strawberries are in glut due to COVID restrictions on shipping, and I've unearthed a 2kg tub of frozen blackberries which we bought on a country excursion many moons ago.

    So, up to now I estimate about 14 dozen jars of various marmalades, three batches of strawberry jam, a first batch of blackberry and a batch of kumquat pickle from an old country women's recipe. The majority of the marmalades will go back to the winery for sale. Surplus quantities will be sold at church or in the parish opshop to raise funds for mission projects in the Pacific islands, or donated for use in COVID care packages being distributed by some of our parishioners.

    Are you using pectin to help your jelly set? My blood orange marmalade needs added pectin as the fruit is so sweet and thus is low in natural pectin.
  • Apples shouldn't need pectin, they are high pectin fruit, Wikipedia suggests 1-1.5%. It's why they are used as a base jelly for other fruits. Unlike blackberries, which I'd only try to make as blackberry and apple jam.

    I've tried this once so long ago I can't remember how it worked fruit leather. But I was making jam and pickles because I'd been near my parents and been given 10kg of damsons and the same if not more of apple windfalls. And I didn't have a freezer.

    With a freezer we'd freeze apple slices (single layer and then box) or apple puree, and eat that all winter with yoghurt and muesli for breakfast. Also store like an apple loft in a shed, not touching on trays and check weekly, pulling any going off to use immediately. You can smell as you open the door if there's a problem.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    With our apples we (i.e. my better half) peel and slice them then bag them in useable sizes with sugar added to reduce browning. Then whenever we want an apple pudding of some kind we simply get a bag out of the freezer and thaw it.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I'd happily turn out more jam, but it's a slow business. My largest pan just holds 2kg, then the pulp goes into my one muslin bag and has to hang around (from a clothes hanger on a cupboard door) overnight, before boiling up.

    Freezer space also very limited, so I think it'll be a run of apple desserts for a week or so - crumble tonight!
  • @Firenze - are you rrreeeeaddddy toooo CRRRUUUMMBLE?
    (think boxing announcer voice)
  • Sitting on top of one of my kitchen cupboards is a enamelled two-handled pan that takes maybe 10 litres of liquid that gets used for pickle and jam making. It also makes a lot of rice in one hit when catering. It doesn't get used a lot, but it's so useful when I need it that it makes the cut when I'm tidying up. I also can't reach it without standing on something so it's mostly out of reach out of mind.

    @BroJames - we free froze the apple because we didn't want to add sugar - we all usually eat unsweetened puree as sweet enough. I also go looking for unsweetened muesli.
  • Our old huge enamelled pan migrated to my dyeing kit when I used to sell hand dyed organic fabrics for cloth nappy making (I still use it for dyeing fleece). These days if I need to bulk cook anything I use the large pasta pan which holds about 6 or 7 litres and has a good solid bottom.

    I'm tired after an evening meeting last night so I think it will be a light admin day.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    @Firenze - are you rrreeeeaddddy toooo CRRRUUUMMBLE?
    (think boxing announcer voice)

    Mostly I just sing melancholic songs

    Sometimes it causes me to crumble, crumble, crumble...

    Ain't nobody knows de crumble I've seen
  • Crumble - made one on Monday from rhubarb, raspberries and apple. all home grown (admittedly the apples home grown by someone else, but Not From A Shop)

    All gone now. Unfortunately two out of three children object profusely to rhubarb. Damned shame. Damned damned damned shame...
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Unfortunately two out of three children object profusely to rhubarb.
    Now that's a true Victor Meldrew moment!

  • SarasaSarasa All Saints Host
    I went swimming this morning for the first time in over a year. The pool at the leisure centre in our new town is pretty good, and the facilities were great. The only downside is it is a thirty five minute walk away. I'm keen to try out what else is on offer now.
    Our virtual curtain fitter meet was more of a chat, but at least she gave us some good tips. We now need to go into nearest big town and visit a certain store not liked by our beloved leader to sort out some fabric and chat to them about a real person coming out to fit a curtain rail.
    All this talk of crumble is making me hungry.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    We had new curtains in the front room recently. Fabulous but expensive ! They are rather like a watercolour painting.
  • Argh lver I feel your pain. I hope it was all worth it and despite not sleeping Captain Pyjama’s tests come back clear, as you hope.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited September 2021
    When I was in first year in the grammar school (age 12-13), I had to do Home Economics, which included cookery. To say I wasn't very good would have been an understatement (I hadn't yet discovered the joys of cooking), and my relationship with the teacher was iffy at best (it started when the first egg I cracked landed on the wrong side of the bowl and descended rapidly to the floor, and didn't really improve).

    However, when exam time came, I had to make an apple crumble, and the teacher grudgingly admitted that mine tasted rather good, and gave me a B.*

    I don't think I ever made another one, although I did make rhubarb crumble when someone gave us a bag of rhubarb (not one of my favourite things), and as I recall, David thought it was pretty good.

    * if I'd remembered to wipe the stray crumbs from the edge of the pie-dish, I might have got an A.
    I cheated for supper this evening and bought an M&S salmon-in-the-microwave thing; it was all right, but not as nice as the similar thing I do in the oven.
    Sarasa wrote: »
    I went swimming this morning ...
    Please tell me you remembered to put your bathing-costume on ... :naughty:
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Good morning, all. To say that it's absolutely pishing with rain would be a serious understatement.

    Why can't it just rain at night when I don't have to be anywhere?
  • Rain here too, though not heavy, and I have to walk to Waitrose shortly.
  • Wesley JWesley J Circus Host
    Warm and autumnally sunny here, a few drops of rain happened yesterday. Day off today as there's a public holiday at one school place. And autumn school break is upon us, in Continental WesShire, from this weekend, for two weeks. :)
  • I had a baking disaster yesterday - it was supposed to be a Victoria sponge, but it turned out more like a giant biscuit. I shoved it through the food processor to turn it into crumbs, and used those as a crumble topping. It turned out well.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    Piglet wrote: »
    Good morning, all. To say that it's absolutely pishing with rain would be a serious understatement.

    Why can't it just rain at night when I don't have to be anywhere?

    I’ve always said that - a light shower every night would do fine. What can be so difficult?

This discussion has been closed.