Monday, February 27, 2006

Found me how?


Girls surprise enemas is the latest odd search term to wend its way to the abode of the Weevil. What's your weirdest? I thought parsnip fay weldon and zebra f***ing were rather odd enough.

I wouldn't recommend a surprise enema. In my experience the expected type are quite bad enough. If you can possibly avoid it a surprise examination should be avoided too; the last thing you need to hear is the unexpected clank of a speculum being cranked somewhere behind you, especially if the doctor hasn't even introduced himself. Bloody rude if you ask me.

Shrove Tuesday


So are you ready to be shriven? The season of Lent is almost upon as and as you prepare to fast (or atleast give something up that means more than a hill of beans to you) you should be dusting off your frying pan and mixing up your batter ahead of tomorrow's festivities.

For the pancakes you will need:

Ingredients for the pancake mixture:
110g/4oz plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
2 eggs
200ml/7fl oz milk mixed with 75ml/3fl oz water
50g/2oz butter
To serve:
caster sugar
lemon juice
lemon wedges

That's right; in the spirit of hair-shirtiness that goes with eating pancakes and being shriven, you must eschew the delights of syrup on your pancake(s) and go for the sweet and sour delight of lemon and sugar. They should also be, as the popular phrase states, as flat as a pancake, more like a crepe than an American breakfast pancake.

Now that you have that right, there's just one question left. What will you be giving up?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Forensicating


Unlike gubbins, forensicating has yet to make it into OED (source askoxford). It was most recently spotted in a press conference given by Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Leppard (left)earlier this week. Thinking it must be an Americanism, I searched Merriam Webster online but drew a blank there too.

I did find a reference to it on Hansard (15 Oct 2003 : Column 958; Lord Carlile of Berriew) so it must be real, mustn't it?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Gubbins

gubbins

• plural noun Brit. informal 1 treated as sing. or pl. miscellaneous items; paraphernalia. 2 treated as sing. a gadget.
— ORIGIN originally in the sense fragments: from obsolete gobbon piece, slice, gob, from Old French.

From askoxford

Friday Picture


These little oil pastels (Fruit Pastels as the Painter calls them) were created on sunny afternoons in our old garden with Harry Potter, the boy who lived HPTBWL (as the two year old genius is now known) running round in the nude and me pottering with plants.

It seems fairly unreal if you look back at how chewed up about it all I was at the beginning of this blog; I know feel quite light about it all. A lot of this has to do with the fact that my plants, as many of them as we could manage anyway, are now at the allotment. I got to say some things and clear my chest a bit after stroke number two and that has been freeing.

The Painter is about to go back to work we think - well atleast give it ago; I think he might find the trogging back and forth on the bus slightly more draining than he thinks but he can only give it a try. Driving is not an option yet; it might be if we had an automatic but a gear stick is just beyond the pale. The car is, in any case, garaged about a mile away as the crow flies. It has no MOT, a valid SORN and has been broken by the arsehole downstairs (that was a battle I didn't have the energy for) parking his tipper truck on the bonnet.

We never had any of this crap when we lived in the INNER CITY, the 'burbs suck.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

There's snow business like ...


... my petty obsession with the weather. Over at the Metcheck forum they are having a discussion on local words for the process of snow covering the ground. I obviously have words I use myself but what do you use and where does it [they] come from. Perhaps we can create a snow vocab map of Great Britain and ultimately, well, who knows, the world.

So as we all slowly head back under the duvet to keep warm, have a think, won't you?

Some service disruption should be expected


The new template seems to have buggered everything up. In fairness it wasn't the new template (which I have now reverted to) but the addition of all my gubbins to the new template. Ally over at Ducking for Apples recommended a tool which went completely over my head .

So I have taken out all my gubbins and will be putting it back in a bit at a time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Meet Catriona and her mate Adora ...



The small ones on the left are the white skinned, purple eyed variety "Catriona", the butch looking ones are a low carbohydrate potato (?!?) "Adora", recently arrived from Thompson and Morgan.

The junk at the back is remnants of our neighbours' decision to opt for a non-sustainable lifestyle. They seem to have replaced all the beds twice while we've been living here (just over a year) and have done in 4 or 5 vacuum cleaners.

As you can see, I have opted for the chitting option. Last year I put them in the ground unchitted and although Monty Don said on Gardener's World last year that it made no difference, ours fell pray to drought last year so I'm attempting to give them a better start. Of course it all involves me actually going to the allotment which given the fact I haven't been there since the Artist had stroke number two in Sepotember is bound to look remarkably like Borneo and not like suburban Plymouth at all. Infact it's quite likely that I'll uncover a missing pensioner in my quest to find bare earth.

It's not my birthday or anything ...

... I just felt like a new look. I've been toying around with different things for a while now (and had a sght more success with blogskins than with haircuts I have to tell you - the poodle look is now out in favour of the scalped look).

The thing that put me off was after my catastrophic loss of my entire blog last year and the time it took to get things as near back to normal (odd choice of word) as I could, I was very reluctant to change things again. Plus I was quite fond of the old skin - it felt like a well worn pair of jeans. This one feels a little too dark blue and rather stiff at the moment and I've got to sort out all the things for the side.

It should keep me out of harms way for an afternoon, anyway. Which, given the way my day is going, is a good thing.

Monday, February 20, 2006

BTW

I probably should have said, it's not just a random bottom. It's mine; all mine. Mwahahaha.

Number Quiz


1. 366 - DIALY - ANSWER: 366 Days in a leap year
2. 4 - ATBBIAP
3. 42 - TMOLTUAE
4. 3 - STH
5. 99 - RB
6. 76 - TITBP
7. 4 - HOTA
8. 3.141 - PTTDP
9. 50 - WTLYL
10. 2468 - NTL
11. 20 - FOIAP
12. 3 - BGG
13. 17 - TAHATM
14. 646 - SITHOC
15. 2468 - WDWA
16. 56 - PUS
17. 1947 - TPOI
18. 666 - TNOTB
19. 7 - SOR
20. 5 - GR

No prize, just a pleasant feeling of smug satisfaction.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Itinerary of my life


Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire; Lossiemouth, Morayshire; Mullion, Cornwall; Liverpool, Lancashire; Mullion, Cornwall; Falmouth, Cornwall; Torpoint, Cornwall; Southwick, Hampshire; Rosyth, Fife; Inverkeithing, Fife; Dunfermline, Fife; Ilchester, Somerset; Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria; Falmouth, Cornwall; Barrow-in Furness, Cumbria; Falmouth, Cornwall; Plymouth, Devon; London; Plymouth, Devon. (All the links are different)

If you don't know where any of the places are click this link to the map on the left.

Curried Parsnip Soup


You will need about:
2lbs of parsnips,
2 largish potatoes
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons of mild curry powder
3 pints of chicken stock
Olive oil (a light one is fine - not extra virgin)
1/4 pint of single cream (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop your onion and garlic and sweat gently in a large pan with olive oil over a low heat until translucent. Peel and roughly chop your parsnip and potatoes. Add your parsnips to the onions and garlic and cook over a low heat until they begin to colour slightly. Add your potatoes and your stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Once your soup is boiling simmer for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes and parsnips are cooked through.

Remove from the heat and blend until smooth. Return to the pan and add your cream. Serve with some nice crusty bread and garnish with slivers of caramelised fried onion and a large glass of chilled dry white wine.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Look through my window

I'm busy completing the Johari Window thingy, which I cadged from Ally, via Kitchen Witch and the Madster.

Having to restrict yourself to six litle words was very difficult because I wanted to use them all but I managed and came up with the best matches I could. What do you think?

Once you've done mine you can set up your own.

Now off to do the Baggage's; Kitchen Witch, I hardly know you, so perhaps I'll wait a bit until I do yours.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Who'd have thunk it?

You scored as English. You should be an English major! Your passion lies in writing and expressing yourself creatively, and you hate it when you are inhibited from doing so. Pursue that interest of yours!

English

100%

Linguistics

92%

Journalism

92%

Theater

83%

Philosophy

75%

Dance

67%

Psychology

67%

Engineering

58%

Mathematics

58%

Sociology

50%

Art

50%

Chemistry

42%

Biology

42%

Anthropology

33%


What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with QuizFarm.com

Thanks to Loads of Rabbit from whom I stole this quiz.

Friday picture



Bottoms up! Or itchy bum surprise to come or other such sayings with reference to bottoms.

This and other bare naked ladies can be found over at the Artists Minigallery site.

Hydra



"Two of Britain's finest war poets - Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon - spent time at a hospital for officers with shell shock, in Edinburgh during 1917 and 1918. The episode inspired Pat Barker's novel "Regeneration", which has been made into a film. But now the hunt is on for some literary memorabilia produced at the time... the Craiglockhart War Hospital magazine.

It was called "The Hydra". Wilfred Owen edited it. It published new work by both authors, and many other patients at the hospital. But no-one seems to have a complete set of all the magazines that were produced. Now Napier University, who own the Craiglockhart building, want to bring the magazine home, to add to their war poets collection. " says BBC Scotland reporter Huw Williams.

I've been a huge fan (not a word usually associated with war poetry) all my adult life and The Hydra played an important part in the creation of some of the Twentieth Century's greatest poetry.

If you happen to have a copy loafing under your bed or wedging the leg of the wobbly table in the dining room can you please let Napier University know.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

UN ... concerned.

The UN seems to have its finger on the pulse again. Apparently the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay should be closed without delay and all the prisoners tried or released.
The BBC article carries the full text of the report here (pdf).

The detention of people without trial makes a mockery of US (and indeed British) claims for the moral highground. To demand that other nations abide by the international rule of law we have to be exemplary in our own affairs and we are not. We are falling far short of the ideals we set for others. Our politicians use fear of attack to provide a smoke screen and the UN sits on its hands until it is forced to react in a gummy, half-hearted attack.

Here endeth the lesson.

Dead Meat ...



Well days of excitement have now culminated in this: a freezer full of dead animal. Well three dead animals, and some bits of other dead animals.

To be precise a lamb, two pheasants, some beef and some pork - there is a bag of frozen peas there too; wouldn't want Gillian McKeith to have a complete heart attack, would we?

We decided to go with Lobbs Farm next door to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in the end and we are really pleased. Excellent value and friendly fast and efficient service.

We had really delicious lamb chops last night and I think the Artist has a tagine planned. The only downside will be not eating it all at once. The vegetable box from Riverford Organics is arriving on Tuesday and once again I feel like a kid with a new toy. The funny thing is I don't even like vegetables.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday picture



You can find this picture
on the Artist's Minigallery website. In real life it's a little warmer looking than the photo and the mysterious girl? It's a mystery.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Masterchef

I have to confess to being ever-so-slightly obsessed by MasterChef Goes Large at the moment and I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what my MasterChef two-course meal would be and I'm still not sure.

What would you make? Or maybe you'd rather boil your head than spend time in the kitchen.

If you are food obsessed like me then leave me your plat du jour in the comments.

Thanks Rantz ...


... for a (rare just makes me sound pathetic) laugh.

Can't stand the little blighters (left) or the affect they produce on the Painter. I do, however, eat them knowing exactly how good they are for me and everyone else and I may even grow some in the garden this year.

For some reason this train of thought has made me think of the new low in reality type television just airing here on UKTV Style: The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses. Yes, I know, I started watching out of nasty and prurient voyeurism after several large glasses of red wine. The episode I saw, the introduction of coffee enemas for all and the introduction of the concept of colonic plaques have got me and I will be tuning in again.

Make your own connection with brussel sprouts.

I will endeavour to be less british and more germanic about bottoms and the tunes they make in the future.

Word Cloud Factory


Thanks to the baggage that is mad and abides on England's bottom ( if she joined my frappr map you would know where I meant) for the link that provided my word cloud.

I think I may have inadvertently ordered a t-shirt but what the hell!

I'm so angry about T**** that I can't even blog about it. So this has provided a welcome little distraction and has inspired a poem of sorts.

Black Blog

City down:
Garden good.
Green happy home and
Life like little local love.
Lovely lovemaking loves
Objectionable old painter.

Picture Plymouth.
Read right.
Stroke stuff.
Think three times tommy
Of two united Weevils.

Somewhat like those fridge magnets you can play about with: you always have to butcher things about a bit, pull a leg off an X to make a Y or remove an S to fit your syntax.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cheers Cheryl

Vimes!
Commander Sir Samuel Vimes


Discworld: Which Ankh-Morpork City Watch Character are YOU?
brought to you by Quizilla

Now I'm going to have to start reading him to find out if I like my character.

A long, slow, comfortable ...


... Stew. Or Beef Stew and dumplings.

Take 2lb (about a kilo) of a cheaper cut of beef - skirt or shin. Cut it into largish chunks and fry in very hot olive oil until browned. Unless you have a large pot you may well have to do this in two or three batches - if you overcrowd the pan the temperature will drop and the meat will boil instead of fry.

Remove the browned meat from the pan and add one or two large onions finely chopped and one clove of garlic also finely chopped. Reduce the heat and sweat these until the onion is translucent.

If you like an all-in method you can now add several large carrots roughly chopped. Add your meat back in and add about 3 pints of stock - you can use beef stock, a good robust red wine or a nice traditional beer or even water. You can even use a combination of beef stock and beer or beefstock and wine. Add three or four bayleaves, fresh thyme and some freshly ground or crushed black pepper to taste. Don't add salt at this stage: leave that until the stew is cooked and ready for the dumplings.

Bring the stew to the boil, cover and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 hours or until the pieces of beef break easily with a fork. Taste and salt to your own preference.

When you reach this stage make your dumpling mix - using about 1lb of self raising flour, half the weight of suet, i.e. 8oz a pich of salt and some ground pepper some chopped fresh or dry herbs and enough water to make a sticky dough. Drop egg sized pieces of the mixture into the stew and replace the lid. Leave the lid in place for at least 25 minutes to ensure the dumplings are fully cooked.

Serve with a hearty green winter vegetable such as sliced spring green or savoy cabbage.

If you are watching your cholesterol you can use vegetarian reduced fat suet and it works just as well.

Enjoy.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Cloud Factory

Another sentimental journey inspired by the new BBC season Folk Britannia. I'm sitting listening to the Mike Harding show (the daft one with the beard) if you click through to "listen again" you can get his whole show from Wednesday 1 February. The track above by June Tabor is about thirty minutes into the programme.

You may think that my Mum is missing in action because she's not mentioned much on here. If she knows about it she has never mentioned it but I think she'd find it invasive and so apart from times when not to mention her would be strange for me, I leave her off.

Friday picture



This is a detail from a picture the Artist sold a little while ago via Minigallery but recently got some really nice feedback on it from the purchaser.

The Artist hasn't been able to add any new work to the site since September but he has been able to include some of his botanical illustrations because of his upgraded subscription (Silver Membership).

The site is undergoing some updating with new front end gallery pages for the artists and various other improvements promised over the next few weeks.

It really has been quite a find - who says hours of trawling the interweb aren't fruitful.

If you happen to be a struggling artist they are an excellent venue for your art and provide an online portfolio of your work - for our friends in other parts they have also added Minigallery America and Minigallery World.

Supermarket giant sends shopper green


In the wake of the incredibly poor service and lack of any proper resolution to this whole sorry episode, I have been investigating veg and meat box schemes. I'm still researching the meat box side of things but until our allotment produce kicks in I've plumped for Riverford Organics based here in South Devon.

Their website is very nicely designed, clean and well thought out and their ethos seems to be sympatico with our own thoughts on food. I had thought that living in the middle of urban sprawl would disbar us from this kind of thing but apparently not. So until I can get the allotment up and running again they will fill the niche nicely.