Week 157

Year 4 of the Blog starts here…………….. 

18th December, 2011

2C outside. Heavy frost on the ground. No heating on in the flat which is 22C. We can’t understand how it is like that but we are delighted. In Oldham, we heard that people were ‘snowed in’ but I braved the frost to drive down to the papershop. One has to keep fit, doesn’t one? If only JaneBG could get in to this routine! It beats Nutella on Maltloaf, Jane.

We are still enjoying the spoils of our trips in Europe. Lunch was Duck paté from France washed down by a bottle of Prosecco from Italy. Actually, it may have been washed a little too heavily and three, consecutive football matches on Sky became rather blurred in to each other.

Had a lovely email from Ruth today reminding me that she is my chief Blog reader. She is, of course, absolutely right. Nowadays, I write with her in mind.

19th December, 2011

Today is grey and damp but we don’t mind. We are waiting for more deliveries: shelving and furniture. I’ve forgotten what it is like to sit on a settee. I’ve been living on a sixty year old rocking chair for the last month. We have decided to hang to the Richard Chair for a while longer. We have found just the place for it. While we wait, I am delegated to do the hoovering. We have a Dyson. I hate it. I find it heavy and clunky. On our new carpets, the filter clogs and the motor overheats in minutes. I thought he was supposed to be a design guru.

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I don’t think I was made for hoovering especially with a Dyson. The furniture company have just phoned to say that our three settees will arrive on Thursday and they’ve given us a precise time window. It will be between 7.30 am and Midnight. Do wait up.

The Inland Revenue are still pursuing us for £4,000.00 under paid tax from the year 2009-10. It seems bizarre as we have spent our entire lives under PAYE but there it is. It appears that Oldham’s ‘Salaries Department’ were as incompetent as they were stingy. Because we had three separate income streams that year – Teacher’s salary + Redundancy + Teachers Pension – it was all too much for Oldham Accountancy practices. We appealed against the claim but lost although we have managed to delay payment for a year and, now, pleading poverty, we aim to arrange repayment over three more years. It still hurts but it has to be done.

20th December, 2011

A gorgeous morning with clear blue skies and delicious sunshine. First thing this morning, a man from the Developers has been round to investigate a squeak on our stairs. It is on the bottom three treads but, when he assessed it and the upheaval required to our newly fitted carpets to ‘possibly’ erradicate it, we decided to live with it.

Got a phone call from Dave Beasley from his Welsh farmstead where he has been living for the past thirty years with Sue. He will be 70 on Friday. He is fit and well and still goes on long walking holidays, chops down oak trees and logs them for the stove. He is happy and deserves to be.

Another person who deserves to be happy is Ruth and tonight she is. Bolton played well and beat Blackburn. She hasn’t been able to say that too many times this season. She sent me some texts because she knew I’d be watching. She says she will be at the Boxing Day match against Newcastle so all look out for her and give her a wave. I will.

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21st December, 2011

Every year, Pauline makes ice cream as an alternative to or supplement for Christmas Pudding. She makes it with double cream and it is so rich, it is impossible to eat a lot without suffering later. Believe me, I have tried many times. She uses an automatic icecream maker which I bought from John Lewis’ Department Store in Manchester 25 years ago. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was 35 years old, reasonably fit and I was buying it as a surprise present for Pauline. The surprise was on me. The refrigeration unit inside it meant it weighed nearly 50lb and I carried it half way across Manchester to the car. I was nearly dead when I got it there.

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Nowadays, we only seem to use it at Christmas for icecream and inter-course (steady) palate cleansers.

Confirmed today that we really do have to pay the Inland Revenue £3,800.00 immediately after Christmas. Well, at least we’ve got it and we’ve managed to prevaricate for over a year.

22nd December, 2011

Joy of joys! Our settees were delivered by mid morning. Two leather settees and a storage footstool for the lounge and a bed settee for the Study. We lounged and lounged. Actually, we didn’t because we had to dispose of the two chairs we possessed which we brought from Pauline’s Mum’s flat over a year ago and which have got us through. One was Pauline’s father’s rocking chair and the other a simple arm chair. We managed to get them in the car and over to Pauline’s niece’s house in West Byfleet.

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23rd December, 2011

Gloriously warm days as we near the end of December. Thursday and Friday this week have reached 14C / 58 F which feels remarkably warm. I am in a short sleeved T-shirt and we have used no heating for two days.

Pauline & I are cooking Christmas Lunch for Pauline’s sister, Phyllis and her husband, Colin, and their daughter Mandy and her husband, Kieron, and their three boys, David, James and Daniel. Pauline & I like to cook and it keeps us out of trouble. This year we are cooking a minimalist meal:

To start we are having a choice of terrines on a bed of leaves – pork and pheasant with fig & apple chutney or fresh & smoked salmon with tartar sauce – served with slices of Pauline’s onion bread.

The main course will be turkey with forcemeat stuffing and sage and onion stuffing, cranberry sauce, (No bread sauce because I’m the only one who likes it.), pigs in blankets (my favourite part), sprouts with lardons of pancetta and chestnuts, roast potatoes, carrots and peas.

The sweet will be Christmas Pudding and custard or cream or ice cream or all three or home made ice cream with home made meringues and Waitrose raspberries.

Oh, let it be over!

Today, Pauline made the meat terrine and tomorrow she will make the fish terrine. The ice cream and the Chistmas Pudding is already made. The turkey has been collected from the butcher today. The cranberry sauce has been made as has the fig & apple chutney.

I have been working on something very productive and not before time. I have been redesigning my website. I’ve been aware that it’s needed it for over a year but life has been in the way. It won’t all be done in time for Christmas but it will for the New Year.

24th December, 2011

Nobody will persuade me to worry about the Duke of Edinburgh who is so sick of his family that he had to feign a heart attack.

The turkey got well and truly stuffed today. Everything is better prepared than it has ever been. We even had time for a lovely meal of smoked salmon and champagne. Pauline indulged herself in the kitchen with her cooking. I indulged myself in the Study with my website: http://jrsanders.eu/index.html

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