Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Still baking the bread!

I'm proud to say I'm still keeping us self-sufficient in bread, I make a mixture of white, granary, wholemeal and rye throughout the week and usually make a sourdough at the weekend using my starter Henry who lives in the fridge the rest of the week.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Todmorden Duck Race

Gordon Rigg in the morning

It's hard sometimes, with very little cash, to be able to justify spending money on the garden, but I think every now and again, a little goes a long way. Today, I spent the early morning emptying the root-bound and weed-bound pots of Pat's (we share our space with our next door neighbours but Pat is getting on a little and hasn't been in the best of health) into the recycling box and repotting them with nice fresh compost and soil mix which we store in our big tubs under the bench. By 10.45 I had 12 pots for Pat and our herb box and two herb pots all fresh and waiting. So off we set. I'd read on the web that Riggs opens at 11am on a Sunday, which I don't understand, as we rocked up around 10.55 and the place was heaving with the tills in full flow???!??! Anyway. Jon had mentioned as we drove that we should get George a little truck trolley to drive, and we found this beast for him to enjoy...

The front wheels don't actually touch the ground, in fact there are smaller wheels under his seat which are the true support. It was unwieldy but great fun for G and we had people smiling and waving at him as we trundled round. He certainly has a way with the older ladies!
First we looked up and down the bedding plants and decided on Cosmos, Snapdragon and Geranium, then looked at some larger plants for immediate impact and got a nice bleeding heart and a white primula. Then we hit the herbs and picked up a little bay, a lavender, and a mint, then a small oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage. It cost just shy of £25, but the difference they made to our space and the joy they brought to Pat when she got home later that day were worth it.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Dylan's Birthday

Saturday morning found us winging our way to Manchester for Dylan's 3rd birthday. We landed in Stretford at about 10.30 and I proceeded to the kitchen to knock up some pizza for the party goers while Claire made me coffee and chatted. I do this pizza thing all the time at home so was a bit surprised to be surrounded by people in home made awe. No pressure then. Thank goodness I managed to pull off a nice ham and sweetcorn (topping chosen by the birthday boy) and a mozzarella and tomkin tomato. The party rocked. George had a great time. It was a joy to see Wendy and Phil, Wendy's parent's Alec+Violet and of course, Claire-bear. Everyone loved the pizza, the sun shone and the back garden was fantastic. Have a look.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Cabin Pressure

My FAVOURITE Radio 4 comedy...I found these fan pics on Pinterest

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Gallery Oldham

We spent a pleasant morning in Gallery Oldham, beginning with the library, using the wonderful first floor facilities for children. HUGE ammounts of fabulous children's books, but also nice tables and chairs, crayons and paper, sticklebricks, lego, jenga...this is just such an amazing resource in the heart of Oldham. 

We had coffee (me) and quavers (George) in the refectory from the vending machines, but now I know this exists I would happily bring a packed lunch for us. Great highchairs, very clean and the baby changing facilities are brilliant.

The gallery section was interesting and interactive...in our case a bit too much as it's really hard to persuade a 17 month old that 'please touch' does not mean 'yank off the plinth and smash to smithereens' but that's not the gallery's fault. What we saw we enjoyed, especially the upcycled aluminium can installation below.

We ended our visit with lunch in the Naked Bean once we'd met Daddy and sadly, found this a bit disappointing. The lack of children's meals and subsequent inflexibility with the menu was annoying and unnecessary. We eventually managed to elicit some beans on toast for George and we just opted for Welsh rarebit so as to not be waiting forever...wrong....unfortunately the service was painfully slow despite an alarming amount of staff marauding around whisking away plates whilst you weren't looking - in our case - half a raspberry muffin we'd got to put George on during the wait and to prevent whinge.
When they arrived the beans were fine, though why, as they immediately asked ''does he want a bowl'' could they not serve us a bowl of beans as requested I will never know. Our rarebit was like nothing I have ever eaten before and made me wonder what the bugger they had put in it. As I had chosen the fireman rarebit I was quite glad that much of the taste was obliterated with chilli sauce! 
Naked bean, your muffin (what we had chance to nibble) was glorious, and your coffee is good; next time, I'll take those to go and head back to the refectory. In the meantime, please work on your people skills,  add a small children's menu and employ one or two less waitresses and perhaps another chef; the space at Gallery Oldham is nothing less than fantastic and you as their in-house cafe could be so so soo much more.

Saturday, 20 April 2013