Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Washing the blues away (in a soon-to-be new bathroom!)

Oh goodness me! Aren't you lot just lovely?! The number of encouraging comments really helped to cheer me up.

The weather helps too. Today is a cold but crisp, sunny day. I also don't have any lessons planned - it's a bit of a pain, in a way, because of course, no lessons = no pay. But at least I am not losing money, as my Tuesday contracts are for a specific number of hours. So, if I don't have the lessons this week, I'll have them next week...it's more irritating when it's an on-going contract, as then I just lose on the money completely.

We are a little inquiet on the money front - not worried exactly, but not completely happy. We are having our bathroom renovated next week...by now we should have sold the car to pay for the work, and the fittings, tiles etc. However, nobody has shown any interest in our dear little Fiat - perhaps it's priced too high, or perhaps it's advertised in the wrong place. Whatever it is, nobody has called about it. So we may end up with slight cash flow problems - we have the money in the UK, but don't want to bring it across, with the exchange rate so crappy, Mr FD & I have our pay from October (not very much, as he'll only have worked 2 weeks) or September (mine is always one month in delay)  to come as well, so the money is due to arrive...We're just not totally sure when!

We had to buy new things too - the toilet, and basin are being replaced,  so they needed buying, as did the radiator and the new tiles. It was an expensive day!! We bought the basin and drawer unit in Ikea, and the other stuff in Roanne. I'd been nagging gently sugesting to Mr FD that we go and buy the tiles for about three weeks, but he had always put it off. This Saturday was the last opportunity, and - of course! - we discovered there was a 10 day delay in the delivery. There was major panic, but Adal, our general workman, has assured us that it won't cause a problem. I think the panic over the possible problem was one reason why I was grumpy. The radiator was a bargain (at 169€ it was much cheaper & carries out the same function as the 600€ one that the electrician kept pushing us to buy!)

 No, not that kind of radiator. Sorry cats!

I know that many of my readers could do most of the renovations themselves and save shedloads of money. However, we know that we are not DIY-ers. We hate it, and are rubbish at it, and - as we are both working at the moment - have decided that we do not want to spend our weekends doing something we both dislike. So we're paying workmen to come & do it for us. Yes, they are charging quite a high price, but - for anyone who has tried to get workmen in France - the fact that the "main man" is an acquaintance counts for a lot. I know where he lives, I see him regularly at dance group, and he is reliable . Also, the three workmen work as a team, so they have co-ordnated their dates with each other. They are unlikely - as some workmen we know have done - to walk off site, with the job half done, and not return!

So, that's what's happening here. When the bathroom is finished I'll show you, but here are the "Before" pictures:

The bath is coming out completely, and we're having a large shower with a screen going in. The ceiling is being lowered and LEDs put in, plus the new radiator. All pipes boxed in, new tiles (but same colour scheme as our accessories match. And we like it) and - eventually - new lino, as the tiles are cold to the feet. But the lino will wait for a bit longer, so we can get an idea of what colour we want. Probably a very pale colour, as the room is small.

I'm a bit sad that my Grumpy Cat Mood

meant I missed out on a good night out in Roanne with Friend Cathy and her son. There was a Beatles tribute band playing ("The best Beatles tribute band to come out of Serbia" according to the publicity!!) which I'd planned to go to, but being Grumpy merant I cancelled at the last minute. Cathy & Lloyd had a great time, and I sat at home and grumped. That was silly!!

Thank you again for being Lovely Readers. That is what blogging is all about - the support and friendship from people we only know through cyberspace!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A bit mibsy.

Blogging (and any kind of) mojo gone AWOL.

Feel grumpy and miserable.

No reason. Just mibsy. Maybe it's the weather which is grey and drizzly and damp.

Hopefully I will be up-and-blogging again soon.

Roast chicken dinner tonight - with parsnips, red cabbage and chicory.

Chicken/veggies/noodles tomorrow.

Something else on Tuesday. Probably mince related. Possibly chicken related. It's a big chicken (Yellow label, reduced by 5€)

Sausage, chips & beans on Wednesday - Mr FD brought some sausages back from the UK.

Off to Munich for the Convocation of the Episcopal Church in Europe on Thursday. Back again on Sunday.

Just for a smile...
Sorry to be a bit bleeurgh.

Thank you all for your lovely comments. You are Nice People.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Another apology!!


Weekends - and weeks! - are busy, so I don't have time to blog much.

My niece & her new husband are coming for a few days on Wednesday, so I have to fit in a bit of cleaning too - though not as much as when my mum came to stay!!

We're going to have a raclette on Wednesday, go out on Thursday (or maybe have a curry) and then there's a beer festival on Friday evening! Mr FD is off to the UK on Saturday, but I don't know when Rose & David are leaving here to go to Disneyland-Paris.

I'm preaching on Sunday.

Then the week starts again! Still, it's nice to be busy, even though sometimes I feel a bit TOO busy! Here's Pomme being not-at-all busy!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Bizzy Bizzy Bizzy!!

Goodness me! Where has this weekend gone?! All the things I'd planned to do and I haven't done half of them (The ironing was one of the pressing things, but somehow I avoided thet...I'll be running out of clothes soon - or just wearing them crumpled!!)

Saturday morning was spent trying to learn about Web Ex - I still am at sea, but I hope I can muddle through my lesson! I sent this to my student:

I am a “techno-idiot” and so anything new on the computer makes me panic!! 

My husband is helping me to set up WebEx on the home computer as I will be teaching you from home, rather than from the ILS office. I hope that by Monday morning I will know what I am doing, but you will have to forgive me if I make mistakes with the application in our first lesson!

Hopefully I will be able to send you a “Meeting Invitation” by Sunday evening!!

He replied (very good for an elementary level, I thought):

I think, you should send meeting invitation just before the lesson  at 7h55.Don’t panic, i’m « english language –idiot…. »each weakness… we are here to learn….

Let's hope so.
Saturday afternoon I cooked a sweet potato, spinach & lentil curry, and a vegetable stew, and a Lentil-Herders' Pie for our friend who is just out of hopspital. I also built a  cat house for the poor cats across the way. I'm rather proud of it, and will show it to you another time.Cardboard boxes, polystyrene ceiling tiles and a big plastic bag. 

This morning I was at church. We had a picnic and silent auction last week, but as a lot of people were involved in a big fun run thingy ("Fun Run" - there's an oxymoron if ever I heard one!!) we carried the auction over this vweek. I'd made several lots:
  • 12 envelopes with a little gift and an encouraging verse, one for each month
  • A box of various little presents - some new, some regifted,some second hand
  • A bag of the same
  • A pretty box with 52 encouraging verses written on
  • A zentangle
  • A pack pof 10 Christmas cards
  • A pack of 10 various cards
Hopefully they will raise lots of money. The 12 envelopes is currently running at 40€...I don't know if they're holding it over for another week.

This afternoon I made lots of Thanksgiving cards. I am going to the Convocation of the Episcopal Church in Europe in a couple of weeks time and would like to be able to sell Thanksgiving & Christmas cards there to raise money for refugees. My niece and here new husband have been volunteering there as part of their "honeymoon" so I'd like to give some money to the charity they've been woorking for.

She recently posted this photo on FB to show the conditrions that the refugees are living in. 

I have a new follower - A big Fat Dormouse Welcome to Alison from Purely Parchment Craft. What lovely cards she makes.

 Food this week....

WARNING: The two links are to a fairly fruity site. If you're not comfortable with "cheeky" humour, you may wish to avoid them. Or scroll quickly down to the recipes!

TODAY: Roast chicken legs, potato gratin, braised endives and carrots.

TOMORROW Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf, potato gratin, veggies

TUESDAY: Buddha Bowl with chicken (not veggie this week!), sweet potato, roasted chilli brocoli (if I can buy some broccoli!), spinach leaves, and a mango dressing.

WEDNESDAY: Pizza Stuffed meatloaf redux, with chippies and baked beans

THURSDAY: Sweet potato & spinach beef bowl

FRIDAY: Turkey escalopes with creole sauce (can't find the recipe now!!)

Thank you everyone for your comments - they are always welcomed.

POMPOM: Your baby Timothy is a delight! You know you're very welcome whatever day you come by!

KEZZIE: I can't help on the squash plant pruining method as it all seemed a bit random. However it has made no difference whatsoever and we have no squashes on the plants!

CONFUZZLED & KEZZIE: As noone else guessed, I will tell you. The dinner was lovely truffade and an Auvergnate dish called Pounti - a kind of meatloaf made with prunes, eggs, lard, chard and bacon. It was nicer than it sounds. And looks.

ARIL & CHERIE: Buddha bowls were new to me too, but we're getting to be fans. Mr FD said rather plaintively "We didn't have a Buddha Bowl this week..." 
Never fear, Mr FD, we have one this week!!

ALISON 59: Welcome. Enjoy the cats! And the menus!!

Well, I'd better go and cook something. Otherwise there'll be no supper for us. And the ironing didn't get done. Maybe tomorrow...

Friday, 23 September 2016

Quick pic of Bib

I am so sorry, dear people. I have been neglecting you. IThere's no real excuse but I'll explain a bit more over the weekend. In the meantime here's a Kitty Picture:

This is Bib when she was still a young kitten - showing her bitey nature, that she (sadly) hasn't grown out of.

Must dash! I have a lesson to give! (and cat food to buy!)

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Usual Round-Up.

Hello to all my Lovely Peeps! Thank you for coming to read this. Don't forget there's always The Teapot too - I recently posted about our day out in Lyon. 

I have just spent two hours cleaning - yuckity yuck. Eight litter trays, vacuuming, washing the floor, tidying. Now I feel I have the right to stop, blog a bit and make cards this afternoon. Clare, who is a district nurse, has asked me to make some more of what we call Sorry-You're-Dead cards. Typically black humour from Clare - she gives condolence cards to the families of patients who die. As most of her patients are elderly, or seriously ill, she needs a constant supply of these cards. I also have promised a pack of 10 Christmas cards, and a pack of 10 other occasion cards to the Church auction next week. As well as a couple of "Little Boxes of Surprises" - these are boxes of gifts, which are all wrapped up. So you bid on a box without knowing the contents.

Here's one of the boxes I made last year:

This year I have a pretty box that doesn't need covering (hurrah!) - so far it has been packed with some soap, a book (second hand but in good condition), a picture frame, some sweeties, a little pot (re-gifted), a pair of ear-rings and a necklace (re-gifted). There's room for a few other things, so I may have to make a quick visit to Noz to find a few more gifts. I have a smaller gift box which I'm also going to fill.

I made a card for our friend Richard, who will be 70 this week. This one is for Friend Cathy to give him (which is a shame, as I really like it!) I will have to make another for us to give him:

 Cathy asked for an African vibe as Richard has spent many years in Africa, especially in Zambia, and supports many small businesses and individuals out there.

Michel from across the road has just visited with a large courgette/small marrow and a round squash for us. As we stood in the courtyard chatting, he pruned our squash plants (which are happily producing leaves and flowers but absolutely no fruit). I picked a grand total of 5 green beans to offer in return! He has promised us some salad as well. So the planned menu below may have some changes made as the week goes along...

YESTERDAY: We had falafel burgers, with salad, tzatziki, wraps and mango chutney. They weren't great, but they weren't terrible.

TODAY: Hunters' Chicken (not quite this recipe, but almost), with roasties and roast vegetables. I've got lots of bits of veggies to use up, so I'm thinking roasting them, and then freezing what we don't eat, might be the way to go. We now have a lot of courgette to add to the mix!

MONDAY: Orange glazed salmon, rice, green beans. The recipe gives a recipe for spicy butterbeans too, but I'm not a butter bean fan...too much like broad beans for my liking, which is a vegetable I go out of my way to avoid. 

TUESDAY: A Mexican style Buddha bowl, with rice cooked with lime & coriander, spicy green beans and spinach. I may add some kidney beans too. 

The last Buddha Bowl was a success, and we felt very virtuous after it (although that may have been slightly spoiled by the fact we had a couple of chocolates afterwards!)

WEDNESDAY: Sun Dried tomato and sausage pasta (Again, be aware that the post with the recipe contains some strong language! But the recipe itself doesn't, so you can scroll down to read the recipe) Mr FD will be cooking as it's my foirst week back dancing. And teaching all day. It's a rather tiring programme:
10.30-12.00 first lesson
12.00-12.30 Drive to next lesson, eat lunch in car.
12.30 - 1.10: next lesson
1.10-1.20 Drive to lesson
1.20-2.50: next two lessons (same family 45 minutes each)
2.50-3.00 Drive to next lesson
3.00-5.00: Next 3 lessons (same family 40 minutes each)
5.00-5.05 Drive to next lesson
5.05-6.35 Next two lessons (same family 45 minutes each)
6.35-6.45 Drive to dance group
6.45 - 8.30 Dance group.
8.30-9.00 Drive home
9.00 Collapse with dinner and Great British Bake Off.

THURSDAY: Oven Baked Risotto

FRIDAY: German Style Potato Salad and Paprika Chicken (Fruity language alert!)

I'm trying to get a fairly good balance between fish, vegetarian and meat recipes, avoiding red or processed meat - although I see we have both sausages and bacon this week. Hmm, a bit of a fail there then!
 My packed lunches are mostly soya-based cheese-substitute spread, soya sausages, or tuna mayo. Which are fine, really. I'm having soya sausages today, and will have the other two cold tomorrow. 

As always thank you for taking the time to comment...

Busy Little Chicken: Not only did the fish-with-four-carrots look delicious, it was delicious! I rarely cook fish with fancy sauces - a quick bish-bash-bosh with salmon is all I do, and I rarely choose it in restaurants...but when I have it, I really enjoy it!!

Confuzzled Bev: You're the only one who has guessed so far, and I'm afraid you're not quite right. I wonder if anyone else will try...

There are two traditional Auvergnate foods on this plate (besides the Cantal cheese and the salad) What are they? C.Bev guessed potato salad and " kind of looks like meat loaf"...Neither guess was quite right. Anyone else up for a guess?

Thea Ava Martinez: Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately it seemed a little "false sounding" for me to click on the link...I don't want to start being showered by spam mail. If your blog is genuine, feel free to comment again, and I will visit you.

Hawthorn Spellweaver: You're right...Not knowing about George is the hardest. We are trying to think that some lovely person has taken him in, rather than thinking about him being run over or killed by a predator.

Still, we must try to move on - although we still have people keeping their eyes open, and telling us if they see any ginger/white cats.  The others are adjusting to not having George around, but I fear Mr FD will especially miss George in the winter, as George was the best cuddling cat in bed, especially with Mr FD. He would snuggle up, put his head on Mr FD's shoulder and they would fall asleep together to George's purring. Sad face.