Saturday, 30 June 2012

An argument between a Husband and a Wife (by text)

So on occasion I have to travel to London for my J.O.B and while in the past this has been no big deal because I have had someone who knows the way.

The last two visits I have had to navigate my way from London City airport into the City City bit itself. My geography isn't exactly the strongest and I hate how busy and claustrophobic the tube gets- stressful!

Anyway the first time I forgot to "tap" out of London city so I miraculously appeared in the middle of London and vanished pretty much emptying the money on the card because it though I was trying to blag the system. Husband was not a happy man as pennies that had been loaded had been frivolously wasted.

On the second trip I made a real conscious effort to "tap" the oyster card on every entry and exit in the airport. Seriously if there were gates it would be fool proof.

What follows is a text argument between Husband and me on the tapping incident of my latest visit. I am at the airport furious with myself waiting to go to the gate and hanging around waiting to board the plane.

(Probably worth pointing out that this is an argument and there are a few sweary words)

Tapped out however wasn't sure I heard the beep so tapped again. 
Saw the word "entry" and thought crap it thinks i have tapped in 
again. So I tapped out again and again it said "entry" so I can only 
hope that it picked it up the first time. I will pay to get the card 
topped up properly if I have fucked this up with a phantom in and 
out at City! SORRY I really tapped in and out like I was meant to.

I cant keep adding money to it from my card. Its not fucking hard

Don't add money to it from your card. I tapped left, right and centre 
like fucking Gene Kelly. If we had separate accounts I'd do it 
from my own but we don't so I'll do it from ours. I did my bloody 
best and I'm sorry of an extra in and out at city has gone through. 


Your are forgived

Have a good flight

Husband clearly prepared to leave this discussion for when I get back to Edinburgh

Promise I did my best 

Its easy - tap in ONCE tap out ONCE

Look at the screen and you wont go wrong

I am annoyed by this because that is exactly what I did and don't think Husband understand the situation so I decide to spell it out.

And if there is no corresponding beep then what?

You can load it online so maybe you do that with your card

And if it says "entry" when you re-tap then what?

The screen would have said and there is a kiosk to help

Then you missed tapping in at the start of your journey

I definitely tapped in and definitely heard the beep on arrival. 
Was very careful to make sure that happened - its where I 
fucked up the last time!!

I don't know what you want me to say...I can use the card 
no problem 

Husband clearly loosing the will to live with Wife. Wife now pissed off that Husband thinks she cant do the simplest thing. And annoyed with herself for cocking up the simplest thing.

Your wife must just be an idiot then despite tapping all over 
the place like she was supposed to.

Dont say anything just remember that you forgive me xx

Just about to leave see you soon xx

Sunday, 24 June 2012

A cosy cuddle

I have recently become an aunty for the 2nd time to Mummy L.

Little Ella arrived slightly ahead of schedule but her cute wee button nose and lovely copper locks are now safely snuggled up in with Mummy, Daddy and Big Sister Lilly.

I am in the process of making a welcome gift of a receiving blanket which I hope to send across with my cousin who is visiting in a couple of weeks.

The inspiration of this has come from this fantastic web site. Which has a huge host of different and wonderful ideas for gifts for your loved ones. I highly recommend a visit if you are at all inclined to make a gift rather than buy a gift.

Anyway I plundered John Lewis for the necessary tools- a crochet hook, some midnight blue wool and some white fleece. In doing so I cannot stress enough just how fantastic the customer service of the ladies in the haberdashery section of the Edinburgh John Lewis were. Given it was a busy Saturday morning and I was showing them my plans on a phone they were patient, friendly and did not once suggest that perhaps life would be easier if I just bought something rather than going down the home crafting route!

In making this I have had to teach myself how to crochet and while it is not the most perfect looking finish I think it is pretty neat and tidy given it is my first ever crochet project.

My next plans are to embroider something, to be decided, in the corner. It's a very plan blanket and needs a little something to give it some colour and interest.

Any suggestions are more than welcome!

Thoughts so far include

  • a few hearts in different colours and sizes (satin stitch)
  • one larger butterfly, profiled, with a brightly coloured wing. 

Hopefully it will make the journey and provide a nice cosy long distance cuddle for my niece.

Blondie Explosion

I like to bake and make and all kinds of different things but baking is something that soothes my soul.

Anyway I make blondies, courtesy of The Hummingbird recipe book

150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
125g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 (1/2) teaspoons of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt ( i think this is optional and personally don't bother, never had any complaints either)
120g shelled pecan nuts, chopped

33*23*5cm baking tray, lined with grease proof paper

1.Pre-heat the oven to 170 dg C (325 dg F) Gas 3
2.Put the chocolate and butter into a bowl and sit over a pan of simmering water. DO NOT let the bowl and the water connect. It will be ruined and you might as well give up now and start again! Leave until melted and smooth.
3. Remove from heat
4. Add the sugar and stir until well incorporated
5. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, stirring briskly if the mixture looks like its starting to split. (Personally I always get a hand blender involved at this stage. I have never been able to avoid the splitting but when you do make sure that you wear an apron melted butter will splat everywhere!)
6. Add the flour, salt and pecan nuts and stir until well incorporated.
7. Add the magic- this is where I add my own ingredients to make it my own, dried, sweetened cranberries (200g) are delicious and the specs of red look pretty good too. Other dried fruit will probably go quite well with white chocolate I've yet to try blueberries but there are on my list of experiments to try!
8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and the centre is soft.
9. Leave to cool completely. Instruct your family to leave the home for the next couple of hours, grab a bottle of nice wine and a movie and most importantly

Husband likes them too and has commissioned me on occasion to make them for his team. On this particular occasion however I was busy playing catch up with work and providing support on a consultancy basis. 

Husband and I differ in our approach. I am, I believe, a much tidier baker than he is.

You'll notice that the pecan nuts need to be chopped in the recipe above. Husband came through with his nuts in a bag. I should probably explain that his approach to baking is very much that a recipe is for guideline purposes where as I like to stick to the recipe to get the best result.

Clearly he is more creative than I am when it comes to baking and cooking.

I could tell where he was going with this. By smashing the bag off of our cheap Ikea coffee table he was hoping that this would be a quick and effective route to the chopping exercise. 

I let him hit the table once, hard. As he raised the bag to strike it a second time I opened my mouth to warm him that it probably wasn't a good idea when this happened:

Leaving us with a living room that looked like this:

While I find baking therapeutic Husband finds it frustrating, especially after showering both of us in Pecans. 

When I asked if he was going to clean the mess up. He quickly said "No- have too much to do" and went back into the kitchen leaving me to clean it up.

I think he hopes that in making a huge mess and leaving me to clean it up that I will do less consultancy and be more hands on. 

I can only laugh. 

In fact I nearly cried when re-reading it to Husband.

Conversations with a Graduate (1)

me: "Can you see the number? It's in the middle of the excel sheet"

graduate: "No"

me: "Do you have the right file open"

graduate: "Yes, I am in it as read only because you are in it"

me: "What tab are you on?"

graduate: "Sheet 1"

me: "Yes, me too"


Me thinking of how to navigate the graduate to the middle of the screen

me: "O.k What do you see in the top left of the spreadsheet"

graduate: "January"

me: "O.K so we are looking for May, can you see it now, in the middle of the spreadsheet"


A very long one as I wait for the graduate to find the number and not completely loose the will to live.

graduate: "YES, found it. Gosh that took a long time to get to"

me: "Yes, did you have a big night out last night?"

graduate: "Yes"


I now move into anger management mode.

me: "Maybe not such a good idea on a school night"

A Chill Wind

You may remember that in a previous update that I am not very green fingered with respect to keeping house plants alive. I am untested in the garden areana. But lets just say that I am not holding my hopes up that I will be any better in an out door environment that I am indoors!

Well I have some news.

About a month ago Husband came to my desk at work (yes we work in the same office but in different departments and different teams) with a very luscious looking small plant which he had been given by one of his charges. It was a chilli plant.

Rather it is a chilli plant.

At the time I looked at him and we shared one of those "oh dear another one for the green genocide that is our flat"
(this is not my plant but it is very similar- my photography skills aren't quite doing Cass any justice at the moment)

Can you be an accidental horticultural serial killer? It is only not genocide I think because I am not doing it on a mass scale... I am doing it reluctantly one small victim at a time.

For the record I am not actively buying plants, they are simply being acquired/gifted.

It has been a month. I have kept Cass the Chilli plant on the kitchen window sill, with plenty of light and warmth and am regularly making sure that she doesn't dry out. Very egotistical you might think naming a plant after myself but I am feeling rather guilty about the plant kill rate and am hoping that in naming this one after me that I will some how subconsciously try not to kill myself.

Yes, I did psychology at University.

Anyway over the course of the last 4/5 weeks this tiny green plant has shot up in a straight line. It leans towards the sun so I have, in my excitement at having a stronger green to brown ratio of leaves, have been moving her along the sill and turning her around so she doesn't develop a hump and ends up growing into an unbalanced individual like her namesake.

We have had some small blossoms appear. I was very sad to see these small vulnerable white petals start to wither and turn brown but HUGELY uplifted by the fact they were making way for a chilli.

(This is my plant)

An acutal Chill.
(This is my first ever chilli and the harvest above that might follow)

I am not killing Cass.

She is harvestable.

In fact having just checked there are a potential 22 buds to blossoms on route. I am terrified of the next stage. Re-potting...

Should I show her this and give her some aspirations ???

(this is not my plant but what it could become!)

If I get it right then there is possibly not end of my potential...

Could this signal a change to my plant killing ways, lets hope so.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Pedal Power

So I am trying to get fit at the moment and with battling long days at work I am struggling to find the time or motivation.

I do however own a bike and I do live a "commutable" cycle distance away from work. So we have collected my mountain bike from the garage at my grandparents and I have participated in some all important bike maintenance lessons from Husband.

Lesson 1: Changing a Tyre
This was a bit of a hard lesson for me. Well to be honest it was starting to feel like we were being given a sign from above that this was a very bad idea.

On our first attempt we filled the flat tyres only to discover a slow leak which caused them to be flat the next morning.

Our second attempt didn't go much better. We sought out the leak with a basin of water and repaired and reflated the tyre. Only to discover it was flat again the next morning.

On our third attempt we had some success. First of all though we exploded the inner tube rendering it utterly useless. Inner tubes make a really loud BANG when they blow up. Apparently not having the tyre fully fitted to the rim will cause the inner tube to start making an appearance and from then on, if you haven't caught it in time, its like a massive black swelling worm!

We didn't have another inner tyre so re-tested the patched inner tube from our second attempt. There was no leak to be found. So we re inserted and re-inflated.

It was fine the next morning. Neither of us can explain why it didn't work originally.

See what I mean about a sign from above?

Lesson 2: Wheels, Gears and Speed
On a mountain bike I have a heavier frame and a much smaller set of wheel gear thingies (the rings where the gears are rather than the actual wheels of the bike) than Husbands road bike which is much lighter and faster than my bike.

For every one rotation of Husband's pedals I am having to do about 4 to cover the same distance!

So I can't carry any speed and just about every 5 minutes I have to change gear to maintain some kind of steady rhythm. I believe those in the know would call it a cadence.

We went for a test ride to assess the route between the flat and the office. Every 5 minutes I would get a shout telling me to change gears and make like easier for myself.

We also realised that my knobbly tyres weren't helping either so tonight we changed them to slicks i.e less knobbly.

Husband reckons this will take 10 minutes off my current time.

I have to do 13miles in the morning and at the end of the day and have done this twice so far. It has taken me an hour and a quarter. In order to do this and miss most of the traffic I leave the flat at 5.45am and have the best nights sleep that night.