Early morning baking

Checked the time on the alarm clock and decided I might as well get up. It was only when I got to the kitchen that I realised it was 5:15 not 6:15. Baking is one of those activities that soaks up some time and is a pleasant distraction. Hairy Bikers had a low calorie recipe for cakes using yoghurt, sunflower oil, berries and self-raising flower. 15 minutes in the oven and my golden cakes/buns were ready.

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Soup was next using leftover chicken and pasta. I blended the soup into a green sludge (mint and parsley were used) and was surprised how tasty it was. I don’t often make soup, but might be tempted to make it more often if it turns out like this.

By 8 am I was ready to go back to bed. It’s a wet dreary day in Belfast and too warm for comfort. BBC Radio6 Music helps to lift my mood with the dry humour of Shaun Keaveny and some cracking music.


Glasgow dining

We were in Glasgow for our youngest’s graduation. He booked the restaurants for the three nights of our stay, and we dined very well indeed.

All Bar One was a great place to start our dining extravaganza. Thomas was a charming waiter who helped to make the evening a special occasion for all of us. The food was great and the atmosphere buzzing.

Miller and Carter is a steakhouse situated in a former bank with high ceilings. The vault is now used as the gents toilet. If meat is to your liking, you couldn’t find better steaks.

The tapas in Rioja were delicious and we were glad to share our table with one of our son’s friends, who happened to be passing.


More Cat Trouble

The heatwave in Belfast allowed me to catch up with a mountain of laundry. When making the bed up in the attic, I opened the window and guess who was ready to step in? My feline Nemesis, let’s call him Torts. He got short shrift and exited rapidly.

It’s my youngest son’s graduation tomorrow and we are looking forward to celebrating his achievements. He had glandular fever whilst revising and sitting his final exams, but did not let that get him down.

Whilst we are away the miscreant is under strict instructions not to let cats, dogs or strangers of any species into the house. As usual, he will be taking good care of his granny (with the help of his uncle and family).


Mysterious Clunking Noise

Last week there was a strange clunking noise coming from the rear axle on my new second-hand bike. I sprayed WD40 all over the axle and booked a slot with Austin’s bicycle workshop to have it checked out.

Needless to say, when riding the bike in to work this morning it made no strange noises at all. I might ask them to check the bearings, tighten up the brakes and quote for new tyres though. The big tyres would be great for mountains, but not so suitable for roads. They’re too bouncy.

I thought my wife would be able to buy a new bike using a Cycle to Work scheme that takes monthly payments from your salary. Apparently, her employer is not signed up to the scheme. Why not? you might well ask…too many cars clogging up roads, polluting the air and causing fatal accidents. Most commuting car drivers are travelling at about 7 mph for a journey of less than 5 miles.


Cat trouble

The miscreant was looking shifty when I got home at about 9 pm. He was trying to hide the bowl of milk he was offering a neighbour’s cat. I love furry animals, but not the ones that demand attention before they go off to mark their territory in our back garden.


Needless to say, it was back this morning miaowing away, despite my best efforts to scare it away. It now sits on the bench outside our dining room waiting for goodness knows what.

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Maybe it was attracted by the cooking smells. I was up to make breakfast for the miscreant before he headed down the road to look after his granny. Then I fancied making a tortilla with potatoes, leeks, onion, peppers, salami, cocktail sausages, eggs, and flour. Leftovers basically with some cheddar to top it off melted under the grill. One pan cooking – dead simple.

1955 – a very good year

The 1950s in England would have been a bit austere. Rationing was still in place, and ‘make do and mend’ was still the fashion mantra. The war was over and we had won a costly victory over Germany and its allies. Rebuilding would take decades, both in England and across Europe.

But there was an air of optimism in England, and in that climate a bonny baby boy was born to Richard and Awena, who were living on a narrow boat in Paddington, London. They already had one son called Andrew who was 18 months old. Their dog, Flash, guarded the family who lived quite comfortably aboard the converted craft, called Beatrice, which had mod cons such as a bath and a telephone.

little venice

The Inland Waterways Association was in its infancy, but had powerful leadership in Robert Aickman and Tony Rolt. Awena and Richard played their part in promoting the campaign to clear the canals and waterways of junk and repair the locks, which had fallen into a sad state of disrepair. Railways and road transportation had swept aside most deliveries of cargo by narrow boats, although some of the heaviest loads such as coal were still transported on the canals.

The baby boy was born in a local NHS hospital and currently resides in Belfast, the proud husband and father of his own two boys and a daughter.

Ecommerce 104 – the UK Business Startup Experience

Logic should have dictated a methodical approach to business processes. I suppose it did up to a point. I had considered the method for exchanging documents and decided that, with decent virus protection, I could reasonably open emailed documents and send back the polished copy by the same method.

But the online payment process needed some thought. I decided that an upfront payment for documents of all sizes was appropriate. Putting the Paypal button on the website was easier than I thought it would be.

I have printed flyers with tear off tabs and given one of those to a Polish friend. She has just completed the 3rd draft of her novel and might be interested in my services. My belle-soeur has just completed her PhD thesis, and that might give me an insight into academic proofreading.

However, I am a bit reluctant to go down the academic route, and would prefer to stick to straightforward business customers…we’ll see how that goes.