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Monday, 23 November 2015

Friendly cat helps write website content.

Next door's cat Mr Harris is no stranger to my house. In fact I am surprised that he isn't scratching at my front door right now. He always seems to have an uncanny knack of knowing at which point I am the most busy and don't really need him to walk across the keyboard on my laptop or try to place his furry head on the caps lock button or press control alt delete with his dexterous paws.

Here he is warming his cat bum by the laptop engine. Mr Harris gets so thrilled to be by my side that he is prone to dribbling too. The feline saliva usually threatens to drip somewhere in the gaps between QWERTY and ASFGH. I have to keep moving his head away from the keys. At this point he thinks I am fussing him so he dribbles and purrs so much that the cat dribble goes even further, like in my cup of tea.

As the observant among you may have noticed I have a wall chart in my small kitchen now. This is so I can keep track of the increasing amount of theatre and show reviewing opportunities that are coming my way. To take my original theatre blog up to an even more professional level I have developed a theatre website through WordPress. It has been created so that I can promote theatre going throughout the East Midlands and is proving a hit. It has been a labour of love and I am more than a little obsessed by it. Here it is

I am still working full time at Tesco but I am hoping that the new website will lead to more paid writing opportunities in 2016 and arts sponsorship to enable me to seriously consider writing about theatre full-time.

I have been making big meals so I can just warm up a stew or curry for tea and I came up with a way to make Peshwari naan bread even sweeter than it normally is. I would normally place the bread in tin foil and warm through in the oven for about ten minutes before eating. Last Thursday night however I got inspired to drizzle the breads pre oven with Lyle's Golden Syrup and chuck on a few fresh pomegranate seeds as they came steaming out of the oven. Delicious!

Ah! I hear Mr Harris scratching at the door. I'll just tidy up the office kitchen side before he comes in. "Coming Mr Harris!"

Monday, 16 November 2015

The kindness of strangers - fresh baked apple pies

On the latter part of the way home on Saturday night I spotted a full plastic bag on the grassy curb on Kirk Lane in Ruddington. I had a feeling it might be windfall cooking apples left out for free by kind property owners on the lane.

It was a dark and rainy evening and  I was keen to get home after a busy and tiring day at work. Two bottles of what turned out to be 'more expensive than I expected' white wine were rattling in my shopping bag along with a few other bits and pieces. I thought the wine was a bargain reduction offer of £2.75 each but turned out to be just two bottles dumped on the reduction shelf at Tesco and actually cost £7.10 each!!! No wonder my shopping bill was higher than I would normally pay.

Kirk Lane in the daytime.

Anyway, I picked up the bag of apples and made my way home. On reaching my kitchen I put away the shopping and opened the bag of very nice un-bruised cooking apples. At this point I had no puff pastry or pie trays and I spent a proportion of my Saturday evening happily peeling the apples and stewing them. For extra sweetness I added three dessert spoons of brown sugar and mixed in two cinnamon sticks for added flavour. From the freezer, I got out some local blackberries (picked and frozen in 2013) as well as the remainder of a packet of Summer Fruits.

The next day I bought a pack of four pie tins and some Puff Pastry whilst on a break at work and when I got back home I made two apple and fruit pies and decided to give one to my grateful neighbour Betty.

I went back to Kirk Lane to take the photographs that illustrate this blog post and someone else has left out two big barrels of apples for free. Such is the kindness of strangers and some small comfort in a world where the news is about the terrorist atrocities in the beautiful city of Paris.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Magic in my neighbour' s garden and chocolate spag bol.

As my back is nearly healed thanks to rest, massage, pain killers and the strong but gentle (ish) manipulations of the local osteopath I am returning to work soon after a week off. It has been an interesting time. On October 15th I decided to create a theatre website on the back of nearly three years worth of theatre reviewing and a wish to look at developing my theatre promotions and theatre writing even more professionally. For those of you who have an interest in such matters it is

Sitting propped up aided by multiple cushions on my settee I have been able to occupy my time with creating copy to promote certain events and plays in the East Midlands region. Harris the cat was very sweet but not overly helpful in insisting on plonking his furriness on my lap. He likes the warmth and regular fussing. There isn't really room for a cat and a laptop on my lap never mind when I can hardly move or twist but somehow we endured.

On my return from the osteopath this lunchtime I noticed some nice things that looked quite magical in my neighbour's garden. Firstly (she is a talented florist) the heart shaped and very colourful floral heart on her house wall and secondly droplets of water on some lily type plants in her cottage garden. All very lovely and cheery. Just what I needed on this grey day.

This evening I have made a yummy spag bol and added eight small cubes of plain dark chocolate into the final cook through. I love spag bol but can't stop eating this rich tasting version! I used penne pasta in this dish with a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese.