arkessian: (Busy bee)
... it doesn't mean that I want to take over the world.

But lately, people (plural and in two different contexts) have assumed that -- because I'm willing to help with a particular task or organisation -- I'll be willing to take over carrying out or running the whole thing.


I already have more than enough on my plate, and am not doing things I would really like to do. Why would I want to increase my workload of things I don't enjoy, or don't care for as much as other things? I'm willing (in both cases) to take on a little more, but not the whole thing.
arkessian: (Busy bee)
I think I may be a little over-committed. I don't know why I imagined this would not be a problem when I retired, given:
  • my track history when employed
  • my inability to allow myself to do anything less well than the best anyone can (there is no adequate)
  • my inability to suffer things done badly by others
  • my demonstrated ability over hmmph years to attempt All The Things
Hence this attempt at a list of All The Things... Perhaps it will convince me I need to strike some things off the list (surely not); perhaps it will enable me to cross things off as I do them (hollow laugh). At least it will fulfil my self-imposed quota for a blog-post this week.

All the Things )

* And if we don't, at least we'll know which far-flung corners have been left to their own devices.
arkessian: (Busy bee)
The lodger has just rung in a great state of excitement: he has bought me a large gammon joint, which I won't see until he returns sometime next week. It was, apparently, a bargain.

Gammon recipes, anyone... 3 kg of gammon will take a lot of eating for two people.
arkessian: (Default)
Prompted by various postings elsewhere, my two most popular cake recipes (obligatory warning: these are not healthy) .

1. Mum's Moist Cake ) 

2. Mum's Coconut Cakes )

arkessian: (red wine)
Since my last post:

1. I had a lovely long weekend in York with some friends -- the usual eating, drinking, talking, wandering. Not so much of the wandering for me, as my lumbar arthritis decided to flare up (perhaps not surprising after a four hour drive, even with stops for exercise) so I spent a lot of the weekend flat on my bed -- lucky I took the netbook (even if the hotel only has wireless in the lounge) and the e-reader. I may need to give in and take the painkillers more often but the side-effects cause their own difficulties. Hmm....

2. Have I mentioned how much I love my e-reader: first choice for buying books from now on will be in e-form. The Sony user interface suits me perfectly, and I'm still in "I can carry how many books around with me?" mode. I'm actually doing more reading because of the convenience -- any spare five minutes I can pick it up and carry on where I left off.

3. On return from York the cat-feeder left me a note to say that Chino was lame. Which he was, exceedingly, poor lump. Vet reckons it was an arthritis flare-up; he's recovering now but not back to his old mobility, so I am constructing little cat step-ladders around the house to enable him to reach his favourite places. Still haven't worked out how to stop him jumping into the sink to drink from the tap -- "up" seems to be no problem for him, but "down" is painful, which he never seems to remember until it's too late. He does have a water fountain, acquired to cater to his fetish for running water, but he still obstinately prefers the tap.

4. A dinner with more friends near Nottingham this weekend past was cancelled due to "weather" or the threat of it at least. Not much snow here yet -- just a dusting thismorning, but the village shop was bedlam during my stint on duty thisafternoon as people decided to stock up for the coming snowpocalypse.  Not sure why -- there are enough tractors and farmers 4x4s around here to get supplies to everyone in case of need.

5. I must be doing something wrong -- not only have I become the "EPOS queen" at the shop, I've been co-opted onto the shop society managing committee and elected (unopposed, it must be said) as "Communications Officer", responsible for letting all the volunteer staff know what's going on, and keeping the shop Procedures manual (when it's eventually written) up-to-date. Luckily, I don't have to write the manual -- the local know-it-all Quality Expert is doing that (I kept quiet about my time as Quality Manager for a much bigger organisation than he ever worked for; didn't want to scare the poor man).

6. My keyboard is still not right -- it's amazing how often I need the V key, plus several of the others which are sticking. And the PC itself takes an age (15 minutes!) to boot in the morning.  Which is probably as good an excuse as I need to buy a new PC: geek geek geek...

Gosh: 6 things. More than a post.

arkessian: (Busy bee)
On Sunday night, the cat introduced half a glass of red wine to the keyboard... The keyboard clearly doesn't appreciate Rioja because it stopped working to sulk. So Monday morning was spent painstakingly disassembling, cleaning and reassembling the keyboard. Keyboard construction has moved on (for the better) since the last time I did this: there is a membrane inside that caught most of the liquid before it could reach the printed circuit board four layers of printer circuit cellophane, and the keys pop out and back into place neatly.  Very easy to clean up, so it left me with the lingering satisfaction of a job well done as well as a hankering to build my own PC to replace the current one which is reaching the end of its days...

Then on Tuesday, the oven decided to alternate cremating everything with operating at a temperature that could be called tepid if I were feeling generous. As gas oven repairs are beyond my skills, there is a repairman booked for next week and until then I will have to make do with the stovetop and the grill and (pah) the microwave.

And this morning, the Internet died for a couple of hours. My service provider blamed their carrier, and there was nothing for it but to wait; amazing how much I rely on the Internet for everything these days.

On the bright side, I ordered some new towels a couple of weeks ago. When they hadn't turned up with the promised delivery window I rang to be told that the courier had no record of them and (as the line was discontinued and now out of stock) the supplier refunded my money. So of course, the towels arrived yesterday. I did make a valiant attempt to break the supplier's systems by offering to pay for them, but am still awaiting the promised phone call "when we've worked out how to do this". I suspect I shall be getting them free!

This can't be a post because there isn't a fifth thing...

arkessian: (Busy bee)
The Lodger has constructed a second raised planter (2 feet by 4), encouraged/bribed/rewarded by the rather nice  lemon and thyme cake I made him. Thyme struggles in my garden for some reason, but the one surviving plant actually had a decent quantity of leaves on it when I checked; and better to use them than lose them to the winter. Tomorrow I shall pick what's left of the herbs that go dormant overwinter and freeze them; there was a hard frost on the ground this morning. The rosemary will survive all winter, and can't be moved in any case as it's planted in the ground, but I have moved the two small bay plants in pots to a more sheltered location as their predecessors (rather larger) succumbed to last winter's cold and snow.

Both planters are now filled with shallot and onion sets to grow over winter and harvest in June (when the summer veg will take their place). I could probably buy both vegetables as cheaply as I can grow them, but it would irk me to leave the planters empty when they can be used, and there must be some virtue in growing them myself, surely.  It will also irk me if the pigeons help themselves, but my fingers are crossed.
arkessian: (Busy bee)
There will be no aubergine jam.

On the bright side, Mum's good old "washing powder soup" has rescued the borrowed preserving pan.
arkessian: (Busy bee)
I have made green tomato chutney today, 4 large Kilner jars full of tomatoes and onions and apples and sultanas, simmered for hours in red wine vinegar and dark brown sugar, and flavoured with ginger and chilli. Now it goes into a dark cupboard for eight weeks, when I will know how well the spicing worked (although preliminary tasting suggests it's going to be lively, which is how I like it).

Now, I'm looking for a recipe for aubergine jam....
arkessian: (Busy bee)
I have had a productive day today. It started a 2 hour drive from home, having met up with some friends yesterday for a meal near Nottingham. Up at 6 o'clock, I got back to the village at 9 o'clock this morning, just in time for the village shop to open and for me to finalise when I'll start volunteering there (Tuesday afternoon). Since then, I have: placated the cat for my overnight absence (which I managed to combine with reading the Sunday papers in spite of Chino's determination to demonstrate his opacity while sitting on them); made bread (wholemeal cheddar and rosemary); baked cakes (coconut and cherry); planted the first in a succession of potatoes on the patio (first earlies for lovely new potatoes straight from the garden); taken delivery of a new compost bin (my second); and attended to various overdue bits of admin.

And there's still time to do some writing.
arkessian: (writing)
If you've been following the A vs. M kerfuffle, or care about books and authors making a living, read this  and pass it on.

ETA: It made me laugh.