Monday, 29 June 2015

I have a confession to make

When I tell people, they look at me as if I am completely mad, but here goes I'm telling blog world anyway (don't hate me for it) but I can't stand Wimbledon.  There I have said it.  I hate everything about it, especially people going on about it.  O.K. I can feel your anger, but I really cannot stand it.  Perhaps it goes back to my school days when we were forced to sit in the hot and stuffy hall to watch it on the television instead of our usual P.E. lesson, because the teachers wanted to watch it.   Though I never liked playing any sport either,  but at least we were outside.  I'm going to have to grit my teeth over the next couple of weeks when people ask me if I have been watching it.  Noooooooooooo!!!

To be fair, I don't like watching any other sport on the television either, which is a bit difficult in a sport mad household.  I could name a lot of the players in Manchester United, even though I try to avoid it when it is on.  Apparently you really have to have it on full volume, have snacks and beer and jump around the room.  Go figure.  I also know the names of the Grand Prix drivers, England Rugby and Cricket players and lots of other useless information about sport.  Oh well it comes in handy when we play Trivial Pursuit.

However........even though I don't like watching sport on the television, I do enjoy actually going to see the sport.  I Mexican waved with the best of them at Wembley when England were playing some obscure country.  Though there was an audible gasp when I asked who a certain player was, well we were a long way from the pitch so I can't really be blamed for failing to recognise David Beckam.

I get bored watching the Grand Prix on the television but when we were in Abu Dhabi watching it, the noise and smell and sheer excitement were contagious.  The beautiful weather helped of course, it probably wouldn't be the same watching it in this country in the rain!  Oh and the Eminem concert afterwards helped.  You never know, if I ever go to Wimbledon I may actually enjoy it, especially the Pimms and Strawberries.

Oh well each to their own, I probably bore people about watching Glasto,  ( a music festival to overseas readers ) sadly I missed most of it this year due to family commitments but will spend the next couple of weeks catching up on it while everyone else is watching Wimbledon.  "Did you see Andy Murrey playing?" I will be asked, "No but did you see Patti Smith at Glasto?" I will reply and tut in disgust when they say no.

So, do any of you want to join me in confessing or am I the only one who switches off when the tennis comes on?

News on the trees is that they were not cut down by the Council so it appears that they have been cut down by a private landowner.  They had a tree preservation order on them so now they will need to find out if they had applied for permission to do this.  I hope they find whoever did this and fine them, though it is too late for the trees now.

I am stupidly busy at work at the moment, I am working extra hours to cover for a colleague who is on sick leave.  I could really do without it at the moment, but it is only fair I help out as so many of my colleagues covered for me when I was off on my very long sick leave over the last couple of years.  It does mean that not much is being done decorating wise.  At this rate the house won't be on the market until next year!!


I will leave you with a little Glasto.  I first saw this band when they were playing in a little venue in Cornwall as a support act.  Now they are playing Glasto!  I love how they seem so thrilled to be there and a little overwhelmed.  Whoops, am I boring you with my Glasto talk :)

Welcome to the new followers, I am always amazed that people want to read my ramblings, but you are all very welcome.

Chickpea xx

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Oh sod it!

After rushing around all day, then decluttering when I got home from work I thought sod it.  It was such a beautiful evening, too good to miss so the bearded one and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood.  Not a child to be seen on the neighbouring estate, where are they?  Surely not inside on such a beautiful evening!

We cut through the back lanes and came to my favourite little piece of heaven on my doorstep.  I love how nature takes over in the summer, nearly swallowing the boardwalk that winds it's way through the woods.  You wouldn't think it was so near a very busy road, the trees seem to soak up the sound, leaving just the chirping of the birds and buzzing of insects.  As we cross a bridge we can hear the little river that runs through the sanctuary, but can't see it as it is hidden deep below the greenery.

Beautiful wild flowers give their pampered garden cousins a run for their money.  They are just as attractive to the bees who don't seem to know about the weeds versus flowers nonsense we humans have imposed on them.

As we neared the end of the path something caught my eye.  I was just as excited as I would have been when I was a child seeing this little fellow.

When I returned to the house, the sofa was still in the middle of the room with books and c.d.s scattered everywhere.  If someone had broken in and ransacked the house I don't think I could have seen the difference.

I hope you have all enjoyed some lovely weather where ever you are.

Welcome to new follower Go with the Flow, I'm afraid you have joined me at a rather boring period.  I promise I will get out and about taking some photos of beautiful Cornwall, start creating and cooking again soon.

Chickpea xx

Monday, 22 June 2015

Selling houses and Cheats Luxury Ice-Cream

Thank you for all your kind comment on my last post, I'm back to normal again now and eating like a horse so the weight I lost is probably piling back on as I type!

It's been all go here trying to catch up on everything that wasn't done while I was lying around in bed, normal household stuff as well as wondering around with a paintbrush.  My time is also being taken up doing a bit of research on selling houses on-line, for what estate agents do, they charge far too much in my opinion (sorry any estate agents out there).  When I look at houses for sale I look on-line, people don't have the time to go around to all the estate agents looking in windows any more.  Our local paper only comes out once a week and the estate agents only put a few of the houses on their books in there so it's not really going to be very effective if your house is only in there once a month if that.   Most don't offer the service of showing people around the house so there is no advantage of using someone local there either.  The on-line sites I have looked at send someone out to value your house, take the photos etc, book the viewings for you and handle the negotiations.  They also advertise on Rightmove, Zoopla etc.  all for a fixed price regardless of the value of your house.  The average high street estate agents cost 1.5% of your house price plus VAT which could cost thousands.  I know I haven't sold a house for 15 years but this seems a far better deal to me.  Am I missing anything here?  Have any of you used '' etc or similar?  I would be grateful for any feedback.

For Fathers Day I made a meringue, ice cream, home made strawberry sauce concoction for the bearded one.  I had meringue and plenty of sauce left over today so made my own 'luxury' ice cream.  I let some plain vanilla ice-cream soften enough to mix in the sauce and broken up meringue before popping back into the freezer.  It was delicious!  I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before,  ( I'm sure plenty of you already do this  and I'm late to the party as usual ) you could add all sorts of things!  My favourite 'luxury' ice-cream makers are increasing adding all sorts of things like cookie dough to their ice-creams that I can't eat because of the gluten.  By making my own, which takes minutes, I'm not missing out.

Welcome to new follower Jayne :)

Chickpea xx

Friday, 19 June 2015

Five on Friday - Quick Update

Thank you for your support and advice on yesterdays post, you bloggers are the bees knees :)  I'm feeling a bit better today but very washed out.  I did manage to get out into the lane to see the damage.  There are several trees cut down all in one area.  I really don't understand why, as I can't see anything wrong with the tree.

I have contacted the council who confirmed that there is a tree preservation order on all the trees in that lane.  They will look into it to see if an application was put in to cut them down, or if in fact it was the council that cut them down. I will be chasing them up until I get an answer as to who did it and why.  I only wish I could have gone out to see who it was and taken photos  (on second thoughts, may not be a good idea to annoy someone with a chainsaw!)

Sadly it is too late for those trees and any wildlife that lived in them.

Being in bed for 3 days hasn't given me many ideas for Five on Friday but here goes

Five things to be grateful for.

1.  All you lovely blogging people who are so generous with you support.

2.  Feeling stronger today and getting back to normal

3.  Eating home grown strawberries.

4.   The sound of birds singing in my trees this morning

5.  The little woodland nearby owned by The Wildlife trust that is a sanctuary for the creatures that   are losing their green spaces.

I walked through the woods later to surround myself with nature, which then proceeded to sting me!  Hey I didn't cut down the trees!  This is the little culprit hanging on to my jumper.

I hope you all have a happy and peaceful weekend,

Chickpea xx

I'm joining with Amy at Love made my home

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Having a weepy day

Since pressing the button on my last post talking about how busy I have been everything changed.  I have had three days in bed with a horrible bug that has not let me keep any water down let alone food.  No sleep and no food has led to a very miserable Chickpea.  To top it off I was woken by the horrible sound of chainsaws.  Peeping out the window my worse fears were confirmed, they are cutting down trees in the lane.  I have to admit I shed a few tears.

Why oh why do we have to get rid of any bit of nature that dares to grow in our cities.  Not satisfied with building on the fields that were on the other side of the lane.  They are now cutting down trees that line the lane.  The trees where the birds and other creatures have made their homes, the green corridor between the concrete housing estates with their manicured lawns and brick patios is being destroyed in minutes.  Years of growth gone, the morning chorus already diminished will be quieter.

I was tempted to drag myself out of bed to demonstrate with the workmen wielding their chainsaws but I have been here before.  I few years ago they cut down many trees in the lane,  I went and questioned them, they are meant to be protected trees.  Contact the council they said.  I did but nobody gives a damn.  Once the trees are gone it's too late.  They just carried on cutting them down, doing their job, just another day for them.  At least they can't touch the trees in my garden, including the one that was growing in the lane.  They cut it down but some of it snook under our fence and now thrives in our garden, a little victory among the destruction.  When I looked out of the window, there was a wall of greenery, now I can see the houses in the next estate.  I am angry and upset.  As the years we have lived here pass there are less and less trees.  They will not stop until they all gone.  I don't want to be here to see it.

I'm closing my blinds and going back to bed a little sadder and even more determined to find my own piece of nature that nobody can cut down.

Chickpea xx

Monday, 15 June 2015

My Week in Photos

My days have fallen into a pattern.  Rise at 6 to catch up with the everyday jobs, go to work, come home and start on the sorting, painting and clearing until joints ache and tiredness takes over.  I'm having to block my ears to the call of the sea, turn away from the beautiful weather and keep focused on the task ahead.  But every now and then..............

A walk around my garden to enjoy the beautiful show the flowers are putting on

Harvesting the early veg, the kale is running wild.

Making kale and goats cheese pesto to use up some of the kale,

Planting peppers,

Knitting my winter cardi,

Failing to get a photo of the Jay that has been visiting my garden but capturing these beautiful goldfinches,

and finally bunking off to the city for ice cream and wine.

Chickpea xx

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Flumble Mercy Mission

I had a text from a friend a couple of days ago telling me she has broken her foot.  That would be bad enough at any time, but she has just moved house.  She has been through a very nasty divorce and is nervous and excited to have her own home.   It is an older property and needs a lot doing to it but that is part of the excitement, planning what she is going to do with the property to make it her home.   After years of living out in the sticks she has moved into a village and looking forward to being able to walk to the local shops and library and get more exercise.  She is now off her feet for weeks and can't even drive.  She is feeling very vulnerable and isolated.  A trip on a step and life can change so quickly. 

So what do you do for a friend in this position?  You bake of course!  I was stuck at home in the morning while my new 'smart meter' was fitted, so it had to be made with whatever I had in the house.  It is roughly based on a BBC recipe, with a Chickpea twist.

I'm not sure what to call it, part flapjack part crumble.....flumble perhaps?

Here's what I did:

Rhubarb Flumble

3/4 sticks of rhubarb
1/2 tsp of ginger
2 oz demerara sugar

Chop the rhubarb and cook with the ginger and sugar until slightly softened then set aside.

8 oz demerara sugar
10 oz rolled porridge oats
5 oz gluten free plain flour (or ordinary plain flour)
2 oz mixed seeds
3 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp mixed spice

Mixed together in a large bowl.

12 oz soya margarine (or butter)

Melt and pour into the dry mix.

Give it all a good stir so everything is well mixed.

Grease a baking tin or whatever you have about 20 cm square.

Pour in half of the mix, then the rhubarb and finish off with the rest of the mix.

Bake at 200C/180C fan, gas 6 for 45 - 50 minutes until gold and crisp on top.

Leave to cool before cutting into squares.

I served it with half fat creme fraiche ( yes I know,  a bit pointless after all the fat and sugar in the recipe) The 'tartness' balanced out the sweetness of the frumble.  Not the healthiest of recipes but real comfort food.  You could use whatever fruit you have available so it is a seasonal recipe as well.

My friend, like me, can't eat gluten so really enjoyed having some homemade gluten free deliciousness.  Just what you need when you are feeling down, coffee, cake and a chat.  What is your go to comfort food?

Chickpea xx

Friday, 5 June 2015

Five on Friday - Random things about me

1.  I prefer to eat baked beans cold, though I don't eat them straight out of the tin......honest.....well sometimes.

2.  I can't park a car, it is always at an angle......seriously, EVERY time. (and I'm getting a truck!  What am I thinking!)

3.  My family trees goes back hundreds of years in Cornwall, mostly miners. Before that my ancestors were landed gentry, including Lords and a Prince of Denmark apparently!!  Delaware in America was named after one of my ancestors.  It's o.k. you don't have to curtsy,  I think I take after the Cornish Miners and feel prouder of them.

4.  I am  5' 1 ",  see I told you I take after the miners, we are all short so we could fit down the mines.  I have blue eyes and originally had reddish brown hair, but it changes every few years.  I am an 'apple' shape.  Oh how I wish I was born tall and naturally thin, but I am a typical 'celt'.

5.  My blood group is O Negative which makes me very popular with the Blood Donation service.  I have not felt able to give blood in the last few years because of health issues but today I will go on to their site HERE to find out when and where the next session is being run.  They are desperately short of supplies.   If you feel that you may be able to help them pop over and look at their page.  I have been lucky to have received first class care from the NHS over the years, this is my way of giving something back.

Would you like to share 5 things about yourself?  I would love to learn random things about you :)

For this post I am joining Amy over at love made my home

Chickpea xx

Welcome to my new followers!!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Year in Books

Barbara Kingsolver - Prodigal Summer

Having read Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna which I absolutely loved, I decided to try another of her books.  Now I have to admit at this stage to cheating a little bit as along with The Bees and The Paying Guests it is an audio book.  In my defence, it is about the only way I get to read books these days and as regular readers know I am spending every spare minute de-cluttering and painting my house in preparation for putting it on the market.  Listening to books as I am working makes the tedious tasks bearable.  So on to last months books:

Held by the Sea - Jane Darke

It would be wrong to say I enjoyed this book as it had me in tears within the first few pages with it's raw description of the pain of bereavement.  It is a beautifully written, evocative book which I will read again. Yes this is a proper book as I knew I would want to have it on my bookshelf.   It is written by artist Jane Darke about the loss of her husband playwright Nick Darke.  It covers their life together from the early days in a wooden shack they built in woods near London to their move to Cornwall.  They spent everyday together, writing,  beach combing and catching lobsters.  For me the descriptions of Cornwall are perfect and the landscape plays an important part in the book.  However the book is primarily about the loss of her partner, the love of her life.  She is brutally honest in her description of her grieving process.  A beautiful book that I would highly recommend.

The Bees - Laline Paull

I can say I enjoyed this book, it is very unusual and clever.  The 'hero' of the book is a bee called Flora.  It starts from when she first emerges from her cell and tells the story of her life in the hive.  Another book I would recommend.

Sarah Waters - The Paying Guests

The third book for last month is Sarah Walters, The Paying Guests.  I have not read any of her books before but I will certainly be checking them out.  It is beautifully written, a slow burner that draws you in to the stifling class ridden world of the post WW1 period.

For this post I am joining in with The Year in Books

Thank you so much for your encouraging remarks on my last post, when I'm flagging or doubting myself I will read them back.

Chickpea xx