Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!


May 2012 be a wonderful year for you and those you love.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The evening sky



Milk Cake

This is my version of a recipe for 3 Milk (Tres Leches) Cake that TZ gave me.  There are several versions online, so have a look at those too.

Start by making a plain sponge cake. I use Mrs RC's recipe:

8oz sugar
8oz cooking margerine

Blend this together into a smooth cream.

4 eggs

Add these one at a time, whisking them in.

8oz self raising flour

Add this a bit at a time, folding it in slowly.

This is baked at 180C for around 25 minutes - make sure it is cooked!

Keep the cake in the baking tin allow it to cool and liberaly pierce the cake using a skewer.

8oz whipping cream
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk

Mix these together and then pour some over the cake.  It will soak in quite quickly.  Add more cream in stages until it is all in the tin with the cake.  Cover with cling film and then leave it in the fridge over night.  Logic says that the result will be a sloppy mess, but it is not - it is a wonderfully moist and sweet cake.  You will need a plate and spoon, though. The calories will be horrific, of course...

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Playing with the camera

Took a few (dozen) pics and thought I would share a couple.

Sweet potatoes with marshmallow.  I was surprised at howgod this was - visitors gave mixed reviews, but I will certainly be doing it again.


3 Milk Cake.  A big hit again, and this one was even better than the first time I made it.  I love this cake!


Home made bread.


One of the flowers in the table display.


Yes, I have been very snap happy with the camera, but just love the results. Hope I don't become a photography bore...

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Testing the new camera...

Custard and Frou Frou waiting for presents.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

My Christmas starts here - we have food on the table, beer in the fridge, bottles of wine waiting for the cork screw

The shopping is over, whether we have everything or not.  I like that feeling.  No chance of being crushed in a shop for ooh, 36 hours?  Sounds good to me!

Did you hear about the chat between God and Satan?  God said that he had just given men a great gift - a time to celebrate, to get together with loved ones, to share good times, gifts and food.

Satan thought for a moment.

"That gives me a wonderful idea - I have just given men CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!  MWAHAHAHAHAHAAH!"

Have a great Christmas!  My next post will be sent from my new laptop!  OK it is a hand me down from my daughter who IS getting a new one but hey, it will be new to ME!


UPDATE.  the ham/gammon just came out of the oven....

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Having a bit of a family invasion on Boxing Day.

Thinking about doing sweet potatoes with marshmallows as part of the food.  I have never had it and to be honest I am not sure anyone will like it, but ever since I read about it on someone's blog (Terri?  Was it you?  I really can't remember!) I have wanted to give it a try.

Hah, if it is really bad I can always just claim it is the "vegetarian alternative".  Hehehe.  Sorry, my boss dropped by earlier and gave me a bottle of wine for Christmas.  I told Mrs RC that he had ordered me to drink it tonight, and she believed me.  If you knew my boss you would believe that too!  Good wine!  Thanks boss!

Any comments on this dish are more than welcome!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Custard is 6 today!

Please join us in wishing Custard a very Happy Birthday!


This photo was taken in the summer while camping.  Today is not as hot... This day was amazingly hot, possibly the hottest of the year.  At one point Custard laid down in the shade of some trees and refused to walk until he had cooled down.  He might not be the brightest dog in the world but he does have a little bit of good sense.

I will post some new photos of the dogs soon, as I test my new camera!  Can't wait to start playing with that.

More shopping today - hopefully the last, he says with little hope that it will be.

Have a great day!


Ha Ha, just had to share this.  My daughter is giving him his presents - all carefully wrapped.  One was a dried sausage, which he just swallowed, wrapping paper and all.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Feeling better...

After spending most of yesterday following my nurse's (TZ) orders and a good night's sleep I feel much better today.  My chest does not hurt now and I only cough from time to time to bring up something that is better out than in, if you get my meaning. Frou Frou was great yesterday, snuggling up with me on the sofa like a little hot water bottle

I got up at a reasonable time and went on the morning dog walk on the crisp, frosty grass (and slippery roads and paths!) .  There was even a bit of snow trying to fall, but the weather has warmed up now and it is just raining outside.

Then we went out to buy the rest of our Christmas food, and a few last extra presents.  Just a few odds and ends to get now, like some of the vegetables and things that need to be bought fresh.  Probably going to do some more tomorrow.

More soon.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Cough, cough, wheeze

OK, the kids have now passed their nasty cough on to me. It is the sort of cough that really hurts your chest, so I am eager to shake it as soon as possible so we can get in the last of the Christmas stuff without people thinking that a zombie plague has struck me down.

I have taken suitable drugs had a lay in and am still in my warm and fluffy dressing gown, sitting on the sofa trying to find something worth watching on TV.

Ah, poor me...

Friday, 16 December 2011

Stealing WIGSF's Christmas Meme

Just time for something short and sweet.  I don't think that Wigsf matches that description but this meme does!

Here goes:

1. What do you really want for Christmas but you know nobody will get it for you?  A horrible Christmas sweater.

2. What do you not want for Christmas but you know that somebody will get it for you?  I don't tend to get presents that I don't want - call me Mr Lucky!

3. When do you open your gifts (Christmas eve or Christmas morning)?  Christmas morning.  When the kids were younger we used to split them and have some in the afternoon too.

4. Do you prefer gifts wrapped or in gift bags?  Wrapped.  I love ripping paper, struggling with sticky tape, etc.

 5. Did you re-gift anything this year?  No.  As I said, I don't tend to get things I don't want.

 6. What’s your favourite Christmas movie?  A Christmas Story, as most of you will already know.  It is on right now.

 7. What’s your favourite Christmas TV special?  Looking forward to the Warehouse 13 one this year...

8. Do you like eggnog?  Haven't tried it in years, but Mrs RC is doing some this year...

 9. Real tree or fake tree, which do you prefer?  I love the look of a real tree, and the challenge of finding a nice one and getting it home.  We have had a fake one for years now (since we started having crawling babies), but that might change in the next year or so.

10. Would you actually use one of those fireplace DVDs if you don’t have a fireplace?  We don't have a real fireplace, but Mrs RC built one which she puts up at Christmas.  It includes a grate with logs lit up by red and orange Christmas lights.

11. Are you sick of Christmas music yet?  Of course not!  Except for the later versions of Band Aid...

12. Are you getting up early to wait in line to do some Boxing Day shopping?  No f-ing way.  Some times are sacred and this is one of them!

13. When was the last time you sat on Santa’s lap?  I can't remember EVER sitting on Santa's lap, to be honest.  I went from finding him terrifying to finding him creepy with little in between.


So there you have it!

Today is my last day of work! Yes, I know.  Don't hate be because I am clever!  Blogging will continue through the holiday, though, so don't despair!  :-)

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Hair

Abby Normal wrote a post about the history of her hair so I decided to write about mine.

I don't really remember paying much attention to my hair until I was about 8 years old.  I was given a hair cut that I just hated, it just seemed to stick out sideways.  From then on I fought every attempt to cut it again, and being in the '70s  (and my mom was/is a huge fan of people like Marc Bolan) that was OK! 

My hair grew.

By the time I was in secondary school my hair was growing down my back.  By my late teens it was half way down my back, and went great with the guitars and bands I played in.

I was frequently called "Hippy" and "Jesus".  This was probably meant as an insult but I had no problem with either to be honest!

When our first daughter was on her way I had to make a show of trying to be responsible, so I got my hair chopped short and found sensible work.

When I had been working at the Uni for a while I started to let my hair grow out again.  The first time I realised that it was getting long again was one time I was in Malta - a kid pointed at me and said "Christos!"  I guess the beard helped the return if this look!

Over the last few years I have kept my hair fairly wild, Mrs RC taking the scissors to it when I start to look like Albert Einstein.  I like it like this, it is how I am meant to be.

Hippy?

Sure thing!  First impressions are important, I don't want to mis-sell myself!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Back!

It started on Saturday, as I rode the bus back from a shopping trip.

I felt sick.

I felt SO sick that I had to get off the bus early and walk the rest of the way home.

I sucked it up for the rest of the evening, but on Sunday I felt like crap - no energy, no motivation to do anything other than flop in front of the TV.

Monday morning came.

I rang in sick and went back to sleep, finally emerging at 1.30 to stop my bladder bursting.

As the day went on I gradually recovered, the sick feeling subsiding and my energy returning.  In the evening started by setting up the Nativity and then progressed to decorating the front porch (the Pooh Bear Grotto returns!) and starting the hall - my old blue decorations have had to be changed because the hall is now mainly red.  I think the tree is finally going up today, but Mrs RC has to finish repainting the sittingroom first...

I finally got my new camera - well I bought it, but it won't be mine until Christmas morning.  It is a Panasonic (I think) 14megapixel, HD video camera.  It is really small but seems to do everything that I need and it was half price!  Woo hoo!  In addition, the memory cards were buy one get one free, and they practically gave me 3 year instant replacement cover, even if I drop it down the toilet and ruin it!  Can't wait to get snapping with this new toy.  Yes I will post some photos for you to see.

OK, time to finish - have a great day - what's left of it anyway!

Friday, 9 December 2011

The main feature



We had hot dogs tonight, so last night I made some chili dog sauce, loosely based on a recipe that wReggie sent me.


I started by digging into the freezer for some meat, only finding about half the amount I needed.  Oh well, carry on.


Sorry about the interruption - Frou Frou wants to play.


OK, that was defrosting in the pan while I chopped 2 large onions.  These were great onions and I was crying like a girl in a couple of minutes.


A tin of tomatoes and the onions joined the meat.


ra ra ra ra ra. hah, got the bear!  go and get it Frou!


There started to simmer over a really low heat while I added the seasoning.


A bit of salt


A generous tablespoon of paprika.


A less generous tablespoon of chili powder.


ra rararaaaaaaaaaaaa! give me the bear, frou!


A teaspoon of cayenne pepper.


Simmered for around half an hour until everything is cooked and sticking together.


Left to cool and then put in the fridge for the next day, the flavours infusing over night.


It was only later that I realised that I had forgotten to add sugar, but this seemed more to everyone's liking.  The pan hardly needed washing by the time dinner was over, and we started to ponder other uses for it - one idea that got a lot of favour was putting it in cheese pastry with more cheese and some chorizo sausage.  Chorizo seems to feature in a lot of our meals lately.  Can you get addicted to pork and paprika?


Back again.  Frou Frou just had to check the garden for cats.


The evenings here are wonderful at the moment.  A bit of a cold breeze, but the sky is clear with a huge, bright moon which makes everything look like those old horror movies where the night scenes were filmed at night with a tinted lens so the shadows look exaggerated.  Great for walking dogs - no one else walks at that time of night, so we have the fields to ourselves.  OK, we share with the foxes,  but they stay almost out of sight and don't bother us unless Frou thinks they are following us.  Custard ignores them entirely - they just don't seem to register with him for some reason.  He ignores a lot of things, seeming to enjoy a carefree life.


OK, Frou has now fallen asleep on the sofa next to me and it is time for me to sign off.


Have a great weekend!

End of Term!

Yes, today is the last day of term!  That was really quick, but as usual for this term, my feet hardly touched the ground.

Today was really busy with more than it's fair share of problems - ever have those days when you wish you had followed your instincts and stayed in bed?

Well my frazzled brain can't think of much more to say, so have a great weekend - I might make a proper post later tonight - we will see.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Bunny Vegas


You might be thinking that we have now totally flipped and put up Christmas lights for the rabbits.

You are wrong.

These are not just for Christmas - the rabbits have these lights all year round, on a timer switch.  They seem to like it, and the lights even seem to give off a bit of heat, helping the little darlings through the freezing, um, somewhat chilly British winter.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Hm...

We were sitting at the kitchen table, playing with a wind-up penguin that does back-flips.  Well it did at first...

Daughter:  Mom, you paid £1 for that?

Mrs RC:  Yes.

Daughter:  That is something that Dad would do!  Dad buys silly useless things like this!


Seems that my niche in the house is under threat!

It starts! Christmas is really on the way!

After peddling to work through the remains of a heavy frost, on a wonderfully warm and sunny morning, I am now at work.

I have hot soup in my Life is Good mug.

I have also got A Christmas Story playing on an old Mac that sits on another desk.

Ho ho ho!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Feeling like a wimp

OK, I surrender.

I said it was cold here - around freezing point this morning.

I should have known that my friends in Canada and on the prairies were going to totally blow me away...

I won't complain about the cold for the rest of the winter - promise!

Yesterday

Was Frou Frou Day!  We have had our little bundle of fun for a whole year now!



This morning is COLD!  I was walking the dogs at 6.30 and, as the cold seeped into every gab in my clothing,, biting my fingers through my gloves,  I began to wonder where Global Warming had got to.  Apparently there is snow "Ooop North" and slowly heading south.  If this cold hangs around it will probably stay if we get it.  It would be nice if it could hang on for another week or so...

Just finished drinking a hot chocolate with whipped cream - seemed to be the only way to truly warm up again this morning!

Have a great Monday!  Yeah, I know, like that is ever going to happen...

Friday, 2 December 2011

Hitting the High Notes

Just about all of the big stuff for Christmas has now been bought - just a new TV for the sittingroom to go now, and the cash for that has been set aside.  Yes, I am finally moving on past the old glass tube TV set and getting an HD flat screen.  Not 3D, of course.  As some of you may know by now, I like to trail behind the technology until it reaches a sensible price.



A TV presenter (well known for his brash sense of humour) has caused a stir by suggesting that people who went on strike this week should be shot.  People are calling for him to be sacked and he has had to apologise.  Seems that a lot of people have forgotten what comedy is!  I thought it was hilarious, even though I don't actually like him for a lot of other reasons.  Some of these people should listen to what is said on some of the radio comedy shows...



A couple of days ago my younger daughter visited the doctor.  Nothing serious.  She came back and was ranting about the fact that this highly qualified, highly paid man could not prounounce her name properly.  It is not a difficult name, just slightly unusual.  I joined in.  Our combined rant developed into:

     He is a DOCTOR.  Surely a DOCTOR should be able to read a person's name!

     Unless he got his PhD off the internet.   You know, the ones where you send $100 and get a degree?

     True.  But to do that he would still have to be able to READ!



Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hump Day already...

Yes, Wednesday has hit me in the face again - what happened to Monday and Tuesday?  Can't really remember to be honest!

Today I am being a "Scab".  The Unions are out on strike, protesting over the government's attempts to sort out our economy.  I am not a union member - I grew up in the '70s and '80s and saw just how stupid things can get.  I don't want to be part of it.  The strikers may have a point - maybe the government is not doing things in the best possible way, but all striking is going to do is give them ammunition to shoot back with.  This government wants to totally finish the unions off and massed strikes that will cost the country money it can't afford to lose only makes their case stronger.  The unions are, IMO, playing their hand too soon and will be spent by the time the real fights need to be fought.


Enough of that!


Today is a beautiful day, in contrast to yesterday which was pelting with rain by the time I had to go home.  I was like a drowned rat by the time I sploshed into the house, with everyone staying well clear of me!  Dinner was wonderful - cheesey pasta with bacon and chorizo sausage.  I hate until I felt ill, but still wanted more...

I have started planning my next set of toy soldiers.  It will be a long project but the resulting army will be wonderful, involving some of the most spectacular troops that ever fought side by side.  I am talking elephants, scythed chariots, cavalry with man and horse in full armour and naked barbarians!  Can't wait to get my first order off.

Have a great day!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Shopping

That one word sums up my weekend.

Satruday we went food shopping - the dull, normal stuff, nothing exciting to report...

Sunday we got carried away.

A couple of weeks ago we checked out a furniture store for a new sofa set and found one we loved.  Returning yesterday, we were pleased to find that we still loved it as much as last time.  The sales guy came over as I sat in the arm chair.

"Can I help you?"

"Yes, I think we want these."

A couple of minutes talking about delivery and stuff, and the deal was done.  Must have been the easiest sale the guy had made in a long time.

Then it was off to PC World which is busy trying to get some stock moving at the moment.  We had a good look at the laptops and found one that looked like a cracking deal.  The sales woman came over and asked if we were OK.  After asking her to check the online price for us (they have a daft set up where there is often one price in the store and another one online which you pay even if you only reserve it online and collect it in the store!) we bought 2 of these as Christmas presents for the younger kids.  We try to be nice, easy customers...

And the best news?  We did all this without racking up the credit card!  Oooooh Yeah!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Thanksgiving...

Had a departmental party last night - staff and students.

It was a great evening, with lots of prizes being given out as the evening progressed.

At one point in the evening the landlord handed out a load of free apple pie and cream - his way of acknowledging Thanksgiving.  Wonder if this is the start of something?

The ride home was fun, with a warm tail wind helping me get home.

Had trouble waking up this morning, though - think that last pint should have stayed in the barrel....

Have a great weekend!  I am now off hunting down students at the Graduation Ceremony, camera in hand.  Each year I make a poster of the photos I take - makes a nice addition to the wall displays.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Dumb logic

A British judge recently ruled that because the Police are used to hearing bad language it should no longer be against the law to swear at them. 

Really?

That is some dumb logic in my view.  We are supposed to have a bit of respect for these guys, aren't we?  I hope he needs a cop in the near future...

But I got to wondering about extending his logic.


How about:

The people are used to paying taxes, so just tax them even more?

Some kids are used to getting picked on and beaten up, so encourage your kids to join in.

People who cause trouble on the streets are used to being involved in fights, so allow the Police to use whatever force they fancy using at the time to control them - maybe shooting them in the legs until they stop swearing would be a good start?

Shops have stuff stolen all the time, so shoplifting is now legal.

Sex scenes on TV shows are getting more and more graphic, so let's just show porn movies on all channels all day long.

Most people break the speed limit, so let's increase the limit by 10mph to make most of them legal again.  No wait, the UK government actually plans to do that!


Go on, I am sure you can think of more!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

London Video

It seems to be loading now!   Yay!

video

And for James, a couple of guitar shots (sorry the lighting is rubbish!):

Triple-neck guitar (12 string, 6 string, 5 string bass):


and an 8 string bass:

There were lots of really nice guitars, ranging up to £5000 each, but a lot that I could actually afford.  This is where I will be going to get me next guitar...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Hitting the High Notes

Well as you might have seen already, Saturday was one bit high note, but it didn't stop when I got home.

All week I had been wanting to eat Bacon and Onion Pudding.  This is an old recipe that Mrs RC's grandmother introduced me to.  She was a great woman and is Mrs RC's role model.  The first time I met her she brought out 3 types of cake, urging me to eat as many as I wanted - "You've travelled a long way, you must be starving!"  So I chomped away on these wonderful cakes, eating so many that I wasn't particularly hungry when she declared it was dinner time, and served up bacon and onion pudding, mashed potatoes, etc.  But it was so wonderful I ate that too.

Anyway, guess what?  Mrs RC had made me Bacon and Onion Pudding for dinner when I got home on Saturday!  Slices of bacon and onion, rolled into a sausage shape of suet dough and then steamed for around 3 hours.  I just had the last slice for dinner at work.  Fantastic.

Sunday was another good day.  A few weeks ago my dad decided that he did not want to watch TV any more.  Of course, he couldn't just leave it in the corner until he wants to switch it on again, he got rid of everything except the satellite dish that is luckly bolted to the outside of his house.  But we (OK, Mrs RC) had the foresite to rescue the vital stuff, knowing that sooner or later he would want a TV again. 

Yesterday he declared that he had bought a second hand TV and was having trouble making it work.  So I grabbed the bag of "vital stuff", popped down and within no time he was up and running again. Queue Bill and Ted style air-guitar celebration.

Monday has been good so far too - a cold, foggy day, but still very enjoyable in its way.

Have a great day!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A day in London


I recorded a bit of a video diary of the day...

But wasn't able to upload it - will have a fiddle and try again later.

Really enjoyed meeting up with Agg79 - he is a really great guy.  We eventually found each other outside Buckingham Palace, despite the thousands of tourists who had turned out to witness the meeting of 2 old time bloggers...



We took a stroll across Green Park to Piccadilly Circus, found a nice looking pub and settled down to drink beer, eat and talk about everything from Star Trek to sports cars.

Then it was time to head off in different directions, AGG going off in the direction of the Tower of London and me going to find guitar shops.

You will learn more when I get the video posted, but needless to say I had a great day.

Hope your day was as good as mine!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Weekend...

Another busy week under my belt, and a busy weekend coming up too!

Tomorrow I am off to London for a lunchtime beer or two with Agg79!  We have been blog friends for some time now, so I am really looking forward to it.  We are planning to meet outside Buckingham Palace - seemed like a good place to me!

After AGG79 heads off to see the rest of the sites, I am going to go guitar shop hunting.  There is a nice cluster of them that I visited many years ago and each time I am in London I fail to find them again.  This time I am prepared with a map and everything!  Wish me luck! 

Will try to remember to take my camera and post pics when I get back.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Do you see the light?

The other evening I was about to set off home into the dark evening when I realised that I had done a very silly thing - left my front light at home!

Not wanting to miss out on the rest of my life, I decided to buy a new light before making my journey, so I headed to a place that I know does lights at reasonable prices.

When I got there I found nice set of LED lights, front and back and also another LED light that is on a wrist strap! Hah!  I have secretly wanted one of those for some time!

So I headed outside and rigged up the new lights.  From behind I now have 3 flashing LED lights - 1 on the bike and 2 on my rucksack - plus another one on my right arm which makes it clear when I am turning right, across the traffic.  If you are in one of those silly places where you drive on the wrong side of the road, think of when you are turning LEFT.  No excuses for not seeing me now!  I probably look like a small Christmas tree rattling along the road...

Monday, 14 November 2011

Mondays..

Mondays are always extra busy these days, a real case of "jumping in at the deep end" each week.  I guess it isn't a totally bad thing, though.  Assuming I actually float back to the surface again the rest of the week is a comparatively easy doggy paddle.


Just spent an hour or so on my dissertation.  I am trying to settle into a "little and often" routine with this.  Not a bad approach to most things, to be honest.  Can't think of many things where "little and often" is a bad thing!


Now watching "Persons Unknown".  I rather like this - it is like a nasty version of those reality TV shows where people are kept in isolation in a building or on an island and try to stay in as long as possible.  In the last episode they were gassed a couple of times and then given some gas masks, but not enough for everyone....  Fun in a sadistic sort of way, but they make the people unlikable enough for you not to feel bad about it.


OK, time to go.  Need to refill my glass.  Yes, I am blogging from home, and I rather like it!

Friday, 11 November 2011

11/11/11

Today is the day we remember and honour those who have fallen in wars around the world.  It marks the anniversary of the end of the First World War, which officially ended at 11am 11 Nov, 1918.

Honouring those who have died in wars, past and present, is a vital part of our civilization.  Whether you agree with the reasons for fighting a particular war or not is irrelevant - this is a day for respect not politics.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Hitting the High Notes

It seems that my little girl is sneakily growing up on me.

I had to take her to an open day at a college yesterday!   How did that happen?

We had good chat with the people there about the course that she wants to take, which is animal care.  She loves animals and this is certainly the best direction for her to go.  She is not sure if she wants to go into the veterinary side or not - she also likes the idea of working in a zoo or rescue centre, or even becoming a "dog whisperer".  Whatever she does it certainly sounds like a good life, and who could want more for their children?


Today is one of those wonderful foggy autumn days.  I love the fog - they way it softens the sounds around you and takes off the rough edges like a Gaussian blur on a portrait photo.  It also seems to make car drivers a little more cautious which makes cycling that much more pleasurable.


I bumped into an old boss of mine last night!  He is a great guy who I owe a lot too.  He even went out of his way to gate-crash my wedding - and a most welcome gate-crasher he was, too.  Hoping to get together for lunch soon to catch up on things.


This Christmas I will be returning to an old hobby of mine - wine making!  I used to have tons of equipment for this, but that all went, so Mrs RC is going to set me up with new stuff.  I made some really good wine when I was younger and had a lot of fun in the process.  Watch out next year for inevitable tales of triumph and disaster!  Place your orders now!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tea break time!


OK, I know I am English and therefore supposed to drink sweet, milky tea by the gallon, but I can't stand the stuff, so I will do a quick blog post instead.  Can't have people calling me a Slacker!

So, you want an update on the War on Cats?  Well, it has all gone very quiet all of a sudden.  Perhaps they read my thoughts or perhaps Frou Frou got a bit too close on one of her late night charges into the garden.  Whatever the reason, the cats seem to be staying away again.  Good thing too!

I had one of those rash moments the other day - remember that I won a wargames competition in the early summer?  Well I volunteered to run it next year.  It will be fun but I am sure that it will cause me a fair bit of work.  My first step was to register it as part of the national league!  Yes, we are playing with the Big Boys now!  I want to make it a really good day - starting with some really wonderful scenery to fight over.  I have all sorts of ideas, and will be sure to post photos here as things take shape.

Well, better get back to it - today is one of those "clearing a ton of fiddly jobs" days.  My next job is to finish making tickets for a staff/student social evening.  I don't like tea, but I am pretty good at drinking beer!

Hm, I think we know a song about that, don't we children?

"I wasn't born ..."

OK, if you don't know what I am whittering on about:

Slacking...

Told you!

Hope to find some time and inspiration later today...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thursday? Already?

Busy, busy week...

Tonight is Dissertation night again - going to do a first draft of the introduction.  This will be a breeze if the brain juice is flowing properly...



Looks like the truce with the cats is over - had one trying to break into the rabbit run again last night.  We are going to rework the netting around the garden at the weekend.  Mrs RC thinks she has a way of doing it that will keep the little b@$£@&ds out...  Hope it works because I don't think we will be giving any quarter this time....



Went to buy pizza at lunchtime but the place was shut, so I went to a nearby place that does cheap and cheerful sandwiches and stuff.  I asked for bacon with a sprinkle (yes I did say "sprinkle") of cheese.

What would you call a "sprinkle"?

I was thinking she would grab some with her thumb and fingers and "sprinkle" said cheese over the bacon.

Nope.

I got 2 not especially dainty FISTFULS!  There was far more cheese than there was bacon by the time she had finished!

Did I complain?

Nah!

"That is a SERIOUS sprinkle!" was my comment.

And it was very good, I must say.

Off to grab dinner now - wonder what I will find?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Movember and Gender Equality

I am just picking upon the idea of Movember - guys don't shave during the month.

Sounds fine to me - I don't tend to shave much when the weather turns cold anyway, but it does seem a bit sexist so I thought I would add a thought to even things out.

I HAVE run this idea past one female friend and she didn't go for it, but hey this is the internet!  If there is a place for anything it is HERE, right?

So, my idea is that women don't shave or wax their arm pits or legs for the month.

Any takers?

My kind of politician

Monday, 31 October 2011

Hitting the High Notes

Today's High Notes are only high compared to how rubbish I felt for most of last week - I guess they are more like the high notes in a good karaoke song than something an opera singer would be proud of, but they are my high notes, so there! Anyone who wants to complain can (to quote from Futurama) kiss my shiny metal ass!

My cold/flu thingy has more or less gone!  Yay!!!!!  No more feeling that my brain has turned to ooze and is trying to escape down my nose!

To make sure I got better, Mrs RC made me the best banoffee pie ever.  It was so good, in fact, that the kids decided that it was not just for me and managed to eat most of it for me.

I had a check at the dentists this morning and got the all clear.  This always gives a good feeling, does it not?

Starting the new week with a clear head - plenty to do but I can handle it - BRING IT ON!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Perseverance rewarded at last!

I like bookshops.

I like to browse, flicking through books, checking the offers, the new releases.

I like the SMELL of bookshops.  They are second only to libraries.

I don't like buying books online.  In fact I only buy ANYTHING online if desperate.

I like to support my local bookshop against the onslaught of online book shops.

And they do need support.  A nearby one shutdown recently - the owner had got to the stage where he felt that the shop was nothing more than a showroom were people would look at the stock and then stand there and order the thing online using their iPhone!

Anyway, to the point of this post.

Back in June I ordered a book at my local bookshop.  The publishers had intended that anyone who wanted it would buy it online, but my reasoning was that if it had an ISBN number then my local shop SHOULD be able to get it. 

And I was right. 

Eventually.

It arrived today!

I make that just over 4  months.

OK, so I did almost give up a couple of times, but after a while I just wanted to see it through to the end.

The guy in the shop was SOOOooo pleased to give it to me - and he almost believed me when I said that I didn't want it any more...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Me and cooking...

TechnoBabe wanted to know if I have ever worked as a Chef.

I guess the answer to this is "almost".

In the summer when I turned 15, I worked in a restaurant that was owned by a friend of the family.  Due to the nature of our town, it only opened in the summer when there were tourists around.  I was the kitchen dogs-body, washing up, using the potato peeling machine, mopping the floors each morning, that sort of thing.  It was hard work but I threw myself into it.  The owner said that he wanted to take me on as an apprentice in the following summer and train me up.  Unfortunately, things didn't work out that way and the restaurant did not re-open the next summer and I ended up going to college instead.

But I was ALMOST a chef.  I guess that would be another Alternative Me!

But I love cooking and eating - we always try to make mealtimes a family affair, getting the kids together and talking about "stuff" - what has happened to us during the day, what is happening in the world at large, the latest thing we have seen on a blog or YouTube.  I just love it.

My mom never really excelled as a cook - she did good, basic stuff but we never really had the money to go beyond that.  It was only after I started to get some money of my own that I started experimenting with cooking - Ken Hom's first book became my bible and at one point we were eating so much Chinese food that Mrs RC and I forgot how to use a knife and fork!  We went to dinner at a friend's house and spent several minutes fumbling with them until we got the hang of it again.

I only became Rock Chef when I had my mid-life crisis.  Some get a sports car, some get a young girl friend, but I got a new electric guitar.  Until then I had only owned bass guitars.  I was so eager to get as much playing time in as possible that I played while cooking, having a small battery powered amp clipped to my belt.  It was great fun.

OK, that is enough for now!  I think I am emerging from the depths of my cold.  Time to get lunch.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Feeling rubbish

Got a bit of cold/flu going on, so I will leave you with this for today:


This is Frou Frou trying to convince us that she does not need to go outside into the cold and rain.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Hitting the High Notes

Last Friday, Terri revived her "Life is Good" posts, and encouraged others to join her in posting about the good things in life.  This is intended to be the first of a  regular feature here where I share some of those small things that make life good.

One constant High Note is my younger son's sense of humour.  We were watching a TV show last night where a guy was in Soweto at a Bungee Jump site.



They have a platform between 2 disused cooling towers and jump from it.  As they bounce around the jumpers go incredibly close to the towers.  My son watched this and suggested that the paintings on the towers were to cover up the splat marks... 

Another High Note is food.  I love food - both cooking and eating.  On Sunday evening I had the urge to make a nice dessert, so I set about the bowl of apples that had come from a friend's garden/orchard.  Peeled and chopped I got them cooking slowly, adding a good dose of cinnamon as it went.  Once these had cooked to a wonderful combination of firm pieces and sauce, I left it to cool and smashed up some biscuits to make a base, which I dolloped the apple onto.

Next I set to on the cream - I love whipping cream by hand with a wire whisk. None of that electric mixer stuff - I like to feel the cream thicken, choosing the perfect moment to stop.  The cream was now spread onto the now cold apple and finished off with grated chocolate.  Oh yeah, that was a great treat on a Sunday evening!

My final High Note is that it is home time for me!  Sorry if you are only starting your working day...

Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday Roundup

Another busy week has flown past!

We are down to 3 rabbits.  Earlier in the week we realised that Buttercup (the big brown and white one in the title photo) was not right, having lost control of her bladder.  We took her to the vets who said they could run some tests but that it was probably just old age, so we had her put down.  So we now have Houdini, Panda and Bubbles, their mother.  Resisting the urge to get another friend for Bubbles as she is alone in her run now but can still talk to the babies who are right next door.  We will see how it works out.

Warning - going Political for a moment!

So, Gaddafi is dead now!  Can't be a bad thing, really.  I see that Amnesty International want an investigation into how he died.  Really?  Please, concentrate on the real issues, don't waste time and money arguing about the fate of a man who had so much blood on his hands.

One thing that I WOULD like to see debated more, though, is the way that the NATO air strikes (mainly by the British and French) seem to have totally exceeded the UN mandate to protect civilians.  With the current leaders of the British government having been so critical of the legality of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, their conduct in Libya smacks of more than a little bit of double-standards.

Political moment over.

The weekend is looking good - cold but dry.  Plenty to do - shopping, stacking hay for Humphrey (my mom's pony), reading for my dissertation, cooking, etc.  Meanwhile I think Mrs RC will continue redecorating our hall, which is taking on an increasingly red theme...

Right, better get back to things - have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Custard and Frou Frou

The part of the blogosphere that I read has taken a decidedly doggy turn recently, so...
Meet Custard:


Custard is nearly 6 years old and is a bit of a softy.  We got him at the age of 10 weeks, buying him from a local pig farmer.

Meet Frou Frou:


Frou is now 1 year old, is super cute but is also a bit of a tough nut. We bought her from a nearby stables after an exhausting hunt for a puppy - let down by rescue centres and a succession of supposed breeders that we found on the Internet, we eventually tracked her down at a nearby stable.  Mostly but by no means all Yorkie, she is a great little character.

Custard and Frou Frou "play" together quite a lot, and this generally falls into 2 categories:

Play fighting.  Custard laying on the floor like a beached whale with Frou attacking him - nipping his feet, jumping on his head, using him as a bouncy castle.  When she was younger, Frou would put her entire head into Custard's mouth and lick his teeth clean.  This sounds like a bad deal for Custard, but he does seem to have fun - he certainly tells her if she goes too far.

Steal the toy/chew - often started by Custard waving something around in front of Frou to get her attention.  One of them has something that the other one desperately wants - never mind that there are a dozen or so other things littering the floor.  If you have children you will recognise this behaviour.  If Frou gets it she will run rings around Custard with it until he somehow corners her and takes it away, using his far superior strength.  Frou now turns to a couple of strategies.  If Custard remains standing, she alternately grabs at the toy and nips at his toes until either she gets it or he lays down with it and holds it between his paws.  Now she gets subtle and starts turning her back on him, distracting him with her feminine charms.  Once he has taken the bait she backs towards him until she is between his head and the toy, grabs it and is off.  From time to time he stands his ground, refusing to give in, so she goes and finds something else to play with, which usually results her letting him have the new toy while she grabs the original one.

When it comes to chewies, Frou Frou finds them a bit hard at first, so she likes it when Custard has had a go at them first, making them nice and soft for her.  Sometimes Custard will eat a whole chew while Frou waits for him to make it soft - this really annoys her, unless in his haste Custard has swallowed it too soon.  This tends to result in him vomiting the chew back up, ready to be grabbed by the waiting Frou Frou.  Yes, I know that is totally disgusting, but what can you do?  Not so cute now, eh!

At meal times, they have their own bowls but Frou prefers to share Custard's dinner, sneaking mouthfuls of food when his head isn't blocking her way.  She might eat her own food when Custard has finished, but often doesn't.

But they do love each other and are hard to seperate, often sleeping snuggled up together.  Frou also seems to see herself as Custard's bodyguard, standing up to dogs that like to threaten Custard.

So there you have it - our Dynamic Duo!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Happy Birthday to Frou...

Our darling Frou Frou is 1 today!

Here she is on the day we got her.


And here she is camping in the summer, having stolen Custard's chew.

She has got plenty of presents which she unwrapped this morning and a birthday cake (made of meat and dog biscuits) which she will share with Custard tonight.

In around 6 weeks I am sure we will be celebrating Frou Frou Day - the anniversary of when we got her.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Nose to the grindstone...


Had a really productive evening - got the bones of my dissertation down, started getting the references going and putting the relevant documents into a folder so I can find them easily when I need them.

I think I have done enough for one evening!

Off home now - bye!

Knuckling down

It starts tonight!

I have spent time since the early summer fiddling with data and creating maps.

Now is the time to start writing!

Thursday evenings have been set aside as writing time - I will stay at work to avoid the usual distractions and chip away each week until it is finished.  If I find other time in between, even better, but I won't rely on it.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Lost in translation

I love the way that we can be chatting away with each other, apparently talking the same language, only to suddenly come across something that does not transmit properly.

My all time favourite was seeing Carrie Fisher on a British talk show talking about weight loss, holding her arms out and declaring that "my fanny used to be THIS BIG!", causing the presenter and audience to almost die laughing.  That word means something totally different over here...

Anyway, my last post gave some of you the impression that I drink these in the morning:


This would be quite a feat, and even if made into some sort of smoothy I doubt it would taste very good even if it would probably be very good for you.

The squash that I drink is much more normal:


Fruit flavoured stuff that you mix with water.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

100 Random Things

I was just trawling through the "My Documents" folder and found a Meme that I did soon after I started blogging.  Given the first question, I thought it might be fun to see how my answers have changed in nearly 5 years.  The original answer will be first, followed by the new one in bold.

Here goes:

1. How old will you be in five years? 48.  53.

2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today? My wife. My wife.

3. How tall are you? 6’2”.  Same - haven't started shrinking yet...

4. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks? Playing wargames all day at the Society of Ancients Battle Day. My daughter’s birthday. Summer!  Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night, my baby brother's birthday.

5. What's the last movie you saw? Terminator III. Land of the Dead, which is a surprisingly good zombie movie.

6. Who was the last person you called? My friend Steve.  My wife.

7. Who was the last person to call you? My wife. My dad.

8. What was the last text message you received? My friend Steve moaning about the NHS. My friend Steve talking about alien invasions.

9. Who was the last person to leave you a voicemail? Don’t know, I never get them.  I still never get them!

10. Do you prefer to call or text? Call.  Call.  Unless I am in the middle of watching a movie - my dad rang during Land of the Dead...

11. What were you doing at 12am last night? Laying in bed reading about Alexander the Great. I guess that is rather sad.  Sleeping...

12. Are your parents married/divorced? Divorced.  Still divorced - in fact even more so right now!

13. When did you last see your mom? This morning.  This morning.

14. What color are your eyes? Blue-grey but if I wear green they look green.  Still the same...

15. What time did you wake up today? 6.30am.  7am.  Getting old...

16. What are you wearing right now? Short sleeved shirt, trousers, slippers – and undies of course!  Jeans, Star Wars t-shirt, trainers.

17. What is your favourite Christmas song? Away in a Manger. My mom used to sing this to me when I was a child – even in the middle of the summer!  Can't change this one either!

18. Where is your favourite place to be? Anywhere with the wife and kids. Ditto.  I am starting to think that I haven't changed that much!

19. Where is your least favorite place to be? The local hospital. Any hospital!

20. Where would you go if you could go anywhere? I would do the coast to coast tour of Canada.  Hey, I will be doing something like this in 2013!

21. Where do you think you'll be in 10 years? Not far from where I am now!  Who can tell?  Guess it depends on what happens to the British education system!

22. Do you tan or burn? Tan very slightly. My skin is still the same...

23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? Things in the shadows. No I was NOT scared of Hank Marvin!  Hah, I like that answer!

24. What was the last thing that really made you laugh? A really dumb sketch on Radio 4.  A TV show about alien visitors to earth where they kept putting in clips from 1950s scifi movies.  It was hilarious even though it wasn't supposed to be.

25. How many TVs do you have in your house? 5.  5 different ones.

26. How big is your bed? Double.  A different double.

27. Do you have a laptop or desktop computer? Both.  Still both, but I never see the laptop which is more or less my daughter's now.  So I guess I have a desktop.

28. Do you sleep with or without clothes on? Without unless it is really cold.  Another thing that doesn't change!

29. What color are your sheets? Burgundy. Cream.

30. How many pillows do you sleep with? Four.  Four new ones.

31. What is your favorite season? Autumn.  Still Autumn, especially when it is a beautiful one like this!

32. What do you like about fall? Blackberry picking, crunching through fallen leaves.  This year it is the feeling that we are finally having a summer!

33. What do you like about winter? Getting through it without getting too cold and wet on my bike!  Same still!  Plus Christmas, of course, and having a barbeque on Christmas Eve...

34. What do you like about the summer? Picnics, long family walks, sitting in the garden playing guitar.  Ooooh Yeah!

35. What do you like about spring? Warm sun, blossom on the trees, longer days.  Ditto.

36. How many states/provinces/counties have you lived in? 1.  Still 1!

37. What cities/towns have you lived in? Herne Bay, Whitstable.  Same again!

38. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? Slippers. Crocks...

39. Are you a social person? Sort of. I like company but can easily get along on my own.  I am probably a bit less social at the moment...

40. What was the last thing you ate? A jelly baby.  A roll with cheese, ham, tomatoes and chili sauce in it.

41. What is your favorite restaurant? Burrito Amigo.  Not sure at the moment, we are experimenting.

42. What is your favorite ice cream? The white Italian stuff. Then I chuck all sorts of stuff on top.  The Honeycomb stuff we had when we were camping - amazing...

43. What is your favorite dessert? Trifle.  Probably angling towards something like banoffee pie these days.

44. What is your favorite kind of soup? Hot and Sour.  Still Hot and Sour, but it has been a long time since I had soup.

45. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich?  Bramble.  Raspberry.

46. Do you like Chinese food? Oh yes!  Chinese is the best, I love it!

47. Do you like coffee? NO!  I hate anything that has coffee in it...

48. How many glasses of water, a day, do you drink on average? Plain water? None. I do drink about 3-4 pints of fruit squash each day, though.  Still on squash - and Pepsi.

49. What do you drink in the morning? Squash.  Squash.

51. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? I sleep away from the door, because my wife wants to be close to the door.  Same.  We tried switching but it just didn't work.

52. Do you know how to play poker? Vaguely.  Better now than I was - had some practice while camping a couple of years ago when we played for biscuits.

53. Do you like to cuddle? Oh yes.  Now that is another one that ain't gonna change!

54. Have you ever been to Canada? No. Soon...

55. Do you have an addictive personality? Yes.  Yes, but it is more under control now, isn't it My Precious?

56. Do you eat out or at home more often? Home.  But we are eating out more these days!

58. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? Not the say day, but 1 day either side.  No change here!

59. Do you want kids? Did not want them until I found I was going to be a father. Now they are the centre of my life.  It is funny how things change as they get older - it is gettimg more like sharing a house with a bunch of adults!

60. Do you speak any other languages? No, like a true Englishman.  I started to learn German a long time ago...

61. Have you ever gotten stitches? Yes.  Trying to remember when this was - ah, it was when a loft hatch hit me on the head!  I laughed so much, but others insisted that I got looked at.

62. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Yes.  Usually with Mrs RC in labour...

63. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? Pool for swimming in, ocean to look at and listen to.  Ocean all round now - I haven't been swimming for a long time.

64. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seats? Window.  Window - I like to check that the wings are still there!

65. Do you know how to drive stick? How to what?  ???

66. What is your favorite thing to spend money on? My kids.  Same, but they are good kids and don't expect what I can't afford.

67. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7? No. I used to wear a ring that my wife gave me but it got caught on something at work (when I worked in a factory) and my hand nearly got dragged into a chopping machine so I stopped wearing it.  Yes, I wear a wedding ring these days - Mrs RC finally dragged me to a shop and bought it.

68. What is your favorite TV show? Heroes.  The Middle.  Just love this show.

69. Can you roll your tongue? Yes.  Why would someone ask this question????

70. Who is the funniest person you know? Steve.  Still Steve!

71. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No in the bed – I have a couple of stuffed toys that are mine in the bedroom.  Same.

72. What is the main ring tone on your phone? Incoming. My phone is old.  Got rid of Incoming, just have a plain ring now.  My phone is still the same old one...

73. Do you still have clothes from when you were little? No.  Guess!

74. What red object is closest to you right now? My desk tidy.  My can of Pepsi!

75. Do you turn off the water while you brush your teeth? Yes.  Definitely!

76. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Who cares?  They tend to be closed - our bedroom is small so we can't leave doors open without risking injury.

77. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? A bear. Bears are cuddly and cute. OK, they are not but I think I would die much faster.  I like that answer!

78. Do you flirt a lot? No.  Nah, it's not right is it?

79. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Hoisin.  Sweet chili.

80. What is your favorite food? Mexican. Chinese.

81. Can you change the oil on a car? No but I don’t have a car! Same.

82. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? No, they don’t tend to give tickets to cyclists.  Same.

83. Have you ever run out of gas? Yes but a good Mexican soon fixes that!  Oh, what a wit I have!

84. What is your usual bedtime? 11pm.  More or less - sometimes it is 10pm, sometimes later.

85. What was the last book you read? The Campaigns of Alexander the Great.  Bone in the Throat by Anthony Bordain.  Not my usual stuff at all, but I enjoyed it.

86. Do you read the newspaper? No, I hate them all.  Hate them even more these days!

87. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Yes, ones about wargaming.  No.

89. Do you watch soap operas? No.  Definitely not!

90. Do you dance in the car? No car and you can’t dance on a bike.  Same.

91. What radio station did you last listen to? InvictaFM.  Radio 4 and Absolute Rock Radio.

92. Who is in the picture frame closest to you? My kids.  The same photo!

93. What was the last note you scribbled on a piece of paper? A phone message for someone who was out of the office. Notes about some maps I was making.

94. What is your favorite candle scent? Not really my thing.  Same.

95. What is your favorite board game? Backgammon.  Chinese Checkers with loads of players.

96. Have you ever screamed at someone (not words - just a scream) in a public place, just for the sake of it? No. No, but I might do in the near future.

97. When was the last time you attended church? A wedding when I was about 18.  A funeral last summer.

98.Who was your favorite teacher in high school? Mr Nicholson, my maths teacher who lived 2 doors away.  Same.

99. What is the longest you have ever camped out in a tent? 1 night.  4 nights, but we usually do 3 at a time.

100. Who was the last person to do something extra special for you? My wife.  My wife, again.


Phew, made it!  Some changes but a fair amount hasn't changed, which is only natural I guess.  Please feel free to ask extra questions while I am in the mood!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday...

Well the presentation is over and done with - went OK, although I managed to talk for 10 minutes instead of the recommended 5!  Guess I was trying too hard not to be a 2 minute wonder  :-)  It went OK anyway - the bar has been set at just above knee-height!

The weekend passed in the blink of an eye - birthday dinner out for the youngest (pizza), laying semi-comatose in front of the TV in the evening, cooking more pizza for dinner on Sunday (can't have too much pizza it would seem), watching Land of the Dead (a rather good zombie movie) while munching popcorn and an early night!  Oh, I slipped in a bit of work on my presentation somewhere - not sure where but it did happen...

Well that is about it for now.  More soon - I have found one of the first memes I ever did and thought it would be fun to revisit it to see how my answers have changed...

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday - taking a 5 minute break...

Why did I do it?

In class on Monday - we all have to do a short presentation to explain an academic paper that we have read.

Guess who volunteered to go first?

Yep, that's right.

And I get to do it on this Monday!

I could have hung on until November, given myself plenty of time to prepare, but no.

Ah well it will all be over for me and give me a clear run at other stuff, so I am sure it is better this way really.

OK notes taken - reduced a 20 page article to 2 pages.

Now I just need to reduce those 2 pages to a single slide...

Wish me luck!

Back on Monday, unless I get some online time over the weekend...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

A BIG DAY!!!!

My "little boy", who is almost as tall as I am, is 13 today!  He is a great little guy with a razor sharp sense of humour.  He will spend most of the evening shooting zombies on his XBox while munching through the assortment of goodies that he requested for his birthday "dinner".  We will be going out to dinner to celebrate properly on Saturday.

Meanwhile, it is becoming clear that people are having increasing problems commenting on my blog.  I will start to look into moving to a different service - any pointers would be more than welcome - assuming you can comment, of course!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Alternative futures

Shrinky recently wrote a great post where she met up with various versions of herself, each one having made a different choice at some stage in their life.  Please pop over to her blog and read it, if you haven't already.

Done?

Good.

Well after reading this I got to wondering what the alternative RCs would look like.  Having not been sucked into a garbage disposal to actually meet them, I have had to use my imagination.

"Went to school properly" RC.
This guy didn't skip school like I did, went to Uni at the normal age and is now Professor of History at the University of Somewhereshire.

"Really believed he could be a Rock Star" RC.
Works for free in a guitar shop, tending to bore customers with stories about the time his band supported Ozzy Osborne.  Still trying to put together the killer band that will finally make the big time.

"Hooked up with XXX" RC.
She was exciting but was into some serious drugs.  This RC has not been seen for several years, presumed dead from an overdose.

"Never met Mrs RC" RC.
Still plays Dungeons and Dragons and lives with his mom.

"Took one of those highly paid jobs he was offered" RC.
Divorced.  Never sees his kids.  Has lots of expensive guitars and toy soldiers that someone else painted.  Never has time to play with them as the career just sucks up his time and energy.

"Learned to drive" RC.
Due to lack of exercise, this guy weighs in at 300pounds.

"Took the job at the nursery school" RC.
Now runs the nursery school in one of the most deprived areas in the county, doing his best to set the local kids on the right path.  The occasional success keeps him going as he sees so many of "his" kids go bad.

That will do for now.  Why don't you try it?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Of Chili Dogs and Cold Beer

Woke up a little late on Sunday morning, missing the morning dog walk, but feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

After breakfast and a quick blast on one of my bass guitars (put new strings on them on Saturday - love a guitar with new strings...) I started making dough for the rolls we would have with our barbeque.  Once this was set aside to rise I got to work on the chili dog sauce, using a recipe that was sent to me by one of my wonderful blog buddies...

The recipe was written for a semi-industrial scale, I reduced the amounts to a more managable level.  The only risk I took was to interpret "Red Pepper" as "Cayenne Pepper"....

After the sause was cooked, I put a lid on it and set it aside for reheating later on.  In my experience, things like this often benefit from a good standing time to allow the flavours to develop fully.

The rolls rose and baked to perfection....

The sausages that were to make up the chili dogs were put onto the barbeque last, catching the lower heat that was good for warming them through...

Then it was time.

I cut open a roll, and placed one of the sausages in it.  Slight misjudgement meant that an inch or so of sausage hung out of each end of the roll, but hey, that is not serious.

Then a couple of generous spoonfuls of the chili mix.

I swear there was a Chorus of Angels at this point.

The chili dog also glowed briefly, I kid you not!

OK, so maybe the Police were chasing someone on the bypass.

And MAYBE someone picked up their glass which reflected the bright sunshine.

Maybe.

But there is no denying that this was the Holy Grail of chili dogs.  It was absolutely wonderful.  As was the 2nd and 3rd.  Many thanks for the recipe, wReggie - I am forever in your debt.

And now we come to the beer part.  I had bought some nice German beer to go with the chili dogs, but as I was cooking and baking in the heat from the sun (hotter than most of the summer had been!) I added some appleade to it.  It was a wonderfully refreshing combination.  Mrs RC pulled a face when I told her what I was drinking, but she then drifted back for a sip.  After that she returned for several more, admitting that it was rather good!

Later that evening I had another beer and watched a dodgy disaster movie - a "just how bad can the continuity get" movie.  A great way to round off a wonderful weekend.

Hope you had a great weekend and have a great week to come!