Christmas

apple

eve eve

Bit of a rush around this morning. Waitrose with Joe at 8am to get veg and stuff. Realised when I got there I’d forgotten the money off vouchers – £24 off if you spend more than £120 – doh. Decided to wait and see how much we looked like spending before going back to pick up the vouchers. In the end it totalled £108. All we had to do was add a gammon and we’d be there. It was worth going back for the vouchers because effectively it meant getting a free gammon joint – £18 in its own right. Even then didn’t get everything. They didn’t have any icing sugar left for example.

Had to make a decision re the yorkshires for Christmas Day. Decided I’d do my own.

When we got back Phil’s guys were sorting out our guttering. Good to get that job out of the way. Then cooked a full English for me n Joe, beans on toast for Sarah and bacon, beans and toast for John. Ann arrived back from having breakfast with tadcu and Sue. Was cold apparently. All a bit mad in the kitchen with everything going on. Now sat in the living room with Joe playing some seasonal elevator muzac for us on the piano. I asked him if he could play a bit of Rachmaninov and got “yes but I don’t like to show off” for a reply.

Will head down to Fosters in a bit to get the beef. Then nowt until we head off to Jezzers for drinkypoos at 4. Dropped that drinkypoos bit in – not language I normally use 🙂 Tonight we are having a takeaway with Cousin Helen and family. The order is being collated in a Google doc.

Picked up three ribs of beef. 5.494 kg. A goodly joint for a good wodge of cash @ £68.68. I’m in the wrong game. Four ribs were going to be ninety eight quid. Would have been  magnificent joint but over the top. Added 3 lbs of dry cure back bacon and six chicken breasts – for tomorrow night’s fajitas.

Mal the plumber was here when I got back Sorting out a boiler leak. All go innit. Anne and Sarah have nipped to the bail, Hannah is downtown and Sue has just headed out for a walk.

The fire is lit and peace has descended on 118 Wragby Road. Well it would if the remaining inhabitants sat still and didn’t keep opening and closing doors.

Now the peace has gone. The girls are back and Anne is hoovering.

Featured image is the apple I’ve been photographing over the past few weeks. Nigel Titley observed that the tree suffered from both mummification disease and a cancerous virus (might not have got that right). Mummified apples need to be removed and the cancerous bits chopped off and burnt. Thing is I’m taking pictures of the degeneration of the apple. The treatment will wait another week or so.

Some of the lads are starting a bit of a session at the Jolly Brewer at 1pm. This is a session too far for me. We have other things on. Other fish to fry, although I’m not aware that any fish will be involved.

thursday evening

luggage trolleys

family meal

It’s thursday evening. We’ve eaten the chicken and chorizo stew (with chorizo cooked in dry sherry) and made a start on the cheese I bought for Christmas. I might need to top up some of the cheese for Christmas Day although it’s worth observing I doubt we will make it as far as the cheese on the big day. The brie de meaux was historic.

Absolutely terrific carols and jazz night at the Morning Star. A real success boosted by the fact that John nipped home to get his sax and we had piano (Colin), trumpet (Joe) and saxophone (John). Wow. What a night. The punters were very generous with the contributions into the pint glass and both sons walked away satisfied. I hung around afterwards drinking with the crowd Coops, Simon Forshaw and Ajax with wives.

This morning we were up at 6.30 to set off at 7 for Liverpool Airport to pick up dad. Dropped tom off at the railway station enroute. His plane was 30 minutes late but didn’t really matter. Afterwards we went on to Willaston to pick up Anne’s sister Sarah and returned to Lincoln. Fairly knackered after the drive. Dropped Anne and Sarah off at home then took Dad to check in the Lincoln Hotel. Have now booked a taxi to take Sue and dad back to the hotel at 10pm. Saves any of us driving.

Great meal. Couple of bots of champagne first to warm up. Also gin and tonic – will need to replenish booze supplies tomorrow. Drank our first bot of the Californian wine that Jackie brought. V good. Will have the other two Christmas Day.

Now just relaxing in front of the fire in the front room. Just enough seating to accommodate the nine of us.

featured image is luggage trolleys at Liverpool airport. Pic below is the view from dad’s room at the Lincoln hotel.

lincoln cathedral

 

Feels like

a Saturday

Feels like a Saturday morning but I am reliably informed it is only Wednesday. This is because we were at the Dawkinses last night and their hospitality is legendary. Much prosecco, gin, wine and brandy was consumed. It is fortunate that we had booked the cab for 10.30 which placed a sensible limit on the consumption.
When we got home Joe still had a house party in full swing with some of his mates in for “pre drinks” before hitting some club or other. They were very noisy buy at least they polished off all the crappy cider we had left over from the Christmas Market Party. Was quite cool having the Stella fridge in the kitchen. I brought the recycling bin into the kitchen to assist with the disposal of the detritus. Cans, bottles and pizza boxes plus our normal recycling stuff. They pick it up tomorrow so it’s good timing really. Classically we have more cardboard than will fit into our two recycling bins after Christmas Day.
I am now ensconced in the TV room writing this whilst Anne finishes doing stuff in the corner of the kitchen. No matter how big your kitch, and ours is big, you always end up wanting to occupy the same corner as the other person. This morning I’m planning on consuming sausages and bacon, although this information has not yet been disclosed to Anne so I’m not sure how well it will be received. It is only Wednesday, as I have reliably informed you.
Today I have three tasks. One is to cook a chicken and chorizo casserole in preparation for tomorrow evening. Secondly I have to make sure we are ready for the Morning Star Carols and Jazz session tonight (enough song sheets? etc) and thirdly I have a conference call this afternoon. Sue and Hansk are both arriving today. The house is filling up.

Bit of a nice surprise. Who walks down the stairs but our Tom. Came home last night and kept quiet about it until this morning. He is up for the Carols in the pub and catching the 07.30 am back to town tomorrow. Cooked us both a bacon sandwich. Had to ditch the sausages as they had gone off. Now sat in the TV room again with a cup of tea. Must get dressed…

Bought some Cornish cheddar from Waitrose – 6 on the cheese richter scale. Am expecting big things.

sad times with

philosopherontap logo featured image

the passing of an old friend

 

We got some bad news yesterday. It seems to have been a year for such news. Geraint Evans, an old family friend, was finally beaten by cancer and died during the afternoon. I have known Geraint and Rose all my life and was treated like a son. Their back door was always open and you never had to knock or arrange to come in advance.

Before Sue moved to Cardiff I used to stay with them when visiting for rugby matches. I recall one time I as a student I was down with pal Dave the Rave from Dolgellau. The Evanses had a double and a single bed in their attic room. I had the double and Dave the single. We staggered in at around 2am with a friend Eleri in tow. Eleri had been locked out of the Halls where she had been camping so she came back with us. Dave and I shared the double bed. Apparently he didn’t sleep a wink. I was totally out of it.  Spreadeagled across the bed.

My biggest concern was that Eleri would decide to sneak off early back to where she was supposed to be and that Rose or Geraint would find Dave and I in bed together. Fortunately that didn’t happen. That story was brought up by Geraint for decades after the event:)

Geraint is a big loss to us all and I feel a melancholy as I write this. Goodbye old friend.

Otherwise today was a good day albeit a bit of an early start taking John to the Firth Road sorting office to pick up a parcel that the Post Office had tried to deliver yesterday. Afterwards we had breakfast in Waitrose before I dropped him off for the last day of term. School finished at 1pm today but Anne was still en route back from Bromborough at that time and I was out walking with Adie.

Today we walked along the canal to Washingborough and beyond and then came back by the road to the Ferry Boat Inn for a spot of lunch. Saw a big heron en route plus the usual ducks and swans. December is a quiet time on the river. It was cold when you walked into the wind.

Joe came out to pick us up and partake of a free lunch which was fair enough. Borrowed a car off Coops for the hols. Anne was home by the time we got back. Always nice to get a kiss. Had a soak in the bath and at 4pm joined a conference call with Dave Cargill and Manuel to talk about Netaxis providing ITSPA with testing facilities for the ITSPA Awards this year.

Now we are chillin getting ready to go to Jezzers for dinner. I might have a shave first.

Last night Joe and I had a couple of pints in the Star early doors and then us lads (+John) watched Everton v Liverpool. Crunch derby with the reds edging it with a goal in the 98th minute. Although I’m not really a football fan Anne comes from a long line of Liverpool supporters and the kids have inherited the trait so I tag along.

one night in Lincoln

cheese society Lincoln

is like a year in any other town

Cooked a lamb tikka massala last night. Turned out perfectly edible but only 6 / 10 really. Not top class Indian restaurant standard. Set it going in the oven and gave it a good three hours cooking time.

Joe and I went to the Struggs for a swift one before dinner. Was little Stu’s 66th birthday and they had a Beatles band on halled Hey Dude. They were good fair play. A few of the lads were in and the pub was packed. It’s only a small room anyway. Apparently it’s like that most Sunday afternoons. Good times. Later fell asleep on the sofa watching time team. Woke up later and it was a different episode.

This morning I’m up at 7.40. Later than usual but that was the wine with the meal in action. Cooked John and I some sausages and am taking him to school. Now just sat in TV room waiting for the lad.

It’s a day for getting things done. Tomorrow I’m off on a walk with Adie. Thursday it’s Liverpool to pick up dad and Sarah. Friday it’s the food shop including meat from Fosters and veg from an as yet undetermined purveyor of such things.  Funny how there could be a market for ads designed to influence which last minute supermarket you choose for perishables. My only hesitation is the knowledge that they will all be busy. At least I have the self scanner at Waitrose. Never registered for the tesco one plus every time I used it something would go wrong.

It’s the final run in for Christmas. Tonight we are going to stay in and watch Liverpool v Everton as after today it’s gonna get busy.

Back from school run & the ear grating sound of Radio 1 which status dictates we have on in the car at such times. The lowly status of parent that is. Kitchen tidied, mostly, ish. Now I’ve tidied out the in tray, loaded the dishwasher & set it going, washed the pans and the chopping block, done some filing and spoken with me dad. Whilst we were talking the last India v England test match was going on with an Indian batsman on 299 not out. He just got caught. On 299. Hard luck. I imagine they will now declare. India have already won the series being 3 – 0 up.

Next up is a trip into town to buy cheese and any other Christmas related bits and bobs. There is only one place to the the cheese which is the Cheese Society. Top notch stuff. We started on the cheese and biscuits last night using just the cheddar we had bought from waitrose for lunch the day before. Also started on one of the Austrian smoked processed jobs. I have to say the Jacobs’ biscuits were a bit on the boring side. We have alternatives for Christmas but I may invest in some more.

Am thinking we might have a spot of lunch somewhere in town. This afternoon I am going to dedicate to cooking the chili for Wednesday and arranging the fridge.

Petit Pont Normand soaked in Calvados
Apley goats cheese from Lincolnshire
Brie de meaux
Black bomber
Colton bassett stilton
Smoked beechwood

Little story about the cheese. We originally drove down Lindum Hill and turned left at the bottom in order to head towards the Collection to park. The road was gridlocked. So back up the hill we went, through the Bail and down Spring Hill. Got a free parking spot in St Andrew’s Square almost as near to the Cheese Society as you can get. Result.

Back up the hill and had a pear, walnut and stilton salad for lunch at the Sanctuary in the Bail. Joe had goats cheese salad. Felt a little out of place as all the other diners were women “doing lunch”.  Nice enough.

Rewind. In the cricket Nair got 303 not out for India. Well done.

The Football Match

sincil bank

Lincoln City 2 – 1 Tranmere Rovers

What a great day yesterday. Picked Jose up from the station at 11am. Hung around at home for a bit and went to buy bread and cheese from Waitrose. Then at around 13.15 we set off downtown. Meeting Anne at the railway station at 2pm to go and watch Lincoln v Tranmere.

We were there far too early so bought a cup of tea and a sausage roll from the caff under the stand. I was dressed for an Arctic winter and immediately began to sweat buckets in the heat of the caff. We had to retire to seats in the stand and remove layers.

We ended up sat near the halfway line. Good seats and had 30 – 40 minutes of build up. John was down the far end standing with the the hardcore. In fact he couldn’t get a seat so stood on the steps.

Football
Look after the ball it’s the only one we have
Packed stands
The total euphoria of the crowd when we score first
Chants of we are top of the league, we are top of the league, we are top of the league, we are top of the league
Sense of outrage when the ref gives a penalty
Concern when they equalise
Emotional intensity
Swear words – would you take the kids?
Very mature crowd – agewise – not so languagewise
Centre forward substitution and the replacement scores within minutes
5 minutes of nervous added time with at least two bookings for time wasting
The crowd streamed out of the ground highly satisfied with going top of the league with their last game before Christmas

By the end of the game I had all my layers back on. We streamed out of the ground with the crowds. Joe and I stopped for a beer at the Jolly Brewer and made it home by about 6pm. Bit if a chill, change and out to the Brittains for their most excellent annual Christmas bash. Martin is renowned for his pulled pork and roast gammon.

A few match reports:

Theirs

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/lincoln-2-1-tranmere-rovers-12336828

Neutral

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38272960

Ours

http://www.redimps.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/lincoln-city-v-tranmere-rovers-3473250.aspx

Some vids:

move away from the bedroom

cathedral behind wall

write at your own chosen time

Look out of the window. Listen to the birdsong. Even in December there is birdsong. The level of the seeds in the feeder goes down a little every day. We haven’t reached the worst of the winter yet.

The pirate flag waves from the allotment. The fire crackles in the grate behind me. Decided that seeing as I am in this evening it would be a good idea to have it lit.

My facebook timeline is filling up with posts from friends going home for Christmas. Last flights being taken. This is good.

I’ll be home for Christmas.

Darkness descends onto the back lawn like a freezing blanket

Sat in front of the fire as night falls. The glow of the hearth and the christmas tree lights. Handel’s Messiah eases comfortably through the conservatory doors.

Once in Royal David’s City haunts the room. Eight days build up to go.

That stuff was from last night. Somewhat random but I’d thought I’d let you have it full in the face. It would be good to be able to say that it smacked you in the chops, made your cheeks wobble and your eyes open wide but I doubt that was the case. I move on.

Asked Jose what time his train got in on Saturday, ie today. He came back with 1pm but this was moved forward to noon and now I wake up this morning to find that it is 11am. It’s a good job he told me otherwise he might have been hanging around that station for two hours.

It is early. Up at 5am. Was in bed at 10ish and asleep by 10.30 which is the time Anne comes up having watched to the end of the news. 7 hours kip is plenty. 6 ½ actually – must concentrate on getting the maths right. I’m sat in the front room getting the benefit of the residual heat from the fire. Ordinarily the TV room is warmer.

Busy enough day ahead, what with Joe home and us all going down to watch the Red Imps play Tranmere. This is a bit of a risk as we don’t have a good track record of Lincoln winning when we go and see them. They are on a roll at the mo tho and it should be fine. Big game, top of the table clash.

All is quiet around the house. The Christmas decs are up, except for the lights that get wrapped around the holly tree outside. They go up today is the plan. There seem to be fewer lights around the Christmas tree this year. Probably down to a diminishing number of working ones. Might sneakily buy another set sometime. I like lots of flashing lights on the tree and most of this lot aren’t flashing.

Did a bit of work yesterday on getting the 2016 book ready. I’ve set up a new blog on the server that hosts Anne’s Vans. I need this because the plugin that extracts these blog posts into word needs a later version of php than this current server supports. It was easier to extract the year’s posts and import them into a more up to date server which is what I’ve done. Used a spare domain. Works a treat. Only problem is that the software that then extracts the posts to Word doesn’t move the featured image. I’ll probably have to manually include them.

Featured image is Lincoln cathedral behind high walls. It would originally have been surrounded by a high wall to protect the clerics and monks inside. None of this openness arms out wide welcome:)

Seeded

seeded white batch loaf

white batch

Lateish start this morning due to yesterday’s very long lunch. Met Gary Stobie and Adie on the Prince at 1.30 and got home at well gone 9pm.  The route was Taphouse > Prince > Duke > Strugglers > Taphouse > Morning Star > Peacock (for Steve Wildman’s leaving do). Presented Steve with a lottery ticket as his present. Kept one for meself with identical numbers. Couldn’t have him win with a ticket I’d bought for him without me sharing in the winnings:)

Nia from BBC Radio Cymru rang me whilst I was in the Prince and we have arranged to have a longer chat at 2pm today. They have a programme coming up in January that they’d like an input to.

Terry looks like he won’t make it up tonight for manflu reasons so a welcome quiet night in is in prospect. It’s the last night before the hordes begin their pilgrimage to the home hearth. Joe is coming back tomorrow in time for the Lincoln v Tranmere top of the table clash. Lincoln trail the visitors by one point with a game in hand so this is an important game.

Hannah arrives next Wednesday in time for the Morning Star Carol Session (together with Aunty Sue), Tadcu, Sarah and Ann (1 night only) are coming Thursday and then finally Tom arrives at 21.01 on Friday on the direct train tron Laandan. A gradual build up to the frenzied crescendo that will be Christmas.

Yesterday’s mixed seed loaf turned out ok but I’m still looking for the magic button to get the bread to rise to my liking. Not many more opportunities if I’m looking for the perfect loaf for Christmas. See how we get on.

Soon I will die

philosopherontap logo featured image

and be forgotten

I am a baker. I have mastered the basic art of survival. I make bread. I put food on the table for my family. My cow provides us with milk, butter and cheese. I brew ale and use the yeast which is a by product of the brewing process in my bread. Bread cheese and ale are all I really need. The wheat for the bread is grown in the fields around my house and is stored in jars I keep for the purpose. I keep pigs and hens and sometimes catch fish and wildfowl from the rivers, fields and woods around me. This is all hard work. My back is bent and you can count the years in the lines on my face. Soon I will die and be forgotten.

I am a baker. I buy the flour, salt, butter and yeast from the supermarket. I like baking my own bread. I do it for my own personal satisfaction and not out of a need to feed the family. Survival is not my game. Occasionally I cook meals using the finest ingredients money can buy. I spend my years getting the most out of them. Laughter has lined my face and I like to drink ale. I have time on my hands. Soon I will die and be forgotten.

Staring down the barrel of a gun

cannon

trust nobody

You think we live in a nice provincial town. Rarely get any trouble around here eh? Open your eyes. There are instruments of violence all around you. Even here in the bustling tourist heartland of the city known as the cathedral quarter it is possible to find yourself staring down the barrel of a gun. You need to think about what you might do in such situations. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

Trust no one and carry your own means of defense.
Watch your back
Avoid dark alleys
Carry a personal alarm
Carry a concealed gun or blade
Always move about in groups
Stick to well lit highways
Never get out of your car
Don’t live in Emurica
Attend martial arts classes

You have better go prepared. Don’t trust anyone. You could be in for a blade between the shoulders or a cannon ball between the eyebrows.

Happy Christmas from the philosopHerontap security team

Advisory note: Please make sure that any advice you follow is legal in your own jurisdiction. We wouldn’t want the forces of law and order deciding that society would be safer with you in the slammer.