Saturday, 19 September 2009

35 days to go and counting

It's a very long time since I have been this excited about a holiday. I have spent hours and hours reading up about the places to visit, what to see and do, planning and looking at pictures to see what to expect.



I sometimes wonder if having Google at our fingertips is always such a good idea - the element of surprise is taken away. I know what all the temples look like, the hotels and the scenery.



Sabu has been very patient with my endless list of questions, and I can't wait to meet up with him in his village.



35 days to go. Can I start packing yet? I have a new rucksack that is just waiting to be filled with travel gear.....


Tuesday, 4 August 2009

New Toy

Although I have only had my current camera for less than a year, I have put around 30,000 photos through it. That’s my justification for ordering a new camera – not that I need to justify it to anyone! It’s the latest version (Panasonic Lumix FZ38) of the same camera I have at present, and it’s not released until later this month. I shopped around for the best deal of course, and the company I ordered it from claims they will have their stock in on the 14th August. Everyone else reckons it won’t be out until the 23rd, so I am not holding my breath for the 14th. Being a real gadget freak, I am very excited about having another new toy to play with. It has a brighter lens at full zoom (f4.4 against f5.6 on my old one); a lower ISO (80 against 100); better image stabilisation (and I was extremely impressed with the old one!); superior HD video (not that I use the video function that much); and more mega-pixels (12 against 10 – although I find this a bit of mixed blessing; they do take up so much more room on the disk/memory card). All in all it is a better camera. The only function I am concerned about on the new camera is being able to set minimum shutter speed. I find that facility really useful on the FZ28, but the specification I have read about the FZ38 does not mention this. I hope that is just an oversight on the write-up. Watch this space.


Soft and moist

I am worried about my mum’s eating. She has been told quite categorically that she must only eat food that is soft and moist. She doesn’t. She seems to eat more or less what she fancies, without thinking of the consequences. I am at my wits end with her. There could be a number of reasons why she does not want to conform:

She doesn’t understand the implications of eating the wrong food.

She doesn’t know the possible consequences, but doesn’t care. “I am going to die from this disease anyway, so I might as well eat what I like.

She eats what my father gives her and he doesn’t understand either, or can’t be bothered to cook soft and moist.

I think it is a combination of all three, but it does worry me no end. I try to talk to her about it gently, but she just shrugs her shoulders. My mum is notorious for burying her head in the sand when there are problems.

So, this weekend I decided to take matters into my own hands, and cooked up a whole batch of soft and moist foods for her – 104 meals in total! That’ll keep them going for a while.





I know my parents are grateful for the food, but as most people their age, they have funny ways of showing it. My mother asked on Saturday: "Are we still coming for dinner tomorrow?" and my dad grumbled on Sunday when I brought the second lot over: "I hope the portions aren't too big!" Bless.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Housework

OK, so I'll never make a domestic goddess, but do I care?
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When I am 85 and reminiscing about 'the good old days', you won't hear me saying to David: "Do you remember that Saturday we spent all morning cleaning the house? Didn't the kitchen sink shine? Oh, what a good time we had!"
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What you might hear me say is: "Do you remember that Saturday we packed the car up and drove down to Exmoor and had a picnic by that waterfall? Then we walked for hours across the moors and came back with dirty boots. Oh, what a good time we had!"


PS. my kitchen sink does not normally look quite that bad - the picture was taken during the kitchen refurbishment.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Gluttony??????

I love Googling my own name and seeing what websites I come up on. It doesn't please me that someone from a website called gluttonyisabliss comes up on the first page! It is not so much that they lifted my photo from Flickr without my permission - after all, that is one of the dangers of posting your pictures on the net, and they are not claiming it as their own - it's the name! Do I really want to be associated with GLUTTONY???? Hmph!


You get what you pay for


I hate it when things don't live up to your expectations. Last night we tried out the Moorend Spout in Nailsea, as it came highly recommended by my good friend Penny.


There was absolutely nothing on the great looking menu that I wouldn't be happy to eat, but I finally opted for the Steak and Ale Pie from the "Two for £7.99" menu. It looked great when it arrived, but unfortunaly didn't live up to its looks. Having obviously been reheated in the oven for way too long, the crust was impossibly hard and the edges of the meat were hard and unappetising. The filling itself was tasty with a nice gravy, and the chips were good.




The dessert menu looked equally tempting, with Chocolate and Brandy Mousse being my favourite. It is also something that my mother would be able to eat, so we asked the waitress to reserve us a couple. Just as well we did, because it was the last two they had, so she quickly scribbed N/A against the entry on the blackboard menu.


When it came to ordering the desserts, my dad had obviously missed the lengthy conversation about the last two chocolate mousses and the kerfuffle with the menu, as he wanted a chocolate mousse too. I did the charitable thing and let him have the last one and ordered a mandarin cheescake instead. Just as well. The mousse was a disgrace! It wad the consistency of jelly and tasted of.....absolutely nothing. What a real disappointment!
Chocolate and Brandy Mousse

The old adage is as true as ever: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

Long time coming


Today my new kitchen arrives and takes over the entire ground floor of the house. The units will come already constructed from the manufacturer, and of course there is also the hob, double oven, microwave, fridge freezer, sink and dishwasher. We're not going to be able to move! David is removing the last of the old units from the kitchen this morning, and taking the old fridge freezer to the rubbish dump. The kitchen itself will have to be left empty for the fitter's arrival on Monday.




Good excuse to go away for the weekend, don't you think? We found a great deal for two night dinner, bed and breakfast in a 17th century coaching inn, somwhere in North Wales. The weather doesn't look like it's going to be too great, so we're going to have to spend more time in the bar. What a shame.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Meat-free week

I have tried to cook interesting dishes recently without using meat, and it was only today that David noticed he'd been eating vegetarian food all week. Many years ago I had a dinner party where I made a vegetarian casserole for the benefit of the non-meat-eater, and none of the carnivores noticed the lack of meat at all! 

Maybe I am just getting David used to it for when we go to India - many of the places we visit are strictly vegetarian! 

Shallot and Gralic Tarte Tatin

Tree Huggers of Jodhpur

The Bishnoi were the world's first tree huggers in the 15th century, and 363 villagers diedin 1730 protecting the Kherji trees they loved so much. Men sent from the Maharaja of Jodhpur to cut down the trees to use for a local lime kiln, cut the villagers down too when they refused to let go of the trees. 

I want to add a visit to the Bishnoi village outside Jodhpur if I can. I particularly want to see the place where the Khejarli Massacre took place and take part in an opium tea ceremony. The village is only 25 km from Jodhpur, so I should be able to fit it in. Hopefully. 

In Jodhpur we are staying at the Haveli Inn Pal, another Heritage Inn. 

Jaislamer


I am sure Sabu will soon be fed up with us (if he isn't already) changing our minds over the India itinerary. Yesterday I thought it might be better to fly from delhi to Jaisalmer rather than the overnight train, as it would allow us more time for sightseeing in Jaisalmer. As well as a night in a proper bed the first night in India. Unfortunately there are no flights from Delhi to Jaislamer that day, so we have to fly to Jodhpur and pick up the car and driver there before continuing to Jaisalmer. It still sounds a better option though. 

The hotel Nachana Haveli sounds awesome. Built by royalty and run by royalty, it's a 300-year old mansion. 


A Wild (but hopefully not wet) Weekend




Disappointed that I missed the conference and what I believe was a fun 80s night at Exeter Uni, I went ahead and booked a weekend away for the two of us to celebrate David's birthday. Saturday we will go to the Yeovilton Air Show - hoping for dry weather, the forecast is not good!

We will spend the night in the Cricket St Thomas Hotel, where the TV series "To the Manor Born" was filmed.



On Sunday we will visit the Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park. 

Should be a great weekend!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

I can't bear it any more

I have finally finished editing and posting all my bear pictures to Flickr. It has been a bit of a long haul, and became rather tedious towards the end as a bear is a bear is a bear is a.......

Now all I have to do is sort the pictures from Turkey. *groan*

Bear Foreplay

A garlic a day keeps everyone away


Looks like I've been having garlic overload over the last couple of days. Last night I added a whole garlic bulb to spaghetti, today another whole garlic bulb to my stir fried prawns. Which incidentally were rather disappointing. There was very little flavour, despite the garlic and a large knob of ginger. Even after adding some soy sauce it was only average.