This evening, being the first of the month, we met elsewhere. We watched a Next Generation episode, Disaster. It's the one when Picard gets to take 4 kids on a tour of the ship as a prize for winning, and they get stuck in a lift together while everyone else on the ship in different areas thinks that they are the only ones alive. Deanna Troi gets to be captain and Worf delivers Keiko's baby. I still can't take Worf seriously. He might well be saying “prepare for battle” or something equally heroic but I hear “I am Weasel”.
I said “bye, see ya later” to Buffy this morning. It is sad that she isn't here now even though she was noisy and a big distraction.
At bowling this evening, we were surprised that we won 6-2. We were playing the team that we were joint 2nd with. If I had been playing better, we could have won the middle game too. Batty wasn't bowling well on the 3rd game but I got 198 and we won by 8 pins.
Another soggy day. After a full English breakfast at the Kiln, we met up with Matt at Ashford Station, we set off to London for the boy's birthday trip. It was my first trip on the fast train. We headed straight for the Tower. With our train tickets we were able to get two of us in for the price of one. This makes it so much more affordable. Having been round the towers, we then queued to get in to see the Crown Jewels. We were herded like sheep through the ropes and through the tower to look at the jewels and royal memorabilia. A few hours later, having seen all we needed to see, we contacted Terry who had found us a pub, a nearby Wetherspoons. We settled in here for a few hours with dinner and a pint. It was good to catch up with Terry. We got on the bus to Covent Garden, one of Matt's favourite haunts. We said our farewells to Terry. The boys had ice cream from the shop that sells breast milk ice cream though I doubt that's what they had. It definitely wouldn't appeal to me! We then went on a hike around the side streets, following Dave while he tried to remember where a certain pub was. We abandoned the search eventually and made our way back to St Pancras station.
Link to today's photo album on Facebook
Link to my album on Facebook
As soon as I got up, I dug out Dave's birthday cards and presents so that I could see him opening them, before getting ready for work. As much as he wanted the Sky Trillium book that I'd bought apparently it is the 3rd of 3 and not the 1st. Oops! I was able to order Black and Blood Trillium later.
At work, our Manager told us of another panic on Thursday evening after the flooded kitchen. She was still working at 6.30 and the fire alarm went off. She went downstairs to go out and found that there wasn't a fire at all. The cleaners had opened the hoover under a smoke detector. It was so bad that it was like a fog! She didn't know how stop the alarm going off and the fire brigade turned up before she had chance to find out. Several of the key holders were also called and one of them came in to help. Tania thanked everyone who helped with the clean up and the call out today. She said that she was proud to work with such a great team of people.
Another colleague noticed all the tool bars had disappeared from the program that she was in. She thought it was something that she'd clicked on that had caused it. She has done this before. After we had decided that it wasn't something that she had done, we checked ours. They had disappeared too. It meant that we'd have to use short cut keys until it was fixed. The IT guy didn't know what had happened either. The server was restarted at lunch and that didn't fix it. A call was put through to the helpline. They were able to tell our IT guy what to do to fix it. Some dll files got corrupted.... apparently!!?! All fixed now. With these problems and covering the phone line today, I was late finishing and not ready for when then City Link driver arrived to collect. After work I had to go to the City Link offices to drop off 3 more and also drop the post off at the post box. Trying to get the big bag into the box was a bit of a struggle. I got it to drop in properly eventually.
Off to Asda next with the plan to get us something good for dinner but due to me not having my mobile connected to the ear piece, Dave didn't hear me properly and told me that he wasn't hungry and would be OK with just a sandwich. I bought some ham so that I could have ham, egg and chips and he could have a ham sandwich. I found the Monty Python films on DVD which were on Dave's present wish list.
Once home, and Dave realised that I didn't say that I was going bowling and not cooking, we were quite disappointed. We both had ham, egg and chips which was good anyway, followed by trifle. We watched “The Life of Brian”. Apparently I had seen it before but we think it could have been as long as 25 years ago when we lived in Folkestone. There were a couple of sayings I knew but didn't realise that they were from this film like “My name's Brian and so's my wife”.
We set off before midday and headed for Folkestone. After a quick cuppa, we wandered down to the Wetherspoons in Folkestone for their lovely roast dinner. £5.99 for a roast including a drink. Today they had the double stout. We have now found out that you don't have to make your mind up straight away and order the dessert at the same time as your dinner. You can go back and show your receipt. Dave and Kat braved the dessert. I was restrained and didn't get a bowl of profiteroles. Dave very kindly sacrificed one for me.
From here we wandered down to the harbour and along the sea front to the coastal park. Kat so wanted to go on the zip line but was afraid of getting a dirty bum. Still a kid at heart but grown up enough to know she didn't want to be dirty. The original plan was to walk back towards the car park and take the lift up but we ventured up the zig zag path. I have taken loads of photos.
Then we headed towards Chambers but apparently they are not open on Sundays. So it was down to The Pullman for the next drink. I had Ruby Mild. It was good but not as good as the stout I had earlier. From here we wandered back via Tescos, laughing at Dave getting stuck on the railings and having to be helped off. After coffee and cake we set off back to Ashford in time for me to get ready to go bowling.
We were asked if we wanted to play our game tonight as Mark in the opposing team can't make it tomorrow. I'm feeling slightly cheated. They wouldn't oil the lanes for us. Apparently it's not cost effective to oil just two lanes! I was assured in the morning that they would be done. After much sulking my Mark, he opted to come back tomorrow morning to bowl when they would oil it for him! We bowled our game with Terry. Terry did OK. Batty did really badly at least 20 below his average. I had two bad games but my last one was OK. Mark will now bowl tomorrow just enough for them to win all 3 games. We are currently just 2 points above them at the top of the league. Now they will win and we end up in 3rd place! Grrr!!! The only advantage I guess is that I can be home tomorrow night for Dave's birthday.
I left there before 1 and headed home. We set off out straight away to get to Deal to join Terry and Irene for the afternoon. The weather was awful. When we arrived it very wet so I retrieved the umbrella from the car. Normally I wouldn't bother but with all the work that had been done, I wanted to protect it a little. Terry and Irene had been there since before midday with their friend, Emma and her lovely little girl, Dulcie, who is 5 months old. She is very sweet and not just because she let me have a cuddle straight away! Chippy, Ginette and Emily arrived. Both little girls were angels. Unfortunately, we were too late to get something to eat. After a half of the Cornish stout, I stopped feeling hungry anyway. I switched to the pretend lager after, Becks Blue. It was definitely not as good as the Stout but better than drinking lemonade. We had a lovely afternoon and stayed for ages, even after Dulcie had gone to her Dad. There was just 5 of us left. We had a few more drinks. We talked about going to get Chinese and taking it back to Emma's. We ended up going to an Indian restaurant that was within walking distance. Chilli's. It was down a dark alley and we'd never have found it without Emma.
In the restaurant, Dave gave the waiter a quick lesson on how to make chicken with the napkins. The older waiter was very difficult to understand. We worked out that he was offering us the meal deal of £10.95. This included a starter, a main, a side dish and a rice, where needed. This sounded like the best deal so I had some bhaji's. They were very good. I ordered Lamb Gosht for my main. It sounded really good as it was lamb, mint and ginger and chilli. It was rated as a “medium” so I thought it would be OK but it was a bit hotter than I like. It was tasty but I couldn't manage it all with the chilli in it. The rice was good too. We felt that they were quite small portions which suits me. We're not sure if that is because we were on the “meal deal” or that is standard. Unfortunately, the drinks bill came to nearly as much as the cost of the food. Maybe we'll go for “takeaway” next time!!
I was struggling to get my City Link stuff packed at 10 to 5, and Deano had arrived to collect too. Barry got called away as there the downstairs kitchen was flooded. The water heater had leaked somehow. Not sure how though. Do they split? There was so much water it flooded out of the door into the carpeted hall way. We don't think any damage has been done to the partition walls as they have an aluminium strip along the bottom. I've been given the job of ordering a new heater tomorrow.
Friday 18th February
I ordered the new boiler first thing when I got to work and was told that it would be delivered today. As there was no sign of it at 3 o'clock I phoned to chase it up. I was assured that it would arrive but it might not be until after 5. I said that I would wait. It turned up at 5 to 5 in the end. It is a really smart one with a little screen too that shows how warm the water is and how much litres have been used. The filter needs to be changed every 4000 litres.
On our way home, back towards Faversham, Dave mentioned that there used to a tropical fish shop along there somewhere, and soon afterwards I noticed a sign for fish and reptiles. We turned round and went back to investigate. We went to the reptile shop first, Lost World Reptile. They had some lovely beasties in there. We checked out the leopard geckoes for Kat. They didn't have the strange colours like the ones we looked at near Canterbury the other week. They were £40 there and you could get a starter set up. Although the guy was recommending buying a plastic box to start with. Not sure about this idea. We'll have to see. We then went to the Little Fish Shop. They had lots of choice and good prices too. They had a massive tank near the entrance to the shop with a big cat fish thing like Stig at Swallow Aquatics. There was also another big fish. The info said that he was rescued and was recovering. His previous owners had tried to kill him by putting bleach in the tank. How can some people be so evil! Out the back of the shop, they had rabbits and birds, including ducks and chickens. Didn't see any guinea pigs though.
Back in Ashford, we went for a look around Bybrook Barn Garden Centre. Checking out their parrot type birds, they have a beautiful Macaw in there, Jacob. The sign said “I do like a stroke but it is at your own risk as I also bite”. I know what these beaked types are like, I wasn't going to take any chances! Moving on through the rest of the shop, I bought a desk calendar that was reduced to a couple of pounds and we checked out the jigsaws which they have moved yet again. On to the American Diner, Dave had the 10 piece breakfast again. I had a ham and cheese toastie with chips. It was lovely. I decided against having a dessert but must go back and try their cream soda and vanilla ice cream float one day. Then on to Jays Pets where I did a spectacular trip up the step without touching the floor or getting hurt. Unfortunately it was noted by the guys in the shop. They have some even smaller leopard geckoes for £35 and their tank set up works out at £110. They are cheaper than anywhere else we have seen and almost on our door step. We had a wander round Hopeless (aka Homeplus). For all that the building is rough, run down and has a leaky roof, they have some very expensive furniture. It is very good quality stuff, but all too big for our house.
Back home, I cleared out some old paper work from a cupboard while Dave did the ironing. Then we parked ourselves in front of the TV to watch an old Steptoe and Son film which was mildly entertaining. At Chris's later we watched “Inception” and “Cats and Dogs”.
I love to see a man in a suit. It looks smart and sexy for most. I prefer to wear a suit to work although suits have never been compulsory at our work place apart from when meeting customers. The tie was a requirement for the boys but this has been dropped over the past few years. After all who wants to wake up and put a noose around their neck! With it being winter, I have found my suits to be too cold to wear. I have been wearing smart suit type trousers with jumper or shirt with an additional jacket/cardigan. I find it harder to find something to wear on dress down day. There's an onus on girls to wear something different like not going to a party wearing the same outfit twice. It is difficult to dress smart casual and not look scruffy.
This evening, I cooked chicken rogan josh and rice, and we watched Alice in Wonderland. I then watched two episodes of Bones.
We called into Maplins in Folkestone. After a wander round we asked the young staff if they had any power packs suitable for powering a telescope. I explained that if you're out at night you need something to power your tracking, etc. After consideration, one of the guys helpfully said “Have you thought about one of the solar powered ones”!! We didn't laugh... much. He soon realised what a silly comment he'd made.
When we arrived at the station, Dave queued in the self service machine queue and I joined the other as both were busy. He got there first. We didn't have too long to wait for the train.
We met up with Steve at the door. We got our tickets and glasses and grabbed a large round table. We didn't think there would be enough of us to fill it but one of Matt's friend's and a mate joined us.
Much beer was consumed, after several hours and some bad singing, we decided to move on to Blakes, where we played with beer coasters and the ambassador chatted to some guys from Luxembourg. From here we staggered to the Wetherspoons for another one or two. Then it was decided to get some beer soakage. We found a chip shop. I had sausage and chips. Then found our way back to Ashford on the train.
We walked from the station to Chris's. They had already started watching CSI while they waited. Once that finished, we watched the Sorceror's Apprentice. I love Nicholas Cage films and he didn't disappoint in this one either. There was a touch of Gone in Sixty Seconds with a short fast car scene.
Then home to cook dinner. Pasta bake tonight. It wasn't as good as usual as I put it in too early and I think I had the oven too hot. It wasn't that bad though.
This evening we went to Chris's for our “away” meeting. Only 4 of us turned up. We put the world to rights before watching Heroes. It's not what I thought it would be. I'm not sure that I like it. I thought with a name like Heroes it would be more like Superman or something but it's hard to know the good guys from the bad guys. I mentioned to Chris that I might like to borrow the Vampyre Diaries as we had started watching them on Saturday nights. I didn't realise that an episode is only about 350 MB so that they can be copied on to a USB key. Well that's what I've learnt today then!
At bowling this evening, we managed to win 6-2. We only lost the middle game by 14 so if I had been playing better we may have won that one too as I only got 107. Then on the final game I got 180. So we stay just two points ahead of the team behind us as they also got 6-2.
I was late home from work. So late that I only just caught the last post collection. The van was pulling up just as I left. I didn't have time to eat properly. Just about had time to cook pizza quick and had a couple of bits before setting off for astronomy club. We got there about 7.30. The car park was full again and we spent the start of the meeting standing up until some more chairs appeared. After the news of the week, one of the Steve's did a talk on telescopes. It was very interesting. As with most hobbies, all the individual parts soon add up to an expensive hobby. After the talk, I escaped to the kitchen to help with the washing up. It wasn't clear enough to get outside and look at the real thing so Drew gave us a tour with Stellarium. He also told us about the correct 13 star signs. According to this I am not a Leo, but Cancer. I prefer Leo! I think it suits me better. The 13th sign of the Zodiac is Ophiuchus represented by a man wrestling a serpent and was discarded by the Babylonians because they only wanted 12 constellations.
When we got home, I found a two part series called “Alice” based on Alice in Wonderland. It was very strange but I carried on watching it. It was made in 2009. Using the classic Lewis Carroll books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as a place to begin, writer/director Nick Willing (director of Syfy's Tin Man) has created the modern-day story of Alice Hamilton (Caterina Scorsone), a fiercely independent twenty-something who suddenly finds herself on the other side of a looking glass. She is a stranger in an outlandish city of twisted towers and casinos built out of playing cards, all under the rule of the deliciously devilish Queen of Hearts (Kathy Bates) who's not very happy about Alice's arrival.
In the course of her adventure, Alice enlists the help of an array of characters including the resistance fighter Hatter (Andrew-Lee Potts), resistance leader Dodo (Tim Curry) and the White Knight (Matt Frewer). Rounding out the cast are Colm Meaney as the King of Hearts, Harry Dean Stanton as Caterpillar, Alessandro Juliani as 9 of Clubs, Timothy Webber as Carpenter, Alex Diakun as Ratcatcher, and Eugene Lipinski as Doctors Dee and Dum.
It was good to see Colm Meaney in something again and of course Matt Frewer for the second time this week. I didn't set it to record as I had missed the first 8 minutes. I have now found the next showing of it to record so that Dave can watch it. Part two is also set to record next week.
According to a Daily Mail article I've read from the other day, apparently Marmalade sales have dropped. Compared to 2009, 2.5 million less jars were sold in 2010. That's a lot of jars! Apparently sales of oranges and pectin have gone up meaning that instead of marmalade losing out to stuff like chocolate spread and peanut butter people must be making their own. Paddington will be pleased. I think we made marmalade a few times years ago but when you can get a cheap jar for less than 30p why go through the hassle.
At archaeology club, I was given the job of selling the squares for the draw. It's very awkward as I still don't know everyone's name even though I probably email most of them regularly! I think we made £14 profit on the draw. The winner was a newcomer who bought his square at the last minute.
Young Anthony did a talk on his trip to Ironbridge Gorge Museums. He started by putting on his dark glasses which most people assumed were “cool” sunglasses. They were the type of glasses that help him to see the words better. I noticed that his notes were printed in colour too. Gold star to him for having a go. He was obviously still struggling. Many of the adult members wouldn't have the courage to give a talk. Anthony comes along with his Grandma and is the youngest member by about 30 years. This is somewhere that we have decided that we will visit one day. There is also Stokesey Castle nearby to visit, and it's English Heritage!
Buffy was very naughty when we were eating our dinner this evening. She wandered across the table to attack our plates. Guess she was searching for chips again. We have found that she loves chips. No such luck tonight as we had chops, mash and peas.
We had a break from Heroes tonight as Chris was working late and wasn't joining us. Dave dug out a Star Trek, Next Generation episode to watch. It was another good one that I'd probably only seen once before. Matter of Time. It has Matt Frewer in it. He is Jim Taggart in Eureka.
"The patron saint of accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, security guards and tax collectors is Saint Matthew of Apostle fame, and he also was the author of one of the Gospels. Before becoming an Apostle, however, he started out as a Jewish tax collector at Capernaum. Little is known about him, outside the seven references he has in the Gospels. In medieval art, Saint Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem - his artistic calling card if you will. He is one of the originals in the pantheon of patron saints."
I've been checking out patron saints on Wikipedia. I never knew there was one for almost every eventuality. Here's one that we're interested in, Dominic – astronomers & scientists. Or how about, Isidore of Seville - computer scientists, computer programmers, computer technicians, computer users, schoolchildren, students.
(Pic from: http://www.drstandley.com/images/saints/St_Matthew.jpg)
On the way there, we were threatening to change the “Cars Bought For Cash” to “Cars Bought for Chickens” and discussion ensued with what else we could change the sign to. This is the general sort of rubbish that we find to chat about when travelling.
We found a pay-and-display car park on the sea front. We later found safe parking spaces that we wouldn't have had to pay for but at least the car was safe. We'll know to try the other spaces first in future. We wandered along past the pier, taking photos and choosing what houses we would like on the way. Also checking out the state of the 400 beach huts. Some of them look new and some look like they have seen better days. One was just a lock up box with a surf board padlocked to the outside. They reminded me of the episode of “Keeping Up Appearances” when Hyacinth hires a boat and gets excited when she sees them but it turns out she's got an old wreck. Wouldn't you be disappointed if you walked past all of the lovely ones only to find the one that you bought or rented wasn't.
After about 45 minutes we went up some steps and came back along the road for more nosing at houses and gardens, picking up the beach again near the rocks. I went to take a photo of a statue in the park and there was a moving statue water feature that shouldn't have been there! Oh dear.
We went to The Saxon Shore, Weatherspoons pub, for dinner. For £5.99 we had a pint and a roast dinner. I had Red Castle Cream (Newman's brewery, Caerphilly) with roast beef. We had another drink there before moving on to the ice cream parlour. As I didn't want an ice cream, I had a lovely hot chocolate. We're planning a trip back to the ice cream parlour too for their fish and chips. If you spend £20 or more on fish and chips, you get a free bottle of wine. That would need 3 of you to share as the cod and chips were £7.95.
After Dave had gone to work, I was then woken again by a call from my friend's mum. She was worried that she'd missed our silver wedding anniversary. I assured her that it wasn't until October and we had a long chat about “stuff”. I then got up with the intention of doing some housework. The bathroom got cleaned but I mostly spent a lazy morning watching Time Team and Top Gear. Kat came home about midday, and found Martin struggling down the road with an enormous box containing his new bicycle that he'd bought in the sale in the town. How he'd managed to get it this far was amazing but he would have been quite happy to carry it the rest of the way home but we insisted that he wait for Dave to come home to help. Then Chippy came round to take some photos of Buffy. We picked Sofia up and brought the girls back home before Dave and I went into the town. We met up with Martin again and went together to The Gorge. I had Lasagne and chips which was very good. You get some strange people in the Gorge, including us! The guy at the next table dozed off nearly falling into his ice cream. Then a lady sat behind me and was talking very loudly on the phone about how much her magazine and book cost and how she could only afford to buy a plate of chips now and how she would have liked to have had something else on the menu and then proceeded to read out the prices to the poor person on the other end of the phone. Then on with the shopping. Dave is looking for a zip up top that's not boring plain colour. It is not easy to find one at all let alone one with more than one X before the L.
One of the young guys at work was asking about sick leave as he has signed up for some testing to be done on his central nervous system for scientific research. Everyone at work thinks he is mad to want to do this. £1000 is nothing compared to what you could lose if these experiments cause side effects.
I checked my blog statistics today as I hadn't checked them for a while. Interesting to see that as well as US and Canada, I have had visitors from India (New Delhi), Indonesia (Jakarta Raya) and Mexico. Welcome to all visitors new and old.
I was doing some research on line as to what happened this day in history. There was a king that died on this day - Charles the Fat died in 888. What a cool name. I thought having a King Charles the Fat was cool. Find him here. There was also a Charles the Bald whose nickname was used ironically and not descriptively; i.e. that he was not in fact bald, but rather that he was extremely hairy.
I opened a bag of crisps in the evening and Buffy got really excited. So much so that she flew off her cage over to me. She wasn't quite brave enough to come to me and ask for a crisp and went back again. Probably just as well as the third ingredient on these Walkers crisps is salt and that's not good for parrots.
Today we went for a walk in Whitstable with Batty, Chippy and Emily. We parked up along the parade and walked to the East Quay Restaurant. It was a lovely fresh day and not too windy. Emily did very well with the distance she walked. On the way back she was up on the wall with the other big kids.
I spotted Whitstable Castle which I don't think I had really noticed before. Apparently it is possible to visit the castle now if you arrange a Group visit or attend one of their “events”. The Tea Rooms and Gardens are open most days. Another one to add to my list.
I didn't wake up until 10.30 even though Dave had to go out early to meet up with Jason for the stuff for the astronomy club, he obviously didn't disturb me. When I did eventually crawl out of my pit, Dave was back downstairs studying Jason's presentation on the Life of Stars in preparation for the evening's entertainment. I had a pretty lazy day switching between my laptop, the PC that I'm sorting out upstairs for Dave to borrow for backing up his photo albums and my own PC upstairs that has pictures that I have been trying to put into a Picasa album to use on the blog.
It was soon time to get ready to go to the astronomy club. I remembered to take Dave's food but I forgot the tea towels. Disaster averted as someone happened to have one in the boot of his car. We thought we were late arriving but when we got there the talks hadn't started and there were lots of other people still arriving. At least another 5 rows of seats were added to the back of the hall and there were still people standing. More people carried on drifting in throughout the evening. Some even missed Drew's brilliant introduction completely and turned up when we were outside. Drew started his talks getting the kids involved holding up the sun and then planets at relative distances away. Neptune is so far from the sun that they had to walk round the hall as the hall wasn't long enough. Steve got volunteered to be the nearest star. He was asked to start walking to Germany. It was cold outside but well worth wandering around the various telescopes. I saw the moon, Jupiter, M42 which is the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades and other things.
Then on to Chris's where we watched “How to Train your Dragon”. I enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing it again sometime.
Blue and white shirt Was £14, £3.50
Khaki casual trousers Was £12, £3 they should have been half price but they priced it incorrectly.
Khaki top to match the trousers, not in the sale but still a brilliant price at £3.50
Summer dress, was £16, £4
Blue coat, was £20, £5
Bra, was £7, £3.50
Black and silver party dress, was £25, £6.25
Pyjama top, was £6, £3
Black ankle boots, was £16, £8
Canvas shoes for Dave, was £8, £2
Original Price total £127.50, for £41.75
So all in all, worth going today.
Tonight, we had more turkey. I bought a turkey and red wine casserole pack from Asda yesterday. I added the remainder of yesterday's carrot sticks. It took about an hour and a half to cook so we were quite late eating again which is not good but still about the same time that we would eat if Dave was on a late shift. It was really tasty. Will definitely buy it again, even when it's back to it's normal price of £3. It is now at an introductory special price of £2.50.
Here's what you need for 4 people (I sort of halved the recipe for the 2 of us).
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 garlic glove, finely chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (or cheat with pre-cut packs)
227g can pineapple chunks in natural juice
2 carrots, cut into think sticks (I cheated and bought a bag of carrot batons)
1 tbsp cornflour
Juice of 1 lemon (I cheated again and bought lemon juice)
2 tbsp tomato purée
3 tbsp light soy sauce
bunch of spring onions, trimmed and halved lengthways
rice or noodles, to serve (I bought noodles for a change)
1 Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the garlic, stir briefly, then add the chicken. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.
2 Drain the pineapple chunks (save the juice). Add them to the pan with the carrots. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
3 Add water to the reserved pineapple juice to make 200ml/7 fl oz. Mix the cornflour with the lemon juice, then stir in the purée, soy sauce and the diluted pineapple juice. Pour over the chicken and add the spring onions. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring. Serve immediately with rice or noodles.
The book says it should take about 25 minutes.
I recommend this as a quick and easy low fat recipe that can be cooked when camping too, it's cheap to do and can be multiplied to feed lots of people.
Buffy update: Dave was able to stroke her for a while and he had trouble drawing himself away to get to bed. I stroked her for a while when he was there but as soon as he went to bed, she didn't want to play any more. I'm calling her a tart now as she definitely favours men!!
Buffy has been comical again today. She is very cute eating a biscuit. She holds it in the span of her claw and munches it. She is definitely favouring Dan now. She has been copying what he says. She was watching him while he was in the kitchen and when he had cooked his dinner, and sat down to eat, she climbed down her cage to the floor and walked across to see him. She had a wander around trying to work up the confidence to climb on him.
I have been watching a lot of Quantum Leap on ITV4. After the ad breaks they always say.... “Tetley's Sponsors real men's TV”. Who says this is real men's TV? I like Quantum Leap more than Dave does.
This evening, Buffy the parrot arrived. She is an African Grey. Her tail feathers are a beautiful red colour. Her large cage doesn't fit where the Christmas tree was like we had hoped but just for a couple of months we can work around her. We would have struggled to get her cage up into Dan's room as was originally planned. She does a very good, if annoying, impression of a smoke alarm when it's running out of battery.
At Matt's tonight, we started watching Black Books. I've only seen the odd few before so it was good to see it from the beginning. Two episodes watched.... several more to go.
At the castle, we didn't take the audio tour this time. We just wandered round reading the information boards, and took lots of photos. I took so many that my battery ran out. Simon kindly lent me his spare one so that I could carry on taking photos when we went over to the cathedral. There was some seriously smelly and smoky incense being burnt. It made me feel ill. It is also a beautiful building.
This evening I watched Police Academy 2, Austin Powers 2 and 13 Going on 30.
We stopped off in Headcorn on the way home to get some dinner from Sainsburys and a quick look in The Factory Shop next door where Dave found some large casual trousers with lots of pockets. We then argued with the sat nav on the way home.
At bowling this evening I didn't do very well but better than some days, 121, 121 and another score, finished off with an average of 125. José played well and beat me on all 3 games, even if it was by just 4 pins on the first one.
I started watching Warehouse 13 from the start. I'll let you know if I like it.
Once home, Dave realised that we didn't have the cables and stuff to set this up so he went back to PC World where they were really helpful for a change. I stayed at home this time and tidied up and fixed my printer. I changed all of the colour cartridges. I have now printed out photos to send to Mum and Dad.
Dad called in for a visit to collect my spare Nokia charger. He was impressed with Dave's home brew, Wrecked Rudolf, and likened it to Mackeson's which is his favourite.
After dinner, I got on with the puzzle. It is now finished. That's the quickest I've ever done a puzzle. I hurt myself sitting on the floor for so long the other day so I now have the board on the dining table. That was a fun one to do. Wonder what one and when I will start the next one?
When we got home, Dave and I went to a Steve and Sarah's house for drinks and snacks. We had a lovely relaxing evening, chatting and listening to music.
On Christmas Day, we opened our presents from each other. It was a novelty not having to rush to get ready and go out straight afterwards. Dinner was cooked for just 3 of us. We opened the bottle of Chapel Down wine that we had been saving for a special occasion as it was quite expensive. It was rough! Think we'll stick to the cheaper stuff in future. After dinner, we got out the Ker Plunk game. It's a bit of a tradition at Christmas to play games. Another tradition is for Dave to fall asleep after dinner. Dan joined him, until it was time to get ready to go and find his mates.
Kat joined us with her fella and we opened more presents. We had prawn cocktails and cold meats and pickles. It was soon time for the Dr Who Christmas Special. Then Blokus was played. The kids went round to see Brian and Rachel. I had to give in and go to bed early as I wasn't feeling well.
We were shown through to the dining room. As I knew the portions are never huge here, I opted for all three courses. Being in the Accounts department, the owner of the purse strings, we went for the best option which was £25 each for the three. All were very good, served with silver service. Most people I know would have probably gone home hungry but this was plenty enough for me. I didn't feel so full that I couldn't move afterwards which is usual when eating out. After dinner, we went back to the fireside in a lounge and had another drink. An enjoyable evening was had by all.
At Bybrook Barn, Robbie and I didn't go into the Grotto. We had a wander over the bridge to the look at the frozen, snowy lake. Once the happy Eden and co had come out of the Grotto, we walked up to the top of the gardens where she got to have a go on the tea cup ride. The whole place seemed empty. We hardly saw another person that wasn't staff. Dave and I watched while Brian and Rachel took the kids on the train ride.
Then we went inside to look at the lovely Christmas displays. They always do a good display there of fairy stories, etc. We thought that we would stop in the restaurant before going back home. I suggested that we went to the American diner outside. It was great. I had cheesy chips and they were smothered in cheese. Very yum. Must go back again some time.
To save money, we decided to have our group Christmas party at our house. We arranged for everyone to bring along something different. There was far too much food in the end. Best to have too much than not enough. I prepared a quiz of 4 rounds. Round 1 was “Acronyms”, round 2 was “Mr and Mrs” with questions like “Just the one Mrs ….., from “On the Up”, round 3 was Disney film and round 4 was Random questions taken from the 90's quiz book. It made a change for Dave and Jose not to win!!
We had our usual secret Santa pressie swap. The budget for this year being £5. Some people did really well including me with a towel cake with scented candles and foam bath.
We were chatting with Brian and Rachel about taking Eden to see Santa and we've decided to walk to Bybrook Barn tomorrow. It will be much easier than trying to get to Maidstone.
There was pass the parcel game with chocolate bars or tubes of sweets in the layers. I think everyone got at least one. Afterwards, Matt disappeared and Santa appeared with a present for everyone. There was lots of food and drink and a very good time was had by all.
On the way home we stopped off at the White Horse in Newenden. They had a lovely fire going and we sat as close as we could. Sort of in the chimney. It was very relaxing looking into the flames.
Dave had been asked to be Santa for the Autistic Society's children's Christmas party. We went down with Jose and hid Dave in the toilet. I joined in Maria and Enrique as they watched the puppet show. Enrique thought it a bit strange that I was there but not too worried about it. After the show, most of the children went downstairs as it was food time. Enrique decided that he wanted his face painted first. Scary Enrique Monster appeared. The person doing the make up was brilliant with all the kids.
We managed to persuade Scary Enrique Monster to join the rest of the children downstairs. Santa was smuggled out of the toilet. Any children that saw him appear, we had to tell them that he had to come up the plumbing as there were no chimneys. All of the children were extremely well behaved and waited their turn to get their present from Santa. One young lad, dressed in combats, was particularly keen. He sat up the front near to Santa to wait his turn. Later he was most impressed when he caught sight of Dave's combat trousers under the Santa suit. Dave had to tell him that it is extremely cold at the North Pole and he needs to wear trousers under the suit. Dave also strung them some story about living next door to drunken polar bears, or something like that!
We went back to Jose and Maria's for tea and we watched Eclipse film. As we were already in Folkestone, we went to visit Kat. I had been promised a cuddle with the piggles too.