Thursday 13th January 2011

Getting ready for work this morning and I heard a thud outside, and then a child crying. It took me a while to work out what had happened as there was a bus and a car that had stopped though they didn't appear to have touched each other. One of the neighbour's kids had been getting into his/her Mum's car on the passenger side and got hit with the passing car's wing mirror as he tucked in to avoid the bus. Another good reason for not parking against the traffic. The kids then have to go into the road to get into the car. I wonder if she will think not to park that way in future. I hope the little person is OK though. I should think it would have bruised even if the wing mirror did fold/spring in as it hit.

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.

Wednesday 12th January 2011

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.

Sunday 9th January - Whitstable

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.

Saturday 8th January 2011 – Stargazing Live

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.

Friday 7th January 2011

This evening after work I decided to go to Matalan. They were advertising their sale on the radio. I got lots of bargains:

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.

Thursday 6th January 2011

This evening I went to Asda after work armed with my Low Fat Feast's Good Food cook book. I couldn't decide what to have so I just looked at what was a good price and what wouldn't take long to cook. I found some turkey for stir fry so I chose to make a variation of the Chinese Chicken with Pineapple that we have had when we are camping. It is one of my favourite recipes but I'd not tried it with turkey before.

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!!

Wednesday 5th January 2011

We managed to break our printer again today in the office. This time we decided not to call in the repair man again, and a new one is being ordered for about £700. The other one has been with me for many years at work. Hope the new one doesn't take long to arrive as the other two printers in our office are not up to the same standard. I think we are getting another HP one as I requested, instead of the Dell ones.

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.

Tuesday 4th January 2011 – Buffy's Arrival

It's a good thing that I didn't make any new year's resolutions this year. I think I would have broken them all today. Couldn't get out of bed before 7.30, had sugar in my tea, didn't get my post done before 4, and didn't get out of work before nearly 6. I had a weigh in this morning, and scared myself. I am the heaviest I've ever been at 9st 4, so I guess I now I do need to make more of an effort to lose some weight.

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.

3rd January 2011 - Rochester

The original plan was to go to Lullingstone Roman Villa. Despite checking on the website to confirm that they would be open, it was very closed! When we arrived there were lots of people parking up outside of the car park. I wonder how many of them had turned up because they thought it would be open. We then thought we would try Lullingstone Castle up the road as it was close but that was also closed. We consulted our booklets yet again and decided that we would go to Rochester Castle which was about half an hour away. So we set the sat nav and off we went. When we got near Bluewater there were massive queues to go into there. We were glad that we could get passed the queuing traffic eventually.

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.

2nd January 2011 - Sutton Valence Castle

My day started late again. Must stop sleeping in. By the time I'd had breakfast, and spent my usual messing about on Facebook, it was nearly one o'clock before I was ready to go out. I made an executive quick decision that we would go to find Sutton Valence Castle as it was fairly close on the English Heritage map. I have driven through Sutton Valence a few times and even knowing it was there, we had trouble finding it. There was just a small English Heritage brown tourist sign. We drove up the hill and drove straight past it. We found a dog walker to ask. She seemed quite surprised that we'd want to find it and warned us that it was just a ruin. We found it almost driving past it again, I caught sight of it in the mirror. We had to park down the road and walk up the narrow road. There wasn't a lot of the castle as it is only the ruins of the stone keep that remains. It was thought to have been built in the 12th century. Dave says it is possibly the lamest castle ever, and wants to cancel the Direct Debit for the English Heritage membership. If we only go to Dover castle one more time and one other place, then we have saved money by getting the membership.

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.

1st January 2011 - Happy New Year

After the brilliant party at Jose and Maria's last night, this morning we had a lay in. I was hoping not to have a headache but justice is done and the headache soon started. I deserved it having drunk a bottle of red wine myself, and a glass of rosé. Once up, I sorted out the photos taken at Mum's birthday party and from last night's party. They have now been added to Facebook. We went over to PC World with the intention of getting a massive external hard drive. We couldn't see a terrabyte one for less that £65 so I suggested that we rig up one of the old PCs for back up purposes. I was looking at the Advent printers that they have in the store for £24.99. I asked about the price of the ink cartridges. They are £11.99 for the black and £17.99 for the colour. Although these were quite reasonable, they can only be purchased from PC World or Currys as they are new to the market and specific to this chain. The girl asked if I had considered a Kodak printer. The printer itself is a little more expensive but the print cartridges are even cheaper at £6.99 for the black and £11.99 for the colour. Might be worth considering.

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?