Monday, 29 November 2010


Woke up on Sunday morning to find that the canal had frozen over, at least the top of it.  It was pretty solid, I had to tap it several times quite firmly with a knitting needle to break through, but once the first boat came through it all broke up and started to melt.  Fruity and I walked down to Regents Park and had a cup of tea at the Honest Sausage and watched the dogs running around and collected sticks. 

Heating Achieved

After two days with no heat last week, we asked our neighbor if he could sweep the chimney for us.  He not only swept the chimney, he removed the fire bricks and damper plate and cleaned out all the crud on top of it, and swept out the grate for good measure.  It's like a whole new stove, it draws like a dream and we are just about thawed out.

Frost Autumn Morning Take 2

My least favorite kind of autumn morning:

Notice the lack of smoke coming out of the chimney.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Frosty Morning

My favorite kind of late-autumn morning.

Armistice Day

On Sunday 11 November, my friend Fruity and I went to the Cenotaph.  I tried to take some pictures of the veterans and servicemen and women but there were a lot of people and I couldn't get a good view.  The most moving group of veterans I saw in the parade down Whitehall were the Bevin Boys. 

There were only a handful there, maybe a dozen or so.  The Bevin Boys are men who were sent down the mines during the second world war to serve as coal miners.  They weren't recognized properly as veterans or allowed to take part in the parade until very recently because a lot of stupid people in charge didn't think they were entitled to, since they didn't fight.  Which is absolute rot, because you can't run a war without fuel.  Their vital war work was finally recognized in 2008. 

Here is a picture of the parade, with the women's war memorial in the background.  I couldn't get a shot of the Bevin Boys unfortunately.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Free sticks!

I walked up to the grocery store today and collected sticks along the way, for kindling.  Yes, I am the crazy lady on the bus with the tote bag full of sticks.

After two freezing nights without a fire, i cleaned out the stove and the drawer where the ash pan sits and it seems to be drawing better now.  It's been cold without the fire--like seeing your breath cold--so I gathered loads of sticks and got a roaring wood fire going, and then added coal.  The boat is nice and toasty now. 

(lovely picture of lady with faggots borrowed from Fruity's blog, Fruitopia)

Friday, 12 November 2010

a wedding picture (yay!)

We are still dithering over which photos we want for our album, but here is a picture my aunt emailed me that I absolutely love. 

Homemade Oatcakes

I made oatcakes on Saturday, from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Everyday cookbook.  I received the cookbook as a wedding gift and I love it.  It is food porn; sometimes I just sit and read it for fun. 

The recipe called for half porridge oats and half medium oatmeal, but I didn't have any medium oatmeal, so I just used porridge oats for the whole thing.  They came out pretty good, but kind of high calorie so I'm going to try to reduce the amount of oil or substitute it entirely.  Maybe apple sauce?  Suggestions gratefully received. 


140g medium oatmeal
140g porridge oats
10 twists of black pepper
½ tsp salt
A small handful of sunflower or other seeds (optional)
75ml extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and dust two baking trays with flour. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour the oil into a well in the centre, then pour in enough boiling water to bind it into a firm, not sticky, dough. Work quickly. Don't worry if you over-water a bit - you can remedy the situation by adding more oatmeal.

Form the dough mixture into a ball and leave it to rest for the time it takes to open a bottle and pour a glass of wine. Roll out the dough on a floured surface (dust with flour, too, if it's sticky) to about 5mm thick.
Cut out discs with a cookie cutter (I use a 6cm one). Place on the baking trays and bake for 20 minutes, then turn and bake for a further five to 10 minutes. Cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Walking to Work

Sometimes I walk to work in the morning.  It takes about an hour and I get to walk through Mayfair and see what's in the windows at Marc Jacobs.  But my favorite part is walking through Green Park.  When I used to live in Hackney and take the 38 bus to work, I would get off at Green Park and walk the rest of the way, no matter what the weather was doing.  Partly it was because by the time I got to Green Park my back would be killing me and I couldn't sit down for one more second, but mostly it was because it was so beautiful.  I could smoke a cigarette and crunch in the snow, or collect conkers, and watch the dogs running around when their owners let them off the lead.  So, here are some pictures I took on my phone this morning on my walk. 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Regents Park Sunday Afternoon

Took a ramble down the canal and around Regents Park yesterday afternoon.  It was very cold and crisp with threatening black clouds hanging overhead.  Lots of dogs.  We spotted at least three different men walking pairs of snausers. 

The Honest Sausage Cafe, where we stopped for a cup of tea.

Free firewood.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Wilds of Northern California

Just to clarify, the posts on my blog are not necessarily in order of how they happened in real life.  I'm working from a backlog of like five years worth of photos, and adding in new stuff every day, so it's just gonna be all over the place.  I don't really believe in time anyway, so it doesn't really matter.  Just enjoy the pictures and don't worry about it.

Anyway, here are some pictures from a time that I went out to Tennessee Valley beach with some friends and my sister.  It was in July, which is why it was so cold and foggy.

ETA: I forgot to say, if you click on the pictures they get bigger.  

Autumn on the Canal

Before we switched back to GMT, I took some pictures out of the galley window after work.  The sky was really overcast in the east, but clear and bright in the west, and the sun made the buildings look like they were on fire. 

Bee Habitat

Yesterday on the walk to work I saw this little patch of wildflowers growing next to the pavement in Victoria, where you don't often see patches of wildflowers.  I was so surprised that I had to stop and read the sign.  Lo and behold, a special wildflower bee habitat, in the centre of Victoria.  How strange.  Then, this morning outside Sainsbury's on Victoria street I noticed that the planters on the pavement with the benches around them are also filled with wildflowers.  This is wonderful!  I hope it brings more bees to the borough of Westminster.