Monday, 18 March 2019

I Know You've Missed Me!

That is what this Swedish poster says. It is Lent, the traditional time for semlor buns, and the Swedes are always pleased to see this treat back in the bakery window.
Originally made just on Shrove Tuesday, they were then made on other days, at one point it was illegal in Sweden to make and sell them outside of Lent. 
Now they are in the shops from Christmas till Easter [imho much better than those over sweet Creme Eggs] Liz introduced me to this delightful treat, and for the last three years I have made a batch.[you can find the recipe here]
Although Bronte Aurell, from ScandiKitchen, says fresh is best, I found last year that there wasn't too much change in flavour if thy were frozen.
So last Saturday afternoon, I donned my posh new pinafore, turned on the radio and made 16 semlor instead of eight, portioned them up and froze them.
The two on the little tray are the ones we ate at Saturday tea-time!

Thank you to all who've sent helpful messages re the fatigue, via comments and emails. Update - just heard from GP I have a Vitamin D deficiency, so now on medication!

Sunday, 17 March 2019

The Hen

Another of Stanley Spencer's "Christ in the Wilderness" Lent paintings. A Russian writer has said of these paintings "Where else in the Bible does man appear in such union with the beasts, with no fear and alienation? Obviously, in Eden, where Adam resided before the fall. Christ, who came to save mankind from the curse of original sin, is the new Adam, as described in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul. 
...Therefore, Jesus peacefully dwells among animals, birds, plants and with childish curiosity he peers at them, for this firstborn Son of God has found his human nature, similarity with earthly being. As a creature 'from another planet', Jesus gets used to this world, delicately delves into it, amused and delighted"
This painting is entitled 'The Hen' - a reminder of the words of Jesus in Matthew 23, as he weeps over the city of Jerusalem
"O, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."
There is a proud cockerel, and other fowl, strutting behind, at the back of the picture -but Jesus encircles the mother hen and her chicks, with his whole body - protecting them, watching over them.There is care and compassion in his face. He is aware how fragile they are, utterly defenceless, how easily they could be hurt or killed. The mother hen gathers them, hides them, and she makes herself vulnerable as she protects them. This picture doesn't show 'amusement and delight' - but sadness. 
Our world has seen another turbulent week - the continued division in the British Parliament, political unrest in France, tension in the USA government, and now the killings in New Zealand. Oh that people across could gather together, united, protected, supported by the fatherly love of God, as the chicks gather under the wings of their mother hen...but they are not willing.
It was so good to see pictures of Andrew Graystone standing outside his local Manchester Mosque during the Friday Prayers.
Here is a man who takes his Christian faith seriously. "You can respond with fear, or you can respond with friendship" he said.
Lord, in a world of fear and hatred, give us your compassion - and help us to extend the loving hand of friendship - especially to those who are in need.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Flowers, Friendship And Fatigue

 As well as the flowers outside in the garden, I'm currently enjoying flowers inside the house.
My two orchid plants are both blossoming. The one on the right has been dormant for about a year, and I thought it was dead and nearly discarded it. But my good friend Jenny gave me some orchid food - and these gorgeous pink blossoms appeared unexpectedly. Thanks J!

Then in recent weeks I have received a couple of floral cards from blog-friends [you know who you are] one is a delightful decoupage in shades of peachy pink, the other a get well card with stunning scarlet poppies. Both so very pretty to look at - but more important are the thoughtful words inside. 
The older I get, the more I value friendships. I am sure you feel the same. 
A big thankyou to the people who suggested my mystery herb might be rocket. 
The leaves do not match the rocket I get in Lidl - but they definitely have the same peppery flavour.  Did you know that the Romans introduced rocket to Britain two thousand years ago? In the Middle Ages, it was forbidden to grow rocket in monasteries because it was believed to arouse sexual desires. It was often mixed with lettuce leaves in salads because lettuce has a soporific, calming effect, and the theory was that the two would cancel each other out! I discovered a crop of flatleaf parsley too - a good source of vitamin B. 
I saw the GP yesterday - he thinks I have Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome, and need to rest and pace myself better. He's done blood tests for vitamin B & D deficiencies, and apologised that the NHS cannot afford to prescribe a week's holiday in a sunny climate. At least it is nothing serious or sinister - and I must just Slow Down A Bit.
I'm trying ["You're very trying sometimes" says Bob] Thank you to all my dear friends out there who have sent such kind wishes. 

Friday, 15 March 2019

The Cup That Cheers

I had a friend once who got very hot under the collar when people said "Cheers!" when they meant "Thank You!" An ardent teetotaller, she thought it had alcoholic connotations. I confess that it has never really bothered me, despite being brought up in a strictly TT home.

I frequently say "Cheers!" when I'm leaving- as a form of Cheerio, I suppose
And just occasionally "Cheers!" as a greeting to a friend
And sometimes "Cheers!" when I raise a drink to my lips [whether tea, orange juice, or wine] in the sense of good cheer, well-wishes, blessings to my [drinking] companions
But mostly I use this expression as a way of saying "Thank you!" - sincerely, but briefly and without undue fuss. 
It is good to say Thankyou - 

  • to the bus driver on the Park'n'ride,
  • to the person who helps you lift your suitcase onto the train,
  • to the shop assistant who is genuinely helpful, 
  • to the waiting staff who ensure your 'eating experience' is a good one,
  • to someone who gives you a gift - especially when it is totally unexpected
  • to the child who brings you something, or gives you a sudden hug
  • to the guy who sees you have 1 item and he has a trolleyload, and lets you go ahead in the queue
  • to the spouse who tells you that you look lovely today [when you feel anything but]
  • to the friend who treats you to a coffee and spends time in proper conversation
Some of these need a proper expression of gratitude - for some 'cheers!' will suffice. I mentioned recently doing the Ipsos Mori survey. It is the second one I have done - and when I did the first one, my gift voucher was delivered by hand by the Market Researcher along with an acknowledgement slip. I had forgotten all about it until this week. I'd tucked it in my big Study Bible as a bookmark. 
I was preparing to lead our Homegroup - we are working through Philippians. It is full of words from St Paul encouraging people to show gratitude. And my IM survey slip had a lovely word-cloud on the front. 
Isn't this super - thanks in so many languages?
And I love the little reminder of the Greek word for thank you is 
εὐχαριστω - eucharisteo, from which we get the word Eucharist, the name used by many Christians for the service of breaking bread and sharing wine.

Cheers! [and thank you for reading my blog]

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Baptist Bob Gets Very Wet In Bath

As last Tuesday was spent getting ready for, hosting, and clearing up after the Pancake Party, Bob never had a proper Day Off. So this week, we planned to do something Very Exciting on Tuesday. 
Having lived here in the South West for 4 years, we felt it was about time we visited Bath. 
We got up and set off surprisingly early, stopping for breakfast at the Fontmell Magna Post Office as it opened at 9am. We enjoyed bacon and sausage sandwiches, and hot drinks, then drove on to the Bath Park'n'Ride [situated at "Odd Down"] By the time we parked the car it was raining "straight 'airpins" as Nana would have said. We jumped on the bus [concessions for over 60's] which took us into the city centre.
It really was too wet to do very much walking around. We went into the Abbey - currently something of a building site. The floor is sinking badly so they are undergoing an extensive programme of digging up and relaying the stones.
Much of the Abbey is behind screens - you can peer through the windows to see the work. But they are clearly endeavouring to maintain all the usual activities.
A beautiful embroidery is a focal point as the altar is currently out of use. Either side of this, over the choir stalls, we admired the lovely choir of carved wooden angels.
There are hundreds of memorial tablets all over the walls and floor. It seems that the world and his wife must have come to Bath to die!
We noticed the plaque to Sir Isaac Pitman - but felt a little disappointed that it was entirely written in English. They could have put something in his language
We came out and walked through the rain, browsing in a few CS and stopping for a snack lunch. We checked out the net for ideas of places to visit. Many were either closed for the winter, or shut on Tuesdays! But we were able to visit the Postal Museum.
I was thrilled by all the stuff I learned in the Bath Museum. The first Penny Black stamp was franked and posted in Bath. The first 100 mile airmail flight was from Bath to London. 
Last Summer I took Rosie to the Children's Play Area of the London Postal Museum. She loves it there, and dashed off to put on her red tabard and hat and be a postal worker, weighing and stamping parcels and delivering them through the letterboxes.
I am afraid she has inherited my love of interactive learning environments. Dressing up is such fun!
Back in the 1700s, the Mail Coaches began their speedy service between Bath and London - much faster than the usual stagecoach [and a little less comfortable] Charles Dickens often travelled to Bath by this method. Here's Grandma in suitable garb! [Note the matching red fingernails- my 40bags-40days challenge for Friday was to clear out my makeup bag. I rewarded myself with a manicure in the evening]
The rain continued. We went back to the P&R and drove to Warminster [where my parents had their honeymoon in 1948]
The rain finally stopped, and the sun was shining. Coffee and cut price banoffee pie and more CS to browse around. Then home at last, and Bob cooked delicious steaks for our evening meal. 
We may have struggled against the wind and rain at the start of the day, but by the evening, we both agreed we had enjoyed a lovely day off. 
When I said we'd gone to the Postal Museum in such appalling weather, a friend said she hoped I didn't stamp around. I replied that I hadn't - I'd been with my own First Class Male.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

A Night On The Tiles

They are busy putting new tiles on this building at the moment- it houses Ferndown Council Offices, and our fine Town Library. Not sure this is a wise activity in a week of such high winds, but there you go...
The Latin word for tile is tessera, and small tiles, put together in a pattern are called tessellations.
I've long been fascinated by tessellation patterns, and particularly the ones created by the Dutch Artist M C Escher.
Look at these amazing creations - all exact, interlocking, repeat motifs -  Birds
Knights on horseback
And a mixture of fishes and frogs

And then, this week, I came across a French Artist, Alain Nicolas, who not only draws brilliant tessellations, but has a wonderfully helpful website explaining how to design your own.
Look at these - men, dinosaurs, reindeer
These are so intricate, and so clever. Do check out his website, where he shows how to alter a basic tile pattern [square, hexagon, triangle etc] to make a repeating tile shaped like an animal or person or flower.
Here he has produced a dog tessellation in honour of his faithful friend Lucky.
I think it is so clever, and so well explained. I wish I had a class to teach this to on a wet windy Friday afternoon!
Actually I have taught about Escher in the past [without the benefit of Monsieur Nicolas' clear diagrams] and had great fun, combining principles of maths and geometry with artistic creativity.
There was a particular school I often worked at in Leicester where I did such a lesson. A few days later, a woman stopped me in the supermarket "It's Mrs Almond, isn't it? You were the  Supply Teacher for my son's class the other week. He really loved all the work you did about testicles. Thank you so much" I was slightly taken aback at first, till I realised what she meant. "Oh, yes, I remember now - the class produced some lovely tessellation patterns" [I wonder if the she realised later exactly what she had said. I hope not, the poor woman would have been mortified]
Who would have thought a host of guitarists like this could be rotated and interlocked, and used to cover a whole page?

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

HMS Pinafore

When I was 7, just before my brother was born, I was taken to see Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera, performed by the boys of Bishops' Stortford College. I have three memories [1] I enjoyed it enormously even if I didn't understand it all [2] I remember someone asking 'if your next child is a boy, will you be putting his name down for the College, Rev Hall?' and Dad replying that a year's fees were more than he earned in a year [the college is co-ed now, and boarders' fees are still more than a Baptist minister earns in a year!] and [3] nobody could explain to me why the ship was named after an apron.
Pinafore -  A woman's loose sleeveless garment, typically full length and worn over clothes to keep them clean. Origin late 18th century: from pin + afore (because the term originally denoted an apron with a bib pinned on the front of a dress). Today I present my own HMS Pinafore - that is, 'Her Marvellously Stitched Pinafore'
I've wanted one of these cross back aprons since I saw them on the Purl Soho website about 3 years ago. I saved the pictures and pattern on my Pinterest page. I kept looking at it, and wishing I had the fabric and time to make myself one.
Last week I was given a bag of haberdashery and fabric by a friend- which included a length of vintage linen. So I propped up my tablet on the dining table, got out the iron and the sewing machine, and made it. It took 3½ hours from start to finish. The instructions are beautifully clear and well illustrated.
Patrick on GBSB would probably say it includes quite a bit of engineering. Mathematics and geometry definitely. 11 pieces of fabric, 8 French seams, 4 regular seams, and 18 lots of top-stitching!
Note the lovely deep pockets on either side. 
It's a "Möbius" apron - in that technically it only has one hole and one edge like a Möbius Strip. It has no fastenings, you just slip it over your head [I seem unable to get it off elegantly - I let it slide down my shoulders and step out"!] Here's my apron...
I'm neither as tall, nor as slim as Mrs Purl Bee. Bob took the photos "But that looks like I have ridiculously short legs!" I protested. "Well, you do!" he replied, then he lay on the floor to task the final shot. It is very comfortable, and I know it won't come unfastened halfway through preparing Sunday lunch [or as I'm retrieving a cake from the oven] I haven't got close up shots of the pockets- but I think Patrick would be pleased with my remarkably even top-stitching!

Monday, 11 March 2019

Come Into The Garden, Maud*

The winter is over; the rains have stopped; the flowers are in bloom. This is the time for singing - or so it says in the Song of Solomon. 
The word Lent comes from the old English lencten meaning lengthen. The days are getting longer, we're less than a fortnight from the Spring Equinox. I wandered out into my much neglected garden early in the morning [OK, confession, I had forgotten the washing, which had been pegged out on the whirlygig dryer all night] 
I could not believe how many charming flowers there were, blooming prettily! 

It was early, so not all the pink-rimmed day's eyes were open
But where did the pink and blue hyacinths spring from?
In the front garden, larger daisies, muscari and a heather
Relieved to see the wild garlic flourishing, and the rosemary 
My bay has revived [I thought it had died in last summer's extreme heat]
Daffodils- large, miniature, and in bud.
I have a challenge for you. Last year I was rootling about in the shed, and I found a packet of seeds "Mixed herbs- sprinkle onto a patch of ground and you will have herbs all summer" it said "reduced to 25p". Like Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, I'm a cock-eyed optimist, and so I filled some small tubs with compost and broadcast the seeds, watered, waited and watched.
Result - not the lush crops of parsley, coriander, marjoram etc I'd hoped for. Lots of different leaves though. We occasionally plucked one and nibbled it, hoping to recognise the herby taste. "I suspect most of these are weeds" said Bob "Look at that, it's definitely a dandelion" [and declined my offer to make frugal dandelion soup]
But one particular plant in the tubs has gone crazy. It has produced pretty flowers on long stems- and I don't care if it is a weed, I like it. But please, can anyone among you who knows about gardening and does it properly, identify this for me?
I think the flowers are delicate and pretty - but I would like to give it a name
The blossom on the tree is past its best - the recent high winds covered the front grass with pink confetti! But I am grateful for the beauty of nature.
The Japanese have a phrase, 'shrinrin-yoku' meaning 'forest-bathing'. They have recognised that spending time in the open air among plants and trees has a truly beneficial effect on health and well-being, and set up 48 'therapy trails' to encourage people to go outside. Just as the British Government promoted the "five-a-day" campaign to get us eating our veggies, so the Japanese spent a fortune urging people to go outside and get healthy.  
*I don't think I know anyone called Maud, but my Grandfather used to sing this Victorian song sometimes. My Gran used to chide him, and say "Why is he persuading her to go into the garden at night? Up to no good if you ask me!"

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Into The Wilderness

I was hesitant about taking on a Lent Challenge this year, because I didn't want to give up half way through. But I have found inspiration in an unlikely place. This is a picture called "Christ in the Wilderness- Driven by the Spirit" and was painted in 1942 by that most eccentric English artist, Stanley Spencer.
SS challenged himself to paint 40 pictures- one for each day of Lent, on the theme of Christ in the Wilderness. After spending fifteen years on this project, he had only managed sixteen sketches, and eight finished canvasses. 
I am not aiming for 40 works of art, just a daily acknowledgement that there is too much stuff in my life, and it is getting in the way of other things. Four days in, I am doing OK. 
At the start of this week I was preparing a Sunday School lesson about Jesus and the Temptations - and that was how I discovered these pictures. They are certainly thought provoking.
Because I grew up with the King James' Version, my childhood mental images had Jesus 'in the desert' [sand dunes, the occasional camel or palm tree...] but really it should be 'in the deserted place' - i.e. away from other human beings - and Spencer has made that 'the wild place' - the wilderness. In his paintings he reflects on Jesus 'getting back to nature' [more about that in future posts] I'm not 100% sure about the rather tubby character here, who looks as if he should be en route to Slimming World. 
...But maybe Spencer has a point. Other artists have depicted Jesus being tempted as a thin, almost skeletal figure, desperate for stones-turned-into-bread. But perhaps the artist wants to show us that Jesus has come away from his home, where Mary, the good Jewish mother, was always busy trying to feed her son. There he would have learned to savour his meals, and be grateful for all the blessings around him - fresh fish from Galilee, lamb from the sheep on the hillside outside Nazareth, juicy figs and dates picked from the trees near his home. And as a carpenter he'd have developed muscles, from his daily manual labours. This was a young man with a healthy appetite for food. And that would surely make the temptation so much harder - and the overcoming of it so much more important.
Although not the first picture to be painted in this series, this is the first in terms of the biblical story [Matthew chapter 4] I love the determined expression on Jesus' face, the way he is grasping at the branch to pull himself forward, and his bare feet gripping the uneven rocky ground beneath him. 
And I draw strength from the truth that there is no part of my life's journey that is unknown to Jesus, and he will be with me through every challenge I face, whether great or small. And if I stumble, he will help to get up and keep going. 

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Satisfying Start - Hope It Continues

The Lent 40days-40bags Decluttering is going slowly, but surely. Challenge #1 took a little longer than 10 minutes- but I ended up with 2 bags for the CS, and one briefcase which really was worn out being finally thrown away. I also emptied every bag of tissues and pens and other detritus, and tidied my 'school briefcase'. I know the minimalists say you only need one bag, but that doesn't work for me. I've got a school briefcase, a 'Sunday Bag', an everyday smart handbag, a small backpack style bag [for when I'm cycling] a  'weddings and evenings' clutch bag and a black, formal 'funerals etc' bag. 
BUT there was an added benefit to this sorting and tidying - as well as a multiplicity of pens and notebooks, I found my little Radley purse which I'd mislaid, and scattered among the bags, nearly £10 in cash. 
This was very good.
The fridge had been sorted and cleaned thoroughly on Tuesday to make room for Bob's large jugs of pancake batter. He complained [rightly] about the large number of chutney/relish jars. Following last year's efforts, once again I cooked up all the stuff in them to make 1½ bottles of brown sauce. 8 glass jars went into the recycling on Thursday. Challenge #23 is ticked off.
I am not sure if I will achieve all 40 challenges- but I feel very positive about it. Letting go of 'stuff' is doing me good!

Friday, 8 March 2019

A Pile Of Perfect Pancakes

We had a wonderful time. Bob and Geoff cooked over 120 pancakes. 
It was good to have so many friends dropping in.
I went to bed for an hour in the afternoon, in order to have enough energy for the evening, which was a wise move.
BTW The Waterloo Jigsaw Giveaway last week was won by Nicky - please can you email me your address so I can post it to you!

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Which Came First...

...the hen or the egg-cup?
That's not the usual riddle I know, but bear with me. 
A friend posted about her breakfast and included a picture of her boiled egg, in a charming egg-cup. When I commented on the e-c she said it was the last of the set she had as an engagement present. I started thinking about engagement presents, and brides-to-be, and How Things Have Changed Since My Day.
Back then, a high proportion of women lived at home till they got married- and so the marital home was the first time they'd 'properly' lived away from Mum and Dad. So an engagement was often the time when people started collecting homewares for their "Bottom Drawer". The orange tablecloth pictured is the one I embroidered for my bottom drawer when I was 18. I was at Uni, and my landlady's sister ran the Kenilworth Woolshop. They gave me this cloth, and the silks so I could make something for my BD. It was the 70s, so it was trendily orange. Only 36" sdquare, the cloth is quite small. I used it on our tiny table when we were first married, but it has been in a box in the loft for years! As far as I can remember nothing else was ever made for my BD. And when I met Bob a few years later, we only received one engagement present.

The Celery Jar. Unfortunately when it was given, it was in a box, wrapped up, and I was told "Be careful, it is heavy and breakable". I mistakenly thought I was getting a colourful chunky glass vase. To unwrap an olive green pottery face with hairy eyebrows, which looked rather like Dennis Healey, was a teensy bit disappointing! But I have kept it all these years anyway.

Do people still receive engagement presents? So often these days, couples have lived away from home for years, maybe already living with their intended- so they already have all the bits and pieces needed for setting up home.
When I was engaged and about to be married, I never had a Hen Party, but 'Hen Dos' are much more popular now. I have some photos of Lucy's Tea Party. There were a couple of dozen of us, and we sat either side of a long table. There was one tired stand of food between every set of three guests. Sandwiches, scones and cakes. Kelly, Lucy's friend had prepared a quiz "How well do you know the Bride" [which Steph won] and we also had to write down good advice for newlyweds. We signed a card with a kiss [what a range of lipstick colours!] to "Kiss goodbye to the Miss" and generally had fun.
Don't ask me about the other guests - I've no idea!
Were you given engagement presents?
And did you have a Hen Party?

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Just Jammin'

Last Saturday morning Bob had a Deacon's Prayer Meeting at 7.30am [then a Men's Breakfast] and I had the house to myself. I had a great burst of energy and put some bread in the breadmaker, washing in the machine, cleaned the bathroom...and made some marmalade. Now I have good friends who always make their marmalade in January when the Seville oranges are in the shops. I admire their diligence. But for forty years I have always taken the easy way out and made mine with a can of MaMade.
Despite using pre-prepared fruit, I feel my marmalade making is becoming more professional. I now have maslin pan, a jam funnel, and a proper set of jamjar tongs. Bob found the tongs in a sale in Poole recently.
These seven jars [plus the less photogenic final jar, not a gingham Bonne Maman one] will keep us going for a year or so. 
These worked out at around 40p a jar. I could buy 'basics' spread for slightly less in the supermarket, but the flavour is not so good - more sugar, less fruit, little peel.
And it is so easy. I always add in the peel and juice of one lemon to each batch too.
After my Mum died, in 1991,  people were very kind to my Dad, and he asked if I could think of a simple Christmas gift he could give his thoughtful friends. I suggested he did marmalade like this - and saved all sorts of interesting jars for him. He designed his own custom labels and about two dozen folk were thrilled with their presents.
We were all highly amused when one lady whispered to me "Your Dad is so good, he made us marmalade you know. And it tasted brilliant, you could tell it was proper home-made stuff from real oranges, not that tinned stuff like B. uses, hers is not as good. And he's a man"  We never told her Dad used Mamade too. But every time I make a batch I think of the incident and chuckle to myself. 
Maybe in these days of equality they should produce cans of 'Pa-Made' too! 

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Simplifying Things

After a lot of dithering, I have decided on my 2019 Lent Challenge. I found it on the Happily Homegrown blog. It is a 40-bags-in-40-days challenge. I like it because it is manageable. You spend just 10 minutes a day on this task [more if you can] and focus on one area at a time. Unlike the KonMari method, where every garment you own is brought into one room and sorted, this scheme breaks it down into manageable steps.
Here's the chart

1.  Bags and Briefcases 2. Medicine Cabinet 
3.  Make-up, Skin/Hair Care 4. Jewelry 
5.  Linen Closet 6. Understairs Closet
7.  Storage Closet 8. Laundry Supplies
9.  Junk Drawer 10. Under the sinks 
11. Under the beds, bedside tables 12. Hall & Porch
13. Books, Magazines, DVDs 14. Food Storage Containers 
15. Travel Mugs and Water Bottles 16. Kitchen Gadgets 
17. Spice Rack 18. Table tops
19. Counter tops 20. Top of fridge, anything held on by a magnet  
21. Cabinet 22. Pantry 
23. Fridge 24. Freezer 
25. Cleaning Supplies 26. Desk/Filing Cabinet 
27. Sewing/Knitting crafts 28. Bathroom 
29. Papercrafts  30. Living Room 
31. Clothing  32. Master Bedroom 
33. Spare Bedrooms 34. Kitchen 
35. Dining Room 36. Loft
37. Kids Crafts/Teaching materials 38. Car & bike
39. All flat surfaces 40.Any one area that needs more TLC

I've modified it slightly from the original - I do not have a basement, or children's toys/bedrooms. And the garage is Bob's domain. I am not going to work strictly in order either - if it is a Sunday, or a very busy day, I shall find a task which fits in well. But I have boxes and bags ready for CS donations. 
I'll let you know how I get on!

Monday, 4 March 2019

Fur Coat, No Knickers!

Which means "having a superficially positive appearance that is belied by the reality" But I have become a little more concerned about a superficially positive appearance to my household appliances, which is concealing the fur coat on the inside.
These little mesh metal donuts are brilliant at collecting the limescale which furs up the kettle and affects the quality of the tea.
But it is important to remember to take them out regularly and rinse and squish them well to dislodge the little bits of fur. 
After tomorrow's pancake party, I shall gather up the lemon skins, and boil them up for a while inside the kettle, to dislodge any remaining fur. A quick rinse, and all will be sparkling again.

My kettle doesn't have an exposed element like this- but honestly,
 how many people have a furred up kettle in their kitchen which they use daily, yet neglect to descale? Our coffee maker gets descaled regularly. It's a Melitta 'Look' and has a number of great features, including a light which comes on when it's time to descale. And then it has a descale programme which is really easy to operate.
You just put the solution in the reservoir and press the button!
My steam iron is a Rowenta DG1740, purchased April 2008. The most expensive iron I've ever bought, costing over £70 [and that was a half price offer!] I calculated then that if it lasted 5 years, it would be 30p a week for my ironing. 
I have emptied out the water reservoir and descaled it regularly-and 11 years on, it's still brilliant, and costing less than 2p a day to run.

I definitely do have knickers, but I am very happy to report that my appliance do not have fur coats.
It certainly pays to take care of things, they will pay you back for your TLC by lasting longer.
Are there other items in your home which get furred up? Do you have any useful tips?