Friday, 19 September 2014

So Glad You're Staying Scotland!

I've been up half the night though not by choice.  Thunder bouncing off the valley sides and great big lightning flashes cut short my sleep time.  I may have to have that eccentric little snooze that I've started to build into my office routine.  Mr Metrosexual nabbed a big leather recliner from a consultant when he left and it's a perfect spot for power napping.  My colleagues wake me when the snores get too loud!

Insomnia meant that I could keep up with the live results from the Scottish independence ballot as they came in on the BBC website. I'm British before being English and proud of belonging to the beautiful set of countries that make up the United Kingdom.  I hate break ups and  it would have been extremely sad to have been 'chucked' by part of our land.  Whilst I'm glad that the good folks in our Northern reaches have decided to continue to put up with being ruled by Westminster with the rest of us, I think those London-centric types have been sent a clear message by the narrow voting margin.   Yes, we are better together but us lot in the outlying regions need to have more control over what affects us locally.   Fat cat city types have no idea about our lives even if they do take the occasional holiday in a boutique hotel in Cornwall.

These words that I've just plucked from  Facebook are from the Scottish historian Neil Oliver.  Yes, he's the one with the flowing locks who's a presenter on Coast.  I think he shares my sentiments from across the border.


I will lay my cards on the table from the start: I will be voting No.  I have no economic argument to make. Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing people argue the toss about the pound, pensions and the rest. I am voting No because for me, the offering by the Yes camp lacks nobility and humanity. Even more importantly, it lacks class, far less any kind of panache.

Having spent years working on the television series Coast, I think it’s fair to say I’ve seen as much of this United Kingdom of ours as anyone else living here. It’s a project that has changed my life in several ways. It has certainly caused me to fall in love with the place – the whole place. Circumnavigate these islands as I have, as often as I have, and one thing above all becomes clear: the national boundaries within are invisible and therefore meaningless.

People living in a fishing town in Cornwall have more in common with the inhabitants of a fishing town in Fife than either population has with the folk of a town in the Midlands. They have a shared experience and a common history of coping with lives shaped by the sea. The coast is another country – the fifth country – and it unites us and binds us like the hem of a garment.

The differences that are discernible as you travel around Britain are regional ones – made of accents and architecture, geology and geography. I am all in favour of people having the power to make decisions about their own patch: but I am utterly opposed to the idea of breaking centuries old bonds in order to make that happen."

There was a lot of talk about changing the national flag if Scotland left the UK but perhaps we need to do it anyway.  It's definitely missing a Welsh dragon somewhere!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Cupboard Has Got To Be Bare

Right!  It's all guns firing now.  M-Day, which is one I move out of my house into Klaus, the six metre legend on wheels has been set for 29th October.  The first campsite that I will stay in has a pitch reserved near the back gate where, five minutes down the lane, a pub is refurbished for my ale supping pleasure.  Klaus' makeover is well beyond the planning stage.  Upholstery material has been ordered and lino samples requested and there's just under six weeks to get Lovelygrey Cottage ready for  handing the keys back to the letting agents. That means a bit of decorating, cleaning, of course, packing and lots of decluttering.  My idea of what I need materially in my life is being drastically revised.

As a keen cook I have bountiful store cupboards so that I can pluck out exotic ingredients at my leisure without the need for a supermarket trip to source something weird and wonderful. Don't Jamie and the like recommend that? It's not how it is going to be in the motorhome. Space limitations mean that staples that can be kept ready and waiting for cheffy whims are going to be cut drastically.  It's going to take a bit of thought as to what really constitutes a culinary essential.  Sunflower and olive oil are on the list as are a few herbs, spices, stock cubes and sugar for the sweet toothed visitors. They'll be jumbo oats for breakfast and plain flour for pancakes and the odd baking experiment.  Oh and of course Marmite for me and Nutella for Lou.  Beyond that everything will be bought on an 'as and when basis' and ingredients used up pronto so that they don't hang around taking up valuable cupboard room.  I'll reckon I'll be expanding my cooking repertoire by researching recipes to use up dry goods left over from.

In the time before my move I have set myself the 'Old Mother Hubbard' challenge.  My cupboards containing two years worth of hoarded 'essentials' have to be emptied.  I'll be using up a load of stuff bought for one off  recipes.  The fayre served up in my final weeks at Lovelygrey Cottage  might be more unusual than it has been of late.  For instance, thanks to my now defunct lusting over Paul Hollywood there's an awful lot of white cornmeal of ground to various grade to get through.  I'm going to have to be really creative with that.   Expect some wacky recipes coming to a blog near you shortly!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Mice Have Spirit Guides Too!

Just after I'd blogged yesterday I spotted this picture which tickled me and cleared  that grumpiness away. A gift from my own angels of the non furry variety to cheer me up maybe?  All I know is that it turned out to be rather a good day with a fair modicum of fun and laughter. Not bad for a working day.

I've also confirmed my moving date and hired a removal man who will look after my furniture at a cost that's way more reasonable than the first quote that I given.  It pays to shop around. The costs of my campsite and storage are now well within budget and mean that there's lots of money left over each month for saving and travels.

I am by nature a happy  hopeful soul who expects good things to happen and guess what?  They do so very often!   I have to warn you though that adopting this approach can really piss pessimists off big time.  Silliness normally does a good job at dispelling the dark clouds when they threaten to gather overhead.  Gloom and doom doesn't hang around for long.  To be in possession of a heightened sense of the ridiculous is a very precious gift indeed.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Big Fat Grumpy Grey Clouds

For Louis the transition to senior school life has been rather easy and thankfully he's loving it.  For me, there's been a change in routine which I'm struggling with and I'm not my usual sunny self.  Not sleeping terribly well due to a mind full of ideas and the muzzy head and sore throat that suggests there's a humdinger of a cold coming on doesn't help either.

When Lou was at junior school our day started in a lovely meandering kind of way.  I'd pop downstairs at 6:30, make an enormous cuppa and then snuggle back in bed to blog and do the Guardian crossword and quiz. I'd surface to make the porridge at around quarter to eight, a very chilled Mummy Bear indeed.   For me, that constituted a pretty perfect start to set me up for a working day.

On the days that I have Lou with me that is no more.  He has to be out of the door at 7:30 to catch the school bus and consequently things are rather more rushed.  I'm doing lots of nagging to get him away on time.  This is not conducive to the peaceful, harmonious environment I try to create in our home.
Our evenings are then filled with homework which is impossible to complete if there's an after school activity. Louis started orienteering club yesterday and as I have to collect him we both didn't make it home until after seven.   A joint effort of an essay about William Morris didn't get finished until after nine and there's still stuff outstanding in the homework book. Sports kit seems to need washing daily so the schoold doesn't suffer from stinky locker syndrome.   There's so much printing going on that toner is running out at an unprecedented rate.    And  don't talk to me about  requests for money.  Every day seems to bring a new expense that I hadn't envisaged, some extra books there.  Scary Secretary and I agreed that it's quite hard to budget for all the little things that schools have up their sleeve.

I don't reckon I'm alone in being a parent who find all this change difficult.  It's going to get easier I know once I've got used to the new routines.  Hopefully the endless spendless might calm down a bit too.   But for the meantime, beware!   I'm allowing myself a day or two of unsurpassed grumpiness. Baah humbug indeed!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Motorhome Musings

We were playing with the cartoon effect on the phone camera this weekend.  How cool is this!

Even spending a weekend with two adults and a child in the motorhome hasn't put me off my imminent plan make it my residence.   It's made me realise that I'm never happier than when I'm living in it.  So it's full guns blazing here.  Bits and pieces of superfluous stuff have been removed from the van to make room for things that will be more useful.  My wardrobe and other possessions in the house  are being ruthlessly culled.  Fabric samples have arrived and I'm mulling over upholstery choices. And in the next hour a man will arrive to give me a quote for removals and storage. Once I've set a moving date then I'll reserve my pitch on the campsite.  It's all going in the right direction.

Lou and I are thinking about what we'll miss in a home made of bricks and mortar.  We both agree on the bath and flushing toilet.  He says that he values the space but that's on the minus list for me.  The greater the size of a house, the more cleaning there is.  I think I'll miss the conservatory where I sit and bask in the sun when it's too chilly outside.  My cab will have to serve this function.  I'll spin the swivel seat and soak up the rays with a cup of tea.

I won't miss the tiresome packing and unpacking of possessions from the motorhome each time that I go away.  I reckon that I've spent a good two hours doing this over the last couple of days just for a weekend trip.  Once I'm on site and fancy a little spell away it will just be a question of unplugging  the hook up, winding in the awning and setting off.  I do believe that it's going to be bliss.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Warning To Scotland!

I like the occasional tot of a single malt.  AnCnoc is my particular favourite.  According to the company's website it has a honey and lemon nose and an appetising fruitiness to its taste.  I don't know about all that  Oz  Clarke-like lingo but it's dead yummy.   If Scotland leave the rest of the UK though I might well have to review my whisky buying habits and start buying tipple that's originated from a different place.  This is what I spotted in the farm shop at Healey's where the Little Orchard Cider Festival is held.  At £175 for a  limited edition 500ml bottle, Cornish whiskey would have to be saved as an extra, extra special treat but it may be a small price to pay for patriotism.  Until Cornwall jumps the Good Ship UK as well that is!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Liquid Apples

I've woken up this morning with body parts aching that I didn't know could hurt.  It must be all the dancing that I did last night! That ska band were a bit brilliant as were Mad Dog McRea. I might have initiated a whole bunch of people half my age into the fine art of Curly Wurly jigging!

Not for me the obligatory English hobby of weekend car cleaning.  Louis, Red Mel, Salty Dog  (fresh from her Menorcan exploits) and I are at t1he Cornwall Cider and Music Festival. One for the annual calendar I think.  This is my kind of festie.  Small, great music and lots of different  apple based beverages to try. What's there not to like?