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We made Tangine... it's disappointly not as pretty as it tastes, but hey, I'm no food 'tog.

That's not mash, it's polenta. Next time, less chickpeas, more apricot.

What made a more interesting photo though was the voddy glass filled with spices.

...and for completeness, here's a dinner we made earlier (well, part of a dinner) - a while back we attempted Tortellini. I can't say as it was completely successful. It was tasty though - but the pasta was a bit thick and they were a bit overfilled. Next time we'll cook the mushrooms in wine first, and we'll make the pasta thinner, and probably make less mushroom goop to go in them...

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About 6 or 7 weeks ago I sold the Viva; it had become somewhat of a millstone, sucking money in and making me miserable. It also had sprayed me with hot coolant, and looked likely to fail it's next MOT without fairly substantial works to at least one sill, if not both.

On the plus side, the Minor looked to be nearly ready and so it made sense to sell a car with an MOT, rather than sell it without. It's now about 7 weeks on, and the minor hopefully should be ready this weekend. We're apparently waiting on the engine, which itself is waiting on the crankshaft, which needs to be reground. I'm praying that it's done and back and being assembled as we speak. I promised the Minor to my mum for her wedding, plans involving white ribbon and all that. I know she's hardly the world's shiniest minor, but she's part of the family.

Part of the reason for selling the Viva was, I'll grant, that I thought I'd have the DAF up and running too. This was, of course, dependent on the original owner coming up with the V5. Which she hasn't done. Which means that the DAF - while roadworthy (although needing brakes adjusting) is stuck on the drive - the ridiculousness of the DVLA's policy (that an MOTd and insured car needs a V5 to get a tax disk) does frustrate me. If I'd stolen the car, d'y'think I'd *really* turn up at a DVLA office asking to *buy* a tax disk? Really?

I can't actually think of a criminal process which would involve buying a tax disk for an illegally obtained car, and therefore find the idea that I can't have one dumb.

At any rate, we've now been without a car of any road-legal sort for 7 weeks, and I'm beginning to tire of it. This wasn't meant to be a long old whine, but frankly, it cost me 65 quid to make the journey to *agency nurse shift* and it should've cost me around 35 quid. To be fair I could've ridden the bike, but also to be fair, the bike's top speed can drop as low as 45 on a really bad day, and 2-3 hours of riding at that speed would make me want to weep.

Anyway, so, skipping the whining, we had a productive week- in so far as I made lots of money  (more than I make in a week at work) doing 2 agency shifts (does anyone see how ridiculous that is?) and we replaced the old metal shed with a new (attrociously poor quality, but looks the part) wooden shed. We spent almost 12 hours solidly working on the shed (apart from a very quick break for lunch), the old one being surprisingly hard to take down. Rotten though it was there was a lot of rusty old steel holding it together. The block-work back wall was as bad as I feared though and I just pushed it over. Kathryn and I broke it up a bit once it'd been pushed over - so as to clear it away somewhat more easily. Unfortunately, the guy who said he'd come take away the steel hasn't turned up; and our back yard looks like a scrap yard. We need to get a skip in, and my plan to put the car on the neighbour's drive (the one of the abandoned house) has been foiled by him turning up and putting his car there. The swine.

I don't see any action on the house though, so I guess he's just dumped his car there and gone off on holiday (it's a handy spot to park if you're flying, I guess).

Anyway, so I'm back at my usual work after a week of nights, and the week 'off' with the 2 agency shifts - and I've screwed my body up by doing one night in that bunch. I'm tired and grumpy feeling - and I meant to ring the doctor this morning to sort out an appointment (I'm due my regular blood test to see if my liver's got worse, I need my allergy meds and I want a referral to Guy's allergy clinic). Unfortunately, I sat being apathetic until I finally rang and they'd no appointments left. Some days I really suck :-/

I'll have to do it one day next week now, which is a shame because Kathryn might be at home and I'd much rather have spent time with Kathryn. The problem is, I'm achy and tired, and the sofa is terribly comfy.

Other tasks which were up for this morning included wandering to B&Q and seeing if they still do the dire, cheap, wobbly metal shelving which I could screw to the back wall of the thin-staple and nail shed so as we could actually have our kitchen back. I reckon that with a couple of sets of shelves there'd actually be enough space in there to put *all* the decorating and DIY stuff. Possibly even the relevant bits of the Charlie when I bring her back from my mum's.

I'm, it must be said, getting desperate for a bike which does more than 50 mph. It's mind blowingly tedious, the motorway at 50mph. And it's not even like I'm getting awesome fuel efficiency from Cherry at this cruising speed, some of the petrol's going into the gearbox, and lord knows where the rest of the 60mpg is going (it's still running around 45mpg).

I *am* in a whiny mood.

I think I'll go shower, and then put some more filler on Jejy, and watch We love XKCD a few more times. As a side point, one thing which I have noted for it's awesomeness, apart from my luck at meeting Kathryn who is awesome beyond words, is that cooking one's food from scratch does result in meals that are delicious. For years I've espoused this theory, and being one who can knock up a reasonable tomato sauce in the same time it takes to warm a pre-bought one (mine's better :-P) had lived on basically: wraps, pasta, curry and pizza - those being the recipes I had in my head - for years. But being with Kathryn, and being bored of those minimal choices, we've started cooking our way through a couple of cook books - including the world's most gorgeous chicken pie (coming again this weekend, because while it's phenominally unhealthy (pot of cream, block of butter) it's just so damn good that occasionally we have to eat it), calzone (we overcooked it slightly and it was still bloody delicious), curried parsnip soup (my dad'd be proud, bit too lemony but also great), and a miriad of other great dishes - and y'know what, my diet is much better and (apart from being knackered) I feel healthier. And it's just damn spiffy.

Yes, we loose an hour every night to cooking, but quite frankly it's worth it. Unfortunately, however creatively I did the sums I couldn't make buying cereal more expensive that making our own granola. Our own granola was excellent. Truly, we had hit on the celestial being's own recipe for granola. But now we're back to Tesco Crunchy and Kathryn (not being a huge fan of it) is back on Fruit and Fibre. It's somewhat of a comedown.

The other disappointing thing is not having time or space to invite others to come share with us. I miss having people come around to stay, and come for dinner. Hopefully, once I've got my debts a little more under control, and perhaps got money back from Charlie for the bodged restoration of Rebecca, and the house is more finished we can get back to a more luxurious lifestyle. Anyhow, I should move off this sofa, because I've been sat here all morning. 

...oh, I'm still tickled that we don't look over 18 :)

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So, I mentioned the oil leak, but I didn't mention the coolant. The coolant in the Viva appears to be made by a careful process of combining iron oxide and stale water, and then leaving it standing for; say; 5 or 10 years.

This is obviously less than ideal. i have, in fact, since I had the car, been intending to flush the cooling system with some coolant flush and then change it for nice fresh shiny coolant. I may even do it twice.

However, doing so before the trip to the Lakes whilst it seems in many ways a great plan (big stressful journey) invites my paranoia gremlin to pop out. See, last time I took Rebecca to the lakes, and just prior to the trip I flushed the coolant. The car then developed a leak (presumably some shifting bit of rust free'd it) and then in desparation I threw rad-weld in. Rad weld combined the remaining rust to clog up an already knackered coolant line and I got a very dead engine.

So, paranoia says 'don't fiddle with it, it's working'. So I've decided not to. Who can say if it's the right decision. But since the coolant will probably have to be drained for the oil-leak-solution then I may save it for then.

Completely unrelated to that is the fact that I made Raspberry and Apple crumble. Well. We'll see if I made it, if it's hideous I've just wasted nearly 500g of Raspberries. Sadly since they were picked at the weekend, quite a lot of them had gone manky. I think actually it's because a few of them were just beyond perfectly ripe; and having turned into moudlyberries they were in close contact with many other berries. In the end I think almost 1/4 were inedible. Or at least, I chose not to trust them. Hence it becoming Raspberry and Apple crumble.

I'm just waiting on dinner coming out of the oven; then the oven needs to cool down a bit; and then I shall have pie!

Well, crumble.

It's weird to cook after so long not cooking. And nice. I miss having a nice kitchen; but frankly I've got sod all to complain about really. In fact there's been some good house news; the woodworm is apparently not active enough to be worth treating. He reckoned it's an old infestation with some residual activity; basically. And that all houses this age will have that kind of level of activity; most of it where you can't see. Given the doubled joists, it's not worth treating it, apparently. I may treat the bits I can still get to,  anyhow.

I've also started grouting. I'd forgotten that I really don't enjoy grouting much. How I could forget this I'm not sure, but I had. Still, about 1/3rd of the floor is grouted, the last tile is cut and down... So, all is good.

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