The pain of no internet access, thermal cooking and the bread maker goes kaput

It’s amazing how we all rely so heavily on the internet. Our router went kaput earlier this week and it’s been uncomfortable not having easy access to the worldwide web. The kids are complaining and I’ve discovered just how often I go on to look up something because I keep finding myself thinking ‘Oh I must Google that’ then doing a mental slap when I remember I can’t. Sigh. The new router came today. It’s such a relief. I love the internet, it’s so full of interesting information.

Anyway, how are you? Hope you are hale and hearty. This week has been great because the weather has been amazing: sunshine and warmth all week. It’s gotten colder today and we’re expecting bad weather over the weekend, but that’s okay…we had a few days of fabulousness and it was great.

Been busy making things recently. Firstly, I completed my thermal cooker/cooking bag. Basically, it acts a bit like a flask and a slow cooker in that you put already heated food in, it keeps it hot and the food continues to cook for hours. I’ve made a chilli and some soup in it and it’s great. I only need to heat the food for ten minutes (as opposed to half an hour or, in the case of the chilli, 45 minutes) and I can leave it all day safe in the knowledge there is absolutely no way it can cause a fire or burn the food. If you’re keen to make one for yourself, you can get it from this lady – Elaine Collier of Mortgage Free in Three. I reckon I made mine for about a tenner, you can buy something similar for about £45.

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Talking of food, my poor old bread maker breathed its last yesterday. I was making bread, the dough was a bit too enthusiastic and rose and spilled over the edge of the metal dough basket. It went all over the element and then started burning. I tried to clean it out, but there was too much burnt dough and blackening inside, and I didn’t feel safe using it, so into the bin it went. I like home-made bread, so will possibly be looking into getting another one.

Secondly, I knitted up a wee hedgehog for my friend’s daughter. It’s an Alan Dart pattern. She’s a hedgehog lover and she had a birthday recently, so I thought it would be the perfect gift. I bought her other things too, including this lovely hedgehog mug. She was really happy with it.

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Still reading Gormenghast (well the first book Titus Groan) and I must say it has really grown (or ‘groan’ – sorry, terrible pun) on me. I love Mervyn Peake’s way of writing, it’s lovely and he describes scenes and paints characters beautifully. I think I could learn a lot writing-wise from these books.

Watched a really interesting and enjoyable film recently. Only Loves Left Alive stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as two vampires living in the modern age. It’s quite a slow film, but there’s something really beautiful and engaging about the storyline, about the characters. I loved it and the soundtrack was excellent. There’s a fair bit of humour in it too and it’s…well…really calming. It makes a change to watch a movie that’s not all action, CGI and rock soundtracks. Thumbs up from me.

Can’t go on any further without mentioning Game of Thrones. I am so happy it’s back. I just love it and this series is proving to be good already despite the first two episodes setting it up. But that’s what always happens with GoT…the storylines don’t really hot up until at least chapter three. However, I’m already stressing about which characters will die in this series. Please don’t make it Tyrion! Still haven’t read the books…my reason is this: I am worried that if I get into them I will have to keep reading them til the end and then I’ll know what happens and that will spoil the tv series for me. Sad, but true.

Right, am away to do something else…okay, I’m off to explore the internet. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Java, lava and frugal living

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Well the volcano project has been taken to school, wrapped in black binbags against the weather (which is raining…again). It doesn’t look as poo-like now she’s painted bright red lava down the mountainside, although a person could argue that if it really was poo you’d be wanting the person to see a doctor with all that red running down it! Anyway, I digress… I set out and printed her notes up for her. I added a few photos of the real Mount Kelud volcano in Java (pictured above and below) – that’s the volcano she was studying – and an image of a holiday poster that looked like it had come from the 50s. It looked good, I was well pleased with it. She was well pleased with it. Hope her presentation on it goes well.

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Looking out photos of Kelud, I came across some really nice images of Java itself. Makes me want to go…what do you think?

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Yup, I think I’ll put Java on my list of places I want to visit before I die.

Anyway, other stuff the girl’s been doing just now includes rehearsing for her ballet show next month, practising for her singing exam next month and rehearsing her part as an orphan in the school’s version of Annie. If I hear ‘It’s a hard luck life’ one more time, I’ll scream!! She’s a busy wee bee. Makes me feel exhausted just looking at her!

The boy, however, isn’t into joining things and is happy pootling about and playing with his Dr Who stuff.

So how’s your week been? Mine has gone by in a flash…it’s true that life speeds up the older you get. I’ve been reading a few things up on frugal living – I love saving money by making my own food and recycling and other stuff. The latest blog I’ve come across and enjoy is by a lady called Elaine Colliar whose blog Mortgage Free in Three is packed full of great tips. What’s really nice is that she’s a fellow Scot so all her references are very familiar and homey. I like her honesty and the way she doesn’t feel sorry for herself…she’s a single mum who’s trying her best to pay off her mortgage whilst feeding and clothing her family. I like her humour. It’s very Scottish.

I’ve not been writing. There, I’ve admitted it. I don’t know why, but I just can’t seem to get back into it. Maybe if I just sat my backside down in front of the laptop and just get on with it, I’d start again. Sigh. I’ve been reading a lot of great writers over the past few months (and some not so good) and I think that’s been putting me off…I look at my writing and compare. I need to stop doing that and just get on with it. I’m going to set new writing and goals and get on with it. That’s top of the to-do list!

Right am away to get on with that list. Until next time!

Dawn xxx