Oct 23, 2020: Butterfly Effect

It was one of those rare things today.

A day where we both slept in. When I say slept in, I mean until the dizzying heights of 9am, as opposed to Carole waking up at 5.50 in the morning and being annoyingly perky, and me waking up a couple of hours later when my sleeping form can take no more of the massive amounts of noise she makes in the morning times.

I don’t know what she’s doing in the morning hours. It may as well be one man band practice.

But whatever it is, she’s up and I normally wake a bit later and then stay in bed or leap from the bed and get on with some, usually kitchen related, task or other.

Today, I wanted to be up at about 8-ish to get some breads on the go.

I didn’t set an alarm. Carole had the day off, and she wasn’t setting an alarm. But that is not really a problem, as she has the ability to wake up stupid early that a milkman or morning TV presenter would welcome with gay abandon.

Except this morning.

No, the lazy bugger doesn’t wake up.

Everything’s thrown out by an hour. My plans for bread domination (the ambitions two-doughs-hoping-I-can-make-the-bread-before-a-shift-comes-in-for-work) was in danger. Not much danger, though, as Covid has done a number on bookings for work at the moment, but still some danger.

Everything was later.

And, somehow, as the morning went on and turned to afternoon, everything got later still.

It was weird.

I don’t know what happened. But it’s not normally stuff that happens when I’m at home on my own. Somehow, Carole being home for a study day, and beavering away on her OU essay for the whole day, threw everything out – from getting up, through bread-making and into a shift which did actually turn up at work (but then changed times and to which the customers were then really late).

Who knew that Carole held such power?

Or that her not getting up and making noise before 7am, could cause such repercussions. It’s the butterfly effect, in action. All in the form of one stressed little History student writing an essay about music (the bit of the course she hates) and hating every minute of it.

Oct 22, 2020: Bringing PC Back

After last night’s high falootin’ jigsaw shenanigans, it’s been back to the grind today. Carole’s done a load of studying, her essay is coming on a treat and I’ve done some washing and made a plum and gingerbread something or other which was both lovely and a good way to find out that Carole doesn’t like plums.

I mean, I don’t like plums. The idea of a plum upsets me. But if you can hide that aforementioned plum in a gingerbready cake mixture I’m all for it.

I wasn’t going to make it. It was supposed to be a baking project for Caz, but she was in a meeting this afternoon and sent a series of texts about really wanting a biscuit, so I thought it would be for the best if I did it.

In other news, the old PC – the one that died in May – is back. And alive.

It’s great to have it back, but the whole experience with Curry’s has been an absolute shit show from start to finish. We took it in, they hung on to it for a month without really doing anything about it. Then they decided to do something about it, but only after Carole chased them up and got managers involved and things. But then they got arsey about the sixty pounds we have to pay to even send the thing away – you know, that they maybe should have taken off us at the start of the whole thing but also which they told us we wouldn’t have to bother with because of reasons.

As it happens, we’ve got that back, because it was a manufacturer’s fault with the main board (which I’d worked out anyway). And we’d kicked up so much stink about it that they did an out of warranty repair for nothing, and so it’s back. And Carole now gets a nice PC to do her studying on as well as her laptop for the more portable elements of it all.

And, most importantly, the PC is free from any connection to work – so she can just use that and not be led astray by people who don’t respect her study mornings and the like.

Or she will get a nice PC to do all her studying on once I’ve dealt with the past five months or so of various upgrades and virus scans that need to be done on the damn thing first. And that’s despite the machine’s efforts to just gather new stuff rather than update the old – the first thing it did when we turned it on and logged in was discover Carole’s new printer and connect itself, without us asking it to. Priorities, machine, priorities.

Maybe that’s how we defeat the robots when they rise… slow them down with printer connections that they just can’t help making.

Oct 21, 2020: Puzzlement

Carole’s been having a hellish time at work recently. Her most commonly uttered phrase, at the moment, is “It’ll be quieter next week.” So far it has not been quieter.

That, coupled with her OU studies and the impending deadline for her first essay assignment on something to do with protests in print and music pre-Morrisey and/or Jim Corr blathering about something have left her a frazzled little soul.

So tonight she logged off her work, put away her study stuff and just had a night where she could do whatever she wanted.

Except what she wanted was to play Mario Kart which involved setting up the Wii, finding the Wiimotes and generally a lot more work than you would imagine.

So instead, we watched Bake Off (which I do, now, through gritted teeth because I just cannot stand Prue Leith, although the fact that every judgement she gives after eating does make it sound like she’s about to choke on whatever it is she’s noshing on does make me chuckle) and did a jigsaw.

The Mensa Jigsaw. The one that Carole got me for Christmas last year (from a charity shop, for upwards to two Earth pounds) and that has sat in the bottom of the gaming table, barely assembled, since Boxing Day.

I was attempting the difficult side. The side that is just purely the lines of the cutting die used to cut the jigsaw in the first place, but at an angle to the actual cut pieces.

But once Carole got involved we soon sacked that off and did the other side instead.

We nearly finished it in the time it takes Channel 4 to show one episode of the Bake Off (which is a ridiculously long period of time because it shoves eight-thousand adverts into it which increases the run time by thirty whole minutes). It turns out, the side of the jigsaw with a clear, defined image is actually a fricking doddle.

The other side can do one. Even top level Mensa people would be like, “yeah, fuck that shit.” I think it’s only Mensa, actually, because it has some puzzles on it that you can do once you’ve completed the jigsaw. Or, as I think we’ll do, just ignore and put the jigsaw back in the box ready to give to another charity shop once the Covid half-life on each piece of the jigsaw has passed.

Sometimes, though, all you need is a nice couple of hours of leisurely jigsaw assemblage to put things right.

It brings piece.

Ha ha.

Oct 20, 2020: Taking Stock

It’s the simple things that bring the greatest joy. Or some load of ol’ cobblers like that.

Today, for me, it was spending the morning filling the house with the smell of homemade chicken stock being made and reduced to throw into a risotto for tea.

I’ve never made stock before.

It was a whole new world.

And it was bloomin’ delicious smelling.

The house smells nice when there’s, say, a curry cooking or a chilli. Or there’s Christmas cakes in the oven. Stuff like that. But honestly, a nice, fresh (I think that’s the word for it), autumnal morning. The sun glinting off whatever sun glints off. Light streaming through the browns and reds on the trees. And the house filled with a cosy, comforting smell of the structural parts of a chicken going soft in a pan.


And yes, it was a lot of effort (by the agitated water molecules, rather than by me) to get something that could have been gotten by a jug of boiling water and a stock cube.

But oh boy it was some tasty, tasty stock.

I kind of want to roast another chicken just so I can make more of it and do something else with it.

Or just to enjoy the smells for a bit.

I’ve never really understood the bit in cartoons where a smell gets in their nostrils and floats them along in the air until this morning. I could have floated into the kitchen on a bed of stock scent. It’s the kind of thing I wish I’d cottoned on to at the start of lockdown, to be honest. I’d have been boiling up chicken carci to my heart’s content. The freezer would be full of chicken stock portions for use in things that I haven’t even thought of yet.

It’s like a culinary world has opened up for me.

I’m just going to boil things for long periods of time and see what happens.

Oct 19, 2020: Flapper

The cat came back last night.

I haven’t seen it, or heard it for a while. Not since our preventative cat measures have been put in place – the removal of anything it can get a claw into that might contain even the smallest hint of food, and the positioning of Peppa’s cat food (at night, at least) somewhere deep within the house that this interloping cat would have to be the bravest creature on the face of the planet to come and get at.

But there it was, rattling away at the cat flap. Like some kind of disgruntled spirit, unhappy with the afterlife.

We think it came in the other night and had a bit of a barney with a bin bag which I had positioned out of the way, and out of sight, inside a bucket of recycling. It might have been the cat, sorely disappointed at the lack of morsels, or it might just have been damage to the bag caused by us constant trapping it in one of the kitchen drawers. It was hard to tell, but it has once more prompted a change of tack when it comes to dealing with the fricking creature.

Now all rubbish bags, no matter their fullness vs capacity have to put outside. It’s a huge waste of big bags, so we’re currently on a run of small and more-or-less useless from a size perspective bags which makes the bin look like a rubbish-filled ball pool.

But still, it thwarts that little whiskery bastard.

For now.

Now I think it just comes round and rattles the flap out of spite and general evil. I expect, one day, to find it just staring in the window like that evil monkey in Family Guy. But for now it’s very much a knock-a-door-run kind of cat…

Or knock-a-door, come in, nom things, and run kind of cat.