It’s back

It’s been too long.

Time to don your aprons, time to get passionately whisking, time to tend your cobblers. The Great Bloggers Bake-off is coming back on the 15th and 16th of October. You know it makes sense.

More details can be found at Mel’s blog.

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2022/09/20/more-details-to-follow/

So in the buildup to the big weekend I will be donning the full HazMat protective gear and baking an item a week. This weekend Frankenstein’s Monster will be a Sponge Cake, sounds simple. However let’s remember some of the high end cuisine this kitchen has yielded in the past.

What could possibly go wrong.

I figured something out

It was time to live life on the edge. We finally charged up one of Hawklad’s birthday presents, a remote control helicopter. Not one of the professional ones, this one was surprisingly tiny made out of what appeared to be the thinnest of plastics and the most brittle of metals. It was one of those Amazon ‘80% off’ deals that entices you in for that one extra present, yet never quite explains to you that basically there is a really good reason this thing is so CHEAP.

Anyway after a few months it was time to give this helicopter its inaugural and probably only flight. The instructions talked optimistically of 15 minutes battery flying time, yet it gave off the impression of a single use item. As Hawklad said

“Well if it’s going to crash and burn on its first flight, let’s make it spectacular and film it”.

He remembers….

This is not our first dabble into the world of remote control, cheap toys.

There was the rally car that split in two when it hit the apple tree.

There was the toy drone that launched itself over the house and imbedded itself in the neighbour’s drive. It ended up as flat as a pancake.

There was the first helicopter then smashed into the house at a Warp Speed 10 and smashed into a thousand pieces.

And there was the so called unbreakable hovering glowing ball that had one uncontrolled hop before it smashed into the fence. It was then definitely anything other than unbroken.

So we were understandably not very hopeful. But you know what. The helicopter actually flew. It hovered. It landed. Yes it had a few heavy landings but it SURVIVED.

It was unmarked when the batteries ran out. Here is the really cool bit that made me smile. Hawklad took the remote control and flew it himself. Normally he backs away and watches others take control. He often just watches me do it. But on this day he had confidence in himself. Yes I had to check that we were fully alone first but he did it. He enjoyed it.

Yes that lawn has taken a hit from a family of moles, a badger and an excavating pup…

And here is what I figured out. Actually this was the first time that he took the controls, the first time I could convince him to have more fun doing than just watching. The first time he could overcome his fears of failure. So what did I figure out then…..

I’ve had the controls every single time one of the toys has crashed and burned. Muppet Dad is a liability. Toys last when I watch and don’t play. OH PANTS.

So my job is now paying for things and then most definitely just filming when they are enjoyed…….

It is July…..

It’s Friday…

It’s Friday in JULY…

It’s the last day of the school year.

And WOW am I going to have a WHINGE. A RIGHT WHINGE. A Guinness Book of Records size WHINGE. Yes a REALLY REALLY REALLY big WHINGE. But this time it’s not about School. It’s not about my so called Football Team. It’s not about the rising price of everything. It’s not about clothes manufacturers making the size of clothes I normally buy, smaller so I don’t fit in them anymore….. It’s not about U2. Its nit about Alvin and The Chipmunks. It’s not even about the incompetent, corrupt Government.

It’s July. I will say it again. It’s Pigging JULY ……

So how come someone sent a CHRISTMAS related email this morning. Castle Howard you have officially made the NAUGHTY LIST.

NO I do not want to buy tickets today for Christmas.

The Elf’s are hibernating. Santa and Mrs Santa are on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean. Rudolf and buddies are busily making little reindeers in a field somewhere hot and steamy. It’s not Christmas for another 156 days, SO WHY have I got a Christmas Email in JULY.

BAH HUMBUG………

Downton

The village went all Downton Abbey like last weekend. Can’t think why 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

Bizarrely we watched Downton the other night. Hawklad is rather taken by the whole thing. It’s fictionally set somewhere round here but filmed mostly outside of Yorkshire. Just like the cool start to an American Werewolf in London, that spooky Yorkshire Pub and foggy Moor was randomly filmed in Wales – clearly real Yorkshire is even TOO scary for a Horror Movie. The Earl, his family and servants keep visiting places right around us. It is most unsettling when they look nothing like the real place. They went riding just a few miles from us and I had a thought, I hope I remembered to pick up the mad dog’s morning constitutional poo. Would hate for the good noble family horse shoes to step in that.

It’s been one of those few days. Actually it’s been one of those few weeks. Not enough sleep, school issues, work issues, life issues, just ISSUES. Never stopping, running around in ever decreasing circles and actually achieving absolutely nothing. Where do those 24 hours go…..

So I walked through the village looking at the bunting while thinking, odds on that our mad dog will at some stage try to pull all that lot down and then bury it in our front lawn. Out of nowhere a villager stuck his head out of the village hall and shouted, “When are you bringing the cucumbers for the sandwiches”. This villager could have well been a head butler in a past life. A head butler with remarkably bad eyesight as his next words demonstrated. “Oh I’m sorry, you are not Margaret…”. Never been mistaken for a Margaret before. Never even mistaken for a woman. Even when I dressed in a full on and very well ventilated French Can Can costume and ended up walking through a town centre searching for the Uni Party, I was DEFINITELY NOT ladylike MOST DEFINITELY not mistaken for a woman.

Proper weather

It’s been far too dry for Yorkshire. Coming back from the dog walk it was clear that was all about to change. The question would be, do we get back home in time.

No.

Proper weather.

I’m not sure that crazy old tree house would offer much protection these days. Must admit I can’t remember seeing anyone up there since I moved into the village. That’s two decades ago. WOW, two decades. Where did that time go. Anyway just a few pigeons and occasionally the farmer’s cockerel are the only life that makes it up there. The cockerel and hens are clearly very talented.

The farm birds now have branched out into money laundering, honey and eye products.

I could talk about school at home but I would only moan about a day spent revising executions and serial killers. So let’s focus on the farm birds. That’s an egg-cellent choice. Plus if I do moan anymore I run the risk of getting us egg-pelled..

Password

Colours are slowly returning to the landscape.

If only everything was such a welcoming site…

“Please change your password…..”

Sounds so easy doesn’t it, if only…… Remember when passwords were just a few letters long and so easy to remember. A first name, a birthday or just the classic old 8 letter password, ‘PASSWORD’. I never forgot a password when it was just PASSWORD. Now they have to be at least a million characters long, contain symbols and most contain no memorable elements. Deep joy.

So the work system was refusing access until my password was changed. It rejected the first few attempts as they did not meet its precise formatting requirements. Then the next one was kicked out as I couldn’t just reuse the last password (worth a try). The next failed as it was too similar to a previous one. So I randomly entered 10 characters, unbelievably that was also a previous password. So next was a devilish password that the system liked but one that was so vexing that I was unable to successfully re enter a second time. Finally I took the cop out option and let the system pick a password. Job done. Only problem is that it never told me what my new password was. It’s my password, shouldn’t I know it. Anyway I can now finally get into the work system.

Not quite.

Now a message. ‘You have just changed your password, we now need to confirm your identity. Please enter the code which has been messaged to your mobile.’

Now I just needed to find the pesky phone. Took me ages to locate it, why didn’t I immediately think to check in the garage next to the recycling bins. When I did eventually find the phone, the time limited code had expired and unbelievably my new password was rejected. Yes I was back with the message

“Please change your password…..”

And with that I switched the laptop off and I went to look at some flowers again. No password required for that……

Cable

One Atlantic storm down, the next one heading towards us.

Is that overhead power cable supposed to be like that….

So far several cranes, vehicles, trucks and at least 14 workers have been parked along this lane for over 16 hours now. All because of this one pesky piece of wire. That’s proper attention seeking for you.

In an ironic twist of fate, this was the very week our area phones got switched over to VOIP. Previously our phones worked when the power was off, now the helpful new service message is “in the very unlikely occurrence of power cuts, your new improved phone will not work. Please ensure you have a backup plan”. Is that mobiles, smoke signals or a messenger pigeon they are talking about. Not every household will have a mobile.

So the power has been mostly on and off today. One cable is still intact but looking very baggy….. When the power is on I have visions of Back to the Future. Some unfortunate worker having to do an impression of Dr Brown, holding two bits of cable in each hand and shouting “1.21 GIGAWATTS” as his hair smokes. Just so I can put on my kettle for a cup of tea. This is Yorkshire….

Sharks

The daft things we say or I say.

I was about to quote a certain Star Wars catchphrase to Hawklad. Unfortunately I was still a bit distracted as I had just been to the kitchen to fetch some ice cream, so ‘let the FORCE be with you’ came out as ‘Let the FRIDGE be with you’. That would fundamentally change the overall ethos of the Jedi Order.

Then just a few minutes later…..

“Dad I can’t believe you said that”…

It will taste like chicken, everything tends to taste like chicken.

“Dad, it might work with meat but I asked what a pomegranate taste likes….”

That is a valid point. That old expression just popped into my head. To be fair I am from Yorkshire which explains many things. Round here if you stop your car for directions you run the risk of getting this helpful piece of advice, “Eh Lad, I wouldn’t be starting from here to get there…”

Is it just a Yorkshire thing…..

My mind wanders back several decades. I remember going on a Geography Field trip with school. We went to the seaside and found ourselves on top of a huge cliff. One lad asked the teacher, a right Yorkshire character, if we could follow the steep path down to the beach. This was at the time a certain big fish with teeth movie was scaring the pants off millions of cinema goers. The teacher replied “NO”. When asked why, the first excuse that popped into his head was

“Because of sharks…..”. The mad teacher must have realised just how daft that had sounded to a group of snotty nosed teenagers. Pointing down at the massive cliff face he calmly recovered his credibility.

“I’d like to see Jaws climb up that bugger and then try to bite me on the bum, stood up here. “

This mad teacher had lots of form, I think he deserves his own post one day. Anyway looking back all those years, my FRIDGE comment isn’t so bad now. But I guess cliff top Great White shark attacks are kinds rare in Yorkshire.

Terrible Poetry

Somedays are more tiring than others. Some days are more stressful than others. Somedays the serious words don’t come. Somedays it’s best just be silly.

It’s been too long. Actually I can hear shouts of ‘not long enough’. But here goes. It’s Terrible Poetry time. The Bad Bard is back. All thanks to Chelsea Owens Terrible Poetry contest.

https://chelowens.com/category/contests/terrible-poetry-contest/

This time the rules are….

  1. Topic: The family pet, written Golden Shovel Style. Here are the rules for the Golden Shovel: Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire. Use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines). The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.
  2. The Length is up to you.
  3. As far as I can tell, Rhyming is up to you, too.
  4. Whatever, man, just make it terrible!Dredge up Fido’s memories and remains through the worst eulogy printed on Purina Puppy Chow. Set the still-living Princess Catarina howling in indignance. Send Horace the hamster spinning with rage.
  5. Let’s keep the Rating: PG or cleaner. How risqué do your animals get?

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Thursday (February 3) to submit a poem to Chelsea.

So which classic poem shall we go for. Something poetic, something beautiful, something deep, something philosophical. Let’s go for a classic opening line that ticks all those boxes. Maybe Shakespeare, maybe Blake, maybe Wordsworth. Or maybe Philip Larkin, maybe his classic ‘This be the verse’ with its uplifting first line…..

‘They F**k you up, your mum and dad’

That’s me kicked out before I even start…..

So let’s use those poetic word gems do type an ode to Captain Chaos. Let’s make it Terrible.

His best buddy is a seriously fat cat, it’s far too quiet, where are THEY

They have just pulled the curtain off the wall, what the F**K

Now it’s on the floor, covered in hairs, well Thank YOU

Captain now thinks it’s great fun to try to hump the cat, that’s seriously messed UP

Even The Cap knows you can’t end a sentence with a possessive determiner like YOUR

But he is a clever dog with a great pedigree, a beautiful white Spitz is his MUM

He gets his intelligence, looks, fluffy hair and cunning from her AND

being a right ruffian, rogue, rascal and rampantly randy from his Cocker Spaniel DAD

Weaponised Baking

It’s been a while. Too long. But fear not. Baking is back. As Spock would say, it’s baking Jim but not as we know it…. I like to call it Weaponised Baking.

I know so many of you wait for those Michelin Standard baking tips. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

So here goes.

I was about to bake a loaf of bread but I wanted to spice it up a tad. Maybe add some cheese, or a few Mediterranean herbs. But it just didn’t go far enough. What could I find in the fridge or cupboards which was game changing..

A few hours later we have……

I give you gluten and dairy free, no added sugar – BLACK FOREST FRUIT BREAD.

The end result, just a bit different from cheesy bread. The taste, well it’s different. As Hawklad described it

Well it doesn’t taste poisonous, it’s a unique sensation. Its like my taste buds are being assaulted…..”

True weaponised baking…..