Cool

It’s hot in Yorkshire. Very hot for us. 🥵 86F (30C). That’s officially beyond Yorkshire’s Safe Operating Temperature. Law and Order will break down. The Ferrets will start to get unusually frisky. The Rhubard will go on strike. Cricketers might even have to unbutton their top shirt buttons. Those rather fetching knitted handkerchief hats will need to be donned….

In Yorkshire we have two expressions for this type of unusual weather.

It’s Mafting…….

It’s crackin’ t flags ……. translates to – it’s so hot the the paving stones are starting to crack.

It was too hot for my outside weights and kettlebell session. I definitely left a water trail marking out where my exercises took me. A nice run through a cool forest would have been ever so nice. The photo was from August 2019. Seems like a lifetime ago. Almost seems like a different world. A lot of things have changed for the worse. Some new really bad things have hit. Yes some life stuff has remained unchanged. And here is the crucial thing. A few things, some new stuff have definitely been an absolute blessing. It’s so easy to focus on the bad stuff but actually some wonderful things have happened. My Life is better because of those things.

So in 2020 when some days life seems unduly bad, I need to remember the good stuff. Yes life can and still will be tough. BUT it can also still be exceptionally beautiful. It can be a wonderful life.

August

Heralding a wonderful summers day – NOT

It’s been one of those wonderful Yorkshire Summer Days. Damp, exceedingly windy and cold. The cold that makes your toes curl. August and we have the heating full on. Not a day for cold drinks. It’s been steaming hot tea and decaf coffee. Hawklad has been on hot milk – on repeat. That’s a great way to get some calories into him.

August also sees the ongoing trials associated with my WordPress experiment. That pesky new editor. I am trying, really trying. I hear you shout – Your just so vexing. But I am trying to like the editor. But really should it be this hard. It crashes, it messes up formats, drops links. When you do get round to publishing then posts suddenly disappear or mess up. Comments go missing. And on and on. Even this grumpy Yorkshire man is easier to like than this so called editor.

But I will keep trying to get my head round it. Just like trying to get my head round this summer. Just like I’m trying to get my head round Hawklads food intake. He’s not had his weight officially tracked and assessed by the health professionals in over 2 years now. With the current service restrictions, it’s going to be well into 2021 before that happens. On the last assessment he was right on the edge of being ‘too underweight’ for his height. I think that he’s probably dropped below that now. So following the Paediatricians instructions I’m trying to get as many calories into him as possible. That’s not easy. He has such a limited range of foods he will eat. Over the years I have slowly managed to increase these so that he has 6 different main meals which he has over the week. It’s the same meals, weak in weak out. Not much scope to vary things there. Trying to get him to eat the occasional chocolate bar or bag of crisps helps. So does milk. So a cold day and repeated hot milks is a welcome bonus.

Yes a cold summer is good sometimes.

Heatwave is here – kinda

Blue skies are coming

I have given the weather a hard time recently. A few too many rainy shots through the window. So let’s correct the balance. This is today through the window.

Summer

Blue skies, very warm but with a Yorkshire twist. Blowing a gale. The perfect weather for standing on flimsy plastic chairs looking like a star from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Only joking, I suspect my bruised rump would seriously object.

We’ve been doing a little routine which does help Hawklad put things into perspective. It’s so easy for him to get overwhelmed with the negative. I wonder who else that could apply to….. Basically it involves an empty sweet jar and some brightly coloured sweets. Here Skittles or Smarties work well.

Notice I went for the old Rowntree’s version, rather than Nestle. One day will tell you why. Anyway the secret is to pick a colour which is to represent good things and a colour to represent bad things. Then every time something happens Hawklad decides if it is good or bad. He then picks the appropriate colour sweet. The sweet then goes into the jar. Over time it’s an easy way to see what happens more, good or bad stuff. Thankfully for Hawklad it is usually a jar filled largely with good things. That would be mainly a blue colour then – assuming we can get blue sweets. Depending on who you listen to, blue colouring is either dangerous or difficult to source naturally. This little technique has helped Hawklad. Basically it shows him that yes bad stuff happens but actually more good stuff is out there. You also get to eat the sweets after the experiment has finished.

It’s strange that for such a clever little technique that works, I have never tried it on me. Someone who does have to fight negative thoughts. Someone who can see the world in a dark light. So here goes. This weekend this little muppet with his big bruised posterior is going to try this. Let’s see what happens and what it tells me about life.

Take care.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to Alpine Heaven. Stunning Switzerland.

Switzerland is a place we visited many times as a family. Not been there since 2015 but it’s still a special place for me and Hawklad. This Sunday we are going to revisit one of our finest memories. The trip to the Gonnergrat.

The Gonnergrat is a rocky ridge that stands at 3135m (10285ft). At the top the you find a gothic looking hotel, a beautiful chapel, restaurants and two astronomical observatories.

The train trip from Zermat to the top is truly epic. Its Europe’s highest open air railway. It’s a nice feeling to know that the electricity it takes to climb the mountain is generated by the trains breaking system on the way down.

The summit has a stunning alpine panorama but the jewel is being so close to one of the worlds most iconic mountains, The Matterhorn.

The Gonnergrat overlooks two glaciers. The glacier system is the second largest in The Alps.

It’s just the most glorious place. It has the most amazing atmosphere, the air is staggeringly fresh. It’s as if you are almost able to touch heaven.

In places the Gonnergrat has an out of world look which contrasts with the stunning alpine valleys below.

So I give you the Gonnergrat. A truly epic place. A place which is currently our highest ever location. It is 41 times higher than the hill we live on. That fact is very important to Hawklad. He likes that fact very much.

Schools out for summer ONE

As Alice Cooper would sing – Schools out for summer….

I know I am over critical of school but occasionally I like to balance out with the good stuff. There are good teachers there.

So it was the last day and Hawklad came to the Maths lesson. The simple instruction from his teacher. Your only task today is to tell me three maths jokes……

So here goes then….

Why was the Calculus exam not very happy? – Because it had too many problems to solve.

Why was the pupil unhappy when the teacher called his work AVERAGE? – Because it was really MEAN of the teacher to say that.

Why should you never argue with Decimals? – Because Decimals always have a point.

Baking, it’s not ….

Well it looks ok. Looks like bread. That’s not a bad effort from me. Especially as it’s gluten, dairy and yeast free. But then there is always a downside. Time to taste it. Wow. How can I describe the taste.

Bland….

Tasteless….

Might as well be eating paper….

‘It’s bread Jim but not as we know it”….

Yes even a Vulcan like Spook would struggle to quantify this baking attempt. Even when I spread something on a slice it just tasted odd. Tried to toast it. Refused to change colour even when I incinerated. This is officially NOT bread. So what to do with this non food item.

Maybe it’s better than the paper towel I usually use to rest the spoon on, which is being used to stir the contents of the slow cooker….

Maybe as a saucer….

As a page marker….

As something to sort out the wobble on the table….

As a dog toy…

As a frisbee….

And finally, as bird food….

The Great Bloggers Bake-off is fast approaching on the 18th-19th July. Why don’t you join in the fun. Whether you can bake or not. Let’s have fun.

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel (CrushedCaramel). Maybe your entry is not baking just something for a picnic like a sandwich, drink or salad….

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s and our wonderful judge Jeanne’s (A Jeanne in the kitchen) socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

Flaming summer

A beautiful rose is a timely reminder that its flaming summer. Strange that it’s so very grey, wet and the heating is on full blast. At least there is no need for the air conditioning in the car. My car AC is savage. It has basically two settings OFF and REFRIGERATION. However due to a electrical fault I cannot now switch it off. It’s a cold car. There is a downside to the refrigeration setting. When I took the facial temperature check I registered as a fault on the digital thermometer. Too Low. I had to quickly try to warm up to record a reading. Thinking about it maybe that’s a common problem in a Yorkshire. Can I find a way of turning up the heating any further.

Baking

Comfort food was definitely required. So here’s my gluten free apple crumble. Whisper it quietly – it wasn’t too bad at all. Having said that my judgement is clouded. I’m still trying to recover from not eating for over 24 hours during our midweek crisis. I would even find Rhubard nice currently….

This will be another submission for this months Great Bloggers Bake-off which is happening on the 18th and 19th. If I can do it why don’t you have a crack.

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel (CrushedCaramel). Maybe your entry is not baking just something for a picnic like a sandwich, drink or salad….

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s and our wonderful judge Jeanne’s (A Jeanne in the kitchen) socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

On the edge baking

The apples are starting to form. It’s so wonderful having a little Apple tree in the garden. But wow does it produce fruit with a kick. I think the word I am looking for is – sharp. They definitely benefit from a heap load of sugar.

It’s all about patience. These apples won’t be ready for picking until October. Any sooner and even sugar can’t make them edible. Somethings are even beyond sugar.

Last night I tried to make myself a Moroccan stew from one of my cookbooks. Cooking when your beyond tired is always a tad risky. Especially as I produce weapons grade food at the best of times…. I tried to carefully follow the ingredients. Second last ingredient rather surprised me. 200g of sugar. In a stew …. OK….. the chef will know what he is talking about. And the final ingredient vanilla essence. Clearly chef knows best but really. Don’t need to read the preparation details. Bung it all in the slow cooker, stir and leave it.

Well 6 hours later and the stew was ready. It just tasted so odd. Basically a very sweet, strange tasting stew. This can’t be right. So I got the recipe book out and looked to see what I could have done so wrong. How can this be. No mention of sugar or vanilla. I surely didn’t imagine those things. All I can think of is that when my back was turned the recipe book page flipped over and shifted to something like a cake recipe. So I basically tried to cook a Moroccan Stew and Cake combo. Maybe it’s the future of cooking.

Maybe that’s a game changing idea for the upcoming Great Bloggers Bake-off. Start baking a cake recipe and then half way through the preparation stage I randomly change the recipe page. That’s on the edge baking…

The Great Bloggers Bake-off takes place in July (18th & 19th). But if you fancy it, please start baking as soon as you feel the urge. Clearly I have….

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel so that they can be featured in the Great Bake-off.

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

Summer!!!

This is what a summer midday looks like in Yorkshire. Quite majestic. Just trying to work out where to put the deckchair. Facing the jet blast cold rain or against it. That’s assuming the deck chair has not been sent hurtling across the farmland. Must remember to apply damp proofing to my legs again.

Today we managed to get a home food delivery. That’s two in just over two weeks. I know I poke fun at the process but actually I am so thankful to get anything. The deliveries have been just enough to keep us going over the last three months. Not sure what we would have done without them. Sometimes single parenting really does limit your options. Especially when your son is so tied to the house at present.

Anyway some provisions have arrived. Not everything we hoped for but it’s plenty in the great scheme of things. The main thing is that son got more of the foods he eats this time. Can just about serve up his usual 7 day menu. I will be eating some interesting options thanks to the increasingly creative substitutions.

  • My gluten free pasta has been replaced with kiddies dinosaur shaped pasta. Looking forward to that one.
  • Almond milk for cereal has been replaced with Coffee flavour soya drink. Not sure that will work so well with cornflakes.
  • 6 large free range eggs replaced with 4 Scotch Eggs. Not sure how you make an omelet with those. Also not sure they are much use for my planned Lemon Meringue.
  • 4 lemons replaced by 4 limes. Again not great for a Lemon Meringue.
  • Dairy free cherry yogurt replaced with rhubarb yogurt. Ok I know I’m from Yorkshire and we are supposed to love Rhubard but I’m the only one who doesn’t like the local delicacy.
  • And the best one – 500g of Chia Seeds for me to snack on replaced with 2kg of bird seed. The garden birds will eat well.

But we smile. Avoiding another week of visiting a supermarket is just fine with me. Almost worth eating bird seed to avoid that modern nightmare.

******

On the subject of Summer and Baking, don’t forget the Great Blogger Bake-off happening 18/19th July. It will be great fun.