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2nd-Mar-2016 11:19 am - a timed supper
mad twig woman finland

iphone timer

As my regular reader will know, Tuesday night is pasta night. I just open the fridge and concoct something from its contents. For people who don’t have time to cook, here’s a 15-20 minute supper.

Bear in mind I have an ceramic hob, so you can skip the “put the rings on” bit if you’ve got gas.

  1. Switch on the big ring, put a deep frying pan on it, add a slug of olive oil
  2. Switch on the medium ring, put some cold water and salt in a pan, set it on the ring
  3. Slice up a big leek and put it in the pan with the oil.
  4. Weigh out the pasta (if you do such things – we do, because carbs/diabetes)
  5. Slice up some mushrooms, and add to the leeks
  6. Notice pasta water is boiling – add pasta, set timer for ten minutes (this is dried pasta – your pasta may vary)
  7. Remember you haven’t put any garlic in, so quickly peel and chop two cloves and throw them in with the vegetables
  8. Put a colander in the sink for drainage purposes
  9. Grate black pepper into the veg
  10. Open the fridge for some lemon juice, find a bottle of white wine open, and add some of that instead.  Too much, so turn up the heat to boil it down a bit
  11. Remove block of feta from fridge and cut up about one third of it
  12. When timer goes, drain pasta then add it to vegetables, together with the feta.
  13. Stir it all together, decant into bowls, scoff.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

29th-Jan-2016 12:01 pm - I finished it!
mad twig woman finland

tapestry of Iggy

I finally finished the tapestry of Iggy – about five years after I bought it! Hugely pleased with it, and its lovely frame done by Images Framing of Anlaby. It’s now hung opposite the living room door, so I see it whenever I walk into the room.

I do miss that cat …

Original post here.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

29th-Jan-2016 11:56 am - a Christmas gift from The Tribe
mad twig woman finland

Cat is the new black


It’s a tea towel, which we had framed courtesy of Images Framing in Anlaby, who I cannot recommend highly enough; prompt, efficient, friendly and very reasonable pricing. They also did the tapestry of Iggy. There is some very nice stuff on madoldcatlady.com – beware :)

Mirrored from the Tribe.

2nd-Jun-2015 05:21 pm - Missing :(
mad twig woman finland


Mirrored from the Tribe.

18th-May-2015 10:16 am - new surgery

New house means new medical centre, if you move across the city as we did. So I went for my introductory appointment, and that was fine.  Except my blood pressure was very high, and I’ve never had high blood pressure, ever.  And then they wanted to do a diabetic review with the nurse, and that was fine, but the blood pressure was still too high. And she took a load of bloods.

And the next working day I got a phone call summoning me for a medication review. It turns out that my HbA1c is up from 53 to 61(!), and my cholesterol is also going up (7.1%). But my blood pressure is going down, so that’s good.

I haven’t been anywhere near as good at looking after myself as usual this year, it’s fair to say. Stress and worry, comfort eating, not enough exercise. I’ve already taken that in hand; being more careful with my diet, bought a treadmill at the weekend. So I need to keep that up. But … statins. I’m afraid so. Ho hum.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

6th-May-2015 03:07 pm - varying costs of work

Regular readers will know that we had a woodburning stove in OldHouse. We left it there, as they are supposed to be attractive to buyers, but in the end the house went to a developer, who beat us down on price; we told him that we would accept his offer, but would be removing the woodburner, and had someone go in and take it out the next day and deliver it to us here, where it resides in the garage. Curiously enough, his solicitors mailed ours yesterday to ask if we’d consider leaving it for an extra £100. We scoffed, openly.

So I’ve been looking around for someone to fit it in here, a rambling Victorian terrace. We were going to do this before the autumn, but having our little Morso Squirrel back has cut the install cost by a few hundred quid, so we thought we might as well get on with it. Plus, as I type, it might be Spring according to the calendar, but it’s blowing a gale with sideways rain outside.

First call was to a chap who advertised on Gumtree. He came last Friday, and started out by saying that we needed to get the Building Regs people in to certify the chimney (never heard that before). He was a dreadful old woman, stayed for about an hour, constantly wringing his hands and repeating himself, and we got the impression he didn’t want the job. Which is fine – just say so, and leave.

He claimed that our nice fire surround was slate, that he probably couldn’t get it out without breaking it, that he’d need *everything* taken out of the room, and all in all just seemed to make an enormous fuss about everything, He said he’d e-mail me a quote (although he omitted to ask for an e-mail address, which I pressed upon him), and that he would send it this week as it was a bank holiday weekend. We’ll see, but he’s going to pad the quote, I’m sure of it, and if he works as slowly as he surveys, he’ll need a fortnight.

Next up was a youngish bloke, who claims to do sub-contract work for various fireplace showrooms. He came on Saturday morning, on his way to a bike rally, and certainly seemed to know his stuff. He looked up the chimney and said it didn’t need sweeping, he said the lintel was resin, and was no problem to remove and put back, and quoted us £470 without the cost of lining the chimney, which he doesn’t do. We want it lined, so he said he’d put us in touch with someone who did that, and the HETAS cert. Not heard so far, but he was pretty good.

After that, I talked to a company called Ecofit in Pontefract, who were the only people to respond to an ad on mybuilder.com (which seems useless these days, to be honest). He phoned me and asked some questions, and then rang back 40 minutes later with a price of £1,250 (not clear whether that was VAT included or not). I have no intention whatsoever of employing someone to do that sort of work who can’t be bothered to come and do a site survey – how can they possibly price it without knowing what’s properly involved? So they’re out the window.

And they we got our mates John and Paul, the self-named Dead Popes, to have a look. They had the nous to pull the carpet back, revealing some lovely original tiles for the hearth, worked out where the chimney went, had a look at the upstairs chimney for me as well, and this morning quoted me £300 plus the cost of a register plate (because, despite their assurances, I want a lined chimney). So that’s where the work will be going – always been happy with their services in the past.

All I need now is to find someone to drop the liner down a very high chimney – how hard can it be?

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

7th-Apr-2015 03:21 pm - new house, new post

Time, time – where does it go?

We have moved house, and I promise to write more, honest.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

7th-Apr-2015 03:18 pm - Mustrum 30 sept 1999 – 7 feb 2015
mad twig woman finland



It is with huge sadness that we relate the loss of Mustrum, a snow spotted blue-eyed Bengal, and the last of our Bengals.

He was officially An Old Man, and we could see it. His teeth were gone, his spots were gone, even his wonderful voice disappeared for a few days (which worried us enormously!) but it came back. But he was forgetful, and we worried about him getting lost, and then his back legs started getting weak. We had known the time was coming for a few months, and we did what needed to be done. Sarah, our vet, was wonderful, and I held Muss as he slipped away. We miss him dreadfully, but we did the right thing.

We got Mussum at the age of 12 weeks; we’d gone to buy a Bengal and found it hard to choose … we came home with Iggy, but went back for Muss a couple of weeks later. We actually traded him for a web site (long gone now, like the breeders).

He was always, somehow, Essence of cat. He loved life, and food (Big! Dinners!), and exploring, and people, and getting wet and being towelled off. He loved Moo the best of all; she was our stripey Bengal, prettiest cat in the world, and they were so, so close. He was devastated when we lost her to a car accident. And he was a big solid cat, his fights with Iggy were epic.

But his defining characteristic was his voice – he would squeak, and shout, and gurgle, and miaow. He used to like to be slapped too, and would shout for more, until the weight started falling off him.

We miss him so much, but it was time, and I’m not sure he would have coped with our recent move either.

Go well, Mussum – good hunting.


Mirrored from the Tribe.

7th-Apr-2015 02:52 pm - prepayment meters

prepayment meter

We knew this house had a prepayment electric meter. It was with EDF and, as they were the supplier in our previous home, I phoned them and asked them to put in a proper credit meter, which they did within two weeks. I also asked them to transfer the gas from British Gas to themselves, without realising that that meter was also a prepayment one, so the replacement process is rather more convoluted.

The gas meter had a £57 debt on it, and when I put my card in, with its £30 of credit, I only got £3’s worth of gas; I was horrified. Long conversations with BG later, I found that if I paid off all the debt, so the meter was clear, they would refund it all; we’re very lucky we could afford to do that – many folk couldn’t.

Also, it was costing about £4 *per day* to run the central heating for a few hours, and deliver hot water (two showers and three lots of washing up daily – cooking is all electric here). Truly, those who have nothing, have to pay more. Quite outrageous that prepayment gas and electric should be so much more expensive than metered.

However … the weeks we spent having to pay in advance (and through the nose) made us extremely aware of how much it was costing, and we have become far more frugal and careful in our use of power, which is no bad thing, I suppose.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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