Sunday, 30 March 2008

If You Want To Know The Time

Just don't ask me. I changed my mobile clock myself, the heating seemed to do itself thank God, but my computer has had me foxed. When I just saw it was nearly 9pm I was quite shocked.

It took me quite a while to work out that if a machine has better cognitive ability than you do, best leave it to sort itself out, rather than try and be all clever and change the clocks on it manually only to have it do it again, automatically, ooh, an hour or so later ;-)

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Oh come on brain

The will to communicate is there but the brain is not computing. I so want to write. Just so you know that I still really want to connect and engage and have discussions and all that stuff. Soon, hopefully. In the meantime, sleep. There. One paragraph on how I can't write at the moment. Progress, of sorts.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Time For Some Recipes

Ages and ages ago Goldfish tagged me with a recipe meme. My brain is too foggy to remember the details or find the original link, but I have been cooking quite a lot lately.

So here are a few of my favourite easy recipes for those with low energy levels and low budgets...ooh hang on, must just grab that hot cross bun out of the toaster.

Mmm. Right.

Hot Cross Buns

I plan to launch a national campaign to make these available all year round. It seems ridiculous that a bun packed with fruit (which means they must be good for you, which means you can eat lots of them) is only on the shelves between February and April.


Help you sleep. It's official. You read it here, I read it elsewhere. Where doesn't matter, because the proof is in the eating... before bedtime with a nice mug of hot milk. And don't forget the butter. Unsalted. Jam and other calorific toppings optional.

Proper Food

Okay, I don't live on hot cross buns and crumpets. An alternative and very healthy snack can be had quite cheaply in the form of:

Celery, carrots and home made hummus

Whiz up some canned chick peas (I could never be bothered to cook my own) with some garlic, a slosh of olive oil, cumin to taste, salt, tahini and lemon juice. Sprinkle with cayenne (sparingly) and devour with raw vegetables of choice or pitta, toasted.

I also love to snack on toasted pine nuts. But they are expensive, so I don't have them very often. Great with honey and Greek Yoghurt.

Banana, Sultanas, Honey and Natural Live Yoghurt

This is a great lunch. Chop a banana or two, add yoghurt, stir in sultanas and top with a spoonful of honey or syrup. Very good for energy levels and good for your stomach too.

Bubble and Squeak

Since Christmas I have been unable to shake this off. Left over mash potato, left over greens (sprouts or cabbage work best). Whizz in blender, squash flat in frying pan, fry in a little olive oil til almost burning. Turn over and repeat. The crispy bits are the best.

Slow Shepherd's Pie

Fry an onion until soft, add garlic if you want to. Brown some mince (any will do - I use turkey mince, or soya mince). Bung in a big pan with lid on top of stove, or slow cooker if you have one. Add carrots, chopped, tin tomatoes, a litre of stock and seasoning. This recipe relies entirely on good seasoning. Get it right and you will be in heaven. Get it wrong and you will be back in student digs. I use salt, pepper, a bay leaf and marjoram. Top with mash, grated cheese and bake in oven for 15 mins on moderate.

Slow chicken casserole

As above, but obviously browning chicken not mince. Same veg, tomatoes, stock. Perhaps swede or celeriac for a taste senstation. And for this one the secret weapon is...smoked paprika. 1-2 tsp at the onion frying stage. Serve with mash. I love mash I do.

Toad in The Hole

Brown sausages (as good as you can afford) in the oven with (new discovery!) a sliced onion and a slosh of olive oil.
Meanwhile, make some batter with milk eggs and flour, adding three eggs to 200ml milk then whisking in 150g ish of flour. Til it's like thick cream). Pour batter over sausages and cook for 25 mins on high.

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Saving the best til last.
Chop 2lb carrots and cook in some olive oil with an onion on a very low heat for 10 mins. Add 1 tbsp freshly roasted and ground coriander seeds (dry fry them til they brown, crush in blender or use a paper bag and a hammer - great for hormonal moments). Stir in for a minute, then add 1 litre of stock. Bring to boil then simmer 15 minutes. Blend to a smooth soup. Add chopped coriander leaves to taste, and a spoonful of natural yoghurt to each bowl. Serve with warm crusty bread. Yum.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Happy Easter!

Well, apart from anything else we have another excuse to pig out. My faith of late has been sorely tested so I am seeking solace in making carrot cake. This came about purely by chance.

My PA didn't show this week. It happens every so often only now I have back-up. An agency who on this occasion sent a lovely woman who looked a little old to be doing agency work (not ageist, just concerned) and she really did herself in doing my shopping, cleaning and laundry. She bought me 2kg of carrots. I still cannot fathom why as I checked the shopping list and the scrawl was legible. It wasn't even like I asked for 2 carrots and got 2kg (though to be fair, that's more an online sort of error if I think back to Goldfish's apples).

So faced with 2kg carrots I thought "Cake!" In fact enough for two cakes and carrot and coriander soup. And given the inclement weather, I am quite happy to stay put and feast on carrotish delights for a couple of days.

I apologise for the poor lighting of the cake. We were watching The Perfect Storm when the icing finally went on. Then there was suddenly only half the cake left.

Monday, 17 March 2008

This is why I hate the NHS

Last week a member of my family needed to call out paramedics following a distressing incident. Things haven't improved. A full-blown mental health relapse has ensued, with accompanying, but not necessarily related, chest pain.

Chest pain, so often put down to stressnanxiety, can also be more serious, particularly in those with high blood pressure, who are of a certain age and who have been under months of strain.

Did the referral letter go to the mental health clinic last week following a visit from Dr Slack? No. Has Dr Slack been near since last week? No. Today, with more complaints of chest pain and a really quite spiralling mental health situation, I'd had enough. I called the GP surgery and shouted at them. You have to shout to get results from the UK health system. So I shouted, they faxed, I called the mental health clinic to arrange tomorrow's response (you often have to organise 'professionals' in their response, as they quite often don't know how to respond). It was at this point that I mentioned the chest pain and given the medical history it was advised that the GP surgery be called again and a GP called out.

So I called them, and guess what? They went straight out. When I couldn't get through to my nearest and dearest tonight I put two and two together, and lo and behold, they have been whisked into hospital. But the hospital won't give me any details of what is going on because of 'confidentiality'. How is a disabled relative who can't just jump in the car supposed to find out what the hell is going on? I fucking hate the NHS.

Update: Discharged last night at 12.30am due to lack of beds. Sent home in a taxi - I made them check that front door keys had been remembered first. No contact today as I've just quite simply run out of the energy to cope. I should be phoning but the clinic is getting on board (finally) today. Over to them. Which is very crap of me, and I know I should be more caring but I've really had enough.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Yes or No?

If you have time, take a few minutes to watch the whole video before you decide what you think.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

I am angry

Sometimes being disabled makes me angry. It's usually when I'm in a situation where I feel vulnerable, looked down upon or exploited. This week has unfortunately seen such a situation arise.
The fact that I am also a female came into it too, so I'm doubly exploited and so twice as angry.

It's all to do with some work we had done at a family property. Work that didn't come up to standard. Work that we may yet need to officially complain about. And treatment when we tried to tackle the firm involved that fell only a hairs breadth away from outright abuse.

I don't need to be made to feel vulnerable and frightened in a house that once held many happy memories for me. To be made conscious of the fact that I am a female, on her own upstairs with a stranger, conscious of the fact I have limited brain capacity to try and reason with the towering, raging hulk before me let alone the physical strength to fight him off if things turn nasty.

Things didn't turn nasty, but only because the cavalry arrived. And yes, one of them was a bloke. How pissed off do I feel that I had to be 'rescued' in such a manner? That I thought of all the smart answers hours later? That I know we've been ripped off big time?

Very, very pissed off indeed. But I won't say any more just in case I need to get the big guns in and go legal. Which, considering another family member had to be checked over by paramedics following the incident, could well happen.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

So we came home from school...

Me on a mobility scooter, he dressed as Mr Twit. It was Roald Dahl Day today.

"God, I'm so embarrassed," he muttered as we were halfway home.
"Why? Is it the scooter?" I teased, knowing what was really up.
"," he sighed, rolling his eyes.
"It's because I'm wearing purpley velvet girl's trousers," he hissed.
"Well, just walk close to the scooter then people will be far more interested in that than you," I advised, having had several long stares on the way to school, largely from people who sort of know me for staggering about the place and sinking at regular intervals into a heap on the nearest available bench.

By the time we'd nearly arrived home I remembered I had to nip to the supermarket for something.

"Come on then," I said.
"Uh, no way."
"Why?" Grin.

So I gave him the keys and he sprinted home, got changed into something more suitable and we sailed around Iceland and I didn't need my customary hour-long rest when we got in. Oh happy day, well until an intense discussion later on, but that's another story. And he did make a most excellent Mr Twit. We put food in his beard and everything. The purple trousers, incidentally, are true to Quentin Blake's illustrations, which have Mr Twit sporting a purple velvet suit. I'm sure Roald Dahl approved mightily, especially of the noodles and crumbs and bits and bobs in the beard. Grossing out the teachers would have been right up his street.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Truth of the Matter

I'm exhausted and depressed. And the more exhausted and depressed I become, the less creative spirit I can harness to pour into this site.

It's beautiful outside but too cold to venture out on my new wheels. But the steps that were blocking the way to freedom have been dropped so technically it's a possibility. Waiting for inspiration. Maybe I'll just go out and find it. When the weather is warmer. When I feel a bit warmer.