Sunday, 19 June 2016

Ho hum.

Hello Dear Peeps. I hope things are good with you. Things are in various spots along a line from ho-hum to good here!

The ho-hum is the joys of French bureaucracy. And the sheer weirdness of it. I am in the process of changing my English driving licence to a French one. I started the process in a bit of a rush because it was pointed out to me that if Britain votes to leave the EU I might be required to take a driving test in France. So I went on the Central Government website, printed off the list of everything required, collected it all together, made an appointment at our Sous-Prefecture and Bob, one would imagine, is your Uncle.


 
But no, I look on the list of things required by the Local Government and suddenly there's a bundle more stuff, some of which comes from the DVLA (and I don't know how long that will take!) So I may have to cancel my appointment at the Sous Prefecture...unless the DVLA can fax this in the next two days. And - of course - the Sous Prefecture may not accept a faxed copy as being sufficient. But I won't know until I get there!

Also the Loire department requires a translation of one's driving licence - 50€ that's costing me! But in the next door department my friend wasn't required to provide a translation, a justification that she's lived in France for X number of years, or a Certificate of Entitlement to drive from the DVLA. Just the stuff on the Government website. 
So when I phoned to make my appontment (having already set wheels in motion for the translation...) I asked "Do I really need a translation of my driving licence?" 
"Well...it's not strictly necessary," the young man prevaricated. "We can understand a bit of English ...Maybe...maybe not" Which isn't the most helpful response! I may end up with someone else dealing with my case who thinks most definitely "Yes!"

What strikes me as bizarre is that central Government advice is one thing, but then local government can change it. Just, it seems, because. And even then, the Local Government workers don't seem to be that sure whether one needs the things they said you needed.

Of course all this panic may be for nothing because Britain may not vote "Leave"....And as Mr FD pointed out, even if they do, the rules and regulations won't change overnight, so I probably don't need to panic. But "Panic" seems to be my Modus Operandi at the moment.

We have also had another long and tedious experience with Government bureaucracy over something else, so we are both a bit Fed Up.

 

Yesterday was a good day, but also a bit "Meh". Our own fault. We went to Lyon to meet my sister - she's over with her Northern Ireland supporting husband for the group matches in the Euros. We wandered around part of Lyon - and went to the Cat Café!!



It was nice, but - sadly - the cats all played at being very aloof, so we didn't see that many. I think Judy and Mr FD thought I was a bit bonkers wanting to go there but never mind! (While looking for photos, I've discovered there's a second Cat Café in Lyon - I'll be trying there too!) We found it amusing that there was no carpet, but there was a floor covering of astro-turf - reasonably easy to wash should there be accidents, one assumes!

After that we drove to a small village not too far away where our friend Pierre was playing in a jazz concert - Judy wanted to see this. We hadn't eaten but thought that we could get a quick meal at a restaurant in the village...We were in at 7.30, but by 8.15 nothing had arrived - Pierre was on at 8.30. Mr FD kept saying "Don't worry...it'll start late and go on for hours..." When we rolled up at 9.30 Pierre's group had finished! We saw him and chatted and apologised; we then stayed for the second part of the concert which was a not-very-good local choir, so after abou t30 minutes we sneaked out. Disappointment all round  - although the meal was good! We started with crepinettes which are a sort of pork-and-greens meatball, which was served with a lovely salad. Then beef skewers with a delicious spicy pepper sauce and finally cheesecake. But sorry Pierre!

Today was the church open air service and picnic/barbecue on the Plateau de Gergovie. Although we didn't get wet (surprisingly!) it was cold and windy, so we didn't stay as long as we have in the past. The re-enactment of Vertingetorix's last stand against the Romans (which was apparently taking place at the same time!) didn't come our way. 

Vertingetorix would have been welcome to join us if he'd got his invitation! 

I haven't got my menus handy for this week - I know there's salmon and chilli planned as we didn't have it on Friday and I think chicken is also on the menu, but other than that I can't remember! Sorry...

On comments made on my last post, yes, Ang, I'm sure giving birth yourself counts, so you can cross that off the list! I wonder who put this list together in the first place...

Pompom, my cats are purring just for you. They think you're lovely!

 Super cute LolKitten just for Pompom!!


Friday, 17 June 2016

Just another bit of fun...

The same FB friend who posted the "Just a bit of Fun" post has just posted this one:

Bucket List - UK version! Please play along.
Put an X if you have done it Honesty the best policy !!!!


Been Married X
Fell in love X
Gone on a blind date
Skipped school
Watched someone give birth
Watched someone die
Been to France X
Ridden in an ambulance
Been to America
Been to Europe X
Been to Blackpool X


Been to Liverpool X
Been to Newcastle X
Visited Disneyland /world
Visited Legoland
Seen Grand Canyon
Flown in a helicopter
Been on a cruise
Served on a jury
Danced in the rain 
Been to Manchester X
Been to Edinburgh X 

 
Played in a band
Sang karaoke X
Made prank phone calls
Laughed so much you cried X
Caught a snowflake on your tongue X
Had children
Had a pet X



Been sledding on big hill X
Been downhill skiing X
Been water skiing
Rode on a motorcycle
Traveled on a bus, train and coach X
Jumped out of a plane
Been to an outside movie
Rode a camel
Rode a Donkey X
Been on TV X
Been in the newspaper X
Stayed in the Hospital X 

 Donated blood X
Got a piercing
Got a tattoo
Driven over 100 mph (I've been driven at over 100 mph. Does that count?!)

 Been scuba diving

Lived on your own X
Rode in the back of police car
Got a speeding ticket X
Broken a bone
Had stitches X
Travelled Alone X

Saturday, 11 June 2016

No Doctor, but plenty of food.

Hello again, my Lovelies. I hope you are all well, and full of the joys of Spring (well, almost summer...)

Things are okay here. Mr FD has probably cracked a rib, but, thanks to pain killers of various strengths, prescribed by the doctor on Monday, he is bearing up. He will be able to start work on Monday, but has been frustrated by not being able to cycle. Especially as it's the Cyclo Voyage in a couple of weeks and he wanted to be Riding fit for that. He may not be, but he's at least going out for walks (more than I am!) 

We had an enjoyable time last Sunday - I was preaching in Clermont, then raced home for a quick lunch before we went out toa concert playing at this event:



We were rather over excited as there is a TARDIS on the poster, but there was no music from Doctor Who. However, there was from Star Trek, Star Wars, Ghost Busters and others that I didn't recognise. The music was good, and there were some people in costume, so when the appropriate music was playing, they stood up, and acted out a bit. Darth Vada conducting the orchestra was a high point for many!

Although there was no music from Doctor Who there was a Sister of Plenitude (who was delighted that I had recognised her as such - having looked up the exact name of the order on Google before approaching her to have a little chat!) and a Tenth Doctor in plimmies and long brown mac. After the concert we wandered round the exhibition, where I snuggled up to a Dalek (Mr FD has the photo on his phone. I must get him to send it to me) It was nice to catch up with Pierre too.



Afterwards we drove home and Cathy, Will and Heather came for dinner - asparagus, and Mary Berry lasagne.

This week has been ordinary - still quite busy, but soon things will quieten down a little over summer - thank goodness for Mr FD's job. I finished with one student, and another wants to wait until September to finish his hours. Still, it's nothing new. It is however a little frustrating that I didn't go to the UK to work over the summer so we could take a holiday, and now Mr FD has a job we can't take a holiday!!! 

Football has started. Whoop-de-whoop. Mr FD will be watching quite a lot of it. I will have to find other things to do...which don't involve just staring slack jawed at a computer screen! Tonight there are, apparently, two not-to-be-missed matches. Huzzah!

Appropriate football watching food tonight will be HM pizza - I use a scone base from a Rose Elliot book. It has always done me proud, so we shall enjoy that. There may be a bit of bacon included but it will mostly be vegetables.



My Cholesterol lowering activities are not going too badly. I was surprised to find that I quite enjoyed the soy sausages in sandwiches, and I managed to successfully semi-fast on Monday. The plan was to fast yesterday, but I didn't feel too good, so decided not to. I didn't go mad during the day though, and we enjoyed a chicken with sweet potatoes dish inh the evening. Fruit has certainly featured more heavily in meals this week, which is no bad thing, especially in place of biscuits. I will continue to reduce food intake.

I'm preaching again tomorrow. If you want, you can read my sermon over at The Teapot

This week's menus are planned as follows:
SUNDAY: Nigel Slater's pork in cider, with mashed potato and broccoli. The observant among you may notice the recipe is for chicken in cider, but I have pork steaks in the freezer, so I'm using them.


This is chicken too.

MONDAY: Lemongrass fishcakes with salad. 

TUESDAY: Veggie bean burgers Hairy Dieter style. Made with a mixture of kidney beans & chickpeas.

WEDNESDAY: Pasta Puttanesca. There are many recipes, here is Jamie Oliver's. I think the one I have just uses tinned tomatoes though! Whatever it is, it's quite simple.

THURSDAY: Chorizo and vegetable frittata. If we don't use too much chorizo then this is fine on the cholesterol front. I'm eating fewer eggs now too, but now and again won't hurt.

FRIDAY: Salmon with ginger, chilli sauce, As it's a fast day we'll have broccoli and chicory with this. Possibly a bit of rice.


Next Saturday Pierre is playing in another concert in Lyon - this one is Ska music. As my sister & her husband are staying in Villefranche, not far from Lyon,  for the Northern Ireland group matches (football again!) we are probably going to meet them for a meal, and then go to the concert. I'm not sure how much I like Ska but Pierre is a good player (very versatile, it would seem!) , so we'll just go for a bit of fun. If you don't really know what it is, here's an introductory video:



Thank you, thank you for your comments. They are always really appreciated, especially those who commiserated with Mr FD!

MICHELLE reminds me that exercise is important when thinking about cholesterol busting. Sigh. I know this, really I do, but I azm just SO lazy!

POMPOM - the cod was lovely. I really enjoyed it - but I enjoyed your letter more! Thank you so much! How kind you are.

BEVCHEN - I don't actually eat that much cheese, although I do like it. I suppose I just need to keep being sensible. I like the idea of putting sweet potato into a spinach & chickpea curry too. Miam-miam!


Saturday, 4 June 2016

Cholesterol Busting. Maybe.

Hello dear Peeps! Good to have you here.

After the happy news of Mr FD Ihave to report the poor man has been injured. We went out to the International evening and enjoyed meat and potato pie, with mushy peas, gravy and HP sauce, followed by English cheeses and scones with cream-and-jam. A good time was had by all, including the two young children who were racing around, popping in and out, and genertally behaving well, but boisterously. As we were leaving, one of them shot out from behind the door, and got entangled in Mr FD's feet. In a valient, and mostly succesful, effort to avoid crushing said infant under his not insubstantial weight,  Mr FD fell awkwardly to the floor. He feared last night that he'd cracked a rib, but thinks now it's just torn muscle. However, despite strong painkillers he is still in considerable pain, poor love.

It was good food, but I think it might have to have been my last "blow out" for a while...

My relationship with food has got to change - from being proud of myself because I'd lowered my cholesterol reading last bloodtest, I had a phone call from the doctor after my most recent test telling me I had to do something about it, as levels of "bad cholesterol" had gone up to a level that one really doesn't want to see.

SO, as I had been fasting when the levels had dropped, I need to go back to 5:2-ing. Boo, hiss. Only "Boo hiss" because I like eating, and dislike feeling hungry. I know it is A Good Thing really. I probably won't completely fast, but certainly will be eating less on Mondays and Fridays.

Other things that have changed: breakfast has gone from toast with cream cheese to a bowl of oat based organic meusli & granola, with added nuts and dried fruit. Still have the Danacol yoghurt, and now adding a slice of melon to my breakfast.

Soya yoghurt has been added to a day's snacking, instead of biscuits. Apparently being naturally low in saturated fat, soya foods help lower cholesterol.    The special proteins in soya also appear to influence how the body regulates cholesterol too.  Studies show you can lower your cholesterol by around 6% by including as little as 15g soya protein per day. Now, 15g is quite a lot, but I'll be at least adding SOME to my diet with my soya yoghurt snack - I found a peach and elderflower flavour that is lovely!

Sandwich lunches also have to change...Still sandwiches, but the fillings are changing. No more Brillat Savarin (boo!) or paté, but tuna, soya sausages or lean chicken. DEFINITELY no crisps, but more veggies to fill up on.

I'm allowing myself one oaty-type biscuit a day (instead of the several chocolatey-type that I was having!) and, if I have an attack of the nibbles, a slice of buckwheat bread (already sliced & in the freezer!) with some jam, but no spread.

Semi-fasting will mean my Danacol and coffee for breakfast, soup & fruit for lunch and then an evening meal.

So menus are (slowly) going to be reverting to the Hairy Dieter/ Slimming World/ 5:2 diet book recipes. I know it's better, but - Sigh.

I also think I need to face the fact that some more exercise might be required too. Not sure about how to fit that in - I suppose peeling my fat arse off the sofa in the early evening and going for a walk might help! There is a road up a steep hill which I could walk up - round trip about 20- 30 minutes (if that!) The steepness adding to the effort required.

So meals (planned before the cholesterol verdict!) this week:
TODAY: Harissa lamb steaks with cous-cous and salad

TOMORROW: A busy day - I'm poreaching in church, then a quick zip home, lunch then over to Lyon to hear a concert of music from sci-fi films etc. (poster includes a TARDIS!!) We're going with Cathy, and two friends who are staying with her. We're all eating back here, so I'll make a Slow Cooker version of Mary Berry's lasagne. 
Because of the quick turnaround, and Mr FD's injury, I'll prep everything today so I can assemble it quickly tomorrow before we go off to Lyon.It's not very cholesterol friendly, but not terrible!

MONDAY: Lemon & thyme cod, green beans and potatoes. And asaparagus.



TUESDAY: Pork with raclette cheese Yes, I know!!! Cheese!!! After all I've been saying about cholesterol! Well, it's only one slice, and I won't have had any cheese for, ooh, at least 4 days! To have with pasta and courgettes.

WEDNESDAY: Oven baked red pepper risotto



THURSDAY: Quick Dijon chicken and pasta


FRIDAY: Spinach & chickpea curry with a small amount of rice.

Hey-ho. 

Thank you for your comments. It's always nice when people say something!!

It's even nicer when people say NICE things! And Lovely Grey, Bevchen and Christine were complimentary about my TARDIS Zentangle Art that I did for Kezzie. 

Michelle, thank you for being understanding about your horse ZIA. It will get done sometime. Not too distant future. 

Did you have pasties, Bevchen? The chicken ones were nice! We had them with baked beans, and peas-carrots-sweetcorn mix. No potatoes as there was quite a lot of pastry. 

Lovely Grey did you try the "Scattergory" thingie? It was harder than I imagined - obviously I have got used to going to Google for everything (Foods beginning with "a": - there are indeed many, including aioli, artichoke, alfafa, allspice, apricot, acorn squash, aspic, aubergine and avocado. Yet I couldn't think of one of them!!!!)

So, see you soon, dear Peeps. Don't forget to hop over to The Teapot as well. Things happen over there too!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Just a bit of fun!

 One of my Facebook friends posted this...


It's harder than you think.... No using Google!!!! Every answer must start with the last letter of your previous answer. . Its fun...Who doesn't love a game of Scattergories? Come on! Try it!!!

Name - Alison  
Animal - Narwhal (it's a whale.)


Girls name - Linda
Colour - Aqua

 Movie – A matter of life and death



Something you wear
- Hat
Drink - Tea



Food - Almonds

Item in the bathroom – Shower curtain
Place - New Brighton



Reason to be late – No petrol in the car BECAUSE THE BLOODY FRENCH ARE BLOCKADING THE REFINERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




I promise I only looked on Google for the pictures AFTER I'd completed it! Why couldn't I think of any foods starting with "a"? There must be loads of them!!!