Sunday, 30 October 2016

Bishops, bathrooms and baked potatoes!

Hello dear Peeps! I hope you are all well and bright and bushy-tailed.

Last weekend I was in Munich, at the convention of the Convocation of Episcopal Church in Europe. You can read about it over at The Teapot, should you wish to. As this is a food related blog, I can tell you that the Bishop's dinner, served in an amazing former Palm House of a Schloss, somewhere in Munich, was delicious.

There was a welcome drink of sparkling wine, and then the meal. We started with a salad, with bacon crispy bits and tiny croutons, followed by a choice of main courses. I chose roast duck, in a blackberry sauce, with potato gratin and vegetables (over pork, and dumplings) - which was a great choice. The pork-dumpling combo looked really hefty! We finished with apple strudel and creme anglaise (though I'm not sure what that is in German!).  During the meal charming young people (who spoke excellent English) served wine, or beer, in copious amounts. 

Other food, served at the Schloss where we were staying and holding the convention, was of the rather heavy German variety, but it was still perfectly acceptable. The Sisters who ran the place, and their staff, pulled out all the stops for a dinner-dance the last evening. There was lots of tasty food - I particularly liked the Rumanian aubergine dish - I'm not quite sure what was in it (except aubergines!) but it was yummy.

I came home to find we had no bathroom! The workmen had started. We have solved our money worries - not quite to our satisfaction, but we decided to take out a bank loan - and what a palaver that was! Mr FD spoke to an advisor on the phone, & got approval. He then filled everything out on line, and "virtually" signed the papers, only requiring me to do the same. But would it work for me? No! I tried, I went to the bank & they tried, Mr FD came to the bank & they tried again, we came home & tried - all to no avail. Finally, we went into the bank and did it all the old-fashioned way!  When we sell the car, the money will be squirrelled away to pay the bank loan off, so we know that we'll always have the monthly payments to hand. It is so long since we've had any credit like this, we feel slightly uncomfortable about it - especially as we don't have regular income - but the fact that we'll (eventually!) have the car money to pay it off softens the discomfort.

Anyway, the bathroom is coming should be finished by the end of next week. We have been very grateful that some people for whom Mr FD sometimes does some IT work, have said that we can use their holiday home to shower in. They are very rich, and their house has 4 bathrooms (four!!!) so Mr FD & I can use separate showers. We have it down to a fine art now: breakfast at home, wear our scruffs, go to C&A's, shower, change to work clothes and set off for work from there. Thankfully, wre have a sepoarate toilet here, so we have been able to use that, and the basin during the day & at night. Imagine if we'd not had a toilet too!

Food this week at Dormouse Towers is as follows:

YESTERDAY: pulled pork, baked potato, coleslaw

TODAY: Lamb Panang Curry, slow< cookered (not that I have Panang curry paste - I'll use what I've got!) with rice.

MONDAY: Pulled pork again, chips and salad.

TUESDAY: Chilli & rice. Or maybe mushroom risotto. Or maybe Kamchatka. Not quite sure yet.

WEDNESDAY: English sausages, baked potato, beans.

After that, I have no idea! I'm not sure quite when I'm going to get to go shopping this week, so I may be making stuff up out of the freezer. Which is fine, but slightly less organised!

We are going to see The Divine Comedy in Lyon on Wednesday - huzzah! Really looking forward to that.

Here's a link to their recent song "Catherine the Great"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But today I have to start making 200 handmade cards for the Bishop who wants me to make his Christmas cards this year. Gulp.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Washing the blues away (in a soon-to-be new bathroom!)

Oh goodness me! Aren't you lot just lovely?! The number of encouraging comments really helped to cheer me up.

The weather helps too. Today is a cold but crisp, sunny day. I also don't have any lessons planned - it's a bit of a pain, in a way, because of course, no lessons = no pay. But at least I am not losing money, as my Tuesday contracts are for a specific number of hours. So, if I don't have the lessons this week, I'll have them next's more irritating when it's an on-going contract, as then I just lose on the money completely.

We are a little inquiet on the money front - not worried exactly, but not completely happy. We are having our bathroom renovated next now we should have sold the car to pay for the work, and the fittings, tiles etc. However, nobody has shown any interest in our dear little Fiat - perhaps it's priced too high, or perhaps it's advertised in the wrong place. Whatever it is, nobody has called about it. So we may end up with slight cash flow problems - we have the money in the UK, but don't want to bring it across, with the exchange rate so crappy, Mr FD & I have our pay from October (not very much, as he'll only have worked 2 weeks) or September (mine is always one month in delay)  to come as well, so the money is due to arrive...We're just not totally sure when!

We had to buy new things too - the toilet, and basin are being replaced,  so they needed buying, as did the radiator and the new tiles. It was an expensive day!! We bought the basin and drawer unit in Ikea, and the other stuff in Roanne. I'd been nagging gently sugesting to Mr FD that we go and buy the tiles for about three weeks, but he had always put it off. This Saturday was the last opportunity, and - of course! - we discovered there was a 10 day delay in the delivery. There was major panic, but Adal, our general workman, has assured us that it won't cause a problem. I think the panic over the possible problem was one reason why I was grumpy. The radiator was a bargain (at 169€ it was much cheaper & carries out the same function as the 600€ one that the electrician kept pushing us to buy!)

 No, not that kind of radiator. Sorry cats!

I know that many of my readers could do most of the renovations themselves and save shedloads of money. However, we know that we are not DIY-ers. We hate it, and are rubbish at it, and - as we are both working at the moment - have decided that we do not want to spend our weekends doing something we both dislike. So we're paying workmen to come & do it for us. Yes, they are charging quite a high price, but - for anyone who has tried to get workmen in France - the fact that the "main man" is an acquaintance counts for a lot. I know where he lives, I see him regularly at dance group, and he is reliable . Also, the three workmen work as a team, so they have co-ordnated their dates with each other. They are unlikely - as some workmen we know have done - to walk off site, with the job half done, and not return!

So, that's what's happening here. When the bathroom is finished I'll show you, but here are the "Before" pictures:

The bath is coming out completely, and we're having a large shower with a screen going in. The ceiling is being lowered and LEDs put in, plus the new radiator. All pipes boxed in, new tiles (but same colour scheme as our accessories match. And we like it) and - eventually - new lino, as the tiles are cold to the feet. But the lino will wait for a bit longer, so we can get an idea of what colour we want. Probably a very pale colour, as the room is small.

I'm a bit sad that my Grumpy Cat Mood

meant I missed out on a good night out in Roanne with Friend Cathy and her son. There was a Beatles tribute band playing ("The best Beatles tribute band to come out of Serbia" according to the publicity!!) which I'd planned to go to, but being Grumpy merant I cancelled at the last minute. Cathy & Lloyd had a great time, and I sat at home and grumped. That was silly!!

Thank you again for being Lovely Readers. That is what blogging is all about - the support and friendship from people we only know through cyberspace!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A bit mibsy.

Blogging (and any kind of) mojo gone AWOL.

Feel grumpy and miserable.

No reason. Just mibsy. Maybe it's the weather which is grey and drizzly and damp.

Hopefully I will be up-and-blogging again soon.

Roast chicken dinner tonight - with parsnips, red cabbage and chicory.

Chicken/veggies/noodles tomorrow.

Something else on Tuesday. Probably mince related. Possibly chicken related. It's a big chicken (Yellow label, reduced by 5€)

Sausage, chips & beans on Wednesday - Mr FD brought some sausages back from the UK.

Off to Munich for the Convocation of the Episcopal Church in Europe on Thursday. Back again on Sunday.

Just for a smile...
Sorry to be a bit bleeurgh.

Thank you all for your lovely comments. You are Nice People.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Another apology!!


Weekends - and weeks! - are busy, so I don't have time to blog much.

My niece & her new husband are coming for a few days on Wednesday, so I have to fit in a bit of cleaning too - though not as much as when my mum came to stay!!

We're going to have a raclette on Wednesday, go out on Thursday (or maybe have a curry) and then there's a beer festival on Friday evening! Mr FD is off to the UK on Saturday, but I don't know when Rose & David are leaving here to go to Disneyland-Paris.

I'm preaching on Sunday.

Then the week starts again! Still, it's nice to be busy, even though sometimes I feel a bit TOO busy! Here's Pomme being not-at-all busy!