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wicked because i shouldnt. but i knew i was going to the second it appeared.
cheese on toast. wicked? try having a large waistline and eating a lot of cheese!
so. i hied my way to the kitchen and set about trying to understand my new grill, which i havent used before on the new gas cooker.
then i fetched the new red leicester from the fridge, along with the marg. i have to use lighter than light to compensate for the cheese. cant be over wicked in one go. any way it made me feel better about the whole thing. i was looking forward to it anyway as i havent had cheese on toast for donkeys years as my other grill didnt work.
i pulled down the flap of the grill at waist height, and bending slightly, peered in. it was a mite dusty, but all seemed to be as it should. next to tackle the grill pan. you know its one of those contraptions that you have to fit the handle onto the grill pan, or it wont fit in the grill compartment, it stands out too much.
so nothing ventured,... i started grappling with the new problem. i had cheese on toast to have, and i wasnt going to let a minor widget stand in my way.
ten minutes cursing and fiddling and i had it. but why anyone would want a flippin' grill pan that comes in two is anybodys guess.
still, up and running. next job, turn the gas knob for the grill. it is a peculiar
grill knob. it has a set of markings for the grill one side, and another for something on the other. i couldnt fathom that out, but i wasnt going to waste time. not when something so urgent as cheese on toast was at stake.
so, grill on, find bread. i hooked a slice or two from the bag, and discovered little blue spots on the bread. talk about frustration. these large loaves, all i could get at the time, lasts me too long. i cant eat it fast enough to counteract nature.
so, digging around in the pot, i found another loaf. i selected two slices from that in a tearing hurry. you know those little bands round the neck that hold the bag shut, it wouldnt come undone, so i ripped the bag. indecent haste or what. nothing was going to keep me from my you know what at this late stage.
so, two little slices lying sweetly side by side on the rack. i slid it under the grill and waited. after a few minutes i checked, still not brown. a few minutes later, again, check. ahh.....here we are, more like it. i dragged out the pan and buttered [flora] the toast, and laid on some slices of cheese, [who's got time to grate in an emergency!] and lifted the pan and slid it back under.
time to wait again. trying not to think about the cheese, i shuffled around the kitchen doing something else, with CHEESE ON TOAST singing in my brain.
at long last, the cheese had melted very satisfactorily. little crispy brown patches had appeared and the toast had crisped up round the edges.
ok. time for my sin. i hustled the two hot wicked slices onto my waiting plate. my favourite one with the two blue circles on it.
i hurried through as fast as my feet would carry me and sat to sin.
lifting the wicked morsel to my lips i prepared myself for a naughty thing.
my mouth watered and i bit.
some time later, tummy full, sated and a cheese on toast smile on my lips along with remnants of cheese around them, i laid back in my chair. there, done.
it was absolutely delicious. worth waiting all those years for and and as wonderful as i remember cheese on toast should be. of course, in the back of my brain, a little voice said, if you were going to sin you might as well have gone the whole hog and had butter.
but, i waved that thought away as unworthy. perhaps another time. ay.
in the meantime, my little wickedness had worked and i felt oh, so much better. a secret indulgence of a little sin is wicked, but sometimes much more enjoyable for its being so.
so, plate empty with regret, i washed it up, and went my way. oh but the memory lingers on, and i still smile this morning from the beautiful flavour and ....tempt me not. i cant afford to have that much cheese again for another ten years!
oh but it was nice.
we should have a national cheese on toast day. then everyone could feel the pleasure of such a guilty sin.
by golly it does yer good. slice anyone? or two? come on, ive got the grill going, make up your mind!!!
...one sort of expects warm sunny days &
blue sky. Silly of me I know, but that is just the way I seem to
remember Spring Time.
The pictures I have taken in the grounds of Hexham Abbey & the streets serounding demonstrat though that this year is different.
Our local mad-man-who-knows explained to me that we are going through 400 year cycles of weather. He is always very convinsing!
...I remember the day he stopped me on the Fron St to tell me how we are being manipulated by alian planets & that even the Government don't realise this is hapening!
Still, he has never done me any harm & he workes wonders with dogs!
Any way, as I was saying, pity about the weather. It has rained heavily today, blowing from the east off the North Sea.
I'm going to put the kettle on.
there was an abundance of flowers everywhere, and my bouquet was spiked largely with paeonies, my fathers favourite blossom.
over the years, i have a fondness for flowers, and sought to always have a little spray in the house, residing in a vase somewhere. coming into a room always brightens up my thoughts and makes me feel mellow.
nowadays, with the smallest bunch way beyond my reasonable pocket, i make do with plastic ones. you would think an artificial florist had been let loose in my living room. i have kept the ones long passed friends have given me, some of my mothers there too. and in her little collection were some i gave her as a child and when i was young.
some of the flowers are made of material and extremely lifelike. theres a spray my friend gave me when i was in hospital for my 59th birthday. they didnt allow real flowers, and his gift wasnt intentional, he thought they were real. as did all the other folk who came to visit and the rest of the hospital.
i have kept them as a little memory. some i have picked up from charity shops and other like emporiums.
so, riding up high on the top of my wall units, i have a grand variety of pretty flowers. i have seven assorted pots and vases with them in. and down on the fireplace, there are three more. i must admit since i got ill, they are gathering a smidgin of dust, but thats easily sorted when i feel better.
in the far heights of my bookshelves, a long ago purchase from a garden centre, hangs a large artificial ivy. it makes a nice little break along the wall and items on the shelves. and on the bottom shelf of another wall unit, is an orchid given me by my daughter some years ago, with its stem sunk in artificial water, in a tall elegant glass vase.
im always trawling the second hand places for more. sometimes i have to haggle for a lower price, but mainly, my prizes are quite cheap.
i would rather have real flowers, whole banks of them, but for now i make do with the ones i have. although the dust is more apparent these days, they do cheer my sitting room.
everytime i come in here, seat myself, the first thing i do is look up at them.
and if something cheers one, then that cant be bad.
i cant have flowers in the garden these days, so, the flowers are in my house.
and why not. it adds to the cosy feeling i have tried to achieve, as it seems to lend a hand to the comfort i have struggled to make, on a small pocket.
and if theres one thing i like its comfort. who wouldnt?
so, till the day i win a fortune, and thats about as likely as rocking horse droppings, i stay admiring the blooms some kind person made and found their way to me.
bring em on, i say, bring em all on, ive got vases aplenty! and they have the added benefit, of never 'going over' and i dont have to remember to see if they have enough water.
so till then me old flower, they stay and brighten my day. i take money on the gate normally to get in to see them, but as youre a friend, you can come in free.
tea and a bun after, sound ok? see you here then!
Over the last few years I started suffering from bad neck ache and hip ache, and thought it was down to that, but even after largely eliminating those pains with a water-pillow and strategically placed cushions, I still can't have a nice lie-in like I used to back in the day, even though I have tried. I cannot snuggle down and doze anymore, I get restless. I have black-out curtains for my bedroom as well, but nothing works.
I don't have sleep problems , but I used to think that when I was retired I could languish in bed every morning if I wanted to, but it just doesn't seem to work that way. It is so unfair.
then all that work fails, and one piles on a bit more as well. only to fall foul of the next diet that comes along, and the next and the next and the next.
if you are singularly blessed with larger stuff in your family, you might as well sit down and forget it.
what you have to do in the end to achieve peace of mind, is to say to yourself, oh well im meant to be a slightly large size, so i accept that and lets find a plan that means i can diet and eat what i want anyway.
sound too good to be true. but it works.
i am not a person who finds this wild gruelling exercise campaigning to my taste. ive done all that too and made myself seriously unhappy into the bargain.
oh, i had a very slim waistline with it, and serious dieting, but i didnt want to face the day. and thats no good either.
how am i so serene? well, the policy i adopted was, and especially since i put on weight to 18 and a half stone when i had chemo four years ago, i ate normally, and had exactly what i wanted, but smaller portions, but also i kept busy.
no sitting down and nodding off on the sofa when there was nothing to do, i made things to do. and i lost four and a half stone.
since i have been unable to get about i put some on, which shows you what inactivity does for you. i am pretty careful not to exceed my 'diet'.
i have ice cream, i have a little butter when i fancy, but small portions and im keeping too much weight at bay with almost no exercise at all.
im still pretty big, but i can never be a greyhound, more your dulux dog, but its learning to be happy with what you are is the whole point.
i watched with interest an old topic on the tv the other day, that there is a fat gene. i have said this as long as i could think, that there must be something that makes us fat or thin.
i have two grandmothers and a father who were on the weighty side, and
my mother who was six and a half stone.
my mother and incidentally my grandfather who she took after, could eat their way through a supermarket and have no ill effects of getting fat.
i have to be restrained in what i eat, and i put on weight.
sensibly, there has to be a reason for size. i wish they would hurry up and declare it, and then i could have a decent wardrobe of clothes. all the sizes of 20 and up are in browns beiges and blacks. those that i can afford that is. manufacturers must think we are a very depressed lot. we are with whats on offer. id love to wake up one day a size 14.
but its not going to be, im a realist, so, i have learned to love myself and who i am. and thats good.
im no egoist, dont get me wrong, far from it, ive lived a different sort of life from that, but liking yourself is the best thing. and when you have found out what you are and can forgive yourself for all those petty little things you disliked about yourself, you are on the road to a winner.
so, these days, instead of noting down the latest diet from the magazine in the doctors surgery, i go home and lift a nice cake and cuppa, and, yes ENJOY IT.
as my mother always used to say, moderation in all things, including moderation.
a little of what you fancy does you good. youre worth it!
Then the other morning I looked out of the window and saw the lid had been undone and was hanging up. I was determined to beat them so I bought a small padlock with a key, and I have locked it across the click opener, and the main bars,(not easy I can tell you) but now two days have gone by and although the top has been raised, as they have tried to get it up, they are unable to get at the food.
I previously covered the whole holder and stick into the ground with Vaseline, but after a few days I found that the vaseline was covered with fur so that didn't work. It did for a few months though.
It really has come to something when you have to fill the bird food with a key!
With the permission of Mary B I am making this announcement here. We will promote each other. I would welcome contact from anyone in the Barnet or surrounding areas.
Dr Walsh is currently making contact with all of the Local organisations within Barnet who are addressing the needs and wants of the older Community, and is looking to achieve a coordinated effort in raising awareness amongst the general public and in particular the Community within the London Borough of Barnet.
Dr Walsh currently works as a Volunteer Befriender, Trainer and Computer Tutor with AgeUK Barnet and has a current clear Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate (Certificate Number 00139888911) He is Security Cleared to both NATO and UK Governments SC Security levels (Uncaviated) and has lived in the London Borough for a number of years
like all those other people for the train to come in.
soon, down the line, and with a sigh on the breeze from everyones throats, 'here it comes', we watched with baited breath.
the big black giant coughing and spitting and chuffing steam in large billowing clouds, slowed and finally stopped with a hiss and a squeal of brakes. the size of the train was awe-inspiring and brought a feeling of fear to the pit of my stomach as it moved closer. but still a thrill of excitement too.
the inaudible tannoy chuntered out something no one quite understood, but it was taken for granted by folk in those days, just where we wanted to go.
i had paid fourpence [4d] for my ticket and sailed aboard the metal monster, smelling of smoke and musty interior seats, and took my place. the carriage filled up quickly and i spent my time, looking out of the window at the passing folk, and the porters trying to look the other way.
soon we heard the tannoy mutter something above the combined noises and hubbub, and there was a jerk, and we jerked with it in our seats, and a tug, then off. we chundered down the line a little crossing tracks with a clickety clack, feeling the train lift and fall with each cross line, and then we picked up speed.
i sat watching the same old scenery passing before my eyes every day, there was the youth club, and there was pit farm road, where my sister was born.
and so on till i arrived at work, which is where the ministry was in those days.
on sunday i strolled down to the evangelical church round where the brick factory used to be. and in the week, i attended the church youth club. one took the same road to the train station but carried on and there it was quite near the bottom of farnham road, a little hut the other side of the fencing, fixed precipitously to the hillside. wooden and old, it nevertheless provided entertainment for the youth of that church, and i also paid into the holiday scheme, two years running.
in the weeks, when on holiday, i loved to walk up the streets when on market day, and smell the vegetables and fruit on the stalls, listening to the coster mongers shouting from each stall. a parnd er bananas a tanner, pertaters, 2d a parnd, carm en git yer veg here. rich pageantry of the fifties, colourful, more than any kings journey to buckingham palace. the stuff of life.
and when on said walk, i would turn into tuns gate, take a right through the little door at the side and ascend the dingy stairs into the cafe protruding over the street, and sit at the window if the old lady wasnt about.
she didnt think it right young girls should sit in the window and would move you. that is when she wasnt showing you a glass jar with her husbands gall stones in.
other times, i went into the dim and large cool interior of the continental and watched while they made my espresso coffee. the froth was so thick you could stand your spoon up in it. then espresso coffee was white,creamy, absolutely italian and delicious.
my wanderings took me and my mother over the downs and further beyond.
we often went walkies together.
sometimes, when my sisters werent about, my father and mother and myself, would high tail it down to worthing and have a coffee or knickerbockerglory in the pier cafe. in the days when you didnt have to have a mortgage to sit and imbibe in southern food emporiums.
but, mostly, i liked to pass through tuns gate and walk up to pewley downs, or round the castle grounds, or down by millmead when it was a pretty river side.
sometimes i went over to godalming where my friend lived and spend time with her.
of course, my favourite haunt was thorpes book shop. i spent a third of my childhood in there.
sometimes there were nalgo dances, they were held in the ballroom way up high at harveys department store.
and sometimes, when my father had a day off, we would sample the coffee at the rooftop garden. i absolutely adored going there. my mother father and myself, at our table, watching the mannequins walking round, advertising the clothes in the ladies department.
they were elegant, right down to the tip of their elegant court shoes, i watched with a great deal of pleasure at their paradings. fifties clothes were indeed lovely. fashion i could never aspire to, financially or physically.
physically, as i have always been a cut outside the sizes on offer even then.
but wonderful to watch nevertheless.
sometimes i walked up old palace road, round curling vale and beyond, and arrived home in time for luncheon.
i remember one morning i woke, with the sun shining, and a small early morning cool breeze drifting through the landing window, and i heard a kerfuffle which made me stick my head through it. i put my elbows on the window sill and watched.
a cow escaped from the market had made its way up to my house and was busy doing all it could to evade the men trying to capture it. it speeded up the road and out of sight and i wonder even now if it was caught. i hope not.
and one fine day, when i was at st.johns junior school in farnham road, workman down the bottom towards town, working deep in a hole, found a mammoth tooth. there was a lot of excitement about that.
i have good memories of such a pretty market town. its a pity life has altered it so much, i can never come back and look at it with the same eyes, and indeed who can.
my aunt who died a couple of years ago at 96, said, dont go into town vivien, you wont like it, and i didnt.
thats life, but i have such a large store of things to remember. i will keep those by me for times when i think back on things old and new.
i suppose one always feel a pull towards ones roots. and i do. i feel rather proud to have been born in such a lovely place.
but youth will have it way, and i felt the urge to wander. you can take the girl out of guildford, but you cant take guildford out of the girl. and its tucked away in there somewhere. and its been a boon all my life.