Science and Sunday dinner

I made a sort of Sunday dinner yesterday. Why “sort of” you ask? Well, there werre no Yorkshire puddings and the meat (pork steaks) was fried rather than roasted because I don’t trust my oven at all (there’s something wrong with the thermostat – no matter how high a setting you put it on it always claims to be at most 150°C. And I really don’t want to risk putting meat in an oven that I don’t actually know the temperature of…). We did have both roast and mashed potatoes though. And after my recent trip to England I have actual proper gravy granules. German “Bratensosse” is just not the same. Sure, it goes well enough with wild boar or Schnitzel but for a proper Sunday dinner you’ve gotta have English gravy!
We had a starter as well. I’m currently doing an Open University short course called Science Starts Here and this weekend I had to do an experiment which involved putting sliced potatoes in the oven and weighing them every hour to find out what percentage of a potato is water. The end result was something that looked a lot like those potato skins you get as a starter in restaurants so we covered them in salt and pepper and ate them. I also dipped mine in allioli (garlic sauce) which was dee-licious. While we were waiting for the main course to finish cooking I happened to mention to Jan what a shame it was I had no dessert to offer him. You see, one of the things on my 101 things list is to cook a three course meal for my boyfriend (3 times!) and as I had done all the work with dinner I thought if I had dessert I could let this count (even if the starter was originally a science experiment). Having had the thought I naturally couldn’t rest until I’d at least tried to carry it out, so I got onto Google and started looking up recipes that only use ingredients I actually had in the house. It being a Sunday in German I would have had no chance of getting anything that was missing – only the petrol stations and the tiny little shop at the train station are open. Luckily I found a recipe for golden syrup dumplings, so I made that. Mine looked nothing like the picture on the website but they tasted good and that’s all that matters, right?

We were going to go to the cinema after dinner to see the German film Der Weisse Band (The White Ribbon – read about it here) but Jan decided he was too tired, so we stayed home and watched two episodes of ER instead. We’re up to season 3 now. I love the old ones – Noah Wyle (Carter) looks so young!

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Let’s try again…

I wonder if wordpress will actually let me post something today instead of deciding to eat my carefully thought out words. Only one way to find out I suppose…
Here’s an update on what’s happening in the world of Bev.

  • I’ve been at the new job one month today. I’m loving it so far. Everyone is nice, there’s lots for me to do and I can actually make mistakes without worrying that I may be (metaphorically) hung, drawn and quartered for it. Not that I purposely go out of my way to make mistakes or anything… but you know what i mean…
  • The one bad thing about work is all the commuting. An hour’s train journey means having to get up at a ridiculous hour of the morning, meaning by the time it gets to Wednesday I’m exhausted (of course, it doesn’t help that I have a boyfriend who is incapable of coming home at a sensible time, meaning we rarely get to sleep before midnight). And by the time I’ve sat on the train for an hour in the evening there isn’t exactly much time left for me to have a life outside work. All this will (hopefully) change now though. I’ve been paid, so for October I have a ticket for the fast train. My travel time is now reduced to 20 minutes each way, meaning I get an extra half hour in bed. Yippee!
  • My brother started university last week. He also turns 19 on Friday. I now feel old! Also, I haven’t managed to get him a present yet. Ooops.
  • I needed to take 20 photos after work today to complete my photo challenge for this month. I managed to take 5, leaving me with a grand total of 35. I think it’s fairly safe to say I’ve failed this month. maybe 50 photos was a little over ambitious…
  • My grandparents are having a party next friday to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. After looking at what felt like a million airline’s websites, Jan and I have finally managed to book flights. We’re going via Amsterdam of all places. Why can’t somebody just start providing a direct flight from Southern Germany to Newcastle? It would make my life so much easier!
  • Everyone seems to have gone baby mad at the moment! One of my dad’s cousins has just had a baby boy and I know 7 other people who are currently pregnant. 2 of those people are my dad’s cosuins. And another of his cousins is getting married in January.  My family just will not stop growing! It’s almost like we’re trying to take over the world…

OK, I think that’s everything. And even if it isn’t I need to stop now so I can go and sort out some food. Hopefully Jan won’t be too much longer… it’s 10 past nine now and lunch time was soooo long ago…

A quick note…

For those who were interested in seeing the photos from my 101 Things Photo Challenge, I’ve create a photobucket account to upload them to. I won’t be putting all 50 up for every single month, (so you’ll just have to take my word for it that I actually took all 50 😉 ) but you will at least be able to get an idea of what I’ve been doing.
Here is the URL: http://photobucket.com/bevchenn (I had to call myself bevchenn on there because bevchen with just 1 ‘n’ was already taken. Unbelievable!)

Preparing for another busy weekend

The other week when Jan and I were in Mannheim we saw a poster (in the window of the tea shop we went in) advertising an English picnic in Ludwigshafen. It’s a cultural event apparantly, organised by Initiative Buchkultur, an organisation whose aim seems to be to promote the publiscation of “nice, good and well-made books” (sorry, I’m translating from the German here) because there are too many “cheap” books (in terms of both content and the way they are made), bad translations and books that haven’t been properly proofread. Fair enough.

So the picnic is taking place this Sunday. There are various different activities taking place… croquet, some performance by a Sherlock Holmes club, English folk music and more. Jan is mostly interested in the English beer tasting session at 2pm; I like the sound of the cream tea at 5. And, one of the items on my 101 Things list is “have a picnic in a town I’ve never been to before”. I’ve never been to Ludwigshafen before (even though it’s only 55 minutes away by slow train!) so that will be another item to cross off my list. Excellent!
That is, of course, providing we actually make it to Ludwigshafen…

I’m having a party tomorrow night, partly as a belated birthday celebration and partly because I’ve been promising to host a flat-warming party for months. So, two birds with one stone and all that…
I’ve asked people to come early (7pm… that is early for a German party!) in the hope that the party will also finish early (around 2am instead of after the sun comes up would be nice…) but we shall see what happens.

Yes, another busy weekend ahead, and today is preparation day. I have been shopping twice… but still don’t actually have everything because I’m running out of money! The living room is swept and the kitchen has been mopped. So now I just need to finish tidying the bedroom (aargh, where am I going to put everything?!), do the dishes (ugh, just kill me now…) and make cheese scones for the picnic. Tomorrow I have to make chilli, nachos and chocolate fudge cake for the party so there won’t be time to make picnic food as well. Urgh, sooo much to do, and seeing it written down like this makes it seem like even more. I guess I’d better get on with it then…

The games we play

I still haven’t decided what to do with the photos I’m taking for my 101 things challenge. Various people have suggested Flickr, which is ok but annoys me for 2 reasons. 1) They now force you to get a Yahoo account to log in to Flickr. Any what if I didn’t actually want a Yahoo account?! and 2) The free account only allows you to put up 200 photos. Which is fine, but I am clearly going to need to put up more than 200 photos for this challenge. Obviously I won’t be putting up all 50 every time, but I have 33 themes to get through! At the moment Flickr seems to be the best (read as only!) idea I have, but maybe I’ll come up with something.

In the meantime, since a few people have shown interest, I thought I would post one or two of the photos from this months challenge right here on Confuzzledom. Most of them aren’t particularly good, but you did ask… and now you have to suffer 😉

Clock Patience. I lost this game.
Clock Patience. I lost this game.
Game of rugby anyone?
Game of rugby anyone?
Shoot, shoot, shoot!
Shoot, shoot, shoot!
Poor elephant has noone to play with...
Poor elephant has noone to play with...
help, a UFO! Oh no, it's just a frisbee
Help, a UFO! Oh no, it's just a frisbee

OK, that’s all folks. I have more but I don’t want to use up all my photo space in one blog post…

Shove it all on the top shelf and forget about it

The boyfriend returned from a weekend away with his choir yesterday. So last night we were talking about his flat and the fact that neither of us actually wants to spend any time there. “Maybe you would like it more if you were actually there occasionally,” I suggested. “Maybe,” he agreed, “and maybe I would also like being there more if I actually unpacked properly and tidied up a bit.” Then he added “But I’m not as bad as you”. How mean is that?! I asked him what he meant and he told me that he may not sort anything out or put it away, but at least he doesn’t leave everything on the floor. Such cheek! Firstly, I don’t leave everything on the floor (half of it is piled up on my desk!) and for secondly those things that are on the floor are there because I have nowhere else to put them! I lost my job 3 months after moving in here, and even when I was employed I wasn’t earning enough to furnish a whole flat all at once. So I still have no wardrobe, no bedside tables and nowhere to put roughly half of my kitchen stuff. But Jan was right about one thing… the flat was in a pretty bad state last night (refusing to do any housework whatsoever on my birthday combined with a weekend of baking stuff for parties then failing to put stuff away afterwards because I had to rush off to said parties had taken its toll on my flat). And on Saturday I am having people over for a belated birthday celebration-cum-flatwarming party thing. So today I have scrubbed and swept, rearranged and put away, tidied and organised… and it’s still not finished! But I did come up with a solution for my lack of furniture. In my entrance area/kitchen kind of thing (which is not actually a kitchen according to my contract) there is a cupboard. My clothes currently live in that cupboard, at the side furthest away from the kitchen. In the middle there is a space to hang stuff and at the other side is a cupboard without shelves where I keep my cleaning stuff. But all along the top there are smaller cupboards which, until now, I had only been using the bottom shelves of because I can’t reach any further than that. So today I climbed up on a chair and placed loads of the stuff that was residing on my bedroom floor – up against the walls I might add. Stacked neatly.  Not in the middle of the floor – Jan totally made me out to be worse than I am – are now on the top shelves of the cupboard. Yes, it’s just the adult equivalent of shoving everything under the bed and pulling down the sheets, and yes it probably means I will now forget about the stuff that’s up there and never be able to find it again. But at least my flat is going to look nice and tidy for my guests on Saturday!

Oh, and in the course of my tidying and sorting I actually tracked down all the recipes I had printed out or written down and put them into a ring binder. They’re not in any particular order or anything (I would like to organise them properly at some point) but they are in a folder, where I can actually find them when I want to cook something. And that means I can cross off number 80 on my list of 101 things. Yippee!

And the countdown begins

Today my countdown to day 1001 starts. I’m think I’m more excited about that than I am about the fact that it’s my birthday! I’ve already made a practice birthday card in preparation for number 43 (I shall post a picture of it at some point, along with my failed attempts at making origami stars, then we can all have a good laugh). My photography challenge is underway – you might even get to see some of the results once I figure out where to put them – and Jan bought me season 3 of ER for my birthday (I already have seasons 1 and 2) so we can get started on that one pretty soon as well.

Jan and I are going for an Indian meal tonight. We’ve been to the restarant before, so unfortunately nothing for the list, but at least this way I know the food is going to be good. I love curry! And I haven’t had one in months. My mouth is already watering at the thought of it – mmmm! Then, after our meal, we’re going to the bar in my old student residence, so that should be fun. The only thing this birthday is missing is cake!