Archive for January, 2015

Saturday, January 31st, 2015


Saturday, January 31st, 2015



Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Saturday. This morning I picked up a beef joint from Fosters Butcher. A double rib. It’s Hannah’s farewell meal and “something with gravy” was requested. Rib of beef it is. The gravy is going to be a work of art. Caramelised onions with red wine, beef dripping and beef stock.

I have some exotic mustards that appear to be a suitable accompaniment to the joint. Christmas present. Will see how it goes. May even report back afterwards. We have Dijon mustard as a fallback in case of emergency.

Vegetables will be roast spuds, carrots and peas. I shall be peeling the spuds after finishing this post. The joint has to go in at 15.45. It’s 3.8kg. A little larger than I had in my mind but hey…

Hannah is in another room phoning some people in Paris regarding a flat share that she’s seen on tinterweb. I’m off with her to help her get settled in. We’ve booked an apartment for 4 nights using AirBnB. Train down to Kings Cross then cross the road to the Eurostar in St Pancras. Exciting.

It is better to light one small iCandle

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Than to lie alone in the darkness

Signs of life

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

It’s still the deep mid winter and there remains plenty of time for the snow proper to arrive. The garden is pretty desolate but there are signs of life as early spring bulbs begin to emerge.

The Davies house is relatively quiet at the moment as John is away on a school trip and we only have Joe at home. It’s a taste of what is to come when Joe goes off to university at the end of this academic year.

There are advantages. Anne and I met for a rare drink in the Morning Star at 5pm last night. The rarity being the both of us in the pub. The chicken curry had already been cooked (moi). In fact today’s lamb stew has also been cooked (also moi). Today therefore is a day without stress. I do have a lot of work to get through but with no other pressures that isn’t really a chore.

I’m half thinking of lighting the fire. The only problem is that people rarely sit in the front room so in one sense it’s a bit of a waste. Probably still light it. I’ll sit in there and tap away at the laptop.

This weekend is “garden watch”. We are supposed to count the number of birds seen in our back gardens over the course of an hour. Not participated yet. Might do though it will mean sitting in the conservatory which won’t be the warmest place to be. It’s a feel good thing doing that kind of stuff. Even though the sightings might be sparse. We do have a feeder out there which is fairly well stocked with fat balls. We get the occasional robin plus one or two other species unidentifiable due to the feeder being too far away from the house. Robins are easy.

Joe has already gone off to church and Anne is about to depart. He is playing the piano in the service today. I did once go along to a church service because one of the kids was participating. I’m afraid it is no longer an attraction sufficient enough to make me want to endure the rest of what I personally consider to be squeamishly embarrassing stuff.

I might go if I could be sure that Joe would add a few jazzy riffs to the occasional hymn.I leave you with pic of the winter sun streaming through the kitchen window in the morning.

winter sun in morning

The radio fell silent

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The radio fell silent. All I could hear was the sound of breathing and the occasional car going by on the road outside.

Only one thing left on the jobslist

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Only one line item left on the jobslist. Hanging a picture in the kitchen. Then we can nip to Waitrose for a few choice morsels to accompany tonight’s pulled pork. A bottle of red wine stands patiently on the worktop.


Jobs all done. Beautiful day for a walk into the Bailgate.

Anne is away

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Anne is away. At her mums. Fair play. Got to get the old dear to the shops for a bit of retail every now and again. Stock up. Knowworramean.

These occasions where us lads are left to fend for ourselves, are not exactly looked forward to but we do try and make the most of the opportunity. Lunch is procured from Waitrose where there is no real limit on what may be put in the shopping trolley. A bit of a treat to make up for the fact that mum is not on the scene.

The jobslist becomes a more detailed affair. On one side sits the day to day mundane stuff. Fix drawer, clear up wood left by back door. Stuff like that. Opposite is a schedule for what the kids are doing/need in place. Bus fares required with sum of money identified for each offspring, lift from music exam, pick up from basketball after school and so on.

Some of the normal smooth running of the house temporarily disappears. This morning I realised that no one had put the (full) dishwasher on before going to bed. Normally it happens by itself, seemingly. Text messages are exchanged across the Pennines (Anne’s mum lives in Bromborough on the Wirrall). “Where do we keep the envelopes?”, “where are my hockey shin pads?”. You get the drift. We always find them, usually where the have always been or where we left them.

We do nowadays make an effort to keep the house tidy when Anne is away. It’s all relative. When she comes home the house gets another tidy up but hey, we do try.

This morning, Sunday morning I was lying in bed without a cup of tea. I don’t normally have a cup of tea in bed when Anne is away. That isn’t because she always gets up to make it. I make a point of doing my fair share of tea making in the morning. It’s just that there seems to be less incentive to make the tea if I’m just making it for myself.

This downside is offset slightly by the fact that I can keep my own time in the mornings when she is not around. If I want the radio on at 6.30am on a Sunday to listen to On Your Farm or whatever it’s called I can. It’s one of my fave progs but I rarely get to hear it because 6.30am doesn’t normally exist on a Sunday.

This morning was one such day. I drifted in and out of sleep during the farming, a programme about a fish farm somewhere, and then the Sunday service which when I realised was on got switched off. Not my thang. During one of my periods of awakeness came a sudden realisation. “Slow cooked pulled pork!”. I was meant to get the joint ready and stick it in the slow cooker. It was 8.30am. I still had time.

The light came on along with my dressing gown and slippers and down to the kitchen I went. The garlic and onions were chopped, cumin and cinnamon ground – I couldn’t find any already ground stuff – dark brown sugar mixed with chili powder although I kept the latter to a minimum. I didn’t trust the quantities in the American recipe. The pork was smeared with the chilli/sugar/cinnamon/cumin mix and shoved in the slow cooker on top of the garlic and onion together with a soupcon of chichen stock (Anne as you know comes from Merseyside where there is no letter “k” in chicken).

The slow cooker slowly in action I cleared up the mess (yes) and turned my thoughts to breakfast. This is when I realised that the dishwasher was full and hadn’t been switched on. Breakfast could wait. I switched on the dishwasher and treated myself to the luxury of writing this piece for Philosopherontap.

As I write there are signs of life. Only from kid4 who didn’t go out last night. Kid3 is in a band and he had a gig last night. Someone’s 21st birthday party at the Tower Bar at Lincoln University Students Union. As kid4 strolled into the kitchen looking for sustenance my attention was drawn to five cans of lager on the kitchen table in front of me. Obviously a good night. Musicians need time to unwind after the adrenaline of the gig. Phil the bassist is crashed in our spare room. Must have been his beer ;).

The cans are featured in the photo that accompanies this post. Note the low winter sun streaming through the south facing kitchen window. That’ll do for now. Catch ya later…

Just desserts

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

More art of a culinary nature. It has since been destroyed. Artistic vandalism with its own artistic merit.

Apple and blackberry pie

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

It is winter. The chicken is in the oven, stuffed with breadcrumbs, herbs, bacon and dried apricot. The potatoes are par boiling before accompanying the fowl and the parsnips, French beans, carrots and sprouts are all prepared and ready for cooking.

The piece de la resistance is the apple and blackberry pie. The fruits of our autumnal efforts now coming out of deep storage to round off the Sunday lunch.

Shoes, randomly deposited

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Randomly deposited pair of shoes. I used the word deposited in preference to discarded because their owner intends to return and wear them again. That isn’t to say they will be where he left them as his mother will have tidied them up.

There are aspects of this photograph that may be considered worthy of analysis. The bottom right of the photo has a lighter patch of flooring suggesting that the shoes are in a hallway in front of a glazed door.

The shoes also point in different directions inconsistent with the positioning of a normal person’s feet. Because of this one might consider that the shoes belong to a ballet dancer. This would be incorrect. The orientation of the shoes is entirely random and a result of the kicking of feet as they came in the front door.

The bit about the glazed front door is correct.

Windy out

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Windy out. The remnants of Hurricane Nora or a low crossing the Atlantic or some such meteorological event. Significant at the time but soon forgotten in a cloud of meteorological events.

The house is calm. John making his own breakfast. The full monty without sausages. I had the last of those! Anne busying herself. Joe still in bed. Teenage wont.

There is a jobslist. Not urgent. Looking out of the front window the bare tree branches and the tops of the hedge are agitated. Hedge needs a trim. Manana. Will have to get Anne to stick it on the jobslist.

The daffs and crocii are starting to peek through. A good sign. Hope. I quite like these winter weekends, at least when I can relax and potter about a little. I don’t mind a moderate jobslist. One I can barrel through quite quickly once I’ve set my mind on it. Although January and February are the most depressing months of the year there are compensations. Fire blazing away in the grate. Warm and welcoming pub at early doors. Snuggle on the settee with Anne. Maybe even one of the ids too – they’re never too old to do that.

This week I booked a couple of Paris trips. One with Hannah at the beginning of February to go flat hunting and get her settled in to her 6 months stint with Air France. The other to go and see her at Easter. We have booked a nice 3 bedroom apartment in Montmartre. Zut alors.

I quite like the idea of chillin around Montmartre for a bit. Un cafe. Une biere, ou deux. We are going to celebrate Han’s 21st birthday. Han believes in pushing the boat out for these things unlike her brother Tom who passed the mark with little fuss.

Will there be sausages?

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

There will be bacon downstairs. Mushrooms and tomatoes too. Not sure about sausages. Hopefully yes. Maybe beans. Glass of milk. OJ. Toast. Breakfast beckons.

The fireside

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

It’s a crisp Sunday afternoon in January. They don’t come better in winter time. The fire is blazing away in the grate whilst outside the low sun makes a poor attempt to warm the cockles. However, sun there is, a rarity for this time of year. It’s an in your face, just above the hedgerow sun that only really serves to warn you about how cold it is going to get once darkness quickly arrives.

Later we headed for Sincil Bank to watch Lincoln City play host to top of the table Barnet. We beat them 4 – 1. A fitting finish to the holiday season. Back home to slow cooked pork casserole, leeks and carrots and swede followed by apple and blackberry crumble with custard. Perfect.

Now in front of the fire again. The chimney is drawing well. I’m tempted to slow it down a little by shutting the flap at the back but it’s never been done and there is no obvious hook for me to pull on. Best left alone.

I have a cup of green tea and a book for company. The others are elsewhere in the house and the place is quiet.

Twilight in the city

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

The featured image is of Lincoln Cathedral taken from Langworthgate on 3rd January just as it was getting dark. I was on my way to the Morning Star. The cathedral looks great at this time of day and I periodically take a picture of it from this spot when I’m on my way out for a beer. The photos never turn out as good as the original sight though.

On this occasion the pic came out with a lovely depth of light to the buildings which aren’t quite in darkness. The sun still lights the sky to the West adding a nice contrast to night time already almost in place in Langworthgate.