Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chuffed

I admit to feeling a bit chuffed with myself.

Over the last few days not only have I redecorated Gregs bedroom but I have also managed to install a new ceiling light in the dining room and two wall lights in the living room.

Why am I chuffed?

I didn’t burn the house down! Result

Have a great day.

More Dick soon

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Shed? Oh. That Shed.

It’s up! The shed that is. So now I can talk about it. My builder mate BUFF came over and with just a tiny bit of assistance from me and in a few hours it was done. PIl is one very happy bunny. And I have some peace and quiet.

BUFF hard at it

BUFF hard at it

One completed, square, rectangular shed!

One completed, square, rectangular shed!

Have a great day.

More Dick soon

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Toad in the Hole. A recipe.

 

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For those of you who don’t know what toad in the Hole is, don’t worry. I’m not about to chuck an amphibian into a fire pit and cook it although I have eaten frog legs. Tastes like chicken. Nope. Toad in the Hole is Yorkshire pudding with the addition of sausages (bangers). The reason this culinary delight is called Toad in the Hole is beyond me as is the reason sausages are called ‘bangers’. I never said I would explain why the English are weird.

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Toad in the Hole is my signature dish. My mum taught me how to cook it and I do make a pretty decent version. You will note that I don’t list quantities or weights cos I never measure or weigh ingredients which probably explains why some of the meals I cook end up looking like baby poo and, occasionally, a plate of vomit. Heyho. I may look like the Michelin Man but I have no stars. It is a great meal to have though. Cheap as chips and if you use Quorn sausages, it’s suitable for veggies too.

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You will need the following:

Plain flour, eggs, milk, some vegetable oil and some bangers. I prefer to use Cumberland sausages simply because I like them but you can use whatever bangers you like.

You will also need a big bowl, a sieve, a whisk or fork and two deep oven tray thingies – a big one for the main event and a smaller one for the secret. Don’t use the trays for making little individual Yorkshire puds. Well, ok. If you really must then you can.

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Sieve the flour into the big bowl. This starts to put air into the mixture. Beat in two or three eggs until you have a gooey mess. This should add more air to the mixture. Then gradually start to add milk and stir it into the mixture. While stirring, try to beat more air into the mixture. You’ll know if you are because little bubbles start to appear in the mixture. Add milk until the mixture is sort of a thick liquid. Leave it to stand for a while.

batter mix

Turn your oven on as high as it goes. It needs to be really hot. At least 220 centigrade which converts to a shit load of fahrenheits. Put some oil into the oven trays and add as many bangers as you want to the bigger of the two trays (don’t put any in the smaller one) and put them both into the very hot oven. After about 10 minutes prepare to take the trays out by turning a burner on the hob on. Take the trays out one at a time, closing the oven door as you take each one out. Place on the burner to maintain the heat. Pour the batter into each of the trays ensuring you put enough into each to completely cover the base. Return to the oven as quickly as possible.

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After about 15 minutes open the oven door and don’t do what I always do and stick your head in the oven. It’s bloody hot and if you wear specs like I do at home, they will steam up and you can’t see a bloody thing! Turn the oven down to about 200. After 20/25 minutes the small one which is just Yorkshire pud should be cooked so remove it and leave it to get cold.

After about half an hour or 30 minutes if you prefer, the Toad in the Hole should be cooked. Remove from the oven which you should now turn off to save the planet, cut up into the required number of pieces and serve with veg and gravy. We rarely have it with mashed spud but you can if you want.

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Once the small Yorkshire is cold, cut it up and serve later with a decent smothering of strawberry jam. Don’t puke, it’s lovely. Try it.

Have a smashing day.

More Dick soon.

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Just Looked, Sat, Thought and Did a Bit of Gardening.

When I took Dexter for a walk the other day I found myself looking around at all the wonderful countryside we have in England and thought to myself,

“This really is a green and pleasant land.”

I was astounded by the colours. Mostly it was green but so many different shades. There was dark green, not so dark green, mid green, light green, creamy green, bluey green, reddish green, golden green and silvery green. Perhaps it was the light on this particular day as it was very sunny and bright. In amongst all the greens were splashes of other colours. There was the blue from the last of the bluebells.20150506_173052

White from the flowers of wild garlic and ox eye daisies (a particular favourite of mine).20150522_125122

Mauves, pinks and purples from wild flowers I couldn’t identify. We reached the top of a gentle slope and I turned and looked around me. The view that I saw was just achingly beautiful. In a moment of eloquence that I’m not often capable of I said;

“Fuck me!”

 

I felt a sense of complete contentment, peace and well being. So much so that I had to sit a while and have a jolly good think. I thought a great many thoughts which you are prone to do when thinking. Mostly they were to do with my life and how it had turned out so far. I thought of the appalling bad times I’d had and still have from time to time. I thought about the fabulous days and times I’d had and how I still have lots of those. One day soon I may pluck up the courage and write about those thoughts I’d thought. However, one of the thoughts I did have at that time was how wonderfully well nature created such stunning combinations of plants and colours and shapes. I try to bring that into my garden. I recently read a post by Steve Morris over at blogbloggerbloggest about a dogwood he has in his garden. Earlier this year he had pruned it really hard and now it’s in full growth mode with many superb young red stems. In addition, Steve planted a number of his cuttings and now has a great many more dogwoods to plant (and prune haha). This is a man after my own heart. Free plants! Can’t beat them. I’ve done a similar thing with foxgloves.

Some of the foxgloves in my back garden

Some of the foxgloves in my back garden

I got a couple of purple foxgloves from our local garden centre two years ago and after they finished flowering I left them to set seed, which they do in huge quantities. Generally, I let them grow wherever they happen to grow, but if they really are in completely the wrong place or you want some in a different area  they don’t mind being dug up and replanted. I probably have 20+ foxgloves flowering in my back garden now plus a dozen or so more in the front garden. All from two plants! I love ’em. So do the bees. The best thing though is that you can never be absolutely sure what you get. A bit like Mrs Gumps box of chocolates. The foxgloves I planted a couple of years ago were all purple.

In my garden earlier today

In my garden earlier today

This year, I have purple foxgloves but I have also got WHITE foxgloves!

In my garden this morning. Beautiful flowers.

In my garden this morning. Beautiful flowers.

This isn’t an unusual colour but I never planted them. Some of the seeds that took just happened to have a white gene I guess but the combination really is tremendous.20150612_100349

Next year I hope I get many, many more growing. Most of them will be moved to the new beds I’m starting to prepare out in the front garden. I know what I want to do in my head and hopefully I’ll achieve it but suffice to say, scent will be an important part of the new beds. Roses however, will not feature. In the meantime, I am about to start my experiment with a sl*g deterrent.  Despite hating the slimy bastards for eating my plants, I don’t like to kill them just because they’re doing what they do and besides, who wants little piles of snot all over the place? Nah. I chuck them in next doors garden! I hope it works because then me and Mrs SD Gates are going into business selling our patented slug deterrent, get us a shed load of cash, retire and spend all our waking hours pottering around in our respective gardens and walking our respective dogs.1978841_686052051438740_1830563984_n

Plus getting new furniture of course.

Have a great day.

More Dick soonauto

Inspiration

Crikey. It’s been a while since I last published a post.

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Ummmmm

I admit to a) being busy at work and b) being tired but primarily I needed some inspiration and courtesy of Tessa at Nothing Was Said, Monkey Boy at The Ranting Monkey and Steve at blogbloggerbloggest I have found some.

Thank you.

More Dick follows soon.

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Animals Who Think They’re People (#18)

Nothing more to add

Full disclosure

In my post entitled 1st April 2011, PIL has pointed out a couple of errors. So to ensure that my blog remains true and faithful I need to make a correction. At the beginning where I state I work hard on the rowing machine and state why, PIL has said that she accepts that at some stage in my life many eons ago, I was indeed 27. PIL also accepts because she has seen the photos, that at one time I did have a full head of what she believes to be hair. However, the other two claims I make are, she says, a complete figment of my imagination I apologise and stand corrected.

Dick

1st April 2011

Now there’s a date that will be forever lodged in my memory. The kids and PIL were home as it was the Easter holidays and I was having a day off. As was often the case when I was at home, I would disappear upstairs to work out on the rowing machine. I would spend between 30 and 45 minutes pounding away each time working up a real sweat. At my age I shouldn’t really be working that hard but it’s the only way I know plus, of course, I think I’m 27, still have hair on my head, a six-pack and a big willy. So I thrashed away. I’ve never had that endorphin rush afterwards though. All I ever feel at the end is knackered. Anyway, I finished my session all sweaty and out of breathe and stood for a while waiting for my heart to slow down and my breathing to go back to normal. I exercise on a regular basis so I know what my recovery time is. Only this time my heart didn’t slow down, I was still breathing heavily and sweat was pouring off me. I thought this was a bit weird. Then I got dizzy and was sick! I didn’t have any pain in my chest but I knew enough to think “This is not good. Am I having a heart attack?” I concluded that perhaps I was and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. I remember not being overly concerned at the time. I staggered down stairs and announced to my lot, “I think I’m having a heart attack! Can you call for an ambulance please?” The response threw me a bit. “Haha Dad. April Fool to you too” and they went back to watching a Muppet Christmas Carol! At Easter! TV must be shit at Easter. I remember thinking “Jesus bloody Christ, I could be about to pop my clogs and everyone thinks it’s a prank! So my first bit of advise is: Don’t have a heart attack on April Fools day cos no one will believe you! Eventually they cottoned on to the fact that I was not messing about so Ed, my eldest boy called for an ambulance explaining what was up while I went and sat on the kitchen floor. After what seemed to be a bloody long time but in reality was only a few minutes, a paramedic turned up and started examining me and he confirmed that I was indeed having a heart attack although he called it something else. Then two more paramedics turned up in a pukka, full size ambulance. They put me into it and started trying to wire me up with all manner of sensors and devices but because I was still sweating like a pig they wouldn’t stick! “Christ,” I thought, “here we go. Has to be me these poxy things won’t stick to.” The medics got me sorted though. I was impressed. Here was technology being used as it should be. All the information was being transmitted to the hospital and they could confirm my condition. How impressive is that! The main paramedic was also on the phone to the cardiac unit at the hospital confirming symptoms and relaying what treatment he’d started. Then he said “he is not responding to my questions”. Strange. He’d only spoken to his mate since we’d got into the ambulance so I said to him. “Mate. You haven’t asked me any questions. What are you on about, not answering you?”. He replied, “Alexander, I’ve been talking to you and you’ve not responded.” Naturally I replied, “Who the fuck is Alexander? (I was a bit stressed) My name’s Dick. I thought you were talking to your mate!” “Really?” he said. “You’re Dick? Sorry bud.” Always me I thought. Perhaps I should change my name to Mario Balotelli. Up shot of all this was that once I was stabilised we whizzed off to the hospital with lots of blue lights and sirens. If it wasn’t for the fact I could die it would have been cool and exciting. As it was, it was a particularly stressful and worrying time. Once I had been admitted to the cardiac wards all kinds of tests were done, drugs administered, care given and reassurance offered. The staff were magnificient. The NHS has got to be the worlds most amazing organisation. It handles all kinds of medical treatment urgent and non urgent and generally despite all the stresses and strains it’s under, it gets it right. Words cannot adequately describe how fantastic all the staff are working away at caring for sick and damaged people. I can but praise the nurses, doctors and other staff who looked after me. I thanked them then and I thank them again now. They are just brilliant. After all the tests and stuff I was told that one of the arteries in my heart was blocked. A stent was going to be inserted and the artery reopened. Fantastic. Down I went for a little bit of fairly non invasive surgery whereby a stent was positioned and then the plan was for it to be inflated to reopen the artery. So bloody Mario strikes again and the blasted thing won’t expand. “O dear” said the surgeon “I’ve done thousands of these and that’s never happened before. I’ll come out, change it and go in again with a new one.” Except he couldn’t. He couldn’t remove the faulty stent. It was stuck somewhere in my arm. Always me! In the end he just dumped the stent and left it somewhere in my arm. Totally harmless and nothing to worry about except I’d have to wait a few days before they tried again. Fine. Except I was now getting a bit stir crazy. Some of the old blokes in the ward were a few sandwiches short of a picnic. One was constantly asking what all these people were doing in his kitchen. Another had an imaginary visitor every night. It was sad. Some of my mates offered to tunnel in and help me escape until I told them I was on the first floor. One came to visit with a load of sheets knotted together so I could escape out the window. Eventually, I was taken back down to theatre, an incision made in my groin and a new, working stent was inserted into my artery and it was reopened. Then, I wouldn’t stop bleeding! Bloody hell, will it never end? After a lot of pressure being applied on the incision the bleeding stopped and eleven days after my minor heart attack I was back home.The worst part of the whole episode though was that one of my buddies bought me an Easter egg while I was in hospital. I wasn’t allowed chocolate so PIL took it home with her to stop me being tempted. She was right to do so. I love chocolate (thats why I’m a chubby boy) and I would’ve hidden under the blankets that night and pigged out on the whole thing! When I got home it was nowhere to be seen. They’d scoffed it! Bastards!

There is no end of advise about how to avoid heart disease. Take it all on board because having a heart attack is not a pleasant experience. The only thing I’d add to all that advise is this: Don’t have one on 1st April and very definitely don’t let anyone remove your Easter egg from the ward!

Enough of the medical advise. I think its time to offer advise on another area I know absolutely nothing about. PIL reckons I am the only person who could walk into the Sahara desert with 50 quid in my pocket, walk out 3 days later with 38p left, have nothing to show for all the expenditure and not have a clue what I spent it on. Yep. I’m crap with money! So I thought I’d offer some financial advise.

So you want to be rich?

Don’t have kids then.

They cost a fortune!

My thanks to you again for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’ve enjoyed writing them and I hope you have enjoyed reading them. Don’t forget to click on the “like” button if you did, click on the “follow” button so you automatically get new posts and leave a comment. I’d really like to know what you think.

More Dick soon!

Dick Dastardly

What would you do?

You’re sitting in the car waiting for someone. The dog is curled up in the back. It’s absolutely chucking it down with rain when suddenly your nose starts to disintegrate and there is incredible pain in your sinuses. The bloody dog has farted! Do you get out of the car into the pouring rain and get drenched or do you try and tough it out by holding your breath while watching your face fall apart in the rear view mirror? Please let me know what you would do. Be a bit quick about it though. I can’t hold my breath much longer. Dick

Eggs

We’re having toad-in-the-hole for dinner tonight. I was making the batter and noticed once again how when I want to break the yolks, they won’t and when I don’t want them to break, they do! Is it just me? Please let me know if that kind of thing happens to you too. Just thought I’d mention it.

Dick