my back is still quite sore. Its better than it was originally, for a while it was very very sore, to the point where even *sitting* first thing was agony. Thankfully that part at least has gone down, but its still very stiff when i first get up, hurts when i move around, and i really struggle to do a lot. I’m mostly so frustrated: there’s so much i want to get on with and i’m really struggling to do it. i know i should really be resting completely but i’m stubborn, and i want to get stuff DONE!!

even sez was tut-tutting me last night when i told her i thought i’d overdone it on saturday. “you’ve got to stop doing that”, she said. thing is.. overdoing it isn’t exactly doing a lot. Here’s what i did saturday:

  • went to lidl to do a little bit of shopping (which involves walking 800 yards up the road and back again, i had my little granny trolley with me so i wasn’t carrying anything heavy home, just pulling it and i didn’t get a lot of heavy stuff) and the asian food store (which is almost on the way home, about 100 yards out of my way).
  • Got back and did the washing up (normally Michiel does it, but friday night his back was sore – we’re a right pair, i know).
  • i made up some bread dough, kneaded that a bit, and put it back into the bowl to rise. heated milk to the boil and watched it cool again, then poured into the thermos to make yoghurt overnight.
  • made guacamole in the food processor with two very squidgy avocados (which were going cheap at the asian food shop).
  • chopped some apple/pear/plum mix, with sultanas and cinnamon, and nuked it to make a sort of sauce to stir into yoghurt for breakfast.
  • made some dough up to make tortilla pancakes (actually, did this twice – the first batch was bleaarrrgh). didn’t make the pancakes in the end up though, just covered the dough and popped them into the fridge to make on sunday.
  • cooked pizza – a really strenuous task involving removing pizza from freezer, grating extra parmesan on top, with mixed herbs, extra pepper and a bit of flaked chilli, then putting into the oven.

see what i mean? then i sat down and watched saturday night’s TV and after that, went to bed. and yet on sunday i felt terrible. I’d obviously overdone it. arggh.

On the plus side.. if i actually sit down to think about it.. i’m getting quite a lot done despite my back problems. At one time i probably would’ve just flaked out on the sofa for a week and let Michiel pick up the slack. At least now i’m keeping ontop of the shopping (which at least is getting me out of the house most days, as i’m not walking jess at the moment – dog tugging on leash + sore back do not go well together), and evening meals, even if i’m not doing much else. the evening meals i’m quite proud of: i’ve cooked quite a lot of veggie food this last week and its been enjoyable. Veggie moussaka, refried beans with tacos and salsa, veggie pasta and i’ve still lots of recipes to try. we had chicken (Bird’s Eye) for the last time one night, together with the last of the croquettes from the freezer, the pizza had ham on, so that wasn’t veggie (but no chicken, at least), and yesterday we had beef stew, with beef from the freezer. tonight is veggie moussaka again, i’m hoping to eat veggie all week for the main meals, and get a nice free range chicken to eat on sunday as a roast (which i will try to rubberchickenise*), as a treat for Michiel, and some ham on the pizza on saturday night. Oh, and bacon and egg butties on saturday morning (which will be free range eggs).

I am hoping that come Wednesday my back will be well enough to enable me to go into town. I’d really like to get the bits n pieces to make 1) jess’s new bed, 2) reuseable sanitary towels 3) hankies. 4) keep a look out for material to make new curtains for the living room but this isn’t essential yet. 5) string to knit dishcloths with. 6) a crochet hook and yarn for me to make covers for jugs n stuff. 7) maybe some clothes for me. for example. i’ve a denim skirt that is still okay but for the fraying on one side. I figure i could hem that in, cut the bottom off, and use it to make a whole new skirt. Then i can use the denim cut off for something else. Ditto a pair of black denim jeans where the seams on the gusset have worn away. I’ve a black velvet skirt too where the velvet is still lovely but there’s a bad rip where the material joins the waistband. so lots to do there.

oh, and we’re having problems with our boiler. a service man came out and identified the problem, but it requires a part that he can’t get hold of till tuesday. so we’re left with a couple of those mini foot heaters that the guy left us with, and an oil filled heater my aunt gave me years ago which i’ve always hung onto as a backup in case the heating goes. Both are expensive to run so we’ve been keeping them to the minimum, where we can. At least we’ve still got hot water. that’s a blessing.

We’ve also had a gas bill: five and a half thousand pounds, going back to Jan ’05. This relates to the problems i described in this post. It doesn’t include *any* of the payments we’ve made over the same period, nor does it apply duel fuel discount. We’re hoping this has been automatically generated as a result of them trying to sort things out, but i’ll say this much: for the first year, we used £1,600 (£800 every six months). that’s regardless of whether its winter or summer. the second year we apparently used £858 the first six months, £1,562 the second six months. last year, from May to Jan this year, we’ve used £1,497. We’re a small, one bedroom flat. To use this kind of gas we would have to be running our heating system 24/7, and the cooker 24.7. We don’t. our flat is so well insulated that even just having the cooker on (no heating) on 27th Dec made the flat unbearably hot, as mom and dad will testify. Its ridiculous. I’ve emailed the financial adviser/debt counsellor (*waves to E*) and asked her to look into this, and hopefully it will just be an autogenerated bill. But if they seriously expect us to pay £5,500, then they have another think coming, and we’ll be heading to Energywatch. grr. we should have gone months ago, i think.

in garden news (not a lot)… my shallots have arrived (so i can grow onions for pickling!), i’m just waiting on a delivery of nematodes now, from my christmas presents, and that won’t arrive for some time yet. Fluffius Muppetus has promised me some peas – Douce Provence, by Victoriana, so i’ve to send off a SSAE for those, and then i can grow peas as well as sugarsnap peas and pea asparagus. (Many thanks to Fluffius Muppetus!) I’m thinking. is there any reason why i can’t grow all three and beans on one “wigwam” of canes, i wonder? or mix them with sweetpeas? I’ve only enough really tall canes to make 2 wigwams and they were enough of a pain in the bum getting home on the bus that i’ve no desire to repeat it this year, although i will if i have to. Granted, the Douce Provence only grow to 2 and a half feet, so i could use a smaller wigwam for those – i’ve plenty of smaller canes. I’ve written out all my veg & herb seeds in the garden diary (except the garlic and shallots – got to add those), and just the flowers left to do. then i must work out what needs planting and when. and where. i need to hire that rotavator (when my back gets better, i’m not that silly), and get lots of compost in. Buy a wheelbarrow. get some seed spuds. i want to get some more radish seeds – haven’t got any left, but they’re not expensive, so that’s okay. I’d like to look into getting more fruit bushes, but we’ll see. I’d also like to extend the herb garden, in pots. A lot to think about, still. I love this time of year. all bright with hope and promise. 🙂

for today though? I’m gonna go have a bath in a bit (word to the wise, the words “quick” and “bath” do not go together well with me) and soak my back in hot water, then do that veggie moussaka and generally try to have a quiet day. Might make some more yoghurt. We’re out of yoghurt cheese. Shocking state of affairs. Can’t be allowed to continue. 🙂

* rubberchickenise: not to do with how it tastes. rather to do with how many meals it does. 1) roast. 2) curry or somesuch with some of the leftovers. 3) stock with the carcass, make a soup of some kind. the principle is – use as much as possible and make it S-T-R-E-T-C-H. hence, rubber chicken. see here for ideas.