Little Jenny Wren came up with a lovely idea – on the 14th day of each month, she will blog what her day has been like, in intensive detail. She’s opened it up to others to join her, and i jumped at the chance, so i recorded my day yesterday in excruciating detail.. This post is *very* photo intensive so not recommended for anyone on dialup.

[By the way: this is not a normal day for me, nor should anyone take it as being indicative of such.]

08.30am – got up, performed ablutions, pulled clothes on and sleepily made coffee. Sat surfing for a while, reading the news, blogs, etc.

10.00am – went to walk Jess, took photos while i was out.

this tree fell over in the high winds we had on the monday/tuesday.
I took the opportunity (with the branches being close to the ground) to snap some close up shots of catkins.. jess got in the way with this one!!
Pretty, aren’t they?
All the trees round here have these growths in them. No idea what they are, and since they’re always up high in the trees, i’ve never been able to get close enough to photograph them before now. Wonder what they are? I’m sure someone will tell me.
Tried to snap a photo of the broken base, but no doing. Will try from the other side tomorrow.
The chaotic nature of momma nature never fails to amaze me.
The chaotic nature and destructiveness of humankind never fails to disappoint me either. If you look closely you can see something metallic in the tree, in front of the ivy. Its a child’s bicycle. Its been there for years. Someone threw it up there. Why, i have no clue. sad, really.
This is a flowering .. redcurrant i think mom said it was? Rubus, anyway. i took a photo of it last year in full bloom but when i saw the distinctive pink buds forming yesterday i headed over to snap a photo of it in the early stages. so pretty. its an antique shade of pink, really.
I’m amazed this hasn’t been picked by someone. its growing wild. pretty.
Same flower. it just screams: Easter and Spring really.

10.30am – home again. Sorted out Water and a treat for Jess, got myself coffee and breakfast (strawberries with vanilla yoghurt). Finished my morning surfing.

11.30am – Made bread, Icing for the coffee and walnut cake i’d baked the day before.

Bread, pre-rising. the black flecks are poppy seeds, part of the mix of seeds i put in (pumpkin, sesame, linseed, sunflower and poppy).
The coffee and walnut cake i’d baked yesterday – needed icing.
The problem with making butter icing in a bowl with an electric mixer is the icing sugar goes everywhere.
cake cut in half, ready for icing.
Coffee flavoured butter icing
Stage one complete
Sandwich complete.. with a dollop of butter icing ontop
Ta-da! one cake, finished. Yum. have some of that after lunch i think.
Cook’s prerogative: licking the spoon. yuuuuuuuum. (sugarr rushhhh baby!)

12.00 noon – popped out to Aldi for bacon for caturday breakfast! Had a quick drink and break when i got back. Michiel was up by this time. I put the washing machine on.

Heading out..
Yes, i take the camera with me while i’m out (but i don’t take photos that could identify where i live). These, on the other hand, could hardly identify me! they were pretty when they first formed. Now they’re the last gasp of winter, really.
Spring buds – always lifts the heart when i see these after the long dreary slog of winter
This bush is a bit further along
Part of the reason i focus on the beauty: where i live is a rough part of Manchester that, historically, hasn’t had much money thrown at it in recent times. a lot of social problems exist here, and there’s so much ugliness, its easy to drown in it and get very depressed. This is a perfect example of it: the path i walk Jess on regularly is an old canal that’s now been filled in. At various points it crosses roads and railway lines, and of course then it has to go either over or under the road/line – usually under. This one i have to walk through when i return from Aldi. Lots of broken glass, a mattress and sleeping bag here (we’ve seen someone sleeping here before now). even a few condoms. ugly, and not a bit scary – i really detest walking through here. No wonder i focus on the beauty.
Now i know spring is on the way – daisies!!
I don’t think this tree is going to last much longer. I reckon next winter’s strong winds will rip it apart completely. For now, its still alive.
What i see when i get home.. look closer..
Ms worrywart, watching through the window for me.. you can see she does this on a regular basis from the state of the window – all smeary from her nose! I think before we had her she was abandoned, so she reacts very strongly to being left at home by either of us. She’s sniffy with Michiel at the moment because he went away two weekends on the trot, for example.
When i open the door, she wants to greet me, but this is dangerous because if a motorbike/cat/dog/anythingthatmoves goes by she can be out of the door before i can say “no!”. So she’s ordered onto the couch straight away.
When i’ve shut the door she stands on the couch, front paws on the arm, and stretches up to greet me and give me a kiss. Then she inspects my bag. There might be treats/nasty things in there you know! She has to inspect every bag that comes into the house. very nosey dog (but i love her to bits).
Went to put the shopping away. As you can see, i got grapes (49p for the box!), paracetamol, some seeds for the garden – and what i went down for – bacon for caturday. Can’t have a caturday without bacon – my life would not be worth living!
Then i sat down to have a bit of a break – some squash, surf a lil, and read my copy of “Grow your Own” magazine.

1.00pm – Planting out shallots and peas in the garden (see earlier post for photos). This involved digging over a bed in the side garden, putting planks into the sides, putting a little compost in, then planting the shallots in, and watering the bed. then i got started on the peas – dug over the area they were to go, removing weeds, put in some compost, put the wigwam in, then planted the peas around at the base, watered them and wrapped fleece around the whole thing.

2.30pm – Washed hands, knocked back the bread and cut into loaves, went into the tin. Lunch break – Ham, mustard and tomato sandwiches with some red grapes. Went to cut myself some cake. when putting it back – disaster struck! I dropped the entire thing. Was very very cross with myself. kicked the cupboard. swore a bit. (okay. a lot). Cleared up and dumped the cake in the bin, and put out in the big bin. very very cross.

Bread rising slowly
This batch turned out to be rather wet, and was sticking badly to the worksurface. Yes, i could’ve put some flour down to help stop the sticking, but i decided to experiment instead – instead of doing what i usually do, which is to flatten the bread, then fold into three (like you do with a sheet of A4 to fit in an envelope) then put into the tin, i decided to roughly shape the bread with my hands, then put into the tin, to see if there was any difference in eventual shape.
Lunch! Ham, mustard and tomato sandwiches with bread from previous baking session (couple days ago). Some grapes too.
 The dropped cake, after i’d picked it up off the floor. I wouldn’t mind if it had landed bottom side down and had been a bit messed up (stomach doesn’t care about messed up) but this landed with the icing side down, and broke apart, so there was no way to salvage any of it. *sighs*. so annoyed with myself. mental note: DO NOT HOLD THE CAKE TIN ONE HANDED!!!
Experiment worked: no conceiveable difference in size/shape of bread from the envelope folding thing. Its a little flat because there’s slightly too much water in there (but it makes for a softer loaf). *shrug*. still perfectly edible.

3.30pm – put the bread in the oven to cook. Bread came out again, cooked. completed my notes in my gardening journal as to what I had done.

Bread all cooked. At least something went right.

4.15pm – emailed Debt Adviser about the gas situation. Went to make another cake and the garlic bread for dinner. Realised i was out of plain flour (for the garlic bread) and sugar (for the cake). stomped up to lidl, really annoyed with myself.

4.30pm – back from Lidl with plain flour, sugar, box of cadbury’s easter eggs, millionaire’s shortbread and chocolate for Michiel (yes, i comfort eat!). Put chocolate away and got on with baking – knocked up garlic bread, put it aside to rise, then the cake, which went straight in the oven. Did some washing up.

Second cake. its got a depression in the middle cos this cake has a tendency to rise in the middle, and if you put the depression in, it sometimes helps to flatten the cake out. I’m still working on the timings for this cake, which is why i haven’t written out the recipe yet.
One cake out of the oven. this is a little bit overdone – this had 1 and a half hours at gas mark 3.5. I reckon it needs to be at gas mark 3, really, or start at gas mark 4 for the first hour, then turned down to gas mark 3 for the remaining time (which is what the other cake had).

6.00pm – Sat down for a cuppa tea. Internet went down, so sat reading whodunnit book “Death of a Blue Movie Star” by Jeffrey Deaver.7.00pm – Went to make Butterbean and tomato soup, put garlic bread in the oven.

Garlic bread. bread strips, really. you can rip them apart. Great for dunking in soup. this is a regular favorite of ours. 
Butterbean and Tomato soup. Cheap, filling, yummy. A Rose Elliot recipe (from The Bean Book). I’ll be cooking this again.

8.00pm – sat down to eat dinner, watched Gardener’s World (lord but does that Carol annoy me) and NCIS.

10.00pm – made more butter icing, iced the cake. Cake no 2 that is. cut myself a slice and sat down to eat while watching Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit. Then watched (recorded) Top Ground Gear Force which was done for Sport Relief. Half the subtitles were missing but the second half was funny enough, although Michiel was literally rolling on the floor with tears in his eyes (if you’d like to see it, its on you tube). He’s decided he likes gardening now (Jeremy Clarkson style, which involves “pruning trees” with a shotgun, BBQing with a doodlebug V1 rocket (and setting fire to the shed which James May so lovingly crafted), and digging up existing beds by blowing up the polish workers) and wants to help me garden tomorrow. I’ve told him: over my dead body. Then watched “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer“, which was quite good, while i did a bunch of knitting.

Cake No 2, finished.
Yum! worth it? oh absolutely. Which is why i’m so cross i wrecked a whole cake!!

2.30am – wrote out tomorrow’s todo list, brushed teeth, grabbed Jess’s evening treat, got undressed, crawled into bed and gave Jess her treats, then read for a bit till Michiel came to bed. Lights out. Fell asleep almost straightaway.

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