Monday, March 31, 2014

Renovations, Day 12

The obvious work today was all about plugs.   Two kinds of plugs - regular

and one with USB outlets for charging USB devices. 

One of each, on either side of the chimney breast, at just-above-desk height, instead of just one either side at floor level. 

Oh how exciting is my life!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dinner, 30/3/14: Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Cabbage

As it was Mother's Day, I didn't have a lot to do with the meal, though I helped with bits and pieces. And of course, with the eating!

When life hands you...apples?

A big bowl of apples, half of which have seen better days, means we need an apply dessert. Today I chose to make a pie. Alex made the pie crust, with some supervision, to make sure he didn't work it too much - and it was very nice. Despite the fact that these were eating rather than cooking apples, the pie was lovely. 

Mother's Day!

Here's my lovely lot of mother's day loot - I knew about the plant as Alex picked it out in the garden centre recently, but it wasn't in bloom - he's been nurturing it in his room. And I knew about some of the bath goodies as Olivia and I bought them together last week... But most of the stuff is a surprise to me - some of it useful, like a new cup for work (we have to have lids on them in the classroom) to replace one which got knocked on the floor recently and some spice jars, some chocolates and a new big keychain for the car key (the old one was a bit beat up). Some of it, not useful but lovely, like these painted rocks which Olivia made for me, similar to some I admired at the Howard County Fair last summer. Aren't they great?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dinner, 29/3/14: Hot and Sour Soup

Here's a dinner which never looks as nice as it tastes (I think it's the egg threads). Nonetheless, it was lovely. If I do say so myself.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Renovations, Day 11

There's not a lot to see today; lots of time was spent sanding and finishing. However, this view through the no-longer-a-hideous-arch into the dining room shows well how much the room is opened out by removing the arch... Only a few more weeks of chaos to go!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dinner, 27/3/14: Tomato and Chorizo Rice

Sarah cooked tonight as I am out at yoga on Thursday nights, but luckily, there was enough leftover for me to eat when I got home. Tasty!

Renovations, Day 10

Two small walls plastered today - this one, and the one on the other side of the doorway, facing it. 

Some coving has gone up around the ceiling in the dining room (though not all the way around). 

Work has started on putting in a few new electical outlets, which will sit above where the worktops are. Two on either side of the chimney breast. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dinner, 26/3/14: Mixed Bean Goulash

A tasty vegetarian (even vegan) dish, which I have un-veganed by adding not just creme fraiche from a pot in the fridge with just a few spoonfuls in, but some bits of crispy bacon, as there were two slices of bacon in the fridge which wanted using.  One of the great things about this dish (which usually gets served with a baguette in our house) is that it comes almost entirely from tins (plus an onion), and only takes about 20 minutes to cook. 

Renovations, Day 9

Here's some of what happened today - the wall(s) between the house and the extension are now more or less joined into a single wall - there's still finishing to do, but both sides are a lot more together and filled in properly, ready to be plastered.

And the skirting board is off in the dining room (we'll not have it put back until after the floor is in; then it can sit on top of the floor, which is a neater look.

In case you wondered, the work is being done by a friend of ours, who is a builder. As he's only one guy, it's not a quick transformation. Also, he's a bit of a perfectionist, which is both good and bad!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dinner, 25/3/14: Pasta with creamy sausage sauce

Renovations: Day 8

Today's visible signs include no-longer-having-a-hole-in-the-floor, 

removal of the paper, etc on the top wall on the other side of the dining room

and all the paper off the ceiling in the dining room.  Looks like the rest of the ceiling panels won't have to be replaced, which is nice. Just needs new paper (and paint of course). 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dinner, 24/3/14: Warm Roast Vegetable and Lentil Salad

This is a really easy dish - the most difficult thing is peeling and chopping veg (not very hard!) - it uses tinned lentils, which are just stirred in and heated through with the spinach at the end. I really also like the addition of a little pesto for flavour...

Renovations, Day 7

This is one of those days when it doesn't appear that much has been done, though of course it has been.  The panel above the windows has been fixed,so it will lie flush all around (it didn't before, hard to explain) and so that we can anchor some blinds from it eventually. 

Also, the bottom of the wall where the extension joins the house has been reinforced & strengthened with the additon of an extra (half) brick at the bottom, then cemented in. On the right side, you can see the lack of brick. One has also been added at the top of each side. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A grand day out...

Despite the lovely looking sunshine, it was a rather cold, brisk day when we made our way up to London to meet up with a friend in Covent Garden (where her mum's flat is) for breakfast, before heading off together to Cambridge to meet up with another, mutual friend. We walked up to Covent Garden from Waterloo, which is a nice walk, and simple to do - great views along the South Bank, with almost no one out and about, except a few joggers - 8.30 on  a Sunday morning is sure the time for peace and quiet in London!

Sarah's just barely awake at this point, though you can see I bribed her with coffee 

A bit later, after breakfast, we had a stroll through Covent Garden on the way to the tube station - I am always reminded of how much I like London, when I spent any time at all strolling through it. Even packed with people, I love it, and on a Sunday morning, it's even nicer...

Lots of spring flowers and flowering trees were out - these are in St Paul's Church (The Actor's Church) yard. 

Then it was off on the train to Cambridge - I haven't been to Cambridge in years, and the kids had never been. Geoff, of course, went to uni there, so he's quite familiar with it.  Lots of the colleges were closed to visitors, though we still had a browse around where we could, after lunch at Bill's

The weather was kind of dubious at this point - mainly chilly with the occasional bit of drizzle, but we soldiered on, having a good wander around the streets and of course

through Clare College (Geoff's college), which was open, and through to the backs...

...where there were actually people punting, even in this weather. We couldn't believe this punter had only a short sleeved shirt on - it can't have been more than about 8 or 9 degrees out. The punter of the oncoming boat had a jacket on.

And of course, after a bit more walking, some coffee and dessert, before heading back to the train station and home. An experience we hope to repeat, at least in part, in the summer - though with slightly warmer weather, at least!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dinner, 22/3/14: Chicken Korma; Curried Okra and Tomatoes

The chicken korma is the Hairy Bikers' Diet version - excellent - even better than the other lowfat version I've used before. Really tender and moist as well.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dinner, 21/3/14: Bockwurst, Sauerkraut, Salad

Not the most exciting meal, perhaps, but we enjoy a good German sausage from time to time. There was salad, as well, but not on the plate at the time of photographing...

Renovations, Day 6: Ceiling, part 1

We now have a more adequately supported ceiling in the extension room - you can't really see it here, because the support is behind the top cornder panelling, but trust me, it's there. Half the ceiling panel has been replaced, as well, and the other half will be, but not today. 

When I came home, the piece was still being held in place with a big pole, but luckily, it's all sorted now, and we were able to move the dining room table back into the room for the weekend. Though there are no lights (I moved a tall uplighter in there for the time being). 

We also seem to have a larger collection of tools in the house every day...  This is only part of what's here!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Renovations, Day 5

Main thing today is that the ceiling in the dining room is halfway down. It was necessary to take it down because (to make a long story short) it needs further reinforcement in the corner as it wasn't really put up properly in the first place. 

I could go into longer, more detailed explanations, but I'm not going to. Suffice it to say that work needs to be done, and while it's being done we'll probably need some of these to hold the ceiling up.  Isn't that fun?