Sunday, 3 November 2013

Strictly Not Scary At All

The trip to Tesco was a success and I made it around on my own two feet, albeit rather slowly. With that in mind I'm planning to return to work tomorrow. I'm only in for two days this week anyway so it will be a good test.

I went mad in the fruit and veg aisle and spent the afternoon making soup while sucking down smoothies as though my life depended on it. The end result, which was gobbled down at teatime, was delicious and I've included the recipe in this blog in case anyone wants to give it a go.

Although technically not Bonfire night until Tuesday a few decided to celebrate early and the bangs and whooshes soon sent one very nervous cat scurrying downstairs. However instead of diving under the table he got up onto the settee and pressed himself up against my leg. With a reassuring hand on his back he stayed calm and content, only jumping at the loudest bangs. Of course the weather helped as it was wet and windy and so a lot of official displays had been postponed. I have a feeling it might be a lot noisier tonight.

Smirnoff behaved rather strangely, for him, this morning too. I was dozing as it was not yet eight o'clock and I don't sit up until at least half past on a Sunday. Suddenly I felt the unmistakable movement that heralded a cat walking up the bed. As it was Smirnoff I thought he was just going to sit on my bedside table and stare at me, as is usual. Not this time, he stood on my chest, meowed at me and then tried to pull the covers back with his paw. Just like Tarmac used to do. What is going on? Either he has become possessed or the fact that Tarmac was so protective of me made Smirnoff think getting close to me just wasn't worth the risk of a fight. Either way it is a delightful development and I'm hoping he will eventually sit on my lap of an evening.

Today I'm taking it easy and eating some good stuff, including more smoothies and soup, in order to build my strength up for tomorrow. I'm going to struggle with the early start but it has to be done. I just wish I had more energy.

I don't normally share things on facebook, well I do if they are transplant or PH related as the more awareness I can generate the better, but things like motto's funny pictures etc I don't bother with. However one I picked up yesterday, and replicated in this blog, got me thinking. I have had a lot of pain, both physical and emotional, in my life. I've done some things that I really wish I hadn't and I've hurt people along the way, but having said all that I am proud of who I've become. There are people out there who don't like me. There are people out there who actively hate me but that is life. I've been really down this past week but I am, for all my faults, a positive person and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Ok, here is my Super Scrumptious Tomato Soup, veggie version in brackets, enjoy. Excellent for using up left overs

you will need...
1 medium onion roughly chopped.
1 medium carrot roughly chopped
1 stick of celery roughly chopped
1 - 2 slices of bacon chopped
1 oz butter
Approx 750g very ripe tomatoes quartered
2 teaspoons tomato puree
1 pint water plus vegetable stock cube
bouquet garni
freshly ground pepper

In a heavy based pan put the butter, onion, carrot, celery and bacon (if using) and sweat down over a medium heat for 5 - 6 mins until onion just starts to turn translucent. Add pepper (and if not using bacon a good pinch of salt) and sweat for a further minute.

Add the tomatoes, water, stock cube, puree and bouquet garni (for a more vegetable version you can add some peppers, sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash here). Put on a tight fitting lid and turn heat down to lowest setting. Cook for 1 hour stirring twice to ensure veg do not catch on the bottom.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for thirty minutes with lid on. Remove bouquet garni and now you have a choice. For a clear soup pass soup through a sieve pressing ingredients to ensure all the liquid is removed.  For a thicker, more robust soup whizz up using a hand held blender until smooth. Serve with crusty bread, croĆ»tons, grated cheese or for a really indulgent treat a swirl of double cream. Makes enough for six. Excellent for freezing

Strictly Watch

I have to say I found last night's show a little bit predictable and, dare I say it, dull.

It started off well, the opening dance by the professionals offered a lot of promise for things to come. Tess was wearing a lovely dress, and the judges had made a bit of effort. I particularly taken with Bruno's spider. However it says it all when I say that the most entertaining moment of the night was Bruce calling Darcy 'Dave'.

The costumes were great, all except Sophie's that is. The red cat suit was brilliant but what the hell was that thing around her waist? Dreadful! However the dancing did not live up to expectations. It's getting boring now to say that Natalie was the best, getting the first tens of the series, followed by Abbey, Suzanne and Patrick. Ashley and Ben are quickly catching up though, with Ben using his muscles to distract from what his feet are doing. Fiona and Anton looked really good and I thoroughly enjoyed their dance but the judges were quite right, it wasn't a Charleston.

Also not dancing what they were supposed to were Hairy Dave, no surprise there, and Mark.

I was surprised and disappointed with Mark's efforts. Although he usually manages to inject a bit of humour into his performances he also usually makes a good fist of the actually dance too. Last night nothing worked for him. His costume was all wrong, emphasising his girth, would you have guessed he's lost over two stone? No, neither would I in that outfit. There was an attempt at the paso but it was very weak and I found the whole thing irritating.

Also irritating was Hairy Dave. Now as you know I've been right behind him so far but after last night's performance I'm no longer sure he deserves to be there. It is all very well relying on you fan base week after week but it's getting to the stage now where better dancers are leaving when it really should be Dave. Yes he's funny, yes he is having the 'time of his life' but the time has come to make more of an effort to grasp at least some of the steps. On the other hand the powers that be are not exactly playing fair with Dave. He is clearly much, much better at ballroom and yet week after week he's given Latin. And yet all the others seem to alternate. Maybe Hairy Dave is right and he has been included as the 'light relief'.

Top three Natalie, Abbey and Suzanne. It goes without saying everyone is expecting Natalie to win, including me, and that is why it has become suddenly so boring. It is no longer a race for the top spot but who comes in second.

Bottom three Hairy Dave, Mark and Fiona. I think it's going to be Dave and Fiona in the dance off and If so Dave will go, but I've got it wrong before.

Have a happy and safe Bonfire night. Next blog Wednesday.