Wednesday, 17 February 2010

church, chicken and beer

i've got writers block. i knew it would have to happen, a glimmer of a true audience rather than just my dutiful family and badgered friends and suddenly i'm all fingers and thumbs and racing heart. and my concentration is not being aided by the fact that a presumably local vicar has chosen the table next to me at starbucks to gather his ministerial flock for a breakout session. he's just used the line "i've been flagellating myself all day but that was for pleasure....".....? i'm sorry but this isn't what i expect to hear from the appointed. being an agnostic at heart; lordy, one has now sat AT my table! i am being slowly absorbed INTO this religious melee! it's quite exciting; a minute ago i was on a small round table trying to work out how to type html code onto my page and suddenly i've been pulled into a tribe, trapped by the spindly tangly fingers of faith and stilted conversations about gardening and heating.

i AM agnostic at heart but have found myself offering up the odd desperate prayer to an all encompassing spiritual non-judgemental being about obtaining the state school place we crave. i hope this omnipotent entity forgives me my civil wedding and the childrens' lack of christenings, aligning them to my belief in something less organised than that offered up by the encumbant holders of the earthly posts. and somehow moves catchment areas to facilitate my request. they're making gags about sharing the small starbucks sandwich among the 5,000; this is like being at an accountant gathering and everyone sniggering through double entry jokes. and i think someone has "released". we're sitting far too close for physical comfort and i may need to actually leave soon. apart from the proximity they're all struggling a bit with social chit chat and this always makes me want to wade in and offer up some conversational aid....and i'm sure to say something controversial about the pope's recent condemnation of society as being responsible for the exposed abuse of children by priests, rather than the expected apology and restructuring of controls to prevent it happening again.

anyway. is what has made me feel so knock kneed: a top 25 mummy bloggers listing! so thank you so much to those of you that felt the pulse of a deep need for communication and female complicity last week.

workwise things have also suddenly looked up and partly due to the power of BLOG; if you don't blog you won't get may be my new mantra. i have been contacted from across the water! a stateside possible piece of contract work has made its way to me from a previous employer; i will find out more later this week and even if nothing comes of it the glimmer of hope has rekindled the fire of possiblity. there is also a 6-8 week piece of work at a public sector entity in edinburgh which may accept 4 days a week (i'll try to push for 3 post interview, assuming i get one) and i received money back from nursery for the pre-school government funding credit which i'd forgotten about; so everything is feeling much less dire. and i received 12 red roses; not on budget but definitely an adverse variance i can live with.

however, this week's menu which represented a cost reduction of 50% on our usual sainsbury's bill has been remarkably satisfying! so i cooked a roast chicken (and did still opt for a free range one, hugh whittingly fittingly whatsit's voice ringing prosaically in my ear: eat less, not cheap meat) on monday. i lobbed it in the oven with an onion up it's bum (or down its neck? never sure what end is which as i don't look too closely) and hastily peeled carrots strewn all around it. usually i ask daughter #1 to peel for me, 4 yr olds have surprisingly nimble fingers for such tasks and she does an excellent job.... but she was absorbed in gigglebiz which both are obsessed by. so i also threw in jacket potatos and apart from steaming a few veg later on, that was dinner done: a hugely quick weekday option that cooks itself through bathtime.

the following day i took the carcass and in a method akin to that used back through the ages to cavetime (i liked to think romantically, nostalgic for a vestige of family gathering ritual) took off all the meat i could, kept some of it back for the girls and chopped the rest up. i fried this with an onion, threw in some brocolli, frozen peas, a tin of coconut milk and a few spoons of curry paste that has been in the back of the fridge for some time and yum! and quick! and then i boiled the carcass with an onion, pepper balls (what are they called again?!) and bayleaves for an hour and now have stock for tonight's risotto. so one 1.4kg £7 chicken will have done 7 adult meals and 6 children's meals. now that is a WIN WIN!

yesterday daughter #2 said "i whan chickin mummy" which warmed my heart until it transpired that this was her first ironic joke; a sarcastic prod in the direction of regular chicken dinners. when i gleefully presented her with some she cackled and said "i dohn like chickin mummy ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"

last week also ended on a high as daughter #1's pre-school (and hoped for primary) did gym in the playground each morning from 8.50 - 9.00; i was there on friday in my puffer and scarf (-3; not usual aerobics temperature) and as i enthusiastically assisted the girls with kung fu panda kicks, cotten-eyed joe jiggling and YMCA actions i felt genuinely uplifted. and it wasn't just the blue sky, or my mum being on hand: it was the delicious gym teacher. just window shopping but as i hurried to thank him for his efforts i realised that i was probably 15 years older than him and had snot down my front. not mine, you understand. i confessed all to adam later and he forgave me my rampaging hormones in the face of young virility.

our own valentines outing was mixed in success: i sat in pizza hut eating our shared order while adam had to go home to help re-settle #2. i haven't eaten at pizza hut since university: the sunday all-you-can-eat offerings presumably hadn't taken into account the scale of our hangovers and capacity for lard, but it was next to the cinema and i felt the usual stresses of the week melt into my double pizza portion and peroni; as the 14yr old waiters and waitresses stared sadly at me and my i-phone thinking i'd been stood up i felt strangely free from the strings of social expectation. but then realised i didn't have my wallet and that socially i would be expected to pay so was thankful when adam did reappear just in time to pay and for us to watch avatar: fab. comfy chair, surround sound, tummy full of pizza and beer: heavenly valentine!


  1. Pepper balls...sounds delicious! I look forward to sampling them on our next visit. Good blogging Kate and fingers crossed with the gym teacher...I mean, job prospects...Lizziexx

  2. Daughter #2 cracks me up, as does your rendition of your valentines evening, although I suspect having a quiet dinner of pizza and beer with no distractions was actually divine! Jen xx

  3. Hmmm, I remember that evening too! Going back home from Pizza Hut to find doting Granny letting daughters #1 and #2 eat her dinner in front of So You Think You Can Dance! And getting back to Pizza Hut simply to pay the bill and run. Avatar and indigestion. Nice ;-). Ads xx

  4. Kate, your blog never fails to make me giggle :-)Great blogging. So many familiar phrases as well as home truths..... Gigglebiz complete obsession for my 2 as well, and cooking chicken in the week and making it last at least 3 days! Mind you I can offer plenty of other budget slashing but tasty meal ideas if you need them (as well as 100 recipes with Chicken lol!) Great news for the job prospects - fingers crossed for you xx

  5. #2 really did need Daddy to say finally goodnight (plus some baked beans) and #1 enjoyed the rest of my fishcake and the end of So You think You an Dance (an extra half an hour after Daddy had gone)- so cosy!!
    Well done Kate - top 25 Mummy Bloggers - I am so impressed and the possibility of work too - skys the limit !! xx (Adoring Granny)

  6. I'm new around here but if that's writers block then i'm hooked.

  7. Hi Kate,

    Fab blog. I look forward to reading each week. Life there sounds pretty similar to mine except for son not daughter, but the phrases ring true! Billy also enjoys building Mommy's hopes up with false praise only to dash them at the last with sarcasm. Hope the work comes off soon, keep your chin up,

  8. With writing like this who needs a top 25 listing.

    "...her first ironic joke, a sarcastic prod in the direction of regular chicken dinners."

    Two words : BOOK DEAL.

  9. Oh my boys love Gigglebiz, it is like Little Britain for children!!

  10. What's 'Gigglebiz'? And do I want to find out? Just loving you joining a religious melee, and am intrigued as to what happened when one of the faithful 'released'. Or again, do I not really want to find out? Nice to meet you, I'll be back.


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