Get me. I'm boiling milk for Pots au Chocolat. This is the kid friendly pudding for Burns Night. The grown ups are having Cranachan.

A late night sweep round Tesco has me surrounded by many many tubs of double cream, and vanilla, slabs of chocolate, a bottle of whisky and butter. One look in my shopping basket could have given a nutritionist a heart attack.
It's OK; there are no nutritionists in Cheesetown.

Step one on the Pots au Chocolate: bring cream and milk to the boil. And Proust got this thing right - a smell and a taste can take you right back. Watching the bubbles around the edge of the pan of milk I remember making coffee for my dad. "Coffee" was one of the first things I was taught to make. Coffee in those days was boiled milk poured over Nescafe granules. Three spoonfuls of sugar for my dad. Made it every night for him. He wasn't going to sleep at night anyways.

The trick was to catch the milk just as it was boiling up - made it frothy you see.

Cranachan is made by adding malt whisky to whipped cream. Whisky was Wayne's drink. The smell of it takes me right back to the whisky tasting sessions in Aberdeen; nights finishing off a bottle of Laphroaig with Paul and El Rocko; Talisker (mutually agreed to be the best malt) finished in Madrid (because a job worth doing...etc), and the all day walk to get to the distillery on Skye.

My dad died over 20 years ago before I was grown up enough to say sorry. He was 60.
Wayne died over a year ago before I could make it alright again.

Call this Auld Lang Syne then.

Check the date! Have you noticed it's BURNS NIGHT already???

BURNS NIGHT!! This means that the countdown to Saturday-Night-After-Burns-Night starts here. Yes, yes, yes - I know there might be some diehards out there toasting a haggis with a wee (grudged, "careful it's a school night") glass of whisky, but obviously the main event will be on Saturday.
Because that's when I'm off to a Burns Night.

So the countdown has started. And there is No Pressure. No Pressure at all... just because in a fit of madness I have volunteered (volunteered??) to cook.
Yes you read that right. I volunteered to cook. Not, thank god, the main event ( it was a controlled madness), I won't be roasting haggis, or bashing neeps... I will only (only?) be Doing the Pudding.
So No Pressure

I will be Doing Pudding for 14 or 15 people. Even though food for any more than three people at one time counts as Mass Catering in my book.
I will be catering for some vegetarians who do not eat gelatin (no jelly) or cheese (no cheesecake), and kids (sigh.. no alcohol or coffee or yukky fruit stuff...), and anything I make will be transported (so that's cardamom creme caramel with filo pastry rolls out of the question then..).
I will also be amongst the company of people who have done a Proper Starter and a Proper Main Course, so cheating and running off to buy shortbread is out of the question..

Like I said No Pressure.
Await further developments....

Can we all just agree which year we're in?

Posted on 10:30

Yep it's that time of year again, the start of a New Year, which for us accountants means the reckoning and adding up of the results of the Old Year. For those of us in the business, this is known as the Year End.
At the Institute we are in the throes of the Year End. You'll have noticed that it's been quiet round here recently....

I'll spare you the details, but it involves a lot of numbers, and a lot of hours adding up the bloody numbers, and then even more hours spent figuring out which numbers are WRONG.

Because some of them always are.
Even mine sometimes... who'd have thunk it?

The Institutes's Finance team are currently stressed, and ratty, and completely focused on the details. And one detail in particular is starting to really bug me.
Which year would you say we're currently on?

Go on humour me, would you say we are in two thousand and eleven or twenty eleven?

It's a mouthful isn't it? Two thousand and eleven. Remember in the bad old days when only lawyers would talk about being in "nineteen hundred and eighty four"? Well lawyers are paid by the hour, so it probably makes sense they keep the old circumlocution, but everybody else, well we all knew we were in the nineteen whatevers.

I met Wayne in nineteen ninety two. We moved to Scotland in nineteen ninety four, the cherub was born in nineteen ninety six. Not nineteen hundred and ninety six, because that would make him sound incredibly old, non?

We even had cameras back in nineteen hundred and ninety seven

Obviously there's been some kind of mass excitement going on since the millennium - when we got to go into the year TWO THOUSAND, and a New Century... but come on , it's been ten years and we still don't have personnel transporters, intergalactic communications or even a cure for cancer.

I'm getting bored with the old two thousand and whatever year thing. Especially now much of my day is spent discussing two thousand and eleven vs two thousand and ten's income.

Can we all agree we're in twenty eleven?
Try it, nice and snappy, twenty eleven.
See? Easies!

Cheers - got to head off and finish twenty ten's books of account... we have a problem on the designated funds y'all.

The Results are IN

Posted on 17:52 In:

Yes, that's right Scottish Schools this week are announcing the results of the Maths and English GCSE Prelims.

At Last! Although I know it's entirely possible that you are among the other 99.99% of the world who remains unaffected.


Lets have a re-cap.

In December The cherub turned in the most abysmal exam results of his admittedly short, secondary school career. Without even the distinction of being bottom of the class - he managed to be second from the bottom.

Relegation from Credit Maths to General GCSE was on the cards.
In fact with two weeks to the exam it was a pretty sure bet.

At the same time, Global Warming manifested itself in the coldest December since records began. For the best part of two weeks, the Cherub and I were stuck at home.

Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Together over the course of those two weeks we:
FACED DOWN our fear of indices and root values
GOT TO GRIPS with the parabolic function
WRESTLED with factors
and NAILED factorisation.

No fraction, surd or equation remained UNSIMPLIFIED
No angle remained uncalculated. Hell, armed with sine, cos and tan no radius, area or diameter remained UNINVESTIGATED..
No subject of FORMULA remained unchanged
We spoke the language of VARIATION.

The quadratic equation was OURS.

So, as I was saying, the results of the prelims are in.
The Cherub has miraculously graduated to the top quartile in the class.

I'm taking a bow here.

Still Waiting for a Man

Posted on 11:26

Yes you read that title right.

It was my dear old Auntie Margaret who first told me "Well my dear, you'll spend your life waiting for the man".

At the time, as I remember she was waiting for The Man from the Southern Electricity Board.

And in this, as in so much else, dear old Auntie Margaret Was Not Wrong.

Currently I am in search of, in no particular order
* A plumber
* An electrician
* A joiner
* A plasterer
And, along with half of Cheesetown, a gutter repair man.

No, what you thought I meant something else???? Like I'm looking for soul mate??? Pfft. Been there, bought that T shirt, and buried the man, thanks very much. I'll leave it to Roses to peruse the Internet dating opportunities. Right now I have very Specific Needs.

The rules for Internet dating do not apply here.

A Good Sense of Humour, for example, seems to feature highly on dating websites. Er no. I have already been sufficiently amused by various quotes given by various tradesmen. What a laugh I had at some of the quotes to replace the electric shower... And I'm still ROFL'ing at the current rates for gutter replacement. £5oo plus VAT anyone? Chiz, do the Cherub and I want new guttering, or to eat through February? Tough call.

Looks?? This is important on the old dating websites. Frankly, for someone who should only be here for a day, and then either up a ladder, or under the sink, it matters not.

Availability? This is assumed on dating websites. In more innocent times I also thought that the simple fact of advertising in the yellow pages and answering my phone call, meant that you would be available. Ah sweet bird of youth - how I miss you so. How many dates have I made with trades and delivery men who do not appear? Special mention must go to the delivery man who was due to deliver "between 7am and 5pm". Having taken a day off work to wait for my new shower - it was delivered at 9pm.

No matter. I'm still waiting on a plumber who can actually appear as arranged to install aforesaid shower. Since October... I've been waiting since October.. Read this and weep!

Glimmers of hope in the situation have all proved short lived, and as misleading as the notion of 24/7 tradesmen. In September we found Bob who could who was fitting the kitchen at Wayne's. Bob who could, sadly turned into Bob who shouldn't when he managed to throw himself across the kitchen having drilled into a mains power cable. Bob (amazingly enough still mobile...) has yet to recover sufficiently to return to the scene of the crime.

Recommendations from friends in Edinburgh have all proved dead ends. Recommended Men based in Edinburgh seem constitutionally unable to cross the City By Pass. I live two miles outside this new Maginot Line.

I can see that this search for men is going to have to go GLOBAL.

The Cherub has Flown

Posted on 19:40 In:

That's right. The Cherub has flown. Strolled off casual as you like, no glance back, straight through security at Edinburgh International Airport.
On his own..

He has gone to see family in Dublin.

I get to stay home with the Nedster.

There's something wrong with this deal..

And it's not just that his passport photo dates back to 2006...

Ye Wyse Webbe Woman Predickts

Posted on 17:15 In:

Yea for it is unto this tyme of yeare agan when ye Wyse Woman predicteth all that will come to pass.
First thynge that will come to pass is Wyse Webbe etc will drop the olde englishe stchtick. For it do her head in.
OK that's better.
Second thing that will come to pass is I will skip the usual predictions. Footballer in sex scandal, MP resigns after whatever, imminent closure of major institution, weather hot in summer, cold in winter... yadda yadda yadda, this stuff is ten a penny, and will happen every year. If you want the details on that stuff, well that's what newspapers are for..
No, as the fog and dust from the New Year clears the following has become clear in my wee (dusted) crystal ball. I am seeing Predictions for all those listed on my blog roll....

January will see Charlie winning the first ever Nobel Prize for Blogs.

In March concern will mount as to the sanity of the Vegetable Assassin as she continues to insist that Black Bun is a perfectly edible substance, and the perfect accompaniment to Vodka Martinis

In April, Pat wins a ticket to the Royal Wedding. Her hat is a triumph and is featured in the Daily Mail.

In May, the imminent closure of the Helminthdale Haslett Factory sees demonstrations fronted by none other than Mr Musgrove who is enraged at the cynicism of local government. A certain T Aldous, is heard to mutter pot..kettle..and black...Elsewhere in an astonishing act of solidarity, Scarlet Blue leads a Ladies Sit-in at the Catskill Library. This sit in is largely silent, as would be expected from Scarlet.

By June Rog's new shed is finally completed. Lily and Oz mount a silent protest until they too are given a reclining chair in aforesaid shed.

Over the Summer Mapstew's rendition of Achey Breaky Heart tops the charts throughout Europe. To the despair of his long time fans.

Autumn sees Roses appear in a new daytime chat show, co hosting with Lorraine Kelly. this programme has to be suddenly taken Off Air when Robert Downey Junior appears... Nick replaces Roses...

In November Clyde's horse will win the Melbourne Cup. Despite earlier poor form in the Sydney Autumn races... Clyde himself is on holiday in THAILAND and unavailable for comment.

In December Mme DeFarge is named leader of the British Husky racing team in the forthcoming Arctic Olympics.

Ha! See! Still got it! Further consultations with ye Crystale Ball are available at a small price.
And remember there is a No Money Back Guarantee.

Welcome to the car crash...

I have a complicated bereavement. I was only reconciled with my ex, W, months before he died of cancer. Luckily (for him) I was made redundant and able to care for him while he died here at home - October 20th.
Currently getting through it with our son, aka the Cherub, dog Ned, and friends here in CHEESETOWN.

Who Needs a Booker Prize?

Who Needs a Booker Prize?
Sunny Thinks I'm Stylish

Wylye Hearted This Blog

Alive and Kicking

Not Forgotten