Tagcheese

Bagels, impromptu walk, cheesetastic

1. At the last second, I remember we do have some bread products in the freezer – bagels. We rush to defrost and toast them before the lovingly scrambled eggs go cold and boy, are we glad we did.

2. It starts off in a less than promising way – two dank tunnels under the bridges – but then opens up into a hidden field. Sandwiched between the train station and the river (with a tower blocks on the other side), it’s not exactly a picturesque meadow but it’s green and safe enough that I let Lily off her lead to run around. Amongst the nettles and bindweed, I spot my first fully ripe blackberries of the season.

3. The enchiladas are fantastic – not perfect but not far off – and I can’t wait until we can eat the leftovers.

31 Beautiful Things

In honour of my 31st birthday, here are 31 beautiful things from today. (Cross posted to my main blog.)

1. I’d gone to bed before John and it’s after midnight when he comes to bed. I stir as he climbs in next to me and we have a sleepy exchange, the content of which I can’t remember now. He finishes with a whisper of “happy birthday by the way” and I remember that.

2. The next time I wake up (well, it’s not the next time I wake up because I had to get up for a wee just after dawn and Carla woke me up again an hour after that, but for poetic licence, let’s say the next time I woke up), John’s stood in front of me holding something in his hands. I move the pillow from on top of my head and grab my glasses to see what it is – two carrier bags, containing chole & puree, and barfi & other sweet treats. Yum!

3. I notice that without its dust cover, my book matches the bedsheets.

4. Lily woofs and helicopter-tails around the room when George arrives. She brings him shoes and circles his legs. Lily loves George.

5. I sit on the stately patio chair – which I call “my birthday throne” – while John and George (unsuccessfully) attempt to split the giant logs. We laugh a lot at their efforts.

6. The poultry spice – a “mineral supplement and general tonic” – smells like an old fashioned sweet shop.

7. After introducing himself, the voice on the phone says simply “I’ve got good news”. His news should save us anywhere between Β£6,000 and Β£10,000, and months of coordinating building work. Very good news!

8. Despite being washed many times, my fingers still smell of the breakfast curry.

9. One of the scaredy cats from next door half-raises his tail when he sees me. When I’m feeding him & his brothers, he likes me a lot and we have big hugs but outside of those times, he’s a shy boy. The half tail raise is progress.

10. My mum breaks a 31 year tradition by buying me a birthday card without a cat on the front of it (it had a Lily-esque springer on it instead.)

11. Not-very-garlicky mushroom, olive and fresh basil.


12. Parma ham and more not-garlicky mushrooms.




13. Tuna, chilli and capers.




14. I add a new simple living blog and a new comic to my feed reader. It’s inspiring and invigorating to find new fellow travellers – but a bit of silliness is always welcome too.

15. The cats stand at right angles to each other as they drink the leftover tuna water. From directly above, the white rims of the bowls look like halos.

16. Splashes dribbling down the side of the pan produce a burning smell but every now and then, the sweet comforting warm milk smell breaks through.

17. Lily’s brown spots are strangely soft and silky today. (#notaeuphemism)

18. I squeeze the butter muslin and the curds form into a pleasingly round sphere. When I unwrap it, the cheese will be imprinted by the fine check of the fabric.

19. It’s dark – overcast and under many layers of tree cover – but still the grass and ferns glow an unearthly green.

20. The rain is heavy and sonorous but not unpleasant.

21. “Listen,” I tell John after directing him into the bedroom. A wet roar drowns out everything else but it’s not rain on trees like we both first thought: it’s the beck, flowing more heavily than it’s done in months. Just a few minutes earlier, we’d step through it on the stepping stones left by the last flood. Next time we cross it, we’ll have to navigate it anew.

22. Amongst the lines of light and shadow, the black cat sleeps in a ball.

23. The other black cat is asleep in the dog’s bed. I find him there when I get out of the bath. He looks dramatic against the neutral cushion and pastel blanket. He blinks at me as I dance around the room.

24. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of playing hide and seek with the dog. I can see why cats do it now – hide when they know they’ve not been seen then jump out. I don’t bat with the victim with my paws though, I give her a hug instead.

25. It’s at this point – after I’ve inserted an earlier beautiful thing and had to renumber the rest about five times – that I realise it would have been easier to use an ordered list (<old>) instead of doing it manually. I don’t know if the pay off is worth it now though. Oh, and I realise this isn’t really a beautiful thing but do you know how hard it is to come up with 31 of them? Even on a rather jolly pleasant day? It’s hard! ;)

26. Now we’re flanking her on the sofa, there isn’t quite so much room to stretch out length ways so she stretches across it instead. Her head dangles over the edge, her tongue lolling, her lips flapping.

27. I savour the parma ham. It feels like it’s melting on my tongue but it isn’t. I think if I could only eat one type of meat again for the rest of my life, it would be parma ham.

28. I point John at the most recent Hyperbole and a Half comic about her dog. He laughs loudly as the dog twists its head further in an attempt at understanding.

29. We watch “The Counterfeiters” – the next in my short, impromptu German language film festival. The subtitles aren’t quite right for some reason and the mistakes remind me of child language acquisition.

30. Carla sits on my knee throughout the film. I stroke her, she purrs.

31. We look at the dark window – not at the world outside but at the rooms behind us. It makes the living room seem new again and through the doorway, the dining room looks so lovely that I can’t believe it’s ours.

Mmm cheese, likes it there, cat love

1. The risotto is cheesier than normal. On the fine line between sickly and perfect comfort food, I wouldn’t like it every time but for a one-off, it’s delicious.

2. Deposited there for the duration of our supermarket visit, Lily sits on the living room rug, tail wagging, and watches me say goodbye to Katherine. By the time we reach the store, just a mile or so away, Katherine sends me a photo of Lily on her back on the sofa, receiving a belly rub. She loves her auntie Katherine.

3. It’s cooler today so the cats are catching up on love. Carla attaches herself to me all evening until I go to bed, when Boron takes her place. He even snuggles under the duvet next to me – his winter spot – and we cuddle as I fall asleep.

3BT – fighting it, warmth, perfect combination

1. Since she came to live with us a week ago, Lily has fought a constant battle against sleep during the day – she’s exhausted but there is a slim possibility that something exciting might happen (and everything we do is exciting at this stage) so she wants to keep watching us just in case. Slowly though, her eyes give in and the muscles around her eyes twitch as they relax. It reminds me of the time I watched my lovely boy Carbon fall fast asleep.

2. I think about lighting the stove to recreate the loveliness that was last Sunday afternoon but instead, we head out inside. After a morning of sunshine, the metal of the balcony is warm underfoot. I eat my lunch while the cats and dog sunbathe around me.

3. The cheese – a mature but creamy cheddar – is perfect on the jacket potato. The Tommy flakes* in the tuna are a hit too.

* A selection of spices supplied in a ready-to-use grinder by our friend Tom. The plan is that from his base selection, we’ll involve our own mix then pass some back to him, and so on – the spice mix evolving as our tastes change over time. Our current Tommy flakes mix is garlicky and salty, but with a spicy kick too.

3BT – gravy, silky, full

1. We sit around the table, our fingers sticky with spicy gravy, laughing and telling stories.

2. The light reflects off her eyes and her silky fur as she sits proudly in the doorway.

3. After the big lunch, I don’t have time for dinner so I pack myself a tub of cheese, crackers & olives.

3BT – snow day, elastic, killing is fun, same soup

1. Even without my glasses or raising my head from the pillows, I can tell the world’s gone white again. Our plans are abandoned and we give ourselves a snow day of relaxation.

2. The cheese stretches between my teeth and the toasted bread shell.

3. I rarely play PvP battlegrounds and forgot how much fun killing other people can be. Fighting NPCs is rarely as exhilarating – it’s often just a case of going through the motions – but my half-hour in Warsung Gulch is electrifying.

4. Katherine & I discover we’re having the same soup for dinner. Katherine types “smiling now” and I am too. For all our differences, we’re so alike.