Sunday, 30 October 2016

K Minus 2

K -2 was Saturday but, despite that, we weren't free of our lovely workmen who were here slaving away on the heating and water system until gone five.  They put in the drainage for the new sink and removed some radiator pipes that were hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen.  Then fiddled some more with the heating system as there are still things to be done.

Operation 'Getting to Grips with the Aga' continued.  We'd had fish and chips on K -3, from the Chip Shop obviously, so needed to pull our socks up on K -2, not least because our beloved Aga will have to be switched off while the kitchen is being fitted. 

So the only thing to do was a Mary Berry Tray Bake.  Lemon drizzle for starters.  I buttered the small roasting tray and lined it with baking parchment, only to discover later that the Bake-o-Glide we'd bought is what you should use - and it can be put in the dishwasher and used forever!  

It took about ten minutes longer than the recipe said but we're learning that nothing is exact about cooking in an Aga and that you have to plan ahead because, although cooking is generally much easier and takes less effort, it can take longer.  

And here is the resulting lemon drizzle tray bake. With thanks to Mary.

It got the thumbs up from the heating engineers.

And for dinner we had fish pie, which also worked really well.  Although we did use the old oven too. It's not easy cooking without a surrounding kitchen.  And in the dark!

In between all of this cooking and baking, we went out to tidy the garden, which has been sorely neglected and was looking like a cross between the Somme in 1916 and Steptoe's yard (a junk yard, for those too young to remember). We shredded the lilac bush that we pruned (i.e. chopped to the floor) back in the summer.  And I started a second compost bin, trying hard to do it properly, layering different types of material and chopping it all up small so that it is easier to turn. Then covering it with some old carpet to, hopefully, speed up the process.

And I also managed to do some real gardening.  One of the Rosemary bushes is dying off.  Monty says this is normal as they don't really like our climate and that the thing to do is to take cuttings.  He said all of this weeks ago but I haven't had time.  However, the weather is still mild and I am hopeful that they will take.

The garden is starting to look very autumnal. The chrysanthemums are out, a lovely dark red.

The marigolds are still blooming... is the clematis.

The leaves of the yellow plum tree (in the background of this picture) have themselves turned yellow, while the heritage apple tree has tiny red apples.

These are the bramleys, which are a lovely rosy red.  It probably means that they are in desperate need of picking but we're still eating our way through the last lot that we picked and I'm hoping that they might keep longer if left on the tree.

This is a close up of the plum tree, which is standing on a carpet of yellow leaves.

This is the view back from the orchard to my shed and you can see the mess in the distance.  I've cleared the raised bed nearest to the camera and cut back the asparagus.  Now both beds need refilling with compost and I must remember to give the asparagus some seaweed to see them through the winter.

At the top of the garden though, we're still in a mess.  This was the gin terrace.

A lovely day, all in all. We didn't go out anywhere and, other than the heating engineers, saw no one.  But worked hard and had lots to show for it at the end of the day. Fish pie, Strictly and a glass of wine rounded it off nicely!

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