Sunday, 12 January 2014

Happy New (secular) Year

I gave the altar a few offerings. And a clean.
Candle on the right, incense on the left. Lots of fruit (better there than stored uneaten in fridge).
Water in front of Buddha. A properly Soto Zen altar now.
Fruit can be eaten after being on the altar.


Secular New Year is traditionally a time to declutter and throw away old receipts and paperwork.
I have started a new method for dealing with those papers I feel too insecure to throw away.
Photograph them!
I have some invoices for some work I did in 2001. I have submitted them for tax assessment so theoretically I don't need them anymore.
Take a picture, upload the image to computer, save the file on the computer, destroy the confidential information, and shred the invoice.
Clutter gone, yet information still saved "just in case".

Friday, 3 January 2014

Buttenut squash comments

The butternut squash is not actually a very easy vegetable to prepare. It's an awkward shape to work with.
Knowing it would be a struggle for me I had asked a friend to come to help.
She took the hard skin off with a vegetable knife, then cut it into cubes. In the past I have saved the seeds of butternut squash and roasted them... they are a bit like hard-skinned pumpkin seeds, but this time we didn't have time to do that.
The cubes got tossed in oil then roasted.
The rest of the preparation was fairly easy.
This recipe would be easier and maybe cheaper with other seasonal veg such as carrot or courgette.

Festive Butternut squash bake (Vegan Christmas Dinner)

Jeff and I took
a roasted butternut squash and quinoa bake
to Mum's for dinner on Christmas day. (Click for recipe with instructions, nutrition and image)

It made a change from nut roast.

More reflections on 2013

Eventually the replacement of the lead water main was competed, in late summer. It took longer than expected. The pipe upstairs leaked and dripped through the ceiling in my bathroom. The main pipe into my flat also leaked. It was a combination of the water pressure being increased from the mains in the street (new pipe... no pressure-deflating leakage) and the connections not having been properly sealed.
Now it all seems fine at last.
Another thing we did I have not already written about was the Grayson Perry Exhibition in Sunderland.
The post below lets you see and hear him talking about it. Enjoy!

Download the Grayson Perry App from the App Store

Wintry Trees in Nun's Moor Park

The weather has been so severe over the holiday period it has been difficult to get out of the house. Fortunately we have not had any severe floods here, the northeast has been spared so far. Mostly it has been what is more typical of November weather, with strong gusty winds and rain.
The weather let up enough for Jeff and I to go for a local walk. The trees in Nun's Moor Park were getting appreciated by the winter sun.

2013 diary entries

Going back through my paper diary from 2013 a few items I would like to note.
I got my ventilation system filter replaced at last. Diary tells me it was in March!
Also in January I helped a small girl learn skills to attempt the entrance exam to Dame Allen's School, because her friend was a pupil there and she would like to join her. Together we learned about the mysteries of verbal reasoning and spent time learning how to decipher codes. There was a lot of material which was totally new to me.

Photographs Of Newcastle: Newcastle City Centre on Christmas day

Photographs Of Newcastle: Newcastle City Centre on Christmas day: Blackett Street Grainger Street Grey Street The Monument Northumberland Street Haymarket Bus Stat... Please visit there for latest news from Herbwormwood