Sunday, 22 May 2016

Spring holiday 2016 #3

Be sure to read part one! You can find it here
And there's also part two

George had some kind of psychology gubbins in the morning and my mum wanted to go to a craft group in a church at the same time. I have a very low view of the local population. I'm not going to lie. They're mostly either snobs or inbreds and I'm trying to prove this wrong so I went to the craft group. 

When we got there is was fairly busy. A lot of other people were knitting. Someone was even using Rowan. Others were making cards. There was coffee but it was more like brown water. 
Anyway I was knitting two socks at once. I got asked how once. I explained the way it works, if you'd like to know how it's here.
Then I got asked again. And again. So I said it was voodoo. And the funny looks started. It's complicated, it's practically voodoo. 

There was also the typical person who started talking about X (a quiche in this case) from M&S and how good it is, then makes a big exit to go and buy X and come back with X to flaunt. 
Why would you want to pay so much for own brand stuff? Whatever. Not my problem. 

Afterwards we went to get George and saw the brave strikers outside the hospital. It was raining on and off all day.

The sign reads tired doctors make missteaks. A play on mistakes. 
I wasn't on strike. I had a doughnut for lunch. It was cheap from Lidl. 
These are my two at once socks. If yuh were curious. The needles are in the middle. Bellow is one sock and above another. However when knitting one is inside the other making it look like you're knitting one. Inside out. 
For dinner I wanted to cook a turnip but j couldn't cut the bastarding thing. I also wanted to make a smoked herring chowder. Not really knowing what it was. I peppered it all, told my mum to keep an eye on it and the whole thing boiled over. But it was edible and actually really nice. 
I mean, it doesn't look like much, but it was delicious. 
Then at bedtime I couldn't find Hamish. I looked everywhere. Called him. Gave up and decided to get changed for bed before choosing a cat from the wide array we have. And there he was. Asleep, faithfully, on my pillow. He'd been waiting for me all along. And this is why dogs are better than cats. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Broccoli and Roquefort soup

My favourite soup is broccoli and Stilton. I love Stilton cheese, it's a staple for my cheese plate. Sadly it doesn't exist in France, or at least I've not come across it yet. Roquefort is a substitute but it's not the same. 

This recipe doesn't have exact quantities, so you can use more or less of the ingredients to make it stronger, weaker or I don't know what. This made me two servings. 

- Oil, ideally olive but I used sunflower. 
- White onions, I used two sliced into thin rings.
- Garlic powder, I used a lot but I love  garlic. 
- Potato, peeled I used one whole big one cut into very small squares.
- Broccoli, the small heads, I cut bigger heads into two or three. 
- Crème fraîche, I used a big table spoon. 
- Water, I used two glasses. 
- Vegetable stock, a nice extra. 
- Roquefort, I used 3/4 of a 175g pack

1 - Put enough oil to line a saucepan and turn on the heat. Peel two decent sized onions and cut them into rigs. Fry them on a medium heat until cooked, with as much garlic as you'd like. 

2 - Remove from heat. Peel and cut your potato into very small pieces. Add to the sauce pan and cover with water. You'll want the potato to be mushy so cook on a low heat while preparing the broccoli. 

3 - Add the broccoli and make sure there's enough water to cover it. Cover the saucepan and leave the vegetables to cook on a low heat for ten minutes. 

4 - Add one or two heaped table spoons of crème fraîche and stir in well. Up the heat so it's simmering and leave the saucepan uncovered. 

5 - Cut your Roquefort into small pieces and add it in. It'll take a moment to melt so stir well.

6 - To thicken the soup sieve flour into a small glass of water. You'll want a thick flour and water mixture. Add this in by the teaspoon and stir well. I'm not sure how this works but it thickens the soup. 

7 - Turn off the heat, butter some bread, pour the soup into bowls, add salt and pepper and tuck in. 

Bon appétit. 

Idea of cost 
I'm not really wanting to work out a cost per serving but this is what I paid for the ingredients. 
Onions - 1€49 for a kilo. I used two. 
Potatoes - 2€29 for 2kg and I used one. 
Broccoli - 0€99 for two (500g) and I used one. 
Roquefort - 1€75 and I used 3/4. 
Garlic powder - 0€42
Crème fraîche - 1€09

About 8€ for all the ingredients but some only had negligible amounts used. If I was able to buy a single potato and broccoli it would be cheaper. 

Spring holiday 2016 #2

Be sure to read part one! You can find it here.
And there's more to come. 

Monday morning I woke up and had chocolate and an espresso for breakfast. Something about healthy eating...
Then we went into town for George's eye test. The plan was to spend the day wandering around there. His test was in the morning and mine was the afternoon but we got lucky and the optician managed to book me in just after George. He was a funny optician. Very funny actually. 
I managed to sneak a photo of George in the scary chair. 
My prescription had changed to I ended up trying on all of the glasses on offer. I really did try on all of the glasses and take selfies wearing the ones I liked. So I could get comparative shots and have a proper look. I was actually getting weird looks which was annoying. And my mum was nagging me to hurry up after about five minutes. I'm going to have to wear these glasses near enough daily for two or more years. I'm allowed to take my time choosing. 
I found the pair I actually have, my mum said get those. Eventually I choose two new pairs because one was free. 
And they'd be ready in a week. 
Here's some of the many I tried on. 
Then we went for a waddle around town. I found Rainbow Dash in The Works. The wannabe bookshop that sells more that than books. I did buy a shirt from Mountain Warehouse though.
We then drifted off to Lidl to get some food in. George was to cook dinner so he had to chose a joint of meat. He doesn't eat anything other than chicken. I'm vegetarian. In the end I grabbed a small pork shoulder from him, told him to roast it and to roast some vegetables.
We also got bread, vegetables, fruits, and cookie ingredients. 
We made sandwiches using mini baguettes. Mine was houmous, tomato, mozzarella and lettuce with a bit of vinegar for flavouring. George had chicken and my mum copied mine. 
In the afternoon we had another bonfire. All the trees in the garden are old and we've had two down this winter. They have to be disposed of somehow and thankfully this is possible in the countryside.

We were also trying to decide on where to go for a day out amongst the local museums, and planning out ideas for the week. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Spring holiday 2016 #1

I don't normally write about my holidays because they're not normally interesting. I do the same daily thing as always just at my mum's. We don't go out as a family because convincing George to do something is hard. Although this time he made massive progress.
Normally when I'm at my mum's we go shopping. We do baking this is a slang word which means trashing the kitchen while looking for a measuring jug. We walk Hamish the dog. And not a lot of interest. 

After seeing Alehohros (he corrects me if use the official pronunciation) I got a OUIBUS at 9pm from Paris to London. The journey was uneventful, I dozed but didn't sleep because I was woken at Lille and at customs. 


I got into London at 4:30am and nothing was open. I hung around the coach station until things started opening up and I went and got my train ticket. 
I still had pleasant of time to kill and I hadn't had a coffee so I ended up in McDonald's and had a McBreakfast. 
The hash brown was nice but very, very greasy. The "muffin" wasn't very good, I had the egg one, won't be doing that again. And the latte was filter coffee with milk and whipped cream on top. Never again. French McBreakfast is better than this, they have real lattes. 
I sat knitting my two in one socks until just before my train would be announced and I went down the the platforms thinking the wee Nero would be open. 
It wasn't. I was spiralling rapidly into depression. I got my train and my mum picked me up, we went to church. I had instant coffee that wasn't bad. But I had a double strength. Service was good, seeing friends was good. I got asked some really dumb questions about life in France, I have a job and studies, yes I do speak French. And I kept showing people photos and videos of Alexandros. 
We went home. Hamish was crazily happy to see me and kept jumping everywhere, and I was happy to see him. Had lunch. My mother and I nagged George to come camping. He said no. 
I set up my tent in the living room. George still didn't want to come camping so I just watched Netflix in my tent with my dog. Then that got annoying. 
Mid-afternoon I was tired and had a nap. Hamish too. My mum took a photo because apparently parents don't grow out of that. 
Come dinner time I'd woken up. I had roasted salmon and they had roast chicken. We shared vegetables and having a family meal was nice. We got George to agree on coming out to the Weald and Downland museum and possibly the Roman Villa. 
Then we had a bonfire! Because george doesn't light them but he clears the garden pretty well. That was fun. We set fire to some dry ivy in a tree near but not directly above the fire. Once it had burnt out we went in and I went off to bed. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

History report - conclusion

How did Christopher Columbus' discoveries mark the entry into the modern era?

He showed that it was possible to find new lands that were completely unknown and inspired generations of explorers. Although the islands he discovered were in fact not in Asia as he had imagined, they nonetheless led to the unparalleled riches of the New World, which far exceeded expectations once gold was discovered in areas such as Peru and Mexico. Every other European power which did not ally with Spain had to compete with a rich and rapidly expanding empire from this point onwards.

New maps; though he didn’t provide the inspiration for the name, virtually all subsequent maps would refer to what Columbus discovered as “America” There's even a laboratory on the International Space Station called the Columbus laboratory. Columbus’ name has become synonymous with discovery, and 1492 is widely regarded, for good or bad, as the point when Europeans changed the face of the world forever.

He found the way to what is now the superpower of America, and his legacy lives on strongly in Latin America particularly. His discoveries provided the basis for the growth of an empire that stretched from Louisiana to Chile. People in Latin America still speak Spanish, which has become the world’s largest language after Mandarin Chinese with about 470 million native speakers.

Although some people, namely the Vikings, had reached the Americas before Columbus, none had a permanent effect. After Columbus sustained contact began between the New and Old Worlds, often detrimental to the former and beneficial to the latter. Columbus died holding the belief that the islands he had discovered (he never made it to mainland America) were off of the Asian coast, but nonetheless the pioneers and explorers who followed in his footsteps changed the face of the planet; crops and foodstuffs previously unknown to Europeans, such as cocoa, tomatoes and potatoes, were brought back. Politics changed forever, with Spain conquering much of South and Central America and other powers such as Britain and France following suit. Thus, Columbus has the distinction of marking the shift from the Classical and Medieval Worlds into the Modern era.

Satellite colonisation arguably began with Columbus. The previous “colonisers” of Rome and Greece did not seek to take land far away, rather they wanted to settle nearby; the furthest Greek colony was what is now Marseilles, which is still Mediterranean. But the Spanish and Portuguese wanted trading outposts which were as far away from older possessions as possible, so long as they were well-placed for trade or settlement (ideally both) The Spanish also tried to make people such as the Aztecs subjects of the Spanish Crown directly, through their consent, but smallpox made this impractical quite quickly, as it spread through and killed the native population regardless of if they were allied to Spain or not. The reason the Aztec Empire fell relatively easily to Spanish forces was largely due to the native allies (such as the Tlaxcalla) that the Spanish used against them.

The Columbus laboratory:

Most of this was based on my previous documents and their sources. Feel free to read the other posts. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Cunt cup - First month

My menstrual cup, that I've affectionately named the cunt cup arrived the 28th of March. The day after my period stopped. I ordered it ten days before and it had arrived the 19th but was nowhere to be seen. I had to contact the seller and get it resent. 

So I've been waiting all month to use it and my period is a week early. Sod's law. The one time I'm excited to get my period it shows up early. 

Day one
Just after midnight and I'm thinking of going to bed. I quickly go to the toilet and there's the red stain. Balls.

Inserting the cup was a breeze. I used the C fold and got it inserted in a way that feels correct first try. 

I went to bed and woke up around 8am. It hasn't leaked but I was feeling paranoid so grabbed my things and ran down to the bathroom for a shower. I actually took the cup out in the shower because I was more comfortable with getting blood there than on the floor and toilet. It was fine. Came out first try. 

After getting out the shower I had a hard time putting it in. It kept sitting too low. I did eventually get it in comfortably. 

I then went out as normal and I have a cough. While walking if I cough I can feel it which is strange and makes me wonder if it's in okay. 

I emptied it early afternoon and it was a faff to get back in. Once I'd flushed the toilet the blood was still there so I had to flush again. The cup was fairly full but his is normally my heaviest day. I didn't really stop to look how full.

I think the real reason why I can feel it when I cough is because I had such a bad cough. I seem to have a chest infection. 

For the evening I had another shower. All the house mates were downstairs for a party and I didn't want to spend fifteen minutes down in the bathroom attracting suspicion... Out. In. No mother. About 1/4 full. 

Off to bed with no underwear because I've not yet had a leak.

Day two
I emptied the cup when I got up in the morning and is not leaked. I did some gardening and knitting during the day and didn't empty it again until the end of the afternoon. I'd leaked a very small amount. 

The cup is never very full, under a teaspoon each time I empty it. Really puts into perspective how little blood women lose each cycle. 

Changed the cup again before bed and it was almost empty. I'm wondering if this is another three day bleed. 

Day three

I got up in the morning, and when I emptied the cup it was empty! Two day bless are awesome. I've had short bleeds of three days but they're fairly rare. Normally I'm on four or five days. I'm thinking this is because this months cycle was so short. 


I'm pretty happy with that cup. It was very simple to use. A little weird when I coughed and could feel it. 

There is definitely a learning curve. Emptying it in public is a bit scary. But then so we're pads when I started using those. 

I'd say it's better than tamping and has an edge over pads by being discrete. Comfort was very high. And I will be using it again. And again. And again. 

My cunt cup arrived

It came! After getting lost in the post and being resent it came. The Cupissima Menstral Cup. It's a French one and cost approximately 15€ from Amazon by the time I included delivery. Discreetly delivered in a regular envelope with a cotton pic and a detailed sheet explaining how it works and how to use it.

And it only got here a day after my period ended!

It came in a plastic zip-lock bag, in a cotton pouch and with instructions. The instructions are in French but they're all standard. 

I sterilised it by boiling it in water for ten minutes but the instructions said five. And because they're safe to use on light days I thought I'd try it to see if it was comfortable and snip the dreaded stem if necessary. 

Now, I hadn't put too much thought into this bit. I'd seen what the things look like, a few of the many folds that exist. And I assumed after two vaginal births I'd have no real problem with the C fold. 

It didn't want to fold out. So I had to remove it and start over. A few times

I like this. It has loads of examples.

Eventually I took a deep breath, relaxed as much as possible and used a mirror. No problem. I think it's like using tampons, I've not used those since I was around 12... You have to know the angle and where you're aiming and it's easy but until you've memorisers that you'll struggle. 

There was no real discomfort but the stem was too long. And I'm thinking that I could probably have got away with the small considering the large was having trouble folding out. 


I kept it in for about an hour. Took it out. Washed it thoroughly with pH neutral body wash, dried it. And put it in the pouch to wait. 

Getting it out was no trouble. I squatted, and kind of bore down with my muscles. Pinched the base of the cup as it came low and gently pulled.