Cakes and More Cakes

British Bake Off has a cult following in the UK.  Me, on the otherhand,  I'm a cult fan of cakes full stop.  This is one half of my struggle with weight.  Easy you say,  don't buy cakes.  Yes, and I don't ! The second half of my downfall is that in the office we have some master bakers.  These offerings have befallen my waistline over the last few weeks.  Well would you say, no?

Videos Balcombe Viaduct and Canary Wharf

Dear reader, 

A simple blog today.  I have taken a video of our viaduct in the for.  I go over this viaduct every work day and this time of year it has an eery atmosphere as if we are travelling above the clouds.  You can't see anything bar fog.

Balcombe viaduct

Another video that I took for you was of the skyline of the Canary wharf area in London.  I visit a few times a year for work and it always strikes me as our little bit of New York.    

Canary Wharf

Wonder Woman and the Cleaner

Dear reader,  I was greeted at work last  Monday morning with a cupcake on my desk.  This was from Petra, and no, it wasn't in the form of apple for the teacher. 
Petra told me that she had gone to a first birthday of a baby of one of the school mums.  This mother apparently gave a gift to each child that went to the party as a from the baby present.  She did all the baking and with a baby! I commented that the wonder woman clearly had too much time on her hands.  'Well actually, ' Petra told me,  'this lady works as a fashion designer of children's clothes full time!  She baked at 4 am for the party!' 

She could have iced them! At 6 am maybe.

I have warned Petra that this wonder woman has set the bar. 

On the other end of the spectrum is me.  I'm an 'enough to get by' person not a perfection person.  I'd have bought cupcakes. In fact why have cup cakes at all!
This week I've gone a little further on the  'buy in'  scene.  I've bought in cleaning.  Yes,  finally I put it to the others in the household the idea of paying a fiver each and having a cleaner on a Saturday morning.  As we all work all week we find weekends short and precious.  None of us are of a mind to clean at 4 am.  I did ask them.  It was in fact my intro to the conversation. 

Our cleaner started Saturday last.  It enabled Miss 21 to sort out her car repairs,  me to do ironing and blogging and some other cleaning,  Mr Him cleaned the car.  None of us could  be lazy whilst the cleaner  was there.  Instead  we cracked on with these other tasks earlier in the day then otherwise would have been the case.  The whole weekend rolled back two hours.  Relaxation started at 2 pm on Sunday instead of the normal 4pm.
Whilst on the topic, and knowing how popular my undersink blog was,  I captured some pics of Mr Him s efforts at sorting out the understairs cupboard.  I know you like that sort of thing,  dear reader.

No Phone

I repeat no phone! Here I am on strikeday travelling rural by diesel to work accompanied by Needlework Natalie but not my phone.  Not that I use my phone for phoning. No, I use my phone for blogging, tweeting, emailing, IG-ing, Googling, looking up times of trains (non-existent or otherwise).  Don’t worry, I have a scrap of paper in my bag.  I have found a pen.  I can blog.  I have my Kindly, oh, no, flat battery.  Note to self, on scrap of paper, charge Kindle when I get to the office. Its not as if my charger is going to be used for anything else today is it!

I know where my phone is. Propped up in the kitchen where I was taking a selfie for my Style Blog.  Darn blogs!  Miss 21 texts me to let me know of her arrival at work. I will email her from my laptop in the office and hope she gets that on her phone.

Jealous.  I am jealous as I watch Needlework Natalie browse, surf, tap and look up our connecting train times.  I must sit on my hands for fear of snatching her Nokia out of her clutches. 

Lovely views, concentrate on the lovely views, and not a Mr Him in site.  Trees travel past in a green blur. Yes, still green. Concentrate. Ignore the lack-of-phone hyperventilation.  Breathe deeply.  Distraction.  Oh, I went to Pilates last night.  That was fun.  I used to be advanced but that was 15 years ago.  Still its like riding a bicycle. You don’t forget.  Shame my body forgot.  Flexibility is missing and stuckness has arrived.

No-one’s talking on the train today.  They are all peering at their phones.  Aagh!  My trains trundling to Dorking now. Distraction. The Girl on the Train, looking into gardens. 

Needlework Natalie is my search engine.  I’m calling her Nat Nav.  It has a ring to it, well tap to it.   ‘What platform do we need?’ I ask  my Nat Nav.  I like this voice control search engine.  ‘Platform 2,’ Nat Nav responds.

Sheep, breathe, look at the sheep, cows, ponies, horses.

Nearly there.  Nearly able to open email, nearly able to use landline.  Nearly connected.

Great Western Gentlemen

For 3 days my feet haven't touched the street.  Tuesday I worked at home,  Wednesday I was chauffeured from my driveway to the office parking lot and back.  I could wear slippers really!  Thursday morning I was  once again picked up from my driveway, and that's without street walking!  (Mr Him blames the builders next door. )  That evening myself and Needlework Natalie  experimented getting home via magic carpet Great Western.  Surrey to Sussex via Cornwall Guildford and Gatwick on the  diesel line. 

At this rate we're going to run out of working from home excuses. 

We travelled on the diesel cross country line and found it most pleasant.  We had a seat,  there were no delays,  we saw views of grazing horses rather than cement and suburbia, and people talked. 

Yes.  Talked.  I was trying to capture pictures for you and gentlemen moved aside, put down their papers so I could get a better view of them the countryside and 2 of them  pointed out where the best view was,  and it wasn't at home sitting on the sofa in the guise of Mr Him  (the View).  The 2 gentlemen didn't know each other and were sat opposite sides of an aisle.  This was a social and relaxing journey, with,  yes gentlemen not commuters.  If you are looking for a gentleman I suggest the Great Western line. 

Pie and Trains, lack there of..

Dear reader,  I'm in the back of a car as I write. It's lovely being a passenger but the reason is we once again have train strikes.  Yesterday I worked at home and it happened to be the first day in over three weeks that I hadn't left the house.  Restful. 

Today a colleague is driving Needlework Natalie, (I wrote about her last year)  and I across Sussex and Surrey in a determined effort to get us into the office. 

In other news Mr Him and I  went out to lunch with my mother on Saturday.   She recommended a fabulous burger and pie bar, ironically called Oxney Pie and Burger Bar.  

 Here is my pie, served with an individual gravy boat.  It was a very chunky steak and ale pie. 

Pie & Liquor has its roots in the 1800's

The mats were maps of the local area as it would have been a few hundred years ago before the marshes were marshes and the sea level fell.  Towns such as Rye, where I grew up, were islands and ripe for smuggler pickings. 

Mr Him was in his element, his element being beer.

Anne of Cleves, Mr Him and the Mystery Tourists

Dear reader, great excitement.  I met one of you on Sunday.  Ah,  who was it?  Do you remember meeting me?  Was it you?  Don't worry,  I'll get to you eventually, suffice it to say you would know if you had met Mr Him.  So who was the mystery blogger that I met?

It was The  (emphasis on The) Pout  (capital P, as in the Hoff).  Yes The Pouting Pensioner or The Pout.  This is a lovely lady who knows how to work the media, for she travels with her personal paparazzi. I will call them the Double Ps.  Pouting Pensioner and her Personal Paparazzi. 

The Double Ps and I,  with Mr Him visited  Lewes, Sussex. 

The Pout and I

We first visited the Anne of Cleves tudor cottage.  This cottage was given to Anne by Henry V111 as part of her divorce settlement.  She was the lucky one,  kept her head and given a cottage.  I have to say when you've seen one Tudor cottage you've seen them all.  I know, many of you wonder how I can be so blase, but what I mean is that basically they are the same structure of timber and  wattle and daub.  Very much template built.  For instance this cottage is so similar to Anne Hathaways cottage in Stratford I felt I was in the same building.  Some fabulous work of preservation goes on to keep these  places of history standing.   We are very lucky to have these buildings in the UK.  

After visiting the cottage Mr Him took us on one of his famous 'Walks of Lostness'.  He didn't warn us before hand but luckily The Pout and I were not wearing heels.  On this occasion the walk was to find the castle,  which the rest of us could  swear was right before us looming over the town, but did Mr Him take us to the entance?   No!  Instead he took us on a merry Tudor dance around the hillock on which it stood.  Around and around we went until he'd worked up a thirst in The Pout, with a capital P.

Once her thirst was sufficient he suggested a stop at a drinking establishment, to which we all said 'yes.'  The Pout needed water for her thirst and wine, large,  for the shock of being thrust first hand into one of Mr Him's Walks of Lostness.  I had a Pimms.  I'm used to mixing my alcohol and thirst quencher in one long drink. I have ice so as I can occasionally throw it at Mr Him, when needed. 

We had lunch.  To be honest the food was not great.  Lewes has better places to eat but the view was fantastic and the company of The Pout and her Personal Paparazzi (accompanying personal photographer) husband  most enjoyable. 

After sustenance Mr Him remembered how to get into the castle (funny that.)

 It's really a ruin but a site worth visiting for the views Mr Him told us, and he proceeded to prove his point. 

'I'll show you how to be a view', says Mr Him

'More like a ruin',  I mumbled.

Enough of that, back to The view!

The men then found a hostelry for beer

Harvey's Brewery...they did not go here

and The Pout and I had a coffee in Bills... 

...and did some people watching as we chatted. 

...and that, Mary, is how I turn Mr Him into the villain of the piece! 

For The Pouting Pensioner's version of our day pop over to here

Cafe Society and Fly Fishing

Saturday morning saw me in Clapham enjoying the Nottinghillesque nature and buzz.
I joined a friend for a cuppa in Bills,  which was buzzing with the Saturday morning  cafe society.  There's  some little amateur video links below.

In the afternoon Mr Him and I went for our quarterly trip to the country show.  

Yes, onions

This time it was more a tour of friends.  We stopped and chatted with Tim at the Barmah stall. We love his Oz gear and we always have good chinwag.  Over beer this time as Tim wanted to celebrate some news of Mr Him's with him.  

Then onwards we went sampling the wares in the food and drink tent.  Two bottles of toffee vodka were purchased. One for Miss 21 for Xmas.  

photo op - rainbow over this colourful playarea

Miss 21 likes these jumpers. They're styled like a Pringles jumper.  Very classic. She normally asks me to get her one then repays me.  Expensive at £30 but an investment jumper. She should be wearing them still in 10 years.  She has a raspberry pink one and this time wanted navy.

Then I was grabbed enticed  by a friend of thirty years who was manning the fly fishing stalls. Yes, you guessed it.  Here's the evidence of my trial session.  This isn't Mark teaching me.  He wisely stayed 15001 feet away! I learnt some clever tricks with this string that I can use at home. 

 Lassoing comes to mind when Mr Him tries to escape. 
With the arrival of the autumn fair I can now feel  the season is upon us.   

Making of Rhubarb Gin

How I made Rhubarb Gin and Mr Him does a BBQ See he's still being sensible. Maybe I should pour the gin down him! No. That would be a...