This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Scary happenings and more besides

What a lot has happened since I last posted. The first memorable thing, which I won't forget in a hurry, was trouble with the church cooker. I was working at making extra cakes to put in the freezer, as well as keeping the coffee shop supplied. We had a coule of short stays away planned so I needed to build up supplies of cake. I had a cake in the oven and was leaning over the cooker to stir the soup in the 12 pint saucepan (a pan that size requires me to stand over it to stir right into the edges of the pan to keep the soup from sticking) when there was a big bang in the oven and the oven door blew open into my middle - which made me jump back quickly, I can tell you. There were big flames which hid the 12 pint saucepan from sight and the baking paper lining the cake tins all burned up. The flames all singed my hair and eyebrows and I lost lots of hair at the front of my head. Thankfully I had my glasses on so my eyes were protected. Had I not jumped back so promptly, it would probably have been worse. My skin was sore for the next day but my face was not burnt. After being made to sit down with a drink for a bit, I went back and finished the soup and cooled it and froze it. There were over 50 portions of soup in three pans and I wasn't losing that much work! The oven was electric but the hob was gas and had not reacted to the oven problems at all so I felt safe to continue with the soup.

When I took the cake tins out of the oven, I found a part (possibly the thermocouple??) in one of the cake tins. I have no idea what caused the problem. However I refused to use the cooker again and we have now bought a new one. this meant a lot of hours spent on the internet trying to whittle down the choices. A commercial cooker is not suitable for our situation but we need as large a domestic cooker as possible and preferably with two fan ovens. So now I have a new electric cooker with an induction hob so I need all new pans too. The old pans were a mix of aluminium and older stainless steel which does not work on induction hobs.

And as for pans - how do you choose pans from just a picture online? Not many shops stock the large size ones we need. We need something a bit substantial so that the food will not burn too readily. And the easiest way is to actually handle the pans. Not easy online! And the range of pans available is huge as is the range of prices. Still, we'll get there.

We used up all the cake in the freezer in the cooker free weeks. I also found lots of recipes for things that I could make with just the help of a microwave to eke out what was in the freezer. So now I've been trying to restock the freezer as well as keeping the coffee shop stocked. So I am spending my time either shopping for coffee shop or baking for coffee shop. Housework? Well, I remember that I used to do a bit of that from time to time when I had to, but that has totally gone by the board now : )

The rest of the stuff that has been happening has not been quite so dramatic and has not resulted in any more hair loss, thank goodness.

Two happier events were family picnics. The whole family got together at the end of August in the park at Bidford on Avon along with a few friends and we had a lovely day. There were swans on the Avon just a few feet from where we were sitting and a family of fluffy new moorhen chicks living in the bank beside us.. Lovely!

We enjoyed the first picnic so much that we all opted to have another one to celebrate three family birthdays in the same week in mid September. This time we went to a free concert in a park in Bromsgrove. The music was lovely and the weather stayed nice for us. There were also lots of stalls run by various local charities. There was also one run by the Love Food Hate Waste people. I did a game/quiz thing about recycling and got most of it right and came away with a nice hessian shopping bag which was an unexpected bonus.

I've also seen my new little grandson on four occasions since I last posted. He is five months old now and growing more capable every time I see him. I've had some good cuddles and I enjoy that lots.

We did have to call out the RAC when we had something partly come away from the underneath of the front of the car when we were travelling at 60mph along a dual carriageway. Turned out that it was not a crucial part but it still frightened us when it happened. You can imagine the noise of this thing suddenly coming partly adrift and banging along the road surface when we were travelling at speed. Not fun!

So I've baked and baked and baked some more and we are ready for our first trip away. It is back to Cambridge again for my husband to go to more meetings, but for me it is time off to wander along the river, or look at the old buildings, or look at the shops, or knit or do a crossword or read or whatever takes my fancy. And I am looking forward to it!!!

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