On rowing at midnight

I have a rowing machine.

I bought it on a whim when I bought my aquarium. Not necessarily an obvious connection but they were both second hand and being sold by the same family. And I’d already borrowed the van.

It’s not especially good quality. It’s not, according to my brother who actually rows, a bit like real rowing, not even a bit like using a ‘proper’ rowing machine.

I don’t really care. It’s something that fits into my bedroom, something that requires all of my body to work to make it work, something that I don’t have to go anywhere to use. Something I can do by myself, whenever I want to do it.

When I got it a year and a half ago, I started doing a very few strokes per ‘session’, building up until I reached 200, or occasionally 250, depending on how I felt. (people usually row for a set time (or distance) and count the strokes (or time) needed..).

Last year I rowed almost every day until about June. Then I went away and the habit broke. I think it probably ‘helped’ that it was approximately a million degrees here for a lot of the summer and just existing was enough to cause severe sweating.

Between June and November the rowing machine disappeared under several boxes of ‘Things to put on ebay’ and ‘Things to sort through’ and ‘Things I really need to deal with soon’. I probably rowed 5 times.

In late November / early December I claimed my bedroom back. The boxes were sent to the sitting room or the cellar. Some were properly dealt with.

The freed up rowing machine demanded attention. I started with 100 strokes. Half my old normal. I could have carried on but decided to quit while I was still able to choose to (i.e. before I fell off).

The day after was horrible. I ached everywhere. I carried on with my reacquaintance through and got back up to 150 daily strokes by the time I headed home for Christmas.

This year I’m trying to continue with the habit of rowing every day.

Yesterday was my first full day back in Germany. I got in after midnight and didn’t get up until after midday. Then I went out for lunch and to buy new pedals for my bike and to pick up a new notice board.

The evening disappeared in a fuzzy haze of transferring pictures from my phone onto the computer and starting to tackle the backlog of housey things – like going through the pile of post, emptying the fridge and cleaning the sink – while waiting for the computer to do its thing.

I intended to go to bed early.

I could pave a lot of roads with all my intentions (good or otherwise).

As I finally brused my teeth I realised that I hadn’t rowed yet. It was 4 minutes to midnight. I don’t feel resolutions are unbreakable, but I prefer to at least do the first day before I break them. I don’t know exactly when I started rowing but I certainly didn’t finish until after the end of the day.

I’m still counting it as a successful first day – after all, in England it was still yesterday…

Now to get up and get today’s rowing out of the way, before I try out my new pedals 🙂

On finding a common denominator

Question: What do the following items have in common?

A hand powered mixer

A box of gravy thickening powder

A mop head

A trangia (camping cooker with stacking saucepans)

A laptop

A hand powered ‘vacuum’ /carpet sweeper

A tape measure

***

No prizes, but perhaps I’ll give the guessers an honourable mention in the next post..

On learning how to wash ones hands

Until today I kind of assumed that I knew how to wash my hands.

This poster on the mirror of the outpatient department* let me know how little I knew.

I’m uploading a photo of the 8 illustrated steps in case anyone else needs directions.. ;p I have no idea what the products are and no desire to advertise them. No one is paying me anything.

* I wasn’t a patient, I just needed the toilet.

On chasing rainbows

This morning a rainbow appeared.

It wasn’t raining where I was and the sky was cloud-free everywhere but directly around the rainbow.

Despite trying various positions, I couldn’t find one suitable for getting a picture of the whole curve – this was the most I could get on the screen of my phone at once.

I love the way the sky inside the rainbow is so much brighter than outside – as if the grey can’t get through it. 🙂

Here’s to everyone having a rainbow shield to protect them against the gloom.

On marbelous biscuits

There was a plan for them to be more obviously swirly (I even added contrasting chocolate chips to each mixture) but I seem to have forgotten how easily colours mix together and become sludgy – it’s obviously been too long since I last played with playdoh…

On ‘real’ mincemeat (with meat)

I try to make mincemeat in the middle of November. That gives it time to do its thing for a month or so before it’s needed.

This year…somehow didn’t happen, which is why I’m making it now, less than a week before Christmas.

Browsing the web for spice ratios, I came across a recipe for “traditional” mincemeat – with meat in, not just dried fruit.

I’d already soaked the currants and grated the apples and squeezed a million oranges and lemons (i.e. all the prep work) for my own recipe so I decided to split the mixture three ways – with meat, without meat, without brandy – and go from there, in this case directly to a shop willing to sell me Christmas biscuits and steak at 9pm. 😉

The recipe called for approximately ⅔ fruit to ⅓ beef or lamb. The preminced beef in the supermarket was mixed half-and-half with pork. I looked for steak instead. I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to proper cuts of meat so I bought 700g (total) of three different cuts of beef. Two posh Irish steaks from the deli and two reduced-price Brazilian steaks from the prepackaged fridge section. When I got them home and opened them, one of the Brazilian ones smelled really bad so I abandoned it. That brought the ratio down to 4/5 fruit to 1/5 meat, but I figure it’s still way more than usual and I’m not following any other part of the recipe so whatever.

I left the uncut steaks to marinate in the almost-mincemeat overnight.

This morning, when I came to chop them up, they fell apart. Especially the remaining Brazilian piece. The poshest one was the only one I had any chance of cutting into cubes.

Not cubes

A kitchen full of the smell of lemon peel and simmering mincemeat is a pretty good thing :).

Spot the meat mix:

(left)

I think it’s bizarre how different the mixtures are turning out.

Looking forward to testing how they taste in pies…