Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Windows Update

No, no. Not Microsoft Windows. I’m an Apple-phile and wouldn’t consider putting Windows stuff on my lovely, shiny, pretty new MacBook Pro. The house windows.

So. On Tuesday, in rocks a window surveyor, who seems to be much more intelligent than the salesman, and who has no wish to occupy 4 hours out of our day (just as well; I might not have been at work during the morning, but they were definitely expecting me for the latter part of the afternoon and the evening!!). Excellent.

Not quite so excellent - we can’t have the windows as described and arranged by the salesman. They’re not legal. They contravene the fire regulations and the planning regulations. Also, the upstairs ones would be a death trap in the event of a fire downstairs (which, realistically speaking, is where a fire is most likely to break out) if you couldn’t actually open them.

New designs required. The surveyor and The Builder sat down and sorted it all out.

Good news. The building work which the salesman had assured us would need to be done has, according to the surveyor, already been done and won’t need doing again. Excellent. A saving of £680.

All is good :-)

Except that on Thursday evening the window company rang up and said that indeed there would be a saving of £680 on the building work, but that we had asked for a change in the design which would cost an extra £380 making our revised bill ….

I interrupted. We hadn’t actually asked for any changes. We had been more than happy with things the way they were. The surveyor had said we had to have changes. Fire regs, planning regs, that sort of small and inconvenient matter. “Oh,” said the bloke. “So the salesman made a mistake?” Seems like it.

He then agreed that we would get the whole saving and asked if we would pay the full, quoted amount and receive a cheque 21 days after installation for the difference. Now why, I wondered, would we want to do that? Well, it seems, the loan agreement has already been authorised for the original amount and if we want it to be for less it would need to go through again. And the problem with that is? Ah – another week before installation. That’s fine. We can wait another week.

I wonder how much financial trouble the firm is in – that was an absolutely naked attempt to hang on to 680 of our pounds and earn interest on it for three weeks.

And no, for those who have enquired. Not Everest. Safe Style. Same sort of company I think

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring rolls and wontons

Back in August 2008 I bought some spring roll wrappers for a party and didn't use them.  I found them lurking, unloved and forgotten at the back of the freezer recently.  Just slightly beyond their Best Before date!  Have never made either spring rolls or wontons before, but was willing to give it a go.

So.  I hunted around for my mincing device, which I eventually found, equally unloved and forgotten in a seldom opened drawer.  Finally remembered how to assemble it! And minced up small quantities of pork (from the leg intended for Sunday's roast), chicken (from a whole bird I was quartering for the freezer - I used the meat from one thigh) and prawns.

Slightly over-steamed wontons
Then I mixed the pork with crushed ginger, the chicken with some diced dried apricots, and the prawns I left alone.  I wrapped them in some spring roll wrappers that I have briefly soaked in plain water and twisted the wontons so they looked like those drawstring purses children used to have.  Then I put them in my steamer.  The spring rolls I made using grated carrot, thinly chopped cabbage, bean sprouts and rice noodles. It took me a while to work out how to fold the spring rolls properly - the instructions were in Chinese!! There were also pictures but I still took a bit of time to figure it out. I deep fried the spring rolls

Spring rolls
I think the oil was not quite hot enough for deep frying.  I'll be more patient next time.  And I over steamed the wontons so the wrappers went a bit soggy. And it may be that I should have used a different sort of wrapper for steaming.  I'll have a look in the Chinese supermarket the next time I'm passing. And I think that next time I'll use the coarse blade in the grater to give the wontons extra texture.

But they were extremely delicious.  I'm definitely going to do them again.  We had them as an early entree before our roast pork, with plum sauce, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce for dips.

A lost Saturday morning

At some point late last week, a boy appeared at the door, offering The Builder blandishments to buy new windows for the house. He waved the seduction of a government grant for old folks to have double glazed windows installed, and The Builder arranged for someone to come around on Saturday morning to measure up and offer a quote.

The government grant seemed a bit dubious to me – normally these things are arranged through the relevant government department or, more usually, through the local council. Still – we had been talking about replacing at least some of the windows for some time. And what could be lost buy allowing someone to give us a guide price for the work?

What could be lost? Pretty much the whole of the middle bit of Saturday, that’s what!

A deeply slimy man appeared at the door on Saturday morning. He made me very suspicious. And Marlo didn’t like him at all! And he spent at least two hours telling me very much more than I ever, ever wanted to know about PVC, windows, window frames and many other things plastic window related. I’m not quite sure why we actually sat through it all! He offered a ridiculously high quote, which he then scaled down to include the “government discount for old folks”. Still ridiculously high. He then spoke to his boss and offered a price which made quite a lot more sense (this, apparently, is a common sales tactic by this firm).

It was beginning to appear that the only way to get rid of Sleazy Simon was going to be to kill him – or to sign his contract! Signing the contract seemed the less expensive and time consuming way to go, especially since you have a seven day cooling off period during which you can cancel the contract with no penalty – and we were thinking about replacing the windows anyway.

But even that didn’t get rid of him. It took a further hour before all his paperwork was completed to his satisfaction and he finally slithered away. All up – four hours. Four whole hours.About 6 windows :-(

We had to go to The Nettle for a very late lunch to recover!!!!!

We spent the rest of the weekend thinking about whether to go ahead, and have now decided that we will. It wasn’t a bad price to have 6 windows replaced, and it probably means that we need never think about windows again. Ever.Which is fine by me! Someone is coming tomorrow to do a proper measurement of the windows and the new windows should come in a couple of weeks.

We woke up on Sunday morning to find around 7-8 centimetres of snow outside. This came as something of a surprise. It is true that snow had been forecast overnight – but I hadn’t realised it would be quite so much. But the day was actually quite mild and it didn’t hang around for long on the roads and pavements. There’s still quite a bit in the garden, though. By lunchtime the roads were clear enough for us to go out, so we headed to a deserted Chatsworth Farm Shop (bereft of customers, staff and the fish counter!), and to an equally deserted garden centre. Otherwise we pottered around at home and gently ambled through the later afternoon and evening.

And I must remember to email Farmer Jayne and tell her how succulent the roast pork was last night. And how very delicious her low salt sausages are.

My new Mac laptop is on its way. Waiting excitedly for it to arrive. Much more exciting than new windows, nice though it will be to have double glazed windows which neither leak nor steam up in between the glazings!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Creamy Veal Stew

It must be at least 30 years since I last bought or knowingly ate veal.  It was at a time when there was a huge fuss in Australia about the conditions in which veal calves were being reared and the very short lives that they had.  I seem to recall that the last time I bought any I was more put off by the texture and lack of taste than the inhumane conditions the poor little calves were being kept in - but I resolved never to buy it again. And until last week, I didn't.

More recently, there has been a huge fuss in the UK about the fate of the redundant bull calves generated by the dairy industry.  The veal market in the UK vanished pretty much at the same time as the Australian one, which meant that calves were being shipped to mainland Europe and being treated in the traditional, inhumane way.  In the meantime, a more humane rose veal industry had been taken up in the UK - but largely ignored by consumers so calves were still going to France and Italy, leading extremely short lives, kept inside and existing on a milk diet to keep their flesh white. Rose veal, on the other hand, is grass fed outside to make the flesh pink.  (See what you learn listening to Farming Today on Radio 4 at the crack of dawn in the mornings!)

The more I thought about it, the more I thought we ought to try eating veal again.  After all, I eat yearling beef in Australia and I think rose veal is butchered at a pretty similar age.  Maybe a little younger but not much.  Then I found a pack of stewing veal pieces in Waitrose and decided to buy it.

Quite by coincidence, a day or two later River Cottage posted a link on Twitter to a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall veal stew recipe which looked extremely tasty.  Here is my take on it:

I browned 250g of veal pieces in my lovely large frying pan, which I then deglazed with a splosh of bandy (what happens when you apply brandy to a pan over an open flame?  Hehehehe - flambeed deglazing!!).

Then I added a carton of pureed tomatoes, which I very lazily did not sieve first, and some crushed garlic.  I simmered the tomatoes until they had thickened and then, in the absence of chicken stock (turned it all into soup last weekend) I added a glass and a half of dry white wine.

I put back the veal and stirred in a carton of double cream and left it to simmer for about an hour and a half, stirringoccasionally.

I served it with mashed potato and steamed savoy cabbage and it was absolutely delicious. Might keep my eyes open for other veal cuts and play about with them. Although, I think The Builder is hopeful that I might reproduce the veal stew!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hairy Bikers' Big Night Out

The Hairy Bikers, for those who have asked, are pretty much the current incarnation of the Two Fat Ladies. They have a similar approach to food, a similar approach to each other and motor bikes feature in both. It must be said that I am more likely to use HB recipes and food thoughts than TFL ones – but I enjoy both pairs of cooks. And their shows. I have especially enjoyed the HBs’ tour of Britain and their recent Mums know best show. I may have to buy the book since a DVD does not appear to be in the offing.


So. I need to pick up the tickets for the Hairy Bikers some time before 19:00. There almost certainly will not be time at lunch time. Right. I’ll collect them after work.

Even better – The Builder can meet me after work and we can trundle up to the City Hall together. Collect the tickets. Have a bite to eat in one of the eateries around the City Hall. Excellent plan.

The Builder arrived at the appointed time. I wandered off to meet him, a bit disconcerted to discover that it was snowing. Again. And it wasn’t even Wednesday!

Tickets safely collected we went in search of food. Let’s try Ask, or maybe the Benjamin Huntsman pub. Neither does fabulously wonderful food, but they both do perfectly satisfactory food and they have the advantage of being immediately opposite the City Hall.

Not a chance! Ask was fully booked and turning away people without reservations. Benjamin Huntsman (wonder why it’s called that – it used to have a perfectly sensible name) was full to the rafters. Who would have expected them to be quite so busy at slightly before 6 on a wet and cold and snowy Thursday evening. I can only presume that it was because it was half term.

Nothing for it but to eat in the Yates next door. Bog standard, basic, fairly all right pub food. A bit ironic, really, given that we were going to see a show done by telly cooks!

We were right at the back of the circle – not too bad given that I had bought the tickets less than 24 hours before. Apart from the top level, the City Hall was packed. Only a few people in the top – but I don’t think they had been intending to use it. It wasn’t an option when I booked our tickets.

And the show was great. The Bikers were very funny and told lots of good stories. They did some cooking as well – a south Indian prawn curry and a buttered fillet steak, both with various bits and pieces. The steak came with a lemon and courgette linguine which looked lovely. Actually – it all looked lovely. One lucky couple got to eat the curry on stage (they were more or less hoiked up by one of the Bikers). Another lucky couple, chosen in a more seemly manner, got to eat the steak and linguine. We drooled over the food, laughed a lot and had a lovely evening. I would very, very much rather have eaten their fillet than the Yates rump steak I had actually had for dinner.

It was £40 well spent. If they come to a venue near you I would recommend the show without reservation. But try and be in the front row, when you may get the chance to go on stage and eat a dinner cooked by Simon King and Dave Myers.

It was snowing with even more vigour when we came out after the show. And I didn’t have my hat! Fortunately, I did have a nice long scarf on, which could double as a head cover and scarf.


Right. The impulse buying really has to stop. I was idly pottering about on the online Apple for Education shop, where students and staff in Higher Education can get discounts on Apple products. How much, I wonder, would a basic Macbook Pro be? Gosh! And a Mac printer? Goodness! And how about iWork and iDVD? Golly! And much happiness – I’ve just been paid. There is almost exactly that amount in my bank account. I think I might buy this pretty little package. It may mean that we will have to live on bread, lentils and potatoes for the next few months, but I’m sure it will be worth it.

There’s no money in my bank account any more. Fortunately, the freezers are fairly full, so we may be able to vary the diet a bit. But definitely no more buying of anything until my poor bank account has stopped quaking in terror.

Oh – except I do need a new screen for my existing Macbook. The present one is getting less and less viewable. Freyja says that one of her techies at work might be able to fit it for me. Then I’ll clear it up and give it to The Builder. I really must back the photos up onto my external hard drive, mind. I wonder how difficult that’s going to be with only part of the screen viewable

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Slow cooked shoulder of lamb

I wanted to do something a bit different than just to slow roast the lamb shoulder, but didn't want to have to go out and buy lots of exotic ingredients. So decided to use what I had to hand, except for red wine which I had to buy.  Fortunately, Sainsbury's had lots of offers on red wine, so my supplies are now stocked up!

I put some quartered baby parsnips, quartered baby carrots, a chopped leek, some garlic, some chicken stock and a bottle of red wine in a casserole, into which my shoulder of lamb fitted quite snuggly. I sat the lamb on top of everything, put the lid on the casserole and put it into a very low oven for around 4.5 hours, stirring it lightly every now and then.  After 4.5 hours I took the lid off, turned the oven up very slightly to crisp off the lamb and put some potatoes on to boil. Over the potatoes I steamed some pak choi, some more carrots and some beans.

While the lamb was resting, I strained the meat juices through a fine mesh strainer, squishing the vegetables so I extracted as much liquid as possible.  I made the resulting broth into a gravy, thickened with cornflour.  I creamed the potatoes and shredded the lamb and served it piled up with the steamed vegetables on the potato with the gravy over the top. (And once again I forgot to take photoes.  Trust me - it looked and tasted delicious!!!)

I used the left over lamb and gravy to make a stew on Monday. And the left over stew made a fine hotpot for Wednesday.  We had pork belly strips on Tuesday, just by way of a change
Something is conspiring against me getting to my Japanese classes this term.

I missed week one in January when the classes were cancelled because of the snow

I missed week two because I was on my way back from Edinburgh and didn’t get back until after 10pm. A bit late for evening classes!

I actually managed to get to week three :-)

I missed week four because the class was cancelled because Mina Sensei couldn’t get there. Not much point having a Japanese class without the teacher

I missed week five because I didn’t get back from Peter’s funeral in time

And there was no class this week because it is half term and the school is closed for a week.

It is just as well that I have hiragana flash cards, an audio book on my iPod, practice sheets in my folder, a daughter who sets me challenges and a son to nag me to keep on with it!

The upside of missing the class last night was that I had a chance to watch the local BBC news and discovered that the Hairy Bikers were not only going to be in Wakefield last night – but in Sheffield tonight. Not only that, when I checked the City Hall website, there were still tickets available. The Builder and I are going tonight to see the Hairy Bikers. I’m very excited. They are also going to be in Chesterfield tomorrow night, but that is sold out. No worries. We can do Sheffield!

They are forecasting more snow for later today. I hope the Hairy Bikers don’t get snowed off!

My Macbook isn’t very happy :-( The screen has gone all peculiar. I realise that when the last (Windows) laptop lost its screen I declared it to be beyond repair and insisted it be replaced – it had been severely irritating both The Builder and me for months before the screen went. But my Mac is only two years old and, apart from a very suddenly dodgy screen, is working perfectly well. I must find a Mac Hospital for it to go to

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Extremely quiet weekend

We don't often get them - but that was the most extraordinarily quiet weekend.

So quiet there is virtually nothing to report.

We made it to Chatsworth on Saturday, and to the Dunstan Hall garden centre.

I made a couple of pots of soup, a cake and a slow cooked shoulder of lamb (drank a whole bottle of red wine, did that lamb!)

We sat around and messed about on our computers.

Oh - and I had a hair cut and dropped into the Wingerworth library.

And do you know - I think that was it. I don't think we actually did anything else at all.

It was lovely.

But I do think that next weekend I had perhaps better tidy the house. It is emphatically not visitor ready :-D

Stop Press, later:

I've just bought tickets to the River Cottage Summer Party, hosted by Hugh Fearnley Wotsit and some of his River Cottage pals for the first weekend in July. I'm ever so excited :-) I've booked me a long weekend off work, and I've booked what looks like a lovely bed and breakfast in Axminster. And that will pretty much be our summer holiday. My leave for this year is taken up with three weeks in Australia in April and two weeks off in December. No time left for a proper summer holiday as well!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Peter's funeral

I was beginning to consider the possibility of getting up and dressed yesterday morning when Tabitha sent a message to say that someone had dropped a small snow storm onto Cambridge. I gave up the idea of wearing my best black trousers and decided to wear my winter walking trousers – which are also black, but which are fleecy lined and, conveniently, have a pocket on the leg large enough to hold my iPhone and my Japanese flash cards.

In the end, I wore my winter walking trousers, a white shirt, with a floatie tie-died purple shirt over the top, and a warm, woolly cardigan, but taking my black jacket for when we actually got there. The Builder wore his funeral suit (he wears the jacket sometimes, but the suits as a whole only for funerals). The trousers seem to have shrunk while they’re been hanging in the wardrobe since May 2008!

And off we set. Nice and early, allowing for hold ups on the A1, the A14 and in snowy Cambridge.

There were no hold-ups. And no snow in Girton.

But it was just as well that we allowed extra time, for Penny sent me a message after we had been gone for about 20 minutes suggesting that we should meet at the house for a cup of tea before the service and not at the crematorium as had originally been planned!

We got there to find Joan, Penny, Steve, Tim, Jeremy and Jill all supping tea or coffee and ready to roll. Andy (who I had not seen since 1965!!) and Nic his partner were on their way but held up in traffic. Jane, who was also supposed to be attending to represent Margaret’s side of the family, had, unfortunately, been taken poorly and was unable to come. And it was too short notice for Paul or Ruth to substitute for her.

Andy and Nic arrived shortly before Peter, who came in a beautiful coffin with a truly beautiful wreath, arranged by Jill, atop. Then, a little while later, he set off for the crematorium, followed by his wife and four children in a funeral car, then followed by Steve, Jill and Nic, and The Builder and me in our cars.

We were met by the vicar of Girton whose name is Christine something. And then there followed a short and simple service, with music and readings and prayers and a poem – but no eulogy or hymns. These will follow at a memorial service to which everyone has been invited at the end of February. It was all very lovely, all the same.

And then we repaired to the Travellers’ Rest on the Huntingdon Road, not all that far from the house. It’s one of the pubs that we most frequently went to if lunching with Peter and Joan (the other is the Old Crown, virtually opposite their house – but I think it’s closed this week for some reason). Jeremy made a speech. We all toasted Peter. Then we sat down for a lunch, bought by Peter, at a little after 1pm.

Excellent, thought I. A nice lunch, a good chat – and there will still be plenty of time for me to get to my Japanese class in Sheffield at 7:15.

Three courses, a gin and tonic, two glasses of wine and three hours later we left the pub and returned to the house for a Nice Cup of Tea. No chance of getting to Japanese then!!

But it was a good afternoon.

Nice to have chance to chat to everyone, but especially to Andy and to Nic (who I had not met before – I’m not even sure I had fully registered that she existed even!). Andy has been working with the forestry people in Shropshire but has more recently been doing some landscape gardening (although that seems to have dried up latterly) and has been writing things about forestry matters and flora and fauna and so on. Nic works as a environmental planner for the Shropshire council. And Andy has an interest in ham-making and bacon-curing and several other things that I also have an interest in.

I have been interested, over the past fortnight to find that the world has seemed really rather strange without Peter in it. And I haven’t been quite sure why. It can’t just have been that Peter has always been there. Jack and Raymond also had both always been there and the world didn’t seem strange when they left. It was sad, of course, but not strange. Then I thought. Jack had more or less slipped slowly and gently away over several years of increasing ill health. By the time he actually left, the Jack-space (if you see what I mean) had almost entirely closed. Raymond’s space had been very fragile for a long time when he died – and he had made it very plain that he was more than ready to vacate it. He had pretty much closed his space long before he died. But Peter's space had been clear and strong and very definitely occupied pretty much up until the last minute. He got up and very suddenly left a very vibrant space. For a time, the space has still been there, but no one was in it.

He described the last year or so as a gentle wander downhill, although I don’t think anyone realised quite how close to the bottom of the hill he had got. Not a bad way to describe it, I think. I hope that we all have a nice gentle wander down the hill, when the time comes. And that arriving in the valley is a surprise

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

In amongst the freezing cold, bringing snow and the ice,  and the milder thaws, bringing rain and grey skies, we've had some beautiful winter weather and some glorious sunrises and sunsets. This was the view at dusk from our lounge room window the other evening. I couldn't get the beautiful pink of the sky - but the splendid sillouhettes of the winter-bare trees in the twilight are represented by our across-the-road neighbour's splendid tree. I mostly focus on the country view at the back of the house - but we also have some equally beautiful but more suburban views at the front.

We went to visit The Builder's mother on Sunday, heading down after lunch on the Saturday. We prefer not to make day trips to Salisbury if it is at all possible to avoid it! We had an amazing trip down.  There was virtually no traffic, almost no hold ups and everything went very smoothly.

I wonder where everyone was!

We stayed at The Swan (of course). 

And I, on the whole, had a very fishy day :-)

Lunch at the Nettle, before leaving: Haddock and chips.  Possibly the best fish and chips in the world!

Dinner at the Swan. Potted (English, so therefore very tiny) crayfish to start and hoki (which I would call blue grenadier - not sure why it's called hoki here) and crushed new potatoes for the main.  Extremely delicious.  I managed to find the tiniest bit of room for some chocola ice cream.  Unusually, The Builder decided that he didn't even have any cracks for ice cream!!

Peacefully eating my cooked breakfast was I on Sunday morning, accompanied by The Builder and the hippos, when a man approached me.  What, he wanted to know, was the significance of the hippos on the breakfast table?  Significance?  They're supposed to signify something?  Don't most people have toys at their breakfast table?  Apparently not.  He was asking because his wife is a HIPPO COLLECTOR and had been eying them off from their breakfast table and wanted to meet them!  Who would have thought there would be two avid hippo collectors about the place?  We discussed hippo (and camel) collecting for a bit, while the lady patted Bernard and Sleepy Hippo. Then they went away and I resumed my breakfast. I think the lady might have been a bit shy.  She didn't want to have her photo taken with the hippos.  And she didn't approach us until her husband had been talking to us for some moments.

Then we went out exploring.  Well, I was exploring.  The Builder knew where he was and where he was going.  He and Jeanette had been discussing on Saturday evening (while I was messing about playing games on my iPhone - did you know there's a Where's Wally app?) some of Jeanette's latest discoveries in her genealogical researches into The Builder's father's family.  This led to a discussion of some of the places that The Builder had lived both before and shortly after he and Pip were married.  We decided to go and look at them and take a few photos for Jeanette. 

It's funny, you know.  Set me down in a picturesque village as a tourist and I'll happily meander about, taking photos of buildings and views and things.  Tell me that I am to take photos of specific houses where people have lived or stayed - and I can immediately hear the incumbents wondering who I am and what I'm doing and why precisely I might be taking photos of their houses!!!  I took lots of scenic pictures to mask my attempts at espionage :-D

Then we ducked into Salisbury for a bit of shopping and collected Gwen and headed out into the New Forest for another lunch in another pub.  She seemed quite well and cheery, which was nice because she has been beset by a rather nasty cold this year which has lingered and lasted and loitered.  It seems to have wandered off now.

We came home via Warminster, where Barb's brother Greg had a garden shredder that was surplus to requirements.  We admired his new-ish abode, admired his new microcar, kidnapped the shredder and headed home.

Where we found Marlo lying in the lounge room window, gazing disconsolately out.  I hadn't organised for Tammy to feed him on Sunday morning because I'd fed him before we left and had left extra bowls of biscuits. As soon as he saw us through the window, he was off the windowsill and at the door as fast as his legs would carry him.  I think he was pleased to see us!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Driving home in the snow

Two hours it took me to get home last night. TWO hours!!!!!

At about 17:40, The Builder rang me to tell me that Mina Sensei had rung to say the the Japanese class was cancelled.  This was a bit disappointing - I had done my homework and everything!  However, it was true that it was snowing, and cold and all a bit gloomy.  The thought of a nice evening at home wasn't altogether displeasing. And by 17:50, most of the traffic should be well on its way.

Not so.  The traffic was at a standstill in the city centre.  I collected the car even so and set off into it, assuming that it would clear once I got out of town.

Not so.  Took me half an hour to get to B&Q.  An hour to get to Heeley Bridge, near where Freyja used to live.  Could have walked it in less.  Even in the snow!

Things improved a bit once I got onto the Dronfield Bypass.  But not much.  There was really only one lane open, and peple were driving very slowly.  Plus, once I got onto the hills, I had fog as well as sleet and snow and ice to contend with.

Two hours.  To the minute. Door to door.  And it wasn't because of road conditions but because of sheer volume of traffic and some drivers being very selfish .

Took not much longer than that to get back from Cambridge on Sunday.  We went down in the morning and had lunch in a pub with Taffa and Gaz and then went to visit Joan and Penny in Girton for afternoon tea. They seemed to be doing quite well.  They're working on the date and time for Peter's Memorial Service.

I wonder why the Japanese class was cancelled.  It wasn't *that* snowy.  Although I suppose if it took me two hours to get home it mnight easily have taken Mina Sensei a couple of hours to get to the class.  Not that I know where she lives, mind you