Sprouts, again

I made a sprout and sweetcorn curry on Sunday, it’s been festering in the fridge since then and is about ready for eating now. There seem to be only two capacities for my slow cooker, too much and far too much, so the batch has been split with half for dinner and/or tea today, plus some made into spicy bean-burgers for a late breakfast, and the rest for the freezer.

There lies the problem, I really need to sort my freezer out, there are enough unlabelled bricks of frozen curry and chilli in there to go into competition with Sandbach’s (already overcrowded) take-away and restaurant market… I could probably dine on the stuff, at least twice a day, for a month and still have some left over for a rainy day.

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Two eBay purchases

While searching eBay for a suitable boat to use on Lago Cumbre (see my “Playing Trains” blog) I strayed, as one does, and found myself looking for old die-cast cars like the ones I used to own when I was a child.

Having changed the search pattern from boats to cars I refined it to look for a specific model. Not an exact copy of the one on the book cover, but one that was one of my favourites at the time.

I read Travels With Charley when I was still at school and ever since then I have wanted two things, a dog and a camper van. I have had dogs for a good number of years now but still dream of life on the road, maybe not crossing America though, I’d happily settle for just touring England, Scotland and Wales… While I was on eBay I bought a copy of the book so I can reread it.

Anyhow, back to the model, I’d be tempted to repaint the pick-up truck in black to match the one on the book cover.

1:55 scale Ford F350 pick-up with demountable camper body.

The scale means it’s unsuitable for use on my model railways so I will create a diorama for it to be displayed on.

Perhaps including a model of the author and his travelling companion.

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Sweet potato and spinach… Without the spinach

I decided to have a go at making a sweet potato and spinach bake. Except that I forgot to get any frozen spinach while I was shopping!

So… Time to adapt and improvise. I had plenty of other veg in the freezer and I had bought some Tuna steaks this morning.

In the oven as I typed this was a Pyrex dish, lined with thinly sliced sweet potato and filled with chopped veg and tuna, topped with grated cheese. Over/into this I had poured a mixture of eggs and milk, with more than a hint of chilli flakes.

I had no idea what it was going to taste like but most of my random creations are reasonably edible… Even if they do need to be drowned in chilli sauce first.

Half an hour later

Mmmmm! Gorgeous, doesn’t need anything adding. So much nicer than tinned tuna, not nearly as salty.

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A proper big McBurger

No, I’m not selling my soul and eating the crappy meals found underneath the arches, this burger is home made, and big. A genuine two hander, not like the ones you see on telly pinched between the forefinger and thumb of each hand.

It’s half a veggie haggis (hence the “McBurger” title), left over from last night’s tea, mixed with a handful of chopped onion, two chopped chillies, a teaspoonful of mustard powder and a teaspoonful of black pepper, bound together with two eggs.

The mixture was pressed into the bottom of an ovenproof dish and cooked with the lid on to keep the moisture in.

It tastes delicious on freshly baked crusty bread and smells a heck of a lot better than the greasy odours that waft over a Sandbach supermarket’s car park.


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Once upon a time in America…

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Gas works gang

While looking for photos of the Glossop Tramways I found the image below.  It’s not me and my friends, there weren’t that many in our gang and I don’t recognise any of them, but climbing on the bog roof at the bottom of Shrewsbury Street is the kind of idiotic thing we got up to. It’s a long drop to the river below!

Photo – Cliff Hales, Six Decades of Photos

The photo is dated as being my era as a teenager in Glossop by the cars, haircuts, clothes fashions… And the gas works in the background.

If you’re from, or know, the Glossop area I would thoroughly recommend looking at Cliff Hales’s website.

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I grew up next to an electrified railway, so it was only natural that I developed a liking for the familiar trains that rattled past the house all day.

The house I grew up in is just to the left of the train on the uphill side of the line.

The sight of freight trains lurching over the junction at what was my local station is a vivid memory from many hours spent at the end of the platforms, on the footbridge and in the signalbox.

The class 76s were beautiful, one is preserved but an electric loco needs an electric railway and there are no 1500vDC lines left in the UK.

As I grew up my liking for elderly electric trains widened and I built several N scale model railways using a collection of old German electric locos, a collection I still own and cherish.

Real character, I have two models of this class of loco.

From the LNER designed trains on the Woodhead line and the vintage German electrics my interest took me back in history to what I believed to be the start of electric traction in 1879.

I’ve been around railways in one way or another since I was a small child, climbing on the bridge near my parents’ house to look down the chimney of the goods train as it passed below (not a good idea), squashing pennies on the line underneath the bridge (also unadvisable), then getting to know the staff at the station and watching the trains from the comfort of the signalbox. My oldest friend I met through the school model railway club. When I left school I got a job on the railway and stayed there for 27 years. I still have my free passes and frequently use the train for days out. Now, at the age of 60, I’ve just found out something new about trains.

A Scottish inventor, Robert Davidson, made a passenger-carrying miniature electric train in 1837 followed by a full size locomotive. It was powered by zinc-acid batteries and tested in 1842 on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line, 37 years before the Seimens train ran.

I was actually looking for images of New Zealand bush tramway locos, built by another Davidson, when I found the Scottish locomotive.

A world apart, figuratively and literally, from the electrics this post started with, but it’s still a train.

Isn’t the internet a wonderful place?

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Another trip to the Cheshire Dogs Home to see Star this afternoon. We took her for a walk around the woods then played in the fenced compound with her running and fetching a ball. She even allowed me to put her back on the lead when it was time to go back to the kennels.

Harvey is a hard act to follow but I reckon Star will steal everyone’s heart, just as Harvey did. Of course she’s not a replacement for him, just as he wasn’t a replacement for Guinness, because you can never replace anyone you’ve loved so much, human or canine. You just do your best to carry on when they’re gone.

As long as I live Guinness and Harvey will forever be with me in spirit but there’s a big hole in my life at the moment, a hole where there should be a dog, and Star is just the dog for the job!

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Half an inch of snow on the road when I woke up this morning. Panic stations as the nation grinds to a halt. After an emergency stock take I am happy to report that I have enough beer in the house to last a couple of days.

Hardly on a par with the winters of my childhood, like the one in the film above.

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My sister and I went to Cheshire Dogs Home yesterday because I cannot cope with coming home to an empty house each day. I was initially looking for another lurcher, and there were some absolutely charming ones there, but a small Staffy cross stole my heart.

She’s not ready for rehoming yet but, hopefully, soon will be.

I keep bursting into tears over Harvey, I will miss him and love him forever, as I still miss and love Guinness, but life has to go on and it would be a lot easier shared.

Harvey at his best, everybody who knew him loved him.

As for the post’s title? I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide but it’s debateable whether she will be a rescue dog or I’ll be a rescue human.

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