I love Dexter the TV show, so it was only a matter of time before I read the books in fact I knew getting the omnibus of the first three books was a fairly safe bet. The first book of the series is Darkly Dreaming Dexter, from which series one and two of Dexter the TV series is based. For those that haven’t seen the series, Dexter is a blood spatter technician in Miami who has a sideline in killing bad guys, basically a serial killer with an almost conscience. It was interesting seeing the comparisons between the book and season one, it starts out pretty much identical, bar a few very minor changes but then becomes very much of condensed version of the TV series, if you can call it that, considering the book came first, not the TV show. The book itself is fairly short (relatively) and you can see the necessity of having to flesh out the plot to make it into an however many episode TV series it was, it’s in fact quite odd comparing a book to TV conversion where they’ve had to add to the plot instead of take it away. In the conversion they also made some changes to the ending, probably with the knowledge there would be a second series, in mind. But TV series aside, it’s a good book, some of Dexter’s internal prose is a bit OTT and his methods of dispatch are a bit more gruesome than the TV series (there I go talking about the TV series again) but other than that it’s a good book, definitely a more unique take on the murder genre.
We got to go to the pet shop today (our tank set up for almost a week). I wanted a fantail like Red the class fish (can you see the naming trend now?) and the fantails were so small we ended up with two.
Blue is the fish on the left of the photo and Orange on the right. Orange was very sprightly in the tank of the pet shop which is why we chose him / her. Blue was a little more sedate and now I’m worrying about Blue a little, as he well, looks a little blue (not literally) and likes to sit on the bottom a bit, until Orange goes and swims over him / her and gets Blue swimming again. Blue is also quite interested in mouthing the gravel.
Awww they’re cute.
A beautiful early Spring day today (sssh, I didn’t really say that, otherwise it’ll snow or something or more very likely rain). Today started with me barely able to walk to school, you see whilst getting ready for school I trod barefoot on the curse of parents of small children everywhere, a wooden block, which although at the time hurt like hell, the pain quickly wore off. However I have treated pes cavus (very high arches) and my feet, although a lot lot better than they were in my twenties are still prone to being very easily injured, however at the time of treading on the block, I had thought I had got a way without any lasting damage. I carried on getting everyone ready for school, got everyone out of the front door, walked a third of the way down the street, just happened to put my right foot down (the one that had trodden on the block earlier) like you do and it literally felt like my foot was going to give way, a sensation I’m not too dissimilar with, but it normally rights itself pretty quickly but not this morning. I literally couldn’t put weight on the front of my foot, so thank goodness for the pushchair to lean on, I literally walked the rest of the way to school by walking on just my heel for my right foot. Luckily by drop off I could put my weight back on my foot, although it still hurt a bit, so I decided to continue on with my plans for the day, which was to walk up to the craft workshop to pick up our latest ceramics and then catching the bus into town as the workshop and town were in opposite directions. I get half way up the road towards the workshop and I’m walking like a 90 year old again but I carried on, partially because I’m stubborn and I don’t like my feet dictating what I can or can’t do, partially because to walk home again was about the same distance as carrying on to the workshop and the bus stop and partially because I knew from experience that sometimes when my feet feel like that the best thing is for me to walk on it, it unties the knots in my foot somehow.
So we made it to the workshop, lonely looking workshop owner looked temporarily very excited (until she realised we were just picking up something we’d already done) as the shop was rather empty. I offered some of the books I sell as freebies for her play area on condition my details were in the back of the books, so I will go back to deliver them and will do some more ceramics then (just to say thanks for the semi-free advertising really), now the question would be do I do it when Boy Lacer is in playgroup or not in playgroup? A chance to do some ceramic painting uninterrupted would be a rather nice childish pleasure but I would feel guilty.
Then onto the bus, once we got to the bus stop in town, we ended up walking past Uni Qlo, which I normally try to avoid doing because I end up going in there and buying things. The sunny weather was getting to me though, inducing thoughts of temporary forgetfulness, making me think I had absolutely nothing to wear for Spring and as I’m going through a bit of a shirt phase, ended up buying a pretty blue and white floral shirt for £14.99. We then walked past Clarks and my foot was still killing me and a little voice was going in my head “Maybe some new spring shoes would be more comfortable?” and I’m easily lead. Actually there was some sensibility in this, my winter boots have a slight heel, which is amazing I can wear at all, as they’re not brilliant for my feet, so a nice pair of absolute flats would be good. So I went in for a look and could not decide between a pair of patent green Mary Janes and a slightly posher looking pair of purple patent shoes which looked straight out of a purple version of The Wizard of Oz. Boy Lacer really liked the purple shoes and gave a big thumbs down for the green shoes but the green shoes were more comfortable and the green exactly the same green as some of the daffodils that are starting to bloom here, so that swung it. I tend to be a one pair of shoes at a time girl (which is why when I decided a pair of flats would be good idea for my poorly foot I had to literally go and buy some, I only had my winter boots, no other shoes at home other than my running shoes, which aren’t brilliant for me to wear all the time either), so buying my spring / summer shoes laughably in February, means that I’ll have worn through / wrecked these shoes by June / July, as I wear the same shoes all the time and walk so much, so I can buy the purple shoes then!
After the shoe shop it was off to buy the slightly more boring large brown envelope, except even that’s not that boring, as excitingly I’m about to submit my first ever manuscript to a publisher and it was only when I was searching for the brown envelopes in Smiths did I also think “What am I going to put the actual manuscript in?”, I had just thought maybe a paper clip to keep it altogether as it’s a manuscript for a picture book, so quite short, but I then tried to envision the person in charge of the slush pile, opening my brown envelope and having to juggle all the pages that have got loose from the paper clip. So then I thought I better put it in some sort of folder, something with some sort of holding thingy-me-jig so the pages don’t fall out and then faced with all the plastic options recalled the environmental credentials of this particular publisher and opted for a slim line cardboard ring binder. It’s all quite ‘stressful’, I’ve sweated for months on getting the words right and now I don’t want to hamper my manuscript by doing ‘something wrong’ in the submission process, so I want my ‘baby’ to look it’s very possible best. I’ll write a bit more about the excellent resources out there that help, when I eventually pluck up courage to put that manuscript and query letter in that brown envelope. I wrote the letter yesterday and need to look at it again today, it’s as bad as editing your manuscript!
Then after all that, finally onto the supermarket and then back home. We hobbled back along the river, me and Boy Lacer found a bench and ate some hot cross buns overlooking the water. I’ve been feeling guilty about not making the most of the last year of Boy Lacer being home most of the time, but sitting there on that bench made me realise that the best times me and the kids always have is when we’re outside and it hasn’t been the weather for that. We even had a bit of a momentous moment, Boy Lacer dropped some of his hot cross bun and wanted to put it in the bin but the bin (although still in sight) was a little bit of a walk away, so it was toss up time, do I let Boy Lacer walk to the bin on his own, hoping that he a) understands where the bin is b) comes back, thus giving him a valuable taste of independence or do I hobble off the bench and go with him? I should point out that there’s no nearby roads and he’d have to go down some steps (which he has trouble with) to get even near enough to the river to fall in, so we were safe on those aspects. I opted to let him have his independence, I watched with heart in mouth as he toddled off to the bin, knowing with my bad foot it would be a little difficult to run and get him if I needed to, he put the bit of hot cross bun in the bin with a big grin and then toddled happily back.
After that I decided to change into my new shoes for the rest of the walk home. Here’s a picture, note I’m wearing socks, I’m hoping its now deemed fashionable to wear socks and shoes like that, it feels like it is because I don’t particularly want to go round without socks in February, either that or I’m on the slippery slope of thinking wearing greying socks with Jesus sandals is socially acceptable.
Boy Lacer was sitting next to me on the bench as I was stretching my legs out to take the photo whilst avoiding taking a photo of the discarded fag packets and ring pulls. He decided to copy what I was doing, so here’s a photo of his shoes.
We then hobbled home (the new shoes are far more comfortable). I had hoped for a stop off at the playground on the way as Boy Lacer has recently discovered slides but as the usual pattern goes, he managed to split his lip open last time he was in the playground and now my over cautious little boy doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.
Both recipes are from Nigel Slater’s divine Real Food. Griddled marianted chicken and sliced roasted new potatoes in a mustard and vinegar dressing, it was like eating out at a really good pub but paying a fraction of the price. Simple, good, flavoursome food. Yum.
Now I wasn’t going to watch this, I just happened to be in the same room as Mr. Lacer, eating my tea, when he put this on the DVD player and for the want of anything better to do I thought I’d watch the beginning whilst I was eating, confirm my snobbery that it was probably an awful film and then go off and do something else. I do remember Transformers from when I was a kid but (and you know how girls are) they were such a ‘boys’ toy, I just didn’t get them. So anyway, I sat, I ate, I watched, I finished eating and I didn’t get up from the sofa, it is a really good movie (in the whole genre of lots of CGI, teenage love interest, big explosions and lots of chases). They could have so easily taken the concept and made it bad but they didn’t, it’s quirky, funny (the parents are straight out of American Pie) and has a reasonably intelligent (for the genre) concept. It got me actually sympathising with the Autobots and yes I now know what Autobots are. It is a long movie and the final fight sequence did for me drag a little but then again they didn’t do the final fight sequence for me, they did it for 8 year old boys, so an altogether rather good movie.
As I wrote last week (I think) I’ve been having problems sticking to my menu planning because unless it’s a carb and quick to prepare, chances are I actually won’t eat it. So this menu planning week I’ve chosen Nigel Slater’s Real Food to menu plan from and he is the master of quick, easy to prepare, tasty food and if you’re working your way through his first chapter on potatoes, full of carbs.
I made his Stove Top Dauphinoise with Pancetta and Rocket last night and oh my goodness it was heaven on a plate. ‘Salad’ i.e. waxy potatoes thinly sliced (about 500g, Slater actually calls for a 1kg but I didn’t have a 1kg of potatoes for a start and no way could I have fitted all that in my frying pan, his recipes gives enough ingredients to feed 3 – 4, I found 500g of potatoes enough to comfortably feed 2, I upped the pancetta a bit and used the same amount as Slater recommended for everything else) and fried for 15 minutes with some cubed pancetta (I used 140g, you could use less) and garlic (2 cloves). Then add a good few handfuls of roughly chopped rocket and double cream and milk (double cream 200 ml, milk 100 ml), cook with a lid on, gently for 10 minutes. Then take the lid off and stir in a handful of grated parmesan cheese until it melts. Plate up, take to sofa, sit in front of trashy movie and enjoy.
Sorry no photo, my camera cable has gone walkies and I don’t think it was a particularly good photo anyway (as usual the only time when I actually get to cook anything proper, it’s dark). It really is a visual treat though and a nicely smelly one. Just cooking it was a pleasure instead of a chore, the bit where you stir in the rocket and the cream and milk, the golden potatoes against the dark green of the rocket and the white of the cream and milk, you just know it’s going to taste good.
Just filled in Boy Lacer’s Nursery application form, we picked it up from the front desk at school and the receptionist already knew his name without me even mentioning it, I love the community feel of that place. Anyway we’re just going to apply for a nursery place at Girl Lacer’s school, I had thought about applying elsewhere to but then the thought of if he didn’t get a place at Girl Lacer’s school and got a place somewhere else, how on earth would I get Girl Lacer to school and Boy Lacer to where ever his nursery would be? So we’re just applying to one (plus the other obvious place to apply to, first impressions, I didn’t think much of their special needs provision, I remember going on a tour of both schools when looking at nursery places for Girl Lacer, the school Girl Lacer now goes to made very deliberate emphasis on their special needs provision on the tour, the other school, the head teacher literally just vaguely waved her hand in the direction of the special needs room when a parent asked her about their special needs provision). Much as we didn’t need special needs provision for Girl Lacer, I always think a school that is proud of it’s special needs provision, is generally a caring school all round, so that and the fact that the school Girl Lacer goes to is the closest anyway, we chose that one (we actually got offers of nursery places in both of the schools). So if for some reason Boy Lacer doesn’t get a place in the nursery (it might technically happen, even though he already has a sibling at the school, there might be too many siblings applying), he’ll just have to go to playgroup for another year. I doubt that will happen though, we do live very close as well. There’s also a section on the form asking about whether there is any medical need for the nursery being the most suitable and as all Boy Lacer’s therapists do nothing but rave about how good the school is, particularly in their ASD provision, I’ve mentioned that to. So fingers crossed, I think that school will be brilliant for him, I can’t believe that it’s coming up so quickly though!
In other school news, the class teacher likes their new fish tank, says she’ll have to get more fish now (may or may not have been joking). Mmm, I wouldn’t, the tank is meant for one big fish or two small fish, I’m not quite sure whether the class fish is ‘big’ or ‘small’ but I’ve read that it’s particular variety can get quite big. We’re just going to get one fish on Saturday, even if it is small, it’ll only hopefully get bigger and I don’t want to be in the position of having to get a bigger tank. Not yet anyway, Mr. Lacer is already planning the big stand alone tank for when we eventually (if ever) move.