Gosh. November. Is it really?
Hello. Once again I begin a post with a feeble half-apology, half-excuse, entirely-unnecessary explanation as to where I've been since my last post.
Where haven't I been? Woof!*
Not on holiday somewhere sunny, for a start. We've been discussing the possibility of going across to visit Mother in law WithaY in the South of France by train, but it hasn't got any further than a couple of conversations and Mr WithaY doing a bit of train time Googling. I quite fancy it, though. We could get on the train in London, go to Paris, then all the way across France to Perpignan, where Mother in law said she'd come to meet us.
I came in from work last night and Mr WithaY said "I rang my mother earlier."
Me: Oh yes? How is she?
Mr W: Oh, fine, fine. She climbed a volcano today."
I think there's a lot to be said for the Mediterranean lifestyle. If I feel like climbing volcanoes when I am in my 70s, I will be delighted.
If I list all the places I haven't been in the last month, we could be here a while, so I will give you a list of what has been occupying my time of late.
1) Developing the new business. We're official, we have somewhere to work, and have done our first "proper" catering job. It was a 40th birthday party for the daughter of a neighbour, and as it was the first one, was a bit of an experiment. Our neighbour had no objection to being a guinea pig for us, and as a result we were able to deliver a successful party. It was a sit-down meal for about 40 adults and a dozen or so small children, with as much gluten-free food as possible, as several of the guests are coeliac.
We are fortunate in that we can call on a specialist gluten-free cake maker, so she was able to provide a fantastic selection of cakes for the event:
The party was held in the village hall, which looked really pretty with all the decorations up:
We even decorated the kitchen:
A good time was had by all, especially those people who like cheese:
In fact, the only thing we provided which wasn't gluten free was the selection of cheese biscuits; next time we will probably make our own.
I made some chocolates too, which we served with coffee after the meal. They contained macadamia nuts, almonds, coffee beans and crystallised ginger, although not all at the same time. This week I have been experimenting with truffles. I have high hopes.
I'm proud to announce that my home made Chinese plum sauce and spicy tomato chutney went down a storm, served with the cheeses.
Which leads us neatly to the next catering event we did. Last weekend there was a Christmas bazaar in the village. It's run in aid of Save the Children, and is hugely popular. They serve light lunches and tea and cake and so on, and there is always a good range of stalls selling all kinds of stuff. We went along with a selection of our canapés biscuits, sweeties and preserves, and a huge stack of business cards, and hoped to bring our new enterprise to the attention of some potential new customers.
Readers, we succeeded.
Our table was upstairs in the Food Emporium, which was also the Bric-a-Brac Emporium and the Tombola Emporium, so we were guaranteed a lot of interested visitors. We handed out many business cards, and were asked about our ability to do several other catering jobs, so with any luck we'll get follow-up enquiries and hopefully some more work from that.
We sold almost all the chocolate ginger I took along (mental note: cover it all in PLAIN chocolate next time, milk is less popular), 90 percent of the delicious canapes and mini quiches my business partner made, and about half of the biscotti I baked. We also sold all the rest of the Chinese plum sauce, and several jars of chutney, which was encouraging.
Mmmm biscotti. I will definitely be making that again.
That big jar at the back was full of little taster biscotti pieces, and the few remaining scraps that went back home were devoured by Mr WithaY like a ravening beast.
2) Working. That's all very dull really, suffice to say that I am still doing both part-time jobs, and looking forward to the New Year when the situation at one of them is due to change quite significantly. With any luck and a following wind I could be doing something very different, but still part-time. We'll see.
3) Being domestic. All the usual stuff; you know, washing, ironing, cleaning, a bit of garden maintenance when things threaten to overwhelm us. We've been sorting out the still-unsorted stuff in the back garden, left over from having the garage converted into the catering unit and workshop, but I think we're winning. The latest cunning plan involves turning the log shed (previously the dog shed) into a storage area for Mr WithaY's bushcraft equipment that doesn't need to be locked away securely, and the logs will be moved closer to the house so we can refill the log basket in the dark without risking life and limb in the process.
This will all require a lot of heaving and hauling of the assorted shite behind the garage, to clear a space for the logs, which will in turn clear a space for the bushcraft stuff, which will in turn free up space in the shed and Mr WithaY's study, which will allow us to move all the junk in the garden into the shed (or take it to the tip if that's the best place) as well as reorganise his study so that there is more usable space for him.
If you followed that, well done. If not, the gist is: We need to move stuff around.
4) The dog. She's still lovely. This week has been a momentous one, as she no longer has to go in the puppy crate at night. And hey, guess what She sleeps right through till 7am! No more middle-of-the-night barking to wake us up so we take her out into the garden. I suspect she was just bored or uncomfortable rather than actually needed to go out. So, she's eating big dog food and sleeping on her big dog bed. Awwwh.
Life is still good. We are still happy.
*(c) Lord Flashheart