Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Mincemeat Managed!

Today dawned - unusually - grey and misty. Still, it was somewhat less chilly than it was at the end of last month, and I didn't feel too cold as I set out on my thrice-weekly 5km walk with my friend Sheila.

It was quite unusual that the mountains in the distance were almost invisible, and we saw flamingoes rather closer than usual - I still had to zoom the camera somewhat to snap them, but think they're visible if you click the image to enlarge it:

Since I had my camera out, I also snapped these bushes which looked quite colourful despite the time of year, although they would probably have looked rather better with some sunshine:

Back home and we expected workmen to arrive at 7.30am. They actually arrived about 8.15, but then impressed us with their speed, efficiency and general neatness.  

The main reason we had to get workmen in was because part of the balcony outside my study is collapsing. This is due to water getting into the 'rebar' that holds it up. Richard has been saying for a while that we should ask someone to look at it, since cracks were appearing... but when chunks of concrete started falling a few weeks ago, it turned into a more urgent situation. 

Since the guy (recommended by a friend) seemed very competent, we also asked him to deal with some loose plaster problems by our guest flat front door, as well as some bubbles on our living room ceiling where - a few years ago - we had a leak. Oh, and some problem plaster at the foot of the indoor staircase, which we think is caused by our regular roof leak, as water dribbles down the stairs during rainstorms, and gets into the wall. 

Within a couple of hours of the workmen's arrival, the balcony concrete was chipped away and the rebar painted with a water-resistant product. 

I decided that, since I now had some veggie suet, I would make this year's mincemeat today. I weighed out most of the ingredients, and then Richard said that they workmen were going to start on the indoor plaster preparation. 

So they came in, and we had to shut the kittens in the kitchen; since I didn't want to be imprisoned there, I abandoned the mincemeat and shut myself in my study.  It wasn't long before the patch at the foot of the stairs was chipped away and coated: 

As was the ceiling, where the plaster had been bubbly and flaking: 

They then brushed the floor and left it to dry for 24 hours; it all looks very neat and tidy, albeit rather bare. 

Sheila arrived shortly afterwards with her four-and-a-half-year old who just wanted to be read to today: 

After lunch, I finally succeeded in completing this year's mincemeat. It looked like a huge quantity in the bowl, but I like to pack it quite firmly, and it all fit inside one medium sized plastic container: 

However I weighed it, and it was 1.84kg in all. Slightly surprised at this odd amount I realised that it's almost exactly 4lb in imperial units.  It's an old family recipe so I suppose it was calculated to be an exact number of pounds.

Since a lot of people buy just one 450g jar of mincemeat for their mince pies, I reckon that four times as much ought to be plenty... this quantity usually is.

So that's two tasks to cross off my pre-Christmas list.

No comments: