19 Apr 2014

Hestia gets a Video Nasty

So, I've got this brilliant little yoga app called Yogastudio (think it was about 99p or something) and have been trying to do one of their beginner routines.  On the screen (white background, calming tinkly music) each pose is demonstrated and a lovely lady describes what to do.

Inside my head, I fondly imagine that I am like this:

This is the Yoga Studio lady.  Isn't she fab?

However, I thought I'd get Sonshine to video me (using the wee point and click which takes about 10 minutes or so of video footage) so that I could compare MY form with what it ought to look like, as demonstrated by Yoga Lady.

I changed into sweatpants, a sports bra and my thermal vest (come on, it's only April!) and got started.

Sonshine duly worked his way around me, taking shots of my back, my bending over etc.  It was only a 15 minute warm up, so I quickly uploaded it to the computer to watch back in comfort.

And then I watched it back.

And then I watched it again.  Of course, I was about as flexible as a Mortgage Provider and nothing was moving in the direction that it should but....

My GOD, I had no idea that I really looked like that!  Yanno, I KNOW that I'm no oil painting, but dear Lord, with no make up on at all, I was utterly fearsome - my natural expression looks like someone has left rotting herring under my nose.

And my waist! There ISN"T one!!

And my ARSE in those sweatpants?!  I jumped up from the computer and strode into the bedroom and yanked off the sweat pants in a single, horrified, move.  They are going STRAIGHT to a charity shop (once I've washed them, of course).

I painted my face - primer - the whole works.  Removed my hair from its habitual pony tail and smoothed it into submission with oil.  Got dressed in some proper clothing and sat on the edge of the bed wondering what to do.

Reader, some people might have taken this video as a wake up call to start doing something about their health - for their family's sake if nothing else.  


I headed straight downstairs to the biscuit tin and made myself a stack of Digestive Biscuits and jam. With creme fraiche.  Yes, it was the posh strawberry and rose petal jam.  I don't mind telling you, it was fantastic.  But 'fantastic' in the way that you might have frenzied drunken sex with Ian from Accounts in the toilet at the office Christmas party.  You know that you're going to HATE yourself in the morning.  And he won't call, of course.  Because you showed yourself to be a SLAPPER and STRUMPET. 

Yes, I hated myself.  I WAS that slapper and strumpet.  All for a stack of 6 digestive biscuits.  And jam.  And cream.  But, like the office party scene, I could NOT stop myself from doing it.  Even though I was hating myself as I stuffed every bit of creamy, jammy biscuit into my gob.

I decided, in the manner of all the best self-help manuals, to examine my relationship with food.  Turns out it's the most fulfilling relationship I've got.

1  I overeat at every meal - my portion size is about the same as Tartarus's and he's a very active man - fitting log-burners, tiling, cementing. I am only active on facebook and twitter.

2  I eat when I'm watching TV. Which is most evenings between 7pm and 10pm.

3  I eat when I'm sad.  Which is a lot of the time, thank you world.

4  I eat when I'm stressed.  See 3.  And 1. and 2 as well.  Now that Lucy's been bumped off in Eastenders.

5  I eat what's left on Sonshine's plate.  Mothers hate waste.  Also love buttery mashed potatoes.

6  I don't enjoy cooking (see: just about every food posting that I've made on this blog.  Never goes smoothly) so it's often straight from freezer to oven/microwave etc.

7  I adore sweets - no bar of choccy is safe when I'm around (see: Easter Sunday tomorrow when Sonshine goes to open his Easter Egg.  It no longer exists.  Or eggsists.

8  I adore savoury.

9  I adore patisserie.

10  I MUST have a biscuit with every cup of tea or coffee.  I have about 6 teas/coffees per day.

Something's got to change before I drop dead.

Suggestions and solutions welcome :-D

And no, I am NOT putting up a photo of me trying to do downward dog :-D  

17 Apr 2014

Hestia stacks up some Brownie Points in Heaven

not our actual crow - I was too busy to take
photos of the Rescue Operation!
Of course, as soon as the wood-burner is cemented in place a bird flutters to its doom down the chimney.

Sonshine and I listened with dread to the gentle tappings as it hopped around on top of the aluminium plate that had now been permanently sealed across the bottom of the chimney.

No longer could I just pull out the plate and let the bird fly to freedom.  No siree.  But maybe Tartarus had built in an escape-plan for trapped birds.  Maybe.

But Tartarus is now in Israel.

I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN!  We've had three birds down this chimney in the past and Tartarus has been away at work every single time.  With a heavy heart, I set to work.

I unscrewed the aluminium plate from its position and tried vainly to dislodge it, but it was not for moving - when Tartarus cements something in place, it is a pretty good bet that it is cemented in for ever.  If I ever disappear in mysterious circumstances - tell the police to check up the sealed chimney, ok?

Then it was a rush upstairs to facebook and email to 'Mayday' the newly arrived and knackered Chief Engineer as to how we might rescue the bird.

After lunch we got the message - the actual pipe from the burner to the chimney SHOULD slide out. Yes, SHOULD slide out is not the same as WILL slide out, but with some judicious hammering and a fair old bit of swearing from yours truly and some nascent swearies from my son, we managed to slide the flue out from its casing.  So now the flue moved freely up and down in the aluminium plate.

But could we slide it out into the room and leave a hole for the bird to escape? Could we fuck, ladies and gentlemen.

We pushed and pulled and swivelled and swore, but there is no way we could actually remove it.  So we instated our emergency plan:

Shove the flue as much as possible into the chimney void and hope against hope that the bird would decide to launch itself down the flue into the unknown.  We wodged the flue up in place and hoped for the best. I left the torch on, so that it would have definite light to move towards.  Heck, I even prayed aloud to God, much to Sonshine's amusement:  'Come on, give us a break! We're trying to save another life here!'  OK - so its not quite the Lord's prayer, but it was all I could manage given the circumstances.

Many hours later (like 10!) Sonshine came bursting in to my Masterchef fantasy time and announced that the bird had tumbled into his room in a cloud of soot.

We both ran into his room and there, perched on the cornicing and, literally, shitting himself was a massive crow. I slammed off the lights and opened one of the curtains whilst simultaneously hauling open the sash and case window (not opened, incidentally, since the last time a bird got stuck in the chimney)

Nero was left in the other room while Sonshine and I tried to shoo Birdy to the window.  He got the right idea, but headed for the TOP of the window, not the lower bit that was open.  This led to me dispatching Sonshine to the garage for step ladders so that I could try sliding down the top window. THIS window, never opened, well, in living memory. Unbelievably, it gave a protesting squeak (the window, not the bird) and slid open!!!

And with a couple of panicked 'caws' and a big streaky smelly shit over Sonshine's White Dwarf magazine collection.....the crow flew straight out!!!

God listened! Tartarus helped! Sonshine helped! At last we managed to SAVE A CROW!

And today's job is to wipe all the bird poop off all surfaces and phone the roofer to install a mesh protector to the chimney can.

Save any lives today at your end?

16 Apr 2014

Hestia's Note To Self

Note to self:  
When Sonshine confirms that  yes, he's washed all the dishes, 
it's always worth checking what he means by 'all'

2 Apr 2014

Hestia's favourite jam

Strawberries and Roses
Bloody gorgeous

Oh my, but this is beyond delicious!

Henshelwood's are based here on the isle of Bute and you can pick up their gorgeous range of jams and chutneys via their website.

Imagine your favourite strawberry jam....now imagine it infused with the delicate scent of roses.  Honestly, you won't know whether to eat it or dab it behind your ears!

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