Tuesday, February 28, 2006


(Originally published on 25 Feb 06)
The highlight of the week for me has been
seeing three of my four daughters today, who
got together for a meet-up at our house. One
of them, L, is stopping with us overnight
and will see the fourth daughter R tomorrow.
Their ages span from 24 to 32 years.

Mrs C "went to town" and baked some delicious
cakes and other lovely nibbles for our
afternoon tea, as well as making some salmon
& smoked haddock fishcakes for our
lunch/dinner (dinner for those of us living
North of Watford). I did the veg by the way
- our usual mountain of steamed veg.

This past week I’ve done some DIY in the house
- put up a small wall-mounted table in one of
our ground floor rooms and assembled three
chairs - all from IKEA. I was annoyed to have
to go back to IKEA two more times to replace
one of the chairs, and also to have to go to
B & Q to buy four special wall-fixing screws
(not supplied by IKEA/the table manufacturer).

I spent one lunchtime, meeting up with one of
my friends at The Bean in Beeston (lovely
coffee there – I like a large cappuccino with
no chocolate on top – and it has a lively café

I think the coffee at The Bean is slightly
better than that served up by Costas (which
is where I’d go in Nottm or on the motorway
for coffee). I’ve give both The Bean and
Costas 9 out of 10 for quality, and a much
lower rating to Starbucks.

Our favourite brands of ground coffee for
making coffee at home are, in first place,
the premium coffee at Lidls (in the red
packets), and in second place, Tescos Finest
Kenyan (in the silver grey packets). The Lidl
one is a lot cheaper.

If you ever visit Yorkshire, try the Café
Blend coffee at any branch of Betty’s coffee
shops/restaurants, in Ilkley, Harrogate and
York. You can buy the Café Blend beans or
ground coffee there, but the coffee doesn’t
taste as nice when we make it at home. I rate
it as 12 out of 10 … outstandingly good.

Keep this to yourself - if you plan to visit
Betty's for lunch, then get there for a coffee
at 11.30am, and stay seated until lunch starts
to be served at midday. There are long queues
of people waiting for seat, if you arrive
after 12.

I noticed this the other day when Mrs C and I
Mrs C and I went out to The Bottle Kiln in
West Hallam for lunch. We arrived at 11.45
(in good time for lunch at 12) to find most of
the seating taken up by a lot of people
having pre-meal drinks. The Bottle Kiln does
fabulous baked potatoes with a variety of
fillings and salad. The quiches/flans tend to
be dripping with hot liquid fat, so we avoid
those. The owner and resident artist, Charles
Stone, has a large collection of his own art
work up on the walls for sale.... mainly
pretty landscapes in acrylic/pastel, and
rather gaudy female nudes (with prominent
lips and breasts). Mrs C and I often wonder
which female member of staff he might be
thinking of when he's painting these figures,
or if he's got a pile of 1960s Playboy
magazines as reference material.

I went to two excellent U3A group meetings on
Thursday morning – the computer one, looking
mainly at Windows XP, Word, Excel and other
topics, and the wine-tasting one. The latter
is well attended and is great fun. The
winemaster leading the group brought in five
bottles of excellent wine, which we all
managed to consume! The best wines were a
Hungarian Sauvignon Blanc, which was not as
sweet as others I’ve tasted, and a Rosemount
Estate Cabernet Merlot. A rather excessive
amount of alcohol I think for that time of
day, but we all left in a jolly mood.

I’ve spent the rest of my time tinkering on
this computer (and reading Belinda Walthew’s
“A simple guide to Dreamweaver 4” – excellent).

There are lots of other things I could be
doing, such as improving my electric guitar
playing, pressing on with my family history,
plus lots of DIY projects around the house
and garden. Mrs C often threatens to get a
professional in to do the latter, whereupon I
tend to spring into action (rather than pay
someone to do it). The words “Tight Bastard”
spring to my mind.


Blogger andrea said...

Justin: what's it like to be a man in a woman's world? Do you love it? I am the same (only flipped around). I find I have a harder time relating to women than men because I just haven't had the practice! Something about conditioning and indoctrination I guess.

4:18 pm  
Blogger justin said...

Thanks for getting in touch,
Yes I do love it. I generally feel more comfortable in the company of women than blokes (with the exception of my closest three male friends) – women being more into talking about feelings and their relationships, which I find fascinating. I’m always curious to know how others “tick”, women in particular (and I should add, what turns women on sexually).

Both my dad and my brother were distant figures in my childhood, (my big brother is 7 years older than me, and had his own friends/separate social life & interests), so I related more with the females in my family, and later also with my wife and all our girls as they grew up.

If you’ve read some of my blog roll, you will have seen that I’m into a lot of nerdish activities that blokes are into. However, I’m not into football, rugby, cricket, fast cars, computer games, and stuff like mountaineering, seamanship, or exploratory stuff…. so I’ve never had interests in common with a lot of men I meet.
I'm not so bothered about that as I used to be, but they must think of me as being an oddball.

12:22 am  
Blogger andrea said...

And, like you, I don't have much use for shopping, crafts, decorating, gossip-fests, etc., but have some nerdy female interests (horses!). I keep hoping for a niece, just to redress the balance abit, but my two brothers and two brothers-in-law have failed me seriosuly on that one. Not even a nephew for God's sake!

3:23 pm  
Blogger andrea said...

PS My husband, a nerdy guy, also used to be into home brewing (even grinding the grain himself and making bread from the spent grain!) but it was eventually usurped by other nerdy hobbies (that he's introduced to both our sons!). Too bad -- I miss the bread! :)

3:25 pm  

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