Monday, 29 June 2015

Phil's Apple and Prune Jam

Today I made a batch of Phil's apple and prune jam. I hope I did it correctly because it was awfully easy.

Who is Phil? Phil Pogson writes a blog called House of Simple over at Recently he recounted making this jam. Very few ingredients. Just my style. Thank goodness for the internet and generous bloggers.

Where is the recipe?

Have I made jam before? Actually I have made rosella jam twice, only one of those attempts being a success. The first time I used too much sugar and cooked it too long. Toffee in a jar. Bah! And I had hiked through the bush to collect those rosellas. So, I have learned to actually follow the recipe and not to be too creative.

I ended up with four and a half small jars of apple and prune jam. The red lid at the back is hiding the half-full jar.

I made the labels to fit clear adhesive packing tape. I try to label my homemade chutneys with the date and the ingredients, just in case something happens. Followed the plan. I do not remember where I got my label template but you can find some at this link. Use labels in Word so you can type it once and just print.

Next week I have someone coming to stay so I need to look like the uber-housewife again. This should help. Thanks Phil.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Funny, but close to the truth

I sing second alto with quite a big choir. We are all volunteers of course. Lots, but not all, of our music is European sacred choral music that was written for ceremonies in cathedrals. Our musical director is the daughter of missionaries. That says something about her musical selections. But the tunes are glorious. And the effect of the sound of all those voices and instruments bouncing off the walls is breathtaking.

We sing a lot of hymns because we are often needed so that a ceremony will be more impressive. I like most hymns due mainly to a long history of church attendances, Anglican high church with wonderful organists. The one tune can be used for a dozen different hymns and that actually makes the entire learning and performing process much easier.

Another aspect of singing in a choir is that we sit and watch the pages while we rehearse. Bad boys and girls! Watch the conductor! Heads up! Watch. Did you see what I was telling you? Get your nose out of the book and watch me. Do not slouch! The conductor or the director inevitably gets a trifle irritated.

Perhaps you are familiar with the tune to Immortal, Invisible. This is an easy hymn to sing. If you read the words aloud you will almost have the tune, as it is so close to the rhythm of normal speech. Maybe add a descant here or there. Unison for this verse. Harmony for that one.

Some wit (read twit) has played with the words to illustrate the behaviour of choirs. It fits my choir exactly. My friend sent me this photo and I laughed for ages. No, I do not know who is responsible and I doubt that they will own up.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Home and happier

The much anticipated holiday was a disaster.
Some people and companies are so incredibly nice and others ...

Flying to Sydney I became ill on the plane. Qantas were absolutely wonderful and took care of everything. I can not praise them enough.
Not getting paid for this,
but I am so glad I was flying Qantas.
It just so happened that a doctor was on the plane and he assisted me. I think it was really generous of him to attend to a complete stranger at short notice with no chance of financial reimbursement. The chief steward on the flight was also extremely competent and made sure everything went smoothly.
Qantas arranged for an ambulance to take me and my husband to St George's Hospital in Sydney, and they took care of the luggage as well. The hospital was great. Doctors, tests, food, drink, and the best attention possible. It is a huge hospital but really calm. There was some question about whether I had suffered a heart attack or had a clot in a lung. In the end there was no evidence for either so I was allowed to continue on my way.

Behind this desk I found people
who can fix almost anything.
Not paid for this either!
Meanwhile our luggage was delivered to our hotel. Phone call from Qantas. We had no reservation there. It seems the trusty (?) travel agent had cancelled our reservation only a few hours after we had made it. Arrrgh! The hotel fixed everything and we enjoyed our stay there. The hotel was the Travelodge on Philip Street. It is just a few steps along from the famous Lindt Café in Martin Place.

And so the pattern of highs and lows continued. We had a meal in a restaurant in Sydney where we were charged $9.50 each for glasses of tap water! Ridiculous! Glad I live far away.

Arrived in Vancouver and was promptly told I had the wrong visa. Turn around and leave please.

I am following this up with the travel agent. I contacted Consumer Affairs again and spoke to a different person who was very helpful, unlike last time. I also spoke to the compliance manager of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents.
The consumer laws have changed but I believe I am still entitled to a refund from the travel agent. She make the booking and took my money even though she had the professional knowledge and experience to know I would not be able to use the services and goods she sold me. This is deceptive behavior and is possibly fraud.
I need to be careful about making unjust accusations but I am angry with the travel agent.

I am also feeling quite supported because of a few kind comments from people who read about my travel problems a while back. Anyone can fall into a set of unfortunate circumstances. Truly, it does not take much for courage to turn into a handful of problems. (Maybe something like this is happening to my travel agent and that is why she is making a mess.) But I think I need to stand up for myself much more than I have done in the  past. I have received some sincere support from complete strangers recently and I owe it to them not to waste that.

So now I am home and trying again. As you know, some people can be very trying.