Friday, 17 June 2011

In Search of the Good Life

My laptop net-booky thing died. In laptop years it was probably about 247, and had admittedly had a pretty hard life, but its demise - from a hideous virus caught from some horrid instant-messenger thing downloaded by a daughter - was still a blow. I had such high hopes when I first got it... and although not all of them may have quite been realised, it's been a very faithful companion for the last 3 years.

And yet, a month on and I haven't really begun to look into replacing it. As someone who spends quite a large proportion of their energy ranting at the junior members of the household about the time they spend online and the fact that they 'chat' incessantly to cyberfriends but have a tendency to monosyllabic grunting over the dinner table, the removal of one instrument of addiction has made life a whole lot simpler. It's also forced me to confront the extent of my own internet habit. I wasn't quite at the 'grunting at the dinner table' stage, but I will own up to keeping my netbook open in a corner of the kitchen and checking emails/twitter 25 times every ten minutes, indulging in the odd happy half day hour of James D’Arcy cyberstalking hanging out in my favourite shopping haunts, only half-listening to the children and generally letting large slices of life pass me by. I do of course still have my work computer, but that's up two flights of stairs and is too serious and scary to be used for loafing.

Since the demise of the netbook I have - amongst other things - taught Daughter #3 to sew,watched an entire series of Improving Educational TV on DVD with daughters 2 and 3, not updated my blog, traipsed around the byways of Cheshire collecting elderflower heads and turned them into elderflower cordial, spent an inordinate amount of cash in real shops and had an inordinate amount of fun doing so with Daughter #1 (who is in a state of post-GCSE euphoria and pre-prom excitement), made progress on the new book, not updated my website, assisted in the completion of a 1000 piece jigsaw depicting 1970s toys, made bread, all but disappeared from twitter, cooked stuff from actual recipes involving more than five ingredients, gone to bed before 11pm, got past base camp on Laundry Mountain, been an even more erratic emailer than ever and missed my online friends.

So - to buy or not to buy? that is the question. Feel like I've inadvertently stumbled upon the sunshiny Good Life in the gap where my twilit cyber-existence used to be, but every now and again I think about the all the interesting, inspiring, stimulating stuff going on online and feel my fingers twitch in the direction of my credit card. I think I'll probably give in eventually, but I don't think I'm quite ready yet. Does anybody have a good recipe for strawberry jam?

7 comments: said...

Yes, match the weight of your strawberries to jam sugar, oh and a knob of butter, works every time.
Good to have you back by the way, we've missed you.
xx Karen

Anonymous said...

Oh hell, why has my email address appeared? Never mind, I trust you all, just try not to send me any of those weired spam emails I get, I couldn't cope with anymore, I'm traumatised!!
xx Karen

India said...

Karen - so good to see your name here (even with your email address! Let me know if you want me to delete the comment and remove it) Thanks for the jam info - I have a yearning for scones and jam, and everybody knows that the calories don't count if you make them yourself. Do the strawberries have to be perfect or can they be a bit on the squashy side?

ros said...

Squashy strawberries are the best for jam.

Brigitte said...

Hi India, lovely to see you back in cyberland. Really missed your ramblings!!

As for strawberry jam, I always add the juice of one freshly squeezed orange per kilo of strawberries; Gives it a nice flavour and definitely makes it distinct from shop bought variety.

I also use a special jam sugar where you only need half the sugar to one kilo of fruit. It's called Fruttina over here, but I don't know whether it's available in the UK. Makes the jam very fruity; I'll have a look around the shops when I'm in London tomorrow.

Happy kitchen time.
Brigitte x

Rachel Lyndhurst said...

Elderflower cordial,eh? Was it nice? We've got loads of them in the garden and every year I almost have a go. Bet it's nice mixed with British sparkling Champagne-style wine!

Don't buy another lappy. Spend the money on silk-wrapped notebooks and edible glitter. And a big red hat.


India said...

That's good news Ros. I'm finding Sainsburys seem to be specialising in squashy strawberries this year, so it's good to find a use for them.

Thanks for the tip about the orange Brigitte - I'm v excited about my jam-making project now. But what were you doing in London?! Hope you had a fabulous trip and managed to squeeze in a lovely afternoon tea somewhere.

Rachel, trust you to ask that and draw attention to the secret truth I was hoping to hide. The elderflower cordial was not a success. The first batch smelled like silage and made my eyes water as I was pouring it down the drain outside. The second batch (different recipe) was pretty good initially, but I don't think I put enough citric acid in and after a couple of days in the fridge that went down the drain too.

I am liking your list of essentials very much though. Adding them to my shopping list right now. Look out for me at the RNA conference in my big red hat...