Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Some Clean Up and A Small Jig

Ooo, Flowers, Tourists, and Sun!

Sooo, I've gotten a handful of questions in great repition. I thought I'd answer them here. I know that you were just dying to see that I'm covered in flour and the flowers in Bath.

Yum, Flour.

Q: What happened with your bread.
A: I spent most of last week covered in flour. No really, the photo about doesn't do the flour coverage justice. My first attempt at sourdough starter went from one cup flour, one cup water to sponge in 36 hours. As for the bread, the first loaf burned on the outside and suffered extreme doughyness on the inside. It was inedible. The second loaf came up lovely, if a bit heavy.

Second Attempt at Sourdough Loaf.

I know you're just dying to comment. And then I killed the starter by washing the bowl. That's right: I picked up the starter bowl and tossed it into the dishwater. I don't think there is any way to save starter from detergents. The second attempt at starter is currently becoming a sponge. At least, I hope it is becoming a sponge. If not, I'll have to go buy bread tomorrow. That would defeat the whole point. I suspect that I'm going to be going through a lot of flour in the coming weeks.

Q: Did you really have an outhouse?
A: Yes, two in fact. I was terrible at having an outhouse. Wait, I was terrible at my first outhouse. Saving a bit of dosh by living without running water in a dry cabin in Alaska seemed like a good idea. Besides I really really wanted to prove that I could do it. The week we moved in breakup (the great melt that happens in June in Alaska) occurred, and it became clear that the outhouse hole hadn't been dug properly, I'd moved into a bog, and that my landlord was creepy. I spent most of the ensuing seven months using a honey bucket (five gallon bucket in the house) and 'flushing' that down the outhouse. My second outhouse experience was pretty fabulous (Thanks, Jennifer). Of course the local mama moose really liked the extra foliage that grows around outhouses, and she often wasn't going to let me near it. Luckily it was Alaska and I had already become a dab hand at squatting in the woods. Phew.

Q: I grew up with an outhouse and their were various creepy crawlies I couldn't stand. How did you cope?
A: I would not have coped at all any place that has snakes, spiders bigger than the palm of hand, or wasn't frozen 9 or so months a year. I do often miss my outhouse and its large expanse of wilderness. I hate cleaning the toilet, and I hate having to wait my turn. The English don't like it when you use their gardens as 'the necessary.'

Q: Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to replace your shower head rather than descaling it? 
A: It might be easier except that I don't have a car. It's a twenty-minute bus ride followed by a twenty-minute walk to the nearest place that sells shower heads. I'd have to do this approximately once a month. It's actually less time consuming to descale the shower head and more environmentally friendly. I broke our last shower head when I dropped it from a great height. The cheapest new one was 9 quid. At the time that would have been 18 dollars. Even the heavy duty chemical descaler costs about 1.50 per descale. Vinegar is of course much cheaper than that.  It is a job I hate, and if I could convince people that I live in a dry cabin and need to shower at their houses, I would.

Q: What's the weather like there right now?
A: It's unseasonably warm or cold. It's probably raining and windy or muggy with no precipitation or it's blowing a gale. I suggest putting on a pair of trousers, a short-sleeve t-shirt, a long sleeved t-shirt, and a jacket. Put a skirt in your handbag (or if you prefer carrier bag). Subtract clothing as necessary. Add clothing as necessary. I'm not being sarcastic. I really do this. I works rather well. 

Q: Do you celebrate July 4 there?
A: I do. Some of the English celebrate with me. They bring me gifts, usually flowers. They call it the day they finally got rid of those obnoxious Puritans. Some people find it very offensive that I continue to celebrate. Most people just want an invite to the bbq.

Tomorrow is mixer tap day. Warm water out of a tap. Who knew? I'm still debating whether or not to approach that whole religion thing. I'm trying to be brave.

Thanks so much to The Jason Show and Finger Rolls and Folding Chairs for kindly linking to me. These are both blogs I enjoy, and I hope you'll go visit them. Someone else has linked me, or shared me, or shouted about me, but I haven't been able to figure out who. Let me know if it was you, please, and I'll link you up.

PS: I'm not sure comments are working for everyone. Will you please e-mail me if you're having problems, americaninbath@gmail.com? 

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