Worn Out

Things are wearing out around here.

First there's the loo.

It's the flush mechanism, not a horrendous blockage.
Charlie thought he could replace the part but bolts have rusted and are immovable.
A plumber has been called.
And we do have another loo.

Then there's my cafétière. It seems to deconstruct itself each time I plunge.
I drink a lot of coffee. Perhaps that is why the flush has worn out.

Then there are my trousers.
I have four pairs of trousers three of which I bought last autumn and this pair which I bought in January.

Only one pair has remained whole(free). I have managed to wear holes in all the others. Are trousers not designed for walking in these days? Do I walk in an unusually rough way? Are my legs just too close together? Why should a pair of £50 trousers last less than a year? I am now living in M&S black joggers which are only £9.50. 

Then there are my heels. Not worn out completely but definitely wearing out. 
As ever my efforts at getting fitter have resulted in physical damage. I have been diligently walking 10,000 steps a day for the past two months. It amounts to about 4 miles or 80 minutes of walking. A lot of my steps are accumulated with everyday walking around. A trip around the supermarket is around 2500 steps, washing the kitchen floor and mowing the lawn the other day added loads on. But, the walking around the block I've been  doing to get my total up to 10,000 has caused my heels to become rather painful despite sensible footwear. Achilles tendonitis I think.
 So I'm cutting back a bit. 
And eating an apricot-chocolate-coconut muffin.

Sieve together;
9 oz plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 oz sugar

Stir in 
3 oz desiccated coconut
2 oz chopped chocolate or choc chips
2 oz chopped dried apricots
I chopped the choc and apricots very finely together in the food processor, but often I do it by hand to make bigger chunks

In another bowl or large measuring jug mix;
8 fl oz milk
3 fl oz sunflower oil or melted butter
1 egg

Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture stirring just enough to ensure all the flour is wet.
Spoon into muffin cases in a muffin tray.
Bake for 25 mins at 200°c (180°c fan oven)

Using muffin cases and a muffin tray is vital when making muffins. They must have room to climb as they bake. You can manage without the cases in a pinch, greasing well of course, but they won't rise much above the top of the tray. If you use little fairy cake cases and a bun tin they will not be able to rise and will be rubbery and unpleasant. That is what Tom's cookery* teacher  made him do when he made muffins the other day at school. They were 'completely crap' and no one ate them which was annoying as the ingredients were supplied by me. I'm not really sure why parents have to supply cookery ingredients, but anyway these were taken to school, ruined, brought home and binned.
* food technology is the correct term I believe.



  1. It's not like we don't pay school fee's, and isn't this what the fee's are for????
    You are doing some serious walking there. funny how things seem to wear out at the same time!
    x Sandi

  2. I think it is a conspiracy! Parents provide the ingredients for cookery lessons, teachers sort of tell how to cook the said ingredients, then blame the student when it doesn't work the way they wanted it too. It happened to me at school in the late 60's/early 70's it happened to my boys in the 90's! Many a time we hadn't eaten what had been made in school. Sorry about the rant! It just brings back awful memories of in my case domestic science! Have to say though I use muffin cases for 'faery cakes' you get more cake ;~)) !
    Julie xxxxxx

  3. I would be annoyed at trousers that did that too! It's funny (or not) how everything seems to pack in at once. Even store cupboard ingredients seem to need to be replaced at the same time which is very annoying and expensive.

    Your muffins look yummy indeed. I have to say that I have made very nice little muffins in fairy cake pans, although I take your point they don't rise so well the texture was still very good. Proper muffin tins are definitely the way to go though.

    School cooking was always a bit of a horror. I used to make all sorts of things at home beautifully. At school simple jam tarts would be messy or burnt. I used to come home and make what I messed up at school again. My mum was a great cook and gave us the run of the kitchen. I was terrified of the teacher and the cookers at school - no one ever explained how to turn them on and you didn't dare ask the woman anything as she would shout at you. Same for needle work. I couldn't thread the machine up at school and the basics like this were never shown; while at home I was making my own skirts at 11. My mum gave me a totally relaxed atmosphere to learn in and my own space to do it in. She helped if it was required and kept away otherwise. I wish I could say I had passed on my skills to my daughter but I have not. I am far more akin to my nasty teachers I'm afraid than my nice patient mother.

  4. My trousers always go there too , especially the linen ones :-(

  5. You need a new coffee thing I think. I can hardly believe that your trousers have worn out so quickly, they weren't even cheap.

    Sorry to hear that you heels are hurting, will you need treatment/therapy to make them well again?

    Those muffins are sorely tempting me but I know that if I make them very few will be eaten.

    You've just brought back awful memories of Domestic Science in my Welsh Grammar School. I could do all that was expected of me but everything turned out badly because the teacher disliked me and made me tense. Also, we were made to construct cookery aprons from unbleached calico and had to hand stitch them, I was not allowed to use the Singer that my Mother had. I think I'll stop now.

  6. Ooh yum, at the muffin! I'm having to wear one of those darn ambulatory blood presure monitors today ... I feel a spot of cheer-me-up muffin baking coming on :)

  7. I just found your blog whilst blog-hopping in preparation for writing a post and had an enjoyable read of back posts! Have to commiserate with you about all the broken things - pesky stuff! I find linen trousers do that - I thought it was my thighs that were to blame...When I saw your post 'And now for something completely different' I had to become a follower, as that was the only bit of my next post I'd written! Hope your daughter's school play goes/went well - all things considered it probably cost you as much as it'd cost to go to Glyndebourne or the West End theatre!

  8. I had a TERRIBLE, mean old 'domestic science' teacher at school. She actually told me off when I said I wanted to be a chef, and said 'women cook at home, men are chefs'. I wouldn't mind but it was the 90s!!!

    I have sympathy for many food tech teachers- as it's not a core subject, they are often teachers of other technologies who have been given a couple of days' training and told to get on with it! Erk! Sadly, the few specialist teachers that there are find it hard to get full-time work. I've worked with some amazing ones (a former South African hotelier with amazing kitchen experience/degrees springs to mind) but you need a big secondary school with the right equipment to teach it properly.

  9. I'm so glad you have aired (so to speak) this problem with linen trousers. A friend told me it was due to 'close walking' but admitted that I could hardly start wading about like a cowboy to preserve the fabric. I am not enormous and in any case the trousers are pretty loose so what's going on?

  10. what is it with schools and cooking? I was delighted the other week when DD came home and had 'made bread'. I later discovered the mix had already been done, they had the opportunity to give it a poke with their finger and then it was put in a MICROWAVE?? WTF? She said it tasted crap and was pale and rubbery

  11. Don't get me started on breadmaking at school Mrs Green. Tom also made bread this term but from a packet mix. I could hardly bring myself to buy it. I banged on and on about how all you needed was flour, yeast and salt. It must have sunk in as Tom asked the teacher why they were using a mix instead of making it from scratch. Apparently it is quicker. It isn't. The only time saver is the measuring, you still have to knead and let it rise.

  12. Well done on all that walking and I hope your heels are better - the coffee and muffin rest seems an excellent idea... My work trousers are looking like yours but I am now strangely reassured as I thought that it was just me who could do that to a pair of trousers!

  13. Congratulations with the walking...and the muffins look lovely. Will have to give them a try and will heed your advice on cases and tins. Do you think Home Economics teachers are qualified ones these days or are they just maths` teachers or the like `doing` another subject? BTW, I was the annoying child who would remind my mum on the way to school that I was cooking a black forest gateaux that day and needed the ingredients.

  14. Much sympathy Sue. Especially with the coffee plunger and the trousers. In my case I suspect the coffee plunger malfunction has got something to do with it being put in the dishwasher. If it isn't screwed up good and tight when the dishwasher is emptied then you can be sure when it is next used it will give up and slew sideways instead of skimming down the sides of the jug.
    I have had 2 pairs of M&S cheapie (as in £15) jeans for 6 years now and they have been so comfortable that I am usually in one or other of those pairs when I haven't been at work. I suspect they will last for some time yet but they have faded a lot so I decided I would get one new pair as I thought dark indigo would look better for smart casual. Still the same price, just as comfortable and smart enough except that the zip keeps riding down so they will have to go back. Unless of course I stick to thigh length tops.
    I have a silicone muffin tray and that works OK without the paper cases, I think. Maybe I had better make your apricot and coconut recipe just to make sure.

  15. my trousers used to do that a lot when I was bigger. But have been told by my hubby who is now a marathon runner that for all exercise you must wear tight fighting clothing to minimise rubbing. Linen trousers are very baggy aren't they and I used to wear them through and be sitting somewhere and hubby would come over to me and say 'you do realise that you have holes at the tops of your legs and it's on show for all to see!'

    Back luck on the other items broken too :(

    I love muffins and will be giving those a go!

  16. I was interested to read Hebe Bee's comment on M&S trousers. I practically live in their black denim jeans which last for ages before developing friction holes. However I've had the same problem with the zips. I've given up buying linen trousers. They're simply not worth it.

    Cookery has gone all technical on us. I wish they'd concentrate on the basics and send our kids on their way with a handful of simple but nutritious recipes under their belts.

    Sounds like you've had a bad day Sue. But I'm sure the muffin helped make you feel a bit better.

  17. I have the same problem with jeans. I just blame the shape of my legs. I am also having a bit of a problem with a sore heel. Got memory foam heel inserts for my shoes and that helps. I feel I have lost out if I can't get out for my walk every day. Schools don't seem to have changed. I had a domestic science teacher ( back in the 70's) who told me because I had a Autistic sister there was a good chance when I had children they would be handicapped in some way. Apart from being a very silly woman she was also a terrible cook. Any cooking skill I have were not picked up in school.

  18. I'll look out for those inserts. Thanks!

  19. I am bloomin worn out too :) If it is any consolation!

  20. I live in Denny Andrews Indian trousers which last for years. Not the height of style, though. Your sore heel may be plantar fasciitis which can come from suddenly doing a lot of extra walking and can be cured by exercises which are easily found on the web. Sorry I don't have an actual link to them, but my dad cured himself quite quickly with them and shoe inserts.

  21. Anonymous10:43 pm BST

    I once took a pair of shoes back to the shop because they couldn't cope with ONE DAY walking around.
    I wish I'd had a (non school made) muffin to cheer me up.

  22. It dose not seem to be you week, sham about your feet hope they get better soon.

  23. Anonymous12:00 am BST

    What words..

  24. Google 'Plantar Fasciitis'. Your sore heel sounds like that, especially if it is most tender first thing, when you put your feet on the floor. It might get worse before it gets better! Crocs seem to help.

    I will show husband your post - he is convinced that I am rotting his clothes with PERSIL. Now the sheets have got a hole in.

  25. Thanks for the advice about plantar fascitis folks. I'm not sure it is that, the pain is not on the bottom of the heel but along the achilles tendon and up my calves. Should go to the dr's really.

  26. Just wondering whether you use a front-loading or top-loading washing machine? Apparently front-loading machines are supposed to go easier on the clothes. Another reason to wear skirts...?

  27. Ooh, tempting muffins - yum. Definitely worth getting your doctor to refer you to the nearest podiatry dept for assessment. I had a painful achilles tendon problem when I increased my walking too. A pair of insoles to realign my tread(free from podiatrist or can be bought over the counter from Boots)sorted it out. If you wear your shoe soles down more on one side of each heel then these insoles help. Shame to have to reduce the walking if you are enjoying it otherwise.

  28. Anonymous2:59 pm BST

    Sue, I'm smiling again. Reading your blog has that effect on me.
    Over here in Oz Home Ec. (Cooking) lessons have much less time than when I took them at school so teachers use packet mixes etc. to fit in the timetabled lesson times.
    Sad isn't it? Particularly as we are trying to alert people to the palm oil in such products and its contribution to bad health and the disapperance of rain forests to plant palm plantations. Goodbye orag-utans.
    GO girl - 10,000 steps a day, I admire you. Coni

    PS I don't drink coffee, but can you still buy Swann teapots in the UK?
    PPS Also had my cistern repaired this week.

  29. Anonymous11:33 am BST

    Going off topic a bit but anonymous mentions palm oil. I try and avoid this fat for the reasons given but I'm noticing that hydrogenated oil was replaced by vegetable oil, which I was pleased about. However, this is now ever increasingly being replaced in a major way by palm oil. Recently I noticed that seemingly all Sainsbury's spreads - I used to like the Olive oil one, now have palm oil as an ingredient. This is neither healthy nor desirable and it made me very annoyed when I saw it there.

    Sometimes fabrics used are just weak - some jeans I had ripped second time on as the waist band just fell away. I got a sore toe from walking a lot. You can do too much of a good thing!

  30. I think you'll be able to buy spares for the cafetiere in Amazon.
    It looks like I'm the only one who has good memories of Home Ec classes at school. I liked it so much I did it for O' level. I remember most of the things I made working out fine. We even made our own flaky pastry - the first and last time I've ever attempted that! We had to take in our own ingredients but I'd have thought that the norm in state schools.

  31. Yes, we had to provide ingredients in my day too Victoria. I don't really mind paying for them (although we don't pay for art materials or other technology stuff) I just wish the ingredients didn't include margarine (refused to buy it) or packet mixes, and that my daft son would tell me what he needs earlier than the evening before the lesson. Asking for a contribution at the beginning of term so that the school could do the actual purchasing would be a good idea.

  32. Anonymous10:47 pm BST

    I'm also thinking plantar faschitis. And have the same problem with linen trousers.


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