Saturday was admin day: we left the house about 1.45pm or so, with three jobs to do. One was to return to the book fair I mentioned in Friday's entry, one was to go to pick up some laundry, one was to buy more seed for the birds, who are still going through the RSPB's high-energy mix like it included crack cocaine, or the avian equivalent thereof.
I swear, I just wanted to show the beloved how good the book fair was (and it really was - think church hall full of books of all kinds) and to have a quick look to see if there was anything I'd missed when I looked round on Friday.
So we got there a little after 2pm, and we went in and they said "don't forget everything's half price now!" (it being the last hour that the fair was open).
This meant that most books were 15p (for my US readers - about 25c) ... and, addict that I am, I'll give house room to almost any book for that sort of money. Even if it only works out as temporary house room; if it turns out to be unreadable crap, there are a bunch of charity shops on the high street where I work who would surely be delighted to take it off me.
We came away with about 60 books for the princely sum of 11.40. Oh dear. A bunch of them are Ian Fleming books I hadn't previously read (or, in one case, a replacement copy; my original tatty paperback of You Only Live Twice fell to bits while we were packing). Some miscellaneous SF including a perfectly good copy of Alistair Reynolds' Revelation Space which I am now reading and enjoying and, for 25p, a pristine copy of one or other of David Eddings' books - this one promising to tell a story in (gasp!) only one volume (well, I suppose he's had enough practice telling the same story multiple times that he can do it more succinctly now...). A few - unfortunately, a very few - are going to wind up on Ebay. So that leaves us a whole host of new stuff which we need to find shelf space for. Did I mention we were completely out of shelf space?
In the evening we met a friend of ours up in central London and went to see Solaris, just out. I don't think it would be spoiling the film to say that, while it was very pretty, it did give me the feeling of having about a half-hour's worth of plot spread over about an hour and forty minutes of film. (I haven't seen the original, neither have I read the book - and I'm thinking that I probably should read it sometime.) It didn't help that the cinema appeared to have a low-grade earthquake going on pretty much throughout. Since London was still standing when we left the cinema, I infer that either their sound system was screwed or their soundproofing was. It was somewhat distracting.
I forgot to mention that I went to see The Hours on Thursday night, with friends. Looked great, very nicely done, though I'm not 100% certain I know what they were trying to do (possibly it would have helped if I were familiar with Woolf's Mrs Dalloway - I've never actually read any of her stuff). Nicole Kidman proved once again that she actually can act, and that Eyes Wide Shit was just a momentary aberration...
Today has again involved some admin in the form of going to buy that bird-seed, having totally failed to do so yesterday; food shopping; and finding some replacement lightbulbs. The last, you'd think, ought to be easy, but it turns out that this type of lightbulb seems to come in two separate flavours. There's the type that fits in the holders we have, and then there's the type which doesn't fit in the holders by virtue of being an extra couple of millimetres longer, despite having the same code number and the same packaging. Sigh. Luckily Homebase turned out to (a) have the bulbs packaged in plastic so you could see exactly what you were getting and (b) include the exact measurements on the back of the pack so we could compare them with a known-fitting (if no longer good!) bulb.
Tonight's dinner was, at the beloved's especial request, fish fingers and chips. Gourmet cuisine it is not - not even if you describe them as "Les digits de poisson frites avec pommes de terre frits" (or something like that) - but this was a particularly impressive batch.
When we moved, we bought a new deep fat fryer since the other one was, frankly, too manky to be worth moving (and too much hassle to be worth cleaning). It so happened that this was its first outing and we unpacked it, filled it with oil, turned it on to heat, and at the appropriate moment, went to put the chips in.
Now, I'd skimmed the instruction sheet which came with it, but not in great depth. No need for great depth when you've had a similar, but older, model before, you'd think. It did mention trying to ensure that frozen foods were carrying "minimal ice" with them when you put them in to cook, but this isn't really unexpected - ice and hot oil don't mix too well.
So, fair enough, I raise the basket, dump in the frozen chips, and...
well, normally at that point I'd lower the basket, close the lid, and in seven minutes or so I would have nicely cooked chips.
This plan was slightly stymied by the *WOOMPH* of ice hitting hot oil and hot oil splattering everywhere. I swear, everything in a five-foot radius acquired a coating of oil (thankfully it cooled quickly once it had left the fryer itself). Worktop. Floor. Appliances on the worktop. Shopping, still in bags on the floor. Windows. Curtains. Every-sodding-thing was greased.
It continued burping out spurts of oil for about a minute until the beloved could reach round the corner of the kitchen where he had taken cover to turn the damn thing off. Eventually we managed to approach closely enough to close the lid, lower the basket, and then turn the damn thing back on so that we could cook the chips.
As far as I can tell, their definition of 'minimal ice' is roughly 'not actually frozen'. I'll be writing to the manufacturers tomorrow - it's not that I want money back or anything, but if I had small children, household pets, or a plug which had been harder to reach from a distance, that could have been really nasty. I'm bemused, really, because the previous one did not have this problem - maybe it was deeper?