Have a few 12-hour days behind me now as well as having brought a document home to proofread yesterday. But am getting to where I want to be so that I have a chance to keep things ticking over better going forward so that is worth it at least. Got my email inbox back down to less than 20 emails and sent items emptied - it's always such a weight off my mind to do that. I'm heading back to Ireland for two weeks on Friday and when I come back I really want to make a big effort to not work any overtime. That means I need to be more efficient with my time but I need to do it. I sometimes think I have somewhat workaholic tendencies but really it's because of having grown up working in my dad's business. The line between home and work is very, very thin for me so I don't even notice the hours being eaten away out of my evening. I have friends who resent having to stay even a few minutes late at work but these are mostly the friends who only had to work during school holidays and never during school term. Whereas I started working when I was twelve and worked almost every day from then until I left home (left the country to make sure I was getting away from it) at twenty. I worked two or three hours after school every evening and then all day Saturday and Sunday lunchtime and evening or Saturday lunchtime and evening and all day Sunday. We all did it and at the time it didn't seem strange at all but now I'm sort of beginning to realise how it could have led to some problems in maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Yes, that's a terrible phrase but it's an important concept. And one of the reasons why I think I might just be better off if I can get to the stage someday where my life is my work and I don't need to go out and earn money but can just do all the stuff I want to to live my life.
My cold is hanging on so I'm going to go to the doctor tomorrow. If nothing else, I want to be able to say to the people at the airport that I really do just have a cold. Although when clearing out my inbox I re-read the email we got a couple of weeks ago after swine flu cases started happening in the town I live in and apparently at the first sign of any cold-like symptoms I should have gone straight to the doctor and not gone near the office. Oh well. I have no aches and pains, no fever and what I was sneezing and what I'm now coughing is clear so I'm fairly confident I'm flu free.
The heat over the weekend was oppressive again. I should have spent a few hours at least cleaning and tidying my apartment but I didn't manage to get much done at all. This evening it is mercifully cooler but I only got home from work at half-nine and really need to go and sleep soon so I don't think I'll get much done.
I did make raspberry jam yesterday and oh my, it is delicious. I got four jars plus a half one from the 900g of berries I had and half of that half one is gone already. The recipe said I might end up just eating it straight out of the pot and I thought it was just another piece of chef's hyperbole but it really is that good. Don't care if it stays that runny either, if so it'll be a fantastic sauce for rice pudding, maybe some ice-cream. Oooh, sponge cake and ice-cream with this raspberry jam would be amazing. Hmmmmm. I used the recipe from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's really just absolutely fabulous.
I also made tomato ketchup yesterday but despite having gone to the shop on Saturday specifically to buy cloves I, for some completely unfathomable reason, bought ginger instead. More ginger to be precise because I only bought a huge bag of it recently. No idea what I was thinking of. I know I was distracted trying to figure out if I should buy whole cloves at the same time since I'll need them in a few weeks for making chutney but how that led to me picking up ground ginger instead of ground cloves I'm not sure. And of course I didn't notice any of this until I was tidying up after having put the ketchup on to cook i.e. after I had added ginger instead of cloves. Haven't tasted it yet - might be interesting.
I have a large courgette still to use but not many days left to be cooking before I leave so I'm thinking of making this pizza crust from it.
And I did take some photos of my vertical gardening attempts but will have to post them at a later stage. I found several catepillar types growing in the leaves of my spinach today so have removed and disposed of those leaves affected. They were really inside the leaves though, not just on them. Very strange but then again I've only had catepillar problems once before and that was on parsley so maybe that's what just what they do if they can. It was like they were sucking all the green out of the leaf around them.
Don't know what's going to happen while I'm away. I have no-one to leave a key with and ask to come in and water plants for me so hopefully I won't arrive back to an apartment full of wildlife and completely dead plants. Still, I was looking on my attempts this year as very much experimental so I don't mind too much not getting anything from them. I wasn't really expecting to so have essentially been too surprised by actually getting some salad leaves and spinach to use any of it. Have had a few tomato flowers appear, only to wither up and die before really opening properly. Two more plants have a few flowers now so maybe they'll do something.