Monday, 27 July 2015

A Grand Day Out!

I was so looking forward to yesterday that nothing, not even the weather was going to dampen my enthusiasm.  We arrived in Wrexham after a smooth car journey.  I pointed out to Mr G on the way in that the Racecourse was within walking distance of the car park and that we could leave our car where we usually park.  We found a space on the ground floor there, as we'd arrived so early (handy for lugging our bags back between shops!) and we saw that it was only £2.20 for the whole day - result! Round the corner to Primark, which had a cracking sale on, Summer stuff too!  Caitlin had a bikini for £2.  Nothing for me though, again... my bikini days are long gone. 

Wandered down to Eagles Meadow for a spot of lunch - Nandos!  Which was bloody lovely.  Cait and Adam had never had it before, so opted for medium with the garlic sauce.  Mr G had hot, I had extra hot with the black sauce #likeaboss.  Ryan sat there watching us, being fed stray chips, I bet we looked terrible stuffing our faces in front of him, but - he didn't want food there so ate beforehand.  He's the only one in the house that doesn't like spicy.   The food was absolutely spot on though.  We were seated immediately, served within seconds and the food arrived within ten minutes.  The Peri Chips were a huge hit.  Only downside is that it's a tad pricey. But as a one off treat it's not so bad.  We're only here once, and as they say, there's no pockets in a shroud.  Although, as a Wiganer, Mr G is working on a prototype.

How Much!!!

Especially when your kids eat adult meals...

... like this...

We were already soaked by the time we reached Nandos and the rain showed no sign of letting up.  We walked slowly back to the car to drop our bags off, then off for the brief five to ten minute walk down to the Racecourse (five - Mr G and eldest, ten - Adam and myself.  Little legs...).  My legs are so short, my trouser legs so long that they were soaking water up from the wet pavements like litmus paper.  I was soaked up to my knees by the time we arrived!  

We paid for our tickets, under 9's go free, and found our seats.  It was a nice ground.  All the fans sat together, but there was no trouble.  We sat halfway up, under cover, and had a great view.

I was so engrossed in the match that I was shocked when a voice announced on the tannoy that there was only five minutes left of the first half.  I watch most televised Super League matches with Mr G (like I have a choice in the matter...) but watching it live, even if two leagues lower, was such a buzz.

Unfortunately Crusaders lost but it didn't detract from the experience.

I knew I would enjoy it but I didn't think I'd enjoy it so much that when they announced they were at home again against Gloucester next Sunday, and Caitlin turned to me and said 'Mum, please can we come next week?' that I'd had the same thought.  Mr G made three who was up for a return visit this weekend :-)  Ryan didn't appreciate it and looked bored the whole time.  Adam enjoyed it but he doesn't want to come either, so Mum said she'll babysit them while we go.  We've looked into the cost of a family season ticket for next season and it's definitely do-able, and work out a lot cheaper too.  So hopefully we'll have better weather this Sunday, but lesson learned, this week I won't be wearing flip flops. 

She says...

Famous last words...

Saturday, 25 July 2015

One Down, Five to Go...

First of all, my thoughts today are with my Uncle Steven, who passed two years ago today.  A stark reminder if ever needed that we're only here once, and to make the most of it, and those who we love. We're only promised this moment now. 

One week done of the Summer holidays, pretty quickly too.  Mr G hasn't been feeling great but he's made a real effort to get out and about.  We took the children to watch The Minions Movie which was good.  Saw a trailer for one coming out in 2016, I think it was called 'The Secret Life of Pets' and the whole cinema was laughing, so if the trailer is anything to go by, that should be a goodie.  We had a Burger King afterwards, which was a nice treat.  Nice to be able to recycle the 'dishes' and not wash them!  

Yesterday we went to Llandudno for the afternoon, on a whim.  Had a walk around the shops, looked through the charity shops for ugly gifts, and Mr G found an optic for his shed pub!  I found a lovely ugly gift for Helen, a cat plate, if you can call it that.  Might be an ashtray.  Or a loose change plate for her bedroom... 

Came home to find a rather edgy 19 year old, with no internet.  Reset the hub... Nothing.  No landline.  Mother phoned to say she was off, my cousin too.  So, I picked up a book, Mr G watched rugby, and my children went into meltdown!

I'm bored!
I've got nothing to do!
My books are all boring! 

We did ask them what they did before the internet but unfortunately, only Dan remembers pre-internet.  And before internet, he played with wrestling figures.  Because he was six... Midnight it was still off, and this morning I checked to find this...

Well done Sky for totalling most of North Wales's internet and landlines in one fell swoop!  *slow hand clap*. Just please don't do it again this holiday?  Honestly, it was like harking back to the age of AOL dial up...

Tomorrow, we're off to Wrexham to watch North Wales Crusaders take on Oldham!  Do a bit of holiday shopping first.  Funnily enough we were there the same time last year for my friend's wedding.  Time flies.  I'm thinking Nandos for lunch, if I can get a) Cait out of Primark and b) Adam to walk past Greggs in order to reach there.  Really looking forward to that, even though it's apparently going to be raining heavily all day.  You can tell it's going to be a bad day weather wise when the weatherman tells you that the best of the weather tomorrow is going to be the north of Scotland *facepalm*.  Great.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Recipe - Eton Mess Cheesecake

I read an article this week, that half of us would struggle to cook five recipes from memory, and that one in eight would need to follow a recipe to make an omelette!  I'm not that bad, but I admit, I am a recipe follower.  I don't know why this information doesn't stick in my head, I can remember my first love's phone number but not how to make a curry.  I don't chuck things together and hope for the best.  I don't devise recipes, because let's face it, it's probably been done before, anyway.  

Two things have piqued my interest this week.  My mate Dave went off to Dubai and on his final night he posted a picture to Facebook, sat with a huge glass of 'Dynamite Prawns'.  I immediately went off on a search for a copycat recipe.  I think it's a PF Changs dish, and there's loads of recipes online to sift through.  I think that in this instance having not tried the original dish will be a help!  And secondly, cheesecake.  I'm in a cheesecake state of mind.  Eton Mess Cheesecake, is what I thought.  A quick Google search showed I wasn't the only one who had this thought, some were baked, some no bake.  But I know exactly what I want to do with mine, I even know how it will taste. So, without further ado...

300g biscuit, blitzed into crumbs.  I used Crinkle Crunch.
100g butter, melted

300 ml double cream
300g full fat cream cheese
200 ml sour cream
120g icing sugar

Punnet of Strawberries, quartered
Meringue nests

Make a base with the biscuit crumbs and butter.  Press into a lined tin.

Whisk the double cream.  In another bowl, whisk the cheese, sour cream and icing sugar.  Fold in the cream.  Spoon over the biscuit base.

Quarter a punnet of strawberries and scatter on top.  Crush meringue nests on top.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.  

I'd advise leaving the meringue until ready to eat, as they will disintegrate over the course of the day.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Let Summer Commence! Or not...

The Summer hols are upon us, and after an appalling night's sleep, I'm awake.  Raring to go.  With the exception of Adam, everyone else is still asleep, including the sun. 

I excelled myself on Sunday.  I made my Daim Bar cheesecake with a couple of adaptations. Firstly, I used Fox's Crinkle Crunch biscuits as a base (it was a toss up between those and Oreos, but the children would have disowned me forever) and I used about 150ml more 'double cream' in the cheesecake mixture itself. I'd bought Tesco's own brand version of Elmlea, and where I have no issue whisking Elmlea, this stuff increased in volume but was not thickening up!  After three years of whisking, I mixed it in to the cheese and folded in the chocolate mixture, refrigerated it and hoped for the best.  The result was an almost mousse like texture to the cheesecake mixture, where it's usually very thick and very rich (how we like our men, anyone?). Dan's friend Jonny came round and he said it was really good - 'like one of those fancy desserts you get from Waitrose'.  I assume that's a compliment...

My lot are madder than a box of frogs, not that you need me to tell you this.  Ways they made me smile over the last few days include...

Unable to quite get over his recent anal probe whilst in hospital.  Mr G mused that they may not have even been real Doctors, but actually 'Eastern Bloc sex predators' who had acquired blue tunics from somewhere. You can't make up this stuff up.

Ryan, who has now left Primary school, came home with a picture of his whole class down on the Promenade.  And on the reverse... they had to write their favourite memory, or one of their favourite memories of their eight years in YyB.  Ok?  Seven whole years.  And this is the best he can come up with?  

Most of you will be needing a translation.  So.  

'One of my favourite memories is, in Mrs Edwards's class, when I fell and split my pants'.  

Wow.  Just.  Wow.  He could have had... winning a medal on Sports Day.  He could have had... winning the poetry competition, or coming runner up with his mask design.  Performing in numerous school plays, the completely surprise dance routine in their performance of The Lion King.  But no.  This is my child.  And baring his arse to the Infant yard, at the age of five... #schoolcareerhighlight #hisfathersson

Oh.  And this too.  Attempting to catch up with Hollyoaks, and Reenie McQueen is lying in bed, drunk.

Mr G:  Oooooh look!  Our bed!
Me: Huh?  Oh yeah.
Mr G: Well, almost.  Apart from the knobheads.
Me: The... knobheads?  I've heard the McQueens called some names in my time but... knobheads?
Mr G: You know, those ball things. 
Me: Bedknobs?

I'm suffering with horrendous Hay Fever, every single morning I'm sneezing, snotting, itching.  I could grate the insides of my nostrils.  Antihistamine is taking about three hours to work every morning.  As a result, my nose is red.  And Mr G is finding it highly amusing referring to me as Peter Schmeichel.

Mine is redder...

This week's plans are... few and far between at the moment, everything hinging on how Mr G feels.  Which is currently like the weather - not great.  Ideally, I'd have liked to take my minions to see The Minions Movie today, I even have Burger King vouchers ready for the takeaway they expect afterwards (click here for the latest UK vouchers, valid until 23rd August).  And on Sunday, I'd have liked to have gone and watched North Wales Crusaders play Oldham at home in Wrexham.  Taken the lads to watch their first (live) rugby league match.  It's already looking like camping after the holiday is being scuppered by Mr G's medical appointments in Llandudno (amusingly called 'manometry'.  I am going to try and get the phrase 'will it help you 'manometry' up a little?' in somewhere today.  He'll swear at me... I'll laugh... Happy days).  But, knocking on 10 am, he's still out cold and snoring, so - housework it is.  Again.  Unhappy days :-(

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Spoke Too Soon? Check.

So, Mr G is home.  Which is great, I'm thrilled, the kids are thrilled, he is thrilled.  What is not so great, is that the new pain meds don't seem to be working as well as they did when he was in hospital.  I know they will take time to get into his system, and so I am going to think positive.  But ever think that it's not quite over yet?

Speaking of pain, I'm having trouble moving at the moment.  Ok, I have done for a while and it's getting worse.  I'm being told off by my mother, my sister in law and Mr G.  I need to see my GP but I'm stalling.  The last time I went was back in March 2014.  So it's not like I'm there every other day like some people.  I am, on the whole, very healthy.  I am so squeamish with anything medical, even having my blood pressure taken makes me light headed.  A mere blood test requires weeks of notice and topical anaesthetic cream.  So it's not like I'm a time waster, yet, every time I go, that's how I feel.  I must add that it's not how I'm made to feel, it's probably just paranoia on my part.  I wonder if I have a low pain threshold, maybe. Then I remember I gave birth on gas and air three times, without screaming for other drugs so it's unlikely.  

I think the crux of the problem is that - we can't both be incapacitated, Mr G and I.  We can't both afford to be sat down all day in pain, or things would grind to a halt in this household.  I'm picking up the slack, or at least trying to, and it's starting to take its toll on my own health.  And it worries me, that if Mr G's pain isn't brought under control, without wanting to sound sexist, this woman's work will never be done.  Because she'll have the man's to do straight after she's finished.  And yes, I know. That's something single parents the world over of both sexes face daily.  But I'm not a single parent, am I? 

And that my friends, is enough whining about sickness and pain. I'm done.  For this week, anyway.  On to more important things.  Things like lists (lol).  Cheesecake development.  Getting our garden 'barbecue ready'.  Socialising, camping and days out.  

Friday, 17 July 2015

Summer, Soleros, Slings and... Sex Ed?

Well, life occurred and has gone on before and after the medical madness.  Firstly.  Could it be?  Is Summer finally here?  Mr G was in Peter Kay mode, winding me up in shops by bantering with the shop assistants - 'Ooooh it's warm.  Sticky!  It's sticky!  (Flaps neck of his T shirt)  I'm sweating cobs!  It's clammy...  Moist.  It's moist!' while I'm trying to keep a straight face and not cringe with embarrassment.  Never a dull moment, but seriously, if he doesn't stop doing it, I'll shove a Solero where the sun doesn't shine. 

Mr G had an endoscopy.  That didn't show up the cause of the issues he's been having (Oh yes!  More issues than Hello magazine, this man!) and so they want him to have a barium meal (yuk...) and also a tube put up his nose and down his throat and left for 24 hours.  I don't know why, the least I know about these things the better, because I am uber squeamish.  Which is ironic given the amount of nursing I have had to do for the last seven or eight years.  Yesterday, he received a letter from the hospital, so at his request I opened it.  An appointment in the ultrasound clinic for the 29th of July.  He groaned and asked me to phone them up to check what it was for.  And yes!  It's a steroid injection (guided by ultrasound) into his ankle!  Joys!

I thought that the time when Adam came home from school proclaiming that he was going to be playing the trumpet couldn't be topped.  I was, naturally, as usual, wrong.  When, on Tuesday Ryan came home proclaiming...

Ryan:  Mum!  Mum!  We're going on a rib ride.  Oh, and having sex education tomorrow...

I don't know if I was more terrified of my son going out on a rib ride on the Menai Straits, or the fact that he was learning about the birds and the bees.  Who am I kidding.  The sex education won hands down.
He came in from school.  Pottered around.  I decided to get it over with and asked him what he had learned.  Bear in mind that Ryan doesn't do embarrassment.  Whether it's the autism, or whether it's just because the apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree and he has absolutely no shame, just like Mama...

Me:  Soooooooooooooooo.  Ryan.  Did you learn anything today that you didn't already know?
Ryan:  Yes.  Before, I used to think that you made babies by the man, sticking his penis into the woman's butt... but now I know that the man sticks his penis into the woman's, you know... penis.

And he turned on his heel and walked away.  What the... what?  Well, I had to leave the room and shut the door behind me.  I couldn't breathe for laughing, and I couldn't see for tears. 

Adam broke his wrist.  Trying to avoid play fighting with one of his friends.  Ironically, had he just play-fought, he probably wouldn't have done it.  So, last Wednesday night, Mr G had to take him to Casualty.  There was a two hour wait.  They passed through Triage, waited their turn for the X Ray, and all the while, despite being in a bit of pain, Adam was almost willing himself to have broken a bone, so that he could have a cast on.  Apparently he moidered Mr G for about an hour, that if he had broken it, could he have a blue plaster cast.  Mr G told him that if there was blue as an option, yes.  So, Adam is X Rayed, he's definitely broken his wrist and is taken to the plaster room.  The nurse asked him what colour cast he wants.  He umms and aahs, and the nurse goes through all the colours; Red, Yellow, Camouflage, Pink, Navy, Green, Black, White... and Adam decides to have red.  Mr G asked him if he was sure.  He'd been going on for ages about wanting blue. Adam is determined.  He wants red.

So when Mr G gets home, he's relaying this tale to me.  Adam pipes up from nowhere...

Adam:  I chose red because there wasn't any blue.
Mr G:  Yes there was.
Adam:  No, there wasn't.
Mr G:  There was, Adam.
Adam:  Dad, there wasn't.  There was red.  Yellow.  Camouflage.  Pink.  Navy Green, Black...
Mr G:  Whoa!  Navy Green?  Did you really just say the words Navy Green?  She said Navy.  Comma.  Green.  Two separate colours?
Adam:  Ohhhhhhhhhhhh... Right.
Me:  Tit.  

Ryan completed his two day 'initiation' up at high school.  Caitlin, although just 12 months older than him is two school years ahead of him, and she promised me that she would take him under her wing because - and I quote - 'all my friends are weird too' (small mercies...).  He came home on the first day having made a new friend, which was wonderful to hear.  We're really worried about how he'll take to and be taken to up there.  Considering how many people these days are affected by ASD, some children can be really cruel, and as a parent, it's heartbreaking.

Now that (hopefully!) Mr G's medication has been sorted out and he'll be relatively pain free I can breathe easy and look forward to the Summer holidays.  And I am really looking forward to them this year, let me tell you!  I need the rest, I am absolutely shattered.  Mr G booked us a fortnight in Devon last year on a whim, not knowing or suspecting he'd be having these two operations this year.  So, it will be leaning towards more R&R this time, as opposed to walking over 100 miles and packing as much into two weeks as possible.  I've been doing my bit (yes, lists) and planning as much of our holiday as possible before we leave.  We've been to so many of the touristy places that we don't need to go to again, some are too expensive to justify, some we didn't get round to doing the last three times, and some that we did the first time, we'd like to do again.  A lot of the places, if you book your tickets online in advance have a significant discount, which - when you're paying for six people, three being adults, is a huge reduction when you're doing it five or six times over the holiday.  One of our favourite days out that we've had in Devon was Paignton Zoo.  We all really enjoyed it, and four years has passed since we visited, so we want to go back again.  Looking online, you can buy a double ticket for Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts in Torquay (where we haven't been) with a decent discount.  I've signed up for a discount code for the local cinema, and found out when the cheap children's films are shown, so we can all go and watch a film on a Sunday morning for about £12.  We'll pack the body boards, and fishing nets, and picnic hampers and spend some time on the beach.  I've got a word document of different lists, from clothes to what bits we need to buy to days out, and although everyone likes to mock me and my lists, we'd be financially worse off and wasting a lot of time without them ;-).

Then hopefully we can get a four or five day camping trip to Llangollen in at the end of August, before we try and slip back into a routine of early morning madness and getting a completely clueless 20 year old ready for University and living alone.  Budgeting.  God help him.  'Do I use this face cloth to dry my plate?'.  Yes, but it's called a tea towel... I'll give him a year before he's back.

And then it'll be Christmas before we know it.  Happy Days!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

From Disaster to Resolution?

If I gave you three guesses as to where Mr G is, you'd get it in one, right?  By now, you'd have to get it in one.  Yes, he is once again, in hospital.  A late night flit to Casualty on Saturday night, and he was admitted.  Again.  And this time, amongst other potentialities such as adhesions (again) and possible nerve damage after one of the operations, we are definitely looking at the delightful Acute Pancreatitis. I don't know if that's the correct spelling.  At this point, I don't care.  The two most common causes are gallstones or if you're a drinker.  Mr G has probably had an alcoholic drink three times this year, and never to excess.  So, it's reckoned that a rogue gallstone has passed from his bile duct and caused the inflammation. 

The only 'cure' is pain relief, and none of it was working, as usual.  Morphine, Tramadol, Codeine, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol.  Lather, rinse, repeat... He was telling the Doctors, Nurses, his Consultant and his Registrars, the Health Care Assistants, the Cleaners, the Porters, the woman that comes with the newspapers and soft drinks on a trolley... that not only was this pain relief not working on the Pancreas thing (as it shall furthermore be known) but aside from that he was already in constant daily pain, debilitating pain, and had been for over 18 months since 'The Gallbladder Chronicles'.  Taking pain killer upon pain killer that - for what relief they provided, he may as well pop M&M's.  Which he does as well anyway, but still.  Finally, somebody, I don't know who because he has spoken to so many people over the course of this last six days, but somebody listened to him.  Somebody took him seriously.  They sent in 'The Pain Team', which, you have to admit, sounds pretty cool. 


In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't... ah, wait.  Wrong team.  Speaking of wrong teams... (See what I did there?  Seamless...)

Mr G High on Drugs #1
Mr G: So, the Doctor said he's referring me to the Time Team.
Me: Cool.  Be nice waking up to find Baldrick at the foot of your bed.  Waiting to excavate your hole... 

Speaking of excavating holes... (I'm on fire tonight...) - not for the faint hearted...

Mr G High on Drugs #2
Mr G: (ranting)  I've had four fingers shoved up my bum.  What for?  Hmmmm?  What the hell for?  Hasn't eased my pain, has it?  Hasn't achieved anything, has it?  Well, except for giving me a bloody hard on when he found my G Spot... 
Me:  FOUR FINGERS??  Stephen, that wasn't a rectal examination, sweetheart, that was sexual assault.  That's one digit off a fisting...

Mr G High on Drugs #3
Mr G: I've had morphine and I've had tramadol.  But the thing is, they're still giving me bloody cyanide.  No, not cyanide... Pastry!  No, it's not pastry either.  What word am I looking for?
Me: Paracetamol?
Mr G: Paracetamol. 

Soooooooo.  The Pain Team arrived, and Mr G proceeded to tell them in great detail about how crappy his quality of life has become.  That even a supermarket trip can leave him couch bound for days.  That nothing at all alleviates the pain.  And that it had started to affect his mental health, being left to just look at four walls most days.  He told them that the famous five analgesics didn't work for him, with the exception of the morphine, which only 'works' because it makes him sleep through the pain.  He said he didn't want to spend his life sleeping to avoid the pain.  He said that surely, in this day and age of modern medicine, there was more on offer than just those five?  Long story short, yes.  Yes there is.  He has been put on two new drugs.  One is one of those dual purpose drugs, primarily an epilepsy medication but it's good for blocking nerve pain too.  The other one, is a drug that he absolutely cannot ingest any alcohol with.  We're not just talking beer here, but mouthwash, even food?  He cannot have a piece of fruitcake with whisky in.  My homemade steak and ale pie... I asked what the worst case scenario was if he did, and it appears to be death.  I checked up on this.  And yes, death ranks pretty high up on the list of  'What's the worst that could happen?' if alcohol now enters his system.  So, quite serious then.

He started his new course of treatment, and a few hours later I got this...

Mr G High on Drugs #4


Don't ask.  I couldn't tell you.  But, the most important thing is... no pain!  Halle-bloody-lujah!  It's early days yet.  The team looking after him were happy for him to come home today, but the Pain Team wanted him to stay in an extra day to be observed on the new tablets.  If he keeps on keepin' on then he should be home tomorrow!  And he could be home, pain free, for the first time in so long that I can't even remember the last time he was 'ok'.  I get my husband back.  Even if he's going to be a little bit addled.  And that means more to me than anything.  So, it looks like the disaster we envisaged turned out to be a blessing in disguise after all :-) *happy dance complete with jazz hands*

M x

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Fathers Day 2015 - A most unusual present...

This post comes a little bit late in the day... I am at odds with the Blogger iPad app at the moment, it changes font mid post, my pictures are always posted to the left, so it's only when I find the time can be bothered to go upstairs and put my older than dirt, slower than a tortoise desktop on to remedy the app's mangling of my post, that things get posted!  

I think it's safe to say that Mr G is a tattoo junkie.  From his very first, very basic but very sweet 'Steve and Michelle' in a heart back in 2000 (which was a bit of a risk after mere months of dating!) he has had our children's names inked, our wedding date, a tattoo for his parents, a cover up of some dodgy Chinese writing, praying hands, a tattoo paying homage to his rugby team, and lately a beautiful, stunning tattoo by Paul Mellor Studios in Bangor, roses surrounding a pocket watch.  Every tattoo is deeply personal to him or us in some way. The time on the pocket watch is set to 11.11 because I am driven mad seeing 11.11 or 1111 everywhere.  We saw a Maneki Neko tattoo on somebody and I commented that I would love him to have that done, as I collect them.  He mentioned it to Paul who said he'd love to have a go at it.  So he booked in to have that done last Friday and it was his Fathers Day gift from us.  Until the week before.  Paul is a very gifted artist and his portrait tattoos are second to none, and he mentioned that he'd like to do more portrait tattoos.  Mr G saw a lovely picture of Catherine and Allison Pierce (aka singing sisters The Pierces, one of our favourite groups) took it to Paul who ok'd it.  So, therein lies the answer to why my husband now has a tattoo of two stunningly beautiful women on his arm.  And none of them are me.  He has one untouched leg, and I have reserved that for my cat.  Not a euphemism.

I shared the photo with a fan group of The Pierces that we belong to on Facebook.  And then the oddest thing happened...

Cat Pierce got in on the act on Facebook... Instagram... and...

I say 'Holy Shitballs' too... :-)


To say Mr G's year was made is an understatement.  But then, I am the best wife ever, and I make these things happen sooooooooo... ;-)  Sheds, drums, Summerhouse, interaction with a gorgeous, famous blonde - see me. 

We went out for Fathers Day lunch with Ma and Pa to The Antelope Inn.  A tad early as I'm a cheapskate and thought it easier to pay for four for lunch midweek than 8 on Fathers Day itself.  I was all up for trying somewhere new but The Antelope is consistent and I know Dad likes it there.  Mr G had the mega stack burger, which was so big he had to dissect it.  I had the Chicken Tikka burger, which was a plain chicken breast with a drizzle of tikka sauce, with supposed onion bhaji pieces (there was one tiny blink-and-you-miss it piece...) and Mum and Dad had the gammon.  It was ok, but their portions and presentation leave a lot to be desired?  My and Mr G's plate looked bare.  The chips come in teacups now, and the portion you get is ridiculous.  Like you'd get on a child's meal anywhere else.  No veg, no side salad.  When I worked in the pub, a side salad went on a meal like this as standard unless requested otherwise.  

Compared to my Mum's plate...

See what I mean?  Whose meal looks nicest?  Ironically, the cheapest!  Just little touches that make it look like you've made an effort for your customers.  Like The Tap and Spile, serving my mixed grill on a sizzle platter a few weeks ago.  It was ok, cheap and cheerful, but very generic pub-chain food.  The soft drinks are often flat so avoid taking ice if you have a fizzy one.  On the plus side, two can eat from a decent menu range for £10, including gammon, steak, cod, pie, all day breakfast, curry, burger etc.  In future I'd stick to this menu which is definitely value for money. 

Belated Happy Father's Day, Mr G.  Thanks for being a good 'un!