But, 2012 ain't over yet, so I better give you the lowdown on today's happenings.
I woke up at Mum's for the last morning of our stay there and immediately raided the fridge for a sustaining breakfast ready for the day's activity. Three egg omelette with smoked salmon and two cups of tea.
Having exhausted my mum's supplies of food and patience, we headed for Emsworth, a gorgeous small town smack bang in between Portsmouth, where I live, and Chichester, where my family are. We parked in town and followed the instructions of our 9 mile coastal walk guide. Yep, you read right, 9 miles! It started very promisingly after walking across a pond (on a path... I'm good, but I ain't that good) and coming across the little village of Prinsted where we were greeted with this picture-postcard house.
We carried on past a marina to the start of the walk proper, which circumnavigates a small island occupied by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Walkers are allowed on the island, but only if they stick to the designated coastal path. I wasn't in a hurry to find out what happened if we didn't! It was a blustery day, but dry and not too cold, and we even got the odd glimmer of sunshine.
Around a third of the way in we stopped to admire the view and I snacked on a Gala apple and a Ginger Bread Nakd bar.
Our stopping place was right next to this cute church.
The walk was stunning. The boy thought it would be great in summer. I agree, but there's something about a walk along the coast on a steely winter's day. I think it appeals to the drama queen in me!
Sadly all the recent rain meant alot of the paths were very muddy and some were completely waterlogged, so, despite our best efforts, we both ended up with wet feet! Three and a half hours later we arrived back at the car exhilarated and a little dazed from all that fresh air. Wonderful.
A long, hot shower and washing of muddy clothes later, normality was restored. Ah, it's good to be home. After unpacking I chilled for a bit, then ate a banana and an apple, followed by a carrot with salsa while I got dinner on the go.
I also decided a little red wine might be in order and, luckily, the boy agreed, so I wasn't alone and in danger of polishing off the Rioja solo!
Dinner was a roast chicken with roasted brussels sprouts, baby carrots, red onion and sweet potato.
I thought the packaging on the chicken said to cook it for an hour and ten minutes, and I left it in about ten minutes longer and it came out perfectly. It then occured to me while eating that the packet said 110 minutes, not one hour ten! I had a moment of paranoia, but knew the chicken was fine and it made me wonder what it would have turned out like if I followed their instructions! Out of interest I checked online after and no decent chef advised cooking it for as long as the producers did... Plus I'm still alive, and that's the main thing. I'll live to blog another day!
There's a new programme on at 9 we're going to give a whirl called Ripper Street. A little more wine and some dark chocolate will also make an appearance I'm guessing. A good day.
Question of the day: What do you trust when it comes to cooking times, use by dates etc? The packaging or your instincts?
I used to think the packaging was the gospel and dread to think how much perfectly edible food I've wasted over the years. Now I'm more confident with food and cooking, I go with my very experienced gut. Three months of travelling without so much as a dodgy tum are testament to this!