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I'd not been having the best of days. First site I was visiting was a pain in the arse to find, but find it I did and will time to spare. Parking was a different matter! Sure, there was a car park right across the road... but it was full and being a long stay car park was still full after almost 20 mins of tooling round it and the surrounding 2-hour parking bays. In the end I had to park a good 10 mins walk away and was therefore late!

And to cap it all when I got to the site I had left half the paper work in the car! So after introducing myself to the customer and setting the cleaner up to do his job, I had to go back to the car, drive back to the site and risk a parking ticket while I get the cleaner to sign his contract etc.

Now, this is the first of three sites. Site A and C aren't too fat apart, site B is miles away. But, because of opening times and other such annoying factors, I have to go A, B C, not A C B which would have saved around an hour. Site B is out in the middle of nowhere. The Multimap directions are not a patch on the AARoute Planner directions I would have used if I had printed them off myself (which I would have done if I had a desk and computer in the office). My idea of 'continue' is follow the road. Multimap says 'continue' when it actually means 'take the left hand turn when the road bends to the right' so I got lost for a few mins before I backtracked and finally found the place. Which does not have the same name over the door as the papers I have been given... it's only because the phone numbers matched up that I knew I was at the right place. When I get in the customer has never seen or heard of the cleaners site file making my visit pretty much waisted! At least they are happy with the clean and cleaners, and the place is gleaming so that's good. I'll be having words with the regular site visitor though (site files MUST be present, the the customer MUST know where they are AND what they are for! BASICS!)

At least I know where site C is, it's one of mine (for a change). I only have time for a flying visit and head straight to the one area I know to be a problem. It still is.... and the worry is there is no real way of my being able to tell if the cleaners aren't doing it, doing it badly, or in fact ARE doing it, but that it is getting dirty again very quickly. Given the nature of this site the later is likely... I will need to have another site visit for the end of the shift to see (which means not finishing work until 7pm and then driving back to Lancaster. Joy...)

No time for lunch... It's back to Lancaster to see my old clean site to see about keys and hours for an additional site they want us to cover for a couple of weeks. Only when I get there, the contact is off for the day, can I try again tomorrow. Off to Lancaster to see another small site - which is always spotless and nice so going should be a pleasure, but it's right in the centre of town which means paying for parking. The nearest is full, full the big one has a big light up sign saying 'SPACES'. it's only a short walk to I pull in. Only now there is a new parking payment system in place. You have to take a coin-chip before you can drive into the car park. Once you've been and done what you want to do, you pop your coin-chip in the machine, pay, take your chip again and use it to get out again. Already looking like a hassle, but it gets worse when even though the sign says 'SPACES', the coin machine says 'NO SPACES' and wont open the barrier. Now I can't go forwards, or backwards as another car has seen the spaces sign and followed me in. I press the button a few times, getting more and more hacked off, before pressing the alert button. Eventually a chap turn up and says 'Machine says the car parks full' 'YES! I CAN SEE THAT! The sign down there didn't.' He merely repeated his statement. I demanded to know what I was supposed to do, as I cannot now move at all. He said I had to wait for a car to come out.... For how long???

Eventually a car left and I shot in, cursing and wanted to not use this idiot bloody car park at all... I'd sooner park a mile away and walk than give them my money, but I am late for this site visit now so have to just bite it and go.

The site was perfect, so that's something at least.

And now, just one site left to visit. And it's right close by to where Yorkie works, so it ties up my day nicely.

Until my car broke down on me.

I kid you not! 2 days after it passes its MOT and it's broken.

I was at the traffic-lights - quiet for a change thankfully - and as I pulled away: First gear, fine. Second gear, fine. Third gear, where's my clutch pedal?????

So I banged on the hazards and coasted to the curb, bouncing up onto, it and allowing myself to drift down the slight hill enough not to be rammed up the arse by the next lorry to come up the slip road, and called work.

Naturally the boys in the office (Dave, Calvin & Simon by the sounds of it) thought it was all very funny, but Calivin offered to come and give me a tow back to my garage, which I accepted. Then I texted Yorkie to tell him, and called the garage (who also laughed, grr)

Sounds like it's the clutch cable that's come off, so hopefully it will be quick and cheap (ideally free) to fix.

A fitting end to my working day!



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Recipe: Pigsty Pie

This is one that we made up, although we are far from the first or only people to make a pie using pork or pork mince and call it a Pigsty Pie. So let's just say that this is our version of it. It smells great and reminds me of stuffing at Christmas, making it feel much more "naughty" than it is! This serves four people and it a nice 9 points per serving. You will need these for the mash: 400g potatoes 400g sweet potatoes 4-5 good sized carrots Salt Pepper Nutmeg Simply chop the roots, boil in salted water until tender, and mash! Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. The pie filling: 10 sprays low fat cooking spray (e.g. 1 cal) 1/2 lb lean pork mince 2 onions, finely chopped 3 apples, diced 1 leek, chopped 5-6 big mushrooms 2 tbs plain flour 1 tsp sage 1 tsp parsley Salt Pepper 1 vegetable stock cube 1/2 hot water 2 tsp English mustard Fry the onions in the cooking spray until they start to soften, add the mince. Once the meat starts to colour add the apple, leek and mush