Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Tuesday Morning

Good morning all now all I have for you this cold morning is good news!!!  Gary came and we have decided to put the effluent pipe out of the front of the house to join our soil pipe from the bathroom.  Easy cheap and doesn't require digging up the patio.  Gary is keen to start the job as it an ideal one for the cold weather and better than being outside. So something for the new year.  While he was here we were changing a light bulb in the kitchen where they blow at regular intervals.  I was moaning that even when they do work they are all in the wrong place and I am always working in my own light. So who is going to get some fluorescent tubes so at last, I can see.  Ok so that solves a couple of niggles and I just can't wait.

Having chatted with Sandy about the Italy idea she was happy for me to go ahead and book it up. Well, have I got the deal of the century.  Flights from stanstead[only direct flight] with all the bells and whistles and insurance, extra bag and fast track through security.  A single room each at the hotel of our choice for 7 night including breakfast and all the usual free wi-fi and air conditioning and private bathroom.  Total cost PLEASE SIT DOWN, £500 per head so now we have until the end of May to gather some spending money.  Sandy's other half will be at home to dog sit and the boys will run us up to Stanstead and collect us.  

Between now and then I will have to do some serious research and locate the very best restaurants and I know just who I am going to ask.  One of the blogs I follow is written by a girl in Trieste and she is a restaurant critic.  I will be looking for authentic but not overpriced and she will be my first port of call.  I told Sandy not to worry about health things as I have a cousin who is a psychiatrist if she looses the plot and his wife is a GP.  

I am sooooo excited I can't tell you

Monday, 5 December 2016

Monday morning

Good morning all, I worked quite hard yesterday to catch up with all those niggling outstanding jobs.  I seem to be a bit livelier now that I am no longer on the pills and no panic attacks so I am hoping that it is a thing of the past now that the stress levels are much reduced.  However, the family dynamic is somewhat changed from my perspective I am not quite sure how I fit in.  At the moment I feel I am running the whole show but I would like to pass on some of the responsibility to the men.  I don't want to be a nag and constantly ask for things to be done on the other hand things I find important the men do not.  I think a family meeting is called for so we can air things from all angles and hopefully find a nice middle ground that suits us all. 

Gary is coming this morning to check the levels and I found the manhole buried under lots of slate but after a bit of shovelling, it is now exposed.  I sorted out all the first of the month stuff like meter readings and dogs ears.  All the banking is up to date.  One load of laundry on and done and I made a rather nice vegetable curry for supper last night a portion of which is still left.  I'm not sure what the dogs will make of it if I give it to them for their breakfast.  Dan doesn't do vegetables [fuss pot].

Last night I sat and tidied my jewellery box, yes a very small job but one that still needed doing.  I sorted out good from costume and got rid of single earrings whose partners have long gone and gathered some bits I really should get rid of as I don't ever wear them.  Next job will be to rationalise handbags I don't have many as I hate the things I prefer pockets but sometimes you do need one.  For me, a handbag should be big enough to carry your wallet, phone, car keys, a comb and a lipstick and a swiss army knife.  When I empty my bags you cannot imagine all the crud I carry around no wonder I don't like bags.

When and if we punch a door through to the garage I will lose a bookcase which has most of my cookery books; not quite sure what to do with them.  One of the things I am looking forward to having is somewhere to store vases most of which are out and about gathering dust.  I also went out to the freezer late last night and got really frozen myself while searching for something.  It would be such a  pleasure to go to the freezer and not get frozen in the process.

I have come to the conclusion that men don't see dust or cobwebs sadly I do.

I think I might have persuaded Sandy to come with me to Trieste in May next year just for a few days and I have been busy researching hotels and flights and public transport etc as well as building a sort of itinerary of things to do.  She doesn't do shopping and neither do I so it will be sightseeing and eating.

Not a bad main square with two of the most famous cafes, dating back to the AustroHungarian times where you must have coffee and cake even if you do need an overdraught.
Then of course,

there is Miramare castle all in lovely white marble and set in acres of gardens.  It was built for Maria Teresa and was where she quietly went mad waiting for her husband to return from Mexico where he had been assassinated.

Then there is Redipuglia one of the good things Mussolini did he had all the skeletal remains from several wars buried beneath a huge staircase which is visible for miles.

This is David and Jackie stood by one of the steps David is 6'6" tall

Anyway I could prattle on forever with ideas of what to see and do but half the fun is in the planning

Have a good day all it is jolly chilly here at the moment must get dressed before I freeze.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday morning

Good morning all, first a small rant I was thinking of checking the medicine cabinet as you can bet if you are going to go down with something it will be over the holidays.  Then I saw the adverts for magic pills which after you take them you are cured of colds and influenza and are free to go to work and share it with all your colleagues who can then take it home to their families. Is this just me or is this very wrong advice? Vulnerable people die from the flu. There is a big difference between a cold and flu.

Ok next I was doing some research into Flotex carpeting when I saw this can you believe it is carpet?

I love it but I don't think I would have the courage to do a whole floor especially in a large room.  I am just amazed at what they can do with laser printing.  I have had Flotex before and I know that it is totally indestructible.  Mind you my dining room floor often looks like this when the dogs bring in half the garden.

Yesterday I tackled the sofa and tried to put the covers on so this morning I can't move my shoulders much harder than I thought.  The cushions have to be left for 72 hours to re-fluff themselves so they are laying out on the floor doing just that.  I will get there in the end but it is not the five-minute job I thought it was going to be, flat packs never are.  I am eager to get it finished so I can measure it up and see what size bedding I need for it before I rationalise the sheet department.

Anyway, all that is on hold as I am having drain problems so finding the manhole is a priority especially as Gary is coming tomorrow to measure the levels.  I think it is beneath an inch of chipped slate so I will have to do a bit of shovelling to find it. Oh, happy days!!!!

I have also missed the first of the month chores like meter reading and checking the salt levels in the water softener etc so they too are on my list for today.  As for lunch that will have to wait and if it is a ham sandwich too bad.  I seem to be permanently behind with everything and constantly chasing my tail.  But just when you are losing the will to live something happens to brighten your day.  I received a parcel from my French friends containing a wonderful assortment of goodies all specialities of the area.  This mid-winter feast is going to be some blowout.  It might not be turkey but we will be spoiled for choice with the other goodies.

Well with so much on the to-do list I had better get a move on the one good thing is that it is lovely and sunny just the day for digging slate!!!!!

Have a good day and I hope you too are sharing in the lovely sun.

Saturday, 3 December 2016


Good morning all.  I am trying to get my sleeping patterns back to some sort of normality but things just seem to be in chaos at the moment.  I woke as usual at 4am and decided to go back to sleep instead of getting up as I had had a night of nightmares would you believe I picked a fight with Gordon Ramsey in my dreams not smart! Anyway, I drifted back off to sleep and only woke up at 10am which is a bit on the late side.  It would be so nice if I could wake at a sensible hour.  I am completely off my antidepressants and I think it is playing havoc with the sleep.  Of course, it doesn't actually matter as it is not as if I have a job to go to but it does leave me muddle-headed for the rest of the day.

Don't ask about the sofa there has been no progress as none of us felt in the mood so I read the instruction manual from cover to cover and it doesn't look like it is going to be difficult.  I might start today by putting the covers on which I can do alone.  

I made an interesting meal yesterday I had a bit of leftover chicken from the roast which was not enough for a meal so I blitzed it with a bit of cream and some parmesan then spread the resulting paste onto very thin pancakes rolled them up then put them in the bottom of a soup bowl and filled it with the really wonderful stock/broth I had made.  Then for supper, I made a rainbow frittata  with one of each vegetable I could find, all in minute dice {brunoise} fried in some nice olive oil then covered with beaten eggs and cheese and shoved under the grill.  

I have put in an order for some exciting meats for our holiday period like suckling pig and veal kidneys. The last thing I did was look up recipes for such things no wonder I dreamt about Gordon Ramsey!!!!!

Anyway, the day is a wasting time to get my act together or there will be no lunch today.  Enjoy the sun shine we have buckets of it here.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Friday morning

Good morning all sorry to be late again but I do have a valid excuse James went out at 2am who knows what for but Dan sat on the stairs and howled the walls down.  So I had to get up and quieten him down as when he howls the whole road can hear him I am sure. Howling is meant to carry and boy does it.
Now on to the saga of the sofa, it arrived bright and early in 5 boxes so not that complex but once I had stripped off the cardboard and polyethene I was left with an assortment of bits and a book of instructions which is an inch thick.  The very first instruction is that one person cannot assemble it it takes three.  So today is the day as Denzil is a day off we are all here so hopefully we can get it together today and then start rearranging the furniture so it looks less like the council tip and more like a house.  As it happened Sandy was in the area so she popped in for coffee, Oh I do like this my friends feel able to come and see me without having to run the gauntlet of Mike in bad mood.

This is the before let's hope the after looks a bit better

While Sandy was here I had a delve into a cupboard which has been blocked with an armchair for years and low and behold what did I find yes two more complete canteens of cutlery which I had completely forgotten about so she has taken one for her Christmas lunch as she has guests.  She is also a keen photographer so I gave her Mikes Nikon digital SLR and a video camera which was just gathering dust. The instructions were to have fun with it and then put it in her bin as the second-hand value of these items is zero.  With all the curfuffle we didn't have lunch until 3pm so nobody wanted supper [nice and easy].

In the interest of family harmony I screwed up my courage and rang David to wish him a happy birthday - it also gave us an opportunity to chat over what had caused the rift and that both parties were hurt and things had been said which were probably best left unsaid.  Anyway, I hope the air is cleared somewhat.  I did remind them that the Mike they knew as a brother was not the Mike I lived with and they got treated to his best behaviour but once they left I caught it in the neck for letting them know.  I was caught between a rock and hard place, did I go with Mikes wishes or the needs of the family.  As usual, I tried to steer a central path which only ended up with everyone upset. Anyway, I hope I have mended a few fences.  People are so complicated no wonder I prefer dogs who are completely honest at all times and any indiscretion can be fixed with a biscuit or a head in the lap.
Of Dan sees me unhappy he just puts his head in my lap and looks at me with his with eyes that see into your soul. Is this anthropomorphism, probably, but I am happy believing it.  which reminds me I have signed up to the Edinburgh university animal behaviour course and also a short course on conflict resolution both of which I think I will enjoy.

On that happy note, it is time to start building!!!!! have a good day all.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Thursday morning

Good morning all, what a busy day I had yesterday Elaine brought the puppy to visit and she had just taken him to the vet as he is very thin and not really eating well and like all new mums she is worried.  I hope it is just the trauma of being separated from his family that has caused him to be off his food.  I offered him a piece of cooked turkey leg but he was not interested but was fascinated that my dogs ate it all up.  Anyway, fingers cross it is nothing serious he is growing in height so maybe that is where his energy is going I know Dan got long and lanky as he grew up and is still very light weight but that is so much better than fat. Then shortly after they left Shiona arrived she had a look at the land registry forms and decided they were pretty incomprehensible so I will have to ring the land registry and get them to walk me through the forms.  That done we shot out to Aldi as she was out of chocolate [there is nothing worse than chocolate deprivation].  The Albanians gave her car the once over and for the princely sum of £10 it was left immaculate both inside and out. Then it was home for a roast chicken dinner which we had with roast parsnips and mash.  We cleared the rest of the furniture from the sitting-room and the men came and gave it the once over.  The furniture is scattered about the place while the carpet dried and it gives us lots of space to assemble the sofa when it arrives today. Then it will be a case of rebuilding the room but first I need to get in there with a bucket of soapy water and clean the skirting boards which are thick with dust where they have been hidden.  

We also had a look in the armoire where the silver items are now a lovely shade of black so there is a nice big job for me there.  When Mikes gran died he inherited a silver tea set which I hate. It is pretty useless after all who serves tea in silver these days.  Anyway, I rang Richard, who is still speaking to me, and asked him if he would like to have it back as it is a family heirloom. Now that the dust has settled I think the Mikes brother are genuinely in the dark as to why I was so upset.  Actually, I have no axe to grind with them it is the total lack of contact from my sisters-in-law which hurt my feelings after all you would expect women to understand just what sort hell I was going through and at the very least pick up the phone from time to time.  This I really don't understand, there is no way I would not contact them if I knew they were in the mire.

Anyway, time to get dressed the - too late the sofa is here now it is down to building, the sitting room is full of cardboard boxes but at least they got into the room with no problems.  I hope it is idiot proof assembly.  Perhaps I will leave it to the boys!!!!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Wednesday Morning

Good morning all.  Another sub-zero start to the day, fortunately, I remembered yesterday to bring in my kafir lime plant which is very definitely not frost hardy.  It has spent the summer on the patio soaking up the sun.  I did a fairly major shop yesterday and was surprised how quiet Tesco was I guess it is the calm before the storm.  It was boring shopping you know stuff like toilet paper, bleach, washing up liquid really interesting stuff but anyway it is done so we should be well stocked through to the new year.

Today is bin day so my suite should get picked up and disposed of.  Elaine is stopping by for coffee with my surrogate grandson Benji the poodle pup.  Shiona is coming over later and I hope she is going to walk me through the last of the forms then that too will be done.  Even better news Gary came around yesterday and had a measure up to convert the garage into a utility room which he thinks will be an easy enough job all I need now is next doors permission to drop a grey water pipe into the manhole on their front drive.  They seem happy with the idea provided they get something in writing explaining the intended work.  Anyway, it will be something to look forward to in the new year. This afternoon I have the carpet cleaners coming and the room is already devoid of furniture apart from a few side tables which I will move out when they come.  At this rate, I will have my sitting-room back in time for the festive season.  At the moment everything is on the up and up a sensation I am quite unaccustomed to. Isn't it great when a plan comes together?

Denny took my silver cutlery for the hospice so that too is now a thing of the past and I will have no more cleaning to do.  Long live stainless steel!!! I have also turfed out stuff from the kitchen which can go to a charity shop.  I still have Mikes wardrobe to do but I feel strong enough to tackle that now.  My long term plan is to make the house as user-friendly as possible and minimise the amount of work required to keep it running. One job which is outstanding is some sort of rationalisation of bedding and towels which really do need sorting out.  I think three sets for each bed should be enough one on, one off and one in the wash.  At the moment I have tons of stuff for single beds and only one single bed. I am holding fire on the bedding for the sofa bed as I am not quite sure if it will measure as a double or king size.  Anyway, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Today for lunch I am going to roast a chicken as I think we will be four for lunch.  The pressure cooker is full of the basics to make a good broth as I picked up some chicken wings and a turkey leg while out shopping.  I put them all in the oven to roast and get a bit of colour so the resulting broth should have good flavour once the chicken carcass is added.

Well, I am freezing to death here so I am off to get dressed before I need to reheat in a hot bath.  Stay warm and have a good day all

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Tuesday morning

Good morning all, now you all know what a clothes horse I am, look what Diane has bought herself.

How could I resist

Very chilly this morning the first frost has coated the car and the suite which is on the drive but the garden is clear and the thermometer is reading below zero.  The house looks naked without the suite but I am glad to see the back of it.  Actually, the house has been cluttered for so long perhaps it just looks tidier.  The carpet is being done tomorrow afternoon and the sofa arrives on Thursday so everything has gone according to plan.  Of course what I had forgotten is that the wonderful Denny is due today she has gone back to coming on Tuesday instead of Wednesday but fortunately I was up to let her in.

I got a chicken out of the freezer last night and thought I would roast it for lunch today but actually James is going out so I don't know if I had better put it off until tomorrow when Shiona is here.  I am looking forward to the broth from the carcass which I will serve with some very thin pancakes filled with grated parmesan rolled up and laid in the bottom of the bowl before adding the hot broth.  A bit like chicken noodle soup but with pancake instead of pasta.

Well, I had better not hang around as everything is going on around me and I am getting cold sitting in my dressing gown so off to get dressed then I think I need a major shop we have grazed our way through all the easily eaten food now it is time to get cooking again.  I like winter for cooking as it is the time for slow stews and heartwarming food.  

Anyway, have a good day all what is the weather like your way?

Monday, 28 November 2016

Monday morning

Sorry sorry to be so late I was up early then decided to try for more sleep and succeeded. Except all that happened was I had a mega nightmare.  Anyway, I am happy to be awake but have the mother and father of headaches. The blackout curtain certainly works as my room is very dark despite the bright sunshine.

Some good news is that the sofa is being delivered the day after the carpet is cleaned so that has gone according to plan. I am hoping it will not be too much hassle to get assembled. A sofa should be easy unlike things with multiple draws. James is the acknowledged expert when it comes to furniture as he spent some time working  for Kumfort who make up market office furniture before he joined the police.

I had great plans for today but I'm no longer in the mood.  I find my moods are still a bit labile but I am sure it will all pass with time. If there is one thing I have learned it is that everything passes with time. I just hope it doesn't take too long for my mojo to return.  I hope getting this sitting-room organised will cheer me up a bit is still looks and feels like a sideward. I think once the old sofa has gone it will all start coming together.  I am glad we have chosen a low key Christmas as I have enough to think about without that as well.

Anyway, can't really dawdle as I am already well behind schedule.  Denzil is back at work after his week off so we are back to the usual shift pattern.  I am going to start my day with a 'shooting lunch' 2 paracetamol and a hot drink.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Sunday Morning

Good morning all I had quite a nasty surprise yesterday.  I was scanning the local paper when I came upon an article about the stables where I used to ride in the dim and distant past.  There was an elderly man named Trevor who lived in a caravan on site and kept an eye on the yard to my horror he has been murdered by a seventeen-year-old youth.  Trevor always struck me as not having a penny to his name so I cannot imagine robbery was the issue.  I always passed the time of day with him and he seemed an affable sort of guy.  What is the world coming to?

That aside it was a pretty normal sort of a day.  I had all but finished 'a life of happiness and fulfilment' when my life went belly up so I got stuck back into doing a couple more chapters and today should see me finish that course and then I will be on the hunt for a new one. Because I don't want the certificate it is all for free which is really amazing.  I can't decide at the moment which course to choose there is a good one from Edinburgh university on animal psychology or human psychology from Toronto university.  I will probably do them both as I don't have to feel guilty about wasting time it is now mine to waste as I choose.  The more you learn the more you realise you know nothing!!!!!

I ran a small check on my followers not surprisingly I found my regular contributors but was quite surprised that I have an avid reader in Ascot.  I used to have a friend who lived in Ascot but she now lives in Bath.  I was surprised at how many readers I have scattered around the world some I know and many remain anonymous.

Marino Sterle's photo of Trieste's main square
 I couldn't resist this photo I hope I haven't transgressed any rules as I have attributed the photo and it was freely available on Facebook.  This guy takes the most wonderful photos of my favourite town.  I have taken many of my friends and family and given them the guided tour and I still have a cousin who lives there.  There are caves in Trieste but the major ones are at postojna [26 kilometres in lenght] which is only about 10 miles away and there is also the Lipizzaner stud where they breed the horses for the Spanish riding school so there is something for everyone. Not to mention if you get the season right wild asparagus.  I feel a trip coming on or is this just Christmas nostalgia.