Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sunday morning

Ok so here I am in Scotland - Invarary to be precise.  We had a terrific drive up which we took it in three hour stints to share the driving.  Dan was very good in the car but once we arrived he drank gallons of water and then promptly threw it all up over the kitchen floor, so the floor is now pristine and the washing machine is full of the towels we used to mop up the mess.  The weather was perfect and today looks like another brilliant day.  We dined at the George pub for supper which required a 100yds walk.  Today we are going to visit her mum and do a bit of shopping as the cupboards are bare.  Poor Shiona I can quite see why she needs a friend to try and sort out the house there must be a ton of stuff to be shifted.  What the hell do you do with 8 double goose down duvets?  And all the accompanying bedding.

The views from the house are spectacular as it faces directly onto the loch.  I will take some pics but probably not post until I get back as the connection here is a bit dodgy.  Anyway the good news is that I slept until 4am as usual but then went back to sleep until 7am.  I have lots of tiredness to catch up on.

Hope you too are having lots of sun

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Saturday morning

So here I am at Shionas house where all this blogging began a good few years ago.  Everyone else is still asleep with the exception of Dante.  He managed to get himself a good soaking yesterday whether he fell or jumped into the pond is still up for debate but he emerged sporting pond weed in his hair.  Very fetching!!!!  Shiona had made a big pot of stew which we all tucked into with gusto.  Then it was off to bed early ready to be up and away by 9am.  James has familiarised himself with all the technology and Shiona has stuffed the fridge with goodies to keep him going. He has volunteered to mow her grass while we are away.  Fortunately she has a sit on mower as there must be half an acre of grass to cut.

On the journey over Dan was wrenching in the car but with an empty stomach the car remained clean.    Today will be a longer ride so no breakfast for him but he can have an extra large supper when we arrive.  Last night I had a mishap with his biscuits and dropped the whole lot on the floor but he very quickly cleared the whole lot up, who needs a plate for dinner?

Well that's about it for this morning let's hope we have an uneventful journey.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday morning

Good morning all.  Well today is the day I go to Shiona's house ready to leave for Scotland tomorrow bright and early.  I hope I have got everything organised.  Yesterday I shot out and bought a couple of tops in the sale at cotton traders.  I was really lucky as the remaining winter stuff was on sale as all the summer stock is now in.  Today I need to go to the bank first thing and get money for us all, the freezer if full of ready meals and I bought a sack of dog food which we will divide out and share between Tubby and Dante.  I think it takes longer to pack for the dogs than it does for me or James.  

Needless to say I slept really badly last night and woke in a mad flat panic this morning.  This will be the first time I have abandoned Mike and it is also the first time I have been away from home in the last three years.  All a bit of a trauma!!!!  I know everything will be fine but someone needs to tell that to my subconscious.  

While I was out shopping I dropped by Aldi for something quick for lunch and found some Wagyu beef burgers at 2.99 for 2 quarter pounders.  I can honestly report that they are truly delicious and well worth seeking out.  Apparently the meat comes from New Zealand.

I got the last of the laundry put through the machine and this morning I will top the hens up to the maximum so they can cope for at least 4-5 days without any attention.  

As you can imagine my mind is elsewhere at the moment so I will cut this short and get on with the thousand bits and pieces I have to do this morning.

I will try to keep in touch while I am away but the broadband signal in Inveraray is a bit hit and miss so I will have to see how I get on.  I am taking my camera with me so hopefully I will have some nice pics to show you when I get back in the mean time keep well. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Thursday morning

Yesterday was hot and sunny in fact with the sun pouring into my room it made 30ºc by mid afternoon.  Too hot and very uncomfortable.  Fortunately the temperature has fallen overnight and this morning it is much cooler and more pleasant.  Sadly I didn't make the most of the good weather as by lunch time I was feeling absolutely exhausted and washed out.  I converted a cauliflower into cauliflower rice which we had for lunch and for supper the men had a takeaway curry and I had copious cups of tea and glasses of squash.  My friend Margaret phoned to cancel her visit today as she has a nasty cold and that is the last thing Mike needs.  I must say that I feel considerably better today having rested quite a bit yesterday.  

Today I have lots of errands to run as tomorrow we are off to Shiona's in the evening ready to leave for Scotland in the morning.  I need to do some shopping and refill the dogs food supplies as I will need to take some with me.  In fact I think packing for the dog is more work than packing for me.

I took this photo this morning and it has just taken me nearly an hour to get it to come up on the blog the new photographic software is quite a challenge.  In the end I had to reboot all the programmes to get it to copy to the blog.  Anyway as you can see my orchids are blooming rather well. 

Having wasted so much time I am now late in posting but at least I did finally succeed in getting the photo up.  Which reminds me I need to get the camera charged up and remember to take the little gadget to put the photos on my iPad.  Lets hope this prove a little easier.
Have a good day all the sun is up but it is much cooler and we have some high cloud

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Wednesday morning

Good morning all.  What a lovely day it was yesterday we had wall to wall sunshine and it was warm. First thing we had a visit from the respiratory team to check and see how Mikes breathing is getting on. This is a 6 monthly check as his condition is progressive they like to keep an eye on how things are going.  The good news is that he is not deteriorating significantly despite his chest infection earlier in the year.  Then at 1pm he had an appointment at the clinic so we ended up having sardine rolls for lunch and for supper the slow cooker was pressed into action to do mince and potatoes.  

Dante seems to have survived his traumatic school outing and by way of homework we ran through all the commands he understands and I filled in all the paperwork ready for the next visit.  Sadly he will be missing the next two sessions as we will be away and I know I would forget to do it if I left it until we come back.

Today is bin day and all my bins are full to overflowing so that will be my first job as the bin men come early.  Apparently according to the weather forecast today is due to be the hottest day of the year so far so another day of unbroken sunshine.  The sun is just peeping over the horizon at the moment so it is not possible to see the sky.

I cleaned out the hens yesterday and the two remaining hens seem to be just fine and are laying lovely little eggs many of which have double yolks.  I am expecting my final delivery from Tesco this morning after which my freezer will be full of rubbish.  All the cupboards are fully stocked so Mike should have an easy time of it while we are gone.  Today would be a good day to get the last of the laundry done so I have clean clothes to take with me.  I may also get myself down to Cotton Traders and see if I can pick up some jumpers/tops to take.  Most of my winter clothes are on their last legs and as Scotland is about a month behind us it is winter stuff I need to take.  I cannot wear wool so fleece is a real godsend.  The car could also do with a clear out as it resembles a mobile bin and I am going to have plenty to take with me especially all Dan's stuff and food.  Which reminds me I need to get out and buy more dog food and go to the bank and get some cash.  It is going to be a busy day tomorrow morning Len and Margaret are going to pay us a visit which will limit the time I have left to run all the errands.  We are not due to go over to Shiona's until Friday evening so I still have some time on Friday if I have forgotten anything.

Well that the plan so I will make a start with the bins the rest can wait until I am more awake.  Have a good day and enjoy the sunshine if you have the chance.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Tuesday morning

Can you make biscuits from a packet of sage and onion stuffing? The answer is yes and they are delicious with cream cheese.   If you fancy a go this is what I did. I emptied a packet of stuffing into the blitzer and whizzed it for a bit to make it finer.  I then added some cold diced butter and then brought it together with some cold chicken stock. The resulting dough was a bit crumbly so I rolled it out between two sheets of clingfilm then baked at 180ºC until golden.  I know they are good because I don't have a single one left, the family demolished the lot.

The highlight of the day was Dans first day at school.  The trainer is the guy who trains the metropolitan police dogs and their sniffer dogs.  Not my favourite organisation but I kept my trap shut.  As far as dog training is concerned he knows his stuff.  The class was quite large with about 16 of us and much of the lesson was taken up with basic admin stuff.  Dan was pretty terror struck but gradually relaxed.  However, there were two very badly behaved dogs, one a sort of Dalmatian type who wanted to kill any puppies the other was an American bull dog cross who wanted to kill all the people as well as all the dogs and he had the size and power to do it.  When the pair of them kicked off Dan went into meltdown and tried to climb into my lap for protection.  We did a few basic exercises sit, stand and down and we also did a controlled greeting which ended up with a fracas between a shar-pei puppy and the Dalmatian.  I must admit that Dan acquitted himself very well and did all the exercises perfectly.  We finally got home about 8pm James had made the supper which I was very ready for and as for Dan he lay down and became unconscious exhausted from the mental strain.  I must admit I too was cream crackered.  We will miss the next two sessions as I will be in Scotland but I do a training session every day with Dan anyway.  I have done the Good Citizen award before with my other dogs so I do at least know what is expected when it comes to the assessment.  

After such an exciting evening I crashed out quite early so I have been up for a while.  Today it is Mike who needs sorting out he has a visit from the respiratory team this morning and then at lunch time he has another appointment at the clinic.  I think this is going to make lunch a bit of a moveable feast once I have decided what we are going to have.  I think it had better be soup and toast and we can have a proper meal for supper.  That said I had better make tracks and find something in the freezer!!!!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Monday morning

Tubby decided that Dans beard needed a good wash

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day but there was a cold wind blowing sufficiently strongly to blow the garden furniture around.  However it was a brilliant day to get the sheets dry on the line even if they need many extra pegs to keep them there.  I did the roast chicken for lunch but successfully burned the carrotsI had a steamer over the top of them and couldn't see that the water had evaporated,  well thats my excuse anyway.  I made rather a lot of stuffing [packet mix] so I have lined a tin with the remainder and blind baked it and today I will add the cold chicken made up with some leeks and mushrooms and make a quiche.  As I was doing this I suddenly wondered if you could make some savoury biscuits with stuffing mix instead of flour or maybe mixed with part flour anyway they would be nice with cheese I think.  I will have to give it a go and see what happens.  I usually make up stuffing mix with stock to give it a bit of flavour.  Anyway if I have a go at this I will let you know the results.

Today is dull and overcast so I am glad I made hay while the sun shone yesterday I even pulled out a few weeds.  It is wonderful how the sun invigorates you especially after days of dull wet and cold. Today menu is sorted as I have plenty of left over chicken to play with and then this evening I am off to school with Dante.  This is where you have to hope that your dog doesn't disgrace you by playing the fool.  Having made the most of the good drying weather I now have yet another pile of ironing to deal with and as my duvet cover is light linen it creases horribly and does need to be ironed.

Well that is the plan for the day nothing very exciting until this evening so I will get on with the mundane chores of the day.  Have a good one and if you have to work you are missing nothing!!!!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sunday morning

Yesterday was a strange day weather-wise in the morning it rained heavily and then in the afternoon we had brilliant sunshine but the temperature had dropped quite significantly due to the rain.  I granted myself a day off from the kitchen and for lunch we had pasties from the bakers and for supper a Chinese takeaway.  I did impressions of a sloth and watched a film on DVD and finished my audio book from the library.

I keep in touch with Dante's breeder and she alerted me to this lovely photo of his sister at a spinone championship show.  She really does look splendid and her coat is beautifully prepare.  I am getting there with Dan but he still does resemble a shag pile carpet.  It is nice to see that the pups are all doing well and growing into very handsome dogs.

Picture of Dante's littermate winning a second in the puppy class
When I went to check on the hens I was pleased to see I still have 2 and why the other 2 died is still a mystery.  If it were disease or a feeding problem you would anticipate all 4 succumbing anyway I am glad I still have the two.  Once I return from Scotland I may well get a second pair to join them as I think it will be easier to introduce a pair to the flock rather than just one.  Anyway that is a bridge we will cross when we get there. Having just the two will make things easier while I am away. 

Today for lunch I have a chicken which is nice and easy just one hour in the halogen oven and its done.  I usually do 30 minutes breast down then 30 minutes breast up and 15 minutes resting which gives me time to do the vegetables and gravy.  Hopefully there should be enough left over for another meal.  I have some lovely purple "shouting" broccoli and masses of carrots not to mention mash which is in the freezer.  I have put my box on hold for the two weeks I will be away as there is no way Mike will be able to cope with that quantity of vegetables.

Poor Shiona is back on antibiotics with another chest infection but hopefully they will have kicked in and done their job by the end of the week.  The last thing I need right now is a chest infection so I hope I get away with it.

This week saw an update for the computer operating program which has changed the photographic software.  Sadly I now have duplicates of many of the photos as it has unearthed the originals as well as the edited versions.  I now have the task of going through and deleting the copies which is a pretty thankless task.

Thats about it for now time to get this show on the road, have a great day.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Saturday morning

Yesterday was the warmest day so far this year and what a difference to go out without a coat.  My two surviving hens seem to be OK so I am really baffled as to why the other two died.  If it was something to do with my feeding regimen surely all 4 would have been affected.  Anyway no use crying over spilled milk.  

We decided to have a quick lunch as Mike had an appointment at 2pm and I left the shellfish soup for dinner.  The quick lunch consisted of scrambled eggs with wild garlic and mushrooms on toast - possibly more a breakfast than a lunch but it filled the gap.  I sat in the car park hoping to listen to my book but I had brought my iPad which doesn't have an internet connection once away from my wi-fi so no book, I just had to play canasta for an hour sitting in the hot sun.  Every time Mike sees a medical person they change his prescription so we are now cutting down certain medication in anticipation of changing to a different drug.  He seems to be having great difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that COPD is not a curable disease and there is no magic pill that will make him 20 again.  If there was I would be first in the queue!!!!

The shellfish soup was a roaring success as it was more shellfish than soup.  It was a pretty hit and miss affair. First I boiled the noodles in some fish stock then drained them off keeping the liquid and putting the noodles in the bottom of the bowls.  Then a quick stir fry of some ginger and garlic paste made in the nutri-bullet  followed by mushrooms, wild garlic and coriander stalks.   Finally I added the coconut milk and stock then tipped in the all the shell fish and brought the whole lot up to the boil.  Then it was just a case of ladling  the hot soup onto the still hot noodles and scattering some chopped coriander and some large girdled prawns on top.  It is one of those recipes that we will never have again as it was all flying by the seat of the pants stuff.

Today although the weather is warm there is a fairly strong breeze blowing, the sky looks ominously black and I think we are in for some rain.  Well it would rain, wouldn't it, as I watered the pots on the patio yesterday as they looked very dry.  I also spent quite while grooming Dante in anticipation of his first evening at school on Monday.  The kitchen is mess after my wok session so that is where I will start but I can listen to my book at the same time what joy!!!  I don't know about anybody else but I for one am sick of the election already and it has only just started. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Friday morning

Good morning all you can blame the library for my late start this morning.  I got my library card yesterday morning and promptly downloaded an audio book,  "Kathy Reichs 206 bones" When I woke at 4am I thought I would continue listening so I tucked my iPad under my pillow and promptly fell asleep in seconds.  There is nothing like the drone of a voice to send you off to sleep.  

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs I got my library card really quickly as I appeared to be the only one in the library but as I turned to leave there was a queue of about 20 people behind me so I was just really lucky.  On the down side I lost another hen in similar circumstances to the first.  I though the first was just bad luck but to loose a second hen then something is wrong.  I rang the breeder and we discussed what might be the problem and neither of us could come up with a cause. As you know I have kept hens before so I am familiar with how to feed them etc so we are none the wiser.  Anyway even this mishap has a silver lining the fewer hens I have the less often James will have to drive over and sort them out while I am in Scotland as their food and water will last that much longer.  

I managed to get the parasol for the garden but even that was not easy as the boxes had no indication of colour on them and so you had to open the boxes to find out the colour.  As luck would have it I wanted a green one and that was the first colour I found.  While I was in the library James took the dogs for a walk in the great lines heritage park which is a huge area over looking Chatham.  We really are blessed with good dog walking areas.

As I was so quick in the library I had time to walk to the haberdashers and get some new rods to hold up my net curtains one of which has been broken for ages.  I must admit I hate net curtains but the front of the house is very close to the road and they do give a bit of privacy.  It never ceases to amaze me just how dirty they get if the windows are open.  I suppose it must be traffic pollution not that our road is very busy.  

Anyway plan for today, the weather is looking gorgeous and sunny though there is some very high cloud.  I have been gathering ingredients for an oriental shellfish soup which will be on todays menu. 
In my box of vegetables there was a pack of ransoms [wild garlic] which will make a good addition to my soup along with lots of ginger and coconut milk.  If I load the soup with lots of noodles then it will be substantial enough to keep us going until supper time.

Mike has s doctors appointment this afternoon at 2pm so just as well I slept in late and will not be too dozy at lunch time.  I can also take my iPad and listen to the end of the book.  Interestingly you can set the software to give you 7, 14 or 21 days in which to read your books.  It is a relatively sophisticated bit of kit and I am still playing with it.  Hopefully the novelty will wear off or I could easily turn into a couch potato with great ease.  This is such a wonderful system especially for those who are house bound or are in very rural areas.

Anyway now I am miles behind and need to get going so I will leave you all to enjoy the sunshine.