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Showing posts from October, 2008

Rain, Hail, Sleet and Snow

Thunder and lightening, what a storm we had last night, not quite like the one in south west the previous evening but still fairly spectacular.

I had a busy day yesterday and got myself back up to speed with the preparations for the visitors. The fish-monger had two lovely crabs ready and waiting for me and the butcher came up trumps with a spectacular rib of beef. The chocolate and beetroot cake turned out well and the raspberry jellies set well so so far so good. I took the dogs for a good run down at the estuary. It was Basso's first outing for a while as I didn't think the cold air was good for his chest and confined him to barracks. My walks always take longer than I think as I have to spend time with other dog walkers who are stunned when they see him as he is so unusual and as he is so friendly he feels obliged to say hello to everyone. . Even the vet commented that he has never seen one in the flesh.

Once we were back home in the warm I decided to start by disman…

Sloth impressions

Good morning all, well what a lazy day I had yesterday, I did just about enough to keep us alive and no more. Once I had packed James off back to work and done the breakfast for dogs chickens and people I retired back to my bed and to watch catch up TV. I promptly fell asleep and slept soundly until lunch time. The roast shoulder of goat was very passable and as I suspected there was just enough meat on it for supper as well. It is unlike me to have a day of total idleness but I was very tired and it does eventually catch up with me.

Today, I am up at the more usual time of 4 am and bracing myself for a busy day making up for all that I didn't do yesterday. I have a chocolate and beetroot cake to make and then once the rest of the world is up I need to go shopping. The fish monger is getting me a couple of crabs which will need to be fiddled with ready to make the crab creams for lunch tomorrow. The butcher has a large piece of rib of beef which needs to be picked up. Mike…

It's bin day again

Can you believe how fast the weeks go by it seems only yesterday I was reminding myself that the bins needed to go out.

Basso is now on a 10 day course of antibiotics, in tablet form, which he thinks is wonderful as I bury the tablets in triangles of "Laughing cow" cheese so he thinks he is getting a treat. His cough is improving with each passing day and he has got his old sparkle back.

Shiona arrived shortly after we returned from the vet and after a quick coffee we set off for Woolwich to choose the flooring for the conservatory. The shop is run by an Italian family and they have the most spectacular array of marbles and granites. After much debate on size of tile type of grouting we purchased 27 square meters of the most beautiful black granite with a lovely sparkle of copper in it. Once we had paid and organised the delivery it was back home for lunch.
In the mean time Mike had made a quick dash to Tesco and lunch of cold meats and crusty bread was on the table waiti…

Very chilly but no frost

Basso got his trip to the vet first thing yesterday and he has tonsillitis, did you know dogs had tonsils I know I didn't? Anyway, he had a shot of antibiotics and we are to return this morning for further treatment. He is much better in himself and coughing much less and as I type he is playing chase around the dining table with Mary who has stolen his grunting pig [toy] which we have called pancetta.

The young man who came to give us an estimate to paint the house seems to think that it will be no more than a weeks work for him so we are hopeful that we will find the estimate within our budget. He seems to think he will have time to do the job in mid November which will suit us very well. Gone are the days when I would have tackled this job myself, I suppose physically I still could, but it is the will that has left me. When we first got together Mike was very surprised to find me painting the hall landing and stairs in the middle of the night, I was a poor sleeper even then!…

The cold is on the way!!!

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Cooler but dry this morning, it poured most of yesterday so my walking plans were put on hold. I did however rush out and dismantle my runner bean construction which had been very bashed around by the wind. The photo shows it before it is covered in plant. Anyway, the beans were all but finished so it was a job that needed doing. I had anticipated getting soaked but manage to hit the only dry period in the day.

The 2 sacks of fallen apples made 8 litres of juice which I have bottled and put into a milk crate in the garden so that if they do decide to ferment and explode the clearing up will not be to difficult. The pulp was jettisoned into the compost heap where I'm sure the rats and foxes have had a field day and are probably all suffering with belly ache this morning!!!!

My plans for today are to get Basso to the vet bright and early as he has not made the progress I had hoped for and is still very chesty. He should be attending his obedience classes tonight but he is not we…

Morning all

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A really busy day yesterday has left me feeling a little grumpy this morning. We headed of to the oriental super market where I bought some frozen shell fish and assorted noodles and some chili sauce. We then drove on to the tile shop which unfortunately was closed so it was off to the woods at Bean. These woods have the best variety of fungi that I have ever seen and the fly agaric littered the floor between the beech trees. There are signs to say not to take the fungi but as we left we saw 2 men caring out three huge carrier bags full which will no doubt be in the London restaurants by today. The dogs had a splendid time and for the first time I met someone else with an Italian spinone, he was a very elderly dog aged 10 so really at the end of his time. However, talking to his owner I was assured that it is the first 6 years that are the worst!!!!
From here we made our way to the Bluewater shopping centre, not a place to go on a Saturday, however, we just shot in and had a bite…

Alpine Macaroni

Yesterday dawned wet and miserable but by 10 am when my friends were due to turn up to go shooting it was almost dry and by the time we had made it to Dartford the sun was shining. Jeff Shiona and I had a great time and shot most of the stands with varying success. I was delighted with my score and even managed to get a 9/10 on one stand which is a first. Mike sat in the car with Basso the other dogs having been left at home. Once that was done we made our way to the Chinese buffet and managed to park right outside the door, the gods were really smiling on us. We stacked our plates with the assorted goodies and suddenly realised we were all very hungry so we got our moneys worth, £30 for four meals and 3 beers and a pint of diet coke. Well and truly stuffed we made our way home for coffee. Jeff, bless him, cleaned the guns and they were duly locked up in the cabinet. Jeff had an errand to run so left just after 3pm and the rest of us piled into assorted beds for a snooze.

Six p…

Lots of wind and rain

Well it's Friday again and the end of yet another week. Last night was one of strong winds and lashing rain but at the moment it is relatively quiet and warmer, at 12.8 degrees, than it has been for a while. October is drawing to a close and we have the all the clock nonsense to go through this week end. I hate it when the clocks change as it fall to me to go round the house and alter all the clocks which can be a real pain fortunately we now have some which change themselves rather like the computer but there are always other that need to be done and can I remember how to change them? The one that usually gets forgotten is the one in the car then we have a panic one day thinking we are late and suddenly remember. The dogs get very confused as their meal times are disrupted so I usually move them on by 15 minutes a day to get then back to the right time.

Talking of dogs, Basso is still coughing and it looks like I may have to go to the vet after all. He is still eating well s…

Lunch with a 3 year old

How easily one forgets! we had lunch at the Goods shed at Canterbury yesterday with my friend and her three year old son. He wasn't naughty he was just three and easily bored, thank goodness there were trains to see or it would have been a nightmare. I watched his poor mother trying to eat her food but spending most of her time keeping him occupied or out of mischief. We had stopped en route at a wonderful food emporium where we stocked up on a few goodies and then wandered round the market at the goods shed where I bought a shoulder of goat and 4 beautiful pork chops with the kidney still in, which is Mikes favourite and now so difficult to get. The food emporium sells fruit and vegetable which are very ripe in bags for a £1 so I just had to buy two bags of lovely tomatoes and a bag which contained 8 red peppers and a large aubergine. One bag of tomatoes is now tomato sauce and the other combined with the peppers is Romesco sauce all of which are going into the freezer. I a…

Wednesday and bin day

It is important that I remember to get the bin out of the kitchen and away this morning as it is full of crab shell which will stink the place down if it is left.

Yesterday, I decided to try a recipe in Valentine's book for crab creams. I needed some brown crab meat but the fish monger only had live crabs not yet boiled so on my way back from the dog walk I stopped off and picked up a nice cock crab which I promptly boiled when I got home. The creams are basically a custard with eggs cream and milk a little Dijon mustard and some salt and pepper then baked in a bain marie for 20 minutes and served with hot toast to dip in them. Absolutely delicious!!!!! The white meat I just dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice and we demolished it with the remaining toast. Shiona and Mary had come to visit so it made a super lunch. She has brought me some lovely beef from Scotland which is all vacuum packed and in the freezer. I wanted to test the recipe as I have my chef fr…

Rain rain go away

The promised rain arrived in the late afternoon by which time I had managed to get my sheets dry so I was not too unhappy, the dogs had been walked, so I settled in to make an onion tart which took over 3 hours to make by the time I had finely chopped 14 onions made the pastry and put to rest, I then had two and half hours of slow sweating to get the onions to the right consistency before putting into the pre-baked pastry case and sprinkling with Parmesan and baking for a further 20 minutes. I don't need to tell you there is none left!!!!

Jeff my brother in law phoned to book up a shooting expedition for Friday and I though it might cut down on the work if we went and had an "eat all you can", Chinese lunch which will save me cooking 2 meals that day.

Today, I am planning to go walking with my friend who is at a loose end now that she doesn't have a horse to took after. The children will be at school and the baby at nursery so I think she will appreciate the walk a…

Monday and the start of another week

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The wind is blowing but the sky is clear and it is relatively warm at 12 degrees. It is still pitch dark of course, but I stuck my head outside just to see how things were. I feel a little more like a human being this morning as I slept for most of yesterday, or that is how it seems. Fortunately, I don't have too many left overs to deal with, there is just a plumb crumble that we are making our way through. I ran up some pumpkin soup according to Valentine Warner's recipe which includes a stick of cinnamon and some sherry which make all the difference. Today I think I will make a leek and potato soup which should keep us going for the day. Jackie brought us down some wonderful apples that are red and small but extremely tasty and sweet, I find myself passing the bowl and just grabbing one to munch as potter around.

As it is nice an breezy I think I will get on with some washing today as it should dry well. The house could do with a good tidy up too, then "the wonder…

Sunday and a day of rest!!!

Yesterday was another of the these wonderful autumn days with wall to wall sunshine. We took advantage of the lovely weather and walked the dogs slightly further down the estuary, but instead of parking walking out and then back we left Mike [who doesn't walk] to move the car from one car park to another so that we didn't have to retrace our steps. We then made our way to what was the old Chatham dockyard to reconnoiter the new outlet shopping area. Miraculously all that was purchased was a new dressing gown for Mike as his current one has been turned into a well perforated tea bag by a certain Basso.

We made a snack lunch of the remaining cheese and every type of pickle and chutney that I could find in the cupboard together with a fresh loaf strait out of the bread maker. I threw together an avocado and endive salad to complete the meal. All was washed down with copious amounts of wine and followed by large cups of hot coffee. We then set David to work cleaning the gun,…

Good weather and happy people

What a fabulous day it was yesterday, the sun shone and thought it was cold is was bright and clear. After a leisurely breakfast we set off for the shooting ground and much to our surprise it was relatively quiet which meant that there were hardly any queues at any of the stands. We made our way round and had a go at most of the birds [clays] with varying levels of success. It was the first time that Jackie had shot but as I suspected she has a good eye and a steady hand so did rather well. I shot badly but I will forgive myself as my mind was not entirely on the shooting. Once we had finished I got Basso out of the car and took him to one of the stands and made him sit while others were shooting. I was pleased that he was interested but totally unafraid which is what you want from a gun dog.

The planned lunch was successful as it was all ready and all I had to do was warm up the lasagne and dress the salad. An assortment of British cheeses completed the meal. We then played f…

Good morning all

Well yesterdays cooking day went well with only minimal traumas like the tart case deciding to shrink. Actually it was my fault I cut the pastry before cooking so I was asking for trouble and duly got it. Anyway it tasted fine even if it was a bit shallower than it should have been. The fish pie was just right and we managed to eat about 2lbs of runner beans with it.

Today we are off shooting so lunch will be the lasagne I made and froze with a nice mixed green salad and an assortment of cheeses and fruit. Then tonight it is crispy duck legs with peas and carrots and saute potato followed by the chocolate and beetroot cake with creme fraiche. The weather looks like it will be fine but pretty cold we are down to single figures, so I think it is a case or warm clothes as we will be standing around outside for a couple of hours. As I am up rather late I think the dogs will have to wait for their walk until after lunch. I took Basso for a training walk yesterday evening and he beha…

Here we go a busy day ahead

Today, I am having a day in the kitchen making all manner of things so that I can spend time with our guests. I have the remnants of the washing which need ironing and getting rid off. Then its into the kitchen and get going with the assorted recipes. I have already made a lasagne for tomorrow after our shooting expedition. Mike will be sent to do the final shop for salad ingredients to go with it. The visitors are staying a day longer than I expected so I need to get my thinking cap on for a couple of extra meals. I have taken a large packet of ox tail out of the freezer so I think a nice hearty stew will do for one meal but I am struggling for a nice quick lunch dish. I think I might go for a selection of cold meats with crusty bread.

The hens decided to go off the lay yesterday but I do have sufficient eggs for my assorted recipes. The hen with the poorly leg seems to be making progress, she is at least trying to use the leg but is reluctant to put any weight on it. I wil…

Wednesday and back to the usual routine

It appears I was not the only one shattered after Monday, Basso spent most of the day in bed sound asleep and only really ventured out for his meals and necessary trips to the garden. We has another productive day in the garden and I got some much needed weeding done. The glass house has been replanted with herbs for the winter and I dug over, prepared and planted up the bed of broad beans which the "head gardener" kindly watered in for me during the night. We constructed an anti-pigeon frame over the plants so hopefully they will survive.
While I was at the far end I found myself watching the bees flying in and out with stores of pollen and as I watched 2 huge brown sleek rats made their way round the shed and off back to their home on the golf course. As they passed by they both looked at me then decided I was no danger and continued on their way. How little they know!!! I may just have to have a couple of hours up there with the gun in hand.

Today, I have the last mi…

Sorry to be so late

It is 6.45 and I haven't slept this late for years and by way of punishment I have the mother and father of of all head aches. Yesterday was a good day with the weather staying none too bad it did cloud over a bit in the late afternoon but has remained dry.

Basso had a wonderful time when we were out walking as he met a black Labrador of a similar age and they played and rolled around in the grass for what seemed hours. In the process he managed to loose his flashing LED which had it continued to flash should have been easy to find but I spent a fruitless time searching in the grass with no luck. I will have to buy him another and this time I will sew it to his collar so that it has no chance of coming off. When we got home he was filthy and soaking wet from the grass which meant he was happy to be put in his crate while we went off to the gunsmiths.

The repairs to my shotgun are amazing and the stock looks like new. Mike then decided that an air rifle was in order so we purch…

A busy week ahead

My conscience is feeling better this morning as I did manage to clean the glass house yesterday. It was quite a mammoth job. First the contents had to be removed, it is amazing how much stuff accumulates in there over time. Then I attacked it with a bucket of Jeyes fluid and scrubbed down all the panes and the frame inside. Next it was the pressure washer, some steps and a broom to reach the top lights and a final rinse down both inside and out. Once it had dried off a bit I closed it all down and lit a sulphur candle inside and beat a hasty retreat. This morning I will open it up and let the air through it before I tackle the soil which will need to be dug over.

Needless to say, once I had finished the glasshouse I was soaked to the skin and very much in need of a shower and the hot soup that I had standing by for lunch. My afternoon siesta was well earned and my poor aching body was grateful for some rest. My legs had been letting me know that I had not ridden for some time …

Sunday and a day for the garden

Today I need to assuage my guilt and get on with the garden and it looks like the weather is on my side and will be fine. Lunch is easy as I have a couple of lamb chump chops which I will do with an assortment of vegetable and then for supper I have ready made some borlotti bean soup made earlier in the year and frozen. I left the washing out overnight so with any luck it will be dry fairly quickly this morning if there is not too heavy a dew.

I had a grand ride and despite Mork being in a very lazy mood I managed to get a decent collected canter out of him with the use of a stick so I felt relatively pleased. It is interesting that he knows when I am riding and feels free to muck me about but he got a bit of a shock yesterday. I decided that I was standing no nonsense from him and no amount of his dying horse act was going to impress me. Mucking out was not too much of a trauma and I managed to scale the muck heap without incident. It would not have been the first time I had tak…

It's the weekend and looking like a good one

Yesterday, was another stunning day weather wise and after walking the dogs down by the river it was off to the shooting ground. As we drove through the woods the sun was shining through the canopy and there was a lovely shower of golden leave that were falling like snow is was a breathtakingly beautiful sight. We arrives a little early and stood around chatting in the sun while the traps were set then it was off to the various stand to try our luck. I shot quite well and improved on my previous score by two so I was happy. It was decided that, after a quick lunch, we would head over to the gunsmiths to get the stock of my gun sorted out and my brother in law wanted to buy some cartridges. My gun had to be sent off to the stock maker and will not be ready for collection until Monday. Fortunately, I had everything ready and lunch appeared in less time than it took the boys to drink a beer. The plum crumble went down very well and there was just enough left for us to have a spoo…

I can't belive its Friday again

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Where did this week go? We had another glorious day yesterday and I finally got round to giving the lawn a hair cut. But lets not jump the gun the day started in the hours of darkness and I occupied myself with giving the utility room a good tidy and clean. The walls are tiled and they were in need of a good wash down, it is very satisfying to see the difference and the whole room now sparkles. Once Mike was up and breakfasted it was time to make some plans. I planned out menus for the week until our guest come so I can just follow it rather than try to think what to have each day which I find a real chore. Then it was out with the dogs, poor old Tuc still has a rotten cough but seems to perk up when a walk is on the cards. We needed to take some photos of Basso for his breeder who likes to check on their progress. As you can see he is developing into a fine specimen.

Once this was done we made our way on to the butcher and stocked up on the requirements for the coming week, b…

Summer is back!!!

What a fabulous day yesterday was, the sun shone and it was lovely and warm, what I want to know is, how did it know that I had changed my wardrobe over to winter clothes!!!!!

I took the dogs for a nice walk early on and Basso is now able to keep up with the terriers, if they get in his way he just hurdles them. I had a long chat with his breeder just to keep her up to speed with his development. 34.5 kilos is about right for his age and he should have reached his maximum height by the time he is 10-12 mths but it can take anything up to 4 years for him to put on his maximum mature weight of anything up to 70 kilos which is 11 stone in old money.

As I was up so early I got stuck into cooking and made a lasagne, properly, which takes some time. It is now in the freezer awaiting visitors. Today, I am off to the fish monger to get the fish for the fish pie which is destined for another set of visitors. However, I don't think I will be making it just yet as with the weather so good…

What a miserable day

Yesterday was a really miserable day it rained on and off throughout the day. My riding was yet again postponed and I bottled out of walking the dogs as two of the three had sore throats and coughs.

I consoled myself by spending the morning in the kitchen making some middle eastern vegetable dishes one of honeyed sweet potatoes with chic peas served with a yogurt lemon and garlic sauce; and another of basmati rice, green lentils and vermicelli served with a tomato and chili sauce. I also made the stuffed cabbage leaves but having made the filling I did not have enough leaves to go round so I then lined some small bowls with cooked leek and filled these with the filling. The leek and corned beef was a better flavour but it was not at all bad.

The wonderful Jane worked her magic and ran the hoover around the house and complimented me on the shiny kitchen floor which I had worked hard on the day before not to mention the sparkling windows.

In the afternoon we had an expedition to the v…

Tuesday and dry so far

The weather forecast is for rain and wind but I am hoping I might get a ride in before it gets going. Yesterday, was a bit of a nothing day after my initial floor scrubbing I then took the dogs for a walk of about 2 miles along the estuary. Basso is getting stronger and can take longer walks now as he is almost full size. It is difficult with large dogs as they need careful puppy walking so as not to damage their still growing joints. Obedience training was cancelled last night as they were doing the bronze awards and he is not ready for that yet.

Mike is in a tidying mood and has been slowly going through the utility room sorting out the shelves and moving stuff to the garage if it is seldom used. Things like the mincer, which is wonderful, but I only use on odd occasions has been banished thus making more room for the stuff that is in regular use. I was driving him mad as I had downloaded "Black and Gold" one of the tracks used in the "Strictly come dancing&quo…

Monday morning and the storm has passed

At last the wind and rain have passed and there is calm. The garden looks like a hurricane passed through with leaf debris all over the place making the paths quite slippery. I only made a couple of forays outside yesterday to deal with the chickens and collect the eggs and that was enough for me.

The Birthday lunch went well and the seafood and pasta was a nice easy dish to prepare. Mike was very pleasantly surprised when James, the youngest, turned up with a card and a bottle of red wine. The dogs were overjoyed to see James as he has always been very fond of them and plays. Unfortunately, Tuc has got something stuck up his nose and is snorting badly so I think he may be in for a trip to the vet this morning. He seems to be fine all the time he lays still but as soon as he moves he starts snorting again. Both terriers are due for their annual inoculations so we may as well get it all over in one hit. It does, however, mean that my morning riding has to be postponed again.

I…

Happy Birthday Mike

The rain is pouring and wind is blowing but the temperature has risen to 13 degrees. It has been a really wild night so I think a tour of inspection of the estate is in order once it is light. Yesterday morning was fine and cold so I took the dogs for a nice long walk which tired them out and they were content to snooze for the rest of the day.

Today, is Mikes 69th Birthday so he is in for a day of cosseting, so just a normal day then!!! He has requested a pasta and seafood dish for lunch with a tomato salad so that is what I will make and there is still some chocolate and beetroot cake left for sweet. Last night, I did a piece of roast pork with savoy cabbage, carrots, runner beans, roast potatoes, apple sauce and sage and onion stuffing. I now have plenty of leftovers that will make at least one more meal. My youngest is coming down to join us for lunch but I will leave that as a surprise for Mike.

Basso is in big trouble, I thought he was chewing his bone and could hear the cr…

Saturday and freezing cold

Well here comes winter we are down to single figures, it is only 5.8 degrees this morning. Yesterdays forecast rain and mayhem never materialised so my shooting expedition was not ruined and thought I didn't shoot that well I thoroughly enjoyed myself. My brother in law came back to ours for lunch and then gave me a lesson in how to clean the gun properly which meant dismantling it completely he also suggested a couple of items that would make the job easier.

The salad we had for lunch was a great success. The griddled peaches and the dressing with orange flower water made the dish. I served it with some slices of toast and followed it with the semolina and raspberry tart and then a slice of the beetroot and chocolate cake and finally a large cup of coffee. He was then sent off home with a bag full of runner beans and a nice portion of turbot for his supper. I was absolutely shattered and after feeding the dogs at 4pm, a bit early , I decided to go and have a sleep. Unfortu…

Friday moring, shooting morning

I spent yesterday in the kitchen making various things and WASHING UP, cooking does create loads of washing up. I made another chocolate and beetroot cake and also a tart which is filled with semolina and raspberries which is rather delicious. The fishmonger delivered the turbot which needed to be skinned and divided into sensible portions then wrapped and frozen. With all the trimmings I made a large pot of fish stock to which I added a lobster shell and a crab shell which I had secreted in the freezer. I also made some roast butternut squash soup and some roasted endive.

Mikes impression of the horse steak, which a flash fried and made into a steak sandwich, was that it was very similar to beef with only a slight variation in flavour.

He went out to play bridge after supper and I had a Welsh lesson. One of my neighbours is Welsh and it has always bugged me that when they sing "land of my fathers" at rugby matches I cannot sing along as I don't know the words. W…