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Showing posts from January, 2009

Saturday but only just

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All my own fault as usual, I fell asleep at 8.30 last night after a blowout Chinese so waking at 2.30 is not so strange but it is a bit awkward. The dogs think I am crazy and have just gone back to sleep. I had a pretty lazy day yesterday and spent several hours just sorting through my music files and trying to make some sort of sense of them. The problem is that many tracks have either no label or have been wrongly labeled so it means listening to each one and trying to remember the correct title and artist. Given that I have in excess of 2,000 tracks it takes quite a while to go through them.

The met office seem to be warning of considerable snow fall early next week so I think it would be prudent to make sure we are well stocked with the essentials. It would not be the first time we have been cut off by snow. In fact I was discharged from hospital in a military landrover following surgery because the hospital had run out of most essential food stuffs and the staff who came on duty …

Friday and pretty cold again

Good morning all - its freezing this morning, well actually its 2 degrees but it feels very cold. I dashed about yesterday morning and got the dogs walked first thing then a swift pass through Tesco for some milk and some rye bread. I was back just in time to make the coffee as Richard arrived. Then my doggy friend Louise arrived so more coffee and here is the good news. Her husband Jeff is keen to show Basso and is an experienced gun-dog handler. For me this is the best of both worlds as it means that Basso can meet his potential but I don't have to do the showing which really doesn't appeal to me. This all came about because I asked Louise for help with the show in February that I entered in a fit of madness. She suggested that Jeff would be a better person to ask but he was unable to help me as he is on the committee of the show I had entered. Anyway to cut a long story short I have invited them round one evening to discuss the nitty gritty of how this will be accom…

Thursday and a busy day ahead

This morning I am a bit stiff in the shoulders after my lesson yesterday. Holding the gun up for a long time certainly makes your shoulders work. Anyway, I am delighted with the session as I feel that I learned a lot and I can't wait to get out and put it into practice. It is a very small world as I waited for my session I saw the teacher returning with a couple of people and thought I recognised the lady. It turned out that I did, she is a fellow gun-dog training pupil, who also has an Italian dog, a Lagotto romagnolo which is rather like a poodle and is designed as a duck hunting dog. She was having her first shooting lesson with her husband. It made it a bit less boring for Mike as she wanted to see Basso so I left them to chat dogs while I went off for my lesson. We were so lucky it was raining at home when we set out and it got dryer as we approached Canterbury, it stayed dry for my lesson and then started to pour again on the way home.

Today, I have Richard coming so i…

Wednesday lets hope it is dry

What a successful day I had yesterday the sun shone and I managed to get three machine loads dry outside on the line. I then got stuck in to some gardening, the wisteria which is on a rope catenary has now been pruned and looks so much better. I then went round and cut down all the clematis and repaired the frames that they use to climb once they get going. I then turned my attention to the pond and removed the net which is there to catch the leaves and stop them from rotting in the water. The fish seem to have survived the winter and the big freeze unharmed. We don't start feeding the fish until the water temperature has reached 10 degrees so not for some time yet. It was very tempting to start pruning back the roses but I know it is too early so I restrained myself. The snowdrops are out and the other bulbs are poking their noses through the soil so spring is definitely on the way. I have ordered some dessert gooseberry plants which I intend to grow in the bed where th…

From the sublime to the ridiculous

After being so late yesterday morning this morning it is 3 am and I am up and awake and raring to go. It's a good job I don't have a job to go to or I would be dead half the time.

Yesterday was dry and we even had the odd glimmer of sunshine so the dogs got a good long walk through the woods and got absolutely covered in mud. Once we got back I put Basso to sleep in his crate and by the time he woke up he was clean, but I think his crate will need a good hoover out today. He has some nice bedding in the crate but always pushes it up one end and uses it as a pillow and prefers to lie on the piece of lino that lines the bottom.

The weather is supposed to be good today but the forecast is for rain for my shooting lesson on Wednesday. Let's hope they have got it wrong I cant say I fancy shooting in the pouring rain. The wonderful Jane will be here at 9 am and she always starts by giving my hob a good clean well today it really needs it as I have been doing quite a lot of co…

very late Monday morning

For the first time in I can't remember how long I woke and it was light. I had woken at 4 am but then went back to sleep, unheard off, and then finally reawakened at 7.40.
Yesterday was a truly miserable day it rained non stop for the whole day. I spent most of the day in the kitchen where I made some spiced parsnip soup which is very nice and I have packed it away in the freezer. Lunch was the pheasant and guinea fowl roast which was nice enough and I have saved the two breasts from the guinea fowl to make pies with. For supper we had lentil soup which I had made with the stock from a boiled ham hock. The carcasses of the birds has made gallons of stock which will need degreasing this morning before that too gets put in the freezer. The bones will be picked over to make dog food.

Did anyone watch Julie Walters last night on BBC1, the story of Dr Ann Turner who had to go to Switzerland to end her own life? It was an incredibly moving story and the acting was superb. Having …

Sunday raining and blowing

Can you believe it it is 7am but then again I didn't get to sleep until 1am. Yesterday it was fine and the dogs had a good run and we then went off to the shops to restock. Basso managed to get into trouble firstly by getting tangled in some briers and then getting cover in burrs which took ages to pull out of his coat. Mike kept complaining that there were hundreds of people everywhere and I had to keep reminding him that it was Saturday so what did he expect. It was kind of stupid for us, who can chose any day, to go shopping on a Saturday. Anyway the freezer is refilled and the the fridge is full to bursting.

The American style burgers that I made for lunch were very tasty and the addition of home made steak sauce was also very nice. However the burger buns that I bought were totally disgusting and made it feel as if you were eating a burger wrapped in a wet flannel. The supper dish following the American theme was corn pudding and sausages. The pudding was OK and I thi…

Saturday Morning

Well so far it is dry, the dogs were pretty miserable yesterday as they didn't get to have a run owing to the rain. I did very little except to organise a CD of comic songs and eventually managed to burn it with a photograph of the intended recipients on to the disc. Not as easy as it sounds as I had to find a suitable photograph then covert it to black and white and crop it to a sensible size for the disc. I have lots of music on my computer but it is not in any very clear order, which makes it difficult to find certain track, especially when you can't remember the artist. I must spend some time sorting it all out into some sort of rational order.

The day of pampering went down the plughole as did the menu. I ended up doing Tarka Dall for lunch which we both enjoyed as it is rather like savoury porridge, very warm and comforting. For dinner I made a potato and broccoli curry which we had with some chicken frankfurters a bit of a strange mix but it was nice and tasty. …

Friday morning and the end of a damp week

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Well what as day it turned out to be yesterday, the photograph is of the naval memorial on the great lines over looking Chatham. This is were I decided to take the dogs for a walk yesterday it is very high up and boy was it windy and muddy but it made a change from the usual route. On the way back we stopped off at Staples where I bought some "light-scribe" Cd's. I now have a light-scribe burner so I thought I should give it a try. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, it is a way of burning a CD then you turn it over and burn a design on the other side of the disc which saves all the scribbling and also saves making labels etc. I booked myself up for an hours lesson shooting next Wednesday at a different club in Canterbury so we will have to see how that pans out. This is going to coast about £70 so quite expensive. On the way back from the walk we noticed that the red battery light was on in the car and to cut a long story short we are now without a car while …

Thursday windy and pouring with rain

I am up pretty late this morning it is gone 6 am so I have had a 2 hour lie in. The weather is absolutely filthy, it is blowing a gale and pouring with rain and apparently that is what we are to expect for most of the day.

Yesterday turnout to be quite a nice day so I did go shooting and picked up my trophy, then it was off to walk the dogs which took rather longer than I had anticipated as I bumped into some people who were very chatty and interested in Basso. There is an unwritten rule in the house that there is no lunch until the gun is cleaned. This makes absolutely sure that I clean the gun each time it is used. I am now getting quite slick at the dismantling, cleaning and putting the gun back together. Today I am going to look at booking up a shooting lesson which I think is needed before any bad habits I have acquired are too deeply entrenched. Unlearning is so much more difficult than learning.

I also managed to save myself £20 per month when I rang Virgin up and made so…

Wednesday and it's out with the bins

Well the house has had a good clean and sheets have been changed, laundry done and hopefully dry, so yes, you've guessed it IRONING. The weather is cold at 2 degrees but it is dry so I may go and shoot this morning. I have no one to go with and a partner is needed however the club has several young lads who refill the traps and one of them is usually sent to accompany a lone shooter. On the other hand I am hoping to have a proper shooting lesson which is quite expensive so I may hold back and save the money towards that.



Just when I though Basso had given up excavation work he has just come in covered in earth so I have had to wash his face and paws. Sounds easy, but one good shake and he has covered the white cupboard doors in the kitchen with mud and the floor is covered in muddy paw prints. Fortunately the floor is dark grey in colour so they don't show too badly. At least I caught him before he made it to the dining room carpet.



I made the lemon drizzle cake and managed to g…

Tuesday and no rain at the moment

Today we are starting dry for a change but I believe the weather forecast is for more rain throughout the week. Surprisingly I never got around to doing any dusting yesterday isn't it marvelous how easy it is to find other more pressing jobs to do. I managed to get the dogs walked in the dry but never the less they did come home soaked as they had been playing in the water.

The wonderful Jane is due today so the house will get a bit of a birthday. It sounds very luxurious and in some ways I suppose it is. However, there is a limit to what she can do in two hours so I am not exonerated totally from the household chores. She does do the hovering which is a chore that I absolutely hate however with a puppy in the house once a week is hardly sufficient. We try to keep him relegated to the kitchen and dining room but he does slip past our guard from time to time and makes straight for my bedroom and my socks which need to be well sucked before I can get them back, by which time …

Monday morning and throwing it down

It is coming down in stair rods outside and has been doing so for several hours. But at least it isn't snow so I suppose I should be grateful.

Glad to hear that you are making progress as a single handed person Anne, we certainly take having two hands for granted and it is quite a challenge to only use one. Many years ago I severed the digital nerve in my thumb at work and had my hand in plaster for quite a while so I know what you are going through. Yes, Denzil is my son who is at present living and working in Thailand, he too broke his collar bone falling of his motor bike some time ago so I guess he will empathise with your predicament. I have a rough idea who is reading this blog as the counter gives details of where the readers are or at least where the ISP is so I can check up on how many and from which countries the readers come. It is quite fascinating to see the diverse locations that show up and the regular readers. I assume it is designed for people with a web site who n…

Sunday morning after a stormy night

Firstly, Anne let me brighten your day, when I was working in casualty we had a young man attend who had broken his collar bone in France while grape picking. We didn't know this at first as he arrived in a full plaster jacket which encased his whole upper body leaving his left arm from the elbow free and his right hand was across his chest and just the hand poking out of the front. He was absolutely delighted when all the plaster was removed and we put him in a collar and cuff sling. We all had a jolly good laugh and decided that he must have been charged per roll of plaster!!!!

Helen, as yet we have no plans to the caravan but I'm sure as soon as the weather improves we will be off for a few days. Wet weather = wet dogs and therefore hard work. The dish is made of silicon and some other fancy plastic and I bought it from their catalogue. It is very definitely a two person size but as I said ideal for camping. We do have a store at Blue-water but it is very expensive if I ever…

Saturday warm and wet

Anne, first of all let me say how sorry I am about your shoulder. Do you know which bone is broken? The general rule for bone healing is 6 weeks but that is just a rule of thumb. It is going to seem a long tedious business so I wish you every bit of good luck. And remember, there are no prizes for heroes so take the pain killers. As you say it is fortunate it is the left side as I expect you are right handed but it will still make lots of things really difficult. This might be a golden opportunity to catch up and revise the Latin and Greek not to mention all the novels and films you need to see!!!!

Today, feels like Monday to me as we had James here for 2 days which made it feel like the weekend. Our trip to Ikea was verging on pleasant as I managed to ask how to avoid the shop and get to the pick up furniture point. Once I had paid they brought it to me and we managed to get the box into the car with relative ease. James assemble the table with no problems and the old table, …

Friday morning is here again

Another week has flown by and here we are at Friday again. Although the temperature was in the positive range at 4 degrees it felt so cold yesterday. I think it is the dampness that makes it feel cold. When it was freezing there was at least some sunshine which made it more cheerful.
The dogs got their walk but it took every ounce of will power I had to drag myself out of the front door. I really wasn't in the mood. James arrived in the early evening and we had a nice family supper. I had some stale bread which I had made into a Queen of puddings which we all like and it is a useful way of using up left overs.

My Riverford box contained some nice parsnips and also a recipe for mashed parsnips with ground almonds which sounds rather nice and I think I might do the recipe to go with our roast chicken tonight. There was also a nice bunch of beetroots which I will cook and then decide what to do with. For lunch I have taken some sausages out of the freezer and we will have them…

Thursday and the week is nearly over

We set off for shooting yesterday at about 11 and it was still very foggy. When we arrived, it was to discover that the vandals had been to the site and destroyed everything they could lay their hands on. They had set fire to the little shed that serves as an office and completely destroyed it and its contents including my trophy so that was a bit of a disappointment. All the benches and gun rests were smashed up but fortunately the owner takes all the expensive items home each evening so the traps were undamaged and we did manage to have a good round and as there were few people it was nice and easy with no waiting.

The corned beef hash went down well as we were all feeling pretty hungry by the time we got back. Poor Jeff had had a puncture on his way to us and ended up changing the wheel as the valve was completely sheered off. To cut a very long story short in the end the whole experience cost him over £300 by the time he had replaced the tyre and had the wheels balance etc. T…

Wenesday morning and Bin Day

Wednesday and the week is flashing by. As soon as it is light I need to have a poo patrol of the garden then get the bins out. I then need to get on with making a corn beef hash for lunch so that when we come back from shooting there is not much to do before we can eat. I will also have to get the lamb chump chops out of the freezer so that they have time to marinade for supper tomorrow night when James is due to visit.

Yesterday, I was very tired as I had had several days of waking very early, you probably think 4 is early but that seems to be the norm for me. I had not managed an afternoon siesta for several days so I was absolutely on my knees. I had an appointment to see the osteopath at 3.30 as I have had a lot of trouble with a neck injury. However, £32 later I am not any better and basically I will just have to wait while the muscle heals. I keep forgetting how OLD I am and that things, especially injuries, take that much longer to heal.

The weather has warmed up so sign…

Tuesday, wet and warm

Enjoy your away-days in Belgium, Anne at least it want be too cold for the next few days. We abandoned our walk yesterday as the weather was so miserable and wet but we did go to a pub for lunch. It was very basic, the food was reasonably cooked but the service was appalling. The bottle of wine that was ordered was served unopened! we did not have any cutlery and when we asked for some were informed cutlery was at the front of the pub by the door and were left to fetch it ourselves. When the sweet was served spoons were provided but were dumped on the table in a heap. Needless to say we left no tip and will not be going back to that pub again....

Today, we have the wonderful Jane so the house will get a bit of a birthday. It is not too bad as I did have to make it look a bit respectable for yesterdays visitors. Hopefully the rain will pass us by and I can get the dogs out for a run. I certainly need a bit of exercise to work off the curry I had for supper last night. Basso is …

Monday morning

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Warm this morning +7.2 and it is only 3.30 am but I believe we are in for some wet weather today which could spoil the planned walk. the photo is of the dawn yesterday which was spectacular....

Yesterday was a super day I prepared all of the lunch before the others were out of bed so all we had to do was eat our breakfast and then head off for the shooting ground. Basso always accompanies us as I think the shooting noise is all good training for him. He stays in the car but seems totally unabashed by the guns and generally sleeps peacefully. On Sunday it is a competition day so the clays are set differently and are much harder than usual. On one stand they were what is called mini clays which are about 2 inches across and so small I couldn't even see them let alone shoot them. Anyway to cut a long story short both Shiona and I had a pretty dismal score but we handed or cards in anyway and headed home for lunch. While I filled the microwave and heated the griddle pan Shiona dismant…

Sunday morning but only just

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I fell asleep at 10 pm last evening so I am up at 3.30 what time do you call that!!!! Even the dogs have gone back to sleep. We did go out for a nice long walk in the afternoon despite the sub zero temperatures. It was like a winter wonderland with the hardest frost of the winter the garden was white for most of the day. The blue pole in the centre of the photo is the whirly washing line and the yellow square is a target for the air rifle.

For lunch I had made some gnocchi made with semolina which are as light as a feather and served them in the last of the wonderful turkey broth with loads of Parmesan. We then had my favourite salad of Belgian endive with pear and blue cheese, dressed in a mayonnaise and Dijon mustard dressing let down with copious lemon juice. For dinner we had the salmon roast in the oven and served with creamed spinach and followed by cheese and biscuits. Today we are due to have the lamb chump chops which have been marinading since yesterday in lemon zest rosema…

Shattered Saturday

Last nights party went well but I didn't get to sleep until midnight so 4 am came as a shock. It was a nice gathering of all the immediate neighbours most of us have been living along side each other for some 30 years or more our children grew up with one another and though none of us are good friends we all get on very well. It is so important to get on with your neighbours and the fact that we are not bosom buddies means there have been very few fallings out. It seem like a very good time to have a party when everyone is generally fed up following the Christmas extravaganza, and is a good vehicle to get rid of some of the left over bits and pieces of food like mince pies that have been in the freezer.



I made the crostini and put some smoked salmon and a sour cream spread on them and decorated with bits of lemon. The sour cream spread was actually made with 0% fat yogurt which I had strained to remove the water then added a little olive oil some chopped spring onions and grated le…

Morning All

Well as you can see I am up at my usual time this morning but I must admit that I feel shattered. I spent so many hours getting the TV set up on the computer yesterday that not much else happened. However, I have managed to get it set up just how Mike wanted it after a lot of trial and error. This has meant that the big clunky TV that inhabited the dining room is now banished to the front room. The picture we get on the computer screen is wonderful and the sound comes through the 5 speaker system.

I have arranged for my sister in law to come down at the end of the month and collect the old one which I also tested yesterday to make sure it was working well. It amazed me how slow it was by comparison with the new machine. In the end it was cheaper to have the TV card put in the computer than to buy a new TV so in a way it is an economy!!! I believe this is called rationalisation something I am very good at....

Tonight we are off out to a party so I will not be making a meal this ev…

Thursday and marginally warmer

Well what a day yesterday turned out to be! First I took the dogs for a nice long run so that at least the were happy to sleep for most of the day. A trip to the butcher restocked our meat supplies and we are trying to wait for the Riverford delivery today to restock the vegetable supplies.



My computer guru phoned to say that he had finally got all the bits for the computer and came round to fit the bits. Wow, am I impressed I now have a digital TV card which means that I can watch TV on the computer and can get rid of the old bulky TV from the dining room. The new keyboard and rechargeable mouse are very nice but I will have to remember to put the mouse on its base station every night or I will be mouse less. This new TV allows me to record programs straight to the hard drive to watch at a later time it also allows me to record minus the adverts!!!

There is also an FM radio so it is really a media centre now. I can now get rid of the old machine to my sister in law so I need to organis…

Wednesday and the big freeze continues

According to the computer it is -8 in Gillingham but I don't know where it is getting its information from as my thermometer, admittedly against the house, is reading -0.8 which is considerably warmer. Yesterday was a better day I felt much more human in myself and got stuck into the cleaning as Jane was having a week off. It gets pretty dusty in the dining room but I guess that is to be expected with us two and three dogs. We tend to live between that and the kitchen so the sitting room stays relatively OK. Once that was done I took the dogs out for a nice walk in the snow with my friend and the 2 labs that she is walking. We had a lovely moan about our respective husbands and the dogs played chase and wore themselves out which is just what we wanted. Basso put himself to bed and slept soundly until supper time.

The kedgeree, that I was making for lunch, was a bit of a disaster as I managed to burn the rice but fortunately before I had added the fish, so the dogs had it for…

12th Night

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Basso and his half brothers have fun in the snow. As you can see great fun was had by all my boys yesterday in the white stuff even though it was only a sprinkling. When he first stepped out he decided it must be ice cream and tried to eat it all but it was too much even for him. I had a pretty dull day just nursing my cold and shambling around the house. The ironing got done so at least that was one job out of the way. Mike went and did the essential shopping and I made a big pot of lentils which we had with polenta and cotecino sausage. Real Italian nursery food, just what the doctor ordered. He also bought some un-dyed smoked haddock so today we are going to have Kedgeree as a main meal, simple to cook and easy to eat. The weather is in the minus numbers here but no more white stuff. I have noticed that as we are very near the coast our temperatures are always a couple of degrees warmer in the winter and a couple of degrees cooler in the summer, which I guess is down to the…

White Monday

The snow has fallen over night and the world is white! Basso is outside completely confused, the garden that he knew has gone and been replaced by a snow scene from a Christmas card.

What a cruel twist, the kids are going back to school and most folks are going back to work after the New year holiday, not the best of times for it to snow. At present it is just a sprinkling it looks like some great chef has had a go with the icing sugar. There is just enough to make it pretty without us having to dig our way out.

Yesterday, we had a good long walk and the dogs were very happy to collapse by the radiator for the rest of the day. I managed to get 4 machine loads of washing done and most of it is dry and waiting for the iron. Lunch was an interesting concoction made with left over bubble and squeak which I put in a dish and then added some cold chipolatas then covered the lot with a cheese sauce made with all the left over bits and bobs of cheese and the last of the cream. The whole t…

Sunday and still freezing

Yesterday was a bit of a wash out. I felt pretty miserable with the dripping nose so I decided to give myself a day off and did next to nothing except shove "first defence" up my nose. Well, not wishing to count my chickens, but the dripping seems to have stopped and a feel marginally brighter today. The one certain thing about housework is that it will wait for you, so if you don't do it today you can always do it tomorrow.

The dogs are a bit stir crazy so I will wrap myself up warm and go for a long walk with them which can only do all of us some good. Besides I think I could do with blowing out a few cob webs myself. Some time ago I purchased a couple of pairs of silk "long johns", which are the best thing since sliced bread and keep you toasty warm while out in the cold. I cannot wear wool as it makes me itch like mad so I wear layers of cotton and fleece and a pair of bright shocking pink fleece gloves which I bought for the princely sum of £1.50 in …

Saturday and in the minus numbers

It is pretty cold here this morning we are below zero, I don't know if there is a frost as it is still pitch dark and I can't really see.

Basso has gone off into the garden on his morning border patrol, I just hope that he doesn't feel the need to do any gardening while he is out there. Today, I think I am going to take down the Christmas cards and make my list of who sent cards. I will then use this list as a basis for next year and who I am going to send cards to.

I also have a nice big pile of washing which can be done now that my guests have departed and at the moment I have no plans for further visitors. The fridge is still stuffed with left overs which I guess we will be eating for some time. I feel the need of some bubble and squeak today that is always nice and comforting on a cold winters day.

Last night I had a long chat on the phone with a friend who is nursing her husband through prostate cancer and I think she was feeling pretty low. What she really needs …

Tuesday and the temperature is rising

Today my guests are leaving but not until I have given them a full English breakfast by way of a brunch which should set them up for the journey so that they can just motor straight through to Bristol and not need to stop off for lunch.
Yesterday, we had a lovely day once the loin of pork was in the oven we set off for a nice brisk walk down by the river and fortunately it was not a windy day. The dogs had a really good run and played in the water pool which had a sheet of ice covering it. Basso was a little reticent to try walking through the water but eventually plucked up the courage and then discovered that the ice broke under his considerable weight and and he could gallop through as usual but with the added fun of the shattering ice. Mike drove the car from the drop off point to where we were going to be picked up which meant that we didn't have to double back which I must admit is lovely.

The roast loin of pork with all the trimmings was delicious and the following apple …

2009 Happy New Year

Good morning all and welcome to the New Year - Let's hope it is a good one for all of us.

The old year went out well for me, the shooting expedition was good fun if very cold and very crowded. The shooting ground was absolutely packed which meant it took us some time to go round and in the end we decided that it was time for lunch and we abandoned the last couple of stands as there were at least 12 people ahead of us. I was delighted with my score as I shot the same as Jeff. We were all starving when we got home so the massive quantity of macaroni cheese was very well received and there was not a single scrap left. Our friends both had a go with my gun and managed to hit a few clays do they were not to disappointed.

By about 3.30 Jeff made his way back home and we all retired to various soft surfaces for 40 winks and didn't reemerge until after 5pm. We had a late supper of fish pie and peas followed by fruit salad and cream and by 10.30 we were all very sleepy and decided t…