Showing posts from February, 2009

Saturday morning and it is light already

I'm bit later this morning as it is already 6.45, the sky is grey but it is light. Yesterday, we had a beautiful sunny day and I spent quite some time in the garden. I began the pruning of the roses and gathered loads of leaves that had fallen over the winter. All the sheets dried beautifully out on the line which is such a nice feeling , they smell so much better when they have had a blow in the fresh air. This mornings ironing will be a pleasure!!!!

I made something interesting with the left over bees wax - furniture polish - its not difficult all you do is melt the wax and mix it 50/50 with turpentine and then let it set. It certainly leaves a beautiful shine on the furniture, so I guess the next rainy day will be a polishing day.

Good luck with your Greek weekend Anne, you seem to really enjoy it so you should have a good time and if the weather is pleasant that should be a bonus.

At about 5 pm we went and called on our friends who were moving. I think they were rather ple…

Friday and the end of another week/month

Well February is almost gone and spring is on the way. Yesterday, I finally managed to get out into the garden and got the gooseberry bushes planted. Not as easy a task as it sounds as I first had to dig up and remove the jerusalem artichokes. The biggest and best of them have been put in a sack and I have managed to palm them off on various people including the window cleaner who had a bag. I made one lot of soup which we had for lunch and then spent yesterday evening levitating but I think is was worth it.

The diet is going well but I must admit I feel pretty hungry. Actually, that is not strictly accurate I feel unsatisfied. I find it distressing when I know that the food would be very palatable with the addition of a little cream, butter or olive oil. Anyway enough moaning today we are having porridge for breakfast and then prawn and avocado wraps for lunch and for dinner a bowl of oriental sea food broth with noodles.

I am hoping to have another few hours in the garden this…

Thursday and sun is forecast

The days have been so dull lately it has been quite depressing so lets hope the forecast is right and we get to see the sun today. I had a nice busy day yesterday as I decided to give the kitchen a good clean, including the windows and the the tiles. But just to make my life complete I discovered that the seal had gone on my oven so I am in the process of arranging to have that fixed. It is not a tragedy as it is a double oven and I can still use the lower one which is seems to be OK.

The dogs got another good run in the woods with their friends which is not only good for them but also for me. We then hit the shops as I needed to buy a card for my friend who is moving house on Friday. They are in their 70's so it will be quite a trauma for them and as they are downsizing I think it will be quite difficult. We thought we would take them a bottle of fizzy and a card that evening as they will be much closer to us in the new bungalow. I also decided to replace my non stick fryi…

Half-way and bin day

Good morning all, I have a shower again, which is wonderful. I have missed it so much I can hardly believe it. I have often thought of moving my washing machine out to the garage and making a second shower room in the utility room which has a loo and hand basin already and this would give me a second string to my bow so I will have to look at costing the work and see if it is possible.

Sadly my shooting partner Jeff is suffering from a dreadful cold, so you are not alone Anne. Now I have to decide if I want to go shooting on my own or give it a miss. I am also in desperate need of a hair cut so an appointment needs to be booked [I hate going to the hairdresser so I put it off until the last minute].

Did you make pancakes yesterday? I did, but have wrapped them around boiled leeks wrapped in ham and covered with a cheese topping and they are destined for the freezer as they don't fit in with the diet. I must own up to sharing the first and last pancakes with Mike. I have nev…

Tuesday morning and the shower is being mended

Well not at this moment but come 8 am the plumber is coming to fix the shower. Isn't it so true that you don't really appreciate a thing until you lose it.

Well the diet went well for the first day and I rejoined WLR on a three day trial membership just to check out the calorie value of what I was eating only to discover that I was some 400 calories short which was a great boost so I added some potato wedges to supper and a portion of blueberries to nibble in bed while I watched TV. It is the evenings that I find most difficult and that is the time when I am likely to snack. I make a point of not buying biscuits or crisps as that is the time when I would lose control and eat them. I guzzled 2 litres of water during the day and spent quite a time in the bathroom getting rid of it. However, the scales are reading 4lbs lighter this morning so I am delighted. I realise that most of it is water but who cares I feel good about it.

Basso got his promised long walk in the woods …

Another rosette

My beautiful boy got another second yesterday despite rather poor handling by me. The judge made us run round twice for the practice and then took me aside and said that I must persevere with him as he is a particularly good dog and well worth showing. By the time we got home at lunch time we were all exhausted Basso collapsed on the carpet in a deep sleep and was very happy to put himself to bed after his supper. He behaved very well with the other dogs and was no trouble at all but by the time we got into the ring he was bored and fed up and not so keen to do what he was told. Anyway I'm glad that I will not have to do this again and that Jeff will be showing him from now on.

In the afternoon I managed to extract 2 jars of honey from one of the redundant frames and discovered why the wax is extracted in the garden it is an absolute sod to remove from utensils as it doesn't melt in hot water, even the dish washer isn't hot enough to remove it. Anyway it tastes delicious …

Sunday and show time

Yesterday I managed to get some of the gardening done and it does look much better for a bit of a tidy up. I also took the opportunity to check up on my bee hive supplies and found I had several frames that were ready for the bin but before throwing them away I decided to melt off the bees wax. This melts at 145 degrees so a very low oven would do it as I was not prepared to set to and make a solar melting device with panes of glass and boxes etc. I found that the frames fitted my oven perfectly so I mounted them in it with a tray underneath to catch the wax. Once the wax had melted I poured it off into a plastic bowl and put it the fridge to set. To my huge surprise when I removed the lump of hard wax underneath it was a pool of golden honey. There was only about 5 tablespoons but Mike and I set to and ate it with gusto. There is nothing so delicious as food you have produced yourself. The lump of wax is now awaiting some other action I could make it into candles or into furn…

The gingerbread house

I think I will abandon any ideas of being an architect. This is the house that we cooked and built yesterday. The recipe was in a children's cookery book but it was anything but child's play. The dough was extremely soft and difficult to handle. However, once cooked and refashioned we managed to stick it all together with royal icing which sets like cement. The kids thoroughly enjoyed decorating the house with all the sweets and fortunately it was robust enough to allow this. While we faffed around with the house their Mum made us a lovely lunch of Alpine macaroni with fried onions and apple sauce [Valentine Warner] which was devoured with gusto. Basso enjoyed his birthday as he was given the gingerbread trimmings for his lunch and in the evening after his training walk he had a pedicure. Louise popped round to trim his feet so he now looks more like a dog and less like a shire horse. He is not keen to have anything done to his feet but with a little gently persuasion…

Happy Birthday Basso

Well he is a year old today can you believe the time has passed so swiftly. Mike has had a terrible night coughing and has kept me awake for a good part of it so I am all behind this morning. I am off to my friends to make and build a gingerbread house this morning. Apparently the child has bought herself a cookery book and is in need of a little moral support with this project. Not that I am any expert as I have never made one before but I suppose my extra years will give me a bit of an advantage.

The new head collar that I have bought for Basso is proving to be an absolute miracle and I can now hold his lead with one finger which has made walking him an absolute pleasure. Last night I managed all three dogs on leads with no strain which is a vast improvement and so much less work for me.

There is no news of the shower parts yet so we are still waiting and hoping but I guess it will be sometime next week before we get it fixed.

Shiona rang to tell me all about her holiday in South…

Thursday and the week is nearly over

Good morning all, I'm up late this morning but then again I didn't get to bed till the wee small hours so it is to be expected.

Yesterdays lunch was an interesting affair as there were so many people at the Chinese restaurant that they were queuing outside in the street waiting to get in. We were fortunate in getting a table straight away as we were quite early. There was a Chinese dragon dance and accompanying drums and cymbals which made a lovely atmosphere. We had abandoned the thought of going to the cinema afterwards when we saw the queues waiting out side and just filled our faces and left. We managed to eat so much that neither of us was interested in supper so all in all a very economical day out.

We had had a bit of a disaster in the morning - the shower had packed up and would only run cold - so it was a case of getting a plumber. The guy that we use was very prompt and arrive in the afternoon only to diagnose that the thermostat had gone and we would need a new …

Wednesday and bin day

Another quiet and warm day at 7 degrees, no wind, no rain but still dark so I can't see if it is overcast but I expect it will be pretty cloudy as it was yesterday. Well that is the weather forecast - now on to yesterdays fiasco with the chickens. As I explained I clipped their wings and release them into the big pen but in my haste I had not shut the gate properly which meant that the three dogs came pounding up the garden to investigate. At the first sight of the dogs the hens went mad and panicked screaming and squawking and flapping in all directions one managed to scale the fence and promptly fell into the neighbours garden. If only they knew they were quite safe and that the pen is dog proof. Anyway, fortunately, we have a gate through to next door so I was able to retrieve the hen with little trouble and reunite her with her sisters. We had the gate put in as our neighbours were forever locking themselves out and having to scale our fence to get in via the back of the…


Good morning all, it is quite warm this morning at 7.8 degrees. I managed to get a few bits done in the garden yesterday but it only served to show me how much there is still to do. It could be quite disheartening but I know it is one of those things that need chipping away at. I will try to do an hour per day if the weather is OK. It was so warm yesterday that the bees were flying and I don't think anything is in flower yet so it is probably just as well that I fed them. At some point I need to swap them over into a new brood box but I think I will wait for warmer times. They maintain a core temperature in the hive and the shock of the cold will do them no good at all but once we are into the warmer weather and the majority are out collecting food I can swap the frames over with the minimum of disruption.

I had a chat with the people who are showing Basso and they would like me to teach him to walk with his head up rather than with his nose on the floor. This will be easie…

Another Monday morning

At least it isn't freezing this morning, so a day in the garden may be a possibility. I had a good purge in the kitchen yesterday and got to grips with the cooker hood which does get absolutely filthy. I even took out the light bulbs and clean them, fortunately the filters are machine washable so they get put through the dishwasher at regular intervals. The fridge also got a birthday so I am pleased with that.

When I went upstairs for my shower Mike decided to run the taps and flush the toilets so first I got boiled then frozen in the end I abandoned the idea and ran the bath instead. While I lay there luxuriating Basso came to investigate what I was doing and an idea struck me. Once I was out of the water Mike and I man handled Basso into the bath. He was not keen to get in but once there he was as good as gold and was given a good shampoo and rinse. He managed to get out with ease but the bathroom got a little wet!!! His coat dries rather quickly so after some vigorous toweling a…


I have no idea why the blog was delayed Anne I though the lack of replies was due to the fact that you were having to struggle through the huge bunches of roses to get to the computer!!!!

Sadly this was not my problem - I organised my own take away meal or the day would have passed unmarked.

Anyway, first to the hens who have settled so well that all four of then laid eggs so it looks like we are back in production. At present they are restricted to the small run and next week I will release them into the larger run but not until they have had their wings clipped. The remaining brassicas that the pigeons have not destroyed are making a good supplement for the hens and clearing the vegetable beds at the same time.

I took the opportunity of the good weather to have a look at the bees who are doing OK and have devoured the fondant icing that I gave them so that has been replaced and I hope it will see them through until there are some flowers for them to feed on.

Basso is now in training …

Happy Valentine's Day

For the first time in ages I am up after dawn. There is a nice frost this morning but the temperature is above zero and the sky looks quite clear.

Basso didn't get home from school until 10.30 last night so he was pretty worn out and I believe that he was quite a handful for Jeff. I was left with several show entry forms to fill in so now he has been entered for 4 shows in all. We will have to see how he gets on.

Lunch yesterday was a great success and we have found the Hall where the dog show is being held. The restaurant served a very passable meal and we were all pleased with our selection. Our friends have successfully sold their house and bought a bungalow a bit closer to us so we drove back via their new place to have a look. They are down sizing from a large house with extensive gardens to this nice bungalow with very little garden which will be easier for them to run and also less expensive. It is conveniently situated on bus routes and close to a general store so they will …

Friday and today it is snow

This week we have had just about every type of weather possible and so to complete the set today we have a light dusting of snow.

The new hens have settled in very nicely. I gave them the outer leaves from a rather sad looking cabbage and the crusts of a loaf that was beginning to get mildew all of which they have demolished with not trouble. The only problem is that their water freezes over night and that can be fun to replace, especially when the taps are frozen also. You would all have laughed if you saw me yesterday morning as I had on a super outfit, white toweling dressing gown, green wellingtons and shocking pink gloves and hat, very fetching!!!

The dogs got their good run and I must admit that I really had to steel myself to do the walk as I was definitely not in the mood and my neck was killing me. Anyway once it was done my conscience was more comfortable. The dogs were tired and happy and prepared to sleep for the rest of the day.

The wonderful Jane had cleaned through while I…

Thursday and the week is whistling by

I feel a bit shattered this morning the week seems to be whistling by and it is almost over already. Yesterday, was a busy day and I was away early to collect the chickens, which are now happily ensconced in their new accommodation. They must be very close to laying as there was a soft shelled egg in the bottom of the box when I released them. I will now have to re-establish the twice daily routine to letting them in and out as the sun rises and falls. I made a batch of carrot and walnut muffins to eat with some coffee before we set off on our shooting expedition which was not at all bad I shot first this time which made me use my own judgement rather than following instructions. We got back pretty late so the lunch of gravlax and mustard and dill sauce with crusty bread and a salad of endive and pears was most welcome and the muffins made a good sweet.

My youngest James phoned yesterday to tell me that he had a dose of shingles!!! this is the second time in his life as he had it …

Wednesday and bin day

Well at least it is a bit quieter today no rain and no wind and just above zero. I need to get my act together this morning as I am going off to collect the hens and I need to be in Faversham by 9am. Then its a quick rush back via the food emporium where I am going to pick up some bits and pieces for lunch and home by 11am and ready to go shooting with Jeff.

Yesterday, I put the hen house all back together and filled the nest box with shredded newspaper bedding and wood shavings to keep their feet dry and make cleaning out easy. The food and water containers are full so all that is needed now is the hens. The ground around the run is like a quagmire so I will keep them on the hard standing for a while until it has dried out a bit. Once they are established I will take some photos and post them for you all to see. It will be so nice to have my own eggs again I can hardly wait.

I was feeling lazy last night and Mike went to the fish and chip shop where he purchased two cod and chips, well…

Tuesday and now we have wind

Yesterday it poured with rain all day and I got fairly well soaked taking the dogs out. They came home filthy but happy. Today, the wind is blowing a gale and it is still raining. I hope we manage some dry hours as I have to go an reassemble the hen house which has been open to the elements for a couple of months. This was a deliberate ploy to clean the inside. However the roosting bars were washed and put into the glasshouse so they are nice and dry. Then tomorrow at the crack of dawn I am off to pick up 4 new hens. The farm that I am going to get them from has 6 different varieties of hens to choose from and they are at the 19 week stage so should start laying in about a month or so.

There is no wonderful Jane today as she is now coming on Thursdays so I think I will have to give the house a bit of a blitz as it looks terrible. With all this wet weather the dogs have left dirty paw prints everywhere and it is a bit like painting the forth bridge as no sooner do you clean one…

Fortune favours the brave!

I set off before dawn yesterday on my pigeon shooting quest. When I arrived at the farmers rape field there was still about half an hour to go before sun rise so I gathered my gun and a pocketful of cartridges and was about to set off when another car drew up. A young man in combat gear alighted so I approached him to enquire if he too was intending to shoot. "Yes mate" came his cheery answer, so I asked if I could tag along as I had no idea what I was doing. "Course you can mate" so off I went and watched as he built a hide and laid out decoys. He apologized that all he had was a bucket for me to sit on in the hide. Well, to cut a long story short we sat a froze for 2 hours. The single pigeon that ventured our way he shot but it was a very useful time for me as I picked his brains for information. He was then going on to another farmers field where he had been asked to come and shoot the pigeons but I abandoned the idea and took the dogs for a walk instead…

Sunday morning and above zero

The weather forecast threaten minus numbers for us this morning but it is not so cold. Yesterdays shooting when reasonably well even though we had to trudge through the snow to get from stand to stand. Surprisingly there were lots of people at the club, these shooting types are pretty hardy and the cold weather didn't seem to deter them. This morning I am going to have a go at shooting some pigeons on a local farmers land. I have never done this before and I must admit it would be more fun with someone else but I am going to have a go on my own and see how I get on. I would like to take the dogs with me but I think that would be too much for me to handle the 3 dogs and the gun. I think I might take them in the car then if the shooting proves fruitless I can dump the gun and walk the dogs instead.

Anyway, I need to be there by dawn if I am to stand any chance at all so I will have to cut this short and get myself organised. The sun rises at 7.45 this morning so I would like t…

Saturday Morning

Good morning all, well done to you Anne I haven't had the courage to cut back on the food yet and am waiting for the warmer weather. I don't drink wine so that is not something I can cut out so its a case of reducing the quantity and quality of what I am eating. Not to mention pumping up the amount of exercise.

I booked my tickets for Crufts yesterday and will go with my sister in law Jackie, Mike will stay behind with the dogs and his brother. It should be an easier journey from Peterborough than from the Medway towns so lets hope all goes well. I have started taking Basso out for lead walking which is better for building muscle than allowing him to run free. The doggy adage is "walk condition on and run condition off" I once worked with a girl who showed Hungarian vizsla dogs and she would walk them for 6 miles a day around the roads on a lead. I don't think I will be going that crazy.....

Today I am destined to go shooting all being well with the weather…

Friday the end of a pretty exciting week

It's 2.6 above zero this morning and raining so all the lovely snow has just about disappeared and everything is just soggy. I cancelled my visitors as they were completely snow bound and the A1 was closed due to a jackknifed lorry. Fortunately, I had not got anything out of the freezer so it can all stay there until better times. The house is in pristine order and the washing has dried on the airer in the dining room so I can occupy myself with some ironing.

Yesterday, I made a dish out of the "home farmer" magazine which is called Norfolk pudding and is essentially a Yorkshire pudding batter poured over some sliced apples which have been cooked in a little butter and sugar. It is suggested that it is served with ice cream which I think would be very nice.

I have also started to knit a beanie hat in the most terrible shocking pink wool which I bought for the princely sum of £1 in Wilkinsons. I have not knitted anything since my scarf making extravaganza two years ago, …

Thursday and there is still snow

Last night's weather forecast threatened us with rain to wash away the snow but we are still well coated. Anne, it was a good job you reminded me about the bins I had completely forgotten and what's more I didn't even remember it was Wednesday. Short term memory loss I think!!! It is one of the draw backs of being retired the days of the week have very little significance but I do know who the Prime Minister is!!!

I had a very lazy day yesterday and apart from doing a bit of cleaning and preparing the meals I did little else. Today however, will be a different matter, the wonderful Jane is coming so I will need to have a good tidy up so that she can see the surfaces to clean. The weather seems to be a bit more settled so I am going to make preparations for the visitors on Friday and hope that we have no further disruption. I will also need to phone the shooting ground to see if they are going to be open for business on Saturday as David will really enjoy a shoot and I…

Still sub Zero

Good morning all, life in the the freezer continues. Yesterday' was a lovely sunny day but the temperature didn't rise enough to melt all the snow. We decided to take the dogs up to the ruby field which was a good test for the car. Fortunately, it defrosts itself very quickly once the engine is on and it has heated rear and front screens as well as wing mirrors. We decided to put it into snow mode to cope with the sheet ice that was the road. This is not a feature we have had much call to use. Interestingly, it take over the acceleration and braking so that you cannot overdo either and we pulled away with not a care in the world. You could feel the back end trying to slide but the car was having none of it and given that it weighs 3 tons it is inclined to sit very firmly on the road. Once we got to the rugby field we found that it was covered in tyre tracks so we were not the only mad 4x4 drivers who were out having fun. The dogs had a wonderful time in the snow and there were…

Like a Christams card

Good morning all, it is zero degrees here and the photo shows the garden at about 4pm when it finally stopped snowing. As you can see in the end we had about 4 inches which is nothing to write home about. I think even central London was worse off than we were.

Basso absolutely loves the snow and we have to make sure the kitchen door is closed or he would spend the whole day in the garden. Once we had got our act together yesterday we decided to take the dogs for a nice run in the snow but first we had to get the car mobile. The is when a 4x4 comes into it's own there was little movement in the road as it was pretty well snowed up but the main roads were just slushy. I popped into an elderly neighbour to make sure there was nothing she needed from the shops while we were out and was rewarded with a lovely jar of marmalade that she had just made. Once we got down to the estuary it was pretty wild but I set off with the dogs who thought it was huge fun as there were a few kids playin…

Monday and about an inch of snow

Well so far my prophylaxis has worked, the snow shovel has warded off too heavy a fall. The inch or so that has fallen so far is just enough for a Basso to have a bit of fun and not enough to disrupt my life. However, according to the weather forecast we are not out of the woods yet.
The temperature is below zero so what we have is going to stay for a while and at the moment it is not snowing.

Yesterday, was a pretty slow day I made us a nice prawn, avocado and Belgian endive salad for lunch to go with our hot lentil soup and by way of experiment I did a raw artichoke and coriander salad. Let me assure you that raw or cooked the wind effects are about equal I was hoping that they might be a little less potent in their raw state but no such luck. For dinner we had the duck legs with potato wedges and creamed Swiss chard. Today I have got out of the freezer some mince and some chipolata sausages and a tub of romesco sauce so I think it will be American style burgers with the sauce…

Sunday morning and into February

Pinch punch first of the month and no returns, Oh dear, will I ever grow up??? It is pretty chilly this morning and the thermometer is reading below zero. Basso is now 11 months old and as you can see he is growing into a magnificent dog. I had to take a series of photos yesterday to show his breeder how he is developing. One of his sisters has been placed 2nd in her first championship show and his dad continues to win show after show.

As it is the first of the month I have a list of things to do, firstly the meters get read and the numbers sent down the wires to the supplier. I also keep a record of what we have used in terms of both gas and electricity so that over the year I can work out what the cost per unit is. To try and work it out with the bills is just too difficult but if I divide the amount paid by the number of units I get a rough idea. I can also see what we are using and which months are the worst. I think the winter quarter this year is going to be pretty heavy as it ha…