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Showing posts from October, 2009

Saturday and up extra early this morning

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The garden is looking very autumnal and you would never know that we had hoovered up the leaves it is completely covered again. According to the weather forecast we are in for some pretty shocking weather over the next couple of days so I guess even more leaves will be falling.

The house got it's blitz yesterday and is looking almost pleasant. There are still a few bits that need a bit of a clean. I have a glazed door from the dining room into the hall and it is well and truly slobbered, thank you Basso!!!! It is a pig to clean as it is divide into small panes and a couple of bulls eyes so needless to say it doesn't get done very often.

I was so tired that I fell asleep at 8pm last night so no wonder I am up so early - still I have a mountain of ironing to do so I can get on with that. Later we are off shopping to the wonderful store in Faversham where I know I can get some very superior cheeses and all the ingredients I need for recipes. On the subject of food I did the "…

Friday and getting ready for the weekend

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Today is destined to be the last of the calm weather. I believe it starts to get nasty and wet from now on. Good job I got the veg garden is all planted up so now I can just leave it alone to get on with it. The wonderful Jane is coming today - unfortunately she has to bring her 7 year old boy with her but Mike quite likes to entertain him - and we can get on with blitzing the house. I made a start yesterday and stripped off the beds and got some of the laundry done and hopefully by the time the visitors arrive I will have got it all ironed and put away. Since Basso's upset tummy he has been a little smelly to say the very least and I decided that there was nothing for it but to bath him. Trying to maneuver a 6.5 stone dog into a bath against his will was just about all I could manage. Once in the water he stood and allowed himself to be washed, oh, but when he got our he and a couple of really good shakes - Well, put it this way the bathroom is now very clean. Anyway at …

Thursday and a day of peace

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Basso is feeling a bit brighter this morning he was very definitely under the weather yesterday with his upset tummy. I managed to get every thing done by the time Jeff and Shiona arrived but I was already knackered before we started. I had been swimming and taken the dogs for a walk and cleared up all the mess and bathed the dog. My heart was not really in the shooting but never mind, I enjoyed it as best I could. Jeff was using a friends side by side shot gun which had the interesting habit of shooting both cartridges at the same time, what a bang they made, it was all a bit disconcerting. It is always disappointing to shoot badly - I was improving towards the end and could have done with another round but it was by then getting very late. It was gone 1.30 by the time we got back so I pressed on with the lunch while the others cleaned the guns. The rabbit in mustard sauce and mashed potato really hit the spot as we were all pretty hungry. The men gasped at what they said wer…

Wenesday morning and Bin Day

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Well what a start to the day poor Basso must have had diarrhoea in the night and was locked in his crate so no chance to get outside the poor boy was mortified. He and his blanket and his crate were completely covered so my fist job was to clear that up. Just what I wanted the whole house smelling of dog poo and my friends coming for a shooting session. The only way to clean Basso was to hose him down in the dark in the garden - so I am also soaked. Looks like a good day ahead!!!! Yesterday, was super I managed to get into the garden and planted the garlic and the broad beans and made a start on the window boxes. The glass house is cleared apart from herbs that I keep going over the winter and most of the leaves have been hoovered up so it looks nice and tidy but I know that will only last until the next blow when more leaves will fall. I never know
which is the best, to hoover up regularly, or to let all the leaves fall and then do one big clear up? Given this mornings start, I am…

Tuesday and hopefully a quiet day

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Well autumn is really here my garden is full of leaves but it is lovely and warm so hopefully I can spend some time in the garden today. Yesterday turned into a marathon day especially as I had started so early. I took the dogs to the park at 6.30 and gave them a good run then it was into the pool to do the allotted lengths. Mike was up by the time I got home and had made me a cup of coffee. Then it was on with cleaning out the chickens and preparing the roast lunch - when Sandi arrived we went off to the cash and carry where we made a few purchases. She was looking for professional type chopping boards in different colours which they have at reasonable prices. I bought a jar of Dijon mustard which will probably keep me going for the rest of my life. I use quite a bit in cooking but the jar is enormous. Once we back home it was on with the lunch and then we sat about chatting for a while. Basso and Sandi's dog Casey seem to be in love and at one point they lay on the floor …
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This is a photo of the pub at the top of the road which is where all the noise comes from and as I sleep with my windows open I often get woken in the wee small hours by the drunks on their way home.
Yesterdays shooting in Dover was great fun and though I didn't shoot well I did have a very good time. It never ceases to amaze me how friendly the people are and no matter what sort of a hash you make of things they just commiserate rather than laugh at you. I think they have all had bad days and know what it feels like....
Jeff my brother in law has been set the task of making us all pen holders out of odd bits of wood and old cartridge cases. He had completed the first one and brought it for us to see. I am delighted with it. This is a nice cheap Christmas present and very acceptable. Today Sandi is coming to visit and I am roasting a chicken for lunch - I will be doing it as my chef friend showed me but removing the skin and applying a coat of rosemary garlic and lemon zest then …

Sunday and off to Dover

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The photo shows me walking the dogs down at the estuary, what looks like grass behind me is in fact covered by water at high tide so it is actually salt marsh. I had a really busy day in the kitchen yesterday and made enough steak and kidney to feed a battalion and then I made a carrot and walnut cake which will get a coat of butter and cream cheese icing. Today I am off shooting with Jeff down in Dover so the extra hours sleep will come in handy as he has an hours drive to get to us and we need to leave here by 8.30 am as it is another hours drive to Dover. According to the weather forecast is it supposed to be a glorious day so we should have a good morning. Having not shot for a while I think I may have a few problems hitting a barn door but we shall see, some times a lay off actually helps. When we arrive we usually have a cup of coffee and a bacon roll before we attack the shooting, so I have gone for a light lunch of a warm salad of scallops and bacon which will only take moment…

Saturday and raining

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The weeks swimming schedule completed we went off to Shiona's to view the puppies. The photo shows Nip making friends with them and Mary, the mother, sitting by without any concern. Shiona had made a sumptuous fish pie for lunch which we all tucked into with gusto. By the time we got home I was ready for a snooze so that is just what I did. I think I am catching up after the roller-coaster emotional ride of the last week or so.
Today is set to be wet and windy so I think it will be a day in the kitchen preparing some bits and pieces for my next set of visitors. I am going to make a large pot of steak and kidney and then a coffee and walnut cake all of which can go in the freezer until needed. I also have a mountain of ironing to do - all the beds have been in action so there are loads of sheets to deal with.
Yesterday evening I put the upgrade from vista to windows 7 on the computer only to find that it has wiped out my kaspersky virus guard so I will have to invest in some other v…

Friday and the end of a grueling week

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Yesterday, I was absolutely exhausted from the emotional roller coaster ride of the last few days. I went swimming first thing but even that was a struggle so when I got home I just spent the rest of the day pottering and sorting out the paperwork and writing letters etc. I did put an ox tongue on to cook for supper. It had been in brine for a few days and was ready to be dealt with. We had a couple of slices each for supper with some boiled potatoes spinach and a nice caper sauce. The remainder has been pressed and jellied to have as cold meat. James had been called back to Hendon for a second medical which had rather concerned us but as it turned out it was a paperwork hitch and nothing serious so we were all relieved to hear that and the new clutch means his car is running sweetly again. I rang my friend Mary to see if she wanted me to come down and give her a hand with her husband but fortunately they have now taken him into a hospice so she is relieved of the full time nursing ca…

Thursday and a storm weathered

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Yesterday was a pretty emotional day, it is always hard to say goodbye. It was good to see that Denzil is fit and well he has lost weight but that was no bad thing. The dogs reaction was interesting, you would have thought he had just popped out for a paper rather being gone for nearly 4 years. Basso just accepted that he was part of the family and treated him as such.
Just as Denzil was leaving his brother turned up, he had been having car trouble and need a bit of help so he popped down. I sent him home with jars of honey and a dozen eggs. Denzil too took honey back to Thailand as well as an assortment of cheeses which I had vacuum packed for him. I must admit to feeling pretty washed out and I took to my bed fairly early and slept until 3.45am which is not too bad for me. The weather here was pretty miserable yesterday and drizzled with rain almost all day. It was just beginning as I set out to go swimming at 7.30 and didn't stop for most of the day. We were actually pretty lu…

Tuesday

Well today is the last full day that Denzil is with us and then tomorrow he is off back to Thailand and who knows when or if we will see him again. I thought I had come to terms with his emigration but I haven't, I feel totally devastated that he is going. He says he is happy there but I don't really believe him and I worry for his future in a country with no social security or medical care. Selfishly, I worry about my future too, it would be nice to have him around now that I am getting older and Mike is not so well. Just to put the tin lid on it, I got a phone call from a friend in Bath to tell me that her husband, who has been suffering from prostate cancer, is now bed ridden, semi conscious and not long for this world. She is desperately trying to get him into a hospice, which is where he wanted to die, but the doctor and nursing staff are reluctant to move him. She has nursed him for the last 12 years which is a testament to how well she has looked after him but she…

It's Monday morning again

Yesterday was a nice quiet day for chatting and catching on the 3.5 years of separation. However, it started badly with the central heating playing up and no hot water so after much fiddling it finally burst into life and everything is up and running again. After breakfast we took the dogs for a walk in the beautiful autumn sun shine and needless to say Basso went paddling in the mud. He smells really delicious now!!! then it was home for lunch of roast leg of lamb with curly kale roast parsnips and mashed potatoes and gallons of gravy. I chose lamb as it is probably the least likely meat to be available in Thailand. The men were well occupied with the Sunday times and the motor sport on the TV. I tried to have a sleep as I was very tired but was unsuccessful and abandoned the idea. I think I was either over tired or just too wound up. Anyway after a supper of assorted cheeses and crusty bread I fell into bed and was unconscious by 9pm and slept right through until 4.30 so I …

Saturday and a bit cooler

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Both boys at home Denzil with Nip on his lap. We went to the goods shed for a meal yesterday lunch time and it was really very nice. We all chose different things from the menu and so a great deal of swapping and tasting went on. I took the opportunity to do a bit of shopping in the farmers market and at the butchery counter, which always has a good selection of more unusual cuts. I bought some ox kidney to make steak and kidney pie with and I also bought a tongue which I have placed in brine for a few days before I will cook it or freeze it. We decided on a leg of lamb for lunch today with roast parsnips which are both things which are uncommon in Thailand. We also stocked up with a good assortment of cheeses again something which is very expensive and not very good in Bangkok.
Tomorrow, Denzil is visiting with a friend who is also going to give him a lift to Heathrow when he flies back on Wednesday. Frankly, I am pleased that we have not drawn the short straw of a ride round the M2…

Saturday morning

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Had a lovely day yesterday and a super lunch at the yew tree pub
the food was all homemade and the portions very generous. The dogs got a walk around the woods so they were happy. When we got back we discovered a big bag of salmon skins in the porch which the fishmonger had delivered. These I hastily boiled up for the dogs and have now bagged up in portions for the freezer. I was pretty tired but it was too late to sleep so I just had an hour with my feet up and then started cooking the partridges. On our walk we had gathered lots of sweet chestnuts so my first task was to boil them and de-skin. What a pain but worth it in the end. I had previously boiled the offal legs and part of the carcass for some sauce. The offal went to the dogs but the remaining stock I reduced heavily and then added the chestnuts, creme fraiche and some crisply fried smoked bacon. The crowns were fried until brown then finished in the oven. This was then served with the last portion of runner beans.…

Friday and the end of another week

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Rubinia pseudoacacia "Frisia"

Well at last the week is drawing to a close and we are off out to lunch with some friends today. It is my last day of swimming as I will have the weekend off and start again next week. I thought I would start with one more length on Monday than I did this Monday and so build it up gradually. The wonderful thing about having a free swim is that you don't feel obligated to have your moneys worth. It means that I can just get in do my lengths get out and go home for hot coffee. As my fitness improves I will take the dogs with me and walk them first then swim and so kill two birds with one stone so to speak.
We were shopping at the dockside shopping outlet yesterday and decided to have lunch in the "eat all you can" Chinese. Needless to say I did just that and then felt terrible in fact I felt so uncomfortable that I didn't bother to have any supper. This is a lesson learned I hope!!! It's a small world, I had a breast screening s…

Thursday and a day of peace

Good morning all, well I had a busy day yesterday I started by cooking some soup for lunch Roast butternut squash and red pepper. It was OK but nothing to write home about. Did all the ironing and got that put away then out for a swim. I am adding one length per day in an effort to build up my stamina. You would not believe the number of old crumblies in the pool at 7.30 in the morning. Then it was on to do a bit of shopping the freezer is looking a bit bare so it was off to the butcher and the fish monger. I bought a whole salmon which I have divided up so that I can smoke part of it and make gravlax with the a piece and still have some for poaching etc. Mike spotted some lovely mussels so they were added to the bag as was a pile of salmon skins which I boiled for the dogs supper.
Shopping done we then went an picked up Elly so that she could let us in to the farmers field where she used to keep her horses. She and I then took Basso for a training session using the revolver. …

Wednesday and bin day

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Well it is Wednesday already, what has happened to the week, it is just disappearing. Jane came yesterday and ran the hoover over the house so we are at least a bit clean. John took down the runner beans and cleared the bed so the vegetable garden is now ready for me to start planting the broad beans and finish clearing the glass house. I was so shattered after my early start that I took myself off to bed after lunch but the phone kept ringing and I only managed to doze for short periods so I was pole axed by 9pm. Hence another early start 3.30 this is getting ridiculous. I did manage to feed the bees yesterday and put the crown boards down on to the brood boxes for the winter so hopefully they will come through ok it is now a case of wait and hope. The photo is of rosa bonica which is still struggling on and flowering. So far, I have put a load of veg in the oven to roast prior to making into soup which we can have for lunch. I then have the weeks ironing to do and once that is out …

Tuesday but only just

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Michael gets out his magnum!!!What a bummer after yesterdays very hectic day I went to bed and fell asleep at about 9pm only to wake all bright and breezy this morning come down for my cup of coffee and discover it was 2.30 am - now I am in a quandary what do I do if I go back to bed I will no doubt fall asleep but I know I will wake with a stinking head ache which will last all day. If I stay up I will be pole axed by lunch time and fall asleep in the afternoon. I know I will sit and write this drivel!!!Well yesterday was quite a day, I kicked off with a swim with Elly at 9 am as our local pool offers free swimming to us old farts. I have not been swimming for over a year so it was all a bit of a shock to the system. I was careful not to over do it but did a few lengths then out for a shower and hair wash - Mike was waiting in the car park so with wet hair off we went to Tesco to do a bit of shopping then home to prepare lunch for us and Sandi who arrived at 11am. She brought he…

Monday morning again

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The new family member photo shows mum and baby and proud grandma.

Well today is going to be a big day - I am starting of with a swimming session at 9am then a walk with the dogs and Sandi who is bringing me a brace of partridges which will need to be plucked and drawn then I think I will put them in the freezer. After lunch the my boys are coming down from London and we are going to have a family dinner. It will be the first time in ages since we have all sat around the table for a meal. I am going to roast a hand of pork with all the trimmings and hopefully lots of crackling and apple sauce. At some time during the day I am also due to collect my honey from Terry so I think it is going to be a pretty busy day all told.

As yet I don't know if the boys are staying the night or if they are going back to London but it won't take long to make up an extra bed if they decide to stay. The youngest has taken a week off work to be with his brother and chauffeur him around to visit h…

Sunday a day of rest!!!!

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Good morning all well as you can see I am up early again but I did go to sleep very early last night as I was totally exhausted. The days HPR training went very well and both Basso and I learned a lot. We got to the farm at around 9 am having left home just before 8am. The farm was on the side of a very steep hill down into a beautiful valley which is usually used for horse cross country training. We started the day in the indoor arena With some basic heel work and focusing exercises, the after coffee it was out to the fields to do some retrieves both seen and blind over varying distances. Some of the dogs were very accomplished while others were like Basso just novices. The photo shows Basso with his new girl friend sharing a car while we had lunch. Unfortunately I didn't have the car as Mike needed it and after dropping me off he had departed. Lunch was a baked potato with assorted salad and cheese accompaniments. After lunch we moved on to the hunting mode of the training …

Saturday and a big day for Basso

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Today Basso is attending a full days HPR training and I think it is going to be a pretty tiring day for me too. Mike is going to drive us to the farm near Tonbridge and then leave us there. He will hopefully return and collect us at the end of the day. It is all a bit of a mystery as I have no idea how the day is being organised or how long it will be but I guess we will finish around 5 as it will be getting dark by then. The photo is of me at Surrey shooting club. I would have gone shooting tomorrow but I have cancelled as I think I will be in no fit state after today and besides Denzil my son is flying in from Thailand to land at about 10pm tonight. I am very apprehensive as we have not seen him for two years and we didn't part on very good terms. His brother is collecting him so I don't expect to see him until Monday at the earliest. I have been back on WLR for a few days now and have been very good with my calorie intake and exercise though it has been hard. I have saved up …

Friday and a bit early this morning

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Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ What a mouthful no wonder they call it black grass. Yesterday was a gorgeous day the sun shone and I got a few jobs done before the folks arrived for shooting. My neighbour gave me some strawberry runners so I planted them straight away in between the gooseberry bushes. I gave the chickens run a bit of a birthday as it was all pretty soggy from the day before's rain. By the time we got to shooting I was already feeling tired and I shot like a drain which did nothing for my mood. We had lunch in the club house and I ate half my bacon sandwich giving the other half to Basso. Then they ordered a bowl of chips which I had to turn down - oh misery. I did however manage to stick within my calorie allowance of 1100 so I should have felt good but I just felt sad and deprived. I had some corn on the cob for dinner and believe me without butter it is just chicken food. Then a bowl of spaghetti with mince and tomato sauce. I refuse to call it bo…

Thursday and shooting

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A local land mark Kingsnorth power station is it an eye sore? I quite like it, the horizon would be very uninteresting if it were not there. It is the one where the climate camp was held and the green peace lot climbed up the chimney and wrote GORDON.


Today, we are off shooting, Shiona is coming over as is Jeff so it will be the usual crew. We will have lunch at the club house which lets me off the hook as far as cooking is concerned.

I had a busy day yesterday and got all my rabbit pelts rinsed and put to dry. I only have room to pin out and stretch about 4/5 at a time so the rest have been hung over the line to dry off. It takes about 3/4 days for them to dry so I am hoping that I can damp down the others before pinning out. I all goes according to plan I should have plenty for a hat and may be a muff also. It was a pretty foul day with almost constant rain however the garden really needs it so I am not complaining and it gave me a great opportunity to do some batch cooking and…

Wenesday morning and Bin Day

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The photo shows some interesting red seeds that have appeared for the first time on my magnolia tree. Well what a miserable day it was yesterday, it drizzled with rain all day and so my laundry is draped all over the dining room as there was no chance of getting out to dry. Mike had a disaster with a box of wine which had just been delivered - not his fault - but one of the bottles was broken and I now have red wine all over my newly cleaned carpet. I am in the process of trying to get it off unfortunately he didn't tell me about it until it had time to dry so I am not that hopeful. I am waiting on tenterhooks for a phone call as my nephew and his wife are expecting a baby as she is two weeks late she was due to be induced yesterday so I hope all has gone well. It is strange how things work out at the same time I got a phone call from a nursing friend whose husband is dying of prostate cancer and getting to the end now. I went through this with Shiona so she feels she can talk to …

Tuesday and hopefully a quiet day

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Yesterday's photo was of the four boys today it's the turn of the long suffering wives. I did the roast chicken yesterday with the Hairy Bikers stuffing and I must report that the stuffing was seriously lacking in flavour so don't bother with that one. The chicken was delicious and we had some potatoes and onions cooked in balsamic vinegar [Jamie Oliver] and they were lovely. The runner beans that I picked in the rain finished the plate off well. I also made a creme caramel which is Mikes favourite desert and as it turned out Sandi turned up with a case of his favourite beer so she stayed for lunch. Elly dropped his card off in person so all in all it was a super day. After lunch Sandi and I took the dogs all four of them for a walk down by the river and it was high tide so all the dogs were in the water but it didn't matter as we were all wet with the rain anyway. We virtually had the place to ourselves as there are a limited number of idiots who go walking in …

Monday 5th October 2009 Mike is 70

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The four brothers celebrating Mikes birthday yesterday. It was such a lovely surprise for him he was absolutely gob smacked. I managed to keep it a secret until we actually got into the restaurant until then he thought it was just him and I going out for lunch. Then suddenly there they all were - I of course had spotted the cars in the car park but managed to keep him so distracted that he missed them. It was a lovely day and we had a beautiful view over the valley as we were perched on the side of the north downs. As you can see by the photo the weather was very kind to us and the sun shone. Today is very different it is dull and overcast and has been raining over night. We finally got home at about 4.30pm and I was totally shattered having been up since 3am so we went off to bed for a sleep. I didn't wake until midnight so I just had a hot drink and went back to bed and have slept until 7am. This is quite unheard of but I must have been very tired and needed the sleep. Th…

Sunday morning

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Two of Mary's four puppies learning to eat solid food. Well here we go Mikes brothers have organised a lunch at a nice local restaurant and I have to get him there for 1pm - I will have to tell him it is just going to be the two of us so that it is a surprise when they are all there. I'm sure he will be surprised as they are driving from Bagshot, Peterborough, and Reading which is quite a commitment especially as they all had to drive to Salisbury on Friday for a funeral. I managed to send him on a shopping expedition yesterday which gave me the opportunity to slip out and buy him a Birthday card and I have successfully managed to catch the postman and remove any cards which have arrived so far. I had a really busy day yesterday and managed to get loads of little chores done. I had a batch of frames from my hive which needed to be sterilises and cleaned up so I had to boil them the problem is the size - well what a good job I bought that huge pan. I can get 5 frames in it toget…

Saturday and a bit cooler

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My friend Elly's new acquisition it is her 40th Birthday present but her birthday isn't until May so a bit early.
I must admit that I do miss riding but I really don't have the time these days - I seem to be so busy with the dogs and garden etc. I made a nice stew yesterday in the slow cooker so today's dinner is all but ready, with any luck I can devote myself to the garden and have a grand clear up. The honey has been taken to my mentor to put in the warmer and his wife has offered to bottle it for me. It takes about 3 days to warm it to 34 degrees so it is a very slow process. It should be ready by the end of next week then I will know just how much I have. I may start charging for this lot of honey just to help defray the cost of jars etc. Mike has volunteered to do a shop today so that I can concentrate on the garden. I still have plenty of tomatoes in the green house so I am wondering if it is still a bit to soon to clear it. We are still getting loads of r…

Friday and the end of a grueling week

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Some of the fruits of my labour!!!!!
Well yesterday was another grueling marathon but just look at the results!!! I am off this morning to return the equipment to Terry and Thornes, god bless, them came up with the goods and the repairs have been effected. I will be taking a huge bucket of honey to Terry for warming and then jarring which his wife has kindly offered to do - all the sticky frames have been wrapped in polythene and stored in the far end shed - I hate to think what they will be like when I come to use them again next year but that is a horror yet to be experienced. You would have thought I would never want to see honey every again but last night after supper both Mike and I fancied a slice of toast and honey - very strange.... Today, I will need to tidy up the garage and get back to sorting out the rabbit pelts which were abandoned when the honey extraction took over. The hens will also need to be cleaned out and the far end of the garden is pretty messy. John took down …

Pinch punch first of the month and no returns

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Well what a day I had yesterday, I started by making the base of the carbonara and an insalata capreses so that was all ready when we came back from shooting. I then tackled the ironing which was a pretty big pile and got that done. By 10 I was showered and ready gun out of the cabinet and cartridges packed in the bag. I was not too hopeful as I have not been shooting for a couple of weeks but low and behold I shot rather well and out shot Jeff on several stands unfortunately it didn't last and I finished up with a couple of real horrors. Anyway, I was pleased with the overall session. After lunch I took Jeff to see the mayhem that is honey extraction and he and Mike decided they could make things easier for me by placing some blocks under the uncapping tray so that it drained faster. I objected and said it would fall from the bench but the men knew better!!!! As we left the garage there was a loud crash and guess what it was all on the floor. What a mess - honey everywher…