Showing posts from November, 2009

Miserable and wet Monday

Basso the brilliant does it again and wins his class at the dog show - so now we have another rosette to hang on the wall. The photo is of my friend Sandi who was showing him for me, I was lurking in the crowd taking photos. It was a really miserable day cold and wet but we managed to park relatively close the the barn where the show was being held. Fortunately, there was a van selling bacon sandwiches which was our first port of call when we arrived. We then made our way to the ring which needless to say was the furthest away but fortunately the judging started right on time so we didn't have to hang around for too long. Once the judging was over and we had our certificate and rosette we beat a hasty retreat and found a nice pub for some lunch then it was home to central heating and a chance to finally get warm with copious cups of tea. Basso needless to say couldn't see what all the fuss was about but he did enjoy the frankfurter treat I gave him. Mike had been secretly hopin…

Sunday and dry at the moment

Yesterday was a long but satisfying slog, and I reckon I must be about half way with my spring cleaning exercise. It is all the small things that take the time like dismantling light fittings and cleaning them. You cannot imagine how many dead flys had accumulated over the summer months. had accumulated over the summer months. had accumulated over the summer months.
Today, however I am having a day off and going to the southern gun dogs show at Ardingly in Sussex. Basso is in for a dose of the brushes which he really hates but lets hope he behaves well for Sandi who is going to show him. It's no good me showing him as I transmit my discomfort straight down the lead and he behaves really badly for me. It is an early start for us as we need to be away by 8 am as it is an hours drive for us and the judging starts at 10am. I will take the camera and see if I can get some photos but I will have to stay out of Basso's sight so that he doesn't know I am there.
OK on to mea…

Saturday and pouring with rain again

I was very interested to read some recent research that shows that the average dog owner gets more exercise than the average gym member. Well that is something I already knew. It also highlighted the fact that you get fresh air and enjoy the country side as well. The one thing it didn't mention was that it is also a much cheaper way of getting exercise.

It was freezing cold yesterday when I took the dogs out but boy was it lovely to plunge into the pool for a swim after as it felt like a hot bath. When I got home I had a long shopping list to get through but what a miserable abortive day it was. We got a couple of things done then headed to Sainsbury but the car park was full to over flowing and there were people queuing to get in so we did a U turn and left - fortunately there was nothing essential that I needed. I can only think that it must be end of the month pay day and Christmas shoppers. We may well try again on Monday morning early and see if that is a bit better.
As it is t…

Friday and another week gone

This photo should make you laugh it is of Basso dancing with me which he does to Black and Gold - he hears the first few bars of the music and comes and throws himself at me. I hadn't realise that I had taught him this and he will throw himself at anyone who is dancing as we found out the other day when visiting friends. Music was put on and the lady of the house started to dance. Basso immediately felt obliged to join in as she didn't have a partner - well 6.5 stone of dog hurling himself at you unexpectedly is quite a surprise.
I successfully avoided the shops yesterday but today I have run out of excuses so I will have to get myself off to the butcher and supermarket - I did however try on my jodhpurs and managed to get in them they are a little on, they tight side but hopefully that will change as I loose a bit more weight. Anyway, they have saved me spending money on a new pair of trousers to go hunting in.
Anne your meal sounds really lovely - I think I have been to Clived…

Thursday and much colder

After the terrific storms of the night it turned into the most beautiful day for our shooting. The wind was a little keen and made the clays a bit skittish but we had fun and as there were not too many people there we were able to go round quite quickly. Shiona cleaned the guns while I made the corned beef hash which we were all ready for and demolished in double quick time. I was glad that I hadn't gone swimming and dog walking first as I think I would have been too tired. However I had dismantled the welsh dresser and given that a real birthday and its annual coat of bees wax. I hope you think it now looks OK. There are still plenty of bits to do so I will need to continue the process. We have agreed the estimate for the new TVs and we are hoping to have them in by Christmas so I have ordered one blue ray disc to test the new equipment. Today I am going to see if I can still get into my jodhpurs so that I don't need to buy thorn proof trousers I have only lost about 10 l…

Wednesday morning

Well it has been blowing a force 10 and pouring with rain for most of the night but at the moment it has gone deadly quiet. Yesterday went well the wonderful Jane came and did her stuff so the house looks OK but I know the deep in the corners it still needs a good clean so the spring cleaning needs to continue. John came and got up most of the leaves in the garden and we will not see him again until the early spring. There are still jobs to do but it doesn't warrant his coming as I can get on with them at my leisure. I managed to get the dogs walked and have my swim and be home in time for their arrival and once they were all under way I went off to the hair dresser leaving Mike in charge. The bubble and squeak that I made for lunch went down very well as I was starving by lunch time. I actually cooked it in the oven to save a few calories and it worked rather well.
Today is a shooting day and Shiona is coming over but Jeff has got bogged down in refitting his en suite bathr…

Tuesday morning and dry at the moment

Poinsettia - it's that time of the year now all I have to do is try to keep it going till Christmas..... Yesterday was a busy one and I managed to accomplish all that I had intended with the exception of getting the dogs our for a walk. Every time I was about to set out the heavens opened and then it was too late. Basso was completely exhausted after his primping and preening session and was more tired than after 5 hours hunting. Anyway, lets hope he is now so gorgeous that he will do well on Sunday..... Oh dear it looks like a spoke too soon it is raining now!!!! Today I have a lighter schedule - I will continue the spring cleaning which is being done piece meal then its off to swimming at 7.30, if it is dry enough, I will walk the dogs first and hope I don't get Basso too filthy. Then its back to get Jane started and see John in [assuming he comes with the weather as it is] and off to the hairdresser at 9.45 for a cut and blow dry which should see me looking not too bad com…

Monday morning and blowing hard

Montecatini Alto summer 2000 Between Florence and Pisa where we spent 6 weeks with the caravan. What a day it was yesterday we left home at 8am to get to Dover by 9 but there was little hope of shooting as it was raining cats and dogs all the way. As luck would have it the rain stopped as we pulled into the car park and held off for the entire three hours it took us to shoot. The clays were completely wild and flying all over the place as the wind was very strong but I shot well so I was very pleased with myself. Roger my shooting companion was keen to tell the cognoscente all about Basso's prowess and I was content to bask in the reflected glory. He would like to take us out again in about a fortnights time so I will have to have a look around for a pair of thorn proof trousers so that I don't get massacred again now that my legs are healing. The drive home was in appalling weather with rain wind and hail so once we got back it was hot drinks all round, clean the gun and …

Sunday morning but only just

Photo of me aged 3 on my way to Nigeria. I don't suppose they would let you do this sort of thing these days..... Well it is just about 4 am and I wide awake as usual. Mind you I was asleep by 9pm so no surprise there then. Yesterday was bit of a boring day - I managed to clean out the chickens and got the dogs out for a run before it started to rain. The brisket that I had boiled the day before was then reheated using a recipe from "Memorie di Angelina" blog site which is full of authentic Italian recipes. It was a dish I had not done before but it turned out really well and I accompanied it with Russian red kale with chorizo which was very good. My copy of Hugh Fernley Whittingstall's new book arrived so I buried my nose in that for some time and ear marked several recipes that I am going to do. Interestingly it is all on the cheaper cuts of meat which take time and care to prepare. Today, if the rain holds off, I am due to go shooting down in Dover with the guy…

Saturday morning and dry at last

We had a pretty wet day yesterday so I am afraid that after swimming I concentrated on indoor pursuits. This means that I will have to clean out the hens today instead not that I think they mind so long as they have food and water they seem to be fairly happy and are still laying 4 eggs per day. Hopefully the dogs will get out to stretch their legs a little today as they were a bit fed up with all the rain yesterday.

However, having seen the poor people in Cumbria I am very definitely not complaining. To have your house flooded must be the most terrible trauma. Fortunately, we must be a couple of hundred feet above sea level so it is not something we need to worry about.

I was feeling a couple of degrees under yesterday I think I am trying to get a cold but nothing much is happening yet just feel rough and a bit bunged up. With any luck my immune system will deal with it and I should feel better soon. I think crashing down from an adrenalin high also leaves you feeling pretty flat. …

I managed to drag myself to the pool yesterday but I was very tired and only swam for about 20 minutes I then got the dogs in the car and took them for a nice walk down by the river but I was pretty much out of energy, so it was home and an early lunch and off to bed for a rest. I actually slept like the dead for 2 hours which made me feel considerably better. Coming down off an adrenalin high leaves you feeling pretty exhausted. I did however manage to get all the laundry done and at last got the ironing finished and put away.

The garden looks pretty messy after the high winds as one of the large plastic flower pots which had been part filled with polystyrene got blown all over the place. There are now lumps of polystyrene all over the place so I will need to have a picking up session. Today being Friday is my day to clean out the hens. We are running low on feed and bedding so a bit of shopping may be necessary but I am hoping to hold off until Monday whe…


Well you probably think I am just a very proud dog owner but I thought I would show you the comment made on the shooting website by one of the guns

"It was a real pleasure to see him work, He didn't put a foot wrong all day, and learnt a lot from practical experience.

I had never seen a Spinone work before but was very impressed. A perfect rough shooting dog, I think someone on here seemed to think that they are slow, well Basso certainly isn't.

Looking forward to the next time."

Needless to say this made swell with pride even more!!!!

Yesterdays, menu was all courtesy of the dog we had the pigeon for lunch and the pheasant for supper. Actually it was a tough as blazes but we didn't tell him that we don't want to crush his spirit..... It kind of reminds me of the time the boys made boiled egg for Mike for his birthday. They were only little and I gave them hasty instructions before leaving for work. Poor Mike had to eat a raw egg - they had given it the 4 mi…

Wednesday stiff and aching but happy

Now where to start - every bone in my ancient body is screaming in pain, my legs are torn to shreds and my blisters have blisters - but who cares!!!!
I was very apprehensive about this day of rough shooting as I didn't have a clue what would be expected of me or the dog. Well I need not have worried as soon as I turned Basso loose to hunt he was like a different dog - at last he was doing what he was bred for and seem to know exactly what was expected. He obeyed every whistle command and every hand signal. He pointed out the birds then flushed them for the guns and when shot he sat and waited to be sent to retrieve. No messing about he brought the birds directly to me and delivered them unmarked to my hand. He didn't chase the sheep, though he dearly wanted to, which was just as well as the ram was eyeing him up in a most unfriendly way. We started at 11 and didn't finish until it was dark at 4.30 and Basso worked his socks off the whole time. The two guys who were s…

Tuesday and very excited

Today is the day all the training and work I have done with Basso will be put to the test. I am off to do some walked up shooting and taking all three dogs and my gun so it is going to be quite a handful controlling the dogs and shooting as well. I am a bit concerned as Tuc seems to be limping and has a problem with one of his back legs so as yet I haven't decided whether to take him. First I have an hours drive down to Canterbury to meet up with the others who are shooting. A packed lunch and drink is necessary so I guess we are going to be out in the field all day. We are hoping for some pheasants, partridge and later some pigeons when they come in to roost.
Yesterday, I had another head breaking day with the new lap top first it dropped the connection to the router which took me ages to sort out and eventually I gave up and had to go to technical support for help at £1 per minute. Then it suddenly crashed and was as dead as a dodo. I was in despair, until I finally found tha…

Monday morning again

So who gave Basso some yogurt???
Well yesterday was a glorious day but I was too shattered to enjoy it - but I have now caught up with some sleep and am feeling much better this morning. All the computer problems have been resolved and everything is running well so I am pleased. I am not a Tech wizard so it all comes quite hard to me but I am a terrier by nature and refuse to let things go until I have accomplished what I intended.

Today I will be re-instituting the swimming regimen which should burn me off a few extra calories but I don't want to over do it as tomorrow is going to be a very hard day and I will need all my strength. The garden looks a real mess after all the rain and wind and the pond is hardly visible under a blanket of leaves which will need fishing out if they are not to taint the water. The hens have been kept in their small run which I have carpeted with wood shavings to give them a bit of dry under foot but needless to say the stupid creatures have thrown …

Sunday and what a night

Well have I been having some fun. Mike decided to buy me a new laptop as a sort of early Christmas present. I also needed a router so that I could connect to the Internet. Well to cut a very long story short it has taken me most of the night and a phone calls to India to get the problems sorted out. This message comes courtesy of the new lap top. As yet I have no pictures on this machine so I cannot add one at the moment.
Yesterday was a very wet and windy day but I managed to get the chickens cleaned out in the short dry window first thing in the morning. As I am typing it is coming down in stair rods - I was hoping to get the dogs our for a run but little chance of that I think.
I made a cake yesterday according to the Hugh Fernley recipe on river cottage web site. It is pear and almond and the only trouble is that it is delicious but super calorific so rationing is necessary. It is the sort of thing you could serve warm with cream as a dessert or cold for afternoon tea to follow you…

Saturday and a stormy one ahead

Yesterday went well, our friends brought the two terriers back so the family is reunited. Basso tried to mount Nip and assert his new found authority but got a flea in his ear and quickly ran for cover so the hierarchy remains unchanged. We went out for lunch to a local pub where I had a very nice plate of fish and chips but couldn't quite finish all the chips so they came home for the dogs.

The rabbits have finally been put in the freezer and from the 6 I had I have made 3lbs of sinew free meat, 6 livers for pate, 4 meals for the 3 dogs and 4 litres of stock. So all in all though it cost a bit of work it was all worth it. As you can see from the photo I had an assistant to help with the washing up. It was pretty wild and windy over night and there are a few things blown around the garden but we are currently in a bit of lull so I am hoping to get out and clean out the chickens before the next part of the storm hits. I have no real plans for today except to finish a pile of ironing…

Friday and the end of a grueling week

Yesterday is a day I would like to forget as soon as possible - we left here at 9 am to get to the crematorium in Bath by 1pm and had a nice uneventful journey down with a stop for a leg stretch and for Basso to empty his tank which he did with no trouble. The funeral was a reasonable service but the usual problems of parking were evident as one funeral was so tightly packed with the next there was mayhem in the car-park which was by no means big enough. The heavens opened just as we made our way from the car-park to the chapel so everyone got soaked. We had all been invited to a bun fight at the golf club which was beautifully organized and I had 5 minutes to talk to Mary who was very much in demand. She came with me to the car and introduced herself to Basso who was again allowed out for the necessary relief. I was delighted when she said that she would love to take me up on my offer of Christmas at our house as she really didn't feel she could cope with the family. Well, …

Thursday and a long day ahead

Today is going to be a long one, we delivered the two terriers to our friends last evening and this morning we are setting off to drive the 3 hours to Bath for a funeral. When I woke up I thought it was 5.45 but once I was in a position to see the clock downstairs I realised it was 3.45 not what I had in mind. I had hoped for a bit it of a lie in but no such luck.

Yesterday was fairly busy and we drove off to Canterbury first thing to collect some rabbits 6 to be precise. Then it was home, via Sainsbury, to deal with them. I have decided to deal with them according to a ferret site which has lovely videos which explain how to strip off the meat and make sure that there is no sinue so the meat is ready to make rabbit pies. It is a bit fiddly but once you get the hang of it its quite simple. The carcasses are then boiled to make stock and I bought a pack of chicken wings to add to the stock. There is a fair bit of meat on the bones which I will pick over for the dogs. I saved th…

Wednesday and clear skys

Why do dogs look so comfortable when curled up asleep? Today I am off to Canterbury to collect some rabbits which were shot last night - it means that I have had to fore go my swimming session as I will not have time. I am very late this morning and really need to get going. I found a wonderful site which shows in detailed videos how to prepare rabbit so I am hoping that I can get the meat off with the minimum of effort and we should be in for a couple of good meals. Tonight we are taking the two terriers to a friends house as they are going to be baby sat while we are away at the funeral tomorrow. We will take the big dog as I can manage one but three would be a bit much. I will also need to prepare a picnic for us to take as we will not have time to stop for lunch en route. I think it will be the dreaded egg and tomato sandwiches any way no time to write this morning as I got up very late and need to push on. Have a good one everyone.....

Tuesday and hopefully a quiet day

Basso and his girl friend Casey, both absolutely pole axed after a long walk. Yesterday was good day which I started with a swim with my friend Elly and as I was in the pool rather early I had already done my lengths by the time she arrived so I did a few more to keep her company. Then it was home to the hair dryer and get ready for Sandi to arrive. She has been having a bit of a torrid time of it lately so we went off and had a lovely walk with all four dogs. Mike dropped us of at one point and met us at the other end which is great because you don't have to double back on yourself. While we were walking we picked some sea beat which Sandi had not tried before and we cooked it to have with our lunch - another convert I think.... By 4pm I was on my knees and sloped off to bed for a snooze - actually I slept like the dead and didn't wake until nearly 7pm when I got up and made the supper and returned to bed at about 10pm. Today I plan a fairly restful day, the wonderful Jane…

Monday morning again

Yesterday was dull and damp for our ride down to Dover - I was hoping to shoot well but fell short of my expectations - It was very cold in the woods as it was so damp and I had failed to put on sufficient clothing so I was pretty chilled for the three hours it took do have our round. Poor Mike nearly froze in the car and was very glad to see me when I had finished. Arrangements have been made to go rough shooting on Tuesday week - but in the mean time I have ordered a few rabbits for the pot. Surprisingly I have managed to get through the last lot. When I was speaking to Roger about some rabbits he informed me that he had shot 71 in 2 hours the previous evening, so there are plenty to go round. The rough shooting is to try out Basso on a real job of work and see how he does so this week I will have to do lots of practice with him and to that end Sandi is coming today and bringing her very good Labrador who works regularly.

Unfortunately we are due to have a power cut between 11 a…

Sunday and off to Dover

The rain held off just long enough for the firework displays to be finished. It was really noisy last night but fortunately the dogs are not at all bothered, they generally go and have a good bark at the first few bangs but soon give up and go back to bed. I had a very lazy day yesterday as I was up so early I felt shattered for most of the day. I did, however, cook one of the pheasants that was lurking in the freezer. It was a recipe that I had not tried before and I am pleased to say it was a roaring success. For those of you who are WLR members I have published the recipe on the site but I am not sure how long it takes for it to become available. Today, I am off shooting so I am very pleased that it has stopped raining at last and we are forecast a good morning with the weather turning bad again this afternoon. It is a real treat for me as before we start shooting we have a nice baguette stuffed with bacon and egg which really set you up for the day. It is usually well past l…

Saturday and still dry

The summer has really gone and we are knee deep in leaves. I manged to have a quiet day yesterday and after my dog walk and training session I went for a swim and added the lengths that I had missed on the previous two days so I am back on schedule. I spent some time in the kitchen making leek and potato soup which we had for lunch and then some mince which we had with curly kale (a personal favorite). I also used up the last of the plums I had in the freezer which I made into a crumble as I still had some crumble topping left over from the visitors so all in all not a very low calorie day. The crumble was quite naughty as it also contained toasted hazel nuts and we finished off the last of the double cream - It is always difficult to diet when you have visitors and there always seem to be some thing that are left and need eating up. I am far to tight to throw away cream etc and invariably end up eating it. After lunch I took myself off for a sleep while Mike hit M&S looking f…

Friday and the end of a grueling week

The photo shows the damage to the caravan which has now been mended and you would never be able to tell that there had ever been a problem. It looks absolutely perfect. We drove up to Suffolk and after a bit of effort found the place where the van was being stored. It was hitched on and we drove straight to the farm where the farmer was waiting with his tractor to take the van an put it straight into the barn - job done. We were home again by 2.30 and as I had been up since 3 I was ready for a kip. For supper I made us a steak tartare from the pieces of fillet that had come in our box of short horn beef - very tasty and with a couple of slices of crusty bread it made a nice supper. Today, I will be off swimming and dog walking first thing as I have had two days off and don't want to loose the impulsion and the dogs have rather drawn the short straw over the last couple of days. The weather is supposed to be fine this morning but gradually get worse through the day so the he…

32 years of marriage

It's hard to believe that so much time has passed - where have all the years gone? Our friends left yesterday but not before we had had a nice walk with the dogs and a huge brunch breakfast - full English with all the trimmings. I then started the clear up process sheets and towels in the washing machine - dish washer running full tilt etc. So today for our wedding anniversary it is down to earth with a bump. We are driving off to Suffolk to collect the caravan from the repairer and drive it back to the farm for winter storage. Unfortunately this will take the whole day as Suffolk is at least two hours drive away. No doubt we will stop off for some lunch somewhere en route and we will be spoiled for choice as there are some wonderful pub with great food in Suffolk. However, before we set off I have to plant a rose bush which has just arrived. It is called "Black Baccarat", it is so dark in colour that it is almost a true black. I have a spot amongst some white fl…

Wednesday and bin day

Nip is peacefully asleep in his bed.We had a lovely day yesterday despite the rain and boy did it rain. Around lunch time it came down is stair rods and the patio was inches deep in water. Mike and Henry had gone to the food emporium and left Angela and I to sort out the lunch and then to go with Elly to the hairdressing cash and carry to buy a new hair dryer. Angela had tried mine after swimming and realised that her hair dryer was rather under powered so off we went and a bought a professional one. For lunch we had the rabbit fricassee and plumb crumble which went down very well - I then suddenly realised that it was a free meal of sorts - the rabbits were free and the plums had been scrumped. It's always very satisfying to use ingredients would other wise have gone to waste. I cooked the beef sirloin which we had cold for supper with a nice salad of frisee lettuce with a hot potato added and then dressed with a good garlicky dressing. This was followed by raspberry jelly…

Tuesday and raining

Dog walking at the estuary when the tide is out. Yesterday went well we went off for a dog walk and swim first thing then it was home for boiled eggs and toasty soldiers and buckets of hot coffee. It was a beautiful sunny day so we took ourselves off to Woolwich to the large oriental supper market "See Woo", where we had a grand time looking at all the strange things that were on offer. Needless to say we also managed to purchase a few items. I bought a sack of 25kg of salt @£4.50 which should keep me supplied for some time. I use a lot of salt both for my fish pond which takes 12kg and also for making brine to cure salmon etc before putting it in the smoker. I rang my friend Sandi to offer moral support as she had a meeting with her employers with whom she is currently in dispute, only to find that her father in law had suddenly died. That makes two this week - I suppose it is one of the hazards of getting older..... Anyway there is nothing much I can do except be t…

Monday morning and still dark

One of the few things still in flower is this nice little chrysanthemum. Yesterday went well our friends from Nailsea arrive on schedule despite the dreadful weather. It was lovely to catch up on the things that had happened through the year and we suddenly realised that we had not seen each other since the new year. Time seems to fly by at an alarming rate as you get older. All the food was demolished so I was pleased, it is always nice to have your cooking appreciated especially by a professional. Lets hope the food for today is equally well received. My friend Mary rang just as we were about to eat to let us know that her husband had died in the hospice that morning and she was relieved that he was at last at peace. It will be a busy time for her now with the paper work and funeral arrangements to make but as soon as that is over she plans to come and visit. Though we have been in contact via the E mail and telephone we have not seen each other for several years so it will be…

Pinch punch first of the month and no returns

I thought I would get a photo of the lovely colours on the blueberry bush quick before the wind and rain strips off all the leaves. Well I am up very early I don't seem to have made the adjustment to the hour change yet, however it is a good time to get on with a few messy jobs. I have a cake that needs a butter cream icing adding to it and I thought I would be clever and get the icing on the cake while it is still frozen. I then have some jelly to make - I made a syrup with raspberries and it needs the gelatin adding now and pouring into fancy glasses. Then it is on with the plumb crumble which is still in separate parts. I have made the crumble topping with a few extras of oats and toasted hazel nuts so I hope it is nice. We had a nice shopping trip yesterday and the box of short horn beef looks good but we will not know until we try it. It has been hung for 3 weeks so it should be nice. At the farmers market there was a guy selling game and I saw some wigeon which I have not tr…