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Showing posts from January, 2010

Sunday and sub zero

Good morning all, well you will be pleased to know that I survived my first encounter with Karate. It is quite an eye opener to be out gunned by a five year old and you suddenly realise just how stiff and awkward you have become over the years. However, the good news is that I fully expected to get out of my bed in pain this morning but was delighted that none of my muscles were aching. The assorted moves we were taught were quite complicated and I think the ability to count to ten in Japanese would be an advantage. As I have a neighbour who is Japanese I think I will go and ask her for a lesson. Anyway I enjoyed the session even though it was the longest hour and a half of exercise I have had for a long time. The instructors were very nice and helpful and though I felt a class one wally they did try to put me at my ease. There was an audience of parents who had brought their little darlings which I could have done without but I consoled myself with the fact that at least I had…

Saturday and a long lie in

It was light when I got up this morning so spring must be on its way mind you it was 7.30 which is very late for me. It is a very cold morning but with a reasonably clear sky so we may well have a nice day. While we were out walking yesterday Basso cut one of his pads on a flint so now he has a bit of a limp. I am hoping it will all be healed by next week end or there will be no point in showing him if he is lame. As far as treatment is concerned other than giving it a good wash I am leaving it up to him and nature to deal with. He is keeping it very clean with constant licking which is probably the best thing. He will however be confined to barracks until it is better.
Today is going to be busy as I have the pheasant to pluck and then I need to be at Karate at 10.15 at around 12 Terry is coming to put the oxalic acid on my bees. I then have two troughs to plant up for my new window box which will give me a bit of colour outside the kitchen window. And somewhere in between I n…

Friday morning is here again

This week seems to have flown by and suddenly it's over. This morning it is warm, at nearly 5 degrees, and raining gently. Just as well our roof was mended yesterday so we should be completely weather proof. It is amazing how much damage is done by the ice and frost. Anyway the repairs come with a ten year guaranty so hopefully we will be secure for a while. I got my swim in bright and early yesterday morning and then took the dogs for a run as they had forecast rain for the afternoon. The chickens have made a complete mess of my greenhouse but nothing that a bit of graft won't cure. I am hoping to have the most wonderful tomatoes this year what with all the fertiliser that has been added over the winter. Every time I go up and down the garden I see so much work that needs to be done it is quite daunting but no doubt when I get started it won't seem so bad. Jeff has made us a new window box, to go outside the kitchen window as the previous one had disintegrated, s…

Thursday morning and another week is winding down

When I climbed out of my bed yesterday I found muscles I didn't know I had, so my trip to the swimming pool was very beneficial and loosened every thing up nicely. Getting there was not so nice as the car was completely iced over with the temperature so low over night we had a deep frost. Anyway, my fortitude was rewarded and I felt much better when I got back and fortunately saw all the bins outside as I had completely forgotten. A quick patrol of the garden for dogs messages and the bins went out in time. As I was putting it all out on the front of the drive I was approached by a builder who has been working on several houses in the road and he pointed out several problems with our roof which has suffered with this hard winter. Well to cut a long story short he is coming today to rectify the damage for a very reasonable price. The swim had so invigorated me that I flew through the chore of the ironing in a flash. I then spent some time polishing my boots which had suffered…

Wednesday morning and very cold

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What a day we had yesterday. Jeff arrived at about 9 and after a quick cup of coffee we we set off to Canterbury. It was absolutely freezing with the wind blowing straight from Siberia. I set off with Basso and Roger for the first drive which was through a piece of deep thicket. We worked every square inch but the birds were nowhere to be seen. It was so cold that they had all retired to the very deep woodland for warmth. However, as the sun came out we had a bit more luck and eventually managed to send a bird straight across Jeff's gun. Well he made no mistake and shot it. The photo is to celebrate his first bird, which is now hanging in my garage awaiting plucking. I said I would prepare it for him and freeze it so that he can pick it up next time he visits but he did go home with the tail feathers tucked in his gun slip. We continued to work the various bits of cover and though Basso put up several birds they prove to illusive to shoot so we ended up with just 2 pheasa…

Tuesday and very chilly

Well it is pretty cold out there this morning at 2 degrees but that is fine for hunting so I am not bothered. I'm just glad it is not raining and according to the weather forecast it is supposed to be the best day this week. Jeff is due to arrive just before nine so we will have time for a cup of coffee before we set off for Canterbury to meet up with Roger. Yesterday was a fairly quiet day apart from a trip to the supermarket for some bits and pieces and walk round the woods for the dogs. Basso was definitely in a hunting frame of mind and must have covered every square inch of the woodland in search of birds. He did put up dozens of pigeons but unfortunately there is no shooting allowed. The pigeon population is getting very large in these semi rural areas and they are a real pest to any vegetable gardeners.

Jane is due at nine this morning so I think it will be bedlam until we get underway. It will be a real treat to come home to a clean house and we have decided to have a curry…

Monday morning

Well it is a dismal 4 degrees this morning but at least we got to see the sun on a couple of occasions yesterday. We had a pretty quiet day mostly devoted to eating!!! we went to collect our friends at about 12 and then made our way to the restaurant which is in an old rectory with views over the river. Sadly, it was a bit misty for the views to be easily visible. The meal was a fairly standard Sunday lunch with the usual roast meats on offer. Mike went for the lamb and I had the beef which was tender but had been cooked to "well done", which is not how I would have chosen. The accompanying vegetables were both many and various and very well cooked. The deserts were from a sweet trolley loaded with cream laden delights. By the time we had had coffee I was completely stuffed and good for nothing except my bed. So we drove our friends home and dropped them off then proceed on to our house where we both collapsed in bed. Needless to say there was no need of supper that …

Sunday morning

Yesterday was yet another one of those terrible grey days that are so peculiar to England. Not the smallest vestige of the sun was to be seen all day. I took the dogs for a long walk and was pleased that my legs were OK and I hardly noticed the 5 kilometers so hopefully I will be up to the walking on Tuesday. For lunch I had made a pan haggerty as seen on the Hairy Bikers and was very pleased with the results it was truly a very tasty dish especially as I had used some very smokey bacon and really good stock.
My chef friend rang to say that his pig would be ready soon and we discussed how we wanted it butchered and how we would get down to Bristol to collect our half. We have decided to have it butchered into larger rather than smaller joints so that we can the decide ourselves how to chop it up once we get it home. You can always make it into smaller joints but never into larger. The pig was bought as a birthday present by his wife and has been kept and fed on a local farm. I …

Saturday and a long lie in

It is a long time since I have got up so late but I did have the most wonderful nights sleep so I am not complaining. I managed to get the dogs out for a walk yesterday though it was not as long as I would have liked. The weather was somewhat against us as it was both wet and windy. I did, however, feel better for a good blow through so hopefully today I might get a little further. Moving the feed from the car was quite a task 50 kg of chicken food and 40 kg of dog food have now been safely stored in their respective sheds. Now all that is left to do is to move half a bale of sawdust from the garage to the end shed. Each time a walk the length of the garden I am struck by the amount of tidying up that needs doing so it will not be long before I get outside and do some of it, however I will wait until after the hunting expedition on Tuesday as I am going to need every ounce of energy I have for that.
The transfer of VHS to DVD was a real pain and not very successful so I have dec…

Friday and a bit early this morning

Well yesterday got turned on its head and all the plans got rearranged. Richard, Mikes brother was in the area and so dropped in arriving at 11am and leaving at 5pm. He had brought back the gizmo for converting VHS to DVD and we then tried to get it set up on my machine. The first problem we encountered was that the the VHS recorder didn't have the right connections so it was a trip to Maplins to get a scart type connection. Then once the software was loaded everything seemed to work fine but the pictures were in black and white. Well we systematically worked through, checking to see which piece of equipment was responsible. This is no mean task but we finally came to the conclusion that it was windows 7 that was the problem as we managed to get colour pictures on the lap top which is running Vista. I now have, scattered all over the dining table,dozens of leads and cables and every bit of equipment you can imagine. Mean while with my other hand I stretched the lunch to make enoug…

Thursday morning

Well it is still pitch dark and the thermometer is reading 3.6 degrees and at the moment it is both dry and very still outside.
Yesterday, passed pretty uneventfully with the exception of a visit from Elaine and the dreaded passport forms which have at last been filled in satisfactorily. I too had to send off my driving licence to have it renewed so that was another photo and form for the DVLA and trip to the post office. I some how feel naked without my licence in my wallet. Then came a phone call which raised my spirits - an invitation to go hunting with Basso on Tuesday. Jeff my brother in law is going to join us as he has never been rough shooting before but is an adequate clay pigeon shot so it will be a nice new experience for him. I am fairly confident that Basso will be a good boy as he has shown great potential on previous occasions. This will be the last opportunity for shooting as the season ends at the beginning of February. Then the pheasants are safe to nest in pea…

Wednesday and bin day

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The flower on the strelitzia is growing and developing as you can see. Yesterday was a pretty grey day but we have been forecast snow for today, however, I think we might just miss the white stuff. I had a relatively quiet day and once I had made the pork rillettes that was the end of my cooking for the day. I went to the bakers and bought a loaf of bread and a couple of pasties for lunch as Elaine was going to be with us. We had two goes at getting her passport forms filled in but do you think we could both get it right on the same piece of paper? as they are read electronically you cannot correct any mistakes. I guess we will probably have another go today and we both need to be left quietly to fill in our respective parts of the form as it is going to take concentration!!!! Can you believe we are such Wallies? The dogs ended up with a couple of walks to the post office to collect more forms but they didn't seem to mind and it is all good obedience practice. I notice th…

Tuesday morning

Isn't January a boring month? or is it just me. Perhaps it is the anticlimax following Christmas but the weeks seem to drag. I suppose being ill for three weeks doesn't help matters much either. The weather has not really helped though I must admit I do love the snow. Yesterday I managed to get the dogs out for a walk and also to get round Tesco to restock on some bits and pieces. Suddenly I had a deep desire for a nice roast chicken so I bought a good one and with a view to the following soup I also bought a turkey leg. The piece of belly pork was cooked and ready by the time we got home and the remains of that are going to make some pork rillettes for lunch today. I also restocked with fruit so we are back to fruit salad for breakfast this morning.

I had a wander around the garden yesterday and was surprised to note that there is still a large chunk of ice in the pond. The whole place looks very sad and in need of some care, which will need to be a priority fairly so…

Monday morning

Well what a glorious day we had yesterday it was like a warm spring day and almost everybody was out walking. When we took the dogs to Riverside country park they had already instituted the overflow car parking there were so many people there. I think everyone was taking the opportunity for some fresh air after days of being house bound. As you can imagine the dogs were delighted and not only did they get a walk they found lots of friends to play with. Basso had a huge game with a 15 month old great Dane who, for once, was bigger than him. The Dane was delighted too as most dogs shy away from him because of his size. The two of them spent ages playing chase and boxing with each other. I must admit that I was grateful as it meant he was exhausted without me having to walk miles.
I did the dreaded picking up job in the garden and there must have been 20 kg of poo what a job! anyway it's done now and I hope I never have to leave it that long again...
The chocolate and beetroot …

Sunday morning

By rights I should be going shooting but I think this early on in my recovery it would be foolish. I shall start reintroducing myself to the great out doors with a walk for the poor house bound dogs. Now that the snow has cleared I can see that, what had been a lawn, is in fact a large dog toilet so there is a job that needs doing sooner rather than later. I was going to do it yesterday but it poured with rain for most of the day. The huge paroxysms of coughing have diminished in regularity and duration so I feel that a corner has been turned and I slept for a good long time during the night so I feel a bit more rested this morning. I did a couple of loads of washing yesterday but never got as far as drying them so a couple of trips to the tumble dryer will be needed. It is in the garage so it is easily forgotten.
The shin beef that cooked away merrily yesterday was very nice and warming and I made a batch of dumplings to sop up the gravy - there is enough left for another bash…

Saturday and hopefully on the mend

Well for once in my life I not only took my own advice but that of others too. I rang the doctor on the stoke of 9am only to discover that they had had a major crash with their computers so the receptionist took my phone number and said the doctor would ring me back!!! Ten minutes later he did just that and I explained that we both had chest infections secondary to colds and were coughing up gold watches so it was a staph aureus infection . He checked if we were allergic to antibiotics and then told us to come and collect a prescription in half an hour. What a fabulously efficient system so much better that the usual. We shot down and collected the said items then dropped off at the chemist and got them filled and were home by just after 10am. I had fed and watered the chickens earlier and the ox tail was bubbling in the slow cooker so there was nothing else that had to be done and we both took to our beds and watched rubbish. For lunch we had a pasty that I purchased at the ba…

Friday and the end of another week

Morning all - what a night - my chest infection seems to be settling in a major way. I think it is time to break out the antibiotics. Mike is coughing for England so I am going to send him to the doctor this morning and see how he gets on. That is all supposing he can get an appointment to see one of them.
The snow is gradually melting and we are now over 3 degrees so quite warm really but the snow is taking its time to go. Yesterday, was a really wet day and it rained for several hours you would have thought that it would have washed away the last of the snow but no such luck. Today we are dry but quite foggy so another pretty unpleasant day.
I set to yesterday morning and made the scotch eggs - what a lot of messing around. Peeling a dozen quail eggs is no mean feat as they are pigs to shell. I mixed some black pudding in with the sausage meat and then wrapped each little egg then it was on to the flour egg and breadcrumb stage and finally the deep fat frying. I must say that…

Thursday and above zero

Well it is positively tropical here this morning with temperature at just short of 3 degrees. Yesterday, it snowed continuously from about 7am through till about 2pm when in finally stopped but it was that very thin snow so it didn't make any impact on what was still on the ground. We, took the bull by the horns, and went on a shopping expedition which meant a trip to Faversham to restock with coffee and flour. We also called in to a butcher at Brodgdale which where the national collection of apples is kept. I restocked with an assortment of meats which should keep us going for some time. The only problem with this type of shopping is that when you finally arrive home exhausted there is still an hours work to do putting thing away and sorting the meat into manageable portions before it finally gets put into the freezer. I have also learned that what is obviously lamb when fresh is just a brown lump when frozen so labeling is very important. Fortunately, we had taken Elaine…

Wednesday still below zero

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At last!!! the bud has started to open and the first flower is showing itself in all its gaudy glory. Yesterday was a pretty dull day - Jane came and gave the house the once over and I got a load of washing on and made a corned beef hash for lunch. I made it bright and early so that the chickens could have the potato peelings which they love. Elaine came and we got the photograph and forms filled in for her and the youngest Jamie. The book of rules for filling in the passport form is getting thicker every time I see it. She had brought with her some hot cross buns so we had them toasted and buttered. We had intended to go shopping but neither Mike nor I felt much like it so we frittered away the afternoon watching TV he likes the snooker but I watched the programs I had missed the previous evening when I fell asleep. For dinner we had the first take away of the year a really lovely curry from a new curry house. Everything was very fresh and the chicken was tender and moist - m…

Tuesday and thawing gently

I'm up bright and early this morning but that is my own fault as I was sound asleep by 8.30 last night. Having moaned about my back and knee yesterday it is only fair to tell you they are much better today. I did every thing wrong and spent a couple of hours bent double in the freezing cold garage plucking four wild ducks. By rights I should be completely incapacitated today but that is not the case!!!! The ducks arrived courtesy of Sandi whose friend shot them on Saturday night. There were 2 small ducks and two large mallard size ducks. Once plucked and drawn I filleted off the breasts of the larger ducks and put the carcasses in the oven for a bit of a roast prior to making some stock. I then added the small ducks whole and gave them a bit of a roast then after resting them for ten minutes I took the breasts off and added them to our supper of homemade crumpets toasted and covered in saute mushroom and garlic not a bad meal if I say so myself.
The carcasses of all the duc…

Monday and back to the freezer

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This is a photo of my strelitzia plant which is pretty unprepossessing and I have been nurturing for some 3 years but if you look in the centre you will see a flower bud. Every morning I come down and look to see if it has opened but the bud seems to be very tightly curled so it might be a while yet. As a tropical plant the last thing I expected was for it to flower in the depths of winter perhaps my central heating needs turning down!!!! Anyway now for a moan since I got my cold I also got sciatica which is not something I have had since I was pregnant which is quite some time ago. Until yesterday it was just a nuisance and felt like I was being poked in the bum by a billiard cue but the pain has shifted to the outer aspect of my right knee and is now very painful when I walk. Sadly I don't think there is anything much I can do about it except get on with it. However, if it persist for more than a week I will make an appointment to see the osteopath and not leave it for 3 mon…

Sunday morning and above zero

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Well actually it is 1 degree - we have had no significant snow fall over night and yesterdays blizzard only added about half an inch. At the moment there is now sign of the high winds we have been forecast it is absolutely still outside. I had a bit of a digging session yesterday morning and cleared a bit of a pathway to the chickens and also the front path. I also made a hole in the ice on the pond to let the gas escape. I usually do this with a baked bean tin stood on the ice and topped up with boiling water from the kettle. If you bash the ice it does the fish no good at all as the shock waves can kill them. I can only hope that the bees are OK and tucked up warm in the centre of the hive. I have been putting the chickens water bowl in the centre of the glasshouse and though it gets an icy rim it doesn't freeze over completely. They are still laying well and last week I gave away two dozen eggs and still have plenty left for us. In fact we had jacket potatoes with egg may…

Saturday and freezing

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We are still below freezing here and there is no sign of that changing in the near future in fact we are bracing ourselves for more snow and high winds. I took the dogs for a nice walk in the woods with Elaine and her twin girls but it turned into a blizzard so we headed back to her house for some leek and potato soup and hot crusty bread. The girls had also made some chocolate chip biscuits which we had for desert. The snow was coming down heavily so we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and headed for home before the roads got too bad. The lamb stew, that I had made for dinner, got put on hold as Mike had motored through a large slab of Christmas cake with his tea. Anyway, it has given me the opportunity to de-grease it this morning now that it is cold. Sadly although shoulder has a very good flavour it is quite fatty and needs a bit more work. Today I thought I would get on with some laundry as I have a couple of machine loads waiting to be done and the be…

Friday and the big freeze continues

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Should I worry about Basso? he seems to have a predilection for ladies under garments which he steals from the laundry. Perhaps this is normal behaviour for young men!!!!! At least he hasn't taken to wearing them yet. We have had no further snow over night but looking at the forecast we can expect yet more over the next few days together with some strong winds straight from Siberia. It looks like I will be trapped in doors for some time yet. Fortunately, my vegetables made it through yesterday so we do a least have them to be going on with. I thought I would make a big pot of lamb stew with an assortment of winter vegetables which should keep us nice and warm. This weather really doesn't lend itself to salads!!! I spent some time yesterday clearing the snow from the foot paths and the car only to have it all obliterated by the next fall so I guess I will get to repeat the performance again today. The only consolation is that there will be that much less to move. Mikes c…

Thursday and more snow

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So what do you do when you are trapped in the house by the snow? Well I made crumpets and this morning they will be cut in half and toasted for breakfast. I had watched the Hairy bikers make them on the TV the night before and as I had all the ingredients it seemed like a good idea to while away the time. I had started the morning off by sorting out the chickens and shifting the snow from the front path. Since the latest fall you would never know I had done anything as we had another 3-4 inches in the afternoon and apparently there is more to come. I will have another go this morning and try to keep a clear path between the house and the car which is now under several inches. I feel so sorry for the poor people who are battling to go to work and spending hours on station platforms waiting for trains that are not coming. My thermometer on the house wall is reading -3.2 this morning so it must be more like -5 as it is very sheltered. Did any of you watch the Horizon program on dogs…

Wednesday and more snow

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This photo was of the snow fall in 1981 and we are nowhere near this yet. We have had another sprinkling over night but nothing significant yet though the weather forecast is for more snow. I remember this particular snow fall as I had just had a hysterectomy and the hospital was snowed in and had started to run out of food so I was sent home in a long wheelbase military land rover. When the driver saw the snow he refused to take the vehicle down our road and enquired if I could walk, which I said I could, but could not manage my case. He offered to carry the case and walk me to the door. When I got out of the landrover, dressed in only my nightie, dressing gown and slippers I discovered that the snow came up to the tops of my thighs and froze some very interesting parts of my anatomy. Photographs bring back some interesting memories!!!!!I took the dogs for a walk in the woods yesterday then headed for Tesco to get a few bits and pieces - I could hardly believe my eyes the queue…

Tuesday and below zero still

The freezing weather continues and we have been forecast a big snow fall either today or tomorrow. I must admit that I quite enjoy the feeling of being snug and warm and looking out at a white world. I know it is no joke for those who have to struggle to get to work and for them I feel sorry.
My cold seems to be alternating between good days to rotten days. Today I feel better which is probably just as well as both Mike and I were pretty rough yesterday. I managed to get all my chores done early and before I fell apart. The ironing got done and is gradually making its way back upstairs in dribs and drabs. Jane is due today so the house will get a bit of a clean which is desperately needed. I spent some time in the kitchen and made the pigeon breast terrine which I will slice for lunch today and put the remainder in the freezer in manageable portions. The pheasant breast with horseradish which we had for supper was absolutely delicious and a recipe I will do again. I'm sur…

Monday and sub zero

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Today we have a picture of Tuc who discovered that he was not able to walk on water yesterday. I think he thought he could take a short cut across the pond which has been frozen hard but the ice gave way and in he went. What a sorry sight he was when he came in soaking wet and shivering violently. I scooped him up in a warm towel and took him to my bedroom where I spent some time drying him with the hair dryer. Normally he hates the hair dryer but he seemed to understand it was the right thing in the circumstances. Once this drama was over we headed out for a walk in the woods and then on to Sainsbury and M&S where Mike purchased new socks and I have new pants for the new decade!!!! I then bought the ingredients to make the pigeon terrine which is today's task. I also bought some sirloin steaks for a quick lunch but despite being the 21 day matured meat they were pretty tough. There would seem to be a big difference between matured and hung - I believe the matured meat i…

Sunday and feeling more human

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Well yesterday I did a passable impression of a sloth but if the truth be told it didn't make me feel any better so today I am resolved to getting my act together, starting with a luxurious soak in the bath. Then it is off to the shops to buy a few bits and pieces Mike wants some new socks and I thought I would treat myself to some new underwear. I also need a few ingredients to make a pigeon terrine and the pheasant breasts will be served with a cream and horseradish sauce which sounds nice in the book. At the moment the birds are hanging in the garage and I intend to skin them rather than pluck which is so much easier. On the subject of food I found a pie in the freezer which I had failed to label so it could have been anything but as it turned out it was a cottage/Cumberland pie that I had made - well all I can say is what a difference between that and the slurry pie from Tesco. We also treated ourselves to a desert of sorts "affogato di cafe" which is an espres…

Saturday and freezing

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Not a brilliant photo but it should give you the flavour of our hunting expedition yesterday. We set out at about 10 am only to find that the little country road were all but impassable to anyone without a 4x4. The snow was quite thick and had laid on the roads so the hills were interesting! Basso did his stuff brilliantly and gave us a demonstration of pointing when he fixed a pheasant in some deep cover only feet from where we were standing. It gave the guns time to load before I sent him in to flush the bird. Sadly for us it headed straight for some farm buildings and so got away with nothing but a fright. Not all the birds were so lucky and I came home with a hen pheasant and 3 pigeons. I feel a game pie coming on a nice bit of smokey bacon and some onions should complete the ingredients. We stopped for lunch at about 1pm and I shared equally my two rounds of bacon and tomato sandwiches with Basso. We then moved on to the second location a couple of miles away where we di…

2010 Happy New Year

Well here we go a new year and I am glad to say I feel marginally better this morning. My nose has largely stopped running but I now have a bit of a cough as things move down the pipes. Last night I had a fairly fiery curry which contains many ingredients that are good for colds turmeric onions and garlic all have anti bacterial effects and strangely enough that is what I was craving.

Anyway on to today I am going to wrap myself up very well with my silk long johns and jodhpurs two pairs of pop socks inside my boots and a thick viyella shirt and fleece under my padded body warmer. A pair of warm gloves and a hat should complete the outfit. I don't think I would win any prizes for fashion but I should stay good and warm. I will take a flask of hot tea and my hip flask with some bullace gin though I will have to be careful as I am driving I think the gin will be for the other party members. I will stick to tea and day nurse to keep me on my feet. For lunch I will make a cou…