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Showing posts from July, 2010

Saturday and the end of another month

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Blueberries netted to keep the birds off. I have three blueberry plants all of which have to be grown in pots as my soil is alkaline and they like it acid however they seem to be quite happy and are producing lots of fruit. The weather this morning is looking pretty grey and overcast and we did have some rain during the night. Not really enough to do much good but certainly enough to wet the washing which was left of the line. Of course the things I had left on the line were those heavier items which were still damp so now they are pretty wet however it is not worth taking them in to re spin so they can take their chances on the line and will hopefully be dry by the end of the day. I picked the last of the gooseberries and made a gooseberry fool with the left over cream which we had for lunch. For supper we had pasta and home made pesto then some cold smoked chicken and French bean salad. I always buy a smoked chicken in France as they are very delicious and not to expensive. I …

Friday and nearly lunch time!!!

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I had a very slothful day yesterday and just pottered in the kitchen dealing with the left overs and my new delivery of vegetables. I made a large pan of Kedgeree which got rid of some smoked salmon which had not been adequately cured before smoking. I must say it was very delicious. I also picked and dealt with the peas and French beans some of which I have put in a jar covered with oil and some of which I have made into a salad with garlic. I also made a batch of courgette pancakes with some goats cheese which have been relegated to the freezer. The vegetable box contained a large bunch of Basil so I will be making pesto today for lunch and possibly some for the freezer.
I expect you are wondering why I am so late in posting well that is easy I have only just awakened following a really rotten night - I was unable to get to sleep until gone 1am and consequently I was still blotto at 7.30. I know that this a more normal time but very unusual for me and even the dogs were quite …

Thursday and sunny and warm

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David is cleaning my gun after a lovely mornings shooting. We had set off at about 10.15 to get to the club by opening time of 10.30 and were surprised to see it very crowded. However we managed our round in about an hour and half which is quite good for a busy day. I was delighted with my shooting and managed a 9/10 on the first stand things went a bit down hill after that but it was generally a good round and I ended up with a respectable score only 10 behind David. We decided to have a burger at the van for lunch - when I say burger that is not only a burger but onions bacon cheese and egg as well and all for the paltry sum of £3. Once we got home we had desert in the form of the remaining Ambassador cake and cups of tea before David and Jackie made their way home to Ketton. Sadly it took them two and half hours as there was some sort of hold up on the M2. I then took myself to bed and slept like the dead. I love having visitors but it is very tiring so today I am going to…

Wednesday and bin day

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Washing fox poo off the dogs as you can see Basso has suffered no ill effects from his stupidity..... while we were out walking yesterday both the small terriers decided to roll in fox poo so before we put them into the car for the ride home I had to wash them off in the only bit of water available. Once I got them home it was a proper bath to get ride of the smell. I can only thank my lucky stars that it was the Nip and Tuc who rolled and not Basso. The photo is taken as a still shot from the full length feature film that Jackie shot with the Flip camera. On the way home we bought a large punnet of the blackest and sweetest cherries ever which we have been steadily munching our way through. It was a very hot and sultry day yesterday with the odd shower but even the rain did nothing for the sticky feel of the day. We managed to get the salmon smoked early in the morning before the rain started and it is now hanging to dry off. For lunch we had the cold Sirloin which I had thinly…

Tuesday morning

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The daily bounty from my hens. As a general rule they each lay an egg per day with odd days when there are only 3. At this point they are threatened with the stock pot which seems to do the trick.
My preparations for yesterday went well and Mark did a wonderful job of the garden making it look tidy and cared for, which is what I wanted. My guests didn't arrive until 8.30 which meant it was a good job that supper was only 12 minutes in the oven and then served. We have had some rain over night so everything looks fresh and clean and it feels a little less sultry this morning.
Basso made a big mistake yesterday, while I was caring the salmon from the garage to the kitchen a large chunk of the curing mixture [salt sugar and pepper] fell to the floor - I told him not to eat it but he knew best and munched it down before I could do a thing about it. Well within 5 minutes he got his comeuppance. He was mortally "tom and dick" and continued to vomit for about an hour. …

Monday morning and late for me

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I woke early this morning at 4 but decided I needed more sleep and so just turned over and went back to sleep. This is something I don't normally do as I usually end up with the mother and father of all head aches so fingers crossed this doesn't happen today.
I motored through my list of jobs yesterday and was very happy when I got to the end of the list. My visitors are coming late this evening so I have another day of jobs ahead of me. I stripped out and aired their room but today it needs making up ready for them. The weather was a bit strange with a morning of rain well I say rain but it was more a sort of misty drizzle and it is doing the same this morning. However, come lunch time, it was dry sunny and hot so my washing was all dry by the late afternoon. My first job this morning is to take the salmon out of its cure and rinse it off then put it to dry for 24 hours prior to smoking. Then I need to get the garden free of dog poo before Mark arrives. He has a super …

Sunday morning

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Paddling or swimming in the Medway depending on the length of your legs!!!!
Yesterday was a fairly busy day but today is going to be even busier, my list of jobs has hardly subsided at all. At the moment it is still pitch dark outside but as soon as it gets light I want to get some water on the lawn. Then hopefully Mark will run his mower over it on Monday and it will look marginally better than it does at the moment. I want to get the outdoor jobs done early as it gets a bit warm in the sun. Next, I have to tackle the bedroom that my guests are having which means transferring Mike to the back room and stripping the bed and remaking it - not to mention a good dust and hoover as the little dogs usually sleep in there. Then I need to crack on with my cake making which once done can sit in the fridge out of the way. I have a nice piece of sirloin to roast for lunch but the bulk of it is destined to be pressed and served cold for Tuesday lunch.
Last night we had a bit of a disaster…

Saturday morning

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It is another weekend and now the kids are on holiday we tend to stay put and keep away from the crowds. Yesterday I spent hours trying to stabilise wobbly film with no real success I have come to the conclusion that it is beyond me. So then I completed the feeding of information into the E wallet that Anne recommended. It is a really good program but you do have to spend some time setting it up. We went through our box of documents and put all the serial numbers and contact detail on to the computer so now as it is synchronised to my iPad we have the information in many forms. Hopefully if we get burgled they will not get all the information and we can notify all the right people. It also makes it much easier to check the various accounts as all the passwords and user names are in one place. It took me the best part of the morning to finish doing all the data loading so lunch was left overs from the previous day and dinner was a test run of a new take away Indian. The Indian f…

Friday

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France in the sun shine. We had a really nice day yesterday we left home at about 8.15 and made our to collect our friends then on down to the terminal at Folkstone. The self check in is now very sophisticated and as we drove up the machine greeted us by name. It is all done by the numberplate recognition system. Then it was on to the train for the 35 minutes across the channel. We arrived in Calais to a deluge but it was just a passing shower and by the time we had made our way to the restaurant it was brilliant sunshine. We had a long leisurely lunch including starters of fish soup, pate, and scallops and followed with main courses of pork chop, boeuf bourguignon and racks of lamb deserts included chocolate mousse assorted ice creams and crème caramel. Nothing terribly exciting but all well cooked and very pleasing. We then made our way to the shopping centre at "cite Europe" which was very quiet with acres of space in the car parks and the shopping mall all but d…
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These are a photos taken as a snap shot from a piece of video I took while out walking yesterday. I am at last beginning to get the hang of all this new tech. Sadly on the way back the tide had gone out and Basso decided to go in search of the water. He was covered in mud up to his elbows so when we got home I took him straight into the garden and did my stuff with the hose and got him all clean. I then went into the kitchen to start the lunch but noticed when he came in from the garden he was black again!!!! The little darling had been and had a dig in one of the flower beds and was again filthy. At this point I banged him up in his crate to dry off - he was totally un-phased and just went to sleep!!!! I also had a go in the garden between the showers and finally managed to plant out the Japanese vegetables that my neighbour had given me some time ago. Now I must remember to keep them well watered if they are to survive. The ground is as dry as a biscuit despite all the rain w…

Wednesday and still dark

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You really notice that the the days are getting shorter when you get up very early as I do. It is 4. 45 and still pitch dark though the sky s beginning to lighten in the east. A few weeks ago it was light by now. Yesterday was a hot one again but it was not sunny it was heavily overcast which made for a very muggy feel. Jane arrived bright and early and had some photos of a house that she had cleaned as a one off. It was like the ones you see on "how clean is your house" it is hard to believe that anyone can live in such filth. Anyway the before and after photos show what a couple of hours of hard graft can achieve. Terry arrived on time and we went and had a look at the bees immediately. I was pleased that he confirmed my suspicion that one hive is on the way out and the other is doing OK but not brilliantly. He also agreed with me that there is no point in taking the honey off this year I might just as well leave what there is to feed the bees over the winter. I …

Tuesday 20th July

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Tree lily is in bloom thought the photo doesn't show it this lily is over a meter tall. They look particularly stunning against the dark foliage of the sambucus nigra [black elder]. The rest of the garden is now suffering again from the lack of water and the very hot weather. Yesterday was up in the high 20's and it is still 20 degrees this morning at 5 am so we are in for another hot one. I find that the hot weather really saps my energy and leaves me feeling very lethargic. This morning Terry is coming round to have a look at my bees so I will be taking a Piriton first thing which will make me even more sleepy. Jane is due this morning also and with me running at half capacity she will have plenty to do.
I was very sad to read in the local press that the council are withdrawing the free swimming for old farts which has been such a god send. Oh well, I guess we all have to make sacrifices. I was just about to start going again once the eye is 100% and now that my back…

Monday morning

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Well after yesterdays pantomime I am sticking to photos. However if I get some decent footage of Basso in full flight I will post it with the link. Now first I have to thank Anne for putting me on to eWallet. It seems to be a great program but boy am I going to have some fun loading all the information on to it however I guess once it is done that is it. Currently I am running the free for 30 days version on my desk top but purchased the app for the iPad and after a bit of jiggery pokery the two are talking to one another. Some time ago I made little note pads with all our essential information like bank addresses and phone numbers and insurance details. I keep one in the car and one in the caravan and most of it is on my mobile phone so I should always have the right information no matter where I am. However, now that so much is done on line there are all the passwords and pin numbers to remember as well. It is good that I have this to occupy me as it prevents me from doing thi…

Sunday and an experiment

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I was going to take the camera with me while walking the dogs yesterday but I forgot it so I have just taken a few seconds of the garden as I let the dogs out. I am now having a go at uploading it and hope it turns out OK. I spent yesterday generally sorting out paper work and checking all the bank and credit card stuff. What a pain it all is having so many pin numbers memorable dates customer numbers etc... Anyway it is all done so that is one good job done. I then settled to doing the crossword puzzle which kept me out of mischief for some time. As you will see from the garden there are some daisies that desperately need cutting back but I am resisting the temptation to get out there and do the job. This is so frustrating!!!! For lunch we had a combination salad it started life as potato salad but then I added some extras in the form of hard boiled eggs and a tin of tuna and some olives, not satisfied with that I added tomatoes and cucumber - sounds like a total mess but actu…

Saturday morning

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This is the month for the hemerocallis to bloom and though they only last a day they are very beautiful. Yesterday was a day of rest while the wind blew the garden to bits. My next door neighbour has put her whirly washing line in a heavy umbrella base which seems like a good idea but the wind yesterday threw the whole lot, washing and all, into her pond. So perhaps going to the trouble of digging a hole and making a concrete fixing is actually the way to go. The dogs are settling back into their normal routine though I did have some discipline problems with Tuc who is normally the most mild mannered of dogs. He suddenly decided that he was the gate keeper of the dog flap and refused to let the other pass. Well I had a word in his ear about who is in charge and I hope that has solved the issue. I am finding it really difficult not to do certain jobs there are plants which need planting and some that need cutting back all of which I am not supposed to do. I think I may have a pot…

Friday morning and raining

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Another lovely bunch of flowers from yesterdays visitors. Alstromerias and lilies so the smell of the lilies is over powering but at least the room doesn't smell of dogs. The day went well and all the catering was successful. The new oven is very good and cooks beautifully evenly so the scallops were wonderful. We sat about chatting for most of the day as it is ages since I have seen my sister in law - her husband I see regularly as we shoot together. We made one foray up the garden in between down pours to see how the wind had beaten everything flat. Apparently we are in for another day of heavy rain and strong winds so I think I will be having a day of rest today. Once they had left I realised that I had nothing for supper but fortunately my box of vegetables had arrived so I set to and shelled some fresh peas and broad beans and washed off the spinach I then made a risotto primavera with all the lovely veg and some crème fraiche which was lurking in the fridge. The addi…

Thusday

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Yesterday was quite a busy one Nip and Tuc were returned home from their holiday with Len and Margaret. They seemed in fine fettle and pleased to be home again I think Basso was pleased to see them too as it had been a bit lonely for him for the last couple of days. Margaret was keen to have a look at the local tennis club which is half way down our road and to all intents and purposes you would never know it was there. It is approached by what looks like a drive way to a block of garages but then it opens out into a lovely walled area with three grass courts which are surrounded by the back gardens of the houses. They play on Wednesday evenings and both Saturday and Sunday lunch time. Margaret used to be a keen tennis player but hasn't played for a while due to some health problems but she is now much fitter and keen to start playing again. Once this mission was completed we had our lunch of soup and bread and fortunately there was one portion left. Just as we were finishi…

Wednesday and bin day

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This is a photo from the Spinone web site of Basso, Mike and I facing the the trainer before we made chumps of ourselves. Well, yesterday was a good day Jane arrived at 9am and between the two of us we gave the dining-room a bit of a blitz. I stripped out the welsh dresser and all the china and glass was given a good wash. It is quite amazing how grubby it all gets. I got most of the slobber off the walls but the ceiling will have to wait until we repaint which I feel is a job that needs doing sooner rather than later. I had a bit of potato salad left and so added a few hard boiled eggs and tomatoes to it and made a general salad for lunch. For dinner I treated myself to some real fried chicken which was egg and bread crumbed with panko crumbs so it was amazingly crisp. This was had with some tender stem broccoli as a nod to healthy eating!!!! The eye is doing well and I managed to get the assorted eye drops administered as prescribed. I am not good at doing eye drops to myself…

Tuesday

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Good morning from a very damp but clear and very brightly coloured Kent. This morning was the grand unveiling of the new eye and my vision is crystal clear but very colourful, the extremely grey sky looks quite blue with my new lens. Now I am going to put you in the picture of how things went so that if you every find yourself facing the prospect you will have some information on what to expect. I arrived at the allotted time of 8.30 am and was quickly ushered into a cubicle with a nice comfy chair. My details were checked and a nice big arrow drawn on my forehead marking the eye to be operated on. I then had eye drops instilled at 5 minute intervals starting with the pupil dilating ones then followed by the anaesthetic ones. I was then collected in a wheel chair and ushered into the theatre and laid on the table which had nice soft cushions. My eye was cleaned with Betadine which was a bit disconcerting as iodine in the eye would normally sting like hell but this time no pain.…

Monday morning

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Basso and some of his friends have a beach party.
Well what a few day we have had!!! The weather has been wonderful if a little on the hot side. As you can imagine a caravan can build up quite some heat sat out in the sun for 12 hours. The Labrador party weekend was great fun and we all gathered around for a fish and chip supper on the Friday night. There must have been at least 40 dogs and not a single problem among them. We had spent some time at the beach on Friday morning as the dogs were all getting a bit hot. There is nothing like a dip in the sea to cool you down!!! The site which had been all but empty was suddenly full to capacity with kids on bikes and dogs of all shapes and sizes every imaginable shape of tent or make of caravan. Saturday was much the same with swimming expeditions and shopping for the barbecue that evening. The food cost £5 per head and there was enough for an army. We all ate our fill and the even the dogs were factored in with extra sausages. Ne…

Wednesday and bin day

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The garden looks nice and tidy after Marks visit yesterday. We had an interesting day yesterday as the post delivered some asparagus crowns which can be grown in Eco bags so that was an added job that I really didn't need. However, they are now planted behind the green house and all we need to do is wait for 3 years before we have edible spears, well that's the theory anyway!!! The postman brough something else that I had ordered which is a Flip camcorder. Mike was so taken by the simple operation and tiny size of the camera that we used at the dog show that he really fancied one. He never usually fancies anything so I acted promptly and low and behold it arrived in time for our holiday. It is one of the most simple bits of kit I have ever seen and totally idiot proof and best of all the size of a mobile phone so it fits in a pocket. The quality is lovely and it makes its own adjustments for the light conditions. I could really sell these things!!!! Anyway this morning i…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterday was a nice quiet day sorting out the bits and pieces before we go on our holiday. This morning I will get the washing all sorted not that we need much for a 5 day break. I pack things that I have brought back from the van for washing into a basket and that way it is always read to go straight back. Which means that all I have to do is pack a few clothes for us and empty the fridge of anything that might spoil. We tend to shop once we have arrived so other than a bit of milk for tea and some bits for breakfast that is all the food I take. The van has a supply of tinned food for emergency and the basics like salt a pepper oil and vinegar. It takes me longer to pack for the dogs than it does for us. The flip camera I ordered for Mike is on route according to Amazon but as it is coming Royal Mail who knows when it will arrive. I spent some time yesterday checking to see if I could convert the out put film to mp4 so that it can be down loaded to the ipad. All seems possi…

Monday morning

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Basso gets the once over!!! Well what a day, we made good time in getting to Windsor and parked the car with little trouble close to the entry gate. In the program there was a bench number and we had to make our way to the tent where the benches were situated and find our entry number which is then pinned on to your clothes for the judges to see. Then came the long wait nearly 3 hours while the large Munsterlanders were judged. We had secured ring side seats in the shade but to our surprise there was a force nine gale blowing and we actually got cold. Anyway to cut a very long story short after all that Basso was VHC [ very highly commended] so not placed. At which point I breathed a sigh of relief and we decided that showing was not for us. However, the group of Spinone owners next to us were appalled and told us to pay no attention to the result as the judge was a general judge and didn't know the breed. They were all in agreement that we should persevere as Basso was a lo…

Sunday Windsor dog show

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Today is the day we are off to the Windsor Dog Show, let's hope Basso is a good boy. Yesterday was a more pleasant day with slightly less heat and a gentle breeze. The promised rain never happened so copious watering will be in order this evening. Shiona got off early to the hairdresser and we baby sat her dogs who were very happy just to lie about the place and sleep so it was hardly noticeable that we had 5 dogs in the house. I got out of the freezer one of the chicken curries that I had made some time ago which was fine for Mike and I for supper. For lunch we had the remains of the prawn tortilla and some salad followed by strawberries and cream. Once Shiona had left, at about 3pm, I took off to my bed for some much needed sleep. Mike had had a run to Tesco and bought some bits and pieces for lunch today as we have decided to take a picnic with us rather than buy food at the show. He also bought a copy of the Telegraph so that I could do the general knowledge crossword. …

Saturday morning and black overhead

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Picture of the cones on my Korean fir tree - they are the deepest shade of purple. I spent some time watering the vegetables last evening but it looks like we could get some rain as the sky is looking very ominous. Yesterday was a killingly hot day and after a lunch of poached salmon new potatoes and salad James packed his bags and left for London. It was lovely to have him here for a few days and I think he managed to relax a little and get some sleep which he desperately needed. It was also nice to have an extra pair of hands with the general chores and to make the odd cup of tea. I was pleased with my technical stuff and managed to download a program that converts DVD's to mp4 format which can then be transferred into itunes and from there to the ipad. I now have 7 films on the pad to watch at my leisure and James took the DVD's home to watch all in all an excellent solution. Still on a technical note the router arrived by courier in the early afternoon so I unpacked…

Friday

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Out walking down by the estuary generally early in the morning as it gets too hot quite quickly. Yesterday being the first of the month we started the day with our monthly chores. All three dogs get some "Thornit" powder in their ears which helps to ward off problems with ear mites. then the meters were read and the numbers pumped down the wires to the supply company. I too keep a tally on a spread sheet so that I can work out a rough figure of the price per unit of both the gas and the electric. Trying to work it out from the bills is just to complicated so I just write down the number of units used and the price paid and divide one by the other. It is also interesting to see what is happening to our consumption of both. I am hoping that the A rated oven is going to make some difference as it should be much more efficient. That done I cracked off the ironing while it was still cool and then moved on to making a quiche for supper. It was one way of using up various od…

Thusday morning and marginally cooler

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A pretty unflattering photo taken at the dog training day. Well yesterday was a day of gradual winding down people got up in dribs and drabs and though offered breakfast there were no takers so it was just buckets of hot coffee. Then Shiona and her two dogs packed up and left and James also left to go and visit his friends down near Dover. Mike and I just fiddled around tidying up and organising - my current router [Belkin] is a real trial and keeps dropping out so I am constantly having to reboot it. I therefore rang my supplier which happens to be Virgin and asked if I could have one of theirs. The cost would have been £50 but they have a special deal if I up grade my supply to 20mg I can have the router for free and the upgrade only costs and extra £5 for the first 6 months. So if I remember to cancel the upgrade, which I don't need, in a couple of months I will have got the router very cheap. I am hoping that this will solve the problem. This morning I have a pile of iro…