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Showing posts from September, 2010

Thursday morning

Yesterday was a pretty naff day both Mike and I felt pretty miserable and despite my good intentions the dogs never got their walk. I did manage to make a couple of tubs of tomato sauce and we ended up having just mince and potatoes with runner beans rather than a cottage pie.  However, now for the good news today for the first time in ages I feel well.  I had a good nights sleep and woke without a major coughing fit.

The hens seem to be happy in their new accommodation and have churned the soil up to cover the path already.  As you open the green house door there is a wonderful smell of thyme mint and chives all of which the hens are trampling down and presumably munching on.  The garden looks nice and tidy following Marks visit and I picked a nice bunch of runner beans and a container full of blueberries so the garden is still productive.  We had lots of rain in the evening and over night but the sky looks clear this morning with just a gently breeze.  I had better not fail the dog…

Wednesday morning

It is hard to believe but I have only just woken up and it is 7.45 nearly lunch time in my book.  I must have slept very soundly last night and now that the coughing is diminishing that is much easier.  I did have a pretty busy day yesterday what with Jane and Mark both here in the morning.  I finished all the ironing and found that working with a steam generator iron was positively comforting to my chest but stripping and remaking beds was exhausting.  I managed to move the hens to their winter quarters and they are now happily scratching around in the green house amongst the tomato plants.  This means that I only need one trip per day to feed and water and collect eggs  which cuts the work by half.  Both Jane and Mark left with half a dozen eggs each which has reduced the numbers some what.
The weather here is damp and overcast but not actually raining and the temperature is in double figures so not that unpleasant.  I am going to take the dogs out for a bit of a run today thought …

Tuesday and a bit warmer

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Well the gun got cleaned and put away but sadly the ironing is still piling up in the corner.  I did however do the the dog poo in the garden in anticipation of Mark coming today.   Sue my next door neighbour came round and asked if she could take the dogs for a walk - well I jumped at the offer as I have been feeling so guilty about neglecting them.  She managed all three of them and while Basso was a bit of a handful initially he soon calmed down.  They came home happy and exhausted and spent the rest of the day dozing peacefully.  I made some chicken cakes [along the lines of fish cakes] with some crispy bacon added for flavour which we had with a tomato salad for lunch and dinner was just a mug of hot chicken stock and a slice of toast.  I find myself running out of gas very quickly and by about 4 pm I am all but useless.
Today Jane is coming to work her magic on the house which will make me feel better I'm sure and I will make a concerted effort to sort out the laundry.  Mar…
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Well the gun got cleaned and put away but sadly the ironing is still piling up in the corner.  I did however do the the dog poo in the garden in anticipation of Mark coming today.   Sue my next door neighbour came round and asked if she could take the dogs for a walk - well I jumped at the offer as I have been feeling so guilty about neglecting them.  She managed all three of them and while Basso was a bit of a handful initially he soon calmed down.  They came home happy and exhausted and spent the rest of the day dozing peacefully.  I made some chicken cakes [along the lines of fish cakes] with some crispy bacon added for flavour which we had with a tomato salad for lunch and dinner was just a mug of hot chicken stock and a slice of toast.  I find myself running out of gas very quickly and by about 4 pm I am all but useless.
Today Jane is coming to work her magic on the house which will make me feel better I'm sure and I will make a concerted effort to sort out the laundry.  Mar…

Monday morning

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Look what has just arrived!!!! a beautiful flower arrangement from Len and Margaret to wish us speedy recovery.  What lovely friends, isn't that a kind and thoughtful gesture.
It is still pretty cool here and we have had a fair amount of rain overnight.  Yesterday was passed quietly pottering and keeping warm.  I decided to make some sage and onion stuffing to go with the second round of chicken.  There was rather too much so I added some minced chicken breast and thought it would make nice dumplings for the soup.  Wrong! they completely disintegrated so I took a stick blender to it and made cream of chicken soup which was delicious and just right for super with a couple of slices of toast.   I cleaned the chickens out during one of the lulls in the rain so that is a job done for another week.  Today I may attack the ironing even if I only get a few bits done it will keep the pile a manageable size and the steam from the iron will be good for the poor old chest.  Talking of which…

Sunday morning and windy

Not only windy but also chilly - Elaine rang to see if I needed to go to the doctor which I declined as I was making progress.  The coughing was subsiding but I still felt pretty rough and very weak. After my bath and bed change I managed to get the chickens roast and have the carcasses in the pot making some broth.  It is amazing how taxing even small jobs are when you are not up to running speed.  I picked a big handful of runner beans which we had with the chicken and fortunately there is enough left over for a repeat performance for today.  For dinner we had half a baguette each stuffed with egg and tomato and some of the chicken breast.  As you can imagine we are inundated with eggs as I am not cooking much and the hens are still laying well, the tomatoes are all but finished.  So it will soon be time to move the hens into the green house for the winter.  This is very beneficial as it gives their run the whole winter to lie fallow and makes sure that the green house is fertilised…

Saturday morning and down to single figures

It is cold we are down to 8 degrees for the first time this autumn but I believe it is just a glitch and it will get warmer through the week.  Antibiotics finished so only coffee this morning and my fingers are firmly crossed that the infection has been dealt a mortal blow.  I spent yesterday morning up and about by then took to my bed in the afternoon.  I am trying to be sensible and not over do it too soon but it is a difficult call to make.  Mike purchased some chickens so I will roast them today and then we can dine on them over the course of the week - both hot and cold - and the carcasses will make the longed for soup.  I peeled and chopped the vegetables yesterday so only the chicken and water to add.  I must admit to feeling pretty "feak and weable", so this morning I am going to spend some time soaking in the bath.  I always find that you feel so much better for a good wash.  Then clean sheets on the bed which is a midden and I think that will do - I am not going to…

Friday and the end of another week

4am antibiotics and coffee!!! this should be the last day of antibiotics and with any luck I should start to see a more marked improvement.  Again I slept through most of yesterday I can only surmise that if I am able to sleep then I must need it.  I managed to get a couple of loads of washing done, thank heavens for washing machines, and now it is draped around the house drying. Last night I had an unbroken nights sleep for the first time in ages so that is an improvement.  Mike too seems to be coughing less so may be we are both on the upward slope.  It is quite difficult when you are both pole-axed as there is not one to look after anyone and we both have to struggle on as best we can.  Mike has been looking after the chickens for the last couple of days but I think I will be fit enough to take back that job today.
The dogs seem to realise that all is not well and have been very quiet for the last few days just milling around the house and accepting that walks are off the menu.  B…

Thusday

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As we will not be going to Crufts I bought Basso the qualifier rosette.  Who is a bit of a fool!!! Do any of you know a Cornish person who could translate his name which is LYWLES - totally unpronounceable and I have no idea what it means.  A welsh friend thought it might have to do with paint or colour but that is as close as I have managed to get.   Anyway, antibiotics done, coffee made and this morning I am going to have a slice of panetone with the coffee.  This is treat usually reserved for Christmas morning.  I spent most of yesterday asleep only rousing for a paroxysm of coughing and a drink every couple of hours.  I am improving but it is so slow as to be almost imperceptible.  I suppose this is another bonus of getting older things take much longer to right themselves.  Patience has never been a strong point of mine....

Wednseday morning

4am - antibiotic - coffee and blog.  I feel marginally better and I mean marginally which is not difficult given how rotten I was yesterday.  I spent the whole day in bed with odd sorties out for food and drink.  I am so glad we cancelled the holiday as I would not be in any fit state for physical work.  Mike managed to let Basso escape through the garage and he was found wandering up the road.  He has no traffic sense so that was very dangerous.  He also does not obey Mike as it is always me that gives instructions.  Anyway the potential disaster was averted as one of the neighbours caught him and fortunately he had his collar on so he could grab him.  The washing and ironing is mounting up but to hell with it it is taking me all my strength just to get through the day.
Thank you all for your kind wishes lets hope it is not too long before I am back to my usual self.....

Tuesday morning

4 am antibiotics to take, coffee to drink then back to bed :( I fought this as long as I could but there comes a point when you have to admit defeat.  Holiday cancelled - caravan put to bed for the winter.

Monday morning again

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This is photo taken last Thursday by one of the people at the shooting club - the three dogs are Hamish, Frank and Basso with the lady that runs the shop.  Frank is a larbradoodle so you can see why people mistake Basso for one.
On the subject of shooting I went to a competition yesterday at the Kent county show ground.  I was not feeling too good but decided to go anyway.  However, there were so many people there that at 1pm I decided to give in and come home.  It would have take at least another hour and a half to complete the remaining 3 stands as the queues were so long.  Poor Mike and Basso were in the car and getting very bored after three and half hours of waiting.   As far as the shooting goes I was not unhappy with my performance as they were quite difficult clays.  Neither of us fancied any lunch as we had had a bacon roll when we arrived so I went off to bed and slept like the dead until 5pm.  For dinner we had some pate, made by the French guy, which Shiona had brought ove…

Sunday and very early

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There is good news and bad news this morning - lets start with the bad news
Don't rush out and buy your tickets for Crufts, Basso will not be going apparently he is ineligible because it is his breeder who is the judge this year.  Actually, I am relieved as it means that I can relax and not worry about all the preparation and Sandi won't need to buy a new pair of shoes!!! 
Now for some good news I actually remembered the camera and got a snap of the wild cyclamen but do you think it would let me upload it.  I have been all around the houses to get this far so I hope it will work.  What a pain when software malfunctions!!!  It could be due to the fact that I have just downloaded Internet explorer 9.  Anyway lets hope it is just a glitch that will right itself.  None of the editing tools appear to work.  The tiny flowers were difficult to spot as they are buried among the ivy at the foot of some bushes. 

I was so tired and grotty yesterday that after supper I went straight to …

Saturday morning and very chilly

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This photo arrived in the E mail this morning from Louise.  What a sweet gesture, I am really going to need her help if we are to make it to Birmingham!!!!!
I was wondering what photo to post as I have nothing interesting.  Mike has a cold and my cough is back with a vengeance so we are a real pair of old crocks at the moment.  However, one bit of good news I have found a home for my old printer.  My brother in law, from Peterborough, would like it so Jeff is going to drop by today after his shooting competition and pick it up.  Then David can pick it up from him when he visits next week while we are on holiday.  I must admit I have never felt less like a holiday in my life!!!  Sue next door is going to look after the hens while we are away so I will need to make sure they are cleaned out and pristine before we leave.  I have tried to make sure that all their food and bedding is in sealed containers which I hope will help with the rat problem.  The tomatoes are all but finished so I …

Friday morning

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I guess you will be wondering what on earth this photo is?  Well this is my gun cabinet which has to meet all sorts of restrictions with regard to positioning hence the very odd placement.  But why the photo you ask, well the answer is simple every now and again Mike runs round the house and photographs the contents.  The idea is that if we should be burgled we have proof that we did own the item concerned even if we cannot find the bill/receipt etc.  We also scan our credit cards and keep a photo of them to remind us of the details if we should loose them.
Yesterday was an excellent day we all met up for coffee and blueberry muffins.  Then it was off to Dartford shooting club for a bit of skeet shooting.  I was not unhappy with my shooting and managed to get at least some of the clays on each stand.  Once we had finished we retired to the club house and had a burger and chips - well actually we shared two portions of chips between the four of us.  The lady that takes the money has a …

Thursday morning

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This is a photo of Basso's dad who has also been to Crufts.  As you can imagine I am still reeling from the shock.  It just goes to show how much I know about showing that I didn't even realise that we had qualified thank goodness Louise keeps an eye on me.  What a dim wit!!! Anyway poor old Basso will have to look to his laurels now and learn to behave in the ring.  I think I will have my work cut out for me!!  In the mean time we will continue with his hunting skills, get his hips scored so he can breed if required.  I feel a total hypocrite having slagged off the show world I am now like a kid at Christmas or should that be a dog with two tails.
Well enough about dogs now on to the printer saga I bought myself a new Brother wireless printer and got it home plugged in and it's printing fine.  Then I thought I would try scanning in a document - this is where the trouble began - will it scan NO, did I try every possible thing YES, did I spend hours trying, you bet.  The o…

I can't wait until the morning to tell you this

I had a very strange comment on my face book page from my friend, who breeds and shows Akitas, congratulating me on qualifying Basso for Crufts.  So this morning I rang her to inform her that he came second in  his class.  Well to my absolute amazement it would appear that we are actually qualified.  I rang Sandi who had to sit down when she heard and is now planning a new outfit for the occasion.  So I guess his retirement is to be cut very short and he will have to go into training ready for March - I can't turn down an opportunity like this now can I it is the biggest dog show in the WORLD

Wenesday and bin day

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Yesterday was a busy day as it turned out Jane was not very well and rang me to ask if she should come - well what could I say - I told her to go back to bed and rest.  In the mean time Mark was making great head way with all the boring jobs that needed doing.  We discussed the rat problem and he has said that when it is really deep winter and there is little gardening he will come and we can turn out the shed and give it a good going over with the Jeyes fluid which hopefully may sort out the problem.  In the interim Mike is going to potter through all the stuff and get rid of some of the rubbish.  It is quite amazing the amount of kit you accumulate over the years.

I had a bit of a practice with my new scissors and trimmed the two terriers up a bit which was by far the easiest option as they will stand still and allow themselves to be groomed unlike the big boy who always presents a moving target.  I was quite pleased with the results but I still think I need a pair of clippers to d…

Tuesday morning and blowing

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Verbena bonariensis growing very happily in amongst the patio paving.  It has taken me ages to get this photo up as the programme is messing me about.
Today the wonderful Jane is going to work her magic with the hoover and Mark is coming to give me a hand with the garden.  The menu is simple for lunch some smoked haddock and a pork chop and veg for supper.  However I have taken out some pork shoulder which I intend to make into rillettes which will take a good couple of hours of cooking but then it will be OK for a couple of lunches with some bread and salad.  I managed to get the dogs out for a nice walk yesterday and I explained to Basso that if he was going to be allowed to drop the show ring he would need to put a bit more effort into obedience for hunting.  OK you think I am crazy but blow me down with a feather if he didn't seem to understand - he did absolutely everything I asked of him. I ran through the whistle commands and hand signals and he obeyed everyone without hes…

Monday morning

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Basso gets the once over by the judge moments before he gave her his opinion !

Now here is a thing about dog showing that has absolutely floored me - when I took his bit of paper to buy his rosette.  Yes, I bet you thought it was awarded, no, you get to buy it, I was surprised that I was not asked for confirmation that we had won the place and discovered that I could buy any rosette I fancied so I could have bought him a first if I was that dishonest.  How crazy is that!!!  Anyway this is a chapter that is now behind us and as soon as we got home I took the new scissors I had bought and took off the majority of his beard which should make our lives a lot more pleasant.  The scissors cost me a fortune and are Japanese steel  and very sharp - this I know as I managed to cut my finger quite badly with them.  So basically the perfect end to a perfect day.

My cough is definitely on the mend so I will not be forced to visit the quack for more pills thank goodness.

My next door neighbour has…

The end of an eventful day

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Basso announces his retirement from the show ring with a second in his class.  It was a long journey down to the other side of Guildford but fortunately the weather was kind in fact too kind it was boiling hot.  Basso was taken for a nice little walk first so that he could empty his tanks and was on a no breakfast regimen to keep him alert and empty.  However, he showed his complete disdain for the whole show nonsense by having a poo in the middle of the show ring during his run and then by peeing on the judges table just in case they hadn't got the message.  If my mind was not already made up he made it quite clear that mincing around for the entertainment of the crowd is really not his thing!!!  He insulted the sellers of dog treats by sniffing their offerings and then pointedly refusing them.  He was offered a jerky sausage by one hopeful stall holder to which he gave a cursory sniff then walked off with a disgusted look.  All in all it has been an interesting experience but I…

Sunday and the Richmond dog show

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Basso in one of his filthier moments - any minute now I will start the preparations for the show with a good brushing and washing his beard all of which he hates and fights me all the way....
Yesterday, was a relatively quiet day I made some soup with some of the beans and am always staggered at how such a simple recipe can produce such a flavourful soup.  It is a very well known Italian soup of pasta e fagiolini and has only water, garlic, sage, olive oil, salt and pepper and a table spoon of pasata to give it some taste.  Anyway a large bowl full went down very well for lunch.  Dinner too was an interesting plate of food just mashed potatoes and shed loads of runner beans with some gravy.  An inadvertent vegetarian day!!!!
I'm glad to report that I managed to finish the crossword puzzle though it took me rather longer than I would have liked.  The poor old brain is not what it used to be and it takes ages for some words to re-emerge from the deeper recesses of my mind.

I had a …

Saturday morning

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Three and a half pounds net weight of borlotti beans which have now been podded and cooked and are awaiting further attention before freezing.
Yesterdays outing for lunch was very successful and we had a nice meal however when we arrived we all felt a little under dressed as the pub was filled with the guests for a wedding all got up in their best finery and the men in morning suits with cream roses in their button holes.  Fortunately the pub was large and we were ushered into the back restaurant for our meal.  The portions were vast so the dogs did very well out of the left overs.  We all managed our starters but none of us could finish the main course and neither Mike nor I needed anything else to eat that day we were totally stuffed.  I had a grilled squid stater which came in a small frying pan for the accompanying sauce which was largely butter with chilli and coriander.  The three slabs of crusty bread were insufficient to soak up the sauce so you can imagine how much there was.…

Friday and the end of another week

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Yesterday with blue sky and sun shine I went to shoot a bit of skeet.  I have taken the photo from a piece of  film and tried to show the clay.  In the original photo it appears in the far top right of the picture You may just be able to see it in the clouds.  The clays leave the green tower at the base of the white triangle at approximately 70 mph so it is pretty fast and difficult to catch on camera.  Anyway, I was not shooting too badly given that I have not shot for a while. The bank in the background of the picture is all that separates the shooting from the river Thames and if the photo was a bit wider angle you would see the QE2 bridge on the right hand side.  On the way home we stopped at a truck stop and had a bacon and egg baguette which served as lunch then it was back home and time for an afternoon siesta once the gun had been cleaned and locked away.
The hare was on the menu for supper with some mashed potatoes and broccoli and I was very pleased with the results.  I sup…

Evening edition

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Hare in the process of being dismantled  - As you can see it was not a photo for first thing in the morning but it also shows that the meat has more to do with beef than chicken or rabbit.  We had a portion for supper this evening with some mashed potatoes and broccoli.  The addition of the chocolate is very nice and softens the flavour which is quite strong.  As the hare was fresh the taste was not very gamy.  The meat is very dense and requires quite a lot of cooking before it becomes tender.  I have made a pate with the liver and some pigeon breast but I am not sure how it will turn out.  If it is a total failure I know three dogs who will help me out!!!!
Dish washer loaded and switched on - kitchen cleared - chickens and dogs in bed - time for some relaxation

Thursday and dry

I was intending to have a nice quiet day yesterday but somehow things did not turn out that way.  The fish monger phoned me to say that he had just had a hare brought in.  Well hare is one of Mikes favourites so of course I had to have it.  Elaine was passing so she dropped in for coffee - this delayed the work on the hare.  I had forgotten what big animals they are and it took me quite a while to joint it up for the pot especially as it still had rigor mortis and was pretty uncooperative.  I then had to select a recipe for cooking it and chose "Lepre dolce forte" which has sultanas pine nuts and chocolate.  Mike took some photos but I have not posted them as I didn't think you would appreciate them with your cornflakes.  Anyway suffice to say it took me most of the morning to make the stock with the carcass and cook the meat off until tender.  I cooked the main joints on the bone and then removed them once cooked and the dogs had a lovely supper of bits and pieces from …

Wednesday and wet

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Tuesday and a busy day coming up

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Yesterday was a case of getting things done before the anticipated rain - so I was out fairly early with the dogs and gave them a good run.  The rest of the day seemed to dissolve into sorting out a bank transfer.  The branch of Lloyds, with whom Mike has banked for 50 years, is closing so he wanted to transfer his account into my account at Nat West but of course the branch at the top of the road couldn't do something so complicated and we had to drive to the main branch who accomplished the move in the blinking of eye!!!  Then we were left with letting the pension people know that they should pay the monies into the new account. Fortunately this was easy to do once you had actually got through to a person. Now we hold our breath and hope it all goes through without a hitch.   The expected rain didn't materialise until much later and we have had quite a down pour over night.  I am up quite late as I had a miserable night with my cough waking me at intervals however as a smok…

Monday and the start of another week

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According to the weather forecast we are supposed to be having high winds followed by rain but at the moment it is all quiet very still and dry so I guess the bad bad weather is on its way....  I managed to accomplish the few jobs I had in mind for the garden yesterday morning.  The toughs that are outside the kitchen window have had the tomato plants removed and are now filled with lots of bulbs for the spring.  I potted up the fuchsias and have installed them in the shed where I will have to remember to water them occasionally during the winter months.  After lunch instead of my usual siesta it was off up the road with Basso and a bag of brushes.  Once we had persuaded him on to the table he behaved extremely well considering that three people attacked him with assorted implements.  All the hair was plucked out of his ears with tweezers and the edges of the leathers were trimmed with thinning scissors as were his feet.  His coat was brushed and the dead hair removed and by the time …

Sunday

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Once the pump is cleaned the fountain looks good....
Yesterday was a quiet day I spent the morning cooking and doing some odd cleaning jobs.  The last of the windows got cleaned and all the curtains are back up so I am feeling virtuous now.  However I have one major job still to do and that is the downstairs loo/utility room which is in a desperate state but it is very much a two handed job.  Anyway, no doubt it will get done at some time in the near future.  I settled to doing the crossword puzzle which is a treat for me as it takes me a couple of hours to complete.

The apple and custard dessert was a great success and both Mike and I enjoyed it.  The damson jam has a very strong flavour and is very sweet so I added no sugar to the apples and only half the amount in the custard. I also made an other batch of fresh tomato sauce for the freezer, a pork and red pepper casserole for dinner and some coleslaw to go with the mackerel for lunch.

David my brother in law was still in hospital…

Saturday morning

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Friday morning

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Rubinia pseudo-acacia Frizia my beautiful tree which is due for a hair cut today...
Firstly many thanks for the good wishes I am delighted to announce that I have a clean bill of health.  My eye cleared in the last 48 hours and I am now back to my 20/20 vision an no more vinegar eye drops for me.
Yesterday was a bit of a right off with regard to the spring cleaning as the drops they put in my eye to see the macula leave me with a huge pupil and consequent distorted vision.  They take a good 6 hours to wear off.  I was also delighted to find out that if and when the other eye goes I can bypass the initial part of the process and go directly to the hospital as I am now on their books.
Today we are expecting the tree surgeon to arrive at about 9 am and he is going to take down the crown of the tree which we are trying to keep small rather than let it make a very tall specimen.  This means my first job is to de-dog poo the garden so the men can work in safety.  It looks like another wond…

Thursday

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Time is a great healer - the sweet peas have done well since I sprayed them with my special nicotine spray which seems to have killed off the aphids.
Yesterday was a long slog of chores but very satisfying - the curtains are back in situ on clean window, the loose covers are back on the suite and looking pristine.  The plastic surrounds of the windows certainly do attract dirt and now the are white rather than cream.  For lunch I threw together some macaroni, white sauce from the freezer and some left over cheese and hey presto macaroni cheese.  I was fairly tired after lunch so I went off for a snooze before continuing with the cleaning.  I still have a couple of days worth to do but at least I feel I have broken the back of it.  Mike had caught the mood and decided to clean out the pump in the pond which as it turned out needed both of us but at least that too is clean.  One of my neighbours came to pick raspberries and has offered to give me a hand preparing Basso ready for the sho…

Wednesday the beginning of another month!!!

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Verbena bonariensis which grows very happily in paving but refuses to grow in the flower bed!!!!!

Yesterday was complete bedlam in this house.  It was like Piccadilly circus with people coming and going all morning.  First the guy who took my bees came to collect the remaining bits and pieces.  I had suggested that he bring his boys to help carry the stuff as most of it was at the far end of the garden.  Mean while Jane arrived with her sons homework that he had insisted she show me.  He had written out his 4 times table so I duly marked that and gave him 9/10 as he had only gone as far as 4 x 10 = 40.  Anyway I hope it has given him a bit of confidence to continue with arithmetic and not to insist he can't do it.  No sooner than the car full of bee bits had pulled away than Mark the gardener arrived bearing a Kilo of parmesan from his holiday in Italy.  Mike insisted on paying him for it but he refused any money as he had not been made to pay for the glass he broke in the green h…