Posts

Showing posts from January, 2011

Monday morning and late for me

Image
Good morning all, I am up rather late this morning but I did have a jolly good sleep so no matter.  Yesterday I treated myself to a dressing gown day. First I got the skirt out of the freezer and got it into the slow cooker along with some onions and leeks.  I settled for potatoes and broccoli to accompany it.  Then I set to and did the crossword puzzle which required a bit of googling to complete but I did manage to finish it.  Mike had found a recipe for Goldie biscuits in the Telegraph magazine which he was keen for me to make.  So while the meat stewed that is what I did.  The recipe called for 12 tablespoons of melted butter, what a stupid way to measure butter! in the end I reckoned it must be around 6 ounces so that is what I melted and it turned out to be correct so a good guess.  Anyway the biscuits turned out very well and were really crisp as they contained plenty of cornflour.

 I then decided to make preparations for the left over stew as I knew there would be plenty for l…

Sunday morning

First many thanks for the good wishes - however my fears were not groundless and I am sorry to say that at lunch time with 2 drives to go I decided discretion was the better part of valour and packed it in.  I had survived 6 drives and must have walked a million miles.  The main difficulty is keeping up the pace with the men and lugging the gun, cartridge bag and a beating stick across acres of wet ploughed fields.  I had climbed onto flat bed trucks and once rode on the tail gate, but we were not transported very close so there was still a fair old walk. I had been allocated one of the regular guns as a mentor and he was really most encouraging and helpful.  I did however shoot one partridge at the beginning of a drive which fell in some woodland but with not pickers up by the time the drive was over there was no chance of finding it.  I then had one pheasant which I missed and that was the lot for the morning so really pretty boring from a shooting perspective.  By lunch time there …

Saturday morning and beaters day

Finally my thermometer is back in place and is reading just one degree so it is only just above freezing.  The business end of it is just poked through the wall so it is measuring the temperature against the wall which is bound to be a bit warmer than the actual air temperature.  I think I am going to need absolutely every once of warm clothing for the shoot today.
Yesterday was a very successful and satisfying day.  All the bits and pieces were rearranged in the dining room and every item was cleaned and made to sparkle before it was allowed back in.  Odd bits of silver have been transformed from black to shiny bright and all the glass is washed and sparkling.  One of the things that made the biggest difference was the light fitting in the centre of the room which has sort of frosted glass shades which were not just frosted but completely opaque with dirt and filled with dead insects.  I am not really a cleaner but once I get going nothing is safe and I can quite easily see how it c…

Friday and freezing

It is very cold again this morning though I still don't have my thermometer installed by the temperature of the dogs coat it seems pretty cold to me.  He is always the first out for a patrol of the garden then he comes to me for a stroke if he is wet I know it is raining!!!!  The two older dogs stay cuddled by the radiator so they are no good as weather detectors.  Yesterday was a day of gradually reassembling the dining room and trying to make sure that everything I put back has been thoroughly cleaned.  The dish washer ran several times with all the china from the welsh dresser and other bits and pieced.  Jane worked her magic with the hoover so we are almost back to normal.  There are still a few pictures that need some attention before being rehung and one more load to go through the dishwasher.  The washing machine was also in action as was the tumble dryer so at least we have some clean clothes to wear.  Once Jane had finished we shot out to the shops to buy a few bit and pi…

Thursday morning

Image
Decoration finished now it is time to put things back as they belong.  The naked welsh dresser needs to be filled with the usual clutter.  While it was empty I took the opportunity to give is a good polish and general clean.  You would not believe the muck that was behind it when we pulled it out, quite embarrassing really!!!
I abandoned Mike yesterday morning and went off shooting with his brother.  We were very lucky with the weather and managed to get round in the dry.  Jeff had decided that I needed practice in anticipation of shooting real birds on Saturday so instead of having the gun in my shoulder I had it balanced on my hip and had to mount it when I saw a bird[clay]. Under normal circumstances the shooter calls PULL when they are ready and the clay is then fired.  This time I just waited and shot the birds as they came.  I actually found that I shot better this way as it stopped my from trying to aim the gun which is a very bad habit of mine.  Anyway shooting over I had a sa…

Wednesday morning and bin day

Image
Well there is the gentle hum of paint in the air here, but the kitchen and utility room ceilings are done and look immaculately white.  I managed to get most of my list of chores  done, with the exception of the shed, and the trip to the cash and carry was very successful.  They were having what they call a trade day and had a big table covered in buffet type food.  Did I resist, no of course not, I stuffed my face with an assortment of goodies.  I must admit it is very pleasant to wander around the isles with a plate in one hand and glass in the other.  The garage is now stuffed with what looks like a years supply of toilet rolls and various other cleaning products in huge containers.  This morning I must go and date the bottles so that I can see just how long they last.  The foil trays that I use to make individual pies were on sale in packs of 9 rather than 6 and cost the princely sum of 69p per pack so that is quite a saving.  The bit I like best is that I always have a supply and…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all, the house is in turmoil this morning as everything has been shifted to make room for the decorator.  Moving stuff about only shows up areas that have quietly been gathering dust for ages so a duster is a necessary piece of equipment.  The Wii has been dismantled so at least that lets me off the hook this morning, there will be no ski jumping!!!  Yesterday, was a relatively quiet day just pottering around moving bits and pieces and stacking them in the front room which of course now also looks a mess.  I tackled the muddy boots and got them washed so this morning they are dry and I can apply some dubbin and try and get a bit of a shine on them.  I also washed down the welsh dresser and that too is ready for a bit of polish.
With the dining room being painted I am going to find my style rather cramped as that is where I spend the majority of my time as it is very close to the kitchen.  I guess today would be a really good day to clean out the chickens and get the gard…

Monday morning and the start of another week

Image
Basso brings home his prize
We had a little practice in the garden yesterday so Mike could see just how well he carries the birds and we got this quick snap of him delivering it.  This particular cock pheasant is going in the freezer to be used for training purposes.  It is a very thin one and not really worth eating so it will be no real loss.  The accompanying hen bird I gave to a very elderly neighbour who had expressed an interest in having a bird so now I think I have supplied everyone who has asked for some game. I took myself off shooting in the morning but I shot very badly and I think my tiredness was really showing. All the talk at the shoot was about the previous time when the police had closed the road.  Apparently there had been no less than six accidents including one in which a car had ploughed into the petrol station and demolished the pumps.  Fortunately this week there was no black ice but it was another of those very bitterly cold days with the Siberian wind blowing …
Image
One pole-axed pup
Good morning all I am up a bit early this morning but have had six hours of total oblivion so I feel wonderfully refreshed.  Yesterday was a day to remember I shot out early and bought a paper for Mike who would be completely unsupervised all day and I didn't want him getting into an mischief while I was out.  I dressed in what I though appropriate for a cold and damp day but I got it wrong, I don't think I have ever been so cold.  It was a really miserable morning with drizzling rain and a cutting wind directly from Siberia.  We all agreed that it was perishing and that we had not been this cold even when it was snowing hard.  The first 5 drives of the morning netted less than a dozen birds and poor Basso didn't get a look in.  He did however, acquit himself well and sat rock steady as two hares and a fox ran past his nose.  I was very grateful that he has finally learned this lesson as 6.5 stone of muscle with the throttle down is very hard to hold.  Ten…

Saturday morning and bracing myself

Yesterday was a bit of silly day once I had done the kitchen floor and made preparations for lunch and supper done my allotted time on the Wii I sort of ran out of gas.  In an effort to shake myself back into life I decided to walk up to the post office and post a letter.  It was a good opportunity to give Basso some road training so off we set.  Can you believe it, no sooner were we out of the door than the heavens opened.  It wasn't rain but snow!!!! big wet flakes driven on a brisk wind so quite unpleasant and as we got back home so it stopped.  It is enough to make a person paranoid...  I was good and wet and thoroughly fed up!!!

Today is the day of the last picking up session for Basso so I am bracing myself for a day of clambering over fences and trudging across ploughed fields.  The biggest draw back for us ladies is that there are no "facilities" - it is a case of ducking behind a hedge if you are caught short.  So far I have managed to regulate my liquid intake …

Friday morning

Image
This is what a completely clear conscience looks like.  It is remarkable how he can make himself into such a small bundle.

Yesterday went according to plan and I managed to get some of the kitchen cupboards cleaned not to mention the skirting board which was really dirty - while I was on my hands and knees I cleaned the kitchen floor as well.  It has ceramic tiles but the grouting gets pretty rotten over time and requires a scrub with a scrubbing brush.  With regard to my elbow I did as much as I could with my left hand and called it quits when half was done.  Today I can tackle the second half and the cupboards on the other side.  I find this very frustrating but it seems to be doing the trick.  I have also put a piece of strapping around my arm just below the elbow to give the tendons a bit of support.

It was a very pleasant day cold but sunny so we went off to Dartford for a bit of skeet shooting but I only shot 50 instead of the usual 100 then it was home and gun cleaning and lun…

Thursday morning

Yesterday we were blessed with some lovely sun shine but it was rather chilly.  This morning I will have to stick my head outside to see what the temperature is like as the thermometer has been removed with a view to the decorating which starts on Monday.  OK, done that, and it is cold so around 3 degrees I would guess but dry at the moment.  Fortunately, there is not too much on the walls, which are due to be painted, so it will not take very long to remove the pictures and it is a good opportunity to have a good clean and rearrange. I made the batch of salmon fish cakes half of which we had for supper.  I was very glad that I had decided to add some lemon zest to the mix as without it they would have been pretty tasteless.  There is also a drawback to a large salad for supper and that is that it is like drinking a litre of water which means "what goes in must come out" and a disturbed night results.  While I love the sunshine it does have one real down side - it shows ever…

Wednesday morning and bin day

Yesterday I had a list a mile long of chores to do but pottering through I managed to get them all done including taking the dogs for a run.  As it turned out it was a nice sunny day though the temperature was a bit cooler at least it was dry which makes a change.  I got the turkey stuff all sorted and packed away the meat vacuum packed and the soup frozen.  We had a portion of the soup and some of the meat for supper.  The dogs also did well out of it and had both breakfast and their evening meal from the scraps augmented with some biscuit.  I made a batch of Joy's oat thins which are proving very useful for a snack if and when necessary.  Three loads of washing got done but you know what that means! I now have a nice big pile to iron.  I think I will have to take that at a slow pace so as not to aggravate the elbow too much.  I am hoping the machine will arrive today and I can start treatment.  The hens got a good clean and have nice new bedding and their feed containers got a g…

Tuesday morning

The temperature is falling back but at least it is not raining.  Yesterday, it rained almost all day and I felt like a troglodyte living in the semi darkness.  We had some shopping to do so we decided on a change of venue just for some different scenery and took ourselves to Morrison's.  I needed some fresh coriander but they didn't have any so my couscous was made with parsley and mint  instead.  Then I found something irresistible in the form of not only turkey legs but also the thighs.  So I just had to buy two packs and now have a bucket of turkey soup and some nicely roast thigh meat which can be used in various dishes or cold sliced in sandwiches.  The Italians do a lovely dish with cold veal, vitello tonnato, which requires a tuna sauce [rod and line caught of course]  it sounds weird but it actually delicious and I see no reason it will not work with cold turkey.  I also make a devil sauce for cold turkey which is basically a hot spicy hollandaise, not so good for the …

Monday morning and the start of another week

The weather here was windy but dry yesterday it didn't start to rain until later in the evening.  Shiona and her dogs arrived at about 10 and after cups of coffee and exchange of pleasantries and instructions to Mike for dealing with the chicken we set off to the shooting ground in Shiona's new car.  We were very surprised to see so many people there, it was fairly packed.  I started shooting really well but as the tennis elbow kicked in my scores dropped away which was very disappointing.  It seems that shooting really aggravates it badly and it is still very sore this morning.  I now have a decision to make whether to go and see the "quack" or the "osteoprat".  I think I will start with the doctor as he is not going to cost me a fortune.
We managed to shoot our round quite quickly and were back home in time to take the chicken out of the oven and and turn it up to brown off the roasted vegetables.  Shiona had not had a go on the Wii so that was the next t…

Sunday morning

Image
Yesterday was a day of effort as I felt so sluggish but I am pleased to say that it paid off and as the day wore on so I felt better.  I took the dogs for a nice run in a howling gale, they particularly like windy weather, I suppose the smells get all mixed up and are very exciting.  I must admit of all the adverse weather conditions windy is my favourite too it is certainly better than lashing rain.  For lunch I had some pheasant soup left so I made a loaf of soda bread to have with it.  I absolutely love soda bread and don't know why I don't make it more often it is so easy and lasts well, at least it would if we didn't eat it so quickly.  For dinner we had some ox tail which I had stewed and completely degreased so it was relatively light and was good with mashed potato and parsnip.
Ray the painter rang and we are booked in for Monday the 24th which means by February we will be all ship shape and Bristol fashion so I had better press on with the spring cleaning and to …

Saturday morning and windy and wet

Image
I spoke too soon yesterday the dry patch lasted only a short time then it was continuous rain for hours.  We set off for our lunch/shopping trip at about 10 and after coffee with Len and Margaret we headed for the fabric shop.  It is a fairly huge place and we had a good mooch around and then got on with selecting the oil cloth for the table finally settling on a green gingham.  I also found some cheap cushions which will replace the ones in the front room which have had their corners chewed by certain small animals!!! Namely Nip and Tuc with a little help from Basso.

Anyway purchases completed we headed back to the car in a deluge.  We then made our way to the Italian restaurant only to find that it had gone out of business and was all shuttered.  What a pity is was a nice place to eat!!!  Anyway we had a quick discussion and decided to hit our favourite pub and have lunch there.  I decided to have the scallops with bacon and black pudding as a starter and their home made burger as m…

Friday morning and not raining

This makes a pleasant change for it to be dry but who knows how long it will last.  It is extremely mild with a bit of wind but nothing to right home about.  I took the dogs for a walk yesterday with the intention of getting Basso to retrieve from water.  However he was totally turned off and would have nothing to do with the dummies.  I think it is the location that is the problem as this is the area where he just has a walk and does his own thing.  Still it was disappointing that he would not cooperate given that I had lugged the bag full of dummies for the whole walk.  On the way back we stopped off at the butcher and I restocked with some meat.  I bought a nice chicken for the weekend and a beautiful ox tail which will be made into a stew.  I also bought a nice piece of skirt which will need some long slow cooking but will be full of flavour.  I made the lentil soup for lunch but it was so good that there was none left to freeze.  The pheasant breasts we had for supper in a tomato…

Thursday morning

It is still pitch dark outside but it appears to have stopped raining for the moment.  It is extremely mild at 11 degrees but the wind is blowing quite strongly.  I was pleased with myself yesterday as I went out to the garage while it was still dark and sorted out the pheasants so that the carcasses could go out for the bin men - however I had foolishly ordered fish so now I have a smelly fish bin.  I ordered a big wodge of mussels. In fact I order them by the handful.  Shane the fishmonger has large hands so we had two of his big handfuls, I have no idea what that is in kilos but it was just right for lunch for Mike and I.  I find ordering fish by weight very difficult so I usually ask for the number of portions I require and leave it up to Shane to decide.  I also got some mackerel fillets, which I love plain pan fried with some gremolata in the centre where the pin bones have been removed.  I made soup with the pheasant legs and the breasts I batted out and stuffed and then poache…

Wednesday and bin day

Well we have cleared the 10,000 barrier.  It is quite amazing to think that so many people have looked at and maybe even read this blog.
Everything seems to be conspiring against me at the moment - I went shooting yesterday only to have a vicious return of the tennis elbow combined with some back ache none of which helped my shooting.  However that is not an excuse just a matter of fact.  I shot none too badly  and both Roger and Jim were highly impressed with the work done on my gun.  We started by shooting some skeet at which I did reasonably but the clays were flying about all over the place in the wind.  We then moved on to a bit of sporting and I had some successes and some failures.  I was pleased that the clays that most resembled incoming pheasants was one of the successes so I hope I will not make a total chump of myself come beaters day.  By the time we got home my elbow was seriously painful so I decided that after lunch it was time for a rest and I took to my bed for a sie…

Tuesday and a bit warmer

Yesterday was a reasonable day, it was pretty chilly when I took the dogs out and the wind was biting cold so I spent only a short time doing some training with Basso.  I have found it is better to walk all three dogs then put the two terriers in the car while I spend a bit of time with Basso and his dummies.  Unfortunately it was very muddy so my nice clean boots are filthy again and they can stay that way until the weather dries up a bit.  I made some soda bread to have with our bowl of soup and was struck by just how delicious it is.  I used the Valentine Warner recipe which is very simple but makes the most marvellous loaf and is divine eaten warm from the oven.  For supper we had the last of the turkey in the form of a turkey pie with just a lid of puff pastry on the top.  I managed to get all my appointments sorted out and the dogs are booked in for a hair cut at the local college at the end of February.  Mark the gardener is going to come and sort out the garden at some point w…

Monday and the start of another week

Yesterday morning I busied myself with getting the mud of my various bits of kit and also one very muddy dog who for once let me groom him without too much fuss, I think he was just to knackered to care!!!  Then it was getting ready to go shooting which I set of for at about 9 am and drove pretty gingerly as it was very icy.  Twice en route I lost the back end a little but finally made the foot of the hill where the shoot is held only to find the road coned off.  Just at that moment the radio cut in with a traffic report to say that there had been an accident on the hill and it was shut - not to mention several other accidents in the neighbourhood so it was a complete circuit of the roundabout and back home taking great care on the slippery surface.  When I got back I contacted Roger who I was shooting with but he too had not made it through so we have decided that we will take ourselves to West Kent shooting school on Tuesday instead.  I was disappointed but at the same time relieved…

Sunday and the rain has stopped

Yesterday morning as we gathered at the shoot we wondered what we were doing, it was raining and blowing a force nine gale.  The conclusion was that we were just completely mad!!!!!  As we set off for the first drive Sandi and I decided to take my car as we didn't want to get soaked just getting there.  Well my 4x4 got stuck in the mud but fortunately I managed to get it on some fresh grass where I could get some traction and we were away.  The first drive was pretty disastrous one pheasant, one shot and one bird to bring back.  However the rest of the day gradually improved with less rain and more birds ending up with a bag of 85 which was the best of the season.  But now for the best news of all Basso was WONDERFULhe didn't eat anything and just fetched birds as directed.  I had one moments panic when we had a rusty 5 bar gate to climb over. Instead of jumping it Basso tried to climb it and then got a back foot stuck and was dangling head down on the other side.  Fortunately…

Saturday morning

Oh boy, it is hosing down and blowing a gale now what could I do today? - I know, I think I will go and trudge about in fields and watch pheasants get shot!!!!!!  Fortunately the weather forecast has shown that this rain should have passed over by about 9am and the rest of the day will be fine.  Let's hope they have got it right or I am going to be not only muddy but very wet as well.  I must admit I feel like this like a hole in the head!!!!!
Yesterday passed well with the expected parcels arriving on time.  Mike shot out and did some shopping and I busied myself in the kitchen and I also did my time on the Wii.  It would appear that I am completely mal-coordinated and my balance is so poor it is a wonder I can remain vertical.  I had decided to try some of the balance exercises which include slalom skiing and ski jumping.  Now the ski jumping was by far my best and I managed to get the hang of that quite quickly.  It all takes a bit of getting used to but I will persevere with i…

Friday morning

Yesterday was a bit of a write off in terms of weather it poured with rain the whole day - the only consolation is that it was rain not snow but the ground is very muddy now and I think it will be terrible tomorrow for the shoot.  Basso gets absolutely filthy and I will have to hose him down before he can come in the house, this is not what I fancy doing when I come home tired and worn out.

Now for a bit of good news the long awaited Nintendo Wii turned up after lunch yesterday so instead of having a siesta which I really needed I set to and unpacked and set it up.  The unwrapping took quite some time as it is in boxes within boxes then more wrapping finally you are left with what seems to be 100 instruction manuals in thousands of languages.  Loads of wires and black plastic boxes of assorted sizes.  This is the moment when panic sets in and you wonder if you are ever going to be able to put it all together.  My first attempt was in the front room but the large TV is very difficult …

Thursday morning

After several abortive attempts to type on the blog site I have resorted to Word and will cut and paste once the site seems to be up and running again.Yesterday the shooting went well, it is very strange shooting with the new stock on the gun but I was not unhappy with my attempts.We were so lucky with the weather it was glorious sunshine for most of the morning and the rain didn’t make itself known until later in the afternoon.The club car park was full when I arrived and it seemed that everyone had decided to go shooting that morning.However, as luck would have it every stand we went to only had a couple of people left to shoot and some were vacant which meant we got round very easily and quickly.The drive back was a bit painful as my feet had got very cold in my wellies and as they warmed up I got cramp in my accelerator foot – not to be recommended.If the weather is kind I would quite like to go shooting on my own on Sunday which is competition day but I would just be interested i…

Wednesday

Image
Good morning all, it is quite a chilly day here but not the freezing temperatures we have been used to.  However, there is still a large patch of ice in the pond which seems reluctant to melt. Yesterday, I got stuck into the laundry that needed doing and also continued with my cupboard cleaning.  This time a cupboard which contains all the pulse type ingredients.  In the process I found odd bits of various things which I boiled up for the hens who were very delighted.
As you can probably see each shelf is two boxes deep with those most often used in the front and the stranger items at the back after all I don't use buckwheat or urid dall very often.  I think this demonstrates my operating theatre background rather well as everything is labelled - in a theatre it means you can send anyone to get something provided they can read, they don't need to recognise or understand what they are looking for.  Possibly not very useful in my own kitchen but old habits die hard and it does me…

Tuesday morning

Yesterday was a good day I managed to get one of the kitchen cupboards turned our and cleaned it is amazing how dirty they get even on the inside.  The lowest shelf holds all my herbs and spices on two tier turn table which was very grimy.  It also gave me an opportunity to rationalise the jars and dispose of any that were getting old.  I also went through my Indian spices and tidied them up but in the process I managed to spill turmeric on the carpet.  Fortunately it was dry and hoovered up leaving no trace but the dish cloth is bright red.  I expected it to turn yellow but as I had washing soda in the water it must have reacted with the turmeric and went a lovely shade of scarlet.

Sandi arrived with Casey her yellow lab and she and Basso did their usual thing of lying on the floor nose to nose snogging.  They seem to be completely besotted with each other.  After we had had a coffee and caught up with the gossip from Christmas we took the gun dogs for a training session.  Sandi had…

Monday morning again

Mary went home to Bath after breakfast and I set to and cleaned the ovens which have been working hard over the last couple of weeks.  I have managed to keep abreast of the washing over the holiday period but there is still a back log to deal with.  But it can wait a bit longer as Sandi is coming over to see me today and bringing her yellow Labrador bitch with her so Basso will be very pleased.  Little does he know this is not a social call but the idea is to do some serious training in anticipation of the shoot on Saturday where I hope he will perform well and put his little misdemeanour behind him.  There is not much of the season left and come the beginning of February it will all be over.  I have always though it strange when hunters claim that they are conserving wild life as it seems a contradiction in terms.  However, now that I understand the sport a bit better it all makes sense.  Here are the numbers so you can judge for yourself our shoot bred 1400 birds this season of thos…