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Showing posts from May, 2011

Tuesday morning

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The new girls make their first foray into the big wide world.

Yesterday morning started well I  let the hens out into the big run and then went into the greenhouse to tie in the tomatoes when all of a sudden I heard  tremendous uproar coming from the hens and thought a fox must be around.  No it was Basso who had managed to open the gate and was running up and down the run making the hens shriek and flap.  Step one, discipline the dog and get him out of the vegetable garden.  Step two check on the hens, there were only two!  after a bit of a search I found one sitting on the fence and the second had gone over into next doors raspberry patch.  Step three get the scissors and catch each hen and clip their wings.  I managed to retrieve them all and they seemed to settle down once Basso was out of the way.  That trauma over I could get on with the planting up of the herbs, petunias and pelargoniums.  My next chore was to clean the pump in the pond as the fountain was showing signs of slow…
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Cheese soufflé that have not risen out of the ramekins as there was not sufficient to fill them.  However they were delicious and went well with the accompanying broad beans from the garden.

Yesterday there was a cold start to the day, the wind was really chilly and the sky overcast but it did clear up somewhat by the afternoon.  I took the dogs for a run but Tuc disgraced himself by rolling profusely in fox poo.  Fortunately, it was high tide so it was a case of getting him in for a bit of swimming before I put him back in the car.  The smell of wet dog is not good but it is better than fox poo.  Once we got home I decided that all the dogs could do with a rinse to remove the salt water from their coats so I got soaked in the garden hosing them down.  The addition of a small amount of shampoo made sure that they smelled a little better.

I had invited our new neighbours in for a cup of tea at 4pm so that we could get to know them and more to the point the dogs would recognise them an…

Sunday morning and windy

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The sage is in full flower so I feel a piece of pork coming on!!!!

Yesterday was a really miserable day weather wise, it was dull and cold but no real rain.  Today looks as if it is going to be about the same which is a bit of a shock after all the lovely sunshine we have been having.  My friend Angela is back from her travels around Greece and Turkey which seem to have gone very well.  Her husband is driving their motor home back to the UK and she is taking her mother to France for a holiday.  Her mother is not in the best of health so a break will do her good.

I had a bit of fun in the kitchen and made us a cheese and spinach soufflé for lunch and a the Gennaro Contaldo spring lamb with peas for supper.  Now how is this for tight I thickly buttered 4 large ramekins and only used two so today rather than waste the two remaining ramekins I am going to make another soufflé this time plain cheese but I thought I would put some stewed red peppers in the bottom as a surprise.  Then for su…
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Peas safely tucked under their net cloches to keep the pigeons at bay.
Did I get any of my long list of chores done yesterday?  No, but I did have a very nice lunch out.  Nothing too exotic, a starter of home made potted crab with some toast followed by a nice piece of battered fish and chips.  All beautifully cooked with shatteringly crisp batter and nice un-soggy chips.  Mike went on to have a dessert as well and being a bloke he had a nursery rice pudding with red jam!!!!He is so sophisticated!!!!The dogs got a lovely walk in the local park which in the past had been a Zoo so there are acres for them to explore.  Needless to say Nip found a muddy pond and went in up to his elbows so he was a pretty smelly companion in the car.  For supper none of us was hungry so we had the compulsory lettuce with avocado hard boiled eggs and some left over home made potato salad.  To my astonishment the dogs were eager to eat not only the potato salad but the lettuce as well.  Dogs aren't supp…

Friday morning

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At last we have had some significant rain.  It started off with just miserable little showers that hardly wet the ground but as the afternoon wore on we had some good down pours which will have done the garden a power of good.  Somehow rain seems to be so much better than watering and really penetrates the ground.  At one point we had brilliant sunshine piercing through a completely black sky which looked most odd.

The day for me didn't start well I seemed to be in a clumsy state and was dropping everything then the microwave decided to die on me.  It is not something I used much for cooking but I do like to use it for defrosting and reheating odds and ends or melting a bit of butter etc.  I trawled around the net looking for a replacement only to find that most of them come with grills and ovens etc which I do not want.  Eventually I found one that was just a simple unfussy Samsung black box so Mike was dispatched to Commet to get it.  He also bought a set of headphones for his T…

Thursday morning and still dark

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Yum, yum very young broad beans

Yesterday was an absolutely glorious sunny day with not a cloud to be seen except the mackerel streaks high up showing the strong winds high in the atmosphere, at ground level it was all but still.  Not so this morning there is quite a breeze blowing and according to the forecast we may even get some rain!!! I will believe that when I see it.
Jeff arrived at the usual time and after coffee and pleasantries we headed off for the shooting ground which was not too crowded.  At the first stand Jeff shot a straight ten and I followed with a straight ten also.  This set the tone for the remaining stands and by the time we had finished I had won by one shot much to Jeff's amazed disgruntlement.  This is a first for me so I was absolutely delighted!!!!  We ate our lunch, of a baguette stuffed with bacon and egg and a burger, at the club sitting in the sunshine.  Basso who had accompanied us did quite well out of the deal and got a piece of each of the bague…

Wednesday and bin day

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Lettuce with everything! this photo was taken a little while ago and the lettuces are now all ready to eat.

Yesterday was a day of general busyness Mark arrived at 8am and he and I got stuck into the work in the garden.  The raspberries are now tall enough to have flopped over the path and needed tying back as did a lot of plants that have been bashed around in the wind.  The forsythia and lilacs all needed pruning back as they have finished flowering.  This has all worked out really well as the bin men will be collecting the garden waste this morning so that gets rid of that.  I do, however, grieve for the compost but I do accept that I have to cut back a bit on the heavier jobs.  Jane arrived at 9am and got stuck into her cleaning - she was impressed with my efforts on the kitchen floor which I had really gone to town on the day before.  The washing machine was pressed into service and with the gorgeous weather the stuff was dry in an hour and ready for ironing, but that is this mor…

Tuesday morning

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The figs are swelling and we shall have some fruit if the birds and wasps leave some for us!!!!

Yesterday we ate our first broad beans and lettuce from the garden.  It is always a treat when the very first things are ready to eat.  Shelling the broad beans is a very pleasant way to spend a few minutes sat down.  I went the whole hog and also took the grey inner shells off just leaving the vibrant green pearls.  The lettuce is a butter head variety and full of flavour unlike the shop bought stuff which tastes of absolutely nothing even Mike ate his salad which for him is good as he is generally allergic to things green.

As you can see it is stupid o'clock and here I am sitting in the middle of the night not knowing what to do with myself.  Thank heaven for the blog, at least that is a nice quiet job to do in the wee small hours of the morning.

Yesterday morning I had a purge on the kitchen and went to town on the floor which every now and again needs a really good clean not just a…

Monday morning

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Some times things self seed into a really good place as with these foxgloves, but please not the pigeon poo all over the path!!!

Well here we go the start of another week I have been feeling a bit low since the holiday debarcle and I now have the beginnings of a nice cold sore on my lip which, for me, is always a sign of being run down and over stressed .  So my plan for today is to take things easy and do plenty of relaxing, something I am not very good at.

Yesterday, we did have a splash of rain but nowhere near enough for the garden so I spent some time watering the new bamboo plants which were taking a bashing in the high winds.  Today I will need to get some water on the vegetable plot where everything is growing well.  I have lettuce which are ready to eat so I guess a salad is on the cards for at least one meal today.  Yesterday evening we had some smoked haddock with a cheese and breadcrumb topping served on a bed of wilted spinach which was a very nice light supper dish.

I n…

Sunday morning

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No earthquakes and my world didn't end I guess the radical Christians got it wrong again!!!

We were promised some showers over night but it is still as dry as a bone in the garden.  As you can see the roses don't seem to mind being short of water and are flourishing.  We ferried James to and fro to get his bike fixed and shortly after lunch he departed for London where the blessed bike broke down twice.  It sounds like a carburation problem so he will have to keep his tank full and hope for the best until he can get the tank flushed out.  I recognise the symptoms as I have had similar problems with cars in the past.

We took the dogs for a walk to a lake where there are fishermen around the edge which was all a bit difficult as the dogs were very interested in investigating their sandwiches and bait.  Some had little tents which also had to be inspected for contents but luckily, the dogs, being well behaved came back when called.  I also swung past Elaine's house and picked…
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May has nearly passed but the garden has been spectacular with wall to wall colour and everything blooming at once.  The weather has been great for us but sorely lacking in water for the plants which have needed constant watering to keep them going.

Yesterday saw Shiona and her dogs leave for home and a quick turn around to make ready for James to visit.  We all had a go on the circulation booster and Shiona who has an elderly mother is determined that she must have one to help her with her circulation.  Mike and I had another go at lunch time and them James joined us for a session before bed in the evening.  The information states that you should see a marked improvement in 4 weeks of regular use but I must comment that I have not had a bout of cramp since I started using it.  This is course could be an abberation and much to early for statistical significance but I am hopeful that it is helping.

Today is a milestone for our neighbours of many years as they will be flying out to New …

Friday morning

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Good morning all, well I feel completely shattered this morning yesterday was a very long old day.
We left home just before 8am and made our way to Folkestone and there we got straight on the first available train through the tunnel which was at 9.20.  As we were earlier than we had anticipated we took a bit of a drive around Calais and then finally drove out to Sangatte.  We went through the town and out on to the head land where there was a commemorative statue to one Englishman born in Paris who had two failed attempts to cross the channel in an aircraft.  We had a chuckle about this you don't often see failure celebrated.  As we were up fairly high we got a good look over the channel and could see the white cliffs quite clearly and also all the ships going to and fro across that narrow strip of water.
Then it was almost time for lunch so we parked up outside the restaurant and had a walk on the beach as the tide was out and the sand exposed.
This is what we selected off the …

Thursday morning

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Let me introduce you to "Pat Austin" in bloom and looking great.
After yesterday's early start I was determined to have an afternoon sleep but the best laid plans often go awry and though I took to my bed sleep eluded me.  However, I had not wasted those early hours at 5.30 I was in the vegetable plot watering and weeding - what a lovely time of the day to be in the garden.

For lunch I made us a large salad as I knew we were in for a treat for supper - Shiona had brought a nice lasagne sort of dish which we just had to reheat and eat with a huge bunch of asparagus that she had scrumped from the orchard that had once been an asparagus field.  She then took the dogs for a walk while I loaded the dishwasher.  Given that she is 5'1" and weighs only a little more than Basso I was marginally concerned that he would pull her over.  However, he was a gentleman and behaved well.  The two terriers refused to go which was just as well as handling 5 dogs would be a bit muc…

Wednesday morning and bin day

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This is a Rubinia pseudo acacia 'Frizia' and it is in bloom at the moment.  The flowers are hard to spot but the pigeons love them and yesterday afternoon I had four sitting gorging themselves.  The air rifle reduced that to three and Basso got the opportunity to do a retrieve.  The bird was not wasted and ended up in the pot for the dogs supper.  I hope that it will keep the others away for a while.  They are becoming a real nuisance as there are so many of them.  All the paving is littered with bird excrement which I spent some time hosing off yesterday evening.

When I took the dogs for their walk the tide was up and so much fun was had in the water.  Basso still will not swim but he walks in up to his chest then looses his confidence when his feet leave the ground.  I managed the walk with a couple of stops so feel reasonably pleased with my progress.  What I need to do now is keep it up so that I gradually get fitter.  Half a stone has dropped off me since my return so I a…

Tuesday morning

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The garden is looking lush and green with almost every plant in bloom but it is all desperately in need of a drink.
Yesterday went well I had an early shower and then shot off to Tesco and restocked on items for the week and milk which we needed for Jeff for coffee.  Mike and I hardly use any milk so we tend to forget to buy it.  Mike and Jeff set off for Suffolk at about 10am which meant they had a clear run through with little traffic.  They got the van all sorted out and taken back to storage.  Then they had a good lunch in one of the numerous really good pubs, finally making it home by by about 4.30.  The dogs and I had a most peaceful day - I did all the washing and ironing and got round to some little chores like changing the ironing board cover and giving the iron a really good birthday clean.  After my lunch of left overs I went off to bed and slept soundly until 3.30 which just gave me time to gather my thoughts and put the kettle on before the men returned.  Although Jeff ha…

Monday morning

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I am up at the crack of dawn again - I have been getting really bad cramp in my legs which can only be stopped by jumping out of bed and applying my full body weight to my feet.  That done it is impossible to get back to sleep.  It is a quite chilly 10 degrees here and we have had a small splash of rain but nowhere near enough to do any good.  I foresee hosepipe bans before too long, it has been a couple of years since we last had a ban.  In the interim they have built many more houses so the stress on the water supply has increased and they still haven't built a new reservoir.  Apparently it is too costly to build a pipe line from Scotland to bring water but OK to build a pipe line from Siberia to bring gas - go figure!!!
Yesterday was a nice peaceful day James left to go home and wash his shirts ready for work today - what a brilliant boy he is, he has been a real help over the weekend.  Today Mike is going to have his work cut out as he and Jeff are going up to Suffolk to pack …

Sunday morning

Yesterday was one of peace and harmony - my sleeping patterns are all in a mess and so my tiredness continues however I am making great efforts to do lots of sleeping and get back on track.  We had a bit of a shopping expedition so that we are now restocked.  Having run down my supplies before the holiday I now need to refill the cupboards and fridge.  James did all the hard chores and hung out the laundry and walked the dogs so all I did was turn a few knobs on the stove and for dinner.  Lunch was cold cuts and crusty bread with Sandi and her husband and for dinner we had asparagus and steak so nothing difficult to prepare.
Friends and relatives are phoning at regular intervals to check on my condition which is all very gratifying.  In the mean time I am trying to be extra careful with knives. This is not the time to cut myself and I am trying not to walk into door frames [one of my more popular accidents!]  I have enough bruises from the injections without adding to them.
Today, Jam…

Saturday morning and all is well with the world

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Friday 13th The blogoshere seems to be down at the moment but as soon as it is up again I will post – So how was my holiday you ask – Very Short, I reply. Let me take you through what happened.We left home at about 10am having packed the car and dogs and made our way uneventfully up to Suffolk.We picked up the van and drove to the site which as you can see was very crowded.
First things first the dogs needed a quick walk to empty their tanks.Their delight at being back at their favourite forest was palpable.Next it was establishing ourselves and all went well until I tried to run some water through – nothing doing so it was a check through to see if we could locate a fault and low and behold there was a filter which had broken.So off we went to the caravan shop to locate a spare part which I fitted with no real trouble.We unpacked and settled down for our supper of mince and potatoes which was all vacuum packed and just heated in the microwave.Then it was off to bed after the dog’s final…
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Things are changing fast it was light by 4.30 this morning and the birds were shouting their heads off which woke me up.  The sky looks clear and there is no sign of rain so the garden got a good watering yesterday evening.  I had a busy day getting things ready for the holiday and preparing the house and garden to be shut down for a week.  I had a major weeding session in the green house and also took tons of weed out of the pond which was getting choked.  The pump filters were also in need of a clean which should keep the water circulating over the next week.  I also packed the heavier items into the car so that all we need to put in today is a box of food items and a bag of clothes and the dogs bits and pieces.  We are not intending to leave home until about 10 am so there is plenty of time to get the things together and strip off the beds.  Jane will make up the beds on Tuesday before we return on Wednesday so we will be coming home to a nice clean house which is a real joy.  I m…

Tuesday morning

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Allium Yesterday was a day of two halves in the morning I got my hair cut and very short it is, but it always grows so it will look better in a couple of weeks.  However, having it very short is nice as it keeps tidy and is easy to wash and dry.  That done it was off to Aldi to buy a couple of bits for lunch where I managed to buy two baguettes and four roast chicken thighs and a pot of coleslaw for under £5 which made a very acceptable lunch.  Then on the way back I stopped at the camping shop and bought us a new table for the awning which folds into a bag and has a roll out aluminium top.
Being all aluminium it can stand outside and not come to grief if it gets wet and I can stand the cob barbecue on it and cook without breaking my back.  The other advantage is that it is remarkably light to carry in its carry bag.

In the afternoon it was Basso who had to go to the vet for his annual inoculation - what excitement he was fascinated by all the animal smells in the surgery and was delig…
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The iris are in bloom and looking just gorgeous they don't last long but they are really spectacular while they are there.

James left just after breakfast and just in front of the rain.  It still was not enough to do any real good but it certainly made the air feel fresher.  It seem very strange not to have my twice daily chore of dealing with the hens but I hope the habit will re-establish itself once we have restocked.  I am in the process of thinking about our holiday and making sure that cameras and other electrical goods are fully charged before we set off.  To that end I bought a month of 3G so that my iPad will work provided we can get a signal and it was fun to take it with us yesterday.  While I walked the dogs Mike sat in the car park and played on the internet.  With any luck this should mean that I can keep my blog going even while in the caravan.  I also started to sort out food bits.  I have some very small jars that used to contain marmalade but I now fill with usef…

Sunday morning and damp

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The broad bean flowers are turning to pods so not long now!!!
James got his sprocket and chain replaced but we had already completed the general knowledge crossword by the time Mike was out of bed.  The next job was to get the dogs walked and while we were sitting on a bench a middle aged couple came past on their new mountain bikes.  She was shouting the odds about how people should control their dogs as they had not responded by getting out of her way when she rang her bell.  Fortunately it was not my dogs to whom she was referring and when I spoke to the offending dog owner she pointed out that it was a good job it was dogs not a toddler who didn't understand the need for speed or the significance of a bicycle bell.  There are some people who you could really enjoy pushing off their bikes!!!! Later on the walk a real mountain biker passed us he weaved between the dogs and thanked us for standing aside to let him through.  He didn't have the cleanly pressed white shorts and d…

Saturday morning

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Strawberry flowers
Yesterday was a good day and I finally got the chicken stock reduced and into the freezer.  James made it down for supper so one or the fish pies made a good meal if only I had managed to cook the courgettes without burning them.  I had popped up the garden and put some netting over my peas when my neighbour engaged me in conversation and by the time I made it back to the house the courgettes were black.

What a surprise when I got up this morning the lights were on down stairs so I thought I must have left them on when I went to bed but no James was already up and drinking coffee.  It has quite thrown me out of my usual routine but he has just gone up to the paper shop to buy me my copy of the Telegraph so we can do the crossword puzzle so I am taking the opportunity for a few jottings.

Good news we have had some rain at last, no great quantity but enough to wet the ground - so probably just as well that I spent an hour watering last night.  I expect the fire fighter…

Friday morning still no rain

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What a traumatic day it was yesterday.  Dispatching the chickens is not a job that I relish and with a view to sensitive neighbours I made sure the deed was done by the time they were out of bed.  I had locked the dogs in the house but once I had put the birds in the garage and I had come back in doors Basso was going mad so I let him out and he shot round to the garage and then back tracked right through the garden looking under every plant for the birds he could so obviously smell.  It took me a good couple of hours to pluck and draw the hens, then pile them in my huge pot with 9 litres of water and the usual vegetables to make stock.  This morning it is all cool and I can pick the meat off the bones for the dogs and decant and reduce the stock before putting it in the freezer.  However I feel quite nauseated at the thought so I will have to pluck up some courage before I get started.

I had an abortive attempt to get myself the iPad 2 as the Apple shop were completely out of stock …

Thursday morning and still dark

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The rhubarb is going mad despite having had several meals from it.
First lets start with yesterday, I rushed around first thing and got things ready then Elaine turned up at 9am and we had a nice chat and cup of coffee.  By 10 Shiona arrived and Elaine left to go and sort out her horses.  Jeff was not far behind so once they were all lubricated with coffee we set off to go shooting.  I was pleased with the way I shot and I am finally coming to terms with the my eye problems which are very confusing to all especially me.  Imagine, if you will, stretching your hand out to pick up a cup of tea but then having to move it 6 inches to the right in order reach your target.  Weird!!!!  The weather was perfect with not too much wind and wall to wall sunshine which made for an extremely pleasant day.  We got home at about 1.30 and I beetled off into the kitchen to prepare the lunch while Shiona and Jeff cleaned the guns and downed a beer.  The meat balls and pasta went down very well and Shiona …

Wednesday and a shooting day

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Lilly of the valley clustered around the foot of a tree.  It has taken me years to establish this plant after numerous failures I finally took a piece from a friends garden and it has take off beautifully and is spreading far a wide and becoming rampant but I don't mind as I love it.
Yesterday was a beautiful day and I was in and out with laundry for most of the day.  I don't know where I manage to find all these things that need to be washed?  I did empty out my box of hunting gear and put all the gloves hats and wet weather gear through the machine.  My Wellingtons are clean and back in their clean bag so I am all set for October. I also managed to get out with the dogs and then slip by the the cash and carry on the way home.  Here I restocked with washing powder and assorted other bits and pieces like tins of tomatoes and diet cokes which are a good deal cheaper than in the regular shops. I have decided that when I open a 5litre bleach or the like I will put the date on it …

Tuesday morning

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Things are under way in the green house
Yesterday, was a fairly boring mundane day with not much out of the ordinary, I made a couscous salad with one left over chicken breast for lunch and a chicken and coriander curry with the other for supper.  The dogs had the bits from the stock which with a few added biscuits was enough for both breakfast and supper so they were delighted and the stock is now tucked up in the freezer.  The wind was fierce and pretty cold so although I did a couple of jobs in the garden it was not a pleasant experience.  This morning the wind seems to have died down somewhat so it should be a bit better.    The strong winds did dry my washing in double quick time but it also threw my pegs all over the garden so I had lots of fun retrieving them.  Poor Basso got a shock as he was patrolling round a flower bed. I had a dish shaped flower pot stood on a wooden plinth which unbeknown to us had completely rotted.  As he brushed past the whole thing collapsed and the p…

Monday morning

Sorry to have confused everyone yesterday but it just goes to show how ga ga I am in the mornings!!!  I do have real difficulty keeping up with the days as it matters not a jot to me what day it actually is....

We had a visit from a very nice man who is about to put solar panels on his roof and wanted to talk through our experience of the process. He too is retired and as it turned out used to work in the power generation industry and knew of my father who was also in the same line of work.  What a small world it is!!!!  The company should be well pleased as we had nothing but praise for the installation team who were clean and tidy and in and out in a day.  We also showed him the figures we have collected since installation both of the electricity we have drawn from the grid and what we have generated ourselves.  We also went through the small changes we have made in our consumption pattern so that we maximise the power we are producing and minimise our reliance on the grid. Silly li…

Saturday morning

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Another early start so a definite siesta will be on the cards this afternoon.  Yesterday was a lovely day if  a bit windy but still no rain for the garden.  I took the dogs for their usual walk and as the water has largely evaporated in the pool Basso's run through resulted in very muddy paws.  The return journey included the butcher and Tesco for a minor restock.  I had made some tarts with cheese and onion to have for lunch which I filled with the remaining asparagus soup in lieu of cream.  It worked very well but they were a rather lurid green in colour.  For dinner I made an aubergine dish which was rather like  melanzane parmigiana but with the slices of aubergine first fried off in an egg batter then wrapped round basil leaves and mozzarella cheese and finally coated with a tomato sauce.  Certainly a  vegetarian meal where you don't miss the meat!!!

Today we have a prospective solar panel customer coming to see our installation and chat through our experience before fina…