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Showing posts from June, 2011

Thursday morning and still dark

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Yesterday was a real dilemma I didn't know what to do for the best whether to take my pain killers and risk being woolly in the head or go without and be in pain.  I decided that it was the lesser of the evils to go without the pills and see how I got on.  As it turned out this was the right decision and I managed very well until the last stand by which time I really needed the pills so as they were in my pocket I took them so that by the time we reached home I would be feeling better.
Jeff had brought me a nice big bunch of lilies which are in a vase waiting to open as they are still all in bud.  He was also chuffed to see that the sweet peas that he had grown from seed were now in flower.  We had a bit of a target shoot with the air rifle and feel that it is now pretty accurate but the process drove poor Basso crazy as ever shot he felt obliged to go and check for fallen birds.  He has no concept of target shooting!!!
The late afternoon was filled with phone calls as everyone se…

Wednesday and a shooting day

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My 60th birthday present is all grown up
Today the weather has done an about turn and we are starting the day at 12 degrees which is quite a dramatic drop.  The storm hit at about 4pm with one almighty clap of thunder followed by and absolute deluge of rain and the thermometer dropped some 12 degrees in minutes.  The storm didn't last long but was quite dramatic as it passed over us.  Apparently around the county there was quite a bit of damage done by lightening strikes but we were not affected.


The vase of sweet peas is the first picking and I am sure there will be plenty more as the plants are doing very well.  It might have been better if I had taken the photo in daylight rather than with the flash  but you get the general idea anyway.

Today is my 63 birthday and I have a lovely pile of cards both sons have not only remembered but also got cards to me on time which given that one has to make it from Thailand is not bad going.  By way of celebration I am going shooting this morn…

Tuesday morning

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What a waste of a day!!! yesterday was so hot and humid that we spent most of it trying to find somewhere cool.  There was the occasional breeze which made it tolerable but even the dogs where lethargic and spent much of the day spread eagled on the stone kitchen floor.  We live within 10 miles of Gravesend where the highest temperature was recorded.

However, there is one bit of good news and that is that I did turn out my WARDROBE at long last and managed to fill a sack with stuff that I no longer wear or no longer fits.  I moved all the winter stuff to a spare wardrobe and divided my shirts into long and short sleeved.  In the process I found lots of bits that needed washing so I ran a load of whites and a load of coloureds which as you can imagine were almost dry as soon as I hung them out.  I now have the glorious task of ironing it all which given the temperature may well wait a few days.  For lunch we had an egg and tomato sandwich each and for supper I threw together a green s…

Monday and the start of another week

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My three tier onion drying rack that was once a camp kitchen in the days of tents....
Yesterday started off well I took my pain killers on time and managed to stay pain free for most of the morning which was enough time to get the chores done and by the afternoon it was too hot to care... I made a savoury semolina cake and prepared both lunch of pork chops and dinner of turkey broth with pastina.  I also made potatoes Anna which is a lovely dish but does require a bit of messing about.
The afternoon was hot and sticky so I must admit that I spent quite some time lying on my bed - however, it doesn't seem to have made any difference to the back pain which is just as bad today.  So it will have to be the pain killer regimen if I am to be mobile.  The temperature is destined to be even greater today and it is already 22 degrees outside and it is only 6am.  
 The water lilies are certainly enjoying the sun shine and the pond is looking good if a bit murky with all the added fish.  This au…

Sunday morning

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I am pretty miserable this morning following a day of rotten back pain yesterday which really restricted my activities.  I did however make the most of the turkey leg and thigh that I had bought and am marvelling at the cost of all the meals I have made.  I have 3 portions of soup, the meat made sufficient for 5 portions of pie and 2 of cold meat salad and the bits made a meal for all 3 dogs and all for £4.90.  I used a packet of puff pastry to make the lids for the pies and with the trimmings I made 6 cream horns.  It is ages since I had a cream horn and had forgotten just how nice they are with some raspberry jam and whipped cream, what a treat for tea. The weather seems to have cheered up a bit and after a wet start the day progress with warm sunshine and according to the forecast we are now in for a heat wave which will make a pleasant change as it has been so cold of late.   I managed to get the hens cleaned out though this was not so good for the back but the job had to be done.  …

Saturday morning

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Happy pansy faces in my kitchen window box
Yesterday morning I spent some time trying to sort out an internet bank account which we have with Tesco, what a disaster, they are upgrading their security and it is now so secure that not even the account holders can get in and then the whole site crashes.  Fortunately, it is not an urgent financial transaction so I think a couple of weeks should see the dust settle before I give it another go.  Next it was off to the gunsmith and take the dogs in the car so I could stop and take them for a walk.  Basso was a complete B*****r would he come back to his whistle? - no he had found new friends to play with an was not listening to me.  Finally I had to go and fetch him which didn't please me as it was quite a trek and my back was really very unhappy.  However, things brightened up when I got to the gunsmith who immediately saw that my air rifle telescopic sight was loose on its mountings and needed to be realigned and then fixed.  He gave me …

Friday and the end of another week

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Mad windy skies
Having to things right the day before, pride comes before a fall, and I got things wrong yesterday so my washing is still on the line and I hope it will dry today, it is certainly very well rinsed!  From what I have seen of the weather forecast we are going from the sublime to the ridiculous and heading for 30 degrees next week.  I suppose this is just one of the joys of living on an island.   I had some fun in the kitchen yesterday and made an Indian semolina cake which is one of those recipes that I had forgotten but Elaine reminded me of it.  It was so delicious that we ate the whole thing over the course of the day.  It is a savoury cake with peas and onions and Indian spices in it so very much to my taste.  I also made a big bag of crumble mix which is now in the freezer.  I had picked enough gooseberries for a couple of portions so I made individual large ramekins of crumble and while I was at it I thought I might just as well make loads.
I had no problems with the…

Thursday morning and still dark

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Rosa Bonica 
There are times when you get things badly wrong but yesterday was one of the days when I got things very right!  I started the day with a flurry of gardening and lifted all the onions and put them on the shed veranda to dry on what was an old camping kitchen wire frame.  They are under cover so the showers will not effect them and they should dry off nicely.  I then prepared the bed and planted up three rows of spinach seeds. I had a go with the secateurs and dead headed all the roses and had a bit of a prune of some of the bushes that were becoming obstructive.   Then after a cup of coffee it was off to walk the dogs before the weather turned.  We had just got back into the house when the heavens opened and it came down in stair rods.  If I had got my timing slightly off I would have been soaked as would the dogs.  By then it was time to get the lunch under way and after my afternoon siesta the rain had stopped so my new seeds got a good watering in.  Later in the evening…

Wednesday morning and bin day

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The sky looks like some one has been doodling on it!!!

Well the garden looks tidy and my bay trees have had a hair cut all courtesy of Mark and his magic machines which make the job so much easier...

Basso is keeping an eye on the surroundings from his vantage point on the roof.  This photo doesn't show that the front of the shed really needs painting again which is a job I would rather avoid.
The house is clean and the laundry done so all that remains is the ironing,  which will take a matter of minutes this morning.  Well I say clean that is if you don't look too closely!!!!  In the vegetable garden the onions are ready to be pulled but I really need a good few days of sunshine to let them dry off and there doesn't look like any gap in the showery conditions just yet.  Once they are out of the ground I can then plant up some spinach seeds which should keep the bed filled until the winter.
I made the meat balls yesterday and froze them individually and bagged them up ready…

Tuesday morning and blowing

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Make shift jump just for practice slightly out of focus but you get the general idea
Yesterday started dismal and damp but brightened up for the middle of the day only to revert to deluge again in the evening.  In between I managed to get the dogs walked in the dry and had a bit of practice jumping with Basso so that at least he will understand the "OVER" command when we go to agility.  The hens did us proud and we had 4 eggs for the first time so we are now under-way with egg production.  I am persevering with "going to bed" training which is still proving difficult as they are very slow learners or maybe just bloody minded and disobedient!!!! Elaine popped in for coffee and we had a nice chat her twin daughters are 13 in a couple of day - how time flies and I don't envy her the next few years.  I don't know which is worse teenage boys or teenage girls I think they can both be ghastly in different ways.  Getting used to the hormone storm is quite a difficult…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a day of sunshine punctuated by a few showers but less than there have been of late so not bad at all.  Today it is still jolly cool at 11 degrees and fairly overcast but a least the wind has dropped.
The first of  Sunday's problems started with the computer which has been playing up.  I was looking for a recipe when I found that my entire recipe file had vanished - nothing else was missing just the recipe file.  Well to cut a very long story short the files seem to have been wiped out and I can't find them anywhere so as luck would have it I had put the file on a USB drive that hangs on my key ring and I had updated it not long ago so I managed to retrieve everything from there.  Then it was into the kitchen and good wash down for the cupboards which were well and truly slobbered.  This is the only real drawback to having white doors on the cupboards they show every mark but equally they also look spectacular when clean.  The crossword puzzle was completed and …

Sunday morning and windy

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All the clematis are in full bloom at the moment and have really benefited from all the rain


Yesterday morning started well and I got the chickens cleaned out, fed and watered and collected two little eggs.  The ironing was done and put away and the kitchen was for once reasonably clean and tidy though the cupboard fronts could use a wipe down and slobber removal.  I had a chat with the chap who is running the dog training and decided that I would book myself in for the agility class which starts in July on a Tuesday morning at Riverside country park which is where I usually walk the dogs.  Now all I had to do was print off the form and send it - so on went the printer and up came a message that I was out of ink - not a problem I always have a second set of inks stood by.  The I remembered that the set was minus the blue as they were out of stock when I purchased the set and I was supposed to go back and get one.  Had I done this the problems would have been averted.  Will the printer…

Saturday morning

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Yesterday started with a bit of a tragedy.  The black birds who have been nesting in the our hydrangea over the garage got raided by a neighbourhood cat and all the fledgelings were ejected and lying on the floor.  Two were already dead but the third was in need of euthanasia so it fell to me to put the poor thing out of its misery.  All that work for nothing, I have been watching the father fly to and fro with beak-fulls of worms and insects from early in the morning until late in the evening and his little brood were not far from being grown up enough to fly.  Still I suppose that is nature, survival is a tough business. My other feathered friends have surpassed themselves and we had two eggs yesterday but they did manage to throw all their food on the floor where it got soaked in the rain and ruined.

I then spent hours on the phone sorting out an internet only savings account.  I set everything up on line and then it finally threw me out and told me to make a phone call.  It took …

Friday and the end of another week

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Prince Charles is flourishing
Yesterday was a day of sudden deluges followed by sunny periods so it was a case of shooting out between the showers and trying not to get caught.  I got my bolognese sauce done nice and early and left it to fester all day in the slow cooker and today I will divide up what is left after last nights supper and get it into the freezer.  I also made another pizza dolce but this time I added a load of halved white seedless grapes and boy was that a good move it is really nice and moist.
In our local free paper there was an advert for dog training classes at the place where I usually take the dogs for a walk so I thought I would sign Basso up but now here is the dilemma do I go for the obedience classes or do I have a go a agility.  My only worry about agility is that I may not be fit enough for task but I expect I will get fitter as he learns so maybe it is a possibility.  I have been so aware that he is not getting enough work over the summer and this seems to…

Thursday morning

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A pot full of pansies which I had nowhere else to plant 
Yesterday was a lovely sunny day and I managed to get all the washing out and dry.  The sky kept clouding over and looking like rain but it didn't happen until early evening.  We have had so much rain of late that I was surprised when I went round and checked the pots only to find that they were already dry but the evening rain saved the job of watering but I will have to keep an eye on them as they dry out very fast.  I spent most of the morning in the kitchen making some carrot and coriander soup which was really delicious.  The stock I used was from the freezer and courtesy of our old hens so it was very tasty.  I get carrots each week in my box and I had built up quite a backlog so needed to get rid of them before they went all soft and silly on me.
I then took Basso for a manicure! he has dew claws on his back feet which is normal for the breed but fairly unusual generally and they tend to grow at an alarming rate.  My Ja…

Wenesday and bin day

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The server is mucking about this morning and refusing to let me up load photos.  I will try again when I get to the end and see if the problem is resolved.

The house got its weekly clean yesterday courtesy of Jane and I spent some time trying to remove the excess weed from the pond.  I now have several piles of weed which I leave to drain and allow any creatures I have captured time to get back to the pond.  Today I will get the weed cleared up and put in the wheelie bin.  I am also hoping to get a load of washing dried on the line before the weather turns wet again.

I made the lemon tart which was very successful but reminded me of lemon meringue pie with the meringue missing.  There was easily enough for four individual pies with just half the recipe as given on the web site.  Mike and I had one each for lunch and then when Mark showed up in the afternoon he had one with a cup of tea and the last one was half each for supper.

I took the dogs for a walk in the morning and as the ti…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterday was a mediocre day it started badly but finished in glorious sunshine.  Our trip to the dentist was uneventful just the usual decoke and sandblasting and an appointment for December.  We stopped off on the way home and had a nice pub lunch.  Mike had lambs liver with mash and gravy and I had ham egg and chips all of which were well cooked, not exotic, but very nice anyway.   As we had both had an early start we shuffled off to bed for a kip and when we woke it seemed to be a different day it sunny and warm.  Jane is due to come today and we will hear how she has got on with her iPad.  For once the house is moderately tidy and I have a few jobs to do in the garden so I am pleased to report that we are starting today with clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine and 12 degrees.  However, I have one eye on the weather forecast and it isn't going to last so we best make the most of it.  Len and Margaret are having a party this weekend and have borrowed our gazebo for the garden …

Monday morning again

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Yesterday was one of real misery - the rain fell from morning until night and it was perishingly cold.  James left at about 10 and the guy came to discuss boilers which took 2 hours and lots of trawling around the house trying to find a suitable place to put a boiler.  We currently have a back boiler which is neatly hidden in the chimney breast.  The final decision was to put it in the airing cupboard and run the pipes on the outside of the house thus minimising both cost and disruption.  Now we will wait to see just what the quote is for the work and then see if we can scrape up the cash.  It would be nice to have it installed before the winter sets in although yesterday felt as if it already had.  This morning the temperature is a little warmer but we have a force 9 blowing which should at least get rid of the rain.  We have our six monthly appointment at the dentist which is a bit of a trek over to Maidstone so we book both appointments to be consecutive, that at least cuts the tra…

Sunday morning bright and sunny

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Appropriately named duke of Edinburgh clematis

Yesterday was one of mixed weather some sun, not much, and plenty of showers.  We had a dash round and did a bit of shopping and walked the dogs.  the chicken got spatchcocked ready for the barbecue but in the end it ended up in the oven as the weather was not stable enough to risk lighting it.

James arrived just in time for lunch so I had an extra brain to help me with my Saturday brain test of doing the general knowledge crossword.

Today we are expecting a man to come and give us a quote on a new boiler which is not yet necessary but the current one is quite inefficient so it would seem sensible to move to an efficient boiler before gas prices go through the roof.

Just a short not this morning things to do and a late start have a good day all.
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Clematis Lady Di in flower
Well the best laid plans often go astray and mine certainly went that way yesterday -  The morning started badly with Basso having problems with his tummy and not making it to the garden.  I won't bore you with the details but the mess was awesome.  It took me the best part of the morning to clean the dog and then the carpet.  I couldn't be cross with him as he was hiding in corners totally mortified.  Anyway he was put on plain boiled rice and hopefully the problem has now passed through!!!!and all is forgiven and forgotten. As it turned out it was not a day for gardening anyway as we has persistent showers through the morning and in the afternoon we had a deluge accompanied by thunder and lightening.  The temperature has dropped like a stone and we are at a miserable 7 degrees this morning.  I was listening to the news about the draught orders on the TV and outside it coming down in stair rods!!!
The car was finally brought back to us at around 5pm a…

Friday morning

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Mountains of white daisies
Shiona and her dogs arrived rather later than usual due to some accident in the middle of Chatham but after coffee and pleasantries we set off to go shooting.  The our car had already been picked up by Landrover and taken away for its service and beauty treatment.  Shiona and I took ourselves off to Dartford to shoot a bit of Skeet but we really shouldn't have bothered as neither one of us was on form and we shot like drains.  We returned home via the farm shop where we bought some strawberries and some lovely Kent cherries.  For lunch we ate bits and bobs from the fridge with the inevitable lettuce [only a few more to go] then for dessert we had the pizza dolce from Franks web site which I had made at the crack of dawn.  As anticipated it needed something wet to go with it so the sliced strawberries were perfect and we all agreed it was a jolly good pud.  Dinner for all of us was the remains of the dessert but this time with cherries - not bad at all.  T…

Thursday morning

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The black elder is in full bloom with lovely mop heads of pink flowers.  We are back down to single figures again it is only just 9 degrees outside so quite chilly.  We had some heavy showers yesterday but I was quite happy with that as I had managed to plant the beans early in the morning and a good soaking was in order.  I knuckled under got the ironing done and put away and then spent the rest of the morning driving around getting some odds and ends, delivering an air bed to Len and Margaret who are expecting lots of visitors and walking the dogs.  We needed to pack everything into yesterday as we are with out the car today and tomorrow as it is going in for a service and clean up - you cannot imagine the filth in it from the dogs.  The interior hasn't been cleaned since the hunting season so it is full of mud as well as dog hair.  The garage come and collect the car and then deliver it back to us when the work is done.
I am expecting Shiona and her dogs this morning as we are …

Bin day again

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Very new addition to the family I do hope she is not permanently scarred by the blue for boys blanket!!!!

Yesterday was a busy day with both Mark and Jane here in the morning.  I spent much of the time in the garden with Mark where we cleared one of the veg beds of broad beans that were over and some celery that was doing nothing.  The bed is now clear and ready for planting some dwarf French beans which I hope will still have enough time to make a good crop.  The broad bean plants had enough pods on them to make a very good portion for Mike and I for supper.  The new rosemary bush was planted and once it is established hopefully we can get rid of the old one that is obstructing the path.  I also took a bold management decision and removed the protective netting from the peas as I hope they are now big enough to withstand a pigeon attack.  Talking of which the feral pigeons are beginning to see the light and have move to other roofs in the area leaving mine free.  A couple of days of …

Tuesday and the rain has passed

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Poppies self seed themselves all over the garden and as a rule I just let them get on with it unless they are in the middle of the vegetables.
The rain has finally passed but the full 24 hours of down pour is just what we needed to perk everything up.  It was relatively gentle rain so it hasn't battered the flowers too much. I spent some time yesterday morning writing a E mail to my friend in Italy but writing in Italian is a real trial as I was never taught - I only ever learned to speak as a child which means that my grammar is terrible and spelling even worse however with the aid of iTranslate I hope it is at least intelligible.  I suppose if I read more in Italian things might improve but who has the time!!!!  Then came the phone call and suddenly speech came to me with no problems at all.  It is incredible that what you have learned at the age of 4 stays with you for life.  My poor friend has been having a terrible time and was really depressed.  She has not only lost her husba…

Be careful what you wish for!!!

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Well I wished for rain and believe me we have had plenty - it rained almost all day yesterday and most of the night and it is still raining now so I think the garden will be very happy  and we can lay off watering for a little while.

I put up this photo of the pigeons on my neighbours roof but yesterday I counted 13 sitting on our roof.  The problem is they are incontinent and consequently I have poo all down the side of the house and windows.  The time had come to give them a bit of a fright so with the air rifle I managed to shoot a couple of them without damage to the solar panels.  One fell injured into the garden and my picking up dog did his stuff and retrieved it for me so I could dispatch it quickly.  If they are far away it is a bit like hitting a duvet with a doughnut but it does startle them.  I am hoping to make enough nuisance of myself to make them move elsewhere.  These you will notice are feral pigeons so not good to eat but I do use them for dog food so not a total wa…

Sunday morning

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Can you guess what this is - yes it is a punnet of strawberries!!!
As you can see I am having endless fun taking really daft pictures with the new camera facilities.  Yesterday was very muggy here, the air was heavy and warm but with little sunshine until late in the day.  We were promised some rain overnight but it never materialised so just as well we had a watering session.  This morning is overcast with gusty winds but the temperature is still in double figures. I managed to get the dogs out for a nice walk and did some training with Basso.  I am very aware that he is not getting enough training and I really need to do more work with him if he is to perform well this winter.  Anyway he walked to heal for quite some distance without his lead and did several sit stays while I walked away from him.  What I really need is some dummy practice but that really needs two people.  Next time James is down I will have to rope him in to help me. 
The hens are beginning to get the idea that when …

Saturday morning

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Tuc sneaks on to the bed when no one is looking
Yesterday was a bit of day what with one thing and another.  My brother in law David has been having some urological problems and has just undergone some fairly miserable tests the results of which will not be known for some 10 days then decisions will be made about further treatment.  At the same time his daughter in law's waters broke 6 weeks early so she too was in hospital but will be allowed home for the weekend and then she will be induced on Monday if she doesn't go into labour herself.  It is all pandemonium in that house hold especially as it is a first baby.
We took the old iPad to Sandi and after a long struggle I had to accept that the boys at Apple are definitely brighter than I am!  I tried hard to save some of the apps from my pad and transfer all of Sandi apps but there was no way.  In the end I had to reset to factory settings and just reload as though it was a new machine. This was remarkably simple once I had acc…

iPad day

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Crazy photo taken with photo booth light tunnel setting - of scrunched up dressing gown

Screwed up bra taken with kaleidoscope setting

something a bit more recognisable Basso and Nip in the garden.

The new iPad is great but I am just getting used to it and have spent hours this morning cleaning the old one down ready for it to go to Sandi at lunch time today.

I abandoned the idea of going shooting yesterday in favour of making the beef and ale pies and just as the six pies were put in the freezer the post arrived and there was the new toy.  Then I did something quite remarkably stupid, my back was playing up, so I decided to take one of Mikes pain killers which are quite strong and in my haste I took two.  Well that was it, I was away with the fairies for the next four hours,  not a good time to do technical stuff.  So I had to content myself with taking silly photos.  The great thing about the iPad is once you plug it into the desk top it copies everything including all the settings et…

Thursday morning and warmer

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The little girlies are out and about investigating
Yesterday started off chilly but warmed as the day wore on and today we are starting in double figures so it look like another good day.  We spent some time refilling both ponds and giving the vegetable garden a drink - this is an expensive pass time as we are on metered water.  Mike has put some stuff in the pond to clear some of the blanket weed which is causing a bit of a nuisance.  This does however have a draw back of tuning the water into what looks like milk and you cannot see the fish at all.  It should clear in a few days but in the mean time it looks terrible.  Some how the fish manage to see their way around and soon notice if there is food to be had.

On the food front I put the ox cheeks on to slowly cook and today they will be degreased and frozen for use at a later date.  I think beef and ale pies would be a good use for them so if I can muster the enthusiasm to make pastry I may just go ahead and make them this morning.…
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Endless blue skys but not enough rain!!!!

Yesterday was a day of restocking so first once Jane was ensconced and under way we loaded the dogs into the car and drove off to take them for a walk.  Although the weather looked bright it was still pretty chilly but very pleasant for walking.  The tide was out so I had to keep an eye on the dogs and make sure they didn't go muddy puddling.  That done we were off to the butcher where I bought loads of stuff including some ox cheek which will today be made into a stew which can form the base of many dishes/pies etc.  Then it was on to the fish monger where I bought some sprats for lunch as well as some other bits for the freezer.  Finally it was home via Tesco for some bits and bobs like dishwasher tablets and pledge.  When we got home there is then the grand unveiling and repacking of the food ready for the freezer.  At this point my vegetable box arrived so more to put away and guess what it has a lovely LETTUCE just what I want!!!!
Onc…