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Showing posts from July, 2011

Sunday morning

Things are progressing well and I am hopeful that I may get my son home early next week.  I am going to try and have a days rest today and hopefully not have to drive up to London.  It is taking me about 2 hours each way which is quite tiring and stressful.

Saturday Morning

Went to London yesterday to visit James and I am pleased to report that his condition is improving.  I was delighted to see him much better and managed to get some information from the medical staff who are pleased with his condition but are still awaiting some tests which will take at least 2 weeks to come through.  He has been moved to a nicer environment which should make him feel better.  It now looks like viral meningitis which is self limiting and should require not further treatment other than supportive.  I am therefore hopeful that he will be released from hospital before too long and I can have him home for some intensive rest and recuperation.
I am pretty shattered but it is amazing where you can get energy from when needed!!!!

Friday morning

Yesterday was the day from hell waiting for the phone to ring and some news.  The good news is that the shower is back up and running.  I will be off to London to visit James this afternoon and hope to have some better news.  He is still waiting for an MRI scan which if it is not done today will probably have to wait until Monday as nothing is done over the weekend....

Thursday Morning

I spent 4 hours with James yesterday while Mike and Henry went to the oyster festival.  I feel James is not in any immediate physical danger but is still confused and having flashbacks to the 7/11 bombing in which he was heavily involved.  Today he is due to have an MRI scan to rule out any possible lession.  He is still confused with a terrible head ache and having memory lapses but I think he would improve if he were in a familiar environment so we are hoping that he will be released by the hospital once they have finished all the relevant tests.  In the mean time Henry has gone back home and I am hoping the plumber will come today and fix the shower.
The situation seems to be changing fairly rapidly so planning is out of the question and we are just living hour by hour until we can see a way forward.

Wednesday morning

Finally managed some sleep last night after being on my feet for 48 hours and feeling a bit more like a human being this morning.  Youngest son in hospital in London with suspected meningitis/encephalitis.  Henry, who is staying with us, has been a real brick and has run me around in all the horrid London traffic.  James is out of immediate danger but is still very confused and we are awaiting the results of a lumbar puncture.  However, he has been pumped full of antibiotics which should do the trick.  Thank heavens the police take not turning up for duty so seriously after exhausting all other avenues they forced entry to his flat and found him unconscious.  At the moment there is nothing we can do so we are going to take ourselves to the local oyster festival for a bite of lunch and then see what the rest of the day brings with mobile phones we are never out of contact. All our plans have to be very fluid as things seem to be moving quite quickly we had intended to go to the festiva…

Tuesday morning

family crisis back soon

Monday morning

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Not quite so early this morning but still early enough at 4.30 am.  Yesterday, went very well and the salad Nicoise was a great success and so easy as it was just an assembly job.  I had managed to get the tuna just right so it was succulent not dry and the eggs yolks were just creamy not powdery.  The crumble for desert was lovely and with a choice of either cream or vanilla ice cream to top it off.    We could, as it turned out, have eaten outside but I was not prepared to take the risk and it was a bit cool with a fairly stiff breeze so the indoor choice was a good one.  Basso let me down horribly when I decided to show how good he is at retrieving.  He flatly refused to have anything to with the dummy and just ignored my commands making me look a total twit.


Today I am making preparations for the next visitors who will not be arriving until later this afternoon as they have to drive up from Bristol which takes about 3 hours.  That gives me the morning to make the upstairs presenta…

Sunday morning

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Well another day another dollar - the wretched sciatica woke me up this morning at stupid o'clock but I am not that unhappy as I have plenty to do by way of preparations,  I am not sure what time my visitors will arrive but  as long as the salad ingredients are ready I can throw it together as soon as they arrive.  Similarly with the crumble if that is all ready to go.

It is very disappointing that my back is giving me trouble again especially as it was fine when we were on holiday and I thought it might have gone away.  The photo shows the camp site and we were situated just behind the deer's head.  The one saving grace of this particular site is that despite all the rain there is never any mud only wet sand which is easy to cope with.  However having said that there is plenty of sand in the van and I am planning to take my hoover with me next time so that I can give it a bit of a birthday.  All three dogs have been wormed and flea and tic treated so any pests picked up in …

Saturday morning

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These humans are really clever how did she know that I had been at the toilet roll?
Yesterday I managed to get all the laundry ironed and put away, but what a job it was, two and a half hours ironing!  anyway it is done now.  The crab was wonderful and I decided that rather than spoil it with some fake mayonnaise I would make some which was well worth the effort.  The crab shell was then put in the oven along with others and prawn shells I had frozen and I made a very reduced shellfish stock which I returned to the freezer.    The hens needed a good clean out so that was my next job.  The tomatoes are coming along well in the green house but they too needed some attention.  I then sat and made a list of the things I needed for the impending visitors and decided that the easiest way was to order it all on the internet so it is due to arrive this morning between 8 - 10 which certainly saved me lots of time. After much struggle I finally managed to get the camera and computer communicat…

Friday morning

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Back to reality with a bump, 6 machine loads of washing not all of them from the camping trip - there was a load of towels from the newly refurbished airing cupboard where our boiler is now situated plus a change of all the beds.  Was it a good day for drying no of course it wasn't it was damp and drizzly so the tumble dryer was pressed into action.  My early morning tour of the garden yielded blackberries, courgettes, tomatoes, eggs and peas.  Given that I had grown the peas from a packet of Bachelors dried peas from the supermarket I was not hopeful however cooked with some spring onions [also from the garden] they were a revalation.  I had brought back some meat from the wonderful butcher in Melton - 4 sirloin steaks, slices of veal topside, veal chops and some enormous chicken breasts from real free range birds.  None of this was cheap but the quality was worth paying for and they are now all tucked up in the freezer.  We shared one of the chicken breasts for lunch and it did …

Thursday Morning

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Well my dearly beloved I am back up and running with fully recharged batteries.  Could we have chosen a better week to have a caravan holiday?  It rained a little and then a little more and then a lot and then we had a thunder storm and then more rain!!!!!  Anyway in the brief interludes we had the very best time.  The dogs thought they had died and gone to heaven not only did they get lots of goodies to eat but they had long walks in the forest, swimming and slept in bed with us!
One very tired dog
The barbecue which had been arranged for Saturday night looked like it was going to be a complete washout and we decided that baked potatoes were a better bet than salad.  The only problem was that they were huge and I ended up with two on the barbecue, two in the microwave and eleven in the oven - they only took about two hours to cook but we all agreed that they were some of the best baked potatoes we had ever had!!!  The rain let up just long enough for the food to be cooked and eaten b…

Wednesday morning

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Pictures from yesterdays first attempt at agility training as you can see the jumps were not a problem
Walking the plank was not a problem The tunnel was not a problem in fact nothing was a problem he was keen and eager and thought this assault course was very easy!!!
We did have a bit of a sticky moment when he was asked to jump through the tyre - he thought it better to jump over the entire apparatus but soon got the idea it was just the ring he was to jump through.  All in all we had a most successful first attempt and I was delighted with his efforts.  All the apparatus was set on very low so that they could get used to it however as the class ended the jumps were put up to full height and he thought that was a bit more fun.  His favourite apparatus was the tunnel as the trainer had thrown bits of chicken into it to encourage a less confident dog and Basso was convinced there was chicken in there so at every opportunity he shot into the tunnel to check.
Once the session was over …

Tuesday morning

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Dearly bewildered this morning I have had a bit of a lie in it is already nearly 6am which make a pleasant change.  Yesterday, was a day of frustration the plumber arrived at 9am and turned the house upside down.  The first job was to power wash the radiators and make sure the system was clean then it was a case of boring huge holes through the gable end wall to accommodate the flue and drainage pipes.  The new boiler is hanging in the airing cupboard and looks very smart.  Today it will be connected up and once the pipe work is done.  My major frustration was that I was unable to do anything in the house and was desperate not to get stuck in in the garden given the delicate condition of my back.  I took the dogs out for their walk and discovered that the tide was up so it was swimming instead of walking - for the dogs that is not for me though I did get pretty wet.
Frustration number two was that the plumber broke the bad news that the control system for the boiler, which is the bi…
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Yesterday was a relatively busy day and as I was pain free on my analgesics I managed to get the dogs out for a walk and then swung past Tesco to get some bits and pieces to eat during the boiler change as I don't know when and if I will have either gas or water.  I also took the opportunity to get some bits that will form part of the diet when I return.  As far as dairy produce is concerned there is an abundance of fat free natural yoghurt, fromage frais and quark not to mention skimmed milk.  The other compulsory ingredient is oat bran which I can now get in Tesco.  Joy, you asked if there are lots of recipes and the answer is yes as I also bought the recipe book to go with the diet book.  However, to give you an idea the first 5 days are protein only then it moves into protein and vegetable one day and pure protein the next.  It sounds weird I know but when you read the the book it makes great sense.  There are four phases to the diet which aims to stabilise you at your requir…

Sunday morning

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Anne it sounds like you had a jolly good time in Italy and being forced to speak the language all the time is the only way to really learn it.  Rome is a lovely city but when it gets hot it really does get hot.  I for one am not a lover of hot weather I find it saps my energy and all I want to do is float around in a swimming pool or lie in a heap in the shade. 
Yesterday was a shower free day as far as the weather was concerned but I was miserable with backache and found that I had to drag myself around and really push to get the various chores done.  The hens got cleaned out and  I weeded one of the vegetable beds with a hoe so as not to bend too much.  The laundry got done and the bathroom and loo and kitchen got a birthday, but then I was knackered.  I had ordered a book from Amazon which had gone astray so after a quick phone call it was delivered by express service at no extra charge.  The book is the Dukan diet, I have read a good deal about this diet and now that I have read …

Saturday morning

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Yesterday was another washout day it rained for the best part of the morning, so I had to content myself with indoor activities.  I made a guacamole as the avocados had just reached the point of ripeness.  I did it as intended with a pestle and mortar which was a nice way to waste time.  We had it for lunch as suggested by Thomasina Miers in the true Mexican way with pork scratchings and very interesting and nice it was too.   For dinner we had some chicken leg and thigh pieces that I cooked with some mushrooms and some pasta.  The dish would have benefited from a splash of cream but I had none so we just had it plain.  Then it was time to start making room to allow the plumber to access the pipes for the new boiler installation which starts on Monday.  This means emptying the airing cupboard where the new boiler will be situated and clearing out a cupboard which has become something of a glory hole.  We found all sorts of things we never even knew we had and plenty to throw away.  I…

Friday morning

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Well everything seems to have changed this morning in the blogger world.  When I logged on all the page layout had changed and I have just spent 10 minutes wandering around to see where everything is now.  We are such creatures of habit that it quite threw me.

Yesterday was a bit of a washout we decided that shooting was off as the showers were both sharp and unpredictable not to mention frequent.  Shiona came over anyway and brought her TENS machine with her as it is small enough to fit on a belt and has rechargeable batteries so I can take it on holiday as a security blanket in case my back continues to be so painful.  We decided that we would take the dogs for a walk if we could dodge the showers so we piled all 5 dogs in the car and set off just after a shower had finished and were really fortunate that we had just made it back to the car as it began to rain again.  Guess what it is raining now!!!  anyway I for one am not complaining as it does save me a lot of trouble watering.

Thursday morning

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Yesterday was a day of rain and sun we had some really heavy down pours punctuated with find sunny weather and cool comfortable temperatures.  I made it through the day without pills but it was not pain free so today I will dose myself as I am due to go shooting.  There is a big question mark over the days activities as the forecast says we are in for more rain for most of the day.  Shooting in the rain is really not a pleasant process so it may all get cancelled.

In reply to Joy the dog training was well beneath Basso's dignity he could do everything very well anyway and was delighted that now he was being given treats as well.  Gun dogs are trained without treats.  There is a reason for this you don't want a dog who brings back an injured bird and throws it at your feet so he can get his treat.  He needs to hold the bird so that you can take it and dispatch it quickly.  However in obedience training this is not an issue.  One of the things I have discovered over the years …
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Two dots in the distance without a telephoto lens this was as close as Mike could get.

Mark arrived bright and early yesterday morning and got started on the huge list of jobs we had organised for him.  I picked a big punnet of gooseberries which I will make into crumble today then suddenly it was time to go dog training.  Fortunately, we managed to park the car in the shade as the temperature was rising fast.  The John the trainer discussed how much training Basso had had and then we got started.  He uses clicker training which is a novelty for Basso and we started with the basics of sit stand and down.  All of which he can do very easily but this time it was done without commands and only with a click and reward for correct behaviour.  Well I wont bore you with the details except to say that we were in the wrong class and should have started at 9.30 for the agility so a bit of a mess up there which for once was not my fault.  Anyway, we had an hours one to one tuition by which time …

Tuesday morning

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Giant blousey poppy that are allowed to self seed where they like
Today the weather is set to be hot again and we are not in for the rain until later this evening.  At the moment we are shrouded in mist which has blown in from the sea.  I am feeling anxious as it is this morning that I start my dog agility course with Basso.  We don't start until 10.45 which means it will be pretty hot by then.  I took the dogs for a walk at about that time yesterday and it was rather warmer than I would like anyway I suppose it is marginally better than rain.  I am going to say this very quietly, my back seems to be much better which is hopeful.  I managed to change all the beds and do the laundry without any ill effects and I will be leaving the ironing until tomorrow as there is no sense in provoking the gods.  Mark the gardener is due this morning and usually arrives bright and early at around 8am so I will need to get out and sort out the dog do before he arrives.  
Last evening I went to check…

Monday morning and the start of another week

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This is a hydrangea that is supposed to be white I know that they turn pink or blue depending on the acidity of the soil but I was silly enough to think that the white one would stay white.

Yesterday was a peaceful day I pottered around and got the hens cleaned out and then set to with the microwave to do our M&S lunch.  It was a paella which was OK but the amount of chicken and prawns was minimal and the use of saffron all but non existent.

I finally managed to finish the crossword but it required quite a bit of looking up on Google and wikipedia.  For example, did you know that horses harnessed in three with one at the front and two behind is called unicorn harness?  Believe me when I tell you that I had read a great deal about carriages and horse harness before I found that one.  In the afternoon it was the tennis and I must say that my money was on Novak Djokovic but I was sad to see Nadal loose.  I thought he was very gracious in defeat.  Once the sun had gone down it was tim…

Sunday morning

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Who steals the fish food?  You can see the poor dog is starving!!!
Yesterday was a bit of a washout my attempt to stop the analgesics for my back was punished severely and I ended up having a pretty miserable time of it and just to add insult to injury I felt extremely guilty not taking the dogs for a walk. I used the TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) part of the circulation booster and was very pleasantly surprised at how effective it was at reducing the pain while I waited for the pills to take effect.   I made some guacamole with a couple of ripe avocados and threw together a sort of pork stroganoff for lunch which made an interesting combination.  Mike took himself off to do a bit of shopping as he needed to change a shirt he had bought in M&S so while he was there he purchased one of their meals for two which we will be having for lunch today.  I should have cleaned out the hens but that too got put on the back burner and it was enough to just make sure they w…

Saturday morning

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The hens are now laying regularly and have so far produced 57 eggs which I reckon is £14.82 worth, they have covered the outlay for their food but we are looking for covering the cost of purchase which is £52 so a long way to go yet.
Yesterday was a pleasant day which started off with me giving Basso a good wash he had managed to get raspberry jam in his coat [don't ask!!]which had dried so it took some rubbing to remove it.  He stood very patiently while I worked away with the hose cleaning his beard which I then trimmed a bit then it was on to the table for a thorough grooming.  By the time I had finished he looked very smart and tidy.
I on the other hand was soaked and very grubby so it was my turn for the hose well the shower actually.
Len and Margaret were delayed so we decided to leave the dogs at home and just go out for lunch which was lovely, the sun was shining and the food was good.  The portions are generous so we didn't need to have any supper and just grazed on b…

Friday morning

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What a difference a week makes on Monday morning it was 22 degrees this morning we are down to 11. I must admit I prefer the temperature today to the hot stuff at the start of the week.
Yesterday I managed to get out with the dogs and had a whole day with no analgesia so my back is definitely improving but I will need to continue my regimen of being gentle with it as it is not yet back to 100%.  For lunch I made some tortilla wraps, the recipe for which I saw who knows where, but essentially you fill them with ham cheese and red pepper - roll tightly in foil and then bake for 10 mins to melt the cheese.  Really rather nice and they suggested that you can pop them in the freezer all made up and just put straight into a hot oven, brilliant for a quick lunch or snack when starvation strikes!!!  I must own up to the fact that we ate a miniature gooseberry crumble each for supper with Devon cream custard.  Very bad but it was delicious and after all I do have to do something with my goosebe…