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Showing posts from August, 2011

Wednesday and bin day

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Yesterday was a pretty quiet day but it was freezing cold and so we ended up calling  the plumber back to get the central heating working.  We had intended to have a new fancy control system but that is not due until October and frankly the way the weather is going I think we will be needing the heating before then.  So we have settled for the current version which is being installed on Friday hopefully.  This is really not the best day as we had hoped to go out for lunch and you never know we may still make it depending how long the plumber takes.  It will be nice to have control back and set the temperatures that are comfortable for us. 

I ordered myself a mattress topper which I hope will make the bed a bit more comfortable.  Then it struck me that I could buy several toppers instead of a whole mattress and still be quids in. Three memory foam mattress toppers at 7 cm make one 21 cm mattress costing £200, one tempur mattress is £800 so that would be a saving of £600 and I'm s…

Tuesday morning

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The blueberry bush sports its beautiful autumn colours
Yesterday was sunny and cloudy in equal parts but it did stay dry so I was able to have a bike ride with the dogs and also get my washing done and dried.  It was however pretty chilly with a cold wind blowing and this morning is no better at a miserable 12 degrees.  I am beginning to feel more confident on the bicycle and enjoying the ride. I managed to get some of the cushion covers from the three piece suite put through the machine as they were pretty covered in dog slobber.  I am gradually getting the green house weeded but in a piece meal fashion as I don't want to provoke my back.  Each time I pass I pull a couple of handfuls of weeds which are then fed to the chickens.  I think I now have sufficient basil  in there to make pesto which freezes really well.  Garlic, oil and Parmesan I have but I will need to check for pine nuts before I start as they may be lacking.  I suppose I could always add them at the time of use bu…

August Bank Holiday Monday

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Bank holiday Monday and it isnt raining what is going on?????  I must admit I am glad for the workers as it always seems to rain on their extra day off for me it makes no real difference.  However although the sun is shining it is pretty chilly at just 11 degrees so not exactly a day for the beach. 

You would have been proud of me yesterday I actually got my bike out and dusted it off, well that is not exactly true, James cleaned it up for me and inflated the tyres.  It is a folding bike so it was packed into the car and we went off with the dogs.  I cycled, James walked and the dogs ran so a bit of exercise for all concerned.  I must admit it was easier on my back than walking but I was a bit nervous as it has been so long since I have ridden a bike.  Anyway it has been left in the car as I intend to give it another go today.  Basso looked very surprised as he had never seen me move so fast and at last I could keep up with him. 

Lunch was the pork I found in the freezer with a goo…

Sunday morning

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Well yesterday was a day of sunshine and showers as predicted but fortunately there was more sunshine than showers.  I had a day of general indolence, lunch and diner needed little preparation but the crossword took some time to complete.  I also had a purge on the glass.  I have a dividing door which is made of small glass panels with a couple of bulls eye panes which gets well and truly covered in dogs slobber and nose marks.  It is a complete pain in the posterior to clean but I set too and cleaned it yesterday and I must admit it does look good when done.  I also went round and washed all the bits of glass I have on display which get pretty filthy.  It is not until you clean them that you realise just how dirty they are.  These are the sort of jobs that generally get forgotten as they are time consuming and usually end up on the bottom of the list.

I also had a rummage through the freezer and discovered lots of bits of game so at some time I will need to make a big game pie or st…

Saturday morning

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The weeks just seem to be slipping by and August is nearly gone.  The weather yesterday was miserable with rain for the best part of the day and only drying up at supper time.  With a Bank Holiday looming the weather is pretty grim but they are forecasting improvements as the weekend passes.  Today we are due for patchy rain so it will be shower dodging when we go out. 

Having spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen yesterday today I am having a day off and have taken some turkey pies from the freezer for lunch and for supper we will have scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast so all nice and easy.  Which will give me plenty of time for dog walking and doing the crossword.  It is also cleaning out day for the hens. Can you believe that we are now up to 248 eggs and some £60 worth.  It is quite pleasing to see the numbers mount up and soon we will be in pure profit.

With the weather so awful yesterday we decided to take a run to the gun shop and have my air rifle sight reset.  A…

Friday morning

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It's raining it's pouring and the old man is snoring!!!but sadly I am up and awake as usual.  I seemed to spend most of the day in the kitchen yesterday for lunch I made some roasted lamb chumps with runner and french beans and for supper I made a mega salsa to which was added some prawns and avocado which we ate with some sour cream and crusty bread.  All of the vegetables came from the garden with the exception of the avocado so it all had to be picked and prepared.  I also made a large batch of courgette pancakes which make ideal snack food which is not too high in calories.  I had decided to give up on the sweet peas but then couldn't resist one more picking to fill a large vase.

Later in the evening I went to put the hens to bed and had a last walk round the vegetable plot when a miracle occurred..... A few years ago I lost my strawberry huller which I had bought at Lakeland many years before.  After much searching it was nowhere to be found.  I then thought I would b…

Thursday morning and still dark

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Why the picture of Basso bringing a pheasant you ask it is not hunting season yet?  Well I don't have a photo of his exploits yesterday but while we were out walking he suddenly appeared from the woods with a young pigeon in his mouth.  It must have been on the ground and was probably wounded so it was taken from him and quickly dispatched.  The other four dogs looked on with admiration as he is obviously a good hunter and provider for the pack.  We had gone for a walk as it was raining and we were not keen to get our guns wet.  Instead we decided to pick sloes ready for the sloe gin that will be needed on cold winter days.  By the time we had finished picking between the three of us [James Shiona and I] we had collected 6lbs of sloes.  Shiona had 2.5lbs there is an equal amount for Jeff and I have siphoned out a pound to put with my bottle of cheap gin.  By the time we arrived home we were all soaked through it was not the rain but the wet vegitation that had soaked us.  So firs…

Wednesday and bin day

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Well we were in for torrential rain yesterday so the weather forecast said and yes it did rain but it was mostly drizzle and nothing dramatic.  The dog agility class was cancelled as it is quite dangerous in the wet not only for the dogs but also the handlers who slip and slide and fall over.  I must admit I was just as pleased as I didn't much fancy it.  James arrived home with his friend about lunch time and we all sat down to a full English breakfast/brunch and then for supper we had a Chinese take away which saved me the bother of cooking.  Jane worked her magic with the hoover and I did a mountain of ironing which is still sitting in the basket upstairs waiting to be put away.  I don't know why but that is the job that I really hate so I think I will try to persuade the men to put the stuff away.

Shiona is coming over today and as she had a tooth out yesterday we will make the decision as to whether to go shooting when she arrives but I think for lunch we should have som…

Tuesday morning

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On this day in 1972 at 8am I gave birth to my son James - It feels like a life time ago and is just a distant memory I was a completely different person in those days.  I had no idea of the joys and woes that were going to face me which is probably just as well or the human race would soon die out.....

James with his proud grandmother
Now according to the weather forecast we were in for torrential rain over night and this morning so I got the washing machine underway stripped all the beds and got everything dry by the time it started about 6pm but is soon fizzled out and was just a heavy shower.  It has been dry ever since - I am due to go dog training this morning and I thought it would be rained off but if it continues to be dry then it may still be on.  Actually if the truth be told I was hoping it would be wet as my back is still playing me up and dog training does it no good at all.
James went up to London last evening to have a celebration with some of his friends but should be …

another monday another week

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A tray of tomatoes rescued from the blighted plants
Yesterday was a busy one, first I finished off the turkey by stripping the carcass and making it into dog food then the stock was strained into containers for the freezer and the meat was made into 6 individual pies with puff pastry lids.  That done it was time to clean the kitchen and what a job that was all the surfaces stripped and cleaned chopping boards washed and cleaned with lemon juice and salt.  Then it was on to the cupboard fronts which are liberally dog slobbered and finally the floor and the bins emptied.   The top cupboards and shelves will have to wait for another day, but I do feel better now it looks a bit less like a midden.
Then it was on to clean out the hens and attend to the giant puff balls which I am guarding and watching closely.  The hens are showing no signs of interest in them so I think they are safe.  Then it was time for the dogs to have a walk and we went on the usual walk down near the estuary.  The …

Sunday morning

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Yesterday was a day in the kitchen I started by roasting the cheap turkey which I then dismantled.  One portion was for lunch which we had with new potatoes and runner beans from the garden.  The remainder of the meat is now in the fridge awaiting pie making and the carcass has made three litres of stock/broth. My first job this morning will be to pick the carcass over and get the remaining meat off for the dogs.  Then I will need to make a big load of pastry and a gallon of white sauce for the pies. 

James and I did the general knowledge crossword puzzle which took quite some time as there were a few clues that needed googling, one misspelled word can throw the whole thing out and take hours to rectify.  Anyway we succeeded in the end as both of us have inherited the terrier gene and can't let go until it is done.

The fish monger rang in the morning to say that he had had some Pollock deliver from the overnight fishermen and would I be interested.  I am always interested in ver…

Saturday morning

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Autumn colours on the blueberry bush

Yesterday was a brighter sunny day and a bit warmer but we decided that it was time to pay the cash and carry a visit and restock on basic cleaning ingredients.  I buy things like all purpose cleaner and washing up liquid  and bleach in 5 litre cans which last me about 7 months which is not bad.  I am very fortunate that I have the space to store them in the garage and can top up my smaller bottles that I keep in the house.  I did make one impulsive purchase and that was a whole turkey which was on offer at £10 which I have defrosted and am going to cook over the weekend with a view to making soup/stock and turkey pies rather than as a roast.  For lunch I had made us a veal stroganoff which I served with rice and I had also made an apple and blackberry crumble with fruit from the garden.  James made supper which was a super salsa with a handful of prawns and avocado nice and light but tasty and filling.  Today the plan is to have a nice relaxing…

Friday monring

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Mountain ash is full of berries
Yesterday was a really miserable day weather wise it was cold windy and covered by dark threatening clouds,  however we has a nice productive day in the garden.  First thing I made the soup and biscuits for lunch and then made a start on the various jobs.  I stripped the green house of tomato plants but did manage to save loads of green fruit which is now on trays in, what is hopfully, the sunshine to ripen.  Failing this there is always green tomato chutney!!!  When Sandi arrived we had some lunch and then set to and did some harvesting.  She picked loads of raspberries and I picked the runner and french beans.  She also had some elephant garlic, spring onions, Bramley apples and half a dozen eggs so not a bad haul.  So far this week I have given away a dozen and a half eggs.  I had had some acers delivered from an offer in the Telegraph which also needed planting and as they are dwarf varieties they have been put into pots.  I also had some monarda p…

Thursday morning

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Brambly Apples from next door that hang over the chicken run
Let's start with the shooting I started well and shot a 9/10 on the first stand but as the time wore on so my back gradually gave out and I had to stop two stands short as I was really unable to swing the gun.  The shooting ground is in an old quarry and so has steep climbs to the various stands which just about finished me off.  However, I did enjoy it and realised that I should have taken some pills before I went but I am trying to manage without them.  We had a burger from the van for lunch which was just the ticket and as the van is run by a very nice lady and is immaculately clean we are quite happy to eat there.  We had gone in my car but Jeff drove us back which gave me a bit of a rest.  Once home I made the coffee and Shiona and Jeff cleaned the guns.  They both went home with half a dozen eggs and Jeff had some apples and Shiona had a head of elephant garlic and I took to my bed for a sleep.  For dinner we had …

Wednesday and bin day

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So who's a clever boy then?  It is quite difficult to get a decent action shot with a cheap and cheerful camera but this is the best of the bunch.  Basso behaved very well and we had a nice time but an hour of running around is just about all my back will tolerate.  In this picture the jumps are very low for the smaller dogs but on our last run they put the jumps up to the proper height which was much more to Bassos taste.  After the training it was off to the hair dresser to have a cut and blow dry which was desperately needed.  Because I hate going to the hairdresser I always leave it rather longer than I should and only go when I can stand my hair no more.  Because I was so late back and James was in London we decided that lunch would be a scrambled egg and some smoked salmon which was just right and then for supper we had a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce [our tomatoes] with a good grating of Parmesan

Today Gary is coming to continue with the painting and I am due to go shoo…

Tuesday morning

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The potting shed has had its first coat of pain and though it looks black in this photo it is in fact navy blue.  Gary managed to get paint on both sheds but sadly on closer inspection the potting shed will need another coat before the top coat can be applied.  He will not be coming today as he has another job but hopefully he will be here on Wednesday.

I busied myself in the garden and planted up my spinach seeds, I also cleared the bed of garlic which has been put to dry.  The primulas are planted in the winter window boxes but I still have several which need to be potted up else where.  It was also a day for cleaning out the pond filters and the fountain equipment all of which was clogged up with dirt and debris.  I also noticed that the tomatoes have developed a fungal infection and so they will need to be uprooted and disposed of before they infect the green house and the other plants.  It is that time of the year when you take a trip up the garden to do one job and return with …

Monday morning

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I am a bit out of sinc with the laundry and spent yesterday getting through several loads which fortunately dried well on the line.  As each load came in it was ironed and put away leaving me with a feeling of relief and joy.    The morning harvest produced runner beans, French beans, courgettes as well as spring onions and elephant garlic tomatoes and eggs.  The courgettes were made into cheesy pancakes and the beans accompanied the roast chicken into which I stuffed several cloves of garlic.  Reading through the bogs I follow it seems everyone had roast chicken for lunch yesterday.  Supper for us was cold meat and tomato salad.  There is still enough meat left over to make a couple of sandwiches and the carcass made some lovely broth and once picked over the dogs too have a good meal.  So all in all a very economical meal.

Today is going to be a bit more hectic Mike is off to the hair dresser bright and early and James is off to the doctors to get a further certificate before he is …

Sunday morning

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Yesterday was very overcast and humid conditions but this morning it is a bit clearer with a bit of breeze.  Strange things are happening in the garden as you can see the cyclamen is in flower which should only occur in the spring and the wisteria is having a second flowering also.  When we took the dogs for a walk after lunch the tide was in and we had a go at teaching Basso to swim again but he is very reluctant and as soon as you let go of the lead he is out of the water.  He just doesnt seem to like it and while he can swim he just wants to get back on dry land again as soon as possible.  Once home we then ran the hose over him to remove the salt from his coat which he also tried to avoid. 
By way of entertainment I set to and made some Parmesan biscuits as seen on TV made by Simon Hopkinson.  If you value your figure dont make them they are completely delicious and totally irresistible.  Sadly they are really easy to make but even easier to eat.  They would make a great accompa…

Saturday morning

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All day yesterday it threatened to rain but stayed dry and finally the heavens opened over night and everything is sopping wet this morning.  I am pleased to say that I am half a stone lighter with absolutely no effort.  It is amazing how many calories you burn through extreme stress.  I must however admit that my appetite has been much reduced. Today being Saturday is my treat day and I will be getting the Saturday paper so that I can do the crossword puzzle.  Yesterday, I bought a new phone which is just a phone and camera which is all I need as I use my iPad most of the time.  My last phone was on Orange but I never was able to get a signal when in the caravan however Sandi whose phone is on O2 had no problems so I have switched network and hope that I too will now be able to phone from the camp site.  The phone cost no actual money as we bought it with Tesco vouchers so all in all it was a cheap shopping trip.  I now have a mobile number that I can remember but have spent hours t…

Friday morning

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Half runner beans and half sweet peas
Yesterday was a wash out and shooting got cancelled so we decided to get the dogs out for a walk just before the rain started.  I had gone back to bed in the morning but had not managed to get any further sleep so after lunch I went to bed and this time slept like the dead for two hours which made me feel so much better.  At the moment nothing is running smoothly firstly my mobile phone has decided to die, I thought it was just a flat battery but after a day on charger it is still dead.  Then when I returned from the dog walk I found a message from the physios but when I tried to return the call all I got was an answering machine.  Later there was yet another message and we seem to be completely unable to actually get in contact so I left them a message.  This morning I will ring at 9am and hope to find a human being rather than a machine.  Apparently the form they received was incomplete and missing details like which part of my body is in need …

Thursday monring

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The climbing roses are having another lovely flush of flowers and have been surprising free of green fly and black spot which makes a pleasant change.

I spent yesterday in the kitchen and made the salmon fish cakes which I hope hope will be much better than the bought ones.  The kedgeree for lunch went down well and I also made a pot of tomato sauce with the glut of tomatoes from the garden.  The sauce is a bit of a weird colour as is made with many different coloured fruits but it tastes fine.  I also used the roasted elephant garlic in the sauce which has given it a nice sweet back note.  Just after lunch the engineer arrived and had a go at my computer which is now running much more quietly and smoothly but I am £100 lighter.  Eventually I will need a new power supply which is going to cost me around £70 so I don't quite know what to do.  I also spent some time with Basso practising his retrieving in the garden and for once he was very co-operative.  Today I am destined to go …

Wednesday morning and bin day

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Basso sits on the end mark of the A frame as requested
We had a good morning at agility training yesterday with Basso doing all that was asked of him but sadly the handler was not so hot.  It is a bit like when you first learn to drive and you know it is completely impossible to do all the things required like change gear, clutch in, clutch out, steer, indicate and check mirrors all at the same time.  I think it will take me a lot longer to learn the correct commands and signals than the dog.  The weather started off quite chilly but soon got warm once the sun broke through the clouds.  Jane came and did her stuff so the house is a bit cleaner and I put through some loads of washing.  For lunch I found some salmon fish cakes in the freezer which we had with tomato salad but the fish cakes were a real disappointment as they were largely mashed potato with just the merest hint of salmon.  To make up we had some turkey pies that I had made with mash and runner beans from the garden for …

Tuesday Morning

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No olives but the tree is surviving.  It was very nearly dead when I inherited it and with some TLC it is beginning to flourish once more.  I think it will be a very long time before we make our own olive oil!!!
Yesterday was again a day of sunshine and showers but quite chilly with a strong wind blowing and you could have been forgiven for thinking it was October.

We had the gravadlax for lunch with mustard sauce and cucumber salad which we had with rye bread.  I don't often buy rye bread and every time I do some how I hope I am going to like it but I never do.  So the majority ended up in the dogs bowls and the chicken run.  For supper we just grazed on the panzanella salad and left over gravadlax together with an elephant garlic that I had roasted in the halogen  oven.  You will be pleased to know that I finally made an appointment and went to see my GP and have got myself referred to a physiotherapist.  I am hoping to get an exercise regimen that will strengthen my core muscl…

Monday morning

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I thought you might be interested to see this wall - it is know as a Crinkle Crankle wall and this is the longest in the country in a village in Suffolk called Easton which is near where we keep our caravan.  Sandi managed to take this photo our of the car window as I drove by.

Yesterday, was a day of relative indolence, I managed to get my apricot tree pruned and left the prunings in the the chicken run by way of entertainment for the hens.  Once they have picked the branches clean I will gather them up and dispose of them.
We set off for Faversham quite early and went to buy coffee for the machine but as we passed by Sandi's house we dropped in and collected the sleeping bags which she had kindly washed - the holiday seems months ago but it is only a couple of weeks.  While we were shopping I bought some nice Parma ham to go with the figs which are coming thick and fast from our tree.  I also bought some rye bread to have with our Gravadlax which is curing in the fridge as we s…

Sunday morning

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Yesterday was a day of sun and showers but still nice and cool.  It was a day for cleaning out the chickens and collecting fruit and vegetables from the garden.  I made another batch of courgette pancakes which Mike and I had for lunch the runner beans are ready for lunch today to have with a pork shoulder casserole that I have made.  I pulled a bunch of spring onions which have done very well for the first time ever.  The one thing which has done badly is the spinach which has gone directly to seed before being more than a couple of inches high.  Most odd!!!

I had a chat with our new neighbours and have encouraged them to pick the raspberries as it is such a shame to watch them fall to the ground for lack of picking.  I still have a bag full in the freezer from last year and as we don't eat jam it seems pointless for us to spend hours picking them.
Today I hope to get to prune my apricot tree which is in need and though it only has about half a dozen fruits on it I am delighted.…

Saturday Morning

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Well another week has flown by and it is the weekend again.  It is cool and over cast with some rather dark clouds but I for one am not complaining a bit of cool is most welcome.
James new bike is safely stowed on the patio in the back garden were it is safe from oiks and vandals however it was a herculean job to get it through the narrow passage way.  Personally, I hate motorcycles as I see them as death traps.  I have nursed too many young men who have been victims of motorcycle accidents to find them appealing.  They are also pretty useless for doing the shopping!!!!

Now on to today my plans are pretty fluid as we are taking each day as it comes and hopefully each day will see improvements in James condition.  He is pretty fed up that this has struck as such an inopportune moment and meant that he has missed his passing out parade for which he has worked so hard.  But I guess that's life it never runs smoothly for long.

I really must have a go at picking the raspberries today…

Friday morning

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What a lovely cool day, the sun is shining and the temperature is down following yesterdays rain.  It started here at about 6 am and continued until lunch time.  It was never heavy but it was constant so the garden is looking very refreshed and I am saved the watering job.

Yesterday we made yet another foray into London and it now seem almost normal to drive up there on a daily basis.  We needed to collect a few bits from James flat and he was keen to have his bike back [it is a new one after all].  I have no real plans for today except to chill out and relax a bit after the traumas of last week which have taken their toll on both Mike and I.  I think some gently gardening and pottering in the kitchen and dog walking are in order.  I do however have a sack full of white shirts that the machine can wash and I will gradually process.

Have a good day all

Thursday morning

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The sweet-peas are quite a show and I am picking a bunch of this size every two days which means the whole house is scented by flowers.  NICE....

We spent a couple of hours in the morning giving Nip a hair cut with the electric clippers and in the end it is not too bad a job even if there are quite a few doorsteps.  He must feel somewhat cooler as we remove masses of his double coat.  I hope dogs don't feel to embarrassed by the state of their coats as it does look a very amateur effort.

The final part of the Harry Potter series was a very well made film we saw it in 2D but I can imagine it would be wonderful in 3D.  One of the best bits was that we stepped from 30 degrees into a cool air conditioned auditorium which was a real god send.  If you have not seen the previous films or read the books I don't think this film would make any kind of sense to you but as an avid follower it made a great conclusion to what has been a wonderful series of films.

I made a panzanella salad …

Wednesday morning and bin day

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Yesterday morning was a busy one Mark came and did the garden and I must admit it looks lovely for having had a bit of care.  As you can see from the photo he has trimmed the tree arch and it now looks neat and tidy.  Jane worked her magic in the house so that is now clean and tidy I put numerous loads of washing through the machine and roasted a chicken for lunch.  Then it was off to dog training which went reasonably well if you discount the fact that Basso had diarrhoea which caused a few problems.  He has got the idea of the weaving poles and has no trouble with the both the solid tube and the floppy one.  The jumps he just sees as fun but it was extremely hot and it was the handler who ran out of gas first.  We packed up early from the class and James had walked the two terriers in the mean time so it was home for cold drinks and showers all round. The afternoon was so hot we just slopped around trying to keep cool.  Today we have a plan to go to see Harry Potter in the lovely a…

Tuesday morning

Well good morning I seem to be up at stupid o'clock but then again I did crash out at about 9.30 absolutely exhausted.  James is home with me to rest and recuperate and what better place could there be than at home with his family.  I hope to take Basso to his classes this morning but we are just going to play each day as it comes.  The poor dogs haven't had a walk for a week, not that they will appreciate walking in the hot weather. Mark is due to come and sort out the garden which is not looking too bad at the moment.  We finished the last of the peas the other day and the courgettes are coming thick and fast.  In an effort to use them up I made a batch of courgette pancakes with loads of parmesan cheese and lemon zest.  Somewhere, in the middle of all the mayhem, I have dismantled a hare which is now in the freezer awaiting jugging at a later date.

Yesterday, was hotter than hell in London but I have deposited a plethora of cleaning materials in James flat so that we can g…

Monday morning

I had a day of rest yesterday and spent hours sleeping - much needed I think.  I have then put in a large order to Tesco which is being delivered this morning between 8-10 then I shall head off for London and see how things are progressing.  I have been to James flat and turned out all the perishables so that it is safe to leave unattended for a while.  At some later date I will be going up there to give it a good clean - men living alone don't keep the place as clean as I would wish!!!!  I will also need to collect his clothing if he is coming home here to recuperate.  Fortunately his flat is between the hospital and home so it will not be much out of my way.
I believe it is due to be stinking hot today so wish me luck....