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Showing posts from September, 2011

Friday and going to be another hot one

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What a gorgeous day it was yesterday but in the end it was a bit too hot my thermometer registered  35 in the sunshine.  The garden is as dry as a biscuit and while I am not watering the actual garden there are still pots that need to be tended.

I was right to be concerned about the dog on Saturday.  They had a dry run on the Lees court estate yesterday and one of the dogs collapsed from the heat.  Sweet tea was administered and the dog was OK but I am going to be very careful with Basso.  He spent most of yesterday laying on the cool tiles in the kitchen.

The steam cleaner didn't turn up as expected and you know how frustrating it is to wait all day and then nothing happens.  To keep myself occupied I made some buns with the galette mixture adding some candarel and some baking powder.  They don't rise much but are reasonable to eat with a cup of coffee.  If I make them again it will be with a good addition of vanilla for flavour.


I also made a batch of burgers and some mea…

Thursday morning

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Sorry if any of you have arachnophobia but my garden is filled with spiders at the moment and I sat and watched this one construct it's web in a matter of minutes.  It is quite amazing how they get it so precise without any measuring equipment!!!

My purge on the pigeons was not very successful as they now fly off as soon as they see me so perhaps a life sized cardboard cut out stood in the garden might see them off.  Mike counted 18 on the roof in the afternoon sun shine.  So I think I will have to be a bit sneaky and lay in wait for them....

I had a bit of a cleaning bug day yesterday after making the chilli jam I decided that my cupboard which contains the rubbish and recycle bins needed a good clean out so it got stripped completely and was scrubbed from top to bottom.  It is quite satisfying as it was so dirty the improvement is dramatic.  So while I had the cleaning bug I ordered a steam cleaner which I have been researching for a while.  I ordered from John Lewis and it wil…

Wednesday morning

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One on its own not a problem but when they congregate in dozens then the mess is significant.  Today my roof is going to become a no go area for them and hopefully it will keep them away for a while.  
Yesterday Mark came and made some real in roads into clearing the garden and cutting back the shrubs which have gone a bit mad with the sun and rain regimen,  I didn't have too much time to spend with him as we were due to go out but I did manage to plant up a tub with lots of bulbs which should make a good display in the spring.  
When we arrived at our friends house the ladies decided to walk the dogs while leaving the men behind to prepare vegetables for lunch.  They have some very nice woodland with nice open glades of grass so that made a nice change and the dogs love a new place with different smells.  Basso was in hunting mode and was working the ground very methodically when suddenly he came on point and froze.  I commented that he must have a bird and sure enough there was…

Tuesday morning

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You have seen this scene many times before but always with the tide out, this time I was there at high tide and what a different scene it looks.  I also took this photo with my mobile phone as I didn't have my camera with me.  The dogs had a grand time swimming and fooling around in the water.  Basso still hasn't plucked up the courage to actually swim but gets as deep as he can with his feet still on the ground.  I believe we have the second highest tide after Bristol with a rise of some 6 meters or 18 feet.  I still can't visualise meters but understand feet and inches.


Why a picture of the roof you may ask but it is just showing that after my shooting session all the pigeons have now deserted.  I counted some 13 pigeons on the roof so that was the limit out came the air rifle and and I shot two.  Which Basso kindly retrieved for me. The remainder decided it was better to sit somewhere else.  However, I don't think it will be long before they are back and will have…

Monday morning and the start of another week

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Basso inspects the pond and rightly comments that one side is choked with too much weed.  I have acted on his comments and removed a large amount but it is difficult with the water lilies making a good display.  There are red, yellow and also white ones.  Once they have died back I will be able to do a better job.

Hurray!!! it is a vegetable day, I have some salad ingredients and also some leeks.  I think I will just plain steam the leeks and have them with some poached salmon and the salad can accompany the remainder of the cold beef.  We are allowed lean mince so I am wondering if I can make some meatballs using some of the oat bran in lieu of bread crumbs, alternatively I could mince up a galette and add that.  This diet certainly taxes your ingenuity in the kitchen.  The list of ingredients available is long but how to cook them and make them palatable is the hard part.  For example we could have calves liver but how do I cook it when the only real way is to flash fry it with so…

Sunday morning

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This is Kingsnorth power station which kind of dominates the sky line but if it were not there there would be nothing at all to see so I don't find it objectionable.  It is a sort of land mark even though the word GORDON has now faded from the tall chimney where the protesters painted it.

Yesterday started well with James arriving bright and early to catch both Mike and I shambling about it our dressing gowns.  After coffee we took the dogs for a walk while Mike went to Sainsbury to buy some CARROTS and some other vegetables and also to get a key cut for the front door of James flat.  He is happy for us to have access when we bring Sandi and David up to Kings for his operation which has now been postponed until November.  Interestingly talking of hospitals I received a letter from the physio department the day after my phone call  discharging me as a patient.  Amazing how fast they can move when their feathers have been ruffled!!!!  In all honesty my back is getting slowly better…

Saturday morning

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Lovely colours on a Japanese maple

Today we move on one stage in the diet process that is called the cruise phase which allows us to have vegetables as well as protein and believe me after a week of no vegetables I am really looking forward to this phase.  It is much easier to construct meals with a few green bits.  For lunch today I have some nice skirt beef which is in the slow cooker and that will be served with a nice big pile of carrots.  Dinner tonight will be some marinated chicken and a good sized salad.  Still no fruit, fat or carbohydrates and the expected weight loss is around 2lbs per week so that is great.  Which means a little over 3 months should see the weight gone.  At which point these items come back on a very limited basis.  In the mean time I think I will try to up my exercise to help matters along.  Isn't it wonderful how a little deprivation makes things seem so appealing who would have though I would be longing for carrots!!!!!
While I was out walking yest…

Friday morning

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Whitstable beach yesterday where we went with the dogs for a run prior to lunch and following the dreaded tour of Tesco.  The dogs thought they had died and gone to heaven and went crazy running in and out of the water.  We eventually found a place where we could not only park but also get some food for lunch.  Mike and I had 9 oysters each followed by a bucket of mussels all of which is allowed on the diet and although it sounds good it is not much food and a lot of messing around to eat it.  Poor mike has done something to his shoulder and his right arm is pretty useless so today he is going to the osteopath at 11am and hopefully he will be able to help him.  He already has trouble with his knees and hips so all he needed was a duff shoulder which make driving difficult.  We seem to be a right pair of old crocks at the moment.  For the first time in ages I found myself buying half a dozen eggs as we have been using ours pretty heavily with this diet and I am running low.  The egg c…

Thursday morning

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I know this looks like a bunch of weeds but in the centre there is a nice sea beat plant and I have been watching the progress of the plants with interest this week.  It is amazing how appealing it is when you are on a no vegetable regimen!!!

Yesterday I went shooting and was tolerably pleased with my efforts.  The rain was still falling as we left but it had almost dried up by the time we got there and so we kept mostly dry with the exception of the rain coming off the trees.  The shooting ground appeared to have new gun stands and benches and it was only later that we discovered why.  The vandals had been through the site and ripped up all the wooden structures and lit a huge bonfire.  This is not the first time this has happened and it must be very soul destroying for the owner, the consensus of opinion is that it is either kids or the bikers who use the dirt track further down the lane.  The site is only in used on Wednesday Friday and the weekend so there is plenty of time when …

Wednesday and bin day

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Well the weight continues to fall they say that during this phase weight loss is dramatic and they are not wrong I have lost a very nearly 5lbs and I must admit I have never been hungry.  Yesterday we had roast sirloin for lunch and a slab of the cold beef for supper.  Today I am due to go shooting so I am hoping that the rain will stop by the time we are ready to go.  The weather forecast says it will dry up around lunch time so lets hope they have got it right.  I cut three steaks from the sirloin so lunch today will be that and I will do some wedges for Jeff.  We are also out of the custard deserts and Mike liked the chocolate ones best so I am going to make a batch first thing.

I rang the physio department and discovered that I am on the 23 week waiting list.  I make that almost 6 months, well I have been struggling to think of a muscular condition that would not have spontaneously resolved in that length of time.  So today I will ring them and tell them to take me off the list …

Tuesday morning

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When the tide is out it looks like the dark side of the moon 
Well day one of the diet completed and a pound and a half vanished from the scales - yes I know it is probably water but it is pleasing none the less and I am quite happy to delude myself.  As you will note it is stupid o'clock and I am wide awake.  So yesterdays menu was the galette and smoked salmon for breakfast, for lunch we had a hard boiled egg with Dukan mayonnaise followed by a piece of haddock with some crayfish in a herb sauce and for desert a chocolate custard.  Dinner was crab sticks with mayonnaise followed by chicken thighs cooked with Dijon mustard and for desert a coffee custard.  The idea of having three courses to each meal while labour intensive does mean that a little food actually goes a long way and keeps your interest.  I had the regulation walk and consumed plenty of water so so far so good.
Today the wonderful Jane is due to come and spruce up the house and I will be cooking a nice piece of sir…

Monday morning

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Autumn is definitely on the way and the Japanese anemonies are in full bloom
The weekend passed with little or no disruption except for the rain and the hare that I marinated and cooked yesterday is sitting in containers ready for the freezer.  I successfully washed and dried two loads of laundry so I have a nice pile of ironing to amuse me this morning.  Then I can get stuck in to cooking the oat bran galettes which the diet recommends as a daily necessity.  I will then make some flavoured custards which are needed for deserts.  These may be either chocolate, coffee or vanilla so I thought I would make some of each so we can decide which we prefer.  The house is devoid of bread, most vegetables and all fruit so there is no temptation there and we will have to stick to the diet or go shopping!!!!  I have weighed myself to get a base line figure and as soon as Mike is out of bed that will be his task.  The only difficult day I foresee is Wednesday when I hope to go shooting with Jeff …

Sunday morning

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A pair of large ponds which Mark dug for the local council and are now beginning to fill with water,  this is where Basso decided to go muddy puddling and managed to fall over on the slippery mud covering the whole of one side of his body in sticky mud.
Yesterday was another busy day the hens needed cleaning out which I did bright and early and just in time as the heavens soon opened and we got soaked.  Then it was off to Tesco to purchase the dairy products demanded by the diet. All 0% fat and nasty skimmed milk oh well it is only the first week that is really hard so I am bracing myself.  We had a green lunch first some watercress soup then an avocado with Worcester sauce.  Supper was a bit of a better deal we had Conglio San Angelo [Rabbit cooked in tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and wine] with Polenta made with shed loads of butter and cheese.  Today will see a repeat performance of the rabbit for lunch and as yet I have no idea what we will be having for supper.  I do however have a…

Saturday moring

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A profusion of rose hips if only I needed to make rose hip syrup!!!
Yesterday was a busy day first it was dog walking where I took this photograph then back via the butcher and fish monger to stock up on protein for the diet. While I was walking I met and elderly foreign gentleman who was collecting damsons but where he had chosen to pick there were only very few so I directed him to an area where there were plenty more.  He was going to make jam with them so some how I felt better about not picking them myself.   I also dropped in at the knitting shop and bought some frilly knitting yarn to make scarves as Christmas presents.  Once we got home the first job was to hose Basso down as he had been muddy puddling and was black up to his elbows.  That done I then tackled the meat and fish which needed to be divided into sensible portions and put in the freezer.

For lunch I made us some mushrooms stuffed with sausage meat which I cooked in the halogen oven and for supper I had made a pip…

Friday morning

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The very attractive flowers of the garlic chives
The TV engineers arrives spot on 8am and swapped over the cable boxes and gave me a short lesson on how to operate the new Tivo box but what they failed to do was to program the hand sets so it took me quite a while to do that.  I still haven't done the one in Mikes room and that will be today's techno job.  
My parcel from Lakeland arrived and I got to play with my new silicone piping bag - I made a batch of stuffed eggs which I filled with a bit of smoked salmon and mayonnaise.  The bag was then turned inside out and put in the dishwasher - great.  It is a large bag so not suitable for fine cake decorating work.  It would be fine for butter cream work so ideal if you are into cup cakes, profiteroles or ├ęclairs.  I also made a batch of courgette pancakes which made a nice lunch along with the stuffed eggs.  For dinner I had a lamb chump end which I cooked in the halogen oven along with some potato wedges which we had with some…

Thursday morning

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Yesterday the weather was gorgeous it was sunny but not too windy and ideal walking weather so James and I got the dogs walked first thing which was very pleasant. We also managed to fix the pond pump which had blown off one of the hoses.   He got all his certificates from the doctor and then packed all his bits and pieces up and we drove him up to London immediately after lunch.  He is now ensconced back in his flat which he has cleaned from top to bottom and is very happy to be going back to work.  I will really miss him as he has been a real help to me and great company.

Today I have a bit of excitement as I am having the new Virgin Tivo type box delivered and fitted and my plus box is going into Mikes room so we will both have the capacity to record TV programs.  I find this very useful as the programs I want to watch are often on late and I fall asleep part way through which is very frustrating.  However if they are on record then I miss nothing and it also means I can cut out t…

Wednesday and bin day

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Yesterday was busy one but everything got done including the laundry which is now awaiting ironing.  The weather held just long enough for me to get it all dry before we had the first of several down pours.  Mark arrived bright and early and bearing gifts he had purchased for us in Italy.  A kilo of Parmesan cheese half a case of Motepulciano wine and a bottle of olive oil newly pressed.  The the best news of the lot it looks like James will be going back to work on Thursday but first we have to get a certificate from the doctor saying that he is fit for full duties.  That is easier said than done as getting an appointment to see the doctor is all but impossible so we will start our attempt to get through at 8.30 this morning unfortunately when we got through yesterday they refused to book an appointment for today so we have to go through the whole saga yet again.
Anyway once we have the bit of paper we can pack his stuff and get him back up to London.  Needless to say I have had to …

Tuesday morning

Yesterday was pretty stormy in the morning and wind continued for most of the day however the rain had stopped by about lunch time.

We set off to buy coffee which requires a run all the way to Faversham but it is worth the trip as the coffee is wonderful.  While we were in the food emporium we also bought some lovely Parma ham  and a couple of scotch eggs for lunch.  We then called in to see Sandi as it was on our way home.  After a cup of coffee we decided to take the dogs for a walk and took my three and just one of hers.  It was a great opportunity to give Basso a bit of training and we spent some time getting him to stop on the stop whistle which was great it is one of those things that is so much easier to train with two people.  Then it was home via the feed chandler and stacking of the car with chicken food and a couple of sacks of dog food.  Finally we arrived back for a late lunch.  The only trouble with shopping is that you have to put it all away when you get back.  I must …

Monday morning

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The start of another week and it is wet and blowing so not a good day for the laundry which is piling up.

Yesterday morning I made Mary an us a full English breakfast which we had around 10am then once she had set off back to Bath Mike and I just pottered around and ate left overs.  I made a big pot of chicken stock and picked the carcass over for the dogs.  I felt so much better after a good nights sleep but I have discovered one problem with the mattress and that is it is inclined to walk across the bed so I am going to remove the duvet cover and put it straight on to the existing mattress which I hope will keep it from moving.

Today we have several items we need to buy for our menagerie we need chicken food and dog food both of which come in huge sacks and then we need to go and get some coffee from the shop in Faversham so I guess it will be a day of driving around.  Today the eggs from the chickens will put us into profit for the first time and we are now over the 300 egg  mark. …

Sunday morning

Wet, wet, wet. It started raining yesterday evening and has done so on and off all night with occasional real down pours.  The wind is blowing so hopefully the rain will gradually clear.
yesterday morning when I was in the garden I noticed that we had been inundated with pigeons yet again so I dashed in and got my air rifle out and and shot a few.  Basso was delighted and retrieved the birds and the remainder decided this was a dangerous place and vacated the roof top.  They will no doubt be back but if I persist them they may find a better place to sit and make a mess.

The roast chicken lunch went down well and we finished the crossword puzzle and Mary completed the sudoku puzzles which are her favourite.  The left over meat from the chicken was made is to chicken sandwiches which we had for supper with the last of the lemon drizzle cake.  My back was playing up very badly yesterday but when I finally went to bed the minute I lay down on my new mattress the pain disappeared.

I watche…

Saturday morning

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First let me make a correction to yesterdays blog apparently Mary is not captain of her local club but in fact county senior ladies captain.  Not knowing the first thing about golf I made this faux pa and down graded her achievement.  I hope she forgives my ignorance!!!

Shiona arrived around lunch time and it was nice for her and Mary to make contact.  They were both widowed at around the same time with husbands with similar prostate problems so I had put them in contact over the phone.  Anyway we had a nice lunch together and then took the dogs out for a run.  It was a very strange day weather wise as it was very warm but overcast and extremely humid.  As we all enjoy crosswords we settled down to to the crossword in the radio times but sadly it is a bit easy so that didn't take very long.  After tea and lemon drizzle cake Shiona left as she had left her dogs at home.  I had made some meat balls for supper which we had with tomato sauce and some potato wedges.  The wedges were mo…

Friday morning

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Yesterday morning was a bit of a flurry in the kitchen I made the lunch of cold meats and some stuffed eggs and a cucumber salad then went on to supper which was Alpine macaroni cheese with stuffed tomatoes and a slice of lemon drizzle cake.   I also put together the mixture for some meat balls for tonight's supper.

Mary arrive at lunch time bearing a bunch of flowers not to mention a box of chocolates what more could a girl ask for.  After lunch we settled down to do some bits a pieces on her new lap top which she had brought in the hope that I might be able to help her sort it out.  As it happened I was able to get some of the items sorted out and she managed to get all her ladies names and addresses loaded on in groups.  She is the lady captain of her local golf club and as such she has plenty of matches etc to sort out for the forth coming year so a spread sheet needs to be set up which we will probably tackle either today or tomorrow.

Shiona is popping over today as it will …

Thursday morning

What can I say about yesterday, not a lot, I was absolutely pole axed.  I think it was the aftermath of Monday it never seems to be the next day that you suffer but the one after that.  I rang Sandi and she too was feeling lousy  and shattered so at least I was not alone.  Consequently I did very little and even that was a tremendous effort.

I made some glazed carrots with a bunch that were on the blink and an orange that had seen better days.  I also made some apple sauce to have with our Alpine macaroni which is on the menu for this evening.  Mike did the Tesco run and bought some bits and bobs for lunch today.  Mary is due around lunch time and so cold cuts seemed like a good idea.  This morning I will make the cheese sauce and fry the onions so all I need do this evening is boil some pasta and assemble the other ingredients.  I had also better boil a few eggs ready for the kedgeree for tomorrow.

The garden is looking very messy following the storm with leaves and twigs scattered f…

Wednesday morning

I must remember the bins this morning.  Today is recycling and general rubbish but the wind was so strong yesterday there was no chance of putting anything out.  It was such a foul day that Mark didn't come which was good because he will come next week which puts him back in sync with the green bin recycling day.  Jane came and so the house is nice and tidy and ready for Mary who is arriving tomorrow.  I shot out to the fish monger and restocked with some undyed smoked haddock ready to make a kedgeree.  I also bought a bag of scallops and two kilo bags of mixed sea food which is really useful for pasta and rice dishes.  Then it was down to the butcher and I bought a large chicken and some mince.  I thought we could have a nice roast chicken dinner on Saturday as Mary is leaving after breakfast on Sunday morning and having lunch with her relatives in Ascot on her way home to Bath.  Shopping done it was down to the estuary for a walk the wind was blowing and the rain was falling, bu…

Tuesday morning

Yesterday was the day from hell for poor Sandi and David they arrived at our house about 7am and off we set well once we hit the traffic on Black Heath we were nose to tail all the way and it took us the full two hours to get them to Kings.  We then doubled back and went to stay a James flat but after parking the car we first went hand had a breakfast in the cafe opposite.  Just as well that we did as the lunch we had planned to have on the way back was not to happen.  Sandi and David had been warned that it might take 2-3 hours for this pre-op assessment but as it turned out it took longer than the operation will and it was 7 hours later that we got the call to fetch them from the hospital.  The most annoying thing was that 90% of what was done could have been done at the local hospital, simple things like chest xray, blood pressure and blood tests.  Fortunately they did grab a sandwich and coffee between tests but by the time we picked them up they were both exhausted and thoroughly…

Monday morning

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Yesterday I was glad that the washing had been done as we had rain on and off throughout the day.  I made the game pie mix and there was enough filling to fill two 4-6 person pies which are now in the freezer.  The addition of the orange juice and zest made quite a difference to the flavour which I was very pleased with.  Once that was done and the morning chores were out of the way I settled down to finishing the crossword puzzle and after lunch I watched a Hitchcock film, Vertigo, I had seen it many years ago but had completely forgotten the plot so it was like a new film.

Today I have a bright and early start as I am taking Sandi and her husband to Kings college hospital for his pre-operative assessment.  Sadly he needs to be there for 9am which means a drive in the worst possible traffic.  We are going to leave here at 7 giving a good 2 hours for a 1 hour journey.  While they are at the hospital I am going to James flat which is only 10 minutes away and will wait there for the c…

Sunday morning

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Sorry if you have arachnophobia but I just couldn't resist this spider sitting in my fig tree waiting for lunch.

I got out bright and early yesterday and did all my chores and then went for a walk with the dogs and back via the shops to get a few bits and pieces.  We shop very inefficiently these days and as Tesco is less than a mile away we tend to pop in for a couple of bits on most days.  Yesterday was mushrooms for the game pie and the Telegraph for the crossword.  I gave it a bit of a go but was not on good form so I will have to Google quite a few answers today.  It will be a good excuse to have a sit down and leave the ironing for a bit.  I managed to get several loads out and dried so today it will be ironed and put away.  I now have all the ingredients for the game pie so that will be my first job this morning and once it is on simmering I can get on with the laundry.

Cleaning out the pond pump and filter is a bit of miserable job and makes quite a mess of the sink but f…

Saturday morning

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The tomatoes may have gone but the cucumbers are replacing them in green house.  I got a bit of a better nights sleep last night so am up at a more sensible time this morning.  Now I hope that you are all thanking me for the warmer weather if I had not had the central heating controls done we would be knee deep in snow by now!!!!

Yesterday was a glorious sunny and warm day and we went to a place called Boughton Monchelsea which is just the other side of Maidstone where we had a very acceptable pub lunch.  We had decided not to take the dogs which was just as well as it was quite hot and there was nowhere in the shade to park the car.  They have a crate in the back of the car with a reflective blind over it but it still gets quite hot.

As you are foodie people I will describe what I had.  The starter was celery and Stilton soup with crusty bread and butter.  The soup flavour was good but lacked any taste of Stilton and the celery had not been strung which made the texture rather unple…

Friday morning bright and early

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While I was next door feeding their fish I thought I would take a snap back towards the house just to give a slightly different perspective.  As you can see we had wall to wall sunshine and the temperature was up to nice and warm.  I am convinced that this was only because I organised the plumber to come and fit the central heating controls.  Well at least now when it does turn cold I can have some heat.  As Joy pointed out officially autumn doesn't start until 23 September so we have a little bit of the summer left.

With all the comings and goings yesterday I did a simple lunch of avocado pear with sea food and mayonnaise and for supper I had some beef and ale pies.  We had the pies with some runners from the garden but we all found it was just too large a meal.  We could have managed with half a pie each but as it stands the dogs will be having a very luxurious breakfast.  James has decided to go back to his flat for a week or so which will mean it will be easier to arrange the…

Pinch punch

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The sweet peas are on their last legs, summer is officially over and autumn is here. Not that I think we would notice the difference as it has been very chilly of late. Every one arrived as expected yesterday and after coffee and pleasantries we set of to Dartford to go shooting. As it turned out the weather was perfect it was neither too hot nor too cold and the air was perfectly still which meant that the clays trajectory was undisturbed. I shot reasonably for the first few stands but gradually as my back became tired my scores diminished but at least I made it all the way round and didn’t have to give up as I had the last time. Once home it was all down to gun cleaning and it was about 3pm when everyone left for home, Jeff clutching his bag of frozen sloes ready to make the gin for the winter. Mike had vetoed the risotto so we had a miserable burger for lunch but the three of us managed to demolish the risotto for supper. For today I have taken some beef and ale pies out of the fr…