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Showing posts from October, 2011

Monday morning

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I seem to be completely at sea with not only the days of the week but now the hours of the day.  I was convinced that today was Tuesday and that Jane would be coming.  Instead of course it is Monday and I have a peaceful day.  I never got round to my leisurely soak yesterday as I got embroiled in the laundry and then a roast beef lunch so today I will have to make an effort to have a good soak.  If for no other reason than the bath could use a good clean and being a spa type the jets could all use a blow through and it is easier to do it while in the bath.

The boy spent most of the day relaxing but today I am going to get him out for a bit of training.  The weather is supposed to be mild then windy and wet but it looks like there is a gap for shooting on Wednesday.  Having run the washing machine hard yesterday I have a nice pile of ironing to keep me amused this morning however it would be more sensible to wait until it is light and we are generating our own power.  I now put the dis…

Sunday morning

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Basso had a good day which of course means that we all had a good day. James was put in charge of counting the number of shots fired.  The game keeper likes to know this figure as it shows how many target birds there were and when compared to the bag indicates the proportion of birds killed.  Yesterday there were 280 cartridges fired and the bag was 72 which I think is 1 in 4.  It was considerably chillier than we had expected and the ground was very sticky from the rain.  This was not too bad for the humans in boots but poor old Basso ended up with about a pound of mud on each foot which we didn't really manage to get off until we got home and James helped me man handle him into the bath.  He was very reluctant to get in but once he felt the lovely warm water on his feet he was quite happy to have them washed.  Getting the clay out of the bath afterwards was not much fun.  That job done, you should see my bath mats, we went off up to the kebab shop to collect our supper.  Then we…

Saturday morning

Good morning all well I am back in my own home and at my own computer and the good news is that I am 2 lbs lighter so only 8 to go.  Someone sent me a very interesting article by ZoĆ« Harcombe which busts 20 dietary myths like the five a day one for a start.  I think this is the diet regimen that you are following Anne?  Anyway it makes for some interesting reading and explains why what I am doing is working.  Having read her biography on the net she does seem to be a very reputable researcher.

The trawl through Tesco yesterday was absolute purgatory not only was it Friday but also half term so the shop was packed but I managed to negotiate my way round fairly quickly and make a hasty retreat.  We then stopped by the butcher to pick up some more steaks and I was given a bag of beef bones which I will make into stock at some point but currently they are in the freezer.  James arrived at about 7pm and we ate our dinner and went very early to bed as we were all very tired.  It has been a…

Friday morning

What  a strange feeling of deja vu.  Here I am sitting where I sat when I first started this blog.  It was in the wee small hours of the morning just after Shiona's husband had died and I was emotionally drained and at a loss for what to do while she slept, so I sat and poured out my feelings and sent them off into the ether.  I was completely gob smacked with the hundreds of replies offering comfort and support.

Everyone is still fast asleep, all the people and all 6 dogs who are in the conservatory.  They must know I am up and have managed to work out how the coffee machine works but they haven't made a sound yet.  So I am letting sleeping dogs lie.

We had a wonderful dinner last night of a lovely pot roast brisket from a highland cow brought back from scotland.  I have just read that sentence and it is confusing the brisket was brought back not the cow!!!   Mike and I had a fat free yoghurt for dessert while the others had biscuit and cheese.  I managed to resist the chees…

Thursday Morning

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This weather vein has been on the roof for some 20 years long before I had a dog that worked with pheasants  but it must have always been in the back of my mind!!!!

The weather yesterday was of constant and heavy showers but surprisingly we managed to get our shooting done in one of the dry patches.  The guy arrived at 8.30 to do the roof and we now have loads of chicken wire packed in under the solar panels which should prevent any further pigeon problems.  The guttering was also cleaned out and I cannot describe the filth that had accumulated there.  We arrived back from shooting absolutely starving hungry and Shiona and I were dropped off at the Kebab shop.  We bought Jeff a shish kebab as he was a kebab virgin but he got to try some of our chicken and Shiona's donar and had to agree that he had been missing out as it was all delicious, healthy and reasonably priced.  He eventually set off for home at about 3.30 only to have his car side swiped on a roundabout and then get stu…

Wednesday morning

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Yesterday we had a very near disaster Tuc, pictured above, had followed Mike to go and feed the fish but as he is such a gut bucket he always waits for the fish food to float near the edge of the pond and then siphons it up.  Mike had left him there and gone upstairs to have a rest but happened to pop into the back bedroom and saw water all over the path.  Then he noticed that Tuc was in the pond and unable to get out and was drowning so he yelled for me.  I was down the stairs in seconds and fished him out of the water.  Fortunately he was still shivering so I wrapped him in a succession of dry towels and held him close to my body for warmth.  He was absolutely frozen and must have been in the water for over half an hour.  I was conscious that he should be rewarmed slowly and as the shivering gradually subsided I then used the hair dryer to warm him further.  My fears were for both shock and hypothermia both of which were avoided thank goodness and this morning he seems none the wors…

Tuesday morning

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The birthday boy opens his presents, would you believe carriages for his train set!!!  We had a nice lunch and the pub did us proud so as it was my recommendation I was highly delighted.  I was very good and had a bit of pate with some salad to start with but omitted the garlic bread and followed it with mussels leaving both the chips and the bread.  The cake I managed to surreptitiously secrete into a bag which came home for the dogs.  I must admit that it has thrown me to have a celebration on a Monday lunch time which some how felt like Sunday.  By the time we arrived home at about 4pm I was pole axed with tiredness and went straight to bed and slept for a good three hours.  Only to be woken by a call from the wonderful Jane who has sadly had her car written off by a lorry - no one was hurt but she will not be coming today as she needs to sort out the mess.  This is not a problem as the house is tidy and clean as I have just had visitors.  I have had an order for another two scarv…

Monday morning

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Plenty of berries on the mountain ash to keep the birds happy in the winter.   The usual colour is red but the variety of tree I have has these creamy blush pink berries.  If I remember correctly it is called Jacobs Coat...

Yesterday, was one of chores to get everything ready for the visitors, however, I did manage to watch the All Blacks win the Rugby world cup.  It is always nice when a host nation wins but it was a very close match with some very good play on both sides.

The dinner went down well and the rather pathetic dessert was eaten enthusiastically.  Sadly it was all bit "off piste", as far as the diet is concerned and lunch today will also be more than we are allowed however two meals are not likely to cause too much damage.  I have pre ordered a pate starter [not good] and mussels for the main course [good] and dessert I can skip so not devastating.   I must admit that I am quite evangelical about it being so close to my goal weight and the sooner I get there the …

Sunday morning

Yesterday, while I was walking the dogs I was accosted by a lady in the car-park who was struggling to read the tag on a dogs collar.  She like me couldn't see without glasses but Mike had his in the car so between us we managed to read the tag which had, as it turned out, a redundant mobile number on it.  Apparently the little chap had been seen running around the car-park for a couple of days.  The lady, a professional dog walker, was concerned about putting the dog into her car as she already had others in there.  It was decided that she would go and drop off her charges and return to collect the stray.  In the mean time I took him for a walk with my pack and stopped everyone I met in an effort to find his owner.  No luck there, and so he was packed off to the RSPCA where hopefully he would be given a square meal which he looked in need of as his ribs were very prominent.  I hope I bump into the dog walker again as I would be very interested to learn the outcome.

My visitors ar…

Saturday moring

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There are times when I despair for my sanity!  Yesterday, I booked the engineer to come and fix my patio doors on Monday lunch time.  Where am I on Monday lunch time - out celebrating my brother in laws birthday with the whole family.  What an idiot!!!  I will have to hope that they have someone in the office on a Saturday or ring at the crack of dawn on Monday and reschedule.

Now for the good news another 2lbs have vanished from the scales so only 10lbs to go to target and at this rate it will only take about 5 weeks.  My visitors are not coming until tea time on Sunday so I have plenty of time to get round with the hoover.  I have decided that we will be having a some French onion soup followed by a sirloin steak with assorted vegetables and lemon drizzle cake with cream for dessert.

The decision to make the French onion soup was made for me, to some extent, as when Mike returned from the butcher yesterday he had two large bags of bones.  One bag was from venison the other from som…

Friday morning

Good morning all, yes it is the crack of dawn again but I did fall asleep very early last night as I was feeling very tired.  It really was a very cold day  but some how with the bright sun shine it doesn't matter.  According to our weather forecast we will be looking at 18 degrees again in a few days.  So probably just as well that I haven't completely finished putting away my summer clothes.  
We spent the whole day waiting for a phone call to book an appointment for the patio door repair but none came, isn't that frustrating!!!  Today they will be getting a call from me to light a fire under them.  We have also organised a roofer to come and put some chicken wire under the edges of our solar panels so that the pigeons will kept out.  This will save me the job of shooting them and with any luck they will go else where and make their mess.  It will also be an opportunity to clear out the guttering which is now growing plants that the birds have planted by dropping seeds.  

Thursday morning

Yesterday was perishing cold to start off with and this morning is even worse my thermometer outside is reading 3.8 degrees and as it is against a warm house wall I guess it must be close to freezing.  One thing I have noticed about the temperature is that as soon as the sun rises the temperature falls by about 1 degree which is very counter-intuitive as you would expect the temperature to rise.  Anyone got any bright ideas why this might be?

Shiona arrived with her two dogs who were looking very posh having just been to the college where they have been groomed by the students learning dog grooming.  I have put off taking Basso as he is going to need his big coat while working this winter so he will go at the end of February once the season is over.

We took ourselves off shooting and though it was cold the sun was shining and we had a lovely morning blasting 7 bells out of the clays.  Then on the way home we stopped at the kebab shop and ordered ourselves a lovely lunch.  I, stupidly,…

Wednesday morning

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Now I am going to make you laugh yesterday morning while I was making the daily galettes I successfully dropped and entire large pot of natural yoghurt which hit the floor and exploded covering me, the floor and the cupboard fronts liberally with yoghurt.  No problem, I just announced that there had been a "food accident" and three willing helpers arrived to clean me, the floor and the cupboards.  Job done!!!  Just one of the advantages of having three dogs in the house....

Isn't it cold?  needless to say I left the pump cleaning for a warmer day.  The new boiler seems to be doing its thing well, and the radiators are coming on and keeping the house nice and warm.  Now all we need to hope is that the bills are reduced as it should be much more efficient than the previous boiler.  We have done everything possible to minimise heat loss with cavity wall insulation 10" of loft insulations and are fully double glazed.  I have broken out the heavy jackets for shooting to…

Tuesday morning

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Sorry that the new dynamic layout is giving you all so many problems I have, as you see, reverted to the earlier format.  Nice to here from you Val and glad you still find my mundane life worth a read.


Lovely bunch of flowers from the Japanese lady for whom I am knitting scarves to take to Japan.  Actually they are finished so I will run them down to her today.  Yesterday, when I went to the hair dresser I took Basso with me for practice of "being steady" - fortunately my hair dresser is a friend and it was an early appointment before most of the clients arrived.  Of course all the juniors made a huge fuss of him but he was a good boy and sat by my feet while I had my hair chopped.  He only became a little unsettled when he heard the clippers which in his experience are only used for a Brazilian!!!! so he kept his bottom firmly on the floor just in case.  Shiona and Sue arrived quite early and we got stuck in to a full description of the cruise around Alaska, Japan, Russia, …

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a relatively quiet day I did a roast chicken for lunch using the halogen oven which did a brilliant job as usual and while it was doing its thing James and I went and moved the hens to their winter accommodation.  I am pleased that I decided to do it while James was still here as it certainly was a two man task.  Basso sat the other side of the gate looking on in pity, as we fruitlessly chased the birds up and down the run.  I'm sure he felt he could have done a much better job of rounding them up.  Anyway, they are now settled in the green house and it means that through the winter I will only have to make one journey per day to collect the eggs and feed and water them.  James managed to get a lift back to London with a colleague so the slow tortuous train journey was avoided.  I sent him home with a couple of frozen pheasant breasts for his efforts on Saturday.  Tuc the terrier kept his bandage on all night which was a great surprise and when I removed it the woun…

Sunday morning

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Basso andI wait patiently for the beaters to drive the birds from the woods.
James and I had a wonderful day yesterday.  It was long and hard but we came home very satisfied with our efforts and best of all really pleased with Basso's efforts. Of the the 90 bird bag, he must have collected about 10 of them.  Given that there were 6 people picking up, one of whom had 5 dogs, that was none too bad.  He took directional commands very well from James but then brought the birds to me.  James was not allowed to have them.  All birds belong to me!!!  The weather was fabulous with warm sun but a cool air temperature despite starting with a heavy frost it soon warmed up.  
By the time we arrived home we were absolutely famished so the new Kebab shop was a real god send.  And I must admit, that though I shouldn't have, I did eat a flat bread with my meat and salad.  Given that all I had had all day was a galette and 2 hard boiled eggs and 2 tomatoes I felt justified in my indiscretion.…

Saturday morning

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Yes, I know what you are thinking, empty vegetable beds but no, what you can't see is that I have planted broad beans, garlic, shallots and onions and all the beds are full.  I really like this over wintering idea not only do you have an early crop but there is nothing except a bit of weeding and watering to do until July when you can harvest all the goodies.  I have left the bed for the runner beans and the bed of spinach which is well under way.  The saffron crocuses have just about finished and I must have picked about a gram of saffron so I am thrilled what has also surprised me is how the bulbs are multiplying so next year should be even better.

James didn't arrive until quite late last night and as I didn't manage an afternoon sleep I feel pretty shattered today.  However I am sure once I am in the field I will be fine and with James for company it should be fun.  I am not sure if Sandi will make it as she is grieving for the loss of her old dog who died yesterday. …

Friday morning

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Picture of new table with the additional leaves which make the table long enough to seat 10 at a squeeze and 8 comfortably.  Without the leaves it is ideal for Mike and I and two guests which is the usual number these days.  It is made of a sustainable hard wood from India and has a very colourful grain pattern which is rather nice.
Yesterday morning I went with my Japanese friend to choose some yarn to make two more scarves which she would like to take to her mother and sister in Japan.  The colours have not come out well in artificial light it is actually a deep violet and a very blue red.  However, you get the general idea and I have a month in which to complete them.  That done we were off out to lunch which proved quite difficult.  First we took the dogs for a walk in some lovely woods and they had a grand time but once we hit the restaurant I was in quite a dilemma as to what to have to keep as close to the diet as possible.  I settled on broccoli and Stilton soup which was ser…

Thursday morning

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Cheerful little pansy faces to keep us going through the winter taken under flood lights
Yesterday was a good one, I got loads of things done though I didn't manage to get the onions in the ground I did go through my wardrobe and sort the wheat from the chaff.  Although I live and die in a pair of crocs I went through and polished all my shoes just in case!  I have syphoned out shoes that can go to the clothes bank and all the very light summer stuff has been neatly folded and put away until next summer.  When I am in the mood this sort of thing gives me a real feeling of satisfaction.  The new table arrived on time and in good order and the delivery men assembled it and took away all the packaging - brilliant.  The old table was taken away later in the afternoon so we are all spick and span again.

This morning I set too and updated my iPad which now makes tea and does the ironing I WISH.  Then as the force was with me I went through and updated all the drivers on the main compu…

Wednesday and bin day

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Playing with the macro facility on the camera I took this of verbena bonariensis which grows easily in all the paving but not in the flower beds where it is supposed to!
Now lets start the day with a bit of good news the diet is working wonders another 2 lbs lost which only leaves me 13 to go to my target weight.  I will expect a bit of a slow down as the nearer you are to the target the harder the weight loss seems to be.  The name of the game now is to persevere and hopefully get there fairly soon at the current rate I am looking at about another 6-7 weeks.  I will try not to bore you with too many details but as you can imagine it does consume a good deal of my time just organising the very restricted food regimen.  
Today we are expecting delivery of a new dining table some time between 7am and 11am.  We have been living with a rather cheap and nasty Ikea table since the original one got broken!!! Don't ask who broke it, he is still fast asleep.  Anyway, we have finally settl…

Tuesday afternoon edition

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My whirly washing line looks like a fountain
Difficult to show flood light effect but I can now see to get around in the dark.  Having had such an early start I have had a good couple of hours sleep this afternoon and it almost feel like a new day. Two for the price of one!!

It has been pretty windy today but mild so lots of jobs got done in the garden and I am now ready to start planting out the onions etc.




The hens day shelter is now complete with a sheet of glass from an old window on top to stop the wood from getting saturated and also to make it easy to clean.

During the hours of darkness I occupied myself with cleaning out the cupboard under the sink which is a bit of a hell hole but now it is pristine and tidy.  Not sure how long it will last but it is pleasing for the moment.  I also had another go with the steam machine and the grout in the floor tiles is gradually getting back to its original colour.  I also made a big batch of pesto as the plants in the green house which …

Tuesday morning

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As promised here is a snap of the chicken shelter which is in the green house, the second one is in their run.  Though the photo doesn't show it well the perches are set at differing heights.  As you can see in the foreground the basil plant is going well and I have yet to coil up the leaky hose that kept the tomatoes watered though the summer.  If it gets very cold I can throw a cover over this construction to give the hens extra warmth but the green house already raises the temperature by 5 degrees so this is only necessary if the temperature is going to drop very low.

As you will note I seem to be on night duty again this week and have been waking at between 2.30 and 3am which is really stupid and leaves me pretty shattered by the end of the day.  Yesterday, we took the dogs for a nice run and I did quite a bit of training with Basso who is coming along in leaps and bounds. He has suddenly realised that the summer holidays are over and now it is serious hunting stuff.  We did …

Monday morning

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Yesterday started with some rain but finally finished in a warm sunny day.. We spent the morning making some new accommodation units for the hens.  One for the green house which is ready for their winter quarters and one for their run.  I will take some snaps today so you can see what we have actually done.  The hens like to perch for the night so we have included some broom handle perches for them.  I then made a start on my bedroom first a bit of a clean of all the nooks and crannies that usually get missed then on to an initial sort of summer and winter clothes.  Back come all the fleecy tops and warm jumpers and away go all the very flimsy bits.  There is always a middle range which stay put but at least I have made a start!!!  This is one of the jobs I really hate doing.

I spent some time in the garden with Basso refining his retrieving skills and making sure he fetches only that which he is asked to fetch.  This is important as he must fetch wounded birds before dead ones for …

Sunday morning

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Every walk is a training opportunity so Basso is made to sit.  I do not use the command wait or stay because if he is sitting then he is doing both.  He was told to sit while people and their dogs walked past and for once didn't move a muscle.  He is getting much better at walking to heel with no lead so I am very pleased that all the practice is paying off.

Mike was playing with his new camera while I walked the dogs and it has a super zoom on it.  In the next photo you can see the chimney in the background and then see at full zoom.



Pretty impressive I think for a compact digital.  You can even see the ship delivering coal to the power station.

Anyway once the walk was done it was time to get stuck in to the crossword puzzle which I have still not finished so I can have some time today to get it completed.  I usually have to look up some things on Google but I think that is all to the good as you learn quite a lot in the process.

The it was time for our three course lunch of …

Saturday morning

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Yesterdays lunch before I attacked it with the various implements.
I had a very quiet day yesterday feeling pretty tired from a week of woe which although the problems were mostly other peoples giving advice takes its toll on you psychologically.  You are left wondering if you have advised correctly and don't really want the responsibility of giving bad directions.  I made the venison stock which has been reduced from 4.5 litres down to 1 litre and is now cold and ready for the freezer.  I picked the meat from the bones which was enough for all three dogs for both breakfast and supper.  Then it was on with cleaning the crab which is a fairly tedious job but one that I don't mind as I can sit and listen to music or the radio while I am doing it.  The shell is kept in the freezer for my next go at a shell fish reduction which is very worthwhile making.  I boiled down some immature figs in white wine and rum with copious sugar and have bottled them.  I am not sure if they will c…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was a protein only day so I thought I would take some photos of what was on offer chez nous

The starter for lunch was six oysters the opening of which burnt many more calories than they contained.

This was followed by a home made beef burger, very lean wrapped in half a galette.  For desert it was a sugar free jelly with a blob of 0% Greek yoghurt.


Now on to dinner which started with pastrami and cornichons followed by casseroled pheasant legs with the other half of the galette and finishing off with a fat free strawberry yoghurt.





After my walk with the dogs I swung by the butcher and he was busy making venison sausages and donated the bones for my stock pot.  They were put straight in the oven and given a good roasting for flavour before being boiled with the usual suspects of carrot onion and celery.  Today I will strain it all off and pick over the bones for meat for the dogs.  I am also experimenting with some of the immature figs from the tree which have been boiled in …

Thursday morning

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The fig tree is loaded with fruit that will never ripen such a shame!
I am up horribly early again this morning but it is not so surprising as I do have a few things on my mind.  Lets start with the good things firstly Mike birthday went off well and we had a good morning shooting and a smashing lunch, we were so stuffed that we didn't bother with supper and just ate the jelly I had made.  
I have been bracing myself because bad things tend to happen in threes so with each son causing grief I was waiting for another hammer blow.  Sandi phoned me to say that one of our friends who came training had had a disaster with her lovely gun dog a Logotto romagnolo which while out walking across fields had eaten slug pellets that the farmer had spread and despite all the vets efforts Ruby had died.

Was this the third item and was I now safe for a while?  No, late yesterday evening my sister rang.  Now this in itself is unusual as she has not been in communication with me for over 10 years …

Wednesday and bin day

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And the roses just keep flowering.

I have had no further news from Thailand so I am assuming that all is going according to plan.  Today is Mikes birthday and by way of a celebration we are going to go out for lunch after shooting.  I am going to enjoy shooting today as I feel the need to let off a bit of steam.  In my minds eye I can imagine a few people who I would dearly love to be on the other end of the gun.  Shooting clays is a very good way to let out some of the pent up emotions, a bit like bashing the hell out of bread dough.  
Yesterday, was very over cast and windy and looked for all the world as though it was going to rain but it never did.  The forecast has rain for today but I hope it is not until later this afternoon when we have finished shooting.  I falsely accused the hens of not laying but it was my fault, I was too early and I found the usual 4 eggs in the nest when I went to put them to bed that night.  I spent some time cleaning in the kitchen which seems to be …