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Showing posts from November, 2011

Wednesday morning and bin day

Yesterday we has some pretty sharp showers but fortunately managed to miss them when out with the dogs.  We noticed that Tuc seemed to be moving a bit more fluidly since we have started him on cod liver oil which is added to his food.  All three dogs get a teaspoon full on their breakfast rations which stops any fighting over the smellier food.  Then when got home I got a phone call from my credit card supplier who were checking moneys going out,  It appears that every day since the 24th November the mobile phone company O2 have been taking £10 from my account.  I had signed up to their automated top up system which would top up the phone once it was down to £2 credit.  This seemed like a good idea but as it turns out it has landed me in hot water.  I rang O2 to get this mess sorted out and after some 20 minutes hanging about on the phone they couldn't trace the problem.  The best they could come up with was for me to get a statement from my credit card company and fax it through …

Tuesday morning

And still this dratted cold drags on.  I don't feel particularly rough but the pipes are all bunged up or dripping which is just a real nuisance. We had a quick dash out yesterday to replenish the cold remedies which with three of us down at the same time mean they are getting used up quite quickly.  While I was in Sainsbury I bought some chicken wings to make soup with and some thighs to do the Japanese fried chicken which everyone so enjoyed.

The wonderful Jane is due today so I will need to have a bit of a tidy if she is to be able to clean.  However first I need to do some work on the chicken soup.  Now that the wings have had the life boiled out of them they will need picking over and the dogs can look forward to a chicken meal or two.  We will have the soup for lunch with some pastina in it and plenty of Parmesan cheese.  As you can see the diet has gone to hell but while I am under the weather I really can't be bothered with it.  I can always start again once I am fully…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a day for muddling through - we were all feeling lousy so little got done other than the essentials for life.  The lunch was delicious but no one felt much like eating except me so I devoured a huge plateful of tongue caper sauce and curly kale which is one of my favourites.  A couple of loads of muddy clothing got put through the washing machine and then draped around the house to dry.  It would have been a good day to dry outside but I just didn't have the energy to put the washing line out.  By supper time it was every man for himself Mike just wanted toast and jam, I had a couple of boiled eggs and James did himself a fry up as he had not had any lunch.  We all cluttered off to bed early and watched our respective TV's.  I am hoping that that will be the worst of it over and that we should start to make some moves towards recovery.  If rest is good for you then we have had plenty of that.  Basso was pretty happy with the regimen and was certainly happy to res…

Sunday morning

Where to start first let me tell you I still pretty ropey but not any worse than I would have felt if I had spent the day at home in bed.  We decided to go to the shoot anyway so dosed with "Day Nurse" off we went.  While the temperature was not cold there was a biting wind which cut you in half.  We were wrapped up in many layers with hats and coats so we were OK even if we looked like Michelin men.  Basso acquitted himself very well and only made one real error.  He was sent for a cock pheasant that had been pricked and was very much alive.  He chased it down and caught it but then on his way back put it down to get a better grip only to loose it and it ran off  into a hedge from where one of the other dogs eventually caught it.  Lets hope this is a lesson learned and next time he will hang on to the bird until I can dispatch it.  We always have a pound bet on the final bag the prize being a bottle of whiskey.  Well I was so close this week I bet 104 and the final total wa…

Saturday morning

Good morning all well I am up and now trying to decide what to do with regard to the shoot do I go or not....

I think I will dose myself with Day Nurse and give it a go I can always come home if I start to feel really rough.  Anyway, a day in the fresh air might do me good.   If there are loads of "pickers up", we can always decide to turn around and leave.  The weather is quite kind and not too cold so provided I wrap up and fill my pockets with tissues I should be fine. To take with us I have made some butter nut squash and red lentil soup and have a pan of cold pork and leek sausages which I cooked yesterday.  I went ahead and made the sushi for lunch which went down OK even though none of us was really in the mood.  The remaining salmon I pan fried and then mixed with a sour cream and chive dip and spread on toast for supper, this was much nicer than I expected and went down very well.

Yesterday we had a trip to the chemist to collect Mikes monthly prescription so while …

Friday morning

First to answer a couple of queries.  The recipe for the belly of pork was a Gordon Ramsey recipe and yes it was worth all the preparation time.
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9844/twicecooked-pork-belly-with-an-onion-and-apple-vel  

Now for the sprout recipe which came from Riverford.
Quarter your sprouts and toss in a tablespoon of duck fat then put in an oven at 160 until just tender.

Meanwhile fry off some diced bacon then add a clove of chopped garlic some thyme and some sage.  Add the bacon to your breadcrumbs together with pepper and salt and the grated zest of an orange.  When the sprouts are ready add some chicken stock and the chestnuts then cover with the breadcrumb mixture and return to the oven until well browned and crisp on top.

We had this for supper last night and it was really lovely....

For lunch we had a big stir fry with the strips of lambs heart and that too was very acceptable and I don't think many people would have guessed what the meat was.

Now for t…

Thursday Morning

We had a lovely time shooting yesterday but I shot rather badly James however shot very well and came second to Jeff who always shoots best.  It was a lovely day nice and clear and still so ideal and we all had a good time.

When we got back Shiona had brought a pheasant casserole that she had made from the two birds that I had given her.  In the end the two birds made sufficient portions for 7 meals so all in all very economical.  My vegetable box had arrived so I quickly prepared some curly kale to go with the lunch and we were all well fed.  For supper I made a dish from my new Japanese cookery book which was basically chicken thighs which were dipped in a tempura style batter and then fried.  The batter was what I call shatter batter it was so crisp and delicious.  However the whole house smells like a chip shop this morning so a few open windows will be necessary.

James is suffering from the beginnings of a cold with a mortally sore throat, Mike too is under the weather and cough…

Wednesday and shooting

Yesterday was a relatively peaceful day we managed to dodge the showers and get the dogs walked then it was back via the butcher.  Sadly my veg box was not delivered and will be coming today so I was a bit stuck.  We munched our way through the remaining cold meats for lunch and for supper we just had some mince and the last potato so not much really.  I bought some chicken thighs to do a Japanese recipe from my new book and I also bought some lambs hearts which are going to be stir fried.  I have cleaned them of all the tubes and fat and very finely shredded them so they should be fine.  The remaining mince is going to make a bolognese sauce which we have with shredded cabbage in lieu of pasta.  I will get that on first thing in the slow cooker so it can happily cook for hours while we are out.

Today is dustbin day and also our green waste day which is just as well as I have two wheelie bins full and ready to go out.  Jane came and did her stuff yesterday so we are nice and clean at…

Tuesday morning

Lets start with some good news I have lost a bit of weight despite my incredible blow out on Sunday and a meal in France on Thursday but still about 6 lbs to go before I reach nirvana.  I felt much better yesterday after some good sleep and plenty of water to drink so I think my problems were all down to tiredness and over eating.

Now for the not so good news James motor cycle was vandalised during the night and pushed over on its side which broke the rear brake and foot peg so it is now in the bike shop to be repaired.  He had to ride it very gingerly to the garage with us in the car directly behind in case of problems.  He really needs the bike today as he has his first appointment in for counselling in Bromley and if the bike is not ready in time he will have to go by train. Fortunately the faring was not damaged which would have cost a lot more even so the broken bracket is going to be £60 before labour.  Sadly our road is a direct route from the pub to the not so salubrious area…

Monday morning

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Oh dear what a blow out we had yesterday.  Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and celeriac purée.  I over indulged in a major way and then paid the price.  I spent the afternoon in bed shivering and with terrible cramp in my feet.  When the shivering finally stopped I thought I was going to catch fire and spontaneously combust.  Finally around 8pm I began to feel a little better and got up and had a shower and a mug of hot milk then slept like a baby until 4.30 this morning when I am feeling right as ninepence.  I think it was all self inflicted by over indulgence and exhaustion you would have thought that at my age I would know the difference between scratching it and tearing it but apparently not!!!!!

Today I had better have a day of restraint and take things easy.  We have plenty of cold meat left for meals and I have made a remoulade with the remaining celeriac so there is nothing to do for meals.  I do however have mountains of washing to be getting o…

Sunday and a day of rest

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Where to start - we went up to Victoria on the train from Gillingham and the train while full was not over crowded then it was a short tube journey to Earls Court.

It was the Christmas show and so there were lots of Christmas trees which had been sprayed white and all decorated in white with just some fairy lights.  All very tasteful and giving the impression of a snow covered forest.  Shiona being a systematic person organised us to work our way through the lanes of stands so that we missed nothing.  Did we come out unscathed, no of course we didn't, but we did manage to resist the obligatory mops and buckets.  We bought some interesting caps which convert any can into a bottle which means that they are now much more useful especially in the car.  

We also purchased some really heavy duty peelers which convert into a mini mandolin so I am going to be eating all my vegetables in julienne strips or wafer thin slices for a while.  Needless to say we had our hands ex foliated with so…

Saturday Morning

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The warm and balmy weather continues and yesterday was lovely for walking the dogs.  I wore a coat but really it was not necessary as it was so sunny and lovely.  The belly of pork continues it processing and spent 3 hours in a 150 degree oven submerged in goose fat.  It is now at the pressing stage and should be ready for eating tonight when I get back from London.

Today is a bit crazy Shiona is coming over here and we are going to the Ideal Gnomes [homes] exhibition and James is going to Shiona's house on his motorbike to help with the scenery construction. He went up to London yesterday afternoon and collected his bike so now he is a bit more independent. We have chosen this arrangement as it makes for the easiest train journey.  Mike can drop us at the station where we can get a fast train to Victoria, 50 minutes, then 4 stops on the district line to Earls Court.   If I had gone to Shiona's it would have been a more tortuous journey from Paddock Wood.  I am not looking for…

Friday morning

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What a smashing day we had yesterday.  I survived the boat crossing and the "Joy Rides" made sure that I was not sick, however, they did nothing for the nausea.  I found that concentrating on my knitting was a good way to keep my mind off the swaying motion of the ship.  It also caused quite a stir amongst the other lady passengers who were fascinated at how the scarf just materialised.  With an hour and a half crossing in each direction I managed to finish the scarf easily.  We made some purchases on the boat and also got a complimentary 6 bottles of wine.  We had asked for special assistance on the ticket which meant that they parked us right next to the lift so Mike had minimal walking to do.  
Once in France we headed to the Lidl shop where there were some excellent bargains to be had in the wine department.  I bought some odds and ends like a tin of confit duck, smoked chicken, some course cooking salt and some Dijon mustard.  I also bought some escargot for supper which…

Thursday Morning

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The area is cleared and ready for the fence to be installed which looks like it will be on Saturday.  Sadly I am up at this ungodly hour again this morning despite not going to sleep until 10.30 last night.  It just doesn't seem to make any difference.   Shiona and Keith are due to arrive here at 8am then we have an hours drive down to Dover for the ferry.  Fortunately we are going P&O and not Sea France so there should be no disruption especially now they have cleared the stacked lorries.  I have a few bits to do in the kitchen before they arrive and then I will need to get into the shower but I can't do that until nearer the time as it will wake everyone else.  

Shooting yesterday was good despite the weather being very chilly and damp.  I managed a good score which included one straight 10 a 9 and an 8 which is not bad shooting.  However, a couple of bad stands brought my score down to 48/70.  I console myself with the fact that were I shooting for the pot we would not…

Wednesday morning and bin day

Yesterday morning Mark arrived and has done a wonderful job of clearing the back garden in readiness for the fence construction which should happen some time this weekend.  He managed to fill two wheelie bins with the stuff he cut back.  So much so that he had to climb in to them and jump on the contents to make it fit.  I finally got to grips with the pond filter and gave that a good clean so the pump is now back up and running.  At this time of the year the pond tends to fill with leaves which is a real nuisance so James spent a good hour fishing them out with a net.

Shiona is coming over this morning and we are due to go shooting but we also have the wonderful Jane due so it is going to be pandemonium.  I noticed on the news last night that the sea France ferries are being stopped for 48 hours so I hope we are not booked on one of them for our day trip tomorrow.   I just checked the email and apparently we are going P&O so no problems.

Last night I made cabbage bolognese whic…

Tuesday morning

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A bit later this morning I didn't wake until nearly 4 am so that is an improvement.  My weight is fluctuating by a pound up and down but no significant movement despite sticking religiously to the diet.  I made a couple of batches of burgers yesterday some with lean mince and some with pheasant breast to which I added lemon zest and thyme which in the end made them taste like stuffing.  We had one of each for supper so that we could compare and contrast and the remainder are in the freezer.  I also made a bolognese sauce which I will have with some lightly boiled cabbage in lieu of pasta.

Today Mark the gardener is due to come and I have plenty for him to do as we need to dig out some bushes to make room for the fence.  I have a passion flower which has gone completely mad and is climbing all over the area and will have to be cut back.  I have left it until now as it has been if full flower so it seemed a pity. Jane was due today but she has to collect a car from Bristol so she is…

Monday morning

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That's it all six scarves are done
Our first job of the morning was to get the concrete out of Basso's paws where, despite having been washed the night before, the clay had set in large lumps.  The only way to shift it was with a pair of scissors and chop out the lumps that were stuck between his toes and in between his pads.  As you can imagine he was not keen to have this done and attacking him with scissors made it all a bit risky.  He did however seem to appreciate that it was for his benefit and finally settled and allowed us to do the job.
We set off fairly early and arrived at Shiona's at about 10.30 to find scenery building in full swing.  James got stuck in and I settled down to chat and knit.  We had a lovely lunch of roast chicken with assorted vegetables and for dessert we had an assortment of cheese.  I managed to resist the roast potatoes which had been cooked in goose fat.  In the afternoon Shiona and Keith took the pack of 6 dogs for a long walk across the fi…

Sunday morning

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Well what a day we had yesterday.  The weather was pretty chilly and very misty and after a very lack lustre morning with a couple of drives that only produced a bird or two the afternoon picked up rather well.  The shoot was very short of picking up dogs so Basso and Yoda had to work extra hard to collect all the birds.  On the second to last drive Basso thought he had died and gone to heaven as no sooner had he brought us back a bird than he was sent out to get another.  One bird had gone down in the woods and he went in to search for it and found it and another got stuck in the cleft of a multi stemmed tree which he also found but James had to extract it.  At the end of the day we were all rewarded with £10 and a brace of pheasants which also included James so he was delighted.  We arrived home at about 4.30 having dropped off a brace of pheasants to the Kebab shop owner who had expressed a real wish for some.  He was delighted and couldn't believe his luck so when we went up …

Saturday morning

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A hunting we will go!!! yes I am up at the crack of dawn again but I think that is due to excitement and a very early night.  Yesterday we took the dogs for a long long walk and picked bags of sea beat for James friend who had never tried it but likes to cook as she is of  Greek extraction.  It was a pretty miserable damp and dank day but we made the most of it.  The dogs came home stinking of the river as they had all been paddling in the mud. There was little or no point in cleaning Basso as he is going to be filthy again today.  I managed to get back up to date with the household chores so I can go our today with a clear conscience.

I was pleased to see that the two minutes silence to remember the fallen was taken so seriously and that the poppy appeal has done so well this year.  Since 2008, a special Flanders' Field of Poppies has been created from hundreds of cardboard poppies planted beside the Menin Gate in Ypres, to commemorate the end of the First World War.

When I us…

Friday morning

We set off fairly early yesterday morning and made our way to Thurrock and the Lakeside shopping centre.  It was Ikea that was our target and their very superior candles.  Needless to say we did not manage to get out without some other purchases.. Shiona restocked her candles and I bought a couple of nice bath mats, a griddle pan and some clothes pegs.  James accompanied us and it was lovely to have someone to load the car then we made our way back across the river and on to Bluewater where we headed straight for Wagamama for lunch.
It was all very nice and filled to the gunwales with seafood soup we then headed to Molton and Brown for our complimentary hand massage.  We came out smelling delicious but without any purchases as the products are so expensive and we neither of us use cosmetics.  We were very strong willed and kept out of Lakeland and the Apple store and marched very quickly through John Lewis.  Once home we unloaded our purchases and reloaded the car with dogs who we to…

Thursday Morning

It is 5.30 so I have had a good lie in this morning but that is to be expected as I was on my knees yesterday with tiredness.  We went shooting yesterday morning and it was just Shiona myself and James but he didn't want to shoot and was just acting as gun bearer.  Surprisingly I shot quite well and in the end James had a couple of goes just by way of therapy.  We were quite late back from the club and stopped off for the usual kebab fest which was just what we all needed as it was late and we were all desperately hungry.  We had a great mixture of donar, chicken, shish and kofta with masses of salad and Lavash flat breads which were all put in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves.

This morning we are having an early start James has an appointment at the doctor at 8.30 then we are off to Ikea with Shiona and finally on to Bluewater for a free hand massage at Molton and Brown.  Today they are opening a Waga Mama at the centre and we are hoping to have lunch ther…

Wednesday morning and bin day

Yesterday I felt very hung over and not through drink but just from stress and anxiety.  Jane came as usual and did her stuff but Mark the gardener had been unwell and has postponed until next week.  James had arranged to help a friend who has recently move into a house about half a mile from us.  She had purchased some furniture from Ikea which needed building and the washing machine also needed to plumbed in.  We dropped him off at her house and then went on to take the dogs for a walk and then to Maidstone where there is a Hobbycraft shop.  I have a commission to make 6 scarves for a friend who would like them as Christmas presents.  I bought 3 balls of Can Can yarn for the special offer price of £25 which is not bad for 6 presents.  I am very happy if my costs are covered and don't charge for the actual knitting as I feel that that is therapeutic for me.  I have already finished one scarf so only 5 to go.

For lunch Mike and I had a home made burger with tomato and onions and f…

Tuesday morning

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What a day of stress yesterday was.  David phoned at about 9am to say that he could come home but just needed to have the OK from one set of doctors.  This finally came at about 5.30pm so Sandi made her way to our house and we then drove up to London arriving at around 7pm.  Then guess what? they didn't have his TTO's [To Take Out] drugs ready so James and I sat for an hour in the car while they sorted themselves out.  Finally, when they did arrive, David was speechless with rage, apparently the drugs had been there since 5pm and in their inefficiency they had sent for a second lot.  We had a clear drive home and arrived at our house at 10pm leaving Sandi the last half hours run to her house after they had both refuelled with a cup of coffee.  Sandi had had a day of it as her car was sick and the garage computer was broken so in the end she had to borrow a car to come to mine.  What a huge cock up!!!!  Well, one thing is for certain, it was a good test of the surgery as his bl…

Monday morning

Many thanks for all the anniversary wishes, I must admit that this far down the track we do little to celebrate. In years gone by, when the boys were younger, we used to have alternate year celebrations.  One year it was all the bonfire night stuff then next it was our anniversary.

Yesterday, was just a nice peaceful Sunday with the exception of a mishap with a pigeon  which I shot as it was using our newly cleaned guttering as toilet.  Unfortunately it fluttered from the roof and landed with a thud on very edge of my next door neighbours conservatory roof.  It was mid morning so I rang and asked permission to remove the offending bird from the roof which they were happy for me to do.  This done we were just drinking coffee when the husband of my neighbour came round to complain and ask me not to shoot the pigeons on his roof.  I then explained that the pigeon was on MY roof and that I never have shot anything on their roof and it was just unfortunate that it landed there, they usuall…

Sunday morning

Another nice day yesterday despite the miserable weather.  It was our wedding anniversary of 34 years.  Where has all the time gone it doesn't feel a day over 50 years!!!  The dogs got a nice walk in the rain which fortunately was light so we didn't get too wet.  James and I attacked the crossword puzzle which we have all but completed without the use of Wikipedia.
I forgot to mention another piece of good fortune on our shopping expedition - I had a bottle of perfume "Mademoiselle Channel" but the top had broken so I took the remaining half bottle to the Channel counter to ask for a new top.  Did I get a new top? no I got a whole new bottle!!!!  so smelling nice and wearing my new bra I felt a million dollars.
I had some sweet potatoes which I made into a vegetable curry which we had for supper last night.  Mike ate his early but James and I left it until we had returned from the Apple shop. We gave Basso the pot to wash up for us and he is now very definitely a wh…

Saturday morning

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To my horror I am up again at a very early hour despite having no sleep yesterday afternoon.  However, I am not too upset as I had a fabulous day yesterday.


If you have been to Rigby and Peller then you can skip the next paragraph but for me it was a revelation.   We were met and greeted at the shop by a personal assistant and offered champagne or orange juice and there were some pieces of cake available too.  Then came the fitting and the first thing we were told was that they do not use tape measures but judge your size by eye.  I was marginally sceptical about that but I was wrong.  I was asked what size bra I was currently wearing which was a 38DD and seemed to fit OK the lady looked at me and said no you are a 36F and off she trotted to get some for me to try and when I some I mean about 10.  Was she right? you bet, and then in the trying process both Shiona and I realised that neither of us put our bras on properly.  Anyway, I selected a very nice navy blue set and a flesh set f…

Friday morning but only just

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It is stupid o'clock again and my sleep patterns are completely gone to pot.  Yesterday was a very tiring day with the really early start.  We made it up to Kings by 7am and were completely gob smacked at the amount of traffic on the roads at that time of the morning.  Sandi stayed with David until he went down for his operation at about 11.30 and we bunked round at James flat having first had breakfast at the greasy spoon opposite.  James is having a few days off so he is down with us.  On the way home we stopped at a local pub for some lunch as Sandi had not eaten and we were all getting hungry.  Sandi then made her way home to sort out her dogs.  David has had his surgery and is now in the HDU [High Dependency Unit] they will then hopefully be transferring him to a normal ward later today.  They are anticipation between 3-5 days in hospital before they send him home.  As far as we know all is going according to plan.

The poor dogs are in a state of confusion what with the cloc…

Thursday Morning

Yesterday ended up as a quite day as Shiona arrive bright and early and we then decided that neither of us really fancied going shooting so we took the dogs for a walk instead but still treated ourselves to a Kebab lunch.  The little girl who is usually in charge of orders and salad must have had a day off and there were two chaps running the place so it was rather chaotic and neither one seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing.  However, we got our order with no problem and despite frequent requests for no pita bread we got them anyway.

This morning we are leaving home at 5.30 to take David to Kings so I set a couple of alarm clocks even though I am usually up early.  I actually managed to sleep until 3.30 so that is at least half an hour extra. I set the alarm on my mobile phone and it was then that I noticed it was still on British summer time.  It is a cheap and cheerful one as I have an iPad I don't need a fancy phone.  Both alarms have just gone off so that is goo…

Wednesday morning and bin day

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First a note about the Wii fit for Anne.  It is great for showing you how you are standing. I take much more weight on one leg rather than the other and I think this due to the back problems I have had.  There are lots of balance exercises which are fun.  Personally I like the ski jumping!!!  The other day I thought I would do the step class and was merrily stepping on and off the board when suddenly I was struck from behind but 6.5 stones of dancing dog who thought I needed a partner.  Normally we only dance together to "Black and Gold" but he must have thought he had missed the music.
Dancing with Basso when I was 2 stone heavier!!!
It is really maddening I am up at 3 again and just cant seem to adjust to the clock change.  Normally it doesn't matter but I am going shooting today and will probably be knackered by then.  Interestingly we had our first carbohydrate meal yesterday which was a sort of quinoa and veg thing it tasted OK but I was surprised at how little I enj…

Tuesday morning and pinch punch

Well at least I have got the day right even if I am not yet in sync with the time.  I finally got my soak and the bath is now spotless again.  Then it was off to the wrought iron work place for a quote on the railings which we are going to have put up to keep the dogs from the pond while we are out.  It is not going to be cheap but at least the dogs will be secure and I will have peace of mind.  I took Basso for a bit of training but he was not in the mood and absolutely refused to pick up or retrieve dummies.  So that was a total waste of time.  Then it was on to the wool shop and I bought some yarn to make a waist coat in 4 ply which is pretty fine so it will take a while to knit.  I chose a waist coat as I like them to wear and I hate knitting sleeves.  The back is 175 stitches so it takes a while to do a row.  Anyway it should keep me out of mischief until Christmas. The weekends washing and ironing is up to-date now the bedding is due.

For lunch yesterday we had some butter-nut …