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Showing posts from February, 2012

Wednesday morning and bin day

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Yesterday was a day of two parts the morning was filled with clearing up, ironing and general house work.  Then the dogs were taken for a nice run which they were all in need of as they have been a bit neglected since the advent of the new computer.  For lunch we decided to have boiled eggs and toasty soldiers and finish up the cheese we had bought in Faversham.  As it had been an early start I took off to my bed and had a hours sleep before getting stuck into converting films.  I down loaded a nice program on a thirty day trial which will be long enough for me to convert all the films I have into the correct format (mp4).  Changing computers is a bit like spring cleaning it always seems like a good time to clear out redundant stuff and have a general tidy up of files.  However just as with spring cleaning it is very easy to get distracted.  For supper I had retrieved a stew from the freezer which we had with curly kale and boiled spuds.  Then it was on with the neglected sock knittin…

Tuesday morning

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February is nearly done and some of the spring flowers are already in bloom.  The window boxes have been really cheery all winter and have flowered constantly through the dark days of winter.  When I break them up for the summer plants I will transfer the primulas and bulbs to the garden which will fill in a few gaps.

Yesterday, we set off for Faversham and went to the lovely food shop to buy coffee and as always a few extra goodies.  I also restocked with flour for bread making as they sell it in 2.5Kg bags of stone ground which is 5 loaves worth.  On the return journey we stopped off at Sandy's house where Basso got to play with his friends and colleagues.  He also came face to face with a ferret which gave him quite a surprise.  Fortunately the ferret was in its cage and so was quite safe, not that Basso was eager to get too close.

Sandy has lent me one of her flip cameras, she has two, as mine is bust.  On the way home I took some footage through the windscreen just to test …

Monday morning

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Yesterday was gloriously sunny but it was a day for catching up on neglected chores.  It is amazing how the house can go to hell in a hand cart in only a couple of days.  I started with the kitchen but before giving a good once over there was cooking to be done.  Firstly I made a couple of loaves of bread so now I hope I am a bit ahead.  Then it was making pastry to finish off the filling for the pasties.  James got stuck into his chores and washed his bike and then supervised the washing machine.  It was decided that we would have macaroni cheese for lunch and for dinner James treated us to a chinese take away.  I was pretty tired by the afternoon so after a half hearted attempt at the crossword I went for a siesta.  Only to find that I had fallen into a really deep sleep and could well have slept through until much later.

Plans for today include a good walk for the dogs who are going stir crazy with all this computing which bores them to tears they did however enjoy the goose that …

Sunday morning

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So here is all the new kit and what a day I had just transferring the data from one machine to the other.  I started with a 1GB flash drive but finally ended up getting a 320GB external hard drive to move all the stuff.  Even so it took ages and then I had to clean down the old machine of all personal data, what a chore.  In the interim I managed to keep the house running but only just.  We ended up with toast and potted shrimps for lunch and some ox cheek stew that I had made tipped over a baked potato for dinner. The goose turned out to be inedible so I hope the dogs like their meat cooked in red wine!!!!  What a lot of work for nothing but it certainly was a learning experience.  What have I learned? DONT DO IT AGAIN.
I also managed to make a batch of pasties and today I am going to make another lot as I still have plenty of filling but need to make more pastry.  I also need to make some more bread and as I bought a second 2lb loaf tin while I was in Lakeland I can double the quanti…

Saturday morning

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Well its is day one of the Mac.  The Apple shop is a very nice way to spend money they do take it from you in a very pleasant manner.  Once we had had a run through and the machine was all set up with my email address etc. It was reboxed and as the boxes were quite heavy they were taken on a trolley to the car so we didn't even have to do that.  Once home it was out with the old and in with the new.  I had decided that the easiest way to keep all the important emails was to just forward them to myself so as soon as the new machine was switched on up they all came.  I was hoping that I could transfer all my photos and music from the iPad but it doesn't work that way so this morning I will need to plug the old machine in and down load them to a memory stick and then transfer them.

I am still playing with the photographic software so I decided to take a photo of Basso's latest artwork he is having a Jackson Pollock phase I think.  I suppose I should really provide him with p…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was pretty exhausting, first things first, I made a loaf of bread then decided to get stuck into dealing with the goose.  I got myself all settled with a bin between my legs sitting on the patio and away I went.  Well it was really tough the feathers didn't want to come out and then beneath them was the layer of down.  After about an hour I had managed to clear just a portion of the breast and my hand were aching.  The slight breeze made sure that there were feathers all over the garden and as I opened the door they also blew in all over the dining room.  I decided to ask for some advice and rang the farm where we keep the caravan.  They keep geese on the farm and prepare them for Christmas so they should know what is what.  First I was asked if the bird was dead and I said it had been shot on Monday the immediate response was that plucking would be impossible.  They can only be plucked when they are still warm.  I was advised to skin and casserole the bird and as I didn…

Thursday Morning

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One greylag goose ready and waiting for a plucking session.  It will take me about an hour and half to pluck the bird and fortunately it is a lot warmer outside today as it is already 11 degrees.  Can you believe double digits in February?  I have a shrewd suspicion it will not last and we will be in for another freezing session before we can say goodbye to winter. Once the bird is plucked it will spend a night in brine before roasting.  

Yesterday was a relatively quiet day I went to visit a neighbour who had taken their Landrover to Quickfit to have two new tyres put on.  Then while out in the car both front wheels dropped off.  Guess who had not done up the wheel nuts?   One phone call to Quickfit head office however made sure that they got a new wing, axle and discs etc. on the front not to mention a bit of compensation for the fright they had endured.  I must admit in the days when I was prepared to change a wheel I always asked to tighten the wheel nuts myself so that  I knew t…

Wednesday morning and bin day

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After his birthday came a day of pain! yes he was booked into the doggy grooming place and what a job they have done he looks absolutely gorgeous and smells like a tarts boudoir.  Usually the car smells of wet dog or worse by now with three perfumed dogs in the back the smell was almost too much.

We left home at about 8 am in order to get to the college by 9 through the rush hour traffic.  This of course is something we are not used to but with a couple of hiccups with temporary traffic lights and road works we made it on time and delivered all three dogs.  When we arrived back home Jane was in full swing and the house smelled of polish as we came in.  With three dogs I am aware that the house could smell like a kennel but with lots of window opening I hope most of the time it smells all right.  I then set to and made a batch of sausage rolls,  To the sausage meat which I got from some nice Lincoln sausages I added some crumbled black pudding and a small fried onion then encased the f…

Tuesday morning

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Just a touch warmer this morning at 4 degrees and I believe we are in for a heat wave as the week progresses!!!

Now I know I don't have to tell you that I am mildly crazy you will all be aware of that already but you might like to see the photos of Basso birthday.


The cake is one tin of Chappie [his favourite] and a candle I couldn't resist



One puzzled dog wondering who set his dinner on fire!!!! and more to the point how is he supposed to eat it.

After breakfast I saw James off on his bike with a packed lunch and stern warnings to take care on the icy roads.  Yes I know he is a grown up but once a mother always a mother.....

The morning was bright and sunny and so we headed out for a walk only to discover just how freezing cold it was and all the water was frozen to ice.  The dogs of course didn't mind a bit with their big woolly coats on.  After today things may be different as they are off to the local agricultural college to have their coats pampered by the girls lear…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a lovely sunny and bright day but really rather cold.


The buds on the magnolia are like little fluffy jackets protecting the delicate flowers inside and the sky is as blue as blue.


The snow drops are in full bloom and scattered throughout the garden.  Some years ago my neighbour ordered thousands of snow drops then ran out of places to put them so I took the left overs and now they are beginning to clump up nicely. Some are plain singles but others are more exotic doubles.

The roast leg of lamb was a nice Sunday lunch with roast parsnips, peas and carrots, and roast potatoes.  There is ample left for a nice shepherds pie for tonight.  I also made a dessert of sous vide fruit with jelly and custard sort of like a trifle without the sponge base but none of us felt much like it so it was left for supper where it fitted the bill very well after some toast and cheese.

I took a trip to Hobbycraft and of course spent more than I had intended mostly because I bought a book on h…

Sunday morning

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First sock completed and modelled by James now it is on at full pace with the second sock.  I am hoping to take a trip to Hobbycraft this morning to purchase a couple of items.  I really need a large safety pin to hold stitches and also a decent counter as a piece of paper and pencil is all a bit cumbersome.  I will also have a look for a pattern for some long thick fisherman type socks for wearing inside Wellingtons.  I had largely forgotten what a peaceful pass time knitting is and how easy it is to do in front of the TV.  I used to do lots of crochet but that needs constant counting and is a bit more mind taxing.


It is also difficult to take a photo with a flash as it keeps reflecting back but you get the general idea.  My eyesight is not what it used to be so this type of fine work is a bit strenuous.

Yesterday, started off fine and we got the dogs out for a nice long walk, however, the wind was so strong it almost blew us off our feet on a couple of occasions.  It was just as w…

Saturday morning

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If only you could smell the perfume that is being emitted by this lovely bunch of lilies the scent is permeating the whole house.  Not only do they last well in a vase but they certainly give you your moneys worth in terms of smell.  I have a thing about white flowers and lilies I think are my favourites.

Yesterday, was a warm day and it was lovely to throw open the windows and doors and flood the house with fresh air.  Jane came and did her usual thing while I pottered in the kitchen making bread, some chicken pot pies for supper and a macaroni cheese for lunch.  James had to go off and get 2 new tyres for his bike if it is to withstand the rigours of motorway riding on a daily basis.  We are all delighted for him and hope this will give him a boost after what has been a very emotionally draining time.  We are not out of the woods yet but there is at least some hope on the horizon.


As you can see the heel is now turned and the very funky sock is all but complete if I can get the toe…

Friday morning

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At last, about an hour after I had posted yesterday the flower finally started emerging.  Shiona arrived as usual and we both decided that neither of us was particularly keen to go shooting so we decided instead to take the dogs for a decent walk.  It was fairly cold and miserable but we had a nice time down at the sea wall.  At one point Basso took off like greased lightening after what he thought was a rabbit but it turned out to be a little dog who was chasing a ball.  Once we got home we then went to see if the lady that does repairs in a shop called 'sew and sew' would make a duvet cover for Shiona out of some nine meters of silk material.  Sadly she turned us down as she only does repairs and alterations.  If push comes to shove I have a sewing machine but I am not very skilled at using it.  I always seem to have terrible trouble with the tension and it takes me ages to get it set up correctly.  In the mean time she is going to look for a seamstress who might do the job …

Thursday Morning

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We are getting there at last; it looks like the flower might open in the next couple of days.  It seems to have been weeks that I have been waiting for the bud to burst.

Yesterday, was a day of pottering about - I made a nice salad with some of the smoked chicken that I bought in France and baked a new loaf of bread.  Some of the leeks and potatoes were made into soup and the smoked chicken carcass made into stock.  For diner we had one of the cottage pies with some sous vide carrots and brussel sprouts.  The carrots were really nice and kept a very carroty taste and the sprouts were cooked as usual in two lots of water which removes a little of the acrid flavour.   Once all the food was prepared it was off to chemist to collect prescriptions for Mike and then a walk along the sea wall with the dogs.  Although it was nice sunny weather when we set off the wind was very cold and then it started to rain so we beat a hasty retreat to the car before we were soaked as well as frozen.

Aft…

Wednesday morning and bin day

Good morning folks here I am back from the wilds of France.  Our day trip was a great success the 35 minute shuttle crossing is really the only way to go.  The self check in recognises the car so there is almost nothing to do but get straight on the train.  Once on French soil we drove directly to the restaurant in Sangatte where they had a supper Valentines menu.  It started with an amuse bouche which consisted of a tiny bowl of fish soup, an endive leaf with a quenelle of mackerel pate and a small pot of cream cheese and smoked salmon mousse. This was then followed by a small casserole dish containing the most wonderful mixture of shell fish including lobster and scallops in a very rich and delicious sauce.  Next came a palate cleansing cherry and Kirsch sorbet.  The main course was a beautifully cooked breast of duck with dauphinoise potatoes, baked endive, and carrot purée all in a beautiful reduced wine sauce.  By this time I was full to bursting point and could only manage a ver…

Tuesday morning

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Of all the days I could have done with a lie in today would have been it as I am off to France this morning but I am up early as usual and feeling desperately nauseated again.  At least one thing is favourable and that is the weather which is up to 3 degrees this morning and after yesterdays showers of rain all the snow has melted and gone away.  Shiona and Keith are due to arrive at 10 and we will then set off for Folkstone ready to catch the 11.50 train.  We are intending to go straight to our favourite restaurant and have lunch then do some shopping on the way home.  I would like to go into Carrefour at Cite Europe to look for a pressure cooker to replace mine which is on the blink.  I know that they usually have a good selection there and we always buy some pate and bits for supper when we get home.

Yesterday started with a trip to the vet and a blood test for Tuc who I am glad to say is 100% recovered now and back to his usual self.  The left over beef got converted into cottage …

Monday morning

Dear readers I have woken up early again this morning feeling very nauseated.  I dived into the still messy kitchen to grab a cup of coffee but can't face the mess yet.  I feel pretty exhausted and having missed my afternoon sleep for a couple of day it has all caught up with me.

The beef turned out beautifully and had its 6 hours in the the slow oven I then turned it up high for the last 20 minutes and was delighted with the results.  The core temperature had reached 55 degrees so the meat was rare just the way I like it and there was not a drip of juice in the pan so it was very succulent.  I made some gravy with some good stock and the Yorkshire puddings where light and fluffy.  Sadly the crème brulee had not had enough time to set so it was still a bit liquid but tasted fine and I was able to brulee the top with my newly acquired gas gun.

Our visitors left at about 5pm and I immediately trundled off to my bed but managed to stay awake until about 9.30 however I feel like a d…

Sunday morning

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Minus 2 and still pretty cold here but there is neither wind nor fog so not too bad.  Yesterday there was some hesitation on the part of our visitors as there were lots of warnings about heavy traffic and poor conditions however they decided to come anyway and actually had a very event free journey with little traffic. Presumably everyone else heeded the warnings and stayed at home!!!


Lovely flowers from my friends who remembered my liking for white flowers not to mention the bottle of Crabbies which they brought me.....




The tea and cakes went down well and the four of us had great fun trying to do the crossword puzzle which we eventually finished with the usual help of Wikipedia.  The dinner went according to plan though the pork belly could have been a bit crisper.  This morning my oven is already on at 60 degrees and the beef will be sealed in hot pan in little while and then consigned for its 6 hours to the oven.  I will put my temperature probe into the centre of the meat so that …

Saturday morning

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OK here we go the start of a practice sock.  I sent for some bamboo double ended needles which when they arrived looked like a packet of tooth picks.  The pattern is off the internet and I found a spare bit of 4ply wool.  These particular socks are knitted from the toe upward which is all very strange but once you get to grips with the casting on method and the increase it seems to work out quite well.  I hope I am just as pleased when it comes to turning the heel.

Yesterday saw great cleaning in the kitchen and I got down on my hands and knees and did all the kick boards as well as all the door fronts.  Jane gave the floor a good clean so now the kitchen looks none too bad.  The beds all got changed and I must admit that I used the tumble dryer to get the washing done and finished.  I still have a small pile of ironing which will see it all done.  I don't feel too bad about using the tumble dryer as we had brilliant sunshine so were generating lots of electricity.  I made anothe…

Friday morning

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It is hard to believe that we are already at the end of the week.  Where did it go?  Yesterday by the time I had made a couple of cakes and walked the dogs and whistled round the shops it was time for lunch and a siesta.  Not that I managed to sleep even though I was very tired.  The phone kept ringing and disturbing me until it was time to get up and get supper on the go.  For lunch we had had a turkey pie made with some of the filling that I has stashed in the freezer and for supper we had some home made burgers with butter beans stewed with peppers and tomatoes.

Tuc continues to make good progress and you would never know there had been anything wrong with him.  I am being very careful to introduce his regular food extremely gradually and we have not had a vomiting episode for over a week so I am hopeful that he is well on the way to full fitness.

Today the wonderful Jane is due and it is all into cleaning and bed changing ready for our visitors.  The front room could use a good cl…

Thursday Morning

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Well it is stupid o'clock again but what can you do when you fall asleep at 9pm.  Yesterday was one of pottering around in the kitchen.  First the bread was made and then I moved on to lunch which was stuffed squid in a tomato sauce and for supper we had macaroni cheese [Heston style].  I watched Heston last night and while I might do some of his recipes there are some which just require too much messing around like the doughnuts.

Today I will be into cake making ready for the weekend, not my favourite occupation, but necessary.  I only hope that the weather doesn't put a stop to my friends journey up from Bristol as I believe they are forecasting more snow for the Reading area.  I think we will be spared but the temperature is still well below zero and the snow is still persisting in the garden.

It was too cold to go shooting yesterday so that got put on hold until next week if the weather is better.  We are a bit fair weather shooters but what is the point in getting freezi…

Wednesday morning and bin day

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How to clean out your freezer and make your dog happy at the same time.  First get the dog excited about the whole process 

 Hide the pheasant that has been languishing in the bottom of the freezer for a year [It is one I have kept for training purposes].


 Send the dog to retrieve the bird and bring it safely back to me


Take from the dog, not forgetting copious praise, and put straight into the bin!!!! Job done everybody happy.

Now if only it were this easy to clean out the rest of the freezer!! 

I am trying to eat from the freezer to make life a bit easier and to clear a bit of space, so last night we had an ox cheek stew with mashed parsnips, savoy cabbage and dumplings which I enhanced with a bit of sage and onion stuffing.

The day had started off with the usual trip to the vet.  Tuc is making really good progress and we don't have to go back for a week which is all good news.  We are to continue on the low/no fat regimen so to that end yesterdays carbohydrate was pearl barley a…

Tuesday morning

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I fell asleep very early last night so I am up at stupid o'clock but feel fine as I have had enough sleep.  We took Tuc out for a walk yesterday as he was so lively and looking so much better.  Today we are due to start the day with a trip to the vet and hoping to get a clean bill of health.  I hope now it is just a case of gradually re-feeding him until he is back to a full diet.  
We had the Heston macaroni cheese for lunch and while it was delicious I didn't feel it was significantly better than any other.  Certainly making the cheese sauce with cornflour dredged cheese instead of a roux is much easier and more reliably smooth.  But reducing 300 ml of wine to 30 ml and adding to chicken stock didn't make much difference except to make more washing up.  For dinner I made a sort of frittata/tortilla with potatoes, celeriac, bacon and onions.  This was very acceptable when given a good dollop of tomato ketchup.  I also set to and made the shells of individual crab and leek …

Monday morning

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Well we are still sub zero this morning and the snow fall is still as it was with no addition or significant thaw.  We did have a couple of avalanches yesterday as the snow fell from the solar panels and came crashing down in large lumps.  The dogs were in their element and ran about the garden with sheer joy.  So, bright and early we cleared the snow off the car and piled the fit dogs in and headed off for the rugby field.  This is a great place to put the car through its paces and check that the ABS is working well.  The dogs had a very good time as the only other people there were other dog walkers, presumably the children and their sledges were still at home having breakfast.  While we were out the bread was left to rise in the warmth of the central heating.  I did the mash according to Heston and I have to admit it was delicious but a very messy method with copious pans, sieves and ricers to wash up.  Worth the mess?  I would have to say yes!!! but not for every day use only for …

Sunday morning

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Can you spot Basso?


What a difference a day makes or should that be a night as you can see we now have the promised snow fall. The world is very quiet and all sound is deadened by the soft blanket of white.  

Tuc as you can see is making good progress and the vet was very pleased with the reduction in the amount of jaundice so we are hopeful that he is on the mend but we will be taking it very slowly.  His very restrictive diet seem to be doing the trick and much as he feels that we are being mean and starving him we must continue the regimen for his own good.  After our trip to the vet it was off to Tesco to try and get some ham hocks but with no luck.  The shop was heaving with panic buyers, their trolleys ladened with hundreds of loaves of bread and gallons of milk.  All a bit over the top, so we pressed on to the butcher where there were plenty of ham hocks and also a nice shoulder of lamb which will be today's lunch.  The ham hocks made a nice lunch once they had been boiled a…

Saturday Morning

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Yesterday morning started with a trip to the vet with Tuc where he had anther blood test which revealed that his liver is in real trouble and when examined the whites of his eyes were quite yellow with jaundice.  So it was home with some further medication to support his liver and another visit today.  It was bitterly cold so we spent most of the day indoors trying to keep warm.  We had the lamb for lunch which had been cooked in the sous vide some time last week.  Once out of the vacuum pack and dried it was just blasted in a pan to brown the outside and warm it through.  The meat was tender enough to eat with a spoon but was still at the medium rare stage which is all quite mind blowing!!!! With the meat we had purple sprouting broccoli and mashed potatoes with some celeriac.  The celeriac was huge so the remainder got diced and bagged and put in the sous vide.  As I had it on, doing vegetables, I also did a couple of packs of potatoes diced and some carrots with the glaze ingredien…

Friday morning

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Friday morning and the end of another week.  The temperature is down to minus numbers but there is no snow yet.  We took the healthy dogs for a walk yesterday and were treated to the full force of the wind from Siberia. It was not too bad when we were sheltered from the wind but we needed every ounce of clothing when we hit the blast.  We got back just in time to see that a queue had formed outside the front door.  Zoe had turned up to see James and Len and Margaret had arrived early.  Fortunately none of them had been there more than 5 minutes but all were ready for some hot refreshment.  Tuc who had been left behind was delighted to see us all back and desperately searched Len and Margaret for treats.  They usually bring him some but this time there were none as they are all high in fat.  We are destined to go to the vet again this morning but I think there is little he can do now and we need to be patient and gradually get him back on his feet.  Feeding is difficult as he is very h…