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Showing posts from July, 2012

Tuesday morning

Well as you can see it is the crack of dawn again and I have had yet another sleepless night.  Yesterday went well I took James to the hospital to get his air cast changed and then we took the dogs round the park and then on to the butcher for a restock.  The mince I bought has been made into burgers, meat balls and bolognese sauce.  The pork belly has been poached ready to roast in honey and soy sauce.  For lunch we had some chicken soup and semolina gnocchi followed by some of the butchers lovely brawn.  Laundry got done and hung out and dried in the sunshine and all was going very well there was general peace and harmony.  For supper we had a bacon rasher and a fried egg then I went to watch my TV and continue knitting my socks and left the men to watch what they wanted.  Half an hour later all hell broke loose and James had stormed out of the house in his wheel chair and I have no idea where he is or what is going on.  Consequently a sleepless night.   He and Mike had got into a f…

Monday morning

We were so lucky with the weather yesterday.  The charity shoot started at 10 am and the shooting was over by 1pm we were all starving so the barbecue was over in minutes as we all ate our burgers and sausages like ravenous wolves.  Then there was one flash of lightening and a clap of thunder the sky turned black and we all headed off to our cars.  The shoot was a fund raiser for the local hospice and from my point of view although it was very expensive at £55 it was helpful as they had three professional coaches so some good pointers to be gained.  I came in 5 shots behind the winner so I was not unhappy.  This is going to sound really stupid but the clays were very easy which gave you a lot of thinking time which with shooting is fatal.  Shooting really needs to be instinctive and the more you think the less likely you are to hit the clay.  Anyway we got back home and Shiona gather her bags and chattels and left for home.  I disappeared off to bed for a snooze as it was raining heav…

Sunday morning

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Yesterday was a perfect day in terms of temperature.  We had sun and cloud and a little rain over night so it could not have been better.  Mike shot off in the morning to buy yet more tomatoes and Shiona went to have her hair done and swing by her house to feed her cat and pick up her gun as we are going to a charity shoot today.  According to the weather forecast it is due to rain today by at the moment it is clear and sunny.  Let's hope it stays that way and we don't end up having a barbecue in the typical British fashion, sheltering under umbrellas.

With my next box of tomatoes I made 3 litres of gaspacho which I have put in the freezer and then a big tomato salad for supper which we had with a lovely roast chicken perfectly cooked in the halogen oven.  The remaining tomatoes have been reduced to make tomato sauce/pasata which will also go in the freezer.  The chicken carcass had been boiled and this morning I will pick it over for a nice breakfast for the dogs.

Shiona too…

Saturday morning

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Well, having been very unsure of what to expect I was pleasantly surprised with the opening ceremony of the olympic games.  The only fly in the ointment for me was Paul MacCartney who can no longer sing.   He was terrible at the jubilee concert and just as bad last night.  The lighting of the cauldron was just a beautiful spectacle as was the forging of the olympic rings.  It all seemed to go off very smoothly and I was still sitting and watching at 1am.


Shiona had arrived earlier in the day and we had taken the dogs for a walk but it was very hot and muggy despite the shower we had had overnight.  We had a sort of bits and bobs lunch from the fridge.  Then I went off for a snooze and she watched the Marigold hotel which she had been hoping to see.  We ate our supper of Dover soles and tomato salad in the garden as it was just a perfect temperature.  Then we all made preparations for bed so we could sit and watch the opening and make a hasty retreat when it was over.

I have made litre…

Friday morning

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I am up and the ungodly hour of 2 am but hopefully will get back to bed and get a couple more hours once I have done a few bits and pieces.  I was very industrious yesterday morning and made a potato salad with some potatoes which were on the blink.  The rather sad carrots ended up being made into sweated vegetables with the addition of onion and celery so they are now ready to be the base of so many dishes.  Sandie brought me a box of tomatoes and they are now in the process of being made into tomato sauce and a big jug of gaspacho.  I then made a dish which I saw on the Hairy Bikers which is the Greek equivalent of Lasagne but much easier as the pasta is in shapes with the bolognese sauce poured over the top then a layer of bechamel and finally a topping of cheese.  It is all the same ingredients just arranged more simply.  I then got stuck into the ironing before it got too hot and sticky.

Now here is a question do they add colouring to butter?  I made the white sauce using some it…

Thursday morning

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Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun as do I.  Yesterday, when the sun was at its zenith I was sat in the car, parked in the full sun, while I waited the hour and half while James had his appointment.  He seemed to get on fine with the guy and hopefully he will want to continue with him and the treatment.  I on the other hand was like a dish cloth completely limp and quietly dripping.  Once we got home the chilled gaspacho I had made was just what the doctor ordered and then I ran my head under a cold shower and sat naked and dripping in front of my fan.  Evaporation is a wonderful way to loose heat quickly.  Then it was a case of drinking gallons of water to replace that which I had lost.

Lately I have been an avid studier of the Pinterst web site and there I saw a really clever way to make a corner shelf from a magazine box file turned on its side.  I quickly ordered one and as soon as it arrived out came the drill and a couple of screws and rawlplugs and up it went.


As…

Wednesday morning

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The wild damsons just beginning to change colour.




 As you have probably gathered by now I have been pretty disillusioned by the treatment or rather lack of it that James has had. Neither the Metropolitan police nor the NHS have made any efforts to sort out his problems.  Well this story will illustrate the point and hopefully make you laugh. Since diagnosis of his PTSD in March we have been awaiting some assistance. So far all that has occurred is that James has filled in an online form and had a phone interview.  Yesterday afternoon, out of the blue I got a phone call for James, and when I asked who was calling I was told that they couldn't tell me who was speaking or what it was in connection with nor could they leave a message.   At which point I smelled a rat and told the person that if she was from the counselling service they had so far proved themselves to be useless.   I then dialled 1471 and rang the number only to get a chirpy voice announcing "hello Kent counsel…

Tuesday Morning

What a hot one yesterday was we got up to 26 degrees in the house which was all a bit much given that we have been used to long sleeves and chilly weather.  Today is set to be even hotter so I will need to get the dogs out bright and early as they dont really appreciate walking in the heat any more than I do.  Yesterday was exactly a year to the day when the bottom fell out of my world what timing!!!!!

I have given up on the NHS and booked a private appointment with a psychotherapist to see if we can't get some sort of resolution or coping strategy for James PTSD.  I tried in vane to ring him all day and check that he would be happy with the appointment but in the end I had to confirm it without his say so.  He eventually rang me in the evening when he got the answer phone messages.  His first day had gone well! supper had been chips and curry sauce, the TV in his room did not function so he went out to get a newspaper in the morning, got locked out, and spent the day in the stree…

Monday morning

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Sorry if my absence has worried you but I have been a bit emotional for the last couple of days and didn't want to start writing for fear that that would open the flood gates.  For the last year I have been piggy in the middle between James and Mike who have never got on.  The week while I was on holiday finally brought things to a head and James decided to move out and go to a friends house.  This is not a good move as he is by no means well enough to look after himself either physically or mentally.  He has not moved far away but that just means when things go wrong, and they will,  I will have get in the car and drive, park in a very crowded road to sort things out which just makes my life more difficult.  There is no down stairs toilet in the property which means he will be relegated to a small bedroom on the first floor.  Negotiating stairs if very difficult for him and there is no way he can hump the wheel chair up and down the stairs.  At least here he had all the faciliti…

Sunday

If I could I would

Friday morning

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Good morning all well I know you are dying to know how my mozzarella turned out.  The answer is it didn't, turn into mozzarella that is.  Despite my best efforts I could not get the curds to go stringy which they should do at about 60 degrees.  I was left with a crumbly soft white cheese so I decided to go off piste, so to speak, and added a couple of tablespoons of double cream a crushed clove of garlic and plenty of chopped chives.  We had it for supper spread on crusty french bread and it was delicious.  The nearest equivalent is Boursin but nicer.




What went wrong I am unsure my only deviation from the recipe was to use homogenised milk which could be the culprit.  Anyway I am not done yet and will persever with other milks, other cheeses and other recipes.  


After the cheese debacle lunch was a roaring success as we had some belly of pork cooked in honey and soy sauce and served with fried rice from the Gok book.  Very good indeed!!  


While I was out with the dogs I met a man in…

Thursday morning

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Yesterday started off really badly with James in a foul mood and I was so upset that I very nearly cancelled my shooting trip.  However, I decided to tough it out and go anyway and as luck would have it this was the day I finally beat Jeff, all be it by two shots, but it was a victory.  Shooting must be one of the few sports where thinking is positively to be discouraged.  The rule is "see it shoot it".   In my distressed state that is exactly what I did.  We got home at about one and I had prepared the meat balls and pasta so in the short time it took me to boil the pasta Jeff had cleaned the guns and we could sit down to a well deserved meal.  It was only then I realised how starving I was.  The rain had held off all morning and didn't spoil our fun but the afternoon was good and wet.  Jeff left at about 3.30 with my weather vane which he is going to have a go at with his wire brush and possibly put on the first coat of hammerite.  The final decoration will be left to…

Wednesday morning

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Yesterday was dry which gave me some time to spend in the garden.  I got stuck in with my secateurs and the weeding while Mark did the heavier stuff and prepared the veg beds to receive the kale plants once they have developed a bit further.  After many years of trying various secateurs, none of which I was happy with, I was introduced to the Felco 2 seen in the photo.  When I did my horticulture course these were the secateurs of choice and I have had my pair ever since.  In the winter they get loved and cherished sharpened and oiled and so far they seem to be indestructible.    Once fired up I got stuck into the big pile of ironing and got that all done and put away.  The corned beef hash made an easy lunch and for dinner I did a sea food risotto which was also quick and easy.

Today, weather permitting, I am going shooting with Jeff, Shiona is still in Scotland so it will be just the two of us.  Lunch will be some pasta, meat balls and some of the tomato sauce I made the other day…

Tuesday morning

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Good morning all well we had another day of cloud and rain yesterday - I went and restocked the freezer with meat from the butcher.  Then got rather wet while walking the dogs.  I met a very nice man with a mixed breed dog on a lead who asked if he could loose the dog and let him play with mine.  I was delighted to comply.  I hate to see dogs on a lead where they can run and have fun and equally hate to see them road walking with no restraint.  He was fascinated by the way Basso responded to his whistle and noticed that his dog also responded to the sound.  He has been having trouble with recall so we did a bit of practice and lavishly praised the dog for returning to the whistle.  It was nice to be of some assistance and I suppose I am now fairly competent at dog training.  Anyway the dogs had loads of fun jumping in and out of the paddling pool/puddle.  The rain fills an area of concrete surrounded on three sides by a brick wall only a couple of bricks high.  the water comes up to N…

Monday morning but only just

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Yesterday was dry so my continuing laundry saga was able to dry outside but it was touch and go a few times as black clouds circled overhead.  We went off and did a bit of shopping which resulted in quite a bit of work.  I could not resist a box of tomatoes for £4.50 which I have converted into 3 litres of tomato sauce.  A very large bag of mushrooms for £1 have now been made ready for adding to assorted dishes.  I fried them off with oil parsley and garlic, froze them in boxes and now have vac packed them and put them back in the freezer.  On the way home we called in on Sandie to return her bits and pieces and to collect the blankets she had kindly offered to launder.  Basso and Yoda were delighted to be reunited as they have become firm friends as well as work colleagues.

Today the wonderful Jane is due, she usually comes on Tuesday but is having car problems so she is coming today.  I don't mind when she comes, just that she does, the house is never so clean that she is not …

Sunday morning

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It rained and it rained and it rained yesterday the poor roses are hanging their heads full of water.  I wanted to lift the shallots but stood no chance,  Instead I did the household laundry which had piled up in the week I was away.  Now the house looks like a chinese laundry but in the end I put a couple of loads of sheets through the tumble dryer.  With any luck it will all be processed and away today which should give me a couple of clear days before the next onslaught.

I used some of my newly purchased posts hold up the drooping plants which were obstructing the path.

Because they have a very nice long spike and a foot peddle they are much easier to put into the ground than canes and as you can see they have a variety of hooks for twine and they are proving very useful in the garden so I am happy that I decided to bring them home and not leave them in the van.  It was my intention to use them in conjunction with some road construction netting to make a barrier around the carav…

Saturday morning

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Was it worth the wait?  Some how I think not!!!!
Yesterday it threatened to rain all day but actually stayed dry.  I dashed out at first light and did the bits and pieces in that needed doing in the garden and potted on the plug plants which had arrived in the post.  I have some 20 plants of three different types of kale which I love as a winter vegetable.  Now that my onions and garlic have been harvested I have plenty of room for the kale once it is strong enough to be planted out.  I still have the shallots to harvest but at the moment it is raining so they will have to wait.  My entire gooseberry crop got blown down while I was away so they were fed to the chickens!!! The pigeons saw to my pea crop which has been devastated.  Fortunately the crops in the green house are doing well but will need some sunshine to ripen.  The raspberries are coming into their own now and need picking.  
Basso seems to be improving for his "confined to barracks" rest which does at least sto…

Friday morning

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With all this rain there has to be some compensations and this beautiful double rainbow is one of them.

Yesterday morning was bright and sunny so I managed to get all the washing dried including the awning and we borrowed next doors lawn to lay it out and and re-fold it so it is now in the garage all dry and ready to be placed back in the awning rail on the caravan when I go back in September.  Today I have the monumental pile of ironing to be getting on with which should keep me out of mischief.  Our lovely fish monger rang me to say that they had had another haul of dover soles so for £20 I bought 16 all beautifully trimmed and skinned 12 have been put in the freezer and 4 we had for supper last night.  I had an over abundance of carrots so we had some carrot and coriander soup to go with them.  It was a light supper as we had had the melting twice cooked pork for lunch another of the Gok recipes.  The belly of pork is first poached for two hours which I had already done before my …

Thursday morning

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Yoda Basso and Sandie

with the awning up

splendid isolation
Well here I am again back from the wilds of Suffolk.  I have only been gone a week but it feels like months.  Did we have a good time? - yes we did despite the weather which was pretty unkind.  The gathering of the labrador club was, as usual, great fun and this year there were 28 of us and I cannot number the dogs.   All went well for us with the caravan however one of the members of the party didn't make it as she rolled her caravan on the A12 and both car and caravan were write offs






Miraculously both she and the dog escaped without injury.  Given that she is profoundly deaf this must have been the most terrible and frightening experience.

The weather was kind to us on Saturday night so the barbecue went well and I had great fun cooking the assorted meats.  Basso and Yoda had their fill of sausages and for once there was not too much food left over.  One lady brought a whole box of tomatoes and I foolishly volunteered…

Wednesday and off on holiday

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The hostas have been ravaged by slugs but have at least managed to flower but my peas have not fared so well the pigeons have decimated them.  One day they were fine and the next they were gone of course it is my own fault I should have netted them but didn't. Now I fully understand why the farmers are keen to have them shot at least these peas are not my livelihood.

At the moment it is pouring with rain but according to the weather forecast it should be a brighter day than yesterday.  I hope so as I don't fancy loading the car and hitching up the caravan in the pouring rain.  Last night we had a light supper but by 9pm we were all starving so I made a small batch of cheese and bacon scones which certainly did the trick eating them hot out of the oven and with a good dollop of butter was just what the doctor ordered.  I am very ambivalent about this holiday as I feel the responsibility quite heavily but I know that once I am underway everything will be fine.

Anyway I must go…

Tuesday morning

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On the net I found this lovely photo of the place where we went to do the water training.  You would think you were in Scotland rather than the crowded south east of England.  The estate is used for shooting in the winter and fishing in the summer and I was just wondering, if the estate owners didn't have that income and reason to maintain the land so well would it still be here or would it be covered by an estate of houses and a Tesco supermarket?

Yesterday was one of bits and bobs I made some pea and ham soup with a cooked hock that I had bought which together with a couple of slices from a french stick made an adequate lunch and for dinner I made some fried rice to go with the last of the char siu pork.  In the early afternoon I had a delivery from Tesco with lots of the heavy stuff like wine bottles and large 4 pint bottles of milk.  It has all been stashed away for the men while we are away.  The vegetable delivery comes today so hopefully we will be fully stocked up.  The …

Monday Morning

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Well I know you are all dying to know how we got on yesterday.  Did Basso finally learn to swim NO, did he muck about and play the fool YES.  Would he retrieve a dummy NO.   Did we get soaked YES.  There is only one small glimmer of light, I did manage to get him to pick up a dummy from the water which was a first.  In the photo you can see the instructor showing us some dummies which are supposed to look like teal, well those he would retrieve and did a reasonable job provided they were on dry land.  At one point a real pheasant started calling at which point he sat bolt upright ears forward then a starting pistol was fired and he became alive.  Sadly this was not part of the training exercise but it confirmed for him that he really should be hunting not playing with toys!!!! Sadly all our training group were young lady labradors and Basso being a big boy he had other things on his mind like ensuring every blade of grass was marked.  Needless to say both he and I arrived home "…

Sunday 1st of July

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James took a night shot with his phone of the lanterns lit and hanging on the gate.
Yesterday was a reasonable day weather-wise, we just had a few showers but the air was nice and cool which is just up my street.  Our new credit cards finally arrived so I am delighted as they are just in time for my holiday.  Fortunately, they all still have the same pin numbers so we don't have the headache of changing all those and then remembering them!!!  I spent some time in the garden and made sure the hens were cleaned out and I also lifted what has turned out to be a very large crop of garlic.  There is easily enough to last me through next year if it all dries well and doesn't rot.  The green house is all tidy and ready to leave for a week so long as the boys remember to water.  
For dinner we had the chou siu pork which was again delicious and there is a big portion left for our sandwiches today.  We are looking to make an early departure at about 7.30 as we need to be in Sussex by …