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Showing posts from August, 2012

Friday morning

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This as you are probably now aware is Kingsnorth power station It is a pretty huge land mark on my walk with the dogs but it always amazes me that each day it looks different some days it is well defined as in this photo and looks very close and on other days is sinks into the mist and looks miles away.  It seems to all due to the quality of the light.  We got the dogs out early yesterday morning which gave Jane a nice free run through the house with no people and no dogs.  James came with us on the walk and managed quite well.  His broken pelvis is now giving hi terrible sciatica something I can commiserate with as it plagues me from time to time.

After our walk we went to the butchery counter in Dobbies and purchased a dozen chicken thighs.  As they were not pre-prepared and he had to dismantle whole chickens we decided to have the entire legs.  Once home they were cut down and the thighs skinned ready for the Gok sticky chicken and the drum sticks were frozen individually.  The sk…

Thursday monring

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Well you know what happens with rabbits? yes that's right they breed and multiply!!!  We had a really good days shooting yesterday the weather was perfect and I managed an 9/10 and an 8/10 so I was pleased with myself.  The people are so nice and all talk to you.  One gentleman commented how nice it was to see two ladies out shooting and I use the term gentleman in its correct sense because later he very gallantly insisted we have the seat he was using.  For lunch we had a lot of mixed salads and some brawn which I had taken from the freezer.  Now, the jelly doesn't do well for being frozen so I re-melted it and put it in a tin and into the fridge where it set perfectly.  Then for supper we had hop and ale sausages with a whole frying pan full of onions which we had sweated down with balsamic vinegar brown sugar [just a teaspoon] and some white wine.  This was had with lashings of crusty bread.  Today the menu is from the Gok book we are having fried rice with sticky glazed c…

Wednesday morning

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Just one of the wrecks along the shore line it reminds me of how I feel on a bad day!!!
Yesterday went well with lots of glorious sun shine,  The house got a blitz and the washing machine earned its keep.  I did the gnocchi as per the recipe but would not recommend them as they were actually fried cheese scones.  Though I served them as per the recipe with pesto and rocket they were still essentially dry and certainly not worth the huge calorie count.  Mike had gone shopping to buy coffee in the morning and came back with a whole box of tomatoes so they are in the process of being made into tomato sauce.  So far they have been boiled and now I need to pass them through the moulie to remove the skins and pips.  Then they will need returning to the pan to reduce to manageable and thick quantities before boxing up and freezing.  For dinner we had a piece of belly pork that I had put through the sous vide and vac packed and had in the bottom of the fridge for well over a month.  I put it…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterdays rain was late in coming so we got the dogs out while the sun was shining and the tide was in.  James walked for quite a way with his air boot but then suffered for it later.  Though he is unaware of it he is improving and making considerable progress.  The main problem we have is his bordom which is difficult to deal with.  He took the photos on the walk and this gull was sitting on floating weed and is at the full extent of the zoom.  Basso did his usual trick of paddling up to his chest but not getting out of his depth.  
We ended up having a bit of a bizarre lunch of gaspacho and a tomato salad with mozzarella and some crusty bread and for dinner we has a linguini bolognese.  Having had home made pasta the previous day it was interesting to compare the different texture of shop bought pasta which is much tougher and more robust.  
I watched Lorraine Pascale last night and was interested in her fried gnocchi which looked very appetising and as I have a freezer full of pe…

August Bank Holiday Monday

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Do you remember years ago when this was the day that the road network was gridlocked everyone was on the move and the A3 down to the south west was at a stand still.  All the motorways seem to have done away with that and people are spreading their holidays so even though the trafic is heavier with more cars on the road the news is not full of trafic jams.  
I was due to go swimming this morning but it has been cancelled by my friend so I will have to content myself with the usual household chores.  Yesterday, we had a pasta day not only did I make a batch to have as tagliatelle for lunch but then set to and made ravioli for supper.  I was very dubious of the ravioli as getting the air out is no mean feat however, I am pleased to report that they worked really well.  Not one exploded, but they were a little undercooked and could have done with one more minute.  The filling was the standard traditional one of spinach with ricotta and parmesan and I served them with some brown butter a…

Sunday morning

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Newly painted and renovated weather vane
At least it is not quite so early this morning.  We had some rain yesterday which was really good for the garden but not so good for our neighbours who were moving to their new house.  As the house is rented out I am not sure if we are going to get new people or when.  The family who are moving out have been really super neighbours and given that they have three teenaged boys they have been very quiet.

James and I managed to get the dogs out for a nice walk while there was a gap in the showers and as we were moving so slowly with the wheelchair it gave us plenty of time to eat breakfast as we went.  Blackberries, damsons, green gages and elderberries all growing wild.  A very healthy meal!!! For lunch we had some sweet corn and the butchers very good brawn.  Once we have finished with the corn cobs they go up to the hens who really love to continue pecking at them for days.  For dinner we had a full english breakfast including the really naug…

Saturday Morning

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One strand of silhouette pasta with sage basil and flat leaf parsley embedded in it.  This was great fun to make but even more delicious to eat.  I served it with, what is essentially, a concasse of tomatoes with olive oil and loads of crushed garlic and a healthy serving of parmesan cheese.  A nice light lunch and very highly to be recommended.  However I do possess a pasta rolling machine which makes life bearable.  If you were to try doing this by hand you would need shoulders like a navy to get it rolled out fine enough.
For dinner I made a ficasse of chicken which we had with new potatoes and runner beans from the garden.  The remains of the storm trooper cake made a nice dessert as under the icing was a light slightly coconut flavoured sponge with blackcurrant jam center.  I am not a cake lover but this was a very nice one and I ate my fair share.
Thanks Hazel for the TPS advise but we are already registered and the calls we now get are under the guise of surveys.  Yesterdays c…

Friday morning

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"Storm trooper",  cake made by Zoe for James birthday  Isn't she a clever girl?

Yesterday, was fairly hot for shooting but we managed to get around without melting but were pretty late home not getting back until 2pm.  Of course,  everyone was starving by then so it was a good job that I had done all the prep in the morning bright and early.  We had cold poached salmon done in the halogen oven with an assortment of salads and a big bowl of hot new potatoes with butter and chives.  I had made some real mayonnaise to go with the salmon so all in all it was a super lunch.  For desert we had a slice of the chocolate cake from the restaurant birthday meal and raspberries from the garden.  Zoe brought the storm trooper cake around at tea time and as yet we haven't touched that.  James was still having trouble with his iPhone sound system so he and Zoe went back up to Bluewater to the Apple shop and they have fixed it yet again so lets hope it last more than three days thi…

Thursday morning

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Today is a red letter day in our house it is James 40th Birthday and last night his friends surprised him with a meal out.  He returned late with armfuls of presents and a large chocolate cake.  Given how sad he has been of late it was lovely to seem him happy again.  He managed without his wheel chair and walked with just a stick so he didn't feel too bad.  
We had a houseful for lunch so the nidi I had made stretched well and we all got fed.  I had bought some faggots from the butcher which we had for supper with a lovely mixed Mediterranean roast vegetable dish that Shiona had made.  Jeff is coming today and I have steamed a lovely piece of salmon which we will have cold with mayo and a green salad and some new potatoes.  Desert is served in the garden as everyone is happy to go and eat raspberries rather than picking them and bringing them back they just stand and eat them!!!!  We had our first two really ripe figs off our tree so we are doing quite well at the moment and the…

Wednesday morning

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The water lilies are in bloom and looking very spectacular and a least they don't need to be watered during this warm period.  They always amaze me when they just pop out of the water.  The trouble is that they are doing so well that there is hardly any room for the water so in the autumn I think they will need thinning out and replanting.

Yesterday, while I was out walking the dogs I bumped into a couple who blackberrying and I pointed out some areas where there were good supplies.  They had a very pretty bishon frise which Nip took a great shine to.  The husband then asked me what breed Basso was and when I told him he
enquired if he was the same dog who had save my son life.  Well I guess it means some people read the local press!!! I was pretty stunned to be recognised.  It has to be one of the nicest things about being a dog owner that while you are walking you always meet other dog walkers who are friendly and want to chat.

I swung back home via the butcher and the fish mo…

Tuesday Morning

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Map of the riverside country park where I usually walk the dogs.  It has everything a dog could wish for and nice dry paths for the humans.
What a lovely walk I had with the dogs yesterday.  I was out of the house by about 6.30 so the weather was lovely and cool and what surprised me was that the grass was sopping wet with dew.  I bumped into a lady who was trying to do some dog training with a rescue german shepherd.  So we spent some time together and Basso, bless him, gave a beautiful demonstration of just what can be done with a whistle.  She is hoping to agility work with her dog but as yet it is the basics that need to be learned so very sensibly she is going to classes.

When we got back I decide that as Basso was already very wet from the grass it was a good a time as any to give him his annual bath.  Well that was a bit of a laugh - getting him into the bathroom was not easy as he dug his paws in and refused to budge so I had to drag him bodily in and shut the door behind hi…

Monday morning

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Well what a weekend of heat!  We have spent most of our time trying to keep cool with little success.  I find it hard to occupy myself in the heat as it really saps my energy.  The poor dogs were not best pleased either and just skulked around looking for a cool place to lie.  Yesterday was not even particularly sunny just hot, cloudy and humid.  For lunch we had just a hardboiled egg salad and for dinner I did some chicken leg quarters with white wine and mushrooms.  I made a couple of litres of gaspacho which I have put in the freezer for some other occasion.  I also made one of the small crochet hearts to cover the tear in my jeans.  It looks reasonable but I must admit they are the scruffiest of my jeans so it dosen't much matter how they look.  We took ourselves off shopping before lunch and I have restocked my knicker drawer and purchased a bathing costume as my last one had given up the ghost.  Of course M&S was full of autumn and winter gear all nice wooly jumpers etc…

Sunday morning

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WOW what a hot one yesterday was a really hot and humid day the temperatures reached 32 degrees  and it was very uncomfortable.  We spent the day like moles skulking indoors and just dashing out for the odd outdoor chore.  Needless to say I took the opportunity to wash a few items which were almost dry as I finished pegging them out.  To keep myself amused I cleaned the tiling in the utility room which was in a parlous state.  Then abandoned any significant activity and practiced a new crochet stitch which is called larks foot.  It is very easy to do but has a very nice effect if it is done in different colours.   I thought it might be a good way to use up all the odds and ends of wool that I have accumulated during my sock knitting phase.  The problem is what to make, I dont want to embark on a bed spread so I guess the easiest thing would be to make yet another scarf!!!



Over night the temperature has not dropped below 26 degrees in my bedroom despite open windows and a fan running …

Saturday morning

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The five foot tall onion flower is still going strong but other than its curiosity value it is not the nicest flower in the garden.   Yesterday was pretty hot so I was pleased that I got the dogs out bright and early before the heat had time to build.  According to the weather forecast it is set for record temperatures this weekend up as far as 32 - time to hibernate in the cool of the shady house I think.  Looking at the continent they have temperatures reaching 40 so I am so glad that live here I don't think I could stand that sort of heat.  Maybe it is to do with age but I find I cannot tollerate the heat anymore.

Yesterday I made the spinach torta with the pasta base.  To my great surprise it worked rather well and considering you put an entire packet of washed spinach raw onto a pasta base it was not the soggy mess I had anticipated.  The very thin pasta was rather like filo pastry and came out beautifully crisp.  The handful of breadcrumbs absorbed the moisture of the spina…

Friday morning and the end of another week

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Well we never did get the deluge of rain and so it is going to be lots of watering the garden especially as the weekend is set to be very hot and muggy.  According to the weather forecast it will be up to 30 degrees, not my idea of fun.  We had a shopping day yesterday, first we went to the oriental emporium in Woolwich where I restocked with some vital ingredients and also bought some nice little dumplings to steam for lunch.  For supper we had fried rice with some char sui pork so it was all nice and easy.  This was just as well as we spent the afternoon at the Bluewater shopping centre where there is an Apple shop.  Why? you ask, well James iPhone had fallen from his pocket as he got out of the car and the screen had smashed so he had gone the day before and got a replacement phone but the sound system didn't work so it was back up to Apple to have it looked at and reset back to factory settings.  Fortunately, all the data is backed up to the Cloud so nothing is lost but now w…

Thursday morning

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So where is all the rain?  I got out really bright and early at 7am with the dogs and took this rather poor photo of some lovely pink convolvulus which sadly the bright sun has bleached of colour.  I was desperate to start collecting some of the big fat blackberries but as we are not desert eaters what is the point.  The damsons are also nearly ready and I keep wanting to make jam but again little point.  The pull of free food is almost irresistible for me.

Once home I decided to make some pea and ham soup for lunch with the remains of a ham hock which had already done three ham salads for supper the previous evening.  This is so economical it is quite unbelievable.  The ham hock cost £3 ready cooked and has made 6 adequate plates of food with the minor addition of a few vegetables.

I then set to to make the nidi recipe that was on "simply italian" the other evening.  I was short of some of the ingredients so did a bit of substitution.  I made the pancakes and laid them o…

Wednesday morning

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What a miserable day I had yesterday suddenly from nowhere my back gave out and I had real trouble just walking.  I can only think that standing on the ladder to hang the lights with my feet facing one way and my body the other had twisted something and not just the lights.  Anyway the good news is so far this morning I have no pain at all so maybe a day of rest has done the trick and it was just muscle spasm.


The photo is of Rochester castle which has a long and not very glorious history after several unsuccessful sieges it was ransacked during the peasants revolt.  It is directly opposite the cathedral and though I have live in the area for more than 30 years this as close as I have ever got to it.


We were due to go shooting this morning but the weather forecast looks terrible and what with my back and Shiona having an eye problem we decided to cancel.  With the plans all changed other than walking the dogs, hopefully before the deluge, I have nothing else in mind.  I do have a ha…

Tuesday morning

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Pictures of the queen from the exhibition in the cathedral at Rochester.  As you get closer and closer so you can see that the whole thing is just a collage of photos sent in by the people of Kent.  It is really quite remarkable and extremely well executed.

We took a trip to the cathedral after we had both had our hair cut and fortunately were able to draw up just outside the cathedral so James didn't have far to walk.  Needless to say we still have not had any contact from his care coordinator so I guess if he doest call by lunch time today I will have to get on the phone and start rattling cages AGAIN.

Night photography is not my thing but this is what the fairy lights look like once it it dark.  I hope that low flying aircraft dont mistake it for a runway!!!!


The weather yesterday was hot and humid but last night it poured with rain which I hope will have cleared the air and cooled things down a bit.  It will also have watered the beans and kale which I had already decided wou…

Monday morning

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I couldn't resist this photo of what looks like an albino damsel fly they are usually bright blue in colour but this one seemed devoid of all colour.

I had a good day in the garden and got all my kale planted and netted from the pigeons.  Now all I need to do is remember to water them regularly especially in this hot weather.  I also got my "bling string" of lights up and on to the arbour were they are making a reasonable show and as they are solar powered they should need no maintenance.


That done it was on with yet more laundry and then on to the chickens which were plain roasted for lunch.  I did them breast down for half the cooking time then turned them over so the breast meat stayed nice and moist.  This is very helpful as the breast meat is to be eaten cold today for lunch.  The carcasses were immediately cooked for stock and this morning I will pick them over and make a meal or two for the dogs.

Did you watch the closing ceremony and if so what did you think o…

Sunday morning

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These are the very pretty flowers of the garlic chives not only do they look good but they taste good too.

Yesterday was another good day we had a light lunch of just some gaspacho with an assortment of garnishes including some very crisp  garlic croutons which I did in the halogen oven.  Talking of which, the metal plate that is used to cook on had lost most of its surface and was becoming rusty so I spray painted it with VHT [very high temperature] paint which is meant for exhaust manifolds and the like and will withstand 650 degrees so ideal for cookware.





 James took Nip for a nice walk so I took just Basso with me and parked Mike next to a huge stand of lovely blackberries just ready for the picking.   They have now been cooked down with a little white wine and sugar and will make a very nice topping for some rice pudding.  We then headed off to Dobbies and bought a couple of chickens  which I intend to simply roast today for lunch.  By doing two I should have plenty of cold chic…

Saturday morning

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Japanese anemones are out in the garden you would think it was autumn already.  Yesterday was another hot one but really good for drying the laundry so that was my first priority.  I then downloaded the new operating system, os x  mountain lion, for my computer which has one really great benefit and that is you can dictate to it and it converts what you say to type.   I thought it would be very expensive like all Apple stuff but it was on £14 which is a pittance these days.



Of course this means that Mike could operate the computer, if he so desired, even though he cannot type.  It works on any program where you would need to type, like searches in google etc.  However the really interesting thing is that I find it easier to type than to dictate.  I have a standard phrase that I use to test pens, keyboards and other things which is "Now is the winter of our discontent. Made glorious summer by this son of York; " Interestingly. this Shakespeare quote is not from one of the pla…

Friday morning

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This picture just made me laugh it is of Dartford shooting clubhouse in the snow.  When I looked for a picture to show you this is what was available on the site.  Given that we abandoned our shooting last time because it was too wet and we abandoned it yesterday because it was too hot some how the extreme weather photo seemed appropriate.  The situation of the club is down by the river and was and still is a swamp.  Anyway we had had a round of skeet and were about to have 50 sporting clays but it was no fun standing in the sun at 33 degrees in appalling humidity.  Copious quantities of ice cold diet coke and a bacon sandwich made up for our disappointment.  On the way home we stopped off to see be nosey and had a look round a town house on a new development which is on the site of the old Joyce Green hospital which as you can see was in a lovely setting.



This next photo is of the biggest of the new houses and is a 4 bedroom town house at £285,000 and is nicely appointed but serious…

Thursday morning

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Perennial sweet peas are nice to look at but they do lack the scent of the annual varieties however once you have some they grow like weeds and as you can see in the photo they are clambering all over the chiosia.  Yesterday we had a really good day I picked James up from his friends house where he had stayed the night and on the way home we managed to drop into Aldi of all places and bought him a pair of trousers and a nice hooded top for the princely sum of £20 for the two.  They are in a sort of muddy brown colour as they are meant for fishing but the colour suits him rather well.  Between us we managed to get his pain under control with an assortment of medication.  He is due to have a medication review at some stage which is really overdue and he also has an appointment later this month for the chronic pain clinic who hopefully will sort out a better regimen for him.  In the mean time Shiona and I are doing what we can to keep him pain free.  He had been told to check in to be t…

Wednesday morning

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Well folks yesterday was a red letter day I finally managed to get the hospital to recognise that James needed some help but it took some considerable threats on my part before they realised that no action was not an option.  Following an in depth assessment they finally agreed that he was in serious trouble and apologised to me for their dismal failure.  What finally sparked them into action was mentioning that he was deeply depressed in house with a shotgun and a negligence suite was definitely on the cards as my barrister was rubbing her hands with glee at the prospect as were the news papers.  The lesson here is no amount of begging and pleading for help is of any use but just watch them jump to cover their back sides!!!!  What a dreadfully sad state of affairs - and what happens to the poor people who don't have a shotgun wielding rottweiler for a mother?  Let's hope that the medication review and appointment to the chronic pain clinic yield some results and we can at la…

Tuesday morning

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Did you watch the show jumping?  What a nail bitter, it was right down to the wire with Holland and for once it all went our way.  Gold gold gold!!!!!  Given that Nick Skelton had broken his neck had a hip and shoulder replacement and is now 54 years old that is quite an achievement.  Thank goodness the horses are in better nick than the riders!!!!!

While all this was going on the rain was soaking my washing yet again - thunder and lightening and rain that came down in stair rods.  I had gathered it all into the basket nice and dry but was just waiting for a couple of tea towels.  Did I bring the basket in while I waited?- no of course not - did it all get soaked? - you bet.  So its all back up on the line for another attempt.  One thing is for certain it will be very well rinsed.

The wonderful Jane is due today and I am really looking forward to having the house blitzed it has rather gone to the dogs of late.  Shiona is coming over and we are going to do a couple of the dishes from…

Monday morning

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The fiery spikes of crocosmia Lucifer are a real splash of colour in the garden at this time of the year but there is a less common variety called Emily McKenzie which is is not as vigorous and a more delicate colour of orange.


Yesterday was a day of mixed weather with great down pours and sudden showers interspersed with bouts of brilliant sunshine.  It seemed that every time I set foot in the garden the heavens opened and as soon as I got stuck into some indoor chore the sun came out.  We decided to have just egg and tomato sandwiches for lunch and leave the kidneys for supper.  This was my chance to try an experiment with hard boiling eggs in the oven [yes this is a crazy idea but I just had to give it a go]  so the eggs were put in a mini muffin tin and put in a 170 oven for 25 minutes then into cold water to be peeled.  I tend to have difficulty peeling the eggs as they are so fresh but this method works well and they are definitely easier to peel.  I would not recommend it as a…