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Showing posts from October, 2013

Thursday morning

Good morning all you will be pleased to know that Mike is much improved the antibiotics, steroids and nebuliser have made a big difference.  We were inundated with help the "Hospital at home" nurse came and then two physioterotists came to check up on our staircase and agreed that a second banister rail might be very helpful and make it much less dangerous on the descent.  The treads are very narrow and even they had to walk down crab style.  Shiona and I took the dogs for a run as it was a cold but really beautiful day while James baby sat.  We bought some parma ham on the way back via Aldi which we used to wrap the pheasant breasts which were then fried off in some oil and butter, sliced mushrooms were then added and the whole dish was finished with a large dash of cream.  Served with some tagliatelle it made a nice lunch.  For once Mike demolished everything I put in front of him which was pleasing.
Tubby is continuing to make good progress but is showing his intelligenc…

Wednesday morning

Well I am up at stupid o'clock again but that is probably because I have Mike back home and I am sleeping with half an ear open.  The hospital rang me around 12 yesterday to ask me to come and collect Mike.  I had made contingency plans and stripped and cleaned his room ready in case they discharged him.  I got to the hospital at around 1pm and it then too 5 hours for them to get his medication from the pharmacy so we could go home.  I had made a pot of leek and potato soup ready and by the time we got back Mike was ready something to eat.  I put it in mug so that it was easy to drink and before I knew it he had downed the lot.  I then managed to get him very slowly up the stairs - our stairs are very narrow and very steep - I have told him to stay up stairs as coming down  is the most likely to be a problem.  I would rather run up and down than risk him falling and having to go back into that place.  While we were waiting the relative of another patient regaled me with the story…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all sorry I am a bit late this morning but I had a bit of a traumatic day yesterday.  I managed to get through to the doctors after an hour of constant phone calls and got Mike into see a new doctor who immediately booked him into the hospital.  I brought him home first and gave him some lunch while I packed an overnight bag for him.  Then the rest of the day was spent going from pillar to post at the hospital until we eventually found the place where they were expecting him. they ran the usual battery of test you know ECG bloods and chest X Ray he was then seen by a young doctor who to me looked like he was only just in long trousers.  However he had the sense to call his consultant who had a good look at Mike and decided he should be admitted overnight for intravenous antibiotics and some nebulisers to help clear his bubbly chest.  At last some sensible action.  
I finally got home around 6pm completely poleaxed and ate a take away kebab which James organised and took …

Monday morning

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This is the loaf with the oat flour and it seems to be very nice and possibly a bit softer in texture than usual but the difference is hardly perceptible.  I think this is something I will continue to add for the health benefits.
Yesterday was one of rest and recuperation.  For lunch I made a dish I had seen on Jamies 15 minute meals.  Pieces of butterflied pork fillet were dusted with copious paprika [sweet] and a good amount of salt and crushed coriander seeds.  Fry in a pan until golden then add half a dozen sage leaves and allow to crisp, then in with some red onion, when soft add a good splosh of marsala and a final dash of cream.  Serve with plain rice and broccoli cooked in stock one ladle of which is used to loosen the marsala sauce.  Very tasty, very easy and very quick, just what I needed.  This recipe would work with chicken or turkey steaks just as well.
Well the storm is upon us and it is blowing hard but nothing to devastating at the moment.  Although it is raining it i…

Sunday morning

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It is stupid o'clock but I have had 7 hours sleep as I fell asleep completely poleaxed at around 8pm. The day had gone well and Basso was great he worked really well and sat very quietly while we waited for the shooting to start on each drive.  We came home with 4 pheasants and a hare and Tubby was duly impressed with our hunting ability.  He looks up to Basso anyway but now he is in awe of him.  Not only does he make a comfy bed but he also brings home the food.   I was pretty shattered but happy that things had gone well.  However, the hare had to be dealt with so I set too and paunched it, undressed it and jointed it then put the whole thing in the freezer.  The off cuts are in a pot boiling and when cooked I will strip any meat off the bones for the dogs.   The pheasants are hanging in the garage and I will deal with them on Wednesday.  Basso was so tired that he couldn't be bothered to put up a fight when he had to have his feet washed as they were caked with mud.  Our n…

Saturday morning

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Happy friends together 
Well today is hopefully going to be a nice day weather wise so I am off to the shoot with Basso to earn a bob or two.  Let's hope all goes according to plan and Basso has a good day and I don't have to walk too far through muddy fields or carry too many birds.
Lunch for my visitors went well and all but a bit of cabbage got demolished.  I am leaving the men some fish cakes for their lunch and will take a cold one with me for mine.  I will have some breakfast before I go so I dont run out of energy too quickly.  I had some porridge yesterday and dressed it with the spiced apple that we made earlier which was really nice so I think I will repeat the experience this morning.
Bit short of time this morning so I will close and get on with getting my stuff together.

Friday Morning

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Oh how easily the young sleep and how I wish I could just pass out no matter where I am. Unfortunately, I am up at the crack of dawn again, sometimes I think I am becoming nocturnal.  
Today I have visitors for lunch but I have managed to get ahead of schedule the lemon possets are in the fridge, the pie filling, of ham, turkey and mushrooms, is made so all I have to do is defrost the pastry and prepare the vegetables. Then come lunch time it will just be a case of turning knobs all should come together well.
After watching "Trust me I'm a doctor", last night I think we will all be moving on to having a bowl of porridge for breakfast each morning.  I am very naughty and seldom have any breakfast but I do have three mugs of good fresh black coffee.    In case you think it is the coffee that is keeping me awake I think not as I never have coffee in the afternoon or evening.  My coffee is also made with an espresso machine so it is not as caffeine ladened as filter coffee.…

Thursday Morning

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Yesterday started out wet and windy but it did soon dry off and in the end was a reasonably pleasant day.  Shooting was off but Shiona came to visit anyway as her dogs were at the groomers for the day and she needed a quick trip round Aldi to stock up on soft drinks for her amatuer dramatic society party.  
Our lunch of stew with yorkshire puddings was a great success and I will be following Tom Kerridge rules for yorkshire pudding in future.  They were truly spectacular and the lemon posset was also very delicious and so easy.  He served his with fennel biscotti but I didn't have the time to make those so I settled for a packet of ginger nuts.  Suffice to say there is nothing left.
I didn't manage to get an afternoon sleep and having started my day at 3.30am I was shattered and fell asleep very early so I am up at the same time this morning.  It is much colder this morning as I found out when I took Tubby out for his toilet run.  The sky is very clear and star studded so we …

Wednesday morning

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Heath Robinson has nothing on us just witness this amazing puppy proofing.  Sometimes it is worth hanging on to rubbish as it comes in handy.  We found some plastic netting but then had to reinforce that with galvanised steel mesh and some canes.  Anyway we hope we are now puppy proof.  
Yesterday was a busy day with Dennie coming to clean.  Needless to say she was bowled over by the pup and he with her.  He particularly liked the game of mopping the kitchen floor and tried to join in with enthusiasm.  My friend Elaine came to visit while Mike was out shopping as she had a cold and didn't want to bring any further misery to him.  It was interesting to watch Tubby getting over excited with all the attention and start to behave badly.  That said we had a complete accident free day.  I took the big dogs for a walk and managed to dodge the rain but when a pup needs to go it doesn't matter if it is raining or not so it was outside with the brolly.  Fortunately it is not cold at th…

Tuesday morning

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Finally the small one has made friends with Basso; up until now he has tried to keep out of the babies way. Then last night when the pup was being an idiot, you know the sort of thing very tired and very silly, he kept trying to jump up and bite Basso face.  Basso tried a low rumbling growl but to no real effect he then started to cry in frustration and came to me for protection but the pup would not give up so finally he was treated to full force of a "Basso profundo" bark which did the trick. It gave Tubby a real fright and just the lesson he deserved.  It is fascinating watching these lessons being taught and so much better that he learns some manners before he encounters dogs who may not be so tolerant of irritating small children.  Tubby has also learned that the dog flap works in both directions and so he has had great fun going in and out of the flap.   Now all we need him to do is connect going out to the toilet with making his own way via the flap and that will be …

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a dry day in terms of puppy training but as for the weather was concerned we had intermittent massive downpours.  I managed to sneak out and plant my bulbs during one of the lulls, with the ground so wet it was an easy job to bury them 4" down.  I decided that it would be sensible to spend the majority of my time in the kitchen and to this end I decided to get some bread underway.

As it happened I got the timing just right as the bread came out of the oven in went the ham which I had already boiled and removed the rind.  I coated it with a glaze made from ginger marmalade, agave syrup and worcester sauce.  Sounds weird but it was actually very tasty meanwhile the potatoes and curly kale cooked on the hob and thermo made a nice mustard sauce to accompany the meat.  The poaching liquid from the ham was not too salty so to that I added the usual suspects of carrot, onion and celery together with a good quantity of yellow split peas.  It was then left to bubble quietly…

Sunday morning

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Yesterday I was really lucky the weather was pretty miserable and wet but I managed to get the big dogs out for their walk during one of the few dry spells.  By the time I had emerged from Tesco, where I had gone to get a bunch of coriander, it was bucketing down.  The dry turkey breast and vegetables were syphoned out of the soup and put in the thermo where they were blasted to a very fine puree together with some indian spices garlic and ginger.  It was then rolled into little balls and fried till crisp and brown then served with a salsa of tomato red onion and coriander.  In the end it turned out to be a very palatable light lunch.  

In the post arrived some Russian snowdrop [Puschkinia scilloides] bulbs and on reading the instructions they have to be planted 4" down which is very deep for such tiny bulbs so I guess I will have my work cut out planting them.  However all this wet weather will make the job much easier. 
The hens seem to have settled down to indoor living and a…

Saturday Morning

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Good morning all.  Well yesterday was a very successful day we shot off quite early putting Basso and Tubby in the car.  We managed to get all that we required from the feed chandlers and a very nice young man put it all in the car for us.  In our purchases was the tiniest collar and lead set so Tubby is now sporting a nice black collar which he is not too pleased about but has largely now forgotten.  The crying at night has been cured but the simple measure of insisting that the older dogs sleep in the same room.

On our return journey we stopped off at Curries and purchased a new 24 inch TV to replace the one in the dining room which has has had the speakers blown for some time.  We only wanted a cheap and cheerful one so £150 for a flat screen with DVD player seemed a good deal.  Then as we passed Morrisons on the way back we called in there for a few essentials and also purchased 3 rolls of pigs skin for £1.20 one of which was immediately made into pork scratchings following Tom K…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was fine and sunny and warm enough to be pleasant.  The hens have been moved into the greenhouse so they are all in a bit of a flap.  In the end I decided there was no point in removing the plants I would let the hens do that as their powers of destruction are immense and it would be occupational therapy.  We also reinforced our dog proofing which Tubby had already mastered and this time we hope our superior intellect might have outsmarted him.  It will be a sorry state of affairs if we are outsmarted by an 8 week old puppy.
The bearded irises arrived in the post so I was able to get them straight out and into the bed allotted to them which had already grown a green carpet of weeds.  I suppose I shouldn't complain at least it means the soil is very fertile.  Lets hope we have a really nice display come the spring.

For lunch I cooked some pork chops which had arrived with my meat order.  Unfortunately I had not read the information correctly and they were smothered in so…

Thursday morning

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This is a photo of me with the original Tubby who was my first dog in Nigeria as you can see I started dog training at an early age.

Yesterday was a miserable day weather wise it was damp and rainy all day with nothing much to recommend it.  Shiona popped over as did Zoe who had brought Tubby a toy.  We managed to make a quite decent lunch for the five of us with the leftover turkey breast which was very dry but once chopped and put into a pan with some gently frizzling mushrooms and then doused in the remaining sauce it made a good sauce for some pasta.  It gave the impression of being just like the old tuna bake.  I think blindfold that is what you would have thought.  Anyway it got rid of a load of leftovers.
On Tuesday Tubby had discovered that he could push his way in via the flap and yesterday saw him also exit that way too.  This meant that we had to burst into life and make the patio puppy proof as we don't want any accidents with the pond.  I found a roll of plastic nett…

Wednesday morning

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Yesterday was a bit of a non day - the weather was dry which made puppy potty training nice and easy not to mention mainly successful.  My first job of the morning is to put Tubby out so he can empty his tanks which he keeps overnight with no problem.  Now if only he would settle at night without screaming we would all be delighted.  The big dogs are becoming used to him  and are less inclined to avoid him where possible.  They have however sought sanctuary together in Basso's crate.
Nip had a haircut yesterday and James and I put the clippers over him - not a very professional job but adequate.  You should see the hair in the garden there are areas that look as if it has snowed. When we do this in the spring it is not a problem as the birds are eager to collect the hair to line their nests but at this time of the year we will have to rely on wind and rain to disperse the hair.
The turkey breast was a partial success, the meat was dry but the gravy was delicious.  I had butterfli…

Tuesday morning

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Was the cheesecake/key lime pie a success? well put it this way there is none left so I guess everyone enjoyed it.  Thanks for the recipe Joy.  We are getting into synchronisation with the small new addition and getting him outside for his necessities.  However I managed to bend down to congratulate him on a job well done when he launched himself in the wrong direction and went straight into the pond where he sunk like a stone.  As he bobbed to the surface I scooped him up and wrapped him in my dressing gown.  Then it was lots of rubbing with a warm towel and finally his first experience of the hair dryer which finally warmed him through.  Another of lifes lessons learned he can't walk on water!  I felt terrible as I was supposed to be supervising and failed miserably.  We will have to look at gating off the patio area and therefore the pond as soon as he can manage to get through the flap and he gains a little independance.  He seemed none the worse for his experience and all wa…

Monday morning

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Well a bit better night last night.  I managed to grab a couple of hours yesterday afternoon as I was completely poleaxed.  Then last night I was asleep by about 9.30 so being up at 4 am is not too bad. The puppy hears us up stairs and still has fits of screaming but he quietens down much more quickly. As I am first up it is my job to get him outside for the necessary which he is gradually getting the hang of. Standing in the garden in the wee small hours waiting for a result is not my favourite occupation but at least this morning is dry and not too cold.  He is now at my feet squealing to be lifted to my lap but he is learning another hard lesson that no amount of screaming will get you what you want. Only quiet puppies get what they want.  Once he settles I will give him a cuddle.  Silence at last so he is now on my lap as I type.  
Yesterday was a bit chaotic, Mike was very under the weather and has a nice gash on his arm where he fell but at least he motored through a plate of m…

Sunday morning

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First things first I decided that discretion was the better part of valour yesterday and stayed at home which was probably just as well as Mike is really not at all well. I am up at very stupid o'clock as I have just scooped Mike off the floor and put him back to bed following a fall on his way back from the loo.  I don't think he has done any real damage but he has hurt his shoulder and thumb.  The noise woke young Tubby and he started to scream the walls down so my chances of going back to sleep are negligible.  Nip had got the hump and was sitting in the garden on the back door mat.  In sheer desperation Tubby has tucked himself in James shoes.  He is already a one man dog.  Last night I had made some burgers and James and his friend went to get some chips from the chippy and Tubby went into meltdown when he couldn't find him but his shoes are the next best thing. Fortunately the meat had made four decent size burgers so with the chips and an egg it was a respectable m…

Saturday morning

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What a day yesterday was, it poured for most of the day. We did manage to get out with the big dogs for a short walk around a local lake which has very good dry pathways.  Tubby came with us but only in the car by way of learning experience.  He had to share the crate with Basso who was very anxious to have a crying baby in with him.  We made a pit stop at a local pet shop and bought Tubby a nice warm fleece bed for his crate and a water bowl he cannot knock over. 

As I type he is shrieking to come and sit on my lap but yet another lesson is being learned that no amount of shrieking will get you what you want.  It is quite pitiful and you need a heart of stone to persevere with these lessons and deafness would be an advantage.  Nip seems to tolerates him reasonably but Basso is completely non plussed and has no idea why we have now got a chipmunk instead of a proper dog.  Potty training is following the usual routine we got more on the mat than off but it is still a bit of a mystery …

Friday morning

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It is a very big and pretty terrifying world for such a small chap but if you want to fritter away a whole day there is nothing like puppy watching.  Getting to grips with potty training is the order  of the day.  He has the appetite of a small pony but sadly what goes in also comes out.  He is also trying to get the hang of his legs which don't always keep up with his momentum and consequently he spends some time on his chin.  Like all babies he is testing everything with his mouth and has a special liking for crocs but table legs and architrave leave much to be desired.  The word NO features heavily in his vocabulary at present.  He is already showing some of the upper body strength the breed are known for and can pick up and carry a croc which is bigger than he is.  At breakfast time he decided that as he had finished his he would go and take some out of Basso's bowl.  Now Basso usually guards his food closely but he just backed off and let Tubby help himself.  However, he…

Thursday Morning

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First let me introduce you to the newest member of the family, currently called Tubby for obvious reasons.  He is an 8 week old staffordshire bull terrier from Tilbury in Essex which is where we collected him from late last evening.  He is James dog and I think he will be a real help in giving James a bit of focus and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  I think they are going to become the best of chums.  Both the mother and father of the puppies were available to see as were the rest of the litter so we are happy that they have not been farmed.  The house was full of young children so the puppies have been well handled since birth.



Now for the potato cake it was certainly easy enough to make.  I did double coat the the tin with butter before adding the breadcrumbs which made sure it didn't stick.  Together with a tomato salad it made an adequate portion to last us all day.



We had it hot for lunch and cold for supper - hot is definitely better as once the mozzarella gets c…

Wednesday Morning

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Another lovely sunny day yesterday and I managed to get out into the the garden and get my plants into the ground.  The washing line was groaning again with loads of whites from the beds.  Dennie did her thing and went through the house like a dose of salts.  I always think it must be easier to clean someone else's house as you would not be distracted by the stuff of which there is plenty.  I shot out to the shops as Mike is not able to at the moment.  I have laid in the ingredients to make the mash potato pie which is my project for today.  I also got most of the ingredients for a recipe I saw Jamie make which is called a rotolo and needs fresh pasta sheets and lots of passata.  Given that I have a freezer full it seems like a good idea.  I have pinched the recipe from the website and popped it in here:
Squash & spinach pasta rotolo
1 butternut squash (roughly 1.2kg) 1 red onion olive oil 500 g frozen spinach 1 whole nutmeg, for grating 4 cloves of garlic 1 x 700 ml jar of pa…

Tuesday Morning

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Yesterday morning saw me make some sort of dire mistake on the computer - though I have no idea what happened.  I was downloading a picture from an eMail when suddenly my entire library of photos was wiped out of iphoto.  The pictures were still on the hard drive but all the work dividing them into albums in chronological order was gone there was just a huge muddle.  I tried and tried to recover them but to no avail.  Finally I downloaded Picasa which is a google product and that automatically puts things in by date order so what could have been a complete disaster is now just a major irritation.  However I am having the devil's own job getting photos to download to the blog.

Despite my extremely early start I didn't manage to get back to bed but instead got on with a multitude of jobs instead.  I decided to take Basso for a training walk and I went through all the commands he knows.  I made him sit up while I walked away and while other dogs and people passed him by - did he…