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Showing posts from March, 2014

Monday morning

What a lovely sunny day it was yesterday we had a lovely walk with the dogs and then home for a roast lamb lunch which went down well.  The shoulder had had three hours in the oven so it was well cooked and falling to pieces.

I was feeling rather feek and weeble and under the weather and am now getting a nice cold sore on my lip which is always a sign of being run down.  So today I am going to take particular care of myself and delegate the work to the boys.  We have decided to have a macaroni cheese for lunch so that is really easy as the thermomix will make the cheese sauce and that just leaves the macaroni to boil which is the most basic of tasks.  We have a nice piece of montgomery cheddar which should do the trick.

I am up very late this morning so I will cut this short as the whole family is up and about.  Have a good day and lets hope we have another sunny one.

Sunday morning

Another Sunday morning but at least it is warmer with the temperature rising.  It feels weird to get up at four and discover it is in fact five because the clocks have gone forward and we are now on British summer time.  A few of the clocks around the house are radio controlled and have changed automatically but there are plenty that have not and will need to be changed manually which is a job I hate but with both boys here I think I will be able to delegate a few clocks to each of us and so cut the job down.  The one that always gets forgotten is the clock in the car; in fact it could well still be on British summer time having failed to be changed in the autumn.
Yesterday passed quietly Denzil and I spent most of the morning together as we went to the lovely shop in Faversham - this gave me the opportunity to explain our situation and that having been to hell and back we were all a bit battle scarred.   He had no real idea just how bad things had been but now he realises that we ar…

Saturday morning

Well the weather is improving and the temperature is rising a little. This morning we are at 6.6ºC instead of 1ºC of a couple of days ago.  Yesterday we took things easy as we were all very tired from the hassle the previous day.  We pottered about chatting and I made a couple of loaves of bread so we are now restocked.  It was a reasonable sort of a day and though it was very misty we took the dogs for a run down by the sea side.  
For lunch we had some venison steaks which were very tasty and much to my surprise were not tough at all.  To accompany them I just did a bit of tenderstem broccoli and a few boiled potatoes.  There was enough of the mediterranean roast vegetables left to make a portion each so a nice meal in the end.  Supper was all a bit of a muddle James and I had some cheese on toast Mike had a chocolate panna cotta with orange segments and Denzil was sound asleep getting over his jet lag.  Steve came round and put the first coat of paint on the newly plastered wall a…

Friday Morning

Sometimes things are just not meant to be.  At the last minute rather than pace the carpet waiting for Denzil to arrive James and I decided we would go to heathrow after all and surprise him.  Well that was a stupid idea, the traffic was horrendous with a not only the rush hour traffic but also roadworks and a broken down lorry which blocked several lanes.  Anyway to cut a long story short we arrived and parked just as the plane landed and waited to catch him as he came through the from baggage collection but we missed him so we then hot footed it back home only to find him on our doorstep. So I guess the surprise was on us!!  Needless to say we were pretty fed up having taken over two and half hours to do about 60 miles on the motorway.  Fortunately the return journey was a lot smoother and we were home in the hour or so.  We were both ravenous so we ordered a takeaway from the kebab shop which we ate as if our lives depended on it.  
By the time we had eaten it was close to midnigh…

Thursday Morning

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Well the fire is in and the plaster is almost dry and ready for a coat of paint.  Incidentally the chrome surround is only held on by magnets so you can remove it to easily to paint and you will also note that there are no knobs.  It is ignited by a remote control.  The ignition is battery powered so in the event of a power cut we can still be warm.  
Yesterday was another  fairly chaotic day.  When Shiona arrived we set off to Aldi and did a bit of shopping while we left the men to finish off the work.  The corned beef hash went down well for lunch and I also made a chocolate and orange panna cotta.  Sadly there was too much gelatine in the panna cotta but the flavour was delicious.  I will make them again but next time I will reduce the number of sheets of gelatine so they are a bit softer.  
It was a really crazy day in terms of weather with frost, sun, rain, hail and finally snow which came down in big flakes but did not settle.  This morning the temperature is down to 2ºC so it …

Wednesday Morning

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As you can see the paster is drying and hopefully today will see the fire actually installed.  Yesterday didn't start off too well as when I went to have my shower [upstairs] the water refused to get more than tepid so I ended up having a cool if not cold shower.  Then I noticed that the shampoo was in the downstairs shower so all I had to hand was a bottle of dog shampoo.  So needs must and all that I now have a nice shiny coat and wet nose!!!!  The hairdresser was quite impressed with the condition of my hair and killed himself laughing when I owned up to the dog shampoo incident.  Anyway hair all chopped off so much easier to handle than the curtains of wilted lettuce.  Once the plumber arrived I had a moan about the water temperature and we discovered that the boiler was out so he quickly reignited it and now we have both hot water and a bit of heating.  Given that the outside temperature is down to 3ºC a bit of warmth is most welcome.  Denny was happy to leave the dining roo…

Tuesday Morning

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Yesterday was a day of chaos with the men removing the pine paneling which had been in situ for about 30 years.  My dining room is in a total mess but the men were happy that the panelling came down easily and didn't damage the coving or the ceiling.  Today should see the Gyprock  plasterboard applied and the fire installed and hopefully by Wednesday we should be finished.  Then all that will be needed is a coat of paint once the plaster is dry and we should be up and running.  Steve who did the painting has offered to come and put a coat of paint on the wall once it is finished as he still has some of the paint left from the rest of the house.


Poor Denny is going to have a fit when she sees the mess but the rest of the house is free for her to do her thing.  They have covered the opening to the chimney as they need to pull out the flue liner which they are going to do from the roof when they apply a new chimney pot so of course today it is raining.   I made a batch of meat balls …

Monday Morning

Just when you think it is safe to breathe another disaster befalls you.  Yesterday the FOX kill all the hens.  Did he eat them? NO just killed them and left them lying dead on the ground.  So one of the first jobs was to dispose of the corpses.  What a start to the day!!!! Fortunately the rest of the day progressed a bit better but I was quite upset and will now have to make a decision as to whether to replace the hens and if so when.  Having nursed them through the winter and all the wet weather now is really not the time to lose them.  I put a load of washing on the line just in time for a massive hail storm so it is still on the line but the sky is clear and it may finally dry off today.  Lunch was a brighter moment as I had made a big potato salad to have with our sirloin steaks.  The steaks were from Aldi and were very tender and tasty and I had made a salad with some boiled courgettes to which I added some chopped wild garlic from the garden and a good splash of olive oil.
Toda…

Sunday Morning

Yesterday was supposed to be wet but it was in fact largely dry.  We had a grand walk along the sea wall on the Hoo side of the river as we were stopping by James flat to drop off the hoover and a couple of bits and pieces.  What a difference a few dry days makes the path which a few weeks ago was a quagmire is now a dry solid path which makes walking much easier.  For lunch I had some real pork chops, by that I mean, from rare breed pigs which have been allowed to grow naturally so consequently there was close to an inch of fat below the skin.  Cooking the chops with the fat on made for very succulent and tender meat and the fat once cut off is in the bowl of chicken scraps. With the chops we had some spring greens and tiny baby potatoes.  I cooked the whole bag of spuds so that I would have plenty leftover to make a potato salad for lunch/dinner today.  I have some sirloin steaks in the freezer which will do for lunch today.  
I managed to book an appointment with the hairdresser f…

Saturday morning

So how is the new shower you ask?  let me tell you, it is lovely, I had first go of it yesterday morning and it is much nicer than the existing shower upstairs.  It was a piece of cake to put Mike through it and though it left him exhausted even he enjoyed the experience.  Dirty clothes and towels just need posting through the window and they land in the sink next to the washing machine in the shed so that cuts down on carrying laundry round to the shed.  This weekend is the calm before the next storm of work. The gas fire arrived, as ordered, yesterday and is sitting in its box in the garage ready for the men on Monday morning.  I have gradually removed the cement dust from the kitchen and almost everything had to be washed in hot soapy water to remove it.  The adjacent dining room is also full of dust but there is no point in tackling that until they have finished ripping down walls etc.  What I would like to do is to remove some of the stuff from the room so that not too much gets…

Friday morning

The end of another week but it has been a very productive one.  I got to grips with most of the cement dust in the kitchen and only have a few more bits and pieces to do to finish it off.  This morning it is my intention to celebrate by being the first to use the new shower.  By now the mastic should be completely set and I bought some bits and bobs in B&Q like a towel rail and shaving mirror which will need a few screws to fix them to the walls.  The washing machine got put through its paces in the shed and all seems well with that.  The weather was cold and blowy so excellent for drying. The shed will need a bit more work on it as it is largely a mess but it is currently filled with the workmen's tools ready for Monday.
James went out for the day and so Shiona and I took the dogs, all 5 of them, for a nice walk and a pub lunch as Mike had had his porridge late and didn't want any lunch.  None of us were very hungry so supper was just some scrambled eggs on toast.

The po…

Thursday morning

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New shower in situ now we are just giving the mastic 24 hour to dry before we can give it an opening ceremony.  In the mean time I have the kitchen to clean from all the cement dust so I guess the dishwasher will be running full tilt all day as everything not in a cupboard got a good coating and as there is always a layer of grease in a kitchen it is difficult to just dust off.
I shot out first thing yesterday and bought the fire for stage two of the revamp.  Hopefully it will be delivered tomorrow and the men will be back on Monday to start tearing down the pine panelling and removing the old fire.  The dining room is full of dust but there is no point in dealing with that until the fire is done so I will limit myself to the kitchen.  The washing machine and tumble dryer are now in the shed along with a my old stainless steel sink unit so it is quite a functional laundry room.  The baby monitor allows me to hear when the machine has finished so I will not forget my washing for days …

Wednesday morning

Good morning all it is a bit early again this morning but I am a bit harassed with all the building work going on.  My kitchen is filled with cement dust and will need a complete clean from top to bottom however that can wait until the shower is fully fitted which should be today some time.  The worst of the mess is over and my washing machine and tumble dryer are now safely installed in the shed which will be my new laundry room.  We will have a couple of days respite until they start on the fire in the dining room which should be on Monday next week.  Today I have to go and organise delivery of the actual fire and hope it arrives in time.  I also need to go to the bank and get money to pay the men who would be happy to be paid in cash.
After our pasty lunch yesterday none of us felt much like supper so the bolognese has been deferred until lunch today.  My visit to the doctor yesterday was uneventful as apart from being rather tired I am in good health.  Mike is gradually getting u…

Tuesday Morning

Yesterday as expected was absolute bedlam.  The guys arrived at 8am and started to unload all their tools and equipment which meant trying to keep the dogs under control with all the house doors open as well as the garage.  In the end James took the dogs for a run which made life a bit easier for a while.  The first thing Gary did was to sort out the back door of the garage which has not fitted all winter and now we can shut it properly.  Once they were settled, out went the washing machine and while one of them sorted out the shed, where the machine is going, the other was left to chase out the walls with an angle grinder to let in the pipework for the shower.  This created a dust storm the like of which was unbelieveable and my kitchen is now covered from top to bottom and will need a complete spring clean once they have finished.  We tried our best to minimise the amount of dust in the house with judicious use of fans but it was a bit like trying to stop a tidal wave with a teaspo…

Monday morning

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Not the best photo but considering it was taken with the iPad it's not too bad but sadly it doesn't do justice to the beautiful full moon that rose over the trees last night.  Our visitors arrived at around 11am and spent some time in with Mike chatting while I made preparations in the kitchen.  It was a very simple lunch of just a chicken and mushroom pie with peas and boiled potatoes.  I know that Len is very fond of both vegetables so it seem a good idea and also quite lazy.  I am getting pretty tired these days so taking the odd short cut is fine with me.  We have left over potatoes and peas which are going to make a vegetable curry for our lunch today.  The curry sauce is out of the freezer so it just needs mixing with the vegetables and reheating. If I cook rather too much rice we can then have an egg fried rice dish some other time.  I have a few jobs to get on with in the garden this morning which will keep me out of the kitchen and out from under the plumbers feet.  …

Sunday morning

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This morning is bright and sunny with a bit of a cold breeze blowing but it looks like its going to be a nice day.  The white camelia is dropping its flowers everywhere and it looks as if it has snowed actually both plants need feeding but I am out of ericaceous food for them so that needs to be on my shopping list.  
We were thinking about having the washing machine in the shed and the fact that I will not be able to hear when it has finished or when it complains of lack of water, something it does regularly and which demands the button pressing before it continues the cycle.  In order to get round this problem I am going to buy a very cheap baby alarm which will solve the problem and will also double as a communication link for Mike when I am up stairs so £20 well spent I think.
Today Len and Margaret are coming as yesterday proved too difficult.  However, Mike has had a sleepless night and would rather they didn't come.  Im sure this is just anxiety and he will be fine and wil…

Saturday morning

Another week has flown pasts and here we are again at the weekend.  Yesterday was a good day and most of my jobs got done with the exception of the gardening but maybe that will fit into todays plan.  The last of the rubbish got taken to the tip so the shed is ready to receive the washing machine.  The dogs got a good run in the woods and hens got cleaned out. Lunch was some lemon soles which had just been delivered by the fishmonger.  I hastily ran up a bit of tartare sauce to go with them and some sliced tomatoes made up the meal.  For supper we had one of my many favourite dishes 'corned beef hash' with fried eggs.  Needless to say the whole house smells of fried onions this morning but hopefully once the sun is up I can fling a few windows open and get some fresh air through.
The washing is machine is working hard and I am making sure that all the laundry is up to date so I will not be caught off guard when the plumber starts work.  Although the mornings have been foggy i…

Friday morning

After a bit of a dodgy start yesterday turned out to be a lovely day.  I did something I haven't done in years and that was just about nothing.  I faffed around and accomplished little.  I took some eggs next door to the nice neighbours and another half dozen to my Japanese friend where I had a lovely long chat and general moan.  James made us some cheese and bacon omelettes for lunch and for supper we had some rillettes of beef that I had made from some short ends of rib which had been over cooked and were looking like dog food.  However, once I had stripped the meat off and discarded the large lumps of fat I put the meat along with some of the jellied juices into the thermomix and blasted it. This resulted in a pâté like consistency which spread very nicely on toast and along with some lovely sweet pickled onions and some porcini mushrooms with garlic preserved in olive oil made a nice supper especially when we were presented with some lovely brioche buns stuffed with red bean …

Thursday morning

Thank goodness for friends, the back of the clearing is done between Sandie and Shiona's energy I have got to grips with what needed doing.  The bolognese sauce made a decent lunch for us all and for supper James made some pot sticker dumplings, pork and coriander, yum.  I have one more load to take to the tip and then I am done.  
Yesterday the rapid response team delivered a zimmer frame for Mike so that he is more stable as he trundles around.  However, I had to phone someone else to come and collect the backrest he refuses to use.  This seems a little crazy and inefficient way to handle things.  We also got a letter through for Mike to book an appointment to see a general surgeon at one of 4 hospitals - sounds good, but then you realise that you have no information about the waiting list times or the surgical skills of any of the general surgical teams.  Having spent a lifetime  working with surgeons I know that they come in all shapes and sizes ranging from excellent to down…

Wednesday morning

Yesterday was dim, dark, dismal and dull with a cold wind blowing.  There was a fine mist of rain from time to time.  We headed out bright and early to pick up the coffee and while I was there I picked up a couple of very large onions which meant that I only had to peel two to make my curry sauce.  An assortment of spices, lots of garlic and ginger, two tins of tomatoes and two tins of coconut milk a large bunch of coriander and the sauce was done.  I now have 4 bags of curry sauce for the freezer.  The sauce is mild and can be further jazzed up when you use it but the basics are done.  I also put a kilo of mince into the slow cooker along with the other ingredients for a bolognese sauce.  It still requires further cooking so the slow cooker is on now and one portion will be for our lunch the remainder will be frozen for later use.  
The house is clean and the laundry is up to date so I have clear decks to start moving stuff around and out to the garage and shed.  However first, I do…

Tuesday Morning

Well I hope you enjoyed the summer, I certainly did, but it has now turned colder and cloudier so I hope it is not over just yet.  It is so nice to get the laundry dry outside in fresh air and it makes ironing so much easier as you can judge the correct level of dampness.  Sandy came over to give me a hand with clearing the garage and we filled the boot of her car and took it to the tip.  That actually worked well as there was a flight of steps to ascend to bin the rubbish but as what we had was quite heavy Sandy handed me the boxes and I stayed at the top of the steps so we didn't have to keep running up and down.  I now have an entire double cupboard and the top shelf of another completely free and ready to start receiving the stuff from the utility room.  The cupboards a pretty filthy so they will need a good clean before I start piling things into them.  I also managed to clear one cupboard in the shed where the washing machine is going to go so hopefully the plumber can get …

Monday morning

Yesterday was gloriously sunny and warm but we were struggling with tiredness so it was a case of dragging ourselves through the day or at least until after lunch when we could crash out for a snooze. As my washing machine  needs moving, so that we can install a shower in its place, I am trying to get ahead with the laundry so I can manage without it for a few days.  To that end most of the washing was done and dried on the line in the fresh air. I even hung a load of sheets out over night hoping today will be just as nice and they will dry quickly once the sun comes up. I was at Aldi when they opened and got the night lights which are really very good.  I have placed one under the stairs alongside the fuze box as they come on immediately the power supply is cut.  The other I have placed at floor level so Mike can see his way to the loo as they are also motion sensitive. 
I also made up a kilo of flour into two nice loaves so we have plenty of bread at hand.  The veal chops were trul…

Sunday morning

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Well I am up bright and early this morning having had little sleep.  Mike managed to fall over on his way to the loo and fortunately James heard him and picked him up only to have injured himself in the process.  I had had this discussion with Mike yesterday as he was pottering around in his socks and I have a tiled floor in the kitchen which would be lethal if you fell.  Not only that but he had not put on any lights so it was pitch dark.  Anyway fortunately for us no real damage done apart from a gash down Mike's arm.  
Just when you think you have things sorted out another problem rears its ugly head.  Anyway the shower cubicle is being installed next Monday so just a week to wait and a week for me to clear the decks.  The total cost is coming in at less than half the cost of a stair lift and that includes doing the gas fire as well.  Once all the building work is completed I will look at having the carpets cleaned which I have been putting off for a couple of years now.
Today…

Saturday morning

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Yesterday was another dry day though not as sunny as the previous days it was lovely and warm reaching 12ºC by the afternoon.  I had a bit of an abortive trip to Faversham as they were out of my coffee and now they are going to give me a ring when it comes in so that I don't have to run out and check.  It is the same coffee that they are using in their cafe so they too are desperate for supplies.  In the mean time we will have to ration cups of coffee so we can eek out or meagre supplies.  That aside I did have a lovely breakfast with Sandy we had scrambled eggs on toast with tomato and iberico ham fried to ultimate crispness.  I did however purchase some "black watch", scotch eggs which are made with the most enormous eggs and coated in a pork and black pudding jacket before being breadcrumbed.  I have a passion for scotch eggs and these have to be the best commercial ones I have ever found.  They made a nice easy lunch with some rocket and borlotti bean salad and pick…

Friday morning

It is a bit cloudier this morning but still so much better than rain.  Yesterday was a glorious day of sunshine again that's two days in a row.  In fact it was so nice I actually got a line of washing dry outside and Gravesend, which is only a few miles away, again came up with the highest temperature in the country.  I organised a bed to be delivered today and the room is now ready to receive the bed when it arrives.  James shot off to M&S and bought a duvet so we are now up to running speed again. Mike seems much happier in the bosom of the family rather than relegated to the bedroom so that is also a bonus. Lunch was a sort of belated breakfast as we had a full english with sausage bacon eggs mushrooms and tomatoes.  Then for supper we had a couple of slices of welsh rarebit made as per  James Martin with a good slosh of beer and a big spoon of dijon mustard.  He served his over some crispy bacon which I didn't have so I used slices of parma ham; a bit extravagant but …

Thursday morning

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Yesterday was rather hell on wheels with lots of furniture moving anyway I had lots of help both Shiona and James worked like trojans.  The plumber came at 9am and we discussed the possibility of a shower in my utility room and moving my washing machine out to the shed.  Now all I can do is wait for a price and a date.  Before getting Mike down stairs I put him through the shower upstairs so he can start off clean.  By lunchtime we had done all the major work and we all sat down to a chicken curry lunch.  Zoe had brought a coffee and walnut cake for dessert so we were well fed.  When my vegetable box arrived on Tuesday it also contained a bottle of prosecco wine as a thank you present from Riverford for my 300th box of vegetables so glasses of bubbly were also on the menu.  
After lunch we took advantage of the great weather and took all 5 dogs out for a walk down by the river.  We were not the only ones with this idea it was packed with others with the same thought but we had a good…

Wednesday morning

The guy from Age UK came as arranged at 10am and took some measurements not only of the stairs but also of Mike in a seated position.  Then to cut a long story short he explained that we would have to have a very particular type of stair lift which takes you up at a 45º angle so he wouldn't get his knees knocked by the banisters.  It would mean moving a radiator as well so in the end the cost would be £6,500.  Well that was a bit of a shock, so a rethink was in order and we decided that it would be more cost effective to do what we have done in the past and make the front room into a bedroom and convert my laundry room into a shower room by adding just a shower as there is already a handbasin and toilet.  This would mean that Mike could stay downstairs and not need to go up the stairs again. So to that end we are expecting a plumber to come this morning to have a look at moving the washing machine to the shed and installing a shower in its place.
Shiona is back from Scotland and …

Tuesday Morning

I am bit late this morning but that is because after getting up a 3 I decided to go back to bed and fortunately fell into a deep sleep and have only now resurfaced.  Yesterday was a bit of a nothing day just chores to complete and dogs to walk.  Then all all of a sudden the doorbell rang and the there was Sandy unannounced and bearing gifts; a lovely bunch of lilies for me and a smashing fruit cake for us to share.  Well needless to say the fruit cake has vanished but the lilies are doing fine.  James made a lovely lasagne for our supper and for lunch we had some smoked mackerel with horseradish and toast. 
Shopping got done, dogs got walked, laundry was processed and the day ticked along nicely. We were unsure if we would be able to dry the laundry outside and as luck would have it we decided against pegging it out which was just as well as we had several very sharp showers so it was the right decision.
Today we are expecting the guy to come and discuss the possibility of the stair …