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Showing posts from April, 2014

Wednesday Morning

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The choisya is a froth of white at the moment and is enjoying the alternating sun and rain.  I had a really lazy day yesterday I got few chores done in the morning but then it poured with rain most of the afternoon so I put my feet up and watched a whole load of garbage on the TV.  The sun is not quite up yet but it looks very murky and misty and the weather forecast is not good.  The load of washing I had done was just ready in time for the rain so it got put through the tumble dryer.  I have more to do but the weather doesn't look hopeful at the moment. 
The corned beef hash went down a storm for lunch, and for supper the boys organised a curry which was lovely as I had nothing to do.  I am trying to make the most of having both sons at home and bracing myself for when it all falls to me again.
Can you believe it was 6 months ago that I got my Bibo machine, well it is, as the new filters have just turned up in the post so that I can change them which will be interesting as I ha…

Tuesday morning

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What a lovely day yesterday was the weather was just perfect for my taste it was sunny and warm with a gentle wind blowing down at the river.


James and I took the the dogs for a nice walk.  We are so lucky we have acres of public space to walk the dogs which ranges from a formal public park to the rambling acres of land flanking the river and inland we have the wooded crest of the north downs all of which offer good dog walking country with well maintained paths.  
We doubled back via Aldi where I bought some scallops prepared in the half shell in a white wine sauce.  They were £2.99 for 4 which made a very nice lunch and for supper we had some pasta bolognese with a nice green salad so another nice easy day in the kitchen.  Today I rather fancy some corned beef hash for lunch  and supper will have to be something on toast.
OK I am keeping it short this morning as it is very early so I am going to try and get a couple of hours more sleep before I really get going seriously with the da…

Monday morning

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In the pot is a hosta which usually ends up looking like a net curtain but this year I have lifted it up on to the table and given it a good dose of slug killer.  Slug pellets are something I don't usually use because of the dogs but with it raised up I hope they are safe.  Now all we need to see is if it works!!!!!
I did a bit of hard thinking over the weekend and have decided that I will not replace my hens probably until next spring.  I have to get Mike sorted out and need as little extra work as possible so the garden is taking a back seat and will remain largely unplanted and the hens can wait until things are a bit more settled.  It certainly will do the ground no harm to sit fallow for a year and recuperate also.  
We took the dogs for a nice walk in the woods yesterday morning and then on to Dobbies for a chicken and back just in time to get it in the halogen oven.  While we were in the shop we had a look at some antler chews which will be tough enough for Tubby but at £1…

Sunday morning

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Tulips are blooming now and these are a really odd colour they don't know if they are orange or pink.  I have no memory of ever having planted them or what they are called but they do look rather nice in a group.

Yesterday was a bad day for me I was very tired and listless and really didn't want to do anything at all which is unlike me.  Lunch was made mostly in the thermomix where I made a big dollop of polenta with loads of butter and cheese.  With it we had some huge butterflied prawns and a handful of scallops all of which were just seared on the griddle and the courgettes were made into a ribbon salad.  A pot of salsa verde made up the remainder of the meal and added a bit of umph to the what could have been very bland. The remaining polenta was allowed to set and then sliced and fried with some bacon for supper so a very easy and simple couple of meals with little work involved.  The slicing of the polenta proved difficult with a knife so I resorted to the old fashioned…

Saturday morning and another week gone

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The first of the roses to emerge in the spring is canary bird which is small and single but very pretty none the less. I suppose it is like a yellow wild dog rose in style with arching branches.  
Yesterday was a miserable and wet day I had a few errands to run in the morning but I had prepared lunch early on.  The pork fillet was rolled in parma ham slices and then put on a sheet of parchment and made ready for the oven.  The purple sprouting broccoli was dressed with the anchovy sauce while it was still warm and then left to sit at room temperature.  The recipe for the sauce is easily found at:-
http://memoriediangelina.com/2014/03/19/cavolfiore-in-salsa-di-acciughe-cauliflower-in-anchovy-sauce/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cavolfiore-in-salsa-di-acciughe-cauliflower-in-anchovy-sauce
It sounds really off the wall but it is very tasty and would be fab on cauliflower which can be a bit bland to say the least.  
Supper was courtesy of Aldi I had bought a frozen sa…

Friday morning

Well I have had a fruitless couple of hours trying to convert a snippet of video to put on this blog but try as I might everything so far has failed.  https://www.facebook.com/diane.epps has the small snippet from yesterdays shooting trip.  When we set off from here the weather was looking a bit grim but as we approached Dartford the sun came out and we had a really nice time.  All three of us shot a round of 25 shots and we had parked the car with the tailgate open just close to where we were shooting.  Basso and Tubby were seated in the gallery watching proceedings it was nice to see that with his gun-dog mate alongside Tubby showed no signs of gun shyness.  Once we had finished we went to the club house and had a bacon and egg sandwich each and a bowl of chips to share.  When I say share I include our four footed friends who are rather partial to chips.
I had left Mike a lunch which was easy for him to eat and we all sat down to a good supper of meatballs and gratinated leeks that…

Thursday morning

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Oh dear, another early start so much for sleeping in a bit later.  I have been awake since just after 3.30 which is a bit ridiculous.  Yesterday went well we took my huge blanket to the laundry and they have texted me to say it is now ready for collection so that is on my list for this morning.  It is the last item of camping gear then it is all finished and packed ready for the next trip.  While we were out we took the dogs for a nice run in the woods and I bought Tubby a huge cowhide chew which I thought he would enjoy chewing over a few days or even weeks but with his bite strength he devoured it in one afternoon.  
I went ahead with the experiment with the salt crust baked parsnips which had good results.  Some of the parsnips I baked and some I boiled so we had a direct comparison.  Those that were baked had much more parsnip flavour but they did pick up some of the salt.  The boiled seemed very bland in comparison.  This is something I would do again and possibly try with other…

Wednesday morning

Yesterday was all a bit of a blur what with Denny doing the house and Mark in the garden a considerable amount of headway was made.  All the washing and ironing has been done and put away with the exception of the huge fleece bed cover which I hope to get to the launderette today.  I went to Aldi and restocked on some basics and I even bought some bread there which was not at all bad.  I am some what out of sync with the bread making and have not yet caught up.  We were expecting Denzil home yesterday but he has decided to stop off and have a day in London on his way home.  So adjustments to the menu were made.  Mike only fancied some hot cross buns for supper so James and I had beans and eggs on toast and the bolognese which is vacuum packed lives on for another day.  
While I was out shopping James took the dogs for a walk and while he was sitting in the car ready to pull away he had the great good fortune to witness the neighbour who gave him such a hard time back his car straight…

Tuesday morning

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Up a bit earlier this morning but I have a busy day ahead.  I finally got all the laundry done and finished it is all ironed and ready to put away.  I was very lucky as the day was bright and sunny until late afternoon when we were treated to a major downpour.  By then all the laundry was dry and in being ironed so escaped the deluge.  As it was a day of labour lunch was just a mushroom risotto and a big green salad then for supper a bunch of chipolatas were made into sausage sandwiches and that was supper.  Today looks equally busy as we are due to have Denny visit and though we have managed to keep the house pretty tidy I know it will be much cleaner once she has passed her magic wand over it.  I am also expecting Mark the gardener to come at 8am and he will need a quick tour of the garden which is in desperate need of some attention.  My neighbour has some sort of climber which is a total hooligan and completely swamps my plants it takes quite a bit of work to keep the thing under…

Monday Morning

Later again this morning I am trying to do something about my early rising and though I was up at 4am I went back to bed and managed a couple of hours more sleep.  So far no sign of a headache so maybe things are getting better.  I must admit that after my week away I do feel more relaxed and less stressed.  Having both adult sons at home meant that I could completely relax about Mike as I knew he was in good hands.  
The shepherds pie I made for lunch was delicious as I had made a well reduced stock from the bones and some how the meat from a roasted lamb joint has a much better flavour.  I decided to chop the meat rather than mince it so everything was basically diced and the top was of sliced ready cooked potatoes with a handsome amount of cheddar cheese to form a good crust.  Not exactly traditional but very good none the less.  
Today the weather looks much better with bright sunshine though we have had a plenty of rain yesterday and overnight which the garden was certainly in n…

Easter Sunday

What has happened to the weather it is really miserable today.  It is not actually raining but it will not be long I think.  Fortunately I have no intention of doing any more washing to do today.  I do however, have masses of ironing to do.  Yesterdays roast lamb has left sufficient for a shepherds pie today and the masses of potatoes I boiled have been largely used some for roast with the lamb shoulder and some saute with eggs for supper the remainder were made into potato scones which are now in the freezer and the last few will top my shepherd pie.  
I am very late writing this blog as I had a pretty rotten night's sleep and got up late when the boys were already in full flow so finding a few quiet minutes to write this has proved a bit difficult.  Fortunately they have taken the dogs out for a walk so the house is at last quiet and though women are supposed to be good at multitasking I find it difficult to compose and type while there is general mayhem going on.  
I think tod…

Saturday Morning

Laundry, laundry, laundry, my machine was running all day yesterday with load after load of washing both from the caravan and from the house and I am still not there yet.  According to the weather forecast we are due for some rain today though at the moment it doesn't look bad at all with blue skies and little puffy white clouds.  Perhaps it will hold off until my line is full of washing!!!! Anyway I have at least broken the back of it.  The stuff which is from the van goes back into a collapsible plastic crate ready to be taken back on the next trip that way I don't get it all muddled up with the general household washing.  I always leave the van with clean linen as the last thing you want to do when you are newly arrived is to set to and make up the bed.  You can imagine with 4 adults in the house there is plenty of general washing anyway.
We decided to shoot out to Tesco and stock up on a few bits and bobs but you should have seen it. The place was heaving with folks with …

Good Friday morning

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Good morning all.  Well I am back at home after my week away in the Rendlesham forest and were we ever blessed with the weather it was wall to wall sunshine.  However, there was a cold wind blowing which meant it wasn't very warm but what do you expect in April.  The nights were particularly cold and we did feel very sorry for those in tents as the temperatures dropped down close to freezing at night.  We however were fully centrally heated and kept the van at around 20 degrees which was nice and comfortable.  One thing is now without doubt and that is that I am allergic to pine pollen as within 12 hours of arrival I was completely breathless.  Fortunately the vans medical box contained a packet of Piriton and I started taking one every 4 hours, they made me a bit dopey but at least I could breath.  The first morning we drove into Framlingham and went to a country fair but sadly I was very under par so I didn't really make the most of it however things improved as the Piriton…

Thursday Morning

Well today is the day and I hope I have everything organised.  It is just a case of packing the stuff in the car.  I could have packed it last night but I didn't want to come down and find that the car had been robbed.  So this morning it will all be piled in but I have the boys to help me load up.  Shiona will arrive at some moment with her  dogs and stuff so once we are all set we can go.  Hopefully we should all be set up by about three in the afternoon and then we intend to have a fish and chip supper and early night. 
Keep your fingers crossed for me as I am a little apprehensive that all goes according to plan.
If I can I will blog on my phone but the area is notorious for bad signals so you may have to wait for the omnibus edition.
I will be back on the 17th hopefully well rested and revitalised.

Thursday Morning

Yesterday was the first day when not only did we have sunshine but also no wind so it was actually warm enough to sit outside in the garden for a cup of tea.  We started the morning off with a trip to Faversham for some coffee and while there Denzil treated me to one of their lovely breakfasts which of course meant neither of us felt much like lunch.  I filled the car with diesel on the way home and as it was Tesco's garage I got some money off my purchase.  The roast chicken got postponed until dinner time as none of us felt much like it at lunch.  As usual the bird was cooked in the halogen oven and as it was a large one I gave it 45mins breast down and 45 minutes breast up which was perfect. Between the four of us we made short work of it and all that is left is the carcass which is in the slow cooker bubbling away merrily.  Some how I had managed to accrue a load of courgettes so they were quickly grated and made into pancakes which I know freeze well so those that are not ea…

Wednesday morning

Lots to do today but at least the house is spick and span.  We took the dogs out for a long walk yesterday which gave Deny a free run of the house without any hindrance from the beasts.  Lunch was all but ready and all I had to do was the chops and for supper we simply had a bacon sandwich each. Today I have a chicken to roast which I will do as usual in the halogen oven, however first I have to take a run to Faversham to buy some coffee and I also need to fill the car with diesel ready for our journey.  If I have the time I would like to swing by M&S and restock my underwear which is looking a little tired to say the least.  I had hoped to split these jobs between today and tomorrow but Mikes brother is coming to visit tomorrow morning which rules that out.  I also need to glance over the clothes I intend to take with me and make sure they are all clean.  This time of year is difficult as you need both warm things and cooler things as the weather is pretty unpredictable.  Still …

Tuesday Morning

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Yesterday morning was miserable and wet so I rang the consultants secretary to check Mikes status on the operating list.  Good news is that he is due to have an anaesthetic assessment on 2nd May with a view to the operation on 9th June so that is a time frame we can live with.  It will make a big difference to him to be less bedridden and able to walk around a bit more.  However, it would be pointless to move the bed back upstairs as they will still present a big problem to him.  Anyway we are now well equipped for life on the ground floor.


As you can see Tubby has made himself at home and thinks it kind of us to provide a kingsized bed for him to snooze on.  The dogs are not normally allowed on the beds but they have been know to sneak in when you are not looking.

Yesterday we had an interesting lunch of dough balls with crab pate, smoked salmon and some char grilled artichokes.  The dough balls were commercially made but as I was in the process of bread making I thought it would b…

Monday morning

Yesterday was a bit of a damp dull day and towards the evening it became quite blustery.  It has been raining overnight but is currently dry.
For lunch we had a nice salad nicoise made with fresh tuna or at least frozen tuna which I just seared then sliced.  It looked like a huge bowl full but surprisingly we managed to motor through it with no trouble.  I have been catching up on years of lost sleep and spent a good couple of hours sound asleep in the afternoon.  James was in charge of doing the pot sticker dumplings which the boys and I had for supper but Mike decided he fancied some soup so I ran him up a portion of carrot and orange soup in the thermomix which he had with the last of the panna cottas.  I have vowed not to make any more for a while as they are just too easy to make and eat and so high in calories. 
The kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it but we decided to leave it for this morning when we might feel more like tackling it.  The problem was that the dishwasher was …

Sunday morning

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Sunday morning and it is hosing down with rain I got a fair amount of laundry dry yesterday but I still have a machine load to go. So I guess the tumble dryer will be put to work today as the rain is due for the day and tomorrow also.


Spring is really here and next doors amelanchier is in full bloom as are many of the black thorn bushes which bodes well for some sloes this autumn.  Everyones gardens look lovely with the spring bulbs doing really well.  They obviously didn't mind all the wet weather we had over the winter.  As yet my vegetable plot is sitting unloved but I have rather too much to do at the moment and the garden has had to take a back seat.  I am hoping that Mark will be able to give me a few hours towards the end of April which will knock the garden into shape so it doesn't look such a mess.  The only thing doing really well at the moment are the weeds.  
We had a lovely lunch of pork chops with sage and onion stuffing cauliflower and leeks and followed it with…

Saturday Morning

Well yesterday saw a miracle I had a brake light out on the drivers side so I took the car to Kwik Fit to have it replaced and the tyre pressures checked.  The garage is only about 100 yards from the house so I trotted back for my lunch.  Halfway through eating my lovely dover sole and purple sprouting broccoli the phone rang to say the car was ready so I quickly finished my meal and off I went to collect it. Now I hope you are sitting down - total cost including VAT £5.99.  I was dumbfounded my usual bill from the main dealer is seldom under £500 no matter what you have done!!!  I will certainly be using them again if I have minor bits and pieces that need doing.
On my shopping expedition in the morning I bought a large bag of onions as I intended to make some french onion soup with a nice top of gruyere cheese and a crusty crouton.  This we had for supper with some of the faggots from the butcher.  I also made a few panna cottas, this time plain with no chocolate and they have set …

Friday Morning

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From this 
to this
An improvement don't you think?  The new gas fire is nowhere near as bulky and removing the pine cladding has made the room look bigger.
Yesterday when Shiona arrived we did a trawl of the butcher and the fishmonger I bought some bits and bobs from the butcher including some faggots freshly made which we will have for supper today and in the fishmonger I bought some dover soles caught that night which still had rigor mortis which is about as fresh as they come.  The soles will be for lunch today and as they are quite big I think it will need the oven to cook them.  We had intended to do Aldi as well but instead we did Wilko and bought the bits to rehang the picture over the fire.  Denzil and Shiona took the dogs for a walk after lunch which was a very nice mushroom risotto and I tried to get an hours shut eye but failed.  So in the end it was an early night instead.  I had made a couple of loaves of bread in the morning and we had some toasted with potted shrim…

Thursday morning

Yesterday went according to plan we set off for the hospital an hour early even though it is a five minute drive.  The morning rush hour at the hospital sees the road surrounding it backed up for miles so it is necessary to get there early rather than sit in traffic for an hour and arrive late. The clinic was running half an hour late anyway so it was a bit of a drag.  We saw the registrar who agreed that this was an urgent case and would be put on the list.  I then queried just how long that wait might be and was told probably the end of June to July.  This seems a very long way off so I mentioned that perhaps we should think about using our Benenden cover to get it done more quickly.  Suddenly I was ushered in to see the consultant.  Having discussed his condition we agree that nothing could be done until he had been assessed by the anaesthetists who will be most unhappy with his chest.  So we are back to floating around in the wilderness.  Once Mike was settled back at home and re…

Wednesday Morning

Today is another red letter day Mike has an appointment at the hospital to have his hernia looked at by a consultant surgeon and hopefully will have a place on the waiting list.  However it could be 18 weeks before he is treated which is nearly 5 months!!!!  This is a very long time to be nursing him lying flat most of the time.  Lying down is also the worst position for his chest so I will be looking to make the point to the consultant in the hope of getting things moving a bit more quickly. Anyway fingers crossed that things go smoothly.  The logistics of getting him to the hospital are going to be fun in any case.  
Yesterday, was a glorious spring day with buckets of warm sunshine.  The washing machine was put to good use and everything dried beautifully on the line.  The dogs had a good run around the rugby field which was in a terrible state: following the weekends games the place was covered with litter. There were hundreds of plastic water bottles just scattered far and wide …

Tuesday Morning

Yesterday was supposed to be a nice quiet day.  However it turned out to be a bit of a messy day with James feeling pretty under the weather from lack of sleep and I too was not at full strenght.  However he ended up in the medway hospital where he was taken by ambulance when he fainted while out shopping.  So Denzil and I had to go and fetch him from casualty where we sat for about two hours with no one showing any interest and with James now feeling better we decided to beat a hasty retreat. The only problem was that the ambulance crew had moved his car and we spent a good long time driving around to try and find it.  In the end we drove to the ambulance station to try and find out where the car was only to find it parked just outside.  The ambulance station is only about half a mile from home so Denzil drove the car home.  Once we were all back in the fold it was a case of having a lunch as quickly as possible so we had a kebab from the takeaway and for supper we had a curry also …