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Showing posts from May, 2014

Saturday Morning

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Good morning all what a gorgeous start to the day the sun is shining the sky is clear it is a bit chilly at 11ºC but who cares if the sun is shining.  I had to put in this photo of the first ever flower on a clematis I put in years ago which has been consistently covered by next doors vine.  They have stripped away most of the vine and at last my side of the fence is getting a bit of light and the plants are beginning to flower.  

As you can see the smoked salmon terrine worked out really well it could have done with a bit longer in the fridge to set a bit more solidly but we were too keen to give it a try.  We ate about half of it with hot toast for lunch and the remainder will be on the lunch menu for today but with a nice array of salads.  I put it all in a 1lb loaf tin double lined with cling film so it came out very easily.  This works well with the asparagus but if that is out of season I don't see why it will not work with another vegetable - red peppers spring to mind.  T…

Friday Morning

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Yesterday was a sort of nothing type day some friends popped in for coffee on their way to B&Q to buy a replacement plant for one that was stolen from their front garden.  James had his treatment and was not quite as poleaxed as on previous occasions so I am hoping that this is a good sign.  
In the photo is the black elder bush behind the pond which because it has black leaves has pink panicles of flowers rather than the normal white, which I think looks very attractive but sadly like most plants the flowering season is short.  I eventually plucked up the courage to check on the bean plants and was delighted that the pigeons have left them alone.  I managed to get a batch of towels out on to the line and then a quick whiz in the tumbler and they were done.  We did get the odd glimmer of sunshine but it was largely overcast with odd bits of drizzle.
This morning I have awakened with a mortally stiff neck so I guess I must have slept awkwardly so breakfast is going to be paracetam…

Thursday Morning

Well it is another dismal grey day with thick dark clouds covering the sky.  We managed to get the dogs out for a walk yesterday between showers but everywhere was so wet they came home soaked but we were largely dry.  Shiona was due over here today but things have conspired against her and she will possibly be coming over tomorrow.  We are also hoping that James flat contents will be picked up tomorrow and once the good stuff has gone we can then set to and clear out the rubbish and get it to the tip.  He has to give 28 days notice so as soon as the paperwork arrives we can get on and get that filled in and sent off.  I think we are all sad that it hasn't worked out but in the end it make economic sense to run just the one property.  Given his health issues and those of Mike it seems sensible that we stick together under one roof and help each other through the difficult times.  After all isn't that what family is about.
My cookery plans went a bit awry yesterday when I open…

Wednesday morning

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What a miserable day yesterday was it rained continuously for between 24-36 hours with not a moments let up and it is still raining.  It was never very heavy but relentless.  So what to do with such an awful day - shopping, but not until after I had cleaned the fridge which in the end took about half an hour so not exactly a major task.  Once that was done we headed off to Macknades in Faversham.  Where we restocked with coffee beans and a few other nice little bits and bobs.  In fact we purchased lunch a really lovely sourdough loaf, some gorgonzola dolce, some sundried tomatoes, grilled artichokes in oil and some cipolline in agrodolce.  For Mike a packet of biscuits and some fudge to which he is addicted.  I seldom get out of that shop with a bill of less than £100 but the coffee is £11 per kilo so 4 bags takes a big chunk of the money.  Anyway that done it was on to the butcher in Brogdale better known for its fruit tree collection but the butcher is good quality and has a nice s…

Tuesday morning

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Rain rain and more rain what a wet day we had yesterday and it is still raining this morning.  Typical bank holiday weather!!!!  We had a few hours of dry weather in the morning then by lunchtime it was wet and it has stayed that way ever since.
The lasagne for lunch went down well and there is enough for a second dose today.  Half an iceberg lettuce is still left so there will be a salad to go with it.  For supper we had some fish fingers and the remains of a bag of oven chips I found in the bottom of the freezer and a tomato salad.  I am trying to clear up a lot of stuff from the freezer so I can run it down and then have some fun refilling it.  Today I have an order from Tesco being delivered which is largely heavy stuff like bottles of squash and fizzy water in fact there is nothing on the order that was at full price.  It is also the day for my vegetable box to be delivered so that should spark some ideas.  I notice that I have no onions coming so I will have to get some as I ca…

Monday morning

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Well as it is a bank holiday it is wet! Yesterday was a fine day and great for laundry as there was a stiff breeze blowing.  Over night it has rained and everywhere looks very wet and is still dripping although the rain has stopped the sky is still very overcast.  
The dogs had a lovely run and a paddle in the sea as the tide was well in when we went for our walk. We have just about worked out a route that gives the dogs lots of fun while we don't walk too far for either James foot or poor old Nip who is keen to come but runs out of stream if we go too far.  
Once home with the line full of laundry drying in the breeze I set to to make lunch which was a pork fillet.  I had been mulling around what to do with it as it can end up tough and tasteless.  I had an idea I had bought some alpine sausages [salami type] so I thought I could use one to stuff the fillet.  Once it was trimmed of all the sinew I drilled a hole through the centre with my knife steel and then pushed the salami i…

Sunday morning

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Very late this morning as I had a terrible night and finally fell asleep around 3am so I am now all confused.  Yesterday was a day of two halves the morning was dry but very overcast and then in the afternoon it poured with rain and we even had some thunder.  We shot out and did a bit of shopping in the morning and I bought more of the venison burgers from Aldi and a piece of pork fillet which we will have for lunch today.  I made a jumbo salad nicoise for lunch and then for supper we had spaghetti carbonara.  Any hopes I had of doing some laundry were soon dashed when I saw the weather so the pile is just getting higher and higher.

Before the rain started I picked a nice bunch of roses from the garden as I knew the rain would give them a real battering so I might as well enjoy then in the house.  
Today looks rather the same as yesterday with some very dark clouds passing overhead but at present it is dry so we will need to get out with the dogs before the weather changes.  So far w…

Saturday Morning

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The rain has freshened up the garden but the temperatures have stayed quite low.  We got out early with the dogs and as luck would have it the tide was in so Tubby had a go at getting in the water but only up to his chest.  This is one area where Basso will be no help to him as he hates swimming and only ever paddles.  
The butternut squash curry was OK and to it I added a handful of foraged sea beet which grows in abundance along the banks of the estuary.  I find it quite impossible to pass by free food and not make some use of it.  I looked longingly at the elderflowers and though I should make some elderflower cordial but then who is there to drink it.  For supper we had a venison burger [Aldi] with melted emmental cheese and a fried egg.  So I guess a cheeseburger without the bun.  Although it threatened to rain we never actually got any but I am sure that is because we stayed indoors. Had we gone out it would have rained for certain. It is not that I am a pessimist you understan…

Friday Morning

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Yesterday worked out just right for us as we managed to get the dogs out for a nice run first thing while the sun was shining and the rain held off until we had done all the outdoor jobs.  As I had made some stock with the bones of the chicken it seems a good day for a risotto so that is what we had for lunch along with a huge green salad.  Supper was a takeaway kebab which I think is the least worst of the possible takeaways.  After all it is just grilled meat, salad and pitta bread so how bad can that be?
James received a copy of a letter sent from the pain clinic to his GP which read like a fairy story it is so full of mistakes and inaccuracies.  He is happy to just laugh it off but I would have taken a red pen to it and marked it then returned it to the sender.  It claimed that he has had an arthroscopy and various other treatments which are a complete figment of the imagination as you all know they did absolutely nothing by way of treatment.  Just a few more errors to add to the…

Thursday morning

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Alliums in the sunshine
Yesterday was a normal sort of a day Shiona arrived as usual about 10am just after James had left for his EMDR session.  After a coffee and a quick chat we headed off for Aldi where she had a major restock and I grabbed a few bits and bobs.  That done it was home to cook the lunch well the chicken at least as I had already made the kohlrabi gratin which was rather nice.  I also set too and made a chiffon cake which took no time at all as with two of us it only took minutes to make.  I beat the egg whites and made the meringue part while Shiona did the yolks and sugar bit then it was a case of amalgamating the two bowls of egg mixture into the ring mould tin and into the oven it went.  25 minutes later it was cooked and out cooling upside down on a funnel.  Because it is so light it cools very quickly and we were able to fill the centre with whipped cream and raspberries and eat it for dessert.  
We had just finished lunch when James returned and though we had …

Wednesday morning

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Sorry about yesterday I didn't notice that Google had messed up until quite late and reposted the blog which for some reason had stayed as a draft. No idea what happened I guess it was a glitch in the matrix or something.
The whole day yesterday it looked like rain was imminent the sky was black with heavy rain clouds but not a drop fell.  I felt quite sure it would rain as I hung out a heavy bedspread which had been through the washing machine but it dried in the cold wind quite quickly.  It is quite amazing how the weather can change from day to day here in the UK it is no wonder we spend so much time discussing it. One day you need a bikini and the next you need a fur coat!!!!
Deny came and worked her magic on the house and I set to and made the dough for the pizza bases. James friend turned up just as they were going in the oven so it was lunch for 4.  I made two large square pizza's one with salami the other with grilled artichokes, anchovies and black olives.  They both…

Tuesday Morning

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This is a tiny siberian iris but really beautiful none the less - I love all irises they are so intricate and colourful.

Yesterday was another glorious sunny and hot day and the rain we had been forecast never appeared so all the washing got dried in no time.  Today looks more overcast so it may be a bit cooler and more conducive to ironing.  Leek and potato soup and slice of toast did us for lunch and for supper we had some meatballs with pasta.  The pasta was a shape I had not seen before it was like a very thick macaroni and long like spaghetti.  Once cooked it behave like a bucket of live eels and as we tried to serve it more ended up on the floor or work surface than on the plate.  It was also impossible to eat without getting smothered in tomato sauce.  We must have looked like a chimps tea party trying to eat this very uncooperative pasta!!!!  Anyway it gave us a great laugh as we chased it all over the place. The dogs thought it was great fun as pasta was raining down on them…

Monday morning

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What a glorious day it was yesterday with wall to wall sunshine and lovely warm temperatures.  We got out with the dogs bright and early before it got too warm and then doubled back via Tesco where we bought some bits for making a mexican lunch of tortillas and salsa.  Then it was on with a bit of carpentry as the cable for James TV was actually located inside a built in cupboard and we needed to get it out which meant sawing out a section of wood.  That done we managed to get all the tech stuff up and running.  I took myself off for a visit with my elderly neighbour she is in her 90's but as bright as a button.  However, she does get very depressed that she can no longer do what she wants as her body has packed up on her.  She has a doting son who lives with her and takes very good care of her so she feels guilty as she knows that she is very lucky.  Sadly even when your rational mind tells you things your heart doesn't necessarily believe it.  I know this as I frequently te…

Sunday Morning

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Up much later this morning after a very good nights sleep last night - I seem to get progressively more tired then have a big sleep and regain some lost ground.  We successfully moved the huge sofa from James flat and while the men did that I collected up all the contents of the fridge freezer and unplugged it and left it open to the air.  My freezer is now stuffed with all that stuff but that is fine as there were several containers of bolognese sauce and boxes of meatballs so we can motor through those this week.  
I made another chiffon cake the centre of which I filled with cream and raspberries - did I get a chance of a photo - no it got eaten by all and sundry in moments.  It is so light you really feel you are not eating anything bad if you exclude the cream!!!!  I believe there are special tins for making it in but my savarin mould did the job quite well. Correct tin with the tabs to allow it to cool upside down.  I just upended my tin on funnel and allowed it to cool that wa…

Saturday Morning

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Snowballs in summer 
The viburnum looks really lovely covered in these perfect snowballs sadly it is also covered in black fly on the new growth but nothing that my secateurs cannot fix.  
Mark came and had a good tidy up in the garden.  My garden umbrella had seen better days so that was dismantled and some of the metal was put out for the rag and bone men who regularly patrol up and down the road.  The actual umbrella part, without the cloth cover, has made an interesting stake for one of the clematis.  
Things were a bit chaotic here and lunch ended up being soup and toast.  I was feeling a bit ropey but set to and made the chiffon cake which I flavoured with lemon - there is none left - so I guess that is what you would call a success.  I didn't have the correct tin for it so I used a savarin mould which worked quite well.  I think it would be really lovely with fresh raspberries and some whipped cream but even on its own it was very tasty.  Having demolished the cake we none…

Friday Morning

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Has summer arrived?  yesterday was a really lovely day warm and sunny.  I fiddled a bit in the garden but didn't accomplish much.  Mark is due today and I expect he will do a better job than I did.  I am hoping he will have made up his mind about the Smart car and if he has decided that he doesn't want it then I will put it on Autotrader and get it sold that way.   
I had a bit of a chat with my Japanese neighbour who has given me a recipe for a nice chiffon cake which I must have a go at as it is very moist but contains no fat and only a small amount of sugar.  It is the sort of cake you can eat with a clear conscience.  Today will have to be a day of salad as I have loads of lettuce in the fridge and I quite fancy a pasta puttanesca for lunch which is nice and easy.  
When I was buying the dog and fish food I bought some tins of Chappie for Nip and guess what he devoured it with great pleasure so maybe his refusal to eat is because he doesn't fancy the biscuits that the…

Thursday morning

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If your garden is full of weeds then send a dog to do the weeding.  Tubby came in from the garden wearing a complete jacket of "sticky willy", sadly I didn't quite get the camera in time to get the full effect but as you can see his colleagues were quite impressed with his efforts.  As it turned out my plans to go shooting got put on hold and instead I organised my bedroom which was no mean feat as I had to dismantle my TV cabinet and needed a hammer and hacksaw to remove some of the transformers anyway it got done even with my Heath Robinson carpentry. 
 When I went to put out the garden waste I had to move the smart car a few inches to get the bin out of the garage and guess what it wouldn't start the battery was completely flat so it was a case of getting the RAC to replace it and another £80 down the tubes but now at least it is running smoothly and we must remember to start it up at least once a week until we have time to sell it.  
A trip to Aldi was needed fo…

Wednesday morning

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Not so much fifty shades of grey as fifty shades of green. With the sun on it the garden looks none too bad if you don't look too closely.  My excuse for all the weeds is to help the bees!!!!

Yesterday turned upside down Sandy's son would prefer to come on Saturday afternoon which seems like a better idea and Mark is coming on Friday instead so my plans went topsy turvy.  Elly dropped by for a cup of coffee and was duly impressed by the new shower and fire installation.  
The vegetarian curry lunch was not bad at all despite the brown rice and and quinoa looking more like wallpaper paste it tasted OK once combined with the curry sauce.  I had rather overdone the quantity so the dogs got a portion of the rice.  Sadly Basso is not good at rice with his huge mouth and massive tongue he finds the little grains impossible and they get scattered all over the place.  The two terriers soon clear up his mess hoovering up every single grain not much gets left on my kitchen floor. 
The …

Tuesday morning

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Good news, I thought I would be posting bad news about Nip but he has perked up and is eating again he even accompanied us for a short walk yesterday and seems to be back to normal after his day of starvation and rest and giving us all a big fright.  


I made a large pot of curry sauce which is in the process of being frozen, sadly I am short of the right size containers so I am freezing in batches and then transferring to poly bags for longer term storage. Lunch was a tuna salad with an accompanying mixed bean salad and supper was some saute potatoes and fried eggs.  Not exactly what the starch based diet recommends but moving in that general direction with the major component of the meal being a starch food and the protein element much less than normal.  Today for lunch I intend to use the last of the curry sauce and serve it with some brown rice and quinoa as a sort of vegetarian curry.  Then supper is going to be a bit of a hit and miss affair as we are expecting to take Sandi and…

Monday morning

What a grotty weekend weather wise.  Yesterday was another blustery cold and wet day.  Nip has been very under the weather and so stayed at home while we took the other dogs for a walk.  He just lay listlessly on the floor and refused any food.  He is however drinking so if he is no better this morning it will be a trip to the vet.  I left him last night sleeping in an armchair with Mike but he has disappeared from there so I guess he will have made his way upstairs to share with James and the other dogs.  He is nearly 14 years old which is a good age for a dog - I believe you multiply by 7 to get and equivalent age which make him 98 so he is a very old man.  Anyway we will see how he is when everybody is up and awake.  
We were late getting out with the dogs so lunch was the quickest and easiest ever. We just had some fresh tagliatelle with lots of butter, parmesan and a good grating of pepper.  If you like pasta this is a dish I can recommend very simple but tasty and if you serve …

Sunday morning

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Well winter is back with a vengeance it is blowing a gale and we had loads of rain yesterday.  The sky looks dark and ominous so I guess we are in for another miserable day weather wise.  Yesterdays trip to the hospital was almost a pleasure as the place is all but closed at the weekend it is easy to negotiate and as the clinic was mopping up outstanding work they were cracking through it at speed. James had his treatment and came home shattered so went straight to bed after his lunch and slept soundly until 7pm.  The treatment is very taxing on his emotions and left him completely drained. Still let's hope that it is doing the job and that he will see some benefit from it.
As we had finished off the minestrone for lunch I rustled up a chicken curry for supper with some meat that was in the freezer for making a pie but it worked well with the curry sauce added and a pot of brown rice made for a decent meal.  Both James and I like our food quite spicy but Mike hates any form of ch…

Saturday morning

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Yesterday went according to plan I made the bread base for some pizza which were then liberally doused with mozzarella and tomato and some slices of salami then 10 minutes in a 300ºC oven saw them lovely and crisp with no soggy bottoms.  A large pot of minestrone was quietly bubbling away and that did us for supper.  It may well do us for lunch today as well as we are all out and about this morning.  Mike is going for his echo and James for his EMDR.  The weather is really filthy and pouring with rain at the moment so hot soup will be welcome.  Fortunately we had managed to get all the laundry dry and back in doors before the rain started.  The bedding is all done, all that is left are the towels and I am happy to put them through the tumble dryer.  
The house seems very empty without Denzil but I'm sure we will get used to it soon. He emailed as soon as he got back so we were happy that he had had a good trip and got home safely.  He now has a week to get over his jet lag before…

Friday morning

And now we are three.  Denzil left at about 3pm but I am not expecting an email to say that he his home well and safe until about 10am this morning.  I managed to keep my emotions under control until he was out of sight then the tears flowed - oh I do hate goodbyes.  On a positive note over all the disasters and mayhem of the last few years I have not shed a tear the only emotion I could muster was murderous anger and I was beginning to think I was no longer capable of sadness but it is still there under all the mess and good wash through of the dry eye did it no harm.  None of us felt much like supper so it was every man for himself the house is full of food so there was plenty to choose from.  
Today I think I am going to set to and make a minestrone soup as I have loads of vegetables which need to be used up. At the moment the weather looks fine and sunny but according to the weather forecast it going to be a very wet 72 hours.  The wind is quite blustery and the clouds are racing…

Thursday morning

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curly parsleygreek basilcorianderchives thymeflat leaf parsley

The only two herbs missing from the garden are dill, which I seem unable to grow, and chervil which I seldom use.  Yesterday was a day of constantly changing weather sun, wind, showers, black clouds, and that was in 20 minutes.  Anyway we managed to get the laundry dry in the end so Denzil can take his stuff back clean.   James had rather overdone it on his foot the previous day so he was off dog walking duty and Denzil and I sorted that out.  While we were walking we met a giant blue staffy which looks more like a pit bull but sadly it was completely out of control and while attempting to play with Tubby it ran straight into me hitting me on the knee with his solid bone head leaving me with a nice bruise and a few choice expletives.  The owner seemed oblivious and just stood shouting at the dog who was not listening.  When we did our gundog training we were told that if the dog is not listening you chase it, grab it and e…

Wednesday morning

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Tuesday morning

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The philadelphus is covered in bright yellow leaves and soon it will be wreathed in white flowers with the same sort of perfume as orange blossom hence the common name of mock orange.
Can you believe the weather at last some lovely warm sunshine and on a Bank holiday as well, how very unusual it normally rains.  I actually managed to do a bit of gardening and I did clean out the pond pump and fountain so that is now running smoothly.  

Fortunately I had prepped the vegetables, stuffing and gravy for the roast so when Margaret rang and asked if she could see Denzil before he leaves on Thursday we jumped in the car and drove over to visit.  We didn't stay very long as the oven was on and waiting for the pork but it is nice to be able to put a face to a name as they had never met before.  It was a relatively small piece of pork so there was not much left.  I put James portion on a plate and he had that when he came home around 8pm.  Our meal was a bit later than usual so none of the…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a lovely day weather wise but it didn't start that way for us as we were deep in the dark woods shooting and it was freezing.  The early sun couldn't penetrate the canopy of leaves so it stayed really cold at ground level.  Then when we left the road was closed by the police so I guess there had been an accident or incident so we were forced to go almost into Canterbury then back out again.  We called in at the wonderful shop and bought our asparagus from them and a few bits and pieces that were needed.  Then it was back home for our lunch.  I had left Mike's on a plate for him to pop in the microwave and we did the same with ours then it was off for a nap.  I slept really well and when we woke none of us felt much like supper so Mike had a couple of pain au chocolat  and Denzil and I had nothing but a cup of tea though I did have a couple of slices of toast around 10pm when I finally felt a bit peckish.
James and Tubby had spent the day at his flat with his…

sunday morning

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So who is a lucky girl then - the sun is shining and the sky is clear so my shooting expedition should be fine.  The barn dance went off very well for me as I managed to muscle my way into the catering which left Shiona free to meet and greet her guests.  On the menu was either chili con carne, chicken casserole or pasta with aubergine tomato and mozzarella.  We boiled loads of rice to accompany things and there was the usual salads and french sticks.  There were 60 people so the catering department was at full stretch serving both the main course and the desserts.  Sadly the village hall kitchen had no hot water as the heating was not on so washing up was done using a big water urn that heated gallons.  Fortunately they have a nice range cooker with lots of oven space so we were able to heat the mains while we boiled tons of rice.  There were not too many leftovers but I have come home with a tray of pasta and big bowl of rice.  I got home close to midnight and then realised that I …

Saturday Morning

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Bit late this morning I had a particularly bad night and finally got to sleep around 3am which was not so good.  Still today looks like a better day weather wise as yesterday we had dark ominous clouds with made it feel like late evening all day.  It rained twice, once when we went to the hospital and once when we left.  The pre assessment was a bit of a drag and once we got to talk to the anaesthetist he was not happy with Mike and wanted his heart looked at first so I went scurrying around with forms trying to book an echocardiogram which I have succeeded in booking for next Saturday morning so hopefully they will have time to look at the results before the 9th of June deadline.  The surgeon who is doing the surgery only works on a Monday so he will lose two days this month which doesn't help matters much.
The boys had got us some pasties for lunch and the fishmonger had delivered the salmon as requested which I poached and we had cold with mayo and a plain lettuce salad with h…