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Showing posts from June, 2014

Monday morning

Good morning all and many thanks for all the birthday wishes.  I did exactly what I said I would no work just what I fancied.  Lunch with Len and Margaret went extremely well with a lovely piece of roast beef with all the trimmings and a bowl of strawberries for dessert what more could you ask.  The phone rang off the hook with friends wishing me Happy Birthday.  I must admit somehow it is nicer to have a chat than just to receive a card. Elaine has asked me out for lunch today at the local pub and tonight I am going dog training with Sandi so it is going to be a pretty full day.  If I am out for lunch I will have to leave something for the men to eat.  I have some burgers in the freezer and they will have to do.  
In the morning I took my gun up to a neighbor's house so that their daughter could have a go with it and see if it was too heavy for her, which it was, so I phoned the shooting club and found that they have 410 guns available for children so there will be no problem th…

Sunday morning

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This is bit of strange picture but it shows a very nice job of raising the crown on a conifer.  The tree is in one of my neighbours gardens and when I saw the first branch come off it looked really terrible as it exposed all the dead brown centre of the tree but a bit of careful pruning has had beautiful results.
First let me thank Denzil, my eldest, for a lovely card from Thailand with orchids on the front.  It is nice that he not only remembered my birthday but went for an appropriate card.  Yesterday was a day of dashing around getting things done.  At last I got the last coat of varnish on the chairs and I managed to get all the laundry done and dry before the wet weather began.  There is something to be said for an early start.  I then had a visit from one of my neighbours whose daughter wants to go shooting and so I have organised to have about half an hour with her this morning to go over gun handling and etiquette before we go shooting on Wednesday.  I also contacted the guy …

Saturday morning

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As you can see the orchids are doing well and I am very pleased that I have managed to make them flower a second time.

We knew that yesterday morning was going to be a bit of a muddle but then we had what could have been a real disaster Tubby was unable to stand or take any weight on his back legs and was just lying listlessly in the crate.  So just as they guys were coming to switch off the gas Mike was in the shower and James and I were loading Tubby into his car to take him to the vet.  Anyway to cut a long story short the vet gave Tubby an anti-inflammatory injection and ordered him 24 hours cage rest.  By early afternoon he was back up on his feet and looking much better.  He ate his supper normally and all his other body functions seem to be working well and by the evening he was bouncing around as usual. He is due to go back to the vet this morning to see how he is but if he has maintained his condition over night I hope we have nothing to worry about.  
Mike and I have both b…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was a really good day we managed to finish the flat clearance and the lady from Oxfam was delighted to take the bits that were available.  The last of the rubbish was piled into the my car and Shiona's and then we set off for the pub for lunch via the tip to dump the last of the rubbish that was too big for the dustmen.  While the lady from Oxfam was there James enquire about voluntary work and she snapped him up.  However she is on holiday for a fortnight and James would like to put the whole idea through the british legion who are tasked with that sort of thing that way everybody is happy and can tick their boxes.  I, personally, am over the moon about the idea as it is just the thing to get him out of the house and meeting other people.  It will give him some sort of focus and a reason other than will power to get out of bed in the morning.  I had shot out to Aldi when they opened and stocked up on the things Mike likes so he was well catered for.   Fortunately the r…

Thursday Morning

Yesterday was a bit chaotic to say the least, first we thought we had a real problem with the pond which when we looked at it was half full of water so we thought we might have a leak.  However the fountain had got a bit bunged up and was squirting water out at an angle into the flower bed so we are hoping that that was the problem.  We switched off the pump and put the hose on to refill it having first switched off the pump.  I have just wandered up the garden and the water level seems steady so with any luck we don't have a leak and it is just a case of refilling to the correct water level and then I think I will have a look at a different head for the fountain or maybe just give this one a really good clean before I put the pump on again.
The men from the gas board were due to come today and sort out our gas pipes but they actually arrived yesterday and made a start but we will be without gas on Friday.  This is no hardship as all that we will be without is hot water so provid…

Wednesday morning

Yesterday was a nice day it alternated from hot and sunny to cloudy and cool then finally by early evening it was raining.  Well it would wouldn't it! given that I had had a good watering session!!!! Anyway, as a gardener I am not at all unhappy as water was definitely needed.  At one moment I decided to plant some seeds but the ground needed preparatory work first and I discovered that I couldn't get a fork into the ground it was like concrete.  Today I will stand a chance after an hour of the hose on the ground and then last nights rain.  I did manage to get two coats of varnish on the last chairs so just one more to go and I am finished.  Then if it does what it says on the tin the furniture should be protected for a full three years before I need to apply another coat.  
As James had had a hard day on his poor broken foot I had decided to take the dogs out by myself but Mike suddenly asked if he could come too so he accompanied me in the car and walked from the carpark to…

Tuesday Morning

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Yesterday we spent some time over at James flat sorting out stuff to go to the tip - it really is a heartbreaking exercise but we don't have enough time to get the stuff sorted any other way.  Some guys from Oxfam came and took lots of books, DVD's etc and there is a lady coming on Thursday to see if she will take the dining table and chairs - if she doesn't the council will have to take them away. 
By the time we returned home the whole road was in a state of disarray with the gas board digging up to replace not only the main gas line but also the pipes leading into our meters.  We are due to be done on Thursday so we will be without gas for the day but they will send in a gas fitter to check that the boiler and other items have been properly reconnected.  For us a day without gas only means no hot water which is no real hardship.  My hob is gas but I do have a free standing induction hob just incase I desperately need to fry an egg or something.  What it has caused is c…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a glorious sunny day and the barbecue went off well but the highlight of the afternoon was a trip down the Dene hole.  I went down first but sadly my camera was in my handbag which Sandy was looking after for me so I took photos of her going down.  As you can see the entrance is not exactly wide and you are actually at the top of two caving ladders.




Once at the bottom you were in a cathedral like space where it was lovely and cool and there was lighting laid on as well as air being pumped in through the plastic pipe. 



Sandy captured me emerging from the depths and with a souvenir, yes, I had mined my own bit of chalk
Ok it might not look very impressive but it is all my own work.
I arrived back home at about 6pm having had a really good time it seems so long since I have done anything but sort out the house and problem men and run a home for the bewildered.  It was a really lovely break and one that was much needed.  I thought I would be terrified of going down such a s…

Sunday Morning

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How late is this!!!!  I had a terrible night and finally at two in the morning I resorted to two sleeping tablets and low and behold it is now 10am.  I have been blotto for hours and now feel like  bear with a sore head.  Anyway I have managed to catch up on all the sleep I have been denied this week due to the major repairs to next doors conservatory.  Sadly I think the construction work will be going on for some time as all the woodwork is rotten and is being repaired piecemeal with large quantities of filler. Today I am destined to go to a barbecue which is being held by the Lees Court Estate and the Duchess of Sondes who owns the land and the big commercial shoot.  Sadly Basso is not of a suitable standard to be invited but my couple of days beating have allowed me an invitation and I suppose I did participate in the "dogging in", before the season started.  Anyway James has taken up the slack and walked the dogs already so there is little for me to do.  I have taken ou…

Saturday morning

Yesterday was a day of catching up on a few chores that had been left.  Firstly the shopping, we had nothing exciting to eat so a trip to the butcher was in order.  Three lovely fat pork chops were on the menu for lunch along with the lovely spring cabbage and some sage and onion stuffing and gravy.  I had also done some baked potatoes but they got left for supper which we had with some interesting sausages labeled "welsh dragon" [pork leek and chilli] they were very tasty.  The butcher makes his sausages with pork leg meat as he can get more per lb if he sells the meat as sausages but it does mean they are made with good lean cuts. I also bought a leg of lamb which we will probably have on Monday as I am out for Sunday lunch.  Then it was on to the fishmonger and there I bought a nice piece of salmon which I have poached and we will have cold with a salad for lunch today.  I also bought a nice piece of undyed smoked haddock which will make a nice supper with a poached egg …

Friday Morning

What a strange day yesterday was. In the morning we had summer but by afternoon we were into autumn.  The morning was bright sunny and warm but by lunch time in came the clouds then down came the rain and the temperature dropped like a stone.  When we went for our walk it was very hot and the dogs were really panting on the way home and soon collapsed into the coolest places in the house.  Suddenly lying spread eagled on my tiled kitchen floor was the place to be.  Not very convenient if you are trying to prepare lunch.  
Talking of lunch this was the Jamie Oliver mackerel type carbonara.  First of all let me save you the effort of trying it - it was not good.  The flavour of the smoked mackerel completely dominated the whole dish making the other ingredients redundant.  All of the ingredients were nice in their own rite but mixing them together was a mistake and in my opinion really didn't work.  However, if you were to ask the dogs they were of the opinion that it was delicious…

Thursday Morning

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Yesterday went well with all of us gradually feeling better.  The weather improved and the sun came out so I was out with the dogs bright and early around 6am and then on to the supermarket to stock up.  While I was out Shiona rang to say she was coming over but I missed the call so it came as a bit of a surprise.  Fortunately our light lunch of chicken and mushrooms with rice was easily enough to stretch for 4.  In fact James ate his in two sittings and then was hungry around 10pm so he made himself a toasted cheese and bacon sandwich but some how I don't think he was the only one who participated in the midnight feast.

Having been up since 3am I went to bed in the afternoon to try and get a bit of siesta but my nextdoor neighbour decided to do major reconstructive work to his rotten wooden conservatory which put pay to that so after our supper of beans on toast I crashed out at around 8pm.  Shiona had left shortly after lunch but didn't leave empty handed as we had picked l…

Wednesday morning

Finally the sun broke through yesterday and we had a bit of a brighter day.  However as it turned out it was us who were not so sunny.  I thought I was the only one who was feeling under the weather but as it turned out we were all feeling a bit jaded and can only attribute it to our rather substandard chinese or maybe it was just coincidence who knows.  We were all feeling just off colour not ill just not well either.  Denny arrived all bright and breezy which cheered us all up a bit and as soon as she was underway James and I headed for his flat and had a bit of a clear out of clothes and paper work. 
Fortunately directly opposite his flat there is a recycle point so we were able to dispose of all the old clothes relatively easily.  We then filled the car with stuff which needed to come home but we were both feeling really terrible by this time so we set off for his appointment with the British Legion and then headed for home only to discover that we had a car full of stuff to unlo…

Tuesday morning

Yesterday was another miserable cold day and today it looks just as bad.  We had such a short interlude of good weather this seems really unwarranted.  I wouldn't mind if it would get on and rain but it is just dull and overcast with a cold wind blowing.
Today we are set for quite a busy day as we have Denny coming and she will light a fire under us. The district nurse came yesterday and had a look at Mikes wound and agreed it would have been foolish to put him with other postoperative patients given his chest infection.  Some things are better not shared!!!  Anyway his wound is looking very nicely healed.  He has no stitches to be removed as they have closed the wound subcutaneously.  He has also been given the all clear to have a shower as the nurse has put on a nice waterproof plaster and she will be coming to see him again on Thursday with a view to discharging him.  If the antibiotics have done their job then he will be back to a good position and hopefully able to mend with…

Monday morning

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As I put up these photos I suddenly realised how patriotic I have been. They are all clematis but they are red white and blue.  Presumably if the Scots decide to go their own way we will have to have a new flag as the union flag will be redundant as will the term United Kingdom. 
Yesterday, was another cold and miserable day in fact it was so chilly that the central heating came on first thing in the morning.  It is thermostatically controlled by the external temperature as well as the internal.  This means that we don't turn it on and off but allow the temperature to dictate whether we need it or not.  Mike had a bit of a rough day feeling pretty miserable but hopefully the chest infection is under control though we won't know until he finishes the antibiotics.  James was much improved so he did me a favour and took the dogs for a walk while I did the lunch.  The steaks we had were New Zealand Wagyu beef and though they were expensive, even in Aldi, they were very good.  I h…

Sunday morning

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Summer was lovely but it seems we are now into autumn with heavily overcast skies with odd showers and pretty cold wind blowing.  Yesterday morning I brought down another couple of chairs ready to be varnished but first there was some preparation work to be done.  Green mould needed to be removed so a scrub with cilitbang sorted that out then the woodwork needed a good sanding down and a final rub down with white spirit.  Well I got all that done and just as I applied the first brush stroke of varnish it started to rain.  Varnishing was abandoned for the day!!!
James went to collect his sun glasses which are using the frames from his brothers glasses sent from Thailand but with polarised prescription lenses now in place he can drive in the bright sunshine - that is if we ever see it again!!!  He then had a session with his EMDR lady and I am noticing that he is coming home from these sessions much calmer and less shattered.  Fingers crossed he is gradually getting things put to bed i…

Saturday Morning

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Tubby has taken up ornithology and spends hours just watching the birds completely fascinated.
By rights yesterday should have been a good day but things are never what you expect!  Mike now has a nice chest infection which I would love to blame on the 48 hours he spent in the cesspit we call a hospital.  However, I do know that it is not that easy to attribute blame.  Fortunately, I had a course of antibiotics and steroids left from the last infection so I have started him on those immediately in the hope of hitting it hard and fast and hopefully bringing it to a swift conclusion. To go along with that James had a diarrhoea and vomiting [D&V] bug which poleaxed him for the day. It can't have been anything he ate as we all had the same and the rest of us are fine.  So I was the last man standing!!!!
Nothing for it but to get on with the day - James was on fluids only and Mike had lost his appetite so we ended up eating up leftovers.  However, I had already made plans to make …

Friday morning much too early

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Everywhere you look in the garden there is something trying to break into flower
Yesterday was another gorgeous day so a bit of judicious watering was needed as those plants in pots were beginning to suffer.  I managed to get a coat of varnish on the chairs before the sun hit the spot where they stand.  I seemed to be chasing the shade so that I could do odd jobs that didn't need the suns help.  Mike is making great progress and had two walks as far as the pond and back which is half the length of the garden.  Having been largely off his feet for 9 months you can imagine how weak his legs are.  Anyway he spent most of the morning pottering around and sorting out his medication which is a fair task as he has so many different drugs to take.  I got on with our lunch which was some lamb leg steaks with which we had a large potato salad and some spinach.  A bit of an odd mixture but all the items are Mikes favourites.  For supper we had a homemade gazpacho soup with loads of vegetabl…

Thursday morning

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I just love the colour of the cotinus even when in flower it still looks good

As you will gather from the abrupt end yesterday we  retrieved Mike from the hospital and were home by 7.30am.  He was pleased to be home and reunited with his razor and toothbrush not to mention a cup of proper coffee.  Nothing like a couple of days of dish water to make you appreciate nice coffee again.  Shiona arrived promptly at about 10am just in time to have a nice coffee sitting in the sunshine.  By about 11 we decided to take the dogs for a quick run before it got too hot and as luck would have it the tide was in so there was lots of paddling and Tubby took his first few strokes but panicked when his feet were off the bottom.  It was nice to see Nip come into his own he may well be the oldest but he is an accomplished swimmer and showed the other jessies just how it is done.  We arrived home with a car full of wet dogs only to find the district nurse in the house attending to Mikes dressing.  We ush…

Wednesday Morning

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It is so lovely to see this clematis in flower for the first time up until now it has been smothered by a huge vine from next door which completely cut out all the light.  Today in celebration I am going to give it a good feed and water, clematis are hungry plants so a bit to tomato fertilizer will be just the ticket.

Now is Mike home safe and well?  No he is still in hospital - yesterday was complete chaos with him being shunted from one area to another - I did get in to see him twice and the rest of the time I spent waiting for the phone calls that never came.  Everyone I spoke to assured me they would let me know what was happening but not one of them did so I chased around finding what was happening.  In the end it was Mike who virtually collapsed and insisted he was not fit to go home.  So the whole process starts again today, the medical staff will see him at around 9am and I am sure they will be happy to send him home as from a medical standpoint there are no problems.  The fa…

Tuesday morning

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Pittosporum with the new growth gradually turning from bright green to the final almost black of the mature leaves.

Well yesterday went according to plan and I delivered Mike to the hospital at 7.30am.  He was second on the list which started at 9am so I was expecting him done and dusted by about 11am but it was gone 12pm when he was finally out of theatre.  They didn't manage to find him a bed until 6pm.  I spoke with him on the phone and he felt fine but as they were going to be moving him to the ward it seemed a bit pointless visiting.  However, I will pop in this morning and see how he is now that they have him settled.  He had a spinal anaesthetic which means that he will be in no pain for some time which is one of the benefits about a regional block.  I think they must have also given him some sedation like valium which will cause retrograde amnesia so he remembers nothing of the surgery. Technically he would have been asleep rather than unconscious.  I am much relieved as…

Monday June 9th and D day for us

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Poor neglected lilies which some how survive and flower
Yesterday was a productive day - first I rang and canceled the insurance on the Smart which has netted me £50 so that is a good start.  Then it was off to Kwikfit to get the Land Rover MOT - all passed with flying colours so now I can get on and do the insurance and the tax then hopefully I will have another year of trouble free motoring.  I finally did the hated job of cleaning out the pond pump and then planted out my long green beans which are sturdy little plants so I hope they do well.  Next the garden table got sanded down and has had its first coat of varnish applied - two more coats to go and it should be OK for three years according to the Ronseal tin!  I still will have the chairs to do but I am trying not to think about that!!!!
As usual the halogen oven did a fabulous job of the chicken and there was enough for both lunch and supper.  Mike, who is very anxious, was occupied by being put through the shower which reall…

Sunday Morning

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Yesterday was a generally good day - the little baby smart has now been sold which is a weight off my mind so today I will have to phone and cancel the insurance and post off the bits to the DVLA.
I had had a busy morning rushing around doing various chores one of which was to collect Mikes prescription from the pharmacy.  As I drew into the carpark the skies were ominously black and as I started to walk to the shop the heavens opened and in about 5 minutes our entire annual rainfall fell. It overwhelmed the drains and was rushing in a river down the road. Then as quickly as it arrived so it left and we were bathed in warm sunshine.  I had manage to catch the brunt of it and was absolutely saturated.  Good job I am not made of sugar and it was only water.  
Having had breakfast, for once, we had a light lunch of some tinned herrings in mustard sauce with a big mixed salad.  I had been to the bakers and bought some really lovely buns which we had for supper as proper burgers with all …

Saturday Morning 2 days to go

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Put three headstrong very overstressed and overtired people in a box and what happens WAR but after war comes PEACE.  I am pleased to say that we now have our peace and equilibrium back.  Not much else was accomplished, but who cares, at least we now have some harmony back in our lives.  In the end everyone got to blow off a bit of steam which is probably a healthy thing as bottled up resentment is never going to help anyone.
So what is the plan for today?  Well there is still the varnishing to do!!!!  Dog food supplies are running low so a trip to the supplier is in order.  I need to book the car in for its MOT and service then comes the painful purchase of the tax disc and the insurance.  After that I hope we can then have a trouble free years motoring.  
After much rummaging I found a pair pyjamas for Mike to take to hospital and now I need to start gathering bits he might need.  I am trying not to get too hopeful as I do know that they could still cancel.  Mike, of course, is ver…

Friday and only a couple of days to go

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This photo was pinched from google images but I think it shows the white marble castle in all its glory.  It was built for Maria Teresa wife of Maximilian of Austria later emperor of Mexico where he was then assassinated by his brother. [Lovely people the royals] The surrounding grounds are huge and you can lose yourself for the whole day just wandering around.  Sadly the Americans were stationed there in the war and used the statues for target practice and they still bear the bullet holes. Why Trieste you ask? Well the happiest days of my life were spent there and I was desperate to grab my passport and run.......
Yesterday was another bad day as I was sent to coventry but it did galvanise me into some action. The wardrobe is now empty and all the clothes are in the clothes bank, all the laundry is done and the greenhouse has been weeded. The guest bedroom has been put back together and the bed made up. I then set to and made a sort of Lord Woolton pie.  This was a wartime dish made…

Thursday morning

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Sun and rain is just what the flowers need but I can't say it is what I need.  I got good and wet walking the dogs then trawled around the shops for the basics.  The laundry is getting done in the tumble dryer as it is too risky to hang it out.  I know it is just 3am and it is raining now so it looks like we may be in for another wet day.  I still have a couple of loads of laundry to go and it will be another tumble drying for them too.  It does have one advantage in that little needs ironing or if it does it is just a quick pass over with the iron.
Both my invalid men were in foul moods yesterday and I finally lost patience with them and spat out my dummy and took to my room leaving them to their own devices.  I had put some peppers in the oven - they left them to burn to charcoal so they went in the bin.  The pac choi which was steaming was left until cremated so that too went in the bin.  They were left with just some noodles with some prawns which they managed to eat.  I thin…

Wednesday morning

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Ok so who bought the quick drying varnish/wood stain yesterday - so of course it is pouring with rain today.  I also bought some replacement sage plants which I immediately put in the ground so at least the rain is good for them.  I can't say I was looking forward to painting the garden furniture so I am not that disappointed about the rain.
Denny came yesterday morning and went through the house like a hurricane.  Beds were stripped and sheets washed, rooms aired, hoovered and dusted.  The kitchen is pristine cupboard doors all scrubbed and the floor shining.  Sadly I know it won't take me long to make a mess.  I had decided to make a cheese, potato and onion pie for lunch and as I had half a packet of bacon that went in too and the remains of the puff pastry made an adequate lid.  Supper was a nice easy meal as I had the lovely chicken stock which became chicken noodle soup which was followed by thick cut toasted slices of farmhouse bread topped with a big pile of fried mus…

Tuesday Morning

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I just had to get a photo of this iris which is such a stunning colour.  The colour is so vivid that it makes the purple slate look just plain grey.
Mark had a grand day with his hedge trimmer and now all the box hedging and the bay trees look like topiary so I am delighted and the lilac bushes which had gone mad have been cut well back which makes the garden look bigger.
I had to dash out first thing and get to a cash point [ATM for our american cousins] and while I was at it I had to fill the car with diesel - thats such an expensive hobby these days.  Once Mark was settled I then had to drive James to the housing office to hand in his notice for the flat and also to pay a visit to the Royal British Legion who are keeping an eye on him with a view to some work once he is deemed fit.  Normally he would have taken himself but having taken a sleeping tablet and still not been able to sleep it was not sensible for him to drive.  
For lunch I had converted the leftover chicken into what…