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Showing posts from July, 2014

Thursday monrning

Yesterday was another hot one but with the relief of a sea breeze so it was actually very pleasant.  I picked another great hand full of figs and this time took them to my 92 year old neighbour who was delighted to receive them and welcomed a nice chat.  We spent some time putting the world to rights and discussing Gaza, Syria and various other world messes.  She is a lady with all her marbles intact even at this great age and keeps herself abreast of what is going on in the world around her.  The only conclusion we came to was that we neither of us would see world peace in our life times.  This morning I was watching a black bird merrily munching his way through one of the very ripe figs at the top of the tree which is out of my reach.
I cooked a couple of kippers for Mikes breakfast but he could only eat one and I was not interested so the second one got put in the thermomix and blended with some wholemeal flour and baked off as biscuits - they stink and the dogs love them!!!!!
For…

Wednesday Morning

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Fig tarte tatin number 3 and the last one I think - I am fed up with making not to mention eating them. This time I managed to take a snap before the mice got at it but there is not a morsel left this morning. If only my apricot tree were so prolific I would be delighted.  
Yesterday was a glorious day with wall to wall sunshine but with a cooling breeze blowing and the temperatures down from all the rain the previous night.  Denny did her stuff and the house is once again clean and tidy.  For lunch I did some duck breasts bought cheaply in Aldi with which we had some potatoes lyonnaise and some creamed spinach.  I made the creamed spinach in the thermomix by making the initial part of a white sauce but substituting spinach for most of the liquid.  This worked very well and left me with only one pan to wash.  The fig tart did for supper along with a donner wrap from the Turkish takeaway which was mostly salad and much smaller in quantity than the usual filled pitta bread.
Today for l…

Tuesday Morning

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Well the longed for rain came yesterday afternoon and it rained most of the night.  Fortunately not enough to cause flooding not that we are in a position to be flooded,  Although we are close to the river we are at the top of hill so unlikely to ever be flooded.  The temperature has dropped like a stone and this morning we are a comfortable 16 degrees [60.8F for our American cousins].  The rain has stopped but the sky is still very cloudy so there may be more on the way.

I made yet another fig tarte tatin - this picture is not mine as I was not quick enough to get a photo before the mice had been at it!!! There are people ready and waiting with spoons as I take it out of the oven.
Now for the fridge saga I have sent for a fridge door attachment kit which is coming today at which point I am to ring Gary so he can come and put the thing in.  What should have been and easy job has dragged out and proved to be a real pain so I hope the fridge is worth it. One thing is for certain it can…

Monday morning

Yesterday was hot and sultry with the threat of rain which didn't happen until during the night.  This morning the air is much fresher and the temperature down to 17 degrees.  There is a cool breeze blowing and the sky is deeply overcast so more rain may be on the way.  
The dogs managed to get themselves good and muddy on their walk as the tide was out so on their return the bath was filled and in they went.  This outdoor dog bath is proving very useful as the water is then recycled for the garden. I'm sure a bit of Medway river mud is good for the garden as it must contain some nutrients. Nip had managed to stay out of the mud but did not escape the grooming session and he was given a going over with the clippers which has reduced his thick coat considerably.  Basso too got a good grooming following his foot spa.  Tubby being smaller had to be completely bathed as he had managed to submerge himself in the mud.
For lunch I dug out a bolognese sauce from the freezer to which …

Sunday morning

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And still no relief from the heat.  We do our best to stay cool but it is a fruitless task.  For quite a lot of the time it is not even sunny but overcast and the humidity is killing.  Even the dogs just want to lie in heap. Even at 4am it is over 20 degrees. Every day I look at the forecast and rain is on the way but nothing has arrived yet.  The only ones happy with the weather are the fish in their nice cool pond. Since the major overhaul of their accommodation they have voracious appetites as there is nothing in the pond for them to eat now so we are feeding them twice a day and as the food goes in the water there is a feeding frenzy reminiscent of sharks.  
Cooking is a bit miserable in this heat so yesterday I did a chicken in soy sauce and rice with two accompanying salads one of cucumber with spring onions and one of carrot and sesame seed. Fortunately the actual cooking time of food was no longer than it took to boil the rice all the effort is in the preparation.  We tried a…

Saturday Morning

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Well yesterday was another hot one but we did have a bit of a shower in the early evening.  According to the weather forecast we are due for some rain but possibly not until tomorrow.  There is one certain way to make it rain either hang out a full line of washing or water all the pots in the garden.
The fridge saga continues, nothing from the guys who promised to do the job.  On Monday morning I will make a concerted effort to find another kitchen fitter who may do the job for me.  I so wish that the workmen would have the bottle to say they don't want to do the job rather than just leaving you hanging in limbo. 

A picking of figs got put to good use last night draped in parma ham they made a very nice starter for our supper.  As Anne mentioned the Croatians make cakes with figs but it is my understanding that they use dried figs rather than fresh.  At the moment we are keeping pace with the birds who also love my figs.  I have to keep a sharp eye on them as they get attacked as…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was another really hot one but each morning starts off very cloudy and cool but the sun then burns off the cloud and the heat starts to build.  All day we waited to hear from the kitchen fitters but nothing. Did I ring? Yes. Did I get a reply? No. and I am still waiting lets hope they show up today or I will have to make alternative arrangements.  I thought things had gone too well anyway mean time my new fridge is sitting in the garage blocking the passageway so I will have to move it to a more suitable place if we are not to get it installed just yet. What a pain!!!  We ate very lightly yesterday and for lunch we had a bowl of the vegetable soup I had made into which I had added a chopped cabano sausage for a bit of extra welly.  Then for supper we had a fillet of yellowfin sole which was rather bland in flavour more like a flounder than anything else and with it we had a mixed leaf salad to which I added some radicchio called Trieste which is quite bitter in flavour and …

Thursday morning

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Good morning all.  Yesterday was another hot one my bedroom was registering 27 when I went up to bed and has only dropped to 20 despite having the door to the roof wide open all night.  I think the house acts as a giant storage heater.  Today we are in for another hot one so it will be my usual trick of getting things done in the cool then turning into a pumpkin through the heat of the day.
The men from the golf course arrived yesterday morning and have done a splendid job of clearing all the overhanging branches from the roof of the shed.  Interestingly the greenkeeper did his course at Hadlow college where I did my horticulture course so we had some ground in common.  That done I had done us a light lunch of vegetable soup.  I wanted to have an appetite for my evening in Faversham.  
There was a demonstration of how to fillet a flat and a round fish then they asked for a volunteer to have a go - nothing, no one, then Sandie's voice rang out "go on Diane", so up I went…

Wednesday morning

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Lovely ripe fig and plenty more to come
Yesterday was a surprise everything went well - I went to Magnet and they had one fridge, of the type I wanted, left so James drove the car into the warehouse and they loaded it onto the back seat. Once home it was a case of sliding it out onto a sack barrow and putting it in the garage to await a fitter.  I was given a number to ring and the guy is coming at 5pm today to fit it.  Things will be a bit tight as I will have to leave at 6pm so I hope things have been settled by then and I can leave the men to pay for the job.  I am fortunate that I have and overflow fridge in the garage so I can empty the kitchen one ready to be removed.  Then a quick trip to the tip should see the back of the defective one. 
They greenkeeper from the golf course is due this morning to sort out the trees that are damaging the shed roof.  At the moment it is nice and cool but we are in for another hot one once the sun gets its act together - I must admit that I lik…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterdays thirst quenching drink was pink grapefruit which was truly delicious but very definitely for grown ups not children as it is not very sweet and has a real bitter kick.  It was very hot and humid so as usual I got most of the work done early in the morning before the main heat of the day set in. The pond guy has finished the pond work and I now have both the big pond and my little patio pond working well no leaks and hopefully soon completely clear water.  Mark the gardener also asked if he could come instead of today so it was all pandemonium but the garden is looking much better.  The mahonia which was threatening to engulf the patio has been given a serious haircut, and the path across the astro turf has been removed.  Mark and I agreed that the veg plot should be left fallow and turned over just before winter so it would be ready for next spring.  I have also been left instructions on what to do with the pond next April to keep it looking good so that is something to pu…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a sort of sandwich of weather it had rained in the early hours then it got hot and finally we had monsoon rain in the early evening.  I got the dogs out for a walk nice and early but our usual place was packed as every dog walker had the same idea everyone was getting the dogs walked before the heat hit.  The tide was just going out so the dogs went mud puddling and came home filthy. Fortunately I have a dog bath so it was a relatively easy thing to hose them down and the water can be reused to water the potted plants.

Once the dogs were sorted it was off to Aldi to get some bits and bobs then home to get the chicken into the halogen oven.  Parking is a bit of a pain on Sunday morning so James dropped me off and took the car to the albanians for a wash and then picked me up as I came out.  They do a fantastic job and charge £16 for a 4x4 which is a very good price. We had the chicken roast for lunch and then cold for supper and the carcass has boiled in the slow cooker …

Sunday morning

The pond is finally full I didn't turn the hose off until 4pm so it has taken 24 hours to fill less than half.  Our water pressure here is dire so it takes ages - if I run a bath I have usually lost the will to live by the time it is ready hence we shower mostly and baths are kept for therapeutic reasons only.
Yesterday was cool to start with after all the rain but it soon became unbearable.  James and I drove down to "Water World" in Rolvenden which is a good hours drive away.  We were in search of another urn to return the water to the pond but after speaking to the pond people they suggested that we just feed the pipe through a pile of slate and pebbles and let run back into the pond that way.  Now why didn't we think of that.  We have loads of big pebbles and various pieces of slate in the garden so the cost will be zero.  However, our journey was not completely wasted as they also sold eggs in the cafe and I needed a dozen.  By the time we had arrived back home…

Saturday Morning

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Well the met office got it spot on yesterday was about as hot as I ever want it to be, it was horrible. The poor pond guy was working in that heat but fortunately he was in the water in waders and much of the pond is in shade but none the less I was ferrying cups of tea and cold drinks to him most of the day. The morning started with a big downpour of rain at about 5am so by 6 when it had stopped we went straight out with the dogs.  While it was cool I did all that needed doing in the house which left me free sit in front of a fan for most of the day.  It was also a task to keep the dogs from offering their assistance with the pond work.  Dogs are very nosey and like to see what is occurring.  Tubby was initially terrified by the man with rubber legs and hid behind me but as soon as Basso made him his best buddy Tubby joined in he really looks to Basso for guidance.  
For lunch we had salad and a pasty and for supper I had made a big pot of minestrone which we didn't eat until qu…

Friday morning

Well here we are at the end of another week and according to the weather forecast we are due for 30ºC +.  The guy who is doing the pond and fitting the new filtration system called yesterday evening to say he could start at 9.30 this morning - better him than me.  I will just have to keep an eye on him as I don't fancy taking him to hospital with heat stroke.  I made a big jug of lemonade with two lemons yesterday which went down very well and took moments to make in the Thermomix.  I think another jug could well be in order for today.  Many thanks Anne for the recipe for the chicken which sounds really lovely and nothing like the lemon flavoured wallpaper paste that usually comes from the takeaways.  Going back to the weather we are due for big storms tomorrow so lets hope most of the ground work gets done today.  It will take quite a while just to pump out 20,000 gallons of water and keeping the fish alive will be a bit of a game I am sure.  
None of us felt much like eating ye…

Thursday morning

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Yesterday was a total scorcher the heat gradually built through the morning and by mid afternoon it was almost unbearable.  Sandy and I had a nice breakfast in Macknades and I restocked on things like pine nuts for pesto making.  They make up bags of vegetables which they sell for £1 some contain a mixture others may be of one item well I got a bag of lemons.  When I counted them out at home I discovered that I had 7 gorgeous lemons for £1.



We then headed off to the butcher in Doddington which was a trip down memory lane for Sandy as her grandfather's house is in the centre of the village.  I got a shoulder of lamb which I intend to slow roast today with an assortment of vegetables for lunch and the leftovers will make a nice shepherds pie.  I also bought a few pounds of sausages which are now in the freezer though I did syphon off a portion for last nights supper.  None of us felt much like eating as it was so hot.  Once  worst of the suns heat had gone down James took the dogs f…

Wednesday morning

The weather yesterday morning was crazy first it looked fine and gorgeous [more laundry] then it started to rain quite heavily so I thought I would take advantage and put the orchids outside for a good drink of rainwater.  No sooner were they outside than the rain stopped it just wasn't cooperating with me.  However it soon settled into a nice sunny day with a gentle cool breeze so the laundry got done.
Denny came and did her stuff once I had unblocked the hoover for her.  The place was not too bad as I had tried to keep it up while she was away.  I went and did a bit of shopping in Tesco and got us some plastic ham to make sandwiches for lunch.  While I was there I bought two boxes of chicken wings which once home made a meal for us and one for the dogs.  I chopped off the wing tips for the dogs and the rest was put into a roasting tin along with an assortment of ingredients to make sticky wings. Soy sauce, worcester sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey and tomato ketchup.  Then into …

Tuesday Morning

Well here we are mid July and at last the weather seems to be a bit more stable.  We had a day of unbroken sunshine yesterday so the washing machine ran and ran load after load.  I am not quite finished yet as I still have two more beds to change but today looks fine. The ironing pile is now the priority as that is getting unmanageable.  Still it is nice quiet job to do in the cool of the morning while everyone else is asleep.  Today we have some light cloud cover but it doesn't look like rain.
We had a light lunch yesterday of the vegetable soup I had made and so by supper time we were quite hungry and a takeaway curry was a nice change.  We have a Nepalese takeaway which does some very tasty dishes.  I suppose we are lucky with this as we had the Gurkhas station here for many years.  
The chicken run is overrun with weeds but I am not worrying about that as I know that the new hens in the spring will make short work of that and reduce it to bare earth in days. However leaving t…

Monday morning

Well at last the weather has turned yesterday was like living in a sauna it was hot but wet and steamy and really quite uncomfortable.  Today there is a fresh breeze and sunshine - perfect.  In my fridge and freezer clearing I made a strange supper last night which was made with layers of flour tortillas and sandwiched between was a pesto made with the standard ingredients minus the basil but with courgette and rocket in its place.  The next layer was some saute vegetables onions, red peppers and courgettes then the last layer was a cheese omelette then the final tortilla.  I wrapped the whole cake in tin foil and refrigerated until supper time which allowed time for all the flavours to seep into the dry tortillas.  This was an efficient way of using up half a packet of tortillas and the assorted leftover vegetables.  While I was at it I made some soup for today with all the same sort of ingredients but with a tub of leek and potato soup and added stock and a packet of jersey royals …

Sunday morning

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Snoozing together
Yesterday was a funny day weather wise it started off dull and rainy but warm then in the afternoon we had a couple of hours of sunshine then back to thick cloud and extremely muggy temperatures. After breakfast the dogs had a nice run then home and crash out in the crate for a snooze.  I tried to sneak up on them and get a photo but their hearing is very acute and they are very vigilant about my whereabouts.  You never know I may be headed to the kitchen to throw fillet steaks on the floor!!!!! interestingly I can open any cupboard in the kitchen with no reaction until I open the vegetable cupboard where the carrots are kept then they are there in a flash.  Basso stands with his head just in the way of the door closing in the hope that I will get the message.  Yesterday they were in luck as I had decided to pickle a few carrots which I had finely sliced and then covered with the same mixture as that used at the British Larder which is equal quantities of vinegar an…

Saturday morning

In my head today should be Monday as my friend left yesterday and some how I feel she was with us for the weekend but it is only Saturday.  We had a nice day yesterday and after a slow start we went off and did some shopping.  James had already taken the dogs out so Angela and I pottered off together and had a bite of lunch out while we bought bits and bobs for supper.  She left after supper in the hope of having a clearish run to Bristol avoiding the worst of the Friday night rush.  She is a very understanding person and knows just what it is like with a sick relative as she is looking after her 90 year old mother who recently had a stroke.  She has recovered well from the stroke but obviously she still has some deficit and her age is against her.  Her mother lives a couple of miles away so she has a more difficult lot as she has to drive to and fro at least my wounded are under my roof and I can keep a close eye on them.  It is a difficult juggling act to divide your time between t…

Friday Morning

Yesterday started off dull and cloudy so we got the dogs out for a walk bright and early and then after dumping them back home we hit Aldi for a load of shopping.  It was interesting that there were a gaggle of suited and booted types from head office in the car park obviously discussing its problems and the long queues of people waiting to find a space.  Once my ladened trolley was emptied into the car we were ushered out of our space by probably the most highly paid car park attendant in the country but at least he was at the sharp end seeing for himself just what the problems are.  For my money the solution is easy they need bigger premises to cope with their success!!!!  I had stocked up on dishwasher tablets and other cleaning materials which were all on special offer.  
Then came the rain and it drizzled for the rest of the day.  Angela arrived at about 4.30 having had a good run up from Bristol.  It was lovely to see her again and as you can imagine we had loads to chat about …

Thursday Morning

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Lovely day yesterday we set off from here at about 9am and made it up to Woodbridge by about 10.30 so we took a bit of a detour to the campsite so that Keith, Shiona's other half, could have a look and and it was an ideal opportunity to unload some of the coffee we had drunk before leaving.  I also took the opportunity to provisionally book a fortnight in September.  We thought it might be nice to have a caravan sharing holiday.  The next do at the British Larder is on 25th September so that would be a good day on which to change over.  However the nitty gritty of the details will have to be worked out later.
On arrival at the larder we were surprised at how many people were there we had understood it was a limited number of 12 but there were nearer 20 of us.  The proceedings were started off by a glass of elderflower spritzer.  We then had a demonstration of how to make a sort of tear and share type of bread which had a filling of courgette and goats cheese.  Which was served wi…

Wednesday Morning

A bit if a communication breakdown yesterday meant the Denny didn't come but I just had to buckle under and get some of the work done.

The courtyard part of the garden is looking great now that the lilies and chillies are planted up and the remainder of the bag of ericaceous compost was used to topdress the camellias.  In the house I hope that all the things which are meant to be shiny and sparkly are just that.  Nothing would stand too much scrutiny but at a distance it all looks good.  Probably to others it looks fine but I know all the grubby nooks and crannies.  Anyway, much help was offered by the men who ferried items to the sink for washing and ran the dishwasher several times.  James walked the dogs which left me free to get on and clean.  When I dismantle the welsh dresser I can never quite remember how it goes back together.  I suppose if I were to use my brain I could take a photo and then it would be easy - but very boring.  I must admit that a very large decluttering …

Tuesday morning

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Even if you are not a fan of the chilli how could you not be impressed by this just as a plant.  It is called "masquerade" and the pods turn gradually from purple to orange and finally to yellow.  
Yesterday being the 7th of the 7th is a date that affects us all in this house it is the anniversary of so many bad things for us.  It was a case of being supportive and giving each other some space and muddling through the day.  I find that burying myself in work is the easiest way so I cleaned and shopped and walked the dogs.  I did mountains of laundry and ironing, net curtains were downed and washed, windows cleaned so by bedtime I was absolutely knackered.  We ate leftovers from the day before for lunch and then had a fry up for supper. Black pudding sausages, beans, mushrooms and eggs all low calorie stuff!!!!
I had popped into Dobbies for the sausages but got distracted by the plants I managed to avoid the orchids which were spectacular but who could resist the chilli and …

Monday Morning

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When I planted up my edible window box I added a packet of nasturtium seeds which were described as black.  I don't think I am colour blind but would you call them black?


Then while I was out shopping I saw this fuchsia which is called firecracker, the flowers are rather insignificant but who needs flowers with such colourful foliage.  According to the label it is a hardy variety but I am not so sure.  The thought is also crossing my mind that as fuchsias take cutting very easily I may take a few once the plant is established in its new pot.  I was very careful to walk quickly past the orchids which are my current addiction.
I spent the wet morning making bits for lunch and dinner but now I wish I hadn't bothered.  Mike had a bad day and didn't want the food so ate toast and James slept round the clock so the dogs have a nice seafood risotto for breakfast and 2 of the 3  pork chops are in the freezer.  There are days when I could cheerfully choke the men in my house and y…

Sunday Morning

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Joy, at the risk of sounding like a salesman and knowing that you frequent Lakeland have a look at the Cobb barbecues next time you are there.  They seem to be much more expensive than I remember but they are very versatile.  For me the selling points are fast heating, portability and dishwasher proof but most of all you can put it on any surface so it is safe on the wooden garden tables or on grass and being portable they are ideal for picnics and beach parties.  If you have a look at the Lakeland web site there is a nice little video showing what you can do with it.  I use cobble stones to light mine which makes things even easier and cleaner and one stone gives you 2.5 hours of cooking time.


The only real negative thing is the price!!!! and by far the easiest way to light it is with a blowtorch especially if it is windy.  
After my busy day in the garden I had a few aching muscles yesterday which just goes to show how unfit I am.  It was a drizzly wet day, not any real rain, just …

Saturday morning

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What a productive day I had yesterday, the weather was definitely on my side.  I got the blower round the garden and tidied it up a bit then out with the laundry.  While that dried I got the pressure washer out and did the end shed which had lots of green mold and both the inside and outside of the greenhouse.  I gave the chicken run a bit of a blast so that it will be ready for the next lot of hens in the spring.  By the time that was done I was fairly wet so I got out the dog bath and Basso and Tubby had a good scrub.  I had made a large jug of gazpacho which we had for lunch and the men went to the butcher and got a bag of lamb cutlets which I painted with dijon mustard and sprinkled with demerara sugar ready for the barbeque.  I have a lovely cobb barbecue which is easy to light and best of all can be placed anywhere as the outside doesn't get hot.  It is unlike a normal barbecue as it is ready to cook on some 5 minutes after lighting.  And the real trump card is that every b…