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Showing posts from October, 2014

Surprise Friday

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Well we are back from France - what a hell of a drive 552 miles.  We left home at 4.15 am and got back home at 10pm.  We had intended to spend the night at an hotel but as we were making such good time on the return journey we decide to head for home.  Thank goodness there were two of us to share the driving.  I took some photos of the puppies but it was like trying to photograph a bath full of eels. Anyway the decision has been made and the pup I have chosen is this one:- Now it is just 6 weeks to wait before I pick him up.

The family have 4-5 adult Spinone and a Bracco so they really have their hands full with the litter of puppies as well.


Anyway I am completely poleaxed today and would be only too happy to spend the whole day in bed. I cannot bring my mind to bear on lunch and dinner.  So I think it could be beans on toast all round or a fried egg sandwich.

Wednesday Morning

By this time tomorrow I should be getting close to Folkestone and the tunnel a nice exciting thought. Yesterday mornings breakfast in Faversham went well Mike and Sandy had the platters with cheeses and cold meats. I on the other hand had serrano ham with scrambled eggs on brown toast with half a large tomato.  The slice of toast was huge and piled high with eggs.  If I had to guess it looked like a minimum of 6 egg more like 9.  Anyway I ate the lot which meant that come lunch time I was anything but hungry.  I had bought some nice nibbling bits and some scotch eggs so we has a sort of mezze supper.  I think Mike was pretty tired out after his excursion but at least I have managed to get him out of the front door. I also had a nice piece of luck in the £1 bag section I found one with three bunches of asparagus and two small lettuces.  I think today may be a good day for an asparagus risotto.  The venison pie should be defrosted by supper time so that will make a nice easy supper wit…

Tuesday Morning

Yesterday was a fine day weather wise and I finally decided to sort out the pumpkin which I first roasted then made into soup with the remainder of the jar of peppers and the stock from the chicken. I then made a big batch of garlic croutons and served the soup with a flourish of cream.  It was very delicious and we all enjoyed it.  However after such a light lunch we were all starving come supper time so we decided to indulge ourselves and had a very nice take away curry.  The gammon steaks will be on todays menu instead.  My veg box is due today so I will be restocked with
potatoes (Triplo) UKcarrots (Norwich) UKonions UKbeetroot UKblack kale UKcourgettes ES/ITchestnut mushrooms 200g UKbutternut squash FR However my main trip today will be to have breakfast with Sandy and to restock my coffee supplies which means a trip to Faversham.  I have volunteered to take Mike with me for the outing which might brighten him up a bit.  Especially as we are abandoning him on Thursday and Friday …

Monday morning

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The clocks have changed and we are back to GMT which has not only confused the dogs but me too.

I woke at 2am well there was no way I was getting up at that time so I went back to sleep and suddenly it was 6.30 a much more reasonable time to get up.  Yesterdays roast chicken fulfilled its promise and fed us for both lunch and supper.  All the bones and carcass are now waiting for me to convert them to stock.  I have two options I could use the pressure cooker and get it done fast or the slow cooker where it can take its time.  All the laundry got sorted out and the ironing done so I have a few days of peace from that.  
Now next on the agenda is the eternal problem of what to have for lunch.  I bought some gammon steaks which were on special offer so I think they will be my choice.  If I get them out of the freezer now they should defrost in time.  I still have some cold boiled potatoes which will fry up nicely to accompany them and perhaps a fried egg.  I am not fond of gammon and p…

Sunday Morning

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Good morning all it is still pitch dark outside but dry at the moment though we are forecast rain later. I woke this morning with backache but I am hoping I have just slept awkwardly and it will pass as I start to move about a bit.  Yesterday was a good day I got loads of shopping done and all the laundry then I got stuck into making the venison casserole.  Once I had fried off all the meat and vegetables I put them into the slow cooker with half a litre of the stock made from the bones and the juice from the pan deglazed with marsala.  The addition of a jar of ready prepared chestnuts made all the difference.  We ate half for lunch and the remainder is now back in the freezer in the form of a pie with a puff pastry lid.  The other half of the puff pastry which was leftover I cut to form a square tart which I filled with a jar of pre-prepared grilled peppers and some leftover cheddar cheese which made a very acceptable supper.

For lunch today I have a chicken which I am going to simp…

Saturday morning

Good morning all it is another early start for me but I did sleep a lot yesterday.  I woke with the almighty flutters which refused to dissipate despite my attempts to distract myself.  I was in Tesco by 6am and ran round getting a few bits then back home and out to the paper shop with Tubby while Mike got dressed and ready then it was off to the hairdresser dropped Mike off.  While he was having his hair cut James and took the dogs for a walk near the Naval Memorial on the top of the Great Lines which over look Chatham. Then back to collect Mike after an hour and home in time for me to cook lunch.  We had some lovely tempura battered fish fillet which we had with buttered peas and carrots. I was still all of a flutter and feeling exhausted so I took to my bed and slept solidly for 3 hours waking at last flutter free.  Neither James nor I felt like supper so Mike had a couple of individual pizzas.  I was back in bed asleep by 10pm so lack of sleep is not the problem.
Terry came to vi…

Friday morning

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One Staffy demonstrating his retrieving skills with a very frozen partridge
Not the best photo in the world but you get the general idea.  It is quite hard to get a good picture with such a fast moving target.  It took several goes before we managed to get this one.  
Yesterday was a bit of a nothing day. I did us the trout fillets for lunch with potatoes lyonnaise and a green salad.  Supper on the other hand was a more substantial meal basically an English breakfast.  I felt very lethargic all day not really sure what I wanted to do so I ended up doing very little.  Today I am taking Mike to get his hair cut at 8.30am and I will need to do some shopping.  Milk and bread don't last 5 minutes in this house.   I seem to be forever buying staples that are running low still at least things are being eaten and I am not finding myself with stale bread to deal with.   Mike had got his appetite back with a vengeance which is no bad thing but I find it difficult to keep up with the change…

Thursday morning

After the decision was made not to go to the British Larder Sandy came to visit instead.  She brought me some lovely partridges which were frozen in all their clothes.  Well of course we couldn't resist trying Tubby on cold game so we had a couple of blind retrieves in the garden.  A blind retrieve is where the dog doesn't see the bird fall and has no idea where it is.  He takes direction from the handler until his nose gives him a clue where the bird is.  This is particularly difficult with a frozen bird as it gives off very little scent.  Well to everyone's surprise he acquitted himself beautifully.  He picked the bird up gently and didn't shake it which is normal behavior for a terrier.  I only wish we had had the camera at the ready and taken a couple of photos.  I think this would have the shooting fraternity in stitches.
For lunch I did a deconstructed toad in the hole - that is sausages with yorkshire puddings and some cauliflower cheese.  Both Sandy and I were…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all as you can see I am up at stupid o'clock again but at least I don't feel too wobbly which is a bonus. Yesterday's weather was a bit wild but nothing more than the ordinary autumn storms though it did pick up a bit more in the evening.  
Denny came and did her stuff so the house is nice and clean and I managed to get out and do a few errands in the morning including a trip to the butcher.  He had just boned out a stag so I got a couple of pounds of shoulder meat and pile of bones.  The bones went into the stock pot after first getting a good roasting.  I syphoned out a couple of bones which were dog sized and Tubby spent most of the day stripping them.  I hasten to add these bones were in the raw state so they would not splinter.  I now have 2 liters of concentrated jellied stock which will go into the freezer until needed.  Lunch was nice and easy as I had some chicken thighs which I fried off then added a pack of the curry sauce I have in the freezer.  A…

Tuesday Morning

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The weather seems to have turned this morning it is blowing and raining after yesterdays pleasant day. Apparently we are due for a battering today. I spent most of the morning in the kitchen organising lunch which was a simple meal of mince and potatoes with cabbage cooked with some crispy bacon.  Supper was equally easy just a couple of slices of toast smothered in scrambled eggs and smoked salmon which is really a breakfast dish but makes a good supper too.  Though the mince is a simple meal it takes time to get it right and get the mince properly browned off and the onions cooked to perfection.  
I remembered late last night to get out the chicken thighs for today which I intend to make into a curry.  Fortunately the curry sauce is already made and frozen so it shouldn't take too much time. The wonderful Denny is due this morning and she is like a hurricane in the kitchen so I find it easier to stay out of her way.  I may even take the opportunity to pay a trip to the butcher …

Monday morning

Up later this morning but I did wake in a froth again at 3am however I took a sleeping tablet and tucked myself back down and managed to sleep until 6am which is better than nothing.  Yesterday was a relatively peaceful day we got to Aldi just after 9.30 which ensured a parking slot and were amazed to see people queuing around the block waiting to get in.  I had already walked to the corner store to get some milk and bumped into one of the neighbours who asked after Basso so I had to break the sad news but quickly followed it with the good news.  People are very kind and realise he may well have been just a dog but he meant the world to me.
James and I whistled round the shop and I got the chops to go with the creamed leeks I had already made.  I cooked the chops in the halogen oven with a quartered eating apple and some of the potatoes from the fridge.  Having been relatively good at lunch we had a complete carbohydrate blow out for supper.  Beef and onion pies with chips and beans,…

Sunday morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday was a real washout for me as I felt pretty terrible all day.  No reason in particular so I can only put it down to the medication which seems to be making my mood very volatile.  One day I am fine the next not so good.  Hopefully it will even out over time but it is a bit of a bore at the moment.  Anyway enough of that, I promised to report on the cold and reheated pasta.  I had cooked tagliatelle and though they were quite edible they really lost something in terms of texture.  You couldn't describe them as al dente but if they were in fact much fewer calories then I guess I could live with that.  The texture was much more like fresh pasta which is generally much softer.  I think more robust pasta like penne would be a better bet.  The leftovers got converted into a frittata for supper.  
I really should have gone to the shops but I wasn't in the mood so that will be on my agenda for today and as yet I have nothing in mind for lunch.  It will nee…

Saturday morning

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I think these have to be the reddest autumn leaves I have seen and they belong to a blueberry bush.

Yesterdays meal from the Aldi recipe went down well but I forgot how much quicker the halogen oven is so it was ready rather sooner than expected however this did give me time to degrease it thoroughly and to reduce the gravy considerably.  It was a very nice way to deal with what is a very cheap cut of meat - breast of lamb.  There was easily enough for four people or three people and two dogs.
Terry came to visit Mike and they had a long chat and finally we managed to get the prescription for his medication sorted out.  He now has a months supply which I hope means we will have some peace from chasing people to get what is needed.  The problems arose from the doctors not communicating the changes with one another.  So much for computerisation!!!! Like most things it seems to be a communication breakdown.  The pharmacy were really great and did all they could but their hands are tied …

Friday morning

Yesterday was a bit of a mixed bag of a day both emotionally and weather wise.  We had some lovely sunshine and some torrential downpours.  I decided that as I take my medication as soon as I wake that this was not the best idea and so I have now decided to take last thing at night which I hope will mean that the blood levels are high when I wake instead of at their lowest ebb.  So far so good I have slept very well and woken much later than usual.  This could be an aberration but maybe I have cracked the problem of waking very early and wobbly.
I did another recipe from the Aldi collection for our lunch which was a tray bake of chicken with lemon and thyme.  Which I served with potatoes which were hopefully less calories than normal as they had been pre boiled and cooled.  Today I am doing yet another recipe from the collection which is a breast of lamb slow roast in the spanish style with chorizo, red peppers and tomatoes.  It sounds good but will require 3 hours in the oven so I t…

Thursday morning

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This photo shows an interesting dish that I made following a recipe on the Aldi website.  As you can see there is a hopeful dog waiting in case I should drop any.  Essentially this is four ham and mustard sandwiches which have been quartered and stacked into the dish.  Over these I poured 6 eggs beaten with 200 mls of double cream then a coating of grated cheddar is added and into a 180ÂșC  oven it goes for 20 minutes. The halved tomatoes are added in a separate dish and the whole lot is given another 20 minutes.  The final dish was very nice and quite unusual, I suppose it is really a savory bread and butter pudding.  The bread I used was cheap and nasty white and the ham was also cheap and nasty finely sliced stuff.  The recipe called for 5 sheets of ham in each sandwich to which I also added a good spread of dijon mustard.  This would be a great way to use up leftover sandwiches from a do of some kind as it doesn't matter if they are a bit curly round the edges.  It would benef…

Wenesday Morning

Yesterday morning went according to plan James and I walked the dogs and opted for the woods where there is some shelter from the rain.  Then we swung by Tesco for a few odds and ends and back home to pick Mike up for his visit to audiology.  This struck me as a total waste of time as once I had wheeled Mike the full length of the hospital and sat and waited for half an hour we were treated to watching a lady change the tubes on the hearing aids.  It struck me that it was like taking a pair of shoes to be repaired but the cobbler insisting that you be there in person to watch.  Why we couldn't just hand in the hearing aids and collect them when they were done or better still they could have been posted.  Anyway enough moaning it just made lots of hassle for us for no good reason. James had tried to get Mikes medication from the pharmacy but as usual there had been a cock up and they were unavailable despite the fact they had been ordered a week ago.  By the time we got home it wa…

Tuesday Morning

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Yesterday was a total washout in more ways than one.  It rained for most of the day and we spent our time dodging showers.  The audiology department called to cancel Mikes appointment and have rebooked it for 11.15 today. This of course means we will get caught in the daily traffic jam to get into the hospital.  
One good point about using the tumble dryer is that many items don't need ironing if they are nicely folded while they are still warm from the machine so the ironing didn't take me long. Then it was into the kitchen and get started on the bolognese sauce which once sauted off is transferred to the slow cooker to finish off.

I slowly sweat off pancetta, carrots, onions, celery and garlic which has been finely diced and then the meat is cooked until it is good and brown before being added to the vegetables.  I did the english variation with tomato passata added.  The authentic version doesn't have tomato.  Anyway it is an extremely convenient way to stretch a pound…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was another soggy one and this morning it is still raining.  I did the roast pork as instructed and leaving uncovered in the fridge over night certainly dried out the skin which then made the most wonderful crackling.  Not a square inch was soggy or soft and it shattered when hit with the back of a knife.  I would recommend this to you next time you decide to do a pork joint.  With it we had an assortment of vegetables peas, cauliflower, carrots and roast potatoes and of course some sage and onion stuffing.  As I had got up bright and early once my stomach was full I fell into my bed and slept like the dead for a good couple of hours.  I decided to go ahead with some laundry as the weather forecast is bad for the next few days so it was a case of using the tumble dryer.  
Tubby had us in stiches in the evening he has discovered that with a kong in his mouth he can use it as a bat and make his ball run about the floor.  He is a very bright cookie and has largely given up try…

Sunday Morning

Good morning all, it is an early one this morning and I am feeling a wobbly but nowhere near as bad as I have been.  Yesterday was a very uneventful day James took the dogs out first thing and they all got soaked but nothing a towel couldn't cure.  Showers came and went for most of the day but in between it was warm and sunny.  The chicken I did for lunch went down well and I managed to finish off a packet of long grain and wild rice to go with it.  Supper was an easy one we just had a fry up of bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes.  
I had a chat with Sandy on the phone and she is having a difficult time as her brother in law was rushed to hospital in the wee small hours with a suspected stroke.  He was still unconscious when I spoke with her at around 5pm which doesn't sound too good.  The results of the MRI scan had not yet come through so it is not yet clear exactly what has happened.  I suppose it is an age thing the older you get the more of the people you know start to …

Saturday Morning

Good morning all, another week passes by and here we are at the weekend again.  Yesterday was a another mixed bag of a day with intermittent showers and even some thunder and lightening.  From what I have seen of the weather forecast the weekend will also be the same sort of weather.  I went out to do some shopping in brilliant sunshine but the heavens opened just as I was on my way back to the car.  Did I have my waterproof coat on? No of course not why would you in lovely sunshine.  
T came to see Mike and was pleased with his progress.  They had a long chat and Mike was very happy as he really likes T and seems to listen to what he has to say which sadly is what we have been telling him for months to no avail.  Anyway, I don't really care who he listens to so long as he does listen to someone.  If I tell him he should do something he sees it as nagging but if T tells him that is completely different.
For lunch I had dragged out the ox cheek stew which I served with some curly …

Friday Morning

Yesterday was a day of sunshine and showers but we managed to get out with all the dogs for a nice walk.  Shiona had brought her two dogs with her and all of them had a blast in the water.  When we arrived at the carpark it was full of police cars and a forensic investigation van.  They had cordoned off part of the area but our usual walk was open.  According to the local news a man had approached a woman and then run away - doesn't sound much like a crime to me so maybe they are under reporting or the local police were bored.  Anyway I will keep my eyes peeled in the local press and see if anything actually happened.  
Shiona was feeling a little under the weather so we decided to have an easy lunch and went to the kebab shop.  Of all the takeaways that seems the most healthy after all what is wrong with some grilled meat, salad and pita bread.  Supper was equally easy just a bowl of pasta with homemade pesto and as I had lots of pine nuts I added a few extra which had been toas…

Thursday morning

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Good morning all.  Yesterday was really wet, loads of rain all day however it gave me the opportunity to give my new wet weather jacket a test run.  I had to go to the post office and it was coming down in torrents.  The rain just bounced off the jacket but the same could not be said for my lower half.  By the time I got home my jeans were soaked I do have wet weather trousers but I had not put them on.  I called in at the bakers and bought us some pasties to go with our soup for lunch and for supper I had taken out some duck breasts which I did with padron peppers and saute potatoes. The peppers were a free gift in my veg box.  They are very tasty but though most of them are sweet there is the occasional hot one which makes for a russian roulette meal.  The rest of the day was pretty boring and I watched acres of rubbish on the TV.  
Today I am a bit later with this blog as I have tried a new attack on the panic syndrome.  Spot on 3am I woke all of a flutter but instead of getting u…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all, yesterday was a generally good day though not for James.  He took Tubby up to the shops in the morning and met up with my Japanese neighbour who had three giant schnauzers on leads which ended up in a great coming together with both humans on the floor with leads wrapped around their legs.  No real damage done so later on James slammed his hand in the car door. Meanwhile Denny read Mike the riot act.  She spent many years as a carer so she is quite used to dealing with grumpy old men.  We had had a deluge of rain early in the morning but then it turned out to be a lovely day and I got all the washing done and dried.  I had made a big pot of soup early on and it is amazing how much soup you can make with just one of each of the vegetables I had lurking around.  There is easily enough for lunch again today.  For supper we had some venison burgers with wedges and fried eggs, a real canteen meal.  
Today is bin day so my first job will to get the bins out for the men.  …

Tuesday morning

Good morning all it is pretty early again but being retired it doesn't much matter as I can sleep when I am tired.  Yesterday was very cold, wet and windy and apparently we are due for a repeat performance today.  I am trying not to get too puppy orientated but I did order some puppy bedding for the big crate.  Today Denny is due for her fortnightly visit and I'm sure she will be stunned when she finds out about Basso.  
For lunch yesterday we had some salmon fish cakes from Aldi which were really very nice.  I normally make my own but these were very comparable with nice chunks of salmon in them.  Last night we indulged our need for comfort food and had a spaghetti carbonara and a salad.  I find that I have quite a few vegetables left over and as my new box is due today I thought I would convert the leftover veg into soup which will do for lunch.  We usually go out while Denny is here so that she has free run of the house without dogs to help her.  I also vacate the kitchen …

Monday morning

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Well good morning all yesterday saw me sleep for most of the day.  I was up as usual at the crack of dawn then went back to bed and slept until 9am.  After lunch I crashed out again for a good 2 hours and in between I just felt really tired.  I feel as if I am catching up on about 20 years of loss of sleep. 
The curry we had for lunch was fine and I had a bit of an idea what to do with one of the huge cloves of garlic - I just chopped it finely and fried it until nut brown then stirred it into the cooked rice.  I recommend this to you it was delicious. As usual I had done too much rice, I am a really poor judge of quantity when it comes to rice, however the dogs don't mind a bit as they love it.  I seem to have just about enough energy to nearly fill a thimble.  This is not like me at all.

This morning I came to with a panic attack at 1.30am and finally managed to get back to sleep at around 3am.  I find if I put my TV on and use it as a radio that usually diverts my attention fr…

Sunday morning

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Yesterday was a really wet one at least the afternoon was.  Fortunately I had got out early and had done a bit of planting so the rain was welcome to water in the plants.  I also did the the filter on the pond and got that cleaned before the weather turned.
I have been feeling very tired and my insides are playing up but I think this is all due to the antidepressants which are making me feel pretty rotten.  It is quite difficult to cook when you are feeling nauseated.  Shopping too is difficult as nothing is appealing.  Today is Mikes 75th birthday but he is not in the mood to celebrate so I am just going to make a chicken curry for lunch.  Nice and easy for me as I have some chicken thighs and I have already made the curry sauce so all that is required is some defrosting and assembling.  I understand that the tablets will take between 2-8 weeks to kick in but I hope the side effects subside soon.  I guess the tiredness is just the reduction in adrenalin which has been keeping me upr…

Saturday morning

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Good morning all I had a lovely morning with Sandy at Macknades pottering around looking at all the lovely stuff.  I picked up a £1 bag that had 6 yellow and 2 green peppers in it.  Together with the two red I had at home they have all been put through the oven to remove the skins and today I will make a big pepper salad out of them.  I also bought some "black watch" scotch eggs which we had for lunch.  They are made with a large amount of black pudding in the crust and are truly delicious. Shane my fishmonger also rang to say the boys had been fishing and he had some lovely large trout so I had a couple of those all filleted and prepared.  No one fancied the stew so that is going in the freezer for another time.  
My winter flowering clematis arrived in the post so today I need to prepare the ground where it is going to be planted and then get it in the ground.  I hope it makes some quick growth as the trellis looks a bit bare at the moment.  I also have some garlic to pla…

Friday morning

Yesterday was a bit of mixed bag.  Mike was in a very belligerent mood which I am putting down to his change over of antidepressants.  But it did make life a bit uncomfortable.  Fortunately Shiona has had to deal with stroppy patients so she was not phased.  We took the dogs for a walk and then swung by Aldi on the way home so Shiona could restock her chocolate supplies.  The mexican meal made a very nice lunch and I was so stuffed that a bowl of cereal did me for supper.
Today I am meeting Sandy in Faversham for breakfast and to purchase more coffee and no doubt I will pick up a few nice bits of cheese.  They stock a huge range of cheeses from all over the place both english and continental.  The stew will do for lunch and supper will be bits and pieces that I buy today.
I find I am wishing my life away and can't wait for the end of the month and my french trip.

Thursday Morning

Good morning all, I think the events of the last week are catching up with me and I must admit I am feeling very tired.  It has been an emotional rollercoaster.  The channel crossing has been booked for the 30-31st October so I can go and have a look at the puppies.  I have booked an overnight stay so we don't have to drive like lunatics to do it all in one day. It will also act as a dry run for the pick up day.  We have chosen the tunnel as this will allow us to stay in the car with the puppy.  The ferry insist that dogs are left in cars in the hold and passengers are forbidden from staying in the cars.  I think the trauma of leaving mum and driving with strangers for hours is enough for a little boy without being abandoned in the hold of a ship.  I checked the car insurance which covers me fully comp for the two days without extra payments. Today I will let my credit card provider know that we will be abroad on those days so we don't have any problems with them stopping the…

Wednesday morning

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Good morning all as usual I am up at stupid o'clock but today I am booking the channel crossing to go and look at the puppies 30 -31 October.  Apparently my insurance will cover me fully comp for two days in France provided I give them the exact dates.  So at last something positive to look forward to having missed out on my holiday.  T came to visit Mike again yesterday armed with a prescription for a different type of antidepressant which hopefully might make things a bit better for him.  He has also arranged for the occupational health team to come and see Mike and go through a typical day with him.  He has been weening off his current antidepressants so yesterday he was like a bear with sore head.  Lets hope the new ones kick in soon!!! 
I finally got to grips with the laundry which had built up while I was a basket case.  I also managed to get the bulbs in the ground and change over the window boxes.  Today James is on kitchen duty and he will be making his Mexican specialit…