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Showing posts from February, 2015

Saturday Morning

Good morning all.  I am thinking of applying for canonisation despite my tiredness I actually set to and cleaned my oven.  There comes a moment when you just have to do it and yesterday was it. Perhaps just beatification as I still have the second oven to clean. I think it must have been the sunshine that but a burr under my saddle and pushed me into overdrive.  All the laundry got done and is now in the ironing pile.  Tubby and Dante had a nice run on the rugby field where they met another staffy who wanted to play chase and rough and tumble so not much walking necessary as the other owner and I just stood and watched as they did circuit after circuit until they were exhausted.  Tubby was the smaller of the staffies but by far the quickest and poor old Dan just did his best but it was nowhere near good enough, he came last each time.  It reminded me of Nip who always challenged greyhounds to a running race despite the fact that the greyhounds thought he was a rabbit.  A bit like me c…

Friday morning

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Good morning all - I am poleaxed with tiredness but pleased with yesterday's trip out.  The weather couldn't have been worse we drove to Folkestone in thick fog and just as well we left plenty of time as we got stuck in a traffic jam of lorries trying to get to the tunnel.  As usual the train journey was quick and uneventful but as we exited in Calais the rain had started and it didn't stop all day. Fortunately we had no plans to walk about and merely drove from one wine emporium to the next. Shiona and Keith had pre ordered much of what they wanted so it was very easy, just a case of dashing in paying and then loading the car.  With the Landrover it was easy to stack up the boxes of wine in the dog cages.  Then came lunch and oh boy was I ready to eat.  We had a lovely meal Shiona had moules mariniere to start with followed by a lovely fish dish with a prawn sauce and as hers was from one of the set menus she also had cheese and a big chocolate mousse.  Keith had a pate …

Thursday morning

Good morning all I am sitting here cursing as I woke at 3.30am not the best time given it is going to be a long day.  I really could have used a couple of extra hours sleep.  It will however give me time for a leisurely shower and a slow getting ready.  I am sure I will be fine once I am underway but it is frustrating none the less.  If I were going alone I would bottle out and go back to bed but I can't let the others down so it is a case of "brace yourself Sheila", and get on with it.
Dante looks a real scruff in the photos but he had just come home from a run in the rain.  He does look better when nicely brushed and fortunately he doesn't hate the brush like Basso used to. The winter months are always difficult with a dog with a long coat which picks up everything. Fortunately he is not a rolling dog so we don't have the fox poo problems.  Shiona has endless problems with her two Westies who love rolling but at least they are small enough to chuck in the bath…

For Chrissie

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Knackered after a wet and muddy walk
What do you mean my face is dirty?
Do I look better in profile

I might be grubby but I am handsome

Want to see what I can do with these huge shovels?

Wednesday morning

Yesterday was a bit chaotic what with me getting up late and then the influx of people into the house. Anyway things had settled down by lunch time and I shot out to do a bit of shopping but what actually drove me out was that we emptied our change jar which was overflowing.  I must admit that we put the money into the machine in Tesco which loses you 10% so we only put coins lower than 50p into it, nonetheless, we netted about £100 from the shrapnel.  It is quite amazing how the small stuff mounts up.
Last night's supper was a mish mash of fishy things with lettuce. I don't know how else to describe it I suppose the posh term is a warm seafood salad but it was more than that with the addition of deep fried goats cheese balls.  It is one of those meals that we will never have again but we all enjoyed it.  I remember as a child my mother lamenting that there was nothing for supper.  She then pottered through the cupboards and fridge and low and behold a wonderful feast of this…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all I am up very late this morning having first been up at around 4am I took myself back to bed and slept like a baby until 7.45.  Now of course I am all behind schedule and Denny will be here in minutes.  The sun is shining and it is a chilly 5 degrees.  I actually got out into the garden yesterday for a few minutes to tie up my wisteria and the bamboo both of which had broken free of their moorings during the last big blow.  Well I am going to cut this short as I now have a house full of people. I will try to add a bit later when the mayhem has died down.

All quiet on the western front the house is back to just the three of us. Everything is clean and tidy and remarkably it is still light at 5pm.  I am just revving up to cooking the supper.  Lunch had to be a quick job as the kitchen was out of action for a fair amount of time.  So we had a very inspiring lunch of sausage egg and beans.  The sausages were very nice as they were made with black pudding incorporated.  To…

Monday morning

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Yesterday started well but then came the deluge.  It tipped down for hours and hours after lunch. However, I had a bit of seredipadus luck.  I had put on some bread but put in a bit too much water.  I went with the saying "wetter is better', and left it to rise.  Just as it was ready the phone rang and I got carried away chatting. Bread over proved and just starting to collapse.  Made a cods of kneading it and ended up with a simple round loaf which had to wait ages for the roast to come out of the oven. Finally in it went and out came probably the best loaf I have ever made.  I was expecting a disaster instead of which it was a triumph.

The roast pork lunch was lovely and the crackling disappeared very quickly.  I still have a fair amount  left and cold pork is not so easy to deal with so I think I will just reheat it in the remaining gravy and do more vegetables to go with it.  Do you have a favorite recipe for leftover roast pork? I suppose there is no reason why you can&…

Sunday morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday was a day of contrasts when I got up it was dry but soon we had a downpour of snow/sleet/rain not sure which it actually was as it changed on its way down landing as rain.  We braced ourselves for the cold and took the dogs out for their walk by which time the rain had stopped but it was very wet underfoot and pretty chilly however the sun was out.  
For lunch I titivated a cottage pie by adding sliced tomatoes and copious amounts of grated cheddar to the top and served it with broccoli.  Supper was interesting as we had missed pancake day I made a big batch of pancakes which we had with lemon and sugar.  The washing machine was on the go all day doing load after load and the tumble dryer also worked its socks off so now I have loads of ironing to keep me out of mischief.  
I managed to relay the hall carpet after Dan's little misdemeanor and hopefully there is not too much permanent damage done.  His new set of beautiful white teeth have erupted and …

Saturday morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday went according to plan I have been shorn and my head definitely feels lighter.  The only bit of the hair dresser that I like is having my hair washed which is very relaxing anyway job done for the next 6 weeks at least.
Dante is in big trouble he decided that if he is not allowed to dig huge holes in the garden perhaps indoor digging is allowed so he had a go at the hall carpet and dug that up only to find lovely underlay you can rip to shreds.  I knew his angelic stage would not last but none the less it comes as a surprise.  Anyway I have explained to him that this behaviour is not acceptable either.  Actually he is not stupid and he knew it was wrong and headed for the safety of his crate as soon as I saw what he had done.  It is hard to stay cross when he comes to you and puts his head on your lap and looks pleadingly into your eyes.  Tubby understood that it had hit the fan and was nowhere to be found he was not willing to face the wrath of Nanny on …

Friday Morning

Yesterday was a real wet one - I dashed out before it started as Aldi had rinse aid on offer.  I now have sufficient to last the rest of my life!!!  I had organised a nice lunch of sirloin steak with mushrooms and potatoes lyonnaise.  Supper was a beans on toast affair with a couple of chipolatas.  
Dante is really coming into his own and has reached the age where he thinks he can do as he pleases. His digging session got spotted and words were had.  He does at least have a conscience and knows he has done wrong unlike Nip who always denied all knowledge of wrongdoing.  Tubby knew there was going to be trouble and disappeared and hid in the bedroom.  There is nothing to be done about the mud on the carpet it just has to be left to dry and then comes off easily with the hoover but boy does it look a mess in the mean time.  The huge muddy paw prints look almost like a regular pattern.
Today I am off to the hairdresser to have my locks shorn.  I always hate it when it is first done but …

Thursday Morning

What a lovely day I had yesterday it has been ages since I have had a day out that was not shopping or some other needed journey.  Dante and I went over to Shiona's house where we met up with another friend from our days teaching at the university.  She too is a dog person and has dachshunds one of whom is undergoing chemotherapy having lost a leg but he looked very well and managed very well on his three remaining legs.  I didn't give Dan any breakfast in the hope that he would not be sick en route but he did have one  leftover meat ball to pacify him for the loss.  Needless to say that came back up.  Once we had arrived I fed him and he drank two full bowls of water as he had drooled the entire journey.  He was very nervous as this is the first time he has had an outing to another house but at least he knows Shiona and her dogs so it was not so traumatic.  While we were there it was a golden opportunity to see how he reacted to a gun being fired.  I walked him half way down…

Wednesday morning

Good morning readers yesterday was a mixed bag of bits and bobs - I spent some time researching the pros and cons of trusts which is a minefield of legal gobbledy goop.  If ignorance of the law is no excuse then why do we need specialists to interpret it? Anyway I have organised the financial advisor to look into the matter.  None of this is going to happen quickly but at least I have got the ball rolling.
One thing that needs to be considered is replacing the Landrover which is now 10 years old and will start to cost money soon so I need to look into replacing it.  Now here is the problem with the caravan I need a vehicle that is heavy enough to tow the van - if on the other hand I sell the van then I can have a vehicle that is just big enough for us and the dogs. It is all a bit of a muddle and I will have to start making some big decisions.
I also had a look at lasting power of attorney which is simple to complete on line then all that is needed is the £110 to register it.  I thin…

Tuesday Morning

Yesterday we had an interesting chat with the lady who came to talk us through how to protect ourselves from losing everything if one of us should need to go into a care home.  This we have already done but what we didn't think about was what happens if both of us need care.  The answer to which is to put your assets into a trust which effectively ring fences your house and prevents the government forcing you to sell it and also does away with probate which can cost massive amounts if they have to be dealt with by solicitors.  
The other thing which is also a good idea is to arrange lasting power of attorney which would come into force only if one of you is diagnosed with dementia.  Apparently the doctors have to pass this diagnosis on to the courts who then have powers over your money to protect you.  However, they are slow and cumbersome and this can cause terrible problems.  Not many of us like to think about the "what if", scenarios but you just don't know what …

Monday morning

Good morning all here we go into another week.  I had a really bad day yesterday the dreaded panic attacks have returned and by about 12 midday I was exhausted.  The daily chores had been done so I had an early lunch and put myself to bed and slept solidly for two hours which was just what was needed.  James had volunteered to do the supper and he made a very acceptable pasta alla puttanesca. One portion of the sauce had to be syphoned out before the addition of the chilli as Mike is very anti spicy food.  
On our shopping expedition to Aldi I bought an assortment of fruit to put in the nutribullet as we all find that we can drink breakfast but none of us is keen to eat first thing.  Tina is managing to chivy Mike to get going and she seems to be making some headway.  Finally he seems to be listening to the advice he is given.  It is all a bit late, but better late than never.  I think he is finally coming to the conclusion that having James here is more help than hindrance and has f…

Sunday morning

Did anyone else completely forget it was Valentines day yesterday?  I certainly did until the carer came and reminded me.  I had just made us all a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon so she thought we were celebrating.  Actually I had a packet of smoked salmon pieces which needed using up so that was the reason.
Yesterday, was another wet day but James managed to judge the walk beautifully and got home just in time for lunch and before the next downpour.  The fancied fry up ended up being for supper as we had a seafood risotto for lunch.  Our butcher makes some really lovely chipolata sausages so  a couple of the those with beans and an egg was just what we felt like.  Today I am going to be really lazy and have a beef and onion pies [bought ready made] with an assortment of vegetables and gravy. I intend to go to Aldi when they open at 10am as they have lots of Italian things on special offer so I will restock my pasta cupboard.  In the mean time I have a nice big pi…

Saturday morning

We have had buckets of rain but as luck would have it we managed to get the dogs out for a walk in the only dry period of the day.  None of us had had a particularly good night as Dante decided to play "knock down ginger", at the bedroom doors in the wee small hours.  He thought it was a really splendid game so last night he was banished to the ground floor and we had a nice quiet night.  
I cooked the brill for lunch with a cooked endive salad and for supper we had the gnocchi with a really lovely pesto made from scratch.  I have yet to find a jarred pesto that is worth eating and given it is so easy to make I don't see the point.  I keep my pine nuts in the freezer which prevents them going rancid.  I always have parmesan, garlic and olive oil so it just needs a decent bunch of basil and you are away.
Todays menu is a complete blank at the moment but I quite fancy a fry up so maybe the burgers I made will come in handy.  I also have some mixed sea food which I think w…

Friday morning

Well here we are at the end of the week again how quickly the time seems to pass.  This morning the rain is falling and we have a very wet start to the day but at least it is not too cold.  Yesterday saw the last of the mince cookery make its way to the freezer.  One portion of the bolognese was kept back for lunch and for supper we had my favourite salad, endive with blue cheese, pears and walnuts.  The only problem was everyone was hungry again later so sandwiches were had by all at about 9pm.  
We had a real mystery in the house yesterday I seemed to have lost all but two of my side plates.  I searched high a low just in case they had been put in the wrong place but nothing was forthcoming. Then finally the penny dropped when Dan had his smashing time with the dishwasher I thought I had just lost two dinner plates but I must also have lost several side plates as well.  Smashed white china looks much the same and that is the only explanation for the missing plates.  
For the first …

Thursday morning

Good morning all, yesterday was a fairly normal sort of a day except that James was feeling really unwell this chest thing seems to come and go as soon as you think you are finally past the worst of it it comes back and bites you in the bum.
The fried chicken work well and the soak in buttermilk certainly kept it moist, the only problem was that none of us had an appetite so it ended up doing both meals.  Hot for lunch and cold for supper. One thing I found strange was that the flour coating had two teaspoons of cayenne pepper so I expected a bit of heat but there was none.  
The last of the mince got made into burgers and bolognese sauce.  The bolognese spent the whole day in the slow cooker.  I don't think it is possible to overcook it!!!!  It has cooled over night and is now ready to be packed up and frozen.  I usually freeze it in plastic boxes and then once frozen I vacuum pack it.  This makes reheating really easy as you can just drop a bag into some boiling water and away …

Wednesday Morning

Yesterday morning on my way out to the shops I bumped into my new neighbours and discovered that they have a sauna which is going to go where the conifers were.  I have only had a couple of saunas in my life and they were quite enough I don't find them remotely appealing, now on the other hand I love steam rooms.  In fact when I had a gym membership the only things I liked were the swimming pool and the steam room.  I gave up using the jacuzzi the day I saw them cleaning out the grey sludge of dead skin from the bottom and realised what I was soaking in.  Fortunately I let the membership lapse as I certainly was not getting much benefit from it.  
Had a bit of a rotten night last night tossing and turning and generally not sleeping in the end I got up at 3.30 as I was fed up of lying in the dark trying to sleep when it was obvious sleep was not on the cards.
If poor Denny could see my dining room carpet she would weep it was all pristine and lovely until Dante and Tubby had their…

Tuesday morning

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The new neighbours obviously have plans for the garden which did not include the conifer bed planted some 30 years ago as the whole lot have been chopped down.  At the moment it looks quite a mess but I am intrigued to see what will emerge from the devastation.  
Yesterdays experimental dish turned out OK and basically tasted of sausages as the lettuce doesn't retain any real flavour.  It was however entertaining to make and passed a couple of hours while my bread dough proved.
Today is going to be bedlam with Denny arriving at 8am and Tina at 8.30 so I hope they will not get in each others way.  I think I would be wise to get out of the house as I am bound to be in everybody's way.  I think I may seek sanctuary in Aldi and the butcher.  I thought I would buy lots of minced beef and make an assortment of dishes to put in the freezer.  Mince is so versatile and I can make burgers, meatballs, bolognese, cottage pie, chili and just plain mince and onions.  In the mean time I am …

monday evening

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Stuffed little gem lettuce ready to be poached a second time.  It is bit fiddly to prepare but you know I like a challenge.  The first poaching is so that you can remove the heart of the lettuce making sure you have sufficient leaf left to cover the filling.



Finished dish served with potatoes and carrots poached at the same time all in turkey stock which I had in the freezer.  The stuffing couldn't be simpler it is just sausage meat with a little lemon zest grated in.  Not the most interesting meal I have ever had but if you have nothing better to do on a cold winters day while you are waiting for your bread to prove then it is a great time waster.  The dish dates to victorian times.

Sadly the finance lady was struck by the plague and got sent home by her boss who rang to cancel; she is hoping to come next week.

Monday morning

Good morning all, yesterday morning started off well and I got to Faversham on time and had a lovely breakfast with Sandy.  I filled my trolley with lots of good things and then made my way back home.  By the time I got home I was completely out of gas and having made Mike some lunch I trundled off to bed desperate for some sleep.  I think the aftermath of this chest thing is the terrible lack of energy I just seem to get so tired.  Anyway the little gem lettuces have had a poach and today I will have a go at stuffing them with the sausage meat.  This will be the fiddly stage and once they are stuffed then they need tying into shape and re-poaching to cook the stuffing.  Only time will tell if this is a successful venture or a total failure. 
Today I have someone coming to discuss how to organise our finances so that we are not forced to sell the house if one of us needs to go into a nursing home.  I believe the government has recently changed the rules so I need to update myself.  Y…

Sunday morning

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Yesterdays focaccia with black olives parmesan and pepper

I really must stop making these as we just sit and eat them!!!! and given there is 500g of flour in each it is the same as an entire loaf of bread.  I suppose in some ways they are halfway to being a pizza but much more substantial.  
Today I am off to Faversham to have breakfast with Sandy and to buy some coffee as I am all but out of  beans.  No doubt I will stock up on other goodies while I am there.  Their cheese counter is quite something to behold and I seldom get past without some purchase.  Their fruit and vegetable section is also quite a draw with just about everything you could possibly imagine.  My fancy for salad is still strong so I will probably buy a few bits while I am there.  I also saw a victorian recipe for stuffed lettuce which rather appealed to me so I may buy the ingredients for that.  Basically you poach some little gem lettuces and then remove the heart and replace it with a mixture of sausage meat an…

Saturday morning

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Yesterdays little game was the focaccia with fried onions on top.  I followed the thermomix recipe to make the dough which is meant to be very wet and so is difficult to handle.  However it is not difficult to eat and there is not a morsel left.  I had made a chicken curry for lunch so just a slab of the focaccia was enough for supper.  
The weather looked bright and sunny but the wind was straight from the arctic and blowing with force.  We took the dogs for a short run round the rugby field and that was enough for me.  I came back with my head aching from the cold; where was my mother to tell me to put a hat on?
I have had to have words with Dan and explain that he is not Greek and smashing plates is not something that pleases me.  Yesterday he managed to get a paw stuck in the plate rack of the dishwasher, he then panicked and tried to run successfully hurling the rack and plates across the kitchen smashing several in the process. Fortunately plates are not something I am short of…

Friday morning

"Once more unto the breach dear friends",  least ways that how it feels.  Shiona came over yesterday without her dogs who were having their hair done.  We had the regulation visit to Aldi and I had a major restock.  With everyone with snotty noses we are going through tissues at a rate of knots.  Still so much better than washing handkerchiefs, do you remember that?  James has had a completely sleepless night so the kitchen is all tidy - I have now packed him off to bed and hope he sleeps for a few hours.  On my way back from Aldi I popped into the pharmacy to check if Mike's drugs were ready only to find that the new prescription had been written but was all wrong so had to be resubmitted.  Fortunately I am well ahead of schedule so he has sufficient to last to next week.  I had a really ropey day yesterday feeling shattered and still coughing like crazy.  I have promised James that if I am not much improved by Monday I will make an appointment to see the doctor.  I ha…

Thursday Morning

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Dante is growing into a very beautiful young man
Good morning all, yesterday was a relatively peaceful day I occupied myself in the kitchen making bread, and finally finishing off the laundry which has been hanging around for days.  I had a lettuce which was on the blink so I decided to make petit pois a la francaise which has to be the best way to lose a dodgy bit of lettuce.  With our peas we had some beef and onion slices ready made from Aldi - there are few things ready made that I like but these I find quite palatable.  Supper was really easy as we had some sausaged and the fresh bread.  
I had a visit from one of my neighbours who had come to discuss the barking dogs next door so I went and introduced myself to the new neighbours with a view to seeing if we could sort something out.  They have two very small Jack Russells who are outdoor dogs and sleep in a kennel in the garden which means that they run about barking at all hours of the night.  There is lots of wildlife around at…

Wednesday morning

Well another perishingly cold morning and as I suspected our snow only lasted a couple of hours. Tina came bright and early and got Mike all sorted out and posted through the shower. James took the dogs for a run in the little bit of snow which also kept them out of our way.  I had a large number of carrots so I made up a pot of carrot soup, some of which we had for lunch, the remainder I put in a squash bottle in the freezer.  This we followed with some venison stew and mash.  When I make mash now I make a big pot and then freeze the leftovers in portion sizes.  It saves lots of time when you are in hurry.  Supper was some gammon steaks which we had with battered onion rings and a fried egg.  I was very disappointed with the onion rings which were very sweet and not in an onion sort of way.  I can only assume that the batter contained sugar which rendered them more like doughnuts [not nice].  Anyway I now know not to buy them again!!!! 
Today I fancy making some bread, it is ages si…

Tuesday Morning

Well finally we have just the merest covering of snow I think once the sun comes up it will disappear in minutes.  Yesterday we had a busy morning with the carer arriving at 8.30 to encourage Mike to get up and going which is working out very well as he does what he is told.  Then we had a visit from the community respiratory nurse who had a good listen to his chest and ran through his breathing exercises with him.  He is doing what lots of elderly people do and that is to cut back on their drinking to save them having to go to the toilet more often.  This is bad news as dehydration makes his chest worse as the secretions are more viscous and less easily shifted. Not walking out to the toilet also stops him moving around which is also bad for him.  So the order of the day is push fluids!!! 
Now that Dan is 5 months old we decided to that he is well behaved enough to be trusted to spend the night with his crate door open and with free run of the ground floor.  It also means that he ha…

Monday morning

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This is a photo of part of Mikes discharge documentation - yes I know, just a small error along with leaving a tourniquet on his arm after taking arterial blood until he complain of the pain and swelling. And quite frankly the statement is correct he is as bad now as when he was admitted the carer is unhappy with his condition and has asked me to get a doctor out to see him.  This could be fun as I have had experience of phoning the practice on a Monday morning.  Still if they decide to readmit him at least his bag is packed and his razor and bits have been on charge so they are ready to go.  I may not be 100% but I am well enough to visit so at least that will not be such a worry.  I also have 2 pairs of pyjamas on order which should arrive this morning.

On the dot of 4am the new neighbours dogs started barking.  I have not seen the dogs but they sound like small yappy ones.  Poor Dante was too afraid to go out by himself so I had to accompany him into the garden for his ablutions. …

Sunday morning

Good morning all.  This morning is cold but still no snow we have had rain instead.  Yesterday was the first day I felt vaguely like a human being but my energy levels were in my boots.  I managed to potter through the morning got a couple of loads of laundry done.  With no carer coming in Mike just sat in a heap and waited for me to deliver breakfast then went straight back to bed.  James was poleaxed and just slept all day - I poked him a regular intervals to make sure he had drinks and took his antibiotics but he too was devoid of energy.  The only time I can remember being this unwell was when I had real flu which I have had twice and maybe now three times.  It is not something you muddle up with a cold and with bronchitis over the top it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. Anyway I am definitely on the mend but my mojo is definitely missing.  Hopefully things will improve from here on.  
I pottered around in the kitchen and made a big batch of leek and potato soup an…