Showing posts from March, 2015

Tuesday Morning

Good morning all I am up very late this morning after what was quite a disturbed night.  It was blowing a gale outside and is still pretty blustery this morning.  Yesterday was a day of ups and downs literally.  My uncle who is now in his 80's and lives in cheltenham gave me a ring out of the blue and we had a nice chat on the phone.  Then while I was out with the dogs Dante successfully surprised me by running straight into the back of my legs and down I went like a sack of potatoes.  I was fully expecting to wake up this morning feeling the effects of the tumble but luckily there are no lasting effects and I feel fine.  Isn't it interesting how children "fall over" but after a certain age you "have a fall".  It is a very long time since I hit the floor with force but the only effects were shock and surprise.  I think Dan was just as surprised as he too got tumbled, it must have made a great sight for any onlookers.  I think the last time I was downed was…

Monday morning

Good morning all, I am up quite late this morning but that is because I am well and truly confused by the hour change.  Yesterday was not the most pleasant day weather wise it was blustery and wet most of the time.  I took the dogs for their walk in our local park which has a nice dry footpath and it allowed me to combine the walk with a bit of shopping.  Aldi were doing lots of dog treats so I had a good restock.  We grazed on leftover pizza for most of the day but I had made a chicken dish for supper so we had at least one proper meal.  I was feeling pretty shattered after the weekends fun and games and desperately in need of catching up on a bit of sleep.  As yet I don't have the foggiest idea what todays menu has to offer.  I have some salad ingredients which need using up and also some jerusalem artichokes which I could make into soup.  I watched the program "the truth about calories" which was interesting and I was pleased to see that the family who were tasked wi…

Sunday morning

Good morning all
The clocks have gone forward but my head hasn't and I feel completely wrecked.  The party was a great success with a live band and the pizza vans were an inspiration.  Two vans with wood fired ovens parked directly outside the village hall and everyone queued up and collected a pizza.  There were three choices margarita, ham and mushroom and  pepperoni.  Sadly there were a few left over so we brought some home with us, guess what we are having for breakfast!!!!  James and I took up the duties of unofficial bar tenders and were put in charge of the good cork screw.  Copious bottles of wine were available and the only thing to run low were the soft drinks.  We got home around midnight which given I had been up since 3am as you can imagine I was just a little shattered.  Today is going to be a bit hand to mouth as I gradually come back to consciousness.  However if we have a pizza for breakfast then lunch may well get postponed until supper time.  
The weather outsid…

Saturday Morning

Good morning all, the sun is up and for once I am not typing in the pitch dark.  The sky looks overcast and dull but it is dry at the moment.  Yesterday was the day of leftovers as we motored out way through the left over risotto which had been made into suppli al telefono.  Normally I make this with plain risotto but this one was with seafood but it worked just as well the centre of each ball of rice was filled with mozzarella cheese and then put through the egg and breadcrumb process before frying.  There were still left over meat balls and skordalia and the butterbean dish so out of this lot we managed a lunch and a supper.  I am now completely cleared out of leftovers but nothing ended up in the bin so I am happy.  
The post brought me a nice £200 cheque from British Gas who pay me for my solar panels, given that this is winter quarter that is not bad at all.  Mike asked if he could have trip out so I took him with me to the bank and then on to a dog walk.  James was busy sorting…

Friday morning

Good morning all what a dreadful day yesterday was it was cold wet and windy and really miserable. We did get the odd glimmer of sun in the afternoon by which time we were all past caring and had given up on the day.  For lunch I made the seafood risotto but rather over did the rice so I have a pile left over.  For supper we had some of the left over meat balls which had not made it to the freezer, at least the men did, I didn't feel hungry so just had a cup of tea.  The left over risotto will be made into arancini or maybe suppli al telefono both of which are made with left over risotto.  As the Italians were a very poor people there are always recipes to deal with left overs.

I had a bit of a rotten day yesterday with a backache which came from nowhere and for no apparent reason.  Very frustrating, I wouldn't mind if I had been digging holes in the garden I would expect to suffer for my efforts but to suffer for no reason somehow is worse.  Anyway, this morning I have woken…

Thursday monring

Good morning all, it is another perishingly cold morning I can't wait for the temperatures to start rising a bit.  Yesterday was the usual sort of a day the forms have at last been posted so that is one job finally accomplished.  I have started an experiment with the large food and water containers for the hens so we can judge roughly how long they last before needing refilling.  I also spent a while in the kitchen making a big batch of meat balls some of which we had for lunch with some pasta and some tomato sauce.  I also had some soaked butter beans which have now been cooked with what I can only describe as a bolognese like sauce with the beans playing the part of the meat.  I then saw on one of the blogs I read a recipe for skordalia which I also made to accompany some fish fingers and some of the butter beans for supper.  Very nice it was too and this morning the remaining meat balls and beans will go into the freezer for some other time. Today on the lunch menu I am going …

Wednesday Morning

Good morning all, yesterday was a miserable day here with rain and an overcast sky.  Today we are forecast some sun but the temperature at the moment is only 3 degrees so it is pretty cold.  Denny arrived early and she looked very unwell but despite my pleadings she insisted on carrying on so James and I pitched in and did the upstairs which cut the work in half.   From us she was going straight to the doctors and I expect she will have been put on antibiotics as she very obviously had bronchitis.  We usually take the dogs out while she is here just to make life a bit easier for her but yesterday she need our help in the house so I didn't manage to get as far as the post office and that has been put on todays agenda.  Lunch was a strange mixture as I am trying to clear up the freezer and make room for lots of ready meals for Mike.  We ended up with lamb cutlets, swede and carrot mash, spiced red cabbage and quinoa - quite a combination but not unpleasant.  Supper was also odd wit…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all, well the forms have at last been filled in so today it is a case of a trip to the post office to send them on their merry way.  As they go to the office of the public guardian it will be some time before I hear anything.

Dante and Tubby had a trip to the vet yesterday but only as far as the scales.  We needed an accurate  as we are changing their food and the amount fed is weight dependant.  Tubby is now 16 kg and Dan is 28 kg.  The food states 100g per 8 kg divided between two meals.  Fortunately my arithmetic is good enough to make the calculations LOL.

The ostrich stakes although small were very tasty.  They are an Aldi special and have been marinaded so all they need is frightening with the griddle pan.  The last of the garden pie made an adequate side dish along with some courgette spaghetti.  Supper was a pasta bolognese and a large mixed salad. Today on the menu we have some lamb cutlets and I think peas in th French style cooked with bacon and lettuce.

I ha…

Monday morning

Good morning all, it is another perishingly cold day with the temperature down to 2 degrees. Yesterday was very cold in the wind which was freezing.  When we took the dogs for their walk we had half the walk in the shelter of the hedges but the return was in the full force of the wind which was really cold.  Before you ask the forms are still unfilled and sitting on the side, maybe today :). The ironing got done and all the other chores but some how I forgot the forms LOL.  
Now on to the garden pie it was very nice if a bit spicy but for a carnivore like me it lacked a depth of flavour that meat gives things.  I kept thinking how good this would be with a pound of mince added. If I do the same recipe again I would increase the herbs and other flavouring ingredients to give it a bit more welly.  It was perfectly OK and I am sure those who are not meat eaters would find it quite acceptable.  It was, however, a very good way of using up excess vegetables.  Interestingly the bread never…

Sunday morning

Good morning all, it is another cold winter day nothing like the warm spring weather we had a week ago.  I managed to get most of my chores done yesterday with the exception of the dratted forms. The laundry has all had to go through the tumble dryer as we had intermittent showers and it was too risky to dry outside.  I have a new brake light which kwik fit fitted but even that was a bit of a pain I took the car up to the garage at about 10am but the bulb hadn't arrived so I left the car with them and walked home only to be summoned half an hour later to walk back up and collect it but at least the job is done.  I put on a loaf yesterday with some very heavy wholemeal flour which has added stuff like a granary mix however it seems totally unwilling to rise so I have left it overnight in the hope it might make some progress but nothing much has happened.  It looks like it is going to be a disaster but I am not worried if it turns out badly I am sure the hens won't mind.  
The …

Saturday morning

Good morning all.  Well the car is back from the garage and I am a grand poorer but I have a completely new braking system so I am not unhappy at least all is safe now.  This is very important as the long journey to Scotland is coming up and the last thing I need is a brake failure.  I do have to stop by the garage today as the brake light has not been replaced as they didn't have one in stock and they will fit that today. My only consolation is I know that had I taken it to the main dealer it would have cost me three times as much. This has rather galvanised my ideas and once I have had a good few months of wear out of the new system I think the time has come to sell the car before it starts costing me too much.  I will be looking to change to a younger model but sticking with Land Rover as I need a car that can handle the dog crates and muddy boots etc.  While a nice little economical hatchback might be ok for normal use I do do some off road driving and really need a work hors…

Friday morning

Good morning all, Yesterday was nice James and I went over to Shiona's house and we took Tubby and Dante.  Sadly Dan was sick even though I had given him his breakfast good and early however he had a real blast once we arrived.  Shiona has a very large garden and he and Tubby spent ages chasing each other round and round her pond which is more of a lake than a pond.  Her two dogs were at the hairdressers being made beautiful and didn't arrive until lunch time by which time Dan and Tubby were a spent force.  Shiona helped me fill in the forms for the power of attorney so now all I need to do is come up with the registration fee of £110 and send it all off.  I believe it takes about 9 weeks for the registration to happen but I am in no rush and once it is done I will feel happier.  
Thankyou for your comments I try not to put too much of my personal life on the blog but I was spitting feathers yesterday morning after a pretty bad night.  Shiona had made us a lovely beef strogan…

Thursday morning

Good morning all, Yesterday was a run of the mill sort of a day I went out and did the shopping and got the animal food from the feed merchant.  For lunch we had a lamb curry which I never order from the takeaways as the lamb is always tough.  I was determined to make a lamb curry with tender meat so the lamb was browned in a pan and then pressure cooked in minimal liquid for about 10 minutes I then reduced the liquid to next to nothing and finally added my own curry sauce together with a few fresh tomatoes and peppers.  The result was a curry with meltingly tender lamb, mission accomplished.  I had rather overdone the quantity so we had the remainder for supper.  A nurse from the respiratory team came to visit Mike yesterday while I was out so sadly he has rather led her astray.  When she suggested that I might go the pharmacy for him his reply was "yes and pigs might fly, it will depend on what mood she is in".  Needless to say not only am I mortified but pretty hurt as w…


Two happy boys snoozing in a ray of sun following a walk and a cold dip in the river.  Dogs don't seem to have any appreciation of the cold and are quite happy to have a swim in freezing water.

Yesterday was a day of using up leftovers and bits and pieces I had lots of mashed potato so half went to make some fishcakes with the addition of a tin of tuna, a couple of anchovies and a spring onion or two.  The remainder was made into potato gnocchi which James had for supper with a sort of puttanesca sauce while Mike and I tidied up a couple of lamb chops with peas and carrots.  Three is a very difficult number to work with given that most things seem to come in pairs or packs of 4 neither of which is ideal.
When I went up to check on the hens I was flabbergasted to see nothing but the stump of the cabbage hanging from their cage.  They had demolished the lot in one day leaving the layers pellets in the feeder so it was obvious which they prefered.  As luck would have it there was a…


Good morning all or should that be afternoon! it is very late for me as you know I am usually up at 4am but this morning I couldn't  face getting up in the cold and dark so I took a sleeping tablet and hey presto it is 8.30.  I am well rested but I have a head full of gerbils who are having a party which is one of the reasons that I am reluctant and rarely take the tablets. For once everyone is up before me and James has cleared up the kitchen and fed the dogs.  
Yesterday was lovely starting off with breakfast in Macknades - I don't know how many eggs they use in their scramble egg breakfast but it looks like at least half a dozen served on a piece of brown sourdough toast and washed down with a large cappuccino coffee what more could anyone ask.  In the shop there is a section of £1 bags of vegetables which need using very soon and in this pile I found a huge bag of button mushrooms which were completely irresistible to me.  They found themselves in the pan which had held t…


Good morning all, yesterday was a miserable day weather wise as not only was it particularly cold but it was wet too.  We were very fortunate as we took the dogs out first thing and just missed the rain.  The lunch was a success but then again I think you could serve sawdust with cream and mushrooms and make it palatable.  The marsala gave just a hint of sweetness to the dish and a pile of creamy mash was just the ticket.  
My surrogate daughter rang to wish me happy mothers day which was very thoughtful of her and I did nothing but cook the lunch, thereafter I abandoned all the clearing up and had the afternoon off.  
I have been watching the series "Boston legal" and I had about 8 episodes to catch up on.  While the program is a comedy it does call into question much of the american legal and political system.  Boy am I glad I don't live in America for one thing I would not be rich enough to get justice.  I'm sure our legal system is not without it's faults bu…


Good morning all - Yesterday was a bit of a non day what with my big shop in Tesco and then lunch to cook the morning just disappeared.  We had the bass fillets for lunch with a tomato salad and some dill mayo.  For supper I made the tomato scones mentioned on Joy's blog.  It is the first time that I have made scones using oil instead of butter but it worked well and I must admit I added a few extra ingredients - a bit of powdered english mustard a few thyme leaves and a grating of parmesan cheese. They were very filling and did us for supper hot out of the oven and slathered in butter.  Not the low calorie version!!!!  James was in a lot of pain having rather overdone it the night before standing for too long on his bad foot so he spent quite a lot of time off his feet trying to rest however he was on hand to help me unload the car and put the shopping away.  
When I went up to the hens yesterday they were at least out of the house and in the run but panicked the minute they saw…


Today the weather looks on the turn it is very cloudy and overcast but I am not complaining as we have had a week of brilliant spring weather.  The hens were a bit bolder yesterday and ventured out as far as the food and were very interested in some greenery that I gave them. Well actually it was the outer leaves of a cauliflower which was part of our lunch and went very well with the venison sausages.  The cheese sauce for the cauliflower was as usual made in the thermomix which make life very easy.  I located some pumpkin soup in the freezer so that and some bread and butter was adequate for supper.  
I spent a nice couple of hours with Len and Margaret it was nice to have a chat as they are very bright people so we ended up solving all the worlds problems.  We discussed all the forbidden subjects politics, religion and war.  They are in their 80's so they have plenty of experience of the world and its woes.  They were also very supportive in encouraging me to get myself away f…

Friday morning

Yesterday was yet another glorious sunny day and we had a lovely walk with all four dogs who successfully got good and muddy so they were all treated to an outdoor shower on their return. Lunch was nice and easy as it was just a case of reheating and browning the top of the rather odd cannelloni dish.  It was Tina's last day with Mike so now we will have to see how he manages without someone to prod him into action each day.  I must admit I will be happy not to have someone coming in every morning and disrupting my routine.
Shiona and I went up to say good morning to the new hens who are too scared to come out of the house at the moment but I am sure they will be fine after a few days.  It must all be very strange for them and will take a bit of getting used to.  Before they are let loose into the big pen I must remember to clip their wings so they don't end up in the grotty neighbours garden and cause problems.
I have been asked to go up to Scotland with Shiona and give her …

Thursday Morning

The menagerie is growing again from three people and two dogs we are now three people two dogs and 4 hens.  I went yesterday afternoon to the poultry farm to collect the birds having first dropped off at the butcher where I had intended to buy a nice piece of beef.  It is ages since we have had a chunk of roast beef but when I looked at it it was still very red and therefore not well hung so I gave that a swerve and went for some veal chops which were expensive but looked really good.
We got to the farm at the appointed hour of 3pm and loaded the hens into a cardboard box ready to transport home.  They are 15 weeks old and should start to lay around 19/20 weeks depending on the light levels. The lady who runs the farm is charming and we had a bit of a chat about this and that as she is also familiar with the people who shoot at the valley which is only about a mile away.  By the time we got home the hens were fast asleep in the box so it was an easy task to pick them up and dump them…

Wednesday Morning and bin day

Red sky at night shepherds delight, red sky in the morning shepherds warning,  or is that shepherds pie!!! The sky looks so lovely I don't like to think that the lovely colour is down to atmospheric pollution.  Yesterday was one of complete belam with Denny trying to clean the house and Tina trying to clean Mike and James and I trying to stay out of everybody's way.  In the end I made a pancake mixture and showed Denny how easy it is to make pancakes as she had admitted to buying them in a supermarket and microwaving them.  I was using them as cannelloni stuffed with bolognese sauce but I did one with lemon and sugar for Denny to try and she was impressed with the difference in taste from the rubber plates she had had from the supermarket.  For those of you who date back to the ark I vividly remember Fanny Craddock stating categorically that if a pancake is heavy enough to toss then there is only one place to toss it and that is the bin.  The dish I finally made was a bit of …

Tuesday morning

The sun disappeared yesterday and we were wreathed in cloud for most of the day with the sky looking ominously like rain.  I did manage to have a good go over the chicken accommodation and make sure we were ready to receive incoming birds.  Now all I have to do is organise to collect them from the farm and that will depend on whether they have point of lay birds ready for sale.

I had a quick trundle round the shops and stocked up on bits that were needed and today we are expecting Denny to come and blitz the house.  I did the laziest lunch ever with some shop bought steak and kidney pies with broccoli, that I had frozen, and with it I did some chips. These were no ordinary chips, they were leftovers from a takeaway which I just dunked for a moment into the deep fat fryer which completely revitalised them.  Supper was equally lazy some salmon fish cakes and tomato and onion salsa.  
I got yet another load of washing done but was not prepared to risk the weather outside so it got tumbl…

Monday morning

Another glorious day again yesterday and I enjoyed myself planting roses against the new trellis.  I also had a quick check of the chicken run and house to make sure we would be ready for new hens.  I am thinking it is time to reinstate the hens and hope Mr Fox can be dissuaded from killing them.  
I don't know if you have heard but it looks as if one of the competing dogs from Crufts has been poisoned.  The dog came from Belgium and died soon after its return.  I have been warned in the past to not allow anyone to give your dog a treat as they are known to dope the dogs so they don't show well.  But to poison a dog is just beyond the pale.  How could anyone poison this beautiful dog.  I may be jumping the gun here as the toxicology results are not due till next week but with so many people showing and so many visitors I think it might be impossible to find out who is responsible.

Ever since my small foray into showing with Basso I have known that it is a very dirty corrupt b…

Sunday morning

Good morning all another lovely sunny one here.  This is just as well as my roses arrived yesterday and today I will be digging big holes to plant them.  It is just as well that I made the moussaka yesterday so it is just a case of shoving it in the oven to heat and brown the top and throw a salad about in a bowl.  The roses have been sat in a bucket of water overnight to make sure the roots are well watered before they go in the ground.  As luck would have it I have a bag of compost in the garage to enrich the soil so no excuse.  
It looks like spring is really here but I must admit I am reluctant to trust the weather just yet. Anyway I am not looking any gift horses in the mouth and I am going to enjoy the weather while it lasts.
I had a bit of a bad night so I am up very late so I will keep this short as I have stacks to get on with as the sun shows every every speck of dust and dirt that has accumulated over the winter.
Have a great day and enjoy the warmth of the sun on your bac…

Saturday morning

Good morning all yet another glorious day yesterday.  Not only did I get a line full of washing dry but I actually managed to get about an hours gardening done.  Things are really beginning to sprout and there is plenty of pruning, tying in and tidying to keep my occupied.  The snowdrops are out in force and some of the daffodils are beginning to open slowly.  The miniature ones in the window boxes are in full bloom and looking very cheerful.  The hardy gardenia has made it through the winter so I am hopeful that in the summer we may even see a flower or two.  
The dogs are delighted with their extended garden area and we are now happy for them to play unaccompanied as there is no risk of anyone falling into the pond.  Tubby and Dante play a game of chase through all the flowerbeds and in and out of the shrubs.  I don't suppose it is doing the garden much good but it is lovely to see happy dogs playing in the sunshine.  It was so warm that even Mike ventured outside and sat in th…

Friday Morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday was another glorious day of sunshine and two days in a row I managed to get a line full of washing dry out in the fresh air.  I always feel it is a turning point when the laundry is at last being dried outdoors instead of being draped all around the house.
Shiona arrived with her two dogs and a nice present for me.  While clearing out the flat of an elderly relative she came across some really lovely broderie anglaise bedding in a lovely ivory colour and as luck would have it it was for a single bed.  I also think it is not cotton but very fine linen anyway it is on my bed now and looks very homes and gardens!!!  This means I can now throw out some of the worn bedding that is looking a bit tatty.  The bedding could have used a bit of an iron but who can be bothered?

We took the dogs for a nice walk in the sunshine and as we made our way back I took a detour and took Dante into the field for a bit of training.  I find it better to do the training once he h…

Thursday morning

Good morning all a late start for me this morning but then I had a pretty late night and spent most of the hours of darkness tossing and turning.  Yesterday was a nice day with Sandy here for lunch and a very successful training session with Dante.  She had brought his Jedi master Yoda to show him how it is done.  We now have a series of exercises to practice and he has moved up to the heavier dummies to retrieve.  We also did some heel work on the lead which was fine as he is very good at that.  The new expanse of garden is proving very popular and he and Tubby are having great fun careering around the garden chasing each other through the bushes.  I'm not sure how the poor garden will hold up to all the thundering paws but plants have a way of surviving despite the dogs.
Today Shiona is coming over after she has paid a visit to her GP for some antibiotics for her sinusitis which has taken hold and refuses to budge.  She is trying to loose a bit of weight and is on a no carb die…

Wednesday morning

At last the pond is safely off limits to the dogs 
Yesterday went really well three men arrived and worked solidly all day to erect this barrier and the roses are on order so we can soon get the trellis covered.  I know from this photo it looks very bold but from the house it is all but invisible.  It took Dan most of the day to accept the men and fortunately they were all doggy people. One has two dobermans the other has a boxer so they are quite accustomed to dogs.  Tubby of course thought he was the the building inspector and kept a close eye on proceedings.  Once the trellis was up they then repointed the path across the pond and also the surrounding slabs.  It has been dry over night with no frost so hopefully the cement mortar has gone off well.  The dogs now have half the garden to play in and they lost no time in chasing each other in and out of the bushes.  While the men were working I took the opportunity of the good weather to do a bit of gardening and pruned the wisteria …

Tuesday morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday went according to plan with Mike being dropped off at the hairdresser and the dogs walked while he was being shorn.  I must say he looks much better and though he was really worried about going out to the shop he managed very well and was pleased with his efforts. The tide was in but though he paddled in deep water Dante didn't give me a demonstration of his swimming. He did however drink plenty of salt water with the result that his breakfast was on the mat in the car by the time we got home.  Now that he is on two meals per day I took pity on him and he had a second breakfast.  The risotto I had made for lunch was really good as the stock was very potent and flavourful.  I was feeling a few degrees under and pretty nauseated for no apparent reason so when it came to supper the take away was small and Dan had about half my burger and chips.
Today the men are coming to erect the trellis and I must admit I am delighted as it will make our lives so much…