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Showing posts from October, 2015

Saturday morning

Good morning all, yesterday was a day of total indolence for me.  I had been feeling very tired for the last few days and so I spent most of the wet miserable day knitting, dozing and watching recorded programs.  The new neighbours spent the day trying to erect a wooden shed/office and the weather was really mean to them.  It never truly rained but drizzled the whole day long just enough to make it very unpleasant.  It was quite windy and brought down a fair proportion of the leaves but there are still plenty to come before I consider clearing them up.  I used to make leaf mould but can't be bothered any more it is lots of work to gather the leaves and then they take forever to rot down. This lot will just have to go in the ordinary compost heap and take their chances.
The boys took up the slack and gave me the day off.  They made a pasta bolognese for lunch and for supper we had fish fillets and salad.  I was reading some research in the papers yesterday which showed that low fa…

Friday morning

Good morning all.  The sheds have been thinned down a bit as Sandy went home with lots of bits and bobs for her allotment. Now I am clear to throw away the remainder.  I will keep the smaller tools but the big spades and forks can all go to the gardener.   I had made a chicken curry with mushroom rice for lunch which went down pretty well.  I also put a pound of mince into the slow cooker to make bolognese sauce which today can be divided up and put in the freezer keeping one portion out for lunch.
I am finding it impossible to write this morning as both boys are up and chattering so I am finding it really difficult to concentrate.  Not that I have much to report so rather than write garbage I will cut it short.
Have a good day all and lets hope we have a nice weekend weather wise.

Thursday morning

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Good morning all.  Yesterday was a miserable day of rain so I spent most of my time in the kitchen. I have made a big pot of chicken curry for lunch today so all I need to do is boil a bit of rice.  James took the dogs for a walk and swung by the shops on the way back to get me some fresh coriander and the inevitable bread and milk.  I still haven't properly made the adjustment to 4 instead of 3 and am constantly running low on milk.

 This seems a good place to dry off after a wet walk

It really is a dogs life!!!!

This morning it is dry so far but I believe we are due for more rain during the day.  I am waiting for all the leaves to drop before I ask Mark to give the garden the once over for the winter it seems a bit pointless when there are still leaves to drop.  The allotment part of the garden is growing weeds as if it were going out of fashion but hopefully the winter will kill them off.  I also need to clear out the greenhouse now that the tomatoes have finished.  The chicke…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all.  Well the house is clean and the laundry done.  The new neighbours are in with a vengeance the bathroom is now on the drive including all the tiles from the wall so I guess it has been completely stripped out.  No sooner was it out of the house when a lady of dubious origins arrived with a pushchair and armed with a huge mallet and she promptly began to demolish all the bathroom suite and remove anything metal.  In the process she covered a large area of frontage in smashed porcelain then happily left with her spoils. 
I had a chat with the in laws who were there as a work detail apparently the husband works from home so they are building an office at the foot of the garden and they were laying a concrete base.  I hope they covered it with a tarpaulin as it is now hosing down with rain.  I gave them a guided tour of the garage and they are happy to relieve me of lots of tools and also the huge aluminium ladder which is tall enough to reach our guttering.  Once I hav…

Tuesday morning

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Good morning all.  Yesterday was a red letter day my grotty neighbours finally moved out and we have a new family. As yet I haven't introduced myself so I have no idea who they are however the hope is that they are more pleasant than the last lot.

Friends you really must try this desert which is the simplest thing ever but has terrific flavour and mine got demolished in milliseconds.  
It is two sheets of ready rolled puff pastry filled with finely sliced marzipan and a jar of apple sauce. I also added a finely sliced eating apple to the mix then stuck together with egg wash and baked at 180 until golden brown.  The marzipan sort of melts and combines with the apple sauce making it very tasty and would be ideal hot with cold vanilla ice-cream or a good splash of double cream I only had greek yoghurt but that too was fine.
I would also like to apologies if you have received stupid eMails from my address it would seem that my eMail address book has been hacked.  I have notified my s…

Monday morning

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This dish doesn't look to special but the flavour is magnificent and makes 2 aubergines and tin of tomatoes stretch for 4 with lashings of crusty bread and a green salad.
We made our usual dash to Aldi in the morning where I managed to grab the last full leg of lamb we then dashed home and got the lamb in the oven before taking the dogs for a swimming session.  High tide was at 11am and the dogs had a blast, I took a tennis ball to throw and Dan was in his element. He swam and swam until we were tired of throwing the ball Tubby did his best but he doesn't have the paws for swimming.  By the time we got home the lamb was almost done so I set to and made a big pot of mash potatoes and boiled up some peas.  Then as the meat rested there was just the gravy to make.  
Once we were all cleared up I was poleaxed from my early start and took myself off to bed for a snooze where I fell into a deep deep sleep.  I'm sure my body had decided it was night time anyway the boys gave me …

Sunday Morning

Good morning all it is still pitch dark outside so I have no idea what to expect weather wise especially as I didn't see a forecast yesterday.  It is pretty chilly and we are down to single figures so winter is knocking at the door.  I must admit I had a very lazy day yesterday so not a great deal to report except that I got a surprise parcel of a large box of wool from my anonymous benefactor.  In the box is a skien of a petrol blue silk based 4ply.  4 skeins of 100% wool double knitting in a neutral "sheep" sort of colour and a large number of balls of aran weight wool and angora mix in a sort of tweed colour.  Of course I am now wracking my brain as to a] who sent it and b] what am I to make with the yarn?  I think the skeins weigh approximately 50g so I will have to pick patterns with care as I don't want to get half a jumper completed then run out of yarn.  I am currently about halfway through the cot blanket I am knitting which is in a basket weave design.  Th…

Saturday morning

It is hard to believe but here we are again at the weekend.  This week has just flown by though I don't seem to have accomplished much at least there have been no dramas.  We have just muddled through the week as best we can.  With 4 adults the house feels quite crowded but the work load has diminished with the extra pair of hands.  Denzil is acquainting himself with where things go and how we function.  I don't think I have touched the dishwasher all week.  
Yesterday I made a big pot of sweetcorn chowder which has to be the easiest soup ever.  
Recipe 1 onion diced 2 corn on the cobs or equivalent frozen or tinned corn a hand full of finely diced potatoes skin on or off as you wish 2 stock cubes 
First fry the onion in fat of your choice I used rapeseed oil, then strip the corn from the cob with a sharp knife and dice an equal quantity of potatoes and add them to the pot with a litre or so of water and boil for 5 minutes before you add the stock cubes. Salt would make the c…

Friday Morning

Good morning all I slept a bit better last night and when I woke at three I decided to try going back to sleep and succeeded.  The usual outcome is that I have a monumental headache but so far so good and I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Mike had his last visit from the occupational therapist yesterday and I must say I feel really sorry for her as everything she has tried to do with him has failed he is what you call a non compliant patient. However at least she can walk away.
Denzil and I had a nice walk with the dogs round the rugby field and we actually managed to stay dryish.  The cauliflower cheese was so easy to make with the Thermomix it is nice just to put in the ingredients and then just abandon it to the machine while I get on with other bits and pieces. The halogen oven put a nice brown top on it.  
I had a couple of hours off in the afternoon but not before we had a look around the loft to check on what needs to be thrown away.  It is not going to be a major job Denzil br…

Thursday morning

Good morning all.  What a deluge we had yesterday not so much heavy as persistent rain.  Currently it is dry but the forecast is not good.  Still I suppose we are headed into winter so it is no surprise really.  
Yesterdays lunch was a simple meal of fried chicken thighs with sauté potatoes and cavolo nero and for supper the boy dished up a beef and onion slice with baked beans.  
Denzil is getting his life reorganised and discover he had money still in his bank account from 9 years ago so he can at least buy himself a bag of crisps.  He has been filling in job applications so now it is a waiting game to see if there is any interest.  Today he has been detailed to sort out the loft where there is a suitcase he left in my care when he went to Thailand but none of us can remember what is in it.  It will also be an opportunity to see just how much crud is in the loft that needs clearing out.  I don't think it is too bad as I had a major clear out a few years ago.  Fortunately the lo…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all well there is nothing like success to cheer you up.  My car is back all mended at no further cost and spotlessly clean to boot.  Sometimes it pays to challenge garages.  I learned a long time ago not to be specific with them as if you state you think it is the starter motor then that is all they will look at. It is better to claim to be a moron and just say it wont start and leave them to figure out why. That way if it wont start when they return it you have a good come back.  
Yesterday was a glorious sunny day but we were trapped at home and today we are forecast a deluge so any ideas of going shooting are cancelled.  In fact it has already started and it drizzling.  Lunch yesterday was a nice light affair as I made a potato salad and a green salad to accompany our fish fillets and supper was smoked mackerel with hot buttered toast.  Denzil is eating bread as if it were going out of fashion I guess a diet of rice and noodles has left him with a hankering for bread.…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all had a bit of a grotty night last night no particular reason just part of the settling down process I think.  Trying to get things organised when you have been away from the country for a while is not an easy task.  Today it is setting up bank accounts sim cards and other bits and bobs.  
I am furious with landrover who still have my car and are now telling me I need another part for the air bag which is going to cost £370 which I am currently refusing to pay.  The chap I spoke to was unable to deal with the situation so I have told him to get his manager to phone me this morning. Given that they charged me for a new airbag which didn't fix the problem and that this is the third time I have taken it to them to be fixed I don't intend to pay anymore towards the repair.  Given I looked up the part and a genuine Discovery part is £80 on eBay I think they are having a laugh.
Perhaps that is what gave me a grotty night!!!
The boys did a lovely supper last night we …

Monday morning

Good morning all.  Here we are at the start of another week I think writing this blog keeps me in touch not only with friends but also with the days of the week.  Not working means that many of the days are just the same.  Our new regimen of one meal cooked by me then every man for himself for supper is working quite well.  
Yesterday I managed to get out and defrost some steaks for lunch.  I have a stainless steel draining board which is ideal for defrosting as it is such a good conductor of heat.  While they were defrosting I went off and did the shopping and got the car filled with fuel.  The fridge is now filled with stuff for sandwiches which seem to be the most popular supper.  Lunch was nice and simple some oven chips and mushrooms trifolati completed the meal.  Fortunately we all like our steaks rare and it is just a case of frightening them with the griddle pan.  So more a case of turning knobs than cooking!!!
Today I am without my car as it is off to Landrover and hopefully…

Sunday morning

Good morning all, well here we go again another Sunday but my cupboards are seriously lacking so a shopping expedition is in order.  Yesterday's pork fillet turned out really well.  I stripped it of its sinew before opening it out and filling the centre with ready to eat prunes.  Once rolled back into shape I wrapped it in smoked streaky bacon and put the whole thing into some tin foil ready for the oven.  In an effort to keep it moist I only took it to an internal temperature of 63ºC then left it to rest for quite a while.  I made a sauce to accompany it with the juices from the foil with a good splash of marsala and an equally good splash of double cream.  Plain boiled potatoes and buttered cabbage finished the meal off well.  
I picked quite a few tomatoes from the greenhouse where they have been neglected for ages but still seem to be growing well.  In all the chaos they haven't been unwatered for weeks which seems to have just increased the sweetness.  The plants have gr…

Saturday morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday was a miserable day weather wise with persistent drizzle.  While the boys were out at the job centre it fell to me to walk the dogs. I decided to walk them on the rugby field but I didn't expect them to practice their rugby tackles.  Tubby, who is built like a bulldozer , managed to take Dan out in a big patch of slippery mud so he came home smothered.  However with his coat now so short it was a case of letting him dry then just giving him a good brush.  
The  stock I had made with the chicken carcass made a good base for a big mushroom risotto for lunch which we had with loads of salad and supper was a foraging exercise,  "if you can find it you can eat it".  So an entire large loaf has disappeared.
Today I have a pork fillet which I am going to stuff with prunes then wrap in bacon and roast in the oven.  I have a large savoy cabbage and some mash to go with it.  I am working on the principle of cooking one reasonable meal per day and leav…

Friday Morning

Good morning all not quite so early this morning thank goodness. I must admit I have been feeling really tired this week after the week from hell.  I think we are all sleeping a bit better as things settle down.  It is quite surprising how long it takes for high emotions to dissipate but we are getting there. Denzil is doing his best to be a useful member of the family and helping with the chores.  Today James is going to run him round to the joke centre, sorry, job centre so he can sort out his work status. Yesterday we tried to get him registered with our GP but we will have to fill in some forms and they want me to write a letter affirming that he is living at this address.  Standing there in person is not good enough they want it writing. Doesn't bureaucracy drive you crackers? anyway we should get that sorted by Monday.
Dan seems to be enjoying his new found freedom and actually came back from his walk yesterday spotlessly clean, no burrs stuck in his coat and no lumps of mu…

Thursday morning

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No more the scruff pot all stripped out and looking sleek and smelling like a perfume factory.  Tubby was disgusted with him in nothing but his underwear and smelling like a fairy so he decided what he needed was a good wash.  There is a new regime at the college and they wanted me to collect him at 1pm but I managed to put them off until 2pm so I would have time to have lunch with Shiona.  The A21 is still under construction and is a total nightmare in the rush hours.  However on the return journey I used the sat nav which took me on a direct route but all across country along some very twisty winding country roads.  The jumper I had made fitted Shiona well but we both agreed that it needed the scarf length added to make the fronts a bit wider.  It looked better with a collar and lapels so just a bit of sewing and it will be quite wearable.
By the time I got home around 3.30 I was poleaxed as I had been on the go for 12 hours so the men decided to have a take away for supper as I wa…

Wednesday morning

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Good morning all I am up bright and early this morning but I still feel desperately tired.  I don't seem to bounce back from chaos quite as quickly as I used to.  This morning I have have to set off early to get Dan to the groomers but first I have two weeks worth of recycling and rubbish to get out for the bin men.  My men have a bolognese sauce out of the freezer so they can rustle up some lunch for themselves.  The house is nice and clean following Denny's visit and she was so surprised to see James at home but was in full agreement that he had done the right thing in abandoning his drunken compatriots and getting himself home safely.  
As you can imagine we had just about settled into a routine for three and now we are four it will take a little time for things to settle back to a routine.  We also have to face the fact that Denzil will have to go out and get some work as this is not a holiday resort.  Coming from Thailand he doesn't have any suitable winter clothing …

Tuesday morning

Good morning all.  Things are beginning to settle down here and the frayed nerves and short fuzes are gradually getting back to normal.  I am coming down off my adrenalin high and have woken this morning with a family of gerbils clog dancing in my head.  Hopefully nothing that a bucket of coffee will not cure.  Yesterday I made some of the Jamie Oliver's breakfast muffins and though they were successful as muffins they were very bland and lacking in flavour. Though the 50 grams of parmesan might keep the calorie value down it is nowhere near enough for the quantity of mixture. If I do them again I would add more cheese more salt and more onion and loads of pepper.
The lamb cutlets went down well for lunch and the boys made bratwurst hot dogs for supper. I occupied myself with a job I really hate with a passion - I sewed up the jumper I knitted for Shiona.  I don't mind the knitting but I hate the stitching up and this sweater required a lot of easing in of the sleeves.  Anywa…

Monday morning

Good morning all yesterday was a day of relative peace and quiet and Rugby on the TV.  There are few ruffled feathers so we are keeping a low profile and keeping out of each others way until things settle down a bit.  Denzil really doesn't want to be here and would much rather be in Thailand but beggars can't be choosers.  He is a bit like a bear with a sore head at the moment but I am hoping he will settle down a bit after a few days rest.  James and I hit Aldi as it opened and got a few bits and pieces then while I unpacked he took the dogs for a walk.  We got all our chores done by lunch time so we had the afternoon free to watch the Rugby.  My thoughts were with my friends in France one of whom is Irish the other French and they are both Rugby fans.  It was a great match but Ireland prevailed.  This means the French have to play the All Blacks next which is a daunting prospect.
I am hoping today will see a bit of improvement in the atmosphere.  James has taken his disaste…

Sunday morning

Good morning all at last my week from hell is over and I have survived but I find my self back about 25 years with both kids back at home.  Still things could have been worse at least Denzil came home with suitcases not a wife and 6 children.  Everyone is shattered so we are all keeping a low profile until everyone is rested and calmness has prevailed.  James was very laid back about his disaster but in the great scheme of things it is a minor hiccup to him. He has been through so much and learned not to get upset by idiots. 10 years as a police officer in London has taught him a lot about belligerent drunks.  What starts as fun ends in tears.
It is my intention to quietly potter through the day.  I have a monumental stack of washing to deal with and I must take a trip to Aldi this morning for a few essentials.  I have some wiener schnitzel for lunch with an assortment of vegetables.  I am giving myself minimal kitchen duties for the time being.  
The wonderful Denny is due on Tuesda…

Saturday morning and the next thrilling episode

Good morning all please make sure you are sitting down before you read on!!!!  Having told you I had both sons in the air yesterday I now have both at home sleeping like the dead.  Son number one arrived at lunch time jet lagged and furious as the 2 hour lay over had actually been a 5 hour lay over anyway after venting his spleen he settled down back at home.  We were all getting ready to settle down for the night when the phone rang it was James on his way home could I pick him up at the station.  His trip to Turkey had turned into a nightmare as two of his group had fallen headlong into bottles of vodka.  They had a fight on the plane causing chaos then they had a punch up on the bus to the hotel so rather than end up in a Turkish prison James decided discretion was the better part of valour booked a taxi back to the air port two hours from the hotel bought a ticket home waited 8 hours in the airport flew into Stansted got a train into London and back out to home where I picked him…

Friday Morning

Good morning all.  Sorry about yesterday but it was all go here in the morning.  Chaos hardly covers it.  I got James off to the station only to find that Qatar airways was cutting up rough and demanding a proof of my identity before they would allow Denzil on the plane.  So while he stood at check in b Bangkok I battled on the phone with the air line while trying to photograph my drivers licence and credit card and email them to the air line when my internet connection dropped out.  Talk about multi tasking. Anyway to cut a very long story short they were both in the air simultaneously, together and at the same time!  Denzil lands at 11.15 at LHR and will make his way home by train and by my reckoning he should arrive just as I have to take Mike to the clinic.  Mike is refusing to go by taxi so I will just have to manage somehow.  If Denzil rings me from Victoria station I can arrange to leave some money in the porch to pay for a taxi for him if he is unable to pay.  I am hoping tha…

Thursday Morning

Sorry no blog today very busy getting son number two to his holiday.

Wednesday morning

I think it is time for the famous Burns quote about the best laid plans of mice and men.  Did Denzil make it home yesterday no  When I got back from breakfast there was an eMail to inform us there had been a cock up and he would be coming into Heathrow at 11pm tonight which means he probably wont make it to catch the last train from Victoria so James is going to drive up and collect him from that station.  I would be completely lost but when James was in the met he patrolled south London for 10 years so he knows the area well.  Sadly this is going to make a very late night for him as he flies out the following day but being young he is unfazed.  It is now 1pm in Bangkok and his flight left at 9.50 so I am hopeful he is in the air.  Just in case you think that was my only problem on my way to meet Sandy my airbag light came on again so as soon as I returned I was on the phone to landrover to complain after all that is why I sent it to them in the first place.  They are going to pick t…

Tuesday morning

Soon the waiting will be over, I guess that Denzil is in the air by now as it is a 12 hour flight and he is due to land at Heathrow at 17.55.  In an effort to keep myself out of mischief I have arranged to have breakfast with Sandy at our wonderful shop.  Actually I do have an excuse my coffee machine is due back some time this week and I need some coffee.  The trouble is I am like a child in a sweet shop so I am bound to come home with more than just coffee.  Anyway it will be nice to have a chat with Sandy as I haven't seen her in ages though we do speak regularly on the phone.
Yesterday was a damp and drizzly day with little sun as it was so overcast and today we are forecast something similar.  Mikes birthday was unremarkable though he did get calls from two of his three brothers so that broke the day up a bit for him.  We had a nice pasta bolognese for lunch and for supper there was the cream of chicken soup.  I thought I would have a look around the goodies shop for somethi…

Monday morning

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While I was in Tesco the other day they were selling 5 stems of gladioli for £1.50, well who could resist that, especially when you see the deep deep purple of the flowers.  I don't often buy cut flowers as they don't last as long as I would like but these were all in bud so hopefully they will go on for a while.  Also my flower arranging skills are zero.  What I have always loved is the Japanese way with just a couple of flowers Ikebana I think it is called.
Yesterday was a lovely sunny day in the end but it was very chilly James and I split the morning chores between us and while he walked the dogs I did the shopping and made the lunch.  You really can't beat a nice roasted chicken as a Sunday lunch.  I had loads of vegetables to go with it as I had taken out both some braised celery and some glazed carrots.  Anyway the left over veg ended up in the stock pot along with the carcass so today I will have a wonderful stock/broth or I might even go as far as cream of chicke…

Sunday morning

Good morning all we are still dry but the clouds are rolling in so the rain forecast for tomorrow looks correct.  
I think today is going to be a day of misery for the England rugby supporters after yesterdays crushing defeat by the Springboks.  I, on the other hand, can support lots of teams as I am a true mongrel.  In my background I have French, Austrian, Hungarian, Yugoslav, Welsh and English. So I guess my allegiance will have to move to Wales.  My father played rugby for llanethli and even played at Cardiff arms park which no longer exists but was the home of rugby for many years.  It was his mother who was Welsh. Not to mention I was brought up in Africa, Italy and England.
Yesterday was a busy one.  We are all very fond of pink grapefruit squash so I hit Tesco and bought 8 bottles which should keep us going for a while.  Sadly this is one item that Aldi don't provide I can only get it in Tesco or Sainsbury.  That done it was time to walk the dogs so I took them down to th…

Saturday Morning

Good morning all, it is still dark so I can't tell what sort of day we are in for but I believe we are due some more rain over the weekend.  I am pleased to report that the James Martin recipe was a huge success.  His recipe can be found here:-http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sweet_and_sour_pork_and_29670
I didn't bother with the omelet and just made egg fried rice to accompany the dish.  It is incredibly simple and very tasty.  I think the fact that I postponed the meal and left the meat to marinade for 24 hours was a positive benefit. The meat was meltingly tender.  
I phoned landrover to complain about the scuff marks on the dashboard and the service manager was delivering a car back to another customer in our road so he came and had a look at the damage.  We were both baffled as to how it had happened but they are going to take the car away and sort it out no doubt they have some magic polish that will get rid of the marks.  They wanted to take the car next week but I re…

Friday morning

This week has flown by I feel it was yesterday I was writing Monday and the beginning of a the week.  I think the good weather is what has made the difference life just seems better in the sunshine. I am surrounded by clean fresh laundry that is now waiting for my attention with the iron but what a joy it is not to have to resort to the tumble dryer or have wet washing dangling around the house. Yesterday I caught up with some of the paper work which was outstanding and I also booked Dan in for a haircut on the 14th.  I am embarrassed by his coat as it seems to mat very readily and no matter how often I brush him the mats just reappear so I will be pleased to have him done properly and then hopefully I can keep on top of things.  Tubby is much easier as he only has a single coat which needs no attention at all.  He is also a fastidious cleaner of both himself as well as us.  Some times he insists that your feet need cleaning and he does a very thorough job.
With my car back I took th…

Thursday morning

My car is back and though I am considerably poorer at least I should have a reliable and legal vehicle for a while.  My thinking is to get the move over with and my caravan parked out side then I will no longer need such a heavy car and can look at changing to something less expensive.  
The Mary Berry recipe was a huge success and though I didn't have any cider I made do with stock. It is very easy as it is basically just a tray of leeks, bacon, garlic and cider with the thighs placed on top. Whacked in the oven at 190 for an hour then remove the meat and veg and reduce the gravy adding a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche.  I served it with mash of potato and sweet potato and some cavolo nero.  There is quite a bit of gravy so you need something to sop it up.
The weather was lovely yesterday so I got a couple of loads of whites done and it is so much nicer to get them dry outside on the line.  The tumble dryer is OK for emergencies but you can't beat fresh air and sunsh…