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Showing posts from March, 2016

Thursday morning

Good morning all after yesterdays bright start the weather turned and we had hail and rain to end the day with and this morning is dull but dry and there is no more of the wild winds we have been having lately.  
Yesterday I made a lunch that I thought everyone would complain about but amazingly it went down very well.  I did a piece of cod which was finely sliced and then put in loads of lime juice for a while to "cook" It was then dressed with a lime and olive oil dressing with a scattering of coriander this was served with an orange and fennel salad and some sourdough pikelets.  To my absolute surprise it was demolished with gusto and despite being a light meal it kept us happy until supper time.  Had I cooked the cod in the usual way it would have been a portion for one but by using this method I stretched it for 4.  It was surprisingly un fishy and if it is good enough for the staff of elBulli then it is good enough for us.
Today Shiona is coming over to us and I hope …

Wednesday morning

With the bank holiday and the hour change I am all in a muddle it feels like Tuesday, the dogs are confused as meal times seem to have changed.  Give it a week and we will all settle into the new routine.  With Denny charging around like a whirling dervish I could only do some pikelets and make burgers for lunch.  They were superior burgers as they were wagyu beef and the rolls came straight from the bakers which seems to have reopened.   Maybe they were just shut for a break but I am very glad it is not a permanent closure.  It is nice to have a baker within walking distance from home. Donkeys years ago we had a butcher, green grocer and a delicatessen but now we are surrounded with cafes and take aways. Things change and not always for the better, fortunately we still have two indian run mini markets so if you suddenly run out of something it is only a few steps to go and get it.
Yesterday started of nice and bright and I took Dan out for a training session he is very keen and eage…

Tuesday

Well I slightly jumped the gun yesterday, the wind had brought down a tree which had fallen in the pond. Where else would it fall! It took both the boys and I most of the morning to demolish it and drag it to the bonfire.  We are going to let it dry out before burning it. Fortunately it's done no permanent damage that we have noticed yet.  After we had struggled with assorted saws and loppers I found the chain saw but it was too late.  Still at least I know where it is now so when we come to burning I can easily chop the branches into manageable pieces.
So that was the excitement for the day mean while and in between I made two large shepherds pies one we had for supper and one is destined for the freezer.  Today I had visions of a raw fish dish cooked in lime juice but I am rapidly going off the idea.  I think the wagyu burgers seem much more what I am after.  Denny is here already and going through the kitchen at a rate of knots so I had better get myself in the shower and and …

Monday morning

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Stormy weather and damaging winds  James took this photo from the car on his way to walk the dogs and it is a house about 200 yards from us.  It was blowing like crazy last night and kept me awake for most of it. Fortunately we have no damage just a few chairs blown around the garden.


All the food went down well yesterday but now I have a large amount of lamb to convert into shepherds pies.  I must admit I like the pies to be made with leftover roast meat which I chop by hand so it doesn't turn to mush.  If I am feeling very good I pipe the mash on the top.  I also made some pea and ham soup with the water the ham was boiled in but as it was a bit salty I used it to boil my vegetables for yesterdays lunch which eased it up a bit before I added the split peas and the left over vegetables from lunch.  Once cooked I blasted it in the thermomix so it was deliciously smooth and a big bowl with a swirl of cream and a slice of buttered sourdough bread was ample for supper.
This morning t…

Easter Sunday

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Good morning all.  Yesterday was a really bad day weather wise it rained and blew a hooly most of the day.  It didn't start the storm until late morning which meant that at least we had a dry walk and I spent some time in the garden with Dan practicing his directional commands.  He is a very willing student but I make sure his training sessions are short but frequent. The last thing I want is for him to get bored and we always finish on a success with buckets of praise.  While we were training the bread was rising and at last I have a loaf that is none too bad.

I have been using my oven set at 30ºC to aid with the rising process and that is working very well.  I will try and keep at it as I do love the flavour of the bread and as I add no sugar it is not at all sweet unlike commercial bread which I find very sweet.  
I have a good portion of ham left from yesterday so I think I will vac pack it and hide it in the freezer however the stock has made some good split pea and ham soup…

Saturday

Good morning all a better night last night no dogs barking at 2am to wake me.  As a dog owner myself I am hesitant to criticise other owners but next doors dogs are completely undisciplined  and bark constantly.  They are very small dogs and so have a high pitched yap which is quite piercing. Very fortunately they don't set my dogs off even though they get barked at every time they venture into the garden.  
Yesterday while I was gathering a few ingredients in Aldi I found some largish ham joints so I bought one and put it straight in the pressure cooker 35 minute later it was done so today for lunch we will be having ham with parsley sauce and boiled vegetables. The stock from the ham is a bit salty so I thought I would boil the vegetables in the stock and so reduce the salinity.  The sourdough loaf has all but disappeared so I guess it is time to make another and maybe this time I might get my timings right.  I restocked my bread flour yesterday so there should be no hiccups.

Y…

Friday

Good morning all yet another crazy night I was up for several hours in the middle of the night but it really doesn't matter as I do generally drift back to sleep and then wake up very late.  
I finally got my loaf into the oven having messed it around for days and to my absolute surprise is has come out none  too badly.  It is a bit on the flat side but the flavour is magnificent so no one is complaining.  I also made a big batch of pikelets and finally decided to make one large one and divide it in four with the pizza cutter.  Anyway everything disappeared with our lunch of mushroom soup which I had made in minutes in the new pressure/slow cooker.  For supper we had a very nice Cesare salad and a very strange omelette.  The omelette was made with potato crisps (yes the ones in packets) You give the eggs a bit of a beat and then tip in a bag of crisps and let them sit in the egg for a minute or two then make as you would an omelette but once the base is set you tip on to a plate …

Thursday

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Good morning all we seem to have sunshine this morning and the temperature is reasonable.  I am at last no longer a shaggy pony and my head is 10lbs lighter or at least that is how it feels.  I had a bit of a bad night and discovered my bread was about ready at 2am well I wasn't going to deal with it then so I slammed it in the fridge and hopefully I can continue today.  I haven't looked yet it may have over proved and collapsed in which case it will be crisp breads.  I made some soup in the new pressure cooker and was delighted with the machine there was no hissing and spitting it was completely silent with the exception of it beeping when done.  I chucked everything in and pressed the soup button and just left it to do its own thing.  It does have a feature that I really like and that is you can sauté in it before going into pressure mode which meant I could give the vegetables a bit of a browning before adding the liquid.  Wonderful.  Yes I know that the thermomix will do …

Wednesday

Good morning all I had a lovely time at Shiona's yesterday and the drive through was fine as I had left home just after 9am which saw the worst of the traffic gone.  James did supper last night and he decided to do some little spring rolls which needed the deep fat fryer and now the whole house smells like a chip shop.  Yesterday was the first relatively warm sunny day of spring and I drove home with the car windows wide open, I think if it is similar today I need to open all the windows in the house and get rid of the chip smell.
Today I am finally going to the hair dresser so I will be goodbye shaggy pony for a while.  My dough is on hold and I think I may use the sponge to make a loaf today but I am not too hopeful of success however we ate the last loaf which was a pancake but the flavour was good.  Eventually I will get myself organised and make the bread when I have the time.
I am trying to work my freezer down as I am intending to make a variety of stocks and sauces to fre…

Tuesday morning

The washing machine is working thank heavens for friends who know what they are doing with electrics. The problem had to be tracked back up the garden and in the end we found a plug in the green house which was to blame for tripping the switches.  New plug and all was well and the back log of washing is now underway.  I managed to clear last weeks ironing out of the way so we have a fresh start.  
Now I have a bit of a problem with my sourdough I made a sponge yesterday evening ready to make a loaf today but sadly I forgot that I am off to Shiona's today and now I don't know what to do.  Do I make up the full mix and leave it rising in cool place or do I put the sponge in the fridge until I get back? either way I am going to be making bread at midnight.  I suppose if push comes to shove I could convert the sponge into pikelet or cracker mix and start the loaf again tomorrow.  Tomorrow I have a hair appointment but that only takes an hour out of the day so I should be able to …

Monday

Good morning late again but I am sleeping like the dead these days.  Perhaps I am making up for a life time of not sleeping enough plus the added bonus having others around so I am not the sole person on duty.
I was watching some youtube videos of how to fold stuff recommended by Anne and now I am filled with the urge to fold everything into tiny little wads.  I think I may start with my underwear draw which is a complete mess.  It is also that time of year where it is time to replace knickers that have become tatty so trip to M&S is called for.  I can still remember my gran telling me to make sure I had clean underwear on when going out in case I was involved in an accident.  Of course the first thing the emergency services will check is the state of your underwear!!!!!
Yesterday saw a bit of an electrical disaster I have no power in the shed and that is where the washing machine is.  Fortunately I have a friend who is an electrician and lives two doors down the road so he has o…

Sunday

Good morning all yesterday is probably best forgotten I didn't accomplish any of my projects and ended up fighting with my knitting.  To cut a very long and tedious story short I lost the battle and the knitting is beyond help and now in the bin.  What a colossal waste of time I don't think I have ever had quite such a disaster with knitting.  Anyway it is no great loss as I didn't like it anyway and was going to send it straight to charity.
Denzil and James went off to Tunbridge wells as Denzil had an appointment to check his heart to satisfy the DVLA who are now paranoid after the dustbin lorry disaster in Scotland.  All was well and he has passed with flying colours. So that is just one more hoop jumped through.  Working abroad for 10 years has caused a bureaucratic nightmare and we are gradually wading through the treacle that is our system in this country.
So today is the first day of spring not that you would notice here it is dull and miserable again with no sun ju…

Saturday morning

Another dull dismal start to the weekend but I slept like some sort of Roman Empress last night in my royal purple sumptuous bed.  Isn't it silly that something so trivial as new sheets can make me so happy.  However, when I think about it, it is often very small things and minor successes that actually give the most pleasure.  I managed to make a start on the bathroom yesterday and steam cleaned the floor. At which point I realised that I would be needing some more floor pads so they are on order from Amazon.  On my list of jobs to do today is a pile of ironing and then I need to make a menu for the forthcoming week.  It is handy to look back at the last couple of weeks so that I am not repeating the same old dishes week in and week out.  I am finding a heading like fish or pork or cheese then gives me the flexibility to use ingredients that I have lying around and taylor my meals to the time I have available and I don't feel that I am flying by the seat of my pants.
The cle…

Friday Morning

Good morning all here we are at the end of another week and I have no idea where it went!!! Yesterday we were blessed with a good dose of sunshine which, I for one, desperately needed. I find the grey days very depressing.  I made another batch of pikelets with my discard from the sourdough and frankly they have been by far the most successful part of the whole process so far. I can only hope the next loaf is a bit more successful.  
On todays menu I have some chicken thighs which I may make into a pie with leeks and mushrooms or I may just serve the ingredients in a deconstructed way.  Supper will be some tuna burgers and salad.  So far this week my new menu system is working well as it allows me some scope to mess about with the ingredients. It also helps me to get things out of the freezer in plenty of time so I am not rushing to defrost stuff.
My wardrobe clearance is still on hold but I will get round to it eventually.  I read somewhere that you should empty the contents of the …

Thursday morning

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What a difference a day makes today we have clear skys and wall to wall sunshine.  Yesterday I had quite a productive day in the kitchen - I made a big batch of chilli con carne half of which is in the freezer.  I refilled my boxes of ready prepared basic vegetables which reduces the amount of time it takes to make things.  I also spent some time in my bedroom taking down the curtains and the lamp shades both of which needed a good wash.  I seem to have the cleaning bug now that Denny has kicked me into touch.  Cleaning the dining room and kitchen has spurred me on to get stuck in and get other areas up to standard.  There is still plenty more to do but I don't feel so daunted about tackling it.  My next project will have to be my wardrobe which actually looks more like a knitting shop than a place to store clothing.
I have finally made an appointment to have my hair done but not until next Wednesday so I will have to look like a shaggy pony for a while longer.   The new bedding …

Wednesday

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At last the computer desk is done I managed to get it done just before Denny arrived, talk about leaving it to the last minute.  Anyway most of the crud is now in the shredder I think unattended paper work breeds all on its own!!!  The sour dough loaf has more in keeping with a pancake than a loaf and you do need a good set of teeth to tackle a slice the flavour is nice but the texture is that of building material. I can only persevere and hope the next one is a bit better.  I did however have a success with the pork tenderloin.  The bacon coat makes a very attractive finish and gives what is a pretty tasteless piece of meat a bit of help.  I had opened it up and filled it with sage and onion stuffing so it was actually very tasty.

On todays menu is a chilli con carne I am hoping that I have sufficient ingredients to make enough for two meals and one can go in the freezer for another day. I also would like to give the bathroom a good blitz there is a tide mark on the tiles where I ha…

Tuesday morning

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Good morning all the sourdough saga continues it had not made much progress so I stuck it in the fridge over night and today I will have another go.  Sorry about the pornographic photo but I couldn't resist taking it with my new phone.  As you can see Dan is quite partial to a king sized bed and quite happy to display his parts for all to see.  Forgetting the subject matter I am very pleased with the quality of the picture it is a vast improvement on the old phone.

The meals yesterday were nice and easy as I spent some time shopping so we had ravioli for lunch and scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast for supper. I also spent ages trying to put my menu on the paprika program but it was a case of trial and error learning which is pretty slow.  However, once done it does allow me to make a shopping list from the menu which should be quite handy. Today I have a pork fillet which I intend to stuff and warp in bacon for lunch and tonight we will be lazy and have chicken and chips …

Monday Morning

Good morning all here we go again with another week and easter is creeping up on us.  Yesterdays adventure was to take my new phone to the shop and see if I could get it switched over to my plan and number.  In the past I have have had lots of trouble trying to sort out phones so I went braced for a battle.  There was nobody in the shop except 3 bored youngsters and in less than a minute they did what I wanted and I left happy but feeling slightly cheated it was all just too easy!!!!!
The venison was quite edible and not as tough as I had expected but I had given it a small blast in the pressure cooker so that it was ready for lunch.  The meat on the haunch made exactly 4 potions so no leftovers to deal with.  I also wrote out a menu plan which is just listing the main ingredient rather than the actual dish so I have room to manoeuvre.   It just says things like chicken or mince and after that I can fiddle with the dish and incorporate the vegetables I have available.  I hope this wi…

Sunday morning

Good morning all we have a bit of sunshine this morning and no frost.  I was a wake half the night with my head spinning with passwords.  Yes, you've got it I was setting up my new phone.  Most of the functions are very similar though I do like the fingerprint entry feature.  The camera has many added features like slow motion and time lapse as well as panoramic so I should have a bit of fun with that.  At the moment the only thing I can't do is make a phone call as I have no money on the phone yet!!!!! But I am thrilled like a kid at christmas.
The venison haunch has been sitting in its marinade over night so today should just be a bit of braising and as I already have ready prepared vegetables it will only take seconds to get it underway. I was going to make a sourdough loaf today but I think I will postpone that until tomorrow and make a sponge overnight ready to roll tomorrow morning. The starter is good and frothy so I hope it will all work well and should need feeding l…

Saturday morning

Good morning all very late this morning I woke early and put myself back to bed and duly fell fast asleep.  
Yesterday, I played with my sourdough starter and discarded a cup full which I made into pikelets. As they came out of the pan they were eaten before I had a chance to photograph them not that they were particularly beautiful but they sure were tasty.  Today is day five of the culture process so tomorrow I should be ready to make the first loaf.  I think this is the part I will find difficult as I will have to be patient and wait for it to rise which takes much longer than when using yeast. Anyway time will tell....  I am a little wary of using the banneton as the last time I didn't flour it heavily enough and everything stuck which made getting it out a real pain.  Fingers crossed I do better tomorrow.  
As I am up so late I will have to have a quick rummage in the freezer for something for lunch and I also need to get the venison out so it has time to defrost before bein…

Friday morning

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Good morning all I can't believe another week has whistled by and here we are facing the next weekend.  Today's lunch is going to be sticky chicken wings in a sweet and sour sauce.  The sauce is from the freezer and is a sugar free version with plenty of pineapple for sweetness.  I thought I would give the wings a blast in the halogen before adding to the sauce.  Then just some plain boiled rice will complete the meal.  
My sourdough recipe calls for 4oz of flour and 4oz of water each day so as you can imagine it is growing in volume. I thought I would take out a cup full and make some pikelets and see how they turn out.  If they prove to be a disaster there is nothing lost.  
My iPhone which is an ancient hand me down has finally given up the ghost and is not holding its charge properly so I bit the bullet and order a new one.  Well not exactly new just new to me I went via a web site www.second-handphones.com/‎
Apple iPhone 5S 16GB White The phone has cost me £149 which is ve…

Thursday morning

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Good morning all it is a murky dull and chilly day with not a glimmer of sun to be seen.  I had a lovely time yesterday with Sandy and we demolished our usual scramble egg breakfast along with some very decent coffee.  I also bought some goose eggs which we had for supper last night they take about 8.5 minutes to soft boil and the proportion of yolk to white is much larger than in hens eggs. They are so huge that I have to serve them in coffee cups as they are too large for any egg cup. Anyway delicious with lots of hot buttered toast soldiers.  
 Now that is what you call a boiled egg!!!!
I also bought a haunch of muntjac which is in the freezer until I am ready to deal with it.  I think I will probably braise it in a bottle of plonk and serve with mash and greens.  On todays menu we have meatballs for lunch and fish cakes for supper.  The meatball mixture has been sat in the fridge for 24 hours so the flavours have had time to mingle.  I have gallons of tomato sauce so I will proba…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all well it is hosing down with rain this morning but at least it is a bit warmer. Yesterday I bit the bullet and made a start on the sour dough starter now I am into just feeding and caring for my new pet.  I am in a bit of a rush as I am meeting Sandy for breakfast in Faversham so I need to get a move on.  
My menu has been kicked into touch today as the fish monger delivered me the most beautiful cod fillet  which is going on the lunch menu.  I intend to cook it very simply by pan frying and serve with boiled potatoes and a parsley sauce.  The one fillet is ample for the four of us so as you can imagine it is large.  
The slow cooker is full full of roast butternut squash and red pepper soup which just needs to be whizzed to creaminess.  No doubt I will return from the shop with other goodies though my main reason for going is to get coffee.  Actually I buy less than I should so it gives me an excuse to have a breakfast with Sandy and a good old chin wag.  Living as I…

Tuesday Morning

Good morning all yet another very chilly start to the day but at least it is dry according to the forecast it is due to get warmer and wetter as the week continues.  I did have a lovely chuckle yesterday as the council turned up and removed the tree which was such a thorn in the side of my previous neighbours.  We now have a big hole instead and I am not sure if they are going to replant or just pave over.  The road is an avenue so it should have trees but who knows what the council are up to.  
With my prepared vegetables it was a doddle to make a cottage pie for lunch and James did us a fry up for supper.  I had a kilo bag of mince so today the second half will be made into meatballs for later in the week.  I am running very low on coffee so tomorrow I will have to take a ride out to Faversham and buy some more, so I will also have the opportunity to stock up on some of the goodies they have on offer there.  The cheese counter is quite irresistible as they have a vast array of chee…

Monday morning

Good morning all - you know what they say about things coming in 3's well last night saw the last of my friends Mum's die.  None were unexpected but it is still traumatic when it happens.  While my pork was in the oven I took the opportunity to offer my condolences to my neighbour whose Mum died on Thursday night.  She was in her late 90's and he has been looking after her since her husband died in 1998 so as you can imagine he is totally lost.  Then at 11pm I got a call from my friend in Bristol who has been looking after her elderly mother for months and months and finally it was over. So with the demise of Shiona's mum that makes three in a matter of weeks.  Sadly there are no words which will comfort them and the grieving process has to be gone through. All any of us can do is be there for them if needed.  People can feel very isolated at this time as others are scared of saying the wrong thing and so often avoid face to face contact.  Having had a career in nursi…

Sunday morning

Good morning all it is another very cold day but dry no signs of snow just bright sunshine.  I made some salsa verde yesterday and remembered just how much I love it.  I have the ingredients to make a second batch and I am wondering if it will freeze.  Pesto freezes so I see no reason why this too should not freeze.  These are the ingredients I used  parsley, basil, capers, gherkins, garlic, dijon mustard and then lots of olive oil and lemon juice.  I used the nutri-bullet machine to blitz it to a sauce consistency It is a great sauce to liven up anything boiled or steamed be it meat fish or vegetables.  I particularly enjoyed it on the boiled beetroot which is not my favourite vegetable as I find it too sweet but with the sauce it took away the over sweetness.  Although it is a pretty strong sauce somehow it doesn't detract or smother the main ingredient.
Things never happen at a convenient time do they? I was in the middle of preparing lunch with pots boiling all over the stove…

Saturday Morning

Good morning all another bright sunny start to a frosty day.  Yesterday was a glorious sunny day but bitterly cold.  The engineer came and changed the filters on Mikes machine and also sorted out his portable cylinder.  He was pleased to know that I was well aware of just how dangerous oxygen cylinders are. Fortunately he was very quick as I was almost ready to serve the lunch when he arrived.  At the moment my slow cooker is reheating the broth I made yesterday.  Once it is done I can strain out the meat to serve with a salsa verde and the broth will have some small pasta added and a good grating of parmesan.  I thought I would do carrots and beetroot to go with the meat, sort of boiled beef and carrots but brought up to date with a little Italian influence.  I think sweet vegetables will be nice with a sharp piquant sauce.  
Typing this one paragraph has taken ages as Dan seems to think I would like to play ball and keeps dropping the ball in my lap.  He must think I am very stupid…

Friday morning

Good morning all it is brilliantly sunny at the moment though the temperature is close to freezing. The less said about yesterday the better, suffice to say I am fully recovered from my stupidity.  You would have thought I would have more sense at my age.  Anyway no point in beating myself up over what can't be changed.  Today is a new day and a fresh start and I am feeling fine so no lasting damage done.
Today for lunch I am due to make a macaroni cheese but I think I will do it Valentine Warner style with lashings of fried onions and apple sauce.  I know this sounds awful but it is really very tasty.  He makes his white sauce with white wine but I think I will stick to milk.  The onions need to be fried brown and crispy which takes an eternity but is always worth it.  
I am stuck in the house waiting for the man to come and service Mikes O2 machine I might as well get on with some cleaning and cooking.  I have some nice shin beef in the freezer and I am debating what to do with…

Thursday Morning

Good morning all after a really miserable day here yesterday weather wise, it is bright and sunny but that is how yesterday started off, it was all down hill from there.  Lets hope today is better and stays sunny.  I made the salad nicoise for lunch and there was sufficient for Mike and I to have a portion for supper.  However, by 10pm I was ravenous so I made myself a quick stir-fry and boy did I suffer the consequences. I was up and down all night with a gippy tummy so now I feel shattered.  I don't have anything important to do today so I may well collapse back into bed and knit until I feel a bit better.  Fortunately Denzil has walked the dogs and the fridge and cupboards are full so I might give myself a day off and just slob around until my internal combustion has settled down.  The boys are perfectly capable of looking after Mike and themselves so I can throw the towel in with a clear conscience.  
Tomorrow I will need to be around as the engineer is coming to service Mike…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all - what a day I had yesterday Denny was in the mood to clean and so was I so between the pair of us the dining room has had a major spring clean.  I have a bit of a passion for crystal and have lots of vases of varying sizes which are out on display which means they get filthy. With two people it is relatively easy to clean, as on strips the other washes and returns. We worked systematically round the room and all the pictures came down for a good clean the shelves were gone over and rubbish removed.  The boys kept out of the way and took the old chest of drawers to the tip and got rid of that.  The only thing left to do is the computer desk which only I can do so that is my project for today.  
It really does lift the spirits to come down and find the room all lovely and clean and sparkling.  On my menu today is the salad nicoise that I have been hankering for.  It is a nice easy job to make as it is just a bit of boiling then assembling with a good dressing.  I thin…

Tuesday Morning

Good morning all - I am all behind this morning Denny is already here and started and I am lagging behind.  It is raining this morning but much warmer and the boys are on their way to the tip with the old chest of drawers.  
Yesterday I made a start on the dining room and took the welsh dresser to bits and cleaned all the china which was horribly dusty.  The ratatouille was a great success and though it took a while to make it was worth the time.  Today we are having corned beef hash for lunch and some sort of noodle fest for supper. 
The respiratory nurse came to see Mike yesterday and has organised more supplies of oxygen to be delivered today along with a trolly so he can eventually get out in the garden when the weather improves.
Sorry but I am in a rush now and need to get on so I will stop scribbling and go and get dressed and get stuck in.