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Showing posts from March, 2017

Friday morning

Good morning all yesterday I spent hours on the computer which I had not intended firstly I wanted to reply to my new relative Franco and to save time I wanted to send him a photo copy of the newspaper article about James accident.  Did I say save time!!!!  I have in excess of 8,000 photos and most of them are not labeled so finding stuff is a real labour of love.  Well there was no way I was going to be thwarted by a box of silicon chips so I persevered and finally found the photo to send. Then James needed to have a photocopy of his passport to email out.  That should be easy enough - don't you believe it.  I have never done it with this printer and try as we might do you think we could work out how to get to do what we wanted? - none of the help menus were any use.  Finally we stumbled on how to do it purely by trial and error.  You actually have to ask it to print first then that menu will allow you to save as we didn't want a hard copy we never thought of that.  Anyway I…

Thursday morning

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Good morning all, today we have a smattering of sunshine after yesterdays day of dullness and freezing siberian wind.  My nails are done and looking reasonable which makes me feel better as they were very tatty.

In this mornings Email I have just received a load of photos from my newly found relative, Franco, and it seems the poor sod has to spend his winters on this boat.  I think I would call it a yacht my grandad who was a merchant seaman told me a boat has oars.  You will be delighted to know that the sight of it fills me with horror as I hate boats of all kinds as I am the worlds worst sailor and feel sick just looking at the picture.  But I guess if you have spent a life in marine engineering you would be bound to have a boat.


That said we have had an invitation to a barbeque at his house when I go with Sandy, that I will accept with gratitude.  He lives very close to where my grandmother used to live so I know the area quite well.  The accompanying letter has so many questions …

Wednesday morning

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Good morning all: well talk about nothing ventured nothing gained I now have a dinner invitation from the little boy in yesterday's photo.  He is gadding about all over the world but I think as luck would have it we may both be in Trieste at the same time.  I will pump off an email with the dates of our travel and hope.
I am in a sort of limbo land at the moment, today I am having my nails done and James has a dental appointment and oh yes they are both at the same time so we are going to have to share the car and wait for each other.  The laundry is up to date but the fridge is empty so shopping is in order but just a few bits to tide us over as I have organised to go to Macnades and have breakfast with Sandy and Elaine on friday morning which is when I will buy the stuff to take to Italy.  Then it is just the weekend and away I go on Monday.  The drive up to Stansted is supposed to be about an hour but you never know with the roads so I would rather be at the airport early and …

Tuesday Morning

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Good morning all, now make sure you are sitting comfortably and have a cup of something by your side because I am going to tell you a story.

While chatting to my sister we were discussing our memories of the family especially the Italian side and we both remembered a relative from our youth.  Now I am no good at cousins twice removed etc except to say he is the son of my grandmother's brother not sure what that makes him perhaps you can tell me?  Anyway we knew his Dad had a marine engine company in Trieste and my sister thought they were still in operation.  So I had a google to see what I could find and yes there is a very big company called Volpi Marine so I found their contact email and promptly wrote off a letter to the sales department asking if they could put me in touch with Franco Volpi the son of the one time owner.  Off went my email into the ether and I expected nothing from it.  I was sure some secretary would open the email and very quickly press delete.  Low and beh…

Monday morning

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Good morning all well so much for british summer time it is cold and dull here today.  I am still without my car it was due to be done yesterday but no word so I am hoping it will be done today.  I was trapped in the house yesterday which was kind of miserable with Denzil at work and James on night shift so fast asleep all day I was left milling about not knowing what to do with myself.  I had a long chat with my sister it is so nice to be able to chat online with facetime.  I am old enough to remember my mother having to book an international call for christmas day just to speak to her mother for three minutes.  How the world has moved on.  While I was thinking along those lines I thought I would try and find a second cousin.  At least I think that is right he is the son of my grandmother's brother is that right I get confused with cousins?  Anyway, his Dad had a marine engine company which is still in existence so I dropped them a note in the hope that it might stir some memory…

Sunday morning

Good morning all well one hours less sleep last night so now we are in BST until October.  Some of my clocks change themselves while others do not which is a bit of a pain.  In my usual lazy fashion I only change the clocks I use and leave the others.  It seems to me that every gizmo has a clock.  I never use the timer mechanism on the oven so I don't bother with that one besides I would have to get my glasses to see the time.  
When I got up this morning there was a big bunch of flowers and some really dark chocolate waiting for me.  I think the lads had been shopping late last night as they are both still asleep.  Anyway it is nice to be remembered.
I am hoping to get my car back this afternoon so I will be mobile once again.  The weather here is a bit murky this morning with a bit of a wind blowing but it is dry and not too cold.  The garden looks none too bad now that there is a bit of colour it takes your eyes from the weeds.  I remember being so pleased when I went round th…

Saturday Morning

Good morning all we have the sun back and with it the temperature is rising.  The last few days have been perishingly cold but today we are in double figures which is a bit more like it.  Yesterday was a bit of a non day what with the car going in for repairs I did very little but keep the boat afloat.  I did do one slightly crazy thing which I had read about on the net.  I soft boiled some eggs in the pressure cooker.  I know WHY!!!  Well you can do lots in one go and they are particularly easy to shell and for that I tried the blowing method which worked really well.  So what became of the soft boiled eggs well they were served with sliced avocado and lashings of salt pepper and lemon juice and a hunk of crusty bread.  The video I saw was of a lady who does a dozen at a time and then has them for breakfast during the week when time is of the essence.  I just wanted to see if it was possible and I was pleasantly surprised.   Once they are done you have to plunge them into ice water …

Friday morning

Good morning all, it is dull cold and windy here today.  The boys have just taken my car in for repairs and we are hoping to have it back by Sunday.  As for James appointment they rang and cancelled yesterday so he is still waiting.  It is not that the wheels of justice grind slowly but we are approaching the 10 year mark so we must be getting close!!!! Is it any wonder that I am exasperated with bureaucracy.  
Anyway enough of that it is only a  week or so before I go to Italy so today I am going to check over the clothes that I think I will take and make sure all is washed and clean.  There is nothing worse than going to pack something only to find a big stain in the middle of it. I have booked my nails to be done on wednesday so they at least should look nice.  At the moment they have huge doorsteps in them as I have left them rather longer than I should.  
I have a few purchased to make before I go, my sister would like some streaky bacon and some cheddar cheese and I will take s…

Thursday morning

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Good morning all.  Did I ever get it wrong yesterday no sooner than I had finished writing the heavens opened and we had a day of freezing cold rain.  However, I did my charity shop run and bought the bag of ericaceous compost not that I could use it.  My garden plans where a write off and I had to make do with indoor chores.  While I was in Dobbies I bought another couple of plants for my window box, a thyme and a parsley, it is a bit early to put out basil I think but that will be one of the plants for the summer.  I have two sets of window boxes one with bulbs for the spring and then I change them over for the summer ones which are filled with herbs.  Meanwhile I can leave the bulbs to die back in an inconspicuous part of the garden.  Well that is the theory anyway.  I like to have the herbs readily available so they are all within easy reach of the kitchen.  Bay, rosemary and sage are planted in the garden so they are always available but for some unknown reason thyme seems unhap…

Wednesday Morning

Good morning all, a duller day today but yesterday was a good drying day so the line was loaded with washing.  It is still pretty chilly in single figures but that didn't stop Dan from having a swim as the tide was in.  Dogs just don't seem to feel the temperature like we do, it makes me cold just thinking about it. You would think that with a body temperature higher than ours they would feel it even more but no, they just love it.
Yesterday was a day of housework as Denny came and did her stuff.  We ate out of the freezers some chicken things that Denzil had brought back from Tesco which I disassembled and cooked to go with the dauphinoise potatoes.  For supper we finished the last of the pigs in blankets also from tesco's cheap department.  
I now have two big boxes of stuff for the charity shop so I think it is time to get them delivered so I can start refilling them.  I found a laptop bag lurking in the back of the wardrobe and as I no longer have a lap top it is redu…

Tuesday Morning

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Good morning all I am a happy bunny this morning my gardening ladies came yesterday and managed to do quite a lot before they got rained off.  The bays have been trimmed up and look so much better.  My mattress topper turned up and got put on the bed but it is so thick it is almost like another mattress and I feel like the princess and the pea sleeping on a big pile of mattresses.  Anyway I slept very well last night even if I was up in the air.  It is nice to wake up with no stiff or sore bits for a change.  
Those flat breads that I made the other day were so good that I had to repeat the performance again yesterday.  I made another batch for supper last night and they were duly enjoyed but both dogs and humans alike.  
We are having a go at eating out of the freezer to run it down so that I can have a good clear out I'm sure there must be stuff in there that is years old.  Things tend to get pushed to the back and forgotten. The wonderful Denny is due this morning so not only …

Monday morning

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Good morning all well the weather here looks bad I think we are in for some rain but I am sure the garden will appreciate it.  I took a few photos from around the garden of things in bloom but you can see just how dull it was.




Sunday morning

Good morning all where has all the lovely sunshine gone it is as dull as ditch water here which is such a pity as there are lovely blossoms out in the garden.  The magnolia is in full bloom and looking magnificent all it needs is a splash of sun to make it perfect.  I might try and get some photos today despite the lack of sun.  
I expect this is really boring but I am accomplishing my extra chore each day and some how by writing it here I feel obligated to complete it.  Today, I am going to sort out the bedding which is in a huge muddle.  Sadly I have three beds one king, one double and one single and I have great difficulty with all the white sheets so I am going to mark them with a permanent marker so that I can distinguish one from another.  I suppose it would be easier if I had coloured sheets but I do like white. 
On the menu today is a nice piece of pork which I am going to roast with lots of stuffing [I have a passion for sage and onion stuffing] Apple sauce and an array of v…

Saturday morning

Good morning all, well another day of success the one chore accomplished.  The flatbread was rather too delicious I can see it becoming a firm favourite.  Very simple ingredients most from the cupboard plus onions and goats cheese - I think any piece of mouse trap cheese would do. Cooking is simple in a heavy frying pan.  Would make a terrific accompaniment to a creamy soup that needs a bit of a kick. ie. celery or potato. Or a salad that is not going to be quite enough. This is the link if you want the full recipe.
https://www.recipecommunity.co.uk/baking-savoury-recipes/goats-cheese-and-caramelised-red-onion-flatbreads/36pvf2ip-5e853-106239-cfcd2-4p92i3lk 


Today the sun has abandoned us but it is still dry if a bit windy.  Actually an ideal day to dry washing and as luck would have it I have a machine full ready for the line.  It is such a treat to dry things on the line in the fresh air instead of dangling it all over the house.  My policy of doing one extra chore per day is workin…

Friday morning

Good morning all no sun this  morning but it is dry and dull.  The last couple of days of sunshine have brought forward the blossom.  The forsythia is in bloom as is the magnolia and suddenly the garden has gone into colour.  I have a clematis armandii which is in full bloom all along the fence and looks quite spectacular.  It makes such a difference to look out of the windows and see blooming plants rather than dull grey.  
The guinea fowl we had for lunch was delicious it tasted just as chickens used to taste before they bred the flavour out of them.  The dark meat on the legs was really dark and full of flavour I am going to keep my eyes peeled for more guinea fowl I believe Gressingham the duck people are doing them now.  They may be intensively farmed but I don't think they have managed to get them table ready in 6 weeks.  The carcass has been put through the pressure cooker and today I can strain it off and reduce it ready for the freezer if we don't use it for lunch.
I…

Thursday morning

Good morning all we have yet another day of sunshine here it is really beginning to feel as if winter is over.  I can't believe how long it is taking me to get back up to running speed I am still pretty flat but hopeful that my break away will make a big difference.  Yesterday I organised the boarding passes etc so all the paperwork is up to date.  
When I look around the house all I see are jobs which need doing and then I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start so I don't which makes matters worse because I then feel guilty as well.  I think I need a plan so I am going to allocate just one job per day and satisfy myself with that.  Gone are the days when I could achieve great things and work my socks off all day.  
I was hoping that my mattress topper would arrive yesterday but no such luck it is coming on Monday.  My bed this morning looks like someone had a fight in it I have managed to toss around so much I found myself lying directly on the mattress with the s…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all the sun is shining and the gardening ladies came and did quite a bit in the garden mostly the front garden which has been pruned right back and the scented jasmine which is trying to get in the windows has been cut off at the root.  It will take a while for it to die before we can pull it down.  However, they also took away a pair of folding bicycles which I have been looking to get rid of - I now have much more room in the shed.  Much of the work was slow going but I lent a hand and we managed to thin out one of the bamboos.  While they cut and cleared I stripped the canes and made them into useful ones ready for runner beans.  They were happy to take those as well.  We set a bin limit rather than a time limit, once both the wheelie bins were full it was time to pack up.  They will be returning on Monday to continue the process.  I must admit I found it a very pleasant experience to have a bit of company in the garden and though I didn't do much I was on hand to…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all, the sun is shining and the gardening ladies are coming at lunchtime today. Yesterday, I actually got out and pruned one of the wisterias and a couple of roses both a bit late in the season but better late than never.  I am going to try and spend half an hour a day in the garden in the hope of gradually reducing the bulk of the work.  Lunch today is all but ready as I made a chicken curry yesterday so all I need to do is boil some rice.  The kitchen is messy but clean as I tend to stack my washed up cooking stuff on the draining board and allow it to dry naturally rather than dry it up. So now it is just a case of putting it away and tidying up.  It looks like a perfect day for laundry so I will get at least one load on and out on the line.  Tomorrow being bin day I need to go around the house and gather all the rubbish which accumulates and get that bagged up.  I really wish the council would provide us with wheelie bins for our recycling and landfill waste we only …

Monday morning

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Good morning all well the forecast rain never arrived yesterday it was dull but not wet.  I am not sure if the gardening ladies are going to come this morning or tomorrow morning I will just have to wait and see.  90% of what needs doing is cutting back the shrubs which have run riot.  I'm sure the garden will look much better when it is done and it will be less claustrophobic.  The four bay trees are so overgrown you can hardly get between them.  I have a couple of bamboos which also need thinning out.  I suppose it is the price you pay for fertile soil everything goes mad.  The land that our houses were built on was once nothing but cherry orchards so it has not been overworked and given the amount of manure and compost I have added it is in very good condition.  Over the last year I have lost a few plants but only those in pots and that was my fault for not keeping up with the watering. Anything in the ground is flourishing.  If I get the greenhouse tidied up I might grow a fe…

Sunday morning

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Good morning all.  We have been forecast rain for today but none has appeared yet! Yesterday it was a fine day and I actually got some washing out on the line the bees were going mad as the mahonia is in full bloom and they really love the flowers.



Sandy popped in to collect her case and to deliver me some coffee but she also brought the dogs a marrow bone each from the butcher.  It was 2am when I was woken by a strange crump crump noise yes, Dan had fetched his bone and was eating it on the landing where the noise really echoed.  He has completely demolished a cows knee joint.  It is quite scary when you see just what short work he makes of something so solid.  It is a very good job he is such a gentle dog he could really do damage if he chose to.  Sandy is now looking at getting a labrador puppy and has a litter of eight to choose from. Fortunately her other half will be on holiday when we go to Italy and he will be puppy sitting for the week.
Denzil is back at work today so we are …

Saturday morning

Good morning all, it is dull and overcast here today and according to the weather forecast it is due to rain tomorrow.  I'm not sure when the gardeners are coming it will be either Monday or Tuesday so let's hope the weather is kind.  
Sandy is popping in this afternoon to collect her cabin bag and deliver me some coffee so I have laid in some danish pastries to have with out tea.  Naughty but nice!!!!  She also wants to have a go with my hoover and see if she likes it.  I must say I have yet to find fault with it and am very happy with it.
I am revving up for my trip to Italy and have started to dream in Italian which is really weird I usually only do that in very hot weather.  I guess my brain is practicing while I sleep.  My sister has made a couple of requests she would like some streaky bacon to make bacon butties with and also some cheddar cheese.  It makes me laugh, I buy pancetta and parmesan.  Funny the things you miss from home!!! I remember as a child after one mon…

Friday morning

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Good morning all well nearly lunch time again.  I had a bit of a ropey night and finally fell asleep at around 6 am so the boys just left me to sleep.  Yesterday was such a glorious day it really felt like winter was over - doors and windows open and the house flooded with fresh air.  Today sees the last day of the antibiotics - what a long haul it has been - and I feel pretty washed out but now I need to start rebuilding my immunity.  Fresh air, good food and plenty of sleep the first two are easy and under my control the last is in the lap of the gods.  Fortunately living in a house with adults I can sleep whenever I feel like it which is a good thing. 
I decided to watch a bit of crufts on the TV but the program was so puerile I had to switch it off.  I find dogs dress in frilly frocks a form of animal abuse and there was some idiot with Clare Balding whose voice drove me demented.  Talk about dumbed down!!!  I have been to crufts on a couple of occasions and could not believe the…

Thursday morning

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Good morning all, well the sun is shining and we have got double figures on the temperature scale I declare spring to be here if only for today!!!  Yesterday went according to plan and I got all the cooking done and the kitchen set to zero last night.  However my bed feels like concrete as I chucked out the memory foam mattress topper which had seen better days and was falling to bits.  Now the dilema is do I get another topper or persevere with getting used to a harder surface? 
I was looking at my garden from the roof of the kitchen and then I saw next door which looks like a builders yard so mine looks reasonable in comparison!!! Anyway with any luck mine will soon look lovely again once the gardeners have had a go at it.

On today's menu we have an oriental fish soup made with coconut milk and lashings of coriander. Like most oriental dishes the cooking time is minutes but the preparation time is longer.  Tonight the boys are going to treat me to a takeaway - as yet I am not s…

Wednesday Morning

Good morning all.  Top priority today is to get the rubbish out for the bin men we forgot last week so the garage is full and smelly so out it must go.  As most of our rubbish goes out in polythene bags we dare not put it out the night before, which would be much more convenient, as the local cats and foxes tear everything to bits.  The bin men come early so it is a case of trying to remember first thing when you brain is still a bit addled.
Today the weather is wet but at least the temperatures are up a bit so it is not so cold.  Yesterday I finally got round to fixing an ongoing problem which has been lurking around for ages.  Though we have a porch there has always been a draught coming under the front door so much so that when I tested it with a tea light it was immediately blown out.  I ordered a draught excluder and we fitted it as soon as it arrived.  I for one can already feel the difference as my feet are no longer blocks of ice.  
Yesterdays dilemma of the left overs was so…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all.  What a relief it is to have some help with the garden I can now look out without feeling overwhelmed.  Weather permitting next week should see some improvement getting help with the garden is not easy as people who know what they are doing are difficult to find.  Anyway I think I have cracked it.  The ladies showed me some photos of a garden that they had done which was so badly overgrown that you couldn't see there was a garden mine is not quite that bad but it wouldn't take much longer for it to get that way.
The wonderful Denny is due today so the house will also get a birthday which will be nice I have managed to keep on top of the mess but cleaning has rather gone by the wayside.  The laundry is all but done so today should see the last load for a couple of days.  At least while I was working I had something to break up the monotony of housework. The house was no cleaner but I was less bored!!!! I sometimes think we should swap houses with a friend and…

Monday morning

Good morning all well it is near lunch time actually but I have been busy with the gardening ladies as we discussed what to do with the garden.  Hopefully weather permitting they will be coming next week to start by just clearing up the mess and cutting back the overgrown.  While I waited for them to arrive I have prepared both lunch and supper.  Lunch is roast chicken with new potatoes and mixed vegetables and supper is a salmon mousse and caesar salad.  The mousse is in the fridge setting and the dressing and cretins are made for the salad.  So now all I have to do is turn a few knobs and press a few buttons and hey presto meals will appear.  If only that were true!!!!
The ladies were very taken with the dogs so that was good news, the house is a bit of a mess but Denny is due tomorrow so it will get a birthday then.  I am trying not to over do things as instructed by Joy so I work only in the morning and then crash out in the afternoons and watch garbage or do a bit of studying - …

Sunday morning

Good morning all, the weather here is anything but good it is very cold and pouring with rain. However, it is not all bad news I think I have finally turned the corner and I feel much better in myself and the horrid coughing seems to be slowing down.  I have used every bit of my knowledge to get myself back on my feet but you can't beat the slowness of age.  What would have taken three days to clear when I was 20 now takes three weeks.  It is very frustrating, I am into the second week of antibiotics and have eaten enough live yogurt to kill a horse.  I have tried to eat all good things with loads of vitamins etc.  I feel I have played my part but my body is being uncooperative.  The one good thing to come out of this is that I am sleeping much better.  I felt so much better last night that I bleached all the sinks in the kitchen and today the fridge is due for a birthday.  I am aware that now is the time to be careful not to over do it so I am allocating just one job per day in …

Saturday Morning

Good morning all, sorry about yesterday but I got distracted then completely forgot.  The distraction was a good one in that Elaine came to have a coffee with me and it was nice to see her I don't seem to have seen a human being for ages.  No disrespect to the boys but there is a limit to my interest in football etc.  Sometimes you need a bit of female company, I have shunned both Sandie and Shiona as they neither of them need a dose of what I have.  However, Elaine is young and strong and I'm sure she is better able to withstand a bug onslaught.  Len has been poleaxed so I have been in contact with Margaret who is of course very worried.  I would love to have been able to give her a hand but again I didn't want to add to the problems.  Fortunately I had given them the lesson on online shopping just in time and today her sister is coming to help her out.
Elaine brought her puppy and you should have seen the games that were had with Dan and Tubby - the best game was "…

Thursday morning

Good morning all, now I remember why I don't normally make minestrone despite everyone having a big bowl yesterday I still have enough for a battalion.  So the plan for today is to get it in the freezer, overnight it has absorbed lots of the liquid which I am not going to replace as there is no point in freezing water I can always add it when I defrost it.  I do this with stock also and try to reduce it down to a very strong solution before freezing.  I also have a tray of roasted butternut squash which I am just going to puree rather than make into soup again to save space in the freezer which is kind of full at the moment.  I was feeling rough last night so the kitchen is a mess yet again silly me!!!  I really would love a kitchen porter or a slave so if you know anyone who would like the job let me know? The job would come with board and lodging and buckets of gratitude in lieu of pay.
Having had a soup day yesterday today I am in the mood for a nice fresh salad of some kind, …

Wednesday Morning

Good morning all, well did you make your pancakes yesterday?  I did and I must say I had forgotten how much I like them dressed with lemon and sugar.  My sister suggested a nice savory use instead of the usual and that is to liberally sprinkle them with parmesan then roll them tightly and slice finely and add to a chicken broth.  Sounds right up my street a sort of chicken noodle soup.  I must say I have used them to make lasagne in the past when I couldn't be bothered to make the pasta and they make magic cannelloni. The other favorite is to fill them with a boiled leek wrapped in ham then laid in a dish and covered with a cheese sauce.  They are actually very versatile and also freeze well.  
Today I have a vegetable problem which needs fixing.  As I have been off colour for a while the vegetables have mounted up and need to be used so I think a minestrone is in order.  I also have a load of parsnips which I think I will parboil and freeze.  For once the kitchen is not a mess a…