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Showing posts from June, 2017

Friday morning

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Good morning all.  First of all, may I thank you all for your good wishes I got nice cards and my Facebook page exploded with greetings from everyone from far and near.  It's lovely to know that people who I haven't seen for years and people I have never met are still out there. It was a good day all round and here is a picture of Dan's sister who won Best of Breed in the French championships with her very proud breeders.  If she is as lovely as Dan I am not surprised.  There is only one drawback to owning a Spinone and that is once you have accepted that your walls will be decorated with slobber you will never want another breed of dog they are just such lovely people and the best friend you could ever have.

I had a lovely lunch with Len and Margaret and she really pushed the boat out with a full three-course lunch.  I truly appreciate this as I know she hates cooking so a big effort on her part.  The phone rang off the hook with messages and my inbox is full of letters …

Thursday morning

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Good morning all, well today I am a year older and my only hope is that I am also wiser.  Another year of experiences has been added to the list.  The body might be falling to bits but I am trying to keep the mind going.  The discipline of writing this blog is quite helpful and makes me use my brain and work out what to do with the computer so it is all good.  The contents might be rubbish but hey you can't have everything.
When I was at Shiona's I was having a small clothing problem and needed a safety pin but Shiona suggested a broach might be better and duly presented me with a lovely Danish silver broach which I was told I could keep only if I really loved it.  I really loved it and I think you will agree it is beautiful and definitely better than a safety pin.

Yesterday Elaine came round with Benji and brought me a lovely calla lily.  I'm not sure whether to risk planting it in the ground or whether to keep it in a pot so I remember to water it.  It might look rather…

Wednesday morning

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Good morning all, I had a lovely day at Shiona's yesterday and whistled through the rush hour traffic in Maidstone with no problems the green traffic light fairy was with me.  However, the trip home was a different story and took forever.  Who let the ankle-biters out of school? Shiona cast an eye over my will to make sure I hadn't done anything stupid and politely looked at the photos.  Of course, she recognised many of the places as we had been there together when I took her to Trieste.
While trawling around on the internet I discovered a book that is the answer to a prayer for me.  I learned the local dialect aged 4 and though I have added to the vocabulary over the years I still find difficulty in differentiating proper Italian from dialect.  Well, this book does just that so at last, I might be able to make some sense of it all.
Finally, we have had some rain for the poor parched garden and it is due to rain again today so the boys have bottles out of going shooting.  Wi…

Tuesday morning

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Dover sole with lemon butter and prawn sauce and avocado
What would you expect to pay in a restaurant?  Chez nous £5.  Apparently, though Dan doesn't do fish he does do Dover sole.  Who needs a gourmet dog!!!!  What a smashing lunch the Dovers were fished out of the Medway which at our end is tidal.  A long time ago I bought 6 oval meat plates just for serving fish and even they were not quite big enough. The photo is of the smallest of the three fish.  I also use these plates for Xmas lunch as there are usually so many things to eat you need a big plate so you can see what you have.  Supper was a simple affair just a big bowl of gazpacho and a yoghurt.  The yoghurt was for an experiment, my instapot pressure cooker has a yoghurt setting so last night I set it all up and made some yoghurts or maybe some sour milk as yet I haven't tested them to see if I have succeeded.  I did just a pint to see if it would work and as they are still warm I will leave them to cool before addin…

Monday morning

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Good morning all, the sun is shining and we are at a lovely 15.6ºC.  Yesterday was dull and overcast but still no real rain.  I was going to do some spraying of weed killer but it was too windy and I stood a good chance of killing the plants rather than the weeds.  Today looks like a better option as there is no wind just a gentle breeze.  I spent yesterday flitting from one thing to another.  I have started to read Ulysses as instructed by Anne.  It is a bit hard going but interesting descriptive writing.  Then I did some knitting while listening to the next section of my course on psychology in an effort to keep up to date.  The one good thing about corsera is if you abandon a course you can always go back and start again. The lecturer is Canadian and I find myself listening to his accent rather than paying attention to the lecture. I went to Aldi for some shopping and found that everyone else had the same idea and it was bedlam.  
However, I did see a beautiful silver Maserati in …

Sunday morning

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Good morning all.  We got a small splash of rain yesterday but nowhere near enough to do any real good.  We really could use a  deluge to give the garden a good drink.  I'm sure the apricots would be happy for some water.  As you can see from the photo it looks like we might have a decent crop this year, however, I will have to keep a close eye on the fruit if I am to get to it before the birds do.


I made myself an interesting breakfast yesterday I put into the Ninja Blitzer some lettuce, a tomato, a tiny clove of garlic, some basil leaves and a splash of balsamic vinegar then blitzed.   The result was a sort of salad smoothy but very nice and right up my street.  Lunch was equally simple I did a big bowl of cacio e pepe spaghetti and a massive salad which kept us satisfied until about 8 pm when we succumbed to some KFC.  The fish monger rang to say they had got some nice dover soles while night fishing and so I have three nice sized fish as well as some Cornish mackerel.  Somehow…

Saturday morning

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Musings on Brexit.  Please feel free to ignore.
For the sake of argument let's call the European Union a club if one of the members were so unhappy that they wanted to leave my first question would be what has gone so badly wrong and why.  No one seems to care or is looking for an amicable solution.  In divorce, you first try reconciliation then a trial separation.  You don't immediately go for the jugular that is for when all else fails. It seems to me that we are approaching this all wrong.  What has the EU done to help salvage the situation? Or are they glad to see the back of us and out to get as much as they can while they can? If the system is not working for one of the parties then why is no one prepared to look at what went wrong before heading blindly into the unknown. It was radio 4 that sparked this thought when they compared the people of Wakefield who voted predominantly out and the well-heeled of Oxford who wanted to stay.
Perhaps this is an oversimplification b…

Friday morning

Good morning all, Ok own up who got the rain?  We heard the thunder but got half a tsp. of rain. Not even enough to wet the patio.  However, on the upside, the sting has gone out of the heat.  Once the risk of lightening had passed the dogs went for a swim then tucked into the remains of our stirfry despite the fact it was mostly vegetables.  It seems as long as they think it is our food and therefore special, it must be ok.
Dan made me laugh I gave him a rice cake which he took as it was a present then put on the floor in the dining room and examined for edibility and decided it was not for eating.  I then asked him to bring it back to me at which point his eyes lit up "Oh I get it, it's a retrieve toy, not food" Bless him he is very easily fooled.  He will always take anything you give him as it would be impolite to refuse but he then takes it away for further investigation and then only if Tubby seems keen will he try eating it. He really is a big girl's blouse w…

Thursday morning

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Good morning all.  I have woken with a thundering headache this morning, it is either the heat or my snoring but hopefully nothing copious coffee won't cure.  Yesterday was very hot and uncomfortable. As hot as 1976 which I remember well with the exception of one month when I tried hard to die in expensive scare.  The consensus of opinion is that I was struck by an overwhelming viral infection. Anyway, I survived and emerged at my lowest weight of 9 stone, however, I would not recommend this as a weight loss method.  I do remember my first solid food it was a revelation, who knew canteen stew tasted so good and carrots were to die for, Oh! and lumpy mash in gallons of bisto wow. Lovely light summer food for roasting hot weather.  Well done the hospital kitchens a perfect choice!!!! I bet I enjoyed eating it much more than they enjoyed cooking it.
I forgot to water last night so I have been out and done that first thing.  We may or may not get the rain today it depends on which we…

Wednesday Morning

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Good morning all at least it is cool and lovely at the moment.  Yesterday was a bit cooler but not by much and today it is supposed to be the hottest yet - oh heaven help us!!!!  I was watching a program about the last Alaskans and minus 30 sounds positively ideal to me. Thick snow and log fires sound wonderful.  I am a total wimp when it comes to heat and rapidly lose the will to live.  I can tolerate any other kind of weather rain, hail, sleet or snow and have the appropriate clothing but the heat is just unbearable.  Thank goodness I live close to the coast so we tend to be a couple of degrees cooler in the summer and a couple of degrees warmer in the winter courtesy of the channel.  Today we are forecast 31ºC - OMG -  another day the ironing will be put on hold.
We are living on salads of various varieties and yesterday for lunch we had tiger bread sandwiches stuffed with egg and tomato.  6 eggs hard boiled 6 tomatoes skinned pipped and diced a desert spoon of mayo and hey presto…

Tuesday Morning

Good morning all, Yesterday was a bit of a miserable day once the heat got going now I remember why I don't live in Italy they have months of this and I hate it.  No amount of ice cream is enough to cool me down.  The dogs went swimming first thing and it takes Dan a long time to dry off so he was cool for a while but come the late afternoon he kept coming to me with his pleading look and panting with the heat.  As I am in charge of his whole world I think he thought I could turn the heating down!!!  I have become a troglodyte keeping as cool as I can with fans going in all the bedrooms to try and make sleeping a possibility. I would really welcome a big thunderstorm and buckets of rain but this is not on the cards as far as the weather forecast goes.
My new iron arrived and I plugged it in and tested that it worked but didn't touch the ironing I am not that crazy yet.  I made an assortment of dishes which we grazed our way through as the fancy took us and today will be somet…

Monday morning

Good morning all, OMG what an inferno yesterday was and I believe we are in for another scorcher today. I try to get all the chores done in the early morning cool then once the main heat hits I turn into a pumpkin and sit in a heap in front of the fan and wait for night to come and cool me down again.  It always seems so much easier to get warm than it does to get cool.  This is when I wish I had a swimming pool but it is definitely not worth it for the few days of heat we get in the UK.  I make do with a lukewarm shower and walk about wet so evaporation can work its magic.  Dan really doesn't like the heat and seeks out cold tiled floors to lie on.  I can only imagine how hot it must be in fur coat!!!!
Yesterday I made the meatballs for lunch and I still have a couple left over so they will be on the lunch menu along with the petit pois a la Parisienne and a struccolo of spinach and ricotta.  I find myself making many more vegetarian dishes in the summer when there is an abundan…

Sunday morning

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Good morning all.  What a hot and sultry night, fortunately, it is cool now so all my windows are open letting in the cool air.  As soon as the sun hits them they get slammed shut and curtains drawn to keep the house cool. 
Do you like a glass of prosecco?  If you do then may I suggest you enter it into google earth and see just where it comes from?  Ok, I will save you the bother it is a village in the hills just above Miramare castle.  Yet anther reason to visit this very special corner of Italy alternatively any supermarket will stock this now.
Yesterday was so hot I really didn't do much after the sun got up.  We had burgers and a range of salads for lunch and supper was finishing off the salads and foraging in the fridge.  I burned and skinned some peppers then sliced and dressed with salt and oil.  Similarly, I steamed some courgettes and did the same.  Today it will be meatballs with a piece of mozzarella in the centre and I haven't decided yet whether to make or just …

Saturday Morning

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Good morning all as you will notice there are two Saturdays this week.  Guess who is a bit confused with the days?  Well the days mean nothing to me and I am sure that if I didn't write this blog I wouldn't even know what month it is.  The sun is up so so am I, this is by far the best bit of the day it is still fresh from a cool night the birds are busy but the traffic is quiet as are the neighbours who are still asleep.

Yesterday I played a bit in the kitchen preparing a plate of cold stuff for lunch.  Tomatoes stuffed with parsley garlic bread crumbs and olive oil then grilled.  Hard boiled eggs stuffed with tuna mayo and capers.  A tin of pāté direct from my friends in Bordeaux and some polish ham knuckle sliced.


This is a cucumber and radish salad, cool and crisp but with a little mouse in the middle.


My Italian seeds arrived so they have been planted and now it is just a case of waiting, watering and hoping.  
Talking of watering the garden is in desperate need of water e…

Saturday Morning

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Good morning all sorry but you are not off the hook yet.  Here is a set of photos of the interior of a house in Trieste.  It belonged to the man who funded the Suez Canal so he was not short of a bob or two and I think the photos will demonstrate that fact. Interestingly nothing is cordoned off, you are trusted not to handle the artefacts.  Entry is free and they have added a section to the building which is modern and houses their modern art collection.
 Beautiful domed ceiling
 dining room 
 enough gold leaf to open a shop 
 These bannisters are in red velvet
 Some floors in marble 
 others in Parque which are more like marquetry 

 chandeliers by the dozen
 Stuffed with artworks and marble statues

 his carriage and footman's uniforms
The house is an interesting design in that the bottom floor is where they kept the carriage and horses the next floor was personal living apartments and the top floor was for business and social meetings and grand occasions. Not that you can tell t…

Thursday Morning

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Ok here are some photos which I managed to download from Sandy's phone. Here she is by one of the fountains on the front of the Lloyds Triestino building.  Then looking seaward you see people at the harbour wall but wait a minute are they all people?


A little closer and you will see that some of the people are actually bronze sculptures of two young girls doing their sewing.


And just in case you think this is all a figment of my imagination here I am with James Joyce.

This was Sandy's lunch of tuna in sesame seed with a lime dressing and a peculiar salad that is very local. It is actually called "Cicoria zuccherina di Trieste",  I have a packet of seeds on order and I will see if it will grow in a pot on my patio.  It is a cut and come again type salad with a significant hint of bitterness a bit more exciting than lettuce.  The locals call it radicchio and make it into a lovely salad with borlotti beans. 


 This is the 36year old Opel belonging to Betty, from my litt…