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Showing posts from July, 2017

Friday morning

Good morning all, well the sun is shining after yesterdays rain so it is still lovely and cool but bright.  Perfect!!! If only this weather will hold for the weekend the gardening guys should be OK.
Dan's paw has settled down and he has forgotten about it which is just as well as we have now removed the cone of shame which was terrifying Tubby who kept running and hiding from Dan who, from his perspective, had turned into an alien.
By way of a treat for Denzil's birthday, we had a takeaway curry from our Nepalese shop which was lovely.  For lunch, I had just made a spinach and bacon tart so we were very ready for something more substantial.
I had a rude awakening this morning with my dogs barking the walls down as the window cleaner had turned up.  He also does electrical stuff so I have organised him to come and do my plug in my bedroom which has been broken for ages.  It is one of those jobs you keep meaning to do but never quite get round to doing.  
Right so sorry this ha…

Thursday Morning

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Good morning all. It has been raining overnight and it looks like it has more to come. according to the weather forecast, the whole weekend is rain soaked which will be no use for weed killing.
Expletive deleted!!!! 

Poor old Dan had been licking his paw and when I checked it looked like a bee sting but after two days it was getting worse not better so it was time for the vet.  As it turned out he was the fourth dog that day who was in for grass seeds in the paw.  The vet was pleased we had acted so quickly and he managed to dig the seed out without anaesthetic as Dan was so well behaved he didn't even growl he just whimpered.  He is now on a course of antibiotics and has to wear the "cone of shame" to keep him from interfering with his paw.  It is hilarious to watch him as he is not used to his head being 10 times larger and he keeps bumping into everything.
I had a bit of fun in the kitchen and have put herbs under oil and into the freezer using an egg box. so far I hav…

Wednesday Morning

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Good morning all surprisingly we have just had a shower of rain.  Not enough to do any good but just enough to wet everything.


This is yesterday's bodged paella which actually worked OK.  I did as I said and let the juices of the frozen fish drain into the rice cooking pot and then added saffron, peppers and chorizo and cooked the rice in that. Once it was done I reintroduced the shellfish and already cooked chicken and just allowed them to warm through.  The flavours were close to the real thing even if the cooking method was not.  Dan was hovering asking to be included so I offered him some on a plate his face was a picture - yuck you know I don't do fish - he was not even prepared to risk picking out the chicken.
My visit to the optician was as expected and my diagnosis was correct I have a fast growing cataract in my left eye just as I did in my right.  Those of you who have been reading for years will know that when I had the right eye done it was absolutely no problem an…

Tuesday Morning

Good morning all, well I am insured up to the hilt.  I spent the day on the phone ensuring that I am covered for driving across the continent so the car is insured, a breakdown is covered and my health is covered in case of disaster.  The channel tunnel is booked; James lost then found his passport, big sigh of relief.  I have an appointment with the optician this afternoon and a hair appointment for next week.  Sunday lunch cooked and afterwards I took the gardeners on a guided tour of what needs doing in the garden and they are coming this weekend to do the job - two full days of two blokes = £500 so just what I expected.  I will supervise and make sure I get my money's worth.  The theory is to strim down the weeds then spray with weedkiller.  The chicken run will be dismantled then hopefully I can get the ground covered with bark chippings or some other weed suppressant substance.  If these guys turn out to be good I will then see if I can book them on a monthly basis to keep …

Monday morning

Good morning all the sun is shining and the weather looks fair I believe that it is going to heat up through the week which is ok so long as it happens slowly.  
I spent yesterday afternoon watching the tennis and motor racing so nice to see some happy people for a change.  I am glad Federer won but sad that his opponent was under par.  I had settled down for a 5 set slogging match, not a walk over.  It was so nice to see how beautifully everyone was dressed and how smoothly everything ran they sure know how to do things in style.  When I was a youngster I used to go every year with my mum who was a keen tennis fan and my dad played for a club so he got tickets.  In those days it was definitely a posh frock do.
Today I am going to spend some time on the phone arranging the trip to Italy.  I also need to book a hair appointment and one at the opticians as my old eye is very fuzzy so I think the cataract has gone in that one now as well.  The eye with the new lens is brilliant so hopef…

Sunday Morning

Good morning all well here we are at the end of another weekend.  We had a small splash of rain yesterday but only after I had hung out my laundry.  Anyway, after it got an extra rinse it dried nicely on the line.  Today is a balmy 20 degrees with a gentle breeze and light cloud cover so a perfect day in my book.
I had a long chat with my friend who travels a lot on the continent with regard to insurance and breakdown cover.  The thorniest issue is health cover as although we have the reciprocal arrangement with Europe you are only entitled to what their citizens get which is not 100% cover like the NHS. So at my age, it would be sensible to get some extra cover in case of disaster.  It is bad enough to be ill or injured without incurring a huge bill as well.  Her elderly mother had a stroke while on holiday in France so she has had occasion to test the system.  Then you have to work out whether it is better to have a single trip cover or an annual cover as sometimes the annual cover…

Saturday morning

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I am up at a bit more sensible time this morning I woke a 3.30 but that is just too early and still dark so managed to go back to sleep.  Now I am happily drinking coffee and feeling ready to face the day. I had some fun in the kitchen yesterday but sadly the sink is full of washing up - mea culpa - so no one to blame. 
I had some apples which were looking a bit sad so I decided to fill them with some mincemeat and put a lattice top on them.   With a healthy dose of custard, they made a nice dessert quite a novelty in this house.
 I must admit that the puff pastry is not home made and having taken a pack out of the freezer I then had quite a lot left over so I proceeded to make a spinach and cheese tart.


Actually, don't tell the boys but there is a whole load of spring greens hidden in the tart.  I chopped them finely and distributed them in the cooked spinach and no one was any the wiser.  I like using the long tart tin as the slicing is easier.  Even with the tart there were st…

Friday morning

So sorry to be so late but I had a crazy night and spent most of it awake until I fell asleep at about 7 am and then slept until 11.30.  I then got into a conversation with my sister over the internet so I am only now getting to my second cup of coffee.  It is lunch time but I think it is breakfast time.  Well at least I am not sleep deprived I am just sleeping at unusual times but as I don't have any reason to get up early it isn't a problem.
I watched some fantastic stuff on Youtube where sushi chefs were making the most incredible things out of vegetables - so I hard boiled some eggs then halved them and put the yolks together with some crab pate and mayonnaise and refilled the eggs then sat them on finely sliced cucumber and sprinkled the tops with some lumpfish caviar - it looked spectacular I should have taken a photo but they got demolished before I had a chance.   
Today I have to have a trip to the post office as I have finished yet another shawl which is going to go…

Thursday morning

Good morning all although it is nearly afternoon.  I was feeling a bit rough yesterday no real reason just off colour.  Perhaps I was tired, who knows, anyway I sat up late and finished a shawl off so now it is ready for the fringe.  I woke very early so put myself back to bed and surprise surprise slept like a log.  It is no wonder we Brits have problems with the weather, yesterday was 14ºC today it is 25ºC how can our bodies ever acclimatise when we have such huge swings in temperature.  Every morning it is a decision, is it a fur coat day or a bikini day :) In my case it is usually a dressing gown day until I decide to go out.  I always know when I am under par as my catering usually goes wrong. Yesterday I decided to make paneer, the indian cheese, which is very simple but does take some patients. I rushed it and managed to split the cheese cloth and lost the lot down the sink at which point I spat my dummy out and went back to knitting.  It had been my intention to make saag pan…

Wednesday morning

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Good morning all, at last, some rain ☔️. The bamboos are bent double with water
 I went to check on my apricots not a single one left the squirrels/pigeons have eaten them all even though not ripe. Grrrr...... On the upside, I did find lots of lovely red dessert gooseberries which got added to my rhubarb and ginger.  There was also enough Cicoria to make another salad.  It grows at one hell of a rate so it's a good job I only planted a potful. I tried to do a bit of gardening but soon gave up as next door's dogs went mad barking, no one is allowed in our garden without a lot of noise from the dogs it is very frustrating.

It started to rain around lunch time yesterday and has continued right through the night and is still raining now.  This is the perfect type of rain for the garden slow and steady but for a long time and the temperature is down to 14ºC lovely and cool and comfortable for sleeping.
Dan has been to the hairdressers and looks and smells gorgeous - I don't kn…

Tuesday Morning

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Good morning all.  Well today I have nothing to moan about yesterday was wonderful.  I was picked up at 10.15 and taken to a spa at the Bridgewood manor hotel for a nice relaxing session.  The swimming pool was at just the right temperature cool but not cold they have heated sun loungers which take all the aches and pains out of your body.  The steam room was also lovely if really hot but you then plunge into a warm shower which comes at you from all directions and blasts you cool again.  After a couple of hours of this trundling back and forth from steam to shower to swim and back again it was sadly time to get dressed.  I always think this is the worst bit as it seem impossible to get properly dry. Then it was off to have a look at the allotment and pull some rhubarb to take home before we made our way to the Greek restaurant.  We order our own meze with an assortment of dishes and a large greek salad.  A perfect ladies lunch of taramosalata, houmous, spanakopita, dolmades and gril…

Monday morning

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Good morning all first let me answer a question from Joy regarding the brine/salt weed killer.  I first discovered the weed killing properties of brine when I emptied some that I had been using to brine meat over the patio and all the moss and weeds died.  There after I use a saturated solution if I am going to spray but I also just sprinkle salt on specific weeds and let the rain do the rest.

Dandelion sprinkled and waiting for rain
Area of weeds now dead from sprinkled salt which will wash away when we get some rain.
I find this a dog friendly weed killer as the dogs only sniff it once then after sneezing for ten minutes they leave it alone.  I don't use this method on weeds in flowerbeds as the salt does the soil no good if you have other plants near by.  However for hard standing it is perfect and best of all cheap.
Chrissie I know you have worked hard to gravel an area but that too will grow weeds so this might be the perfect solution for you too.
Yesterday was hot again so i…

Sunday morning

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Good morning all, well this morning instead of a moan I am in raptures. I got cold in the night with the fan blowing on me and suddenly remembered the joy of snuggling under the bed clothes and that lovely cosy feeling of being wrapped up and warm.  After days of sweating and throwing clothes off it was a lovely feeling.  Yesterday was not as hot as expected and today is starting off cool at 19ºC we still deeply need rain for the garden but it is looking like Tuesday before we are likely to get any.  I think today would be a good day to get a few loads of laundry done.
I had some pork chops for yesterday but nobody fancied them so we ended up having zuppa di pecse which I bought from Iceland.  It is prepared in Italy so guess what, it is delicious two packs did the three of us fine.  This is something I am going to buy again for certain.  So far my purchases from Iceland have all been fine but I have been very selective and stuck to fish and frozen vegetables or fruit for smoothies.�…

Saturday morning

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Good morning all well we got through yesterday's heat as best we could.  Lunch was a bucket of gazpacho and black cherry yoghurts.  I have a cherry pipper thing which is only used about once a year but it is one of those things that when you need it there is no easy alternative.  Supper was the nice veal chops which were fried off with some butter and sage and a massive potato salad.  I was not in the mood to cook as it was too hot so James took over and did the chops the potato salad was made at the crack of dawn when it was cool.  
It was a nice day as we were all aware of the date - July 7th is a day we would all rather forget but everyone made an effort to be nice so it was actually a very good day.  James is still asleep so that is an improvement and from the look of the kitchen, he was not up all night.  He kept himself occupied by clearing up the now dead weeds which the salt has seen off.  We really could use a bit of rain but I think we will have to wait until Tuesday be…

Friday morning

Good morning all, what a grotty night it has been hot and sweaty.  We never did get the promised rain and according to the weather forecast, it is going to stay this way all weekend.  The heat makes me feel listless and lethargic all I want to do is sit in front of a fan.  I console myself with the fact that the sun on my roof is making me money.
Yesterday I went to MacNades to do a bit of shopping, have breakfast with Sandy then go and introduce myself to her new puppy who of course is absolutely gorgeous.  Who can resist puppies? They are designed to steal your heart and do it with consummate ease.  He is at that lovely bitey stage where everything is tested with his needle-sharp teeth.  So we are all doing the correct thing and squealing as though hurt when he uses his teeth on us.  He is responding beautifully by immediately letting go and looking confused.  It will take him a while to work out that you can bite toys but not people.
I have the fringe of a shawl to do which is by …

Thursday Morning

Good morning all what a lovely day I had yesterday Shiona took me out for lunch at the new Greek restaurant which is amongst our parade of shops.  Interesting sitting in the shade of the pavement watching the traffic thundering up and down the road.  Still, when you think about it it is more interesting than looking at the walls of the interior.  We had some lovely bits and pieces broad beans nicely dressed, tzatziki, squid both fried and grilled and the most enormous Greek salad which we couldn't quite finish.  It was a perfect lunch for a hot day and we just had to imagine sitting on a beach in a taverna eating our lunch.  
For supper, Denzil had brought home some sirloin steaks which we had with a salad of borlotti beans with the Cicoria which was finally large enough to cut.  I might only have a large pot of it but it was just enough for the three of us.  I spent some time putting salt on the patio in anticipation of the rain we have been forecast for today.  Bye, bye weeds.

Wednesday morning

Good morning all I had a day of total indolence yesterday, which gave my back the rest it needed we had sushi for lunch already made and supper was a take away so I was not chained to the kitchen sink for the day.  Instead, I knitted another shawl but in the sparkly Firefly yarn now all I have left to do is attach the fringe which is probably the worst part of the project.  I have ordered sufficient to make shawls for all my friends who don't have one yet.  I thought I had better get the yarn while I still can as it is no longer in production. They knit up so quickly and make nice gifts and the yarn is now half the price it was so it seemed a good idea.
Shiona is coming over today to collect a torch which I had to dash out to Aldi and buy yesterday and believe me it was no mean feat as I had to drive round the car park three times before I could find a space.  The place was absolutely heaving but if you see something you fancy advertised it is a case of when it is gone it is gone…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all sorry to be so late but I had a bad night with my back but it is marginally better this morning.  The only problem with resting is it allows me to think up crazy ideas.  I had a long chat with my sister yesterday and I have decided not to send her the shawl but to take it to her.  James and I are going to drive down to Pescara in mid-September in time to eat real peaches.  Warm enough to swim in the Adriatic so kind of ideal.  It is just about 1000 miles so it will take 2-3 days with two drivers taking 4-hour shifts it should be a doddle.  I have driven to Trieste hundreds of times so I know the route as far a Lake Como by heart.  Once past Milan and the other major cities it is a coastal route all the way.  We need to get this done soon as Denzil is hoping to go back to Thailand by Christmas so we will loose our dog sitter.  Cost wise it will make little difference by the time you have added up all the costs of flying not to mention all the hanging around in airport…

Monday morning

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Good morning all, we are a bit dull here today but currently, it is still dry.

As requested here is a photo of the shawl, not the easiest thing to photograph.
Anyway, you get the general gist of it and you can see why the fringe was such a pain I found a ball of wool that Shiona had given me which was just enough for the job.


The next problem is to find a home for it.  I think my sister might like it so I will pack it up and send it to her - if she hates it she has my full permission to pass it on to anyone she thinks might like it I am just pleased to see the back of it.  Where she lives it is very cold in the winter so it might be nice to wrap yourself in on a cold winters day.  
As you can imagine it took me quite a few hours to get the fringe attached and as my back is playing up it was an ideal occupation.  
Lunch yesterday was something I particularly like but the boys were not so keen I did a pile of sweetbreads egg and breadcrumbed and served with asparagus.  I have already co…

Sunday morning

Good morning all.  The sun is shining and we have had a splash of rain overnight so no watering needed this morning.  I made the wax cloth yesterday and it has to be the easiest thing I have done in ages.  If you feel you would like to make some this is the recipe.  Set your oven to 150ºC cut out the shape of cloth you want. Cover a baking tray with tinfoil and lay your chosen cloth on it.  I had a lump of beeswax which I chopped up then put in the mini Blitzer and scattered over the cloth.  The quantity you will have to judge by eye you will need enough to cover the cloth once it has melted. Put in the oven and leave for approximately one minute until all the wax is melted then remove and lift up the cloth and wave it about in the cool air so the wax sets.  That's it done.  If you don't have wax available you can use beeswax candles and it is as cheap as chips to buy in granular form.  My cheese is now wrapped happily in its wax jacket in the fridge.  
Yesterday I had a bit …

Saturday morning

Good morning all and pinch punch and all that,  here we are in July already,  time certainly marches on.  My nails have been done and look gorgeous with their new colour which is called Rosetta.  The name made me laugh.  I now hope I can translate hieroglyphics if only I could read Greek. I feel sorry for the poor person who has the unenviable job of naming nail polish colours.  
I have a confession to make on the way back from the nail salon I stopped off at a new branch of Iceland as Elaine said they had a good selection of frozen fish which is always useful, and frozen peas are frozen peas.  I bought Sugo Alle Vongole Clams in a Mediterranean Tomato and Herb Sauce price £3.50 so lunch was spaghetti alle vongole. The sauce was a little lacking so I added some extra garlic fried in olive oil and a freshly diced tomato some parsley and a small grating of lemon zest and a splash of marsala.  This made a vast improvement. We followed it by Insalata Caprese.  I don't know if you kno…