Sunday, 23 July 2017

End of War Diary

The final installment of our War Diary for Year VII has been published. Although we carried on for much longer, (and much of its ideals are still practised today) dealing with rations and trying to live a simple life, I only wanted to print those bits that corresponded with the actual years of WWII.

I hope you enjoyed reading it and have found it useful.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Raised bed worm tower

I have been reading about worm towers for quite some time and as I have 3 decent sized raised beds and 3 old flower pots to utilize, decided to rope in DB to help me build one!

Herewith just one of many videos on the subject to view here

There are many variations on these and some say to use only compost worms, others that garden worms will infiltrate into it and work as well. I am trying the latter for now but if I find some compost worms in my larger bin, might add a few of those as well.

First of all, one large plastic defunct tub, with 1" holes drilled into the sides and bottom, and smaller holes near the rim for ventilation:
Some old door flyscreen net around the ventilation holes to try and keep out the fruit flies:
A hole was dug in raised bed 1, the base filled with our own compost and the pot put on top.  A little more compost was added and some shredded paper which was watered well.
A few kitchen waste scraps were put on top and a little more water added:
I currently don't have a garden saucer large enough to cover the top of this so have used a garden tray as a temporary lid:
When I have a bit more time, I shall hunt through our compost bin for a few more worms to add to it.

Have a grand if wet weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A few vegetables

Welcome to suepoo via Bloglovin. Two or three thunderstorms here last night and a good amount of rain thank goodness, not too drastic but the road almost flooded over the kerbs.

In bed 1, broad beans have been harvested and some dwarf french beans and lettuce sown in some pots. A sad tomato is also here and some new parsley:
Bed 2 has seed sown leeks and a few leftover beetroot:
Bed 3 has some carrots, lettuce going to seed and the odd beetroot or two:

Bed 4 on the patio has beetroot and Hungarian hotwax chilli peppers in it:
We have had a few beetroot and chillies from here already.

Between beds 2 and 3 is a small herb garden. A baby rosemary in a pot in the middle, thyme, sorrel and oregano in two old green trugs:
Finally on the back mini patio is a raised apline planter:
Although mainly flowers, it also has 3 thymes in it!

Could be doing better but too many things were happening in the family when I needed to be here so the vegetables have suffered a little.

Ah well, onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Productive back garden

Thought it about time I showed you some of the back fruit garden. It is suffering a little from lack of rain but is managing to cope reasonable well. First up a ten year old 'dwarf' conference pear:

 Apple Laxtons Superb:
Apple Egremont Russet:
Red Pear:
 Victoria Plum:
 Czar Plum:
We also have a Spartan, James Grieve and Fiesta apple tree but they don't have much fruit this year despite loads of blossom.

New 2 years ago was a greengage which has a few fruit on it. In the fruit cage is a blackberry beginning to fruit, 2 small blueberries which have less fruit than normal on them, a new red gooseberry, a small rhubarb and a blackcurrant.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Back to normal bread

Although we have found the bread recipes from The Glutenfree Alchemist's website wonderful, we have missed normal bread. As we don't need to eat GF, we have decided to go back to non GF bread. We will however, keep baking cakes from her wonderful site!

We have invested in bags of light rye flour, malthouse and wholegrain spelt, and found a new recipe to try from here:

We baked half of it to begin with, didn't use the sugar, used wholegrain spelt instead of white flour as it was all we had and forgot to add the caraway!

Texture was light and springy, and it didn't have an overpowering rye taste. We shall try it again, remember to use the caraway seed (we prefer it ground), use white flour instead of wholemeal spelt and see how that goes.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Come what may ...

There will be a British winner of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon, as both Jamie Murray (with Martina Hingis) and Heather Watson (with Henri Kontinen) are in the final, yay!,,,

Thursday, 13 July 2017


Visiting DS and DDiL last weekend, we got to see the dogs. Herewith Miss S., the eldest at 7 and in the medium sized dog bed:
Then the second eldest at 5, Miss M., the smallest of the dogs but in the biggest bed:
Finally Master L, the youngest dog at 3, also the largest and for a change, on the largest bed, he usually ends up on the smallest bed!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Still my tennis hero.....

No, he didn't play badly, he is injured! How the heck you even got this far Andy is just amazing so well done for trying your best. All we can ask of anyone is their best. Now you need some time out to get properly fit.

As for those 'fans' whose geographical brain freeze allows them to change his nationality, depending on whether he wins or loses- sigh - lets get it straight. He was born in Scotland therefore he is Scottish. Scotland is part of Great Britain making him British as well. Now you know.

We still have some players in, which is just great, so lets cheer them on. Others have gone deeper than before but are now out, well done to you all.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Two Beauties ....

We visited DS and DDiL this weekend. Got to catch up with the grand-dogs and meet our grand-horse 'Lunar" for the first time. She is 14 months old and with DDiL, attended her first Western riding event.

She is too young to be ridden so did a walk and trot around the ring. I don't understand all the in's and outs of it all, being new to Western riding events and shows but she was nice and calm and did very well.

From what I can gather, they only give rosettes to those who do really well. For example, you might have 6 in the group and only a few (if any) will get an award.

Anyhow, DDiL was stood in the ring at the end and they announced they would be awarding 1 less rosette than those in the ring so she stood there, just happy to have done well.

Her name was called out and there was no response from her for a few seconds, then she realised the 'whoops' of joy from the stable she is with, were for her and Lunar and almost burst into tears, such was her shock - 2nd place!

The other event she was in - 2nd place. Go girls!

Herewith a picture of them both just as they had finished - isn't the braiding of Lunar's mane beautiful:
All in all, a lovely visit and we got to meet horses and riders and see what these things are all about.

Friday, 7 July 2017

A quick pee...

That was how long the rain lasted here last night. Rumbles of thunder in the distance and it was over. Just shows how the rain varied across Norfolk.

This morning saw me give the garden a good soak as my vegetables are not at all happy and keep drooping. Also with new plants/shrubs in, I need to prevent them getting stressed.

Harvested our second small crop of beetroot for tea and all our small crop of broad beans, for the freezer.

Looking forward to tennis this afternoon, still quite a few British in, including in the doubles.

Have a grand weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Fixing a squeaking maxiclimber

I have been asked where we cleaned our maxiclimber to try and remove its annoying squeak, this is what we did. Most people seem to have returned theirs but we wanted to try cleaning it first. Should you chose to do the same and it doesn't work or you cause damage, don't blame me!

 See where the arrow is pointing:
When you lift up the pedal (on each side in turn), we found a black line on 2 sides and sometimes all 4 sides of this rounded square bar. It appears to be rubber/plastic deposits from a black roller further up, that allows the outer pedal bar to slide up and down over this inner bar.

We used a non scratch sponge pot cleaner and first of all used neat washing up liquid to scrub off said black marks. Then it was dried and using a soft cloth, rubbed the whole area from top to bottom with a light coating of WD40. This treatment was then repeated on the other pedal bar.

We found the squeak went away for about 2 weeks before reappearing, most annoying.

UPDATE FROM ORIGINAL POST: We now use just washing up liquid to clean away the marks, in the hope it might give less longterm damage than WD40.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Having a laugh....

Our chiropractor is a very jolly lady who laughs a lot. Absolutely nothing embarrasses her and you can chat about anything, which we do. Whilst DB is being seen to you can here them both laughing and the same happens when I am being worked on.

We had an early light lunch in the nearest Dunelm store where I also purchased a new 9" square silicon baking tray and two flannel mittens. I don't normally use a flannel but am having some treatment at the moment which involves washing off cream before applying a new layer, so a flannel achieves this easier and more cleanly.

All the shrubs we bought for the front gravel garden are in and it is starting to look more how we want the next phase of it to look.

The dead clematis from near the oil tank has been removed and replaced by a goldheart ivy.

Welcome to Bloglover via Bloglovin.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Up early...

Returning to bed after a bathroom break at 04:15 (for heavens sake), I got up at 05:30, having failed miserably to get back to sleep.

I have been sitting quietly in the front room as DB is fast asleep for a change. We have been busy putting in 10 new shrubs into the front gravel garden, 2 a day, and should finish either today or tomorrow. It is starting to look more how I envisioned.

We had the chance of centre court Wimbledon tickets today, but they would have cost £150, then train fare on top, food and drinks etc, we reckon would have cost more than £230, so declined. We would have seen Andy opening up the tournament, but hey ho, such is life!

Thursday, 29 June 2017


Saw us both wearing jumpers, eating soup for lunch, then putting on dressing gowns to settle for the evening. What a turnaround in temperatures. I think such jumps from warm to chilly is the reason why us Brits seem to talk about the weather so much!

My menu for this week had included a couple of salads but that has gone out the window and I had to do an extra small shop yesterday to get some soup ingredients and something to give us a hot meal.

We had mushroom soup yesterday and I shall make some more vegetable based soup for today.

Our 4 large but half filled water butts (behind the garage) feed into an old black dustbin. When this is full, a hose pipe leads from it to our small dustbin pond. Yesterday, DB donned on wet weather gear to go an see how full these were all getting.

He reported the water into the black dustbin was pouring in and the same was happening into the pond. All full then:)

The garden will be grateful but I think I shall have to give all the plants a light feed as we had so much rain, it would have washed all the feed through our light sandy soil. Hopefully now, the swelling beetroots will stop shrivelling and finish growing so I can harvest more than the two already eaten.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Rain .....

At last, the rain has come, and come and come!

So far we have had 16 hours of heavy, non stop rain. Some large areas of the back garden have standing water covering the gravel. I am not sure the newly planted gooseberry will be impressed as it may be in a mini sump!

The pond has filled up and being on a slight slope, gently overflows when full, so it is hard to gauge just how much rain we have had so far.

We reckon not less that 4" and probably nearer 6" as a previously empty jug I use for watering small plants is full!

Forecasts estimate another 4 hours of heavy rain still to come.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Council Food Bin

When we started using these bins, our council gave us two. A small one for keeping indoors and a larger one for tipping it into and putting out for them to collect. They also gave us one roll of compostable bags to put the waste in. On their web site at the time, it stated you could buy more bags from them direct or wrap up your food in newspaper before putting into said outdoor bin.

Our small indoor one is where we put all out fresh waste and that goes onto our own compost heap when full, they are not getting their mitts on that precious stuff. The only thing that really goes into the outdoor bin, wrapped in newspaper for convenience, is raw meat gristle scraps, bones, citrus and onion. It is collected once a week but as we don't eat much meat, our bin probably goes out once a month.

The other day, I was walking around the village when the food waste disposal man was picking up the bins and transferring the contents into a large dustbin he was pulling around. No neat little packets or bags of food were falling out and the smell was dreadful, like something had died!

Instead, pure smelly liquid based contents slopped out. Poor man.

I can only assume that most of the bins are probably not washed out afterwards by their owners so carry on smelling. I assume that due to the filthiness of the bins themselves.

Friday, 23 June 2017

I'm beginning to realise...

That as well as actual weather and growing seasons, as gardeners, we also have seasons. We feel as though we are entering our autumn gardening years!

Our front gravel garden is mainly herbaceous with a few roses and spring bulbs. As beautiful as it often is, the continuous pruning, clearing and whatnot, is becoming a bit of a chore:(

Yesterday, I began the task of clearing the more annoying if beautiful plants out. The poppies, peonies, valerian, several geraniums etc. DB is helping clear the peonies due to their deep roots. They didn't start out deep but 30 years of adding gravel have buried them though they still flower very well.

We dug down at least a foot into bone dry soil and no doubt have left some roots behind which will sadly, have to be touch weed killed if they grow again.

3 bags of rubbish will go to the skip so we can re-use them. I reckon another 3 should about do it. We shall then buy some more roses, lavender, spring and autumn small shrubs and see how that goes. Growing up, I used to wonder why the gardens of the elderly were either empty or full of shrubs, now I know!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Conversion ...

Firstly, welcome to Samantha Ashurst via Bloglovin.

We saw this car/wagon parked at Ingleton waterfalls and promptly sent a picture to DS:
Probably not large enough for them to think of, but an entertaining idea nonetheless!

Apparently, it is cooler today. Well, I have just spent an hour slowly cutting back and weeding in the front gravel garden and I am absolutely roasting, despite the dark grey cloud (bet we don't get any rain here). Outdoor temperature is just over 22C, indoors, just over 25C. Either place though, it is very humid.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Waterfalls ....

As the weather in the Yorkshire Dales had been so wet, the waterfalls were in full flow. It is a shame you have to pay to see a few of them but understandably, paths need to be maintained.  Herewith a few pictures:

At the base of a lot of the waterfalls was foam, reminded me of brown meringue:

Ribblehead Viaduct:
And hills:
We had gone to this area primarily to walk, which we did (35 miles), but also to climb. Unfortunately my heart for the first times in ages, decided it didn't want to play ball early in the holiday so we didn't try!

We met up with the lovely Scarlet and her DB and climbed past Ingleborough Cave, up Trow Gill (very steep and rocky) and peered into Gaping Gill. Managed that probably because we were all chatting:)

I didn't get any pictures of Trow Gill but you can see what is was like from this blog post.

Gaping Gill can be seen here. On Bank Holidays apparently, the Bradford Pothole Club set up a rig for you to decend into it!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

And the misery continues ...

For Andy Murray:(

Completely out of sorts, limping on occasions and holding his groin on occasion, it was a 'comedy' of errors almost from start to finish.

By game 2 set 1, I concluded he would lose the match but watched in hope. Ah well, I hope he can get himself sorted out for Wimbledon but am not sure. You are still my hero young man, best foot forward!

Jamie and Bruno won their tournament in Stuttgart last week and have their opening match tomorrow. Jo got through hers at Eastbourne so that was also good.

Andy is not alone in going out in the first round of Queen's, the top three seeds are now out as Stan and Milos also lost.

Normal service is resumed - hopefully ...

We have just got back from attending a funeral down south, which happened to be scheduled just after a weeks holidays in the Yorkshire Dales.

The black dog has been kicked into touch as I have now been able to give (and recieve) much needed hugs:)

We visited a couple of caves whilst on holiday, herewith some pictures:

This wasn't the real colour, they had a pink lightbulb hidden nearby to highlight it!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

An interesting journey home!

Travelling home yesterday, we saw a plume of smoke suddenly  arise from the side of the road. Coming around the corner we encountered a large car on fire, towing a caravan. It must have just happened as only the bonnet was on fire.

However it quickly spread to engulf the front of the vehicle and things began to bang as small explosions took place.

Within a short while the police arrived, quickly followed by the fire brigade who moved quickly to extinguish it. Luckily the caravan seemed okay as it could have been a different story if the gas canisters from that had exploded!

Within an hour we were on our way. The elderly couple whose car it was were okay and no doubt waiting to get towed somewhere.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Well then ...

How is everything with you? Me, I am chuntering along, getting lots of walking in. The wet weather isn't holding us back. Normally I hate long walks in the rain but at the moment, am quite enjoying them.

The garden is thankful for the rain. The sun is chasing the rain away and the garden basks in her warming rays. Blimey, I have lost the plot!

Friday, 9 June 2017

Well tried Andy

You fought hard but your fitness wasn't quite there. Good to see the massive improvement from coming into this tournament though, impressive. At least I can spend Sunday out and about now!

Now you need to recuperate and get ready for the lovely grass season. I for one will be pleased to see the back of the dreadful red stuff!

Thursday, 8 June 2017


I feel like a flat white coffee minus the caffeine!

I am having a few of those days at the moment, not sure why. The weather doesn't help one jot. Its feels like a storm front building up but without the release of a thunderstorm.

This week should have been a quiet one, but deliveries, dental and hospital appointments got  slotted in, making it a jumble of rushing here, there and everywhere. Poor DB has at times borne the brunt of it which isn't fair on him. So I try to hold onto it so as not to upset him further, poor chap!

In the end it becomes a vicious circle. Immediate family are caught up in grief and general disturbance, so can offer no help yet are in need of it themselves. I need to know they are okay, need to give them a hug and a kiss but can't physically get to them at the moment. It makes me feel so damn useless.

Sometimes, one gets spread a little thin and this is one of those times. We will all get through it as usual, just isn't pleasant whilst its happening:(

I hope to soon kick this black dog into touch 'cos he's being a right pain at the moment.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Who would have thought!

We would have to have a burst of central heating and eat soup on a so called summers day?

The heating only went on for an hour but was needed and I made courgette and minted pea soup for lunch for two days:
Lovely colour.

It has gone from being warm in bed at night to chilly. Winter quilt has been exchanged for the summer one, and the flannelette sheets for ice cold cotton, maybe a bit early as it turned out:(

Hey ho, such is life on an island.

Monday, 5 June 2017


In Lidl last week, for the princely sum of £1, they had punnets of living salads/vegetables. This one, a mix of Japanese Spinach and Red Pak Choy, held 34 plants, so very good value for money.

Once separated, I managed to find room for most of them in my raised vegetable gardens.

The other bargain was this box of Blueberries, weighing 2.5kg, for just £4. We went back today to get another box, although this one had a few more squished ones in it. We reckon we still will have 2.25kg so again, very good value for money. They are all now in the freezer for use later in the year.

I love a good bargain!

Thursday, 1 June 2017


Another picture of part of the front garden, the flowers are really getting going now, although the poppies first flush is just coming to an end:
And a few for inside the house - the scent is wonderful:
There are loads of apples and pears on the trees, before the June drop occurs. After that, I really must remember to thin bunches down to one or two fruits!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend when it arrives!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017


Normally, October and November is the time for our huge house spider season, or carpet runners as we call them.

However, at the moment, we seem to have a lot of more normal spiders traipsing around. There are the small, dark,  fast running spiders with short legs, hard to catch with a glass and even harder to keep in it whilst putting them outside. We think of them as the spider equivalent to greyhounds!

Then there are the half sized carpet runners, which at the moment seem to be zooming around each room. So far we have put out about 6 of them.

Finally there are the bigs ones that creep into the sinks and baths. I threw the remains of tea down the sink the other day and one ran out from underneath the bottom of the sink crockery protector. Sinks being on the whole curved, made it difficult to catch it but we did in the end. It obviously didn't appreciate its early morning tea shower.

Then there are the black and white jumping spiders, tidy but very versatile, loads of them. As of yet, the 'bean' spiders (the ones that seem to live on and in French and Runner beans) haven't made it inside but a few have over-wintered inside and have now been put outside.

Any one else got an influx?

Monday, 29 May 2017

:) then :( and a quiet mandolin ....

Last week we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary. We had been out for a meal the day before and were looking forward to family for the bank holiday weekend.

Friday onwards everything went pear shaped. One family member began to feel ill then both were diverted due to an imminent parent bereavement. That sad event took place Saturday night at 8:15, and there is now, one lovely person less, in this troubled world.

Rest In Peace R., you and your mandolin will be greated missed.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


Welcome to Yours Frugally via Bloglovin. My thoughts are with Manchester and its people today following the exlosion there last night. Other than that I am not going to comment except to say, you won't win, you will never break us or the rest of the world, Karma is waiting for you and paradise is not!

Friday, 19 May 2017

I'm cold!

Blimey, it feels as though early spring has returned. Loads of rain and a cold wind has returned to this part of Norfolk. I thought I might have finished making soup for lunches, but no, some is certainly getting made today!

Herewith a shot of the front garden:
The poppies have flopped with the rain but it certainly looks better than just a few short weeks ago.

Not much else to say so have a lovely weekend everyone and I hope the weather is kind to you.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Poor Andy Pandy...

It is so hard to watch someone you support being lack lustre and frustrated. Last nights match with Andy Murray against Fognini was of that vain, as in quite a few of his latest matches.

He played in almost total silence except at the end when he shouted "I can't move, why can't I move?"

Lack of movement was very apparent. Most drop shots by Fognini were left, reaching for out of reach shots were left etc. He would normally be chasing every ball, stretching for everything but he just couldn't, it was very odd.

He is most definately out of sorts. Ah well, Bedene did well initially against Novak, Kyle and Jamie are both playing today.

The rain has arrived which should enable me to get some much needed stakes into the ground to support drooping plants. Might have to think about spraying the tomatoes with Disprin to try and keep the blight at bay. I have done this for a few years now and it seems to work or else I have been very lucky.

Welcome to Hannah Coe via Bloglovin.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Poppies and Iris

The front garden (and back) are now leaping into life and colour:
Aqualeiga, iris and poppies are in full bloom with the peony waiting in the background to flower shortly.

The tomatoes have been planted outside in the ground (protected by fleece for a few days), the climbing beans as well. Lettuce have taken, a few beetroot and radish, and carrots have decided to get going at last. The 4th set of peas have finally decided to make an appearance - yah!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

That's better!

At long last, we have sunny weather. We sat outside on the patio yesterday afternoon and it got so hot we had to put the blind out to give us some shade!

I am having to keep topping up my front garden pond so the birds can drink safely from the edge rather than risking drowning in the middle of it.

More and more flowers are opening and it is starting to look very pretty.

In the back garden, the blueberries are in blossom and the birds are on their second lot of eggs in the bird box.

I have put on more more Year VII war diary. Hope you enjoy it. Not much more to go now.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and we are keeping our fingers crossed for some rain!!!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Still blooming cold

In this part of the world! Freezing and high speed wind, low temperatures, little sun, no rain to speak of:) Must have been nice to be on the west part of our island just to feel and see the sun.

Tonight there is likely to be a frost here so everything is either lightly fleece wrapped, or more heavily wrapped, like the tomatoes.

So dry is the soil that nearly two water butts have been used to keep things alive. Judging by the weather alarm report on tv this morning, it may well be a drought year. We shall have to find the old pond pump, which we use for pumping the water from the bath, to the outside, into large containers to use around the garden for if/when the butts run dry.

Still eating soups for lunch and hot meals for tea. Weather is forecast to get a little better after Wednesday night, when hopefully, I can begin to keep the mini greenhouse open all night and acclimatise the tomatoes to outdoor conditions.

Welcome to the PB family via Bloglovin.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

As per usual ...

For this year it would seem, we have a potentially nice day but with a biting cold wind - again!

This week, our walk was a constant battle into a head wind that penetrated our clothing slightly, despite having good walking gear on. We were dressed more for winter than spring. I am still wearing a winter jumper, and often hat and gloves when out walking each day.

It isn't really surprising that the vegetables are not at all happy. It looks like May, but feels more like March. The only difference is when the wind drops and the sun is actually out, that it feels quite warm.

The flowers in the front gravel garden are starting to appear. The columbine is ready to burst, the veronica is out and the little iris are just opening - a good sign, even if they are not that visible in the photograph below:
Soup for lunch again, and for the forseeable future methinks!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Not a whitlow!

First of all, welcome to Janet Emery via Bloglovin.

For years, I had thought that those little painful splits you get near a fingernail were called whitlow's. Well, I found out the other day they weren't.

I had one forming on my thumb and went off to see what, if anything, could be done to alleviate it and came across this video: here.

You just have to get through the adverts etc - most annoying. Anyhow, it is one of the best explanations of what causes them and how to treat them, not using fingernail polish as some people suggest!

I duly found some Vaseline, smeared it into the painful cut, applied a plaster, both morning and night. By the second night, the pain had gone and the crack was closing. On the third morning the skin had sealed shut - wonderful.

He expalins if you do this asap, before the skin gets really open, you should be able to stop it in its tracks. Now I know the answer, I shall do it as soon as I notice it happening rather than when the crack is deep and painful.

Hope you find this information useful.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Oh me of little faith!

I picked up my new glasses yesterday and wore the distance ones to watch tv last night. Goodness me, what a difference.

We were catching up with Versailles and the difference was like watching non-hd channels and hd versions. I could see minute details on the clothing, such was my delight, I found it difficult to follow the story!

Can't say I am comfortable with them on my nose for long periods of time, so may get the nose pads adjusted. Also don't like seeing the frames. As I have 3 months to buy a third pair for half price, I may go and get a frameless pair, and keep these as spares, we shall see.

I am long sighted and it had never occurred to me that it would deteriorate over time, well, you live and learn. Might also be able to play video games better without sitting closer to the tv.

Friday, 28 April 2017

There was a time....

When I would have loads of posts stacked up, waiting to be published, but not at the moment. I seem to feel as though I have said it many times before:(

I think it is the chilly weather combined with a slow start on everything for Spring, that's my excuse anyway.

Having looked at the weather forecast, it seems the last of the frosty nights have gone and we will be back to normal for the start of May.

Still no peas, that is the third sowing that has failed, must just have been too cold and wet. The tomatoes are back out in the mini greenhouse so that saves me a job.

Just been food shopping. Is it me or are the prices still rising? Having raised my weekly budget, I may have to raise it again, but I have been topping up on things a little that had run out and not been topped up as per normal.

Also, we have run out of homemade frozen meals so that is odd as well. Ah well, have a grand extended weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Weather & tennis

I decided in the end to bring the tomatoes in overnight and take them back out each morning once the mini greenhouse warms up a little - it will be just too cold overnight, despite fleece, for the next few nights. I shall be glad once these frosty nights disappear so the garden can get on with things. It is all stop and start.

I gave up watching Dan Evans yesterday as he was 4-1 down - big mistake. DB carried on listening to the match and Dan came back to win. That will teach me! I caught up with the replay later on. A close run thing but a good win in the end. Kyle also won but they are both playing very good players in the next round so time will tell.

Unfortunately, Jamie and Bruno lost:(

Been for chiro today, earlier than planned due to some sort of weird cramp in my back and ribs. For the most part it has eased off but I had been in pain for a few weeks, so hopefully, it will now go away.

More tennis to watch - on replay on tennis tv. I miss being able to watch our women play on the same place, but it has brought the monthly cost down to £9.99 so very good value now. Also, you only have to pay for the months you want to watch!

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Importance of...

Annual eye tests!

I have my eyes checked every year without fail. Optometrists are very well trained to pick up all manner of health issues, that often show up in the eyes first, before the rest of the body protests.

So far, I have been referred to the hospital eye department on three separate occasions, each issue requiring between 1 and 2 years of monitoring before being discharged.

The same also applied to DB.

This time I mentioned that sometimes when watching tv, I feel as though I am blinking a lot to clear my vision. Tests appeared to show I may need glasses to watch tv (or buy a larger screen) as we sit nearly 15 feet away from it!

Anyhow, I chose cheap frames, dismissed all the extras (and their costs) as the glasses normally come free with any coatings I generally need. I will get one pair for reading and one for distance. Despite what I have said above, I am not sure the distance ones will help but we shall see.

All in all £52 due to special offers on at the time of my visit.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Cold weather ahoy!

Welcome to JoJo W via Bloglovin.

Well, Andy and Jamie are both out of Monte Carlo:( However, our other favourite tennis player David Goffin, knocked out Djokovic:) sorry if you follow Novak, but we cannot stand him.

Having just got my tomatoes out into the mini greenhouse and covered with fleece at night, I may have to bring them back in soon as we are forecast two or more freezing nights ahead. I don't think even fleece will protect them at that level of coldness.

More soup making methinks!

Have agreat weekend everyone.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

New header and tennis...

There were loads of lambs in the fields when we were out on a walk this week so thought I would put a lovely spring picture of them on the blog header. There was also a stray lamb outside the fence trying hard to get back in, despite there being no sign of its mother.

We asked several people and no-one knew who the farmer was. Eventually, we ended up in a local cafe and she did know and phoned him to let him know. We were very worried for it in case a fox got it overnight. So much so that we spent some time trying to get it back in, but to no avail.

Hopefully he managed to catch it as it was very fast!

Andy has just gone out of the Monte Carlo tournament. Not surprising really, he was 4-0 up in the final set and then seemed to lose concentration. He only just won his last match so still not up to scratch and serving still not right.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Busy early...

By 09:15, I had got the washing washed and on the line and our weekly loaf of gf bread made and rising.

The sun keeps disappearing but there is enough wind to dry the washing providing we don't get any showers.

I shall make some lamb and carrot soup for lunch today, and we will be finishing off some pork chilli for tea.

Herewith the centre part of our front gravel garden:
The euphorbia bracts (left) are just appearing but nothing else in flower at the moment, now that the daffs and snowdrops have gone over. I really must go and stake the peony (one of five) at the top before it gets much bigger.

We have been scraping moss off our rear garden back path and grubbing out the weeds in the cracks of the brick paving. This path hardly gets any sun this time of year, hence the moss.

Monday, 17 April 2017


A few years ago, we used to have one of those 4 tier greenhouses that had a zip opening front to it. The cover has long since gone but I kept the shelves. This year, in my bean and pea bed, I have put them between the rows of broad beans:

Each one was tied to a cane, in three places down each side, with tie wraps, then the cane pushed into the ground. I still have another one to use where the little trays of beetroot seedlings are sitting at the rear of the pictures.

Up these, I am planning on growing dwarf peas, with just one one row sown each side so the bed doesn't become a tangled mess.

Hopefully it works as I don't really have access to twigs to support any peas. The net covers are temporary to keep off the pidgeons until everything gets a bit more established!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Hybrid Simnel Bara Brith cake for Easter

I added two extra ingredients to my Bara Brith recipe, see Gluten Free tab above, to create a hybrid cake for Easter. Following the recipe, the fine zest of a whole orange was added to the mixture, it smelled wonderful.

After placing half the mixture in the prepared 2lb loaf tin, I then added a layer of bought marzipan, and cut some in slices about 1/2cm in thickness:

The rest of the cake mixture was put on top of the marzipan, and the top smoothed off. It was baked as per the temperature and 5 minutes longer than the time on the Bara Brith recipe.

Here it is, cut in half:
We shared half a slice each once it had cooled. The taste and texture is very nice. Half was frozen so we don't overindulge. I have eaten a small Easter egg which I found way too sweet and sickly. The rest of that is also in the freezer. It is amazing how reducing your calories changes how you view sweet things!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Adapting Bara Brith to Gluten Free

My first attempt at simply substituting normal flour for GF wasn't too bad at all. It tasted nice but the texture was slightly dry. Here it is the next day:
Here is the recipe for my second attempt - enough for a 2lb loaf tin:

250g gluten free flour (I used mix A from this page, which I adapted slightly exchanging 100g of the white rice flour for 100g of sorghum flour, in an effort to reduce the use of rice flour. You can of course try using a bought in flour if you wish).

40g ground almonds
110g soft brown sugar
110g butter
40ml to 60ml of buttermilk or watered down plain yoghurt
150g dried fruit of your choice, steeped in 120ml hot tea
50g diced ready to eat prunes
3/4 tsp gf bicarb of soda
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 eggs - beaten
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp Xanthan gum

Rub the butter into the flour blend. Add the bicarb of soda, cream of tartar, sugar, mixed spice and stir well.
Add the steeped dried fruit and any tea leftover from steeping, plus the diced prunes.
Beat and add the eggs, black treacle and lemon juice.
Beat together very well.

Add about half of the buttermilk or watered down yoghurt and continuing beating until a very soft dropping mixture is obtained.
Leave to sit for a few minutes for the flours and xanthan gum to activate. If the mixture seems a little too firm, add the rest of the buttermilk or yoghurt.

Put into a lined 2lb loaf tin.

Bake at 160C for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking after an hour. Check to see if done by inserting a skewer into the centre. If no mixture sticks, it is ready.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing paper and leaving to go cold on a cooling rack.

If you fancy having a go, let me know what you think. We think it is a good substitute for the real thing but does not have quite the same texture due to lack of gluten.

Thursday, 13 April 2017


We decided to shop a day early to avoid Good Friday. In front of us at the checkout in Lidl, was a youngish lady. Her part of the conveyor belt was covered in various assortments of sweets. Her bill came to £51.44. I can only hope she was buying for a school egg hunt but as most of them were not eggs, maybe not.

The mind boggles!

Our bill came to just over £18 with another £13 being spent elsewhere. A quarter of the latter bill was for a large pork pie, an occasional treat.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Kitchen Floor

Over the years, we have had various flooring in the kitchen, all of which, at some time or the other has been damaged, requiring it to be replaced.

A few years ago, for warmth and comfort, we elected to use carpet tiles with a very flat loop pile, easy to hoover and clean. It was brown in the previous kitchen.

Now we have changed the doors, plinths and cornice/pelmets, painted the walls, the carpet just didn't look right and seemed to drag the new look down.

Off we went and bought a few samples to choose the new colour, a kind of mid range green. Here it is starting to get laid:

And finished:
Although our boiler is in the kitchen, on the whole in winter, it is very cold in there and the carpet tiles help insulate it. I know lots of people don't agree with carpet in the kitchen but for us, it works. It gets hoovered up every few days to remove crumbs and is also regularly cleaned.

When the grand dogs visit they are not allowed in the kitchen for safety reasons, and everyone entering the house removes their shoes (both front and back), so hardly any dirt gets put on them.

Herewith a few more cupboard shots:

Had to put the blinds down as it was too bright for the camera to cope with!