Wednesday, 20 September 2017

What, if anything...

Is on your fridge?

The front of ours looks like this:
Notepad, smoothie recipes with calories, calendar, 5 week menu and associated shopping list and freezer checklists.
Around the side and facing where I work the most are these:
A picture from DB, photo of DS and DDiL (quite old now), grand dogs when they were small, flu reminder for DB and another reminder for us both!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


In our dining room, we have a little used, hand-painted oil lamp. On certain days, when the sun is in the right place, it strikes it to create rainbows on one of the doors:
And if we open that door, it lands on our store cupboard:
Just lovely!

Monday, 18 September 2017


Despite using a codling moth trap, the little blighters got to our apples and there were few that were unscathed. However, bad bits cut out, we have been eating our own apples for 6 weeks now. The red pears have all been eaten during that same time period.

Saturday, I picked the rest of the Egremont Russet apples - our favourites - but they have been badly affected. Here they are, steeping in cold water and vinegar to get some of the bugs out and drowned:
I  used some of the worst affected this weekend in an apple and blackberry crumble. They just have the most amazing taste.

Our Comice pears are starting to fall so guess they are ready. We found these 4 on the ground this morning. Only slightly bruised:
There are another 21 left on our little trained tree, our best year ever! We reckon they will take us a few weeks to use so shouldn't need to begin buying fruit again maybe until mid October.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Upcycling finished

First of all, welcome to Charlotte Musha via Bloglovin.

DB has taken less than a week, to upcycle our old style Singer machine table and metal/wooden bench, see this post. Herewith the new version of the table:
It will be used for potted plants throughout the warmer months. Although we forgot to photograph it, the Singer insignia on both sides of the legs has also been highlighted in red.

Herewith finished chair:

As you can see, he has also highlighted the decorations down the side of the chair in red. Although they are now in two different places as opposed to next to each other like before, they are just lovely and a real addition to both the front garden and back patio.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday, 14 September 2017


How do you drink your tea?

We use loose leaf tea as we find in our hard water, tea bags leave a scum on the top! We use Yorkshire tea leaves as they are the strongest we can find. Builders tea is stronger but not generally on sale to the public.

We have a metal tea pot that pours without dripping all over the place. Two scoops of tea leaves go in, following by still boiling water. Lid down, tea cozy on and the alarm set for 11 minutes. I am sure this is far too long for most people but we were both brought up, up north, and in our lives, that meant very strong tea.

We both have milk and I have a sweetner. Yes, it does alter the taste slightly but not as much as sugar. I used to have 2 sugars in it when growing up, changed to 2 sweetners, now just 1. I have tried to give up the sweetner several times, but after a week of not enjoying a single mug of tea, usually give up!

DS when two, was given milky tea in his mug but to my shame, and for whatever reason, didn't keep it up:( Now, like many of his generation, he is not a tea drinker as such. Ah well, can't win them all!

Although Yorkshire Tea do a blend specifically for hard water, we find it too tame. Oddly enough, on holiday in Yorkshire this year, we could not find their loose leaf. We resorted tp P G Tips and Typhoo, again, too weak for us. Plus, the house was in a soft water area so the tea tasted odd to us.

Easch to their own I guess. Needless to say, my hygienist isn't too impressed with the staining on the back of a few of my teeth but she gets them clean. If I go to the stand in dentist when mine is on holiday, they usually ask how many cigarettes I smoke.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Silicon roasting pan

I was asking the question, to myself and others, how silicon would behave when roasting meats. This weekend, I did a small ham joint. It was cooked at 180C with a foil lid for one hour. Another 30 minutes without the foil. After the ham was removed, this was what remained in the container:
Just a few brown roast marks which cleaned off beautifully. This weekend, I shall be roasting sausages in it, probably making them into a 'toad in the hole'. Wonder how it will cope with that?

I have used the muffin pan to cook GF yorkshire puddings and they came out very well, without sticking. I always use a metal tray to stand the silicon dishes on otherwise they would be dangerous, with them being floppy!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Next stage of upcycling treadle table and bench

DB has been very busy painting the treadle sewing machine base with black hammerite:
and highlighting the pattern on the side of the table and the singer logo in red.

The bench is in its first trial of being a single chair:
He hasn't yet painted the metal work with hammerite. All the rotten wood has been removed and being sanded back to its original state. It is hardwood so once repainted, should last quite a while.

We have bought new bolts to attach the wood but will leave them shiny for now as a form of decoration.

Final stages are underway!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Make new from old...

In the corner of the hedge of our front gravel garden, has sat a metal and wooden bench, in front of which, was our converted singer sewing machine table.

The bench seat has been mended numerous times but has gotten gradually more and more rotten and we no longer feel safe sitting on it (or even sitting in that area any more).

DB has taken both apart:

The sewing machine will have the long metal grill from the back rest of the bench attached as a top. We can then use it for plants or whatever, in the front garden.

The bench has enough short pieces of wood to change it from a bench into a single chair. We will make use of this in the back garden. More to follow as it developes!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Well done Jamie....

Jamie and Martina Hingis have just won the US Open mixed doubles! That is Jamie's 5th Grand Slam.

Friday, 8 September 2017

The log man cometh...

Due to the unseasonably warmish winter last year, we only used 1 1/2 of our log stores worth of wood so had another cubic metre of logs delivered by the tree surgeon we use. His wood is far cheaper than most, at £90, dry and stored under cover. It is also cut to the correct length for our small wood burner.

His truck doesn't tip up to make life easy for him so he stands on the back of it and paddles them out between his legs:
It took him less than 10 minutes.

I then filled the wheelbarrow 12 times to get them around to the log stores where DB stacked them. This took about 25 minutes. We had about 2 wheelbarrow loads filled with logs too thick to burn easily, so he took them off to the log splitter (best investment ever) to chop them in half before stacking them.

We should now have enough wood for a really cold winter, right through to May if necessary. We have another log store that is filled to the rafters with kindling or wood waiting to be chopped into kindling.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, 7 September 2017


Not everyone likes dogs too much and I wasn't fussed either way until the grand dogs arrived. If dogs ran full pelt towards me, I would initially tighten up then relax and stay calm. Now generally I am relaxed and greet them.

This week, we were walking along a beach when a lab and collie ran towards us at high speed, tails wagging (an important clue), to say hello. They enjoyed a quick rub before bombing off to greet another couple. Their owner was calling them back but it was so windy I am not sure they could hear!

The lady of the couple, who clearly wasn't keen or even scared of dogs, was carrying a carrier bag. She panicked and kept lifting up her bag and telling them to go away. Unfortunately for her, they thought that a great game. Eventually they ran back to their owner and as she walked towards us and told us, in no uncertain terms, that we should have called our dogs back!

They aren't ours I replied!

I do feel for people who are scared of dogs but flapping with bags and hands, screaming or running away isn't the right thing to do. Try turning your back or just standing as calmly as possible. Hopefully they will just greet you then return to their owner.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

An odd mark...

DB's attention was caught the other day but a white circle on my upper back:
We think it has shown up due to that area of my neck getting tanned during the past few weeks. It doesn't itch and is about the size of a 5p piece. The start of vitiligo possibly?

I shall get my GP to check it out next time I see him.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017


A short while ago, we showed you some additions to our raised beds in the back gardens. Sue spotted what looked like hinges for a gate and you were correct.

Herewith finished additions. From end of patio to raised bed 1 - this was the only piece we had to buy, we had the rest:
Raised bed 1 to 2:
Outward opening gate between raised bed 2 and 3:
From raised bed 3 to fruit cage:
An awful lot of painting has taken place, both sides, twice, for each trellis piece.

When the Grand dogs come to stay, they have never been allowed out the back as being gun dogs, they would treat garden plants like those in the countryside. Its not their fault, just the way it is. Also, each bed around the edge of the garden has bare soil and we didn't want that brought into the house.

Yes, they could jump over them but shouldn't. One telling off from any of us and believe me, they wouldn't do it again.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Our female relations must really have suffered ....

With the menopause and being post menopausal. Thanks to the internet, there is loads of advice about what you might expect during pre-menopause and the menopause, so I am not going to elaborate too much here. Normally I wouldn't talk online about these types of things but sometimes, you have to bite the bullet if it might help just one other person. On the whole, I have and am still having a relatively good post menopause time. Some of the things mentioned are others experiences.

I was lucky with the pre-menopause and menopause and didn't suffer too much but I know from conversations with other women, that for some, it is an horrendous experience. As oestrogen levels drop, our bones can start to become slightly less dense leading to the possibility of breaks as we age. The usually trouble free levels of testosterone take effect and coarse hairs spring up all over the place but in particular, we start to grow bits of moustache and beard. It has taken me 3 years of electrolysis to get rid of all mine. Our hair/eyebrows/eyelashes (and other parts of anatomy hair) can, for some, diminish at an alarming rate

Long after the post menopause phase of our lives, other problems kick in as we age. Smear tests can become a bit of a nightmare and it would be all too easy to give up and not have them but you do need to persevere if possible. Things are available from your GP to prepare your body for this procedure and insist on a speculum for a child or young person, it is much more 'comfortable'.

It is hard to imagine that the womb, goes from being a nice firm pear shaped organ to a withered, prune like dehydrated pear. Structures that hold it and everything else in place can begin to sag. There is a real possibility of prolapse and stress incontinence can kick in due to changes taking place in and around the urethra.

The vagina drys out to an alarming extent, collapses slightly in on itself and begins to rub together, a kind of sandpaper effect. If you are still sexually active that too can cause problems. All your outside bits do the same as your body fat diminishes and things start to change shape and move against each other. Again, products are available.

A recent check up by the gynae consultant was due to problems that I and my GP hadn't been able to sort out satifactorily. No details here about that but suffice to say, he was the most kindest and gentlest youngish chap. Hence changing from trousers to skirts and other small lifestyle and medication changes that should make my life more comfortable.

The consultant said that the statistics of problems for post menopausal women cannot be accurate as a huge proportion must keep silent and suffer.

Never, ever, suffer in silence. Go to your GP. Topical oestrogen products are available (ie they don't permeate around your whole body just stay where they are put). Lubriacants help with other problems. Stop using soap to wash down below, instead opt for an emollient and stop using talcum powder.

You may need to visit a urologist if other problems develop and become a nuisance but don't give up, help is at hand, you simply have to be brave enough to seek it out.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Feeling just a tad guilty...

Where possible, I buy clothes second hand or as good a quality as possible for as cheaply as possible. I wear my clothes, for the most part, until they get too tatty to wear anymore.

I now have more clothes than I ever used to and it irks me somewhat. My jeans/trousers became way too large for me since losing weight and as they had become tatty, newer ones were purchased. The price of clothing always shocks me as I don't buy clothes often enough to not be shocked by their price, if you see what I mean.

One pair of the old tatty jeans has been designated for decorating and outdoor wood painting. Another pair had the legs cut off to make shorts for summer gardening. The bottom part of the legs will be used to make some dog toys for the grand dogs. For short time wear, they can be held up if necessary. So far so good. My 4 year old, cheap tee shirts were cut up into rags and the leftover bits saved to stuff said dog toys (along with some stuffing from an old but washed pillow).

Anything else that was too large but still in reasonable condition, was given away to the charity shops. Five cheap tee shirts have been purchased, some for pyjama tops, others for general wear. My shirts still fit, kind of. Anyway, a jumper or cardigan will cover those up!

Unfortunately, as recommended by a hospital visit, I am no longer allowed to wear trousers all the time (a post about that another time!). Off I went to find some winter skirts. I couldn't find anything my size in the charity shops so ended up buying some. I chose the best quality for the cheapest price, soft waists for comfort. I shall wear trousers when I need to go out as I am also no longer allowed to wear tights:(

Skirts and long socks are now a necessity but boy, do I feel guilty at their purchase. Shouldn't do, but I do, there you have it!

Have a nice weekend folks.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

DB busy

Having got a new laptop, he decided to take the two old, semi broken ones apart (one has been kept for music, the other family history. Thought you might be interested to see what laptops look like inside:

The recently replaced one was having difficult keeping power due to a broken charge point and its dvd player had stopped working.

He appears to have mended the broken power socket but couldn't swap dvd players around as the sockets where the pins connect don't align.

Ah well, once he puts them back together, hopefully one, or preferably both of them will still be working well enough to be kept.

He was aked "why" his reply, "because I wanted to try and why not?" He likes a challenge.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Front garden

This time of year, the inner circle in our front garden always looks a little empty and will only get worse as summer moves on into autumn:

I am hopeful that the roses may flower again to give some late colour and the daisy families of flowers should keep it interesting until about October.

Some of the new shrubs are in flower now and one or two should flower a little later in the year. We are forecast rain today and it is much needed.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Grating noise

Despite taking our washing machine apart, a few weeks ago, to sort out its non entry of water, we were left with a slightly grating noise. We had already checked the waste outlet and nothing was in it.

However, over the last few days, it had become louder and more irritating so I drained said valve and opened it up. Here it what was in it:
The metal tab from inside a shirt collar and a little bit of soapy gunk. I haven't tried it since so hope the grating noise will now have gone. I guess the metal tab was hitting the impeller blade inside the waste pipe.

Hopefully, if the noise has gone, that will have saved us a couple of hundred pounds.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Raised bed additions

Some new attachments are making their way onto our raised beds:

All will be revealed in the coming days when we are done!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Andy trolled again ...

There are some truly sad people in the social media world. Andy announced his withdrawal from the US Tennis Open and also the prospect he may not play for the rest of the year. All these so called fans could moan about was leaving it too late for a redraw so Rafa and Federer could meet in the final. He is well within the rules to leave it that late, some only withdraw on the morning of a match.

Gee folks, get some perspective, or has it perhaps affected your bets!

I for one feel you have made the right decision. Your future health far outweighs a short term goal, although you are already missed, tennis doesn't seem the same without you!

Enjoy more downtime with your family and get better soon.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Feeling nostalgic ...

At the weekend we went to a 1940's event at Ramsey in Cambridgeshire. There were lots of interesting things to see but we kept forgetting to take pictures - doh!

Anyhow, we did take a picture of this 1955 outside broadcasting wagon:

This is how the old 425 line tv pictures used to look (not outside broadcast) and what I watched a few years later than those below, in my childhood:

Andy Pandy (1952) from here

Bill and Ben (1953) rocked your boat from here

The Woodentops (1958) here

Finally, Rag Tag & Bobtail (1958) here

Have a lovely weekend everyone! 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Also in the garden ...

Welcome to Jeannie Moye via Bloglovin.

Our trial worm 'tower' in Bed 1, appears to be working well. Every time we weed the bed and surrounding area, the weeds get popped into it and eaten by the worms. It keeps reducing nicely:
Its lid is made of a carpet tile turned upside down. Inside it looks like this:
I don't want to overfill it as it is quite new but if it keeps doing well, Bed 3 will have one put into it as soon as there is space.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Probably ...

The largest carrot I have ever grown:

It was crispy and tasted great. We grated it with pear to make a salad for tea. All our newly planted lettuces have been attacked by something in the soil, not slugs. So, needing something fresh to go along with some potatoes and Bratwurst, we came up with the above salad and thoroughly enjoyed the taste and texture.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Choosing wool...

I stood in front of the gynormous array of wool in the shop, holding up my crochet squares to see which colour to choose. Black was just too much a contrast, so in the end, I went for Emperor Purple:
It isn't quite as dark as shown here and compliments the other colours well. Methinks my jerkin may look quite nice and bright when finished. Time will tell.

Yesterday I eventually gave up, for the second time, on a square. Every time I got back to the beginning, it was obvious, something had gone wrong on the first treble. Pulled out several times, redone several times, still wrong, in the bin as it became baggy!

Monday, 21 August 2017


We finally had blossom and fruit on our relatively new greengage tree. It is grown again a fence and I am never sure how to shape/train it so decided to treat it like the other two plums (even though you aren't really supposed to prune them).

We ate 2 each and the rest, just 380g that were left:
Were made into jam in the microwave:
It hasn't quite set properly but will be lovely stirred into yoghurt. Or, I could decant them back into a jug, add a little grated apple and lemon juice and boil for another few minutes.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Red Pears

As more and more red pears were falling onto the gravel below them, we decided they were ready to harvest. Pears generally ripen from the inside out, so by the time they feel ready on the outside, they will be going over/off in the middle - who knew!

Herewith said windfall ones:

And below, the good ones that have gone into the fridge to delay ripening whilst we process/eat those above:
Not sure if this is Louise bonne du Jersey or a Williams. I planted one of each, but one has never flowered!

Friday, 18 August 2017


I got an email from my neice yesterday to tell me her mum had had a bad fall and was in A & E with a broken patella, cuts and bruises. She eventually came home with a full leg plaster cast.

Informed my other sister and received a reply from her that she had tripped on pavement and hurt herself but luckily not requiring a plaster cast.

I had better take care!

Have a safe weekend everyone.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Jerkin colour scheme so far

You may remember, one the 9th August, I showed you the first new stitch I had learnt, the bobble stitch, hoping to use these to make a jerkin (wasistcoat).

I have decided on the colour scheme now and how I want to create the internal bobble stitch pattern to vary the squares:
For me, being relatively new to crochet, I get confused very easily if I do one square at a time as I find the bit that turns a circle into a square, a little taxing for now. Therefore, I shall doing loads of circles, bobble stitch, as that is now in my head and vary the colours on that, always finishing with white on the outside. The white ones appear to be just slightly larger but I think that will even itself out once the border is on them.

When I have loads of the circles, I shall convert them into squares. They do look rather nice as circles but using just them would be far too complicated for me at this stage. I am thinking of edging them with black and using black to also join them altogether, which should show off these colours well. Mind you, I am a tad worried that on the odd occasion I may need to wash the finished garment, whether the black, over time, might make the white bits grubby!

I may chose a nice grey green, similar to the colour of the leaves of a lavender, time will tell. . Once I have visited the wool shop again and taken some of the squares in with me, I shall make the decision.

I am using DK Special Stylecraft to make this, in lavender and magenta.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

In the conservatory

DB has been busy painting inner hall doors that were purchased ages ago but not actually painted. However, over time, they have gone really mucky looking so time for a paint:
This is the 4th and final door (undercoat). It had 2 coats of white satin, hung back up when thoroughly dry. The 3rd door came back in here for its final coat of white satin.

He decided to remove them as he now finds this a more comfortable way to paint. Hopefully this colour will not go off white like some of the gloss has in the past, because lets face, who enjoys repeatedly painting doors?

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Kitchen windowsills

This time of year is when my kitchen windowsills start to have some of our harvest sitting on them. Sometimes it is tomatoes or chilli peppers, at the moment though, it is the windfall apples. Some are good some, despite a codling moth trap, have been attached by said creature and need eating asap.

I have (on its second rise), a loaf of rye bread which we will be amazed if it turns out okay. I just switched off whilst making it, picked up rye flour rather than the intended malt flour and also forgot the oil:

Update: the bread was fine!

Also here is my book stand being used to dry some gloves (used for preparing the chillies for the freezer) and the tea towel. To the right of the book stand is said windfall apples:

The next windowsill houses our fruit basket (currently empty), to the left of which are 3 good apples. The kitchen hand towel is also drying in the sun, along with a chopping board. I like to air these in the sun if possible, after washing, as I think the intense heat kills any bugs that might still be lurking on it:
Once the red pears begin to be harvested, these windowsills will fill very quickly.

Do you use yours like this?

Monday, 14 August 2017

This has been ...

The best fruit year in a long while. Despite the lack of sun, the rain has helped swell most fruit in the garden. We have just finished picking all the plums and are currently enjoying blackberries - forgot to photograph those.

Here are some of the russet apples:

In the background are some red pears but a better picture is here:
And some comice pears on the heavy pruned and festooned 5' tall (non-dwarf variety) tree:
We have also eaten blueberries and frozen blackcurrants for later use. The rhubarb finally got going and we managed 2 harvests off it only as this is its second year. Our gooseberries died but a new bush arrived which had about 20 on it so we enjoyed those as well.

We have our first greengages just about ready (about 12) and I shall use them to make jam.