Wednesday 29 May 2013

Don't you just hate...

Clothes are that incorrectly made and labelled?  Recently, I bought two pairs of jeans from Matalan  but felt the so-called leg length of 29" was a little short.

I know, I know... I should have taken them back and exchanged them for a 31" leg but I didn't. I was indecisive and needed to wear them so decided it was me. Guess not, although they look fine worn with walking boots and even sandles, they look too short with shoes. Even though I am only going to be wearing them around the house or for walking they were bugging me so much I decided to do something with them.

Yep, customise!

In my assortment of rag bags, I had inherited some odd and sods of fabric ribbons from when our school closed. Not enough of each to do both pairs so decided on two different looks. I needed to trim off the fat hem on the bottom of each pair (losing another 1/2" in the process), sew the ribbons together, strengthen them with iron on vilene and attach. Not an easy job as I am not a fantastic seamstress but hey, no pain no gain right? (DB had to cut through the blue air to get to the kitchen on occasions!)

They may not even make it through their first wash but I'll tackle that problem if and when it arises. Want to take a peek? The pink ribbon as you can probably make out has astrology symbols on it:

 The blue ribbon has an assortment of flowers:
I have probably only gained a 1/2" or 3/4" overall, but they do look and 'feel' better.

Monday 27 May 2013

A walk on the wild side

DB and I had a walk by ourselves this week. We chose to go to Cley next the Sea and parked in the RSPB Visitor's Centre. There was quite a lot of sea spray in the wind so we put on all our wet weather gear.

Most of the walk is featured on Walks II page but we came across some interesting plants so thought I would post about them here. The first picture shows some Sea Campion

 Below is some Yellow Horned Poppy but showing its flower buds.
Here is some very low growing Bird's Foot Trefoil.
There was also quite a lot of Alexander:
Just in case you were wondering how windy it was, in the gaps in the gravel mounds that protect the marshlands from the worst of the weather, it was very difficult to stay standing. This is the state of the sea:
The waves were around 5' tall and the picture doesn't do them justice. We were quite cold by the time we had walked around the perimeter of the reserve - around 3 miles. After changing we went to eat in the centre.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Thanks Sheldon!

It will soon be our Wedding Anniversary! Each year we decide just to go out for a meal, some years, he surprises me. This year was one of those years. Look at what arrived:
It was wrapped in a plastic bag full of water and says not to disturb it, yikes, not disturb it, what are they on about. I poked a hole in the bag of water (in the sink) and tipped it all away. After getting the roses and some of the foliage out into a vase, I went into the garden in search of a few more things:
Now, ain't that sweet of him. Love you lots DB xxx

(If you are wondering about the title of this post, we watch The Big Bang Theory and one of the characters is a socially inapt chap called Sheldon - not that DB is inapt. When I mentioned about not getting anything he merely replied (something Sheldon would say) "I believe it is the socially accepted thing to do in these circumstances!")

Thursday 23 May 2013

Makeover in progress!

First of all, a warm welcome to my new follower rosie posie, glad to have you reading.

As we live in a one level bungalow, we officially have no stairs but do have an area we refer to as 'under the stairs'.

Before we bought it, the bungalow had been extended from 2 bedrooms with no separate dining room to a 3 bedroom plus dining room abode. The 'under the stairs' bit refers to a cupboard that lies between the two back bedrooms. It used to house cleaning stuff plus anything my son needed to put there. As he now lives elsewhere with FDiL. and the main thing he stored under there has been moved out, we are taking this opportunity to fashion it into a better storage area.

Here it is just as DB has started:
There were quite a few large holes in the walls and skirting which have now been filled and are drying out. DB put an upright in dividing it into 2. The left hand side will house the vacuum, its hoses, pegs etc and should have enough room for 1 or 2 shelves above it. The right side will be all shelves. The top shelf used to store cereals, pickles, jams etc but these should now be able to be moved down which will save having to stand on a stool to access them.

Here is the progress:

The top picture shows the paper removed from the left side and an undercoat applied. Then two coats of the paint were added.
Upright and top shelf added temporarily before the fun part! The previous owner built this extension after firing the builders for a shabby job. Each shelf will have to be fitted individually as the side walls move in and out and even the back wall isn't entirely straight. DB will do the best he can (and he is very good at these sorts of jobs) but I reckon a professional carpenter would have trouble.

Other than buying the middle conti-board, the rest we already had, stored in the attic. Here is the finished result before filling and still some skirting board to be fitted bottom left (haven't got any):
Everything back in with lots more room up top for jams, pickles, marmalades etc:
And bi-fold door closed - we can't find a door for the very top so don't bother:

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Night time visitors

Last night was one of those nights when despite being tired and having walked for a few hours in the morning, I just couldn't get to sleep. I have entrenched insomnia and some nights, I know I am not going to go off.

Jumping out of bed I made my way in the moonlight to the kitchen for a small tipple of a liquer in some milk. Sounds disgusting but it usually works - (tut tut I hear you say) well, needs must and all that jazz and quite frankly, I'm long past caring.

Anyway, I was sitting up in bed reading a book and having a drink (like you do) and saw something black near the skirting board. I had previously seen a small dead spider in the same place and thought nothing of it. A few minutes later, it seemed to not only move but was larger - which was odd, as I knew it was dead and only small.

Eventually I gave up and got out of bed, got a small torch, and put on my glasses to investigate. The black moving part was a large bunch of ants, who had (and still were) snaking their way along the bottom of the skirting board to 'feast' one presumes, on said spider. By now, I was wide awake again and telling the ants in no uncertain fashion just what I thought of them.

I was blowed if I was going to wander out to the garage in the middle of the night to get some ant powder so investigated in the kitchen and brought some salt back. I gave the whole heaving mass plus stragglers a good dollop. They stopped dead in their tracks and I was just about to turn away when they exploded out of the salt and ran in all directions.

Moving swiftly back to avoid them running onto me and up into my nightie, I then spent about 10 minutes squishing them with the spoon handle I had brought with the salt! I don't like killing things but there was no way I was going to get to sleep wondering how many more of the wee beasties were coming in.

After about 10 minutes or so, I had sorted them out and returned to bed with my book and booze. Eventually I went to sleep and slept through until 8.00 am.

Tuesday 21 May 2013


Our family research trip to Wales has ended up costing us more than we paid for the holiday house - just! I think I mentioned how many pot holes (on A and B roads) we managed to not avoid. DB said he felt the car was vibrating as we drove home but as most roads are not very smooth, I wasn't sure.

Upshot is, he took it to the garage to be checked out:
One damaged rim. We need a whole new wheel and tyre and it will cost just over £300. Bummer!

Monday 20 May 2013

A different kind of crumble

As we are rabbit and gerbil sitting for a friend (the pets are still at her house), she said to help ourselves to some rhubarb so we took 4 stalks. I made a crumble as per normal but had a little bit of cinnamon cereal leftover from our holidays (don't normally buy fancy cereal), so that was also crumbled in:
Rhubarb and apple finely chopped plus sugar:
Also the crumble had some wheatgerm and oat bran added before being put on the top:
Fresh out of the oven - we shall eat this over 3 days:

For a quick lunch we had leftover potatoes, brie plus some salad and a chilli mayonnaise dressing:

Sunday 19 May 2013

Just beeing...

Welcome to my new follower Jille - glad to have you aboard the Norfolk Express.

No, it is not a spelling mistake before you ask! The back of our bungalow faces south and gets very hot, hence the large electric blind we use in summer to keep the bedrooms cool. Every year, little solitary bees lay their eggs in any holes they happen to find. This year, DB made them a log home and as they don't seem to mind facing south, that is where we put it.

This morning I was weeding a soon to be planted tub and could hear the bees droning overhead. I looked up and there was not only one going into a hole, another (different size) was coming out of another one. Dead centre, an egg must have been laid recently and the hole has been filled in with wax. Aren't bees just great.

These bee log things cost a fortune, DB just used one of the logs designed for the fire, drilled pilot holes then did each hole using a 1cm bit. We weren't sure whether they needed to be more smooth inside so just left it to see what the bees made of it. Seems they are fine!
A different kind of being was needed the other night. We had our tea but were still a little hungry so I microwaved us some suet pudding which we ate with some golden syrup poured over. It was a little too much so another time, I shall use less of everything.

Anyway, for this one I used 4oz S.R. flour, 2oz of vegetarian light suet and enough cold milk to bring it together enough to drop off the spoon. It was placed into a buttered pudding bowl, covered with pierced cling film and microwaved for 4 minutes on almost full power. I'm not sure what that equates to as all microwaves vary but probably 900/1000. When you serve it (this is probably enough for 3) pour over whatever you fancy, syrup, honey, jam, custard etc. Start to finish 6 minutes, couldn't be easier.

This is also a very quick way to make 'dumplings' to eat with stew, far lighter. You would need to add salt and possibly some dried herbs and use WATER instead of milk.

Friday 17 May 2013

Free asparagus

The asparagus I was given Wednesday had its ends cut off and stood in cold water overnight to refresh it. I made some chicken and vegetables in a white sauce (minus the cobbler)via this recipe chicken and vegetable cobbler

The nice ends of the asparagus were lightly cooked and added to the sauce. We had half last night with some pasta:
and the rest will be served tonight. The end bits were lightly boiled then whizzed up, strained through a sieve and the resulting stock used to make some vegetable soup:
The soup also had chicken stock cubes, carrots, pepper, potatoes and onion in it plus some tarragon and a dash of spicy chilli sauce in the bottom of each bowl. We have enough left for another meal tomorrow. Also on the go today is another 900ml batch of yoghurt.

On the kitchen windowsill, I am growing some cress and radish seedlings (the cress is slower on the left). When ready they will be a useful addition to a salad or sandwich or something 'snacky':
Finally, despite the weather, the garden is springing into life. Here is a picture of our front gravel garden, taken through the window in the north facing lounge - brrr...

Thursday 16 May 2013

Identified at last

On my walks II page from last week, I had asked if anyone knew what one of these were:
No-one responded but luckily, B. had looked for it on-line and it is a Butterbur - (Petasites). We had first seen some of them whilst in Wales and although I had always seen lots of its leaves whilst out walking, this was the first time I had seen it in flower. So now I know.

Here are some more lovely wildflowers we have found whilst out walking in the past few weeks. These are two different types of orchid, we think fragrant and common spotted but you may know differently!

Huge groups of these have been noted - water avens - (Geum Rivale):
Here is some Cuckoo Flower or Lady's Smock - (Cardamine Pratensis):
There were also a few large patches of this but I have no idea what it was:
After we got back from our walk yesterday, we nipped back to B's. as she had a present for us:
Two large bunches of home grown asparagus from a friend of hers - how lovely.

Monday 13 May 2013


Today was another donation day but this time, in the morning rather than the afternoon. I was glad to see that they now have the new sit in chairs (rather like climbing into a giant version of a baby rocker thingy!)

The one they used also had a padded foot rest and I asked for the back rest as I had slightly tweaked my back. Once in, they pull the front up to lay you down. Once finished they half sit you up to check you won't faint, then pull you fully up to get out. All in all, a much more comfortable experience.

I gather they will be replacing all the old uncomfortable tables with these shortly. Had a drink and a mint club biscuit, waited for DB to finish and sup, then left after making reservations for 4 months time. Today was my 42nd and DB his 39th (he was ill a couple of times so couldn't donate) but came along for support.

Having watched Beechwood Grove gardening programme, they recommend (if you are able) to put an open ended cloche over some of your strawberries to bring them on. I have now done this and hope it helps especially with the forecast for the next few weeks not being brilliant - could we dire end of May. You can check it out on the BBC Forecast page.
Finally, to cheer you up after that little bombshell, here is a lovely picture of my apricot flowered Japanese quince

Sunday 12 May 2013

A funny kind of weekend

The weather is very odd this weekend and set to stay like it. We had a little rain Friday overnight but not enough to dampen the soil to any decent level. Later on Saturday evening we had a bit more decent rain so the garden is looking well refreshed.. Brilliant sunshine, blue skies and white clouds greeted us this morning as we woke up. It didn't last long. Within an hour it was overcast, quite windy and cool enough for us to give the heating a quick blast. So far though, no more rain. I've put a load of washing on in the hope it will get dry on the line before the next lot of rain comes, which is currently forecast for mid afternoon.

I made 900 mls of yoghurt yesterday and it set within 6 hours so that was good. It is quite thick as well which is even better.

Also, two loaves of 'potato' bread were made, sliced and one frozen for later in the week.
For tea last night, we had the remainder of the pork cheek casserole with some new potatoes and peas.
I shall make a large steak and kidney casserole for tea tonight and another night (maybe even a third, such is the weather at the moment).

Some cress and radish seeds have been sown indoors, into small containers, which will hopefully give us some micro-veg to eat in a few weeks time.

We hope to go for a small walk today somewhere providing I can strap my knee. For some reason, it is giving way without warning plus a sharp pain to boot! Combined with a tweaking back, DB is having to do some of the bathroom cleaning. He always does the hoovering and ironing. I shall wash the floors in a few days time when I can, they really need it.

I have also updated my Walks II page and have a query on it regarding a wild flower/plant if anyone can help.

Friday 10 May 2013


This month I have decided to give to The East Anglian Air Ambulance, whose details can be found  here

Each mission costs them £2270, which is quite a lot of money. I have been fortunate, so far, in not needing their services but do see them flying quite a bit. If you want to see just how often they fly, check out this missions

One of the times we were at Old Hunstanton, a yellow helicopter was on top of the cliffs, so it was probably them. It took off before I could get close enough to photograph them.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Win some lose some...

Having faffed around trying to develop a watering system for our new down the drive vegetable bed, it all fell flat on its face. We have decided to not use the system planned and instead, use something I have in use elsewhere (why don't you remember such things before buying something different?)

Anyway, all trees and large shrubs in the garden, have a half buried plant pot beside them to allow me to liquid feed/water down to the roots rather than just surface watering. This is what I shall do beside each bean or tomato plant. That way, I can assure they are getting what they need individually rather than waste precious water on the ground in general.

The bed is ready and waiting, all I need now are the plants to grow (or in the case of the beans) sprout and grow and then they will be ready to transfer end of May depending on the weather. I consider it a little too early here yet as we occasionally get frost late May or on rare occasions, early June.

Such a change in the weather today, certainly cooler and the cool wind is back. Meat has come out of the freezer overnight and I shall make us something hearty and warming for tea.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Another day another task

Having gone into town today to pick up some shopping that got missed on our monthly T***o run (they are reimbursing us), we also went to B & * to check out guttering prices. Far too expensive. In the end we decided to buy some cheap white waste pipe to use as the watering device for our down the drive bean and tomato garden.

Despite needing 4m, we somehow managed to come home with only 3 so shall have to go back next time we are in town to get some more. Such a mistake notwithstanding, we reckon that the entire watering system will cost around £8, so not too bad. I'll post pictures when it is in place and as the plants go in etc.

It has been quite hot here and early afternoon was not the best time to be gardening but hey, if needs must. I put in the plants I bought yesterday then began the odious task of weeding. Luckily for me (but not the weeds) someone popped around to visit so we stopped for a chat and some drinks.

By the time visitor went, neither of us felt like doing much more so we downed tools and gave the gas barbecue a good clean ready to cook a few things on it tonight. Nothing too exciting, just a couple of bratwurst and a couple of my home made sausage rounds.

All in all, its been a good day of working and resting, my kind of day.

Thought I'd post a few pictures of some of the churches and graveyards that we search whilst away.



Maes-y-gwartha Chapel
Many apologies if they are not spelt correctly. One day we went further afield for pleasure and ended up in Aberystwyth where it was sunny but blowing a very strong cold wind down the high street!

Monday 6 May 2013

Country pictures on a walk

On our family research time away, we took the chance to walk from Lower Breinton to Hereford. It was a 7 miles walk to and fro but if you add in the time we walked around Hereford, it was probably more like 9 or 10 miles. We were certainly pretty tired by the time we got back to the car.

Anyway, herewith some pictures:

I went to a garden nursery this morning with a friend and invested in a few late summer plants. I also bought two Spring ones, one of which had finished flowering - a wood anemone. I shall look forward to it next year!

I've also potted on some tomatoes, tomatillo's and a cucumber. Then I sowed some radish, little gem, leeks and a few climbing beans.