Friday 29 November 2013

The tale of the lost tail and other things!

I've been waiting for news about Comet Ison, whose demise was reported a few hours ago. However, recent 'news' says there is hope that some part of it may have survived its sun-grazing encounter.

Apparently, we need to be patient for a day or so until NASA can confirm whether any of it has survived, whether it will grow a new tail and more importantly and excitedly for me, whether we will need to get up early and be able to see what was going to be 'the comet of the century'! See here

Other news in our household concerns DB. A little bruise is still present on his cheek bone, but the majority has disappeared. He was also very pleased to report his scab had finally fallen off, (as it was very tight and annoying) leaving a slight dent in his eye brow area. We are hoping that is the residue of swelling, if not, it will be an interesting feature.

Sorry for the slightly blurred second picture but still haven't fathomed out how to do a really close up picture!. Scar wise, I don't think it will be too bad.

Wednesday 27 November 2013


Welcome to my new followers via Bloglovin - Amanda Hulley, Julie Royston-Ford and Shoestring Cottage.

Look at this double beauty appearing over our village the other day. They always make me glad and bring a smile of wonderment to my face.
It suddenly dawned on me that I was behind with preparing for Christmas and in particular, New Year family visits.

Using up more zest and juice from another half of orange and lemon, I made a basic Victoria sponge mixture, weighing everything using 3 eggs. Actually it was the weight of 2 eggs and a dried egg! The zests and juice were added at the end, and the mixture divided between 8 greased mini metal pudding tins.

They had a baking paper and foil lid put on, held in place by mini elastic bands and were then ready to be steamed.
After 1 hour and 20 minutes, they were ready.
They smell lovely and of citrus, we shall enjoy eating them. Two were kept back for our pudding  (with some custard), the rest were wrapped and frozen for use around New Year.

Now let me see, I reckon that leaves the mince pies, sausage rolls, maybe some mini pork pies and oh yes, a Dundee cake. Just need my shopping delivered and I shall be set to go!

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Monday 25 November 2013


Welcome to two new followers via Bloglovin - MellyC and Rose Matthews.

I needed to make some more Granola for DB so whilst the oven would be one for that, I would also make us some St. Clement Date Slices. This is a variation of the original Cranks recipes here:

350g dates (or dried apricots or figs), chopped, 6tbsp water,grated rind of one lemon, 225g wholemeal flour, 100g porridge oats, 75g raw brown sugar,150g butter or margarine, melted.

Put the dates, water and lemon rind in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until the mixture is soft.Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle half to a (27 x 18cm) shallow cake tin and press down WELL (very important this, or you will get a kind of granola effect, not a bar).Cover with the date mixture and sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top. Press down firmly again.

Bake in the oven at 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes. Let cool in the tin and then cut into 16 slices.

I only had dates so that is what I used. I grated in the zest of 1/2 a lemon, then used the juice of that 1/2 lemon, plus the juice and zest of half an orange. These combined juices came to 5 tablespoons so I needed to add just 1 tablespoon of water to the chopped dates.
Once amalgamated, I tipped it onto a plate to cool.
I then measured into a bowl, 225g of plain white flour including one tablespoon of wheat-germ and one of oat bran (didn't have wholemeal flour!), 100g of jumbo oats, 75g of light brown sugar.

150g of margarine and the zest of the other 1/2 orange added to it, was melted and poured onto the combined mixture in the bowl.
Half the mixture was pressed firmly to flatten it, into a 12" x 7" tin (again, all I had),
the date mixture was added and flattened,
followed by the rest of the oat mixture. This was sprinkled on before being pressed into place. YOU MUST PRESS OTHERWISE YOUR BARS WILL FALL APART!
After that, it was baked at 200C for 20 minutes, left to go cold and divided into 16.

Yum yum!

Saturday 23 November 2013

Me and my baby again ...

Welcome to my new follower - Laurie - nice paintings!

Went off to hospital first thing yesterday morning to have an echo-cardiogram, electro-cardiogram plus another 24 hours ECG machine fitted.

Having the echo was fine. I was worried whether or not I had to lay down to have it done (30 minutes) because I feel sick if I lay on my side for too long. I was sat up at about a 45 degree angle and other than struggling to hold my head up, all went well.

Wiped myself down to get rid of the gel then went back out into the waiting room. A few minutes later, I was back into another room to have a quick ECG and then the 24 hour one fitted. Only 3 leads this time (the last one was 5 leads). Recording device smaller and with a more accessible button to push if I needed to.

I had to return both it and my diary the next day (except being a Friday, I have to return it on Monday) then wait for either another consultant appointment (more probable said the nurse as I was having these 3 things done) and/or a letter back to my GP. I have no idea how long that will take.

Once back home for a quick cup of tea, we went for a 2 mile walk (to double check if my tachycardia was present (it was), had a quick meal out then returned home. They said to do what I normally do to check how often the tachycardia kicks in and whether the arrhythmia only occurs during that or is present all the time.

That afternoon, we changed the bed, did some dusting, dug up some carrots, made yoghurt and baked.

Talking of carrots, I onlydug up 3, but one was huge:

 The large one weighed just under 2 lbs and all three, just over 3 lbs!

Thursday 21 November 2013

Saved up for ...

First of all, welcome to my two new folowers via Bloglovin - Ouija and Tracy.

At last, a new bed and mattress has arrived in the bedroom. Only the third in 32.5 years of marriage. Got fed up of rolling into the middle! They were both bought in the sales, 50% off (allegedly).

The bed frame (first time not having a divan) is light ash and the mattress a Sealy with a memory like additional mini mattress on the top of the mattress itself.

Took a little while to fathom out where to put all the accumulated 'stuff' from the 2 underside drawers of the old bed!

Here it is just put together:
And with the mattress on top:
Needing deep therapeutic massages and chiropractic treatment on my back long term, means no compromise on a quality if a tad too expensive mattress. Mind you, if we had just won the premium bonds or something similar. would have definately bought one of the new gel mattresses. So comfortable! Mind you, at £1600 in the half price sale, way to much this time around.

Mind you, might also have to change over to fitted sheets, on which I am not too keen, as we squashed our fingers and hands constantly, whilst trying to tuck in the sheet.

The 'old' bed, a small double and still in reasonable condition, as is the mattress even though it was no longer good for my back, for anyone not married to someone with 'the princess and the pea' problem, is being picked up next week by a charity furniture warehouse. Paying the council £15 or so to send it to landfill was not an option.

This bed should last now 'forever' even if the mattress has to be changed eventually.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Baking and making...

First of all, thank you so much, to all of you, for your kind comments and good wishes for DB. He appreciated your concerns very much. I haven't let him drive yet, just in case, if he went at the wheel, it might prove dire to him and anyone else in the car.

Had our first walk the other day and his BP was quite low when we got home so made him lie down, but he was fine. Bruise now turning yellow so on its way out! So far, his BP seems just a little higher so that is good but it always lingers at the back of your mind and I don't think I shall be able to relax for quite some time.

I removed his steri-strips this morning, healing nicely and beginning to itch. As you can see, mending well but going to have a nice scar if the scab is anything to go by!

 Next, welcome to my new Bloglovin follower, Sharon.

We are on our weekly walk tomorrow but have changed where we will be walking so there will be vehicle access if needed!

On a cool, late autumn morning, there is nothing I like more than being in the kitchen keeping warm.

The first thing on my list was to make some bread. This time I used 1/2 lb of strong wholemeal flour and 1 1/2 lb of strong white flour. I also added two handfuls of combined sunflower and pumpkin seeds and 1/2 cup of golden linseeds.

Here they are fresh from the oven:
Before they were put to rise in their tins, I snatched off 4 small bits to roll out for our lunch. Each was rolled out to around 7 or 8 inches, sprinkled with chilli seeds and a very small amount of finely grated cheese. Another flat was put on top and then the whole thing rolled again to seal.

They were dry fried in a large pan until cooked. We had one each (divided into 6 portions) plus 1/2 a pear and 1/2 an apple for our lunch. They look huge on this plate but were about a 6" circle.

I came across a forgotten bag of tomatillo's in the salad compartment of the fridge. A few were going off so it was time to turn them into a tomatillo sauce, portioned and frozen. I think the recipe is elsewhere on my blog, just search for tomatillo stew or something similar and you should find it.

For our American friends, we don't have easy access to canned tomatillo's over here, so it is grow them yourselves or go without!

Anyway, once grilled, they were mixed with chilli, lime juice and garlic and left in a pan to cool off.
Once cool they were liquidized and frozen in bags containing 3 cups worth. I managed to get two so not bad.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Goodness me - final part

All went well overnight. I got up first, checked on DB, took his BP whilst still in bed, a little higher than of late, but okay. This is what he looked like in the morning:

Insisted he took his time sitting for a while, before standing and moving. Still fine. He came into the kitchen, we made our breakfast and carried it through. Both his drink and porridge were off to one side, luckily! I noticed him giving his hands a shake and said "Are you okay, have your hands gone tingly?"

No reply. Paid more attention to him and he had collapsed again. Luckily he was sitting down and as I couldn't move him to lay him down, grabbed the BP machine and took a reading - 57/32 Pulse 90. It was clear his heart was trying to get blood up to the old brain but I couldn't lie him down as he was wedged in the corner. Luckily he came to and we managed to just lay him down before he passed out again. BP unreadable as was his pulse... Holy S--T.

ABC was carried out, still breathing, still got a heartbeat and pulse. Inflated BP cuff again, 48/76 pulse 48. Better than zero, colour returning but still not great.

I was just about to phone for an ambulance when he came to, not in the least bit groggy and said "Hello, did I go again?" Told him to stay put. He didn't want an ambulance as he was pinking up nicely and BP and pulse had returned to normal. Didn't want his breakfast but had a cup of tea.

If it had been a dire emergency, he would have had no say in the matter and I would have called an ambulance! Having medical training does help in these situations and if his BP and pulse had not come up, or something else had happened, I would have been on that phone like a shot.

By now, it was nearly 9.00am, so I dressed quickly, told him to lay back down and stay there whilst I went to the doctor's. No good phoning for the first half an hour as you can't get through. Luckily, his doctor had an appointment free in the next hour.

He was still lying there, itching to get up and dressed so he did that with me hovering nearby. Put him in the car and drove to the surgery. Wasn't going to take any chances of collision's with a pavement or worse! GP listened to me whilst I went through it all, then gave him a thorough assessment. Asked if I had recorded his readings.

He said "thank goodness you have also done his pulse as that tells me a lot" and having looked at the printout of his past few month's BP and pulse chart (yep, we do them monthly since he went on blood pressure pills), agreed with the paramedic that his blood pressure tablets needed to be halved, and he had in fact fainted, due to over low blood pressure.

We had thought his BP was getting just a little low and had planned on going to him to have it checked. DB has got to go back after taking the lower dose for a month. We are going to monitor his BP 3 x daily, to see how things go, especially when he is standing. His GP just wants twice daily for the week before we go, sitting or standing, different times of the day. However, if it happens again to go back earlier.

Here endeth the long version of events. He allowed me to tell it just in case anything similar happens to someone you love.

Obviously, your first port of call should/might be an ambulance but after watching 999 what's your emergency, at all the idiotic call-outs, we gave ourselves 10 minutes or so before deciding whether he needed one or not.

The next day I washed his hair and removed the dressing. I shall soak off his steri-strips on Tuesday morning. He had one cut around 1 1/2" or so plus 4 smaller ones that didn't need stitching. The top of his head was slightly numb for a couple of days (must have bashed a nerve) but is fine now.

Want to see what he looks like now?:

Looks like he has gone a couple of rounds in the boxing ring! Bless his heart:)

Saturday 16 November 2013

Goodness me.....

We have had a very eventful mid-week here at Frugal in Norfolk.

Our 'ritual' on our walking days once everyone has gone home is to relax, have tea and toast, a bath, watch tv and go to bed. This week was very different.

I had just got out the bath and dressed in my nightie, whilst DB was making the tea and toast or so I thought. I walked through and he was just getting up from a chair.

"Are you alright?" "Yes, just felt a little dizzy, I'm fine now" and off he went to carry on with said tea and toast.

"Actually, it's coming back again" as I began to turn to get a chair, he keeled over. It wasn't a graceful sinking to the ground keeling over, no, it was similar to a tree being felled. Dead straight, straight forward in a straight line.

I couldn't even get to him before he hit the floor, forehead first, with a very sickening crack before the rest of him hit the floor with a resounding thwack! He landed a couple of inches from the opposite tiled wall, literally between the fridge/freezer and vegetable rack. Other than hitting a lino covered concrete floor, he couldn't have chosen a better place to land. I dread to think what would have happened if he had landed on the vegetable rack, being metal mesh!

Shock rooted me to the spot for a couple of seconds before J---- C----- emitted from my lips and I shot over to him, grabbing a handful of kitchen roll to mop up the blood. A quick ABC check ensued (airway, breathing, circulation) which showed he was still with me and several more seconds passed before he opened his eyes and said "Hello, what am I doing down here?"

It is amazing how quickly the mind operates once the sludge has cleared in these situations. Despite my nurse training kicking in, I could feel I was shaking and my heart and breathing were all over the place!

I ran for the BP cuff and monitor, attached it and pressed the button whilst holding the kitchen paper to stem the blood, all the while checking he was still awake. BP 81/47 Pulse 58. Not too bad considering, now on the floor, it should come back up. He wanted to get up but I refused, grabbed a blanket and a dressing gown to cover him. After 5 minutes, checked his BP. again. It was still dropping 65/39 Pulse 54. Not so good.

Time for an ambulance.

Such a split decision to make. Do I go to the land line in the front room and leave him, knowing the medic would be asking lots of questions or use DB's brand new mobile, which I wasn't sure how to use? Opted for the latter. Got thoroughly confused and he had to help bring up the dialling screen (good job he was by now a bit more with it).

Thinking I would remain calm when they answered, I blurted out "My husband has just collapsed, hit his head, and is bleeding" to which the operator replied "I understand madam, do you need, police, fire or ambulance?"
"Oh sorry" said I, "Ambulance please" - Honestly, I can feel myself starting to giggle at the thought of it as I type this up - :)

An ambulance car arrived in about 15 minutes (she was on her way back from another call). The 999 operator on the line once he had established everything was okay, told me help was on the way and did I need him to stay on the line. I said no as I needed to concentrate solely on DB, am resuscitation trained and promised to call them immediately if anything changed. Checking DB was still okay, I dashed off to get dressed in case we had to go to hospital.

DB was by now shaking with laying on a cold floor and shock. The paramedic was very good, took her time, checked him over thoroughly before we helped him onto a chair. The bleeding had by now stopped (I had also given him an ice pack to put on over the kitchen paper). He looked miles better.

Temperature up a little, slight crackle in a lower lung lobe, ECG and BP fine and normal. He had two more BP's done whilst walking and sitting, both fine. A second ECG once he stopped shaking was also fine. She wanted him to go to hospital just to have his cuts glued as she had just done two, used up all her glue and was going back to the hospital to get some more. DB didn't want to go and she was fine with that as she said he was fine and responding normally, not even any concussion! We opted for skin closing steri-strips. She wasn't too keen as they leave a larger scar but DB didn't care.

Duly cleaned and a dressing applied, she left after an hour, instructing him to take 3 lots of paracetamol every 6 hours for the pain. Finally, we were able to get into the warm front room and have a nice, hot cup of tea and a bowl of cereal with hot milk! He went to bed and I prayed nothing would happen during the night!

Here he is just after she left!
Doesn't look too bad at the moment, does it?

Part Two next time...

Friday 15 November 2013

Final bit of turkey

Welcome to my two new followers via Bloglovin, Ozelia and Kate.

Goodness me, you would think this an Easter or Christmas blog post, all this talk of turkey!

Anyhow, what turkey was left was processed with some ham and a ladle or two of leftover soup to make some pastry filling.

The pastry was duly made using 12oz flour and 6oz of fat plus a good pinch of salt and some cold water. From it (and the filling) I managed to get 8 pasties:

These were open frozen without being cooked, then wrapped, put in a protective container and back into the freezer until required.

I rolled out the leftover pastry and managed to get 8 small jam tarts filled with home made rose-hip, apple and orange jampurelly!

In the end, with a few vegetables and pastry added, our single huge turkey leg gave us:
3 x turkey gravy, 3 x 2 bowls of turkey and vegetable soup, 3 enamel tins of potato topped turkey and vegetables in white sauce (8" x 6"), 1 smaller pot of sauce which we had with noodles, 8 pasties and with the little bit of leftover pastry (yes, I know, nothing turkey about it), we got 8 jam tarts.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Talking turkey...

We don't eat turkey for Christmas, New Year or any special holidays. Part of this is because we are not too keen on 'saving' it for special occasions but do like to eat it occasionally.

My last post detailed how I cooked a giant turkey leg and got firstly some beautiful, gelatinous stock for gravy, loads of meat and some base stock for soup.

I just added lots of vegetables and stock cube to get turkey and vegetable soup:
Then I made up a double portion of vegetables in a white sauce and put some into 3 enamel tins:
Once this was cold, some of the diced turkey meat was put on top:
Once stirred in, they were all topped with mashed potato and 2 of them frozen:
Final bit of turkey on my next post!

Monday 11 November 2013

A bit of a bargain

Elaine over at Mortgage Free in Three had shown us how she had cooked a jointed, whole turkey leg, she had purchased from Morrisons for £3. We were going there the other day so looked out for them but the offer was finished and they were now £4.50. Still a bargain though as they are huge. The pack weighed 1.6 kg.

She had suggested cooking them on high in a slow cooker for 5 hours. DB had to saw the drumstick into two pieces as we just couldn't fit it all in and our slow cooker is one of the old large ones! Anyhow, I chopped up an onion, picked 3 fresh bay leaves, added 6 black peppercorns and 1 litre of hot but not boiling water.

I set the timer for 2 1/2 hours and turned them over when it bleeped.

After another 2 1/2 hours, the small part of the drumstick was ready. After another 30 minutes the top part of the drumstick was done and 30 minutes after that, the thigh seemed ok. So for us, 6 hours on high. Here they are cooling down enough to be picked. 
The first meat stripping yielded .600 kg. We couldn't strip all the meat as the thigh needed a little longer to be falling off the bone!

We strained the liquid as soon as the meat came out and ended up with 1.5 litres of lovely basic stock. To it we added 1 good tablespoon of Elaine's home made stock base plus 1 chicken cube. Now it tastes really good. We covered and left the jug in the fridge overnight and a semi gelatinous stock was ready in the morning. 3 bags containing 4 ladles worth were put into the freezer.

The bones and any meat attached to them were simmered for an hour then strained. This yielded another 1/5 litres of base stock towards a nice turkey and vegetable soup.
Any meat left on the bones was stripped off and left to go cold. It will be used for sandwich filling or popped into some soup when served so it doesn't get boiled for a third time!

I don't know about you, but if I spend almost a whole day in the kitchen, I usually don't feel like eating. Although DB was hungry, we both just had a cup of tea and some toast with the bread for our evening 'meal'!

Saturday 9 November 2013


My experiment using fleece and garden mesh (with squares 1 cm in size), seems to have worked. It was not without its problems, namely trying to over sew the turned edges which had a mind of their own.

It took 3/4 of both a green and coffee fleece, plus 1/2 of a purple one. The purple one was a lot thicker despite being the same price so I had to adapt as I went. The green stretchy strips were around 1" in width, the coffee one 1.5" and the purple .75". Just goes to show, they were the same price but from two different stores.

The green and coffee fleeces came from The Range and the purple from B & Q. The ones from B & Q were far superior and are what I am using on my larger rug I started last year.

Anyway, here is a close up photograph of it:
This one is in situ, just inside the inner front door. Goes with the d├ęcor a lot better than the brown one which has now been moved elsewhere.

Friday 8 November 2013

A double donation to finish the year with

I have decided to finish my donation year (on this blog at least) by giving to two separate charities whose work revolves around the homeless/hopeless/desperate.

The first one is national and more well known, Crisis,whose link is here

The second one is more local and is called The Benjamin Foundation, whose web site is here

There but for the grace of God go I...

Wednesday 6 November 2013

This and that...

First of all, welcome to my new follower Elaine Bell from Bloglovin. Also wanted to let you know that I have put a new recipe on my Wartime Cookery page.

We both managed to get out the other day, into the cold but sunny garden, to tidy up the fruit cage and remove all the weeds. As we were walking back, we came across this lonely little rose.
I have no idea what the variety is as I took a couple of cuttings from a friend and she also had no idea. We thought between us it might be Ruby Wedding but this has a very full scent and when we both sniffed the named rose, it didn't have any.

They have never really developed into nice bushes but each of them, sends up 2 or 3 long stems (4 feet high) which have a few buds on them. Despite pruning them correctly each year, they both seem set in their ways. Nonetheless, we love them and they are a lovely if sparse addition to our roses.

On a different point,  we both love swede and carrot mash but whenever we decide to try it at a meal, even in two separate pans, the carrot is always ready way before the swede.

Not to be outdone, we cooked 1lb of each in two pans, mashed them individually, mixed together and froze scoopfuls. Once open frozen, the 13 resulting blobs, were put into a snap close bag for future use.

Monday 4 November 2013

Another rag rug...

Although I am still working on a rug for beside the bed, I thought I would do an experimental one. For both these rugs I am using fleece. I find the stretchy side of the fleece and cut it into 1" to 1.5" inches strips (depending on their thickness). When done, they are stretched (makes each strip 2 times or so longer), and joined together.

Inside the inner front door (from the conservatory to the inner hall), lies a little brown mat. Nothing wrong with it but since decorating, it doesn't gel colour wise and can be used elsewhere.

For this experiment, I decided to see if garden mesh would work and give me a rug that can be thrown into the washing machine.  I usually use rug canvas which has become very expensive and cannot safely be washed as it occasionally falls apart.

Here is the garden mesh having just been cut into shape:
One square is then turned over and over-stitched into place. This was more difficult than rug canvas as it was very floppy and the fleece kept catching on the pointed bits!

Then onwards, normal locker hooking done. It has a slight tendency to curl on one side as they were oblongs and not squares to work with. If I had thought about it a little more, I should have missed out one row to sort out the tension. Hey ho, live and learn.

Here are a few more pictures as it progresses:

I have just done another single row of purple (really wanted shell pink but couldn't find it) plus am also now doing 3 rows of green.

Saturday 2 November 2013

A question of colour...

Welcome to my new follower via Bloglovin - Debbie Puttick.

I have to admit, that until I listened to a rather heated discussion on the radio the other day, I had never heard of the wearing of white poppies! As you can imagine, both sides had quite a lot to say on the subject!

The chap speaking for white poppies was a student union leader. Despite saying he thought the red poppy was outrageous as it stood for war and that the wearing of one is political, managed to sound just like a politician himself.

A much older lady then came on to say why she wears a white poppy (stands for peace in case you didn't know), and was very antagonistic towards the red poppy as she firmly believes it stands for war.

A link to a neutral explanation of the white poppy site is here
A similar link for the red poppy is here

You pays your money and takes your choice springs to mind!

In this household, we have always worn a red one (and it has nothing to do with us having an ancestral Lancashire bias!), as so many of our families were in the Forces, and suffered/died during several wars. Those that survived, were often affected for their entire lives - no understanding of PTSD then!

We have failed to be surprised any more, on just how few people we see wearing them, including those who are old enough to have fought in wars. We wear it because we remember those who are no longer here, who died to give us all a free voice and a free life.

I think sometimes, people forget that all freedom (whether it be physical, mental or emotional) has to be fought for. There will always be people who fall on both sides of an arguement and those who are neutral. That is what has been fought for by others, to give those that remain, that freedom of choice.

Those speaking for and against both colour poppies put their points of view quite well. Personally, I don't see what the 'colour' fuss is about. It seems to me you have two choices of colour should you wish then a final three choices.

Don't contribute and don't wear, contribute and don't wear, or contribute and do wear.

In this household, we will continue to contribute and wear a red poppy!

Now I'll batten down the hatches awaiting comments...

Friday 1 November 2013

War Diary Year III updated

The diary for November 1941/1996 has now been added. Hope you enjoy reading!