Monday 30 December 2013

Things aren't always what they appear...

Last Friday I decided to make my bread, let it begin to rise, then we were going to go shopping. DB happened to mention that he had been getting the tightness back in his chest. Being a Friday, he went off to see if he could get an appointment with the emergency doctor to re-instate one of his pills.

For some reason, (holidays to one side), two doctor's were on duty doing triage then seeing people if required, neither doctor was his. 1 1/2 hours later I still hadn't heard from him so sent him a quick text. "Still waiting" was the reply. This was followed by "just going to have an ECG", then a short while later, "put the kettle on!"

A few minutes later he was home, carrying an envelope, stating he had to go up to the hospital to the MAU (Medical Assessment Unit). As it was lunch time and the particular doctor he saw had done this twice to him before, we both felt he could take a quick 20 minutes out, to have a sandwich and a drink!

Parking at the hospital was good for a change as we arrived before visiting time. He had routine checks done, then a long wait to see the doctor. Another long wait for the consultant. Three hours up there and we were waiting for dischange, then I remembered the bread in the airing cupboard!!

Finally back home (and in fine shape) we rescued the bread - oh dear:
Despite having a tea towel over the top, it had over proved and dried out. Ah well, I gave it a good smack in the kitchen, re-rolled it into the washed out tins and waited with baited breath:
Needn't have worried. There are a few specks of dried crust hidden throughout but nothing major.

The meal I had planned would take too long (it was already after tea time anyway) and we both felt disconknockerated as they say. We bought a well know make of apple pie as it looked so nice on the adverts, but was a different proposition in real life:

It did taste okay though, especially with the proverbial custard. We went to bed early and both slept like logs, although someone was obviously on a log train for a couple of hours or so:)

Ah, ain't love grand!

Sunday 29 December 2013

A new dinky do!

I had mentioned on a previous couple of posts that I was trying to knit some 'visiting' slippers. The first pair (pink) didn't turn out the correct size so I looked for another pattern and found one here

Being the dumb knitting creature that I am, I went wrong, so had to write it out in a language I could understand and hope she doesn't mind!

Anyway, herewith the first one, finished, sewn up and on!
 From the side:
And empty to show you how it 'free-stands':
I added an extra 2 ridges (4 rows) to the pattern to get it to fit me (Size 6). It is not the sort of slipper to stop you feeling it if you stand on anything, more to keep your socks clean when visiting. Light enough to fold up and take with you.

I think I might decorate it and experiment if I can knit an inner sole to it to give it a bit more body for normal wear.

Friday 27 December 2013

Tidal surge damage at Old Hunstanton

Christmas Day afternoon was the first time we had been to Old Hunstanton since the tidal surge down the North Sea, hit it a few short weeks ago. What a change of scenery. We also wanted to know when the Old Lifeboat Beach Cafe would be open, so our visit served two purposes!

Normally, you could stand outside said cafe and look through tall sand dunes, down a slope and eventually see the sea. Now it has changed. Some of the dunes have been completely washed away, several had had their height brought down and others have been cut back into by many feet.

I'll leave you with the photographs - visiting gives you a better perspective, this first one shows how much sand worked its way up the slope to the cafe, almost all the same height now rather than a slope!

This is the view once you get on the beach. You couldn't previously see these stones in cages.

The top half of the beach looks more like a field of hay recently ploughed. This 'hay' or grass from the sand dunes, was maybe 20 or so feet in depth!
A chunk of part of a small ledge had fallen away and a new fence has been erected.
Several rock falls were evident. You can see the flower and bramble remains of land that was on the top of the cliffs.
A huge chuck dropped here .
More land sitting on the beach.
Even a large litter bin.
We only walked down the slope and turned right, it was so cold and windy we didn't go in the other direction, towards Holme etc. Another day perhaps!

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Later that day...

Yesterday, DB surprised me with these:
As there was just the two of us for Christmas, we opened our presents mid morning, then had a nice cup of tea and a slice of Dundee cake! We have a limit that we spend on each other and others (or make) and also make lists. Usually not everything is bought from said lists and some go a little off piste, so there are always some surprises in the mix. Here they are before opening:

Here is what Santa (DB) bought me plus some from a few close friends:
A knitting bag, salt cellar, 3 x Ellie Dean books, an Il Divo DVD, a micro-plane, 2 pairs of bamboo knitting needles and a pair of ferocious looking needlework snips!

Mrs. T. (late of our little school), got me some hand wash and hand cream and E. a pedometer for when we are out on our walks. We limit ourselves to a small amount of money for these gifts. R. had made us some red onion marmalade.

My Christmas meal consisted of:
DB had:
We both finished off with orange and marsala trifle:
I have been looking for ages at these food photographs wondering what was missing - ah, the sweet and sour red cabbage! Ah well, it will keep.

We then drove to Old Hunstanton to check out the damage caused by the storm surge a short while ago. I'll post photographs another day of that! We will have something light for tea, then settle down to an evening of TV.

Hope you had a lovely day - lack of power and floods notwithstanding:(

Tuesday 24 December 2013

What a night...

Welcome to my new follower via Bloglovin - Christine Moorwood.

Apart from one of those nights when you know you won't sleep (around 4am for me I think), it was truly a miserable night with the weather. For a while, we thought we had missed it, but early in the morning, the ferocity of the wind and the Fire engine pressure of the rain, hit with full force.

First thing this morning, checked our boundaries and all fences still standing bar one, which had shunted out in one direction - it will need re-attaching!

Off this morning to hand out a final card and pressie (and get coffee and mince pie and a hug in return), then we are in for the duration. DS, FDil and dogs due for the New Year.

I had to pull out 6 rows of knitting yesterday as I had misread the pattern. I have now re-written it in jargon only I can appreciate and things are going a little more smoothly. I will also have to patch my newly knitted bootees as the heels have gone on them both. The pair last year, lasted almost a year and these only a few weeks. Ah well.

Anyway, may all my blogging friends and followers have a lovely Christmas (or holiday if you are having one). Thought I would leave you with this needlepoint, completed by DB!

Yes, that is a slight reflection of me in there!

Monday 23 December 2013

If at first you don't succeed....

Try another pattern!

The other day, I posted about knitting one of a pair of fold away slippers (ideal for visiting). It was too small by several inches and I am only a size 6 at the most!

However, a quick search on the internet yielded loads more patterns so I chose one I could manage - the simple knitter that I am. Around 90 rows from start to finish I knew I could tackle it. I usually only do 10 - 20 rows at any one time otherwise my thumb goes to sleep.

Anyway, herewith photograph of my start:
The two creases in the middle will fit under the foot, the two outer ones form a crease where the very outside part turns over. They seem a little thin in width for the sole but can be stretched to fit. Lengthwise, shouldn't be a problem as they can have extra rows knitted to fit. Garter stitch all the way except 1 purl (x4) where the creases are!

The pattern can be found here

Although it has now become light, at 09:45, the Christmas tree lights were still on:

Saturday 21 December 2013

Trying to avoid the hustle and knitting...

On the run up to Christmas, we have visited a friends house for coffee and mince pies, then one evening, went to The White Horse at Holme next the Sea for a 'Christmas' meal with 2 friends.We have done a large top-up of fresh food and visited the 'Lituanica' store in King's Lynn, with another friend who was a bit bothered about going in on her own.

I still need to make the grand-dogs their presents then all will be finished. A quiet Christmas for us, then we are looking forward to the New Year with DS, his fiancée and the dogs.

Finally finished my bit of knitting. Did you guess what it was no! - then I will show you (apologies in advance for the slightly blurred picture but I was started to fall over as I snapped it:).

Yup!, one of a pair of fold away ballet style slippers, the sort of thing you can keep in your pocket when visiting. Unfortunately, they are too small for me (Size 6) as the heel part sits about 2" under my foot. Yes, I could cast on more stitches at the beginning and make them larger but I don't have enough wool so won't bother. It has however, kept me nicely entertained for a couple of days!

The pattern for these came from Elaine's blog here

Thursday 19 December 2013

A tiny snapshot

This is just a small part of what is on my needles at the moment:
I have finally finished knitting a present for someone and have just a little spare time to knit myself something small. I am not sure it will fit yet so have decided to add another couple of pattern rows. Even then...

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Almost finished...

First of all, welcome to my new followers, Faith Greening, Gardening with E and Creekymum!

At long last, bar wrapping one present, all Christmas preparations are done. Decorations are up, well not up as such as this year as for the first time, we have no ceiling ones up. The Welsh dresser in the dining room is dressed:
Here is a close up of the Santa rag rug:
Other years, it hasn't always been put out due to its colour not fitting into any room. Now we have painted the dresser, it blends in beautifully.

The tree has been put up in the lounge and decorated:
 As has the mantelpiece:
I might bring some greenery into the room nearer the time but it won't last long. Once the wood-burner is going, it just gets too hot in there!

Even managed to get some mince pies done. The first ones have a frangipane topping courtesy of Mary Berry. However her recipe said to cook them for 15 - 17 minutes. Being deep ones (which her recipe stated), we found they took just over 25 minutes!
The second batch just have a pastry star on them.
Most have now been frozen to prevent us scoffing them all at once.

Monday 16 December 2013


Love him or loathe him (and I love him), Andy Murray is The Sports Personality of 2013.

I normally don't watch this programme nowadays, as it tends to go on forever, but after finishing watching a film, we changed channels and caught him at the end of a speech. I thought he was maybe a runner up. Then they started announcing the winners in reverse order.

I waited with baited breath, 3rd place jockey A.P. McCoy, 2nd place rugby player Leigh Halfpenny, then finally, 1st place is awarded to Andy Murray! See here for his acceptance speech - Andy Murray
Apparently, of all the people who voted, 50% of them voted for him which is great.

He is coming out of his shell more and more and has a lovely personality with a bit of self deprecation thrown in for good measure.

Anyway, that's what I think, I'm sure some of you will disagree.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Flaky pastry tit bits

Welcome to my new follower via Bloglovin - Chel C.

Yesterday, finally, saw me doing a little more Christmas cooking and I do mean a little. I used half a packet of pastry and made 16 mini/medium sausage rolls.

I didn't want to make anything sweet related with the other half and as it had been frozen, needed to use it up. A mozzarella cheese close to its use by date was in the fridge, so decided to make a 'pizza' but with the flaky pastry. Not too bad as it happened.

I have just realised I'd forgotten to put the December issue of the War Diary on-line. Sorry about that. Hope you enjoy reading it.

Friday 13 December 2013

Remembering and finding out...

Welcome to my new followers halloween couple! Glad to have you aboard the old Norfolk Express.

Yesterday would have been B's 60th birthday and she had been so looking forward to celebrating it, yet knew she would not be able to.

Half of her ashes had been mixed with the remaining half of her husband's. Her parents and brothers had taken everyone over to Pembrokeshire to scatter them off their favourite cliff, then sat and remembered her on the seat she had paid for after her husband's death, and had erected at their favourite holiday haunt.

The other half of her ashes, still awaits placement in our churchyard, when other members of the family can get together to do so. Seems a long interval really, but there you go.

Anyhow, we all went down there to say hello to her husband, remember B and lay some flowers.

On a brighter note, on one of our last walks, I had finally tried a sausage sandwich (just don't go there, I normally don't eat them unless they are made by me). I was informed they had a high meat content and were made by Arthur Howell's - a well known, award winning butcher, whose web sites can be found here

Guess what, they were very nice, no gristle or chips of bone (both of which I had eaten in the past and that had put me off).

As we were walking this week, from Wells next the sea, in we went. A huge array of sausages were in there but I asked for the style sold in that particular cafe, turned out they were the Wells mix! A kg for £7.80 (yes expensive but well worth it) were bought and also on offer, half price, were large joints of chuck beef. I also bought one of those (weighing 4.5 lbs) for £10. 5 have been allocated for sausage rolls, the rest divided up for meals. The chuck joint was cut in half and they will be slow cooked when needed.

Tuesday 10 December 2013


The shortest Christmas cake in the world?
It's height measure anywhere between 1 inch and 1 1/2 inches. The recipe, a nice Whisky Dundee cake, was for an 8" pan but I couldn't find it so had to use a 9" one. It was supposed to take 2 -  2 1/2 hours to cook but was finished in 1 hour and 50 minutes.

It has been fed both sides with Whisky and will be double wrapped in cling film and then foil to keep it until we need it. I might well feed it again. There seems to be some debate whether you can keep Dundee cakes but I didn't know that last time I made on and it still looked and tasted fine after 2 - 3 months!

Anyhow, I have now found out they can be kept for up to 2 months fresh and 3 months frozen. I may or may not decorate it with marzipan but no icing.

When it came to washing up the myriad of utensils used, I did my normal water saving trick of only filling up the mixing bowl and washing everything in it before finishing by washing the bowl itself.

Finally, welcome to my three new followers, fluffy muffin, Florence Millo and TrishWish.

Sunday 8 December 2013

If I am not careful...

I will be in danger of Christmas passing me by! Normally by this time of the month, Christmas cards will have been sent, presents almost bought and eating things prepared and in the freezer or cupboards.

Have I done any of that yet, NO!

Truth be told, I have started to soak the dried fruit for a Dundee cake, that will have to be made Tuesday as it is our first free day this week. Today we shall do the cards and a few presents have now been bought. I'm waiting until our walk day to pick up some sausages from a new butcher whose fare I tried the other day and enjoyed. He lives nowhere near us hence waiting until then.

Ah well, everything come to he who waits or some such thing.

A couple of days ago, I cooked 6 jacket potatoes. 2 were eaten on the night, 2 frozen and the other 2 sliced thinly for the dish below.

I fancied some cauliflower cheese but only found broccoli in the indoor freezer. DB doesn't eat either so a tray of vegetables (plus my broccoli) were roasted. Whilst that was doing I made the cheese sauce. Once the vegetables were ready, they were put into a dish, covered with the sauce, then the sliced jacket potatoes and extra cheese put on top. A grand total of 4oz of cheese was used so not too bad.

Herewith before baking:
And afterwards:
It was meant to last us two meals but DB was hungry and ate all his share, (he won't touch mine due to the broccoli!). I had had indigestion all afternoon so could only manage half my portion. I am having the rest for lunch today and DB will have something else.

We are trialling cooking some brisket in the slow cooker. Not done it before so hope all goes well.

Friday 6 December 2013

I don't know

The death of Nelson Mandela has been announced. Sometimes though, I wish the news stations would not try and speak for 'all of us' in their sweeping statements of "the whole world will be in mourning at the death of Nelson Mandela, or the whole of Britain has been affected by this, that or the other" etc.

Such events are truly sad and if you are unlucky to be the ones caught up in it, devastating. I admit, while the news reports were on, I felt sad but as great a man as Mandela was, I didn't know him, he didn't know me or mine and I am not devastated. I do note his passing and wonder what effect (good or bad) it might have on those who considered him "Father of a nation". I wonder if his legacy of a non-violent way of changing thinking will survive him, I really hope so. South Africa appears to be a better country for it.

I don't know whether feeling this way is how you get as you start to get older or not. Maybe the older you get, you have seen 'it all' and nothing really amazes or fazes you unless it is personal. The great, the good and salt of the earth people come and go, friends and family likewise.

When we are out on our walks, we discuss all manner of things, both good and positively bad. We dissect them, say what we think about it (both good and bad) and move on. Maybe it is some kind of invisible protective shield that surrounds our thinking in such circumstances, helping us move through troubled and sad times. Who knows.

I was, oddly enough, affected by Princess Diana's death, not so much because of the hoo hah on the news and the outpouring of grief but in a more personal way, memories of the death of my own mother when I was a child, re-surfaced and caught me unaware's. I don't think I had really mourned her, I certainly did that day.

We are such diverse and strange people, aren't we?

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Pumpkin Tart but not as you know it!

It must be quite a few years since we had Pumpkin Tart so the other day, decided to make one. I didn't have a pumpkin per se but did have a Butternut Squash so used that instead. I follow the recipe given to me by a friend but trying to cut down the calories a little, decided to make it without the pastry!

Anyway, herewith the recipe:

13oz of cooked, drained, mashed, re-drained pumpkin/squash - COLD-

Juice and zest of 2 lemons
7oz (was 8oz) castor or granulated white sugar (you could change this for brown if you wish)
4oz sultana's - (we don't think they are really necessary)
1/2 teaspoon each of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg
2 eggs
1 tablespoon sweet sherry or marsala wine

Mix everything together in a mixing bowl. It will be very runny at this stage but don't worry.

As it was so long since it was last made, I panicked a bit and added 1oz ground almonds but wouldn't do so again as it made it too thick!

Very lightly grease a casserole dish - you will have to judge by how much mixture there is to what size dish you need, and pour in the mixture.

If making in a pastry shell, I have done it in a Victoria sandwich cake tin and a 9" flan tin.

Bake in an oven set to 190C for 35 - 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold but not hot. We had ours with some of our home made yoghurt.

Here it is both before and after baking:

The sultana's have a tendency to sink. It tastes like a lemony, spiced egg custard with a similar consistency.

Whilst the oven was on for that, I made some soda bread and decided to bake it in a loaf tin, so we could use the slicer - crumbled a little but sliced reasonably well:
Despite what all the books tell you, we find soda bread can last 3 - 4 days as long as it is put in a plastic bag, which has been lightly tied. It is good for sandwiches on the first da. After that, it is best used as toast.

Monday 2 December 2013


There doesn't seem to be a dictionary definition of what scarflette actually means but there are many for sale on the web and also lots of patterns.

I have no problem stating that I am a very slow knitter, (although I did once knit an entire jumper that took more than 2 years for it to become a Christmas present). I could knit little things for my son when he was a baby but had to plan ahead many months so he would be the right size when it was finished - note,  not the other way around:) Anyhow, I found this simple to knit version on Elaine's blog here

I also had great difficulty understanding how to knit the button hole in, having never done this before. Having searched the internet, I finally found an explanation here that I could actually understand - though I did have to play it numerous times and sit with it in front of me whilst I attempted it. BE WARNED THOUGH, IT DOES START PLAYING ONCE LOADED!

Here is my first attempt:
And wearing it:
I am currently about halfway through knitting another as a gift but it has now become clear, that I am not going to have enough wool to finish it - darn it. I have had this wool for years so will not be able to buy any more but do have some more in a completely different colour. Problem is, do I pull down the 14" I have already knitted and start again alternating both balls of wool, or, do I insert the new colour now, knit for about 4" then change back to the original colour to finish?


Sunday 1 December 2013

Treasuring the old...

First of all welcome to my new followers, Julie, Shaz and Hazel.

One of the things I was given by my late mother-in-law, was her old, but no longer in use, Kenwood food mixer. DB is great at fixing things and after looking it over, cleaning and putting it back together, it worked well. We believe it dates from between 1957 and 1960!

We were using this, during our 6 years living on rations and although it was too late a model, helped us feel more in the time period. It worked really well until one day, an awful noise emanated from it and the beautiful glass bowl had cracked into two! Not to be outdone, DB used glass glue and it went back together surprisingly well. However, I was too afraid to use it after that for fear of breaking it again and it now lives in the attic. We have found a Kenwood site that sells second-hand parts, but nearly everyone wants the glass bowl!

Ah well. A few years later, I was very kindly given another Kenwood Chef by an elderly gentleman I had got to know. He told me his wife used to use it all the time but had since died and the machine was living in his garage. He didn't want anything for it but being a diabetic, I gave him a couple of jars of diabetic jam and marmalade.

It has been in constant use ever since, mainly for mincing meat, making bread, whisking egg whites and the odd cake mixture. It does have a liquidiser with it but no lid so that is in the attic. Wonderful places attics aren't they?

This model dates from  1966 - 1979. It is probably early to mid 70's, due to the date his wife passed on.
DB recently had to take it apart and service it when I tried, in vain, to mince some rose hips and the mincer wouldn't come out of its socket!

Judging by the noise my Kenwood food processor is making - the blade chopper upper thing! - (now nearly 33 years old), it too will soon need some attention:)