Tuesday 31 May 2016


The forecast for ALL day for us, is heavy rain and high winds, so I don't think any outdoor jobs will be getting done. Thank goodness the baby Bluetits are still in their nest box. The baby Goldfinches are rocking in their nest, hopefully protected by their mum.

No tennis yesterday, hopefully some today, although they are forecast showers for the day, so I doubt much tennis will take place, we shall see.

Have a safe day if you are in the East of the country.

Monday 30 May 2016

Goodness me

Well done Andy, commiserations Jamie and well done Jamie. That will only make sense if you have been watching tennis!

I smell... of horses. We visited Houghton Hall International Horse Event on Saturday. Despite a good slightly chilly breeze initially, the sun eventually came out and warmed us up:

We stayed for about 4 hours and eventually meandered our way around the whole cross country course - in two phases. DB reckoned we probably walked the equivalent of 3 or 4 miles doing so.

We stood and watched horses fly by us on tight corners or whizz over each fence where possible, before moving on. As you can imagine, they were very fast and loads of pictures were blurred but these are the best of the bunch:

After getting half way around we returned to the car for a packed lunch and sit down, then treated ourselves to a hot cup of coffee, before walking the other half. On our way back, we came across these good speciments of bracket fungi on an old oak tree:

I think they might be 'chicken of the woods', edible by all accounts depending on its host. I didn't fancy it and wouldn't have taken any anyway but it is certainly a beautiful thing.

The final treat of the day was an ice cream each from a local dairy. I had raspberry and white chocolate, DB had chocolate.

We came home, had an early bath to rid us of horses, watched tennis, had a late supper and retired.

Welcome to Helen Bidwell via Bloglovin.

Friday 27 May 2016


All quiet here today. The dining room painting is finished, we have had our walk around the village inner square of roads - 1 mile - and are settled down with a cup of tea watching tennis.

I have transplanted salad thinnings, sown radish and watered them in. A little later, I shall move the tomatoes out of the cramped mini greenhouse for the day.

Eight more squares of crochet are awaiting their green outer border, before being joined into pairs. After that they will be sewn into a row, then added to the blanket.

We hope to visit Houghton Hall International Horse Trials and vintage fair, sometime over the weekend. That's it folks, so have a lovely weekend.

Thursday 26 May 2016

How long?

We celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary today although celebration is a bit of a misnomer today.

DB is busy painting the skirting boards in the dining room as well as repairing a bit of concrete floor near the outside door. I have just cleaned the bathroom and have now settled down for a while. We rarely buy each other presents so were going to treat ourselves to meal out at our local pub. They didn't have any tables left for today so we shall do that tomorrow!

The sky is as grey as dishwater, the temperatures are currently around 11C so I certainly don't plan on doing any gardening or even putting washing on as it just won't dry - says she - wringing her hands:)

Yesterdays bread making nearly turned into a disaster. I really must type out the doubled up recipe rather than just trying to remember it. I got everything mixed in the processor but it turned into a solid lump - doh - I had forgotten to double up the liquid.

Eventually it got sorted out, rose fine and was baked but we haven't tried any yet so hopefully it will taste fine.

Still, the flowers are increasing in the garden with the little slimline irises coming into bloom:
 All is well!

Tuesday 24 May 2016


First of all, well done to Heather Watson, Kyle Edmund, Andy Murray and Aljaz Bedene for all coming through the first round of the French Open (a bit of a close call there Andy). Laura Robson and Johanna Konta have yet to play later today.

We are decorating the dining room, the last room to be done for quite a while we hope. It is a room with 4 entrances into it so gets very grubby. Also, although the Farrow and Ball paint that is currently on the walls is lovely, it isn't easy to wipe clean.

We have gone for Dulux Mineral Mist, which isn't quite the shade we wanted but the closest to it. The colour needs to blend in with the furniture we already have but as this is the last room to be fully decorated, it will have new curtains and carpet.

The previous curtains are going to a family member so will not be wasted. The carpet may go into the attic for insulation on its floor, if we can lift it up there.

The current carpet has been down quite a few years now and is getting flat with some interesting whorls appearing in it which DB tells me, is very hard to hoover over as it is similar to driving a car over speed bumps. Hard on the wrists!

Chosing a carpet was a right pain as blue is not an in colour at the moment, same with the curtains, which we still haven't found. Herewith the sample of carpet with the old and new paint, new paint on the left:
Below is the wall which normally houses a huge mirror to help throw light into the room, edges currently painted.
It isn't getting any easier as we age, both of us were aching like mad after the first day. Two walls have had two coats of paint and furniture temporarily put back. The last two walls should have both coats finished by tomorrow. Then we start again with the skirting boards.

We went to Reed's in Downham Market to look at curtains and found just the right pair but not with eyelets. They wanted between £59 and £75 to change them from gathered pleated tops to eyelets, we decided against it so are looking again. 

Onwards and upwards.

Monday 23 May 2016


Welcome to Jessica Quick via Bloglovin.

Back to the doctors last Friday to change beta-blockers. The first lot were fine but made me very tired. The second kind made me less tired but caused other kinds of 'common' problems. I am now trying the first lot again but taking them at night rather than first thing in the morning. We shall see how that goes. So far so good but it usually takes about 2 weeks for any unwanted side effects to kick in:(

The front garden, with the combination of rain and sunshine is leaping into action. The difference each week is amazing. This was last Friday:

This is today:
It is difficult to see the iris and other small flouwered plants in bloom but with the eye, they are very apparent.

Friday 20 May 2016

Jolly Gumdrops

We found these in Lidl today, 79p a tin and bought 2 tins, one of which has gone into the winter food box:
We haven't eaten these for years but quite like them. If you haven't tried them, they have a lightly scented flavour, in the same way that mango sometimes has but their taste and texture is unique.

We also came across these in Mr. T's, Nestle gluten free chocolate rice. They also do gf cornflakes, and gf honey cornflakes. Up until now, not wanting to pay the price for specialised cereals (and not needing too as we are not Coeliacs) we have been having other cereal which has barley malt extract.

We weren't happy doing that, so finding these, at a good price for a good amount, we decided to try them and will let you know.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 19 May 2016


DB has finally finished painting the patio chairs and table. The job has taken about a week or so, relying on constant overpainting to try and get the colour as good as it can be.

The side garage door has also been painted and together, we think they match up quite well:
The door is a nice shade of pale green although with the sun on it, as seen here, it doesn't really show up. Here is the table and one of the four chairs:

Other than his dedicated if prolonged and boring painting time, we now have a rustfree set of chairs and a new look patio set, for the cost of the can of paint, around £16 I think.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

A new flavoured gf biscuit

Carrying on with gf baking, I normally make these biscuits, oat and chocolate chip cookies,  as per the recipe on the gluten free tab above. However, last week, I picked up this chocolate from Lidl:
We only had half of it left, so 100g rather than 200g went into the biscuits but they still taste lovely and are very crisp.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Wool Blanket

Welcome to Jane Berry via Bloglovin.

I am now halfway through my knee blanket for next winter. If I remember correctly, I have learnt treble, double and single crochet (UK versions):
I have to do the same again, then I'll choose a small but nice border to finish it off. Rather than do another 32 squares, I shall do 8 at a time, join them together to form a row, then add them to the main blanket before doing the next 8.

I think it will measure around 50" x 50" when done and from a wool point of view, have cost me £10.50 less any wool leftover once finished.

I am quite pleased with it although yesterday, I had 3 rows sewn together then realiased the bottom one had been attached at the top so had to unpick it:(

Monday 16 May 2016

Bread and winter box

After my gf debarcle making sourdough bread, in which not a single loaf worked properly and getting fed up with wasting ingredients, I returned to my normal loaf as per the recipe from The Glutenfree Alchemist - Oat Bread:
 Here is a screen print of the contents, to date, of our food box for winter 16/17:
Coming along nicely!

Sunday 15 May 2016

At last I can say....


He has just won the Masters Italian Open in Rome with the most spectacular of final shots. Why is this win so special?

He is the first male British player to win this since the beginning of the tennis Open Era from 1968. The last British man won before then in 1931. Virginia Wade won it in 1971.

He is the first tennis player to break the Djokovic/Nadal stranglehold on this tournament since 2004.

It is his first win over Novak on clay.

It is his second win in 14 attempts, over Novak, since he won Wimbledon in 2013.

Today is his birthday, he has never won a match on his birthday before and was even given a cake with a candle to blow out, so...

Happy Birthday Andy and Congratulations!

Let's hope that shuts up the ne're do wells who keep saying his tennis has gone downhill since the birth of his daughter Sophia, or that he is always looking tired.

Friday 13 May 2016

Bursting out all over ... UPDATED

The garden that is not me. Although if the truth be told, I need to lose a little winter weight, maybe 2lb or 3lb tops:)

Herewith some shots of the front garden:

The newly planted troughs on the fence outside the kitchen (the alpines didn't make it through the winter:(

The tomatoes and peppers inside my small greenhouse which will need to be fleeced overnight for several nights now - oh - and the little bergonia's above I think as well:
Finally, the ornamental quince outside the dining room door:

Congratulations to Andy Murray for winning the Sporting Role Model Award see

Tennis is about to start so I shall sit and watch Jamie and Bruno in the doubles, then my two favourites in the singles, Andy and David Goffin - oh dear, who should I cheer for?

Have a lovely weekend folks and keep warm!

Thursday 12 May 2016

Its a good job

DB is a very patient man! He is currently painting metal and mesh patio chairs with hammerite, such a fiddly and difficult job. It wants to smear rather than be painted on. He has painted the back garage side door a lovely pale sage green and we managed to get hammerite paint in a similar colour.

It would have been easier to spray paint them but that would have cost us an enormous amount of money as we reckoned it would use 1 can per chair at £12 a can. Also, the spray colours are not varied enough, our local shops only seem to have black or white.

The chosen tin has cost about £16 and should do all 4 chairs. Don't think the table needs doing but the mesh on the chair seats had started to show early signs of rust. I know some people who would have just binned the whole set and bought new:(

I have just potted on the tomatoes so the new compost should feed them now until they need to go out. Looks like I might need to temporarily add some fleece protection to the cold frame for the next week, as night time temperatures are due to drop here to between 3 - 6C overnight for a few nights:(

The heating has been off for a while so knee covers might also be needed and maybe even a light jumper with the daytime temperature also drop to about 12C for a few days.

Typical May weather really.

Wednesday 11 May 2016


Despite the wet weather, we decided to go to the seaside yesterday just for a brief visit and some lunch.

Reversing slowly out the drive we heard a loud thud, the kind of noise you might hear when you back into a bicycle parked behind the car. Not that either of us have a bicycle but you know what I mean. We both looked into the side mirrors to see that the gates were still closed - doh!

The car was moved forward again so we could check for damage. The gates were okay and other than a very small bolt shaped mark just below the number plate, no other car damage was evident - phew:)

Once on our way, we negotiated a long queue of held up traffic behind two tractors, wondering if we should turn off and go more onto the back roads.

We persevered and eventually they turned off and soon we were parking. We had planned on a quick walk along the beach before eating but just as we got out the car, heavy rain began to fall and we quickly dived into the cafe, where be both had chilli:
DB had beef and I gave Quorn a go. They both tasted lovely but the quorn had a lot more cumin in it. The amount of food was almost too much for us both and we didn't need much else except tea and toast later in the evening. As it was still raining when we came out, we went home and watched David Goffin of Belgium, win his tennis match. He is another favourite of us both.

Tuesday 10 May 2016

War Diary

Our War Diary Year VI, for the months April to June have been updated. Sorry for the delay!

Gentle rain fell from 9pm last night, all night and by the look of the forecast, will have rain all day. The temperature is currently 21C, so a good even feel to the day, if a little close.

We had planned on going out for a seaside stroll and our first taste of fish and chips. We might go or leave it until another day.

Wherever you are and whatever your plans for today, hope you have a lovely day.

Sunday 8 May 2016

So close....

But just a tad too far today for Andy Murray:(

First set, he was serving heaps better but nothing was really working for him. Second set was really good, third set just did not justify how hard he fought to come back.

So well done Andy, a good match, your best of the week. Well done also, to Kyle Edmund for winning his challenger event and commiserations to Dav Evans for being runner up in his final. Can't win them all but well done says I.

Saturday 7 May 2016

Well done Andy

Boy, that was hard to watch, so few first serves but very good wins off the second serve. Lets hope your first serves materialise tomorrow.

Good luck also to Kyle Edmunds and Dan Evans who will be playing in their respective Challenger Tour finals from 3pm.

Friday 6 May 2016

New Plants

After the new fence on the right of the front garden was painted, I set too, digging up 3 very old lavenders to replace them with new plants. They have naturally set seeds over the years and given me new plants but I felt like a change.

Did you know, when you lavender gets too big and bare stemmed towards the bottom, you can dig up the whole thing carefully in Autumn, dig a deeper hole and replant it right down to where its new tips start?

These 3 have already had that done twice but were now finished. Here are the new plants to replace them. The first is Broom 'Lena', which has orange red flowers, slowing about to emerge. It will grow to about 4 feet:
This one is Photinia 'Red Robin'. It could grow very large but we hope to keep it cut back to about 5 feet:
The last plant is Pittosporum Eugenoides 'Varigated'. It too can become large but again, we hope to restrict it to 5 feet or so:
Lets hope I can control them well enough!

Thursday 5 May 2016

Is this a hybrid?

Welcome to Victoria Baggott via Bloglovin.

I have finally managed to keep a couple of cowslips going in the garden. I have no idea why I find it so difficult. They live under an apple tree so have good sunlight when in flower and light shade afterwards. Last year, I left the seed pods on and got quite a few babies and this year, they are in flower.

Herewith one of the parents:
A normal cowslip just like most of its babies, except this one:
Multi headed like a cowslip but with flowers like a mini primrose - ah, ain't it sweet.

In my mini greenhouse, the baby tomatoes and peppers, are now out day and night although for the past few nights, they have been in fleece. However, with nights now due to be around the 9C minimum, I think I shall be able to remove the fleece and shut them in at night:

Wednesday 4 May 2016


After DS and DDiL had visited for the weekend, we always try to get their bedding, dogs towels etc, washed as soon as possible so we can put it all away, ready for next time.

The problem is, that our washing line can't take all of the washing, ours and theirs, so I needed an emergency line.

Cue some orange nylon string:
A battery clip and a cane:
And my drying area has doubled!

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Little Miss M

After receiving a photograph from lovely DiL, DB has finally finished his needlepoint version of it. I think it has him taken about 2 years as it is very fine and most people looking at it, think it is a photograph:
At this stage it hadn't been washed, stretched or put into a frame but I think it is amazing. Well done DB! It is now on the wall in the same room as Miss S. Just Master L. to go to complete the set:) - for now!

Monday 2 May 2016

First failure

I'm sorry to say the first loaf of sourdough we made, after making the sourdough starter and it working okay, was not good. It probably didn't help that the first recipe I chose to try was the only one in the River Cottage based book without the addition of extra yeast:(

The loaf was very liquid, didn't rise even after several hours in a warm airing cupboard and was almost solid with the psyllium husk before being baked. It rose ever so slightly during cooking, the time of which seemed far too long. I removed it after a total of 40 minutes rather than the 1 hour plus stated and it was definitely cooked.

Once sliced it looked reasonable but was way too gummy. We have had that before so tasted some to see if it had that magical sourdough taste - erm, nope!

We both disliked it so much as it was very sour, so the birds got it:( my own devised starter seems to be working better, so we shall see how this one goes!