Friday 31 March 2017


Welcome to Jenid via Bloglovin.

Here is the first view for this year, from our lounge, of the front gravel garden:
Almost everything is making an appearance although to be honest, some things never died off. The oriental poppies have been green all winter. The main bugbear in this garden is a low growing speedwell, which grows everywhere. It is closely followed by yellow corydalis, which although prettty, just gets everywhere. The final nuisance is some sort of low growing oxalis, tiny reddish leaves, slightly red stems, which I think is oxalis corniculata atropurpurea.

Whilst we have had some lovely sunny days, they have been accompanied by a brisk slightly chilly wind.

In the back, I am pleased to say, most fruit trees have blossom out (plums), or bunches waiting to emerge. This includes our, heavily trained, Bramley apple which I have been pruning (correctly now) for two years to get it to flower - it appears to have loads of blossom buds.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday 30 March 2017

Kitchen and Davis Cup TV coverage

First of all, welcome to Ingela Okvist Ostrom via Bloglovin. For those of you who are interested, the BBC is covering the event, see here.

All the cabinet doors, pelmet and cornice are finished and we have now repainted the kitchen, changing the walls from blue grey to calico:

Just the flooring to sort out and it will be finished for a while. We still need to change the sink and taps and probably the worktop but that will be done another year.

Monday 27 March 2017

We are busy...

Had a lovely Mother's Day weekend with DS. DDiL and Grand Dogs stayed at home as they were busy on horse duties.

All the kitchen cupboard doors, permet and cornice have been changed - see below. We decided after doing that job (which took 3 weeks), that they didn't go with the current paint. So this morning we prepared the kitchen for painting, to change the colour from blue grey:

To calico - not finished yet hence no final pictures. We have also visited a garden centre to get the final bag of cobbles to finish a job in the garden.

Saturday 25 March 2017

A new to me

Gluten Free range that I came across in Lidl this morning:
They were £1.99 each (less 49p at the till). I think they are probably designed for one person but we bought one each of the above to try them out. They are meant to be cooked in the bag, in a microwave, but we did it in a pan so we could smell and view the contents before cooking. You can view their products here.

Before opening, I thought they were just a sauce but do in fact, contain a small amount of meat as described on each picture/label.

We had the Kerala Chicken curry with chips and peas for our tea, plus some extra chicken to eek it out for the two of us:

If you like very mild curry this is for you. Needed more heat for us but all in all, not too bad but we really needed a bag each.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 23 March 2017

It looks like...

That for the British tennis players, Miami is proving as tough as Indian Wells! Andy out injured, Bedane retired injured, Heather out, Dan out, followed by Kyle. Blimey.

Just Johanna and Jamie to go today, I hope they have better look. Normal conversation today, as the BBC is going overboard again, presenting what has happened, practically second by second. There is only so much you can say.

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Before, during, after...

Our patio runs along the whole back wall of the bungalow. There is about a 4" gap between the first lot of slabs and said wall. We currently have it lined with gravel from the driveway:
It always looks a mess as the birds are constantly searching for things in it. Also, the rest of the non-growing area of the back garden has red gravel on it, so they constantly get mixed up and it drives us both mad.

We took the decision to change it. DB cleared out the gravel and soil down to about 2", cut up some old compost bags into strips, pushed them well down front and back before temporarily holding them in place with a few stones:
Until I was free to lay some North Sea cobbles on top of it:
So far it has taken 4 bags of pebbles at £7 a bag (special offer). We think another 2 or 3 bags should finish the job.

It just looks so much better and now, we will only have to sweep the red gravel from the patio back to where it belongs. Much easier!

Monday 20 March 2017

Kitchen Cornice

All the cupboard doors are now up and as straight and level as we can get them. The sink unit has proved a nightmare as we think it has, over the years, flexed out of shape!

Now onto the cornice/pelmet. Here are a few cupboards waiting to be done:
And the first two finished, at the bottom anyway:
Had to use the flash on the one above as the kitchen was getting a little dark. We had to go and buy two more lengths for the tops.

It is proving a longer task than first thought, but slowly we are winning - well DB is, as he is the one doing most of the work!

Friday 17 March 2017

Shopping and other things ...

We have done our weekly shop and returned home by 09.20am. Lidl first where I spent just under £15, then onto Morrison's for another £11. Forgot potatoes so called in as Asda on the way home £1.25. Whilst there, we were given a free packet of dried mango to try. I like free things. We are eating a little more from the freezer and cupboards for this last week of our monthly shop, as the food budget was a little low. Yet last month, I had £20 leftover!

I shall make some bacon, potato and vegetable soup for lunch today and tomorrow. We will probably have soup in some form for lunches every day for the rest of the week.

The tomatoes I sowed a few days ago have now sprouted, just waiting for the peppers which I think take a little longer. No sign of the outdoor vegetables yet, still a little chilly I think.

Keeping our fingers crossed that Jamie and Bruno play well tonight to get into the Indian Wells final.

I am still crocheting more squares to make a winter blanket for DB for later this year. Still need to do another 30 or so, then I have to edge them, then join together etc. Still, it should keep me entertained for a few months.

Have a lovely weekend folks.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Gardening, hair and more gardening...

After getting a batch of towels washed and on the line, I began to empty one of the raised beds that sits on the patio area. DB kindly finished the job and sieved the rubbish out of the soil whilst I had my tri-monthly hair colour put on.

When the hairdresser had left, we had aforementioned roast beef soup for a late lunch. Once that had digested, DB helped me move the now empty raised bed to its new position on our little back, shaded patio.

Refilled with some plants from 4 troughs, (the rest were disgarded), the job was almost done.  Just need to top it with grit and it will look very nice.

DB meanwhile was busy in the garage, practising his 45 degree cutting skills, on some old kitchen cupboard cornice. New cornice will be added to the bottom of the finished cupboards before a top cornice is put on. Carpet tiles to change then some final pictures will be put on here.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Roast Beef Dinner into Sheperd's/Cottage Pie

Both the beef and potatoes didn't work particularly well on Sunday for some reason so we had just one roast lunch and thought about what to do with the remains.

The joint was minced, some of the gravy added:
the roast potatoes were sliced and placed on top:
Sliced mature cheddar on top of those:
Baked at 200C for 30 - 40 minutes until bubbling:
Served with peas:
I forgot some extra gravy:(

Although a little dry due to lack of further gravy, it tasted far better than the original roast! I had enough beef to create another 'pie' but with normal mash on top. The meat that was left, had all the gravy added to it, some tomato puree and hot water. This we had as roast beef soup - delicious!

So then, the meat stretched to 3 meals for 2 people and soup for 2 people, quite good.

Monday 13 March 2017

And they are all out! UPDATED

That is, all the singles tennis players at Indian Wells, who represent Great Britain! First it was Heather, closely followed by Andy, then Dan, Johanna and finally Kyle, although he like Johanna put up a good fight despite the scores. Despite Andy winning in Dubai he just isn't quite right so I wasn't surprised.

As for doubles both Jamie (and Bruno) and Andy and Dan are still in, both teams playing late evening. Let's hope at least one of those teams wins.

Lovely day here already, washing already on, bread to make and then some weeding.

Jamie and Bruno have just won their doubles match. Should Andy and Dan do the same, then they will play each other in the next round! Nope, they lost, hardly surprising considering the team they were playing.

Friday 10 March 2017

Time to sow!

A lot of people have already started but here, it is usually mid to the end of March. The raised beds have their nets on as I found cat poo in one the other day:(

I need to also get the perspex panels on one bed to start warming the soil. Yesterday I scrubbed clean my mini greenhouse as well as the outdoor chairs and tables.

Sorting through my seeds, I couldn't find the broad beans that I knew had been saved. Completely forgot they were put in the kitchen for winter soup (still unused luckily), as none had been put to one side for sowing.

Eventually, in the beautiful sunny weather, I got on and sowed - 3 types of tomato, Hungarian hot wax chilli peppers, peas, carrots, radish, some leeks and a few broad beans. I am trying to make myself sow occasionally throughout the season, rather than all at once!

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 9 March 2017

Are you a looper or a trouper? Part II

I don't have any advise to give here, sorry. I am merely raising the issue of whether it is possible to suffer and survive trauma. Can you move on and grow as a person, turn all that negativity into positivity?

Again, I can't speak about others except for myself and those on my course, who upon later discussion, again without them giving too much detail of their trauma, showed real positive change in their lives. Sure, we all had loops backwards and forwards, good and bad days, as such trauma rears its ugly head in very unexpected circumstances that on the surface, don't appear to have any relation.

Another lady I met on my degree course had also suffered, we kind of veered to one another over the first year. I think, outside her immediate family, I was the only person she felt safe enough to confide in, which is such a privilege. I think she felt safe, knew I would listen, not judge.

You would not believe the amount of people who summise that somehow, you must have brought it all on yourself. To be abused you must have somehow invited it, to be bullied you were a weakling or a coward for not better standing up for yourself. To have been so hated you must have been exceptionally naughty (or worse still, unlovable). What did you do to cause it! It must be your fault.

For the most part, I would suggest that if self help isn't working, that professionals should be able to. They shouldn't judge you, merely listen, help you put things into context, rather than do it for you. If you are self harming, suicidal or find it almost impossible to think positively, don't be afraid to find help. Keep finding help until you find the help that will help you.

Don't let anone put you into a box and leave you there. Find that pin prick of light and hope, kick and scream and fight your way towards it. Scrape, scrape and scrape away at it to make it brighter. Yes, there will be times when your energy runs out and the light seems further away than ever, but don't give up.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Are you a looper or trouper? Part I

In case you are wondering (and I think I have read it correctly), I am using the correct context in the spelling of trouper, see trooper versus trouper

Another connotation of the above question is, "Are you a half full glass or half empty glass" person, an optimist or a pessimist? I would hesitate to suggest that any of us fit neatly into either category and may well visit each throughout our lives, depending on what life throws at us. This post doesn't profess to know the answer merely to raise the question. These are also my own thoughts on the subject and as we know, all of life is subjective. Gosh, that sounds like something I used to write in my university days.

The title could well be thought of as negative and positive ie, looper suggesting failure and negative wasted energy but trouper positive energy and success. Again, I don't think either is black and white. I think you can be an optimistic pessimist or a pessimistic optimist. In the same way, you could be a looping trouper or a trouping looper. Get a cup of tea, it might make sense later on.

Growing up, for my family, was quite difficult, which I shall not be discussing here. Such an early start to life, as with a good and happy upbringing, resonates throughout your own life, bringing its own negative or positive thoughts and energy.

How you move on from such a start, whether you are able to move on, I think, depends on what happens next and whether you can deal with things in a mainly positive way. When training to be a nurse, just before going into the 3rd year and beginning the psychiatric element, we had a lot of lessons on how to deal with vulnerable people and what the 'well educated' and 'well meaning professionals (psychiatrists/psychologists)' thought about traumatic childhoods. Well, not a lot as it turned out. Their main teaching focused on this: "if you were physically, mentally or emotionally abused, you would abuse. If you were bullied you will bully. If you were shown no love but only hatred, you would hate" Really!

I was the first to leave the class, next came two of my colleagues. It was in that moment, sitting outside, waiting for the session to finish to be bawled at by that lecturer, before being hauled off to our own tutor, that we gained vital knowledge of each other. In some way, we three had suffered as children. Maybe others in the class had as well, I don't know, but we three had made a stand by walking out.

We had quite heated discussions in that corrider between us, about such teaching I can tell you, none of which was appreciated by the member of staff when they finished. They basically told us "we didn't know what we were talking about". It went downhill from there. They simply couldn't or wouldn't see that we weren't loopers, stuck in a loop of whatever we had experienced, being unable to cope with it on any level. We were troupers, we had dealt with it, processed it and were attempting, for the most part successfully, to move on.

He was the looper, spouting such knowledge to students who would go on to believe it and practise it themselves in all probability.

Part II next time.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

A bit of the front and back gardens

I wandered around our back and front gardens the other day and sure enough, things are beginning to pop up. The snowdrops are dying, the daffs are beginning to bloom and all herbaceous shrubs and plants are sprouting.

From the front room:

Herewith the new heathers that I planted last autumn:
No pictures of the back but all fruit trees with the exception of the new Spartan apple tree and very stubborn Comice (never flowered), actually have fruit buds this year. We have had barely any apples from the Bramly as I think I kept cutting it back incorrectly. This year however, after shaping and trimming it properly for the last 2 years, it finally has some buds.

I sorted through my seed stash to see what needs sowing and must get on with it and also top one of the beds with the acrylic tops to warm up the soil.

Monday 6 March 2017

Slowly but surely

The kitchen cabinet doors are being replaced. One or two a day, a drawer here and there and it is taking shape. These are the current ones under the sink:
Although they may look good in the photograph, they are not, as they are warped and swollen in places. These are the new ones across the room from the sink:
Loads more to do plus the plinths and decorative bits below and above the top cabinets. There isn't much wrong with the worktop so that will stay for now. Maybe next year it, the sink and taps will be changed, depending on whether DB feels up to doing it. Worktops are a horrible job to trim and cut into.

Sunday 5 March 2017

A family double...

I was hoping Jamie Murray and Bruno would win and they did. Well done lads, a 4th trophy to your tally.

Saturday 4 March 2017

And he's done it!

Andy Murray has won his first Dubai tournament, and is also the first British player to do so. Didn't play particularly well in the first few games but got better and better. Well done my dear.

Friday 3 March 2017

Repairing water damaged ceiling in the kitchen

Welcome to tammy wilson and Di Saye via Bloglovin. You may remember reading about our kitchen ceiling collapsing - see here.

Well today, the company (I'm going to advertise here),we chose to fix it arrived, 2 hours and 15 minutes later, they left, leaving behind some excellent work. More importantly, they were well on time, laid down carpet protection from the front door to the kitchen, closed the front door to keep the heat in as our heating was off at the time, and cleaning up after themselves. You can find out more about them here.

We are paying for this ourselves as it is quite a lot cheaper to do so rather than paying the excess that the insurance company wanted.

We emptied all work surfaces to enable us to do our annual spring clean once they left. DB started that within 1/2 an hour. Once done, we will be free to carry on replacing the kitchen cabinet doors and draws.

Herewith the scene before work:
And after:

Just need to give it time to dry then we can paint it over to match the rest of the kitchen.

This firm was recommended to us by a neighbour and it was only when we phoned them, that we realised DS went to school with the owner - a small world.

Now we are waiting for their plumber to come and give us a quote to change the damaged bathroom radiator. Watch this space.

Thursday 2 March 2017

A right old ding dong

The tennis match between Murray and Kohlschreiber went back and forth, with Kohlschreiber playing fantastic shots. He won the first set on a tie break.

The second set was equally absorbing going to another tie break 20 to 18, this time in Murrays favour, after he saved 7 match points. My heart was in my mouth to say the least. After that Kohlschreiber sort of collapsed despite some wonderful shots and lost 6-1.

Well done Andy but don't do that again!

Oat Pancakes

Firstly, welcome to Jessie Wilson-Powell via Bloglovin.

These wholesome pancakes were what we chose for this years Pancake Day. We enjoyed them but both felt they would be better suited to a savoury filling or using instead of lasagne sheets in a pancake lasagne:

On Pancake Day, we only have pancakes for our meal so had 6 each of these, which is what double the recipe provided. You can find it here.

We ate ours with a combination of maple syrup or lemon juice and sugar.