Thursday 31 August 2017

DB busy

Having got a new laptop, he decided to take the two old, semi broken ones apart (one has been kept for music, the other family history. Thought you might be interested to see what laptops look like inside:

The recently replaced one was having difficult keeping power due to a broken charge point and its dvd player had stopped working.

He appears to have mended the broken power socket but couldn't swap dvd players around as the sockets where the pins connect don't align.

Ah well, once he puts them back together, hopefully one, or preferably both of them will still be working well enough to be kept.

He was aked "why" his reply, "because I wanted to try and why not?" He likes a challenge.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Front garden

This time of year, the inner circle in our front garden always looks a little empty and will only get worse as summer moves on into autumn:

I am hopeful that the roses may flower again to give some late colour and the daisy families of flowers should keep it interesting until about October.

Some of the new shrubs are in flower now and one or two should flower a little later in the year. We are forecast rain today and it is much needed.

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Grating noise

Despite taking our washing machine apart, a few weeks ago, to sort out its non entry of water, we were left with a slightly grating noise. We had already checked the waste outlet and nothing was in it.

However, over the last few days, it had become louder and more irritating so I drained said valve and opened it up. Here it what was in it:
The metal tab from inside a shirt collar and a little bit of soapy gunk. I haven't tried it since so hope the grating noise will now have gone. I guess the metal tab was hitting the impeller blade inside the waste pipe.

Hopefully, if the noise has gone, that will have saved us a couple of hundred pounds.

Monday 28 August 2017

Raised bed additions

Some new attachments are making their way onto our raised beds:

All will be revealed in the coming days when we are done!

Sunday 27 August 2017

Andy trolled again ...

There are some truly sad people in the social media world. Andy announced his withdrawal from the US Tennis Open and also the prospect he may not play for the rest of the year. All these so called fans could moan about was leaving it too late for a redraw so Rafa and Federer could meet in the final. He is well within the rules to leave it that late, some only withdraw on the morning of a match.

Gee folks, get some perspective, or has it perhaps affected your bets!

I for one feel you have made the right decision. Your future health far outweighs a short term goal, although you are already missed, tennis doesn't seem the same without you!

Enjoy more downtime with your family and get better soon.

Friday 25 August 2017

Feeling nostalgic ...

At the weekend we went to a 1940's event at Ramsey in Cambridgeshire. There were lots of interesting things to see but we kept forgetting to take pictures - doh!

Anyhow, we did take a picture of this 1955 outside broadcasting wagon:

This is how the old 425 line tv pictures used to look (not outside broadcast) and what I watched a few years later than those below, in my childhood:

Andy Pandy (1952) from here

Bill and Ben (1953) rocked your boat from here

The Woodentops (1958) here

Finally, Rag Tag & Bobtail (1958) here

Have a lovely weekend everyone! 

Thursday 24 August 2017

Also in the garden ...

Welcome to Jeannie Moye via Bloglovin.

Our trial worm 'tower' in Bed 1, appears to be working well. Every time we weed the bed and surrounding area, the weeds get popped into it and eaten by the worms. It keeps reducing nicely:
Its lid is made of a carpet tile turned upside down. Inside it looks like this:
I don't want to overfill it as it is quite new but if it keeps doing well, Bed 3 will have one put into it as soon as there is space.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Probably ...

The largest carrot I have ever grown:

It was crispy and tasted great. We grated it with pear to make a salad for tea. All our newly planted lettuces have been attacked by something in the soil, not slugs. So, needing something fresh to go along with some potatoes and Bratwurst, we came up with the above salad and thoroughly enjoyed the taste and texture.

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Choosing wool...

I stood in front of the gynormous array of wool in the shop, holding up my crochet squares to see which colour to choose. Black was just too much a contrast, so in the end, I went for Emperor Purple:
It isn't quite as dark as shown here and compliments the other colours well. Methinks my jerkin may look quite nice and bright when finished. Time will tell.

Yesterday I eventually gave up, for the second time, on a square. Every time I got back to the beginning, it was obvious, something had gone wrong on the first treble. Pulled out several times, redone several times, still wrong, in the bin as it became baggy!

Monday 21 August 2017


We finally had blossom and fruit on our relatively new greengage tree. It is grown again a fence and I am never sure how to shape/train it so decided to treat it like the other two plums (even though you aren't really supposed to prune them).

We ate 2 each and the rest, just 380g that were left:
Were made into jam in the microwave:
It hasn't quite set properly but will be lovely stirred into yoghurt. Or, I could decant them back into a jug, add a little grated apple and lemon juice and boil for another few minutes.

Saturday 19 August 2017

Red Pears

As more and more red pears were falling onto the gravel below them, we decided they were ready to harvest. Pears generally ripen from the inside out, so by the time they feel ready on the outside, they will be going over/off in the middle - who knew!

Herewith said windfall ones:

And below, the good ones that have gone into the fridge to delay ripening whilst we process/eat those above:
Not sure if this is Louise bonne du Jersey or a Williams. I planted one of each, but one has never flowered!

Friday 18 August 2017


I got an email from my neice yesterday to tell me her mum had had a bad fall and was in A & E with a broken patella, cuts and bruises. She eventually came home with a full leg plaster cast.

Informed my other sister and received a reply from her that she had tripped on pavement and hurt herself but luckily not requiring a plaster cast.

I had better take care!

Have a safe weekend everyone.

Thursday 17 August 2017

Jerkin colour scheme so far

You may remember, one the 9th August, I showed you the first new stitch I had learnt, the bobble stitch, hoping to use these to make a jerkin (wasistcoat).

I have decided on the colour scheme now and how I want to create the internal bobble stitch pattern to vary the squares:
For me, being relatively new to crochet, I get confused very easily if I do one square at a time as I find the bit that turns a circle into a square, a little taxing for now. Therefore, I shall doing loads of circles, bobble stitch, as that is now in my head and vary the colours on that, always finishing with white on the outside. The white ones appear to be just slightly larger but I think that will even itself out once the border is on them.

When I have loads of the circles, I shall convert them into squares. They do look rather nice as circles but using just them would be far too complicated for me at this stage. I am thinking of edging them with black and using black to also join them altogether, which should show off these colours well. Mind you, I am a tad worried that on the odd occasion I may need to wash the finished garment, whether the black, over time, might make the white bits grubby!

I may chose a nice grey green, similar to the colour of the leaves of a lavender, time will tell. . Once I have visited the wool shop again and taken some of the squares in with me, I shall make the decision.

I am using DK Special Stylecraft to make this, in lavender and magenta.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

In the conservatory

DB has been busy painting inner hall doors that were purchased ages ago but not actually painted. However, over time, they have gone really mucky looking so time for a paint:
This is the 4th and final door (undercoat). It had 2 coats of white satin, hung back up when thoroughly dry. The 3rd door came back in here for its final coat of white satin.

He decided to remove them as he now finds this a more comfortable way to paint. Hopefully this colour will not go off white like some of the gloss has in the past, because lets face, who enjoys repeatedly painting doors?

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Kitchen windowsills

This time of year is when my kitchen windowsills start to have some of our harvest sitting on them. Sometimes it is tomatoes or chilli peppers, at the moment though, it is the windfall apples. Some are good some, despite a codling moth trap, have been attached by said creature and need eating asap.

I have (on its second rise), a loaf of rye bread which we will be amazed if it turns out okay. I just switched off whilst making it, picked up rye flour rather than the intended malt flour and also forgot the oil:

Update: the bread was fine!

Also here is my book stand being used to dry some gloves (used for preparing the chillies for the freezer) and the tea towel. To the right of the book stand is said windfall apples:

The next windowsill houses our fruit basket (currently empty), to the left of which are 3 good apples. The kitchen hand towel is also drying in the sun, along with a chopping board. I like to air these in the sun if possible, after washing, as I think the intense heat kills any bugs that might still be lurking on it:
Once the red pears begin to be harvested, these windowsills will fill very quickly.

Do you use yours like this?

Monday 14 August 2017

This has been ...

The best fruit year in a long while. Despite the lack of sun, the rain has helped swell most fruit in the garden. We have just finished picking all the plums and are currently enjoying blackberries - forgot to photograph those.

Here are some of the russet apples:

In the background are some red pears but a better picture is here:
And some comice pears on the heavy pruned and festooned 5' tall (non-dwarf variety) tree:
We have also eaten blueberries and frozen blackcurrants for later use. The rhubarb finally got going and we managed 2 harvests off it only as this is its second year. Our gooseberries died but a new bush arrived which had about 20 on it so we enjoyed those as well.

We have our first greengages just about ready (about 12) and I shall use them to make jam.

Friday 11 August 2017

Raised vegetable beds

Have done reasonable well in this topsy turvy weather:

Bed 1:
Had broad beans in it followed by lettuce and now has dwarf french beans, one tomato and some parsley in it. It also has the new mini compost bin inserted into it which so far, seems to be working okay.

Bed 2:
Has leeks in it which also had radish interplanted when they were young and a few beetroot, which have since been harvested.

Bed 3:
Has 2 rows of carrots which I must start using, some more beetroot, and a second and third sowing of lettuce. This is the next bed to get a mini compost bin so I must get on and harvest it soon.

Bed 4:
Hungarian Hot Wax Chilli peppers which have gone purple in places. This is not rot or mould but apparently a reaction to extreme temperatures.

Has had radish, lettuce, beetroot and chilli peppers in it. Second sowing of beetroot is almost ready and the chilli plants need harvesting again. Already had one lot which are chopped and in the freezer.

All in all, not too bad. We can't be anywhere near self sufficient but really enjoy just wandering out there to pick vegetables and fruit, so fulfilling!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday 10 August 2017

Such fun - not!

First of all, welcome to californiaclippin via Bloglovin.

I had thought last week that our washing machine was messing about a little. It would start to fill, then stop, start to turn then stop etc.

Today, I decided that the collar on one of my jackets was a little grubby. It normally gets washed on a wool cycle so in it went, along with a few towels and I set the machine to the wool cycle.

It started to fill, taking in the washing machine liquid then stopped. 10 minutes later it would try and fill again then stop. Some times it would turn its drum then stop.

Luckily the spin and drain were working so we emptied it of water and washing.

Having found a very useful video online about water inlet filters and problems, DB (who was in the middle of painting a door when all this happened), stopped at an appropriate time and came to investigate.

Everything was disconnected and the machine pulled out. Took a while to find how to get its top off. Filter looked fine but he pulled it out and checked anyway. Everything looked fine. He checked the electrics and solenoids - all fine. Undid the little water pipes that come from the water inlet into the drawer compartment - all fine.

Put it back together, he struggled to get it back under the worktop (and yes, we had tested it beforehand to make sure and it appeared to work).

Set it up on wool again and off it went before promptly stopping and messing about again.
It was spun and drained and emptied - again. The towels went in on my normal cycle to be rinsed and spun, that worked.

Put the jacket back in, tried again on wool cycle - nope. nada, nothing, zip!

So I rinsed and gently spun it and all that went okay. So, we decided it could be the wool cycle and as we rarely use it, it will have to stay 'broken'.

Until I need to use it again on its normal cycle, we shall wait and see.

Update: worked okay on my usual cycle but is now making a horrible noise when draining!

Wednesday 9 August 2017

I have learnt ...

One new Square pattern - bobble circle and one new crochet stitch - the double treble, from my favourite teacher Sarah Jayne over at Bella Coco. The bobble circle tutorial can be found here and how to turn it into a square (using the double treble stitch) can be found here.

Although she is turning a different centrepiece into a square, the same principle applies. Here is my first and second attempt (one piece):
I used a 4mm crochet hook for the white centre (first attempt went well) but the outside magenta was too stretchy using the 4mm, so I unravelled it and dropped down to a 3.5mm hook (second attempt) and I think it looks and feels much better. I also unravelled it before this as I had started to put the magenta border onto the wrong side of the bobble circle.

Having only attempted solid granny squares (plus joining and adding a border to them), for the last two years, I am as pleased as punch to have learnt something new.

So then, what will I be making - something similar to one of these.

It will have to be this style as I am nowhere near proficient enough to tackle anything other than squares for the foreseeable future! I have a few similar colours to make this garment but it might not be ready until next winter (2018), we shall see.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Recently .....

For my birthdays and Christmas, I have been receiving silicone bakeware as presents.

I had already bought a 6 part muffin one and used it for gluten free yorkshire puddings, with excellent results. They rose well and popped out like a dream. I have just received another one, which will be handy for when I want to make 12 small cakes or 12 yorkshire puddings.

I already had a square version and have just received another, very handy. It means I can use the cheaper version I bought, for roasting meats and save the new one for baking. As well as baking cakes in it, I shall trial flapjacks and quiche to see how it fares.

The latest thing I had bought me was a longish loaf pan. I have read up on whether it is suitable for bread but most reviews seem to say no. However, I think for baking in general, it should also work fine.

Has anyone used these products, what did you use them for and how did it go?

Monday 7 August 2017

Any ideas - its Datura Stramonium or Jimson Weed!

A strange plant has materialised in my front garden. I certainly haven't planted it. It is about 12 inches tall, has cyclindrical shaped flower buds and odd shaped leaves:
and 3" long white flowers:
Also, on the top picture, can you see that soft spiky bud inbetween two flower buds (seed head possibly?

Thanks Joyce for identifying it, I shall dispose of it soon to be on the safe side, grand dog reasons!

Friday 4 August 2017

Plum harvest - updated!

This is a very good year for us for plums. Our little Victoria tree is outdoing herself and we have already had two trays of plums:

Some have been de-stoned and put into the dehydrator:

My plan was to semi dehydrate them, then open freeze them so they go into the freezer as individuals. I am hoping that this will stop them being too mushy when I use them in winter. The flavour has intensified after this semi drying session and they are now in the freezer.

We picked more yesterday:

and reckon we will get this much again off this tree. The Czar plums (in the bowl), are not so full of fruit as it keeps getting attacked by aphids. They don't de-stone very well, so we are eating them as they ripen.

I need to process these new trays today so shall be busy. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday 3 August 2017

Hot chicken Part III and IV

I purposefully did too many vegetables with the pie so I could plate up two more meals. Chicken and cauliflower cheese for me and Chicken and vegetable cheese for DB. I forgot to take the pictures before freezing but here is a misted one pulled from the freezer:
It is uncooked hence its pale state. The cheese sauce was left to go cold before being mixed in with the vegetables.

There was enough chicken left for chicken and vegetable chilli for two/three, which went into the freezer:
and just enough left over for us to have some for tea.

All in all, quite a few meals and snacks. Yes, the chicken wasn't the main ingredient but it never is. We usually only eat meat once or at the most, twice a week.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Hot chicken Part II

Some of the meat was lightly chopped and added to drained mushroom pieces from a tin of condensed mushroom soup. This tip came from DDil (and DS), both of whom don't mind the taste of mushrooms but dislike the texture. I opened the tin and sieved out the pieces. It was only afterwards that I realised the job would have been easier if I had slightly diluted the contents first - doh!

Anyway, the few bits of mushrooms, chicken and another tablespoon of the undiluted soup were mixed together to form the filling for a side plate pie. We had this with vegetables and the rest of mushroom soup as a gravy:
MiL always said that if you are having pastry you don't need potatoes. I think she was right as lets face it, there are enough calories in the pastry without adding more with the potatoes!

Unfortunately I plated up too much so I just had the veg and pie filling and a little pastry. DB ate all his!