Tuesday 31 July 2018

I have been.....

Re-reading the first year of our war diary, and was quite engrossed. The price of food either must have been higher then or we were spending more! Yet, we worked to a menu, saved some of the evening meal for either pack up or a snack another day, and were generally careful. There were 3 of us then and DS needed a packed lunch, now there is just us two.

I was so happy to get my food and grocery bill down to between £25 and £30 a week. Now, the same bills are between £30 and £40 a week. There is an online newspaper article I have just read that states the cost of living, has risen 67% in the past 30 years, which means these bills should currently be between £41 and £50.

However, having just used an historical inflation calculator, the actual costs should today, be between £48 and £58. Must be doing something better now but maybe they would be this figure if DS was still at home, who knows.

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Monday 30 July 2018


DS and DDiL arrived late evening on Friday to attend a wedding reception. Unfortunately, they got stuck in traffic so didn't arrive here until after 8pm rather than the predicted 6pm.

They unpacked, got changed and left us with their 3 grown dogs (our granddogs) and their puppy (our great granddog) the delightful Miss D. Here she is (on the right), sharing a bed with her sister Ruby (who is also our great granddog):
Ruby takes after her mum in being liver and white, short and stocky. I think Miss D. takes after her father as she is taller, black and white, long and slim. She also weighs 1lb more. Here they are outside. Her legs are about 3" longer than her sisters:
And the rest of the gang. Master L. using the mum of the puppies, Miss M as a cushion:
All of them. Front left Miss D, then Mr L, mama Miss M, Ruby in her crate and finally, Miss S:

Friday 27 July 2018

I wonder...

If this baby Goldfinch made it through the thunderstorms this morning:

Hope those of you that need the rain get some. Having looked at the forecast, it does seem that quite a lot of us should get some rain somewhere in the next 36 hours.

We had two hours quite heavy rain in the end. Mind you, it is 30.3C and so humid now, we are waiting for the next lot to cool us down again. The good thing, according to the forecast, is that the temperature here will drop to between 21C and 25C for the next 10 days. Wonder if they will be correct.

Have a good weekend everyone.


It is 04:05 and we are just having our first thunderstorm. I was standing by the open bedroom patio door and could hear it belting down at the end of the street, but not us, how odd. Eventually it arrived and I fully opened the door and put the blind out about 2’. I have never done this as it should really be closed in the rain.

However, by doing so, it means both bedroom patio windows can remain open to let in the cooler air. Very noisy so don’t expect to get anymore sleep.

We are expecting DS and DDiL down later this evening for a wedding. Will be great to see them and the dogs but not so great for their friends wedding.

Thursday 26 July 2018

Mega Phew!

Our weather station, situated in the shade, is reading 33.5C. I am so stressed by this heat that I erupt at the slightest thing.

Poor Ruby is panting like crazy, trying to cool down on the hearth. She has been told off twice for things that wouldn’t normally annoy me, DB isn’t fairing much better bless him.

I am now staying indoors, in the north facing front room. The fan is on and it is a balmy 29C....

It ain't pretty...

But it does the job!

Our bedrooms face south and we have a huge blind to keep the worst of the sun from them. That being said, the patio is in front of the bedrooms and although the blind keeps the sun off the windows, it only protects the patio for about 3' or so.

We can sit under the shade of our fruit trees but baby wasps are being a nuisance so decided to use the front of the blind and the washing line to creat extra shade:
I rumaged around in the garage and found a large piece of floppy weed membrane fabric and a piece of insect netting. Using pegs on the line and bottom part of the front of the blind, I created an extra 4' of shade for where we tend to sit. The difference is amazing.

DB is going to check our old sheets in the attic then I can exchange this arrangement for those. Another sheet will attach to the fruit cage and blind providing even more shade. It will cut down the amount of washing line, but for now, I’d rather be cool!

Happy days!

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Garden and Ruby

Although it looks on these pictures as though my front gravel garden is doing fine, it isn't really. Things are flowering early and fading quickly. I am having to cut back constantly just to try and lessen the plants distress at trying to keep all their stems alive:

Ruby has just turned 5 months old. She seems to be changing daily:
Doesn't she look worried on this picture below:

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Bathroom and bread

We had to remove the tiling covering the pipes to have the radiator changed. DB had to start from scratch for the most part but it is coming along:
Still got to fathom out what to do with the gap far right. He has started grouting everything in place so hopefully, it will be finished shortly. We still had loads of tiles left from revamping the bathroom years ago so that cut down on the expenditure.

I baked some bread, despite the heat. We have had shop bought for a few days and have had enough of it:
I forgot about it whilst it was rising hence its wings. We don't mind these as they get cut off before we slice and freeze half of it. They are a nice treat for us with butter and homemade jam!

Monday 23 July 2018


Our highest temperature, in the shade, reached 30C, the humidity was high even though we had a slight breeze. Overall, it felt stifling.

The bedrooms face south and despite having an external blind to shade them, having the windows open all day, the current temperature inside is nearly 28C. Way too hot to sleep so I have taken a Nytol (blue box version) to help. Let’s hope it does the trick.

How Ruby manages to sleep I really don’t know....


The weather forecast stating an 86% chance of rain around bedtime on Friday, none fell.

I watered my rhubarb well on Saturday and picked it Sunday morning. There was 2lb for the freezer and 1/2lb for the weekend. We have previously had about 1lb off it in this, it’s second year. Later on, it will be divided and replanted into raised bed 2 to become a new fruit bed.

Finally managed to get to Brancaster. Ruby had a paddle, we got soaked by her on recall, many people stopped to say hello to her. She nearly got rolled over in a wavelet when she rolled over to have a tummy rub, daft dog, she looked so surprised!

She needed hosing down to rid her of sand. A right struggle but we prevailed. She is now getting hot and bothered in the back garden, chasing cabbage white butterflies and their shadows. In these temperatures, if I was wearing a fur coat, I certainly wouldn’t be running around!

Sunday 22 July 2018

Curry ...

We fancied a curry so I bought some chicken thighs, added onion, green pepper, mushrooms and chickpeas. Enough was made to feed us for lunch, freeze 2 x 2 person portions and a third one which will have some Quorn chunks added another time. I needed a double portion for my menu plan later in the month, so having a third is a bonus.

For tea we are having pastrami and gherkin sandwiches, stewed rhubarb and gooseberries with custard.

Friday 20 July 2018

Still no rain

We have a 20% chance of heavy rain. Yet the rain radar map shows it bypassing us, so we shall see.

Nearly 7 weeks now and neither us, Ruby or the garden, know what to do with ourselves. It is forecast to be hotter and drier for the next 10 days at least.

Ruby has been on her raw food diet for one week. She leaps up and down in excitement when she sees me coming with her food. Poo has diminished greatly and it practically has no smell, oh joy of joys. On the fruit and vegetable side, she has had small amounts of carrot, broccoli, cucumber and courgette. Also one or two slices of strawberries, apple, pear, banana and some blueberries.

On the meat front she has eaten tripe, chicken and lamb. To come are beef, rabbit, turkey and venison. Fish will come next along with eggs and leafy vegetables. Hopefully she won’t have reactions to any of them.

She seems to have gone off her Whimsey chewing sticks so has now got dehydrated fish skin sticks to gnaw on, which help clean her teeth. They stink mind you so she has to have them outside. We shall find something else for the colder months that won’t smell the house out!

School holidays have just started here and already the roads are busy. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday 19 July 2018

The other day...

I just fancied some of these:
Bridge rolls with mashed boiled egg, mayo, salt and pepper and topped with cress.

These bridge rolls were the ubiquitous children's party fare in the 1950/1960/1970's, along with ham and a slice of tomato, grated cheese, and a potted spread, usually beef, bloater (ugh), chicken or salmon.

Jelly and set custard or blancmange, a trifle if lucky, sliced swiss roll and maybe another cake. I remember having sausages on sticks, cheese and cocktail onions on sticks, crisps and fondant fancies when older.

Does anyone remember eating this type of food at a party?

Needless to say, they weren't quite the same, probably because originally, the eggs would have been mashed with salad creme rather than mayo.

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Has anyone else noticed....

An increase in slow drivers?

Today for example, we got stuck behind a total of three. All were driving between 30mph and 40mph on main roads, with a 60mph limit. None were learner drivers, all were driving in a slightly odd manner.

One veered over the central line and braked on every corner. One sped up every hill only to put their brakes on at the top for no reason we could discern. The other did both of these then pulled into a small gap at the edge of the road without indicating.

Driving is certainly becoming a little more precarious nowadays. People on roundabouts fail to indicate or indicate incorrectly. People driving too fast/slow, in an erratic manner etc. Men and women, young and old, there seems to be no logic or reason for it, but it doesn’t make for a relaxing time.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Visiting Brancaster - not!

On Sunday, we decided to drive over to Brancaster to visit the beach and have a light lunch. The queues down to the beach car park were horrendous which was odd. Eventually a chap wound down his window to let us know not to bother as the high tide had flooded the approach road. Took an age to turn around.

Ruby needed a walk. So we stopped at Thornham to let her off lead around a permissive field boundary. She had great fun chasing butterflies but as you can imagine, got hot and bothered in the process. She sat in the cars air conditioning for a while to cool down.

Let’s try some fish and chips we thought, so we drove a bit further to pull into a farm shop area. That car park was full of impatient drivers but finally we managed to park in some shade.

We got Ruby out, tied her to a shaded picnic table and went for food. Too early despite them having a frying now sign outside their door.

As you can imagine, it was the final straw so we waited to pull out with a blind corner to our right. We pulled out in front of an approaching police car but not so close to cause a problem. Getting stopped by them might have resulted in me getting arrested as by now, I was venting steam:)

We gave up and returned home.

Monday 16 July 2018

After a good think....

We have decided to change Ruby over to raw food. Now, having done a great deal of research, there are pro’s and con’s and much heated debate! BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food etc. Barf is also a word for vomit and quite frankly, the smell of green tripe inside the house can make you want to vomit!

Neither of us is at all keen to feed her whole raw bones for eating or gnawing on, especially as I trialled mincing chicken wings and was alarmed at some of the sharp shards that came through a 4mm blade attachment:(

We both know this is a ‘newbie’ knee jerk reaction and may change but not at the moment. We have bought green tripe, finely minced chicken and also lamb, the meat contains finely minced bone and feels better than my attempt.

Bones for gnawing on such as chicken wings, necks, ribs etc, seem to be generally used to clean their teeth and to satisfy their chewing needs. Both of these can be catered for with a dehydrated vegetable chew. Phosphorus and calcium extras, obtained from the bone, can also be found in whole eggs and their shell. Also, green tripe has the perfect compliment of phosphorus and calcium. When she is a bit older we will try her on a meaty decent sized bone if necessary.

She is being started on 6% of her current weight, which sounds a lot and will initially be more expensive. However, as a puppy, she needs more. Once she gradually drops down to 2% - 3%, it will be on a par with most other ways of eating.

She went ‘cold turkey’ meaning she finished kibble Friday evening and onto raw the next morning. Her stomach and bowels have to get used to this way of eating so for the first 10 days she will be on:

Green tripe, tripe, half tripe and half chicken, same again, chicken, same again, chicken and lamb, same again, lamb, lamb.

After that we can introduce different meats, fish and more tripe. We shall see how she goes.

Saturday was her first day and as some dogs can get the runs with newly introduced tripe, I added a 1/2 tsp of psyllium husk to all her Saturday meals.

It was almost 24 hours before she went for a poo. It was small, greenish (tripe), perfectly formed with way less smell!

Enjoy your breakfast!

Sunday 15 July 2018


It is currently 25C in the bedroom and sleep is impossible. The windows are open but as it is 22C outside, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Still not a drop of rain since June 2nd and the garden is beginning to look very forlorn despite watering. It really needs a couple of hours of rain!

Roll on the morning when I can get up!!!

Friday 13 July 2018


Ruby is still doing well at training, although at times, all the dogs get distracted by each other, despite being on leads.

We tend to not do training bouts with her at home, preferring the more stealth approach. This involves reinforcing sit, down, leave it, come, go find, heel etc, every time we need to do something.

Sit - for doors to open, same for crossing the road, collar and lead being put on, being ready to eat.

Down - mostly for laying down.

Leave it - mainly out and about for don’t even think of chasing that bird, or pick up anything, or try to rush at people and dogs. First we say leave it, then sit, then leave it etc, until  she sits and waits. We are also trying this command, now she is getting to grips with it,to get her to let go of her toy. Dead wasn’t having any effect.

Come - still very much a work in progress.

Go find - retrieve a toy or go find DB or me if hiding out on a walk and she is off lead in a field etc.

Heel - on lead we say heel to get her to move from sit to walking, leading with our left legs. Apparently leading with the right leg will be for the different command of sit and stay put.

She has finally understood about indicating to us to go out to toilet. We have been so pedantic about taking her out so often, we didn’t think she would learn to indicate at all.

So, for 20 weeks old, all the above is going well. BUT, and there always is a but isn’t there, she still has the tendency to try to bite and jump onto our laps.

Have a grand weekend everyone.

Wednesday 11 July 2018


Today has dawned cool, chilly and breezy, 14C. It is a brief welcome respite from the heat, which is due to return tomorrow.

Ruby was an absolute so and so for a few hours yesterday. Zoomies x 3, jumping on us, jumping up everywhere, barking, snarling, growling etc. She was told off, corrected numerous times before being put in ‘jail’ twice. She finally calmed down and went to sleep - phew.

DB shed blood twice trying to manhandle her off him. She was like a whirling dervish!

Her usual sweet self this morning, chewing on a Whimzee, by my feet - gulp!!!

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Tuesday 10 July 2018

You would think.....

According to the BBC and our newspapers, that there are no British tennis players left in Wimbledon. Nothing could be further from the truth. In doubles we still have: Jamie Murray, Dom Inglot and Joe Salisbury. In mixed doubles we have Jamie, Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Jay Clarke, who are playing some absolutely brilliant tennis by the way.

Wheelchair events has Alfie Hewitt (Norfolk), Gordon Reid and Lucy Shuker.

Are these players considered lesser people, simply because they are not singles players?

Monday 9 July 2018

Too darn hot.....

I am now fed up with this heat! There is no rain forecast for us, for the next two weeks, at least. That will be 7 weeks, surely drought conditions by then?

The bedroom at night, despite being shaded and windows open, is averaging 25C, just too uncomfortable. My insomnia has returned so I am getting progressively grumpy with each passing day.

Poor Ruby (imagine wearing a fur coat) is also feeling it. At the moment, she is not comfortable with being sprayed with water so is struggling to cool down properly, despite lying down on the cool hearth and a fan in operation close by.

Our water bill has risen a little this quarter and I expect the electricity to do the same, with us using the fan so much. Only 4p an hour but it all adds up.

I think it is cooler for the next 3 days so we shall enjoy the break from the heat and humidity!

Friday 6 July 2018

So many goodbyes.....

Blimey, my reading list of favourite blogs, is diminishing dramatically. Good for them I say to myself, they’ve made the decision to finally say goodbye. Sad for me as I have found and then lost them. Such is life I suppose. In life, all kinds of problems get in the way and are often reflected here as posts get less and less and the sadness of feeling they have to post, rather than want to post, begins to overwhelm them.

Friends in life and blogland are a little like ships that pass in the night, they are not meant to be boarded. They need, on occasions, to be left in peace, to sail over the horizon. Could be for a holiday or simply to drop off the edge of the world into oblivion. I just hope they leave their blogs up for us to read in future. A bit like re-reading your favourite holiday postcard!

I post mainly for my family and if anyone else finds them useful and or interesting, then that is great. Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 5 July 2018


Thought I'd post a few pictures of Ruby to show how she is growing. Here she is 20 days old:

Above she is 8 weeks old, just home.

Then 11 weeks - first trip to the seaside:
At 19 weeks, yesterday:
Don't you just love Spaniel ears!

Wednesday 4 July 2018

A change.....

We have had a new bathroom radiator fitted. The old one had lasted about 25 years. It looked like this, not too bad from a distance:
Close up of the bottom:
We meant to change it last year but forgot and didn’t want to risk another winter. Here is the new one:
Its 'fins' are inside rather than at the back, making it easier to hang a towel on if necessary:
Hopefully, it should see us out!

Tuesday 3 July 2018

New 'kid' on the block...

DB has created a new bird for the fence - loosely based on a greater spotted woodpecker. He even attached it to a piece of log for a more natural look:
Another thing to add interest to the fence when we are washing up or just in the kitchen!

Monday 2 July 2018

Massive fruit drop

The Spring heralded a huge amount of blossom (on the trees that decided to blossom). A few weeks later, literally hundreds of apples, pears and various plums developed. A good year to come we thought.

All the May very early June rain helped swell these embryonic fruit nicely. The June drop occured and we were still left with quite a few. This hot weather and near drought conditions (no rain since June 2nd) have put paid to most of them. Such a shame.

Things in the flower garden contine to go from bad to worse. We are seriously thinking of cutting most things back to stop them wearing themselves out trying to keep going. We shall see.

I gave everything out back a good water Friday. Everything out front on Saturday. A hosepipe ban will shortly be in place I believe so that was probably the last time I shall use it. My water butts are only half full now. It might be necessary, whenever we have a bath, to pump the water out via the sink drain and into a line of watering cans. That water can at least help keep some things going.

Mother nature is certainly topsy turvy at the moment. A sign of changes to come methinks. Maybe we will have to think about more water butts although we currently have 5 and a plastic dustbin.

Andy has pulled out of Wimbledon. Such a shame but he needs more short matches under his belt. His mind is willing but he needs more match stamina to complete potential 5 set matches. Good decision methinks.