Thursday, 23 May 2019

Sheringham Park Rhododendrons

We walked here this week. Unfortunately, the early warm and dry weather seems to have taken its too on the normally magnificient bloom display.

I think they are almost past their best, some have already finished, only one or two are yet to come. So, if you normally travel to see them, do it in the next few days.

We have lunch down at Weybourne Station but the sandwiches, which are normally nice and with much variety, were also sadly lacking. Just two varieties and very plain and almost tasteless. I did email about them but have yet to hear anything.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Taking my pillow.....

Jamie Murray, UK tennis player, has finally started taking his pillow with him when he travels. I am the same. I usually also take a sheet! When it comes to sleeping, I am like the princess and the pea.

No pillow anywhere is the same as mine, and I have tried to use the ones supplied but with little success. Likewise mattresses. Some are great, others rock hard, some saggy or lumpy. That’s where the sheet comes in.

If the mattress isn’t to my liking, I either fold the duvet in half and sleep inside it or fold it in half, sleep on the top and use my sheet over me with a blanket, which can usually be found somewhere in the place.

Another trick is to take a piece of string ( or old pop sock). If I have to change to the spare bedroom, it usually has a single bed with a single duvet, which I find slips off constantly due to my tossing and turning. The string is tied to the top corner of the duvet, usually the one near the wall, then to the side of the bed frame. This keeps the duvet in place. See, method in my madness.

We were once in a cottage whose mattress was so hard and lumpy that I dragged an entire single soft mattress on top of and in the middle of the double one. DB slept in the spare room, he knows how irritated I get without sleep! It was quite a climb I can tell you, to get into bed, but boy, it made such a difference.

Not on the sleeping front, tea pot and our tea leaves. Is there anything you must take with you when travelling?

Tuesday, 21 May 2019


I think it is fair to say, my front gravel garden is fully awake:
This is about 2/3rds of it as it is the best view from this part of the window.

The tomatoes survived being outside whilst we were away but I think, if I remember, to give them a bit of fleece protection for the next two nights.

My gardening mojo is absent at the moment due to ongoing decorating but I know it will return eventually.

Monday, 20 May 2019

There's something I love

About looking at the back of a spaniels head:

It just makes me smile!

We have spent the weekend away with DS, DDiL and the grand dogs. I had 3 more spaniel heads and a lab head to admire. Ruby was overwhelmed to begin with but soon found her place in the extended pack.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Just one small part of the lounge ...

Other than the walls,  is back to normal - the chimney breast:
Carpet will go down early June, followed closely by the curtains:
We are going to delay buying them until the sales, saving us 20%, same with the lamps. Also, they only come in pleated versions, so we have to pay to have eyelets put in.

We could have had the carpet done next week but as it flows through from the lounge into the inner hall, which has yet to be painted, we are waiting. Patience, patience!

Friday, 17 May 2019


I have mentioned before about going off a certain brand of chocolate I used to love. The taste has changed since the new owners took over. Now they have bought out a dark milk version.

Ugh and double ugh! It is slightly greasy/slimy in texture and not pleasant at all. I so wanted to like it but don’t, so will have to stick with good quality chocolate, with high cocoa mass but eat less of it.


After painting yesterday, I stood at the washing machine, stripped off dirty clothes, put them in there, filled it up with other washing.

Later on, I was hanging said washing out and realised my painting tee shirt wasn’t there. We double checked the machine and clothing, nope, nowhere to be seen. We both checked all rooms, wash basket, wardrobes, cupboards, drawers etc, nowhere to be seen.

To say we were both flummoxed was an understatement!

Ah ha! A few hours later I finally remembered that I chucked out the tee shirt I was thinking off last year. The one I had been wearing was blue (and hanging on the line) and not the old green one I was hunting for - doh!

Carpet chosen and ordered. Curtains chosen but not ordered as the shop says they will have a sale on in two weeks time and to go back then. Curtain poles chosen and bought.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

A cool breeze

Is blowing today but the sun is out so all should be well. One load of washing is billowing on the line and a final load for today is is the machine.

We have put the required third layer of paint on the chimney breast and are hoping it will look better. The carpet man comes this morning to measure up, no doubt we will have to sit down with the quote. Ruby helping with the recovering ready for painting!
Once he has been, we may go out on the hunt for curtains and poles.

My climbing beans got quite leggy so they went out two nights ago, with fleece protection overnight. So far so good. The tomatoes are a bit tall so may well have to go in the ground and take their chance. They usually get put out once night temperatures are around 10C but are are getting too tall now for my mini greenhouse. They have been outside all day for a few days now and will be left out tonight with minimal fleece just in case.

Got to get some baking done as well, so that should all keep me busy for a while.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019


I can’t put any pictures on my blog until the computer is plugged back in to take them off my camera.

We thought, apart from skirting and door, the painting in the lounge was finished, but no. Sitting down last night, we noticed a smear in the paint on the chimney breast. As it was still wet, we brushed that part again. This morning, the brushed part is more shiny than its surroundings so later on, we will mask up the tiles and burner, and redo the whole front of said area. Bummer!

We went looking for carpet yesterday and found something quickly. It is Primo Ultra in chocolate. Although we didn’t want the carpet to be quite as dark, it is the best choice with madam around. Yes, her hairs will still show but not quite as much with it being mottled.

Measuring up happens tomorrow with fitting at the start of June. That should give us time to finish the lounge and the hall.

Monday, 13 May 2019


We did a first coat on all the lounge walls plus inside the wood burner recess. A second coat on one inside window let us get our blind back up for night time privacy.

Another hot bath, bed and both slept well.

Today, we are not aching quite so much. We thought we had enough paint for a second coat in the lounge and to do the inner hall but it has all been used in the lounge. DB has gone to get another tin.

The shop didn’t have a base colour tin in 2.5 litre to make us baked terracotta for the chimney breast so instead, we got 2 x 1 litre tins, should be enough.

Just one inner window area and the wood burner recess to do then we will be ready to tackle the chimney breast area tomorrow!

The satinwood paint for the door surround and skirting boards hasn’t been bought yet. We have decided to leave paint the door until summer. The hall has 4 doors in it and 5 surrounds so not looking forward to that.

Saturday, 11 May 2019


After moving some furniture out the lounge, we laid down floor protection. The remaining furniture was moved to one end and covered.

DB started on the ceiling with a long handled roller but could feel his neck hurting so I took over. Using the magic white paint proved useful. Although it is just a light pink, you could see any missed bits.

DB painted the coving until we were both 2/3rds along. Floor covering up, furniture moved to the other end, before coverings replaced. Off we went again. It took about 2 hours but only one coat is needed thankfully.

DB washed everything out whilst I made some lunch. Ruby was kept out the room by a gate but after watching us for a while, went for a sleep in her crate, which had been moved to another room.

After lunch was digested, I sugar soaped all the walls and skirting ready for tomorrow. DB removed the curtains and rails and filled in any small holes left behind.

We need to still buy the chimney breast colour, baked terracotta. We will do that after taping all the door frames, skirting boards, electrical sockets and window frames.

We are both aching. We are getting a bit too old to keep decorating so may eventually have to get someone in.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Weather wrong, again...

So much for a dry morning and a wet afternoon. So far, we have had 3 downpours.

We took all our pictures off the lounge and hall walls yesterday in preparation for painting. We were supposed to be going to see DS and DDiL but they are both ill, so we shall go another time. Good enough reason to get on with some painting!

Having a woodburner and a dog, creates quite a bit of dust. As it is hidden behind the pictures, it gets forgotten about, even though I do dust the pictures themselves:

As well, a quick hoover and we shall be ready. Not looking forward to doing the ceiling as no doubt, we shall both crick our necks. We invested this time around though, in white paint that goes on pink, then turns white as it drys. Hopefully that will help with touching up missed bits. Not used it before so hope it is okay.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Walking in the rain

Our walk this week, see This Norfolk Life, was conducted in the rain. We were not looking forward to it as the forecast said heavy rain. As it turned out, it wasn’t too bad.

We walk in all weathers and only holidays or injuries stop us.

The rain has done wonders for the garden. Plants have stopped struggling, the front garden is full of lush, green plants and fat buds. Two of the rhubarb plants have developed fat crowns, waiting to burst forth.

My water butts are all full and the raised beds have had a thorough soaking. It might have been a bank holiday washout but the garden is thankful.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

New herb area

Some of you may have noticed, that my Singer sewing machine stand had gone from the front garden. It is now in the back garden, near the fruit cage:
Left to right are: sage, spearmint, rosemary, apple mint and two different thymes, normal and lemon. We won't risk putting another pot on the foot treadle as Ruby might eat the contents. Outside the kitchen window is too windy and shady for them but hopefully, they will thrive here.

Last year, I dug up our sad looking rhubarb, split it into four and transplanted it into bed 2 of our raised beds. Up until now, it threw out some sorry looking leaves which just sat on the surface, looking odd. Now, after much needed rain, it is thinking about growing:

Doubt I'l get anything useful to eat this year though.

Bed 3 had strawberries put into it last year. This year, they are now starting to bulk up more, some even have a few flowers on them:
I think they should all be okay. The compost bins in each bed are really motoring now, full of worms and goodness. We don't do anything other than fill and toss them occasionally.

They have loads of holes drilled into them below surface and the worms can move freely in and out distributing the compost for us. That's the theory at least. We can, if we chose, take some compost from them to put a thin layer on top but we shall see how this, their second year, goes.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Giggling with DB

Occasionally, something happens which sets us off into fits of giggles. Last night was one such occasion.

I needed a tissue and was about to get up to get one when DB pulled a clean one from his pocket. As I used it, he pulled another one from up his sleeve. "I have loads more" he said. This started us off.

I thrust my hand up my sleeve and pretended, like a magician, to pull imaginary lengths of hankies from up my sleeve. He thrust his lapel at me and said "do you want to smell my flower".

I responded by taking off an imaginary hat and producing an imaginary rabbit before shaking his hand with an imaginary shock gadget hidden in my palm. We then went back to watching the tv, giving little giggles and wiping our eyes for a while.

Its the little unexpected things in life, like this, that make us happy.

Saturday, 4 May 2019


What an odd day so far weather wise. We have had howling bitterly cold winds, loads of heavy hail, a bit of rain and warm sun when it made an appearance. Taking Ruby out for her morning walk, we both had winter coats on, plus gloves and hats.

She needed a good towel dry when she got home. Still wants to go out and play though:)

I have done my chores for today - changed the bed, washed my hair, made some bread, made blancmange, made soup for lunch for two days.

We are trialling another colour on the chimney breast. It is a bit darker than we wanted - baked terracotta, but does actually blend in with the soft peach very well. I think if we use it and paint the alcove where the log burner is, in the soft peach, that should help. Also, we have a huge mirror on that wall, so that will cover some of it up.

Our walk this week took us to Foxley Wood near Watton to see the bluebells. I have written a post about it on my other blog, This Norfolk Life.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Another insomnia help for me is.....

Magnesium Citrate. I suffered from constipation and muscle cramps, the latter waking me up almost every night. I had read that if your magnesium is low, your sleep patterns can also be a bit off. Also, part of my heart problem gives me a permanent irregular heartbeat and tachycardia, both of which can keep me awake as well.

I take a tablet to help control the tachycardia but not the irregular heartbeat. I had been taking magnesium oxide, commonly available over the counter. Then, I read it is one of the hardest magnesiums for your body to access.

I came across an article that discusses all the different magnesiums and what each one does. Citrate was for constipation and cramps and general tiredness. Magnesium Orotate is for your heart but for the moment I don't take that and I'll explain why.

Now, these tablets are huge, too big for me to swallow. So I either crush them and put them in a bit of yoghurt or break them in half and chew, chewing them is fine. The recommended dose is 2 per day but I find that makes me go to the loo a little to often (not for a wee). So one night I take half of one, the next a whole one. I have cleared this with my doctor and he said it was fine.

The difference was pretty quick. My cramp almost disappeared and is now quite infrequent. I go to the toilet more easily now. My sleep has improved and I generally feel more rested. An unexpected side effect for me is my irregular heartbeats which have calmed down remarkably, even though this type of magnesium is not particularly for the heart.

Not all magnesium citrate tablets are born equal though. I buy a more expensive version made by Solgar. Any other make doesn't seem to be as useful. Guess you pay your money and take your chance.

Anyhow, this has helped me. Whether you chose to look things up is up to you.  Thanks for all your comments yesterday, much appreciated. For those of you whose nights are disturbed by others, try separate rooms, it really does help as well.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Dealing with MY insomnia

I think over the years, my body has learnt to adapt to lack of sleep but it does catch up with me occasionally. Obviously, long term it may well be doing me damage but who knows.

Recently though, I think I am slowly getting on top of it. This is how I deal with MY insomnia and I can't stress enough, MY insomnia!

I bought a packet of two a night Nytol, the blue packet not the herbal green version. Years ago when I needed to take them due to stress from bereavement, I used the full dose. Not so now. I break them in half and for three weeks I took just one half of one tablet (a 1/4 of the dose) If it was really bad, I upped it to a whole tablet but that left me groggy in the morning.

Whilst for some, these tablets can work quickly, everyone I have spoken to, says for long term treatment, I needed to take them for longer. The full dose is for two tablets a night for a maximum of 3 weeks. Therefore, in my thinking, if I am only taking a 1\4 of the dose, I could in theory take them for 12 weeks.

However I digress.

After 3 weeks of a 1/4 of the dose (1/2 a tablet), I tried going without. I could manage just 2 nights of normal sleep before insomnia kicked in. Back on the 1/4 dose (1/2 a tablet) for another week. Next time I went without I managed 3 - 4 nights of normal sleep until insomnia once again kicked in. Back on the tablets for another week etc.

I kept doing this for a few months. Every now and then when insomnia kicks in, I have a double shot of Bailey's instead of the Nytol. I am quite sensitive to alcohol so it doesn't keep me awake as everyone says it does.

Now, months and months down the line, and several boxes of Nytol later, my insomnia is getting better. I can manage around 5 nights a week of normal sleep, sometimes spaced out, of good quality sleep. If I have a bad night, I use the drink as taking Nytol, for me, after midnight, leaves me dopey the next day.

Each to their own but it seems to be working for now and I am very grateful. Some people only take the tablet for a few nights and give up but that doesn’t really help. Adjustment of dose is personal. I found I really needed to take them for quite a while to retrain my body back into sleep.

Last night I had Bailey’s and eventually got 5 hours sleep apart from a brief interlude being woken by the blasted wood pigeons.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Ugly but functional...

When we changed our kitchen doors over to bring the kitchen up to date, we needed to buy two drawer cupboard units as the old ones were breaking. We kept the bottom boards from their drawers and use them as:
A cooker splashback, which gets stored when not in use, down by the side of the boiler.

Every now and then, they get a scrub down and eventually won't be viable but they have done us for an age, as did their previous versions.

We do, as you can see, have tiles but if left to their own devices, fat splashes onto them but more importantly, onto the grout, making everything sticky and grubby. The tiles are not the shiny ones so if any residue builds up on them, it takes forever to clean it off.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Heating fixed!

The plumber changed our 3 way valve but everything still seemed stiff and not quite right. He reckoned the 3 way metal pipe behind it was responsible. We paid him for changing the valve and his 2 hours of checking etc.

The next day he phoned to say had we kept the box from the replacement valve as he had now got hold of one that came with the 3 way metal pipe attached. He could change the new one for that version and all would be well plus give us a full rebate for the new one just fitted. He could then get a return on said valve.

He came yesterday afternoon, partially drained the system and changed the valve and pipe. Another bit of testing and all was well. When he and DB inspected the metal pipe, it was corroded and pitted from limescale hence not opening and closing correctly.

Not too expensive in the end and a good repairman, willing to sort things out and not con us. We shall use him again for future jobs when necessary.

Friday, 26 April 2019

One of the reasons

For continuing to live a relatively frugal life, is to have the savings to do things or get people in to do things for us.

The 3 way valve switch box on our central heating has just about broken. We keep getting intermittent heat in the radiators even though the heating isn't on. Last time it went, DB changed it himself. Now he's happy to admit he would find it difficult to see what he's doing as well as twist in the airing cupboard to do it.

We had a man come to look at it yesterday afternoon. He changed it but believes the actual valve behind it isn’t swivelling correctly. This unfortunately will involve draining the whole system to change it. Radiators could do with a good empty out anyway as you can hear bits moving around sometimes.

Our heating was put in by the previous owner and we have spent decades dealing with it’s weird operating methods!

Thursday, 25 April 2019

The front garden....

Is coming along nicely although it is desperate for some decent rain. An early, yellow Welsh poppy and the lime green bracts of Euphorbia are in flower:

Even though we had a lovely Easter weatherwise, the front garden didn't get touched. We were concentrating on clearing part of the back and creating a new herb area. When finished, I'll show you my new herb area.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed my Singer sewing machine 'table' is no longer in the top picture!

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Chosing a colour for the lounge

With makers of paint supplying numerous colours to paint with, yet few tester pots available in those colours, it takes an age for us to get the colours we really want.

We hope to paint the lounge in the next few months. The carpet is a mess and has gone flat, so we may as well be walking on the floor. It too needs changing.

Eventually, we decided on soft peach for the walls, on the left of these samples:
Whilst the rest looked bright, they just made the room look grubby somehow. Being north facing, we need a bit of warmth on the walls.

Normally, all 4 walls are painted the same, but we checked out an alternative colour for the chimney breast:
Ignore the green on the right, that was to go with the other 3 patches on the top and was decided against. The middle - copper blush - is way too dark. Adding white made it the wrong shade - on the left.

We will try another couple if we can get tester pots, if not, the whole room will be soft peach.

Finding a carpet in the colour we want will be a nightmare as the 'in' colour is grey. Much as I love grey, it is not the colour for the room:(

Tuesday, 23 April 2019


We don’t travel about much during Easter as the roads are too busy. Yesterday though we ventured out to try and get a final pot of paint to test. Not much luck so we bought what we had previously decided on before heading off to a garden centre for some pots and herbs.

Back home we had a visitor who was just driving off as we arrived. An hour was spent having a nice chat before she departed and we had lunch.

After that, I potted up my new herbs of rosemary, sage and two different thymes. Still need another plant pot for my mint potentially but we shall see.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Going to be nice.....

Except for Ruby who will be hot. She never stops chasing the shadows of anything, or twinkling things, or bugs, when outside in the garden. As a result, we have to come in so she can cool down, daft dog!

We are currently working our way through some paint sample pots. Once the right colour is chosen, the lounge will be pared back of furniture and painted. Once that is done, it will be emptied ready for a new carpet. Haven’t started looking for one yet, so no rush.

I keep having to remove the tomatoes and beans from the conservatory as it is getting between 35C and 40C.

Have a grand Easter everyone.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

It’s almost time...

For the new series of Beechgrove Garden. It starts BBC Scotland at 8pm Thursday 17th April, or BBC 2 Sunday 12:30. Give it a go if you have never watched it. Personally I find it superior to Gardeners World.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Sorting my Brexit Box

Now that the time for leaving Brexit has passed (without actually leaving), I decided to sort through my Brexit Box. There were some items in there with best before dates of 2019 and quite a lot for 2020. They have now gone into my revamped pantry:

I still have a box with items dated up to 2021, 2022 and a few 2023. They will get added to as and when I can and become my new box. It was like Christmas again, unpacking and restocking!

Monday, 15 April 2019

A year ago yesterday....

Ruby came to live with us, age 8 weeks. She went from this:
To this:

She was too much of a fidget to duplicate the shot!

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Shopping around....

We always try to shop around for the best utility deals where we can, such as electricity and oil. We went on a water meter years ago and it continues to save us around £350 per annum.

Last year, we chose the best but cheapest lifetime dog insurance deal we could for Ruby, from MoreThan. It came to £317.76. This year they put it up to £402.76, an increase of £85.00. We hadn't made a single claim and we have had Ruby spayed - no difference it seems.

I wasn't happy with that so went onto a price comparison site Bought by Many, put in all her details and was given 6 choices depending on what we wanted to have. We chose a mid range lifetime deal which almost matches last years perfectly. Guess what, it came to £256.42, a saving of £146.34 - that is a huge saving.

Welcome to Ramona MS and Lisa Jenkins via Bloglovin.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

I think if I am not careful

I could very easily become a recluse. Over the decades, the few friends I have had, have drifted away. Not by location, no, they are still around, so what has happened?

We all accept that life moves on but I find it odd that people can't still spare you a few moments of their existence, once in a blue moon. You know how it goes. Visits are longer inbetween, telephone calls and other social media messages reduce. You become the one always getting in touch, rather than them.

You decide to get in touch less to see if they notice, nope! You leave a longer and longer gap then get in touch again. Still no response.

I used to have two very good friends in the village. We all moved into work, our children grew up and social interaction reduced, as expected. One chose to hardly be in touch at all other than to flout her new best buddy relationship!! Nearly two decades passed before we bumped into each other and she started sending a Christmas card. I could have started it all up again but chose not to.

The other one had many grand children arrive and I would have expected her time to be reduced but had hoped to still be invited up occasionally to meet grand children. Nope! She went on to have a life threatening illness. I wasn't made aware of it and only found out, 1 year afterwards, when having got in touch for the umpteenth time, got invited for coffee. Since then - zilch.

It doesn't just happen with friends either.

There are times when I feel like a secretary. Times when I feel I am flogging a dead horse, trying to get a response. It has, at low moments, the capacity to make me feel completely unwanted, unloved and at its worst, wondering if they would miss me...

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Raised beds and fruit blossom...

Three out of the four raised beds out back, had spring planting put in them to help maintain the soil over winter. They are now in bloom. In the middle of each bed is their compost bin, all of which are awake and in action:

Bed 1 and a vegetable bed:
Bed 2 has rhubarb in the four corners and 3 parsley plants but not many flowers
Bed 3 isn't shown as it just has strawberries in it. Bed 4 the other vegetable bed, on the patio:
Greengage blossom - excuse the state of the fence. It is NOT ours and the neighbour changed the other half but not this half:(
The later fruiting Spartan, which I was told would take 7 years to produce a good crop of flowers, and it has:
The James Grieve apples are also beginning to send out flowers:

The front arch has in bloom (here on the back of the arch) a russet apple and pink pear:
The front apple (out of shot) and another pear which has never flowered, grow on the left.

We also have a back arch with two different plums - Victoria and Czar on one side and a quince on the other.

In the fruit cage are one blackcurrant, one bramble, two blueberries, two gooseberries and two new dwarf raspberries. The blueberries are slowly dying as we don't have the correct soil but have given us fruit for quite a few years. I think possibly this year, I may need to replace them.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019


The hair on her tummy is taking an age to grow back but she now has some stubble. Doesn't stop her flying around in the woods when we go there. We are teaching her to jump over and stand or sit on logs:
Mid flight - love this one:
She is 14 months old now and settling nicely although reverting back to things we thought she had grown out of. DS was right!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Pantry update...

As I now like to operate my pantry as a mini shop, I realised there just wasn't the space in the kitchen cupboards or the pantry 'under the stair' (a family joke as we live in a bungalow with no stairs).

After its first reincarnation, see here,

we decided to upgrade it further. It now looks like this:
In fact, another half shelf has divided the space bottom left. There is storage for the bread maker, at waist height, to save straining my back. The very top wide storage space is where all my home made preserves will be stored.

I have yet to sort it out ready for when I decant all my Brexit box items into it. The hoover has gone into the spare bedroom, freeing up several shelfs for storage. All in all, a huge improvement.

Sunday, 7 April 2019


Although Ruby sheds hair on a daily basis, twice a year, she has a proper moult. We glove brush her each morning and on average, this is what we remove:

She has her ears combed every day otherwise they knot. By doing this, it allows us to check her for any unwanted visitors!

Saturday, 6 April 2019


I was a bit late sowing my tomato seeds but 9 were sown and 8 have arrived:

3 x Orange Bourgoin, 3 x Ailsa Craig and 2 x Gardeners Delight. They were sown in quite small individual cell seed trays, 2 seeds per cell. The spare ones were removed and after about 4 weeks they had grown enough to pot on. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my 3" potting on pots so they have gone into 4" ones. Hopefully they won't mind.

6 will grow down by the garage wall alongside 6 climbing beans. The other two will be put into pots on greenhouse staging to keep them away from Ruby. If I decide we need more, I shall plant up the plantlets that grow in the leaf axils. They seem to readily root.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

I have spent....

The last 2 hours in my pyjamas and dressing gown, very unusual for me. However, I haven’t just been sitting around. Granola has been made and baked, my weekly shopping list organised and bread is in the bread machine, and the breakfast things washed and put away.

A dull, grey, cold day is currently in motion. Maybe it will improve. DB has a hygienist appointment then we can chill out and tootle around as per normal.

I have washing machine liquid to make up and a video game to play!

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The front garden and loft

Welcome to Barb Surman via Bloglovin.

Our winter wasn't as bad as normal. As a consequence, the front garden didn't thoroughly shut down. Things are now growing well and soon, it will be full of flowers:
The euphorbia is already 'blooming', the mini daffs didn't do very well but all the late spring flowers have pushed out their leaves and in a few weeks, it will look lovely.

DB is currently hoovering the loft. Why you might ask!

We store rarely used clothing up there in suit zipper bags. You know the kind of thing, funeral and wedding and special occasion clothes which take up space in our everyday wardrobes.

He went to get something the other day, touched one of the bags and it went 'poof', disintegrating into black dust. Luckily it didn't cause too much damage to the clothing (as far as I know) but made a right mess on the floor.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019


Like many folks this time of year, my sap rises and I get the urge to declutter. Our mantelpiece was a nightmare and because it was so cluttered, it wasn't getting dusted. Since having Ruby, our dust levels have increased and I am getting more lazy as I age!

DB commented on how much better it looked and how we could put on a nice picture of DS and DDiL. I said no. Our walls are covered in pictures, including their wedding and our wedding pictures. We don't need anymore on here. Sorry DS and DDiL.

We move our chairs and tables around in the lounge once a month. It not only distributes wear and tear on them but also gives us a good opportunity for a thorough clean and getting rid of items. The next thing to tackle is our huge 'cubed' corner unit, which is also stuffed.

We want to decorate and change the carpet so now is a good time to do it.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Today has dawned...

Bright blue skies and sunshine, for now at least. It is certainly cooler though, the forecast for the next few days, not too pretty.

With that in mind, everything left in the wash basket is in the washer and will shortly be on the line. I think I shall make pea soup with bockwurst chopped into it. Should last us a couple of days.

Had a lovely chat with DS yesterday. Hope you all had a lovely Mother’s Day in the UK yesterday.

Sunday, 31 March 2019


For the first time in years, we forgot to change our clocks forward. We kept remembering yesterday but in the end, forgot!

As it happens, we woke at 6:30, realised it was 7:30 and got up.

Opened my Mother’s Day card and present, a new video game. Good oh! I think it will be months before I get to it as my current game is keeping me very occupied. Thanks both.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Been out.....

Checking the area where we walk amongst the cowslips to see their progress. We reckon another 10 days or so and they will be in full bloom. We shall visit then for a wander.

Ruby had a lovely run down the path that runs alongside them as dogs aren't allowed off lead in the pasture where they grow.

On the way back to the car, we saw this magnificent cherry blossom tree in bloom:
We stopped off at a local eatery for a cheese scone and coffee. Had to sit outside because of Ruby but she laid down quietly underneath the table whilst we enjoyed ourselves sitting in the sun.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Baking, baking and baking

Our freezer is full of fruit from last summer and the summer before. I shall have to have a good go at making jam and crumbles to start using it up. All the photographs below are of things made but yet to be cooked at the time of photographing.

Gooseberry crumble:
Pork, kidney, mushroom and Quorn pie filling:
Gravy from above for two pies:
Two side plate pies. We have eaten one and the other and its gravy are both in the freezer for another day:

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Its been...

A funny few days, something on each one with what feels like no rest inbetween.

Our walk this week was great but two eating places we tried were shut. One permanently, the other lunch times only. Neither of any future use to us which is a bit of a bummer.

However, we did make a return to a previous place which had been taken over and the food was dreadful. Sandwiches much improved so that has gone back on our list.

Visited my sister in Lincolnshire for a couple of hours. We went out to have some nice fish and chips - always a bonus!

Massage cancelled then done today, much needed.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Harvest time!

We like to drive to woods occasionally so Ruby and us can have an interesting walk. We were a bit surprised to find one being harvested. It has 4 sections to it and the 1st is almost gone apart from a few deciduous trees and a single line of pines around its outer edges.

The second part also looks set to be harvested eventually. Hopefully, they don't take more:

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Double whammy of loss!

Like many people of my generation, I fell foul of the change in pension age. At what cost you might ask?

Well, I have done rough calculations as I don't know how much state pension I would have received each year of those I have missed out on.

By these calculations, by the time I finally receive my payments, I have lost anywhere from £36,000 to £45,000. That is huge!

The double whammy is that I had fully paid into this scheme. As well as not receiving my pension when I should have, I will now have to pay another 5 years contributions, totalling £3750.

So unfair. Those extra payments are having to come out of our savings as I gave up work due to health problems and having been fully paid in.

I suppose you could say the loss from our savings makes it a triple whammy loss. Good job we are still being frugal.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Following on from vaccinations

Flea, tick and worm prevention!

An awful lot of pet owners seem to do whatever their vets recommend when it comes to flea, tick and worm prevention. A pill seems to be the main choice but did you know, if you buy a prescription from your vet, you can send it away and more often than not, get the pills far cheaper? I guess it depends whether your vet is willing for you to buy the script (around £8-£12) from them and whether you can be bothered or financially need to do so.

Someone I know gets charged £50 per quarter for the one flea/tick and one worming prevention tablet. Yet a prescription would be, at the most £12. The tablets would cost at the most £23 a total of £35. I don't know if the prescription would cover just one quarter or more. If it was just for one, you would still be saving £15 every quarter, an annual saving of £60. That could help towards pet insurance.

Thursday, 21 March 2019


Each year, your vet invites you for annual booster vaccinations for your pets. Do they actually need them all every year? Are you simply paying when you don't need to be and for the convenience of the vets?

Below is a link to vaccines commonly available in the UK and just how often they need to be administered see here.

Just find the vaccine used on your dog and check how often it ACTUALLY needs to be given. L2 and L4 are required annualy but are often given as a joint injection with distemper, parvovirus etc. However, the later, in most vaccines, really only needs to be administered once every 3 years.

We have Ruby vaccinated annually against L2 rather than L4 as the incidents of dogs being made very unwell by the L4 are higher than those reported with the older L2.

So in this, her second year of vaccinations, despite our own vets emailing me she needs her boosters (all of them), we are going back to the other vet that carried them out, just to have an L2 booster.

It seems to depends on your lifestyle, whether you go abroad or not, whether you kennel your dogs or not etc. I guess you pays your money and make your choices.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Waitrose - Chocolate and sour cream loaf - updated

The recipe for this can be found here. We reduced the sugars by 10%.

Haven't tasted it yet but here it is fresh from the oven:
And with its milk chocolate topping:
I had run out of dark chocolate so used milk instead. We plan on having a piece tomorrow so will let you know then!

Had a small piece for supper, very rich but nice. Topping helps cut through the richness.

Monday, 18 March 2019


If the weather forecast is correct, we should have around 5 hours of sunshine. Hoping it is true, there is one line blowing in the gentle breeze. Another wash is on to fill the other line.

We needed some bread so instead of using the bread maker to bake us a large loaf, we are trying the smaller medium loaf. Hopefully it will fit our slicer better as we have to cut the rounded top off a large loaf.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

In my fruit and vegetable garden this year...

I will be growing the following:
Only beds 1 and 4 are available for vegetables, as last year, bed 2 had rhubarb transferred into it and bed 3 strawberries.

Tomatoes and beans will go down the garden wall near the garage as well as a few tomatoes in pots on the patio.

Also in a couple of pots will be 2 tubers of:
I quite like begonias but rarely grow them. I do know, that if you remove the male flowers as they appear (the small insignificant ones), the female flowers grow far bigger. That of course, may only apple to the big blousy versions.