Thursday 30 May 2019


Welcome to Ian Holland and Jackie Hawkins via Bloglovin.

We go to Taverham every 2 months or so. We stop at the garden centre for a drink and mooch around. Whilst there, we managed to get two birthday presents for our walking buddies and two presents for the festive season. That has got to be a record for us.

I also treated myself to a lightweight mac in a pack type walking jacket, windproof and rainproof and slightly longer than the one I usually use. Also a nice floral cotton reversible hat for summer, both walking and mooching around in. I never use to use a summer hat but find them essential now to stop not only the heat on my head but also the glare of the sun and protection for my face and neck from sunburn.

The main reason for going to Taverham is the dog food company. They have a huge selection of food, treat and general essentials. The products are cheaper than where I normally get them from but do contain more bone. We have to make sure we mix the food from there with the more expensive stuff. so Ruby doesn't get constipated. I also have to add minced offal as most of the products don't have it in and it is essential for a raw fed dog. Even with the addition of offal, it is still good value for money and gives her some change in taste and texture.

Not that she really needs a change. As soon as she sees her food bowl, she runs off at high speed to her 'place' and sits there, licking her lips.

Mini heatwave is on its way apparently and now that we have broken the back of the decorating, might actually find the time to garden (as well as relax). We have had a decent amount of rain for the garden which will help it enormously but not so much as to refill our water butts.

Tuesday 28 May 2019


Some of us are going to have a mini heatwave for a few days so I might change our menu plans a little. 

We both had chiropractic treatment today and feel better for it. After all our efforts decorating, we had a few lumps to be worked on.

Our walking friend E., asked if we fancied a walk with the dogs. We had a nice time in some woods, rounding off with some ice cream.

I fancied a different way of cooking the mushrooms for tea. We had a small tub of salsa in the fridge, so once cooked it was added. Served with chips the salsa mushrooms had a lovely tang to them. Might try them tossed in some form of hummus another time.

Monday 27 May 2019

Cracking up....

Being the Bank Holiday weekend, we thought we would take Ruby for a walk to see a food and drink fayre. We finished what painting we needed to do for the day, got two small rucksacks ready (one with lunch and items for Ruby) the other to hold anything we bought whilst there.

Off we went only to find just as we arrived at the first sign, that it is another weekend - doh!

Ah well, we turned around and decided to take Ruby for a walk anyway. On the way back, she went to the toilet then kept trying to wipe her bottom on the ground many times. Once home, we investigated to find a blasted burdock burr attached to her bottom, stuck deep into her coat. No choice but to cut it out then wash that area clean. I think because it was stuck she must have thought she hadn't finished going to the loo poor thing!

The lounge is finished apart from the door. The inner hall has had its ceiling, coving and walls done. All woodwork will be completed by the end of this week. Then the first week in June, the carpet will go down, curtains up and we will be back to normal. Poor Ruby is not herself, obviously a change in her routine.

Winter quilt and sheets are off the bed and nice crisp, lightweight summer bedding is on - yeah!

Sunday 26 May 2019

Pressure cooked gammon

I have cooked a whole chicken in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Although it came out white, it was moist, tender and tasty. I have cut up a shoulder of pork into one inch cubes, cooked  for 15 minutes, left to depressurise naturally, they came out pulled pork tender and tasty.

Today, it was a 1.3kg joint of gammon. It was soaked for one hour, put in with 3 mugs of water, brought up to pressure and cooked for 37 minutes. After leaving it to lose pressure naturally, it was ready. Again, beautifully tender and moist. I had some with cauliflower cheese, DB had his with swede, squash and carrot cheese.

I think pressure cooking meat is going to be my normal method most of the time from now on.

Saturday 25 May 2019

Gardening mojo returning

I have at last started sowing a few vegetables, beetroot, radish and lettuce. Bed one looks a bit empty due to newly sown seeds but does have two tomatoes and a runner bean in there:
Bed two has tomatoes, another runner bean, rhubarb, beetroot and parsley:
Bed three contains strawberries, a few lettuce and the odd beetroot or two:
Bed four is still empty so no point in a picture. The driveway garden has three tomatoes and three French climbing beans:
Some of the beds have a bit of fleece around them to help the plants against the cold wind until they get established.

Some iris that I planted two years ago underneath the apple trees are in bloom at the moment:
Just glorious!

Friday 24 May 2019

I am not affiliated to ....

Any political party but I think the treatment of Theresa May has been appalling. Stabbed in the back by both party members and cabinet members, whilst trying her best to fulfil the vote, by the people, to leave the EU.

Labour, in their stubbornness have managed to railroad the whole process to get their own way, yet their way is also not supported. The rest have been just as bad.

Instead of trying to work out a way to solve the problems, all parties have behaved like spoilt brats, invested in what they can get out of the process, how good they can look, rather than doing what the people want.

What next, a general election where the people don’t like the result and demand another one. Where will it all end.

Women died to give me the vote and in general, council and EU elections, I have duly voted but not yesterday. I forgot about it for most of the day then couldn’t bring myself to vote for people who aren’t even in our actual area.

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.