Tuesday 31 March 2020

A change in how Coronavirus deaths are calculated

Currently, only people who have died in hospital of Covid19 have been recorded in our daily figures. Now, once a week, the Office for National Statistics will also add in those who have died from the virus in the wider community. These deaths have to have been recorded by a medical professional to count in the figures, so expect to see a rise.

Monday 30 March 2020

Dog training was cancelled....

Now, for those of us interested in joining in, it will be done remotely. He is organising email weekly training packs. If we wish, we can send video for feedback. 6 weeks for the price of 5!

That way he can keep earning some money and we can help keep his business going.

Sowed a few beetroot, radish and lettuce yesterday. They are under a sheet of fleece which is under a sheet of Perspex, slightly raised off the soil. They might be okay, we shall see.

Sunday 29 March 2020

Oops, nearly

The bread machine had been going for a few minutes and I was washing the breakfast things. It was just starting to mix when I realised it didn’t sound right; oops, I hadn’t put the mixing paddle in.

Switched it off, decanted the contents into a bowl, washed the inside bowl out. Once it was dry, replaced it, put the paddle in, decanted the bread mix from the bowl back inside and switched it back it.

It carried on as though it hadn’t noticed and still produced a lovely loaf of bread.

Saturday 28 March 2020

Cardigan and kimono for granddaughter

I have knitted another cardigan using the same pattern but stocking stitch rather than garter stitch. It is in a lovely baby mint green:
Also just finished is a kimono in lemon. First picture just finished (all in one) but before sewing together:
All joined, buttons a bit skew whiff but hey ho - came out larger than expected:

Sent in a large parcel with Easter goodies, a few food items, a little blanket amongst other things. DON’T forget, here in the UK, clocks go forward overnight!

Friday 27 March 2020

A bit of music for you

Heart of Courage By Two Steps From Hell:


Recognise it? It was used in Gladiator and we all need a heart of courage at the moment. Two Steps From Hell have a fantastic selection of music, some of which you will recognise from films.

Went shopping yesterday, just to Lidl. They were operating a one out one in queue, so much more civil. Couldn’t have been more than 20 inside. Got everything except pasta. I was wearing a home made mask and gloves. Most were not even wearing gloves:(

We don’t  need to go there again for 3 or 4 weeks now and DB stayed in the car. We are lucky to have a small local shop for emergency top ups.

Stay safe everyone.

Thursday 26 March 2020

And why not? UPDATED!

DB and Ruby resting in the sunshine after he has done a few jobs. Notice the tissue around a cut finger:(
Went outside at 8pm to clap for the careers, quite a few clapping and whooping, dogs barking etc.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Under the weather.....

No, it’s not Coronavirus!

Normally I organise an appointment with the surgery online, no longer available. Could walk around and go in, no longer available. Several hours of phoning non stop before eventually getting through. Normally our receptionists are very friendly but are obviously feeling the strain.

We aren’t doing any normal appointments she said. Oh, but I think I have an ear infection starting up. Oh said she, I’ll put you on the triage phone back with your doctor. He phoned back a couple of hours later.

After checking several times on whether I had or have a cough, temperature, been abroad etc (obviously Coronavirus checks), we got down to what symptoms I actually had. Cheek ache, ear pressure, persistent mild sore throat, aching neck, armpits, groin etc, for nearly 4 weeks.

Normally he would have seen me he said but not now, was I happy with that. Yes said I. He decided it was pharyngitis and/or tonsillitis and sinusitis, and prescribed a low dose of antibiotic, unless I wanted the full high dose, no said I. Are you OK for paracetamol said he, yes thank you said I.

I picked my prescription up an hour later. We shall see how things go. I don’t feel ill, just under the weather but was beginning to feel myself going down more each week. I can call again he said if after taking them, it still hasn’t cleared.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Goodness me, social distancing in practice...

We popped out yesterday at 09:30 to get DGD some much needed body vests. Couldn’t find the right size in Matalan. Then went next door to what looked like a calm Morrison’s, as I needed a few items of food.

It was almost empty and most people kept their distance at the tills. I was also pleased to see many people, including myself, were wearing gloves:
Still no loo rolls, pasta, flour, cheap medicines or evaporated milk. Other favourite hoarding items, such as cereals or rice, hardly any tinned popular goods. I suspect today will be chaos and very different, as people panic buy even more.

Once home and food put away, hands and all door handles and cupboard handles were once again washed!

Sending a parcel up shortly to the ‘kids’. All packets inside have been cleaned but not the baby stuff as I know her mum will wash it all before using. It will all be inside a bag so as not to dirty items I have already washed.

Monday 23 March 2020


Having thawed some apple, pear and brambles, I set to, making us a medium sized sponge pudding to eat over three days:

Warmed through in the microwave, and with some custard or such like, we shall enjoy it. Eating a pudding over three days, which we don't always have, allows us to have a snack rather than a full meal.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Making do...

Using just a medium amount of meat, plus swede, carrots, onion, potatoes and a bit of kidney, I was able to make two side plate pies:

We had half of one each for lunch, the other will freeze for a later date. As you can see above, the scraps of pastry were rolled to give us 6 mince pies!

Saturday 21 March 2020

Stock taking my freezers .....

Each month, I write out a menu, stock take fridge, freezer and cupboards to make a shopping list.

I try to be very good where the freezer is concerned but usually end up only 80% correct by the end of each month. Tiresome to forget to cross things off, but I put it down to old age!

Just done the indoor and outdoor ones, all up to date and must do better this time around. Menu is varying slightly as we eat a lot of pasta and are trying to use less.

We made food for Ruby yesterday so she is set for at least three weeks now. All dog classes are cancelled but we can still order raw food when and if necessary.

I now have all my seeds and sowing compost. A big Perspex sheet is on raised bed 3, warming the soil to start a little earlier than normal.

Friday 20 March 2020

As a female....

I need to dry myself after urinating, you men are so lucky!

I use 3 sheets each time, on average 5 or 6 times a day/night. That means, I will get through one roll of our brand of toilet paper every 9.5 days, doing just that one action. Who knew or even thought about that before?

With the ridiculous situation regarding this particular commodity, I have now decided to use a clean flannel for this particular job, rinsed after every use, then washed each day. Hopefully, our supply will then last a little longer.

Every little helps as a well known supermarket says!

Thursday 19 March 2020

Shopping in a new world

We decided to go shopping early, arriving at Lidl around 08:10 hours, the car park was very busy. Inside was busier still and queues for the tills, quite long. Several things were still missing but some previously missing things, were there in small quantities. Most people were shopping and behaving well. Hardly any milk so we came home with organic instead.

Off to Morrison’s next to get the rest plus offal for Ruby. Far quieter in there but very busy at the tills. Still empty shelves, no loo rolls, biscuits and cleaning products amongst missing items.

Then into an extremely quiet town. Most cafe seating areas closed but doing takeaway. Some big stores closed. Bought more knitting wool, a pattern and ribbon to keep me going, then some ear drops (have had odd feeling ears for a couple of weeks now). Paid a cheque in and bought wheat germ and couscous.

Whilst out on our walk yesterday, we called into an egg shop to get hen and duck eggs!

Wednesday 18 March 2020

At the moment....

We feel lucky.

Lucky to be retired. Lucky to have a pension. Lucky to have no mortgage to pay. Most of all though, lucky to be well at this moment in time.

We potentially had our last joint walk with a friend. The cafe we had thought about eating in was small so we weren’t sure what to do, try eat out or go home.  It had already closed so that solved the problem.

On the way home, planning on heating and eating a pizza from the freezer, we drove past a huge and empty restaurant. It normally serves 100 and again we wondered if we should risk it. In the hour we were there, eating a beautiful soup, just 4 more people came in. We all chose to sit at least 15’ away from each other.

If we are going to be shut in soon, we took the risk, copiously washing and cleaning our hands. We have to shop tomorrow so again, will have to venture out and be careful.

DB had a letter from the doctor today informing him he will no longer be allowed to pick prescriptions up from the surgery. He nominated me to do so otherwise they would have to do it. Also, all online appointments have been removed. We now have to phone up. Hopefully we won’t require any.

The times they are a changing.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Our local shop

I am pleased to see that people are behaving nicely and standing apart whilst waiting at the till. Yes, some things are low such as pump action soap, hand gel and the cheaper brands of painkillers and such like.

There are many people smiling and joking about things but that seems to be the British way of dealing with things. Hopefully that won’t change in the near future.

We have made a list of jobs that need doing around the house, and where possible, have bought in what we need to do them. If we have to self isolate for a long while, they will get done.

Apart from food shopping, dog walking and walking in general, we are self isolating as much as possible.

DB has come down with a cold. No temperature or other indicators as in the new virus. I have given him a quarter dose of Nytol, it helps dry up the runny nose a little, which in turn reduces sneezing. He hasn’t had a cold for years:( Hopefully he won’t pass it on!

Sunday 15 March 2020

Herd Immunity or Herd Mutiny!

It only takes one person, to pick up one extra item whilst out shopping, to clear shelves. Unless you see people filling their trollies with multiple items of the same product, then most people would appear to be shopping normally.

Hoards descending and rampaging through stores is a different matter. It could get worse the longer things go on and I personally think it is unfair of any government to ask the shops to be responsible to police how people shop. If things get too bad, get the Army in to prevent everyone from the worst of it.

Younger generations won't have seen anything like this but it does happen every now and then due to one thing or another.

People have always smiled at me for maintaing an emergency store cupboard, such as a Brexit box. Despite this, I carried on and it will become useful in this emergency.

My mother in law ran her pantry like clockwork and I used to smile at her tactics but they worked and I adopted them to a certain extent. Her motto was this, "have a minimum of two of everything and when you are down to one, replenish stock". She did of course have more than 2 of each item that was regularly used. Her fridge and freezers always operated at capacity and she was a prolific preserver of food.

Her utility cupboards were chock full of jams, marmalades, bottled fruits, ginger beer, fruity drinks etc. She baked biscuits and cakes and at supper time, despite still being a little full from dinner, out they would come and we would all have at least one. She was very adaptable in some ways, her skills were passed onto me but I don't really know if I passed them onto our son.

He would have been aware of how I shopped as he came with us and was given his own little list to fetch items for us. He lived and adapted well to wartime rations for 7 years when we had no choice. He would have seen me bake and preserve but his generation is different to mine, we were different (but not to such a great extent) from our parents.

He is now a parent and getting to grips with his now full term if still small daughter. She is doing well but I doubt we will get to see her in the near future which is a damn shame.

Time will tell how this latest emergency pans out. I would like to hope that we all learn something from it but who knows.

Saturday 14 March 2020

Live Feed Coronavirus

Below, if you really, really want to know, is the COVID 19 worldwide live feed, which is constantly updated. Here in the UK, as of 14:40, another 10 people have died, with 20 people in a serious or critical condition. Please keep safe and keep doing what you can to keep safe.


An investment

What is the investment we have made? This:
An electric pressure/slow/rice cooker/steamer. Yes, I know I have a normal pressure cooker but it scares me to death every time I use it. I keep having to wander into the kitchen every few minutes to check its still at pressure.

This particular item has a 75/25% split on good/bad reviews although reading a few of the bad ones, some people haven't a clue about pressure cooking.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that it works well for us. We shall keep the other one in the attic for use in power cuts or other emergencies as it can abe used on a camping cooker.

Anyhow, the first two things I wanted to try were rice pudding:

And mac n cheese:
We didn't have pudding rice, only risotto rice but it was still quite nice, 4/5. I reckon it would have got 5/5 with pudding rice.

The mac n cheese was also slightly different. Due to panic buying of pasta, I couldn't find any macaroni pasta so used something slightly bigger. It should have cooked for an extra minute with hindsight being slightly bigger.

The taste and texture however was fantastic, like something from a high end restaurant - 5/5. Mind you, with cream and loads of cheese, it wasn't surprising.

As we went for the 5 litre, I think all the recipes are designed for 4, so although we ate all the rice pudding as it was all we were having for a meal, we ate only half the mac n cheese and froze the rest.

So far so good!

Friday 13 March 2020


Overheard today in a supermarket “I don’t care if I catch it, it’s only like a mild cold. If I want to go shopping whilst I’m ill, I will. Where the f—k is the pasta, ‘twats, those people who are hoarding!”

Lidl - no pasta amongst other items.
Sainsbury’s- no pasta, rice, toilet paper etc.
Tesco - hardly any rice or pasta but toilet roll.
All the above, no cheap medicines.
And so it begins!

Tuesday 10 March 2020


I don't tend to read much Twitter, Facebook or suchlike but I was amazed by Twitter reporting the panic buying currently going on in the UK.

I would guess around 50% are disgusted by it and the rest amazed and laughing it off. Comments like "I went shopping and couldn't stop myself panic buying, I came home with slippers, sandpaper and 40 litres of paint"

Other comments were showing disgust at those stripping bare the shelves of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, soap, pasta, baby formula and tinned goods.

I can't understand the lemming attitude towards toilet paper. Neither Flu nor Coronavirus give you loose motions so why would you need so much? Newspaper makes a reasonable substitute if things get really bad. You can't eat toilet paper either, so its not going to feed you.

Hand sanitizer I can partially understand (but in moderation, leave some for others). However,  most bottles don't tell you how much ethyl alcohol they contain and it apparently needs to be 60%. If it is less than that, it might not be offering the protection you think.

Face masks are also regarded next to useless for this particular virus, but those who really need them, such as care workers, doctors, nurses and dentists etc, for their day to day jobs, can't get hold of them.

The problem with panic buying is that it induces more panic buying the more it is discussed. I am probably not helping but really people, get a grip.

If you can't get hold of sanitizing gel, put a very soapy damp flannel or suchlike into a plastic bag and carry it around. Washing your hands is best but quite a few won't be doing it properly.

How many of you, for example when visiting the toilet, wash your hands, dry and leave?

Clean hands being used to turn off a dirty tap, then you touch a dirty handle to leave the toilet area!!! I always wash my hands, and whilst still soapy, wash the top of the tap. This helps ensure that when I have rinsed my hands, I can turn the tap off without reinfecting my hands. I use my elbow to switch on the dryer, if required, then a tissue or sleeve to leave the area.

I still hear people leaving the toilet cubicle and the area without washing their hands, God knows what they are putting on the handles!

Yes, be cautious, be careful, protect yourself sensibly but also think of others. Those without much money who can't stock up (give to the food bank), those who need items for their day to day jobs, leave some behind, just be sensible, we are not and should not become a nation of lemmings.

Monday 9 March 2020

Just after Christmas

We bought a reduced in price leg of lamb. DB sawed the bottom third (hock) off and we had that for a meal between us plus some soup from the bones and bits.

The rest of the leg had its bone removed and was frozen. Yesterday after thawing, it was cubed into two bowls:
The bowl on the left made us a stew for lunch, which was yummy having so much meat it it, I forgot to take a picture.

The bowl on the right was minced, using my new 8mm blade for a more chunky texture:
and I made two Shepherds Pies, using dried potato that was made with hot milk and melted butter:

One for tonight and one for the freezer. There is little difference in taste with real mashed potato when made this way.

Sunday 8 March 2020

Once a fortnight

I make Ruby her food:

One bowl is beef based, the other turkey, the main meat varies. Other ingredients are carrots, pea pods, sweet potato (in this lot of food anyway). Linseed and Chia seed, parsley, eggs, egg shells, chicken and duck carcass, green tripe, live yoghurt, liver, kidney and heart.

Once mixed (using rubber gloves) and portioned they look like this:
Each 360g serving is two meals (one day). This time around I got 17 meals so that's a bonus.

Cost wise, making my own recipes is no more than her using 17 bought tubes of meat and offal. However my recipe has far more things in it to meet all her nutritional needs.

Friday 6 March 2020

Done and dusted....

Getting food, medications, dog food etc, stored in the house that is.

Although the government is advising against stockpiling, I have taken my own advice and got enough things in the house for at least 3 weeks. However, I won’t be diving into the stockpile until/if/when the going gets tough.

Why you might add when their advice is the complete opposite? Have I gone mad or given into hype and peer pressure? The answer to that is no but you can feel free to think what you like!

My reasoning is this. If I or we both become quite ill, with COVID-19, the flu or some such, neither of us will feel like going shopping. The first and only time I have had the flu, I was ill for 6 weeks and still recovering for another 4. It is an illness not to be taken lightly. On top of that is this new virus.

The medical people in charge say they expect a week by week increase for the next 12 weeks at least, with peak increase between week 9 and 12. I don't know where we, as a nation, currently sit in that time frame.

If things get worse, quickly, who in their right mind would want to go out shopping, exposing yourself and your family to further risk. If shopworkers and delivery drivers become ill, who will deliver and serve you your food and anything else you need. It's no good having shops full of food if you are too ill or frightened to venture out or there is no-one to serve you, no-one to pay your money for your shopping to.

If the advice then changes to get things in and self isolate, it would be a bit late then wouldn't it? Then you really would be in a mass panic buying stage and find yourself in a right old bun fight.

No, I prefer to be ready. Like I and others have said, 'forearmed is forewarned'. Nothing will go to waste, I will simply be able to shop from home.

Thursday 5 March 2020

Thank heavens....

For the nice and informative element of the internet.

Not being a fantastic knitter, I didn’t know how to make 1 left (m1), nor knit into the front and back of a stitch, nor slip 2 stitches then knit (ssk).

Now I do, yay!

I have nearly finished my second cardigan for DGD and wanted to knit something else a little different. I found another free pattern on the internet, another all in one, help! The above instructions are all for that.

Watch this space.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

How do I know

If I have Coronavirus or the flu? What are the similarities and the differences?

This U. S. article here, is useful in explaining these.
This next article here, tries to explain myths and facts currently circulating.

Should you panic and begin to stockpile, only you can decide. We try to keep emergency food for up to two weeks. That is now being increased to three, a little extra each week is how we are doing it.

We are not racing around clearing shelves like some seem to be doing. We will have an amount that we can get and leave things for others. At the end of the day, as Rhonda has said, its a win win situation, if we don’t need it now, we can eat it in the future. Now we are making food for Ruby, I am making it more often to freeze, just in case.

We still have our Brexit box ready for December so that too could be used.

We are washing our hands more every time we come back to the house from anywhere. We have plenty of soap, toilet rolls etc.

Who knows how this virus will pan out. At the moment, many more die from the flu each year. We have had our flu jabs so hope the concoction they decided on this year is the correct one.

Monday 2 March 2020

My first paper pad birthday card

I had been eying up the beautiful paper pads in the shops for months. Up until now, I hadn't invested in any as I wanted to practise using dies and stamps.

However, they got the better of me and I ordered some. The card was made for a friend whose birthday is later this week. I don't think she reads my blog and if she does, hopefully she will like what I have made her.

The pad measured 8" x 8" and I made a 5” x 5” card, a size that would use no more than one sheet for the whole inside base, plus the outside left bit:
The little bit on the front is one of 6 toppers that are on a single sheet inside it. I had three hearts left from another project and did actually use a stamp!
All in all, I like it and shall make more when needed but hopefully, all different and different styles of cards.

Sunday 1 March 2020

I love ...

Really fresh crumpets and muffins. Once they start to go stale, the taste seems to alter. When I buy them, I check for freshness and softness. Once home, the packets are divided into one person portions:
Wrapped in foil, each packet marked with either a C or an M, then frozen ready for use later on.

Ruby was resting against her dad this morning, having her chest combed through and inspected - she had her first tick the other day:(

She looked so relaxed I took a picture of her: