Monday 31 August 2020

A marvellous sunset

Welcome to a new follower. Sorry I can no longer work out who you are, give a call out!

It has been quite a while since we had such a beautiful sunset. I have decided to put one up as a blog header and the other few here. Enjoy!

Saturday 29 August 2020

Busy in the garden

Just 11C this morning. A quick 20 minute blast of the heating has taken the edge off the coolness. Yes, we could have put on even more layers of clothing but that 20 minutes has also finished drying yesterday’s washing.

Onwards and upwards revamping and downsizing the garden to suit our ageing needs!

Our neighbour (a landscape gardener) is pricing up swapping the back fence panels for new ones (7 3/4 of them). Plus build us a small panel for behind our water butts to keep the neighbours lovely dog out. He rarely goes behind there but it is breaking down and one day, we expect to see him in the garden having a mosey around! Said gardening neighbour also delivered us some requested cooking apples from one of his jobs.

One of the water butts is leaning backwards onto the fence so DB emptied it and temporarily removed it until the work is done. Hopefully he will fit us in sooner rather than later.

Our oversized Bramley cooking apple tree is no more. I bought it on the wrong root stock and we have put up with it thuggish ways for about 25 years with hardly any reward. My fault not its. It was just doing what it was bred to do:(

Once the fence panels have been changed we shall sort out that bit of garden. I fancy ferns with just a few tall plants to break up the panels a bit.

We have paving slabs to get up plus ornamental bricks. They will be replaced by a weed membrane and gravel. We just can't keep on top of the weeds.

Friday 28 August 2020

DB made a cake!

Not recently I might add as we are eating differently at the moment. 3lb loss for me so far and 2lb for DB.

Occasionally, he fancies baking. So cakes were looked at, recipe selected and any requirements bought during our weekly shop.

He decided on coffee and walnut and chose a Mary Berry recipe (smaller than we anticipated though):

It tastes lovely although we both thought the coffee butter icing needed a bit more coffee. We added a little extra and didn't use the small amount of milk suggested.

For me as with all cake recipes it was too sweet. When I bake I always reduce the sugar. It still got eaten though!

Thursday 27 August 2020

Chicken, turkey, duck - all meat?

DDiL cooked us a lovely roast dinner whilst we were visiting. The conversation turned to organic, and/or free range food. She is trying to feed DGD and them as well as possible.

I like organic and free range meat, but it is costly and because of that, I haven’t often used it. However, I was very shocked to read an article on how misleading supermarket meat products are. I thought I was buying better welfare but obviously not! Are they not breaking the trades description act?

Feeding Ruby, I certainly can’t afford to use that type of meat. Feeding us, I probably can and am going to try. We have a local butcher who we frequented often, don’t know why I stopped. We also have two more a short drive away. Also I am friends with a butcher - doh! Just goes to show how supermarket convenience gets in the way of sense sometimes.

I had assumed quite wrongly that ducks and turkeys would be treated differently to the poor old chicken, but no, they aren’t. It’s not just here but lots of countries in the world who cram animals into places, de-beaking them and denying them the pleasures they should receive. Some in parts of Europe treat their animals far, far worse.

I may be late to this particular party but am going to try. Don’t get me started on pigs. I do seek out better pork where possible.

See the article here. It takes a while to load being a newspaper article with its own associated articles and adverts.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Yuck, nom nom and so so!

Been a bit under par the past few days. Feeling sick, trotting off to the toilet, back ache, stomach cramping a bit. A bug of some kind no doubt. It will pass.

We should have been walking this week but I didn't want to take the risk. Also E., who we walk with, has come back from holiday with a stinking cold. Didn't want that on top of this. Last night was the first night for a few that I slept!

These will be the last few pictures of our new to us meals. Lets face it, they don't make the most scintillating of posts!

This baked lemon pepper chicken was very nice. 5 out of 5. We served it with sweet potato wedges and fresh tomatoes. It was surprisingly filling for such a small amount. Recipe here:

The second recipe not so great for us as we are not overkeen on basic fritata, recipe here.
We gave this 3 out of 5 and probably wouldn't make it again although it was very filling, almost too much.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

More healthy eating recipes

Firstly, well done Andy Murray. A bit of a squeeze to win but you got through.

We are really quite enjoying these meals. How many of them we will keep for future use we don't yet know. Quite a few I suspect.

Sesame Chicken recipe here.

It looked so small when we were making it but it actually filled us up. Hardly any cooking required. We gave it 4 out of 5.
Beef and bean sloppy joe recipe here.

I added a bit of Monterey Jack cheese and put them back under the grill. We also served it with lime salsa salad. Added no more than another 50 calories each. We both liked this a lot and and gave it 5 out of 5. 
Italian Chicken recipe here.

We enjoyed this one as well. I used Philly cream cheese with chives and garlic:
It always looks too small but always fills us up. We finished off with a very small bowl of jelly (Jello). We gave it 4 1/2 out of 5.

Monday 24 August 2020

Social Media - A blessing or a curse?

I think all the platforms that offer a video media chat, and used properly, for people to keep in touch with, are a great idea. They have really come into their own in the current situation. Of course, all these platforms can and are abused but in general, a good idea.

Now we are Grandparents, it gives us a chance to watch DGD and catch up on all her (and their) news. We are also kept informed by other media that doesn't involve video.

Email is also great, especially as you can write often and don't have to worry about postage and delivery times. The downside of it, is postal services are struggling.

A side to email I don't like is when people moan at you behind your back, saying they have emailed you and you haven't been in touch. I recently had that happen. I did receive an email from the person involved but not the one they said they sent. Us not receiving it or replying to it really put their nose out of joint. Hey ho!

Another bugbear is when you send emails, texts etc., and get no reply. I’m not saying answers should be immediately forthcoming but an answer would be nice.

I always try to answer things the same day, or the next if they come in late. Perhaps it’s the secretary in me, when I had to reply, who knows. In the days of snail mail, I would send a reply within a week, knowing how welcome they would be.

A different annoyance is when you become the person always getting in touch and they never reciprocate! Even when done by phone and they take your call, which I find worse still. No excuse to answer you but then never, ever, instigate a call in the first place. Or say, yes we must have coffee and you leave the invite with them to arrange but no, no response. Yet again it falls on me to chase the breadcrumbs and instigate a meeting.

It all makes me feel, that I am not worth bothering with. A nuisance that if ignored long enough will simply go away. It can and does make me depressed. It can and does lead to unpleasant thoughts. Last year was a big struggle. The black dog was biting me hard and it was almost too much. I had to fight hard to still be here. DB could feel my deep sadness but was powerless to help. He helped by simply being there bless him.

Who doesn’t want to feel needed? Who doesn’t want to feel loved? Who doesn’t want to feel useful and appreciated. Would they wish they had behaved differently if you were no longer around? Probably not. After all, if you aren’t worth chatting to whilst alive, it’s a bit late to feel guilty after you are gone.

No man is an island, we all need a bit of love and appreciation!

I would love to not feel sad about such things but it is what it is. Anyhow, I now have a brand new human in my life, to love and cherish, how great is that?

Sunday 23 August 2020

Pears, brambles and tomatoes

The tomatoes are finally getting ripe and brambles continue to ripen. The brambles will be coming out of our ears soon:

On average we get about 6lb per year which is more than enough for us. They get flash frozen individually on a large tray before being packed into bags and labelled. We still have some from 2018.

The red pears are dropping off the tree so we have harvested them. A smaller crop than last year but welcome nonetheless:

Saturday 22 August 2020

More recipes and Ruby

We are pleased to say Ruby, having returned to eating her raw food diet, is back to normal in the toilet department. Thanks for all your good wishes. She waves a paw at you!

Our lunch consisted of Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Dry Roasted Peanuts. Recipe here. Not a very exciting picture but it was very flavoursome!
I left out 1 tablespoon of oil, the pumpkin seeds and the chilli, which gave me just about enough calories for 1 1/2 cups of soup. We gave this 5 out of 5.

For our evening meal Cincinnati Chilli. Recipe here:

We gave this 4 out of 5.

Friday 21 August 2020

Despite the wind gusts

We have been out in the front garden. The grubby netting and half dead ivy on the oil tank has been removed. DB has been busy weeding. I have been cutting back the lavenders and making a start on cutting back the bay shrub. For some reason, it has put on a huge amount of growth.

Ruby has finally started to have slightly formed poo. Today is her first day back on raw, although it is being mixed in with pasta for today.

She seems fine in herself and running around like normal but we aren’t risking any off lead walking yet.

Went to see my big sister yesterday. She has moved nearer to us but this is the first visit since lockdown. Took Ruby with us just in case. She was as good as gold. Had a nice lunch which I helped with but managed to nick my finger on a sharp knife so had to stop.

Avocado on sourdough toast, home made hummus, salad, mozzarella, smoked salmon for them. Strawberries and cream with meringue and strawberry coulis. Yum!

Thursday 20 August 2020

Cow pats, Battenburgs and Christmas Trees....

Are some of the terms DB uses to describe the stitch icons for the needlepoint he is making of Ruby.

Others for the more unusual icons are wigwams, therefore’s, Pi, running man, wiggly worms, eyebrows, ghost triangle, eye of Horus and unsmiling man.

At least he knows what he is doing!

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Perfect Fit Blinds - advertising!

Firstly, high winds are due over the next couple of days. I have been in the garden staking plants and strengthening the tomato stakes.

I have never heard of these until DDiL mentioned them. Although our front room is North facing, it has a West facing side window. In the afternoon, it shines in our faces and we wanted a better blind than the roller one which sits on the conservatory side of the window. When that is down, it affects airflow from our tilt and turn window, this doesn't as it sits inside the frame, next to the glass.

It comes as a partially made kit, just the sides need fitting and screwing tight. This particular window, being 32 years old, has quite a deep recess and the largest bracket supplied by the company (which sits happily between the rubber and glass) was too small. Not their fault, we didn't tell them as I had already found a company online which sells 38mm brackets.

These arrived within a few days and the blind is now up. Here it is getting assembled:
And once the brackets arrived, up and fitted in about 10 minutes: The colour we chose was mushroom. It fits our room well and keeps out the sun very well, being double thickness and coated inside with aluminium, making it a blackout blind. It is pleated, each pleat a sort of complete honeycomb shape, designed to also keep out cold air and heat, which may travel through the glass.
This is the company we used here. We got the larger brackets from here.

DS and DDiL have used the first company for venetial blinds and a different company for cassette blackout blinds for DGD bedroom here.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Meals for yesterday

For lunch we had chicken and spinach soup with pesto. Recipe here:
We made half the recipe but used the whole can of beans, thickened with a little cornflour plus a teaspoon of Maggi sauce. Quite nice then. We gave it 4 out of 5. I had my share with one slice of bread, DB had the rest with 2 slices of bread as he needs the extra calories.

Our evening meal was Mediterranean Pasta, recipe here.
We exchanged 5oz of sliced mushrooms for the artichoke hearts and used the whole can of beans and left out the olives. We gave this 4 1/2 out of 5.

Monday 17 August 2020

The smell..

We both had a bad feeling when we put Ruby to bed last night as she had a lot of foul smelling wind. I got up at 06:30 this morning to that familiar poo smell, poor Ruby. DB was just giving her, her pill for the morning. Old crate bedding was outside, stinking out the conservatory. She was sitting on her washed bed from the other day, with a poo covered bum. She was quickly outside.

Her rear end and trimmed tail (both need further trimming methinks), were shampooed three times. She was dried then taken for a walk. Whilst DB was out with her, I got the bedding in a protective wash bag and in the machine, towels and more bedding will need doing as well.

First lot done, shaken out, put back in the bag and being dried. She came to sit near me, on fresh vet fleece, nope, still smells and so does it now. Out for another rear end and tail wash. She is curled up at my feet, asleep, with still a slight whiff:(

Just when you need some warm weather it disappears!

Sunday 16 August 2020

Weigh day....

We used to weigh ourselves each Sunday and weigh Ruby once a month. We chose her birth date of the 19th, so decided to weigh ourselves once a month as well. We found weekly weighing was up or down one or two pounds a week. We use pounds as our gaming/weighing machine, a Nintendo Wii, only does pounds.

We have both lost 1lb, neither here nor there yet, but better than a gain. We are enjoying our new healthy slimming meals and feel this loss is more fat than water as both our stomachs are a little flatter.

I have chosen our meals for next week and must sit and work out a shopping list.

Saturday 15 August 2020

First Lunch and Evening Meal on new healthy eating plan

Firstly, thank you so much for all your good wishes for Ruby. She had a good night and will be on rice, chicken and the chicken boiling water for a short while. She has to have one pill 2 hours before eating, she ain’t happy about that! Then a painkiller and probiotic paste with her food.

For lunch we had 'Egg in a Hole' Peppers with Avocado Salad, recipe here:
I used a whole avocado between the two of us rather than 1/2 as it would go off. We had 3 small new potatoes that needed eating so they were chopped into the salad. A scant teaspoon of grated Parmesan was divided between each egg.

We gave it a 3 1/2 to 4 out of 5. We thought we would not use the pepper rings next time, instead chopping and adding them into the salad and just poach the eggs.

For our evening meal we had Chicken Piccata, the recipe for which is here:
We enjoyed this but thought a nice dash of Worcestershire or Soy sauce would finish it off. The long green things are strips of a small courgette. We didn't use capers as neither of us likes them. Instead we chopped some gherkins into it. We gave it 4 1/2 out of 5.

Any recipes that we really like we will use again.

Friday 14 August 2020

Poor Ruby - warning - unpleasant pictures!!! UPDATED!

DB got up to a horrible smell this morning. Went to let Ruby out and the smell was worse. Bless her, she had had diaorrhea, probably early morning and was covered in it.

She ran out at high speed, shedding it everywhere. Cupboards, walls, doors and carpets. The house smells and we have spent ages trying to clear everything up. Might have to get the carpet man in!

Her bed was covered. The cover has been soaking in Milton and is now in the washer. The actual bed is in the bin:
See that pinkish lump near the back. Not poo but don't know what it is. She did more outside and just kept bearing down. Each time she did, this is what came out:
Eventually she threw up twice and in amongst that, were 8 or so of these things. They look and feel like chicken but aren't:
None of her toys are anywhere near that colour and she doesn't tend to pick up balls outside left by other dogs and their owners, she is just not that interested in them.

Her gums were pale, she was shaking and shivering and felt cold. Despite that, we had to wash her outside several times just to get most of it off. All this before our first cup of tea!

We then talked to DS for advice but as she was getting more lethargic we took her to the vets after chatting to them on the phone. They admitted her and off we went to get her some things and a new bed!

Eventually a hard to hear phone call took place (we were near traffic and just couldn't hear properly). They say she seems fine but want to moniter her and take blood for testing. She was quite tender but they weren't sure if that was because of the state she was in. What with the unidentifiable things (measuring between 1" and 2" in size), they were worried about a possible obstruction. If necessary, they will do an X-Ray.

Finally got Ruby back from the vets at 4.00pm. Her blood work was fine, they scanned her abdoment and nothing found. They still don't know what it was she brought up in her vomit. 3 lots of medication to take for up to a week. She has to be on light food for 2 days then can move on to her normal food.

Anyhow, she seems brighter. A nice bill of just over £600 to pay. Our particular insurance company for her needs doesn't deal directly with the vets (which we didn't realise). We therefore have to pay up front then claim it back minus our agreed £69 excess payment. Good job we have savings for such emergencies!

Thursday 13 August 2020

Sleeping woes..

As with most of us, sleep is hard to come by with our bedroom being 27C. On top of that, I got cramp in both feet, at different times and almost had full blown calf cramp as well. Luckily I got out of bed in time to stretch.

What with that, both shoulders and hips aching and my long term insomnia, I feel whacked.

Sticking to my diet though so am pleased with that. Once I make my mind up, I am fine.

Wednesday 12 August 2020


Yesterday’s tea went a bit awry so no pictures. It should have been salmon fish cakes but they fell apart. Ended up as a sort of salmon stir fry, plus salad, and a light creamy dill dressing.

Blueberry, Chia and Banana overnight oats for breakfast. Cheese salad plus leftover dill dressing for lunch and a yoghurt. Fruit smoothie plus oats for tea. Too hot for anything else. I like to leave enough calories for a pre-bedtime glass of cold milk.

I shall be trying another new to me evening meal tomorrow.  Hope it goes well. All evening meals are around 400-500 calories. Lunches around 300, breakfasts the same. Leaves enough for a snack or bedtime milk.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

The healthy diet begins...

It was just over 2 years ago that we both went on quite a strict diet and lost 12lb each in about 2 1/2 months. It stayed off for quite a while but gradually went back on.

I last weighed myself on the 19th July and then again today. No change which is good but  I am 1/2 a stone heavier (7lbs) than I really want to be. I just feel uncomfortable and although a size 14, I am on the upper edge of that, around a size 15 or so. All my clothes are getting a little tight.

DB will join me on this journey for the evening meals plus 3 or 4 lunch time meals. He can have extra if need be. I think some days I will be slightly less than the 1200 calories I am allowing, others a bit more. Hopefully, it will balance itself out.

I will report back later (or tomorrow if I forget) with a picture of tea and a recipe link to it. All evening meals should be around 400 calories unless I add extra vegetables.

I wanted to expand my recipe list anyway so have chosen around 10 mid day lunches and main meals to trial.

Monday 10 August 2020

Latest card make

We both have our birthdays close to each other so I made DB a 6" square birthday card. The background was coloured using foam pads and ink dyes. I haven't yet got any distress inks or alcohol pens:
The trees, birds and greeting were stamped over the coloured background.  The whole background was then attached to the card using double sided tape. The elephants were stamped and fussy cut, mounted using foam pads to make them stand free.

Overall, I really like it.

Saturday 8 August 2020


Yesterday only got up to 33.9C here and that was plenty hot and humid enough thankyou!

Although the bedroom was 27C all night, despite windows open and shade out during the day, I did sleep until about 6.00am.

Today the wind is blowing, it is almost too much for our shade but we are keeping it out as long as possible. The temperature is currently 24C and feels so much fresher than yesterday.

I had to water the back garden, both morning and night. All my veg and even the herbs were feeling it, which is unusual. This morning I watered the front garden. Hate having to do it but needs must. No gardening took place either as we have had enough for now.

The alpine strawberries I bought off a garden centre online, arrived yesterday. They have been put into pots to grow on. This morning we received some heavy duty weed fabric ready to take up our back path once the worst of this hot weather is over.

Ordered some stuff to be delivered to DS and DDiL for DGD. Hopefully they should get that Monday.

DB ditched his current Ruby needlepoint project. The colours were just not right and he wasn't happy from the start. The new one of Ruby is from this picture and the colours actually represent it very well:
Ain't she gorgeous!

Have a great and safe weekend everyone.

Friday 7 August 2020

So proud

Of my son and his gorgeous wife on their parenting skills. I think for them, lockdown proved beneficial as they just had to sort things out themselves. We missed them dreadfully and they both missed family and the ability to proudly show off their child.

Considering her abrupt start to life and the scare they (and we) had, she is thriving. Now on solids, all of which so far, she loves, adept at blowing raspberries and half rolling over. It won’t be long before she achieves the roll and before they know it, she’ll be mobile. Such fun.

Don’t know about you, but we are not looking forward to the heat, we just aren’t used to it in this country. Ruby has been scratching with all the dust so she was showered outside and ran around to dry. She seems more comfortable now. We did just 20 minutes of gardening then came inside. Outside temperature at 09:30 is 25C.

The old duvet cover has been attached from the outside blind to the other washing line and fruit cage. Doing so doubles our shade in our south facing garden. Washing is also out and will probably be dry very quickly.

Have a great if hot day.

Thursday 6 August 2020


We came very close to having a kitchen fire last night. Pasta was cooking, timer set so I went back to watch a bit of tv.

DB all of a sudden came out the bedroom saying something was burning. As we went towards the kitchen, via the dining room, there was thick, eye stinging blue smoke everywhere!

Yep, I had put the wok on full, with a smidge of oil in and walked away. In my head, I knew the timer was on for the pasta and simply forgot about the wok. Mind you, in my defence we had both been busy sorting something else out just before I put the wok on, so I was distracted.

Luckily, although the acrid smoke was spreading, the oil had burnt away so no flames. DB carefully carried the wok outside, we opened all the windows and doors to help clear the rooms.

Wok is now useless!

We couldn’t understand why the smoke alarm hadn’t sounded as burning toast always sets it off. We tested it and it worked. Ruby didn’t sound the alarm either. Phew!

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Back to legacy....

Got on blogger this morning to see they had changed me to the new format, so I changed it back to legacy!

Just spent 45 minutes in the front garden, phew. I am now boiling. As nice as the stiff breeze is, it does mean we can’t put out the large south facing blind to keep the bedrooms cool. Curtains are 7/8ths closed to leave just a small gap for some air to get in.

The bread is baking in the bread maker, 3 tubes of bony mince are thawing in cold water, the base ingredient to make Ruby her 2 weeks of food this afternoon. We forgot to take it out last night.

DB wants to bake a cake for us, coffee and walnut. I shall look forward to it but not the heat it will generate.

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Starkers in the kitchen....

Apparently, vitiligo (and a very small number of other conditions), glow in the dark and is a way dermatologists check your skin to rule out other conditions. Mine is vitiligo as it glows differently to the other conditions.

DB got his UV black lamp out and when dark, I stood naked in the kitchen for him to check me over. I lit up like a Christmas tree when you first start putting the lights on it!

Several small patches on my neck and shoulders, some tiny ones near my chin and a host over my arms and hands.

I might do it again tonight and see if I can get a reference picture to track it’s progress. The site I read also suggests you keep away from disco’s that use these lights otherwise more than just your white clothing lights up!

That won’t be a problem then.

Sunday 2 August 2020


With blogger messing about so much at the moment, you need to back up your blog constantly. Pictures and videos are downloaded seperately. If you don't understand how to do it, here is how.

On your dashboard:

Go to settings and choose other:
When you do, this screen will appear - select back up content:
Then save to your computer. I then get this screen and select save file:
Mine saves in downloads like this - yours may look different:
This article is very good

As well as all the above I have shown, it also helps you download all your pictures and videos. These used to be stored in your picasa album but that no longer works.