Thursday 30 September 2021

Christmas Mincemeat

This morning, I started a half quantity of Delia's mincement - see here:

DS doesn't like candied peel so I replace that with dried apricots and glace cherries. The above will sit until tomorrow morning now, being stirred a few times during the day, to help dissolve the sugar. I also reduce the sugar content by about 10% as we don't like ours too sweet.

Covered with one of my birthday wax wraps - lovely! 

Monday 27 September 2021

Fleas - maybe:(

 Last night Ruby began to shake her right ear vigously. We got a torch and checked her ear thinking it might be a grass seed. Running around inside was a small creature which I think was a flea but could have been anything. Took a while to catch it and flush it down the sink. We checked her again and applied a flea treatment as she was well overdue.

Her bedding was changed and washed on a hot wash and her bed hoovered out. We hoovered all around as far as we could - it was late at night! Now, she hates topical flea treatments and runs around cowering as though in pain or discomfort. Daren't risk a tablets as she hates those even more and worming tablets make her vomit:( It took an hour for her to calm down enough to go to bed hence why we are loathed to use it.

Today we have combed her, then used a nit comb. Nothing to speak off. No more creatures nor flea dirt. On the inside of her ears though were lots of white things, more flakes than eggs we thought. We combed them over and over to get as many of them out then used a natural oil, rubbed all over the area, to help sooth her ears (more from the combing any anything else). No red bites anywhere as far as we could see.

The rug we combed her on is now on a hot wash and the house has been hoovered through. We have sent for diatomaceous earth for both the carpets and her if necessary. Time will tell.

Sunday 26 September 2021

Green Tomato Chutney

Due to blight, I had to harvest all my tomatoes whilst still green. They have been indoors now for over 2 weeks. They do still have their superb home grown taste but the skins are thickening which is a shame.

As they are quickly turning red I managed to find just enough for a small batch of green tomato chutney:

Wasps love the smell of hot vinegar and we have had to create en emergency net covering for one of the kitchen windows. I would usually wait until it is pouring with rain before making chutney but needs must this time. Wasps and flies tend not to be around too much in rain.

I managed to get 2 1/2 jars. They need to mature for a minimum of 6 weeks before using, then the two full ones will store and the half full one will be used up:

Saturday 25 September 2021

Thank you news people

 We never plan on going into town on a Friday as the traffic is often impossible. I opened up my new yoghurt only to find it curdled and my last two bananas off:( We drove to our nearest large shop to find huge queues - at the petrol station.

We have recently gotten into the habit of filling our petrol tank once a month and it was due. We meant to do it yesterday but forgot so DB had to join the queue whilst I bought a few food items. Didn't want to but reckon it will only get worse over the coming days.

It was hard work finding him when I came out as I had no idea where he was. Luckily I spotted him filling up!

Andy lost yesterday but still did well. I would say 10 poor shot choices at the wrong times. Should have won the tie break but his first serve went awol.

Friday 24 September 2021


 A couple of days ago, I made my first batch of marmalade for this winter. I try to make two batches as some is given for Christmas presents, the rest we will use throughout the rest of this year and most of next:

The jar on the left is orange and ginger, the rest are plain orange.

Thursday 23 September 2021

Empty shelves

I'm sure it must depend on when you shop but it was apparent that quite a few shelves had their tins, jars and packets pushed towards the front. They were empty behind and nothing on the top out of reach shelves that normally house extra stock. However, the frozen vegetables and toilet paper were well stocked, unlike our last visit. 

I needed Milton fluid for cleaning with and had to get a 500ml bottle rather than my usual 1 litre one. There was hardly any there and I only took one:

Toothpaste was low, and an entire suite of shelves down one side would have been empty but they made it look full by filling up with many different products from around the store.

Didn't check the meat as I had already bought it from Lidl.

Wednesday 22 September 2021

Just two sets to win

 Well done Andy. Just beaten Pospisil 6-3, 6-3. Not so many aces but on the whole, a lot of the old Andy on show.

Meat buying

I had planned on buying quite a bit of meat (to us at least) two weeks ago but forgot so did it today. I already have Quorn and 2 very large pork fillets in the freezer. Now I bought beef, pork, chicken and some bockwurst, along with some bacon lardons:

Above 4 stewing steak and the bockwurst.
2 pieces x 4 pork shoulder, 3 pieces x 4 belly pork slices and 4 individual chicken breasts. There are already 3 chicken breasts in the freezer. We only use one between us, usually in a stir fry.
Two packets of lardons.

We went to Marks and Spencer today, still no chunky chicken in white sauce, and this time, no chunky steak in gravy. I did buy myself a relatively cheap winter coat though so that was a bonus.

I forgot to tell you that after an almost 2 hours phone call (on hold with inane music), trying to get through to the pension department I succeeded. She was surprised I hadn't heard anything since applying back in April and put me on the emergency pension department computer list. They are legally obliged to sort things out in 48 business hours apparently!

Within a day they had replied, two days later they told me how much I would be receiving (back dated) and what and when future payments would be. I received my backdated pension one week after that. Hence treating myself to a new coat!

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Well done Andy

 He has just beaten a player ranked 26. A bit dicey at times, but served up 18 aces including one to win. A few things to work on but we will see how he goes.

First pie of the year

 Homegrown (few) apples, blackberries and a leftover bought nectarine. Before lid went on:

Side view, its about 1.5" deep:
Top view:

We shall have 1/4 each for tea with some custard, the rest another evening. We now each our main meal during the day, most days.

Monday 20 September 2021

Quick protection when painting

I have almost run out of very old clothes suitable only for painting. An old blue and white check top was full of holes so I used that. After painting the raised bed black, it went in the bin. Old jeans were cut into shorts, keeping those for summer gardening. Finally, I protected myself as much as possible wearing a black dustbin bag. I looked like a scarecrow but didn't care!

Bed now painted and protected against the elements:

I sowed some radish, lettuce and beetroot under fleece. The latter two, if lucky, will give us some leaves in a few weeks.


Sunday 19 September 2021

Do you use fabric conditioner?

I don't and haven't done so for many years. I had read, from several sources, about what was in it and decided to stop using it. Instead I turned to true white vinegar, rather than the chip shop stuff. I used to be able to buy 5 litre containers locally but now have to buy online. It doesn't leave a smell, softens fabric quite well, helps keep the machine clean, can be used for other cleaning jobs - what's not to like? 

Rhonda had this link on her blog so will also link to it here.

I have also recently ordered 1 kg food grade each of citric acid and bicarbonate of soda, for cleaning and baking purposes. Since putting bicarb and vinegar down my sinks once a week, smells that were building up have gone. 

I use citric acid to clean my kettle and help get limescale from taps and remove the grunge from the base of them where they join the sink. I also use it whilst making elderflower cordial. If you use citric acid for any other reasons, can you let me know! 

Saturday 18 September 2021

Autumn is coming

In meteorological and gardening terms, autumn is already here. I was taught it doesn't arrive until the autumn equinox which can be 21st, 22nd or even 23rd September. Indeed in 2303 it will be the 24th!

The nights are drawing in, with a chill often in later afternoon or early evening. It isn't quite so light early in the morning. Dew is often on the ground, up in the trees, on the outside of windows. Mists and light fog start to make their return and driving becomes more difficult due to the low angle of the sun, especially on wet roads, when driving with the sun in your eyes:(

The sun when not obscured by clouds, can pack a bit of a punch and is still capable of inducing sunburn.

Whilst the summer quilt is still on the bed, winter sheets went on a few weeks ago. Heading towards the colder weather, a halfway measure will be the summer quilt and a light eiderdown. Then when I in particular feel chilly throughout the night, those are removed to be replaced by the winter quilt. When winter really bites, that quilt often has the light eiderdown on it or the summer quilt laid on top.

I don't like leaving the curtains open as the daylight fadesand they are getting closed earlier each week or so.

DB cleaned out the gutters and we are both working slowly to remove faded leaves and dead flower buds from the garden. The first two coats of paint have gone on the moved pieces of wood on the revamped vegetable bed. A first batch of jam has been made,  more things will follow each week until my list  is done. Elderberries need to be gathered for winter cordial. A  pair of trousers and a new walking coat for me need to be bought. Other than that, we are about ready.

Friday 17 September 2021

Trying a new to me Eco Wash Sheet

 *I have not been paid to advertise this, just trying it and seeing how it performs*.

Although I have made my own laundry liquid for many years I thought I would try something else. Something that works and is as Eco friendly as possible. There are many such things to try but I settled on this.

If you buy it as a one off it is quite expensive £15 for 40 sheets. If you subscribe, that price drops to £9. We estimated how many washes we do in a week and settled on a trial of 2 packets (80 sheets) every 3 months. This can be adjusted up or down depending on how things go. Shipping is free. Unfortunately, like an awful lot of things, they are made in China for now but the company plan to manufacture them in several world zones so I hope they do that soon.

The sheets are in a cardboard package, which can be composted. The inks used to print it are eco friendly and it comes in a postal cardboard envelope:

Each sheet measure about 5.5" x 4.5" and one sheet is designed for a  'full' load. Two are required for heavy loads and for a smaller wash, the sheets can be cut or torn in half. They can be fragrance free as above, or fragranced. I am going to try half a sheet soon to see how it fares. UPDATE - it worked well!

We rarely have heavily stained clothes so can't vouch for that type of wash but so far so good. They appear to create little suds and so far, I haven't used any fabric conditioner. The clean washing just smells clean with no overpowering chemical smell.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Flat as a pancake

 Andy Murray and Katie Boulder that is. Worst I have seen Andy play for ages, just couldn’t get going. Katie played better but is carrying an injury in her serving arm.

Oh well, onwards and upwards. Not easy being a British tennis fan, for the most part.

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Bar the painting...

The adjustment of the raised beds is finished, apart from the painting. Unfortunately we had to go get the paint today, now it's raining, so it will need a few days to dry before it can be painted:

Where the bed was. We still need to adjust the level and add a few more bags of gravel. It was part of this is the fence I tripped over:)
If anyone likes Cuprinol Shades paint for outdoor wood painting, it is half price (£12 per 2.5 litre tin) in Wilko (formerly Wilkinsons). Don't know how long the offer will last.

Monday 13 September 2021

Nothing shows your age more

 Than a fall:(

It was tiny and a bit my own fault but there you go. I was lifting the hose over a small 18" high fence and started to feel dizzy as I was doing so. Consequently, I didn't lift my back lower leg high enough. It caught and I thought, being clever, I would just use the toes on that foot to grip the fence but didn't manage it.

I grabbed hold of the fruit cage netting, ripping the corner off one nail. The front of my ankle caught and scraped on the top of the fence and down I went, knees first onto gravel. Luckily, I managed to stop the full impact on my knees with my hands so ended up with deep marks on knees and hands rather than a myriad of cuts!

Still shook me up though. I am keeping an eye on my blood pressure as it has been lower than normal of late. If it keeps happening, I shall have to try and run the receptionists gauntlet and to see the doctor.

Sunday 12 September 2021

Garden beds update

 First of all though, well done Emma. I thought your nerves were getting the better of you, as you played differently to all previous matches. However, your guts and determination prevailed and here you are, 18 years old and your first Grand Slam.

We have both worked hard today on the raised beds. Polythene was attached to the lower two portions before the slog began of moving soil. Despite it being bone dry it was still hard work. One layer moved, the rest will be done tomorrow as our backs are starting to ping! The view down beds 1 to 2:

What is left of bed 3 before we began moving soil:

And the new bit inbetween is coming along nicely:

More tomorrow.

Saturday 11 September 2021

Tennis on Channel 4 tonight

 For those without a streaming service, Channel 4 will be showing Emma Raducanu match tonight. Let’s hope this doesn’t put the mockers on her chances of winning!

Friday 10 September 2021

Changes afoot - again...

It has taken me a couple of years to decide on this back garden change. It doesn't need to be done but I would rather it is. Thank goodness DB is 'happy' to do it - ha!

We have 3 raised vegetable beds, each occupying its own area. Having created a new border at the back of the garden, bed 3 just blocks too much of it so is getting moved. First picture below shows beds 1 and 2 and a smidge of bed 3:

This one beds 2 and 3:
It will be moved and joined onto beds 1 and 2 but only to 3/4's of the depth so we don't need to bring in extra soil:
Each of the timbers on the beds, and each level, are joined by metal brackets which have to be cut off with an angle grinder. DB started in the heat a few days ago but hopes to finish in a few days now the cooler weather has arrived. Enough have been removed for now to get the back bit joined - watch this space!

Thursday 9 September 2021


 It is 02:10 and I can’t sleep. I have already had one sit up and read, this is my second. You would think a few hours walking by the sea would help, but no! At least I have slept for a couple of nights so that is a bonus.

Insomnia is a sod and I wish it would sod off.

Tuesday 7 September 2021

Poor things

 DS and family are on holiday, at long last after all their cancellations. Unfortunately they got stuck in a very long traffic jam driving down. 

The next day, DS was quite ill and they thought perhaps food poisoning. He had eaten something different to his wife and daughter at a service station.

The next day however, DDiL started with it and spent all day in bed. So far, fingers crossed granddaughter is fine. Only 4 days left to enjoy themselves but they seem to be out and about so all must be well.

Monday 6 September 2021


For the first time since the start of the school holidays, we finally went to the seaside. With most of the schools back it was not very busy thank goodness. Ruby had a whale of a time. The sea was too far out but she enjoyed running through some very deep puddles. One in particular took her by surprise as halfway through it, she sunk, popped up like a cork and paddled her way out. She needed a thorough wetting as for some reason lately, she has smelt a bit.

On the way back to the car, walking through the dunes, we noticed a couple in the distance picking fruit. At first I thought it was blackberries but the leaves were wrong. As we approached we realised they were apples, which they said are lovely and can be eaten as they are or cooked. They were picking some to make a blackberry and apple pie.

Luckily we had a spare dog poo bag so filled it from three very small trees:

We returned to the car where we had a good gulp of water then parked further into the shopping area. Walked to get chips, fishcake and curry sauce. Very nice.  A further walk took us to the ice cream shop for 'pudding' before walking back to the car.

We stopped off at a garden centre to buy some winter viola and wallflowers to fill my three new shallow pots for winter.

Ruby is now asleep and snoring like a good un!

Sunday 5 September 2021

Cheesed off now...

Despite spraying faithfully, every one or two weeks with Disprin, my tomatoes have got blight. I did stop a month ago so my fault probably. We have had such cold, wet and cloudy summer and without a greenhouse, it is difficult to grow them outdoors in such weather. It is the first time in many years this disease has struck, so I do believe the spraying helps and will keep it up better next year. 

I haveharvested all tomatoes and will try and ripen them indoors, checking daily for disease:(

Two x A3 trays:


Friday 3 September 2021

The weirdest of dreams

 I was looking out of our front windows (in my dream), watching small bits of dead bracken fly by. Not thinking anything of it, I carried on doing what I was busy with. When I next looked, more bracken was flying by, slowly but surely, forming into clumps. Similar to tumbleweed in western films.

I called DB several times but he didn't come. After a short while, I looked up again, to see these balls of bracken had formed into nests. Sitting inside them, were all manner of birds. I shouted to DB to come see but still he didn't arrive.

There were ostrich, hens, geese, peacocks, birds large and small, nodding their heads to me, drifting serenely by. I was mesmerised but eventually, just as I heard DB finally coming, they slowly faded and by the time he got to me, they had gone.

How weird was that? What had my brain seen and was trying to sort out?