Monday 29 November 2021

Sunday afternoon

 The forecast sleet turned into snow which lasted about 6 hours. We had about 2-3”, not much but it fell on ice covered ground and objects. DGD, with help from daddy, built her first snowman. She wasn’t at all sure about the crunchy white stuff under her feet.

They managed to get her in with a different doctor at the surgery who having listened to her chest, was not impressed with the previous doctor not prescribing her antibiotics and a steroid inhaler. Indeed as she was leaving he warned them to take her to A & E if she got any worse and to bring her back in a week if they felt she wasn’t much better. Glad to say, the medicines have made a huge difference. Both DS and DDiL are still chesty and coughing so hope we haven’t picked it up.

She recognised us when we arrived and within an hour was sat on my lap having a book read to her. Took a bit longer for Grandad. It was so wonderful to hear her say Nana whenever she saw me. Yesterday she managed gan-gad for DB so he was chuffed with that as well.

It took forever to clean the ice and snow off the car so we could come home. Roads were clear and snow hadn’t fallen this side of Nottingham. Good journey back. As we had had plumber in just before leaving we decided to leave everything off whilst away. The bedrooms were 10C and lounge 8C so both heating, hot water and fire went on!

Sunday 28 November 2021

Rough weather

Blimey, Friday night was extremely windy. Despite taking a Nytol, first time in months, and ear plugs, the noise was incredible.

We awoke up to two fence panels blown out, the car roof storage box on the ground and bits of tree.  Neighbours dogs were running lose in the street so their panels were gone as well. DDiL had to go out. Three out of her four possible routes were blocked by trees.

The rain was like fire hoses on the windows, which were rattling. It was also very cold. Saturday was very windy and extremely cold. All in all, the worst storm for us in quite a while. We asked neighbours to check our house and garden, they reported all was fine.

Friday 26 November 2021

Didn’t think...

 We would manage to get away to see family. DB’s heart and digestion has been messing about. Got him to take his GTN spray and he passed out! Luckily he was sitting down and I monitored him until he came around.

Made him a warm drink, gave him some honey to raise his blood pressure and left him to sleep. After an hour or so he felt better. Got to have another ECG and a full set of bloods when we return. Family live close to a hospital and he has everything he needs here so am not too concerned. We last went through this 2014 so don’t expect much to have changed.

Although my nurse training kicked in I was close to dialling 999.

Monday 22 November 2021

Indian beans and mushrooms

 This Madhur Jaffrey recipe can be found here.

I cannot abide pieces of  broken cinnamon stick in my mouth so I exchange that for 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.

I also didn't have black eyes beans/peas so exchanged them for pinto beans. I soaked those overnight, boiled for 10 minutes then simmered until cooked. They were strained discarding the water and used I then 1 1/4 pints of stock (2 cubes) in the recipe. Anymore than that and we find it too sloppy. Finally it was thicken with 3 tablespoons tomato puree and served on a bed of rice:

We had enough for two more servings (for us both), which have been frozen.

Saturday 20 November 2021

Lateral Flow Test

When I did my test as part of the ONS National Survey last year, I used a PCR test, so these are a little different. Thankfully though, they only have to go up your nose!

We have both had slight gastric troubles for a week or so. DB's is far worse than mine. Neither of us feel ill or under the weather but feel something is a bit off somewhere.

DB had a telephone consult his doctor yesterday who suggested he (and therefore me) take a Covid test as for some people, gastric upset is their only symptom.

After a bit of a faff getting the code now needed to pick up a kit from a chemist (pharmacy), we went to get one. After reading the instructions, we set to. Result was negative for both of us:

You have to register the results which DB did and within a few minutes, we got an email confirming the results.

We both realise this doesn't mean we haven't got it though, so shall continue to be wary. We are hoping to go see DGD soon and will test ourselves again before we go. They don't need any other medical issues after their last few weeks of being ill.

All in all, a quick and painfree procedure, so thank you NHS.

Thursday 18 November 2021

Sometimes you have to accept defeat

 DB has always tackled all DIY jobs both inside and outside the house. We have to say, getting older is no joke. There are things we are finding difficult to do and other things that are becoming difficult/more dangerous to do like getting on the roof!!!

For a few years now, one of the bath taps and the sink mixer tap have started getting jammed. We have hard water and it is often the reason. He has been cleaning them and they last for a while longer. It is getting to the stage that when you turn one of them on, the whole tap moves despite being tightened, repeatedly, below the bath.

Again they have been cleaned but we decided to buy new taps for both the bath and sink and pay someone to fix them in.

The chap who came has done work for us before but he too is getting on in years. He checked what needed doing, whether or not we or he needs anything else - nope!

They will be done on Tuesday.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Garlic Honey

 I found this particular version on YouTube from Old Alabama Gardener, here: who sadly has recently died.

I used 3 whole heads of garlic, putting the cloves into a bag and whacking them with a rolling pin to release the skins. This took three attempts.

Once all the skin was removed the cloves were chopped further and placed into a jar, I'm using a Kilner style jar but if it works well, will get a fermentation jar for future trials of other items.

Raw honey is supposed to be used but I couldn't get any. I did however have 1/2 an old jar of Manuka honey plus a new jar of regular honey so used those to top up the jars of chopped cloves of garlic:

The jar will be gently shaken in a swivel style as it is burped morning and night. It will live in a cool kitchen cupboard for 20 days, before being ready to eat. From that day, it is stored in the fridge.

Boy it stank the house out for 24 hours, had to hide it in the microwave!

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Cottage Pie Recipe

 There are loads of recipes on the internet but most of them are over the top. I tend not to give out all recipes as I alter them so much but here it is, in its simplest form.

1 medium onion finely diced
1lb ground/minced beef (or pork or a combination of the two)
1 1/2 pints meat stock (two stock cubes) 
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 1/2 lb chunks of peeled potatoes
Grated strong cheese - I use cheddar

Add two tablespoons of oil into a frying pan and fry the onion until soft but not brown - remove from pan.
Add the meat and fry until no longer pink. Try not to stir it all the time so it can develop some crispy brown bits, but this isn't essential. Fry until any liquid that comes from the meat evaporates off. Stir the onion back in.
Add the stock, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and put a lid on the pan. Cook for about 30 minutes. Thicken either with cornflour and water or gravy granules to your preferred thickness.

Most people don't do this next part but I prefer to. Tip the contents of the pan through a strainer, sieve or colander, KEEPING all the liquid. Tip the drained meat into your cooking dish/dishes. A lasagne type dish works well or two smaller dishes. Leave to go cold.

Cook the potatoes until done. Drain and mash with salt and pepper, a little milk and butter/margarine. Place in spoonsfuls on top of the meat and carefully spread over to cover the meat. Top with as much cheese as you wish.
Bake in a 190C - 200C oven for about 30 - 40 minutes or until bubbling slightly and the cheese has melted and going slightly crispy.
Warm the rest of the gravy you strained off earlier towards the end of cooking. Serve as is or with your chosen vegetables.
We rarely have all meat in ours. Most of the time we will use 1/2 lb meat and lots of diced vegetables. Sometimes I top the potato with a bag of smashed hula hoops to give a crunch topping. If I have no fresh potatoes I will use instant. Measure out a 6 person serving into a large bowl. Add the required liquid but use half milk and half water, add about 1oz of butter and some black pepper.
Also, if you have leftover meat, vegetables and gravy from a roast, mince that and use, remembering to add a few spoonfuls of the gravy into the meat/vegetable mix otherwise it will be too dry
Hope that helps.

Monday 15 November 2021

Just for a change

 I made us an all meat cottage pie, using both beef and pork. It was topped with milky buttery instant mash from our stores. Strong cheddar cheese on top of that and the last few slices of dehydrated tomatoes from summer last year. The tomatoes look burnt but they weren't:

Served with leeks and gravy, it really hit the spot. I made two so the other one is in the freezer for another day.

Sunday 14 November 2021

Trench composting

So far so good with regard to actually digging and filling trenches. The end of my raised bed (bed 3), has so far had 3 trenches filled. Trenche 4 is almost done and I should be able to squeeze another row in before starting at the opposite end of the bed. I use a large hand shovel to dig a line about 6" wide and 8" deep. Kitchen scraps are put in and buried:

It is supposed to take about 3 months (don't know whether that means all year round or just the warmer weather) for it to be composted and integrated into the soil. We shall see. I think I will have a few potato seedlings sprouting as witness to the small green shoot in the top picture!

Saturday 13 November 2021

Solving a planting problem

We inherited two Victorian chimney pots from my inlaws. Over the years, we have tried growing things in them, either in pots, or filling them up with soil. Nothing lasted, always drying out too much and dying.

Hopefully we have now solved the problem. Some artificial plants, like boxes, always look really false to me. The other month, I found some artificial leylandii. Didn't buy them as they were too expensive. However, since receiving my pension, I decided to buy two and 'plant' them up:

DB made a base for them to sit on, then stones were put around the pots they came in. Finally he attached them to the nearby fence with wire. I really like them and they lift that area of the back fence and blend in well.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

A couple of meals from this week and steam trains are racist - I kid you not!

 Chicken tomatillo stew on top of mashed potato:

Vegetable, bockwurst and paprika soup - using up all my leftovers:

The soup made enough for nearly 3 days so was a nice bonus from the bottom of the fridge and vegetable cupboard!

This is the link to the steam train article here.

Have the snowflake and woke brigade got nothing better to do? Its like they are trying to rewrite history.

I have also heard rumours that because ships use fossil fuel, they are being look at being made redundant due to climate change. Lorries, trains and other forms of transport also use the same fuel. Soon, we won't be able to move anything around the planet and will find life very difficult.


Sunday 7 November 2021

I forgot that yesterday

 Was just 7 weeks until Christmas Day! Today we began to wrap presents already bought and it felt good to do so. Cards are finished, addressed and stamped but still lots to do yet. What though, at the moment, I don’t quite know.

We are busy slowly clearing the front garden. We had our hedge cut Friday and it looks so much better. I just hope we get to spend Christmas with family and nothing jeopardises it. Maybe that’s why I can’t quite get going re food. DS and family will be here all being well.

Thursday 4 November 2021

The last few days

Have certainly felt very cold. We have woken up to temperatures of between 1C - 3C. The sun does give a hint of warmth when it fights to get out from the clouds but the very brisk wind soon tempers it.

I had my Pfizer booster jab on Tuesday, it certainly seems different to the Astra Zeneca one. No reaction from that at all, didn't feel it going in. This time though I did feel it (same nurse) and felt the fluid going in. She warned me that the booster is giving some people side effects.

I was fine until just before bed when my arm was getting quite sore and I felt a bit under par. Didn't sleep at all well due to my arm. The next day I felt a bit off. Woke up with a mild headache which got gradually worse throughout the day. DS informed me that their nurses had advised taking paracetamol throughout the day whether it was required or not!

I took some pills and felt not quite right for most of the day. Eventually, I went to bed, at my normal time, taking yet more pills. I have woken up this morning and feel fine. No headache and arm about 90%.

Already had my flu jab so am as prepared as possible for anything heading my way. We are still being careful especially finding somewhere to eat on our walking days. Most pubs we know of, are small and too crowded, so that side of things is influencing where we walk.

DDiL and DGD both had Covid recently (DDiL double vaccinated), plus her mum having had it twice (once before being vaccinated and once afterwards), I think it pays to still take care.

I just find it a tad annoying that we are still prepared to protect others (which helps protect us) but quite a few people now are not reciprocating:(

Roast belly pork slices, roast carrots and roast potato wedges for lunch today - yum.

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Whilst the oven was on and a hard watch!

 I baked us an apple, sultana and ground almond pie:

We shared one half between us with custard for a light tea. The other half was eaten yesterday.

Poor Andy was as flat as a pancake yesterday, absolutely no energy. He ate two energy bars and drank 5 special drinks, to no avail. He lost the first set 6-4. Was down second set 5-3 and squeezed a 7-5 win. Better in the third set, managed to get a tie break. Could have won, should have won but lost 8 match points before losing:(

Not on his own though, Dan also lost. Cameron got through though.