Friday, 28 April 2017

There was a time....

When I would have loads of posts stacked up, waiting to be published, but not at the moment. I seem to feel as though I have said it many times before:(

I think it is the chilly weather combined with a slow start on everything for Spring, that's my excuse anyway.

Having looked at the weather forecast, it seems the last of the frosty nights have gone and we will be back to normal for the start of May.

Still no peas, that is the third sowing that has failed, must just have been too cold and wet. The tomatoes are back out in the mini greenhouse so that saves me a job.

Just been food shopping. Is it me or are the prices still rising? Having raised my weekly budget, I may have to raise it again, but I have been topping up on things a little that had run out and not been topped up as per normal.

Also, we have run out of homemade frozen meals so that is odd as well. Ah well, have a grand extended weekend everyone!




Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Weather & tennis

I decided in the end to bring the tomatoes in overnight and take them back out each morning once the mini greenhouse warms up a little - it will be just too cold overnight, despite fleece, for the next few nights. I shall be glad once these frosty nights disappear so the garden can get on with things. It is all stop and start.

I gave up watching Dan Evans yesterday as he was 4-1 down - big mistake. DB carried on listening to the match and Dan came back to win. That will teach me! I caught up with the replay later on. A close run thing but a good win in the end. Kyle also won but they are both playing very good players in the next round so time will tell.

Unfortunately, Jamie and Bruno lost:(

Been for chiro today, earlier than planned due to some sort of weird cramp in my back and ribs. For the most part it has eased off but I had been in pain for a few weeks, so hopefully, it will now go away.

More tennis to watch - on replay on tennis tv. I miss being able to watch our women play on the same place, but it has brought the monthly cost down to £9.99 so very good value now. Also, you only have to pay for the months you want to watch!

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Importance of...

Annual eye tests!

I have my eyes checked every year without fail. Optometrists are very well trained to pick up all manner of health issues, that often show up in the eyes first, before the rest of the body protests.

So far, I have been referred to the hospital eye department on three separate occasions, each issue requiring between 1 and 2 years of monitoring before being discharged.

The same also applied to DB.

This time I mentioned that sometimes when watching tv, I feel as though I am blinking a lot to clear my vision. Tests appeared to show I may need glasses to watch tv (or buy a larger screen) as we sit nearly 15 feet away from it!

Anyhow, I chose cheap frames, dismissed all the extras (and their costs) as the glasses normally come free with any coatings I generally need. I will get one pair for reading and one for distance. Despite what I have said above, I am not sure the distance ones will help but we shall see.

All in all £52 due to special offers on at the time of my visit.


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Cold weather ahoy!

Welcome to JoJo W via Bloglovin.

Well, Andy and Jamie are both out of Monte Carlo:( However, our other favourite tennis player David Goffin, knocked out Djokovic:) sorry if you follow Novak, but we cannot stand him.

Having just got my tomatoes out into the mini greenhouse and covered with fleece at night, I may have to bring them back in soon as we are forecast two or more freezing nights ahead. I don't think even fleece will protect them at that level of coldness.

More soup making methinks!

Have agreat weekend everyone.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

New header and tennis...

There were loads of lambs in the fields when we were out on a walk this week so thought I would put a lovely spring picture of them on the blog header. There was also a stray lamb outside the fence trying hard to get back in, despite there being no sign of its mother.

We asked several people and no-one knew who the farmer was. Eventually, we ended up in a local cafe and she did know and phoned him to let him know. We were very worried for it in case a fox got it overnight. So much so that we spent some time trying to get it back in, but to no avail.

Hopefully he managed to catch it as it was very fast!

Andy has just gone out of the Monte Carlo tournament. Not surprising really, he was 4-0 up in the final set and then seemed to lose concentration. He only just won his last match so still not up to scratch and serving still not right.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Busy early...

By 09:15, I had got the washing washed and on the line and our weekly loaf of gf bread made and rising.

The sun keeps disappearing but there is enough wind to dry the washing providing we don't get any showers.

I shall make some lamb and carrot soup for lunch today, and we will be finishing off some pork chilli for tea.

Herewith the centre part of our front gravel garden:
The euphorbia bracts (left) are just appearing but nothing else in flower at the moment, now that the daffs and snowdrops have gone over. I really must go and stake the peony (one of five) at the top before it gets much bigger.

We have been scraping moss off our rear garden back path and grubbing out the weeds in the cracks of the brick paving. This path hardly gets any sun this time of year, hence the moss.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Re-purposing...

A few years ago, we used to have one of those 4 tier greenhouses that had a zip opening front to it. The cover has long since gone but I kept the shelves. This year, in my bean and pea bed, I have put them between the rows of broad beans:

Each one was tied to a cane, in three places down each side, with tie wraps, then the cane pushed into the ground. I still have another one to use where the little trays of beetroot seedlings are sitting at the rear of the pictures.

Up these, I am planning on growing dwarf peas, with just one one row sown each side so the bed doesn't become a tangled mess.

Hopefully it works as I don't really have access to twigs to support any peas. The net covers are temporary to keep off the pidgeons until everything gets a bit more established!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Hybrid Simnel Bara Brith cake for Easter

I added two extra ingredients to my Bara Brith recipe, see Gluten Free tab above, to create a hybrid cake for Easter. Following the recipe, the fine zest of a whole orange was added to the mixture, it smelled wonderful.

After placing half the mixture in the prepared 2lb loaf tin, I then added a layer of bought marzipan, and cut some in slices about 1/2cm in thickness:

The rest of the cake mixture was put on top of the marzipan, and the top smoothed off. It was baked as per the temperature and 5 minutes longer than the time on the Bara Brith recipe.

Here it is, cut in half:
We shared half a slice each once it had cooled. The taste and texture is very nice. Half was frozen so we don't overindulge. I have eaten a small Easter egg which I found way too sweet and sickly. The rest of that is also in the freezer. It is amazing how reducing your calories changes how you view sweet things!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Adapting Bara Brith to Gluten Free

My first attempt at simply substituting normal flour for GF wasn't too bad at all. It tasted nice but the texture was slightly dry. Here it is the next day:
Here is the recipe for my second attempt - enough for a 2lb loaf tin:

250g gluten free flour (I used mix A from this page, which I adapted slightly exchanging 100g of the white rice flour for 100g of sorghum flour, in an effort to reduce the use of rice flour. You can of course try using a bought in flour if you wish).

40g ground almonds
110g soft brown sugar
110g butter
40ml to 60ml of buttermilk or watered down plain yoghurt
150g dried fruit of your choice, steeped in 120ml hot tea
50g diced ready to eat prunes
3/4 tsp gf bicarb of soda
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 eggs - beaten
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp Xanthan gum

Rub the butter into the flour blend. Add the bicarb of soda, cream of tartar, sugar, mixed spice and stir well.
Add the steeped dried fruit and any tea leftover from steeping, plus the diced prunes.
Beat and add the eggs, black treacle and lemon juice.
Beat together very well.

Add about half of the buttermilk or watered down yoghurt and continuing beating until a very soft dropping mixture is obtained.
Leave to sit for a few minutes for the flours and xanthan gum to activate. If the mixture seems a little too firm, add the rest of the buttermilk or yoghurt.

Put into a lined 2lb loaf tin.

Bake at 160C for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking after an hour. Check to see if done by inserting a skewer into the centre. If no mixture sticks, it is ready.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing paper and leaving to go cold on a cooling rack.

If you fancy having a go, let me know what you think. We think it is a good substitute for the real thing but does not have quite the same texture due to lack of gluten.


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sweets...

We decided to shop a day early to avoid Good Friday. In front of us at the checkout in Lidl, was a youngish lady. Her part of the conveyor belt was covered in various assortments of sweets. Her bill came to £51.44. I can only hope she was buying for a school egg hunt but as most of them were not eggs, maybe not.

The mind boggles!

Our bill came to just over £18 with another £13 being spent elsewhere. A quarter of the latter bill was for a large pork pie, an occasional treat.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Kitchen Floor

Over the years, we have had various flooring in the kitchen, all of which, at some time or the other has been damaged, requiring it to be replaced.

A few years ago, for warmth and comfort, we elected to use carpet tiles with a very flat loop pile, easy to hoover and clean. It was brown in the previous kitchen.

Now we have changed the doors, plinths and cornice/pelmets, painted the walls, the carpet just didn't look right and seemed to drag the new look down.

Off we went and bought a few samples to choose the new colour, a kind of mid range green. Here it is starting to get laid:

And finished:
Although our boiler is in the kitchen, on the whole in winter, it is very cold in there and the carpet tiles help insulate it. I know lots of people don't agree with carpet in the kitchen but for us, it works. It gets hoovered up every few days to remove crumbs and is also regularly cleaned.

When the grand dogs visit they are not allowed in the kitchen for safety reasons, and everyone entering the house removes their shoes (both front and back), so hardly any dirt gets put on them.

Herewith a few more cupboard shots:


Had to put the blinds down as it was too bright for the camera to cope with!

Monday, 10 April 2017

War Diary Year VII

Just to let you know that February and March have been added to the War Diary tab above. Just click on the link that takes you to Year VII and scroll down to find it.

Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Nothing...

For the first time, since moving here and putting in ponds, we have no frog spawn:(

Slowly but surely, We have gone from dozens of frogs making an unearthly racket in the early hours to hardly any. There were some last year but obviously they haven't found a mate.

I think I read somewhere that they were declining due to some kind of disease. Being organic, I normally rely on them to help with a bit of slug control.

Weeding continues on, bit by bit, the front is looking better but no doubt, by the time it is finished, it will be time to start again! Frothy fruit blossom continues to open outback and looks lovely. It is so dry here that I had to water all the roses which were slightly droopy.

Davis Cup starts today, keeping my fingers crossed but even a depleted French team is still better than us on clay - come on the lads.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A bit of sea air...

Welcome to FDD via Bloglovin.

The other day, we decided to drive to Hunstanton to get some sea air. The tide was just 1/2 an hour from being fully in and the sea was almost as flat as a mill pond:

They have won some lottery money and are busy rebuilding the shelters, esplanade, new amenities to play with such as this playground (note the red stripe in the background which we are pleased to say, is the old fashioned Wicksteed rocking horse they have saved and moved) and a new mini 9 hole golf area:

The cliffs looked as good as ever:
The high tide does cover the rather slippery rocks and pools so paddling is not advised when you can't see them as it would be very easy to get a foot stuck!

We walked up the green to partake of chips and curry sauce, sitting on the seats near the front shops and looking out to sea. We then walked down to the front to enjoy a nice ice cream. A lovely hour or two. We both felt tired for the rest of the day and neither of us slept particularly well but hey ho - who cares:)

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Weeding!

I feel as though I have been weeding for months, due to the milder than usual Winter weather. Not so of course as I wasn't actually weeding in the winter!

The blasted things are popping up all over the place and I can only weed for 20 or 30 minutes before my back protests. That is despite weeding on all fours and stretching my back intermittently. Having a liner on top of the soil, plus gravel, is supposed to reduce the work but that isn't proving true!

I potted on my tomatoes yesterday, they are still in the conservatory, along with a few peppers. My first row of radish is up as are the first few broad beans. Other veg have been sown, but so far, have not put in much of an appearance.

DB has kindly widened and lengthened the foot rests on my Maxi climber so I am back on it now after a rest and it just feels more comfortable. 100 steps twice a day for now to see how my knee responds although to be fair, I am not sure it was the climber that was to blame as I have had the problem intermittently for years.

I am really looking forward to the Davis Cup tie this weekend, beginning on Friday.


Monday, 3 April 2017

Second blanket and weight loss update

Having enjoyed (and still enjoying) my first crocheted blanket, I thought I would start another one, ready for next year.

I already have enough squares for one half of it, in various stages of completion. Herewith its 'map':
The gap on the bottom row has now been finished with another pale purple. I am currently putting the border on those without one, then each row will be joined together. When all four rows are joined, it will have its top line of the peach colour to make it fit better into our room.

We have been watching what we have been eating for about 10 weeks now. I am pleased to say I have lost 8lb and DB 12lb. My old rather baggy jeans have been put into the recycle bag for use as something else and I now have two new pairs. We both feel better but as I have just gone back onto my beta blockers, I hope it doesn't pile back on!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Views

Welcome to Jenid via Bloglovin.

Here is the first view for this year, from our lounge, of the front gravel garden:
Almost everything is making an appearance although to be honest, some things never died off. The oriental poppies have been green all winter. The main bugbear in this garden is a low growing speedwell, which grows everywhere. It is closely followed by yellow corydalis, which although prettty, just gets everywhere. The final nuisance is some sort of low growing oxalis, tiny reddish leaves, slightly red stems, which I think is oxalis corniculata atropurpurea.

Whilst we have had some lovely sunny days, they have been accompanied by a brisk slightly chilly wind.

In the back, I am pleased to say, most fruit trees have blossom out (plums), or bunches waiting to emerge. This includes our, heavily trained, Bramley apple which I have been pruning (correctly now) for two years to get it to flower - it appears to have loads of blossom buds.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Kitchen and Davis Cup TV coverage

First of all, welcome to Ingela Okvist Ostrom via Bloglovin. For those of you who are interested, the BBC is covering the event, see here.

All the cabinet doors, pelmet and cornice are finished and we have now repainted the kitchen, changing the walls from blue grey to calico:

Just the flooring to sort out and it will be finished for a while. We still need to change the sink and taps and probably the worktop but that will be done another year.



Monday, 27 March 2017

We are busy...

Had a lovely Mother's Day weekend with DS. DDiL and Grand Dogs stayed at home as they were busy on horse duties.

All the kitchen cupboard doors, permet and cornice have been changed - see below. We decided after doing that job (which took 3 weeks), that they didn't go with the current paint. So this morning we prepared the kitchen for painting, to change the colour from blue grey:

To calico - not finished yet hence no final pictures. We have also visited a garden centre to get the final bag of cobbles to finish a job in the garden.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A new to me

Gluten Free range that I came across in Lidl this morning:
They were £1.99 each (less 49p at the till). I think they are probably designed for one person but we bought one each of the above to try them out. They are meant to be cooked in the bag, in a microwave, but we did it in a pan so we could smell and view the contents before cooking. You can view their products here.

Before opening, I thought they were just a sauce but do in fact, contain a small amount of meat as described on each picture/label.

We had the Kerala Chicken curry with chips and peas for our tea, plus some extra chicken to eek it out for the two of us:

If you like very mild curry this is for you. Needed more heat for us but all in all, not too bad but we really needed a bag each.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

It looks like...

That for the British tennis players, Miami is proving as tough as Indian Wells! Andy out injured, Bedane retired injured, Heather out, Dan out, followed by Kyle. Blimey.

Just Johanna and Jamie to go today, I hope they have better look. Normal conversation today, as the BBC is going overboard again, presenting what has happened, practically second by second. There is only so much you can say.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Before, during, after...

Our patio runs along the whole back wall of the bungalow. There is about a 4" gap between the first lot of slabs and said wall. We currently have it lined with gravel from the driveway:
It always looks a mess as the birds are constantly searching for things in it. Also, the rest of the non-growing area of the back garden has red gravel on it, so they constantly get mixed up and it drives us both mad.

We took the decision to change it. DB cleared out the gravel and soil down to about 2", cut up some old compost bags into strips, pushed them well down front and back before temporarily holding them in place with a few stones:
Until I was free to lay some North Sea cobbles on top of it:
So far it has taken 4 bags of pebbles at £7 a bag (special offer). We think another 2 or 3 bags should finish the job.

It just looks so much better and now, we will only have to sweep the red gravel from the patio back to where it belongs. Much easier!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Kitchen Cornice

All the cupboard doors are now up and as straight and level as we can get them. The sink unit has proved a nightmare as we think it has, over the years, flexed out of shape!

Now onto the cornice/pelmet. Here are a few cupboards waiting to be done:
And the first two finished, at the bottom anyway:
Had to use the flash on the one above as the kitchen was getting a little dark. We had to go and buy two more lengths for the tops.

It is proving a longer task than first thought, but slowly we are winning - well DB is, as he is the one doing most of the work!


Friday, 17 March 2017

Shopping and other things ...

We have done our weekly shop and returned home by 09.20am. Lidl first where I spent just under £15, then onto Morrison's for another £11. Forgot potatoes so called in as Asda on the way home £1.25. Whilst there, we were given a free packet of dried mango to try. I like free things. We are eating a little more from the freezer and cupboards for this last week of our monthly shop, as the food budget was a little low. Yet last month, I had £20 leftover!

I shall make some bacon, potato and vegetable soup for lunch today and tomorrow. We will probably have soup in some form for lunches every day for the rest of the week.

The tomatoes I sowed a few days ago have now sprouted, just waiting for the peppers which I think take a little longer. No sign of the outdoor vegetables yet, still a little chilly I think.

Keeping our fingers crossed that Jamie and Bruno play well tonight to get into the Indian Wells final.

I am still crocheting more squares to make a winter blanket for DB for later this year. Still need to do another 30 or so, then I have to edge them, then join together etc. Still, it should keep me entertained for a few months.

Have a lovely weekend folks.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Gardening, hair and more gardening...

After getting a batch of towels washed and on the line, I began to empty one of the raised beds that sits on the patio area. DB kindly finished the job and sieved the rubbish out of the soil whilst I had my tri-monthly hair colour put on.

When the hairdresser had left, we had aforementioned roast beef soup for a late lunch. Once that had digested, DB helped me move the now empty raised bed to its new position on our little back, shaded patio.

Refilled with some plants from 4 troughs, (the rest were disgarded), the job was almost done.  Just need to top it with grit and it will look very nice.

DB meanwhile was busy in the garage, practising his 45 degree cutting skills, on some old kitchen cupboard cornice. New cornice will be added to the bottom of the finished cupboards before a top cornice is put on. Carpet tiles to change then some final pictures will be put on here.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Roast Beef Dinner into Sheperd's/Cottage Pie

Both the beef and potatoes didn't work particularly well on Sunday for some reason so we had just one roast lunch and thought about what to do with the remains.

The joint was minced, some of the gravy added:
the roast potatoes were sliced and placed on top:
Sliced mature cheddar on top of those:
Baked at 200C for 30 - 40 minutes until bubbling:
Served with peas:
I forgot some extra gravy:(

Although a little dry due to lack of further gravy, it tasted far better than the original roast! I had enough beef to create another 'pie' but with normal mash on top. The meat that was left, had all the gravy added to it, some tomato puree and hot water. This we had as roast beef soup - delicious!

So then, the meat stretched to 3 meals for 2 people and soup for 2 people, quite good.

Monday, 13 March 2017

And they are all out! UPDATED

That is, all the singles tennis players at Indian Wells, who represent Great Britain! First it was Heather, closely followed by Andy, then Dan, Johanna and finally Kyle, although he like Johanna put up a good fight despite the scores. Despite Andy winning in Dubai he just isn't quite right so I wasn't surprised.

As for doubles both Jamie (and Bruno) and Andy and Dan are still in, both teams playing late evening. Let's hope at least one of those teams wins.

Lovely day here already, washing already on, bread to make and then some weeding.

Jamie and Bruno have just won their doubles match. Should Andy and Dan do the same, then they will play each other in the next round! Nope, they lost, hardly surprising considering the team they were playing.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Time to sow!

A lot of people have already started but here, it is usually mid to the end of March. The raised beds have their nets on as I found cat poo in one the other day:(

I need to also get the perspex panels on one bed to start warming the soil. Yesterday I scrubbed clean my mini greenhouse as well as the outdoor chairs and tables.

Sorting through my seeds, I couldn't find the broad beans that I knew had been saved. Completely forgot they were put in the kitchen for winter soup (still unused luckily), as none had been put to one side for sowing.

Eventually, in the beautiful sunny weather, I got on and sowed - 3 types of tomato, Hungarian hot wax chilli peppers, peas, carrots, radish, some leeks and a few broad beans. I am trying to make myself sow occasionally throughout the season, rather than all at once!

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Are you a looper or a trouper? Part II

I don't have any advise to give here, sorry. I am merely raising the issue of whether it is possible to suffer and survive trauma. Can you move on and grow as a person, turn all that negativity into positivity?

Again, I can't speak about others except for myself and those on my course, who upon later discussion, again without them giving too much detail of their trauma, showed real positive change in their lives. Sure, we all had loops backwards and forwards, good and bad days, as such trauma rears its ugly head in very unexpected circumstances that on the surface, don't appear to have any relation.

Another lady I met on my degree course had also suffered, we kind of veered to one another over the first year. I think, outside her immediate family, I was the only person she felt safe enough to confide in, which is such a privilege. I think she felt safe, knew I would listen, not judge.

You would not believe the amount of people who summise that somehow, you must have brought it all on yourself. To be abused you must have somehow invited it, to be bullied you were a weakling or a coward for not better standing up for yourself. To have been so hated you must have been exceptionally naughty (or worse still, unlovable). What did you do to cause it! It must be your fault.

For the most part, I would suggest that if self help isn't working, that professionals should be able to. They shouldn't judge you, merely listen, help you put things into context, rather than do it for you. If you are self harming, suicidal or find it almost impossible to think positively, don't be afraid to find help. Keep finding help until you find the help that will help you.

Don't let anone put you into a box and leave you there. Find that pin prick of light and hope, kick and scream and fight your way towards it. Scrape, scrape and scrape away at it to make it brighter. Yes, there will be times when your energy runs out and the light seems further away than ever, but don't give up.




Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Are you a looper or trouper? Part I

In case you are wondering (and I think I have read it correctly), I am using the correct context in the spelling of trouper, see trooper versus trouper

Another connotation of the above question is, "Are you a half full glass or half empty glass" person, an optimist or a pessimist? I would hesitate to suggest that any of us fit neatly into either category and may well visit each throughout our lives, depending on what life throws at us. This post doesn't profess to know the answer merely to raise the question. These are also my own thoughts on the subject and as we know, all of life is subjective. Gosh, that sounds like something I used to write in my university days.

The title could well be thought of as negative and positive ie, looper suggesting failure and negative wasted energy but trouper positive energy and success. Again, I don't think either is black and white. I think you can be an optimistic pessimist or a pessimistic optimist. In the same way, you could be a looping trouper or a trouping looper. Get a cup of tea, it might make sense later on.

Growing up, for my family, was quite difficult, which I shall not be discussing here. Such an early start to life, as with a good and happy upbringing, resonates throughout your own life, bringing its own negative or positive thoughts and energy.

How you move on from such a start, whether you are able to move on, I think, depends on what happens next and whether you can deal with things in a mainly positive way. When training to be a nurse, just before going into the 3rd year and beginning the psychiatric element, we had a lot of lessons on how to deal with vulnerable people and what the 'well educated' and 'well meaning professionals (psychiatrists/psychologists)' thought about traumatic childhoods. Well, not a lot as it turned out. Their main teaching focused on this: "if you were physically, mentally or emotionally abused, you would abuse. If you were bullied you will bully. If you were shown no love but only hatred, you would hate" Really!

I was the first to leave the class, next came two of my colleagues. It was in that moment, sitting outside, waiting for the session to finish to be bawled at by that lecturer, before being hauled off to our own tutor, that we gained vital knowledge of each other. In some way, we three had suffered as children. Maybe others in the class had as well, I don't know, but we three had made a stand by walking out.

We had quite heated discussions in that corrider between us, about such teaching I can tell you, none of which was appreciated by the member of staff when they finished. They basically told us "we didn't know what we were talking about". It went downhill from there. They simply couldn't or wouldn't see that we weren't loopers, stuck in a loop of whatever we had experienced, being unable to cope with it on any level. We were troupers, we had dealt with it, processed it and were attempting, for the most part successfully, to move on.

He was the looper, spouting such knowledge to students who would go on to believe it and practise it themselves in all probability.

Part II next time.


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A bit of the front and back gardens

I wandered around our back and front gardens the other day and sure enough, things are beginning to pop up. The snowdrops are dying, the daffs are beginning to bloom and all herbaceous shrubs and plants are sprouting.

From the front room:

Herewith the new heathers that I planted last autumn:
No pictures of the back but all fruit trees with the exception of the new Spartan apple tree and very stubborn Comice (never flowered), actually have fruit buds this year. We have had barely any apples from the Bramly as I think I kept cutting it back incorrectly. This year however, after shaping and trimming it properly for the last 2 years, it finally has some buds.

I sorted through my seed stash to see what needs sowing and must get on with it and also top one of the beds with the acrylic tops to warm up the soil.


Monday, 6 March 2017

Slowly but surely

The kitchen cabinet doors are being replaced. One or two a day, a drawer here and there and it is taking shape. These are the current ones under the sink:
Although they may look good in the photograph, they are not, as they are warped and swollen in places. These are the new ones across the room from the sink:
Loads more to do plus the plinths and decorative bits below and above the top cabinets. There isn't much wrong with the worktop so that will stay for now. Maybe next year it, the sink and taps will be changed, depending on whether DB feels up to doing it. Worktops are a horrible job to trim and cut into.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A family double...

I was hoping Jamie Murray and Bruno would win and they did. Well done lads, a 4th trophy to your tally.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

And he's done it!

Andy Murray has won his first Dubai tournament, and is also the first British player to do so. Didn't play particularly well in the first few games but got better and better. Well done my dear.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Repairing water damaged ceiling in the kitchen

Welcome to tammy wilson and Di Saye via Bloglovin. You may remember reading about our kitchen ceiling collapsing - see here.

Well today, the company (I'm going to advertise here),we chose to fix it arrived, 2 hours and 15 minutes later, they left, leaving behind some excellent work. More importantly, they were well on time, laid down carpet protection from the front door to the kitchen, closed the front door to keep the heat in as our heating was off at the time, and cleaning up after themselves. You can find out more about them here.

We are paying for this ourselves as it is quite a lot cheaper to do so rather than paying the excess that the insurance company wanted.

We emptied all work surfaces to enable us to do our annual spring clean once they left. DB started that within 1/2 an hour. Once done, we will be free to carry on replacing the kitchen cabinet doors and draws.

Herewith the scene before work:
 
And after:



Just need to give it time to dry then we can paint it over to match the rest of the kitchen.

This firm was recommended to us by a neighbour and it was only when we phoned them, that we realised DS went to school with the owner - a small world.

Now we are waiting for their plumber to come and give us a quote to change the damaged bathroom radiator. Watch this space.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

A right old ding dong

The tennis match between Murray and Kohlschreiber went back and forth, with Kohlschreiber playing fantastic shots. He won the first set on a tie break.

The second set was equally absorbing going to another tie break 20 to 18, this time in Murrays favour, after he saved 7 match points. My heart was in my mouth to say the least. After that Kohlschreiber sort of collapsed despite some wonderful shots and lost 6-1.

Well done Andy but don't do that again!

Oat Pancakes

Firstly, welcome to Jessie Wilson-Powell via Bloglovin.

These wholesome pancakes were what we chose for this years Pancake Day. We enjoyed them but both felt they would be better suited to a savoury filling or using instead of lasagne sheets in a pancake lasagne:

On Pancake Day, we only have pancakes for our meal so had 6 each of these, which is what double the recipe provided. You can find it here.

We ate ours with a combination of maple syrup or lemon juice and sugar.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

New crockery ...

First of all, welcome to Arlene L and rig via Bloglovin.

Whilst visiting DS and DDiL, we took advantage of a quick trip to Ikea to buy some tempered glass tableware. We have been looking for some for ages, similar to Corelle dinnerware but way cheaper. It didn't worry us what it looked like as long as it was light.

This is our current set, made by Next:
These 3 items weigh 1789g.

Our new items Oftast from Ikea:

Weigh 800g and are currently greatly reduced in price down to 50p each! We bought 8 of each.

When you have arthritis in your wrists and its playing up, carrying heavy items just aggravates it, so these should be much better. The Next set will go off to our favourite charity shop.