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.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Very nearly ...

We have been away to DS's and DDiL's for the weekend. Enjoyed seeing the grand-dogs, nice walks, nice meals. Watched two films, Interstellar and Antman, both very good. Have brought some other films home.

Good drive back, stopping for lunch at one of our favourite haunts. To get out, you have to cross a busy road, near a bend, something I rarely do, as I am usually the one driving in.

Ah well, looking right then left, I waited for a car from the left to drive by, double checked right (left appeared clear) and started to pull out, almost into a car from the left, driving at the speed limit of 60 mph. DB yelled stop which I did, leaving me stranded on our side of the carriageway (mainly because I couldn't get the car into reverse quickly enough).

Around the corner from the right appeared two cars who had to swerve to avoid me. Finally I started to reverse when a huge lorry came from the same direction, sounding its rather pathetic horn. It sounded so odd I wondered what it was, thinking someone was hooting behind me. I don't know what was worse, being worried about reversing into someone behind me, or getting mown down by the lorry!

Anyway, a split second was all it took to confirm no-one was behind me and I shot backwards just in time.

Could have been very nasty as both of us could have been seriously injured or killed:( I was more annoyed than anything as I can't remember having ever pulled out in front of someone. The car I saw had its lights on and I think the one I missed didn't, so can only assume that was why I didn't see it.

Mind you, driving up there we had 3 near misses on us by other drivers. Ah well, we arrived home safely.

Friday, 24 February 2017

What a difference...

A day makes! All safe and sound here thank goodness. Apart from the poor woman dying in Wolverhampton, I think we all got off lightly from a danger to life point of view.

Shopping done plus a quick trip to B & Q to get drawer carcasses, yes we needed to change them, only 3 though.

Washing on which I hope to get dry today, some baking to do later and that is it. I am beginning to crochet some more squares for a second blanket as the first is proving very useful.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

For some ....

Storm Doris is proving a real handful. We have strong winds with gusts of 60 - 70mph. One fence post broke at the bottom on our neighbours fence and we all went out to help him put up props to stop it blowing down.

So far the rain hasn't been too bad but the wind isn't due to reduce for a few hours yet. I think some seaside areas are having a bad time. Hope you are all keeping safe.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Battening down the hatches ...

Storm Doris is approaching and we are as prepared as can be for it. I hope no flooding takes place, something we can't control.

We had rain for a couple of hours this morning and I heard water gushing so looked out into the back garden. One of the down pipes that feeds the garage guttering into our water butts/drains etc, had become detached - DB fixed it after taking out a small blockage inside. Dread to think what damage might have occurred if it hadn't been spotted!

Our log basket has been filled just in case the electricity goes off and we need heat. That will save us having to go outside in the pouring rain. Our standby gas cooker is also ready just in case. It isn't so much the rain (of which there will be far too much no doubt), it is the expected 10 hours of high winds tomorrow which may well knock out the electric.

Take care folks and stay safe.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Something old, something new ...

Our kitchen is many, many years old, having changed it from the ancient one that was in when we moved to this address. Water damage, damaged veneer, chips and bangs means it is not fit for painting over and quite frankly, I wouldn't have the patience. I know how long it would take! When photographed it looks great, but it isn't. Quite a few doors are bowing from either the top or bottom and no amount of adjustment works.

We have saved up and decided to change the doors and drawer fronts on all the cabinets. Not cheap but then nowhere near as expensive as replacing the whole kitchen. The worktop will be fine for quite a few more years although the sink will eventually get changed as will the taps which have massive bleach damage to them when I used toilet descaler by accident:(

It took quite a while to work out what we needed. First problem we encountered was the height of the top cabinets, our shorter size are no longer made. Even though we only need doors for them, we have had to splash out an extra £5 per unit as we need the door from a door and drawer pack to fit these top cupboards. Everything else worked out fine apart from that extra expence.

Then when we went to order them, we were told it would come in two deliveries 2 months apart. We didn't fancy that and were worried we would end up with only half the kitchen being finished when the second half of the order failed to materilise.

Today, it all arrived and although we don't have any plans to begin the job until next week at the earliest, (still dealing with the hole in the ceiling), we couldn't resist trying to attach one door and one drawer front to see how it would all look. Mistake!

The drawer front attachments don't fit our drawers (despite measuring) and we cracked one drawer trying to attach its new front. We now realise we shall have to replace all 3 drawers:( Blimey, adding up!

Okay says we, lets attach the door. Now in preparation for ordering, we had already measured the gap between old and new hinge attachements, which matched up okay. What we didn't realise is that the two hinge holes on the old doors, are spaced differently from those on the new doors. Yes the gap between is fine, and the bottom hinge fits neatly into it. However the new top hinge fits 3" down from the top, whereas the old one is only 6" down. How did we miss that!!

Luckily, this doesn't mean having to redrill hinge holes in the doors - thank God - but DB will have to drill new mini holes in the cupboard sides to take the screws for the top hinge - a small mercy.

Onwards and upwards, onwards and upwards!

Monday, 20 February 2017

War Diary Year VII - final few months!

The war diary for January has been updated. Sorry for the delay. This is the year that I shall finish on, even though we went on for a few more months. You will find it after Years V and VI on this page.

Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, 17 February 2017

An unexpected job:(

Before painting the kitchen ceiling, we noted some food splashes, although for the life of us, couldn't fathom out what or how they got there! They painted over fine once the ceiling had been scrubbed clean.

However, above one of the cabinets, we noticed some brown splashes which wouldn't clean off but painted them anyway over the weekend.

On Monday, I noticed some odd marks on the cooker top and cleaned them off. Tuesday morning they were there again. Glancing up at the ceiling above the cupboard, the brown marks were back and this time there was a bulge.

I got a chair to investigate and found the top of the cupboard wet, the inside stained and bits had gotten so soaked, they had sprung slightly out of place.

DB immediately went up to investigate - yep - a leak, from the central heating header tank. The ballcock was below the water line and the join in the overflow pipe had separated:(

The empty cardboard boxes, glass fibre insulation and board beneath that were sodden, hence the bulge in the ceiling board.

DB started repairing the white pipe, then dragged out all the wet cardboard and glass fibre, and used a bucket to partially empty the header tank, then we had a cup of tea.

We realised just how lucky we had been, another day would have seen the kitchen ceiling collapse in that spot, causing not only a repair to be effected (not cheap) as well a possibly buying a new kitchen cabinet!

Herewith the pictures, before cardboard had been lifted:
Underneath the cardboard and fibreglass:
Quite wet as is part of the ceiling joist:
We thought we had been very lucky.

Unfortunately on Thursday we heard a crash and this had happened, 10 minutes before we needed to go out:

Never seen DB clean up to fast!

Now we need to get quotes asap and get the job done, either with our own money or insurance, whichever is cheapest due to the excess we will have to pay!

Have a lovely weekend folks!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

It's only soup ... UPDATED

Except it's different, as this is the first soup I made in my new pressure cooker!

I have to be honest and say, that on the whole, they scare me to death. I know you can now get all singing all dancing electric versions but I saw this one, half price in the sales, and went for it:

As it was a use it up meal, I had 4 medium onions, 1 leek, 4 carrots and a clove of garlic to use. The rest was stock cubes, water and a good handful of split red lentils.

Once brought up to pressure it leaked steam everywhere, turned out, for some reason the valve wasn't quite clear so we left it to cool, cleaned it and tried again.

Success this time and once up to pressure, the contents were cooked for 5 minutes. I know I can use the quick release button, or put cold water over it but as I had the time, I left it to depressurise naturally - about 10 minutes.

The stick blender was utilised and hey presto - our first meal:
Tasted very nice.The following day I made some more soup:
Cooked our Sunday lunch chicken in 15 minutes - pale but very moist:
And got this much stock for some gravy and more soup:
Elaine over at Mortgage Free in Three, published a pressure cooker recipe for Beefless Stew. We adapted it slightly and got 5 bowls of this very nice dish:

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ageing and decorating ...

We have both noticed how much more challenging decorating (amongst other things), has become as we age.

The kitchen ceiling is being repainted as we noticed some kind of multiple 'explosion' marks on it. When they were scrubbed off,  the dinginess of the ceiling became apparent.

DB duly attached masking tape to the wall near the ceiling (frog tape didn't want to know - grease probably). As he finished and began to attach a floaty type of cover to the cabinets, the tape started to peel off so had to be removed. Nowt for it but to paint carefully then.

Even doing that reasonably small amount of work, bending this way and that, going up and down the ladders, made him ache in quite a few places.

He downed tools to have a cup of tea and a sit down to replace and replenish his muscles:)

Our walking buddy E. and her husband have just finished completely decorating their lounge and they both said the same thing. They like us, have been trying to get our homes sorted out to take us into the next decade or so.

However, it is rapidly becoming apparent, that next time decorating needs doing, it will either take far longer than now, or we will have to get someone in. Bummer!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Banana pancakes

I have seen loads of recipes for these and thought I would try them. This recipe called for 2 eggs, 1 mashed banana and 1/2 tsp baking powder, whisked thoroughly.

The frying pan was sprayed with 'oil' and 3 x 1 tablespoon of mixture put in:
You have to be very careful when turning them over as they don't really behave like normal pancakes (drop scones). They were kept warm in the oven until all the mixture was used. We got about 14 pancakes from it.

Mine were served with natural yoghurt and blueberries:
Neither of us was too keen as we don't really like hot banana. However, if you do, give them a whirl.

Monday, 13 February 2017

My nursing best buddy

Despite having 5 O' Levels, two of them were in similar subjects so I had to sit the nursing entrance exam. Whilst waiting in the corridor to go in, I starting chatting to a quiet woman stood next to me, about this and that, but mainly that I felt called to do nursing. She said the same.

We went in and one of the weirdest and only questions that I can recall, was along the lines of "if a baby weighing such and such was given a dose of a drug measuring such and such, how much would you give to a kitten weighing such and such?". I have no idea if I got it correct as it was obviously a maths question based on similar things at school to do with filling a bath with buckets of water for x amount of time:(

Many people having coffee afterwards, also commented on it and we all gave differing answers:)

Anyhow, on the first day we started our 10 weeks training, this same quiet lady was also there. As it turned out, we were both married to servicemen, as were another two ladies. One was very full on and didn't particularly want to engage with us but the other woman, was also quiet and we and her also became friends. One of the problems of being 'in the military' is moving and none of us knew if we would be in the area long enough to finish training.

Over the next few years, these friendships blossomed and although the second woman and myself are no longer in touch, that quiet first woman and I, still are and remain very good friends.

She no longer lives anywhere near me but has family who does and when able, pops in for a drink and a chat. It is amazing how we seem to be able to communicate 'through the ether' as it were.

For example, when one gets in touch, the other is just about to do so etc. We have been friends for over 25 years now and have a remarkable amount of similar ideas and thinking to each other but differences as well. I know I could tell her anything and she would keep mum and not broadcast it far and wide.

Thanks my dear, for your continuing friendship and communication, both of which give me a great deal of pleasure and companionship.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Arsenic in Rice

This long standing problem has been mentioned everywhere on the internet for quite a few years now. I had vaguely heard something but forgotten it. Not anymore!

Trust Me I'm A Doctor on BBC2 (available on the bbciplayer) this week, brought it to the fore again - see here.

How much you eat per week and how you cook the rice makes a difference to how much you ingest whilst eating - see the article. We normally cook rice in lots of water but will now soak it overnight, rinse then cook in lots of water.

What about rice already cooked or those in pack up meals such as microwavable meals. You have no control over how that rice has been treated before you eat it.

However, if you eat gluten free, rice is usually one of the first ingredients in a huge range of the products and the contents don't tell you how much! Even if you eat pasta as an alternative to rice, quite a lot of pasta products also have rice as their first ingredient.

Most recipes for home baking also use quite high levels of rice (in particular brown rice flour)  products and that is also of concern to us.

One of the best articles I have found online to help substitube rice flours can be found here.

An article that I use a lot and have created my own chart from can be found here.
Herewith my chart created from her page. As it is a screen shot, it is a little blurred but you could always type it out for yourself and then print it:
  Have a great weekend folks and stay safe in the coming wintry weather.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Clean carpets...

Although our carpets weren't dirty, it had reached the point of a slight stale smell in the morning if a window wasn't left slightly open every night! A similar smell could be detected when laying down to exercise.

Yesterday we removed freestanding furniture from the kichen, hall, lounge and conservatory and vacuumed throughout.

It took an hour from start to finish then we went out for a few hours to leave them to dry a little. On our return we lit the fire in the lounge and kept the heating on. I think overnight, we shall have to leave some windows safely locked open, to let some of the condensation out!

By tomorrow hopefully, they should all be dry enough to get furniture back in. Personally I think it pays to clean carpets annually or biannually to keep them maintained and in as good a condition as possible.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


At the weekend, we had a text inviting us for coffee next Tuesday. Next and this always confuses us so we took it to mean today. We duly turned up and flummoxed our friend who replied, "you're a week early".

Initially we thought she was joking, but she wasn't. We had a bit of a "what are we like" moment then got invited in to have coffee and a chat anyway.

We should have realised when re-reading the text  as she had mentioned inviting another friend as well, but she works in a school and isn't on half term break until next week!

Ah well, all's well that ends well:)

Monday, 6 February 2017

What a strange ending!

GB won their Davis Cup tie against Canada by default. It was 2 matches all, and Kyle Edmund was 2 sets up and had just gone 2 to 1 games up. The young Canadian lost his temper and hit a ball full pelt in disgust.

I think he was aiming for the ball to go out but mis hit it, and it slammed into the eye of the chair umpire. After a few minutes of emergency first aid, the match was handed to us.

Poor lad, it will be a hard lesson to learn but the same result would have eschewed if it had hit a member of the audience, another player etc.

I just hope he won't be vilified by his countryman.

Kyle was a different beast to the player that came out for his match on Friday and I think we would have won anyway.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Diet programmes and food shopping

Channel 4, is showing a programme, how to diet well, and it is both informative and annoying at the same time. Annoying due to some of the people just not trying but informative as they check out 6 diets each week amongst other investigations carried out by the presenters.

Trust me I am a doctor has also just started on BBC 2, again very informative.

In life in general it pays to have willpower to achieve goals set. I dislike calorie calculating but enjoy the challenge whilst we are watching our weight. It is good for us as it helps adjust our portion control, especially for breakfast and lunch. When we achieve our target weights, it should help as we wean ourselves off and gradually return to a more normal way of eating.

Yes our stomachs rumble in between each meal but we just ignore it. Cakes hold no allure at the moment. Indeed, when I have a biscuit on our walking days, I am not really enjoying it.

I shall bake again sometime but it will be less and smaller portions served when we do. Got to have some treats but not right now.

One thing we have noticed is a reduction in the food bill. Last week it was £28 and this week £24, whereas it had been creeping up to £35 every week.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

It's a bummer....

I have had insomnia for many, many years. My type is where you just cannot get to sleep. I feel quite relaxed, am not thinking of anything, indeed, I yawn quite a lot.  However, when your normally bad insomnia gets even worse, it is a real bummer:(

Usually, I have 2-3 reasonable sleeps a week and the rest are bad but bearable because of the those relatively normal sleeps.

For a few months now, every night has been dreadful and I think I don't drop off to sleep until about 3am on average, though sometimes much later. I do then sleep for roughly 4 hours after that, though with the lighter mornings, that will lessen.

Maybe my circadian rhythm is off, who knows. I have been on pills temporarily from the doctor but those only worked occasionally and I am now off them. Even when I am in hospital, sleeping pills the night before an operation rarely take effect.

Don't even get me started on the nights approaching full moon, those during the full moon and for one or two nights after it. Maybe I am a werewolf and need to give in!

As it has been such a long term problem, my body has adjusted and I don't often feel any after effects the next day. Lately though, DB is suffering the brunt of my irritability when a normal comment has an edge to it, though I think he probably forgets just why I am irritable.

I have gone through every bedroom hygiene advice possible, tried most things. Nytol does work well but it can only be taken short term and recent studies have found, that long term use of it, can cause 'brain' problems:( The same applies to Valerian and other 'sleeping aids', they should only be taken short term.

Ah well, I shall try some more adjustments, and see how it goes.