Wednesday, 31 December 2014


The frosts of the last few days have meant two trips a day to see the Allotment chooks.

We arranged bricks under two of the waterers (one in each pen) so that we can put an 8 hour night light under the metal waterer.  The bricks surround the nightlight completely.  The 8 hour nightlight is in a glass jar, inside a cut-off Illy coffee tin.

In the morning, the waterer is still frozen, but the ice is much thinner.  A quick blast on the camping stove and then the ice can be broken.

Top it up with water, and then put another nightlight ti try and keep it defrosted for much of the day.

Some days, it's not possible to get water.  The butts are frozen, sometimes it's only the tap bit, sometimes it's more frozen inside.  The allotment water pipes need priming, and for that I need water Even then, if there is water frozen in the pipes, it's impossible to draw water.  

I've taken to carrying a couple of bottles down with me.

The first night we went down, it was interesting to see how the hens were arranging themselves.  I imagined them snuggling up for warmth, but I know from mucking out that the main flock uses three coops.

In Mrs' rickety old coop we had 2 welsh blacks, one on each end of the roosting bars. In one of the nestboxes we had Siouxise or NotNorman,  I couldn't tell which,.

In the new coop we had Nora on theroosting bars,  Batty in one of the nestboxes on one side, Norman in the other side, and Siouxsie or NotNorman at the front.

Henry and his 4 other wives were spaced out on the roosting bars in the shed.

Not at all what I imagined.

Saturday, 27 December 2014


Leftovers were frozen where appiopriate, or fridged where we thought we might eat them soon.

The roasted vegetables are waiting to be turned into soup.

Yesterday was my turn to see to the Allotment chooks, and I took some of the unused vegetables to them (squash, cauliflower, cabbage, swede).

After discussion this morning, I think we're having Gooseherds spiced pie for dinner tonight, to use up the last of the goose.   It'll either be with a mashed potato topping (a la Shepherd's pie),   or it'll be in a hot water pastry pie ( a la pork pie).

We had a lie in today.  No visitors due, didn't need to get up to go and do the chooks,  didn'thave deliveries coming.....    DH still not sleeping through the night,  and so my sleep is disturbed.  Truth told, I could probably spend the whole day in bed dozing!

Tomorrow's visit to the chooks will be quite a long one as they need sorting out,  plus we need to prepare for cold weather freezing the water.  DH might try coming to help. It's been 3 weeks since he's seen the chooks and he's missing it.


The goose was lovely.  I worked from my timings last year.  However, there was one problem with this - nNormally when I write my timings, it helps set everything in my mind.   No matter howmany times I read through the detaied instructions, I just couldn't get it set in my head.    Thank goodness that the instructions were  detailed.

Next year, if we have goose, I'll use the same instructions but I will rewrite them in advance so I get myself sorted.

OB1 came for the day,  which was great as he always likes what I cook.  Sadly he didn't stay for Boxing Day, he decided to visit out parents instead.

We were all stuffed, but it's funny how the mention of cheeeeeese and nibbly bits clears tummy space at about teatime.


At short notice, my lovely brother, OB2,  drove me to Kent to collect the new worktop.  We stopped on the way back for something to eat.  We went to a McDonalds.   I haven't had a McDonalds for 20? years. Maybe longer.

It tasted much as I remembered.  I would have been happy without the burger, as the overriding taste I remember was the cheese and the gherkin.

Half an hour later, I started to have indigestion.  I mentioned it to OB2 who started to laugh as he admitted having trouble too.

I guess it'll be another 20 years before I try it again.

The worktop looked great, and was - as expected - a smidgeon too long really.  We decided to fit it the following day, and we'd deal with the extra length etc after Christmas.

OB2 arrived on Christmas Eve to help DH fit the worktop.  (DH has a broken rib and a fractured vertebra and is wearing a back brace, so has limited movement).  We measured for leg positioning.  We considered. We discussed whether to do the cutting now, or to wait. In the end,  we got the worktop outside so it could be cut to the better length AND have the corners rounded.  Poor OB2 was with us for several hours - but the result was fantastic.

Meanwhile,  I got on with makig mince pies and palmiers to eat; and then I made the light goose gravy, Red Cabbage, and the gingerbread stuffing ready for the next day.

We delivered some of our neighbours cards, but I didn't get as far as my friend's house. Bit of a shame as I'd actually embroidered a card for them.  Never mind!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


Yesterday I made profiteroles for the first time!

I made the choux pastry in Thermy, and it was really really easy.

I was very slapdash with my spooning out, so the resulting profiteroles were mishapen lumps, but they tasted OK.   At the time of making the pastry, I hdn't decided wheter I was going to make savoury or sweet, so I omitted sugar.   Of course when it came to it, I made sweet, and they would have been upgraded from "OK" to "good" if I'd put sugar in.

I just whipped up double cream for the filling, and melted some chocolate for the top - very unoriginal. 

Yjese will definitely be on my "easy to whip up" list. In fact, I've bought extra cream cheese, just in case I get the need to make savoury ones over the next few days.

I also made marscapone for the first time since the cheese course.   Double cream, tartaric acid, a bain marie and some patience.   I now have that as an option for making savoury dips (or fillings).

And I went to Costco to buy some cider, chestnuts, mixed nuts and double cream.... and came out with a few extra bits.  It wasn't too bad in there. Busy, but manageable.  At least it was when I went in, but by the time I got to the tills it was getting less so.

Today has been erratic.  I cleaned the fridge, then took the goose and giblets out of the freezer and put them  in the fridge to defrost.  I packed stuff around them.

Tomorrow will be a busy day as that's when I'm going to be making the red cabbage and the stuffings for Christmas Day.   That and the fact that DH may be fitting a new worktop.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Getting in gear

I looked at the Ocado delivery.  The purpose of today's delivery was to get all the non perishable stuff.  Some of it was stuff that I had meant to add to next week's delivery, not today's. (2x600ml of double cream.  Pomegranate seeds. Cheese.)  And some was stuff that I'd obviously added to my trolley with the intention of  making a decision and removing later - who needs three types of blue cheese?  

I looked at my list and looked at the stuff that  had arrived. This time I worked out when was the earliest I could make things if I wasn't going to freeze them. I debated whether to make some stuff now and freeze it.

I considered a trip to Costco.

Instead, I cleared the worktop, cleaned it, and marzippaned a cake.

Then I decided that I really needed to clear up before I attempted the other christmassy chores on my list.  Instead I opened one of the bags of crisps and started to eat them.   I checked Facebook.  I bought some bits online. Things I'd meant to get for this year, had decided last year to wait for the sales, and then  had forgotten.

I put the steamer on to steam last year's Christmas pudding to make Christmas Puddini bonbons. The pudding didn't look great, so I threw it out.

I started to make cranberry mincemeat a la Nigella.  While it was cooling, I tried to make myself clear up.    I ignored myself.

Eventually I decided I'd have to use rewards.

I gave myself 1 point for everything properly put away. When I got to 100, I could make a cup of tea.   At 79, I stopped and embroidered a card for my next door neighbour.

I decided to unload the dishwasher, as that would put me at nearly 200 by theh time I'd unloaded and reloaded it.   When I opened it, it hadn't drained.  I shut the door and finished the crisps.

I opened the door again and unloaded the clean items.  I took the baskets out and partially loaded them with the dirty dishes, but left them on the draining board. 

Eventually the kitchen looked more respectable. 

I need to put the sewing machine away for Christmas. Maybe Monday. Maybe I'll get on and make the Christmas bunting.

Or maybe I'll try Nigella's (Lychee Martin)  Lychini instead
photo from

Going through the motions

I need a kick up the backside.

I'm sooo tired. I haven't had a full nights sleep since DH broke his rib and fractured his spine. Neither has he, of course.     I've been going through the Christmas motions, but I'm not really feeling the festive spirit.

The front door wreath has been made and is hanging on the front door. Did that on Wednesday. Tick

The tree arrived, and is a gorgeously compact Fraser fir.  It's about 6 foot high. DH put the lights on, and I decorated it yesterday. Tick.

The inside mantles/wreaths/what-have-yous are all hung - Wednesday. Tick.

I made all my Christmas cards yesterday. They were a bit slap dash... squares I cut last year, hastily machine sewed on to cards.  I printed paper insides and glued them on the opening flap to cover the reverse of the stitches. Not mybest work, but still all home made.   I also managed to get them in 2nd class post, just. Tick.

Ocado delivered today.  My "to do" list has lots of christmassy things on it, but I'm having a serious bout of CBA.   The kitchen is a mess.  I just cannot get myself in to gear.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Cheeky Chooks

The remaining 5 dinner chickens, all girls,  are getting very cheeky.   A couple of days ago Princess crouched for me, so I was anticipating that we might have eggs soon.

When the Big Girls get corn, the Littlees get very impatient and have been known to escape through the tiniest of gaps to try and get in on the treats.  They are rebuffed quickly by shapr pecks from the Big Girls, and end up running back to the sanctuary of their own paddock.

I've double fenced their area now to make accidental escape harder.

Today, I turned round and found that Princess had managed to fly up and over the netting and was perching on the rickety barrier that separates the two pens.

A few moments later, she was hjoined by one of her sisters.
  ignored them for a while, and carried on mucking out the other coops.  They sat on the fence for ages.  Princess is on the left. She's black with a gold neck, a bit like a Black Rock. (She doesn't have any Black Rock in her at all).
In the end, they returned to their own pen, without visiting the Big Girls first.

Fortunately there is plenty of shelter in the Big Girls area, so if they do fly in and are too daft to fly out again, they'll be able to keep out of the Big Girls way.


A bit behind

After last week's mini drama, I'm gradually catching myself up.   I haven't caught up on sleep - DH either sleeping on his back (so snoring) or waking up - but I am catching up on some other things. 

I managed to get some of DH's woodworking stuff photographed and up for sale.  I haven't posted it on Ebay yet,  I'll see if I get any interest elsewhere first.

The decorations are down from the loft , all I need now is the tree. Wednesday should see that happening.  That gives me time to try and make space for the tree. I know where it went last year, I just can't quite see how.

While I was in the loft retrieving the boxes of decorations, I managed to bring down a few other bits and pieces to dispose of.  A couple of things might sell, but others bits - like the VHS tapes - can't even be given away.  

This created a few tiny pockets of space, and  I moved stuff around a bit to create a single space big enough for the sewing machine's enormous box.

I've resorted to a "to-do" list.

I'm aiming to make mincemeat and puddini bonbons on Friday,   and I might make the Christmas red cabbage then too.  And possibly the gingerbread stuffing. Maybe.

I haven't done anything about cards yet.  I fear I may run out of time.  I don't really want to buy cards, but I've given up on the idea of making them with embroidery designs on this year.  I started to stitch out one of each of the designs I bought, all on one sheet of fabric.  The idea was I'd be able to see exactly what they come out like, and I could then choose the right ones for the right people.  I haven't even managed to stitch out one of each yet....I've spent ages doing them, they just take time.

I haven't even had time to try out the new magic stabiliser. Never mind,  maybe I'll just get ahead on next year's cards.

For the first time, I am regretting selling my lovely MC4900 sewing machine.  The new one is much MUCH more advanced,  but if I'd kept the 4900, I could have been sewing cards on that while the new one did the embroidery.  Mind you, if I'd kept it, I'd be tearing my hair out with the lack of space.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


DH always carries a glass of water for each of us up to bed.

Last night he managed to miss his footing at the top step and he fell backwards, whump, landing on the log basket at the bottom of the stairs.

He was very badly winded and it took a long time before he could try and get up.  I checked that his toes wiggled and his fingers wiggled and that he still had feeling down his back and leg.

As soon as we were able, we drove to A&E, our local one being about 7 miles away. We got there at 1.30am.

It's changed a lot since I was last there. Now they have a vending machine,  a bottled drinks vending machine,  and a Costa Express machine.  It was also much brighter and cleaner than I remembered.

The wwaiting time was estimated at 3.5 hours.  We were triaged fairly quickly, with he triage nurse assessing that DH should be given the once over by a doctor, just in case there was internal damage.

3 and a quarter hours after arrivin, we were called. DH was assessed,  and we were sent  for many, many xrays.   This was an ideal time to visit the xray department,  DH was in the xray roon a couple of minutes after arriving.

Next, straight back to the A&E to find out what the Xrays said. Fractured rib, and possible damage to one vertebrae. 

This part of the process had been super-efficient, and 45 miutes after seeing the Doctor we were waiting to see one of the orthapaedic team to find out more about the vertebrae.

After another hour and a half one of the orthapaeds came and poked DH a lot, and then said he was going to look at the xrays and discuss with his colleagues.  Personally I would have preferred that he looked at the xrays then  poked and prodded.

A couple of hours later, one of the lovely A&E peopl echased up for us and spoke to another orthapaed. She appeared a little later and said it looked like DH needed a CT scan and possibly a stay in hospital.   Later still, we saw the orthapaeds again. This time the decision was a back brace, another xray (with back brace),  and a follow up appointment tomorrow.  Painkillers were prescribed.  

Much later, the porter arrived, and disappeared again when what we had been told didn't match what he had been told.   We waited for him to come back, but he didn't,  and in the end we decided to take ourselves off to the Plaster department.  The kind nurses in A&E found a wheelchair for me to use.

By now, the hospital was heaving.  The people who were fitting the brace were lovely and really helpful.

The Xray department was jam-packed, and the wait was showing as an hour and a half.    A&E referrals must have been in the fast lane, as DH was seen in about half an hour.

We stopped on the way out to sort out the next day's appointment,  and we left the hospital some 11 and a half hours after we had arrived. 

Lucky for us the parking charge is capped at £10 for 5 or more hours. 

Home, cup of tea, lots of biscuits.  We want to try and stay up, otherwise we won't sleep tonight. 

And we have to go back to the hospital tomorrow.

Monday, 8 December 2014

A load of old Codlo

After 18 months since pledging a Kickstarter investment, our Codlo finally arrived.
It was originally due to ship in March 2014 but, as is always the way with these brand new tech things, it took longer than the designer estimated to finally get everything working, then manufactured, boxed and shipped. 

Codlo is a way of cooking sous vide without a sous vide cooker.   you leave it plugged into a socket, and then put the probe into your existing rice or slow cooker - assuming you have one.   We didn't, so we also bought a Codlo rice cooker to go with it.
I've never had a problem cooking rice and so I've never understood the point of rice cookers.   I can see that if  one is cooking vast quantities of rice, perhaps it's easier in a rice cooker?  This one can cook up to 15 cups of uncooked rice.    There are only 2 of us, so that's not likely to be something we need to do.

I was going to write about how it works, but it's probably easier to just post thei Kickstarter video

We tried it with ribeye steak yesterday, and it was a great success.   The steak was evenly cooked  throughout, which was the main reason for using it. When I have really good beef, I like it medium rare (or rarer).  This ended up being medium, or  a bit over that,  but it didn't matter. The steak was cooked evenly and was very moist. 

We will definitely be cooking it this way in future, and I might even try a leaner cut of steak. Maybe.

Kickstarter has had many sous vide alternative devices, and I was envious that my online friend John received his sous-vide-alternative (not Codlo) back in March.   Thank you John for your post on steak, we used your learning when trying out Codlo yesterday! Here is John's entry for anyone interested


Lion tears

I was playing Orla this morning.  I haven't played for a few days,  and it's been a loooong time since I've played anything except the pieces I am trying to master.  On impulse, I pulled out one o fte song books and started playing.

I played a few songs, each one with errors... not a surprise really.

The final song I played was "Born Free".   Part way through playing, I suddenly had part of the film playing in my mind,  one of the bits with (the actress playing) Joy Adamson narrating about how the time had come...

..and I started to cry.

How bizarre.

I haven't seen Born Free for more years than I care to admit.

And I've often thought about the film while playing the tune.

No idea what provoked such an emotional response this morning.

Friday, 5 December 2014

It's a hard life for our cats

Wash, relaxing in front of the fire after a hard day's sleeping.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Behaving like a child

The rest of the week - well, it's been a bit of a funny week really.

DH had to go again to his parents. leaving home at 6.30am on Wednesday.  BiL has been building a new mobile home for them,  and DH needed to go and help. He's popping home today for a couple of nights, nominally to see me but mainly because he has other things pencilled in for Monday night and Tuesday night.

On Friday night I wanted to watch TV, but there wasn't really anything on.  I had a look at Amazon Prime Instant Video. We have access to it through the TV, but hardly every bother.  I wouldn't have bought a separate subscription, but it was added to my  Amazon Prime membership.    I started to watch Alpha House. It was gentle, and mildly amusing - not laugh out loud funny, but an OK way to while away half an hour.    I watched the second episode. And the third.  And I carried on.

By midnight, I was far too tired to carry on, but I only had 3 episodes left of season 1.   I watched them. All of them.

On Saturday morning, I had trouble getting out of bed.   I was soooo tired all morning.   I perked up a bit after some lunch, but then I had my cranky pants on.   Just like a child!

My brother stopped by, so he could try out the machine he had just bought from me (more on that in a later post),  and that helped stop me being so grumpy.

I decided to have an early night.

Instead, I watched the whole of season 2 of Alpha House.  Fortunately I started earlier, so I was done by 11.30pm.

It's not really the sort of thing I would go for normally, so I'm not sure why I liked it.  I think it was probably because it was gentle, a little satirical...and unexpected.

Probably a good job there isn't a season 3 yet, otherwise I'd have spent my Sunday watching that!

Birthday Oscars

DH's birthday bash went really well.     Everyone, everyone, enjoyed the archery;  even those I had thought really really  wouldn't.   Some got a bit competitive.   Several talked seriously about wanting to take it up, although I suspect few will.   The children were well behaved,  the sports hall gave the youngsters room to charge round and burn off energy.

Sincere thanks to Angela and Russell of R&A Activities (aka ArcheryFun4u), who were SUPERB.  I would definitely recommend this as a group activity.    Our group ranged from 6 to 78ish, plus 2x3 year olds who were allowed a go, so they didn't feel left out,  under very careful supervision.

All the taxis arrived on time and got us smoothly to and from various places. Big thank you to Fountain Cars who were great, right from my first enquiry.

Dinner at The George in Wraysbury was EXCELLENT.   The room was a lovely shape, square-ish rather tha long and thin. We'd pre-ordered the food,  and it all worked like a dream. Tania and her team were fantastic, both in the weeks leading up to it (as I popped along to measure this,  try out that,  emails about this and that),  and the service was happy and efficient.  The servers were also really great with the kids.  Sadly I didn't take any pictures during the evening!

 The artwork (graffiti sprayed words saying "60th" and "Happy" and "Birthday" were fab.  The "Happy" and "Birthday" are enormous, each word s about 8 feet long.  It's currently in my hallway while I work out what to do with it next.  It was done by Arron  He also does amazine chalk artwork

The table-covers and bunting looked great,  even the carpiest one didn't look bad.  The nameplates with the chosen menu items worked really well.     I can't thank Louise enough for her time and help getting it all set up.

Very happy with it all.  So glad it went well.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Today's the Day

I got up this morning and I ached.

I don't know if it's stress, or because I'd realised yesterday that I'd done everything I could and that if I hadn't done something (like a cake) it didn't matter.

Or because of the faffing about with the table runner.

Whatever the cause, I was in trouble.

I tried exercises, I ued my massager,  I used my back frame.

And then I drove off to collect my friend Louise (and, as it turned out, her daughter Sasa) to go and get the room ready.

By an incredible stroke of good fortune, the people who had the room booked before us cancelled their booking,  so I was able to go along with Lou to set up,  Thank goodness I did.   There was so much to do!

Despite taking a step ladder, neither of us could reach to hang up the bunting.  We dragged in a taller member of staff to do it, and he was fantastically patient with us.

The venue had done a perfect job of laying out the tables and the cloths and the runner, exactly to my specification.

Of course we had to move things around a bit.

It took an hour and a half to set up.

Sasa, aged 5, set up the childrens activity table for us, and did a brilliant job. She also helped by checking that things were centred and giving us her input on positioning of bunting.

Even the crappiest table cover looked OK, I was very relieved.

We stopped for a much needed drink, and then I came home to change.

Hope it all stays up!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ironing out

Last night then, I looked online for irons.

I remembered seeing a cordless iron recently, and that seemed like a good idea. 

The cordless ones were less than half the cost of the steam generator irons. It's not as if we are suddenly going to start ironing clothes,  and a cordless iron would be much easier to use for the stuff I was making.

I was too late to order one and get it delivered next day,  but I could see they were available locally  in Lakeland.

I went out first thing, to try and get one.

As I drove to town, I  had a flashback of me seeing a cordless iron.  I couldn't remember where that would have been.   I don't remember looking at irons since...well, since that day at the Ideal Home Show.   What on earth made me even think of a cordless iron?

And then I realised.   I must have seen in when I was in Lakeland last week. But the only area of Lakeland I went to was...... oh my goodness!  There must have been one upstairs, in the "bargains" area!

And do you know what?   It was still there!  Half price!  How lucky was that?

I've used it already, and it was perfect for this.  Not sure it would be that comfortable to do a whole pile of ironing with,  but perfect for using with sewing stuff.

So, a good ending overall.

Iron Fist


Where to start? 

DH has a special birthday this year, and we are having a big family activity and dinner to celebrate.   DH knows about the dinner and the activity,  and he knows that I have been making bunting to decorate the room (it's hard to hide the fact that you are sewing metres and metres of bunting, especially when it's being done in the kitchen), but he doesn't know about the other decorations I am undertaking.

Making the other decorations has invoved an inordinate amount of ironing.     We own a humungous steam generator iron,  top of the range, bought for an extortionate sum of money from the Ideal Home exhibition about 10 years ago.      It's first airing was with the bunting making,  during which time I manage to singe and ruin the ironing board cover on the equally unused ironing board.

Anyway.   I'm making 4 tablecloths and a table runner,  each covered in photos. I had printed the photos on to tee-shirt transfer paper, and then ironed them on to the tablecloth.   The first one is easy.  It gets harder as more are added.  Each table cloth has taken 2.5 to 3 hours of ironing time,  not counting the cutting of the cloth, selecting and printing the photos etc. 

The transfer paper requires extrmely high heat, and a lot of pressing.   I had to abandon the ironing board and use the breakfast bar.  To protect the breakfast bar I mada Princess-and-the-Pea type affair with a towel,  a large piece of wood, a towel, a flattened cardboard box, a wooden chopping board (which I also ruined in the process), a towel, and a new tabletop ironing cover thing.

I've spent bloody hours of my life doing this.

And it's all on disposable "Duni" luxury banqueting roll.   If I had realised when I started just how much effort it was all going to take, I would have invested in (or made) proper washable tablecloths.

I've also used a whole tube of hot iron cleaner - not all at once - as I've had to clean the plate a lot

Yesterday, I was adding an embroidery patch to the table runner that I had made for the main table.  The runner is 3m x 1.5m (although the photos only cover about 1m of the 1.5 metre width).   I was adding a final flourish,  a piece of fabric I had embroidered.  I could see that trying to sew this on, even with some stabliliser, was asking for trouble so I decided to use some spray fusible stuff. You spray, place the item,  cover it with cotton, and then iron it with a really hot iron.    I used the ironing board for this.   

The damn stuff didn't fuse, but it did leave a mark on my embroidery, it sort of soaked through.

I decided I'd have to sew it.  I moved the sewing machine to the breakfast bar, threaded it up with some suitably colured thread,  and tried to work out how to do it.  In the end I had to roll the table runner up,  and put a stool either side to try and support the length.   It was a pain in the bottom, and I ended up with a very wrinkled middle where it sagged; and the end where I was sewing looked a but worse for wear.

I decided I'd have to try and iron bits of it,  although I know from experience that I have to avoid ironing the photos, even if I cover them with silicon paper first. 

I dropped the iron. Or rather, I didn't put it properly on the base, and it fell off.

Luckily, I didn't burn me, or the cats, and I manged to pick it up before it singed the floor. 

I looked at it, and thought I might be able to put it back together.... but I remembered from somewhere that irons are like crash helmets and riding hats:  if you drop one, you shouldn't use it. 

More haste, less speed.

Time is running out.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Piggin' forgetful

It's only been six months since our last half pig,  and we just couldn't remember what to do. Hopeless!

Fortunately I had printed out my previous notes, so we could try and work it out.  It was a little more complicated because
  1. this porker is huge, ideal for bacon and roasting joints.
  2. We don't want bacon or large roasting joints this time
  3. We wanted to separate out the shoulder meat to use in making luncheon meat, pork pie, and Nuremberg sausages.
Here's what we did. From what I can remember, while I remember.

DH started on the back leg, cutting out a piece for ham.

While he did that, I took the fat off the loin, and I took out the tenderloin.  Then I started taking the fat off the belly. 

I took the rest of the back leg from DH and started breaking it down into lean dice, lean mince,  meat for sausages, and fat for rendering into lard.  I used to hate lard, home made lard is amazing.

DH worked on the belly, taking out the ribs, and cutting  some pork belly joints for roasting.  I then took the rest of the belly for processing.

DH worked on the shoulder,  cutting a hand of pork for roasting, and then the rest of the shoulder.  I used separate bowls to produce lean shoulder dice, and lean shoulder for mincing.

DH worked on the loin, cutting half a dozen enormous loin chops. (I can't stand pork chops personally. Can't stand the smell of them cooking, or the texture of them when cooked.) . I then took the rest of the loin and cut it into the usual lean dice, lean mince, sausage meat.

When all four primary cuts were finished, we started prepping for the freezer. The three belly joints and the and were scored, then bagged, sealed and put in the freezer.   The shoulder was weighed into portions - 1kg for luncheon meat, 1kg for Nuremberg,  whatever was required for pork pie.   Any leftovers were added into the other bowls.

The lean dice was bagged in 250g portions,  I had about 10 of those.

I made 4 large jars of lard.

DH tunnel boned the leg, ready to make a ham.     All the bones and the trotters went to make trotter stock (for the luncheon meat and the pork pie).

All the allocated stuff went into the fridge overnight, for prepping today.

Today we minced the mince, and put it in the freezer.  The meat for sausages was minced, and the seasoning and rusk added, it's in the fridge chilling before we stuff sausages. . The shoulder for the luncheon meat was minced.  The meat for the Nuremberger was minced, and the seasoning added; it's in the fridge chilling.

Freezer space is at a premium, so I need to do some vacuum sealing.....

Monday, 3 November 2014

Cheesed off

On Saturday, before real life interrupted,  DH and I attended a cheese making course, run by Louise Barton of Cutting the Curd.

DH already makes soft cheese, but the results are variable - usually good, rarely repeatable.  I saw this course advertised and decided to sign up for it.  DH was,understandably, less keen. However, the cheeses being made were ones he hadn't made before so he decided to go.

Halloumi,  Mozzarella and Marscapone, (and butter making).   We'll definitely be making them again. Well, we'll definitely be making the Mozzarella and Marscapone again.  The Halloumi,  known as "squeaky cheese", was better than shop bought but was still too squeaky for my liking.

Louise travels the country teaching people how to make cheese.  She might have a class near you?
Here's Louise's website


So these are the photos from between Thursday and Saturday

Two layers of cabin, wuth insulation in between

 Roof partially on


The summerhouse was going well. The weather was dry and perfect, and DH was getting on fantastically.

Then we had a family disaster. Not here, luckily for us, but at my in-laws.   DH had to drop everything and rush to Wales to help.

He came back on Friday.  Saturday he was pyrotechnicking at a local fireworks display,   and yesterday was spent  trying to do things which could be done in the rain.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon.

i do have some interim pics, and I'll post those shortly.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Cabin fever

DH has started building the summerhouse/log cabin.

There are piles of slats and bits everywhere.  Fortunately, each pile relates to a particular part of the build.  DH was very careful to ensure we did this when we brought the stuff round the back of the house after it had been offloaded kerbside.

None of the people we had hoped would be able to help are ohterwise engaged or are unwell.  I am working, and can only offer limited help.  So, he's doing it all himself.

And he's amazing.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Times up

I was with the allotment chickens for a long time today.

As well as the usual feeding, waterer cleaning, watering etc, I also cleaned out all the coops.  I discovered the oldest coop has a leaky nestbox. The Aubiose did its job, staying dry on top... but it all needed to come out.

When I went into the shed, I discovered we had no Aubiose.

Normally this would be a bit of an irritation, requiring me to shut everything up, walk the long walk back to my car, a drive to the horsey supplies place, a drive back, and then lugging the Aubiose into the chooks.

Today it was a majot issue.   I didn't have any money or plastic.

I'd only taken my phone and keys when I left home - I hadn't even expected to muck out. .  Thank goodness I had my phone. DH had to bring a bale of Aubiose from home, it was quicker for him to come over than for me to drive home and then drive back again.

While I was waiting, I had let the "chicks" out into the grassy paddock for a graze.  One of the main flock hens managed to get in as well,  and  one of the young boys jumped on her.  He then started strutting around, and had a little go at one of the other boys.  Then another young boy started crowing.

Then Henry started crowing, and shuffled up to the grassy paddock fence and started displaying.

Time's up for the boys.

Wood weary

The summerhouse arrived today.

Or, to be precise, the constituent parts of the summerhouse arrived today.

It was offloaded to kerbside by DH and the driver.  And then DH and I had to transport it plank by plank round to the garden.

As we've bought a double walled summerhouse, plus a different front, we effectively had two summerhouses to unload.

There are piles everywhere.

It took several hours.

And then we had to clear the loading stuff from the pavement - pallet, bits of ply, lots of odd bits of wood that had been used to protect the logs from the load straps. I've saved all of this as it makes good, free, kindling.

I'm cream crackered.

At least we were lucky with the weather.   We even managed to get it all covered up before the heavens opened.

We'd already covered it all up before I thought about taking pics.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Bye Guy

The partially closed curtain on an old part o fmy life was lifted today, before settling more permanently.

My best friend, Yvonne, phoned to say that Guy, her horse, had been put down this morning.

We got our horses together. They came from a trekking centre, for the winter, many years ago. Of course we couldn't send them back, so we bought them.  They were a huge part of our lives.  Many years, and several stables, later,  my horse, Pal, became ill and had to be put down.

To my surprise, I got a new horse, Peter.  And then a second horse, June.

Horses were a big part of our lives for a long time.  I've been horseless for many years now,  and it's always seemed like a distant memory, something which happened to someone else.

Guy had been out on retirement loan for more than 8 years.  He was 30, and full of life up to the last moment.  Silly sod gave himself a heart attack,   getting overly excited about getting into a new field and bucking around like a 6 year old.

Typical Guy.  I can absolutely picture him doing it, and it makes me smile to think that he died with a smile on his face.

It really is the end of an era.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Fence hopping, at my age.

Now the old shed has been re-mantled, we needed to get all the shelving back in. This necessitated unlocking the back gate,  and locking the backdoor while we were out.

Severa trips round the corner to our garage, and we had all the shelving in the driveway. We then moved it into the garden and into the shed.  As I came through with the final shelf unit, I padlocked the gate behind me.

Then I realised I didn't have a key to get in the back door.

And I didn't have the padlock key to get out of the gate.

DH was blissfully ignorant of the dilemma as he was busy Arranging Shelving.  I knew he had the front door key, but nothing else.  

I stood for a moment, playing the inevitable argument in my mind. I knew what I was going to have to do,  and I decided it'd be better for our marriage if I did it without DH watching (and moaning).

I got the green wheelie bin and lined it up with the fence. 

I needed something to get on to, to then get on to the wheelie bin lid.

I eyed up the old black recycling box, but didn't think it would take my weight.  I decided to get one of the garden chairs..but I was lucky enough to see a small stepladder, abandoned on the concrete.

So, I was able to climb the step ladder and get on to the bin,  then lift the stepladder  over the fence (thank goodness it was aluminium), and then heave myself over.  The trailer was in the driveway, and was kind of in the way,  but I managed to get the steps fairly firm albeit at a funny angle.  

I was now in the driveway, and realised I hadn't got the front door key from DH.

I cursed.  I called him.  He didn't hear me.

I thought about bellowing, but I can't abide fishwifery.

The neigbours weren't in. I didn't have my phone.  I leant against DH's car and waited. 

I considered reversing the process, but I really am too old for this sort of thing.

I decided to climb the ladder to and to cal from there...when DH appeared in the garden.


I leant on the trailer, and waited.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Allotment Chooks

Meanwhile, I've been seeing to the chooks on the allotment.

Henry continues to lead his harem of 8 girls all over the place, and they follow him withut fuss or argument.  He's a lovely boy, no aggression.    Not sure what will happen as the baby boys start to mature.  They're sectioned off, so I'm hoping that Henry won't see them as a threat.

The 3 small hens - now our oldest girls - aren't part of the harem.  They still look well, despite moulting. Several of the harem are moulting as well, and we're only getting 2 eggs a day from all 11 girls.  It's at times like this that I regret letting DH keep all 6 females from one year's hatch.   I can see it's going to cause problems down the line.

I've been supplementing their food with some fish flavoured cat food every few days.  The extra protein should help with feather development.

In the Chicks area,  they are all looking wonderful.  They seem a happy bunch.  We've identified 5 of the 10 as males - there may be more, but we can't see any obvious signs yet.   They are 17 weeks old now, and we need to think about despatching the boys soon.   So far we haven't seen any hormone related behaviour - no squabbling or squaring up (apart from the sort they did as babies) and no Henky Panky.    However, I know this can change in the blink of an eye,  so we are being vigilant.   We can separate the boys from the girls if we need to for a few days.

Big Bird, the enormous yellow chook,  is probably female.   Princess, the one that hurt her leg,  is definitely female.   Burt and Ernie are definitely boys.  Charlie and Charlie-ene are both boys - but Charlie has developed orange hackles and now looks like Burt and Ernie whereas Charlie-Ene has stayed black. From a distance I can't tell which is Charlie now, but I can tell when I am in the enclosure with them. He's the one who lets me touch him.  

There is one other black cockerel.   The remaining 3 black chooks are, I think, all female.

It doesn't matter really.  Like last year's hatch, none of them will be staying.

Next year I think we'll have to breed some girls to keep.

We've been discussing whether we'll be brooding in the shed we've just moved or in the new summerhouse. We haven't decided yet. 


So, DH dismanted the old shed. The contents have been dispered - over the garden, into our (rented) garage. Into the greenhouse. Into the house.

I went out to help him move the sides. Hopeless.   I phoned my lovely brother, who came over that afternoon and between them (and some specially made straps) they managed to shift. it. 

DH then dug out the new foundations,  and I dug out two blackcurrant bushes that were in the way.  I felt very sad about it. They were old bushes, but thanks to some careful pruning over the last 2 years, they came back into good production this year.  Their demise was unavoidable.   

A small cherry tree also had to go.

The Kiwi...well, we're trying to see if we can keep the kiwi.  It's going to be a very close thing - we're talking an inch or two.

Lovely Brother also came to help DH do the concreting.  This was much better than me helping because, (a) there is less bickering,  and (b) they both know what they are doing so can get on with it without explanation.

And finally,  the old shed has been repositioned and re-mantled in it's new home DH had to put in a new roof panel, but that was the only casualty. .  It's also been freshly painted, and it hasn't looked this well cared for since it was built the first time, many years ago now.    It is also right in the corner of the garden, in an area previously used for compost bins and piles of carp, so it's not really taking up that much room IYSWIM.

No word yet on expected delivery date of the Summerhouse.

Probably just as well, as we have to make some decisions about electrics and stuff.  At the moment we're snapping about lighting.   I can't wait until we start arguing about paint colour. Or location of switches.  Or what's going in it.

I haven't even begun to think about my mobile bar yet.


The new machine is like my othe rmachine, but it has a lot more stitches.

I've sold the original machine, the money which helped fund the new one.

Yet more bunting completed;  several towels, hems shredded by a bored cat,  have been re-hemmed.  I've been practising the embroidery stitches, for a bunting related project.

More sewing feet.  I've learned how to use a piping foot and make my own piping.  If I'd discovered this a few weeks ago, all my bunting would have piping down the side. 

My old stationery cupboard, which was going to hold the contents of the sideboard,  may have to be at least partially requistioned for some of my fabric.

I can see I might be making Christmas Bunting next.

Still shifting

The pair of oak filing cabinets arrived on Thursday.

I emptied the old filing cabinet, making piles of stuff in the guest bedroom.

We packed the old sideboard into DH's car, ready to deliver.  The person who was buying it wasn't able to take delivery until Saturday,   so it lived in DH's car for several days.

The lineup of cabinets now looks lovely, and I'm really pleased.

I've started to put my sewing stuff in the one with  drawers.

I've started to move my vast stationery collection into the other two. I've been busy putting stuff into boxes to take to the charity shop.  I've been selling bits.  I've given bits away.

I have piles of stuff that I need to sort. I can't get to Orla to play.  

The piles of stuff in the guest room are untouched. Goood job we aren't expecting anyone to stay in the forseeable future.

I'm reaching a bit of an impasse.

I'm shutting the doors of the two rooms so I can't see it.

Coo-ee Mrs Shifter

Where has the time gone?!

It's been a bit of an up and down few weeks.

Hmm. How to organise the catch up.  Probably by subject.

Picking u from my last post...

I collected the small cabinet of drawers - and a new (to me, but secondhand) sewing machine - on a rather tortuous journey to North London last week.

Actually, it started off quite well. I'd used Google Streetview to look at the places I would be visiting, to see what the parking situation might be.  I'd been to Tottenham once before, over 30 years ago, and the parking wss horrible then.  I'm sure the Sewing Machine lady would be most affronted to hear me call where she lives "Tottenham",  it was just ouotside Tottenham really.

I left on time and had a clear, jam-free run to "Tottenham".  I managed to park outside the house,  and was in and out within about 3 minutes.   The hourney to the Drawers House was equally clear and easy, and I arrived about three quarters of  an hour ahead of my stated pick up time.

Now, when organising this, the lady said that the earliest I could pick up was 1pm.

 It was about 12.10.  I rang the doorbell on the off-chance, and wasn't surprised that there  was no answer.   It started to rain.    I went back to my car and started to phone the lady...but stopped.  She'd said 1pm.  If I phoned her to say I was outside, she'd probably feel somewhat harrassed.

I listened to the radio.  I checked my emails.  I looked at Facebook.  I played Sudoku.   After an hour -by which I mean 20 minutes  - I went and rang the bell again, at 12.30.  Still no answer.

I got back in the car.

At 12.45, I tried again, just in case the lady had come home while I wasn't looking, or had come in from the back. Or something.

At 1.05 I tried again.

I was a little cross now,  mostly with myself for having been so early in the first place.  I debated whether to phone her, but decided I'd now be harrasssing her for being 5 minutes late.

At 1.15, I tried again.  And then  in frustration really,  I rapped on the door as well.

She opened it.

I was a bit taken aback.  "I didn't see you come in -  I tried earlier".   I explained.

"The bell doesn't work".

I thought : "Oh FFS  What don't you tape it up?!   and 'Why didn't you mention when we made our arrangements" this to me. I coud  have been home by now!"

I said - nothing.

On a positive note, the drawers fitted in my tiny car. 

It took ages to get home. But, it was just heavy trafffic, no disasters.

And the drawers work well.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


DH has been a very busy little bee.

A corner of the garden has been cleared, and substructure laid, ready for the shed move

The existing shed has been - mostly - emptied.   DH has also re-painted the two sides he can get to, before dismantling takes place.
He;s removed the solar panels from the roof. 

Dismantling will commence shortly, starting with the roof.

Saturday, 27 September 2014


I've sold my sideboard (not on Ebay), and I'm replacing it with some more practical storage.   

I bought a set of drawers via Ebay, and I need to collect it on Monday.  I decided I'd be better off using DH's car, which is an estate, rather than my tiny little car.  DH's car is in a bit of a state.  It's not just dirty and full of carp,  it's full of mud and small stones.

I decided I'd take it to the local "Hand Car Wash" for a mini valet.   I emptied it first, and then drove it down.

It took the chaps a long time to do, and it was well worth the outlay.  The car is gleaming outside and really really clean inside. 

I was a little jealous, so I took my little car down as well. She didn't need a mini valet, just an outside clean and inside hoover.

I think the drawers may fit inside her.  I'd prefer to take her.  She's half the length, no where near as wide, and an automatic.  I think the drawers will fit.

So I didn't need to get DH's car cleaned.  

But I'm glad I did


Now that summer is over and the weather is changing,  we've made a decision on a summerhouse.

We've spent several months thinking about this, with spurts of activity where we went to look at garden buildings of various sorts.

We had originally planned to get a proper garden studio.  We had even got down to the final two suppliers, and had been discussing the merits of both.  It was difficult to make a decision.  They were both similarly priced,  the outside of the buildings were very similar,  but the two suppliers had some very fundamental differences in their offerings.  

We couldn't decide.  It wasn't that we couldn't agree,  it was that neither of us could decide.  I think the problem was that neither was exactly right,  and it was a lot of money to pay for not exactly right.   We knew that whichever we went for, it would be fine. 


We left it for a while, waiting for inspiration to strike.  We occasionally talked about sizes. We talked about whether the existing concrete base would need to be removed.   We didn't get very far.

Some time later, I had time to kill before an appointment, and I wandered into a garden centre.  I ambled round their sheds. log cabins,  and summerhouses.  I had discounted these structures because, by the time we'd paid extra to have the walls, floor and ceiling insulated, and had double glazing, and folding doors, and a proper floor, we might as well pay the then bit extra to have a proper garden room.

But some of these were quite pleasant. I could see them working for what we really wanted from a garden room.

When I got home, I looked online for nearby places that did log cabins.  We drove out to one, which was totally uninspiring.   We saw another place on the return journey, and they had an absolutely lovely summerhouse.  Folding doors.  Pyramid roof.  Really gorgeous. The downside was it required planning permission.

We investigated the cost of planning permission.  Sadly. the local authority makes no distinction between a shed in the garden which is taller than 2.5m, or a full blown extension. The cost, plans requirements, etc, are all the same.

We parked it.

We looked at summerhouses and cabins which didn't require planning permission. My concern was that the pent rooves were a bit...claustrophobic.   But Apex = planning permission.   We went to visit one on a neighbours garden, which  was really pleasant - but it wouldn't meet our needs.  We did, however, arrange to visit the manufacturers showroom to look at what they did that might suit us.

Once again, they didn't have quite what we wanted.   We came away with options. I wanted to see my Pyramid roofed one again, so we went to see it to compare.  

We stared at pieces of paper.

DH proposed an option on one of the ones we had travelled to see.  I wasn't sure.  I guess I knew that I really wanted the one that required planning permission.   We'd already missed the summer, so it didn't matter if we had to wait for planning permission.  I checked prices and roof heights for the size we wanted.  All looked good.  I thought we might as well go for that one.

DH started to lay a base on the other side of the garden so we could relocate the existing shed. This would need doing whatever we decided, and we might as well get on with it before the really bad weather came.

Then I was staring out of the window one day, and I realised that the pyramid roof would be great at the bottom of the garden, but would look a bit odd at the proposed location.

I thought about it some more.

And then I agreed with DH about the other one.

It took us some time to work out exact sizes and what we would need to do. On the day we were discussing it, the chap from the showroom (show site, I suppose), phoned to see if we had made a decision.  I asked him to confirm prices  to cover the extras we wanted. He promised he'd call back in 15 minutes.

He didn't.

He did call back the next day, and explained why it had taken so long. They had been trying to work out the most cost effective way to accommodate our requirements.  He gave me the quotation.  On speakerphone, we went through it step by step, to make sure it would work.   I asked him to email me all the details.

He did.

I phoned back the next day to place the order.

He was on holiday.

The next day we were at the NEC.  I phoned him on my return.  

He was at lunch.

When I am indecisive about something, I take these sort of things as a sign that I should maybe reconsider my decision.

I didn't.  I phoned back and we placed the order.

Now we just need to get the existing shed emptied,  dismantled, moved, and repainted.  And extend the concrete base.  And take down the trellis and extend the terrace to meet the concrete.   And take out some  productive blackcurrant bushes.  And work out how to lop off a corner of the fruit cage.  And agree on a paint finish for the new summerhouse. And think about electrics and air conditioning. And. And. And.

It's a DIY job.  The company does offer installation, but DH is adamant he wants to do it himself.

It's good for him to have a project on the go.


A few months ago I had been thinking about selling my Pashley and buying a 2nd hand electric bike.  I'd seen a few on Ebay, and it was very tempting.   I read up a but about them, but ended up none the wiser.  Most of the bikes were really big and chunky, when what I really wanted was an electrified version of my Pashley.

When looking for information online, I stumbled across an advert for The Cycle Show at the NEC, and a discounted ticket code.  I decided to book tickets and use the intervening weeks as a cooling off period. Always a good thing with whims, I find.

At the beginning of this week, we had a discussion about whether or not to go.  We've had a few other projects on the go, and taking a day out wasn't really a great idea.  I looked at the online brochure, and could see that there were going to be a lot of manufacturers there, and there was a track to try out some of the bikes.  We decided to go, as it would be a year before it came around again,  it would be a great opportunity to see lots of them together, we had tickets, blah blah. 

So, Friday arrived, and we set off.  A good run down (up?) to the NEC,  no queues for parking,  a really pleasant day for strolling from the car park to the exhibition halls.   We went straight to the "Electric Bike" village.  I wandered forlornly looking at the stands.  It had been a couple of months since I looked at them, and I couldn't even remember which manufacturers I was interested in.   The bikes were chunky, clearly not aimed at me.   It was a waste of time.

An electric trike caught my eye.  Not that I had considered one, or was even really considering one.  I just thought that would be fab for when I was older if I wanted to bring back proper shopping.   The chap on the stand came over and asked if we wanted any help "No thanks" I said. "Yes" said DH.  He then asked some questions about the design of electric bikes in general - the difference between having the power bit on the pedals or on the gears (that's my interpretation of what he asked, he used correct terminology).

The chap was really really helpful.  His company was called Batribike, and they only sold the bikes with the motor thing on the hub, not on the middle bit of the bike.  So, he explained why his company did this, what was good about it, what wasn't,  and what to look for in the other style of bike (which they didn't make).    He made it very easy for me to understand more what we should look for and what we should avoid.

So, we then went round all the stands having a look.  I bemoaned the ugliness of the bikes.   A young girl and her boyfriend stood beside me and she sneered, with the ignorant bliss of youth "what's the point of an electric bike. I mean, why don't people just get fit enough to pedal".  I was tempted to turn round and say "What about those who are a bit arthritic?  Or who don't want to go shopping and arrive dripping in sweat?", but I bit my tongue.  I expect she'll work it out in a few years.

I was interested to see that Raleigh had a couple of new electric bikes which were designed to be much more like normal bikes. 

With that, we joined the queue to use the test circuit.

Our first pair of bikes were the Raleighs. 
 I was amazed. Mine wasn't much heavier than Pashley (she is a heavy old girl).  The riding position was comfortable,  and it was really easy.   Raleigh, as most of them,  provide pedal assistance.  You can choose how much assistance you want, but you need to contribute.   I was really impressed at how easy, and how not-noisy, the bike was.

We then tried the Batribikes.  Again, these were really easy to ride. These were cheaper than the Raleighs, because they had the motor on the rear wheel. With these, it was also possible to ride without any pedal power. 

At this point I was thinking "yes. I think I want to get an electric bike".

We tried a pair of chunkier bikes, another make, very expensive.  The ride was horrible.  I mean, the position.  The electric bit was fine, but I couldn't ride it.

Then I tried a "cheapy".  The electrics on this weren't so great, not surprising given the difference in the price tag,  but the position (handlebars, my back, that sort of thing) was really great.

We then went on to have a look at the bikes which had been identified as "Best Buy" in the Sunday Times.  Before we did so, I said to DH that I was very suspicious of the ST Best Buys.  Whenever they evaluate a subject I know something about, I find their "best buys" a poor choice,  so I have no faith in them when it comes to something I know nothing about.

I got on the bike, powered up, and got off.   I didn't like it.  There wasn't any point taking it out for a test, because it just wasn't right.  DH tried it, but came back and said he didn't like it much.

It was well worth going. 

We left, and were home by 2.30pm.

We didn't buy a bike. That wasn't the point of going.  But I think I will get one, maybe next Spring ready for the summer.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Still more

And another 4m of differentcat bunting today.

The finishing line is in sight.

I have only one more lot of bunting to make.

And then normal service will be resumed. Maybe.

And more bunting

Yesterday afternoon I made 4m of double sided, cat related,  bunting

Here is the "front"...

...and here is the "back"..

I've got another 4m of cat bunting  - a different sort - to do. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Special Bunting

I have now completed my third set of bunting. I'm quite pleased with it.

This is it from the back, which used fabric I had to buy new!

And this is it from the front, which includes the lettering which I created, printed on tee-shirt transfer paper, and then ironed on (before joining the bunting together, in case there were problems with the ironing.)

My tests the other day gave me very useful learnings, especially the fact that having the iron hot enough to do the transfer results in the fabric scorching... this explains why the instructions say to use a cloth over the top.  Sadly, I forgot the instuction about not using an ironing board, and I forgot that in my tests I used a wooden board as backing,  so if you look closely you'll see a couple of letters are a bit dodgy.

But I'm pleased with it.

And I'm pleased it's over because it was a bit of a pig to do. It was the edging of the lettered sides that was a real, ahem, PITA.

My second-hand Shaun the Sheep duvet cover arrived yesterday, so I've already cut some bunting triangles from that.    The Chicken Run cover arrived today, so I'll be cutting that up and making my fourth set of bunting soon.

I really need to go and visit the venue to measure how much bunting I need.