Saturday 30 December 2023


I've got a horrible cough, a sore throat, and a headache. 

I've done two Covid tests, 24 hours apart (last night before bed, and the night before), and both came back negative. 

I don't have a particularly high temperature (36.9) , although that's always open to interpretation as my "normal" is lower than the 38 degrees regarded as standard.

This morning, I couldn't taste my coffee, although I could taste the thyme in the Broncho Stop cough medicine.  I can also taste the BronchoStop  pastilles.  My sense of smell seems OK. 

 I'll do another Covid test before bed tonight.  I'm tempted to do one now,   but I guess allowing 24 hours between tests is better.

Yesterday evening, while waiting for the Covid test to do its thing,  I decided to prep the shower for cleaning.  I felt like crap, but I had an unstoppable compulsion to do it.

I dissolved a dishwasher capsule in a few cm of water in the bath,  took the shower seat apart (yuck!) and put it in the bath.  I removed thoe hose from the shower, and put that in.    It started to work straightaway.

I got out a spray bottle of mould killer, and put it by the shower door.  This was to remind me to do it in the morning, before I had my shower.

It was a rough night.  I was still awake at 1.30, but I didn't hear the radio go off so I was asleep by 2am.  I woke up a number of times with a raspy throat and coughing.

This morning,  I felt worse than yesterday.  I think part of the reason I started last night was to make sure I had to finish the job this morning.  So,   I sprayed like Cillit Bang Black Mould Remover like mad.  Everywhere was covered, whether I could see mould or not.

While it worked, I scrubbed the remaining gunk off the shower seat.  I scrubbed the hose, and then put it in a plastic tub with some descaler.    I rinsed everything that was in the bath, and  I cleaned the bath with the left over dishwasher-tabletified water. 

I got the steps into the shower, so I could use cloths to clean the (fully tiled) shower.  I started with the ceiling, and worked down the walls, and then did the floor.   It was quicker than I expected, and better than scrubbing with a brush (DH has asked me to stop using a brush, because I'm not doing the grout any good). 

As I was going back and forth in and out of the shower, I noticed that I'd obviously traipsed some of the mould killer on to the bath mat. The dark blue mat had some big yellow foot prints.  I put it straight on to wash.

The shower is now very clean, very unmouldy, and very descaled. The bath is shining from hosting the dishwasher tablet.    I have a mountain of cloths that require washing.

I refixed the bath seat,  put some of the bottles back in, threw other stuff away.  And then I had a hot shower, which was lovely.

The bath mat,  only 3 months old,  is ruined.   I really liked it.  I've ordered a replacement,  and will keep the ruined one for next time I do bleachy jobs.  


Thursday 28 December 2023


Before Christmas, I decided to try buying a box of clementines via CrowdFarming. i'd looked at it a while ago and had decided to give it a go, but I then forgot about it.  This meant I'd left it quite late (even though it was plenty of time before Christmas), so I had a limited number of suppliers to choose from.

Nevertheless, I decided to buy a big box of them, and delivery was planned for around 21st December. 

I wondered if they would smell as I remembered the clementines from my childhood smelling.  Would I notice the difference, having them picked and packed and sent rather than buying them from an ultra chilled warehouse.  Would they keep better?

A little way before Christmas, I had an apologetic email to say there was a slight delay, and my delivery would now be 25th December.   There wouldn't be a delivery on Christmas day, obviously, and probably not on the 26th either.  So, I added a small box of clementines to my shopping delivery.

Of course the Clementines turned up before Christmas, but after the editing time on my shopping delivery. The box was large, and there were many kilos in there, as they allow some extra in case of spoilage en route.

The packaging box was fab. 

I gave a kilo of the direct-from-grower fruits to my brother.  I found a recipe for easy candied peel, and I fully intended to shave the peel from the ones I was eating.  I failed, miserably.

This morning, I decided I'd make some Clementine Curd in my Instant Pot.    I used my lemon fluicer to juice the clementines, and it was so easy!   I think my mexican elbows have been made redundant.

In fact, the whole process was easy enough, although  I think I should have adjusted the sugar a bit.  I'd put in couple of tablespoons of lemon juice (as suggested in a different preserving book in a recipe for Orange Curd), so I left the sugar as the original lemon recipe said.   

It's OK, a bit sweet.   But it might calm down a bit when it as set and been in the fridge.

I'm thinking about making another batch, in the CookExpert this time, so I can compare.

I'm not sure I'll get beyond the thinking about stage.

I also spotted a recipe for Clementine and Quince Jelly, and i'm tempted to give that a go. But I'm not tempted to give it a go today. Maybe over the weekend.

There were two varieties in my box, and both were delicious. Neither of then really smelt how I remembered Clementines smelling.   I might get another box in January, when there is another variety ripening.

Saturday 16 December 2023

Goodbye to a Dear Friend

It's been a horrible week.

My DH's best friend died this morning, after a month in hospital.

A week ago, it wasn't looking good.  Less than a week ago, he was getting better. On Wednesday, it was decided they could do no more and he was put on palliative care.

We went to see him to say Goodbye on Wednesday night, before I travelled to see my Dad in hospital 200 miles away.

I got back very late last night,a couple of hours before he died. I'm glad I was home when DH got the phone call we had been expecting.

Expecting it doesn't make it any easier.



Tuesday 12 December 2023

Farewell, Fleur

Fleur, my 8 and a half year old Cuckoo Marans, died during the night. 

I'm relieved. And I'm so very sad.   

She was a funny girl.  Very big, and not very bright. She laid dodgy dark brown eggs,  and was low in the pecking order, possibly at the bottom.

We bought her, along with Fay, as an 8 week old chick. She was never quite right, and I'm surprised she lived to the age she did.     It doesn't make it any easier.

She made me chuckle so much.   When our home hatched birds were learning to play Jumpy Uppy (where we got them to jump up on my arm), she just couldn't work it out.  She did, however, learn that if she jumped on the spot, we'd give her a treat.  

She hated to be picked up, partly because she was so heavy I think.  We respected that, and didn't try and force her to be petted.    She was happy to eat from the hands, and always knew her name.

She and her flock mate, Fay (a Fayoumi), weren't particularly close.  They stuck together at the beginning, because they were both newbies.  They didn't particularly spend time together as adults.   

However, during Fleurs last day in the garden, Fay went and stood with her for a very. very long time.   I don't  often see hens taking care of each other,  but this was really special.

I also saw that the others crowded round her, without jostling, and that surprised me.   They also all wanted to go in the same coop, something they have never done before. 

Nest in peace,  lovely girl



Sunday 10 December 2023

Killing time

I don't mind the cold weather, as long as I can have a the stove going.  I love the warmth it gives, both in terms of heat and in terms of the feeling.  I find it very soothing.

Usually I wait until about 4.30 in the afternoon to light it.  It's 10.30am now, and I think I might light it.

One of my older girls.  Fleur, is on her way out.  She slowed right down in the last week, and has been eating from my hands. I've been giving her extras.    She comes out of the coop, ambles round, sits with her friends and frenemies, but is not eating well and is quite light for her size.

Yesterday, I thought she was going to die during the day.  She sat quietly, she moved away from the flock under a shrub.   Fay, who we got at the same time from the same place, stood with her for over an hour.  That, in itself, was very unusual.


Later, Poppy went to see her, and gave her a sharp peck on the head.  I was very angry that Poppy should be so cruel. But, I think I misinterpreted it.   Fleur got up, and moved over to the others and sat in the middle of them all, including Poppy.  I think Poppy may have been encouraging her to join them.

They stayed together for the rest of the afternoon.

Later, I shut them in the run.  Just before bed, Fleur put herself in one of the covered dustbaths. The rest of the flock farted around, going to bed and getting up again.   I couldn't decide if Fleur had done this because she wanted to be alone, or because she couldn't face climbing the steps into a coop.   I carried her as gently as I could, and put her in the nestbox of  one of the coops, picking the one that she normally sleeps in and which had Fay and Poppy in already.  I watched on the camera as all the girls decided they wanted to be in that one coop (some of them coming out of the other one and going into it).

I got up this morning expecting to find a dead hen in the coop.   She wasn't dead.  She'd got up, and was sitting quietly in the run.   My heart was happy to see her, but it would have been better (for me) if she had gone.   Now I have to think about asking DH to despatch her, something I really don't want to have to do and something he definitely won't want to do.   

If she looked like she was in pain, I would, of course, despatch her immediately.  She doesn't look in pain, she just looks like she wants to slip off quietly.  I'd like to give her the dignity and peace of slipping off in her own time, with no additional stress.    I find this so difficult, I just want to do what's right for her.

In the meantime, I can't settle to do anything useful.

I might go and light the fire.

Thursday 7 December 2023

Forwards Backwards Sideways

I wanted to let off steam a bit, to offload about not being well.  

Sometimes, trying to focus on the forwards (and to accept the sideways and the backwards) is a challenge.

I wrote a load of stuff... 

...and then deleted it.

Thursday 30 November 2023


The missing puzzle piece was bugging me.  

It was an expensive jigsaw (currently £32 incl post), and I was cross with myself fo having lost a piece.    

I'd checked the table, which had piles of stuff on it because we are decluttering (still).  We checked under the table.  I even felt the bag of the Roomba station, to see if it was in there.   While I was down there,  I winced at the "dust bunnies" in the areas that Raymondo can't reach.  

Despite having a splitting headache,  I went and got the dustpan and cleaned them up. I did a thorough jub, underneath the table legs, underneath the kitchen trolley, all the nooks and crannies.  

And my diligence was rewarded - the missing piece!

I'm going to look at the puzzle for a couple of days before breaking it up

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Attention all Shipping

I gave up on the cat puzzle.

I started my Shipping Forecast jigsaw, which I bought from the artist Jane Tomlinson a loooooong time ago.

It took me a couple of days to complete, and it is lovely.    I'm cross with myself than I have managed to lose a piece.  It may turn up, of course, but it's just as likely to be in the bowels of the Roomba base station.

It was a lovely puzzle to do. The pieces are interesting shapes, and are really good quality.  The colours are gorgeous

Monday 20 November 2023

On and On

The (latest round of)  decluttering is ongoing.   We've sold quite a few things, given some away,  got a large pile of stuff to take to the charity shop, and binned stuff. We have passed on many, many boxes and packaging items. 

My dining room table is covered in stuff which is waiting for buyers. Under the stairs has boxes for the charity shop stacked up.    Many rooms are in a state of chaos,  and I am trying, I really am, to get things under control.

I've been very under the weather (tested negative for Covid), and it's taking me forever to do anything.  I've been taking tablets for a couple of weeks to suppress stomach acid. It's helped a bit with the pain, but not the other symptoms.   I was too ill to go out for dinner for my birthday. I managed to fo out for DHs birthday 3 weeks later, but couldn't eat much.  

  My back pain has been quite bad,  I'm sort of at the end of a flare up (which started at the end of September) and it just seems to be dragging on. At least its not awful all the time now, I get windows where it is mildly painful.   I really do appreciate that in the scheme of things, I'm lucky; sometimes it just gets me a bit down though. 

I always try and compare how I'm feeling with how I felt when some things were at their worst;   or what I can do that I haven't been able to do and that usually helps me feel a but better. 

I managed to make quite a lot of Quince stuff.  We had a bumper crop.   I made quite a bit of Quince Curd.  I should have peeled the quinces, as it's a bit gritty, but it tastes OK.   I used the Cream Soup programme on the CookExpert to cook the quinces,  and then made curd.

 I also made quince jelly, pressure cooking the quinces to get the juice.  Catherine Phipps (and her Pressure Cooking books) you are a star. You have saved me a lot of tone and energy 

 Then, I made another batch of Cream Soup with peeled quince,  and I froze it in ice cube trays.  This can go into other dishes.

Finally, i did another load of juicing by pressure cooking,  and froze the resulting juice.  I'll use it to make more quince jelly, when I've eaten the stuff already made. 

We've also had an amazing crop of Medlars.   They are bletting in the summerhouse, and I'll need to deal with them soon.  Probably more curd and more jelly,  I don't have the energy for anything interesting.

In other news, the Girls are doing well. 

I cleaned out the coops today:  the first time in 4 weeks I think, which is awful.    Most of the Girls have, more or less,  completed their moult - apart from Olga, the oldest of the 3 newbies. She's only just started,  and she's being picked on.   I took her out separately and gave her some scrambled egg the other day, and I'll try and do that again tomorrow.     

DH gave the Girls the vegetable beds as part of their free range area,   and they've loved it.  They've eaten everything, turned over the soil, and made a mess.

The new run is fab. We still haven't put the pole up,  we will get it done eventually.  Probably.

Nothing creative done, and it's going to be no cards for Christmas I think.



Tuesday 7 November 2023

The High Life

We reviewed the contents of part of the loft yesterday.  The effort was exhausting.

It started because I had a mahoosive box which needed to go and live in the loft.  There was no sensible space available, so a couple of nights ago I popped up the ladder to see what could be done.

Yesterday, we removed (almost) everything from the very back of the loft, under the watertank.  We found some large boxes which we decided to get rid of;  a kitchen cabinet and some wire drawers for (dfferent sized) kitchen cabinets, which I've offered for free and have been claimed;  a cast iron griddle, which I've sold; the box for the bean to cup coffee maker, which we've brought downstairs so I can sell the machine;  many lovely bottles (including some fab heart shaped ones, which look like potion bottles,  which I'm trying to sell but will otherwise donate (or bin, I'm finding it all quite taxing); and a lovely stovetop espresso maker, which I'll be selling.

We also brought down the box for the CookExpert so I could  put my Magimix food proceesor parts in the it, and then heaved that back up there. 

We took the opportunity of clearing some shelving to move some other bits to that end of the loft. It's not easily accessible, so we wanted to just put away things that we won't regularly need. In this case it was spare floor tiles for the kitchen and bathroom floors.  I've just realised we don't need the bathroom ones at all, I should have brought them downstairs to sell them!  Never mind, next time maybe.

It was a lot of heaving and shunting and snapping at each other.

Downstairs looks lie a hoarders paradise at the moment.  I've got a pile of kitchen things to try and sell next time a particular FB group has a market day.  And I've got loads of empty boxes which I don't want to get rid of until after the market day (but I may have to)

I have to chuckle at the thought of this being an achievement.  

Not so long ago, I would have done half the oft in one go, on my own.  

Saturday 4 November 2023


I'm taking a break from the self-created chaos of my kitchen.

Yesterday I made progress clearing the large table so that I could think about maybe sewing something. I need a clear space to get a clear head.

Then I went and collected the food processor.  Then I unpacked it and tried it out.  Then I started to excavate the cupboards to gather the bits for the previous food processor.  I found a couple of other items I decided I might as well try and sell.

Then I sidelined into listing some unrelated stuff for sale on Ebay;  and getting the file which contained the info on the steam room door out of storage, so I could contact the manufacturer;  then  I had a sack of corn and 2 sacks of sunflower seeds to deal with;  and now....'s all got a bit out of hand.

I'm resorting to Just One Thing tactics to try and regain control.

Cup of tea. Biscuit. Then one step at a time. 

Never learn

I blame it on being unwell.

The other day I was thinking about my Magimix food processor,   which came with my CookExpert.   

I don't use it.

I decided I was going to gather up all the bits (the bowls, the blades,  the 3 cases of discs) and put it in the loft in the CookExpert box.  There was no point in it having cupboard space, as it was just too annoying to use. 

What's shocking is this is the third* Magimix food processor I've owned,  and I've ended up hating all of them  And that isn't even the "Never Learn" bit that he title refers to. 

*Years ago, when I was working and buying stuff on a whim was not a problem,  I had a Magimix 5200, and I bought a 4200XL instead.   It was a neater size, and had a better feed tbe.  It still had the stupid bowl design (3 bowls, where the middle bowl was useless, and using the small bowl meant that the big bowl had to be washed as well. It's shockingly poor design. ).

I got really fed up with it, sold it, and bought a Sage food processor.    My Sage food processor was a lovely example of a food processor, really well designed and thought out, and very sturdy.   

When I later bought a Thermomix, I didn't really use the Sage very much.

Fast forward a few years,  and I decided to sell my Thermy and my Sage food processor, and buy a Magimix CookExpert.    I thought long and hard about this, as I remembered very well just how annoying the Magimix food processor was.    I couldn't justify having 2 food processors though so, if I wanted the CookExpert,  the Sage had to go.

I love the CookExpert, I don't regret buying it -[ but I hate the food processor.   It has sat, unused, in the cupboard pretty much since I bought it. I did try it, in the beginning, but it just got on my nerves.

Anyway.   While I was summoning the energy to go into the loft to get the box,   I ended up having a conversation about food processors.   And it made me reminisce about the Sage.   And I looked on Marketplace and found one in fab condition and at a good price.  

After a bit of a faff, where it looked like I wouldn't be able to get it,  I  bought it.

I justified it to myself on the basis that it would replace 2 other machines I have on my countertop at the moment,  and the rest of it could live in the cupboard in the space vacated by the Magimix.  

I collected it today, nrought it home, washed it, and had a go.

It is so much better than the Magimix.  It's fast, and easy to use, and does a great job.   I had a go at peeling potatoes, which was OK.  It would be great, I guess, if I was doing one of my mammoth mashed potato sessions.

I then tried  the dicing accessory, for the potatoes I'd just peeled - and that was really very good.  I can definitely see myself using that.

But it still generated a ridiculous amount of washing up.   I'm not sure it will replace both of the appliances on my worktop.  One possibly.    

 I'm not sure how much I'll use it, given the amount of washing up required.

I feel a bit sheepish.   On the plus side, at least I bought it preloved, so if I do decide to sell it, I won't lose too much.



Monday 30 October 2023


Macbeth at the Globe was great!   The layout of the theatre really gave me an appreciation of what it would have been like in originally.  

The production was gender neutral, so Duncan was a woman,  and the 3 Witches were men.  It was modern dress, which was fine.

We were lucky with the weather.  Miss Teen was particularly lucky.  She'd ignored my reminder for her to wear layers and a coat,   insisting that she would be warm enough in a hoodie and leggings.     I felt an uncontrollable surge of annoyance when she said that.   I know she's a teenager, and I know she thinks she knows best.   

I'd also suggested she had a quick read of the synopsis of the play from the Revision Guide I'd bought her.  She said she knew the story so didn't need to refresh herself before we went.    She got lost early on in the performance. so found it all a bit tedious.

 She was cold on the way home, and it took quite a bit of self control for me to not point out that she should have brought a coat. 

 In the end, it was a complete waste of money from the point of view of helping her.  

Still,  I wouldn't have gone otherwise, and I'm glad I did.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Kevina the Teenager

Miss Teen is increasingly like Kevin the Teenager.  I gently tease her about it sometimes, to try and get her to realise just how horrible she is being, but she has a teenagers thick skin when it comes to self awareness.

She has been struggling with some of her subjects.  Her school is running mock-mocks this week and the week after next, and she has been studying hard, trying to catch up.   The feral time during COvid has really taken its toll,  and so many of the children don't know how to study, how to learn, how to revise.

One of the things she is struggling with is English Literature, and Macbeth.

As soon as we knew the Shakespeare option would be Macbeth, I got her the study aids to help her understand the play. .  I also bought a copy of the Judy Dench version on DVD, so she could watch it.  I remembered from my own school days, that school murders Shakespeare,;  I found watching the proper play really helpful, and I thought she might too.

She's not been interested in watching it at all.  No surprise, I guess.

She's started to panic a bit about her exam, so earlier in the week I had a look to see whether Macbeth was on stage anywhere.  I found it, and  nearly bought tickets, but I knew she'd just think of it as a punishment.

This morning, on the way to school, she was talking about exams, and how difficult EngLit is going to be.  I said watching the DVD might be a good idea, and she agreed (some of her friends had also said seeing the play might help).

So, on the strength of that, I booked tickets for her and I to go and see Macbeth next week, at the Globe.  The tickets cost quite a lot of money, even without train fare and lunch.

I told her about it after school today. 

She was completely underwhelmed, and thinks it's a punishment.

I'm so disappointed.  Of course I had suspected this would be her reaction,  but I guess part of me thought she'd be excited at the thought of seeing it for real, and for seeing it at the Globe. 

I was wrong.

I completely regretted the outlay. I could have had 4 sessions with my Chiro. What a waste of money!

I messaged my step daughter, (DSD) to see what play my granddaughter (DGD) is doing for her  GCSE.  I was thinking I could pass the tickets on to them.  I wouldn't get any money, but at least the tickets would get used (although I suspect my DGD might be equally as interested as Miss Teen). 

While i was waiting for  DSD to get back to me,  I told Miss Teenshe didn't need to go if she didn't want to, I could easily sell the tickets.    (I was thinking,  I could probably sell the tickets and get some of my money back - it's Half term next week, and there must be a lot of parents who would like to help their kids like this).

She said no, she would go.

But, honestly,  it makes me feel like she's doing me a favour. 

I know Teens behave like Teens, but it's still really annoying.

I know some of  my irritation  is because her attitude picks at the fragile scab over that incident with the chickens (it still bothers me!), so I'm typing here so I don't do or say something I'll regret.

I expect I'll get over it, lol. 

I feel better having written it down.  It's not her fault really, it's not like she asked me to get her tickets.  The fact that she's not really interested (and doesnt seem appreciative of the effort)  is my problem  really (my expectations) not hers.


Wednesday 18 October 2023

Another week

Another week - woosh!  And suddenly, it feels like post Autumn!

A phone call brought good news today.  

My NHS Physio appointment -  in which they will give me exercise instructions which, hopefully, will completely resolve  my two-and-a -quarter year backache -  was scheduled for some time in November.  I was in the depths of a bad episode when they called the other week, and I asked if I could go to a different area to get seen sooner.  There were no earlier appointments,  but the lady who phoned put me on the waiting list for a short notice cancellation.

Today, they rang to offer me an earlier appointment: tomorrow!

I am so very pleased, as today I couldn't do part of my Pilates class because my back has seized up so badly.  

In other news:
-  the 3rd of my 3 cat jigsaws arrived, was made, and has been framed. 
- I spotted a "Tank" 1000 piece  jigsaw for sale, and bought it for DH.  To my surprise, he's started doing it almost immediately
- Miss Teen is staying with us while her parents are away,  and she has her mock mocks this week. The exam week was unexpectedly changed, they wouldn't have deliberately arranged to be away at this time.  We're up to our ears in revision, past papers, flash cards, and tests. 

Two of the Girls have decided it's now time to start moulting. The cold weather is just starting, so they didn't time it well.   They've formed a reasonably happy flock, with 1 of the 3 Newbies (Olly, who was the one I managed to slightly hand tame) being well integrated now.  The other 2 Newbies are a little on the outside,  but they have company in their Cube at night. I'e noticed they are being chased off a little less at treat time, and it seems little worse than the day to day henpecking that goes on anyway.

Thursday 12 October 2023


I sat down a few hours ago to wrote a blog post about how I'm frittering away time.   I realised how daft that was, so I made myself get up and do somethign necessary, like Domestics.    

I'm back now.

The meringues were amazing. I've never been a fan, always found the things chalky and sweet.  These ones, following Delia's recipe, were sweet, but were a little chewy and very addictive.    They apple curd worked superbly, to tone down the sweetness.

I'm having such a lot of trouble with my back.  I had a double "Chiro" appointment on Tuesday, and Tania did a whole load of things to try and help alleviate my symptoms.  . I felt better about an hour after my appointment, and I still feel better now than I did.  It's still really uncomfortable though.   My NHS physio consultation is at the beginning of November. I hope that helps resolve things properly (although I don't really believe it's the cause of my issues). 

Anyway, no point dwelling on the aches and pains here,  no one likes a Moaning Minnie.

so, in an attempt to ignore the discomfort,  I've done some more preparation for doing some Christmas Card embroidery.   I suspect I'm going to run out of time, I really need to get on and do some more.  I wish I could have the machine downstairs,  but it's not practical.  The cats would have a field day, and it's far too dusty down here.  

It is tempting though.

I've also got stuff out to defrost so I can bulk cook some chilli con carne, and some bolognese,  tomorrow.  It's so lovely having a selection of ready meals in the freezer. 



Tuesday 10 October 2023

Stomach curdling

I had a long session with the Chiro today, and she really helped with the pain.

When I got home, I felt well enough to tackle some of the apples and eggs that we have piling up,  and I made some Apple Curd.

I wasn't sure what to expect.  I used the quantities and method from a Margeurite Patten recipe.  I made apple soup (using the Cream Soup programme on my CookExpert) to start with.  I measured out how much puree I had, and calculated home much butter and sugar and how many eggs to use.

I added the sugar, and then the butter bit by bit (I got that tip from the Cook Expert cook book).   When it was all absorbed,  I added the eggs a little at a time.    The recipe suggested 3 eggs or 6 yolks.  I ended up doing 4 yolks and 1 egg.   I let it simmer away for awhile, tested it with a wooden spoon, and then potted it up.

I decided to make meringues with the leftover egg whites.   I made enough for 8 meringues,  and I could only fit 6 in the air fryer.    I ate the remainder raw, which was surprisinly delicious with the home made apple curd.  I imagine my stomach will complain later,  it doesn't like sugar very much.

The meringues are sitting in the airfryer, switched off, to finish drying out.  They look very rough and ready, hopefully they will taste good.   Miss Teen and DH can have them with some of the apple curd for pudding tonight.  I'll have apple curd (maybe) and a bt of yoghurt.

The apple curd is really lovely, much better than I expected frankly.  It's not overly sweet (I used dual purpose apples from the garden), and it's going to be lovely with yoghurt.  It would probably be fab on waffles and pancakes,  but I don't think I could eat those (although I do like them).

Saturday 7 October 2023

Getting Jiggy

I've been having a lot of back trouble, and some heart stuff going on.   I thought I'd try some things which keep me away from my computer.

Someone posted a fab looking jigsaw in one of the FB groups I'm in.  I loved it, and as soon as she offered it for sale, I snapped it up. 

I also ordered the second one in the series, brand new.

I asked DH whether we should frame one or other of them, and he set about sourcing a frame the correct size for me.    We tried it on the first puzzle, and it looks lovely.

I made the second one last nigh, and that has got to be framed.  

I've also found the thrid and final one in the series, preloved,  so I've bought that too.

Here are the two I've done so far:


Our middle tree, with the dual purpose apples, is ripe.

I had a go at making some Apple Soup, using the automatic Cream Soup function on my CookExpert (CE).

I'd seen a recipe on the French CE fb group, where the maker just put a load of cored but unpeeled apples in to the CE, ran the programme, and had a good result.

There are two soup settings on the CE. In English, they are Puree and Creamed.   I wasn't sure which one the User had, I knew the original word was "Veloute",  but I wasn't sure which of the two programmes that matched.

I looked online at the French CE website, and thought it might be Puree because that was in the same place in the menu.     However, something just didn't feel right, so I looked more carefully and saw that the little symbols were different. The French CE has the options in a different order to the British CE.

It worked quite well.  The pulpy result was very sharp, and I've got lots of jars in the fridge.

I then decided to try a second version, which peeled the apples and added sugar and a little water.    I thought it might come out like the Heinz baby apples that I loved as a kid.  My mum used to serve it as apple sauce with pork,  I'd just open a tin and eat it. 

They use a form of brown sugar, and I wasn't sure which one. I ended up using muscovado, mainly because that was the first one in the cupboard.   It turned the resulting mixture an unappetising dark brown, and it was a bit oversweet and caramelly.

Over the course of the next few days, I ate loads of it with Yoghurt.  A bit of each, which worked well.

I decided I'd try again (another time) with unpeeled apples and a smaller amount of sugar, and I'll use Golden Granulated next time.

I'll let you know how it turns out


Then the chillis were ripe.

I had a go with the Ball Jam and Jelly Maker I bought some years ago (immediately after regretting selling my rarely used Tefal Jam maker).   It was the first time I had used the jam maker.   The jam isn't long lasting, it has to be kept in a fridge (or it has to be waterbath preserved),  but its easy to do.

I used their recipe for a Chilli Jam, . It had red peppers in it, which I can't eat,  so I substituted apples.

The result was OK actually.  It didn't set, my fault I think,   but it was like a sweet chilli sauce.

I joined the Ball Jam and Jelly Maker FB group.   Searching for recipes, I found a lady from the UK was asking about a recipe for Chilli Jam that had come with her Aldi version.  She'd lost her recipe book, and really wanted it as she had tried many recipes and that one was the best.   I commented on the post to see if she had ever got the recipe.  She  confirmed she had, and very kindly sent me the recipe. 

So,. I had a go at that last night.  I really should have cut down the quantities, but I didn't.   Again, I substituted peeled and cored apples for the red pepper,  and I reduced the amount of apple I put in (because the 1.6kg of peppers had to be deseeded).   This recipe also called for a tin of cherry tomatoes,  and that really appealed to me.

It used a lot of chillis,  and it included the seeds.  The chillis, garlic and ginger, and the apples all had to be blitzed before adding to the cooker.    It made my eyes water a little, and I might wear my onion goggles (if I can find them) before trying again.  

The finished results looked like vomit, because the apple pieces were still too big.    I dug out the hand blender, and blended it, and it improved thngs no end.  I put quite a lot into jars, and then I sloshed the rest into a big bowl.   I had lots of it with sausages for dinner, and it was really quite pleasant.  This one set properly.

Chilli  Apple and Cherry Tomato Jam

Sweet Chilli and Apple Sauce

I loved the fact that I had two completely different products.  

I'd be happy to make both of them again, but I'd reduce the quantities significantly.  I only need a couple of jars.

The Jam maker is still sitting on the worktop.  I ordered a recipe book from Amazon, which is aimed at these types of auto jam makers.    It gets good reviews, but it wasn't possible to "look inside".   

Maybe it will inspire me to make some more. 

Wednesday 27 September 2023


For the past few months, DH and I have been (re)watching Deep Space Nine, right from the beginning.    

I've seen a number of episodes over the years, but we hadn't watched it properly.    It was very enjoyable watching all of it, in a relatively short space of time.    I really became invested in the characters and their development,  and I wish we'd watched it when it aired originally. 

7 seasons, 26 (ish) episodes per season.  

We haven't been bingewatching,  we normally watch 1 episode a night. 2 if its a cliffhanger. Occasionally we missed a night.    We had a problem when our Sky box crashed and we had to get a new one,  all our recordings were lost,  and the later series were no longer free.    

It was being broadcast again,  but it was well behind where we were and it would be months before the TV caught up with where we'd got to.    I looked at buying the DVDs,  but in the end it was cheaper to subscribe to a service for a few months, so that's what we did.

Yesterday we wtached Season 7, episode 24.   We have only the final pair of episodes left to watch. 

I thought were going to watch them tonight.    I started a load of batch cooking (thank you to Mrs Balbir Singh spices) so we'd have an array of Indian dishes to enjoy while watching.   

DH had made other plans!

I guess it'll be Friday now.   I've potted up some of everything into the little Le Creuset individual casseroles I bought pre-loved,  which are fab for reheating things in the airfryer.  I would never have bought these new,  but they are really great.  They are a neat size  -   I can put a few in the airfryer at once,  they are lidded (which my lovely Falcon enamel bowls aren't)  so it's a really efficient way of heating up a selection of items.    

  I digress.

I batch cooked, so I've also portioned up a load of stuff in the "ready meals" drawer in the freezer:  4 pairs of Beef Rogan Josh (I didn't have any mutton left);  5 (sides for 2 people) of  Keema Masala; 5  (sides for 2 people)  of Chana Massala.   I hadn't got as far as prepping the Lamb Sheekh kebabs (cocktail meatball style), so that's something. 

 It feels like a bit of an achievement.  

I had pasta salad, with yesterday's leftover pasta, instead.






Tuesday 26 September 2023


We have a new washing machine arrivingat the end of the week.

It was a slightly impulsive purchase.  Ours has been making noises recently, is 15 years old, and I started to have a look to see what I might replace it with when it finally goes.  I haven't looked at washing machines for years, so I wanted to at least get an idea of whats around.

Anyway. I jumped headfirst into that rabbit hole,   got an idea of what I wanted, and was then surprised to find that the machine I had considered was being offered for a  reasonably good deal at Costco.   It probably means that it's going to be superseded, but it made me consider buying it.

And then I realised that the next model up was also on offer at Costco, and that was a real bargain.  

I did some research, and then decided I'd buy it.

I am expecting buyers remorse to kick in.

Anyway.  I needed to make sure that there was enough room for the old machine to come out and the new machine to go in.   And DH thought the hoses went behind some shelves, so I had to empty those out.   As it happened, the hoses didn't go behind there at all, but no harm done,

The upshot is that I've spent the entire morning decluttering a good part of the utility room.  

I've been quite ruthless.  

One of the things I found was a tin of stuff  with the label "Ingredients for Slime".   I opened it up and had to chuckle at the shaving foam, hand cream, liquid soap, pva glue, laundry starch, colouring and glitter.  I offered it to my neighbour, and she said her boys couldn't be trusted with slime.  That made me chuckle, as one of the reasons it had been hidden away is that I never wanted to use it again.

Maybe my friend who is a brown owl might like it.

I'm a bit fed up with the decluttering now, and I've still got stuff to get back in.  And more to sort.

And I'll still need to remove some stuff on delivery day.

But I'm happy with what I've removed and reorganised.

Monday 25 September 2023

Eye Aye!

PVD. Posterior vitreous detachment.

Saturday night, I had a blob in my vision.  A round blur with a tail,  like a raindrop on a window.  I thought it was a hair, or a bit of fluff.  I realised it wasn't.  It moved with the direction of my eye, and I had some flashing going on top right.  The NHS website didn't seem to think it was a cause for a trip to A&E, so I decided to see if I could get an optician's appointment the next day.  

One of my parents has Macular disorder. They ignored the initial signs and consequently lost the sight in one eye;  some of their vision could have been saved if they'd dealt with it earlier.  

Sunday morning, I was lucky to be able to book the last appointment at my local Boots.   When I got there, I explained that I didn't actually want an eye test, I would like her to examine my eye.  The ophthalmologist (optometrist? Optician?) was lovely, and she did various tests including dilating my pupils.

She couldn't see any tear in my retina,  and she gave me a referral to take to my local eye hospital (or I could go into London to one of the walk in eye hospitals that were open on a Sunday).

Monday (today),  DH drove me to the local eye hospital.  Bit of triage, then off to the Optometry department to have my eye examined to check for tears or holes.

Upshot: PVD.

Some jelly("Vitreous") behind my eye has become dislodged.  This is quite a common thing, no treatment.  It will be like this indefinitely, but my brain will eventually learn to ignore it.   No action needed, unless things get worse (a sudden rush of floaters,  a change in vision, a dark shadow in my vision,  or the flashing lights getting worse).

I started to walk home, but it was a bright day and my dilated pupils had no defence against the sunshine.  Thank goodness I hadn't driven.  

DH picked me up part way home.  I was quite relieved to get in the car out of the sunlight.

We had a museum visit planned, we had arranged to take my uncle as well,  so we carried on with that.   I couldn't actually read anything, because the eye drops had now affected my vision.  I did find I could  take photos and enlarge them to read them.   Apart from that, it was a really enjoyable trip.

I'm back home now and can (just about) read things now.




Thursday 21 September 2023

It's a gas!

Cadent is replacing all the gas pipes in our village.  The work will take about 42 weeks in total.

This week its our road being done, and weve had a hole outside our house for a few days.   Today is was our turn to have the new pipes fitted,  which they've done by pushing new pipes inside the old one. 

 Cadet had visited earlier in the week to let us know what would be happening.  They knocked on the door to tell us they were turning the gas off,  and we moved our cars so we weren't stuck, just in case it took longer than planned.

At 3.30, they'd all left.  And we hadn't had our gas turned back on.  

I phoned the number on the card and explained that we seemed to have been forgotten.  The chap phoned back and said the person who did the reinitialisation would be there at about 6.30.

He came about 8pm.   I felt sorry for him,  such a long day.  He knocked to explain he had to do something with the meter first, and then he would come in to do the 

When he knocked again it was to apologise and to tell me he couldn't reconnect us.  We hadn't  been connected, and he didn't know why. He'd phoned the team to let them know, and they'd have to sort it out tomorrow.

Oh well. 

It's not the end of the world. 

Saturday 16 September 2023

Bloody hell

I'm getting better.  

It's taken a while, but I now just feel unwell rather than feeling like I could keel over at any moment.

I've managed to do a couple of test stitch outs on my new embroidery machine.  I haven't yet sold the old one, and it makes it cramped in the room.   I decided I needed to move the old machine, temporarily, so that I could get on with trying the new one before the enthusiasm passed.

The only place it can sensibly go is in the smallest bedroom, where it will take up al the available floorspace and mean that I can't go and play Orla.    I don't have any alternative option, apart from putting it in the downstairs hall, and that's asking for trouble from the cats.

Today was the day I decided I'd have a go at clearing the space for it.   It's not just a case of clearing the space to put it,  that wouldn't take too long.  It's the need to make sure that I can access anything else I'm likely to  (INNW?) technique to summon enthusiasm.

Very quickly, the floors of the landing, bathroom,and our bedroom had piles of stuff.   I also found a couple of bits that I had  thought I might try and sell (INNW?), so I excavated those and put them out on the landing to photograph.  

When I first started machine embroidery, I had a lot of different rolls of stabiliser, and I had the btilliant idea of using super heavy duty counter roll cutters for them.  When we redid my sewing room, focussing on clothes not embroidery,  I put the roll holders into the small bedroom thinking I'd sell them at some point.

I'm part way through sorting, and my enthusiasm has waned somewhat.

I've got some empty boxes and bits which are good for packing out boxes.   I end up in a bit of a cycle with this sort of thing.  I keep them, in case I need them. Then I get ed up and get rid of them. Then I decide to do a selling spree, and find I don't have suitable boxes and packaging. So I start keeping boxes. Which then take up so much space.   

I only keep super strong boxes.  And then I, sort of, get attached to them.  It's partly because I've got some stuff to list on Ebay, next time they offer me reduced fees.

The parents of a friend of mine are downsizing, and from Autumn through to Spring they are busy selling, and I usually pass the boxes on to them.    Spring and Summer, they are away, and don't do any selling, and that's when I have a problem.   

I'm not sure what they are doing this year.  It would be great if they were back soon, as I''m sure I'd be able to pass on the majority of my stash to them.

On the plus side, I made a little box for a particular purpose using my new glue gun (hooray!), I've emptied the spare printer paper drawer, and put the contents next to the printer (and in the printer. And on the printer) in its new location under the stairs;    I've  moved a Really Useful Storage tower and put some of the bits on my A0 desktop, so I can actually get to the buts to use the comb binder;  and I've excavated a huge bag of assorted yarn.

I thought I'd use it when I used my embellisher machine,  but I haven't used it yet (I'm doing a one day workshop in October).     I also thought some of them would make fab wrappings for pressies.  Trouble is, they were all styuffed in a bag, under the A0 desk, blocked in by a mountain of stuff so were never going to get used.   

 I haven't resolved what to do yet.

One of the items I had out to sell, I couldn't remember how it went together. I looked online, sert it up to take a picture and realised the warning label "Caution: Razor sharp edge" was upside down.  I picked it up to turn it over, and shredded the side of my 4th finger. The irony!

I'm on blood thinners, and  became interesting quite quickly. It's wrapped tightly in an extra long finger plaster at the moment, and I'm hoping it won't bleed through.

I was sittingwriting a sales ad for them,  and it suddenly occurred to me that  maybe I want to keep one of the counter roll holders, and use if again for its originally intended purpose.  It could perhaps go on my A0 desktop... the one that I've just put loads of other bits on.

I suppose its just as well that I  thought of this now, not when I've sold them.

Well, I'd bettter go and measure and see what's possible. 

And I've really got to finish clearing the floor.  What am I saying?!  I should have said: I've really got to start clearing the floor. 

I need to go.

Tuesday 12 September 2023


The back and neck pain is reducing,but still very present and still making it difficult for me to do anything.. My blood pressure continues to be very high, even overnight.

I've dug out my Atkiia bracelet, recalibrated it, and I've been wearing it to try and keep an eye on what's happening.

 I bought another device, It's a wearabe monitor, like a Holter monitor.  It shows my ventricular mishaps, and it's shown my very slow heartbeat.  I took it off to have a shower,  the pads got wet and I had to take them of.  One of them had irritated my skin, and removing it caused a blister.  It's now really sore to put another pad on (i tried), so I've not worn it since.  I've ordered some 3m pads to see if they are any kinder.

Sunday was our village bi-monthly  litter pick.  I got up  and went out to do  our street before it got too hot.  I made slow progress, it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes, and my neck and shoulders were complaining again.

I had an appointment wit the Chiro on Monday, and that helped a little wot the pain.  Paracetamol is helping too. 

I need to phone the GP to try and get an appointment, and I'm not sure why I keep putting it off.  I guess I'm trying to gather evidence before I ask for help.

I've stitched one thing with the new embroidery machine, but I need to re-do it.  I'm (still) waiting for a promised magnetic frame to arrive,  and I'm waiting for some brackets which may or may not fit two of my original frames.  I'm a little disappointed that it's taken so long. 

I also ordered a bracket  from the US,  for my clamp frame. I was originally going to sell it, but it didn't sell quickly.  It was a hugely expensive frame when I bought it, still is,  and it's just not worth me selling it for less than half price.    I sold some household bits to cover the cost of the bracket.  That should be arriving soon,

I also ordered some replacement frames for the new machine, and they will be arriving tomorrow.  I've got stuff on Ebay which should (mostly) cover the cost.

 I've been  selecting designs to stitch to try out,  and I've played about with some settings on my machine.     I intend to do at least some stitch outs before the weekend arrives.    I thought I might also try and stitch something on some of DH's old holey tee shirts, but he's more of a plain tee shirt chap.

We were promised a thunderstorm yesterday.  We had a small shower, which I stood out in.  It didn't quite do the trick.  We've got plenty of rain today,  but I wasn't getting the pull to go and stand out in it at all.  I had to pop over to a different part of the village, and I ended up driving.

I've got boxes and packaging all over the sitting room, waiting for auctions to end so I can get things packed and sent. 

Miss Teen is here doing homework.  Her mocks are in October, earlier than originally planned.  They are happening the week she's staying with us, so that'll be fun for all.

I'll worry about that in a week or two.




Thursday 7 September 2023


Well it's been an unpleasant week, healthwise.

I had some issues last Thursday morning(arrhythmia).  It's all receded a little bit, but my back problems have come back with a vengeance, it's (almost) as bad as it was 2 years ago.  Even my stomach is joining in.

My new embroidery machine was due to be delivered on Tuesday.  I was tempted to postpone it, as I didn't feel well at all,  but it was a 2 man delivery job, so I thought it best to get on with it.  Unfortunately (did I really use the U word?),  I wasn't well enough to use the machine yesterday, and I've been struggling today.

I would love to go to bed and just be ill - but lying down exacerbates the problem.   I'm trying P&D at the moment. (Paracetamol and Distraction),

The abnormally hot weather doesn't help.

Hopefully normality will be resumed soon.

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Oh I did do one thing...

In the midst of all this, last weekend I did do one creative thing.

Westie design by Memories in Thread

Not my best work, but hopefully the recipient will be pleased.

Further derailment

DH popped back from his holiday late on Saturday, to see the cats (and me) and because he had something else planned on the Sunday.

He found me busily trying to write adverts for my embroidery machine and for the various framing/hooping systems I owned, which couldn't be converted to the new one.

I knew that I was obviously happy with my decision, because even writing out the she sales adverts for these framing/hooping systems (and the cost they represented) didn't give me any regrets. 

The whole process of listing took forever.   Then there were the queries to answer,  followed by transactions to deal with,  and then organising packaging and shipping.

I'd got most things wrapped by Sunday, and I'd arranged collection for all the sold bits for Tuesday.  I needed one more large box, and I didn't have anything suitable.  What I really wanted was one of those fruit and vegetable boxes, which don't have a lid but are large, have rigid sides, and a little bit round the top.   I asked on our local group if anyone had anything.  

One of my friends said that I could get them from the supermarket in the nearby town, so I was in there by 7.30 on Monday morning, and I came out with 5 of them.   One was perfect for wrapping the last item. In fact, it was so perfect, that I redid 3 of the other 4 packages in them as well.  This involved several trips into my loft to look for items suitable to used as lids and to provide rigidity.    Glenda, my little glue gun, wasn't up to the job and she had to be resuscitated several times.   I looked for DH's electric glue gun, but couldn't find it; I seriously thought about nipping out to buy one myself, but I restrained myself.

The repacking for most of the items was fine. One package, however, went into the next weight band,  so  so I had to cancel the postage and re-buy at the correct weight.   I cancelled the wrong one, and had to rebuy that too.

Everything was stacked up ready to go.  All photographed, photos and tracking numbers sent.   That was Monday, gone.

 I had another parcel which was being collected with the sold ones,  and I also had to parcel up my Roomba to return him to the manufacturer.  He was being collected on Tuesday as well.

I also had a number of deliveries expected, so I knew I wasn't going to get out and do anything sensible that day.

Tuesday was spent trying to clear up the debris from the packing,  updating my remaining adverts (and wondering about where else to post), and doing Domestics, in between receiving deliveries and handing over parcels. 

Eventually it was all done, I'd put all the deliveries away,  I'd done loads of washing,  I'd washed all the floors,  raked up the fallen apples (again), cleaned out the chickens....      DH came home, and the cats (and  I, or course) were delighted to have him back.

Today, I've been tracking the parcels. I won't relax until they've all arrived safely.   

I've had one person, so far, message me to say the parcel was delivered and the item arrived safely.   I actually bought a sewing machine from this person some time ago, so it feels like I was selling to a friend.  

She bought one of the items that I was very sad to find couldn't be adapted for my machine. So sad that I decided I'd probably buy another one, with fixings for my new machine.     It's likely that I'll have to buy from the US, and I want to wait until I know what is happening about brackets for a completely unrelated set of frames, in case I have to order those from the US as well.    She's planning to try the frame out this weekend, and I'm really interested to see how she gets on.

A second parcel has been delivered, but I haven't heard from the buyer yet.  I'll probably message them later.

I've also already spent some of the proceeds buying a (different again) preloved  frame for the new machine, and that should be here today.  In fact, it should already be here....I hope it hasn't got lost in the postal system.    

The rest of the money will go towards funding the new machine.

I need to get off my b*m and do something else, otherwise Wednesday will be a write off as well.

Sunday 27 August 2023

Further derailed (but OK)

Wednesday's Chiro appointment really really helped.  

I had a double session booked so that Tania had time to try a range of therapies to help me.  As well as the usual McTimoney stuff, she used did  some myofascial release which nearly always produces good results for me.    I do a sort of myofascial release on my shoulders at home,  and it definitely helps.  Doing it myself isn't nearly as effective as  having someone do it properly.

She's also adding Craniosacral Therapy to her armoury, and I was really keen for her to try this on me.  From my point of view (although probably not hers) it's an extension of the myofascial release.  It worked really well, especially on my neck and on my back where I have the problem.  I was surprised at the intensity of the reaction my body had.  Of course it may well be the power of suggestion,  but I don't think so (some of the parts that reacted unexpected,  and some parts didn't react at all).

It wasn't an instant fix.  I felt a little better after the treatment.  I had a disturbed night, but I woke up feeling physically much better on Thursday.

I spent the evening binge watching Discovery as I only had a few episodes left.  I nearly bought a Netflix subscription so I could watch Cobra Kai, but I resisted.   I think DH would like it,  so I'll wait.

On Thursday, I decided to "pop round" and visit someone I haven't seen for 18? years.    My friend Yvonne mentioned her when we were at lunch on Sunday, and I privately resolved then to go on Thursday(my first free day). 

I felt a bit nervous on Thursday, and wondered if I should have phoned first.  I'm glad  I didn't, as it meant I didn't feel obligated to go, and I don't like feeling obligated.    I was able to sort a few things out, get myself in the right headspace, and then I went when I was ready.

It was lovely to see Sue, and she was very happy to see me.  We chatted over a cup of tea for ab hour or so, and then I left.    I'll go again before too long (and I will phone and arrange it, because it won't feel like an obligation now),

On the way home I called it at the local Waitrose. It was not a good experience.  I was shocked, as this used to be the Waitrose to go to in our area.  It's also the one which does my home deliveries (neither if the two nearer ones does it), and I now understand why choice and availability is so rubbish.

I was getting ready for Friday, when something popped up unexpectedly on my FB MArketplace feed.  A heat press for a mug.     I haven't thought about this since we went to the Printwear and Promotion Show at the NEC before I bought my 6 needle embroidery machine.

I did a bit of research on the machine,  and realised it wasn't worth buying.  I did fall down the rabbit hole though, and I spent the whole evening investigating and pricing and thinking.    What if I didn't buy a new embroidery machine?  What if I kept my old one, and used the money I'd been saving, to buy stuff to do sublimation printing?

Friday arrived, and I got up early as I had a long drive ahead of me and an appointment at 11.00.   I was going to look at a new embroidery machine.  The appointment had been made a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't want to cancel.     

I decided I'd go,  look at the machine, and then see how I felt.

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Derail (Miss Teen and Cobra Kai)

The implementation of my Plan started really well.

Saturday was super-productive,  

Sunday went well.  Lunch out was lovely,  it was a really good roast dinner.  Many places that do roasts tend to struggle with quality, ir's difficult to keep vegetables etc in good condition.    I make a really good roast dinner (I'm an okay cook, with just a few dishes where I'd say that I'd rather eat mine than a restaurant version),  and roasts out usually leave me underwhelmed.

Sunday's was lovely:  tender and rare roast beef,  a really well made yorkshire,  delicious cauliflower cheese,  perfect potatoes,  and a great mixed vegetable dish.  Thevergetables had not been sitting under heat lamps for ages, I would guess everything was part cooked and then finished off to order.  Very worth the rather expensive price tag, and as good as I could make at home.  If they did Christmas lunch (they don't), I'd book.

We'd hiked there,  a three mile walk including a very, very, very long uphill drag.  No alcohol needed.  We did get a taxi home, because the last half milet to the pub was downhill,  and neither of us fancied walking uphill immediately after coming out of the pub garden.

I did more bits and pieces on Sunday afternoon, and resisted the urge to bingewatch the last few episodes of Star Trek: Discovery.  

Miss Teen disrupted my plans somewhat.  She asked to come on Monday and go home Tuesday, so she could do some revision.    In the end, she arrived Monday lunchtime,  and wasn't doing revision at all, she was doing homework. 

I couldn't sew in the kitchen with her studying, so I worked on the computer, doing some other bits and pieces that needed doing (mostly relating to Frdiat's planned visit to see a new embroidery machine)     I'd thought about taking her to the Pictures to see Barbie (she'd mentioned wanting to see it) in the evening, and eating out, but she'd already been.   We had pasta for dinner, and then watched stuff on her Netflix.  We saw Paddington, which a great re-watch;  some rubbishy spy thriller;  and then I picked Cobra Kai, which picks up the Karate Kid story, 34 years on.

What a fantastic show!

We'd watched all the Karate Kid films with Miss Teen over the last few years.   Cobra Kai  has the same actors, and the transition is seamless.  The story was amazing.  Really well done, and it was a great interweaving with the original films.  I loved it because it made us root for Johnny, who was the nasty teenager in the first film.  If did this, not by giving us his sad backstory (although that did come in later episodes) but by making him a very normal guy. Not good, not bad,  just a person.   The juxtaposition - and the nods -  to the original film was great, there were many laugh out loud moments for people like us who had seen the original and recognised the nods.  Each episode was only about 30 minutes and no adverts,  so we watched a few and then went to bed. I could easily have just watched the whole series, it was so compelling.

Tuesday, Miss Teen got up late.  No studying was done, we ended up having several energetic games of Swingball.  I had to take her back in the early afternoon, so we then watched a little Cobra Kai.  It got better, and better, and better. No sensationalism.   There are 5 seasons of this (with a 6th underway), and I might have to get Netflix just so I can see the rest.  Im not adding another service, so it will have to wait until we've seen all we want to see on our currently subscribed service. 

I did complete some of my intended tasks.  Well, I did a charity shop run.  I resisted buying a really cute set of cups and jugs (but I'm still thinking about them).

And, also one of my intended tasks, I finally got the sprouting underway!

 I realised that I could use my old Kefirco jars to try sprouting, there was even a video suggesting this on their website.  i put the jars through the dishwasher on Monday, and  I put the seeds in to soak on Tuesday morning. I drained them on Tuesday night, and some of the sprouts have already started this morning!   I intend to start another batch tomorrow,  just in case it turns out that I like them.    

I went to bed really early last night, about 9pm.  I woke up full of life at about 4am, and decided to stay in bed. I woke up at 7 and had to get up, and I didn't put my mask back on. I had intended to just get up, but I didn't.   And now I feel like crap.     I took a look at my O2 recorder, and I could see just by the shape of the graph exactly when it was I took my mask off.   What a stupid thing to have done, I won't make that mistake again.

So it's now half past Wednesday.  I've had 2 cups of tea, fed the cats, let the chickens out, written this blog.  I haven't even showered yet.    I've got to get moving as I have a Chiro appointment this afternoon.

It's probably just as well, as I'm tempted to go back to bed for a bit.


Saturday 19 August 2023

I will use my time well.

I've got a few days on my own, and I'm intending to use the time well.

I will resist the temptation of binge-watching something.   

I will resist the urge to have rice pudding for dinner several nights on the trot. In fact,  I will resist having it more than once.

I will make at least one item of clothing from my ever increasing "to do" list, although its likely to be Monday at the earliest.   I've been doing some clearing so I can bring the overlocker downstairs, to make this more likely to happen.    It was like one of those sliding puzzles,   a lot more had to move (in other rooms)  before I can do this.

I have already cleared the A0 table in the box room,  and I've only put a little bit of the stuff on top of the organ.  I will clear it off shortly.

In order to do that, I have already had to have a rummage under the bed in the Guest Room/Sewing Room to put some stuff away and clear a space.   I added some more bits to the charity shop pile,  which is now filling the boot of my tiny car.

I offered some bits to my friend who is a brownie pack leader,  and I've put those to one side to deliver to her.

I've identified some bits to try and sell.  My "to sell" pile is now, literally, quite large as it includes lots of Omlet Cat Tree bits.  I need to wait before selling some of it though, and I'm impatient to get sold.

I've just deleted a paragraph going into tedious detail on the whats, whys, and wherefores of waiting to sell.

I've completed the task of  going through all my embroidery hooping systems, and have identified which ones I won't be able to use on my new machine (if I get it) and so I would  be able to sell.    I spent a long time getting sticky tape residue off a couple of them (I never thought I'd sell them, so it didn't matter) so they are fit to sell.    I need to wait until I'm sure I'm buying a new machine,  before I advertise them.

I'm making good progress on the embroidery designs task (I had to get them all in the new machine format,  and then I started my very detailed cataloguing from scratch).  I'm intending to have finished it before I go to look at the (possible) new machine.

On the Domestics front,  I've cleaned most of the windows. I can't do the outside of the upstairs ones, and I'm not going up a ladder. I'll have finished the others before teatime.    

Miss Teen has also messaged to say she'd like to come over and do some revision next week, which has thrown my plans a little.   

But it will be lovely to see her.


Thursday 17 August 2023


The Girls have been moulting for some time now.  The first one to start was little Odie,  the shyer of the two new Araucana.

Poor little thing was already being dominated by the big girls, and then her moult made it even easier for the bullies.

And now everyone is moulting,  everyone  is cranky, and there are feathers everywhere.

About a month ago, I started to leave the door dividing  door open over night.   I started by just leaving the top open, and then I started to leave the bottom half open as well.  Each night I'd go and check that Littlees weren't being prevented from going to bed.

We had some interesting shenanigans after about a week or so.  I'd find a different older girl in with the Littlees each night.  Then I'd find a couple of them.   Sometimes the visiting hen would be making it difficult for the Littlees to access their coop, so I'd hoik them out.

Big Brave Ollie

One night, I found Ollie (Olga, the friendliest of the Littlees) in with the Old Girls!  She was back with the Littlees the next night,  then in with the Old Girls again.

And then FiFi (Ophelia, a palomino Vorwerk) was in  with the old girls.  This was a definite shock.  She has vision problems, and is right at the bottom of the pecking order, so I was really taken aback to see her in the "wrong" coop.

Odie, hiding
Odie has not tried to go in with the big girls.  She's hides in the nest box of her coop every night, hunkered down so as not to draw attention to herself.  I think it's the discomfort of moulting that's doing it. She hides under a chair when the girls converge outside.  I hope she gets over her moult soon.     

Luckily, one or more of the big girls sleep in the coop as well, but on the roosting bars.     It may be that  they are keeping her company, but I doubt it.  It's more likely that the mass moult means that everyone wants a little bit of space around themselves,  and they prefer to decamp to the next door coop for comfort.

 I took some quick snaps this morning, here are some of them:

Elisabeth, Fay, Odie,Ollie, Fleur, Fifi. Others are out of shot 

Thursday 10 August 2023


DH put the prch up on Monday, and it was so worth the trip!

We ut it up against the L shaped part of Henopolis,  so we only needed to build 2 sides (one o fwhich was the double doors) and a roof.  We used a flat panel for the roof.

Now, when I'm herding that last  recalcitrant hen, I can keep the others shut inside while I do so.    It's been used for its intended purpose every evening since! 


Monday 7 August 2023

Scores on the Doors

I did a 200+ mile round trip yesterday to collect some bits and pieces.

First up was a bundle of doors for the Walk In Run.   When I got them home, it turned out to not be quite as advertised, but it was an honest mistake so no point going back to the seller.    I've got 2 sets of doors, and we've rearranged a bit so we can make a 3rd set of doors to provide a porch. 

DH has built the porch already!

I'm selling 2 of the remaining half height doors, which I was expecting to be a full height door.  Becuase of the way they are built and welded, it's not possible to turn a bottom into a useable top door.   On the l;us side, I thought I'd advertise a few more bits for sale while I was at it,

The second stop was to collect a Hooping Station and Mighty Hoop.  It was a complete extravagance, but I think it will be worthwhile.   It's going to cause some upheaval at home, because I need to set it up somewhere, and there isn't any room.     We'd had a loose agreement about what was going to be rearranged to accomodate it,  and we'll probably  try and do that this week. Maybe.   It involves a lot of lugging, and I don't know if we've got the energy to do it.

The seller was lovely, and so was the cafe I met her in (which, it turns out, she owns!). 

It was an easy drive actually, mostly motorways and A roads, and it was a little faster than I had planned.

My back was quite painful in the evening, presumably from all the driving, and it gave me some gyp overnight.