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.