Saturday, November 22, 2014

Static Terrier..

Hello and greetings from Bramble Cottage!  

I thought I hadn't blogged in 4 months, but it's only 3 1/2 so feeling better about that! ;0) 

Life is still the same, except for more hot water bottles, pain killers & me hobbling around the house cursing my spinal cord, extra cosy beds for Milo (seriously, he has 3 now), Christmas puddings, jams, jellies, cakes & baubles everywhere.  My conservatory resembles Santa's grotto.  On acid.  

I'm just back a walk with Furface and thought I'd set aside some time for blogging, seeing as it's been a while.  You can't beat walking the dog on a cool day, leaves on the ground and just you, the dog and peace. Being at one with nature and all that malarky.  Gives you time to think about stuff and plod on with the voice of Endomondo, my saddo tracking app, calling out each kilometre. Enough Mother-nature-tree-hugger crap, lets get on with this.  

Work is a bit of a nightmare at the moment.  I say bit, the way that a terrier rolling in fox poo is a 'bit' of an inconvenience.  I would however prefer to bath the aforementioned stinky dog than go to work at present. I am not going to go into it, due to the Company Secret Service watching, but I'm glad I only have 24 years and 6 months left.  Now there's a thought........

So, the Christmas fair i have been planning for, has been cancelled.
Like last year.  You see a pattern emerging?   

I won't bother again.  In truth, I have lots of 'private' orders to do and am frantically cooking, wrapping, list making (no shocker there) and planning what, where, who and how.  

The first of my mini Christmas cakes.  Only 713 to go.  I am joking. Sort of - 

Bento madness is alive and well.  Yes, I know I'm not 6 1/4 and have too much time on my hands.  

Big news on the allotment front! It is ready for planting.  Ish.  The field is ploughed, string is marking out the plots and I have a SHED!!  As modelled by the wonder dog! -

 I think it needs a touch of Cuprinol 'sage green' with white edging. And a curtain in gingham for the side window.  Plus bunting.  A shed has to have bunting doesn't it?

I need to get the edging sorted (luckily I have a corner plot, so just two sides needs doing), plus some sort of fence to prevent wandering terriers.  Then raised beds, guttering, water butts, cold frames, compost and leaf mould bins and paths.  So not much work then.  Luckily I don't have a dodgy back, eh?

We all went to Germany to Dad's house to sort out the will for Mum and the house deeds.  An emotional trip but had to be done.  It was nice to get away, have leisurely breakfasts with fresh baked rolls and just potter around and do a spot of eating, shopping and a bit more eating.  My uniform was a tad tight when I got back to work but I managed to get it on.  With a shoe horn and vaseline.

I did spot this shed in a back garden and had to take a picture.  #shedenvy #jealousofthelogs

Oona the ginger hen is no longer bald.  She lost the feathers on her back last June but is now sporting her winter look.  Even though her tail feathers aren't back.  She looks like a ginger wig walking around the run, but she'll get there.  Myrtle the white hen is looking like an albino porcupine with quills sticking out of her back.  The feathers are coming slowly.  Pru, Agnes and Cornelia are all fine, the free loaders.  Looking forward to more eggs in the spring.

On to Milo the Wonder Dog!  He who-must-not-go-on-the-sofa (oooh, that sounds very Harry Potter)  As you can see -

He is doing fine and we are still going to dog training on a Monday night, work permitting.  Still making cakes for the tea break.  We had an issue with him meeting sheep, via an electric fence which he didn't see.  Lets just say he isn't obsessed with sheep anymore and walks to heel along that stretch of the walk! He is adorable and my friend and I wouldn't be without him.

 My word, it's only 5pm and I've managed to complete this before midnight.  A cuppa is called for, then a quick walk with Furface and I'm going to light the fire and watch the Holiday.

Speak soon,

C x x x

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Not my Egyptian cotton one!

Good evening *waves*

I am stunned that my last blog post was back in May (thanks for the nudge, you know who you are, Ms D of the V *wink*).

There is a definite autumnal feel in the air. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn and the hedgerow is laden with fruit, my favourite time of year.  Ideal for a forager like me.  I was tempted to light the fire last night as it's getting chilly in the evenings, but I managed to resist.  I've started collecting fallen wood for the kindling collection again.  I won't bore you with pictures of a basket full of twigs, that would be too much, but I'm happy with the amount collected so far!

So, what's been happening at Bramble Cottage?  Loads, and nothing really! Been pottering on as per usual, walking Furface, looking after the hens, garden, veggies etc and very little sewing!  My 40th birthday came and went and I feel the same (like a big kid still) apart from the usual knackered back, I'm fine!

Now, work.  It is so vile that I don't want to give it the time of day on here.  However, seeing as it keeps me in the style that I have become accustomed to, I feel it needs saying (or writing about).  *Actually scratch that (*gets out the rubber), I am refusing to talk about it, as this is about my life and the things that make me happy, it isn't making me happy and it'll turn into a rant.

I will talk about my bento boxes though, yippee *does a little dance.
Yes, that really is cold corn on the cob. Don't look at me like that, try it, it's lovely.

...and left over bbq chicken skewers.....

Now, the hens were laying brilliantly.  Even Pru who is 7 years old decided to start up production again.  The egg skelter was earning it's keep and looking fab with the home grown sweet peas, but things have taken a turn.  Cornelia and Agnes are broody.  Two Eglus and 2 broody hens leaves no space for the others to lay.  Having said that, Cornelia is an angel and will shift her bulk out of the nesting box long enough to allow the others to lay.  Her reward is to clamber back in the nest to try and hatch the infertile eggs.  Daft hen.

 The rain and sun, then rain have done wonders for the vegetable patch.  I picked the first lot of tomatoes today.  Even though the terrier has taken a liking to them.  I discovered two paw prints in one of the raised beds and a few tomatoes missing.  I won't comment on the lack of strawberries from the pots as I have a sneaking suspicion that he was involved in that too.  Time to put up defences around my corn on the cob.

The on going saga with the allotment continues.....there are now horses on the land to help clear the long grass, then the farmer will plough it, ready for the sheds etc.  I'm not holding my breath.  

My local family run garden centre is closing down, the land being sold off for housing *sad face.  However, they reduced everything by 50%, so I popped in and got loads of bits for the allotment, in the hope that one day I'll be able to plant something there.  80 Pea sticks, netting, large iron hanging basket, seeds, box hedging, twine and a Dutch hoe (? no idea, but it was £12 and has a lovely wooden handle), for the bargain price of £50. Sad though as it was a lovely garden centre.  

Yesterday was a year to the day that my Mum passed away.  My Dad and the rest of the Clan are in Germany on holiday, but I didn't want it to be a sad day.  I pottered around, gardening, walked Milo, and generally kept busy.  J came over for a Chinese takeaway and then I went to dog training.  A nice day all in all and I lit a special bees wax candle for Mum.  x x x 

Ooh, ooh, ohh, completely forgot to mention this, but I have been offered a job writing! Yes, writing, as in this sort of stuff! The company want me to write articles about self sufficiency, hens and all the general things that keep me sane at Bramble Cottage.  AND THEY ARE PAYING ME! whoop whoop.  It's all very cloak and dagger as I'll be a ghost writer, so I just need to find a sheet that i'm prepared to cut holes in and I'm all set.  *lameexcuseatajoke 
On a serious note, I am really excited (not quite a little wee in my pants excited, but you get the idea) and am looking forward to picture taking and writing about all that occurs at Bramble Cottage and the weird and wonderful world I live! 

Furface, aka Bear, aka little man, aka Milo the wonder dog is just a joy.  He has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few months, with him allowing complete strangers into the house and not a growl out of him.  For the record, I don't just invite strangers into the house, but I need to let workmen in for quotes (the last window needs doing)!  We still attend Wherwell School of Canine Excellence (ok, I made that name up, it's just a village hall) on a monday night, when appalling rostering allows and I like to take baked goods with me.  Well who wouldn't??  


It's gotten to the point where the owners are now requesting certain snacks! The cheek of it.  Some prefer sweet, others savoury, so victoria sponge and cheese straws are a winner! 

Talking of Furface, here he is, in all his photogenic splendour.  I think he looks like a little seal here! *suchcutewhiskers

Time for me to go.  It's 10pm and a certain boy needs his last walk of the day and I need to get a proper nights sleep.  So, night night all and sweet dreams.  

C x x x 

Monday, May 12, 2014

For Nadia, with love//Man flu


Today's blog post is sponsored by Beechams Powders, Lemsip, paracetamol, kleenex with Olbas oil and copious amounts of fresh lemon in hot water.  I FEEL DREADFUL!  Had this cold for 3 days and wake up every morning feeling worse.  Headache, runny nose, my eyes don't feel like my own and generally feel rough.  Dad is in Germany visiting his sister, otherwise I would have left the wonder dog with him.  However, Milo needs his walks and the fresh air should be doing me some good.  Would rather be making a nest on the sofa, surrounded by drugs, tea, chocolate and an array of programmes on Netflicks, but you can't have everything.

I have 2 weeks off now, well, 9 more days.  My brother has finished my bathroom, except for a shower rail which should be done soon.  The dust is taking it's time to settle, so I decided to stop dusting and hoovering, as it's pointless.  Another week should do it, then a mega blitz of the house.  It was worth the 23 days, (yes, really, but he is a perfectionist and needed to do the entrance hall tiling as well, plus painting) of chaos, dust, taking sponge baths in my upstairs sink etc etc, as the bathroom is stunning!  I am so pleased with it.

Now, they say that losing weight is much harder after 40.  I wouldn't know, but next week I will be starting my 4th decade on the planet (who knew I was that old, I barely look a day over 28) need to lose 2 stone in 7 days.  Any tips?  I'm thinking surgery...?

Dad has already bought me my Birthday present.  He suggested a replacement window for the back bedroom, practical as ever, as that is the last window to be done.  I suggested a new sewing machine! Less practical at reducing winter heat loss, but much more fun for me.  The Janome Quilt Master arrived a couple of weeks ago, complete with quilting table, lots of threads, feet and accessories.  The conservatory/sewing room is currently housing rubble and stuff from the bathroom remodelling, but soon I will have it looking tidy and workable again.

Just a couple of threads in my new penguin suitcase!

I stupidly mentioned Cornelia and her broody ways last time I wrote my blog.  She must have read it, as she has been clamped to the nest for 2 weeks now.  Fluffed up, screechy and mean to the others.  She does it every year.  Myrtle the light sussex is moulting, she has bald shoulders and threadbare wings, poor love.  Oona, is still bald from the shoulders down and showing no signs of getting more feathers  All in all a sorry state of affairs, but they are well looked after, cleaned out, fed, watered and treats given, plus Mite powder sprinkled everywhere (smells like tea tree oil and I'm mildly addicted to it).  

The weather has been sunshine and showers (more showers) for a couple of weeks, but between downpours I've managed to get some planting done.  Peas, parsnips, chard, radish are all in.  Sweetcorn, cucamelon, asparagus peas are in pots to go out later this month.  Dahlias and sunflower seeds were planted yesterday, a bit late, but they were cheap in Scats so hoping Mr Slug doesn't find them.  The allotment saga continues.  It is still an overgrown field.  No news.  Bugger.  

I received an ominous email from work this week.  Now I don't really like talking about work on here.  I try and keep my blog light hearted (usually) and work is anything but.  However, work is worrying me.  Changes are a foot and that is rarely a good thing.  Time will tell I suppose and there is no point in worrying.  BUT i'm worried. Talking of work, I flew with the lovely Nadia and she berated me for not writing my blog (again)!  So Nadia, as promised, this is for you.  

I was chatting to my neighbour about buying an old split screen camper van and doing it up, just to escape for a while.  He said "I didn't know you were good with mechanics...."?  I just looked at him blankly and then he said "Oh, it'll have fabulous cushions and curtains".  Yes it will.  The garage down the road can sort out the messy stuff.  I don't do oil changes.  

Something like this would do - Prices start at around £15,000 *shocker

My little lane is an unadopted road which means the Council will not pay for its upkeep.  They are more than happy to grab the council tax every month, and won't discount it, but when it comes to the quagmire & potholes in Winter, we all live with it.  Until now!  The guy at Number one is a builder and has spent a couple of weekends with his mini digger, taking a couple of tipper trucks full of crap off the surface and replacing it with gravel!  It looks so nice now.  I created a raised bed near the parking area and planted up lavender and snap dragons and all the neighbours have made an effort and done the same.  

 The area on the left by the fence will have some sort of edging put in and I have more lavenders to plant there, plus a climber of some sort opposite my kitchen windows.  My next door neighbours always get their hanging baskets from a nursery and pick the flowers, so this year they are getting one for me, so they all match (OCD or what???) but it'll look lovely!

Im still having problems posting from my ipad (yes PJ, i use the blogger app but even if I do it via Safari, it won't let me post) so most of my pictures are on there, but I've emailed a few to my Mac to put on here.  Just a couple of bentos from this week -

Not sure if I mentioned my 'skip diving' (no wet suit required)?  I saw an old bathroom cabinet in a neighbours skip and asked if I could have it.  After removing the mirrors and several coats of Farrow & Ball, it is transformed.  The plan was to insert chicken wire in front of the fabric, but tensions were running high and after a couple of staples to my index finger, I gave up.  I think it's lovely just as it is.  Ignore the checks looking wonky.  It's the camera angle.  Honest. *cough*

(you have no idea how much I had to crop this picture to try and cover up the mess in that room)! I need to find somewhere to put it now.

Time for me to head back to the kitchen for my 3pm pills and to make cheese straws for dog training tonight.  I am getting requests for baked goods every Monday now.  Cheeky buggers. The owners, not the dogs.  Really don't feel up to it, but will dose myself up and i'm sure I'll be fine when i get there.  Milo enjoys it, well the treats, and attention from other owners.  I am tempted to rename him 'Rustle', as every time someone delves into their pockets to get a treat out, he is there!  Brown puppy dog eyes looking for a snack! 

C x x x

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My, what a lovely clean floor......

Hello everyone. Just back from a long walk with Furface and sat here listening to Elaine Pages' annoying laugh on radio 2.  It's show tunes hour and I'm loving it! 

Let me start with the last blog entry's cliff hanger....

Picture the scene.  Brussels, hotel lobby, full uniform and just checking out when I start to feel odd. Odder than usual.  Light headed, cold sweats, the whole shebang.  I ask where the toilets are, to be told on the first floor.  I don't look well and would I like some help? I do need help, but start saying "I'm not going to make it, I'm going down.....", as I start sliding down the reception desk.  Cue the security guard running up to me, shouting "code blue" into his ear piece, the receptionist dashing off to get water and me spread eagled on the cool marble floor of the Sheraton.  Dripping wet.  Still clutching my trolley bag.  Just when things couldn't get any worse, a United airlines crew walk in.  

"Oh my Gaaawwwdddd, he's down, British Air is down, someone do CPR.....".  Now, don't get wrong, whilst I was flattered they wanted to save me, I was slightly dubious as to their medical training.  We are taught to only start CPR if the person is not breathing and showing no signs of life/consciousness. 
Someone sweating, trying to hide their face to cover the embarrassment of the situation and crawling to the corner of reception, generally speaking, is not in cardiac arrest.  Maybe it's different in the U.S? 

All I can see is black shoes. The ugliest black shoes on the planet.  I appreciate that as crew you need comfortable footwear, but crocs? Black crocs??? For a hostie???  Plus a pair of shoes that can only be described as something form the set of Dick Whittington.  Black & clumpy, with a huge gold buckle on the front.  

The receptionist asks if I had eaten anything? No, I hadn't, so she disappears and returns with a croissant.  "Eat this", she says, "you've got low blood sugar". I start giggling, as it reminds me of a Victoria Wood sketch; Julie Walters demanding the last croissant, "I need that pastry, I'm hypoglycaemic"!!!!
Within 10 seconds of eating the croissant, I feel absolutely fine again.    Just mortified! 

Anyway, back to the bentoes.  Just a couple this week. Still haven't discovered the perfect healthy salad type thing I can put into it.  Something that will keep for a few hours when tearing around Europe.  

Milo and I have been going to training on a Monday night for nearly a year now, I think.  He is much better, but I'm still anxious about letting him off the lead sometimes.  A deer, rabbit or pheasant scent and he's off.  I know he will come back, but in his own good time.  I usually take a snack and drink with me, so I can sit and wait for him.  In fairness, he is getting better and doesn't bugger off for quite so long anymore.  

I usually bake something to take to training classes.  Found this bone shaped cutter in Germany and it's perfect for shortbread.  


Went a bit mad on the seed front last week.  I can't resist once we have 2 days of sun, I head into the garden, cuppa in hand and start planning crops for the coming year.  No news on the allotment front as yet.  Still waiting for the field to be ploughed.  Annoying, as we were promised it would be ready for autumn planting!  Well, seeing as it's now March,I think their time management is slightly out.  Maybe they mean this year? 

My new crafty kit arrived in the post.  An idiots guide to crochet.  Still struggling with it.  Even with the pictures. What is one down from an idiot? Must be me. 

The girls are doing well.  Getting 3-5 eggs a day, even Pru the old lady is laying again.  She is 6 1/2 and doing ok.  Look at poor Oona in the background.  She is oven ready and has been like that for 8 months now.  No signs of mites or feather pulling, but she is simply refusing to grow feathers.  She lays the largest eggs I have ever seen, but is the smallest hen.  


Cornelia is laying her lovely dark brown eggs that I've missed so much.  Only 3 a week or so and no doubt she will be broody before the month is up.  *mutters*


                                                            A close up of the angel's face....


I posted this on Facebook a while ago.  Forgot to post it here!  I love this picture! 

I'll leave you with some words on wisdom.  Well, my wisdom which is slightly skewed in the real world. 

Don't wear your new Superdry tshirt, when painting a wall. 

Even though your 'well trained' terrier hasn't legged it in the woods for 5 days running, doesn't mean he won't do it on day 6. 

No matter how good your teeth are, you can still break a tooth on a pork scratching. #dentistbookedformonday

C x x x 

p.s still having problems posting from my ipad!!  I wrote the whole post out, including pictures, then it wouldn't publish.  I had to copy, paste and email it to my MacBook to publish it.  Any ideas?  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Confessions of a bento addict..

Hello my lovely readers and welcome to this instalment of my little life blog!

Things have been busy at Bramble Cottage, hence the lack of posting....The fact that my pictures are all on my ipad and i still can't seem to post from it, isn't helping.  

So what's going on?  Well, the kitchen windows are finally in and I noticed a difference in temperature immediately.  It is too hot now.  I'm often in pants and a tshirt as it's sweltering in my little kitchen.  My neighbours are grateful for the kitchen blinds.  

Bento-mania is in full swing.  Here is a little selection of my latest ones - 

As you can see, some lunches are healthier than others, but salad just doesn't stay fresh when I flying all over the place, even with little ice packs in the cool bag.

My cousin and his wife have had a baby, so I leapt into quilting mode and made this for baby Max!  Of course, I posted it off to Germany, before I took a picture of the finished quilt.  You get the idea from the picture though!

I bumped into 3 people at work this morning who all commented that I haven't posted my blog in a very long time, so here we go! It's nice to be missed....

I treated myself to Netflicks for Christmas.  I'm not a huge fan of TV, but love watching films, so for £6 a month, I thought, why not? The trouble is, I'm addicted to RuPaul's drag race!! 12 drag queens compete to become America's next drag superstar.  It is tacky and bitchy and I love it!  I've watched all 5 series now and feeling down until series 6 starts up. 

Work is.........well, work.  Until my dream of becoming an international recording artist (can hold a tune, but it's not going to happen), an infant school teacher (more probably), or a fabulous drag queen (I have the lips, cutting wit & facial expressions, apparently),  flying will pay the mortgage on Bramble Cottage for a bit longer. Plus the thought of 'tucking' is slightly off putting.  *offyouallgotogoogle

Just done a lovely trip.  A day in Frankfurt with good food and great company, plus an afternoon in Sweden for a spot of fabric shopping!  Need I say more?

The hens are fine, only the two new girls, Oona and Myrtle are laying.  Oona is still completely bald on her back, no feather pulling that I have witnessed, but she is fine.  She can always be found in the middle of the chicken scrum in the Eglu, so I'm not worried about her being too cold.  

The wonder dog is fab. We are still going to training on a Monday evening when work allows. I am seeing progress and he seems to enjoy the classes, although it could be the extra treats that he looks forward to. 

In his special Christmas bandana - 

Just look at that face! 

Time for me to head off to bed now.  I'm up at 2.40 for work tomorrow, yes, that's 2.40 AM.  Not happy, but the public need me to serve delicious (vom) snacks and deliver the best customer service at 37,000 feet.  Clearly they haven't met me.  
So, with 3 alarms set, I'm off.  Sorry it's been so long, but I've been busy and well, erm, nope, no other excuses really.  My next blog post will be about my kitchen windows, a saga, and  my mortifying experience of lying on the cold marble of the Sheraton hotel lobby in Brussels, surrounded by overweight and ancient United airlines stewardesses.  In ugly shoes. (Them, not me). Bet you can't wait! 

C x x x