Sunday, August 02, 2015

Milo the Household helper...

Ok, I promised I would blog more often and basically I'm a big fat liar.  There. I've said it.  

Hello! (He creeps in the back door, slightly ashamed that it's been 5 months since his last post)......

Let me start with a few pictures of the allotment and associated produce.  I'll try and gloss over the fact that I haven't blogged in so long.  However, I wasn't abducted by aliens or in a coma, just haven't had a chance and the uploading of pictures is driving me to copious amounts of tea and Marlboro Golds as it is so slow.  My laptop is old and I really do need a new one (need, not want), but with the vast amounts of cash I have spent recently on the house, things like a beautiful MacBook Airs in brushed silver, will have to wait.  Sighs.  

So, the broad beans were the first thing I really harvested.  Delicious little orbs of green in their velvety cases, boiled then eaten with melted butter and sea salt.  I gave a way a few carrier bags full as I don't have the freezer space.  That's a job for next week, get another freezer.  

The carrot thinnings......the second time I have thinned them.  Hopefully the main crop will be even more impressive. 

 Patty pan squashes and Italian courgettes.  Breeding like rabbits and I can't pick them quickly enough.  Away for a couple of days and I return to monster veg.

...and the best until last, my sweetcorn plants...the largest on the allotment and like a mini jungle on my little plot.

I've spent countless hours at the Lottie and taken numerous pain killers, but it is great fun and really rewarding.  You don't often see many people down there, but I tend to go during the day 'for an hour' (or 4 hours as the time just goes) and potter around weeding, tying things, planting and harvesting...

I have nearly put weed suppressing membrane over all the paths now, so need to get bark chippings and then I'll be happy. 

It's exhausting this allotment lark...

On my birthday in May, I woke up to find poor little OOna had passed away.  She had been laying strange eggs for a while and wasn't her usual self.  Nice that she went in her sleep, but I had a few days of the others calling for her. *sadface*  Pru who is 8 has surprised me by laying a few eggs this week, Cornelia is moulting and grumpy.  Agnes is laying 5/6 eggs a week and Myrtle hasn't had a day off in months!

So, lets talk about Furface.  My little Bear and friend.  He is doing fine, still making me laugh and keeping me company on the cold nights of Summer.  Yes, I admit it, I did light the fire the other night.  It was the 29th of July and 7C and I was freezing, so brushed out the fire place, stacked up the logs and prayed that the odd twig that fell down the chimney, wasn't the result of a bird's nest.  It wasn't.  The flames shot up and I was cosy again.  

Milo and I are still going to training on a Monday night, work permitting and he is doing well.  I've had workmen in over the past few weeks fitting the last new double glazed wooden window (finally), so the cottage should be toasty and warm this winter.  No more bubble wrap stuck to the window with drawing pins in the spare room, to stop the gale blowing through.  (Yes, I did do that.  Unsightly, but effective). 

Now, as you may know, the Wonder dog isn't that good with strangers, especially workmen.  He tends to want to bite their feet.  I decided to go into Town on Market day, to get him used to more people being around (he doesn't bite the general public, just those that want to come into the house - actually, thats a tad unfair, he hasn't done it in 2 years.....)  

Anyway, I put his red car harness on him and headed off to get Country living Magazine.  Forgetting how backward this country is about allowing dogs into shops.  I stood outside the Newsagents, umming about what to do (too many Facebook stories of dog being dognapped whilst being left outside a shop), but was called inside with the Lady saying 'come in, come in, it's fine.  We allow ASSISTANCE dogs in here....'  She thought his car harness was a 'special' coat!  I didn't actually correct her, I sort of lost the ability to speak properly, which as my friends know, is something that rarely happens.  So I bought the magazine as the shop keeper stroked him and prayed he didn't cock his leg over the cheese and onion crisps.  He didn't.

I am now trawling ebay looking for am assistance coat for Milo.  Will have to come up with some reason to justify taking him with me everywhere now.  I don't think 'fabric addict' could be classed as a disability?  

I was invited to a neighbours house last night for a Barbeque and they have a dog.  A white Lab/husky type cross that Milo will often have a go at.  He was really good and played nicely (most of the time) and actually lay down and gnawed a bone, next to the other dog.  Apart from plate surfing and begging for scraps from everyone there, he was great.  

I'm a bit awkward at times and generally avoid social gatherings (ok, I admit, I have thought about moving to Orkney, to live in a croft house, with a walled garden, several wayward rescue terriers, ex-battery hens and a goat, aka the Hermit life), but I had a nice time.  

Bento madness continues......

Plus this lovely little bento box that my friend Lisa "saw and thought of me'!! 

One of our usual walks.  Spot the Terrier....

I am still doing lots of ghost writing but no longer wear the sheet over my head.  I've proof read and edited a 65,000 word document and the current project is coming to an end.  I started it in December, but only a few weeks to go until I'm finished that part (sorry for the vagueness).  I need to start on blog posts for them - I think we all know just how reliable I am with that (oops), but I'll have to crack on and be disciplined with it.  I do love sitting in my conservatory typing away with a snoring Terrier at my feet and copious mugs of tea.

Plus they pay me.

That helps. ;0)

I've managed to nearly write this whole post without mentioning work.  Meh.  Let's just leave it there shall we?  Only 24 years to retirement.  There's a cheery thought.

I treated myself to a Nutribullet this week.  I had some John Lewis vouchers and have been after one for ages.  I say 'treated', but really don't think a machine that produces thick green sludge is that good a treat.  I shot down to Sainsburys and loaded my basket with spinach, raspberries, strawberries, melon, grapes, mango and a variety of green stuff.  I managed to hide the pack of mini dark crusted pork pies under the huge bag of spinach.  It's easy to make up the smoothies and they taste ok if you don't put too much veg in, but thats the whole point I suppose?

My favourite so far is Strawberry, pineapple, beetroot (cooked and cooled - from the allotment), orange and coconut water.  Plus a blob of Ben and Jerrys cookie dough ice cream. Delish.

Time to go and get more writing done.  Pleased I've written this now, as it will keep the blog fans from my door for a while ;0) and it's been far too long.

I'll leave you with this cheeky man cuddled up to me on the sofa.

C x x x

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Yoga for Beginners..

Hello fellow Earthlings!

Well, we made it.  After the doom and gloom of the solar eclipse, when some predicted the end of the turned out to be a slightly cloudy 10 minutes and the world kept on turning.  I am relieved as I had a cake in the oven and it would have been a shame to waste the eggs, they are so few and far between.  

All is ok here, it has been a bumpy ride, filled with operations (not me, but J), hospital visits (with me being a Londonphobe - not good) and plenty of dog walks, cleaning out hens, cursing stones on the new allotment, baking, jamming and no crochet whatsoever as I still can't do it.  I have learnt many things over the past few months.  

Number one - Don't leave a tube of Germoline to repair allotment related damage, next to your toothpaste.  Ever. 


Number two - When cooking in a Rayburn at 6pm and placing a delicious Cornish pasty in the oven, set a timer.  Otherwise you will find it at 8am the next day, Fossilised. 

December. Yes, it was a long time ago that I last wrote my blog....I know I'm bad at this.   So, a few pictures from Yuletide as I like them :0) and feel bad that I didn't post a single festive post. 

A Christmas Cake for a friend.  He's Danish (which isn't relevant, just explains the use of the Scandi ribbon).  

My kitchen table with about 50% of the orders I made last year.  That there's a lot of cake, jam and puddin's! 

More cakes and German Spiced Almonds..

So, let me explain whats been going on.  J had another brain tumour removed (lucky number 3)! and was due to spend 6 days in hospital.  8 weeks later, after many complications, (an understatement) he was finally set free!  It was getting to the point that they were going to have to name a wing after him and to be fair, the food is enough to drive anyone insane. 

A 2 1/2 hour commute each way for me, but I like to think I kept him from completely losing his mind.

He is doing ok, now, but 5 general anaesthetics have left him really tired.  It will pass but he is doing really well.  

Bento land is alive and well here.  I am still trying to do one for work, but they aren't that healthy anymore.  They are still better than crappy airline food though, so at least I'm trying. 

and a new bento box for day trips....because I really needed a new one.


What with work getting in the way and hospital visits, I hadn't been to dog training in 9 weeks.  Furface was getting a bit stubborn and to be fair, I missed going for the social aspect.  I don't go out that much (aka I'm a hermit) so meeting up with the 'dog clan' every week was nice and I missed it.  I was told that they had all lost weight since my absence due to lack of baked goods.  I've made up for that since returning...hmmm, cheese straws.

The Allotment

I have been very busy with the allotment, (mainly going to the cash point to get money for the builder) but don't judge me.  I am hopeless when it comes to building things.  Unless it's a huge sandwich.  The fence is up, beds in, shed done, painted by me and it is looking fab.  I've had 11 days off so armed with a mattock (like a pick axe, but with a blunt end) and my new trusty lunch tin (essential), I started the back breaking task of digging over each bed.  All 8 of them.  HUGE beds. It has taken me all week with much muttering and cursing but it is done and I am over the moon.

Painting the shed on a cold day, did little to help my back, so off to the physio I went.  She advised I start yoga, as apparently I have a fantastic 'arse and legs, very strong...and amazing abs...' (it was at this point, I thought she must have been secretly downing a few cans of Stella between clients), but she was referring to my core strength, not my six pack.  Obviously.

Having received a fair few John Lewis vouchers, (thank you JL partnership Mastercard), I ordered a 'Yoga Bunny' mat.  I was so excited when it arrived beautifully wrapped in that plastic shrink wrap, that I tried to rip it open....

And pulled a muscle in my back.

It could only happen to me.  Or Mr Bean.  The mat hasn't moved from the spare room since January.  I still need to find a local yoga class.  And a Kaftan large enough.

After a week of agony, I visited the new Doctor, (no wedding ring, just saying) and he prescribed codeine and diazepam.  What a marvellous man he is.  I love modern medicine. I floated for around a week.

The first two beds and amazing cold frame made by my neighbour from my old bedroom window -

Look at that soil! 

I managed to pick up a couple of rickety chairs from the local auction place for £10 each and I think Furface approves!

*cough, I need a cushion

Everyone needs a lunch tin! And too many packets of seeds. My new addiction.  

I am due back to work on Tuesday.  Bleurgh.  More trouble at t'mill, but won't go into that here.  Needs must and I have a cute terrier to provide for.  I've been so busy, the time has flown by.  His 'Furriness' has been waking me at 6.30am every day, but I now get up, feed and walk him, get ready and head off to the allotment by 8am.  Spend a few hours there, then back home, quick bite to eat and then take him for a 6/7km walk.  Home by 2pm, resist the urge to collapse on the sofa and head off to the conservatory to get at least 2/3 hours of writing done.  It is going well so far and I'm enjoying the work.

When I'm doing my writing, Furface is usually sparko under my desk -

The hens are laying again.  TODAY, I actually got 4 eggs!  Well one was broken and eaten by 3 deranged hens screeching, like banshees to get to the yolk.  But you can expect thin shelled eggs when one of your hens is 6 1/2 years old.  Pru, the Matriarch of the group is 7 now and laid today!  A weird, torpedo shaped thing, but still an egg.  Good girls.  

It's now Sunday night, I'm listening to Michael Ball on Radio 2 (I'm so rock n' roll) and the little man is spread-eagled across 3/4 of the sofa.  Snoring.  And farting.  *mental note to not add a few left over sprouts to his supper next time* 

I will leave you with this adorable picture of him.  I now I am biased, but just look at that face. 

Night night Peeps!

C x x x