All is ok at Bramble Cottage, still flying Europe's friendly skies, walking Milo the Wonder Dog, baking and finally being able to reset my password so that i can write my blog! That is one of the reasons I've not been writing but I just haven't really had the time. Blogger is playing silly buggers and won't let me post from my iPad (only pictures) but will close down every 3 seconds when I start writing.
So, what have i been up to? Work, Pilates, work, making 49 Christmas puddings, 70 christmas cakes, 9 kilos of chocolate fudge, 8 kilos of sugared almond, 406 jars of jam, countless hampers and trying to keep everyone happy with their orders! ;0) November was a busy month, loading up Melvin the Mini with boxes of festive goodies to post out to Customers.
I was off for 13 days before Christmas and had a lovely day at my Dads. Back to work on Boxing day for a 7 day block....but I'm off for 2 weeks now as Dad is on holiday so I take leave to look after my Furface. Talking of his Lordship, he is a happy boy. We have our 'Gotcha' anniversary on the 17th of January. I can't quite believe he has been in my life for 6 whole years, he has come on in leaps and bounds and after nearly 6 years of dog training on a Monday night, he still goes AWOL on most walks. But always comes back. Eventually.
Please excuse the weird look to my pictures this time. I need to find a Mac genius to help me. As mentioned above, i can post pictures via the iPad, but can't write content, the iPhone is useless and I'm struggling to even log in, so no complaining in the ranks about my lack of posting please, lol.
I ditched the cellophane hampers this year and decided to go rustic. Mainly due to the impossible task of posting things wrapped in cellophane. I love these hessian sacks and they went down really well.
So much so, that people are trying to order for this year already, but I'm being very strict and not taking orders until the 01st of October.
Jam Towers -
Not forgetting our four legged friends I made mini sacks filled with home made dog treats
Mint and parsley dog treats -
My back has been ok, on and off, but i managed to knackered my shoulder when an over enthusiast Staffie jumped up to say hello. After a week of an almost deformed shoulder which wouldn't sit right, I discovered a new Physiotherapist called Steve. Or future husband Steve (FHS) as I have nicked named him. He's married with children, but that is a minor issue. He fixed my shoulder in a couple of sessions and then started working on my back. I go every couple of weeks for a tweaking and its money well spent. He recommended a 'diet' which is more of a life style change, involving no carbs or sugar. I am a huge fan of bread, pasta, potatoes and all things carbohydrate, but i bought the book from Amazon and gave it a go. I've lost 2 stone and 6 pounds in 3 months!
The diet isn't easy as its high fat everything, cheese, cheese and cheese, hideous amounts of eggs (mainly down to me not eating meat) and lots of avocados, but it works for me. I did relent and ate my own body weight in roast potatoes on Christmas day.
With a suspected hernia, I went to the hospital to see a surgeon who informed me that it isn't a hernia, but an over developed ab muscle....Just the one. The rest are crap. He thinks that my back injury 11 years ago has resulted in just one of my six pack compensating for my lower back. Just need to work on the other 5 muscles now. There was something there and he thinks that I might have a hernia developing but if i continue with Pilates and my healthy lifestyle (?!) then it shouldn't be a problem.
I've wasted weeks of my time watching van life videos on youtube. Just look up 'Van life tour' and you'll see what i mean. People buying vans and converting them to live in full time. I am stunned by what they manage to fit inside a van. They usually have links to selling sites and sponsorship deals through the videos in order to help support themselves. It got me thinking about my own blog as many have suggested I 'monetise' it (Awful Americanism). I'm not a fan of the flashing links all over a blog and it puts me off reading them, but I am going to post a link to Cornerstone razors. I discovered them 6 months ago and love them. They post out 6 blades every 6 weeks and they cost the same as regular Gillette razors.
If you click on my link, you get £10 off your first order and I get £10 credit. Cheeky, but what the hell, I love them. Have a read through the site, it'll cost you £4 for 6 razors and then you can cancel. Clicky
Onto sad news, I lost Agnes and Cornelia over the past couple of months. Agnes was 10 and Cornelia 10 and a half, so they lived to a very good age. I still have Bette and Doris and have found a local lady who breeds Marans with award winning dark brown eggs. I'm not so bothered about the award bit, not at all actually, but I've always wanted to have chestnut brown egg layers. They should be ready by Spring! So pictures will follow....
My Pilates instructor decided to close her studio, so I was 3 - 4 classes a week down (and considerably better off), but unhappy, achy and generally feeling down about my back; who would have thought that I actually missed exercise? A new experience for me, I'll be wearing a sweat band and full body lycra next.
I've found a new pace that is local, (more expensive)! but i'm enjoying it. Even though I only manage 2 classes a week, I'm trying really hard to do more at home and when away with work. The yoga towel is back in my trolley bag and when i can, I have a little Pilates routine that I do in my hotel room. Little and often seems to be the key to keeping my back in good condition. Still haven't found a yoga teacher that doesn't "Ommmm", chant and wear kaftans, but I'm working on it. A friend at work is now qualified (google Pushti Yoga) for her details She is brilliant, but too far from me. Hoping to do a night stop somewhere in Europe and she can take me through my paces.
The other big news, that has been a secret passion for many a year, is VW camper vans. I've hankered after owning one for as long as I can remember and now my dream is coming close to reality. As you know, I am often away from home with work and love nothing more than being here at Bramble Cottage with Furface. I usually take one holiday a year to Portugal with Jase, but apart from that i'm a home boy, (no, not the baggy jeans type, but like being at home).....however, being able to jump in the camper and head to Devon, just me, the Terrier and the open road would be heaven.
I've recently found a local guy that deals with repairs etc on VW Camper vans and I met him today. He says my budget is unrealistic but we are working on that! Hee hee. I know the curtains and cushions will be stunning as that is my area of expertise, but the mechanics are another matter. I know I have to be patient and wait for the right camper, but I can't help picking up odds and ends for it (and coming up with funky names for her), but as you know that is very me.
I'm signing off now, its time to feed and walk Milo. When celebrating our anniversary, he was slightly less excited that me, until I gave him a crispy pigs ear to celebrate. I had kale crisps (low carb and disgusting).
''Tis I, the very naughty, naughty blogger, who is alive and hanging his head in shame.
Things started going wrong when I decided to open my Facebook Christmas shoppe in September '16. I slightly underestimated the popularity of my wares and spent 3 months making jams, jellies, Christmas puddings, sugared almonds, fudge, cakes and snowman hats (so, so many hats)!
It all started with a small container of blackberries and snow balled into 300 jars of jam sold!
But that was then and this is now. Same old really. When we last 'spoke', I had fractured my wrist. It started aching all the time, so I bought a copper bracelet that is working well, apart from the green stain, that needs scrubbing off every day.
Furface is fine and currently snoring like a freight train under my sewing table. He has two new friends, Teddy and Buddy, a neighbour's jack Russell puppies. He is teaching them all he knows, including the best muck to roll in!
I am typing this on my iPad and it keeps crashing, so hold on tight as much swearing might ensue!
Edit - Moved onto the Macbook as I can't take the b@£%$£@ iPad anymore!
....looks nothing like this! This is the dream. The reality is something quite different. Barren plot, except for the weeds. The bane of my life; creeping buttercup and bind weed. Everywhere. I've been working on it since March and have little to show for it in terms of actual, take-home-and-eat produce. The only good thing about the dry weather is the lack slugs and snails. Last year I planted everything three times. This year only once, but the little seedlings are slow to appear.
Luckily I now have a greenhouse on my next door neighbour's plot and that has made a huge difference.
My sweetcorn is going great guns though and is now in the ground..
Baking still continues at Bramble Cottage, but less often than before. That's the trouble with living alone, you feels obliged to eat everything you bake and my six pack (!) doesn't approve. *cough*
So, I went to the Doctors a couple of weeks ago, as I have a slight hernia. Had it 20 years, but it never bothers me really. She examined me, asked me to cough several times (no, not like that) and commented on my ab muscles, saying I must do Pilates more than once a week to get abs like mine. (I nearly choked and doubted if she was actually qualified). Shame they so are well insulated under the layer of fat. I'm waiting for an ultrasound to determine whether I will need surgery or not; secretly hoping for late November, early December...
In the meantime, I'll continue with my 3 - 4 Pilates classes a week (get me)! as I enjoy them and it is still making huge difference to my back, posture and general Zen like state of mind. I'm still wearing a vest under my t-shirt as when I've got my legs over my head, no-one wants to see my tummy...regardless of my alleged 'abs'.
The hens are ok. I lost one a few months ago to sour crop :0( but the remaining 5 are ok. Cornelia and Agnes are now 10 years old and slowing down, no longer laying, but still in charge of the younger hens. I planted a pot of mint in the run, to try and deter flies. The basil pot lasted 2.6 seconds before they destroyed it, but clearly mint is not a favourite of chickens.
Work is still.....erm....work. The less said about that the better, but it pays the mortgage and keeps the Terrier in dog treats. I'm tempted to reduce my 75% contract to 50%, but finances do not allow that at the moment. I need to write a book and sit wistfully in the conservatory, Terrier at my feet, sipping tea and pen a best seller. Another dream. But maybe one day? Tales of Bramble Cottage...
I'm shocked at how little I have to tell you, seeing as it's been months of blog neglect. Just plodding on as we all do. The literary thorns in my side (in a nice way), Nadia, Lisa and Aunty Di, will be happy that I'm writing again. I have missed it, but struggle to find the time to bore you all with my life from a little village in Hampshire.
Milo helping with changing the bed sheets -
I have to dash now as I'm taking Furface out wth his girlfriend Ruby, the Springer Spaniel. I'll leave you with this adorable pic that I snapped on my phone. One of my favourites.
Firstly, the big news, I have new hens!! I sadly lost Myrtle a few weeks ago, with Cornelia and Agnes not really laying anymore (spinsters at 9 years old), I thought it time to add to the menagerie.
Introducing Mabel, Gwen, Doris and Bette. 2 Bluebelles, a Speckledy and a light Sussex! They are settling in well, with Agnes and Cornelia giving them evils glares through mesh. I left it a few days, then opened up the (safety) panel.... They completely ignored each other!
It is a bit 'ghetto' at the moment -
..with the two groups staying clear of each other. By 9 pm I had forgotten about them and realised that it was dark. (No problems re foxes, as the run is secure). All 6 hens cuddled up together in one Eglu. Agnes and Cornelia are still boss, but there isn't really any squabbling with is great news. The new girls are 18 weeks old now and should lay all through winter.
With it being September, nature is preparing itself for winter, as am I. The hedgerows are full to bursting and I have picked my own body weight in blackberries - no mean feat I'm telling you. Bramble cottage maybe small, but there are plenty of places to stash jars of jam. I've made 150+ jars so far. Nearly all with be sold, when I open up my Facebook Christmas shoppe (it sounds cuter if I call it a shoppe) ;0)
I've had several inquiries already plus preorders (get me) of Christmas puddings.
I usually do small batches of 10-15 jars at a time.
The allotment hasn't been a disaster this year, but the slugs feasted on nearly everything. A mild winter and wet summer didn't help, with all of my seedlings eaten and everything had to be replanted at least 2/3 times. It's strange, I go there every day/other day and rarely see anyone there. Work is being done, although a few plots have been abandoned which is a shame. My raspberry canes have turned into a thorny thug and need some serious work this year. I'm picking around 2lbs of raspberries a day. If I leave it for a couple of days they turn to mush and I hate wasting them. 24 lbs of raspberries picked so far. Mostly made into jams, but I have a few bags in the freezer for my smoothies. Milo the wonder dog is also partial to them and feels it's acceptable to rummage through the undergrowth in search of his prize. Spending hours staring at a mouse hole is also a fun game. Although once or twice he has tried to dig it out.
I have 4 water butts at the lottie and they are all nearly empty now. The water situation is on going and we were promised water in March. I haven't taken any down this year and just left plants to it, only watering when I planted and if it was exceptionally dry. Seems to have worked well, with healthier plants. I did decide to move the water butts, as one was pushing against the shed.
Top tip - don't try and move a water butt when there is water in it. Especially is you have a bad back and 'bony girl wrists'. (The nurse's comment, not mine). You will hear a crack, followed by immense pain. Nurofen won't help. Cocodamol will send you into a blissful sleep, but you will wake up at 3am with a pain so bad that you need to go to the hospital. One fractured wrist later and you'll be off work, unable to drive (or wear a watch - hell for me) and peed off with yourself for being so stupid. No plaster, as it was a tiny fracture (gutted, as I'm 42 and never had a plaster) just a wrist split with a metal bar that drove me mad. The real downside was not being able to go to Pilates for a couple of weeks, I really missed it and my back suffered as a result.
It's 6 weeks on now and my wrist is better, but I still feel the odd twinge when I'm not careful.
I did mange to get a couple of quilts sewn though. Seeing as I couldn't drive, I walked to the quilt shop (2 minutes away, which some would say is wonderful, I don't feel that way as its too tempting) and picked up some fabric. I know. Unlike me.
Poor quality pictures, but just delighted that I can post pictures from my iPad, which is suddenly allowing me to type a blog post (well, I haven't hit the 'publish' button yet, but here's hoping)!
I also made some curtains for the spare room, with fabric I bough in Glasgow months ago.
Very country cottage and I'm pleased with them.
Time to head off now, as I have visitors arriving today and need to reclaim the kitchen table from the jars of jam. I won't comment on the printer and Laptop that are plotting against me and not allowing me to print jam labels. J is coming later to help, as I can't seem to get it to work.
After a rather anxious wait, several cups of tea and copious cigarettes, Google have finally let me back into my own blog. This is the price I pay for forgetting my password and not posting since August last year!
So, all is well, however, I have a new laptop (the shiny brushed metal one mentioned in my last blog post circa 1923), that for some reason is not allowing me to post pictures to my blog. Don't despair, I will work out a way to do it, but until then you will have to read my ramblings, without pictures of my packed lunches to interrupt the boredom. ;0)
I have no idea why I haven't been updating this, just forgot, then didn't, then got out of practise I suppose. The picture issue is driving me mental (more so than normal), but I will suss it out at some point. The iPad allows me to post pictures but no text.....arrrrgghhhhhh. So if any Mac geniuses (or should that be genei)? know how to solve the problem, please get in touch.
(I can't seem to drag pictures from Facebook into iPhoto).....?
I'm back after a mad dash across the kitchen waving a tea towel in the direction of the smoke alarm, as the toaster insists on burning my hot cross bun (my 3rd today, shocking).
I've just realised that you weren't aware that I was gone.....
Anyhow, apart from the depressing news that my pension sucks and I have to work until I'm 109, not much has changed really. Furface, aka Milo the Wonder Dog (MWD), The Terrier, Little Man, and Bear (I know, but he is so cute and deserves so many nick names) is doing well. We haven't been to training in a few weeks as work keeps messing up my life. He is fine though and still jumping onto the sofa, the minute he sees my Mini driving off. Talking of which, I have a new Mini! He is called Melvin and he is British Racing Green, with white stripes.
The big news, that isn't really that big, is that I've started Pilates for my dodgy back! (I started in September last year, so do keep up *cough*). Having to get diazepam from the Doctor really made me question the future of my back and whilst the drug is so, so wonderful and floaty, it isn't ideal for day to day living. No kaftans, or lycra are involved, just a mat, funky socks, shorts and a t-shirt. Plus a rather attractive selection of vests that I wear under said t-shirt to prevent the women attending from passing out when my t-shirt rides up. No one wants to see that. Ever.
Sometimes we use half inflated balls, bands, rings and these horrible spiky balls to release tension (and swear words). It has really, really helped. I do mean really. I had no idea that my 'core' muscles were so weak. Or that I even had core muscles. I now know what a pelvic floor is, even though I don't have one. Heavens above.
I have also given up meat for a year. Just decided to. Well, not just this second. I stopped on the 27th of December and it is going well so far. I'm still eating fish, but my veggie intake has gone through the roof, as well as my bread consumption. No shocker there as I am a bread fiend.
I'm still doing my writing job which is going well, but unsure how long it will last. I've been asked to write a blog for them, but not sure where to start really? I'll have to speak to the boss and see what they have in store for me.
For some reason, The Terrier decided it was appropriate to wake me at 6.25 this morning. Lots of huffing and pawing at my face (with the standard long, Terrier claws). So I got up. And nearly froze.
I need to explain that my beautiful cottage in the county of Hampshire, is my sanctuary. However, there is no gas in the village, so everything is electric. Including the sodding economy 7, appalling radiators. Stanley the Rayburn is oil fuelled and does a marvellous job of heating the kitchen and 1 square foot of the lounge, but the rest of the house is baltic. I donned my trackie bottoms, hoodie, scarf, gloves, 6 pairs of socks and my crocs (it's not a look) and headed out for the Terrier's ablutions. Why is it you always bump into someone when you look like death warmed up? Today it was the man who always wears a day glow coat, that you can see from space, even in the summer. Milo gave his dog the laser beam eyes, a friendly growl, and we carried on.
Since I was up, I got ready and headed to the allotment. I haven't been down there all winter, apart from Christmas eve when I dug up my parsnips and carrots for Christmas day lunch. The sight that greeted me was green. Bloody thistles everywhere. Hundreds of the bloody things. How I loathe thistles. I dug over 1 1/2 beds before my back started screaming at me so I took Furface for a walk and then came home. Chopped some logs (again, not good back therapy) and cleaned out the hens that aren't laying, then decided on a nana nap on the sofa. Cuddled up under a blanket, a snoozing Terrier at my side. Perfect for a Saturday afternoon.
I've just finished roasting cauliflower in the oven. Thank you Mary Berry, but I can't help feeling that it would be more appealing swimming in a rich cheese sauce. With grated cheese on top. Ho hum, it'll do for tonight. The falafel I bought to go with it looks like droppings from a sumo rabbit, so i'll give those a miss.
Time to light the fire and get into my moochy gear for the night. I do apologise for the lack of pictures, but as I said, I'll work it out soon.
Take care and thanks for reading
C x x x
p.s A message for Di, not sure if you received my emails? Hope all is ok with you and thank you for the Christmas pressies!
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.
Well, we made it. After the doom and gloom of the solar eclipse, when some predicted the end of the world....it 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.
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.