Thursday, 1 September 2016


Good morning!  It looks as if it is going to be another wonderfully sunny but not baking hot day today.  I'm loving this week - my sort of weather.

Well, the boiler and the central heating are all now in tip-top condition and ready to go.  What's the betting we will have the warmest winter ever and the heating won't be needed!  There's something very reassuring though about knowing it's all working properly, isn't there?

I asked Matt and he gave the the contact info for a painter/decorator that he can thoroughly recommend.  He is coming this afternoon to take a look at my bedroom.  Yes, in this current mood of 'spoil myself', I have decided to neaten up the decor in my bedroom.  Nothing lavish, far from it.  In fact I am hoping that the walls will be in good enough condition under the paper to paint and if they're not, then I will ask him to make good so that they can be.  I need a new, properly fitting curtain rail so that can be done too and I'm hoping he can also deal with the centre fan light and the lights above my bed too.  I might ask him how much it will cost to get rid of the nasty artex ceiling.  I might even then get some new curtains although I'm not sure about that because I still like the ones I have.
In for a penny . . .

Yesterday was another gentle, easy day.  Once Matt had gone, I went onto Amazon and bought some Kindle books to read next week.  I made some orange squash using Thermione (very nice with ice and sparkly water).  I did some ironing.  I talked to the tomatoes (well, sort of anyway).  I went to feed Beth's cats.

Today, this morning I have a tuition session, after lunch a friend is coming round for coffee and a chat and after that Paul is coming to look at what needs doing in the bedroom and give me a quote.  And I have to feed the cats.  A much busier day than yesterday but still very pleasant and sociable.

Here's today's update with apologies for the fuzziness thereof.

Now 'all' I need is a glorious September with no blight inducing weather!

Today's food:
B:  two boiled eggs, apple
L:  steamed salmon with a salad, orange
D:  Chili con carne with rice, melon and strawberries

Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  It looks as if the last day of August will be a very pleasant one, weather wise, with plenty of sun and a high of 23 C according to the BBC.  That is just about right for me.

Yesterday was a quiet, pleasant day.  Matt the Plumber came, worked hard, sorted out the slight problem with the shower, replaced the boiler, advised me on another plumbing issue, tidied up and went.  Very efficient, very quiet, I'd recommend him to anyone.  If you live round my way you couldn't do better.

While Matt was taking over the kitchen, I was at a bit of a loose end so I went upstairs and tacked my yarn cupboard and pondered on how to reorganise some stuff in there.  Anything that had been wound into a ball went in a wicker basket that I no longer need or want in my room and all the sock yarn went in another box.  I think I will carry on today and finish the whole cupboard off completely.

So today is more of the same as Matt finishes it all off.  I have to go and feed some cats but apart from that there are no other commitments so I can do as I please really.  Downstairs needs a bit of a tidy up - nothing too bad but it will be if I don't deal with it now - and, of course, this evening it is Bake Off.  It's biscuit week which is always an enjoyable one, although my absolute favourite is bread week.

I will, of course, be on tomato watch.  It's all looking good out there.

Also looking good is the tayberry as I mentioned yesterday.  It's definitely decided that it likes where it is and that it's going to stay this time.  It has three clear growing stems and it looks as if it is sending out a few more but I think I will cut those back come the autumn as I only want to start with three, one for each wire.

And here, because you are all, of course, wildly excited and curious about the tomatoes < cough >, is yesterday evening's state of affairs!  I remembered what they are called - Giulietta.  Despite the lateness, if the taste matches the appearance, I might get another one next year.  It's certainly producing plenty of fruit anyway so will more than cover its costs.

On to today's food:
B:  puffed wheat with fruit, apple
L:  gala pie with a salad, melon
D:  steamed salmon, new pots, tomato salad (I have rather a lot of them!), orange

Tuesday, 30 August 2016


Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and it was cool overnight so I could snuggle under the quilt.  I do sleep better like that so I've had a great night's sleep.

Another reason might be because I was sleeping in an uncluttered bedroom.  Yes, I finally got the bedroom sorted.  It is now neat and airy and open and I won't stub my toe on anything.  I didn't manage to sort through all the cupboards, although I did quite a lot, partly because the bin is now full and I need to wait until collection on Thursday but also because it took more or less all day (with breaks) and by the end of the afternoon I was hot and bothers and rather achey.   I'll get the rest of the cupboards done another time.

Another nice thing is those tomatoes getting riper and riper.  I reckon the first two will be ready by the weekend.  I'll take a photo of one in my hand so you can see how big they are.
For now . . .

The tayberry has changed out of all recognition since the Spring days of a few leaves at ground level.  I have now started training the stems along the wire on the fence and am dreaming of fruit next year.  Not much, I am sure, but some, enough to do something with.

Today Matt the plumber is here to replace my boiler and give the whole system a thorough overhaul.  He says to just leave it to him so I will.  I will just potter as there's various bits and bobs of stuff that need doing.

Today's food:
B:  yogurt, stewed plums and granola, melon
L:  pea and courgette tartlet, side salad, coleslaw, orange
D:  burger, new pots, runner beans, fried tomatoes, pink fluff

Monday, 29 August 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.

First of all, that silly thing I mentioned yesterday.
A few days ago I noticed that the fridge felt rather cold.  It's not too difficult to move the dial while one is cleaning round the edge.  So I turned it down - higher number means higher temp, doesn't it?  It was still feeling too cold so I turned it down again.

Then I got out a frozen lettuce and frozen celery, both of which had been near the back of the fridge.  Ooops.

So I consulted the manual and had a 'doh' moment.  Higher numbers mean colder temp, not warmer.  So I reset and all is fine again - which is more than can be said for the lettuce!  The celery can go into the freezer for cooking with so that's not a problem.

Apart from feeling more than a bit silly, the main emotion was relief.  Having to buy a new fridge in the same month as a new washing machine would have been more than a bit 'ouch'.

Now some good news - for me, anyway.  At long, long, long last, finally, the Italian plum tomatoes have decided to start ripening.  Woo hoo!

OK, so it's very faint and not showing up all that well on the photo above: that was yesterday and it's brighter today, even in the poor early morning light.

Yesterday was very pleasant with Beth and Alex coming for lunch.  I pushed the boat out and we had three courses and it was all rather nice.  There was enough soup left over for me to have more for tea, which was great.

Today is Have To Tidy Up My Bedroom day!  It really is.  No more excusing, prevaricating or negotiation.  By this evening it will be a delight to walk in to.  What?  You don't believe me?  Just wait and see!

Today's food:
B  bacon, tomato and mushrooms
L:  tuna salad wrap, melon
D:  tomato and veg pasta, natural yogurt and fresh fruit

And, as I've made it (for a Facebook group) here's a montage yesterday's food.  The soup was cream of mushroom and it was so delicious and so easy.  Most certainly one to make again.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sunday - and a special award to . . .

 . . . Specsavers.  Good old Specsavers!

After my glasses broke on Thursday I went into town yesterday, partly to get some things from the market and partly to go to Specsavers to make an appointment to have my eyes tested (long overdue) and to see if my poor glasses could be repaired.

The bad news was that they can't be repaired.  Such a shame because there's nothing wrong with them (apart from the broken bit, of course).  At the moment they are sellotaped up but they don't feel right at all.

The good news is they were able to fit me in for an eye test right away as I got there early.  It turns out that my vision has hardly changed since the last test which is really encouraging after a lifetime of gradually getting worse and worse and everything came out super healthy - great muscle reaction, eye pressure well within the normal range, excellent peripheral vision (well, I have been a teacher most of my life) and so on.  My goodness, the tests are a whole lot more high tech than they were three years ago though.

The test before last, they found something at the back of one of my eyes and sent me post-haste to have it checked out at the eye clinic.  It turned out to be a little mole, nothing dangerous at all.  Today I was told it hasn't changed one little bit so that was also good news.

They do a two for one, of course.  However, given as I don't really need new glasses from the vision point of view, my prescription sunglasses will still be fine so I got two 'normal' pairs, one pair for everyday and one pair for swimming as the chlorine does have an effect on the lenses over time.

And what is also great is that they came out cheaper than three years ago!  OK, so maybe a few 'retired' not-payment things may have clicked in but even so, can't be bad, can it?

So, you see, Specsavers is in my good books right now!

While at the market, I looked at the fruit and veg stall and came back with a bag full of stuff.  Oranges, nectarines, Victoria plums and mushrooms.  I shall make some soup with some of the mushrooms which will be great for lunch today for me, Beth and Alex and  I think I will prep and freeze some of the plums.

On the kitchen front, I made some more vegetable stock paste which is now snugging in the fridge in three jam jars.  It's so good, makes lovely stock for soups and casseroles, etc, and, being home made, is incredibly frugal (and additive free)!

I picked more tomatoes.  Sadly, at least one of the montello plants has blossom end rot which is a right pain.  The fruit isn't totally wasted, you just have to cut off the bottom and discard it so OK for cooking but even so.  Thing is, as they're in pots I can't see how I could have over-watered.  Underwatering is more possible, although I have been careful.  I gather it is basically lack of calcium  which can be caused by either so I've given each pot a handful of slow release pellets and for the next little while I will crunch up egg shells into a powder and pop them on too.  The good thing is that it can be treated and the advice seems to be small waterings three times a day rather than once a day and then it wilts before the next watering.  Anyway, fingers crossed that it works for the currently developing fruit.

For the rest of the day I crafted and generally enjoyed myself in quiet, homey ways.  I did something that made me feel rather silly but I will share that tomorrow as I've waffled on for long enough!

Today I shall make that soup for lunch first of all and then potter.  After all, it is bank holiday weekend.  We will not mention that life is one long holiday now, OK?

Today's food:
B:  natural yogurt, fresh fruit and granola, apple
L:  mushroom soup, lasagne, Karen's frozen pink fluff
D:  gala pie with salad, melon

Saturday, 27 August 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's the start of the weekend and I bet a lot of families will be thinking of heading for the coast.  Fresh sea breezes are just the thing on these warm days, aren't they, and I envy people who live by the sea.  The weather forecast is weird - there's a yellow warning of rain but the actual forecast shows merely some light showers.

Fortunately for me, the rain isn't due until around midday (if it arrives at all).  I should be back from town well before then because I shall be in before the crowds, I hope.

Yesterday went well.  My delivery arrived at the time they said it would, Sharon worked her usual magic on my hair and the early bird swim was lovely.

I decided not to go for lengths this time, but to just paddle my way up and down for a while.  I did about forty five minutes and it was physically invigorating and mentally relaxing.

As I was drying off afterwards, my glasses felt wonky so I put my hand up to adjust them and discovered that one of the legs (or are they called arms) had come completely off.  It wasn't the little screw, it was a bit further along, and, while I was able to push it back together and sellotape (when I got home), the spring isn't there any more and they feel very loose and unsafe.
So while I am is town, I will pop into Specsavers to see if it can be repaired and, as I'm overdue for an eye test, I will book one at the same time.  I've popped my prescription sunglasses into my bag in case they take off the sellotape and then discover that it can't be repaired.  I shall have to drive home somehow, after all!

The other thing I need to do is go to the haberdashery stall to get buttons, zip, thread and lace for one of the current projects.  I shall also give the connecting fabric stall the once over in case they have anything new in.  Then, seeing as I am in town, I will go to the fruit and veg stall as they can have some very good stuff very reasonably priced.

Once home, I think a bit of gardening is on the cards, plus more crafting.  Oh, isn't it a hard life!  The knitted part is coming together well and will be finished today  and tomorrow I shall focus on the sewing part.  I was a little concerned that there was enough yarn but it is coming together fine and I will have enough to send a little ball of it for any necessary repairs.

I have enough tomatoes now that I can start cooking them so yesterday I fried some in a little butter and, oh, they were so, so good.  I have some left over to eat with a crumpet for breakfast and I'm really looking forward to it!  In fact it has got to the point where I have to go out with a container to pick - my hand isn't big enough.

So, today's food:
B:  crumpet with fried tomatoes, apple
L:  mini crustless quiche with salad, orange
D:  steak, more fried tomatoes, runner beans, mushrooms, natural yogurt and soft fruit

As I don't have an appropriate photo, here's a montage of yesterday's nosh!

Have a great day, everyone.

Friday, 26 August 2016


Friday already!  The end of the working week for many.  The end of the last full week of the summer holidays.

All my adult life I have got to this point in the year with a sort of sinking feeling.  Not dread, just sadness that the holiday is nearly over and, yes, a sense of hovering stress, there and ready to pounce.  It's missing this year.
The thing I am dreading most at the moment is the drive over the Orwell Bridge that I will have to make to get to my B&B in a few week's time.  I have no head for heights whatsoever; I even avoid the flyover at the Army and Navy roundabout and as for the QE bridge, I take a middle lane and stick to it, looking ahead rigidly!  The Orwell bridge looks as if it has no sides although common sense tells me that it has to.

But that's an entirely different feeling!

Yesterday was warm again, wasn't it?  Not as baking hot as Wednesday and the skies were hazy but warm enough to dry the washing quickly and to make staying in with the fan on a very pleasant option.  The tomatoes are certainly liking it and I was able to give Beth a bagful the other day.

After tuition (I'm loving it!) Beth came round and we got started on a new commission.  I won't tell you what it is yet, just in case, as it's a gift, but I am knitting and we've adapted a dress pattern.  It means a trip to the market tomorrow morning to get sylko, lace and a zip!

My new iron arrived yesterday.  The old one (which is very old now) was showing signs of wear and tear and wasn't ironing quite as well as it used to do.  I reckon that if I am going to iron, I want to do it properly!  It's a Which? Best Buy so should be OK: it is certainly pretty substantial.

Today looks like being fully occupied.
Swimming first, then back home to wait for Sharon to come and do my hair.  After that, weather permitting, we're off to the allotment but just to water.
Then things ease off a bit and we go our separate ways but Beth is staying overnight so I need to make sure there's a meal for her when she gets here.  Her bed is already made up and her room will be nice and clean, once the cleaners have done their best!
I'm awaiting an email that will give the an hour slot for an important delivery so the allotment bit might change.

Today's food plans:
B:  oat bran galette, natural yogurt, fresh fruit, apple
L:  soup from the freezer, orange
D:  salmon, new potatoes and fried tomatoes, pineapple and yogurt