Friday, 31 December 2021

Saving money on food

 As we did so well with getting all those meat and fish bargains the other evening, we decided to go to the supermarket again the following evening, to see if we could get anything else.  I'd rearranged some of the things in the big utility room freezer, freeing up a little space, and there was a fair bit of space in the kitchen freezer.

We didn't do as well as the night before, no joints or chickens reduced, but still got some good bargains.  I bought several packs of sausages, 2 large steak pies, 2 packs of lambs liver and 2 packs of steak mince, all reduced to half price.  Also got a few other things we needed, like husband's decaf teabags and my Redbush tea.  And husband had been given a voucher with his fuel purchase, so I got another £4.50 off the bill, luckily.  So now, with all the things we got this week, along with what's in the freezers already, we've got enough meat and fish to last for months.  We already had a large turkey crown, 2 pork joints, a large duck, lots of chicken breasts and thighs, 2 packs of beef mince, 1 pork mince, a gammon joint and several packs of bacon in the freezer.  Oh, and some trout fillets, salmon steaks and some smoked haddock.

Husband is happy to continue doing the shopping on his own, and I'm happy to let him.  I have to write a list for him, he wouldn't manage without it, but the good thing (in terms of money saving) is that he sticks to the list rigidly and doesn't buy anything else, whereas I often see other things whilst I'm in the shop and think 'oh right, I'll have that as well'.  He normally goes shopping in the mornings, but has said he doesn't mind going in the evenings.....going then, it's possible he may be able to get a few more reduced things.

Several of the joints and birds in the freezer are large ones, which will do us for lots of meals.  I'll make sure I stretch the meat out as far as possible, leftovers after cooking will immediately be turned into another meal, or chopped/sliced and frozen.  All bones will be boiled for stock.  I am pretty good at making meals out of leftovers, stretching meat, and using small amounts of stir fries, risottos, quiches, soups, e.g.  We will also continue our regime of having a few meat-free meals each week.

Each time I defrost a joint or bird, I'll make it a challenge to see how many meals I can make out of it.  I'll start with the turkey crown which we'll be having on Sunday, the packaging states it serves 8-10 - I'm quite sure I can get more than that out of it, including making stock from the bones to make soup.

We're not going to grow as much produce here in our home garden next year, as we're planning on spending a lot of time at the caravan, so won't be here to water it and don't want to have to keep asking neighbours.  We will be coming home for a few days here and there, to collect post, do washing, that sort of thing.  So we might grow some potatoes, or other things that don't need much maintenance.  Obviously we've got apples, pears, strawberries and blueberries in the garden, along with asparagus.  However, we will grow some tomatoes, salad leaves, radishes and spring onions and perhaps a courgette or 2 in pots in the van garden, just enough for our needs.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Savings plans for next year

 We've been working out ways to save money next year, what with energy bills set to rise dramatically, and the Council tax bill, and fuel for the car - although husband says it has actually gone down a bit in the past couple of weeks.  The surprise pension that husband didn't even realise he had, which was paid to him as a lump sum earlier in the year, has come in very useful - buying the caravan for a start, and paying the first year's site fees up to June next year.  We set a budget for buying and doing up the van, we did use all the budget.  I've been saving hard during this year and have saved enough to pay the site fees up until June 2023.  I've also got next year's Council tax saved, although if there's a big increase next year I'll have to add a bit more to it.  I also have another savings account, for emergencies.

If we're very careful, the remainder of husband's windfall pension will hopefully last until I get my State pension, in November 2025.  That's assuming the Government hasn't moved the goal posts again by then.  We did put some of that pension into Premium savings interest rates are so diabolical, we thought we at least stand a chance of winning some money if we put it into the Bonds (so far we've won £25!  Any or all amounts gratefully received!).  By the time my State pension is getting close, we may have to cash in some of the Bond money.  Other than that, husband has his State pension and 3 fairly small private pensions, I have a private pension that is slightly larger than husband's 3 private pensions put together.  These are what we live on.

I'm still doing the 'skim off the top' saving, rounding down the amounts in the main bank account to the next £10 and transferring the excess to the emergency savings account.  Recently, I've slipped from doing it 2 or 3 times weekly to just once, so will get back into the habit of doing it every couple of days.  It's surprising how quickly these small amounts mount up.

Husband has just bought himself a new desktop computer, as his old one has given up the ghost (it was old and not worth repairing).  He didn't spend a lot, he doesn't need an all-singing and dancing one (it would only confuse him!), it's his birthday present to himself, his birthday is next month.  The only major expenditure we're planning on for next year is for new small sofa, recliner chair and bed for the caravan, we have a budget for this.  As I said, I have a savings account for any emergencies (to replace white goods, e.g.).  Husband has an account for car stuff, so that's taken care of.  

In order to cut down on electricity, I'm now altering the way I do the washing, and drying in winter.  As husband doesn't do much gardening or DIY stuff now, for us or others, he doesn't get his clothes as dirty anymore.....although, having said that, he is a bit of a dirt magnet!  So I now do most of the washing on the short economy wash, saving 30-45 minutes on the normal wash.  I still do bedlinen, towels/tea towels and dog blankets on a longer wash.  I also do our clothes on a longer wash every 3 or 4 times.  All wash loads are done overnight on the cheap(er) rate electricity.  When I can't put the washing outside, I dry it in the dryer, each washing machine load has to be split in 2 loads for the dryer.  However, now I just do one load in the dryer, the other I put on the airer upstairs in the sunniest bedroom.....I don't like drying washing indoors, but needs must.  When the weather is good enough, the washing goes outside, obviously.  

Another way of cutting costs is on food - shopping and cooking.  I'll talk about that in my next post.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Bargains in the supermarket

 We went to Minehead in the end yesterday, for a wander up and down the high street, stopping off in the pub for a coffee halfway.  Nowhere was very busy, in fact some shops were deserted, the car park was half empty.  I bought a lovely quilted padded jacket in bright blue in a sale, some books in a charity shop, and a few reduced price food bits in the Co op.  Also got a squeaky rugby ball for Betty, she only played with it for 5 minutes and had already ripped half the yellow flock covering off it, so we had to take it off her before she ate it.  She goes through toys like we have hot dinners.

I didn't do the red cabbage & Stilton thing for lunch - husband wanted a cooked breakfast before we went out, so we weren't hungry enough for lunch.  I did it for dinner instead, with some of the remaining chicken and some cranberry sauce stirred through, it was yummy, nice and light.

After dinner we went out to Sainsburys, to see if they had any meat/fish reduced.  They did, we were lucky, got plenty to restock the freezer.  Got a side of salmon, 2 packs smoked mackerel, a large fresh sausagemeat stuffed chicken, big pack of pork loin chops, 10% fat lamb mince, a gammon joint, some packs of sage & onion fresh sausagemeat, more fresh cranberries, veg, a loaf and some eggs, all yellow stickered to half price or much less.  Saved £25 or more altogether, well pleased with that.  And there was hardly anybody in the shop, and I got straight onto a till.  The big freezer is again full to bursting now.

I haven't got round to putting away the Christmas decorations and tree yet, but am definitely doing it today.  Going to use the cranberries (reduced to 8p) to make a cranberry and orange sauce and then freeze it, it will go well with the turkey crown and duck in the freezer.  I'll use the last of Sunday's chicken in a pasta bake for dinner today.  Got a pack of 4 big Portobello mushrooms reduced to half price yesterday, we'll have those for lunch stuffed with pate (an open pack that needs using up) and cheese, with salad.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Had enough of Christmas excess food now

 The garden centre yesterday wasn't busy at all, I was pleased to see.  We spent half the voucher money (luckily it was 2 x £25 vouchers) on two things, a really nice and well made dish drainer for the caravan kitchen, to replace the cheap plastic one, and a pair of fleece lined garden shoes for me in a nice pinky purple colour, to wear in the van garden.  We also went in the pet shop there and got several packs of extremely smelly dog chews for Betty, things like dried liver and tripe, pigs snouts, dried chicken sausages.  We get her treats that are made of natural things with no colours, preservatives, flavourings or any other dubious stuff, although I draw the line at some things......fur covered rabbit ears, puffed chicken or huge turkey feet, eg.  I'm sure Betty would love them (the smellier the better), I'm just too squeamish to get them and watch her eating them.  The car did pong a bit with the bagful of smelly treats on the way home.

I didn't wake up until nearly 07.30 this morning - unheard of for me!  Must have needed the sleep, although I didn't actually sleep all through the night - I did wake up a few times, even having to come downstairs to let Betty out in the garden for a wee in the early hours (she was whining at the door), but fortunately I went back to sleep almost straight away each time.  I've also woken up with backache, for the first time in weeks - I reckon it's a combination of spending a fair bit of time standing in the kitchen, and other than that, too much sitting down watching TV (at least I watch it, unlike the other occupant of this house who sleeps through it whenever he's put 'a good programme' on!) or reading a book.  I need a good walk, I think....hopefully it'll stop raining for long enough.  It's certainly extremely mild at the moment, I was throwing the duvet off in the night it was so warm.  There's now blue sky and it's stopped raining so it's looking hopeful for a walk, although it is very blustery.

Last night when I went to bed I felt as if I had a cold or something coming on.  I've taken a lateral flow test again this morning, just to be sure - it's negative again, and I feel absolutely fine, so it was probably just overtiredness.  Thankfully.  

We've still got some chocolates left but I think they can be put away in a cupboard in the utility room, I've had my fill of chocolate now.  Not that I've eaten loads, I do like chocolate but am not a chocoholic by any means, I can take it or leave it.  Crisps are a different matter, I love them, but there are still several bags of those left.  I think I'm just ready for normal healthy eating again now.  I'll do the red cabbage, apple, stilton & walnut salad that I saw in the Guardian paper for lunch today, and a chicken & veg wholemeal pasta bake for dinner.  That free range herb butter basted chicken we had on Sunday was really lovely, it's done us for several meals, Betty's had some too, and there'll still be a bit left over after I've taken off what I need for dinner today to freeze for a risotto, and the bones and skin boiled up for stock.

Monday, 27 December 2021

Christmas finished, move on

 Thank you all for your comments, I think the chocolate muffins and the cheddar & parmesan biscuits I made did go down well.  It's raining and windy this morning, but I think it's forecast to ease off a bit later.  

I've dealt with the washing this morning, unfortunately it's had to go in the dryer - well, half of it, the rest is on the airer upstairs.  Got to save some electricity, with prices due to go up massively soon.  The washing I put in the machine in the evening and set the timer for it to wash overnight, on the cheap rate electricity.  Pity the machine can't then unload itself and transfer to the dryer, so that could get done overnight too!

I'm just about to go and deal with the leftovers from yesterday's roast chicken dinner - it was an extra large free range herb butter-basted chicken I got from M&S a couple of months ago, reduced to half price.  It was lovely, and obviously there's loads left, plus the extra veggies I'd cooked.  My brain hasn't quite woken up yet, the result of a late night and early morning.....I was going to have a lie in, but husband and dog had other ideas, waking me up at 06.20 😒  So I haven't yet decided what I'll do with the rest of the chicken, probably just reheat in gravy, heat the leftover veggies and have another roast dinner, that'll be the easiest!  The remaining chicken can then be chopped and frozen.  Unless I make some sort of risotto or pasta thing tomorrow......I've not yet done a meal plan for this week.

The garden centre wasn't open yesterday but it is today, so we might pop there later, to see if there's anything worth spending our Christmas £50 vouchers on in their sale, I'd like something for the caravan - don't know what, but I'll know it when I see it!

And then I ought to do a menu plan.  Husband suggested going to a supermarket to see if there are any meat bargains the shops have reduced as they'd overstocked (as they usually do).....I don't really fancy braving the possible crowds in there though.  If he wants to go by himself, I won't stop him 😂  We don't actually need any shopping though, so there's no need for him to go.

We watched Death in Paradise last night, I do like that, although it's all a bit same old same old now.  Even though they seem to have regular changeovers of the always weirdo British inspector, they all follow the same pattern - the inspector has a lightbulb moment towards the end and solves the mysterious death in a sudden flash of brainpower, whereas it never occurs to the rest of his team.  Oh well, it's nice scenery!  After that it was Mortimer & Whitehouse gone fishing at Christmas (only it clearly wasn't anywhere near Christmas, as they were fishing in shirt sleeves half the time).  But I really like that programme, I like the way they chat very matter of factly about their respective heart problems, and I also think Bob Mortimer is hysterically funny, even when grumpy Paul Whitehouse is continually telling him off.  They're like chalk and cheese, but do seem to have a great friendship and genuine affection for each other, which is nice to see in two blokes.

Once the kids have gone back to school, we might take a trip to Ikea in Bristol, lots of people on the caravan forum I belong to have mentioned a sofa from there that comes flat-packed (the back and arms come off) so will easily fit through caravan doors.  I've seen the sofa online, it looks perfectly fine, but I'd like to see it in real life before we order one.  We want to look at beds too, the new metal framed double we bought for the van last year creaks terribly and the noise wakes me up.  We'd like a smaller bed, it would give so much more space to move around in that room, which is quite small and an awkward shape as part of the bathroom wall juts into the bedroom.  We have to climb over the bottom corner of the bed to open the curtains and get to the wardrobe on the other side, which isn't ideal.  I'm so looking forward to getting back to the caravan, it really was one of the best things we ever did buying that, even though it was such a lot of work getting it into a comfortable holiday home.

Taking my tree and few decorations down today, I can't stand them hanging about after Christmas is over!

Sunday, 26 December 2021

Lovely day, and looking forward

 Well, we did have a lovely Christmas day after all, it did go ahead as planned.  I wouldn't have been at all surprised if it had been called off and we couldn't go to best friend's house, as we have done for lots of years....2 of them are immuno-compromised, and there were all the mutterings about whether or not Boris was going to cancel Christmas again.  I didn't think he would, though, he must have thought he'd be slaughtered if he did.  Husband and I, and best friend's family, all did lateral flow tests on Christmas Eve, thankfully all were negative so it could all go ahead.  Best friend cooked a lovely lunch, as always, some went for a walk (in the rain, but needs must with a dog!), presents were exchanged (we liked ours), games were played, lots of chat and laughter, and hugs and kisses.  Wonderful.

Christmas Eve being the 2nd anniversary of Mum's death, and with me somehow feeling it so much more than I did last year (for some unknown reason), I deliberately made myself busy all day.  Firstly, I made some chocolate muffins to take to best friend's.  Next I dealt with the piles of veg.  I'd put all the many veggies that husband had got in the shopping the week before, in 2 big baskets in the unheated utility room, so they'd all kept very well.  I prepped nearly all of them, part roasting some, parboiling others, and some I just froze after peeling and chopping.  That took care of 2 or 3 hours.  Made another week's worth of dog food.  Sorted out the big freezer in the utility room, now there's a bit of space in there to move things around and organise them in the way I like (husband just throws things in wherever there's a space, with no regard for my organised system, so it takes me ages to find anything he's put away).  In the afternoon, when the muffins were cold, I decorated them with the chocolate buttercream I'd made earlier, topped with some chocolatey sweets:-

They came out pretty well, but I have to say I'd rather make a lemon drizzle or plain old fruit cake any day - far less fiddly!  I took a dozen to our friends, husband is pleased that there are 4 more left here for him to have.  I did have one, for taste testing purposes obviously.  Nice, but far too sweet for me.

I'm feeling a lot happier and so much more positive today, now Christmas is over.  I've never been much of a fan of Christmas, even before Mum died.  Once we've had the winter solstice and Christmas day has gone, for me it starts to feel like the start of a new year and things being on the up.  I'm now looking forward to planning things for the caravan and our summer there....just 64 days till we can go!  We were given some garden centre vouchers for Christmas, so we might pop out to our favourite garden centre (if it's open, I haven't checked yet) and see if there's anything in their sale we could get for the caravan.

Looks like we're going to have some sunshine today, which is nice - it rained almost continuously yesterday.  Showers are forecast for pretty much all the coming week, though.  Never mind, soon be Spring!

Friday, 24 December 2021

Happy Christmas

 To all my lovely readers, you've all been so kind and supportive over the past year (as always), and I'm very grateful, it means a lot, so thank you all so much.

My lovely Mum was the first thing on my mind when I woke up, naturally enough.  I've got lots to do today, to keep myself busy.

I probably won't be posting for a few days, so will take this opportunity to wish you all a lovely Christmas, hopefully with family and friends.  Don't work too hard or get too stressed, it's only a roast dinner after all!  

Love to all xx

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Doing nothing

 I've got nothing in particular to do today, other than the normal few housework bits, cooking dinner, etc., as I'm pretty much up to date with everything now.  Tomorrow will be a different story, lots to do (and it will definitely be a day for keeping myself as busy as I can).  

So today I'm going to sit on my arse pretty much all day and do nothing!  We'll probably watch my new James Bond DVD.

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Oops, some things missed off the shopping list

 Last night was one of those nights where I kept waking up every hour, and having trouble getting back to sleep again.  Lots on my mind.  Think I'll be having a nap this afternoon.

Husband has agreed to go to the supermarket (he's going very soon), we've nearly run out of eggs and my frothy coffees - I thought I had some boxes of my coffees in the utility room, but seems I haven't.  I also forgot to put paracetamol on the list the last time he went shopping, so of course he didn't know to buy any and we're nearly out of those too.  We've got through lots of eggs this week....I'd made a frittata using 6 eggs which we had for lunch 2 days running, had dippy eggs for breakfast one day, and I need some for a cake today.  It's a gift for a neighbour who loves homemade fruit cake.  Oh, and I forgot to put smoked salmon on husband's last list, we generally have scrambled eggs with smoked salmon as a special treat for Christmas day breakfast, Betty has some too. 

The temperature's dropped, feels quite chilly this morning and the car windscreen is iced up.  The forecast is for showers or heavier rain for the next week or so, glad we're not going anywhere (other than Christmas day).  I think husband will be dog walking on his own! (I don't do walking in the rain).  Not that he minds really, he's got full wet weather gear, and Betty has a new quilted padded's a bit on the big side actually, looks like she's wearing a duvet 😂.  She's not very impressed with it, she had this sort of resigned expression on her face when we tried it on her and was hanging her head.....her face was clearly saying "Really?  Do I HAVE to?"  Bless her.

My James Bond No Time to Die DVD I'd ordered arrived yesterday, I do like the Bond films, especially the Daniel Craig ones.  We normally go to the cinema to see them when they come out, but I really didn't want to go and sit in an enclosed space for 2 or 3 hours with a bunch of strangers who may or may not have been wearing masks.  I wonder who the next Bond will be?


Husband was in and out of the supermarket and back home very quickly, he said it wasn't very busy at all.  Lucky him.  When we've gone shopping even this early in the morning, this close to Christmas, before, it's been heaving already.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Dog food

 For Jeangenie, and anyone else interested.  

We've had several dogs over the years, mostly rescue dogs.  As children both husband and I had dogs at home too, cats as well.  When I was a child, the family dogs were mostly fed on table scraps, with the occasional tin of dog food.  The dogs husband and I previously had were all given tinned or dried dog food.

I've been making dog food since our lovely Betty was a puppy.....when we first got her I did a lot of reading up on commercial dog foods.  She wasn't a rescue dog, she cost us a lot of money from a breeder, and I wanted her to have as healthy and happy a life as possible.  I was quite shocked at the amount of rubbish (cheap, unhealthy ingredients used to pad out the food) in some commercial dog foods, and found no end of evidence to show that dogs' behaviour, as well as their health, can be adversely affected by cheap nasty dog food with little nutritional value.  Betty is a mix of two breeds (mother a SharPei, father an English Bulldog) that can both have certain health problems, although the (very reputable and licenced) breeder we got Betty from has been selectively breeding the pups to try and minimise the health risks.  Being a brachycephalic dog (short flat nosed and wrinkly face) means some of them have breathing difficulties - Betty doesn't, although her muzzle is short and fairly wide, she's not flat-faced like her father the Bulldog, although even he didn't have a completely flat face.  She does snore quite a bit though!  Some wrinkly dogs can also have eye problems - their eyelids are so wrinkly that they can droop and even turn inwards, meaning the lashes constantly irritate the eyeball.....they can also get cherry eye, a red bulge in the corner of the eye.  Betty suffers none of that, her eyelids and eyes are perfectly fine.  Her only health problem is that she does have recurring ear infections, caused by her ears being small and very hairy inside, meaning there's not much air flow to keep the inside of her ears clean.  We clean her ears and keep an eye on her and take her to the vets whenever we notice an ear infection starting (2 or 3 times a year).

Anyway, to get back to the food.....we feed her good quality commercial food (high meat content with vegetables but no artificial ingredients) every other day, on the in between days she gets home made food and some kibble.  I make the food very simply and easily - it's just minced chicken, lamb or beef (bought frozen from the big well known pet food store).  I cook it up in a big pan on the hob with a splash of oil, with some dried parsley.  At the same time I boil some veg - cauliflower, broccoli, squash or carrots usually - until soft, then roughly mash them.  I mix the veg in with the cooked mince, adding in some of the veg cooking water, a couple of beaten eggs sometimes, or a sprinkle of grated cheese.  I used to add some cooked brown rice but no longer do that, as Betty gets allergies and itchy skin sometimes, so I now try to give her a grain-free diet.  Someone told me some weeks ago that dogs can be allergic to chicken - I'd not heard of that, but did a bit of research and found it is possible.  I cut chicken entirely out of her diet as an experiment for a few made no difference to her itchiness, so she's clearly not allergic to chicken.  So I now give her chicken again, as she loves it.  I make about 6 days' worth of meals at a time, freezing them in 1-meal sized portions.  (I think, as does our vet, that her itchiness is probably an allergy to the chemicals our farmer landlords spray on their crops).

Occasionally we give her fish, which she also loves - either tinned sardines or tuna in oil, or cooked fish if we're having cod, haddock or salmon.  She generally has fish once or maybe twice a week, again with a little kibble.  We still give her kibble or commercial dog food every other day as they contain all the minerals and vitamins necessary for her, meaning I don't have to add things to her home made food to make up for any mineral/vitamin deficiencies in the fresh food I make for her.  She also gets a bit of our cooked chicken or other roast meats sometimes, although I don't give her things like sausages or burgers - unless I've made them myself and know exactly what's in them.

I stress that this is only what I do, for MY dog - I'm not advocating it's suitable for other dogs.  Betty is a healthy happy 5 year old dog who loves all her home made food and licks her dish clean every time.

The poinsettia is no more. And a woozy head

 Winter Solstice and shortest day today.....thank goodness for that, now it will start getting brighter, albeit only a couple of minutes or so a week.

Well, I finally threw out the poinsettia yesterday - as a final insult, as I carried it through the house to the back door, it shed a trail of leaves over the floor.  Think it's safe to say I'm the kiss of death to house plants, well, flowering ones anyway.  I love orchids - many years ago, husband used to buy me orchids for birthdays/anniversary.....well, none of them survived under my 'care' for more than a month.  He gave up in the end 😂.  I'm the same with miniature roses, they just don't survive very long at all here.  To be fair, I don't think roses are meant to be house plants, they're supposed to be outside - well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Oddly, though, I have 2 foliage house plants (no idea what they are) in the's a sort of fern type, the other kind of like a spider plant, but with thicker, wider leaves that are green on top and burgundy underneath, it produces lots of babies/side shoots.  Both of them seem to thrive in there (in fact I took one of the baby side shoots off months ago and stuck it in another pot, it's now as big as the parent) - I guess it must be the humidity.  Certainly can't be down to anything I do, I forget to water them until they're limp and clearly gasping for a drink.

Going to do a bit of baking today, more cheese biscuits, some as gifts and a few for us.  I also need to make dog food.  I'm still not getting excited about Christmas day - the planned day may happen, it may not.  Will just have to wait and see.  I've got plenty of Christmas food (meat, already prepped veggies, and treats) in the freezer, I've asked our friends to just give us enough notice so I can get the food out of the freezer if they decide the risk is too great (or Boris says it is) for us to go to them.  Two of them have compromised immune systems, so they have to be extra careful.  We are going to do another lateral flow test tomorrow, then again on Christmas morning - the one we did on Sunday was negative so obviously I'm hoping the next ones will be too.

On the subject of lateral flow tests.....the papers keep saying there's a shortage of them and people can't get hold of them.  Well, I've ordered them online twice recently and had no problem whatsoever.

The chocolate Sainsburys 'Baileys' - last night I had it in a cup of Horlicks......oh wow, even more delicious.  In fact, it was so absolutely yummy that I drank it all a bit too quickly and had a woozy head afterwards 😂 Or maybe I just put too much in 😁

Monday, 20 December 2021

Gloomy - weather AND politics!

 I'm having a small glass of the chocolate brownie 'Baileys' every night, it should last till just after Christmas....luckily, husband doesn't like it so it's ALL MINE 😁

It's another gloomy grey one again today, but at least there's no fog.....that lasted literally all day yesterday, getting thicker as the day went on.  I know it's winter so we can't expect good weather, but wish it would just snow or chuck it down with rain, just to get rid of this dull grey-blanketed sky, it depresses the hell out of me.

So now they're arguing on telly about the cheese & wine party/work in the garden thing at No. 10 last year.........honestly, I'm so bloody fed up with hearing about it - and all the other excuses for all the other infringements/we're allowed to but you plebs aren't - stuff.  I don't want to know!  However, as husband has the TV on almost all the time and watches the news almost obsessively 3x a day, it's hard to get away from it.  I can't see Blustering Boris lasting much longer, but really don't think any of the others would do a better job.

Anyway, enough of that, I'll just depress myself even more (and no I'm still not feeling very Christmassy, my Mum's on my mind a lot).  We watched the Royal Variety Show last night, it was really good, just the sort of thing I needed to cheer me up.  Those German (I think?) acrobat brothers and their father were just incredible, as was the little girl from Matilda the Musical who sang the National Anthem at the start of the show, in front of thousands of people, completely fearlessly.  And I do like Alan Carr, he's so funny....and James Blunt was a good sport, singing a comedy version of his song with him.  The singer Keala Settle who played the bearded lady in Greatest Showman (one of my favourite films) was brilliant.  A good evening, with Betty gently snoring with her head on my lap all evening.  There are some really good things coming up on TV over the next week or so, which makes a change.

We had roast pork loin for dinner yesterday, oh it was scrumptious and with the best crackling ever.  There's loads left, I'm doing a pork, parsnip, leek and apple casserole today, and a pork stir fry with sweet and sour sauce tomorrow.  What's left can go in the freezer.

Sunday, 19 December 2021

It's dying

 My poinsettia, that is.  I see I bought it on 3 December, so it's lasted just over a fortnight.  Every day half a dozen or so leaves drop off it, it's now half bald.  It's not in direct sunlight, or a draught, nor near a heat source.  I don't overwater or even underwater it, I think I've watered it (just a light sprinkle of lukewarm water) 3 times since I've had it.  The room ambient temperature is just right, neither hot nor cold.  The conditions for it are more or less perfect.  It clearly just hates me! 😂😒  To be brutally honest, I didn't really like it that much anyway, it's just that the colours match the decor in our lounge.  I won't buy another.

Having 2 (relatively minor) liver diseases, I very rarely drink alcohol - medical advice is for me not to anyway and I'm finding as I get older that I'm not very keen on the taste of alcohol anymore.  However, I do like gin, and love a Baileys at Christmas.  A couple of weeks ago I bought a bottle of Sainsburys own version of Baileys, it's a special Christmassy version, chocolate brownie and orange.  Ooh yum, I thought.  Well, I had a glass last night during the Strictly final (and I love that Rose won, and it was such a pity that AJ had to pull out).....well, all I can say is that it is absolutely blimmin GORGEOUS!!  If it lasts till Christmas it'll be a miracle 😂😂

As for the Strictly AJ and Kai, I reckon a big consolation for them is that they are now free to go public and say that Yes we do love each other!!!  They're both single, nothing to stop them, and it's been so glaringly obvious for weeks that they are in love.   Awww 😍  I do love a love story.

I'm still trying to keep one meal a day relatively carb free, but am beginning to break out the Christmas foods.  Well, I'm not a saint.  Yesterday I made a dozen deep filled mince pies, all now frozen, and a large open mincemeat and apple tart.  We had a slice of that last night, it went down well with the glass of chocolatey Baileys (and the Baileys would be delicious over a scoop of Cornish ice cream on top of the mince tart!).  Tomorrow I think I'll get some homemade sausage rolls out of the freezer to have for lunch with salad.

It's really misty today and feels damp, the entire sky and surroundings look totally dirty grey.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Cheap veggies and a couple of recipes

 I wasn't intending to go (or rather for husband to go) shopping again until after Christmas, but read on social media that Aldi were selling packs of veg for just 19p each.  They did it this time last year, in common with most of the fact, if I remember rightly, one or two of the supermarkets ended up giving away some of their veg packs free a couple of days before Christmas.  Anyway, I thought this was too good an offer to miss, so we went to Aldi early yesterday morning, arriving about 5 minutes before it opened.  Somewhat surprisingly, there were only 4 other people waiting there, so we had the shop virtually to's a new (opened just last year I think) and large store, so plenty of space.  We got straight onto a till and were out very quickly.  I bought 4 packs of parsnips, 3 of carrots, 1 red and 1 white cabbage (they were huge so only needed one of each), 2 swedes, 2 packs of sprouts and 2 bags of potatoes.  Most of the veg has gone into baskets in our cold utility room, so will keep well until needed.

This morning I used 3 of the packs of parsnips to make a huge pan of spicy parsnip soup, some for lunch today and the rest will be frozen.  I part roasted the parsnips, along with 2 large quartered onions, before tipping them into a saucepan with the spices - cumin, smoked paprika, ginger and some dried thyme.  I then added some chicken stock out of the freezer, and topped up with water, and a spoonful of honey.  It's simmering away now, once all the veg are soft I'll whizz it up with my stick blender and add some single cream.

The 4th pack of parsnips I prepped and part roasted, drizzled with a little oil and honey, they'll be frozen for use over the Christmas period.  I'll do the same with some of the carrots over the next couple of days.  One bag of sprouts will be blanched and frozen, the other will get used tomorrow with Sunday dinner, with leftovers to freeze for bubble and squeak.  The cabbages, swedes and potatoes will last for ages in the utility room.

I read a recipe for a lovely winter salad in the Guardian paper the other day, I think it was a Nigel Slater recipe.  Shred some red cabbage and red onion and braise it lightly in a pan with some olive oil and redcurrant jelly (I haven't got any but will use homemade cranberry sauce instead, which I think will work just as well).  Tip into a bowl, including the juices, and mix in some chopped walnuts (I think Nigel may have used pecans....I haven't got them but do have walnuts), sliced apple (keep the peel on) and crumble in some Stilton.  I reckon a splash each of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar will be lovely too.  We'll be having this for lunch in the next few days.

I'm making mince pies today too, got enough previously made and frozen pastry for about 2 dozen pies.  Got husband to peel and finely dice 3 of our homegrown apples to add to the (bought) mincemeat, along with a slug of ginger wine - he really likes that.

Thursday, 16 December 2021

For Joy

 For Joy - and anyone else who might be interested.....Skint Dad's Cheese Puffs

Here's the link

He says it makes 6 large puffs.....well, his must be saucer sized, I made 15 out of the mixture, about 2-bite size, using a dessertspoonful of mixture dropped on the tray.  I used a mixture of Cheddar and Parmesan.  They're delicious!

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

So mild

 It's incredibly mild weather, cloudy today but not very cold at all, and hardly any wind.  We went to Dunster beach this morning, arriving about 09.15, there was hardly anyone there, as I expected.  I wore my new wool winter coat, thinking that there might be a cold breeze coming off the Bristol channel, but there wasn't and I was too warm.  At least I know the coat will keep me lovely and warm when it does get really cold.  Betty enjoyed herself immensely, as always, she does make me laugh when she digs a hole in the sand, throws herself down into it and rolls around joyfully on her back.  

I didn't take my walking stick, didn't feel like I needed it.  And I didn't, my back, hips and legs felt absolutely fine and I didn't lose my balance once.  I was glad to get back in the car though after we'd been walking for about an hour, my hips were beginning to feel the strain by that time and my walking was getting slower and slower.

Still not feeling at all Christmassy.  The family situation seems to have settled down a bit, but I'm sure it will get worse again, not that there's anything we can do about that.  It's just a case of managing each situation as it arises, as best we can.

Having noticed the other day that some of my Spring bulbs are coming up, on the way back from Dunster this morning we saw a couple of trees with blossom on them, shows how mild it is.  We need to do something about our front lawn next year, it's in a terrible state, it's more weeds than grass.  Might consider putting artificial grass down like we have in the caravan we'll be spending a lot of time at the van again next year, artificial grass won't need much maintenance.

I've given in to husband's crestfallen face when he asks hopefully if there's any cake or mince pies or cheesy biscuits (there are all of the above but in the freezer).  So this afternoon I've made a small batch of shortbread and some cheese puffs (recipe off Skint Dad's website).  I'm sure husband will eat most of them (not all of them today!), so I don't have to 😉

My back is aching again now, after the hour's walking and then standing in the kitchen this afternoon, but at least it's just an ache and not a pain.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Not going out

 I had been thinking about going to another craft fair and/or going somewhere to see a Christmas Tree or Lights festival, to see if it would encourage my Christmassy mood.  I've decided not to though, with this new covid variant spreading rapidly it seems more sensible to stay at home, or at least to avoid going anywhere indoors that may be crowded.  We might take Betty to the beach tomorrow, taking advantage of the current mild weather, but we'll go early to avoid crowds.  Not that Dunster beach ever really gets crowded, and certainly not at this time of year.  Apparently, somewhere in Somerset (they're not saying where) earlier in the month, somebody had a 60th birthday party.....the media are calling it a 'super-spreader' event, as apparently 16 out of the 18 attendees have now tested positive for omicron.  According to what I read, the majority of them were over 60, and most had had 2 vaccines, some had also had the booster.  They are all reported to be suffering just mild cold-like symptoms, none have had to seek medical help or go to hospital.  That's encouraging.

I am still choosing to believe that having been fully jabbed, including the booster, and taking all precautions, husband and I will remain unaffected.  And if we do, by some chance, catch it, we should hopefully not suffer too much.

Husband is going shopping on Friday, I am planning on that being the last shopping we will need until some time after Christmas.

The stressful family situation has started up again, after several weeks of peace.  I'm managing it, or rather how I cope with it, as best I can, by more or less ignoring it.  We've found that if we get too involved, it just tends to fan the flames and make it go on even longer.  It is a bit concerning, though, there's a new aspect to the situation which worries me somewhat.  Well, if it gets worse, then we'll just have to cross that bridge if and when it comes to it.

Husband is busy out in the garden, he's finally emptied out his polytunnel and is about to start dismantling it.  I'm going to make some mince pies and shortbread - and freeze them as soon as they're cold!  We've eaten lots of meals out of the freezer recently, so there's now a fair bit of room to put in any baking I do.  And I want to make soups to freeze over the weekend.

Monday, 13 December 2021

So that was no help!

 Well, husband's phone consultation with his prostate surgeon turned out to be not what we were expecting at all.  For a start, the consultant wasn't in the prostate team, he's from Urology and works specifically with bladder problems, not the prostate.  He had next to none of husband's previous notes - he's from a different hospital entirely, an outreach clinic connected with Yeovil hospital.....although that shouldn't matter, all husband's notes presumably should be accessible on computer!  He didn't know why husband is on the meds he is for both his prostate and bladder problems.  He was under the impression that husband is on the list for a prostate op at Taunton hospital, didn't know that Taunton had referred him to Yeovil to get the op done sooner, as Yeovil have a shorter waiting list.  When husband told him that, he stated that actually Yeovil's waiting list is at least as long as Taunton's, and he's looking at a wait of a further 6 months or so!  So definitely no danger of him having it before Christmas!  He also didn't know why husband was even having a prostate op.  The consultant kept saying husband's RECENT urine sample showed blood in his urine.....erm, he hasn't had to provide a sample recently, the last one he thinks was around a year ago, so goodness knows where the guy got that info from - husband did tell him he's not had a test recently.  All in all, it was a classic example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.  I did even wonder whether he'd got husband mixed up with another patient, perhaps having the same name?!

The outcome is the consultant is going to try and track down the rest of husband's notes (would have been a good idea to do that prior to his phone call!), and then he'll write to husband.  So poor husband is no further forward.

Soon be Spring!

 I noticed this morning that some of the Spring bulbs I planted in pots are beginning to poke their leaves through the soil - lovely!  And in just over a week's time the days start lengthening - only by a couple of minutes a day, but it always gives me a lift.  Funny - it's actually the astronomical start of winter, but it always feels to me like it's a sign Spring is coming - bulbs coming up and slightly longer days.  And yes I know January and February can be really cold, even snowy, but I still feel much happier and more hopeful somehow at the start of the new year.

I just hope the many pots of bulbs I planted in the caravan garden are surviving - there are quite a few squirrels there, whereas (somewhat oddly) we have no squirrels here.  

So Buffoon Boris wants a million people a day to have covid booster vaccines and is telling doctors to put off routine treatment in order to deliver that.  So I don't think there's much danger of husband being told today during his phone consultation with his prostate surgeon that he'll be having his op before Christmas!  I do feel for the NHS and for patients, there are no winners here, the NHS is badly overworked and patients are having to suffer for longer.  I'm going to do a Thank You card for our surgery and drop it in, along with some cakes - we've had very good service from them this year (well, every year since we've been registered with them) and they've coped well under very difficult circumstances.  We've had little trouble getting through to them on the phone, only ever having to wait a few minutes at most, and we've been given face to face appointments when it was necessary.  I know people in other areas have problems getting in contact with their surgeries, I guess we're lucky we live in a rural, less populated area.  I'm also extremely grateful to Dr Joe, who isn't one of the permanent GPs, he's a locum or registrar, although a long term one - thanks to him being so on the ball I got my back problems diagnosed and seen to quickly, and I'm so much better as a result.  Also down to my lovely osteopath Felicity as well.

I'm so glad both husband and I, most of our family, friends and neighbours have now had all our jabs and boosters.  Along with masks once again being compulsory in shops (we never stopped wearing ours) and regular handwashing/gel use, I think we're as safe as we can be. 

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Not yet!

 Still not feeling Christmassy, I just can't seem to get in the mood.  The uncertainty surrounding possible new restrictions due to the omicron variant isn't helping, they're talking about a Plan C now - what that means I have no idea, I haven't bothered to read it.  I am just putting my faith in the doctors saying that being fully jabbed gives better protection from even this variant, and that this one gives milder symptoms.  And that's all I'm saying about it.  I'm not letting my life be dominated by all this Covid stuff - I take all necessary precautions for my safety, others can do what they like.  

I finally wrote out all my Christmas cards yesterday, made myself do it.  Will post the ones that need posting tomorrow, the rest to be put through letterboxes.  I've got a few spares made in case I've forgotten anyone.  A few leaves have dropped off my poinsettia, a few others have gone yellow, so I'm not holding out any hopes for it to last until Christmas 😂

The trouble with more possible restrictions and doing our best to keep ourselves safe and well, inevitably means being cut off more.  I'm really feeling that now, having not seen my siblings and extended family for so long, nor husband's family, due not only to covid but also to distance and health problems - husband isn't up to driving long distances very often now, and my back problems meant I couldn't sit in the car comfortably at all.  I am hoping, though, now that my back and hips are so much better, that we can somehow manage to go up to the Midlands early in the new year.  I've not seen my sister since 6 Feb 2020 - nearly 2 years is such a long time and I miss her so much.

Roll on Spring!  And 78 days till caravan re-opening day!

Friday, 10 December 2021


 Back and hips still mostly pain free and I didn't have as much stiffness when I got up this morning.  However, my left knee is problematical now, keeps feeling like it's going to give way.  If it's not one thing it's another, joys of getting older I suppose.

The very low carbing is working, I'm slowly but steadily losing a few pounds.  I shall endeavour to keep it up until Christmas.  It's hard though this time of year, usual winter foods are all carby.  And then there's Christmas foods everywhere you look!  Hard to avoid them, TV and social media full of ads and pics, shops loaded with them wherever you go.  I've got stuff for Christmas here, both things I've made and some bought, but at least they're either frozen or hidden in cupboards out of eyesight, so out of temptation.  Will just have to stay strong.

All this Government stuff is really getting up my nose at the moment, something else it's hard to avoid as it's all over the TV, radio and social media.  So unless we have the TV off all the time (not going to happen, not in this house!) and basically don't engage in any form of social media (which is how I keep in touch with some of our family), then it's almost impossible to avoid hearing about the Government's parties that did or didn't happen last year (bet they did) when none of the rest of us were allowed to mix with or visit anybody outside our immediate bubble.  And all the rest of the unsavoury stuff that's now coming out.....once again it's as it has always been - THEY make the rules, WE are expected to follow them, but these rules don't apply to THEM, THEY can do what the hell they like!!  And I'm not saying that any of the ones not presently in power would be any different, I think they're all a bunch of immoral sleazy self serving tossers, who wouldn't/couldn't answer a straight question with a straight answer if their lives depended on it.

The thought that there might possibly be restrictions over Christmas gatherings again will really upset me, as it will everybody.

Sorry, I'm feeling very irritable today!  I will NOT succumb to the chocolates hidden away, will just have to have a big mug of coffee with cream in it......I'm NOT going to open the Chocolate Brownie and Orange flavoured Baileys lookalike also hidden away either.  If we had any crisps in the house it might be a different matter, I can't resist those, so have deliberately not bought any yet.

Thursday, 9 December 2021

The poor NHS, and a Very Good Thing

 Yesterday morning I needed to go to town to a couple of shops very close to each other - the pet shop and shoe shop.  As they are both also very near Sainsbury's, we decided to go in there too, to get some more of the green veg that husband didn't get enough of the other day, and also so I could point out to him a few of the pack sizes/brands I normally get, which he got wrong when he did the shopping (because I didn't actually specify ALL the details on his written list!).  So next time he'll know....unless he forgets by then! 😒😂

Whilst in there, I noticed some sourdough loaves that I normally have, had been reduced to 49p - they're usually £2.50 for a small loaf.  They're sliced seeded wholemeal and, unusually for a prepacked sliced loaf, really tasty, with a good sourdough flavour.  So I got three to put in the freezer - I'm not actually eating bread at the moment, as we're very low carbing until Christmas, but now I have enough of this bread in the freezer to last me for a few weeks after Christmas, and I've saved £6.00.  One of these small loaves lasts me more than a week, I take a couple of slices out of the freezer as and when I want them.

Yesterday, husband had a phone call from the hospital again, giving him a phone consultation appointment with his prostate surgeon for next Friday - I pointed out he's already got a phone appointment with him booked for next Monday.  The lady apologised.....seems they'd got their wires crossed somewhere, his Monday appointment still stands.  All well and good.  But then this morning he got a letter from the hospital stating he's got a (face to face) outpatients appointment at the hospital for Monday!  He rang to find out what's going on.....more wires crossed, it's still a phone appointment, he doesn't have to go to the hospital.  Just as well he rang to confirm it, as the hospital is over an hour's drive each way.  I think the poor NHS is on its knees at the moment, bless them.

Having now finished designing, drawing and putting embellishments on all my Christmas cards, I now have to write in them all and post/distribute them.  Trouble is, I can't get up the enthusiasm for it - oh dear! 😉😂

I keep looking at my little 4ft Christmas tree - I do quite like it, but I don't love it, it can stay as it is for this year now though.  Next year I will almost certainly get a bigger one, 5ft I think - it will still have to stand on a table to keep it out of Betty's reach, she's already showing signs of interest in this one - I know when she's been nudging it with her nose as the gonk tree dec I have on one of the lower branches is sometimes facing the wrong way!  I'll have different lights next year - I have multicolour lights on this one but think I'd prefer single colour lights.  I also think I want bigger baubles, and lots of them, in one colour.  And I'll definitely have a different tree topper - I have a big silver glittery star on this one, it's ok....but just that, ok, not 'oooohhh lovely'!!  I don't know what I want to top next year's tree, I'll know it when I see it I think.  I definitely don't want a fairy though 😁

Oh, and the Very Good Thing....I noticed this morning when I was drying my feet after my shower that the numbness in my big toe has completely gone, it's back to normal, after about 4 months of not feeling anything in it at all.  So I'm guessing that means the osteopathy (Felicity and her magic fingers) has succeeded in getting the prolapsed disc back in place.  I continue to be almost pain-free for most of the time, with just the odd twinge here and there, and some lingering stiffness when I first get out of bed or up out of a chair.  Worth every penny.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

More practise needed

 Husband didn't do too badly with the shopping.  With a few items he didn't choose what I would have picked, but then I didn't specify the exact brand/weight/size.  But they were all things that we regularly have, you'd think he would have known what one to get....hey ho.  Bearing in mind we're going to be eating a lot of green veg the next few days, I'd put on the shopping list 'Selection of green veg' - he got a bag of sprouts and a very small cabbage.  Hmmm, will have to send him out for a top up shop in a day or two.  He did well with the Cheddar, left to his own devices he would have just got a huge value pack of the cheapest (and tasteless) cheese.....I did tell him not to get that, but to get a decent mature Cheddar, which he did (probably because it was on special offer!).  However, he forgot the eggs, and some fruit for himself.  He'll get better with practise, and is insistent he's quite happy to carry on doing it, which I'm pleased about.

I went to the osteopath yesterday afternoon, it was fine as usual and I now feel totally relaxed.  She starts off by having me stand with my back to her, whilst she uses her fingers to feel all down my spine, across my pelvis and then my shoulders.  The first time of going, when she did that I was all "Ow, ooh that's tender there, Ouch!!", nothing, not a twinge.  Whilst I was lying on the couch and she was doing her thing with those little movements of her fingers, I had just one tender knotty spot in the middle of my back, nowhere else.  Felicity feels I've responded so well (which I know I have) that I don't need another treatment until mid January, which I'm happy about.  She's a miracle worker.

Husband had a phone call from Yeovil hospital yesterday to say that the surgeon wants to do a phone consultation with him next Monday - what for, I don't know.  He was told a few months ago he would have his prostate operation before Christmas (this one coming!  He's already been waiting 2 years) - whether that's still going to be the case I don't know.  It's up to husband, of course, if the surgeon wants to do the op in the next couple of weeks, but personally I'd rather he didn't - he'll be recuperating and unable to do anything much for x amount of time, just like this time last year when he'd had his foot op.  Having him out of action that close to Christmas will be a bit of a nuisance, we've got things planned, I'll have lots to do and then the added nurse stuff, chores that husband normally does and taking the dog out 2x daily on top.  Well, what will be will be.

Driving home from the osteopath's late in the afternoon, the sun was setting and therefore loads of people had their Christmas decorations all lit up - beautiful, I do love seeing all the lights.

Storm Barra arrives today, thank goodness we don't have to go anywhere!  Hope nobody suffers any damage, or minimal at least.  Stay safe and warm.

Monday, 6 December 2021

Husband's first shop, and dieting before Xmas

 Today is the first anniversary of my lovely friend Toni-anne's death from cancer last year.  I thought of her when looking out of the bedroom windows this morning - I always stand and look at the views for a few moments, seeing if there's any wildlife about (there usually is) and if anything's changed in the landscape.  The first time she came to visit us here, we both stood looking out of the front bedroom window (the photo at the top of my blog, although that time when Toni came, there were sheep in that field) and she said "How do you get anything at all done, living here?".  If she lived here, she said, she'd be sitting on my high backed stool at that window, looking out at the view all day.

Husband has just gone out to do the supermarket shopping - he has done it by himself a handful of times, but mainly just a small shop for a handful of things.  Today, whilst not being a full trolley shop, it is bigger than just a little top up.  I wonder if he'll regret offering to do the shopping regularly, once he comes back today?!  It means I have to write him a list (in big capitals, partly because of his dyslexia, but also because he will probably have forgotten to take his reading glasses!), and he will stick rigidly to the list.  I do generally write a hasty list for myself, but often when I'm in the shop I'll see something on a shelf and think 'oh yes, I need one of those'....whereas he won't.  Still, it means he'll save a bit of money!  I am grateful that he's volunteered to do it, it relieves me of a job that I hate, and gives me a bit of free time to get on with things whilst he's not here cluttering up the place - and it means the blasted TV isn't on! 😁 Win-win.

Another storm forecast for the next couple of days, sigh - it's already blustery and rainy and is set to get a lot worse.  Well, it is winter.  I don't have to go anywhere - I've decided not to go out to any garden centres, craft fairs, Christmas lights displays and the like, because I want to avoid crowds whilst this new covid strain is building up.  And who wants to go out in weather like this anyway?  Even Betty's not keen, she does her business then turns and heads for home.  It's so dark and gloomy and the days are so short now, barely 8 hours (less, I think) of daylight.  Still, only another couple of weeks and it's the shortest day, then daylight starts stretching out a bit again, albeit only a couple of minutes or so.  It always makes me happier though once the 21/22 Dec has passed - Spring is on the way, albeit 2 or 3 months to go yet.  And 84 days till I can go back to my beloved caravan!

I'm making soup today, for our lunches for the next 2 or 3 days - broccoli and cauliflower with blue cheese.  We've decided to go very low carb for a couple of weeks - we'll be eating all sorts of carby/rich food over the Christmas period, so need to get a bit of weight off now to counteract that.  So for 2 weeks or so we'll be having no potatoes, pasta, rice, bread or cereal, although husband will probably still have a slice of toast or a small bowl of cereal for breakfast - I'm not much of a breakfast eater.  Lunches will be homemade soups, or a cheese & tomato omelette, or salad with cottage cheese, ham or tinned fish.  Dinners will be meat or fish with lots of green veggies.  Husband likes a pudding, so he'll have a yogurt or a piece of fruit.  We actually started on Saturday....oven roasted ribs and salad, then roast pork with green veggies for yesterday......I'm peeing for England already (cutting down drastically on carbs always gets rid of excess water for me).  I'm in the right headspace for this at the moment, so should have no problem sticking to it for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

It's done

 Well, I've dressed the tree, the mantlepiece and the hall side window and that's it, the sum total of my Christmas decorations.  I'll take photos when all the lights are on and show them in due course.

I still don't really feel in the Christmas mood, but I dare say that will come.  Once I'd finished the tree (which is very minimalist! - my choice), I stood back to have a look and could almost hear Aunt Sylvia saying "Blimey, that's not very Christmassy, get some tinsel on it, and bigger baubles!" - which made me chuckle (I've never been fond of tinsel).  Still, I like the tree, and that's all that matters.....husband isn't bothered one way or the other.  I'm pretty sure I will have a bigger tree next year, though.

This morning I made several dozen little cheesy biscuits - each one is just a mouthful, so it's not as OTT as it sounds.  I had 2 or 3 (or 4....or 5) for testing purposes 😉, husband had a couple, then as soon as they were cold I froze them all.  Safest thing to do, they're very moreish, and anyway they're to take to best friend's house on Christmas day, along with some little chocolatey treats I'll be making nearer the time.

I made another Christmas card, only 2 more to do and then I've finished them all - just got to write in them all now 😂

Cherie, it's a very good idea to treat the poinsettia as if it were a bunch of flowers and throw it away when it gets past it - after all, it only cost £3, less than the cost of a bunch of carnations!  I shan't feel so guilty now, if it drops all its leaves and keels over in a couple of weeks.  I may or may not buy another one!

Friday, 3 December 2021

My first ever, and no more shopping!

 I bought a poinsettia this morning, my first ever - although I like them, I've always been wary of buying one before, due to their reputation for being sensitive.....I don't do very well at keeping houseplants alive at the best of times.  But it looks pretty and Christmassy, so it's getting me in the mood for decorating tomorrow.  And if it only lasts a few weeks.....well, it will have made the lounge mantelpiece look festive for a short while!  I've also bought a light up reindeer to go alongside it (steady on, at this rate I'll be taking a leaf out of Cherie's book! 😂).

For the past 2 days I've had jerky twinges in my lower back, it feels almost as if a disc is on the verge of popping out again - I've had it before, many times over the years.  So I'm being very mindful of my back.  Thank goodness I'm seeing the osteopath on Monday, she can hopefully head off any potential back problem before it happens.

Husband wants fish and chips - from a chippie, not home cooked in the oven - for dinner today.  It's only a rare treat for us nowadays, I will eat just half of mine - I'll share it with Betty....well, the fish anyway, and she can have a couple of chips.  I'll have some salad on the side to fill me up.  Although husband only gets one portion of chips to share between us, they still serve up a massive portion, so I may even wrap and freeze some.  I've done that before, they're perfectly ok reheated for a few minutes in a hot oven.

The shops are getting a lot busier now it's December, which I hate, I find it very stressful.  Husband actually volunteered to do the shopping from now on, if I wanted - erm, yes please!!  He normally sits in the car waiting whilst I go in - we've always done that since the start of the pandemic, as he was more susceptible to catching Covid and being seriously ill with it, having heart failure.  However, as we're both fully jabbed, including the booster, and have never stopped wearing masks in shops, he feels perfectly safe doing the shopping, he says.  It means I'll have to write a list for him every time, and he won't necessarily choose the things that I would - he's unlikely to check over the fruit & veg for blemishes or ripeness, e.g. - but if he wants to do the shopping, I'm more than happy to let him.  One less stress for me, and I can stay home and get on with things whilst he's out.  Fortunately for him, we won't be needing a big shop anytime before Christmas, just a couple of top ups of fresh stuff.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Ok I will

 Thank you so much for all your lovely comments.  HH - no, not disrespectful at all, please don't worry.  Sue - your comment about Mum coming back to whack me with her Watchtower mag did make me laugh - and it would have made Mum laugh too, in fact it's just the sort of thing she would say.  Pumpkin, welcome and thank you for commenting.  As you may have gathered, I don't follow Mum's faith but, as Mum was baptised when I was around 8 or 9 and we were thus brought up with her faith, I have always been respectful of her beliefs.  Mum had the most wonderful friends in her congregation who were very supportive to her and remained good friends right to the end, lots of them visited her in hospital during her last weeks - some of them from her old congregation in London came up to where she lived in the Midlands for her memorial service at the Kingdom Hall, and one who we'd known since childhood (her mother and my mother were great friends) even came over from her new home in Paris to attend.

I've decided to take everyone's advice and decorate my tree.  I'll do it on Saturday, the 4th - that's my lovely aunt Sylvia's birthday, she would have been 75 this year.  Sylvia absolutely adored Christmas, she was like a big kid about it, her front garden and the front of her house had the most lights and decorations of anybody's in her street.  You could hardly see the ceiling and walls of her lounge for the amount of Christmas decorations she put up, and she had an enormous tree.  She loved it, it gave her such pleasure, although she did it as much for her youngest son - he has Downs syndrome, he loved it too.  So I shall make it a tradition to put up my tree and decorations on the 4th every December - although mine will be minimalist!

My best friend has invited us to spend Christmas Day with their family again, as they do most years.  I've accepted, of course, they make us so welcome and we have a lovely time there.

I continue to be mostly pain-free, although do have the odd twinge or stab of pain and a bit of a wobbly leg when I've been standing in the kitchen baking or doing veg prep for a while.  With a rest and my electric heated back pad though, it soon wears off.  I had a phone consultation on Tuesday with the orthopaedic assessment team (referral by my GP), the nice therapist said as I was now getting on so well and having good care and treatment from my GP and osteopath, she felt she didn't need to see me right now.  She said, however, if anything changes or I get a lot of pain again, I can ring her direct rather than having to go through the GP and she'll see me then.  So that's good to know I have backup if needed.  I'm seeing my osteopath again next Monday, I don't know how many more treatments I'll need, not many I should think.

This morning I have 2 birthday cards to make.  This afternoon I'm going to have a go on my exercise bike, now husband has finally got round to altering the handlebars for me (my osteopath's suggestion).

It's vegetarian day, so I'm having avocado and cottage cheese on a slice of sourdough toast for lunch (husband will have cheese and tomatoes on toast, he doesn't like avocado).  For dinner I'm doing green veggies in a pesto sauce, with a little wholewheat pasta and grilled tomatoes on the side.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

December memories

 December is full of memories for me, not good ones for the most part.  It's my beloved Aunt Sylvia's birthday on the 4th, she would have been 75, she died 2.5 years ago.  And the 6th is the day my lovely friend Toni-anne died last year.  Then of course it's the 2nd anniversary of my Mum's death on Christmas Eve, and my Nanna died on Boxing Day many, many years ago.  Nanna I visited in hospital on Christmas Day, the day before she died, I was 14 at the time; I saw Sylvia in hospital the day she died (she was comatose); I got to the hospital on Christmas Eve 10 minutes after my lovely Mum died.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see my friend Toni (Covid restrictions and she was too weak to receive visitors anyway) but was able to speak to her on the phone 3 or 4 weeks before she died.

The best way I can deal with this is to think of a happy memory of all of them.  So here goes.....

I'm the eldest grandchild and had a very close and special relationship with my Nanna.  My Grandad did the football pools for years and years, almost never winning anything.  A few months before Nanna died, she too started doing the pools, her health had gone downhill and she was no longer able to go out regularly to the village hall to play bingo.  Well, amazingly, Nanna won quite often, much to Grandad's surprise and annoyance - he used to spend ages agonising over who he thought would win the football games, whereas Nanna gave it no thought at all, just marking her coupons completely haphazardly.  She only won pennies and the odd couple of bob (yes it's that long ago!), but she always shared her winnings with me, calling it 'our little secret'.

Sylvia had MS (multiple has my sister).  She never let it stand in her way, even though sometimes she was quite debilitated by it - her balance was affected terribly and she could hardly walk when she was having an attack.  Sylvia loved bingo (she was her mother's daughter), she went to the Mecca bingo hall at least twice a week, even when she wasn't well.  I started going with her when she was in the throes of an MS attack - she still insisted on going, and I wanted to make sure she actually got there safely.  One Sunday we were on our way to the bus stop for her regular Sunday after lunch game of bingo, Sylvia was having a particularly bad attack and was very unsteady on her feet.  All of a sudden she tripped and fell over, she rolled gently off the kerb and into the road.....fortunately, as it was a Sunday afternoon years ago, there was hardly any traffic about.....unfortunately, it happened literally right outside the open doorway of the local pub.  The pair of us were in fits of giggles, absolutely helpless with laughter (Sylvia was unhurt), with me spluttering at her 'get up you daft moo, everyone will think you're drunk!'.  Sylvia was the funniest person I knew, we were always laughing.  I spent a lot of time with her, living with her for weeks at a time.

Toni-anne was artistic and stylish, and very individual.  She was extremely well read, knowledgeable and fiercely exacting about correct spelling and grammar - poor grammar or spelling, particularly in print, was a real bugbear of hers, and she wouldn't hesitate to pull people up on it - in a nice way, not telling them off.  She sounds forbidding, but she wasn't at all - she was quiet, but with a wicked very dry sense of humour.  I said she was artistic - she took lovely photographs, especially close ups of flowers or insects.  The thing that stands out in my mind though is the very first time we went to visit her at home - she lived in an upstairs flat, the stairs rising from her front door up to a small hallway leading to her lounge.  The balustrade at the top, around 6ft in length, was completely covered with colourful scarves tied around it, making it an art feature, it was a glorious view as you climbed the stairs.  She said she'd done it because it was easy to pick out a scarf to go with her outfit of the day - she was being typically modest, a lot of thought had obviously gone into it.  She loved colour.

My Mum - well, where to start?  Mum was known for having a wacky sense of humour, she would laugh until tears rolled down her face at the stupidest of things on TV.....the comedy programme Some Mothers do 'ave 'em, starring Michael Crawford and Michele Dotrice, was always one of her very favourite programmes, even repeats she'd seen umpteen times would have her crying with laughter (I never thought it was that funny!).  Us siblings all have a photo of Mum sitting at the dining table with a tea cosy on her was a long time ago and none of us can remember why!  Some silly game, I expect.  Mum was never afraid to say what she thought, even more so as she got older, it could be embarrassing at times.  I remember being in town with her one day, I was accompanying her to a hospital appointment.  The road we had to walk down had very narrow pavements and there was a builder's van parked up ahead of us, partly on the pavement, which Mum tutted over.  As we got alongside it, having to squeeze past, Mum noticed a man in the driver's seat - she lifted her walking stick and rapped on the passenger side window, the man lowered the window and probably wished he hadn't as Mum proceeded to give him a right tongue lashing for being so inconsiderate.  He just looked at her in open-mouthed astonishment, clearly thinking 'how is that coming out of that sweet little old lady's mouth?!' (she didn't actually swear, but really told him off).  "Well, that told him, Mum!" I said.

Thank you for the suggestions of decorating my Christmas tree in Mum's memory.....I did have to smile at the irony of that.  Mum was a very staunch Jehovah's Witness and as such never celebrated Christmas, the idea of me decorating and dedicating my tree to her would have her turning in her grave (if she had been buried).  Whilst she never ever put up any decorations herself, she wouldn't have been disapproving of my doing it, she would merely have given me a 'look' and a little smile and said something like 'well, it's on your conscience, not mine, love'.

Monday, 29 November 2021


 Thankfully, I feel back to normal today, the overwhelming tiredness has gone (just my normal everyday tiredness left!).  Which is good, as I have lots to do this week, loads of little jobs I want to get done.

I'm trying to keep occupied at the moment.  For some reason, I'm finding it very hard being without my Mum right now, she's in my thoughts a lot and I so miss having her to talk to on the end of the phone.  I don't know why this year is harder than last (she died on Christmas Eve the year before last), but it is.  I'm not looking forward to Christmas at all really, I'm now even feeling ambivalent about decorating the new Christmas tree.  My Mum was a no-nonsense, plain speaking woman.....she could sometimes make my eyebrows rise at some of the things she said (she had no filter, especially as she got older), but she was very good at dispensing advice when I needed it, she was very wise and often knew just the right thing to say.  I miss her so much.

Right now it feels like everyone I looked up to and turned to for advice and just a listening ear and strong pair of arms, is disappearing from my life.

Right, must get on, lots to do.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Bone-achingly tired

 After having the booster jab on Friday morning, I didn't think I had any after effects.  However, yesterday afternoon I suddenly came over so tired, I just had to go to bed.  And I mean actually get undressed and get in bed, with curtains and door shut, I slept for about 1.5 hours.  I got up, ate some of our dinner (thank goodness I'd made the burgers and coleslaw in the morning, I wouldn't have had the energy later on) - couldn't finish dinner as I was simply too tired to eat.  Watched Strictly, then went straight to bed.  Despite being totally shattered, I didn't sleep very well - think I woke up every hour, although I didn't wake up early this morning, it was 7 am, practically unheard of for me.  So I was in bed for 11 hours last night - not including the afternoon nap.  This morning I've done next to nothing and still feel so tired I'm sure if I shut my eyes, I'd go straight to sleep again.  I don't feel ill, just so tired.

Although I'm frequently tired, as a result of never sleeping well, it is unusual for me to be THIS bone-achingly, brain-dead type of tired.  So I'm assuming it is a side effect of the booster.  I'm not complaining though - any after effect is preferable to not having the jabs and getting Covid, in my opinion.

I never used to feel the cold....years of hot flushes and night sweats meant I was almost always hot, never cold.  I've noticed over the past few months though that I feel the cold so much more now, and really hate being outside when it's cold, especially if there's a chilly wind.  I've been having my electric heated pad on my back every time I sit down in the lounge.....ostensibly because it helps my back, but really because I just like to feel warm!  I always have a fleece blanket on my bed, for Betty to lie on.....last night though I had my lovely faux fur blanket on top of the bed, it was so nice to feel warm and snuggly.  Betty was clearly too hot though, she jumped off the bed after an hour or so and went downstairs to sleep in her own bed.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Windy (the weather, not me lol)

 Not much sleep again last night, the howling wind kept all of us, Betty included, awake - she was up and down like a yoyo, jumping off my bed and running downstairs every time there was a noise.  We apparently had 50mph winds, so not as fierce as some areas.  There's no real damage in our garden, pots and small things blown around (hence the noises Betty kept hearing) and some of husband's veg supports blown over, but that's it by the looks of things.  In previous storms we've had tiles blown off the roof of our utility room, 2 or 3 times, but not this time.  Next door's small polytunnel has been trashed, and their giant trampoline was lifting.....they've anchored it down now.  Husband's been out with Betty and said there are lots of small bits of wood blown off trees, and rubbish blown around (it was dustbin day yesterday, a couple of our neighbours are a bit lax with putting out/taking in their bins).  The wind is gradually starting to ease off, thankfully.  

Well, I haven't become a zombie yet (still time though, Sue in Suffolk 😂) following my booster yesterday, although my upper arm does feel a bit like a lump of hot lead.  No other after effects noted.

It's definitely a day for staying home in the warm, I'm going to get on with some crocheting this afternoon, it'll be nice to have a lapful of warm wool!  Making burgers this morning for us to have for dinner - with salad, although I might change that to chips or a jacket spud, as it's the weekend! (we relax our low carb regime a bit at weekends, and it's not really salad weather....well, that's my reasoning lol).

I really need to get on with family and friends Christmas cards, I've done all the 'ordinary' ones, although not written in them yet.  I've designed a couple in my head already, just need to get the ideas down on paper....erm,

I am actually looking forward to starting to decorate my little tree - it's the 1st December on Wednesday, so I've given myself permission to make a start then (it's all your fault, Cherie and Joy!! 😂😂).

Friday, 26 November 2021

Jabbed, and looking forward to a quiet weekend

 Had my booster jab this morning....all ok, so far no after effects at all.  I'm glad husband and I have both had ours now (he had his a couple of weeks ago), it's reassuring, especially now there's yet another variant appearing.  As the shops are getting busier now, busier still in the next few weeks, I'm keeping away from them - too many people not wearing masks nowadays.  We have full freezers and cupboards, including all the food we want for Christmas, there's nothing we need apart from top ups of fresh veg and dairy every other week or so.  When I do need to go, it'll be early in the morning when it's quieter.

Gusty winds and rain lashing the windows kept waking me up last night, so I'll be going to bed early tonight I expect.  Bit of squally rain and very gusty today (next door's small polytunnel has been trashed), but it's nowhere near as bad as other, more northern parts of the country.  Hope everyone is safe and warm.  Don't need to go anywhere over the weekend, husband will be clearing our present car out ready for exchanging for the new one, I'm going to be rearranging the big freezer (still not got around to doing it yet), cardmaking and possibly doing a bit of baking.

Black Friday purchases - none! (nothing we want or need).

That's it, nothing else interesting to say, sorry!  No dramas, not done anything worthy of mention, nothing happening.....must try harder 😂😂

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Caravan planning for next year

 It's a lovely sunshiney day but with a very strong bitterly cold wind.  I've got washing on the line but whether it'll dry remains to be seen....the last few times I've put washing out, it's not dried fully, it's been far too cold.  Which means I've had to finish it off in the tumbler, bit of a nuisance when we're trying not to use too much electricity.  On the subject of which, we've just had our leccy bill for the caravan - we're now £76 in credit, and that will continue roughly the same until March when we go back to the van, as the amount we pay on direct debit is about equal to the amount of the standing charge.  

I've just microwaved some sweet potatoes for the dog, she likes that, I mix it in with her homemade food.  I'm making a veg and cheese tart for our dinner, diced and roasted squash, courgettes and mushrooms, low carb veggies to offset the higher carb wholemeal pastry (it's an open tart, so bottom crust only), we'll have it with green veg, there'll be half the tart left to have for lunch tomorrow.

We've decided we're definitely going to take out the fixed sofa in the caravan next year.  We took off all the sofa cushions and had a good look at the fixtures behind the sofa before we left the van in October, we'll leave most of the wooden structure that's fixed to the walls in place, for stability.  We'll paint it all, but most of it will be hidden by any new furniture anyway.  And yes we do know that whatever furniture we buy has to fit through the caravan doors.....we weren't born yesterday 😂😁.  I belong to a static caravan forum and replacement of fixed caravan furniture is discussed literally every day - thousands of people have done it already in their vans, so it is doable, you just have to be a bit savvy about it and use your common sense.  Coincidentally, our lovely caravan neighbours are also going to do the same thing, so we'll all be able to help each other with the work involved.  95 days to go till we can go back - according to the countdown timer on my laptop 😁.

I've decided I'm going to keep the caravan curtains and just buy thicker linings for them - I was debating whether to buy thicker curtains, but I do like the ones we have, and it seems a shame to change them after I put so much work into shortening them all.

We're thinking of having a gazebo for the caravan garden next year - the garden is a real sun trap and gets very hot indeed when the sun's out - too hot for Betty and I to sit out in full sun, although husband loves it.  For this year we had a big sun umbrella, but a gazebo with removable sides would give a lot more sun protection.  It's fun thinking of caravan stuff for next year, keeps me going.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

I'm not that industrious!

 Several of you have commented on how industrious I've been recently.  Well, yes, partly - it's been so long since I was able to do stuff, for a long time (weeks and weeks) I did barely anything, other than the absolutely necessary such as preparing dinner and putting washing on, because I was in so much pain.  Even now, whilst I am able to get so much more done, it's only in the mornings I do it all.....come the afternoon, I'm cream crackered (knackered, or really tired for my overseas readers).  So the afternoons are generally spent relaxing in my recliner chair upstairs, crocheting or reading, or even having a snooze.  And when I've done a lot these past few days, I do feel it the next morning, my back, hips and legs do ache and feel a bit wobbly for a while.  

I'm feeling like that today, so am taking things easy and not intending to do anything much today.  The freezer sort out can wait for another day.

The energy company we're with for both home and caravan, Bulb, has just been put into 'special administration'.  Whilst I'm not worried, as such, as it's been reported (and by Martin Lewis too - I don't like the man but he does know what he's talking about) that supply, accounts, payments etc will continue as normal and any credit balances will be protected, it is a bit concerning, of course.  We currently have a credit balance on our home account of about £100, and around £45 on our caravan account, so I don't want those to disappear - I'm reasonably confident that they won't.  Apparently, everyone's energy bills will go up next April when Ofgem or the Government (I'm not sure which) re-set the price cap.  It must be such a huge worry for people on lower incomes - I'm pretty sure that my Mother was in the 'heat or eat' dilemma years ago when I was a child and she was a single mother of 4.  How my Mum coped all those years (my father buggered off when my youngest sibling was only a year old) I really don't know, but cope she did and we never went hungry.

The carrot and courgette cake didn't rise very much, certainly not as much as a normal cake, but it tastes bloody scrumptious, we had a small piece each with coffee this morning.  It's lovely and moist (due to the carrots and courgettes I guess, it was quite a wet mixture when it went in the oven) and quite sweet tasting, despite me cutting the amount of sugar in half.  I'll certainly make it again - and try to remember to put the walnuts in it next time 😂.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Lots of little jobs done

 Woke up with no pain this morning, so that was a good start.  Cold and frosty out, glad I didn't have to go out anywhere.  Husband was out in the garden all morning, he was well wrapped up and doesn't mind the cold when he's busy.  He's been cutting back the very overgrown hedging and clearing out his polytunnel - it's quite a big one and now we don't grow so much, he doesn't make the best use of it, it's become a dumping area - he's such a hoarder and a messy one at that.  Neighbour's father wants the polytunnel, he's got a bigger garden and is a keen gardener, once husband's finished clearing it out, Dave will come over to collect it - hopefully will help dismantling the frame.

I've done lots of little jobs today.  Emptied out my underwear drawers (ooh, a pun 😂) and sorted through them - my knickers and bras must have been breeding, as there seemed to be loads more than I remembered buying!  Even had some new ones that didn't fit or were unsuitable for some reason, I should have taken them back at the time of course, but didn't.  So they've gone in a bag for the charity shop, others that are a bit past it have been binned.  So now I can actually open and close the drawers with ease, rather than having to squash everything down in order to shut the drawers.

Sorted out a big pile of books for the neighbour I exchange books with - she said she's got a bagful for me when she gets round to sorting hers out.....which is good as I'm down to my last 2 unread books.  I give them back to her when I've read them and she passes them on to her mother's care home.  I don't do a great deal of reading now, not like I used to years ago, but I do like to read for an hour in bed before I go to sleep.  If I wake up and get up in the night, I read for a short while then as well.

I rearranged my larder cupboard shelves....things had got moved around or put in the wrong places (not by me!) - I like to have everything in order so I can easily find things, and it's easy to see when I'm getting low on something and need to buy replacements.

The cupboard under the sink where all the cleaning supplies are kept needs clearing out, cleaning and reorganising - that's a job I'll get husband to do though, as I know for a fact (having seen them!) that 8-legged things live in the back of the cupboard.  No way am I pulling everything out of there!

I intended to sort through the big freezer and reorganise that - I normally like to have everything separated - meat in one drawer, fish in another, veg in the big deep drawer, ready meals in another, etc etc.  However, when we did a big freezer restock shop, and since then bought a couple of meat bargains, and with all the ready meals, sausage rolls etc I've made recently, things were tending to get shoved into any available space and now I have trouble finding anything.  I did make a start, but with the freezer being so full up, and it being very cold in the (unheated) utility room, I soon stopped.  I'll have a go again tomorrow, will get husband to get the big oil filled electric radiator out of the garage and plug that in so I'm warm enough.  We actually bought that second hand to go in the caravan, but it's a bit too big and, in any case, the electric fire we bought is brilliant and heats the caravan lounge up very well.

I've also made a healthy cake, found a recipe in one of my books for a carrot and courgette cake, sort of like a passion cake, which uses only a relatively small amount of flour - half self raising flour (I used wholemeal) and half almond flour.  I halved the amount of sugar stated (and I used dark brown sugar for a sweeter, treacly taste) and put a handful of chopped dates and some broken walnuts in it, along with the grated carrot and courgette.  It's in the oven now and smells good, I think we might try having a slice of it for breakfast.....well, it's got fruit, nuts, eggs and veggies in it, so really it's just like having healthy cereal (the fruit, nuts and wholemeal flour), or an omelette with veggies in it (the eggs, carrots & courgettes) isn't it?! 😉😁

Having just cleared up the kitchen and put everything away, I've just found the unopened bag of obviously they haven't gone in the cake, duh!! 😒

Thank you again for comments, Sue and HH, I hope your booster jabs go well and you have no after effects of any consequence (and anyway, I agree, much rather those than not having the jabs and getting Covid!).  Yes we're very pleased about the car and looking forward to it being here next week.  And Rambler, yes you're right, I should get a different chair for my craft room.  Trouble is, both the desk and the room are very small, so it'll have to be a chair that's not too big for the available space, preferably one that fits under the desk as there's not enough room for it to be stuck in the middle of the floor.  I'll have a look online soon and see what I can find.

It being fish day, we're having smoked salmon risotto for dinner.  I'm only going to use half the amount of brown basmati rice I'd normally use, as we're low-carbing at the moment.  Using loads of chopped veggies instead to bulk it out - leek, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms and sweetcorn.

Monday, 22 November 2021

A bit of pain but didn't last

 Thank you for all the comments, I know I don't answer them all individually, but I do read and appreciate every single one.  I have a great bunch of readers (beats me why you stay! 😂), you're all lovely, thank you.

This morning, for the first time in several days, I woke up in a bit of pain with the sciatica down the back of my left leg and twinges in my lower back - probably because I was on my feet in the kitchen for a couple of hours yesterday, then sitting in my craft room....the chair is only a spare dining chair with a cushion to support my back, so it's not really comfortable for long periods.  Thankfully, the pain didn't last too long and I've been a bit more careful and 'aware' of my back today.

I've not done too much today, just a bit of kitchen stuff, googling for some information, little bit of shopping for fresh veg, collected our prescriptions.  Oh, and we went to have a look at and test drive a new car....well, new to us.  Our little Fiat MPV, which we've had for less than a year, is a nice enough car, it's comfortable, cheap to run and looks good.  But it's gutless, really struggles going up hills - there's a long, not particularly steep, hill on the way to the caravan and the car struggles so much going up there that I often feel like I need to get out and push.  And the boot is quite small - Betty's travel cage doesn't fit in it which I'm not very happy about, and even with the back seats down we can't get a lot of stuff in the back - even less with Betty in the car.

This car we looked at is still a Fiat but quite a bit bigger - bigger engine, much bigger boot, it will easily fit Betty's cage in.  And with the back seats folded there's tons of room, which will come in very handy with a couple of projects we've got in mind for next year.  It's also quite high up, unlike a normal saloon car, so is easy to get in and out of.  It drives like a dream - well, husband drove it and liked it, and it seemed a very comfortable and easy ride to me, it certainly has a lot more 'oomph' to it.  It's got very strong roof bars fitted, which will also be useful.....husband will need to stand on a stool to put anything on the roof though!  So we've bought it, the garage is taking our present car in part exchange.  The new one is having a service and new MOT and they're delivering it to us next week.

I've got my covid booster jab this week, Friday, I'm glad about that.  I didn't really have any problems with the first two....I think I felt a bit under the weather for a day or 2 after the first, but had no reaction whatsoever to the 2nd, not even a sore arm.  Hopefully, the booster won't give me any problems either.  Husband had his a couple of weeks ago and just felt a bit more tired than usual for the first day or so.  

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Good and busy day

 It's been a busy day, lots of jobs done.  Firstly, washing put out on the line as it's been sunny, albeit with a very cold breeze.  The temperature has dropped noticeably, we've had several unseasonably warm days over the past few weeks and now it's gone down to what it should be for this time of the year.  For the first time in ages, I was actually a bit cold in bed last night, so have changed from the summer duvet to the autumn one, 7.5 tog instead of the 4.5 one.  So changed the bed linen at the same time.

Prepped the duck for dinner today.....well, husband prepped it following my directions.  I prepared all the veggies - cabbage, sprouts, tenderstem broccoli, and potatoes and carrots to roast - loads of veg purposely as I want some leftovers for veggie day tomorrow.  I also made an orange sauce to serve with the duck - simple one, just zest and juice of a large orange, 2 tbsp marmalade and a splash of balsamic vinegar, boiled then simmered until reduced and thickened.  Poured off most of the duck fat to freeze for roast spuds over Christmas, leaving a little to make gravy with.

Made a few changes to the menu plan for this week.  Then went up to my craft room and drew/made a birthday card for a friend, and added some embellishments to some Christmas cards.

I used the puff pastry yesterday to make apple, raisin and cinnamon Danish pastries - froze most of them (in the duck sized space in the freezer, haha) but kept a couple out for husband.

Still no pain in my back or hips, although I'm still a bit sore and quite stiff today.  My legs are definitely getting stronger, I feel like I stand better.  It continues to amaze me how the osteopathy is having such a positive change to my muscles, stance and pain reduction.....I honestly didn't believe that I could ever be pain free.  I've got so used to being in pain constantly, 24/7, and that affected my mood a lot, especially since I wasn't sleeping at all well, the pain waking me up every time I turned over.  Now I feel so much better, physically and therefore mentally.  Had a long chat with my bestie yesterday too, that always cheers me up.

Just sat down now, I won't be doing anything else for the rest of the day....well, other than serving up the dinner.