Thursday, 30 June 2022

Getting better slowly

 This bug or whatever it is seems to be on the way out, I would say I feel about 50% better, the scratchy throat and sore neck glands have gone.  I still feel like I could do with a whole week's worth of sleep in one go, but am not as totally knackered and achy as I was.  I think going upstairs to rest, read and nap has done me good, along with eating small healthy meals with plenty of veg and fresh fruit. 

HH, thank you for the mention of Vit D for the immune system, I'd forgotten about that.  We've taken D throughout the last 2 winters, but then stopped in spring when we were outside more.  I've started taking them again now though.  Thank you to all of you for your lovely comments, as always.

The weather has been so changeable over the past few days, one minute it's sunny, the next it's raining.  We had some thunder yesterday afternoon, although I didn't see any lightning.  It's hard to judge whether to put any washing out on the's bright sunshine at the moment, but apparently we could have thunderstorms again today.  I don't want to be dashing outside every half hour to bring the washing in, or put it back out again, so today's load will go on the airer upstairs in the front bedroom which gets all the sun.

Husband's been doing more cooking, to help me out - I have to tell him exactly what to do though.  He's doing tea tonight, a mushroom & cheese omelette with new potatoes and beans, nothing he can't easily cope with.  He's making another small raised bed in the back garden - why, I don't know, he's got 2 or 3 that aren't currently being used!  Still, it keeps him occupied....he's always happy when he's building something or other (and it means he's not indoors with the TV on!).  I just wish he would start and finish one job at a time, instead of doing little bits here and there like he always does, nothing ever gets finished that way.  He's got the attention span of a goldfish.

Looks like our neighbour's 70th birthday bbq on Saturday might be rained off, which I can't say I'm upset about.....there are several of his relatives and friends still coming, but we're not going if everyone's going to be inside - too much chance of catching (or spreading!) something.  With husband going to hospital on Monday for his minor foot op, we don't want to run the risk of him coming down with something.  I've kept my distance from him for the past week, so as to try and ensure I don't pass on whatever I've had to him.  It's worked so far, he's fine.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Feeling yuck again

 I got all my jobs done yesterday morning, but it wiped me out.  Early afternoon I went upstairs and slept for an hour, then stayed up there to read for the rest of the afternoon.  Husband cooked tea - ham, egg and chips, I couldn't eat all of it.  Started feeling progressively worse so went to bed early, just before 9 pm I think, and had one of the worst nights ever.  Slept fitfully for about 3 hours or so, then that was that.  Had to come downstairs twice, the first time for Betty, she was standing at the front door woofing around 1 am, I thought there must be an animal or something in the front garden, turned out to be a helicopter flying low somewhere nearby.  Couldn't get back to sleep after that, my throat was very dry and scratchy, crushing headache, neck glands sore again and everything ached.  Had to go downstairs again for another glass of water, I'd drunk all of the one I took upstairs.  Sat in my recliner chair reading, finally dozed off about 4.30 ish then was awake again just after 6.

I've now done 3 Covid tests and all of them were negative, so it's not that.  I think Happy Hooker might be right about us all picking up bugs now most people aren't wearing masks anymore - I've stopped wearing mine, except if the shop is very busy (I always keep one in my bag and we have them in the car) and notice that few people wear masks now.

So today I'm back to feeling like death warmed up.  I'm going to try a week of only doing what's necessary in the mornings, and going upstairs to nap or read every afternoon.  I've not got much of an appetite right now, but will work out a very healthy 7 day meal plan, consisting of wholegrains, nuts/seeds and mostly veg and fruit based meals with some chicken and fish.  Husband says he doesn't mind doing it as well, as long as there's plenty of it (being a man, he's got a much bigger appetite than me).

Husband seems unaffected by whatever I've got - well, so far at least.  Got the neighbour's 70th birthday party on Saturday, whether or not I go remains to be seen.  They're having it in the garden, weather permitting, and there'll be around 20 to 25 people there.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Something going round

 There's clearly some sort of bug or virus going round, I've heard now of several people living locally who have been feeling unwell, although symptoms differ slightly.  Some have had sore throats and coughs and generally feeling under the weather, which goes away eventually but then comes back again after a week or two.  Another has had a sore throat accompanied by a swelling on their neck and gone off their food.  All seem to report feeling really tired.  I've coughed once or twice, that might be hayfever related though, if I'm sneezing with hayfever it gives me a dry throat and occasionally makes me cough.  Over the weekend I felt really unwell, very scratchy throat and my neck glands hurt.  The main problem though for me has been this feeling of total exhaustion which has gone on for a couple of weeks, no matter how much sleep I have.  This morning my throat and sore glands feel a lot better, but I still felt like I could have slept for another few hours.  I didn't though, I've never been one for staying in bed for hours, always seems to me a complete waste of the day.

So I'm taking it that I'm better and have plenty to get on with today, I've already put the washing out on the line - will have to keep an eye on it though as the weather looks decidedly changeable again.  I had to put the washing on again when I got up, we had yet another blimmin power cut during the night and it interrupted the set washing cycle, I didn't know how far the cycle had got so just cancelled it and put it on a short wash.  We have power cuts galore here.....which always strikes me as odd seeing as we live about 2 miles as the crow flies from a big nuclear power station!  Fortunately, they only usually last a minute or two.  The power cut is even odder considering the electric company installed a new generator box thing, poles and cables a couple of weeks ago (it's in the field just behind our house).  Bleeding nuisance having to reset all the clocks and things at least once a week.

I'm also making dog food, and a big bowl of pastry to be portioned up and frozen.  There are loads of home grown new potatoes, I'll do a panful to be put in the fridge for potato salads - I've told husband not to dig any more up just yet, there's so many I'm practically drowning in them.  The yellow courgettes are starting to come thick and fast too - that's the trouble with growing veg, it all seems to come at once (husband's not good with successional sowings) and he does have a habit of bringing tons of it in and then leaving me to deal with this veg mountain.

Hopefully, I'll get all my jobs done this morning (I'm just having a coffee break at the mo) so I can sit upstairs in my recliner chair this afternoon and read.  Home cooked ham, egg and chips for tea tonight, so no work as such.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

How far ahead is too far?

 Does anyone else have a problem with social invitations being issued very far in advance?

At the very beginning of January, we were invited to a 70th birthday party that is taking place in July.  Last week, we had a verbal invitation to a wedding - for autumn NEXT YEAR (the actual date hasn't been set yet).  I had actually forgotten about the 70th birthday party until it was mentioned to us again a couple of weeks ago, it's a neighbour so no travelling involved.  The wedding, however, is up in the Midlands - we were told that they want to know numbers to make appropriate arrangements.  

I don't plan things that far ahead - how on earth do we know what we'll be doing so far in advance?  I have no idea whether husband will be in good enough health to drive that far in the latter part of next year - or even whether I'll be in reasonable health, for that matter.  To be brutally honest, as it's so far ahead, the couple concerned might not still be together by then! (one of them has a track record of getting engaged and then splitting from previous partners, although this latest partnership does seem to be a strong one, to be fair).

At the other end of the scale, we know a few people who issue invitations with next to no notice, which kind of makes me feel that they think we have nothing else in our lives and are ready to just go at the drop of a hat.  A happy medium would be nice.

I'm still not feeling 100% - physically that is, mentally I'm alright.  I'm just so very tired all the time, everything is an effort.  I went upstairs to read yesterday afternoon and promptly fell asleep for an hour.  Didn't feel like doing anything elaborate for dinner (actually, I never feel like it lately!), so just put a couple of pork chops and some leftover boiled new potatoes in the air fryer, both chops and spuds came out crispy and gorgeous.  Added some peas and that was dinner, done with no effort, other than smearing the chops with honey and mustard and tossing the spuds in a tiny bit of oil and herbs.  I'm loving the air fryer.

Today I'm doing a large tray of Mediterranean style veg, including yellow courgettes and baby beetroot from the garden, and another large trayful of jacket spuds, so they'll need to go in the big oven, I'm doing enough of both to freeze for several more meals.  I've got a small gammon joint to cook, I might do that in the air fryer rather than boiling it.  Well.....I say that's what I'm doing, that's my intention but whether it actually gets done (by me at least) is another matter.  As well as the overwhelming tiredness, I've now got the beginnings of a scratchy throat and my neck glands feel sore, I think I might do another covid test today, just to check.  So I might end up doing nothing.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Not covid

 When I got up yesterday morning, it was still stiflingly hot indoors, especially upstairs.  However, when we went shopping around 9 am, it was noticeably cooler outside, certainly much cooler than inside the house.  Having most of the windows open all day and a strong breeze blowing did cool the house down a lot by the afternoon.  We had a few very brief showers during the day, but not enough to perk the garden up.

Both the top up shopping and the fuel husband put in the car have gone up again.  It's getting totally ridiculous, as well as concerning - when is it ever going to stop?  I dread to think how much our energy bill and heating oil are going to cost during the coming winter.  Fortunately, we're able to cope alright currently, I don't know how long that will last if prices keep going up the way they are though.

By late afternoon I felt decidedly unwell - in fact I have done for 2 or 3 days.  Covid levels are rising again, apparently, so I did a test - negative thankfully.  I suppose it could just be the heat of the past few days - I don't cope well with heat, and especially humidity, at all.  Or maybe a virus, I don't know.  I went to bed early anyway.  Not feeling much better this morning.

I'd made a meatloaf yesterday, to have with salad and home grown new potatoes for dinner.  I only had a small portion as I didn't feel hungry at all.  Husband pronounced the meatloaf "very nice, very beefy".  It was lamb, mint and apricot actually.....😒

Friday, 24 June 2022

Huh, no rain. And don't talk to me until I've had my coffee!

 Well, no thunderstorms yesterday, not even any rain to speak of during the night.  Thankfully, it's cooler though, although feeling a bit muggy.

Did a wash load overnight, showers are forecast on and off throughout the the load is bedding and towels and I can't really get all of them dry on the concertina airer, I've put the bedding in the tumble dryer - it's still on the economy rate until 8 am.  One of the advantages of getting up early.

Another early riser advantage is that I normally get half an hour or so to myself first thing before husband gets up......I'm not human until I've had my first coffee, and I like to wake up slowly and in peace.  This morning, as soon as I opened my bedroom door, husband appeared from his room and the first thing he said was "Do you want some beetroot out of the garden?".  I won't tell you what I said.  He's always bright and breezy (and talkative!!  As he is ALL the time....) the minute he wakes up, whereas I'm like a bear with a sore head.  Another good reason for now having separate bedrooms....

I did a quick freezer inventory, menu plan and shopping list yesterday, a small top up shop is needed this morning.  I've done a list of about 12 main meals that we both like but are easy to cook, I'm going to stick to them in future, rather than pondering what to make every day.  Some of the meals we can have as leftovers for another day - e.g. a roasted gammon and veg one day,  ham egg and chips the next, or ham with bubble & squeak if I have enough leftover veg.  Jacket potatoes will feature once or twice a week too, I'll stick to my routine of buying a bagful and baking a whole trayful at a time.  There won't be a lot of cooking at the moment anyway, we'll be having something-and-salad a lot whilst it's so warm.

The air fryer is brilliant, so quick and easy, it'll be in use a lot, certainly more so than the big oven.  Husband cooked bacon and hash browns in it yesterday, with beans done in the microwave, and fried eggs on the stove top.....he could have put the beans in the AF as well, I should have told him to do that really.  It would have made things easier for him.....he's a bit uncoordinated when it comes to cooking several things at once, he gets flustered and confused about which order to do things in.  He managed though, just about.

He brought in the first lot of new potatoes from the garden yesterday, a big colander full, so there'll be potato salad or boiled new spuds simply served with a knob of butter featuring heavily for the next week.  We now have lots of yellow courgettes too, I like them sliced and lightly fried in olive oil with parsley, salt & pepper, or even grated raw in salads.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Bring on the thunderstorms!

 We've come home a day early, got here about 10.15, I've unpacked already.  The past few days it's just been too hot, for both Betty and I - even having the curtains closed against the sun and all windows and both external doors open and the fan going didn't cool the van down sufficiently.  Poor Betty didn't know what to do with herself, she was inside and out constantly, lying down panting continually (I know they do that to try and lower their body temperature and keep cool).  For some reason, she won't lie fully on her cool gel mat, she only puts her head on it....she doesn't like me putting a wrung out wet tea towel on her either, she'll tolerate it for about 30 seconds and then stands up and shakes it off.  She is sensible enough to keep drinking cold water though, I refresh her bowl every couple of hours.  I've tried giving her ice cubes to crunch, she will sometimes crunch them (Jayne I'll try your tip of very diluted chicken stock ice cubes now we're home, I didn't have any at the van).  Oddly enough, the van has been hotter this week than last week, when the temperature was allegedly higher - I'm pretty sure it's been higher this week though.  Must get a thermometer for the van.

Betty's now zonked out on the sofa, I'm not doing anything much today, this heat and humidity drains me and makes me feel so tired and decidedly unwell.  Luckily my bedroom doesn't get the sun until evening, so stays relatively cool, think I'll be having a lie down this afternoon.  We've got the possibility of thunderstorms later, hopefully that might cool things down a bit and freshen the air.  It'll be nice to sleep in a big airy cool bedroom tonight, on a big bed giving both Betty and I plenty of room (although she does tend to start off lying on my legs), rather than the small bedroom in the van which is like an airing cupboard in this heat.

The heat definitely dulls my appetite, especially for hot food.  I'll just have some fruit for lunch - we bought 2 punnets of Cheddar strawberries yesterday (the Cheddar area is famous for strawberries and is luckily just a short drive from the caravan park).  For dinner later I think we'll just have bacon and scrambled egg, husband can do that, I expect he'll want hash browns and beans with his.

We're having at least a fortnight at home now, we've got various things on the calendar for the next couple of weeks.....I'm having my hair cut, Betty's got the groomer's for her bath and nail clipping, husband's going to hospital for his ingrowing toenails to be dealt with, we have a 70th birthday party to go to....there's another couple of things too, which I can't remember off the top of my head.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

New car.....and less cooking from now on!

 We've got the new car.....more importantly, the old one has gone, boy am I glad to see the back of it!!  No more worrying about how on earth we were going to get it through the next MOT, when the bloody engine management lights etc kept coming on, and husband spending loads on various parts, none of which solved the problem.  And the friendly mobile mechanic freely admitted he had no clue as to how to solve the problems, plus he's always terribly busy anyway so trying to get him to actually come round was another pain.

Anyway.....the new car seems fine, we've been out for a short drive in it, Betty was fine about getting in the back, and it's lower so she's not got so much of a high jump.  I had a bit of a problem trying to tax the car yesterday, as my mifi is in and out like a fiddlers elbow here at the park....managed it eventually though.  There's 5 months remaining on the tax for the old car, which I would have reclaimed only I can't at the moment, because you need the 12-digit reference number off the log book, and husband had mistakenly given the whole thing to the dealer, instead of keeping most of it and giving the dealer just the relevant New Keeper part 😠.  Honestly, he can't do anything unless I'm there to hold his hand and prompt him.  So he's got to phone the dealer today and get the reference number off him.

I've said I want to go out for the morning tomorrow, getting back here early afternoon before it gets too hot.  I've told husband to think of somewhere for us to go - it's always - and I do mean ALWAYS - me who plans outings and makes arrangements, so it would be nice for once for him to do it!

The park here is practically empty again, just 2 other static owners here, neither of whom are near neighbours.  I think there are also 2 touring vans occupied right down at the front of the site.  Husband is outside snoozing in the recliner chair, so at least I'm getting peace and quiet.

For the last 10 years or so I've always cooked from scratch, I enjoy cooking and have always tried to make our meals different, varied and interesting.  Well, over the past few weeks I've found my interest in cooking is waning - rapidly.  It's like I really can't be bothered anymore spending ages in the kitchen cooking and always trying to think up different meals.  Husband will eat virtually anything I put in front of him, and mostly just shovels it in without really even noticing what he's eating, so it's not like he'll care one way or the other if I do less cooking and serve up more repetitive meals.  So I think from now on I'm going to have a small core of easily prepared meals, and just stick to them.  E.g. last night we had jacket spuds (which I'd batch cooked a trayload of at home and froze) which only needed heating through, with chipolata sausages and beans.  A simple easy to prep meal which we both enjoyed.  Husband would happily eat a cooked breakfast of some sort every day, even if it's just eggs on toast.  Well, since I'm not really a fan of breakfast, he can sort himself out with that.  For lunches I quite often make a quiche or frittata or small pizza which we have with salad, but from now on I think we'll stick to a sandwich or cheese on toast or crackers and cheese.  I do make the odd cake now and then, as husband is always asking for cake - I only really make it for him as, being diabetic, I rarely eat cakes....although I will eat a small bit if it's there!  But I think husband would be just as happy with a box of shop bought individual apple pies, so I've no need to bake cakes either.  And I won't eat shop bought ones....far too much sugar or chemical stuff in them.

It just feels like I've spent so many hours of my life cooking and baking, and I just can't be arsed anymore.  I think if I lived on my own I'd eat very simply with very little cooking - I could quite happily live on cheese and crackers (or crisps!), jacket spuds or toast and butter.

Monday, 20 June 2022

A beautiful start to the day

 I slept like a log last night and woke up feeling refreshed just before 5 am......laid there for a few minutes but knew I wouldn't get back to sleep, so got up.  It's a beautiful sunny morning and lovely and peaceful as husband is still in bed.  I've emptied the dish drainer of last night's washing up and put it all away, and packed a bag of tinned & packet food and dog treats to take with us to the caravan.  I've also fried off some curry powder to mix in with mayo for the Coronation Chicken we're having with salad tonight, I don't like the curry powder much in a raw dry state.  I've soaked some raisins and chopped dried apricot in boiling water too, to soften them up before adding to the salad.  Got salad leaves to pick from the tub here in the front garden this morning, there should be radishes ready to eat in the caravan garden.  Will be nice when our first tomatoes are ready, we have red and yellow cherry toms at the caravan, bigger ones here in the home garden.  Just the chilled and frozen food to pack in the ice box, then we'll be ready to go once rush hour has died down.

I'm taking my art supplies, feeling an urge to do some drawing.  Husband is now being very good about not having the TV on so much at the caravan, in fact it's off most of the time, he goes off chatting to van neighbours or snoozes in his sun lounger chair in the garden.  It's so nice to not have any work to do on the van now, other than the odd bit of maintenance, we can just potter in the garden, relax in the sun, or take Betty out to the reservoir or beach.  Meals are easy with hardly any cooking, got it down to a fine art now - breakfasts (mainly for husband, I don't always eat breakfast) are usually toast, crumpets or cereal, lunches are salads or a sandwich, dinners are home cooked meals that I've previously frozen, just needing heating through and some veg or salad added.

Taking on and doing up this old caravan was such a lot of hard work, but it's been so worth it for the pleasure and relaxation it now gives us.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Busy weekend and first pickings

 I've been busy this weekend at home.....bags unpacked and repacked, 2 loads of washing done, meals planned for next week, shopping list done (got the little bit of shopping we need this morning).  Bread made (husband did the bread), meals cooked yesterday and today.  Dog food made for Betty.  Bit of banking done, new car insurance sorted out for husband.  Haircut appointment made for next Saturday.  Will be going back to the caravan tomorrow for a rest!

Husband picked some veg from the garden, vacuumed downstairs, then emptied out the old car and gave it a quick hoover out and wash.

Getting on ok with the air fryer, have used it a few times now, still at the experimental stage but I am liking it a lot.  Husband didn't bake the bread in it in the end, he chickened out.

Roasting a big chicken for lunch today, in the normal oven as it was too big for the air fryer, we're having the legs for lunch and I'll strip the rest of the meat off the bones to take to the caravan.  I'm also roasting the first of our home grown beetroots, golf ball sized and delicious, along with the first small yellow courgettes.  Isn't it nice when you start eating the first of your own produce?  We've had several pickings of salad leaves and radishes at the caravan.....home grown radishes have such a lovely peppery flavour, unlike supermarket ones which have none.  Our strawberries are late this year, but a few are starting to turn red now.

Husband's just had a phone call from his daughter for Father's Day, she sent him a cheeky card as usual, makes him laugh.  Had to be a Moonpig one rather than hand picked and written, as she's got Covid.  As she's asthmatic, she was quite poorly for a couple of days, but is feeling alright now.

Just got to pack the food in the cool box in the morning, then we'll be back off to the caravan.  Forecast to be nice weather for the week, sunny and warm but not stiflingly hot like last week, thank goodness.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Quick turnaround

 Home this morning as we have a few things to do, then back here again Monday afternoon, for probably the rest of the week.

Boy wasn't it hot yesterday, thankfully there was a bit of a breeze to calm it down a bit.  I'd constructed a sort of tent for Betty in the garden -  a bath towel over the backs of 2 chairs - but she wouldn't even get under it.  We have a cool gel mat for her in the caravan, she does put her head on it!  I wrung a teatowel out in cold water and put that over her, she puts up with it for about 5 mins then shakes it off.  She did keep hydrated with lots of cold drinks though, I refilled her bowl with fresh water umpteen times throughout the day.

Fortunately it's much less hot today, some brief showers forecast, it's quite humid and muggy at the moment rather than the dry baking oven heat we've had the past couple of days.

Looking forward to the arrival of the new car next week, and seeing the back of the old one.

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

New (to us) car

 The car is a Kia Ceed, a lovely little estate car.  Comfortable and quite spacious, despite being fairly compact.  Husband said it drove like a dream on the test drive and, bonus, it's an automatic.  He's had manuals the last 2 or 3 cars we've had, after numerous years of autos, and I sometimes think he's forgotten how to operate a clutch 🙄.  So hopefully no more jerkiness and crunches!  The dealer is putting a new MOT on it and delivering it to us here at the caravan park next Tuesday.  He's taking ours in part exchange so that's that problem solved.  I'm so relieved.


 Just to say, we've bought the car 😁

Off today

 Going to the caravan this morning, for a few days, so posts might be sporadic.  Weather is forecast to be hot, hot, hot!  We've got it down to a fine art now, keeping the heat manageable in the caravan.  We open all the windows first thing in the morning, but keep the curtains closed on the side where the sun comes in, opening them and closing others as the sun moves round to the other side during the day.  It helps that we have 2 doors too, we have both of them open if it's very hot - both doors have heavy curtains to keep the sun (and flying insects) out.  We do have 2 electric fans but so far haven't had to use them much, although we might have to on Friday when it's forecast to be very hot.

Husband has worked his socks off in the garden, cutting all the hedges back, mowing the lawns, planting all the veg plants, weeding, erecting cane supports, setting up watering systems and generally tidying up, he's done really well.

Oh, and we're going to look at another car for sale this afternoon, at a dealers not far from the caravan.  We've looked at several now, unsuitable for one reason or another, but both of us have a good feeling about this one.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Air fryers - the difference

 As I, a new owner, understand it, there appear to be 2 main types of air fryer - one with a (or 2) pull out drawer containing a basket, which is what most people, including me, seem to think of as an air fryer.  Something that basically cooks chips with very little fat.....although I've since read that they do a lot more than that.  The other type, which is what I've got, is more like a mini oven - mine is the Tower 11 litre 5-in-1, this is it Vortx 2000W 11L 5-In-1 Manual Air Fryer Oven With Rotisserie | T17038 | Kitchen Appliances | Tower Housewares

It has a glass front so you can see what's cooking, inside there are 3 shallow basket-type trays and a drip tray (although mine was missing!), which you can also use to cook on.  It's basically a super-fast very effective mini fan oven, with a rotisserie to cook (small) whole chickens etc.  It takes just a minute to heat up and cooks food in about 20-25% less time than a full oven.  I've joined a FB group and have read loads of helpful advice on there....just as well, as the booklet that comes with the appliance is next to useless.  Apparently, you can even do boiled their it!  Not in water, you just lay the eggs on one of the basket shelves.  You can bake cakes in it (as I proved yesterday), you simply have to ensure your baking tin fits inside the appliance - apparently you can also bake bread in it, husband is having a go at that today.  I'll let you know how he gets on.

The chicken breasts we had yesterday were delicious, juicy and succulent - they tend to dry out a bit in the main oven (or maybe that's just me cooking them too long!) but no sign of dryness at all in the AF.  The sliced Jersey Royals were fully cooked, crispy and delicious, done in the same length of time as the chicken, both cooked in the AF at the same time.  I sliced the potatoes to about the thickness of a pound coin.  I'd read that you should parboil potatoes first....I didn't bother, assuming that slicing them meant they'd cook perfectly well, and they did.

I'm pretty sure this appliance will render my normal oven redundant.

The Verdict - a thumbs up

 I decided to jump in with both feet and bake a cake for my first use of the air fryer.....there was a method in my madness, I just did a very basic 2-egg sponge.  My thinking was that if it didn't turn out too good, well I'd only used few and relatively cheap I was pretty sure husband would eat it anyway regardless of what it looked like, if I poured custard on it!

Well, the cake was absolutely fine, it came out really well, I cooked it for 20 mins at 160 deg, tested it and it wasn't quite done, so gave it another 5 mins, by which time it was perfect.  And a bonus was that the air fryer (AF for short) takes no time at all to heat up - just one minute in fact, rather than the 10 mins it takes my big oven to get up to temperature, and 5 mins for the caravan small oven, so there's an electricity saving straight away.  Here's the cake, cut in half and sandwiched together with jam:-

It's light and fluffy with a crisp crust.  I'll definitely be baking cakes in it again.

I also cooked dinner in the AF, chicken breasts wrapped in prosciutto, and sliced Jersey Royal potatoes which I brushed with a tsp of oil.  Cooked for 25 mins at 180 deg, turning them over halfway through.  Again, cooked to perfection.  We had leftover tenderstem broccoli and Savoy cabbage from yesterday, I just heated them through in the microwave.  

So I'm really happy with the AF and can see me using it almost on a daily basis, it will certainly replace my big oven for just us two, although not for a crowd of guests.  Apparently you can even make toasted sandwiches in it, the kind where you butter the outside of the bread so it crisps up in an electric sandwich maker, I'll give that a go soon.  I have got a sandwich maker, but it lives in a cupboard so I have to drag it out to use it.  The AF will mainly live on the hob on top of my oven, except if I have to use the hob, obviously (the joys of having a small kitchen with not much work surface!).  So it'll be easier to use that than to keep getting the sandwich maker out.

Thank you to all my Canadian readers (never realised I had so many!) for your comments about the Coho salmon.  I'll probably open a tin for our lunchtime sandwiches today.  The shelf label in Morrisons said it was a discontinued line, but I can't say I've ever seen it on their shelves before.

Jayne thank you, I do know that butter freezes well, I've frozen it before.  I would have got more than 4 packs at that price, but they didn't have as many packs in the reduced chiller cabinet as they did the tins of salmon on the shelf, so I didn't think I ought to take any more.

We're off to the caravan tomorrow for a few days, so doing some prep for that today.  I'm expecting to see more of my plants in flower there, as well as radishes and salad leaves ready for picking.

Monday, 13 June 2022

A heads up - bargains in Morrisons

 I read this morning on FB (it's useful for some things!) that Morrisons currently have an offer on 213g tins of something called Coho Salmon - I'd never heard of it, but it seems it's a type of salmon.  They are currently selling them (a discontinued line) for 75p, reduced from £2.  I love tinned salmon, in a sandwich or made into fishcakes, so thought I'd go and get some, if they had any left.  They did, I bought 8 tins (they had quite a lot left on the shelf.....the top shelf, almost out of eyesight.

Whilst in there, I had a quick look in the yellow sticker fresh food cabinet - I'm glad I did, they had 500g packs of spreadable Welsh butter reduced from £3 down to £1.80, with a use by date of 28 Sept 2022.  Again they had lots, so I bought 4 packs, seeing as the price of butter has skyrocketed recently.

So just in case you have a Morrisons near you, and you eat canned salmon and butter, you might want to go and see if they have any in your local.

Air fryer help?

 I've been catching up with washing the past few days whilst the weather has been good, so it can be dried outside.  I load the machine and set it to wash overnight on the economy (ha, that's a misnomer nowadays) rate, which is between 01.00 and 08.00 in the summer months when the clocks go forward, 12.00 midnight and 07.00 in winter.  As I get up so early - always around 06.00, even at weekends - I can take the overnight wash out of the machine and get another load in on the economy rate.  When we've been at the caravan and come home for a day to water plants, collect post etc, I generally do a small wash load on the quick wash programme - obviously it's not cheap rate, but the quick wash is just 30 mins at 30 degrees, so it doesn't use too much electricity.  And then I take it back to the caravan to dry on my little rotary airer outside.  Some caravan parks don't allow washing lines (they want people to spend money in the site's own laundrette) but ours is very relaxed about that sort of thing....anyway, they haven't got an on-site laundrette.

I tend to use my oven a lot at home, although I do try to fill the oven up rather than cook just one thing at a time.....doesn't always happen though.  At the van we got rid of the ancient gas cooker and bought a table-top oven/rotisserie (we've so far not used the rotisserie) which has 2 rings on top.  However, only one of the rings is able to be used whilst the oven is on, I don't know why (it's the design feature, not a fault).  Several of our fellow vanners don't use their ovens at all, but have air fryers instead, and I know some of you bloggers have air fryers too.  I've been thinking it might work out cheaper to use an air fryer instead of the oven, so, after doing a lot of research, I've bought one.  It's a Tower mid-range one and arrived yesterday.  Apparently they do lots of other things besides cooking chips in a tsp of oil and I'm looking forward to getting to grips with it.  If it works out well, I'll be taking it to the caravan each time we go - if I'm really pleased with it I may end up buying a 2nd one so we don't have to transport it back and forth each time.  If any of you have any tips or advice regarding air fryers, I'd be pleased to know.

But there's a problem with it (isn't it always the way?!).  It arrived (in a completely undamaged sealed box) missing a part - the drip tray.  Which I assume is a pretty essential part.  I had an online chat with an Amazon person, who said they can't send me a replacement drip tray and asked me to send the whole thing back......which I declined to do.  So they've given me a discount, and I'll get onto Tower themselves by phone today to see if they can send me a replacement tray.  Meanwhile, I have a square shallow baking tin which fits inside the appliance, so am guessing I could possibly use that for the time being.  Unless you're not supposed to place things on the bottom (the drip tray I assume slides into the bottom rungs) - does anybody know?  My shallow baking tin won't fit into the rungs, it would have to sit on the bottom of the appliance.

I'm going to have a go at using it today, I'll do prosciutto wrapped chicken breasts and veggies, and maybe even a simple cake, just to try it out.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

It's working

 I think I've galvanized husband into action, at last.  He had already planted 4 tomatoes (1 of which died from lack of watering, I think) 4 courgettes (ditto!), Charlotte potatoes and some leeks, but had done next to nothing else.  Yesterday when we got back from the garden centre, he got straight on with cutting back the very overgrown hedges, good for him, he's not finished yet but will do today, hopefully.  I know he gets puffed out when doing lots of physical work, but have told him that he doesn't need to go at it like a bull in a china shop, he should take regular breathers.  Even if he just does 1 hour a day, he'll soon get things done, but he does need to do it regularly every fine day.  We're not going out in the car much now, unless we have to, because of the ridiculously high fuel prices, so he's got plenty of time.

At the garden centre we got another 2 tomatoes, 3 mini cucumbers, a pot of one dozen runner beans (I looked through all the pots and chose one that actually had 15 plants in it) and another yellow courgette.  One of the neighbours gave us a dozen beetroot plants that he had left over.  Husband has now sown some more beetroot seeds and some carrot seeds.  We've also got a trough of cut and come again salad leaves, both here in the front garden and at the caravan, where I've also sown a small trough of radishes, and we have 2 cherry tomato plants there at the van as well.  So I'm now happy that we have plenty of veg to come.

Although we will be spending a lot of time at the caravan (we're off there again later this week, just for 3 or 4 days), it's no bother to come home once a week if we're staying at the van for a week or two.  So we can water the veggies and soft fruits and pick whatever's ready, and I can do a quick wash load and take it back to the van.  I have a small rotary line there so the washing can be pegged out.  I've decided that if and when my tumble dryer packs up (it does make quite a lot of noise, so I don't suppose it'll last much longer), I'm not going to get it repaired or replaced - it's already been repaired under warranty once, the warranty has now expired.  In view of the massive surge in energy prices, it's just too expensive to use.

I made lamb & mint burgers yesterday for dinner, they're so much nicer than bought ones.  I also made a week's worth of dog food.  I've got a bit of pastry left over in the freezer, so might make some cheese biscuits or straws with that today.....there's also some leftover bread so could make a bread pudding as a treat for husband for his hard work in the garden, he loves bread pud.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Starting as I mean to go on

 I'm starting as I mean to go on and have put a few plans in place, both for the car and the garden.  We are going one day next week to visit a second hand car sales place which has about 90 cars in stock - the place has a good reputation (I've researched it online) for non-aggressive salesmanship, a friendly, helpful and non-pushy owner, selling sensibly priced cars.  We've already been there once to see a particular car, which husband refused to even test drive because of a silly knee-jerk reaction, nor would he look at any other cars there.  Well, he will this time, I'll make sure of that.  

I've had a look round the back garden and realised that we're not growing nearly enough veg for our needs - we did say we'd be growing less this year because of being at the caravan a lot, but I'd made a list of veg we can grow here that would grow successfully without needing too much care.  But with the way food prices are going up weekly, we do need to grow more, there are plenty of empty raised beds just going to waste.  Husband hasn't done anything much to the back garden, he's left it to go wild in some areas - the hedge for example has grown upwards and outwards so much it is engulfing the garden, it's already swamped several of his compost bins (he has about half a dozen) to the point where they're completely buried.  Since husband had his foot operation 18 months ago and was in plaster and fairly incapacitated for 6 weeks, he got into the habit of just lying on the sofa watching TV, or sat at his desk playing games on his computer - they're habits which have stuck and he now doesn't do anything unless I prod him into it.

Well, I'm not letting him get away with it anymore - we need to grow more veg, so he needs to get out there and ready the garden.  He's got a strimmer and hedge trimmer, so has no excuse - they'll make short work of the overgrown hedges, he just has to get on with it!  I'd persuaded him a few weeks ago to cover up the raised beds he's not using with old carpet, of which he has loads, rather than just leaving them to be overtaken with weeds.  So those beds will be more or less ready for planting up, just needing a quick forking over and raking.

We're going out this morning to the garden centre, to see what other veg plants we can get - I'd like a few more tomatoes, runner beans, mini cucumbers and beetroot for a start.  Husband tried to say there was no point getting them until he'd readied the answer was that we WILL go and get them, as that gives him the incentive to actually get on with the work, the plants will be fine in their pots for a few days.

Friday, 10 June 2022

A new way of living

 Looking back at some of my posts, I can see that this bout of depression started around December/January, although I wasn't really aware of it actually being depression for some weeks.  I suffer from reactive depression, meaning that it comes on as a reaction to something, usually some stressful event or period of time.  I think this time around it was mainly caused by the problems we had with the car husband bought in late November, and which began exhibiting problems very soon after we got it.  I'm not going into all the whys and wherefores of it, that's ancient history, and hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Suffice it to say that we are still having problems with it, the friendly mobile mechanic has done all he can with the car, changing several parts, none of which have cured the root problem.  He says there's little point in changing any more parts, and it unfortunately looks like the root problem (which he and husband have established is something to do with the clutch) is going to persist.  Whilst the car is driveable and the problem doesn't actually impact the use of the car, it will be an MOT failure.  The MOT is due in November, so we need to get rid of the car and get another before then.  Husband has dithered about, bored the pants off me with his constant online searching for and telling me about cars (I'm not remotely interested in them), we've been to see a few likely-looking cars, and for whatever reasons (some of which seem downright plain stupid to me), he's discounted all of them.  Well I've told him he needs to get his finger out, stop being so bloody picky and unrealistic in his expectations, and actually get on with the business of finding a suitable car, before he runs out of time.  And that's my last word on the subject, it's up to him to get on with it.  He knows he's got to, I've left him in no doubt about my feelings on the matter.

Having had that chat with him, rearranged our budget and implemented a few changes to it, done the full freezers and larder inventory, worked out a month's menu plan and made the decision to shop monthly from now on, and got to grips with a few other things, I now feel totally back in control for the first time in months.  I've changed myself too - in that I've changed how I deal with things that I find stressful or anxiety-inducing.  That applies to family and friends too - I don't suffer fools gladly, I'm choosing not to do things that I don't want to do, I'm not getting involved in things that others do if I don't want to.  I've changed the way I deal with the problem relative - if they genuinely need assistance then I'll help where I can.  If they're just being overly dramatic for no good reason, I just don't engage with them at all until it blows over.  And I'm certainly not going to put up with the rudeness and spitefulness, that's a complete No-No.

I guess I'm now standing up for myself and doing what I want (or don't want), after a lifetime spent looking after other people since the age of 13, doing what others want, and not being taken notice of.  At the age of 62, I think it's about time!

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Getting myself back

 Went shopping yesterday as planned and pretty much stuck to my list, there were only a handful of things that weren't available but I managed to get substitutes.  I was actually pleasantly surprised at the cost of the shop, it was about £30 or £40 less than I was expecting, seeing as it was a month's worth.....I had 2 vouchers totalling £9 off though so that helped.  I also bought a few supermarket own brand things instead of the premium branded versions I would normally have got - not that I'm a brand snob, I'm certainly not, but we do have certain branded things we prefer over others.  E.g. we like the Branston baked beans, but the supermarket own brand ones are so much cheaper, and I can easily jazz them up with spices or Worcester sauce, for example.

Whatever money is left in my shopping account at the end of the month, I will then move over to one of my savings accounts, boosting the savings a bit more.

We had a letter yesterday from our electricity company saying we'll be without power from 08.00 to 18.00 one day next week, due to essential works.  No bother, we'll go to the caravan for the day.  I don't want to be without my favourite frothy coffees....frothy coffee doesn't stay frothy in a flask!  And husband would be lost without all his favourite daytime TV rubbish 😒😜.  I do have to give him credit though, he is getting better at turning the TV off after he's watched something (with a bit of encouragement from me).  It's so nice to have the van near enough for a day trip.

Got to pop into town first thing this morning, we have several things to do there.  Once home I'll be making a bacon, tomato and halloumi puff pastry tart, half to have for tea with salad, the other half to freeze.  I'll also make a couple of cakes to fill up the oven whilst it's on for the tart, they'll most likely be frozen too.  And I'll also do some garlic bread - a large baguette sliced up and spread with homemade garlic butter with cheese, then open frozen on a big tray before being bagged up.

I really do feel like my old self is on the way back, there have been many times recently when I've not even wanted to get out of bed as I didn't want to face the day.  I'm glad of the fact that I've not had to resort to antidepressants this time around, although there were a few times when I thought I'd have to, whether I wanted it or not.

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Back in control

 I had an admin day yesterday.  I spent the morning doing a full freezer, fridge and larder inventory and after a quick read through and calculation, was pleased to find I have the makings of around 25 meals, including half a dozen home cooked ready meals.  I then wrote menu plans for lunches and dinners for the rest of this month, using up what we've got in freezer and larder, followed by a shopping list.  I'm going to try only going shopping once this month (today), but with possibly a top up shop for eggs and fresh veggies in a couple of weeks......going shopping less often certainly means spending less.

I then did a revised budget, which I try to do every 3 months, checking the bank accounts and listing every outgoing and all our incomings (husband's State pension and 3 smallish private pensions, and my one slightly bigger private pension).  Husband's private pensions in his own account all go towards car expenses, his State pension and my private pension are for housekeeping and general expenses in our main bank account.  I have one main savings account for our van site fees, with a standing order set up from our main account to go monthly into that savings account, another account for shopping, which I transfer a monthly amount into, and a 3rd account which is my 'rainy day' savings account.  This account I transfer random amounts into, using the 'rounding down' method - as an example, if I had, say, £289.75 in my main account, I would round it down to £280.00 and move the remaining £9.75 to the rainy day account.  I try to do this a couple of times a week, so there's usually something like £10 or £15 going into that account every week.  It soon adds up.

So now I've got a monthly menu plan in place, and our finances are all up to date and ticking over quite nicely, that's eased my mind.

Shopping today and, as mentioned the other day, I'm intending to do a shop for the whole of this month - luckily I have plenty of space in the freezer, having eaten mostly homemade frozen ready meals whilst we were in the caravan, and eaten out of the freezer since we've been home.  So I'll be able to freeze a month's worth of milk, etc, and have a batch cooking day to make and freeze lots more ready meals.  We're going to start making bread again rather than buying it, I have plenty of flour and yeast, having stocked up on that a couple of weeks ago.

Everything feels pretty much under control right now, and that's a feeling I haven't had for a few months.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

There's going to be some changes....

 Sue from A Smaller Life made a comment yesterday about how it was a shame our caravan site isn't a residential one, as if it were we could live there so much more cheaply than at home.  Well yes, there's no doubt we could.....but even if it were a fully residential site, there's one very big disadvantage about it - the small size of the van.  Well, in comparison to our house.  The van is 31' x 10', with a fenced in garden that's about 30' long by about 8' wide.  There's nowhere for any of the three of us (including Betty) to go to have some peace and quiet - yes we do have 2 bedrooms, but as the van interior walls are made more or less of cardboard (well, not actually cardboard but they may as well be) there's no getting away from noises made by the other members of our family!  So if I'm in my bedroom, which is very small, even with the door shut I can clearly hear the TV, or husband talking, or Betty whining outside my door wanting to be let in.  I love my caravan (as you all know by now!), but it's tiny and doesn't really have peaceful private spaces where I can take myself off to in order to wind down and relax.  It's a good size for a holiday place, but I really don't think it's suitable for 2 people and a dog to live in permanently in comfort.  And the kitchen (a galley kitchen) and bathroom are very small.  Our house isn't huge, but a 2-storey house with lounge, kitchen/diner, utility room and 3 bedrooms, plus a reasonable sized garden front and rear, garage and 3 sheds (don't ask!) is massive in comparison to the caravan.  

Even though we've been together for 41 years (39 married) and wouldn't still be together if we didn't love each other, I think we'd murder each other if we had to live permanently together in a tiny space!

It feels good to be home, 10 days away in the van has done me a power of good.  I'm feeling a lot better, although am aware now that my mental state is quite fragile and my equilibrium can be derailed by even small things (like the bathroom incident).  The thing is, I suppose, to try not to let the small things become big things, and to tell myself I can bounce back from them.  Betty was clearly also pleased to be home, she ran all round the house, checking there were no intruders and that everything was still in its place, and then ran upstairs, jumped straight on my bed and settled down for a long and sprawled out snooze.  She was clearly happy to be able to stretch out on a big bed again, rather than sharing my small single bed in the van.

I've done a lot of thinking at the van, and over the last few weeks during this period of depression, and have come to a few conclusions.  I don't suffer fools gladly - if I don't like something that someone has done or said, then I will tell them, I'm not just keeping my mouth shut and seething inside, I've done that too often over the years.  

A few of you have mentioned that my husband gets away with a lot and I do a lot for him - yes that's true.  Because of his severe dyslexia, I've always done all the paperwork and admin stuff - as a former secretary for most of my working life, it's always been second nature to do all that anyway, I don't mind that at all.  When we lived in the Midlands and both worked full time, we shared the housework and cooking....once we moved down here and I didn't work anymore (no need, and no opportunities for a job for me anyway), I did all the home stuff.  Husband was still working full time, so it was only fair that I did everything at home.  Well, he's been retired for over 4 years now, yet I still do pretty much everything at home.  Husband does cook occasionally (very, very occasionally)....well, it's more a case of him putting things in the oven that I've already made, such as a quiche or cottage pie or something, and adding a few veggies to it.  He'd say that he often does lunch - well seeing as we normally have just a salad or a sandwich or something on toast for lunch, he doesn't really have a lot to do, and we often get our own lunches anyway, as husband likes to have his early, whereas I'm often busy doing something and like to eat a bit later.  Other than that, he has just 2 main jobs in the house which are 'his' jobs - vacuuming, which he does because he knows it hurts my back, and emptying the bins/taking the rubbish out on bin day.  Now, having a dog who sheds a lot of hair, the vacuuming really needs doing every other day - I'm lucky if husband does it once a week, and then I have to remind him it needs doing.  As for the bins.....again I have to point out that the bins need emptying - why, when he can see for himself that they are overflowing?!  When I asked him a couple of weeks ago to empty the bedroom and bathroom bins, he grumbled under his breath and said "can't you do it?".  I said yes I could.....but then it would become MY job, just another job to add to the list of 653 jobs that I already do!  So the point is, I'm not letting him get away with it anymore - he's got to take responsibility for the jobs he's supposed to do, and help me out more around the house.  

And before anyone says well he has got heart failure, poor bloke......he was discharged by his cardiologist more than 2 years ago, the consultant told him that his HF was well under control, to the point where the cardiologist didn't need to see him anymore, and he simply had to keep taking the tablets (he'll be on them for life) and only get in touch again if anything changed.  Which it hasn't.  He does have an ongoing bladder and prostate problem - but so do lots of men his age.  And I have bladder, back and joint problems myself, as well as a congenital liver condition and diabetes.  None of us is getting any younger or healthier!

Monday, 6 June 2022


 Monday morning and it's as quiet as the grave here now, apart from the distant hum of traffic.  Nearly everyone has gone home now, other than the lovely C & J next door, and one couple down in the long-term tourers.  I've never seen it so quiet actually, although I'm guessing the weather forecast for the coming week has a lot to do with it - showers or heavier rain spells all week.  C & J are going home today, as are we.  We've now spent a total of 34 nights here at the van since the site reopened on 1 March, how lucky are we.  

I paid the annual site fees the other day, so am happy with the knowledge that we have another full year to look forward to in the van.  It's been an absolute godsend, I really don't know what I'd have done without it, it truly is my haven.....peaceful surroundings with lovely views, a pretty garden to sit in, and the most wonderful friendly neighbours we could have asked for.  But not just C & J - all the other van owners here are so friendly, we're greeted by name with a beaming smile every time we come.  The owner is nice and very amenable, and I've developed a warm friendship with his OH, a fellow dog owner, we have lots of chats.  I feel wrapped up in a warm comforting hug just being here, the community spirit here is just amazing.

It's made me determined to keep up with the annual site fees for as long as we can.  Seeing my savings account so depleted after paying the fees is a bit eyebrow raising, so I must do whatever I can to keep adding to it to save up the fees for next year.  In common with everyone, all of our utility bills have gone up, with another potentially big increase in energy costs later in the year - I'm grateful that the (millionaire) Chancellor has seen fit to give us a bit more help.  As for food and petrol/diesel costs - they continue to rise on a weekly basis.  Husband's State pension and my small private pension have gone up too.....not by much, but every little helps.  But we are on a fixed income, we have no way of getting any more money, well, not unless husband finds some more things to sell at a car boot sale.  So I have to try and juggle things around and make even more savings on the shopping bill, little adjustments on the way we use electricity, and only using the car when necessary.

I'll give it some thought over the next few days and see what I can come up with.  Paying the caravan site fees is a priority.

Oh, and edited to say.....weren't the Platinum Party at the Palace and the Pageant yesterday brilliant?  Especially the intro with the Queen and Paddington Bear - genius, and what a bloody good sport our amazing Queen is.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Low key bunting, and a drawing

 Thanks so much for all your lovely comments again, bloggers are such a kind lot.  Gill, I hope you manage to find a good site, we looked at loads before we found this one.  I know site fees on the bigger parks are horrendously expensive, luckily the fees here are very reasonable and the owner hasn't put them up this year either - in fact, he apparently hasn't for a few years!

Jubilee celebrations have been very low key here on the park, only a few vans put up bunting.  Here's ours:-

It's very quiet here again, more of the holidaymakers went home this morning, only a couple left and a couple of long term touring vans, plus a handful of fellow static owners.  Just how I like it.

I normally like to draw flowers and trees, but thought I'd have a go at something different - an owl....I've never attempted any kind of animal or bird before, well not a realistic one.  I watched a tutorial online and then had a go, this is the result:-

I'm reasonably pleased with it for a first attempt, I can see where I need to make improvements and do things differently next time.

My mifi internet thingy is in and out like a fiddler's elbow today, it's just taken about an hour to put these photos on.  Can't be bothered with it anymore, so will be switching off now.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

So kind

 Sorry for the absence, I've not had the computer on.  Not that I felt like posting anything, anyway.  

We've been lucky with the weather here at the park, lots of warm sunshine, although a bit windy now and then.  More people have arrived, holidaymakers in touring vans and tents rather than other static owners, I guess some of them aren't yet retired so only come at weekends.  Although there are more people, including young children and teenagers, here now, they're mostly down the bottom end of the park nearest the road, so it's still very quiet up here where we are.  And being a bank holiday, there's less traffic about - not that we notice the traffic much up here anyway.

We've been the recipients of some amazing kindness the past couple of days, there are some lovely people here.  We've got a couple of trough tubs for growing salad leaves and radishes, we wanted to put them up on the van garden fence to keep them away from the slugs and snails, especially since we won't always be here to keep an eye on them.  Husband mentioned to our lovely van neighbours that he was going to buy some metal brackets to put them thing we knew, Charlie had made some out of wood (he was a carpenter before retirement and says he likes to keep his hand in....he's 85!).  He said it was by way of a thank you for the fruit cake I'd given them.....I'd made a big fruit cake last week, specifically to bring and share with the neighbours.

And the park owner's other half, who I get on very well with, has this morning given us a lovely sturdy wooden dog ramp, it has a non-slip mat, is foldable and brand new.  She bought it for her gorgeous lovely-natured but elderly and infirm Labradoodle, so she can get in the car easily.....only her dog doesn't like it and flatly refuses to step on it!  Whilst Betty has no trouble getting in our car (she's very good at jumping), there will come a time when she probably won't be able to, so N offered it to us for the future and refused to take any money for it, even though it's brand new and good quality.

We've made some really lovely friends here on the park, people who are genuine and so very kind.  It's a mutual thing, everyone offers loans of tools and a helping hand if any jobs need doing, another neighbour who was going home on Monday offered husband the use of his long ladder so he could clean out our van gutters, he even brought it over and said no rush to get it done, just stick it back under his caravan when husband had finished.  Charlie next door often borrows husband's tools, husband borrows his too.  Husband helped him with a small job on his van today, after telling C what type of thing he needed to buy, as C wasn't sure.  We all water each other's plants and strim lawn edges, etc, when the owners aren't here.  It's such a lovely community to be a part of, it restores my faith in human nature, which has taken a knock lately.  It's a year today since we bought the van, truly the best investment we ever made.

I've actually started doing some drawing again today, for the first time in ages.  Whilst firmly in the grip of the depression, I'd not felt like drawing, cardmaking or indeed any craftwork.  A friend a few weeks ago suggested that my drawing had possibly been just a fad, which I have to say annoyed me a bit, especially since I'd made several cards for that friend and her husband.  The only reason I hadn't done any recently was that it just wasn't something I could focus on, too much concentration required when my mind wasn't in the right state for that.

As for the bathroom - it's ok, it wasn't as bad as I first thought.  In actual fact, the amount of water I spilt was probably only around a cupful, but because water goes everywhere, it seemed like loads.  The bath mat and my slippers were soaked, but I mopped up most of the water with a towel and husband finished the rest as I was crying too much to see.  The bathroom is directly opposite the van door, so with both doors and the windows open, it dried up in no time.  So no harm done, except to my very fragile mental state.

Thank you everyone for your lovely supportive comments, you don't realise just how much they're appreciated and how much they help.