Friday, 30 September 2022

Moving furniture

 Having gone shopping in the morning, we then tackled the landing upstairs, shifting the furniture (2 ottomans and a large cupboard housing my craft things) off the landing and into the bedrooms.  Which meant we had to move things around in the bedrooms to make room temporarily, and empty some things out of the cupboard as it was too heavy to move full up.  Hoovering done (a shameful amount of dust and cobwebs behind the furniture) and pictures taken down and dusted.  We were both knackered, breathless (husband) and in pain (me) so that was enough for the day.  I'd already planned a quick simple dinner - veggie sausages (the Linda McCartney rosemary and red onion ones), chips and beans, as I knew I wouldn't be up to doing anything elaborate.

Today we're tackling the hall downstairs - more to do here, husband will have to empty out everything under the stairs, as I know 8-legged things live under there and I'm obviously not keen on coming into contact with them!  The chest of drawers will have to be cleared of stuff on the top (lamp, phone, wifi modem, assorted bits and pieces) and moved into the lounge.  Coats will need to go upstairs or in the utility room (a good opportunity to get rid of 2 or 3 we no longer wear) and the coat rack taken down.  On Sunday we'll take down the door and window curtains.  I'm glad the decorating will only take 2 or 3 days, I hate living in a mess.

Saturday we need to go into town to get some new towels and a thicker duvet for my bed....I seem to feel the cold much more nowadays and my summer weight duvet isn't enough.

HH, I have tried a cushion between my knees in bed (the GP actually suggested that too), but every time I turn over in my sleep I lose it.  I'll try a pillow under my knees though, to see if that helps.

Thursday, 29 September 2022


 I've got to do something about my hip, it's absolutely killing me.  It's been painful for months but has got significantly worse over the last 3 or 4 weeks and I'm limping badly too.  Walking round the supermarket this morning was agony.  I can't take anti-inflammatories, only paracetamol and codeine.  Paracetamol on its own doesn't touch the pain, but the codeine makes me terribly constipated, which means I have to take something else to alleviate that.  I've got a TENS machine but that doesn't do much, I suspect it's not powerful enough (it was a cheap one).  A heated wheat bag gives a little temporary relief, but not much.  So I'll have to go back to the GP I suppose - they just fobbed me off with codeine and told me to self-refer to physiotherapy last time - which takes forever, as they have a huge waiting list.  I'm so busy today and tomorrow though, and will be away at the caravan Monday and Tuesday next week, so it'll be the middle of next week before I can make an appointment to see the GP.

On a positive note, the exclusion and vegetarian diet seems to have sorted out my candida issues - guts are fine, itchy rash has gone, so has the oral thrush and sore dry cracked lips.  I've reintroduced some sourdough bread - not every day though - and my decaf unsweetened frothy coffees and they haven't caused any problems.

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

A lovely surprise, and a sad goodbye

 We're back home now, it was sad saying goodbye to our lovely van neighbours C&J and P&D this morning, but we've had a really lovely summer with them all.  C&J are 86 and 77 and, whilst they're both in very good health for their ages, I do wonder how much longer they'll continue to come to the caravan.  They live over 3 hours drive away, unlike our mere 40 minutes, and driving long distances does take it out of you when you're getting older.  P&D are a bit younger, late 60s, and have a 2 hour journey, but their health isn't terribly good, they both suffer with quite a lot of ailments (D is registered disabled), so it's not a given that they'll be able to continue coming either.  But then any of us could get hit by a bus (well, a tractor in our case, there aren't any buses round here!) and die tomorrow.

Moving swiftly on.....we'll be back to the van on Sunday until the decorator finishes painting our hall, stairs and landing, which will take 2 or 3 days.  I expect we'll go again for a final couple of days later in October, to give the van a thorough clean and put it to bed for the winter.

I had a lovely surprise this morning - an email from our electricity provider saying that, as we're so much in credit and taking into account the Government's energy handout of £400 spread over the next 6 months, they're putting our monthly payments down to just £14 pm!  So I'm going to put at least half of what would be our normal monthly payment into our savings account each month, and use about £30 per month to stock up on store cupboard things and toiletries, on top of the normal food shop.  I'm really pleased about that.

I've unpacked everything we brought home from the caravan and loaded the washing machine to do overnight on the Economy 7.  We've got a busy few days before we go back to the van, moving all the furniture from the hall and landing and taking down coats/coat rack, pictures and curtains.  I've also got some more plants, and Spring bulbs, to put in the new flower beds in the back garden....they're going to look so pretty next year.  We planted up 2 pots of Spring bulbs at the van this morning, we've got another few to do when we're back there next week.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Coming back sooner than expected

 We're going home tomorrow, both the van neighbours are going home and there's almost nobody else here, so we may as well.  Husband will be bored to death otherwise.  And we'll have plenty to do at home - the decorator is coming next Monday to do the hall, stairs and landing - no idea if he's painting all the doors (6 of them) as well, husband forgot to ask him 😒  So we'll have to clear out everything under the stairs - including a boxful of car parts husband bought for a previous car and never got round to using!  The coats and coat rack in the hall will have to come down, the hall cupboard moved into the lounge, the cupboard full of my craft stuff and the ottoman with spare bedding that are on the landing will have to be found temporary homes in the bedrooms.  And all the pictures taken down off the walls, and curtains and blind off the hall and landing windows (having only recently put them back up after the new windows went in).

We're coming back to the van on Sunday afternoon - there's no way I can have Betty indoors whilst the decorator is there, and as we only have 1 loo and it's upstairs in the bathroom, we'd have to be asking the decorator to move out of the way every time we need to go.  Husband will go home early Monday morning and stay there, although he may come back to the van in the evening, not sure yet.

I'll have to bring plenty of warm clothes back here, it's got very cold suddenly, it's soup and stew weather now.  I'm crocheting another lap blanket, so at least that'll keep me warm whilst I'm doing it.  I'll bring the slow cooker with me and make a veggie stew and dumplings, that'll do us for 2 days.

Monday, 26 September 2022

A very quiet week to come

 Husband has to go home tomorrow.  The Landlord rang him this morning to say the decorator wants to go round tomorrow to see exactly what needs doing (we never get much notice!).  But it's a good thing as he was having to go home anyway - I forgot to bring 3 things, so he'll collect them.  I'm normally very organised, but I guess having visitors threw me a bit so I didn't actually remember to bring everything on my list.  I forgot one of my medications, the dog's monthly flea and tick tablet, and my decaf unsweetened frothy coffees.  I've had an email to say a couple of books I ordered are arriving today, instead of later in the week as expected, so he can bring those back with him too.  Betty and I will stay here, so we get a couple of hours to ourselves.

Had to go and do a little bit of shopping this I only needed a few things, I chose to go to M&S Food hall - bit more expensive and I wouldn't do a big shop in there, but it's ok for just a few things.  It's a pleasure to shop in there, it's quiet and the staff are so friendly and helpful, and there's even someone stationed at the door to greet you and say goodbye as you leave, making shopping a nice experience.

Our lovely van neighbours C&J, and P&D the other side of them, are all closing up their vans and going home this week, for the final time this year, so we won't see them again until next year.  They're older than us and all feel the cold, so don't like to come when the shorter, colder days are here.  We know there's 2 or 3 others who will definitely be coming for a final week next month, so I expect we'll probably come back then, if only for a day or two.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

The weekend

 Had a busy couple of days with husband's daughter and SiL visiting, they've gone home now.  We took them to see the arty oil platform monstrosity at Weston - they were just as impressed as we were 😂😂  They like our caravan, but thought the park was a bit too quiet for their liking - no pub, clubhouse or swimming pool etc.....which, funnily enough, is exactly the reason why we DO like it so much!  

We had Sunday lunch in the pub next door (why would we need a pub onsite when there's one literally next door to the park?).  We all had roast dinners, the boys had beef, stepdaughter and I both had gammon.  I didn't fancy the vegetarian option of some kind of fake chicken thing, so decided on the gammon.....when it arrived, there was an absolute mountain of meat on the plate, and it was thick cut (when I did eat meat I always preferred it thinly cut).  I ate one small piece of the gammon and that was it, I really didn't fancy anymore.  So that's certainly confirmed for me that I no longer want to eat meat.  Fortunately there were tons of veggies - too much, in fact, I only ate half of what was on my plate.  I always think it's such a shame that restaurants - and pubs seem to be the biggest offenders - serve up such massive portions that lots of people just don't finish their meals - what a waste of food.  I could have asked for the leftovers to be boxed up, I suppose (the others left some of their meals too), but quite honestly, some of it wasn't cooked terribly well.  The peas were like bullets - actually, they always seem to be in restaurants, how come they can't cook them for longer?  The carrots were well and truly overcooked, they were like mush.  The Savoy cabbage, which I love normally, was watery and consisted mostly of stalk rather than leaf.  However, the roast potatoes and honey roast parsnips, root vegetable mash and Yorkshires were delicious.  So 10/10 for the veggies I ate, only 3/10 for the rest of them.  And we certainly couldn't complain about the amount of meat served....well, other than it being far too much for me.

Unfortunately, we happened to be seated next to a large group of family members round one big table - 5 adults and 5 or 6 children ranging in age from a toddler to young teens.  They were noisy and had no table manners, even the adults (so the children were never going to be well mannered).  We were glad when they left.  I didn't envy the waiting staff having to clear up the mess they'd left on the table and floor - the smallest child, in a high chair, was just throwing handfuls of his food on the floor.

Oh well, daughter and SiL seemed to enjoy themselves, and I didn't have to cook (or wash up!).

We're staying here at the park now until the end of the week.....although the weather doesn't look very good for Friday, so we may go home on Thursday.  I feel quite worn out after the weekend - having guests certainly takes it out of you - not only the extra work involved, but just having to, well, talk and be attentive all the time!  I think I should be a hermit 😂

Friday, 23 September 2022

Irritating things

 We're home now, until Sunday.  I didn't want to come home, but as we have visitors arriving tomorrow morning, who are staying overnight, we had to.  I brought home one load of washing and put it straight in on a quick wash, then put it in the dryer as it was quite cloudy out and I need it dried quickly.  Huh, the dryer packed up after about 10 mins.....I wasn't really surprised, it's been making a hell of a racket for weeks, not that I've used it that much.  Well, I won't be getting it repaired for a 3rd time, nor buying a new one.  Fortunately, the sun has come out so the washing's gone on the future, I'll be watching the weather and only doing wash loads when there's a good chance of it drying outside.

Just spent a frustrating nearly an hour trying to access our Premium Bonds account - they've changed the log in process since I last went on there (some time ago, admittedly) and try as I might, my blimmin computer wouldn't allow me to get onto the website.  After a bit of googling, it appears that they now only allow access via certain browsers, and up to date versions of those browsers as well.  I didn't even know what version my browser is, or how to look up that info! (complete technophobe), so more googling.  I found that my browser (Microsoft Edge) IS one of the acceptable browsers, AND it's up to date - yet I still couldn't log in to the site, it kept telling me that my browser wasn't supported.  So I tried husband's desktop, which isn't as high-tech as my laptop - and got in straight away.  Go figure 😒.  I then went to sign in to our Patient Access account to reorder our meds, and had to make sign in attempts 4 times, it just wouldn't give me access to that either - and yet I entered exactly the same info every time.  It's done now.  I hate technology.

Now have to go shopping, another job I hate.  Husband did volunteer to do it, but it means me re-writing the shopping list in big letters so he can read it, and explaining exactly what I want (he'll never remember anyway), and what to get in substitution if they don't have what I want (he won't remember that either and will be ringing me every 5 mins).  It's easier to just go myself.

Both our Covid and flu jabs are booked for next month - on different days, I don't want them both on the same day.  Betty's got a grooming appointment, and we're having the home boiler serviced as well, and a decorator approved by the Landlord is coming to assess what needs doing (the hall, stairs and landing).  So working out when we can go back to the van for the final time and to put it to bed for this year is a bit difficult, but I think I've identified a few days when we've nothing on.  We will be back there next week of course, but I do want to go again in October to close up.

It rained quite a bit last night, and when it stopped rain was drip-drip-dripping off the next door van's roof onto something metal for blimmin ages afterwards, it seemed so loud.  And Betty, who was asleep in her bed at the foot of my bed, was having some very woofy dreams, and when she wasn't woofing in her sleep, she was snoring loudly, so I didn't get a lot of sleep.  Early night tonight then.

Has anyone seen that old oil rig so-called 'art' installation on Weston super Mare beach that's been shown on the news?  We went to see it the other day, you can't miss it, it's absolutely massive.  It's the biggest (literally and figuratively) monstrosity (it's called See Monster) I've ever seen - it looks exactly what it is, a huge old rusting decommissioned oil rig plonked on the beach, with water pouring out of it and some trees scattered around on the top.  Whatever possessed anyone to think it would be worthy of being called ART I don't know, I reckon someone somewhere is laughing their socks off thinking how clever they are to make gullible people think it's art just because they say so.  It must have cost an absolute fortune - and it's only temporary!! (thank goodness, but what a waste of money - in my opinion).  Apparently, it's being broken up and bits recycled in November.  Sometimes, artists just leave me utterly baffled - like Tracy Emin's Unmade Bed, e.g.  I just don't get it, I must be an uneducated Philistine!

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Still veggie! (well, pescatarian)

 The local garden centre (local here to the park) has a big plant sale on, loads of their plants are half price or less.  They're an independent family owned one who grow most of their own plants rather than buying them in from abroad, so we're happy to support them - and their plants are lovely anyway, and reasonably priced even when not in the sale.  We popped in there this morning so I could get a few more plants for the new flower beds in the back garden at home.  I got a mix of low growing spreading plants and some small succulents for the rockery I'm planning for one of the beds.  I also got a pack of Spring bulbs for the same rockery bed - grape hyacinths, but a pretty dark purple with white edges rather than the normal pale to mid blue - I thought the darker colour would stand out better and be seen more easily from my kitchen window.

We've had a lovely week here, we've been really lucky with the weather during the day, although it is now noticeably cooler overnight and first thing in the morning.  Showers are forecast for tonight, which is fine as it'll save watering the plants - it should stop by tomorrow morning, when we're off home for the weekend.  I wonder what husband's daughter and SiL will make of the caravan and park when we bring them here for a look on Sunday?  They have a very modern home, aren't overly keen on gardening and go to places like DisneyWorld Florida for their holidays, so they're different to us.

After we got back from the beach yesterday late morning, Betty slept for the rest of the day, all that charging about and digging on the beach totally wore her out!  She did have a lovely time though, I do love to see her enjoying herself so much.

I've stuck to my vegetarian and mostly candida diet all this week, although have had a few (decaf and unsweetened) frothy coffees and a few slices of sourdough bread.  All seems to be ok, I haven't had any nasty reactions, so far so good.  I'm planning on having a seafood pasta salad tomorrow, using wholemeal pasta, hopefully that'll be ok.  I'm doing bbq pulled pork with spicy wedges, garlic bread and salad for husband and guests on Saturday - I won't be having any of that, I'll have veggie burgers with salad.  We're having Sunday lunch out with our guests, I've looked at the menu and there are several veggie and fish options for me, restaurants do seem to offer much more choice for vegetarians now.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

A dog's life

 We took Betty to the beach this morning, having checked first that it wasn't high tide - low tide, the sea was so far out we could barely see it.  She has the same routine on the beach - she initially charges round like a mad thing as soon as we let her off the lead. Then she investigates all the seaweed for smells, often weeing on it to deposit her own smell. If there's a big clump she picks it up in her mouth and violently shakes it, as if she's killing it.  If we throw pebbles for her, she'll chase after them but won't bring them back - she's not a retriever.

Her most favourite thing of all though is to dig a hole in the sand, throw herself down into it and wriggle around on her back, with an expression of sheer joy on her face.

After half an hour of fun, we put her back on the lead to go back to the car......she couldn't resist one last roll around though!

It was really warm here at the park yesterday, and is already again today.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

The Funeral

 We watched the Queen's funeral coverage in the morning (with a running commentary provided by husband, until I reminded him that the BBC pay people to commentate and don't need him 😒), until about 12.30, switching off for a while then.  Put the TV back on for the service in the Chapel at Windsor Castle.  Several things struck me/stood out for me:-

1.  It all went on for SO many hours - literally all day, and 3 services (the last being the private one in the evening for close family only) - good grief, everyone who took part, and the Royal Family in particular, must have been totally exhausted, physically and mentally.  That walk behind the cortege from Westminster Abbey to the Palace must have seemed interminable to the Royals walking at a snail's pace behind the coffin.

2.  Those young soldier pallbearers deserve a medal (at the very least), that must have been the most important job of their lives, carrying Her Majesty the Queen, the stress must have been unbelievable.  I bet they didn't get much sleep the night before.

3.  Prince George and Princess Charlotte behaved impeccably, what lovely polite well behaved kids, they're a credit to their parents.

4.  The scenes of the Queen's pony and 2 of her corgis on the Long Walk leading up to Windsor Castle were so heartbreakingly poignant, that was a real tearful moment for me.

5.  As was when the service at St. George's Chapel finished and the Queen's coffin was lowered down into the vault beneath - our last ever glimpse of our beloved Queen.

Everyone who was involved in the absolutely massive amount of organisation that all took is to be applauded, it was spectacular, a fitting send off for a much loved Monarch, and it all went off without a hitch - well, nothing major anyway.

The park here has been busy this weekend, lots of static owners and several touring vans too, dogs and children aplenty.  However, whilst the funeral was on, the park was completely silent - no kids out playing, no sounds at all, not even any dogs barking.  And virtually no traffic noise (there's a busy A road outside the park), hardly a vehicle of any kind went by.  You could hear a pin drop.  Several people have gone home now, so the park is back to normal levels of peace with just a few regulars, including our close neighbours.

Might pop out tomorrow to get some Spring bulbs for the garden here, then Wednesday morning we'll take Betty to the beach.  Other than that, we're just enjoying relaxing and catching up with friends.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Vegetarian (mostly) forever (probably)

 I was asked recently if I was becoming vegetarian for ethical  Although if I sat and really thought about the processes involved from an animal in a field becoming meat on our plates, it probably would be a matter of ethics.  For me though, it's all about taste and texture - oh and as a side bonus, money saving.  As I've got older, my tastes have changed....I just don't really like the taste and certainly not the texture of meat anymore.  It's the same with alcohol, I no longer drink any at all, I really don't like the taste of it anymore (and I have a congenital liver problem which means I shouldn't really drink alcohol anyway).  Husband has always liked big thick slabs of roast meat or steak or chops etc, whereas I didn't, much preferring thin sliced or meat so well cooked (in a stew e.g.) that it melted in the mouth without having to chew it.  So recently I thought why am I continuing to practically force myself to eat something that I no longer really like?  And in a sudden moment of clarity I thought well just stop, I don't have to eat meat, go vegetarian!  As I mentioned before, I will continue to eat fish a couple of times a week, as I do really like both the taste and texture of salmon, cod and smoked haddock.  I may also have the occasional chicken meal, although it won't be weekly.  And I might have a bacon sarnie once in a blue moon!

In the past couple of weeks I've experimented with making nut roast, vegetable rissoles and burgers, one thing I have discovered is that veggie things need to be well seasoned with S&P, herbs and spices.  I've made vegetable rissoles with chopped carrot, parsnip, potato and red onion, lightly fried with spices and then mixed with beaten egg and a handful of grated cheese before being shaped and cooked.  A couple of days ago I made chickpea, carrot & cumin burgers, last week I made turkey & veg burgers using half minced turkey and half grated carrot & courgette with plenty of fresh sage, chives and thyme.  The nut roast contains chopped mixed nuts with finely chopped carrots and parsnips, and a packet of sage & onion stuffing mix, with apple juice and a couple of eggs to moisten and smoked paprika and sage to flavour.  And it's all been delicious, even husband likes the things he's tried, there's been nothing I haven't liked a lot.  Some of the things, the chickpea & carrot burgers eg, cost pennies to make.  Well, a bit more than pennies but still very cheap compared to a good beefburger or a pork chop.  So that's a way of saving money on our food bill.

Husband doesn't want to give up meat, but is happy to have a couple of vegetarian days a week.

Each time I've made things, I've made several at once - 2 nut roasts (in loaf tins and then sliced into 5 or 6 portions), 4 or 6 burgers or rissoles - they make big ones so I only have one at a time.  So now I have lots of meals for me frozen, alongside all the meaty things for husband.

I'm feeling so much better physically now and really enjoying my veggie meals, even with the strict candida plan restrictions, which won't last forever.  So I'll be continuing with my (mostly) vegetarian lifestyle in future.

We're back at the caravan now, we arrived this morning, to a warm welcome from our lovely van neighbours.

Friday, 16 September 2022

Coping and changing

 As I've said before, I don't write every happening and aspect of my life on my blog - that would be foolish in the extreme, writing a load of very personal stuff on a public blog that could be read by anybody around the world.  So some things are kept private.  

This year has been a very difficult one, the details of which I'm not going into, and it continues to be difficult.  There are aspects of my life which have caused me no end of heartache, stress and problems this year in particular, and which are ongoing.  I can't change the things that are happening, but what I can do (and am) is changing how I react and cope with them.  It's a challenging process, but if I'm to stay sane and not have a nervous breakdown (and I don't say that lightly), then I have to plough on with it.

For my entire adult life, since the age of 13 actually, I've had to take control, be in charge, organise and look after others - and this from a time when bad things were happening to me and I was in desperate need of help, which I didn't get, and that had a big impact on my life.  I've always been the strong one in our family, the one who took control, organised everything and got things done and was the shoulder for people to cry on.  However, 50 years of being the strong one has taken its toll, physically and mentally, and I no longer feel capable of doing everything....the older I get, the harder it is, especially with failing health.  I've also found that I can't rely on others, not for practical help but for emotional support, and that's been very hard.

The things going on can't be changed, so I've been exploring ways to make day to day life a bit better.  I'm slowly making small changes which enable me to cope better and give me a bit of pleasure and calmness.

Thursday, 15 September 2022


 We watched the cortege procession yesterday as the Queen's coffin on the gun carriage made its way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, followed by King Charles and the other senior members of the Royal Family.  I was in tears, my heart was bleeding for the Queen's children and grandchildren - no doubt they wanted to do the walk, but to have to do it in the full glare of the world must have been so, so difficult, especially for William and Harry, must have brought memories of doing the same for their mother flooding back.  What struck me was just how respectful, dignified, quiet and well-behaved the crowds were - rightly so, but so nice all the same.

When the procession reached Westminster Hall and the Queen's coffin was placed on the catafalque and the rest of the Royals lined up behind it, I noticed especially how solemn, composed and contemplative Sophie and Kate were.  Meghan, however, didn't seem to know how to arrange her face - or so I thought anyway.  It was as if she was very aware of the eyes of everyone and the cameras on her and wasn't sure whether she was supposed to look sad.  She failed, in any case.

I know members of the armed forces are used to standing on parade, but those ones who are standing on guard round the coffin for 6 hour shifts at a time have a job and a half.  Imagine having to stand still in one position for that length of time - I wonder whether they get comfort breaks or offered drinks.  I hope so, but should think not.

I didn't feel very well yesterday, more withdrawal symptoms I think - headachey and a bit nauseous, I also had the worst night's sleep in a long while so feel like death warmed up right now.  Going shopping this morning, to stock up on supplies for the caravan, I'm intending to continue with my vegetarian and healthy eating plan whilst there.  

Rambler, you said I must have strong willpower to continue with this restrictive diet.  The thing is, I felt so very unwell with the candida infection that I knew I HAVE to be strict about what I eat, until the yeast overgrowth is under control.  Having so many unpleasant symptoms all at once was just horrible, and I don't want that to happen again.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022


 I've now been doing the candida plan for 10 days, and am pleased to find that all my yeast infection symptoms - the oral thrush, red itchy rash, gut problems, achy joints, sinusitis, dandruff etc - are greatly reduced.  As a happy bonus, I've also lost 5lbs.  All this has encouraged me to carry on with this very restrictive plan for another week or two, to ensure the yeast overgrowth has stopped.  After that I'll start slowly reintroducing things to my diet, one thing at a time.  

I thought that one of the things I'd miss the most and be really keen to start having again would be my frothy coffees, the instant sachet type, I love them and had been having 3 or 4 a day.  Although I generally try to buy the unsweetened and decaffeinated ones, they're not always available.  But even the unsweetened ones contain some glucose, so I've been having a form of sugar even though I don't add sugar.  Well, for the past 10 days I've been having ordinary decaf coffee with unsweetened coconut or soya milk, 1 cup per day, although for the past 2 days I've had 2 cups.  Surprisingly (to me anyway) I actually like it, so probably won't go back to having the instant frothy coffees.  Which is also money saving as they're not cheap.  Soya milk is dirt cheap in Aldi or Lidl, and I managed to get a pack of 8 cartons of coconut milk from Amazon which were cheaper than in the shops.

I'm thinking that my first reintroduction will be sourdough bread, one slice every other day to start off with.  Husband generally has toast for breakfast and the smell of it is just so nice, I've nearly caved in a couple of times and had a slice, but resisted.  I'm also going to ensure I only buy proper sourdough, by reading the labels - some prepackaged so-called sourdoughs aren't real sourdough at all, they contain a long list of ingredients including yeast, which real sourdough doesn't have.  During the winter whilst we're not at the caravan, I think I'll start making sourdough again.


Whilst I have watched some of the Royal coverage every day, and read bits in the papers online, I am getting a bit fed up with the constant repetition of it all, and the ridiculous speculations the papers keep coming out with regarding William and Harry and their wives in particular.  I know they'll say anything to sell papers (not that I buy them anymore, nor pay to read them online - I only read free ones) but the fact is (and the papers seem oblivious to actual facts) that nobody except the Royals concerned knows how things will pan out between them all in the future.  And as for their constant claims that "an insider said" - just who are these 'insiders'?  They can't be Royal family friends or staff, I'm sure they'd be far too loyal to give gossip to the press.  I just feel terribly sad for the Queen's children in particular, and especially our new King, because they're having to undertake all these official duties whilst mourning their beloved mother under the gaze of the entire world.  No grieving in private for them, they're having to do it in full view of everyone - and who wants to be bursting into tears in the glare of thousands of cameras and on TV?  The time between a loved one's death and the funeral is pretty horrible for anyone, the Royals must be counting down the hours.  They'll be exhausted after this week, considering they're having to travel round the entire country and be in loads of different places every day.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Tears rolling

 Mike Tindall, Princess Anne's son in law, posted this picture this morning:-

It absolutely broke me.

Monday, 12 September 2022

Plans coming together

 We've made a start on transforming the back garden into a flower/fruit garden (we have 3 apple trees, 2 pears and a plum which are obviously all staying put).  The first of the raised beds was cleared of dying veg yesterday, and the plants I bought in the garden centre sale a couple of weeks ago put in there.

This morning we've been to town where I bought 3 nets of Spring bulbs - mixed daffs/narcissi, mixed purple tulips and some lavender irises, they'll all be going in a couple of the raised beds as well.  Over the next couple of weeks I shall be looking out for more flowering perennial shrubs to go in the next bed.  I've decided that we'll only plant up 2 of the 10 beds this year - it's just too much to expect husband to do all of them, it's too much work for him (and too expensive to do them all at once).  So we're just doing the 2 nearest the house and clearly visible from the back windows to start with.  Husband can then clear the remaining beds at his leisure over the autumn/winter period.  

Another thing we're going to do is to fence off the bottom left corner of the garden - husband accumulates tons of junk (well, it's junk to me!)....bits of wood, polystyrene boxes, tons of plastic plant pots (he never throws any away), old watering cans and tools, etc, which clutter up the garden.  Well, while he's deciding what (if anything) to do with it all, it can all go behind the fenced off bit, so at least it's not an eyesore and I don't have to look at it!  He's got a long piece of metal grid, the sort of thing that concrete gets poured into for a floor I think - I've no idea where he got it from (several of our neighbours give him junk they no longer want - saves them having to take it to the tip!! 😒) or what he intended to do with it, if anything, but it's been leaning up against the fence for literally months and months, if not years.  It's about 10' long by about 4' wide, so stood up on its side with posts (he's got plenty of them) at each end, and some cheap stretchy trellis, it'll make a good almost free fence - and I'll have climbing plants like honeysuckle or clematis growing over it so it'll look nice as well as hiding all husband's junk.

It seems incredible that it's Spring bulb planting time already, this year has absolutely flown by.  Only another 7 weeks until the end of caravan season for this year.....although I'm not expecting to be staying at the van until the season ends on 31 October - going by last year, it's too cold at night, the days are too short and there's almost nobody else there by that time.  We've been home for the last 10 days or so, we had several things that necessitated us being home, as there is this week also - I've got my diabetic eye screening this afternoon, Betty has her grooming appointment tomorrow and a vet's appointment on Wednesday.  Husband is planning on doing something involving the brakes on the car on Thursday, and he's going out for his monthly brunch with his mate this week too I think.  We're going back to the van this coming weekend, for a week, our lovely van neighbours C&J are planning on being there too.

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Yeast infection

 There's another reason why I've decided to have a drastic change of diet.  I currently have a candidiasis (yeast) infection, I've had it 2 or 3 times before.  It causes a sore mouth, tongue and lips, itchy red and scaly rash on parts of my body, gut problems in the form of bloating and crampy pains, sinusitis, dandruff with a very itchy scalp.  It also makes me feel very tired and achy.  It's caused in my case by having a weakened immune system, chronic stress and eating too many carbs.  In the past I've had courses of antifungal tablets and a gel for the oral thrush.....this time I'm attempting to treat it myself - I take enough (essential) medications as it is, I really don't want any more drugs.

So, along with my now mostly vegetarian diet, I'm cutting out all bread products - I only eat sourdough bread now anyway, but am stopping that for a couple of weeks.  I'm not eating any pasta, rice, potatoes - simple carbs in other words - nor fruit except for berries or the occasional apple (too much sugar).  I'm cutting out dairy milk (even my lactose-free milk) and drastically reducing my cheese intake.  I'm not eating anything processed, only what I've made myself.  I'm also not having my frothy coffees, which is the biggest trial for me, I do love them.  It's hard doing all this, but if it gets rid of the infection and makes me feel better, it's worth it, I've been feeling so unwell lately.  The really strict part of it is only for a couple of weeks anyway, then I can start reintroducing things slowly.

This is a very restrictive diet, so I'm taking a multivitamin and mineral tablet daily, along with acidophilus tablets to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria to overpower the bad bacteria.

So now I'm drinking just 2 coffees a day - decaff coffee with unsweetened soya or coconut milk, I drink water the rest of the time.  For breakfast I have live yogurt with berries and a small handful of almonds.  Lunches are tinned salmon or sardines or a small amount of grated cheese or boiled eggs with salad veggies.  Dinners are the veggie rissoles or nut roast or a fillet of white fish, with veggies like long stem broccoli, cauli, cabbage, Brussels, courgettes and asparagus.  Nothing in between meals, I don't eat snacks.

For the first couple of days I had horrible withdrawal symptoms, which I expected - awful headache, even worse insomnia, brain fog, nausea, generally feeling yuck.  Now I've been doing it for nearly a week, I'm beginning to feel better and hopefully even better still in the days to come.

Friday, 9 September 2022

A new era for the country, and for me

 I was 14 when my beloved grandmother died, I'm the eldest grandchild and had a very special relationship with her and was devastated when she died.  In a strange sort of way, it feels very similar now that our Queen has died.  I did actually see the Queen once - during the 1980s she was on a visit to the town where I lived and worked then, she was due to be driven past our office on her way to an engagement nearby and we were allowed to go out of the office and wave as she went past.  It was only a brief glimpse as the big black car went by, but I clearly remember thinking how small she looked.

I'm a staunch Royalist, always have been - the Queen has been a huge asset to this country and served us well her entire life, just as she vowed she would.  I'm sure she must have been in despair over the antics of some members of her family, but kept it all to herself and always behaved with the utmost dignity.  I think she gritted her teeth and hung on with absolute determination to see in the new Prime Minister, and then thought 'Right that's it, my job is done'.  How many people work when they're 96, and do a job where the eyes of the whole country, or even the world, are on you?  I'm glad she lived long enough to see her 70th Jubilee celebrations, a huge milestone for her.  

So now we have King Charles III.  I hope people will be kind to him and give him a chance.  I feel he's been a bit out of touch with common people in the past, but he's a good, kind, well-meaning, deep thinking man who I am certain will do his utmost best for this country.  And Camilla is a massive asset - I didn't think much of her at first, but she's grown hugely in my estimation....she's kept quiet, not put a foot wrong since marrying Charles and is the perfect partner for him.


The vegetable rissoles and nut roast I made the other day are a huge hit - husband wanted to try one of the rissoles and said it was really nice, which it was.  The nut roast (the mixture made 2 of them, 10 portions in all) is absolutely blimmin delicious, if I do say so myself.  So, along with several portions of fish and loads of veggies and pulses, I have plenty of stuff in the freezer for my new way of eating.

Thursday, 8 September 2022


 Our beloved Queen Elizabeth, may she rest in peace.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Planning the vegetarian stuff

 Thanks so much for all the lovely sounding recipe ideas and links for veggie websites, lots to choose from.  Having given it some thought, I've decided to go pescatarian - I'll have something fishy a couple of times a week, the rest of the time it'll be fully vegetarian.  Husband raised his eyebrows, until I said I wasn't expecting him to follow suit.  Whilst he loves most veggies and quite likes some vegetarian dishes, I can't see him ever giving up meat, nor would I encourage him's his choice.  I'm quite excited about the thought of making vegetarian dishes that I actually really like but husband doesn't - like nut roast, which I love but almost never make because he won't eat it.  Over the years I've gone without quite a lot of foods I like, because husband doesn't.  On the rare occasions when we've gone out for meals (even less likely now, with the way prices are rising) I've quite often chosen something vegetarian, knowing I wouldn't have it at home.  So, even though I've always thought of myself as a carnivore, I've actually been leaning more towards vegetarian for the past couple of years.  Things and tastes change as we get older, I guess.  But if I have a sudden urge to have a bacon sandwich once in a while, then I'll have one.  It'll be interesting to see if I actually still like (and can tolerate) meat if/when I haven't had it for a while. I'm going to be making a nut roast, the first of many probably.  I'll slice and freeze it, so it'll do me for several meals when husband's having a steak or pork chop or chicken leg.  I've also got an idea for some vegetable rissoles - I'm going to chop up carrot, parsnip, potato and onion in my processor, gently fry them in olive oil, then mix them up in a bowl with grated cheese, herbs and spices and an egg and form into patties, to be baked then frozen.  I'll try making bean burgers too at some point.  I imagine that things made with pulses especially can taste quite bland, so will need a lot of herbs, spices and seasoning.

As we're now inundated with apples, I'll also make some individual apple pies, to make full use of the oven.  From now on I'm trying to only use the oven once or twice a week, and make sure I fill it.  

Some of you suggested things to do with tofu and Quorn....I'm still not sure about that, although the chocolate dessert using silken tofu does sound nice!  I guess it's because I've never had them before, don't really know what they're made of, or how they will taste when cooked.  As I mentioned before, we've tried a few meat-free sausages and burgers in the past, no idea what they were made of but on the whole we weren't really that keen on them.  I've heard that tofu is bland and takes on the flavours of what you put with it.  Having said I've never had it....I've just remembered that when we were kids at home (well, I was in my early teens I think), Mum used to use something called TVP, a type of fake dried mince that came in packets, she mixed it half and half with beef mince to make it go further, as it was a lot cheaper.  I really can't remember whether we liked it or not, or even if we noticed a different taste or texture.

My best mate popped in yesterday, first time for a while (he's always so busy), which was really nice.  I think he was a bit bemused when I told him I'm going vegetarian - his first (laughing) reaction was "well you won't get a lot to eat in our house!" - they're big meat eaters.  I'm not going to make a big fuss about my new diet or go all evangelical about it, I never expect others to cater for my food choices - if we were invited round someone's house for a meal, I'd tell them in advance that I'm now vegetarian but there's no need to put on a special separate meal for me, I'd just eat the veggies.  Or take something I'd made, if the hosts were willing for me to do that.

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Vegetarian recipe help please

 Thank you for all the comments yesterday.  What anybody chooses to eat, or not, is entirely up to them, I would never presume to try and force my food choices on anyone.  Jessica, I'm sorry to hear you've had lectures from people who don't approve of your choices, that's not nice or necessary at all.  We live in a free country and are able to make our own decisions, and long may that last.

Gill, there'd be no point in me using the cheap frozen mixed veg in Betty's food - she doesn't like peas or sweetcorn, sorts them out and leaves them in her dish! 😂

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I wouldn't be averse to becoming vegetarian, although I would miss chicken and fish (and bacon of course!).  If the cost of meat and fish becomes prohibitively expensive, then I'd certainly consider a vegetarian diet for myself, and just give husband meat or fish 3 or 4 times a week.  In fact, that's given me an idea for a kind of challenge.  I'll have to think about it some more, but I might well see if I can have a totally vegetarian diet myself for, say, a week or even two.  If I like it, then I may go vegetarian full time.....that should certainly be cost saving anyway.  Or I might try for pescatarian - if I could only choose one type of meat or fish, I would definitely go for fish.

I'm not really keen on the idea of using bought 'fake' meat know, the things that are made of who-knows-what and shaped to look like a chicken fillet or bacon rasher or minced beef, etc.  Although, having said that, we have tried a few meat-free sausages and burgers in the past, with mixed results.  I'd be more interested in making vegetarian dishes from scratch.  So how about the vegetarians amongst you giving me some ideas for savoury dishes?  Especially things using cheese (any kind), nuts, brown rice, lentils - not so much red lentils but I do like the little Puy lentils.  I also really like nut roasts - husband doesn't, so I've only rarely made them.  I have no idea about tofu, I've never had it.  I'm not very keen on hot curries or chillies, preferring milder spices like cumin, ginger and smoked paprika.  I quite like pulses if they're in a well-flavoured dish.....husband claims they're too pea-y or bean-y, whatever he means by that!  I'm not really a lover of vegetable stews - now a chicken stew with sage dumplings would be lovely!  Oh, and I really hate celery!  I'm also not overkeen on kale, spinach, chard - all those worthy healthy veggies that just make me feel like I'm punishing myself if I'm forced to eat them 😒😂😁.  I do love Brussels sprouts, oddly enough.

Over to you - tasty vegetarian recipes please?

Having started to settle down a bit, my guts have been playing up again.  I'm sure it's stress related, but maybe a vegetarian diet - even if it's only for a couple of weeks - might help?

Monday, 5 September 2022

Controversy alert

 I'm aware that this may be controversial, but this is my blog and I'll say what I want.  Yesterday a local news item popped up on my FB feed, and again this morning.  It seems 'activists' (rent-a-mob more like) from a certain militant vegan group - I'm not naming them, I'm not giving them the publicity - have entered the grounds of a local big dairy distribution plant (incidentally, where husband worked as a lorry driver for several years before retiring) and climbed up on top of lorries and milk silos, to try and shut the dairy down.  Apparently, one of their demands is that the Government takes immediate action to move away from animal farming and fishing, to urgently make everyone have a plant-based diet.  WHAT A DAMN BLEEDING CHEEK!!  I can't believe the absolute bloody arrogance of them - I wouldn't dream of telling a vegetarian or vegan what they can or cannot eat, how very dare they presume to tell THE ENTIRE POPULATION what we can or can't eat!!  I know meat farming practices aren't exactly ideal (we live in a farming area!) and can be downright unsavoury, but the farmers around here take very good care of their animals and make sure they have good lives prior to being killed for meat.  I also know cows milk isn't ideal for humans (as I know from my own experience!), but it's been a food staple for centuries.  The sheer bloody nerve of these people (who are a minority, albeit a growing one) has really pissed me off.  And yes I know I've used lots of bad language this morning and that will upset some of my readers (you should have heard me when I was actually reading the news report!) but that's the strength of my feelings.  

And now to get back to normal!  And even slightly related....Sue, you asked whether cheese affects my sinuses - yes sometimes, although not as much as milk.  Years ago I was referred to a dietitian for my gut, sinus and mouth problems (I have a burning tingling sensation in my lips and mouth when eating certain things).  I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance, wheat intolerance (not coeliac, merely an intolerance) and a mild oral allergy to citrus fruits and tomatoes, amongst other things.  The dietitian said that whilst dairy cheese, yogurt and butter also contain lactose, they are frequently better tolerated than milk - I can't remember the reason why.  I'm thankful about that, as cheese - pretty much all cheese - is one of my absolute favourite foods.  I do get a clogged up feeling in my nose and throat if I've eaten quite a lot of cheese, but not the totally blocked mucus filled (sorry!) problems I get with drinking ordinary milk.  Seems you experience similar, Jayne.

HH, I've tried bought oat milk.....quite a long time ago, can't really remember what it was like.  I've never tried to make it though, but I will - after all, it's easy and cheap!  And if I don't like the taste of it in coffee, then I could always use it in something else.  Thanks for that.

I've been feeling under the weather for some time now, last night in particular I felt really rubbish throughout the night, as if I was coming down with something.  So I did a Covid test this morning (we still have a few boxes of them) - fortunately it was negative.  I think it's more to do with the strains and stresses I'm experiencing right now, rather than anything physical.  My guts are beginning to settle down with the clean healthy diet I'm having, so that's one good thing.

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Thinking about cost saving

 I am getting a bit concerned about how we're going to manage financially through the winter, as most people are too.  I'm not worrying excessively (trying not to anyway!), but working out areas where we can save is occupying my mind a lot.

Take dog food for example - Betty has a mixture of homemade food and commercial food - I give her some (good quality, I don't buy the cheap stuff) commercial food because it contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals she needs, which she might not get all of in the homemade food.  I buy frozen mince in 2kg bags from the pet shop, it's pure chicken, turkey, beef etc but pet food quality, which means it contains ground up bone etc.  Not so long ago, it used to be £4.95 a bag, now it's £7.99 - a huge rise.  I cook it (Betty doesn't like it raw!) with mashed or grated veggies, butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli or cauli, an egg or 2, some oats, sometimes brown rice, maybe some grated cheese, and a stock cube, then divide it up into portions and freeze it.  I usually get about 5 portions from half a bag of the mince, each portion I either give to her on its own, followed by a commercial food the next day, or mix it half and half with a commercial food.  I think from now on I'll be increasing the proportion of veggies and oats in the mix, to make it go a bit further.

We're also eating more veg-based meals now - we'll never go completely vegetarian, we both enjoy meat and fish too much, although I could probably become vegetarian if I were on my own, I'm not as much of a committed carnivore as husband is.  I have found my tastes are changing over the years - I don't really like beef as much nowadays (husband loves it), but like chicken and fish much more now.  But the price of fish is going up more and more lately, salmon (my favourite fish) used to be relatively cheap....not anymore.  And the lactose-free milk I have has gone up a lot - the brand name one used to be £1.25 a litre but is now £1.90, and the supermarket own brand ones have also gone up.  I've tried going back to ordinary milk which is a lot cheaper, but it causes me too many sinus problems.  I like soya milk, which is very cheap, on cereals but really don't like it in coffee or tea.  I've noticed when shopping later in the day, in the hope of getting some yellow-sticker bargains, that more and more people have the same idea, so there's less chance of snaffling a bargain.  Everyone's in the same boat, I guess.  Well, not everyone, but a lot of people.  Food Warehouse (the big Iceland frozen food shop, there's one in town) are doing 10% off for seniors on Tuesdays apparently - we'll go and have a look, every little helps.  They do huge blocks of Cheddar in there at a good price, we do eat a lot of cheese.

I think we'll notice a difference in the home temperature this winter now we've had the new roof and new windows - especially in the hallway, with the new double glazed (half glazed) front door.  The old door was only single glazed, top and bottom, and was extremely draughty, even with a thick door curtain.  And some of the old windows didn't fit properly in the frames, meaning draughts came in underneath the windows - the lounge and front bedroom windowsills used to get pools of water on them when we had heavy rain and wind coming from the south.

Our central heating is oil fired, the price of heating oil has rocketed of course.  Fortunately, our system is very efficient and economical, a full tank of oil (1000 litres) lasts us at least 18 months.  The tank is currently just less than half full, which should last us through the winter if used judiciously.  I've bought new fleece throws (cheap on special offer) and hot water bottles with fleecy covers to help keep us warm in winter.  We have both crocheted blankets and bigger fleece ones to go over the duvets on the beds.....having a chunky dog laid across your feet helps enormously too!

Friday, 2 September 2022


 Because I've got so much on my mind at the moment, and have had for some time now, it's affecting me in so many ways.  Not sleeping well (even worse than my usual poor sleep) means I've been feeling permanently exhausted for weeks, lots of headaches, the gut troubles I mentioned yesterday, my hip, knee and back pains affecting me more than usual.  Now we're home for a couple of weeks, I'm going to start taking better care of myself, eating a clean healthy diet, exercising on my little pedal machine every day, doing the necessary jobs and then resting when I need to.  Husband will have to help me more, which means me delegating jobs to him rather than my usual practise of simply doing everything myself because it's the easiest option.

He's out this morning for a couple of hours, I shall take advantage of the peace and quiet to do some banking, menu plans and a shopping list.  I also need to put away the rest of the stuff we brought home from the caravan, I've already sorted washing into 2 loads.

Husband's daughter and son in law (and possibly adult grandson as well, although we don't know for sure yet) are coming to stay for a long weekend in 3 weeks.  Whilst I enjoy seeing them, it does mean a load of extra work for me, getting rooms ready etc, planning meals (SiL is the fussiest eater in the world), planning what to do whilst they're here.  I've always done everything up till now, giving husband the opportunity to just enjoy his time with his family.  Well, I'm getting him involved in helping out this time, I just can't do it all anymore.  He will have to help me get rooms ready, he'll be in charge of any excursions out and generally entertaining them.  I'm happy to plan and do the food - we will be having Sunday lunch out, so that's one big meal I won't have to organise and cook.  Other meals I'll do buffet style help yourself, then it's up to the fussy eater to have what he wants.  Oh, and they're brand snobs when it comes to food.....well, in this house they will be getting what they're given or go without!  I'm not spending a fortune on brand name expensive food and drink when they're things husband and I would never normally buy, like expensive branded fizzy pop.  I'll get husband to ring them and suggest they bring that sort of thing with them.

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Home again

 Thank you all so much for all the lovely supportive comments and emails.  I went home for a couple of days, basically holed up and put myself back together far as I am able to right now.  Then went back to the van, had a nice peaceful time with our lovely friends there, and arrived back home this evening.  Husband has a hospital appointment tomorrow morning and another appointment on Monday, I have a diabetic eye screening appointment next week and Betty has her grooming appointment.  Speaking of which, I also need my hair cut, must remember to book up tomorrow.  We've arranged to go back to the van in a fortnight or so, our lovely van neighbours will also come back the same time.  It's quite scary to think that realistically we only have about another 6 or 7 weeks or so before the season much of that we can spend at the van remains to be seen, it's weather dependent mainly, but we found last year that several of the van owners don't bother coming in October, the days are short and the weather is much cooler - we did stay a few times last October and found it was quite chilly in the evenings, overnight and early mornings and there was hardly anybody else there - much to husband's disgust, he had nobody to talk to.

Things in my life aren't great at the moment, it's not something I'll be talking about on here though.  I have to work it out for myself.

I'm having gut trouble, it's a result of the stress, so now I'm back home I need to go right back to basics with a healthy simple diet.  Ironically, as soon as we got home we were given some homemade cake by a neighbour - which I shan't be eating!