Saturday 30 August 2014


Old Shirts

A dozen shirts, some of my L&M's old ones, some from friends & some from the local charity shops, all stripped down & ready to cut and lots of lovely buttons.

Friday 29 August 2014

Trouble at mill

Irene, it does read as though my L&M was being selfish, but I could have put anything I wanted in the trolley, I didn't as the freezer is stuffed full of non-pork items.

I went to bed last night anticipating a good nights sleep, unfortunately Network Rail had other ideas, there were repairs being carried out on the railway line so lots of noise for a few hours during the night.

And now another moan about the ex, my DD's hubby went into business with the ex a while back, I knew it would all end in tears & it has!
He has buggered around trying to screw SIL over with his wages, but SIL has found another job, it just remains to be seen what the ex try's next to regain control.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Tag team twins

We've had the twins to stay, DD & SIL had a night in a nice hotel to celebrate SIL's birthday, I bought him a couple of books about Muhammad Ali. The twins arrived yesterday about lunchtime & left at lunchtime today. They were very good, but very tiring, yesterday I had toast for breakfast & all I managed after that was a few mouthfuls of cold baked beans & a twix. They went to bed about 8ish, my L&M & I went to bed minutes afterwards, they woke at 2am briefly but didn't want feeding, one twin went back to sleep almost immediately the other one decided the only place to sleep was beside Nana, in the crook of her arm so she could be rocked periodically..
Today, we had toast again for breakfast & once the twins had gone home I cooked brunch & then had a power nap.

Monday 25 August 2014

Co-pilot perils

The new car is not proving to be a economical as my L&M had hoped, this is, of course, all to do with me 'giving it too much welly', driving too slowly, not reading the manual, putting fuel in too often. It has nothing to do with the fact that hubby wants to go out & about as often as possible, wants to visit his Mum more frequently (understandable), wants to go for a drive most days during his holiday.
Today was a case in point, I usually get up around 6 or 7 o'clock, my L&M gets up around 8. This morning he brought me a cup of tea in bed before 7, I took the hint & got up, we had breakfast & my L&M announced we should do a shop in Aldi & save some money. I do sometimes shop in Lidl & Aldi, but as my L&M is a label queen I have been singularly unable to persuade him to try any brand that he doesn't recognise. 
Recently though a family friend has been extolling the benefits of Aldi shopping & so suddenly we have to go there. I agree but say I don't want to leave home until 10ish as my stomach was a bit uncomfortable, we set off just before 9, in torrential rain, I have a rough idea where we are going, my L&M knows exactly where Aldi is so we drive past it, turn around & find it on the return journey!
I need only milk, mushrooms & onions, so I let my L&M choose what he wants to put in the trolley & I added just the few items I needed. He bought pork chops, belly pork, pork sausages & pork ribs (dunno what I'm eating for the rest of the week, I can't eat pork, lol)  he also bought some biscuits, crisps & bread, so far he's quite happy with what he's bought, so maybe he'll be prepared to eat more unbranded stuff from now on.
Anyway, I digress, back to the co-pilot perils, as I said we drove to Aldi in torrential rain, being lazy, I drive with my lights & wipers on auto, it's all I can do to keep up with the co-pilots questions/complaints without having to manage anything else.
'Have you got lights on?'
'How can you tell?'
'There's a light on, on the dash'
'Where, what light, I can't see it'
I point to the light.
'Where's the temperature gauge?'
'On the dash'
'I can't see it'
'Well it only lights up if there is a problem'
'That can't be right, what does it say in the manual?'
'That the gauge will only light up if there's a problem'
'Why are the wipers going so fast?'
'They are on auto, I'm not sure why they are going so fast'
'Well they'll break, turn them down'
'I'm trying'
'Well try again, if you'd read the manual you'd know what to do'

The manual is about 2 inches thick & I've read the bits I need. All the while my L&M is playing with the heating controls and is misting up the windscreen, fortunately I'm stopped at traffic lights & by the time they turn green he has managed to clear the windscreen but my feet are getting blasted with cold air & then hot air.
Tomorrow we have visitors, DD & the twins, so hopefully we won't have to drive anywhere!

Sunday 24 August 2014

Ever tried scraping raw egg out of a shoe?

We have DGD Eileen staying with us, we picked her up yesterday morning so mummy could go to work & daddy could take the other two to Reading Festival, she is being collected this morning sometime.
It's the first time she has stayed on her own, last time she stayed her older sister stayed too. DD & I waited until Eileen was old enough to ask to stay overnight with us , until now she has just visited for a few hours at a time. After listening to her siblings conversations about staying here Eileen had a list of things to do at Nana's house. This list included going to the shop with Grandpa and being bought sweeties & a magazine, gardening with Grandpa, baking, playing schools, crafts & reading stories with Nana.
We had a friend of ours turn up unexpectedly & he was hungry so I made him a fried egg sandwich, I then made sprinkle cakes with Eileen,
she managed to crack one of the eggs in to Grandpa's work shoe, this took some cleaning up! We also ended up with most of the kitchen floor covered with flour & sugar. After the cakes were cooked, iced & covered in sprinkles I cleaned up. I made leek & potato soup for lunch with HM bread. Our friend went home with a jar of HM marmalade & a tee-shirt covered in Peppa-Pig stickers!
I also made a batch of apple & chili jelly & some hot sauce. My SIL gave me the recipe originally & he called it Shit Hot Sauce, but after his friend overindulged on it & was off work the following day as he couldn't leave the bathroom we now call it Hot Shit Sauce!

Thursday 21 August 2014

Wot, no dressmaking?

I've not been able to get on with my sewing, I have been offered a new sewing table, my current one is/was very narrow and had a very rough, damaged top. I gratefully accepted the new one & even though I knew I wouldn't be receiving it until 6th September, when my SIL did a tip run for us last Sunday he took my old table along with the other rubbish. I realised that this would leave me tableless, but the alternative meant having both tables for the foreseeable future & there isn't room in the spare room for two tables. 
Normally this wouldn't be a problem & I'd set my sewing machine up on the kitchen table, but of course the kitchen is currently 'Foraging Central' and is awash with maslin pans, kilner jars and suchlike.

Today I made 4 x 4 portion apple & blackberry crumbles.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

More kitchen stuff

Five jars of blackberry jam

On the left damson gin, on the right blackberry vodka.

What a Carfuffle

I received a letter  a few days ago about renewing my car insurance with Hastings, I phoned & explained that I didn't want to renew as I no longer had the car. Well what a kerfuffle ensued. 
First of all I was told there would be a cancellation fee. What! I explained that I wasn't cancelling, merely 'not renewing' so I didn't see how they could charge me a fee. 
Then I was accused of lying about the date when I 'sold' the car, I was told it was 'unlikely' that I had managed to sell the car on the day the insurance was due and therefore I'd committed fraud!
I patiently explained that I had sold my car to a family member therefore the date of sale was arranged to suit me. I was then accused of allowing that family member to drive the car without valid insurance.
I explained that my policy had covered myself & said family member and also that the car was in for repairs for a few days, so had been off the road & therefor no-one had been driving it for the last few days of the policy. 
Finally realising that they couldn't charge me for anything or keep me as a customer I suddenly started to get the spiel about how they'd love to help me if I I ever bought another car. 
At this point I let rip & explained that I would never use them to insure anything ever again after the appalling way I had been treated, I said if all their calls were recorded as they claimed then I suggested that our conversation should be used as an example of how not to treat a customer!

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Ye gods & little fishes

My daughter visited a local attraction recently & whilst there she saw something that upset her, a mother treating a child very badly.
My daughter tried to intervene & was sworn & spat at, she called on-site security, they were reluctant to get involved.
My daughter then rang her social worker who got in contact with social services in the area she was visiting, and explained that my daughter was more than capable of telling the difference between a frazzled mum at the end of her tether & actual child abuse.
My daughter phoned the police.
Social services phoned the local attraction & requested that the on-site security did get involved.
Social services also phoned the police in case they hadn't taken my daughters call seriously.
The mother was arrested & the child taken to a place of safety.
My daughter may have to go to court as a witness.
My daughter had 7 children with her, but couldn't ignore a child in need.

Today's haul

I went foraging again this morning & this time I got some field mushrooms, I got more but ate some before I took the photo. Please don't pick mushrooms unless you know what you are doing, I have picked these from the same place for a while now & was shown them by an experienced picker.

  Loads of elderberries, I have a recipe for a cordial that uses cloves & nutmeg, it's lovely in hot water if you have a cough or cold.
 And finally, more black berries, so today I will be making, bramble jam, apple & blackberry crumble & also blackberry vodka, hic! I did get strange looks in the local shop going in & just buying sugar & vodka!

Monday 18 August 2014

Cheap & cheerful

It was chilly today & as I walked passed the butchers I noticed they had some oxtail, I bought some, it was £3.60. I used my pressure cooker as it saves simmering the oxtail for ages.  I started with a chopped onion & 2 sliced carrots, these were from the garden. I softened these in a little butter & browned the oxtail chunks & then  I added a couple of pints of water & a basics stock cube. 
Once it was cooked & the meat was falling off the bone, I discarded the bone & gristle, added some of the meat back to the pan & whizzed it 'til it was smooth to make soup. The rest of the meat I added to more veg & some gravy to make oxtail stew, it's in the freezer ready for a night when I get home late & tired.

Busy in the kitchen

We planned to have a lazy day on Sunday, but things didn't go to plan. all in a good way though.
Firstly our SIL turned up to take some stuff to the tip for us, we got rid of a huge old TV, a broken table & a toilet & cistern, I'm so glad to have got rid of it all.
Secondly my L&M was changing the filters on the fish tank when part of the pump broke, so we had to drive to the nearest aquatic centre to buy a replacement part.
Lastly some friends arrived with a bag of damsons, along with some gin, sugar & the recipe to make some damson gin, I tried some of theirs last time we visited them & it was delicious.
The damsons then reminded my L&M that he'd seen loads of ripe blackberries in a nearby field.

So today I started of some damson gin & then I went to pick blackberries, I picked a couple of lbs & I'll probably pick the same tomorrow, I will still have picked less than a tenth of whats there so plenty left for other people.

Later I went round the local charity shops & found a gravy boat the goes with some of my china, a shirt that I have cut up to use in a quilt, a tall plastic jug & a doll, DGD has mentioned that she wished I had some Barbie dolls, I found the next best thing, I think it's Ariel, the little mermaid, so all in all a very successful couple of days.

Saturday 16 August 2014

Weekend, garden & kitchen

 I should really have spent  today dressmaking, but after spending yesterday babysitting 3 month old twins I decided to do something that required less brain power. The twins were lovely, so smiley but they were like a tag wrestling team, we couldn't get both of them to sleep at the same time. So instead of dressmaking
I've been busy in the kitchen & made 6 jars of marmalade.
Meanwhile, my L&M has been busy in the garden
We are cutting 3 or 4 cucumbers a day

he emptied another tub of potatoes

and we're still getting lots of tomatoes, including one that was particularly pleased to see me!

Thursday 14 August 2014

Work, money, food & other crap

I went to work yesterday, as arranged to do a job that can't be done until next week, hey ho, I'll go back next week & do it then! I got another job done instead so it wasn't a totally wasted day.
We have the twins today & then I'm hoping for a few child free days to get some sewing done.
As I'm now drawing my pension I have been given a new tax code, I wonder how well our payroll provider will cock it up, I've worked out approximately what my take home will be, I certainly don't expect it to be correct to start with.
Hubby is celebrating his birthday next month & suggested another buffet with the same group of friends, I then discovered that there was nothing on the table that another of the guests would eat. There were 4 types of meat, 7 different cheeses, 3 vegetarian options, 3 dips, 2 types of bread, crackers, crisps, salads & crudites. If we do it again, I might as well go to Maccy D's & buy 8 kids meals & have done with it!
I managed to use up the last of the beetroot to make some beetroot chutney, it is a beautiful colour.

Sunday 10 August 2014


Friday evening we had friends over for a meal, it went fairly well, the guest who only eats chicken nuggets was unable to attend so I didn't have to worry about the food. At one point the conversation turned to cleaning & became very competitive, as neither of the other guests work they have plenty of spare time to clean, I took no part as I don't regard cleaning as a hobby!
I have lots of leftover cheese & an assortment of other stuff including bread to use up, I shall work my way through them all over the next couple of days.

We had 2 of the grandchildren to stay from 10ish  Saturday morning until 11ish this morning. They were very good but I'm taking it easy now they've gone. we played with loom bands & did some gardening in the morning. We collected my L&M from work & we went to a local child friendly pub for lunch where both children ate an adult sized main course & pudding. They eat so nicely, long gone are the days when they fell on food & tore at it with bare hands. They have realised that they will not be going hungry any more. Once home & with my L&M here, I was somewhat surplus to requirements as he is the star attraction, last weekend he taught them to play chess  this week he taught them both to play backgammon.  We then a movie night, I made popcorn & we watched a film. 
I had a disturbed night, with constant complaints 'I can't sleep' 'I'm too hot' 'I've got tummy ache' 'I need a drink'. No, not the children, it was my L&M, having problems sleeping!
DGS has strict instructions not to leave his bedroom until 6, but when I got up at 5:15 to go to the loo, his stuck his head round my door to tell me he was hungry, I made him breakfast, pancakes, his favourite, he had another breakfast at 7 when his sister got up, they both had pancakes & another breakfast, scrambled egg & bacon at 9:30 when my L&M got up. At 8 we took the leftover bread & went to feed the ducks, it was overcast when we set off but halfway there the heavens opened, still the ducks didn't mind & came over for the bread, we arrived home soaked & the DGC got back into their pyjamas. DD arrived about 11 to collect the children. Later this week I have the twins as DD is taking all the older children to Legoland.

Monday 4 August 2014

Sunday 3 August 2014

Three bean salad & Falafel recipe

I use three different beans, red kidney, borlotti & flagolet, tinned are easiest, rinse well, stir in a thinly sliced red onion, add a vinegrette dressing & serve.

Grate a carrot & an onion, softe over a low heat  in a little oil with a good shake of cumin,when soft  tip into a bowl, add a tin of cooked chickpeas &a handful of chopped parsley, mash & mix together. add a little water if mixture is too dry to shape. Shape into 12 small balls, flatten slightly & fry gently 'til crispy on the outside.
This is like the recipe from A girl called Jack but she adds coriander as well as parsley, I only have parsley in my garden

The corn is as high as an elephants eye

Well not quite, but not far off, it's a line from a song 'Oh what a beautiful Morning' from Oklahoma, for those readers who are too young to remember.
We have an abundance of tomatoes, rhubarb, runner beans. chills & tomatoes.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Buffet Menu

I often complain that my beloved L&M is a fussy bugger where food is concerned, but really he is just a 'meat & two veg' sort of person. He can be reluctant to try new foods, whereas I will try almost anything I've never eaten before. There are a few foods I'm not keen on, celery, green peppers & pears, but I will eat them if I'm given them. The only thing I will not eat is pork as it disagrees with me, anyway, I digress.
Here is the menu for the buffet for eight people.

Garden salad
Couscous with roasted vegetables
HM Coleslaw
HM potato salad
3 bean salad
French bread
Assorted cheeses
Cocktail sausages (for the guest who only eats sausages)
Chicken goujons (for the guest who only eats chicken nuggets)
Falafels (for the guest who is vegetarian)
Cooked meat platter (for the guest who doesn't eat cheese)
Chocolate brownies (special request from hubby's colleagues)
Eton mess (for the guest who doesn't eat chocolate)

Treating myself

I've treated myself to a couple of dressmaking patterns, they are incredibly expensive these days & dressmaking is not a cheap hobby. I bought my patterns from their service is very good, I ordered the patterns on the 31st & they arrived today. I can't afford the sort of dresses I like new & I don't find many in the charity shops. The CS seem to be full of separates & the last dress I I saw that I liked was £20 2nd hand.
I buy Vogue patterns, I think they are the most expensive but even the very easy ones have a good shape to them & I do tend to use them over & over again.
The first one below, I shall make in summer weight fabric & autumn weight. The second one I will make with a little extra ease & wear it as a pinafore dress, so I'll make in autumn weight material. We have a wedding to go to in October so I may make a jacket to go with one of the dresses.
I have some fabric in my stash, I'll check that out tomorrow & if I can't find anything suitable I'll look in Fabricland on Monday when my L&M are going into town for hospital appointments & lunch.

IV8665 Misses'/Misses' Petite Dress | Very EasyV8724 Misses' Dress | Very Easy | Custom Fit

Friday 1 August 2014

Joggers & other muppets

I've only driven about 8 miles today & I've to take evasive action to avoid hitting a jogger, two adults on bikes & a car reversing into me! All of these were coming towards me on my side of the road at different times.
I'm used to avoiding kids on bikes where I live, I drive slowly as I know the kids are likely to be pootling about on foot, bikes & scooters, they are polite & get out of the way. The muppets I mentioned above all either swore at me or gave a rude gesture. Sod it, from now on, I'll just run the buggers over

Lights out again!

Yet again our on-site lights have failed! I'm up and dressed and about to visit our site manager who is due here today. Last time this h...