Followers

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Snow

Pure white frozen water everywhere - pretty to look at dreadful to travel in and it seems to have affected everywhere round here.  We have it here in Peterborough and as I have said before we are low lying so tend to miss it.  Apparently it is bad in the villages and people got stuck on the A1 between Peterborough and Stamford with a tailback as far as Grantham from what I can make out from the news.  OH indicated that it was minus 7 when he walked Missy earlier on this morning.  I am not going in a taxi this morning to work I am going to walk - I think I will be safer longer term.  Work is about half an hour's walk away and a lot of our staff live in the villages.  All this poor weather reminds me of when I was a child when it was the norm for this country.  I suspect due to climate change that is why the winters are no longer as bad as they were or at least we have got out of the habit of them.  The wind has been blowing as well which is more likely to lead to drifting.  Just be safe, keep warm and don't forget to check on those senior members of our society especially if they are on their own they may be glad of a hand and some company.  Keep warm and safe.

Catch you later.

Pattypan

x

Monday, 26 February 2018

Real Life - a very busy day

I was up with OH this morning at 6:00pm but was not firing on all pistons and contemplated going back to bed.  In the end I did not as I thought it would make me feel worse than I already did.  So I stayed up and did a little work and then got myself ready for the fray.

It has been a long day at work much of it I have spent typing quite a lengthy Lease - copy typing from an original copy document going back many years in readiness for an update; I am pleased to say that I managed to get it done despite some complications and a very poor quality original (provided from client and prepared by his former solicitor) and was then able to get on with some of my normal work. 

Dinner time I went out to lunch with my work mate and ended up in Waitrose.  Whilst walking there it started to snow and came down quite hard - even harder once we had got ourselves settled in for a bowl of chicken broth and crusty bun and a hot drink.  By the time lunch was over the snow had stopped.

After a long afternoon I was pleased to come out of work and to tell the truth I have not done anything since I got in I have been shattered.  I just poked my head out of the window and I see that we have had gentle snow fall and that this time it is settling.  So we will see what tomorrow brings.  I am not going to be long before I hit the decks.

Keep warm and safe wherever you.

Pattypan

x

Thinking Pantry - Dried Home Made Mixes - Pancake mix

Following on and mixing in with my posts on the Pantry I thought that I would have a go at making my own mixes  after all it was one of the things on my to do list this year in an effort to try and cut down on bought mixes and wherever possible make my own and save a little money in the long run.  Also if you have the basic recipes for stuff like, making your own custard powder etc you are to some extent controlling what is in your food chain in the longer run.

Up until now I have not experimented despite meaning to; but I have been researching and thinking about things generally.  I am not alone in that I work full time and get very little free time to actually do stuff; equally I am all for saving myself time and pennies in the long run.  I also have in mind that if there is a mix or mixes in the pantry other half, himself will be able to get himself something.  I like pancakes, he likes pancakes sometimes for breakfast sometimes for pudding and most definitely on pancake day. So to me it seemed sensible to start here and make a couple of batches up and then store in a jar in the pantry and well see how we get on.  If there is something already measured up it is easier to use and all you have to do is take so much of the mix, add the extra ingredients (if any) and then make a batch up pretty quickly. I also thought that I would label the jar with the actual ingredients (wet ones or fat ones) that will not store in the jar to finish off.

I use Pinterest a lot to research stuff and put links to ideas or things I have seen made and which I have an interest in.  There is a whole host of recipes out there waiting to be discovered especially on the home made pantry mix front.  I liked the sound of this particular mix as I love fluffy pancakes too, but Heather the owner of the blog "Sugar Dish Me" also provides a useful label as well.  Her recipe is here:



So I have made a couple of batches up and intend to put it to the test.  It will mean I can get pancakes for breakfast without all the messing around and will just in effect need a cup of the mix and a cup of the milk and one egg and hey presto we are ready to go.  Now that is what I call quick.  I am thinking Blueberry pancakes here - why Blueberries you say - simples because I have bought a batch of fresh blueberries to bottle and I intend to do this on a regular basis so that I always have some "fresh" blueberries in-house in the pantry so that I can get my fix of either blueberry pancakes or blueberry muffins now that is lush.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Sunday

The sun is out and about again today  -  that is two days on the trot but as I said in yesterday's post it makes me at least feel good about things and we have so much to be thankful for.  It will not be long before it is officially spring and so I am hoping if this really bad weather materialises in the next few days this will be winter's last hurrah.  Well I hope it is.  I can feel the sap rising and I want to get cracking in the garden but whilst it is as cold and the weather has not been as good at the weekends It is kind of holding me back a little and I am stomping at the bit to get moving. I am desperate to get moving out in the fresh air, wrapped up warm if necessary but it is not something I can do easily in the middle of a flare.

Its been another quiet weekend here.  I have been very tired again but I think that is a reaction to the flare up that I seem to be having at the moment.  With the arthritis I am generally getting less supple (which is to be expected as I do have soft tissue connection disorder) and it should not be long before I have another appointment with the clinic so I shall address the concerns I have with them then but in the interim just to rest up when I have to.  It is just one of those things and it makes me appreciate the better times but I still have to keep going it is not my nature to do otherwise and I do not mean to moan.

I get very frustrated though as when I get these flares I cannot do what I had intended to do and I just seem to get further behind with planned tasks than before.  I think I am going to have to give serious thought to the way I earn my living in the not too distant future although I do not particularly want to as I quite like what I do.   I have some embryonic ideas  and before long I may dip my toe in the water as they say with one or two of them and see how things go. At the end of the day there is only so much thinking one can do before you have to try the practicalities but not quite yet.  Still needs a little more work and to start with it may be something that I can run alongside of my main work. and also to run alongside with running something for myself to work from home so that all my eggs are not in the one basket.  We shall wait to see how things pan out and I really need to start doing something for myself.  However the house needs sorting first on all counts.

We have roast pork for tea.  I have cooked a couple of small bits up that I had and slices will either be covered in gravy and frozen or the rest of it will all go into pack ups and indeed a stir fry later on the week. None of it will be wasted and OH will have something to go to if he gets a bit peckish.

It is bitter out there this evening thank goodness it is nice and warm in the house.  I tend to really build the heat up and then let it slow down and then just turn it back on when it starts to get nippy.  With the oven on as well it is at the moment keeping the kitchen and dining room warm.  It is still cold in the bathroom.

When I prepped the pork I ended in putting in 1lb of lard in two separate sessions i.e. 1/lb at a time with there being two joints of pork and I now have three small jam jars full of "pork dripping".  The jar with more jelly in will be for the bread pile but the rest will get used in cooking for roasting potatoes and the like.  It will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.  Whenever I cook pork I do this as the flavoured fat gives far more flavour to roast potatoes and it is a regular habit I have got into.  Really when it comes to cooking its all the little hidden bits and bobs that we do that make the meal really tasty.  Some of the meat juices from the pork have also gone into the gravy yet again to give more flavour to the meal.  I served it simply with roast potatoes, peas, purple sprouting broccoli and carrots with lashings of gravy and it was delicious.  Now am stuffed.  Oh and I forgot the stuffing!

Now have to get ready for work tomorrow.

Catch you soon.

Keep warm and safe.

Pattypan

x





Stocking the Pantry Part 2 - Part of my Basics

Before I go on to the dry ingredients in the pantry which I think will be the next instalment well put it this way at the time of typing this that is what I have in mind there are also a few other bits and bobs which I like to have in the house so you can get something quick and easy and tasty especially in this really cold weather.  They are not specifically "Pantry items" but as I am taking into account storage of items that I keep in the shed, the freezers, the fridges, the jam pantry as well as the main pantry itself so please give me a little leeway.

I like to have quite a bit of basic stuff in the house which I really do not like to be without.  These are my real out and out basics (not dry ingredients) which I will subsect as follows:

Lard

I know many of you will go arggh when I mention lard, but when I was growing up you made the best of what you had.  You saved the fat from the roasts and also used it in frying generally.  We never had oils.  We had hard fats and you used them.  Mum used to have a couple of pottery jars/crocks that the fat was put into to cool and that was kept in the fridge once cooled and used as needed. We used to get pork dripping proper pork dripping and used to spread it on hunks of bread.  We loved it.  I use lard with a little hard margarine in the mix (Stork).  Every so often I try some of the newer alternatives but I still keep coming back to lard. 
I keep this in to make home made short-crust pastry together with some hard stork margarine.  I also use some in the bottom of a pan when cooking a bit of pork to give "pork dripping" - this was a tip from my mother in law and she really could cook.  So predominantly lard is kept in the fridge to make pastry in my household.

Butter

I never changed to low fat spreads when there was a who ha about different kinds of fats.  I kept on using butter. My logic was how can something that is acquired through simple natural processes be harmful. We use it everyday with toast and sandwiches and also in baking and in cooking generally together with a little oil.  You get lots of flavour this way and the oil stops the butter burning However as with most things everything in moderation.

Stork Hard margarine

Use in home made pastry and when making sponge cakes and cake making generally.

Oil

Sesame oil for stir fries, light olive oil for cooking and Virgin Olive oil for dressing.   I use sunflower oil for general cooking.

Milk

I keep lots of milk in - I prefer full milk we use a lot of it as we have milk shakes and smoothies as well as using it in puddings i.e. egg custard,  home-made custard, Yorkshire puddings, Rice pudding, pancakes, omelettes scrambled eggs etc. etc.

Cheese

We love cheese and I tend to keep a lot of strong cheddar in the fridge.  the other week I managed to get a very large block of Cathedral City cheese for next to nothing .  It is ideal for keeping in as you can make your own quiches and flans which taste absolutely yummy, lasagne, any other pasta dish that needs cheese, grated on top of pasta, home made Welsh rarebit, sarnies with baked potatoes.....

A net of Onions

We use a lot of onions.  I rarely cook without them.  They give so much flavour.  We use them fried with steak, with hot dogs, with sausages and toad in the hole, French Onion Soup, roasted whole with a Sunday roast, raw, in coleslaw, dried, in home made onion marmalade and chutneys, in sauces.  There is so much you can do with them.

A sack of Potatoes

I never like to be without a sack of potatoes as you can do so much with them.  Make your own chips, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, in cottage pie, mashed potato nest, rosti, Colcannon, Champ, boiled, with fried eggs, in stews, mashed potato pastry, boulangere, gratins, in soups, potato dauphinoise, Bubble and Squeak.  I always like to have potatoes in and at the end of March I end up buying them fresh a few at a time as potatoes in a sack by then will start to shoot.  On average a sack of potatoes lasts us about six weeks  However in the Winter months a sack of potatoes will keep happily in our shed for more or less all winter.

Bread

I always like to have a little bread in and I prefer to make it myself.  Needless to say I keep everything in for making bread.  OH is not consuming as much these days and I don't like it every day.  I prefer interesting breads such as focaccia, Tiger buns (home made) both of them of course.  There are recipes further back on the blog.

A tray of eggs

We use a lot of eggs in cooking, for pack ups, for breakfasts, for baking.  I do not store them in the fridge.  They are stored in a cool place but not the fridge.  I store them away from anything else as the shells are porus and if stored with Truffle (mushroom) or garlic then they will take on the flavour of whatever they are stored with.  That is what a lot of posh chefs do with Truffles store them in a jar with some eggs so that they take on the flavour.

Fresh vegetables

My basics tend to be cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli.  Then parsnips, swede and carrot crush, leeks.  Oh and frozen peas.  Everything else is seasonal.  And of course I also put up vegetables into the freezer if I do not think I am going to get them used so that we have the option of fresh, frozen and dried.  I do not waste anything. Although not a vegetarian vegetables are important in a meal and we always have more veggies than meat.

The above are just a few things that I keep in as my basics and which I find useful.  I will  start on to the Dry pantry ingredients I keep in on the next post.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Saturday Round Up

Later this afternoon I nipped to the veg shop and stocked up on fresh veggies.  Very little fresh fruit today I had gotten low on the veggies so that was my main priority.  I came home with a new sack of spuds, a new tray of eggs, a quantity of sprouting broccoli, some sweet potatoes, swede, parsnips, a net of onions, some leeks, cabbage a couple of cauliflowers, so plenty of veggies to keep us warm during the next few days.

The onions I use in general cooking in any event as I do the spuds and also the eggs. 

Sweet potatoes will be roasted with fresh rosemary and served with tomorrow night's dinner as well as making sweet potato chips or indeed cooking them in the microwave like a baked potato yum.

The Sprouting broccoli is a favourite and will accompany the roast tomorrow evening and also be serve with pasta and stir fry later on in the week.  It is really good for you.

Swede will be turned into swede puree or swede and carrot crush.  It will also be used in stews.

Parsnips will be roasted and then used in stews.

Leeks will be roasted and used as a relish in sarnies.  I will also use in stews and casseroles and also in leek and potato soup.

Cabbage is chopped finely and then steamed.  When cut I then chop it again with a knife and fork and then run some butter around it.  This is very tasty and a big favourite.

Cauliflowers -  I bought two today and one is destined for home made cauliflower cheese the other one will be cooked and just added to whatever meat we are eating during the week

I also have carrots, some ordinary broccoli and some spinach which I bought from the Co-Op.

So there are plenty of veggies for during the week all I have to do is to get a bag of frozen peas.  I will however freeze the veggie peelings for use in stocks as well.  You pay out for something so why waste it.

We have had ribs for tea this evening and very nice they were too but I have also bought a variety of other meats.

Stewing steak for home made steak pie and also stew.

Bacon for breakfasts, quiche and some scones.

Two chickens; one for roasting and sarnies the remnants for a stew.  One for using in stir fries and the other for a curry.  The carcasses will be used to make stock and then subsequently soup or the stock will be frozen.

Two small joints of Pork both for tea tomorrow evening and the remnants will either be frozen in gravy and popped in the freezer or the rest will be used in sarnies for pack ups.

Two packs of mince one for cottage pie and the other for lasagne.

I shall make the meals up and then that I do not think am going to get to during the week then I will freeze them so in effect the meals will probably cover a couple of weeks.  However I was keen to have stuff to hand to keep us warm over the coming week especially if we get this bad weather which is threatened.  If the temperatures are by any way a guideline during the past couple of days it has been absolutely freezing. 

The only thing I really need to get is some fresh fish and I will probably get that on Monday when I nip to Waitrose unless I manage to get chance to nip out tomorrow.

Right had better get a wriggle on.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x



Sunshine on my Shoulder makes me happy

as in the words from the song of John Denver.  But it does the sun really makes me at any rate feel lighter and in a bouncier mood and this morning is a lovely sunny morning here in Peterborough although it is still cold.  So no I am not quite bouncing off the walls but I don't really do grey weather and we have had far too much this winter already.  But a bit of sun gladdens the soul.

I have already been round to the Charity shop.  There are a couple of pieces of furniture there that I have my eye on but unfortunately no room.  One day  I will be able to buy those interesting pieces as I will have the space and besides it just means that the timing is not right at the moment and something else probably even better will turn up.  However I have lots to keep  me occupied at home at the moment.  I looked to see if they had any more picture frames as I have had a few more bits come my way but which actually need frames.  Sadly they did not today so I will keep on looking and if nothing suitable turns up then I may well invest in some new ones.  I have had some silk embroidered flowers come my way which are about 83 years of age and I need to find some suitable frames with a mounting plate like mini individual pictures as I would quite like to display them in the packs that they arrived in as they seem to complement each other very well.

I also had a nose on the veggie stall will be going back later as they have white sprouting broccoli which is a great favourite here.  Will go lovely with the small piece of pork that I have for dinner and they also had some Williams pears.  I might well get some and bottle them up for the pantry shelf.

I also intend to do a stew.  I thought if I got it on the go today by Monday it should be well flavoursome and also something very warm to come home to especially bearing in mind the threatened cold weather.  It was extremely cold here last night and I left the heating on low because this house does get extremely cold.  As the kitchen gets so cold as does the bathroom I thought that I might leave the oil heater on low there just to try and keep pipes warm as well as the house warm.

This week I have managed to do a bit more knitting on my scarf.  Not as much as I would have liked but I am trying to stick to at least a few rows a day - normally before I put the lights out and go to sleep.  I am now on the fourth ball of wool and a little under half way on the scarf.  I like long scarves as you can wrap them around a couple of times to keep everything snug.

Right now am off to get a wriggle on.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Friday, 23 February 2018

Stocking the Pantry Part 1

When I stock the pantry I usually buy when ingredients are on sale. A few things each month and I store them in my old Roses Sweet Jars well the dried ingredients anyway.

You need not go the whole hog like me but keeping a solid basic pantry means that through rough times when money is tight we can live quite comfortably out of the different type of food storage that I have and the different food types very well and economically. 

The one thing you do have to resign yourself to is that if you are not naturally enthralled with cooking is that you have to do a certain amount of preparation and indeed cooking and finding economical ways of cooking meals.  I use a slow cooker (I have bought a couple of them for £10 apiece from the Local Charity shop - both were bought singly and a few months apart) so having two on the go means that I can cook a main meal and also have pudding as well. 

The slow cooker is also good for making your own stock and also your own soup.(making use of the bones from a chicken, a ham bone, beef bones etc). You can also freeze veggie peelings and a combination of the veggies and bone/bones will make a lovely home made stock.

Using a slow cooker also frees you up to do other things whilst tea is cooking and if put on low in the morning by the time you come home and up the heat for a little while you can soon have a lovely hot meal ready for not long after you get in of an evening.  A big time saver when you work full time and an absolute boon on a cold winters evening.  You can even cook a whole chicken or a small joint of beef or pork.

Use the big oven and little oven (I have both) to the full and do a big bake for the week.  Especially if you have children in the house and that is when it gets really expensive.  Do not buy bought cake make your own.  A simple Victoria sponge mix can be used to make a sponge cake, used to make buns, butterfly cakes, a swiss roll, sponge puddings such as Eve's pudding

Part of the saving money process is keeping the costs down and bulk cooking as well for the week.  Worried that there will be too much hanging around in the fridge and that it will not get used - freeze it.  That is one of the reasons I buy fresh meat and cook from scratch as I have the option of eating the meals fresh or have in stock in the freezer.  I also freeze any spare veg that I do not think is going to get used up, but equally I use up as much veg as I can in a weekly stir fry with some chicken/pork.  Its a lot healthier for you and very filling.

In the longer term its a bit of effort but it does pay dividends.  Think of it as making sure that your little kingdom, your little empire is in your hands and it is up to and down to you as to whether you are successful in keeping your family healthy and well fed.  Remember years ago there were no supermarkets per se and if you did not keep a good store of foods and preserve them during the summer months for use in colder months then you really potentially were signing your own death warrant just for the lack of putting a bit of effort in. 

Its the same as keeping a log pile, collecting kindling, fir cones, twigs, lint from the tumble drier (in these modern times).  In the colder months you have to keep yourself warm.  [That is why on my agenda is an open fire a log burner and an Aga/Rayburn]. Really it is down to a personal choice at the end of the day you either sink or swim and I for one when my back is against the wall choose to swim  but it also involves making sensible choices.


My food storage encompasses several types of food storage including the jam store, the fridges, the Pantry, the freezers, the dry pantry i.e. dried stored ingredients, tinned goods and the sack of potatoes and net of onions which are stored in the shed and the tray of eggs.  I buy a large tray of eggs and I do not store them in the fridge.  I store them in a cool cupboard under the stairs so that the cats cannot get at them but I never store them in the fridge.

I store a variety of ingredients.  All of them cheap enough because they have been bought whilst on offer but I always check to make sure that the offer is as good as it says it is. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy two single packets of the same thing rather than the bigger package because it works out cheaper and you get more for your money.

I keep a lot of the basics in including the ingredients for a baking pantry, i.e. different flours, nuts, dried fruits, dried coconut, the margarine and butter  and lard for making pastry is stored in the fridge.

I always keep in a large tray of eggs  and can always with some flour and milk make pancakes, Yorkshire Puddings.  The eggs themselves can als be served simply as boiled eggs, omelettes, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, poached eggs, coddled eggs.  You have so much more choice and you have control over what actually goes into your food.

I tend to buy a lot of fresh fruit and also a lot of fresh veg.  None of it goes to waste.  I use the fresh fruit in puddings and cakes and I even dry it, bottle it, make purees use with pastry to make pies, tarts and as well as eat it fresh and make jams and marmalades.

So what do I keep in my pantry.  Well next time I will start to tell you.  There are several different types of storage that I use but I will start with the dry ingredients.

Catch you all shortly.

Take care.

Pattypan
x

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

How inconsiderate!

This evening we have had pizza for tea.  Something quick  - I was not particularly hungry and OH has been on and off his food like a yo yo so at the moment I am finding it very difficult to gauge just how hungry he actually is!  At the moment I am tending to have more misses than hits. Tonight the pizza was another miss!

He then decided that he was still very much hungry and as he is a fan of Welsh Rarebit he set too and made himself a batch.  It never lasts more than a couple of days!  I am not a fan!

I have  round what is in effect a large electric pan which is ideal for doing breakfasts in as it is nice and deep or in this case OH has utilised it to make the Welsh Rarebit and has since topped up on his tea.

I then set too on the computer catching up with emails etc.  I had also been watching something on Ebay which was coming to the end of the auction.  I had just set my bid and was about to press the button when we had a five minute power cut!  I was not impressed and it seemed to effect the whole of the street.

It is really cold here tonight but it is nice and snug here at the moment.

As far as the scarf is concerned I have not done much more work on it at the moment although I intend to do a little before I go to bed this evening.  I have no book on the go at the  moment.  At dinner I went and bought another pair of knitting needles as the ones I have are too short and it will be easier for me to keep all the stitches on the needles this way on and hopefully I will be able to get a wriggle on speed wise.

I have however had a few more bits and pieces arrive to go towards the embroidered crazy patchwork style quilt that I have been collecting bits for.  I have managed to find damaged lots where the embroidery is intact but the linen might have a hole in it etc.  I have also bought some transfers to make use of the bits of linen (most of them are linen cloths) which are left over.  All in the spirit of waste not want not.  Linen is expensive so you have to make the most of whatever comes your way.  I like freestyle hand embroidery in any event.  I do have a stash of vintage embroidery transfers that my mum passed to me and which belonged to her crafting friend.  Mum had received them from her daughter when she had passed.  So really I am slowly drawing together an awful lot of threads from different sources, all of which are vintage and which are going to be re-used. Some of them are rather beautiful and it is a tragedy that they are damaged as the embroidery is stunning I am only hoping that I will be able to do all the beautifully hand-embroidered pieces justice in the longer term.  I shall shortly pop a post up showing you some of the pieces I have managed to draw together.  The outline colours I have sort of been gravitating towards are more cream, green and pink based but there are other more colourful pieces outside of that colour spectrum also.  I have also been sourcing pieces of pretty cotton fabric to mix in between the embroidered pieces.

Right I had better get a wriggle on.  I have to introduce a new pair of long knitting needles to my embryonic scarf.  Wish me luck.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

In the interim though it is upwards and onwards with the scarf.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Weekend Round up

Well I did not do much this weekend; nothing of which I had planned.  During the week when I went to Asda I ended up buying another book this time the River Maid by Dilly Court.  (Not my image but from the website)



I got my nose hooked into that and that was it OH did not see me for the best part of the weekend!   I cannot wait to get the next part which is the Summer Maiden and not yet published.  For more information on this new to me Author and her repertoire of books please see her website here.


I have found her style of writing very easy and light hearted and I am looking forward to the second part of this trilogy the Summer Maiden which continues the story.  Now I have to wait. Not good at that.

Apart from the usual household chores, washing, ironing etc. Very little done.  I am however very tired again and extremely stiff in the hip and leg area - a very bad arthritis flare.  OH and I were only saying the other day that winter has been too long and grey and cold this year and most people cannot wait for it to be over with.

I was up for 6:00am and the sky was just starting to lighten.  It will not be long before it is light in the mornings again.  Thank goodness.

Saying that though we have woken to persistent fine drizzle with the sky very overcast. Looks as though it might be in for the day (I hope not).

Right am off to get my porridge and get ready for work.  Ohhps nearly forgot to book my transport.

Better get a wriggle on.

Catch you later.

Pattypan

x

Saturday, 17 February 2018

A visit to Asda

Every so often I make a trip to Asda which is not that far from where I work.  Yesterday was such a day.  I had only popped in for a look around to be honest.  I came out with some blueberries which I aim to bottle in some different shaped ball jars that I bought from Lakeland during the week, some nice bread buns, crunchy for his highness and softies for me, some different cheese an Apricot and Mango and white Stilton (which I loved really loved) and something called Bowland (this I had not seen before but is  Lancashire, apple, raisin and cinnamon cheese) so I may well have some of these in the remaining buns for mid-day). Updated to say both tried loved the Apricot and Mango.  Bowland was nice but you would not need much of it.  Very much a little bit at a time cheese (well for me at least).


I also bought three cake boxes (well large square boxes which are ideal for putting cake into) at £2 apiece.  My other ones needed replacing and at this price I could not afford not to do it.  I have also bought some kitchen shears (for cutting meat and chicken) and two new large cutting boards although I am not sure whether these are wood or bamboo!  I must say I prefer wood but I was in need of a couple of more boards and at the price they were if they only last a little while it will be a bonus.

On the same complex as the Asda store in Peterborough there is also an Iceland, a pound shop and a small selection of other shops which are all part and parcel of the Rivergate Centre which is based off what was the lower end of Bridge Street so I shall go back another day to check them out. Particularly the £ shop as this is where I usually get fruit bushes etc. for the garden.  But tomorrow is another day as they say.  It really has been a little while since I popped down there so a visit could be on for later in the week.

I could be making a quick trip To Asda again tomorrow though as I need some joints of beef and they had some nice sized pieces at a reasonable price. Need to stock up again.  Will see how things go.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Hello

Everyone, sorry not to have been around much this week.  Real life intervenes every so often and you just have to deal with it.  I have had a very rough week on the pain front this week with pain in my hands and my lower body most of the time so have been on the pain killers.  However, I don't like taking them as they have side effects too.  I put a lot of the pain down to the really cold weather we have had here this week but there we are  - it kind of slows me up and everything else.  I have managed to do a few more rows to my scarf and I am hoping to remedy that over this weekend hopefully.

I have had a bit of a lay in this morning the rest seems to have helped with the pain as well which I am grateful for the respite from.

The sun is out here at the moment which always gives a bright complexion to the day and helps cheer everyone up which makes all the difference.

Still fighting against a brick wall here.   Lots to do and not getting through it right must get a wriggle on and see if I can do something about that.  Prevaricating will not help the situation.  Kitchen here we come!

Catch you later.

Pattypan

x

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Update on the knitting

Good morning.  Its brghh here in Peterborough although we have had the Shepherd's warning. I have woken up to a fuzzy pink and lilac sky. I am not reading at the moment and so am managing to squeeze in a bit of knitting before I go to sleep.  I thought I would update you with progress so far. 

I am now nearly two balls in to the scarf so not doing badly for a non-knitter.  I had hoped the knitting would make my fingers a little more supple.  However my hands are protesting at the moment.  It reminds me when I learnt to type on a manual typewriter where you really had to bash the keys to get an imprint and then the dinging of the bell when you returned the carriage.  Happy days.  My hands hurt for ages until I got used to it. So I assume it will be the same with the knitting.

Anyway I do not think I am doing too badly.  The first photo shows the scarf part way through the second ball.  The last one shows the two balls used.  I am now on to the third ball.  The wool is an extra chunky one and it is the first time I have knitted with this its growing reasonably quickly but it is hard to pull up the stitches which is why I think I have the pains in my hands.





This has been achieved with only a little time each day on the pick up and put down basis.  Still quite a way to go though but at least it is growing which is a big thing for me. Am determined to get it finished as soon as I can.

Catch you later on.

Pattypan

x

Monday, 12 February 2018

A long day and a quiet evening

It has been a long and busy day and I was very tired and pleased to be at home in the warm.  I had planned to do a little work this evening but I have put it off.  I have half a day tomorrow as I am going up to the hospital to see my cousin who had an operation today (a hip operation) and she asked if I would pop up to see her.  So I booked half a day and am planning on a surprise visit tomorrow to cheer her up and make sure she is okey-dokey.  Family is very important to me and this particular cousin played a big part in my childhood and that time is and was very precious.  I am out tomorrow night at a pre-arranged appointment so this seemed to me the best way to deal with things.

I don't usually mind winter but this one so far has been cold and mostly grey.  I am never normally like this as I believe that each season has something wondrous to give us, surprises and shocks too but there is always something to keep us on our toes and to appreciate nature's bounty in all its beauty and simplicity.

As I was tired I just could not be bothered to cook this evening.  I went shopping but OH cooked tea.  We have had chipolatas hot dog style with fried onions and tomato ketchup.  Needless to say I managed to get the ketchup dribbling down my chin despite not putting much on and I very much enjoyed my tea it was very tasty and simple. despite me being a mucky pup.

I have also bathed the dog.  Instead of dousing her with water I have adopted a new regime where I use a clean dishcloth, soak it and then gradually get it wetter and wetter and rub it over her fur until the fur is drenched.  It seems to cover her better and make sure no part is missed and then I use fresh water to give her a good rinse.  She seems far more relaxed about the process as well so I must be doing something right and it seems to be doing her coat good.  I also with the cats especially if they have a cold wipe their coats down with a damp cloth - it is supposed to do them good and helps with keeping them clean when they are not up to par.

I am not going to be long before I get to bed to chill and to rest and get warm (not that I am cold the heating is on) but I have found that if I do get cold I get a lot more pain and then seem to stiffen up somewhat quickly.  My cousin like my mum is not enjoying getting older!  She is very much an outdoor girl has always ridden (could ride before she could walk) and is a little frustrated that she cannot get around under her own steam  as much for the present at any rate.

I have had a delivery of a couple of the items that I have bought off of Ebay i.e. the two mixed packs of mixed mats for craft work and there are some very pretty and useful pieces in there so I am well pleased.  Some of them are not for me so if I decide not to use them I may well recycle them to the local charity shop well the ones I cannot use that is.  More about that another time though.

Right am up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire.  Keep warm and keep safe wherever you may be.

Ta ta for now.

Catch you later

Pattypan
xx

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Something on the Needles

Let us get this straight - I am not a natural knitter but every so often I feel compelled to get the knitting needles out especially if I am taken to a particular yarn as happened the other day when I was in Wilkos.  This marled chunky wool just screamed at me "Buy me Buy me".  So of course I obliged.  What is a girl to do. By the way it is £2 a ball.  They also do it in autumn colours as well. (by the way this is the ball of wool I am using and I had re-wound it).



I have therefore started off with something simple a scarf just in knit stitch as the wool is a lovely marled one so any pattern would be lost.  I am using a 10mm needle as advised on the wool label. There is no pattern I just cast on umpteen stitches as I wanted a fairly wide scarf.  I cast on using the thumb and needle method (I am sorry I don't know the technical terms).  I love these sorts of colours in any event and they will go well with my big coats which are Marmot down coats and which keep me lovely and warm. 

The back



The front



I had thought to try and match the wool up or just choose a single colour and then do some mittens.  I have never made gloves or socks.  Am not sure where to start with all those needles!  I would at some point like to have a bash but lets see how I get on with this.  It has been started as it is a pick up and put down item. Something to keep my hands going and also not to waste a few minutes here and there. My tension is relatively even (more by luck than design I think).  If when finished I am not keen on the scarf then it can always go as a Christmas present for someone.  I am using this site to refer to just in case I get stuck https://mysimpleknitting.com/

Well that is the overall idea.  

I do however have a few unfinished items as well so when I locate them again I will start to work my way through them. They are in bags with the full amount of wool and their needles.  Not sure whether they are in the back bedroom or in the Unit however I am determined to get some of the UFOs out of the way.  There are a couple of jumpers that would be quite good to wear with my jeans in particular - very simple pattern as I am not very good with patterns I always seem to find the wrong way to read them and then cannot find my way out of it. One of the patterns I have started even my mum could not make head nor tail of.

Mum taught me to knit as a child, and I was also taught fancy stitches but cannot remember a lot of what I was taught apart from the basics. I think what  finished it off was that at the age of 9 she bought wool and I was to create my own jumper.  It was a lovely apple green one that went well with pink which I wore a lot of.  I finished about half of it and then mum took over.  I think for me at the time it was a little too much.  Mum was a beautiful needlewoman but she did not have much patience with me and my mistakes! I am a slow and visual learner and I make no end of mistakes in learning something new so much so that sometimes people who teach me lose patience with me. So I think mum's expectations of me at that time rather put me off knitting a bit.

I would hasten to add that I have knitted jumpers for my step-daughter and also for myself in the past which have not come up too badly.  I have also knitted a blanket throw although my tension is a little off on this. So this is a small reintroduction to my knitting needles before I dig out the UFOs and attempt to finish them.  I am not a very confident knitter and I am a slow knitter and I think that is why I get bored easily with knitting.  However I keep persevering with bits and bobs.  Would really love to know how to knit some socks. Crochet is a different matter. It was something my mum could not do but which I got my head around and of knitting and crochet I tend to err towards the crochet.  

We have had sleet this morning and it is bitterly cold as I know it is elsewhere so please keep warm and safe.

We are not having a roast today but are going to have some lamb steaks with veggies for a quick warming tea which will be later on as usual.  Might even make a bread and butter pudding.

Right upwards and onwards things to do as usual.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Saturday, 10 February 2018

What a miserable day

The heating went wrong again and we had a blown fuse downstairs as well so after getting that sorted out this morning everything fingers crossed at the moment is working properly.  The fuse took out the fridges and the freezers as well.  Deep sigh.  Apart from that little bit of excitement/head scratching (you would not believe it but this morning before we realised I had found my stash of fuses). Turned out it was one of the socket boards that had caused a problem.  Fortunately I had a brand new spare.

I have not been to the veg shop today deciding to make use of what I have and then probably getting fresh next week when I am a bit more sorted. 

I have been to the Co-Op though, done the lottery and bought a few cleaning bits. Very minimal for me.

I am not cooking tonight but we had a rare Classic McDonalds which has more than filled me up with a banana milk shake.  

In between I have been doing other housework, pacing myself and having a rest every so often.  It just takes the pressure off my back and helps me get things done eventually. During the rests I have been on Ebay and purchased a few things that took my eye.  Every so often I add to existing collections.  A few weeks ago I managed to pick up some cereal/pasta bowls (I would say very large cereal bowls) in the Impressions design by Franciscan.  I have added another six bowls to the collection.  I prefer a bowl for Chinese style meals or indeed pasta and I can never have too many of them.  I also collect BHS Brecon Blue and have managed to add another storage container and water pitcher to the set I have. 




The other bits are embroidered items some of which are going to be utilised into the random scrap bedspread; I intend to mix embroidered and  cotton patchwork pieces as well.  I have also been building up the stash of cotton for patchwork.  On the embroidery front I am gradually building bits up.











I have also added a couple more vintage pieces to my embroidered and needlepoint picture stash.  So much hard work goes into them its a shame for them not to be displayed and appreciated. They will join the pieces I have made. I have lots of plans on how to use them  I intend to have all my vintage pieces displayed on a wall all together but out of the sunlight as I do not want them to fade.  I also want to make my own cushion covers/panels .  I have also been collecting together pine picture frames with cheap prints in as I intend to recycle the frames and put some of the embroideries I have in them as well.  So on the QT a lot of collecting has been going on behind the scenes.  There is always something going on even when I do not speak of things. I am always dabbling in the background. (hubble bubble toil and trouble) bit of this and bit of that!

I have a piece of knitting on the go at the moment.  Not sure whether it is for me or as a present yet.  Will see how it knits up.

Right must get on.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan.

X

Friday, 9 February 2018

Friday night catch up

Well TGIF.  It has been a busy and long week and the issues this morning caused pandemonium.  As I had informed you Demetri was out and about.  He did not come in when I called and whilst looking out of the bedroom window I could see why.  He was doing a bit of wowing but there were five cats on his patch.  Not a happy bunny.  He just threatens them and they tend to do a bit of arguing but he always seems to get rid of them without there being a major bust up.  Such was the case this morning.  Time came to go to work so I just left him to it. 

At dinner I nipped into town for some bits and bobs.  I managed to get four rhubarb plants for the garden from Wilkos at £2 each.  The two varieties I bought this time are Victoria and Pink Raspberry.  I need to get them planted I am just hoping we have a little better weather than we have been having as I have been absolutely frozen.  I also bought some plastic topped corks for drinks or oil bottles, some more wool, two more packs of jam jars, some batteries,  six cereal bowls (in a dark navy and white) I already have two mugs and two bowls.  I will get a few more next time I go in.

I came home this evening and called and he came and sat on the wall which is his usual spot went in rattled the biscuit packet and he came in like a shot.  He is now in the warm (yes the boiler is working properly again) thank goodness.  I checked him out not a mark on him, nothing chunked out still a happy fella but guarding his territory.

I also went to the market at dinner and bought some fleece fabric with which to make inner door curtains for the back door and for the bathroom door. I just string them off a curtain/net wire. The loo is the furthest room in the downstairs lay out and it really does get cold.  It needs a little radiator in it really and that would sort out a lot of the problems.  However until they start sorting it will have to stay as it is.  So I thought I would put a curtain up in the doorway into the loo to try and keep some of the cold penetrating the house. The little room is one where you don't want to linger for long. The bathroom has a big radiator in it so that would be kept warm and I think the curtain will just keep things a little warmer and snugger. I have chosen a navy blue fleece for the bathroom.

I have also decided that I need another fleece door curtain for the back door one to run alongside the one I already have so that it can be washed regularly.  I have chosen brown fleece for the kitchen door.  It might keep the cats warmer as well.  So I have some sewing to do over the weekend to try and make sure this house is as warm as it can be.

I have also been on ebay and purchased some embroidered items in readiness for the scrap patchwork bedspread I intend to make myself one day.  I am still sourcing the embroidered items and it will be a little while yet before that is all together but every so often I add to the stash.

Right I had better get a wriggle on.  Cats need feeding and I need to snuggle down under the quilt.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x


From Book to Movie

Having read The Pillars of the Earth and getting a feel for the storyline I now want to see the Mini series again and get a feel as to whether the producers have stayed true to the storyline.  I  enjoyed the series the first time round but that was a few years ago now. So hopefully this coming weekend I will get chance to start watching it so that I can make a comparision.  I must say it is an absolutely riveting and wonderful book where real life events have formed the basis and structure giving meat and flesh with some leeway on actual events but with really wonderful characters that leap out of the page as if real flesh and blood.  A truly powerful story woven by a master storyteller.  I shall report back on the mini series shortly.

In the interim I have been reading a new book which is a Richard and Judy choice.  Called the Witchfinder General's sister by a completely new author. Beth Underdown.  See here for further information:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31377300-the-witchfinder-s-sister

I must say that I am enjoying this - it is different

Catch u soon.  Pattypan xx

Not a good start to the day

Mass panic actually.  OH got up this morning to find the back door wide open. Last time we had been burgled.  This time it would appear that the door had not caught properly and to all intents and purposes was closed when in fact it was not.  Mass panic over the cats, but fortunately the kittens and Molly were still in the house.  Mass panic as my three ladies are still intact.  They are indoor cats.  The boys have been done.  Fortunately all three kittens were curled up in bed together.  Molly their mum was on the windowsill. Phew a result in itself. Just Demetri unaccounted for.  I am not too bothered about him as he will eventually come in probably when his tummy starts rumbling.  He never goes far from the house in any event.  (He also has a nice thick and dense coat compared to Molly and the kittens). He just has to have breakfast but he goes out and about anyway.

Panic number two was the boiler.  OH had woke up cold and tried to put it on but it was not having any of it.  He has at  long last managed to persuade it and we have heat again; slowly the house is warming up as it was like a fridge with the back door being open.

I am just hoping there are no more panics to follow!

I must say that last night I was lovely and warm in bed.  I had slung another fleece blanket on top of me - as I feel the cold so much.  I am also not as stiff as I have been which is a novelty although we still have more cold weather to come - my hands and hips hurt!

As I am sat here the pitch black is starting to fade to grey very imperceptibly, very gradually, very peacefully. Not long now for the lighter mornings.

Yesterday after my oversleep I left the house without managing to have any breakfast,  The other day I had bought a couple of porridge pots to try out in case of such occasion and I nabbed it and took it into work with me and had it.  I must say I was very pleasantly surprised.  All I needed was some hot water to activate it.  So I am going to have some porridge today before I leave the house to warm me up as much as anything else.

I also appear to have some new followers and would just like to say welcome, make yourself comfortable, and get that cup of tea and coffee and don't be afraid to comment.

Right porridge it is then.

Hopefully catch you later.

Pattypan

x

Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)