Sunday, 28 July 2013


Started with me having a bit of a lay in only until 8:30 am but still a lay in all the same. I then pottered around in the house for a bit and got the animals fed etc. and then I was taken out for my Sunday lunch which was rather yummy roast rib of beef, Yorkshire pudding mixed seasonal veggies ie french beans, kidney beans, carrot, peas and cauliflower cheese.  Very yummy it was too all washed down with some Crabbies Ginger Beer.  It was really lovely.

This afternoon I have been working away at the jungle.  My garden has been overtaken by triffids and with me buying new plants recently there is a bit of reverse psychology going on in that I have bought the plants first in order that I make sure that I do get on with the garden.  Not the normal way of doing things I freely admit but it seems to be working.  My plants already purchased are thriving and doing extremely well.  I have a lot of plant pots and planters to use up as well and as I have mentioned before I have two fig trees coming on Tuesday so I have had to clear some space.  I have been concentrating on one side of the garden thus far.  Trouble is the brambles have got involved as well so despite wearing gloves there have been an awful lot of oohs and arghs and the occasional expletive. I shall be soaking my hands in some Dettol later on to make sure any cuts and scratches are treated.  Part of the inspiration for getting stuck in is that I want my washing line back and I would like some kind of covered sitting area in the garden so that we can enjoy the fresh air a little more than we are doing at present together with a patio area.  Well that is the dream anyway.  I am slowly working down the left hand side of the garden towards the tumble down shed.  I have been out for about three to four hours attacking the same before watering the rest of the plant up.

Now I am going to get things together as I am back at work.  Despite having the treatment at the Hospital I have enjoyed my few days off.

Catch you soon



Yesterday .....

Was it really yesterday when I was up early and out of the house very early for me.  OH dropped me into town and I tried to pop into Lakeland but the doors were closed and I did not have time to wait and so I nipped up to the plant store in Cathedral Square where they had a beautiful display of plants.  To my surprise they had French Lavender and being as I had seen some in Wilkinsons earlier in the week at £6 a pot I asked how much and was told £1.50 per pot so I snaffled six.  I have also bought and paid for two fig trees which I am to collect on Tuesday lunch time all being well.  There were lots of other goodies as well and really my timing was off as I was on the way to see my mum so I could not manage much more.  To say I am chuffed  with my acquisitions is an understatement as I love fresh figs and I adore lavender.  Now to locate several English Lavender plants cheaply as I want a Lavender Hedge under my washing line. Well that's the plan and at least if any laundry falls off the line it will be well and truly scented.

I caught the bus in good time and again wandering through peaceful English country villages interspaced with huge fields of corn and oats - all the fields looking golden brown and in fact I initially thought on my outward bound journey that they were going to start harvesting in an effort to bring in the crops before the rain that was forecast for later in the day.  The combine was there and the fields looked ready to bring in, but I suppose it is down to the moisture content of the grain at the end of the day.  More on this later.

The bus dropped me off and I went to the antique and crafts centre and had a quick mill around.  I could stay for hours in places like this and each week I go I find something new.  I admired the painted furniture again and indeed was pleased to see that a table I have been debating to paint cream which I have home had an exact twin that had already been renovated and it looked fabulous, so I think that may well be a project for future weeks.  It is a lovely shaped little table and would look lovely with one of my Victorian pitcher and bowls sets perched on top.  I have solid honey pine wardrobes and pine chest of drawers in my bedroom together with a hand painted freestanding jewellery chest which is cream background with purple flowers on it and a cream metal bedstead.  Anyway I digress slightly.

I left my lavender plants at the door to the centre as I did not want to cause any damage to the contents of the shop and several ladies came up during the course of me wandering around asking me where I had got the plants from.  There were lots of antique pine pieces that I would love including a couple of pie cupboards and some shaped pine wardrobes which were reasonably priced in the greater scheme of things.  But no space at the moment, so they are reserved for the back burner until the issue of space can be resolved.  There was also an antique bench painted green which would be ideal as a freestanding piece in a kitchen.  

There also craft stands within the store and I purchased some turquoise beads with silver spacers to make myself a necklace and from the antique section a pair of butter pats which are in very good condition to pop up with the rest of my dairy equipment and which were only a couple of pounds.  I would quite like to find a butter churn in due course.  Will have to keep my eyes peeled.

I then walked on to my mum's heavily laden and had a lovely day with her.  As a treat I had taken her a dressed crab as I know she is partial to the same and I thought it would help pep up he appetite a bit.

I had a lovely day with my mum, but it is time I am treasuring as although I am working and cleaning she never stops chatting from when I arrive to when I leave.  Mum is also relaying stories of events that happened or houses she has lived in over the years and some of the stories I have heard and some are quite new.

I finished the kitchen for her yesterday, ran the hoover through the house,watered the plants up in the garden and repotted some plants on too and filled her watering cans up for the greenhouse so that she does not have to lift them and cant water her tomato plants.  Mum has also sorted me out two fuschia cuttings, a clematis, some trailing petunias and I also have some cuttings of a trailing plant she has in the house to pot up.  It was a very enjoyable day all round.  Next week I will be going to her on Sunday instead of Saturday as there is an Angel Workshop that I am going to so I have just swapped the days that I am going.

On the way home we came back the way that the bus had taken me earlier and passed the corn fields that I thought were going to be harvested on the way in.  A  test strip had been cut but because there was rain forecast for last night I think they chose not to continue as they would not have got the field cleared in time.
We were later home so we ended up having a Chinese Take away for a change.  

Another lovely day all round.

Catch you later



Friday, 26 July 2013

Early Evening Roundup

 It has been hot, hot, hot too hot.  Despite me having the blinds down, windows open fans going the heat today has been unbearable and despite the best laid plans of what I was and was not going to do - well it did not happen.  I just flopped in the corner.

Well that was a surprise OH rang earlier this afternoon and asked me to be ready and waiting for him when he came home approximately 6:45 pm and to put something nice on as he was taking me to the pub for a drink and something to eat  So I duly did as asked and was ready and waiting for him to come home.  Anything to escape the furnace .

We went to a local pub the Fox and Hounds we had not been there before but the meal was very good.  We both had a starter and a main I had crab pate and lasagne with chips salad and onion rings. OH had crab pate, rib eye steak, chips, salad and onion rings.  We did not have pudding but have since had some vanilla ice cream which went down very nicely thank you.  I do not think it is going to be long before I go up as I am off to see mum tomorrow another busy day and I am going by bus initially and OH will come and retrieve me later on

Hope you have had a lovely day

Catch you soon



Recent Charity Shop Finds

Warning this post is photo heavy.

I managed to acquire two beautiful pieces of needlework recently a tray cloth with pretty embroidery on and a tablecloth mostly executed in applique with eyelet lace decoration.  However the execution of this is so fine it looks absolutely gorgeous  I paid  £6.50 for both pieces that is what I call a bargain.  I think both pieces are extremely pretty and I am hoping to turn the tray cloth into a decorative cushion for the bed.


I have also found the following

A large vintage glass ground stopper storage jar.  I collect these jars and pick them up where I can.  For the nice big pantry I have not yet acquired and they will be ideal for storing cake decorations and bits and bobs like that. £1

A stoneware sugar shaker a little chip on the top but it will not affect its use and it will go with a lot of other items of a similar nature that I already have and more than useful when it comes to baking. £1.  Will go with my Mason and Cash Mixing Bowls as it is that lovely caramelly beige colour.

Six green glass liqueur glasses which will go with some I have inherited from my grandmother.  The set is immaculate. £2.50.  I collect light green coloured glass wear as it goes with my current dinner service and also the Colclough Ivy dinner service that I am collecting piece by piece.

Six tea cups and saucers in a marled creamy brown stoneware. £2. Reminiscent of Fosters pottery but this says Devon.  So I had better not get my manufacturers mixed up in respect of the counties.  I have a Fosters Coffee set packed up but this will go with it very nicely.

A medium sized sampler worked on linen £5  I am a lucky beneficiary here as it is a beautiful piece of needlework and so neatly worked.

A long narrow pink flowered tiled tea tray £5 which will look nice in the middle of my big farmhouse dining table.  It is very pretty and when the Manageress spotted it she said that she would have grabbed that too.

A Nigella Lawson Cookery Book "Kitchen" £1.  One that I had not got although I have several of her books.  She comes up with some good ideas.

And an immaculate large shade for my Standard Lamp £3.  In a lovely Rosy pink with fringing.  It should look very nice on my mahogany lamp base.

A pale yellowy golden shade for £1.50 - it should go very nicely with a patterned bedside lamp that I have packed away which had a matching printed shade unfortunately the shade fell to pieces but I think this one will suit me nicely and will go with the colour scheme of the bedding which is pale yellow and pale green.

And finally but not least a Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady Melamine Tray which is in a nice condition. £1.50.  It will go very nicely with some storage tins I have in the pantry.  Can never have too many trays.

So I have not done too badly a nice little haul.

I popped back to the chemist to get some eye drops and saw what would appear to be a very large picture and as I was passing by  I popped back in.  It turned out to be a wonderfully large bevelled glass pine mirror at £15.  So I snaffled it and it is destined for the wall in my bedroom.  I have a gold ornate one in there at the moment but I am going to place that in the hallway.  I love mirrors.

I am also very slowly still collecting shirts when I see them at the right price to create a patchwork quilt.  I am taking my time and not rushing the process as the colour choices  have to be right and as I am a novice when it comes to quilting and I have never made a quilt before in my life I want to enjoy the process and get to grips with the basics, so that I can go on and do more.  I have my eye on a wedding ring quilt eventually and I have some fabrics already put up for that.  And I quite like the idea of having a go a hexie quilt as well.  Trouble is I have all these ideas and not enough time to get everything done. I love fabrics, threads, wool, lace, and generally playing about.

And I think I have been banned from the Charity shops for the rest of the month.   We will have to wait and see.

Oh and I have acquired a couple of floppy hats a nice cream crotchet one and a brown one which will go with a shoulder basket I have liberated the other week.  With being fair skinned
What I really would like to get stuck into doing is customising pieces of furniture but sadly I have nowhere to do said pieces of furniture up as we do not have a shed or a garage and I do not have any space at the moment for said pieces.  I do have all sorts of ideas though.  I was sort of spurred on by my visit to the charity shop last week where there were similar pieces on sale and they looked stunning bringing them right up to date and highly usable.

Catch you soon



Thursday, 25 July 2013

Emptying the freezer

Well I am nearly at the end of emptying my upright freezer part of which is only working  - we think it might be tired but until I can get the freezer well and truly empty  get it unplugged and defrosted we are not too sure (I think it might be terminal OH not convinced).

Last night we had  grilled, gammon steaks, mixed roast veg i e potato, parsnip, sweet potato and onion gently roasted in the oven, mixed veg, carrots, sweetcorn and peas and new potatoes and very tasty it was too. I soaked the gammon slices in some water before cooking as the last lot we had was a little too salty but this was just right.  It made a very filling meal.  We had a few strawberries and cream for pudding and it all went down very well.

I had some salad leaves in the fridge that needed using up and when I was rootling in the freezer last night I came across some Crevettes with the shell and everything on.  I am rather partial to prawns and sea food generally so I fished out  a couple of bags (excuse the pun) and we have had those each this evening with a big bowl of salad, coleslaw and home made marie rose sauce (prawn cocktail sauce sauce which in this household is either home made mayonnaise or salad cream with tomato ketchup and a dash of home made tarragon sauce) with a couple of slices of bread and butter OH white me wholemeal; and very nice it was too we both seem to have polished things off.

Fish is good for you and if you can buy it fresh then all the better, but that is not always possible in this day and age but there is always tinned.  I always keep tinned sardines, sild, pilchards in tomato sauce in, tuna, tinned salmon and tinned white crab meat which is lovely in a wrap with some lettuce and some chilli sauce.  I have home made salmon fish cakes  quite regularly too - I make a couple of batches using tinned salmon and then freeze in twos. That way I am making the most of what I have without wasting anything .  OH does not like tinned salmon and he goes a bundle on Tuna both fresh and tinned and anchovies which are useful for home made pizza. I usually keep things like, smoked haddock, moules marinere, king prawns, ordinary prawns etc. in the freezer as well as cod/haddock (depending on price).  I am supposed to eat quite a bit of fish to help with the arthritis.

I have moules mariniere in the freezer so I think they could be on the cards for tomorrow night and I will probably do a pudding to go with so it will be a light tea. I have some puff pastry in the freezer so I may well do a tarte tatin - restaurant style food at a minimum of the cost.  I like going out for a meal but I love cooking at home, so I think I will be popping to the greengrocers tomorrow to see what fruit they have.

Right am off to potter.

Catch up soon.



Home Made Cherry Brandy

I know it is the summer holidays but you should be where you can starting to put food up to see you through the winter.  Now is the optimum time when the new crops are coming through is the ideal time to pop something up which give your family a treat later on in the year.

 I absolutely adore Cherries and having a bottle of Brandy going nowhere in the cupboard at the moment and so I decided to put it to good use.  I have therefore started off a batch of home made cherry brandy for this year's Put Down 2013.  This is one of those liqueurs that I have repeatedly made over the years and is one of my favourites.  It is relatively easy to make.  Equipment is simple I use a large preserving jar with a rubber gasket to keep out any nasties.

You will need:

1lb cherries
8oz caster sugar
2 tablespoons split almonds
1 cinnamon stick
1 bottle of brandy 
2 cloves

Prepare the cherries by either trimming or removing stalk and then washing the cherries.  Carefully then with a cocktail stick prick the cherries in several places as this allows the precious cherry juice to macerate into the brandy.  Place the cherries into your sterilised jar with the sugar almond splits and the spices.  Pour in the brandy then seal the jar .  Leave for three months but shake the jar several times a week to help dissolve the sugar and also transfer the colour of cherries to the brandy to a deep cherry red..  Try and keep in a dark place as keeping the brandy in light will fade the colour.  An old trick used to be to put brown paper around the outside of the bottle which helped preserve the colour of the contents. 

 I usually decant the cherries from the brandy just before Christmas either eating the brandied cherries with some cream (they are very boozy) or in the bottom of a Christmas trifle or dipped in chocolate and served as petit fours after Christmas lunch with a glass of the cherry liqueur which I store in a separate sterilised bottle.  Warms the cockles of your heart on a cold winter's day.

Or you can soak some of the cherry liqueur into a home made chocolate sponge, pile it with cherries and cream and make your own version of a Black Forest gateaux very  seventies but very delish or why not a Black Forest Roulade.  Very delish either way.

Catch you soon.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

On Holiday....

For three days  - desperately needed and occasioned by the fact that I had to have the first of three treatments on my ankle which I was very nervous about, but managed to get through okay. I have been warned that I should take things steady and there may be bruising to the ankle, which is all quite normal,  All done with sound waves and I think it has done some good already.  Here's hoping.  So I am pleased I booked the time off as it has given me some very much needed space and its the first real time I have had off this year. 

Hasn't it been hot again; the sun has been out most of the day here, and the humidity is very high.  The animals are just chilling I have kept the blinds down and have windows open so that we get an air flow through the house as they are really suffering with their fur coats at the moment.  There is plenty of water to be had for them as well.

We have gammon slices, with roasted vegetables, peas and new potatoes for tea with Strawberries and Cream for pudding or should that be sweet!

I have been out for the evening as well in the company of very good friends its always full of laughter when we get together.  And the moon looks beautiful this evening hanging there like a pendulum in the sky.

My ankle is hurting a bit now so it will not be long before I go up and rest it.

Hope your day has been filled with love and light

Take care 



Monday, 22 July 2013

Monday Night Round Up

Its been a very busy day at work  - I am on leave for the rest of the week as I have to have some treatment on my leg on Wednesday.  The appointment is slap in the middle of the morning and as I do not drive I have to go by taxi.  For sometime now I have had a problem with my Achilles tendon in that there has been a lump pressing on it and causing discomfort, sometimes the lump is massive or at least appears that way and at other times it seems to shrink, but it is a nuisance.  I am therefore to have ultrasound treatment lithotripsy to try and disperse the said lump which would appear to be a calcific tendonitis or a build up of a calcium deposit.  Wednesday is the first of three such treatments. As I walk literally everywhere and as the instruction is do not drive after the treatment (well I drive a foot pedal at work) I decided to play safe and book the time off and to let things settle down without any extra pressure.

I have cooked tonight we have had home made sweet and sour chicken with stir fried vegetables and egg foo yung. Followed by a bowl of ice cream.  It went down very well and OH went back for seconds.

I have watered up the garden and my frogs are still there all three of them so I topped the swimming pool up for them and watered the border up well.

Last Friday I went to Wilkinsons as I had seen some small swing stopper bottles which I thought were advertised at £1.34 each.  I was none too happy when I got to the till and I was charged £16 or so; but I needed them (the smaller bottles are destined for fruit sauce for the winter months). I queried the price and it was established that the next bottle up 0.55 litre was the bottle that was £1.34 each.  These bottles were twice the size of the smaller version.  As I did not have the cash on me at the time I made my mind up and today was the day.  I picked 10 bottles out (£13.40 by my calculations) checked with the girl on the till she scanned it the price of £2.75 came up.  I queried again and on seeing the advertising label I got the 10 bottles for £1.34 each i.e. £13.40 for the 10 bottles.  I shall go back later on in the week just to check to see what the price is and if  it is still the same I shall snaffle some more. They are proper Kilner bottles so I am well chuffed with my haul.

Marks and Spencers also are doing some soft fizzy drinks at the moment three large bottles for about £5 to £6.  The drink is a bonus as really I have gone after recycling the bottles as they are the flip top stoppered bottles.  The price to buy these is dear however I sterlise the gaskets on the bottles and re-use them suitably sterilised although I do have replacement gaskets in my armoury.  Kilner also do a different type of gasket but I don't see why it would not work.  They cost £1 for a large bag.

All the bottles together so you can get some kind of perspective on size.

So now I am going to sort out some recipes and have a play.

And a bonus, OH has managed to snaffle some Cherries from down the garden think they are the last of them but they really are delicious.  Am going to look into getting the tree trimmed and also into obtaining a net so that we can get the cherries next time round.  These are what he did retrieve I think they will do very nicely bottled for Cherry pie. 

And they taste absolutely delicious variety Stella supposed to be dwarf rootstock but more like Jack and the Beanstalk.

Boy its hot  - Catch you soon



Sunday, 21 July 2013

New Books

Just recently I have picked up one or two books to add to the collection and I have not paid full price for them as they have been picked up from either The Works (also known as Remainders) or the Book man who calls at work. I have paid no more than £5 per book (in some cases much less) but I am pleased with every book that I have acquired.

The first is called Abundance by Alys Fowler she of Kitchen Garden Fame but this tome covers all gardening aspects but goes on to explore different ways of storing and preserving and there are definitely some different ways of preserving and some very different recipes some of which I intend to have a go at in due course,  Recipes such as wild strawberry confiture, Rosy Apple Sauce, Kimchi, Saurkraut, Ploughmans Chutney, Jerusalem Artichoke Chutney, Beetroot Marmalade, Pickled Cherry Tomatoes, drying vegetables i.e. veggie chips,Fruit Leathers, dried fruit and needless to say there are lots more recipes in there.

The second one is called Allotment month by month; this specifically focuses on growing your own fruit and veg but will come in very handy for me for next year.  It goes through the growing season month by month.

The third one is called the Perfect Christmas which speaks for itself, it has lots of things to make for your Christmas celebration and also the odd one or two items like home made Christmas cards and Christmas tags; beautifully presented with some nice recipes in.

The fourth book is called Grandma's Special Recipes: Jams, Jellies and Preserves.  This book has some unusual recipe in as well such as Pickled Okra, Pickled Fish, pickled vegetables,Chilli peppers stuffed with Goats Cheese; Fruit Mustard, Cherry Compote, Preserved Pears, Preserved Rec Capsicums.  I have a lot of preserving cookery books so it is always a delight when I find a book with recipes in that I do not have and I am itching to get going with this 

The last  is aptly called Jams, Preserves and Chutneys with Apricot and Lavender Jam, Apricot and Roast Pistachio jam, Banana jam, Rhubarb and Raspberry jam, mixed fruit jam, cucumber marmalade, Kiwi and lime marmalade, Orange and Blackberry Marmalade with Chocolate chips, Peach marmalade,  Tropical fruit salad marmalade,  apple and cranberry chutney etc etc.

These books will be good companions to books I already have like Gifts from the Garden by Debora Robertson a smashing little book, Aromatic gifts by Stephanie Donaldson, Jams and Chutneys by Thane Prince.

Finally a little book entitled homemade gifts with love which has some upcycled items in ie using damaged embroidered tray cloths  into making little lavender hearts, or crazy patchwork style cushion covers using damaged embroidered cloths.  So many vintage treasures end up being discarded but if the embroidery is in good nick why not turn it into something else.

Quite a few hours of pleasure to look ahead to and a lot of playing

Catch you soon



Yesterday's Journey

Yesterday I was up at normal time in readiness to make OH his pack up (he worked all day yesterday).  Mum had asked for a couple of things she wanted  taking to her so I walked into town looking for fresh beetroot on the market and some cough sweets.  I went all over looking for the beetroot to no avail and in fact I missed a bus just by a couple of minutes as a result; so frustrating.  

Eventually I got the bus to take me to my mum's.  Its a while since I have been on a bus journey, but it did bring back one or two memories of when I was small; passing through sunkissed country villages where life trundles on at its own peculiar pace.  As a child I lived in a hamlet in Rutland and the bus was the lifeline to the local town and food shopping. Cottages used to have pantries too where all sorts of basics were stored.  We always used to go to town on market day when the traders would come and sell their wares and mum used to get stocked up for the week usually veggies and eggs etc.  It was an older style coach but you were sat up high and I used to love looking out of the window seeing the wider world devouring everything that came into view; mum used to take me to see her friends every so often too (this was all before my brother was born) when life was gentler.

Yesterday's journey took me past fields filled with ripening corn and oats, green trees and past Nine Bridges where we had taken Missy swimming earlier in the week and we had had a paddle. Into Market Deeping where I had to get off the bus, as I had just caught the first bus home and this bus did not go to Deeping St James; the Deepings are the villages I lived in during my school years and each time I go "home" to Mum's its like another layer of the onion is peeled away and I can breathe really breathe.  

It was overcast but muggy yesterday and I walked through the villages noting  the subtle and major changes in my mind's eye; passing the craft and antiques recycled emporium that always has a load of goodies within its depths with always some kind of treasure to be found and then on to Mum's and home.  

Mum was not 100% yesterday she hurt and could not move much so we got her settled and I started on the food cupboards yesterday dragging everything out and giving it a good scrub and then mum deciding what she did and did not want and so the afternoon passed and I did several other bits and bobs for her.  

It was a quiet time but good to be with my mum and to gently just enjoy each other's company whilst plodding along doing this and that including the watering up.

OH came to collect me later on and on the way back we stopped off at Nine Bridges to let Missy run off some steam.  Earlier in the week it had been enjoyed by families and children paddling as well as young pups and dogs.  Yesterday evening no one was there but there had obviously been young people there; there was the debris of broken glass, portable barbecues, there had been a couple of fires the grass was badly burnt and there was glass in the water.  This has made me so cross because this has always been a place for families to enjoy quality time and to let their children play safely but an unsavoury few who cannot tidy up behind themselves or respect natural countryside conditions so that it can be enjoyed by everyone has really made my blood boil.  I could not blame the farmer who owns the land if he closed it off for good because of this behaviour and desecration.  There is a golden rule in my book go and by all means enjoy beautiful surroundings but for heaven's sake take your rubbish home and away with you and leave no imprint of you being there.  We should all tread lightly; but sadly some of the younger members of our communities (not all) do not seem to have any respect for others let alone themselves.

This so saddened me as there is no need. 

We had home made hot dogs for supper last night; proper sausages fried with some onion and then popped into finger buns with the onion and some tomato ketchup.  Simple and tasty and nothing fancy, but oh it was good.  

Catch you soon.  

Pattypan xx

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Foraging for simple things

When we go foraging we usually go for food ingredients but there is a wealth of other material out there to be had for the taking and not necessarily edible.  At this time of year I go looking for fir cones large and very tiny ones.  The fir cones can be turned into all sorts of little presents or used to make garlands and the smaller ones can be used on wreaaths nd in pot pourri.  It seems a shame to pass up these freebies especially when in the run up to Christmas these items become over priced in the shops.

I do not have an open fire here at the moment but my dream house does have one or two, but as children we used to be set on at this time of year collecting them.  They make excellent fire lighters or just a few added to the burning flames release the resin which in turn scents the room.  small sticks were also collected and used for kindling and kept in the coal shed or wood store.

Equally when tending the herb garden if there are woody stems from the like of  Rosemary and sage save them also and trim them into even sized pieces and then wrap with string to form small faggots and they can also be used for lighting the fire yet again releasing their aroma.  Sage is particularly cleansing although pungent.

Getting the little ones to collect things like this also teaches them what to look for, gives little minds something to focus and think about and keeps them occupied.

Equally if you go to the seaside shells can be collected and used to decorate mirrors and picture frames; used in candlelamps and in vases to show off the simplicity of the shells and their myriad shape and colours.  Little pieces of driftwood can be used to decorate frames or used within garlands.  We are only ever limited by our imagination and our own creativity and during the longer winter nights its useful to have craft material to hand.  Take Willow its long whips can be turned into baskets for the more skilled of us but equally those with no skills can turn their hand to small willow wreath bases to use as a form for adding other materials.  There is so much out there yet not everyone sees these items or their potential.

Years ago in another time another place it was a matter of course that people collected things or put food ingredient up in different formats as it made the difference between living and surviving.  You did not waste anything that came your way and everything had to be made the best of.  Today there is over-reliance on the supermarkets but in my view we have a responsibility to do a bit ourselves.  Oh I haven't done this or that before - do not let that stop you read, have a go - find someone who knows.  Each time you do something you are learning you are practicing and remembering.  Each time you have a success and you have results it will increase your confidence and then you will move on to learning something else, and you will gradually build up the things that you do do and take responsibility for providing for your family in the process.  What greater way of showing your love.

So do not forget the little things, even stones and pebbles can be turned into works of art.

Catch you soon



Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Breakfast in the Garden

The past couple of mornings because it has been hot I have been having my breakfast in the garden where it is nice and cool and I must honestly say it is fast becoming one of my personal pleasures to just simply eat one's breakfast and simply just being in the quiet and tillness; of the morning.  I have had  nice big bowl of Muesli with really cold chilled milk and a cup of tea.  However I have been  watching the wildlife we have had crash landings from pigeons on the fence this morning to starlings feasting greedily on the remnants of the cherry tree.  This morning I am being watched by Demetri on the wall and Molly keeping a beady eye on me from the dining room window.  They are never far away.

I managed to get all my herbs potted up last night.  A lot of them are in pots so that I can move them around as the soil is not particularly good as it is a heavy clay and the plant roots cannot always gain good purchased but at leat I can stand pots on the same.  I did not get any seeds planted lat night but hope to do so later on or at least make a start.  Probably will not come to much but one never knows.  I am thoroughly enjoying my potterings in the garden of an evening and being surrounded  by nature in all her glorious forms.  I thought my frog had hopped it not having seen him since the weekend but last night I had three of them in the herb border.   It must be the no expense spared des res swimming facilities.

Hope you all have an enjoyable day

Catch you later on



Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A wee little paddle

On Saturday we took Missy for a swim on the way to my mums to a place that we used to go paddling at when we were children.  She was very uncertain at first but OH gently encouraged her in and when she did get in she was swimming round and round.

Tonight we repeated the experience for her as it has been so hot and we went in for a paddle as well.  All was well to start with there were other young dogs having a whale of a time too and we got her in and then she went off to play with her mates as soon as they came anywhere close she tried to jump up into my arms; her safe spot.  Trouble was she was in water and her jumping up splashed me and subsequently because I had been holding my skirt up so as it did not get wet with her jumping up I dropped my skirt and then slipped so I got more than a tad wet; but hey its warm and it was just a little bit of water after all.

Today I topped up on plants again, another Oregano (I just love the flavour and smell of this most fragrant of herbs) and two Archers gold Thymes a Blackberry plant and a Passion Flower shrub.  I am off to pot them on and I have some seeds to sow as well.

Catch up soon promise



Monday, 15 July 2013

Monday Evening catch up

What a busy day, it has been non stop at work, and we have been grateful for the air conditioning today.  At lunch after meeting with a good friend, I popped to the plant stall and have come back with parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, and Fennel.  I have spent the better part of this evening planting up and watering in and then I have watered up the rest of the border.  Its coming along slowly, although I still need Basil, Chives, some more Oregano, Marjoram. The soil in part of the herb border is not particularly good and so I tend to stick pot fulls of stuff on there.  I would also like to get hold of some Tarragon as I use that quite prolifically, so I intend to have a good look around over the next few days to see what I can locate.  I have plenty of mint and sage in the herb border and bay leaves.  I had seen an offer on for about 40 lavender plugs for about £10, but unfortunately when I applied they did not have any left.  I have an idea of having a border down the side of the grass of a lavender hedge, which will be immediately below the clothes line.  Will have to see what I can locate.  

I am going to sit out the back in a little while; it is extremely muggy still, but it is quiet and it will be nice to just sit and be.

I also need to get some box files in which to store some magazine articles for the time being.  So a bit more tidying up will be achieved I hope.

I am going to sort a few seeds out to plant as well I have some courgette seed and some Nasturtium seeds somewhere.

Picked the first of a few strawberries that I have homegrown this evening and they were delicious.  The Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream slice is also in the freezer.

Right am off for a final potter before I go up a little later on.

Catch you soon

Take care



Home Made Raspberry Ripple

Tonight when I get home I have a quick pudding to make for tomorrow night's tea; well it is quick in the actual preparation but you do have to wait for the pudding to freeze. I am talking about home made Raspberry Ripple where you just have good ingredients and then a tasty cooling pudding at the end of it.  And with all this hot weather at the moment we do need something to cool us down.

You will need:

8oz/250g fresh Raspberries
4oz/125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs separated
1/2 pint/300ml of milk
142ml carton of double cream
Few drops of Vanilla Extract
5-6 sprigs of mint for decorating (optional)
2lb loaf tin/1kg size

Taking the Raspberries take about 6-8 Raspberries and set them aside in the fridge for topping your dessert prior to serving.

Take the rest of the berries and add them to a saucepan with 1oz/30g of the caster sugar.  Heat gently until the fruit is soft.  Sieve the Raspberries to remove the pips so you end up with a soft puree of fruit.

Place the egg yolks and 2oz/60g of caster sugar in a bowl and whisk until it is thick and creamy.  Heat the milk to boiling point and then pour it over the egg mixture whisking all the time this is important.  Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook gently until a custard is formed.  Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle on the remaining sugar then leave the mixture to cool.

Pour the double cream into a bowl with the vanilla extract and whisk until the mixture starts to hold soft peaks then fold in the cooled custard.  Whisk the egg whites  until stiff then fold them into the creamy mixture.  Drizzle the Raspberry Puree over the creamy mixture and stir it in gently to give a rippled effect.  Spoon it into the loaf tin and freeze until solid.

To serve

Unmould the ice cream by dipping the tin briefly in hot water and decant onto a plate.  Decorate with. the reserved Raspberries and mint leaves.


This recipe includes raw egg whites.  However if you omit the whipping the egg white stage and incorporate the egg white in with the egg yolk when making the custard this should solve this.  The recipe says that this will keep in the freezer for up to two months so you can just cut slices as you need them.

You can use other pureed fruits for this recipe like strawberries and blackcurrants and gooseberries

Yummy I am looking forward to this.

Catch you later



Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sunday Evening Round Up

Oh boy has it been hot; I have still been beavering away at the herb border and my frog has put in an appearance again, so I am definitely going to put him a pond in the border.  I have been quite taken with the advert encouraging us to put in mini areas where our wild creatures can survive.  That will please my neighbour no end but I don't give a fig.  The herb border is slowly  starting to come under control and I am taking some cuttings as I go along to make more plants hopefully.  The bay tree in the border has sprouted a lot of growth again so I am going to have a go at taking some cuttings from scratch to see if I can get some more plants going, if so it would  make a nice present for someone in the future.  I use bay leaves a lot in cooking so it would perhaps make a good pressie for a foodie friend.  The sage plant has put out runners quite a lot of them and as I have cut what I thought was dead wood on the end I have found a flush of growth at the end so I intend to plant them on.  The neighbour also has a prolific clematis and some has found its way to the floor and there are one or two roots to make some cuttings.  Never done it before - it may be a miserable failure but if I do not try I will never know.

OH took me to the Range this morning - had never been but was terribly impressed - definitely my kind of shop and I saw one or two things that I would like to get in due course.  Will have to see how the pennies pan out.  There was quite a nice gazebo and a swing which I had my eye on for the garden as well as barbecues and lots of plants which I definitely have my eye on. Ostensibly I went there to see if I could find a sturdy hanging rack as mine completely broke the other day and I have two racks of clothing that desperately needs some hanging rails. Will have to have a look elsewhere during the week.

One thing I do do in this hot weather is keep the blinds and/or curtains down as it keeps the house cooler and stops the sunlight fading your soft furnishings; its a bit of a shame not to let the sun in but when it gets to the temperatures it has been you will do anything to keep cool.  The cats appreciate it and curl up in the shade.

My frog put in an appearance again and I placed a deep saucer of water with a stone in the middle and he duly obliged and popped in.  He has been up and down the border quite a bit.

I also saw a squirrel risking life and limb doing a raid on the cherry tree it seems the wildlife got the cherries again.  Will have to look into stopping that.

OH fancied proper Sunday lunch today so we have had roast leg of lamb studded with garlic and then new potatoes, french beans, carrots, cauliflower, peas and lashings of mint jelly with strawberries and cream for afters. Very nice it was too even though it was a tad hot in the kitchen.

Right have to tidy up outside the back door all the plants are watered up and I have struck some bay leaf cuttings and the sage.  I also have to do honeysuckle and clematis.  A watering can of water is already to water up the plants in the morning as apparently we are going to have more of this hot weather for the rest of the week

Right I still have lots to do as back to work in the morning.

Catch up soon.



What a simply glorious afternoon

After being overcast this morning this afternoon the sun has put in an appearance the air is balmy hardly any breeze and the sun is out to play and it is hot.  This was the type of afternoon at my grandmother's home where we would all repair to the back lawn and enjoy the sun whatever chairs could be found including the old fashioned deck chairs; and we as a family would enjoy the summer sun and play games as a family such as bowls or skittles (with my Nan's old preserving jars); half way through the afternoon the teapot would come out and then later on we would have high tea  (all served in the garden) and as an absolute treat strawberries grown in the garden and for which we helped harvest the lush red berries were  served with cream.    In years gone by the old fashioned milk bottles used to have a header of thick cream in the top one inch space and if you had the Jersey milk it was even thicker.  (Nowadays you do not get that so much as the milk and cream is all mixed together and it does not separate).  My Nan always used to save this cream on a daily basis each bottle that was opened the cream was always saved and decanted to a pot which was always kept in the fridge.  Come preparations for Sunday tea the cream that had been decanted and set aside was spilled into a bowl and then the hand whisk would come out and my Nan would whisk the cream up with a dash of sugar until it was frothy.  It was then popped into a jug and using a spoon we used to pop what we wanted on our fruit.  My Nan never bought cream.

I am still wading in the garden with the herb border; it is slowly getting cleared although there is a lot of bindweed which I am doing my best to get rid of but it has slowed me up a little.  I was startled earlier by a frog who had been hiding in the undergrowth and he hopped off it made me feel slightly guilty for removing his cover, but I shall put a bowl of water for him to pop back to should he so want.

Right tea break over I am going to get on a do a bit more; I have had the Spanish inquisition from Molly as being exposed to the sap from the various weeds I have removed and going to make tea I went and scrubbed my arms and hands with soap and the nail brush; think she likes the smell of the soap as she has been cuddling up and licking my arms since.

Catch you all later

Have a lovely afternoon



Good Morning

It is overcast here in Peterborough and still muggy although a lot more tolerable.  We did indeed get the rain but not like we had had on the way home; but at least we got some and it saved me having to do any watering up last evening.

Yesterday morning before going to my mum's I went and did some shoping for myself. At the Coop I found a leg of lamb and a piece of loin pork both of which had been reduced I got about £7 off in total off both pieces of meat.  Both are in the fridge at the moment as I cannot make my mind up as to which piece we will be having tonight.

I also managed to get a bargain with some more apricots so later on today I will be making some Apricot jam.  I use this a lot and it is delicious served with croissants for breakfast.  We have some dumpling (doughnut) peaches to have as well to eat fresh and I bought another couple of punnets of strawberries to have for desserts or milk shakes.  I am going to look on the market later on in the week/the next few weeks  to see if I can get hold of some peaches for making peach chutney, spiced peaches and bottled peaches in syrup and I also intend to look around for a few more recipes for strawberries and for Apricots.  Well that is the plan anyway.  The other year I made peach chutney for the first time and it is delicious.

Right I am going to get myself a cup of tea - and then I intend to start on the herb border and get that sorted as I am hoping to get some more herb plants put in during the course of the week and hopefully get some more fruit bushes as well,  I just thought it would be nice to work in the quietness of the morning and be in the fresh air for a change.

Catch you all later on



Quote of the Day

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Pansy Potter does it again!

What a lovely day it has been hot hot hot and I have been at my mother's most of the day having been there to bottom out her lounge this week; washing all the skirting boards down, moving out the furniture and really giving it a good going over.  That's room number two done and dusted, and I have also flipped round the rest of the house as well.  Next week it is the kitchen that is going to be subject to my ministrations.

Mum keeps water butts full of rainwater in the garden from which she waters the plants in the garden.  As I was there today she asked me to do it to save on her back.  Pattypan was  therefore left in charge of the water butt and the watering.  Things were going well I started with the troughs in the front garden and then started watering up in the back garden.  Placed two watering cans full of water into the greenhouse so that mum can water the tomatoes during the week.  I went to fill up a bucket again and the next thing I knew I turned the tap on the butt and it came off in my hand; water spraying out everywhere I got drenched as the butt was half full and was scrabbling round trying to get the tap back in where it belongs and the butt was having none of it.  So there was a quick scrabble to fill a load of buckets up until the butt got to the level where the tap was situated in and I managed to get the tap back in and the bolt it on (nearly falling head first in the butt in the process).  OH tightened it up when he came later on.  Fortunately we managed to capture most of the water and used it in the watering up so fortunately not much was lost, but I still feel a little guilty at the little bit that got away.  However before we left mum's there was one heck of a Summer storm a proper electrical storm with thunder lightning torrential rain so I think the water butt will soon get filled up again as it is connected to the down pipe on the garage.  The rain is very welcome as it will give everywhere a good overdue soak.

However coming home in the downpour was a bit of a nightmare I thought at one point the rain was going to stop the car as it lashed it down.  However when we got back into Peterborough there was no rain or storm but I think it is circling as I can hear cracks and rumblings but nothing seems to have happened as yet.  I am not very keen on thunder and lightening at the best of times; I am waiting to see what happens if it rains I will not need to do the watering up as nature will have done it for me, but because it has been such an exceptionally hot day it has freshened things up no end.

Right I am off to finish the part done bathroom; there is a lovely cool breeze coming through the windows and it is much more comfortable but I think it is going to be a hot night I think the fan will be on again.

Catch you soon



Quote for the Day

Yesterday is the past;
Tomorrow's the future;
But today is a gift;
That is why it is called the present.

Bill Keane

Just simply Be

Its been a warm muggy night I have had the windows open but still the air has been heavy thank goodness I have a ceiling fan but that makes a noise; you gradually get used to it and go off into that deep far away place where the conscious lurks and where your thoughts are your own.  An altered state to that of our every day waking hours but still very important none the less.

Despite being the weekend and having the intention of  a small lay in - it just does not seem to happen.  I awoke before the alarm clock again and decided to rise (once I am awake that is it I have to get up).  The sun is always on the front of the house in the morning, whereas the rear of the house at this time of day is in shadow and much cooler.  This is an old terrace so the cool on a summers day is very welcome, but equally it is cold in the winter.

Everything is quiet apart from the odd rumble of traffic going down the road; our road is used as a cut through to get into town.

I made myself a cup of tea; I usually like my first cup of tea of the day in silence on my own after I have sorted the cats and Missy out with breakfast.  This morning I went outside and sat on a chair hugging my cup of tea and just coming too quietly and enjoying the moment just sitting and enjoying the peace and quiet and the stillness.  We all need to be still at times it helps rejuvenate our busy hectic lives and grounds us puts us in balance.  There always has to be balance.

Whilst sitting I have been inspecting my plants that I bought yesterday.  They seem to be very healthy specimens. The two grapes I have bought are called Vitas Brant and are a purple grape.  The Kiwi fruit just says female on the tag . I probably will not get anything off them this year but for next year.  I am also on the lookout for some blueberries, Tayberrys, Rhubarb crowns some Japanese Chaemoloes (Japanese Quince), A quince tree, Plums, and Figs.  Will have to see how things go.  Will try and take some photographs later on.

Its been a treat to do this as the rest of my life is so hectic at the moment.  I am off to my mum's for the day to spend quality time with her and get some of her housework sorted.

Will hopefully catch you all later on.

Have a lovely day



I have indulged today.....

....In some plants for my garden.  Perhaps I should not have as the garden is not done yet but at the prices I obtained them for I could not really afford to sniff at them. I intend to pot them up for the time being as a temporary measure until I can get them located in  their permanent positions.  The plants I obtained are: Two Loganberries @ £4.00 each, two purple grape vines @ £3.00 each and a Kiwi Fruit @ £4.00 each plant all in all a total of £18 for the five plants. All are healthy specimens.  All from a stall in the centre of Cathedral Square in Peterborough.  They also have a stall on the market.  They also had some gooseberries red ones for £4.00 apiece so I may go back and get some of them if they still have them next week.

I am hoping to start on the garden on Sunday weather permitting.

Boy is it muggy tonight I am so pleased I have a ceiling fan in the bedroom.

I also have my eye on two white grapevines -  they had them earlier in the week but when I went to buy they only had the red ones left so I shall have to keep  my eyes peeled in case they get in any later in the week.

I also have my eye on some herbs to replant my herb border up specifically some Rosemary, Thyme, and Fennell, Oregano, Marjoram, Chives etc to start with. The sage and mint is doing well in the border this year and the bay tree has a triffid growing out of the base which needs some selective pruning.  I intend to get up early tomorrow morning so I can start weeding the herb border and start tidying it up.  I might also get a few seeds set with a bit of luck.  I have done a bit of a water up tonight and I notice I have  few strawberries that have ripened so they will go nicely with breakfast

The cherries are starting to ripen I am hoping to get some off the tree before the birds do; only once in the past ten years have I managed to get the crop picked.  There are not as many cherries on the trees as in previous years.  Fingers crossed toes plaited as I would like to bottle some in syrup for puddings during the winter months and also some cherry pie filling so that I can make black forest gateau.  Yummy.

Right am off to read my book for a while and get some shuteye.

Sweet dreams



Thursday, 11 July 2013

Thought For the Week

Things can be changed, tweaked, improved its  up to you at the end of the day


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I have a hot Date

.......with the bathroom I am esconced deep cleaning the same. If gone for too long please send a friendly St Bernard armed with a cocktail to locate and  revive me.  Its warm again this evening and the bathroom is tidy.

Catch you all hopefully later on



Thank you for your lovely comments

Thank you ladies for your lovely supportive comments; to come home after a busy day at work and to be greeted by you cheers me up no end and for a change I thought I would post my comments here in a post.

Elizabeth Rhiannon - lovely to hear from you again dear friend I have missed your blog and will hopefully catch up with you in full shortly and thank you for your kind wishes for my mum; she is healing very slowly but is a little frailer although still very very determined.  One of her wishes was to see my eldest nephew go to University - he has been at Warwick University for the past year studying a four year Doctorate in Chemistry.  Her wish is now to see the youngest one also at University and it is giving her something to fight for. Light and blessings to you and yours and I hope all is well with you.

Hi Jay

Strawberry wine is delicious  -it is very sweet and a deep red colour; its one of those wines that my mum used to make when I was younger and also my grandmother.  If you get strawberries at a good price it is well worth the making.  I also have in mind to bottle some strawberries and also make some syrup and also bottle some rhubarb and strawberries together.  I hope you too are keeping well and it is lovely to see you pop by.

Hi Jennie (aka Bovey Belle) lovely to see you hear.  I tend to make wine on the same basis these days;  My grandparents had the smallholding so after all the freezing, bottling making jam etc any surplus always went to the winemaking and then Nan used to blend the wines later on as well so we were never quite sure what we were drinking and sometimes neither was she.

I am sorry you have been suffering with the asthma and hay fever and a diminished immune system.  I too have a wonky immune system and I have found that having an actimel bio drink in the morning actually helps especially with being on long term medication as it puts a lining on your stomach so your absorption of the medication is not as harsh as it would otherwise be and it is putting the correct cultures into your system to aid food digestion and helps the system work more efficiently. I have been put on hydroxychoroquine 200mg tablets twice a day as I have a set of auto immune responses i.e. Scleroderma,sjorgens syndrome, osteo arthritis, Raynaud's syndrome, CREST, antibodies for both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus (although fortunately have not developed into anything yet fingers crossed).  They are not sure how the medication works but it does and is quite effective.  Apparently when I was diagnosed with the the Scleroderma my antibodies were off the beam and all sorts of testing was ordered; but when I went in January they were well pleased as the antibodies are back under control and hopefully the lid is well and truly on.  Elderberries are very good for the immune system as is Echinacea.  Thank you also for your good wishes to my mum.

You just take care.

Hi Rose lovely to hear from you too.  Glad I have been a bad influence and you have started a Vodkatopf- You can with the Rumptopf eat the boozy fruit in the first year and serve with ice cream or cream - I usually do this at Christmas and it is very delish.   Equally I drain off some of the liqor and serve it as a liqueur warms the cockles of my heart.    Thank you for your best wishes for my mum.  I hope things have calmed down for you with yours.  Much love to you and yours.

Hi Jennie (no 2)  Meal was very tasty and I have since had a go with buying a Korma mix in a jar and cooking the chicken and having plain rice with naan bread.  It went down extremely well.  If you want any recipes Jennie just yell I have loads.  

Hi Jennie (no 3) glad you liked the phrase - its one I like and use a lot and one that I aspire to especially when things go topsy turvey.  Hope that Buyer turns up soon - your house looks fab

Hi Jennie (no 4) I prefer Crotchet and knitting is my nemesis; but I was determined this time round to get to grips with the process.  however I have been pleasantly surprised how much I have got into it this time round (I hardly dare say hooked as that is the wrong medium!).  I have had to go to mum once or twice to decipher the pattern but otherwise things are coming along nicely I should have a nice stack of jumpers for this coming winter.  I also want to have a go at knitting a cable cardigan and also knitting some wellie socks and ordinary socks.  I go in fits and starts and it depends on the pennies but in all honesty I haven't done much preserving this year so far.

Welcome Whortleberry the Nut roast I found very tasty; I do not normally do vegetarian but I did like this.  OH was not impressed but the he is a man i.e he likes his meat and veggies.  Look forward to seeing you pop by again soon.

Hi Kadeeae lovely to see you here am hoping to get back in the swing of things real life really got in the way as it does periodically and then I have to deal with other things; I would rather be here rabbiting away but that is not always possible.  Hope you are keeping well and how are your gorgeous pets they are so adorable. Take care xx

Hi Jay

We do the puff pastry thing as it is quick and simple to make when you are running against time.  We use bacon and cheese with the puff pastry; a bag of bacon scraps if you can get them are ideal for this and for making your own lardon type scraps for making sauces or putting in home made Quiche etc.  Kids are funny.  We love home made cake and one of my mum's home made cakes is always a hit.

I too Jennie was bought up in a village where if you did not stock up the freezer with goodies (and because of a lack of shops in the area) we only ever came into town once a month to stock up on everything.  I must say I think there is a lot of sense in the old ways and the way of planning, and stocking everything up.  My dream is to have a really big old fashioned pantry so that I have room to stock everything properly. One day.  BB I wish you were down here and could come to the Fellowship meetings my friend Jacqueline Lesley who started the Fellowship is a brilliant teacher.  If you every want to discuss or know anything drop me an email and I will see if I can help - If I cannot answer I know a lady who can.  If you want to discuss will do my best.

Thank you for dropping by I love reading your comments much love to you all  take care love and light



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)