Send us your positive vibes


I haven’t fallen out with you, honest. It would appear that having anew job takes up a lot of time. I’ve been working on a nice little story all about our dinner party last week but can’t find the time to finish it. It won’t get finished just now either as I’m about to start a clean up fest.

Why?

Today we have people coming to look at the house.

SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Is this it? Have we found our buyers? Keep your fingers crossed for us.

That’s Entertainment


In a rare moment of feeling hospitable recently I decided to invite some friends over for dinner. We haven’t had a dinner party for aaaaaaaages. Then I decided to invite another couple over as well because I thought they’d get on well with the first couple as they had a lot in common. Well, all the girlies had something in common anyway. We are all, or have been, photographers and all have dogs. All the two chaps have in common is that they have been lucky enough  to bag themselves beautiful and clever wives many years their juniors.

Both lovely couples, I was looking forward to it not least because it gave me chance to flex my culinary muscles and do some proper cooking for a change. Tricky finding  meal that everyone will eat with a picky, picky, picky eater like Boofuls, a fat fighter like me and a vegetarian to cater for. I didn’t want her to feel like she was difficult by serving her something totally different.

So. I made a roasted tomato, red pepper and garlic soup. That fit the bill for everyone. It was rich and unctuous and contained not a single calorie or ounce of flesh. Then I decided to have beef wellington for the main course. I’d love to say I made them but I didn’t, they were on offer in the supermarket and I was still searching for inspiration so I bought them. I did however make the mushroom and chestnut wellingtons with a red wine jus for me and the vegetarian guest, they were deeeeelishus! Then the important bit. Pudding.

I had two massive pineapples at my disposal so I got googling. Memories of schooldays came flooding back to me when image after image of pineapple upside down cake floated across my screen. Nonononono!! I don’t want a schoolgirl pudding. Pineapple carpaccio? Nah. Not very exciting. Pineapple in a caramel rum sauce? Oh yes!

Good old Anthony Worrall Thompson came up trumps with the best pineapple recipe. I put the sugar in the pan to make the  caramel. Swirl it round the pan, he said. I swirled and watched in delight as the sugar melted and became liquid. Pour in the rum and stir he said, be careful, it might spit. I poured and prepared to stir. unfortunately, the sugar in the pan decided to set solid as soon as the liquid touched it. I ended up waving round a spoon with half a pound of solidified sugar attached to it. I bet that never happens to Wozza!

Eventually, after half an hour of stirring a sugar loaded spoon round the solid  sugar melted down and I got the sweet and sticky run sauce I was after. I lured it over the pineapple and put it all in a slow oven to warm through. It was gorgeous served with vanilla ice cream.  Any other flavour would have been a travesty.

The guests arrived, and as I suspected got on like a house on fire. I love it when a plan comes together. The evening passed in a haze of relaxed chatter and good humour. paying careful attention to which friends to put together paid off as everyone got on really well. I’d forgotten how much I like dinner parties. It’s by far my favourite way of spending an evening.

Now that summer and it’s long, warm,  balmy evenings have gone for a few months I think we might be whiling away the winter months by doing a lot more entertaining.

 

Gainfully employed


It’s amazing how fast the novelty wears off, isn’t it?

Just a few short months after finishing work there I was tearing my hair out and getting grumpier and more bored by the day.  The I was thrown a lifeline.

My florist friend sent me a message asking me if I’d like a part time job with her until we move house. OH YES YES! YES! YES PLEASE!

I popped over to see her last week and she told me she wants me to be an extension of herself but more organised. Could i keep her diary, website and Facebook presence more up to date and also to help with day to day jobs.

First task. Make some Christmas trees. That involved going into the garden to cut twigs of various colours and then cutting them to size and wiring them into the shape of a Christmas tree and then decorating them. Beautiful, rustic, absolutely up my street. I felt like I should have been paying her. Who knew that floristry involves so much cement?

Second task. Make three Christmas garlands. Again using natural materials, I was in my element. I think I’m going to enjoy this little jobette until we move.

Talking of moving. We have actually got someone to come and view the house next week. Keep your fingers, toes and anything else you have crossed and send us your vibes. It’s well past time we were living in Devon.

This morning I was going to do a round up of all the week’s news but to be honest I’m exhausted. We had a little dinner party last night and invited people who hadn’t met before as I knew they’d hit it off. Good grief. They hit it off alright, they were still here at 1.00a.m. Boofuls and I were almost asleep at the table. I’m normally in bed by eleven at the latest. You might have to wait till tomorrow for the week’s round up. I’m going for a little snooze now. G’night.

I know he’s here somewhere


Mr Douggie the Doggie managed to break the penultimate rule a while ago and was allowed to start sleeping in our bedroom with us. The ultimate rule is ‘no dogs on the bed’ which he tries to break on a regular basis but gets met with a sharp ‘GET OFF!!’ Every other rule in the book went by the board a long time ago. “I’ll never let him on the furniture”,  for instance. Now he just jumps up and gets settled wherever and whenever he feels like it, usually using me as a pillow. Ok, I admit it, I like the doggie snuggles while I’m watching a bit of evening telly.

To be fair, we only relaxed the bedroom rule so he could alert us if he was going to have a seizure but I have to be honest, I hate him being in the bedroom.

As if Boofuls doesn’t make enough noise in his sleep now I also have to contend with the pooch snoring, dreaming, smacking his lips, flopping around all over the floor rather than sleeping on his own lovely chocolate coloured bed, stretching, twitching  and scratching, waking me up for a cuddle in the middle of the night ( you’d think he’s know that that was going to be a non starter) and generally having me awake half the night wondering if he’s ok.

A side effect of being woken up seventy five times a night is that I need to visit the bathroom more than I used to. There must be a direct link between my eyeballs and my bladder.  As soon as I open my eyes my bladder says  hello.

Going to the bathroom during the night never used to be an issue. Get up, walk to bathroom, pee, walk back, get back into bed. Easy. However, now we’ve changed the bedroom carpet it’s not so easy. I climb out of my lovely warm bed and then stand there for a minute trying to decipher where in the room Douggie is. Spotting a cream coloured dog on a cream coloured carpet in a room that’s blacker than a black thing because there’s no such thing as street lighting where we live, is no mean feat.

Once I’ve successfully located him, by peering like Mr Magoo into the dark, I usually find him stretched out to his full length at some impossible angle and nowhere near his bed, I have to try and get past him without standing on him. Again, easy. You think?

In the good old days before I developed plantar fasciitis it was ok. Now my poor feet tingle and throb and just don’t want to move. My first four or five steps look remarkably like those of your average 100 year old, wobbly, painful and uncertain. One move from Douggie as I’m gingerly stepping over him will see me go ear over elbow in a most ungainly fashion.

Amazingly, by the time I’ve reached the bathroom door I’m able to walk normally again so the walk back to bed is nowhere near as treacherous. I climb back into my lovely warm bed and snuggle down trying to get back to sleep before the next disturbance which usually happens as the first rays of light are just starting to break through and Douggie decides it’s time to get up.  He sticks his cold, snotty wet nose on my face and bashes his tail against the radiator like a gong.

My first words of every day used to be “Good morning, darling.” Now it’s “Feck off, dog! It’s fecking 6 o’clock!”. It’s no way to start the day. Of course then I’m wide awake so I lie there fuming for a while telling my eyeballs not to tell my bladder I need a wee and then I end up getting up.

With the amount of sleep deprivation I have at the moment it’s amazing I’m not walking round every day tearing the heads of people and breathing fire. These seizures have got a lot to answer for. Tell me again why I wanted a dog.

Adipose Anonymous


It was all a bit lively at my weekly Adipose Anonymous meeting this morning. My newly rediscovered joie do vivre must have been on show because as soon as I walked in up went a shout of “Hey! Our Lesley’s back! We’ve missed you.”

“I’ve been here every week.”

“yeah but now YOU’RE back.”

Heh. That was nice. There was a lot of giggling and silliness going on today. At one point the leader told us that we were being obstreperous. Ha! That was a mistake. Just about every one in the room tried out their own way of saying it and the consensus was that locally it’s pronounced ‘obstrockolous.’ Funny, that’s how my first husband used to say it.

Anyway, you may put your congratulations in the comments box, dear reader. Yours truly is officially no longer a porky bint as I’ve got back to my goal weight. Yay! That’s been hard work. Fair to say I’m feeling very pleased with my little self today. Things are looking up.

On a totally non related note:

I was standing in the kitchen the other day cleaning up the debris that occurs and a ridiculously regular basis when I heard a sound like water pouring.

“What the ………? Oh no!!!”

I’d somehow and without noticing knocked over a jug of water and the whole lot poured off the worktop and straight into a 12 kilo bag of dog food.  Fer Gawd’s sake!! You couldn’t make it up.

Not prepared to throw away £60 of dog food I spread it all out on baking trays and spread them out all over the kitchen to dry out. My God, that stuff stinks when it’s out of the bag! Poo-wee! It took two days to dry it all out. It didn’t cross my mind to put it in the oven to dry out  until I was scooping the last bit back into it’s bag.

 

Do you believe in fairies?


Do you believe in fairies? I do.

I had a conversation about fairies recently with Annabelle of Annabelle Franklin: Author.  Go and take a look at her blog, she tells some charming tales about her little rescue dog, Millie.  I told her I’d seen a fairy while I was out walking Douggie the doggie in the woods. I’m not sure she believed me so I told her I’d provide photographic evidence.

Here it is. is this not just the most beautiful fairy you have ever seen?

Copyright

An epiphany


One day this week while I was out walking and pondering over the events of the last few weeks it suddenly struck me that yes, I am grieving. I’m grieving for my brother, for our lovely dance teacher who’s death just got swept aside on a tide of other dramas, I’m missing our paso double Tuesdays and the fun we had at our lessons with him. I’m grieving for the loss of Douggie the doggie’s health and how it’s impacted on our lives, I’m grieving for all the other friends and family we’ve lost this year. I’m grieving for other things I can’t mention on here.

A friend phoned me to tell me she was worried about me. It came out all wrong and we ended up having a row. I may not be handling my grief the way she does it but I’m doing the best I can. Sorry if you don’t think I’m doing it correctly. I know she was trying to be helpful and caring so it’s all been resolved now .

It did however give me food for thought and that is the only reason I’m mentioning the fact that I had a row with my bestie.

A nice walk with the dog in the fresh clean air of the moors can be incredibly healing, I find. It gives me time to think and find the answers I’ve been looking for. Stomping along on the moors with the wind whipping my face and not another soul to be seen is when I had my epiphany.

Yes, I have a lot to grieve about and no, I wasn’t bouncing back. Why not?

Oh! There it is!

Our lives have changed so much this year. Boofuls sold his business. I’ve closed my business down in order to make a swift move to the south coast when we sell the house. Instead of the fast paced, sociable, stressful, fun life we used to lead all I have now is a silent home and solitary walks with Douggie. When we were working I’d be at the studio every day and popping in to see Boofuls and everyone else in the office. I had a  great social/work life. Some days I hardly had time to catch my breath.

I’m bored and lonely! Of course!

While the weather was nice I didn’t notice the isolation so much. Boofuls and I would get on with our respective jobs around the house and garden, catching up on all the things we haven’t had time to do over the years. Tidying up loose ends with work and  generally enjoying what was left of the summer. Now the weather has turned cold, all the jobs are done. All that’s left are days that stretch out endlessly while Boofuls, never a conversationalist at the best of times, goes to sleep watching anything on telly that has the word ‘star’ in the title. Douggie the doggie’s new medication means that he too is spending most of his time asleep. It makes for some loooooooooong  days and evenings.

I’m too gregarious a person to cope well with living a silent, solitary life. No wonder I’m bloody miserable.

It’s time to make some changes.

Wondertits!


Hahaa!! I came across this photograph in the archives earlier.

The idea for this shoot came about during a dinner party in which there may or may not have been alcohol involved. I said, excitedly, “Why don’t we do a shoot where you’re dressed like wonder woman and with your boobs firing jets of flame?”

I knew Lashes wouldn’t need any convincing.

” OH YES!! Let’s do it!!”

It took weeks to get the props together. A couple of days to make the bra and test the fireworks we were using for the flames. The last thing we wanted was for the flames to go awol while they were strapped to her chest. That wasn’t part of the plan at all!  It took all day to get the lighting exactly as I wanted it. An hour for make up and costume. Ten minutes practising poses so once the flames were lit she could move quickly from one pose to the next.  Fifty seconds for the actual shoot. Boofuls was stood just outside the frame with a fire extinguisher at the ready.

It was great fun and Lashes did brilliantly. You can’t tell she was almost paralysed with fear, can you? The things she does for my art!! Hahaaa. I think it’s probably time to do another fun shoot. I have a couple of ideas floating about……..

Why don’t we…..? Wait…. you’ll have to watch this space.

Wondertits!
Wondertits!

Pimpernel Ham


Boofuls went shopping one day last week while I cracked on with the decorating. Wow! Doesn’t that just make us a modern family with the roles reversed?

Well. Kind of.

He’s not a natural shopper, my Boofuls, but he does try. It’s fair to say that having climbed down off my ladder for the second time to answer a query about the shopping I was not best pleased.  I’m pretty sure I managed to disguise my feelings quite well. In the same way that Mount Everest disguises itself as a mole hill.

Terrified to ring me for a third time he bought enough fruit to keep a pack of baboons happy for a month as a nod towards my healthy eating shopping  and then the rest was man shopping.

When I say man shopping what I mean is that he doesn’t think  about shopping in terms of meals but more in terms of snacks. Tiger bread, ham, cheese, wine, pork pies and chocolate. All great stuff for a snack but hardly food creating works of culinary genius. Cleaning materials don’t even enter his consciousness but never mind, who needs a clean house anyway?

As part of his mammoth shopping session he bought a pack of  nice ham. Douggie the doggie is quite partial to nice ham so I’ve taken to wrapping his tablets in it to make the dosing procedure so much easier than when he chews the capsule and ends up with a mouth full of vile tasting powder which then makes him drool and vom all over my lounge carpet. Wrap it in ham and it’s down without touching the sides. Easy.

Every time I went into the fridge for this ham I couldn’t find it. I’d look on the top shelf where it was supposed to be but nope, no sign of it.  I’d search round the whole fridge I’d find it under something else. I’d put it back in it’s proper place only to find it missing again next time I wanted it. It seemed to have a new hiding place every time.

“What kind of ham is that exactly, Boofuls?”

“I don’t know, why?”

“I think it must be pimpernel ham because I seek it here, I seek it there I seek that ham just everywhere. It’s got more hiding places than the Scarlet Pimpernel!”

 

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