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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.


Ok, I know it’s a bit late but..

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

It’s far to say that the celebrations took a very different turn this time. 

Many months ago we decided that it would be too weird having Christmas down here without our friends and family around so we hired a cottage up north so we could spend Christmas with our nearest and dearest.  The cottage was located at the highest point in the highest village in the country. We didn’t know that we we booked it but we certainly knew about five seconds after we arrived and got out of the car. Good grief! Windy? It nearly blew my socks off!

The cottage itself was lovely, not the usual “dog friendly ‘ cottage which usually means lino floors and furniture that has been discarded from the local old people’s home. This place was warm, comfortable and a lovely base for our stay.  It was a 200 year old weaver’s cottage end the kitchen was down three steps. Even I had to limbo to get in there without bumping my head. They made people small 200 years ago! Still, we managed to enjoy ourselves.

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Unless you’ve been on a different planet, or a different country, you can’t fail to have noticed that there have been  few floods up and down the country. Well, to be honest, if you listened to the news you’d think that it was only York that had been flooded but where we were was badly hit as well but that place isn’t wealthy or famous.

We stayed in the last cottage of a row of four which put us slightly down the hill. As I walked up to the hill and came to the end of the row it was intersected with a farm track. The wind was so bad up there that it blew Douggie the doggie straight into the road and blew me five steps sideways.  Here’s short video to give you and idea of what it was like, listen to that wind howl

Once our friends discovered that we were back up north, as as they say down here, ‘up country’,  we were getting text messages every five minutes inviting us here there and everywhere, it was lovely. Lovely but a bit stressful, we couldn’t fit everyone in so we had to allocate two hour slots.
The day before we came home we managed to get all the family together (mostly) to scatter my brother’s ashes. In the end we decided to put him on the same remembrance plot where we scattered dad’s ashes. You know, so they could keep each other company.  It was surprisingly moving and emotional. I was glad that we’d taken the time to get together. My older brother said a few words and then seemingly from thin air produced a bottle of sherry, some small bottles of beer and glasses so we could all have a final drink with Rick. It was a fitting way to finally lay him to rest. Especially bearing in mind that he’s been in the back of Alec’s car for over  a year, he’s been to Scarborough twice since he died. He travelled more since he died than he ever did when he was alive!

Anyway…back at the ranch. For new year we had a full house. Among our guests were The Incredible Hulk and Storm from X Men. Unfortunately Storm’s super powers didn’t extend to sewing up her costume when the zip went. Imagine my surprise as I went into the bar to find The Incredible Hulk holding Storm’s costume and politely asking me if I could possibly fix it for her. Heh.

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We saw in the new year with a few of the guests. It was fabulous, we had some lovely people stay with us and it was a privilege to see in the new year with them. I hope it’s a taste of what the rest of the year has in store for us.

Whatever new year holds for you I hope it keeps you happy, healthy and blogging. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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Never ending


The sun shone for most of yesterday. Where was the builder?

Nowhere to be bloody seen, that’s where.

A garbled message reached me that he didn’t want to come as it was going to rain during the night so the patio would be like a paddy field and he’d come tomorrow instead.

What? You want it to be like a paddy field? I would have thought it would all be far easier if it was dry, but what do I know?

He turned up today and did a bit more. It seems to be never ending patio job. Starting to wish we’d never bothered.

here are a few photos so you can see the progress:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking good, eh?

 

Just to cheer me up I took a few flower photos:

Ok, that’s not stictly speaking a flower photo, more a field of wheat but I liked it.

The clingons are getting creative with their photography. batty took this photo of DD in the studio:

While I was out walking with Mrs Woofy the other night there was a lovely misty sunset. I took this using the  redscale setting:

 

Do you like my new umbrella?  It’s one of two – I’ll show you the other one another time – and my beautiful new purse.

 

raining cats and dogs

 

Tuesday night dinner


Out shopping with Munki the other day I was distracted by the huge display of fruit and veg on display when suddenly I heard a crunch, swiftly followed by another one.

“What the…..” my attention was swiftly turned back to the child in my care who I discovered was happily munching on a red pepper she’d lifted off a shelf. “Oh my Gawd. I haven’t paid for that.  I hope they sell them by the unit and not by weight, you little monkey, Munki.”

“It’s nice Nanny. Do you want some?” She slobbered as she took yet another whacking great chunk out of and then waved her stolen goods vaguely in the direction of my nose.

“No thank you. Let’s get this stuff paid for, shall we?”

Shopping duly paid for we set off home and everything was put away.

I forgot all about the red pepper incident until  I came to use it.

Holey Red Pepper

We decided not to bother with it in the end.  It was the thought of all that slobber, even though I’d given it a good wash before putting it away. For the same meal I decided to make some bread. It turned out to be a loaf with character:

Sunken bread

And to think I used to work in a bakery. The shame (mind you, it was 30 years ago).  It tasted ok though so it soon got polished off.

Some friends we haven’t seen for ages came for dinner last night.  These are our genteel friends.  He’s a magistrate and I’m not saying he takes it Very Seriously or anything but I think he’s planning to get couple of columns with stone balls on top to put outside his house. She’s a banker and  an ingenue through and through. So feminine, delicate and ever so  ‘just so’.

I don’t know why they bother with us, we’re anything but genteel. I think they must come to see how the hillbillies live.  It was lovely to see them  and catch up – and get  some intelligent conversation for a change.  I can’t keep it up for long though, the real me soon breaks through and it all goes downhill.

We didn’t get off to the best start when I opened a bottle of rose wine and it was like vinegar. My friend sipped it politely and would have continued to had I not declared it vile and binned it. The look of relief on her face was clearly evident. Bless her, she’s so polite.

The food was ok, nothing amazing.  Mr Sainsbury provided a 3 bean soup which I modified to make it look homemade. I served it with  herb bread that didn’t collapse in a heap when I took it out of the bread maker.  That was followed by chicken in a  cream and leek sauce and then  home made apple pie and custard (obligatory for Boofuls), ice cream or cream.

Three courses on a Tuesday?! They were honoured!

Right, it’s time to go and get on with the day. I’ve got loads to do and not a lot to share with you today so I’d better get moving. TTFN.

May the 4th be with you.

Hahaaaaa!!! I’ve been waiting all year to say that!

Royal wedding afternoon tea


Ok, we don’t live on a street so there was never going to be a street party but we did manage a very passable afternoon tea in honour of the royal wedding, even managing to sit outside because although it was as windy as a windy thing it was coming from the north east so the house made a lovely windbreak, allowing us to enjoy the sunshine.

Earlier in the day, Len and Lashes had turned up about two minutes to 11.00am, just as the wedding was about to begin, with Lashes all flustered and cross that no one was bothered about watching the wedding except her. She plonked herself down next to me to watch it.

At about one minute past 11.00, the client turned up. Complaining that no one was interested in watching the wedding except her. We invited her to come and watch so she gratefully  plonked herself down next to Lashes to watch it, leaving her poor bewildered new husband to fend for himself. He eventually gave in and sat down as well to watch it.

Once the wedding was over, the clients, Len and Lashes left. Boofuls busied himself in the garden creating our new pergola while I busied myself in the kitchen preparing for our planned, very English  afternoon tea.

At the appointed hour all the family turned up and everyone tucked into the delicate cucumber,  smoked salmon  and ham sandwiches,  sausage rolls (or as Munki calls them; sockage rolls) , scones with jam and cream, chocolate bread, malt loaf, trifle, strawberries and cream and of course Bucks Fizz to toast the Royal newlyweds.

What a lovely afternoon.  The food was polished off amazingly quickly, I was even asked for my scone recipe (thanks, Delia).   Everyone thought that we should have a proper afternoon tea on a regular basis as it’s all very civilised and lovely. Well, you know, as civilised and lovely as my family can be!!

When we were children my Mum often used to make afternoon tea on a Sunday, high tea, we called it then. It was nice. I think we should have afternoon tea more often.

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Amazingly, I  managed to get a rare photo of big N. Not looking terribly happy about it though. I really must remember to tell him that cameras don’t actually steal your soul.

The kids and Len were there as well but somehow they managed to escape the camera. I think they were playing with the dogs weaving poles.

As you can see, a good time was had by all – except Mrs Woofy.  She came a cropper on a walk out with the dog club last week when some unknown dog decided to take a £2 coin sized junk out of her side. Gembolina has been marinading her in honey at the vets request and it’s all looking much better now.

If only she could work how how to navigate with that cone on her head. She bumps into everything and I can tell you it doesn’t half hurt when she runs full tilt into your legs with that thing on.

Christmas Day in the Mad House


A Christmas days go yesterday’s was just about perfect.

The day got off to a cracking start at bezzie mates. Copious amounts of champagne and croissants set us up nicely for the day ahead.  Next we went to Len’s Mum and Dad’s for Bucks Fizz. When we arrived we realised that his Mum had put on a full buffet for us!!  Oh Lordy!

After having already consumed my own weight in croissants I didn’t really feel the need for more food but of course not wanting to offend I got stuck in and gave it my  shot. I noticed that my  food   achilles heel was there – honey coated cashew nuts. I could eat them till hell freezes over. Nom nom nom choff slurp.

A quick detour in Bigtown to scoop up little bro and we were all assembled at home for the pressie fest.  Lashes had made some canapes so we tucked into those as well. At this point I was starting to feel like I was starring in the Christmas episode of the Vicar of Dibley when Geraldine has three Christmas dinners.

The table I’d got ready the night before, here it is before it got demolished:

The television behind  The Rev caused me much hilarity as I downloaded the photos:

I don’t know what Gembolina just said but it must have been bad if it got a reaction from The Rev AND the man in the box:

WHAT!!!

And then provike a reaction like this one. Look behind you, Son!

Look behind you!

Len was really shocked.

Is it always like this?

Everyone else though had a lovely time, oblivious to the drama going on in the corner.

back to reality


B and me arrived back in good old Blighty at  5.00 am yesterday morning to blazing sunshine and gentle breezes.  We had a fantastic holiday but it was good to see England again.

Off the ship by 7.30, we were on the road home by 8.00 am and sitting in our garden by 2pm, not a bad journey at all.  C and Ben did a bit of shopping for us and we had a bbq, drank a lot and laughed till  we (I ) cried. I’ve got loads to tell you and photos to share but I need to sort it all out before posting it or I’ll  get all my mucking fountries cuddled.

More later!!