30 April 2008


Go on over to Elaine's recipe blog.. and check this recipe out...

I made it last night with a bit of a variation... I made this because my jaw was still tender post the appointment with MoP (Mistress of Pain aka The Dentist)

I used shin beef, instead of the chuck steak as I prefer the taste and texture... I didn't have any mushrooms and because it was raining hard I wasn't going to walk the mile and a half to the nearest shops to find out whether they had any.

After cooking it for 2 hours at 150, I layered sliced potatoes on top and salted them then put it back into a low oven 120 degrees C for another hour... served up with some petis pois and a nice glass of Black Tower Rose it made a nice end to the day or was that the apple crumble and custard that the Boss and I had for afters.

Cheers Elaine, that recipe has made it to my essential casserole list... though need to have something lighter now that warmer days are upon us so any suggestions please let me know.

A sore point

Last week I lost a filling, eating peanuts (I'm sure there is a moral to this tale somewhere), on my top right hand side of my mouth.

Monday I had an appointment with the Mistress of Pain, the Dentist... (actually she is very, very gentle and even numbs the gum with a local gel on a pad before injecting the painkilling injection I begged for).. I am such a wimp at times :-).

It was over and done with very quickly, but can someone tell me why they insist on talking to you when you have a mouth full of numbness and instruments?

I was out the door about 30 mins later, with instructions to watch what I was going to drink as I might burn myself, and the filling would take about 24 hours to set... I had to have an amalgam filling, never my favourites as they taste horrible and feel worse to my tongue which will explore any new 'thing' in my mouth.

After the anaesthetic wore off, I sat down and had a reviving cup of tea, the solace of the english.. anything wrong.. cup of tea will fix it... of course this doesn't apply to all things, but it does ease the dull ache of pain.

Glad to be back blogging... onwards and upwards...

25 April 2008

Something for everyone...

Look to the new day,
A day full of promise and hope.

Look to the new day,
A day full of potential for good and for peace in our world.

Look to the new day,
A day where poeple can strive to live together, one with another,
A day where troubles can be sorted
Before they lead to murder recrimination, revenge and retaliation.

Look to the new day,
Where our faith and our political beliefs do not split us asunder.

Look to the new day,
Where we can live in harmony as friends.

Look to the new day,
Where words cannot hurt and actions bring us together, not set us apart.

Look to the new day,
Where, with the love of our God we can make our world a better place.

Look to the new day,
Where we care for the children, the elderly and the infirm,
Rather than see them as problems to be coped with,
Or as a burden to be born.

Look to the New day,
As a day full of possibilities for good.

Not my words, but those from the Scouts Association which I found really pertinent.



...by Rachel , six random things about me and then tag six other bloggers.

Oh, boy... my first tag... I feel privileged

1. I am ambidextrous... but prefer to use my right hand for throwing balls and my left hand for catching them
2. I like sucking lemons - the sharper the better
3. My last injury was from frozen turkey falling 2 feet onto my head... just bruised pride otherwise that could have been confusing
4. I can't run and breathe at the same time... and it gets silly falling over when pretending to jog
5. I worked on a pig farm as my second job, now I work in IT
6. I wake up next to the man I love each morning :-)

Tagged: Annette, PCSO Bloggs, Elaine, Tom, Simon and qwertyasdf

24 April 2008

After a long day at work

what do you like to do?

I got home yesterday after a two days in a bat cave and spent a happy couple of hours in the greenhouse planting some seeds for 2 types of chilli, sunflowers, marigolds, nicotiana's and pansies for the garden, and then went down to the polytunnel at the bottom of the garden (it is a relatively long garden 100ftx40ft). There I planted in the freshly composted, watered beds some garlic and some onions and will be putting carrots in between the onions as rumour has it the onions will defend the carrots against the villainous carrot fly.

I had this picture when I read that last sentence of St George (the onion) defending the damsel (the carrots) against the Dragon (carrot fly); well it was St George's day yesterday and all manner of celebrations took place locally.

I can only get my fix of gardening in Spring/Summer/Autumn as little or nothing grows in the Winter and I have to do the more mundane tidying up/fixing jobs that don't give me half the achievement that growing my own veggies will.

So, after a hard day at work, what do you like doing? please tell.


Mushrooms thrive in the dark and moist air....

People don't.... so why then do they make training facilities either dark and moist or dark and cold, neither one of which is a good atmosphere. I have just spend the last couple of days of my life in a training course on Project Management. It was a good course, and certainly one that made you think, but at the end of each day I felt like I had been in a bat cave, and certainly I wasn't the only one who found the climatic conditions difficult to cope with.

Day 1 covered - the make up of the project team, the life-cycle of a project and using the process... an exercise in which you could communicate your information but not write it down or show it to the other people in your group; I found the latter challenging but in a good way, certainly highlighted some of the pitfalls in managing a project where your information initially was limited and your options even more so.

Day 2 covered in more detail the planning process, monitoring and managing it effectively and the team dynamics.

Do I feel better prepared now to deal with projects, yes I think so but it will be a continual process of learning and evaluation as to making it work better.

21 April 2008

As I write

the sun has broken through the dull grey skies of the weather that has dominated us over the last few weeks, and it is warm :-)

Finally winter has released her grip on the earth and we are now moving towards a spring... certainly the days are longer, the blackbirds started singing at 5am this morning and it wasn't really dark until 8pm last night so optimism beats in my chest that I can do something more productive with my evenings than sitting esconced on the sofa watching the the dross on tv.

I have got seeds ready to bring on in the polytunnel and I need to plant some seeds for chilli's, peppers and lettuce leaves not to mention flowers which will go into the various spaces in my garden and I hope to reap the benefits of them later this year.

I also cheated and brought plantlets (bigger than seedlings, smaller than plants) to grow on, so my onions, tomatoes and yellow pepper not to mention garlic are ready to get bigger and produce crops during the summer.

My dad would be laughing at my antics, he was the gardener not me, but I think he might be pleased that I am at least trying.

17 April 2008

16 April 2008

You know when ...

you are suffering from wheezing and tightness in the chest that something has got to give, in my case ::cough:: breathing... unless I take the inhaler which makes me feel that much worse and then strangely better for a short period.

I hate hayfever season and the fact that at the back of beyond has the highest level of lung troubles anywhere in the UK.

Off to go and top up my meds, see you all soon.

15 April 2008

Pride and Joy

This is my pride and joy, my motorbike nicknamed Max, I learnt to ride in 2003 after I fell in love with the bike.

I hadn't had any idea of riding a motorbike, my brother used to own a Triumph Daytona and got knocked off by a SMDSY driver (Sorry Mate, Didn't See You!); luckily he wasn't injured only his pride dented a little. I thought they were dangerous (along with the majority of other car drivers).

It was only when I learnt to ride, that I realised they are not any more dangerous than a car or a pushbike, but how you ride that makes the difference. If you ignore the signs, or don't pay attention to what you and other road users are doing, then yes you probably are going to come unstuck at some point in time (hopefully not being killed in the process).

Bike riders, have to think for themselves as well as anticipate what other road users (lorries, cars, other bikes, pedestrians etc) are going to do and you process an enormous amount of information all the time.

Yet I wouldn't change the hobby that I have, and am planning on a holiday in the South of France sometime in September this year, going on the bike... am I scared, you bet.. but not for the reasons you think.. most continental drivers are much better at spotting and coping with motorbike riders than in the UK.. no the journey down is just about 1000 miles and we have allowed 4 days to do it in... but my knowledge of French is limited to 'excuse me I don't speak your language very well, can you help me..' so I need to brush up on my language skills :-)

Selfish or Just Too Painful to continue?


Mark Speight, who tragically ended his own life following the death of his fiancee Natasha Collins in January of this year.

Some people might call him selfish, inflicting more pain on his family and friends who care for him, I don't think I could, he was a man under a lot of strain and unable to get or ask for help to get through the pain of grief and self blame. In the end he took his own life rather than continue, and my sympathy goes to his family and friends.

Suicide is not nice, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered even if they left a note explaining; family will always ask themselves if they could have done more to prevent it from happening.

I wish he could have got, and asked, for the help he so obviously needed but it is too late for that now.

Mark, RIP mate

14 April 2008

Someone who was Special

Sam and his sister Tegwyn (jack russell terriers), were a big part of my life. They were brought initially by my parents at 8 weeks old and absolutely adorable from the moment they took over the house. Sadly my mum died when the pups (as they were known) were two years old so along with my Dad we took on responsibility. They were working terriers, so out after rabbits (and pheasants), though Sam preferred to chase after foxes; the only time you heard him giving full cry similar to a hunting pack.

I had sole care of them from the age of 12 years old when Dad fell asleep one night and didn't wake up. They gave me a reason to keep going, to get up each morning and enjoy each weekend. Unconditionally providing me with comfort and joyful moments as they entered their senior years.

Tegwyn had to be put to sleep in July 2006 at the grand old age of 15 years, 11 months old. She simply gave up the will to live and walks were too much for her heart and legs; it was the only time she lay still in my arms as the vet gave her the last injection and she slipped serenely away to be reunited with my parents.

So then it was just Sam and me, I knew the day would come when he would also go, but he kept fighting on though getting slower with age and his sight was dimming until he could see movement but not detail. Still he managed to go for twice daily walks and even shared a breakfast with next doors cat, I can still see him now - nose to nose with the cat sharing the biscuits. The cat strangely accepting of him, yet in his earlier days he would have terrorised it unmercifully; the benefits of age softening the mind.

Sam was put to sleep on October 23rd 2007, at the great age of 17 years 2 months and 20 days old.. once more the pack was reunited in full and I hope they enjoyed an enthusiastic meeting wherever we go when we no longer inhabit these bodies in the mortal domain. I had a few months of crying when I thought of him, and even now I feel quite emotional writing this about him, he was someone very special and I was privileged to have been chosen to look after him.

Sam cannot be replaced by another dog as I don't have the lifestyle that permits me to spend the amount of time they would deserve and in any case the new dog would have their own character and shouldn't be seen as a replacement. So it has to wait until my life changes enough to be able to provide time enough to be lucky to have a dog once more.

11 April 2008

Looking forward to....

The weekend, despite it being full of house/garden chores it will be the first time in a long time that we will have spent a weekend without something to do /attend/ present or prepare anything and we are going to make the most of it; despite the weather forecast, which isn't set to be great we can still get out into the garden and do some tidying up and getting ready for Summer.

So I prescribe a lie in tomorrow morning, with coffee in bed while we look out at the rain pouring down outside and tackle the indoor jobs, tidying up and putting things away in their place. I have years of collected 'things' which need to be looked at and a decision made to keep or dispose... thank goodness for freecyle as many things find a home with someone else rather than going to landfill.

Might even get over to the garden centre and buy some seeds/young plants as we both want to try growing beans, tomatoes, chillis, carrots and garlic... just need to prepare the ground first in the polytunnel.

Sunday, is set to be fairer and we hope to get the bikes out for a spin, though it depends on how we both feel as well as how much we have got done in the house..

With any luck we might even go out for lunch down to the local pub, which would be a nice way of completing our first weekend; may there be many more of them.

09 April 2008

The Eden Project

This was a big thing for me, something I had been waiting to see for a long while. Ever since we had seen the announcement one holiday down in Cornwall Dad and I had been saying we were going to visit it one day. In 2002, Dad and I took a trip down to Cornwall staying just outside St Austell for a one week break but it was not to be that trip.

So 2008, my 50th birthday, was going to be the year that finally I finally got to visit the project. We had perfect Blue skies and sunshine, though the wind was a bit on the cold side, having said that it was only the 1st April and we hadn't really had much in the way of bad weather in the UK.

We wandered slowly through the tropical biome first, it is exceptionally hot and humid in this biome and to add authenticity to the climate they were spraying misters which didn't help my breathing (I ended up with a chest infection typical holiday episode : sigh:) just meant I had to take a few more stops (no hardship) and look at the scenery. The planted areas replicated their locations, so you start off in Asia / Malaysia, apart from the smells missing of dried fish you could have been there, through to South America and everywhere else inbetween complete with waterfalls and local birds singing.

It was a still a relief to finally exit the humidity and enter the Mediterranean Biome as that was much drier heat and the sunshine was making it drier and more warm but not as humid as the other one. It is still growing into itself, and though the past 7 years have seen it mature, it will be good to revisit it in the future and see it changing. We finished off the visit with a walk around the gardens outside and the exhibits all around the site, glad I was wearing a comfortable pair of shoes as it would have been sore feet in anything else.

Dad would have loved it, especially the community gardens outside, he would have been comparing how his vegetables looked against those in that section; and probably doing a lot better as he was very green fingered (apart from african violets who never seemed to do well with him).

08 April 2008


What would you do with enough money to never have to work again? Could you ever be too busy with spending all that money never to work again?

Something I have thought about, but never had the opportunity to try it out, I think I would be too bored with nothing to do each day but exist .. yes sure you could go shopping, nothing would be out of your reach, but would you enjoy it after 12 months? I'm not sure I have the mind set for doing nothing, I like to be busy doing things, having a job to get up to go to in the morning, seeing how colleagues have managed jobs, learning new things..

I don't think I could be happy without that in my life so it started me dreaming about retirement, what would I do to fill my time the only difference between the two issues is the amount of money retirees have so that will limit my ability to buy more books or go on holiday...

Life can be quite scary at times

07 April 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The holiday was good, the location was good - we went to Cornwall, and had great weather (especially as it snowed the day after our return) it was just a shame we had to come back to normal life but that's life.

We saw the Eden Project in bright blue skies and sunshine, partly a pilgrimage to me as my last visit to Cornwall was to do this in 2002 however on that occasion my Dad sadly died during the trip so this was for both of us. I feel a lot happier about going to Cornwall again now, no more ghosts or things left incomplete, and will see a lot more of the county especially as my other half is a local lad who knew all the best places/roads and kept me sane throughout the trip.

The bad and the ugly bit, temperamental friends who felt it necessary to try and spoil the trip. Needless to say it won't be an experience we will be repeating again.