Friday, 23 April 2010
Suzie from ItchtoStitch told the lovely story of how she and George met- so I thought I would tell you how MrP and I first met too.
We are going to be pitifully short of photos in this story unless I decide to pinch someone elses...
First a brief history- MrP is my "third time lucky" husband- my first left me after 17 years (and 3 children) for his boss because I had got fat! My second was a huge mistake! An alcoholic who was very controlling- fortunately, I got out fast from that and vowed to forever be on my own- if that was the cost of a relationship, it wasn't worth it and I would much rather be alone and happy...
And so I was- I had a good job, a pretty cottage looking over fields and woods, my kids, my gorgeous grandkids, my dogs, my horse Romeo, great friends, my Pekin bantams and my beloved allotment- life was very full and fabulous! "Who needs a man?" I would say.
The only little reality check to my little life was that a year or so earlier I had a huge heart operation which unfortunately left me with paralysed vocal cords- I could still speak (very quietly) - it was breathing that was the problem, so I had a trachyostomy. I had problems with it from the start- me and the plastic tube in my neck just didn't get along- anyway around this time I had been talking to the surgeon about taking the trachy out and cutting my vocal cords to allow me to breathe- this would mean a deteriation in my voice quality but I was okay with that- operation done I was tube free (hurray!) and the surgeon had made a compromise between voice and breathing- in other words breathing is restricted and talking is quiet and hoarse, but I can do both, sometimes even at the same time!!
I was still recovering from this op when a good friend of mine from work was getting married- "Please come to my hen night- please" I explained that I didn't feel great and that I couldn't get a dog sitter- "Oh Jaz- bring them- we are renting a caravan they will be fine- please come"
So, off I set for the North Yorkshire coast with my dogs and overnight bag. We had a great laugh- eating pizzas and drinking wine and generally being girls. Next day however when we all emerged at almost lunch time, we were all feeling our age and wondering just who had drunk all that wine- Coffee was the order of the day- coffee and toast! We took it in turns making toast and drinks and sitting on the veranda of the caravan in the sunshine.
While I was taking my turn I heard a scream from one of the other girls- I ran out- Saffi had seen a rabbit- cleared the veranda fence and taken off thataway after the rabbit.
The others safely indoors we all set off in search of Saffi- rows upon rows of caravans all looking pretty much the same, she would never find her way back! That awful pit of your stomach sicky feeling came over me and it wasn't hangover (in fact the hangover was completely gone! Not that I recommend losing your dog as a hangover cure you understand...) We spread out asking everyone we saw "Have you seen a black dog with a pink collar?" I could feel hot tears pricking at my eyes by the time I saw a guy sat on his veranda with a beer "Have you seen a black dog with a pink collar?" "Yes it went that way like a streak!- Do you want me to help look for it?"
The guy walked the length and breadth of Filey with me- stopping patiently every few yards for me to catch my breath - then took me in his car to the police station and the golf club house - we walked the golf course, the beach, the nature reserve... the light was fading, the girls had gone home (work in the morning) , the other dogs were in my car, then this guy who I had never set eyes on before that day said "Look I'm going to have to go too- but here are the keys to my caravan stay as long as you need to- here is my phone number- I hope you find her."
I sat in the strangers caravan and sobbed into my other dogs- with first light I phoned the police - no signs of her- I headed home feeling numb and heartbroken. As I walked through the door of my cottage the phone was ringing "Have you lost a dog?" Lucy - the kindest woman in the world- had found her exhausted, collapsed on the nature reserve, taken her home fed her, then taken her into work with her so I could go and pick her up- I never got around to thanking her properly I just managed "you're an angel thank you so much" when I picked Saffi up (so if you know someone called Lucy from Filey, thank her from the bottom of my heart)
Anyway that evening the phone rang- it was the caravan guy (who as you have already guessed turned out to be MrP) We talked for 4 hours (not recommended when you have just had a throat operation by the way) - then he phoned the next night and the next- "Well I'm afraid you will have to see me again I want my caravan keys back..."
It was my birthday that weekend - we had a beautiful weekend with fish and chips on the promenade and talking, lots of talking and laughing and eventually kissing... he took the throat thing in his stride.
4 weeks later I moved in with him (I know, fast mover...) and 18 months later we were married on a white sand beach in Africa (that was a whole 10 weeks ago now!)

I can't stand the word soulmate - but that is what he is- we love every minute we spend together- he dug up half of his immaculate garden so that I could still have my "allotment"- I bought him Riley for his birthday last year and he is learning to ride- we are loving life - together! My only regret is that I didn't meet him sooner so we could have had longer together...
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
I need a little help here...

I didn't make brownies on Saturday- MrP came home from work early and I wanted to show him the chickens then the migraine struck etc. So I made them today- well the ingredients were there and I needed to use up some eggs.

I thought a little theraputic kitchen time may help get rid of the remains of the migraine

Thank you - by the way - to everyone who has sympathised about this migraine- I used to get the fluttery whizzy thing in front of my eyes and my vision would go and I would feel a bit odd and it would kinda lead to a headache - I would have a paracetamol and lie down and it would go- I used to think that people who took to their beds for days on end with them were wimps or drama queens- then this little baby arrived!! No appitite, nausea, strange dizziness, I feel like I have been wearing a hat 8 sizes too small for several days, whizzy fluttery thing, sunlight just hurt!, no energy whatsoever, ear ache, eye ache, pounding headache- the list goes on- I can't take migraine tablets as I take tablets that would be affected by them so I just have to stick it out- can I say if you are one of the people I have ever thought of as a wimp or drama queen I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart. I still have a headache today but that seems to be all it is now- thank goodness!!

Anyway I digress- So I melted chocolate and butter - weighed and whisked- oh how I love baking- popped them into the oven and hey presto - brownies- yum

My problem is how do I explain the missing to MrP?

One is pretty simple- I was just tasting them to make sure they were okay- or- It broke so I ate it.

But the second one is less easy- I thought of - it fell on the floor and the dog ate it- but I don't think he would believe that. Or Diane came round so we had a coffee and a brownie... but then he would ask about the dining suite.

I need tried and trusted pigged out on brownies excuses- any suggestions??
Monday, 19 April 2010
Thank you so much Bad Penny for my award =O)

Seven things that you don't know about me? Hmmmm...

Well I'm replaying the nutter fact from my comment to you:

I once had a temping job at Nestlé putting the walnuts on top of Walnut Whips- so my job title was "nutter"- I wasn't very good at it though...

Dr Shipman saved my life- yes weird but true Harold Shipman referred me to Harefield hospital in Middlesex many many years ago into the care of Mr Yacoub where I had some transplant surgery that saved my life.

I once got through to the regional finals of Masterchef

I'm terrified of moths

My favourite colour is green

I can't eat shellfish- I'm not allergic or anything I just can't bring myself to eat it

I have 5 beautiful grandchildren - 3 girls and 2 boys

There and with that I crawl once again into bed to try and get rid of this migraine- I should emerge sometime next week...

...and the award for the first egg goes to...


Sweetpea for this small but perfectly formed white egg

Which MrP enjoyed enormously - I took him breakfast in bed on Sunday - he has been working all hours recently and deserved a lie in- bless! (Less than an hour from laying to eggcup!)

I have been soldiering on listing no end of stuff on ebay under the watchful eye of MrP making sure I wasn't "wasting time" playing on the computer- despite a humdinger of a migraine which had me crawling into bed twice over the weekend- MrP has agreed that listing things on ebay is one of the worst jobs ever though...

On Saturday afternoon in an effort to shake off the migraine - which tablets have no effect on at all- as I said I had crawled back into bed for a quiet lie down- only to be joined by MrP ("I thought I would join you") and Tequila the cat who likes to "look after" me when I'm not feeling good by lying on top of me and massaging gently with his claws and purring full blast in my ear- so I lay for a couple of hours between a husband and a cat, listening to next door vaccuming and their dogs barking constantly- MrP and Tequila were fast asleep! We got up and did a mad dash, seeing to horses and chickens and walking dogs - then off to the shops to buy a Scalextric set for MrP's business partners 60th birthday! I made the huge mistake of volunteering to drive so MrP could have a drink at the party and so sat for 3 and a half uncomfortable hours drinking diet coke, nursing a migraine and watching everyone else get drunk... great fun!

Sorry I didn't have a photo of everyone getting drunk so I thought you would like a photo of my silly stone dragon -Flint- and his pot of violas outside the front door

Sunday the migraine got worse so I repeated the back to bed thing- joined once again by MrP and Tequila and this time lay for an hour and a half between a husband and a cat listening to next door's dogs barking, excited chatter as they had a barbeque and a tractor spraying in the field over the road. I'd had enough and decided a walk in the fresh air was the only cure- I have to say a walk in the woods near the cottage was bliss- the dogs loved it- it didn't shift the migraine but I did feel a whole lot better after this...

and this...

and this...

and this...

and MrP in his Australian hat- which he thinks makes him look like Indiana Jones (it doesn't but don't tell him)

but for now the migraine persists so I'm off for a lie down- on my own- in the dark- with pillows over my ears.

Back soon with my award and 7 things you didn't know about me...
Saturday, 17 April 2010
I've been chicken shopping- too excited for words!! It was a lovely drive out in the countryside on this gorgeous bright spring day

and the result is 3 lovely new ladies who have come to stay.
I would like you to meet:

Bluebell- she is a Bluebell hybrid so not very imaginative with the naming but it suits her- she should lay dark brown eggs

Daisy- she is a Speckledy and should lay brown speckled eggs

and last but not least Sweetpea - she is a White Star hybrid and should lay white eggs

the girls are getting to know each other in Riley's stable while I finish fencing and hen house cleaning.

But for now the kitchen beckons - MrP has requested brownies - how could I say no?? All that chocolate melting and lovely smells.
More from the new chickens soon...
Thursday, 15 April 2010
You know the saying? If you want a kitten start by asking for a pony... (If you need any tips on this method give me a shout- I am olympic standard at it) Well I did a bit of an odd version of it last night.
All of your lovely blogs about the antics of your chickens have made me realise that I'm missing having them around- that and paying a fortune for a box of very mediocre eggs from the supermarket last week.
I had said that I didn't want any more until we moved to the cottage, but what I want there is a few Pekins and Silkies to hop about the garden making it look lovely.
The space where the old chicken run used to be, to the side of the feed shed at the stables is looking very sad- I planted a willow tree in memory of my little friends and it is playing host to a couple of fruit trees and some rhubarb and raspberries until I can transfer them to the cottage, other than that it is barren- I have planted a few flower seeds but nothing has started popping up yet- I can see it getting over-run with weeds... It is also a "storage" space for the wheelbarrow, the roller, our 'sitting out with a drink' chairs and various bits of hosepipe.
I have already said that I have plans to make the old hen house into a chicken palace ready for the Pekins and Silkies- but nestled behind that is the old nursery hen house (where I would put the young pullets to find their feet before Grace and Mabel started bossing them around)
Also yesterday while "listing" on ebay I came across a perfect 1950s cooker in green and cream- (not the one in the photo but one very much like it...) it would be perfect in my newly planned shabby chic cottage kitchen- it was at a bargain price! I knew MrP would never go for it- so on his return from work I bustled him infront of the computer "Look sweetheart! How gorgeous would that be in the cottage?" He smirked then totally baffled me by agreeing- I needed a diversion so I buttered some scones and sat him down- "do you fancy mash for tea?" always a good softener (MrP is a mash addict). He then, as predicted, started giving me reasons why I couldn't get the cooker- it would cost a fortune to get converted to calor (no mains gas at the cottage) - and that was if they could do it on one that old etc etc.
I looked sad, (now timing is the key to the kitten/pony tactic) shrugged and started peeling some potatoes- after a shower and sitting warm and cosy in PJs with MrP (he having put himself on the outside of a huge plate of pie and mash) I ventured- "If I can't have that cooker can I have a couple of laying hens up at the stable instead?" Deal done- hurrah!!
So this morning I dragged the old nursery hen house round- it needs a bit of TLC and a good clean but that done should suit a couple of hens perfectly. I gathered a couple of fallen branches to put in the new chicken area for perching and pecking purposes- I now just need MrP to make me a couple of little gates and a chicken wire fence and I can go chicken shopping. It doesn't look much now but with a bit of grass seed and the bits of rubbish tidied away... must remember to move the rhubarb and rasberries too!
So as the saying goes- If you want chickens start by asking for a cooker.
The photo at the top is of my old cockeral Montgomery in "his" plantpot just outside the kitchen window.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
My earth stripe wrap is getting quite big now (I really wish I had chosen a smaller project to teach myself to knit with- this is turning into a bit of an epic- the kidsilk yarn feels lovely though) and I need a bit of advice about what to do with the straggly ends. I thought it looked like it was going to be quite easy, as it was knit a row purl a row - that and I completely fell for it on the front of the Rowan magazine- but there are quite a lot of colour changes- I asked MrP's mum about these and she showed me how to change the colour, but she is now gone, so I have no-one to ask what to do with all the wool ends where I have changed colour??  Please say it is something easy which even I can do...
On a good note MrP has agreed to me reducing the price of the old house in an effort to get it sold and move to the happily ever after cottage. This is on the condition that I spend less time playing on the computer and get all the stuff piled in the dining room listed on ebay and go through the box room and do the same (I'm not very sure how listing on ebay will stop me playing on the computer but I'm sure he knows what he means). On the plus side the weather has turned cloudy for the time being and it seemed bitterly cold when I went out earlier (this could just be compared to last week though) so a bit of gentle ebay listing, lovely and cosy indoors, could be quite nice.
The other conditions included getting my finger out and sorting the horses out (okay but not in the cold... did he not take photos of me with that Riley boy just the other day??). Opening the gorgeous wine we were supposed to be saving for special occasions (it was fab! yum!!) and understanding that a drop in price meant that my dreamy new kitchen with intergrated everything at the cottage would be out of the question and I would have to "make do"- okay! plans already hatching in my head for a deliciously retro shabby chic cottage kitchen instead ...

I saw this beautiful butterfly while walking the dogs yesterday - so pretty!
Monday, 12 April 2010

Hasn't the weekend been glorious? I have pottered- there is no other word for it - pottered...
Someone seems to have covered spring in clouds today though

I planted up hanging baskets (two for the house and one for the stables) with the dogs in the garden, and weeded the borders - even though this is front garden gardening which I'm really not keen on, (far too on display for my liking) give me a back garden or veg plot any day. For the time being though a front garden is all I have and it needed weeding and I even trimmed the edge of the lawn too so feeling very virtuous.

The dogs were a huge help- it is such hard work being sun worshippers! As you can see though they are world class! Garden tidied, we went for a lovely long walk under beautiful blue skies.

I decided, as MrP had gone to work, to make some cherry and almond muffins- I couldn't find a recipe though so I had to make one up- they turned out pretty delicious (I'm so modest) the recipe will be on my recipe page just as soon as I remember what I did.

We then pressed onward with educating Riley. After the usual wrestling match to get his bridle on he did really well. I have high hopes for my boy this summer! Romeo is still complaining about his cough, so is just spectating the training process for the time being, but he too will have some work to do in a few weeks!

On Sunday the house needed cleaning but the weather was too fabulous (and I am an all time master of housework avoidance) so we decided to take the dogs for a walk in the village near the cottage and ended up walking for miles through the woods and finding huge swathes of wild garlic. Are you allowed to dig it up? I have been trying to grow it from seed for years and can never get it to germinate, which is so frustrating, when mother nature does it so well all by herself! Then back to the village for a gorgeous Sunday lunch at what will become our local- if we ever get to move to the cottage that is. I'm becoming very disheartened- it is looking like we are going to have to move back into the old house until it sells- which feels like taking a step backwards- I can't understand why it's not selling?? Everything seems to be in limbo waiting for it to sell so we can get on with the rest of our lives... grumble over
Happiness is.... a cup of coffee, the smell of baking and walking under blue skies

Friday, 9 April 2010
Well the looking more like a girl for MrP had a fatal flaw- I meet him up at the stables after he has finished work so looked my normal scruffy self but with a bit of mascara on- oh well I tried.

I didn't make a huge effort on the life editing yesterday either- I did sort through the books, it was easy, mainly because I do want to keep most of them, but have decided to part with my cake decorating ones, a few horsey ones and some paperbacks that I'm probably never going to read. I will try harder- the ebay pile in the dining room is growing though! I just know I will feel better when it is sorted out.

I have been looking through some other blogs and have been inspired- so I am going to pinch some of their brilliant ideas- starting with a baking day every week- I adore baking- it is like therapy for me. Even while I am dieting we have been having a treat a week from the supermarket- how stupid am I? I am missing out on one of my favourite pastimes and still consuming the calories!! So watch this space- lots of lovely cakes on their way...

The other thing that struck me this morning is how sad the old hen house looks, stuck with all the junk behind the muck heap. (I made MrP take the chicken run down after the ferret incident it was too sad to see it there empty) I don't want to replace the chickens until we move really but while we are chook free it is a perfect time to give the hen house a make-over. So that when we do get them, a veritable hen palace will await them- I'm going to trawl the Internet for inspiration and Homebase for some new paint colours
I forgot to add to my blog yesterday the tomato news- so I will do it now- I was very late planting seeds this year - mainly due to being in Africa when I should have been planting. As this is the first year, since I can't remember when, that I have not had either a veg garden or allotment I decided I could at least grow a couple of tomato plants and a pot of salad leaves. My lovely tiny Italian tomato seedlings are just poking through- hurray!

Thursday, 8 April 2010
For the record, today is the day of new beginnings. It feels like the first day of Spring proper. The sun feels warm, the sky is a beautiful shade of blue. Green shoots are peeping through and it just feels good to be alive doesn't it?

I'm actually wearing a skirt (sorry MrsC I should have warned you to sit down before I blurted that one out) I know! Unheard of!! I may even go and put some makeup on. I really should make more of an effort to look like a girl for MrP sometimes.
So with a full 2 and three quarter hours of sleep under my belt last night I'm revved up and ready to go (that could just be the coffee though?!?). I lost 2lb this week- hurrah!! Actually it is somewhere between 1lb and 3lbs depending on where you put the scales so I am going with 2. My meal plan and shopping list are done for next week and I'm feeling really positive about it.

The new beginnings then- I intend to go through my clothes and edit out ones that no longer fit or I just don't wear - they can then either go on ebay or to the oxfam clothes bank. The rest can be pressed and hung properly. Then I'm going to tackle the junk room, same remit if it isn't used it goes on ebay or to the tip (quick note - there is about 2 weeks hard labour involved in these two jobs so they are unlikely to be finished today) Then my books- tough one this - not my cookery books obviously that is just plain crazy talk!! But I do have an expanding amount of books hanging around- so they need sorting and ebaying. I am then going to suggest very gently to MrP that he do something similar with his DVDs... wish me luck with that one.

Top that with a resolution to be tidier and better organised (so I don't miss another dentist appointment by a week!) and as said before to make a bit more of an effort on the looking like a girl front. Blimey I'm exhausted just writing it.

The better weather means that the horses can now live out for the summer hip hip....hurray! So much better for them than couped up in stuffy stables at night. With all my extra time now not spent mucking out I can actually get on with a bit of training and schooling and perhaps do a bit of housework, I may even do a bit of weeding in the garden - who knows??

Off to take the dogs for a walk... have a gorgeous day!