Thursday 31 October 2013

The Old , The New, The Newest. Power at what price.

This photo was taken yesterday afternoon when Ben had his 3rd walk.

It shows a working farm in the foreground, it has been in one family for generations. That is not a rubbish dump, all the equipment there will be moved and used on the farm during the year, it is an easily accessed central strip of land. 
Behind that is the newest addition, the wind turbines, I think that they are graceful, ballerinas in the sky. Behind the trees the white building is the EDF power plant, built several years ago, the company have applied for Planning consent to built another beside it. 
The juxtaposition of the ancient farm next to modern technology is interesting to me. 
 Of course they are not immediate neighbours, there are about 4 miles between the farm and the power plant with a river between them, the turbines are this side of the river roughly mid point.

 I just wish that the power companies who brag about record profit would lower their prices instead of putting them up as often as they like. to be continued.........

Moving forward to Dinner.
My faggots were delish, 

I used 450gm each of Pork Shoulder £1.10, Cooking Bacon 90p and Lambs liver £ 1.00, all from Mr S. Chopped fine in the processor, I made around 300 gm homemade stuffing dry mix to a firm mix with hot water and mixed it together well with my hands. i then put it in the fridge to firm up while I made the gravy. 
I peeled and sliced 4 onions and put them on a pan with a little oil to soften and brown a little, I added a good dollop of roast garlic paste, homemade, 2 heaped tsp paprika, 1 tsp dried herbs, a grind of black pepper and a heaped tbs plain flour to make a loose roux. I cooked this off for 2-3 minutes and stirred in some red wine, about 6 large ice cube size bits and a good shake of Lea & Perrins and about 3 pints of stock, a good squeeze of tomato paste and 1/2 pint of homemade tomato sauce. Bring up to a simmer and let cook gently for around 30 minutes. 
I used a cookie scoop to measure out the faggot mix and made 22 decent size ones, I put them in a single layer in 2  deep dishes and cooked at 190 c for 25 minutes in my fan oven, I poured enough gravy in to nearly cover the faggots and put back in the oven for 15 minutes. We had 2 each with cabbage and mushy peas and the gravy oh yes the gravy. The rest were divided into serving of 4 and topped up with the rest of the gravy to cover them. Once cool they went into the fridge to chill before going in the freezer, the 2 extra went as a single serving. That gave me 11 servings for around £4.00. not bad at all. I could have used more stuffing mix and cheaper liver but this is how we like them.

I am ploughing my way through a project to make my sewing easier. I am following Bonnie Hunter and Lori Holt by organising my scraps. Taming the Beast is my name for it. I will show and tell when it is done.

Dinner tonight will be Jacket Potatoes filled with Spicy Pork and Peppers. A salad on the side will give us a well balanced meal. Pork two days running but hey, we like it.  

I read in the local paper that the demand on food banks in the area is growing and also that some people are returning food as they have no means to cook it. I make sure that every food item I donate can be eaten without having to be cooked or even heated up. Cold food may not be as appetising but is just as nutritious.

I will be dropping off long life milk and tinned meat dinners tomorrow.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Not ever knowing hunger.

2. Never having to chose between heating or eating.

3. Having the wherewithal to help,no matter in how small a way.

4. No pain today.

5. A home I feel safe and warm in.

I may have to drop this feature of my blog, There are so many who have absolutely nothing to feel grateful for. While I and countless others have an "embarrassment  of riches" I can not remember where that quote is from but it is so true.

 I wonder if there is some way to provide "power vouchers" to those in need, it would be a mammoth task to tie in all the greedy money guzzling power providers to enable it to work. Unless that is if they could see extra profit in it, possibly by putting an extra charge on top of the bloodsucking fee they already put on prepayment meters.
I read somewhere that the leaders of these vampires are meeting with the goverment, probably to enjoy a free dinner with wine on the tax payers backs.

sorry I will get off the Soap Box now. 

I am off to walk Ben and calm myself down.
                                 TTFN       Pam

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Wonderful Wednesday

A glorious day. I have a new follower, welcome aboard Csarina, I clicked on your little picture and saw that one of the blogs that you follow is Bluebell. I have come across several mentions of her but this is the first time I have found her blog. So I owe you a big thank you. I also found Snitty Kitty,s blog Woo Hoo, that is two friends discovered and a new one added in 24 hours. It really is a wonderful day.

My favourite apple tree showing how blue the sky is today, and it is warm too, no jacket needed to walk Ben. I leave a few apples here and there for the birds, as the winter goes on I will take some out of store for them along with fat balls and meal worms. I love the birds in my garden and want them to prosper.

This tree is nearest to the house, I leave a lot of small apples on here as they seem to cling on to the tree for dear life, once the hard weather comes this will hold fat balls and a few dishes of water will be close by. There are a few cats around but they do not come this close to the house thanks to Ben.

Ben had another crazy play last night and this was the end result.

He stayed like this for around 15 minutes, catching his breath and gently wagging his tail.

It was a different story this morning, on our walk he managed to find something very very dead and sit on it! I walked him home at arms length and he went straight into the bath.

An action shot, he throws himself into his towels and gets quite dry like this.

Butter wouldn't melt/Who me/A big dog did it and ran away!

Once he is completely dry I will take him out again, on a different path.

I got all the meats out of the freezer to make faggots for dinner and will freeze plenty for future meals. I do not mince the meats just chop them in the processor, we like the extra texture, I put the liver in last otherwise it turns to gloop. I use lambs liver and will keep a slice and dust it with a little flour and have it lightly fried for my lunch, cooks perks.

I have a bag of frozen wine cubes, made in an ice cube tray with ends of bottles of wine, and have pulled some of those out to go in the onion gravy, yum.
I always add a good dash of Worcestershire sauce as well, I like the gravy to taste as good as the faggots.

I am going to do a little sewing later while dinner cooks. It really is a wonderful day. BTW I sorted the linen cupboard, it is very full but I am loath to part with any of it. one shelf is full of Ben's towels and in a wet week I will need them all.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Another old friend found.

2. A new friend discovered.

3 Some new crafty blogs followed.

4. Time to read without worrying about work.

5. Francesca much better, she really did have an awful few days with her cold.

The Ben is dry, the post has been I am off for a walk.

                                                       TTFN     Pam

Tuesday 29 October 2013

A Happy Tuesday, A Gift and A Reunion.

To day dawned bright and sunny and reasonably warm, enough so that I did not need a jacket when walking Ben. I seized the moment and bustled two loads of laundry through the machine and on to the line. After going to the library and changing my books I gave the bathroom a good going over. The window is always open and the wind that we did have has driven dust and tiny bits of dead foliage into all the nooks and crannies. I took the time to go through the cabinet and turf out everything that had been put back empty! and wipe all the sticky residue off the bottles of shampoo etc. Tomorrow I will tidy the linen cupboard, again. It was a step too far for today.

Last night Ben decided to destroy the sofa only to turn into a moonstruck softy when Francesca sat next to him.

The Postie brought me a parcel yesterday, I thought that I would save it to share today

Looks a little  ordinary, well looks can be deceiving.

Bit more interesting now.

I have a visitor, he has come from Anglesey for some TLC and will then go to a new home to be loved as befits a legend. I have the power to put him back together without help from the kings men. The missing bits are all there and I have some Boy fabric to make him a carry sack, which can double as a sleeping bag.

There was more in the parcel.

This lovely fabric, some of which has been cut to go into a project already.

This lace collar, I have a plan to incorporate it into a mini quilt to hang near my sewing machine.

This piece of lace will also be used, I just hope that my hands can make what my mind can see.

Thank you Vicky, I will have fun with these.

Now to the reunion. I had an email from " The person once known as The Silver Sewer" I have a link to her new abode, if anyone would like to find her leave a comment and I will forward it to her.
I am going to catch up with her new blog later with a cup or 3 of tea. She was plagued by Trolls so felt that a move was necessary.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Laundry done, dry and ready to iron.

2. Curry and rice from the freezer for a quick easy dinner.

3. Ben fit as a fiddle and playing with an old toy.

4. Francesca had another work from home day as the trains were still "iffy" this morning.

5. My smallest jeans are now a bit on the loose side.

I am now about to dive into a cup of tea so 
                                    TTFN                            Pam

Monday 28 October 2013

Moanday Moanday, How Wet You Are.

Well we are still here although in all fairness I should tell you that the wind died down completely and then the rain fell like stair rods, and it fell and it fell, rinse and repeat and it falls still. Of course the local farm started lifting potatoes on Saturday, last year they ploughed more in than were lifted, thanks to the rain. I spoke to the Farmer when I took Ben out for a swim this morning and he said if I could brave the mud I was welcome to see what i could glean round the edges. Lovely man, they are top grade Maris Piper and good for roasties as well as chips, they will make a reasonable jacket spud as well as long as you half cook them in the Ding Oven. We are having some tonight with Baked Beans and Cheese, I have some grated extra mature farmhouse cheese in the freezer, RTC from the Co op for Francesca and some Shropshire Blue, also RTC, for myself. The rest of the broccoli and cauli, blanched and tossed in a mere smidgeon of hot flavoured oil will go well with them. I have some with garlic cloves and a chipotle pepper that will really crank up the taste.

Even though my tea party was a roaring success yesterday we were ready for a fast dinner, Francesca has a full on cold but also a full on appetite. I had been up since before first thing, I forgot to change the clocks, I had a reminder on one of the blogs that I follow but alas it slid off into a corner of my mind and went to sleep. 

I also stripped down and cleaned my oven, rearranged the brick shed to accommodate some trays of apples, yes more apples, I will be cooking with them for the winter, think Pulled Pork and spiced apple sauce, Sausages with fried onions and apples, Apple and cinnamon cake also as a pudding with the spiced apple sauce. 
You get the picture, it is a good job that we like apples and appley things.

Any way back to dinner, no photos, we were too hungry to wait. It was a very naughty dinner, griddled homemade Mac 'n Cheese with some of the RTC beef burgers from the Co op and some homemade oven chips!!! No Buns with the burgers though, there is only so much starch that we can eat. We did not have a pudding though, no room.
I picked up the idea to put mac 'n cheese on the griddle from an American cooking program ages ago and have made it several times, you need to use the smallest macaroni that you can find and make the sauce very stiff, I spread it out in a shallow pyrex dish to set and then cut out the shape and size that I want. It does sputter a bit on the flat top but I can live with that. You get this amazing crunchy outside with a velvety smooth inside. It has just dawned on me that although Francesca does not like a crunchy cheese topping she loves this, hmm.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. The wind missed us completely.

2. A large stock of fresh from the ground potatoes.

3. More apples stored up.

4. A lovely tea party yesterday, all the leftovers either in my fridge or my neighbours.

5. No trains running before lunch so i have Francesca at home today.

I am going to brave the elements again and take Ben out for 10 minutes. Little and often is my exercise regime.

                              TTFN       Pam

A little reminder of where the glut of apples all started.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Have a Look and Have a Chuckle,


I found this and it made me laugh, I do not post this as a political statement, or any other type of statement, I found it by chance and found it funny. I have seen similar items to this but none as amusing. If you don't like it then sorry but that is your problem not mine. I don't like most newspapers content so only read the EDP.

This is a BOGOF post, did you pop in for tea earlier.

                                  TTFN      Pam

Sunday High Tea

Hello, come on in and sit down, the table is set and the kettle is singing. I've put the teapot to warm and Fran put the coffee on just in case.
It is ages since I saw you, now let me think, oh yes when we had the garden party. Do you remember my firework tree, he he. What about all the apple blossom, that has fruited wonderfully and I have made stacks of jams and jellies and masses of apple sauce. Yes of course I will find you a jar or three to take home, I might be persuaded to rootle out a jar of mincemeat as well, it wont be long you know before we will be up to our armpits in mince pies and sausage rolls.

Here it is, oops I have chopped the top off the sponge cake, let me have another try.

 There that is better, you need a slice of sponge at a tea party. I used the Silver Maple china, it has the biggest pot, oh dear I haven't put the sugar in the bowl yet, it will only take a minute. I always forget the sugar, we don't use it.

Mini quiches, so much easier than a slice to handle, no forks needed.

Cinnamon and Apple Cake, just the job for a chilly afternoon, I may warm a slice up and have some cream with it, naughty but nice.

Norfolk Shortcakes, Grannies recipe, just for old times sake.
Yes there are plenty of scones with butter and jam, and the cream is in the fridge.

A single crust apple pie, I could not just bin the extra pastry and I've plenty of apples, you can take that home if you want.

I hope that you have had enough to eat, if not there is plenty more where that came from, I always bake too much. It takes me back to when I was a little girl, Sunday morning in the kitchen with Granny baking up a storm. We would start early and finish just in time for dinner at 12.00 on the dot.

Any way I better see you on your way, you have a drive home and the weather report is for high winds, watch out for tree branches and dustbin lids.
Don't worry about the washing up, Fran and I will get through that in no time.

Thank you for coming, don't be a stranger drop in when ever you like.               TTFN                       Pam

Saturday 26 October 2013

Saturday, Sunshine and Showers

Today dawned with bright sunshine but the rain soon blew in, it drizzled about and finally was pushed out by the sun, it has been lovely all afternoon. Ben convinced me that he deserved an extra walk, it was not really extra as his walks are slower and shorter at the moment.
Francesca was late home yesterday and as soon as she took her coat off and sat down Ben pounced.

He still had to pose for the camera though, he loves the attention.

I have been in the garden, just poking about seeing what is happening and found this pair.

A little bit of summer clinging on for as long as possible.

I have done a little sewing, just playing with Little Gem and trying out some of the fancy pants stitches. I saw a sewing video on you tube that has inspired me, a new way to utilise my tiny scraps. I need to find some nylon organza and then I will have a go and post a show and tell.

Fran has an awful cold so I am fussing round her to my heart,s content. I have to make the most of it, she will be off to London in 4 weeks.

I have been giving a great deal of thought to my plans for next year, I have looked at several places, some new to me and some old friends. None of them really appeals, it is still Wales that calls to me. I will let it all simmer over winter and make the final decision once the cottage goes on the market.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Sunshine and flowers in the garden.

2. A new sewing project to try out.

3. My cushion fronts all quilted.

4. Minimal pain today.

5. Ben calmed down and snoozing at my side.

Altogether a peaceful day, I managed to do a little ironing and will do a little each day. I am resisting the urge to look at my favourite on line fabric shops. I am sure that I can get all that I want from my local shop.

Time is ticking away so               TTFN            Pam

Friday 25 October 2013

Why am I not surprised? And a walk down memory lane.

What can I say, I see people who do not work pushing trollies piled high round the supermarkets. I also see families with a basket picking things up thinking about it and putting them back. There are two sides to every story but to sell newspapers you will mostly see only the worst.

Any how, my swap block is done and sent.

I like this block and am glad that I made 1 for myself.

This version looks unbalanced but it still has to have a border. I have 2 of these.

These are destined to become cushions, now that the borders are on I will quilt them and then add envelope closures. 

I had a look in the fridge this morning, something different for dinner, but what?

A walk down memory lane was called for.
I found 3 small parsnips, 3 small carrots, 2 small onions and 2 big sticks of celery, scrubbed, peeled topped and tailed. Chopped up roughly and into a pan with a spoonful of buttery stuff, add 3 small red apples washed, cored and chopped and sweat for 10 minutes, add a grind of pepper and 3 tsp Korma curry powder, sweat for another 5 minutes to cook the curry powder, pour in enough stock to just cover. Then I drained a can of chick peas and added to give protein and creaminess to the texture.

Bring to simmer, cover and cook till all the veg is soft, then attack with a wand blender. You can pass through a sieve if you want but it is not necessary. Thin out with extra stock if needed.

We will have this with a swirl of cream and a sprinkle of chopped 
coriander on mine. I have not made this for ages, goodness knows why. The smell is amazing and the taste is too. Dinner tonight and 4 portions for the freezer for a cost of around £1.50.  25p per portion,
I will toast some homemade wholemeal bread to go with it and have some Apple Fool for pudding, equal parts of cold custard and thick cream mixed into twice as much apple stewed with cinnamon. The cream was RTC 10p and the custard was left over from another meal, apples from the garden, all in all I guess that it comes to 35p per meal and I am happy with that.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Pain under control today.

2. Ben happy as Larry.

3. Repeats of Duck Dynasty on TV.

4. Tea flowing like a river, the meds make me thirsty.

5. A wet start to the day but glorious sunshine by lunchtime.

Ben decided to have a mad five minutes on the sofa! This is where he landed.

                                              TTFN                             Pam

Thursday 24 October 2013

A Day To Count My Blessings and Ben and I Swap Places

Ben has spent many hours draped across various bits of furniture and laps and is now back on form.

He was trying to look hard done by but he had just come in from playing with a ball!

I am down with the dreaded sciatica again, it is my own fault, I have been very busy at work and lifted too much too many times.
I have a list of exercises and a heat pad, and no work for a while. I intended to finish at the end of the year so may just not go back. I will miss the people but as the atmosphere is so poor I will not repine.

I have a new follower, Vickie from More Stars in Comanche, she lives in Texas and has a band of four legged ranch hands. Pop over and have a look, it was winning her giveaway that got me my first Texas wild flower fabric, I have slowly added to it and will be cutting into it soon. Any way, glad to have you aboard Vickie, you are most welcome.
A quiet day, a little of my sewing done, photos tomorrow. No shopping, no cooking, We will have the rest of the Chicken Madras with some naan bread and Brinjal pickle.

I have started to clear another cupboard out and have a box of things for the charity shop. We have a good one in our local market town, it is not too pricey and is mainly used by local people. It supports a small cat rescue operation and I will drop off a box of cat food and some cat litter as well tomorrow.

I need to organise a shop for the food bank soon, rather than just take random stuff each week I have an arrangement that I pop in at the end of one month, see what they are running low on and then stock them up the next time they are open. I will see if they need things like Lem Sip and cough linctus, it is the time of year when most people lay some in, I have myself and the cost is prohibitive for anyone with a limited income.

Last time I lugged big bags of nappies from one of the cheapie shops, they were really cheap, it took 3 trips but was worth it.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. I may be in a bit of pain but I have heat and food.

2. I have dried goods, home preserves and frozen food for at least 3 months.

3. I have veg and fruit in store from the garden.

4. I have never gone without food so my children could eat.

5. I have a network of friends that I could call upon if I needed to.

I am one of the lucky rich!

                                          TTFN                     Pam

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Wonderful Wednesday

I like Wednesday, it is the half way point of the week and by the time I am up and firing on all cylinders it is nearer to next weekend than last.
I have picked my fabrics for the blue and white block and will cut them out later and sew tomorrow. I will make 2 and keep 1 for myself.

 I do this for every swap it is a good way of building up blocks in colours that I would not normally use. I have also pulled a stack of largish scraps to cut into strips and squares, that way they may just get used up. Some are remnants, some fat quarters and some were given to me. I dug them out to shake myself out of the colour rut that I have cosied into.

We had the Paprika Pork stirred into some Penne for dinner last night and it was very tasty, the rest is now in the freezer.

I made some custard to have with the crumble tart and was so full I struggled to move, I needed that walk into work.

Goodness I have just spotted the time, I need to shake my tail feathers.   TTFN                               Pam.

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Lazing on Tuesday Afternoon

Another wet dreary day. I have blanked it out and had some playtime with Little Gem. I have a 12 1/2" blue and white patchwork block to make for a swap. I have seen a pattern that I like but it is far too big, my maths are not used to scaling blocks so I had a little play with measurements.

By this stage I knew it was too big, and the strips at 2 1/2" looked "clunky" and out of place. I am using the Aqua, Orange and Grey fabrics that I used earlier in the year. I have grown to like the combination and all these "experiments" will end up in a quilt.

The strips are now 2" and much better, I want to make the center square 1/2" bigger for the swap block and I will make the rounds 1 pattern. This will make the snowballed corners look like flying geese.

I like this combination as well but the center square ought to be  bolder. Another pile of scraps being used up and I gathered a stack of little bonus squares by saving all the corner trimmings win win.

Last nights dinner, the chicken madras went really well with a jacket potato.

Pudding, just like the little one that I gave to Nev, we were so full that it was not touched so will have it tonight.

Hot chilli onions will be ready for "you know when"

Not a mini mixer, a timer from Francesca, it is so cute but a bit on the quiet side so I have to carry it around with me.

That is my day so far, work tonight. I have to drive to the Bridge, park up and walk to work as the Bridge is under repair, It will not be fully operational until Friday. Oh Well the exercise will do me good.
Ben is under the weather today , he was leaping around like a monkey last night and hurt himself. He is moving about but slowly and is asking to be cuddled all the time, he is so glad that Fran is at home. If he is no better tomorrow I will take him to see the Vet, in the meantime it is no walks and lots of cuddles.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A steady supply of tea, courtesy of Fran.

2. Happy time sewing.

3. An hour spent blog hopping with 2 cups of tea this morning.

4. Easy Peasy dinner tonight of Paprika Pork with Pasta.

5. A packet of Peanut Butter Oreos to help the tea down. I do not eat many shop bought biscuits but these are very moreish, I do not like the other flavours at all.

I think that it may be my turn to make tea so.    
                                             TTFN      Pam

Monday 21 October 2013

Spending to Save.

Welcome aboard Angela, I hope you enjoy the voyage.
Angela blogs at Smallholding, Pleasure or Profit, why don't you pop over for a visit, you never know you may like it and decide to stay a while.

Good afternoon, it is a very good one for me. I went to Sutton today to post off my mugrug swap, the Post Office Counter is within the Co op so I thought that I may as well wander round, well I would hate to miss something good. My meal plan is in place but I am always prepared to snap up a bargain and juggle things round.

Look what Pam found.

This was derinded, rind sprinkled with salt and pepper and into a hot oven for a crackling treat, cubed and into the slow cooker to become a succulent feast with onions, peppers, carrots, smoked and sweet paprika, garlic, tomato puree, a pinch or 3 of dried herbs and a tin of tomatoes all mixed up with enough chicken stock to cover. Oh and I added a splash of sherry vinegar, the smell is fantastic.

I bought 8 of these packs and 6 went into the freezer, at Christmas they will become sausage rolls to share with my neighbours, a few may well find their way to work.
I also bought 6 packs of the "best" 100% beef burgers , 2 in a pack for 50p. These are in the freezer, they may well be broken down and turned into pasta sauce or chilli or even an old fashioned  minced beef and onion pie.

As the weather is so, well, wet I decided to play in the kitchen. Out came all the baking gear and RATS! the fancy electronic scales won't work, low battery. So head and shoulders into a cupboard to retrieve these old faithfuls. I have had them for more years than I care to remember, I did buy a set of metric weights many years ago but hung on to the Imperial set, I do have some very old cookbooks.

I made 8 jumbo sausage rolls, some of them have gone next door, Nev did not refuse!

I had a biggish bit of pastry left so quickly made some crumble mix.

I lined a foil tray and a round loose bottomed pie dish with the pastry tipped in a generous amount of Hedgerow puree and topped with crumble mix. The one above went next door to keep the sausage rolls company. I always drape the pastry over the edge, it stops any shrinkage allowing the filling to escape. Ben likes the little bits as a treat (and so do I). I left them on Nev's pie for either him or his Collie,Greg, to enjoy.
The oven now holds a light fruit cake and some potatoes in their skins for dinner tonight. We will have them with some of the Chicken Madras that I made yesterday.

Francesca is working from home until Thursday this week, the Swing Bridge at Sutton Bridge is closed for repairs at night and she would have to drive to Wisbech to get to the train in the morning and again to get home. Her day is too long without the extra hour that would mean.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A lovely day at play.

2. Fran in and out seeing what I am making.

3. An episode of Haven to watch together this evening.

4. Managing to walk Ben in between the downpours.

5. Having the house stocked up for the winter.

I have lived in quite isolated places over the years, we were snowed in for a week at one point and I kept several homes supplied with food and drinks, they all did their shopping on Fridays and the snow fell on Thursday! I am that Girl Guide.

No sewing today, a stack of scraps to press and sort ready for when I need them.

                                      TTFN                     Pam.
PS I was right, tomorrow was another day, and a jolly good one too.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Hello, Good Evening and Welcome

I know that it is not quite evening but it is certainly dusk, and I often use that famous phrase.

I would like to welcome Twiggypeasticks, Doo, Snitty Kitty, Linda and Sharon aboard, I hope you enjoy my ramblings. Mostly innocuous but I do get out the soap box for a rant on occasion.  
We had the bacon, leek and potato pie for dinner last night and very good it was too. I did change the recipe slightly, well quite a bit really. first I left out the pastry, neither Fran or I eat pastry and potato together, British Pear shape, so I used 6 small leeks, half a pack of Cooking bacon from Mr S. and a small handful of grated cheese, about 80 g. 

The leeks and bacon,oh and 3 cloves of garlic were sweated in a very little oil and then layered with finely sliced potato and a sprinkle of cheese.

I finished with a layer of potato and mixed half a tub of double cream with the same amount of milk and poured it over, salt and pepper on top and into the oven.

We had a massive serving and put some in the fridge for another day.
I had a small basin of the leek and bacon mix left as well and had a plan in place. Today Fran had a refresher lesson in boning a chicken, the breasts and thighs became a chicken Madras and it is in the fridge. The carcase, drumsticks and wings went in the stock pot with chopped onion, carrots, a few peppercorns and a bunch of herbs from the garden, I let this simmer for around 1 1/2 hours.
The stock is in the freezer, the gristley bits are in Ben and the meat went in with the leek and bacon and some cooked penne into a light cheese sauce and will be dinner tonight and again in the week. We do not mind a week of "samey" meals, it will be a while before I cook any of these things again.

Oven ready chicken!

I read an article somewhere, maybe on a blog about loneliness in the elderly population. It was to encourage good neighbourly behaviour.

We are only a small village and we have a fairly high proportion of older people, mainly due to the cost of property. There is an active "good companions" club and a luncheon club. Most people are well known in the community and see at least 1 person to speak to daily, any one who does not makes that choice.

But you know you do not have to be alone to be lonely, and you most certainly do not have to be elderly.

I am hardly ever alone except by choice and never if you count Ben. But I am sometime lonely in the sense of missing people from my life. Not just people but specific people, my son and parents, my Granny, my Brother in Oz and a few friends who have moved so far away that meeting becomes akin to a  military operation.

There are many many people in that position an no amount of good neighbours, family or friends can fill the void. 

I know that for me the black dog of despair is lurking round a corner waiting to pounce and I also know that I will not give in. Like others I fill my time with activity, I walk, I sew, I cook, garden, wash paintwork, I do whatever it takes until the darkness lifts. 
I count myself fortunate that it does lift, for many more it never does and they live a cramped restricted existence.
I am also fortunate that I have and have had people in my life who are and were so close that I can miss them so deeply.
Today has not been a good day but it is going now and as some one once said "tomorrow is another day"
( How could that silly girl turn down Rhett Butler)

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Memories, rich and powerful.

2. A Brother in Oz who wants me to go see his new house.

3. My kitchen, my haven.

4. Ben, ever loving, ever present.

5. Francesca, just because.

I managed to get the whole night off work last night but will be going in tonight, then I will work Tuesday to Thursday and then have 4 nights off. I have a little sewing to do, a whole heap of jobs in the house and if the sun shines some work outside.

Does anybody watch Duck Dynasty? I am not a big fan of "reality" TV but this makes me laugh so much. I record it onto the sky box and then we watch it at the weekend. Francesca loves it as much as I do. We also watch Haven but this new series is a bit lacklustre so far.
One of my favourite TV programs was Quilt in a Day, it was on in the afternoon several years ago and suddenly disappeared, I bought 2 of the books and made several of the quilts but never managed 1 in a day!
And so it is time for me to get a wiggle on with dinner.

                     TTFN                                Pam