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Archive for March, 2012

Solar Powered!

Solar Powered!.

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It’s still only March and temperatures have reached the dizzy heights of 23 degrees!  It has been hotter than the Med, and dryer than the Sahara, and I have been so busy in the garden that I haven’t had time to blog.  What with that and desperate urge to stock up on fuel, First Class Stamps and the essential Pimms!   The demand for petrol rose by 85% yesterday and gerry cans by 500% thanks to the panic that has been fueled by the government, even though the tanker drivers haven’t even confirmed they will be striking!   I keep suggesting to my middle girlie that she needs to get her car filled up as a priority if she has any hope of driving home this weekend for Easter, but oblivious to the news, and totally self absorbed, the only fuel she seems to be taking onboard is Sainsbury’s Value Vodka washed down with shots of Sambuca!  She messaged me earlier with the morning after munchies, saying that all she had left in her fridge was cheddar, Philadelphia, parmesan and goats cheese, but I figured it was a bit early in the day for a fondue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sometimes wonder if I am solar powered … I have so much more energy when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.  Even though there is more daylight, poor old Mrs Hen is still not firing on all cylinders.  I spoke to my lovely chicken man who owns Withy Cottage Garden Poultry  and he has suggested that she may have gapeworm.  I have bought some special food for her, which is laced with a chemical wormer which should hopefully treat her .. watch this space.  I have been busy digging my vegetable patch most of the week, in preparation for my big planting session.  Tomorrow I will plant my seed potatoes, and have a delve in my seed tin, and use up some of the packets that have been in there since last Summer.  Reluctant to plant too much, as the dreaded hosepipe ban starts next week, so hydration may be a bit of a challenge this year!

I was invited to a little girls lunch this week with two very dear friends of mine, both teachers, who have broken up a week before their kids, and we ate a some beautiful Herb Crusted Sea Bass. She modified the recipe from the following link Herb-crusted plaice by Richard Phillips – ITV Food.  I have just put the ingredients in my Ocado trolley and I plan to try it out on my family this weekend.  I think there will be a houseful again, as Uni and school terms have ended.  Revision for exams should be on the agenda for the next couple of weeks in preparation for those GCSE’s and the exams that allow you to move on to your second year of University.  Let’s hope year two involves a lot more work and sleep coupled with a lot less cheap alcohol and liver damage!  Oh and there is also a trip to London taking place this Sunday, to attend an interview for  Junior Apprentice for the youngest member of our family!  Looking at the very strict confidentiality agreement that we have to sign, my lips will have to be sealed if she is successful!

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I got so carried away with the kerfuffle about leaking pipes, I suddenly remembered, whilst eating a square of the Swiss chocolate I brought back for the girls, that I haven’t reported back after my girls ski trip. We went to Morzine in France, flying to Geneva, with about an hour and a quarter drive to the resort.    There were to be seven of us in total, and a friend and I travelled in disguise with the aim of surprising some members of the ski party who didn’t know we were joining them.    Our mission was to see how far we could get without being spotted, and at one point, in Terminal 1 at Heathrow, we were in the same Pret a Manger as the girls (incognito) and believe it or not we even managed to board the same aircraft, and slipped past them unnoticed down the aisle of the plane, and hid at the back!  I had a handy pashmina that doubled up as a burka which I hurriedly used at one point during the flight, and my friend had an extremely large pair of Chanel sunglasses!  We were secretly giggling behind them at passport control, and made ourselves known at the baggage belt.  Our pelvic floors were put to the test during our undercover operation, but all was good I am happy to report!

We had such a fantastic four day break …  great skiing, snow and sun, lovely food which wasn’t over priced, and a comfortable chalet;  the only thing the trip lacked was anyone who would drink Jager bombs with me!  Sadly the girls, who were all older than me, bottled out literally, so not wanting to appear like a total lush I decided to act like the grown up that I should be, and stuck to wine!  I also ignored a text that I received from the UK when I landed which said “bag yourself a ski instructor”.   Before I know it,  I will joining a book club, hosting progressive suppers, cleaning the village church and learning to play bridge (not wishing to offend many of my dear friends!)

Jager bomb

 

And so it is back to the real world of being a domestic goddess ..   muffins, flapjacks and brownies are back on the menu, the laundry is up to date and my lovely family have me back at the helm of mission control!

 

 

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Well I’m not surprised we have a water shortage in the South East!  have you ever tried to report a leak in the road? It has taken me nearly 25 minutes to get through to someone that wants to own the problem.  I first called Southern Water, and they denied ownership of the pipe, and said it was Sutton and East Surrey‘s responsibility.  After endless press 1 for this and 2 for that and being left on hold, they denied ownership, and suggested Thames Water.  They had even more press 1 for this and 2 for that; think it went up to 5 plus “have you looked at our website?”!!  Well I am still on hold so I thought I would start my blog, and see how far I could get!  Oh I have just been offered a call back service so I don’t need to hold any longer!!  I have now spoken to an automated person who says they will call me back within the hour so watch this space.  Meanwhile I am already fretting about the pending hosepipe ban, due to start at the beginning of April, wondering how it will effect my potential vegetable crop this year, whilst gallons of water are gushing down the road .. what a terrible waste of this precious commodity.

 

Yes, it is true … I would rather be in my vegetable patch, and yesterday was no exception ..  The sun was warm, the soil moist, and my two trustee garden helpers, Archie and Wilfred were available to supervise me!  I had planned to prepare the soil for my potatoes that are chitting in the conservatory, so armed with a large fork and my wellies, I started digging.  I had under estimated what a hard job this is, and after an hour of back breaking manual labour, I decided to delegate this particular task to the other man in my life!  There are endless jobs that need doing in the garden at this time of year, so I busied myself for a few hours with my helpers until they stopped in protest for a tea break!  I harvested the last of my leeks and rustled up some of Delia’s Leek and Potato Soup when I got back in the house.

So Thames Water … your hour is up, and you haven’t returned my call!!  My garden assistants want to go “walkies” …  I can’t bear the thought of having to go through another round of trying to contact you … sort yourself out!!

 

 

 

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Dr Rabbit on call!

Well who would have thought seven days ago, that I would have had to perform an emergency tracheotomy on poor Mrs Hen this week?  Her throat condition continued to worsen, even after me administering my medication including live greek yoghurt, garlic and apple cider vinegar.  The friendly bacteria dose didn’t seem to fix the problem, and by Saturday she wasn’t eating anything.  We managed to catch her just as she was popping off to bed at dusk, and after closer inspection, she seemed to have something stuck in her gullet.  With the help of a drinking straw, a pair of gardening gloves, and two pairs of hands, we managed to perform a little procedure which removed the blockage; it looked like a piece of masticated chewing gum!  She seems to have perked up now, and is pottering around the paddock and seems to be eating again, but still finding it tricky to swallow .. a closer inspection is required again I think, probably at her bedtime tonight!

As if one sick chicken isn’t enough, Matilda was looking poorly too and had a really nasty mucky rear end!  I decided a warm bath was in need, so I found some Stergene clothes wash which was for hand washing, and delicates; I figured she ticked both boxes!  I submerged her in a bucket of warm soapy water and cleaned her up, and left her to drip dry in the sun!  She was not a happy chicken and stood shivering until dusk, and needed assistance to go up in the nesting box that night.  She looked very bedraggled and sad, and I was convinced I would wake up to a stiff chook, but I am happy to report that after a night snuggled up with her friends for warmth, Matilda appeared in the morning, all dry and fluffed up and seems to be fine now.

So the poultry department is improving as the canine department has gone into decline.  Poor Archie is poorly, off his food and shivering;  a combination of the chickens aliments!  I have given him some doggy ibuprofen hidden in some tomato ketchup to see if I can fix him without the need for a trip to the vets.  And on the human side, my eldest has tonsillitis, which I diagnosed with a small torch and a spoon to hold down her tongue!  She has since seen a real doctor, although I have to say his advice was paracetamol and rest, which I could have prescribed, so maybe I should consider a career as a GP combined vet??

Anyway, I am now back in the kitchen, where I belong, making a Lasagne, brownies, flapjacks and generally stocking up the fridge so my family can become self sufficient whilst I nip away for a few days on a little ski trip!  The laundry basket has been emptied, carpets hoovered, beds changed and family briefing sheet composed  … let’s hope it will all be as I left it on my return!

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