30 June 2014

Which Veg? ... Your Preference?

Do you buy fresh vegetables or are you a frozen veg eater?

Seasonal fresh vegetables are yummy to look at in the shop because they are sprayed with water to keep them looking fresh. Get them home and revel in preparation, when you can actually smell them and breathe in the different scents… so long as you don’t store them too long.

Buying is or should be cheaper which is a major consideration when shopping … but I wonder how much we pay for the waste, all those discarded leaves, stalks, roots and peelings we throw away because we don’t know if they’ve been caught up in various pesticide sprays.

At one time I swore buying fresh was healthier as well as cheaper but I’ve changed my mind on that score.

Frozen vegetables are readily available at all times of the year. There is no waste, no throwing stuff away because they’ve ‘gone off’ or sell-by dates are exceeded … the latter still in evidence despite talk of removing them … which enhances the wisdom of buying stuff from freezers.

What do I do? Well, I follow both routes. Casseroles require fresh veg but a meat and two veg meal is perfectly fine using the frozen variety.

The latest quandary for me is the fact that I can’t buy a cabbage small enough for two people. Now that our appetites are somewhat diminished we can’t eat a whole Savoy and anyway who would want to eat Savoy every day for a week? 

There’s nothing like variety, so I like to intersperse the cabbage with carrots, sprouts, beans etc. My local supermarket used to sell frozen cabbage which, although not as good as fresh, made a pleasant change from root veg. It was also brilliant to use when making bubble and squeak. Sadly, even that has disappeared so I’m back to looking at the fresh cabbage and wondering if it would be really wasteful to throw three-quarters of it away. 

29 June 2014

Odd shots

I found these pictures on an old camera but can't remember why I kept them. They are meaningless on their own, don't you think? No story-line, nothing to attach them to, just pictures in their own right.

The first one is a shot taken through the window of a restaurant we used to go to in my favourite Sutton Park, a place called The Boathouse because that's what it was before it was transformed into an eating house. 

I can't think where I took the next one but coincidentally these flowers are in full bloom in the garden today.

The next two pictures were taken on a visit to The New Hall Hotel though I'm not sure exactly when 

I  love clouds, except when they bring rain. Summer clouds can be so pretty. 

28 June 2014

Armed Forces Day

We can't thank our brave men and women enough 
for what they do for us

26 June 2014

Good for another laugh...

The Two Ronnies - Four Candles!

This video still makes me laugh so 
I decided to show it for the benefit of those who haven't seen it.... good for another laugh, eh? 

23 June 2014

Around the House Part 2

Unlike my lovely cleaning lady, the gardener was something else. He never seemed to be in a good mood and often argued with or ridiculed something I said. On the day in question (last Friday to be exact) he arrived in a snappy mood, grumbling that he had a lot of work on. I remarked that it was good to have enough work to keep going, but he retorted that it meant working the next day when he didn’t want to work the next day. He seemed rather put out about having to work at all.

We have trees all round the garden, which I love because of my fascination with birds, but admittedly they are tall and do stop the light from getting to anything growing beneath them. That doesn’t bother me because in actual fact nothing of importance does grow beneath them, just the odd bush or two and I just cut them back if they lean out too far. Gardener, however, thought the trees should be chopped down. They’re not his trees nor are they ours but I agree that we could prune them a little on our side of the fence. Eventually! ‘If they were mine I’d go round to your neighbour and demand that he removes them’ were his words, spoken somewhat aggressively.

I said the gardener was something else because he no longer comes. At least I don’t think he does... he drove off in an angry huff, without having touched a blade of grass except when walking on it. But I’m rushing on before the tale is told.

When he first started coming the man insisted on a minimum of two hours work, once a fortnight, by which time the grass is ready to be cut on two lawns which leaves little time for other work. He has managed to trim some laurel and a prickly hedge of mixed growth and apologised for not being able to do the tops of the hedge because of the sheer height.

I repeat, it was a hedge not a tree.

So when some sort of tree-fellers knocked at the door and offered to cut back a rather high tree I seized the opportunity to get rid of other difficult-to- remove stuff.... and that is what upset the gardener. As soon as he saw/heard what the other guys had done he took umbrage and stormed off. At first I thought he was going to collect his gear from his car. However, instead of getting gear out he was putting it back in. He slammed the boot shut and got in the car shouting ‘there is such a thing as loyalty’ before driving off.

So you see why I think we’ve lost our gardener! And good riddance. We can do without that sort of attitude and, let’s face it, there are plenty more around. Do you know what irks most? It’s that last flung remark about loyalty... from a man who only visited three or four times! If he’d been coming twenty years and some guy came and took over his job I could understand it... but three or four times? We’d hardly got to know him. You’ll notice I didn’t mention the man’s name and that’s because I can’t remember it... I didn’t know him long enough for his name to impinge itself on my silly brain. 

The story doesn't end with the man's departure as a new gardener has been taken on, one who seems more than willing to have a go. All I can say is ... 

21 June 2014


Still clad in stripy blue pyjamas and heavy dressing gown, Philip Abbott stood at the sink washing breakfast things. Outside, raindrops sprayed the window, driven by squally winds, to match his mood. Except for the clatter of plates, the clicking clock, and the thrumming of the fridge-freezer, the room was still. Pam had gone back to bed, claiming to have a migraine. As he stacked plates on the draining board, Phil’s mind raced through their rare night of passion. Pam was like dynamite. Once her touch-paper ignited she went at sex as if she was running out of future. The experience had left him thoroughly enervated. And unhappy.
The last plate stacked in the drainer, Phil wrung out the dishcloth and draped it over the mixer tap. Leaning his belly against the sink, he stared trance-like through the net-draped window. He was totally oblivious to the antics of two very wet fox cubs trying and failing to drink from the garden pond.

Had Pam told the truth, he wondered when questioning her unintelligible, frenzied cry? Without exception she cried out when roused, usually repeatedly uttering his name whilst scraping her nails down his back, but in the early hours he could have sworn the name she called was Jerry. Jerry? It had stopped him in his tracks. Coming as it did mid-copulation it doused his verve and ultimate ejaculation.


Overcome by surging grief, Phil had a mental image of his wife’s boss, Jeremy Ifield: a maddeningly handsome face with prominent eyebrows, arched in perpetual bewilderment above sharp eyes that blazed with vitriolic scorn. The hewn cheekbones and fashionably styled grey-streaked dark hair were more like an all-American movie star. At first meeting he seemed like a nice guy but longer acquaintance revealed a superficial personality.
With a heavy heart, Phil pushed away from the sink and balanced on one of the tall kitchen stools. His mind darted from one incident of Pam's unpunctuality to another, all of them assigned to pressure of work. Her words. Her excuses. Excuses he had no reason to doubt until a few hours ago.
He had challenged her. It transpired that he had mistaken Pam's wild utterance for 'hurry'. So why did he feel encumbered by sickening qualms? If she was having an affair with Ifield ... Violently shaking his head, Phil tried to oust the notion, insisting that Pam's persistent absence was valid, that her breathless diction was easily distorted. If it wasn’t, he would surely kill her. Or him. In a short space of time he had learned to hate Jeremy Ifield with all the passion of a practiced killer.
Yet, he told himself, it took two to make a deal. Ifield was a free man who had nothing to lose by seducing Pam. But she had a man of her own, a husband, a legal lover, one who had given her everything her heart desired. Seemed she wanted more. Didn’t she realise that Phil could provide her with more … much more than she bargained for?
It was cold in the kitchen, the sort of damp cold that seeps into the soul. Phil started to dry the crocks and put them away. Only one knife remained; the sharp one used to slice bacon. Catching the light from the window, the shiny blade almost beckoned. Slowly and quite deliberately Phil picked it up. Watched as dribbles of water rolled from blade to handle. It crossed his mind that a wet knife might lose its edge. Carefully, almost lovingly, he wiped away the remaining drops and rubbed the blade dry. Pam hated to see smears on cutlery. Well, she wouldn’t see any on this knife ... ever again.

19 June 2014


The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman town/city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the commune of Pompeii. Along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, Pompeii was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Read more here

Joe and I visited the ruins but Joe loved going to there more than I did. Whenever we visited Sorrento I would spend the day shopping and sightseeing while he made what he called his yearly pilgrimage. 

There was another ruined site not far away known as Herculaneum which, unlike Pompeii, is famous as one of the few ancient cities that can now be seen in almost it's original state

Read more about Herculaneum here

Unfortunately when we visited we didn't have a camera available to take pictures of either Pompeii or Herculaneum. However, the following shots were taken by Rosanne when she and hubby visited Pompeii just the other week so I thought I would share them - with permission, of course.

16 June 2014

Around the House Part 1

It’s marvellous having help around home and garden. My cleaning lady is a delight. She is young, well half my age, half-Italian, very attractive, jolly personality, and extremely helpful in many ways. I would be lost without her. Particularly when the castors fall off my bed, two to be exact. Two castors, I mean, not two beds... although it is a double-bedded room. One for him and one for me, except he has no trouble with his castors. Hmm perhaps I sleep funny!

The casters aren't the normal push-in variety, they have to be screwed - which is a problem when the threads break. Family members tried to fix it, but couldn’t. Apparently I either needed new castors or a new bed. I wouldn’t mind but the old one is only about three years old. I have such rotten luck with castors.

So the bed was left in an unfixable state and that night I slept in a lopsided position and vowed to replace the bed with a new one ... or at least new castors.

Next day I asked my wonder-woman not to move the bed, explaining that if she did we’d never get it back in position. At that, I left her to get on with cleaning that room. However, she did seem to be taking rather a long time. It’s only a small room, you see. I went to investigate and found her kneeling by the side of an upturned single bed, all the linen and mattress on the other bed (the one with good castors) and the bedstead on its side. There’s no messing with my cleaning lady, when she does a job she does it well.

‘The thread’s broken,’ she announced, ‘I’ll have to pack it.’

See, I told you she was good.

On hearing this I got down on my knees to help. Of course, I couldn’t do much, so I spent the next fifteen minutes or so playing the part of errand girl. She wanted cardboard, she said. I must have looked dumbstruck because she went on to explain that she needed it to pack the hole before screwing in the castor. I fetched the cardboard. Next she wanted super glue, which I happened to have. I fetched that.  Then I had to supply her with a screwdriver with which to pack the cardboard in the hole, and scissors to cut the card. Kitchen paper was also required to catch the drips of super glue (there weren’t any, as it happened) and then she thanked me for my help. SHE thanked ME? And there was me forever in the girl’s debt.

The family menfolk couldn’t get over it ... beaten by a woman was one remark. Well yes, and had I been forty years younger that woman would have been me.

Well, that was a couple of weeks ago and the castors are still holding, but I won’t shout too loud – just in case.

Next post will be about the Gardener! 

14 June 2014

Defeating the Squirrel? Impossble!

Squirrels are ingenious creatures. Sometimes I underestimate their resourcefulness. My lot have discovered that if they wrap their tails around the tree branch that holds the bird feeders they can swing down like monkeys. In an upside down position they can help themselves to various seeds and the suet that my robins love so much.

I have two 'squirrel-proof' feeders that are ‘guaranteed’ to defeat the little monsters, one that a squirrel can get in just by looking at it, and one with a huge dome that was supposed to be the answer to my prayers.... except the squirrels started to chew the edge in an endeavour to eat it all away, thus enabling them (eventually) to get at the birdseed. Sheet determination on their part would make them keep gnawing through the extremely hard plastic ... and it wouldn’t have taken long to achieve their aim!

But hallelujah, my friend in America tells me that she has a Yankee Squirrel Flipper; an ingenious gadget whereby if the dear little animal puts one paw on the feeder he is flipped off. She sent a photo of the action and I thought yes, that’s for me, or rather him ...  I can’t think why but I always think of squirrels as male creatures!

On hearing the news that a squirrel flipper might solve the problem I checked
on-line and discovered that squirrel flippers are available here in the UK. At a price! £100, £194, or £233 ... and I’m not kidding. What the inventor failed to recognise was that squirrels are great at lifting lids. Those rods the lid slides on just help the squirrel get in the top of the feeder, which means they can scoop out quite a lot of food before the level sinks too low. I know, I have one, that's the one where the squirrel takes one look and Voilà, he's in! Oh well, back to the drawing board!