Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A long weekend, just for me

We had intended to head to Salisbury on Sunday, staying overnight and visiting The Builder's mother on Monday.  However, we had to cancel that because he has been making daily visits to the hospital to sort out his DVT and he obviously can't be at the hospital in Chesterfield if we are in Salisbury.  So we put the trip back to the beginning of April, which is his mother's birthday.  And I decided to keep the Monday off, just because.

And it was a very pleasant, quite relaxing long weekend.  We spent Saturday morning at Bishops' House and then went shopping with Freyja in the afternoon.  We pottered about in a fairly aimless sort of a way on Sunday, although The Builder did manage to fulfil a long held ambition of chopping the brambles back in the orchard, and pruning the apple trees. I began the digging over of the flower beds - also a long held ambition. I want to try and root out as much of the morning glory and buttercup as I can.  I know this is a doomed enterprise, but I thought I might at least be able to hold them back a bit!  It was quite a sunny weekend, and we had hoped to make further progress, but the wind was cold so we didn't spend too much time outside!

On Monday we embarked on another project hat we have been talking about for a long time.  Our dining room is painted on the bottom halves of three walls in a dark, fusty pink.  When we first moved in our thinking was that something would have to be done about that. The walls need to be much lighter. 9 years on we've finally got around to doing something about it!

This is how the dining room looks now:

We decided that the best thing to do would be to put a couple of coats of very cheap white paint on the walls and then to put a coat of a buttery coloured better quality paint on.  And we're going to paint all the dark wood in a stronger yellow colour.  The intention is to do this right through the whole house to make it all fresh, light and airy.  So we went to B&Q and bought tubs of their value white paint.  And The Builder is intending to make a start today

Starting by taking down the rails and the frieze by the window:

The cat was deeply suspicious when we started shifting the furniture out the way!!!

Given that we were out and about yesterday at lunchtime, we thought we would drop into the Three Cottages, assuming that it would be fairly quiet on a Monday.  But no. There were no free tables until 2 pm! So we went to the Wingerworth and had a lovely, impromptu pub lunch there instead. But who would have expected a pub to be fully booked out on a Monday?

Potato and cheese cake with celeriac and polenta chips

Oh - and we could have gone to Salisbury after all.  The Builder went to the hospital on Friday and was told he didn't need to go back until Tuesday.  But we weren't to know that in advance and if we were going to cancel the hotel without having to pay for a room we weren't able to use, it had to be done by Thursday.  Never mind.  It was a lovely weekend just pottering about at home!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Every station should have one

And a little internet research suggests that some others do too

Inside the entrance hall at Sheffield Station

It's a great idea.  And you quite often go past and find that people are playing it.

They have ping pong tables outside in the summer too.  People play on those as well

Monday, February 16, 2015

Largely Uneventful

I am pleased to say that the weekend was largely uneventful.  The Builder is still visiting the hospital once a day but his INR levels are heading steadily in the right direction. Apart from the fact that he has now put his back out and is hobbling around groaning, he seems to be heading back towards healthiness.

We headed into Chesterfield on Saturday morning so I could pick up my new glasses. I was just suggesting that we should head to The Rutland for lunch when I got a message from Tabitha. They were thinking of coming into Chesterfield on Sunday and having lunch in the nice pub by the church. Did we fancy joining them?

Well yes. But that's where we were intending to have lunch on Saturday.

No law says we can't have lunch in The Rutland on two occasions, even if they are on consecutive days.

So we did.

Steak, scampi and chips for me on Saturday.  Fish and chips for The Builder.  Miso broth with veg and seafood ravioli for tea

Full on Sunday roast on Sunday.  They very sensibly offer Sunday roasts in small, medium and large servings and you can choose one, two or three kinds of meat.  The Builder had a large, I had a medium.  No tea on Sunday evening!

And now here we stand on the brink of a brand new week.  I am fervently hoping that there will be absolutely nothing of any interest to report when we get to the other end of it!

Sunday lunch in The Rutland

Cally's lunch came with ice cream.  Mine didn't ;-(

Wrap up warm, Gamma.  It's cold outside

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


This was going to be my excitement for the day

I had wandered over to the cook shop on Chapel Walk at lunchtime in search of a julienne cutter. Until I had read Jess's blog yesterday morning, I didn't know that such things existed - but once I did know.... !

They had julienne cutters. They were also having a sale. Stickered items were 30% off.  So I picked up a couple of other things and went to pay for them.  At the counter they had Taylor's Eye-Witness knife sets slashed from £60 to £15. This seemed highly unlikely to me, so I checked.  Yes,she said. You can have a five knife set for £15. And no, there's nothing wrong with them.  So I bought a set. Not that I really needed new knives. But pretty coloured Taylor's Eye-Witness!! Who would turn that down for £15?

So that was my excitement for the day.  Until I got home.

The Builder had been complaining of a sore calf muscle over the weekend. He had done something to it when he had got out of the car on Friday afternoon and it had got steadily worse over the weekend. On Sunday evening he showed it to me. It was all red and swollen and hot.  It didn't look at all good to me.. I suggested that he pop into the surgery the following morning and make an appointment to see the GP.  And lo - he got an appointment for that very evening.  (As an aside, I hadn't realised that the medical practice had started doing evening surgeries twice a week.  An excellent idea). The appointment was in Clay Cross so he trundled off, and came back half an hour later to say that the GP had diagnosed a thrombosis and that he was to go to the hospital to have it all checked out.  Yes - he could leave it until the morning but the GP wasn't taking any of the blame if The Builder dropped dead overnight.

Well, we don't want any sudden deaths cluttering up the house, so he had a spot of dinner and drove himself off to the hospital. He got back just as I was about to head off to bed.  He's had blood tests and an enormous injection in his tummy and he has gone back this morning for scans and more tests. I can't say that his leg looks any better for it!  But at least he hasn't been admitted.

I've been telling people that he has an embolism.  I don't think he has.  The medics are talking of thrombosis.  But I discover that I am not sure that I understand the difference!!  Oh well. As long as the doctors do, I don't suppose it matters if I don't.

I'm going to have to walk to my Japanese class this evening. The Builder needed the car to get to the hospital this morning. As long as he remains out of hospital and not dead, he will come and pick me up after.

That was more than enough excitement for yesterday. My knives would have been sufficient all on their own.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Weekend Report

Well now, that was rather a nice, gentle weekend.

The sun shone brightly in a blue, blue sky, although I would have to admit that it was definitely on the chilly side.

We were at Bishops' House on Saturday morning and had LOADS of visitors. We were a bit surprised by the steady stream of people heading in through the doors.  We had expected it to be quite quiet but I think the sunshine and the lack of snow/ice had enticed people out exploring.

Tabitha, Gareth and Cally dropped in on their way back home from somewhere to say hello.

We dropped round to Freyja and Simon's place on our way home to drop off the little bench top oven that we bought last year when our big oven died.  I put it away in a cupboard when we finally got around to replacing the main oven - and in that cupboard it remained, peacefully slumbering, until Freyja mentioned that she was thinking of buying one for their place.  No point buying a new one when we've got one sitting doing absolutely nothing at our place!

And then we went home, our journey enlivened only by the fact that the car's brake lights were intermittently jamming on. They've been doing that for some time and Nick the Mechanic can't really work out why.  What was particularly irritating on Saturday was that we have only just had a new brake light switch fitted.  Since we had the new one put in it's been worse than ever!  None of this would really matter (apart from the inherent danger of the vehicles behind not knowing when you are going to stop abruptly!) except that when the lights are stuck on, the car's electric system suffers and it makes the car engine stutter as though it is about to cut out.  This can be a tiny tad disconcerting!!! Nick turned out and fixed the switch on Saturday - but it's still doing it.  I think he is intending to have a thorough inspection and see what on earth is going on.

We let the new set of chickens out on Sunday afternoon, when we were both around to supervise. The Under Gardener had let them out earlier in the week, but Curry took off after the dominant new chook and a contretemps was only avoided by him intervening.  However, we couldn't leave the poor new chooks in their tiny run indefinitely ,so we gave it another go.  and this time it seemed to go quite smoothly.  Curry, Dimsim and the ducks took themselves off to one part of the orchard and the other four kept to a different bit.  So for the moment it looks as though we have two separate flocks. We have also renamed the new chooks - mostly because we don't know all their original names. The dominant chook is Bacon and the white one is Egg. The other two are Stew and Casserole. They are laying quite well. Anyone want any eggs :-D

I had intended to make a pork goulash for dinner on Saturday. I put bite size pieces of pork and chopped onion into the slow cooker before we went out in the morning.  Later in the afternoon I chopped up loads of lovely vegetables, cooked them, combined them with a tin of tomatoes and some paprika - and was just about to add the pork when I thought: You look absolutely stunningly beautiful and vibrant just as you are.  I am not going to add pork pieces after all.  So we had a really delicious vegetable goulash instead.  The poor abandoned pork pieces have gone into a different paprika flavoured stew for tonight and tomorrow!

There are new people at the Marsh Green Farm Shop. They seem very pleasant.  And I am very relieved to hear that they are not planning to replace the butcher, who makes amazing sausages and lovely bacon. It never goes well when excellent butchers are replaced!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

We almost never sleep in our front bedroom.  It is, I suppose, strictly speaking the main/master bedroom, but we prefer the smaller room at the back, partly because of the lovely view. So on the rare occasions that we do sleep in there we notice odd little things.  It is, for example, surprising quite how much traffic there is on our road in the middle of the night. We never hear anything in our room! And there's a funny ticking noise that you can hear in the front bedroom that you can't hear in ours. I can definitely hear the lounge room clock chiming better in the front bedroom as well; I don't really hear it at all in our room.

We were in the spare room on Saturday night because Cally was with us and it has been our habit to sleep in there with her when she's on her own.  I don't think we really need to any more.  She knows where we usually sleep and she has her own room at home now. I think in future that leaving a night light on in the hall might be enough.  I shall ponder this.

Cally was with us for the night because her parents and aunt had been invited to a friend's 40th birthday party.  We were invited too but it seemed slightly age inappropriate for us.  It was definitely age inappropriate for Cally, so she came to us and we had our own party.

She came late in the afternoon and we watched the Winnie the Pooh movie and the Tigger movie. She had pizza for tea and we had home made fish and chips after she had gone to bed. Then on Sunday we watched the two movies again, plus Babe and Monsters University and Ratatouille. I feel positively movied out!  We played with cars and trains and we did drawing and colouring. We talked to Grandma Stella and Grandpa Tony and Auntie Lindsey and Uncle Ian in Australia. We talked to Uncle Austin and Auntie Kaori and Cousin Tatsuki in Japan. And we prepared lots of food. Then Mummy and Daddy came back and had Sunday Lunch with us. It was a lovely weekend.

Cally being artistic

Boys being lazy :-D

We did nearly kill The Builder though. Our next door neighbours in #4 are moving and can't take their chickens with them.  So the chooks have come to us. It might have been marginally better if we had taken out a fence panel, moved the chook house and run from their garden to ours, chased and caught the chickens and put the fence panel back *before* we had had our meat and potato pie rather than *after*.

Still, they're at our place now, and The Builder is still breathing!! Four new chooks, about a year old and laying fairly regularly. They are confined to their little run at the moment while Curry and Dimsim get used to them, and they to Curry and Dimsim. And I suppose we should think of names for them. They do have names but I only remember Molly and Betty, and I don't know which one is which!

Sunday lunch.
(Cally's is a fish finger sandwich with slices of cucumber on the side)

Vegetable stew for weekday lunches