14 October 2019


I have just bought a yoghurt maker.  When we lived in France I was able to buy my favourite natural yoghurt from the supermarket – a cheap own brand that was unsweetened, unflavoured and not too rich.  I haven’t been able to find anything similar in the UK so I’ve decided to make my own.

For the first batch I used half a pot of natural, live yoghurt as a starter.  I mixed it with a litre of full fat milk (boiled and then cooled) and poured it into eight small jars that were then placed in the yoghurt maker. I left it to incubate for eight hours and it has turned out amazingly well, just as I like it.  Natural, unsweetened yoghurt with a bit of a tang.   I can use this as a starter in my next batch although the taste may differ the next time.  I’m not sure how long you can keep a culture going for.

I also bought some sachets of powdered culture that should produce the Rolls Royce of yoghurt – Bulgarian or Balkan yoghurt.  The packets are a bit disconcerting – “Contains live active bacteria like ''Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus'' and ''Streptococcus thermophilus''

Anyone else make their own yoghurt?

13 October 2019

Art Exhibition

Yesterday Paul and I visited an art exhibition in the nearby village of Hackthorn.   It was the annual showing of the local art club in the village hall and a rather predictable display of ‘nice’ landscapes.  I would love to have bought a painting but there was nothing that really stood out for me.

the sloping wall is attributed to the glass of wine in one hand, camera in the other

even the artist guy running the show was a cliché (very charming though)

The village hall is part of the Hackthorn Hall estate and the parkland surrounding the big house is used for equestrian events.  There is a public footpath through the park and Rick really enjoyed his afternoon walk; he really doesn’t care for fine art.

11 October 2019

A Matter of Taste

The Trees and the Axe (Arthur Rackham)

I am a bit of a fan of Arthur Rackham (19 September 1867 – 6 September 1939), an Englishman who became well known for his fantasy illustrations of children’s literature.  I particularly like the way he painted trees using watercolour and pen and ink.

I have challenged myself to draw/paint a tree in this style so I tried to find a suitable subject while out with Rick this afternoon.  It’s not easy to take snaps with one hand and control an energetic dog with the other.  This was the best I could find.

My next decorating project is the master bedroom.  Since we moved in I have hated the four spotlights suspended from the ceiling, it resembled a row of scooter headlights.

Paul also has a pet hate – glass chandeliers and anything glitzy. Sometimes you’ve just got to let your lady have what she wants.   I now have a glitzy, glass light fitting and I love it!

5 October 2019


raised bed placed against a sunny wall
It’s been mild and dry outside today so Paul and I have both been working in the garden.  I was clearing up the patio with the leaf blower when I heard a loud hammering from the garage.  I went to investigate and discovered Paul happily dismantling a wooden pallet.  He has spent all day building his latest garden project – a Hugelkultur raised strawberry bed.
Hugelkultur is a very old practice originating from Germany that allowed people to grow food in abundance, without the need of irrigation. The buried wood and other bits of compostable material in hugelkultur beds create a fungal-rich base that retains water and provides essential nutrients to the plants growing in the bed.  
first layer of apple wood cuttings

Paul has filled the base of his structure with apple wood cuttings and old cardboard, covered with a layer of topsoil.  This will break down over the winter months and he will add the strawberry plants in the spring.  It looks very smart and I shall look forward to a bumper strawberry crop next year.

2 October 2019

Bathroom Horror

You know the day isn't going to go well when you meet this guy as you step in the shower.

After ejecting the unwanted visitor through the bathroom window I continued with my shower.  I was a bit over zealous with the shampoo and got the stuff in my eyes.  Ouch - it stung!  I rubbed my eyes and then gave a shriek when I saw someone standing outside the shower.  It was like a scene from psycho!

I have a very nervous disposition.

29 September 2019

Wet Weather

This wet weather is putting a real dampener on things.  The route through the Yorkshire Dales for the World Road Race cycling event has been changed due to flooded roads and conditions that would be a danger to both spectators and riders.  It would be nasty if someone disappeared down the Buttertubs.
Rick talking to some wet sheep

wet husband and wet dog

A Family Fun Event that has been organised by our village hall committee is going ahead this afternoon despite the rain.  I have a feeling that the Duck Race could be exciting as the beck is in full flood.  It's such a shame when so much work goes into planning and organising these events.

On a brighter note the red peppers that got off to a slow start in the greenhouse have performed wonderfully well.  I picked a big batch yesterday to blacken under the grill -  I love char-grilled peppers.  A little taste of summer.

17 September 2019

A Day Out

Gainsborough Old Hall

Today a couple of my coffee morning pals whisked me off to Gainsborough, with the intent purpose of visiting the Old Hall, the last remaining medieval building in an unremarkable town.  This huge, imposing manor house sits incongruously in the middle of a residential area.

the grand hall
My friends insisted on having an audio guided tour which actually worked very well after I finally managed to figure out how to operate the gadget and turn the volume to high.  Unfortunately the battery ran out half way round.

It is an impressive medieval manor house built by Thomas Burgh in 1455. It had two royal visits, Richard III  in 1483 and Henry VIII, together with his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, in 1541. Gifted to the nation in 1970 the hall is now owned by English Heritage and the local district council.  Some of the props and costumes looked a bit cheap and amateurish, it would have been nice to see some furnishings that looked a bit more authentic.  But the medieval architecture was stunning.

medieval kitchen
So many old buildings have ghost stories attached to them and Gainsborough Old Hall is no exception.

Local legend says the Grey Lady is thought to be the daughter of the Lord of the Manor who fell in love with a poor soldier and planned to elope with him. Her father discovered the plan, locked her away in the tower where she died from a broken heart. Supposedly the girl’s spirit still wanders the tower and the corridor endlessly waiting for her lover to arrive.

I didn’t see the Grey Lady but the stuffed wild boar in the kitchen was a bit disturbing.