27 March 2024

Nothing goes to waste

I had quite a lot of fabric left over from the re-covered chair (I ordered extra to allow for any mistakes!) so I decided to make a couple of cushions.  The zip fastenings were tricky but I was quite pleased with the result.

They are destined for the master bedroom that is getting a makeover in June.

After a glorious sunny morning the clouds have rolled in.  Hot cross buns and a cup of tea are being served as an antidote to this chilly, gloomy afternoon.

21 March 2024

Lark or an Owl

 Are you a lark or an owl?  Up at dawn and early to bed or a late riser but still lively at night?

I am most definitely a lark.  Full of energy in the morning but flagging by mid afternoon and ready for bed at 10.00 p.m or earlier.  This morning I got up just after 6.00 and had cereal and a cup of tea, then out for Rick's morning walk around the village.  It was blissfully quiet apart from the dawn chorus (lots of blackbirds around here) and I didn't meet any other dog walkers today.

Back home I stripped the bed and put a load of washing on.  No rain forecast so I might get the sheets dry outside.  Then I boiled up a litre of milk and made a batch of yoghurt, I let the jars sit in the incubator for about 7 hours or so.  I love natural unsweetened yoghurt and this is so easy to make.  Then I chopped a whole load of bacon, onions, mushrooms and beef to go in the slow cooker for a Boeuf Bourguignon.  In France this would be typically served with a green salad and French fries but my English tribe prefer it with mashed potato and veg.  Whichever way it's a favourite in this household and the slow cooker ensures that the meat is always succulent with a rich and tasty sauce.

dinner bubbling away in the slow cooker

yoghurt doing its thing

By the time I had finished cooking the washing was ready to hang and it was coffee time.  Now what am I going to do for the rest of the day apart from write this blog?  Ah, just remembered.  I have a Dyson upright cleaner to re-assemble.  I took it apart yesterday to wash the filters and de-tangle the brush head.  I always have to get the handbook out to figure out where the filters are hiding, hate this task.

laundry day

By lunch time I shall be running out of steam.  Early afternoon I will do some core exercises for half an hour and then it will be time to sit down and relax with a book or watch some television and Rick will see that as a signal to jump on my lap for cuddles.  It also gives him a clear view of the driveway and he can look out for the postman.  What is it about a red post van that turns this mild mannered dog into a barking lunatic?  Never a dull moment!  (Rick is also a lark and likes to go to bed early).

Rick waiting for the postman

11 March 2024


It was Mother's Day yesterday, or Mothering Sunday as some call it and originates from when women in service (maids and servants working in big houses) were released for the day to return home to visit their mother.  The day always conjures up mixed feelings for me because I had a difficult relationship with my mother and was estranged from her before she died.  

Anyway, I have always told my daughters not to make a fuss or waste their money on over priced bouquets for me.  Yesterday Sarah invited me over to the cottage for lunch and gave me chocolates and a card and we had a jolly time feasting around a magnificent 'grazing table'.  Rick thought it was wonderful.


Kat posted a card to me on Monday and was most upset that it hadn't arrived.  That may have something to do with the fact she had put an out of date stamp on the envelope. She doesn't use the mail very often!  Never mind Kat, it's the thought that counts.

putting my feet up after lunch

9 March 2024

A leopard in the room


After a week of crawling around the floor and hammering in upholstery tacks (staples would have been easier but I like to do it the traditional way) the chair is finished.  

I think I'm getting too old for this lark.  Maybe I should take up knitting.

2 March 2024

Work in progress


I spent a couple of hours scrabbling around the floor this morning getting to grips with re-covering the chair. Even with a cushion to kneel on it was tough on my knees and back. Getting the fabric to fit around the wooden arms was fraught with danger, one snip with the scissors too far and the whole thing would have been ruined. Constant stretching of the fabric, trying to get an even tension and checking that everything was straight was time consuming but I tried not to rush, I was just very relieved when that part of the process was finished.

The next stage will be the back of the chair, and then the front, and then I need to visit the haberdashery shop in our local town to try and find some trim to cover the tacks and give the chair a smart finish. Hopefully all completed in about a week.

28 February 2024


It's time for my next project.  I always like to have some sort of project in the pipeline although this does make Paul slightly nervous;  I can't fathom why.

About ten years ago we both did a course together - upholstery.  We bought a couple of tatty antique chairs from a local auction, lugged them along to the course centre once a week where we were shown how to strip them back, restore and re-cover them.  The chairs needed new springs and webbing and the horsehair stuffing was carefully washed (in a pillowcase in the washing machine) and re-used. It was back breaking work but we were quite proud of the finished items and they fitted in nicely with our rustic farmhouse in France.  

the old chair was in a terrible state

new replacement webbing and springs 

finished chair in our French home

At the moment one chair is in the attic and the other one is situated in the hallway by the front door.  It still looks very smart but ..... the fabric is a bit boring.   I feel it needs jazzing up a bit to fit in with my more contemporary home.  Time for me to gather my tools and re-cover it!

hammer has magnetic end to hold tack

essential tools

Stripping the fabric has been tricky, I had previously hammered those tacks in too well!  I have a tool for levering them out but you have to be really careful not to damage the wood.  I also need to keep the fabric pieces whole so that I can use them as templates for the new fabric.  Did I mention the new fabric?  Animal print of course!

21 February 2024

Night Shift

Just as we finished our coffee break yesterday morning we received an SOS call from Sarah.  Could we pick her up from work and drive her home.  After a 15 hour night shift she was too tired to drive safely.

Sarah is still employed by her Sydney company and normally works regular British time office hours but occasionally, during conference events, she is required to work Australian hours and long shifts.  It is not feasible for her to work from home because of the amount of kit she uses for video editing but I always feel a bit nervous about her working in an empty building on her own all night and we have always said that we would taxi her home if she felt it wasn't safe to drive in the morning.  These events happen about three times a year and I'm always relieved when they're over.

Some people work night shifts on a permanent basis and adapt well to the lifestyle.   They might choose to do these unsocial hours because it fits in well with childcare or perhaps they need the extra bonus that these shifts attract.  Personally, I have worked a few night shifts in my lifetime and I absolutely hated them.  I can sleep all day and still feel like a zombie at night.  As student nurses we had no choice, night shifts were part of our rotation.  If it was a quiet shift we struggled to stay awake and keep watch while our patients slept - a busy night was so much easier.  What I really dreaded was being sent to fetch blood packs from the deserted laboratory in the middle of the night, it was just so spooky.  Or walking past the morgue to get to the canteen for the plate of greasy egg and chips that was served up for night workers.

I am so grateful that I can now go to bed when I choose and sleep all night.