31 December 2020


Last night I roasted the infamous bag of frozen parsnips with some carrots to accompany the boeuf bourgignon I had made in honour of Kat's birthday.  This morning I chopped up the leftover parsnips and carrots, sauteed some onions and garlic, added some spices, a chopped apple and chicken stock and simmered the whole lot for twenty minutes.  

chopped up parsnip and carrots

parsnip soup

It was a very tasty soup, maybe a bit on the thick side but everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Forget the soup, just give me the rabbit

30 December 2020



Using ‘gate’ as a suffix normally refers to a scandal in some form or other (e.g. Watergate) but over the Christmas period my daughter, Kat, has used it in connection to a series of kitchen crises.

On Christmas Eve it was ‘hamgate’ after I burnt the ham.  On Boxing Day we had ‘pastrygate’ when the sheet of pastry for Paul’s salmon en croute got tangled up and had to be re-rolled.

Overreacting? Moi?
Yesterday we had ‘milkgate’ after a leaky bottle of milk was delivered with our groceries.  The milk bottle was put away in the fridge door where it quietly formed a pool of milk.  When I tried to remove the bottle holder from the fridge door it suddenly flew off and sprayed milk around most of the kitchen.

Today it was ‘parsnipgate’ when I discovered that the bag of parsnips that came with our groceries yesterday were in fact frozen.  They are now fully thawed out so it looks like I shall be making some parsnip soup with them.

I have tried to explain to Kat that my hysterical OTT reaction to these little crises is perfectly standard behaviour in this household but she seems to think that both Paul and I hugely over react to everything.  I wonder what tomorrow’s ‘gate’ will be.



26 December 2020

Happy Christmas

Red skies early Boxing Day morning. There is a storm on the way, I think it’s got a name – Bella. This was our third Christmas in the bungalow, how time flies. 

We are lucky to have Kat with us, on leave from the RAF for three weeks. 

Rick just wanted to dance too
Kat's Xmas Day outfit


Christmas Day was jolly. We spoke to my 90 year old dad and his 91 year old girlfriend on Skype who had both dressed up as cowboys for the day. Then we linked up on line with our daughter, Sarah, who has escaped from Sydney for the holidays and is camping somewhere in the Australian countryside. Kat, Paul and I performed a special dance for her; we had been practising it for several days to the tune of “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” It was lovely chatting to Sarah but there were a few tears at the end. I’m not sure if she was missing us or whether it was our dancing. I have to admit we were a little out of time with our steps. 


Sarah's camping pitch in the Australian countryside.

The turkey was delicious. I cooked far too many vegetables so it looks like I might get bubble and squeak tomorrow. Today Paul cooked salmon en croute. Right now I feel like I may have slightly over indulged on food and bubbles. Happy Christmas everyone. 



17 December 2020

My Inner Chav

I blame it on my inner chav but I have to admit I have a weakness for animal skin print – leopard, zebra, cheetah, anything with spots or stripes.

Rick has adopted the armchair in the bay window, he spends hours sitting and looking out of the window (waiting for some poor, unsuspecting visitor to venture up the driveway). The leather chair has been covered by a throw to protect it from sunlight and Rick’s sharp claws but every time he jumped up the fabric would slide and I would have to rearrange it. My solution was to use the sheepskin rug that covered my foot stool, it is heavy enough to stay in position and sturdy enough to withstand Rick’s antics. 

This left me with a foot stool that needed a new cover. We bought the stool in 1983 at the Ideal Home Exhibition; it was part of a dark brown, buttoned leather three piece suite. We sold the sofa when we moved to France, and reluctantly left the two matching armchairs in France when we moved back to the UK. But I shall never part with my stool. Over the years the leather became worn and cracked and it has been re-covered several times, easy to do with just a metre of fabric. The fabric hidden by the sheepskin was a shade of terracotta that just didn’t fit in right with my colour scheme so I needed something a bit different. 


On Monday I ordered the leopard print online from the Yorkshire Fabric Shop and it arrived yesterday. This morning, with the help of my trusty assistant, I covered the stool with my exotic leopard skin velvet fabric. Voila, an instant makeover! 


13 December 2020

Crazy Times


“How was your walk today?”

“Rick attacked a man up a tree.  Grabbed his trousers and barked at him.”

“Stop fibbing.”

“I’m not.”



Hey Santa, you're barking up the wrong tree!


Paul climbed up into the attic yesterday morning with Kat to dig out the Christmas decorations.  “Isn’t that the board you left behind  in France?” she asked, pointing to a chess board leaning against the wall in front of the loft ladder.

“Don’t tell Mum!”

(We spent good money on an expensive new chess board recently to replace the one we thought had been left in France after Paul had thoroughly searched the attic.  We now have two chess boards.)


Deck the halls with boughs of holly

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la - or in my case, deck the fireplace with boughs of Leylandii.  

I went out into the garden this morning to scavange some greenery for a Christmassy display indoors.  I picked some rosemary, holly, rose hips, cotoneaster berries and pine cones together with some Leylandii branches.  

I put some cling film along the top of the fireplace to protect the polished surface and arranged the foliage around three white candles.  I'm quite pleased with the result.

8 December 2020



Rick is a good natured, friendly and loveable dog – until he comes face to face with the milkman, the newspaper delivery man or the postman at which point he turns into a demented werewolf and I have to hold his lead very tightly to restrain him.

On Tuesday I set off with Rick for his early morning walk.  It is always carefully timed so that we do not encounter any of the people mentioned above.  We stepped outside into a white, frozen winter wonderland, it was very pretty.  I set off down the driveway and turned left to walk along the main road through the village.  After a few yards I realised that the pathway and the road were covered in ice and my feet were starting to slide from underneath me.  I’m okay on roller skates but not on ice.  Just to make matters worse the milkman suddenly appeared ahead of me, quite a distance away but coming towards us.  Rick pricked his ears and his head went up, he had spotted his nemesis.  There was no way I was going to be able to stay upright on the ice if he started pulling on his lead.  There were no grass verges at this point so I headed towards the garden of an empty house where I was able to get a firm foothold on the grass.  We hid behind a hedge until the milkman had passed.

I carried on up the village walking along the grass verge and keeping off the slippery footpath and road.   We walked as far as the church and then turned around and headed for home.  I was just starting to relax when Mrs Yorkshire and her two spaniels, Bob and Sam, came into view walking towards me. Sam is a sweetie but Bob is a terror and this was going to be a sure recipe for disaster.  I decided to risk crossing the road and headed into a building site where we waited in the long grass until Mrs Yorkshire and her dogs had slid past. 

We eventually made it home.  “Nice walk?” asked Paul.



3 December 2020

Staying Cosy


It’s a dark and dismal day here in Lincolnshire.  The rain started when I took Rick out for his early morning walk and has continued throughout the day.  They have forecast snow on the high ground so this rain may turn into something else later.


staying cosy

It is definitely a day for staying indoors and keeping warm.  The central heating does a good job of keeping the bungalow warm but today we have the living flame fire alight in the sitting room to give an extra feeling of cosiness.  Earlier this morning I decided that some comfort food was the order of the day.  Paul and I try to eat healthily and avoid eating too much cake and biscuit, our only indulgence is a single finger of a Kit Kat chocolate bar with a cup of coffee in the evening.  But today I made some oat biscuits.  They started off fairly healthy and wholesome and then I went and spoilt it all by drizzling dark chocolate over them.  A naughty but nice tasty treat to accompany our afternoon cup of tea.


not very dainty biscuits