27 December 2022

Over Indulgence


Mince pie and a glass of sherry, Christmas music, smoked salmon and prawns and a glass or two of sparkling bubbles, roast turkey with all the trimmings followed by plum pudding (accompanied by a glass or two of red wine), Christmas films and a few more drinks pretty much sums up my Christmas day. We had a Skype session half way through dinner with Kat and Craig; they had the day off and were waiting to go out for a meal with their squadron in sunny Cyprus.

I was, of course, busy in the kitchen in the morning but everything went very smoothly. So it should when you consider the number of turkeys I've cooked over the years. I wouldn't have it any other way; I've spent two or three Christmasses away from home and it's never felt quite right for me.

Boxing Day was another day of eating and drinking, I made Bubble and Squeak from the leftover vegetables (I adore eating this stuff) which I served with cold turkey and ham. When Paul served up sausage rolls and gyozas in the evening I had to decline, I just couldn't eat another crumb. No more wine for me either.

Now there is a lull before the New Year arrives and then hopefully Sarah will get the keys to Rose Cottage on the 3rd January and we will be busy helping her move and set up home.

22 December 2022

Beginning to feel like Christmas


I baked another Whisky Dundee cake yesterday. It was more successful than the last one, lighter and less dense. Not that I should be eating any more cake, my smart scales informed me this morning that my weight was up by half a kilogram. They also told me my muscle and fat mass, water % and that the weather was going to be cloudy with rain showers. I'm not joking.

I did some foraging in the garden this morning to make a Christmas table decoration. I started with a Yankee candle in the centre and then just added bits of greenery, rosemary, rose hips and fir cones. I dried some orange slices earlier in the week and managed to save a few pieces before Paul ate them. I was quite pleased with the result, nothing too fancy or sophisticated but enough to add a bit of Christmas cheer to the table. Hopefully it won't catch fire when I light the candle!

15 December 2022


Horse has been painted and now joins the other motley crew of bronzed figures on the shelf.  I think I need to do some culling in the New Year.

It's the village Christmas Quiz tonight but we shall have to give it a miss as Paul is unwell. Testing negative for Covid but he has clearly picked up a bug from somewhere.  Hopefully he will recover quickly and be able to enjoy the Christmas festivities.

13 December 2022

Oh Christmas Tree


I asked for a small tree this year but Paul and Sarah came home with a seven footer; I decided to put it up in the hallway this year; it's quite dark and Narnia like against the woodland background.  Apart from the tree and a wreath by the front door I am not doing any other Christmas decorations.

So nice to have Sarah at home again this Christmas.  This time last year we were on tenterhooks wondering if she would manage to get a flight home from Oz and pass all the Covid checks.  It's just a shame that Kat can't be here with us but we shall celebrate with her when she gets some leave in late January.

Rick helped Sarah decorate the tree.  He is good at things like that.  (Rick is the one on the right.)

12 December 2022



Saturday before the fog arrived

There is widespread snow across the country but none of the white stuff in Lincolnshire, just freezing fog. Sunday was Paul's birthday and he wanted to go out for lunch to an eatery on the banks of the Humber Estuary. Usually there are wonderful views across the river but yesterday there was just a total cold blanket of fog with fingers of white mist curling up across the embankment wall, quite spooky really. I had volunteered to drive home but the fog was so thick I accepted Sarah's offer to take the wheel, her young eyesight is better than mine in those conditions.

On Saturday I baked a Whisky Dundee Cake, something I traditionally do at Christmas time. I think I must have added the eggs too quickly but something went wrong and the mixture curdled instead of going creamy and fluffy. The cake tastes okay but a bit chewy, when I dropped a piece it bounced straight back onto my plate. I think I might have invented a new game!

8 December 2022

Skinny 'Orse

Sorry to disappoint you all but it's not a Rampant Rick or a Reindeer.  It's a Skinny 'Orse!


'Orse is skinny and has a stumpy tail because I ran out of clay.  And his head has dropped.    Maybe he will look better after I've painted him.  More mule than thoroughbred I think.

7 December 2022

Cold Moon


I trod very carefully when I took Rick out this morning, it was frosty and icy and I didn't want to slip over. We went out very early and it was barely light but I was rewarded by the most glorious moon set. It was an enormous orange and red globe just disappearing behind the horizon. Apparently it's a Full Cold Moon tonight.

I've been using up the remainder of the clay that was left over from the King's Head. Here are some teaser photos. Unfortunately my latest creation has been compromised because I have run out of clay. There is a danger that my home is going to be full of misshapen, rather dodgy looking sculptures but at least they are unique.

All will be revealed soon.

1 December 2022



Sarah is driving all the way to Nottingham tonight for a concert.

"I'm going to see the Who."

"What, with Roger Daltrey?"


"Yes, the Who.  You know, they sang Pinball Wizard and My Generation."

"No, not the Who, the Hu."

"Who are the Hu?"

"They are a Mongolian Rock Band."

"Ah, I see.  Not Roger Daltrey then."

"No mum."

So I googled the Hu and found this -  The Hu is a Mongolian folk metal band formed in 2016. With traditional Mongolian instrumentation, including the Morin khuur, the Tovshuur, and Mongolian throat singing, the band calls their style of music "hunnu rock", hu inspired by the Hunnu, an ancient Mongol/Turkic empire, known as Hünnü in Mongolia. Wikipedia

There you have it.  Sounds quite intriguing; I would have gone with her but it's a standing audience only.

28 November 2022

The King's Head

What a grey, damp and murky day we woke up to.  Overnight half the Golden Delicious apples have fallen from the tree.  I don't even feel inclined to go and gather them in this dampness.

I painted the sculpture and grandly christened it the King's Head as there is a passing resemblance to Prince Charles.  I then had the dilemma of finding it a home.

I couldn't quite bring myself to put him in the dustbin so he was headed to the attic to gather dust.  But then I saw a dark corner on the shelf unit and I've tucked him away, almost out of sight.  He can stay there for the time being.

27 November 2022

Soul Man


I'm having a nice, relaxed Sunday. Paul has been baking bread and cake and there is a delicious aroma emanating from the kitchen. We shall have the freshly baked bread with charcuterie and cheese for lunch.

We were out on the town last night, or more accurately - the village! A musical evening at the village hall featuring The Soul Man. We weren't too sure what to expect from this entertainment but the Soul Man was a class act. He effortlessly sang his way through a range of classic soul hits - his voice was amazing. I think Sarah was slightly bemused by the music but in the end she was up on the dance floor with the rest of us strutting our stuff. It was a great night out.

Rick was not too happy at being left home alone on a Saturday night. He has forgiven me now and is supervising me while I try and write this blog.

24 November 2022



Next week is the last posting date for BFPO (British Forces Post Office) overseas parcels to arrive in time for Christmas so we are busy putting a box together for Kat and Craig who are currently stationed in Cyprus. I can't say what's going in the box because they might see the blog!

Anyway, yesterday Paul and I drove to Gainsborough with a shopping list of items to get for the box. It was absolutely bucketing down with rain so we deliberately chose the Marshall's Yard shopping centre because there is plenty of parking and the shops are easily accessible. The site was formerly the Britannia Iron Works founded in 1848 making steam engines and agricultural machines that were exported worldwide. Like many engineering companies business declined in the 1970's and the works closed in 1980 but the site's industrial heritage is apparent with the old structures refurbished and now housing shops and cafes. History lesson over.

We managed to get the things on the list and then we wandered into Next clothes store and did something we have always resisted doing in the past. We bought Christmas jumpers! I don't know what possessed us but it just had to be done I suppose. Paul's has snowmen and reindeer, mine is more understated with just has a couple of sparkly reindeer. At least they are not matching.

22 November 2022



It's quite common for older people to be a bit clumsy and less co-ordinated than their younger selves. Sometimes there may be a serious underlying reason for this clumsiness but more often than not it's just a natural decline due to age.  Nonetheless it is very annoying when you break an expensive wine glass or chip that favourite mug. Yesterday I noticed that the coffee maker glass jug had a crack in it, I guess it had been plonked down too heavily on the worktop or had maybe caught the edge of the ceramic sink.

A nice cup of filtered Italian blend coffee is one of our daily luxuries. We do drink instant coffee but every morning at 10.00 we enjoy a freshly brewed pot of 'proper coffee' together with a rock bun. Rick has a Dentastix chew at the same time. So, after discovering the crack we decided to order a replacement jug for our four year old machine.

The price of the specific jug was £15.99 plus postage of £7.00.  The price of a new coffee maker on Amazon with free delivery was £ 39.99. I dislike the modern world's throwaway habits but it seemed more logical to me to spend a few pounds extra and get a brand new machine.  It will be here on Monday.

21 November 2022

Tarte Tatin


It was white and frosty underfoot when Rick and I set out this morning but there was a beautiful pink sunrise. Washdyke Lane was icy and slippery so I walked very carefully. I was hoping we would have some sunshine today but it is now very cold and grey outside, very wintry indeed. Sarah's swish eco-friendly, state of the art offices are having heating problems this morning so she is sitting at her desk with a fur coat on. She might be wishing she is back in Oz right now.

Yesterday I cooked a traditional roast dinner, chicken with bacon rolls, sage and onion stuffing, bread sauce and roasted vegetables. We had a guest with us from Canada so I pushed the boat out and made an apple tarte tatin for dessert.

tarte tatin

It doesn't look terribly pretty but it was just wicked. The butter and sugar had caramelised perfectly and it was such a nice way to use up some of the many apples I have stored outside in a shed. The tarte is easy to make, the hardest part is turning it upside down onto a plate as soon as it comes out of the oven. Paul is becoming very proficient at that part of the procedure. I even let him have seconds as a reward!

Arlene, our dinner guest, was very appreciative of the meal. It was the first time she had come across bread sauce and the tarte tatin was another new experience for her.

19 November 2022



I am currently relaxing and enjoying a glass of dry sherry while Sarah is in the bath and Paul is cooking supper. Actually, it's not sherry at all, it's the plum wine we made earlier this year but it tastes exactly like an Amontillado. 

I've had a lazy day. This morning I made a batch of yoghurt and then I gave Rick his weekly grooming session. He is very relaxed about being brushed and trimmed these days and he knows exactly what I mean when I call him for his “groomins”. He is a very different animal to the one we adopted back in the summer of 2017 – a four year old dog that had never played with a ball or a toy and was quite nervous about being cuddled. Nowadays he has indoor and outdoor tennis balls and always keeps Mister Bunny and Badger close at hand. He has also become something of a lap dog and every afternoon he waits to be invited onto the sofa for cuddles. I know I spoil him but he is my boy.

Time for supper now – cheesy cauliflower macaroni – lovely comfort food for a winter's evening.

18 November 2022

Yee Haw


Village Hall

It was line dancing this morning – a group of mature ladies from the village strutting our stuff. We have a wide repertoire of routines, dancing to all kinds of music, not just Country Western. It's good exercise and the more complicated dances stretch the mind too. I rarely put a step wrong these days unless I let my mind wander or get distracted by a passing goat outside and then I find myself doing a completely different dance to everyone else. Concentrate Susan!

Last month the village hall held a Country Western evening and our group were invited to perform. Maureen, our leader, agreed on the proviso that we didn't have to dress up as cowboys. Personally, I would have quite enjoyed wearing a Stetson and boots.

It was a jolly evening. We started off with Tina Turner's Nutbush City Limits and half the audience got up straightaway and joined in. So much for our show dance - it was manic. Things got so loud and lively that I struggled to hear the music but, luckily, I could still make out the low bass sounds and keep in time. Everyone was dancing, even Paul got up and joined in with the Grundy Gallop that I had taught him during lockdown.

all quiet and genteel...

...and then

Strutting our stuff (yes, that is Paul at the back)

The event was deemed to be a great success and our line dancing troupe were the stars of the evening.  Yee haw!

16 November 2022

More Practice Needed


I don't know who this geezer is but it's certainly not Paul!  I blame the model for disappearing into his garage after I started work.

I have learnt some lessons after my first attempt at modelling a bust sculpture.  Make the armature less flimsy (it was wobbling about all over the place when I started), use more clay and take more measurements.  He certainly doesn't resemble anyone I know -  the bulging eyes would suggest he's got a problem with his thyroid and try as I might I could not get rid of his pout!

I've put him in the spare room out of sight to dry out.

15 November 2022


It's been a wet and blustery day.  I took Rick out very early (it wasn't even daylight) so that we could be back home before the rain started.  I've had a busy day with household chores so have not had the opportunity to work on the sculpture - I really need a whole clear day without interruption to work with the clay.

Paul has just collected Sarah from Lincoln after her two day trip to London; her bosses had flown in from Sydney for a series of meetings.  She came home loaded with goodies, one bag containing a selection of Australian treats.  I have requisitioned the chocolate liquorice bullets.  Chocolate and liquorice together - heaven!  Unfortunately, the jars of vegemite were confiscated by customs.

14 November 2022



Step 1, the armature

You may remember that Sarah bought me a lump of mud for my birthday.  It was a piece of modelling clay and I have been waiting for the right moment to get creative.  Foggy November days seem like a good time to stay indoors and play.

My previous creations were a hare and a dubious looking kangeroo.  This time round I want to attempt a bust; I shall use Paul as a reference model but will not try and recreate his exact image.  The first part of the project was to make an armature, or framework to work around.  I asked Paul to insert a pole into a wooden plinth and then I have wrapped it with paper and foil; the next stage will be to slap a layer of clay onto this framework.  I shall start doing that tomorrow.  Such fun!

13 November 2022

Mother Hen


Paul has just driven Sarah to Lincoln so that she can catch the train to London. Her Australian bosses have flown into the UK for a business presentation and Sarah will be joining them for a couple of days during their brief visit, staying at a posh hotel near Marble Arch. Tonight is wining and dining, tomorrow work and then apparently a day of shopping!

Sarah has spent over a decade living and working in the centre of Sydney and it's many years since she travelled around London. She's not sure if she will take a cab or tube from King's Cross to the hotel but I gave her colour coded instructions for the Underground as it's not a direct line to Marble Arch.

Where do you keep your credit cards and phone? You need to keep them safe from pick pockets. What shoes are you wearing, the pavements kill your feet...”

Stop fussing mum, I'm 37 years old!”.

I just can't help myself.

12 November 2022


Chris Finnigan, one of the contestants

Last night Paul went to his bowling club and I was home alone with Rick so I had control over the TV remote. I ended up watching 'MasterChef the Professionals' and was inspired by the wonderful and complex meals they prepared for the tasting panel (although the mackerel scorched with a blow torch did not impress me or the judges). I got up this morning with thoughts of making an agrodolce sauce and ballotine of chicken but in the end I just made some soup for lunch.

I made a carrot and blue cheese soup from some left over Stilton. It's funny how blue cheese always ends up lingering in the fridge for weeks on end. I cut some celery from the garden and added an apple, onion, small potato and two carrots to the pot, stirring in the cheese at the end. Not MasterChef cuisine but it was very tasty and warming on this cold November day.

10 November 2022



It's Thursday and apart from a few on-line games of scrabble with friends and some household chores (I've washed Rick's blanket and hung it outside to dry - it looks like it might take off at any moment) I've got quite a blank sort of day. So I'll take you back to a weekend this summer when the Steampunks arrived in Lincoln.

Science fiction author K.W. Jeter created the term steampunk in 1987 to describe a style of fantasy fiction that featured Victorian technology, especially technology powered by steam. Steampunk fashion is a mixture of clothing inspired by characters from 19th century explorers, soldiers, lords, countesses and harlots to the punk, contemporary street fashion, burlesque, goth, fetishism, vampire and frills among others.

Sarah always loved dressing up as a child, and still does, so nothing was going to stop her dragging her family (Kat was home that weekend) into the city to see the spectacle. I'm so glad she did because I have never seen anything quite so wacky in my life. The castle and the cathedral provided the perfect backdrop for Steampunks of all shapes and sizes who were parading around the cobbled streets showing off their weird and wonderful outfits.

Sarah didn't have time to make an elaborate outfit

Sarah and Kat are already planning their costumes for next year's event.  Paul is wondering whether he suits a top hat...

8 November 2022

Riding Solo


Kat, Craig, Sarah and Paul are all passionate about cycling. Sarah picked up the habit last Christmas when she was here and has never looked back. I enjoy cycling too, but not to the same degree as my family.

Kat and Craig both cycle competitively in RAF teams. Paul and Sarah race via Zwift, the virtual system we have installed in the gym that enables them to compete against cyclists worldwide. They cycle outside too, taking part in the Lincoln Petit Grand Prix earlier this year. It was the first time Sarah had ridden in an event like this and she was thrilled by the experience; they both rode 76 kms in just under three hours.

By comparison I am a lazy cyclist. In the summer I enjoy riding around the countryside and taking in the sights. During the winter I find it harder, forcing myself to get on the bike in the gym three times a week. It would be easy for me to just sit back and put my feet up but I know how important it is to do this exercise. I am convinced that cycling has cured me of the chronic hip pain that I used to suffer from. Ten years ago I could hardly walk very far without discomfort. All that pedalling has strengthened my muscles and helped me to lose weight. I am probably the fittest I have been for a long time and I want to stay that way.

Paul and Sarah always invite me to join them on their weekend rides exploring the Lincolnshire countryside. Sometimes I decline, I find it quite disheartening watching them speed ahead and then slow down waiting for me to catch up. We have had some nice family rides though, with Kat and Craig joining us a couple of times. Happily Craig knows how to brake when he sees a pub so that is a definite bonus!

More often than not I venture out alone. I enjoy cycling solo, at my own speed with no pressure to keep up with other riders.