April 2008


The coldframe went up today! that involved quite a lot of frustration and swearing. Dad, remember those MFI wardrobes? these instructions were… well.. not quite as bad as those.. but bad enough. we had to break out the hammer at one point!

Anyway. coldframe is now up, so tomorrow i hope to put some things into it to harden off.. YAY! I’ve also taken more photos of spring and the garden, and a few of the better ones are behind the cut, as always.

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its been a while since i posted: to be honest, its been a while since i did anything.

The eviltortureguy (aka Mr Dentist) took another tooth out last tuesday, one of the large upper molars, and that knocked me quite for six – not just the pain of the actual tooth, but the subsequent infection, something called dry socket, apparently. Although i’ve antibiotics for them now, i couldn’t even sleep for a while on that side, any kind of pressure on my face was unbearable and as a result i was quite dopey and not really up to very much last week. However, i went back to the dentist last friday, he agreed there was an infection in there and prescribed the antibiotics, which i’m now taking, and after a 11 and a half hour marathon sleep session last night i actually.. finally.. feel human for the first time in weeks (its amazing how debilitating teeth problems can be).

I finally got back to work on the garden last saturday – i started the long promised, oft delayed bed 3, dug up, split and moved the large sedum (I hope it survives its surgery), the geranium, dug over the end of the bed and pulled up the weeds, and planted the raspberries. I also got a couple of tayberry bushes, so hopefully we’ll get some nice fruit off those as well. Those are by the fence, where they’ll get supported (I hope). There’s a little bit in the middle of bed 3 to dig over, and some soil to put around the existing redcurrant/blackcurrant bushes – i may even move them to give them some extra space, then i want to put the strawberries in the middle, with some borage seeds, and pack straw around the strawberries. Then it’ll be done, although i’ll have to keep an eye on the whole thing, and if necessary, set up some netting to keep the birds off.

I also planted the onion sets. The shallots are coming on nicely – i found out the difference between onion sets and shallot sets. Onion sets turn into onions, 1 set makes 1 onion. shallot sets, apart from making shallots (!), each set makes several shallots. The shallots are in bed 9, next to the potatoes, so there’s one bed left empty at the moment (not for long), bed 8, part of bed 7 (between the broad beans and the sweetcorn), bed 6 has a combination of shallots and onions, and bed 1 has garlic and peas in, with some empty space once the kale has flowered and produced seeds. Bed 2 is reserved for tomatoes and cucumbers, and bed 5 will be a combination of flowers, herbs and courgettes/squashes (which will love all that compost). Bed 3 is of course the fruit bed, and bed 4 next to the greenhouse, which will contain lots of pots and will have bedding plants around the pots.

There are some other beds to create, small ones, but things are proceeding apace, and while there’s a lot to do at this time of year, i’m not unduly behind (especially given the fact that april has been so cold and has delayed everything!). The big news has been that the housing have finally pulled their pants up and put in the temporary fencing: it doesn’t look pretty but it does the job, and i spoke to my neighbour and she’s cool for me to plant some sweetpea plants on her side to grow up the fence between us for us both to enjoy, which is good news (I may even ask if i can put a few pots in her garden, especially if i run out of space!).

Photos behind the cut – i’ve enclosed some of my recent spring shots, since momma nature has finally decided to get in gear… :) enjoy!

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if anyone is still in any doubt as to the rising cost of food.. take a look here:

Steep increases in food costs have added £15 to a weekly supermarket shop for a family of four in the UK, new research suggests.

Comparison website MySupermarket.co.uk says a basket of 24 staple items including tea bags, milk and eggs costs 15% more than it did 12 months ago”

things are much worse in the rest of the world. the price of rice doubled in seven months. wheat, oil and so on has all gone up by large amounts. the poor are struggling. This article has statistical info on what’s happening worldwide, but there is info all over the net. go look, educate, and start cooking wisely, storing food wisely, and not taking your weekly shop for granted any more…

you know.. when you surf for food as much as i do.. you occasionally come across some sites that tell you how not to present food… I’d like to pass a couple of them onto you. Before i do though, i should hasten to add that.. well.. if anyone’s reading this while eating.. i really wouldn’t. honestly.. i really would finish your meal then look at these. I take no responsibility if someone suddenly goes off their food..

First: The Weight Watchers recipe card index from 1974. We all know the 70s as the decade that good taste forgot.. but.. really. ick. Keep a special look out for the bean and mushroom salad, the slender quenchers (with a side helping of self loathing), the italian style roast chicken, the mexican shrimp orange salad (its the bluey-greeny goo that really worries me), and the onion sauce (blegh).

The world’s worst food site is next. special mentions go to: the lurid lime green creations on this page, the large pile of vomit topped with tomato soup, lemon mergingue pie with crisps (honest), macaroni cheese from sainsbury’s (I’m on a sainsbury’s hating kick tonight, evidently), bananas wrapped in ham or bacon and served with a cheese sauce (Thankfully the pic is in b&w), savory bacon applesdanish bacon and mushroom roll.

And finally, The Gallery Of Regrettable Food, including the meat section (you won’t want meat for your next meal i promise), and the final offering in the meat section.. this. i mean.. what WERE they thinking? Other delights include Olives in Aspic jelly, creamed lobster in a creamy lobster sauce (with cream), and these.. well.. they just defy description really.. and finally, nectar salad and scalp of klingon (no, really, that’s what it says).

Hope you enjoy!

the last few days have been rather maniac. I got extremely lucky at the supermarket on thursday evening: picked up three whole free range chickens from tescos, all reduced by half (saving me around £6 to £8).. just one drawback.. they all had to be cooked that day. And of course i never do anything by halves: i put two in the oven together when i got home, cooked them (useful note when catering for more than 4: two smallish chickens will fit in that roasting tin..), then left them to cool while the other one cooked – and that one we had for our dinner, along with roast potatoes and the last of the kale. Yum. very very yum.

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Did some more work on the garden today. I think i said yesterday that i finished shaping the beds i wanted to shape, but what i haven’t done – on here at least – is to give them names so you all know which beds i’m burbling about. more behind the cut as usual.

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more spring photos! spring seems to be gathering apace now, although the weather is still not very good..

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as promised on 14th March.. a new “day in the life of..” post.. this is a much more typical day than that from 14th March. Photo intensive so behind the cut. as always.

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attempt no 5 (between cancelling cos Michiel had to fly to the Netherlands and the dentist not being able to make it).. he finally saw me for the first appointment actually doing something to my teeth this afternoon.

I had IV sedation. that part was nice. they did rush me a little too fast, had to stop it and say whoa gimme a sec. agreed to do the IV part sitting up, then lie down when it was starting to kick in.

My memory of what happened is fading fast, its important to remember that while the drug is still in your system you do remember. He took one of the worst infected teeth out, which had almost completely crumbled away, which was another thing that nearly made me panic, i thought i was going to have a filling refilled today, which threw me some. I’m gonna go back in there early next week and talk to them about that, find out exactly what’s being done on friday because i need to know ahead of time. I remember it hurting, not in a bad way, but because there wasn’t much tooth left i think they had to be quite brutal to get it out. I remember drumming my feet on the base of the chair. it has a very dreamlike quality though and i’m not sure i’ll remember it later. The dentist himself was a great guy, very understanding with the IV. it was a small, thin needle, didn’t hurt at all (although Michiel couldn’t look). put it in, then connected the good stuff to the port and as soon as i started to feel dizzy, i lay back and he started to lower me in the chair. it was a good way to do it.

I also remember Michiel being there. he was there when the IV took effect, he told me afterwards he had gone back to the waiting room while they did my teeth but i don’t remember that, said it took about 5 minutes. (actually, he told me from eavesdropping to the nurse talking on the phone that the dentist had a meeting at 5.15 and i didn’t get seen till around 4.45ish, half an hour late, so i have to wonder if thats why he changed my treatment?) i have a vague memory of the nurse showing Michiel the bloody bits of my teeth in a tissue and him screwing up his nose in an ewww expression. Then he was telling me to get up and i didn’t want to, the chair was nice and comfortable. he sat me in the waiting room for a bit and apparently i was unco-operative, and rather drunk, and amusing. kept telling everybody thankyou and sorry. in sign language. (oh dear. i’m gonna be embarrassed when i go in monday. i guess they’re used to it, but still…)

then the taxi arrived and to my horror it was someone i know, who takes me home regularly from the supermarkets. I got in and i was like “oh i know you. you’re a very nice person.” and turned to BP and said: “I know him. he’s a very nice man”. (oh dear oh dear. i am soooo gonna pay next time i get in his taxi..).

BP got me home, paid the man and put me in bed. and i conked out for 2 hours. Mouth is still swollen/numb, i won’t be eating on that side for a bit, and i shall probably be dopey for the rest of the evening.

And i’ve got to do this again next friday.. oh joy..

I’ve not been doing too well the last few days: i think the soreness and stiffness from shifting all that compost last thursday made me sleep awkwardly.. and that’s done my back in. so no photos, no gardening, I’ve not even been walking Jess. its been hard, i’ll say that much.

But tonight, i needed something for dinner and decided to use the last of the leeks from the garden; leeks that had over wintered and needed pulling up soon anyway, as they’d a) go to seed b) i need the space soon. So potato and leek soup it was: fortunately i had both onions and potatoes and milk in my stores, and boullion is a constant in my storecupboard.

No recipe as such: just cut up a bunch of leeks, a bunch of spuds, an onion. Saute the onion in some olive oil and butter, add the leeks and potato, stir well. Add a combo of milk and water, stir in the boullion. bring to the boil then cook for half an hour. whizz, taste for seasoning and season. I added a little garlic powder too, just for a kick. yum. It made loads too. We’ve half a pressure cooker left.. :) Lunch tomorrow! More photos behind the cut..

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