it feels like only yesterday that it was September and we were moving into our new house – yes, you can see the theme here. Where DOES the time go?!!! Seriously though, I promised Stoney an update a while back, and someone else some photos of our new home, so I’m combining all this and a year review in one blog post. And then I shall probably go silent again till I get another break at Easter…!

Anyway. Be warned. This is a VERY photo heavy post, which is why they’re all behind the cut. the page will take a while to load…

First of all, though, an update. The last three months have been very sad ones, as well as busy. University studies have taken most of my time, and are mostly going well – you can look at the Education page to view marks for specific assignments. But outside of studies, they’ve been sad because I lost both my grandmothers: my paternal grandmother at the end of October, and my maternal one just 2 weeks before christmas. Both had been ill towards the end; Nannie (Paternal grandmother) had broken her other hip and was in a great deal of pain, Grannie (Maternal grandmother) had had a spell in hospital a few weeks before but had just given up, mentally. For both, death was a release, a blessing, so to speak, but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that this year has been a very bad one for our family, especially as I lost my father in January 2011. I just hope 2012 will be substantially less painful.

Dad, in one of his favorite places in the world, Scotland.

Christmas was especially painful – not just because of Grannie’s funeral, just a few days before Christmas, but because, as a cousin of mine put it, “there were too many empty chairs”. I know exactly what she meant. It will take a while to get over this. I was far closer to Grannie than to Nannie – Grannie was the lady who owned Stoneheads house, the inspiration for this blog, and a woman who was also directly responsible for my childhood love of history and who never stopped encouraging me to learn, to develop, to make the most of myself. I shall miss her greatly.



FBG this morning hit another new low – 5.7. I actually have a graph on my wall of my FBG, next to the computer, and while its a series of dots all over the place, up and down, there is also a distinctive downwards curve – at the moment, while i am still swinging all over the place, it tends to be clustered around 7 mmol – whereas a few weeks ago it was clustered more around 8 mmol, which is a distinct improvement. what i have to do now is to try to keep it a little steadier, at around 6mmol rather than 7 mmol. I’m getting there, though, slowly.

I also had half a piece of rye bread for breakfast, and that didn’t spike me, which is really good news. The next thing to try is a whole piece of rye bread, because if i can tolerate that, then it immediately opens up what i can have for breakfast a LOT, plus it really helps in terms of a cooked breakfast, that little bit of carb. i mean, when you think of a cooked breakfast, toast or bread almost always features in there somewhere, or if not those, then potato products like hash browns, waffles, that kind of thing, or even fried potato slices. i’ve said this before but its actually very hard eating a purely protein/fat breakfast, and you get tired of it pretty quickly.

I took jess out earlier, and we ran into the leader of the gang of youths who likes to trouble us, a boy (i reckon he’s about 17) called Anthony. He was hanging out with two of his mates, one lad i’ve never seen before, the other i have, who i think probably has ADHD or something similar – he seems to have too much energy bound up in him, very exciteable, talks at 3,000 miles an hour, that kind of thing. Anyway, when i saw them, internally i was like “uh-oh”, and prepared to ignore them, but they saw me and came over, wanting to stroke jess. I tried to clamp my jaw down on my amazement and let them stroke her, keeping a very close eye on them, but that was really all they wanted, and jess, being the loveable dog she is, was quite happy to accept a fuss and give them kisses in return. it was like, for a few minutes, the tension between us was dissipated because of Jess and it was quite amazing. Then they resumed their usual teenage persona, grunted, and slouched off, chain smoking under their hoodies. Quite amazing, really.

Tonight is saturday, and saturday, in the Michiel and kethry household, is pizza night. I experimented last week with a cheese/egg base, but this week i want to experiment with using a couple layers of spring roll pastry to make a very thin base. I’m going to layer them in the cast iron pan i have, so that there’s a bit stretching up the side of the pan all the way around, well greased – between the sheets as well – then brush over the top of it, beaten egg. This will create a waterproof barrier between the tomato puree mix and the pastry. I’ll then treat it as a regular pizza – tomato puree mixed with oil, garlic and herbs, with cheese and salami on top of that, and see how it works. What i’m not sure of is whether to bake the filo pastry a lil first, to seal in the egg proof layer before i put the tomato puree ontop… i think i will, at least the first time. With luck it’ll provide a stable, crispy base for a thin pizza… and the carb content will still be pretty low.

as you can see, it wasn't an unmitigated disaster! Was actually pretty good, although it needs working on.

I simply laid filo (aka spring roll) sheets in the pan – where the sheets weren’t big enough, i layered them, although i never used more than 3 sheets per pan – brushed with oil to make the sheets stick to each other – and then with egg, to help provide a waterproof coating. tomato puree (mixed with olive oil, herbs, pepper, paprika and worcestershire sauce) went ontop of that, and then i treated it like a regular pizza – mozarella, cheddar, parmesan, salami, mushrooms, and lots of herbs and pepper. The net result was good – i love the crispy edges of the filo pastry where nothing had been baked on it, crispy and helped with a real crisp craving. the underside of the pizza was very very oily, though, which i wasn’t too happy about – had to wipe my fingers on tissue paper after eating. Not so good. So the next plan will be to see what i can get away with in terms of oiling the base – and perhaps experiment with cooking the sheets a little (with the egg wash), and THEN putting the tomato puree etc. ontop. Frustratingly, Michiel said he preferred last week’s pizza to this, but i preferred this one. argh.

In terms of BG, today was really good – the only time i went over 6 was before breakfast and after dinner, which is excellent in terms of keeping my BG stable (and what i need, really, to avoid the health complications from the diabetes).

Watched a programme tonight i’d recorded on the video thingie from way back around xmas (yes, we’re STILL catching up!), a horizon programme about dogs (link takes you to BBC Iplayer: the initial photo is a bit alarming but i assure you, the dog isn’t being harmed – its a thing to track dog’s eye movements when they look at human faces, nothing more sinister than that). I was absolutely right earlier when i typed about the power of a cute dog: apparently humans are preconditioned to respond to dogs in much the same way that we’ll respond to babies, and not only that, that stroking a dog triggers a release of something called Oxytocin, which is perhaps better known as the hormone that encourages mother-baby bonding, its released during breastfeeding and feels very very good. Even more amazing: dogs get the same release when we pet them. So if your pet looks like she’s enjoying that tummy scratch, chances are she really is – about as much as you are! Even more amazing: some dogs have the same cognitive ability as a 2 year old child: hold up a model or a picture of a toy train and ask them to go get it, chances are they will. But amazingly, Betsy, a very smart border collie, ALSO gets it – and she has a vocabulary of around 340 words. They’re keeping her location secret (understandably so), and the researcher said its not common to all dogs – she tried on her own, and was only able to get him to understand 2 words after a lot of training.

Still, it makes me wonder: we know Jess is intelligent, and that she deserves, really, to be encouraged to make the most of it, just as a human is, so i wonder how much she could do of something like that? so last night i tried training her… I’ll let you know how it goes.

[data behind cut]


I know i know, another jess/snow video but.. damnit. she’s so CUTE!


Originally uploaded by kethrybp

She adores the snow. simply, absolutely, loves it. lies in it. rolls in it. eats it. burrows under it. she’s never happier than when she’s dragging me out for walkies when there’s fresh snowfall…

i make no apologies for posting two gorgeous pics of our sleepy puppeh… behind the cut as always…


Jess was *most* unhappy this afternoon. She really doesn’t like it when i go in the garden without her. Its DANGEROUS out there, yanno! And she has to be there to protect me from things like.. like.. killer bees! and.. and.. traps in the lawn, where there are holes and stuff! But i was working with the strimmer and strimmers and dogs don’t mix. She doesn’t even like the vaccum cleaner, never mind the strimmer, which roars more loudly. She stood on the living room windowsill and barked. Loudly. Translation: “MOMMMMMMMM!”

LOOK! Something is moving! I can haz pounce! YAY!

LOOK! Something is moving! I can haz pounce! YAY!


Michiel cuddled her though and then she calmed down, but when i had finished with the strimmer and we let her out.. ohhhh.. one deliriously happy puppeh..

more photos behind the cut, of course. Photos by me. Words by Jess… well.. kinda.. 🙂


I caught Jess peeking over the back of the sofa earlier this evening. Our sofa sticks out into the middle of the living room, and when Michiel is due to take her for a walk, she often watches eagerly to see when he’s ready to take her. She’s also very camera shy: i took the first two shots on a zoom, but when i got closer, she turned away…. So cute!

What i could see from where i was sat at my desk...

What i could see from where i was sat at my desk...

What i could see when i stood up, taken on zoom. Isnt she adorablely cute?

What i could see when i stood up, taken on zoom. Isn't she adorablely cute?

I also hung the butterfly mobile today in its final position… it looks lovely! So bright and cheerful – i can’t wait to see them on a bright summer’s afternoon, fluttering in the breeze (might even make another version to hang outside from the arbor).

butterfly mobile, in place, in the bedroom window...

butterfly mobile, in place, in the bedroom window...

today’s been about pottering around: i pulled some of the gardening stuff that got dumped in a box in the closet of doom out, sorted through that. Found a clothes line i don’t remember buying in there! that’ll be handy, cos our old line broke late last year. I’ve also been sorting out the finances: we get paid tomorrow, and with a new strimmer to buy, i’ve been making sure we really can afford it. (thankfully, we can). This is the strimmer i’m picking up tomorrow, i have it reserved for me, so it’s just a question of picking it up and paying for it. Its quite expensive, relatively speaking, and i’m taking a risk with it because we could get a letter on thursday offering us a really nice flat without a garden, and i’d have just wasted £30, but its got a wider strimming “circle” than the old strimmer, which i struggled with, frankly, about 14cm wider, which is great. Its also not cordless, 10m cord, and we have an extension cable if necessary, which means in principle i can do the entire garden in one go (which i never could with the old cordless strimmer, the battery always ran out). This led to problems because i could never guarantee getting out there when the grass was dryish (especially in Manchester – I mean, there’s a reason the city (founded on cotton mills) is here, and its to do with having an awful lot of rain!) and being able to do it all in one go, which meant i couldn’t really stay ontop of the grass cutting. I should find it much easier with this one. I just sincerely hope i don’t get a letter on thursday offering us a dream flat – at least one without a garden (but then, it wouldn’t be a dream flat …)!!!

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