Thursday, 16 June 2016

It's been a long time...

... Since I last did any drawing or painting. I used to quite enjoy it in my teenage years and have doned  few small paintings for family members as gifts over the years, but I haven't sat down and put brush to paper for simply ages so I thought I would break the fast, as it were.
I used watercolour pencils (borrowed from my daughter) as it was quite fine work and my eyesight is not what it was. Once the picture was completed, I used a fine brush dipped in water to soften it all together.

Not too bad for a first attempt in a long old while. I might try a robin next?

We collected Jet from the vets yesterday. He has had his second op which went very well. He is now lying on my feet with the cone of shame on his head feeling very morose! I suspect I may be glued to this seat most of the day. Mr D was meant to be off today and tomorrow so we could share the babysitting duties, but he was offered an extra 2 days of work. We could hardly say no considering the scary vet bill we have just paid! The vets have been good at keeping it to a minimum, knowing we were paying direct this time (last time the insurance paid for most of it), but the veterinary hospital  seem to like spending our money willy nilly- they gave Jet pain relief which costs £120 for a few drops on then back of his neck! As our vet said, it's good stuff BUT there are many other far cheaper options, so she took that off our bill and will fight it with the hospital direct. She also took an extra 10% off as we are regular customers. It all helped but it was still over £3000. Hey ho, we have a titanium filled bionic dog now :)

Terrible photo but the light is so grey :( 

I had a day of phone calls yesterday! It was my volunteering day, so it's the only point in the week where I have 2 hours when I absolutely DO NOT look at my phone. I had 8 missed calls, two voice mail messages and two texts. I don't normally get that in a week. I then realised my emails weren't working. I tried BT but (as many of you will know), they were more chocolate teapot than help. I still cannot get on to my emails this morning despite being told I would be able to log on after the 12 hour suspension. It's bloody inconvenient with all the solicitors using email to communicate.
I think we exchanged on my Mums house and our house sale yesterday...I would know for sure if I could get to my emails...BIG SIGH.
We are no further with our purchase though. This is going to take some heavy pushing on my part. We get paperwork sent through from their solicitors that is partially complete, some that is not compliant with what we need and some that is incorrect full stop and it all seems to take forever. This could take a while, but if it doesn't tie in, it won't be for want of me trying. One question for those of you with more rural properties.....did any of you have restrictive covenants on the property and if so have they been an issue? There are some with this property which I don't think should worry us, but is a new thing for us - semis in suburbia don't often have covenants attached.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Tuna crisp crumble

Another non vegan, non GF recipe I'm afraid, although it could easily be adapted to be GF at least.
This is a store cupboard fallback meal which my mum used to make quite regularly. You could use tinned salmon instead of the tuna.

To serve two:-
1 tin tuna, drained and flaked into small chunks
1 tin condensed tomato soup (I couldn't find any, so had to use normal tomato soup - runnier end result but same taste)
1 cupful of frozen peas

Place the above into a shallow oven proof bowl

3 tbsps flour (any will do)
1 tbsp butter
3 small pkts ready salted crisps, crushed whilst in their packets.

Rub the butter into the flour as you would for a crumble. When it resembles crumbs, stir in the crushed crisps and a good grind of black pepper. No salt needed of course due to crisp. Use this mixture to sprinkle over the top of the tuna mixture.

Place in a hot oven (200c) for approximately 30 mins until golden brown and bubbling.
Serve with salad and crunchy French bread .... Well that's how I serve it! I guess it would also be nice with green beans or stir fried courgettes..

It's such an easy recipe and doubles or triples easily if you're feeding more. One note of warning though - it is BURNING hot when it comes to out of the oven and stays that way for quite a while.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Easy Saturday tea and miracle worker

House stuff still trundling... Slowly. What a dreadfully tedious process the whole thing is!

Meanwhile, life also continues inexorably onwards. ....

I don't know about you, but we tend to have an easy tea on a Saturday evening. Saturday's are often a day where we catch up with errands, so we are out and about, so a quick tea is in order.
We used to have 'sandwich tea' pretty much every Saturday, which is terrifying considering my eldest daughter was being exposed to all that gluten every week! Yikes.
This recipe is a deviation from my norm as it is neither vegan nor gluten free (well it could be GF if you used GF pitta breads), but it is extremely easy and quick to prepare, so I thought I'd share it anyway.

Coriander chicken, hoummous pitta pockets

Chicken breast cut into small strips
1 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander and turmeric
Juice of 2 lemons
The finely chopped stalks of a small bunch of fresh coriander

Marinate the chicken strips in the above ingredients either overnight or for a couple of hours depending on when you realise you have no chicken in the house!

Mix hoummous (either home made or shop bought) with some natural yoghurt to thin.

Chop the coriander leaves and mix with other salad leaves - whatever you have to hand.

Fry the chicken strips in a little oil to cook. They need to be still tender but cooked through. Serve the chicken with a good dollop of the hoummous mix and pitta breads

Delicious :)

On another note, my brother and his wife went down to Mums house this weekend to sort out the garden. I had dealt with the house, so he was charged with getting the garden back under control before handing the house over on 22 June (fingers crossed). He has worked an absolute miracle on it. Here are the before and after photos. Bear in mind he arrived Friday morning and took the after photos on Saturday evening - when he gets going he works like a thing possessed :) He has been known to be banging fence posts in in the dark with just the light from a head torch to help....

Before rear garden 

Before rear garden 

Before front garden 

After front garden 

After rear garden 

Sad as I am to be letting go of the home I loved  most during my childhood and young adult years and the home I  got married from and brought all my children to on 'holiday', I will also be very relieved that it is no longer my responsibility. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Inching forwards

Firstly, a warm welcome to Michelle - a new follower (and sister-in-law to a good friend). Hopefully you'll overlook the fact that you have joined at a rather sparse moment :)

Quick update on house situation.
Mum's house is proceeding well and they hope to move in on 20 June. My brother is going down this weekend to attack the garden and get it into a more presentable state and then bring back the last few bits from the house. I have then organised for a house clearance company to deal with the rest and then may ask my mums old cleaner to pop by for a quick wipe round.
It's been a year since my Mum died this Thursday. I can hardly believe that a whole twelve months has passed by. It's a funny thing grief. Most of the time now, I recall the funny bits and enjoy remembering back to some of the more ridiculous sides of my mother's behaviour (she wasn't easy!) with humour and fondness. As the anniversary approaches though, I feel greater sadness at missing her and the fact that she isn't here to share my news. Then, I realise that she wouldn't have been able to process any of my news anyway without it getting all confused and muddled and probably instilling panic. All in all, as harsh as it may sound, we are probably all better off with the situation as it is. I still miss the Mum she was though :(

Our house sale is also proceeding and contracts have been signed now. They are hoping to move in here early August... We have started a more earnest clear out of sheds and loft, but the main house packing will have to wait a while yet. We have had a few quotes for removals firms, but I have to say none of them inspired me much. Also why do they all talk so much?!! For heaven's sake, I don't want to know your life history, I just want you to look round, work out how big a lorry we need and tell me how much it will cost. If you have any recommendations of national firms, feel free to let me know!

Finally today (6/7 weeks after we made the offer) we have had the initial paperwork for the house we are hoping to buy. There are a few niggles and queries, but I finally have a sense that it might actually happen. I know the sellers have had an offer accepted on a house, so they might be a bit keener to move now. I have my secret 'assassin' in situ to drop subliminal messages to the present owners about moving out early August - my sister-in-law has got to know them, so is a good ally to have on the ground :)

In other news, Jet is going in for his second op on the other elbow on 14 June. We hate having to do it because he has recovered so well from the previous op and is the happiest and fittest we have seen him, BUT he needs it doing or he will have terrible issues later in life and this way he will be mostly recovered enough to enjoy his 3 acre playing field!
We took our male cat to the vets on Saturday. He's a feisty customer and took a great chunk out of Mr D's wrist when we put him in the cat carrier. We warned the vet...ha! For her he was sweetness and light, allowing her to do anything whilst he purred sweetly at her. He even hopped back into the carrier all by himself when she'd finished! Fickle or what?

Anyhow that's it for now. Nothing to write home about and no lovely pictures, but I will make it up to you soon. Thanks for continuing to pop by and leaving nice comments - I appreciate it :)