Month: October 2017

Local Produce…

I love my food and I love growing vegetables.  I grew up in the country and worked on farms, and I had a career in the agriculture industry, or to be more exact, everything from the ground to the mouth.  But never have I been able to grow a pumpkin like this bad boy.  This was at our local Booths which is a Northern supermarket that only sources local produce and is incredibly green and ethical.

Needless to say, the products they have are delicious.  My all-time favourite is their store baked Mince Pies, which has crispy pastry and the mincemeat inside is amazing.  I have never really liked mince pies and found the Christmas tradition of eating them something that I turned my nose up at, but Booths, WOW.  I bought 8 of them and will be enjoying them later with some extra rich Jersey cream.  I also bought a rather large custard tart, lemon cheesecake and a strawberry cheesecake so it will be a sweet night.

Happy 17th Birthday Lilu

Today Lilu would have been 17 years old.  We always took her to McDonalds for a cheeseburger (no onions of course) to celebrate, that and a lot of treats and toys.  As my readers know, we lost Lilu just over a month ago.  However, we decided to carry on with tradition and went to McDonalds, bought 2 cheeseburgers with no onions, one for Harper and the other as a symbol for Lilu.  Even though she was not there in physical form, we hope that she was with us in spirit and enjoying her birthday.

Happy Birthday sweetie x

Christmas looms closer…

dear-santaWith that, I have started buying my Christmas presents.  I have bought quite a lot, and have wrapped them already.  I am only buying for M, Harper, Mum and her hubby and my niece and nephew.  My siblings and I decided on my suggestion that we do not buy for each other.  I decided to WhatsApp chat with them all to suggest this as each year we buy each other gift cards.  A few years ago I went out of my way and spent a fortune one them all, and did not receive a thanks or anything else for that matter.  So, I decided why bother.  With the loss of our wee dog, things gained perspective, and I was glad I made that decision, there is no love lost between us all, and true colours over the years have all of a sudden become blatant, so I will not regret, or have to sit there thinking about what to buy, and if they liked it.  It makes Christmas easier to deal with.

I enjoy buying for M, and each year I have gone totally overboard, but this year we said that we would stick to a £50 limit.  M questioned this limit the other week, and I said I was more than happy to stick with it, after all, I do not need anything at all, and want for nothing, hell I even have a framed picture from North by Northwest complete with Cary Grants signature, I literally have everything I want, well, apart from a new Range Rover and a new top end iMac, and maybe the new iPhone X, but apart from that I have no needs.  Even the things I would love to have are not needed, I have a new car bought only in January, I have a perfectly good MacBook Pro that I bought myself last year along with a new iPhone, so all told I really do not need anything.  Not even knitting stuff.  I have a stash of yarn that if unwound and tied end to end would circumnavigate the earth several times.  Maybe I am missing a few extra long circulars, but being honest, if a pattern calls for it and I do not have it, I will just order one from Amazon.  One of my many traditions of Christmas wrapping is that I go totally mad, one year cost me about £70 to wrap them, not because there were many to wrap, although there were, it was due to the things I used, including hand-carved wooden deer, stag and Santa tags, handcrafted organza ribbon that was beautifully decorated, and other things, not to mention the paper.  This year we have stepped it down a few notches, okay, quite a lot of notches so far.  The paper that I have is a frosted blue with deer and rams on it, very festive, but I need to find bows and ribbons, and of course, name tags.  Yes, lots of them are wrapped, but not completed until I find the perfect additions.

Down to one dog, so no doubling up on each thing.  Lilu taught Harper to open her presents, the first year Harper was bewildered, but she was only just over four months old.  The year after she watched and copied her, and last year as soon as we took something from under the tree and placed it in front of her she tore apart the wrapping and had a wild time, usually with the wrapping as she has a thing for ripping up paper and cardboard.  Again, she does not need for anything.  I have just bought her a new winter coat, she has a sturdy police harness, and she gets toys and balls all the time, however, I will make sure she has lots to play with.  We have bought her one thing so far, a talking ball that taunts her with sayings like “I’m gonna get you”, “Hey Puppy!”, “Woof, woof woof”, and more besides.  She has one already that we bought from Ireland and she loves it, but being a Staffy, she chews through everything, no matter how tough it is.

Purchasing for parents is a bind too, my Mother changes her hobbies at a rate of knots, one year gardening, next knitting, the next painting (even went as far as having a studio).  Her Hubby is easier as he likes to make things from lego to 3D puzzles.

My next task will be to decide on the menu and to make a Christmas cake, the latter will be started in the next week or so and of course full of cognac which I inject into the cake to “feed it”.  Mmm, I fancy some cake now.

The last few days…

I cannot believe it is Friday already, the week seems to have flown by, and I feel I have abandoned you all by my lack of updates.

My sweater is coming on well and I have nearly finished the back, but due to the instructions, I have had to have moments of contemplation to make sure I am doing it right, especially when it says to knit till 80cm, then talks of reducing by 2cm, which did not make sense, so after putting it all down and reading it many times, I sussed out that it meant 2cm from top of the finished front measurements, which meant in essence, knit till it is 80cm.  Pointless instruction really, but I am past that quandary, so the back will be finished this weekend, if not tonight and the arms started.

Wednesday I decided to take M and Harper to Blackpool for the illuminations as the weather had finally settled and we had a day without rain.  I have been going to Blackpool Illuminations since I was a kid, not every year though.  We took my mum last year with us and the two dogs after spending the day in the Lake District (boy was that a long day).  I thought it was a good idea, but, and there is always a but, the traffic was terrible.  All the kids are off for half term and it was like the whole of the UK had come to the seaside to see the same thing.  The tower was not too far away, and we saw the light switch on at 6:30pm.  We then sat in traffic that just seemed to move at a snail place, and it was close to 8pm by the time we had got to the tower.  We headed north and then turned about to go the full stretch and see all the lights.  Now, this should have been easy and free of congestion, but no, it was almost standstill.  The illuminations are 6 miles long (10km), but rather than taking about 30 to 40 minutes to drive the length and see all the lights it took us 3 hours.  Yes, three long hours to do 6 miles.  So you could image the frustration of just sitting there, hoping for movement.  We had hoped to park up and get fish and chips, the staple of any seaside visit, but alas, this did not happen as we just could not see anywhere to park until we got close to the end of the lights, but all the chip shops had closed.  We arrived home about 20 past midnight, a little exhausted and of course, starved.  I thought I would treat you all to the view I had for three long hours, the back of this blue car that constantly had their brake lights on.

My aquarium levels have settled and I have new life in there.  Some of my fish have been breeding and as a result, the babies have managed to get into the weir through the little grills, then swept through the pipework into the sump where they are having a great time.  The first batch of babies are about half an inch long, and the new ones are only a one or two millimetres long.  Not sure how many we have in there as it is not very bright in there, which is good as I do not want the larger babies to eat the tiny ones.  My reedfish, which is like a snake is getting longer, and s/he is out all the time and has given up hiding in the big giant head.

Apart from all that I have been having sleepless nights again with full on insomnia, and when that is not in full swing I have really bad nights sleep, restless and mostly snoozing and not much proper sleep.  I am used to it, as I have been like this for 20+ years, but sometimes this really does tire me out, this week is no exception.

 

 

Best Friends…

As you will know, Lilu passed away on 27th September.  Even though it is just under 4 weeks since her passing, it is still quite raw.  M and I were looking at photos and videos of her the other day, both smiling and remembering the good times we had with her, and that she was such a happy little lady.  Each week gets a little bit easier, but there is always a part of each week when something makes the loss of her feel as though it has just happened, and it is hard to fight back the tears.  Last Friday when I was at the supermarket I saw a friend who works there, and it brought it all back as she was the first friend I saw after Lilu passing (Lilu passed Wednesday night, and I saw N on Friday), and she told how sorry she was and hugged me.  Seeing her in the same place just made it all so raw again.  Not that it was N’s fault, it just happened to be like going back in time.  (Hope I am making sense.)  Some friends do not understand these feelings as they say it is only a dog, but to us, she was part of our little family.  I could cope happily with the loss of my human family as I am not that close to any of them, but our dogs are our life.

One who is missing Lilu is her best mate Harper.  Harper came into our lives when she was 5 weeks old back in 2014.  We went to a little place north of Preston and the lady had two puppies left, both identical, both pop bellied beauties.  One was running about having a wild old time, and the other just sat watching the other, and came over to me sitting on the floor, plopped herself down next to me, stared at me, then waiting for a belly rub.  Needless to say, that puppy was Harper-Lee, and she came home with us that evening.  Lilu was a little “what fresh hell is this” as this tiny bundle ran about the house exploring.  Lilu got into her bed which we put in the lounge whilst we were sat there, quickly followed by Harper, who snuggled in and fell fast asleep.  From that point on they always snuggled in with each other.  Lilu would mother her, lick her clean, play, and generally show her the ropes.  For just over three years they were side by side, no matter where they were, or what they did.

Partners in Crime?  Maybe.  Best Friends?  Definitely.

Lilu & Harper

Lilu & Harper

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