Sunday 23 March 2014


Hello everyone. Just back from a long walk with Furface and sat here listening to Elaine Pages' annoying laugh on radio 2.  It's show tunes hour and I'm loving it! 
Let me start with the last blog entry's cliff hanger....
Picture the scene.  Brussels, hotel lobby, full uniform and just checking out when I start to feel odd. Odder than usual.  Light headed, cold sweats, the whole shebang.  I ask where the toilets are, to be told on the first floor.  I don't look well and would I like some help? I do need help, but start saying "I'm not going to make it, I'm going down.....", as I start sliding down the reception desk.  Cue the security guard running up to me, shouting "code blue" into his ear piece, the receptionist dashing off to get water and me spread eagled on the cool marble floor of the Sheraton.  Dripping wet.  Still clutching my trolley bag.  Just when things couldn't get any worse, a United airlines crew walk in.  
"Oh my Gaaawwwdddd, he's down, British Air is down, someone do CPR.....".  Now, don't get wrong, whilst I was flattered they wanted to save me, I was slightly dubious as to their medical training.  We are taught to only start CPR if the person is not breathing and showing no signs of life/consciousness. Someone sweating, trying to hide their face to cover the embarrassment of the situation and crawling to the corner of reception, generally speaking, is not in cardiac arrest.  Maybe it's different in the U.S? 
All I can see is black shoes. The ugliest black shoes on the planet.  I appreciate that as crew you need comfortable footwear, but crocs? Black crocs??? For a hostile???  Plus a pair of shoes that can only be described as something form the set of Dick Whittington.  Black & clumpy, with a huge gold buckle on the front.  
The receptionist asks if I had eaten anything? No, I hadn't, so she disappears and returns with a croissant.  "Eat this", she says, "you've got low blood sugar". I start giggling, as it reminds me of a Victoria Wood sketch; Julie Walters demanding the last croissant, "I need that pastry, I'm hypoglycaemic"!!!!Within 10 seconds of eating the croissant, I feel absolutely fine again.    Just mortified! 

Anyway, back to the bentoes.  Just a couple this week. Still haven't discovered the perfect healthy salad type thing I can put into it.  Something that will keep for a few hours when tearing around Europe.  



Milo and I have been going to training on a Monday night for nearly a year now, I think.  He is much better, but I'm still anxious about letting him off the lead sometimes.  A deer, rabbit or pheasant scent and he's off.  I know he will come back, but in his own good time.  I usually take a snack and drink with me, so I can sit and wait for him.  In fairness, he is getting better and doesn't bugger off for quite so long anymore.  
I usually bake something to take to training classes.  Found this bone shaped cutter in Germany and it's perfect for shortbread.  
                 

Went a bit mad on the seed front last week.  I can't resist once we have 2 days of sun, I head into the garden, cuppa in hand and start planning crops for the coming year.  No news on the allotment front as yet.  Still waiting for the field to be ploughed.  Annoying, as we were promised it would be ready for autumn planting!  Well, seeing as it's now March,I think their time management is slightly out.  Maybe they mean this year? 


My new crafty kit arrived in the post.  An idiots guide to crochet.  Still struggling with it.  Even with the pictures. What is one down from an idiot? Must be me. 


The girls are doing well.  Getting 3-5 eggs a day, even Pru the old lady is laying again.  She is 6 1/2 and doing ok.  Look at poor Oona in the background.  She is oven ready and has been like that for 8 months now.  No signs of mites or feather pulling, but she is simply refusing to grow feathers.  She lays the largest eggs I have ever seen, but is the smallest hen.  
                      

Cornelia is laying her lovely dark brown eggs that I've missed so much.  Only 3 a week or so and no doubt she will be broody before the month is up.  *mutters*
                      

                                                            A close up of the angel's face....
                           

I posted this on Facebook a while ago.  Forgot to post it here!  I love this picture! 


I'll leave you with some words on wisdom.  Well, my wisdom which is slightly skewed in the real world. 
Don't wear your new Superdry tshirt, when painting a wall. 
Even though your 'well trained' terrier hasn't legged it in the woods for 5 days running, doesn't mean he won't do it on day 6. 
No matter how good your teeth are, you can still break a tooth on a pork scratching. #dentistbookedformonday

C x x x 
p.s still having problems posting from my ipad!!  I wrote the whole post out, including pictures, then it wouldn't publish.  I had to copy, paste and email it to my MacBook to publish it.  Any ideas?  

Hello everyone. Just back from a long walk with Furface and sat here listening to Elaine Pages' annoying laugh on radio 2.  It's show tunes hour and I'm loving it! 
Let me start with the last blog entry's cliff hanger....
Picture the scene.  Brussels, hotel lobby, full uniform and just checking out when I start to feel odd. Odder than usual.  Light headed, cold sweats, the whole shebang.  I ask where the toilets are, to be told on the first floor.  I don't look well and would I like some help? I do need help, but start saying "I'm not going to make it, I'm going down.....", as I start sliding down the reception desk.  Cue the security guard running up to me, shouting "code blue" into his ear piece, the receptionist dashing off to get water and me spread eagled on the cool marble floor of the Sheraton.  Dripping wet.  Still clutching my trolley bag.  Just when things couldn't get any worse, a United airlines crew walk in.  
"Oh my Gaaawwwdddd, he's down, British Air is down, someone do CPR.....".  Now, don't get wrong, whilst I was flattered they wanted to save me, I was slightly dubious as to their medical training.  We are taught to only start CPR if the person is not breathing and showing no signs of life/consciousness. Someone sweating, trying to hide their face to cover the embarrassment of the situation and crawling to the corner of reception, generally speaking, is not in cardiac arrest.  Maybe it's different in the U.S? 
All I can see is black shoes. The ugliest black shoes on the planet.  I appreciate that as crew you need comfortable footwear, but crocs? Black crocs??? For a hostile???  Plus a pair of shoes that can only be described as something form the set of Dick Whittington.  Black clumpy, with a huge gold buckle on the front.  
The receptionist asks if I had eaten anything? No, I hadn't, so she disappears and returns with a croissant.  "Eat this", she says, "you've got low blood sugar". I start giggling, as it reminds me of a Victoria Wood sketch; Julie Walters demanding the last croissant, "I need that pastry, I'm hypoglycaemic"!!!!Within 10 seconds of eating the croissant, I feel absolutely fine again.    Just mortified! 

Anyway, back to the bentoes.  Just a couple this week. Still haven't discovered the perfect healthy salad type thing I can into it.  Something that will keep for a few hours when tearing around Europe.  



Milo and I have been going to training on a Monday night for nearly a year now, I think.  He is much better, but I'm still anxious about letting him off the lead sometimes.  A deer, rabbit or pheasant scent and he's off.  I know he will come back, but in his own good time.  I usually take a snack and drink with me, so I can sit and wait for him.  In fairness, he is getting better and doesn't bugger off for quite so long anymore.  
I usually bake something to take to training classes.  Found this bone shaped cutter in Germany and it's perfect for shortbread.  
                 

Went a bit mad on the seed front last week.  I can't resist once we have 2 days of sun, I head into the garden, cuppa in hand and start planning crops for the coming year.  No news on the allotment front as yet.  Still waiting for the field to be ploughed.  Annoying as we were promised it would be ready for autumn planting!  Well, seeing as it's now March,I think their time management is slightly out.  Maybe they mean this year? 


My new crafty kit arrived in the post.  An idiots guide to crochet.  Still struggling with it.  Even with the pictures. What is one down from an idiot? Must be me. 


The girls are doing well.  Getting 3-5 eggs a day, even Pru the old lady is laying again.  She is 6 1/2 and doing ok.  Look at poor Oona in the background.  She is oven ready and has been like that for 8 months now.  No signs of mites or feather pulling, but she simply is refusing to grow feathers.  She lays the largest eggs I have ever seen, but is the smallest hen.  

                      

Cornelia is laying her lovely dark brown eggs that I've missed so much.  Only 3 a week or so and no doubt she will be broody before the month is up.  
                      

                                                            A close up...
                           

I posted this on Facebook a while ago.  Forgot to post it here!  I love this picture! 


I'll leave you with some words on wisdom.  Well, my wisdom which is slightly skewed in the real world. 
Don't wear your new Superdry tshirt, when painting a wall. 
Even though your 'well trained' terrier hasn't legged it in the woods for 5 days running, doesn't mean he won't do it on day 6. 
No matter how good your teeth are, you can still break a tooth on a pork scratching. #dentistbookedformonday

C x x x 
p.s still having problems posting from my ipad!!  I wrote the whole post out, including pictures, then it wouldn't publish.  I had to copy, paste and email it to my MacBook to publish it.  Any ideas?  

Monday 10 February 2014



Hello my lovely readers and welcome to this instalment of my little life blog!
Things have been busy at Bramble Cottage, hence the lack of posting....The fact that my pictures are all on my ipad and i still can't seem to post from it, isn't helping.  
So what's going on?  Well, the kitchen windows are finally in and I noticed a difference in temperature immediately.  It is too hot now.  I'm often in pants and a tshirt as it's sweltering in my little kitchen.  My neighbours are grateful for the kitchen blinds.  
Bento-mania is in full swing.  Here is a little selection of my latest ones - 








As you can see, some lunches are healthier than others, but salad just doesn't stay fresh when I flying all over the place, even with little ice packs in the cool bag.

My cousin and his wife have had a baby, so I leapt into quilting mode and made this for baby Max!  Of course, I posted it off to Germany, before I took a picture of the finished quilt.  You get the idea from the picture though!



I bumped into 3 people at work this morning who all commented that I haven't posted my blog in a very long time, so here we go! It's nice to be missed....

I treated myself to Netflicks for Christmas.  I'm not a huge fan of TV, but love watching films, so for £6 a month, I thought, why not? The trouble is, I'm addicted to RuPaul's drag race!! 12 drag queens compete to become America's next drag superstar.  It is tacky and bitchy and I love it!  I've watched all 5 series now and feeling down until series 6 starts up. 
Work is.........well, work.  Until my dream of becoming an international recording artist (can hold a tune, but it's not going to happen), an infant school teacher (more probably), or a fabulous drag queen (I have the lips, cutting wit & facial expressions, apparently),  flying will pay the mortgage on Bramble Cottage for a bit longer. Plus the thought of 'tucking' is slightly off putting.  *offyouallgotogoogle
Just done a lovely trip.  A day in Frankfurt with good food and great company, plus an afternoon in Sweden for a spot of fabric shopping!  Need I say more?
The hens are fine, only the two new girls, Oona and Myrtle are laying.  Oona is still completely bald on her back, no feather pulling that I have witnessed, but she is fine.  She can always be found in the middle of the chicken scrum in the Eglu, so I'm not worried about her being too cold.  

The wonder dog is fab. We are still going to training on a Monday evening when work allows. I am seeing progress and he seems to enjoy the classes, although it could be the extra treats that he looks forward to. 



In his special Christmas bandana - 


Just look at that face! 

Time for me to head off to bed now.  I'm up at 2.40 for work tomorrow, yes, that's 2.40 AM.  Not happy, but the public need me to serve delicious (vom) snacks and deliver the best customer service at 37,000 feet.  Clearly they haven't met me.  So, with 3 alarms set, I'm off.  Sorry it's been so long, but I've been busy and well, erm, nope, no other excuses really.  My next blog post will be about my kitchen windows, a saga, and  my mortifying experience of lying on the cold marble of the Sheraton hotel lobby in Brussels, surrounded by overweight and ancient United airlines stewardesses.  In ugly shoes. (Them, not me). Bet you can't wait! 
C x x x 

Saturday 14 December 2013



They say that life gets in the way of things, but in truth it has been death that has stopped me blogging for so long. I love doing my blog and I really appreciate all the comments and (nagging) emails when I don't update my blog often enough :0) however, the past few months have had their ups and downs.  Mainly family related with a couple of relatives causing problems that I won't go into.  
Just for the record, I am absolutely fine.  I can't tell you how much I miss giving Mum a call and just chatting to her, but I need to stop talking about that before I start welling up.  You've all waited long enough and a tear splattered ipad isn't going to help me publish a post!  Yes, I have finally worked out how to write/post from my ipad (so no more excuses),  even though the layout is a bit weird on here, I'm trying! 

As usual there is always some kind of drama happening at Bramble Cottage, but nothing too sinister and nothing that a few strongly worded emails to a door and window company won't sort out. Eventually. 

So, here we are in December! My favourite month.  Been busy doing craft fairs and steaming what seems like hundreds of Christmas puddings! All have now been dropped off/posted/delivered.... trouble is, I have even sold the one I made for me, so it looks like I'll have to buy one. 


Bento box madness has arrived at Bramble cottage.....it is the only reason I actually look forward to going to work. 







Talking of work, it is hideous at the moment.  The atmosphere is worse than a hog roast at a vegan convention. I can't say too much, but I have taken a paycut decided by a group of people on a different pay structure to me.  The company Gestapo are probably monitoring this (paranoid? Me??) but I am just so angry.  Changes came into effect on the 1st of November, which means my November allowances (paid at the end of December) are a couple of hundred pounds a month down!  Happy Christmas Christian!  Now I have said too much.  Will have to go out in headscarf and dark glasses now.  Anyway, work is work and it keeps Bramble Cottage warm.  I've only got 6 more days on from Monday and then I'm off until after Christmas.

I have been having a bit of a saga with a window and door company.  They have so far been here FIVE times and my windows and front door still aren't fixed.  Things are looking better though and the kitchen is like a sauna now.  I needed a new lintel above one of the kitchen windows and a large chunk of wall collapsed.  All fixed now with Flint and lime mortar, several cups of tea (for the builders who pulled the window company out of the shit) and numerous calls to the MD. 



I have been assured the mortar will fade! 
Just the windows to be painted white, the kitchen needs a touch of re plastering due to damage, the front door painted green, locks changed, new letter box and something sorted out about the gale blowing under the new oak door.  
I found this picture of Milo the wonder dog when he first arrived from Ireland, before he went to the foster carers.  Look how small he was.  



..and him having a nap on my bench! 



It's blowing a gale out there tonight, so the fire's been lit, slobby gear on, Furface walked and currently snoring on the sofa next to me, doing little barks in his sleep and the odd fart. Bless him. He isn't actually allowed on the sofa, but I am weak when I see those big brown eyes looking up at me.  He has been such a comfort to me (and Dad), just a great friend when you fancy a cuddle.  Even though his farts are like napalm. 
Time to head off to bed now, but it will be back soon.
C x x x
p.s I had to email this post to my Macbook as it wouldn't post from my ipad!!  Any bloggers know what error 403 means? 

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Afternoon everyone.

I'll start with the news that has changed my life.  A few weeks ago my Mum started getting really tired. it got to the point where she was so exhausted that she had to go into hospital.  Numerous tests were carried out, as her liver stopped working and her kidneys were failing.  She became jaundiced as her liver was not processing any toxins and she started to get weaker and weaker.  The Doctors were stumped, but did so many tests, scans etc and they all came back negative.

On Saturday the 10th of August they did a liver biopsy to see what might be wrong.  My Mum died in Intensive care on Sunday 11th August with us all around her.  We received the results of the biopsy 3 days later, confirming that her breast cancer (that she had received the 5 year all ok for, 4 months earlier) had spread to her liver.  There were no cancer markers in her blood and nothing came back showing that this dreadful disease was back.  But she knew it was, as did we.

My Mum was so brave, and as I sit here typing this, tears are running down my cheeks, I realise just how much she cared for us all.  She knew that things weren't right, weeks before the blood tests started and she was taken into hospital.  Like all Mums they protect their family.  A rock, always there for support.  Not wanting to worry her children.

The Sunday that we spent in ICU - in the special relatives room, was so hard.  I kept having to go outside to the car park to get a mobile reception to keep my Uncle and her best friend updated. When I came back, I had a chat with the Doctor and he told me that Mum was fading fast and it wouldn't be long until she left us.

The funeral was on Thursday the 22nd August and I even managed to read a eulogy that I had written.  My voice cracked on the last word, but I think she would have been proud of me.

Everyone has been wonderful since the funeral.  The staff where we held the 'wake' (hate that word), were lovely, setting everything up for us.  Waitrose (obviously) delivered the sandwiches and I made a few little posies for the tables to cheer things up a bit.

We set up a just giving page for Cancer Research UK, as we feel that the research done gave Mum an extra 5 years with us. :0)

Mum's just giving page



I will miss her so much, but at least I was able to tell her I loved her and we were all there with her when she died.

I will be back with happier tales soon.  I promise.  However at the moment I need a bit of time to come to terms with things, look after my Dad, Brother and Milo the Wonder Dog of course!  Here is a picture of him, snoozing on the new bench in my court yard.



C x x x

Wednesday 03 July 2013


Forgive me Father for I have sinned.  It is nearly 2 months since my last blog post.  
I couldn't stand the emails and comments you guys were leaving!  I'M BACK, ok? ;0) 
Been a busy time here (again)...in 2 months, I have lost 1.5 stone, given up smoking and cured my hay fever.  Ok, so only one of those is true.  
I bought local honey in the garden centre and am taking a teaspoon a day.  Every morning I retch at the thought and swallow a small amount in a vain attempt to get the pollen in my system.  3 days on and it is definitely doing something (apart from causing diabetes).  It could just be that it has been cooler and windier, but I am sticking with it for now.  
On to the new arrivals at Bramble Cottage!  Meet Myrtle (light Sussex) and Oona (Calder Ranger).  I kept them separate from Agnes, Cornelia and Pru for a couple of weeks, but they are all together now with minimal squabbles.  Saying that, Chief Bully Cornelia is currently broody and in a foul mood, so will have a go when ever she decides to lift her behind off the nest.  

The Wonder dog has been completely obsessed with the new hens.  Howling and whining to see them.  Am guessing it is the new smell and bite sized portions, as they are a fair bit smaller than my other 3.  Here he is, 'just watching'.....


After 14 months of near perfect behaviour - apart from selective deafness - Little Furface decided to nip my old neighbour who was putting up the fence!  Admittedly, he was on a sensory overload week, what with new hens, hammering, sawing and general noise, but I wasn't happy about it.  He and I go to a school on a Monday night, not Higher Maths, for problem dogs.  3 weeks so far and things are going well.  His recall is better and when I see the other dogs biting their owners, howling at people and generally acting appallingly, I really haven't got much to worry about. 
......relaxing in my Niece's chair....hard life isn't it Milo?


Work is now finished on my new fence in the courtyard garden that I'm not sure I have mentioned before?  It is a small area off the lounge that was a bit of a mess. Mainly due to my neighbours complete lack of cleanliness.  They kept their 2 dogs next to the area and it was covered in god only knows what and overgrown with weeds.  The dogs have now been rehomed and a 5' fence and trellis put up, so I can use the area.  It's a real sun trap, the only down side is that next door's kitchen window faces onto the area, but I can tuck myself away in the corner and not be seen!    
You like my attempt at a Country Living magazine picture? 


 A neighbour that I have started dog walking with, was having a bake sale at work to raise money for Charity.  Out came the scales and cooling racks and i whipped up a batch of hobnobs.  It has been a while since I made them, but they went down a treat.  The neighbour said that one woman asked for another batch when I get a chance *watchoutMcvities


 ..And on to the conservatory (why are they now called Orangeries)?? Never, I repeat never, paint a white wall red.  It will need 37 coats until you cover every last square centimetre of white!!  However, it is now done and i love it.  Heritage Red from Farrow & Ball and it looks lovely and warm.  Remind me of that fact when I am freezing my bits off in January....


The table was from Snooper's Bazaar down the road.  They changed the top to sanded scaffolding boards and put drawers in for me!  It is lovely and a perfect fit.  I have even made a space for MWD underneath as he likes to rest his chin on my foot.

Now I believe I have mentioned my (undiagnosed) OCD before?  I don't think I am at all like that, but the following pictures won't help my cause.  Bento boxes are a Japanese idea.  You cram the shallow boxes full of food, so nothing moves and I love them! I ordered a box from ebay and - can't believe I am writing this - actually looking forward to going to work, so I can make a packed lunch!  *ShockingIknow

 The little compartments are silicone cup cake moulds.  Twee but adorable.

 So, the jury is out.  OCD nut job or a healthy lunch?  Answers on a postcard please.


 I really need to go to bed.  Back to work tomorrow and need to be up at 6am (it's now 23.39)!! But one last picture before I go.  Great idea and will be on the lookout for funnels now!


Night night All!

C x x x

Tuesday 07 May 2013

Hello after a long break. I'm sorry.

Things have been a bit chaotic in Christian's world of late. Mainly work, illness, work, illness and antibiotics.

It all started when I fell out of bed in Budapest. (Wouldn't that be a cracking line to start a book)?? Reaching for my cigarettes whilst in bed with David Attenborough, (on my ipad before the tabloids get ideas), I misjudged where the edge was and fell out! Cue lower back pain (same place as always) and me reaching in a frantic panic for the pain killers. Off to Dublin the following day and that's when the pain really kicked in. Flew home and had to explain why I couldn't possibly go to Aberdeen and back.

I was even in too much pain to pick up Milo, so he spent another few days at Mum and Dad's. Through gritted teeth I whizzed around Sainburys to get essentials as the home cupboard was bare. Milk, bread, chocolate, nurofen, paracetamol, chocolate and some medicinal chocolate. Oh, and chocolate. Went to bed with a sore throat just to make things worse.

Next day, woke up, reached for the paracetamol and nurofen breakfast cocktail and realised I couldn't really swallow. Tonsillitis. Great. Now, my local Doctor's surgery is great. The longest I have waited for an appointment is 3 hours. The benefits of living out in the country. I called and was told the Doctor would call me to decide if I needed an appointment. Strange, I thought, but ok. Doctor called 3 hours later. Doctor Frobble. I kid you not. A 'Carry on Doctor', I'm convinced of it. In his opinion, it was a virus and did not warrant penicillin. I would be fine in 5 days.

It is at this point that I need to explain that I am somewhat of an expert when it comes to tonsils. Apparently, it's a Taurean thing. Weak throats (along with a weight problem, so spot on there). I have had it 12 times in 18 years, so think I know a tad more than a Locum doctor, with a silly name who hasn't read my notes.

3 days later with a more or less liquid diet, apart from the pain killers, a back that kept cramping, I started to lose it. I drove to Mum's and picked up Milo, just to give me something to do. It had the added benefit of getting me out of the house, as I had to walk him.
Time to call the doctor back as I was feeling worse. To cut a very long story short, (not doing very well at that so far), he agreed to give me penicillin there and then.

Offering to come down to the surgery and cough a tonsil up on his desk had nothing to do with it.

Within 2 days all was much better again and I cracked on with dog walking, pottering, garden and general stuff at Bramble Cottage.

Back to work and the throat started playing up again....tighter than before and lower down. A voice like the love child of Barry White and Bonnie Tyler. I made it through the last few days and went back to the Doctor.

Laryngitis. Cracking, just what I needed.

'Just rest your voice and drink plenty of fluids'.

Marvellous. For those of you that don't know me, I am a quiet little mouse who rarely speaks up. *cough* so not too much of a problem. (He lied). He did give me penicillin for emergencies as he noted on my file that I am prone to tonsillitis. Well done that man!

So here i am in Basel, Switzerland. Got here yesterday afternoon and am due back at the crack of sparrows tomorrow. I packed my gym gear on the off chance that a fit of madness would tempt me and it did. Once again, for those of you that don't know me, I hope I am conjuring up visions of a toned Adonis, with abs you could grate cheese on. Just go with that thought for now. A warm up, 30 minutes of running, cool down, water, Marlboro gold and some stretching and I hope I can walk in the morning.

You might have noticed that there aren't any pictures with this post. Let me explain. I bought an iPad and I love it. It is so much easier that lugging my MacBook around Europe. However, I haven't figured out how to add pictures to my posts......I am officially technologically retarded.

I will post pictures on my next blog, when I get home. Loads of great pics, namely of my new lunch box (not in any way connected with the title of this post). Bentos are all the rage in Japan and I am loving the shallow boxes that you pack really tightly to stop everything moving around! I am going to try and put a picture on now. No idea where it will end up on this page.......Nope, bugger. Not there....oh well, you'll have to wait a bit longer for that.

Elsbeth, my oldest hen sadly passed away at the weekend. She had been slowing down for a week or so and went to the coop in the sky on Saturday. She was the feisty one, who rugby tackled her way to the spinach and chard, and was respected by my little flock :0( My lovely neighbour found her and took her out of the run. Glad I didn't have to do it. She will be missed.

I really should get a couple more hens as Pru is 6 1/2, Agnes and Cornelia are 4 1/2. Just not looking forward to the introductions. Glad that I had an extra panel built when the walk in run was put up. I can now separate them for the first couple of weeks until they get used to each other. After that, my trusty broom will stop any chicken squabbles......

Time to have a soak in the bath to ease my weary (incredibly toned) muscles before the cramp sets in.

C x x x

Monday 18 March 2013

Hello everybody!

2 weeks off now which means I have time to write.  Being somewhat of a perfectionist (who me)?? I find it really difficult to write all the time, sometimes it won't just pop into my head and flow naturally.  You have no idea how many blog posts I start then delete....and now that I sometimes (!) go on Facebook, I  don't want to repeat myself.

Anyway, all is well at Bramble Cottage.  Apart from an empty oil tank, non existent log pile and a dodgy back that is.

I spent a few days in Germany, at my Parent's house up in the mountains.  Milo came too and we used his passport for the first time.  Dead easy and we'll definitely do it again.  Lots of long breakfasts, walks, dinners out and weight gain, but nice to get away.



The Village isn't that big, but has the most essential shop; a bakery!  Fresh rolls are a must for breakfast, loaded with meat, cheeses and washed down with plenty of tea.  I find it hard to eat first thing usually, but it didn't take much arm twisting in Germany.

The views all around are stunning, but Mum and I (well Mum) thought it best to leave Milo on his lead.  He isn't renowned for returning on command (or at any time really) and with wild boar in the woods, it was probably best.


A view of the top of the village.



One thing I have noticed is that country folk 'make do and mend'.  A prime example are the steps down to Mum and Dad's cellar.  An old metal water pipe has been used as a hand rail!  
I saw this when out walking Milo; Why spend money on wooden post caps when you can nail an old tin on instead?? 
Something else I saw, was beautifully stacked wood.  Not high on most peoples holiday photos list, but I am slightly obsessed by wood. Serious log envy.  It puts my 7 logs to shame. 
(This picture did involve some curtain twitching by the owner). 

Today started out dry, so I dashed to Danebury Hill fort with Milo and walked him for a couple of hours.  Once he was dried off and safely tucked up in bed, I headed to the local garden centre for compost, farmyard manure and a few terracotta pots to replace the ones broken over winter.  Spurned on by the dry sky, I dug over all the raised beds and replanted the spinach and chard that had made it through winter.  This will be for the hens all summer/winter and maybe a bit for me.  Don't you all have a separate bed for your hens' food??? 
I love getting my hands in fresh compost.  Maybe it's just me (probably) but it 'feels' nice to start a bed off with fresh compost, breaking up the lumps and making it level (OCD).  Ah, just need to work out what to sow this year....

So having lifted 3 bags of compost, 1 of manure and several tub trugs of weeds and crap from the garden, I can safely say that my back is knackered again.  Not bad enough to stop me seeking comfort in a Cadburys creme egg that had somehow managed to get wedged between the fridge and the wall.  I got that sucker out though!  Hot bath and lots of drugs later. 

The past two weeks I have worked like a dog.  Well, for me anyway.  6 days on, 2 off, followed by a 7 day block.   I was hanging by the end of it.  It was worth it though as I am now off until the 28th and just hoping for a bit of good weather.  Dog walking in monsoon conditions isn't fun.  Milo doesn't even fuss when I dry off each paw, every time we come in the house.  
A couple of weeks ago I noticed that Pru and Agnes's combs were starting to turn red again after the long winter break.  So far, all have started laying again, except Elsbeth.  She is the oldest I think at 6 1/2 with Pru a close second.  Agnes is laying like a trooper and I've had 6 eggs from her in 7 days (plus 4 that my neighbour pinched when I was at work and he was looking after them).  Plus one egg from Cornelia who will probably lay 2 more then go broody for the summer...


It won't be long before I start putting the old wicker basket outside the front door with 'eggs for sale'!

Earlier this week I was asked for ID in Sainsburys *faints in shock* I bought a bottle of red wine (not for me, I have plenty of addictions, but vin rouge isn't one of them) and the cashier said that anyone that looked under 25 (really???) had to show ID.  I said that I would give her ID if she let me stroke her guide dog.

It seems my skin care regime of Marlboro Gold, PG tips and Aldi Q10 face cream (yes really, it's dead good), is paying off.  Either that or she was having a bet with the other cashier?

Time for a quick walk with Furface and then dinner.

Bye bye all!

C x x x

Friday 08 February 2013

I have met many of the greats working on flights.  Dame Shirley Bassey, Victoria Beckham (nice, but not that great) and even that Woman from the OXO ads, Linda Bellingham.  Today however was one of those moments, that you see someone and do a little wee in your pants. Ok, too much information, but you catch my drift.

Walking down the cabin on a Geneva flight this morning, I stop and stare.  Miss Kirsty 'turn a jumper into a vintage hot water bottle cover' Allsop is sat in the last row of Business class.  To say I was moist with excitement is an understatement.  It was too good an opportunity to miss.  I LOVE KIRSTIE and had to tell her so.

I can honestly say that she is lovely.  We chatted about hens and my rescue terrier!  What a fantastic lady!

Now, you remember the wartime quilt I started in this post? Well, It is too small!  I love it, but it needs to be bigger, seeing as Bramble cottage has no proper heating, I am freezing my bits off most nights and a family of polar bears are thinking of moving in!

So I look through my tiny *cough* fabric stash and realise I don't have enough of the fabrics I need.  Typical.  Great that I can go fabric hunting all over Europe, but not so good when the shop is in Stockholm and you aren't going in the foreseeable future!  Bugger.  So, nothing else for it.  Unpick the odd squares from the HANDSEWN quilt (unpicking is my most loathed job, next to cleaning the oven) and substitute it for new fabric.

Going well so far and I realised that Margery the sewing machine has been neglected of late.  So lovely to sew a few pockets upstairs, then head to the lounge, light the fire and stuff said pockets and hand sew them together.  With a snoring, farting terrier serenading me from his basket.  My life is just crazy.

I am waiting for my lovely carpenter to come round and sort of shelving in my spare room.  The craft bits are becoming hazardous, to the point that an avalanche is imminent.  As such, I have temporarily misplaced my camera, but have found a couple of pics i love.  Upcycling or whatever it is called!

Desperate to find an old rake now -



...and I have the perfect place for these old tin can tea light holders.....


I am in Copenhagen now and really need to go to bed.   Late shifts kill me as I am used to being in PJs by 8pm, not serving drinks at 37,000 feet.  However, it does mean that I can head to Stof 2000, my favourite fabric shop in Scandiland.  
Before I go, I just need to say that if you are heading down to Meadowbank Miss Allsop, I am just a slight detour off the A303!  Hot scones and home made jam a plenty!  Plus you will get to meet Milo the wonder dog! 


C x x x 

Sunday 20 January 2013

Good evening everyone!

Back again after a blog break.  To be fair, after the last entry which was far too personal, I feared I may lose some of my loyal readers.  Is honestly a good thing?  Hmm, will think about that one as still debating the 'delete' button for that entry.  Seeing as I am the number 2 hit on Google when you type in 'Christian's blog', it can't be all bad.  New year and work, (well a bit of work, don't like to over do it), got in the way of Blogland, then snow (yippee) but am off for a week, so time to write.
(You will be pleased to hear that the results came back negative, so Thank you for that valuable life experience Doctor!  Something I do not wish to repeat).

One of the last things I made before Christmas festivities hit, was a double batch of pistachio fudge.  A friend ordered 5 bags, so I got my trusty Nigella book out and made a mountain of the stuff.  2 hours later and waking up dribbling on the kitchen floor from a sugar induced coma, it was bagged up ready for collection.



The big news (well to me anyway; not much happens in my village) is my new bathroom windows.  I still hate the bathroom, with it's corner bath, bidet (I mean really, why?) and awful tiles, but the wooden aqua-marine-blue wooden windows are now gone.  Replaced with UPVC (as it is the new part of the house) and they have made a huge difference to the temperature of my bathroom.  Water no longer turns to ice on my nipples as I step out of the shower - see, done it again!  Personal stuff!!


Milo has now chosen to sleep downstairs at night.  Not sure if my snoring keeps him up, but, surprisingly, I am missing his mini barks and whimpers when he dreams.  Every so often he will come upstairs when I go to bed, which then involves me coming down again to get his big basket.  He has a bed at the top of the stairs, but that is for 'power naps', not proper sleep apparently.  (He didn't tell me that, I am just surmising)!
He does like to wake me up every morning.  Now, if you have never been woken by a terrier tongue licking your armpit, you aren't missing much.  However, that is preferable to opening your eyes and having a furry face millimetres from your face.  Just staring.  I have actually screamed on several occasions.  
He was at Mum and Dad's for a week as I had a busy roster and I missed the daily walks, as did my body.  After a week of driving to the airport every day, living on crappy food and no exercise, plus the stress of my annual check, my work waistcoat was noticeably, erm, more snug.  

There is no improvement to his recall. I wouldn't say it is worse, but no better. I know he will come back, but it is becoming a game of 'where's Milo'? This is the wood where I like to walk him.  Can you spot him in the distance?  No?  Me either.  That is because when I finished taking pictures, he was sat behind me. He is like a stealth canine.  
When the snow hit on Friday, I couldn't wait to get out and walk him.  I took a Thermos of tea with me just in case I twisted my ankle and had to wait for help.  Sad, but you never know, it is quite remote where I walk him and my organisation and planning skills do well when the country heads for meltdown mode.  Not quite sure how my Elmo flask would have helped, but the thought was there. 
This picture was taken in the same place as the one above.  It was so magical walking around the woods. I almost expected to bump into Mr Tumnus...




We walked for nearly 2 hours and then decided to head back.  For some reason I came home a different way, then realised the road was flooded.  It was a small stream that had burst it's banks and was flowing quite quickly across the road.  It was a this point I discovered a hole in my welly. 
And a hydrophobic dog.  
Cue me, wading through the stream, holding a wiggling mutt with a welly rapidly filling with ice cold water.  Then another mile and a half walk home.  


Once home a quick towel dry and he was happy again.  I lit the fire and thawed my frozen foot out.  Milo got a marrow bone (with a tea towel to save the rug) and was very content.  I love this picture of him.  
 

The hens aren't too chuffed with the snow.  I did put up extra shades to try and stop the snow getting in the run, which seemed to work out well.  The snow was around 6-7" deep when it finally stopped, (I used a tape measure, so no comments about men please) so the roof of the run was completely covered and dark.  They didn't come out of the coop until 10 on Friday morning!  Still no eggs, but moulting is over and they seem ok.  The run needs a thorough-backbreaking clean out this week and then the countdown for eggs in February I hope! 
I bought an electric cigarette a few weeks ago.  Seems pretty good and was helping me cut down, until I threw it out of the window on the M3.  Yes, I actually did that, much to the hilarity of my Facebook friends.  Have since ordered a new one online and loving it!
I planned for an early night tonight, but the lure of a good film, fire roaring, freezing cold bedroom and a box of dark chocolate Lindor has kept me up.  I'm a sucker for Lindor.  In fairness, any cocoa based confectionary will do.  *Ignore previous comment about waistcoat* 
Time for bed, but will leave you with a picture of Furface with one of his favourite treats, a carrot.  He has now developed OCD and will head straight for the tea towel on the rug. I've trained him well....


C x x x 

Monday 24 December 2012

Hello!
Just a quick hello to wish all my friends, family and faithful followers a very Happy Christmas!
See you all very soon.
C x x x 


Tuesday 11 December 2012

Evening!
Back again after a long break (from blogging, sorry)! 
Let me start with a little something I treated myself to a couple of weeks ago.  Have long been a fan of Sesame Street, no idea why, but there you go.  In particular, Elmo! So when I saw this on ebay, how could I resist??!


So, onto the Christmas fair!  It was really good and I did very well.  I will not be eating jam for the next 12 months, so that is one of the many positives!

The pictures aren't great, as I used my iphone, but you get the idea!





My chocolate snowmen did really well, just posted 4 off to Denmark! 
 I only made 12 mini Christmas cakes this year and sold them all! Should have made more, but will remember for next year!


 Since I can remember, I would visit a Christmas market every year when seeing my Gran and Family in Germany.  One thing they all have in common is sugared almonds.  Always wrapped in paper cones and always delish!  I stumbled upon a recipe and gave it a twirl.  20 minutes the recipe said.  They lied.  After sweating for 45, not able to leave the pan for fear of burning the sugary almonds, I started stripping off.  Easier said that done, when you have to keep stirring!

Stanley the Rayburn did a good job, but gets so hot!  I ended up in a tshirt and pants, - a nice mental image for you all there, just as the familiar smell hit me! Perfect almonds, cinnamon and vanilla, brought back wonderful memories.  I even found instructions on making the paper cones.

Talking of Stanley, I have sussed out how to use the hob part now.  Pans are no problem, but after 13 months and a couple of over-cooked-but-raw-in-the-middle cakes (and a wonderful vanilla and sultana cake burning as I type) I simply cannot work out the main oven!  It is driving me mad.  Seeing as the Rayburn is on now for the winter, it makes sense to use it for cooking, as well as heating the house, but I can't seem to cook anything in the oven.  The temperature gauge is wrong, so I tweak the controls and guesstimate the cooking times, but it is dreadful!

I have 2 more Christmas puddings, 5 bags of pistachio fudge and 2 jars of sparkly cranberry jam to deliver and then I am done!  Today was spent 'Postman Pat' style sorting out parcels to send.  These are the wrapped puds, simple, but country.  I like the look. Very me. 
I had to go into Town today.  Ran out of brown parcel paper!  I know, so unlike me.  Anyway, after dodging 3 'could you spare 7 hours to answer a few questions'? type people, I was nearly run down by a clinically obese man in a motorised scooter.  Followed by his huge wife and colossal daughter.  Possibly  a deal at the mobility shop, 3 for 2?  Must be hereditary I thought. Until I saw them blockading McDonalds and the staff in a frenzy!   
People milling around Poundland asking how much is this?? Spending their dole money in Ladbrookes.  I really hate going into Town.  
Now, may I be candid?  Apologies to my Mum who will read this and anyone of a nervous disposition, but I have to get something off my chest.

I went to the Doctors today.  It seems I have a mild kidney/bladder infection, 'probably caused by not drinking enough'.  Apparently, tea doesn't count.  Even though it is 3 weeks and 4 days since my last diet coke, I need to drink more water.  Now, infections of this delicate nature (and bloody pain in my lower back) are not that common in men.  So, my Doctor suggested I visit the local GUM clinic - Google it, I do not wish to go into details here.....

I was given antibiotics and a covering letter which went as follows -

Dear Colleague,

Christian a 38 year old AIRLINE STEWARD, appears to be suffering from duyeyvgagvchjavhcdwcvgvitis (I seriously cannot read it).  Please could you conduct a full screen.

Now, firstly, I am 31 and a few months, cough, and secondly, what has my job got to do with anything??  Would he write 'a 38 year old cashier in Waitrose'???  What exactly is he implying?  I am a flying mattress???

We had a long discussion about my sex life.  Well, I'll be honest, we talked about the hens, my 'new dog', oh and how cold it was outside, for longer.  The sex life talk was along these lines....

Doctor - 'so, when was the last time you were sexually active'?

Me - 'erm.....'

Doctor - 'Just a rough idea'?

Me - 'I can give you the decade....'

So what exactly am I going to the GUM clinic for??

Not only do I have to live with the shame of having to visit the 'clap clinic' but I need to ask them how Quilting, dog walking and jam making could possibly lead to an STI?

A friend said they deal with people's waterworks as well as 'infections down there'.  Very reassuring.

On to a more festive, and less embarrassing, topic - you see how I give everything to my loyal readers??  Read it now, while you get a chance, I might delete this post tomorrow, when the effects of the pistachio fudge have worn off - I have put up my outside lights at Bramble Cottage!  The neighbours haven't, but I don't care.  I will force the Festive season on all!  They are on a timer, so I can spread Christmas joy when I am away with work.

Tomorrow is operation Christmas.  The house needs a sprinkling of festiveness, so the garlands, baubles and lights will be coming out (and promptly put away if Milo takes a shine to them...

I am seriously behind with my Christmas shopping.  Nearly done, but it is the 11th and I haven't wrapped a single present.  The cards were posted today - one tip, don't put your cards for your neighbours in the pile of cards to be posted.  Yes, I did post cards titled 'Sue and Dudley' and 'Colin and Jo' with no addresses.  Didn't even see the point in asking the postman to give them back when he opened the box. It is against the Holy Postal vow......

Milo has been a joy!  I took him for a really long walk yesterday and he came back every time I whistled!  Progress.  I won't ever stop him chasing rabbits, deer or crows, but that is terriers for you.  I was so proud of him. Gave him extra treats and cuddles!

Today, he bloody well ignored me.

A frosty morning shot - he is just like me and hates having his pictures taken.


I will leave you now but will be back soon!  Back to work on Friday - all day in Frankfurt to visit the Christmas market, then Glasgow for the night and some awful standby and then a couple of weeks off - all over Christmas!!

C x x x

Saturday 01 December 2012

Well, after months of planning, the Christmas fair has arrived!

I set up my stall last night, so just a quick post before I head off, thermos in hand!

If you are in the Weyhill area of Hampshire, look out for the Fairground Craft and Design centre and pop in and visit me!

C x x x

p.s will update blog later with pictures!!

Monday 05 November 2012

Evening Folks!  It's blog time again!  Part time week is nearly over, so a bit of time before work to get a few random thoughts down.
Oh. My. God.  It is November and I haven't blogged since October the 06th, as many a jab in the ribs email has mentioned!  Sorry, peeps, Christian is busy with Christmas preps and feeling all festive like the mad man you know I am! I'd like to say that I haven't played any Christmas music at all.
That would be a lie.  Bing, Dean and Nat has been crooning, along with Mr Buble, Annie Lennox and a few other choice singers.  It is so darn festive at Bramble Cottage I could burst! 
I am absolutely knackered!  My niece and nephew visited today and wore me out!  A long walk with Milo, pizza, Maltesers and then home and I am shattered!  I did bake them some cheesy feet (puff pastry with cheese in/on then cut out with a foot cookie cutter) this morning, so started early! 
Milo has been to the Hairdressers this week.  I left him and a pig's ear (on the condition that he was nice to everyone) and headed for the supermarket.  On my return, there was no ambulance outside, no groomers covered in plasters and hands wrapped in absorbent gauze.  He was a star apparently.  Now, I know he is lovely, he will cuddle up to me, let me check his paws when something is bothering him and happily nudges my armpit first thing, in an attempt to rouse me from slumber (a seriously brave dog), but sometimes with strangers he can be a bit funny. A pregnant friend who's Pretty Polly tight modelling days are over, will confirm this.  Having said that, in the past few weeks he has transformed in a very sweet boy.  I think he feels at home now and knows I am not going anywhere! 
He has been thinned out and lost loads of his winter coat (it is still mega thick though, if only mine was) and they even did a some 'manscaping' around his bits.  Brave girls.  

Look at that smile!! 

I forgot to show you close ups of my brooches and key rings.  I managed to get hold of some small boxes, which I think set them off perfectly! 



 Last week I had a call, enquiring about making mini stockings for a B&B in Brighton!  They wanted small red felt stockings to leave for their guests in the run up to Christmas!  I posted a picture on my last blog update of the padded stockings, these will be similar but with the tops open to fill with goodies!  They also wanted some fabric robins that I haven't made for a couple of years, so they are being made too!



I am really busy with Christmas orders now and wish I had another few days off to get into it.  I still have my part time week off at the end of November, but need to start preparing for the Christmas fair and sort out dog care for Milo that weekend.  Mum & Dad are away, so need to find a willing volunteer to dog sit for a few hours over the weekend.  Lots of dog kisses guaranteed. He will even give you his paw.

I rarely watch telly, as you know, but Wartime Farm had me captivated.  I love that going-back-to-olden-days kind of tv!
They were making a quilt in one of the episodes, so you guessed it, I had to make one!  Having searched the house for some fabric, which took 3 seconds as it is everywhere at Bramble Cottage, it was a case of simple pockets filled with wadding and sewn together.  Quite quick to make and I really enjoyed doing it. I have been advised to take it to the Christmas fair and try and sell it.  Thoughts?

Nearly finished......
Not sure what I have done to my back again, but it's playing up today.  Milo are I usually have at least a 5-6 mile walk a day, but with the children today, we only managed a 4 miler!  Think Mum and Dad were relieved too! They will sleep well tonight (so will the children)! I haven't taken pain killers for my back for a few weeks, but something is up.  Kind of cramping, old man syndrome.  Refuse to believe it is OAP pains.  
Whilst out walking today, my niece (6) declared, "I love a good walk".  Bless her and according to my nephew, in his words, I look like 'Gok Wanger'. I kid you not.  Wanger. It's the glasses apparently.  Slightly concerned that he thinks I am half Chinese.  Will be wearing contact lenses from now on and never making cheesy feet for him again. 
The free loaders in the garden are eating well.  Pellets, spinach and chard aplenty.  And not laying.  I had to buy eggs this week damn them! Ok, so two of them are moulting, but the others have just shut down for winter.  Which, ironically, has now hit.  Snow covered the county next to mine this week.  Freak snow that didn't see it's way here (sad face).  
Milo's 'silent' whistle training is continuing.  He is still ignoring it and I was tempted to take him to the vet for a hearing test.  However, if I unwrap a packet of Pilgrim's Choice, he can hear me in the next county and comes running into the kitchen.  Perhaps a walk with Cathedral City next week will be in order?  I have never met a dog so obsessed with cheese. 

 'Any type of Cheddar will do....'

Until next time.....

C x x x

Friday 05 October 2012

Sometimes I wish I could stop time.  My inability to sew, walk the dog, read my Kindle, do housework and blog at the same time does get me down.  Work is a major inconvenience, but necessary.  I love writing my blog.  Seriously.  It makes me feel good when I hit 'publish'.  And I love the comments that are left for me.  I appreciate that people are out there, reading my ramblings and taking time to reply.  If I could only have an extra hour or two a day, I'd be a happy bunny.  
Part time week is nearly over and we are full steam ahead, crashing towards Christmas.  Now, you might not like this idea, but it has to be said.  My iphone app tells me exactly how many sleeps I have until Father Christmas comes and plays a jolly carol to boot.  I made the mistake of posting it on Facebook tonight.  The tongue lashing I received wasn't pleasant ;0)  Miserable buggers.

So, the craft fair at the end of September was a disaster.  I would have made more money at the local car boot sale.  And that is saying something.  (I went once - someone was selling one shoe and an electric toothbrush amongst other things).  The weather was amazing on the Saturday and I wish I had sun cream for sale as I would have made a killing.  By Sunday, Noah clearly had the right idea, and the heavens opened.  

The jam mountain ready to go -


I took Milo along and had his basket ready, a bag of crispy pigs ears and chews to keep him entertained. All was set.

Then a clown bought a live rabbit into the shop and all hell broke loose.

I say 'clown' but he informed me, he wasn't a clown.  He was a 'Performer'.  My mistake.  The huge shoes, wig, baggy trousers and braces confused me.  Needless to say, we had a psychotic terrier trying to kill said rabbit, howling like a wolf and pulling the table over.  Not a good start to the day.

A little bit of Christmas, just to get the seed planted for the next fair.



 Not forgetting my hot water bottles, I am so chuffed with these.  Someone at the fair was too as they nicked one!  I know, outrageous.

Now, don't get me wrong, all 'crafters' work differently, but there was some serious shite for sale. See, it has even made me swears on my blog! *shock*

Sock monkeys?  What exactly is the deal there?  I find them creepy beyond belief.  Not quite 'Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' creepy, but still scary. (I still can't watch that film - "Lollipops, I smell children" - Shudder).  However, a sock, turned into a monkey, given soulless button eyes and a cape and sold for £7! Please.  They looked like they had been made my a blind person, with no arms or legs, knitting with their teeth.  Sorry, don't shoot me down, but really????

Anyway, the hog roast man was there, so I was happy.  Even happier when he had a whole pig left on the Sunday and was selling the meat off cheap.  When a strange man offers you a warm bag and says "£4 mate" with sadness in his eyes, you kind of just do it, don't you?  I have never bought a carrier bag full of pork before, but there is a first time for everything.  One tip though - if you have crackling the size of a piece of A4 paper, don't eat it all in one go!  It will make you ill.  Just saying.

Oatie biscuits, not Hobnobs.  I repeat, NOT Hobnobs (copyright - don't want McVities banging on my door) were once a regular feature in my kitchen.  Obviously. Look at them -


I have been trying to stop myself baking things like this for a while as my waist line is slowly going down and my stomach no longer wobbles when I drive over a speed bump.  How I hate speed bumps.  My niece requested her 'special biscuits' so I dutifully made them for her and popped them in a box for her to pick up from the fair when she visited with my Brother and Sister in law.  The rain stopped her coming (is she made of sugar?) so I gave the box to a friend and ate the remaining 23 of them.   *Mental note to avoid all speed bumps for the foreseeable future*

I took this picture in Frankfurt a few weeks ago.  We are staying in Wiesbaden now, a lovely old Town with cobbled streets and too many craft shops.  I saw this display of wool felt and went weak at the knees.  Some people are into cars, I like felt, ok?  Don't judge me! It is normal in my world.



I started training Milo this week.  Having seen a 'silent dog whistle' in Pets at home (which isn't silent, work that one out?) I purchased it, along with lots of other dog related stuff that just happened to fall into my basket.  
After 3 days, it was going well, until I started trusting him.  Huge mistake.  It appears that he doesn't really respond to the whistle.  Or the treats he gets when he does come back, simply aren't good enough.  A small piece of cheese or tiny meaty bone no longer does the trick.  I know he wants frankfurters, I can see it in his eyes.  Herta frankfurters.  Not those cheap Lidl ones.  I have turned my poor wee rescue terrier from Ireland into a food snob. 
I still laugh when I get the 'stop blowing that damn whistle' look from him.  Bless him.  
We visited Grant the vet on Thursday to get Milo his passport.  Mum and Dad want to take him to Germany with them in December, so off we went, worried that the last time he saw Grant, he had his 'bits' taken away.   My biggest concerned wasn't the vet losing a finger to terrier teeth though.  It was Milo's picture for his passport.....
In Germany, dogs can go everywhere.  Cafes, restaurants and shops allow dogs in, unlike Britain.  I was tempted to get Milo one of those coats that says 'Assistance dog' or 'Customs', but figured that was going a bit far.  Plus those dogs are well trained...
My dilemma was getting Milo into the Post Office photo booth without being seen.  Then the problem of getting him to sit still, facing the camera 'without smiling', as stated in the Passport Photograph Regulations.  Easier said than done.  I was relieved to hear that his microchip was all that was required, so no need for a long Mac and a nonchalant look as I tried to smuggle a terrier into a public building.  Phew.  
C x x x

Thursday 06 September 2012

Let me start this blog entry with 2 warnings.  Firstly, you may want to disinfect your computer after reading this, I have had a cold on and off for 2 weeks now and do not want to spread my germs through cyberspace.  
Secondly, I will be using the 'C' word today.  You have been warned.  
I have had 10 days off so far, a few days off sick and the rest my part time week off.  Due back on Sunday and am stunned at how quickly the time has passed.  Got quite a bit done in between walks and jamming sessions (the fruit variety, not music) and feeling confident that I have enough for the Michaelmas fair on the 22nd/23rd September.  Still lots of baking to do a couple of days beforehand, but manageable!  
I have just finished a baby quilt which someone ordered.  Dead chuffed with it! 



With cheery apples on the back!  


The jam mountain is slowly growing.  Just a couple of hundreds fabric toppers to cut out and viola!  Have run out of fruit for the week, but the hedgerows are heavy with the promise of blackberries.  I picked a few yesterday and made banana and blackberry (obviously) loaf, which is lovely.


Brace yourselves for the 'C' word.....


Preps are now underway for the Christmas fair on the 1st/2nd of December!   I have started making hot water bottle covers and posted a picture on Facebook.  Orders came flooding in, so will need to make more!  Sat with one of my favourite films last night 'The Holiday' (I really need to live in Iris' cottage) and made some mini stockings for the tree.  They were popular last year so making lots more!  Quite quick to make, especially when surrounded by festive cheers playing on the laptop! Have cut out another 20 from felt ready to sew when i get a chance.  
A bit of an 'arty' shot using the new app Instagram I have on my phone! 



I discovered a wasps' nest by the back door, so local wasp man Steve came over, fully suited like a Tellytubbie.  Nest sorted, £20 and a medium Christmas pudding and we were both happy! Nice.  Milo wasn't bothered at all which surprised me.  He has been so good with strangers lately.  I started off the first batch of pudding mixture earlier in the week, ready to make 5 puds on Saturday if I get a chance.  If smells divine not that I sit sniffing it all day.

The log man came this week and delivered a huge pile of logs, which should last the winter.  Oil tank topped up and Stanley the Rayburn serviced, so I am all set!  The trees have a definite autumnal look to them, so it won't be long before the leaves drop and I'll be wrapped up in a woollen scarf taking Milo for a walk.  I like autumn.  
A lady walking past my house stopped and commented how lovely everything was looking.  The sweetpeas by the front door, the gladioli I planted and the mass of flowers from a cosmos that is taking over.  Made me feel warm that she appreciated it.  She then got her Bible out.  "Would you mind if I read you a passage"?  I then realised t wasn't her gardening comments that made me feel warm, it was clearly my satan detector.  I apologised and said that I respected her views, but my 'lifestyle' wasn't in keeping with her, er, Lord's teachings.......enough said I thought.  Oh no, "We can help you with that problem" she said.  No, you can't love.  It isn't a problem.  Now go, before I release the hound........

Things in the garden are doing well with my pumpkin plant taking over.   It started in the left hand corner of the picture and is creeping across the chicken run at an alarming rate.  I pinched out the growing tip, but it is sending out side shoots everywhere!


I have 6 pumpkins doing well - just hope they ripen soon, as it won't be long before the first frosts.....



The hens are well although moulting.  Cornelia is still in moult after several weeks, but has started laying again.  Only a couple of eggs a week, but big dark brown ones!  Agnes is dropping the odd ginger feather, but still laying every day.  Pru and Elsbeth just like to eat and bully the other two.  One egg from Pru this month and none from Elsbeth.  I don't mind, they have laid well for years.

Milo has been enjoying the sunshine and spends many an hour in the garden, resting his eyes.  I need to reread 'How to train your terrier to come back when you call him, as he has a mind of his own', as his recall is getting worse.  I love letting him off the lead and watching him running through the woods, around the copse and fields, but he only comes back when he wants to!  Even with the promise of treats.  Even with small bits of cheese, he is deaf to my calls.  He is a bugger.

He isn't in any danger where I walk him, but I still worry.  He always comes back (when he is good and ready) but that isn't acceptable to me.  More work is needed but not sure where to start?


I think I mentioned before that Milo has taken a liking to my alpine strawberries?  They are tiny little things, but packed with flavour.  Apparently. I wouldn't know,  he has eaten them all.  Will be planted out of terriers reach next year.   He has since started on the tomatoes.  Green, yellow or red, he isn't fussy, although I often find the odd half eaten green tom in the lounge on my rug.  I swear he is eyeing up the spinach and chard bed too!!

It's been a nice few days, shorts on and sun shining.  Have been leaving my window open all night as it gets quite hot in my bedroom.  Last night the mosquitos decided to pay me a visit.  I have several bites on my legs and erm, six pack.  Will have to postpone the underwear photo shoot until the bites have healed.  
Gotta dash, time to put more calamine lotion on my red bits.....
Thanks for reading!
C x x x 

Thursday 09 August 2012

Evening All!

I have my comfy, pre-bed attire on, Milo is chewing on a dried pigs ears (vomit), so it's blog time!

Firstly an update on the garden.  Simon my cucumber plant is going great guns!

He has even had his first babies!
Miniature cucumbers, that are the same thickness as regular ones, but only 4 inches long.  Perfect for a couple of sandwiches!

I'm getting a few peas, but they haven't done well this year.  I planted another row last week and they are starting to come up now.

The spinach and chard bed is overflowing!  I am picking a fair few leaves every day and the hens are loving it! The alpine strawberry plants were producing loads of fruits, but it kept vanishing.  I have since found out a furry faced terrier is partial to alpine strawberries and ever-so-gently eats them as soon as they are ripe.....

The girls are doing well, apart from Cornelia who is into 'extreme moult' mode. Getting her feathers ready for the winter collection is all well and good, but she does look scruffy.

Not to mention the state of the chicken run!  I am picking up handfuls of feathers every day! Egg production has dropped.  1 egg a day from 4 hens if I'm lucky.  Time to get a couple of new girls maybe?  I put two boxes of eggs outside my front door and they were sold in 30 minutes.


I finally managed to print my logo onto fabric, so now have labels for my sewn goods!  Just trying to work out the best way to print them on to the sheets of printer fabric as it isn't cheap stuff.


Mum and Dad are on holiday at the moment, so I have 12 days off work to look after Milo.  He is just such fun to have around.  Stanley the Rayburn was booked in for a service on Tuesday and I was dreading the engineer coming over, due to Milo's slight, erm, stranger issues.  Imagine my horror when he turned up with an apprentice!  Training lead on (Milo, not the apprentice) and Milo was absolutely fine.  He had a sniff and then wandered off.  I offered them both coffee and when I turned away to make it, Milo decided to lie on his back and let the apprentice tickle his tummy!  It would seem the dangerous attack dog is no more.  

Talking of dogs, there appears to have been a scottie dog explosion in my craft room! 


 As Caroline asked for a key ring a few weeks ago, here is one I made earlier!
I have made lots of different colours so far and am waiting for the Tiny Box Company to send me samples of small boxes for me to package them in.  Exciting stuff!  You see Caroline, ask and I will do my best!


I seem to be spending so much money at the moment. Stanley's service, an oil delivery planned for next week, logs being delivered and finally getting my new wooden double glazed bedroom window soon.  It never ends, but at least I will be warm this winter!  The Michaelmas fair is giving me stress and I don't know what to make for it.  
So far I have made - 
10 jars of Persian pickled garlic14 jars of Fig & Whiskey jam6 jars of Damson & lemon jam (delish, will def make more) Lots of scottie dog brooches and keyrings1 Shopping bag.....and very little else!  
I have cut out several mini hot water bottle covers but they are more for the Christmas fair in December.  I am stumped, just don't know what to make that will sell.  Any ideas folks?  What have you seen on my blog that you really liked?  I know the long hearts were popular, so will make more of those, but apart from that I just don't know.  Still in two minds as to doing the fair..

Seeing as Milo seems to be popular with my beloved readers (who can resist his cute little bear face), I'll leave you with this picture tonight! 
C x x x



Monday 16 July 2012

Hello everyone!

I am back from Portugal!  8 days at a friend's villa.  Sunbathing, eating prawns and garlic and doing bugger all.  It was bliss.

My tan started fading the second the aircraft left the runway in Faro.  I still have quite an impressive ultra white little backside, thanks to the speedos I was wearing all week.  Baring in mind the fragile state of the economy in Portugal, I didn't think it wise to go out in public in them. The few tourists there were, would have been frightened home!

I used my annual free ticket and it was touch and go.  I managed to get a seat allocated at the gate, so that was good.  We usually book a full fare ticket and rarely use staff travel, but it was so expensive this year.  Apparently there is some sporting event on or something??

Jase and I got back last night and caught the train from Gatwick to my Parents' house.  A wonderful greeting from Milo, lots of squeaks and bum wagging (him), a proper cup of tea, then back to Bramble Cottage.  Today was washing day.  The worst bit about a holiday. :0(

I took Milo for a walk in the mud, freezing cold and pouring rain.  A different world from Faro, with blue skies and warm days.  Ho hum, back to reality now.

Mum and Dad picked up Milo again, as I am due back to work at 7ish tomorrow. A five day block, starting with Milan for the night tomorrow - nice and warm - and then Edinburgh for the night on Wednesday - not so nice and warm!

Not much else to report really.  The garden is a jungle, so I did a bit of tidying up and tying back of plants.  The hens are laying really well and I came back to 4 boxes of eggs that my next door neighbours had collected whilst I was away.

I have the fire lit now as it is so cold.  Shocked that it is July.  Waiting for summer, hoping that August/September/October will be better.  It can't be any worse.

No pictures I'm afraid as I didn't take my camera with me.  It looked so dodgy with the flights I didn't want to check a bag in, so managed with hand luggage.  Was actually quite impressed at how little I needed.  Speedos and P20 sun tan lotion and I was away!  I did buy 2 kilos of garlic though.  The bulbs are huge and I plan to pickle them for the Michaelmas fair.  I made 10 jars last year and they sold well.  The smell in my trolley bag may take a while to go.

The fire is crackling away now and I think it's time for a last cuppa then bed.  Up early to head to the airport......

Night night all!

C x x x

Saturday 16 June 2012

Two weeks ago I planned to sit down and write my blog.  Ooops.  After receiving 2 emails today reprimanding me for not doing so, I am sat here with a vegetable cup-a-soup (I know how to live) and will blog away! (Thanks to Hazel and anonymous for the comments)!!

Another Birthday has been and gone and according to my calculations, I am now 38.  Not quite sure if that is possible, but born in '74 means it must be.  I still feel about 15, although the lines of time seem to be stampeding across my face at an alarming rate.

Been a tricky year, bit painful, lonely and well, odd to say the least, but also lots of good stuff has happened.  J and I are still good friends, probably better than ever, Milo is just a dream come true and always makes me smile and Bramble Cottage, my comfort, is a sanctuary.

Even though I have a Kindle, the greatest invention of the modern age, I am still a sucker for a good book.  It is fantastic for work, holidays (once a year, as love being at home) but nothing beats the feel of paper and stunning pictures.  I saw this book last year and refused to spend £16 on it.  Well, I can sniff out a bargain at 50 paces and saw it on offer at £4.  Rude not to buy it.


I finally got around to ordering gravel for the back and courtyard gardens.  Jewson said they could deliver by the Ton bag, so paid up and waited in the next day.  Decided to walk Milo, so left a note on the door for them to contact my next door neighbour who would explain where to drop the bag off.  An hour later, I turned into the road to see a bag of gravel at the top of the lane; I live at the bottom!  They couldn't get the lorry down.  Bugger.  Luckily the lovely Dudley from next door (who must be late 60's) grabbed his wheel barrow and a shovel and helped me shift it all! Back breaking, but now the back garden is finished and I am so chuffed with it.  Admittedly, not the best picture, but it has been raining here since 2008 - well it feels like it anyway.  


I have also had my first harvest from the Bramble Cottage veggie garden!  Not very exciting, but home grown none the less!


The really big news is that I now have a logo for my little craft business!  I contacted the adorable Laura from Cupcakes for Clara and she agreed to design a logo for me.  Her first email contained 4 'sketches' as a rough draft and I loved them all, but decided on this one! I love it!  I already have an Etsy shop which is empty at the moment, but plans are afoot to fill it with lots of lovely things.  Watch this space, as soon as it goes 'live'  I will post about it and include discounts for my faithful blog readers! ;0) 
Been busy using felt this week.  I love proper wool felt, not that synthetic stuff that sets your teeth on edge.  Scotties were very popular last year at the craft fair and I even made a few custom orders!  I found a wonderful craft shop in Frankfurt and they sell every colour of wool felt you can imagine.  It took a lot of restraint, well, some, but I picked up this stunning sage green and pale lilac.  


After a bit of cutting, sewing, stuffing and tinkering, the brooches are done -
How cute?

I just have to work out how to print my logo onto fabric and then I can start sewing shopping bags and hot water bottle covers.  I have already made labels for the paper bags (just need to make products to put in the bags) and have ordered the most amazing stickers from Moo! which look fantastic.  It is all coming together nicely now.  
I have decided to do the Michaelmas Fair in September and will be in Studio 12 (Maggie's) for both days (not in the main hall this time).   Better get my backside in gear and I have nothing to sell yet! Started my making some damson & lemon jam today.  The kitchen smells lovely.  
The 'front' garden that is on the lane has had a makeover.  Lots of weeding, digging in compost, muck and planting & it starting to look nice.  The local family-run garden centre is great for cottage plants, so tried to stick to those. Money is a bit tight, so was horrified spending £70 there this week, but needs must.  It is nice when people walk past and comment on how good it is looking.  A few more weeks and things will start to fill out and flower.  

Pru had a few lady problems this week and was put in the hospital bay (a box in the shed) for a bit of TLC.  She was still quiet the following day, but is now fine.  Cornelia then refused to walk and when I nudged her, she was limping badly.  I gave her arnica pillules for a couple of days and she is now fine. Must have been a sprain.  She even laid a lovely dark brown egg! (Her first since April, the little madam)!  

I have another week off now, as Mum and Dad are away, so I have Milo sitting duties.  I love it.  We go out walking 3 times a day (his rules, not mine) and I have a saddo app on my iphone that tracks the walks.  We are averaging 5 miles a day!  No wonder I am losing/maintaining my weight.  I am due back on the 24th, so Jase will be dog sitting overnight.  I am sure Milo will keep him entertained.  

I will leave you with a thought for the day -



Sorry I have been away for so long.  I will be back soon, I promise.  
C x x x

Wednesday 16 May 2012

...when Christian is trying to crochet!

Evening all!

Just a quick update on life at Bramble Cottage.

Milo is doing well and I have had a few visitors this week.  He is interested at first, but soon wanders off when people ignore him.  Training is working slowly!  No growling or nipping in weeks!!

I have the window man coming on Friday, he has been warned!  I need a new bedroom window and don't want to put UPVC in the house.  Wooden double glazed windows cost the earth, but that is what I would like.  Will get the bedroom one done first as the curtains moving with the wind is freaking me out now!  2 needed in the kitchen and finally the spare room one day.

Cannot believe it is the 16th of May and I have the fire lit.  It's my Birthday in 3 days and it is always nice and sunny.  The cold weather has tempted me to relight Stanley the Rayburn, but I don't have loads of oil left and wanted to save a bit as it is supposed to be summer!  Will need to order more soon, as the price has dropped a bit.

I have now sold 8 boxes of eggs from the front door!  Business is booming! When the weather is better I might even put a few jars of jam outside.  You never know?

Elsbeth and Agnes are laying well, Pru a couple of times a week and Cornelia is clamped to the nest.  Still.  5 weeks that hen has been grumpy and fluffed up, with little concern for her house mates, as she barges them out of the way to get to dried mealworms and mixed corn.  She is in for a shock when she stops being broody.  I think the others are tolerating her mood swings as she is hormonal.  God help her when she snaps out of it!

Just back from a quick stroll round the field with Milo.  I have to say, when it is sunnyish and not raining, the eye candy and their dogs go walking!  A couple of very suitable attractions were out this evening!

Had another mini crochet lesson today, thanks to Jen at Beaker Button at the Weyhill Fairground.  I'm still incompetent when it comes to squares, can't seem to figure out what a corner is.  Slightly concerned by my lack of ability, but it'll all fall into place. Unfortunately, a new fabric shop has opened next door, so I can fuel my addiction within 45 seconds of the front door.  They even stock Moda fabrics, so if you don't see me for a while, I'll be hiding amongst bolts of fabric at The Fairground...........

Time to switch off the laptop and do some reading.  Am totally into the Game of Thrones series of books and cannot seem to find enough time to sit and read.  I no longer have Sky tv, so can't watch the latest series on the box.  Will have to wait for the dvds.

Night night everyone.

C x x

Omlet Cartoon