I am 69 years old and have done many things in my life, such as being employed in The City of London for several years, starting as a shorthand-typist and working my way up to Assistant Company Secretary.
I have lived abroad for certain periods in my life as my father was a petrochemical engineer. I lived in Trinidad at the age of 11 and we moved to Kuwait when I was 14. When the contract in Kuwait finished, we drove home to England by car, which was an adventure in itself, worthy of another book.
I am a true Brit, married to an Arab, with a 29 year old son and we had a holiday villa in Spain for many years. In 2002, we moved to the villa and when our savings ran out, we designed a boarding cattery from scratch and I am now writing a book about the experience. Whilst running the cattery, I was approached by the Euroweekly News to write articles about cats. I wrote many articles about cat behaviour, grooming, general cat care and then progressed to write the A-Z of cat breeds.
In earlier years, I attended creative writing classes and have written many short stories and am working on a novel set on panother planet. This book “Planet Zu Tu” is about what happens to us when we die.
I love to read and am buying lots of books as mine are in storage and I feel lost, without lots of books around the home.
I am currently reading lots of Mills and Boon as I might write a romance one day. I have started one already about a young woman who breaks her leg and falls in love with her surgeon.
Well, that’s my name for it. When we lived in Spain, we used to do a big shop at Carrefour hypermarket, once in a while. Carrefour is so big that we often spent several hours there and stopped for lunch. One of my favourites was the beef stew and I think it was a little like this.
Chunks of beef for stewing
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped, or if you really like garlic, put a whole bulb cut in two halves.
A small tin of tomato puree
Olive oil for cooking
A red bell pepper, cleaned and sliced
Salt and black pepper
3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
A jar or tin of pre-cooked peas and carrots
1 tablespoon of gravy granules with 200 ml of water
Cook the beef in a pressure cooker if you have one
Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil (large saucepan)
Add the tomato puree, cooked beef, salt and pepper, vinegar and gravy made up with the water. Add a beef stock cube and more water if necessary. When everything is soft, add the red pepper, peas and carrots. Adjust the thickness of the sauce with more or less stock.
Serve with either a baguette to dip or paprika potatoes sliced in the oven on a tray, cooked for about an hour on 180C. Or Yorkshire pudding goes nicely with the stew.
Cover with the ground bay leaves, paprika, salt and pepper
Dot with butter and squeeze half a lemon on the chicken, then pop the lemon and onion inside the chicken to create steam inside. Put the chicken in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. Take the chicken out and cover with tin foil to rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the residual juices into a pan, mix the cornflour with the water and pour that in the pan. Simmer until you have a sauce.
Maybe serve with potato dauphinoise. Rub a pyrex dish with garlic and olive oil or butter. Add thin rounds of potatoes. They should be floury, such as King Edwards, Desiree or Maris Piper Add 500 ml of double cream. Bake with the chicken and decorate with flat leaf parsley. The cream can split if the oven is too hot, so if you are lucky enough to have a second oven, put them at a lower temperature of 140C.
Having had my second Covid 19 vaccination today, I fancied something nutritious to eat, followed by an afternoon with my feet up resting. I didn’t have any side effects from the first vaccine, but that doesn’t mean I will escape this time. So far, so good.
I didn’t know what to have for lunch. We often eat our main meal at lunch time, but today is other half’s day at the office instead of working from home. So I checked for any vegetables past their best in the fridge and popped them in the soup maker with a vegetable stock cube.
2 carrots, cleaned and chopped
2 celery sticks, cleaned and chopped
1 yellow pepper washed and chopped (discarding the pith and seeds). Other colour peppers are fine.
1 clove of garlic (for healthy reasons)
2 cleaned spring onions (scallions)
2 soft tomatoes, washed and chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
2 cups of water or more according to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Lemon juice and crusty bread to serve
Pop all the ingredients (except the lemon and crusty bread) in the soup maker and set it for 21 minutes on blend.
I normally make my rogan josh according to Madhur Jaffreys first Indian cookery book but the book is in storage due to many house moves so I don’t have it to hand.
My son, a big curry fan, a trained chef, but now working in television advertising, is short on time so recommended the Spice Tailor. I tried it today for the first time and must say I wasn’t impressed as there was so little sauce. However, the taste was very authentic. I decided to do a base of chopped onions, ginger and garlic, all blended. I had to add a little water simply because our hob is so crazy and doesn’t understand the word simmer.
If you are interested in curries and spicy foods, come visit me at allthingscurry.wordpress.com
How do you deal with your dog when you go away? Do you put Fido in a reputable kennels or take him with you? A pet is part of the family. I should have some idea, having owned a boarding cattery for a few years and written a book about it. Before Covid 19, I started to work as a pet sitter but only had chance to look after one lovely white doggy called Stitch, for a neighbour.
If you prefer to take Fido with you (do you know anyone who has a dog called Fido?) then why not stay in a dog friendly hotel? I haven’t stayed in any of these, but they sound good.
Craigellachie Hotel in Speyside. They even have a bar called Copper Dog. It isn’t cheap but has what looks like a wonderful whiskey bar and the country walks look appealing.
Overwater Hall in the Lake District. Every doggy visitor will have a homemade biscuit on arrival. Adrian has shared the recipe with owners. There is no additional charge for Fido. Dogs are welcome in one of the hotel lounges and bar, but they don’t allow dogs on seats. The hotel is set in 18 acres and has a woodland board walk. They offer breakfast and a limited dinner menu in your room if you wish to eat with your dog as they aren’t allowed in the restaurant. A dog sitting service can be arranged for rainy days.
Tyddyn Goronwy Camping Park near Snowdonia. Dogs are allowed at this site which is close to the beach. They take tents and campervans. At the moment it isn’t allowed, due to Covid 19, for people living in England to book.
The Grosvenor Arms in Shaftesbury in Dorset. Dogs are welcome in the bar with a full menu, but not in the restaurant. Boutique style bedrooms and dogs allowed in all of them.
Cholmondeley Arms in Cheshire. A very dog friendly hotel with a charge of £10 extra per room. There are water bowls at the front door as well as around the garden, dog biscuits at the bar and even doggie beer available to buy. Well behaved dogs preferred.
New Park Manor in the New Forest. Dogs are welcome in the rooms with doggy biscuits, blankets etc. They do a Paws break.
When booking accommodation it might be an idea to check if they only allow small dogs. Also how many dogs are welcome and check what restrictions apply to where the dog is allowed.
If you are travelling by car, it’s best they are in a container but with room to stand, sit down and turn around. Making regular stops for a leg stretch and toilet break for you and Fido.
If you decide to leave your pet at home, there are several options, a kennels, pet sitter or perhaps a relative who will look after your dog.
As I write, hotels are closed due to Covid but restrictions are being lifted.
Dog friendly beaches, all year round, Milford-on-sea, Hampshire, Troon beach in Ayrshire, Sandymouth in Cornwall, Babbacombe in Devon, Perranporth in Cornwall. Watcombe Bay on the Isle of Wight, Lulworth Cove in Dorset. Embleton Bay in Northumberland has a wide beach.
One day she wheeled herself to the lounge, opened the curtains and noticed the water in the pool rippling in the sunlight. At second glance the movement of the ripples seemed more than usual. The pool man had set the pump to come on automatically twice a day. She turned the chair slightly, intending to head off for the kitchen to make coffee to enjoy in the early morning sunshine, beneath the rubber tree, when she drew breath to scream but nothing came out. A man’s head was bobbing in the water. He spoke, “Morning, please don’t be afraid”, he smiled, water droplets dripping from his jet black hair down his tanned forehead. Continue reading “The Woman in a Wheelchair”→
The boss went to look for carpets and bathroom cabinets and came home with doormats and would you believe it, real cactus fridge magnets. She just dumped us in the room with the packing boxes! We don’t even know where our new downmarket friend from Marks and Spencer is.
Oops, looks like he has fell asleep next to the new mattress.
She cares more about her silly new cactus than us.
My boss has moved to a new flat in the same postcode but a quieter area. She’s going to be 70 this year and so slow at unpacking. My name is Tedward from Hamleys toy store in Regent Street in London. I’m the one with the brown bow. My best friend, Edward from upmarket department store Harrods in Knightsbridge is opposite me but I have been forced to share with Christmas bear from Marks and Spencer. There really is no accounting for taste! There’s a bed made up in the spare room and we were so comfortable sitting on the pillows, socially distanced as it’s currently called, when she decided to have a nap. She ordered a super luxury bed which arrived today for the main bedroom but she hasn’t bought carpet yet, so we have been turfed out next to all the boxes and upturned mattress. Wish I was born in Toy Story.