Saturday, 31 December 2016

Goodbye 2016

An oldie but a goodie

Goodbye 2016.

Good riddance, you have been dreadful from the start.  

The best bit of 2016 has been getting the dogs.

2017, you have a lot to aspire to.  Bring it on!

Sending you all best wishes for a fabulous New Year!

Kisses for everyone,  Sol xxx

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Read a long number 3



How are we all?  We are doing well and Chez Sol.

I've already started Lolita.  It is a lot easier read than the first book.

What have you been up to?

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas



Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, from our house to yours!

Love Sol xxx

Friday, 23 December 2016

Yuletide



I missed celebrating the Solstice. We normally have some special food and have friends over.  It hasnt happened this year.  I kind of missed it all.  

{Winter is coming.}  Winter is here.

I could do without all of this fog we are having.  Batten the hatches {Storm Barbara} is coming.

Be safe everyone.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

A Christmas Carol - Review


I really enjoyed this short story.  A quick read that kept my attention and has made me want to read the rest of the Charles Dickens books bound in my copy.

I think I would like to read it again when I have a little more time and then make it a read every year in the run up to Christmas.  

I have learnt a few new words like, skreek and excrescence.  

Once again I am really loving the process of the read a long.  This time it was more enjoyable than when reading North and South.  

Tomorrow I will post a list of the parts I liked the best.

Till tomorrow, be kind.

Sol xxx

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Looking forward to tomorrows read a long!



I am looking forward to tomorrow.  Please leave a comment tomorrow, so I may read your blog post.

I cant wait to start to read Lolita.

I am trying to block out what has happened in Germany and Turkey.  My heart is very sad.

I hope you are all well and are keeping warm...

Be kind 

Sol xxx

Monday, 19 December 2016

Oca Harvest 2016 = FAIL



From the 16 ocas I put into containers, this is the harvest.  That is a 20 pence coin.   2cms wide, just under an inch.  FAIL.  The culprit, I suspect is drainage, I think they may have been water logged.  Live and learn.  Maybe not a food source for us.

To make you all feel better here are Eric and Marta, because sleeping in your own bed is too much hassle.


Friday, 16 December 2016

Coming Soon to a Blog You View!




World meet Marta.  Marta meet the world.

Marta is now 9 weeks old and is a {border terrier}.  Why have only one dog, when you can have 2 and a house full of chaos?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

North and South #2



Part 2, carrying on from part 1, you can see this {Here}

A few of my favourite passages

'There was no particular need to tell them, that what he did not care to do for Reverend Hale, unknown in Milton, he was only too glad to do at the one short sharp remonstrance of Mr Thornton, the wealthy manufacturer.'

'... they, who havent the sense to see that, if we dont get a fair share of the profits to compensate us for our wear and tear here in England, we can move off to some other country; and that, what with home and foreign competition, we are none of us likely to make above fair share, and may be thankful enough if we get that, in an average number of years.'

'She was not sorry when, at ten o'clock, the servants filed in to prayers.  These her mother always read,  - first reading a chapter.  They were now working steadily through the Old Testament.  Whne prayers were ended, and his mother had wished him good night, with that steady look of hers which conveyed no expression of the tenderness that was in her heart, but yet had the intensity of a blessing, Mr Thornton continued his walk.'

'But how could I help it?' asked she of herself.  'I never liked him, I was civil; but I took no trouble to conceal my indifference.  Indeed, I never thought about myself or him, so my manners must have shown the truth.  All that yesterday, he might mistake.  But that is his fault, not mine.  I would do it again, if need were, though it does lead me into all this shame and trouble.'

He said to himself, that he hated Margaret, but a wild, sharp sensation of lovecleft his dull, thunderous feeling like lightning, even as he shaped the words expressive of hatred.

But she had no thought of penitbefore God; nothing but chaos and night surrounded the one lurid fact that, in Mr Thornton's eyes, she was degraded.

Hale! did it never strike you that Thornton and your daughter have what the French call a tendresse for each other?

*******************************************

All in all, I like the process of reading this classic, but not the content.  I found it overly long in the beginning, the language/accent of the Darkshire people very hard to read and had to read it a few times to get it.  Not such easy reading.  I am glad I read it, but I wont bother again.

Sorry I have been MIA.  Life has got in the way, 2016 has thrown us many challenges, we have lost too many family and friends.  Another funeral, longer working hours than expected (imagine 3 rooms 20 feet x 20 feet, filled with boxes floor to ceiling full of paper work and receipts.  Although I have found some amazing house keeping books from 1896, where the house keeper was extremely keen on the use of ledgers.  I have to sort through all of them.  Every box contains anything from something from the last 6-7 years, or even something from 50 years ago.  Every thing needs to be checked, stored/archived or sorted for the last 10 years.  Its all a jumble.  I havent even started to look at the quotes for the building works.).

There we have it.  



How are you doing with A Christmas Carol?  I have finished, I will be putting together the post and it will be scheduled for the 21st December.  I am really looking forward to Lolita the next book.

Hope you are all well.

Sol xxx

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

This Made Me Smile

From Google
I read {this} and it made me smile.  I was laughing when I read about the zombie apocalypse.

I havent quite finished the second post on the North and South book.  Its coming!  Just like the zombies are...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Dickens for Christmas


Hello.

A quick move away from last months book.  I will add more about that tomorrow.  I am a little tired today.

Right, next book.  I am loving this, you all know that dont you?!?!?

Monday, 21 November 2016

The End of the First book


Hello!

Well this months book is finished.  It was a hard slog in some parts and I was gee'd on with the thought of watching the TV adaptation of it.  I will now allow myself to buy it!!!

I must admit that over all I did like the book, although, the first 60 pages I do not feel that they are worth much.  And every one has a friend of family member that is as much of an airhead or should I use the word vapid, as are Edith and Fanny.

For that time, I am sure that Margaret was quite forward in voicing her opinions.  Maybe it was because of her living as she had with the Shaws and that people looked up to her father whilst he was in the Clergy that she had an opinion that she thought other should hear.  And both Henry Lennox and Mr Thornton asking her to marry them with out consulting the father.  Would this have happened?  I thought even in those days a courtship was commenced when the father allowed it.

They would all think me very rich with the amount of scarves and shawl type things I have.  Many will have been made in India!!!  lol  

'a large Indian shawl, which hung about her in heavy drapes'

I am very pleased that I do not live in that time.  For sure, I would have been one working in the mills.  Up until recent years and even still my family were farmers or coal miners. My father would have been classed as an apothecarist, (he went to a grammar school).  So maybe not so far down the pecking order.

I also liked that Mr Thorntons character, had made it, that even before he met them, he was nice enough to make the landlord of the Hales, tidy up the house for them.

'There was no particular need to tell them, that he did not care to do for a Reverend Mr Hale, unknown in Milton, he was only too glad to do at the one short remonstrance of Mr Thornton, the wealthy manufacturer...'

There you go, part one of two.

From google

What did you think?  Have you blogged about it?  Leave a link in the comments.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Thoughts...

Cambodia 2014
Typing out loud if you will.

Lots of thoughts are swirling around, it would seem people are quite afraid for the future at present.  After 2008 and the recession, I lay awake last night thinking about how we are at the whim of other countries laws and financial problems as well as our own.  The world is so interwoven now that when one falls, like dominoes we all topple.  I worry that we will go back to the crazy levels (in my life time), of the 1990's, where every other day one of my school friends had their homes repossessed.  It pushes me harder to the goal of mortgage free as quickly as possible.  I dont know where I am going with this post at all...  It is complete ramblings...  

I read {Kev's post} and it would seem he is also thinking what will happen. Lol even if it is zombies. 

{Here} is another post from the blog, The Gardeners Cottage. Although we are no where near the Depression, it is a timely reminder of how hard it can be.

I think back to {this post} on Rhonda's blog, Down to Earth, {here} is the article she is referring to.  And it shows how people can make huge savings and pay off their mortgage whilst being more self sufficient.  This is the thoughts of many blogs I read and people who come here to read my blog.

Keep going everyone.  Chin up, heart strong, be kind. 

Till another day, Sol xx and 🐕 
(have you seen the symbols we can now add?  cool! lol)

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

A Rolling Stone...

picture from google
Whilst waiting for my friend in a coffee shop, I saw The Weekend, which is a part of the Mail on Sunday news paper.  In it was an article from the TV programme QI.  I really like that programme.

Here are my favourite facts from the article:

Napolean was born with teeth.  That gives me a little bit of the shivers.

A sneeze can travel up to 200ft.  More shuddering and yucky!

Rather apt for today, Donald Trump's father and grandmother both had the middle name Christ.

And the best one I thought was - On Earth, moss grows in an unruly fashion, but in space it forms spirals.  Isnt that cool?!?


Friday, 4 November 2016

Never Smile at a Crocodile...

Crocs.  Fashion faux pas?  Do you love them or hate them? I wonder if Peter Pan would wear Crocs...?

We use Crocs in our house as slippers.

A certain dog, *Cough Eric*, obviously dislikes them and wanted not one pair but 2 pairs to be put in the bin.

I give you Exhibit A



Exhibit B


Both pairs are covered in paint splatters and dust, but they are really useful and easy to put on and take off.  I do not wear them in the street, rather I use them as Hausfrau slippers. 

Eric, decided that these shoes had to be killed.  Notice that it is the right shoe of both pairs?  Hmm.  I couldnt find him when I came in, he had been alone for 2 hours.  Where was he?  He was obviously so scared that he had destroyed the shoes that he was hiding.  Where was he?  Behind the sofa, shaking like a leaf.  My heart sinks at this.  And I have to wonder, what the heck have his previous owners done it him?  When I walked by, he only caught my eye as he dash, belly low to the floor and out the door and hid in doorway of the bathroom.  This makes me feel very sad.  It was our fault for leaving them out.  Poor Eric...  Bless him.  This followed him having to have a bath at 6 am, due to an incident, where he rolled in something disgusting.  Today really isnt his day.  He is having a lovely bit of fresh cooked chicken with his dinner, that should perk him up.  If not we will try a little bit of cheese.

In other news in the reductions aisle at the supermarket there were 6 bags of potatoes reduced to 10p each.  All together 15kg for 60p!!!!  BARGAIN! And what do you do with that amout of potatoes to make sure they dont go off?  Well you make them in to parmentier potatoes, Sol style.  I make them and then I freeze them.  I can then bring them out and 15 minutes in the oven, bang, deliciousness on your plate.  I dont make them like Jamie Oliver, nope that would be too easy.  I dice all of the potatoes in to small cubes, aiming for 1.5cm squares.  Here is where it is different, I parboil them in water with fine grated garlic and chopped rosemary.  Lots of rosemary and garlic.  I drain them, tip them back in the saucepan and pour over lots of olive oil.  Lay the potatoes our on baking sheets in a single layer.  Roast in the oven say 180 oC until they start to crisp up and go ever so slightly golden.  You can now freeze these, and take our as much as you want for your dinner at that time.  Say a mug full for a man... Put them back on a baking sheet, 180-200 oC depending on your oven.  15 minutes later, shovel into your face.  To give them a bit more zing, spritz with lemon juice and salt.  Yummy!

Are you ready for bonfire night?  We have a loud film and the calm vapouriser for Eric.  It makes me feel sick from the stink of it, but if it helps him then I can cope with that.

How are you all doing with the book!   OHHHHH I am at an exciting point!!!!!!!!!!  lots of !!!!!!!! ohh er Mrs!!!!

Have a good weekend everyone!!!


Monday, 31 October 2016

Looking Forward

Cornwall - Picture From Google

Good Afternoon!

How are you?  Our weekend flew by in house-y normalness for us.  Planing doors and a trip to the farmers shop to get more mouse traps for the garage.  We drove through Lower Slaughter.  Had a quick cup of tea with one of the 'Boys' and then came home and puttered about.  A little bit of reading, quite a lot of cooking.  Then the In Laws came, I made a vegetarian plait which I saw on {Nine-Five-ish Blog}, the recipe is in the comments.  It tasted really good but I made a mess of it and it didnt look like Thrift Deluxes at all!  lol  (Hence there is no picture as it somehow split down the side and top and the pastry looked all funny). Everyone scoffed the lot, no left overs for us... I think maybe they closed their eye and just went on the taste, they both had seconds.  I must conclude that I am not a very good pastry maker.

We have been planning, what is hopefully our last house move.  The goal posts have changed and we are going for something that is just enough size wise, but must have a garage, or a place to build a garage and a driveway.  Those 2 items we have said we can not compromise on.  The house can be in any shape it comes in as we know we make all the changes needed but we cant change the size of plot or the location.  And drumroll please *drrrrrrrrr drrrrrr drrrrrr ting* it is definitely going to be in Cornwall.  We can not afford any other area.  

The garden is slowly putting itself to bed. I have washed all the garden pots, potted on some of my cuttings and could this have been the last grass mowing of the year? we will have to wait and see.

I will leave you for today with one of my favourite poems



Have a good day everyone!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Friday, Friday!

picture of Burford, from google
Greetings from the Cotswolds.  Good Morning, how are you?

Have you been to Bibury?  It is very pretty.  Before moving to this house, we did try and buy a house there, but the vendor decided they didnt want to move house after all.  In hindsight they did us a favour.  The house was lovely, but we didnt really think about all the tourists or the cars.  I have since  seen lines of coaches, rumbling outside the house when I have passed it.  Not good. I would hate that.

I have had the luxury of being about to blog hop a lot in the last 2 weeks.  Here are a few new to me blogs and posts from some of my favourite blogs.

Have you seen Linda's Blog?  No?  Go see it {HERE}.

Although not a blog, I saw {THIS} on the BBC.  This is great news post Brexit vote.  We need more of this, more manufacturing.

{Manger}, I have loved this blog for a long time.  So many children and still has time to have such beautiful hair, mix this with her dress sense and ballet shoes I am sure to try some of her recipes.

With the renovations and the loss of my interior design mojo, I have turned to my old faithful read of {Young House Love} and my 2 new finds of  {The Jungalow}, who seems to love house plants as much as myself and {Sopo Cottage}, who renovate and decorate older homes.  They make them beautiful, go see for yourself.



How are you doing with the read a long?  I  only read another 30 or so pages yesterday.  I need to pick it up a bit to be on track, as I am thinking my first few days of the new job are going to long.

On purpose I chose A Christmas Carol, not only as it will be December, but it is also not a huge read, I think it is approximately 100 pages.  I realise many people will be busy and out and about, this coming month.  Plus, well, I just wanted to read it. **** This is in reply to the comment left by a person who didnt want the whole of their comment published.  I hope you read this explaination of the shortness of the book and not choosing another to bulk it out. ;) *****

Right, I am off to put Gardeners World on for Eric, he likes to watch it.

Have a fabulous weekend!  It looks as if it might be quite cold, just the type of weather to curl up with your book, a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.  Spoil yourself with a few biscuits.  I will have ginger nuts, my favourite!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Pea Soup

picture from google
Hello, how are you today?  Gosh, the fog was thick this morning wasnt it.  

I've moved everything from one end of the house, to the other upstairs bedroom to continue painting.  One last room to go and a second coat of paint on the hall.  It doesnt seem to have covered how I wanted it to.

Still reading North and South, I havent made much of a dent in it yet.  I think I am on page 60.  It is just picking up.  woo hoo

I am also researching a horse trailer or animal trailer.  Are you able to help me with this?  Do you have any advice?  When the farm was sold, it was sold lock, stock and barrel.  I have never had to buy a trailer.  What is the trailer for you ask?  Well I have lots of plants, trees and food storage that I would like to move seperately from the house contents.  What are your thoughts please?  I need some help.  

Moving on - some of the plants I will want to move



The grape vine is looking a bit bare now.  But still has some orange and red leaves on it.  It produces large black grapes, without seeds.



One of my blueberrie is changing colour also now.



Volunteer mint, growing like crazy.



The tops of 2 of my olive trees.



The acer in the front garden is a burgundy colour now.



The acer in the back garden is a frothy pink colour.  They are the same type of tree, I cant remember the name of it.  Strange that one is dark and one is light?



The front garden looks like this all over the grass.



Can you believe it!  Olives on one of my smallest plants.



They are tiny, but are changing colour.  Its only about the size of my little finger nail.

Oca, growing away happily.



And my smallest of all olive trees, which also produced fruit, all very tiny, some are like little dots!  Lol.  They grew though!  That is all that matters to me.  Who knows, when we move we may plant them in the ground!  Then for sure we would have to stay!  I cant leave my beloved olive trees behind.

What do you know about trailers?

P.S. I also hope to be like this lady when I am 82!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Good Morning, Good Morning and Maybe Good Afternoon


These pictures have nothing to really do with todays post.  Its more 'Typing out loud', I'm afraid.  Today's post is more thinking.



These pictures are of Spetse,  in Greece.  Cars are banned from the town.  I kind of like that.



Water taxis bobbing about on the waterfront.  



The above picture is of the road back to Athens.  

I love a few places on the planet, Canada took my heart many years ago.  Even before Posh Boy, my childhood friend moved to England from Canada.  The love affair started there.  Its so clean, people are so friendly.  Its so easy to travel around.  Whats not to love?

New Zealand.  Land of the Hobbit.  Again another very clean place, easy to travel about and the people were super friendly.

France.  Oh, France, I fell in love with France on a school exchange in the suburbs of Paris.  The food, the clothes, the people.  I thought my penpals mother was the most chic person I had met in all my 12 years!  lol  It was an assault on the sense for 2 weeks France, indulged me, gave me some independence and with that came the idea that it could be somewhere I would like to live at some point.  It hasnt happened yet, but never say never right.  We nearly moved there when we were 24.  We even found the house, on the outskirts of Aubetterre sur Drone.  It had a round turret and was surrounded by sunflowers.  There was some complication with the family who were selling it.  The siblings could not agree, it was not meant to be.

Every year since we have been together, bar the last 2, we have been to Greece.  We have sailed around all the islands.  Just the 2 of us and a 33 foot yacht.  It is actually hard work when it is only 2 of you.  And although some people think it is posh or ritzy... it is nice you get to see lots of place and not from the land out to see, but vice versa.  The weather can some times be scary and pumping sea water to flush your own toilet can mean it is a little smelly in the head.  Radio checks with foreigners can be hit and miss, bilge pumping, exhaust checking, prop wraps, all things you have to be prepared for.  On the whole it is fab.

We have friends who live in Porto Heli (Porto Cheli), who most of the time we stay with when we finish the 2 weeks on the boat.  Gives us respite from wobbly legs.  Treat us to amazing food, from their amazing garden.  It has also crossed our mind to sell up and run off to the Greek sun.  The houses are extremely well priced there.

Lets do some star gazing - If you could live anywhere, where would you go?  And what type of house and garden would you want?  Go make a post on your own blog and leave me a comment so I know to visit.  I would be interested to know where you would go...

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

And the craziness continues

picture from google

And the craziness continues.  In readiness for moving, I handed my notice in yesterday.  You may remember that I studied quite hard to get this job, spent a lot on the qualifications....  

Well it didnt work out.  I made a mistake and I am happy to admit this.  I am not cut out to work in an office like that.  I eventually liked the people well enough, finance makes people bonkers I have decided.  Very highly emotional.  FTSE up, most are happy.  Brexit, everybody very sad.  Anyways, enough of that.  Whats next?

I applied for a job on my phone, as you do now, sitting in the car park, whilst waiting to follow another coffin to its final resting place.  My Mum and Dad both in the car.  My parents are the type of people, "if your happy we are happy".  Our relationship has changed a lot over the last 10 years, I went somewhere from being their kid that lived in London, to someone who took over their finances, bills and such.  In a way reversing the relationship.  We have all mellowed.  I looked to them for reassurance that we arent crazy.  They did a similar thing when they were our age.  Hence I grew up by the sea.

I had an email and a telephone interview, with a very posh gentleman, Retired Forces.  Then a face to face interview, with Him, his Son and his Accountant.  He requires a personal assistant 4 days a week for 6 hours a day.  I will help with sorting his correspondence, arranging the cleaning ladies, the gardeners, builders etc.  I am looking forward to the challenge as he is quite a good laugh, doesnt take himself too seriously and most of all he is only one village over.  I will no longer have to drive nearly to London every other day.  I am doing this for 6 months.  We hope that this will coincide with us selling.  If not I would be allowed to stay in one of the cottages.  He is hoping to rent them out.  Watch this space as that is somewhere he said he wants input into the interior decoration.  He has come to the right person.

I handed my notice in yesterday after my weeks holiday.  I am now on Garden Leave.  

I am ready to change.  The light is at the end of the tunnel.  I just hope no one turns out the light!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Typing out loud


A bit of blue sky thinking has been happening here.  Another blow to my family, my cousin died last week.  Another funeral.  She buried her husband the week before.  He was 52, she was 48.  Him to cancer and although on her death certificate it will say she died of a heart attack, I think it should really say 'broken heart'.

Lifes to bloody short isnt it.  

We have been thinking and talking and have decided that we will move up our retirement plans to sooner.  Rather than in our 50's.  We need to speed this all up.  Mortgage free is the goal.  It maybe a really small property but we will be free.  Or should I say more free.

All very William Wallace, FRREeeeeeeeedooooommmmmmmmm!

What are your plans?  Are you running off into the sunset also?  lol  Join me in the craziness.  As the young'uns say YOLO.  You only live once!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Read Along Book List 2016/2017

picture from google

Good Morning Read Along Friends!  Greetings from the slightly cold, very autumnal Cotswolds.  How are we all?  Get to the books I hear you say??!?  I have poured over Google, searched in depth. read lots of reviews.  And as I wanted to try and keep it to as many as I possibly could being free to download on to a kindle or PC/tablet.  

Rather than have a monthly, please vote, hello PLEASE vote, VOTE NOW, taking up a week.  I have chosen for you/us.  I hope you like them.  Read what you want of them, pick and choose when to join in.  As I know some of you would like to have the real book in your hand and feel the paper, turn those delicious pages and if old giving that wiff that only old books have, I have made the list for the year.  Everyone can then take their time to hunt the books out.  Myself, I am going to keep a list in my purse, then if I am in a charity shop or a second hand shop, I can look for any of these titles.  Yes, I have a kindle, but I still love to have the real book sitting in my hand.  There is nothing like it.

Ok, calm down here is the list. 

October 2016 - North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell
November 2016 - A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
December 2016, Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
January 2017 - Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
February 2017 - The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
March 2017 - Middlemarch, by George Eliot
April 2017 - Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
May 2017 - Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
June 2017 - The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker 
July 2017 - Tess of the D'ubervilles, by Thomas Hardy
August 2017 - Passage to India, by E M Forster
September 2017 - Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Friday, 21 October 2016

October 2016 Book Choice



Greetings from the Cotswolds.

I am pleased to announce that the book for October-November 2016 will be North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell.  Whilst I slept, the book poll closed, this book had 7 votes.



This has worked out quite well time wise.  If we say we read from now and we all post or comment on someones blog (for people who dont have their own blog), on the 20/21 November. This will then make the next book finish before Christmas.  


******Hooray!******

I am off to Google, 3 more books.  I will publish my findings Sunday.  You will all then have plenty of time to reserve the books from the library, download them, buy them or borrow them (for when we are ready to read them).

And obviously I will also have to find the TV series of North and South.  You know, for research purposes.  It has absolutely nothing to do with 


Be sure to come back Sunday, I will publish the reading list for the next few books.  I will try and make it so they are free downloads if possible for Kindles.

Have a great weekend.