What a month!!

Before I start, I just want to say that I am as devastated as the rest of the world by the actions of the Russian Dictator ( I will not use his name, he doesn’t deserve that privilege) against Ukraine and its people who have showed more loyalty, bravery and compassion than any country I have ever known. This war is illegal, immoral and indefensible. However I want to try and keep my website free of politics and full of hope so I will make no further mention of it.


I cant believe its nearly a month since my last blog post!! I’ve been so aware that I needed to write but I honestly have not had time: how on earth did I ever fit a full time job into the equation? Mind you, my bungalow is much cleaner than its ever been, we now rarely order take-aways, and my marmalade game has never been so strong!! Oh and we rescued another dog (bear) and we’ve fought a battle with Storm Eunice at the allotment (and lost!) I’m now officially retired from nursing and deciding what do with myself for the next 10 years until we can both properly retire. My mental health has been so much better, although reducing my meds at night because I was all like ‘ I don’t need them anymore’ wasn’t my brightest idea (you’d think id know better eh?) but I’m glad I gave it a go; it made me realise that I need my meds, even without the stressors and triggers of nursing..

So, where do I start? Marmalade? Seems as good a place as any. As you know, I bought loads of organic citrus fruits from Spain which then gave me a deadline: preserve before they go off! So 14 bags of sugar later, I now have seven varieties! Rene’s favourite is the bitter sweet lemon marmalade with thick bits of rind, he likes the bitterness against the sweet tangy lemon. My favourite is the Spiced Rum marmalade although its only my second batch I will sell as I couldn’t taste the rum in the first batch. Most recipes talk about a ‘glug’ of alcohol after the cooking is done, mine was poured in haha! Both the Scotch Whisky and the Spiced Rum varieties had more added than I should have done, hence why they are a smoother set. ( I also use less sugar than is traditionally used which also makes for a softer set) Anyway, 55 jars later (mixed sizes) and I’m all out of citrus, and glad to put the preserving pan away for a bit!! The biggest challenge for me has been the bloody labels!! Having decided to do them myself using a printer (more professional looking I reckon) I set about buying the labels and using templates to write in. Simple you’d think? No. No it wasn’t/isn’t. It is absolutely doing my head in now and until I get it sorted, I cant sell them!! Today. Today is the day I will beat this…

Thinking chronologically, the next thing to happen was the storm. Obviously we have had storms before, and I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve had to rebuild and repair the greenhouse ( we initially collected it in 2013 for our Sheffield allotment) but its the worse storm we’ve had since moving to Donny and it caused a lot of damage at the allotment here. Being clever bastards though, we had siliconed the glass into the frames after loosing and replacing glass panels at a rate of two per season, and thank god we did! As you can see from the photos, only one pane smashed, the rest were left hanging precariously waiting to drop and decapitate whoever was walking past (be that animal or human) at any minute. This did not help my anxiety/drama queen tendencies I can tell you, especially as it was clearly a two man job to sort it, so I had to leave it be until Rene was free. Anyway, I’m glad to report zero decapitations, the bugger is now in pieces as the frame was so bent and damaged that we had to agree to retire the whole thing. RIP greenhouse, you served us well and will never be forgotten..

It’s a solid wood door and v heavy!
Didn’t need that fence anyway..

Not only did it murder my greenhouse, the storm wiped out our fencing and ripped the door of my polytunnel. Not having much cash to spare ( given the whole no pay thing) we decided to reuse what we already had lying about the allotment, to try and repair the fencing and other than buying some chicken wire, we managed exactly that! Very proud allotmenteer I can tell you! Rene re hung the door for me and we were sorted again. Luckily we didn’t have any damage at home, probably as last year’s storms did that!!

Where once there was a greenhouse…
New chicken wire fence, try blowing that down!

The next part of this blog is a bit of a warning to anyone else who like me, takes antidepressant and anti psychotic medications. Now having been a psychiatric nurse for over 30 years, one may assume that one listens too, and heeds one’s own advice and suggestions yes? Well I’m afraid one would be wrong! Like the numpty I am, I fell for the whole ‘I’m so well, everything is fabulous and I clearly don’t need such high doses of meds anymore’ thing. Of course I didn’t listen to my long suffering husband’s thoughts on this, as what the fook does he know? I’m the ‘expert’ after all… What. A. Twat. Anyway without going into details, it turns out that I DO need meds after all! Just a tiny reduction in my Quetiapine left me really quite elated and restless. I sliced the end of my finger off ( accidentally, I was peeling a tiny bit of ginger; I didn’t start self harming I promise!) went flying down a grassy embankment in the rain and mud trying to run down it (FFS I’m 53 not 13!) I stopped sleeping and found myself drinking way too much wine, to name just a few of the reckless things I was doing again! Needless to say, I’m back on my prescribed dose now, will I ever learn?

And finally… We rescued a new doggo!!! Now we were very clear that we wanted to rescue/rehome a dog, something I believe very strongly in, but whatever fur baby joined us would have to put up with our mad home and lifestyle. Not that working and having cats should be an issue: we are quite capable of managing both situations as we have for the last 14 years, but alas, our UK based rescues were unable to help us (or let us help them should i say) Its such a shame that cases are no longer looked at case by case as we have had lots of experience with dogs and cats living together and as long as dogs are properly exercised twice a day, they will just sleep! If they get a bit destructive that’s ok: we can train them out of that! We did have some preferences which made it harder: no terriers and no greyhounds as their chase instinct is just too strong unless they are puppies and bought up with cats, but otherwise we were pretty open to any age or breed! We even tried direct rehoming but found the people we were dealing with wanted cash more than they cared for their poor animals, so this was ruled out as well. Its funny how things happen though, I saw a photo of a beautiful dog on one of my Facebook pages and contacted the woman who had rescued him, only to find he was in Romania but was soon to be driven to the UK. I sent her a message saying we were interested ( he had been described as being good with other dogs and cats) along with many others apparently, and we were chosen to go and meet him. Fast forward 4 days and I found myself driving to Bolton to meet and take him if I was happy. (Rene was working and was happy with me making the decision) Needless to say, I fell in love and ended up with a six stone dog on the back seat of my Yaris! Thankfully he has settled in brilliantly!! Riley (our 10 year old Springer/collie cross) is accepting of him (I’m sure hell grow to love him eventually) two of the cats love him and one retreated to the top of the wardrobe although she is now slowly being more friendly!! He has very strong guarding instincts but he’s a gentle giant!! He is a Mioritic Shepherd, bred to herd live stock in the Romanian mountains and we are totally head over heels in love with him.

On the van taking him to his new life with us in the UK!
Guarding like a boss!
He makes Riley look tiny!

Right, I’ve just realised that I have written a bloody novel today, not a blog post so I will leave it there for now!! As soon as I’ve finished these bastard labels, my marmalades will be available to buy from my Numonday shop so watch this space and please try some!

Shimmy aka The Dark Lord Eyeballing Ruffi!

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