Saturday, 30 August 2014

Be Careful What You Wish For

I laughingly said before my operation that it would be good if they put in a mesh that covered my whole abdomen so it would be like an inbuilt girdle.

Well unfortunately I sort of got what I wished for.  I was expecting to have one hernia fixed, and the surgeon draw a little circle on my tummy to show them where to operate.  When they actually looked I had two big hernias and lots of little ones along the scar.  In the words of the surgeon they put in the biggest mesh they had and lots of screws so hopefully everything will hold this time.  I feel like the bionic woman.  I did ask if I would be setting off x ray machines in airports, but apparently not.  The surgeon even gave me a photo to take home.  It is very strange seeing your insides!

Thank you all for your messages of support, I will be trying to catch up with all your lovely blogs, I'm just a bit reliant on pain killers at the moment.  They make me feel a bit spaced out when I take them so I will be posting nonsense, and when they wear off I'm in pain so will be moaning about everything.  Oh joy!

OH has forgotten how to use the oven, washing machine etc since last year so I am sitting here issuing orders like Queen Chickpea.  I have already started on my supply of carrot soup made a few weeks ago.  Being vain, I weighed myself thinking I would have lost weight as I hadn't eaten for several days, and I have put on weight!  How the hell does that happen?? OH assures me it isn't the mesh and screws that are heavy!

I hope you are all well and having a lovely weekend.  I have managed at last to finish Cloud Atlas and also read Hovel in the Hills while I was in hospital.  I can see why some of you have said this book changed your lives.  I think I will try a bit of crochet later.

Well, I am sitting here on my sofa looking out at the trees.  I am so glad to be home :)

Chickpea xx

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Still in Hospital

Things turned out more complicated than they thought. A one day stay has turned into three days. Keeping fingers crossed that I will be allowed home today

Thank you for your lovely comments,

Chickpea xx

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

An Evening Walk

After a very wet Bank Holiday, this evening has turned warmer and dry.  I'm not sure when I will be able to get out to walk far after tomorrow so we made the most of the last of the evening sun.  Annoyingly I spotted loads of blackberries ripe for the picking.  I will have to get someone to pick them for me and freeze them for another time.

I have finished work now for a few weeks and have plenty of things sorted to keep me busy.  Books, sewing, crochet, blog reading and the box set of The West Wing for when I can't concentrate on the other things.

The evenings are drawing in now and there is an autumnal feel in the air.  I love the changing of the seasons, each having it own special treats.  We have had the first squash in our veg box which makes me  think of warm soups and coming home from work to curries in the slow cooker.  We will sweep the chimney soon to clear the jackdaws nest ready to light the fire.  The winter duvet will be replacing the summer one in the next few weeks.  One of the girls in work was singing a xmas carol today, now that is going too far!

Hopefully I will be all fixed and good as new by tomorrow evening, well as good as I get :)  I will be back blogging in the next couple of days, though I don't know what about as all I will be doing is lying on the sofa for a few days!

Chickpea xx

Monday, 25 August 2014

The Start of Something Big

Inspired by all you talented crocheters I have picked up a crochet hook after many years and started a new project.  This is the first of 164 circles!!  It may take me a few years.  The colour is actually nicer than is looks here, it is going to be a blanket.  It will probably be ready for when I am sat in a rocker in my old age :)  I keep making mistakes, yes there is a mistake in this one, I sadly lack concentration when it comes to following patterns and counting things.  Watch this space for updates.

It has been typical Bank Holiday weather here with heavy showers, so instead of a nice trip out we headed into town and I bought waterproof walking gear in the sale.  I bought some waterproof  trousers which look ridiculous but I must be getting more sensible in my old age.  Gone are the days when I use to go out on my motorbike, get completely soaked and think nothing of it.  My old bones wouldn't cope with hanging around in wet jeans for hours now.

I am planning to get out walking more to try to get my fitness levels back and lose the weight gained through months of inactivity.  I don't seem to be able to walk far without pain lately so hopefully all that will be fixed soon :)  I have also been catching up with the dreaded housework this weekend.  It is very tempting to leave it until next week and then get OH to do it as I can't possibly lift a hoover or iron, but that would be a bit mean.......wouldn't it?

Thank you for your lovely comments on my last post.  There has been a few horrible comments on the local news sites about the Pride Parade.  The usual hateful homophobic name calling from the usual trolls hiding behind their computer screens.  I have reported them and the comments have been removed, no doubt they will be trolling about something else tomorrow.  But there may well be young people out there who read them, and will be too afraid to 'come out' for fear of this bullying, hateful behaviour.  There is still a long way to go and I can't help but worry about my son and his friends who risk being attacked for who they are.

Well not much else to say really, back to work tomorrow so the sun will probably return.

Chickpea xx

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Flying the Rainbow Flag

We had a wonderful day at Cornwall Pride.  After torrential rain early morning, the sun came out just in time for the Parade.  I go along every year to support the LBGT community in Cornwall as well as all those across the world who still suffer persecution.  It is a fabulous family fun day enjoyed by all.

The huge flag was carried through the city by many willing hands, and when caught by the wind it billowed up nearly taking yours truly with it!!

We all made our way to the park for picnics and music.  It was a lovely atmosphere, and one brave lady had her long hair shaved off for charity raising over £3.000.  I could have cried for her as it came off.

I'll be leaving the party this evening to the youngsters.

Thank you for the comments yesterday, I feel a lot better today it's just a cold so ok for the op :)

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Tammy and Chrissym :)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Fresh Food and Food Banks (and lots of photos of veg)

Roasted veg cooked ready for dinner later

On the news this morning they were discussing the rise in the theft of food from shops.  They asked a woman why she had stolen food, she said she wanted fresh food for her children.  She explained that food banks are great but you can't get fresh food from them.

As I was preparing meals today that interview came back to me,  I don't know how I would manage without fresh food.  We have really struggled in the past but we were lucky enough to live where we could get hold of fresh veg.  OH used to help out on farms and be given veg to take home.  We have even been out on walks and been given cauliflowers  from a farmer who told us that for what he would get paid by the  supermarkets he might as well give them away. I remember someone telling me that they had no fresh food left at all and as he was driving down the road found some cauliflowers that had literally fallen off the back of a tractor.  My dad and OH mum had greenhouses so there was always surplus tomatoes, cucumbers lettuce, along with loads of runner beans.  A friend used to go out picking mushrooms and bring us a basket full. Blackberries for free at this time of year.  There was also cheap veg sold at the farm gates.

 I am now lucky enough to be able to afford a locally grown veg box delivery every week, supplemented by fruit and veg from Aldi and some home grown veg which I have the space to grow.  I was also given some home grown apples by a friend last night, so much tastier than ones from the supermarket.  Most of the meals I prepare are based around fresh fruit and veg.  I crave fresh food when I haven't been able to have any.  As a vegetarian the lack of fresh meat doesn't affect me, but for many they would find it very difficult to manage without if that is what they are used to.

Years ago I worked in a sheltered housing project.  We would have families arrive with the clothes on their backs and not much more.  We were able to give them tins of food, dried pasta, rice,  toiletries, sanitary products all of which had been donated.  We would take them to a local charity to find clothes for free. Until they could get benefits sorted out, which often took ages, they had to rely on donations.   They wanted the best for their children like everyone else, they found it so upsetting to have to rely on handouts.   There are families today who have to rely on food banks and do not have access to fresh food.  There are also supermarkets today that will be throwing out fresh food.  Surely there is some way to get them together.  I know there are some schemes that do this, but it is not done nationally.

This is the veg just little old me used today.   If I had to rely on a food bank I couldn't even fill up on bags of pasta or cereal as it certainly wouldn't be gluten free.

Fresh tomatoes for a pasta sauce

Home grown spinach for mini omelettes

Tomatoes from the veg box, including black ones which I was only saying yesterday I had never seen before

Home grown lettuce for lunch

My lunch, full of  fresh veg with home grown lettuce, tomato and spinach.

I'm going to pick some chard later for dinner.

As you can see I am lucky enough to have a diet full of fresh food, so many people do not have this option.

Garden update:

A teeny tiny aubergine growing, such a beautiful colour


Peas starting to grow

A few carrots in the veg plot especially photographed for Paid in Chickens :)

Mini sweetcorn plants with no sweetcorn, I think it is probably too late to get some now.

On other news, I have woken up with a sore throat and ear ache nooooooooooooo  I can't come down with something, I want to get this damn operation over with!  Keep everything crossed for me that it will go away.

Chickpea xx

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Goats Cheese Stuffed Sweet Pepper

Well I have been busy planning for post op fun today.  I bought myself a shorty wetsuit in the sale for £20!! It may fall apart after a season but it will do me. I nearly did myself an injury trying it on in the shop, I think once I get it on at the beach I will have to stay in it all day. It's so tight it's more like a straight jacket, but the bigger they get the longer they are, the crutch would have been down to my knees if I bought a bigger one.  I also booked us into a hotel for a couple of nights when I'm recovering, I thought we could both do with a bit of pampering, I'm soooooo looking forward to this, it is a Victorian hotel right on the cliffs so I can sit and look out to sea all day with cups of coffee being brought to me.  I love being at home mooching around, but it is also a place of work so when I'm there I am always popping some washing in, clearing dishes etc. so don't actually relax.   Only by going away will I truly have a break.

 I also picked up some wool at the market to do a bit of crochet, yes yet another project, but I will get bored if I can't do much for a while.  Back to the present, and I thought I would show you what I made for dinner last night.

I love goats cheese but I remember the first time I ever tasted it many years ago.  It smelt of goats, it stank!  I couldn't understand why anyone would eat it.  I acquired a taste for it, but prefer the mild variety that doesn't overpower everything.

I had some sweet pointed peppers to use up so decided to stuff them, this is what I did :)


Sweet pointed peppers
Goats cheese
Toasted pine nuts
Fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Black pepper

Wash the pepper, leaving it whole, and brush with olive oil.

Place on an oven tray and cook in the oven until soft.

Carefully remove the skin.

Slit the pepper down its length and remove the seeds

Fill with the goats cheese, pine nuts and chopped basil (leaving aside some pine nuts and whole basil)

Place back into the oven and cook until the goats cheese is melted.

Remove and drizzle with a little virgin olive oil, pine nuts and basil


Chickpea xx

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Cliffs and Desert Island Daydreams

 The weather doesn't seem to able to make up its mind what to do today.  We have had sun, rain, wind and clouds in a matter of hours,  it hasn't helped my mood.  I really feel we need to get away for a holiday, yes we live in a beautiful part of the country where a lot of people come for their holiday.  In fact we could holiday somewhere in Cornwall,  I just feel we need to get away from home just to get a complete rest, and preferably leave phones and computers at home!  Anyone know of a desert island we could disappear to?  We had a lovely walk on the beach on Sunday, just the two of us, but I think we need more than a few hours, we are starting to bicker!  OH works incredibly hard running his own business and has had 12 months of looking after family members recovering from various operations.  The poor man needs a break even more than I do!  I will have to put my thinking cap on.

When we go to the beach I automatically take photos of the sea,  like everyone else I am drawn to it. On our walk at the weekend, I thought I would take some photos of the beautiful cliffs, yes I said cliffs.  They are not the white cliffs of Dover, but they are pretty special.  I would like to be able to tell you what type of rock all the different colours were, and how they formed in these patterns.  If any of you out there do know, feel free to comment.

I just love the colours and patterns nature has created

I also went shopping today in preparation for my operation next week.  I have no idea how I will be afterwards, it certainly won't be as bad as last time when it took months to get back to anything like normal.  I picked up some magazines, I have plenty of books, some hand sewing and plan to catch up on reading blogs which I don't always have time to do.  I also picked up some 'ping' meals (microwave)  that are gluten free and veggie which will be easy for OH to cook for me.  I'm not looking forward to it, but it needs to be sorted so I can get a little fitter than I am and lose some weight!

I have been looking online at holiday places and there are hobbit houses you can rent, I don't think OH will go for that though :)

Do you ever yearn to get completely away from everything?  Perhaps some of you have already with new lives in the country?

Chickpea xx

Monday, 18 August 2014

Mini Omelettes

This is a really simple and quick recipe that could be for breakfast or lunch.  The ingredients I used are as follows, but use your own favourite omelette ingredients or whatever is in season.

8 eggs
mushrooms chopped into little pieces
handful of spinach from my veg patch
grated cheese
salt and pepper

Saute the mushrooms until they are soft.

While they are cooking wash the spinach and cut off any tough stalks.

Wilt the spinach in a saucepan with just the water from washing them, then drain off any excess water by squeezing if necessary and chop.

Whisk 8 large eggs, then add mushrooms, spinach, tarragon, cheese, salt and pepper.

Oil a muffin tin and ladle the mixture into the tin making sure not to overfill as they will rise slightly when cooked.

Place in the oven on a medium heat for 20 to 25 mins until cooked.

Keep any remaining omelettes covered in the fridge and zap them in the microwave to reheat or eat them cold.  I will be popping a couple of these in my lunch box.

I hope you all had a good weekend, I spent the day with a friend at a workshop learning to make little books, lots of tearing and sticking and getting covered in paint.   I will tell you more about it another day.

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Angie :)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Just the Two of Us

 Family were coming to stay this evening, we were booked to babysit the grandchildren while their parents met up with some friends.  It is lovely to be surrounded by family, but also important to spend some time together, just the two of us.  Yes most of the time it is just us, but during the week there are jobs, housework and all the other things that take up our time and attention.

The weather has been beautiful for weeks so the beaches have been full, we woke today to a dull drizzle, perfect for the beach.  These are the days when you can have the beach to yourselves.  We headed down to Gwithian a place full of childhood memories.  The forecast was predicting sun at about 3 o'clock, so we headed down there at midday.  Plenty of room in the car park and apart from a few walkers, an empty beach.  The sea was swarming with surfers on the Godrevy side, so we decided to walk along the beach towards Hayle.  It is a beautiful beach that stretches for miles with a view across to St Ives.  Soft golden sand, perfect for making sand castles and little rock pools to spot tiny fish and crabs.

It was lovely and cool, a welcome change from the oppressive heat we have been experiencing.  A lifeguard sat on his board with little to do but watch the waves.  The path we intended to climb back up had lost the steps at the bottom, probably due to the winter storms and was closed off.  In my younger days I would scrabble up the cliffs with no need for steps.  Those days are long gone.  We walked back the way we came, hand in hand enjoying our time together.

As we walked back along the cliffs, the clouds cleared and the blue skies appeared.  By the time we got back the car park was filling up.  Time for us to leave.

I hope you have had a relaxing weekend doing something special

Chickpea xx