I love weekends when we don't have any 'going out and about' plans, so that we can make the most of time at home. We usually look forward to that as it means a bit of relaxing after we've both had long weeks at work, but the jobs at home seem to be mounting up so it feels like we didn't actually sit down all weekend!
I was glad the weather was dry at the weekend and the sun did pop out and say hello a couple of times over the last two days too. We drove Barry to the next village and up to a big car park where the Ridgeway is (it's about a twenty minute walk to the Ridgeway from our house and we were keen to explore another part of it), he wasn't best pleased on the short ten minute car journey but seemed to think it wasn't so bad when rewarded with a nice long walk, muddy puddles and meeting lots of new dogs. It was windy up on the Ridgeway but lovely to see so many people walking, cycling and even in pony traps! We met a lovely couple walking their two Irish Wolfhounds, they really are gorgeous dogs. Having just met a couple of ponies Barry wasn't sure if these Wolfhounds were too equine-related and he hung back while one came and leaned his head against my chest (they're so tall!). We continued through an underpass (under the A34) where lovely paintings and rhymes about The Ridgeway can be found on the walls.
We met a few cyclists and a bouncy Beagle puppy and his owner too and then Barry found the muddiest puddles possible to run and splash through.
Part Jack Russell, part Gazelle? Barry bounds everywhere! Proven in slo-mo!
Eventually we headed back to the car after a good few miles walk with a happy puppy in tow. Barry was much happier on the short car journey home and realises the car isn't so bad when he gets an exciting walk at the other end. As soon as we were home I decided to give Barry a bath. The 'Bath' word is worse than the 'Walk' word in our house, Barry goes mental at the mention of a bath, not running the other way but in excitement! He must be one of very few dogs that cries in excitement for a bath or shower. A short while later we had one clean dog and one soaking wet owner (he's a wriggler when I'm trying to dry him).
Barry excited for a bath!
I spent the rest of Saturday helping Jack with the shed building. This is the first weekend in a while that Jack hasn't been working and I think he's pleased with what he's managed to achieve with the shed. I was on painting duty and also did some gardening once I was done. By the end of the day we were flagging from all the fresh air and hard work so rewarded ourselves with dinner out at Nandos - I had a free whole chicken that we shared with some sides courtesy of my loyalty card after nearly a year of saving the rewards up so it was a very cheap and satisfying meal out.
Painting the sides before they were fixed together
Yesterday I just seemed to have a million things to do and not enough time. I planned to get started with doing my pickled onions for this year (got a 4kg sack of pickling onions from the farm shop for £6, pretty good value and cheaper than on our local market), also have some apples to cook up and make into crumbles, I wanted to make a nice pasta sauce for Jack's lunch at work this week and I also wanted to make myself another soup for the week. In the end I only managed to do the pasta sauce and make a soup as I got side-tracked tidying the kitchen cupboards and cooking a joint of pork and a whole chicken that were in the freezer and needed using up. That's our dinners sorted all of this week; tonight we're having one of my favourite 'sloppy' dinners: sliced pork warmed up in my homemade pork and apple gravy with mash and lots of veg (I'm veg obsessed, I'd eat a plate of veg with gravy any day!). The crackling on the pork was really good (I'd get the sack if it wasn't!) and we devoured that yesterday with some lovely veg and little Yorkshire puds, but in my haste at doing so many things at once I forgot to cook potatoes (silly woman).
Next task is to get pickling...!
I made a nice vegetable soup; pretty much made the recipe up though I did take some inspiration from my new soup book but had to work with the veg I had:
1/4 portion of a large swede
1 white onion
White wine vinegar
A few small fresh snips of rosemary
1 1/2 pints vegetable stock
I fried the diced onion and leek in a dash of white wine vinegar first to soften them and then added the rest of the ingredients (all chopped up) along with stock and left to bubble away. I fished out the rosemary stalks, seasoned and then blended the soup. It's really tasty, I think it's the parsnip that I can taste the most and it's a lovely yellowy orange colour. I bought a cheap pumpkin at the weekend too so I can try and make a pumpkin soup next. For the last few years I've always cooked a sausage, sage and pumpkin casserole at Halloween and it's delicious, the recipe is here if anyone is interested.
I had planned on doing some Christmas card making again this weekend but ran out of time. I did manage to make a start on decorating an old notice board; it's going to be hung in the spare room where I've got a bit of a sewing/knitting theme going on anyway so decided to decorate the edge of the notice boards with two old tape measures. They might actually come in handy for measuring things. I'm in the process of making some little heart shaped pin cushions to hang on the board too, made with some vintage-inspired and sewing-themed fabric. Hopefully I'll have a finished photo to show you soon.