Hello Southern Hemispherites!!

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  • Good morning and happy Monday all

    Well the weekend at the Hunter was lovely but oh dear – the scales have jumped very very alarmingly. I don’t know how I could go 7 weeks on a big European/African holiday and only put on 4 kilos but 4 days of taking my eye off the ball could have a 2 kilo mega-jump. I do know the answer; (1) 5-7 hours of walking every day versus sitting on my backside doing nothing and (2) only having 2 meals per day mostly – and very few snacks. Gah! Back on the straight and narrow

    LJ I am SO enjoying reading about your holiday. Canada and the the Rockies and bears and – wow! And then a catch-up with Cali which will be just so awesome. I’m sorry you missed out on the Grizzly tour but as you said, next time for sure

    Barcelona sounds pretty amazing Thin. Friends of ours lived there for years and absolutely loved it.

    You are really on top of things diet-wise Betsy – congratulations. I need some to take some inspiration from you as I am heading in the wrong direction very quickly. If I’m not careful I will be back in the 90’s and THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

    Cinque, they said on the news this morning that Melbourne was going to be humid again today. It’s just awful isn’t it? It was very hot in the Hunter Valley but it is much easier to bear as it is a dry heat. We were glad to escape Sydney’s humidity for three days but coming back was draining. I chuckled at your fridge full of delirious portions…..I also get delirious over great food

    Neil. Chips. Totally my nemesis also – hubby opened a bag at the concert and honestly I just fed them into my mouth as though I hadn’t eaten in 10 days. Gross but every so delirious….I mean delicious 🙂

    Maxx had a great time a the kennel apaprently. His report card had words like ‘energetic’ and ‘playful’ and ‘loves to be the centre of attention’. It’s not hard to read between the lines. Oh dear. And when we picked him up yesterday the girl brought him into reception…..sorry I should say Maxx dragged the girl through the swing doors into reception and then she let him go. He streaked towards us like a yellow furry bolt of lightening, OH and I with our arms out to greet him when he did a sudden left hand turn and leapt with all four paws onto a young girl sitting on a couch waiting for her dog. My heart was in my mouth but she was fine. Then, thankfully, her dog came out and it was a chocolate labrador and he did exactly the same thing. What are we going to do with him? Most people ask ‘how old is he?’ and when you say ‘just over 2’ they nod sagely and say ‘ahhh….labradors are crazy until they are about 4’. I will have white hair by then.

    Here he is sporting his new bandana from the kennel….
    http://imgur.com/gallery/8zjxvFM

    Must start work friends, so have a great day. Hi to everyone I missed

    Good morning,
    Monday morning, a lovely one here in my part of Melbourne,
    My health has improved enough to make some grandma commitments, which I love, but goodness they are playing havoc with 5:2!
    (And housework).
    I think especially because I am just getting back into it.
    Anyway, I am going to play around with my fast days and see how they settle.
    I did have a good fasty fast day on Saturday. And I bet yours has been too, Thin. Inspite of the lack of an immersion blender.

    LJoyce, such a treat to feel that bit smaller, and see it reflected in the scales. Yay, I bet you wriggle nicely down into the 70’s now.
    Still humid here, hasn’t it been weird, but not so humid this afternoon when the temp is heading up toward 30. thanks goodness.

    So so glad I have some success with the fruit experiment, but I stuffed up badly with the chocolate.

    Thin, I spent a night in Barcelona on my way to Peniscola, and so wished we had longer there. If only I could travel, I’d be the cat sitter!

    The news of floods in the UK is awful, I think Penguin is still out of the country, I think he lives closer to the trouble than your longboat is?

    So glad you live on a hill, Penguin.

    Betsy, what a wonderful story of those orchids! That’s more than 40 years!
    And hooray that you are saying goodbye to the 80’s too, you will love to have them done and dusted. I hope the small meals are still keeping your reflux under control too.

    I’m looking forward to that Giles Yeo show, I still haven’t read his book, but I have respect for his science background and his kindness.

    Neil, hooray for a good weekend outside, and a great fast day today.

    Well, I’ve got the second load of washing on, and my friend, the one I haven’t been able to drive up country to meet for a while, is coming down here today (thanks to her lovely husband driving her), so that is a treat.

    Hoping those heading back to hectic workplaces had a lovely weekend.

    Sending good wishes.

    Hi Anzac, posts crossed!
    Hi Maxx!

    Hi everyone

    It’s almost home time and I am so glad for that as I can go home and have dinner. It’s been my usual Monday FD today but it has been a really difficult one. I’m wondering if it’s because of the lack of sleep I have had for the last few (several) nights although I’m not really sure how that affects me when I hardly sleep anyway but we will put it down to that. I have a big veggie, bacon and four bean mix soup already cooked up so all I need to do is heat it up and eat. Mmmm I can’t wait.

    Talk to you all tomorrow 🙂

    Great to catch up on all of your posts. Sorry I’ve been away but I’ve been painting our bathroom cabinets with chalk paint, which is a new experience for me. I only heard of it about 6 months ago when someone on our local Nextdoor.com posted pictures of her kitchen cabinets that she painted with it. Has anyone here used it? We have 8 cupboard doors to be painted on both sides and it’s taking 3 coats. Then there’s the cabinet itself. I haven’t even started the drawers. https://imgur.com/a/xZl3p8C So that’s what I’ve been busy with, that and procrastinating about getting started on it each day. But at least the countertops and faucets are all in. Next, I’ll paint DS’s cupboards. She has even more than we do.

    LJ, I hope you’re planning to spend a lot of time with us. Cooper is anxious to meet his Auntie LJ. 😁 Between the dog, birds and cats you may feel like you’re staying in a zoo, but you are certainly welcome. We can make a list of things you’d like to see around here and also have some time to just hang out. You’ll probably enjoy some relaxing days after traveling around Canada. We use the Instant Pot pressure cooker a lot. You can see it when you’re here. Like Cinque said, it’s not really for vegetables because it cooks them too fast, except in stews or things like that. It’s easy to turn veggie to mush in just a few minutes. Artichokes are one exception. They are much quicker than the long time it takes to boil them in a pot. It’s great for meats, poultry, legumes and whole grains. OH loves to make hard boiled eggs in it. I don’t think it’s possible to have a pressure cooker that was made in the last 20 years blow up.

    Thin, your trip sounds wonderful. Barcelona is a place I’d like to see some day. It must be nice to be relatively close to all of those places. We can get to Canada or Mexico pretty quickly, Europe is about 11 hours by plane from the west coast.

    So glad to hear that many of the fires are out or under control. Hopefully much of the danger is over for the season. The damage already caused is heartbreaking.

    So excited, I have everything booked to ride the Central rail trail this weekend! The accommodation is reasonable. $50 for a cabin for the night including bedding and continental breakfast. 152 kilometres await my tyres, and then I get a train trip back on the way home 😁

    Good evening all. Great to read all your posts.

    Getting excited for you, LJoyce, re your trip. Won’t it be nice to have time with CalifDreamer, and you can report back on how good all her bathroom renos look. By the way, I think it may just be Cymbidiums which get a “shock” when they’re re-potted. Some may still flower, but fewer than normal. On the other hand, I re-potted a couple of orchids which were different varieties in the 2018-2019 summer, and they both still flowered okay, so yours may be fine.

    Thin, thanks for the imgur info. My mother had orchids from the late 1960s, so some are more than 50 years old. They keeping putting out fresh bulbs, and when the bulbs mature, you get a flower spike. I remember my mother being permitted to buy a “parent” orchid from an orchid grower in NSW around 1971 – the grower bred new orchids by cross-breeding from particular parent plants. Mum had to promise that she would never sell the plant (or any of its offspring) to any NSW growers. Fifty years on, I wonder if that orchid breeder is still in business, but I don’t remember any names. It was somewhere around Sutherland, I think – is that south of Sydney, or south of Woollongong?

    Anzac65, join me with a new mojo for February and on into the year. We can do this!

    Neilithicman, have a great bike ride! You’ll have to get your boys interested so you can ride more together.

    Hi Quacka, good that you’re persevering. Hope the soup was yum!

    Cinque, good that you’re feeling well enough again to be able to take on a few grandma duties. Yes, the smaller meals are controlling the reflux. Still have a mild sore throat most of the time; maybe it’s from coughing?

    Time to close and spend time with my book before going to bed. Haven’t been using my CPAP machine now (for sleep apnoea) for about 4 weeks, and it’s been so nice to not be waking in the middle of the night with my whole head sweating. I feel that I’m sleeping well, too. Not sure my doctor will be happy about it when I tell him, but I have really tried.

    Goodnight and sleep well.

    Good evening all

    I’ve just finished a FD. I decided to cook American diet food – chilli con carne made with ground turkey! To be honest with all that chilli in it, I couldn’t tell that it wasn’t beef. It’s pretty rare to even find turkey mince here, but it was both available and cheap a week ago so I put some in the freezer.
    I will cook some frekkah grains tomorrow to go with it for my NFD. Plenty left over to freeze too.

    Quacka, I hope your difficult FD ended well. Having a meal ready to go really helps.

    Cinque, so pleased that you are able to spend the day with your friend. Is this the one who’s car you had thought to buy until your mechanic talked you out of it?

    Betsy, it’s lovely that those orchids have been in the family for long.
    One of my orchids was my Dad’s, when he was in the nursing home. When it flowered the first Christmas after he’d died, it was like he was popping back in to say hello and merry christmas.
    Betsy you may find that weight loss reduces your need for the CPAP machine. It would be worth revisiting the diagnosis when you are close to your goal weight.

    Anzac, I agree that it’s easy to manage your weight when you walk all day around Europe – I actually lost weight the one time I went there on holiday because of all the extra exercise – even with treats like sacher torte.
    Maxx always seems to look so innocent in the pics you post. Not sure how he manages that.

    Neil, that’s quite a ride. I hope the weather is good for you. You will definitely have earned that train trip home.

    Cali, yes I am hoping to be with you for 8-10 days. Enough time for both sightseeing and also relaxing. I suspect the first thing I’ll need to do when I arrive is laundry – I’m likely have a suitcase full of dirty clothing. It’s either that or raid the nearest op shop – although I want to do that anyway!

    Time for me to head off to bed – I’ve had too many late nights lately and it’s catching up with me.

    LJ, so glad that you are planning a good amount of time here. I was afraid that by the time you arrived in Calif there wouldn’t be much time left. We have a big washer and dryer so you’ll have clean clothes. 😁 We can figure out a plan that includes some of the things you want to see as well as relaxing. It will be a good incentive for both of us to lose a few kg before then so we can take you to a few of the restaurants around here and not have to worry too much. I know it’s possible to have fun without eating a lot, but it’s also fun to try the local restaurants.

    Betsy, I had no idea either that orchids were so long lived. I’ve never tried growing them, but maybe I will now. I need to get my mojo back on the fasting too. It hasn’t been going well. I seem to have as many over-the-top days as FD’s and the FD’s don’t offset the other. I need to get my brain back on track.

    Neil, that rail trip sounds like so much fun. I hope you’ll take some pictures. I imagine the boys are excited.

    Penguin, since you mentioned your house is on a hill, it sounds like it will be safe from flooding. Thin, good thing your UK home is a boat! There has been unprecedented flooding in some of the US southern states too. Mississippi and and Tennessee have been hard hit. The whole planet seems to be having extreme weather. It’s unsettling.

    Quacka, lack of sleep seems to affect my eating too. I’ve developed a habit of falling asleep around 9 or 10 and then waking up around midnight and being awake til 2 or 3:00 am. Then back up at 6:00. It doesn’t feel like very good sleep when it’s only a few hours. I get away from added sugars for a while and then go right back again. I need to be more disciplined. I know you have a lot going on in your life now. That can make it hard to turn off your brain when it’s time to sleep.

    Hope you are all having a good day. I need to get back to the painting.

    Good Morning everyone

    Well I survived yesterday’s FD and I can tell you that my soup tasted amazing. I felt like something more after dinner so I also had two corn thins with mighty mite on them and that did the trick.

    Today is a whole new day. I managed to get some sleep last night even though I woke up at least 5 times but at least I went back to sleep. I looked up Dr Weil’s 4,7,8 breathing technique which is supposed to help you relax (and fall asleep). Maybe it works, maybe it was psychological but I think it helped me last night. I’ve also tried another technique that the soldiers apparently use to help them get to sleep really quickly. You imagine you are lying in a canoe on a beautiful blue lake with a crystal clear blue sky and the warm sun shining down upon you. I also like to think I’m in a blue canoe but I don’t think that’s part of it LOL. I didn’t use that one last night and I think it works best if you are already relaxed.

    Really busy at work at the moment as it’s winter stock influx time so I better go start my work day.

    Hope you all have a lovely day and a nice easy FD for those who are on one.

    I love reading all your posts so keep them coming! 🙂 🙂

    Betsy, wow those are some seriously old orchids. I’m not sure if it’s warm enough here for orchids. Hopefully you’ll have good results in your February re-boot and it will roll into March.

    Ljoyce, I’d love to do more with Turkey because it’s supposed to be one of the best meats, high protein and low fat. But you can’t really get it over here for a decent price. Occasionally we can get the wings or drumsticks, but they are always pretty tough and unappealing.

    Calif, I’ll definitely take some pictures, but the boys aren’t coming, it’ll just be me riding it. I doubt they would cope with the distances you need to be able to ride each day. Maybe in a couple of years when they’re a bit bigger with better bikes.

    Weigh-in tomorrow, I had a good fast day of around 1000 calories yesterday and got 2 hours of cycling in. Today I’m having a control day, I had my home-made muesli for breakfast, leftover chilli beans and vegetables for lunch, then Lamb shanks casserole with lentils for dinner, then it’s weigh-in time tomorrow morning. Hopefully I can break the cycle of gain-loss-gain-loss-gain-loss that I’ve been doing recently. I’d love to see an 86 on the scales, but with the muscle I’m building with my cycling that’s getting less and less likely.

    Have a great day everyone.

    Good morning,

    Sigh, yes, bad sleeping not only makes us hungrier, it makes us hungrier for the worst types of foods and then it makes our bodies less able to deal with them.

    Betsy, hooray. If you feel you have been sleeping well, you probably have been.

    It is raining lightly here, it is quite dark and nicely cool, thunder rumbling in the background.

    Anzac I hope you can enjoy a good lean week after your feasty weekend. I’m sure the kennel had a fun time with Maxx, and he will be so happy you weren’t away long.

    Quacka I’m also hoping you were able to finish that difficult fast day with your planned meal, and feel great this morning. Fingers crossed especially you had a better sleep.

    Cali, I hadn’t heard of chalk paint until you mentioned it, but isn’t that what whitewash was? I do love the chalky look, and hopefully it isn’t as plasticky as most paint.

    Haha you are right about artichokes in the pressure cooker, and I have done beetroot too, for making pickle. I’ve heard about doing a big batch of boiled eggs, but I only ever cook one or two at a time, so I haven’t tried that one.

    Neil, woohoo, you are all set for a great weekend!

    Betsy, so glad about the reflux easing, I still have my fingers crossed your throat can heal.
    Your orchids made me remember the lovely little orchid farm in Mandurang, where I lived on the outskirts of Bendigo 30 years ago. They took over the post office so I was there often, picking up mail. Such a lovely couple owned it. I just looked it up and they had to close in the last drought, 2006.

    LJoyce I bet that chili con carne is yummy.

    Yes, it was that friend. I was so glad to spend some time with her, her health seemed worse though, but maybe because she was away from home. And I madly thought I could make it around Ikea (they go there regularly so Swedish Curt can get the foodstuff he loves) but I wasn’t up to it. Tricky to realise that half way through! But I’ll organise it better next time they are down.

    Well with the busy week I have failed at getting my 7 serves of veggies in every day, so I am back on track with it as number one priority. I am making poha for breakfast, with less poha (rolled rice) and more veggies (neat, since I only had a tiny bit of poha left at the bottom of the jar). Lots of lovely spices in there too. An Indian breakfast.

    And I am going to sit down and sort out my fast days! I think I will have one tomorrow. Yay Thin, a Wednesday Fast Day!

    Time to get moving. Best wishes all.

    Quacka, just saw your post, hooray re the good fast day and better sleep. Breathing and visualisations are also things I find helpful with sleep (note to self, Use Them!).

    Neil, great training and looking after that body, who cares what the scales say! Haha, but I hope they do say that magic number.

    Going now!

    Hello everyone, lots of lovely interesting posts

    FD today and I need it. I was very hungry first thing – unusually – so I’m sipping on a half a massel stock cube in hot water and it is hitting the spot. I’ve had 500ml of water and will have a black coffee soon.

    Your bathroom reno’s are sounding more and more lovely Cali. We need to do our main bathroom as we did it when we first bought the house but that was in 1998. It is really looking old and worn but poor hubby has so many jobs on his plate as well as all his home duties including the garden, Maxx, cooking, laundry etc etc he is putting it off for a while.

    I received some awesome news this morning. My nephew who lives in the UK is going to ask his lovely girlfriend to marry him! My two nieces have organised a ring and my Sister and BIL are taking it over when they head off for a visit next week. Then the two lovebirds are coming home (she is from Melbourne) for a visit in October so we will have an engagement party. I wish they would come home for good but he is earning great money as a senior tour guide with Trafalgar so they are saving up so they can buy a house when they do eventually come home. He was sadly on a tour when we were in London but we had a fabulous lunch with his GF

    Quacka and Cali, I drift towards overeating if I don’t get enough sleep. And I am not a good sleeper so it really is a problem. I often sleep upstairs in the spare room so it is very quiet and so I don’t keep hubby awake with my shuffling. The last couple of mornings he left the gate open to the stairs and Mr Maxx has snuck down and slept next to him in our king size bed! It is so cute when I go down to get ready for work and there are two pairs of sleepy eyes looking at me from the bed. In fact Maxx even had his head and shoulder on my pillow the other day (I got hubby to wash the pillow case) and this is the couple who said ‘no dog on the bed or the couch’ when we brought him home. Maxx 1, human’s zero. Ha ha

    Betsy I love love love the history behind your orchids. If you can figure out how to use Imgur I’d also love to see some pictures.

    I had a good-ish CD yesterday and the scales dipped 500g so I guess my big weekend gain is (hopefully) mostly water. I normally don’t even lose that much on a good FD!

    I do need to start work but I’ll be lurking all day – have a good one everyone

    I meant to mention that Maxx has recently become really keen to learn tricks at home. I think it’s a sign he is growing up (wishful thinking?). Not important things like recall or not jumping up – yet…

    Here is a video of he and hubby doing somee training. I’m so proud…

    There’s no sound

    Maxx training https://imgur.com/gallery/0ojadUG

    Actually it just occurred to me that if I used YouTube I could get the sound to work. Here’s an attempt:

    https://youtu.be/JRbFRYkT5jY

    Good evening all

    I’ve done a lot of unplanned walking today – I walked to the post office 3 times.
    It started out with me trying to complete the online passport application. The system wouldn’t validate my drivers license details so after triple checking and trying everything I could think of, I gave up and walked to the P.O. to get a paper form. When I told them what had happened, they said that I could just keep clicking on validate and it would eventually let me proceed anyway – seriously? So I walked home again – with a paper form just in case. They were right I did manage to get past that screen and get the form completed. Then I followed the instructions (or so I thought) and printed the checklist screen and took that and my documents over to the P.O. again for everything to be varified. Only to be told I needed to print a different page. So home I trudged again to find the right page and print it. I was muttering and slamming doors by this point! After a break with a cup of tea to calm down, back I went with the right form. Finally it was third time lucky and my application has finally been submitted. I should have a new passport in 3-4 weeks.
    Now I just have to hope there’s a tour with a vacancy for me in September.

    Anzac, love the youtube video – what a clever boy. ABC news showed this clip on breakfast tv this morning and I immediately thought of Maxx – it even looks like him! https://www.time24.news/b/2020/02/dog-invades-soccer-match-steals-ball-and-needs-to-be-carried-off-the-field-watch-the-cute-moment.html

    Quacka, Cali & Anzac, I am the same with sleep – the less I sleep the more I eat. I especially crave starchy carbs on those days.

    Cinque, Ikea is a very long trek – you need to take a packed lunch with you! The only blessing is that there are plenty of chairs and beds along the way to have a rest on. In Adelaide it is possible to just go to the little grocery area, or to the restaurant, without doing laps of the warehouse showroom. Because of their cheap restaurant prices they are a regular meal out for some people here. They are also walking distance from our airport and there are often Japanese tourists there with their trolley bags buying lunch – always the salmon with an extra piece.

    Neil, I found the turkey mince at Aldi, although I don’t regularly shop there. I just happened to look at their specials catalogue that week and noticed the mince. The other supermarkets either don’t sell it or they charge too much.

    Time I organised some dinner. I didn’t feel hungry earlier so decided to delay a bit longer. I haven’t cooked the frekkah, so I’m having spelt couscous, chilli con carne, broccoli and homegrown green beans.

    I’ll do another FD tomorrow.

    Hi all.

    Managed a FD800 today, plan for another tomorrow, then CD and finish the pre-weighing week (I “officially” weigh on Saturdays) with another FD800. For my CD yesterday, I thawed a bought Chinese meal, honey chicken with special fried rice, and added a heap of home cooked vegies to it, plus didn’t eat all the rice or chicken – but the scales were still up today. Too much salt and MSG, at a guess. It should be better tomorrow.

    CalifDreamer, yes, orchids can live for many years, cymbidiums anyway, because they start with a bulb that has a green shoot. The next year, that shoot has a green shoot, and the following year the next shoot has a shoot. By about 4-5 years, the original shoot is mature enough to produce a flower spike, so you enjoy orchids. After the bulb has flowered, it gradually loses its leaves and becomes like the bulb you start with, but the next green shoot flowers the next year, and so on. And more bulbs produce more shoots, etc., so the plant gets bigger as well. Once you have a sizable mature plant, you can have 4 or 5 flower spikes in one year, but each bulb only flowers once. After a while, you can break the plant apart and make 2 or 3 new plants out of the original. That’s part of why re-potting can become such a chore. There’s a lot involved. It’s not just plonking a plant into a larger pot.

    Thinking of which, another orchid story – not sure what variety this one is, but my father gave me a plant in the middle ’80s. It sat in a big pot, full sun, near my front door. I passed it on to a friend in 1995. Upon my moving into my unit once home again in the ’00s, she passed half of it back to me. About 5 years ago, it had become so large, the pot was cracking, so I broke the pot, had to literally saw the plant into two parts, put one into another pot and the other half into the ground. Both are thriving. The potted one got re-potted again last summer, and is now huge. I do have photos of the part in the ground flowering, so will try to put it on imgur to show you.

    LJoyce, what a lot of kerfuffle to put in your passport application. I hope from here there will be no more problems!

    Anzac65, loved the video of Maxx; at least sometimes he behaves! 🙂

    LJoyce, re CPAP, my respiratory physician who has been monitoring my sleep apnoea and asthma had told me when I saw him last that if I lost a further 10 kgs, I could have another sleep test and maybe go off the machine. Instead I regained several kilos, but it was just so unpleasant using the masks. I tried several alternatives over January, and then just couldn’t stand it any longer. I usually do wake a couple of times during the night – toilet stops, plus to let out Wilbur around 5-6 a.m., but I can almost always drop back to sleep very quickly. My fitbit usually gives me “good” readings for my sleep quality.

    Okay, off to try to put a photo on imgur. If it works, I’ll post the link here.

    Hope this works – https://imgur.com/a/BVjgVZC

    Let me know if it leads you to an orchid photo. I also registered with imgur – is that what I was meant to do? This is all new to me.

    My second attempt at a post today. I had to break off this morning to build an Ark. The river below us is seven metres above the normal level, which makes it the highest in several hundred years of records and puts our nearest larger towns under water. We are fine – it will have to rise another 150 metres to reach us but I know people in the valley who have had to leave home for the third time in three months. I would take my canoe down to help but the current is too strong. TV images of entire car parks being washed down stream do not encourage aquatic activities.

    Recently I have been giving a very good impersonation of a perpetual motion machine, which is why I have not been posting. I have been lurking, so I know that some have had health problems and some have had good news about jobs (and dogs). Thinking of you all.

    When I am busy I can forget to eat, so I am about 3.5 kg lighter than when I last posted. There are another two weeks of these activities, then we fly. We are looking forward to a little gentle idleness. There doesn’t seem much prospect of it being quieter when we get back. This is not a problem – they are all things we want to do, the only difficulty is fitting them all in.

    Anzac, OMG, Maxx! Is that perfectly trained dog in that video really the wild child of several months back? I love the “high five”. What a beautifully obedient dog! I don’t believe that little angel would jump on anyone. 😁 Our dog sleeps in our bed between our pillows an has for over 5 years and we haven’t died of dog germs yet. I believe in strengthens the immune system, being exposed to different things. (I try to not to think about him licking his butt when he wants to give us a kiss 😁) Of course Cooper doesn’t shed so we don’t end up with fur in the bed.

    Betsy, the picture shows up fine. That is probably the biggest orchid plant I’ve ever seen. It’s beautiful! We could only grow them in pots around here because it gets down to freezing in the winter and occasionally below for hours at night. I don’t think you get quite that cold in Melbourne.
    It would be great if losing weight could eliminate the CPAP machine. But weight isn’t always the reason, is it? I seem to remember someone here mentioning a family member who was thin having to use one.

    Minced turkey (or ground turkey as it’s called here) is commonly sold in grocery stores here and is fairly popular as people try to eat less red meat. It’s around $5.49 per pound (about .45kg) or often on sale for 2 pounds for $7.99. Alexa tells me US$1 is about Aus$1.49. So about $8.18 Aus for .45kg if my calculations are correct.

    LJ, I hate having to get passports for just the same reason. I guess it’s good to know we aren’t the only country with the huge bureaucracy involved with the process. I dread getting an updated passport when I need one. I don’t have a lot of patience with all the nit picky paperwork involved. Glad you’re getting it done now so you’re not worrying about it at the last minute.

    Today is a FD for me since I didn’t do one yesterday. I plan to work on the bathroom cabinet painting and waxing to stay occupied. I’ve run into a bit of a problem with too many visible brush strokes and have to do a bit of light sanding and maybe a little more paint. There is definitely a learning curve with chalk paint. Cinque, there are recipes for chalk paint on the Internet. https://salvagedinspirations.com/best-homemade-chalk-paint-recipes/ I wish I would have looked into these more before I spent a lot of money on the Annie Sloan brand of chalk paint. But the brand name one was the one people were talking about on Nextdoor.com, people in my area, and I just jumped it with the brand name paint. I love that chalk paint sticks to everything and that it hardly has any smell. You do have to seal it though and I haven’t found a wax or liquid sealer that doesn’t smell.

    Penguin, our posts crossed. Wow! 7 meters above normal levels really is bad. I’m glad you live higher up. Hopefully all the grocery stores and such near you remain well stocked. Is the airport you use on a higher level? Weather is getting scary with all of these extremes. It reminds me of some apocalyptic movie about climate change. Maybe it will wake up some politicians.

    CalifD, it was my skinny OH using the CPAP machine. He didn’t get along with it. I didn’t like the noise either but it was probably better than listening to snoring. Glad you’re here because I thought about you when I read this article. You’ll remember I regularly have a bit of a rant about FB users being ‘the commodity’. See if you can read this and not be alarmed. You even mentioned Alexa in your post – I know a few on here use Alexa. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/extra/CLQYZENMBI/amazon-data

    Betsy, thanks for the photo. Good job on both counts.

    Maxx video is great but surely that’s not a kiwi accent saying “sit” is it? What a lab won’t do for food, eh?

    LJ, I have a FD recipe for ‘white’ chili con carne made with turkey. I love it. I think it’s posted on our recipe page.

    Penguin, are you off to Portugal? We have one more week in Spain.

    Morning all

    Well I managed to halt the roller coaster for now, but I didn’t quite manage to break into the 86s. I dropped 300 grams to currently sit on 87.1 kilos, maybe next week I’ll be able to break out of the 87s and into the 86s.

    I went to the annual bikers breakfast in town this morning. It’s a free breakfast put on for people who ride their bikes in to work ok that day. I’ve been to it in the past several years back and they put on a brilliant breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese baps with barbecue sauce. This year everything was listed as “vegan friendly” so there was just some generic packet muesli, fruit salad and almond milk. I could have had that at home, in fact I would have preferred to have my own home made muesli because it’s lower in sugar than packet stuff, and I fill it with nuts, seeds, coconut and dried fruit.

    I hope everyone has a brilliant day

    Cali. Most of our small regional airports were built for fighters during the last war. They are nearly all on the tops of hills for good drainage, so wind is more of a problem. We won’t run out of food. We get cut off by snow and other weather often enough to keep a good stock of canned and dried food. We can lose electricity but, like most blokes who walk the hills, I have portable gas stoves. To establish some SH credibility, there is also the barbie.

    Thin. Portugal it is. I have just completed my evening on-line Portuguese lesson. I was watching those twin doctors on TV last night as they proved to their own satisfaction that learning a second language gives you another four years before Alzheimers gets you and also improves stroke recovery. I do a quick work out on four languages most nights so I should be bomb proof. I haven’t been to Barcelona for four years. I thought it was a great town. Having just seen some photographs of the National Park a few hours inland I have to go back!

    Hi Penguin, OK, tomorrow I’m going to make more of an effort to speak Spanish. After we got off a bus today with a non-English speaking driver, I realised that I did actually have the vocabulary to ask my question in Spanish (whether it was necessary to ‘tag-off’ with the multi rider pass). I wish I could think more quickly. I think I’m too afraid to make mistakes. I find Catalan just different enough from Spanish that it doesn’t seem right. A bit like Portuguese. I can recognise some words but can’t speak a single one. Four languages – that’s impressive.

    Neil, there was an annual free breakfast for bike riders in Perth. My OH wasn’t working in the city but he was a daily user of the route and always knew when the breakfast was held.

    Wow Penguin, 7 meters is a serious flood. My friends on the Labrador forum are mostly in the UK and are telling equally awful stories about the storms and all the damage. Enjoy Portugal – we did very much. Lisbon was such a great place to walk around. And of course there are the custard tarts…..

    Cali, thanks for the encouragement re Maxx. About 60 seconds after I took that video the little scamp stole yet another tea-towel and ran into the room dancing and waiting to be chased. We have taught him ‘put it in my hand’ so anytime he has a toy (or a nicked tea-towel/shoe/tv remote/paper towels/t-shirt/etc) we can now say it and he brings whatever is in his mouth to us and gently places it in our hand. So we praise him but then are we also encouraging the nicking at the same time? Gah! But that said, I have to say he has improved so much over the past few months and especially since we came back from holidays. He definitely matured in the kennel and now only counter-surfs when he is looking for attention. This morning there was a tv remote in the middle of the floor. He somehow got the back of it off and had a chew on that but left the rest untouched. So we can put sticky tape around it to keep the batteries in. Thanks Maxx!

    I had a good FD yesterday and the scales dipped nicely by 500g. It wasn’t easy and I was ready to chew off my own arm when I got home. Thankfully hubby had my stir fry ready to go and it was delirious (sorry Cinque, I shouldn’t tease you but it was such a cute typo). We are going away again this weekend so I want to have an excellent week as I know I will have some bad food and wine on the weekend. Hopefully counteracted by long walks on the beach. Maxx loves it down there as the beach is dog-friendly and he loves the surf

    Your orchids are just beautiful Betsy. The history and your stories about your family are awesome.

    L.J. we buy turkey mince at Aldi all the time. My FD dinners are mostly either stir fried veges with a bit of protein or turkey ‘bolognaise’ that I make with lots of veges and a tomato based sauce. We get 500g for 4.99 or often it’s on special for 3.99. That plus the veges makes at least 10 FD meals so it is very cost effective and much lower in fat than most other meat. I laughed and laughed at the puppy on the soccer field! It did remind me of Maxx, especially because of the way the dog on the video was enjoying being the centre of attention and looking for affection from the players.

    Thin, I studied French for months before our trip. However every time I spoke in French, the listener would immediately answer in English. I presume it was because my French was so bad! But it felt great to try so I think you will enjoy learning and using a bit more Spanish. That post about how much is known about us through our use of digital technology made my skin crawl. I already knew some of it as I did some research when I realised I was getting ads popping up on my phone that stemmed from searches my husband was doing on our home computer. It links us via our texts to each other. Terrifying. Does my OH still have a kiwi accent? I’m not sure – I hear it sometimes but he has been here for 32 years and thankfully most of it has vanished to be replaced by the lovely Australian dulcet tones. Ha ha. And yes, there is almost nothing Maxx won’t do for food…..except greeting people. My good friend Sue is like a drug to him and he goes absolutely bonkers whenever she is around. Other dogs do the same around her. She has cystic fibrosis so we figure her laboured breathing must be the cause. Last time she came over I had warm sirloin steak in my hand and I was sitting with Maxx trying to keep him calm and stop him from running to her and jumping up. It didn’t work.

    Quacka – yet another great FD and a good night’s sleep! You must have felt so much better. I hope your work calms down soon

    Speaking of work, it is past 9.00am and I have to get stuck in. WFH tomorrow and taking Friday off to go down the coast. Yippeee!!

    Thin. Four might be impressive if I was fluent in them, but at that level I only have German, having lived there for ten years. My problem using Portuguese is the usual one – open in the language and unless you are really out in the sticks everyone comes back in better English. The people on TV last night were given 30 hours of Swedish, then sent off to Sweden wearing T shirts that said (in Swedish) ” Please don’t speak to me in English”.

    Hi Anzac, we crossed. I am looking forward to renewing my relationship with custard tarts. Fortunately there is a gym.

    Hi everyone

    Yesterday was definitely a ‘whole new day’ as I posted in my previous post. 🙂

    I almost did a FD as I wasn’t hungry until about 2pm. Then I had a cup of my veggie soup which did the trick. All was going well until I got home and OH walked in with a white paper bag. The way he was holding it, I knew exactly what it was – a scrumptious loaf of sourdough bread from the bakery where he buys his meat pies. Ahem. I had not tried their bread before but I could tell from looking at it just how scrumptious it was and OMG, it was amazing. I didn’t eat that much at all but I couldn’t call it a FD anymore. The bread was worth every single bite and the rest of it is safely sliced and stashed in the freezer as I wanted to resist the temptation. I’m sure that I was still well under 1000 calories for the day yesterday, probably closer to 800.
    Today is a proper FD.

    I forgot to tell you that I got chocolates for Valentine’s Day too! I was looking at the Ferrero Rocher’s when I went to buy his choccies and I had a 5 pack in my hand as I thought “oh he won’t get me anything so at least I can buy these and he can give them to me”. I ended up putting them back as I decided I didn’t need them. So guess what he bought me. A big double layer 16 pack of them! I have only eaten three although I do admit that I have eaten a few of his Maltesers…..hmmmm.

    Will post more later. Work calls. Argh

    Hello it is the grouchy part of my fast day, but only one hour until miso soup time, and I am forcing myself to post even though I am not in the mood for writing, but I can sip my tea and watch half an hour go by, with any luck.

    When I got up this morning my internet wasn’t working. By the time it came back on I had watched that TV show “Why do I put on weight?” that was on last night, and drafted an email to my sisters, and by then I was too exhausted to write. Well, to concentrate really.

    But look at me concentrating my little heart out. 🙂

    I did want to chat about the show, I really enjoyed it although I am not sure I learnt anything new. I was so busy being involved in the people’s stories I might need to go back to check out the science more closely. But after every break Dr Yeo said something like “It isn’t all your fault if you put on weight” and it was good to hear that again and again.

    The participants were divided into the ones who thought about food all the time (they let them walk through a market with eye tracking glasses on to see how much, and which type, foods they looked at. This was connected to some genes and they were recommended intermittent fasting, because of only having two days for the hard focus of denying themselves food. They were given a max calorie intake for fast days of 750. They didn’t say how they chose that number, I might send Dr Yeo a tweet and ask him.

    The next one was the guy who never felt full, and they connected that to hormone levels, and put him on a high fibre diet.

    And the last two were identified as emotional eaters and given CBT. (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

    I am sure I would be in all three groups!
    But my heart really went out the the emotional eaters who were most overweight, and so grateful to have their difficult emotional states understood and respected.

    I think they tracked them for about 6 weeks. So it wasn’t very long but they did talk about sustainable changes etc so I think they did it well.

    Also, just after we were talking about not sleeping well and overeating, I saw a new bit of research about it. https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/topic/related-science-articles-people-might-be-interested-to-read/page/20/#post-306155 Because the initial research had been done on men, they wanted to check if it was the same for women. (Spoiler: it was)

    Anzac, loved your awesome news, your scales dip(!) and your clever dog (watched on imgur and again on youtube).

    LJoyce, haha Ikea is such a long trek I needed a rescue helicopter!

    Betsy, woohoo, you did a wonderful imgur picture. Such a beautiful orchid!
    And I loved the explanation too, I didn’t previously understand the new bulb thing at all.

    Penguin, so true about being busy and no time to eat. Enjoy!
    Stories about the twin doctors always make me smile.

    Oh dear, we are really riling precious mother nature. Some day soon the politicians will get the message, but so much waste and pain that could have been avoided if they had started when the science first came in.

    Cali the paints are fascinating. Haha learning curves, they never end, but nearly as good as learning a language to keep mental decline away, I’d say.

    Eep Thin, when my friends were here they were talling me how much they loved ‘Outlander’ and when I turned on the TV it was up first in these pictures of suggestion for me. Hope my TV isn’t that smart.

    Neil, sorry you missed a cooked breakfast, it would have been yummy.

    Quacka I hope today wasn’t undermined by a Mr Quacka with a food bag.

    Hooray for fast days nearly being over. Ooh I am looking forward to tomorrow.

    Only half an hour til miso soup. Cheers all.

    Penguin, if only I were brave enough to wear a T shirt like that!

    Anzac, interesting about Maxx and Sue. A bit creepy about those text messages being linked. I like to stay in touch with DD with whatsapp. Now it’s owned by FB. What to do? I suppose most people take the view that the horse has already bolted.

    Cinque, is it the case that mental activity such as concentrating on a TV doco also contributes to your feeling of fatigue? That must be very hard for you. I don’t know how you keep up with this forum and everyone’s individual posts so well. And, back to one of your earlier posts, are you naturally an untidy person or is it that the act of putting things away as you finish with them is too demanding physically and so things just build up? Sorry for the odd questions, just trying to understand. It is easy to take good health for granted, I try not to.

    I was recently reminded of how life is not a dress rehearsal. When people have commented about how brave (read ‘mad’) OH and I are for selling up our family home & contents, moving to another country to go and live on a boat at our ages, I always mention my seemingly fit and healthy bridge friend. In August last year, she was playing tennis twice a week, learning bridge twice a week and race sailing once a week and, out of the blue, diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer following an ultrasound for mild back pain. She died about 4 months after getting that news. The only thing I really fear is NOT doing all the things we really want to. So, on that note, we must take Archie for a walk and then get on with enjoying our last days in Barcelona …..

    Hi all, just checking in. Lots of interesting posts. Didn’t manage a FD today – just felt I needed more, but kept it to a TDEE.

    Penguin, good to hear from you, and that you’re safe from the floods. Let’s hope the rivers are not as high again for another several hundred years.

    Interesting discussion about languages. The problem for Australia, unless someone is from an non-English-speaking ethnic background, is that we can travel for more than 2000-3000 kms and still be in Australia. Travel the same distance in Europe and I think you would not only go through several countries, but also find you’re somewhere in Asia. It makes such a difference to language learning; there is considerable extra effort involved in learning something that might only be used if you travel.

    Just a side note: it was very difficult for me to be able to practise my Chinese in China, as just about everyone I met wanted to practise their English, and as I was there as an English teacher, I felt obliged to help them by using English. Except with the taxi drivers, who rarely spoke English.

    Cinque, sounds an interesting TV program, nicely balanced. And yes, orchids can just keep on keeping on. They can also die on you, for no discernible reason. I wouldn’t know anything much about them except that I learned some things form my mother.

    Thin, I agree with you so much re doing the things that are important to you while you can and not putting them off. We could ask ourselves “what would I regret not doing if I knew I only had 2 weeks to live?”, and then think about how those things could be done, now.

    Quakka, a FD800 is better than a NFD; you’re on the ball now, so keep that momentum going.

    Anzac65, yay for a good fast day and some weight off; it will all go in no time. Good tip about the turkey mince. I tend to avoid turkey meat, as it’s generally been a bit dry when I’ve been given it, but as a mince? I’ll have to look for it in Aldi.

    CalifDreamer, sounds like you are going for perfection with your painting. I’m sure it will look great when finished. You’ll have to send us some pictures.

    Neilithicman, hope you see that 86 on the scales when you get back form your bike trip away.

    Time to close. Good night all.

    Betsy. At one time I lived in a part of Germany where you could be in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France in the same afternoon. This was before the Euro so I routinely carried all of the currencies in old tobacco tins.

    Betsy, it’s so true, it’s further from Sydney to Perth, where you can barely discern a different accent, than it is from London to Moscow. Imagine how many languages, let alone dialects and accents there are in the latter.

    Penguin, I just looked up when the continental countries adopted the euro and was surprised that it was as recent as 1999. Did Britain have a referendum to decide to stick with Sterling?

    Op shoppers! LJ, Cinque, CalifD, you’d be proud of me. As mentioned, we’re staying in an upmarket barrio of Barcelona so I thought I’d check out their op shop, Humana. They were having a “Tot 5 Euro” sale which was close enough to the Spanish “Todo” for me to make the connection. No op shop ‘smell’ either. I bought some fancy pants for the Vivaldi concert tomorrow night. We’ll still be the scruffiest couple in the concert hall but the ticket lady did say ‘casual’ when we enquired.

    Anzac, you can eliminate that jumping behaviour in two days with the Dazer. It’s a perfect application for the device because, chances are, you are always with Max when it occurs (i.e. he knows what he’s getting taught). The only two instances where the Dazer won’t work are when a dog is a) totally deaf or b) totally stupid. Maxx is neither. It’s a lot easier to keep the Dazer by the front door than a warm sirloin steak. Just sayin’. 😂

    Betsy, I may have started off going for perfection on the chalk painting of the cabinets, but I’m finding out that the thick paint acts quite differently than regular latex paint. Since it dries quickly, places missed have to dry before going over them again. Within about 45 seconds going over a just painted spot will drag the paint and create more “missed” spots. Adding a bit of water to thin the paint helps some but I’m not familiar enough to know how much I can get away with adding. And generally people using chalk paint are using it on smaller pieces of furniture, not a whole bank of cabinets. Brush marks are inevitable but most people seem to be going for a distressed, hand painted look rather than a smooth one.

    Thin, great to hear you found pants to wear to the concert at a local op shop. It’s always fun to find cool things at good prices. I found a couple nice sweaters at our local op shop on Sunday.
    You asked if I was alarmed by that article on Alexa. Owning smartphones, texting, emailing, online forums and using the internet for all sorts of things, that ship has sailed. I download Alexa’s files every so often and delete them, but there isn’t a lot that’s interesting there. I might be more concerned if I were doing something illegal or unethical. The most interesting things in those files were some of the rude comments OH and DS made to Alexa when she misheard and didn’t do something they wanted done, like turning off a light or playing the wrong playlist or song. It’s not just Amazon that knows a lot, it’s Apple, Google and whatever other search engines I regularly use. I’ve been ordering things from Amazon for probably 20 years, when all there was there were books. Books, music, movies, merchandise… Amazon knows pretty much about me already. So does my smartphone. It’s a trade-off I guess.

    Cinque, I can relate to putting off tidying up the house. There’s always something that needs doing and I can usually find something else I’d rather be enjoying. I like the house to be neat but I don’t get a lot of satisfaction out of cleaning. I have friends who love cleaning. That isn’t me. Thank goodness for having people over so everything gets cleaned all at once!

    Speaking of learning languages, I remember a taxi ride from the airport into Paris where the taxi driver didn’t want to speak French because he wanted to practice his English. We agreed that I would speak French and he, English. That’s actually hard to do, to keep switching your brain from one language to the other. It would be so nice to know someone nearby who was a native French speaker.

    Good Morning everyone

    Well after two good FD’s and a ‘sourdoughy’ CD in between, the scales are showing my lowest weight this year. I am happy about that. I had a very restless sleep last night after two not so bad nights and so I am hoping I go ok today. I have the last of my veggie soup for lunch so I am prepared. It’s a NFD but not an EFS day so preparation works for me 😉

    We have finished off the ensuite with the exception of the mirror (that’s why I haven’t posted any photos yet). We had a round mirror with a stained glass border and gum (Eucalyptus) leaves on it that was in the old ensuite. There is a stain glass window in the ensuite and also two by the front doors. Our light shades in the lounge room are also stained glass and all of these are in Australiana theme. We have some in the kitchen as well. Anyway back to the mirror. OH was ready to put it up on the wall as the very last thing that we had to do so I thought I should give it a good clean. Well there was a scratch on the mirror right at the top so quite visible. We googled some home remedies (like toothpaste, doesn’t work) and then went and bought a buffing compound and pad that you put on the end of a cordless drill. OH spent a good couple hours on this mirror and was just about ready to change to the superfine compound which is more like a polish, when I heard a sharp intake of breath and then a few swear words….. Yep the mirror broke. Oh dear. That has to be the last of things to go wrong for that ensuite, seriously! Although……we haven’t tried putting up a new mirror yet LOL

    I better go and do some work. Hope you all have a lovely weekend x

    Good morning,
    I really do wish this life was a dress rehearsal and I could do it for real next time and avoid all the mistakes I made this time! But no, so hooray for living each precious day as well as possible.

    I am living today well! I washed all the plastic lids (that the dishwasher was slowly destroying) and all the other non dishwasher things that were piled up on the sink. Woohoo! Life goal!

    Thin, I am pretty sure that the early morning “Oh &#@! the internet isn’t working! I can’t check fb, I can’t check emails, I can’t write on 5:2. Eep I will have to ring iinet. I will have to find their number! I’ll have to wait on the phone, I’ll have to read tiny numbers on one of the boxes behind the tv, I will look at the wrong box! I haven’t even had a cup of tea yet!” was enough to push adrenalin into my bloodsteam and open the adrenalin plug in the soles of my feet so it all poured out and left me a limp rag, was probably the main thing that exhausted me.
    A good medical explanation haha but adrenalin isn’t my friend. I need a nice slow predictable morning and then I might be ready to face a challenge or two.

    And, re being a tidy person, I like to think that I was maturing from being an untidy person (eep visitors will be here in an hour I will race around and clear and clean) (with occasional bouts of tidiness when I would stay up til the middle of night scrubbing everything), into someone organised and efficient… when I got ill.

    Certainly in the first few years of being ill I went from “If only I had one day when I wasn’t ill, I would climb Mt Arapiles or I’d run along the beach or I’d have all my friends here for a big party.” to “If only I had one day when I wasn’t ill, I’d clean my home from top to bottom!” And I am still there today. A visit to Portugal is all very well, but a clean home is bliss! Haha.

    Well enough about me (except yesterday was a good fasty fast day and breakfast this morning was sublime).

    Thin! Wearing lovely opshop trousers to Vivaldi! Woohoo! So glad it was a great op shop.

    Quacka wonderful scales news! Congratulations and cheers! But oh dear, so sorry about the mirror, it sounded beautiful. Can it be fixed?

    I was thinking of you and Anzac and others who are so busy at work and how hard it is, compared to those times when busyness makes for a life where food take a back seat and the excess weight just falls off. What makes the difference?
    I know when it was me doing my YamDaisy project it was so wonderful to have my dream becoming reality, and everything was going positively.

    Well, I’m going to finish here and see if I can get more done. Grandma kinder tomorrow. Fast day on Saturday.

    Best wishes to you all

    Cinque, regarding looking for tiny little numbers on boxes behind the TV, the computer, or on those devices themselves. I read a great solution once and have followed it since. Take pictures of the numbers with your phone, using the reverse, selfie setting. (You might need a flashlight back there.) Better yet, take photos of the model numbers on your devices when you first install them. Then save these photos in a file on your phone or computer, or print them out. It saves a lot of time and aggravation of crawling behind desks and computers or TV stands if you’re on the phone with tech support.

    CalifD, you have given me a good laugh to start my day – rude words spoken to Alexa. Put that in your database Amazon! That could be a great way to let a company know what you think of them – although I know you’re a big Amazon fan. When I had a house and stuff, I was like you in that I always kept things neat and tidy but was never a big fan of cleaning.

    Today is a cleaning day for this apartment in Barcelona as the assignment ends tomorrow. It’s Carnaval week and, now that we’ve shelled out for overpriced accommodation for the next four nights until our flight home, the owner asks if we could extend our stay a few days. Sigh.

    I’ve just looked up the weather forecast for our return and found a word I’ve not seen for forty years. Sleet! I had to look it up. Rain containing some ice. Oh boy, can’t wait.

    Quacka, bad luck with the mirror. It might be a good time to take the photos though before the mirror goes in. Bathrooms are hard to photograph, aren’t they?

    Morning Cinque, pleased to hear that your FDs are going well and thanks for the insights into your condition. Technology is enough to send anyone screaming to the hills. Does it ever work exactly as it should?

    Thin, we are generally not great on having a referendum, I can only remember two. Not joining didn’t need a decision, so we just didn’t do it. We are going to the theatre this weekend. There doesn’t seem to be a dress code anymore. As long as it is clean it is acceptable, and an artistic touch makes anything acceptable. Carnival should be fun. We were in Portugal for it last year and it was a major event.

    Hello all. I’ll caome back with news shortly, I need to write message for Quacka first.

    Quacka, a couple of weeks ago you were asking for recipes for bottling cucumbers – I think as relish? I thought I’d lost my Fowlers instruction/recipe book but I just found it. So before it gets lost again I’m going to write up the 2 cucumber recipes in it just in case they are ever useful. They ask for a Vercola to do the sterilising, however I have just used a large stock pot on the stove for this.

    PICKLED SMALL CUCUMBERS
    Small cucumbers (doesn’t say how many!)
    4 pints brown malt vinegar
    2lbs sugar
    2 fl oz Sausetta (or use your own choice of spices)
    Brine: 1/4lb salt to 1 pint water

    Soak the cucumbers in brine for 7 days. See that they are well covered with the brine. Then rinse in clean water and allow to drain.
    Tightly pack the brined cucumbers into sterilising bottles/jars.
    Bring the remaining ingredients to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain to remove the spices. Fill the jars with the pickling liquid.
    Seal the jars and sterilise with the Vercola by maintaining 180F for 30 minutes.

    PICKLED GHERKINS
    Gherkins
    2 pints brown malt vinegar
    1 2/2lbs sugar
    2 tsp cloves
    2 cinnamon sticks
    Brine: 1/4lb salt to 1 pint water

    Soak the gherkins in brine for 7 days.
    See that they are well covered with the brine. Then rinse in clean water and allow to drain.
    Tightly pack the brined cucumbers into sterilising bottles/jars.
    Simmer the other ingredients together for 20 minutes. Remove the spices with a strainer or slotted spoon.
    Fill the bottles with this liquid.
    Seal the jars and sterilise with the Vercola by maintaining 160F for 1 1/2 hours.

    Talking to technology. On one occasion I got an unsatisfactory answer from my Apple and said “Oh b….r”. To which it replied “What did I do to deserve that”. I have very nearly cured myself of saying “Thank you” to it.

    Now that the cucumbers are brined and pickled I can get back to the rest of you!

    Breaking news – I am going to Canada. Woohoo.
    Found out today there is room for me on the Rockies tour I wanted. I’m rather relieved about that as it was a bit daunting to think of starting from scratch with the planning for somewhere else.
    I will arrive in Vancouver a day early just in case there are flight delays (don’t want to miss the start of the tour). If there are no delays then I’ll have time to sleep off the jet lag. I’m also going to extend my stay in Vancouver at the end by a couple of days as I want to do some sightseeing out of the city – especially to a Wildlife refuge which currently has 2 orphaned grizzly bears. I then head down to visit CaliD for about a week and a half. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll fly or go on the train and the first part pf the rail journey follows the coast and is apparently very scenic. I could also break that trip with a stopover in Seattle. I’m not booking flights until next month so I have time to sort that out.

    Thin, enjoy Vivaldi and the carnival week – despite expensive accommodation it does sound like fun. I’m thinking I might go to Spain & Portugal next year but I need to have a good look at ave temperatures as it sounds like winter is actually a possibility. nAny excuse to escape some of our summer is always welcome.

    Penguin, is is still flooding where you are?

    Cinque, enjoy your grand daughter time tomorrow.
    Have fun at the theatre – hope you can get there without needing wellies (or a boat).

    Cali, Cinque, I do that – take a photo of the numbers and labels on the applies etc before they are pushing into their spot. You only have to do it hard way before you realise what a good idea that is.

    Cinque & Thin, I am not tidy. I have a flurry of putting things away properly when visitors are expected. I expect I need a Maxx or a Rosy who chews everything left on a surface, to force me to put things away. Although on second thoughts that sounds far too tiring.

    Cali, don’t you buy all the nice clothes at that op shop – save some for me! Although I’m pretty sure I require a larger size than you so it should be fine.

    CD today and another FD tomorrow (third for this week).
    Time for a decaf chai I think. Night all.

    Quick check-in. Hi all. Great to read all your posts. Had a good FD800 today. If I can manage another one, I hope the scales will be kind to me on Saturday morning. After a lovely “whoosh” my first week back on the straight and narrow, and another kg down last week, I’ve been on a bit of a plateau this week. Hope it doesn’t last.

    Woo-hoo LJoyce that Canada is a “go”. Great news for you.

    Quacka, sad about the mirror. Do you think you can find another anything like it as an alternative?

    Thin, hope you don’t freeze in the sleet after such lovely weather in Barcelona. Enjoy the festival (and the concert in your lovely new pants)!

    CalifDreamer, great idea about the photo taking before setting items into their places on walls, etc. I’ve never done that, but maybe will from now on. Maybe :).

    Cinque, I sympathise re the house cleaning. I always think I have better things to do than clean, but it does have to be done. I washed a heavy woollen blanket today, and plan to wash my doona and doona cover on Sunday, so they have 3 days of warm weather in which to dry (and it will be warm enough that I don’t need them on the bed). It’s one of those jobs I just put off doing, but really need to do when the weather is warmer.

    Penguin, I was thinking of languages, but you’re right, before the Euro, currencies would be quite a challenge, too, travelling through Europe.

    Okay, time to close. Goodnight eveyrone.

    Penguin, you haven’t seen my footwear!

    Thin. Barefoot hippy/boho style? It should be about 10 deg C in the evening in Barcelona.

    LJ. For Canada I could be persuaded to break my four hour flight rule. I love canoes and aircraft with floats, for both of which Canada is the place to go. Beware home made Moose Milk – it looks like an innocent creamy drink but has enough alcohol to end the evening quickly.

    The floodwater seems to be going down but some villages are still underwater and they have just pulled a very battered guy out of the river several miles downstream from where he went in. There have been a couple of deaths, but considering the area and depth of the floods it could have been worse. Travel is still restricted – I have the time to post more than I have recently because I just can’t get to where I should be.

    Morning all

    I’m having a day of sloth today. I’m resting up my legs for the weekend so I’m not biking today, well I didn’t take my bike on the hills to work but I might go out for 5-10 kilometers on the flat tonight when my boy’s at Parkour so I can get my day points for the Aotearoa bike challenge.

    The forecast isn’t looking too bad. Day 1 is the big day. That day is the longest at 78.5 kilometers and is gently uphill the whole day. The forecast is not too hot, 17 degrees and an occasional light shower. That will be good weather for riding. Day 2 is only 73.5 kilometers and gently downhill the whole way and that day is supposed to be sunny and 24 degrees. For those interested the map and elevations of what I’ll be riding is here https://www.otagocentralrailtrail.co.nz/themes/OCRT/files/map.pdf

    I’m starting in Clyde, staying the night in Wedderburn and then finishing in Middlemarch.

    Betsy, best of luck with the scales on Saturday. Hopefully you get another morale boosting drop. I know we should look at our health as a whole rather than the number on the scales, but it really does make you feel good and give your motivation a boost when you see that number start to decrease.

    LJoyce, Woo hoo indeed, I’d love to get to Canada someday. It looks like the scenery is similar to that in New Zealand…but with moose and bears 😉

    Thin, we’re well used to the word sleet in Dunedin 😉 you really notice it when you’re driving because you get the raindrops on the windscreen mixed in with splotches of icy snow

    Cinque, I often think that too about the dress rehearsal, usually my thinking was “I wish I could redo my childhood knowing then what I know now” But I remember the phrase “To wish to be someone else is the kill the person you are now” Some of the best things in my life have come out of my mistakes.

    Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll check back in with you after my trip, hopefully with some good photos.

    Neil, only 73kms? You are a jock. Have a great time.

    Penguin, I needn’t have worried. We weren’t the worst dressed by a long shot. The concert was incredible. It was of course enhanced by the spectacular surroundings but they were such talented, professional musicians. I was mesmerised. I’ve never seen violins played like that.

    My FD turned into a FD800 – actually it’s probably 700cal – that’s ok as it’s the 3rd FD for the week. I find I struggle to do any more than 2 days under 500cal.

    Thin, it sounds like you have a lovely time.

    Neil, hope the bike ride is good and you enjoy the scenery and activity.

    Penguin, the itinerary for the Rockies tour does look pretty inspiring. I’m looking forward to it.

    Betsy, you are doing wonderfully well with your combination of reduced cal days.

    I’m heading out to an evening market shortly – part of the Arts Festival Fringe that is on in Adelaide every year in Feb-March.

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