Sunday, 29 May 2022

Of mice and men!

 What is that about "best laid plans"? There I was beavering away at the cleaning when my back went into a spasm. I have had back trouble for years, including a slipped disc more than once so I knew I had no option but to down tools and lie down for a few hours before it got worse and really laid me up. So...I now have three rooms which are spic and span and three which are definitely not, and Toby hasn´t had his bath (he´s really upset about that - not!). Resting and reading isn´t really a hardship, especially for a bookworm so I really shouldn´t moan.

Photo by Ricky  Kharawala on  

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Busy, busy

Who said being retired was relaxing to the point of being boring? This week I´m so busy I can´t keep up with myself! 

Every morning I do household chores and go to the gym. On Monday afternoons I usually go to the pottery studio to deliver or fetch some of my work after firing. This week I couldn´t as I had a chap coming round to install some blinds I ordered.

Tuesday was gym etc and farmers market.

Today was my six-monthly hospital day for scans and doctors. It´s an all-day job so no gym.

Tomorrow is gym then dentist in the afternoon and Friday it´s gym and the blinds chap coming back. One of the blinds he brought Monday was wrong.

Saturday and Sunday I´ll have to catch up on shopping, cooking and cleaning, and bath a very smelly dog. With his hurt leg and some very cold weather he´s missed his usual bath. He´s not complaining, mind you!

Hopefully next week things will be a little calmer.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Vincent Price wouldn´t look twice!

Years ago for a joke I made myself a nightie in the style of those worn by heroines in vampire films...but without the low-cut neckline. It is cotton, has long sleeves which cover my hands and reaches to the floor. It looks like nothing on earth when it is on, I resemble a large sack rather than a damsel in distress, but boy is it nice and comfy and warm! Perfect for our current very cold spell. We are having the coldest May on record so I don´t care what I look like it bed.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Lost in translation

Many moons ago, in the 70´s actually, I worked at Volkswagen here in Brazil as a technical translator and copywriter. The factory was enormous, almost like a small town, with over 22,000 workers. It had it´s own small hospital, police force and fire brigade and over the years produced over 20 million vehicles.

Amongst my jobs I was occasionally asked to translate informative booklets from Portuguese into English or to check articles written in English by the mainly German executives. This occasionally led to problems when for example one such executive insisted on correcting my English from "head of cattle" to "heads of cattle" in an article about the company farm. It wasn´t always easy to get my point across even though I was the native English speaker!

One day I was given a booklet about the factory, again written by an executive, and asked to check the English. Amongst the chapters was one on the fire brigade, cheerfully entitled "The Volkswagen Firing Squad". Needless to say I discreetly corrected it, and thankfully this was not challenged.

Monday, 16 May 2022

A messy business

Making pottery is a messy business, which is fine if you have a studio to work in, a garage, cellar or whatever. I live in an apartment so unfortunately none of the above apply. My 'studio' consists of an alcove off the sitting room

and a wheel hiding around the corner in the kitchen

 Water and clay, glazes and casting slip all add to the mess, especially if you drop bits on the floor without noticing and then traipse them around! There is also the health hazard of inhaling clay dust etc. This all means that every time I pot (often two or three times a week) I have to have a good clean afterwards, which is a real pain. In a studio a wipe with a damp cloth and quick mop will do the trick but really doesn´t cut the mustard in my sitting room and kitchen. It´s worth it, though, for the pleasure I get, so I really shouldn´t moan.



Sunday, 15 May 2022

Lemon or lime?

 Lemons and limes can be a bit confusing in Brazil.

These are known as Sicilian lemons here, hard to find and expensive. Even the farmers market doesn´t sell them.

These limes are known as lemons , readily available and very cheap.

It can be a bit confusing when it comes to recipes asking for lemons, especially if the recipe is a translation. I usually opt for the cheaper alternative!

Photos by Ernest Porzi and Hanna Balan on Unsplash

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Toby update

Toby is still limping so I decided it was time to ask the vet to call. She said his hip and knee are fine and thinks he has damaged his foot somehow, although there are no visible signs of injury. Tomorrow we are off for an X-ray to see if something shows up. He´s a bit spaced out at the moment as she injected him with a strong painkiller!

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Mother´s Day

Last Sunday was Mother´s Day here in Brazil. I had a lovely lunch out with my daughter and son-in-law and a nice long visit after from my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. A very nice day indeed. 

I managed to make my seed cake which turned out well (thank you Delia Smith!) and actually served it to my guests who had never had it before. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, anyway.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Green sludge!

My breakfast! I know it looks awful, but it actually tastes pretty good. I finally managed to locate and buy the replacement part for my Nutribullet. It was very expensive, being imported, but worth the cost. This means I can now make smoothies again.

 I have whizzed raw kale, raw carrot, banana, pineapple, pawpaw and a spoonful of mixed seeds in water to make this: no added sugar or milk to keep the calories down. It is quite thick so I have to use an extra large straw to drink it with. One pint of goodness to vary my usual breakfast menu of egg or yogurt.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Poor lad

Toby has managed to hurt one of his back legs somehow a couple of days ago. I don´t know what happened but he is walking on three legs at the moment, hopping along like a little rabbit, poor lad, without letting his foot touch the floor.

He´s past the age of jumping on and off things, especially now he can´t see, so he hasn´t hurt himself leaping down from anything, and nobody has trodden on him because there is only me here. I´ve had a really good look at his foot and nails and there is no sign of any cuts, and he doesn´t try and pull his paw out of my hand, so nothing appears to be hurting him there. When he is lying tummy up he´ll stretch out both back legs although when he is trying to walk he´ll keep the right one pulled up tight but when I feel his leg to compare it to the other or gently massage it , it doesn´t seem to hurt him.

I´m hoping it is just a sprain and am waiting a few days before involving the vet because X-rays etc would mean a general anaesthetic, risky at his age, and totally freak him out. He´s eating, drinking, peeing and pooing as usual and apart from the limp seems OK. I´m giving him pain meds twice a day just to help keep him mobile and watching him like hawk! 

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Seed hunt

Isn´t it always the way? Just because I fancied making a seed cake for the first time, can I find caraway seeds? Can I heck! Caraway seeds are virtually unknown here even in health-food shops.

With the help of our friend Google I´ve finally managed to track down a place which may stock them. It is a bit of a trek but I am going there this afternoon anyway as they seem to have a good selection of other items I also want. Here´s hoping!

Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Shower or bath?


I honestly can´t remember the last time I had a bath...thinking back it was probably sometime in the 80´s, in England. That was the last time I lived somewhere where there was a bathtub, anyway.

I can remember my first bath, though. That was aged 18 when I moved to England to study nursing. I did not enjoy the experience. I had the water too hot, washing long hair was awkward, when I got out the contrast between hot water and cold air was unpleasant, my skin somehow appeared to remain damp and there was a grey ring left in the bath from the soap, I didn´t feel clean! 

I got used to baths over time but never enjoyed them and had a shower installed as soon as possible when I had my own place. Showers are so refreshing! You are standing under clean running water, washing your hair is so easy and you come out feeling great, or at least I do!

I suppose a bath involving foam, rose petals and candles could be a relaxing experience, especially if you shower first, but I´ve never tried it. Maybe one day I´ll visit a spa just for the experience, but in the meantime I´ll stick to my shower.

Photo by Laurence Katz