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Saturday, 22 December 2018


I like to have a pot of marmalade in the cupboard for the occasional slice of toast and also for a favorite cake recipe. It is so easy and uses marmalade and a bar of cheap supermarket chocolate. Since my food restrictions I can't eat the cheaper marmalade as it contains fructose so I bought a jar of an expensive brand which cost about 5 times the price of my normal one. It wasn't so much the price but I don't really like it.

Over 30 years ago before we moved here, I would make about 501bs of jam a year from fruit from the garden. I also made marmalade and after a couple of times making it from scratch which was a lot of work I discovered Marmade which is a tin of prepared oranges and only needs sugar adding. It still has to be made in the same way as fresh oranges apart from the work of preparing them.

I decided to try it again this week as it has no fructose in it. I made 7 and a half jars and I was amazed that it came out perfectly. No jars broke when I filled them so the sterilizing in the oven went well. Just hope they keep well now.

The cake should be made tomorrow.

Thursday, 20 December 2018


I have been away for nearly a week visiting friends in Leicester or as I call it, Little India! The first friends I visited are Indian and they lived with me for about 6 months and they are like family.

I have found a way to get there without going through London which is so much easier. Just train to either Stansted airport or Cambridge then straight through to Leicester. Two and a half hours travel and about 5 to 10 minutes between trains. I like trains and this is a lovely journey through the countryside.

 One of the little remote stations we stopped at as it was getting dark.

I walked up the Golden Mile looking in the windows of the many fashion and jewelry shops. There were so many that it just seems impossible for them to survive but they do.

The next day we went back into a huge shop that sold English clothes and bags. So just treated myself to a couple of bargains and a few little things for GD. Then into the two charity shops and they are such a temptation. I just bought a couple of sari underskirts for £1 each and friend bought 2 beautiful scarves for £2 each.

Sadly no Indian sweets this time due to my food restrictions.

Then went to stay with another old friend who like me loves crosswords and quizzes. We also got invited out and met up with some new friends and a few other old friends. So a very enjoyable little break.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Pet's Corner

I wrote about our town park before and this is one feature of it. It is free and open all year and just about 10 minutes walk from my house. Usually the sheep, pigs, goats, llamas and alpacas are in the fields during the day but I think due to bad weather they were brought in to the pens.
I went there with little grand-daughter the other day on the way back from collecting tickets at the railway station. It was cold but bright and we both enjoyed seeing the animals and then going to the water gardens to feed the ducks. I thought GD was laughing at the ducks but she was laughing at me throwing seed to them. She has a real chuckle and it made me laugh too.

Some of the animals. This place is well used by families and a much loved free day out.

Thursday, 6 December 2018


I have mentioned before that I am on a Low Fodmap diet. It is not for losing weight although this year I have lost a stone before I started it due to gastric problems. Fodmap is an acronym and I won't write it out here as it is too long and doesn't make a lot of sense. Basically they are foods we all eat every day and do not usually cause any problems. Up to 18 months ago I ate everything with only an occasional flare up but along with thousands of other people they now cause me severe pain and sickness among other problems.

The gastroenterologist sent me to the bio feed back nurse who I still see and she sent me to a specialist dietician who started me on this diet. It is not for life but just to find out my trigger foods. The trouble is quite a few of the allowed foods affect me so it is trial and error. I am a lot better than I was and will soon start the reintroduction phrase which is quite complicated and takes time and patience.

The things I miss most are leeks, garlic and most of my favorite fruits such as apple, peach and mango. Fructose is an enemy!  I have to buy special jam and marmalade or homemade, no honey and read all ingredients on everything.

I have just tormented myself by making my favourite fruit cake recipe which I can't eat due to the dried fruit. I am allowed either a tablespoon of raisins or cranberries each day but I think the raisins give me problems. I always make a cake for my sister and BIL when I visit so one cake will be for them and one for DD and the freezer. I remind myself that many people in the world go hungry every day so they would be happy with my diet.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Gibberd Garden

One of our days out with our Canadian visitor was to the Gibberd Gardens just a few miles away on the edge of town. Well at least it was on the edge of town but they are building a huge expensive estate just past it now.

The garden was really closed for the winter but they have open days for various events and we went to Autumn colors on the Sunday. This place is well known to us as DS used to do one day a week working in the house on archiving and sorting the books out as he used to be a librarian at school. There had been a spider infestation upstairs so when it was treated all the books were tossed higgledy piggledy. DS used to have lunch with Lady Gibberd and wander the gardens on his own so he felt like all the other visitors were intruding on his space when we went on the open day.  The garden was created by Sir Frederick Gibberd the master planner of Harlow New Town between 1957 and 1984 and is acknowledged as being one of the most important 20th Century gardens in the country.

Daughter in law on the swing.

We are looking forward to seeing little grand daughter playing on the castle when she is a bit older.

I love this lime avenue and the smell in the summer is wonderful.

I took this through the window of the house as nobody lives there now and some Sundays it is open to visitors. On the website the opening picture is of this dresser full of pairs of matching dogs. My dad who came from Glasgow would have called them Wally dogs. They were arranged as an art installation by Freddy years ago and after he died were never moved and covered in dust. Lady Pat couldn't get any body to clean them so I volunteered. I was quite nervous as they had to be kept in the exact positions. So I did one glass shelf at a time and carefully lined all the dogs up in the right order. It took me all morning. I refused to be paid for it so my reward was to be allowed to visit the gardens when they were closed from time to time. I used to enjoy that and the condition was I went in to have coffee with Pat and a chat which was so interesting.

We went in to the tea room for lunch of soup and bread and pots of tea. It was very reasonable and the soups all home made. The others told me they were all delicious but I couldn't eat them due to being on this elimination diet. I took my own in a flask.

It was such a lovely day out and again near to home.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Our Town Park

Mostly a dreary wet day but it brightened up at lunch time so DD and I took Poppy greyhound to the park. We hadn't gone long before grey skies and rain appeared again so we cut the walk short but I took some photos of the information boards.

You might be able to read it if you click on the photo but the map shows it is huge. Apart from the main area there is a footpath that goes under the main road then over the zig-zag railway bridge and the park continues along the river side for quite a long while then there are footpaths and walking areas on the other side.

Freddie Gibberd was the master planner of Harlow New Town. I never knew him but I did get to know his lovely wife Lady Pat. Freddie was secretary of the concrete society which I had never heard of until his wife gave me a book about his work. He also designed the Liverpool Catholic Cathedral nicknamed Paddy's wigwam and if you see a picture of it you will know why its called that!

People either love his work or hate it. Personally I think he did a good job with Harlow as there are so many green spaces and trees. Some people spoil it but that is the same everywhere and not his fault.  It suits me to live here as there are lovely walks and also its easy to get to London on the train. This side of town is near the river, the railway station, the hospital and shops. The main problem is the parking as few people had cars when the town was designed.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Every day Stuff

Not had time to post the last few days as life got in the way. Apart from every day activities, went to a funeral, visited a friend in hospital and having to sort out some things for poorly daughter. Managed to make time for little grand-daughter though. She had a cold so we didn't take her to the soft play room as we didn't want to spread her germs. She loves telephones now and spends ages chattering away into their house phone so I took her for an outing in her pram up to the town to find a toy phone. There are lots of offers on at the moment so we got one half price. She likes it as its not attached and she can drag it all over the room.

I popped in to B & M as I was over that way just to get pea-nuts for the bird feeder. I ended up with a huge bag of mixed bird seed as well plus several food items. You never know what you will find in that shop and it probably won't be there next time you visit so I tend to stock up when I see it. I found some bags of cereal that I can eat as a change from porridge. Whole grain granola with no palm oil or fructose-glucose syrup. One has peanuts and peanut butter and the other is chocolate. I had some of the chocolate one today with banana, yoghurt and milk. I also found a carton of gingerbread sauce so we had some today with a home made syrup sponge pudding cooked in the microwave. It was delicious and just right on a wet, gloomy Saturday.