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Welcome to my blog!

Hello and a very warm, waffly welcome from Windsor.

That is Windsor, Berkshire, UK, home of the Queen in case you were wondering. But no, I don’t live in a wing of her Majesty’s castle.  

Just starting off with this blog… I am new to it all so please bear with me!  I hope you enjoy reading my content.

Thoughts on Covid – to mask or not to mask

Hi everyone. I have good news 😎. I am very happy to say I was WRONG! On 25 July I posted on The Waffle that we had 636 cases of Covid within the past 7 days in Windsor and Maidenhead. I was all gloom and doom as I fully expected the numbers to keep on increasing in Windsor and the surrounding areas, after the opening up of restrictions. Well, instead my friends, the case numbers have been coming down, quite dramatically I might add. So today, 10 days after being at 636 here we are at 342 cases in Windsor and Maidenhead in the past 7 days. Definitely going in the right direction, long may it continue.

A lot of people locally have not really changed their behaviour. The majority I would say are still wearing masks indoors. There is a change in atmosphere, perhaps. I find myself at times these days forgetting that we are in a pandemic. Is that a good thing? Or is it complacency? Time will tell. The summer is always a time of relative freedom from this deadly virus. We can socialise outside when the weather is nice enough. I found myself getting more confident after attending Wimbledon, an event with 20,000 people. We went, we had a great time, we came home. We did not get sick.

I have been to the cinema. It feels safe there even without a mask. It is so quiet and empty. Relaxing. Strange to think that this was a government certified dangerous activity where you might not come out alive. Hard to process. A man I didn’t know hugged me in the pub the other night. This was a bit much. I know he was probably a bit inebriated and pleased to meet me via my friend, but please I’m not ready for random maskless hugging yet! I’m only just hugging my friends, and usually asking permission to do so first!!

This weekend we will be further testing our vaccines when we go to Windsor Theatre to see Hamlet. To mask or not to mask, that is the question. I think, I hope, most will be masked up, but who knows. They do not have to distance the seats any more. I am a little apprehensive. I booked the tickets ages ago when we envisioned the virus long gone by now. And yet it lingers on, playing havoc with our summer holidays and our future planning. Who knows what is coming next?

I feel relaxed but still tired at the same time? Does anyone feel the same? The underlying tension of Coronavirus, having to be on your guard, starting to enjoy yourself but fearful of letting up too much?

Cake is usually helpful I find. On Monday I baked a grapefruit drizzle cake. It’s divine. The recipe is from the latest Good Food magazine.

I’ve been serving it with crème fraîche. Delicious. And a cup of Earl Grey tea.

On tonight’s menu I believe we have some organic beef burgers, maybe a fried egg on top, new potatoes from our garden and green beans from a friend’s allotment.

My tomatoes are fat but still green. My pumpkins are flowering all over the place.

The rhubarb is endemic. In the pandemic. I should write a poem about that!?

I’ll leave you with the lovely agapanthus from my garden. Perfection. I’m off to give it a water now. There is something very therapeutic about watering, sharing with the plants. No doubt I’ll meet Mrs B (the blackbird) while I’m there. Bye for now 😊! Xx

Today’s walk at Dorney Wetlands by the Jubilee River

Hi. David and I usually just call this walk “the birds” as there are some bird hides along the walk and usually lots of birds to see. Today we saw a few Canada geese, one cormorant, one grebe, we heard some chirping from an unknown species in the rushes, but didn’t spot as many birds as usual. We did, however, see lots of dragonflies and butterflies, far too fast for me to photograph!

We started the walk quite near The Pineapple pub in Dorney. We didn’t visit the pub on this occasion. It’s usually very popular on a Sunday. Here are some of the pics of the day.

Pretty bells.

I don’t know what this plant below is called. I want to say sorrel???

It’s hard to see anything from the bird hides except overgrown vegetation the other side.

Nice teasels.

Canada geese enjoying the water.

We saw a mink once next to the water near this spot. Not today.

We enjoyed the walk, it stayed dry and was quite hot and sunny at times. We met some dog walkers and cyclists. Luckily not too many big scary dogs.

After that we drove home via Dorney Common and Eton, back home for tea and cake. David had eaten all the rest of the nice Connie the Caterpillar cakes last night while I was sleeping… naughty David! So today we were left with some stale chocolate cupcakes ☹️. I was not amused.

Just waiting for Waitrose to deliver our shopping now as when I booked it I couldn’t get an Ocado slot. I think Ocado are still struggling a bit since they recently had a fire in one of their warehouses.

On tonight’s menu is roast gammon with homemade cheese sauce, homegrown potatoes I need to go out in the garden and dig up in a minute, probably broccoli, followed by Pots & Co chocolate mousses for dessert. 😋. Have a good week! Xx

A quick blog about the Olympics: Tokyo 2020

Hi everyone. How are you all? Enjoying the Olympics? I thought I’d just squeeze in a quick blog tonight while the toad in the hole is cooking in the oven as I’m out for the next couple of nights (first cinema trip since first lockdown 2020 and 2nd tennis game in 15 + years).

There is something special about the Olympics. I’ve always loved it since my sister and I had our own Olympics in the back garden as children. I think the medals were made of cardboard coloured with felt tip pens on ribbons of wool. I seem to remember we had a steeplechase as one of our events galloping around the garden jumping over paddling pools of water 😂😂. Such fun! That was back in the good old days when children were allowed to get so bored they had to amuse themselves and create things.

In 2012 I volunteered as a gamesmaker for London 2012. I worked on the reception at the medical centre for the rowing and canoeing village at Royal Holloway College in Egham. I quite enjoyed it, have a few good memories, although I can’t say it was the most fulfilling experience of my life, nor did I make friends for life amongst the other volunteers which somehow I had been naively expecting.

Anyway, I still have a soft spot for the Olympics and have tried to get into watching a bit of Tokyo 2020 (am I the only one who wishes they’d just rename it 2021!? I’m hating this reminder of the last year of the pandemic and it is actually 2021 now!).

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking the BBC coverage doesn’t seem as good as usual and so far whenever I get a moment to switch on, it’s not the event I’d prefer to watch, but it is interesting nonetheless.

My first attempt to see some Olympics was the women’s air rifle shooting.

I’m sure it’s quite fun if you’re actually doing this, but as a spectator… Zzzzz.. it’s really slow and boring.. and quiet. I couldn’t get excited about it at all. The rifles look pretty weird, don’t you think?

I then moved on to watch the men’s cycling road race. Now that was much more exciting, watching the race. An American guy was doing really well until he suddenly got cramp near the end and the guy from Ecuador finished way ahead of the others and was so happy 😀. Similarly the women’s road race was great. A relatively unknown lady from Austria won that. Again, miles ahead of the others. Superb.

Tom Daley and Matty Lee were absolutely stunning in the synchronised diving event. Thoroughly deserving of their gold for team GB I thought.

I note that skateboarding and surfing are now in the Olympics. I’m not sure what happened to the tug of war event? Apparently that was a feature many times in the past. And also music and the arts in the original Olympics. They had a herald/bugling competition I believe, back in the day.

Well this quick blog isn’t that quick 😂 it seems. We’ve just had a pause for toad in the hole. Yum. I use Nigel Slaters’ recipe for this. We had it with baked beans. I like Nigel Slater, David says he’s really weird, but we both like his toad in the hole recipe.

Right, back to the Olympics. So today’s event had us a little flummoxed to start with. It was basketball with just one end of the court in use and one hoop. There were girls in one team of 5, and 4 boys and 1 girl in the other team. We were confused by only one hoop, half a court and also the mixed genders. This is called 5 x 5 basketball and after that we watched 3 x 3 basketball that was gripping. There are actually 4 people on each team in the 3 x 3 but one is on the bench and they keep swapping players in. We saw Japan v France all girls on each side and France won for a place in the semi final. One of the Japanese players had to be carried off the court by her team members at the end, I mean off the funny half court thing, in tears as she could no longer stand. All lots of drama. I’d like to be shooting those goals.. 2 points scoring way from the back, must be a fantastic feeling whooshing the ball over everyone’s heads and straight down the hoop. So there!

Here are the Italian girls v mainly Chinese boys. We spent a long time debating whether the boys might actually be girls who looked like boys, if you see what I mean, until I googled it and found it can be a mixed gender event. It was nice to see the girls beating the boys even with the boys’ height advantage, most interesting!

So team GB are doing rather well now. We are fifth on the medals leaderboard.

Now that’s weird too, ROC = Russian Olympic Committee. Can’t we just call them Russia? Obviously not, politics is everywhere! This is to do with a doping scandal in 2015 and Russia itself being banned from Tokyo 2020.

Good luck Team GB, more golds tomorrow please!!! Xx

The “C” word (not Covid)… and maybe a little bit of moaning from a middle aged woman..

Hi. I am quite cross my friends. I walked up to Timpson’s to get my new watch battery just now. The shop closes at 4.00 pm on Sunday, supposedly, and I arrived at 3.05 pm. The bloke (who was busy hoovering his very small portacabin) was rude and refused to serve me as he preferred hoovering and said I was “too late in the day”. He agreed with me that they close at 4.00 pm and still had nearly an hour to hoover and cash up, but still wouldn’t budge on this, nor did he apologise! “Seriously?!!” I said before storming off in a strop. It’s not like I went in at 3.50 pm. What a ****.

On other matters of annoyance, I am being bombarded by restaurants using the “C” word… by this I mean Christmas…. in July??? Unbelievable. I know times have been tough and everyone needs to recoup their losses post pandemic, but unless I’m missing something we are still very much in the middle of the pandemic. We can just about plan a week ahead, but even that is tricky. I am now the last man (woman) standing in my office as all others are in isolation. How can we possibly plan Christmas?! I’m definitely not up for that, just trying to have a bit of summer now thank you very much!

Here are the offenders so far..

Go away!!! Here is the evidence from our area the pandemic is very much still on and the only “C” word we should be worrying about right now is COVID.

Below are the cases in Windsor over the last 7 days. At one stage this figure was down to 7, yes I did say 7! Today it is 636 and by tomorrow I predict 650+.

My parents live in Richmond, even worse for them, although the % increase is not quite as high as our area. We have tended to follow London throughout this pandemic. These figures do not even include what has happened after the ridiculously named “freedom day” of 19 July.

Right, enough moaning! I’ll show you a few pics from yesterday in Windsor Great Park and try to get over myself.

A Scottish thistle in Windsor?! Whatever next? This one’s for my friend at The Rambling Sloth blog.

And a close up.

There were some nice greylag geese. What are they all looking at? They reminded me of Meerkats!

Atmospheric tree.

Wild orchid? No, I think probably not, probably vetch?

A cow/bull lurking behind a fence next to the pond.

Tree stump with pretty little yellow flowers.

Sweet chestnut I think.

Bulrushes.

Another tree (obviously! 😂).

Feeling a bit calmer now and off to drink tea and eat cake. David has just finished up teaching a free trial guitar lesson in the garden. Keep safe everybody. We might talk about the Olympics next time Xxx

The Savill Garden (again!) third time this year

Firstly I’d like to say I really ❤️ my aircon. So lovely. Cool. Refreshing. I’m lying on the bed after a beautiful stroll around The Savill Garden today.

It was hot at The Savill Garden, but quite shady along many of the paths. I seem to be going back to this place every month at the moment with my 241 Garden ticket. It’s really interesting to see how it changes from month to month. This time it was all about hydrangeas and dahlias. But many other beauties besides. Gorgeous!

The Visitor centre. I like the shape of the building. This is where you get your cappuccino and scones! And other stuff besides.

A plane tree. These are very good at absorbing pollution apparently. They are planted all along The Embankment in London.

More lovely, lovely trees. I did some tree hugging, of course.

This tree was like a redwood and had sap coming out of it. I told my friend it might be like maple syrup, but she wasn’t keen to try it…🤔

I think this was an oak.

Amazing wisteria had sort of plaited itself. No sign of Tarzan in the jungle. There was a beautiful sort of hot, sultry foliage smell.

Hedgehogs?!

Reflections.

Magnolia.

Alstroemeria.

Canna.

I have so many more photos… honestly I could be here all night! So instead I’ll just choose you a few more, and relax! 😎

Loving the red tips on these leaves.

A scene for Monet?

I think I might go and live in this little hut.

I’ve had a wonderful day. I feel very lucky. A slightly sunburnt shoulder as I put the factor 50 on too late. Other than that, I’m happy and relaxed and looking forward to cooking lamb stew tonight. Too hot for lamb stew? Maybe. But with some new potatoes with fresh mint, should be good 😋 Xx

It’s hot 🥵!

So we wanted some more summery weather in Windsor, but now it’s here, it’s too hot! It’s over 30 degrees C and humid. I’ve had a migraine and generally feel a bit exhausted with it all.

Last night was very pleasant as per the picture above. We had dinner sitting outside at Gogos Waterfront restaurant at Windsor marina, next to the racecourse. It was a beautiful evening to watch the sun setting. The colours of the sky changed very gradually. Lovely to watch.

Here’s one of the big boats there. Not mine, obviously…!

The waitress told us she felt lucky to work in such a beautiful spot, like the Mediterranean.. (sometimes!).

It was busy but not unbearably so.

As for next week, the government are mad!!! What on Earth is going on with “freedom day”, more like “suicide day”. There are going to be hundreds more people dying from Covid. Most people seem to think this opening up, throw your mask away, go clubbing and pretend the pandemic is over now policy is bonkers! I will miss the table service in bars. I will miss the spaced out tables, the personal space, the protection and peace of mind we give each other with our mask wearing. I am very apprehensive about what happens next, especially as there are now doubly vaccinated people getting poorly with Covid. The new health secretary for one, my friend’s husband for another..

Boris and Rishi Sunak are now going to isolate, after their ridiculous very brief idea that the rules didn’t apply to them. What a joke! This government goes from bad to worse. Half the country will soon be pinged to self isolate through their silly app that doesn’t work properly at this rate. So much pressure on businesses, the health service, all of us.

OMG politics on The Waffle. This does not usually occur. Things must be bad!

On the plus side we had a delicious roast chicken dinner in the garden tonight. With some potatoes harvested from The Waffle plot. They were so yummy but small, I think they need another couple of weeks in the ground really, to grow a bit bigger. We also had carrots, broccoli, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. For pudding was sticky toffee pudding (not made by me) and vanilla ice cream 😋.

It’s time for bath and bed now. I shouldn’t grumble as we have wonderful A/C in our bedroom unlike most houses in the UK. Sleeping in a fridge. Bliss!!

Mmmmm…. 🤔

Hi. How are you? This arrangement of paving and greenery caught my eye yesterday lunchtime outside Holy Trinity Church, Windsor. An interesting jigsaw.

Here are a few more bits…

I have titled this blog post “Mmmmm….🤔” as, unusually, I don’t really know what to say to you today. I can usually look through my photos, pause and think, and a clear theme for the blog for the day pops into my mind, sometimes even several ideas all at once and I pick the best! Today I am calm and relaxed, but nothing is really jumping out at me. Perhaps that is it? I am too chilled to blog?! 😂. The sun has been shining, AT LAST! in Windsor today. And it looks like it’s going to be really nice weather for the next few days and the weekend.. yippee!

I have some food to show you, but I think I’ll leave that for another time. I’m too relaxed to even talk about food right now…. amazing eh?!

So instead, I’ll just show you my prepared new tennis balls 🎾🎾🎾🎾 with my initial “G” ready for action tomorrow. I also received a nice email from Wimbledon today thanking me for my attendance this year. “Really, it was my pleasure!” “Thank you!” “No, thank you!!!”

Night night Wafflers. Back soon with hopefully more of a plan!?! Xx

Flowers, tennis, maybe a little football?

Hi everyone. It’s a very sporty day here in the UK with the Wimbledon Men’s singles final and then the Euro 2020 football final at Wembley later on.

I’ll start off by showing you the pretty flowers in my garden and around our local estate.

The stunning hydrangeas. Love these.

Lavender, loved by the bees.

The house leek in full flower now.

The pumpkin is coming.

And the tomatoes.

The agapanthus is going to be amazing.

So all of that is looking rather lovely.

The tennis is soooo exciting!! Djokovic v Berrettini. What an entertaining match. So talented, both of them. Probably Djokovic will win.. but hey, who knows…..?

Then later we have England v Italy in the football. It’s not really my thing, but I might have a sneaky look. We will also be having roast pork dinner tonight.

Enjoy your sport watching, or otherwise it’s not long til it’s all over if it’s not your thing… ! 😊Xx

Smoky sausage chilli (and tennis)

This was last night’s dinner. Very yummy. You’ll have to bear with me as I am simultaneously blogging and watching Roger Federer. I ❤️Roger Federer. He’s amazing. The Polish guy who’s playing him, Hurkacz, is looking pretty good too.

Anyway, back to the sausage chilli. It had black beans in it, and basically tasted like a smoky chilli you’d usually use minced beef for but with thick slices of pork sausage in it instead. The recipe was from the latest BBC Good Food Magazine. I served it with some M & S ready made parmentier potatoes and grated emmental cheese on the top. The potatoes were quite nice, not that spectacular. The chilli was gorgeous.

Yum yum yum. I could just eat another plateful of it now.

“Let’s go Roger, let’s go!” Tie break time in the second set. Exciting stuff.

The day before we had a gorgeous coconut curry with salmon, sweet potatoes and noodles. Another Good Food Magazine recipe. Delicious.

Tonight I’m keeping it simple with a ready made quiche, new potatoes and green beans.

Oh Roger just slipped and missed the point… disaster!

I’ve had quite a lazy day today. I had a lie in, David brought me a cup of tea in bed (lovely!), pottered about at home this morning and did some ironing.

Oh no! Set point. C’mon Roger!

Oops. Roger is 2 sets down. As Andrew Castle says, the other guy “definitely deserves a banana” which he’s now having…

He’s had 5 bananas lined up on his chair. When I play tennis with my friend Moya next week, I think I might line up a row of bananas, just to freak her out a bit! I haven’t played tennis in 20 years or so… Moya is having lessons… Mmmmm… this will be interesting. There are lots of fragile plastic bits and rubber fragments dropping off my racquet. I have bought new balls though, look…!

I like the Wimbledon design on the tin, most inspiring. And 4 good quality balls for £8.45 on Amazon I thought was pretty reasonable.

Nice shot Roger!! Still in danger though…

Wow Roger! Amazing.

Clap clap 👏 advantage Federer….

Deuce…. boring…

Oh No, Fedders has been broken… 2 sets to 0, 2 games to 0.

You know the other day I was talking about affordable luxury, a little treat that gives you a boost? For me that was 12 o’clock midday today in The Swan having half a pint of Rebublika lager while my friend Debs had a coffee. Decadence! I never have a drink at midday.. unless it’s Christmas Day or I’m at Wimbledon in person! I did cycle to the pub so was quite thirsty on arrival…

Well, I only had half a pint and a packet of cheese and onion crisps. Debs had her coffee and a sweet muffin. Then we went for a little walk by the River Thames and looked at some ducks and swans.

Oh no, Roger is really losing now. He needs my undivided attention and support so I’m off now.

Back soon my Wafflers Xx 😊 enjoy the football.

Flowers, trees and food (TWW staples)

An interesting choice of window box flowers, these tall lilies, don’t you think? They made me stop and smile on my lunchtime walk this week.

Here are some other pretty flowers..firstly our beautiful blue hydrangeas out the front. They are growing FAST!

Some pretty specimens around our local estate.

I’m loving this rich, deep purple.

The rain is pouring down now while we are cosy inside the house. We managed a nice walk in Windsor Great Park just now with only a few raindrops. We were 🍀 lucky.

I always love the big old oaks in Windsor Great Park. This one has some heavy duty supports to keep it from falling over onto the path.

Mushrooms… do not eat!

I love this tree’s face. I gave it a big hug!

Last, but not least, I want to tell you about last night’s meal. We went to Roux at Skindles, which is a brasserie restaurant in Maidenhead owned by the Roux brothers. It’s in the building that used to be Skindles nightclub, by the river next to Maidenhead Bridge. I think the prices had gone up a bit since last time we were there, but we didn’t really mind as everything was so delicious, immaculately presented and the service was excellent. Highly recommended.

After cocktails of Kir Royale for David and Mojito for me, together with some yummy bread and butter, we both started off with the goat’s cheese soufflé. OMG this was so good! We were in starter heaven. We would definitely have this again.

We then were served our tasty bottle of Viognier wine. The main course was also exceptional. I’m sorry I didn’t photograph it for you, I was too busy gobbling it all up! We both had the lamb cannon with spinach and dauphinoise potato. Delicious. The lamb was already sliced into thick slices, perfectly cooked, so tender. It was locally sourced British lamb. You’ll just have to imagine that. Clean plates.

From my seat at the table I could view the chefs in the kitchen as well as the view of the river and Maidenhead Bridge. The waitress told me this is her favourite seat. The restaurant was not that busy as I think many were at home watching the football. I know where I’d rather be!

Then for pudding, David opted for vanilla ice cream and at his request they made him a chocolate sauce to go with it that was not on the menu. I had the millefeuille with strawberry sorbet. It was all good but the sorbet was exquisite.

If I went again, I’d like to try the chocolate crème brûlée with coconut ice cream. Sounds great.

Off to prepare tea and cake now my friends. There’s no tennis to watch but Wimbledon will be back on tomorrow, yippee can’t wait! 🙂 Xx