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.

Bird flu and other thoughts of the day

Hi. How are you all? I had a visit from the local council today to ask if I am keeping any birds? The answer is no, by the way. I think the foxes would probably get them anyway. I thought maybe they were here about the rats.. David and his guitar student saw a massive rat in our garden the other day and now I don’t want to put the birdseed out for fear of attracting more rodents. I bet the Queen has rats too. There is a rather healthy.. or unhealthy.. population of them in Windsor. A couple of years ago we had one living in our internal walls behind our shower. He/she came in through the sewers/drains. We had to buy a stainless steel rat flap which is kind of similar to a cat flap! It was installed in our drain which basically means rats can leave our property but not arrive, bye bye ratties.

Right, back to the birds. They are obviously getting worried about the current outbreak of bird flu in Windsor. I do not believe there is any bird flu – yet- in humans in Windsor, but there was a man recently in Devon who caught it from his ducks. He lived with 20 of them in his house. He was the first known bird to human transmission in the UK. (We all know what happens when things start jumping from animals to humans… this is not good). All his ducks were culled. So my cold is still not completely better. My friend joked this morning that maybe I have bird flu. I don’t think so!? Apparently the symptoms of bird flu are very similar to flu.. and thus similar to Covid.

The sun shone in Windsor today even though I hadn’t seen that on the forecast, so that was a wonderful surprise.

Debs and I went for cappuccino and cakes at the café in Imperial Park this morning. Favourite café at the moment for a coffee break. We are working our way through the home made cake menu. Today we had a sort of Bakewell tart that was delicious. Afterwards we did a couple of walking laps of the park, which is more like a football field rather than a park. There was a guy repainting the white lines on the pitch. He was really putting his back into it with the machine that he pushed along. It looked so heavy, we were getting concerned about him doing his back in. Maybe he won’t be able to get out of bed tomorrow. Hopefully he’ll be OK, Mr anonymous line painting man.

This afternoon I walked to Budgen’s to get some cream to go in the salmon kedgeree I’m making tonight. Yum yum. Here’s Budgen’s…!

On the way home these were my views..

I’d better call it a day now as far as blogging is concerned. WordPress doesn’t like me today.. at all… I think I’ve run out of storage space which I solved temporarily by deleting a few photos. Mmmm.. I will have to sort this properly next time. Don’t you just hate I.T? Bye for now my Waffle friends.. if I go silent I’m stuck in a WordPress black hole… falling… covered in imaginary rats or flu-ridden birds…..aaaaarrrrggggghhhhhhh!

Word Press anniversary etc

Hello folks. I received this message above yesterday. I started my WordPress account 2 years ago. It took me over a month after that to figure how how to post a blog post. WordPress didn’t seem to make it that easy, it didn’t seem very logical to start with but I worked it out in the end. My first post I think was on 23 February 2020, and well, look at me now!? I figured out the basics of how to post on the blog, how to link a page and how to add photos. I kept meaning to go back and learn more of the technical, behind the scenes stuff of WordPress, but I’ve never got around to it, I’m too busy blogging 🤣🤣. Maybe one day. When I’m really bored or lost my day job or something.

So until that time you’ll get the usual Windsor Waffle formula, I hope that’s OK.

We’ve been out in Windsor Great Park this afternoon. Such beautiful light today. I took some photos of the magnificent trees.

I’ve photographed this one below many times previously, it’s very iconic.

For those of you interested in the decluttering challenge, I’ve now discarded 77 items out of the target 100 for January from my home. We’ve even removed the boxes of stuff from the garage and taken them to the hospice shop and I’ll get to work on the office again tomorrow. The Orjenise prompt today was digital clutter and to delete unused apps from your phone. I deleted about 8 apps and then found over 50 downloaded documents in Files and Books I had no idea were there. These included restaurant menus and instructions for a holiday cottage we stayed in 2 years ago. All deleted. Very satisfying. Yesterday’s prompt was pet related toys and objects in the home. As we don’t have any pets that didn’t apply to me. Over to you Tina, I hope Betty the cat isn’t hoarding too many toys? 🤣.

I’m still reeling with the shock of the café we visited for lunch today. Some would called it quaint. I would call it appalling. It was so cluttered with stuff we could hardly get to a table, especially as there were far too many tables packed into a small space. All the tables had random **** piled on top of them. Ours had not one, not two, but eleven magazines piled on it! Why? Why would anyone want 11 out of date magazines to read with their lunch? The food wasn’t even very nice. We left in a state of shock. I won’t name the place as the lady was actually very friendly and kind, it just wasn’t the place for me. Completely claustrophobic. I wanted to book them a skip.

Tonight will be roast chicken dinner, one of our favourites, and then it’s back to another week of work tomorrow. I hope you’re all doing well my friends. Have a good week, best foot forward and all that! 😊 Xx

Phew! PCR negative

Yay – my PCR was negative – speedy results as I was only tested at 12.00 midday today. What a ridiculous photo 🤣. I searched in the Word press free photo library for “happy”! I think she could be about to break an ankle or two. Won’t be so happy then.

Anyway thanks to all my kind friends for sending get well soon wishes. Still a bit croaky and coughy and bound to be a disrupted night’s sleep again, but at least the possible Covid positive anxiety has gone. Luckily I’ve already made the sandwiches and got my work clothes ready just in case. Weekend plans are back on 😊🥳.

Another sunny day in Windsor, a bit ill and off work

Hi folks. This was the blue sky in Windsor yesterday, and we’ve had the same today. It’s cold but bright and sunny.

I think I’ve got a cold. Negative lateral flow tests. My throat has been very sore and my ears inflamed. I have a very croaky voice. I was going to go to work this afternoon as I have a colleague who was able to cover part of the day, but my boss suggested I went for a PCR test instead, which I’ve done so. He says I shouldn’t go back til the results come through.. they told me 72 hours, he says 12 hours, but they’ll be ready when they’re ready I guess. When did I last have a day off sick from work? No idea. I think I’ve only had 3 consecutive days off sick from work in the last 20 years, for a bad flu-ey cold when I was bedridden. I can’t even remember when that was. It was many years ago, I am lucky I am usually in good health. And my boss is lucky I’m so conscientious 🤣🤣.

So I doubt that this is Covid, with the negative lateral flows and just the throat and ear symptoms. But who knows? I could be surprised. If I’ve got it my guess is it’s Omicron as that’s the most prevalent and most likely to give you symptoms like a cold. I went to the walk in testing centre in Windsor coach park. I seemed to be their only customer with about 6 guys supervising in high vis jackets. I had to do my own test with the bloke watching me blow my nose, and timing me on each action with the swab. They were nice, but it felt a bit humiliating really, but it’s done.

Did I wear myself out with the excitement of the decluttering challenge?? 🤣. My running total is 55 items out of 100. Today’s prompt was medications and I did find some expired pills. I still need to get all tablets in one place though. I keep them upstairs in the bathroom and the bottom of my jewellery box, downstairs in my desk cupboard and headache and migraine tablets in just about every handbag I own, and that’s quite a few. I only take one prescription medication, it’s the others that get scattered about I think. Sometimes I ask David for Paracetamol as he always keeps his in the same place and I can’t find mine or when I find it it’s out of date. I must get a better system!

Yesterday’s Orjenise prompt was DVDs and CDs. These are off to the charity shop.

And these..

Before I got rid of them I checked the price if I sold them via Music Magpie… grand total of 58p for the DVDs and 11p for the CDs. The Orjenise lady is correct, these things are worthless and almost obsolete. There are many people who love their CDs and dispute this. Personally I am not that bothered about CDs especially as I don’t actually listen to music very often. I prefer quiet! DVDs I quite like but when did I last play one….? Maybe 2018?

I think it’s time for another cup of tea now.. to lubricate the throat, must keep hydrated! The cake may also be for medicinal reasons, to keep my spirits up. Easy dinner of ready made fish cakes tonight. Bye for now. Keep healthy. Colds are rubbish too as well as Covid. January sucks but the sun is shining 🌞Xx

Sort your life out!

Hi everyone. I’ve started a decluttering challenge and I’m loving it. I found this on a site called Orjenise on Instagram. 100 items have to leave your home in January.

I started on Saturday, a little late to the party, but I’m already up to 36 out of the required 100 items for the month. Feeling liberated by this. There are daily prompts to help you, and today’s was plastic bags. Initially I thought I only have a few of these in my kitchen and they are well organised already, but then I remembered the messy drawer in my bedroom full of small plastic bags I used to take my make up in on trips abroad, to stop leakage in my wash bag. I used to use them and then put them in my drawer to use again. I’d accumulated masses of them, what a mess. They have now left the building.

I already have 3 boxes full of items ready for the charity shop since the kitchen clear out. These have been sitting in the garage… it seems I was just moving the stuff around the home rather than out… so on Saturday these are definitely leaving the premises and going to the charity shop.

My 36 items have included so far.. amongst other things… pyjama bottoms with no elastic left in the waist, some body lotion I never liked but thought I should use up, very out of date sun cream, a few books, leaflets, packaging, tins I thought might be useful but just accumulate more stuff like buttons within them, an old letter rack, leaflets and packaging, a magazine, Christmas tree, Christmas cards, a box from a necklace I usually keep in my jewellery box, some library books I returned today… the list goes on..

I have become such an enthusiastic declutterer that we have now also started this challenge for January at work and managed about 4 items in the office already today…. an old diary, air freshener we didn’t like, packaging from Christmas chocolates, the 2021 wallplanner, super satisfying but still a long way to go. We hope to clear out the loft when my boss is away to up our numbers. This clearing out by numbers really works for me. If you clear out by time eg a 15 minute tidy, you can end up mainly moving things around into different piles. The capsule wardrobe concept along these lines works well for me too, which is all about counting the items and restricting the numbers of any one thing. Marvellous! 😊

I’ve donated my advent calendar boxes to my entrepreneur niece Hazel so that she can reuse them. (sorry to my sister as I’m now cluttering up her house with this, oops!). It took me ages to fit them back in the box.. like some kind of Rubik’s cube.

I grew up in a house full of clutter where you often couldn’t sit on the sofa or eat at the table due to the piles of accumulated random things. I hate the oppressive feeling it gives you when your house becomes a storage space rather than a living space. I do not wish my whole house.. or office.. to become a cupboard with me squeezed into a corner gasping for air!

So I’m off to have a shower now before cinema.. to use up some shower gel and tick that off the list! This challenge is seriously addictive.

How’s your house looking. Time for a clear out?! Xx

It’s a small world

Like it or not, we live in a global society. What one human being chooses to eat on the other side of the world, or how they interact with nature, changes the whole planet.

The Covid 19 pandemic has given every country, government and human being in the world THE SAME PROBLEM. This is quite mind blowing.

On subject matters both including and apart from Covid 19, it occurs to me that there are human beings on the other side of the world who may be more on my wavelength than even my closest neighbours. Strange but true. It is really lovely but fascinating to find blog friends and blogs of those I can connect with who share my views on many topics, thousands of miles away from me having grown up in a completely different culture, religion or economic background. (although sometimes equally fascinating to read viewpoints and to learn about lifestyles completely different from mine!).

Have you noticed that when you travel around the world how many place names are the same as yours back home, either by design or by accident? David used to comment that no matter where you are in the world you always seem to come across a Hotel Bristol. There are loads of them, completely unrelated to each other. They never look that amazing by the way, a mediocre type of hotel. (Not that I have anything against Bristol, UK, by the way, it’s a great city and I have good friends there!).

Earlier this week I was approached by some good people in Windsor, Ontario (Canada). They are from the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and reached out to The Windsor Waffle to help promote their digital concert series linked up with food. I replied to say that they may have mistaken me for living in another Windsor of the world, rather than Windsor, UK, but as we are all fellow Windsorians and citizens of planet Earth, the concerts are digital and food related, so relevant to TWW, I am happy to oblige. I know I have a few lovely followers in Canada, so hi there, this is for you too!

This digital concert series from the Windsor Symphony Orchestra looks like a really interesting programme of music paired up with food and recipes for you to join in with at home, a novel idea.

“ Immerse yourself in a musical adventure linking the music, the story, and the food. Along with experiencing great music performed by the WSO, discover the back story on the composers who wrote the music, and the trials and triumphs that influenced them. Find out about the foods popular in different places and earlier times. Get the recipes!”

You can check out the full details and buy tickets here.

All around the world cultural venues are suffering from lockdowns and lack of business during the pandemic. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to visit theatres and concert halls right now, others still have severe restrictions. In the UK I noticed recently that in England we are still sitting merrily cheek by jowl in our historic theatres, but in Swansea, Wales (one of my favourite places in the world) the theatres are currently closed, I guess because only up to 30 people can attend an indoor event in Wales at the moment. In England the numbers of people indoors are completely unlimited, could be absolutely thousands of people with no social distancing in place. In Scotland I have no idea 🤷‍♀️! It’s hard to keep up with it all and the world and our governments all seem to have gone a bit mad.

So in the spirit of The Windsor Waffle, let’s help each other out both near and far, as we’ve got so much in common and the solution to a global problem is going to have to be a global solution.

Have a great weekend everybody! Thanks for tuning in to TWW 😊Xx

Finding healthy foods you actually like

Hi. I’m a great believer in finding exercise that you enjoy doing, so that you can stick to it and it doesn’t feel like a chore. For me that means walking, swimming, gentle cycling (to the pub!) and yoga. Occasionally I play non serious tennis (followed by a little après tennis 😊). Similarly I think it’s important to find healthy food swaps and foods that you genuinely enjoy that are good for you. Unfortunately a lot of tasty foods are not particularly good for you, but many are. It’s trial and error.

Tonight the healthy ingredient is red lentils and we’re having lamb and lentil curry. The recipe is here. I’ve never made this before so I can’t tell you yet whether it’s any good 🤣

It’s looking and smelling good so far. Very good. David is quite a fussy eater but he likes lentils. He doesn’t really understand what they are so I’ve looked it up.. they are little seeds that grow two to each pod. Canada produces many more lentils than any other country, who knew that? And they are a great source of plant based protein, fibre and potassium. My boss is a vegetarian who eats a lot of different types of lentils and he seems to have a lot of energy, he’s a good advert for them!

Here are the curry ingredients lined up.. except the rocket/kale mix.

So also going into this at the end is a bit of this rocket/baby kale mix.

David would never eat kale in a million years, and I’m not that keen on it either, but these baby leaves wilted are absolutely fine. Rocket is the only salad item David enjoys, he likes the peppery flavour. We had some of these leaves in last night’s dinner I’ll show you later.

I’m serving this curry with basmati and wild rice mix that I’ve recently discovered. You have to cook it for 18 minutes which is longer than normal basmati, but we like this combo and it’s better for us. A friend says she mixes up brown and white rice together, so we might try that some time soon as we’re not that keen on brown rice on its own, seems a bit chewy.

Here’s the lamb and lentil curry in early stages of cooking, it’s now been simmering gently for ages.. that lovely warm curry smell throughout the house😋

So we’re both looking forward to gobbling up this one.

Last night we had prawn linguine, also a new recipe to me I found online. It’s here. This one was very quick and easy to make and delicious. We had plenty of petits pois in it and the rocket and baby kale mix wilted too, so plenty of greens. If I cook with prawns I generally like to go for king prawns, they’re a bit more expensive but so much juicier.

I hope you’re finding some tasty but also healthy ingredients to try. Maybe I’ve given you some inspiration. If you’ve got any tips for me for healthy-yet-delicious ingredients please let me know. I’m off to dish up now. Bon appetit! Xx

2021 – the year that was

Hi. Happy New Year’s Eve.

I’m just looking back on my photos from this year, to remind myself of the highs and lows.

This time last year I was enjoying a walk to Budgen’s supermarket to buy our New Year’s Eve ready meal. I looked forward to the outing for quite a few days, as I hadn’t been in any shops for ages, due to the pandemic. Sad but true.

That was all a bit quiet, but fine, and then at the end of January my father had an emergency hospital admission for an abdominal aneurysm. He survived but it was very serious. And very stressful.

Then the snow came.

It was really beautiful. Until I put on my snow boots upstairs and, probably partly due to lack of sleep for a week and worry about my father, I fell down the stairs at home and had an awful ankle sprain that took months before I could walk properly again. I did all the physio, but if I’m honest, that ankle still is not quite the same as the other side.

So that was a very rocky start to the year.

And we had another whole year of this ****** Covid pandemic. Who wanted that?!

I’m depressing myself now so let’s look at the positives…

1 We got vaccinated, and then again, and then boosted 😊.

2 I kept my job and my financial security. Tina left her job to work with me 😊😊😊. The Friday coffee club was born.

3 When we were allowed to eat outside again in April I took a week off work and dined al fresco for lunch every day! Cheers!

4 I went to Wimbledon to watch tennis with Julie.. surreal to be in a crowd again, but a fantastic day!

We were all wrapped up in jumpers.. it was not a good summer weatherwise in the UK this year, especially compared to the amazing weather we had in 2020, wall to wall sunshine from April onwards.

5 Julie and I also climbed up and over the O2 in London on a particularly glorious September day. Living the dream 😊. Oh, and my hair got long!

6 I joined Odeon limitless for £12.99 a month when the cinemas reopened and I’ve seen 16 films with my friends Pat, Sue and Erica. (and Moya once!). Happy hours lazing about in the comfy lie flat seats. I never fell asleep but I think Sue did once (it was a boring film).

7 I went to the theatre… 3 times. Twice to The Theatre Royal Windsor and once to The London Palladium.

8 I met up with my good school friend Sarah for a delicious lunch at Chelsea Physic Garden, a beautiful little oasis of calm in the City.

9 I ate a lot of fabulous food, some of it made by me! I drank some delicious wine and cocktails.

10 We went on holiday for a short break to Cromer, Norfolk.

11 I had a great catch up with “the Swansea girls” in London (more food and cocktails).

12 Debs and I discovered a new café in Imperial Park, Windsor. Great coffee and cakes. We also visited The Savill Garden on a surprisingly hot day. I went to The Savill Garden twice more with David.

Credit to Debs for this photo.. you can’t beat a bit of tree hugging.

13 David was here and good company throughout. His band got to play again and we had some fab evenings watching them play and dancing to their music at The Swan and below at Royal Ascot Golf Club.

14 I read so many good blogs, enjoyed writing my blog, taking the photos, made new blog friends, grew existing friendships with my wonderful blog buddies around the world. (Seem to have got over my shyness now of posting pics of myself on The Waffle, but maybe a few too many here for comfort).

15 Moya and I played tennis, had a laugh, and went to the bar for après tennis!

16 David and I didn’t catch Covid…. (yet).. even though we went out a lot, being careful.

17 We started updating our kitchen…

And got the oven cleaned.

18 My bookclub restarted.. 😊 and we also started cultural outings together such as seeing David’s band play and going to a painting evening called “Sip and Paint”. Great fun.

19 I continued my capsule wardrobe project.. sort of successfully! I didn’t buy so many new clothes and had tidier cupboards.

20 I enjoyed the wonderful trees, nature and skies of Windsor and shared them with the world on The Windsor Waffle.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!! Here’s to lots more fun and good health in 2022 😊🥳🍾🥂Xx (my apologies if I missed anyone in this post).

Sad but true…10 things..

1) Yesterday I made another Christmas cake as unfortunately the first one looked very nice on the outside but was not cooked through in the middle 🤢. Here’s the new one… spot the difference?! (apart from the fact it’s definitely cooked through this time… actually slightly overcooked now)

The difference is the smooth fondant icing as Tesco’s had sold out of the ready made Royal Icing. Don’t ask me why after 30 years of cooking Christmas cake to the same recipe perfectly suddenly I can’t cook it any more. I suspect it’s our new oven a few years ago.. I think I had a couple of years of slightly overdone cakes due to a slightly hotter oven, and now I’ve gone the other way and cooked for a shorter time for fear of overcooking. At least the Christmas pudding is still perfect 😍. And the cake no.2 is edible/won’t make us ill.

2) I have to go back to work tomorrow.. no more getting up at 10.00 a.m.

3) David and I have nearly polished off a turkey breast joint meant to serve 8-10 people. We had it hot on Christmas Day, cold for Boxing Day lunch, last night chunky turkey curry as below, and now a curry portion left in the freezer.

I made my turkey curry with fried onion, hot curry powder, coconut milk, a squeeze of lemon, black pepper and spinach. I served it with basmati and wild rice.

4) I still have some pumpkins I grew for Halloween. 🎃 I think they’re still OK. I might get around to cooking with them later this week.

5) Our new kitchen is not finished… I’m thinking Easter 2022… that way I won’t be disappointed (hopefully!).

6) I now have 4 books from the library I’ve started reading simultaneously.. and am in danger of not finding time to finish any of them 🤣. Here is the latest one I just started as I need to read this for our January book club meeting. It doesn’t have any full stops in it!! What’s that all about?

7) Usually I quite like ironing, but recently my laundry basket has exploded! The ironing no longer fits in the basket and has erupted out of the top and down onto the floor in the hall… what a mess!

8) The weather has been really murky and miserable all Christmas break. We’ve still had a nice time though.

9) The only Christmas TV we’ve watched has been the news as well as one prerecorded Doctor Who. We haven’t played any board games or done any jigsaw puzzles either. I’m not sure where the time has gone.. possibly eating, drinking and napping.

10) I went to see my parents today to drop off Christmas gifts. They still don’t allow visitors inside the house due to Covid concerns. We chatted on the doorstep looking up at their first floor window. Apart from taking my Mum to the dentist recently I was beginning to wonder if she still had legs as I’d only seen her top half for 2 years.

That’s all folks. Happy Twixmas! 😊 Xx