Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Bad Bear

Bear got into trouble at school for talking during assembly and was made to stand up in front of the whole class.  Bear said that he hadn't been talking, and I believe him because if he had been talking he would have told me that he was only saying and it was definitely because someone else caused a problem.  Bear is big on justifying himself. and I'm not deterring him at the moment as it gives me a fighting chance of finding out what's going on.  So bear had to stand in front of the whole assembly and didn't give a flying fig leaf.  He did not care.  Not only did he not care but he got a lot of playground cred from the bad boys for not caring.  This is new to bear who is normally impeccably behaved according to the teachers.

This is not good.  I have tried to instil a good pattern of behaviour in bear, but I learned long ago never to threaten bear with something because he would shrug it off.  You could threaten to cut his sweets - fine, he'll do without sweets.  You could tell him that he would miss out on a treat.  Go ahead then, he'd miss the treat. I remember being on my knees when bear was about two.  He wouldn't take his antibiotics for love nor money.  I literally had his antibiotics in one hand and the white chocolate buttons in the other and he would not be bribed.  I was there for hours.  He got better but it wasn't anything to do with regular doses of antibiotics.  What can I say.  I was just as bad as a youngster.  Refusing to apologise for something I hadn't done and complete resistance to bow to the leader's will got me kicked out of playgroup at around age four.  Looking back at some of the tussles I had with teachers over the years makes me feel almost queasy when I think of bear using the same tactics.

I was clear to bear that as I believed that he hadn't been talking so I wasn't doing anything.  I take the line that what happens in school stays in school, especially when it comes to punishments.  I was clear that I would be unhappy if bad stuff started happening at High School, and bear shrugged. 

Bear was not impressed with his teacher before this.  Now I think she has lost a lot of ability to exert discipline over him.  Bear is a good lad, on the whole, and by and large, as seen from the perspective of a doting mother.  He's never been in trouble.  It's just I have an awful feeling that bear has taken this as a 'challenge accepted' moment.  There are around 110 days left of actual time-in-a-classroom left before he leaves primary school.  I'm keeping it all crossed that we all get through it okay, including the teacher. 

Sunday, 21 January 2018

So Much for That

Yesterday I decided to go out.  I nearly turned back before I got the few yards to the bus stop as I was so tired.  I just went to a local shopping centre and back and that was me wiped out.

Also, I keep getting notifications that someone is trying to log into my accounts when I haven't.  This may partly be because I'm using two browsers at the same time, but someone may be hacking me.  I've no idea who could be doing anything like that unless it's just one of those bots that are trying it on. 

I'm off to rethink my passwords. 

Friday, 19 January 2018

Rad Threadz

It's a non-uniform day at bear's school.  He went in wearing a Marc Jacobs t-shirt (gift from DH's auntie who can really get a deal) and Gap jeans (eBay is my friend) topped with a supermarket hoodie that is a shade too small for him but I was out of options.

Bear is getting a little more clothes conscious.  Not totally, thank goodness, but a little.  I'm not discouraging it.  I'm hoping that it will help me during the teenage years when his confidence needs a boost.  The biggest problem I can see is the whole concept of sweater. 

DH doesn't wear sweaters.  I've knitted him one, which he appreciated but didn't wear.  I've bought him sweaters.  He appreciated the thought, didn't wear.  He just doesn't do knitwear.  Bear is exactly the same.  He will wear a sweater to school, but as far as I can tell he sheds it early on.  It has become a battle of wits to have more sweaters at home than in his drawer at school.  Once, after I had been more sarcastic than usual (don't worry, bear had been in fits of giggles), he turned out of the class wearing three sweaters, one on top of the other.  He said it was the easiest way to get them home. 

When it comes to non-uniform sweaters he wears a Christmas sweater on Christmas sweater day, wears a sweater at least once during winter and then loses interest.  I don't even look at things like knitwear any more when buying clothes for bear.  I could get him the most amazing sweater or hoodie and he would wear it twice before outgrowing it.  So do I cave and get him a sweater that actually fits?  Do I get a sweater that he can grow into?  Or do I just ignore the issue and hope it goes away?  Because I can see bear starting to get picky and it could get expensive. 

I think I'll take the opportunity to have a browse on eBay.  It's the right time of year for people to have made New Year's Resolutions to clear stuff out so I may pick up something good.  And if I get even luckier I'll be able to sell it after bear has worn it once. 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

What you Find

wherethejourneytakesme has suggested using the Aldi washing powder to clean the stainless steel sink.  This is a really good suggestion as my sink needs all the help it can get!  There are issues with how the taps were installed and the draining board doesn't drain properly so it's a good use.  I may also use it to wash the floor under the cooker as we are getting a new cooker and I don't want to even think what it's like underneath there.  We are also getting a new fridge that is actually big enough for what we need.  There has been some discussion about this.  However the fridge isn't getting and staying cold and the cooker is around fifteen years old and outrageously temperamental so I decided that we needed to do something.  We are changing the cooker from gas to induction hob.  I'm quite nervous. 

We've gone with AO again as they guarantee to bring the stuff down the steps to our kitchen.  To be fair, the ones that delivered the freezer did look as if the whole concept of stairs was a strange and wonderful discovery but they did it.  The ones who delivered the washing machine were fine.  It's supposed to be coming next Wednesday 

For those who don't know, AO used to be called 'Appliances Online'.  You can go through TopCashback, they have excellent customer service and have reliably turned up when they said they would, done what they said they would and have been very tolerant of me having a dither.  They sell washers (yep), microwaves (it's where we got our microwave combi), freezers (yep), fridges (yep), cookers and all sorts of electrical goodies and from what I can see they have competitive pricing.  They also have a YouTube channel.

I found the YouTube channel through a link to 'how to make butter in a washing machine' but after a rummage found that these electrical suppliers also have craft videos and recipes.  I even found this How to make a floor pouffe cover.  They don't even sell sewing machines!  I'm off to investigate further. 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018


First of all I was going through the awesome comments and Sharon Koole shared that there was a site that suggested yarn substitutions called yarnsub.com.  I shall be bookmarking it! 

Sarah Head - as I put in the comments, I couldn't agree with you more about SATS and the exams.  I don't think bear is feeling worried about passing, he can be remarkably confident when it comes to knowledge.  I think he feels under seige.  I have repeatedly told bear that if he fails an exam then there are other options.  It might be harder, and it might be more expensive, but there are always ways or other jobs or other options.  It's never the end of the world.  If schools are like this at 11, what are the secondary schools like when so much funding and reputation relies on the results? 

There has been snow here.  To be fair, we've had four flakes and a promise and are much better off than people like wherethejourneytakesme who really have got their hands full.  Yesterday I went out briefly to put some stuff in the bin and I felt battered but it wasn't really that bad.  DH works on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and he's found it trickier, but still not as bad as some.  I ought to hang out some of bear's shirts.  Snow is supposed to bleach whites.

I bought a very large pack of Aldi washing powder for a very reasonable sum.  It isn't bad, especially not for the money.  It's just not as good as Ariel.  I can tell.  All sorts of very respectable authorities like Which say that Aldi is a really good brand for washing powder, but it isn't the same.  My whites are not as white.  I mean, bear's school shirts are still white, but they're not white  I've had to fight the urge to twitch when I've been in the playground and seen downright grey shirts because goodness knows what they've washed the shirts in, and it's really none of my business, but I like bear's shirts to be white.

I've been waiting to finish off the Aldi washing powder.  Today I caved.  I tipped the remaining powder into a container where I keep the cheap stuff for soaking things like baking trays (biological washing powder can do amazing things to stuff with grease on) and opened up a box of Ariel with a sigh of relief. 

So my whites will now be white and the rest of the house will be a fail in housewifery but at least the laundry is a start. 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Feeling Better

I'm not on top form yet, but it could be worse.  I've spent far too much time flicking through YouTube.  I found this YouTuber, Kristine Kelly, who does videos about knitting.  I've only just discovered them, but I could get hooked.  There's usually a chat at the beginning, perhaps a book review and then all sorts of stuff.  Apparently you can get yarn made out of mink - that is, mink fur that has been combed from living mink that are not harmed in the process.  Well, I say not harmed but I've heard about how vicious mink are and while mink are not killed in the production of yarn made with mink fur, if one of those mink got hold of me I'd probably tap its nose. 

Kristine Kelly is a proper scientist at a university as well as a knitter.  She has a few videos about the scientific stuff surrounding the psychology of knitting which is interesting but one video really endeared her to me - this one, Do Dryer Balls Really Make a Difference?  She actually does the work on it, doesn't make assumptions but tests it out.  I love that in a reviewer.

I am ashamed I am late with this, and I offer deepest apologies, but there were times in the last week where it wasn't safe to put me in charge of a narrative.  However the latest installment of At the Sign of the White Hart is here and the story so far is here.  For those who are acquainted with the books, the Appucks have called in for a chat.  What could possibly go wrong? 

Monday, 15 January 2018

That was Odd

I have a healthy respect for gas.  I cook by gas (or I would if I could get the thing to work properly) but I'm getting that replaced by an electric cooker) and we have gas central heating and a gas fire in the living room. 

The fire in the living room is a few years old.  The original one that came with the house was at least twenty years old when we replaced it, I think around 2013.  This one has been serviced, though a while ago, and it's a lovely, basic model that does a very good job.  We rarely have it on very high as the room warms up quite quickly and we have blankets to snuggle under.  Last night DH and I were both feeling cold 'in ourselves' so we put the fire up to around half heat - the highest we usually have it. 

I thought I heard a clunk of metal but DH thought it was soot falling down the chimney.  We weren't paying full attention.  Then the fire turned itself off.  We paid attention then!  As far as we can tell there is no gas leaking, we have a CO2 detector next to the fire that wasn't triggered and when DH tried to turn it back on later, the fire worked fine. 

Tomorrow I will be calling around to find someone to give the fire a service.  I am hoping that it is something easy.  If it is something that has blocked the chimney then we have two issues.  The first issue is that the chimney is on a wall that connects to the house next door - owned by a landlord who is not proactive about repairs.  The second issue is that this is the chimney that has had bees in it.  If I have it right, the actual bees nest is in the flue next to it, but any repair man could find it a literally sticky situation.