Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Technological Triumph

It was a triumph for me, run of the mill for anyone else.

I actually managed to end my old phone contract and get the code to carry my number over to the new one.  I feel like I've completed one of the labours of Hercules.  It took some fancy typing.  I went on live chat as I knew it would be far harder voice-to-voice.   But now I have a decent deal with Tesco Mobile and get clubcard points with it.

Also bear is still watching the Edwardian Farm series.  I am concerned about what we will end up doing in the garden.

Thank you for the suggestions for champagne.  The school don't have a school fair or tombola.  They ask for donations for the hamper to raffle to the Reception class, but they are quite clear that there should be no alcohol.  I could try the idea of champagne jellies.  I've made coffee jellies before now.  It's a recipe from Mrs Beeton.  You take some strong coffee, spike generously with rum, set with gelatine and top with whipped cream.  It turned out quite well apart from teh coffee.  I don't drink coffee, but I used to make it for my late mother who liked it STRONG.  She used to joke about sucking instant coffee granules from a spoon.  DH likes his coffee strong and black.  I saw the coffee my late mother drank as normal (I've been educated since) and when Mrs Beeton's recipe stressed that the coffee should be strong I went all out.  The jellies were so caffeinated that we were practically vibrating afterwards.

I'm not sure the stuff is fit to drink after all these years.  If it was the vintage stuff then I'm sure it would be fine, but I'm not sure about the cheap stuff that is on offer at Christmas.  I suppose I could try drinking some with orange juice and if it wasn't fit I could use it as drain cleaner with baking soda.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Nothing much to see

As the title said.  Today has been very quiet and I am exhausted.  Bear has been around ninety percent leg, like only young lads can be, sprawled out watching YouTube and dvds.  He's been watching the Edwardian Farm.  I can tell I will be getting expectant looks at me and then the desolation that is our garden.  I'm going to fill the damn thing with lavender as so far it's the only thing that seems to have survived the feral slugs.

We have some bottles of champagne in the cupboard.  I'm not sure how fit some of them are - I suspect most of them are older than bear and they were all gifts.  Father never drank the stuff, DH is on tablets and I have never liked champagne any time I've had it - though I'm not a sophisticated palate.  The only thing I like with bubbles is diet cola.

We don't know anyone to give them to (I'm not entirely sure that all of them are fit to drink after all this time, none of them are the proper vintage, they're the £9.99 New Year's Eve type) and I can't donate it to the Methodist Church as alcohol isn't allowed on the premises.  Mrs Beeton recommended using gin and old silk handkerchiefs to clean mirrors but I can't think of any sort of housewifery that uses champagne unless it's how to cheat and get asti instead.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Being Quiet

We are all a little quieter than normal and quite shaky.  Otherwise entirely fine.  I need to pull myself together.

I got distracted by this story - crop circles in Wiltshire.  A part of me really wishes that they were real, but they aren't and they do a lot of financial damage to farmers.  With the weather this year, I'm sure that it's the last thing the poor farmer needs.

If you follow the link you will see the pictures, but I think they're copyright.  Here is a non copyright pic of a crop circle.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

No One Hurt

Of course, it may be too soon to say.  You see all sorts of strange things on TV but as far as I can tell we are all okay.

The car in front of the car in front of us slammed the brakes on.  The car in front of us managed to avoid going into the back of them but we went into the car in front.  Poor DH is all shocked, bear and I are okay.  We were only about half a mile from home so bear and I walked back.  I'm sort of writing this straight away as I feel like I have to tell someone.

When we left the poor car, it had a buckled bonnet and I think the radiator was a mess as liquid was all over the place.  I hope it can be fixed, but it is an older car, so there is a chance that the repairs will be worth more than the car.

It's such a lot of naff raff.  No matter what happens to the poor car, there's going to be paperwork in stacks.  DH is going to have to do a lot of sorting out to make sure he can get to and from work.

I also hope the car in front of us's driver is okay.  He was really nice, we were all shocked and he was being incredibly sensible and calm about things.  He seemed fine.

Bear seems unaffected now, though he was shocked at the time, but I'll keep an eye on him.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Sorry I've been Absent

I'm naff raffing around a bit.  I suppose the death of uncle has hit me harder than I thought - I hadn't expected it to shake me so much as it was so expected.

However things are much as normal here.  I decided it was definitely the Zoflora that was making me feel poorly.  I decided that after I had splashed some around in the bathroom to hide the smell while I unblocked the toilet.  Eventually it cleared after I squirted a large dose of washing up liquid down and walked away, but it was complicated at times.  I scratched the bowl while I was trying to prod it free with a toilet unblocker as well.  I suppose we are going to have to really concentrate on saving up for a new bathroom sooner rather than later.  Also, bear's pal couldn't come for a long booked play date because, well, we had a blocked toilet.

Of course, this is added to the extremely encrusted freezer which is barely fit for purpose and now we find the top of the fridge is all cracked and broken.  We think it may be because of the Halogen cooker we have on there, but in our defence, the cooker never damaged the last fridge.  Neither of those are 'must replace tomorrow' standard but are pretty much 'must replace next month'.

Bear is currently into Lego, which is great except he likes to keep his masterpieces on display and we don't have that many flat spaces.  I have also needed to sit down after seeing the cost of some of the kits bear is looking at.  Negotiations are ongoing.

On the bright side, I got some coupons from Sainsburys.  If I spend a minimum of £60 per shop for the next three weeks I get £9 off which is a good deal.  If I spend a minimum of £60 for the three weeks after that I get £12 off which is even better.

Sunday, 6 August 2017


I am reading all the comments and I'm very grateful for them.  I feel hugged by them all.  I'm skating along the surface at the moment, so I haven't replied to them individually.  I sincerely apologise.  I don't want you to think that I'm not appreciative.

I was reading up on Zoflora online.  It looks quite interesting, the site is here.  I've used one of their photos and as it is sort of promoting their product, I'm sure they won't mind.

I'm currently using Spring Bouquet but when my stock runs out I'm definitely going for the citrus.  

I saw it recommended as an air freshener so thought I would try it.  I should have paid more attention to instructions.  I didn't realise just how concentrated it is.  You need 4 capfuls, and the cap is very small, to one and a half litres of water for general cleaning.  I put a large slosh into around a tenth of a litre in a jug on the windowsill in the study and around the same in an old candle jar on the kitchen windowsill.  It's a little too strong.  I feel like I've been punched in the nose from the inside, but in a good way.  The scent is lovely.  

I have a stock in, a combination of father asking for some and there being an awesome offer on.  I'm sure that if I combine it with a microfibre cloth I will be able to refresh the house a great deal.  

I am not working on zoflora tomorrow.  Tomorrow is all filled up.  We start with a walk to Makro which isn't far.  It is ostensibly for bread but really we're going there for the walk.  School have suggested that bear bake in the holidays so we will be making something incredibly simple, for my sake.  Then I'm tackling the dining room which is barely functional and will probably occupy a lot of this week.  I'm also trying to set myself a small task every day, those little jobs that I keep thinking I'll get around to and never do.  Tomorrow I intend to replace and sort the cutlery drawer.  I'll check in and let you know if any of that happens!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Always a Silver Lining

I tried one of those 'Life Tips' today.  The kitchen sink hadn't been draining well so I poured a large amount of baking soda into the plug, followed it with vinegar and stepped back smartly as it foamed all over the place.  I thought it wouldn't work as all the froth seemed to come upwards, but it seems to have dislodged whatever was blocking, so that's a win.  I should do it weekly I suppose.

I had a fail with a sweater.  It's the second time I tried to knit the pattern, and this time instead of miscounting and having to unpick the whole dratted lot to work out the neck and not being able to face it, I used some alternative yarn and the armholes haven't worked out.  I have only myself to blame.  If I had knitted a tension square I would have known that it needed adjusting.  I've just unravelled the almost-finished back.

However there is an extremely bright silver lining.  I really, really really want to try this shawl pattern.  I had promised myself I wouldn't start it until I had finished the sweater.  It seems a shame to put it off now that I've given up on the pattern.  And fortunately the yarn was only delivered yesterday, so it's like it's meant to be.

I did play fair with the sweater.  I don't think I can carry on with that yarn.  However I have some ideas that may look awesome - but I'm not trying them out until I've finished the shawl and another project outstanding.  I'm promising myself that!

Friday, 4 August 2017

Shopping Was Useful

DH and bear kept busy while I was at the funeral.  As bear is enjoying Harry Potter, they made wands.  The night before I looked out my glue gun.  I've never used it.  I kept meaning to use it, but it seemed such a big deal so I never got around to it.

They had a run out to pick up the chopsticks (comparatively hard to find) and they made grips with the glue gun and painted them up.  I came home and admired them.  DH decided to go out again on Thursday for dowling to make sturdier wands.  I asked if he would like some sandpaper and the use of a multi function rotary tool (similar to this).  DH was surprised I had stuff handy but said he would find it very useful.  So he went off to get the dowling and mentioned he could also get some varnish as the chop sticks, I mean, wands were already getting chipped.  I told him it was okay because I already had the matt spray varnish that was perfect but I insisted that he spray it outside.

All in all, he found things a lot easier because of all the shopping I had done for the craft I had meant to do.  The next craft project is going to be a new lamp shade for bear's bedroom light.  The current one was a piece of brilliance on the part of DH.  It must be at least five or six years ago and I was keeping bear occupied downstairs while DH sneakily changed the shade to a new Ben10 one on Christmas Eve.  Then when DH came down I grumbled about hearing noises on the roof/upstairs and when bear went up he could see that Santa had sneaked in earlier and changed the lampshade.  He was stunned and it was awesome.  Bear has decided he wants a new one which would be, in his words, more manly.  I have noticed the existence of lampshade kits and I have Doctor Who fabric so, on the strict understanding that there are only low voltage bulbs used, we can go with that.  I may even be able to dig out an old lampshade to re-cover.  I can't do that with the Ben10 as it is just a plastic sheet with no frame.

Today we went to Roundhay Park again.  Justjill - there's no farm there now, but there is still plenty to see which is free.  We just had a great walk and met a lot of friendly, happy, well trained dogs.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

I was Late for the Funeral

I can't believe I was late for the funeral.  A train broke down which meant the train I was supposed to get to make a connection wasn't running and the train after, which should still have made the connection, had to go on a diversion which meant that I couldn't make the connection I needed and they held the funeral back fifteen minutes for me.  They couldn't have done this for a cremation, but it was a burial, so I flew out of the train, into a very expensive taxi and sat on the edge of my seat for the next six miles.  When he slowed to 20 miles an hour (the local speed limit) I nearly cried.

The funeral itself went well, as did the gathering afterwards.  Then I picked the wrong train to get home as it stopped at every hedge corner.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed seeing the beautiful countryside, but I thought I would never make it home before midnight.  I trundled past Delamere Forest, pic below.  They shot, 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves' there and when I was young I got the entire family lost by mis-reading the trail signs.

I managed to get home in time to say goodnight to bear.  Now I am making typos and losing the thread of what I'm supposed to be saying, so I'll catch up tomorrow.

Monday, 31 July 2017

A not very long walk

DH is on leave this week so we are all just hanging around the house.  It's what he and bear like, and to be honest I don't mind it too much at the moment either.  Today we went to Roundhay Park.  We went for a walk down by the upper lake.  There is a nice walk that takes you off the upper lake, past the castle and the golf course and round in a loop for a 2.65km or around a mile and a half.  We didn't go all the way, but we had a nice wander. The details of the walk are here, it's the secret gorge walk.  I tried taking a few pictures, but the only one that really came out was this, and it isn't brilliant.  It shows how the lake was constructed and is now all grown over.  To me it looked like an entrance to Weyland's Smithy.

It's blocks of sandstone surrounded by very twisted tree roots.  Then we went to the cafe for some very over priced and underwhelming food.  I really recommend Roundhay Park for a visit, but take your own sandwiches.  We should have learned, but it has been going downhill.  After a limp bite to eat we went into the Tropical World, which was awesome.  I don't know if they had put something in the feed, but the frogs were hopping, the tenrec was having a drink, we had to pause for coloured partridges crossing the path and even the tortoises were on the move!  It's like a small zoo.  There were piranhas and meerkats, parrots and scarlet ibis and lots and lots of butterflies.  We may be going back soon.  

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Bin continues Yeurk

We get our black bin collected once a fortnight.  This includes everything that doesn't go into the recycling bin - including food waste.  If we miss a collection then the stuff at the bottom is a month old.  This isn't an issue in January, but it is when it is July and August!  Today DH emptied half a can of flyspray into the bin, more in hope than expectation.  My one consolation is that I have got into the habit of washing the black bin out.  I don't do a good job.  I dump a bucket of hot water and some disinfectant, bleach or washing up liquid into the wheelie bin, have a quick rub with an old mop and tip the contents into the gutter in the street in the vague hope that it will keep the weeds down.  Once upon a time the women of this street used to use donkey stone on their steps and do their washing on a Monday in a copper with a race to see who had their washing out first and was it clean.  I definitely and completely do not live up to that.

Also, DH bought bear a Harry Potter wand.  That's fine, he's into Harry Potter and I approve of anything that encourages imagination.  It unfortunately has sound effects.  Bear loves the sound effects.  It's been non stop tinkle all afternoon.  It has a strong resemblance to the sound the new and fancy motion detecting doorbell has, which has only added to the confusion.  The doorbell is not a complete success.  It sounds like a wish has been granted every time a van goes past in the street but is strangely silent on Amazon delivery men.  Royal mail are also able to sneak past undetected but the cat from two doors down sets it off every time.

I'm recovered from the church fair.  One poor teenage lad was dragged into the tupenny roll, which made a profit of £2.50 and kept the kids very happy.  I felt for him.  He met his girlfriend there, who seemed very nice and did not deserve to have the interested stares of dozens of elderly ladies focused on her.

Bless - you always say lovely things.  I don't think I am a quick knitter.  It was a very easy pattern on big needles.

I have 100 4" squares of fabric I bought from eBay under the influence of drink.  I have no idea what to do with them.  I'm quite happy, though, because they were extremely inexpensive and give me an excuse to spend time on YouTube.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Reality Check

The council didn't collect our bin and now we will have to wait another fortnight.  The flies around the bin are multiplying, as some of the stuff in there has been there for two weeks already.  I fought my way through them, sloshed some disinfectant into the bin and grumbled.

We are near a stream, we have local cats who mark their territory and I am not a tidy gardener.  This means that we get a lot of flies.  Just opening the kitchen door can mean a few zigzagging in.  I saw a YouTube video about making a door curtain with paper clips, some of them being wrapped with washi tape.  It looked awesome.  It seemed an ideal thing to hang over the kitchen door, and probably not that expensive.

Actually, it is incredibly inexpensive to make a paperclip curtain but it is even less expensive to buy a cheap one on eBay.  Also there is still nowhere to hang it.  There is nowhere on the inside that would take a hook and certainly nowhere on the outside.

But it was a nice idea.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Muddling On

This afternoon I went to help set up for the summer fair, including the role a tupenny, where you roll two pence pieces down shoots and if they land completely inside a square, you win a prize.  I was down to do that.  Unfortunately it was decided that actually I could try selling some of the baby/kids clothes that had been donated.  I have absolutely no idea how I am going to run two stalls.  I can't wait to find out how I'll do.  I'm hopeful that some visitor will step up for one or the other.  That's how I came to do the tupenny role because the minister was supposed to do that and got called away.  I've utterly refused to be involved in the kitchen except for washing up, but otherwise I am fairly easy going about what I do.  Most of the other people are as well.  There are a lot of people at that church who are good at being easy going, forgiving and kind.

Bear spent a happy hour road testing the roll the tupenny while I sorted out some of the baby clothes.  Apparently there have been more donations and my instinctive reaction was, 'dear heaven, they've bred!'  We really need the stall to shift some stuff or there will be landslides of small, frilled and pink garments on the unwary.  It's taken over half of the room where the stuff for stalls is stashed.  I need to get in early to sort more stuff out and worry about the roll.  I wonder if the man who came to deal with the boiler would help out as he spent plenty of time helping bear test the board.

I found out that a lot of people will find out about uncle's funeral.  I have a feeling that a lot more will come than I had anticipated.  I may have to adjust the numbers for things like the number of copies of the order of service.  I'm not sure if it will be 10 or fifty, which makes it interesting.

Also, I finished a shawl in a ball.  The free pattern is here.  I quite like the pattern, but I've really taken against the colour.  I'm fine with pink on other people, but it doesn't suit me.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

First Day of the Holidays

It is the first day of bear's summer holidays, one day down and forty one days left to go.  He's hung out on the computer, read a little, practiced the piano at my insistence and a pal came round which involved more computer time, football and snacks.

I expect the rest of the summer to be much the same.  I'm not taking him to uncle's funeral.  They were not close before and as the dementia hit bear came to see him as someone scary.  He's old enough to get past that, really, but with a long list of naff raff reasons it sort of adds up to bear staying at home with DH and having more snacks.

Dinner tonight was good.  I cooked chicken breasts and adapted a recipe so they were wrapped in foil along with some lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, sugar and a very little oil.  It was a success.  I then watched the Women's Football and England beat Portugal.  I hope to get various cameras sorted out tomorrow so I can post a pic of my finished shawl.  It actually turned out looking like a shawl!  I mean, it is an easy pattern, but I'm still feeling good about it.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Continuing Normal

I registered uncle's death today.  We're doing that 'tell us once' to make sure his identity isn't stolen.  When you register a death you are given a reference number and you can log in online or call and cancel things like passports and driving licences.

I also broke the iron.  It gave up with just the half of one front of DH's shirt left to go.  I am not actually surprised as it is quite old and I dropped it a lot.  Fortunately I had one stashed from a few years ago when there was an amazing deal.  I am not planning on getting a new reserve iron, or at least not until next Amazon Prime Day next year when I shall do research and see if there are deals worth having.  Otherwise I may hang on until Black Friday 2018, though not all the Black Friday deals are all they are made out to be so I shall need to look at what prices are before the sale, and before they could be artificially inflated to be in the sale.

I was hoping that I would be able to hang on until Black Friday 2017 for a new freezer.  I have been muttering about that freezer for some time.  However today I pulled out a bag of curly fries that I had used yesterday.  There was a thin layer of frost over it.  I don't think things have defrosted, I just think that air is getting in through the worn out seal.  I shall start researching and seeing what I can salvage.

We have lost a grave.  When my late mother was buried, we got a double plot and the idea was that eventually uncle would join her, so no headstone yet.  We hoped it would be longer between burials.  However the vicar explained that there had been a slight issue with burials and record keeping at the time and he couldn't be absolutely certain which grave needed to be opened.  He had an idea as there was a grave between two graves with headstones with the right dates on - one earlier and one later than mother's passing, but was concerned that uncle would be interred and then some family would turn up asking indignantly why a strange man was put on top of their Grandma.  It is the sort of thing that uncle would have found absolutely hilarious and I am sure he is chuckling at our bewilderment. I keep finding myself laughing as who would think you could lose a grave?  If all else fails then we will have another plot and it will be fine.  The vicar has been pretty amazing as he has sorted out the order of service with me over the phone, has been very kind and has only been in the parish a few months.  It can't be easy telling a potentially volatile lady who is in the middle of grief that they have managed to misplace the burial plot.

File:Graveyard of Christ Church, Rossett - - 1469774.jpg
This is the Church yard in question, photo taken by John S Turner and used under the Creative Commons Agreement

File:Churchyard of Christ Church, Rossett - - 1469672.jpg
This is the old part of the churchyard, where my great grandparents are buried, also taken by John S Turner and used under the Creative Commons Agreement.  They made a quiet space for people to think in the place where the graves were so old that most were untended

Monday, 24 July 2017


Bear is now into Harry Potter.  I was a little worried that the later books would be too dark for him, but he's been fine so I've left him to it.  He's just about devoured the books and I think has a crush on Hermione.  He definitely identifies with Ravenclaw.

There are two more days of school, one of which needs special kit.

I have to pick up the death certificate tomorrow, the funeral is next week.  I think the poem I wrote before father's funeral still applies.

I just found an ant in the living room.

I am doing a stall at the church fair on Saturday and I'm not sure how much I need to do beforehand.

I am knitting in a random way.  I have no idea what I'll end up with.  I'm just interested to see what the house looks like when the shock wears off.  All bets are off.

For uncle, I think one of the best descriptions of his character comes in Luke 10:33-35, which we hope to use for a reading.  He would come out with all sorts of completely, outrageously, non PC and inappropriate comments - but would give the coat off his back to anyone, regardless of colour or creed.  He was a man out for all he could give.

Thank you for the kind comments.  They are much appreciated and have given me much comfort.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Sad News

Uncle passed away this afternoon.  I had spent a few hours sitting next to him and knitting.  This isn't as random as it sounds as his mother, my late grandmother, used to be obsessed with knitting and knitted about a sweater a week.  I hoped that it would seem soothing to him.  I don't know if he ever noticed as he was out of it all yesterday and today.  He passed around twenty minutes after I left him.

He will be sadly missed.  He had a heart the size of Wales and was out for all he could give.  He was kind.  He utterly adored bear and was responsible for the four foot high panda that bear insists on keeping.  He utterly adored evil cat and it was mutual.  I don't miss the shell that lived at the care home that was all that was left after dementia got hold.  I do miss the old him that drove me to distraction.

Rest in Peace, uncle.

Thank you for all the kind comments.  They have meant a lot this afternoon.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate them.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Uncle is Very Poorly

My brother got a quick call from the nursing home this morning to say that uncle had a chest infection and the hospital was checking it out.  He texted me.  I waited until the rush of booking him into hospital and lunch was out of the way before ringing the hospital.  Apparently they had been trying to ring someone connected to uncle all morning.  The care home said that they only had my brother's number.  My brother was in meetings all morning.  I have watched the home write my number in the file on three separate occasions and they've called me in before when uncle was ill.  So when I got through to the ward I got a 'please come down at the earliest possible moment.'  I did.

I had the 'well, he may surprise us but we need to prepare for the worst' with three different doctors this afternoon.  He is not very well at all.  He may indeed surprise us.  I am preparing myself for the worst.  It is almost exactly two years since my father died.  The talks are almost exactly the same.  I am sort of hopeful for uncle, though, as he has always been so strong.

Thank goodness I could rely on some good friends as bear was dumped at out of school club then DH's cousin who is beyond amazing picked him up while we were getting the third lot of carefully worded warnings from the doctor.  DH was also beyond a star, sorting out all sorts of things that I couldn't while he was slammed busy at work.  I feel like I have been carried this afternoon.

The hospital have confirmed repeatedly that they can ring me at any time, even in the early hours of the morning.  I am taking it as a warning and getting an early night.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Candles Have Arrived

They've actually landed at DH's workplace, as someone is always in there and I try and pop out now and again.  He has taken a large shipment of candles in his stride.  It's not nearly as bad as the time 90 ties turned up, or 108 toilet rolls.  He puts up with a lot.  Mind you, we've never run out of toilet paper.  We've never really run out of anything.  I'm not sure that bear understands that running out of things is a possibility.

I do like my candles.  I like either Woodwick or Prices, for the candles that are in my price range.  Lynda posted a comment recommending Homesense, and I agree.  I have scored some incredibly inexpensive Woodwick candles from there and some others that were incredibly good, but not usually available in my price range.  Unfortunately Homesense doesn't deliver and I am back to having trouble getting out of the house again.  I find so many excuses why I shouldn't cross the threshold.  It isn't good for me.  I'm getting a little worried, because it is coming up to the six weeks summer holiday and I won't get many chances to go out anyway, as bear doesn't approve of anything that's beyond the end of the street.

It's been a month of bargains.  First there was the offer from Morrisons of 11,000 points if I spent more than £220 in a month (we needed the new duvets and they were on offer, so that's easily attainable).  Then Sainsburys chipped in.  I had reluctantly gone back to Sainsburys as a more or less one off but DH really likes their lemon and lime flavoured water.  Some of their drivers are awesome, like the one this weekend, but the one the previous weekend was a Creepy McCreepface.  I nearly sent bear to go and get next door's husband for support.  However, I got a coupon that got me £9 off if I spent £60.  It is very easy to spend £60, especially as bear decided that his reward for his report was a nerf gun costing £20 that Sainsburys carried.  I get the same coupon for the next two weeks and then £12 off a £60 shop, and if I use all four coupons I get 500 Nectar Points (which isn't too important to me, but I'll take it if it's offered).  Over that time there's a barbecue we're attending and taking some meat, so there's a lump of the bill, and I nearly bought some of those vacuum space savers to store blankets in the Amazon sale and they are less expensive and a top up to the order at Sainsburys, so I will pick up a couple which will also top up the spend.  They also included a coupon for £10 off a £50 shop which can't be used with other coupons so I may switch it over.

I had nearly forgotten the Amazon Prime Day.  I saved around £60 with that.  I could have saved a lot more and bought less as some of the items were definitely treats, such as the tray of lychee juice drinks (£7.69 instead of £12) which were an indulgence for bear and DH.  I also got a Lion Brand 'Shawl in a Ball' yarn, which was half price and I had been coveting for a while (the shawl is coming on nicely, actually).  I had never touched Lion Brand yarn.  I know it's a big brand in North America (and they have some great free patterns on their site) but it's very much a speciality here so I got quite giddy.

Overall, since the start of this month, I think I've saved well over £100 (nearly £130 just on the candles), and by the end of the month I will probably have not only saved around another £50 or so but garnered up a lot of points on various reward cards to put towards Christmas.  I'm trying to be careful to buy only the things we will actually use or that we really need and that are good value, but I have spent money getting that saving.  I think I shall try and ignore special offers in August.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Not Safe On Amazon

I like the Woodwick candles.  There's the crackling of the wick, of course, but the scents are really good.  I feel that Yankee Candles have got very limp over the last few years and Woodwick really do scent the room and it lingers in a good way.  I've got birthdays coming up and I was checking out teachers' gifts and I saw them.

I think it was a pricing error.  Woodwick Candles are not inexpensive.  Here is a link to one on eBay (my friend).  They cost £16.49 on that listing.  Other sellers are available.  The Amazon listing was for a herb scented one, burn time 60 hrs - for £2.25, or around a sixth of the normal selling price.  There are always deals, and I take advantage of those, but this is the first time I found such an awesome pricing error for something I really, really want.  I bought ten.  It's sorted out teacher's gifts for some time plus they can be used in the home.

I hope I like the scent.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Interested Bystander

Bear's tummy continues bad.  This is why I missed most of the gossip and wasn't able to offer reasonable sympathy to next door but one when she came back home to find herself burgled.

I was spending time with bear in the bathroom while two policemen checked through our CCTV for information useful for their enquiries.  Our CCTV is legal, so only covers our house, garden and footpath next to us but it's something.  There is footage showing someone checking our house out.  I found that particularly unnerving.  However I didn't get to see most of it as bear is feeling very sorry for himself and needs a cuddle.  I was quite glad, actually, as the place is a complete mess and I felt mortified.

There is currently a lull in bathroom occupation so I am airing my thoughts here.  Also updating a delivery order that is due tomorrow to take into account DH's preference for a recipe for Chicken Biryani with leftovers to be made into Coronation chicken.  It's not very authentic, but it will do.

I'm feeling off balance myself.  I had lots of plans that I can't keep up to as I'm listening out for bear, so I'm going to start a new knitting project to cheer myself up, though I am confident that poor Next Door But One is the one who actually needs cheering up.  It's quite bad.

Also, the little jack russell that lives there was in while the burglary took place and poor thing is barking at everything that moves, including his own shadow.  He must still be traumatised.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

More about Bear

Bear seems to have quite a starring role in this blog at the moment.  Today was the last of his Sports Days (they do a lot of sport at the school) and he did okay.  He didn't do well in the 'dribble the football race' and came last, but he came second in the hurdles.  I am particularly impressed by that because three hours later school sent him home as he was poorly.

I don't actually think that there's much wrong with him.  I think he is just tired.  Unfortunately bear's body has two 'go to' reactions to feeling under stress - his stomach gets seriously upset and he runs a temperature.  Both of these make teachers nervous, although they come under 'normal for bear'.   Poor lad, when he came home he couldn't face his favourite treats.

This afternoon wasn't without some learning, though.  Bear was doing his best (not very best because he really is not well) to convince me he needed nerf guns as a reward for the report, so I taught him how to send me a link.  I may regret that.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Not Harmless Fun?


According to the BBC, police issued a warning against causing criminal damage by making crop circles.  Apparently Wiltshire, the home of Stonehenge, suffers greatly from crop circles.  

Crop circles fascinate me, but not in the standard way.  Did you know that Doug Bower and Dave Chorley actually were filmed making a crop circle - and the film of them was decried as a hoax to hide the real activity of aliens.  There's a documentary out there about it and I watched in disbelief as a crop circle specialist vehemently protested the supernatural origin of a crop circle that Bower and Chorley had been filmed making.  It clearly displays the human ability to look at something happening in front of your face and completely deny that it's real.  

Apparently there was also money in organising conferences about crop circles, writing books about crop circles and giving talks about crop circles.  This has, apparently, died down since the hoaxes have become widely known, but it's very human for that to have been exploited. 

It also shows the very human hunger for stories about things that are strange or unexplained.  I sort of want the circles to be the result of fairies dancing, and I'm quite happy to believe that at the same time being aware of the way the circles can be formed by people, wind, random soil conditions, fungus and subsurface archaeology.  There is a story in the Wiki page about wallabies in Tasmania eating opium poppy heads and causing crop circles by jumping in circles while under the influence.

It must cost the farmers a lot of money in lost crops.  I suppose they could charge admission at the gate to see the circle but it's not the same.  It must be heartbreaking to see that much hard work and investment destroyed by some students with a few planks of wood and a bit of string.  

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

So Much For Tuesday

I found a file full of bank statements from 2004.  Legally they should only be kept for six years here, so I should have thrown them out seven years ago.  The shredder keeps overheating.  I still haven't found the passport.

Bear was wearing his new shirt today and he could move freely.  This is why he got cherry juice on it, I guess.  I'm sure it will come off in the wash, I use good washing powder.

I've written and uploaded my CV looking for working at home jobs.  It was hard to think of what I had done with the last ten years.  There have been times full of incident and excitement, but not really that much I can put on a resume.  I kept it brief and stressed that I was up to date with the current version of Microsoft.

Poor bear is exhausted at the moment.  I'm going to have to keep a close eye on him as he isn't even playing out at the moment.  He spent most of his time after school reading.  There are worse things.  He wants me to go to the school sports day, and I'm not sure I'll be able to manage.  My leg is really sore.  I'll just have to see how it goes.

Anonymous - I hear you!  I'll work on it this week!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Bigger Hangers

Bear is growing up, just as he should.  The small hangers that I got a few years ago that were perfect for bear's school shirts are no longer quite big enough.  The shoulders droop off  The wooden hangers that I use for DH are still too big.  Today I picked up the shirts and sweaters I had ordered online and while I was in the queue I noticed some hangers that were just a little bigger than the little hangers but not quite so big as the adult hangers.  They should be perfect for bear's new shirts.

This is, to be honest, a complete self indulgence.  I rarely have all bear's shirts hung up on hangers, but instead they're in the ironing pile to be done last thing at night.  The shirts are not going to be inspected by anyone except bear so any creases from drooping shoulders will not be noticed, and nor would it be noticed if the shirt had to be wrestled onto a too large hanger.

It does keep me a little happier, though, and I can try and fool myself that there is a little corner where housewifery things are as they should be, and the £3 I spent isn't the cost of a coffee and cake, so I consider it money well spent.

I've had a look at Amazon Prime Day.  There are some things I'm sort of interested in if the price is right.  What I think I shall do is save up my money and my 'wants' for the year.  Our dehumidifiers are getting on a little, so next July I shall consider if they will last another twelve months.  The same goes for the iron.  There were dehumidifiers and irons in the sale, and I shall see if the price suits me then.  Otherwise I will hang on until I actually need something.

Interestingly enough, there is a deal on DH's favourite brand of toilet paper.  I'm waiting to see what the price is, and whether it will be worth getting a year's supply.  I couldn't possibly store that much, but the thought of bear's expression at seeing boxes and boxes of toilet paper has made me smile.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Bear is enjoying stories

We still have the bedtime story and DH and I are hanging on to it for as long as we can - by our fingernails if we have to!  We've had all sorts of stories and tonight we read the penultimate chapter of Volcano Adventure by Willard Price.

It was written over sixty years ago, so a lot of the science is out of date, and there were a few moments when it showed its age, but it is awesome!  It is an adventure story with the main hero being a seventeen year old lad with his younger brother and they get into all sorts of trouble helping a vulcanologist study eruptions in Japan and the Pacific.  There's lots of outrageous exploits of amazing courage and insight and it is very much in the style of 'Boys Own' comics.  It's tone reminded me a little of the old Flash Gordon series, or the Lone Ranger, all 'Doing the Right Thing' and 'Keeping One's Cool'.  It's also packed with all sorts of facts about the science (mainly out of date now), and details about the areas they visit.  I read a few when I was bear's age, and while they have some outdated ideas the story is definitely the stuff that inspires imagination.

It's been the only sort of adventure today, as it's been hot and bear is overtired.  It's the end of the school year and I suspect he's coming out of a growth spurt.  His trousers definitely don't reach as far down as they did.  He still hasn't come up with a reward he wants for his report.  I'm sure he'll think of something eventually.  We are currently looking at games, at bear's request, but as he has started really devouring books, we may be looking at books as well.

Witch Hazel - you are a source of information and awesome ideas.  We have a basic scanner and I think I'll get started on that tomorrow.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Worse before it Gets Better

I keep thinking that it will all be worse before it gets better.  That it will get better - honestly!

We can't find DH's passport and he needs it to show to work for the latest round of regulations.  It's somewhere in some paperwork folder.  We do not have established paperwork folders.  The folder could be in any of four very cluttered rooms in boxes or on shelves.  I have decided that the paperwork is my next target.

Yesterday I started pulling out all of the folders on the study shelves after moving chairs to get to the bookcases.  Both my knee and back gave way and when bear came in the study looked like someone had picked up a badly organised office and just shook it onto the floor.  It was covered with papers, files and bits of general rubbish, plus a quantity of yarn and half finished projects.

We also had to pull out the tv and cabinet when the CCTV was fitted on Wednesday and took the opportunity to pull out a stack of stuff (mainly Christmas decorations) from behind there.  So this morning I frantically shoved several tonnes of paperwork plus yarn into the living room so that the study looked almost respectable for the piano and maths tutors.  This stuff mixed nicely with the random boxes of Christmas decorations in the living room that need to be stowed just as soon as I can move the sofa to get at the cupboard in the corner to stash the Christmas stuff.  It may be a day or two as the knee is still sore, or I may just go for it and hang the consequences.  It may be disrespectful, but I told DH that it looked like the beach at Dunkirk, covered in flotsam, jetsam and miscellaneous.

Tomorrow I am going to settle down and get on with some knitting projects while bear is around.  Monday I am going to find every scrap of paperwork in the house and get it shredded or filed.  I have several year's worth of bank statements included in the mix so there are going to be lots of shredding.

Bear is not sure what he would like as a treat for a good report.  I think he is angling for the best possible deal, and I don't blame him.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Bear Gets His Report

Bear has his report card for the end of year.  He is awesome.  He got 12 As out of 30 marks and 14 Bs with 4 Cs.  C is working at an age appropriate level, so he's doing very well.  Two of the Cs were for Art, one for PE and one was the effort mark for Writing.  I did feel for bear.  He got an A for attainment and a C for effort.  I can't see why he would want to put more work in if he's getting an A.  In fact, all his marks for attainment were higher or equal to his effort apart from PE.  He's going to get a shock in high school, but at the moment he's doing just fine. So while I am being discretion itself on facebook where the other mums hang out, I'm boasting here.  Bear is doing well.

The best bit of the report was the comments.  According to the teacher, bear is kind and considerate.  All the marks can be pushed and chivvied up, but kind and considerate are something that comes from bear himself.  That's the most important thing and the part of the whole report I'm most proud of!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Probably Ouch

I've done something interesting to my knee, or perhaps undone something to my knee.

Sometime before Christmas I woke in the night with the impression that I had managed to bend my knee the wrong way.  The following few weeks I found it impossible to get up, sit down, do stairs etc etc but I got on with it because I didn't have much option and I was getting the skin graft at the time.  Eventually, a month or two ago, I went to the doctor.  I said that the knee caps felt different shapes, I mentioned how many bits of me I had dislocated and sprained and asked the very nice doctor (who is awesome with bear) if there was anything I could do.  She said I had arthritis.

Last night I was sound asleep (drink had been taken), turned over and my knee made an almighty CLUNK and now I don't have arthritis.  My knee is very sore so the long walk in the woodlands I had sort of planned for tomorrow is probably out, but it isn't feeling like it is always ready to give way on me and it feels like the ache will go away.

We had CCTV installed today.  I need to move the pot plants back into place, but I'll wait until my knee calms down first.  It feels quite impressive, but it's only a little system for a very small garden.  I've warned the neighbours and fingers crossed it will never, ever be needed.

Edited to add - Witch Hazel - You know some awesome stuff, thank you!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Supermarket Deals

The question is - is it really a deal?  Because not all supermarket deals are actually money saving.

Yesterday I got an advertising email from Morrisons.  If I clicked this button I would get 11,000 points if I spent more than £220 in July.  It didn't ask me to enter any passwords, so I clicked the button.  It is very easy to spend more than £220 on groceries in a five week month, especially as I am not always as frugal as I should be and bear does get a lot of treats bought for him.  

11,000 points are quite a lot as 5000 points gets you a £5 voucher and I plan to save mine for Christmas.  If I'm going to spend the grocery money anyway then I may as well.  Besides, we all need new duvets.  Mine are affected by my extremely bad eczema so there are stains and they are due to be replaced.  Bear's duvet is barely thicker than a sheet and DH's are not much better.  Coincidentally, there is an offer on duvets at the moment.  It isn't much of an offer, but it saves a few pennies.  I had planned to wait until August or September, but I may as well pick them up now.  I feel a small glow of victory.  I may have got a better deal on the duvets, but looking around, it wouldn't have been that much better and at least this way I can still shop around in a few other stores as well this month.  I'm going to keep an eye on things to make sure the points are added but if they aren't, I'm not buying things I wouldn't anyway.

I shall definitely be keeping an eye on the price of Lynx.  The bathroom smelled like some sort of dreadful chemical accident this morning.  Bear seemed to think that he wasn't getting the full effect.  I told him to trust me that he really was.

Helen - I remember Brut.  You must have needed oxygen after some classes.  I have the greatest respect for you - teaching thirty hormonal teenagers while surrounded by severe fumes.  Do you remember Hi Karate?  I used to have a boyfriend back in the day who used Hi Karate and I loved it on him.  Looking back, I must have been mad.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Another Milestone for Bear

Bear asked for Lynx.  For those not from the UK it's the bodyspray/deodorant of choice for teenage boys with no sense of restraint.  I got him some, very begrudgingly, and he's going to have to come with me to the supermarket and try some cheaper knock offs because that stuff is expensive!  I mean, it was £2 on offer!

I nipped to the toilet while DH sprayed a little on the back of his hand to see if bear liked it.  When I came back in the room I started coughing.  Walking into a class of fourteen year olds filled with Lynx fumes must be like being maced.  One small spray and my eyes were watering.  Bear is quite ambivalent.  There is no way he needs bodyspray/deodorant yet, but a few of the lads in his class use it (who equally don't need it) and I'm okay with giving in on this, on the understanding that there is no way on this planet he is getting a smart phone yet, I don't care what the other kids have.

I should add, I have a healthy scepticism about what the other kids in his class actually have but the weird demographic around here means that, yes, some 10 year olds have smartphones.  There seems to be a huge push for kids to grow up younger and younger.  I worry so much.

Yesterday, while I was at the bus stop, a man walking past offered the woman next to me a bag of cocaine in exchange for her bottle of lemonade.  She refused politely.  I felt very old and also naive.  The closest I'd come to cocaine before this was watching Scarface.  I hope bear never gets closer than this either.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Amazon Prime Day

Apparently Amazon Prime Day is 11th July this year.  It's a sort of Black Friday for Amazon, a day when they roll out the deals for those who have Amazon Prime.

Apparently other supermarkets also had a Day of Discounts last year, notably John Lewis and Tesco.  There are a few different places on the internet that confirm this, but this is as good a snippet as any.

If you don't have Prime membership then it's worth doing the sums.  At the moment it costs £79 per year.  I save that in postage alone, probably in the first three months, as there is free postage on a lot of things, and free next day delivery.  There are the films and series, of course, which we dip into and there are lots of other nooks and crannies like Amazon Prime Pantry (often better deals in the supermarket, but not always) and music.  However, it's only a good deal if you would definitely save more than £79 and would get the benefit of music, films etc

I missed this last year.  However, now I know that it's a yearly thing then I will keep an eye out for it and make lists for the rest of the year.

To be honest, we don't need that much.  We are considering fire sticks as apparently they were half price last year.  We have one in the dining room but it would be nice if we could also have one in the study and I'm sure DH would benefit from one in his room.  If they are not on offer, then we will wait.

I can't think of much else we might go for.  We don't need any electricals apart from possibly the firesticks.  I don't know what sort of things may be included.  I may stock up on some groceries if they go on offer, but I'm not buying for the sake of buying.  After all, it's only a bargain if you save money on something you were going to buy anyway.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

I Didn't Bleach

My toilet has been neglected.  It isn't at the biohazard stage, but there is a lot of limescale.  With the water round here and my intermittent use of the brush, it builds up really quickly.  Bleach hasn't had much effect in the past as while I am confident it kills germs, it just bounces off the limescale.  Today I poured down a load of white vinegar - perhaps as much as half a pint, left it for a little while and the limescale almost wiped off - no scrubbing!  I may never use bleach again, just a spray of disinfectant and then vinegar.  Or I could use the orange vinegar that Bless uses in a spray bottle - so much cheaper.

As an aside, apparently you can make your own bleach with salt water and a car battery.  Personally I think that is an invitation to disaster in my accident prone kitchen, and inexpensive bleach is extremely inexpensive.  I'm sticking with the vinegar for now.  

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

I am a Cruel Mother

Bear has twenty six days actually in school until the end of summer term.  He is complaining that his shirts are restricting his movements.  The shirts are long enough (just) and fasten easily (bear is still slim despite his sugar habit), but when he reaches up the shirts aren't quite wide enough at the shoulder.  He's growing out of them.

I've managed to get almost all of the six shirts I bought at the start of the year through to the end and they are still white and looking smart despite bear's best efforts.  I didn't want to break out next year's shirts yet.  It's not like bear can't fit into them, and that they are not ridiculously small, just tight across the top of the arm.  I think bear has inherited his father's broad shoulders.  Fortunately bear prefers short sleeved shirts so I haven't watched his cuffs rising up towards his elbow yet, though I'm sure I'll see that in high school.  As an aside, we are looking at three schools, two of them grammar and one the local academy and they all have ridiculously strict and expensive uniforms.  I am not looking forward to that.  As it is, bear's primary school is fairly good with their uniform policy with plenty of room for different styles and all available inexpensively.

I am so tempted to tell him to suck it up for the last four weeks, it's not as if they don't cover his modesty.  However this is the time of year that I buy school uniform (M&S sale finishes on Friday) so despite my cruel inclinations I'll let him start on next year's uniform early.

And as I type this, bear comes home with green marker all over his shirt so that's one shirt that won't make it til the end of term.

Witch Hazel  that school looks awesome.  I'll definitely save up and book myself some lessons!  Thank you so much for sharing.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Peruvian Lace

I should be getting on with all the other projects but I couldn't resist trying what looked incredibly complicated Peruvian Lace.  I don't think it's that complicated because I can do it and because most of the rows are just knit.

I'm still having issues with pics.  However, I think these came out okay.  Here is a close up...

And here is a pic with a compact disc to show size...

Here is a link to what it should look like.  There are rows of knitted broomstick lace and dropped stitch.  I shall be investigating the blog more closely.  The most recent post is portcullis stitch and it looks like fun, but I think I will definitely need to concentrate on that one!

I have just found another big bag of clothes that need washing for the church sale.  The bag had slipped behind the table, but I found them this evening.  They are in the washer now, but I could cry.  I promised to do another stall tomorrow and then next Monday and Friday.  It's awesome because the roof isn't as secure as they would like.  We've made a few pennies already.

 Bear's class are doing a project on African geography.  They are split into groups and bear and his group are covering Ghana.  I know nothing about Ghana but uncle has been there.  He was an engineer on oil tankers and sailed all over the world.  I know he caught malaria while sailing off the West Coast of Africa.  I went to visit on Saturday with bear and all uncle could remember were that there were lots of monkeys.  I know it was probably around forty years ago but uncle could always remember things so well and dementia has taken that.  He couldn't tell bear about anything.  He just wanted to sleep.

Friday, 23 June 2017

A Post About Bear

Galant asked about bear in the comments, so I thought I would do a brief recap.

Bear was originally known as little bear, but I shortened it to bear when he was big enough to attend school.  He's freakishly good at maths, fairly energetic, plays football, loathes going any further than the end of the street (which is the distance to his current school), has a maths tutor as a treat, a piano tutor as a penance (although he is now doing a very good version of 'Hall of the Mountain King') and has his own Views.  Arguments over homework have become the stuff of legend which I believe is normal.  He is very much his own person and at ten years old is starting to look like a young lad rather than a child.  

He has just started going to school and back on his own.  As I said, it is a very short distance with no roads, but it seems such a big step.  This week he started chatting online to pals while playing computer games.  I am very nervous about this.  They are all kids he knows in real life from school and DH and I have looked at the very dull chat logs and I'm in the same room and school is reinforcing the 'safe online' message but it's scary.  Not allowing could leave him left out at school.  I know kids younger than him that have access to Facebook, Imgur and allsorts.  But he's only ten!

Today was the second in three sports days this half term.  Bear went in wearing more or less his team colours and was looking forward to it.  When he got home I asked about it and said that the day had been called off half way through and the school went into lockdown due to an escaped prisoner in the area who may or may not have been armed and the police hunting him.  Bear said that they were all rushed inside with the lights out, the blinds down and all the kids hiding under the desk.  He said that afterwards they watched 'Shrek'.  He is now getting cuddles in quantity, whether he likes it or not.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Bear Happens

Bear treated himself to chewing gum at the shop.  I was less than impressed.  Chewing gum has traditionally not gone well.  However bear is now ten and as long as he stuck to the rule of always wrapping the chewing gum in a paper tissue before throwing it out, I let him be.  This is after several unpleasant incidents where bear threw chewing gum at a bin, thought it had gone in but actually it had missed with unpleasant consequences.

Today bear was chewing gum, blew a bubble and it popped over his chin, where it stuck.  Bear looked like he had a very prematurely grey fuzz goatee.  He saw my expression and went to the bathroom to wash it off.  Soap and water isn't very good at getting chewing gum off the chin of a ten year old, so bear gave up and wiped his face on my new towel, the one that is supposed to get fluffier with each wash and is coming along nicely.  The one that now has an intractable strand of chewing gum stretched across it.

I'm checking on the internet for the 'how to get chewing gum out of towels' hints.  The trouble with those hints is a lot of them are hype, some are wishful thinking and most of them have been repeated for years whether they work or not.  I know about freezing the chewing gum, but there isn't room in the freezer for a bath towel.  Peanut butter has been mentioned as a good way of dealing with chewing gum, but I think that will be a trial to get out of a towel.  I think the cooking oil method would be worse!

I looked at my friend eBay for commercial products to remove chewing gum.  Most of them cost more than the towel.  I'm considering cutting it down for facecloths.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Finding Things

I found this...

I found a nail.  It looks like a really old nail, the sort that were hand beaten by a blacksmith, and it's certainly a lot longer than the average nail that you find in a hardward department.  Even the head looks sort of square and beaten over.  I can't imagine that it is actually a hand made nail.  I found it in our street.  I think our house is over 100 years old (just) but they were using machine made nails then.  Our area isn't that old.  It is strictly post Industrial Revolution here.  But it looks old, and that's the main thing.

I want to have 'conversation piece' and I've been thinking about it for a while.  I can use one of the old Woodwick candle jars and put in some old keys I have finally removed from my key ring and a tiger's eye stone in the shape of a heart.  Now I have the nail, which looks odd and all I need to do is add a lock of some description.  The keys, by the way, are a broken key to a lock that no longer exists, a key to a door that no longer exists and a key to a house that no longer exists.  I'll post a pic as soon as I get it sorted.  

Monday, 19 June 2017

Weather Continues

Bear was too hot to play football today!  He has football practice tomorrow night and I hope it's a little cooler.  Poor lad isn't doing well in the heat.  I'm keeping everything crossed that he isn't sick with it.

I did a stall at the church coffee morning this morning and it went okay.  It started the day off nice and warm as I dragged boxes and bags up and down the street from our house to the church.  I was scarlet in the face by the time I had set up.  Still, we got a few pennies and that's something.

I hope it's cooler tomorrow.


I am not dealing well with the heat.  I have ironed all but half a dozen items for the sale tomorrow, which is two big boxes and two big bags, so I'm happy with that.  I took an executive decision that I would just try and sell the bits crumpled.  I've made up my float for the stall and packed some carrier bags, so all I need to do is a quick sort into piles and I'm good to go.

I have taken strong drink.  This has led to a wonderful improvement in temper, sleep, concentration and I'm cautiously optimistic I will be writing properly soon.  On the other hand it does explain why I've got three metres of red tulle sitting next to me and some Peruvian Lace on the needles.  The tulle is for some rosebut scrubbies.  (Red Heart Yarn have some awesome patterns!)  If I ever get around to them, I'll share.  Until then I shall research whether I can get a breathalyser for my laptop when I'm browsing eBay.  The Peruvian Lace is doing okay.

DH said he had had a wonderful Father's Day.  He got a gift that he liked a lot, I got good things in for him to eat and we generally made a fuss of him.  He had cinnamon swirls for breakfast (I bought 'ready to bake'), a nice salad for lunch and steak for dinner.  He deserves it.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Fire bad, tree pretty

I have been on the phone to BT for 78 minutes, almost all of it talking to really nice, helpful people about stuff they can't help me with.  My brain is now custard.  I have installed, uninstalled and re-installed more programmes than I care to think, all one handed, as I hung onto the phone saying things like, 'well, there's a circle going round so it's thinking about it' and the classic, 'so, while we're waiting - what's the weather like there?'  (I spoke to Birmingham and Swansea so got a weather report from each).

I will take strong drink and be back tomorrow when my brain has rebooted.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Could be worse

Image taken from Leeds City Council Facebook Page to promote Clean Air Day

I live in a City that does this.  I approve.

I've lived in other towns and cities, and on the whole Leeds City Council do their best.  I reserve the right to grumble, but I can't take against a council who does this.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Another Day, Another Try

I am feeling less than twinkly.  I saw an ant in the kitchen, which means that I need to get that cleaned out.  I have not tackled the ironing.  I've managed to get some washing done, which is a win, but I'm still behind.  Also, I had a knitting fail.  

Do you remember that I sort of accidentally bought a load of voile panels a few years back?  And I also found a pattern for knitting scrubbies with tulle?  And I have been browsing some of the awesome free patterns from Red Heart, including one for a back scrubby?  I thought, I can just cut strips from the voile panel and knit it up like the pattern says.  I swear, those three words - I can just - get me into more trouble than a cat.  So I cut a few strips, knotted them together, started knitting - and it was a fail.  The texture was fine, I'm sure it would have made a lovely scrubby if the fabric wasn't fraying like it had been promised a bonus.  I still haven't got rid of all the tiny threads and I only knitted a couple of rows.  Some of the scrubby yarn from Red Heart is on Amazon, but at the best you are looking at nearly £20 for the yarn to make the back scrubby.  If I get some yarn that looks like a copy (woolcraft scrubby yarn on eBay) then I am still looking at around £12.  I can buy a ready made one for £1.99.

I think today is a 'catching up on knitting already started' day.  

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Keeping On

I've finally finished washing all the kids' clothes that needed it.  I do have a large quantity of ironing left.  There are a lot of adorable little girl's dresses, meant for little ones under one.  They are all frills and lacy bits and an utter armpit to iron.  I'm so glad I have a son.

It takes me back.  We more or less got the cot, car seat and pushchair in time.  We didn't need to worry about much else.  DH's work colleague had a little boy about a year and a half earlier and wanted to sell us the kit they no longer needed.  They were being made redundant and so could use the £100 they asked.  I said, great, I won't need to worry too much.  From what DH understood we would have a bath and a few bits of clothes.

We had three bin bags full of clothes plus a bath and a really pretty moses basket.  Do you know how many baby clothes you can fit into a bin bag?  They just kept coming and coming.  My late mother in law very kindly washed and sorted them all for us and we didn't need to worry about clothes for the first six months.  It was all immaculate, really lovely and something of a life saver as I didn't know where to start.  Bear never got to wear it all, he grew out of it too quick.

Bear is a strapping ten year old now, but I still keep an eye on eBay for stuff for him.  If I could give any expectant mother a recommendation I would say that you need a new mattress and a new car seat but shop around for everything else.  You need less than you think.

I'm supposed to be selling (at a very reasonable rate, starting at 20p) the items, but it would save a new mum a fortune to get some of the stuff second hand.  However I heard about the Baby Bank today.  It's like a food bank but supporting those who have, or who are going to have, little ones and who cannot afford even the basics.  I think some stuff will end up there.  It's very much in the spirit of the donations.

I know women who have been that desperate with tiny babies.  I know how lucky I have been with bear.  It sort of puts the ironing into a perspective.  I still reserve the right to grumble, even if I don't really mind.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Extra Laundry

I'm not sure how, but I've ended up doing bits for the local Methodist Church.  They are a lovely lot, really nice people and made father welcome when he joined.  I don't attend the services but I do various bits and I ended up taking in a donation of children's clothes from some really lovely people.  It was a very large donation, we are talking several bin sacks.  

I did all the thanking and sorted the stuff (some of it was gorgeous) and thought about the pile of stuff apparently in the loft in the Church.  So I volunteered to do a small kids' clothing stall during times when kids' groups were in.  We dug the boxes out and had a look through.  Some of it had been up there for over ten years.

Anyone who has sorted clothing donations in any quantity will know what I've found.  Some of the clothing is immaculate.  Some of it is incredibly expensive.  Some is whiffy from weird storage.  Some is fit for rags.  Some isn't even fit for rags.  So far I haven't found bloodstains, but we all know that it happens.  

My back is bad.  I can keep going for around fifteen minutes and then my back muscles go into a spasm.  I am trying to keep moving so that I don't stiffen up and fortunately I have three large boxes and three large bin bags full of very small clothes which either need washing, ironing or both.  With small items you can get an amazing amount done in fifteen minutes.  

So I am having a minor grumble but in truth I'm happy to be doing something for the lovely people at the church who have roof issues.  I wish it was with something else than laundry!

Sunday, 11 June 2017


I posted this on one of my other blogs in error.  

Having trouble finding the bright side, but will be back when I can.  So far...

We have had seriously bright pink rubble dumped in the middle of our street.

(btw did you know that Shocking Pink as a colour was named after the packaging of a perfume)

Bear has had that lesson and has dodged all questions with the expertise of a seasoned politician.

I voted.

You can get glow in the dark toilet paper.  It makes me wonder if it leaves your bits glow in the dark as well or if it's colour fast.

hugs to everyone

Edited to add today...

However I want to mention that Elaine from Craft E Place (which looks like an awesome blog) mentioned that carry Red Heart yarn and I think this yarn will work for the sweater I posted about yesterday.  I also looked out for the scrubby yarns which I found on Amazon, designed to make washcloths and dish cloths.  I am intrigued.  I mean, who doesn't want a pan scrubby made out of black sparkly yarn?  Here's a link to the USA site, and they have some amazing free patterns.  Some of the patterns for the different types of scrubby are awesome.  Red Heart yarns look seriously amazing.

I am getting my mojo back by writing some incredibly bad fantasy fiction.  It will never see the light of day but it's getting my spirits moving and hopefully the good stuff will follow.  Lots of hugs to all.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Why I shouldn't go on YouTube

I found a pattern for a sweater, and it's the sort of sweater I love.  It's baggy and roomy and saggy and entirely my style (such as it is).  It has room for the lumps and bumps and I suppose you could dress it up and down if you wanted.

I found it on YouTube here but there is also a free pattern on Red Heart here also I wish Red Heart was easier to find in the UK because it looks like they have awesome yarns

It's knitted in the equivalent of Aran.  I have some lighter weight double knitting space dyed yarn that I have been wanting to use but space dyed always looks a little odd when you divide for the neck.  This pattern doesn't divide for the neck.  You can see where this is going.  I'm getting a bad case of 'I can just...'  as it, I can just knit a swatch with double knitting yarn on 4mm needles, work out roughly how many stitches I get to 10cm, look at the size guide on the pattern and bless them they have the measurements of each piece shown, do some sums, get bear to check them and it should be easy - right?  There isn't even any shaping, so how hard can it be - right?  I can just knit a sweater pattern drawn up for aran weight yarn in double knit weight yarn, probably, possibly, if bear checks the sums...

Today bear's maths tutor was explaining things like calculating area and volume.  They both seemed to have a blast, especially converting from Imperial to metric and back.  I just left them with juice for bear, coffee for the awesome tutor and biscuits.  

Friday, 2 June 2017

In Haste

Just a quick post, but who else can I grumble to?

Why does bear do this?  He swore undying adoration for a particular snack.  I bought five as they were on sale.  I had been rationing the snack, just to be on the safe side, but thought I was safe having a few in hand.  Then the morning of the delivery, not the night before when I could have changed the order but ten minutes before the shop arrived, bear broke the bad news that he couldn't possibly manage a mouthful of it ever again.

Yes, I am tempted to tell bear that it's all that's in next time he grumbles about wanting snacks, but I'm fighting a different battle at the moment and I don't have the energy to fight on two fronts.

And what is even more annoying, I know that at some point bear will complain that I don't buy that snack anymore.  But by that time the snacks will be out of date and I am out of patience.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Too Hot

Thank you for all the amazing ideas for meal planning.  For anyone interested, the comments are on this post and are really inspiring and helpful.  Thank you.  I will go back and answer all the comments (I love seeing comments, it is so interesting to get other insights, people are incredibly kind and from so many places!) when I am able.

At the moment, my brain is not working.  There's stuff going on that's not really blog stuff, and also I am suffering from silly lack of sleep.  I am strictly surface thoughts only.

btw did you know that Sainsbury's think that a serving of white vinegar is around a tablespoon full (@ 15 and a third millilitres).  My mouth sucked right in at the thought of it!  I suppose a tablespoon of vinegar in the spoon sounds more than the same amount sprinkled on chips or fries but it still seems a lot to me.  Also did you know that the Goodman of Paris, who is the apparently the author of a late fourteenth century cookbook, said that the best way to see if the vinegar was any good was to drop some of it on some stone and see if the stone bubbled.  I supposed it's a good test if it's very strong vinegar and something like limestone.  I don't think it would work on slate.  The recipes are quite odd but interesting.  The advice on how to live isn't totally female friendly.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Meal Planning

I fail on a stellar scale when it comes to meal planning.  I've been getting better, but it's still a case of 'random is as random does'.  I really need to break this, though.  It could make such a difference if I could just get the hang of it.

As usual, when I'm desperate I turn to eBay.  I bought an inexpensive book on meal planning called 'The Family Meal Planner' by GoodFood.  It promised, and I quote, 'Thrifty recipes and 7-day meal plans to help you save money and time'.  Hah!

I suppose what I was hoping for was a sort of explanation of how to get a dratted meal plan to work when the cook self sabotages.  Instead I got some ready made meal plans, which looked pleasant and varied enough.  Some of the recipes are no doubt thrifty.  The sweet potato and pineapple korma which is sweet potato, tinned pineapple chunks and tinned coconut milk in roughly equal measures with added korma paste is probably inexpensive.  I'm not going to test it.  Some are not thrifty at all.  The Highland beef with pickled walnuts and pastry puffs is not what I consider thrifty.  It may use stewing beef, but it calls for ready made pastry (I can't make pastry anyway), a can of stout (like Guinness) and half a jar of pickled walnuts.  A jar of pickled walnuts costs £2.50 at time of typing and the least expensive can of stout is 88p.  That's before you've put in the meat!  It isn't fillet steak, but it's not exactly bargain basement.

There are lots of tips about balancing the cost over a lot of meals, with lamb on one day but lentils the next, and lots of ideas for using leftovers and freezing.  I am ashamed to admit I was hoping that the book would do my thinking for me.  I suppose it serves me right.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Yorkshire Tea

Bear came third in his class in the Triathalon type thingy he did yesterday, and I am so proud of him.  He enjoyed it a massive amount, wanted to do it again and dumped a very large bag of swag.  He came home with a tshirt, a water bottle, snacks (or, rather, the wrappers of snacks including squeezy yogurt), a bottle of ready made Yorkshire Tea iced tea and a box of ten Yorkshire Tea teabags which had a coupon for 30p off included, all in a very nice gym bag.  I suspect Yorkshire Tea may have been one of the sponsors.

Bear asked for a cup of tea.  I don't drink much tea these days, DH doesn't touch the stuff, and I've steered bear away from normal tea for a while.  Father drank tea faster than he drank whiskey, a legacy of being a regular in the Army, but I never felt comfortable with bear getting tea.  When I was little it wasn't unusual to see little babies with bottles full of tea, not always milky tea either, and generations grew up on it.  I still kept bear on juice or water.  However bear is 10 now.  He makes his own toast, he makes his own cereal (well, he makes toast and cereal when he can be bothered and can't delegate to me), he walks to school and back on his own and even runs his own bath.  I made him a cuppa, using the tea from his swag and carefully putting his teabags separately so he could be proud he was drinking his own tea.  Bear was slightly unimpressed, but agreed he would have it again, especially if I put sweetener in next time.

As I said, I've kept bear away from caffeine.  On the whole it's water, flavoured water, juice or milkshake with an occasional peppermint tea.  I shouldn't have been surprised when bear still couldn't sleep at midnight.  Sigh.

Not only was I kept up late but I woke at daft o'clock realising that DH's normal shirt (soft cotton, nice and warm) wasn't going to be appropriate on the hottest day of the year so far (26C or around 79F - those from outside the UK please don't snigger, it's shocking to our system!) so I leapt up and ironed a linen shirt for him.  I can now barely hold my eyes open.

However the smell in the garden isn't there so I've been washing blankets.  There were ten blankets/throws/snuggle blankets on the sofa alone.  I think I've got a little carried away.  I may get rid of some and pack some others away, but I do enjoy throws, many of which are now on the washing line.  There's eleventy ten more to do as well, but I'll have to see how the weather forecast looks.  It will be great to get ahead there before I start Day One of the cleaning plan.  

Thursday, 25 May 2017

This May be Too Much Information

I still have a dressing on my leg.  It's been over a week.  I've had washes, but no shower.  I am desperate for a shower.  I've been torn because I was raised that Dressings Must Be Kept Dry and, well, it's been a week, it's one stitch and how bad could it be?

So today I swathed my dressing with cling film, put a tubular bandage over to keep it in place and got under the shower.  It was bliss - until the postie rang the bell.  I could have cried!  I'd barely got wet.  In the end I channelled my inner awkward, leant (discreetly) out of the window and told him to leave it on the step.  Then I finished my shower in peace.  The dressing is fine and I feel a lot more presentable.  My awesome new neighbours took in the package.

So it's life as usual here.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Back to Everyday Life

Why aren't towels colourfast?  Seriously?  Things that get wet regularly outside the washing machine should not leak colour.

Bear is doing a Triathalon type thing (suitable for 10 year olds) and he needs towel, swimshorts etc and I looked for a new towel as ours are getting threadbare.  Tesco were doing a very reasonably priced, not too large towel that's supposed to get fluffier every time it's washed.  But I didn't get all of the whites that were in the previous wash out and one of bear's vests lurked in the corner.

It was a pristine white, even after six months of hard use.  It is now a delicate shade of acidic turquoise.  I'll try and get the colour here  

I suppose it could be worse.  It will do as a vest top for over the summer which means we get a little more wear before bear grows out of it.  

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


I read the news today about the bombing of the Manchester Arena and my heart broke for the parents and families.  I read about the casualties and wondered how those police and ambulance people would cope with dealing with that awful tragedy.  I thought how sad that a concert that should have been a safe place for young teens was targeted and how so many would be changed by this experience.  I also read of the ordinary people of Manchester doing what good people do everywhere - offering rooms to stay for the stranded, offering a meal, a safe place, somewhere to charge their phones, lifts, blood donations, opening nearby cafes and hotels to take in the shocked survivors, what good people do in hard times.

Dreadful things happen, whether it's a natural disaster like the earthquake in Turkey which had Israeli search and rescue teams helping out or whether it's man made like the dreadful events in Manchester which has led to the rush of support from local people in the moment and prayers and support from around the world.  Always, in the bad, if you look you can see all the good people who step up and pitch in and do the right thing regardless.  I utterly condemn those that would do such dreadful things.  I give thanks for the vastly greater number of good people who keep the world turning.

File:Red rose with black background.jpg

Sunday, 21 May 2017


All has been lovely and quiet here.  I've pottered very gently (leg is getting a lot better) and on the whole it could be worse.

I've taken some time to browse, which was fun.  There's a tab at the top which will take  you to random subreddits, different topics from a very diverse range of subjects.  I've dipped into a few and subscribed to a decluttering sub and a funny cat sub amongst others.  However if you do try to run through a selection of random boards, I strongly suggest that you wait until you are not at work and do not do so where children or those of a delicate nature can see the screen.

Some of them I didn't understand at all.  There's one that's dedicated to the different types of socks or stockings in anime.  I'm not linking to it.  It's quite disturbing and you'll have to take it on trust.  I'll link to cute pictures instead.

I've also started browsing eBay for clothes for bear for next winter.  I'm hoping that bear doesn't shoot up too much, and that if I stick to the likely age range then I'll do okay.  I'm trying to catch the sellers who are clearing out winter wardrobes, but I may have left it too late.  It's always good to buy things off season if they are a little less expensive, and second hand children's clothes are a reasonable target.  Salt and grit is also less expensive in the summer - if you can find it.

This is not fresh advice.  I read about buying out of season in a book on Medieval Social History.  Housewives in the fourteenth century were advised to order the salt fish so necessary for Lent in early Spring and to order it early, some recommending that it was bought in well before November.  The fish must have been very well salted!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Sainsbury Delivered

I like the Sainsbury's products, and while they average a little more you can still get some awesome deals.  However the drivers from the local depot aren't user friendly.  I've posted before about uncomfortable encounters with the drivers and I ditched them after one experience too many.

Then it came to this week.  I need compost.  I want to re-pot the herbs from Aldi into bigger pots before I start seriously harvesting them.  They have not only survived but I think they are going to take off as soon as we get some sun.  I have the pots.  I just need some compost.  I think I am going to have some serious problems in the central bed when I start digging there as well.  Everything was dying off before I started with the weedkiller and I suspect an ants' nest.  This will require some compost once everything is treated.

Tesco don't have any compost on their deliveries and neither does Morrisons.  Darn, my two go-to stores couldn't help.  I wondered about risking Asda who are okayish but not always good if there's a problem.  They don't have compost.  Sainsbury's do carry the compost.  I had a rummage around the internet, including Amazon, but the delivery charges were high - reasonably enough!  After all, we are talking a lot of brown stuff being lugged around.  So I put in a Sainsbury order.

I got some good stuff.  I won't lie, they do some good, ethical, wholesome products.  Unfortunately the quality of drivers hasn't improved over the last few years.  He was pleasant enough and at least he unloaded his van by himself, which was more than the Morrisons man did, but he overplayed the 'cheeky chappy' routine.  I hid in the kitchen while DH dealt with the delivery.  Yes, I ordered a lot of compost.  Yes, our garden is smaller than his truck.  No, I did not over order as I'm not even sure that I've got enough for all the pots.  I'm glad DH was there because I felt heckled.  He went on and on and on.

I don't think I'll be going back to Sainsburys soon.