Monday, 16 July 2018


Theoretically, on paper, I should be able to do a lot more than I'm currently doing.  On the other hand, I'm doing a three hour driving lesson most days, I'm shattered, and bear's pal keeps turning up at 8am.  A different pal turns up after school.  Also, I have to find white trousers for bear with very short notice. 

On the bright side, I will be almost certainly on main roads soon and I will hopefully have working washing machine tomorrow. 

Which reminds me, I still have to get the kitchen sorted out and the nice man could come as early  as 8.30am (eg, after bear's pal) or as late as 11.30am (which would totally mess up chance of a driving lesson which I need).

Hugs to all x

Friday, 13 July 2018

Friday Wasn't Too Unlucky

I ought to get excited about Friday 13th, but knowing that it's a superstition that's less than 200 years old puts a damper on it.  Today wasn't too bad, in that I had another three hour driving lesson, with a three point turn, some interesting bends, clutch control and second gear (which I utterly rocked).  I was driving between cars and in traffic and I was pretty much at 20mph for minutes at a time!  I will be having another lesson tomorrow.  It's quite helpful, because I'm not getting a chance to forget.  At some point I'll get a hang of the steering.  There were no casualties.

I've been writing and the story has been fighting back.  For those interested, the latest instalment of the White Hart is here.  I may have to kill someone off soon. 

I won't be back until Monday unless I have some great gossip to share.  I am feeling the need to gear down a little.  Also I have a few more driving lessons.  As it is Friday, I leave you with this pic.  I miss our cats.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Continuing Odd

Yesterday was odd, and it feels like it's continuing today. 

I ended up rescheduling the washing machine appointment.  All the previous appointments have been ridiculously early.  I firmly believe that 7.50am is a dreadful time for a service but that was the time the last one turned up.  I don't start thinking joined up thoughts until at least 10am.  I spoke to the lovely lady at the service centre and explained that I had a very important appointment between 12 and 3.  How long was this repair likely to take and could it be an early appointment?  The lady assured me that she would pass on the times I needed and she checked and the repair could take from one to two hours.  I sighed with relief.  Then later I got the text to let me know that the repair man would be here between 12.25 and 3.25pm.  I said some rude words and rescheduled on their website for next Tuesday morning.  We should survive okay. 

I was not in a good place when I got up this morning.  The house was a tip, I had a hangover and England didn't win.  It wasn't improved by bear's pal turning up at 8am to hang out with bear.  He's a nice kid, but I really didn't need it.  I offered him food and drink and then put my headphones on and left them to it.   

I more or less pootled around until 12 when I had another three hour driving lesson.  I loved it.  I drove between parked cars, I was in (very slow and undemanding) traffic, I had turns and junctions and give way signs and I loved it.  I even did a three point turn!  It wasn't a very demanding turn, and there wasn't much chance of me hitting something unexpected, but I did it.  I was also putting my foot down and nearly reached 20 miles an hour! 

Then bear and a different pal hung out until dinner time and now I need to crack on with tomorrow's instalment of the White Hart or I'll be even later than normal! 

I have no relevant pictures today, so I thought I would use this, as it is the nearest to relevant and I think it is a left hand drive. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Odd Sort of Day

It took me some effort to get out of the house, but I managed it.  Unfortunately my feet have swollen up so much that I was padding around Leeds in my slippers.  I wasn't too stressed.  The slippers are plain and black and you see a lot worse out and about.  I picked up a candle for bear's teacher's end of term present and some secateurs.  I also took this pic.

I called it John O'Gaunt on Facebook, but I was wrong.  It's actually the Black Prince and from the chatter I heard, it's been decorated like that by the council.  I love the way the football is glued to the horse's hoof. 

Then I called into Aldi, picked up some bits, got a taxi home and had a pleasant chat with one of the neighbours.  I normally get abuse from them but they were walking the goofiest dog in the world and I couldn't resist saying hello to the woofer, which led to a nice word or two.  I'm going to have to watch myself or I'll lose my 'grumpy old bat' licence. 

Bear had gone to school today in red shorts and white t-shirt - an outfit I was told I had to produce last night which was twelve (12) hours' notice!  Today he brought home his PE kit and is apparently wearing it tomorrow to school.  I can't wash it well and get it properly dry by tomorrow because of washing machine issues.  If I had had more warning it would have been different, of course. 

I also had to ask him about a letter from school I found.  Apparently parents were invited to come in on Monday and Friday this week to help with a maths challenge.  Bear had not shown me this letter.  I'm not sure if he was ashamed of my maths skills, which is actually quite reasonable.  I asked whether he wanted me to come in on Friday and he explained that he and one of his pals had been hanging out, chatting and generally relaxing while they completed two days worth of maths challenge in a morning.  I'm going to miss Sports Day as it's tomorrow morning as I have a washing machine repair followed by a three hour driving lesson. 

I've also had another go at flash fiction, here, though I can imagine having a lot of fun with this idea in a novel.  I'm going to have to do some serious research into English folklore - what a hardship!  However that will have to wait as I will be watching England play this evening and I need to rearrange the kitchen so that they can fix the washer.  Also, drink may be taken. 

I can't believe England got to the semi finals of the World Cup.  It's surreal.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Bear is Upset

Today I got a text from bear's piano teacher saying that he wouldn't be able to continue for a while.  Bear has been utterly difficult about piano practice but today he was devastated at the thought of losing the piano lessons.  It looks like I won't be able to reclaim that corner of the study for a chair.  It also looks like I may have to spend out hundreds on a new piano as the weather has not been kind to the current, failing model.  There is a chance for evening lessons in a separate location or we may still be able to register bear with the school for music lessons.  I'm not sure. 

btw I've found a site with public domain images, and here is one from there of a piano.

I am exhausted, so I think I will crawl off to an early bed and browse some books.  I posted about getting free books in Always Another Chapter here, and I've put links to the Gutenberg Project and the Internet Sacred Texts site, which have old, out of copyright but intriguing books.  I intend to get lost in them.  If I am not back by next month, send a search party. 

Monday, 9 July 2018

Four Hour Driving Lesson

It wasn't as bad as it seems.  We took a break half way through and a lot of it was theory.  I wish I had met this driving instructor first.  He sat down with a white board and just worked through - this is how the accelerator works, this is how it regulates flow of fuel to the engine.  This is how the brakes work and the pedal is hydraulic and the handbrake or parking brake is a cable.  This is how a clutch works and why you need to disengage the clutch plate from the engine plate to change gear.  It made so much sense. 

Then he went on - these are the three procedures you will be tested on.  This is how you set yourself up, these are the checks you make in mirrors and in blind spots before setting off and in this order.  This is what the examiner will be looking for and if you miss this then you will fail.  Apparently only 50% of driving tests are passes.  He is teaching me not only how to drive, but how to pass. 

Also, when I did some driving, I was going round a blind bend and a car came the other way - and I was fine.  That, for me was the biggest success.  I felt okay.  I have to say, there was around a metre between us, and plenty of room, but it was okay. 

My next lesson is likely to be Thursday in the afternoon.  My washing machine is supposed to be repaired on Thursday.  All previous washing machine appointments have been early, so fingers crossed that they don't overlap too much.  If they do, I'm choosing the driving lesson and carrying on washing clothes in the bath. 

I was looking for a good picture to use to represent me utterly rocking moving off in first gear when I found this.  When I took bear to his school for inclusion day, they had these - trees wrapped in knitting and crochet.  I am often wary about something labelled performance art as it is usually something I don't understand.  However I thought this was something awesome and I hope that it is still there when I'm next around it. 

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Too Hot!

I don't do heat well.  I don't do cold well either.  There are around three days a year when the weather suits me.  I am currently completely wiped out by the heat.

I had another driving lesson today.  It was amazing.  I was out with bpm, who is great.  I managed to more or less pull into a space (it was an easy way in and there was nothing around).  I also had an accidental opportunity to go backwards and it worked! 

I was slowly tootling around a very small, very empty car park on a Sunday afternoon, and I pulled up to the Give Way junction, misjudged the distance to stop, decided to swing around as nothing was coming, misjudged the steering in a spectacular fashion and shot forward (I was going at least 12 miles an hour) into a car park clearly marked as private property.  I didn't bump into anything, so I took it as a win.  Then I was stuck with no room to drive forward or round so for the first time I reversed while turning.  It worked!  Then I managed to pull out of the car park and carried on bimbling on at around 8 miles an hour.  There were no casualties. 

I'm taking tonight off, sort of.  I have been listening to Jackson Crawford and History Time.  It includes plenty of snippets about Anglo Saxon and Viking Britain which could impact on York.  Apparently there was an Aelfhelm in charge of York in the tenth century.  I would love his name to mean 'elf helmet' but I suspect it is more likely to mean 'noble something'.  I may use it in the White Hart regardless.  His daughter married King Cnut.  This is apparently a picture of her (picture from WikiCommons and in the public domain)

Aelfhelm was allegedly murdered by Eadric Steona, who is described as an Anglo Saxon villain, but I have felt a real call for a story where he does what he does for a reason.  Eadric also allegedly blinded Aelfhelm's sons, which seems a very Merovingian thing to do, and was murdered himself possibly on the orders of Cnut.  Medieval history, at a safe distance, is a lot of fun.