Tuesday, 26 July 2016


Bear is watching a YouTube video on how to do first aid on a leech bite.  The man in the video used hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound.  Bear falls apart at antiseptic wipes.  He is not stoic.  I hope he never gets a leech bite.

Fortunately bear may get sidetracked by maps.  School had them do a project where they worked out the miles between various towns on a round trip of England - Manchester, Birmingham, London etc, twelve places in total.  Bear got happily engrossed in that, then last night got caught up in a huge atlas of mine.  It was £10 second hand about twenty years ago and it is a proper OS, very detailed, set of maps of the UK.  Bear loved it.

I would rather deal with a pile of maps than leeches.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Talk Me Out of It

I keep wanting to get veg boxes.  They are so full of promise and the pictures are amazing - but I never use them all.  I used to get them from Leeds Market, and the quality was amazing, but they don't deliver any more.  Unfortunately I have found a new supplier.

I really want to be good with veg boxes.  I want to get the box and rub my hands and plan all sorts of meals.  I want the inspiration to try new things, the joy of new flavours instead of the same old same old.  It won't happen, especially not at the moment.  I know that I will get a box, look at it blankly and reach for the frozen peas.  I really want a fruit box as well.  I know that I can shovel all sorts of stuff into bear, but his pals are more of a problem.  Sometimes I worry that bear isn't getting what for him are treats - celery sticks and cherry tomatoes - as his usual pal can't bear the smell of them.

Here is a picture I have found

The dog in the house behind has learned to yodel.  It is incredible.  It's a hound of some sort, you can hear when they go out as he grumbles.  Being a hound, the grumbles travel, but it doesn't sound in distress.  It sounds like a teenager complaining things aren't fair, but in a fairly musical hound-type grumble that isn't quite a howl.  Now the hound is getting into his stride.  He starts off with a few musical moans and then warbles.  Aowaowaowaowaowaowaowaow.  It could be worse.  It's not so long ago that the previous tennants were playing Tammy Wynnette, 120 decibels at 3am.  A hound yodelling is far more acceptable.  It is also a lot more musical than the Jack Russell next door but one who does not suffer in silence.  He does not do anything in silence.  The noise he makes when he gets a ball stuck behind the plant pot has to be heard to be believed.  He is an excellent warning system as he nearly explodes when a human goes past without giving him a cuddle.  He really is a sweetie, though.

Witch Hazel  - you are awesome!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff

We went to Temple Newsam again today.  There was a time traveller's fair, and the first thing we saw was a demonstration of Anglo Saxon bread making.  First they had the kids thresh the corn.  It was not very efficient, especially as the free range goats that wander around the Temple Newsam home farm took an acute interest.  They had to be repeatedly dragged off.  Then there was some very inefficient winnowing, separating the grains of wheat.  They kept referring to 'wheat husks' instead of chaff.  So here is the wheat/chaff

Then they had the kids take turns grinding the wheat in a replica stone quern.  They had some flour ready to show how the dough was made as, darn, it was hard to get white flour when using two rounds of stone rubbing against each other.  My respect for our ancestors grew!  Bear had a go at a shield wall, using this shield.

Hands, feet and legs all very swollen today.  I think it is time to take it easy.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Went Out!

I am not going to get many more chances to go out now, as the school holidays are almost on us.  My feet are really swollen.  I have just come in and daren't take my trainers off because I don't think I will be able to get them on again.  Apart from the heat, the big problem is I am not moving enough.  I could do stuff like go for a walk, but I keep bursting into tears when I am outside the house.  If this was a proper blog you would now be able to follow how I pulled myself together and started getting out and about and things miraculously improved.  As it is, it's just me and I think I have a bit to go yet before I can manage a daily walk.

It wasn't an amazing shop.  I picked up a few bits, some biscuits for the teachers, a candle for us, and (feeling like a vulture) I spent some money in BHS.

I can't believe that BHS have gone under.  I went to their store when I was a little girl to have a lunch with my grandmother, it was always one of the highlights of a visit to Liverpool.  To be honest, there hasn't been much in there that I have liked for a few years, but it is still sad to see it go.  I picked up a shirt and waistcoat for bear.  DH's auntie is visiting and may want to see him, so he will need to look sharp.  I also got him a onesie in the next size up that I will stash for Christmas, two shirts for DH and a shirt for uncle.

Here is a picture of a ripe blackberry.  What is remarkable is that the picture was taken today, which is quite early for ripe blackberries and the orange blossom, usually over at the end of May, is still out in some places.

This is a picture of the back yard of the local landlord.  He keeps his rental properties to the same standard.  I am so glad I don't rent from them.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Nobody Told Me

Eat Well For Less has started again, and I didn't realise!  It's on catch up so I have watched the first two now.  I was just stunned that in five years the first family had never made a dinner that included their youngest daughter.  I hope that they were exaggerating for the programme.  For five years the youngest daughter had had microwave meals separately because she was a vegetarian and everyone else loved meat.  I mean, I know there must have been times when people ate separately, but there must have been times when they all sat down to a veggie pizza or a nice ratatouille or something.

Bear has been watching with DH and I.  He quite enjoys it.  We include him in our discussions and I see it as part of his education.  The discussion after last week was lazy garlic.  We have a jar of lazy garlic.  It lives in the fridge and we occasionally add a spoonful to something.  A jar is £1.45  Here's a picture to make the blog pretty, picture taken from Tesco, where I get it.

I could get a pack of 4 bulbs of fresh garlic for 89p, but I don't use garlic all the time.  The first bulb would probably get used but the rest would wither and rot before I got round to them.  However a jar keeps nicely in the fridge for months.  I couldn't justify pre-chopped onions, though.  We use onions all the time.  However if I only used them once or twice a month but wanted some on hand, I would consider keeping a small bag of chopped onion in the freezer.  Often frozen veg is fresher than the fresh stuff, as it was frozen within hours of being picked instead of being carted around the country, and sometimes across countries.

I've ordered the recipe book from Amazon here.  It's an extravagance, as it will be on offer very soon, but I'm hoping I save the price by using the recipes.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


I had looked sceptically at the weather forecast.  While everywhere else is due to get a week's worth of rain, we are likely to stay unreasonably hot and dry.  However there were hints that the skies could open around bear's play time so I sent him to school with a rain coat.  I suggested he carried it, he wore it.  The playground was interesting.  Most were just in shirts or blouses.  Two, a brother and sister, were in full winter coats - and done up too!  One or two had a cardigan or sweater - why?  8.55 am and it was already baking hot!

I felt slightly justified when at least thirty rain drops fell while the kids were waiting to go in.  I really can't wait for this weather to break.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

No Bees

We haven't got bees in the chimney anymore.  We've had them there for years, now there are none.  There have been gaps before so I hope that we get another nest soon.  I miss them.

Our chimney is quite a good pitch for the bees.  There are masses of lavender in our garden and a swathe of sweet peas are coming out.  Apart from these, the fuschias, the roses and the honeysuckle, there is a lot of greenery and gardens around.  There is plenty of foraging for local bees.  The chimney is over a gas fire and is undisturbed.  I've even left damp sponges and shallow pools of water out for them in hot weather.

Still, when one insect moves out, another moves in.  The garden is alive with ants.  As long as they don't come into the house, I'm fine.

I am not coping well with the heat.  It is not yet 11am as I type and already my hands and feet are very swollen.  However the weather forecast is 'normal for Yorkshire' in a day or two, so I will be fine.

Hester - bear is quite relaxed about the whole Shakespeare thing, but I think he is a little young for it still.  I won't stop him looking, and if we get a chance to see a good comedy then we'll take him, but I am not trying to push him.  I think he will love Shakespeare in time.  There's no rush.  Mind you, as he cannot cope with all this kissing and romance stuff and leaves the room at the first hint of anything 'mushy' on tv, perhaps he won't get hooked on the comedies straight away.

I admit, I'm looking forward to the day when I stagger downstairs at the first cough of a sparrow to find bear watching a YouTube video of a clip of Hamlet instead of Fifa, Minecraft, Pokemon, Thermodynamics (that was a fun surprise - he explained it to me), the periodic table, science lectures or funny cats.