Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Fire at Armley.

We live near to where the fire in Armley was.  The full story on the BBC is here.  We actually don't live that near but we heard the bangs in the middle of the night.  It sounded like metal shutters being hit very hard in the near distance.  The smoke was still rising twelve hours later and there was dust and ash all over.  The roads are still closed around the site and local rumour says that a gas main has fractured.  It seems odd, living so near to an incident that actually made the BBC website, and was on the main page at one point.  For me it is remarkable.  It isn't dangerous or scary or even that inconvenient, but it is something to remark on.

I got this picture from the BBC website.


I'm glad I don't live any nearer.

Not a good start to the day.

I can't find bear's book bag for school anywhere.  This is a pause in the frantic search.  He will miss handing his homework in.  The dratted thing could be anywhere.

I have spent most of the morning on the phone trying to get our mortgage back on a fixed rate.  I have just been asked for a piece of paper I don't have.  This is the third attempt and the third different bit of paper I have been asked for.  I am waiting to see what happens when I ring back with this particular piece of paper.

I have dyed bear's martial arts trousers a very funny shade of grey, but fortunately I have a stock of colour run powder in.  I hope I can get it fit for tonight.  I also forgot the dinner money, but I am ahead anyway so that is safe.

It may be Tuesday but I feel like a swarm of Mondays has just ganged up on me.

Still, I have remembered to take something out for dinner tonight.  I have hung the curtain in my room that has needed doing for a few weeks.    That is an improvement on the general run of things.  It is raining so I don't have to water the trees.  And if I really crack on with the sorting out to find the book bag I will get rid of loads of stuff - I have already emptied two bin bags.  Which reminds me, I need to go and get the weeds out of the green wheelie bin as they are classed as contaminants and I don't want to get told off again.  However here is a picture to hopefully cheer you up, as it cheered me up, from a week ago.


I took it on the way to visit uncle.  I take a short cut through a park.  I saw it and thought, 'my lines have fallen in pleasant places.'

And while I was uploading the picture 48 rolls of loo paper were delivered, my brother called in and deposited vast amounts of stamps to sort through and I found the book bag.  Uncle has blood in his urine and is confused and feeling unwell.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bee-autiful sight!

There are suddenly a lot of bees in the chimney - lots and lots!  I am so pleased.  I do wonder if it is a very early swarm that was attracted to an empty or dying nest, as the last week there hasn't been a buzz.  On the other hand, it is warming up properly now and there is a lot of blossom around so I suppose the bees could just chill before but now are getting busy.

Father took us to the local Harvester restaurant.  It was lovely, I feel utterly stuffed, and bear was too full for dessert.  I think I may mark this in red in the diary - a seven year old too full for dessert!  He had stuffed himself at the free salad bar as well.

I am setting myself some weekly goals.  I am rubbish at setting realistic goals and I give up too easily, but the whole sewing thing has got me thinking.  If I want to make the most of it I need to work towards things.  By next Monday I want to have written 5k words, cleared the dining room so that I can use it as a sewing room and finished at least another 100g ball on bear's blanket.  I'm just knitting it, having given up on the Dalek theme, but I want it finished and out of the way.   It is actually quite a tough challenge as the vast quantity of ironing I need to do to get the room clear needs time and I need time to get the writing done.  Time is currently in short supply.  If it isn't bear, it is father or DH or uncle who need me to pay attention.  It's a bit of a struggle at the moment.  However if I set the mark today and see how it goes then it will be easier to set the next week's mark.

I am determined to find the fun in going for it!

Things you shouldn't say

Dear father, please do not decide you are taking us all out for a meal when I am half way through cooking dinner, including a very expensive joint of lamb.  I am very grateful that you postponed taking us out until tomorrow and I am glad that you did actually enjoy my efforts.  I will definitely be incredibly grateful tomorrow.   

Actually I was tactful and suggested that everywhere would be shut today.  I also feel grateful that the roast lamb, mash and roast, roast beetroot and cauli went down well.  DH was very happy with it and father not only cleared his plate but took some of bear's leftovers.  It still means I am shuffling around the mental meal plans, but one less dinner I have to cook is a really good thing.

I am also a little unimpressed that father has requested pickled beetroot.  Every time I have made pickles they have turned out lovely and then no-one has eaten them because no-one bothers with pickles.  After DH watched The Allotment on BBC2 he is convinced that making jam should be no trouble and I should do some at once.  I am not convinced I am safe around boiling sugar.  Besides, the only person that really eats jam is bear who remembers about jam roughly once a month and if I am going to open a jar for it just to go moldy then I may as well use the Morrisons 29p a jar strawberry rubbish.  I can't make jam for that price.  When my brother suggested yesterday that I could take a jam pan home he nearly heard some rude words.

btw in the nineteenth century they made 'strawberry' jam from rhubarb with flavouring in factories to sell in shops, and to add to the authenticity they used to stamp out the 'seeds' from wood and stir them into the 'strawberry' jam.  When the first laws about food purity and description came in and forced them to make strawberry jam from actual strawberries there was a bit of an outcry because a lot of people had actually preferred the fake stuff.  There was also a lot of huffing and puffing about the people who stamped out the 'seeds' from wood losing their jobs.  There is nothing quite so odd as people.

(Actually, DH is very clued up about the jam, but he is gently pulling my leg.  Fortunately bear hasn't got into the idea.  I don't like the idea of him stirring the jam pan!)

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

Christ is risen and I have broken my Lenten fast.  40 grade C denim shirts are on their way.  Sigh.  I've picked up some interfacing and bias binding for the first few projects.  I may do some browsing later on for items at 99p and not much postage that would be useful.

We went to do some clearing at uncle's house.  It was incredibly depressing.  We had to throw a lot of things out that were covered with mold and mildew or that had been attacked by mice.  There were plenty of things that had been lovely but were now so pitted by rust that they were only fit for recycling - no charity shop would even take them.

So we got rid of things like empty envelopes from 1958 and the like and filled a huge Hippo bag.  We filled one of these in three hours.


It's about the size of a mini skip.

I brought back a few bits of clothing for uncle, there wasn't much and some I rejected as it was full of mildew.  I can cope with a few spots, but these were riddled and I don't want to take anything into a home full of vulnerable people.

Bear ran around solid all afternoon playing football with DH.  He is completely exhausted this morning, and poor DH is as well - he didn't sleep last night at all.  As Liverpool FC are playing this afternoon in a vital match I expect father to be occupied this afternoon anyway.  I think it is going to be a quiet day.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Good Friday

We are having fish for dinner, so that is something.  Bear had his face painted in the park this morning and went to visit uncle.  He came away with an Easter Egg presented by the staff - which he insisted on sharing with the little lad next door but two.

I am lining up things on ebay.  It probably isn't in the spirit of Lent, but I hope I have saved a little from all the impulse buys I have avoided.  I just need to avoid getting silly on Sunday.  I have a seam ripper in mind, and a bundle of cottons.  I have made a list for what I need for the start of the Half Yard Heaven book, and it includes vast quantities of bias binding and a zip.  I have no idea how to do a zip.  This could get very scary.  However I am taking this as a way to learn how to sew, which is why I am getting very inexpensive zips that will probably jam and using second hand duvets for fabric until I know what I am doing.  Then maybe I can get the Cath Kidston fabric in the pictures without worrying about making a mess.

Father and DH are happening in the garden.  I left them to it and carried on with the huge mountain of ironing that once cleared will give me the space to sort out the dining room which is where the sewing machine is going to to.  Hopefully.

I am a bit worried that I have taken on a hobby that is an excuse to mound up half finished projects and buy cheap bits on ebay.  Still, at least the curtains will be sorted.


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Morning Well Spent

Bear needed new shoes for school as his had rubbed a blister into his toe.  They were getting very battered.  I suspect that it may have been a seam on the sock that caused the sore as I don't think his new shoes are much bigger.  However I gave in and dragged bear to town.

Bear did not want to go into town.  He really didn't want to go.  He wanted to stay at home and watch Donald Duck on YouTube.  It needs dynamite to get him out of the house sometimes.  However I dragged him off  and on to the bus and we got off near TK Maxx.  I thought for a moment and then we dived in because bear needs new jeans.

I am never taking bear into TK Maxx again ever.  I was looking doubtfully at the jeans.  The jeans in Matalan or M&S are around £8-10 though I think I may get some cheaper ones at Tesco or Asda.  I usually get them at a less expensive price on my friend ebay that I gave up for Lent.  I looked at some of the prices.  Who on earth pays £40 for a pair of jeans for a seven year old?  That seems an utter fortune to me.  It is only a few years ago I got an entire summer wardrobe for bear for £50.  I got cashback on that as well!  The jeans were reduced from £40 to £14.99 and bear schmoozed me into getting them.  Yes they are lovely, yes they do feel much nicer than most, yes they are a lovely weight, and they probably have resale value on ebay but £14.99!  They are Bench jeans.  I have an awful sinking feeling that bear could get into designer stuff.

On the way out I pointed at one of the sculptures and said, 'That's a nice horse.'


'That's not a horse, it's just a pile of wood.' Bear said dismissively.  I checked that he was seeing what I was seeing.  'Yeah, it looks like a horse, but it isn't one really.'  So at least he doesn't have a craving for ornaments that cost £80.

Bear does not like leaving the house.  Today there was £14.99 on jeans, £9.99 on a gun, £40 for school shoes and £4.99 for a history book (which to be fair he has been fascinated with since we got home).  Then there was the bus fares at £6.30, £1 for bananas for uncle, £3.90 spent at Subway for lunch, and another 50p for a cake when bear staggered to a near collapse luckily just outside a cake shop.  He may get to stay in more.

The jeans are probably a good buy.  They have massive turn ups designed to be let down and as bear is such a slim jim despite his best efforts they will probably last for some time.  His other jeans are coming from ebay, though. Even with postage it is a lot less expensive.