Friday, 22 June 2018

I Went Out!

I got out of the house!  I still can't believe I managed it.  Bear wandered off to school, his hand heavily wrapped in plasters, and then I walked to Aldi.  I didn't think I had it in me.  It's possibly around a mile, and once upon a time I wouldn't have blinked, but it's a long way for me these days.  It's not a bad walk.  It cuts through some social housing, some private housing, a public footpath that is a nice walk...

... which is only a little snicket or ginnel in a very urban area, but it had a sort of Tolkien feel about it.  Then you go through past some 1930s semi-detached houses with old fashioned gardens, a small collection of industrial units and you get to the new Aldi store.  I picked up a few bits and I got a taxi back.  I had always planned to get a taxi home, because I didn't think I would manage the walk and I was worried that I would struggle to carry the shopping.  Next time, and I'm determined that there will be a next time, I shall take my shopping trolley and trundle my stuff back. 

I'm quite impressed with the pictures.  I'm not good at this sort of thing, but these have come out really well.  What surprises me is the difference in the light.  The pics were taken within seconds of each other, just a few steps apart (it's not a very big ginnel).  I must have just been at different angles for the light.  It was a steep climb for me, so I got a little exercise and picked up some bargains!

I really hope I can do this some more.  I get a bargain (though an opportunity to impulse buy) and some fresh air and exercise.  Then all I need to do is get the house sorted out and get some writing finished.  Speaking of which, the latest instalment from the White Hart is here, but be warned - it's a long one!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Noisy Evening

It makes a change.  Tonight we do not have neighbours fighting or blasting loud music, although, to be fair, they've been more early morning disturbances recently.  Instead we have a large tanker type thing and some men in hi viz vests doing something dreadful to the sewer in the street.  It's 10.30pm local time at time of typing and I'm not impressed.

I keep forgetting that there is a sewer unless I spot a rat.  I know that the waste water has to go somewhere, but I don't really think about it much.  I'm not surprised that there are issues.  We are very careful to wipe grease off plates and pans before we wash up, and I think our neighbours are the same.  However, within a few hundred yards I think we have a number of businesses including two fish and chip shops, a pizza/indian takeaway, a chinese takeaway, a cafe and a school all placed to feed into the sewer.  I don't expect the dripping from four burgers that I've cooked makes much difference. 

I kept bear off school today.  His hand and his syndrome are both bad, and today is one of the many sports days the school have so I kept him home, much to bear's disappointment.  I didn't get any phone calls made but I managed to get some herbs planted out.  Hopefully I shall get a little more done tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Bear is Upset

Bear hurt his hand in some way at school.  There was no note from school, bear was very vague about the details and included the name of a friend that all mums trust.  I am suspicious but have nothing to go on.  It looks like his little finger was crushed in some way.  It's not black or dark looking and he can move it, but it seems to be extremely painful.  I've put some cotton wool in between the little finger and the ring finger and strapped it to the ring finger with plasters and left him to it. 

Bear isn't upset about the hand, however it was hurt, although he's complaining about it.  He is devastated that it is affecting his ability to play Fifa18 which is a football game on the Xbox. 

Speaking of football, I've hardly watched any matches in the World Cup this time.  I've been chasing up other stuff so my knitting sprint is seriously behind schedule.

As for other stuff, today I managed to nail a date for the next driving lesson.  It's not until July, but I'm optimistic.  I chased up a missing bathroom window and apparently in May they should have taken different measurements when they came out.  They're coming back tomorrow.  I've found a place with good recommendations that does new bathrooms and I've made an appointment for a much overdue haircut.  Tomorrow I plan to make a very non urgent doctor's appointment and find somewhere that does makeover portrait pics. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018


My mother's family were incredibly superstitions.  My great grandmother was a medium and most of the men were in either the Royal or Merchant Navy.  There was a lot of what I suppose you could call a Celtic spirit.  They were really good at taking a story and layering in the supernatural.  Father wasn't so superstitious, though he had his moments. 

My maternal grandmother was a very lovely woman.  There was so much warmth in her.  She did have her moments, though, and would get upset if I put a sock on the left foot first, or stirred the cake mixture the wrong way (can't remember which way was which now).  She also had some very odd ideas, I mean, odder than worrying about which foot had the shoe on first.  My grandmother looked after me before I started school as mother was working and looking back I was about four or five when I tried to learn to whistle.  Grandmother stopped me.  Ladies don't whistle.  I asked why not (I was a brat who got expelled from playgroup for mutiny).  Grandmother stammered through an explanation that bewildered me so much that I remembered it.  Later I realised that she meant that women who whistle are lesbians.  I have no idea.  Looking back, I don't even think that grandmother was particularly homophobic, especially for someone born in 1914.  She just didn't want to think about it. 

However, today I've been reading some Yorkshire folklore (I've lived here for thirty years, I ought to get to know the place) and apparently whistling women could summon the devil.  Still no idea.  It may be that this superstition is from Yorkshire and my grandmother's family were mainly Welsh but they were happy to annexe any spare superstitions they came across.

One superstition that does come through was the story of the time a great uncle was sick and being nursed by his sister, my great aunt.  This was in the 1930s, before the NHS, so great uncle was being nursed at home and was extremely ill.  He was, in fact, at death's door.  My great aunt came running down asking who had let the big black dog in to great uncle's room as she was so scared of dogs and yet had to look after him.  Nobody had let a dog in.  No-one had a black dog.  No-one had seen a dog come out and through the house and no-one could find it.  Great uncle recovered, but if you believe the superstition, it may have been a close thing.  A supernatural black dog is traditionally a portent of death.  This all happened at least thirty or forty years before I was born, and as a family we all love our stories, so I'm not going to swear that it is true.  I'm just happy to think that it may have happened.  Also, I still can't whistle, whatever that means.  I think it means that I just can't whistle. 

Monday, 18 June 2018

Road Block

It was a literal road block.  I live in Leeds and just on the fringe of the centre of Leeds is a roundabout known as the Armley Gyratory.  It is a road system from Satan's Armpit.  It is tricky.  On good days there can be tail backs because not all entrances and exits have traffic lights and I have promised myself that once I pass my test I will avoid it, or at least the awful junction that is on our natural route into town.  I have sat on buses taking that exit onto the roundabout and flinched at their near misses.  I wouldn't have a chance!

On bad days, it's bad.  It is the main exit from the centre to the South and West of Leeds.  It can back up so quickly and clog so many roads that if it stalls then all of West Leeds stalls.  In the past there has been a minor collision which blocked one lane and had my reliable delivery driver literally five hours behind time.  There have been times when the river and canal have flooded and one exit on to the Gyratory is blocked.  That usually results in complete chaos.  Today it was a burst water main.

The first I heard about it was a text from Tesco, telling me that while I had booked a slot for delivery between 10am and 11am, there had been issues and I should hopefully receive my groceries by 12pm.  At 12pm I got an apologetic call from a lovely woman at the local depot.  She was very sorry, the van had had to turn around in the horrendous traffic and we couldn't have our delivery today.  She gave me the number for Customer Services who apologised again, warned me that the refund of the money may take a few days, that I would have to put in a fresh order (but showed me how to re-submit my original order) and apologised again.  I consider that excellent customer service.  Something went wrong, they communicated, explained and were generally lovely.

The Marks and Spencer Next Day delivery missed the slot they gave me by two hours and didn't even text.

The picture above was taken 13 years ago and it's strange to see the difference in the skyline.  The notorious Bridgewater Place has since been built.  Some bright architect built a skyscraper that helped accelerate wind speeds on a road that was already something of a wind tunnel and now that road, which is on one of the other main routes into the centre from South Leeds, is closed during windy weather.  I can see me having to go via Edinburgh to get into Leeds centre when the weather is bad.

justjill - bear continually amazes me as well.  I wish I could take the credit, but it's all him. 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Bear does Father's Day

Bear is really close to DH.  I've heard all about the stormy teenage years and how boys can clash with their fathers and I'm hoping this foundation will get them through it. 

I have had a few bad nights and, knowing DH would not be downstairs before 9.30, I thought I would lie in.  Bear is always up early but there is always food and drink around so he can help himself and I prepared to snuggle down. 

Do you know how hard it is to sleep through someone creeping nearly quietly.  Bear tiptoed past my room at around 6.30am.  Then again around 6.50.  Then again around 6.55.  Then again just past 7am.  I managed to get some sleep, but was down earlier than I hoped.  That's when I put everything together. 

I had wrapped a book bear had got for his dad, but I didn't know where he had hidden the sharpies and drawing pad that DH had requested as a Father's Day gift.  I wasn't stressed as I thought I would be able to sort it out in the morning.  Bear, however, decided to take the initiative.  He had already written the card, of course and he made a good fist of wrapping the pad of drawing paper.  He wasn't sure about the sharpies in the blister pack.  Sharpies are awesome pens for drawing and DH had asked for a particular type, so bear knew he would be happy, but he didn't know how to wrap a blister pack. 

I'm not sure about the thought processes here, but they show a lot of love for DH and I'm proud of bear.  Bear set up a folding table, went upstairs and got the oilcloth that we use as a cover for messy stuff.  Went back up stairs and got some acrylic paint, a brush and a paper plate to use as a palette.  This may have taken more than one trip.  Then he cut the top off an empty tissue box, painted it blue, let it dry, put the sharpies in the box and then wrapped the box.  He also washed the brush and threw out the paper plate.  I can't really complain about the paint splashes in the bathroom.

DH was utterly thrilled.  To be honest, so was I because bear was so determined to get things right for his dad and made that extra effort.

Happy Father's Day to all.   

Saturday, 16 June 2018

People are Kind

I talked about the lack of photo with Our Write Side and they were awesome and accepted the submission.  I'm going to have to get a photo sorted, though.  I've no self confidence to start with and now I have scars on my face from the (very minor and easily treatable) skin cancer, it feels even worse.  I'm going to have to go to one of those studios that do the make overs. 

I think it shows that there are lovely people in the world.  The bad stuff makes headlines and the good stuff goes unnoticed, but there is a lot of kindness in people.  I honestly believe that there are more good people than bad.  So when I grumble about the neighbours or the gas company or dratted driving instructors, I still feel that they are more than balanced out by the good that is out there. 

Today I went to a brand new Aldi.  The one I had been using has shut and re-opened about a mile away and nearer to us.  It's plausible to walk to and I may set aside a day to do it.  I can have a tootle around the much bigger and flashier store and get a taxi home.  It's worth doing for the exercise, even if I can drive.  I took pity on the till assistant and didn't talk about the move.  The people on the till are marked on whether they make conversation and are friendly so they have to say something.  I knew her enough to say hello to at a bus stop so we had a good moan about the bus service.  What can I say.  The nearest bus is grim. 

I didn't get a good browse today.  Bear came in with me to push the trolley, which is a performance by itself, and I treated him to a football.  After that I was on pins that we would end up on YouTube with a spectacular crash in the hard liquor section as he couldn't keep his hands off it.  I still managed to spend over £70, but that included a football and some baskets to help organise my kitchen cupboards.  The ones I used in the tin cupboard have been really successful.  I already have a better idea of what I will need in my next online shop.