Monday, 30 November 2015

Meh Monday

I am feeling completely meh so here are some random ramblings.

After dropping bear off at school I noticed that there were a lot of large apples on the grass under the trees alongside the main road.  I was surprised because I didn't remember seeing apple trees there.  I looked up and the trees all had a fine crop of crab apples so the large, juicy, only slightly bruised apples had not come from there.  I looked around through the driving rain and there weren't any other apple trees near, but there were dozens of these large apples.  I found this picture on Wiki Commons that is the nearest - they were a substantial size but didn't look like they had been in a supermarket.


I left them where they were.

On a slightly related note, I have an oversupply of potatoes and I was looking for desserts I could make with them.  I dipped into a book called Good Things in England by a very brave lady called Florence White.  She was incredibly brave as she included recipes not just from England, but also from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man.  I wonder just how many times afterwards she was visited by someone with an atlas, a list of definitions and a very angry expression.

I may dip into it, and I will share if I do, but one of the recipes I saw looked interesting except the individual cakes had to be baked on sycamore leaves.  I have two reservations about this.  My first concern is that is it safe?  This is the only reference to sycamore used in cookery that I have found and I would have thought if it was safe then there would be more made of it.  I had a quick google and found that Dr Google was non committal about sycamore leaves but the seeds are toxic to horses.  I'll give them a miss.  My second reservation is that all the sycamore leaves local to me are blotchy and probably diseased.  I'll use baking paper.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Starting the Christmas Shop

I have my Christmas slot booked with Tesco, my good acquaintance, but it won't be very full.  I'm spacing out the order, so that if things go desperately wrong on December 23rd we will still do okay.  Tomorrow I have an order coming and it includes a gluten free Christmas pudding.  The next will probably include some sweeties or biscuits, but not too many.  The actual Christmas delivery will be mainly fresh stuff.

I'm hoping my order comes tomorrow.  To be honest, the way the weather has been I'm not sure if they'll deliver by van or boat.  They have taken away the mounds of rubble and unofficially filled in some holes in the street but none of the holes that they filled were near me or where they had stashed the rubble.  It has made the road a lot smoother, though, so it works.

I have investigated my friend eBay for decorations.  I'm not impressed.  I am sure we will be fine.  Bitter experience says that there is no point trying to get bear interested in making the decorations, so I'll see what Tesco can offer that is extremely inexpensive.


Saturday, 28 November 2015

Spending Saturday

I've been spending again.

I spent just over £40 at the Works - online of course.  It is on topcashback and had an extra 20% cashback.  I picked up a few bits there were ideal.  I got bear's present to me (I know), I picked up a few stocking fillers, some extra books and a science kit for bear.  It was plenty of bang for my buck, which is quite appropriate as I got the exploding science set.

I also called in at the church fair.  I spent around £5, I got raffle tickets, played name the bear (please let me guessed wrong, it was a plush polar bear bigger than my bear), bought some ludicrously underpriced scones for bear and his pal and indulged myself in a necklace.

The bad news when I got talking at church was I think I have found a kindred spirit when it comes to eBay.  We are as bad as each other.  And she is into crafts.  Darn.  We said we definitely, definitely had to support each other when it came to NOT buying from our friend, seriously, just step away from the screen.

I needed some comfort.  Bear told the piano teacher very firmly that he hated the lessons this morning.  I was unimpressed with bear but very impressed with the piano teacher that managed to get bear engaged by the end of the lesson.

I know bear is a reluctant learner at the piano, and it is because it is the only thing he has to work at.  Everything else like school or the maths tutor or reading comes without a flicker of effort on his part.  This is why, in my opinion, the piano is vital.

My pal from church was talking about bags.  I am probably quite safe to look at my friend eBay when it comes to bags as I can't be bothered with them (yes, there was the accidental purchase of 20 a few years ago, but I haven't worn all of those out).I may go and have a relaxing browse.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Writing Again

I've had a note from the undertakers.  Do I want to add father's name to the Memorial Christmas Tree?  For some reason it flattened me.  So I went onto Light and Shade Challenge and felt better after writing this.

I've not bothered with Black Friday.  There was nothing I wanted at a price that I was willing to pay at the moment.

Stuck!

I wish I had less of an imagination sometimes - not always, just sometimes.  There have been 'lost cat' notices around the last month or so.  I always worry a little about the cat and the owners who will be going frantic.  If it was the cute cat from around the back I may have had to frisk bear who was very keen, but it was a large black and white cat which I have never seen.

Yesterday I saw a notice in the local shop window for people to check their sheds.  We don't have a shed as such, just a small space under the steps which used to be an outside toilet and which I convinced bear was home to a dragon.  He was only little, but I managed to convince half the kids in the street as well.  It kept them out of mischief.  I hadn't been there in a while and it had been jammed when I went to put in the bulbs, but the cat has been missing a lot longer and I have popped in and out.

I tried to open the door.  It was an epic fail.  I couldn't budge the dratted thing.  There was one small section of swollen wood that would not move.  It had been jammed for ages, but I have heard of cats surviving for a long time in similar situations and there were always plenty of spiders for cat snacks.  After ten minutes I went to look for the WD40.  I couldn't find that anywhere.  To be honest I wasn't entirely sure that we had some, and nowhere local sells it.  I had another think.  What if it was a dead cat in there?  What if I had failed it?

There was still a sizeable gap at the top of the door so I squeezed in a generous dollop of washing up liquid and tried to ease it in with a thin knife.  Then I pulled again.  I kept pulling and pulling and was just about to give up when I noticed that the door had opened a tiny fraction.  I am really glad no-one was watching as I was tugging away like a crazy lady and I was getting very stressed about the poor cat that may or may not be in there.  Then the door flew open.  I heaved a sigh of relief and looked around the two square metres of space.  There was no cat.

Now I have trashed a load of spiders' webs, left a puddle smelling of citrus burst and the dratted door won't dratted shut.  I'm still glad I looked.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Black Friday Tomorrow

Happy Thanksgiving to anyone reading this from USA.  I hope you are having a good time with your family.

Thanksgiving hasn't made it over to the UK, but Black Friday has.  I am sceptical about some of the 'deals' on offer.  There is a proud tradition of the Recommended Retail Price being inflated so the stores can look good when selling something like a toaster with a 'Recommended Retail Price' of £250.  Look, they say, we've slashed the price to only £99.99.  Isn't that a deal? but the toaster is identical to one in the next shop being sold at £30.  There are misleading labels that tell you that something is an unbeatable bargain but not that it's the same price as it's been all year.  Then there is a long record of items being artificially inflated just before sales.  I believe there are stores in the outer fringes where an item such as a sofa is put out for sale at an astronomical price so that in the main cities and online the retailer can say that the item has been on sale for the legal number of days at the stated price and now, look, it's half the previous price.  Isn't that a 'bargain'? they say, and can you resist a 'bargain'.

In my case, normally, no.  

There are all sorts of legal hoops that a store should jump through before something is described as 'on sale' and there are people paid a lot of money to work out how to get round them.  Last year we fell lucky and accidentally got a washing machine that was in the Black Friday sale.  I wouldn't have gone for it, but our washing machine had stopped working and I was desperate.  I got a Whirlpool in desperation at half price and loathe it.  That was probably a genuine(ish) bargain, though not as good as it is painted.  

This year I actually would like a lot of new white goods, or big ticket items.  For good and valid reasons I would like a new fridge/freezer and a combination microwave.  I've had a look around, had a think and I know roughly want I want.

Most importantly, I know their starting prices.  I can't really afford anything, to be honest, but I know that if the fridge/freezer I want falls below £120 I will go for it.  Otherwise I won't bother.  I am not going for anything else.  I don't need anything else.  I have set my level and I am sticking to it.  

Looking around my home, what I need is less.  

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Bear Reads Carefully

Bear had been very insistent.  He wanted cat stories.  By this he means stories of what our old cats got up to.  He loves them and can hear them over and over again.

With our old cats (and I suspect with all cats) you never need to make much up.  They are relentlessly themselves.  However over the last month I haven't been up to many stories so in desperation I printed out Cats in the Bible.  Bear started reading.

I had a quick re-read as I printed out to makes sure that it was family friendly.  I quite enjoyed reading it as it was so long since I had written it that if felt almost as if someone else had written it and I could just enjoy it.  Then I realised.  One day bear will be able to read my books.

Actually, bear quite likes Cats in the Bible, so that's okay.  

Bear Does Not Approve

Bear was very pleased with his bubblegum flavoured moshi monster toothpaste.  I was relieved.  Bear has gone through phases of complaining about toothpaste flavours and I suspect that he finds the minty ones a bit too strong.

I said I would have a look out for some  more.  However the flavour came from Approved Food so I may not be able to get it easily.  Bear pulled a face.  Approved Food does food near or sometimes past its sell by date, but it is still fit to eat.  Bear does not believe any food is fit to eat past the sell by date despite all my efforts and looked very doubtful.  He is starting to reject food from Approved Food even if it is within sell by date, because he has reservations.

'Toothpaste does not have a sell by date.' I said firmly.  Bear did not look like he believed me.  Approved Food do have some stocks of it left, but I am not sure whether it would be worth trying.  I shall continue negotiations later.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Tesco is my vague Acquaintance

I have mentioned that eBay is my friend and I have had some success picking up stuff for bear on there at extremely inexpensive prices.  Tesco was getting quite friendly.  However I have had the run up to the Delivery Slots.  For those who have Delivery Saver, the slots will be released early.  They will be released in the early hours of Thursday morning.

This is not a friendly thing to do.  I am not planning to sit up until daft o'clock to get my Tesco online grocery delivery booked for Christmas.  Nor am I getting up before the first sparrow's cough.  My sleep is far too precious.  

Tesco have been lovely to me recently, especially when I missed a delivery because I was taking bear to the doctor, but this is not a friendly gesture.  I suppose they are hoping that the desperate bookings don't crash the server.  

Also they do not apparently deliver on Christmas Eve.  Personally I do not want the delivery on Christmas Eve.  I like to allow a chance for us to pick up anything that is missing so go for the 23rd every time.  However my preferred slot will fill up even sooner.  

My order is likely to be small this year.  Bear and DH have requested steak.  There will be sprouts, there will be stuffing, there will be roast vegetables and gravy.  I'm not bothering with much more.  I may get the minimum order.  

Hopefully the acquaintance will develop in the New Year

Monday, 23 November 2015

Finally Cold

Bear went to school in a vest today, as well as the rest of his uniform.  The weather has been so warm recently and so the sudden cold was a shock.  Bear is not always impressed by vests.  He will sometimes utterly reject them and sometimes insist.  He is also in a new shirt as the shirts from last year were looking a little short.

The trouble with kids' sizes is that there seems to be a huge stretch between them.  Anyone who has sorted clothes for a nearly nine year old will be aware that one moment the shirt will be fine, the next bear will be struggling into something with sleeves half way to his elbows and looking like a neglected child.  Today he has gone to school in a shirt and vest that look far too big for him, a sweater that is exactly the right size (for now - I'm watching closely) and trousers that are just about long enough.

Everyone is full of colds, coughs and yeurk here.  I think we can plan a duvet week.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Too Cold!

I am far too snug in here to look forward to the school run this morning.  Bear obviously agrees with me and is currently starring in an award winning performance of 'I don't feel well, my tummy hurts'.  I've dosed him up with some tummy medicine and he is on his way to bed.  As he had an awesome day playing with my brother's dogs, acing his maths homework, playing football (briefly - it is very cold), snarfing down snacks and not getting upset at Doctor Who I am not too worried about him.



On the other hand, DH and I are on our knees.


Saturday, 21 November 2015

No Snow Here

I am rubbish at snow.  I panic and walk like a duck at the first sign of a snowflake on the path.

DH is in bed.  He's got the same bug I have had, and it has taken a toll.  I'm leaving him to it.

Bear is doing okay.  We are braced for the Doctor Who episode that will be broadcast tonight.  It is supposed to be a tear jerker.  It is broadcast too late for bear's bedtime, so I will be dishing out heavy duty cuddles tomorrow morning.

Fortunately my brother is planning on taking him out tomorrow, so that should help cheer bear up.  He will get excessive cuddles from my brother's dogs and a chance to have a go at coding.

To be honest I am feeling flatter than a steam rollered pancake.  I suspect the cough has been quite bad.  It's a great excuse to curl up with my knitting and watch tv.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Mother was Right

My late mother was convinced that evil cat was somehow related to a wild type species and wasn't entirely domesticated.  Anyone who encountered evil cat would understand the thinking behind this because even though she was less than eight weeks old when we got her (possibly younger, possibly less than six weeks) she was never entirely tame.  There was always the hint of feral about her.  Mind you, that's true of a lot of cats, but evil cat did have that air of distance - and aggression.  She was relentless to poor psycho cat.

Mother said that she had read somewhere about small cats that lived in Africa and had black paws.  Evil cat had entirely black paws, including black pads.  Evil cat also had the softest, densest coat I have ever encountered.  Then reading an article on Bored Panda I found a reference to Felis Nigripes or the Black Footed Cat.  

There is a lot of similarities.  I could really believe that evil cat is a result of an encounter between a house cat and a Black Footed Cat.  Or she could have just generally been a normal evil cat that all tabbies aspire to.

Writing

The latest (and last for a bit) installment of the Steve Adderson story is here

I've spent a lot of the morning chasing round a referral for bear, and after several different departments passed me on it turns out that his referral has been lost.  Fortunately it is nothing urgent.

Bear has broken a plate.  To be honest, stuff happens and it will make an extra slot as we are over supplied with side plates.

Bear is bored, bored, bored and close to being grounded.

I have bunged some bulbs in.  I got them extremely inexpensively from Approved Food and I am hoping that they don't rot but I won't be surprised if we don't get much results.  I had to use my gloved hands to get a hole for the bulbs as the door to the garden stuff, under the steps, is completely jammed.  I also got rained on.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Darn it to Heck

I dropped the iron.  Now it is extremely tepid.  Darn.  Mind you, it has lasted longer than most.  I am going to have to buy another.  On the bright side, I don't need much else and at least this time I'll easily make the £40 minimum.

Bear has a day off school tomorrow.  It's a teacher training day.  I know how much benefit the teachers get, but I am glad I am able to cover the day off.  The parents who both work must go frantic.  Bear is quite glad because the poor kid is shattered.  For the first time in probably years I had to wake him this morning.  This is unheard of.  I am hoping he sleeps in tomorrow.

We have plans for tomorrow.  We plan to do nothing.


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Weird

I have a smartphone.  Actually, the combination of elderly, creaky, glitchy phone and not always clued up owner makes it a stupidphone sometimes, but I do my best.  For some reason it won't send emails for me, but I can read them.  I quite regularly dip in over the day to check what is going on.

Yesterday there was one on the list.  It said, 'No Sender' and 'this email has no content' and was dated September 1st 1970.  I tried to open it but it disappeared.  As someone who loves stories I had a rummage on the internet for anything that might have happened 1 September 1970, but nothing struck me.  I suppose it is just a glitch, but I love potential stories.

The weather continues to be ridiculous.  It feels like snow is in the air, though none has been forecast for round here.  My snow senses may be off, though, as I am very tired and my shoulders are really, really painful.  Both have been dislocated, the left one has been dislocated three times, and it feels like they have been knocked.  DH suggested that it may be the coughing I've done as the cough has been spectacularly dramatic (not serious).


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

More Shopping Dodged

Normally I get in some yarn for a project for over Christmas.  I have a dreadful record for actually finishing any of them.  Somewhere there is a tiny baby's jacket I started for bear back in 2007.  I think I did the back and the left front.

This year I considered what I should do.  I could look on eBay, I could look on Marriners Yarns or Deramores.

I decided that actually I have eleventy projects already waiting to go, so I'll stick with what I've got in.  Besides, I can't wait to get going with them.  It's just making time.  As I am spending a lot of time doing nothing atm I can't justify getting more when I haven't done the stuff I've got already.

Actually looking forward to snuggling down tonight with my knitting as it is dark and stormy outside.
I may be forced to do some actual shopping though as bear is getting too tall for his trousers.  I shall have a rummage and see what he has actually got in the back of his cupboards before I commit.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Unsurprised

I honestly was devastated on Friday when I saw the dreadful news from Paris.  I thought of all the people killed and their devastated and bewildered families.  I thought of the injured and the utter havoc this will cause and the effects they will carry for the rest of their lives.  I thought of those who were physically unharmed but now had to remember the sound of the explosions and the shots and the screams again and again.  I thought of how strong the police and the medics would have to be to gather the remains, some in a very bad way, and try and give some dignity to the dead.

It ripples out.  Concerts have been cancelled in Paris.  I suppose the bands and the venues will have insurance, but how about the cafes that will now have that many fewer patrons?  A few less bieres and croque monsieurs, a few less coffees.  It takes the bite out of the profits of a lot of smaller businesses.  How many people are going to Disneyland Paris now?  How many want to risk the trip on Eurostar?  Rationally it should be the safest time to visit Paris, but this isn't a time when logical thought sounds strongest.  Lives will be a little harder in a city that takes a lot of revenue from tourists and visitors and where times are already tough.

The ripples move out a little further.  Far too many people are looking at Muslims as if they are they enemy.  So Western Muslims who are devastated at the attacks, just the same as I am, now have lives that bit harder.  A beauty salon has banned all Muslims.  I wonder how many other places will follow suit, not publicising it, not shouting about it, just quietly turning away those who do not look Western European with a lame excuse.

Hundreds of people dead or injured.  Thousands of people left traumatised.  Who knows how many taking a financial hit.  And millions of people needlessly smirched because a terrorist group have been violent in the name of a religion that has nothing to do with the slaughter of innocents.

I am unsurprised at the news article about the beauty salon.  I am very saddened.

Potential Shopping

As a result of the wonderful Maths tutor visiting us we can now use the dining room to actually eat it.  Last night we sat down to some disappointing sausages (considering they were advertised as 'finest'), hash browns and baked beans.  We had actual conversation and the condiments weren't shoved all over the place.

Our dining room and kitchen are in what used to be the cellar.  It makes it snug in winter, cool in summer but there is a tendency towards damp and the light isn't good.  We started eating upstairs in the living room when bear was a newborn as I didn't want to carry him down the steep steps to the dining room - and they are steep!  Then father came to live with us and the stairs were definitely too much for him.  Since then I have been failing to catch up, but I am getting closer.  It felt good to eat in the dining room again.

I did notice that the condiments in the plastic box looked limp.


They were in a plastic box to keep them roughly together and to stop the acid from the vinegar, ketchup etc staining stuff.  It didn't look glamorous.  I started planning my shopping.  I could look on eBay and see what was around.  It couldn't be a metal tray to hold them, as vinegar and ketchup are acidic.  There is an urban myth going around about a convict using ketchup to eat through the iron bars of his cell.  I know it is a myth, but I also knew that a metal tray wouldn't stay good for long.  Besides, with all the best intentions, I would never polish it.  I was doubtful about wood as I was concerned it would stain, though I could always embroider a cloth.  Then reality hit.  I had a nice plate that I could use.


I've always been fond of this plate and resisted throwing it out even though I don't really use it.  Except now I do.  So I have a nice place to put the condiments, a use for a plate, and I even got to do some window shopping.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Keeping On

Bear had me up at 1am and 3am, largely to do with not wanting to sleep.  The smoke alarm at the back is going off and has been since 6.30am and is still a nuisance three and a half hours later.  The street looks like this.


The dumping of rubble, rubbish and tarmac continues.  It's all along the street and causing a genuine problem for traffic.  At least now they have put down cones.

It all seems like nothing compared to the stories coming out of Paris.  I'm still praying for them.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Praying for Paris

I don't know why, but it really caught me, all those innocent people caught up when they would least expect it, all those at a music concert, all those at a football match, all those just in the wrong place and the wrong time.

I'm praying for Paris.  I'm praying for those who have been killed or hurt there, their families and friends, the police and medics that are suddenly in a crisis, those that somehow have to keep going on even though they are traumatised to the core.

I am also praying that the politicians and those that make the real decisions don't get caught up in the moment, that they think very hard, that they don't listen to the rabble rousers.  I suspect that some of those who committed such dreadful acts were born in Paris.

I wonder how long before the backlash really hits.  Muslims aren't terrorists in the same way that Christians aren't terrorists.  Idiots are terrorists.  Violent people are terrorists.  The deluded, the sadistic, the ones consumed by hate, they are terrorists.  While I am heartbroken for those hurt and killed in Paris and their families, I am also angry for the thousands of innocent, peaceful Muslims whose lives have just become that little bit harder.

Last night the events took place in Paris.  Their impact will affect the whole world.

Friday, 13 November 2015

What meal plan?

I've given up on proper meal plans but I try and think a day or two ahead.  Tonight we've got 'proper' sausages with baked potatoes and beans on the menu.

Bear has utterly rejected baked potatoes.

Tonight he has managed somehow to demolish two very large easy peeler type satsumas, four chocolate mini rolls and three very mini pizzas since he came home so while he is currently declaring how hungry he is I think he can manage with just proper sausages and beans.  DH and I can share his potato.

I wouldn't say I was a natural with kids, but there are times when they are endlessly entertaining.  This morning there were advanced negotiations about raffle tickets.  Bear was refusing to buy any as the odds were against it.  There were hundreds of raffle tickets for the Children in Need day and besides he had already got £1 ready to hand in for going in plain clothes.  I insisted that he put another £1 in for 4 raffle tickets (I supplied the £1!) because it wasn't the winning but the taking part and some of the raffle funds were for designated school charities (building toilets overseas in places where schools do not have toilets) and some was for Children in Need.  Bear was unimpressed at my lack of understanding of basic probability but I told him to just buy the dratted tickets.

He won a prize.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Sort of Progress

Bear has swapped a pathological and morbid fear of ghosts for a pathological and morbid fear of rabies.

Please let this one pass quickly.

Shopping Fail

For once it is a failure to shop.  Approved Food had free Christmas Crackers if you spent over £25.  I didn't see things I liked that came to £25.

Dumping of construction rubbish then removing it continues.  The view this morning is this




But on the bright side the extremely mild temperatures-normal-for-May weather has allowed this


The winter pansies are looking cheerful.

Now all I need to do is stop coughing long enough to grab a shovel and nick some of the gravel.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Trying Day

I know it could all be worse.  I still feel grumpy.

I had to deal with some letters for father.  One was concerning a pension.  When I rang they confirmed that they had been notified by the government 'tell us once' service, but they didn't take any notice of that.  They had all the details of when father died, they were just still sending me letters about where they should pay his pension.

Then there is a sneaking suspicion that father's mysterious mobile contract is still ongoing, even though we are no longer being asked for money.  I got a letter confirming that they hadn't charged father this month.  It's a relief of sorts.

I had a long and baffling call from Tesco.  They were lovely.  Really lovely.  I am still not exactly sure what was going on because they were treating me with the sort of caution normally saved for people with a chainsaw.  I had asked a minor enquiry about carrier bags, certainly not a complaint.  I think they were used to being shouted at.

Bear intercepted the parcels from Amazon.  When they came through the Royal Mail I knew that they would arrive when bear was at school.  Today bear spotted the van before they had even knocked.  I'm going to have to get the parcels delivered elsewhere, I think, if I carry on getting Christmas and birthday stuff for bear from there.

I have a very convulsive, desperately dramatic cough that is much worse than it sounds but isn't good.  I also have a weak pelvic floor.  I feel up to my eyeballs in yeurk.

And now it looks like the very neat, very tidy maths tutor who is lovely may be coming to us due to building works instead of us going to her.  The house looks like it has repeatedly hit by the completely-inadequate-housewife stick.  It is a state.  It needs to be completely redecorated before she gets here.  I have until Saturday.

On the bright side, bear has almost, very nearly, just about started to finish his homework.

Lists

I have a list of things that need doing in the house.  I think this now needs to have 'fix porch roof' added.  The letters I picked up this morning were extremely soggy and ready for papier mache.  I managed to peel off the envelope on a couple but some were only fit for the bin.  I am still getting letters regarding father and had to ring a pension place.  They had been notified that father had died, and they had recorded the date of death.  However until I did things that I didn't know I needed to do then they were going to continue to send requests for bank details.  I am not taking it personally.

I also am slowly putting together a list of Christmas presents.  Actually most of them are putting money in a card.  However bear needs presents for Christmas and birthday.  He gets his PE bag for school for the rest of the year, books (of course - the shipping order from the Book People online is on its way) and sweeties.  I've got a Doctor Who colouring book on order, a few inexpensive Doctor Who figures from eBay and while I normally don't do clothes for presents I am considering Doctor Who pyjamas.  Bear is getting Liverpool kit for his main birthday present (HOW much!!!!) and the big deal is that he is getting a Kindle Fire tablet for his main Christmas present.

There has been much consideration over this.  However we have talked long and hard and finally agreed.  DH got the tablet through work and set up an Amazon Account just for bear.  It has no method of payment on it, because we are realistic, but we can get bear Amazon gift cards which can be used on the account.  He could save up pocket money and indulgent relatives can buy gift cards for apps, games and even books!

I am expecting a quiet Christmas.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Writing

I've done another story in response to Light and Shade Challenge - here if anyone wants to read it.  Do have a look at the Challenge if you enjoy creative writing.  It's out every Wednesday and all are welcome.

I am in a sticky situation with the Steve Addison stories.  There is a big reveal coming up, and I need it to be part of a novel.  I haven't written this novel yet.  I suppose I had better get moving!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Remembering

I look forward to Remembrance Sunday.  I think it's important to remember those who make our way of life possible, who have laid their lives on the line.

I also remember the phrase 'lions led by donkeys'.

The armistice that stopped the fighting of WWI was signed on 11 November 1918 at 11am local time.  The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month was so striking.  However negotiations had been going on for some time.  There is a good chance that peace could have broken out a lot earlier and a lot of lives saved.  According to official records over 10,000 soldiers on all sides died, were injured or reported missing on 11 November 1918.  Some will have died due to their injuries received earlier in the war.  However, sadly, some died because they were shot on that last morning.

Not only that, but the armistice was not a peace treaty.  It was a truce.  Between the understandable bitterness of the French and the idealism of the USA unused to the politics of Europe, it was desperately flawed.  The peace treaties that followed at the Paris Peace Conference were equally flawed.  There was a feeling from the French that the Germans should pay.  There was a feeling from the Germans that they had been betrayed by their politicians, the same politicians that limped along until Hitler came along and took advantage of that feeling of betrayal.

I believe we should remember the courage of those who died in wars defending us.  I think it is more important to remember the utter stupidity that got us into those wars in the first place.  The first Armistice Day, the first 11th day of the 11th month, was after WWI, a destructively pointless and avoidable war fueled by generals and politicians who ignored military and political developments from the last fifty years and repeated the horrors on a much larger scale.

Worse than that, the slaughter, horror and pointless waste led good men to sit on their hands during the 1930s as bad men planned for war.

I really believe it is important to remember, not just the sound of the last post and the sadness of those dead and injured, but why every politician wants to be seen with a poppy on Remembrance Sunday.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Remember Remember

Bonfire Night is a good night for me to remember.  Father was always around for the fireworks.  He was in the Royal Engineers and had training at blowing things up.

However Bonfire Night always reminds me of evil cat.  When malevolent cat was scowling under a desk and psycho cat was shaking behind the sofa, evil cat was on the windowsill, enjoying the displays.  She really loved fireworks.  If there was a thunderstorm she used to run up the stairs to get a better view of the lightning.

I don't miss her trying to push me off the bed, off the chair, stealing, ambushing, and her general destruction.  She was elderly when I started blogging but when she was a kitten she was a whirlwind.  We had to have a special toilet roll holder to hold and hide the toilet paper because evil cat saw it as her arch enemy and shredded paper products.  You would go in to use the facilities and find she had turned the toilet paper to confetti which was no use at all.  She used to do the same for kitchen roll as well.

I miss having cat stories.  I am not sure how much I miss having cats.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Another Minor Grumble

Look what has appeared over the road...


This could seriously affect my ability to get Tesco deliveries as it takes up a fair part of the road.

Grumble, grumble, grumble...

Hopefully they will come along and do as they said and take it away at the end of the week, perhaps with some bits left to fill in the puddles.

Feeling Pathetic

The doctor has checked - yes it is a nasty cough, no it isn't in my lungs.  Bear was fussed.

I worry about bear.  He was fussing about me so much yesterday.  He gets anxious in his own way.  I wish I knew what to do for the best.

As for looking for things, there are two issues in this house.  The first is the issue of bear.  Bear doesn't look.  His eyes move around sometimes but he doesn't see anything.  During the intense and detailed negotiations over homework at the weekend he wailed, 'I can't find my bookbag anywhere so how am I supposed to do my homework?'  I was standing two feet away.  I reached beside him and picked up the bag lying next to him in full view.

There is a book by Mrs C S Peel about recipes for Ten Shillings a Head per Week.  In it she writes a phrase, 'Threats and entreaties are alike in vain.'  I really know that feeling.  I have cajoled, coaxed, begged, pleaded and threatened bear.  I have been very clear, 'If I go upstairs and find your shoes straight away, I'll be cross.'  Then I stump upstairs, pick up his shoes that are in plain sight and stump down again.  Bear will look shamefaced, mutter sorry and then forget it.  This morning he managed to find one shoe but completely and utterly had an epic fail at finding the other.  It was next to the first shoe but two inches back.  At the moment the biggest project is getting bear to leave his shoes in the same place every night.  Currently that is an epic fail.

The other issue about finding things is quite frankly I am away with the fairies.  I feel like I should be over my father's death, but it still catches up with me now and again.  I think that is why I found the teabags in the drawer where I normally keep my shoe polish.  I'll catch up eventually.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Very Minor Cough Continues

I feel a fraud.  People like Bless have real health issues.  This is just a cough.  It has slowed me down a little.  No writing, but some useful thinking time.  I think bear is getting anxious.  He really hasn't coped well with losing father.  So I have a doctor's appointment at 7.50am tomorrow.

Otherwise, things are fine.  Bear has found his book bag that mysteriously vanished in school yesterday.  Apparently it was in his drawer when he looked this morning and then bear shared a very long and complicated story which mean he had looked, really, and it wasn't his fault.  At least at this time of year I have a good chance of keeping his sweaters.  It is cool enough that he leaves them on all day.  I have got very good at the quick glance to see if bear is coming out with all that he should.

I'm not so good at remembering to send things in.  By the end of the week I am supposed to be sending in magazines.  I wonder how many people are in my position.  All the magazines I buy, I want to keep.  They have knitting patterns or interesting articles about Viking long ships.  Most people look online for the gossip stuff anyway.  I wonder if I am the only parent considering picking up the cheapest magazine at the newsagents tomorrow - that is, the cheapest respectable magazine.  I shall have a rummage round.  I wonder if catalogues count as it is for collages.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Fail Day

Today has been a fail.  A lot of people are sick or troubled at the moment.  There are several blogs I follow where the poor people have really been struggling with serious issues.  One neighbour is still poorly in intensive care after weeks and weeks.  There are so many images on the news of the tough times people are having.  I have a cough.

I can't take it too seriously.  It is fairly impressive and I am struggling to move around much.  Bear has given me a serious lecture on going to the Doctor which seriously impressed me.   It is noisy and draining and I wheeze and have to give up talking after a sentence or two.  It's still not that bad.  The worst thing about it is that I have a weak pelvic floor.  This may be too much information but I have been spending a lot of time with my legs crossed just in case.

So it's been a self indulgent fail day.  Hopefully I can be of more use tomorrow.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Write a Novel in November

Every year there is a National Write a Novel in a Month in November event.  If you are interested, have a look here.  I think it is awesome.

I'm not doing it.  I have more writing works in progress than I have half finished knitting projects - and my knitting takes up several cupboards!  But it is a great idea.  It is supportive, it is encouraging, and even if nothing comes of it in November you may end up winning literary prizes with something that started off there.

However I am going to be aiming for their target - 50,000 words in November.  Last time I tried that it all went horribly wrong, but it has to be worth another try.  I'll keep updating the totals.  So far today I've written nothing.  There's time yet.

If anyone else gets into it, please bob in comments if you want encouragement or just to nail your colours to the mast and say 'I'm going for it!'  Good luck to anyone signing up.  I hope you have an awesome time and great success.