Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Feeling the Cold

My nose is looking a lot less like Frankenstein's monster, so I'm keeping it all crossed.  However it is a lot more sensitive to cold, and it is now officially cold.  The local council issued an amber warning that there may be colder than average weather this week.  To those of you who live in places where it gets actually cold, try not to snigger too much.  It has been frosty.  Last night when I went to put the bin out for collection, the lid was frozen shut.  As last winter was notoriously warm it has come as something of a shock.

I think it has seen off the fuschia.  If you remember how vibrant it was here,


Well now it looks very drained


The flowers are looking very faded.

It feels the time of year to snuggle down and make the home cosy.  That's the plan for tomorrow.  I also want to look out my extra blankets.  It feels like we may need them.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Bear is Almost Quiet

I can't whistle, no matter how hard I try.  Perhaps it's just as well.  When I was around four or five I remember my late grandmother trying to explain to me why I shouldn't whistle.  Looking back I think she was trying to explain that only lesbians whistled.  It made as much sense then as it does now - none at all.

Bear can't whistle either.  DH has done his best to teach bear but without any luck.  Bear, however, has learned that he can make a sort of whistling noise by sucking air in.  He has been off school today as they enforce a strict 48 rule so I have listened to the sound of bear almost whistling all day.  It has been tough.

Fortunately bear is in school tomorrow.  Hopefully I can start the pre-Christmas clean, sort out the doctors and generally catch up.  At least my knee is a lot better.  

Monday, 28 November 2016

Mixed Weekend

I was up until daft o'clock Friday night, but I managed to get a delivery slot for 23 December from Tesco.  I've bunged some stuff in to hold my place but I'll be getting a lot in the run up, just to be on the safe side.  The way I see it, getting frozen sprouts, Christmas pudding and such like in before the absolute manic rush makes things a lot easier.  btw Tesco are doing a very pleasant looking three bird roast that is gluten free, so that looks like Boxing Day's dinner.


Then I had to be up early as I was doing the lucky dip at the Methodist Church Christmas Fair.  The fair was awesome, but I was shattered at the end.  It was surprisingly successful, and I will be happy to run it again.

Of course, while I was running the stall I had a huge red scab on the tip of my nose as I woke up with a sort of skinned space where my skin graft used to be.  I need to try and get hold of a doctor, but it isn't bleeding or too sore so it can wait until bear is better.

I had a very quiet Sunday, partly because walking is a challenge.  I've done something interesting to my knee.  I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep, which was a shame as bear started being sick at 2am and carried on.

On the bright side, I've nearly finished the blanket for uncle.

Now I am off to cancel the light fitters that are supposed to be here tomorrow as I cannot face them with a vomiting bear, even though I am desperate for lights that let me see.

It could all be a lot worse, though, and so I plan to crack on with the knitting and enjoy shedloads of Arrow.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

I Have a New Shower!

Today I finally got a decent working shower.  Truth be told, we've needed a new shower for years, now we have one.  It's wonderful.  Not only does it have constant pressure, it also stays at the same temperature all the time!  It's installation was almost painless, though I'm still wincing at the cost.

Now I need to worry about what to get bear for Christmas and his birthday.  I pointed out to him tonight that his bedroom is full and he hasn't actually asked for anything.  Bear is considering his options.  I have books stashed for him and a few toys, but it's going to look a bit thin.  The trick of wrapping fancy sharpeners and cute shaped rubbers isn't going to get me far this year as he has a drawer full of the dratted stuff.  If his birthday was more than a week away from Christmas then it would be a lot easier.

I think I will look carefully at my options and then suggest that everyone gets him Amazon vouchers that he can use throughout the year.  It may not be a lot of big boxes but it's better than getting him stuff for the sake of it.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

What School Would Like

Grumble grumble grumble...

School have sent home two letters.  Letter number one says that they are having a Christmas jumper day on 14 December and can the children either wear a Christmas jumper or a brighly coloured jumper.  That's plenty of notice, really, and they were very clear that we didn't need to buy one.  The trouble is,  I don't think bear has a sweater that qualifies.  We don't bother with Christmas sweaters so much.  I quite like seeing them on other people but  DH doesn't wear sweaters at all, I begrudge buying a sweater that will be bought to wear once a year and bear takes after his father and doesn't bother much with any sweater ever.  Sometimes he wears a hoodie on his way to football, but hoodies aren't allowed in school.  Bear and I have discussed this, and he agreed that I will try and find him a bright sweater.  It's still not going to get much wear but at least a little more than one with a flashing Rudolph.  I'm putting a note in my diary to look for Christmas sweaters on eBay in January in bear's next size up, just in case.

Letter number two is asking for £12 for the ukele lessons that the school are providing for all of bear's class.  It is marginally better than the recorder but I'm not a fan.  Besides, I can only get bear to practice the piano under strict duress so I don't know how much twanging he'll do.  Still, it's free lessons and it won't hurt.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Trying to be Positive

Today I went to the lymphodema clinc for my first appointment.  I got a list of how I need to lose weight (heck, yes!), move more (double heck, yes!) and take care of my skin.  They are holding off any prescribed support stuff until I've been cleared for Bowen's disease which is a different form of skin cancer.  The stuff on my leg looks a lot worse than the pictures on the NHS website, but it may just be eczema.  If it is Bowen's disease, it still isn't as scary as it sounds.  It's just going to be another round of hospital appointments, really.

Tonight I'm going to allow myself a small pity party.  Tomorrow I need to work out what I am going to do - and move more!  Until then, let me share one of my favourite pictures.  I plan to channel this cattitude.

I Have Had Better Days

I had just written out a long, depressing pity party.  I read it back and decided that actually, things could be worse and I'll start again tomorrow.

Hugs to all who need them.  Also, here is a picture of a rainbow

Image from WikiCommons taken by Georges Noblet and used under the Creative Commons Agreement.

Also, kittens.


Much better use of a blog post.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Another Mum Fail

I failed to track the location of bear's football shorts.  He has football tomorrow and will need to go in with proper football socks, boots, shorts and t-shirt.  I hadn't kept track of which random location bear had left his clothes.

First Mum Fail - I haven't trained bear to leave his clothes in the dirty clothes basket.  Most of the time they make it to the basket or a pile near the washer, but it's not 100%.  This does not apply to socks.  Bear sheds his socks in strange and mysterious places.  I have found them in every room in the house.  It's a work in progress.

Second Mum Fail - I didn't mentally track where the shorts were.  Normally I have an idea of where stuff ends up.  For example, bear's school sweaters rarely get taken off at night.  They are usually either brought home in bear's bag or taken off as he gets in.  For some reason they home to a gap between the piano and the piano stool so I regularly have a quick look there.  The shorts weren't there.

Third Mum Fail - I sent bear to look for the shorts in his bedroom.  He came down with the socks but looked mournfully at me as he said that there was no trace of his shorts anywhere.  The fail was that I didn't go up, stand over him and enforce him looking.

Fourth Mum Fail - I went and found them for him.  They were in the middle of his bedroom floor, of course, and while I did pull his leg, he still got me to look for things.

Fifth Mum Fail - I have been yelling at him - sometimes literally - to shut the door behind him whenever he enters or leaves a room since he was old enough to go into a room without me.  He'll be 10 in less than six weeks and I still haven't got through to him.

I need to raise my game.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Bathroom Battle

The shower isn't working.  We need a new one.  The one we have is around fifteen years old and was cheap, cheap, cheap to start with.  I had been holding out until we could afford to do the whole bathroom, but we can't last any more.  I mean, we could do baths or strip washes, but bear comes in late from football some nights and he really needs a quick hose down before straight to bed.  Of course, the shower is a lot less expensive than a bath as well.

I spent most of Wednesday and yesterday trying to find someone who would do this.  Not only did I have to stop them selling to me, I had to get them to ring me back.  I had one firm casually insist that I use their recommended shower at £250 plus VAT.  However at this point I had checked out Which's site which recommends good buys and one that I quite liked came in at £103, which is a lot less expensive.  The lady on the phone, who was very nice, gave me two options.  I could get the shower by tomorrow and have it fitted by them or they could fit their own brand by tomorrow.  I suggested option 3 - I found someone else.

I finally got a visit this afternoon and hopefully we should have a shower installed some time next week.

btw we have had sleet, cold rain, a few flakes of snow and general meh.  So here is a picture of my warmth-loving, frost sensitive, only just about hardy enough to grow in Yorkshire fuschia.


It's as bright as ever.  I blame father, who planted this monster when it was a small stick.  Other people have fuschias that are frost tender and need to be brought in.  I think this will survive anything.  We had one when we were growing up (which father also planted) that was supposed to be only grown in a sheltered spot.  Hah!  It grew so big it cracked a soil pipe, which didn't help, and we had to hack it back twice a year to let the postman through.  It grew bigger than most of the local laburnams and was the King Kong of garden plants.  Cuttings taken by my mother after the divorce never grew larger than twigs.  I think this is going the same way.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

More Bear News

Bear went to football today and won a trophy.  It isn't a 'winning something as part of a team' type thing, more like a 'came top three in a challenge this week' type thing and I am still soooooo proud of him.

Mind you, he has also lost his maths homework.

All normal for a nine year old!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Bear has got a new computer game.  It is a truck simulator.  Bear went through the demo twice and then, after DH bought the actual game, has played it non stop.  The game is simple.  You drive a lorry, or truck, around the UK and Europe.  For example, he apparently took a shipment of watermelons from Newcastle (I'm sure they don't grow watermelons there) to Amsterdam for one of the trips.  Obviously there are factors like prices, routes, damages, etc.  There are controls for driving and bear has been responsible for quite a bit of (virtual) property damage while working it all out.

As he is only ten next month I am quite glad that he isn't begging to try Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed (I really, really stick to age ratings) but a truck simulator?  There aren't any swords!  Still, bear will like what he likes and I'll do what I can to work with it.  Apparently there are train driving simulators out there as well but I'm not mentioning those.

And a picture to remind me what is important.


We are very lucky to have the freedoms we have, and people have died protecting them.  It's good to remember that.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Bear's Mixed Day

Poor bear.  First he was forced to leave the house to go with us to Tesco.  I needed the click and collect vacuum picking up (again) and this time it was here.  Bear did not approve.  He did not want go out at all, least of all to a boring shop.  Then, to add to the indignity, we forced him to go to the pictures.  Bear told us afterwards that he had not enjoyed a single moment of Doctor Strange.  I suspect that if we had watched it at home he may have enjoyed it more.

And then we nearly forced him to come for a meal out, before DH and I decided we were okay skipping a meal because we weren't really hungry.

On the bright side, bear got to cuddle next door's cat.  I haven't seen such a virulent attack of cat worship for a long time.  The cat is from next door but two, cute as you like and bear was besotted.  Bear was happy, especially when the cat tried to come in our house.  DH was less happy.

Bear is still under the weather - he went straight to bed around 8pm after just picking at his dinner so I'll keep an eye on him.

I loved Doctor Strange.  I thought Benedict Cumberbatch was superb.  He is splendid as someone hugely intelligent and arrogant, and if you haven't seen it and want to, watch out for the cloak.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Learning from the Past

First the important thing


Next, do you remember me talking about seeing a YouTube tutorial about fabric impregnated with wax to use as reusable food covers?  There's a link to one of them here and another here.  You can even buy them ready made, though I didn't find many links about how to clean them.

Today I was ready Dorothy Hartley's book on medieval England.  She was definitely someone who understood the real world, so while she may have spent her life poring over manuscript illustrations and accounts she could also relate to how thatching or drying feathers or cutting bracken fitted into to rural life centuries ago.  According to her, they soaked linen cloth in beeswax to make food coverings over four hundred years ago.

Truly there is nothing new under the sun.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Another Day, Another Mystery Pain

The thing about snow, it is a wonderful plot device.  There are always tracks.  I found these at tea time last night.



It isn't the effect of drips as there is nothing overhead.  So is it rats, starlings or a local cat?

I've done something to my arm.  Yesterday lunch time my arm felt fine.  Yesterday tea time I could barely move it.  I can't brush my hair properly and dressing is a challenge.  I keep having to literally pick my right arm up with my left arm and move it over to the keyboard if I want to do any typing, but I can type.  I ought to be doing some right now.

I've been speaking to someone at father's old church.  I'm doing the bran tub at the Christmas Fair, apparently.  I don't mind, but I have never done a bran tub.  My friend, eBay, has been really helpful with some cheap stocking filler type stuff for kids.  I can get some soaps from my friend as well, but if anyone has any ideas for adult bran tub that are extemely inexpensive I will be grateful

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Snow - Not Amused

We have snow.  I can't remember much snow at all last year.  I don't approve of it at all.  There may not be much, but there is still too much for me.  There is snow on the lavender


And I suppose we can say goodbye to the fuschia until spring


I know that anyone who comes from a country where you get actual snow in quantity will be sniggering, but I loathe the stuff.  I haven't got my bulbs in either.

Apparently the Met Office has given a warning that the next few months will be a little colder than average.  This is the same organisation that predicted a BBQ summer (which was a washout) and told viewers in October 1987 not to worry about the wind (anyone remember the Great Storm?).  According to the BBC, 1,200 troops have been put on standby to deal with weather related problems. This has not cheered me up.  

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Bear's Reward

Bear did not get a reward for parent's evening as he hadn't been trying.  On Friday he brought home a certificate to say he had been in the Special Book - for working on his handwriting!  His handwriting can be truly appalling and was one of the things that the teacher had talked about, along with general lack of effort.  Bear had worked hard, got recognition, and today a computer game landed.

Bear took some time to work it out, but he is currently settled down with it.  I'm making the most of it.

Regarding reusable stuff, one thing that I perhaps spent more on than is technically justified is two of these - a big one and a small one.


I use them instead of cling film when covering dishes in the microwave.  I also use them instead of pan lids.  I got rid of all my pan lids, and I was glad to see the back of them, to be honest.  The silicone covers are washable, easy to store, make an excellent seal, rarely boil over and take a lot less space.  I ought to use it more as they are an airtight seal (as far as I can tell) when it comes to bowls of stuff etc.  You can make home made and reusable cling film, but I'm not up for that.  It involves melted beeswax and I am not safe with hot liquids like that.

Sharon - you are on Season 4 of the Arrow?!?  I think I may have got as far as Season 2 (it really was a shocking headache) but we watched another last night and I think I am okay with concentrating on my knitting, looking up for bare chest, concentrating on my knitting, looking up for awesome and implausible action sequence, concentrating on knitting...  It's a strange world where they have awesome computers but extremely limited fingerprint technology.  I really don't think I'm the target audience.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Random is as Random Does

Sharon - Looking back, he has his shirt off a surprising amount of time.  He has also perfected the art of looking Noble while Suffering and Being Misunderstood because of his Secret.  I watched so many, maybe ten, under the headache.  I don't think it would be a problem for sons and husbands to watch it, but whether it's due to the headache or something else, I am left with an impression of Noble Suffering, man without shirt and implausible archery.  I can't remember much plot.  That's okay.  The man without a shirt made up for a lot.


Though to be quite honest, I quite like his look when 'dressed'.


I'm not putting up a picture of him being Noble and Suffering as it depresses me, but you can probably get the idea from laxative adverts.  I shouldn't be snippy.  It's a good show, and (I think - headache) it promotes good values and the action sequences are (apparently - headache) out of this world.  I may not be the target audience.

Bear is not well.  I'm not sure what it is, but he went to sleep on the sofa at 5pm (five in the afternoon, not a typo) and only woke up briefly for dinner.  He was a little brighter this morning and went into school, but I think we need a weekend without anything.  It may well be nothing more than feeling fed up with the season and a growth spurt.

I failed with the home made soup last night.  I hope to be better tonight.  I had misread the recipe and hadn't allowed enough time. Tonight I am prepared.

Something has happened to my one pair of trainers that fit and they are rubbing a hole in my heel.  This morning I couldn't bear to put them on and dropped bear off at school while wearing my slippers.  I can't remember the last time I wore actual shoes, so I shall have to have a rummage to see if I could find them.

It's been a random day so far.  I found a YouTube video promoting reusable toilet paper.  I think this is a step too far for me.  I'll stick to having rags for kitchen cleaning.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Another Day, Another Pootle

I'm on day four of the headache.  It's being giving me problems and today is a lot better, though it still hurts to move.  I haven't been able to do much, not even knit!  I have been browsing the internet.  I did some binge watching of Arrow.  Unfortunately my head was really bad so I have no idea what's happening except an impression of an implausibly amazing bow and arrow and a lot of scenes where the hero has his shirt off.  It could be worse.

Today I found this in the Daily Mail (I really need to stop reading it, but I read so little fiction as it is...).  It is an article about how dreadful wipes are to the environment and what you can use instead.  It even includes baby wipes in the list.  This is surprising.  Not because of the baby wipes themselves but because the article includes a video showing how to curl your hair using baby wipes.  I have seen YouTube videos like this and instructables about reusable kitchen roll, where snaps are sewn onto squares of cloth which can be joined together and then wound around a kitchen roll dispenser instead of using kitchen towel.  I've got a box with ratty cloths in suitable for most mop ups.  I don't think I'm a Martha Stewart type.

If anyone has tried those 're-usable cloths on a roll' type things, are they worth it?