Tuesday, 28 February 2017

We had Pancakes!

I did pancakes.  Bear said that he wasn't looking forward to them as he had had too many of them last summer and had become sickened by them.  I said that it was Pancake Day, he could put maple syrup on it and get over it.  We were having pancakes when he got home as a snack then we would have a proper dinner.  So I actually made the actual pancakes without burning anything and bear tucked in.  Half an hour later he asked me to make another batch.  I was a cruel mother and made him wait until after dinner.  He strongly suggested that they would be perfect tomorrow.  I am not rushing into it, though they are a great snack.

Dinner was bought falafel (which were very pleasant) with samphire (meant to go with the mackerel yesterday but I forgot it), steamed cauliflower and roasted carrot, parsnip and onion.  I weakened and got another veg box.  We will never get through it.  If I trusted my freezer more, or if I could actually use it, then I'd make a shedload of soup and stash it for lunches.  Tomorrow I am facing a marrow.  It isn't big enough to stuff, and I'm not making chutney or jam as I can't be trusted with boiling sugar.  I found a recipe for marrow cake (here, if you're interested) but I can't face it.  I feel deep in my soul that some things should never be made into cake and marrow is one of those things.  I also have half a cauliflower that is bigger than most of the cauliflower in the shops and DH and I can't have cheese.  We may be looking at cauliflower 'rice'.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Fishy!

Bear loves fish.  Morrisons do a very good range of very fresh fish.  I had a Morrisons delivery today and it included four fresh mackerel fillets.  They looked very nice indeed.  I was still apprehensive.

Years and years ago, when I was around seven, we had a wonderful camping holiday in Port Patrick, in Western Scotland.  It was a quiet fishing village and the rain came in with the tide every afternoon.  It was the best holiday I can ever remember.  There were rocks to play on, minature golf (I took a shot for my brother and got a hole in one but didn't manage to make it in less than three for myself) a wonderful harbour and lots of beautiful countryside and sandy beaches.  I found this picture on WikiCommons, taken in 2016, and it hasn't changed much.  You may like to click on the link to see the picture full size as it is beautiful.


One day father bought four mackerel from the fishing boats as they came in, so the mackerel were the freshest you can get.  I think he paid 10p each, a bargain even in those days, and they were a good size.  Mother insisted that she was not cleaning them.  I insisted that I was - right up to the moment when father cut their heads off!  After that, I stayed completely out of the way,  I was having nothing to do with them.  I couldn't even look at them.  It was the first time I had ever been squeamish and I recoiled!  Mother coated them in batter, which I now realise was sacrilege, and fried them.  I couldn't manage a mouthful.  I have never been keen on mackerel since.

To be honest, I don't like fish, and oily fish really doesn't agree with me, but bear loves fish, it's good for him and I wanted him to try something new.  I put the mackerel on the order.

DH was a hero and pan fried the fillets.  They were beautiful and fresh, DH and bear commented on how tasty they were, they looked amazing.  I couldn't eat any.  I think they were too rich for bear as he complained about tummy ache all evening.  DH also said that they were very rich, though good.  If we have mackerel again I will try and find a different way to cook them.

The kitchen stinks.  It smells absolutely foul.  I've had a window open and I've left cut onions around.  I've thrown all the scraps and packaging out into the outside bin.  I haven't any cloves to simmer on the stove.  I'm going to pick them up tomorrow, as I suspect the mackerel will be making its presence felt for a few days yet.

I can't remember who asked, I grew up in Ellesmere Port.  I used to love going with my grandmother to Brombrough to visit her friends and when she went to her bank in Rock Ferry.  I left there in the eighties, but I still get homesick sometimes.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Dull Day

It has been a lovely quiet day.  I've found out that a 5kg bag of rice can cost more per kilo than a half kg bag.  I've had my subscribe and save parcel from Amazon which was incredibly well wrapped and I won't need to get wrapping paper for a while.  I've already ironed the brown paper and I'm thinking of the best way to store the bubble wrap.  I'm not entirely convinced that the subscribe and save is a good deal and I think I will revisit it.

I've knitted a few inches of blanket, watched some craft videos and generally chilled.  Bear has been practically boneless as he's been so chilled and DH has done some serious relaxing.  We finished by reading a chapter of 'King Solomon's Mines' and I think that is definitely a story we are going to read in full soon.

It's been a lovely day, but dull to write about.  I hope I will be back with something more interesting tomorrow.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Another Mirror Fail

The local cats are not affected by mirrors.  Once again I went out to find the little mirrors knocked over and a 'message'.  It was a mountainous 'message'.  They had either been on a high fibre diet or had been saving up for a week.  Bear and DH are helping by eating oranges so I can put the peel out.  I'm not confident about this.  Evil cat once licked olbas oil from my hand.  I think this is war.

In good news, DH found my black pudding (not a euphemism).  It was in the fridge, just where I had left it.  What can I say?  At least I hadn't left it in the washing machine.

Friday, 24 February 2017

I Lost My Black Pudding

I lost my black pudding.  That is not a euphemism.  I was raised in the North West of England and it's something that was always in the background.  I quite liked it now and again.


About a year ago I thought I would quite like a small slice and that is when I found that the standard black pudding has gluten.  It's funny how when something is forbidden it suddenly becomes so desirable.  A nice component of a full English suddenly looked a lot tastier.

I have found that Morrisons do a gluten free black pudding.  Yesterday I cut a few slices, about a quarter of it, and heated them through on the griddle.  I really enjoyed it.  It was on the bland side compared to the slices we used to get from the local butcher on the Wirral, but it hit the spot.

I can't find the rest of it anywhere.  I have searched, but yesterday my mind was elsewhere and all I know is that three quarters of a black pudding didn't make it back to the fridge.  I remember at one point I tried to put it in the drawer where I keep the plastic bags, but it's a blur afterwards.

I'm going to have to pull the kitchen to pieces.  It's most likely that I threw it out in a fit of insanity but I can't risk finding a decomposing black pudding down the back of the baked beans in a month's time.  I am also really sad, because it was so lovely to have it when I thought it was a taste that I'd never have again.

So there is a bright side - the kitchen will be a lot cleaner and probably emptier.  Also, Morrisons will deliver on Monday with an order that includes a gluten free black pudding.  I shall take good care of it.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Mirror Fail

Next door but two have two cats which roam at all times and in all weathers and flinch every time they see me.  This could be because I have grumbled about their habit of using my garden as a toilet and made dark and detailed threats against them, but other cats have pegged me as a complete softy who wouldn't hurt a whisker so I think they are just not good with humans.

Malevolent cat was terrified of mirrors.  Absolutely terrified.  We found this out when we took a mirror down and propped it against a wall for a few days until someone came around to pick it up.  Malevolent cat freaked.  She hissed, spat, growled and bounced around on straight legs like an evil tigger.  We ended up putting a table cloth over the mirror before she exploded.  While it was there, Malevolent cat kept sneaking up to the cloth covered shape, peeking under the cloth and running away.  I remembered that and purchased (from my friend eBay) some small, acrylic mirror tiles that I hoped would have the same effect on the gruesome twosome.  I've propped some against the trunk of the tree in the tub, which was getting targetted, plus some propped near where they were 'using' the flowerbed, so that they got an unexpected reflection.  I was hoping to hear the sounds of cat constipation.  Instead it's blowing wildly and the things won't stay up.  I shall keep propping them up and hoping the wind dies down.

Speaking of the weather, like the rest of the UK we are being hit by serious winds.  We are on the edge of what they think is the worst of it, and it is bad enough!  So today of all days I finally get around to making the half hour each way walk to the local greengrocer.  I had heard good things and I wasn't disappointed.  It is next to a very nice butchers where they were selling venison!  I thought that was quite upmarket for this area, but it did look nice.  I have no idea what I would do with venison, so stuck to buying half a pound of mince and some bacon.  I need to make this a regular walk, but hopefully in better weather.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lucets are dangerous

I still haven't sewn up the lucet chain I made for a rag rug.  I did find the lucet incredibly calming.  I've just no idea what to do with the result.  I still went and got this...



The two legs are the prongs which you lucet with - like the prongs below, except that the cat is around a quarter of the size.


In a very small time (when I still should have been doing other things) I had this.


I may make placemats.

Bear had his hair cut today.  I told him he was now old enough to chose his own style.  He got a fairly straightforward short back and sides, a little longer on the top, and looked gorgeous.  I may be a little biased here, lol!  Bear's hair is awesome.  It is thick, straight and tangle free.  He never combs his hair.  He never needs to.  He doesn't get bed-head or tangles - just straight hair lying perfectly flat.  I am envious.

Tonight I am determined not to cruise YouTube trying to work out what I can do to lucet cord.  Sarah Head had some great ideas in her comment on the post about the big lucet here (and a great book recommendation) but tonight I am also ignoring them.  I have spent the last two weeks fighting with a story that I hope to submit to a magazine and it has been fighting back - and winning.  I think I may have cracked it and then I can get back to the White Hart - apologies for the gap!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Bear has Been to the Dentist

Father used to look at bear and tell me that bear had been here before, that he had an old soul.  Sometimes I worry that I expect too much of him.  He's an only child who spends a lot of time with older parents so he's bound to seem a lot older than ten.  He did complain with some heat about the dentist talking to him as if he was two years old, so I suspect he feels a lot older than his years.  Still, he came away with a clean bill of dental health so that's fine.

I wonder how long it will be before he went to the dentist by himself.  One of his classmates goes to school by himself already.  I'm not sure if the school know.  They are very strict in the early years but next year he is supposed to go on his own.  Bear might as well start going on his own now.  It is literally yards from our door to the school gate, bear is pretty good with roads and as soon as we get near to the school he forgets I exist so it's not as if he needs me there.  I'm holding out for a little while longer.

I visited uncle today.  He didn't recognise me - he has vascular dementia.  The doggy cuddles I got going through the park didn't really make up for it, though they were very pleasant.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Spending Again

To be fair to myself, this is something that really caught DH and bear's attention.  I'm using the picture from one of the eBay listings as all you can see next to ours is the dust on top of the fire.


It really does go like that.  You need special incense cones which allow the smoke to drift down and pool at the bottom.  Ours overflowed and it cascaded all over the fire - adding to the dust.  It's not very good at scenting the room.  It just smells of burning but it looks awesome.  I imagine it will be shown off to a lot of people over the next few weeks.  I don't know how much it will be used long term but it's coming out every Halloween!

Bear has airily talked about reading Treasure Island but he hasn't cracked open the Kindle app today.  However we had a rousing chapter from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World tonight, so he's getting exposed to the right stuff.  I think it depends who he can show off to.  There is a chance he may be able to show off his piano playing at the weekend and he is not only practising the piece but he is practising it properly and more than once!

I have had a thumping headache all day, so I've had a distinct lack of achievement.  I'll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

YouTube is Probably My New BFF

As I have often said, eBay is my friend.  It looks like YouTube may be going the same way.  It encourages me in dangerous ways.  I've just seen a YouTube tutorial about making a basket out of braided rope.  I could do the same with a lucet cord made of rags.  I really, really like the lucet, but this is the first thing apart from a rug that I've seen that would be worth it for me.  Nothing in my stash is really suitable for the rag rug, though, so that means I am looking at buying desperately inexpensive polycotton.  I need to step away from the 'Buy' button.  I also really, really, really need to not start another project before finishing off some of the other outstanding stuff.  I've found some interesting cleaning tips on there, though, so it's not entirely a waste of time.  I just need to actually do some cleaning to use them.

On the bright side, while we failed to get a physical copy of The Prisoner of Zenda for bear, we loaded up the Kindle Reader on bear's PC and downloaded a free copy.  He is also dipping into Treasure Island.  I don't know how much he will actually read.  He is still only just 10 and the language of Treasure Island is very different from the language that modern children's books use.  If you compare Dickens with Rick Riordan (who writes the incredibly awesome Percy Jackson books) they are very different.  Bear seems to be okay, but I'm not pushing him.

It's back to school tomorrow.  Bear is downcast.  I will breathe a sigh of relief and use some of the YouTube cleaning techniques.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

My Lucet.

Sarah - here is a picture of my lucet with the first braid.  It's @ eight and one half inches long and chunky.  I got it from Amazon.


I've really enjoyed using the lucet, but I have no use for the thing apart from rag rugs.  Your stuff sounds awesome.  If anyone else is considering using a lucet, it's great but you end up with loads of cord.  One vital hint that I didn't find in YouTube videos but worked out for myself half way through the first braid - if you have to break off because of bear, DH, delivery or in general then winding an elastic band around the tips of the lucet will stop the smooth yarn or strips of fabric sliding off the smooth lucet.

I need excuses to make more rag rugs.  I have limited places to put them.  I'll think of something.  I suppose I'll have to sew this one together before I do anything else.  I really need to stay away from the YouTube craft tutorials.  They look like they can be expensive.  At the moment we are trying to work out what to do for the best for bear that doesn't involve spoiling him (which I suspect is too late) but we may end up paying out.  

We are currently reading a A Boy's Book of Adventure Stories, which is a collection of stories and excerpts from books that are out of copyright.  So far we've had a fight from Lorna Doone, we've had the death of Bill Sykes from Oliver Twist, we've had The Hand by Maupassant (which scared me more than bear) and we have just taken three nights to work through the start of the Prisoner of Zenda.  Bear enjoyed the Prisoner of Zenda, and would like to read it by himself.  We don't have a copy. 

We could get bear an inexpensive ebook version for his kindle fire but we don't allow the kindle upstairs or at bedtime which is the time and place bear normally reads.  I've dug out father's old kindle, but it isn't working.  If we get bear a kindle it costs a lot more than the kindle fire we got him at Christmas 2015 (though that was an awesome deal) and which he hasn't really used much.  There are a lot of awesome books that are free on Amazon, including The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (a snippet of that is the next chapter in the Boy's Book of Adventure Stories).  If bear had a basic kindle then he could get all sorts for his bedtime reading (and, dear heaven, we would be checking it!).  A basic kindle is £60.  It is a long way until Christmas.  I am not relaxing the rule of keeping the kindle fire out of his bedroom.  I think we'll just have to pick up a physical copy of the Prisoner of Zenda (because bear is never denied books within reason) and see how it goes.  

I'm sure that tomorrow DH can pick up a physical copy of the Prisoner of Zenda and bear can thoroughly enjoy it! 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Rugs

Thank you for all the kind comments.  It worries me that I don't need to invent anything.  I really ought to know better, but life still keeps happening.

Bear and his pals have already made dents in the Approved Food delivery that arrived today.  They saw a large box of inexpensive treats arrive and decided 'Challenge Accepted'.  I really need to get into the rhythm of making snacks for them.  They aren't even teenagers yet but they are locusts indeed.

I'm part way through making a rag rug.  I've taken two double duvet cases (one didn't look enough) and torn the pale sides into strips about an inch or so wide, which works out at around £10 for two lots of fabric two metres by two metres (around 80 inches square).  I've braided them on my lucet and have some reasonably looking cord, despite my lack of experience.  The braid close up looks like this


I used the 'no-sew' method of joining fabric strips, and it was so easy.  The first braid looks like this when it is laid out, which is a little small and why I made the second braid


The plan is to spend more money on it.  I plan to sew both braids together in an oval, then splash it with bleach and dark blue ink and then dye it over so that it looks more interesting.  Or I may just sew it up.  It is the first attempt using cheap fabric to see if it works.  I may just try again with some cheap patterned sheets to see how it goes.  It's a great excuse to talk to my friend, eBay, and to look into some charity shops and rummage in my stash.  If someone likes the look of it, it doesn't take long.  The braid above only took an afternoon and it was one layer of a double duvet cover.  I wasn't even concentrating too much but watching YouTube videos.  I recommend Peter Hollens, I've been enjoying his music, especially his version of 'I See Fire' and 'Skyrim'. 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Housekeeping Fail


I put some of this in my toilet.  It's supposed to foam up and loosen stubborn stains.  I tried to put a capful in but my pack was a solid mass instead of free flowing powder and when I tried to pour the whole pack fell in.

You know those comedy programmes where foam keeps coming at you?  Sometimes it's dough or alien goop, but you know the thing, the stuff just keeps rising and rising and rising.  I had that in my bathroom.  It just kept foaming.  I prodded it with the loo brush but it just got worse.  I didn't dare let it sit to work.  I thought I would be finding scented foam cascading down the stairs, sparkling as it came.  I had to flush three times.

Now I have a bathroom that reeks of second rate fabric conditioner and I'm worrying about the plumbing.  I keep expecting the drains to burp.  I won't try that stuff again.  It may be nice but I don't think I'm grown up enough to use it.

It's better than yesterday.  Around about 12.15pm both Tesco and the large van with the new window turned up and got very tense about parking at the same time as one of bear's pals fell and hurt his arm and I was trying to ring a parent while getting the lad to see if he could wiggle his fingers.  Fortunately the lad was fine, Tesco were awesome and the window was fitted without incident.  We are half way through half term holiday and I'm happy that we've survived so well.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Bear Chose!

Bear is getting too big for his trainers.  We had a trip out today to get him new ones.  We couldn't find any that were reasonably priced until we went to H&M and bear chose these.


As you can tell, they didn't stay in the box very long.  Bear also managed to persuade DH that he needed some mirrored sunglasses.  I can really understand that.

I have been lazy today, and I have been tearing up a duvet cover.  I bought this


It's a reversible duvet cover, two metres square, which cost £10 and I wanted the navy side of the fabric for the first attempt to cover the arms of the sofa (project pending).  Today I ripped the pale blue side into strips around an inch or so wide to use on the lucet.  I am now coughing and the laptop I was sitting at is covered with a layer of fluff.  Next time I shall rip it outside.  However I have luceted (if that's the right word) almost half of it already and I'll post a picture when I've finished.

Bear was allowed (somewhat against my better judgement) to watch A Study in Pink, a Sherlock episode with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Now he has gone to bed with some of the original Sherlock Holmes stories.  I don't expect him to be able to read them, but I do expect him to be incredibly annoying about it for some time.

justjill - both DH and I laughed out loud at your comment!  Did you see the post where I thought it was a good idea to buy 90 ties (yes, ninety)?  One day I shall learn my lesson!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Papier d'Armenie

I can't remember exactly how I found this.  However I found a Wiki article here about how nineteenth century French housewives used to burn strips of folded paper called Papier d'Armenie as an air freshener and disinfectant.  It seemed rather quaint and I quite liked the mental image of a sturdy housewife in a white pinafore wafting smoking papers around a French apartment.

Then I had a bad day and browsed eBay.  Experience has told me that I should never, ever, ever go on eBay when I am feeling low.  That's how I ended up with an Icelandic necklace that supposedly wards off trolls.  It is also how I ended up with my own packet of Papier d'Armenie.


It is so cute.  Inside are pages that are divided into three strips.


I carefully tore one out, folded it and lit it.  It burned up really quickly and the room smelled of burned paper.  DH asked what I was doing and he also folded up a strip and lit it.  The room still smelled of burned paper.  I actually went on YouTube and found this - a video showing how to use the paper.  It is in French (I couldn't find one in English) and I was reminded that it was thirty years since my French A level and I didn't do that well then.

So we followed the instructions, folded up the paper, lit a tiny corner and let it smolder.  The room smelled of faintly vanilla scented burned paper.  I may use the unburned strips to scent drawers.

The candle I bought from IKEA for 85p is also a disappointment.  It burns beautifully but has nothing like the scent of the Woodwick candles.  Of course, the Woodwick candles are sooo much more expensive.  I may have to stick to opening a window.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

A Good Day


Today is the 9th of February and someone has dumped a former Christmas Tree at the end of our street.  They've kept it green for a long time, so well done them, but I hope that the bad luck that is supposed to strike if you don't get your decorations down by Twelfth Night or 6th January doesn't hit them too hard.  Personally I'm glad to get the decorations down and have a clean up by then.

I had a success today.  I've been getting increasingly desperate without my tumble dryer.  Bear can attract mud just by breathing, and of course there are towels, sheets, socks and stuff.  Everytime I went past the dryer I pressed the 'On' button, just in case.  Nothing happened.  Today I unplugged it, plugged it in again and it started working!  It hasn't stopped since.

I've also checked the gas and electric and got onto a better tariff.  Apparently there is a large excess which I could theoretically claim back once the meter readings are in.  I pointed out that I am now on a Smart meter, didn't they have them already?  Apparently not.  It can take up to six weeks.  On the other hand, it may not be so long and I can start calling next week.  Even allowing for a lot of use over Christmas, I could still get several hundred pounds back.  Mind you, knowing how power companies work I shall keep my hopes low.  At least the direct debit has gone down.  It's been a good day.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

IKEA again


I'm going to have to get a better camera.  I look at the awesome pictures from everyone else, especially awesome bloggers like Sharon Koole or justjill and know I need to raise my game.  

We didn't do too badly.  We picked up the new bed base for bear, plus a few other oddments.  It is so easy for things to fall into the huge yellow sacks that you use as baskets.  I picked up an inexpensive candle, some storage jars, a couple of bathmats, a blanket to cut up (their fleece is incredibly inexpensive) and some picture frames.  Bear and DH also had dinner, but their gluten free stuff is limited so I had something before I went.  

We got the least expensive bed base, which was £20 and considerably cheaper than a new bed.  

Sheila - I'm definitely starting a freezer book when we get the new freezer.  I will take it steady and see how it goes.  

Bless - I had never thought of using the Amazon paper as mulch!  I will see how the bulbs come up and then put it down - perhaps it will deter the dratted cats! 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Freezing!

I fail at the freezer.  Any meal I freeze is never used.  I always look at it with suspicion and find an excuse to throw it out.  Meat that has been bought fresh from somewhere like a farm shop never seems right when I defrost it.  I've had a very small success with home freezing, mainly mushrooms.  I keep threatening to go on the market at closing time and see if they have any mushrooms being sold off.  I peel them and quarter or halve them and just bung them in the freezer.  They are ideal for pasta sauces, spag bol and casseroles.  I haven't frozen any mushrooms for ages.

I'm definitely not making the most of the current freezer.  I'm sure it isn't working properly and there's a thick layer of ice over the inside.  Some of the food is gunked up as well.  For the last few months I have been looking at bits, considering them and then putting them back because I don't feel confident with them.  Today I went through the freezer and pulled out everything I was doubtful about and threw it out.  If I was doubtful about it then it was never going to get used.  I might as well dump so I'm not digging through layers of ice to work out what's in and whether I can trust it.  I feel really conficted.  There was actually less waste than you would think.  I got rid of some fish and chicken which were covered in ice and stuck together so I didn't feel confident and a box of ice lollies that bear didn't finish in summer.  There were two freezer meals that I had bought from a farm shop over a year ago and some corn on the cob that looked like it had freezer burn or something desperately wrong with it.  It was still wasted money and it nagged at me.  It made a surprising amount of space and at least I have a better idea of what needs to be used up.

Next month I want to get a new freezer - and this time I'll spend the extra and get frost free!  Until then I'm going to try and use up what's there.  If I manage to get a new freezer (I've been wanting one for over a year) then I may try learning how to use the dratted thing properly.

The hospital appointment re swollen legs went well so that's something else off the list.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Ironing Amazon Packing Paper

Those who use Amazon will know what sort of swathes of paper come in the box.  I haven't measured the width but it looks around 12 inches or 30cm across and seems to be in endless length.  I wanted it for projects so I started to iron the long strip that came with the overpacked ruler.  I wrapped it around the end of one of the inner tubes from the wrapping paper and I used a bulldog clip to keep it in place.  By the way, I don't randomly keep cardboard tubes.  It's just that I've been asked to provide unexpected cardboard tubes and boxes for school art projects at very short notice so I always keep a few bits around.

I started ironing (on warm, no steam).  I went on, and on, and on and one.  This was just one strip from one box.  I ended up with something like this...


... and was this thick...


... and I still had this left over...


I might be putting that in the recycling.

It's nagging away at me.  Every time I get a parcel from Amazon I get swathes of the stuff.  I'm going to start keeping a stash of ripped up pieces around six inches square next to the bin.  I used to use newspaper when father was still here.  Now I can use this stuff to scrape out greasy or burnt pots and pans.  Between that and the rags that I have I'll never need to buy kitchen roll again.  Also I have plans for bear and I to do crafts soon and we can use it for scrap.  I can shred it next time I do a church bran tub, and I could use it for packing if I ever packed anything.  When the wrapping paper stash finally runs out I can use it to wrap some stuff.  Bear can help me decorate it.

I saw this on YouTube.  Someone covered their floor in shipping paper and it does look very nice.  I may try it in the porch which is about a meter and a half square, if that, and could do with something doing to it.  I think that is pushing what is possible.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

I went back to Aldi


The pots of herbs were £2.99.  Hopefully I can keep them alive for the next few months before they really take off.

And while I did sort of allow some stackers (for bear), some chocolate (for bear) and two steak slices (for bear and DH) I didn't buy anything else.

That isn't true of Sainsburys.  We called in there to pick up some trainers for bear as he has trashed the current set but they didn't have his size.  They did have a really awesome coat for DH which is much more formal than his usual coat, is exactly his size and was half price - £22.50 instead of £55 and it will likely last for years.  I also picked up some peppermint tea for bear.  I loathe the stuff but made enthusiastic noises to bear and kept my fingers crossed.  When he tries it I will share the results.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Watching the Date

Aldi have a sale on Fat Quarters from next Thursday, 9th February.  They are stocking 6 Fat Quarters for £3.99 while stocks last.

I've never used fat quarters.  I see loads of them around on eBay and lots of ideas for them on YouTube but I've not gone for them.  However I think that 6 Fat Quarters of 100% cotton for £3.99 is probably a great deal.

If the wind is in the right direction and the traffic is playing nicely I can drop bear off and get the hourly bus that goes to Aldi from the bus stop outside the school.  It has to have all the stars in the right position as the bus is due at the bus stop at 8:55 and that is when the doors technically open for bear.  Then I can go to Aldi, dither over the Fat Quarters and pick up other goodies while I'm there.  I did an Aldi shop this morning.  I spent @ £45 and that included pyjamas for DH.  I got some meat for dinner tonight and tomorrow, some fruit and veg, some fizzy cola for me, some breakfast bars and juice for bear and some yogurts for us all.  But do I really need the fat quarters?  The short answer to that is absolutely and categorically that I do not need the fat quarters.  Really I ought to actively work against the lure of the fabric.  I have a stash without purpose.  I really don't need to add to it.  But it's such a bargain.  They seem to have inexpensive yarn as well on sale that day as well.

Actually, I've just done the maths.  The price would be £3.99 for the equivalent of 1.5 metres of dress width or 110cm wide fabric.  If I went to Tesco I could get a single bed sized duvet cover for £4.50.  It would be polycotton but it would also be four metres of fabric roughly 135cm wide.  And it would the the ticking stripes, which I like, rather than the floral, safari or paisley patterns which don't appeal to me so much.   Now all I need to do is avoid the yarn...

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Random is...

... as random does.

My tumble dryer is not working.  I need to chase up the people as I'm sure it's still in it's warranty, but I've an awful suspicion I didn't register it.  meh.  This means I need to be so on top of the laundry to keep up with the drying.  Bear wears a clean set of clothes ever day.  He is a normal ten year old boy.  He needs clean clothes every day.  Then there are the clothes for DH and I, the blankets and tablecloths and towels, the usual bits and bobs that all need doing.  It's going to be challenging.

I was just about to walk out of the house with bear to get him to school when I saw a man with a van parked up and getting his tools out. I had been as clear as I possibly could - I would be in all day, I would be happy to work around people, but I had to do the school run.  He had to wait for me to dash to school with bear, drop him with a kind mum and dash back.  Fortunately the smart meter that I had been longing for since last year was fitted without a hitch.

I have just finished a small bit of transcription work.  I'm hoping it's good enough for me to be taken on, but I don't know yet.  It pays very little, but it's still more money than if I had done nothing.

The next installment of 'At the Sign of the White Hart' is up.  The latest installment is here.  The story from the beginning is here.  I hope you like it.

Also, I sat down and broke a chair.  The diet has started.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Bear Improves

Bear was part of the school cross country team for the second time and he came 45 out of 55!  That is a definite improvement.  He was like boiled rags yesterday but he did fine today.  I suspect he will be boiled rags again tomorrow, but perhaps the exercise has done him good.

Mind you, he is still utterly slaughtering Donna e Mobile on the piano.

Sarah - you sound like an awesome teacher.  I blame myself for a lot of the issues bear has with the piano.  I took him when he was very young and the buses were awful and we started in November so lots of cold, wet bus stops.  Then the piano teacher was too nice, made it too easy for bear and he got away with murder.  For the last eighteen months he has had a really lovely teacher that won't let him get away with anything and it has finally twigged that bear likes classical music.  So he is now attacking Donna e mobile using two hands.  I tell him that I'm impressed.  He hasn't been put in for an exam, and to be honest I'm not rushing towards that, but the tutor has said that bear is doing as well as some who are studying for Grade One.  I am going to look up those pieces you mention.  I hope you are okay and doing well.