Friday, 1 July 2022


Eileen - thank you so much for setting the challenge. I shall definitely work on this month's challenge! Bear is still practising the violin without ever being told, and he seems to be building his own coping mechanisms. I'm letting him find what works for him. The GCSEs are next year, and it's better if he finds something that works for him rather than having something imposed from above. He's much more together than I'll ever be! As for the fuchsia, I absolutely blame father!

Lady Ella - is it like this?

It's in the car park where I wait for bear and I think that it's a variety of mahonia, but don't quote me. I'll try and get a better pic next week.

Bless - I feel absolutely hugged! Thank you! I absolutely need to count my blessings, though I sometimes think that bear managed most of it by himself. Looking at father and thinking about how he would enjoy it made me smile. As for the bargains - I celebrate where I can.

Sharon - thank you! I'm so glad that bear has a physical outlet as well. I think it will make all the difference. As for lists - still failing here!

I utterly failed to do any of the items on my list today. This will be of no surprise to anyone. I think I need to keep to very small targets. When I was badly depressed, I used to break down making a phone call into a half dozen steps. I think I may need to revisit that. 

Mind you, I was distracted. I was thinking about my writing blog, and how it would appear to someone seeing it for the first time. It's very plain, which suits me, but I definitely need to shake a few things up. I thought I could group together the flash fiction in an easy to find place, so that if you hadn't read anything of mine, you could get a good taste away from all the extra bits of reviews, chat, articles and such. 

I have 170 separate flash fiction stories. That's one hundred and seventy. I've reposted some a few times during October over the years but that 170 doesn't include any re-posts. It's 170 separate pieces. I'm trying to work out how to make the best of them. It's a sitting down job, and as my knee went when I was going upstairs earlier, I think a day of sitting down jobs is in order. I'll share when I've made changes. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday, 30 June 2022

All Tired

Sharon - I sometimes feel that my attention span is like when you drip water onto a red hot pan and it hisses and sizzles and scatters everywhere. I will share if I find the secret of how to get things done. It sometimes seems impossible.

Eileen - that is great advice, and I feel incredibly hugged. Thank you. 

I took another pic of the fuchsia. The rest of the garden is something of a fail, but this at least is glorious.

I dropped bear off this morning, then called in at Tesco. They had some frozen stuff that we like which they hadn't had for a while, so I stocked up. I thought that while I was at it, I would do one of the two 10% off shops that I get per month. I'm sure I forgot loads, but I remembered things like toothpaste and stock cubes. I also picked up some candles that were on sale for me and some fruit and nut mixture for DH. The candle that I started with is very disappointing. It's quite a large one, and if I had paid more than £3.50 for it, I would have been very upset. I also picked up half a dozen packs of cereal for bear. There are so many cheaper ways of getting breakfast into him, but this works and he finds Tesco own brand acceptable. All in all, with offers, Clubcard prices and the 10% off I got a total of around £15 off. There wasn't much fruit and veg - there is plenty of frozen veg in and I only buy fruit as needed, but there is enough of the frozen stuff to make family dinners for weeks. I need to make an ongoing list, so that when I come to the next 10% off (not until 20th July) then I can get all that I need. 

I didn't get much done today. By the time I had got home from shopping, it was nearly time to leave for pick up. DH isn't well. He's had to go to the doctor today, and I'm quite worried. I'm trying to think of good ways to make a fuss of him. Then I picked up bear and, after he got changed at home, took him climbing. It's a new place that they have just opened and it's awesome. Bear spent an hour or so there, which I think is great for him. He didn't have any exams today, and he just has one tomorrow. Tomorrow's exam is quite long, so he may be late out of school, and then he has some sort of presentation thingy before the whole dratted thing is over by 6th July. I'm encouraging him to go climbing regularly, as often as he likes, because I think the exercise is good for him among the studying. He was doing a practice paper tonight for his exam tomorrow, so it's not as if he's neglecting his schoolwork. 

Bear is exhausted after climbing and all the exams. DH is exhausted because he isn't well and they aren't sure why. I'm just exhausted. I'm going to make a list of things that I need to do tomorrow and then crawl off to bed. I'm hoping that if I make the list, even if I only tick one thing off, it at least makes it harder for me to forget things. 

I think that will be my first step - to commit to making a rough list of things I should remember for the next day. I won't expect perfection, it's just a way of organising my thoughts. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Leaf or Leaves

I had so forgotten about this! But I have got a few pics, so I'm sharing. I didn't get a pic of an exit (where someone 'leaves') or leaves of a book, but I have a few from this month.

Such a lovely red for June!

My laptray has a leaf pattern, and I love it.

Some dead leaves in the remains of the honeysuckle - the reason we bought all of the dratted expensive trellis

A mystery weed that looks incredibly vigorous next to the dead honeysuckle

These looked so autumnal for June

I thought that these were lovely colours, but they haven't come out brilliantly

This looked such a vivid and bright individual among the dark leaves

So many different shaped leaves on one branch!

I hope that I do better next month. Thank you, Eileen, for setting this. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Blast from the Past

Sharon - thank you for the compliment about the pic. I wasn't sure if it would work. Bear is definitely in the throes of a growth spurt. The trousers that bear considered far too long at Easter are now creeping up his ankles. I'll buy him new in September when I know how tall he'll be then. And bear is fine about exams, thank goodness.

Eileen - thank you for the comment on the photo. I have been trying to get a good pic of the twisting for a while. The school have ideas about revision and are quite vocal, but I'll tell bear about Bitesize, as I know that isn't a scam or misleading. 

Unknown - thank you. I feel incredibly flattered that you feel I have wit.

Bear had physics and Business Studies exams today. He said that the Business Studies exam was pressured, but he enjoyed the physics exam. When he said that I nodded and smiled and said that I was glad he enjoyed it but inside I was screaming - you enjoyed a physics exam?!?!?!?!

Someone listed as 'Unknown' kindly commented on a post of mine from 13 January 2014 (Online Test). That's eight years ago! I had a look back at the posts around then, and it was a lowering experience. That was the time when father was driving me daft and uncle was in hospital before being transferred to a nursing home. Bear was still in primary school and I could still eat gluten. Back then I was fretting about exactly the same things, except now things are worse. The house is more cluttered, I'm more bewildered and without direction and all the plans to get organised are dust in the wind. 

I've seen Eileen and Sue's posts about setting goals and making plans. I know how bad I am at sticking to plans. But I'm sinking day by day, one way or another, and those posts from the day are a reminder. I need to find a way of keeping motivated and focused. I just don't know how. 

Tonight I'm going to let my mind go into neutral, knit and watch the Sewing Bee Final. I am still full of aches and pains and quite weary after another dreadful night. Tomorrow I can see if I can work out how to keep me going. 

I haven't got anything decent for Jan 2014 in my photo reel, so here is one of my favourites from March 2020.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

I Worry

Cherie - I'm considering a bin bag! Bear has not given me access, but hasn't complained of losing anything so I'll take it as a win. I can't remember whether it's the cheap one, the expensive one or what. There's three and a half weeks left until the end of the term and then we can work on getting something (inexpensive) that he wants.

Bless - thank you. I can walk but I'm not enjoying moving. I first had it when I had bear, and that pretty much crippled me!

Eileen - thank you!

Bear had Chemistry and Biology exams today. The poor kid is shattered. He thinks he did okay in them, but we'll have to see. He said there were a few bits that he didn't know from last school year when he was spending so much time at the hospital. He is so much better now that it's hard to remember how much time we spent going back and forth to the hospital. I asked him if he would be okay to catch up and he said he would be fine. There are loads of YouTube videos about the exams, he said.

And this is where I started to worry. Bear told me that there are dozens and dozens of sites that promise that they could get kids 9s in their exams. 9 is the top mark these days, with 1 at the bottom. A 5 is considered a reasonable pass and I think it's the mark that is the equivalent of a C and will get you into most basic 'needs half way decent maths and English' starter jobs.

There is so much pressure on kids, though, that I worry. I wonder how many of these sites are scams, or misleading, or just wrong. I haven't got a hope of telling which is which myself. How could kids of 15 and 16 be expected to know? I hope bear can find his way through this, and I'll do all I can to encourage him, but it's a worry. 

I'm off for an early night now after failing at sleep last night. I did get a pic earlier about some strands of the healthy(ish) honeysuckle that have intertwined. I think I need to get some string over them and coax them along to the trellis that we bought for the dead honeysuckle. Sigh.

It's not brilliant, but it's the best I've managed so far.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday, 27 June 2022

Thinking of Something Else

Sharon - I love the lacy look - and the yarn does all the work! Lists are a challenge if, like me, you forget to look at them. I'm enjoying the fuchsia. There is another one of what I think is the same type on the way to school, and I think ours is looking so much better. I gloat!

Bless - the two clocks are showing different times because only one is working. I seem to remember there being quite a bit of fuss as the one with the figure on the top is really old and tricky to maintain. I think that there is a preservation order of some sort on it, as it is such a landmark and I believe the mechanism is distinctive, but it's crazy expensive to keep it going. Or I could have misremembered and they just forgot to wind it. 

Cherie - I'm failing so badly at gardening at the moment, I don't think I could put an innocent cutting through my attempts.

Eileen - bear is completely impressing me. These are only the mocks, though, so I hope that he can keep this attitude.

I thought I would skip posting on the weekend, as I usually run out of things to say. Unfortunately, stuff has happened, but I have so much going on in my mind and I haven't transferred stuff to lists, so I'm sure that I'm forgetting stuff. Here is a rough overview in no particular order.

One of the trellis panels blew down in the wind, but DH and bear sorted it out.

The honeysuckle is pretty much dead right now. This is the honeysuckle against the wall with the neighbour, the one I felt bad because it was almost impossible to get rid of and the reason we got the dratted trellis in the first place! 

I have sciatica. It hurts.

Bear forgot his pencil case this morning and had to pick up a spare pen from Morrisons on his way in. He had English and Maths exams today. He told me that he thought he had failed English (thank goodness this is only a mock!) but that he had enjoyed the maths exam. I adore my son without reserve, but who the heck enjoys a maths exam? Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong with the lad. And what is happening with English? DH has an English degree. I write books which have spelling and punctuation. We talk about all sorts, and I'm fairly sure that there are no issues with comprehension. We'll have to talk with the English teacher (there have been several over the last two years so not exactly sure who they are) at parents evening. 

Bear has also grown a few inches since Easter. He is now at least as tall as his father and growing. I looked at him this evening in the shirt that was recently slightly too big and now is a little on the small side. He has been saying that he was tired, and that would explain a lot.

Bear's backpack has a massive hole in the corner which he only just noticed - when he couldn't find his phone. That is, the phone that has to be put in a backpack during exams. He found the phone, thank goodness, but there were an anxious few moments. I'm not sure how to mend it. It's big, and the fabric seems to to have split. I may just have to go for a (cheap) replacement.

I had washing outside on an airer to dry and there was this moth. 

According to google, it's an elephant hawkmoth, which likes honeysuckle. This makes sense as the one at the front (which I was also considering getting rid of) is flourishing like crazy. The scent is amazing. I turned everything inside out to make sure that I didn't accidentally bring it in. 

Someone came to have a look at the bathroom, so hopefully a new bathroom soon. I wonder where it will go wrong. I'm sure that I'll find some stories in it. 

Writing stuff - The latest instalment of Under Dark Hills is here

For those who are kind enough to follow my writing blog, I'm thinking of changing a few bits around. At the moment I have links on the menu bar to pages which have ongoing stories like Under Dark Hills, Kane's story and Dark Picture. I was considering adding pages for the one-off stories and poems where they could all be grouped together. I'd still leave them in the blog, but also have an extra page for anyone wanting to dip into just fiction and not have to wade through my chatty pieces. Let me know if that appeals to you. I thought it may make it easier for someone finding my blog for the first time, but I'm open to suggestions.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday, 24 June 2022

Out of the House

Deborah - I blame father. He planted a allegedly small fuchsia in the house where I grew up. It was massive, cracked a sewer pipe and had to be hacked back regularly so that the postman could get through. My mother took cuttings before we left during the divorce, but they never really did anything as it was her and not my father. This is just the same. I am absolutely stealing that tip about thread and socks. Currently, bear has grey socks for school, but that won't last and then it will be black socks all round!

Bless - Thank you. Lists are such a help. I love seeing pics from your garden.

Cherie - I may try rooting honeysuckle cuttings. Do you recommend rooting powder?

Eileen - I am definitely the shortest now. Bear is no longer a little lad. He hasn't been for some time. I am also the least intelligent of the three of us, and I don't consider myself particularly slow. You learn to keep up or switch off in this house. I am still annoyed by the bag. I hope I have learned my lesson - haunt the charity shops and be patient.

I spent most of the day out of the house. I dropped the car off at the garage for a full service and MOT. I got all the fancy add ons for the service. The poor car rarely goes above 40mph and spends a lot of time in queuing traffic, which isn't good for the engine. She is 7 years old now, and I hope to keep her going for a few years yet. She needed two new tyres and some parts for the suspension, which isn't surprising given the condition of the roads. I could have held off on these, but I thought I would get them done so I didn't worry. 

I called into Leeds, but I was too hot and headachy to want to shop. I took a pic of the inside of the Corn Exchange (didn't get anything) and the Time Ball building (used to be a noted clockmaker).

As the buses to the garage are only one per hour, I got the bus back before they called me. They were happy for to sit in the waiting room where there is complimentary tea and coffee and no pressure. They were also fine with me sitting there and knitting for a few hours. They were really awesome. It's a chain called In n Out Autocentres, and they are described as 'female friendly'. They are also recommended by Which. I didn't bother with the tea or coffee, but I really enjoyed the chance to knit. I took a pic of the start, but forgot to take a pic at the end of the afternoon and I've knitted another inch or two since. This is the start.

And it's about double the length now. I'm knitting a lace curtain (King Cole's Opium in white, cast on 101 stitches, plain knit for the first three rows, then eyelet stitch to thread the curtain wire, then plain knit until it's long enough). I need two - one for each side of the porch and one slightly longer for the inner door. I'm hoping that they will provide some protection from heat and cold while still allowing light through.

Bear had a day at home pretty much to himself, as DH was working upstairs. He looked a lot more relaxed when I got home, and he was talking about the maths revison he had done. He said it was something about proofs and circles. I hadn't a clue. 

Hugs and good health to all.