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Thursday, 2 February 2023

Shopping Fail

Helen - thank you for checking in. You are always welcome. 

Bless - your blog is full of interest and life. I think some people just sit around but others fill up their time and pay attention to the world.

Sharon - thank you! The homework pile has gone down but there is still loads outstanding. He's looking a little shell shocked, to be honest, but he has another week and then it's half term so he can hopefully catch his breath.

Hazel - thank you! I always feel that I'm here talking to friends. It's like a safe space to chat about things that are important to me. Thank you for coming here.

Eileen - the homework is definitely checked. Some of it last year was just fluff and make work. However today bear told me that there are only sixteen weeks until his first exam and the school are pushing it hard. I have access to a site that shows what homework bear has been allocated and whether it is pending, submitted or overdue. There are ten pieces outstanding at the moment, including a lot of tests and essays. 

Coincidentally, today I did two loads of laundry.

I had a shocking night last night, so I was not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer when I called in for some cola at Aldi. My editing is currently running on cola and Aldi's is gluten free where Tesco's own brand isn't. The car park had an unexpected obstacle. 



These shots are completely undoctored. I wouldn't know where to start with a camera phone. Someone had too much time on their hands and carefully lined up the trolleys across Aldi's car park. 

I was trying to think about dinner. I ended up going into Aldi, where I didn't get anything for dinner, Tesco, where I picked up fresh chicken, cooking bacon and potatoes, and Marks and Spencer, where I could have saved more money. 

Bear doesn't always want dinner with us, and if he did eat with us he won't touch quorn mince or the microwave rice that I would use for a quick meal for DH and I. He likes the chickenless vegan dippers with beans, but I'm trying to shake up his variety. But he could have that. DH had talked about having more soup so I picked up the cooking bacon in Tesco but realised that I needed carrot and celery as I left the car park and that I needed bread rolls for DH if I was going to make soup, so I ended up in Marks and Spencer for the veggies and rolls. Bear won't eat soup. He also won't have cheese or eggs but he likes a quick meal when he gets home. I am finding it a challenge. 

Bear took part in an online maths class today. It's aimed at those doing well at GCSE and bear loved it, It finished at 5.30 so I had time to do a nice chicken curry with rice from a rice cooker. DH has had toast with the rolls. I'm planning the soup for me for Friday lunch, Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch. Tomorrow's dinner for me and DH is chili but with quorn mince and microwave rice while bear has his usual Friday treat of raiding Tesco's meal deal. I have to have a quick meal tomorrow as we are hopefully calling in on DH's auntie after school so I want to be able to feed DH as soon after I get home as I can. And this is why I cook so much beige stuff.

And then I got stuck behind someone doing 25mph in a 50mph zone. I kept a respectful distance. If someone is going that slow in a relatively fast zone it means that either they are feeling unwell, or they are feeling 'unwell' and don't want to be stopped and breathalysed, or that they have a body in the boot. (I'm a writer, and I imagine things).

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Still Dark and Stormy

Bless - thank you. I always feel hugged reading your blog.

Hazel - Our freezer is upright with drawers, but there is still lots of corners and stuff that migrates to the back. I think I need to have a further rummage and I'll have a pile of veggies tomorrow with any single sausages or grills that I find. It's too good a deal to waste, even for things like peas!

The Awesome Unknown - thank you! Everything that I write here is true. Sometimes I fudge a detail for privacy, and I definitely avoid posting about some sides of bear's life, but at least I feel honest. As for the quotation marks, I'm armpit deep in editing Digging up the Past and I am ashamed. I feel like I am translating parts of that into English. I never criticise spelling or punctuation because I know that the second that I try that, all my errors will show up!

Eileen - thank you. And I am all about the bargains. And I find your blog inspirational in all sorts of quiet ways. Thank you for sharing.

Weather continues just as stormy. I was glad that I didn't have to do an early school run. The strike must have caused chaos and quite a lot of hardship in some places, but bear was glad of it. He could chip away at the mountain of homework that he's facing.

I was thinking about the 'boring' comment. Sometimes I feel like the blog is a diary that anyone can read. There are dull times when it's very much a case of, 'Did two lots of washing today, weather continues fine'. Then there are scary times, like a few years ago when I had two separate cancer checkups in the same week, one for skin cancer and one for breast cancer. I think aloud here, show my pride in bear (who is getting taller and skinnier by the day, I swear!) and share my triumphs and disasters. One disaster today was leaving a carton of perfectly good icecream on top of the freezer as I was sorting things and it wasn't found until it had melted and had to be thrown. 

I think that it is important to be honest (within reason). I'll share the fails as well as the wins, because I think that helps those who have had a fail day feel less alone. And the blog has helped me a lot. I've identified a lot of patterns in my life which I am intermittently working on. But also there have been times when coming on here and posting whatever nonsense is going on in my life has kept me from shrinking into a dark corner and freezing up. The wonderful people I have met through here, and the amazing encouragement and support, are something I seriously treasure. 

Onto something more pragmatic - I did a 10% off shop today. I get two per month with the Tesco Extra clubcard but I think that it's more trouble than it's worth. I saved around £12 but some of that was frozen chicken on the 5 for 4 deal. I think it is designed to encourage people to buy a little more than they need to 'get their money's worth' but I want to run our stocks down. At the moment, it would suit me more to pop into which ever shop suits me best on a daily basis. I'll start stocking up again in the autumn and for Christmas, but I can re-subscribe to the Clubcard Extra then for a few months and then cancel. Besides, I always forget something. Tomorrow I need to pick up potatoes. 

And I forgot to take a pic, so I've dug this out.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Dark and Stormy

Cherie - I'm so proud of bear. I look at him sometimes and wonder where I went right. 

Ruth - thank you! I'm glad you liked the Kane stories. I admit to a soft spot for Kane and I've been wondering about setting him up with a girlfriend for a while. I think I would like to make it into a proper novel, though, or even a series, because I think that he has a lot of stories to tell, he's such a sweetie and the ghosts are so difficult! Feel free to remind me as I have a lot of ideas and projects flying around at the moment and it's easy for things to slip under the radar.

Eileen - I'm keeping everything crossed for bear. I've been rummaging around my freezer and making room. I think I've got enough space to stock up on some frozen chicken. As far as I can tell, the offer of 5 for the price of 4 at Tesco is valid until 13th February, and I am seriously thinking of either eating my way through a load of the veggies that have been hanging around or just throwing out the sad remnants at the back of the freezer that I won't use. Being able to save 20% on the expensive stuff is a great incentive for me to really look closely at what's in the freezer and whether I would use it. By the way, the cashier said that they are only allowed to give the offer for 10 items at a time. I spaced mine out, so that five of each price point was rung separately through to get the best deal, so I wasn't affected. You may have to do more than one transaction if you commit.

Sharon - thank you - I'm so proud of him as well!

Bless - thank you so much. I'm keeping everything crossed.

Unknown - you wrote, 'This is incredibly boring. Do you have a life beyond Bear?' I think you missed the groundbreaking, earthshattering news of the 5 for the price of 4 on all frozen stuff at Tesco! There is also supermarket shopping! Seriously, my life is pretty dull, and I'm okay with that. In a few years time, bear will leave home and my life will get even quieter, and at my time of life, that's not a bad thing.

Poor bear is still overloaded with homework. He managed to get the 19 items down to 14 by today, but it's still incredibly overwhelming. He's planning on taking advantage of the strike action tomorrow to catch up with that and the revision. 

I've spent a lot of the last few days editing The Forgotten Village which was the first novel I've published. There were sooooo many commas, but a lot of the accepted style has changed since I published it in 2012. Back in those days, you put two spaces after a full stop or period, but now the convention is for one space. That took some checking! I used 'find and replace' that did most of the heavy lifting, but so much needed sorting and I re-wrote a few segments. I've ordered a professional cover for ebook and paperback, so it will be available in paperback form for the first time. When it's all set up in a few days, I put it as a free ebook, so watch this space. I've started on its sequel, Digging up the Past. I've also promised to record a podcast where people discuss horror movies. This is somewhat ironic as I find a lot of them too scary, but I think it will be fun and I know the people involved - who are awesome! I have three pieces I also need to get written, the editing to the sequel to King's Silver and the sequel to Under a Bright Saharan Sky to get sorted. Then things should settle down a bit and I should be able to catch up. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday, 30 January 2023

Bear Did Awesomely

Eileen - it's a specialist maths college. The offer may be made as early as in a week or two, but we will have to wait and see. Bear is still aiming for good grades, regardless. It's a point of pride with him.

Bless - Your daughter is amazing. To be able to get through that amount of work shows real dedication and talent.

The sixth form college that bear has applied to is a specialist college that focuses on Maths. It's part of a programme where maths based colleges are affiliated with universities. It will be the first year for bear, but the colleges linked with King's College London, Lancaster and Liverpool are up and running and seem to be doing well. Bear said that over 30% of those who went through the King's College one ended up in Oxford or Cambridge, which is insane. 

Bear said that the interview was great. He said that the aptitude test was hard but he enjoyed it (I've no idea how he manages to enjoy maths!). Then he said he had a wonderful time with the teacher going through some problems. He just glowed afterwards. The teacher said that he was recommending that bear be accepted, so we are all keeping our fingers crossed. It now seems to depend on the aptitude test and the final grades in the summer. Also, he looked incredibly handsome.

Tesco are doing 5 for the price of 4 on ALL frozen food. My freezer is now stuffed with around six months' supply of gluten free breaded chicken. It's almost impossible to get offers on that, so I'm taking advantage. I'm going to have a rummage and see if I can't squeeze in some 'normal' frozen chicken as well, though that sometimes goes on sale. To be honest, I would absolutely stuff two or three freezers and keep it going for a year if this sort of sale came around when I had the opportunity. I spent £43 plus change. It would have cost £53 and change. It's something that we would eat and it won't go off and that is normally expensive. These days, buying five bags of frozen peas and paying £4 instead of £5 has an attraction, but I'm looking at the more expensive stuff that we would use to justify their space in the freezer. I'm also going to keep an eye out for gluten free week. Before the plague hit, I would save a fortune by buying up a year of gluten free pasta at the only time it went on sale. 

Bear likes the frozen vegan dippers, but they are often on half price sale so it's not worth stocking up on those. The same goes for the Quorn mince that DH likes. I absolutely need to get the price book sorted. 

My tyre pressure warning has come on. I'm sort of looking forward to ten minutes knitting time at the garage as they sort out my tyres.

Writing stuff - I've abandoned the idea of a newsletter. Legally I have to put a physical address and for some reason I don't feel comfortable putting my home address. I can pay for a postal address but it's more than I can really manage. I'm sure I'm being silly because anyone who really wanted to find me could, but there you are. However, I'm now on Substack under Lyssa Medana's Writings (not exactly original, but at least it works). If you sign up there then I think you will get emailed anything I post there. I'm duplicating all the stuff from my writing blog onto there now, so that is a way for anyone who wishes to keep up to date.

And speaking of which, this week's flash fiction is here.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Still Dashing Through

Bless - thank you! Poor bear is getting it all thrown at him. I'm glad that you can understand my accent.

Eileen - thank you! I'm unimpressed with the workload. I can log onto his school account and I see how his homework is being loaded up. He keeps clearing stuff off but more and more gets added. Last I looked it was 15 items. He's doing okay but I'm worried about how he'll be when it's all over after his GCSEs. I think it will catch up with him then.

Sharon - thank you! The homework is getting ridiculous 

IMPORTANT - I'll put links to things like podcasts, but it's really okay not to listen if you don't want to. I put things here to be useful, but there is never any obligation to even look. You are all utterly awesome and I would hate to drive you away by putting the writing stuff on you. 

Yesterday morning I was stuck in my car while the dogs from next door but one were loose. They are strong dogs and lack training, exercise and a functional gate to the yard. They have chased people in the past and I think they could bite. I've seen kids tease them. It's heartbreaking. I had to wait until they were dragged in the house before bear could get from the house to the car for the school run. What is perhaps the most heartbreaking part is that I think that the dogs are sweethearts deep down. I would love to be able to cuddle them, but it's not possible. I don't really blame the neighbour next door but one as they are doing the best they can. However it's incredibly scary. I bought a dog training spray just in case. It makes a rather limp 'pft' noise but it may help.

This morning I had my first walk in a while. It was just a short walk around the flat part of the park, but it was something.


I've been entangled with writing stuff all day, but now I'm at home and bear is fretting about things. The interview is tomorrow morning, then he has to wait until March, I think, for a conditional offer, then he gets it confirmed if he gets the expected grades. It's going to be tense. I suppose it's as good training as anything for the application to university. 

Writing stuff - yep, more of it. To go with the podcast, Dinner at Dark is free until 29th January. It's here on the UK site and here on the USA site. I think it's on most Amazon national sites. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

In Haste

Just passing through, while spending time listening to bear worrying about his interview this weekend, but I'm on a podcast and it's here.

The Hidden Bookshelf Club Podcast 



Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Nothing Much Here

Bless - I was glad of the blanket and every now and then I would turn the car on to get some heating. Next time I'm taking the car kettle and making a hot drink! But the tranquility of it was so good for my mental health.

Sharon - oddly enough, I'd probably find it easier to go by myself. I'm okay at talking to strangers for short periods of time. I could do with going for the whole 'being a writer' thing.

Eileen - there are a lot of candles currently lit. It isn't that cold in here, either, as the central heating has been on, but I'll be glad when the new one comes. I think I will keep mending the old one separate for a while. Bear is stressed.

There's not much going on here. I've done writing stuff and I've put some washing in. I threatened bear with going into his bedroom, which is currently better guarded than Mordor, if he didn't bring his laundry out. The laundry came out double quick. I'm not asking.

To be fair to bear, he has fourteen separate homework assignments outstanding. I can check this sort of stuff online and I had a quick glance over and none of them seemed quick or easy. I suspect he is doing a lot of it in school as he gets there early and goes into the library there. I'm going to be keeping an eye on him. He seems okay, but that's a lot to put on to a kid, especially as it's also expected that he's revising. I'm not sure how much revising he's doing, but I know he did a lot over Christmas so I'm not pushing. 

And that's about it. I hope to be more interesting tomorrow but as I am feeling that I need to clear a load of writing stuff, it's unlikely. 

You are all awesome.

Hugs and good health to all.