Monday 26 May 2014

A Wonderful Day

As today is the only day left of the holiday that has sun forecast we headed for the beach.  It was great fun.  Bear was gleefully digging holes, making sandcastles, spreading sand and getting soggy chasing the waves.  DH wasn't far behind.  Father had wisely decided to go shopping.

While father was making his way around the shops, we went back and had a lazy lunch and then back to the museum.  I love Whitby Museum.  I've blogged about it before.  It is amazing.  All the wonderful things jumbled up in a small space.  The hand of glory (actual human hand) is only a few feet away fromVictorian butter pats, and not much further from a complete set of samurai armour which is on the way to the model boats made of bone by French Prisoners of War in the early nineteenth century.  Bear was mostly concerned with the massive ichthyosaur skeleton and very disappointed that he couldn't measure the fossil crocodile.

The highlight of the visit to the museum for bear was the playground.  The playground at Whitby Museum is really good and bear made full use of it.  He was racing around for at least an hour, found a friend to have adventures with and generally had an amazing time.  As I time, around 8pm, he is flat out asleep.

It has been a good day.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Bear is on holiday

Bear is in Whitby, on holiday and desperate to get to House of Mouse.  It is a fun house that I am fairly certain is breaking copyright and he has been looking forward to going there since we left Whitby last year.  This morning he has been ricocheting around the lovely cottage (Poppy Nook Cottage, Whitby, amazing comfort, wonderful service) and doing his version of sit ups and press ups.  His version of a press up really wouldn't break copyright, it is a loose association.

I love this cottage, we have been here a few times, but being the old fashioned person I am I would probably convert the cloakroom toilet into a pantry.  The tiny kitchen is clean, well thought out and well equipped.  For a holiday cottage it's absolute luxury.  However if I lived here permanently there would be nowhere to store bulk buys.  There is barely enough for the few bits that we picked up at the local co-op.

It has made me think.  I know I am going back to a cluttered, disorganised work in progress that needs to lose about half the house contents.  Living in a space that is not much bigger than the combined area of half our house and seeing it work is a real wake up call.  I shall be working on some ideas.

Friday 23 May 2014

A Miserable Day

It has just been grey and wet, and bear had the day off school due to a training day.

The day itself has been okay.  We went out for breakfast, had a pleasant dinner, I've been sorting the dining room out, I cleaned the iron and so far so good.

We had thunder earlier.  Thunder makes me sad now.  Evil cat always used to enjoy thunderstorms and would watch them out of the top window.  It's been just over a year and I still miss her.

Thursday 22 May 2014

High Gravity Day

High Gravity Days are ones where you drop things.  If a jar lid gets stuck when you really need to get it open quick before the pan explodes then it is a High Gravity Day.  If you are in a rush and have opened a bottle, the lid will bounce everywhere on a High Gravity Day and on the Highest Gravity Days will bounce under somewhere inaccessible and while you dig it out the full bottle that the lid belongs to will get knocked over and spill over something difficult to clean.  It is the sort of day when the postman knocks on the door either when you are far too occupied in the bathroom or up to your eyebrows in greasy water or trying on something inappropriate and it takes you ages to get to the door, and when you get there in a face mask or hair dye you get the Look.  Mind you, my postman is so used to me I hardly ever get that Look these days.

Normally I don't call a day 'High Gravity' until the evening.  However I managed to drop an egg between the fridge and the cooker and once I have dragged my courage together I will have to pull one or both out and face the horrors.  That is quite High Gravity.  I have also managed to knock my glasses while opening a car door and have been outwitted by a carrier bag so I think I am safe.

Image from

It is too rainy to check on the bees, but they were considerably calmer yesterday so I suspect they saw off whatever was bothering them.  The rain also means that I don't have to water the trees.  I think I would still prefer the sunshine.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Father was Chased by Bees

The bees in the chimney have never given much trouble up to now.  They've drifted around at roof height and caused no bother.  Yesterday was a different matter.  Father was having a natter with Nice Mr Next Door and around twenty bees came for him.  Nice Mr Next Door chased them off but father was stung and Nice Mr Next Door was menaced as well.

As Nice Mr Next Door is always working outside, it is quite worrying that he got bothered by bees.  We have had those bees for years without any stings.  In fact they have never taken much interest in us at all.  I did wonder if we had a new swarm and now I wonder if the 'bad neighbour' bees have moved in.  When I found out I went and had a look at the chimney and the bees were looking definitely stressed.  I may have been forty foot below them and they are small and I am getting a bit short sighted but those were not the usual happy bees.  Normally they are just floating around the chimney pot but yesterday they were diving and darting about and a lot less chilled.  At least, as far as I understand bees.  However Nice Mr Next Door did say that he had seen wasps mixed in with the bees, so perhaps they are not asbo bees but just bees under pressure.

We also have ants in the kitchen.  We now have an ant trap down after spending a large slice of morning going from Homebase (shut down - when did that happen?), Tesco (didn't have any), Morrisons (didn't have any) and finally B&Q.  I am unimpressed having a small plastic pot full of toxins perched on the edge of my sink, but that is where the rotters are coming in.

I don't mind getting rid of the ants but I will be keeping an eye out for the bees.  They have been such good neighbours, I hope things don't go wrong.

Monday 19 May 2014

A Busy Day

DH has got a week's leave, so today bear was shunted into after school club and DH and I went shopping.  There is a serious party that DH will be attending with some very expensive surroundings and then a very fancy party in September.  He needed a new suit and really it needed to be right.  We went to the York Outlet.

Actually, it was fairly painless.  We went to one shop and DH and I left with a very nice suit, two very nice shirts, a waistcoat, a tie and a pair of shoes for DH.  I did see some jewellery I quite liked, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted and I thought it was a lot of money, so I thought I would wait and see.  I did think as I went around that while it was nice to save 70% and 80% it was even nicer to save 100% and just not buy stuff in the first place.

Then we went into York itself and had a trip on the river, a browse in the shops (purchase free) and a nice ride home.  Bear enjoyed the after school club.

Father is so poorly that he is actually going to the doctor tomorrow.  He has had a vicious cough for a while, and it needs to be sorted.  I'm keeping all crossed.

Review of last week - actually it could have been worse.  I was poorly with the food intolerances so the dining room has not been touched, but I must have done nearly 5000 words with one thing and another and I managed another 100g of yarn knitted up during a fun evening watching tv with DH and father.  This week is going to be slightly different with DH home, so I'm going to aim for continuing to attack the dining room and taking the advice from Witch Hazel I am going to aim for 30 minutes each day.  I am going to try for another 100g of yarn knitted up and 1000 words per day.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Normal for Here

I think father is feeling a bit fragile.  He had the tv on last night and stayed downstairs.  Normally he wanders upstairs to do his own thing, last night I think he needed company.  He didn't get it from me.  He had the tv volume on extra loud and while he would reject any suggestion that he is deaf, he does normally have it on double the volume I prefer.  Last night it was even louder and I had such a thumping head that I hid away.  DH kept him company and apparently he was in a very rambling mood.  I don't feel bad about this - father does prefer DH's company, I think he enjoys the company of another man.

To be honest I am a bit worried.  Today he went out to fetch his papers.  I had already got them but I couldn't tell him as I was on the phone to the council - and that is never a quick call.  I saw him coming home along the street and he was so frail looking.

We had been talking about what we may theoretically, possibly, in the fullness of time, consider thinking about doing in the bathroom.  Today father took down the bathroom cabinet from the wall and then went off to play snooker.  He will not come home sober.

I broke the news over the phone to DH so that he did not come home to a dreadful shock.  DH was not impressed.  He may love father, but he needs somewhere to keep his contact stuff.  I had been blindsided and was a bit baffled.  I've put a shelf back up, and I've tidied out a different cupboard and sorted out some of the stuff in to there, and we keep most of the medicines in the kitchen anyway, so the few upstairs got moved.  It could be worse.

I think father would like the whole house decorated and is moving things along.  It is overdue but I dread to think what will happen next!

Wednesday 14 May 2014

There is always, always a bright side

I am really working on it.  Today I had a foul headache.  I'd eaten something that disagreed with me which left me with a pounding head, heaving stomach and a desire to sit still.

I got two thousand words written on the Steve Adderson story, which I hope will be a novel based on the stories I have written for the Write on Edge Challenges.  That is at least something.  I didn't get nearer the 'clean house' target or the 'finish all projects target', but it is something.

And I have found another food I am intolerant to - Morrisons own brand bacon flavour corn based snacks that were my first substitution on a Morrisons order.  Sigh.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Dreading Summer

Bear was bored yesterday.  Not just 'bored' but BORED BORED BORED.  Actually he was tired.  I knew better than to suggest things like going for a walk, reading practice or anything, really.  Bear was too shattered to be anything but BORED.

As I stood up to go and peel things for dinner, bear looked at me aghast.  'You can't leave me here on my own,  bored!' he said incredulously.

My expression must have told its own story because 'IT WASN'T FAIR'.  I still went and peeled things.  The summer holidays last for 42 days. I am going to start planning now for it.  Forty Two days.  

Monday 12 May 2014

Bear has lost his Trousers

It has not been a good weekend for bear.  On one paw he got the huge gun at half price.  However he failed his grading at martial arts and when he visited uncle, uncle told him off for calling him at 4am.  Bear looked baffled. 'I didn't call you at 4am.'  'It must have been your girlfriend then.' said uncle.  Bear was bewildered.

This morning bear requested a fried egg sandwich that turned out to be a bit of a disappointment (after the first half had been devoured, naturally) and then he lost his trousers.  I put out his clothes ready for him - undies, shirt, sweater and trousers and then the phone alarm when off and it was time for him to go upstairs, wash his face and neck, brush his teeth and get dressed.  I know I put out the trousers, but they have disappeared.  Neither of us could find them anywhere and time was ticking on.  I ended up dashing downstairs and ironing a new pair.

As for the review of the week, well the yarn thing has gone okay.  I got quite a lot done on Friday when I was watching a recording of As You Like It.  I could have got loads done on Saturday night but I was far too drunk to be safely left in charge of yarn.  I'm finishing off the half finished scarves I found.

The dining room is still in a bad way but I am cautiously optimistic about that.  I seem to have been deflected onto clearing other stuff, so it could be worse.  The writing was so-so.  I am a bit stuck on something but the writing challenges have kept me ticking over.  It all could be worse.

This week I am changing the targets slightly.  DH is off work next week so this week I am gong to set the targets of clearing the living room and study (possible but a tough challenge), 100g of yarn knitted and 5000 words.  Then when DH is off I can get on with stuff downstairs while he can have some hard earned relaxation in the study.

Sunday 11 May 2014

What's for Dinner

Father was a little cast down as Liverpool did not win the Premier League.  This is reasonable enough.  He came downstairs and asked what was for dinner.  I told him that I had some sausages I wanted to use.  I actually needed to use them as they were defrosted yesterday and I didn't want to throw them out.
"Great," said father.  "I'll have a prawn omelette."

At that point I realised I didn't have a patio to bury him under.  I also don't have an omelette pan or any idea how to make a prawn omelette.  I can have some good guesses - beat up eggs - possibly with water or milk, heat butter in pan, cook prawns, add beaten eggs, fold over when set.  I've never successfully managed it.

I do have a small plastic fold over thing that you put in the microwave.  I don't think that was what father had in mind.  I did have a large quantity of tomato sausages that I was planning to do with butternut squash and perhaps some cabbage.  Bear is currently rejecting sausages so I was planning to give him the sandwich ham that needed using up.  Father offered him a prawn sandwich.  Bear of course leapt at the chance of prawns (which are smelling worryingly fishy) and so DH made him the sandwich as I peeled the potatoes for what was now sausage and mash.

DH did ask why I didn't just use the frying pan.  The only frying pan I have is a good twelve inches across and the veteran of a thousand chili con charlies.  It is ideal for a spaghetti bolognese for four.  I suspect, though, that it wouldn't be Delia Smith's first choice for an omelette.

Poor father - he had treated himself to a packet of prawns and was stuck with sausages.  However this is one reason why meal planning doesn't really work in our house.  I'm off to price up and tentatively consider an omelette pan.

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Saturday 10 May 2014

Quiet Day, Busy Night

Today is Eurovision!  I love Eurovision.  If you are British and on Twitter check out Gin O'Clock, last year it was hysterical.

DH has been with bear all day, so while my day so far has been quiet, his has been action packed.  We counted up bear's money and it came to over £60!  I couldn't believe it.  I didn't think £3.50 per week would mount up so quickly and was worried I had set the bar too high.  Then I had a think and while bear has been closely guarding his pennies, father has been supplementing our pocket money. So much for budgeting skills.  Anyway, £60 definitely meant a trip to the toy shop.

Mind you, bear was born under a lucky star.  The all singing, all dancing nerf gun that he has been  coveting and that was over £50 was half price.  Bear came home with a toy gun almost the size of him and a sizeable chunk of pocket money still in his paw.  This is the gun:

I got the picture from Nerf Wiki.  Apparently it is discontinued which explains the half price.  The front bit comes off to make a separate blaster (though you can shoot through both apparently when they are together, what do I know, I'm a mum).  There are two clips, extra foam darts and it is nearly as tall as bear.  He is doing his best to hold it but I think he needs to grow another six inches to hold it properly.

I am very grateful that he is being distracted as he is about to go with DH to his grading.  Bear is a bit nervous about the martial arts test, he is not confident for once.  This will not do him any harm.  He has SATS next week as well and he is getting a bit stressy.  I am not entirely behind tests for seven year olds but I can see the use of them.  He is put in for extra tests.  The school have let them all have a practice at old papers, and he came home and told me exactly what some of the questions were and checked my answers.  I'm hopeful it will be fine.

Tonight I intend to have a few drinks and watch Eurovision with the subtitles on.  You get the translation of the songs, and yes, some of them are actually singing 'na-na-na-na-na' for 3 minutes 45 seconds.  I miss Terry Wogan, and his comments getting more and more colorful as the evening went on.  I suspect that he wasn't on bottled water as he definitely got worse.  The subtitles used to miss huge swathes of his opinion by the end of the night.  I won't bother watching the voting.  Father will probably give it a miss.

I love Eurovision.

Friday 9 May 2014

Duvet Day

I planned a duvet day.  I just didn't know what to do with myself and decided I needed to do nothing.  That is why that I tackled a stubborn corner of the study.  I only threw out one bin bag but I relocated a lot of stuff as I had cleared the place they had to go to earlier.  I found three scarves that I had started and done six inches on, a bundle of knitting needles and two sweaters that I had done the first two inches of the back after the welt.  That is me stocked for evening projects.  I also found a sweater that I knitted years and years ago - before bear was born - and got just to the bit where it needed sewing up.  Then I left it.  It seems almost a shame to finish it off.

There is more to do, but it's a step in the right direction.  Then I need to move a chest ninety degrees and I have a place to put the vast quantity of Christmas cards I really shouldn't have bought in January.  The other Christmas cards I found today can go with them.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Grey Day

Things could be worse and I know it, but I just feel so flat today.

Today I have not done anything compared to yesterday, although the washer and dryer have been going non stop.  Uncle was not on good form.  He was cheerful enough at the start, but he is still in pain with his leg and he kept asking why it had been amputated.  Worryingly he couldn't work his phone, and he's been permanently attached to it for the last ten years.

Bear has come home with a note to ask for fancy dress on the 22nd May.  This isn't bad notice, so I am not complaining.  He has to come as a character from fairy tales or traditional stories.  He wanted to go as Puss in Boots.

In the end, with the help of my friend ebay, we found a 'Robin Hood' costume that should do it.  Out of curiosity I had a look at sewing patterns for boy's fancy dress.  I did this safe in the knowledge that the sewing machine will not be ready to use then.

If you have the material already, and the cotton etc, and the time, then you may possibly be able to make the costumes cheaper than you can buy them, but it would be a stretch.  As a cost saving exercise it wouldn't work unless you stuck to old sheets.  However if you wanted something awesome and amazing with quality stuff then you would be better off sewing them.

One day, when the stars are in the right alignment and I have finally cracked the sewing machine, I will make these matching costumes for DH and bear, and it will be so much fun.

btw I think DH is much better looking than the model.  Bear is, of course, gorgeous.  They will look amazing if I can pull off what looks like a challenging pattern.  Something to work up to.

Wednesday 7 May 2014


Today I woke up with an absolute determination to iron.  It needs doing, I have just dried a big load of shirts, bear is always needing uniform and unless I sort out the tangled heap I will never get my sewing machine out.

First I fixed the curtain in my room.  It sort of slid off the first time I closed it, but I never remembered unless it was last thing at night or first thing in the morning and I was either exhausted or rushing.  I felt quite good about that and up for some serious ironing after a boost of actually getting something done.

The garden kneeler I found when I was clearing a space to get out the microwave we put away when father came to stay with a very superior machine was useful when I cleared out the space under the kitchen stairs.  Father would like a microwave for the purposes of ready brek and hot chocolate with brandy.  I leave him to sort out whatever he likes.  I have been meaning to get at that under stair space for a while as it is great to store the 7up that father likes with his whisky.  When it is on offer at £1 per bottle instead of £1.98 I usually get a dozen bottles and it takes some time to get through those.  I also now have access to the dehumidifer there - it is so damp that the wood chip is peeling.

I'm on my third lot of washing, my second run of the dishwasher and I've sorted out a load of boxes.  I've passed some spare cat litter to Nice Mr Next Door (although I kept some in case of difficult spills).  I've got rid of some cake tins to the charity shop pile, cleaned out the veg rack and did a good extra clean of the halogen oven.  The bottle of multipurpose Dettol cleaner, dilute as required, that has sat on my window sill for ages has been brilliant.  I am seriously tempted to try it out on the awkward spots on my cooker.

No ironing.

I can have a go tomorrow.
Image from

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Review of the Week

I love the extra day in a weekend that you get with a Bank Holiday, but I am always out of sync for the rest of the week.  It feels so much like a Monday.

I didn't do so well last week.  I didn't get much writing done, but if I can manage to write for the challenges then I can manage to write for myself.  This week still has a 5000 word target.  I didn't get any knitting done either, mainly because I kept forgetting to bring down the yarn from my bedroom to carry on with the knitting in the living room.  The 100g target stays.  As for the room for the sewing, it is still not good but it is better, and I think maybe another week will do it.  I am quietly optimistic.

Now I am off to hang out the washing.  It's a great drying day, and it's great to get stuff outside.  It feels like spring is finally here.

Monday 5 May 2014

Caught Again

Father had got some microwave meals in and he wanted to use one up before it went out of date.  For me that was a sign to make pasta and sauce for everyone else.  DH, bear and me all love pasta and sauce full of peppers, but father doesn't.  This means that we usually avoid the pasta and I never have peppers in.  Today I had an opportunity.

I asked DH to take us to Aldi.  DH is very good about lifts, but I always think it is a bit unfair to ask him when he works so hard.  Normally I rely on my deliveries and Aldi is an odd place to get to, but DH was happy to help.  It was a chance for him to wander around PC World with bear while I shopped.  Bear was less impressed as he had just started a complicated word document on the computer (he was explaining what a suffix was to DH in the middle of his complaint) but he came happily enough.

I said firmly that I was only taking a small bag.  I wanted sweet peppers and I wanted dishwasher tablets as I was running low and Aldi's are not only very inexpensive but they are also very good.  I thought I heard something snigger at the time.  I ignored it.

I got a trolley, left DH and bear to go and wander and then whizzed into Aldi.  All I wanted was some dishwasher tablets and some sweet peppers.  I decided to get a few boxes of the tablets to save coming back too soon, but that was it.

It came to £81 at the checkout.  It should be hard to spend that much at Aldi on anything but I managed it.  There was £21 on three shirts, one for father and two for uncle.  I don't think uncle has any light shirts so these were ideal.  I picked up some spiced rum for DH and some liqueur for me to keep them company with, that was another £14.  There was some melamine stuff which now that some neighbours have moved is worth using in the garden, that came to £14.50.  I also threw in some treats for bear and then there was the grand total of £16.85 on four boxes of dishwasher tablets and three sweet peppers.

I use two dishwasher tablets per day on average.  I got 160 tablets so that is nearly three months before I need to risk going again.  Perhaps it is just as well.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Sunny Saturday

I can't believe it, last night I had a bad reaction to a cup of tea (yes, really!) and spent some interesting times in the bathroom then slept for twelve hours.  Poor bear, I had to miss his bedtime but I know DH made up for it.  I think bear, father and DH were watching 'The Plank' at one point as well as I remember hearing bear laughing his socks off.

I'm scraping the energy together to go and water the trees.  DH and bear are out, bear is getting extra lessons in martial arts.  My brother has just called in and uncle is not doing so well.

Bright side, I've displaced from it all and written my prompt for Light and Shade Challenge here and my prompt for Write on Edge here.  I've even updated the Steve Adderson story and I'm considering the ironing.  It could be worse.

Friday 2 May 2014

It could happen to anyone


As my bedroom has been drying out due to the mended roof and dehumidifier the ceiling paper has been coming away from the ceiling and slowly drooping downwards.  I've just left it out of morbid curiosity to see how it progresses as I am usually doing something else.  Today, however, I decided that the trailing part was now only two foot off the floor and I should trim it before it got too near the ceiling light in case it was a fire hazard.  That was sensible thinking.

What actually happened is that the moment I touched the paper lightly to steady it the whole thing came down with a slow motion hiss.  It just seemed to keep going no matter what I did.  What I didn't realise is that the previous decorator had put the huge, ornate, faux plaster ceiling rose on top of the paper.  Who puts a heavy ceiling rose on top of paper?  It isn't that bad really, but it's at least two foot across.  I would have thought it would be sensible to cut the paper around it and just tuck the edges in.  I was stuck in the middle of the bedroom surrounded by boxes, covered in paper and with a plaster ceiling rose hanging on the lampshade.  I said some rude words.

I consulted father.  He thought about it and agreed that it was a bad idea to stick a plaster rose on ceiling paper.  I got the lampshade off.  To be honest, I am glad of an excuse to get rid of it.  It's a case of 'begone, foul shade!'  I have never been a fan of surgical appliance pink and as I haven't dusted it in some time it was a dirty surgical appliance. However the ceiling rose still wouldn't come down as it was stuck on the bit where you put the lightbulb in.  I thought about sawing the thing off, but the ceiling rose was made of resilient stuff, so, with the encouragement of father, I cut the wires.  I expected something to go bang, but it went fine.

So now I have no ceiling light, ceiling paper all over the garden (I threw it out of the window, it saved a lot of hassle) and a ceiling rose I will be glad to see the back of.  It could happen to anyone.  On the bright side I can probably use the bottom bit of the lampshade holder from my room to replace the lost bit in the study which has been lost since father first came to stay and get a lampshade in the study.  So it's a good thing really, and could happen to anyone.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Nice and Quiet

It has been nice and quite today.  There have been no dramas, no fusses and bear did his maths homework without a prompt.  He still hasn't written out his spellings but he knows them all, so I am not so stressed.

For anyone who enjoys creative writing, the Light and Shade Challenge has a new challenge up.  You look at the picture or the quote, think about it, write 100 words that are inspired by the challenge, put it on your blog and then use the button on the Light and Shade Challenge page to link back to your work.  It is, of course, completely free to jump in and have a go.

I am treating it like a gym session.  It is incredibly good discipline for me.  I am still not sure what I will do with this challenge, but I will have fun.