Sunday 31 January 2016

Lovely and Dull!

After the last few years, a few days where nothing happens may be a poor do for the blog, but is very welcome to me.

I suspect it may get a little busier next week.  Bear is showing all the signs of coming down with something green nosed and gruesome.  He has very pink cheeks and very bright eyes with a tendency to tell us all that it isn't fair.  Tomorrow he is supposed to go to school for the last swimming lesson.  Tuesday he is supposed to be seeing the consultant after my battle to get an appointment.

At least bear had a quiet day today, as he played on his tablet, complained that something on the computer wasn't fair and generally just hung around.

DH and I are also flagging so high on the list tomorrow is opening all the windows, at least briefly.  The forecast is for dangerously high winds.

I shall be very glad when the weather calms down.

Saturday 30 January 2016

Glitch in the Matrix

I sometimes look at the stats on this blog.  I don't really believe them and I suspect a lot is to do with advertising and stuff.  Today I had a look at the writing blog.

This week I got a hit from Lake Malawi Cichlid Information for Beginners dated November 5 2021.
I also got a random looking hit from a French patchwork blog.  I subscribed.

It's the most interesting thing that has happened today.  I think tomorrow is going to be less exciting.

Friday 29 January 2016


There is a lot of weather.  I shall be glad when things are a little calmer.

Today has been limp so far.  I've pottered round a very, very little and I've drained the deep fat fryer.  I think I shall just get rid of it, we haven't used it for over a year so it is just taking up counter space.

I am about to spend an absolute fortune on eBay, but it is stuff that is really quite important to me and so I'll go for it and sit on my hands for the rest of the month.  I've already got all the kit to make new curtains for the living room  (one is done), the study and my bedroom.  I don't need new curtains as there is no way anyone can see through the window but father bought them.  He ignored me telling him that they were 76 inch drop, bought the 72 inch drop and the gap at the bottom is a permanent prickle.  I could just let the hem down.  It would just about be okay, especially if I sewed fringe or ribbon on it, but father's taste had a rare journey away from 1953 and intead he went for 1967 style blue spots.  Fortunately I don't spend much time looking at them.

Bless  I love the sound of English piecing.  I think I've seen it done and thought it looked lovely and calming.  You can even get the pre-cut paper pieces on eBay, which seems cheating but I have absolutely no confidence in my ability to cut things out.  However the magazine is driving me with this.  Every week you get some pieces of fabric, the templates to cut out and stick onto card and instructions for an American style quilt block.  If you do them all (and it is looking like a far off dream to me at the moment) you end up with a double sized, American pieced quilt.  There are eighty blocks, shown here.  There is a rather scathing article about it here, but I am doing it for the help in working it out as much as anything else.

Yesterday my crafting success was with knitting.  Bear was at the awesome maths tutor and I take it as an hour to keep knitting.  I got quite a bit done and found it so soothing.  It was just as well.  The journey home was beyond awful, with massive gridlock and diversions all the way through the city centre that looped back on themselves.  There were times when we felt the car shake with the wind, it was incredibly unnerving.  I'll make home made soup for dinner tonight - I think we all need it!

Thursday 28 January 2016

Considering the Plan

This 30 day to a Clean and Organised Home is, in my opinion, worth a shot.  However I am finding it a challenge at the moment.  For example, as part of the daily cleaning routine I am supposed to have a quick sweep of the kitchen floor 'if it needs it'.  I can't find the kitchen floor.  It is covered with bin bags of rubbish generated as I clear through and dirty laundry that I am scouring the house for as per instructions.  The ironing is out of control and my leg hurts.

On the other hand, while I haven't followed the plan for Day Three yet, I am still working.  I'm tackling a lot of stuff of father's that I rather abandoned a few months ago.  Now I am faced with the tools.  I hardly ever use a tool, neither does DH, and I am reluctant to give bear an option at the moment.  The charity shop will certainly benefit or the church bring and buy sale.  I've already filled some bags for both of those destinations.

I have also cleared out my tins cupboard and listed it.  I definitely should not be doing it now according to the Plan, but I need places to put things.  I can see a few more cupboards being sorted out in the same way - not because it is the plan, but I've got to put something somewhere.  I suppose I am doing the Pre-Plan.

One of the targets of Day Three is to sort out 'a' junk drawer.  I would love to have just 'a' junk drawer.  At times I feel I have a junk house.  I may reframe this lull as 'clearing out the junk drawers, cupboards and rooms'.

I'm still feeling positive.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

I'll Think About It Tomorrow

I got a chance to go out today with an old friend.  We went into as many charity shops we could find and had a great catch up.  This meant that even less got done, my leg is sore and I am tired.  However I did manage to leave four carrier bags of jazz cds at the Oxfam shop.  I haven't got rid of a tithe yet, but it is a start.

Tomorrow I will postpone Day Three again.  Someone has kindly agreed to take me to a charity shop on Saturday and there is also the church bring and buy.  I can spend the next two days moving carefully between craft and sorting.

I am not sure about the quilting.  The quilt requires a 6mm seam allowance to work.  All the material is provided and all the measurements for the final squares to fit together rely on this, and that it is measured with reasonable accuracy.  I can do the measuring (probably) but it is a lot harder to measure the allowance and draw it in to hand stitch it compared to marking a line on the plate of the machine and stitching to that.  I have a lot to do before I have the set up to use the sewing machine - especially as I am really not confident about it.  I shall work something out!

I also need to find bear's school sweaters.  I bought four.  I can find one.  I need to wash it every day.  I think he has brought them all home from school.  I am always strict, but I only need to be distracted a few times and anything could happen.

Day Three Postponed

I have had about three hours sleep and a have a raging headache.  Also I have just unblocked the toilet.

I think today is a craft day.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Day Two is Not Awesome

I started Day Two with the best will in the world.  I stripped the beds and got the washing going, called in at Matalan, swished the bathroom and started the kitchen.

I stayed on the computer from 10am because I didn't want to miss the knock on the door from the delivery.  Some of them are very quiet indeed.  As luck would have it the delivery didn't get here until nearly eleven and I didn't manage much at all.  Then I carried on attacking the kitchen.  I was supposed to have my hair cut at 12 but the hairdresser was poorly.  I wish I had known earlier, but they didn't have a number for me.  As it is twenty yards from my home I never thought to leave a number but I've left one now.

Then I sorted the cupboard under the sink.  That took some time.  I made sure that I dug out all the stuff from the walk in cupboard as well.  Unfortunately when I started to dispose of the stuff in squishy bottles, the stuff I couldn't remember buying and the stuff that I was never going to use I came over all peculiar.  Don't mix household chemicals.  I had used an outside drain but I still felt very woozy.  It could have been a lot worse.  I went for a sit down afterwards and went on eBay so it could have been a lot worse.  I don't think I've bought anything.

I cleaned out the fridge, though there wasn't much to throw as I am quite good.  However I didn't pull the fridge out and vacuum the back.  I'll do that on the next rotation.  Tomorrow is defrosting the freezer.  I was quite pleased that I found a spray of defrosting stuff in the cupboard under the sink.  It is more necessary than ever.  The freezer door was left ajar from this morning.  I am not sure if something caught or that the failing seal is getting worse.  I could have cried.  I ended up using the sausages at the front for dinner instead of the meal plan.

Bear missed his maths lesson as his awesome tutor was unable to meet, and DH is out unexpectedly.  Nothing has worked out since the delivery.  It's not bad.  It could be far, far worse.  It just isn't awesome.

I am going to see what state the frozen food is in tomorrow.  I suspect that a lot of the stuff at the back didn't defrost and what did defrost stayed very cold.  I also suspect that the defrost/re-freeze of stuff may make it tasteless rather than give us food poisoning, as the freezer was still trying to freeze.  I think I may consider bringing forward a new freezer.  I have been muttering about it for a while, but I had hoped not to have to spend out for a while, especially having just bought a tumble dryer.

Microwave, then tumble dryer, then possibly freezer.  Things are supposed to go in threes.  I wish I could afford it.

Do Not Mix Household Chemicals

I should know better.  I really should know better.  Feeling a little odd as I type as I have just been pouring ends of cleaners down an outside drain (I had that much sense).  Katherine Berry warns against it, school chemistry teachers warn against it, I really should have not been carried away.  Do not mix household cleaners.  You can end up with the sort of mix that they used as mustard gas in WWI.  I am just gently floating.  I will keep an eye on things.

I have six oven cleaners under the sink.  I also have a dirty oven.  This will make sense when I have had a little more fresh air.  

I am going to have a little sit down and make no decisions that involve money.

Woken up to Day Two

Yesterday was not as awesome as I would hope.  However I am not giving up.  I may not have finished the curtain or done enough writing, but I did more than nothing.  Most of the ammonia smell has gone as well.

Today is cleaning the fridge, so I pull it all out and clean it inside and out, sorting under the sink and changing the sheets.  I have cleaning products stashed in the walk in cupboard as well, but I'll include those in the sort.  I've decided that if a product is older than bear, or if I am unlikely to use it in the next six months, then it is going.

The attack on the kitchen counters will continue.  It's not just putting stuff away, it's also finding places to put the stuff.  I am hoping to get out to a charity shop soon so I will be building a stash for there,  I will be dropping some stuff off at the food bank today which will make a dent in the piles of stuff.  *

This all has to fit around bear's maths tutor (who continues awesome), a grocery delivery and I have nervously booked a hairdresser's appointment for the first time since summer. I am still cautiously optimistic.  I started this post before bear went to school and typed to *  Since then I have stripped DH's and bear's beds, put a load of washing on, sorted out some of the clothes waiting to be ironed and found that they don't have mops in Matalan.

Now I am going to try and get some writing done before Tesco arrive.

Monday 25 January 2016

So Far So Normal

Day One of the Cleaning Plan.  It is supposed to ease you in gently, so today was just basic cleaning like wiping the counters in the kitchen and bathroom, a quick sweep of the floor if it needed it etc.  The lady who wrote the book, Katherine Berry (website here) recognises that the normal half hour allowed will not be enough if there isn't a cleaning habit in place.  She is very right.  I am supposed to be cleaning the kitchen counters.  I have to clear them first.  I am cautiously optimistic.  I can only do short stints (dratted leg) but I have sorted and thrown and put away a lot of stuff already.  The counters may not be clean, or even cleared, but tomorrow I have another go and by the end of the week they should be fine.  The bathroom is pretty much done as it is just a quick swish.  I abandoned hope with the bedrooms, apart from retrieving dirty laundry.  I haven't touched the living room or study yet.

Actually I have done one housewifery type thing in the study.  Some of the curtain hooks had come adrift again.  I am not impressed.

The sorting out part of today was supposed to be the spice cupboard.  I have two old, plastic cracker boxes, one with herbs and one with spices.  I got rid of one or two bits, but I suspect I will get rid of more in the next round of cleaning.  However the cupboard is also the jam cupboard and the pickle and sauce cupboard and I went through those.  It was surprising how much I could get rid of.  Bear had done his usual of having one small slice of jam on toast and forgetting about it so most of the jar was furry.

I tipped the jam and sauce down the drain.  I then thought that it may make the drains a bit sticky.  On my kitchen window ledge a drain cleaner had been sitting for years and I tipped it down after the last jar had gone.  I put in slightly more than the normal dose because it was almost finished anyway and had been on the ledge so long that the plastic had gone brittle.  This was a mistake.  There was an awful hissing as it started to work.  I looked at it carefully and took some rubbish out.  When I came back the hissing was not only worse but there was the most horrific smell of ammonia in the air.  I had the door and window open and I wafted frantically as I ran gallons of hot water down there.  I just hope I haven't damaged the plumbing.

So I have given the bathroom the quick swish, I've cleared some of the counters, I've sorted out some jars, I have left the kitchen smelling like incontinent tom cats and I haven't done the curtain.  However I am cautiously optimistic that things will improve.

Now I am off to get the word count going.

Sunday 24 January 2016

First Fad of the Year

I accumulate books on housewifery in the same way I accumulate cleaning products - I hope that somewhere there will be a magic wand which means I don't have to actually get on with it and clean.  However the grim truth is that at some point I have to get the vacuum out.

I have failed with Fly Lady, and I never really worked at the cleaning site with the rude word because I haven't yet got to grips with tumblr and a lot of it was on tumblr.  I get all keen and then run out of juice around noon on the first day.

Tomorrow I am going to try '30 Days to a Clean and Organised House'.  It isn't going to happen in 30 days.  It may happen after 90 days or 120 days.  The wonderful thing is that it tells you what to do.  Tomorrow sounds fairly basic, but when it says that I need to clean the floors, in some places I need to find them first.  I am following the suggestion in the book - I will do all the stuff, but at my own pace.  Also I will not be doing weekends.  The 30 days may mean thirty actual days to the book's author, but to me it is definitely thirty week days as weekends are too complicated.

Tomorrow also includes making living room curtains from duvet covers (DH is keen) and five thousand words of fiction.  No excuses.  Tomorrow evening is when I blog and say how well I did or didn't do.

Past experience says that practically anything could happen apart from cleaning, but I am keeping all crossed.

Taking to Drink

Yesterday I was doing things the wrong way round and clearing out a cupboard in father's room at the back which hasn't been touched since July 2014.  The clothes were easy to deal with, and I'll shift the tools or dispose of them, but I wanted to cry when I found the ten empty whisky bottles hidden in the corner.

Father drank a lot.  Drinking took over his life.  He didn't miss a day of drink.  He drank bottle after bottle of whisky, litres of the stuff.  He dabbled occasionally with brandy, rum or baileys and while he normally waited until after lunch to start, all bets were off on holiday or at Christmas.  A few years ago there was a good deal at Asda and I bought literally dozens of bottles of whisky while it was on - and they only lasted a couple of months.  Even when he was no longer physically able to drink things that had not been thickened, he was still controlled by alcohol and insisted we bought bottles of wine for the nurses at the care home every week.

I neatly put the bottles from the cupboard in a carrier bag when really I wanted to shout and cry and swear.  A drink in itself isn't a bad thing.  A few glasses now and again isn't a bad thing.  I quite like an occasional drink.  And father was never a nasty drunk.  He smiled, talked some rubbish and went to sleep.  But those bottles, and all the other bottles, stole my father.

July 2014 father was taken into hospital because he suddenly couldn't walk.  That night he was kept in and had another attack.  Comparing the two scans from when he was admitted and the attack while he was there the hospital suggested that he had had a seizure.  He was a lot worse.  He could no longer move his right side.  The doctors talked of areas of brain damage.  When they heard how much he drank, they thought that would explain a lot.  He died six months ago now and I am still lost.

My father was always active and energetic with such a young attitude to life.  I honestly believe it was all the drink that took him.  Not the occasional whisky, not the brandy in the mid morning coffee, not the baileys to keep the cold out, not the rum, not the schnapps, not the local artisan cider or the local artisan beer that it would be shame not to try.  It was the relentless over consumption.  If he had been a moderate drinker I believe he would still be here.

I've got a space for some of the craft stuff, now, and I can start moving stuff there,  It's all the wrong way round, but at least things are getting cleared.

Saturday 23 January 2016

Writing and Research

My internet history really doesn't bear looking at.  My curiosity leads me in strange ways.  It isn't proper research, though.  I feel that for the books based in the Forgotten Village I ought to be reading obscure and arcane books on folklore and mythology that I have found in dusty and hidden bookshops.  Actually I make stuff up that fits.

I do look some things up.  I had to check how to make a mickey finn and whether you can buy slow match on-line.  As for obscure books, there are some stonking Victorian books about the occult and supernatural that are free from Amazon.  I found the werewolf one quite gruesome.  It was written a hundred years ago by a vicar and is a wonderful piece of research.  Actually, my werewolves are, on the whole, quite sweet.

After reading Morgan's comment, I was struck by the coincidence of seeing this article on the BBC today - becoming a writer by immersing yourself in the subject.  The writer spent months lying in a cupboard and writing on his phone.  As my two novels so far have contained werewolves, vampires, boggarts and magicians, I think it may not be the best technique for me.  Werewolves, vampires and boggarts are not real.

On the other hand, the heroine of 'The Forgotten Village' loved cleaning.  Perhaps I should channel that.

Friday 22 January 2016

Bear Nearly Has a Fail

We have an awesome fish and chip shop only a few hundred yards away that has been shortlisted for some national awards.  I can't go there, but bear is very fond of their children's meals.  They have fish or sausage with a small portion of chips, a drink and a puzzle.  It clearly says on the board that children's meals are served for children aged 8 or younger.  Last time he went he told the owner that he was just nine.

Tonight it was fish and chips and bear was suddenly devastated - what if he couldn't get his meal?!  If only he hadn't shown off about being a mature nine year old!  What if he just had to share DH's chips and not get the drink and the puzzle?  What if his careless words had led to a dreadful fail?

Fortunately the owner is lovely and was happy to hand a kids meal over.  That was this evening's slice of drama.

I'm currently failing at quilting, so I think I shall slope off to bed.

Strange Day Again

I have started taking Vitamin B supplements.  This may explain stuff.  I more or less ground to a halt in September, and I have been poorly since October, but I seem to suddenly have energy.  I have just sorted through a load of father's clothes that I have put off since July, moved things, sorted things, caught up with stuff I have meant to do for ages and I have told poor DH that we are having fish and chips tonight (well, him and bear) as the kitchen is full of bin bags.  Not only had I failed to get the recycling out for a few times on the bounce, but I have also been having a good sort out and getting rid of rubbish I don't need.  I can't move there.  All in all I am baffled about the sudden (very small) surge in stuff getting done, but I'm not complaining.

There is still a lot to do.  I am never going to be a good housekeeper.  However for some reason I seem to have shifted a lot today.  I now have to stick to sitting down jobs, as my leg is absolutely in agony, and the postman seemed to think I was about to die when I had a coughing fit as he handed over the post,  I am feeling very positive, though, and there is a lot I can do while sitting down.

I am unimpressed by the weather.  Wet and windy seem set to continue for some time.  I am, however, very thankful that we are not facing that awful blizzard that is forecast in the USA.  My thoughts are with those affected

Thursday 21 January 2016

What You Can Buy Online

I've seen everything now.

My search history doesn't bear looking at.  I have googled how to poison, stab and murder (research for novels - honest!) and checked that you can get slow match (Digging up the Past had slow match which you can get on Amazon but the version in the book burns quicker).  I have found arsenic on eBay in its mineral form.  I assume that anything to do with sex is out there, but I haven't really looked that closely.

Now I have found that you can buy Holy Water on eBay.  It does make it easier for a would-be vampire killer, but really!  Look here if you want!  There is a picture of Our Lady of Lourdes on the side of the bottle.  It just seems odd to me, selling Holy.  I know priests have to live and that the places where people meet to worship need upkeep, but it makes me feel uneasy in ways I can't work out.

I wonder what would happen if a would-be vampire hunter bought some Holy water from the internet and it was fake?

I Love Thought Experiments

Bless's comment about the diffusers on my last post was very interesting.  She suggested surgical spirit instead of vodka.  I had the idea that surgical spirit was hard to get hold of over here, and that it would be only sold by chemists who would look disapproving as they sold you a very small bottle indeed.  I had a quick look around out of curiosity.  Of course it is on eBay and Amazon, in all sorts of sizes.  The best price on eBay looks to be around £3.39 for a litre (on sale if you buy five litres), compared to the vodka at £14.29 per litre.  That is a significant difference.

Bless also suggested that I could use all sorts of twigs, or even lavender stems.  I have a large amount of leggy lavender in my garden.  It is making me very thoughtful.  I don't know anyone who would appreciate it as a gift.

I shall do some more thinking today.  Issue three of the quilting magazine has just arrived and I need to catch up.  As I am trying the pattern out on scrap fabric first, and as I am hand sewing.  I am waiting in on a collection, so can't be doing anything noisy.  They knock on my door as if they are scared it will eat them, I have to keep my ears strained for the nervous tap.  If I manage anything I will share.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Considering Crafting

Thanks for all the good feedback.  DH also likes the door curtain.  I have enough duvets to make the matching curtains (it was a very random purchase) but all the carefully chosen plans for decoration in the study and living room that I have would go flying out of the window.  On the other hand, they are really just thought experiments.  I am considering my options.

Back on 3rd January I made the diffusers.  There is some nice scent coming from them, but it has faded a great deal.  I still get occasional flashes of the bergamot drifting past, but I am not sure that they are worth it.

The big question comes down to this - do I want to waste the fifty diffuser reeds left over (60 for £2.49) or do I want to spend another £10 on cheap vodka which will probably make several more?  I have the essential oils in.  I was thinking that I could use small bottles that have held sauce instead of the Merlyn bottles.  Or I could try some of the flute type glasses, as a narrow opening is supposed to be important.  I have one or two in the back of the cupboard, and I have a trip to some charity shops planned.  I may be able to pick up a narrow necked bud vase, or a brandy glass.  I shall keep my eyes open.

I would put some of the tumbled chip gemstones in, top up with the scented mixture and insert the diffuers.  The chip type gemstones would be, in this thought experiment, from a necklace from a charity shop.  You can find them loose on eBay as well.

It comes down to, do I want to spend more money on something that isn't working brilliantly?  Once I have made the initial outlay of stones and clear glass containers, I think that the £10 of vodka and occasional £1.60 or so of essential oil will last a long time and I do like the scent, but it is a scent that you brush past, rather than scenting the whole room.  I could just throw out the reeds that I have left over, but that goes against the grain with me.

I think I shall see what I find in the charity shops next week.  If I can get what I want for less than £5 then I may consider it.  I will update if anything happens.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Surprising Day

I suffer badly from depression.  There have been times when making a hot drink was too overwhelming for me to even attempt.  Yesterday wasn't that low, but it wasn't good.  However around lunchtime I managed to hit the 'darn it to heck' button.  Then this happened

It's a duvet cover with heading tape.  I didn't line it, just stitched on the heading tape by hand while I watched Hoarders.  There is suddenly a lot less draught.  It isn't long enough.  The standard door height in the UK is, I think, 84 inches and the duvet cover was 80 inches, but that is why I have a draught excluder sausage.  It also means that it won't get caught between the door and the floor so much like the last one.

Then there was this.

I think it looks cute.  It's a pot that has been hanging around the back of the cupboard with a piece of Tesco Value bath sponge in it.  I just prefer sponges as pincushions.

As it collects dust I can just rinse out the sponge and wash the pot.  However, just to finish it off, I made this.

I should have cut a circle and then cut a strip the length of circumference plus seam allowance, folding it over on the top to make the small frill and channel for the thin ribbon.  However working out the circumference is beyond my maths skills, so I cut five identical squares - and it worked!  I did the whole matching up and it worked!  They fit together!  I am nervous about my ability to cut accurately so this is a real boost.  This was also hand stitched while watching Extreme Couponing and Hoarders.  It holds the pincushion nicely.

Bear is still on the endangered list.  There are ongoing discussions about the need to change socks.  When bear said, 'but it's just a pair of socks' I don't think he realised how near the edge he came.

I am disappointed that my leg gets so sore after just a little.  I did some ironing and now my leg really hurts.  Still, that's an excuse for more crafting.  I'm not doing the throw, as that needs me to stand up to get some bits flat and others matched up.  I don't feel I have the courage to tackle the quilt piece or the cushion pattern.  However I have knitting on the needles so I can perhaps do a few rows of that.

Also, I used a rubber band on the door curtain rod to stop some of the rings from slipping and I used a rubber band to secure the end of the ribbon which is still nearly a whole reel full.  I have not yet run out.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Bear is Unobservant

It's actually a relief when bear misses something.  Today he missed that it had started snowing before bedtime and it wasn't until 9am that he realised there was white stuff everywhere.  He and the little girl from next door but one had a marvellous time.  The snow has almost gone now, but I dare say there will be ice enough tomorrow.  I am very nervous about that, but bear has to get to school.  He has a swimming lesson and I have promised to look into him going to a club - when it is warmer!

I have stuck to the meal plan today, it was roast and I got it in the oven in time.  I bought one of the 'easy cook' frozen joints as I planned to keep it for a while so it was the most sensible way of getting the chicken joint.  It turned out rather bigger than I expected so tomorrow's cheese soup is now cold meat and potatoes.

Saturday 16 January 2016

Meal Plan Fail

The meal plan lasted five hours before it failed.  I haven't made the souffle.  Actually, I am still going to try and stick to it, this is just a blip.  It is a reminder to me that if I want to make sweetcorn souffle I need to not only leave enough time but I also need to make sure I have sweetcorn in.  After all that fuss we are having sophisticated potato waffles, spam and baked beans.  Tomorrow I am going to do the roast planned.

I am actually quite proud of the potential meal plan.  It may have suffered a blip tonight, but it is sensible and I set it out with an eye to what was happening next week - and there is lots!  I am just covering the main bits at the moment, but I can add.

I am also quite proud that I have finally moved the combination microwave which I have been meaning to do for weeks.  It was just a matter of moving and extending the kitchen table and shifting things around.  I just did it.  However I now think I may need a different kitchen table.  This one I got cheap a few years ago for £35.  It is wobbly with the combi microwave on, though, so I may need to rethink things.

Tomorrow I have to bake.  Bear is insisting.

Feeling better

It's a wonderful change.  My cough is easing off.  It isn't gone, but it is less and less - and as it has plagued my life since October I am very grateful.  It has been a really nasty, convulsive, debilitating time.  My leg is having it's moments, but I've been able to do more.  Not only that, but the eczema attack I have had this week also seems to be calming down.  It was awful a few days ago, I couldn't sit still and I wondered if I was going back to the when I had dressings changed by the nurse.  It isn't good but it is a lot better.  It's great.

Not only that, but DH kindly rehung the curtain.  Bear actually did all his homework and practised the piano.  Yesterday I somehow managed to fill a few more bin bags.  I am considering my next target.

I think I am going to try meal planning again.  I usually fail on an epic scale with this, but it is a good start for healthy food for the family and a good way to check the budget.  To do it properly I need to know what I have in.  To know what I have got in I need a real sort out.  That is not going to happen soon.  I can't get into the cupboards easily.  But I can start planning a rough shape for the meals.

My plan is to more or less, depending, with a little give or take, is to follow the medieval fasting plan.  It was a sin to eat meat on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.  I am not planning on sticking so strictly to what is considered meat, and I will definitely be using things like eggs and milk, but it will be a lot healthier and a good way to save a few pennies.  I am going to aim (no guarantees!) to go for using pulses and veggies rather than meat substitutes.  If, and it is a big if, I manage it then I will post the results.

Posting on a Saturday, so I shall start with sweetcorn souffle tonight (fingers crossed).

Friday 15 January 2016

Top Tip

I have worn out a pair of washing up gloves.  A new pair came in the delivery today.

Did you know that you can slice across a rubber glove to make rubber bands?  You can cut across the cuff and palm bit for long bands and across the fingers for small ones.

I didn't bother.  Not only do I have a stash from when the postman has delivered but I can't remember the last time I used a rubber band.  I am in a house drowning in stuff.  If I somehow need a rubber band, I will use one of the eleventy ten that are already hanging around, improvise or just go out and buy some.  The rubber gloves went into the bin.

I am in enough bother with the dratted cds without hanging on to more stuff.  Top Tip - do not hang on to stuff just for the sake of it.

Just to prove me wrong - 52 Uses for Rubber Bands

Bear is Endangered

On Monday I spent most of the day climbing up and down ladders and hemstititching curtains and straining and reaching and, to be honest, I was shattered by it.

Today bear has pulled one of the curtains so it is only holding on by one hook.

I am consciously calming down.  I am also considering just taping newspaper to the window.

Seriously, I am fed up.  I am going to have to go through the whole move/stretch/hurt thing again.  While I am at it I might as well sort out the curtain hooks and extra rings.  I am getting tempted by the duvet cover/curtain thought experiment, but I don't think DH will allow it.

I have no idea how to get through to bear about how endangered he was (briefly).  Anyone would know that I wouldn't hurt a hair on his head.  Unfortunately that includes bear so I can't even issue gruesome threats.  Grounding is a possibility.

Thursday 14 January 2016

Another Day of Not Much

The weather is cold, but it isn't so bad.  There has been no frost and only a sprinkle of snow.  I've been sorting through paperwork in a very half hearted way.  There is stuff that has been hanging around for over a year.  I just was never sure what to do with it.  Now I'm bunging everything I want to keep in a lever arch file and shredding a lot of the rest.  A lot of the time was spent unblocking the shredder.  It is older than bear and I think it needs replacing.  Sigh.  You can't see much order in the havoc, but I have two more bin bags that need to go.  I won't ask DH to go to the tip this weekend, though, as the forecast is grim. 

Bear is happy as my brother called in and gave him a test tube full of slime.  He has a lot of 'awesome uncle' points now.  

Wean - I'm aiming for something like this one - except mine won't look that good.

I've cutting across the width of a single duvet cover to get two strips of patterned fabric.  Then I am putting two layers of old sheet between them, using sheets that were not fit for anything but ripping up.  I'm making them different widths etc and just roughly matching.  I also don't plan on having a 'good' side.  Instead I plan to have raggedy bits on both sides.  The aim is to have a throw to pull over the legs or around the shoulders for the living room that looks shabby chic and home spun and that is within my capabilities.  I'm still assembling it as it is done around other stuff.  If and when I get anywhere I'll share.  

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Still thinking

Thanks for all the suggestions about the duvet cover as curtain thought experiment.  I shall continue to think.

Today I have pootled very slowly.  My leg is still sore and I suppose I ought to see the doctor again.  However I have been watching 'Hoarders' and trying to work out putting together a throw I wanted to do.  It's layers of a duvet cover (there's a theme developing) with some old sheets in strips and all sort of raggedy.  It's a challenge getting it pinned as I want.  It is getting nearer to coming off the list, though, and starting to get rid of the backlog of projects.

Hope it is not too slippy here tomorrow.  Some parts of the world, and some parts of this county, can be knee deep in snow and carry on fine.  This morning there was a tiny hint of frost and some small slippery patches here and I was walking like a duck again.  I need to get over this.  Bear thought it was great fun, I will be glad when the cold snap goes.

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Witch Hazel adds to thoughts

Witch Hazel commented on the last post.

Interesting idea. Duvet cover fabric might not be stiff enough, but I guess you could buy some iron-on interfacing (maybe instead of the fleece? Although "as well as" the fleece might also be an option) to give them more body? 

For light blocking, maybe use some blackout blind type fabric - you could probably sew this to the inside at the top. Maybe you could use this instead of interfacing to stiffen as well? Not sure how stiff it is.

That has given me some inspiration.  I know that you can get wonderweb stuff so you iron two pieces of fabric together and they stick.  Or I could turn the duvet inside out, iron on the interfacing (thank you) and glue on the fleece and then turn right side out and catch stitch in the right places.  

I had been caught up wondering how on earth I could sew fleece on from the wrong side without catching it or wrinkling it up.  To be honest I am not too worried about how stiff the fabric is as I just want to stop the neighbours getting shocked.  

It is still just a thought experiment, but I've started putting together a raggy throw I had half started some months ago.  Who knows, I may eventually try the duvet/curtain out.  If I do, I shall share!

Thought Experiment

A thought experiment is where you think about what would happen if you did something, but don't actually do it.  It sounds like the story of my life.  I will share my thoughts from yesterday as it may inspire someone else to do something.

My windows are a 76 inch drop (around 193cm).  Did you know that the standard length of a duvet cover is 200cm (around 78 inches)?  This is a lot closer to the drop of my window than the standard 72 inch, 81 inch or 90 inch curtains.  The standard width of a single duvet is 135cm (around 53 inches) which would give a nice fullness if I used two single duvets converted into curtains for my 46 inch (around 117cm) wide window in the study.   The standard width of a double duvet is 200cm (around 78 inches) and two of those converted into curtains would work nicely on my 90 inch (around 229cm) wide study window.

If I took, for example, two single duvet covers, which I could almost certainly get at a very reasonable price, all I would have to do would be to add heading tape and perhaps turn the bottom up with some weights in it to help it hang.  All the seams would be done.  And, so the theory goes, I could put a piece of plain white fleece on the inside as a lining.  I'm not sure how that would work.  It would make the curtains warmer, and I suspect it would block out a lot of light, but I'm not sure how easy it would be crawling around trying to get it to stay in place while you assemble it.

If and only if I managed it, I quite like the idea of having curtains like these (DH wouldn't enjoy them, but this is only a thought experiment).

And I would have the complimentary pillow cases to put over cushions.  It wouldn't be much dearer than most curtains, and would be considerably cheaper than the current set which I am currently looking at with loathing.  It may even be worth considering if you have less awkward window sizes but can't find the curtains you would like.

If I ever get beyond the thought experiment, I will share.

Monday 11 January 2016

Bear is Being Bear

Bear is being very bear.  We had an in depth discussion about his trousers, of all things.  Yesterday I ironed a pair of his trousers and noticed a small hole, a little puncture in the fabric up around the top of the legs.  The edges were fraying and I thought it was beyond my ability to mend.  I sent him in to school with the fervent hope that no-one else would notice, as it was hard to spot unless you were looking at the flat fabric.
'Why didn't you tell me about the hole in your trousers?' I asked.
'What hole?'
'That hole.'
'Oh, that's been there ages,' bear said airly, 'And no-one's noticed.'
'I noticed.'
'But not for ages.  It's fine.'
'It's not fine.' I said.  'I've got you a replacement pair.'

Bear reluctantly accepted that.  He wasn't so keen on learning that the sweater I was wearing was indeed green.  The teacher had helpfully pointed out to bear that I was there, wearing the green sweater.  It is a tasteful shade of pale sage.  Bear was adamant that it was grey.

What with the study being different due to furniture being moved, and the insistence that the homework is done, bear was not impressed.  Thank goodness he has maths tomorrow.  That will cheer him up.

Curtain Fail

I am struggling with this.  There are issues with the curtains.  The heading tape seems more frayed than it should.  The lining is showing runs and tears which I can't work out.  I think the fabric is just poor.  They have been up a few years, but I did not expect this.  The curtains, the first ready made curtains I had bought in years and that cost over £200 for the two rooms, were not sewn straight so when I turned up the hem (didn't have the courage to cut) I had a dreadful job matching it up.

There are issues with the curtain pole in the study.  I don't have the courage to try to put up a new pole but this one is set just that little bit wrong, and I am struggling to get the curtains hung.  The pole should be about twelve inches smaller and the overlap makes the hanging awkward.

There are issues with me.  The curtain pole is ten feet above the floor.  That means I have to go up ladders and reach.  I am nervous on ladders, I hate going up them when I'm on my own.  I have no choice.  My shoulders are painful.  There is a draft that comes onto my left shoulder and I can't raise it properly.  Hooking and unhooking the curtain is painful.  I am also not strong.  A desk needs moving for me to reach one of the hooks that were torn from the curtain.  I can't get the ladder near without moving a desk.  I can't move the desk as not only am I not strong enough but it is full of electronics and they are DH's field.

There is always a bright side.  I can get to a lot of rubbish from bear now that I've moved other furniture to get to the window.  Not only that, but if I have to move the desk then this might be the chance to sort out the wires under there which I have been desperate to do for some time.  And I have shortened the two curtains in the study.  It could be a lot worse. 

Sunday 10 January 2016

In Trouble With Bear

Actually, bear is in trouble with me, but he doesn't see it quite like that.

I went in to the study to start clearing stuff away for the evening and not only was the electric fire left on but the curtain was hanging off the hooks.   Bear said he had nothing to do with it, was completely unaware that anything had happened and could not be held responsible as he had been either playing football or playing on the computer.  I pointed out that he sat next to the curtain when he played on the computer.  Bear was quite clear, he hadn't done anything and he hadn't seen anything.  It wasn't fair.

It is plausible that one of his pals who was in earlier could have pulled the curtain open and tugged the wrong way so that the hooks came out.  However I refuse to believe that bear didn't notice it.  Half the curtain is hanging down and it looks a right mess.  He is grounded, he is not happy and feels the victim of deep injustice.  I may be sulked at.

Tomorrow I will be up and down step ladders.  The curtain poles are around ten foot off the ground.  I need to shorten them and sort out the mess that father made when he hung them all those years ago.

The bright side, and there is always a bright side, is that I will be sitting as I shorten the curtains and I plan to carry on watching tv as I do.

Saturday 9 January 2016

Doing Okay

I'm doing okay.

I have been out with DH's cousin who is always an amazing influence on me.  We just went for a natter but I always feel better.  DH had already done one tip run, but he now has a few bags in his car building up for the next.  I had a rootle through a small cupboard, a fiddle on a shelf through father's stuff and feel good about it.  Everything needs to be cleared!

I can't do too much, darn it, as my leg gets very painful and I suspect that it is inflamed veins so I should pay attention to the pain.  I'm going to use that.  I have more outstanding craft projects than I care to admit to, a backlog of tv I want to watch, and a necessity to be sitting.  Every break in the recorded programmes, or every sensible pause in the stuff without adverts, and I get up and do something for five minutes.  If I just stick to that for a few days then it has to make a difference.

If I can stick to it for a few days then I will get loads of stuff done, and loads of rest.  So far at least half an inch on the shrug (216 stitches on a row and around six rows to an inch), caught up on some hoarders programmes (see my Getting Sorted page) and cleared the stuff as above.

Do I'm doing okay.

Friday 8 January 2016


Sorry about the pity party last night and thank you for your good wishes.  The leg is still sore, but I am optimistic that it will pick up.  

I have a new tumble dryer.  The delivery men were in and out at lightning speeds and I was left to do the unpacking.  I was good with that, actually, as it meant less time for them to notice the wreck of my kitchen and dining room.

I feel very guilty about what I have put bear through.  Yes, he had an awesome time going into work with his father, but he had been told his dad was picking him up and had guessed it was because I was in hospital.  He was so casual about just checking again, and again, and again, that it was okay.

The living and dining room are going to be staying a wreck.  I need to slowly reclaim the study so that it is fit for bear's first piano lesson of the year.  

The diffusers are working.  I get a gentle waft whenever I walk past.  I am happy with them.  

Thursday 7 January 2016

Feeling Low

The GP was almost certain that the cellulitis had gone, but was concerned about swelling in the leg.  She sent me into the hospital as she thought it may need a scan.  I got there @ 12.30, left at @ 6.30.  No scan.  There was one doctor working and a lot of people waiting.

It probably isn't a clot.  There is something wrong, and I am in pain, but I have no idea.  I don't have the emotional resources to go back to the GP.  The doctor at the hospital rattled through at such speed.  It isn't urgent, but I don't know what to think.

DH missed out on going out to see his friend.  He also had to leave work, collect bear and take bear back to work with him.  Bear had an awesome time and did some filing, but even so.  I can't believe the trouble I've caused.

I still need to move the tumble dryer.  I am on the floor as it is.  I will just have to manage somehow.

I feel like I am at the bottom of a deep pit.  So I am going to go away, sort the tumble dryer and go to bed.  Things will look better tomorrow.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

The Weather Forecast Said Sunny!

It isn't sunny.  It is grey and damp and flat.  

I haven't got as much done as I should have done, but I am cautiously optimistic.  I am on the third night of short sleep and if next door keep having an alarm go off at midnight I will not be responsible for my actions.  A little extra sleep and I will move mountains, and I am sure my leg will be better.  

My favourite bra has met its end. The wire on one side has broken through and the wire is creeping up.  I have a sort of protrusion in the middle of my chest and it looks like the start of a scene from Alien.  If it gets much bigger it will pick up radio.  In my experience, once this goes then all the patches with tape and ribbon and extra stitching are in vain.  It's just gone.  

I am definitely going to try and get some time to try at least a practice at the quilting.  It is calling to me.  Bless - the introductory price for the quilt magazine is 99p.  I can't bear to think how much I have signed up to every week (£3.99) but if it makes a chance for me to do it then I will take it.

Hester - I forgot to mention your comment a few days ago.  It is one I completely support.  For those who didn't see it, it's here, Hubby has a colleague who boasted in 2014 about the thousands of £££'s he had saved on Black Friday. Unfortunately he'd maxed out two credit cards 'saving' money so it cost him a fortune in interest.
Hubby told him we'd saved more than he had as we didn't buy anything!

Tuesday 5 January 2016

What Bear Says

This afternoon I picked bear up from school and asked him if they had done PE.  He said he had, it was dance and he had loved it.
'I can sign you up for dance classes,' I said.
Bear looked at me deadpan.  'Never'.  He has very clear views on this.

I had a fail and mistook the day taking bear to his maths tutor.  On the way back we spotted a large rat racing around near the houses.  'That looks so cute!' bear said.  'Can I have a pet rat.'  I am not going to have a talk about rats with him, especially as I suspect he was winding me up.  The appalled horror we had with the dead rat last summer seemed a lot more likely.  We are not getting a pet rat either.  I am sure that many people have cute, lovely, intelligent pet rats.  We are not going to be one of them.  If we are getting anything it is a cat.  Even this is looking unlikely.

Now I am settling down to recharge.  Tomorrow I have to clear everything out to make space for the new tumble dryer that is coming on Friday.  It's not so much the space that holds the tumble dryer.  It's moving the table and chairs and stuff and making sure that there is enough turning space when they come through the kitchen.  While I'm at it and there are people actually coming over to the house I may as well do a bit of a clean.  It was high on the list to be sorted anyway, especially now the stash of presents is out of the way.  There is always a bright side.

Darn it to Heck and then Darn it Again

And drat.  And poot.  And another darn.  The tumble drier has stopped working.

I can work round this.  Lots of people manage very well without one.  However they usually get things set up so it is easy to dry stuff.  I will now spend today rummaging, sorting, fiddling and keeping it all crossed that I can get stuff dry.  Everything is set up on the assumption that I can tumble dry, including yesterday's delivery of random bedding.  Sigh.  It would happen in a very wet English winter.

Bless - The magazine is 'The Art of Quilting' and you get a magazine each week with the materials and instructions to make a block of the quilt.  You also get instructions for another project and some articles.  If you get all the magazines and follow all the instructions and get it right you end up with a quilt.  It's an expensive way of doing it, but I heard it calling my name as I called into the newsagents and I failed to resist.  Also I am not resting my leg as I should, I suppose.  I think I need to snap out of my pity party.

Monday 4 January 2016

Cheering Myself Up

Writers are advised to always leave something for a week before going back and checking it over.  Bugger that.  Here's a poem I rattled out literally five minutes ago.  I don't know whether it shows or not, but it is here, if you are interested.  Be warned, it is a little dark.

By the way, if anyone feels like helping me out, I would be interested to see whether you think the poem is from the point of view of a man or a woman.

I feel much better now!

Start as You Mean to Go On

I'm scared of my sewing machine but I really, really, really want to sew.  Today I saw a part work (I know) in the newsagents called 'Quilting Made Easy'.  I thought it was the answer to my prayers.  I love part works, I really do, and love getting the bits and sorting them out.  Part works call to me.  They are notoriously bad value for money, but I asked the nice lady at the Newsagent to save for me.
I thought I would get stuck in straight away.  It comes with fabric, but I thought it would be a good idea to try with the bits of material I had in so I could practice.  I am not confident that I can cut accurately, sew accurately or press accurately.  The magazine is based by you making a quilt from the bits you get and they all sew together at the end.  This means that they all need to be the same size at the end.  This means I need to get it right which means I have to practice.

The first thing to do was to cut out the templates and stick them to thin card.  I managed to fail.  It all looks very odd, the glue seems to have stretched the paper and it isn't good.  I don't think I can rescue them.  I wondered if they were a standard size so I could get plastic ones on eBay.  They are not a standard size.  I am going to have to spend another 99p to get another copy of the dratted thing to get the templates.  I am not confident I could measure accurately without them.

I may have a go tomorrow with some material I already have and see how the measuring comes out.  I am also concerned as the seam allowance is tiny and I am not sure if it is okay.  But I really, really, really want to get started soon.

I guess I am starting 2016 in the same way as I ended 2015.

Just About Made It!

Yesterday there was panic.  I could not find bear's swim kit anywhere.  I spent most of yesterday prodded cupboards, drawers, lifting throws (we have a very layered house) and looking behind things.  It should have been in one of two places.  It wasn't.  It was after midnight before I unearthed it.  The dratted thing had slipped down between two boxes that had held Christmas presents and then got caught in the general shifting of things when I was digging the gifts out a few weeks ago.

I also had to scrape together bear's PE kit that was washed on the day it came home and then forgotten.  I also remembered his lunch money, which was a miracle, and I had kept his book bag in sight for the whole of the Christmas break.

It feels very, very quiet now.  Bear is at school, DH is at work, and there is no sound from the neighbours.  The house looks like it has been under direct attack from the mess goblins, so I need to make a start.  I'll make it slowly, my leg is v bad still.

Sunday 3 January 2016

Not a Win, but Not Really a Fail

It's 'make your own diffuser' time.

First fail - I got the wrong reeds.  The reeds are really short compared to the bottle.  Darn.  I could, of course, use a different container but the whole idea was that the bottles were too nice to not reuse.

I stuffed each bottle with three Tesco carrier bags.  That added 30p to the overall cost.

After I finished stuffing I realised that I was never getting those bags out again.  When these bottles need cleaning then I can see me having to throw them out instead.  This goes against my instincts as I hate that sort of waste.  On the other hand, I will need another Merlyn bottle or two.  I really love this stuff, much more than Baileys, so it would be no hardship getting spare bottles.  For those interested, here is a bottle of Merlyn with the picture taken from a proper site.
And here is the link to their homepage.  I wish I hadn't looked.  They do very nice looking Welsh alcohol and I don't want to be too much my father's daughter.

Apparently there is a lot of science to the whole diffuser thingy.  It is to do with the absorption and evaporation of oils and I feel outwitted.  There are a lot of different recipes on the internet, but I decided to follow the Treehugger one as it looked lovely and clear - link is here.

The recipes I looked at for the diffuser all suggested a carrier oil 'like safflower or sweet almond'.  Tesco don't sell either, and they looked expensive on eBay.  I checked with Wikipedia, and they also include rapeseed or canola oil, which I cook with, link here.  I also already had the cheap vodka.

In the end I decided to go with the vodka/water/essential oil mix.  It is supposed to evaporate quicker, but I knew that I would have a foul job trying to clean the bottles and I thought they would get grim at a slower pace without the oil.  Here is the kit here - cheap vodka, essential oil and a mixing jug.

And here is the finished diffuser.

I get two lovely looking diffusers.  I used most of the bottle of vodka and goodness knows how much essential oil as the carrier bags didn't take up as much room as I expected.  The cost for two is sort of...

One bottle of vodka - cheapest currently at Tesco is £10
Essential oil (if I had to buy and didn't have it in) I can pick it up for £1.60 (I used bergamot which I love!)
The reeds, which were the wrong size and apparently I could use bamboo skewers instead, were £2.49, but in my defence I have fifty left.
And not forgetting the carrier bags - 30p

Diffusers at Tesco, including Clementine Spice which sounds amazingly refreshing are £4 each, or two for £8 to compare to my costing, expected to last six weeks.  Mind you, they include (4-Isopropenyl-1-methylcyclohexene; 2-Benzylideneoctanal; 2-Benzylideneheptanal; 3, 7-Dimethylocta-2, 6-dien-1-ol), May produce an allergic reaction - something I copied and pasted because there was no way I was going to be able to type that lot out. 

I think that once the Merlyn bottle diffusers have run out I shall make up a couple of diffusers in smaller, pretty bottles that do not need complicated stuffing and actually I think the £14.09 will go a lot further than the Tesco ones.  It is a learning curve.  After all, I used most of the vodka (left over mixture stored in the vodka bottle) but there is plenty of essential oil left and enough reeds for ten more.  

So not an entire win, but not really a fail.  

Saturday 2 January 2016

Shopping the Sales

I have just watched a programme about extreme couponers in the sales.  There is nothing like the coupons that the USA enjoy here (darn it to heck) but I adore watching the shows.  This programme was more about the reduction in the after-Christmas sales.

There were some useful tactics.  I think most of the people featured saved around 70% which came to hundreds of dollars saved on things that were needed, really wanted or, in once case, donated to a children's hospital.  But, but, but...

As someone who falls into this trap again and again and again, can I just say from bitter experience, it isn't worth buying just because it is reduced.  If it is something that you need, great.  You can save a fortune by saving, planning, researching and then getting there at daft o'clock and spending seventeen hours on the shopping spree, as one of the featured extreme couponers did.  She saved hundreds of dollars so was probably on a good wage if you look at the savings as money earned per hour.  It wouldn't be worth it if it was for something that wasn't going to be used or appreciated.

These days there are great deals around all the time.  You can do your research, check the web and then get a really great deal all year round.  In my opinion it is worth checking stuff out if you need it, but at this time of year the best deals are for wrapping paper (still have loads), Christmas cards (still have seriously loads) and the little gifty type things are designed to be given for gifts so you can pick up the gift sets of soaps, candles, the quirky things that you can keep in a stash until suddenly you are faced with an unexpected house warming or a sudden birthday that you hadn't expected to buy for.  I plan to cruise eBay for those.

Something else I have learned from bitter experience.  Before you buy it, make sure you have somewhere to put it.  Especially job lots of ties.  They cascade everywhere.

Bear is So Advanced

Bear is so advanced.  He has only just turned nine and is slamming the door like a teenager after we had the absolute gall to ask him to close the door to keep down drafts.  The slam sounded like a thorough explosion.

To be honest, I am seriously considering googling how to reinforce a door frame.  The door is one which will be prone to slamming as it is between the living room, where DH and I hang out, and the study, where bear's computer is.  It is an odd part of the wall, just barely wide enough to take the door and sandwiched between the stairs and the outside wall and I am worried it won't take the strain.

Of course bear got called back and had to apologise.  I don't expect it made much impact.  I have read about people taking doors off hinges to deal with serious door slammers, but it wouldn't work the same here.

I hope it will be a while before this becomes a regular feature.