Thursday 31 March 2016

Bear is very Bear

Bear is distraught at the dentist appointment I made him for tomorrow - as it will mean he will miss maths.

Maths was always my worst subject.  It never made sense to me.  The thought of missing a maths lesson would have been my idea of heaven.  Bear has emphatically different views.

Bear had a bump in the playground that affected his front teeth.  It wasn't anything serious, I don't think, and if this is the worst it gets I shall consider myself lucky.  I was hoping to have a quick trip into town tomorrow, but I'll manage it some other time.  I don't think there is a problem, but I will take looking after bear over research any time.  Bear's teeth can't be giving him too much grief - he has managed to devour a chocolate bar without flinching.

All the parcels for the Xbox arrived today, and DH will be putting it together later.  I wonder if there are maths games for the Xbox - off to research...

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Bear is Very, Very, Very Happy

We are getting an Xbox.  Bear is ecstatic.  He is so giddy that the thought of having an operation on his thumb on Monday has been desperately overshadowed.

So I have ordered the Xbox (thank goodness for Clubcard vouchers, not doubled or anything, but enough to make a significant dent in the very reasonable price), and a reconditioned tv with a guarantee (eBay is my friend), and discussed games with bear.  It has to be age appropriate or else!

I am worried about the operation, of course I am.  I am desperately hoping that bear takes after his father and wakes up wonderfully refreshed after a marvellous sleep (anaesthetics make me very ill).  I am very grateful that recovery time is likely to be over the Easter holidays, so bear should be fully recovered by the time he is due back in school.  It would be his right hand, of course, and bear is right handed, but he can still listen in class.

And needing a thumb that works for the Xbox is a wonderful incentive for bear to recover quickly.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Nothing Much to See

Leg is very sore.  Bear is very bear.  DH has much to put up with.

I continue pottering on.  Can I mention that I saw this...

It looks possible for me to knit.  It looks amazing.  The stuff on the website makes the pattern look possible and sensible.

I am sitting on my hands.  Not only would I never use it, but I have eleventy ten projects sitting around that I need to do first.

I guess I would go for the larger size and I could get the yarn from Marriner's Yarns for less than £15 for the cheap stuff, though I would have to pay for postage as it is under £25.  Marriner's Yarns have been awesome in the past.

I'm considering printing out the picture and pinning it up as an incentive.

Sunday 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

My instinct is to run around shouting 'Christ is Risen!' in a very happy way, but no-one in the house would appreciate it.

Bear has got a box of chocolates.  He negotiates away from Easter Eggs, as he doesn't like the chocolate in the eggs and thinks they are too hard to eat.  He has a small box of Tesco chocolates instead.  I have had a fail when it comes to the Easter Bunny, but neither DH nor I grew up with a tradition of the Easter Bunny, so it has always been a strain.

The clocks have gone forward, and as usual I am dazed and confused.  That is, I'm more dazed and confused than normal.  I am hoping for a very quiet and calm day.  I think it's what we all need.

I am also looking forward to listening to Classic FM and their awesome top 300 classical pieces.  One of the things on my bucket list is to be able to listen to the Hall of Fame all the way through.  I've squeezed in a few moments over Friday and yesterday, and hope to continue today and tomorrow.  I'm never going hear the whole thing while bear is around.  On the bright side I have found out how to record radio on our TV so I plan to try and catch the last three hours.  For those interested in the Classic FM Hall of fame, linky - music from the greatest composers (and a few video games!).

Friday 25 March 2016

Teething Troubles

Last night, around 9pm, bear lost a tooth.  I told him that it was too late and that the tooth fairy had already started her rounds.  This morning bear proudly showed DH his tooth - and dropped it!  We can't find it anywhere!

So I had to check with the tooth fairy to see if she works on Bank Holidays and what to do when the tooth itself is missing.

Bear is not buying into the whole tooth fairy thing, but he will nod and smile as long as there is money in it for him.  He did ask me about Santa, and looking back it was in a sort of, 'do I have to keep humouring you' sort of way.  He is definitely not fooled by the Easter Bunny.  Yesterday at school they apparently had a visit from the Easter Bunny.  No-one saw the rabbit, but the Easter baskets they had all made were mysteriously filled with a chocolate bar and a small chocolate egg.  Bear thought it was his teacher, but was willing to go along with the whole thing if it got him chocolate.

We have solemnly left a small envelope which contains a note that reads, 'Dear Janice, further to our emails.  I confirm that [bear's full name and date of birth] has lost a tooth and then lost the tooth.  I hope that this note is satisfactory.  [my full name and date of birth], mother'  Then I got bear to write his name at the bottom as well.  DH did the gypsy switch before he left bear to sleep.

I hope bear does the same sort of things with any children he is lucky enough to have.

Bear has New Trainers

Can you see the state of the trainer at the top?  Bear had worn it for a full hour.  One hour, and the brand new in box trainers look seriously second hand.  You can also tell which one is his dominant foot.

Today is a quiet day.  I am being careful with my leg - Bless, thank you for thinking of me but it is nothing compared to your experience.  Bear has requested that he stay in his pyjamas.  I am letting him.

I am also going to start constructing an order as bear is insistent that the parsnip soup we had for lunch has to be repeated as soon as possible.  

Parsnip soup, which I've probably put before - soften a chopped onion in two tbs of butter (I used a large slosh of oil), add a crushed garlic clove and two or three large parsnips that have been peeled and chopped and two tsps of curry powder.  When the spices have settled and the edge has been taken off the parsnips, add a pint and a half of stock and simmer for fifteen minutes.  Blend, add 100ml of double cream off the heat.  Warm through and serve.  Bear and DH were very, very happy.

Thursday 24 March 2016

I have phlebitis

I am in more pain than normal.

Bear has utterly lost his maths homework.

Poor DH is over-run with work.

But I have thought what I am going to do with the accidental sari (I have all the stuff) and DH has got some awesome stuff going on, and bear has new trainers to kick a new football and actually, it could be a lot worse.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Sometimes eBay Happens

I've been feeling very low.  This is a time when I should step well away from eBay.  I have managed to avoid some of the worse pitfalls, however I did fall for a sari.

I don't know anything about saris.  I am in the UK, from a mad Welsh/sane English background.  I don't know how saris should be worn or what they should look like.  I just saw that old saris were being sold as reclaimed fabric in the Crafts section.  They look so beautiful and so glamorous, how could I resist?  So I spent 1p plus £6 post and package from India and bought a sari that was described as not fit to wear but good for reclaimed fabric. around 4 yards by 40 inches, stains and holes included.

Today I got this in the post.

I've included a battery to show the size of the package.  What the pack contained was 4 yards by 40 inches (just over three and one half metres by a metre) of 'art silk' which was just beautiful.  Bear gave me a look, but said I could probably make something with it.

Unpacked it looked like this.

It has stains, and bits where it has gone funny due to heat, and a few holes, but there is still a lot of nice stuff there.  I have no idea what I will do but I will do something.  I am entranced by it.

There is a most amazing YouTube Video of someone in India making a quilt from a sari here.   I don't think my reclaimed fabric is quite up to it, but I may have a go...

Friday 18 March 2016

Bear is Cagey

Bear and his class have been having lots of tests.  I suspect it is the time of year for them, and the school are doing a great job of bringing the whole class on.  Bear has enjoyed the tests to some extent, but he was very evasive about his maths.  'Did you see your scores?' I asked.
'Mmm.' bear said, looking away.
'How did you do?' I asked.
'Mmm.' said bear, carefully not looking at me.
'Was it hundreds of questions?' I asked.
'I got sixteen out of twenty.' Bear admitted.
'That's awesome.' I said.  'Is that 75% or 80%?' and we wandered off trying to work out different percentages.  Bear is a lot better than me and it cheered him up.

He may not have got them all right, but that's okay.  I often come on here and gloat about how clever bear is (and I do think he is bright) but I never, ever want him to feel pressured or to feel a failure if he doesn't get perfect marks.  To be honest, as he was a little upset about only getting 16 out of 20, I think I need to give him ways of defining himself without test results.  But then, you want a child to try and push themselves and to learn to deal with failing tests.

I wish you got a manual when you got a baby.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Bear has Brought Home a Thing

A few weeks ago bear went on a school trip.  They made things.  Apparently the above is a Viking lamp.

I told bear it was wonderful, of course, and we discussed the possibility of putting a candle in it, but it will probably go in the display cabinet.  I don't think it would stand up to a candle, oil plus wick, or even dusting.  Bear had an awesome time, though.  It's a great thing to keep hold of so that he can remember how much fun he had.

I know it isn't the most perfect, but it won't be pushed to the back.  It is Made by Bear.  That's what matters.

Monday 14 March 2016

Another Day, Another Fail

I decided what to do with the old curtains.  The lining really was beyond saving, but the curtain stuff was okay.   As the heading tape was a wreck I cut that off, and I also cut off the lining  I found the odd hole in the edge of the fabric, but it's okay in the main.  I planned to either sell on eBay as reclaimed fabric or to donate to charity as reclaimed fabric.  I bunged the pieces in the washer one at a time and they came out in a much better state.

Today is sunny and the sun is finally high enough to reach the garden so I hung the pieces on the washing line.  It was a fail.  I have had issues before with there being a smell on clothes hung out, but I hoped that they would be fine now that the old fence had gone.  It was awful.  They came out of the washer lovely and fresh, I hung them up and there was this SMELL.  I could cry.  I'll have to wash them again and dry them inside.  They smell like unwashed tramps.  I don't understand it.  Clothes that are dried inside on hangers are fine, clothes that are on the airer are fine, clothes from the tumble dryer are fine, but clothes that are hung on the line sometimes smell so foul that they make me retch - and I am quite robust.  Sometimes I fall lucky and you get the lovely, line dried scent, but so often I end up with the extra costs of washing.  It is desperately depressing.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Curtains from Duvet Covers

New curtains are up, clear of the radiators, on new rings that are plastic with built in eyelets and on steel curtain hooks.  I'm just worried that bear may say, 'Challenge Accepted'.

I like the pattern, I think it's a nice change from the standard curtains.  The site I bought them from (internet, of course) had a picture like this.

Duvet covers are the perfect length for my windows.  I didn't hem them, I didn't sew them double, I just stitched heading tape on the top and DH hung them up.  I could have used glue.  I know that they won't be to everyone's taste, but I'm happy, and more importantly, so are bear and DH.  It came to less than £20, although double thickness is not the same as lined.  I may take them down, glue fleece inside and then rehand them when it comes to winter.  Or do that with different duvet covers.  Or I may do nothing at all - it depends on how life is going six months from now.

To protect the curtains we have switched the piano and the desk so that bear isn't sitting next to the window.  The desk hadn't been moved since 1996 and before that there had been a different desk of similar dimensions.  There is a hole in the carpet where a wheeled chair has been for twenty years (we have not had a new carpet in that time).  There was a lot of dust.  However all is sorted and I am looking forward to seeing how it works out.

I am wondering about the old curtains.  They cost a lot more, and were quite well made, but the heading tape is trashed, the way I took it up means that the bottom is trashed, and the fabric is dusty.   I don't think a charity shop would accept them, and they would make rubbish dusters, even if I didn't have an enormous stash.  I am trying to think of an acceptable way to avoid adding them to landfill.  If I haven't thought of anything by Friday they are going to the tip.  

Friday 11 March 2016


Thanks, Wean, I agree.  Uncle just doesn't get how to get on with kids.  For example, when I went to school I didn't know my colours.  My parents had diligently taught me what was red, green etc but uncle used to point at something blue and tell me it was yellow and I was utterly confused.  He tells bear he is going to take stuff away or not let him have stuff.  I think it's the only way he knows how to deal with kids - to tease them - and he has a heart the size of Wales.  He adores bear.  I just keep a close eye when they do meet and I keep it short.

Bless - I think bear is very clever.  At the end of Year Three he was getting 100% in mental maths aimed at Year Six.  His maths tutor has struggled to challenge him as he just 'gets' it.  As far as I know he hasn't been tested at school, and there isn't a culture of skipping grades in the UK.  Theoretically he could start doing maths exams early, but with the way things are set up here, I am not sure it would be healthy.  His teacher looked a little weary as he mentioned that every topic they did, bear had already looked it all up and knew all that he was going to teach already.  I think he is an awesome teacher.  I don't envy him though.  He is teaching a lad who, when asked whether he knew what sodium was, defined it as an alkaline metal.  The school haven't reached the stages of even talking about elements.  Obviously I am proud of him, immensely proud, but I sometimes wonder how it will all turn out.  He may settle down to middling in secondary school, or he may continue bright.  I'm keeping the pressure off.

Fail Continues

I'm still waiting in for the Amazon Delivery.  The curtain is now falling down and I am waiting for new curtain rings.  The pull of the curtain on the curtain hooks has broken some curtain hooks and pulled the eyes from the curtain rings.  I am furious.  We are going to have to move bear's desk.  It has been in the same place since 1994, but for ages we have had absolutely no issue with the curtain - years and years and years.  Darn.

I'm going to do a bodge job and hope it stays up.

We are also going to be moving furniture, and will spend most of tomorrow going up and down dratted ladders.  I am unimpressed.  I am also extremely concerned what I will find behind the desk.  On the bright side it will be a great opportunity to sort out the rats' nest of wires that I have been nattering about for the last few years.

Bear is happening to football.  When DH came in last night he asked whether the zombies had called.  I don't think the photo does it justice

All you could see were smeared and muddy handprints trailing down.  Fortunately I had soapy water and a cloth.  I also had to direct bear and his pal towards a large quantity of soapy water and cloths for themselves, they were mudmonsters.  Bear had come home the previous day with a coat so covered in mud that I had to wait until it was dry before knocking the lumps of dirt off - outside!

I'm actually happy he is going out and getting mucky.

Thursday 10 March 2016

Fail Continues

Feeling better today but bear is off as it is a training day, and uncle is quite horrible to bear when he visits, so no visit.

I've been doing the spray thing in the bathroom.  I am really not sure about it.  The smell of the surgical spirit is vile and not covered with the lemon oil.   I am considering just using vinegar.

Bear had an awesome report at the Parents' Evening.  His problem is that he doesn't like being asked to show his working out.  He just 'knows' it and that isn't helpful to the teacher trying to make sure he understands the steps he has taken to get there.  My sympathy is with the teacher.

Tuesday 8 March 2016


I have a cold.  I have a stinking sore throat and it seems very like what poor DH had a week ago (he really suffered).  I haven't been to visit uncle, I can't risk taking a sore throat in there.  I fail again.

I've been researching how to make a silver bullet - for writing purposes, of course.  Bear has torn the curtain, so I need to sort that out again.  I can't find the reed thingies for the diffuser which is a nuisance as they have been lovely.  I've made up the bathroom spray from the 30 days to a clean house book (equal quantities of white vinegar and surgical spirit with a large dash of essential oil of lemon) and it smells scary.  Things continue.  I am worrying about uncle.

This morning bear was giving a sterling performance of someone who has had their legs amputated by a rusty nail file.  He has a grazed knee.  It's a really good graze, with quite a good spread, and it looks liked it oozed spectacularly, but it is just a graze.  Bear was disappointed that I didn't treat it with respect due to a severe injury.

Sunday 6 March 2016

Back to Normal

Uncle has had a fall in the care home.  I am bewildered as uncle much prefers to call people to do stuff for him so what he was doing falling instead of sitting and shouting is a mystery.  He got checked out at A&E and is okay.

I worry that, unconsciously, staff at homes don't check on people so much if they don't have many visitors.  My health is now in a state where I can finally visit him.  I am going to find it incredibly tough.  Just the phone calls I used to take before he went into care could wreck me for a day.

I have to visit.  He was a real rock when I was little and things were complicated.  I'm going to find it hard.  It will only take about an hour out of my day, but I am so disorganised that I will miss that hour.  I will also find it mentally incredibly tough, though that is no reason to avoid visits either.

I feel incredibly guilty that I wish I didn't have to do it.   Deep down I am glad that I still have the chance to visit my uncle.  I just know it's going to be another long slog.  I need to remember what the alternative is.

Saturday 5 March 2016

The Snow Didn't Last

The snow has gone.  It was unpleasant yesterday morning but then settled down to rain for a few hours.  There are a few faint traces but nothing much.  The beck is full.

It is getting close to the top of the bank and lots of rain forecast.

Bear had a marvellous time in mud learning about Vikings.  He has let slip that they learnt about the Saxons attacking Vikings and apparently a clay lamp will be coming home soon, but bear doesn't really share what happens with school.  Whatever hid did, though, he enjoyed.  Then he had an awesome time at the quiz at church - but they came third!  It was a fix!  Well, okay, if they had not fiddled with one of the scores then bear would have won, and I had to do a lot of soothing both of bear and DH, but it was only for fun.

Bear found a hammer in the corner of the garden.  It isn't bloodstained so I don't suppose it is a relic of a desperate crime, left in our garden as someone fled from a dreadful scene.  It's rather ratty so I think I will discreetly lose it when bear has forgotten about it.

Bear is currently not fit for rags.  We didn't get home until after 8.30pm and bear is usually either asleep or well on the way by then.  By the time he had settled down and recovered from the injustice of the fiddle (or adjustment, it was complicated) and dropped off it was well past 9.30.

Today is going to be a quiet day.

Friday 4 March 2016

Walking Like a Duck

It's snowing.  This means I walk like a duck.  I am so scared of slipping that it is far worse than any fall.  It took a while to get to school, but we set off early.  It isn't even proper snow.  It's slushy, soggy, grey stuff on the ground and there are puddles not ice.  It is very unpleasant.

Bear was in a good mood.  Today he is going on a school trip to an open air Viking village experience.  Bear is very cheerful about it, but I don't envy the teachers having to run around in the bracing sleet.

The forecast says it will turn to rain.  The beck is already full, so I will be keeping an interested eye on how it works.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Not Productive

You know those lovely spring mornings, all crisp and shiny where the early morning sun is gold and the sky is the blue of heaven and the birds' singing is a song of praise of a glorious day.  We didn't have one of those this morning.  It was wet, windy, cold and it started to snow.  As bear was dressing up for World Book Day it meant that he went to school with a soggy cloak.

I also spent 90 minutes on the phone to various parts of hospital admin.  I live in Leeds.  Leeds has two main general hospitals, St James and the Leeds General Infirmary.  Both cover several acres.  Not only that but there are lots of other ones dotted around the city that unsuspecting patients can be sent to.  That's why they have a central admissions department, the one that lost bear's referral for trigger thumb.  Now I'm supposed to be referred for a possible rodent ulcer and darn it, the referral has been lost again.  It took me some time to find the right hospital and then the right department before speaking to someone who confirmed that the referral was lost forever but at least I could get it re-sent.  Fortunately the staff at my GP's surgery are utterly awesome and willingly faxed off a copy of a referral letter which the consultant's secretary has confessed to receiving.  I'm not sure that I'll actually see that particular consultant, but it's a start and next week I can have another go at getting a referral.  The GP wrote to them on 8 February.  It took bear six months to get seen.  I hope I don't have to wait so long.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Bear Starts the Day Happy

I am not a morning person.  I am really not a morning person.  On the other hand, bear is definitely a morning person.  He leaps out of bed at the first cough of the sparrow, chirpy and ready to go while I stumble around making his cereal.  We have agreed to disagree.

This morning bear was playing the maths games again.  There was the game where you have some cards face down and you can turn over two at a time and you remove the matches you make.  I get that, and I'm often good at it.  The twist on this was that you had to match the shape to the equation.  So the card showing a circle matched with a = πr² .  I remembered that one.  I didn't appreciate being faced with the volume of a cone before I had had a caffeine fix.  I looked blankly at the screen, looked at an expectant bear and just said, 'Fluffy kittens.'  It was all I could manage.

Bear laughed so much he fell off his chair and was still giggling about it as we went to school.  I don't envy his teacher dealing with him this morning.  

I'm going to have to pull myself together and look the Khan Academy and Open Learn.  I need to learn enough so that I can at least have the sense to say, 'not before breakfast!'

On a sidenote, I texted my brother, who is a whizz at maths, to complain.  He replied that the volume of a cone was not loud enough.  I gave up.