Saturday 30 April 2016

I Have No Stamina

I've not been active for a while for a number of reasons, mainly health.  It is showing.

Do you remember the picture of the trainers after an hour?  I posted it on 25 March.  They are now completely trashed.  Not only has bear made a habit of playing football in the pouring rain but the dog from next door but one has had a play with them.  Due to various circumstances, bear was having an unexpected night with my sister in law, who dresses very nicely, so I had to send him in something respectable.

My feet touched the pavement in town around 10:30am.  I got on the bus around 1pm.  I didn't sit down, I didn't have a cuppa or a break.  Instead I went round and round and round and round trying to find trainers for bear.  I also needed to get shoes for me, as I didn't have a pair that I could wear and that looked half way decent but I only had about five minutes before I absolutely needed to get on the bus home.  I managed to get most of what I needed and staggered back.  My feet were on fire, my back hurt and I was frazzled from a shopping in a very crowded city centre.  I do like Leeds, though.  There was a stage set up in Briggate and a rock group were playing.  About twenty yards behind the stage someone was playing an accordion.  Briggate was more crowded than usual and you had to pick your way through.

Here is a picture of Briggate from WikiCommons.  It was a lot more crowded today.  Incidentally, it is the same width now as it was when it was set out in 1205.  The stage with the rock group playing loudly was about where the photographer was standing, and the accordion a few yards behind.

At 2.15pm I was out of the door again and took bear to the Tea Party for the Queen's birthday at the Methodist Church.  As I got through the door, I was nabbed.  The person who was down to do the 'Roll the Tuppences' game for the kids hadn't shown so could I help out.  Of course I could.  So I herded the kids who were shooting tuppences down the slots like guided missiles, made change, kept an eye on bear, made and poured quantities of tea and kept moving.

I staggered in around 4.30pm, having made around £1 profit on the twopennies (but the kids loved it) and now I need to get fed and ready - I am off tonight to see Macbeth.  I didn't find out it was on until yesterday so there was some scrabbling around for someone to look after bear and did I have anything fit to wear?

I am not going to be fit for rags tomorrow.  I have no stamina at all!

Friday 29 April 2016

Frozen Friday

I am perished.  I got caught in the snow this morning during the school run.  It wasn't really snowing hard, just some cold, wet lumps as I walked the few hundred yards to school and back.  However I feel utterly frozen and I haven't been able to get warm.

I have continued to move stuff around, a few bits here and a few bits there.  The kitchen smells wonderful as I am cleaning the old Woodwick candle jars.  The jars are so elegant that it seems almost criminal to throw them out.  I thought I had better get started on my backlog in case I should need to start storing ring pulls, for example.  Not that I'm planning to store ring pulls for making chain mail, not at all.  I told DH about it and I thought he would fall off his chair laughing.

My internet search history is getting worse.  Other people worry about naughty ladies showing up on their search history.  I'm worried about being taken into custody.  Did you know that you can't buy embalming fluid as such from eBay but you can buy formaldehyde.  It does worry me that there is a market for 25 litres of formaldehyde.  Apparently it's really toxic and flammable.  I wouldn't give it house room.

The reason I was looking was purely research purposes - I followed a prompt from Studio 30 and Our Write Side which, if you don't mind something macabre you can find here.

Thursday 28 April 2016

I Need to Raise My Game

I've just found two of bear's Christmas presents.  I want to stress that bear has not had a deprived Christmas and birthday.  He did have lots.  I just found two more.

I got rid of one piece of furniture completely yesterday, and today I moved a couple more pieces around.  I should really have done a proper job instead of leaping into the middle and now I have heaps of stuff to sort through.  I'm looking forward to getting it finished.  That will probably be some time in the next ten years, but at least it's a little nearer.

I'm shattered now.  Our alarm went off at 5:52am this morning for no apparent reason and bear was very unimpressed.  To be honest, so was I.  I suppose I need to add 'sorting out the alarm' to the list of 'things that we need to spend money on'.

I must write tomorrow, as it's surprising how much more I get done if I do.

Reasons to Write

I do more if I write.  It is a statistical fact.  On the back of two poems and a 100 word flash fiction entry I filed my tax return and finished a shrug I have been faffing with since Christmas.  I have written another 100 Flash Fiction (here, if you're interested) and wonder what it will fire me to do.  It should at least get me through the washing up.

I am still baffled by bear.  This morning he explained to me that the Class Assembly had been a bit rushed and about a pump that had been painted, weeded, kicked by a bully but when the person built it there was already a spider inside.  I have absolutely no idea what he is on about.  I have tried Google and all I got was a story about a man setting fire to a gas station as there was a spider in the gas pump.  I'll try again tonight.

I need to be very careful.  I've switched to drinking cans of diet cola instead of bottles, as it's easier to ration.  Entirely by coincidence I found a YouTube video about how to make chain mail from the tabs on cans of pop.  I don't need chain mail.  I certainly don't need to build up a stash of tabs.

For those interested, or who can't believe that it actually exists, here's the link.  There are some wonderful things on the internet - they make me wonder if I'll have time to have a go.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Weather Continues Irrational

I took this picture this morning.  It shows the bright sunlight more than the apple blossom which I was aiming for as I'm not sure any bees will have got to it.  We have just had hail and now it is snowing.  I object!

I haven't seen any bees in the chimney, but that is not surprising.  The weather is far too cold.  I'll keep an eye out.  I'll be sad if they have gone.

My caffeine isn't going well as I have just done my tax return, but I am cautiously confident that I will get it back down.

I think today is going to be a knitting day.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Not Strong Tea

That is the strength of tea I have been taking.  There are a lot of very rude ways that traditionally describe tea not much darker than the cup it sits in, but I will settle for meh.  I went to the Coffee Stop at church yesterday and when they asked me how I wanted it I told them I wanted it pathetic.

I've never had strong tea anyway, and I am doing okay actually, but it isn't helping my leg.  It is still quite sore.  It could be worse.  I may be rationing chocolate (which contains caffeine) but I haven't given it up altogether.

Yesterday we went to IKEA and bear desperately hinted at getting another stuffed toy.  He is not short of soft toys.  His bed is filled with them.  It is ridiculous.  You can barely move for plush.  The bottom of his wardrobe is two foot deep in toys (not exaggerating) and there are two ridiculously large pandas in the top room.  And he loves them all! He has names for them.  He has intricate histories and relationships and complicated family trees.  They are not going anywhere soon.  I can live with him keeping a large heap of fake fur friends but I really don't want him to add to them.  Mind you, IKEA toys are wonderful to cuddle.

I've written a poem for the Light and Shade Challenge which is here, if you are interested.  It's interesting.  The last few bits I have put up have been quite dark, but I'm actually in quite a positive mood.

Edited to add - I've also done this.  Anything to put off the furniture moving I really need to do.

Monday 25 April 2016


From our top window you can see expensive houses, cheap houses and social housing.  You can see a medical centre, factories and farms.  My little corner, the hundred yards or so I walk to and from bear's school, is very urban and is quite high on the scale of deprivation that one of the universities use.

However I see lots of pigeons, the laurels are out and smelling lovely, we have apple blossom in the garden and I've already posted about the violets.

This morning I noticed that the wild garlic is out.

There is wild garlic all along the beck and when the sun is on it then the whole area smells incredibly flavoured.  There was also a disapproving duck.  I hadn't any bread as they are usually not around this part of the beck.

Apparently we shouldn't give them bread but instead give them defrosted frozen peas.  All I can say is that these are urban, Yorkshire ducks and are likely to be unimpressed by anything except white sliced.

I may not travel far, but I do enjoy looking round where I do go.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Sticky Problem

I am failing at sticking castors onto a trolley with superglue. I knocked against the edge and the dratted things came off.  I may use gaffer tape.  It just has to be enough to wheel around for an afternoon.  I'm happy to do whatever it takes, because if the church don't want it, it's off to the tip.  I've had a second go.  I'd screw them in, but the castors over lap the feet of the trolley.  I'm considering my options.  My next step is industrial strength bad language.

We have just had a hail shower.  I was wondering about putting some bedding plants in next week, but the weather forecast isn't good.  I may have to scrape snow off the soil before planting.  It is a sad reminder.  The shop where I would get them used to be run by a lady who was always good for a cup of conversation and I often called in.  She was taken ill the week of father's funeral and died soon after.  Her husband is keeping things going.  It was the place father got all the bedding plants.  It's another milestone.

I am surprised at the reminders I keep getting.  We were discussing going to visit Haigh's Farm shop which does amazing deals on meat that only a short time before was in the fields surrounding the shop.  The meat is lovely quality as well.  DH and I were both reminded of how much father enjoyed visiting there and loading up with all sorts of bits.  They have amazing sheepskin rugs as well, which may be connected to the amazing joints of lamb they sell.  We decided to wait until we could afford the new freezer, which has to come after the new fridge (a bit on the warm side, just about within recommended limits) and that has to wait until after I have bought a chair I can sit in for the living room.  The current one makes my leg worse.

I'm going to have to stay off eBay.

Saturday 23 April 2016

We Went Out!

We don't get out much, due to a lot of bad health, but I'm much better so we went for a little walk at Kirkstall Abbey.  It was really relaxing.  Bear had a kick about with DH (a few days early, but he's healing well) and we also had a drink and a cake, then a foray into Makro.  Bear insisted on pushing the shopping trolley, which was incredibly nerve wracking.  Fortunately the store wasn't busy.

It's been a funny sort of day.  I've spent a lot of it knitting while occasionally pausing to write some poetry (here, if you're interested).  My leg is very bad now, but the knitting is coming along well.  I also feel better for having written.

All in all, not a bad day!

Kirkstall Abbey, if you are interested, is a twelfth century Cistercian monastery ten minutes bus ride from Leeds city centre, is free to look around and is in an urban area near the river.  There were awful floods near there on Boxing Day.  Here is a pic from Wiki

Thursday 21 April 2016

I Love the Internet

I've been without the internet all day as I moved a piece of furniture which I plan to donate to the church and lost the internet.  The internet and phone both went, not through a fault in the phone line but because the plugs are tucked in awkward places and the wires are confusing and I failed to get the right things plugged in and I wasn't sure whether the wire was for the phone, internet, tv, sky, wii, or dvd player.  It's tangled up in a right mess.  That is our weekend planned out - sorting and labelling the cables (DH) and vacuuming and getting new curtains up (me).

I wasn't paying attention properly so bear ended up going to the park with an eleven year old.  I know that they are both sensible, but our local park isn't necessarily a safe place.  I worried so much, but bear was fine.  I still think he is too young.  I can't go up there myself - my leg can't manage it, and besides, he is getting too old to go the park with his mum.

I don't know if I should let him go again.  I wish I knew what to do for the best.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

The Wonders of a Phone

I can remember when cameras were expensive and you had to buy film.  Now I have a far from up-to-date iphone that used to belong to DH and it is wonderful.  It does all sorts - email, alarm clock, reminders, calculator (which I use a lot!) and I can also make phone calls.

Here is a better picture of the tiny plants near me, taken on my phone with the zoom function I've just found.

They are lovely, delicate and completely unexpected as when I turn around I get a photo like this.

You can just see the remaining effects of a car accident a few weeks ago.

The laundry has stalled until DH can sort out whatever is buzzing in the corner - I'm just too nervous to look.


I am trying to reduce the caffeine still.  I am not finding it easy and my leg is murder at the moment.  I remembered the bins needed to go out half an hour after midnight. 

However I got some pictures of what I think are wild violets, next to a set of traffic lights where a load of rubbish got dumped by passing motorists and the Christmas floods.  

I'll try and get some better pics tomorrow, 

I also got the Light and Shade Challenge set up.  If anyone enjoys creative writing and would like to go there is a picture, a quotation and a limit of 500 words in a week.  You don't have to write a full 500 words, and we don't check if you go over.  The link is here if anyone is interested.  

Now I need to work on the washing.  Bear has to wear red, white and blue tomorrow for the Queen's birthday and on Friday he is wearing a green t-shirt because of some reason that has escaped me but it seemed sensible when I saw the letter.  The way my leg is feeling it will be washing, ironing and extreme bad language.  

Tuesday 19 April 2016


There was a toad in the middle of our road this afternoon and I didn't have my phone on me to take a picture.  If I had felt more confident I would have brought it back to our garden to get rid of the dratted slugs.  It was just there, completely exposed and motionless, in the middle of the dry street.  It didn't seem harmed, and was gone when we got back from the school pick up.  I have never seen one outside of a zoo before.  I hope the heron didn't get it.

I am determined to take my phone tomorrow.  On a very rough and ready patch of ground, strewn with rubbish, there is a drift of violets.  All this nature around me in a drab corner of a city.

Bear's thumb continues to heal.  He will be using it to try avoid homework later, but he is managing fine with the Xbox.  He'll get on with the homework, whether he likes it or not.

My leg is very bad indeed, and my mental health has crashed badly, but actually the sun is shining and bear is doing fine.

My next target, when I can face it, is to strip back the kitchen and dining room.  I have noticed some ants but I can't see where they are getting in.  That is more nature than I am prepared to deal with, especially in my kitchen.

Saturday 16 April 2016

Darn it to Heck

I've just realised that I really need to junk 25,000 words of 'The Prince and the Paladin'.  It just isn't working.

On the bright side, I think I know where I've gone wrong.  Itching to get on so I'll log off for now.

Warm Fridge

Bless - thanks for all the links for the caffeine.  I've been tootling around and having a grumble.  I am way, way over the 400mg.  We are looking between 600 and 800mg daily, which isn't good and the caffeine could be affecting my leg.  I found a link which said that most caffeine was released in the first 30 seconds, so you pour the boiling water on, wait 30 seconds, remove the tea bag, discard the first brew, pour on fresh boiling water and drink.  I like my tea weak, but even I thought this was limp.  There are a lot of British expressions for tea that is too weak, many of them very rude.  I used all of them.  It was desperately bad.

Yesterday was a caffeine fail, and I don't expect much better today.

We have a warm fridge.  Yesterday I was doing a clear out of the fridge and realised that the packet of turkey rashers was not only within date, but was 'blown' with the packet swollen.  Then I realised that the packet was at room temperature.  I checked the temperature setting on the fridge and it had been knocked down to the lowest setting so I quickly put it up to the top temperature and crossed my fingers.  It is cooler this morning, but not desperately cold which it should be on the top setting.  Darn.  It should have been cooler than room temperature, even at a low setting.  It was actually quite a comfortable temperature which has left me concerned about the rest of the contents.

I am stressing about the dratted fridge.  My main coping mechanisms involve caffeine.  My secondary coping mechanisms involve spending random money on eBay.  I can't afford to spend any money if I need to buy a new fridge.  I am considering how I use my fridge.  I don't want to do without one.

I'll cheer myself up by buying an inexpensive fridge thermometer.  If I am being dippy, a fridge thermometer will be cheaper than a fridge.

Friday 15 April 2016

I Hate Caffeine

Apparently if you steep a teabag in 8oz of water you get more caffeine in the brew than if you steep it in 6oz of water.  Source  If I understood the scientific paper I may be able to understand why if you add more water the caffeine increases instead of being diluted.

I'm not having a brilliant morning.  I feel the urge to knit and the shrug I have been knitting (216 stitches on 3.75mm needles or US size 5) was nearing the end.  I was getting all giddy last night as I started the final welt and then the circular needle broke.  I am going to fossick out another project, I really could do with some knitting.  Another needle is on order, and this time I've gritted my teeth and spent a little more in the hope it will last.

Bear woke me up when he realised that his dressing had come off in his sleep.  I was half way through before I realised I hadn't got my glasses on.  I'm not at my best when woken (and without caffeine) and I'm not confident.  Dispassionately, I am putting a square of dressing and some sticky tape over a wound that is clean, dry and looking more like a cut.  Bear is healing up really well, despite my nerves with the dressing.  The nurse gave us three spare ones, and I expect to put the last one on some time tomorrow.

I've started off the day out of sorts and all the things that I would normally choose as a calming tactic have dratted caffeine in.  That is, tea, diet cola or chocolate.  Yes, chocolate contains caffeine, darn it, at least good chocolate does.

I am going to try and cut down on the caffeine slowly as some time with Google says that the withdrawal can be harsh, especially for a heavy user like myself.  This would be easier if I could work out how much caffeine there is in a teabag.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Learning from Those who have Done It

I love stationery.  I love notelets and notebooks and fancy pens.  I love all the quirky sharpeners and rulers and funny trays.  As I was browsing I found links to places that would, for a payment, send you a monthly box of stationery goodies.  I am feeling particularly low and it really appealed.  It was just the knowledge that I had too much stuff already, I had nowhere to put any other stuff and both DH and I would probably cry if more stuff came in that stopped me signing up.

This afternoon I opened an envelope.  Someone from father's Church put an envelope through the door with the details of what to do for a particular thing I had volunteered to do.  The envelope was a thin, utilitarian thing, which is great as far as I'm concerned.  I am all in favour of inexpensive.  However the note with the details was on a piece of card that looked like the top quarter of the front of a used Christmas card, around two inches by four inches.

That is a standard I should aim for.

(She is a really lovely lady as well, who visited father all the time and deserves a medal for all she does for others)

Caffeine Abuse

I have just been to the doctors.  I have creams.  I have tablets.  I also have to cut down my caffeine intake drastically.  My caffeine intake is roughly the double recommended level for an adult.  I'm not sure I can do this.  You know those people on park benches who are on heroin or are alcoholic - that is me, but with caffeine.  I may be sitting at home being respectable, but the caffeine has just as strong a hold on me.

Darn it to heck.  I am an addict writing a blog.  It isn't even an exciting addiction.  I don't have to go to a dealer for diet cola or teabags.  I just bung them on the Tesco order.

I am off to google 'caffeine addiction'.  To cheer myself up, here is a picture of some forsythia I took on the way home.  It's a bit late this year, and I am glad to see it.

Wednesday 13 April 2016


Bear has spilt a tub of Irish curry over the carpet in the study.

He likes a buttie from the local chip shop and they have something that is known as 'Irish Curry' which is apparently what the tub says on the side.  I am not exactly sure what is in the curry but the colour suggests a lot of mustard or turmeric and I don't think I will ever get it out of the carpet.

My first concern was actually for bear as the hot sauce had splashed on his leg and I had to get the sock off and run his leg under the cold tap in the bath.  Bear was distraught - because he had really been looking forward to that Irish curry and it was all my fault for forcing him to pour the sauce over all by himself.

I think I am going to have to bring forward the new carpet/laminate in the study.  I could cry.  I really don't want to spend the money.  However it isn't just the spilt curry that will permanently stain and probably scent the air.  The entire carpet is in such a bad way.  There are holes down to the boards, stains, bald patches and a lot of ingrained dust.  It was never the easiest carpet to clean anyway and I have made less effort than I should over the last twenty years.

And I know how much trouble it is going to be to move all the furniture round and sort all the stuff out and I know that I am just going to have to get on with it.  I'm not sure I can actually move all the furniture and I don't have any neighbours I can ask any more.

Well, I can't do anything straight away (leg is really bad) and I can thoroughly enjoy having a look around to see what the options are.  Besides, how hard can it be to fit laminate (says the person who doesn't trust herself to be accurate enough to cut patches for a quilt...)

Tuesday 12 April 2016


I potter around a few different accounts on Facebook, for all sorts of reasons.  Lyssa Medana has a facebook page, which anyone is invited to see (not that I've done anything on it for a while).

While I was pottering I found this on the page of Debi Downer.

What can I say, a perfect snapshot of my home life.

Monday 11 April 2016

Bear is Awesome

Bear's hand is healing very well.  He got the bulky dressing taken off today and a smaller one put on.  He is now playing the Xbox.

We called into the bookshop on the way home.  They didn't have the Calvin and Hobbes books but bear came home with a book of Greek myths.  He has got into the Percy Jackson books which draw heavily on the Greek myths.  I'm going to have to do some serious revision.  I never knew that much about the Greek myths anyway.  I need to at least try to keep up.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Bear is a Growing Lad

Before bear went down for the general anaesthetic, he was weighed and measured.  He is 32.6kg (just under 72lbs or just over 5 stone) and 137cm tall (just under 54 inches or 4ft 6).  He is no longer legally required to use the booster seat, which I think is something of a milestone for him.  According to the NHS it is in the healthy range, but at the top end.  I am not too stressed by that, as I suspect yet another growth spurt is about to happen.

There is actually quite a lot of useful stuff on the NHS website.  One day I may use it.

Well that was a Wasted Day

All I seem to do today is tootle around.  I am tired as well, so will be staggering off to bed after this.

On the bright side - I've avoided shopping.

Tonight's dinner was a variation on the theme of frittata.  You soften two large, thinly sliced onions with a minced clove of garlic (or a teaspoon of lazy garlic in my case).  You add three thinly sliced red peppers and continue to soften.  Then you stir in 50g of sliced black olives and a teaspoon of thyme and turn off the heat.  Seperately you beat three eggs (I used five) and season with pepper.  I failed to add the 200g of feta cheese due to intolerances, then put the pepper/onion/garlic/olive mix into a greased 7 inch dish.  Apparently if it's well greased and lined you can turn it out like a cake and slice it cold, but we just spooned it out.  Once the mix is in the bowl then you pour over the eggs and cook at Gas 5 or around 180 C for 35 minutes or until set.  It's supposed to be a starter but we had it as a main with peas.  If you get a good deal on the peppers then it isn't a bad deal.  Bear loves olives, so I can see this becoming a staple.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Birds on the Roof

It's normal to have birds on the roof.  As I type I can look over to Matalan's roof and see the private life of pigeons.  I've seen a heron on there, and a falcon at one point.  Birds sit on roofs.

DH was upstairs in the top room and heard what sounded like a determined effort to steal the slates from our roof.  He said it sounded like a full on act of destruction.  It was actually two juvenile crows rummaging underneath the edge of the slates where it meets the gutter and making a right racket.  The crows ignored DH when he opened the window and reluctantly left when he told them to clear off.

I am rather worried that there may be something under there, like a mouse or a sparrow that means we will have problems.  However crows are full of mischief so they could have just been enjoying the noise.

This is normal for the crow tribe.  I think I have mentioned the raven that hangs around the bird of prey displays and nicks the food meant for the vulture.  They are relentless, shameless and inventive.  I find them far more interesting than sparrows.

For anyone interested, a YouTube video of a crows bullying a lion is here.

Friday 8 April 2016

Bear is Doing Really Well

Today was so reassuring.  His pal was round from 10am to 5.30pm.  I fed them at regular intervals and left them to get on with it.  For a large part of the day they were bickering while watching YouTube videos and at the same time playing Fifa16 or Minecraft.  They seemed to know what was going on so I just kept an eye out from a safe distance.  I was completely bewildered by it all.

His thumb seems to hardly be bothering him at all.  In fact, the thing that bothers bear most at the moment is the ban on sport.  I am refusing to allow him to play in our street and bear is indignant.  There is another fortnight and a bit left to go on the ban and I am hoping bear will not explode before then.  He is an active lad with a lot of energy.

Next week is the second week of the holiday and his pal is away.  I have tentatively asked around for those who would like a playdate, but to be honest I think just spending quiet time will be good for bear.  It will be a genuine blessing for me.

Must. Not. Shop

There is a video on YouTube about making a picture look awesome.  It uses crackle glaze and varnish and I quite fancy having a go.  The link to the video is here.  I can't remember how I found it because it looks completely different from anything I normally do.

I had completely forgotten about it.  However I had gone onto Tesco Direct to get a new duvet (mine is fit for compost) and if you spent more than £20 on qualifying items then you got £5 off with a particular code.  I think it ends in a week or two, but I suspect that these sort of offers are like buses - there will always be another one along soon.  Regardless, I bought what I was buying anyway and with the £5 I bought a pretty mug for myself and a picture frame for a lovely card that DH likes, so that we could get it up on the wall and enjoy it.  Here is the frame.

Of course the picture is too big for the frame.  I had a quick look around online and it turns out the picture is a non standard size.  Darn it.

Then I remembered the YouTube video.  I would need tester pots of emulsion paint, crackle glaze, varnish and two canvases - one to practice on!  It may still all go wrong as I am not used to paint and I am not confident.  Besides, I have eleventy ten projects outstanding and there would be no point even thinking about doing it until bear is back at school and I have so much I want to do then anyway...

I'm sitting on my hands.  However I hope the links are of interest to anyone thinking of doing similar.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Checking the Checkout

I failed on an epic scale when I didn't do the final checkout properly for the Tesco order, the order that was supposed to have all the stuff in that I missed off.  It was more random than the average order.  It included a pack of Corn Grits, which not only failed to include cooking instructions but also had the warning 'may contain traces of Gluten' on the packaging.  I daren't risk it, my leg is still so sore.

The order was thirty minutes early, but that was okay, as bear made sure I was awake at the first cough of the sparrow.

Then I failed to catch up with all I wanted to do today and found an ant on the table during dinner.

However I have caught up with the washing up for the first time since before Christmas.  Standing up to do it was an issue, but I am finally getting there.  We had a nice, home cooked dinner.  Bear has stuffed himself with fruit and veg as well as chocolate.  His hand is a lot better.

Things could be a lot worse.

Witch Hazel - you can't buy the gift cards online, they have to be bought in a Morrison's store, so it is only really worth it if you are dropping in to the store anyway and it doesn't lead you to impulse buy.  DH checked today, they have the Amazon gift cards and they are included in the offer.  He said he would pick one up next time he needed petrol.  I have done the 'subscribe and save' thingy on Amazon so that I get the gluten free oat cakes that I love on a repeating order.  The oat cakes are the same price as Tesco, but the subscribe and save knocks 5% off the total and the postage is free, so I get the amount of oatcakes I need for a month for around £34.  By the time I add in one of our favourite woodwick candles which last around a month (and are about the same price as anywhere) then you are looking at £50 per month on Amazon, which is 5p per litre off.  However DH goes into Morrisons most mornings and tops up with fuel at Morrisons petrol station anyway and we use Amazon for at least £50 a month, then it is worth it.  It is just making sure that we don't spend more than we would save.  I wish I had spent this much mental effort on making sure I checked the Tesco order out properly.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Are Morrisons Vouchers a Good Deal?

Witch Hazel - I've had a look at this.  The vouchers can be bought in all sorts of values, but the minimum is £10 to get the 1p off the litre and the example they give elsewhere is that if you have a voucher for £1.35 off a litre of fuel and the fuel only costs £1.32 then you don't get change.  Here is the example cut and pasted from their website.

Before you shop at any of these retailers come to us first and save on fuel. For every £10 gift card you buy at Morrisons, we'll instantly give you a Fuel Saver coupon worth 1p off every litre of fuel next time you fill up with us. For example, buy a £50 gift card for the latest looks from Debenhams and get 5p off a litre of fuel.

The question is, are you going to get value from the Vouchers.  In my case, if you can get Amazon Vouchers, which are not mentioned on the website, and if you are buying something big from there anyway, then it is a good idea.  If it is just for groceries then I am not so convinced.  A lot of the deals that I would want are not as good as Tesco.  There are plenty of vouchers, like Debenhams above, or Boots, etc, but watch out for the Visa as there is a fee on the use of it, which is more than we would save unless we topped it up a lot.

I think if you are going to Morrisons anyway, and if you usually top up at a Morrisons garage and it's not out of the way, and you are going to spend that amount in a store that has these vouchers and you are going to top up with petrol/diesel in the next 63 days then it is worth it.

There are pitfalls.  This is no good if you have to drive a distance to the petrol station.  The fuel you use could cost more than the saving.  It is no good if you impulse buy more than you save when you call in the store (a real problem for me), or have to drive a distance or get bus fares.  It is no good unless you the voucher sensibly for stuff you need.  The big thing for me is - would using the voucher still cost more than shopping around for a better deal somewhere else?  After all, eBay is my friend and I've had some good deals from Tesco recently.  Neither of those have vouchers at Morrisons.

DH does top up at a Morrisons petrol station regularly and gets around 30 litres each time, around once a month or so.  If I got an Amazon card (not listed on the website but I saw them in store), and put £100 on it, then we would save £3 on the petrol.  I could load the voucher on to our account and look for the best deals on groceries.  I would have to make sure that the deals I got on Amazon would be either equal or better than Tesco, so that I didn't end up spending the £3 I saved and more on the groceries.

It's better running this round my mind than worrying about all the other stuff that's taking up headspace.

It's been a long day and it's only lunch time

Bear is playing on the Xbox with his pal.  They are bickering and generally messing around.  Bear has not asked for pain relief and is looking remarkably chirpy.

I am not feeling quite so chirpy.  Our alarm, that has not functioned properly for a decade, went off at 4.55 am.  I was unimpressed and could barely remember the code.  I hadn't got my glasses on either and I am not sure how I managed to turn it off.  Bear and I were unimpressed.  However I was awake enough to get the bin out in time for the bin men so that was something.

My leg is bad.  I really need to get back to the doctor, but I am not sure I can face it.  I'll wait and see how it stands up to the ironing.

So far I have managed to change some bedding and I am starting to get back to a place where I could consider the possibility of starting the 30 day to a clean and organised house again.  Not this week, though.

One good side of the Xbox.  The lads are so busy playing that they are only hoovering up large quantities of treats instead of the lorry loads that they previously devoured.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Shouldn't Think When Tired

Bear is doing fine.  He hasn't asked for pain relief and has scarfed down fruit, crisps, chocolate, healthy juice and fizzy drinks.  Despite my best efforts he has a pal who will be keeping him company this week.  I had hoped to give him more peace, but I am sure he will be better for the quiet company.  It did rather mess up my plans for treats and meals, but I can work round it.

When I went with bear to the dentist I noticed that they had gift cards and that if you bought a gift card then you could get a penny per litre off fuel at a Morrisons' petrol station per £10 spent on the gift card.

There were gift cards for Amazon at the store, but they aren't on the website.   If they are at the store then it could be worth looking into further.  For example, we could spend £100 on an Amazon gift card and get 10p per litre off fuel (well worth it!) and DH tops up at a Morrisons petrol station any was as it is on the way to work.  You can buy quite a few groceries from Amazon.  My opinion is that the deal is usually better with Tesco, but that you can get some decent deals with the subscription stuff and the Pantry.  As we have Prime membership anyway then we could free delivery on a lot of stuff.  £100 would be a significant lump of the grocery budget, and easily spent in a month.

It's a theoretical exercise as I can't get to Morrisons to buy the gift card even if they are there, or rather, the cost of the bus fare would be more than we would save.  You cannot buy the gift card online.

Actually, when I think about it, I think I need to get out of the house more, as in, further than 500 yards from my front door.  I think I will work on that next.

Monday 4 April 2016

Bear's Been Done

Bear has had the operation to release the trigger thumb.  

He had to fast from the night before and be in the hospital by 7.30am.  So bear had his dinner a little later than normal, @ 7pm on Sunday night and then went to bed.  We left the house early as city centre traffic on Monday morning can be grim.  We arrived on the ward at 6.50am and bear and DH had a great time playing board games until it was time to go onto the ward itself.

Bear was one of the oldest, so he was one of the last on the list, and there was an emergency which took staff away from the theatre.  We understand that.  However we should have been home by noon.  As it was I had to comfort a distressed, hungry and thirsty nine year old until 4.45pm before he was taken to theatre.  By the time he came back and had his first sips of a smoothie it had been nearly 24 hours fasting, far longer than necessary.  I know that it won't kill him, and that it was a blip in a very pampered life compared to so many children in the world.  That doesn't make it easy.  

Regardless of that, the operation was a success and bear is now flat out in bed.  I am on high alert with the monitor but I am confident that he will be fine tomorrow.

I don't blame the staff, the doctors and nurses were wonderful with bear and very kind, even saving him his favourite tuna sandwich for afterwards.  I do think that there has to be a better way of doing this.  One poor kid, around three years old, had the whole procedure cancelled for the second time, after their parents had taken time off work and they had been almost as long as bear without food and drink - far worse for a little one!

Tomorrow bear has plans to eat lots.  I have plans to keep a close eye on him and give him plenty of cuddles.  DH is back in work tomorrow but has been an absolute rock today.

Thank you for all the good wishes.  They are very much appreciated indeed!

Sunday 3 April 2016

Bear in Bother

Poor bear.  I told him if the football hit the window one more time he would be grounded for a week.
He's in bed now.  He'll be up at daft o'clock tomorrow as we have to get to the hospital for 7.30am.  He's scared, despite our best efforts.  I'll be glad when it's over.

Friday 1 April 2016

Another Day

Bear's teeth are okay - a bit wobbly and a bit sore, but okay and the dentist says that he needs to keep an eye on them, but it should be fine.  I suspect there are issues with those teeth anyway, so I'm just glad that they are still in and bear's ability to trough down chocolate is unimpaired.

There is always a bright side.   The antibiotics for my leg are making me feel really poorly but I have lost so much weight that my bras don't fit.  Past experience says that they will fit again soon, so I am staying away from buying more underwear.

Apparently seaweed gin is not an April Fool.

I have found a new distraction.  The caddy for my Chai teabags isn't airtight.  It is a really expensive (for me!) Spode one and the seal has come loose.  The teabags were definitely losing fragrance and have been relocated to a ziplock bag.  I am therefore looking for a new caddy.  I don't know what I want, but I will know it when I see it.  I can play 'hunt the perfect caddy' for weeks and it will keep me out of shopping mischief.