Wednesday 31 August 2016

How Many?!?!?!?!!!!

I'm rattling up the back of the jacket.  It's not perfect but I want it done and I have started so many things and have so much stuff that's there 'in potential' and I have done so many blog posts that have 'I will' in them that turned out to be more 'I won't' that I really want to finish this.  As bear is carefully working his way through Chapter Two of Lord of the Rings I glanced over the rest of the pattern.

I chose the pattern because it's a jacket type thing which I want, it uses the right weight of yarn, it is mainly stocking stitch and it took their knitter 27 hours to finish it.  It has a ruffle type thing on the front, but nothing's perfect.  Now I have actually read the pattern and I'm horrified.  The last three rows that you knit have 851 stitches in them!  It's going to take me 27 hours just to count them!  Yes, I know about counting twenty, putting in a safety pin, counting another twenty, putting in another safety pin, but 851 stitches - I'm shocked.

To be fair I've knitted ruffle scarves in the past which have easily 800 stitches on them, but this seems far more daunting and it has to be even.  The ruffle goes up the right side, around the back neck and down the left side.  I'll be knitting 851 stitches with three pieces hanging from it.  I will keep updating because I'm not giving in.

Sarah - I'd forgotten about Alan Garner, thank you for reminding me.  I loved Weirdstone of Brisingamen and the Moon of Gomrath.  I'm worried that this stuff is too old for him, but I will let him see.  I think I'll save those amazing suggestions for Christmas.  I shall also look into a Wrinkle in Time.

I am wary of trying to push bear too much with his reading.  It's slightly different when we read stuff to him, that's easier for bear and he can stop us and ask questions.  I got given 'King Solomon's Mines' to read when I was around 9 and it was too much for me and put me off it, although we are considering reading it outloud to bear, along with things like 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' and '20,000 Leagues under the Sea'.

I'm tempted to go and read Weirdstone of Brisingamen again.  Thank you!

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Bear is Reading

Bear didn't take to the Hobbit initially.  He found it a little tough.  The way language is used has changed in the years since the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings was written.  Sentences are longer and more intricate and speech is snappier and much simpler.  I think of the language of Lord of the Rings as like a stained glass window.  Now I feel things are a lot plainer.  It's not necessarily bad - I love the writing style of the Percy Jackson books and wish I could write half as well as the language is so well crafted, but it is different.

Tonight we finished Chapter 14 of the Hobbit, out of 19, and bear is completely enthralled.  He is carried away by the poetry and the drama of it.

Tonight, after much persuasion, DH gave bear a copy of the Lord of the Rings and suggested he look through it for the poetry.  Bear settled down and has read the first chapter.  I hope he can manage.  I hope he doesn't get to the complicated bits and is put off the book.  As it is, bear has gone upstairs to have a nice think about it until he goes to sleep.  That's not a bad thing.

We had the frittata which was very pleasant.  Tomorrow it's another pasta sauce, so bear is happy.

One Week Left

DH is back at work today.  Bear has one more week before school.  I will be sort of glad that he's back, though it's going to be interesting.  There are some difficult characters in bear's class, though his teacher is incredibly awesome.  We are waiting until the very last minute to get his shoes, in the fervent hope that his feet stay the same size for a couple of weeks afterwards.  I shall also need to pick up two pairs of trainers (home and school) and some pumps.  I suspect he needs a new coat.  I'll have to check that out, but it is not urgent.  It's not that cold yet so he can use the current jacket until it gets frosty, and the old one still fits him - just!  He's had two years out of this one, and two years out of the one before.  I will see what's out there.  However this time I'll check it will tumble dry.  I don't want to spend my time once again desperately hanging the muddy coat in front of a dehumifier to get the mud dry enough to brush off (in lumps) and then putting on the quickest wash that will work and then hanging it inside out in front of the dehumidifer again while keeping everything crossed it will get dry by morning.

I'm missing the days when I could get a bundle from eBay for pennies and he would outgrow it before it was worn out.  Now things are looking a lot more expensive and I don't suppose that will change.  I am dreading the thought of brands.  However as bear is watching Eat Well for Less and Shop Well for Less with a strong opinion on not spending so much then I am hopeful he will insist on a bargain.  If that's the only life skill he gets from me, it won't be a bad one.

I don't need to get a new backpack as last year's is still good, as is the bookbag.  We have plenty of pens and pencils and as yet he doesn't need much else.

Now I need to console bear as nothing needs chopping for tonight's dinner.

Monday 29 August 2016

It's Something

Today I washed and ironed all the new shirts I got for bear.  He finished last year with two that were just about fit for school, what with some very miscellaneous stains and a few scuffs.  At least they were still white - washed to rags, but white.  I have six new shirts for him to start with, three new jumpers to go with the two that still fit and four pairs of trousers.  That should keep him going, at least until Christmas.

It doesn't make up for the epic fail with dinner.  Bear is insisting on helping me, and that's a good thing.  He meticulously chopped up the onion, sweet pepper and olives that went into the frittata.  The thing  is, he isn't very fast.  There is no reason why he should be, he is still only nine and getting the hang of things, but it does mean that dinner was so late that we are having the frittata cold for dinner tomorrow and bear and DH had a takeaway.

Still, on the bright side, I am now half way up the back of the jacket.

Sunday 28 August 2016

DH has a lot to put up with.

I was talking to DH.  I couldn't work out why the bathroom window wouldn't stay open.  I like it open at least a crack but, no matter what I did, whenever I went back to the bathroom the window was shut.
'I even tried putting a tube of denture cleaning tablets in the groove where the window would shut but...'
'Denture cleaning tablets?' DH asked.
'Yes, you know, in a tube, and I found them...'
'Seriously, denture cleaning tablets?'
'Yes, I tried to clean the toilet with them but it didn't work.  Anyway the tube had moved...'
'You tried to clean the toilet with denture tablets?'
'Yes, and it didn't work.  It might have been because they were old as I got them ages ago to get coffee stains out of mugs.  Anyway the tube had moved.'

DH looked at me as if he was trying to decipher ancient Chinese.  I was able to reassure him.  'It's okay, I found out that every time bear uses the bathroom he shuts the window.  So it wasn't a ghost or anything.'

DH has a lot to put up with.  At the moment he is putting up with me knitting a pattern from a book, which should be okay, but it isn't as good as the one I ended up chucking out.  I think the first pattern had a lot of gaps.  It's like the person who created it (and it is an awesome jacket) knew what they meant, but didn't put everything in, because they didn't realise that a very ordinary knitter would need to know when it switched from basket stitch to stocking stitch, or if it actually did as the picture was less than clear on that, and whether a particular row counted or not when you were trying to sort out the increase.

I am determined to not only finish it, but to actually sew it up and wear it before the end of September.  According to the book, it took their knitter a total of 27 hours to finish.  That's a lot of tv to catch up on, and I'm good with that.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

A Good Day

I had a lot of awesomeness today just hanging out with bear, so regardless of the grumbles, I had a great day.  I still managed to fit in some grumbles.

We had planned to go and see Nine Lives at the cinema, but the reviews have been so bad that we decided to skip it.  Instead we went out for lunch to the local Harvester.  We hadn't been to that branch before, and we were a little too early by half an hour.

Rather than sit in the pub for half an hour drinking expensive drinks, we went over to the farm shop that was just across the road.  I am drawn to farm shops.  I keep hoping that this time I will find one that isn't just about overpriced olives and will be local produce at a decent price.  The one we went to a few weeks ago didn't live up to what I was hoping for and the queuing system annoyed DH (it was seriously complicated).  However this one was promising.  There was plenty of good butcher's meat out, in the sort of cuts I remembered from when I was little.  There was proper neck of lamb and what I consider proper pork chops.  I asked and you can order gluten free sausages that are made on site, and there were several burgers possible as well (to be eaten tomorrow).  Tonight we had bacon.  We asked about bacon and the very nice butcher went to the back and cut slices off a flitch (I think that's what it's called) with a very sharp knife and it was beautiful to eat.  There were some local veggies as well, so it could be a good place to stock up.  It is only about fifteen to twenty minutes away, depending on whether Leeds United are playing, and I never knew.  We'll see how the burgers eat, but I'm optimistic.

The meal at the Harvester was pretty awesome.  Bear loves the Harvester.  Basically, he loves the free salad, but the 'build your own chocolate pizza with a cookie dough base' dessert also works for him.  He was a happy bear.

We watched the Great British Bake Off.  It's the first time I've seen it, and I was rather in awe.  The first episode was so far beyond my expertise and bear has already announced that we are baking tomorrow.  I can see a lot of baking happening with bear, and there are worst things.  I just hope I can keep up.

The big naff raff of the day was knitting.  I had been itching to try a pattern which is knitted from cuff to cuff and makes a jacket.  I bought the pattern, had the needles and yarn ready to go and I couldn't resist any longer.  Except the pattern doesn't work.  I can't see how you can increase each end on every fourth row and increase 12 stitches in 21 rows.  It doesn't make sense.  I was having to guess whether it was stocking stitch or something else as it sort of hinted further down the instructions but I couldn't tell where it started, if it did.  I now have 1200g of aran and a desperate desire to knit but no pattern.  I feel very deflated.  Still, I suppose it is a shopping opportunity, if only for patterns.  I've been googling free patterns, which are my first choice, but haven't seen anything I like yet.  There's no rush, I have a pattern for a different sweater and some DK so I can get something on the needles.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

I Hate Gluten

Grumble grumble grumble

I used to really love gluten.  I couldn't get enough of all the different breads and cakes.  I loved wholemeal bread and rye bread and couldn't get enough barley in a stew.  If I had it now I would be very poorly.  I wish I could hate it, things would be much easier for me.

Last night we watched Eat Well for Less, which for those that haven't seen it is a programme about cutting food shopping bills.  One of the adults in the family was coeliac so had to go gluten free.  By the end of the show I was feeling fed up.  I know that it wasn't all about gluten, but they kept going on about things being wheat free when gluten is also in barley and rye.  They kept talking about 'no wheat' and missed the bonus that a lot of standard stuff is actually gluten free because that is how it is made rather than any design, like Heinz baked beans and some soups.  They didn't mention barley malt, which can be a real hazard and crops up in all sorts of places.  They didn't mention the unexpected hazard of malt vinegar in pickles and sauces and that some companies, like Reeses (who make Reeses cups) and Pataks are pretty much all gluten free.

And then, then, as we are running desperately low on treats, I went on Approved Food and they had a barley malt drink listed under the gluten free stuff.

Also it is too hot.

Also, despite it being hot (very hot in the house), I have promised a shepherd's pie tonight and I had better deliver.  Sigh.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be going to the pictures.  Bear thinks we are going to see Nine Lives but actually I'm going to see the air conditioning.

Monday 22 August 2016

We've Done Something Right

Bear had a dental check up today.  So far he has escaped fillings and treatments and he remains undrilled.  I am impressed as bear has a 'can-do' attitude to eating sugary things and doesn't hold back.  I wish I could put it down to good dental hygiene, but while I have rigorously enforced teeth brushing I suspect it is more down to luck.

I took the opportunity of having DH with car and got bear checked out at the opticians as well.  Apart from colour blindness, there is nothing wrong with bear's eyes, but I think it is a good idea to keep a watch out.

We also watched 'The Man From Uncle', the 2005 remake.  We all enjoyed it lots!  Tomorrow is likely to be quieter, just hanging out.  It's what DH needs and it will do bear no harm at all.  Besides, bear is likely to be tired.  He is staying up to watch the last episode of Eat Well for Less tonight as a treat and is unlikely to be in bed before 9.30pm.  Mind you, I suspect he will be sound asleep by 9.32pm.

Sunday 21 August 2016

Know Thyself

Apparently 'Know Thyself' was inscribed at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.  It's really good advice.  I'm baffled by what makes me tick.

This time last month I could barely function, was having lots of panic attacks, couldn't swallow tablets, couldn't get out unless it was for bear, and I was generally a mess.  Today I got up, took my vitamins, sorted out bear's breakfast and randomly ended up in Halifax, on my own having left bear in DH's safe hands.  I have no idea what has changed, I'm just glad it has.  It was a lot of fun.  I got bear a book on football from a charity shop that really cheered him up and as Sainsburys were having a sale on clothes I picked up a shirt for DH, a top for me and a sweater for bear.  It's printed with a rocket science type pattern (here, can't get the image to go over).  I hope that it will lead bear to put the sweater on instead of the heating.

I forgot to take a picture while I was there as proof.  I did try taking a picture out of the window.  I ended up with something like this.  It was a really pretty stream.

So here is a pic of Halifax from Wiki.  I'll get one for myself next time I'm there.  It wasn't this sunny.

Bear's tummy continues, well, bear.  It is a bit hit and miss even when it comes to goodies, although he apparently managed to absorb vast quantities of mini savoury eggs at lunch, but any hint that he may have to venture out of the house and it immediately becomes an acute case.  He will have to deal with it tomorrow.  He has a visit to the dentist and the optician tomorrow and he isn't getting out of it.

Friday 19 August 2016

I Take it Back

The banana bread tastes gorgeous.  Bear loves it, I love it, the only snag is that it is so filling!  The bits we made will keep us going for a few days.  It is just perfect.

Here is a link to the recipe.  You only need one slice at a time, seriously.

Bear continues with poorly tummy which has left him lying around, ninety percent leg, watching YouTube videos while playing on his Xbox.  He has just been picking at food, though he managed to force down some chocolate.

DH is now on holiday for a week.  We are all looking forward to a nice, relaxing time.

Thursday 18 August 2016

Bear's Banana Bread

To be honest, I'm not that keen on the recipe.  It was from the BBC, but I think they got the cooking time/temperature wrong.  Of course, it could have been my temperamental oven.  There are plenty of recipes on the web, so I'll chose another one next time.

As the recipe called for 10 oz (@ 300g) of flour to four bananas and we had twelve bananas to use up, we made three, one after the other.  This meant I felt I spent most of the day washing up as with bear I seem to use a lot more bowls.  He was very good, measuring stuff out and mixing and folding and stuff.  He insisted that the fat and sugar were beaten together by hand and then left me to do it, but I think it's okay.  It doesn't taste too bad, despite being a little heavy.  These are the first two.

Please ignore the mark on the tablecloth.  After all, we had just been baking and it was battlescarred.  I tried cooking the third in the combi cooker and it turned out less risen and somewhat charred.  The important thing was bear's thorough enjoyment of the whole process.  

I have added more baking supplies to my order.  Mind you, it will take even bear and his pals some time to work through those, so perhaps not too much of a hurry.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Actually, Not so Bad

The new halogen oven turned up at DH's work yesterday.  Today I found I couldn't work it.  There is a fiddly button you need to press to get the handle down so it will set off - and I can't.  I'm just not strong enough.  I'm sort of hoping I can persuade DH to re-pack the dratted thing to send back.  I am not recommending Russell Hobbs Halogen ovens.  I knew I should have gone to Tesco.  At least I would have got the clubcard points.

Bear is playing at 'under the weather'.  I want to get out of the house.  Bear does not.  Early this morning he woke me up to see how sad he looked.  At the moment he is complaining about a severe headache.  I don't know about his headache but my blood pressure is definitely suffering.  I am seriously unconvinced by bear's suffering.  To be honest, I don't think I'll manage to get him into town until, well, ever.  He is currently sprawled on the sofa watching a recording of the Great British Sewing Bee.

Still, despite bear's efforts I've got some washing in, the table cloth has come up fine, and I've sewn a button on DH's shirt.  I'm a little miffed, not at DH, but he's only worn the shirt once or twice and he never loses buttons.  However I got it from BHS which is now closed, so I can only grumble.  I started clearing out a cupboard, but I can go back to that once bear has gone to bed.

It should be frittata tonight, but it's looking very like fish n chips.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Twenty One Days Left

We are half way through the summer holidays and I am holding up.  Today bear decided we needed to make another apple crumble and I was going to make banana bread with the squishy bananas.  We started to make the crumble when one of his pals turned up, who stays to dinner, and who doesn't like apple crumble.  We made another magic cake (which didn't really have enough time to set) and bear separated all four eggs and only wasted one!  I couldn't do the banana bread as I think I got rid of all my cake/loaf tins.  Either that or they are lost beyond recall.  I'm considering improvising tomorrow.

As it was, the pal hoovered up burgers with pasta and sauce, so that was something successful.  Bear was too busy with his pal to chop the veg for the pasta sauce, but I have promised frittata tomorrow which has lots of lovely chopping.  I don't know how many I'll be feeding, but frittata can be stretched.

I've changed the table cloth in the kitchen.  I have left it to soak in oxy stain remover overnight.  Bear has severely happened to it over the last few days, and I was worried that if I put it straight into the washing machine I would pull out an omelette.

Monday 15 August 2016

Naff Raff

Bear was in a high state of naff raff today.  We didn't get out, and I could have done with it.  I needed some bits and as bear is determined not only to cook but to chop every single vegetable available it would have been fun to wander through the market and look at what fruit and veg was on offer.

Instead bear went to sleep.

He has been like that all day.  Naff raff about what he will/won't eat, what he wants to drink, about being too hot, too cold, etc etc.  He had another nap in the afternoon.  Fortunately no pals were around today.  I think he could do with a few more days of naps and baking.  I will see how it goes.

The halogen oven has given up.  I was devastated.  The gluten free crumbed fish portions that I had been looking forward to were burnt on the outside and raw in the middle, and the fish fingers last week had a similar fate.  I'm looking on it as a shopping opportunity, but darn.

 We made magic cake today, which was very successful.  It needed four eggs, separated.  Bear asked to do this, and I was fine.  I have a little pottery thingy which is a remarkably efficent egg separator.  You crack the egg into it, tilt the pot until the contents are against the slit in the side, the white runs out and the yolk stays put.  However if you break the yolk when you break the egg it doesn't work.  It took us eight eggs to get the four separated ones, and two of the successes were mine from showing bear.  It's a learning curve.

I need to get a Tesco order together now.  I need to get more eggs, more vegetables and some tinned meat to replace the stuff I used tonight when the fish was meh!  I also need inspiration.  I may look at their recipes.

Then I'm going to sit down with the knitting and relax.

Sunday 14 August 2016

Bear is not as Clever as he Thinks

Bear does not seem to realise that when we leave him downstairs in the dining room to finish his dessert (fresh pear in jelly) that we can hear him opening the fridge door and squirting more spray cream.

We can also hear how often the stealthy sneak, open, squirt is repeated.

At least at the moment it does involve some fruit and jelly.


We had an awesome barbecue at my brother's house yesterday.  It was a good do, very relaxed and good company.  My brother fosters rescue dogs and one got very growly at bear, so bear was unimpressed, but he very much enjoyed all the food.

Actually bear had a busy day.  He picked up some stuff in the morning, went to his awesome maths tutor afterwards, then had a very relaxed (with barking intervals) barbecue with an indulgent uncle.

We started reading The Hobbit last night.  I'm a bit concerned it's too old for him, as the language seems very different.  Bear has grown up in the era of Buffy-style snappy one liners and short sentences.  The slower, more complex language in Tolkein is a challenge.  I don't want him to be put off.  We shall see how it goes.

As for the pals eating here, well, I just go with the flow.  Due to situations with neighbours I can't invite a lot of bear's pals around like I did last summer, so it's just one or two that call.  When bear goes somewhere else I insist that he minds his manners, doesn't take advantage and lets me know where he is or else!  Some of his pals that call have the same rule.  Some have less structured lives and if they are here when I feed bear then I feed them as well.  I've tried to make sure I have phone numbers for the parents of visitors, but I've never managed 100% success rate.

So I provide food, drink, snacks, plasters, arbitration and an admiring audience and let them get on with it.

Saturday 13 August 2016

I Survived Dinner

Bear likes chopping things.  Last night we had fish fingers, potato waffles and carrots with cumin.  The carrots were from the veg box.  To be honest, if bear continues with this interest in cooking, a veg box may be fine.  He will need to practice before he gets perfect, however.  First the carrots needed to be peeled and chopped - his favourite bit.  Bear is not speedy.  After a while I peeled and he chopped.  He did his best, but the carrots ended up far chunkier than the thin diagonal slices that the recipe requested.

Then bear helped me measure two tablespoons of oil, three tablespoons of water, two spoonfuls of lazy garlic (should have been four!), half a teaspoon of cumin and a pinch of paprika which had to been boiled together for a minute.  We timed this very carefully.  We don't currently have a kitchen timer, so we put a cup of water in the microwave and had it going for a minute.  Then the carrots and 300 ml of boiling water were added to the pan and left to simmer.  Due to the thickness of the slices, the carrots were a bit crunchier than I think the recipe envisaged, but they tasted awesome and bear was ever so proud.  You were supposed to simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, but they were cooked for a little longer.

He also whipped up the strawberry whip which we had for dessert as the mangoes weren't fit.  I am going to encourage him as much as I can this summer.  We will all benefit.

However I may need to start practising calm breathing as watching bear attack the carrots with a knife had me on pins all the way through.  I didn't say anything, of course, but I was glad when I could just leave the carrots to simmer.

Friday 12 August 2016


One of bear's pals came round today and they were not getting along.  I am usually in and out of the room with them to monitor the computer and there was some grumpy bickering.  I played the referee with a light hand as much as possible but I was ready to knock their heads together.  Then it came to lunch time.

Last time I offered beans on toast it was utterly rejected by both.  Bear will not touch the tinned ravioli that his pal loves, pal will not touch salad, and the guessing game about who will eat what gets more and more complicated.  I had already spent an hour racking my brains to work out what we could have for dinner that not only would use up what needed using up but also would be eaten by everyone.  This lunchtime I offered sandwiches, as the main meal of the day is around 6 when DH comes in.  Pal enthusiastically accepts.  Bear utterly rejects.  I suggest 3 minute noodles, which both tolerate.  Bear requests a pot noodle.

The pot noodle request is a wily one.  On the one hand bear knows that I am frantic for him to get rid of the pot noodles.  He swore up and down to me that he loved them adored them, couldn't get enough of them but when I bought two packs when they were half price he suddenly utterly rejected them.  On the other hand bear knows that his pal loathes pot noodles with a passion and hates the smell of them.  Pal devours the sandwich and yogurt but then makes his excuses and leaves.

I felt very bad, somewhat in awe of bear's tactics to get him to leave, and guiltily relieved that dinner was so much easier.  Thank goodness we are busy this weekend and so no pals visiting!

Thursday 11 August 2016

I Ought Not to Look

I get desperate.  I try and feed bear and DH healthy meals, well, at least occasionally, so I look at the fruit and veg on offer online at Tesco and I have zero inspiration.  I yearn for a veg box.  A random assortment of veg that I have to do something with and I can take it from there.  It never ends well.  Another one arrived today.

Actually the locally grown veg box for £10 wasn't too bad.  There were potatoes, carrots, a swede, a leek roughly the size of my leg, a very nice cabbage, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes.  The salad box had more tomatoes, lettuce, sweet peppers, a cucumber that would make anyone's eyes water, celery, and sorrel and was £5.  The disappointment was the fruit box. I paid £18 for this, which was to supply small boys, myself and DH.  It was limp.  There were plenty of bananas, and the apples and satsuma-type citrus looked nice (though very small, even for small boys), but it would have cost around £10 from Tesco.  Perhaps I should have just gone with one of the boxes of local fruit.

Regardless, it's frittata for dinner tonight with apple crumble afterwards.  Bear is insisting on his right to chop the leek.  It's almost as big as him.

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Going Batty

Amazon are very clever with the, 'if you like this then you will like that' suggestions.  Many of them are very useful.  However I am now being followed around my internet browsing by pictures of dratted fairy doors.  Perhaps because of this, when I was looking to replace bear's broken-after-four-months Xbox controller I found this.

At first I was seriously, seriously tempted.  Then I realised that they were £2.50 each.  That's a lot if you want to peg out a full load!

Today I am hoping that all visitors will accept beans on toast for lunch.

Tuesday 9 August 2016


Witch Hazel The fairy door idea is incredibly unnerving.  They pop up all over.  Here's one from Amazon

The idea is to instill a sense of wonder into little children.  I think bear would have wondered where his mother's sense had gone.  I'm reminded far too much of the Wee Free Men of Sir Terry Pratchett.  They would probably have been sick on it.  If you put a mousetrap outside, what sort of fairy could you catch.  As it could possibly be a brownie I would probably make it a humane mousetrap.  I can't find any online images of a fairy splatted in a normal mousetrap.  Maybe there's a market.  I could bait it with this.

It looks unfortunately high in sugar, but I can imagine the elfen in my stories lapping it up.

Bear watched Eat Well for Less and one dessert was jelly poured over fruit and set.  Bear approved of the concept.  The show also showed Aldi's non-sparkly jelly as the best in a taste test so we got some jelly from Aldi and I poured it over some chopped, peeled pears.  Bear demolished his with serious determination.  His pal utterly rejected it as it had bits in.  Fortunately I had used three fancy containers for the jelly-with-fruit which had pear in and the jelly that remained had been poured into a glass and was set without 'bits'.  The pal approved of that.

I'm going to have to get more jelly in.  Also try and work out what pal prefers.  He has strong preferences, as does bear.  Unfortunately they don't overlap in many places and it looks like I will be doing a lot of feeding, and heaven help me with the others!  There are twenty six days left of the summer holiday.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Not Fair!

Bear asked me whether there were exercises or training he could do to train him to stop being colour blind.  I had to explain that actually he was stuck being colour blind, that was it, just like me and gluten.  It was heartbreaking as bear was so disappointed after failing completely to recognise a load of colours in a game.

It will have an impact.  He will be at the mercy of guessing when it comes to clothes - he can't always distinguish between blue and purple or green and brown.  Some careers are closed to him.  He isn't going to be fully safe in a chemistry lab, which is a blow to a science minded child.

I know that actually it isn't so bad and there are so many other wonderful things bear can do and that there are lots of other people worse off, but just at that moment I forgot to count my blessings and thought that it wasn't fair.  Here's a plate from the colour blindness test.  Bear can't see that it says 74

Saturday 6 August 2016

Out Again

Today we called in at Aldi.  I wanted some of their diet cola and some jelly.  A lot more ended up in the trolley, of couse, but that is to be expected.  It wasn't that much more and could have been a lot worse.  Then we went to a Farm Shop.  We had a little look around, picked up a few bits, but I had to be realistic.  I am useless with my freezer.  Things go in there and are never used.  It doesn't help that I do not entirely trust my freezer.  Bear and DH had lovely, proper sausages for dinner and we are having bacon chops tomorrow night.

I have to reluctantly accept that I cannot be trusted in an actual, real shop.  My impulse control is very poor.  We have decided we need to call in on Aldi on a regular basis, but I will need to be very careful.

Regardless, tomorrow I will be making jelly with fruit in, as bear saw it and thought it an excellent idea.  It will make a nice change.

Friday 5 August 2016

Bear's Kit Will Shortly be Ready

DH and I noticed that bear was wearing jogging bottoms at the school sports day, but put it down to preference.  When he brought his sports kit home (school insists that a kit is kept on site at all time) it appears that his shorts were missing.  

As bear was playing football all week he needed shorts.  For the first few days he wore a pair of red shorts that I washed each night.  On Wednesday night I found the other pair of shorts that came as a pack of two with the shorts that had been in bear's sports kit at school that had gone missing.  I was so relieved that I didn't have to put the washer on so late and triumphantly brought them out Thursday morning.  Bear utterly refused.  Bear said very firmly indeed that they were too baggy and too short.  He was not wearing them, he was wearing the unwashed ones from the day before.

I could sympathise.  However I did draw two conclusions.  The first conclusion was a strong feeling that bear's shorts had been lost accidentally on purpose.  My second conclusion was that this was not the first time that bear had failed to let me know an issue about clothing, it certainly will not be the last, but it is up there with most annoying.  I got a pair of shorts from H&M for £4.99 on Thursday that bear has deemed acceptable and will do for sports next year.  

There is always a bright side.  I had found a site that told you how to make a bag out of a t-shirt.  Bear's t-shirt from his sports kit has a huge hole in one sleeve (no, he didn't tell me that either) and I have a legitimate excuse to use it to make a bag.  

Thursday 4 August 2016

Can Vampires Make Babies

I was thinking about this as an offshoot from a plot.  Witch Hazel and Sarah Head make interesting points.

I think it comes down to how we see vampires.  In the medieval and early modern period they were often peasants who returned from the grave all bloated and ruddy.  This was a response to plague, where people were dying suddenly with no apparent reason and if you exhumed the first victim, perhaps a traveller, then a recently buried person does look reddish and bloated.  Later on you got a more TB feel, with stories like Le Fanu's Carmilla which had a long, slow fading.  In both cases, we are talking about something that brings death.

When I was a teenager I read a lot of the old books about folklore, and some of it stuck.  When I talk about vampires in the Forgotten Village and similar books I have a lot of the old stuff hanging around in the back of my mind.  It's a long time since I read Anne Rice and I have never read Twilight, so it's mainly the old stuff that has stuck.

This is why Chris Chessick (the vampire staked by a knitting needle in The Forgotten Village) became a vampire as an effect of sorcery rather than being bitten.  Regardless, I have a streak of darkness in all the vampires I write about.  Not only that, but traditionally they represent creeping death.  I don't think they should make babies. Except possibly jelly babies if they like making confectionary.

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Would Have, Could Have, Should Have

I have had a very brief review of my blog.  It is full of 'I will...' which hasn't happened and very little 'I have...'

One of the things was finish 'A Simple Spell' before bear finished for his holiday - not happened!  However wandering around the ideas in it did make me wonder if vampires needed birth control.  Witch Hazel made some good points.  For the sake of discussion, in the medieval version of vampires, vampires became vampires after being fed on for some time and then dying.  Other things could cause it, though, like being a witch, a disrupted funeral or red hair.  I am not sure whether any vampires that may be in it will need birth control as I haven't decided who the female lead ends up with yet.  There have also been interesting discussions with DH about whether a vampire (who is dead) will have a pulse, blood pressure etc and how it will affect a vital part of the proceedings.

Apparently bear woke up this morning sitting in the doorway of his room.  As he is always the first to wake up it is hard to verify, but it is plausible from the bumps and bangs I heard.  I think I may have to keep an eye on this.

I was in town today but I will have to consider coming home when bear is at the soccer camp.  When I am near shops I buy stuff.  Today it was some jeans for me and two shirts for DH (who really needs them!).  It was the last day of BHS in our town, so I went in.  I didn't see anything for bear.

Mind you, perhaps it is just as well.  In M&S (where I bought a shirt for full price!) the lady in front of me didn't know anyone who had a baby girl, didn't know anyone who was expecting a baby girl, but decided that the outfit was such a good bargain that she would get it anyway.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Bear was Sleepwalking

Last night, around about midnight, I heard some bumps and thumps so went to have a look.  Bear was at the bottom of the stairs and looking blankly at the door, as if he couldn't work out what it was for.  I coaxed him up the stairs where he sat in the doorway in a typical small boy pose with his arms around his knees.  His eyes were open, but I wasn't seeing much there.  After some more gentle coaxing bear crawled across the floor on his hands and knees, wriggled into bed and went spark out.  He remembers none of this.

I am a little worried about this as I wonder if the bumps and thumps were bear falling downstairs.  However he is certainly mixing it hard with the other kids at football camp so I would have no idea if there were any new bruises.  Whatever happened, it didn't wake him up.

I had a pleasant surprise.  My frozen stuff wasn't delivered with the order, and I didn't realise.  It was late when I put the order in, and to be honest I could have put anything down.  I got a phone call from Tesco customer services apologising and promising it would be refunded.  Tesco are pretty awesome round here these days.

The question I am now asking myself is, can vampires have children?  Aristotle thought that only living things should increase (hence the medieval church's ban on charging interest on loans as money wasn't alive so shouldn't increase) but it would help with a plot.

Monday 1 August 2016


Bear had a football camp this morning, 9.30 to 12.30.  It is a little tight going back home and then out again to pick him up, so I had a long walk around town.  I went far further than I have been for years and my legs hurt.  I did manage a sit down here, next to the red hot pokers.  I'm not sure of their proper name, but that's what my grandmother called them, she really did love them.

Bear had an amazing time.  When I picked him up he was pink in the face, covered in muck and wearing a captain's arm band.  He can't wait until tomorrow - except I am forcing him to go on the bus.  We took a taxi this morning, as the camp is at the University and I wasn't sure how long it would take us to get there or where exactly on the large camp we needed to be.  It cost £9, including a tip.  Bear very much prefers a taxi.  He can prefer it all he likes, he is still getting the bus.

Mind you, if we had gone straight home he would not have talked me into buying him a large meat subway, so it may have actually been cheaper overall to get the taxi, but we will stick to the bus.