Saturday 30 September 2017

Internet Generation

This afternoon we were spread out.  DH was on his computer working, with YouTube playing music in the background.  Bear was playing a game which he had downloaded from the internet but also had a YouTube video (dumb tweets - not suitable for those easily embarassed or shocked but very, very funny) playing on my old phone over the wifi while his pal sat next to him playing Fifa 17 online.  Meanwhile I had YouTube music on in the background while I sorted out a delivery for tomorrow and got dragged into trying Amazon Pantry.  We pay a lot for our broadband connection, but I think it's worth it.

Witch Hazel - I shall look out for that offer and stock up.  You pass on some awesome info so I'm glad I could pass something back

Jake's a Girl - I like your tactics.  Sending good vibes and I hope you get something awesome with your vouchers

Friday 29 September 2017


I should have taken a picture before bear got home. 

I went to a MacMillan Coffee morning this morning at the funeral home at the end of the street.  It was awesome.  They had the most amazing cakes and were so lovely and friendly.  I won a bottle of wine in the raffle which will see me happy over the weekend.  I brought home some cakes for bear aned DH, who very much appreciated them. 

It made up for the fail I had on the shawl.  I couldn't tell how it was going so I cast off.  It was far too small and I felt very inadequate, but I have a full ball of the yarn left so I'm going to see what I can manage with 250g and some serious increasing. 

I've got a few bits ordered for Christmas.  I've got a few books inexpensively from eBay and I'll see what else comes up. 

I can't face going out tomorrow, but as I'm supposed to be making a few litres of soup on Sunday for the Harvest Supper I may as well deep clean the kitchen and get the house a little cosier.  I've decided that I'll be easy on myself tomorrow (deep cleaning kitchen), Sunday (making soup for the Harvest Supper and working on my Hygge), and Monday (washing machine repair man) but on Tuesday I go out.  I can do this. 

I'll be glad to see the washing machine repair man.  The washing machine is making some awful moaning sounds.  Fortunately I've got a policy with AO which means that for a very reasonable monthly payment I get repairs or a replacement machine.  I won't try and fiddle things, but I would love a new machine.  I've never really got on with this washer, it doesn't do what I want.  I like a washing machine that doesn't randomly turn itself off and that has separately adjustable temperature so that I can do a long, cool wash.  I got it in a hurry a few years ago as my last washer gave up halfway through washing all of bear's school uniform and I was too desperate to read the details properly. 

I did have some awkward questions on the phone as I set up the appointment.  I don't use the 'washing machine cleaner' type sachets but instead run it hot with vinegar in and I don't clear the lint trap often enough.  I just hope I don't get into trouble. 

Thursday 28 September 2017


Important - thank you for all the kind words.  I feel hugged and supported.  I'm sure I'll be able to pull myself out of this.  When all is said and done, it could be worse. 

Today I have been crossing my fingers and hoping fervently that it will be okay, but I've bought something for bear for Christmas.  Bear's absolutely, desperately, must-have things change more than the British weather, but he's been quite consistent about Lego for a few months.  It would, of course, be Lego, one of the most expensive (and best quality!) toys around.  

Tesco have a deal that lasts until 1 October where you get an extra 1000 clubcard points if you spend £60 on Lego.  It is frighteningly easy to spend £60 on Lego.  I spent @ £68 to be split between Christmas and bear's birthday.  I'm keeping everything crossed that he doesn't go off Lego before December 25th.  It's a risk!

I remember seeing something about what children should get for Christmas, I think it said that they should get four presents - something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need.  I've just blown that out of the water.  Bear will, of course, get something to read.  He will get a shedload of books as ever.  The Book People are on Top Cashback and have very reasonable prices, a good selection and they often have deals so I'm starting to watch them.  He'll almost certainly get something like goalkeeper gloves for something to wear.  He definitely 'wants' Lego in large quantities.  The 'something he needs' is a problem as he doesn't really need anything.  I'm trying to avoid getting him something like a phone or tablet for as long as possible, but they may well be 'needs' next September.  I'll worry about that then.

I'm off now to wander around the inexpensive eBay auctions of children's books and stocking fillers to see what I can stash now.  

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Bad Day

I try and keep things up beat here, but I've been struggling a little lately, and today was a reminder of how bad things are getting.

Today I had to pop along to pick up some plants for the garden from the local flower shop.  I've just checked on Google maps and they had the walk at around 0.1 of a mile, or a few hundred yards.  I was also going to call in at the Funeral Home where they were organising a MacMillan coffee morning and were donating to the Methodist Church.  The funeral home is literally the same postcode as me, we are a few houses away from each other on the same street.  Speaking to the people wasn't a problem.  It's very rare that I can't make small talk.  It was just getting out the house.  I can't explain it.  I don't feel bad when I get out.  I don't think it's agraphobia.  If I'm outside I feel okay.  It's just as if there's a huge, complicated wall between the inside and outside of my home.  It's become a lot worse now that I don't even take bear the few hundred yards to school.

Today I sat and cried because I was struggling to force myself to go out and walk a few hundred yards to speak to some lovely people.  I managed it in the end and had a lovely chat with really, really nice people.  Tomorrow I had half a mind to go out and walk in Roundhay Park while the weather's still fit but I can feel a gazillion and one excuses piling up inside me about why it makes sense for me not to leave home.  I can try and think things through logically, but I can't fool myself.  I have a massive mental block about leaving my home.  If it was for bear then there wouldn't be a problem.  If it is for me then I can't do it.  I feel like I would be crawling out against huge resistance, scraping along on hands and knees.  I don't know what to do.

Tomorrow I will post something more cheerful, but today has been tough.  There are always smiles around, though, and I found this on the page of Sir Thomas, Knight of the Kind Thoughts Thinking Circle

Sunday 24 September 2017


I got bear to model for me, and I did a rubbish job of the photos,  Bear is not outsized but tallish for his age (10) to give an idea of the height.  I'll have a go at some more photos because it is pretty amazing.  I cast on three stitches and cast off two stitches.  The link to the tutorial is here but I fiddled with some of the instructions.  You have what look like three immense mitred squares which make an incredibly snug shawl.

I'll have another go tomorrow but I've run out of ability to do techie.  I've just had an epic battle with something for the church and while I think I've got it nailed, I'm watching it carefully in case the formatting springs apart again.  I am going to go away and gently whimper in a corner now.

Saturday 23 September 2017

Quiet here

I went into Leeds yesterday and there wasn't a bomb scare.  There was one on Wednesday, with the whole of the market and some adjoining streets cordoned off and loads of buses diverted.  I saw a tweet on the subject, allegedly from one of the market regulars.  'Is it a bomb?  Give it a kick.  Did it go off?  No?  Then where's me bus.'  It rings very true of the people I've seen there.  It turned out it wasn't a bomb but something else illegal.

Today has been lovely and quiet.  I finished off a shawl.  I'll take a photo tomorrow.  I didn't finish it until after bear was in bed near his oversized panda which I'm planning on using as a model.  The panda is four feet tall, or around a metre, and desperately in need of a clean.  I'm going to have to take it to the dry cleaners on the bus.  I may have to buy it a ticket as it will need its own seat.  It was a gift from uncle when bear was a lot smaller.  He was still in his cot as it was the exact length of it.  I still remember the grin on uncle's face as we strapped the huge plush creature into the car in its own seat with a seatbelt holding it in place.

Wednesday 20 September 2017

The Garden is Still a Mess

I can only do so much in the garden before my back gives way.  If I take a sit for fifteen minutes or so then my back is fine, but that's all the time a cat needs to take advantage of newly dug soil.  I made some dreadful threats, but all the local cats know that I am a complete soft touch.  I managed to get some winter pansies planted.  Normally I would think this is the right time of year, but at the moment it feels so much later.

I forgot to take a photo, but the garden isn't in good shape.  A lot of things need tidying up and sorting out.  I don't plan to prune back too drastically as I don't mind leaving some places for creepy crawlies to stay but I've got sweet peas growing up my washing line.

I've put down organic slug pellets.  I may have sprinkled them rather thicker than the suggestion on the packet, but the slugs round here are feral.  They hunt in packs.  You can't move for the slimy munchers.  I don't know how well it will do but any reduction will be welcome.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Sorting Out

I've been having a rummage and found a pile of yarn.  I knew it was there, but I'm trying to get the heaps into some sort of order and I was reminded of the yarns existence.  Some of it is half knitted sweaters with the pattern long since lost.  I found a tiny jacket I was knitting for bear - around ten years ago!  Some are packets of yarn and some are plastic sacks full of oddments.  There is a real variety.

Some I shall donate.  The local knit and natter group do a lot for the church and charity.  Some I shall pass on to a friend whose little girl is interested in knitting.  However the rest I plan to use in any way I can.  I'm looking forward to the challenge.

I think I will make it a knitting time, to the end of the month.  It is definitely the weather for it.  Bear is insisting on wearing a vest. We could do with stocking up with sweaters, wraps and blankets.  Actually I have vast quantities of blankets, but that's not the point!  I have a weakness for blankets.  And I am down to my last two comfy sweaters after years of wear and tear have taken their toll on the old ones.  Both are ready for retirement.  One is a very large sweater that I knitted before we moved into this house over twenty years ago.  It's a rather nice green sweater with a cable design.  I suspect that it has sagged over the years, however, as it is now looking more like a tunic and I have to roll the sleeves up to find my hands.  It's looking in better shape than the other sweater which is shop bought and a little older than bear.  I found a hole in one of the seams last week and I don't know whether I should mend it or put it out of its misery.  I'm going to mend it, of course, but it won't hurt to add a few knitted sweaters to the collection.

Sunday 17 September 2017

Lighting a Candle

I can't remember who said, 'it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness' and I can't be bothered to look it up, but lighting candles happens a lot here.

Yesterday I picked up some more candles at Home Sense.  They have some wonderful candles in there.  I'm very picky so I took my time and had a good furtle around.  One thing surprised me - there are a lot of candles in there with a tobacco scent.  I'm sure it's not the 'stale ashtray' I'm imagining but something like a freshly sparked pipe with really good tobacco.  I didn't bother sniffing those but  I nearly gave myself a headache sniffing the rest of the candles.  Some were definitely not worth the sniff but some were heavenly.  I didn't score any woodwick candles this time but managed to pick up some a couple of nice ones, including one in a rather sweet brass holder which I'm sure I'll be able to re-purpose.

They had some of the 'Manly Indulgence' candles.  The one that looked the most like the one on the shelf was the midnight scented one here.  You can check if you like, it cost £65.96.  They are a lot more reasonable on eBay but still considerably more than the £7.99 the Black Sandalwood candle cost.  I didn't get it.  It smelled foul.

This afternoon was so wonderfully cosy.  We all were hanging out in the study, all just browsing, playing or, in my case, knitting.  There was a candle on and a sense of peace inside.  It was wonderful.

Saturday 16 September 2017

Big Day

Bear had his exam for one of the grammar schools we have applied for.  Even if he passes the exam there is no guarantee he'll get a place because of the distance, but we thought we would try.

I have never seen anything like it.  The grammar is in a small mill town surrounded by narrow, residential streets.  They were doing at least three sessions with marshalls waving people around to find parking spaces.  They were expecting around 800 applicants for 180 places.  We were there early and there was already a queue.  Within ten minutes there was a massive trail of people going both directions from the entrance to the exam.  It wasn't just the minimum 200 kids, but their parents, siblings and assorted family as well.  It was a lot of people.

Bear looked confident and relaxed when he went in, happy when he came out and said it was easier than he had expected.  I'm trying not to worry what he missed.  What I told him was of course, he was awesome and lets go get some Lego.

This afternoon I called in to Leeds Library to do some research.  I took a picture of the floor outside the lift to the third floor where I was trying to get an insight into nineteenth century Leeds and I took a picture of the wall where I had a cuppa.  Here is the floor...

..and here is the wall...

Leeds Library was built in Victorian Gothic style, all tiles and gargoyles.  I'll take some more pics when I go back next week.

Thursday 14 September 2017


I forgot to take a picture.  It wasn't worth it.  Bear solemnly cut the rocket mini greens with a pair of scissors and we ended up with around a skinny tablespoon of green stuff.  Next time we are going to scatter the seeds a lot more thickly on the paper towels. 

However the greens went down well, so that's something.  As far as I can tell we should be able to keep a few bits of microgreens ticking over during winter.  

I got some compost dug into the beds today and I'll start getting the winter pansies planted soon.  I can only manage about fifteen minutes before my back goes, but I can do it in short bursts.  Our garden is tiny.  I also have the organic, pet friendly slug pellets as recommended by People Who Know (my brother).  I need to get those down before it gets to cold for the slugs to be around for them.  

Next year I'm determined we're going to get something edible out of that garden.  Bear is unconvinced.  So far we've managed to kill cress and failed to sprout basil with only a small sprinkling of rocket microgreens to barely show for our effort, but I have faith.  

Thinking about Christmas

Christmas is looming ahead.  According to Facebook it is only 14 Saturdays away.  I whimpered when I saw that.  I'm saving up loyalty points all over the place.  By the time Christmas comes I should have around £40 in Morrisons points towards Christmas dinner, which should easily cover it.  We don't go overboard.  I will probably have as much as £80 in Tesco clubcard points.  I don't know what I'll have in Nectar points, but I know I can cash them in for eBay vouchers (if I can remember how to do it).  It's a drop in the ocean.  We don't have many to buy for, but bear wants an iPhone.  Bless him, he doesn't want the latest one.  He just wants one that's a little better than my fading iPhone 4 to play games on and to make notes but it has to have the Apple operating system to play the games he wants.  However even a reconditioned one is still likely to make me want to cry.  Of course, bear's birthday is four days after Christmas.

If - and it's a big if - we get some sort of iPhone for him, that will be the big thing for Christmas/Birthday.  I've already started checking out the auctions on eBay.  A few years ago I got a huge box of the 'free' gifts from the front of the Doctor Who magazine.  It filled his stocking and provided a heap of little presents for his birthday and Christmas for not many pennies - I seem to remember that it was under £20 and bear was completely overwhelmed.

I'm keeping everything crossed that I can score like that again.

Tuesday 12 September 2017

YouTube is Tempting Me

At my age (and I'm an old biddy) I ought to know better.  I need to avoid setting myself up with new projects.  But I keep dipping into YouTube and I see these amazing ideas and I'm desperate to try them.

I found this - a self binding blanket.  It's one of those things where you watch and marvel as what looks like it can never work effortlessly falls into place.  I always wonder what genius thought of it.  If I get my sewing machine out it would only take me a few minutes to sew.  It may take me over half an hour to set the machine up and work out where I'd hidden the thread but the actual sewing wouldn't take long.  I could use the same principle to make the napkins I want.  I don't want fancy napkins.  I want something to mop up and wipe.

I am putting in the notebook marked 'List'.  If I fancy a project, I'm putting in the List and then moving on.  I know that in September I can move mountains.  You can just point at the mountain and tell me where you want it.  When it comes to February I can barely move a paperclip.  I need to use the energy I have now to its best effect.  I think I need to finish up a few projects.

Monday 11 September 2017

Nothing to Report

Today has been a very bland day.  I've not managed to do much.  There have been no fusses with the neighbours.  Long may it continue.

While I on here, there are so many disasters at the moment.  There was the earthquake in Mexico, floods in Italy and Bangladesh and of course hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  If you are in any way religious please lift those places in your prayers.  If you want to make a practical difference I am sure there are many different ways you can donate but I would like to mention ShelterBox.  It isn't a 'big name' but does a lot of good where people have lost everything.  On their website they describe what they can distribute.

Our sturdy green ShelterBoxes are designed to help people who have lost everything. They are filled with practical tools and utensils that help to create the framework for everyday life.
Each contains a family-sized tent that protects people from the elements and provides a safe space in which people can start to recover from physical and emotional trauma.
The contents differ depending on the disaster and the climate, but items such as solar lights, water storage and purification equipment, thermal blankets and cooking utensils help start the process of creating a home. 

I'm not a part of Shelterbox, but it seems such a good idea in such extreme circumstances.  I believe some of the tools they supply with their kits go on being used long after the initial crisis has passed. 

We are forecast strong winds and flooding here.  It will be a very pale imitation of some of the crisis points at the moment.  I am very aware how lucky we are in this house.   

Sunday 10 September 2017

I am Not a Gardener

First, fuschia pics.  Before

And after

The pics are not exactly to the same scale or from the same angle, but they give an idea.  On the left is a lilac that had been completely buried and on the left is the valiant yellow tea rose.  I think the fuschia was always going to be too big for the garden.

I was hoping that it would have enough growing time before winter set in to get some regrowth, but today is very dark and windy.  It feels more like late October than early September.  I need to get the winter pansies in.

Hester - father would absolutely have done that.  Or rather, he would have bought something small that wasn't supposed to grow more than a few feet and then get all surprised when it got caught in the telephone wires.

We used to have a buddliea when father first moved here.  I liked it on one level because it kept people from sitting on our wall and blocked out noise.  There were always a lot of butterflies and I loved seeing them.  However it needed to go.  My mother planted it, and she passed in 2003 while father came to live with us around 2010 so it had grown, and even though we hacked it back each spring we did have to do a second prune around about late summer or it would interfere with the telephone wires.  The base of it was becoming enormous and I was worried about how far the roots were getting.  It was massive.  Father hacked the branches off with a saw but my lovely next door neighbour and his sons had to pull the main trunk out.  Most of that flower bed came with it.

Then there was the time when I planted Russian Vine.  I cut it back one weekend, measured the new growth the next weekend and it had grown nine inches.  It took father a lot of time, effort and several gallons of weedkiller to get rid of it and we reclaimed about a quarter of the garden.

Meanwhile the honeysuckle that I planted a few years ago in the hope I could train it to screen the bins has managed to grow four inches.  I'm not giving up, though.  I'm determined that I'll get a decent garden sorted next year.

Saturday 9 September 2017


I went out last night and attacked the fuschia in the dark, while the bees were asleep.  DH went out with loppers in the rain this morning while the bees were sheltering and had another go.  It is no longer the size of the bathroom.  It is a shadow of it's former self.  I forgot to take a picture of it today but I'll post one tomorrow.

It's my fault it took over.  I should have cut it back in the spring.  Now all you can see are huge, trunk-like branches which look like they have matured over years instead of sprouting over the last few months.  I'm going to dig it out in the spring as it gets too big for the garden.  Also, while it was a spectacular part of the garden, I'm not that fond of fuschia.

Father was the one that planted it, and I'm not surprised because father had form.  When I was very young father planted a fuschia in our front garden.  It was supposed to be a small bush.  It was enormous.  We used to have to hack it back twice a year to let the postman through.  It towered over the path and cracked a sewer pipe.  We had to leave the house due to the divorce and my mother took cuttings.  They never did anything much.  They stayed as the small shrubs they were meant to be away from father's influence.

He took a scented geranium from me once when he was in his old flat.  It had survived me, which showed it had reserves, and he kept it outside his door in the communal hallway near a window.  It thrived.  The pot wasn't that big and last time I saw it the thing came up to my waist.  Father had green fingers.

Bear did some practice maths questions this morning that his tutor had found to practice for generic 11+ exams.  He had fifty to do in 50 minutes.  He took thirty five minutes and while he had to think about one or two, and the utterly awesome tutor asked him a few questions here and there, he got them all right.  I think he's getting fed up with me reassuring him, especially as he found the questions fun.  I'm going to root around the net for some non verbal reasoning and comprehension stuff and I've told him that we're going to do around fifteen minutes a night until next Saturday when he has the test for the grammar school.  Bear looked wearily unimpressed.  It's sort of reassured me.  I don't want to 'hot house' him or force him to perform at levels that he can't sustain.  Bear has convinced me that he would take firm action against any attempt.

Friday 8 September 2017


Suddenly the fuschia is half as wide as the house, roughly as deep as it is wide, as tall as me and bigger than our bathroom.  I think it has had a growth spurt as I don't remember it being this big.  It has to be pruned back hard as somewhere under there is a yellow tea rose which I'm fond of and I want to try and plant the bed that is currently overshadowed by the monster.  However it is full of bees.  I may try and sneak out and do some guerrilla pruning under the cover of darkness.  The neighbours already think I'm odd anyway.

I pruned Dilly and Dally, my scented geraniums, and put them in the garden to get some fresh air and rain.  I told bear that they had gone on a holiday and he gave me a Look and said, 'Yes, mother,' in the tone that suggests it's time for my special calming tea.  He has a lot to put up with.

I'm planning on drying the geranium leaves and keeping them in a thin bag in the wardrobe to scent the clothes.  They smell beautiful.

Jake's a Girl - I'm afraid that chard is very like spinach/turnip tops.  I am very unimpressed but I can eat it easier than cabbage and bear adores it.

Thursday 7 September 2017


I had an awful night last night and feel like severely overcooked spaghetti. There is, however, always a silver lining.  Bear did his homeworks traight away and without being harangued.  Dinner worked and was cod baked in foil with tomatoes, garlic and leeks and eaten with broccoli and rainbow chard.

I was going to suggest to bear that we have a go at growing this.  Then I remembered the awful truth.  We have slugs.  We don't have one or two, we have slathers of them and they completely ravaged the marigolds.  They are utterly feral and relentless.  When I go out at night I have to tiptoe around or it all gets very squashy.  

I think I'll try watering the garden with cheap coffee over the next few days and see how that goes.  Apparently they can't take caffeine.  If that doesn't work then I'm going to have to consider carefully what options are not going to hurt the local cats.  

Also, I now have a nutcracker and we have demolished most of the cobnuts.  Bear approved. 

Wednesday 6 September 2017

The Number of the Pillow

Sainsburys have pillows on sale for £6.66 for a pair of washable pillows.  I'm not superstitious and if the pillows are only half way decent then they are worth getting as pillows don't survive long in this house.  The pillows for me, bear and DH are all very limp indeed.  I have put a shedload on the order which should come some time next week

Today it was a Morrisons delivery.  I got my cobnuts (still don't have a nutcracker, I may end up using a hammer or taking off a shoe and walloping the nuts with it).

I also got a veg box for £5.  That's a few carrots, onions, a couple of leeks, a couple of courgettes a swede, a cabbage and a cauliflower.  I thought it was good value for money, especially as I didn't have to do any thinking.  The down side was that I had to dry them all.  They had been in chiller cabinets and the onions were especially damp.

And while I had my camera out I took this photo...

The purple thingy on the right is a bottle lid for size reference.  They are the ceramic containers of some absolutely sublime desserts I got in Aldi.  The desserts come in chocolate orange, lemon and raspberry & cream.  They are smooth, subtle and horrifically calorific.  Afterwards you are left with this ceramic pot which looks like it ought to have a use.  I was thinking of using them for tea light holders - but I don't use many tealights.  I could use them for scented beads or general bits and bobs.  They aren't very deep.  I'm not even sure if they're microwave safe.  But they must be useful for something.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

It's Autumn

 Elderberries at full ripeness and heavy with juice (and I am not planning to make anything with them as I am failing at making pasta at the moment)


Pictures from my street.  It's definitely autumn.

Bear had a great day at school.  My day was unproductive.  Hope to do better tomorrow.

btw unless stated otherwise, all pictures on here described as taken by me are in the public domain.  Use them how you like as long as you DON'T attribute them to me.  I wonder if the new camera is good enough for the WikiCommons?  They may not be brilliant photos but they may be of use to someone looking for a particular thing.

Not a Good Start to the Day

Today bear is at school.  He went off fine.  He is now in Year Six, the oldest kids in the school.  He looks so different from when I first took him to Reception back in 2011.  There is still an element of him sitting in his uniform, as I always buy with room to grow into.  I am biased, but I think he's turning out alright.  He has a good heart and a lot of kindness.

On my to-do list today is the garden.  It is tipping down at the moment and I've done something interesting to my hip.  The garden will have to wait.  I also have been updating a Morrisons order.  I added this, tweaked that and when I was signing out got caught by a flash sale of 'cob nuts'.  These hazelnuts, fresh in the shell, like I used to get from my grandparents' garden when I was a kid (when the squirrels left any).  The trees aren't there anymore as they were cleared when flood defences were put in after some truly dreadful floods a few years ago.  The trees produced loads but the squirrels got most of them.  I loved the ones we managed to get, it was such a treat.  As for squirrels, they may look cute but you don't feel warm and fuzzy towards them when they wake you up by fighting on the tin roof.  Also they raided bulbs but they also spread some of the snowdrops, so that wasn't so bad.  The link to the supermarket listing is here.  They have a lovely soft flavour.  Also, I have no nutcracker.

I am sure I can find plenty of other stuff to do, and I may take the nuts off the order.  I don't need them.

Monday 4 September 2017

The Day Before Bear is Back at School!

The day started awesomely, when a friend of bear's, his mother and his younger sister called round so we all went to the Methodists for a cuppa, a chat and the little sister (around 8 or 9) got some lessons in how to knit.  I volunteered to help out some time before the end of the month with some lessons here.  She is a lovely kid, and much better at craft than I am.  Witch Hazel - I shall pass on info on Craftsy to her mum.  I've looked at the lessons for sewing and at the moment I can't manage them as they are at awkward times of day, but next year bear should be fine left for fifteen minutes or so.

I accidentally volunteered to make soup for the Harvest Supper.  I suggested that they make Egyptian Soup, which is gluten free (if made with gluten free stock), dairy free and vegetarian.  I think the nearest online recipe to the one I use is here.  It's wonderfully flavorsome and warming.   Suddenly I find I'm making it.  The other cooks are seriously amazing, wonderfully experienced cooks and I feel like an awkward teenager next to them.

As for tomorrow, I think I've covered everything.  I've found his old book bag and put his lunch money in ready to go.  He has trousers, shirt and sweater ironed, though he probably won't need a sweater.  I know where his school shoes are.  I have also started a long to-do list.

I'm still having trouble typing.  I'm a touch typist.  I can usually type happily away without looking at the keyboard or screen and be fine.  At the moment it doesn't matter how carefully I type, all the letters are getting jumbled up.  I am also having trouble keeping my train of thought.  It's not so much a train as a single carriage that isn't leaving the platform.

Sunday 3 September 2017

Ready for Winter

Jake's a Girl asked whether I was ready for winter.  The answer to that is 'heck, no!'  However I can feel housewifery creeping up on me.  Bear goes back to school the day after tomorrow and I'm starting to plan the attack on getting the house into some sort of shape.

I am also considering more adventurous cookery.  That will depend on the freezer because as soon as I've got it emptied I'm going to replace it, even if I have to do it on credit.  It's not safe.  Anything too frost encrusted will be discarded.  I need to rethink my attitude to the food anyway.  Bear likes healthier food than I'm making.  He likes leafy salads and tonight polished of a vast quantity of grated raw carrot.  I need to put in the thinking time as much as the cooking time.

It's felt cooler today and it's damp.  For me, autumn means falling leaves and heavy, ripe berries.  I normally expect those in October but they are already here.  I wonder what it means for winter and I think I need to get a wiggle on.

I found a link to a book about doing housework in rhythm with the moon.  It's here, if you don't believe me.  My instinctive reaction wasn't positive.  However if you think about it, the moon can cause tides so it's bound to have some sort of effect.  Lots of people plant according to the moon, and I can really understand that.  But housewifery?  The blurb does promise effortless housekeeping (as well as a lot of other things, to be fair).  It would hard for me to do less than I have done over the last few weeks, so perhaps it's for me.  I suppose I could use it for research for the White Hart (I'm a few thousand words into the next episode) and claim it as expenses.

We drove to the grammar school yesterday.  I don't know if bear will get in, but it looks nice.  So does the nearest academy.  I never thought being a parent would be so complicated.

Friday 1 September 2017

Nervous Day

Sorry I worried you about a fall.  I definitely felt a fail about the trainers.  I need to keep on top of these things as bear tells me nothing.

Today we got the letter from one of the grammar schools we've put bear down for.  He has to turn up before 8am for an exam in a few weeks time.  They expect 800 candidates for 180 places.  It's the only free grammar school for at least 50 miles, if not more, so I'm not surprised.

I've had a rummage online.  It looks good.  On paper the school seems very together and caring with a heavy science bias which would suit bear wonderfully.  It is relatively easy to get to and it's free.  Obviously the uniform costs vasts amounts of money, but that's true of all the local academies.

There was an online example of what the test papers look like.  I think that they're trying to make it harder for people to be coached to pass the exam so there's all sorts of stuff like 'non verbal reasoning'.  Bear looked at the examples and decided that the test looked like fun.  It's two separate one hour papers, so I hope he's right.

Last night I dreamt that there had been a murder in the street and the body had been found just across from us.  All the way through the dream I was vaguely aware of police and reporters in the background but I couldn't stop worrying about whether I had enough microfibre cloths and were they good enough quality.  I wonder if I'm about to enter a 'housewifery' phase.  I need to soon as the house looks like a cautionary example.

I had a Fail

I'm not tough enough on bear.  Today I spotted the state of his trainers.  I'll try and get a photo of them later but they are wrecked.  When I say 'wrecked' I mean that the plastic coating has come off half of the shoe.  It isn't a little split.  Bear did not see what all the fuss was about.

This was before we got to the dentist.  Bear was given a quick examination and has a clean bill of dental health.  I don't know how he manages it.  I do insist on good dental hygiene for him, I'm always nagging about brushing his teeth, but he eats and drinks plenty of sugary stuff, including fruit.  I suppose bear is just lucky.  I know that I can't take any credit.

Bear managed to persuade me not to go into town with him for trainers but just go straight home.  He doesn't do leaving the house.  This is going to be interesting next year when his school will be more than 500 yards from the front door.

The comment from 50 and counting on my Washing Up post is pretty awesome.  She suggests that you pick up doilies from charity shops and re-use the cotton to make dishcloths - and gives a pattern.  That is an epic suggestion as doilies rarely sell well in charity shops and almost always sell for less than the cost of the cotton.  I shall definitely look into it.