Sunday 30 December 2018

More Paper

The rest of my subscribe and save order came - at least I think there's only a few bits left.  It includes a lot of heavy duty bin liners and toilet paper.  The packing paper and boxes are all over because I need to send some to the tip and I'm considering ironing the packing paper.  I may just recycle, as I use Amazon enough or I could get hold of a roll of brown paper if I was desperate.  I like Justjill's idea of using a stamp or something to brighten the paper up. 

Did you know that Steam has a sale on for Lego video games at ridiculously low prices?  Bear has invested some of his Christmas money.  The sale ends 31 Dec 2018, and some of the games are a third of the price, and bear thinks that they will have a lot of play in them.

I'm gearing up to get going in the New Year.  Bear is not happy about the whole idea of re-wiring, and is incredibly stressed at the thought of redecorating.  I'm more stressed about something going 'bang' in a very bad way. 

The house is starting to breathe.  It's still a little constipated and there are massive Amazon boxes all over the living room, but at least I don't have to work around a stash of presents.  It's getting there. 

And today a friend very kindly took me to Batley Park and I had a wander around the pond.  They have some wonderful paintings on the paths which encourage you as some of the paths are really steep.  I took a couple of pics of the better ones, but they have become quite worn. 

I am definitely going there again. 

Saturday 29 December 2018

Looking forward to a New Year

Cherie - to be fair, bear is taking to knitting like a duck to astrophysics.  He is enjoying it, however, and that is what matters. 

And I am glad that we are not the only ones that don't have starters for Christmas dinner, thank you all that have shared that you are the same.  I've been hiding from the lifestyle magazines that have the 'inspirational' menus and I can't be bothered.  We eat a lot of good food that we like and relax. 

I've managed to knock my bedroom door off its hinge. 

A mop handle fell into the door jamb as I was closing it (I had another go at the bathroom walls) and the entire hinge came out.  It's such a dull way to break a door.  I shall have to make something up. 

I spent a few hours last night wrapping up birthday presents for bear.  He has been very clear, he wants lots of little gifts and it's the unwrapping that's the fun bit.  So I have wrapped pencils, lots of books, a science of survival kit that I picked up extremely inexpensively from the supermarket and, as he is now in High School, a Lynx gift set.  I went through swathes of wrapping paper and tape and came a clear second.  I fail at wrapping stuff, especially with the springy, shiny paper.  I've still got a few rolls of the really good stuff I picked up incredibly inexpensively after Christmas some years back.  The pile of fifty rolls I had stashed in 2015 is now a shadow of itself, but I don't really need to pick up more this year.  I had a look a few days ago when I called into Matalan and nothing tempted me.  I'm also considering switching to using the brown packing paper that comes with an Amazon parcel.  It's effectively free, and the brown paper can be recycled and the fancy wrapping paper can't.  However the main pull is that it's less likely to fight back and I may finally be able to make a decent corner.

Then the first instalment of my subscribe and save order from Amazon turned up.  It's ten bottles of Amazon brand washing up liquid at a very reasonable price.  During the last few yards of the journey, however, the lids on two of the bottles came loose.  I only lost around two inches of washing up liquid, but do you know how slippery two inches of dish soap can be?  It took me twenty minutes just to rinse the soap off the bottles, dropping them and splashing water and soap everywhere, so I could actually pick them up safely and then I had to change my top.  I made a bad choice.  It's a loose top and a windy day so now the traumatised Tesco delivery driver can give a description of my bra. 

But it's the New Year soon, and I'm planning on working to make things better.  Also, Liverpool beat Arsenal 5-1, which has cheered me up.  Hugs to all. 

Friday 28 December 2018

EBay Bargains and Awesome Recipes

There is 15% off everything on eBay today, 28 December 2018, up until 8pm GMT.  You have to quote code POWPOW15 when you check out.  This is from Andy Be Clever with Your Cash blog, which is worth a look, especially to someone like me who can't keep numbers straight.

And speaking of blogs, I found this - 80 Recipes to use up Christmas leftovers.  I would find this awesome, if I had any leftovers.  However I'm booking marking it for further reference as some of the recipes look incredibly useful. 

Bear is going stir crazy but can't really go out for a walk/run as his legs are bad again.  He's working through a lot of his stuff, but at the moment he's enjoying practising his knitting.  It's beginner knitting, but there's no shame in that as we all had to start somewhere, and heaven knows I make enough mistakes after forty years.

Just as a note, the yak wool (25% yak, 50% wool, 25% mercerized velvet with a few fragments of what I think are baling twine thrown in) is knitting up lovely, but the Cygnet Boho I was using earlier, while a glorious colour, is an absolute mare as it isn't very tightly spun and it splits like a bugger.  It just goes to show!

Thursday 27 December 2018

A Christmas Almost Fail

It's a sort of fail, but sort of not.  No-one got stressed, DH was awesome and it didn't affect Christmas, but what would my life be without a little drama (wonderful, actually, it would be wonderful without drama).

Bear very much enjoyed his presents.  One of the biggest hits so far has been an inexpensive tub of silly putty.  The books were also a hit and he has played with the Ghost science kit (there is still something with gelatin in my fridge and I'll never get the slime container clean) and the model cyberman thingy that reacts to the tv remote.  I got candles and alcohol as presents.  Perhaps it's not the most sensible combination, but I'm happy with them and consider them perfect.  DH was thrilled with his gifts and all in all, it was a good result.

DH cooks Christmas dinner.  We don't do starters or anything, it's strictly meat, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, sprouts, pigs in blankets, a selection of stuffing and gravy.  Most of it is frozen and all of it more or less ready to go.  As an aside, I get frozen sprouts because they don't go off so I can stash them before the Christmas rush, they are fresher than buying raw as they are prepared so quickly and take less time to get frozen than the fresh ones take to get to the shops, there is no waste and I don't have to faff with peeling the dratted things.  Bear and DH both love sprouts but I am not a fan. 

Back to the meal.  Tesco didn't deliver the gluten free three bird roast so I got a shop from Iceland and their three bird roast was roughly three times bigger.  I wasn't bothered, as I love left overs, but when we put it in the oven, the cooker blew a fuse and all the lights went off.  We could finish it off in the combi microwave, but I suspect that the microwave is losing power on the conventional part of the cooking, and it just wasn't working.  We ended ditching the roast and just having massively overfilled plates instead of ginormously overfilled plates.  It was all good, especially with the gluten free Christmas pudding afterwards.   

As an aside, we are the only people I know that don't do the whole 'prawn cocktail' or starter for Christmas dinner.  We don't have enough appetite for it.  I hope bear doesn't miss out with this.  I worry that we are sometimes less conventional than is helpful for him, but we don't have room for another mouthful! 

We managed to get the lights on eventually and we had a great time.  For the last few days we have watched films, hung out together, relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.  It's been great.  DH has worked today and tomorrow, but then he has a week off and it's a chance to celebrate bear's birthday, hang out and just enjoy being around each other. 

I've been setting up my goals for 2019, with the help of OWS, the writing people.  I think I need to prioritise the re-wiring. 

Sending hugs, good vibes, good wishes and hugs to all.  I hope you had an awesome holiday. 

Monday 24 December 2018

Christmas Eve

I'm writing just after a snack dinner.  It's been a quiet day, and I'm all for it being quiet.  We are soon off for a last bedtime before Christmas, as we have a long chapter from 'A Hat Full of Sky' and then I come down and start wrapping. 

I've already done the usual as bear and his pal had their pizza upstairs.  I have taken all the different presents and split them into Christmas, birthday and stocking.  This year there are more books than toys, nothing electronic, so no phone (though he needs a new one) and no computer games, but models and quiz books with a few bits of art supplies.  I'm particularly pleased with the shark ruler which, if I remember correctly, was extremely inexpensive, but looks a lot of fun.  It was one of many bits which came from the supermarket.

The big change this year is that most of his presents are new.  I picked up a few second hand books, and a gently used Doctor Who figure, but that was it.  In the past I have found a lot more second hand supplies.  I got a lot at a discount, or used codes, or went to places like The Works or The Book People, so I spent a lot less than it looks like (thank goodness!).  We are in the very fortunate position that we can buy a heap of books and goodies and I am grateful.  Bear will do very well. 

After bear is safely and allegedly asleep, I will be settling down with Carols and wrapping paper to make a start.  I may be in there some time!  If I don't post tomorrow, I sincerely and truly wish everyone reading a wonderful time with lots of hugs, good vibes and cheer.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday 23 December 2018

A Tesco Fail

The Tesco delivery was not good.  First off, it was the only Tesco delivery guy I don't like.  He's difficult to deal with and is particularly weird with substitutions as he makes them as complicated to understand as possible and won't let you see the sheet that has them on.  There were a lot of substitutions and most of them had to go back.  I wasn't impressed.  Tesco rarely let me down, but they did today. 

The main issue was brandy butter.  They substituted Christmas pudding with chocolate cake, and small chocolates for big chocolates, but I could deal with all those.  But I had already re-jigged my order to get brandy butter and they didn't have any.  Fortunately I went out for a coffee later and went past a relatively quiet small branch of Tesco and picked up a tub there, so I don't have to go out tomorrow. 

Iceland were pretty awesome and I think I'll use them again.  They stock mainly frozen food, but they have some great deals on household stuff.  They are short on gluten free stuff, though. 

So now my house is so full of food that it can barely breathe.  I had to do some serious re-arranging in the freezer which barely shuts and the fridge is barely managing.  Freezers do better when they are full, but fridges need air to circulate so tomorrow I'm planning on emptying the fridge and sorting everything out. 

Tomorrow I plan to be busy.  I need room to wrap presents, I need to get the kitchen ready for Christmas dinner and I need to have space for some sanity, which is currently in short supply. 

Sending hugs to everyone!

Saturday 22 December 2018

All is Calm

It's been a good day.  I've pottered gently around and generally hung out with the guys.  We've opened the Christmas snacks and I'm feeling mellow.

Tomorrow is the deliveries, then it's minimal activity until next year.

By the way, I forgot to wish any pagans reading a Good Yule yesterday.  I hope you had a good time.  And from today, in the northern hemisphere, the nights are getting shorter and the days are getting longer.  Hugs to all.  

Friday 21 December 2018


Bear's phone now has a cracked screen.  It also is failing to play the games he wants, and isn't taking or making calls.  We bought it for £27 and I think we have had our money's worth.  It replaced the expensive one bear lost at the beginning of the term, so I'm hoping that if we get him a decent one then he will look after it a little better.

I am miffed at Tesco.  I went online last night to check what my order would look like, and the three bird roast was unavailable!!!  I admit that I panicked.  I'm not a fan of beef, and neither is bear.  DH isn't keen on turkey and neither is bear.  I don't really like lamb and bear has to be in the right mood for it.  I'm not sure I'm up to duck or goose on their own, a ham would be wasted and DH says that we never get value from a whole chicken.  Drink had been taken so I will be getting my first delivery from Iceland on Sunday.  Tomorrow I'm going to sit down with both sites open and balance what I'm getting and from which store. 

DH has finished work now until the 27th, and bear is finally off school.  I'm looking forward to calm, knitting and lots of hanging out together. 

Thursday 20 December 2018

Yak Yarn

I finished the scarf I decided to knit for my awesome Driving Instructor.  It's a poor photo, but I've already given the scarf to him, so I can't take another one.

It's actually around six to eight inches across, around five to six feet long and very cosy.  The yarn is probably chunky, and I knitted it in broken rib on 7mm needles and I think it was about right, though perhaps I could have gone up a size.  I got it from at a very reasonable price (plus shipping) and I suppose I would get it again, if I was feeling generous (especially as the shipping is quite steep), but it did have what looked like fragments of baling twine within it.  I hope my instructor is okay with washing it carefully, because I think it would drop if it was hung up. 

I wish I hadn't checked up on Wish.  They have yarn with mink in it.  They have mohair and cashmere yarns.  They have cotton and some beautifully coloured acrylic yarn.  I need to step away from the buying part. 

My driving lesson went fine today, with no casualties.  We just went for a drive around.  I went on roads I had never used before, and I was fine.  It was a strange day, as I needed my sunglasses at one point, at another point there was heavy rain and it was getting dark by the time I was dropped off at Aldi.  My awesome instructor even talked me through reversing into a parking spot (which I found nerve wracking).

I'm so tired, so I think a few rows of knitting and then I'll be ready for bed.  Hugs to all. 

Wednesday 19 December 2018

I Went Out Again

Actually, I went to the dentist, fell apart for just a check up and slunk home, but it could be a lot worse.

I got into Morley quite early so had a very brief look around.  The market is amazing.  I'm not referring to the stalls, though they look quite good, but the market seems to be laid out as a maze.  You followed a path between stalls that twisted and turned and branched unexpectedly.  I didn't have enough time to look properly, and had strength of will to push past the yarn shop which looked incredibly reasonable.  I'm definitely going to have to have a day out there soon.

I've been finding a lot of places that I should have realised were awesome recently.  I have been to Morley due to the (very nice and patient) dentist, and because of bear's school and my driving lessons I've been through Dewsbury, Batley, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton and Birstall - all of which look very intriguing with plenty of good charity shops.  They are relatively easy to get to on the bus and hopefully I'll be able drive there soon, perhaps within the next six months.  All I need to do is get out.

Then I came back and picked up some wooden sticks from a craft shop in town for bear as apparently he needs to make a castle over Christmas.  I think DH may be persuaded to oversee it.  I can think of better things to do over the Christmas break than fiddle with glue and cardboard, but I suppose it, like food tech, had to happen. 

Justjill - I think frozen fruit is definitely worth a punt.

Tuesday 18 December 2018

I've Had a Shopping Fail

Actually, I have a lot of shopping fails, but this one is annoying me. 

This is 500g of pizza herbs.  I bought it from Approved Food for £8.50 and I will use it long before the expiry date of March next year.  I use Italian herbs a lot, often instead of mixed herbs.  I did the right thing and checked with Tesco.  Tesco sell Italian herbs, roughly the same thing, at 70p for a little bottle (one of which I will be re-using for everyday use while the rest of the big bag is carefully sealed away).  500g of Tesco Italian herbs would cost £27.  This is definitely a bargain - right?

The same packet - exactly the same - is on sale on Amazon.  It is £4.05 at time of typing.  But it gets better.  If I added it to my subscribe and save order, I could get it at £3.44 for 500g (if you have subscribe and save and have more than 5 items in a month, you get 15% off).

I'm not sure exactly how much I would use of this per month, but I know I pick up a jar of Italian herbs from Tesco most weeks, and I'm getting back to cooking properly.  Bear is also keen and as he will be making pizza at school (heaven help me!) I'm sure he will want to practice a lot at home.  I will wait and see what the quality is like. 

It just goes to show, you need to keep your wits about you.  I don't think I can justify this quantity with any other herb or spice, but if it works out as having a good flavour and keeping quality, it may be worth considering.  If I come to a decision, I'll share. 

Monday 17 December 2018

Bear Survived Food Tech!

The electric settled down over the weekend and we didn't have a lack of power, thank goodness.  Thanks for the good wishes. 

Bear's fruit salad was awesome.  He took in kiwi, apple, raspberries, cherries, grapes, and a banana.  He didn't use the banana or raspberries (they didn't make their way home, though) and it was mainly about cutting and peeling.  We practised on kiwi fruit yesterday so bear could slice and dice with panache.  Not only did he do well, but what he brought home after sampling was a delicious dessert. 

Sarah - thank you for the ideas, which I shall share with bear.  I hadn't thought of dried apricots, which should be fine all snipped up.  You must have been heartbroken losing the medicinal syrup!

I've had a look at the recipe, and it requires 500g of fruit, one of which must be something that can be peeled.  The fruit isn't stewed, either, but chopped and then the crumble placed on and then baked (which, to be fair, is how I do it to save washing a pan).  Bear said that you get extra points for originality.  We are going to have a few practice crumbles over the holidays.  It's one of my standbys, though I've been known to use tinned cherry pie filling at a pinch.  So we need a filling that will take a quick cooking in a medium oven for 20-25 minutes, which includes a fruit that needs peeling.  Bear will need to practice slicing the fruit thinly!

The next lesson will be on 7 January so between then and now there are going to be a lot of crumbles.  As this is one of our favourite desserts, it's not really a hardship and bear and I are talking about the different fruit that is easily available, the combinations and the spices.  School may be teaching bear how to do a rubbed in mixture (which he already knows) but I'm teaching him about 'ways and means'.  This includes the difference between cooking apples and eating apples and which mush down best under crumble, and how to get the best results for the time and space allowed. 

It's going to be fun.  Also, I'm going to be pushing the boat out on ingredients I usually dismiss as too expensive so we may even be looking at fresh blueberries (at this time of year!).  Bear may be the student, but we will both be having a great time!

Saturday 15 December 2018

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

Actually, it's a pretty dark and stormy day here, though we aren't affected by snow.  What we are affected by is iffy electrics.  I did wonder if it was just our wiring, but apparently most of Leeds has been affected, including a large Tesco.  The lights keep flickering, and I'm suddenly regretting getting rid of the gas stove, although the new cooker is sooooo much easier.  I thought it might be a good idea to post a little earlier.

We are okay here if there's a power cut.  We drink water, flavoured water, juice and fizzy drinks here.  We have torches, candles and the house stays warm.  I'm more worried about our neighbours.  We'll keep an eye out if there is a power cut.

Today has been a calm and quiet day, apart from the weather.  We've hung out and pootled around and generally been calm.  Bear had an awesome piano lesson and I'm just finishing the last of the online Christmas shopping.  It's been a good day.

Thanks for the good wishes re the food tech.  I'm sure it will be fine.  It's just another challenge and it's good that at least some cookery is being taught.  Mind you, my cooking lessons were a complete disaster and what I didn't learn from my mother, I taught myself.  I'm sure bear will manage just fine. 

Friday 14 December 2018

Food Tech

It's finally happened.  Bear has food tech, starting next Monday.

I've been dreading it.  I just wish that the school would have the policy some others follow of having the ingredients ready and the pupil just pays a fixed amount to cover the costs.  Unfortunately the school are trying to do things right, and are giving the pupils some discretion in the first few recipes so that they actually have to think about it.  On Monday, bear makes a fruit salad.  He has been asked to bring in some fruit to prepare plus 250ml of apple juice.  Did you know that apple juice is only sold in 200ml and litre sizes?  I'm going to have to dig out a screw top bottle. 

Regardless, bear has chosen the fruit that he plans to take in, and we have a box that probably won't leak, but the timing is dreadful.  Bear has food tech on the same day as he has sports, so he will be carting in the apple/grape/kiwi/juice box on top of a sports kit that has to include trainers, football boots, jogging bottoms, warm shirt, cool shirt, shorts, shin guards, gum shield and special socks.  This is added to his usual backpack with all the exercise books that he normally carts around every day.  I need to pass my driving test.

The fruit salad won't be too bad, especially if it doesn't leak, but the next lesson (the first after Christmas) is a fruit crumble, student to choose the fruit.  Bear said that they are encouraged to be inventive.  They would have to be - there's no spices.  When I make a fruit crumble, there is usually something like cinnamon or ginger or mixed spice in either crumble topping or the fruit.  This looks very bland.  There is also a typo.  Bear has given me a booklet which gives ingredients and method.  The crumble mix is fat and flour mixed in, quantities given (I can't share the quantities as the booklet is hidden in bear's backpack and I'm not going there), then oats and a small amount of sugar is stirred in (I think it's around 50g of oats and 75g of sugar, which would make it nice and crunchy) with the sultanas.  The sultanas are not mentioned in the ingredients list.  I am going to have to hope bear remembers to ask and just send in 'some'.

And then, once he's baked the dratted thing, he has to bring it home, spending an hour on the bus with it.  There are a lot of opportunities for disaster, especially as he will be bringing home his sports kit at the same time.  I looked on eBay and bought a thingy which is like a casserole dish, but with a silicon lid that is allegedly leak proof that can be put on the cooled dish.  I have no faith.  Bear will be 12 at this point and accidents happen in creative ways at that age.  I really need to pass my driving test.

It's not a long course.  They also have to make pizza, again with some choice in ingredients, a plain sponge and a chocolate sponge, and I think there's something else but I couldn't tell you what.  Bear sometimes supervises me in the kitchen, and is a fan of the Sorted Boys.  This is a YouTube channel with some young lads (two chefs, three others), trying out lots of different recipes.  They're quite ambitious, so bear has a lot of ideas about cooking, and I'm sure I will get the benefit of this at some point.  The really useful stuff, like knowing when you can substitute ingredients, extending food to feed more, how to plan a cooking session, getting the most nutrition for the price and when to give up and order pizza, he can learn from me. 

If you have any suggestions about which fruit would work for the crumble, please let me know.  I was considering peach, but they are a faff to blanch, which I guess he would have to, and my usual apple with lots of sultanas and cinnamon doesn't look appropriate.  I wonder if he could get away with pear and crystalised ginger?  There's a stall on Leeds Market that sells 'crystalised ginger scraps' which are small flakes of lovely hot and very sugary ginger and perfect for baking.  Bear will have the final say, of course, but it's only right that I give him some suggestions. 

Thursday 13 December 2018


Today was an epic fail.  Back tomorrow.

Sharon - subscribed to Kate McCabe

Wednesday 12 December 2018

A Proper Post

No writing stuff here. 

Actually, I need to get writing.  About 1000 words a day and I can do anything.  For one reason or another, I haven't written for weeks except for the blog posts.  So while this is a 'buy my stuff' free zone, it's got a little about writing and why I need to.  If I don't get writing soon, the house will fall down.  Everything is just all over and in heaps.  I'm getting very close to 'scream and throw things at walls' as I am so overwhelmed, so 1000 words would really help.  It's like a fuel.  Also, I have PMT sooooo bad that I'm not sure I'm safe to be around real people.

I had a driving lesson today.  Not only were there no casualties but I managed to call in at a charity shop.  My awesome instructor had to call into the bank, and I managed to pick up what I think is a genuine Hugo Boss shirt, practically unworn, for £4.50.  Fakes happen, but it's really good quality, with great stitching and lovely material, so I think it's good.  It's perfect for DH, he looks so awesome in it.  If I can manage to get out more, I need to do more charity shops.  Many are over priced and have underwhelming stock, but I've scored some great stuff recently.  DH now wears the wool and cashmere great coat I picked up every day.  I also have no problem buying presents for bear from charity shops.  I have a beautiful, practically unread copy of the first of the Lemony Snickett books, which I got at a very reasonable price, I think 99p. 

I'm now entering the stage where I have no idea what I have got for bear and panic buy loads of bits.  I don't buy expensive bits (one present which will end up in his stocking is a ruler with a straight edge and the rest shaped like a shark) but I get giddy with the little stuff.  I get a lot added to the grocery order and Tesco currently have deals on toys, which may be worth a look.  Every year I go through the same stages.  I buy stuff, think that he's getting too much, feel guilty that he only gets presents effectively once a year with a birthday so close to Christmas, panic buy shedloads of 'bits' and we are drowning in wrapping paper by New Year's Eve.  It's also hard as bear doesn't want a 'big' present.  If he wanted, for example, a new Xbox One then we could negotiate, do deals, and just get a few things to go with it.  Bear is not into that.  He wants lots of little stuff but he's getting too old for a lot of the bits that I used in the past.  I can see Lynx Gift Sets lurking on the horizon. 

I hope this post made sense.  Until I can get 1000 words out, all bets are off.  Anything could happen.  Also, I have a dentist appointment tomorrow that takes me near a very good shopping centre with a reputation for good charity shops.  I'm looking forward to a good rummage and will share what I come up with!

A Quick Note

Today is the last day of the 12 Days of Indie and the books that are on sale at low or reduced prices.  I thought I would give a quick reminder, a brief link and a promise to post again later.

Tuesday 11 December 2018


I really do not do well with dentists and today has been incredibly traumatic because I had to speak to one.  I am mortified at myself, but it is what it is. 

I rang the dentist and they said I actually had to turn up to register.  It's in Morley, and I've never been to Morley so I thought I would take a taxi there, find out where it was and get buses back as a lot of buses go through Morley.  The registration was lovely with a very tolerant receptionist, but then I had to find a bus stop. 

I wandered around for a while, turned a corner and found myself facing a Morrisons supermarket and a charity shop.  I called into the charity shop, bought a very inexpensive book for bear and asked for directions to a bus stop.  The gentleman was very kind, but he knew where he was going and I didn't so I just had to hope that I understood the direction he had been pointing.  I left the charity shop and suddenly the mist had come down!  It was genuinely that quick.  It had been clear when I went in, but a few minutes later it was like a scene out of The Fog and was not happy.  I couldn't even see where the Town Hall was supposed to be, but I wandered vaguely downhill and found the bus stop.  The little I saw through the mist looked very promising and I shall have to have a proper look later - possibly on Thursday as that's when they put me in for an actual encounter with an actual dentist. 

I came back through Leeds centre, and I can't work out why or how I managed to walk past a stall in the market that sells knitting yarn.  I really need to get out more.  I picked up 600g of yarn, a pattern and two pairs of unnecessary needles for less than £10 and while the yarn was completely 100% polyester and nothing fancy, it's a lovely shade of a silvery sage green and will wash a lot easier than wool. 

I was glad to get the bus home as the mist was quite thick.  I would have definitely considered it fog light weather if I had been driving and didn't envy the learner who was in charge of the bus under supervision.  Unfortunately bear got a lift home, so not only was he before me, but he also managed to forget his keys so he was locked out until I got in.  I made it up to him by showing him loads of videos of Queen and David Bowie. 

Writing stuff - Today is Day 11 of the 12 Days of Indie, and tomorrow I am going to go back, check out the books and buy a shedload, because tomorrow is the last day the sale prices are guaranteed.  Today there are crime stories, paranormal and time travel stories and a box set of 20 stories for $1.99 (may vary by region). 

I am not going to start yet another project, honest.  Instead I am going to collapse into bed!  I am shattered. 

Monday 10 December 2018

Reverse Advent Box

I've got some stuff I'm donating tomorrow for the food bank in the run up to Christmas, like a lot of people are planning.  Tonight bear got into the act.  I started by asking him if there were any letters for me or if he had broken or lost anything.  I got an eye roll but he can get used to that sort of question after the performance last Friday.  Then he said, 'but there's something about a reverse advent?  I'm not sure.' 
'Is it for a food bank?' I asked
'Yeah, that's it.' Bear was paying more attention to the computer.
'Do you have to bring something in every day?' I asked.
'No, just a tin of tomatoes or something.' 
'When do you need it for?' I had a delivery which included a load of foodbank items coming tomorrow.
'Before the Carol Concert.'
'When's that?'
'Not sure.'
'And how much do you need to bring?'
'It's just a box.'
'What? Do I need to carry a box of stuff in with you?' I really didn't want to carry a box of tinned tomatoes on the bus, surrounded by school kids.
'No, the box is for the class?'
At this point I felt like one of those confused Labradors that keep tilting their heads when faced with strange information or a cat.  'So what is this box?'
Bear explained very slowly and patiently that they had a box in the classroom and everyone had to put something in it, like a tin of tomatoes.  I was getting the feeling that bear really wanted to get those tinned tomatoes out of the door.  He doesn't like pasta sauces that I make with those tomatoes.  Tomorrow he will be taking in a dratted tin of dratted tomatoes.  Bear was baffled that I was confused by this, but I still don't know when the Carol Concert is.  Later on bear is going to doing cookery classes under whatever label they use these days.  I was devastated to find that they don't do a scheme where the kids pay in so much a month and all the ingredients are provided.  I just know that bear will be complaining bitterly that there's no powdered mandrake with unicorn horn shavings in the house and he needs them tomorrow and what sort of housewife am I to run out of such a basic. 

Writing stuff - it's getting near to the end of the 12 Days of Indie at Day 10, so getting close to the end of some of these awesome prices.  There is sci fi, fantasy and horror and an anthology of fairy tales.  Check it out if you're interested. 

Sunday 9 December 2018

Random is as Random Does

It's been one of those days.  I sort of wandered around the research on YouTube about Norse and Anglo Saxon beliefs.  There's some excellent, hardcore academic stuff there, if you look and avoid some of the more fringe ideas.  I dip into the videos from Yale, University College London, Harvard, and a dozen more and I also enjoy the YouTube channel The Study of Antiquity and the Middle Ages and I'm working my way through the Celtic playlist.  YouTube being YouTube, you can get excellent suggestions as well as some oddities thrown up which is why I found myself wandering from the legend of Weyland Smith, to a very Catholic YouTube channel's take on the superstition of the Wild Hunt to this excellent Johnny Cash version of Ghost Riders in the Sky which I had never heard before. 

I've also been knitting up some of the Yak yarn (okay, 25% Yak, 50% wool, 25% mercerised velvet, whatever that is) and it's very chunky.  I'm knitting it up on 7mm needles (US 2) and that's about right.  I promised my awesome driving instructor a scarf from it.  I'm just using broken rib, and it's working up quickly, if a little itchy on my fingers. 

Bear has an issue where his adult teeth aren't coming through as quickly as they should, which means that a wobbly tooth has been a full on issue for around a month, with it much worse this last week.  It is finally out, which is a huge relief for everyone, especially bear who has been quite genuinely suffering.  This means I can cancel the dental appointment that I had lined up to have it taken out.  Unfortunately one of my teeth broke.  I needed an emergency dental appointment and, as I have dental phobia, had hysterics in the dentist chair before they even touched me and now am falling apart.  I think I will watch a film and knit a little more before an early night. 

Writing stuff - It's Day 9 of the 12 Days of Indie and I even get a mention.  It's a selection of ebooks that are on sale until the 12th December, and today there are some awesome offerings including Steampunk, modern supernatural and thriller.  I am definitely planning on dipping into the Clear Angel book. 

Saturday 8 December 2018

Some People are Strange!

I believe that everyone has their little ways.  Some ways are smaller than others, but everyone has their own preferences and beliefs.  For example, my late great-grandfather used to taste every medicine that came into the house.  If it didn't taste disgusting, he would pour it away as only medicines that tasted foul worked, or so he said.  I've mentioned the late great-uncle who insisted on V-necked sweaters but wore them backwards, and father always insisted he got a particular paper and he did the crossword in it.  Everyone has their own quirks and it makes the world go round.

Then there are those people on Facebook who worry me.  I have a Facebook profile as an author (it's as Lyssa Medana, if you are interested), and mostly it's sharing things about cats or sometimes jokes, comments on driving lessons and chatting.  I don't refuse Facebook requests as it may be that they have read a book of mine and are under the impression that my Facebook ought to be interesting.  I have just under 2,300 'friends' on there, and I've met four of them in real life.  It isn't my real life friends and family, but I try to be pleasant to the people I meet on there (many of whom are utterly awesome, and I consider absolutely genuinely good friends even if we have never been in the same room or even the same continent).

My profile picture is of a book cover and my bio talks about being a wife and mother.  It therefore worries me how many times I get 'Hey, sexy' messages.  I can't ignore Messenger, because I get useful messages of real friends and about work, but I also get obscene pics and some disturbing suggestions.  I enjoy getting the scam messages, though.  I can have a lot of fun with them, and I really ought to start taking screen shots as I get as creative as I can leading the scammers as daft a dance as I can manage.  Some of the ones in the last few days have been very unpleasant, though, and I've had to block them after feeling quite shaken.  So if you message me and I reply cautiously, I apologise, but it's bitter experience. 

Writing stuff - It's Day 8 of the 12 Days of Indie, where great books are on sale.  There are some great choices today, from romances and thrillers to real life murder mysteries. 

Friday 7 December 2018

I Failed My Driving Test

I had a stressful morning, a stressful start to the test and a tough end.  But while I can quibble about whether or not I should have failed, I am taking comfort in the bits I got right.  I was (apart from the bits I failed on) awesome.  I dealt with some really tricky corners, some awful junctions that had practically no visibility, and some really difficult moments when I had to navigate with tough situations involving double parked cars and oncoming lorries, and there were no casualties.  And apart from the fails, I had seven minors.  The number that you are allowed is up to 17 and he was picky.

It is a driving test examiner's job to be picky, and he was right to be strict.  It's important that drivers are safe to drive however many tons of steel at high speed around the roads.  I honestly feel that if I am just running bear and his pal to and from school, then I would be fine right now.  I've done the run a gazillion times, I know all the pitfalls, all the bottlenecks and all the right turns of doom.  My instructor eats a sandwich as I drive back from a lesson.  However it's important that I'm competent enough to drive outside my comfort zone.  I plan to be an awesome driver.  Also, today there were no squirrels but one junction had interesting visibility as there was a fire engine on the corner trying to rescue a cat.  Anything can happen, even on a familiar route.

As for anything can happen, anyone can end up needing help and most people who claim from a food bank are people in work who have had a mix up with their benefits.  I thought I would share this YouTube video about how much you can donate for just £10.  It is so sad that these places are needed.

Writing stuff - Today is Day 7 of the 12 Days of Indie, and they are looking pretty awesome. These are books that have been reduced in price during this sale, so it's a good time to get hold of that holiday read.

Thursday 6 December 2018


Today the highlight of the driving lesson was not hitting a squirrel.  It was dithering about in the road like it couldn't remember whether it had locked the door.  Fortunately no-one was behind me, so I could stop without risk.  I would hate to have to chose between an accident and fur walled tyres.

Today was a good day.  If I had taken my test today there would have been a very good chance of me passing.  Yesterday I was abysmal (but without casualties), but today was good. 

I was hit by the O2 outage so it was a nightmare trying to pick up bear from his climbing.  Then we had horrific French homework where he told me that he didn't know what some words were because they had never been told and he had been instructed to use an online translation programme.  I didn't say what I thought about that, and I'm very proud of myself.  It also appears that he hasn't learned about French verbs, irregular or otherwise and the whole thing was extremely traumatic for both of us as I struggled to remember the French I last used in 1984.  Okay, I've read a very very little since, and I keep meaning to take a refresher so that I can dip into some of the French Medieval scholarship, but I think I may need it for my sanity. 

Writing stuff - today is Day Six of the 12 Days of Indie and there are some truly beautiful selections of poetry, all at reduced prices.  I'm planning on indulging but at the moment all I can think of is gear changes and junctions. 

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Home Made Soup

It isn't very home made.  It's slightly better than opening a can, which is something, but it was all about convenience.  Morrisons sell a pack of pre-chopped veg for £1, which to me means no waste and no worry about half a bag of carrots shrivelling in the fridge, and it's labelled as a 'veg soup kit'.  It isn't brilliant.  It's a mix of winter vegetables and the instructions to boil them with a stock cube until squishy and then blitz them with a hand blender.  Instead I softened them in oil with a good dollop of garlic, added plenty of stock powder, some lentils and simmered until the veggies were soft.  I blitzed it and it easily served three of us.  We served it with wholemeal bread and it worked out.  I suppose that it served three of us well for around £1.50.  My driving test is on Friday.  I'm determined that I'm going to get a little more creative and sensible with cooking after then. 

Today's lesson was long and traumatic.  I got soooo much wrong.  As I said at the end of the lesson, I'm a better driver than I showed today.  I feel somewhat down about it all. 

Writing stuff - I think part of what is going wrong is that I haven't actually been writing.  Writing is like a fuel, so after I finish this I'm going to settle down and get cracking.  Who knows, I may start living up to those on 12 Days of Indie, which today has some awesome books at very good prices!  There is a Dark Fantasy, a Young Adult story, a Romance, a modern day tale of discovery and even a tale of eldritch horror!  When I get two brain cells lined up, I'm going to go back and start buying! 

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Bad Driving Lesson

It was not a good driving lesson.  I kept forgetting my mirrors (I'm normally very good about that), I stalled in the middle of a junction when someone let me out and, on the theme of junctions, I showed 'undue hesitation' and didn't go when I could have when exiting a junction.  There was one exception.  I came to the junction to turn left, everything was clear, I was in the right gear, there were no problems, no oncoming traffic and I swept out like a boss without hesitation.  Unfortunately it was a 'Stop Junction' and I completely failed to fully stop.  Darn it to heck.  I even got into the wrong lane of the roundabout coming back and ended up going around and around.

Bear didn't help.  I paid out for a rather nice, relatively expensive, 3D smartie advent calendar.  I am old enough to remember when it was just pics behind the little doors, not chocolates.  Bear is disdainful because it's 'just smarties'.  I am not terribly impressed by him. 

Writing stuff - I'm having a fail at the editing, but I'm keeping going.  However, the 12 Days of Indie continues, link here, with a thriller, a murder mystery and some awesome sci fi as well as a nod to the Glass and Ashes anthology. 

While I am at it, I thought I would link again to the awesome YouTube trailer for 'The Dark Archer' by Robert Cano.  I just think it's beautiful.  

Monday 3 December 2018

I Survived Monday

I feel so tired that it hurts.  I'm not sure where it's come from, but it's there all right.  I've managed to get a little ironing and a little washing with a few other bits, but I'm not fit for rags.  I fed bear and his pal who fell on the sandwiches and pizza like locusts, and managed some soup for me while DH was out, and thank goodness I didn't have to do a proper dinner.  I have to have a good night's sleep tonight somehow and pull myself together.  I have long driving lessons tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, followed by my next driving test on Friday.  I'm not confident.  I don't think I'm a hazard, though I need to get more confident at speed, and I'm certainly not as bad as some I've seen in the few months I've been driving, but I just feel so flat and stressed.  It's the test at Heckmondwike, which has a 37% pass rate.  I just want to get past this week.

I need to find some time to sort out baking some snacks for the lads.  Teenagers eat, and if I can stash some savoury muffins and mini frittatas then it will be better for them than crisps or sweeties.  In fact, I could really do with another freezer, just to keep stuff like the home made soup and bargains in (got a great deal in gluten free breaded fish in the delivery today).  I'm running the freezer down ready for Christmas, so I suppose now is a great time to work out what I actually need to keep in there and what I can just not bother re-stocking.

wherethejourneytakesme - I am totally up for a hobble after Christmas

Writing stuff - I am totally picking up some more books and going to enjoy them!  Check out these wonderful options, all at sale prices.  There are romances, fantasy and sci fi novels, and I must get back to reading more than academic stuff.

Sunday 2 December 2018

Making Space

I went with bear's pal's mum for a coffee and she kindly took a few more bags of old clothes to the charity shop in her car.  I think I have a lot further to go.  Still, at least there is a small start.  We had found that there was a local PDSA shop open on Sunday, but today we spotted that the Mind shop was also potentially open on a Sunday.  That has to be worth a look.  I feel quite smug as I managed to avoid buying anything, despite temptation, except a hot chocolate from Costa. 

To be honest, I need to be buying.  I have completely lost track of what I have and have not got for bear, but I know I'd like to pick up a few more bits.  Traditionally he has got a new bag for Christmas, but this year he doesn't need one, so I'm not sure what to do. 

For those who don't remember, when bear was coming up to three or so, I forgot to get a stocking for him.  DH didn't believe that bear would miss having a Christmas stocking so we didn't panic until around 4pm on Christmas Eve when bear asked where his stocking was.  I gave him a pillowcase and then used a lot of the littler presents to fill an inexpensive small drawstring bag with a Ben10 logo that I had got as part of bear's Christmas presents.  The pillowcase was swapped with the stuffed bag, I complained about Santa nicking my pillowcase, and the tradition started.  Bear got a new school bag filled with stocking stuffers at the foot of his bed on every Christmas morning. 

Bear does not need any sort of bag this year.  Actually, he doesn't need much at all!  Last year I think I used a Harry Potter cushion cover, but that wasn't successful, and a pillowcase is far too big.  There are usually things like fancy pencil sharpeners wrapped up in Christmas paper, a selection of sweeties, a puzzle book and some coloured pencils or similar.  I want to get him stuff that's fun, but we're going to have to pack up the house when I finally get the re-wiring sorted out, which I need to do SOON. The less junk we have to store the better while that is going on!  It's going to be interesting! 

Writing Stuff - Today is Day Two of the 12 Days of Indie.  There are some awesome books at a great price, so if you are looking for great reads to stash over Christmas, do go over and have a look! 

Saturday 1 December 2018

Slow Saturday

It's been a very quiet Saturday and I have been grateful.  I have also been doing ironing as I can.  DH has lost a lot of weight, and doesn't fit into most of his clothes.  He took eight very full bin bags down to the charity shop today.  I'm following his example, working my way through the massive heap of ironing and I'm getting rid of bear's old clothes.  I haven't had a good sort out for a while and he has shot up recently so now has a lot he doesn't fit into.  I've a lot still to do (the ironing pile is down to the size of the Himalayan foothills, which is an improvement), but I'm going to be getting there.

Writing stuff - I put stuff here about writing, but please don't ever feel that you have to read what I have written.  I hope that anyone who dips in can enjoy it, but I'd rather people just stopped by without feeling any pressure. 

Having said that, OWS are having a promotion with a vast swathe of books at $2.99 or less.  Today is Day One and you can read all about it here.  There are books and a raffle for goodies, and all sorts of stuff going on.  Today there is a pre-order for a sci fi thriller, a modern fantasy, a romance and a book for young adults.  If you enjoy a good read, it's a great opportunity to grab a bargain. 

Friday 30 November 2018


Today I had a driving lesson, the only one this week.  I practised my emergency stop and was awesome.  Unfortunately my lovely instructor's daughters had been fiddling with the back seats and the back seat flew forward and straight into the back of the instructor!  Apparently I would have passed the emergency stop.

wherethejourneytakesme - I'm up for a hobble around parts of the park, driving lessons permitting.  Also, check out the link below as I'm not sure you're link is still valid.

Writing stuff - I'm taking part in the 12 Days of Indie which is a group of Indie authors with cut price books.  There's a raffle which I'm not sure how to link you to yet, but I will, and lots of books that are cut price.  It starts tomorrow and I'll be sharing on here.  The first book in my series, The Forgotten Village, is now free as part of this, and I'm putting the link here more for wherethejourneytakesme - it also has a new snazzy cover!  Watch this space.

Thursday 29 November 2018

Bear was awesome

The unexpected play was tonight and bear was awesome.  It is for the Youth Drama Group who work together without much teacher input and script, rehearse and direct it themselves.  Each set of two or three put together their own little story and they were amazing.  Bear and his pal were Roman legionaries fighting to the death.  They did a very good job with stage fighting.  Apparently it was going to be longer but they were barred from some of the moves because they were too dangerous.  After looking at some of the punches and choke holds, I'm relieved. 

We also have a working light in the kitchen with minimal disruption and DH's lease car has finally come through.  The accident was at the end of August! 

I have been struggling with editing today, so now I am going to slope off to bed where I can collapse until the morning. 

Wednesday 28 November 2018

A Quiet Day

Today was supposed to be a quiet day for me to get my head down, do a little clearing in the disaster area that is my kitchen, make soup and get on top of things.  You know what happens when you make plans.

First of all, the light switch in the kitchen broke.  It was quite dramatic.  I was putting some wet washing in the dryer when I heard a 'ping'.  I put it down to something falling off or over.  It wasn't.  The small piece in the centre of the light switch that you toggle up or down to turn the light on and off had pinged off.  I really, really, really need to get this house rewired.  As in, urgently.  Which means urgently clearing the house (after I've finished my editing).  At least I knew an over priced electrician that can come tomorrow and fix the light switch.  I have a basement kitchen with one small window so it was dim even when the light was working.  As it was, I was wondering which lamps I could use and blundering around in the dark.  In the end  I was trying to make dinner with one of those head torches on and I must have looked like a bewildered and misdirected miner.  I'll have to wear it again when I box up the soup later on when it's cool.  Having some boxes of home made soup in the freezer is such a help. 

As I was recovering from the estimated cost, I got a phone call from school.  All was okay, but did I know that bear had a performance tomorrow evening and was I going to attend?  I took a breath and asked what was going on.  Apparently bear and his pal were late to a particular lesson/session so hadn't been given the letters to tell me about this.  The teacher was lovely, apologetic and understanding.  So I have been juggling around schedules with DH and yes, we can attend and give a lift to bear's pal.  This means that he misses his climbing session, which he has paid for upfront.  At least I don't need to worry about getting his kit sorted out.

As I was getting my head around that and texting all over to get things in motion, I got a call from the lovely Tesco delivery man (who is awesome and a regular on my route).  Did I mind if he was a little early?  Of course not I said, thinking that it would give me a nice long stretch of time with my editing.  So I took in the delivery, which included a few bits for Christmas, and settled down.  Just in time for some more deliveries.  I'm not sure that the Aldi stuff is alright.  I got a couple of model kits and the boxes are looking a little battered, but the yak wool (okay, 25% yak, 50% wool, 25% mercerised velvet - whatever that is) from Wish also arrived. 

It feels quite warm.  I'll let you know how it knits. 

And then I was juggling bear's pal coming around before bear got home, bear and getting dinner on the table. 

I am hoping that I can have a nice quiet evening. 

Scarlet - it sounds like you are having a really tough time.  I hope you keep going and well done on the weight loss!  I'm going to try for something similar.

Wherethejourneytakesme - I've been referred to physio, and I may look into feverfew tablets, which my mother used to take and, as I said, she could kick down doors.  Also I need to lose weight. 

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Passing Through on Way to Bed

Thanks for the good wishes.  I'm not as stressed as I could be about the arthritis diagnosis.  As Jill says, it gives it a name.  Besides, my late mother was diagnosed with arthritis and it was well established by the time I moved Girl Guide Troops and she had to kick the door in every Wednesday.  It is one of my fondest memories, my respectable looking mother with the creaky hip and knee who effectively was the only one who could open the door as she knew the for kicking it in.  Really it needed replacing but the church hall seemed to be fine with having a stiff entrance. 

I don't think I can take credit for bear.  He seems to be managing by himself.  He even did his homework tonight without dramatics. 

Writing stuff - for those who are interested, a re-edited second edition of the Forgotten Village will, all being well, be up and running in the next few days and will be free on Amazon.  Wish me luck, as I am currently drowning in commas. 

Monday 26 November 2018

Bear is Responsible

Bear really, really, really, really wanted a particular thingy.  Bear likes the driving games and, as he can now name most of the major cities in Europe after playing Eurotruck, I'm not complaining. He was looking with longing at a steering wheel that you plug into the computer, along with pedals and a gear shift thingy.  The one he was looking at the most was over £200, and I was sort of maybe considering it while wincing at the cost.  He will certainly get a lot of use out of it, but it was so expensive. 

Then Black Friday came along and I had a quick scan over it.  I noticed this particular bundle on sale at 'only' just under £150.  I asked bear if he wanted it as part of his Christmas/birthday present.  Bear said that actually, he would rather have lots of little presents, so could he pay for the steering wheel himself and have lots of packages to open on the day.  Bear hasn't spent a lot of his pocket money this year, mainly because he spends my money, so I let him pay for the wheel.  It is something that will give him a great deal of pleasure (to start with, all today as it was a teacher training day) and it was a good price. 

Bear also said that he didn't want us to pay for it as he had already had a lot spent on him.  He isn't kidding there, especially as that includes today buying a new backpack as I can't get rid of the smell of the tuna sandwich he left in there for a week from the old one.  I've left it covered in baking powder, and I've sprayed it with Febreeze, but it's still gut-churning foul.  And there is the lost kit, and before that the new keyboard, and the short climbing course.  I don't begrudge him, and I've told him that, but I think that it is a very responsible way of looking at the world.

I am now going to be scouring eBay for bargains and lots of little stuff.  I already have a shipload of books, and I shall also keep an eye out for little knacky things.  I am going to have to have a rummage in the charity shops.  I need to have a good reason to go out anyway, as I got the news today that I have osteo arthritis in both hips and knees, and while it isn't too bad, I need to keep moving and lose a lot of weight. 

Writing stuff - I need to get A Forgotten Village and Digging up the Past re-edited and up with their new covers before 1st of December to honour my commitment to 12 Days of Indies, an event with lots of cut price books from Indie authors which I will be linking to later.  I'm afraid that means that the stories from the White Hart will have to wait.  I apologise. 

Friday 23 November 2018

Decisions Decisions

I live between a number of different driving test centres.  I have taken two at Heckmondwike, and failed, but that is not unheard of.  It has a tough reputation and the roads are very steep with some wicked corners.  It is a little distance away, but it's useful for bear's school.

The nearest driving test centre to me has a reputation of being slightly easier.  I would like to mention here that there are no easy test centres in the UK.  However some are slightly less hard.  Today I went around one of the regular test routes for the nearby centre.  If Heckmondwike has steep hills, this has roundabouts - lots and lots and lots of roundabouts with complicated junctions.  I did fine.  I did some driving around as well and had a lot of fun on some wonderful steep curves.  In fact, going on unfamiliar roads with my instructor telling me what to go or where to go gave me a lot of confidence.  I spotted the tricky bits, dealt with unexpected cyclists and generally managed. 

Now I need to decide whether I go ahead with the test booked at Heckmondwike, which will be in the next few weeks, or whether to cancel that and book nearer home but that will be well after Christmas.  For various reasons, not all of mine to tell, I will only have around two more lessons before the test at Heckmondwike.  That is not a lot of warm up.  On the other hand, I have a reasonable chance of passing.  I'm doing okay.  I'm not brilliant, but so far no casualties and my instructor thinks I'm safe.  I think I have a slightly better chance at the other centre, but that's a long time to wait. 

For non-Brits, here is a link to what to expect on a UK driving test.  My instructor has his ways of knowing the most likely routes, and they include evil junctions and right turns of doom as a matter of course. 

I am now exhausted after driving for several hours on roads I hadn't been on before, so I'm crawling off to bed.  Hugs to all. 

Thursday 22 November 2018

My Head Hurts

I had another driving lesson today (no casualties).  I did not expect there to be a lot of mist.  It certainly wasn't in the weather forecast.  I may have rattled around reasonably well, but when the visibility dropped, I became nervous, especially at the big roundabout.  I was genuinely worried I wouldn't be able to cars coming.  I was going to finish the lesson by being dropped off at Aldi, but I decided against it.  The roads I would have had to take are notoriously winding and with a lot of horse riders.  I went online instead.  Fortunately, you can't order many types of yarn online. 

Bear thoroughly enjoyed climbing and then told me about some programme that he can log into that has science quizzes.  It's supervised by the school so I tell him to go for it.  Bear then decides that I need to be educated in science and so explained to me that if you add an acid to an alkaline, you get a salt and something.  I scraped a pass in my 'O' level chemistry over thirty years ago.  I agreed that he should explain things to me as my education was so poor (actually, if he has to explain things to me, it helps settle information in his memory).  Between bear explaining the quizzes to me and trying to explain what happens when you mix hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide (salt and water, I believe, but don't take my word for it as bear was using a white board and I couldn't read his writing), my head is completely muddled.  So I am going to bed to try and sleep it off.

Photo by Hans Reniers on Unsplash

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Why I Should Not Drink Near Amazon

One of the things about Amazon that I like is that I can get relatively obscure ingredients from there, like the Milo drink that bear sometimes likes (bear's preferences change with the weather, so when bear says he likes something, I assume that terms and conditions apply).  You can get arsenic from there, though I'm not suggesting you should.  You can even get powders that hide the smell of dead bodies and I know that purely from research for writing projects (my browsing history is terrifying). 

Amazon do a thing called 'Subscribe and Save' where you commit to buying something on a regular basis and get a reduced price.  I'm not 100% bought into this, as a lot of the time it is still less expensive to get an item from the supermarket when it is on sale, but I get things like the vitamins I like for bear.  They are difficult to get hold of from a supermarket, as I try and get the ones containing iron, and knowing that they will arrive at one packet of 30 per month is helpful. 

Last night I had taken drink and I clicked on to my 'Subscribe and Save' account.  This morning I was somewhat surprised that I had been so rational.  I found dried onions, dried peppers and dried mushrooms added on.  If you simmer those with a stock cube and some lentils and then blend, you have a very pleasing soup and the ingredients are relatively easy to store.  The finely chopped dates also looked like a reasonable addition.  I need to start baking, and there are worse things than dates to include in a muffin. 

Writing stuff - today I had an attack of poetry, here.  Hopefully back on track soon. 

Monday 19 November 2018

DH and Renault

We still do not have the dratted lease car.  Instead we have a variety of Renault and DH objects as everything is on the 'wrong' side - the opposite side to a Ford, which he has been driving in different forms for @ ten years.  He does not approve of the SatNav either.  I can't blame him.  We were trundling down the road when it asked us to take a sharp right followed by a sharp left - basically, we left a dual carriageway, went ten yards and joined a road that took us back onto that same dual carriageway instead of doing complicated things like just staying on the same dratted road.  DH said it was revenge for Trafalgar. 

The reason we were using the dratted SatNav (which behaved for the rest of the journey) was that bear lost his PE kit.  This meant a trip to Dewsbury on Saturday to replace it, and last time we went with bear's pal's mum.  This time DH was navigating and it was a relatively straightforward drive.  The replacement cost was £90 for the shorts, various shirts and jackets and another £8 for the sports bag, together with £53 for new football boots and shin pads.  I think bear's Christmas list just got shorter, although I have just ordered a massive amount of books.  Together with the fees for the Rock Climbing, bear's school has cost over £1000 and that is bound to go up by Christmas.  I think I could knock off say £250 if I had been more cautious spending and if bear hadn't lost his kit, but it is still a steep amount.

I didn't stop spending when I got to yesterday as I managed to call in at the PDSA on the way to a very satisfactory hot chocolate and natter and found an amazing, double breasted, full length, wool and cashmere coat for DH for £12.99.  He looks utterly dashing in it and he's very pleased.  I'll take it to be dry-cleaned, but even with drycleaning, it's still a bargain. 

Today I woke up so tired it hurt.  I've just pootled around, and I'm going to try again tomorrow. 

Friday 16 November 2018

I Truly Love My Brother, But...

My brother looked after bear last night while we were at the parents' evening.  He and bear seem to get on just fine.  Brother is a sweetie and bear behaves for him.  They just hang out, no stress.  I leave food, drink and an instruction to avoid wild parties and they both go on their computers and share tips (brother works in IT).

When we got back, brother and I chatted a little about presents for bear and brother reminded me about  This is a group of separate businesses in China which trade on the same site.  I've had some pretty good stuff from there, and one or two fails.  On the whole, I've been satisfied, which is why I tuned in to see if there was anything suitable for bear for Christmas.  I picked up a few things, but then I spotted the yarn.

They have some amazing looking yarn.  I resisted the deliciously coloured acrylic, and the cotton with 20% milk protein.  I resisted (with a struggle) the alpaca and cashmere.  I even resisted the yarn that was described as having a local name of knicker yarn and was 65% silk wool and 35% Barbie wool (I think it lost a little in translation, but their English is better than my Mandarin).   I completely failed to resist the 25% yak wool, 50% wool and 25% mercerised velvet.  1000g should be enough for a few scarves and a small lap blanket.

I'm not affiliated to Wish in any way, so just to say that watch out for long shipping times, and remember to read the full description.  Not all yarn that is described as 'milk yarn' contains milk protein, although some does.  It's also good to check the shipping, as some items are described as 'free - just pay shipping' but the shipping can be expensive.  Sadly, while awesome stuff does come from China, the rules about online shopping aren't the same as they are in the UK, so be aware.  I was tempted by some water lotus seeds, but I wasn't sure about seeds being imported, as I know that there are a lot of rules around this, so I managed to hold back.  I treat ordering from Wish as an adventure and I am currently blaming my brother.

Of any scarves knitted, one is destined for my awesome instructor who took me around Horsforth in Leeds today.  It was a lot easier than Heckmondwike and I am considering asking him to change my test to Horsforth centre instead of Heckmondwike.  I went around a test route and it was so much easier.  I rocked a hill start, dealt with strange parking ideas and there were no casualties. 

I can't wait to get the Yak Yarn.  Until I get my hands on it, here is a picture of a yak.  It is not wearing a sweater.

Photo by Shane Aldendorff on Unsplash

Thursday 15 November 2018

I Am Very Tired

I had a disturbed night.  Then I had an incredibly early morning.  Then I had three hours driving (no casualties but there was an incident with a bus).  Then I had bear home and an in-depth discussion about where he had lost his bus pass this time.  Then I had parents evening. 

Bear is, apparently, awesome.  I am falling asleep as I type this.  I'll be back tomorrow when I make sense. 

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Driving Again!

Today I had my first driving lesson in a fortnight (no casualties).  I honestly believed I wouldn't be able to find first gear, but I did okay.  I was (mostly) assertive coming out of junctions, swept through a three point turn and remembered how to parallel park.  My joints were bad, though, and I am wondering if I should look into getting an automatic.  It would seem a shame after having so much fun finding third gear, but it would be a lot easier on the knees. 

And the bins were collected.  My lovely neighbour took the full bins up last night, very late, and I pulled the empty bins back down this morning, not long after bear had left for school so very early.  That was a relief. 

I'm exhausted by my lesson today, so sending hugs and good vibes to all. 

Tuesday 13 November 2018

And that was Tuesday

I admit to feeling a little meh at the moment.  I shouldn't grumble.  I'm sitting here with the heater on and things could be a lot worse. 

I got the x-rays done today.  From what I see, the GP sends a booking to the hospital which in my case is the LGI and I can turn up during office hours and wait to get seen at any time, I think in the next week.  I'll get the results in a week or so.  I am aching from being manoeuvred on the machine.  The person taking the xrays was lovely and professional, and very patient, but my joints objected violently to the whole positioning. 

I cut past the German market where I got a pic of a very Yorkshire bin and a blurry pic of a Leeds owl. 

I was heading towards the museum as they do a passable baked potato and I was hungry, and passed two armed police.  They even had rifles of some sort.  It sort of broke my heart.  They had gone when I came out and I was relieved.  I don't want to think of guns needed in our town centre.  I'm not trying to pretend Leeds is some sort of peace camp, but it's unheard of to see armed police in the town centre. 

So I am a little meh. 

Writing stuff - I have a character spotlight from one of the other authors of the Glass and Ashes anthology on my writing blog here.  She has done an amazing job, and I am incredibly impressed.  I may take notes!

Monday 12 November 2018

Nearly Made It

whereverthejourneytakesme - we may have to postpone meeting at Roundhay, although there is no reason why you can't enjoy it by yourself.  I tried to get a particular shot I wanted - and my knees and hips just said 'no'.  In fact, they said so emphatically, and I couldn't walk far enough.  However I managed to get some pics, not all of them particularly well taken, but enough to make me smile.

The view from across Waterloo Lake

I think I was trying to take a pic of something else, but it's okay

If this was straight it would be an awesome pic of a mansion through the trees

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep
Robert Frost

In other news, my knees and hip were pretty bad, so I went to the doctors and he's referred me for x-rays.  

Writing stuff - here's a YouTube trailer for a new book release - how cool is that?  Looks like a fun read as well.