Saturday 27 January 2018

Computer issues continue

Not able to get laptop working and feeling the strain.

One of the worst elements is not being able to have music on headphones to drown out bear's choice of YouTube.

I'll be back when computer makes sense.

Friday 26 January 2018

Seeing Clearly

I managed to get out and pick up my new glasses. 

I'm still putting the computer back together, still aiming to get the next instalment of At the Sign of the White Hart out by Monday, still having awesome time thinking up new challenges that I can put the poor characters through and generally ticking over. 

I'm also still having moments.  When DH got in I promised him beeferoni instead of the chilli con charlie I was going to make.  DH was thrilled.  Neither recipe is something that you would make to impress but are inexpensive, relatively healthy and fill a hole.

Tomorrow I'll be cooking chicken breasts in foil with garlic, lemon juice and possibly olives, and serving with roast curried carrots and parsnip plus peas.  Sometimes I can go a little better! Or am I tempting fate by planning a meal more than five minutes in advance?  I'm keeping it all crossed. 

Thursday 25 January 2018

Picking Myself Up

I had to do a reset of my laptop, which translates as a lot of yesterday evening watching percentages on the screen change and then a lot of today re-installing things and generally sorting my settings out.  I've managed to keep most of my writing, but I had to do stuff like re-install Word and that.

Then the man came to sort out the fire.  Apparently it just overheated.  The fire has had a service and all should be fine.  We have a CO2 detector next to the fire anyway.  No bees were spotted and nothing sticky was found at the base of the chimney.  He removed the flue restrictor, which apparently is the thingamabob that gets fires hotter quicker.  As we usually have it on 'just about on' as the room heats up quickly, it's not a big deal. 

The man for the gas fire was very nice, but I don't do well with strange men coming into the house.  I've had a few bad experiences, well, haven't we all?  But on top of all the other stress it has left me at less than optimal. 

Task for tomorrow is pulling myself together.  I have to go to church to take some pictures for their facebook, and I need to pick up medicine from the pharmacy in town and if possible pick up my new glasses.  I need to find some sort of solid ground to stand on.  Tonight I plan on re-installing some games and playing them. 

Thanks for all the hugs.  Tomorrow I plan to be back, cheerful and chirpy. 

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Having a Day

This is not likely to be my usual flowing style but my laptop isn't working. Today has been mixed. If you go to At The Sign of the White Hart you will find the latest installment which I managed to post before my computer gave up. Sorry I can't link. 

I didn't manage to get out and to be honest I had a meltdown, but I'm fairly confident I'll get out tomorrow hugs to all.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Bad Bear

Bear got into trouble at school for talking during assembly and was made to stand up in front of the whole class.  Bear said that he hadn't been talking, and I believe him because if he had been talking he would have told me that he was only saying and it was definitely because someone else caused a problem.  Bear is big on justifying himself. and I'm not deterring him at the moment as it gives me a fighting chance of finding out what's going on.  So bear had to stand in front of the whole assembly and didn't give a flying fig leaf.  He did not care.  Not only did he not care but he got a lot of playground cred from the bad boys for not caring.  This is new to bear who is normally impeccably behaved according to the teachers.

This is not good.  I have tried to instil a good pattern of behaviour in bear, but I learned long ago never to threaten bear with something because he would shrug it off.  You could threaten to cut his sweets - fine, he'll do without sweets.  You could tell him that he would miss out on a treat.  Go ahead then, he'd miss the treat. I remember being on my knees when bear was about two.  He wouldn't take his antibiotics for love nor money.  I literally had his antibiotics in one hand and the white chocolate buttons in the other and he would not be bribed.  I was there for hours.  He got better but it wasn't anything to do with regular doses of antibiotics.  What can I say.  I was just as bad as a youngster.  Refusing to apologise for something I hadn't done and complete resistance to bow to the leader's will got me kicked out of playgroup at around age four.  Looking back at some of the tussles I had with teachers over the years makes me feel almost queasy when I think of bear using the same tactics.

I was clear to bear that as I believed that he hadn't been talking so I wasn't doing anything.  I take the line that what happens in school stays in school, especially when it comes to punishments.  I was clear that I would be unhappy if bad stuff started happening at High School, and bear shrugged. 

Bear was not impressed with his teacher before this.  Now I think she has lost a lot of ability to exert discipline over him.  Bear is a good lad, on the whole, and by and large, as seen from the perspective of a doting mother.  He's never been in trouble.  It's just I have an awful feeling that bear has taken this as a 'challenge accepted' moment.  There are around 110 days left of actual time-in-a-classroom left before he leaves primary school.  I'm keeping it all crossed that we all get through it okay, including the teacher. 

Sunday 21 January 2018

So Much for That

Yesterday I decided to go out.  I nearly turned back before I got the few yards to the bus stop as I was so tired.  I just went to a local shopping centre and back and that was me wiped out.

Also, I keep getting notifications that someone is trying to log into my accounts when I haven't.  This may partly be because I'm using two browsers at the same time, but someone may be hacking me.  I've no idea who could be doing anything like that unless it's just one of those bots that are trying it on. 

I'm off to rethink my passwords. 

Friday 19 January 2018

Rad Threadz

It's a non-uniform day at bear's school.  He went in wearing a Marc Jacobs t-shirt (gift from DH's auntie who can really get a deal) and Gap jeans (eBay is my friend) topped with a supermarket hoodie that is a shade too small for him but I was out of options.

Bear is getting a little more clothes conscious.  Not totally, thank goodness, but a little.  I'm not discouraging it.  I'm hoping that it will help me during the teenage years when his confidence needs a boost.  The biggest problem I can see is the whole concept of sweater. 

DH doesn't wear sweaters.  I've knitted him one, which he appreciated but didn't wear.  I've bought him sweaters.  He appreciated the thought, didn't wear.  He just doesn't do knitwear.  Bear is exactly the same.  He will wear a sweater to school, but as far as I can tell he sheds it early on.  It has become a battle of wits to have more sweaters at home than in his drawer at school.  Once, after I had been more sarcastic than usual (don't worry, bear had been in fits of giggles), he turned out of the class wearing three sweaters, one on top of the other.  He said it was the easiest way to get them home. 

When it comes to non-uniform sweaters he wears a Christmas sweater on Christmas sweater day, wears a sweater at least once during winter and then loses interest.  I don't even look at things like knitwear any more when buying clothes for bear.  I could get him the most amazing sweater or hoodie and he would wear it twice before outgrowing it.  So do I cave and get him a sweater that actually fits?  Do I get a sweater that he can grow into?  Or do I just ignore the issue and hope it goes away?  Because I can see bear starting to get picky and it could get expensive. 

I think I'll take the opportunity to have a browse on eBay.  It's the right time of year for people to have made New Year's Resolutions to clear stuff out so I may pick up something good.  And if I get even luckier I'll be able to sell it after bear has worn it once. 

Thursday 18 January 2018

What you Find

wherethejourneytakesme has suggested using the Aldi washing powder to clean the stainless steel sink.  This is a really good suggestion as my sink needs all the help it can get!  There are issues with how the taps were installed and the draining board doesn't drain properly so it's a good use.  I may also use it to wash the floor under the cooker as we are getting a new cooker and I don't want to even think what it's like underneath there.  We are also getting a new fridge that is actually big enough for what we need.  There has been some discussion about this.  However the fridge isn't getting and staying cold and the cooker is around fifteen years old and outrageously temperamental so I decided that we needed to do something.  We are changing the cooker from gas to induction hob.  I'm quite nervous. 

We've gone with AO again as they guarantee to bring the stuff down the steps to our kitchen.  To be fair, the ones that delivered the freezer did look as if the whole concept of stairs was a strange and wonderful discovery but they did it.  The ones who delivered the washing machine were fine.  It's supposed to be coming next Wednesday 

For those who don't know, AO used to be called 'Appliances Online'.  You can go through TopCashback, they have excellent customer service and have reliably turned up when they said they would, done what they said they would and have been very tolerant of me having a dither.  They sell washers (yep), microwaves (it's where we got our microwave combi), freezers (yep), fridges (yep), cookers and all sorts of electrical goodies and from what I can see they have competitive pricing.  They also have a YouTube channel.

I found the YouTube channel through a link to 'how to make butter in a washing machine' but after a rummage found that these electrical suppliers also have craft videos and recipes.  I even found this How to make a floor pouffe cover.  They don't even sell sewing machines!  I'm off to investigate further. 

Wednesday 17 January 2018


First of all I was going through the awesome comments and Sharon Koole shared that there was a site that suggested yarn substitutions called  I shall be bookmarking it! 

Sarah Head - as I put in the comments, I couldn't agree with you more about SATS and the exams.  I don't think bear is feeling worried about passing, he can be remarkably confident when it comes to knowledge.  I think he feels under seige.  I have repeatedly told bear that if he fails an exam then there are other options.  It might be harder, and it might be more expensive, but there are always ways or other jobs or other options.  It's never the end of the world.  If schools are like this at 11, what are the secondary schools like when so much funding and reputation relies on the results? 

There has been snow here.  To be fair, we've had four flakes and a promise and are much better off than people like wherethejourneytakesme who really have got their hands full.  Yesterday I went out briefly to put some stuff in the bin and I felt battered but it wasn't really that bad.  DH works on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and he's found it trickier, but still not as bad as some.  I ought to hang out some of bear's shirts.  Snow is supposed to bleach whites.

I bought a very large pack of Aldi washing powder for a very reasonable sum.  It isn't bad, especially not for the money.  It's just not as good as Ariel.  I can tell.  All sorts of very respectable authorities like Which say that Aldi is a really good brand for washing powder, but it isn't the same.  My whites are not as white.  I mean, bear's school shirts are still white, but they're not white  I've had to fight the urge to twitch when I've been in the playground and seen downright grey shirts because goodness knows what they've washed the shirts in, and it's really none of my business, but I like bear's shirts to be white.

I've been waiting to finish off the Aldi washing powder.  Today I caved.  I tipped the remaining powder into a container where I keep the cheap stuff for soaking things like baking trays (biological washing powder can do amazing things to stuff with grease on) and opened up a box of Ariel with a sigh of relief. 

So my whites will now be white and the rest of the house will be a fail in housewifery but at least the laundry is a start. 

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Feeling Better

I'm not on top form yet, but it could be worse.  I've spent far too much time flicking through YouTube.  I found this YouTuber, Kristine Kelly, who does videos about knitting.  I've only just discovered them, but I could get hooked.  There's usually a chat at the beginning, perhaps a book review and then all sorts of stuff.  Apparently you can get yarn made out of mink - that is, mink fur that has been combed from living mink that are not harmed in the process.  Well, I say not harmed but I've heard about how vicious mink are and while mink are not killed in the production of yarn made with mink fur, if one of those mink got hold of me I'd probably tap its nose. 

Kristine Kelly is a proper scientist at a university as well as a knitter.  She has a few videos about the scientific stuff surrounding the psychology of knitting which is interesting but one video really endeared her to me - this one, Do Dryer Balls Really Make a Difference?  She actually does the work on it, doesn't make assumptions but tests it out.  I love that in a reviewer.

I am ashamed I am late with this, and I offer deepest apologies, but there were times in the last week where it wasn't safe to put me in charge of a narrative.  However the latest installment of At the Sign of the White Hart is here and the story so far is here.  For those who are acquainted with the books, the Appucks have called in for a chat.  What could possibly go wrong? 

Monday 15 January 2018

That was Odd

I have a healthy respect for gas.  I cook by gas (or I would if I could get the thing to work properly) but I'm getting that replaced by an electric cooker) and we have gas central heating and a gas fire in the living room. 

The fire in the living room is a few years old.  The original one that came with the house was at least twenty years old when we replaced it, I think around 2013.  This one has been serviced, though a while ago, and it's a lovely, basic model that does a very good job.  We rarely have it on very high as the room warms up quite quickly and we have blankets to snuggle under.  Last night DH and I were both feeling cold 'in ourselves' so we put the fire up to around half heat - the highest we usually have it. 

I thought I heard a clunk of metal but DH thought it was soot falling down the chimney.  We weren't paying full attention.  Then the fire turned itself off.  We paid attention then!  As far as we can tell there is no gas leaking, we have a CO2 detector next to the fire that wasn't triggered and when DH tried to turn it back on later, the fire worked fine. 

Tomorrow I will be calling around to find someone to give the fire a service.  I am hoping that it is something easy.  If it is something that has blocked the chimney then we have two issues.  The first issue is that the chimney is on a wall that connects to the house next door - owned by a landlord who is not proactive about repairs.  The second issue is that this is the chimney that has had bees in it.  If I have it right, the actual bees nest is in the flue next to it, but any repair man could find it a literally sticky situation. 

Saturday 13 January 2018

Benefits of Hanging Out

There are a lot of good things that come out of hanging out in the study while we're all on our devices It's not just the saving on heat and light in separate rooms.  We show each other funny clips and talk about interesting ideas, recipes, and plans.  Sometimes we watch a film together.  It makes it easy for bear to let us know what's going on in his life.  Apparently bear has been worried about the SATS that are coming up in May.  He says that the school are always going on and on about the SATS.  He's taken the SATS maths papers from former years in the past (over a year ago now!) and got 100%, but that doesn't seem to help his stress levels.  He managed to get himself into a right state. 

Bear is tired and I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't coming down with whatever awful bug that I'm emerging from.  I suspect that has made him a little more stressed than normal.  However I can believe him when it comes to school's emphasis on the exams.  The first school letter of this school year back in September emphasised that parents should not, under any circumstances, take children on holiday during SATS week.  In the last few years bear has come home and told me all about the provisions being made for Yr 6 pupils taking SATS.  It's a big deal and bear seems to feel under seige.  If bear, who has no issues with confidence, is feeling like this, I wonder how the less confident and possibly less able pupils are feeling. 

I'm glad he told us.  It meant that DH and I could spend some time reassuring bear and generally talking him down.  I'm trying to work out the best way to de-stress the poor lad and DH and I will have a few chats.  We'll do some research and ask some questions.  I suspect that bear will do fine once he's feeling a little more rested in himself. 

In other matters, I've been watching some knitting YouTube videos and apparently you can get yarn made out of the shells of shrimp and lobster.  It's in this video at around 36 minutes in.  I like to think I have a good imagination, but I would never have looked at the picture below and thought it was a potential sweater, not even a fisherman's guernsey!

Friday 12 January 2018

Knit One, Cough One

It can't be the flu.  The only way it could be the flu if I'm having a mild dose after having the flu jab earlier in the year.  Yes, I am still achy, and the cough is spectacular, but it's only been a week and I'm already coming round. 

I have knitted and coughed and thought about a comment left by Sharon.  A lot of the bigger knitting yarn brands have a swathe of free patterns.  There are adorable patterns for babies, cute patterns for wash cloths and even some very pleasant sweater patterns for ladies.  Red Heart Yarns have some amazing patterns - like the dragon scale mitts here.  They look so tempting to knit!  How about this cute frog wash cloth?  It's bait.  You see the awesome patterns and then you buy their yarn -  but at least the pattern is free!  It must work for them - they have nearly four thousand free patterns and I'm tempted by so many of them.  Fortunately (I think) it's quite hard for me to get hold of Red Heart Yarn in the UK.  You can get a reasonable selection but you don't see it that often, you don't see it on sale and over here we don't seem to get a lot of coupons for yarn. 

You can switch it around.  I grew up watching my mother and grandmother look at the yarn requirements and immediately work out what to use as substitutes.  The better patterns usually involved the more expensive yarn.  If money is tight you have to trade down, but you have to work out how.  There are real experts on Ravelry, but personally I don't check the needle and tension requirements of the pattern.  Instead (thanks to the internet) I look at the weight, yardage and suggested needle size shown for the yarn required and find the equivalent.  Or, more likely, you can score a really good deal on something vaguely between a double knit and an aran (sport and worsted in the States?) and then rummage around to find a pattern that would work, sort of what I'm doing at the moment.

I used a pic of fair isle sweaters from WikiCommons because I couldn't find good pics of ganseys or guernsey sweaters or aran sweaters, the sweaters that the fishermen used to wear.  My family were always royal or merchant navy, not fishermen, so I don't have any direct experience but I just watched this amazing YouTube video.  It's a shortish documentary about the sweaters of Yorkshire fishermen.  Like most of the sweaters around the coast, the patterns would vary from family to family so that if the fisherman was lost overboard and then a body found then you could identify the body by the pattern on the sweater.  It shows one lady knitting a gansey or guernsey and she's knitting on five long, double-pointed needles as the sweater is in the round, has over 300 stitches and a complicated pattern - with fine yarn!  I don't think I'm up to that. 

Thursday 11 January 2018

Darn it to Heck

Wherethejourneytakesme - I've replied to your comment on 8th.  Hugs x

I'm feeling worse.  It is not a fun time and I suspect bear is coming down with it as well.  I keep telling him to take his vitamins and pushing fruit on him.

I'm feeling very weak if I do anything, so I have decided that today is a 'do nothing and watch YouTube' day. 

As I'm feeling random and slightly detached, here's a picture of Quarry House, Leeds

It's the headquarters of NHS England, apparently.  I temped there for the Department of Health but they shared the building with the DWP at the time.  The building is truly massive, I mean, massively massive.  There's a swimming pool in there as well as a gym and a dentist.  You can easily get lost.  I used to wander round the main corridors and look at the artwork when I was on my lunch break and there is an amazing full height glass atrium on the other side of the building that had the most fantastic view. 

Two interesting facts.  It is built on Quarry Hill, previously the site of slums that were cleared post war.  Hitler had the site marked as his headquarters in the North of England if he conquered the UK.  And funnily enough I also temped at a place where someone knew the architect.  The spike on top that looks like the death ray from Ming the Merciless was inspired by the top of a fire extinguisher. 

Tuesday 9 January 2018

And another cough

The aches and pains are subsiding but my cough is developing nicely and my nose is wonderfully snuffly and red.  It could be worse.  I didn't order anything too crazed from eBay.  I did start a random project.  I had some yarn that I bought cheap and wondered what I'd do with it.  Well, the yarn is now probably going to eventually be a weird looking sweater.  If I ever finish it, I'll share and I'm not sure which is odder - the pattern or the yarn!

While I was trawling through the net I found that quite a few yarn manufacturers had free patterns.  I found some lovely ones on the Rowan website, and they have some amazing looking yarns - camello has camel hair in it!  I would have had a longer browse but the site is running at a very slow amble and I can't be bothered to wait. 

To be honest, I'm also running at a very slow amble, so I'll get to you tomorrow. 

Monday 8 January 2018

Good News Bad News

I probably have something like the flu.  I'm not saying I actually have the flu.  That's a defeatist attitude.  However I developed all the symptoms here this afternoon except for stomach issues.  What is worse, I developed them before I saw the list so I can't even convince myself that I convinced myself.  As my stomach is fine then it's not flu, but just a chill. 

I think painkillers and hot drinks will see me just fine.  I just hope that bear and DH don't get this.  Last time DH got the flu (diagnosed by a doctor) he didn't take enough time off work and it dragged him down for months.  I don't like the idea of bear feeling as poorly as I do. 

The good news is that I have access to eBay to help me out with life's little requirements.  The bad news is that my temperature is getting higher and my record of shopping while running a temperature is erratic.

There's only one thing to do - start a new knitting project.  Or at least think about starting one as I'm actually feeling a little too achy to knit for the moment. 

And, like Sharon, I think I'm allergic to organisation.  There's no way I can stick to the meal plan when I'm like this!

Sunday 7 January 2018

Cough, cough, cough

I have a (very mild) cough.  It feels very scratchy.  I may have inhaled too much dust yesterday.  Who would have thought that sorting through boxes that haven't been touched for twenty years would stir up dust?  I also feel achy and poorly but I'm less convinced about that.  It may just be a reaction to too much dust.

I haven't been out today but I've managed to keep us all warm and fed, and I'll take that as a win.  We had a 'house meeting' when we talked about who was doing what and when and I jotted down a rough meal plan.  I suspect that's what has caused the cough, much more than any dust.  Any time I try and meal plan I usually trip over some sort of crisis. 

I'm using the 'Country Wisdom & Folklore Diary 2018' and I can't remember who recommended it, but thank you, whoever you are!  It is awesome.  We all had a little rummage in it and I'll be sharing the info as we keep having the meetings.  It helps a lot to keep me somewhat on track.

One of the things I learned today was that bear's school will be having fund raising events to pay for the storm damage of the last few weeks.  There has been quite a few thousand pounds of damage, apparently, and I know that their budget has been squeezed.  I checked his book bag and there isn't a letter yet about fund raising.  There was, however, his lunch money that he should have handed in last Wednesday.  I've a good mind to ring the office and grass him up.

I've also managed some writing.  The most recent installment of 'At the Sign of the White Hart' is here.  The link to the story so far is here.  I've had a trawl through various accounts.  For those interested, the story of Steve Adderson before he joined the White Hart is here.  There is also a bonus White Hart story which I had on my Always Another Chapter account but I've also posted it on the White Hart account here.  The next installment is due by 15 January, and I already have some ideas for that and the one after it.  Thank you for all your kind words.  I can't tell you how much it means to me.

Saturday 6 January 2018

Another Good Day

I didn't get out of the house.  However DH and I cleared out the corner cupboard.  The corner cupboard has been a problem since we moved in.  It's a magnificent, floor-to-ceiling, built in cupboard that looks like this

However the layout of the room has meant that there has always been a piece of furniture pushed against it, usually a sofa.  Things have been pushed in there and forgotten for years.  We used to keep things like salt and pepper in there when father was here because we didn't go downstairs to the dining room to eat (stairs!) but instead ate on trays in the living room.  When father collapsed we forgot about all that.  Father was the only one to add salt to his food.  There was also a lot of drink left in there and forgotten. 

We pulled everything out.  I had decided that we use the bottom cupboard for storing the Christmas decorations as we would then only have to move the sofa twice a year.  It didn't have that much in apart from a few photo frames. 

In the corner of the study we have a genuine sea chest.  It was my great-great aunt's and smells of cedar.  It's in the corner and usually blocked by bear on the computer and all the rubbish and clutter on top.  We emptied that as well. 

We found so much that we had completely forgotten.  We found a stash of candles that we had totally overlooked and will keep us going well into next autumn.  We found a half drunk bottle of port which was last opened before father went into hospital in 2014.  We found some very dubious pickled onions.  We threw out a lot of, well, naff raff stuff.  Just bits and pieces that would be hard to sell in a charity shop but had no use to us.  We threw out a huge stack of old reporter's notebooks that all had about half a dozen pages left.  We never used them, bear had plenty of supplies, we knew no-one who would appreciate some very elderly, slightly foxed notebooks that were extremely inexpensive when bought and were now down to their last few sheets.  We threw out some elderly tea lights that had gone a peculiar colour.  We threw out some chargers for phones we no longer had.  We put some old candle sticks to go to the charity shop after I'd scraped the dust off them - they were wrapped in newspaper from 1996.  They hadn't seen the light of day for over twenty years. 

Some things we put back.  I had artificial flowers in my wedding bouquet and we found those.  They are stashed.  We saved quite a few pictures bear did in nursery.  Some things will be put in the display cabinet or we will find uses for them elsewhere.  I found this.

I bought in in a charity shop at least twenty years ago.  I've always really liked it but never found a place for it.  I made a conscious choice that I would find a place for it. 

The result is that the car is so full of rubbish for the tip that we can't fit another scrap in and we feel a lot better for it.  I have a bag of stuff that needs to go to the charity shop which means a reason for me to leave the house.  The sea chest is empty and in the corner with a throw and a printer on and the cupboard in the living room now holds all the wrapping paper (down to @ 20 rolls), greetings cards, gift tags, candles, spare batteries and a lot of assorted envelopes. 

On top of that, we've had some very healthy meals, bear and his pal not only devoured biscuits but also an assortment of fruit and the butternut and sweet potato soup was amazing.  I made the rolls again, and they were very welcome.  I consider it a good day. 

Friday 5 January 2018

Not Perfect

I've had one of those days.  I didn't get much sleep last night and I felt particularly naff raff.  I didn't manage to get out, either, but I will tomorrow.

Bless - re the rolls, I've answered your comment but I thought I'd put it in here as well.  I didn't add any salt at all to the rolls as I don't use much salt in cooking anyway, and they were not too bad.  I did find the dough stickier than I expected and I cooked them for a little longer than advised but they were abolutely delicious and DH would like a double portion cooked next time.  I found them really quick to make, even including the time looking for the measuring spoons.

We are not doing low carb  I can't tell you how relieved I am.  DH had been given advice by his work colleagues.  His work colleagues are actually very lovely, and I'm sure that the low carb diet has worked really well for a lot of people, but I think the tipping point was realising that we would have to cut back on lentil soup.  We did some research and the plan isn't recommended by governments in the UK, USA, Australia or Canada and a lot of reputable sources didn't recommend it for children.  Instead, the current plan is to change our eating habits.  We are going to have less processed stuff (which is a blow to me, as it's easy), lots more veggies, cut back on snacks and generally keep an eye on what we actually put in our bodies.  We are looking at more homemade soups and less tinned ones, more lean chicken and very lean mince and less lamb and pork, that sort of thing.  Bear will still have full access to goodies, of course, but those goodies will include more fruit and less chocolate.  I have suggested that every Sunday we have more of a 'treat' meal so this Sunday it will be sweet chilli chicken, bought ready prepared from Tesco, with roast potatoes and a heap of veggies followed by apple and mincemeat crumble.  On the other hand, tomorrow we will have butternut and sweet potato soup for dinner (I got the idea from this pre-prepared pack but I have butternut squash and sweet potatoes already, although unprepared, and I'll bung in a handful of lentils and some cumin, garlic and tumeric), with those rolls, but snacks/desserts will be fruit or raw veggies.  It's a plan that will adapt as I use up the ready prepared stuff in the freezer and build up recipes.

Fluffy - I am planning on publishing an installment of At the Sign of the White Hart every Monday.  I hope you enjoy a weekly fix.  Thank you, and everyone else who has commented, for your amazing encouragement.  I can't tell you how much it means to me.  I have got around half way through the next installment and I'm confident it will be ready on time but I've been too tired to concentrate or do much at all today.  Instead I've done a little knitting and I've started working on a decent table that tracks the characters in the stuff I've written.

So far I've self published The Forgotten Village, Digging up the Past, Dinner at Dark and Cats in the Bible.  Forgive the links, please, but it's sort of expected of a self published author.  All the books apart from Cats in the Bible have the same background and many recurring characters.  This background and cast of characters also crosses over into the tales of Steve Adderson which can be found intermixed with other work on my other blog, Always Another Chapter, where I mainly publish fiction and At the Sign of the White Hart.  It's a real nuisance when you want to bring in another character and you can't remember what their eye colour is or how they take their tea.  I need to sort it out.

Thursday 4 January 2018

A Surprise

I went out again today.  I only went a little way to the local Nisa, but I went out.  It's been very wet and windy here and I got soaked, but I didn't mind as it was only a quick trip. 

One of the things that I picked up were some bell peppers.  Bear and his pal devoured a stack of strips of raw pepper so I'll have to keep working on that.  I also made some fast rolls for dinner.  The recipe is here, but basically it's just flour, milk and mayonnaise.  They came out beautifully, even with gluten free flour.  I would recommend them, especially in an emergency.

It's a shame, really, because DH came home and said he's decided to go 'low carb'.  That means that the very pleasant rolls will be shelved, as will lentil soups and the hummus I was planning to top bear up with when he got home from school.  It also means that the rice cooker that means we finally get great rice is no good, and that I guess that the stock of gluten free pasta will be split between donations and my lunches.  I've no idea where to start.  I think I'm going to have to spend some time rattling around the internet.  I'm not sure whether it's suitable for bear (though cutting down on his crisps and biscuits won't hurt) and I don't know if I can face it.   

Btw, yesterday I asked about a river being measured in height or depth.  I think Sue in Suffolk's reply was the most succinct - it's depth if you're in it and height if you're not.  I'll take it.  The local beck is around half the height that the government considers a flood risk, but I think I'll keep an eye out. 

Did it Again

I did it again - I went into Leeds.  This time I went in without bear.  This is not necessarily less expensive, but it does lower the chances of me spending.

First things first, I survived the boiler service.  The man turned up at @ 9.30 and he seemed very disappointed that he couldn't condemn my gas cooker.  To be honest, he wasn't the only one.  It's older than bear.  Mind you, it's not as old as the one I used in the shared house when I first met DH, back in the 1980s.  I found a picture of the same oven in a 1930s cook book except some of the little twiddly bits they had instead of dials had broken off and you had to use pliers to turn the gas for the oven on. 

I took a while to recover from the boiler service (the man had Views), but then I dashed into Leeds and picked up some fabric.  Yes, I know, I have several tons of fabric already but I wanted something like absorbent cotton without lint.  Bear has really taken to the calligraphy fountain pens and seems to be permanently elbow deep in ink.  I can't tell you what the bathroom sink looks like since he started cleaning his pens out.  He has been dabbing his pen on swathes of tissues.  I have decided that for the sake of the environment I'm going to cut this very nice, lint free cotton into rough squares or rectangles with pinking shears, stitch a few layers together with a few random stitches and he can use that as his pen wiper.  I plan to do it tomorrow because if I don't then I'll have another job stuck on the end of the list and I want it finished.  This way I can cut down on the tissues being used and I daresay the fabric will pay for itself in a month.  The cotton is already washed and dried.  I'll just put an iron over it, cut it with pinking shears (I hope I can find them!) and put a few stitches in the centre to catch a few layers together.  I can stash a few of these in a basket in a drawer in his desk and just bung them in a wash as and when needed.

Here's an interesting question.  I found a link to the government site which monitors the water levels on the local beck.  I'm quite impressed as it is just a small stream but I suppose if it floods it does cause a lot of disruption on a very busy road.  I thought I would share, but would I say that the site showed the height of the water, or would I talk about the depth of the water?  I discussed this with DH and we agreed that it would be height as the water was rising higher, but I'm still open to suggestions.  It's currently about half the height it would be if there was a risk of flood, but it's still quite full. 

Tuesday 2 January 2018

New Year, New Shoes

Bear needed new shoes.  He didn't need them because he had outgrown them but because he wore them out.  As today was a training day, we took the opportunity to go in and get them. 

In the past we have always gone to Clarks, all through bear's life.  Clarks have the reputation of being wonderful for kids shoes, properly fitted, well made and generally the store all caring parents would go to for their children's best outcome.  Bear got his first shoes from there.  I have also had some of the toughest arguments to protect bear's interests in there.  It's been so hard trying to get them to listen to bear when they are telling me that he has plenty of room and bear is clearly uncomfortable.  They haven't even lasted that well.  Today we went to Clinkards.

Clinkards is scarily expensive, though bear's shoes cost about the same as they would have in Clarks, and seem very traditional.  I got the impression that you wouldn't get six inch heels but you could get a nice pair of hush puppies.  And when we mentioned the fitting to the assistant, they were fine.  They were lovely.  They couldn't do enough to help bear choose.  He actually came away with two pair which were painfully expensive but they seem very good quality, were leather and one pair was definitely dress shoes.  They weren't quite winkle pickers but were definitely sharp.  I thought it interesting that bear suddenly had an opinion on his shoes more than, 'It fits, it'll do!'.  I'm going to encourage it, within reason, as if he is interested in looking good it will no doubt help me a great deal through the teenage years. 

We had a quick trip to the supermarket where we picked up a few bits, then got soaked through on the way to the bus stop and home.  The beck is really high at the moment.  Then I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get through to Scottish Power.  I will have to spend a lot of tonight trying to get the kitchen in some sort of order as it is still in a heap.  It was on the list!  It's just now a little higher.   They come tomorrow and hopefully we'll get decent hot water after that!

Monday 1 January 2018

Day One

It feels like Day One in a new chapter.  I'm not saying I've been marvellous today, but I've been better.  I've been out of the house to visit my brother who lives around half an hour away in the car.  We had an amazing time, with lots of good food, presents were exchanged (bear was spoiled!) and we had some lovely doggy cuddles. 

I've started clearing out my various email accounts, some of which are very clogged, and I've checked in on my Facebook pages.  I've signed up to a Future Learn course, fingers crossed.  I have a record of starting but failing to finish these courses and I want to try and get somewhere this time.    Future Learn is a site where you can sign up to free courses in all sorts of things.  The courses are offered by places like the Open University and are entry level with no accreditation, but they're the real deal from proper departments.  I've eyed up a course on maths puzzles to keep up with bear but I decided against it as I didn't want to have to ask bear to explain it all to me, and I considered some of the business courses as I really ought to treat the writing I do as a business.  I've also listened to positive music. 

Most importantly, I've actually done some writing.  If you are interested in Tales from the White Hart, the latest installment is here.  As this is the first installment since August, to my shame, you may like to read the story from the beginning, here.  The story so far comes in at @ 35,000 words.  When it gets to @ 60,000 words and a good place to stop then I'll publish it as a free ebook before starting on the next installment. 

Today has been a good day.