Thursday 31 May 2018

Could be worse

It could always be worse.  Today I have had major tummy ache.  I mean, really, really, really bad.  However it happened after I cleared and reorganised two double cupboards so that's good.  There wasn't much stuff out of date, mainly because I was sorting out the tin cupboards.  As I can't get to the back of the cupboards I sort of hooked the cans out with the end of a brush and sorted through them.  I do not need to buy a tin of beans and sausage for some time.  I'm also pretty good for tinned tomatoes, but I know I'll use the stock I have quite quickly.  The tinned tomato soup may take a little longer as I quite like it, but bear prefers home made soup (and I am out of that).  I've got five more kitchen cupboards that need the same treatment, but I'll save that for when bear isn't around. 

Less brilliant was bear and the Lego.  My brother spent an absolute fortune on a complicated bit of Lego, and it's too complicated for him.  He just gave up today.  Poor lad looked so defeated, and after we had had such an awesome morning with extra Minecraft.  The second book in the Skullduggery Pleasant series still hasn't arrived either.  I'm hopeful that he cheers up a little tomorrow as we are actually leaving the house. 

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Half Term Continues

Bear has given me three more lessons in Minecraft scattered throughout the day.  I'm having more trouble with that than learning to drive.  I can never remember what to press to look up. 

Bear has been awesome today.  We went for a short walk.  It was just as well it was a short walk as the Morrisons delivery was early.  We turned into our street to see the yellow van waiting for us, ten minutes before the earliest time it was due.  We didn't mind.  Then bear carried things in for me and helped me put things away.  This was followed by a brisk hour of Minecraft.  I dug things.  Bear is really good at explaining to the bewildered, which is just as well.

I am going to be getting another delivery soon, though, as I've run out of home made soup.  Bear had the last portion from the freezer today and is very clear that more soup needs to be made. 

We are halfway through the half term week.  I feel like I am sinking. 

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Not Cool

Either DH or I left the fridge door open sometime yesterday.  Looking back, the latest it could have happened is around 6pm.  I found the door open around 9.30am.  The stuff at the front of the fridge was warm and there was ice on the back of my frost free fridge.  I didn't dare risk anything.  I had to throw the whole lot out.

I'm not thrilled but there is a bright side. It means that all the stuff that I've been meaning to use up is no longer a problem and I've had a shopping opportunity.  I still feel low about it.

However I am concentrating on the good stuff.  There are still no sightings of ants and I'm making a dent in the pile of washing.  Bear also spent some time trying to teach me to play Minecraft.  I really wish he wasn't so keen as I'm blundering about and bumping in to things, but bear was lovely and patient and really awesome.  He is desperately waiting for book two in the Skullduggery Pleasant series.  We have started reading the first book as part of the bedtime routine but bear has read ahead and loved it.  It's very exciting with lots of action, adventure, fantasy and humour. 

As bear became bored today we have a schedule tomorrow of lego, colouring, Minecraft lessons, piano practice and Fortnite.  I'll let you know what actually happens.

Bank Holiday Monday

It's been quiet.  There hasn't been any sign of ants.  I'm not sure what is keeping them away, but I haven't seen a scuttle.  I have been tootling around while bear explained Fortnite to DH.  I still don't have a clue. 

Bear was wonderfully exhausted today and apparently so were brother's dogs.  They wore each other out.  I think there are going to have to be a few more visits.  The older dog is getting quite elderly now, as he isn't a small dog and he's probably at least 13.  It's hard to know, as he is a rescue.  From what they can work out, the first few years were bad, but he landed on his paws with my brother and his partner.  He is still in pretty good shape apart from the hearing issues, but bear played with him relentlessly. 

I washed my new towels today.  Tesco do a range of Hygro towels.  I bought a sample bath towel a while back to test it.  The claim is that the towels get softer every time you tumble dry them.  This is actually true.  I'm working on drying them on the airer and then bunging the dry towel in with damp clothes that need to be tumble dried and it's worked so far.  They unfortunately come from Tesco Direct, which is closing, so I bought four more towels that should see me sorted for a few years.  That's two for the kitchen and two for the bathroom.  I'm going to be watching Tesco for bargains but I suspect a lot will end up in their bigger stores or in places like Approved Food and B&M bargains.  I'm on the look out for some new but extremely inexpensive plates as half of ours seem to be chipped.  I will probably end up in IKEA, but I'm keeping an eye out for now. 

Sunday 27 May 2018

A Good Sunday

It's been a wonderful day.  We had a lazy morning and then went to my brother's house for a barbecue.  It was awesome.  We had loads of good food, lots of good conversation and a great time.  I stayed in the shade but DH caught the sun.  Bear seemed unaffected although he is exhausted now having raced around their gorgeous garden with their dogs and generally had an awesome time.

Their dogs are amazing.  One of them is an older dog who is going sort of deaf.  He still hears some food cues, but he doesn't always hear stuff that used to set him off barking (which is a relief).  He's probably part lab with all that comes with it and he's a darling.  The other dog isn't as easy.  They are both rescue and I think she had a hard time and she gets very anxious.  When she is anxious, she goes on the attack and it's quite scary, even in a little dog.  She barks, she growls and she carries on.  As bear isn't confident with dogs, it can be quite hard on him.  However he pushed back his fear and tentatively made friends with her, and she sort of made friends with him so he was throwing toys for her for a large part of the afternoon after the amazing food.  It was really sweet. 

The younger dog also bravely chased away the plane flying overhead with her relentless barking.  It must have worked as it went away without landing.  The older dog barked as well but you could tell he wasn't sure what he was barking about.  However the younger dog was barking, barking was obviously appropriate so he went for it with gusto.

Wean - I really don't know about affiliate marketing.  I won't have a proper chance to look until after half term, and I feel uncomfortable in some ways.  I link to stuff I talk about anyway, and I don't want to change the way I talk about what goes on in my world.  Also, I don't want to take advantage of people visiting here who I consider my friends.  It may not be for me.  Whatever happens, I'll share.

Liverpool Did Not Win

I am not looking forward to breaking the result to bear tomorrow morning.  Nor am I impressed with Ramos' tackle as someone who has dislocated four shoulders.  Moving on...

Today has been lovely and quiet.  I'm spending some thinking time.  Anyone who has a child in High School will know about expense.  I will need to keep a second car on the road to get bear there and back, bear is getting nearer a teenage appetite and the school costs are painful.

To be honest, most schools are strict about uniform and expensive with it.  The lovely lady at the newsagents must have spent around £150 kitting her son out for the local school a few years ago.  However now we are looking at blazers - £54 a time!  It's the going rate for most schools.  Then there is the school tie, school sweater, sports kit with a wide span of equipment which must not only be of the school design but also in the House colours.  You know the drill.  It's not plain white t-shirt and plain black shorts anymore.  It's fancy shirt, logo'ed shorts and socks in the right colour along with two types of trainers and football boots. 

The school have also said that they are in favour of extra curricular activities, and taking part is important.  Bear is hanging out for piano lessons with school.   I am unconvinced as the amount of warfare I've had over piano practice is far over my limit.  Bear has mentioned the clarinet.  I have mentioned £150 per term.  Negotiations continue but piano practice is being used as leverage.

There is also the issue of the residential in the third week of September, at £170.  Bear doesn't want to go.  I can't afford to take to drink.  And don't forget the enclosed form to make a monthly donation. 

This week is going to be a thinking week.  I need to start bringing in a decent income.  I may consider affiliate marketing, which is apparently something blogs can do to make money.  I'm hesitant, because I consider the people reading this my friends and I don't want to make money from friends.   If I do go down that sort of path I will be completely transparent.  You never need to pay for the equivalent of dropping in for a coffee.  I am holding off on the idea of chasing affiliate marketing because the advice and goodwill from the people who read this blog is worth more than rubies.  Whatever happens, I need to pull myself up by my bootstraps because it is expensive when a child goes to a good school, and it is completely worth it. 

So far I have signed up to which is a site that randomly picks postcodes and if your postcode is chosen then you could win a prize.  It's free to use and is funded by adverts.  You could win a tenner or maybe even £100.  I'm not affiliated.  It looks like a small place that does its best.  I've looked into a few sites that do competitions.  I'm looking at things that can work around running bear to and from school.  I also click on the Hunger Site daily, as it costs nothing but supports those in a far worse position than me. 

I know that bear and DH and I are all really lucky and things could be a lot worse.  I suppose I should feel all stressed and anxious about the demands of school.  But what I am feeling is more like, challenge accepted. 

Friday 25 May 2018

How They All Rise Up

We have lilac in our garden.  The botanically inclined may also spot a lot of weeds.  It's on my list.  It reminds me of Terry Pratchett's Night Watch which is a cracking good story.

There have been no six legged sightings in the kitchen today, but the weather has been miserably rainy and I believe ants don't go out much in the rain.

Today's fail was falling for a special offer.  If you have a nectar card and if you spend over £10 this week, and if you have registered the special offer then you get 8 times the points.  I don't really need anything but for some reason I ended up purchasing a quantity of yarn from Yarn Paradise.  Do not click on the link if you are tempted by weird yarn.  They are based in Turkey and ship all over the world but I order through eBay as the shipping is more reasonable.  The yarn has always been good quality, the service has been excellent and I wish I was getting sponsored for this.  To balance it, I also recommend subscribing to Marriner Yarns newsletter.  It's always lovely and cheery and they occasionally do free patterns and competitions.

Speaking of newsletters, apparently lots of authors have a newsletter and there are lots of articles encouraging authors to collect a mailing list.  I have no idea what I would put in one.  Mind you, I'm not sure I'm qualified as an author.  I just write stuff.  And speaking of that, the latest instalment of the White Hart is here.  Feel free to dip in. 

Thursday 24 May 2018

Start Again Tomorrow

Today has included a poorly bear, a blocked toilet, continuing (although lessening) ants, a HUGE bundle of paperwork for bear's school next year and noticing brick efflorescence where the tiles and plaster came off from behind the cooker. 

It's okay to google.  It's just salts leaching out of bricks due to damp.  I have no idea what to do.  I'm starting off by trying to dry out my kitchen.  The kitchen, however, is getting regularly dampened by being sprayed with 50/50 white vinegar and water with cinnamon added.  

I'm starting again tomorrow.  

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Another Day, Another Challenge

I think I may have spotted where some ants are coming in.  I've sprayed the place with 50/50 water and white vinegar which has reduced the numbers from a town meeting to a few bewildered and six legged souls wandering around looking lost.  Tomorrow Tesco will deliver ant traps.  I have scoured the web and am also getting a variety of essential oils delivered plus some sonic deterrents.  It has been trying.

Bear has been very sick. His tummy is not happy and it's been grim.  No further details, but I'm sure all mums understand.  Apparently there is a sickness bug at school, and the 48 hour rule obviously hasn't helped.  He is currently flat out asleep at least an hour earlier than normal.  DH is out. 

I promised bear that I would listen out for him, and I think the monitor is still working, but I'm keeping all noise off so I shall sit here in the quiet and perhaps get some knitting done.  Tomorrow I'm back into the fray. 

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Crawling along

I have a phantom intolerance.  There is something out there that makes me very poorly.  I get headaches, violent pains in my ribs, sometimes throw up and I'm out of the game for a day or two.  I have no idea what it is.  Whatever it is, it's in Morrison's gluten free rice cakes, but not in the ones from Tesco.  When I can see better I shall compare ingredients, but I suspect it's in the 'flavourings'.  It crops up in the strangest places and I have had to learn by trial and error.  I can't have Thornton's chocolate liqueur either.

There is also ants in the kitchen.  I know what I'll be doing tomorrow - stripping down that kitchen.  It badly needs it anyway. 

Today has been a fail, so I'll leave you with this...

How do you know if an elephant has been in the fridge?  By the footprints in the butter.

Monday 21 May 2018


There is an article on the BBC website about the risks of talking about your kids here.  It says that with a little digging, children will find that the answers to their security questions will already be all over social media. 

And it's true.  Anyone who follows this blog will know bear's date of birth.  They would find it fairly easy to find their first school, if they did a little digging, and anyone can have a good guess at their favourite football club.  It is probably easy to find the name of their first pet, and there are all sorts of bits and pieces about bear that you can pick up.  It might be harder to pick up my maiden name, as I don't think I have it anywhere on the net, but it may have slipped through.  I don't answer any of those 'your mother's maiden name plus your first pet is your secret name' thingies on Facebook which are phishing expeditions and should be ignored, but you never know. 

It has given me a reminder that I need to write about bear and his pals with respect.  There are some things a lad shouldn't have on the internet and I've tried to be careful.  It means I've had to keep some hilarious stories to myself, but that doesn't matter.  There are some things a boy should never see about himself on the internet.  As he gets older, I'll be dialling back the stories. 

I only saw this article today, but a few months ago we were discussing passwords with bear and I advised him to lie shamelessly on his security questions.  His first pet was not Timmy the Dog (for example) and I encouraged him to be as creative as he could when it came to my maiden name.  I keep a note of passwords I rarely use, but in an obscure way and just enough to jog my memory.  For example, if I had a password 'Goldilocks' then I would make a note that the hint was 'bear bear bear'.  None of my passwords are 'Goldilocks', to be clear, but you get the idea. 

Today, bear is doing fine.  There is still some lingering traces of the stress, but he's much better.  And he got 96% in the optional Science test he sat on Friday, so he's got that as a boost. 

Sunday 20 May 2018

Bear and His Leg

Bear seems to have forgotten he has a syndrome.  He has been playing football in the street and then DH took him to a park with a climbing frame.  He's still out of sorts, but he has the start of a stonking cold, so I'm waiting to see what happens. 

We rented a film from Amazon that he wanted to see, The Greatest Showman, which I loved.  Bear disappeared from the room when kissy stuff happened.  Long may that continue. 

I have just found a few interesting lectures about the legal position of witches in medieval and early modern England, including one lecture from Yale.  I'm settling down with my knitting and I may be gone some time.

Friday 18 May 2018

Feeling like it's Friday

I had another lesson today.  I'm trying to squeeze in a lot at a time.  Today I was turning right, starting, stopping, making it between two parked cars and rocking through to third gear like a pro.  I also did a lovely, controlled stop as two kids walked out in front of me between parked cars.  If I caught bear doing something like that he would have been in trouble.  Mind you, one of them actually noticed me and looked apologetic.  They were only young teen lads, so their brains are elsewhere. 

Bear has finally finished the dratted exams.  He thinks he had done well, so that's a good thing.  He also seems to be coming down with a cold.  As it's been hot/cold/hot/cold for the last few days, I'm not surprised.  I'll keep getting the good stuff into him.  I was stuffing him with clementines today, and dinner was less processed.  It was dried gluten free pasta, tinned chopped tomatoes and frozen peas, but it was also fresh, low fat mince and fresh onions with plenty of herbs. 

Tomorrow I am planning on catching up with my knitting while watching the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup. 

For those interested, the latest White Hart episode went up at @ 1pm and is here.  I'll do better next week. 

Thursday 17 May 2018

Not a Good Day

Bear woke me up well before my alarm to let me know that he had a bad hip.  I wish he had never found out he had a syndrome. 

Then it turned out that the window for the bathroom that should have been fitted this morning was the wrong size.  When the very nice man suggested that we rip the window frame out I nearly cried.  It's lovely, detailed and possibly original to the very late nineteenth century when it was built.  They have gone away and are making a new window and will come back later.

Then I had a tough driving lesson.  I haven't quite got the hang of stopping yet and I was inching out of blind junctions to see if it was free to go.  There were one or two close calls and I clipped the kerb a few times.  On the other hand, I was rocking getting into third gear.

Then bear came home and while his hip was alright, he was not a happy bunny.  I let him top up with some serious sugar (as well as wholemeal toast and fruit). 

Then I messed up with dinner and it ended up all processed.  It was lovely, relatively low fat, full of the good stuff but every bit came out the freezer - gluten free southern fried chicken (lovely and tender), hash browns and peas.  We had been doing so well with sticking to rice and pasta with the occasional quinoa.  Back on the wagon tomorrow.

Then I entered into advanced negotiations with someone who will put in a new bathroom for a very modest sum but it will take some time as they are ripping off the old tiles and re-tiling.  I can't put it off.  There has been all sorts of leaks over the years and now I keep smelling damp. 

And now I need to get off and finish the next instalment of the White Hart which I have been naffraffing about all week.  Though, to be honest, I'm enjoying it so much it's making up for the day. 

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Getting Genuinely Angry

Bear had another near meltdown today.  Some of it was just general being 11.  Some of it was just growing up and working stuff out.  It can be tough as you work out life stuff, and I understand.  Most of it, however, was the exams.  He is not sleeping properly.  He's not eating much.  I'm putting healthy(ish) food in front of him but he's even picking at the rubbish.  He is just flopping around looking about 80% leg and sitting at odd angles (normal for 11) but with a quarter of his normal energy.  He can't concentrate on anything for five minutes together.  As far as anyone can tell, he's done fine.  And if he hasn't it doesn't matter!

And now I have to drag out the clothes for him to wear red, white and blue on Friday to celebrate the Royal Wedding.  I don't mind cheering the happy couple.  I do mind having three days notice to check whether bear still fits into his red t-shirt and if not find something else when the date of the Royal Wedding was set more than a few weeks ago. 

I am not sure about other mums at the school, though the feedback I'm getting is that stress is getting to everyone.  I'm not sure how it is going at other schools, though bits on the net seem to say that some schools are even worse.  I am sure that I am getting angry that I am having to look around for ways to mitigate stress and anxiety in an 11 year old boy who is suffering about something that actually has no impact on him. 

Now I'm going away to look at Mindfulness because at the moment we both need it!

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Is it only Tuesday?

Bear had his second day of SATS tests.  He came home in bits.  He also has an intermittent bad leg.  Every now and again he will remember his syndrome or that he hurt his ankle and limp helplessly.  To be fair, he's avoiding a lot of football.

Everything else is really dull.  I'm making the most of it. 

Sunday 13 May 2018

I did a driving

I went out with bpm and practised my stopping and starting some more.  I love it!  I'm looking forward to getting a few more skills so I can go into traffic. 

Bear has done something interesting to his ankle while playing football with his pals.  He is being incredibly pitiful and limping around with an expression of great anguish.  I think he has genuinely jarred his ankle and that he is also exaggerating because of the dratted SATS that start tomorrow.  He isn't even stressed about the tests.  He's stressed about the dratted stress! 

Tomorrow bear is having pancakes for breakfast.  They are ready made, but I'll take what I can get in the morning.  Bear doesn't appreciate breakfast but the letter has told him he needs a good breakfast so he will force down a syrupy pancake. 

I think I will have an early night.

Saturday 12 May 2018

Kissed by a Stranger

I was minding my own business and nipping into the ladies in Leeds Market.  They are relatively okay and, importantly, free.  Just as I was about to go in a gentleman stopped me and asked me to take the elderly lady with him to the ladies. 

I'm not trained for this. 

The poor old lady had something like dementia and it took some doing getting her around two corners and into a stall.  Then it took even more doing to convince her to shut the door before she pulled her pants down.  At this point she grabbed me and went for the kiss.  I managed to turn my head just in time and got a smacker on the cheek.  Then it took even more skill getting her out and back to the gentleman.  I'd never seen either of them before.

I had a relatively uneventful quick trip to York (I managed to get out!!! Yay!!!) and then when I got home it turns out that the gate from next door but one is entirely missing.  This happened some time while I went out and leaves them with a problem regarding their small, untrained Jack Russell who accelerates to around 50mph as soon as he gets out.  He's a lovely woofer, but he really needs a better routine.  I am a complete soft touch with dogs, I am an utter softie when it comes to cuddles and fuss, but I honestly believe that dogs, like young kids, thrive on routine and predictability.

I'm not sure about the warble in the UK Eurovision entry but dammit, the girl did good and I am so impressed.  Her nerves must have been on the very edge even before the stage invasion but she kept calm and carried on.  I'm typing before the end of the contest, so no idea of what will happen, but she earned a lot of respect and I'm sure not just from me. 

Finally Friday

It's been an odd sort of day.  Bear is still stressed beyond belief.  All his year have been encouraged to bring in support teddy bears to the tests next week.  Apparently last year all the 11 year olds took advantage of this. 

I've started shopping for a new bathroom, completely failed to make a few phone calls, and despite a lot of distractions just about managed to get this week's instalment of the White Hart up before midnight.  I'm determined to get it posted on a Friday, but I think I need to set myself a time.  I think I shall set my goal as having the instalment up by noon, UK time, every Friday. 

One of the big distractions was scraping together a Tesco order.  I'd been keeping half an eye out and it's the once-a-year sale on gluten free stuff.  There are fewer items than last year, but I have still stocked up on a few bits, especially the pasta.  Getting 3 bags for the price of 2 makes a difference when gluten free pasta is so much more expensive.

Now I am ready to crawl off to bed. 

Thursday 10 May 2018

I Didn't Take a Photo

Bear came home from school (with a really nice letter from school which is telling him not to worry about SATS even though it's the school that's making him worry...) and he was closely followed by bear's pal.  After a while they decided to go out and play football.  Almost immediately they came straight in.  There was a dead pigeon.  This was not just any dead pigeon.  This was a vulture sized wood pigeon that looked like it had a broken neck and had only recently arrived and was strategically placed right in front of our gate. 

I'm sort of glad that the 11 year old and 13 year old didn't think, 'cool, let's pull it to pieces' but instead thought, 'eww, Sybil needs to deal'.  But only sort of glad.  I picked up the snow shovel that was needed only a few weeks ago, before the heatwave, prodded the poor thing on with a stick until it was on the shovel and placed it near the wire fence as I was not going to have the effects of a dead pigeon in my bin until next Wednesday when the bin collection was due.  I thought the local rats would dispose of it just fine. 

Then bear and pal came in and I moved it again as it was too near bear's goal posts.  I was clear.  I would expect quid pro quo and I wouldn't hesitate to send them to the shops for me.

Also, driving instructor is poorly.  This means that the 28 hours over 14 days which would probably get me with it enough to drive will not be happening.  It will be more dispersed.  Also, writing issues.  Also, generally meh. 

On the other hand, the sun is shining, the lads are playing football and it could have been worse than one poor broken necked pigeon.  I suspect it was hit by a car as it didn't look like a cat had been involved. 

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Costing out Candles

Despite bear's best efforts, I bought some more candles.  They were little, scented candles - airpure mini me candles, to be precise, and the were on offer from Approved Food at 99p each instead of @ £1.50 (depending on the deals) and they burn for eight hours, so that's roughly 25p per hour, and the scent is okay. 

I normally prefer Woodwick as not only do they crackle, but the scent is usually a lot nicer.  A Woodwick Hearthwick candle will normally come in at @ £20 at the best price, and is set to burn for 50 hours, and if my back of the envelope sums are correct then that's 40p per hour, although the Woodwick definitely smells nicer. 

However you can easily get a tall trilogy Woodwick candle for @ £20 if you keep your eyes open, and they are supposed to burn for 130 hours.  That comes in at @ 15p per hour (very roughly) or 10p cheaper for a nicer candle. 

And that is why I really need to do my sums before I buy anything more from Approved Food. 

Tuesday 8 May 2018

First Professional Driving Lesson

Apparently I did very well.  We went somewhere small and I tootled up and down side roads.  I've got a habit of straying to the wrong side of the road, and I kept getting lost on the way to third gear, but I loved it.  I really, really loved it.  I think the lovely driving instructor is used to being encouraging to nervous drivers.  I wasn't nervous - at least, not about the driving as such.  There was one moment when I did a left turn, knowing that a car was hidden just around the corner (we were doing laps of like an estate type place) but on the other side of the road there was parked a huge tractor pulling grass cutting equipment that had parked there since the last lap.  I was a little unsure then, but there are dual controls so I didn't stall as the lovely driving instructor had control of the clutch and brakes and I didn't hit anything. 

I do feel quite good about it all.  I reversed a few yards when I had parked a little too close to the car in front, and it went well.  I spotted vehicles behind me - though to be fair I spotted a stonking great van and a vividly electric blue car so they weren't exactly camouflaged. 

Apart from that, I had to usher a smallish wasp out of the bathroom this morning.  I'm going to have a good look outside tomorrow (before my second Professional Driving Lesson) to see if a nest is forming anywhere.  I didn't see anything today, but it was very bright.

Bear came home and had a melt down.  I just need to get him through this week and the next and the SATS will be over.  I don't envy the teachers having to keep the Yr 6 class amused after finishing all the curriculum, because it all had to be finished and done by the SATS which start next week.  I can't wait for it to be over.

Monday 7 May 2018

That's a Start to the Day

Today was a Bank Holiday.  It is a day when we all can have a lie in, get up in a leisurely manner, take our time for a quiet morning before relaxing for the rest of the day - unless the people next door but one have been up all night drinking.  I suspect other stuff may have been involved, but I don't know much about that sort of thing.  However at 8am I was reluctantly up and peeking out of the window to see a full on brawl in the street while their badly trained Jack Russell was almost exploding. 

It all settled down after the third time the police turned up.  Apparently a couple of people got carted off.  Even I've noticed a police van outside a few times over the last year or so and I fail at being a nosy neighbour.  It's the house where the man threw a sofa at a door. 

It's not going to change.  There will continue to be times when it's not safe to go out to put things in the bin.  There are going to be times when I'm woken up - and, more importantly, bear is disturbed.  All I can do is just let it wash over me and enjoy the show. 

Sunday 6 May 2018

Bear Has Awesome Uncle

We had a wasp.

Bear came downstairs and told me about this HUGE wasp.  It was obviously a queen, it was so big, and it had somehow got into the bathroom.  Bear had left the room and shut the door.  We agreed that it was icky.  As DH was out, I texted him to bring home wasp spray.  However when I went up under complete necessity, there was no sign of the stripey so-and-so, even after I banged on the bath.  That was this morning.  I am writing this late at night and still no sign.

I have no idea how the thing got either in or out.  If it was looking for somewhere to build a nest I suppose it may have crawled under the door and onto the dark landing.  From there, who knows?  It is possible to get between the floorboards from the bathroom.  All the cats managed it (and had to be bathed.  I still have the scar) and what blocked off access for a cat won't stop a wasp.  I'm going to have to put citronella everywhere.

Then my brother brought bear a HUGE Lego kit.  The box is massive.  I have seen smaller coffee tables.  It may save his sanity.  I think that's what he'll be doing tomorrow.  Poor lad is just about ticking over.  I think my brother brought the perfect gift at the perfect time.  SATS week starts on 14 May.

DH took bear out for a walk which didn't seem to affect his knee but seemed to perk him up a little.  He'll probably get another walk tomorrow.

Saturday 5 May 2018

So Much For Friday

Poor bear couldn't walk properly so today I spent running around after him.  He is determined to teach me how to play Minecraft over the summer holidays.  I'm dreading it.  I had a go and I couldn't work out how to move forward, so I think I will have a very interesting time. 

I need to have a good clear out in the kitchen.  It needs a complete clear out and rethink as I want to get bear cooking over the summer.  He's 11, which isn't too young to make a meal with supervision, and I want to get him involved in the planning and budgeting more than the chopping.  I just want him to have more skills at 18 than I had, and more than DH had, so he can make a meal, iron a shirt and get by. 

I think bear has a better foundation than I did.  He was scarfing down the soup that I had made in a batch and frozen (still some portions in the freezer!) and I mentioned that the next one may be a black bean soup recipe.  Bear suggested that perhaps I should start by making a normal sized recipe so that we could see if we liked it before I froze a dozen portions.  I don't know where he got his common sense from, but I don't think it was from me.

Also, for those interested, here is the latest instalment from the White Hart.  I had far too much fun writing it, and I've got some great ideas about how to take it forward.

Wean - the Heinz beans and sausage are currently 75p each at Asda, but there is usually an offer on them somewhere.  I don't shop at Asda at the moment as their delivery here is beyond appalling and I can't (yet) drive to the big out of town store.  That's why I usually wait until they go on offer at Tesco.  The offers come around once every month or so. 

Thursday 3 May 2018

It's on Offer

I have a habit of looking at what is on offer.  I have mental notes of my usual purchases and I only buy when they are under a certain price or I'm desperate.  For example, Heinz beans and sausage are an inexpensive, not totally unhealthy light meal, can be served on toast, and bear and his pals will eat them.  They are also gluten free which means that I can also have them for a quick lunch on occasion and while I shouldn't rely on them, I am very grateful for them as a stop gap.  Their usual price is £1.05. and I only buy one or two at that price when I've run out.  When it gets to 5 for £3, or 60p each, I buy ten. 

This isn't infallible.  Prices are rising and while a few years ago I wouldn't buy tinned soup if it was more than 50p a can for Heinz, now I have to make do with 60p a tin (5 for £3 is the usual offer) instead of the normal 95p per tin.  I stock up when it comes around to the good price.  Of course, I currently have a stock of frozen, home made soup made at a fraction of this price, one portion of which bear had for his dinner, so I'm less likely than ever to pay out for an overpriced tin. 

This doesn't work across the board.  As I type there are 412 items on sale at Tesco under the 'Household' category.  Most of them I wouldn't touch no matter what.  I have never liked the highly scented fabric softeners, so I'm not interested in them. I use white vinegar instead.  I may have been interested in the Ariel deal of a 40 wash box for £6, but I currently have a good stock of washing powder.  However I would never have bothered with the air fresheners as I prefer essential oils, Woodwick candles and, basically, opening a window.  I am planning on using baking soda in pots with essential oils and I would rather use more of the inexpensive white vinegar than the branded window cleaners.

And that is the heart of it.  Most of the time you don't get sales on the basics of washing soda, white vinegar, baking soda and own brand washing up liquid.  Most of what I buy is too inexpensive to go on sale.  If you buy the wonky veg, the basics tinned tomatoes, the own brand free range eggs and the plain, unadulterated ingredients to cook from scratch, you don't get a coupon or a sale.  You save money if you resist the sale.  I prefer to use white vinegar as a laundry softener.  It is more effective on things like towels and is less likely to overwhelm any scent I wear.  At the moment Tesco have their own brand fabric softener at £1 for 1.26 litres if you buy two.  Tesco's own brand white vinegar works out at 70p per litre and it's even less expensive if you get it in bulk via Amazon's subscribe and save. 

And all this is a reminder why I need to stay away from the 'Special Offers' section of the supermarket, because I get sucked in so often.  I need to put a post it note on my laptop to say - 'it's only a bargain if you actually need it, use it and there isn't a less expensive version that is just as good'. 

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Bear has a Syndrome

I took bear to the doctor today.  Last week bear had limped into her office with a red and swollen knee and she had suggested a blood test and booked it in today.  However they discuss cases within the practice and another GP had reviewed the idea and suggested a diagnosis.  To recap, bear had a very stiff, sore and swollen knee that had settled down with ibuprofen and some rest.  It wasn't a happy knee after playing football yesterday but it wasn't as bad as it could be.  So bear was diagnosed with Sinding-Larsen Johansson syndrome.  It's not serious and he'll grow out of it.  Apparently the tendon that holds the shin to the kneecap gets sore.  Treatment is painkillers and rest.  I'll just keep an eye out.  He totally charmed the doctor, who was awesome and explained everything to him.  Bear was happy that he didn't need a blood test but somewhat saddened that I took him in to school afterwards.

Also I passed my theory driving test!  I keep checking the certificate to make sure I haven't got it wrong.  I'm so giddy about it.  Now all (all!) I need to do is the practical, lessons starting next week.  I'm still shocked that I passed as some of the questions were completely unfamiliar and I struggled with the hazard perception test all the way through.  For those not familiar, hazard perception test shows a video clip where you click a mouse when you spot a developing hazard.  I found it hard as there are so many potential hazards in a clip, but I managed it.  I need to see how it translates into real life. 

Thanks for all the good wishes.  I suspect that those good wishes helped push me through.  Thank you

Tuesday 1 May 2018

All Was Not Revealed (Hopefully)

Happy Beltane!

I swear there is a sign on my door saying, 'in shower, please knock'.  And I daren't ignore it because I'm always ordering stuff.  Today was no exception.

I was just getting nicely clean when the door went.  I opened the bathroom window a smidge, clutched the shower curtain to me, knocked a bottle of shower gel onto the porch roof which bounced over the head of the poor soul knocking, and shouted an apology and told them to put the parcel in the yellow bin.

It wasn't a delivery.  It was a very nice man asking me to vote for the Labour Party. 

We had a very nice discussion as I leaned out of the window, technically decent, dripping and talking about what the council were going to do about the bins.  He seemed very pleasant and able to cope with an old girl doing a 'surprised nymph' impression while wittering about council tax.  I'm undecided, to be honest, but I will vote.  I urge everyone who can to vote, even if you just turn up and spoil the ballot.  People have gone through a lot to get us the opportunity of voting.  It seems wrong to forget them.

Bear was in a football tournament today, for the footballers who normally don't get picked for tournaments.  He didn't win, but he had such a good time.  He ran and tackled and at one point forced a serious save.  I am so proud of him.

Now I am off to study for the theory test tomorrow. I'm doing okay with the multiple choice, but struggling with the hazard perception as I keep tapping too early.  Please send good vibes.