Tuesday 31 July 2018

Ben 10 Lightshade

Bear was very keen on Ben 10 when he was younger.  To be fair, of all the cartoon 'hit things until the problem is solved' cartoons, Ben 10 is pretty good.  For those not blessed with watching this, it's a cartoon where a young lad gains a watch type thing that allows him to change into different aliens to battle evil.  There are a lot worse out there.  This had morality, standards and a positive female role model.  The Wiki entry is here.

I bought bear a Ben 10 lampshade one Christmas.  I'm not generally in favour of buying kids furnishings as presents, but bear didn't want anything much, he needed a new lampshade and so I thought I would go for it.  I distracted bear downstairs while DH changed over the lampshade and then later, when DH was present, I complained about hearing footsteps upstairs and hoped that Santa wasn't coming too early.  Bear unfortunately noticed the shade before bedtime, but we gave the credit to Father Christmas and bear was a happy bunny.

The lampshade has had a few close calls over the years, and I have repeatedly threatened that if it was broken I would get a replacement Frozen lampshade.  Bear loathes Frozen.  However today bear was upstairs with his pal, playing ping-pong, using a space hopper.  I went upstairs to threaten to dock his pocket money if he broke the floor and found this.

Pocket money is going to be docked and I am going to find a basic, boring plain one that will do until I have the time to sort out making a Doctor Who shade.  It could be a lot worse.  Bear outgrew Ben 10 a few years ago and I've been muttering about getting a new shade anyway.  Although that reminds me.  I still haven't replaced the corkboard that somehow needed replacing after DH and bear had been hanging out.  I'm off to check eBay, who is my friend. 

Monday 30 July 2018

Strangely Quiet

I've had such a frantic few weeks that today, when nothing much in particular happened, seems odd.  I pottered around, hung out with bear, and generally had a chill time. 

This weekend wasn't too bad.  I went with bear's pal's mum to buy the uniform in the obscure shop that was one of two permitted suppliers.  I bought one blazer, one school sweater, one pair of school PE shorts, one pair of school tracksuit bottoms, one school PE top, one school PE sweater, one tie in school and house colours, one pair of sports socks in the right colours and a gum shield.  I already have some shirts, so I 'just' need to get shoes, stationery, football boots, trainers and the correct type of trousers.  The school shirts weren't expensive, but I spent £143.00 in the shop - and that was with 10% off!  I also contributed £1 for the parking.  Bear does look awesome though (I may be biased).

Then I had another long driving lesson.  I rocked those hill starts.

I'm hoping for another quiet day tomorrow

Friday 27 July 2018


I do not have a place to put towels.  They are all heaped up in my dining room along with a small mountain range of ironing.  I need to sort out the dining room to find a plug that is safe to use for the tumble drier, but to do that I need to not only sort out the excessive ironing but also a place for the towels.  I have no idea where to put them.  I have already got rid of a swathe of them, but I still have to find a place for the few that are left.

This is a symptom of the rest of the house.  There are heaps everywhere because we don't have places to put things.  To be honest, I've been bewildered and not sure where to start.  I've decided that tomorrow I am starting with the towels.  I'm trying to be positive but I'm feeling a little low.  I'm sure I'll find plenty of bright sides, but right now all I am is overwhelmed.

I'm also exhausted after another three hour driving lesson.  There were no casualties, which is a win, and you should have seen my three point turn, but it has just finished at 10pm.  Also there has been bear and pals all day. 

But something I am proud of - I posted the latest episode from the White Hart and I was only a few minutes late.  Not only that, but I also foreshadowed events here in a totally separate story from February 2014 (here, if you're interested).  So I can take pride in some things. 

Thursday 26 July 2018

Darn it to Heck!!!

Important - thank you justjill for your comment.  I feel like I have had the most amazing hug.  To have someone who can do all sorts of pictures to make such a kind comment is wonderful.  Thank you.  I shall definitely have a play.  But your pics are amazing!  Justjills blog with the amazing pics is here

Now for the 'Darn it to Heck' part.  All the electric sockets in the kitchen, dining room and walk in cupboard just blew.  DH reset a thingy and it's back working now, but I was a little stressed.  I have been worried about the wiring for a few years now, and I think now we need to act soon.  We need to get it all rewired and it's going to be a challenge.  Actually, I think it's going to be a CHALLENGE!  The house is incredibly cluttered, everything is out of place, I don't know where to start getting everything cleared out before what will be an incredibly difficult and messy operation and I don't even know where to start looking for a good electrician.  The plumber who came to mend my sink was, well, it doesn't leak quite as much now but I'm going to have to buy a can of that spray on leak stop.  If I can't work out how to get a good plumber, how do I work out how to get a good sparky?  And it's going to be expensive - it's a four bedroom house. 

Also, I lose focus really easily.  I need to stay on track and get rid of around half the contents of the house.  However I'm also determined to get writing, get working on publicity, and at least get pin money from blogging.  And I am currently getting daily three hour driving lessons (no casualties today but I stalled in some embarrassing places).  Also bear is now on his summer break and needs a little fuss on a regular basis.  I am going to have to find a way of pulling myself together and getting on with things because it is absolutely possible. 

But it could all be worse.  I was kindly given an advance copy of a book, Dangerous Liaisons by Barbara Tyree, and the review on my writing blog is here.  I'm planning on reviewing a book most Tuesdays, so if any fellow authors are reading this and would like me to review anything then leave a comment or get through to me on Facebook and I'll see what I can do.  I will always be honest, but I promise I will do my best to be kind. 

For those not caught up in writing, please send good vibes.  I so much writing and a swathe of housewifery fails to catch up on and a three hour driving lesson tomorrow evening.  I'm feeling flattened at the moment, but I'm sure I'll find a silver lining.  I found this, and it cheered me up.  I hope it adds a smile for you as well.  It reminded me of evil cat, just before she struck on an unsuspecting toe.

Wednesday 25 July 2018


I am not good at pictures.  I used to excuse using WikiCommons and now places like Pixebay and Pixnio because I was only using a phone and not a real camera.  Then I found out that plenty of the amazing pics in places like Flickr are actually taken by phones.  I felt a fail.  I am actually quite pleased, however, with these pictures.  The blackberries seemed to have ripened early this year, and I took a pic a few days ago. 

The pictures almost look like someone who knows what they are doing took them. 

I think the weather is going to have consequences here.  The spring was so late that a lot of growers must have lost ground.  I know that we don't have any apples on the tree because blossom time was over before the weather warmed up and the insects were out.  Now it's so dry a lot of plants are showing distress.  The laurel trees opposite us are losing leaves. 

Another driving lesson today, and one tomorrow.  I did okay.  I went down some unfamiliar roads without casualties, but I need to get quicker pulling out of junctions.  I still need a lot of help, but I'm optimistic that I will be driving by September. 

Bear had his last day of primary school today.  He came home with the Harry Potter backpack which he had said had been lost without trace and fell apart a little.  It's a big step in his life.  As bear utterly resists change, and he's coming up to a big one, it's tough on him.  I shall remember to make a fuss of him over the summer. 

Bless - I think you are right, it's heat stress that's causing issues.  I will be glad when I can complain about being too cold. 

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Pottering On

There was no driving lesson today, and nothing major happened.  Bear's pal was round at the first cough of the sparrow, and I was almost awake enough to appreciate him.  He is a lovely lad, with lovely manners.

Today has been something of a write off when it comes to action, but I've had some good news.  I've had something accepted for an anthology (I will be telling all as soon as I get the go ahead) so I need to sort out my formal photo asap.  They will need it for publicity, although I'm not sure it will be good publicity or a dreadful warning.  I can deal with trying to book that after the man has come to fix the sink, which will be after my driving lesson tomorrow and also after bear comes home from his very last day at primary school.  He's going to High School in September, which is a big step. 

Bear is just so grown up now.  He is no longer the baby that trotted into Reception.  He will look tiny compared to the rest of the High School when he goes in September, but soon he'll hit the gangling teenager stage and I'll be racing to keep up with his growth spurts. He is talking about writing a book with his pal over the summer holidays.  I'm all for it.  Apart from anything else, I'll get some great bursts of relative peace and quiet while they argue over plot twists. 

While we are talking about writing, I've been at the flash fiction again, which is here.  It's stirred some ideas I started working on twenty years ago, so I may get distracted into high fantasy.  Whether I get distracted or not, it will have to wait.  All my available brain power is being taken up by the driving lessons. 

Image by pixel2013

Monday 23 July 2018

It's Only Monday

Today's driving lesson involved roundabouts.  My lovely driving instructor is not only making time for me learning at an intensive level, but he doesn't mind me shouting, 'wheeeeee' as I go around. 

First thing this morning I saw off bear and his pal and then I dropped off the teachers' end of year presents plus the lunch money that bear should have handed in at the beginning of June (it's a long story and I share blame), then called into the church to leave sweeties.  Father always used to give out sweeties to the kids (and the ladies) at church and as it's coming up to the anniversary of his death I wanted to remember him with something other than the usual flowers.

Then I had a driving lesson, with the roundabouts, and the 'wheeeeee' and I started feeling a little off.  I couldn't work out what was going on.  I was feeling light headed, queasy, confused and I was sweating.  Finally the penny dropped.  I think I've just had my first hot flush - but at a time when the weather was so hot that I couldn't tell that I was warmer than average. 

They are doing something with the sewers in the street again, which means that windows are closed despite the weather. 

Off to do a quick tidy as bear's friend will be around at an unfeasibly early time tomorrow.  Here is a pic of some pigeons.  There were no casualties, but some ruffled feathers.

Friday 20 July 2018

Getting Calmer

Bear's pal arrived early and after they left I left the house and went to Aldi.  It took a little effort but I'm getting better.  I forgot to get milk, though, which I'll have to somehow pick up tomorrow as bear's pal that is coming tomorrow drinks tea.  Nobody in this house bothers with milk. 

Then I had another epic driving lesson.  The fail rate for the driving test in the UK is @ 50%, and I have a lot to learn before I'm fit to enter.  My awesome, awesome driving instructor is getting me up to speed and fitting in loads of lessons.  I was pleased at negotiating some really tight turns with cars parked at the junctions and moving cars coming in all directions, but I did turn right instead of left at one point, and the three point turn didn't go smoothly.  Then before I knew it, I was turning onto a dual carriageway, with roundabouts and traffic lights and all sorts!  I stalled at one roundabout (fortunately not the one where motorway traffic joined) and I spent far too much energy trying not to swear.  I had always imagined this stretch of road as being somewhere I would drive when I was almost ready to take the test.  Apparently it's an easy stretch.  I'm glad, as it's a route I plan to take often as it goes near the big shopping centre and a Farm Shop.  Today I was a wreck afterwards, but I'm going to have to get over that and learn.  I have another lesson tomorrow. 

I have the latest instalment of the White Hart up here.  I am having so much fun writing this it ought to be illegal! 

Here is another random pic.  There ought to be a story behind it. 

Thursday 19 July 2018

A Calmer Day

It wasn't exactly calm but it was calmer. 

The nice man came about the alarm.  That is all sorted now, and it was only £55, so that's done.  Then the insurance seems to be clear (justjill - I daren't ask.  Electric bills are obscure at the best of times).  Then I had my three hour driving lesson.

I just want to say upfront that there were no casualties, but some pigeons had near misses.  The first half of the lesson was crawling around very, very, very minor roads where I inched between parked cars and practised turning right and left.  I need to get more confidence going out of junctions.  I also managed a few hill starts without rolling back and a three point turn.  Then we took a break at the local supermarket, used their bathrooms and afterwards the instructor turned to me and told me to drive off. 

Car parks seem to be one of the most hazardous places!  There were people wandering in front of cars, cars wandering erratically between spaces and one old lady got a little confused and parked parallel with a parking bay - but in the driving lane!  Then I turned left onto a busy main road, still no casualties, pulled up at some really easy traffic lights and turned left again and I was back into the small streets.  I'm being let loose on the driving public.  I was a fair mix of terrified and exhilarated. 

I got back with around half an hour to spare so I managed a small check around and to bring in the Approved Food delivery that had been stashed.  I also checked that the scheduled post for Always Another Chapter had posted (it's another piece of flash fiction) before going to see bear's leavers play which was awesome.  The kids did dances (Fortnite has a lot to answer for - the clip is of the animated dances that the avatars do and I swear that they look about to dislocate something), sang, and there were little recorded moments for each of the kids leaving the school and a kind comment from a teacher.  The leavers play was around three hours long which meant that I got back with minutes to spare before DH and making dinner. 

After dinner I put a wash on, taxed the car online and now I need to do a quick sweep around because bear's pal is likely to turn up at 7.30am, which is a little early for me, but he's a lovely lad and they like hanging out. 

Tomorrow is just a driving lesson and a shopping trip so it should be a piece of cake.  This week has been a challenge! 

Here is something that I found relaxing to look at.  I feel like I should set up a gallery of these things so that I can calm down. 

Wednesday 18 July 2018

As Quiet As Ever

After I posted last night I sorted out clothes that bear needed for the school play and that I could finally wash, spent the evening with my DH and dragged myself along for another hour until the dryer finished and I could iron what needed ironing.

It was as well I did as today started unreasonably early as DH had to be out early to book the car in for its MOT (inexpensive, thank goodness) and bear's pal was round at the first cough of the sparrow again.  I was glad to see him, though I wasn't in a fit state to understand all he was saying about pine cones, but he is a good kid.  I fed and watered them and then bundled bear off to school with an extra shirt, t-shirt, pair of jeans and shorts. 

After this I emptied the bathroom in the nick of time and the nice man came and fitted the bathroom window.  I tried to get some writing done and managed a few thousand words before the bathroom window man left - fifteen minutes before I had my driving lesson.  I had a three hour driving lesson, concentrating on junctions.  There were no casualties and the driving instructor (who deserves a medal) said he would let me know if I was a hazard on the road.  It's likely to get a lot harder now as I'm going out on the main roads and I need to get some confidence. 

I got back with minutes to spare for bear and another of his pals to turn up for food and took in the Tesco grocery delivery.  I had a phone call where I promised I would do some research about stuff and then I behaved badly and got grumpy at someone trying to sell something.  I was snappy, and I shouldn't have been, especially as she actually did me a favour.  I'm wondering how I can get back to her and apologise.

You see, I pay some money per month (@ £5) and if my washing machine breaks down then they will either repair or replace it at no extra cost.  I have it on my fridge, my freezer and my cooker as well.  As far as I can tell, the average life span of a washing machine is around three years.  In three years I would spend @ £180 on the insurance.  The washing machine I would get if it needed replacing would be the equivalent of the £300 washing machine I got at a much reduced price.  The repairs will probably keep that machine going for a lot longer than five years that it would take to pay for the insurance, but I sort of approve because it keeps the machine functioning and out of landfill and I'm happy keeping going.  However this lady called because she was trying to sell insurance on other items.  Except she thought we didn't have insurance on the cooker (which I had asked for) and we had two fridges (but we don't).  The poor woman (I feel really guilty) said that she didn't see a tv on the list.  She did offer to call back at a better time, but my next gap is likely to be October.

So I rang up the actual company and not the salesperson, got through to a heavy breathing Geordie who was okay, then someone awesome in a department called Resolutions and it sort of looks like I have been paying for two fridges, except they don't have any record of any payments.  I am going to spend some time going over my statements to give an idea of payments and they are going to get back to me tomorrow.  I said I look forward to hearing from them some time between the alarm fixer (who still hasn't got back to me), the three hour driving lesson and bear's school play.  The very nice man said he will leave a voice mail if necessary.

And while I've been writing this up I've been interrupted by another issue with getting Tales from the White Hart out in paperback and bear having issues with a large moth. 

I've just subscribed to Pixnio, which has images that can be freely used.  I'm not getting any kickback or reward for putting the link.  However I found this image and it calmed me down and now I think I will get back to sorting out the bank references.  I hope you feel calmer for the pic as well. 

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Not Necessarily All Bad

First of all, look what bear put together all by himself.

Yes, that is a cyberman helmet in the background on a nineteenth century camphor chest (in need of restoration but stuff happen). 

I didn't have a driving lesson today.  Instead I had an early morning visit from bear's pal, a washing machine repair, a broken kitchen sink (which the lovely washing machine repair man fixed temporarily), a few confusing phone calls, bear failed to pay in dinner money again, spent far too long on hold to technical support, found some comfort looking back over some old stuff that wasn't too bad and reposted it with a better pic, put in an Approved Food order (summer holidays approach), a Tesco order, found someone to try and sort out the house alarm that seems to have a thing with unexpected beeps, found the clothes that bear just told me he needed for tomorrow, and very loosely supervised bear putting fans together.  It isn't even tea time.  Tonight I will start on the washing backlog and when it is definitely dark and insect free I'll pick some of the lavender for bear to take to school and that he requested this morning when it was already full of bees.  Those bushes are buzzing!  Tomorrow I need to clear the bathroom first thing as the bathroom window is definitely going in and they will definitely be finished before the driving lesson.  Then I will have to clear the area where the alarm is wired in so they can see what the beeps mean when they come Thursday morning.  That means emptying the drinks cabinet that hasn't really been used since father went into hospital and moving all the stuff around in the living room which is a great opportunity to vacuum behind things.  I'm not sure I have the energy to vacuum behind things.

On the bright side, I realised something about driving.  I was so nervous about getting on to the main roads and going at 30 or 40 miles an hour after spending time inching along at 15 mph between double parked cars, round bends with interesting obstructions, watching for car doors opening, casual jay walkers and oblivious pigeons.  I have just realised that while the main roads will have their own challenges, they won't be double parked the same way.  If the speed limit is 40 or 60, I won't have to worry about casual pigeons.  I feel a little better now. 

Monday 16 July 2018


Theoretically, on paper, I should be able to do a lot more than I'm currently doing.  On the other hand, I'm doing a three hour driving lesson most days, I'm shattered, and bear's pal keeps turning up at 8am.  A different pal turns up after school.  Also, I have to find white trousers for bear with very short notice. 

On the bright side, I will be almost certainly on main roads soon and I will hopefully have working washing machine tomorrow. 

Which reminds me, I still have to get the kitchen sorted out and the nice man could come as early  as 8.30am (eg, after bear's pal) or as late as 11.30am (which would totally mess up chance of a driving lesson which I need).

Hugs to all x

Friday 13 July 2018

Friday Wasn't Too Unlucky

I ought to get excited about Friday 13th, but knowing that it's a superstition that's less than 200 years old puts a damper on it.  Today wasn't too bad, in that I had another three hour driving lesson, with a three point turn, some interesting bends, clutch control and second gear (which I utterly rocked).  I was driving between cars and in traffic and I was pretty much at 20mph for minutes at a time!  I will be having another lesson tomorrow.  It's quite helpful, because I'm not getting a chance to forget.  At some point I'll get a hang of the steering.  There were no casualties.

I've been writing and the story has been fighting back.  For those interested, the latest instalment of the White Hart is here.  I may have to kill someone off soon. 

I won't be back until Monday unless I have some great gossip to share.  I am feeling the need to gear down a little.  Also I have a few more driving lessons.  As it is Friday, I leave you with this pic.  I miss our cats.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Continuing Odd

Yesterday was odd, and it feels like it's continuing today. 

I ended up rescheduling the washing machine appointment.  All the previous appointments have been ridiculously early.  I firmly believe that 7.50am is a dreadful time for a service but that was the time the last one turned up.  I don't start thinking joined up thoughts until at least 10am.  I spoke to the lovely lady at the service centre and explained that I had a very important appointment between 12 and 3.  How long was this repair likely to take and could it be an early appointment?  The lady assured me that she would pass on the times I needed and she checked and the repair could take from one to two hours.  I sighed with relief.  Then later I got the text to let me know that the repair man would be here between 12.25 and 3.25pm.  I said some rude words and rescheduled on their website for next Tuesday morning.  We should survive okay. 

I was not in a good place when I got up this morning.  The house was a tip, I had a hangover and England didn't win.  It wasn't improved by bear's pal turning up at 8am to hang out with bear.  He's a nice kid, but I really didn't need it.  I offered him food and drink and then put my headphones on and left them to it.   

I more or less pootled around until 12 when I had another three hour driving lesson.  I loved it.  I drove between parked cars, I was in (very slow and undemanding) traffic, I had turns and junctions and give way signs and I loved it.  I even did a three point turn!  It wasn't a very demanding turn, and there wasn't much chance of me hitting something unexpected, but I did it.  I was also putting my foot down and nearly reached 20 miles an hour! 

Then bear and a different pal hung out until dinner time and now I need to crack on with tomorrow's instalment of the White Hart or I'll be even later than normal! 

I have no relevant pictures today, so I thought I would use this, as it is the nearest to relevant and I think it is a left hand drive. 

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Odd Sort of Day

It took me some effort to get out of the house, but I managed it.  Unfortunately my feet have swollen up so much that I was padding around Leeds in my slippers.  I wasn't too stressed.  The slippers are plain and black and you see a lot worse out and about.  I picked up a candle for bear's teacher's end of term present and some secateurs.  I also took this pic.

I called it John O'Gaunt on Facebook, but I was wrong.  It's actually the Black Prince and from the chatter I heard, it's been decorated like that by the council.  I love the way the football is glued to the horse's hoof. 

Then I called into Aldi, picked up some bits, got a taxi home and had a pleasant chat with one of the neighbours.  I normally get abuse from them but they were walking the goofiest dog in the world and I couldn't resist saying hello to the woofer, which led to a nice word or two.  I'm going to have to watch myself or I'll lose my 'grumpy old bat' licence. 

Bear had gone to school today in red shorts and white t-shirt - an outfit I was told I had to produce last night which was twelve (12) hours' notice!  Today he brought home his PE kit and is apparently wearing it tomorrow to school.  I can't wash it well and get it properly dry by tomorrow because of washing machine issues.  If I had had more warning it would have been different, of course. 

I also had to ask him about a letter from school I found.  Apparently parents were invited to come in on Monday and Friday this week to help with a maths challenge.  Bear had not shown me this letter.  I'm not sure if he was ashamed of my maths skills, which is actually quite reasonable.  I asked whether he wanted me to come in on Friday and he explained that he and one of his pals had been hanging out, chatting and generally relaxing while they completed two days worth of maths challenge in a morning.  I'm going to miss Sports Day as it's tomorrow morning as I have a washing machine repair followed by a three hour driving lesson. 

I've also had another go at flash fiction, here, though I can imagine having a lot of fun with this idea in a novel.  I'm going to have to do some serious research into English folklore - what a hardship!  However that will have to wait as I will be watching England play this evening and I need to rearrange the kitchen so that they can fix the washer.  Also, drink may be taken. 

I can't believe England got to the semi finals of the World Cup.  It's surreal.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Bear is Upset

Today I got a text from bear's piano teacher saying that he wouldn't be able to continue for a while.  Bear has been utterly difficult about piano practice but today he was devastated at the thought of losing the piano lessons.  It looks like I won't be able to reclaim that corner of the study for a chair.  It also looks like I may have to spend out hundreds on a new piano as the weather has not been kind to the current, failing model.  There is a chance for evening lessons in a separate location or we may still be able to register bear with the school for music lessons.  I'm not sure. 

btw I've found a site with public domain images, and here is one from there of a piano.

I am exhausted, so I think I will crawl off to an early bed and browse some books.  I posted about getting free books in Always Another Chapter here, and I've put links to the Gutenberg Project and the Internet Sacred Texts site, which have old, out of copyright but intriguing books.  I intend to get lost in them.  If I am not back by next month, send a search party. 

Monday 9 July 2018

Four Hour Driving Lesson

It wasn't as bad as it seems.  We took a break half way through and a lot of it was theory.  I wish I had met this driving instructor first.  He sat down with a white board and just worked through - this is how the accelerator works, this is how it regulates flow of fuel to the engine.  This is how the brakes work and the pedal is hydraulic and the handbrake or parking brake is a cable.  This is how a clutch works and why you need to disengage the clutch plate from the engine plate to change gear.  It made so much sense. 

Then he went on - these are the three procedures you will be tested on.  This is how you set yourself up, these are the checks you make in mirrors and in blind spots before setting off and in this order.  This is what the examiner will be looking for and if you miss this then you will fail.  Apparently only 50% of driving tests are passes.  He is teaching me not only how to drive, but how to pass. 

Also, when I did some driving, I was going round a blind bend and a car came the other way - and I was fine.  That, for me was the biggest success.  I felt okay.  I have to say, there was around a metre between us, and plenty of room, but it was okay. 

My next lesson is likely to be Thursday in the afternoon.  My washing machine is supposed to be repaired on Thursday.  All previous washing machine appointments have been early, so fingers crossed that they don't overlap too much.  If they do, I'm choosing the driving lesson and carrying on washing clothes in the bath. 

I was looking for a good picture to use to represent me utterly rocking moving off in first gear when I found this.  When I took bear to his school for inclusion day, they had these - trees wrapped in knitting and crochet.  I am often wary about something labelled performance art as it is usually something I don't understand.  However I thought this was something awesome and I hope that it is still there when I'm next around it. 

Sunday 8 July 2018

Too Hot!

I don't do heat well.  I don't do cold well either.  There are around three days a year when the weather suits me.  I am currently completely wiped out by the heat.

I had another driving lesson today.  It was amazing.  I was out with bpm, who is great.  I managed to more or less pull into a space (it was an easy way in and there was nothing around).  I also had an accidental opportunity to go backwards and it worked! 

I was slowly tootling around a very small, very empty car park on a Sunday afternoon, and I pulled up to the Give Way junction, misjudged the distance to stop, decided to swing around as nothing was coming, misjudged the steering in a spectacular fashion and shot forward (I was going at least 12 miles an hour) into a car park clearly marked as private property.  I didn't bump into anything, so I took it as a win.  Then I was stuck with no room to drive forward or round so for the first time I reversed while turning.  It worked!  Then I managed to pull out of the car park and carried on bimbling on at around 8 miles an hour.  There were no casualties. 

I'm taking tonight off, sort of.  I have been listening to Jackson Crawford and History Time.  It includes plenty of snippets about Anglo Saxon and Viking Britain which could impact on York.  Apparently there was an Aelfhelm in charge of York in the tenth century.  I would love his name to mean 'elf helmet' but I suspect it is more likely to mean 'noble something'.  I may use it in the White Hart regardless.  His daughter married King Cnut.  This is apparently a picture of her (picture from WikiCommons and in the public domain)

Aelfhelm was allegedly murdered by Eadric Steona, who is described as an Anglo Saxon villain, but I have felt a real call for a story where he does what he does for a reason.  Eadric also allegedly blinded Aelfhelm's sons, which seems a very Merovingian thing to do, and was murdered himself possibly on the orders of Cnut.  Medieval history, at a safe distance, is a lot of fun. 

Saturday 7 July 2018

England Won!

I'm bewildered.  By now England have traditionally gone out of the World Cup after a penalty shoot out, usually against Germany.  Also, I thought there were some very nice looking Swedish players and I suspect I may have a soft spot for a Viking.  DH is still my favourite.

In other news, bear has a phone, and what is more, it is a (reconditioned) iPhone 6s.  This is fancier than my phone and was more expensive.  I winced when I bought it, even though I got a good deal.  It was a reasonable price (confirmed by DH who has a lot of exposure to phone prices), it was unlocked, it was fulfilled by Amazon with their legendary customer service and when it arrived yesterday it looked like new.  DH sorted out a sim card and bear is now good to go.  He can phone me.  He can also collect phone numbers from his friends who are going to a different High School. 

DH has been particularly awesome with this, especially as he is poorly.  I am working on the fuss for him, poor lad. 

Tales from the White Hart is now out on Amazon as an ebook.  It is still free to read on At the Sign of the White Hart, which has caused a few hiccups as I got contacted by the publisher of this and the paperback version to confirm that I was actually the author as the content is freely available on the internet.  I want to shout out to CreateSpace who asked me to justify why I was putting content that was so easily to obtain in a book.  It is great that they did because it means that they will check if someone else tries to publish my stuff. 

I am now making an executive decision that I am not doing anything except catch up with myself and at least some of the house until Monday when I will start trying to learn how to do publicity for a book, which apparently I should have started three months ago.  I'm going to practice on Tales from the White Hart and work up.  I am also going to try and get Tales from the White Hart on Smashwords, which isn't easy, and work around the paperback.  Tonight I'm going to take alcohol and relax. 

Friday 6 July 2018

Fun Friday

The washing machine repair man was lovely and turned up at @ 7.30am.  He shook his head, told me it was the bearings and they could fit me in on Thursday after ordering the parts.

But, otherwise today has been great.  Bear's team won the school football tournament.  He scored a goal and kept a clean sheet when he was in goal.  I am so proud of him.  He also brought home his report card.  It was impressive on all sorts of levels.  He had lots and lots of As (working significantly above age expectations) and Bs (working above age expectations) and only 3 Cs (working at age expectation).  As usual he got higher marks for attainment than effort, but I don't really blame him.  If he's hitting As attainment with B effort then it's a little harsh to expect him to raise his game.  They also got the name of his High School wrong.  It could be worse.  At least they got his name right.

I managed to get the latest instalment of the White Hart up and I was less than an hour late.  I'm working on it.  In other writing news, I will be self publishing the first collection as a book and today I got the cover.  The stories will stay on the blog, though, and while I will be charging for the ebook to help pay for the cover, you will always be able to read it for free while I can manage it.  This weekend is likely to me versus the computer as I try and work it all out, and I'll let you know when the ebook and paperback is out.  Until then, here is a preview of the cover (which I love!)

Shoutout to OWS LLC, Amanda, Heidi and Rebecca who were utterly amazing and coped with working with me.

Thursday 5 July 2018

Last Minute from School

Today, this evening, after the local shops have closed, bear tells me that the school are doing their version of the World Cup and bear is in the Argentina squad, so please can he go to school in shorts and a pale blue t-shirt. 

I found the letter which was sent out when bear was at his high school for the induction day, dated 3 July, so even if bear had been prompt, I would have been scrambling around.  It also requests sun cream (yes, I have that), water bottles (no problem) and a hat.  Bear does not possess a hat.  We don't usually get him out of the house much unless it's to play football in the street.  He is actually in the street quite a lot, but the street is half in shade and you can't really wear a hat for football.  Bear has utterly refused to wear a winter hat and the British weather means that most of the time there is no point in a summer hat.  If bear had mentioned it briefly in passing a little earlier, he could go in with a hat.  It is likely to be hot and I worry. 

Barbara - I think you are right about the machines built to break.  It's daunting.  Fortunately, or perhaps not fortunately, I bought an insurance with the machine.  I pay so much a month (around £5) which means that they will come out and at no extra cost will repair it if possible or replace like for like if not.  Last time they came out they sort of sucked their teeth and said not to worry, it was age.  I think that they couldn't be bothered.  I suspect that the bearings went.  Before it stopped working it sounded like it was tumbling a hod of bricks instead of bear's shirts.  It means that I can't just up and replace it because I'm sick of the dratted thing, or because the noise is getting on my nerves, but it does mean that things keep going longer and that it is very likely that I will not have paid the cost of the washing machine in insurance before it's replaced (I did a lot of sums).  I wish things lasted longer.  My mother's old twin tub kept going for years and it was an incredibly efficient way of doing a week's wash with a minimum of wasted water.  You could be incredibly subtle about gauging the temperature and the length of agitation and judge exactly when a shirt or a blouse was finished or whether a towel needed a little longer.  I'm still sticking to my automatic, you understand, as it was back breaking work, but there was a skill in it and the machine just kept going. 

btw I have gone back to replying individually to comments.  I'm never sure what is best, especially as I am getting more and more back into the land of the living and able to do more.  You are all amazing.

also btw I have put up a little flash fiction on Always Another Chapter as my version of going to the writing gym.  I will not be linking little bits like that in future, but will be linking other good stuff like book reviews and, of course, the White Hart.  New posts will shop up in the Blog roll at the right hand side if you are interested. 

also also btw if any blogs aren't showing on my blog roll and you would like me to add them, please let me know. 

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Today has Happened

The washing machine has broken.  Water goes in and water goes out but the drum doesn't turn.  The man is coming Friday.  So much washing, so much splashing in a bathtub trying to get the dratted stuff clean.  At least it's good weather for drying.  I've also contacted the bus company as bear may have left his phone on the bus.  It doesn't really work, just connects to wifi if you can work out his password, but it is a nuisance. 

I am trying to be more of a writer, so you will see more posts in 'Always Another Chapter' in the reading list.  Today it was a book review, which made me feel very grown up. 

Today I realised how much I appreciated the gift of being able to blog here.  I have had amazing advice and support over the years which is beyond rubies.  Thank you.  I realised this because I plan to try and get some money from blogging but I won't do it on this blog.  This is my safe place, where I have met so much kindness and where I have opened my heart.  I can't make money from that. 

So at the moment while I'm trying to work out how to put in ads and links and all the rest of it, I want to say plainly - I will not make any money from any link on this blog.  I may try on other blogs, but not this one.  Never feel that you are in any way obligated to click on anything on this blog.  I am blessed that you pass through.  Thank you, sincerely, for reading. 

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Why am I still Awake

I was on the bus for a full four hours today and it isn't the weather for it.  I'm about to crawl off to bed. 

Wean - bpm - bear's pal's mum.  She is awesome and is helping me to learn to drive

Justjill - I nearly told the bus driver what to do when I was coming down the stairs.  The lads had already got off the bus and he closed the doors and started pulling away! 

Wherethejourneytakesme - the food was also a hit today.  They also set fire to hydrogen in chemistry class and played games.  Bear approves!

Monday 2 July 2018


I got a call from a driving instructor who agreed to take me on.  Then today he called me to say he had a cancellation and did I want to have a lesson.  I said an emphatic 'yes!' and off I went.  No casualties.  I don't think he was familiar with my area, and there aren't that many quiet, calm, flat streets.  I ended up going up one side of a steep hill and down the other, complete with a blind hill top, speed bumps, turns, pinch points, giving way and all sorts!  I loved it!  He explained things to me and I feel really calm.  Yesterday when I went out with bpm I tried parking.  It wasn't a success.  I couldn't seem to creep close to the end of the parking bay no matter what I did.  A few times I managed to creep forward a few inches, and then immediately roll back even further.  I was worried about hitting the hedge at the end of the parking bay.  Bpm pointed out that not only was I at least a metre away from it at the nearest but I was going at two miles an hour and it wouldn't matter if we did actually get near enough to hit it.  I didn't get near it.  Still, I went backwards a few times deliberately and it was awesome.  It was also in a place where no kids or animals were likely to run behind the car and there was no traffic.  There was plenty of traffic today and I caused some congestion!  Did I mention the pinch points and speed bumps? 

The most important thing today was that bear had his first induction day for High School.  They have three, technically.  The first was today, the second is tomorrow and the third in September.  He got a lift from his pal's grandfather today.  Tomorrow I am taking them both on the bus. 

Bear loved it.  He really loved it.  He was allocated to a house and a form and a teaching group, he said his teacher was lovely, he had an amazing time in computing and geography and generally lapped it up.  Most important, he said that the food was great.  He used the pay system, enjoyed great food and that most important part of school life is satisfactory. 

I need to be on the 7.12 am bus tomorrow with two 11 year old lads.  Then they will be in school for five hours while I spend 2 hours going home and coming back, to pick them up.  I am off for an early night.