Friday 31 August 2018

Still moving almost forward

I have found today difficult.  I don't believe that there is much wrong with the mole that a little steroid cream won't sort out.  However I am also getting checked out for breast cancer.  I don't think I have that either, but I got an appointment for next week.  I am getting close to breaking with the appointments.

I am okay if you don't believe that I am getting two things checked out.  I am not sure I would believe it if I read it on a blog.  However I put whatever's on my mind in this blog - a sort of 'I see it so I say it' type thing, so I will be talking about any appointments.  I hope you can still visit even if you don't believe it. 

Bear went to the dentist today and needed a filling.  Bear was awesome and so was the dentist.  The hardest part was bear got soooooo hungry and stressed afterwards and decided he only wanted to eat stuff that I didn't have in the house.  I could have cried.  Bear went to the shop and got what he needed, which included a pre-made sandwich and a pepperami but no sweets, and afterwards apologised for being grumpy.  He is such a darling.  I think he is also going to be more aware about tooth care now.

DH came home from work still tense from driving and still very sore.  Poor lad is going through it and the painkillers are wrecking his stomach.  I'm trying to make a fuss of him.  However tonight I had to belt out for another driving lesson.

My driving instructor is awesome.  I mean, truly, truly, amazingly awesome.  I had just about reached the end of my rope by the time I got into the car and said I couldn't cope with much.  He took me on the hardest route around Heckmondwike and I loved it.  It was a really odd driving lesson.  There always seemed to be something.  There were the cyclists who reached the busy roundabout at the same time as me.  There were a great number than usual of cars pulling out in front of me from side streets without checking.  My driving instructor took me around all the worst junctions in the area, all the awkward bends, nasty crossroads and evil access points. I spent a large part of the lesson edging out of roads to try and get a view, only to have speeding cars go walloping past way over the speed limit.  The worst wasn't when a motorcyclist ran a red light and cut across me.  I had that under control.  The worst was when a completely different motorcyclist tried to overtake me on the left as I was moving left after a junction and whizzed past at speed.  There was literally only an inch or two in it, and I felt a little unnerved after that.  My instructor, who was giving me a challenging lesson to try and take my mind off things, said it was the craziest lesson he had had in years.  He said that we had seen a lot of seriously bad driving, there had been some desperately scary stuff and none of it had been my fault.  I know it was an insane evening of driving and I think any experienced driver would have blinked at everything happening tonight, but I loved it.  I loved the challenge of the awkward junctions, I loved working on the difficult bends and I think I was born to drive.  My instructor (did I mention he was awesome) kept me safe and told me what to do, and I had a blast.  I can't wait to have another go.

I felt really positive and as if I had recovered when I walked into the house - when I walked into bear having a meltdown about the book he has to read before school starts. 

Something else of interest.  Bear loved the scrubby I had knitted.  I forgot to take a picture of the one he used, but it looked something like this before I sewed in the ends and sent it up with bear for a long bath...

but afterwards it looked more like this...

Bear approved, regardless, and as it's the 100% cotton stuff I can wash and wash and wash it.  However I will stick to squares in future. 

Wednesday 29 August 2018

More Optimistic

I have a working washing machine and I have just had a driving lesson - no casualties.  I made some mistakes, but it could have been a lot worse. 

DH went into work today.  I was worried, but he made it in.  He struggled with pain and he had to drive home past the scene of the accident.  He said that the central reservation where he crashed looked a complete mess.  I just have so much respect for him.  He had no way of avoiding the crash, and so he can't feel in control of the risks.  He still pushed through and drove into work. 

Bear is being very bear.  We had a chill day and ordered his school trousers from M&S.  I measured bear, because I knew what I was up against.  His waist is @ 60cm or 24 inches which is the waist measurement for age 8-9.  His inside leg is @ 66cm, or apparently appropriate for his age of 11 (it makes him slightly tall for his age as M&S have strange ideas about trouser length).  Fortunately, M&S do versions of trousers that are long, longer and extra long so I've managed to get some that should fit him.  My brother was exactly the same all the way through High School so I knew where to start looking.  Bear isn't underweight.  He's on the slim side, but his ribs are well covered and he seems healthy enough.  He fills out nicely in the run up to a growth spurt, so the extra long 9-10 trousers should be fine and he will need new trousers after a growth spurt anyway.  Also, the new school are apparently generous with their dinner portions so he may fill out a little more. 

I got my appointment through to check out the iffy mole.  I just feel broken at the thought of all the extra appointments on top of everything else.  I'm feeling pretty confident that it is nothing, though, and hopefully one appointment next Wednesday will sort it out. 

It may sound strange, but the thought of extra appointments is putting me over the edge.  I need to concentrate on the bright side.  Today there were no casualties on the driving lesson and I got back to knitting now it's not so hot.  Things could be a lot worse.

Drink Has Been Taken Again

I had my first driving lesson since I failed my driving test.  No casualties.  I did okay.  My lovely and awesome driving instructor is talking about entering me into a test again soon.  I feel a little overwhelmed.  However I remembered where third gear was, dealt with awkward situations and totally rocked some right turns.  I had forgotten very little and I only stalled once.  I effectively started to learn to drive on 9 July with this instructor.  I had had some tuition before, but it had been a fail.  I took my test and failed on 14 August (nearly passed), I had no lessons between 14 August and 28 August, almost 50% of the time I had been learning.  And I still was okay to drive.  I was still safer than quite a few drivers I saw on the road.  I'm feeling good about it.

I'm going to try and persuade DH to have some time with my awesome driving instructor.  I am so worried about DH.  He took today off but is going in tomorrow.  Fortunately he has an awesome boss, but I am so worried.  He has at least forty-five minutes drive each way on roads which have lots of challenges and which include the junction where the accident took place.  I know he is awesome, but I worry.  I will be praying a lot tomorrow.

I had a phone call this morning from the dentist.  I've been trying to get bear registered at a particular dentist for a while.  The appointment has been changed at least three times already.  I told the caller that I would cry if it was changed again, so poor bear has to wait until Thursday when, if all things had been equal, he would have been seen last week.  

Thursday was the day of the washing machine repair so I rang up to change it and after a looooong time on hold, the lovely person from Whirlpool managed to get me a slot earlier today instead.  I was incredibly grateful.  Apparently the thermostat needed replacing and I now have a functional washing machine again.

My life is getting odd at the moment.  It is quite unbelievable, so I am not posting more about it.  When I post about my life, I post the absolute truth.  It's sort of 'see it, say it'.  However, at the moment, it's more odd than normal so I'm trying to be sensible (despite drink being taken), and I hope you will not mind if the story I am posting is incomplete.  However, this is why drink has been taken.  

I hope to be back tomorrow in a more positive frame of mind.

Monday 27 August 2018

Lovely and Quiet

Nothing happened today.  Not a sausage.  Nothing at all worth writing about.  It was wonderful!

DH is doing okay.  The massive painkillers are working so that he can more or less move and he has pottered around with bear.  Bear hung out with his pal and practised the piano.  The novelty has not yet worn off so he has been working hard at it and he is really doing well.  Long may it continue. 

Barb from Canada - thank you for your ideas.  I am scarily good at an impulse buy online and my track record in 'real' shops is very poor indeed.  I shall use your ideas and keep all crossed.  I'm glad things are getting better there and the air is getting clearer.  I've been worried. 

Thank you for all the good wishes.  They are so much appreciated.  I am now going to bed before anything can happen.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Finding the bright side

Thank you for all the kind thoughts and wishes.  They made a very positive difference and were really appreciated. 

Today has been finding the bright side.  My sister in law visited with her husband and were duly impressed by bear.  The new piano seems to encourage bear to practice.  I think it's the novelty.  However bear rattled off Fur Elise in grand style and was generally awesome.  My sister in law was her usual generous self and bear came away with a lot of goodies!  She is out for all she can give and bear benefits!

DH drove today for the first time since the accident.  He said he found it tough, but he managed and that is such a big step.  I am incredibly proud of him for facing that fear.  He came back with the jacket he had planned to buy the day of the accident, and he looks gorgeous in it.

The pork and apple burgers we had for dinner tonight were awesome.  I sincerely recommend Aldi's gourmet burgers - especially if you cook them using a grill or rack.  That comes with its own issues.  You see, after bear finally gets back to school (nine days and counting) I plan on either walking to Aldi daily and/or picking up food daily during the school run once I've passed my driving test.  At the moment I find myself over-ordering and stuff is going to waste.  I do have worries, though.  I can't resist impulse buys and I need to learn.  Yesterday I came home with two throws that I absolutely did not need in the slightest.  I also brought home a lot of extra treats.  We have a lot of treats in already but I fell for it.  I can't wait to see what impulse buys I pick up. 

And the best of the bright sides - tomorrow I am going to totally, finally and completely clear out my kitchen.  I am going to get the walk in cupboard cleared, make spaces for everything and throw out everything that is not regularly in use.  This is because I will go insane if I don't get my kitchen sorted out and also because I need to make a decent space when the repair man comes because the washing machine has broken again.  So I am going to end up with a cleared kitchen and a lot of writing done because I'll need about 5,000 words written to give me the energy to sort out the mess!  So the washing machine breaking down again is a total win and the engineer will be out Thursday. 

Drink Has Been Taken

First of all, please, please, please let me know if anything that shouldn't have been posted has slipped through.  But thank you for all your amazing comments.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate them and the time you take to make them, and I am very grateful for the advice.  You lot are inspirational. 

DH is doing well.  He is on massive painkillers and so can move almost normally.  He has the real deal whiplash and all his body is affected.  Any movement can cause pain.  But it is likely to fade and he is being really positive.

I don't know if I have mentioned it, in my self absorbed state, but we have new neighbours.  They seem lovely.  The wife was taken away in an ambulance today.  I am praying for her. 

Drink has been taken.  I am finding life tough.  I shouldn't.  I have a roof over my head and food in the cupboards and I know I should be grateful.  I am blessed.  I know that many people reading this have a far harder row to hoe.  I'm working on pulling myself together and looking on the bright side.  As I said, the wife next door was taken away in an ambulance.  I need to count my blessings.

Friday 24 August 2018

Well, it's Friday

Barb from Canada - I didn't get a message from you yesterday.  I'm glad to hear that there's rain and that you are safe, despite all the smoke.  I have been worried.

DH can barely move, but is doing okay.  Bear has been subdued but a new piano and an afternoon spent playing with the kids next door have helped. The flash courtesy car from the insurance company looks completely out of place in our street.  Thank you for all the amazing kind wishes.  DH doesn't want to to be identified and he put a pic of the car on his Facebook, so I can't share, but the back half of the car is basically shredded and hanging off.  The rear left hand wheel has been bent horizontal.  It's a mess.  I can find a bright side.  Our car was diesel and now we can get a petrol model, but it's a somewhat tarnished bright side.

I promise to sort out the comments soon, but I want to be absolutely meticulous in not letting anything through that shouldn't go through.  Those who want to get a newsletter once I've worked out how to do them must show enthusiastic consent and say so explicitly.  No enthusiastic consent, no newsletter, and I'm sure it's a relief to many. 

I have had a fail today, but I managed to get the latest instalment from the White Hart up (here) and now I am crawling off to bed, but not without showing the awesome pic I used from Pixnio.  It is so atmospheric. 

Thursday 23 August 2018

Just when I thought it was calming down...

My husband was in a car accident tonight.  He has no broken bones but is extremely shaken and bruised.  Poor lad can barely move.  The car is completely written off.  Another car went into the back of him and knocked him into the central reservation.  He was checked over by an ambulance at the scene and brought home by a very kind police officer.

Bear is in pieces, DH isn't in a fit state himself and it is just starting to hit me after I acted as a switchboard for a gazillion relatives.  But DH is doing okay and we are insured so it should all be fine.

I'll be back tomorrow. 

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Good News, Meh News

Big good news - I am thrilled to announce that bear drew Rowan's name out of the hat, and a signed copy of 'Tales from the White Hart' will be on its way as soon as I have recovered from bear's pal visiting.  Thank you to all who entered, and for those who enthusiastically consented, your name will be added to a mailing list for a newsletter, first issue looking like the end of September. 

Also, thank you so much for every single person who has encouraged my writing.  It means more than you can imagine.

Meh news - I'm getting referred for a suspicious, itchy mole.  I've been here before and I've had very minor, easily treatable skin cancer, and I've had a 'GP thought it could be cancer but was just a weird form of eczema'.  I don't know how I feel.  I can't do all the driving lessons and run bear to and fro if I have to have treatment so I'm hoping all I will need is some cream. 

So I am concentrating on being absolutely beyond thrilled and hugged that people entered a giveaway, and incredibly grateful that people read here and all the other stuff I come out with.  Also, I've just worked out how to get past the block that has been stuck since April and I am confident that I will be rocking a new book launch before you know it. 

A sincere and genuine thank you for reading.  I appreciate it more than you know.

Tuesday 21 August 2018

My Sins Keep Finding Me Out

Some very nice men are coming to take away the piano tomorrow.  They are also taking away a useless chair.  I am really, really, really glad that the piano is finally going.  The piano is woefully out of tune and sounds awful whenever I can persuade bear to practise.  If he asks, I told you he was awesome.  As it is, he isn't bad, but he is far from perfect and the piano makes any mistakes sound far, far worse. 

This means that I need to clear and move furniture tonight, so they get stuff out.  After they have gone I will have to get myself into some sort of gear and clean as bear's bestest friend ever with extreme asthma is coming the day after.  He is a lovely lad, a real pleasure to meet, and worth every effort.

The house already looks like a junk yard, but hopefully I can get some time carved out between the new list of intensive driving lessons to just get the place sorted before I lose my mind. 

I'll hopefully be back tomorrow with the results of the giveaway.  That is, if I'm still in one piece!


I'm running a temperature.  Fortunately we have new neighbours who seem lovely and who have kids that bear has been playing with non-stop for five hours so I haven't been asked to do much joined up thinking.

However, as I am running a temperature, strange things look like a good idea.  DH has a laundry basket that has a liner - which I shrunk.  I wouldn't mind, but I am quite vanilla with my washing.  I use a laundry powder that works at 30 degrees C and if necessary I have a disinfectant I can add for things like towels and bedding.  As an aside, the cost of a wash is apparently mostly taken up mainly by heating the water.  If there are any ways you can wash in cooler temperatures, you save money. 

So while I am away with the fairies, I decide it's a good idea to make a replacement liner.  I still have lots of fabric left from the duvet stash.  I think it was over a year ago, at least, but I bought a job lot of single duvet covers for a very inexpensive price from eBay (who is my friend).  A single duvet has around 4 metres of fabric at around 135 cm wide (around 50 inches wide x 4 yards after being trimmed) and if I got a desperately inexpensive single duvet from Tesco brand new I would get that amount of thin but adequate polycotton fabric for £8.  The fabric I got from eBay in the bundle was considerably less expensive and somewhat better quality. 

I was proud of my next step.  I put an elastic band around a sharpie and another pen.  I used the pen with the cap on to trace the lid of the laundry basket but the sharpie made the mark - I wish I had thought to take a pic.  I know it will be old news to most readers, but it meant that I incorporated a seam allowance of one biro depth.  This meant I had the circle that would be the base of the replacement laundry bin liner.  All I needed to do was work out the length of the strip to make the body of the liner - the tube that attached to the base.  This meant sums.

I could have tried measuring around the edge of the lid, but in my experience I spend hours swearing as the tape measure slips so I decided to use maths. Unfortunately bear had already gone to bed.  I don't do numbers even if I am in my right mind.  I get bear to check all my sums.  Without him, I had to turn to Wikihow, and apparently if you multiply the diameter of the circle by pi you get the circumference.  The circle I cut out was far from perfect, and I have little confidence in my ability to measure straight but I am halfway to hand sewing the base onto the tube and it seems to fit.  I'm sure I'll be able to finish it tomorrow.  I'll post a pic if I manage it.  Until then, here is a pic of something I consider an appropriate form of pie.

Saturday 18 August 2018


Had a bad reaction to something I ate and now I have a sore throat, headache and I'm not even discussing my digestive system.

But I am still in a better place than Barb from Canada and a lot of others who are affected by natural disasters at the moment, so sending out good vibes.  I hope you are safe!

Now I am going away to watch YouTube and practice feeling better.

Friday 17 August 2018

Bear Helps Out

Bear has been pretty awesome today.  He had a pal come round for lunch and dinner so he helped me tidy up.  Then he was a sweetie (but I couldn't concentrate worth tuppence around their games) and he was awesome clearing up.

I got a box of books today.  Bear was the consultant as I tried to take a decent photo. 

The book is my latest (I feel so giddy), the hat is father's (for picking out names) and the red in the background is the sheet from that incredibly inexpensive superkingsize fleece bedding set that I bought because it was loads and loads and loads of fabric for very little money.  I will be drawing the names out of the hat to win a signed copy at the end of the evening.  And speaking of the White Hart, the latest instalment is here, if you are interested. 

Bear was really helpful as we talked about angles and whether or not to include a plastic crow in the shot.  It was a lot of fun.  I'm planning on getting stuff on eBay next week and I am confident bear will be an awesome adviser. 

I'm still feeling incredibly flattened, so I have set tonight aside for some knitting (I haven't knitted for ages!) and a film.  Thank you for all the good wishes.  I'll be sorting through the comments over the weekend to make sure that only the ones without info are published, but I really appreciate the kind thoughts and encouragement.  Barb from Canada - sending all the good vibes I can.  I hope you stay safe! 

Thursday 16 August 2018

A Fail, but No Surrender

I failed my driving test.  It was epic.  I rocked the hill start, swept around left turns like a boss, turned right, reversed two car lengths and obeyed all traffic signals while remaining roughly two miles under the speed limit.  Then I got completely stranded in the wrong lane at a set of traffic lights and stalled!  The traffic was backed up for nearly a quarter of a mile.  Four of us took a test at the same time, and only one passed, so I'm not too downcast.  Besides, no casualties.  I've taken a brief break but my next lesson is Saturday.  I am going for it with gusto!

Bear has suddenly decided that he needs to go out more.  This is the child that has steadfastly refused to go beyond the end of the street for anything except a very good reason.  Last summer I couldn't get him out without serious, sustained and well planned effort.  He has decided we need to take him out more and he has also decided that he and I are going out next week - twice!  I'm not complaining, but it's a shock.  He and DH have also expressed a possible interest in going away for a weekend.  I hope this continues.  Once I can drive (I am not giving up!) I can take bear to all sorts of places around here. 

The driving test fail hasn't been the toughest thing I've dealt with, so I've taken a few days down time but I am back and feeling a lot more optimistic.  I am giving one last chance to enter the give away for a signed copy of Tales from the White Hart (details at the end of this post here) then I will be picking a name, packing them up and sending them out, details to be announced 21st August.

Sunday 12 August 2018

Traffic Lights

As you can tell, I'm still caught up in driving, and today was awful especially at a set of traffic lights.  There was an incident, but no casualties. 

Two lessons tomorrow!  I'll be back when there is something of interest to report. 

Saturday 11 August 2018

Still Tired

I did an emergency stop today.  I was supposed to, I didn't have to respond to a child or similar.  Apparently I did okay. 

I had two driving lessons today, and all I can think about is feeder lanes and signals and clutch control.  I'll be back later when I have something more interesting to talk about. 

Friday 10 August 2018

Thank Goodness for Friday - I think!

Yesterday I had my photo taken.  It was very professional and undramatic.  He asked me to stand, sit, look, smile and generally was amazing.  He didn't ask me to suggest stuff, which was just as well as I didn't have a clue.  I'll get my pictures some time in the next fortnight and when I do I will probably get my courage up to post one.  As you may have gathered, I'm not a glamorous young blonde.  I'm not a glamorous anything but it was fun. 

By the time I got home, however, I was exhausted.  I think the last month or so is catching up with me.  I rang up bear's pal's awesome mum and said that the playdate would have to hang out some other time, then crawled off to an early bed.

Today I managed to get the latest White Hart chapter finished (here, for those interested, and apologies for the late delivery) and spent some time working at the laundry pile which is now very slightly lower.  Finally I had another driving lesson.  He took me on a mock route and I wouldn't have passed.  I am due to take my test on Tuesday and I might pass.  One of the things that may help is that I am having two three-hour lessons tomorrow.  I may not survive if I carry on at this pace. 

I will be taking on board the suggestions by Barb from Canada and Softstuff.  I'm waiting until my mind is totally under control before I publish anything as I don't want to get anything wrong.  I really appreciate the suggestions, though.  Thank you!

Thursday 9 August 2018

My Sins Have Found Me Out

Last night, quite late, I got a text from the mother of one of bear's friends.  She isn't the one who is helping me with driving but it's a different mum.  I wish I was more like her.  She feeds her family good, home cooked food, looks after her husband, works, keeps a beautiful home, manages life so well and is just a wonderful, supportive, kind person.  Her son is lovely and her daughter is adorable.  Her son is coming around to hang out with bear on Friday.  Her son is severely asthmatic.  My house is full of dust.  What is worse, my house is so full of clutter that I have to move and find places for and throw out a gazillion tons of stuff before I can even dust and vacuum.  The lovely son is bear's bestest friend.  I can't let bear down.

The last few weeks have been a little busy.  Okay, more like hysterically, crazily, frantically, mind-stealing busy, and my housewifery has been worse than usual.  It isn't that good to start with.  However we have had home cooked (more or less, some parts pre-assembled) food, everyone has clean clothes and so far no casualties.  Today I have already been to the hairdressers because this afternoon I am getting a 'proper' photo taken.  I am not looking forward to this photo.  I haven't been happy to have my photo taken for around thirty years.  The last time I willingly stood in front of a camera was when I got married and we had a silver wedding a few years back.  I am still sorting out clothes and stuff for that, plus I need to deal with tidying and dusting everything.  However I can't cancel the photo as it is needed because I got a story accepted into an anthology who want a pic for their publicity which is currently gearing up (I'll share when stuff is going on).  Darn.  I'm planning on getting a few shots and that will be it.  I hope I've got another decade in me and from now on I can just trot out the same old photos for job applications and any publicity I do. 

At least I don't have a driving lesson tonight.  And I've sorted the bathroom window payment, chased the council about the bins and texted the babysitter to cover for the upcoming driving test.  Also, it's a great opportunity to have a good clear out.  I'll wipe around with lots of damp cloths, vacuum a few times and keep all the windows open.  Please send good vibes!

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Nearly Casualties

I had yet another driving lesson tonight (intensive course) and I indicated too early and confused the driver behind.  It wasn't very nearly casualties, but it was close enough.  I also had a close encounter with a van with purple headlights.  I thought it looked very odd, but it was still better than fake eyelashes on cars.  I know I am going to give any car I get a cute name.  I have with every family car so far and I don't see me changing, but some of those eyelashes looked creepy.  Especially on Transit vans.

That was the most exciting part of my day.  It was quite exciting enough, to be honest, and the rest of the day was lovely and calm.  We all hung out and chilled together, bear went for a walk in the park and back via the sandwich shop again and things could be a lot worse.

The next step I need to do is learn how to marinade chicken properly.  I always get twitchy that it's not staying fresh, but we have been buying flavoured chicken from places like Tesco and Aldi, and the men love it.  For example, Tesco Mango, Lime and Coconut Chicken.  It works out at £2.50 for 180g or I suppose around a third of a pound of chicken.  There has to be a way of getting the same sort of flavours at home.  300g of chicken breast is £2.40 in Morrisons.  I've done stuff before in yogurt with seasonings but bear is currently utterly rejecting yogurt.  If I find anything good, I'll share. 

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Bear does Shopping

Bear decided that he would like to go by himself to a sandwich shop that is a little way away and across a busy road.  I said, fine.  He is now eleven, he's smart and it was around 9am.  Bear came back and said that the people in the sandwich shop were sooooo nice.  I asked what he meant.  He said that the people in the shop asked if he knew how much 75p and 75p came to.  Bear said £1.50, and I'm sorry but I only have a tenner.  So they complimented him on his manners and then asked him how much was left if you took £1.50 from £10.  Bear told them it was £8.50.  The people in the shop are lovely so I suppose they were just trying to see if the youngster knew what was what. 

Bear doesn't realise how good he is when it comes to charming people.  I may be biased as a mother, but he is a good looking lad.  He was wearing a clean shirt, had tidy hair (because it grows that way - honestly, he never has to comb it), was polite and didn't cause a fuss.  I'm sure he had the ladies behind the counter eating out of his hand.  It's worked on martial arts instructors in the past as well.  One day I am convinced he will be charming traffic wardens.  He has a way with him.  I am braced for the teenage years. 

I sort of begrudge his trip to the sandwich shop, as a lot of the time you I have stuff in, but bear doesn't like going out and while I could try and force him to go to the Royal Armouries or Roundhay Tropical House or the Museum or something, it would cost me a lot more and not be nearly as relaxing, so I'll hand over the pennies for him to go the sandwich shop or similar and relax. 

There were no casualties during tonight's driving lesson but it was a close call.  I got beeped at as well, deservedly so.  On the other hand, I'm tackling the harder stuff and the instructor (who is awesome) is pushing me to get better.  I have been driving with him since July 9th, and from being just about able to stop and start, I'm now going around roundabouts, dealing with evil junctions (I nearly went the wrong way up a street because of genuinely confusing layout), double roundabouts and hill starts.  I did a three point turn and parallel parked.  I'm getting better.  I should be ready to take my test within the month if I continue at this rate. 

I haven't put a post on 'Always Another Chapter' up.  I'm keeping it quiet until I get a proper website set up that will support a newsletter.  And speaking of newsletters, you can sign up for a newsletter (around the middle of September if I can work it out) and a chance to get a signed paperback copy of 'Tales from the White Hart' and the details are here at the end of the blog post. 

I was looking for pics of the sort of junctions I had been dealing with, and I found this.  It's far more interesting.  Another lesson tomorrow. 

Monday 6 August 2018

Another Day, Another Driving Lesson. No Casualties

Today was pretty chilled - until the driving lesson. 

Bear is growing up.  I let him go to the local sandwich shop for a sandwich for breakfast and he was so proud to do so.  It would be considerably less expensive to have breakfast 'in house' but he is eleven and he is going to the shops by himself.  He had to get over a busy road, as well, although there was a zebra crossing.  Later on he went out for bread for DH and crossed two seriously main roads (on crossings) and bought the right bread.  Of course he's old enough and sensible enough to go to the shops for me, and I won't help him by keeping him at home, but it's still a step.  He's looking more like a teenager every day.

DH and I hung out in the afternoon while bear and his pal inhaled some food and after dinner I had my driving lesson.  It was awesome and scary and difficult and I had some scary moments due to other people's bad driving and I stalled at a complicated traffic light and I did it!  I should be ready to try for a test in September.  I'm doing well.  I'm still not ready. 

The place where I stalled was at the base of a rising series of bends that my utterly amazing driving instructor called a 'helterskelter' and he wasn't wrong.  It was effectively a spiral, which is a wonderful way to work a road going up and down a steep hill when you are dealing with ponies and pack horses, but the modern motor car has to keep a low gear and keep hugging the curves.  When I say that the road was a little like this (without the accident) but continuing with the bends, I am not exaggerating.  The driving instructor told me that they were tight, and that if I can master them, I can master anything.

What I said afterwards was that it was exactly like a fairground ride and while I may have stalled at the foot of this, because I wasn't going fast enough to get into second gear, I took those bends with attitude and I loved itIt's really important that I master this.  The above pic is from the road from Pickering to Whitby.  I want to be able to drive to Whitby, and the logical way is to take the A64, from Leeds to Malton, turn up to Pickering and then take the A169 across the moors to Whitby and it includes that bend.  If I can manage that helterskelter, then I can manage the Hole of Hocum (site of meteor strike in the very distant past) and make it to Whitby.  My driving instructor thinks that I will be safe to drive this.  I realise this is old hat to experienced drivers, but to me it is amazing.  (Sheila, I am in my fifties and going for it.  My great aunt passed her test at 57 and drove like a bat out of hell.  If I can do it, anyone can do it, if they feel ready for it).  I should add, I've put up a picture of what looks like a scary bend, but it was a literal spiral and it was that tight, and I have not exaggerated.  I don't know the name of the road, but when I find out, I'll post it.  I may have said 'Wheeeeeee!' as I went up.

I want to say how grateful I am for the lovely messages about the publication of 'Tales from the White Hart'.  I really, really, really appreciate the support and encouragement that I have received, it's a wonderful  hug.  Thank you.  To get a signed copy, follow the instructions at the end of this post.  I promise I will be careful with information given.  I am currently awaiting the copies, fresh off the press, and I am getting giddy with excitement.  Thank you for the kind words. 

Saturday 4 August 2018

I Survived a Driving Lesson

Apparently, I'm doing well.  My awesome instructor (who is totally awesome!) didn't warn me he was taking me through the one way system of a busy market town on a Saturday afternoon, complete with people wandering across the road, kids, hidden bends and some really iffy hills.  He also took me around one of the popular test routes.  I was doing nearly fifty miles an hour! and then I had to turn right with oncoming traffic treating the speed limit like a minimum target.  I'm still recovering, but no casualties. 

I did what I normally do under stress when I got home, and bear now has some extremely inexpensive shirts on their way from eBay. 

For those who have missed it, I'm doing a giveaway of Tales of the White Hart, and the details are in this post.  I will probably stop mentioning it soon, but I'm still very giddy about getting it out there. 

I am confident that I ought to be doing things, including how to work out things like websites and newsletters, but right now I'm off to bed.  Sending hugs and good vibes to everyone.

Friday 3 August 2018

Is it Friday Already?

Today has been Hobbit Central.  Bear and I watched 'The Desolation of Smaug' in the morning and 'The Battle of the Five Armies' in the afternoon.  Then I rushed out for another three hour driving lesson.  I am getting a lot better, I think.  I'm still not sure that I'm safe on the roads, but I'm getting safer.  Last time I was out I stalled in an embarrassing place.  Today I managed that nasty turn with lots of parked cars without incident.  Still no casualties and the driving instructor reassured me that the idiot who overtook me while I was just under the speed limit and who whizzed past and narrowly missed some bollards in the centre of the road was at fault and I was doing okay.  Regardless of the lesson, I still feel full of hobbit and I'm sure I will be seeing Orcs in my sleep.  I always had a soft spot for Legolas, even before the film came out, and while it was completely nothing to do with the book, I did feel for him in the films. 

This meant that I was incredibly late getting the latest White Hart chapter up (here, if you're interested, and if you are interested in being included in a draw to win a signed copy of Tales of the White Hart, have a look at yesterday's post here.  I'll put the full details tomorrow, when I am awake.)  I can't match up to Tolkien.  And now I am going to bed.  Hugs and good vibes to all. 

Thursday 2 August 2018

No Driving Today

I didn't have a lesson today, and, to be honest, I am quite glad.  I'm feeling sort of shattered.  Today was a different sort of exciting.  Bear and I watched 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I haven't seen the others, but we have agreed to watch the next two soon.  My understanding is that the films aren't very like the book, but they have a good atmosphere and some great special effects and we should just watch it with an open mind. 

I need to sort out the freezer.  I bought some extremely inexpensive veg and then failed to turn it into soup for the freezer as the freezer is full.  I've been letting it wilt, but I need to rescue what I can.  Dinner is looking frittata shaped for tomorrow. 

A lot is hinging on this driving test.  If I pass it then I have a much greater access to shops.  I also will be out of the house twice a day for five days a week and it will be easy to swing past a supermarket.  There is a Morrisons a third of a mile from bear's new school, a Lidl just across the road from there and a Tesco just a little way off the straight road back.  It will take five minutes to get to Aldi from my home and maybe fifteen minutes at most to get to a massive Sainsburys and not much more to go to a huge Asda and Marks and Spencer.  It will be relatively easy for me to control the shopping which means a lot less waste.  All I need to do is pass the test.  Apparently the centre I am going to is considered the toughest in the area.  Fortunately I have the most awesome driving instructor and a lot of determination. 

In other news, I have a paperback available, 'Tales from the White Hart'.  It makes me feel so grown up.  The link is here, but obviously you can just read free it on the blog hereAnd I am doing a giveaway.  If you leave your email in the comments below before August 16 2018 I will add your name to the hat to win a signed copy and a winner will be drawn at random and revealed on 21 August 2018.  If you leave your email in the comments below and also give me permission I will add you to my mailing list for an author's newsletter starting in the middle of September.  There are a lot of rules about keeping information like email addresses and I will stick to them both in the spirit and to the letter.  I will never share them, and I will always remove names immediately on request.  I will take it seriously, and you don't need to opt in to the newsletter to be included in the draw.  For those who have not yet commented on this blog, comments are only visible after being approved and I will not allow any emails to show. 

And here is the book itself!  I had far too much fun writing it, and the stories will continue. 

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Please excuse typos

I've left my glasses in the driving instructor's car.  I shouldn't wear glasses for driving, as I've got reasonable distance vision, but I need them for reading and the computer.

No casualties tonight, but there was a close call when I stalled leaving a VERY busy road and backed traffic up behind me as I tried to find first gear. 

Justjill - negotiations about what exactly bear can do with a space hopper are ongoing.

We called in at Aldi today.  Bear insisted.  I was surprised as I normally can't lever him into shopping with a shoe horn, but bear had a craving for sausage rolls and I wasn't making them.  We came back with sausage rolls, two footballs and an education in how quickly a taxi can stop when they accidentally pull out in front of someone.

There are thirty two days before bear gets to his new school.  He is making the most of them.