Thursday 27 September 2018

Nearly Friday!

I had another driving lesson today.  There were no casualties, but a pigeon was very unhappy with me.  Between pigeons and cyclists, I'm a nervous wreck.  No more driving lessons until Tuesday, now, and I'm quite grateful. I feel exhausted!

Bear is still shattered.  However we had home made soup tonight, which seemed to hit the spot.  Thank you for the kind comments.  I will wait and see how he feels later on.  His pal was around as well, and he also enjoyed the soup.  And in a miracle of efficiency, I froze four portions that were left over and I know bear will enjoy them in future.  Now I am going to bed.  I'm only fit to drop!

For those interested, new short story is here

Wednesday 26 September 2018

That Time of Year

I think its that time of year.  I am so tired as the nights are drawing in.  Of course, the driving for three hours solid today may have helped.  We were practising exiting junctions.  I am too timid.  I sit at the junction and dither about whether I've got time to make it.  By the time I've decided that I can, it's too late and I can't!  By the end of it, I was sweeping majestically around the left turn and there were no near misses, apart from a dazed pigeon. 

Bear came back from the residential trip today.  He did not like it at all.  I worry that he is too dependent on us.  Truthfully, we have always been available to him, but neither DH nor I have insisted that he spend time with us apart from at bedtime.  I don't think he entirely approved of all of the activities, had a much later bedtime than he was used to and came back with what looked like nettle rash over his shins.  He is nearly twelve, though, and I worry that I've got it wrong.  He was flat out asleep by 9pm.  This is Brimham Rocks, where bear was scrambling with the rest of the class.

I actually went to meet him and his pal, as I thought two tired not-quite-twelve year olds with cases would probably not do well alone on the bus.  I gave them a drink and a bun and then we got a taxi back.  It wasn't as expensive as I expected, but the driver was terrifying.  He kept talking about going towards random villages, and I kept trying to get him on to the right road.  He took both hands off the steering wheel, tailgated one poor driver through some roadworks and swore at a cyclist.  I was so glad to get out of the car! 

Also, for those interested, author news stuff here.

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Normal Things Happen

I'm sorry I missed posting yesterday.  I fell asleep before I realised I hadn't! 

Yesterday I went to York.  Suddenly I seem to be able to get out.  I had been trying to get there for months and months and yesterday I just went.  I just pottered along on the train (about 30 minutes, max) and thought that York station would be an awesome setting for a werewolf and vampire battle.

There are wonderful iron pillars and stairs and arches - too much iron for fairies to take part.  I pottered along to the Minster.  I'm not a great fan of York Minster.  It's run more like a museum than a church and I had to pay £11 to get it.  It isn't a bad price if you are relatively local, because that £11 will allow admittance for the next twelve months, but the poor American or Japanese tourist will pay out and not be able to take advantage again. 

A service was starting when I got there so I sat in.  It was a nice service in a side chapel, but you could hear the tourists in the rest of the building and at one point a tourist from somewhere in South East Asia wandered through Holy Communion to check the panels behind the altar.  Western Europeans have been doing the same thing for centuries, so turn about is fair play, but it does show that it isn't perhaps the most religious church.  On the other hand, the minister was lovely and very clear that anyone who wanted to take part was incredibly welcome.  I got some pics of the outside of the Minster.

Today I had a driving lesson.  I got up to 60mph for the first time (no casualties) and I was driving in crazy traffic and switching lanes.  I also ended up venturing into the outskirts of Bradford, getting quite close to the town centre.  Bradford is notorious for scary driving, at least locally, and I was so glad to be heading out again. 

There is a gap at the moment as bear is away, but he is back tomorrow.  I'm off to bed now to get some rest before he's back. 

Saturday 22 September 2018

I Am Unimpressed

At the moment, it isn't big things that are crushing me down.  It's the little things, like the washing machine issues over the summer or trying to negotiate what bear actually needs to take on his Residential on Monday compared to what he thinks he needs.  Today it was the Insurance cover for the boiler.  Scottish Power are passing over the whole boiler maintenance to Domestic and General.  I have no quarrel with Domestic and General as they already cover the washing machine, and Scottish Power haven't been the worst energy company I've spoken to.  How bad could it be?

Today I found that while the information arced through the air between one company and the other, the radiator cover somehow dropped.  So instead of getting out early for a much needed walk somewhere with trees, I spent three hours on the phone between the companies.  I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not.  I am potentially without cover for the next month through no fault of mine and it is getting to the time of year when the radiators start coming on.  I feel flattened by it. 

I did managed to get out for a short walk.  We have been very lucky with the weather here.  I've been soaked to the skin and I've been almost blown over but we have had it so easy compared with other places.  Even so, there was this tree near my bus stop.

The trunk was looking quite ripped and I suspect that the whole tree may have to come down. 

I called in to Aldi on the way back and found myself buying some copper coloured tinsel type yarn.  It was £2.99 for 200g, and impossible to resist.  It called to me.  I really need to stick to online shopping. 

Now I am going to drag myself off to bed.  I need to pack for bear tomorrow, so I'll need all the rest and resources I can get. 

(NB I've replied to the comments left since yesterday)

Friday 21 September 2018

Drink May Have Been Taken - Again

I really can't be trusted.  I do enough daft things sober.  Adding any sort of drink to the mix is a recipe for disaster.  

On the other hand, booking a ghost tour of Leeds Library for only £39 has to be a bargain.  I mean, it's research, and I may have some interesting ideas come from it.  I've just written a short story about a haunted library which could turn into something more, so when I saw it, I had to go for it!  

It's more than £39, of course.  I'll have to have a taxi home, and there's the bus fare there, and while there is no mention of other expenses in the booking form, there's bound to be stuff that I will want to buy.  It is still a bargain!  

DH is still suffering from whiplash a month after the accident.  He has a physio appointment tomorrow, so fingers crossed that he will start getting better.  I'm a little worried about him, but I will make a fuss of him and hopefully he'll be fine.  This weather is no good for aches and pains, though.  I will be happy when it settles down.  

I was looking for pics of Leeds Central Library on the internet when I remembered that I took some pics a few months ago.  It's not brilliant, and I'll try and get some more, but here is a flavour of Leeds Central Library's architecture.

I can't see any evidence of ghosts in that, but it's an old building, so there may be some hope!

Thursday 20 September 2018

Still No Casualties

I had a bad driving lesson today.  I kept stalling.  And due to various factors, it was a shorter run than normal so I ended up driving in Leeds City Centre in busy traffic.  No casualties, as I said, and I'll take that as a win. 

The rain has been heavy today, and I will be glad when it settles down.  The weather forecast for next week is tentatively okay, and, as bear will be on his residential trip in North Yorkshire which includes walking down streams, I'm glad of it.  Tonight we had 'The Trying On Of New Clothes' as bear checked out all the stuff he needed.  I can't believe how much stuff he has been asked to take.  I included a pack of paper soap instead of a bar or small tube of liquid soap as I thought it would travel better and give bear some talking points.  I am not packing sun cream.  I have had long, intense and difficult negotiations just getting bear to wear sun cream in June.  I'm not going to waste my time and money packing sun cream for late September in North Yorkshire. 

The rain was an added challenge during the driving lesson, and I got utterly soaked when I nipped over to pick up some cream for my eczema from the doctor, but at least it wasn't windy.  Yesterday was strong winds, today was rain and tomorrow is forecast to have strong winds and rain.  Just the rain was bad enough.  When I got in, water was dripping from my hair and my clothes were soaked.  Bear wasn't much better when he got in.  I am slightly lacking in sympathy as he has lost his bus pass already. 

For those interested, I published a short story today on the new author website here.  After tomorrow, I won't be sharing many links, but new posts will show up under the blog roll so you can keep an eye out there or subscribe to the new site.  I'm still working things out, so I hope you will look kindly on my efforts as I try and work out what exactly I'm clicking!

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Windy Wednesday

First off, we are on the edge of the really bad weather, and it's nothing like the troubles that the Philippines and the USA have suffered, but it is windy.  I got dropped off at Aldi instead of home after my driving lesson (swerved a lot of fallen branches, no casualties) and I snapped this pic.

I recognised the type of willow some genius planted at the edge of the car park.  There used to be one like it at the edge of my great-aunts' garden and it lost branches at every high wind - some of them large!  The tree grew really tall as well, so it had plenty of range when it was shedding those branches.  Fortunately it never hit my great-aunts' bungalow, but, as the tree grew, it was a worry.  I mentally shook my head sadly at the thought of branches falling on cars, and then I realised that not only was it still windy, but I was standing right in the path of further branches.  I shook my head at my own idiocy and got shopping.  I shouldn't be allowed there on my own.  Fortunately today it was just a tub of honey instead of the sparkly silver yarn they still have in store.  I cannot think of a single use for sparkly silver yarn, but it calls to me.  I have to move with purpose when I go past that part of the Aisle of Temptation.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to be having a driving lesson at roughly the time the forecast says our area is likely to be hit by extremely heavy rain.  I suppose I need to learn how to drive in all conditions, but I'm not looking forward to it.  It feels like autumn has got here really early. 

wherethejourneytakesme left a comment about needing to set like jelly before getting up in the morning.  I am totally stealing that!  It perfectly describes the state I'm in before and after my early morning cuppa.  Speaking of which, I think my early night may come earlier than usual tonight.  I'm exhausted!

Tuesday 18 September 2018


I am a night owl.  I work best when I get up late and go to bed late.  Bear is an early bird.  Very early on we came to an arrangement that meant that he could manage with me barely functional for the first few hours of his day.  I get everything sorted the night before.  I make sure uniform, books, schoolbag and any letters or payments are dealt with and set things out for breakfast.  In the mornings I stagger downstairs and sit sort of fester while he starts his day.  Bear has been known to leave homework until first thing of the morning it's due in, but that is between him and his conscience.  I have been firm and told him that getting homework done is up to him and if he doesn't do it, the consequences are on him.  It sort of helps that bear doesn't do breakfast.  I have begged, pleaded and occasionally sent him into school on a bowl of custard.  At the moment he is tucking in to breakfast bars.  They are not brilliant, with far too much sugar, but there is a hint here and there of nutrition in the oats and I'm just grateful that he will eat anything. 

Now that bear is getting the bus to high school, he gets up @ 5.45am (ie, fifteen minutes before he normally gets up).  I drag myself down soon afterwards.  Theoretically, everything is there.  He can sort himself out with food and drink and he doesn't need me.  I could, in theory, not get up.  It's not going to happen unless I am seriously poorly - just like most mums, I've got to try and be there for bear.  DH is being more heroic as he gets up a lot earlier than he needs to so that he can walk bear to the bus stop - at bear's request, I hasten to add - before going off to an insanely busy job.  I'm doing a lot less than many mums, but the early mornings are killing me.  I am nodding off as I type this. 

Bear is totally worth it.  He's apparently got a lot of points, which mean something in school and he is tremendously proud of it.  He has settled into High School as if he had been going there for years. 

Once I pass my driving test, I will be able to sleep in until 6.30, or maybe even as late as 7am.  My normal inclination would be to wake up sometime around midday, but 7am would be an improvement.  I had another lesson today and the instructor said that once I passed my test, I would be okay and that I would be a safe driver.  I had a few hiccups as it was my first lesson after a week or so as the cold has been awful and I didn't want to share it with my awesome instructor, but today I managed, and I swept around a roundabout like a boss!  I also overtook a cyclist and there were no casualties. 

Once I managed to crack getting an early night, I'll be fine.  Until then, well, here is an image from which sums up my inclination.  I think I may get some brandy in and see if a tot will send me off to sleep.

Monday 17 September 2018

Spring Onions

Bear may not be very sporty, but he likes to be active.  Today he was off school as his school was holding entrance exams.  Apparently a lot more kids applied this year.  So he spent some of the morning lounging around in his pyjamas, then he hung around after finally getting dressed, then he hung around outside, then he hung around inside.  Finally his pal came round.  His pal had been to school, but was still feeling restless.  They decided that they wanted to go to the shop that was at least ten minutes away. 

'Muuuuum, can I go to the shop?'
'What do you want there?  We've got loads of stuff in.'
Bear thought for a few moments.  'I don't know.  Do you want anything?'
My house is stuffed.  I need a lot less, not more.  I rattled my brain.  'Could you pick up some spring onions for me?'

Bless them, at the thought of helping me they leapt into action and went the long way there and back.  I now have to think what to do with the spring onions.  I am thinking I may sautee them in the tiny frying pan to add to an omelette.  I finally found it, but I wouldn't bet against losing it again tomorrow.

Here it is - for £2.49 I got a pan that is perfect for a quarter onion.  The biro is just a standard ball point and I put it in there for scale.  The bowl is 12 cm or 5 inches across - tiny! 

To Those Who Have Read 'Digging up the Past'

If you haven't read it yet, please hold off as I am getting it professionally edited and a new cover.  In around a month's time there will be a much better version available.

I'm getting it professionally edited and a fancy new cover and I feel quite giddy about it, but it has been suggested that a character beheaded at the very end of the book should survive.

I wish it hadn't been suggested as I have thought of a great way that the character could be used in a sequel. 

I write for my own sanity but it is really, really important that I respect the people reading what I write.  The feelings of the reader matter.  If you have read the book and have an opinion, please could you leave me a comment and let me know

1 - if you think they should be spared

2 - how best to get free ebook copies of the new version of the book to the very few who bought the original book. 

In future, questions like this will be kept on my author website and in my newsletter, but they are still under construction.  Thank you for reading this.  Normal (for me) service will be resumed shortly. 

Sunday 16 September 2018

At Least I did Something

Today has been a lazy Sunday.  Bear has had issues with his tooth and has needed me around and I am still sniffing.  This cold has been awful but at least it's died down to minor sniffing now.  I still feel like I have been repeatedly hit over the head by an elderly and over-stuffed cushion, so I am not thinking incredibly well. 

On the bright side, I have gone through one of my email boxes and I now have 306 outstanding emails instead of 1067.  I'll have another rummage tomorrow.  I really need to keep up to this. 

On the other hand, one thing I am sort of proud of is that I almost always managed to click on the email reminder for the Hunger Site.  If you just click through, the advertisers pay into the charity that goes towards feeding those who hunger.  There are other charities as well, if you look on the Greater Good site parent site.  I've had a dig around, and as far as I can tell it is a legitimate charity (any comments that can back up or refute this are extremely welcome).  It costs me nothing more than a few seconds, so I try to remember that. 

And it's Finally Saturday.

I really, really, really need to stick to online shopping.  While there may be an occasional slip, like buying 90 ties, on the whole and by and large, I almost mainly resist impulse purchases.  Okay, to be truthful, I fail to resist impulse purchases in all areas of my life, but I resist better online than I do in real life.

Today I went to Aldi and came back with a mini vacuum and an electric hand whisk.  To be fair, my hand whisk is looking elderly and I'm not 100% sure I've got it properly clean and I have been dithering about a hand held vacuum for a while.  I only went there for cola and treats.  On the bright side, I resisted the selection of yarn.  There were 400g balls of chunky yarn for £3.99, which isn't a bad deal, and lots of glittery silver yarn as well.  I'm proud I managed to resist that at least. 

In other news, I think I've more or less got my new websites up.  The stories from the White Hart will be found here in future, and the Always Another Chapter blog with my author stuff will be found here.  Now all I need to do is work out how to do a newsletter! 

Friday 14 September 2018

Awesome News

The first bit of awesome news is that I got the all clear from the hospital.  I never really expected bad news, but it did lurk at the back of my mind, and I got considerably stressed at the thought of possibly more appointments.  It was also quite scary, as I'm used to waiting for ages for a hospital appointment but for both the referrals I got put through very quickly indeed.  I am very grateful that I was.  

I still haven't found the frying pan.  I have put it somewhere safe, so all bets are off!

And I have finally got the next chapter out from At the Sign of the White Hart.  And it's on a new, proper to me, brand new website - here.  I haven't worked out how to do half the stuff I'm supposed to, but you can read the story and that is what matters.  

Wednesday 12 September 2018

I Lost a Frying Pan

I am so full of cold I can't even think.  It's only a cold, but I'm on my second box of tissues today.  I no longer have a sore throat so it's just sniff and nuisance, but I could do without it!

This morning I went to Aldi, which may have been a mistake.  I picked up some bits, but I can't be trusted in a supermarket.  I will have to stick to online shopping even once I pass my driving test as I am a sucker for an impulse purchase.  Today it was a frying pan that is around four inches across, if that, and cost £2.49.  It's tiny, which may explain how I managed to lose it.  It will be perfect for softening a little sweet pepper or onion for my omelettes.  On the other hand, I also bought a blanket box on impulse and it is massive.  Fortunately bear assembled it for me.

I'm supposed to have a driving lesson and the postponed mammogram tomorrow.  At the moment I can't move without a box of tissues.  I hope I can get hold of some antihistimines and get on with things. 

Tuesday 11 September 2018


I am full of cold.  This means that there is nothing particularly wrong with me but moving hurts.  Also, there is a vast swathe of tissues surrounding me.  Sniff.

Bear's first high school parents' evening was tonight.  I am slightly unimpressed.  We didn't get enough notice for DH to attend, and I had to dash because the buses are horrendous, but bear is, apparently, awesome.

DH continues achy and I am worried about him. 

Thursday 6 September 2018

Good News!

Back to the hospital today and while I have to go back on Monday for a mammogram and ultrasound just in case, they don't expect to get anything.  It's good news.

Bear left his phone in the school locker.  Please let it be there tomorrow.  I'm not impressed with the letter from school that came back today - somehow DH and I are supposed to be at the school at 6pm next Tuesday - without bear!  We also have to bring a raffle prize.  It may be a different school, but it's a very similar song.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Good News

The mole is nothing worrying.  I have cream, it will be fine, nothing to worry about.  I am more relieved than I thought I would be, as I wasn't expecting serious. 

My head is all over the place.  I've been setting up a new website for At the Sign of the White Hart and I have the technical expertise of a concussed duck, so it's been a challenge.  It's been an especially tough challenge for the live chat help staff who have had to deal with me speaking fluent dippy old girl. 

I didn't post the pic I got on Monday, as I was somewhat overloaded.  There is a replica dinosaur in the Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds, holding a Leeds United FC flag. 

Yesterday I noticed that the crab apples were out and the trees seemed very heavily laden.  It's supposed to mean that a cold winter will be coming.  They looked very cheerful.

After the hospital appointment, I decided to call in to Roundhay Park.  I think I have taken a photo of this before, but I love it.  I'm surprised the pic came out as a lot of the pics I took didn't.  I also got a pic of some glorious autumn crocus.  The flower beds are definitely showing signs of fading into autumn. 

Bear is still loving school and is coming home confident and comfortable.  Long may this continue!  Another hospital appointment tomorrow.  I'm not expecting it to be serious. 

Is it Tuesday Already?

Sorry about not posting.  It's been, well, normal for me here. 

Yesterday bear got new shoes, complained about new shoes, went to dentist, complained about dentist, was unco-operative, awesome and amazing.

Today was bear's first day at High School.  He looked so awesome.  I know I am biased, but he looked so amazing and with it.  He came home full of confidence and a certain amount of swagger.

I had a driving lesson this morning and there were no casualties.  I also started working on one of my author blogs.  I plan to end up with four, including this one, and all but this one linked to possibly, maybe, eventually making some pennies.  I'm not expecting much, to be honest, but anything would be a comfort.  I'm not planning on doing anything to make money out of this blog.  This is where I meet my friends.

Tomorrow I have the first of my hospital appointments.  It's to investigate a suspect mole and I'm pretty confident it is not going to be serious.  It's just the time.  This evening the lights kept going off.  We really need the re-wire.  I have a lot of things to clear out of the house. 

So I am saying 'Challenge Accepted'.  I don't think I have any other choice.