Friday 30 November 2018


Today I had a driving lesson, the only one this week.  I practised my emergency stop and was awesome.  Unfortunately my lovely instructor's daughters had been fiddling with the back seats and the back seat flew forward and straight into the back of the instructor!  Apparently I would have passed the emergency stop.

wherethejourneytakesme - I'm up for a hobble around parts of the park, driving lessons permitting.  Also, check out the link below as I'm not sure you're link is still valid.

Writing stuff - I'm taking part in the 12 Days of Indie which is a group of Indie authors with cut price books.  There's a raffle which I'm not sure how to link you to yet, but I will, and lots of books that are cut price.  It starts tomorrow and I'll be sharing on here.  The first book in my series, The Forgotten Village, is now free as part of this, and I'm putting the link here more for wherethejourneytakesme - it also has a new snazzy cover!  Watch this space.

Thursday 29 November 2018

Bear was awesome

The unexpected play was tonight and bear was awesome.  It is for the Youth Drama Group who work together without much teacher input and script, rehearse and direct it themselves.  Each set of two or three put together their own little story and they were amazing.  Bear and his pal were Roman legionaries fighting to the death.  They did a very good job with stage fighting.  Apparently it was going to be longer but they were barred from some of the moves because they were too dangerous.  After looking at some of the punches and choke holds, I'm relieved. 

We also have a working light in the kitchen with minimal disruption and DH's lease car has finally come through.  The accident was at the end of August! 

I have been struggling with editing today, so now I am going to slope off to bed where I can collapse until the morning. 

Wednesday 28 November 2018

A Quiet Day

Today was supposed to be a quiet day for me to get my head down, do a little clearing in the disaster area that is my kitchen, make soup and get on top of things.  You know what happens when you make plans.

First of all, the light switch in the kitchen broke.  It was quite dramatic.  I was putting some wet washing in the dryer when I heard a 'ping'.  I put it down to something falling off or over.  It wasn't.  The small piece in the centre of the light switch that you toggle up or down to turn the light on and off had pinged off.  I really, really, really need to get this house rewired.  As in, urgently.  Which means urgently clearing the house (after I've finished my editing).  At least I knew an over priced electrician that can come tomorrow and fix the light switch.  I have a basement kitchen with one small window so it was dim even when the light was working.  As it was, I was wondering which lamps I could use and blundering around in the dark.  In the end  I was trying to make dinner with one of those head torches on and I must have looked like a bewildered and misdirected miner.  I'll have to wear it again when I box up the soup later on when it's cool.  Having some boxes of home made soup in the freezer is such a help. 

As I was recovering from the estimated cost, I got a phone call from school.  All was okay, but did I know that bear had a performance tomorrow evening and was I going to attend?  I took a breath and asked what was going on.  Apparently bear and his pal were late to a particular lesson/session so hadn't been given the letters to tell me about this.  The teacher was lovely, apologetic and understanding.  So I have been juggling around schedules with DH and yes, we can attend and give a lift to bear's pal.  This means that he misses his climbing session, which he has paid for upfront.  At least I don't need to worry about getting his kit sorted out.

As I was getting my head around that and texting all over to get things in motion, I got a call from the lovely Tesco delivery man (who is awesome and a regular on my route).  Did I mind if he was a little early?  Of course not I said, thinking that it would give me a nice long stretch of time with my editing.  So I took in the delivery, which included a few bits for Christmas, and settled down.  Just in time for some more deliveries.  I'm not sure that the Aldi stuff is alright.  I got a couple of model kits and the boxes are looking a little battered, but the yak wool (okay, 25% yak, 50% wool, 25% mercerised velvet - whatever that is) from Wish also arrived. 

It feels quite warm.  I'll let you know how it knits. 

And then I was juggling bear's pal coming around before bear got home, bear and getting dinner on the table. 

I am hoping that I can have a nice quiet evening. 

Scarlet - it sounds like you are having a really tough time.  I hope you keep going and well done on the weight loss!  I'm going to try for something similar.

Wherethejourneytakesme - I've been referred to physio, and I may look into feverfew tablets, which my mother used to take and, as I said, she could kick down doors.  Also I need to lose weight. 

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Passing Through on Way to Bed

Thanks for the good wishes.  I'm not as stressed as I could be about the arthritis diagnosis.  As Jill says, it gives it a name.  Besides, my late mother was diagnosed with arthritis and it was well established by the time I moved Girl Guide Troops and she had to kick the door in every Wednesday.  It is one of my fondest memories, my respectable looking mother with the creaky hip and knee who effectively was the only one who could open the door as she knew the for kicking it in.  Really it needed replacing but the church hall seemed to be fine with having a stiff entrance. 

I don't think I can take credit for bear.  He seems to be managing by himself.  He even did his homework tonight without dramatics. 

Writing stuff - for those who are interested, a re-edited second edition of the Forgotten Village will, all being well, be up and running in the next few days and will be free on Amazon.  Wish me luck, as I am currently drowning in commas. 

Monday 26 November 2018

Bear is Responsible

Bear really, really, really, really wanted a particular thingy.  Bear likes the driving games and, as he can now name most of the major cities in Europe after playing Eurotruck, I'm not complaining. He was looking with longing at a steering wheel that you plug into the computer, along with pedals and a gear shift thingy.  The one he was looking at the most was over £200, and I was sort of maybe considering it while wincing at the cost.  He will certainly get a lot of use out of it, but it was so expensive. 

Then Black Friday came along and I had a quick scan over it.  I noticed this particular bundle on sale at 'only' just under £150.  I asked bear if he wanted it as part of his Christmas/birthday present.  Bear said that actually, he would rather have lots of little presents, so could he pay for the steering wheel himself and have lots of packages to open on the day.  Bear hasn't spent a lot of his pocket money this year, mainly because he spends my money, so I let him pay for the wheel.  It is something that will give him a great deal of pleasure (to start with, all today as it was a teacher training day) and it was a good price. 

Bear also said that he didn't want us to pay for it as he had already had a lot spent on him.  He isn't kidding there, especially as that includes today buying a new backpack as I can't get rid of the smell of the tuna sandwich he left in there for a week from the old one.  I've left it covered in baking powder, and I've sprayed it with Febreeze, but it's still gut-churning foul.  And there is the lost kit, and before that the new keyboard, and the short climbing course.  I don't begrudge him, and I've told him that, but I think that it is a very responsible way of looking at the world.

I am now going to be scouring eBay for bargains and lots of little stuff.  I already have a shipload of books, and I shall also keep an eye out for little knacky things.  I am going to have to have a rummage in the charity shops.  I need to have a good reason to go out anyway, as I got the news today that I have osteo arthritis in both hips and knees, and while it isn't too bad, I need to keep moving and lose a lot of weight. 

Writing stuff - I need to get A Forgotten Village and Digging up the Past re-edited and up with their new covers before 1st of December to honour my commitment to 12 Days of Indies, an event with lots of cut price books from Indie authors which I will be linking to later.  I'm afraid that means that the stories from the White Hart will have to wait.  I apologise. 

Friday 23 November 2018

Decisions Decisions

I live between a number of different driving test centres.  I have taken two at Heckmondwike, and failed, but that is not unheard of.  It has a tough reputation and the roads are very steep with some wicked corners.  It is a little distance away, but it's useful for bear's school.

The nearest driving test centre to me has a reputation of being slightly easier.  I would like to mention here that there are no easy test centres in the UK.  However some are slightly less hard.  Today I went around one of the regular test routes for the nearby centre.  If Heckmondwike has steep hills, this has roundabouts - lots and lots and lots of roundabouts with complicated junctions.  I did fine.  I did some driving around as well and had a lot of fun on some wonderful steep curves.  In fact, going on unfamiliar roads with my instructor telling me what to go or where to go gave me a lot of confidence.  I spotted the tricky bits, dealt with unexpected cyclists and generally managed. 

Now I need to decide whether I go ahead with the test booked at Heckmondwike, which will be in the next few weeks, or whether to cancel that and book nearer home but that will be well after Christmas.  For various reasons, not all of mine to tell, I will only have around two more lessons before the test at Heckmondwike.  That is not a lot of warm up.  On the other hand, I have a reasonable chance of passing.  I'm doing okay.  I'm not brilliant, but so far no casualties and my instructor thinks I'm safe.  I think I have a slightly better chance at the other centre, but that's a long time to wait. 

For non-Brits, here is a link to what to expect on a UK driving test.  My instructor has his ways of knowing the most likely routes, and they include evil junctions and right turns of doom as a matter of course. 

I am now exhausted after driving for several hours on roads I hadn't been on before, so I'm crawling off to bed.  Hugs to all. 

Thursday 22 November 2018

My Head Hurts

I had another driving lesson today (no casualties).  I did not expect there to be a lot of mist.  It certainly wasn't in the weather forecast.  I may have rattled around reasonably well, but when the visibility dropped, I became nervous, especially at the big roundabout.  I was genuinely worried I wouldn't be able to cars coming.  I was going to finish the lesson by being dropped off at Aldi, but I decided against it.  The roads I would have had to take are notoriously winding and with a lot of horse riders.  I went online instead.  Fortunately, you can't order many types of yarn online. 

Bear thoroughly enjoyed climbing and then told me about some programme that he can log into that has science quizzes.  It's supervised by the school so I tell him to go for it.  Bear then decides that I need to be educated in science and so explained to me that if you add an acid to an alkaline, you get a salt and something.  I scraped a pass in my 'O' level chemistry over thirty years ago.  I agreed that he should explain things to me as my education was so poor (actually, if he has to explain things to me, it helps settle information in his memory).  Between bear explaining the quizzes to me and trying to explain what happens when you mix hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide (salt and water, I believe, but don't take my word for it as bear was using a white board and I couldn't read his writing), my head is completely muddled.  So I am going to bed to try and sleep it off.

Photo by Hans Reniers on Unsplash

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Why I Should Not Drink Near Amazon

One of the things about Amazon that I like is that I can get relatively obscure ingredients from there, like the Milo drink that bear sometimes likes (bear's preferences change with the weather, so when bear says he likes something, I assume that terms and conditions apply).  You can get arsenic from there, though I'm not suggesting you should.  You can even get powders that hide the smell of dead bodies and I know that purely from research for writing projects (my browsing history is terrifying). 

Amazon do a thing called 'Subscribe and Save' where you commit to buying something on a regular basis and get a reduced price.  I'm not 100% bought into this, as a lot of the time it is still less expensive to get an item from the supermarket when it is on sale, but I get things like the vitamins I like for bear.  They are difficult to get hold of from a supermarket, as I try and get the ones containing iron, and knowing that they will arrive at one packet of 30 per month is helpful. 

Last night I had taken drink and I clicked on to my 'Subscribe and Save' account.  This morning I was somewhat surprised that I had been so rational.  I found dried onions, dried peppers and dried mushrooms added on.  If you simmer those with a stock cube and some lentils and then blend, you have a very pleasing soup and the ingredients are relatively easy to store.  The finely chopped dates also looked like a reasonable addition.  I need to start baking, and there are worse things than dates to include in a muffin. 

Writing stuff - today I had an attack of poetry, here.  Hopefully back on track soon. 

Monday 19 November 2018

DH and Renault

We still do not have the dratted lease car.  Instead we have a variety of Renault and DH objects as everything is on the 'wrong' side - the opposite side to a Ford, which he has been driving in different forms for @ ten years.  He does not approve of the SatNav either.  I can't blame him.  We were trundling down the road when it asked us to take a sharp right followed by a sharp left - basically, we left a dual carriageway, went ten yards and joined a road that took us back onto that same dual carriageway instead of doing complicated things like just staying on the same dratted road.  DH said it was revenge for Trafalgar. 

The reason we were using the dratted SatNav (which behaved for the rest of the journey) was that bear lost his PE kit.  This meant a trip to Dewsbury on Saturday to replace it, and last time we went with bear's pal's mum.  This time DH was navigating and it was a relatively straightforward drive.  The replacement cost was £90 for the shorts, various shirts and jackets and another £8 for the sports bag, together with £53 for new football boots and shin pads.  I think bear's Christmas list just got shorter, although I have just ordered a massive amount of books.  Together with the fees for the Rock Climbing, bear's school has cost over £1000 and that is bound to go up by Christmas.  I think I could knock off say £250 if I had been more cautious spending and if bear hadn't lost his kit, but it is still a steep amount.

I didn't stop spending when I got to yesterday as I managed to call in at the PDSA on the way to a very satisfactory hot chocolate and natter and found an amazing, double breasted, full length, wool and cashmere coat for DH for £12.99.  He looks utterly dashing in it and he's very pleased.  I'll take it to be dry-cleaned, but even with drycleaning, it's still a bargain. 

Today I woke up so tired it hurt.  I've just pootled around, and I'm going to try again tomorrow. 

Friday 16 November 2018

I Truly Love My Brother, But...

My brother looked after bear last night while we were at the parents' evening.  He and bear seem to get on just fine.  Brother is a sweetie and bear behaves for him.  They just hang out, no stress.  I leave food, drink and an instruction to avoid wild parties and they both go on their computers and share tips (brother works in IT).

When we got back, brother and I chatted a little about presents for bear and brother reminded me about  This is a group of separate businesses in China which trade on the same site.  I've had some pretty good stuff from there, and one or two fails.  On the whole, I've been satisfied, which is why I tuned in to see if there was anything suitable for bear for Christmas.  I picked up a few things, but then I spotted the yarn.

They have some amazing looking yarn.  I resisted the deliciously coloured acrylic, and the cotton with 20% milk protein.  I resisted (with a struggle) the alpaca and cashmere.  I even resisted the yarn that was described as having a local name of knicker yarn and was 65% silk wool and 35% Barbie wool (I think it lost a little in translation, but their English is better than my Mandarin).   I completely failed to resist the 25% yak wool, 50% wool and 25% mercerised velvet.  1000g should be enough for a few scarves and a small lap blanket.

I'm not affiliated to Wish in any way, so just to say that watch out for long shipping times, and remember to read the full description.  Not all yarn that is described as 'milk yarn' contains milk protein, although some does.  It's also good to check the shipping, as some items are described as 'free - just pay shipping' but the shipping can be expensive.  Sadly, while awesome stuff does come from China, the rules about online shopping aren't the same as they are in the UK, so be aware.  I was tempted by some water lotus seeds, but I wasn't sure about seeds being imported, as I know that there are a lot of rules around this, so I managed to hold back.  I treat ordering from Wish as an adventure and I am currently blaming my brother.

Of any scarves knitted, one is destined for my awesome instructor who took me around Horsforth in Leeds today.  It was a lot easier than Heckmondwike and I am considering asking him to change my test to Horsforth centre instead of Heckmondwike.  I went around a test route and it was so much easier.  I rocked a hill start, dealt with strange parking ideas and there were no casualties. 

I can't wait to get the Yak Yarn.  Until I get my hands on it, here is a picture of a yak.  It is not wearing a sweater.

Photo by Shane Aldendorff on Unsplash

Thursday 15 November 2018

I Am Very Tired

I had a disturbed night.  Then I had an incredibly early morning.  Then I had three hours driving (no casualties but there was an incident with a bus).  Then I had bear home and an in-depth discussion about where he had lost his bus pass this time.  Then I had parents evening. 

Bear is, apparently, awesome.  I am falling asleep as I type this.  I'll be back tomorrow when I make sense. 

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Driving Again!

Today I had my first driving lesson in a fortnight (no casualties).  I honestly believed I wouldn't be able to find first gear, but I did okay.  I was (mostly) assertive coming out of junctions, swept through a three point turn and remembered how to parallel park.  My joints were bad, though, and I am wondering if I should look into getting an automatic.  It would seem a shame after having so much fun finding third gear, but it would be a lot easier on the knees. 

And the bins were collected.  My lovely neighbour took the full bins up last night, very late, and I pulled the empty bins back down this morning, not long after bear had left for school so very early.  That was a relief. 

I'm exhausted by my lesson today, so sending hugs and good vibes to all. 

Tuesday 13 November 2018

And that was Tuesday

I admit to feeling a little meh at the moment.  I shouldn't grumble.  I'm sitting here with the heater on and things could be a lot worse. 

I got the x-rays done today.  From what I see, the GP sends a booking to the hospital which in my case is the LGI and I can turn up during office hours and wait to get seen at any time, I think in the next week.  I'll get the results in a week or so.  I am aching from being manoeuvred on the machine.  The person taking the xrays was lovely and professional, and very patient, but my joints objected violently to the whole positioning. 

I cut past the German market where I got a pic of a very Yorkshire bin and a blurry pic of a Leeds owl. 

I was heading towards the museum as they do a passable baked potato and I was hungry, and passed two armed police.  They even had rifles of some sort.  It sort of broke my heart.  They had gone when I came out and I was relieved.  I don't want to think of guns needed in our town centre.  I'm not trying to pretend Leeds is some sort of peace camp, but it's unheard of to see armed police in the town centre. 

So I am a little meh. 

Writing stuff - I have a character spotlight from one of the other authors of the Glass and Ashes anthology on my writing blog here.  She has done an amazing job, and I am incredibly impressed.  I may take notes!

Monday 12 November 2018

Nearly Made It

whereverthejourneytakesme - we may have to postpone meeting at Roundhay, although there is no reason why you can't enjoy it by yourself.  I tried to get a particular shot I wanted - and my knees and hips just said 'no'.  In fact, they said so emphatically, and I couldn't walk far enough.  However I managed to get some pics, not all of them particularly well taken, but enough to make me smile.

The view from across Waterloo Lake

I think I was trying to take a pic of something else, but it's okay

If this was straight it would be an awesome pic of a mansion through the trees

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep
Robert Frost

In other news, my knees and hip were pretty bad, so I went to the doctors and he's referred me for x-rays.  

Writing stuff - here's a YouTube trailer for a new book release - how cool is that?  Looks like a fun read as well.  

Friday 9 November 2018

I Couldn't Do This!

I was looking for some easy listening music on YouTube to try encourage myself to write (currently listening to this - Relaxing Celtic Music, though I have no idea what is Celtic about it.  It doesn't sound like the music of the war bands that sacked Rome) and I found a YouTuber called Stacey Flowers who is working on a grocery budget of $50 per month which equates to £38.37 per month.  Stacey is a person on their own and is working towards paying off debt, so has a lot of control about her budget, and it didn't include cleaning products or things like toilet paper, but that is still incredibly skimpy. 

I believe that Stacey Flowers does this (example here), and I have incredible respect for her, but I know that I would barely last a week on that budget.  For three of us - DH, bear and I - that would come to £115.11 for a month.  That's £26.77 per week for the three of us. I'm going to have to go away and think about it.  I know some people have to follow that sort of rigid budget, and I am in awe of those that do.  I just don't know where I would start. 

Bear's report came through today.  The school sent out an email and they don't give a report on his achievement, but on his attitude to learning.  I am totally behind this as bear has a habit of doing only what he needs to do to get by.  When it comes down to it, bear is at the expected standard apart three subjects where he is a little above the expected standard.  To be fair to bear, the expected standard is pretty tough, and, as per title, I would struggle.  Bear is going to be put out that he can't just get away with the minimum. 

Writing stuff - Glass and Ashes will be out soon, and I will be updating with events as they happen.  I've never been in an anthology before, so I'm not entirely sure what to expect.  I'm also taking part in 12 Days of Indies which is a promotion of indie authors, and when I work out what is happening (I've never done this before either) I will share.  There will be an opportunity to pick up books that are on promotion and therefore less expensive than normal, so it may be worth looking out for. 

And finally, the White Hart is still in business and the latest instalment is here

Thursday 8 November 2018


DH is feeling full of flu.  I need to make a fuss of him.  He came in and I made 'home made' soup.  Morrisons sell a 'vegetable soup kit' which costs £1, and which is 500g of finely chopped carrot swede, potato etc with the instructions to add a stock cube and water.  I also added lots of garlic, a bouquet garni sachet and plenty of lentils.  Bear's pal insisted on staying for dinner when he heard that 'home made' soup was on the menu, and practically inhaled his share.  It was served with wholemeal bread which makes it a good complete meal.  I don't feel like it was properly home made, but I was glad I didn't have to chop a swede.  They are far tougher than I am.

As the weather is drawing in, I need to get some more comfort food in.  I think I'm looking at making dhal soon, or hoppin john.  When I mentioned to bear that I would be cutting down on meat to help fight climate change, he was aghast.  However these soups go down without complaint, as does frittata and cheese on toast and he hasn't noticed. 

I am currently overrun with requests for cheese.  Bear and DH have always had problems with cheese.  However they currently are managing just fine and have been wolfing down wensleydale, chedder, cheshire and some slices of what was described as 'black cheese' which is described as cheese flavoured with cocoa and carob.  Bear utterly rejected it and DH was dubious.  I am still sick whenever I eat cheese, so I have to just watch, wistfully, as they try the 'white cheese with cranberries' again. 

Wednesday 7 November 2018

About Bear Again!

I'm trying to ease back on talking about bear, because he's getting older and I don't want to embarrass him.  However, I write what I'm thinking about.  If I'm nattering about housewifery or cooking or writing, that's what comes up.  Right now, I'm fretting over bear. 

Bear came home and gave me a well reasoned argument about exactly why DH and I should pay out £100 for a rock climbing course.  It's not a bad deal - the £100 pays for the minibus from school to the centre and ten lessons on the climbing wall.  It's less expensive than bear's piano lessons.  My instinctive reaction was 'But it's one hundred pounds!'  I signed the form.  Anything that means that bear may one day willingly go further than school and into the outdoors has to be a good idea.  Mind you, I will probably be posting a lot about money saving in the next few months. 

Also, the bins were collected today, so fingers crossed it will now settle down. 

whereverthejourneytakesme - there are some amazing parks around.  I love Roundhay Park, but I'm not the best guide as I can't walk well at the moment.  However, it's huge!  Then there is Golden Acre Park which has a lot of wetland wildlife and is on the outskirts of Leeds.  I've been looking at Batley Park, which I am determined to visit before the end of the month.  There are a lot of awesome places around.  I shall be in touch when I am less creaky (currently v v v creaky).

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Going Out Fail

I was a success at going out yesterday.  I went to Roundhay Park and wandered into their speciality gardens - a copy of the Alhambra gardens and some gardens that won medals for the Council at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show. 

Today I got as far as the town centre when I felt poorly.  I don't know what's going on, but I dropped the bag of stuff for the charity shop off and staggered home.  I nearly fell off the bus with a sudden attack of cramp and seriously alarmed the bus driver and once I got home I just flopped into a chair.  I'm having issues with my joints and I'm a little worried. 

The whole bin thing is getting silly.  Today a very nice man from the council knocked on the door and asked why we didn't take the bins up to the top of the slope.  I explained that I had taken the bins up - repeatedly.  Then someone brings them down.  Then we take them up.  Then someone brings them down, sometimes within twenty minutes.  The nice man had a think and he took the bins up again and promised that they would be collected soon.  I truly hope so.  We can't work out why the road is suddenly so unsafe.  It hasn't changed much in the last twenty years.  However I don't want binmen (or refuse engineers or whatever they're called these days) actually hurting themselves, so I'll go along with it.

Friday 2 November 2018

Ghost Hunt

I don't think I was as helpful as I could be at the Ghost Hunt.  Partly because there was a lot of standing around in the dark when my joints were killing me and partly because they got a ouija board out and that stuff terrifies me. 

Leeds Commercial Library is awesome.  It was established in 1768 and is the oldest currently operating subscription library in the country (apparently).  I couldn't get a good pic, but the place is amazing.  It has galleries with books, reached by spiral staircases, and wooden chairs and ladders to reach the higher shelves and some of the stuff there makes my mouth water.  For example, there were copies of nineteenth century newspapers which would be a wonderful inspiration.  And the evening was well put together with lots of ghost stories and lots of attempts to contact the spirits.  There is a ghost story associated with the Library which I am totally going to use.  I kept an open mind, and I can't account for the glass moving on the ouija board and there were books thrown when I wasn't around, but there were also chills reported when people were standing under air vents. 

I got my first Prime Now order today.  If you live in a participating postcode, you can order groceries and household essentials within a few hours.  The minimum order was £40, and I padded my order with lentils etc to get to £40.16, then got £10 off my first order, so £30.16.  I was trying to get stuff that bear would eat, and thought I would give it a go.  Bear's mouth is almost back to normal but he's still milking it.  Unfortunately it comes from Morrisons, and the cocktail sausages that bear fancied were off.  I've had some bad experiences with Morrisons and meat.  Their veg is awesome.   I'll have to pick some meat up tomorrow.