Sunday 31 March 2019

I Bought a Car

I went along, had a test drive, decided I liked it and put down the deposit.

The dealers are really lovely (shout out to Styrin Motors) and very understanding. We had a wander around their cars, and they were great about giving us keys to different ones, to sit in and peer at. I explained that I had just passed my test, that I was nervous and could they recommend a nearby industrial estate to practice in. They handed over the keys and suggested I did a run to bear's school, see me in half an hour. DH took the car out of the yard and then I took over and drove for around half an hour up to bear's school and back, at least 10 miles.

I had real trouble at one set of lights, and I stalled in the middle of a roundabout, but even though I was having trouble getting going, I loved the car, I really did. It just felt right and that she would be a great workhorse.  She's very different from my instructor's car as she's petrol rather than diesel and a lot lighter on the steering, but I loved her, I really did. I think that once I work out how to get going, I'll be fine. It felt that there was plenty of speed in her as I trundled along, strictly under the speed limit.

So we put down a deposit, and I pick it up next Sunday. 

I am now utterly shattered and will probably be in bed by 9pm (8pm, per yesterday as clocks went forward). But I can say I got a car for Mother's Day.

To be honest, I am still feeling hugged by bear's gift of an unusual candle and the care he took to get me a mother's day card that wasn't completely pink with teddy bears. I felt hugged. He is a good lad and I am very lucky.

Saturday 30 March 2019

Could be Worse

It's been a strange sort of day. I've ironed a couple of shirts, done a very small amount of housewifery and made dinner, and I've spent a few hours starting the mammoth task of making a sensible reference for all the characters in my books so I don't have to scroll through page after page to check what colour eyes someone has, or how they take their tea or coffee.  I changed over a handbag from the gorgeous Cath Kidston one I got a few years ago as a birthday present to a different one because the shoulder strap finally went on the Cath Kidston bag and I even rang up and booked a test drive. which has left me jittery.

My biggest triumph today came this evening. I was browsing through YouTube and I saw a video where they were enthusing about the wonderful extreme softness of Premier Parfait yarn, a type of chenille. I really, really, really wanted to get some for a snuggly blanket but I resisted! 

I can go to bed satisfied that I achieved something today.

Friday 29 March 2019

The End of the Week

I am a tired bunny. Today was fairly quiet, just pottering around and, as DH had the day off, driving with him to pick up bear. It really is a straightforward run. I'm looking forward to driving myself and being able to pick up a few bits each day. It will make life a lot easier.

Writing stuff - the latest edition from the White Hart is here.

Photo by Narain Jashanmal on Unsplash

Thursday 28 March 2019

I Had a Haircut

Eileen T - the whole of the cafe is tiled. There are some professional pics and background here, it's fascinating stuff. I don't know when I'll be driving solo, as I have to get a car first.

Whereverthejourneytakesme - we should meet up there as the coffee is adequate and the surroundings are stunning.

Hazel Dxb - it's good to meet you.

I had a haircut today for the first time in a while. The driving lessons had been so consuming, and so erratic. I would get a text late on Sunday with a timetable for the week and I would never know when the lessons would be. Now I have a chance to plan for things like haircuts. Today's cut wasn't exactly how I wanted it.

But at least my hair is shorter. I also had the man about the windows, a Tesco delivery and some gossip with next door. I made some time to ring a very reputable car sales place, and hope to be able to get a car soon.

Writing stuff - I've had a go at some flash fiction inspired by the old stone in the new wall I saw yesterday, which is here, if you are interested.

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Still Tired

I nearly nodded off on the bus today. I can't believe it, I think it is reaction from actually passing my driving test!  I honestly believe that the good wishes from you guys helped me pass, so thank you for the good wishes and congratulations.

I forgot to post a pic I took yesterday, when I got myself some lunch in the Tiled Hall which is sort of the connecting hall between Leeds Library and Leeds Art Gallery on the Headrow.

Previously I think it was built over, and you can still see a few traces, but my pic doesn't do it justice. It's glorious. 

Today I dropped some stuff off at a charity shop, had a dentist appointment and came home where I am gradually catching up on housewifery, The charity shop is based in the Church of the Nazerene, Morley, which is a very new building. I was fascinated to see, however, a large stone block set into the very new bricks inside.

I did a little looking on the internet, and I found that the original Church of the Nazarene was destroyed by wind at the beginning of 1984, when the roof lifted clean off the building and landed in the road next to the church. They obviously rebuilt the church but kept the old stones that marked the foundation of the original building. I can't think of how many stories I could get from that!

Thanks to everyone for good wishes and congratulations. I feel very blessed, very hugged and very lucky. Thank you again.

Tuesday 26 March 2019

I Passed!!!

I am shattered now, so this post may be all over the place, but I need to say first that I am convinced that the good wishes from you guys got me through.

I had a bad night's sleep last night, waking in the middle of the night with a sensation of pain in my knee. It took me a while to get back to sleep and this morning I could barely walk. Then my instructor (who has been awesome!) was late and, as the test was just after 8am, we were cutting through all the back roads and estates to dodge rush hour traffic.  I got in with a minute to spare - I sat down just as the examiners came out with their clipboards.

I'm not sure I deserved to pass, and it was a close thing. The manoeuvre was to pull into a parking bay, and that was the one I was least looking forward to - if I'm not thinking about it, I'm fine. If I thinking about it, it looks like it was accidentally dropped there on it's way somewhere else. Today I swept in with a flourish and I wish I could have framed it. I also did some really good driving in tight spots, which I think got me thought. 

Then I decided to ride the buses. I went first to Wakefield, then to Heckmondwike and came home with bear who was late after a rehearsal. Now I am trying to stay awake while kit vital to tomorrow's performance finishes drying and I can give it a quick iron (though it will just be stuffed in the backpack) and crawl into bed.

My knee is really bad, but I'm hoping it will settle down.

Thank you for all the good wishes. I swear that they made the difference today!

Monday 25 March 2019


Bear felt much better this morning and trundled off to school with a letter for his teacher to ask them to be respectful of his knee. Bear could make an oyster look chatty when it comes to school, so I'm not sure exactly what happened, but he seemed fine.

The last driving lesson before my test went okay I suppose. I practised the emergency stop a few times - not deliberately. Twice were for quick changing traffic lights and I think there were three episodes of cars pulling out in front of me. That was before the start of the lesson proper. I did okay as I practised a test route until I got near the end and stalled in the middle of the roundabout.

It was a long lesson, full of parallel parking, stopping, starting and general driving challenges. If they ask me to park in a bay, I'm stuffed. If I'm not thinking about it and chatting about nonsense, I can sweep smoothly into a bay without an issue. If I am thinking about it then I am lucky to even get near it.

As we talked the session over, I saw a couple walking and according to my awesome instructor (who knows everyone) one of them was a driving examiner and he was carrying a clipboard. It seems that sometimes an examiner decides that his safety comes first and they get the car stopped and then walk back to the centre. I haven't done that yet, so that's something.

It isn't even nine o'clock, but I am going to crawl off to bed now. I can't tell you how exhausted I am and my test is just after 8 am, so I could do with being rested.

Sunday 24 March 2019

Marginally Improving

whereverthejourneytakesme - I hope the apple tree is sorted out.

I'm still behind on practically everything, and I will be up later than I want because I left washing bear's kit late.

I was interrupted in posting how uneventful today had been by bear being voluminously sick. He blamed the mince, but neither DH nor I are affected. I think it has less to do with the mince and more to do with bear being extremely tired. He was just so poorly and he is now getting too old for me to give him cuddles as he goes to sleep. All I could do was keep him company. But it was quite remarkable. He had been off colour all day, but he really brightened up as soon as he had been sick, so I'm hoping that he will get some good rest and feel better in himself tomorrow. Poor lad, he just curled up in bed afterwards and that was it, he was so exhausted.

Did I mention that I have my driving test on Tuesday and my last lesson before it tomorrow? I could do without a crisis, but there is always a crisis going on, so I suppose I need to just deal with it.

Now bear is flat out asleep, the bathroom has been cleaned up, and I'm off to make sure all shirts are ironed for tomorrow. Hugs to everyone.

Saturday 23 March 2019

I Went Out!

Kate - I am so sorry you had that thingy as well. Bear is really suffering with it.

whereverthejourneytakesme - bear has definitely taken notice!

I forgot to mention, I went to Heckmondwike the other day and the trees were still wearing fabric. I posted about them in the summer, but I took some more photos last week. This one looks like upside down bloomers.

This is perhaps my favourite

And it is looking well from a distance, but if you look closer, you can see the the toll that winter took.

Today I went to Roundhay Park. I couldn't take my favourite shortcut through, as there was a hazard.

When I saw the notice about an 'unsafe tree' I had visions of a whomping willow or an Ent, but there was no evidence of either. All the trees looked much as usual, but there have been high winds and heavy rain, so there may have been movement that a casual bystander couldn't see.

I went back to the fancy gardens, which looked a lot tidier.

The blossom was a ridiculous shade of pink, as if it was the colour of artificial flavouring. This pic does not do it justice.

And there were lots of little flowers around, but I have no idea what they are are called.

I consider it a good day. 

Friday 22 March 2019

Bear Does Well

Bear has got his Gold certificate from school for getting 150 positives. It's quite nifty. The system goes like this - if bear is enthusiastic or helpful or gives good answers or other 'positive' things then the teachers record a positive for him. If he forgets kit or homework or is cheeky, then he gets a negative. Bear got a certificate for bronze, a voucher for a snack and a drink from the school canteen for silver and now he has a £5 Love to Shop voucher which he plans to spend in Waterstones, the bookshop. He has his eyes now on the Headmaster's award which means a lapel badge, which is definitely coveted. I am very proud of him. He is also rocking House Drama. He has the full and final performances on Wednesday, so I won't be going frantic trying to get him home at reasonable times.

I was supposed to have the window people round to measure up properly for the windows, but they were running late and sounding stressed, and I was definitely stressed, so they are coming next week. All I need to do is try and remember the day and time. I'm really not keeping up.

Writing stuff - Lots of writing stuff happened today, but not so much for me to share. I created my booth for the OWS CyCon (that online book convention happening in May). It seems very egotistical, writing all about me, especially as there is nothing much to write about. There are a lot of authors planning to attend, together with book reviewers and all sorts. I'll let you know more about the event nearer the time. It looks like there will be a lot going on. I even volunteered for a few things myself!

 I also managed to finally get the latest instalment from the White Hart out (here) and I'm planning to shake that up a little. I plan on smaller pieces but with more fun and pace and a lot more variety.

Sending hugs to all!

Photo by Alan Hardman on Unsplash

Thursday 21 March 2019

Lots of Writing Stuff!

wherethejourneytakesme - I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing the berries. I'm not a fan of bananas but it looks like I need to get used to them. Bear and DH are quite keen.

Bear has a disease. Previously he was diagnosed with Larsson-Sinding-Johansson Syndrome (no idea if I have spelled that right) but now he has a diagnosis of Osgood-Schlatters Disease. This is a pain in the knee. Poor lad, he is suffering. I hope it dies down soon, but it could be quite a while before he is comfortable running again.

I have someone coming to measure windows tomorrow and I need to move the furniture. I also fell down a few steps earlier and all my joints are playing up now. On the bright side, it means that we will finally get the main windows in the living room and study ready for replacement.

Writing stuff - quite a lot today. I managed some flash fiction here, which was fun and will keep me going tomorrow. I also have an author spotlight on Timothy Bateson's blog, here, which is quite unnerving. Timothy's blog is fascinating and well worth a look. He does a lot for author promotions so if you are looking for good stuff, not only is he an awesome author, but he has contacts who are also incredibly awesome.

There is likely to be a lot of writing stuff in the next few months, so be warned and I won't be offended if you stop reading at the heading. 

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

So Much for Plans

I'm still feeling swamped, and worried that I'll end up writing post after post of pity parties, so trying to keep it cheerful. However there is writing stuff going on that I really ought to cover, and there's stuff coming up that I may have a legal obligation to publicise and also there is bear.

Bear had food tech again. I thought it would be one of the sponge cakes that were listed in the booklet and I had all the ingredients in for those, but instead bear had to make trifle, and was asked to be creative. That meant that I was told on the Friday before I had to provide all the ingredients for banana trifle, including banana bread. The only decent oven to bake with blows all the lights every time it's switched on. I found a microwave banana bread/pudding type thing and it was a success with the men. They ate up the trial and demolished the replay so I'm taking it as a win. The recipe is here, but you need a lot more spice than it says. I'm going to have to bake more as bear is having issues with eating. I'm not going further into it on a public post, and it isn't serious, but I will be adding to his diet with healthy(ish) baked goods as much as possible. I am currently eyeing the cheese muffin recipes.

I did an emergency stop in the driving lesson today. I wasn't supposed to but a driver in front decided to suddenly stop at a green traffic light. I can't blame them as we all have those days, but I wasn't slowing down as it was a green light and then I had to stop very suddenly from just under 40mph (the speed limit). Apparently I was fine and it was appropriate etc etc but it left me a little wrong footed.

I may be feeling under all the weather but I still notice things. I took this picture today.

Yes, those are bright holly berries in March. I took the picture below, which is not the best pic I have ever taken, and it shows, if properly magnified, some of the berries next to the blossoms. 

I didn't get too close as I was perching on a kerb trying not to step into the traffic of a supermarket car park, but I thought it was interesting to see the berries now.

Writing stuff - I had a rejection and on top of that the people who published Glass and Ashes which included a contribution from me and who were going to be publishing Cogs, Crowns and Carriages (which probably will still go ahead with a contribution from me) have had an upheaval in the company. I'm only seeing hints but all the people involved are lovely and it's really sad to see them upset. I'm keeping my head down as much as possible! But it seems that the online book convention will be going ahead, and who knows what else.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Time Out!

A lot is going on, and I'm not managing with the stuff that I need to do. I'm taking a time out until March 27th, after I've taken my next driving test. To be honest, it's the driving lessons that are breaking me.

I will be back with the usual stories then. Hugs to everyone as you are all awesome.

Monday 11 March 2019

Biggest Tesco I've Seen

I was on a driving lesson, and instead of our usual Morrison stop, we called in at the Tesco nearest to bear's school.  I need to pass my test so I can visit it on a regular basis.  It is huge. It has two floors with clothes and housewares as well as all the groceries, and there are bottles and clothes banks, a dry cleaners - all sorts of goodies! I swear I was standing at the checkout with my small fresh orange with a grin on my face like a country girl in the city. I was staring around at the size of the place.

Today was not a major success, but everyone is fed, clean clothes are ready for tomorrow and we are all still moving. I'll take that as a win. Also I chased up a lot of stuff with mortgages and finance and stuff, so I managed to get a little more than the basics. My joints are very sore, but I'm putting it down to the weather. I am now off for an early night. Hugs to everyone.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Darn it to Heck (Again)

I'm finally pulling myself out of the pity party (I've been feeling very under the weather but absolutely nothing serious, thank you for the good wishes, they really help!) when I went over what I had in store next week. 

I have four driving lessons this week as I missed the last two weeks and I have a driving test in sixteen days. I could possibly get by with fewer lessons, but I am desperate to pass and get all this over with and I am nearly there.  Each one is a good few hours. My awesome driving instructor (who is completely awesome) gives me a good rate and is very tolerant, but there is a lot of money as well as time spent on these.

I have to pick bear up from school events three times - none of which coincide with a driving lesson so I could get dropped off and at least two are likely to involve taxis. I really need to pass this driving test. Bear has a climbing thingy, and two nights of house drama. That is, two rehearsals for a play put on by his house in school, rather than the normal drama that follows a 12 year old with strong views around his house.

Speaking of bear, I promised that I would sort out some blackout curtains for him as he was being woken up by the light now the sun is rising a little earlier. I don't have much I need to do, but I need to clear a good space (possible moving furniture) and finish off the Doctor Who curtains I made. They are actually two themed duvets (perfect length for our windows) and if I glue and stitch some fleece on the inside then I think that they will be quite light resistant. It's not a long job, but it will take long enough, especially as I'm making it up as I go along.

I'm still getting to grips with the physio exercises and they take a chunk of time, and I am supposed to be going for a daily walk. It takes me half an hour to psyche myself up to leave the house plus any time I take on the walk. I may just ask to be dropped off a little way from the house after a lesson.

I feel like if I do not get the kitchen and ironing sorted out soon I will die. I'm fairly confident that nobody has died because of an ironing pile, but it's becoming a hazard to what's left of my mental health. And can I mention getting the house cleared? DH took a full car to the tip and charity shop this weekend, and I need to be sorting stuff like that out on a daily basis. All the lights went out on Saturday because I switched the kettle on while the washer and dryer was going. I'm starting to twitch whenever I turn something on. I have been needing to get that re-wiring sorted for months and now I can finally move with purpose, I have to get started.

And I need to sort out some writing. I've got some ideas which I could submit but which are time sensitive. Also, White Hart stuff is backed up. I need to get cracking with that.

Challenge accepted!

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Waiting for Spring

It's meteorological spring, which starts on 1st March. I'm not sure what 21st March is, possibly astronomical spring. I'm waiting for when I spring into action.

Jill - I hope you feel better soon. I'm getting rid of stuff. DH very kindly moved around a lot of boxes I couldn't manage, so now whenever I go to the bathroom, I go up an extra flight of stairs and spend only a minute or two looking over stuff. I ask myself, do I want to pay for storage for this? If the answer is no, then no matter how pretty it is, I get rid.  It's only crumbs, but they are mounting up!

Bear pulled out the cord of his headphones and the cord came out but the jack stayed in. This means his computer has no workable audio. DH has been investigating with pins, tweezers and matchsticks with superglue on the end. Nothing has worked so far, but apparently sticking a matchstick with glue from a glue gun on the end works. All I need to do is work out where the glue gun is as I have a worrying feeling that I put it safe.

I had physio today. It hurt. I have exercises and then I need to to go back in a month. 

My brain has almost completely switched off, and I realised that I had let the emails creep up again, so across the board I have around 2000 emails to sort out. Back tomorrow.

Monday 4 March 2019

Is it only Monday?

Eloise - I love this apron. I've been wearing it on and off all day and it's just so solid. You know, decent weight cotton and incredibly practical.

Wherethejourneytakesme - I'm not swapping bear for a mum. My late mother could drive a saint to drink, especially if she was let loose in the kitchen. Whenever bear has been sent out with someone else they always report that he had impeccable manners, well spoken, polite and was a fount of unexpected bits of information. Last time he got involved with someone scribbling the proof of something to do with prime numbers on a napkin in a restaurant (it's not just me who thinks he is bright). However he will say what he thinks, usually politely, and is very clear on what he wants and what he doesn't want. If he doesn't approve of something, you find out about it. It's unnerving, especially when he corrects you about science or maths or something.

Today bear didn't go in to school as he had a runny tummy. It wasn't good. DH had a day off as well, as he is using up the last of his annual leave. This meant that any housewifery I managed was a miracle, but it was lovely to spend time with them. We caught up with the Great British Sewing Bee and generally took it easy. Bear is getting too old to cuddle better, so we just took our time with him. I'm feeling a lot better and I've finally finished my second lot of antibiotics.

Eloise - it may be that a warm winter hasn't killed off bugs.  I've heard of quite a few people that have had similar bugs to me and they have all been flattened. I've had the windows opened, but it has been so warm out that it hasn't really had a chance to get rid of the bugs. I'm feeling a lot better, though, with only a few coughs, though I'm still shattered.

Despite all that, I've been clearing stuff out of the walk in cupboard. We are going to have to get the wiring sorted soon, so I've been looking at the stuff in there and asking myself whether I really want to keep it. There are loads of bits that I think would come in useful, but I'm wondering whether they are worth paying to store during a re-wire.  For example, I've got some of those curtain wires which I picked up at an extremely low price.  I can think of a few places I would like to use them, and they are useful bits, but are they worth paying storage or should I lose them and buy again only if needed? How about paint? I'm likely to pay to get the place decorated, so it seems a waste to keep the paint and I know there are places I can donate it. So far I've got three bin bags and a stack for the charity shop. It's a start, I just need to keep up the good work. 

Sunday 3 March 2019

Lovely and Quiet

wherethejourneytakesme - having bear around can be a source of great entertainment, but I'm confident that all twelve year olds have the same struggles.  He is such a sweetie, though, and great company.  Though today he has an upset stomach.  I'm confident that it's nothing serious but bear had a cookery theory lesson last week which went into all the perils of slack food hygiene.  I shall be getting up extra early to make sure that he has all the ingredients when he leaves the house at @ 6.20am. 

I'm feeling a lot better, with a few moments, so I think I'll have an early night (if I can sleep through the storm - though once again we are getting off lightly) and try and be raring to go before the first cough of the sparrow.  Thank you for the good wishes.  I swear they have helped get me better. 

Saturday 2 March 2019

Dark and Stormy Night

We've caught the edge of some of the stormy weather.  The day was quiet enough but the wind is getting up.  We are lucky and will probably only get the edge of it.

Today has been mainly writing stuff as I've been running over some stuff and getting things set up.  Bear has been hanging out with DH and I, and it's been pretty good. 

And that's it.  A lovely, quiet, calm day, apart from the weather.  Cough continues so I think I will get a nice, early night.

Hugs to everyone.

Friday 1 March 2019

Hester - I am stealing 'stoup' to describe the dish, though I'm not linking it in anyway to the River Ankh.

Whereverthejourneytakesme - I hope your mum had a good time.

Nothing much happened today.  I sort of drifted though today, but woke up a little when bear got home as he had a leaking bottle in his backpack.  You could not believe the state of the permission slip he wanted me to sign for something something climbing.  I've signed it, but I have no idea what it contains.  I saw references to something something £8 and something something accompanied so I'll have to ring in on Monday to work out what is going on.  I'm working damage limitation on the bag.

Monday is also when bear has the dreaded cookery lesson.  I swear it has shortened my lifespan.  This time it is sausage (or cheese, or quorn) whirls where they make a scone base, spread filling over it, roll it up, slice it and bake it.  Bear is going for cheese.  I still need to send in an egg, but this time it's 125ml of milk, so I'm sending in a pint and keeping my fingers crossed.