Sunday 30 June 2019

Moving with sort of Purpose

JustJill - I introduced bear to Jacksons Art Supplies, and it may have been an expensive mistake.

Friday night was not a good night. I was sick, which I really didn't appreciate. It left me completely washed out all Saturday. Today has been better.

WitchHazel - I was considering the launderette, but I have enough clean clothes for the men so that I just have to do a total of six shirts, but it's three of dark colours and three white. I decided to hang on and just rinse those through in a bucket in the bath and then if the washing machine isn't fixed, I can nip to the launderette.

Akasha - I've done laundry in the bathtub many times in my life, but I never look forward to it. I'm glad it's an option, though.

Bless and Wherethejourneytakesme - the bushes are an issue. The land is owned by a holding company, I think it was in the Isle of Mann, but may have moved to Jersey - it's in a tax haven somewhere anyway. I think they hold the freehold and Matalan own the building. It's one of those complicated things. I've always been surprised that no-one did anything about the bushes, because it's a subsidence issue waiting to happen. I think one reason that the bushes have been neglected is that the site managers and groundsmen don't actually come on our road, but just nip down the small strip of concrete at the back of the building. I don't think that they see how bad it is.

Saturday morning, while I was recovering, bear and DH got haircuts and then went into town, where bear persuaded DH to buy him some pencils that are normal pencils if dry and water colours when wet. He thinks that they are awesome and has done this.

He has these squeeze type things which he fills with water and then brushes over the pencil marks. He's having a great time.

As I was barely holding on to my stomach contents, I got a Tesco delivery. This was a surprise, as I thought I had cancelled it. Perhaps it was lucky that I had just booked the slot and put in some place holder items to keep the slot until I decided what I wanted to buy. I now have three bottles of brandy that I didn't anticipate. It isn't a hardship.

I also managed to finish a short story and submit it around half an hour before the deadline. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I'm not sure it exactly hit the brief, so I won't be too upset if I don't get accepted.

Today was a quietish day. I rinsed through the shirts that I needed to wash, hung out with bear and DH and got on with some knitting. DH treated bear to a secondhand copy of The Assassins Creed, so bear was very happy. We've had another light bulb go, which is a reminder for me to get a move on clearing out the house.

Hugs to all.

Edited to add - I have just found out that Assassins Creed is an 18. I am unimpressed and may have words.

Saturday 29 June 2019

Still Without a Washer

The very nice man from the washing machine repair people came and not only had the power surge blown the fuse but had fried the motherboard. Darn it to heck. However, he was lovely and early, spot on 8.30am and about five minutes after I got home. He's been to the house before, and he is a pleasure to have as a visitor. He's calm, he's pleasant and he gets the job done. Unfortunately he won't be the one coming back next Thursday to mend the motherboard.

Then I dashed out, picked up a load of shopping and dashed back, then out again to pick up bear. Tomorrow I start washing stuff in the bath, though fortunately it looks like a good drying day.

I took some photos of the overgrown laurels. There isn't much soil underneath them. These pics show the ground where the road is, but it drops away very steeply and it's very rocky. When we first moved in, twenty five years ago, the laurels were a lot less overgrown and there wasn't a fence, and I had to chase the cats up and down a few times! There isn't a lot of soil.

I worry that one bad storm and the top heavy bushes with fall.

Writing stuff - Latest from the White Hart is here. Hugs to all.

Thursday 27 June 2019

It's Been Another Dratted Day

Wherethejourneytakesme - it's interesting you talked about spikes. I was talking to a neighbour and apparently they also had a spike and it was due to roadworks a few streets away cutting through an electric cable.

Today was also more exciting than I liked. I dropped bear and his pal off at school and then came home and waited. As the minutes ticked by, I worried about picking them up so I rang the office to see if they could give me an estimate of when they would be out. I was told that the appointment had been cancelled. I think I actually whimpered. It was alright, however, as they were reading the notes from last month, when we were trying to work out what was happening with the radiators (not a clue!). The nice man came in good time, sorted everything out and then left in good time for me to pick up bear and his pal.

Meanwhile we had people with clipboards and hi viz vests in the street. They were concerned about the bushes/trees opposite us. They are massively overgrown laurels, and I'll see if I can remember to take a pic tomorrow, but they are bound to affect the foundations of the Matalan store. They were also muttering about the state of the road. I have no idea what's going to happen now.

I then rang about the washing machine repair tomorrow and begged that they put a note on the file asking for the repair man to come after 8.30 when I would be back from the school run. This evening I got a text, too late to ring the office. They are coming between 7.15am and 10.15am. I have no way of getting in touch with bear's pal in time to let them know that they should be getting the 6.30am bus instead of getting a lift with me at 7.15am. I'm going to have to take them in.

This evening bear utterly walloped DH at Monopoly again. Now I am off to bed as I am sooooo exhausted I can barely stagger.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Didn't like Today

Darn it to heck and back! I spent part of this morning trying to pin down Schroedinger's Boiler Service. Apparently my boiler is both serviced and unserviced and the very nice man that I spoke to had to sort it out.

A few weeks ago, when I had the carbon monoxide scare, a lovely man came out and checked the boiler, finding nothing wrong with it and giving the thing a service. The next week someone rang me to say that there was no trace of the service. I chased it up and another person in the office found a record of the service. Then this record disappeared. I am not making this up. Finally someone rang and said if I didn't get a record of the service on the system then my cover was void. They are coming out tomorrow as apparently the service was recorded as a repair. My kitchen is full of junk. I was supposed to be sorting it out today.

So I loaded up the washer - and it doesn't work. I'm putting it down to power surge on Monday along with DH's totally fried computer, bear's missing audio and the elderly dehumidifier. I could cry. I am just unable to pull myself together at the moment and this was the last straw. So I grabbed some rubbish together and went to the tip and I went on the bypass which is incredibly scary for me. Then I took the back roads towards Batley and went to Oakwell Hall, getting there around lunchtime.

It's a small country lane up to the hall, but I managed it. The house wasn't open, but apparently it's kept as a household would be set up in the 1690s, so I may call back one weekend to visit when it's open. It sounds like there is a lot about the Civil War. The gate to the yard looked like this.

And there were replicas of the Civil War arms and armour in the Gift shop window. There's lots of walks but it is very doggy and, while I love dogs and I had lots of cuddles today, I'm nervous about them. I may pick my time.

I picked up a 'new' handbag in a charity shop. It's in good shape, doesn't smell, has working zips and is larger than my current wrecked bag. Also, it was £4.50 and I'm very happy. 

I also picked up some very large pots of lavender for a decent price, though goodness knows when I'll be able to plant them as I have the boiler man tomorrow and the washing machine on Friday. I was really pleased with my bargain, until I got back to the car and realised how neatly I'd parked.

You can just see one of the pots in the trolley, and squeezing them in was an issue and I ended up putting one on the back seat because we don't pick up bear's pal on Wednesdays, so there should have been plenty of room. Except today bear's pal needed a lift, and the car full of lavender! We all managed to squeeze in. They did have a good view of my face when a farm lorry started reversing across the road without warning, but at least I didn't say anything except, 'Dude!'

Now everyone's been fed, the men have clean and ironed shirts for tomorrow and I'm just about on my knees. I think the weather is affecting me. I'm about to do the bare minimum to allow access to the boiler, which coincidentally is just above the washer, and then I'm crawling off to bed. Tomorrow I also have a lot of writing to do, so I need an early night.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Cold and Wet

It is cold, wet and we don't even have the fun of a thunderstorm. Mind you, I don't look forward to any heat wave.

Bear managed to get his homework in. This is what he used for the cover.

It was coloured somewhat hastily, but it's still awesome in my opinion. And he permitted me to share my favourite of his poems.

I like the candles
The bright flames burn my whiskers
Pretty thing is hot.

Which covers the story of evil cat sniffing a candle - more than once!

I had a driving lesson today. It was supposed to be on the motorway but I couldn't face it, so my awesome driving instructor took me on 60mph roads in an area I had never driven through. I was suitably grateful. I may have some more lessons later on, but I'm stopping for now. According to him, I'm safe to drive, so it's just a matter of practice.

I am feeling a little overwhelmed, as I really need to get the house sorted, but I'm confident I'll get there.

Bear's poems about cats reminded me of mine, and I once again published 'My Lion' on my writing blog here, all about evil cat. You may have seen it before, but I wanted to revisit it. I miss having stories to tell about her. However being able to sit down without having a battle over seating arrangements is very welcome.

Monday 24 June 2019

Come Back Jonathan Creek

I refuse to do bear's homework for him - sort of. I helped him find poems when he had to find three favourite ones, as he could only think of Jabberwocky, and I did considerable work on the dratted fort over Christmas, but I work hard to step back.

This evening has been filled with me trying to encourage bear to write ten dratted poems. I told him that it was more important to have ten finished poems than great literature. He also has to write a 200 word introduction and do covers. It was supposed to be done when the school was closed for two days, so it isn't really an unreasonable amount of work. If only bear had seen it before late last night. To be fair, it's not on the part of the website where homework is normally shown, but I'm going to have to do some checking. And I don't want to do checking as I think it's up to bear to learn now and make his mistakes rather than later when it becomes more serious. And waiting until the last dratted minute for ten poems, an intro and a dratted cover is a mistake.

However the poems are supposed to have a theme, so I suggested cat stories (we have a few) and bear seemed taken with the idea, so I'm reminding him of the stories. He is writing the poems. I'm letting him get on with the whole cover and intro business. Five are done and he is currently going over a scene from Romeo and Juliet with DH.

Bear's school is selective, and pupils won't get there without having their parents make the effort to register them for the entrance exam, so by definition the kids have parents that will be supportive of homework, but these bits are the sort of thing that is meat and drink to DH and I. Bear could do it on his own, and I'm letting him get on with a load of stuff by himself, but I suppose this is another way that bear is lucky.

Apart from that stress, I blew all the lights in the house twice and managed a trip to the tip. The weather hasn't been too bad for the school run and Morrisons had fresh peas in, so I have been gorging on them.

Also, today would have been uncle's birthday. I miss him. He would have been so proud of bear.

Sunday 23 June 2019

Jonathan Bloody Creek

Bear is very impressed by Jonathan Creek. He is working his way through the series on Netflix, and enjoying it a great deal. In fact, I suspect Jonathan Creek may be his new role model. I'm keeping my head down. As is bear, as colouring continues. To be honest, with all the twisted adultery and complicated love lives, I worry about the adult themes, but then I consider that probably half of the lads in his class have seen porn and I know plenty of twelve year olds who have played Call of Duty and watched 'The Walking Dead', both of which I wouldn't tolerate for bear. I also tolerate bear playing a version of Monopoly based 'Game of Thrones' but I would throw a fit if I saw him watching it. I suppose I'm a hypocrite, but I do my best.

And that has very much been my day. It's been wonderfully quiet. I've managed to get some knitting and some browsing, and watched bear and DH have several heated rounds of Risk.

I'm now keeping an eye on the weather. The rain may be during the school run, but I'm hoping it will miss us.

Edited for a quick addition - bear has just had a meltdown about some homework that was set in May that he hasn't handed in yet and some poems he should have been writing since Tuesday. It's going to be a long week.

Saturday 22 June 2019

Jonathan Creek Continues

We are now on season 2 of Jonathan Creek, and bear is still enjoying it. I have made quite a lot of progress on the scarf I am knitting for one of DH's friend while watching, so I am happy. I also got quite a lot of knitting done while bear and DH continued an epic game of Monopoly which bear won by a sudden margin.

It's been a quiet day apart from that. DH took bear for his violin lesson this morning, which also included a quick diversion into an art shop where bear left with some water colour pencil and some thingies that act like brushes and add water to the pencils. While he was out I had a rummage down the side of bear's desk, which meant that I found his keys which have been missing since before Easter. Then his pal came around and I let them get on with it, providing snacks at intervals.

I got bear's permission to share his last pic, and he strongly suggested that I share his latest masterpiece. He suggested it repeatedly. So here it is.

 Hugs to all.

Friday 21 June 2019

Not Good Driving

I am fine in awkward, twisty, narrow country roads. I am not good on wide dual carriageways and I panic at changing lanes. And there has been a regrettable amount of changing lanes today.

I left bear at home and took some rubbish to the tip. I need to do that daily, even if it's just a crisp packet, because I find the thought of the drive terrifying. This means I have to practice. It isn't a hard drive. You can't avoid the ring road, but I went along the 'quieter' roads rather than the bypass as I was struggling to get above thirty when the speed limit is forty, and I thought it would be safer for other drivers. I don't know why I find it so scary, as it isn't a hard run. However, every time I even consider going on the ring road, I get overwhelmed by dread. I even came back an incredibly long way round, just to avoid the ring road.

I settled down to do some writing and bear decided he really needed some thicker paper. He's using gel pens in adult colouring books, and, to avoid the ink going through the page, he's scanning them on our rickety printer and colouring in the pic. He found the normal printer paper very flimsy, and after watching some YouTube videos and a certain amount of research decided he needed thicker paper. I accepted that I would get no peace until he had card stock, and knew that they used to stock it at Makro, so I drove us there - on the dratted ring road. When I got there, most of the car park was closed off as well, so I had an awful time trying to park. This was a shame, as they no longer did the card stock that I had bought there many years ago.

When we got back in the car, I had a brainwave and suggested we went to Office Outlet. It was scary, but I had to have a go. This meant driving nearly into Leeds centre, changing lanes, complicated and busy roundabouts and unfamiliar junctions. Also, Office Outlet had closed.

Then I remembered that there was a Works shop a few miles along Kirkstall Road which is an incredibly busy road which is on the route from Leeds Bradford airport to Leeds city centre and is festooned with speed cameras and bus lanes - and I had to change lanes a few times. At one point I had to go quite a distance to find somewhere to turn around, as I was in the wrong lane and couldn't make the turning. We picked up some incredibly expensive (to me, anyway) thicker paper and had a drink at Costa. Which is where the zip on my handbag irretrievably broke.

I was so stressed about the handbag. I have only had it a few months and I paid full price for it. As far as handbags go, £24.99 is not a lot for a bag, but it's at least double what I normally pay. I could have wept. Also, the small amount of walking set off bear's leg.

Then I couldn't make the dratted chicken traybake we had planned as the dratted mince I got in would have gone out of date if it wasn't used up tonight. So we had mince and potatoes. The men ate it up happily enough, so I'm calling it a limp success.

One good thing came out of today. Random events triggered a memory and I told bear about Jonathan Creek, the show about someone who creates magical illusions for a living and who solves murders. We watched a couple on Netflix and bear was enthralled. Some of it was a little old for him, but on the whole it was fine and bear was enthralled. I suspect he now has ambitions to live in a windmill.

Writing stuff - Today's instalment of the White Hart is here. After this week, I'm proud of myself for managing the chapter. Hugs to all.

Thursday 20 June 2019

A Better Day

Bear has decided that he desperately needs to have Arteza pens. He needs them, they are a necessity, please can he have some, please. I decided to make a test purchase and ordered a variety pack of sixty which cost @ £13 and which was a down payment on an awesome parents' evening. He is now hinting at expensive paper. I am unenthusiastic.

Bear was on pins waiting for this. We were evening tracking the package. He couldn't get to the door fast enough. It was actually a delivery sort of day. We had the Approved Food delivery, the pens, some microfibre cloths I want to keep just for the car, a long handled thingy that apparently everyone I know uses to demist car windows and some silicone washing up gloves. The pens, of course, were the last to arrive. Bear settled down with an adult colouring book, the pens and occasional complaint about his colour blindness and produced this.

At the top of the picture you may see the graph paper and the key that bear makes with a square of each colour and a note of what it is called. I had to explain to him that it wasn't crimson but brown, and it wasn't blue but purple, but on the whole he got it.

The whole colour blindness thing is hitting bear hard. He had heard that there were glasses that could help, but when we did the research, the scientific reception wasn't heavily in favour. We'll ask the optician next time we go.

Tonight we had Vegan Shepherd's Pie. According to the Tesco site, it's £1.91 per serving. I had a quick look. I hadn't learned my lesson when I ordered the ingredients, so I blindly allowed them to put on the fancy Merchant Gourmet ready to eat puy lentils. I will hesitate before I do that again, they were £2! but if I had bought a tin it would have been 55p and I daresay even less expensive if I had used dried green lentils. I had a quick overview, and I think that I could probably get it down to @ 90p per person, assuming parsley in the garden and slugs of oil from a bottle already in plus lazy garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes. I'll definitely make it again. DH went back for seconds and bear almost inhaled it. I enjoyed it a lot as well. Next time I will not crush new potatoes and mix them with parsley to use as a topping but use proper mash and perhaps sage instead, or oregano. Tomorrow, all being well, it's a chicken and sweet potato tray-bake. Bear is very keen. I'm going to keep searching out recipes like this as I think it's going to keep us eating extremely healthily and if I keep my wits about me it will save some pennies.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

No Pic Available

I completely messed up the attempts at taking a pic of a lady blackbird having a bath in a puddle in the street. She was very indignant because I was trying to drive past and I was interrupting her 'me' time. Eventually she hopped out of the way but by the time I had parked she was back and splashing water everywhere. I tried again but what lady wants to have pics taken in the bath by a stranger, so she flew off.

I also failed to take a pic of dinner. I made Cod with lemon and olives, from the Tesco site, and it worked out quite well. I think I would cook the baby potatoes for a little longer, but I only got the cheap ones, and I think I will steam the cod and just finish it in the pan next time. I may even get the frozen white fish fillets, as the flavours were strong. I thought the olives had a tendency to make it a little oily, but then I often skimp on the oil in other recipes. Tomorrow I'm planning the vegan shepherd's pie, also from Tesco. I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I don't worry about always having meat, I just try to make sure that there is plenty of nutrition in the day overall. Fingers crossed that I'll remember to take a pic.

Bear has been at home all day. His knee is very sore, so he has been fed up but remarkably well behaved. He's been carefully avoiding any of the homework he could theoretically get on with and just generally hanging out. I'm shopping for a replacement silicone stirring spoon. I managed to split mine, but I don't like wooden spoons as I worry that they get stained and split. Did you know, you can get dust covers for your mug? Honest! That's how they are described here. I consider myself an epic failure in housewifery but even I don't need dust covers for my cuppa. It's a great idea if you want to keep a cuppa warm, though. I didn't get one.

I need to keep more shopping online. While shopping for the silicone spoon I may have picked up two silicone butterfly thingies to pick up hot pan lids and plates, but it could be worse. I nipped out to Aldi today (in the car!) and while I only spent £13.67, £11.68 was impulse buying, including £7.98 as they had some small footballs, and I bought a couple knowing how I would get through them over the summer.

School is shut for bear for the next two days, so we are planning calm days. Bear won't be able to do too much. His knee is picking up, but I'm trying to keep it rested. At the moment he is playing a riotous game of Monopoly with DH. I'll see how he goes. Hugs to all.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Quiet Day

Bear's knee was so bad this morning that I couldn't send him in. He was seriously struggling. So I have spent most of today keeping a close eye on him. The poor kid is really suffering and the paracetamol seems to be bouncing off the pain. Hid did manage to play quite a few computer games, however, and spend some time drooling over lists of pens on Amazon. I can see that his good parent's evening is going to be expensive!

Writing Stuff - I have had a short snippet of Digging up the Past read out by the awesome Timothy Bateson. It felt really odd hearing my words in someone else's voice. If you are interested, the link is here. Apparently Audio Books are the next big thing and there are thingies within Amazon which can help Indie Authors to turn their ebooks into audio books. If I ever start producing a decent amount of work I may consider it. Timothy and others from the OWS Cycon 2019 have read dozens of snippets from a swathe of authors, so if you feel like checking it out, have a look here and look at the Storytime videos. You may find some new authors that way.

I've also had a go at the flash fiction, and you can have a look at 'Wrong Funeral' here. I hope to get some more flash fiction over the next few weeks, fingers crossed.

Image from Pixabay

Hugs to all.

Monday 17 June 2019

Typical Monday

We were late out of the house as there was confusion over bear's games kit and I was struggling to get the car demisted. I managed to get bear to school okay, but then I got lost trying to get to Dewsbury Country Park. According to Google, it's a reclaimed space on a former landfill site, and a wonderful place to walk. I accidentally found a way to the car park I would need to use if I ever went to Dewsbury Market straight from dropping bear off. I hope I can remember it (odds are against it) as it is a great little market with lots of old fashioned stalls.

I found this route by taking the wrong turn, realising too late and then ending up in the wrong lane. Before I knew it I was heading away from all places I knew towards Brighouse, but I took a random turn and found myself next to the turn off for Dewsbury Country Park. It was shut and looked like the car park had been closed for some time. This is a shame as it is around ten minutes from where I drop bear off, if I go the correct route, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to have nice walks.

All the pics I took had a blurred edge of a finger in them. It's been that sort of day. It wasn't too hard to find the way back, though of course now I started hitting peak traffic, but I managed to get to Tesco from there, more by luck than good judgement.

Of course I forgot the thing I wanted from Tesco - crab paste! It's the only paste I found that is gluten free and I have some gluten free bread. I adore paste on toast and I really felt like I needed a pick me up. I remembered to pick up some teaspoons (I never know what happens to them here!) and ended up buying some Method hand wash. It may be on offer, but it is still expensive. However I love the shape of the bottle and I intend to fill the cute bottle with value price bubble bath once it's used up. I am going to have to stick to online shopping or learn to avoid impulse buying.

I got home without crashing, which I consider a win. I couldn't work out how to get a picture from my dashcam of the moment when a pigeon swooped at my windscreen just as I was approaching a busy roundabout. I checked the video, and the dashcam is central on the windscreen so you don't get the same effect as I experienced with the pigeon approaching rapidly, straight for the driver. I think I only caught the dratted thing's tail feathers, which was something. I may have been alarmed, but I wouldn't want the bird to be hurt. Also, I'm quite proud as while I definitely flinched, I didn't swerve.

Fortunately picking bear up from climbing was uneventful, but I managed to blow all the lights trying to change a bulb.

At the moment,  I feel like I'm being eaten alive by ants, so I guess the gluten free snack I had at Tesco was less than gluten free and I have the biggest case of PMT I have had for years. I've gone over this post a few times, translating it into English and trying to get it to make sense, so I hope it works.

So now I am going to start an unnecessary new project with some yarn I should not have picked up from the charity shop and watch YouTube videos. Today has had some fail about it. I am sure tomorrow will be better. Also:

Why did the scarecrow get an award?

He was outstanding in his field...

Hugs to all

Sunday 16 June 2019

Father's Day

Bear was very insistent that we had to do a good father's day for DH, especially as he had been away for a week. We had many discussions about this in the last few months, as DH is awful to buy for. He doesn't really collect stuff, he doesn't drink much and he doesn't have many wants.

DH is a huge fan of the Yes Minister series, and has the books (which are soooo much better than the tv series) and they are ragged. They are one stage away from shedding pages. The stiff paperback covers are more like felt. So bear and I agreed that DH's father's day present would be new copies of these books, before his current copies fell to compost. We got it right - DH was thrilled!

DH went out on his usual Sunday morning routine and came back with a 'Game of Thrones' themed Monopoly set. I sat and listened while bear and DH bickered and joked through the game and had an amazing time. Then poor DH, he had to make his own dinner. I can't cook steak to save my life, but I had the gently fried onions and mushrooms and new potatoes sorted, and a nice cheesecake in the fridge, but he had to do the steak. I don't think he minded.

I have been looking at the recipes on the Tesco site and I mentioned to DH that one recipe came out at £4.29 per serving before sides! DH didn't understand why I was surprised. It's cod with lemon and olives, if you are interested, and I haven't tried it, but if you assume parsley from the garden, a dash of oil from an existing bottle, olives from an already bought jar and used frozen cod instead of fresh, you could get it down to say £4.51 for two, or around £2.25 each (remember - original recipe is £4.29 each but includes the cost of a whole bottle of olive oil). If you used the generic frozen white fish fillets, which would tempt me as they were being cooked with strong flavours, then the price would go to @ £1.45 each (I think - bear hasn't checked the numbers).

So the very nice rump steak which fed bear and DH tonight and DH will have tomorrow as well, managed three meals for £7.50, is a lot cheaper than the fancy fish dish!

I was thinking of playing around with Tesco's meal planner on their site, but I think I should have to do a lot of very careful checking before I press 'add to shopping basket'. I suppose it's a great way for them to sell groceries, but I shall have to proceed with caution!

Saturday 15 June 2019

Much Rain!

We haven't been hit as hard as some places, but it's been extremely wet here. We have all been hanging out, with bear's pal also visiting and it's been very chill. Bear and his pal have been playing a very complicated game where you start with a seven and aces are something and twos are something and so are tens and nines are something different - in other words, ideal for young lads. DH has had a go with it, but I think the rules may be too complicated for me.

I really need to learn how to use my dashcam properly. I got it as a deterrent, but it was interesting as I popped out to pick up some stuff for dinner. I decided to have a drive out to the usual Tesco, but on the way there I turned off onto the road to Oakwell Hall. It was closing, as it was quite late, so I didn't go in, but the drive up there was unexpected. I had looked at the maps on Google and thought it would be a normal road, through the usual, nondescript farmland. Instead it was a very narrow lane, with passing points, and a tunnel effect as the trees met overhead. Did I mention it was raining? It was raining with venom and malice. The road was running with water and I kicked up a lot of spray. At one point I swear it was like driving across a ford. I've never driven officially across a ford, but I've been a passenger quite a few times and it seemed very like it. The water was a few inches deep, and several yards across, and I took it steady and it was fine! If I had realised it wasn't just a damp patch on the tarmac, I may have hesitated, but I'm glad I didn't. I just paused in the car park, then, as it was shut, I went back. Definitely taking bear there. I checked my dashcam, and I didn't get the spray or the ford well, so I need to try and sort that out.

Yesterday, before DH came home (he had been away to visit friends, who were awesome and wonderful to him, so thank you for looking after him if you are reading this) I called in to the tip and took the back roads to Heckmondwike, and it's another great run with narrow country lanes and lots of tight bends. I don't think I'm made for motorway.

I'm sure I'll get tired of talking about driving soon, but it's quite big for me at the moment. And fun. It's really lots of fun!

Hugs to all.

Friday 14 June 2019

In Haste

DH is back after a week away with friends. Back tomorrow.

Latest from the White Hart is here.

Thursday 13 June 2019

Parents' Evening!

Bear was awesome. There were a few issues here and there with English (including the dreaded handwriting) but otherwise he was praised to the skies. He is apparently a pleasure to teach, enthusiastic and has a great work ethic.

The last is really important to me. Everything academic comes easily to bear and I have always worried that he wouldn't make too much of an effort. I am sooo proud.

So pleased for him. And I will admit that, actually, I could push him a bit more. I have a habit of letting him get on with it and if he doesn't get stuff done then it's on him (apart from the poems, I helped with those). When it comes to doing the extra work, and pushing the extension work and putting the extra effort in, it's down to him, not me or DH. And I'm letting the 2 in RE go.

And he was one of a few who were asked to speak to the head teacher and given a pep talk on how well he has done and what a credit to the school he was. I can't stop smiling. So, so proud of him!

Bear is working out what rewards he can get. I think he should do pretty well out of this.

Of to practice being smug now, although I can't take much credit. I can at least bask in reflected glory.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Cooking Fail

It wasn't a bad fail, just a minor fail, but I made the carrot and ginger soup from Jack Monroe's Tin Can Cook for bear and his pal and they weren't impressed. Normally they inhale home made soup, but they didn't really bother with this. I may try it again with fresh carrots instead of tinned, as I think tinned carrots do not taste the same. Also, I used frozen ginger and garlic, and I don't think it was very good.

Bear's full exam results are in, and the school sent them to parents in an email so that they kids can't blag their way out of trouble. Bear did very well in some subjects. We weren't given exact scores, just a score from 1-9, and bear got the top score in a couple of subjects. I will be pushing him to do better on others and will speak to the teachers tomorrow at parents' evening about what we can do to bring some of the scores higher. He got a 2 in Religious Education. I'm not getting involved in that. As long as he knows that intolerance on the grounds of religion will get him into extreme trouble, and that he should ask rather than assume, I'll let it go.

I swear I am seeing weirder stuff on the roads. Fortunately bear was my witness on two occasions today when someone literally pulled out in front of me, once coming around a bend at high speed and once trying to pull out in front of me even though they could see me coming! I had a great time after I dropped some rubbish at the tip. I must go there every day, I've decided, as I always seem to make mistakes and the best way to cure that is to keep going. I found a 'short' cut through the back roads from the tip to the route to bear's school and the road bends like a snake with the giggles. It's awesome.

It has been so cold and wet today. I really hope we get some summer soon.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Driven to Distraction

Eloise - I completely agree - and so does bear!

wherethejourneytakesme - the school had a uniform inspection last week - I thought that was awful! Keep an eye out for a purple Citroen with four P plates (two on each end) belting around in the wrong lane with cries of 'Oh Bugger!' ringing out!

Bless - I'm not sure about getting Monday over with and everything being easier. I get ambushed all week lol!

Today was one of those days when you never quite catch up with your own shadow. I staggered downstairs to find bear looking cross. He had just checked his homework. The school set homework which bear can check online, and while it was set last Friday, bear apparently didn't check. This particular homework was due in today and was to print out and bring in his three favourite poems. Bear doesn't have three favourite poems. None of the twelve year olds I know have any favourite poems. Bear remembered Jabberwocky and I contributed I meant to do my work today and From a Railway Carriage and got them printed out for him while he looked for a book, getting more and more frantic until he found it under his bag.

I drove him to school, dropped him off and got stuck in a traffic jam on the way back. I parked neatly outside the house and realised that bear had gone into school and taken my keys. I rang school and they were very kind and let me collect them from reception. On the way back to his school I got stuck behind a farm truck, a bin lorry and when a hearse pulled out in front of me I said some rude words. Fortunately the hearse turned off before I could make the car blush. Then I tried to park in the school car park. I didn't realise how tiny and congested it was. I ended up doing a 42 point turn to try and get my poor car facing the right way and, without meaning to, obstructed bear's deputy head of year and a disabled badge holder as I tried to find somewhere safe to stop - I apologised to the badge holder once I got inside reception and she was lovely and forgiving, but I felt dreadful.

I picked up the keys, went home and had a moment, before going on a driving lesson. I did not feel up to the motorway so I had some practice in awkward urban driving, which didn't go too bad apart from me nearly running a red light. Then I went back to pick up bear and brought him home, uneventfully, although I did see a near miss on one of the roundabouts. I was just so grateful that it wasn't anything to do with me!

Writing stuff - I did a book review of the Prequels of Shadows over Seattle by Timothy Bateson. I know Timothy Bateson. We have swapped posts and Timothy does some awesome work sharing stuff for other authors (including me). If you are interested in books, check out his blog which has loads of reviews, interviews, character insights and news. I should mention - I paid for the books and didn't tell Timothy I was going to write a review just in case I didn't like them, but I thought they were awesome. They are quite short, so you may consider them too short for 99p, but I enjoyed them and I'm looking forward to seeing the full novel.

Tomorrow has to be less frenetic. Hugs to all.

Monday 10 June 2019

It's Only Monday!

Sharon - I know! Marks and Spencers have trousers that are designed to be let down, with adjustable waists and variable lengths. With 20% off, they are not much dearer than other brands. I don't even want to think about shoes. Bear has to last out until 19th July. Please let him last out that long!

Wherethejourneytakesme - Some of them look like they are wearing footless tights! I'm sure it cuts off circulation in some vital areas! I suppose I looked ridiculous in my own way when I was that age, but I am keeping everything crossed that bear resists this fashion. Fortunately his school insists on trousers that move around when they walk, if you see what I mean. Stay safe with this weather!

I managed to survive a whole day of the week! The weather is getting me down, and there is some pollen in the air that is making bear and I snuffle. Fortunately it is raining with determination so the fluffy seeds that usually end up in our garden looking like a duvet has been sick haven't had much time to build up. Yesterday they got caught up in the wind and rain and it looked like it was snowing.

I picked bear up from climbing today. There is the longer route which involves narrow roads, double parked cars in narrow places and some really nasty sharp turns up steep hills. Then there is the shorter, quicker route that involves the dual carriageway. I am nervous on the dual carriageway anyway, and there was so much rain I decided to avoid the lorries doing 60mph and their spray and take the long way around. I have a driving lesson tomorrow, but I am dreading it. I'm supposed to be going on the motorway and the forecast is severe weather. We are on the edge of a warning for excessive rain, and, as I mentioned, this can mean spray. I may ask to do parking practice instead. Regardless, I got to the climbing place ridiculously early to make sure I had a safe place to park, and I got quite a lot of scarf knitted while the rain rattled on the roof.

I am planning an early night with an extra blanket.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 9 June 2019


Jill - you are awesome. I suspect the brands of pens bear is looking for are 'lots' and 'more' with an occasional dip into 'another one that's the same but it has a different squiggle on the barrel'. I am trying not to encourage him.

Bear has utterly rejected the school trousers I got as too baggy and completely too big. It might have been worth keeping them for him to grow into, but bear was clear - trousers have to be tight. Apparently that's the look for 'cool kids' and what I have seen on the school run almost makes my eyes water. Fortunately bear will see a certain amount of reason, but baggy is not permissible. The new trousers have to go back.

This is a nuisance as bear has managed to tear a seam in the current trousers. I can't find the second pair and suspect that it is somewhere in his bedroom, so that's going to have to be excavated tomorrow. I asked bear how long the trousers had been torn and he couldn't remember, but as it is a seam near the top of the leg, I'm fairly confident that it hadn't been long or bear would have noticed the draught. I stitched it up carefully, and hope that it will last through tomorrow.

I'm returning the 'baggy' trousers, which I should say are not very baggy but bear's legs are streamlined rather than trunk like and 'slim fit' (the ones he currently wears) are not very tight on him. I'll pick up a different size. Marks and Spencer do 20% off school uniform at this time of year and it's always worth getting it while it's on sale. However I could do without the running around. All I need to do now is work out which one to drive to.

We had thunder earlier, and the skies seemed to open! The rain really lashed it down and bear said that the street was a sheet of water. He was convinced we were going to be flooded. This isn't far fetched. There is a (very small) reservoir down the road which is supposed to act as a catchment for runoff if there is a lot of rain. However it gets filled with rubbish and silt regularly and overflows. When bear was a baby, it overflowed and was waist deep on the ring road - that is, the ring road I would have to cross to get to bear's school. I've been looking at alternate routes, but I would have to drive some way! Fortunately, looking at current conditions and the weather forecast, I should be okay. I wonder when summer will start?

Hugs to everyone!

Saturday 8 June 2019

Bear Does Not Smiggle

Bear loves stationery. What can I say? I could buy cartloads of pretty notebooks, fancy pens and all the wonderful fripperies that go with it. I just had a delivery of washi tape and paper bookmarks. DH also has a weakness for a browse among paper, files, and desk sets, although he doesn't indulge it as much as I do.

Today we went to the White Rose Centre to pick up some printer ink and I told bear that if he liked we could have a look in Smiggle. I told him that it was a shop with stationery in. I was partially right. I gave bear some money and waited outside for him. Within minutes he had stalked back out. Smiggle sells pens, but not the sort of pens that bear covets. Bear is interested in fineliners (?) and fountain pens. Smiggle sells fluffy pens with unicorn on them. It sells pencil cases covered in sequins and backpacks with glitter on. There were a lot of young girls in there and bear was unimpressed. I've tried to avoid stereotyping and let him follow his interests, but bear has never been interested in 'girly' stuff. Mind you, neither have I.

We ended up going to WHSmiths, where I did the same - sent him in with some money and let him get on with it - partly so I couldn't be tempted. Bear came out after a while with some goodies and then we drove home, almost without incident, although I did go a slightly longer way to avoid changing lanes. The dual carriageway was really busy and I knew I would never be able to change in time for our turn. 

Bear had spent a loooong time in WHSmiths and this evening was talking about some other sorts of pens, which I can't remember. Apparently there are YouTube channels dedicated to them and bear had seen them in WHSmiths but failed to buy one. He wondered if he could buy one online which led him to find an online shop called Cult Pens. I have warned him that it is for special occasions and big rewards only. I hope this sticks, but my pen-loving, calligraphy-using brother is dropping in tomorrow. He may be an influence.

Friday 7 June 2019

Friday, Thank Goodness

I've made it to Friday! I didn't get a walk today. Everything seemed to take so much longer than normal when I was picking up a few bits at Tesco and Aldi, and the traffic seemed so awkward. Then I took some rubbish to the tip - on the dual carriageway! I had been so nervous about that, but I did it.

I set off extra early to pick up bear as the weather forecast wasn't good and the traffic in can be difficult. I felt very smug for at least five minutes until I got stuck behind a hearse. I didn't mind, really, as the irony of it was keeping me going to Heckmondwike as the rain hammered down. It really was bad and it sounded almost like hail as I sat in the car and knitted while waiting for bear.

Tonight is definitely a night for closing the curtains and picking up the knitting.

Writing stuff - the latest instalment of the White Hart is here. I will be winding this down, mainly to stop messing up the plot lines I have for other books in the series as I keep having to adjust continuity in my works in progress, but also because I think I am running out of good things to write in it. I am looking at ways to keep it available for free.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 6 June 2019

Sort of Okay Day

I didn't get my walk today, but I did do some work in the garden and have a driving lesson. I had another go on the motorway. I am bad at changing lanes and it worries me. I found the motorway okay, once I was on it, so I'm getting there.

I also managed to get this week's White Hart instalment finished, so it should go live tomorrow lunchtime, and I've started a short story that may be worth submitting somewhere later.

Driving bear home from school was awful. We got so far and then the heavens opened! We had so much heavy rain, and I was edging up congested roads which were running with water. I was glad to get home in one piece.

Thank you for all the kind words about the eight legged beastie. The poor thing was possibly (but only possibly) more scared than me.

Sharon - I'm trying to review the good stuff, but it is so hit and miss. I'll share when I find good stuff.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Driving Crisis with Eight Legged Beasties

I dropped bear off at school and then headed towards the park for a daily walk. It had been an uneventful morning run. Then a spider ran across the inside of my windscreen, onto my rear view mirror and lurked! It's a congested run to the park, and I was trying to concentrate despite the intruder. Then the spider fell off. If spiders can say, 'oh bugger', then this probably did as she dangled just above my gear stick. Suddenly I had my attention split between a swaying arachnid and an oncoming bus.

I don't mind spiders too much, but I don't like them, and I didn't fancy putting my hand on one. If she had landed on the gear stick I may have had to finish the journey in third gear! As it was, she landed on the strap of my handbag, which made it interesting. I managed to get to the park and then very carefully shook the spider out of the car. Then I went for my walk.

I'm sure there is a lot to be found in the park. I found this today

It's urging you to look up at the sky. I turned my camera around and while you can see some sky, it isn't that impressive.

Since then I have managed a little writing, a small amount of gardening, a massive amount of getting into the wrong lane when using an unfamiliar route and a really impressive three point turn at a 'road closed' sign.

Hugs to all.

Sarah - I agree. This book was pretty good, but you really need to be careful with that style of writing.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

I Did Something!

I managed to go for a walk today, even though it was looking like rain. There were a few spots, but nothing to worry about. I'm looking forward to exploring the park properly as there are all sorts of hints that somewhere someone wanted to make it educational. For example, there is this notice next to a path.

It asks, who is eating what? This is not some sort of bloodthirsty safari, though. If you step back, you see this...

I guess they are talking about minibeasts or creepy crawlies. Mind you, I did see a couple of squirrels, so I suppose that counts. They are bound to be eating stuff.

The park is attached to a small museum, and there are notices around referring to exhibits. Bear actually asked about going there, so I may well take him at the weekend.

I went for a walk after dropping bear off (after a horrendous school run). On the way to pick him up, I dropped off some clothes at a charity shop. It was only a couple of bags, but it's a step in the right direction, so while I didn't accomplish all I wanted to do, at least I managed something.

Writing Stuff - I completely failed at writing today, but I did post a book review here, Borrowed Magic by Stephanie Foxe. It's not a bad read, with plenty of pace and interest, but it's in the first person present tense again! I want to get away from non fiction and I want to write reviews as I know how much difference it can make to an author to get a review, even if it isn't the most awesome one. I've decided to write a review a week, to broaden my reading and to hopefully give a hand to authors (or a warning to readers, but I don't want to write that sort of review). I'm starting with people I don't know, as I don't feel bad if I don't like it. I've been going on to Kindle Unlimited, looking for recent releases and seeing what I feel like. I need to find more that are not first person present tense, although Borrowed Magic is a great story and well told (if in the first person present tense. Maybe I'm just prejudiced).

Hugs to all.

Monday 3 June 2019

I Fail At Planning Again

I swear I am never putting anything on this blog that I am planning to do the next day or in the future because as soon as I do that, all my plans evaporate.

Today started okay. Bear had all his kit, was feeling more or less braced and we set off in good time without a crisis. Kate - bear is on the slim side, and there have been real issues with him actually not eating at all, not even chocolate, so while I keep a certain scepticism, I have to grit my teeth sometimes and dance around his preferences. But he went to school, and I called in at Tesco and then went for a walk in the park. I need to do more. I managed around 15 minutes today but plan on building it up to a much brisker half hour. It's only a tiny municipal park, but it has walks like this, so I should have fun.

The big problem I had today was - where and when do I collect bear. He wasn't sure whether it was rock climbing or not. I could either leave the house at 2.45 at the latest to pick him up at Heckmondwike for @ 3.30pm, when he usually reaches the car park, or I would be leaving at 4pm to go along the scary ring road to the climbing centre, getting there ridiculously early to get a parking space that I could not only get into but also get out of. The earliest bear could let me know was 3.15, so I was tentatively planning on turning up at Heckmondwike and then, if necessary, cutting through the back roads to the climbing wall. I may still go that way as the climbing wall is near the tip and so I could drop stuff off at the tip and then go along the back roads which look like a really nice run. Fortunately I had the sense to ring school and didn't end up traipsing around but went straight to the climbing depot. There weren't any charity shops nearby that had easy parking (I know!) so I have tentative plans to drop stuff off tomorrow, if I haven't just put a jinx on that. I have lots of things I need to do tomorrow. I'm not writing a single thing down.

Writing stuff - it's been an odd sort of few days, and I've been searching for my stuff on Google. This is not good for the mental health, but I was hoping to get encouraged. Instead I found that there were pirated copies of the Forgotten Village translated into Finnish and available free. Sigh. I also found a site where I believe such things are exchanged, and someone posted, 'I need a copy of Digging up the Past' and got a free copy almost straight away. I suppose I'm sort of flattered. Someone really wanted to read something I've written. It's a shame they didn't either pay £1.56 for it or get in touch and ask if I would donate a copy in return for an honest review. Authors live and die by reviews and I haven't got many. I'm planning on doing stuff that will hopefully change that but I'll post that when it's done!

I'm going to take this as an encouragement and see if I can't get moving with the writing. I've swathes of  ideas, but I just haven't got them down. I need to get moving, but I'm not risking posting what I plan to do next!

Sunday 2 June 2019

We Won!!!

I didn't have as much of a hangover as I expected, though I was soooo happy that Liverpool won. I know that people will argue about the penalty, and that it wasn't the most sparkling game ever, but Papa Klopp and his lads brought home the trophy. I imagine it was very noisy in some parts of Liverpool.

 Today has been wonderfully dull. Bear hasn't got his bag packed tonight so I expect that I will be watering the garden tomorrow first thing. Rain is forecast, and there isn't some much garden to water as weeds, but it will get me out of the firing line when he starts to panic. At least I've found bear's other sports sock.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. Bear is back at school and I plan to sort out clothes with a view to dropping a few bags off at the Hospice shop in Heckmondwike. It has easy parking and is right next to Lidl and a pound shop, so is a perfect place to make donations. My conversion rate from plans to practice isn't good though, so I will see what happens.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 1 June 2019

Come On You Reds!

I'm posting earlier than usual today as I have a packed programme and I want to make sure I show up.

I have Jack Monroe's 'Tin Can Cook' book, which I am dipping into. It's quite interesting and I like the section on soup. I think it could be a boon as I'm trying to work out food that bear will eat. Bear is getting fussier and fussier. I nearly cried yesterday when bear decided that he didn't like the bread. He couldn't tell me what he didn't like about it, just that he didn't like it. I think he's going to break me. At the moment he will eat home made soup. He won't touch tinned soup, but I can get some more stuff in the freezer.

Today we are spending the afternoon watching 'Good Omens' on Amazon, which is predictably awesome, and then this evening we will be watching Liverpool in the Champions League Final. I am a Liverpool supporter, and I am keeping everything crossed. I will not be going to bed sober. Both are a great opportunity to get on with my knitting.

Also, Come on You Reds!