Monday 30 September 2019

And nothing much happened.

I'm taking that as a win. Today was wonderfully dull and boring. Long may it continue.

Writing stuff - This week's writing challenge is here. All welcome, on the strict condition that you have fun!

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Hugs to all. 

Sunday 29 September 2019

Drama Possibly Diminishing!

Heleng - I paid far too much for the freeze dried fruit at The Rotten Fruit Box. I am considering getting some more for Christmas. I like the variety they have.  As a Christmas treat, I can definitely justify them. They have some that look less expensive on Amazon (my search is here), but I don't know about what varieties they do.

Apparently people are moving out. I don't know how much drama there will be in the move, and what will be left, and whether there will be visits, but it looks hopeful. I feel I may have a chance to get on with some much needed stuff in the garden. I may even be able to do things like top up my wiper fluid outside the house instead of in Morrisons carpark.

I haven't got much done today, apart from iron a few shirts, but I'm feeling optimistic with the possible reduction in drama, so gearing up to get busy next week.

Writing stuff - From tomorrow, there will be a post every day from me throughout October, so be warned.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 28 September 2019

Wasted Day

Well, a sort of wasted day. I've done a few little bits of washing and stuff, but my girlie bits have not been behaving nicely so I've been working on some writing stuff.

Bear and his pal have been hanging out, and both have approved of the freeze dried strawberries. I got a pack in to try and they went down very well. They were rather expensive, so definitely a treat rather than a staple, but I thought they would be nice for Christmas. The freeze dried fruit can be refreshingly sharp, and a nice contrast to the rich Christmas food.

I'll spend some time this evening making lists and see where I go from there.

Hugs to all.

Friday 27 September 2019

Always Something New

Tonight I found out how scary it can be doing a three point turn in the dark. Somebody in the street is moving something in a van. I'm not exactly sure what, and it's none of my business, but they needed me to move my car so they could get past. I have driven in the dark before, but never had to do manoeuvres like turning in a tight space. I'm not looking forward to the dark mornings and evenings when I'm driving, and they will be here before I know it.

I hope by that time they will have finished the roadworks on the usual route. The sign said, 'roadworks start on 10th September for two weeks'. I don't like calling it a liar, but it's seventeen days on and there is still a hole in the middle of the crossroads that would hold a double decker bus. Mind you, the weather hasn't helped them. I have sat there for far too long since the road works started. The main alternative is a fun drive - in daylight and good weather. There are lots of tight bends, strange speed limits and complicated roundabouts and I find it fun. I'm just not sure I want to do it in the dark.

In other news, I have booked someone to give a quote for all the stuff that needs doing. They are coming next Friday. I have a lot of writing stuff on before then and the house is overflowing. I'll just have to do my best.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 26 September 2019

Feeling Treated!

Guess what came in the post today - my copy of Trickster's Treats Volume 3, the Seven Deadly Sins..

I am obviously thrilled to see my name in print, but regardless, it is for a good cause. All profits go directly to the charity. I don't get a royalty. I do, however, get to feel smug for not only making the edition but also being part of a wonderful charity.

Tonight's dinner was out of a jar. I fried up some chicken and onions and added a jar of sauce. The men were so thrilled by it that I may have unilaterally decided to stick with jars for some time. 

Drama in the street continues, and I was left a little shaken tonight. It was much easier driving through the blinding rain which came down in sheets early on, and then went to bright sunshine! 

Hugs to all. 

Wednesday 25 September 2019

What a Difference a Day Makes

Drama in street continues.

The top picture is yesterday (and the phone helpfully 'fixed' the lighting), and the bottom picture is today from roughly the same place and at roughly the same time. The driving was a lot easier. Today was overcast with a few spots of rain, but nothing like the downpours we had yesterday.

Bear is continuing bear and wolfed down all his mash, most of his sausage and ignored the peas. Apparently I am making a curry tomorrow. I am considering a jar of sauce, as I don't feel I have a clue where to start with something decent. I know a few tricks, but I have so much to do, and I'm not sure bear will eat rice.

I am also short of time. I have to actually get the house sorted. I have been dithering about it for years - quite literally. However, the bathroom sink is falling off the wall so I can't mess around much longer. To be honest, I don't know where to start. I'll just go for it, I think.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Scary Weather

I am well aware that I am luckier than many people, and the weather I've dealt with has been nothing compared to floods and storms elsewhere. On the other hand, it was quite bad enough for me!

I dropped bear off at school this morning, then tootled into Morrisons car park to pick up some parcels I had sent to the Amazon locker. Between dropping off bear (maybe a spot of light drizzle) and picking up the parcels (the skies had opened and rain was coming down in sheets) was around five minutes. It was teeming. Then I drove very carefully to Aldi (scary heavy rain, not much visibility, lots and lots of water on the road) where I got drenched picking up the pasta bake sauce that had been requested. As it was still hammering down I called in to Tesco for a hot drink and a wait. It was still like a power shower outside, you could see the rain running off the smoking shelter like it was being hosed down.

I called in at the park, as I thought it would be nice to sit for a little under the trees and enjoy the cool rain. The first issue I had was that I had to drive through what I thought was just a wide, shallow puddle but instead was a pond, and then, when I parked up, I either had the windows open with rain lashing in onto my knitting or the car steamed up like a sweat box. I was glad to get home.

The journey to pick up bear wasn't easy, either. On the way, there was a heavy shower and the gutter was running with water. Again, I thought it was a normal puddle, but it was a serious amount of water and I was really worried about getting water in the engine. I took it steady in low gear and kept everything crossed. On the way back, the water had drained away as it had briefly stopped raining, but you could see the grates at the side of the road had been displaced through the force of the water being pushed through the drains.

When I parked up to wait for bear, it was by this beck.

You can see water gushing from a drain cover and the vegetation getting drowned.

As I said, it was drier on the way back, but the weather is still hit and miss. I parked up and went in to my home, and there were a few spots of drizzle. It was still only faintly damp when I went back to pick up the phone I forgot.  However I got considerable wetter when, two minutes later, I went to get the parcels I had forgotten and it had started teeming.

Today was the last lesson from bear's awesome piano teacher. He has been teaching bear for almost exactly five years. Bear and I are so sad, but understand the decision. The lovely violin teacher should be able to help out, at least for the first few grades. We haven't had bear sit music exams up to now, as we didn't think the extra pressure was worth it. Now we are considering the situation, as if bear gets to a good grade, it can help towards his university applications. If we are going to do them, it would be better if it was at a time before the scary GCSEs, and it looks like it is all in hand. I'm going to really miss bear's piano teacher, though. He has seen us go through so much, has been incredibly understanding, wonderfully patient with bear and generally been amazing. It feels like a very sad day.

Writing stuff - my response to the writing challenge is here. It is, I think, a reasonable reflection of the medieval mindset. Anyone can join in, and it doesn't have a timer on it. Rogier wrote an amazing story which he linked yesterday from last week's challenge.

Hugs to all.

Monday 23 September 2019

Another Week Started

I'm writing this in an extremely sleep deprived state, so anything could happen. I tried to take a nap this afternoon, but I got a phone call just as I was getting settled. Fortunately it was good news that someone who was relying on Thomas Cook managed to get home, so I didn't really mind, but I am shattered.

I am also disappointed. Tonight we had turkey mince, cooked up with onion, lots of garlic, a little chicken gravy, peas and mango chutney, served with plain mash. There was supposed to be pickled mushrooms stirred through, but there was a slight issue. I bought some of the Sarson's Quick Pickling vinegar, link here, which was a complete impulse buy from when I last called into Tesco. According to the label, you can pickle food in 15 minutes, just pour over. I haven't done pickled mushrooms for years and they can really add a spark to a stir fry or stew type meal, and I thought it would take the pressure off messing around with pickling spice and salting the mushrooms. Tonight I read the bottle properly. It contains gluten. I could have cried. So I sliced up some mushrooms and poured the stuff over and bear and DH thoroughly approved.

Uncle used to make ferocious pickled onion, heavy on the chili, but with a good flavour, not just heat. I miss those as well. There are some interesting recipes on the Sarsons website, and I may get some stuff made up ready for Christmas, as it is getting that time.

Bear had an awesome violin lesson and it looks like he will be able to get piano lessons from the violin tutor, so that's a help. I wonder if the tutor knows what she could be letting herself in for.

Writing stuff - Today's writing challenge is up and is a miracle as I put it together during the morning rush as I hustled bear to school. However, I'm quite intrigued by it. Link is here.

Hugs to all.

Photo by Mahfuzur Rahman on Unsplash

Sunday 22 September 2019

Need a longer Weekend

Everyone has been fed, clothes are ready for tomorrow, kit is ready for tomorrow, planner has been signed. We are poised for the start of a new week.

I'm not sure what I'm doing when I sign the planner as I can't read bear's writing. He uses it, apparently effectively, but I just sign and hope.

Today we had a great time watching Dr Strange. I don't know how we are going to go on after we run out of Marvel movies. I'm sure that we'll think of something.

Today is not my birthday. However it's the day I put down as my birthday on Facebook. I've had some lovely messages from wonderful people I have met on there. I have also had some extremely odd communications. The world is a strange and wonderful place, and every time I think I'm imagining something weird, something far stranger comes along.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 21 September 2019

More Movement Needed

Today was very quiet. I did a little ironing and some writing, and that was about it. It was wonderfully calm. The weather is likely to get stormy next week, but today was lovely and sunny.

One reason that I got so little done was because bear's pal wasn't around for very long so bear, DH and I watched the end of Winter Soldier and then Avengers Civil War while having a picnic dinner. It was great, hanging out. We've gone through so many of the Marvel films recently, we will soon have run out!

Then I watched Strictly, which I loved. It looks like there will be a lot of fun in it. I have a sneaky weakness for David James, as I remember how awesome he was as England goalkeeper (and a few hiccups), and anyone who played for Liverpool can't be all bad. Having watched the show, I think that there will be a lot of wonderful performances from everyone.

Bless - back in the old days, police cars in my area were also black and white and known as panda cars, but now they look like this...

File:Police Car, UK.jpg

That one is from Cheshire, where I was born. Not so elegant, but very visible. You can tell when a police car is near because of all the other traffic suddenly slowing down, indicating and following lane discipline.

Sharon - because I learned to drive so late, my instructor suggested I drive every day so that I don't forget stuff. I probably won't drive this weekend, but I drive five days a week in term time, and then I get out at least every other day in the holidays. I'm also aiming to drive somewhere new every week, so I don't get scared if I have to go to an unfamiliar place. Sometimes I worry that I make myself nervous because I think I ought to be nervous. Yesterday I went over an iron bridge that was strictly one car's width with very little margin for error. I felt I ought to be worried, but there may have been a 'woohoo!!!' as I got off the bridge. Then there are the times when I am genuinely terrified. There are a lot of blind corners and tight bends in my neck of the woods and there are times when I just want to pull over and have a moment. I'll get there, and I really appreciate the support, as it is still so new to me, even after these months.

Writing Stuff - there is likely to be links to stuff every day throughout October, as I've signed up for at least one slot on Timothy Bateson's 31 days of October, as well as October Fright Nights, so be braced. It should calm down afterwards. 

Hugs to all. 

Friday 20 September 2019

I Shouldn't Have Turned Left

Pam - we have one collection a fortnight for one wheelie bin only and no extras, and I seem to generate a lot of rubbish. Also the drive to the tip is a little challenging for me at the moment, so I'm finding excuses to go.

Wherethejourneytakesme - I only follow superstitions if I think it makes life more fun. I consider them interesting but optional. My late mother and grandmother would be horrified.

Bear had an early finish today (again) so I weighed up whether I should go for a drive today and stay home tomorrow, as I normally go out on Saturdays but not only is the weather likely to be warm, but there is a Yorkshire cycling race happening which would be limiting, or whether I should just go home. I had a cup of tea in Tesco and decided I would go to a farm shop near Huddersfield and see what veggies they had as I was planning soup. Unfortunately there were roadworks and I was getting fed up so I turned left, noticing a sign for Barnsley as I turned.

This took me into the edge of the Pennines. Some of the roads I ended up on didn't have a white line in the centre and there was one memorable stretch where there was a very frail fence and a foot of tufty grass between me on the road and a steep riverbank. I had to do a lot of steep climbing and some very tight corners. It was awesome.

I paused at Brighouse before going back to Dewsbury, where I found this.

I didn't get a good pic, as I was stuck in bright sunlight, but it says 'Los Angeles Police' on the side, and has the steering wheel on the other side of the car, that is, where it should be if you drive on the right. Apparently you can rent them, I found a website here, but I think that there are a few other sites around.

Then I trusted my satnav to take me to Heckmondwike and it took me down all sorts of back ways which was good fun, and I picked up bear and his pal.

Dinner tonight was soup, and was a fail. I used carrots instead of sweet potato and cajun seasoning instead of the middle eastern spices I normally use. Normally bear and his pal drain the soup bowls without hesitation, but they didn't like it tonight. Back to the old faithful recipe.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 19 September 2019

Shoutout to my Grandmother

Drama on the street continues. I heard someone mention something about a person being left handed, and I was sort of reminded of my late grandmother.

My late grandmother was a very superstitious woman. Her mother was a spiritualist medium, most of her large family and her inlaws were in either the Merchant or Royal Navy, so there were all the superstitions of sailors, and she grew up in Birkenhead surrounded by Scots, Welsh and Irish. She got genuinely upset when I put my left shoe on first, and would only use one type of soap ever because she had had a message at a Spiritualist meeting. She wasn't the most intellectual of the family, but she had a heart of gold. She also had a habit of non-stop conversation. I remember listening to the stories about inappropriate whistling (women and on ship), how to stir cake mix so it wouldn't curdle (not towards the left!) and the day her father's arm was struck dead (long, involved, and concerning a missing sixpence).

One thing she never did was talk to me about the superstitions of people who are left handed. There are so many of them, but she never said anything at all. Today, as my mind wandered around the ideas of superstition and lefthandedness, I put two and two together and realised why. My late father was left handed. The divorce between him and my mother was vicious, bitter and protracted and caused immense upheaval in both families, but despite everything, she never said a bad word about him to me, and certainly never mentioned anything about handedness. He also had quite reddish hair when he was younger, which is almost as bad when it comes to superstitions. She never said a word about that either. I think I need to aim to be more like her.

Writing stuff - I said there would be some coming up, and the Trickster's Treats Anthology No3 is out now in paperback, ebook to follow. There are 49 quite short stories, seven for each of the seven deadly sins, all around 700 words long. It includes one from me, called Avarice, which is under 'Greed' and stars our very own Rev Darren King. Important This anthology is supporting charity:water, an incredibly good cause. All donated money goes to bringing clean water to people in need. If some spooky stories around the theme of the seven deadly sins is your thing, and you agree with the charity, then check it out.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Lovely and Quiet

Wherethejourneytakesme - those steps actually end at a concrete car park and are probably an accident waiting to happen, but I suppose people are usually sensible enough to take care on steep steps (I hope!)

I'm definitely going to look for another piano teacher, and bear would like it to be sooner rather than later. I'm going to make the most of this enthusiasm.

I'm feeling a little good about myself as I went to the tip today and used the ring road. It is much quicker, and I needed to be as I was delayed trying (and failing) to get a huge wasp out of the porch. It's the time of year when they are looking for somewhere to overwinter, I suppose, and our porch has been targeted before. The last I saw of it was an unduly large and evil face looking down at me from the door frame, tilting its head like something out of a horror movie. I am officially unimpressed. I mentioned it to bear, who said, and I quote, 'It's only a wasp, mother, get a grip! Why is everyone so stressed about wasps?' Yes, he called me mother. I think I'm going to have to get  used to that.

Dinner was also a success. I made the hopping john recipe from here, except I used some of the diced frozen chorizo that I had left over from something else instead of bacon. It was too spicy for me, but bear and DH couldn't get enough.

Watch out for loads of writing stuff over the next few months. I've signed up for the October Fright Nights, so I will be sharing other people's posts on that, and I'm considering posting a piece of spooky fiction per day through October - not all of it new, but having some new stuff mixed in with the old. Then there will be two anthologies I have been accepted into that are being published around then, and I am actually under contract to help publicise, so there will be lots of stuff about those. I'll tuck it at the end, so you can skip it, but I hope you can find things you are interested in.

Now off for a quiet night.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Crazy Day!

Wherethejourneytakesme - I think our local squirrels have been at the horse chestnuts.

I woke up to an acceptance. A short story I wrote is going to be included in 'Grumpy Old Gods Vol 3'. I'll share more about that when publication gets nearer, but writing about the Old Gods who are in retirement and grouchy with it was irresistible and I feel really lucky to be included.

I dropped bear and his pal off at school, picked up some odds and ends at Tesco and then got lost in their car park. They are having work done to their car park which means all sorts of places are cordoned off - including the only exit I know! The other exit (which took some tracking down) leads eventually to a crossroads which I had encountered a few times during driving lessons and which is fairly evil. It has to be approached with care, but I had done it enough times that I could just use clutch and brake and didn't need harsh language.

I stopped off for a walk in the park, and went far enough to give me severe knee ache. They are not doing well. It was worth it, as I was walking in the woods quite early and it was incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately I got lost again and ended up coming down these steps. They are steeper than they look!

I thought I was incredibly brave as my track record of falling down steps isn't good. Next time I shall just backtrack. It was still worth it, and I got doggy cuddles as well.

I had barely got home when I was out again as my awesome driving instructor took me around Leeds town centre. It is not an easy place to drive, but I am cautiously confident that I wouldn't cause a major incident if I went in on my own. I drive for hours without issue if I'm just going where I want on a day out, but today left me utterly drained. I didn't even call in home, but went straight to pick up bear.

We got home and bear voluntarily practised the violin, eventually practised the piano and then it was time for bear's piano lesson. Bear's piano teacher who is utterly, utterly awesome, is going to stop giving lessons. I am devastated. I understand, as he is busy with teaching in schools, but I am heartbroken. He has been helping bear, sometimes against all odds, for years and years now, and it feels almost like a bereavement. I completely understand, though, and I think he is doing the right thing for him. I am just a little bereft, and so is bear.

Fortunately dinner turned out alright. DH and bear inhaled the pasta bake (from a jar - the shame of it!) and now I am going to sit back and recover, after I've ironed the shirts for tomorrow.

Hugs to all (especially Jill).

Edited to add - Writing stuff - I nearly forgot! This is my reply to this week's writing challenge here.

Monday 16 September 2019

And it Feels Like a Monday

Bear had the day off school due to exam type stuff going on, so I was blessed with him all day. Fortunately for my sanity, he sent me out to get the ingredients for the Tesco Cajun beef and veg rice bowl, which we had tonight. I sneaked in a quick walk, only for a few hundred yards, but I managed to get a very poor pic of a squirrel as they were dashing about.

I also found an unexpected patch of mint.

Bear had a successful violin lesson, and now I am settling down for a quiet evening which may involve knitting.

Writing stuff - This week's writing prompt is here, all are welcome to have a go, with no need to share, but on the strict condition that you have fun.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 15 September 2019

A Quiet Weekend

I watched Last Night of the Proms last night. I only watched the second half, and I quite enjoyed it. It is a call to Britishness, with all the jingoistic greats, like 'Land of Hope and Glory', and 'Rule Britannia', but I think of it as a harmless and eccentric tradition that comes at the end of great music and celebrates an event that was originally planned to encourage new composers and to make live music available to more than the elite. There were a lot of EU flags on display - possibly as many as the traditional Union flags. I sometimes wonder if the UK has a collective case of Oppositional Defiance Disorder. When Sir Terry Pratchett said that if you asked ten gnomes to pull, three would push and two would say pardon, it kind of sums up how I'm seeing my country at the moment. Whichever way you voted, the divisions will take a long time to heal. It's heartbreaking.

On a more mundane note, I was dipping in to Tesco recipes again, and picked up a recipe for lentil soup that I shall not be following as it seems somewhat bland with no herbs or spices and just stock powder. What caught my eye, however, was the costing. According to the recipe, the recipe as written should serve 2 at £1.97 per person or £3.94 total. I went on their shopping site and costed it slightly differently

1 onion - 10p
1 carrot - 6p
1 leek - 35p (after some working out and erring on the expensive side)
1 potato - 33p (again, best guess and erring on the expensive side)
2 sticks celery - 12p (best guess, buying a bunch and using a quarter)
1 tbsp olive oil - using olive oil, the best price on Tesco's site was their own brand 1 litre bottles at 30p per 100ml. A tablespoon is 15ml, so 1 tbsp olive oil is around 5p.
1 tbsp plain flour - A good, heaped tablespoon of flour comes in at around 25g. Tesco's cheap flour, good for soup, comes at 30p per kilo, so around 1p
1 tsp stock powder - I'm going with a Tesco own brand vegetable stock cube, which is coincidentally gluten free and you can get 10 for 50p, so 5p for this.
500ml boiling water - I'm not going to cost this! It involves joules and boiling points and science and bear is out and can't work it out for me.
50g red lentils - you can buy these for £1.80 for a kilo, so 9p.

If I've added this up correctly, that's £1.16 for two portions or 58p per portion instead of the £1.97 each that Tesco quoted. Mind you, it would be slightly more expensive as I would be adding lots of herbs to this, and perhaps a good shaking of pepper. It would be even better to add another potato, possibly lose the leek and add lots of warm spices like cumin and tumeric.

There has been drama on the street, but it's away from my home, so I'm taking it as a win. Hugs to all.

Friday 13 September 2019

I made it to Friday

Bear had an early finish today, so I took him and his pal to McDonalds. He felt a little peckish around 5.30 so went to the Chinese takeaway where the lady has a soft spot for him, so he got free chips.

DH has a friend from abroad who is visiting and he and bear will be spending a lot of the weekend with her. She is utterly awesome and bear thinks that she is amazing, and I am happy to leave them to it. I am considering spending the weekend in bed.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 12 September 2019

Teenage Years are Hitting

It has come to the backing of the books. Bear said he wanted to pick up some paper to back his book with. When we were getting his eyes tested on Sunday, we also called in to The Works and looked for some good stiff paper. There wasn't any. Bear had previously admired the clear book covers a friend has, and I spotted some film that is supposed to be for backing books, and asked him if he wanted that. He said yes. I want to be clear - I had full, informed consent.

Now his story is that I forced him, with literal force, to get this stuff instead of wallpaper (he never mentioned wallpaper!). And it is all my fault! He is also after a new drinks bottle, having broke the one I got on Monday. I can't see that ending well either. I have no idea what I am doing for dinner tomorrow, but I have the awful conviction that it will be wrong. I am seriously considering taking up meditation.

Also, feeling achy. I may have a cold.

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Unexpected Jab

Bear forgot to tell me that today was the day that the school all got the HPV vaccination. Hopefully this is why he nibbled around the edges of the sausage, mash and mushy peas. He was enthusiastic enough when I started cooking, but he's feeling the injection a little, I think. He still practised the violin when we got in, and long may that habit continue!

I don't know what my excuse is. I'm really tired with a few sniffles and a slight sore throat. Normally I feel ready for anything in September. I need to pull myself together. I also need to work out what we are having for dinner tomorrow as I haven't got a single clue!

This evening DH, bear and I hung out and watched Avengers Assemble from 2012. It's ages since I saw it, and it was great to watch it again. You could see foreshadowing of Endgame in it. I have so much respect and awe for the writers.

However, I am now nodding where I sit, so I am going to crawl off to bed. Hugs to all.

Tuesday 10 September 2019

What Day is it?

Drama on the street still being dramatic and upsetting.

Bear can be a picky eater. I mean, really picky. What he will eat changes with the wind, and has no rhyme or reason. I've let him get away with it because there have been a lot of issues with his stomach and digestion, and he has been unable to face even chocolate at times. This means that come mealtimes, I can be driven hairless. He is currently rejecting all things without gluten. This does not help as I can't have gluten. It's going to be a long winter. However bear requested pasta bake and almost inhaled the Aldi jar version I made. I can't remember how much it was, but I don't think it was much. Bear enjoyed it, so that's going to added on to the list of 'things bear will probably eat if the wind is in the right direction'. Tomorrow is looking like sausage and mash.

Bear had a piano lesson today, and he's not putting as much effort in to the piano as the violin, but I'm leaving it to settle itself down, with the very occasional reminder. I can usually manage a few bits while in the car, especially as road works has added to the journey time. I don't think I have ever done the school run for more than a day or two without there being an issue with roadworks.

Writing stuff - I cheered myself up by writing a response to this week's challenge, which you can find here, if you are interested. I think after this I will aim for an early night.

Hugs to all.

Monday 9 September 2019

Making it through Monday

Drama in street continues.

Poor bear came home in agony after an extended PE session. He really suffers with his knee joints, and I'm glad he's getting a referral. He cheered up, though, as he had the first lesson with a violin tutor who was awesome. He picked things up at his usual speed, which impressed her. She was also impressed that it was bear and not me that was pushing for the violin lessons. He's doing okay, and managing tunes, which is apparently quick for someone who has only been learning since May, but he has practised a lot and he already knows quite a bit about music from his piano lessons. Bear was left in a very good mood.

Cherie - I'm worried about buying a sofa from a charity shop because I'm not sure it will fit through our door! Otherwise I am very relaxed about it, but DH is very attached to our sofa which is incredibly comfortable.

I also picked up a clock that was presented to my great great grandfather (I think that's the right number of greats) in 1887. It had been overwound and needed restoring, and I had been wanting to get it done for a while. It turns out that the watch shop in the Morrisons in Heckmondwike also does elderly clock repairs. It is older than me, DH and bear combined.

Writing stuff - this week's prompt is here, and I used a pic I took myself at the Bagshaw Museum. It was such a strange thing to see, some Goss china, which is so readily available and inexpensive, in a museum case. It caught my attention, and I think I already have an idea of what I may write. If anyone wants to join in, there is no need to share, but you can if you wish and all are welcome, as long as you have fun.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 8 September 2019

It Costs HOW Much?

Today we got bear the trainers for school. He also really, really, really a pair for at home. It cost £85 for both pairs. The trouble is, he will be judged on his trainers and he has enough going on without me adding rubbish trainers to it. Bear did point out that cheap trainers were a false economy (and what I wear) and that he needed to be able to move properly. I caved partly because one of the pending hospital referrals is for his knee joints and if he was going to wear trainers, I wanted them to be the best support they could.

We also got bear's eyes checked, and he needs reading glasses. As he is under 16 we picked up two pairs without having to pay for them, and he looks adorable in them. I didn't dare tell him that. I am so glad that they, at least, were free.

I thought we could keep going with the pair he had last year as his feet hadn't grown that much, but I couldn't find them anywhere today, and he needs them for 9am tomorrow! Fortunately I managed to unearth them, but unfortunately it was down the back of the sofa which is falling apart. The frame is okay (more or less) but the cushions are trashed. We bought the sofa before bear was a year old, and it was extremely inexpensive. I think I will look for sofa cushions online, as that may be a way to keep the sofa ticking over.

I cleared quite a lot yesterday and mentioned to DH about the re-wiring and re-decoration. He doesn't want any disruption. I don't know how I'm going to do it. Feeling a little low. Also, drama in the street continues.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 7 September 2019

Bad Day

Drama in the street continues and I'm not sure how safe I feel at home.

On the bright side, I've done loads of cleaning. The place isn't clean but it's cleaner.

Bear and his pal have been hanging out and I've left them to it. They seem happy enough and that's the important thing.

Hugs to all.

Friday 6 September 2019

I Did a Car Thing!

Today I filled up my windscreen wash fluid. In the scheme of things, it isn't exactly earth shattering, but it's the first time I've ever done it! I was so worried that I would find it complicated, but the hardest part was finding the bit of the bonnet to push to get to the washer fluid thingy. You can hardly miss the huge blue cap with the windscreen wiper icon on it. I felt very let down afterwards, as it wasn't exactly a challenge, and it wasn't helped when I found out that bear's pal, who I give lifts to, and who is 13, routinely fills up their car with the stuff. But I did it, and that's another hurdle over.

Bless, I meant to reply to your comment about the weather with you. 15C is forecast tomorrow, or around 60F, which is a little nearer shepherd's pie weather.

Tonight we had soup again, and it was successful. It's the same old mixed root veggies, onion, garlic, warm spices and lentils and was enjoyed by the men. I think I may make it a Friday staple. I can ring the changes a little and see how it goes. We have got into the habit of picnic style dinners on Saturday, and I'll try and do something nice on Sunday. I'm starting to acquire a sort of meal plan.

I had a look at Approved Food, which could be the inspiration for all sorts of meals, but nothing really grabbed me. DH has been having protein bars, and they had his brand on Approved Food. The bars were a lot less expensive on Amazon, even without a Subscribe and Save discount. You have to be so on your guard when shopping.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 5 September 2019

I Don't Need It

I saw an advert for a jacket, but it changed before I could click it and now I'm craving the jacket. It was a sort of fluffy fleece type thing and sort of a poncho. It called to me in a day where it has been all sorts of weather but starting to get chilly.

I don't really have a nice, comfy jacket. I have a thin jacket that's just like a cagoule, and a sort of hard fleece type cardigan, but this was snuggly. I could cuddle down in it while stuck in the car waiting for bear.

I'm trying to keep Saturdays to have adventures. So far this has led to me driving all over the place, getting lost, panicking, sagging with relief in supermarket car parks and generally having fun. However one thing that I quite fancy, especially as the days draw in, is to go out and find a quiet spot and just knit without any of the drama that is still overflowing the street. I'm provisionally considering the A64, which is a very major and fast moving road, but I may just go to Tescos and sit in their car park for a while and work on the blanket.

I can manage with what I have, as I have plenty of warm sweaters and it's not like I'm getting out of the car most of the time. When I do, the thin waterproof goes easily over my thick sweaters which I can layer up. In fact, I need to dig out my sweaters and get the winter slippers out, as I am currently wearing open toed sandal type slippers at the moment. If I add socks, my cozy factor goes up. And speaking of sweaters, I have bags of yarn ready to knit more.

And speaking of yarn, Marriners Yarns are now stocking chenille at £2.50 per ball. I love chenille, and I've knitted sweaters for others with it. I really do not need any more yarn, I really don't. I have a yarn mountain, even after getting rid of loads. But the chenille is calling to me. It's the snuggle factor.

I really, really don't need it, so I'm going to get a sweater, put on some socks and concentrate on getting the wool stash down.

Bear seems really happy with the teachers at the moment. I'm confident that will change, as he has brought home several hundred French words he is supposed to learn by Tuesday, but I'll take it for now.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Back at School

Bear had an okay day and I managed to get him there and back without incident, despite the efforts of that big white car that pulled out. And also despite the weather. It wasn't severe weather. Instead I left Morrisons car park in bright sunlight and had to wear sunglasses because of the glare, but within five minutes I had to put the side lights on because of the dark clouds and rain, then there was the issue of glare again, then wind and rain, then glare - it was the definition of sunshine and showers.

On the bright side, I went on the scary bypass to the tip, which was a real step for me, as I hadn't been on there for some time.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 3 September 2019

The Eve of the New School Year

Bless - I think the elephant armour in the Royal Armouries is one of the last sets left. It must have been terrifying seeing them bearing down on you, but I believe that they were unreliable and would panic and retreat, trampling their own troops. I think I would rather see an elephant in colourful cloth.

Bear starts school again tomorrow, in his second year of High School, Year Eight. Tomorrow he has all the usual admin, followed by DT Resistant Materials (no idea) and RE. I am quite religious, but bear is not, and I am resigned to low marks from there. I'm saving my energy for the core subjects and sciences. I am not sure whether or not I am taking bear's pal, and I am dreading getting up in time. I had a really bad night last night, and I'm confident that bear will not settle early but want conversation about how he is dreading school until late and I need to be out of my bed at 6am. As a night owl, I think 6am ought to be illegal. Regardless, his bag is already packed and his uniform is laid out ready.

I forgot to mention that on Sunday I used a curried shepherd's pie recipe from the Tesco site, which used apricot jam as one of the ingredients (recipe here). It is a recipe designed to feed twelve with individual ramekins for £1.81 per portion. I swapped out the 1kg of lamb mince (£8 per kilo) for 250 of turkey thigh mince (£6.32 per kilo), made the mash topping very plain, and I think we must have nearly halved the cost, even though we had three very generous portions rather than small ramekins. The apricot jam was an interesting touch. I know you see a lot of strange things in Victorian recipes trying to get the sweetness of curries from places like India and Sri Lanka, without being able to get hold of the authentic ingredients, and the apricot jam added a certain something, although I only put a little in. Next time I may put in mango chutney instead. There will be a next time, the men are quite clear about that, as it was very nice.

Writing stuff - I managed to get a response to the writing prompt this week, which is here. I used a photo I took a while back, which makes a change. I must try and keep my eyes open for good pics. If you want to have a go at the writing challenge, please feel free. It's here, but the most important thing to remember is to have fun.

Monday 2 September 2019

Another Day, Another Museum

My awesome driving instructor's daughter is starting at bear's school, so we met up to let the kids talk. We were planning on going to Armley Mills Industrial Museum. I was worried because it is a Leeds City Council Museum, and they usually shut on Mondays, but the website said it was open. The website was fake news - it was shut. So I followed my driving instructor through Leeds to the Royal Armouries where we watched a staged fight between a Viking and a Saxon (which was very well done!) with them explaining what was going on and demonstrating the weapons. Then back to Aldi and picked up a few bits before coming home. At least I remembered to get two pics.

The Hall of Steel

Elephant Armour - one of my favourite exhibits

Tonight is soup for dinner. It's cold enough. I plan to peel, chop and simmer potatoes, carrots, onions (using up spring onions that I got for salad) and celery in some good stock (from cubes) with plenty of lentils and a generous amount of cumin and tumeric. Bear's pal is staying for dinner, especially after he heard it was going to be soup.

I'm going to risk talking about plans for tomorrow. Tomorrow, I plan to iron. I have lots and lots and lots of ironing. There may be a small amount of washing and drying, but it will be mainly ironing. Also negotiating with bear to get his dratted bag packed.

Writing stuff - Here's this week's writing challenge. I failed completely last week, but I'm hoping that I'll manage something this week.

Hugs to all

Sunday 1 September 2019

It's September.

Eloise - Oakwell Hall was incredibly reasonable for the day. Some places are horrifically expensive. I find myself wondering whether you could just find a corner to sit and knit if you lived there or if you had to be always doing important stuff.

Justjill - It's really lovely, and there is a small patch of woods around with a 2 mile walk. It's not well advertised, though, and I passed it plenty of times before I realised that the sign for the turn off wasn't for a garden centre.

Wherethejourneytakesme - The little ropes aren't very visible, to be fair, and they have teasels placed carefully on the benches so you don't sit on priceless antiques!

Today was Bagshaw Museum. It was free to go in, and is a Victorian gothic house which has been a place where odds and ends have been collected for a century.

It's a little out of the way, but I found it okay. It's just off the road where I used to practice emergency stops on driving lessons.

The rooms seemed very grand

I couldn't get a pic that did the painted ceilings justice

And the landing was quite dramatic

The this fascinated me. It's a room dedicated to the Victorian seaside, but the label looks so old, and I know it opened to the public in 1911, so I wonder how long that exhibit had been patiently sat there.

They had an Egyptian room, an African Room, a South Asia room and exhibits about the Victorian seaside, the history of Batley and some scruffy stuffed animals. I don't think we will go back soon.

There was also a butterfly 'house' which is sort of a fancy greenhouse where they breed English butterflies and the lovely lady there explained all about the breeding cycles and the different tactics that the butterflies use for eggs and caterpillars. 

I've been reading all the plans people have for September. I'm very drawn to this, but I am very bad at following lists. If I say I'm going to go right, I end up going left. Besides, bear doesn't go back to school for another three days and I won't be able to do much until then. I think I need to seriously get some stuff sorted, but I think I wait until I've actually done something before I announce it.

I'm not feeling hopeful, but I'm going to go away and start working on a strategy. Then I need to work out how to stick to it. Hopefully having fun along the way.