Tuesday 31 December 2019

Goodbye 2019

Wherethejourneytakesme - you made me blush. Thank you for the compliment.

I am taking all the tips on board about emails and organising in general. I need all the help I can get.

2019 has been an odd sort of year. I completely missed so many of my targets for this year, but hit other ones. I passed my driving test, which has opened up a whole range of adventures for me, but the house is still in chaos. I failed a lot of my writing targets, but I've had some acceptances and now the book contract. I had an horrific time with the neighbours, but now they have moved out. I've had great ideas that I've failed to put into practice, but they are still there, and I can still try them.

Bear has had his health issues, but has found a lot of joy starting violin lessons. He's made friends and drifted away from some others. He's had a lot of fun with art and found that he is incredibly colourblind. 

Looking back, I was stressed and upset so much of the time, but I have a lot of good things happen which I have allowed to be overshadowed. I have borrowed too much trouble. I need to stop and appreciate the good bits while they are happening.

I was just going to post a short overview, but writing this has made me realise that this year has brought a sea change. I'm not exactly the person I was 365 days ago. Driving has made an incredible difference to my life, and now the writing is starting to be more of a reality than a dream, next year has to be different.

I have had a lot of encouragement through the last year, especially from the lovely people on here. I would like to say a sincere and genuine thank you. Hope all who read this have the most awesome year with health, wealth and happiness. New Year Hugs to all.

Monday 30 December 2019

Mortified Again

Thanks again for the good wishes. I feel incredibly hugged.

Bless - bear is officially a teenager. It's a journey. To be honest, I don't worry too much. Bear will no doubt have a rollercoaster, like all teens, and I'm sure there will be surprises, but I'm (more or less) confident that he'll keep his sensible streak around.

wherethejourneytakesme - I've always gone with getting lots of little bits along with a stack of books, but he's getting too old for the 'little bits' now. This year he asked for sheet music so I got a load from eBay and then split it between Christmas and birthday. I do the same with books - I get a massive order from somewhere like The Book People and then split it between the two. It's getting harder to guess what he would like, though, so I can see him getting money or vouchers with something small to unwrap on the day.

Today our lovely, wonderful piano and violin teacher was stuck standing on our step because I couldn't find my keys. I normally keep them in a fail safe place (between the door and the door curtain, on a rack) but I failed with the safe place and couldn't find them anywhere. I was mortified again.

This year's resolution is to have an ongoing process of becoming more organised and to get on top of my emails and stay on top of them. I have around four thousand in my inboxes. Most of them are just newsletters that I am determined to read, but I lose sight of what is going on and then get swamped.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 29 December 2019


Thank you again for all the good wishes. I'm still slightly stunned. Now all I need to do is live up to it!

Today is bear's birthday, and he had a heap of presents. There were classical music CDs (his request), sheet music, books, a few puzzles, lego and an electronic violin tuner, which may or may not be of use. I have now run out of birthday paper. Once bear is back at school, I may have a rummage around some of the marked down stuff, but I am seriously considering reusing the Amazon brown paper as much as possible. It's sturdy, it can be painted or stamped and it's effectively free - in large quantities with some packages.

Bear's pal came around so I very much left them to it, and I went and dropped bear's blazer at the dry cleaners, who promised that it would be ready by the start of next term. They all had steak, which went down very well (DH cooked it as I can't cook steak) and, what with all the snacks I've eaten today, I can barely move. After bear's pal left, bear settled down to a new computer game. I was seriously in the way, so I have an excellent opportunity to get on with the writing.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 28 December 2019

Rubbish with Pics

Thank you for all the encouraging comments. I can't tell you how much they mean. I feel hugged and supported to go for this with gusto! Thank you.

Today I called in for five minutes to a park, where I took a very bad pic of a varicoloured squirrel.

It was the sort of build of a grey squirrel, and moved a little like one. It may have looked odd to me because it was extremely tubby, which is appropriate for the time of year. What was remarkable was the tawny stripe down its back and over its head. I've seen black squirrels, and while this was definitely not a red squirrel, I wonder if it was a ginger squirrel. It was stuffing itself with some seeds or nuts in the car park.

Today has been quiet, I had a quick dash arount Tesco to pick up something for bear's birthday meal tomorrow (forgot the potatoes) and we watched the Lego Batman movie. It was brilliant. Then we had soup for dinner.

It was a new recipe, at least, new to me, but out of a cookbook I bought around 1990. You cook carrots, onion, celery, potato and an ounce of All Bran (I used Tesco Gluten free bran flakes) in veg stock, flavoured with caraway seeds and parsley. We are definitely having it again, but I'll add garlic next time. I quite like caraway seeds, and always add it to cabbage, but I have still not recovered from the time I tried to make seed cake, and misread tablespoons instead of teaspoons and added three times too much to an already strongly flavoured cake. It was like eating posh soap.

Hugs to all x

Friday 27 December 2019

Writing Stuff

It's a big step for me. An indie publisher, Three Furies Press, have agreed a deal for a novel I'm writing, Out of the London Mist, a steampunk novel. If all goes well, it comes out next July. Today I signed a contract. I feel a little odd about it all. It feels very dreamlike, and I keep wondering if it's a mistake and I'll get an email explaining that actually the contract was meant for someone else. 

I'm now contractually bound to promote the novel, so I will no doubt be posting a lot about it. I'll keep it to a minimum on this page, as much as possible, and just link to posts on my writing blog. There will be exceptions, of course, as I hope to attend steampunk events next year, and I'll be writing about those. Bear will be in attendance if I go there, of course, and hopefully DH as well, depending on the schedule. When writing fills up an entire day, like the big step that happened today or when I hopefully get to go see the wonderful world of steampunk, or perhaps even a book signing (though that may be over-reaching a little), writing will leak over to here.

Hopefully I will make a little more sense tomorrow. Hugs to all.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Probably Not Fairies

Whenever something confusing or odd happens, that isn't immediately necessary to correctly understand and has no money involved, I think it is important to go for the explanation that is most fun and interesting. Logic has it's place, but it isn't necessarily important in understanding the world of humans.

Last night DH put his glasses on the bookcase next to him, heard them slip off and immediately went to look for them. He couldn't find them. He checked next to the bookcase, behind the bookcase, pulled out the bookcase and looked around corners, shook out the duvet covers, moved the mattress and eventually found the glasses had travelled from the top of the bookcase to the floor and then around and at an angle behind a heavy under the bed storage box. DH decided that it was fairies.

I am not entirely convinced. Last week I lost a set of DH's gym kit. I would swear that I had left the kit in the tumble dryer until I had washed his towel, but it wasn't there. I can't find it for love nor money. Fortunately DH has another set, but I'm going to have to pick the house apart to find this kit. I can't imagine where it has gone because I took it out of the washer, and it's only a few steps to the dryer but somewhere on the journey it disappeared. There is also the issue of the small drinking glasses. Over the years we have collected a lot of the small nutella jar/glasses that are awesome. They are a great size and are incredibly robust. We used to have dozens of them in the cupboard, but when I did a mental count, I think I could lay my hands on around four. I dragged out the spare bag of glasses (we got through a lot of nutella at one time) but it still begs the question - where did the other drinking glasses go? And where are all the forks. There should be around a dozen, but I only seem to have five. This is why I don't think it's fairies. Fairies may be the most interesting explanation, rather than chaotic housekeeping, but they don't touch iron.

I wonder what brownies can touch? They would be appalled at the state of the house, so it may be their way of insisting we get our act together. Or perhaps I could put down a saucer of milk, except we only have rice milk these days and I'm not sure an old fashioned brownie would approve.

I think I will still have a look on eBay for some horseshoes.

Hugs to all.

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Wednesday 25 December 2019


Happy Christmas, Festivus, Yule, and whatever warm glow in this dark time of year that you follow. Know that you are awesome and I am wishing any and all readers the best possible break.

Aileen - I'm glad I'm not entirely alone. I've actually got a reasonable sense of direction (honest!) and I'm gradually building up a map of all the side roads and by roads between home and bear's school, along with Tesco and other stores. Apart from minor issues in car parks (getting lost could happen to anyone, as I had to be told it was one way by another driver, as there were no signs where I had parked and when I left), I have two issues. One issue is that I can't judge 300 yards. My sat nav will say, 'in 300 yards turn left' and I inevitably take either the left before or the left after. I am getting really good at three point turns as I turn around and go back the way I came, and I've been along some very interesting routes. The other issue is that I have a talent for being in the wrong lane. Leeds is full of multi-lane one way systems, as is Dewsbury, and I have been around Huddersfield several times. Like you, I allow lots of time to get to appointments and otherwise just enjoy the journey. You never know what you may find. I agree, though, I can remember written directions much better than processing audio, and usually do much better spending time on Google maps before I set out somewhere new. Bear thinks it's hilarious, but is becoming a good navigator when we are out. I suspect he will do a lot better than me.

Wherethejourneytakesme - I can't help looking for stories. I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a syndrome. Either way, it's fun. Hugs.

Yesterday I went out to see if there were any yellow stickers in the stores. Actually, I just wanted to enjoy a drive. Between the Aldi in Batley and the huge Tesco, there is a small Asda and an even smaller Iceland. Aldi and Iceland were closed but Asda was open and for the first time I called in. It didn't seem to have any of the Christmas stuff at all, let alone anything marked down, but it did have some gluten free crumpets that I hadn't been able to get hold of in either Tesco or Morrisons. Tesco did have a few empty shelves, and there were a number of 'buy one get one' or 'Half Price' but there was nothing in the stuff that I actually wanted. I did find a variety of stuffing that we had had last year, had decided it was the absolute best of the stuffing, and which had been relentlessly out of stock until yesterday. I got an armful, even though it was full price.

I may go out for a drive tomorrow and use the excuse to see if there is any good wrapping paper marked down. The fifty rolls I found in summer 2015 are now whittled down to three or four left, and all Christmas patterned. I want to see if there are any plain gold or silver paper, or some neutral patterned stuff that could also be used for birthday or occasions. Mind you, the best score I got was, I think, 2013 when we went to the cinema on Boxing Day. I called into Morrisons for potato salad on the way back and spotted a box of wrapping paper at 10p per roll. I got as much as I could carry, as I had only got a small basket. It was thin stuff, and Christmas printed, but it wasn't bad and I was still wrapping up novelty pencil sharpeners and similar for bear and went through rolls and rolls of the stuff. It was perfect.

Bear was a happy bear when he opened his presents. He had books, a thingy that fit on his smart phone to make it a microscope, some more books, silly putty, notebooks (plural at his request), an amazing jacket from one of DH's friends, more books, sheet music and a box of chocolates. I've got roughly the same set aside for his birthday except we forgot about an order from The Book People and there is another box with books in stashed upstairs. All the sheet music was second hand, and some of the books, and I looked for bargains and deals all the way through. It still added up to a sizeable amount, but I can't begrudge him. He genuinely lit up and enjoyed it all. He has already had a go at some of the music. I am so proud of him.

DH made Christmas dinner, which was awesome, stress free and largely cooked from frozen. Stuffing featured heavily. Now I am sitting back, having watched our DVD of Muppet Christmas Carol, and I'm feeling at peace with the world. I hope to remember to take some pics tomorrow, especially of the wonderful pictures from KJSutcliffe. I am now off to snooze, hang out with the family and play the game of seeing how many 'unwanted gifts' turn up on eBay.

Festive hugs of all belief systems to everyone.

Monday 23 December 2019

I Got Lost in a Car Park

Okay, not exactly lost. It's just that I didn't realise that there was a one way system in the car park, as I hadn't been there before, and I couldn't find the way out. I had already been twice around Dewsbury town centre as when the sat nav told me to use the middle lane, it split and suddenly the middle lane was the left hand lane and I should have turned right. It was actually awesome because I came back up a hill that when I passed it the first time I thought Red would never be able to manage it, but she was fine.

I called in at Aldi first. It opens at 8am. I got there at 8.05am and got one of the last two spaces in the car park. It was bedlam. After a quick dash around, I remembered my brother talking about Sainsbury in Dewsbury, so I put the directions in the satnav and the rest is normal for me. The sat nav I'm using is Google Maps on my phone, and I often get the impression that it is completely exasperated with me. I think there is more to the satnav than meets the eye. I used it to get home, as I wasn't sure of the best way, and it took me towards a complicated roundabout (which I managed fine) but while I was trundling along at around 35mph in a 40 zone (no-one behind me) it suddenly told me that there was a mobile speed camera ahead. I didn't actually see anything, so who knows what was happening. Regardless, I didn't pick up much as I was getting a delivery this evening. I think we are sorted for the next few days. To be honest, if we haven't got it now, I'm not bothered. We can always have beans on toast.

Bear and I spent a lot of time clearing cupboards in the kitchen. It is still in a state of chaos, but I'm optimistic that it will be fine for Christmas dinner. And if it isn't, it will be a great story to tell.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Panic Panic Panic

I'm on a writing deadline, I've got a house in the worst state ever, I haven't got stocking fillers for bear and I am still full of cold. Also my hip keeps giving way and is incredibly painful. Apart from that, I'm fine.

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Bear made Devil's Food Cake today. Don't tell him, but it was a little dry. The icing is actually frosting that was whisked over hot water, which was a trial. However I am very impressed by bear. I just hung around in the same room while he did all the work. Mind you, I did the washing up.

Writing stuff - I think I will skip the writing challenges until the new year.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 21 December 2019

Start of Christmas

Hester - that must have been unnerving. I've had that a few times - vans coming straight at me and nowhere to go. I'm glad you got away from it.

Mindo - I tried that tip with bear's fluffy top and it worked - thank you!

Yesterday I drove DH for the first time since the test drive back in April. I did just under 34 miles and got lost on the way back from Dewsbury to Heckmondwike because I didn't understand the satnav (again). There was the usual selection of crazy turns, steep hills and close manoeuvering. DH said that he now understood why I wasn't stressed at the thought of driving to Whitby. I can face the idea of strange moorland roads, steep climbs and unexpected turns without flinching. I'm still not good with the concept of motorways.

Today Liverpool won the Club World Championship (sorry VC, but it had to be said). We are settling down to Christmas in a good mood now. Bear wants to bake tomorrow, so I am braced. We have a recipe for Devil's Food cake, and I'm wondering where it will lead. Bear and DH also demolished a cheese board, so I will need to stock up with cheese on Monday.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 19 December 2019

Weather and Confusion

Thank you for all the kind words about my driving. I continue to learn and get lost at unexpected moments  and I hope my adventures can be entertaining and not more of the usual. Today I took a new route to Tesco en route to pick up bear - and it worked! I take the triumphs where they come and gloss over the way I swept around a corner in third when I had no right doing that at all. The journey home was grim - wherethejourneytakesme is right. We are getting all sorts. I had my wipers on at max in driving rain, and the windscreen was still filling up. I was so glad to get home - 30 seconds after the piano teacher arrived.

Sharon - that is a definite win. I don't think I'll be driving in anything like the conditions you see so total respect. I have faith in you. Totally get it about other drivers. It's why I hate certain roads. Some drivers are lovely, but others are terrifying.

Also, bear told me that I didn't need to worry about a gift for his pal who gets a lift with us in the car. This morning they handed over two parcels for him. I grumbled a little and dived in and got a gift set of body wash etc in appropriate age range, which they politely thanked me for. They had got bear bluetooth speakers and headphones. I feel somewhat embarassed. I also forgot to wrap the token gift for the piano teacher (seriously small token) so they will have to have it in the new year. I did hand over the (unwrapped) housewarming present which was also very much a small gift. It was a nice IKEA fleece type throw which cost something like £3.25. It's the thought that counts, and it's a very nice throw for the price.

Tomorrow I'm driving DH to Dewsbury. Please send good vibes.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Tough Driving Day

This morning I was worried about ice as the pavements were white with frost and I saw some pedestrians struggling a little. In fact, I overtook one lady who was determindly walking along the nice, non-slip road instead of the ice rink that was a path. I approved and gave her plenty of room. The roads were actually fine.

Then when I went to pick bear up the mist had come down. I was seriously considering getting him to come home on the bus as visibility was really low. Then I remembered that his phone had run out of charge this morning. I was so nervous, but I managed. The mist had mainly gone by the time I returned.

However I can take some pride. I passed the test in March, and I'm doing okay. I will face genuinely icy roads, snow and goodness knows what else, and I feel that I will do fine. I am not sure I should be writing about driving so much, as it is becoming more and more second nature. On the other hand, not much else happened today, so that is something.

Now I am hiding with a headache.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 17 December 2019


I've spent most of today chasing around after a prescription for bear. It's all sorted now, but I'm on my knees. Back tomorrow.

Writing stuff - my reply to the writing challenge is here.

Monday 16 December 2019

Monday has Happened

Mindo - I think I will try that. It's so frustrating as it was inexpensive, cuddly and exactly what bear loved.

Bless - I think I will be awash with cake for at least the next few weeks, that and soup as bear has decided he likes soup and can make lunches while he is off. I suspect that the lunches will be delegated to me quite rapidly, but cake will continue, I'm sure.

Blogs are strange things. These days I usually look at the stats as it leads me to a quick link to somewhere else. I did pause, however, when I saw the numbers. Then I looked a little closer. Apparently I'm getting a lot of hits from a porn site. So far today I have had just under 450 from there. They aren't real, or at least I hope so. I imagine this is not the sort of thing you click on after viewing porn. Apparently it's nothing to worry about and just to do with algorithms. I don't know exactly what algorithms are, but it's reassuring that someone is not reading this and feeling let down in very tangible ways.

We had a trip to a consultant today. It was a different consultant to the one we saw last week, and less stressful. It has been confirmed that bear is colour blind. I've known that for a while, but now I will have a letter from a consultant that tells me he is colour blind and I will be able to show it to school who will then hopefully realise that bear can't tell the difference between green and brown and not put them next to each other on maps and charts and then expect him to work it out. Bear also has issues with dark blue and purple, and completely misses pale pink. I've told him never to go clothes shopping by himself.

Writing stuff - this week's challenge is here.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Another Quiet Day

Jill - I am incredibly proud of bear, and he knows it. He also knows that I love him to bits. He is a little too old for hugs these days, but I think he feels safe enough.

Bear baked again today. He decided to have a go at cupcakes, and this time it was double chocolate with caramel flavoured frosting. I stayed around in the room while he was working on the cakes as they didn't do the creaming method in school and I didn't bake much with him when he was younger, so I helped him cream the flour and margarine, gave a little guidance on the whole 'folding in the flour' step and wondered what on earth they had discussed at school. I'm trying to remember the different methods of cake making. You have the creamed method, the all in one (I think they did that at school), the rubbed in (I think they did that as well) and the melted, like gingerbread. I may encourage bear to make gingerbread while I just hang around.

There was a fair amount of 'disaster zone' to be cleaned up afterwards, but I didn't really mind. Bear had a blast. When my next '10% off' shopping thingy comes up, I'll stock up on baking supplies. I'll need to get a new iron as well, as I cracked mine today and the replacement is pathetic. It's supposed to have this auto sensor to keep the iron at the correct temperature for ironing, but it stayed up there at around the temperature of the sun. I'm going to have my hands full until I get it replaced.

I'm sort of braced for bear's attacks of baking. He's getting really into it, and would like to make his own birthday cake. He has dug out a recipe from the Hamlyn cookbook that DH bought me in 1988 for Devil's Food Cake. I'll have a rummage through it and we'll have a few goes at it before the big day. That cookbook is a brilliant one, with a smallish selection of straightforward, sensible recipes. I'll share anything good that happens.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 14 December 2019

Getting Out

Today I did a lot more walking than I would have thought possible this time last year, and I have no idea why I'm better. I'm not brilliant, but I can move around. Today I went to Dewsbury. It's very near Leeds, but I expected it to be busier so close to Christmas. Instead of a jammed car park costing £2 per hour, I found this, at 80p for two hours.

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Behind me were a couple of rows of cars, but there was plenty of space. I should add that the pic is also misleading about the angle. One day I am going to take a spirit level to the car park. I swear it is around 30 degrees slope.

I had a browse on the market and looked into a few shops. There isn't so much in Dewsbury as there is in Leeds, but I had a little wander and enjoyed myself. I saw this statue, but the road was really busy so didn't go closer to find out the meaning. I like that there are public statues, though. 

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The drive home was less than comforting. I took a road that I thought would be okay, which wasn't, and then there were a few flakes of snow, followed by a lot of hail. It was interesting as the road was fine. There was no difference in the way the car drove. However the visibility was affected more than I thought it would be.

Also, when I was looking for the photos, I found one I had taken a little while ago. I discovered one of bear's lost footballs.

Image may contain: sky, bird, tree, plant, outdoor and nature

Hugs to all. 

Friday 13 December 2019

What to Do with Bear

Sharon - my limited experience with school toilets is that they are grim. Fortunately it all seems to be dying down, according to bear.

We had a report today, via email. Bear is doing okay. He may be doing better than okay, but I don't really understand the whole of the reporting system. Apparently green is 'at expected level' and bear is at that for a third of the marks, and the rest are higher. So that's okay and probably good. Possibly quite good. It's hard to tell.

And as usual, it has a story within it. Bear utterly aced French (apparently) even though he loathes it. I have had far too many bitter complaints about French and the necessity of learning the words to have expected much, but he totally rocked it, with the top grade in both effort and attainment (I think). For Drama he has put in more effort than he got attainment, and I'm good with that. As long as he has put in the effort, I will tolerate a very poor attainment mark (he is at level expected of his age). He has an excellent attainment mark in RE, which is a change from last year. I gave him a pass on that last year, as long as he worked hard at other subjects. This year he has gone for it with gusto. However, as it involves him diving into stuff like arguing about ethics and philosophy, I may regret this. He can already argue rings around me. I should add that his effort in this is only at 'expected' so I think it comes down to him being naturally argumentative.

All in all, he has quite a few subjects where his attainment is far higher than his effort. This means that motivating him is something of a challenge. If he can just coast along in, for example, physics, and get what I think is the top mark, why should he put in more effort. I also suspect that while he has a good mark for effort in English, he may have been blagging the teacher as he hasn't got a good attainment mark for that, and he is more than capable of good marks there.

He is going to get a reward, separate from Christmas and his birthday, but I am still left with wondering how to encourage him to up his effort. Also, to be honest, I'm going to spend some time being smug as I am incredibly proud of him.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 12 December 2019

Is It Only Thursday?

Wherethejourneytakesme - Bear has been extremely rude about the state of the toilets at school and seems to see them as a festering source of the plague. I'm getting good at nodding, smiling and moving on. I agree, the best thing is to wash your hands with soap and water. I use soap at home, but I don't always get the soap when I am out, partly because half the places don't seem to have soap. I believe that one of the best things that could happen to the NHS is the return of the Matron - the sort that would rule with a rod of iron, have the staff on their toes and fight their ward's corner with the management. It's not just money, it's the absolute insistence on things being done in the proper manner and the refusal to cut corners. Mind you, they would need enough staff to not be forced to cut corners. 

Today I dropped off bear, drove to the shopping centre near IKEA, realised that they didn't open for at least another hour, had a hot chocolate, went back to Aldi, went back again to the shopping centre, browsed for presents without success, called in at IKEA, and then drove home through the awkward junction!!!

Next time I go this near Christmas, I will wait in the car until the shops open, as the car park filled up alarmingly between leaving at 8.20am and getting back at around 9.15, and was even worse after I had trailed around Next (Christmas sweater), Wilkos, The Range, and TK Maxx. I didn't even pick up any good stuff. I left at around 10.05 to drive the few hundred yards to IKEA car park, to see if I could manoeuvre in there, and although I was only in there briefly, that car park was filling up quickly as well. 

By the time I got home it was lunchtime and then I was out, voted, drove to pick up bear and waited - and waited, and waited, and waited. It was nearly an hour before he turned up and I was somewhat unimpressed and cold. 

I've done dinner, now I need to iron shirts for tomorrow and then I plan to collapse. I am much less achey and such, but I am feeling flattened. 

Hugs to all. 

Wednesday 11 December 2019

An Uneventful Day

Today was splendidly uneventful. I drove a newish route, going one way and then branching off another to pick up the normal route, and that worked well. On the way home I called in at a Farm Shop for some mince, which turned out very disappointing, and dinner has been calm.

Bear is not calm. The poor lad didn't get to sleep until gone 11pm last night, and he has to be up at six. He is worried about getting the norovirus, and it is making the poor kid almost sick with the worry. I've given him handsanitiser but he looked it up on the NHS website and apparently hand sanitiser is ineffective against noro.

Wherethejourneytakesme made a good point. I don't remember anything like this when I was a kid. However things were different in some ways. Nowadays, a lot of families have both parents working, so kids can't stay at home as easily if they are poorly. Once upon a time there would be someone at home. Now the kids go into school to share all the lovely germs or the parents lose a day at work. Not only that, but attendance is a problem. Bear has had a week off due to the flu like virus he had last week. If he takes more than a day or two off for the rest of the year, I will get all sorts of official letters. All it needs is some sort of bad bug, and I could be getting home visits by officials. I'm somewhat worried that the long list of hospital appointments he has coming up could cause issues.

As it is, bear keeps coming home with how many more are off today, and how many teachers. It seems to be a bad do right now. I'm hoping we skip it this year.

Thank you for all the good wishes. Hugs and hoping we all stay well.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Weather Continues

Sending good vibes to all caught in the weather that has been coming through today. It's been hit and miss here, but when it was raining, it was raining. The winds have been difficult as well.

Bear's pal's dad gave a lift in this morning, so I have been trying to get anything done and nibbled away at the bits of stuff that needed doing. After I finish this post, I need to sit down and make a literal list of everything that I plan to do tomorrow. Today suffered because I wasn't sure what to do first.

Regardless, I made some phone calls, pottered a little and then decided I had to go out. I'm having issues getting to the doctor. I can see the doctor's office from where I am sitting now, but for some reason, it's impossible for me to walk there. I can drive all sorts of places, but I can't get to the doctor.  Panic takes over. But I had a request for a prescription I had to drop off for bear, so I had to go. It wasn't just me, it was bear! So I actually drove. It's tricky to drive to the doctor's office, and there is no space to park. I was completely stranded. I did some very fancy reversing and turning to get out of the dead end I found myself in. Finally I parked nearby (I know!) and walked. This was an achievement because now I know that I can walk there from a different direction, which is something. Then I set off for Birstall Retail Park.

Bear needs a Christmas sweater. Birstall Retail Park has a TK Maxx (and failing that, a Next which should stand up to whatever the kids at school are wearing). It did not go entirely well. Of course I ended up in the wrong lane and found myself in the Showcase Cinema car park. I had to go around before getting back to where I was before, then the car park by the shops was ridiculously full. I couldn't see a space at all, and it was lunchtime on a Tuesday. I'm going to have to come back tomorrow morning and see if I can get anything. Then I got lost getting out of the retail park, but, to be quite honest, it was a lot easier and I avoided a tricky roundabout. I managed to pick up a Christmas t-shirt at Tesco and then picked a very tired bear up from school. Fortunately I didn't get lost on the way home. We had home made soup for dinner, the sort that you can heap into a bowl, with lots of inexpensive veggies and lentils.

Writing stuff - my short story based on the prompt is here.

Monday 9 December 2019

Sensible Blog Post Will Follow Shortly

Bear had an non serious non urgent appointment with a Consultant today. So I drove him to school, picked him up early from school, took him into the hospital where I was really careful not to breathe on anyone, walked miles around Leeds General Infirmary, and then brought him home. I am not fit for rags.

Bear has been given prescriptions, has further appointments being lined up as we speak and has had his first x-ray, which he found disappointingly unremarkable.

I am exhausted. I am also surprised that no-one has written a horror story about the Leeds General Infirmary. It is relatively old (with some very modern bits), with a wonderfully Victorian Gothic staff entrance that I have used as a shortcut, it has about a gazillion wings (okay, maybe not a gazillion, but it just feels like a lot as Brotherton, Martin, Clarendon and Jubilee are quite large in themselves, especially if you are doing the route march from Martin Wing (children's) to Clarendon (X-ray). There are these long, straight, shiny corridors, which look like wonderful locations for chases, as there are doors off each side, and openings leading to operating theatres and corners and stairs, and it seems to go on for miles.

Bear is mostly concerned about the chance of catching the Norovirus. It has shut a local school where a lot of kids from his old school went, along with three other schools in Leeds, and there are a lot of teachers and pupils off from his school. In fact, it seems to be causing all sorts of disruption.

I'm just flattened.

Writing stuff - this week's writing challenge. The quote is actually from a very lovely lady from the Netherlands who wrote a Sinterklaas poem in her second language. I have no idea what to write, let alone try and live up to her quote.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 8 December 2019

Meh continues

I think I just deleted a comment. It was a hug, and I'm really sorry. I'm still feeling yeurk.

Bear decided he wanted to make muffins. I will clear up the resulting mess tomorrow in daylight. He produced some pleasant muffins along the way.

I have no idea where half of his uniform is and I'm not sure DH has a clean shirt.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 7 December 2019

Panic with the Pity Party

I went into Leeds by myself today. Bear still is under the weather, so I nipped in, picked up some veggies, and bought a very small tuna steak (how much?) for bear. He is under strict instructions that his next recipe has to be inexpensive.

I got lost on the way home. For those not familiar with Leeds, it has a complicated one way system, and the satnav sends me out towards South Leeds, particularly through the industrial estates. This would have been okay, and I've managed it before, except I strayed into the wrong lane of four. I ended up on the motorway by myself for the first time ever. Anyone near enough could have heard aaaarghhhhbuggerbuggerbugger as I headed up the slip road - and I swear there was a car that matched my speed so I couldn't get onto the motorway. I was terrified! I managed in the end, thanks to a very kind driver, just before I hit the embankment. I was unamused. I'm confident that the next time I go on a motorway by myself I'll be fine. I would have probably been a little less stressed if I had had a little more notice.

Bear didn't like the tuna. He said it tasted sour. However he very much enjoyed his accompaniments, so that is something. Once again, I just hung around the kitchen and let him get on with it. He did all the prep, all the actual frying, he decided when he was going to add stuff and when he was going to let it rest. I plan to keep this going.

I'm actually feeling quite poorly now. I was planning on nipping out to Tesco for some bits, but I'm not in desperate need, and I just want to sleep.

VC - you did us a favour today as well as doing yourselves proud. I just had a look at the table, and you have to have a good chance at Europe.

Hugs to all

btw I was going through my pics and here is a rather poor pic of a vampire killing kit, taken when we last went to the Royal Armouries.

Friday 6 December 2019

Pity Party Continues

HAPPY SINTERKLAAS. I am feeling blessed because DH and bear have pals in the Netherlands who have been awesome to bear and have even included me in the traditional poem. I am feeling woozy but hugged.

I'm struggling to make a deadline for a novel for external publishers. I am trying to get the desperate battles through Victorian London fog to zing while running a temperature not being quite with the reality. Some of this may be less grounded than I planned. I am also outwitted by bear's fleece hoodie. It was very inexpensive from Aldi, and bear adores cuddling down into it, but I washed it for the first time and it just absorbed all the water. It held so much water that even though it was the only thing in the machine, the poor washer wouldn't spin. It's currently dripping in the bathroom. Getting that sorted was today's achievement. It's not a really bad bug, I just feel utterly pathetic.

Bear is feeling better. This is a huge relief.

VC - Liverpool to the core. I'm not the best supporter, but I've watched games at Anfield and because the game was on prime I got to see it. I'm old enough that I remember the eighties when Liverpool and Everton were often both finalists down at Wembley, and the supporters used to share coaches down there. Of course, the banter was a bit sharp, but what do you expect from Scousers? I love Liverpool's play at the moment, though I wish they would fix the defence (a complaint that was a distant dream five years ago). What team do you support? Just asking for the purposes of tact.

Sanitised hugs to all.

Also, does anyone know a good place to learn about baseball?

Thursday 5 December 2019

Sort of Pity Party!

I am not a happy bunny. I have a minor virus, but it is making me feel rather grim. Bear is not doing well either. Also I have been too pathetic to take pics of the awesome artwork and I blew all the power points in the kitchen when I tried to boil a kettle while the washer and dryer were on.

However Liverpool beat Everton 5-2, so things could be worse.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Not Happy

Bear is a generous soul. He would give you anything, including germs. I'm starting to feel the lurgy he has passed on, and I have writing deadlines on top of everything else.

Also, when I have the energy, I will be sharing the gorgeous art I got from KJ Sutcliffe, aka Hawthorn Spellweaver. I've been coveting her art for a while, and finally had the opportunity and savings to get some - a piece or two for me and a piece for a friend.

Until then I am running around after bear, suffering from extreme self pity and trying to get more than a sentence written.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Nothing Much to See Here

Bear continues poorly. I think he has a bad virus, but he sent me out for snacks, so it's not flu. He does look like he's been washed out too many times. Unfortunately, I'm feeling a little under the weather as well. Meh.

Hazel - I will check that out!

Jill - Thank you. I think I am going to have to ask around. I don't want to be unfair to Scottish Power, and the staff have been lovely, but I think that my file is now hopelessly confused.

Writing stuff - lots going on in the background, and here's my response to this week's writing prompt.

Hugs to all.

Monday 2 December 2019

And Another Plan Bites the Dust

Mindo - thank you. I can take no credit for bear, I just keep an eye out from a safe distance.

Bless - bear would agree with you, but I suspect this interest will wane.

Sharon - I've mentioned the budget thing a few times. It's a work in progress.

Bear is poorly. I could make an argument for flu, though not a strong one. He's definitely not in a good way. I have been fussing over him all day, and all plans I had have gone out of the window.

Scottish Power have closed my complaint. I spoke to someone who was lovely, but who couldn't explain why I had a duplicate account and couldn't be convincing that it wouldn't happen again. I'm going with the explanation that the account is haunted and I think I may have to go to another supplier, just to try and break the chain of problems with this account.

Writing stuff - writing challenge is here.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 1 December 2019

Bear Enjoys Cookery

Bear pan fried the salmon. I suspect it was a little over done as it fell to pieces in the pan, but I've never cooked fresh salmon so I had no idea (my experience with eating salmon has not been good). The carrots and parsnip were a little over cooked, but he was fine with them and next week wants to do tuna steaks. I said it was a deal but the week after he had to do a less expensive dish. He agreed that was reasonable.

This morning he has been watching Gordon Ramsay programmes and has made muffins. He decided he wanted to use a banana and chocolate chips instead of raisins, so that's what he did, and they were a little heavy. He was okay as it's a learning experience. I just left him to it.

He demolished a couple of the muffins while explaining to me why we needed a meal plan and is now downstairs rearranging the cookbooks in the dining room. He has expressed disappointment that I am not making a Christmas cake, even though they never get eaten at this house. I am going with the flow.

Hugs to all.