Thursday 30 April 2020

Unexpected Veg Box

We had a fruit and veg box delivered this morning. I was not expecting it. Around last month, when we were self isolating and trying to make sure that we had fruit and veg, I ordered a large mixed box with around a month to wait. Then I forgot about it. Today it appeared.

It has an aubergine. I loathe aubergines. It also had a single courgette, but I have peppers so I can always manage a ratatouille. There were tomatoes, potatoes, onions, leeks, peaches, plums, lots and lots of grapes, a melon, mandarins, carrots, massive parsnips, a mango, strawberries and all sorts. Unfortunately I picked up fruit and veg yesterday and we still have the end of the last fruit and veg box that came on Monday. I spent some time sorting all the fresh stuff out and I have over a dozen apples and pears and enough for several loaves of banana bread. It may take some time to work through the veggies, but the fruit has already taken a hit. This morning I chopped up a melon from the last order and put it next to bear, who ate the lot in short order.

I also sprayed some weedkiller. I didn't exactly spray it because there was just too much breeze and I thought it would come back to get me, so I used a watering can. It has made absolutely no difference except to make the garden smell foul. I need a Plan B.

On the bright side, bear did some school work without prompting.

Tonight we had soup.

I'm sort of planning an apple cake tomorrow, if things go well. I think I can use the mango and strawberries in a smoothie. Then we can have mince for dinner with the rest of the carrots and mushrooms plus roast cauliflower and possibly the spring greens. I'm expecting the Subscribe and Save order from Amazon tomorrow, so what with the cardboard boxes with the veg and the delivery from Approved Food, I'm getting up to my eyeballs in cardboard.

Sometimes I feel like all my attention is caught up with food.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Nice but Odd

My neighbour to the side is lovely and quiet. I hardly hear them. I think that they are from somewhere in Northern Europe, but never felt the need to ask where. Last night was 'get the bins out late so that they can be collected at stupid early o'clock by the binmen tomorrow' night. For various reasons, next door has a double bin, so had got away with forgetting it for the last month, but the bins were looking somewhat crammed with rubbish.

I took our bin to the pick up point, then filled next door but one's bin with some of our overflow (house is empty) and then looked at the bins for next door. I didn't feel it would be appropriate to just take them and wheel them to the point. What if I gave them the virus? I'm pretty sure I couldn't, but it could worry them. So I knocked on their door. There was a pause. I knocked again, and as I was peering at one of the upstairs rooms, the kitchen light came on and, without a soul showing their face, the blind edged slowly down like a comedy prop. I waited for a moment, then went back into the house.

To be fair to them, the previous occupants said all sorts about me so they may be a little nervous. My point of view is that if all they do is hide behind a blind, they can stay as long as they like - lovely and quiet with no nuisance! They took the bins around later themselves, which made me feel a little better as I was worried about how they would go on.

Bear had fun today. I bought a hand pumped pressure sprayer. It sprays at a reasonable pressure, but isn't one of those fancy ones that are plugged in. Instead you pump away like a stirrup pump. I plan to use it for weedkiller, watering (after washing well) and washing the cars. Today we were working out how to use it and bear happily sprayed it everywhere. It took a little working out as the only instructions were some vague illustrations on the side and bits came out or stuck depending on whether things were locked down or not when twisted. The whole procedure got bear and I thoroughly dampened around the edges. Some school work may have also occurred, but I can't

I made the second shopping trip of the week early as I had failed with Monday's shopping on an epic scale, so I included some very nice caramelised onion burgers from Aldi in the shop and we had those for dinner with peas and potatoes - a lovely, easy dinner. Tomorrow is likely to be soup. I don't plan to go out again now until next Monday, which seems like a long time. However we have plenty of stuff in, and we can all keep each other company.

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Banana Bread Achieved

Image may contain: food and indoor

I used up some elderly bananas. The trouble with fruit and veg boxes is that there are always stragglers. The men enjoyed it thoroughly. Half has gone and I don't expect the rest to last long. It isn't terribly healthy, but at least there is fruit. I got the recipe from the BBC (here) Next time I would add some extra spice, or perhaps some sultanas. 

The main course tonight was chicken and rice salad again, by request. I was suggesting a casserole or pasta, but rice salad was definitely wanted, despite it getting colder. I used dried minced onion on the chicken, almost like a breadcrumb, and it really helped. I think I got the onion from Approved Foods, but the label said Just Ingredients, so I'm planning to dip into their website for some goodies. It isn't dirt cheap (when not on Approved Food) but we are actually saving quite a bit of money, at least in petrol if nothing else. 

Today I have had the washer and dryer going non-stop as I got basic washing out of the way before starting to strip down bear's room. Between coaxing bear and a bad back, I feel like I haven't achieved much, but I'll start again tomorrow. Tonight is set aside for a family night where we can relax and hang out. 

Writing stuff - I managed at least to write this as my response to this week's writing challenge.

Hugs and good health to all

Monday 27 April 2020

I don't need the Ick

Beetles are back in bear's room so I have sprayed bug spray everywhere and started washing everything not nailed down. Bear has a gazillion and four plush toys, so that is sort of like my starter. The little blighters could be hiding in anything. Bear is currently sleeping on the couch.

Today it was warm enough for rice salad and, as we had had the veg box with chicken, I did chicken in foil with dried minced onion and lime juice. It went down well.

I did a top up shop, and used so much sanitiser that I don't think my hands will ever recover. I was praying I wouldn't be stopped on the way home. It was a small bottle I picked up last November when bear was stressing about norovirus, and I hope it doesn't go off. It doesn't smell bad, just very, very strong.

Writing stuff - this week's writing challenge, all welcome.

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 24 April 2020

Today I did less

Today's dinner was at least homemade - soup using up the last veggies from the box. I have no idea what we are eating for the next couple of days, but I'm not going out again until Monday. We have stuff in, so we aren't going to go short. The only thing I'm short of is inspiration. I have chicken in the freezer, and the frozen ingredients for soup, and more veggies and chicken coming with a veg box delivery on Monday. The meals may become a little monotonous.

Also, bear is going to be in trouble if he doesn't sort out his schoolwork. That's the problem with an academic school - they insist on schoolwork. It's definitely the best school for bear, but bear doesn't currently share that view. He got his report today. It's not too bad. The scores for attitude to learning were slightly better than the attainment, and there was an improvement in his attitude from last term when it wasn't that bad at all. I have not mentioned a reward to him. I'm confident he'll let me know all about the reward system.

With bear, I've always tried to reward effort more than achievement. This was hard at primary school as he coasted along and hit the top marks without trying. Now he has to try a little, and he's rising to the challenge.

One thing the report doesn't show is whether bear is kind. He's had a few positive marks for helping out teachers, but I have always said that it is much more important to be kind than clever. The bits of feedback I've had seem to suggest that he'll do okay, so I'm not going to stress too much at the moment, at least, not about bear. The attitude and attainment scores had more above average than average marks, and a couple of real high scores, so he's doing alright.

I am determined that tomorrow I will do something if only to have something to blog about.

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 23 April 2020

Today I Moved the Bins

That's about it. Today I moved the location of the bins about four foot left.

I also took in a delivery that was left on the step from Lean Lunch which was a remarkably pleasant lunch and argued with bear about schoolwork. I ironed at least one shirt and gave DH frozen pizza for dinner.

Lockdown may be having an effect.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Numbers Continue, Dammit!

Bear does not want to do schoolwork. He is trying every wile to get out of it. I'm not sure I'm up to keeping him on track.

I'm suffering anyway. The beetles are back in his room so he's spending the night on the sofa (to his delight!) and I sprayed his room with stuff that is supposed to be non toxic. I may have got a little over enthusiastic. The men don't seem to be affected but I can't even go past the room without choking.

I'm now off to bed in the hope of an early night as bear keeps explaining his homework to me and I need to recuperate.

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Flurble Preep

Bear has been explaining his maths schoolwork to me. I lost track of what he was doing with maths around five years ago. It makes perfect sense to him but I feel like my brain is leaking out of my ears.

Fortunately I had already posted the response to the writing challenge (here), which is something, because at the moment my thought processes are firmly in neutral.

Hugs and good health to all.

Monday 20 April 2020

I Drove to the Shops

Bless - I'm really sorry but I managed to accidentally delete your kind comments. I want to tell you, though, that I'm really sorry and I feel hugged.

Today I drove to the shop, bought a considerable amount of extras as well as the main food, and came home without much incident.

I'm so rusty at driving. It was so much harder, almost as if I had gone back to just after I passed my test. I was a lot more cautious and careful. Thank goodness the roads were practically empty. I drove past IKEA at 6pm (I waited until I knew it would be quiet) and there was no traffic. Normally it would be a solid queue. It's very unnerving. I also got outwitted by the one way system in the supermarkets.

I called in at Aldi and Tesco. I bought the men's favourite flavoured water, some fancy tea bags for bear, a large quantity of fruit, some meat, some yarn that was my grandmother's favourite colour and a vast quantity of treats. I could have managed with about half of the contents of the trolley, but it was nice to pick up some stuff.

Red definitely needed the run. The poor little car likes a decent drive and the run to Tesco and back would hardly scratch the surface. She was not a happy car, and felt very sluggish. Mind you, I had booked her in for a service and MOT before this started, and we had to cancel. I must get her booked back in soon. I'm tempted to go the long way around to shops, or to go to shops that are a long way away, but I'm being sensible for once, at least about the driving. I'm just going to my usual places using familiar routes.

Bear is considering starting a YouTube channel, but I don't think I'll be allowed to share it as he would like to stay relatively anonymous. It's keeping him distracted. It would be nice if he was distracted by his school work but I gave up on that mid morning.

Writing stuff - this week's writing challenge is here.

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 17 April 2020

Another Day, Another Ooops

I managed to drop an almost full jar of ground ginger out of the cupboard and it broke on the way to the cutlery drawer. This was not good.

I've got most of it up and now I just have to live with the faint aroma of ginger. It could be a lot worse.

Dinner tonight was a casserole which went down very well. I used half the pack of chicken breasts and a large amount of veg from the veg box. There's not much left. There's a cauliflower, a single potato, a lone carrot and some onions. I imagine that they will get used up over the weekend.

I followed up with a bread and butter pudding that was a complete fail. It wasn't really cooked and using rice milk may have put things off. Bear rejected it.

I got a Beelivery delivery today, as I was desperately craving gluten free bread. They delivered normal bread. I am going to have to work on something else that uses up bread that the men will accept. I've promised apple crumble for tomorrow, though, which is slightly easier.

I am desperately looking forward to getting out again, and I'm wondering about looking for work as a delivery driver. I'm not very strong physically, and can't lift heavy weights, and I've only got a little car, but I wonder if it would be worth it for me. At least I would practise driving.

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 16 April 2020

I Hate Tea

Normal tea, black tea, doesn't agree with me all the time and currently I am feeling full of grumbles about it. I have a stonking headache and tummy ache and a serious craving for biscuits which I can't have. Bear, on the other hand, can't get enough of the dratted stuff. I'm leaving him to it.

Today was a day of deliveries. I didn't organise it well, as they could have been stretched out, but we had a huge box of fruit from a delivery service which I suspect is new, and a fruit and veg box with chicken breasts and eggs from a fancy sandwich shop, along with some fancy salads. The fruit from the fruit box was excellent quality and the sandwich shop delivery, excluding today's salads, will probably do four meals with top quality food.

Having seen the stuff that you can get via the market, I don't know that I will ever go back to supermarket fruit and veg, especially now I can drive to places. The quality has been amazing. I'm also going to be calling around the farm shops. Tonight we had an excellent soup followed by some really fragrant strawberries. I never think to buy strawberries, and the ones in the supermarkets all look a little sad, but these were luscious.

I can go out from Monday but I don't know what to do for the best. On the one hand, I want to support smaller businesses. On the other hand, I'm not supposed to travel unnecessarily. I may have to get a route made. I really want to visit a farm shop, and I would also like some stuff that I can only get from Aldi and Tesco. I'd love to visit a proper bakers as well, but I don't know anywhere near so that's going to be out.

I'm still completely failing at the lace baby blanket. I may have to rethink my strategy.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 15 April 2020

More Tea

Tea continues. Bless - I'm afraid I like my tea weak, but bear is tackling the teas head on and doesn't seem afraid of the stronger ones. He drank the Assam much stronger than I would.

Bear approves of the Chai, though he is a little wary, but is unimpressed with the buttermint and utterly rejects the strawberry and mango, though I think if that was brewed a little weaker he would find it okay. He utterly adores the expensive version of camomile tea, so I am hoping he will also accept Tesco's version. I am sticking to the chai.

Today's win was definitely dinner. Last week I got in two fruit and veg boxes and I have two onions, four apples, some garlic and some ginger left. I'm watching the fresh food in the house like a hawk and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Tomorrow I will use the apples up in a crumble.

Tonight we finished off the cauliflower and the potatoes. I found a recipe for roasted cauliflower with garlic, which the men thoroughly enjoyed, and I cubed the potatoes and stirred them into some oil and put in the microwave for twenty minutes. They were red potatoes, so I wasn't going to try putting them in mash, and the cubes were pretty small and they tasted really nice, very soft and melting. For the protein I used some chicken breasts from the freezer and cooked them in the oven with a jar of pasta bake sauce. I think I will try something different next time, perhaps with a stock based sauce, but the men enjoyed it. I have a few of the pasta sauce jars in because I stocked up before Christmas when I was worried about the weather. I didn't really do much in the way of stockpiling before the lockdown. My shopping habits have led to stocked cupboards anyway, so I didn't need to. I did make sure I had plenty of garlic, stock cubes and spices, though. I thought that with them I could cover quite a lot.

Writing stuff - I finally got the response to the writing challenge finished and it is here. As a side note, I have a steampunk novel coming out in July and I'm just about to sign a contract for three more books with the same publisher, two more steampunk novels and a medieval fantasy story. I've spoken to them (they are really awesome people) and they are fine with me publishing stories about the White Hart and Forgotten Village independently, and I've written around a thousand words on one of those today. I'll keep you updated.

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 14 April 2020

A Nice Cup of Tea

gray stainless steel spoon
Picture from Unsplash, taken by Alice Pasqual

I spent a ridiculous amount of money at Twinings on tea - for me at least. They had an advent calendar that was half price and they did assortments, so I got a few different bits. I thought it would be a good idea to share some ideas about tea with bear and give him a chance to try a few different varieties. We normally have fizzy pop or flavoured water here, and DH sometimes has coffee. I like tea, but sometimes black tea makes me sick, so I have to treat with some caution.

Bear wanted to start with Mighty Assam, so we took one of the fancy pyramid 'loose' teas that came with the advent calendar and we had it with rice milk. Bear was entranced. I was quite impressed as it was indeed mighty and packed a full flavoured punch. I currently have a slight tummy ache, but fingers crossed I will be fine.

This evening, after a makeshift dinner, we had camomile, which was very nice. Bear is now happy to work his way through the assortment of fruit teas with the smattering of black and green teas in there, and it gives him something to think about. There are limited things we can do at the moment, and this investment in tea will hopefully keep him interested. I've warned him that it is likely to be standard stuff we can find in Tesco going forward, with the occasional splash, but that's okay. He has started a spread sheet. I didn't take pics, but I found a pic on Unsplash that I suspect may hold an idea of where bear's interest may take him.

To be honest, I was glad of the camomile tea. Today has been something of a loss. I arranged for someone to take away a large amount of bin bags from the garden. That part was dealt with really easily. However they said they would ring me so that I could pay on the phone. I have been hanging around all day waiting for the call and found myself unable to get on with anything, including writing the story for this week's writing challenge.

While I was hanging around, I noticed that Scottish Power was answering questions on Facebook, so I messaged them, they messaged me back (sounding bewildered) and asked me to ring a number to find out why my boiler care was cancelled. I rang the number, and the call went on for some time.

No-one can work out why my boiler care was cancelled. It's confused everyone I've spoken to. I have been in touch with lovely people from Domestic and General and Scottish Power who have been pleasant, polite and completely baffled. No-one knows what has happened.

Eventually they said that the account was reinstated but that I wasn't covered for the next thirty days. I pointed out it wasn't my fault that the account was cancelled. They put me on hold for quite a while as they moved mountains, and between them put notes all over my account and everything should be fine if anything happens to my boiler. By the time I had finished, I was bewildered, mentally exhausted and convinced that my account is haunted. At least, if it isn't haunted, that's the most interesting explanation. Things keep happening to it, and no-one knows why.

Tomorrow I will hopefully pay the people who took away my rubbish and get some work done.

Hugs and good health to all.

Monday 13 April 2020

I Need a New Pan

Sharon - you probably did the right thing, but it's very frustrating. Hugs x

Wherethejourneytakesme - I'll get the hang of them at some point. I have not admitted defeat, just a temporary set back (probably). I think if it was a different pattern I would have a chance. I shall have another go at some point.

Last night wasn't brilliant with knitting either. I am not very good with lace as my mind wanders, and I lost six stitches in two pattern rows. To be fair, it was out of 180 stitches, so a small percentage, but you can't fudge a lace pattern, so I undid all I had done and started again. I'll give updated when I get further.

I need another pan. I got rid of my old pan set a few weeks ago. It was about time, because the pans were loose and I couldn't work out how to tighten rivets. I also couldn't get rid of the burnt remnants in the biggest pan and they were generally showing the wear of around fifteen years of constant use. I gave up and got a set of Tesco pans which, with discount, cost around £54. That is a lot of money to me. Unfortunately they are too small. I have a huge, ginormous, massive stock pan which currently has soup bubbling in it, but the biggest one of the new set isn't big enough to boil potatoes in for all of us. Pans are usually sold by the diameter of the top, and I'm fairly certain that the big pan of the new set is the same diameter at the top as the old one. But the old one went straight down and the new one tapers. It doesn't have the same capacity.

I could boil pasta and potatoes in the big stockpot, but it doesn't have a long handle, if you see what I mean. You have to pick it up with the two little handles either side and as I struggle with the lift at the best of times, it is a recipe for disaster to ask me to drain with it. There is always the option of wafting around with a straining spoon, but I can't see that ending well either, especially if we want mash.

I can't exactly go and look at one in a shop. I could wait until the lock down is over, but it's a nuisance.

I've had a quick look on eBay (my friend) and became transfixed by a set with bright blue linings before I closed the tab quickly.

At least the search for a pan is keeping me occupied.

Writing stuff - writing challenge is here -

Hugs and good health to all

Sunday 12 April 2020

Happy Easter!

It's been another unremarkable day, which is wonderful. We have all been well. Bear despises the taste of Easter Eggs, so instead had a donation towards an online game. Steam is an online thingy where you can buy and play games. I vaguely dabbled a few years ago, but bear and DH sometimes get some games. They had a Lego video game on sale so bear picked up a game for a third of its normal price and has been happily immersed in it all day. I'm not complaining too much. Tomorrow we have a family afternoon planned, which will be nice.

Yesterday I was muttering about that circular blanket. I caved and tried it and utterly failed. I could not 'click' with the short row stuff, so I've given up and I'm trying a rectangular blanket from YouTube. I'll let you know how I get on. I'll be carrying on with the plainer blanket to donate, though, when I'm watching films with the guys.

Dinner was a very nice casserole, though I say so myself, and the men devoured it. I'm getting to the end of the veg box. I have potatoes and cauliflower left now. Tomorrow I think I will use one of the 'ready to roast' chicken breast joints that have been languishing in the freezer for far too long, and see what I can come up with for the cauliflower and potato.

I really miss driving. I think that when the lock down ends I shall probably put a thousand miles on Red in the first week! I will need to do a lot of runs in familiar places, just to get the hang of driving again. According to the rules, as no-one has symptoms, DH can go out from tomorrow and I can go out from next Monday. We can certainly manage without a proper shop until I get going, as it is cruelty to DH to send him into supermarkets, even in normal times, but then I will be going out maybe once a week. It depends how long I can make fresh fruit last. I will also be being a good girl and going to my usual shops, with perhaps occasional diversions to farm shops, but the whole issue of bread and fresh fruit concerns me. Everything else that we use I can get frozen, tinned or packaged in a way that will last a month, but not those. It won't be a bad thing for us to adjust a little, though, and it is better than risking lives. To be honest, it's made me a lot more mindful of our food and that has to be a good thing.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 11 April 2020

Dratted Honeysuckle

It is a very minor issue in the whole world at the moment, but it's the one I'm dealing with today.

Every year I decide I am going to to get rid of the dratted honeysuckle who only gives me two flowers and three leaves. Every year the dratted thing starts with a flourish and I decide to keep it as I am a sucker for honeysuckle. Every year we get to May and I'm back to two flowers and three dratted leaves. It gets me every time.

Last year may have been due to issues with the neighbours, as I've noticed quite a bit of minor vandalism, but I've tied the railing back up and I've put a line in for the dratted thing to grow along. I took this photo as I went to take something to the bin.

The dratted thing has been here for over five years, and this is the most leaves I've ever seen - in fact, possibly more leaves than the rest of the years put together! I am going to be starting on the garden next week, but I plan to do it in the early morning, before there are many passing.

For those who have Amazon Prime, it may be worth having another check at the films and shows that are free to Prime members on there. I'm sure there are a lot more than there were. I watched 'The Spy Next Door' with Jackie Chan last night, and very entertaining it was as well. I suspect a few films are getting to early release on places like Amazon as well. I was watching out for Jumanji, the Next Level and it was due to be released to buy in June, but it's available now.

Deramores have, unfortunately, many free patterns on their website. You can get the free digital download or you can pay and get the kit which includes the pattern of the yarn. They are an incredible temptation. I found a pattern for a round baby blanket - the Roundabout Baby Blanket - and I'm very tempted. I have a gazillion and four projects started already, and I really don't fancy sewing it up, and I don't have any baby yarn in, but I do have some rather thick looking space-dyed four ply that isn't earmarked for anything particular, and I could just leave it unsewn and treat it like a shawl, and I've never tried short rows like this and it looks fun, and if I use the four ply then I wouldn't have to change colours and I could do with something like this to cheer me up...

Everyone is doing well here as I type. I'm praying for those on the front line. While I witter on about knitting and honeysuckle, I'm aware that they are very much footnotes at the moment.

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 10 April 2020

A Good Day

Today was a good day. Bear insisted that we listen to the Classic FM Hall of Fame. It happens every Easter, from Good Friday to Easter Monday where they play the pieces, or part of the pieces, that people voted for as their favourite classical music. As ever I voted for Fingal's Cave, Danse Macabre and Sonata Pathetique. I love watching the way the music unrolls and seeing how many pieces are from films or from computer games.

DH, bear and I hung out, listened to classical music and relaxed. We had soup tonight, made with the awesome veggies from the veg box (peppers, sweet potato, carrot, garlic, ginger, onion, lentils) and I'm looking forward to a relaxing evening. It's been very self indulgent.

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 9 April 2020

A Win and a Fail

Thank you for all the good wishes. Kate - I get five gallons of white vinegar delivered every few months and I always, always apologise.

Today people have been slightly better. From what I can see, however, is that things come and go in waves, so I'm taking each day as it comes and working out isolation from day of last symptom.

Today I had three deliveries. The first was unremarkable and some hot chocolate from the stationery company, Viking. The second was from a sandwich shop called Lean Lunch which normally specialises in delivering healthy snacks, but currently are also offering fruit and veg boxes. The third was from a local delivery company called Beelivery which I think operates in a lot of areas.

The veg box from Lean Lunch was awesome! It was delivered with some noodles for bear (he was ambivalent) and was spectacular. I remembered to take a photo after I had removed the raspberries, the courgettes and the chicken breasts.

It's all lovely fresh stuff. I don't think you can see the fresh chili or the fresh ginger, but there is a lot of good stuff. We had some of the chicken tonight, and I put courgette, sweet potato and red onion, all diced, in a glass dish with some oil and some stock powder and microwaved for twenty minutes. This was a success. Tomorrow is casserole with the rest of the chicken and some of the great veggies.

I also had the Beelivery delivery. The young lad who delivered seemed lovely, but it was so expensive. I asked for both gluten and non gluten bread, but they only got gluten stuff, so I shall manage without (not really a huge hardship), and the mark up was bad. They delivered grapes which cost me £2.59 but were price marked at £1. I'm glad I know it exists, and while we are desperate I may consider it for bread, but it is not something I could recommend. The site is horrible to get around as well.

I've also been cold all day, so I hope I'm not having another run in with the dratted thing.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Feeling the Fail

I've just accidentally deleted a lovely comment from wherethejourneytakesme - thank you for the kind thought and I'm sorry that I managed to delete it.

I feel like I ought to be better at the whole business of getting through a lockdown. DH is quite poorly now, although bear is a lot better (and seems to have grown a couple of inches). This resets the isolation. I'm more worried about DH than staying in, but it would be easier if I was able to go shopping for bits to tempt him.

I have some deliveries due. One, which is due tomorrow, is a veg box from a sandwich shop.

Tip on Getting Deliveries - if you go onto Google Maps, and look under the search bar, there is now a button that says 'Delivery' which shows places that should still be delivering, although you have to check. I get slightly different results on my laptop and on my phone. I found the sandwich shop, that also has the veg boxes, and the lunches from there look very pleasant indeed, and if the lockdown continues I may suggest them as a once-a-week treat.

Another tip is to think sideways. Normally I'm very good at this, but I'm failing a little at the moment. However I'm getting a delivery of chocolate biscuits from the stationery company, Viking. I've bought printer paper from them before now, but remembered that they also do office catering stuff. They have tea and coffee for sale as well, I think, but there was a truly awesome sale of coffee not so long ago when I completely committed, and we don't drink much black tea.

Although that does lead me to the delivery of tea from Twinings that should be here sometime this month, as I thought it would be fun to try some teas out with bear, especially if it gives him something other than rubik's cubes to obsess about. I have no idea when that will come.

And as soon as I can go out, I'm definitely going to go around the farm shops. They are far more interesting than Tescos.

Mind you, we're not too bad. We have plenty of coffee, as I said, some useful tins, an overloaded freezer and I'm not afraid to google. I am counting my blessings.

Today's daily briefing included support for charities. I am sure that there are all sorts of bits of politics and economics and sociology intertwined, but I feel a little reassured, and I know that the email I had recently from Tesco said that the company were committed to supporting Foodbanks. I will keep an eye out to see what I can do, especially once everyone is a little better.

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Still Trundling

Thank you for all the good wishes. Bear is still rough in the morning and the evening, but not as bad during the day. I think he is on the up. DH is not well. I'm hoping it's just a cough or cold as he wasn't well a while ago. To be honest, I'm feeling a little worried.

I'm finding it hard to get moving. Bear likes my company so I find myself just hanging out in the same room. Still, I've sorted out a load of recycling and put it out, and I've spent some time with Scottish Power (nobody knows why, but I no longer have my boiler cover, and it will be a while before I can sort out whether I'm owed money or not, dammit). Tonight we all watched Monsters Inc together, which was awesome. We are seriously getting our money's worth out of Disney Plus, far more than Netflix. I also managed to call one of DH's aunties just to check how she is. She is older and not in brilliant health. We had a good chat talking about some of the tricks that they used in the war to eke out rations and supplies.

I also did a small amount of writing for the writing challenge (here) and I found these live cams from San Diego Zoo here.

I need to find a way to push myself with work while still keeping bear company. I'm sure I'll figure it out.

By the way, did you hear about the two men who were caught stealing a calendar? They each got six months.

Hugs and good health to all.

Monday 6 April 2020

Bear Continues Poorly

I phoned the GP reception about something else connected with bear, mentioned his symptoms, she told me to call 111. I called 111 (NHS helpline) and they said that bear had all the corona symptoms and we need to self isolate. We are continuing to stay in.

Bear goes through waves of it. At the start and end of the day, he is quite rough, but he's not so bad at other times. I'm keeping a close eye on him.

Scottish Power have happened to me again. I don't know if anyone remembers the saga last year when Scottish Power had inexplicably set up a second boiler care agreement, and no-one could work out why. Today I got an email saying that they were sorry that I had cancelled the agreement and if I want to take out boiler care again, these were the rates that they could offer me. I hadn't cancelled the agreement.

I should add that the boiler care is part of the price plan and gets be a better gas and electric rate. Goodness knows what's happening to that.

I rang Scottish Power. Scottish Power are working a skeleton staff due to the current crisis and couldn't take the call. I said some rude words. Then I rang Domestic and General who run the actual boiler cover scheme. They were very nice (they always are!) and looked at my account. I could hear the boggle through the phone line. They have no idea what's happening. According to their notes, my boiler has been written off. Actually, it's working just fine! I have no idea why this has happened. The poor man at the other end seemed baffled. I'm going to have to switch away from them. I have a number I can ring tomorrow, so I will take some calm breaths and see what comes up.

Writing stuff - this week's writing challenge is here. All are welcome, especially as I haven't a clue.

Hugs and good health to all.

Sunday 5 April 2020

I Did the Freezer

I actually pulled stuff out, threw out some lingering ice pops and rearranged the shelves as much as I could, but one more frozen chicken nugget and the poor thing will explode. It's left me with a better idea of where I am with food.

I'm good for frozen peas, frozen onions, and an unexpected extra bag of sprouts. I've got some bits of frozen potato products, but I want to use up the fresh potatoes I got first. I bought a sack and I'm happily working my way through them.

Today we hung out and watched the Incredibles and Incredibles 2 and we all enjoyed them. Two of the best superhero films I've ever seen.

I found this, links to virtual tours of all sorts of places. I haven't clicked on the links, so use caution, but it's a little escapism.

Hugs and good health to all

Saturday 4 April 2020

Frozen Assets

Thank you for all the good wishes, and sending all good vibes and hugs to those who are suffering at this time. We all are affected, and if all we can do is keep putting one shaky foot in front of another then we are triumphing every time we take a step.

Also, Jessica left a comment with a tip that I thought is definitely worth sharing.

I peel my carrots and put them into a lidded container interleafed with damp kitchen towel and they keep for at least a week and are ready to snack on if needed. I also do this with washed and spun spinach and lettuce and it stays crisp and fresh. Jessica.

Thank you for sharing, I shall definitely try it as carrots seem to take one look at me and fall apart.

Today I got the last delivery I will get until things get back to normal. I booked it a few weeks ago, and considered cancelling it, but bear is still unwell and I am trying to minimise how much I get out. I'm hoping to have no reason to go out for a week now. And in the delivery, there were frozen items.

I have an upright freezer. It isn't the biggest, but it's bigger than an under the counter model. I should be able to cram a fair amount it. Apparently, I have. I've been meaning to run it down so I can stash soup in there, but I seem to have got carried away. You cannot get another frozen pea in there without a crowbar. I swear that the freezer was ready to burst. And the worst thing is that I'm not exactly sure what's in there. There is too much 'miscellaneous'. I know that there are some tubs of sorbet that DH and bear enjoyed last summer, or, at least the last two spoonfuls in the tubs. I'm sure there are ice pops as I've been giving them to bear (still poorly but slightly better). There are half packets of peas, a few nuggets, the last of some hash browns and a bag of red cabbage and apple. As I was trying to cram in the last bag of peas and the frozen chicken pieces, the last frozen pizza fell down the back of the drawer and seemed to disappear. I could have cried. I manhandled drawers out, used some very inappropriate language and managed to just about get the door shut (I checked!) before staggering away.

Tomorrow I have to sort out what is in there. If I come back with some sort of excuse, please feel free to tell me off. I am sure that some of it is just badly packed, and the rest I need to make sure that I use up appropriately. I do not want to keep going out if I can help it. The main issue we are likely to have is bread. I can make mayonnaise rolls, and even pancakes or drop scones, but DH really likes his sandwich made from a loaf. I could maybe freeze bread if I can make sure that space is being used efficiently and I can get things used effectively in the right order. I won't be using much from there tomorrow, though, as I have some turkey mince I'd like to use up.

I think it's a very positive thing that I'm being forced to look at what food I have in and be creative in using it. I wonder how it will change shopping habits after all this is over?

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 3 April 2020

When I Work Out What Normal Service Is, It Will Be Resumed

Thank you for all the kind words. I really appreciate them and they have made a serious difference. I have fragile mental health. I have good days and bad days and I know that I am in a much better position than many. I try not to dwell on it. Yesterday wasn't good.

I'm pulling myself together, though. The last thing anyone needs is more doom and gloom. I am promising myself to post something positive every day. There is always something.

Today I was reminded that I'm in a good position on a lot of things due to erratic shopping habits. I have around half a dozen large bottles of Presto washing up liquid from Amazon. I bought a box of 12 in the summer of 2018, and I would almost recommend them. The liquid is incredibly concentrated and you only need a small squirt. It cleans really well and is great on grease. It's not even terribly expensive. It doesn't have a fancy scent, but that isn't the most important thing. The clean dishes are the most important part. I had a quick look on Amazon, and I don't think that they are doing them any more, which is sort of a shame. I say that it is sort of a shame because while the washing up liquid is amazing, the bottles are sent out in a box and they don't tape down the lids. My box had one bottle that was slightly open.

Washing up liquid is a lubricant. It is a really good lubricant. I couldn't pick up the dratted bottles, they skidded out of my hands and the stuff got everywhere. It was like a comedy moment. It took me ages to get all the bottles cleaned and safe for use. Two inches of washing up liquid went a looong way - and I nearly did when I was skidding over the kitchen.

I'm running low on pasta, though. I normally buy it in very large quanitities once a year when the gluten free stuff goes on its yearly sale. It's coming up to that time of year again, but I'm not expecting the same deal.

Bear continues quite poorly. I continue to fuss him.

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 2 April 2020

Could be Worse

I'm having a tough time today. Back tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 1 April 2020


We have been having a sort out. It's absolutely necessary for DH's mental health, and, to be honest, now I am feeling a little better and getting some more writing done, I need to throw things out as well.

The tip has shut.

Not only has the tip shut, but so have the charity shops. I have a lot of stuff that needs to go. As it is, there is a substantial heap of black bin bags in our garden. I'm double bagging the rubbish, and the very small amount of food waste (I've been remarkably good for once, it's mainly peelings) has gone in the black bin, but there is still a lot of stuff to go.

Today was bin day. I filled up our black bin with extra bags, as we don't have that much food waste, and I snuck out the bin from next door but one, as that house is currently empty. The landlord had filled the bin with some rubbish, but I managed to fit another couple of bags in there. Hopefully he won't notice and won't add to it, so I'll be able to put some more in there in a fortnight's time. I should have asked next door, but I've only seen them a couple of times and I don't feel comfortable knocking on their door during a pandemic. They didn't take their bins out at all, so I may remind them in a fortnight.

I was tempted to add our bags to the collection point, but thought that the binmen would have enough on their hands and would be worried about the virus so unlikely to touch any bags. I was right as they left a pile of binbags which appeared, no idea where from. I suspect that they may have come from the flats or from the unlucky hairdressers that opened last month.

I've got to keep an eye on this as rats are always a problem around here. When it's a little dryer, I'll be spraying with the vinegar and lemon essential oil mixture that made our porch into a gas chamber (but killed the black mould). And I'm being soooo careful about recycling as well, so all that possibly can go there, is going there.

I was planning to leave some of the outgrown clothes in the clothes bank hoppers in Tesco car park, but they are full. I think everyone is having a sort out. I think that when restrictions relax, the queue for the tip is going to reach back to the city centre! I also think that the charity shops may overflow, and I think they may be needed.

Bear continues out of sorts. His physio has been cancelled indefinitely until after the crisis has passed. I will be glad when he is better, but I'm not looking forward to dealing with him when he is restless and full of energy.

Tonight's shepherd's pie was utterly awesome. I wish I could remember exactly what I did as it was definitely one of my better efforts.

Hugs and good health to all.