Tuesday 30 June 2020

Much Better

Apart from a trip to the Post Office, I have stayed safely at home. It's been good. I've spent some time with bear and generally had a calm time. I planted out the lavender plants (the plug plants from last year didn't survive Bonfire Night - long story) and watered them in well. I'm not sure whether or not to water them again before bedtime. It was raining when I took some rubbish to the bin, and I don't want to drown them.

Dinner was roast veggie and lentil soup followed by microwave jam sponge. The men enjoyed it greatly. Tonight should be lovely and relaxing as we spend some time together.

Tomorrow I am returning to the question of the hat. I shall spend some thinking time and see where I end up. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Monday 29 June 2020

I Got a Cotton Bud stuck in a Kettle

Bear decided he didn't want me around today. He had an exam which apparently went well. Regardless, I was now in my room and tried to make myself a cuppa, except the electric kettle had dust in it. I had some issues getting it clean. I tried boiling it, swishing it around and pushing cotton buds into the nooks and crannies (it's only a very inexpensive cheap kettle with an exposed element). Of course I got a cotton bud stuck and it took me ages to get it out.

That came after not realising that I had slippers on when I went out and dug over a flower bed. The slippers may not recover, but they were extremely well worn and about to be junked anyway, so I'm not stressing.

Then I nipped out for some bits and reversed into a car in a car park. I always reverse into a space, except today. Today I reversed out and into a Jaguar. Of course it had to be a beautiful, shiny, new looking jaguar. As it was me, you could barely see the scratch, no-one was hurt, and the lovely owner said I could just pay for the paint. So I'm doing that. My car has some scratches as well, but nothing much. I crawl when I reverse. I've always envied those people who zip in and out of reverse, but I think I will stick to my usual sloth speed. 

Today could be better.

Writing stuff - writing prompt here, all welcome. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 27 June 2020

There May be Regrets

Sarah - thank you. You make it sound so simple, so I may have a go, though I don't know how interesting it would be. I really appreciate the pointers.

Bless - I think I'm going to have to allow more for food as well.

I have all the bits to start making the hat. I thought I would try hand sewing it as it isn't very big, and I'm still scared of my sewing machine. Besides, it's been sitting in a damp room for years and I don't want to risk breaking something before getting it serviced - and I'm not even sure where I will get it serviced these days. 

However as I have black lining, black paisley brocade for fabric 1 and nearly black paisley brocade for fabric 2 & 3, plus black trim that I would need to sew on, It's also trimmed with lots of black bias binding and I have black millinery wire. I'm worried about eye strain. I may hand sew, but in small doses. 

To be fair, there isn't that much sewing. I've never been comfortable with sewing machines and I've hand sewn curtains before - that is, very full curtains to fit 90 inch wide, 76 inch drops with double side hems, double herringbone stitch bottom hems and ells of curtain tape. This must be only a few yards of sewing, and I have a bright work light. How hard can it be, if I take breaks? I may be regretting the choice of fabric. The curtains were bottle green. 

There has been a lot of weather today, so I've been glad to stay indoors. I've spent a lot of the day going through my bookmarks. I get carried away and bookmark things and then never bother again. I'm trying to pare them down. One thing I have learned is that if I don't do a recipe straight away, I forget, so I'm going through the recipes I've bookmarked now so when I go shopping next week (hoping to hold out until Tuesday) I can make a list. 

I've also collected all my favourite funnies that I've bookmarked in one place. This is my favourite, but it has strong language!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 26 June 2020

Liverpool Won!!!!!!

I forgot to put it in yesterday, but thank you to all that pre-ordered. I was cuddled by that all through the day and was so immersed in the hug that I forgot to mention it. I am incredibly grateful.

Today has been far too hot. I've spent most of the day watching interviews with Liverpool FC players. We have finally won the league. I really wish that father had seen this. I don't think he saw Jurgen Klopp, but he would have completely approved of him and he would have been ecstatic. I once saw him down half a bottle of brandy watching an England game (and, to be fair, the game was dire). I think there would have been strong drink taken for this. 

I suspect that food is likely to be more expensive over the next year or so. Not only are there issues with Brexit, but food production has been disrupted and there are locust swarms in Africa. I think it's important to cherish the food we have now and not waste a scrap. 

I have had most of the gear for the hat arrive. I think I will hand sew it. I don't think I have the courage to get out the sewing machine. I'll take some pics tomorrow. 

Writing stuff - I was considering recording me reading some of my stuff and posting it on my website. Then I looked at some YouTube channels and decided that I didn't have the technical know-how for it. There's all sorts of stuff about feeds and backgrounds and balances, and I think I'll walk away now. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 25 June 2020

Spending Fail

Thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered Out of the London Mist. I don't think I can express how hugged I feel. Thank you!

Today is very, very hot and nobody in this house is flourishing. I decided it was bread and cold meat for dinner, which we had in, and I decided to call in to Tesco for a tub of coleslaw. I considered going to a closer shop, but I wasn't sure that they would have any in, and bear could do with a new mouse. 

I picked up some extra cold meat with the coleslaw, and a spare mouse for me and bear. And there was a sale on clothing so one top for bear, two tops for DH and two tops for me. There was some pyrex at half price and I'd been wanting some different casseroles for a bit and the plastic jug I use for miscellaneous water stuff is looking so scuffed that I can't tell when it's clean. Of course there was a stand with a selection of incredibly inexpensive plastic jugs and bowls that I was yearning for. Looking back, I should have got the large pyrex bowl as well, but you live and learn.

I spent an absolute fortune! I used the Tesco clubcard plus and used one of my big shop vouchers, so I saved 10%, plus all the other bits that I had bought at bargain. And of course they were marking down the bread when I went past so I picked up a reduced apple pie and a reduced sourdough loaf, both of which were very much appreciated by the men. I don't think I paid full price for much apart from the coleslaw - but I still spent a fortune. I'm sort of confident that I'll get my money's worth, but I'm still in shock.

At least I got the fuschias planted, and I suspect I've found the ants' nest. I'm not going to interfere as long as they stay out of the house.

Writing stuff - review of a steampunk anthology on my writing blog here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 24 June 2020

I've Done It Again

I'm still waiting for delivery of the stuff for the hat, and the wait is making me nervous. I can't remember the last time I successfully followed a pattern.

My problem is that I bite off more than I can chew and I can't leave well alone. There are some ties on the hat that you are supposed to cut from fabric, but I was considering replacing with steampunk themed ribbon. I don't know what I'm doing! I'm scared of my sewing machine! But I'm still considering changing things around. Sigh. When will I learn! I'm a victim of 'I can just...' and the next thing I know I'm up to my armpits in haberdashery and panicking. I should know better, but here I am again with hats this time.

Bear has graciously permitted me to alter the plans for the garden. I did some digging earlier, and I'll go back out once it has cooled down a little. The weather forecast is for temperature of 30C or around 86F. For some people reading this, that's 'get a wrap' weather. I feel on the edge of heatstroke.

Also, I have hayfever. I didn't have it growing up. It has sort of crept up on me. I woke up this morning ridiculously sniffly and couldn't stop sneezing. I am unimpressed.

Bear's eye is almost back to normal. Everything else is failing to co-operate, but his eye is okay. 

Dinner is definitely salad. 

Writing stuff - Exciting times! Out of the London Mist is now available for pre-order. It's a lot less expensive now, and will cost more if you order after publication, so if you are likely to be kind enough to read it, now is a good time to buy to get it on 23 July. If you feel able to review it, let me know as a comment. I will be able to get you a free electronic review copy. All I would ask is that you would leave a review on somewhere like Amazon in return. I've written all about the process so far with links to the pre-order on my writing blog here, so please check it out if you are interested.

I'm now getting caught up in publicity and publishing, so there are likely to be a lot of posts about writing stuff. It's okay to skip them if you are not interested. I will indulge myself with a brief overview of the cover, though.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 23 June 2020


If you go on to the AA site ( and then click onto their route planner and then to travel news, you can get an overview of the local roadworks. There are a gazillion local to me. I know that the government are putting in investment, and it's the time of year for roadworks as the surface is easier to deal with when it's warm, and the budget has just gone in, but it's getting silly. There are a lot of closed roads as well and I ended up going around some very strange back roads on the way home from Tesco.

The weather is forecast to get a lot warmer, so I went out today to stock up on supplies for easy meals and rice salad. The driving was terrifying. I used to be a lot more confident. I also think that there were other drivers having issues. However the supermarket was fairly empty when I went in, though getting busier when I left at around 2pm. And I remembered almost everything, so I feel pretty good about it. I should be able to stay away from the shops now at least until Friday, when I can then top up for the weekend. 

There will probably be around a gazillion and four roadworks by then.

I've agreed with bear that we can get rid of the honeysuckle and jasmine, but I'm not sure I can get it out. I've been hacking and yanking all morning, and the stuff is firmly stuck. It's not actually in the ground, but in stacked tyres and it's well and truly embedded. As far as I can see, I would need to dismantle the stack of tyres, deal with the vast hordes of woodlice and spilled compost, and then restack. I'm not sure I have that much energy. I shall discuss things with bear later.

Writing stuff - I've managed a response to this week's writing prompt here. I've been quite busy with writing tomorrow and I hope to be able to share the cover of the book coming out next month. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 22 June 2020

I Have Lost Things

I did a socially distant exchange on my doorstep with brother today, well sort of on my doorstep. He was at the gate, I was in the porch and the neighbours could probably hear every detail of what we were saying. He left stuff for bear, who is lucky to have an amazing uncle, and for me. I gave him dog treats and had to confess that I've lost his laptop. 

I thought I knew where it was, but stuff got shifted around when a television was moved, and it's all got a little out of hand. I feel very overwhelmed.

Dinner was a fail as well. I had some of those ready to eat/cook chestnuts that I want to use up, and a third of a bottle of olives, and I thought I'd add them to a Tesco jar of bolognese sauce and bung it in a casserole with some diced beef and a few chopped mushrooms. It should have been epic. As it was, it was deeply unpleasant. The beef was too tough. I think I cooked it too high for too long. 

Also, I have an incredibly sniffly nose. It's driving me nuts. The poplar trees near us are shedding, which causes problems. Pretty soon we will have the usual build up in corners that looks like a duvet has been sick and slunk off.

Earlier we had a phone consultation with a consultant for bear. I can never think of what to say and bear is equally bewildered. His eye is a lot better, he is putting in ear drops and he's suffering with the pain. On the bright side, I got to explain to him that when I was young, you could only get olive oil at a pharmacy and it was strictly for medicinal purposes, like ear drops. People cooked in lard, not oil. To be fair, some of the more progressive cooks also used solid vegetable fat like Trex which set like a lump in the chip pan. Bear didn't approve.

Writing stuff - I have also lost my Mrs Beeton. I'm supposed to be writing a couple of character spotlights and some articles and I can't write the article on Victorian cooking as easily without Mrs Beeton. I am heading for maximum grumble. 

On the bright side, I've posted this week's writing challenge, here, and I hope I do better than I did last week. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Sunday 21 June 2020

Happy Father's Day!

As it's Father's Day, the men had steak followed by chocolate trifle. It's been quite a good day. I've been hanging out with bear who now looks only mildly beaten. 

I have spent some time worrying that I may have bitten off more than I can chew with the hat. My view is that there is only one way to find out. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 20 June 2020

Shiny Things!

Bear currently looks only mildly beaten, and is giving himself eye drops like a champ. Thank you for the good wishes. 

Today I have been looking at lots of shiny things. As I may have mentioned a gazillion times, I have a book coming out on 23 July, all being well. It's the first one that is being handled by a proper publisher, Three Furies Press, who are small, relatively new and utterly awesome. They can cope with me. 

My novel is steampunk, that is, a sort of science fiction version of Victorian London, where machines fly through the sky using the new technology of aether crystals and aether energy (there are also monsters and murders in the East End of London in the thick, London fog). I hope to be going to steampunk conventions later, when things are back to whatever passes for normal, so I thought I would make a steampunk hat. I bought this pattern.

I really should have watched the YouTube tutorials which use thin foam and glue. Instead I'm looking at sewing and milliners wire. I spent a lot of the day looking at various fabrics and notions online, and what wonderful things there are! I'm planning to have a go at the one on the top right, with the bat wings. It looks the easiest. I may have to have several attempts.

After that, I need to consider a costume that not only fits in with late Victorian and Jules Verne ethos but, instead of the rather dashing fitted clothes, allows for my generous size and ample and low slung bosom. At least it is something to look forward to. And it may also be a chance to look at lovely, shiny, sparkly things and shop, but I'm admitting nothing.

Now all I have to do is wait for the fabric to arrive and hope that the sewing machine works. I may go back and re-watch the Great British Sewing Bee. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 19 June 2020

Good News and Not so Good News

Thank you for all the good wishes. They are really, really appreciated.

DH took bear to hospital (only one parent allowed at the moment) and while the eye is very swollen and sore, there is nothing in there now and the cornea isn't scratched, which was the big worry. Poor kid still looks like he's gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson, and he's feeling very under the weather. With his other conditions, he's not on top form and I got woken up at 4am because he was hurting. I swear I was five minutes into a conversation before I was conscious. 

Bear was very brave through the whole eye exam, and now has drops to put in and has to use a cold compress, and I was very proud how well he dealt with the whole issue. I wasn't thrilled by his report, which isn't brilliant. He hasn't done the work and that's the bottom line. I wasn't surprised, though, and I'm hoping it doesn't cause too many problems for him. I just hope his eye clears up as he was starting to be able to do school work again but the pain from the eye set him back. 

And that's about it for today. We are all fed, we are all dry and I'm about to crawl into bed. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 18 June 2020

Not Even Lunch Time

Sharon - I am trying to go either really early or really late. Some  stores are more diligent than others. 

On Thursdays I've started to go out for a drive. I try and avoid shops but I go to different places. I'm becoming more and more nervous on unfamiliar roads so I'm trying to make a weekly effort to find new places. I had a few 'oh bugger' moments and picked up the loaf of bread and scouring pads I forgot yesterday. 

When I came home, bear had a swollen eye. This is in addtion to the deafness. It's red and looks incredibly uncomfortable. I'm going to have to get him to the GP, I can tell. 

Bear is resistant to this. I don't blame him. However I am incredibly squeamish about eyes, and there is no way I could do drops or anything. Thank goodness for DH.

And as bear needs fuss over his eye, I can see the plans I had for this afternoon evaporating into mist. I know it's not me suffering, any more than I am suffering from the whole ear stuff, and the joint pain, and the stress from the schoolwork. However sometimes I feel guiltily irritated. My time is getting sucked up. This afternoon is likely to involve issues around eyes and so the housewifery and writing that I really need to do aren't going to happen. I feel dreadful that I'm even thinking about the impact on me. I also feel ready to cry. 

Bear has washed the eye, but says it's still very itchy. I'm waiting until DH can see it at lunchtime, then I may insist on some sort of medical check. Hopefully I'll have pulled myself together and be able to get things sorted out. Poor bear is really going through it. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Could all be Worse

I'm shattered. I don't know why. I suspect the weather is making me run down. 

I dashed to Tesco and Aldi this morning, then raced home. The trouble is, I spend so much time queuing, it takes so long. It didn't help that I forgot something and had to go back to queue again. I've promised bear peanut butter cookies, and I forgot the peanut butter. Not only that, I can't find my fail safe recipe.

Tonight's dinner was gluten free breaded chicken with rice salad followed by spiced dark chocolate apple cake. The cake is very, very, very rich and I seriously recommend it - in small slices.

Between then was the battle to get bear to do schoolwork. He's not really in a good place, so he's struggling with stuff he normally sails through, and he is very overwhelmed. The assignments are mounting up. I've been spending a lot of time coaxing him. I've also been working on some of the writing stuff. I am now shattered.

Writing stuff - It's getting closer to the release date for Out of the London Mist, and part of the publicity will be what are called character spotlights. These are short snippets about characters in the novel. It's been a fascinating afternoon, as I've written a lot of other things since then, so I've been revisiting some of the characters and the story. I'm working hard on getting some thing interesting together that really adds to the story. I'm also planning a few articles as well which should also add. This means I've been digging out my research on the London Peculiars and the smogs that plagued London, and I am considering other articles, such as recipes for the food mentioned in the novel. I've been having a lot of fun, but it's taking time. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Sitting Pretty

Eileen - thank you, I'll have a look out. That will be a help.

Bear has a new computer chair. The old one was at the point of collapse and had seen many hard years of service. I bought the cheapest one from Viking (great customer service and on TopCashBack) and it arrived today - ready to assemble. 

Bear decided he could put it together. It wasn't exactly IKEA, and was quite tricky, Also, bear is still having massive problems with his joints. Poor kid was in bits at the end of it, but he did it! He wouldn't give up, he wouldn't take a break and he wouldn't give in. He did need pain pills afterwards, but I was so proud of him. He is now thoroughly enjoying the comfort.

Tonight's dinner was roast veggie and lentil soup followed by the now regular microwave jam sponge but this time with cocoa powder added to the mix. I'm slowly working my way through all the mini jars of jam that have built up from hampers over the years. I'm going to find it a shock when I actually buy jam.

I am now so full, I can barely waddle. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 15 June 2020

Where is the Time Going?

Things seem to be slipping past like well washed bars of soap. It's now half way through June! I have so much I should be doing, and a lot I should have done. 

Today seemed to be endless shopping. I called in at Morrisons, but I cheated and went to the smaller one in Heckmondwike. They didn't have the same offers in store that they have online, which seems very unfair. I picked up the bread, but nothing else. 

Sue - watch out! Pringles are also on sale at Morrisons as well, but it may be safe to go to Tesco on Wednesday as their sales switch on Tuesdays. I'm not sure how long the sale will last. There are some codes on the labels in Tesco but not only did I forget to look, I don't actually understand them. 

Barbara - I like the idea of using gluten free bread dough. I'm sure I can pick it up. They also sell gluten free pizza bases, but I don't fancy those as much. I'm trying to remember where I saw a recipe that involved flour and yoghurt as a pizza base. If I remember correctly (50/50 chance), that turned out okay. 

The queues at Morrisons were ridiculous, and I trudged around getting more and more disappointed as the sale items on my list weren't on sale in store, just online (and still online now). I can't justify taking a slot when someone else might need it, though, so I suppose I need to just keep my eyes open. 

The queues at Aldi were shorter, but not much, and the tills were over-run. Apart from the panic buying phase, it was the worst I had seen since Christmas and I was seriously considering abandoning the half dozen bits I had in my trolley. However they had the Not Pot Noodles in that bear liked, so I went with it. 

Tesco wasn't so bad, and the items on offer online were also on offer in store. I find myself very comfortable shopping with Tesco. I picked up a few more bits, including Pringles, and we should be fine for the week. 

I am a little worried about how much I spent. I'm planning to use up all the freezer as bear left the freezer door open for an hour last night. It could happen to anyone (and has happened a lot to me), and I threw anything that seemed the slightest bit soft, so I bought stuff to go with the meat. I got fruit, veg, treats and snacks, with a loaf of bread and some deli meat, but nothing like a joint of beef, and it came to around £100. It will easily see us through the week, apart from needing another loaf later, but it is a shock to the system. Food prices are going up and we are buying more food. DH is having breakfast and lunch made at home and bear is no longer having school meals. I need get a move on and stop time slipping away. 

Writing stuff - this week's challenge here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 14 June 2020

Using Stuff Up

I'm getting a lot better at this now. A few weeks ago I got some small jars of pizza sauce that were seriously reduced. Tonight I used them on a massive homemade pizza, with olives that were left over from a stew, pepperoni that was getting close to its sell by date, left over red onions from the soup last week and some vegan cheese that I picked up at least a month ago and hadn't had the nerve to try out. The home made crust was a fail, though. I could have used it to tile a roof. I used gluten free flour and a recipe that added just a little oil with water. I won't try that again.

I've been looking on the supermarket websites for the offers. DH would like me to get a particular type of bread again, which I have only seen in Morrisons, and I'm intrigued by the 'Too Good to Waste' boxes. Unfortunately I think I can only get these at the big Morrisons in Leeds. They have some good deals on gluten free stuff (bag of pasta for only 60p! I should fill up) and a deal on the coffee DH likes. Bear and DH have forbidden me to get fresh food from there, as we have had too many disappointments, but the frozen stuff is okay. 

Tesco would be the stop for the fresh stuff and has a deal on Pringles. I have the ingredients and food processor to make home made hummus, and bear eats hummus with Pringles, so I should stock up. The men also like their flavoured water. 

I'd like to do both tomorrow as I have a lot of stuff I want to get clear at home over the next few days so I don't want to drive out. But if I go to the big Morrisons, I'll have to go through scary places in the centre of Leeds. I suppose I need to face that sometime. I shall have a think about it. With my track record, anything could happen. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Saturday 13 June 2020

Muddled Sort of Day

Sharon - you are very kind! Thank you.

The trouble with planning meals in this house is that the second I plan a meal and get in the ingredients, the men decide that they are doing something else. They may decide that they don't want anything to eat, or that they don't fancy that particular meal (bear is very bad for that) or generally are unexpectedly out, or busy or need something different. Sometimes I wonder why I try and do anything but chicken nuggets and oven chips. 

I need to sort out a price book. I found (through dratted Facebook ads) a site that seems similar to Approved Food, but has a different selection. It's Bargain Foods, and I've just done a test order. You have to watch the sell by dates, and the postage is steep unless you spend over £30, but it seems okay. I did spend at least ten minutes trying to work out how to add stuff to my cart, but that's just me. I'm not sure that I'm safe near a computer. The trouble with these sites is that you have to watch the prices. They had some ghee on sale, and the men have been muttering about proper curries that don't involve jars so buying ghee is on my mental horizon, but the same brand and quantity was £1 dearer on the Bargain Foods site than it was at Tesco. And sometimes it's cheaper on the bargain sites like this and Approved Food for the branded stuff, but will be cheaper yet at a supermarket for their own brand stuff or when things go on sale. 

I need a price book to hand rather than having to scout through different web pages. And prices are going up so much that it's hard to know when you are getting a good price. It all looks incredibly dear. And I would like a paper one, because then I could have it to hand easier in a store, or near my computer without having to load up programmes. People always recommend Excel, and I loathe that programme with the passion of a thousand suns. I shall have to have a think. I have a bad habit for re-inventing the wheel, but I think I need to play around with some ideas that would suit me. 

I have spent most of the day worrying about food prices and re-writing an 8000 word short story, which has crept into the 9000 word category. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 12 June 2020

Another Week Over

Bear has had a bad day, and the rain has been relentless. Dinner tonight was a jar of curry sauce over chicken, onion and mushrooms followed by home made jam sponge. The men enjoyed it, of course, but I felt that I had let myself down.

I keep getting ambushed by ads on Facebook. There are a lot of adverts for food deliveries, which I click on. And because I click on food delivery adverts, I get more. I need to clear out and use up my stock first, but it is so tempting. I've found adverts for spice merchants, fresh fruit and veg, fresh meat (through the post - I'm not sure about that!), and lots and lots of Yorkshire stuff. So far I'm mostly resisting, but I don't know how long I can hold out. 

On the writing stuff, I had an interview. It's not a hard hitting, probing, incisive interview by anyone famous. It's just one of the little ones used in publicity, but I had to rack my brains. They asked about where I got inspiration and I had to confess that I haven't got a clue, it just sort of happens. It sounds like I'm dodging responsibility for the plot, but I promise you, it's usually just something that happens and I go along with it. I also have some serious re-writing to do on an associated project, and I'm actually looking forward to that. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 11 June 2020

I Remembered to Take a Pic

Today I went for a drive for mental health reasons. I drove around thirty miles on roads I didn't know and had a blast. There were ridiculous bends, very steep climbs, single lane roads and some very complicated roundabouts. It was much needed. I tried to have a little walk, but was out of breath after only a little way up the hill. I need to get better at moving. Before all this, I was getting so much better. 

I called in to Morrisons on the way back as I was planning soup for dinner. June doesn't normally have soup weather, but it's been so cold and damp. When I had a look at the yellow stickered fruit and veg, they had  a couple of boxes labelled 'Too Good to Waste' and I picked up the one above. The veg was definitely at the end, but it was still good. It cost £1. Of course, this was fairly early on a rainy day, but I plan to keep going back to check on this. 

I roasted the veg with garlic and some oil and then added it to a pan with lentils, water, stock cube, celery salt and just a hint of cumin. It was a success. I enjoyed it a great deal and both the men enjoyed it a lot. I have a couple of the red onions left over, but I'm sure I'll find a use for them in the next few days. I used all the pepper and tomatoes. 

Sharon - I've started setting an alarm at 4.30pm as it gives me an hour before DH comes down from his room after working from home. I am considering digging out a notebook and jotting down ideas for that night's dinner first thing in the morning, together with how long it will take me to make it and keeping it an absolute secret or the men will decide that they couldn't possibly eat that. 

I need to get back to bullet journalling, or at least give it a serious go. I did my own version years ago, so I may try that. It's so hard to keep momentum. I am making some sort of shape by having a lunch delivered once a week on a Thursday (another reason to have a light dinner), and as DH is working from home, we still have a weekend, but it's incredibly hard to keep a sense of time.

Hugs and good health to all

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Sort of Okay

Bear is continuing better.

I need a more exciting life. I don't really have that much to write about. The garden is looking around two twigs better, and the efforts to clear the kitchen and the walk in cupboard continue. I'm finding all sorts that I had forgotten, which meant that dinner tonight was around half a pound of diced chicken in a jar of cooking sauce that claimed to be sort of like Spanish flavours, and I added some chestnuts (found at the back of a cupboard after I got a great deal with them sometime last year) and around a quarter of a jar of green olives (I was considering focaccia but got the wrong type of olive). It was a very successful meal, served with rice. Bear and DH both approved a great deal, especially of the chestnuts. That is a win for me, as while chestnuts don't have as much protein as peanuts or almonds, they have some, so I can switch them into a dish and get rid of some meat for a healthier meal. Though that only works if you get a good deal. 

Writing stuff - the response to last week's challenge is here and the response to this week's challenge is here. I'm hoping to get some serious writing in over the weekend. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Better Day

Bear had a much better night last night, which made all the difference. Thank you for all the kind words. They were very much appreciated.

Today I drove out, had a walk and then a quick call into Tesco. When I came back, I did a little in the garden and then started sorting out the big walk in cupboard which is full of junk. I got quite a bit done, but my hip went. Currently my left shoulder and right hip are being difficult and I am unimpressed. DH was a complete hero and dragged the bins out after dinner.

I didn't manage dessert today, but I made a turkey meatloaf from this recipe but instead of ground almonds, I added a packet of gluten free stuffing mix and left out the herbs. DH and I very much enjoyed it, but bear wasn't keen. He mopped up his mash and peas, though. I'm going to have to watch his appetite as I think it's being affected by the medicine and it comes and goes in gusts. 

I'm far more tired than I deserve to be, but hopefully that means a good sleep tonight.

Hugs and good health to all.

Monday 8 June 2020

Another Tough Day

Bear is having a bad time. He texted me at 3.49am but I didn't get it until 8.47am this morning. I have been having a few issues with this, and I think I am going to have to schedule a 'turn off and turn on again' routine. I apologised to bear and told him next time that he had to ring me. I always go to him when he calls in the night, and I was heartbroken that he might have thought I didn't care. He was okay, he was just having a bad time and wanted a little company, I think. Poor lad isn't in top form. 

I wish I knew what to do for the best for him. I feel very powerless. I'm keeping notes and making sure I fuss him, but it feels very hollow.

I also managed to pull and push on my shoulder at the same time. It takes talent to do that accidentally, but I managed it with a combination of my usual heedlessness, a small table and an entangled headphone cord. I've previously dislocated this shoulder three times before and it's not feeling happy. I am unimpressed.

On the bright side, I made home made soup tonight with all the bendy veg, followed by a microwave sponge pudding, which worked! It wasn't like a fancy steamed pudding, but it was very pleasant and the men will have it again as soon as I like to make it - recipe here.

Hester - I think it has it's little flaws. As far as I can find out, it isn't by a professional cookery writer, but by someone who I suspect is the sort of cook a lot of us are - we throw things together, substitute, have a go and see what happens. It has some fun ideas, though, which I plan to try.

Cherie - that comment is the most amazing hug, which is very much needed, and really kind. If Tony is okay reading online, there are some further stories here. The White Hart started as me trying to tell stories on a blog, which means that you have to scroll to the end and sort of read backwards. I really need to tidy the site up, and I will do soonish, probably. He could have a rummage around there. There are another couple of stories with a similar background, but they are all ebooks. They are really old, but I could hook him up with an emailed review copy, all honest reviews welcome. 

And speaking of writing stuff, this week's writing challenge is here. I'm still halfway through last week's and I will post it, but it's been a little stressy here. All are welcome to join in, as long as you would find it fun.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 6 June 2020

Not a Breakthrough

Bear needed a prescription picking up. I couldn't do it. I couldn't walk to a building that is visible from my window - maybe a few hundred yards only. I could have driven there, but the parking is horrific and I would never manage. Fortunately DH was going past there on a walk so picked it up for bear. Bear was quite indignant that I wouldn't send a 13 year old to pick up a prescription for something that isn't sold across the counter. If DH hadn't gone, I would have found a way, but I'm so upset that the barrier is still there. I wish I knew the answer. I can't get out unless it is either in a car or for bear. 

On the bright side, I found a book on Amazon via a Reddit recommendation. It's inexpensive, vegetarian food from storecupboard basics called 'Canned Pantry: Four Week Meal Plan' and seems ideal for these times. It's free on Kindle, and is a four week set of recipes that use things like tinned carrots and instant mashed potato in creative ways. The men in my life would probably reject some of them, but there are plenty that I plan on sneaking into the diet. I love the idea of sneaking pickled onions into meals instead of onions. I also plan on trying their version of focaccia and the lemony carrots.

I think it's written for those who are used to cooking in a quick and easy way, and so you get oven temperatures set generally such as 'medium hot' and while I think it's easy to follow the instructions, there are gaps where you should apply common sense. It's a basic collection for people who are struggling, and aims to feed a single person for £10 per week. I'm not commenting on the nutritional issues, which the author admits aren't ideal, but I think it's timely and I'll be keeping an eye out for a second edition. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 5 June 2020

Another Farm Shop

Today I went to another farm shop. It's not a full farm shop. It's a nursery that sells plants with fruit, veg and honey. I wish I had remembered to take pics! It's actually the nearest 'farm' shop to us, but I've avoided it so far because the entrance to the car park is sharp and very steep. I finally got up the courage today, and I'm glad. It's really great, does wonderful social distancing and is very friendly. Their website is here.

I only wanted to be out a little while, but then I remembered a load of stuff I needed from Tesco so I ended up being out for some time. We had chicken casserole for dinner with mashed potato. 

One of the things I'm finding is that I rush into food choices and don't take enough time. I used diced chicken breasts, but thigh would have been fine, or I could have used turkey. It wasn't a strongly flavoured casserole, just chicken, veggies, garlic and a chicken cuppa soup. It really hit the spot, though.

I'm avoiding going out during the weekend if I can. I don't need to go out then, as I can go out in the day during the week. I feel I should leave the spaces for those who need them as they are working. 

So many foodstuffs are being sold online now. I keep clicking on them, so I keep getting them recommended. I just clicked on Mercers of Yorkshire. I have no idea whether they are good or not, but they sell ginger curd and pear marmalade. I wonder if they have a factory shop? According to google, they're around twenty miles or so away, which I think is too cheeky. Maybe I can get a hamper together as a treat for Christmas. 

Also, I have just seen a plant for sale on eBay that is potted into a re-used pot noodle pot. I approve.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 4 June 2020

Father Would Be Proud

There's not much going on here, and I am busy with bear, so I thought I would just pop by and post this.

Image may contain: text that says "The Egyptian Govt has asked taxis to drive around Cairo sounding their horn in the hope that the familiar noise will provide a sense of peace and stability The 'Toot 'n Calm 'Em campaign will last the rest of the week"

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 3 June 2020

What a Change in the Weather!

Thank you for the kind words. They felt like a much needed hug. Eileen - I usually feel like a bad example or a dreadful warning, so I'm blushing here. And thank you for liking my writing. That means a lot to me.

Back in the very early seventies I had my tonsils out and it went very wrong. Since then I've had all sorts of issues with my gag reflex, acid reflux due to nerves and all sorts of things that mean that every now and then, something gets stuck in my throat. Yesterday it felt like a crumb was just across my wind pipe. I don't think it was for a second, but I was having issues breathing and I was thoroughly fed up. I'm sort of used to it. I'm not so bad now but the end of it will kick around for a few days. It could be a lot worse.

Earlier on yesterday, though, I had a wonderful time. I'm trying to get my driving practice in while staying within at least the spirit of the guidelines and drive for food or exercise. I may or may not have been frantically googling local farm shops. I admit to nothing. I'm staying within a reasonable distance, and I'm trying to be responsible. This is more than my sat nav is managing. 

So first thing yesterday morning I set off down the ring road. I'm scared of the ring road. There are lots of scary lorries who treat the speed limit as a tentative suggestion and who don't realise that there is a roundabout just after the approaching blind corner. It's not so bad at the moment, though, so before I knew it I was belting along at 60mph, hanging on to the steering wheel with a death grip and hoping I'd get it right. The farm shop was just outside of Horsforth, a district of Leeds, so I thought it was reasonable, looking for different food sources and supporting local farmers. Yes, I feel guilty.

The sat nav hates me. First of all it got me going in a loop because when it said I should take the first exit on a junction, it didn't mean that first exit. It meant other first exit, so it took me around to the road before the junction again. I went around in a loop twice before realising. Then it took me down the back lanes. I may have been going to a farm shop, but it isn't in the middle of the countryside and is quite near Leeds Bradford airport. I didn't expect to be going down the proper country lanes, which are almost exactly one car wide and have passing places. There were lots of cars coming the other way and a few places were really tight. It was awesome! There was even an old stone bridge (almost certainly haunted) that I had to creep over with about an inch to spare. I loved it! Then I got to the farm.

It was lovely. They have angling and, in better times, a little collection of farm animals including a llama. 

It seems a really nice farm shop. They had some lovely meat, veggies and some baked goods. I'll definitely be going back. They had the social distancing thing worked out as well, which is more than some places. 

I took a slightly different route back, nearly ended up in the city centre and called in at Aldi for a top up of the processed stuff. They weren't so good on the social distancing.

Today was different. Instead of it being red hot, I was glad of my sweater and had the heater and windscreen wipers on. I was a little early for Tesco, as they have a protected hour from 9-10am, so I had a little walk in the park. They have some very assertive Canada geese there, so I was very wary. There was also evidence of the strong winds we had had.

I picked up the bits I needed (though I'll have to go again tomorrow because of what I forgot) and came home. It's been cold and grey all today. 

I think I need new windscreen wipers. I have a service coming up, but I'm wondering how hard it is to fit them myself and save some money. I shall have a rummage on YouTube. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 2 June 2020

You Are All Awesome

Sometimes it's good to talk about the wonderful people in this world. There are people reading this blog who have been absolute heroes to me with their support, and I know with absolute certainty that incredible, wonderful and amazing people are reading this. I hope you are staying safe and well and taking care of yourselves.

Having some issues, back tomorrow, but I didn't want to miss a day so I thought I should say something important.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 1 June 2020

Washing Weather

I've spent most of the day shuttling between the washer and the clothes horse outside. It's great for drying clothes, but I'm far too hot. Bear is having a bad time as well.

I spent a lot of the weekend binge watching Downton Abbey. I've never really seen much of it, just snippets that come up in YouTube, so I thought I would have a look. I've been enjoying it, but I can say goodbye to any writing for a while as the style has filled my head. I also kept getting distracted by all the meaningful glances and dark, brooding looks. I kept forgetting my knitting, though, which was an issue. I need to get my knitting mountain down.

I found this, on Reddit, when I took five minutes. It's a broadcast by Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking eloquently against hate and anger. I thought it was pretty awesome.

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

Hugs and good health to all.