Friday 28 August 2020

Another Week Gone

 I'm sorry I forgot to post yesterday. I got deep into 'The Crow Journal' by Finn Cullen which was quite riveting. I put up a review here. It's a story set in mid-Victorian London with magic and faerie and intrigue all mixed up - it's quite scary in places and I really enjoyed it.

Hester - that made me laugh! I had such fun writing that story. I wonder if my mutterings about flies have summoned something. If so, I'll let you deal with Darren.

Julia - there's so many fruit flies here as well. I've started hiding apples in the fridge, which I normally never do.

Fifitr - I may try that, though the Morrisons stuff is doing fine. I've had a look at some of the Palestinian olive oil soaps and quite fancy them. 

Cherie - no butter dish here, but that would work really well. Or not having fancy soap

Pam - I had to laugh as well. 

Today has felt a little off. I think it's because it has been so cold and wet, and the weeds in the garden are flourishing. I took a picture of the laurels opposite.

As you can see, they are hanging ridiculously low. I spoke to the manager at Matalan yesterday and she came around and had a look. They hadn't realised it was so bad. The branches catch the top of my little citroen so goodness knows what they do to delivery vans. Matalan have always been good neighbours, however, so I'm confident it will be sorted out. They do great kids schoolwear as well.

I still have some bewildered fruit flies around, but they seem lost. Long may that continue.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Problems with Soap

Thank you for all the comments about the food bank. Hazel - that sounds a great idea. I would certainly donate then! 

Another thing that I've donated a lot over the last month or so is pasta. Our local Tesco has bags of pasta for something like 45p to clear (I suspect they got some non-standard stock from the great panic buying this spring and they want rid of it) so I've added that. In the past I've also added bars of soap as they are incredibly inexpensive and easy to store. Tesco have a basic bar for 15p, but they also have a pack of four magnolia extract one which is moisturising at £1.20, or 30p a bar. I thought that as apparently many of those going to the foodbanks are in insecure accomodation, a bar of soap is easier to pack than a bottle that could leak.

And speaking of dratted soap, I did not practice frugality. I may or may not have taken drink when I ordered a fancy, lemon scented bar of soap from a local small business that used ethical, natural, non-synthetic ingredients. I had been fed up with father's imperial leather soap, but quite enjoyed bar soap instead of liquid handwash. So the fancy soap went in the bathroom. I picked up a pack of four lemon scented deodorising bar soaps from Morrisons for £1.20 (I don't want to even think about the cost of the fancy soap - as I said, drink may have been taken) and I have one of the Morrisons bars in my room. 

My bathroom is now infested with fruit flies swarming around the authentic, non-preservative, fancy, expensive soap. I can't get rid of the darned things. Everytime I turn on the sink tap, a cloud of tiny dratted fruit flies rise up and makes my skin crawl. I've binned the soap (and I'm still annoyed with myself for falling for a Facebook ad) but they are still clinging on to the taps. The inexpensive soap in my room is unaffected. As is the replacement soap which I can't remember buying, but smells very severe and cleansing and is apparently immune to fruit flies

I've just looked it up. Apparently it's good against prickly heat. That would have been good a few weeks ago, but we currently need sweaters (around 16C, 60F here). And I have fruit flies in my bathroom!

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 25 August 2020

I Forgot Tomatoes

 I went to the shop today and forgot tomatoes. I picked up some pencils for bear for school. As long as I can find his backpack and calculator, we should be good to go. I found some trousers for him, which will probably be okay, and some bread rolls. 

Tonight it was supposed to be pepper and roast tomato soup, as I scored some inexpensive jars of roast peppers, but I forgot the dratted tomatoes. So it was frozen mince with chopped pickled onions, mushrooms, packet chestnuts (they needed using up) and peas served with mash. I'll do the soup tomorrow.

Apart from that, I've spent most of today recovering from remembering father. 

Fifitr - I am a sucker for the Subscribe and Save as well. You have to watch them, because the prices can creep up without you realising. I don't always remember the food bank, but it's easy for me when I go into Tesco because they have a big box right next to the exit, and I put in what I remember. Sometimes it may only be a few inexpensive packets of soup, and sometimes it's tinned meat or, like today, sweeties. Morrisons also has a place to leave stuff and they also have bins where you can leave dog and cat food. I usually try and leave some dry food, when I remember, because I think it's easier for them. 

I remember there was a foodbank drive at Tescos once and I donated a box of laundry pods (on sale own brand - I am not very saintly) and they were grateful because they could be divided up and one or two given out per parcel. The volunteer said that it was a help because a lot of the time someone needed to look presentable for a job interview, and clean clothes was an issue. It was a reminder that I am very lucky indeed.

Hugs and good health to all

Monday 24 August 2020

Happy Birthday Father

 Fifitr - I love the idea of getting out of lessons to 'hunt the car'. It sounds like a great excuse to spend time with an awesome aunt.

I've been thinking about your post about your mother getting lost, and it sort of reminded me of how my father was, and how perhaps we inherit more than eye colour. My mother's family had a lot of seaman, and her grandfather was a Master Seaman, or Captain of a merchant ship. His brother ran whisky to America during prohibition. Most of them had a good sense of direction. Father did too, but I think I inherited his attitude. Unless I am late for something, I don't worry about gettting lost. I usually treat it as a great way to find new places. Looking back, that's exactly how father treated any problems about directions. I have a suspicion that I drive a little like him.

When I was little, before a series of strokes and the drink hit, father was an excellent driver. He drove very smoothly. You never really felt the gears change, it was all very calm. He usually drove right up to the speed limit (and as long as it's 40mph or lower, so do I) or somewhat faster (I don't speed - too scared), but I never remember him being rattled or impatient if there was a queue or a hold up. If he was on familiar roads he could belt along at ridiculous speeds, especially as he never had performance cars. The car I remember most was one he bought for £25 back in the eighties and he drove it all over North Wales, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales (once - we broke down), down to the Cotswolds and all over Scotland. It was only a little Triumph, but it loved the long runs, just as Red does (she grumbles and stutters if I just nip to the Co-op). 

Looking back, I suspect that father wasn't too bothered about where we went, as long as it was an interesting drive. It was the days before a lot of the motorways, so it was mainly A roads at best. I would happily sit there, enjoying the incredible scenery as he enjoyed the challenge of driving on stupidly awkward roads with gaps in the stone walls where previous drivers had failed to make the bends. I admit to terror at the thought of dual carriageways and motorways, but I've driven along tight country roads which some drivers avoid and I've been fine. I found some images of the sort of roads we used, all of which I would approach with caution but with far more confidence than I would approach a motorway. ‎and I remember father driving along it when I was younger. If I remember correctly, this is not long after a shallow (in summer) ford. Sheep wander across the road and there are passing places where you have to edge towards if another car comes the other way. And below is a favourite place, the Horseshoe Pass, though I think the pic is misleading as I remember a white line down the middle of the road. I remember being on a coach trip with father and the family and the coach broke down at the top of the pass and the poor driver ended up walking all the way to Llangollen to get to a phone box (before the days of mobile phones) but getting a lift on the way back. Lots of people were stressing and complaining but father just took my brother up the hill a little for some father and son time and just relaxed and enjoyed the spectacular scenery.

It's the sort of road I would approach with care, but I'd prefer that (especially in decent weather) than the local bypass. I'm not saying I would be great, but I wouldn't be quite as bad as some of the ones I've passed on the local roads.

Father drove to have a drive, which is exactly what I do sometimes. I mean, we went to all sorts of parks and castles and museums, but he enjoyed the driving, and if we ended up somewhere unexpected, then that was okay, we could still have an adventure. And for some reason I don't stress in queues unless I'm late for something, because the stress doesn't help. Besides, like father, I'm usually happy to take an out-of-the-way back road to get away from the jams. 

He would have been 89 today and would have driven us scatty through lockdown. I still miss him. I'm planning to go to Tesco tomorrow and I'll leave some sweeties in the foodbank box. Father was a complete soft touch for kids and always took pockets full of sweeties to church (to the despair of those who had to sweep up the wrappers).

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 23 August 2020

Losing Track

I forgot it was Sunday. I've done quite well over the last few months, and on the whole I've kept track of things, but today it completely passed me by. Partly, I think, because DH is on holiday and up until now we still had the structure of his work. 

I worked on some writing stuff in the morning, then I spent the afternoon with the men. They were playing some very silly computer games and having a great time. I was knitting in the background, but chipping in now and again. It was great.

I had a moment when it came to dinner. I am failing at cooking, and had planned to add a jar of korma sauce to some frozen chicken, onion and peas. I could not find that jar anywhere. I checked all the cupboards, looked under, behind and around every inch of the kitchen before giving up and putting a tikka masala sauce in. As I stood up from putting the chicken in the oven, I looked straight at the jar of korma sauce that I had put on top of the fridge to make sure I could find it. I learned two things. One is that I shouldn't rely on remembering where I put something I would need later, like the obvious spot, and instead just have put it in the cupboard. The other is that I need to cook better.

Writing stuff - I got a couple of really awesome reviews on Tome Tender (who are lovely) and on Rosie Amber who co-ordinates some amazing reviews and adds extra art work - it looks so beautiful that I feel very unworthy. 

I feel quite smug about the good reviews, and while I don't think it will last, it's a great incentive for me to keep writing.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 22 August 2020

Not Quite Lost

Fifitr - I tried the route that got me amazingly, outrageously lost again. I nearly was fine, just a right turn instead of a left and I quickly realised and did a three point turn at a side road to get back on track. If I go down a route half a dozen times or so, I pick it up okay, or I slot in different ways that fit in with somewhere I already know. I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, but I usually treat getting lost as a glorious adventure. So as long as I'm not on a schedule or running low on petrol, I can usually enjoy it - unless it involves a dual carriageway or motorway! On the other hand, I once got genuinely lost in a supermarket which was mortifying. And I don't really trust satnavs and I've recently picked up a paper road atlas.

Bless - after writing that blog post I did some more writing stuff, knitted a little and cleaned out my handbag.

Sharon - I may keep the money as a prop. And also as a memory. I wish I had some of the old fivers, they were really pretty. And I totally recommend Lucifer. Apart from the plot and some amazing acting, the cinematography is so beautiful! It's like a work of art. The film is lush and sensual and the style of filming is very much supporting the plot. 

Today's run out, apart to test the route, was to pick up a few bits from a supermarket. It wasn't straightforward. An entire side of the M62 was shut down near me due to a severe accident and the traffic spilled over onto the routes I was taking. Fortunately I have learned a few different ways around so on the way back from the supermarket I managed to avoid what looked like a tailback for several miles and nipped down some back ways before the frozen mince I had bought fully defrosted. I hope those in the accident were okay. The little I have seen online looked really bad.

I think my next big push, apart from writing, is actually to do all the knitting I need to do to get the yarn mountain reduced. Hester mentioned donating blankets to a dog's rescue, and I'm sure I can think of a few places that may like similar. I live very near a Cat's Protection League shelter, so I could drop stuff off there. Or I could perhaps sell blankets (if I got them knitted up) as I am trying to watch pennies. Even if I didn't get the cost of the yarn back, it would be something. I may do a mix. I suppose I could donate the yarn but it's all stuff I've been desperate to knit up. I'll work something out. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 21 August 2020


Bless - I think air conditioning must be a necessity! August is usually the warmest month here, but this is British weather so all bets are off. I've shivered in August before now (it's quite cool today) and we've had 30C at the end of October before now. I wish I could remember where I saw it, but I'm sure I saw an article a few weeks ago that said that the British climate had elements of both polar and tropical weather systems. I hope you stay hydrated - that's so important! As you are from Sri Lanka, at least you understand the importance of tea (more than me!). 

I'm still getting the hang of Instagram and I may yet abandon all hope. I tried taking a pic and got myself into so many knots. I found a little coin purse with £17 in outdated currency in it.

Sorry if the pic is a little big. I'm having a few issues with phone pics as well. So it's on Insta, but I kept having to fiddle with the settings. I don't approve. Next time I will definitely almost certainly remember tags. 

Today Netflix released the first few episodes of Season Five of Lucifer and I decided that I would spend the day watching Lucifer and perhaps doing a little knitting. I told bear and DH that I would be doing nothing else. 

Nothing else has included three loads of washing, ironing half a dozen polo shirts, clearing a forgotten corner (where we found the money), sorting out some bits on the counter, wiping down the bannister and a couple of doors with disinfectant and a certain quantity of writing stuff. I've watched a couple of episodes of Lucifer as well. 

Tonight will probably involve more Lucifer, partly because I adore it and partly because I want to crack on with the knitting, but after today's schedule, who knows?

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 20 August 2020

Not Even the Weekend

 Some writing stuff happened and I ended up in tears. It took me by surprise, but I have had so much going on with all sorts of different things that I guess it was overdue. I shouldn't have driven afterwards, though. I mean, I was safe enough and I wasn't crying while driving. I just misjudged a crossroads, missed a right turn and got lost. I didn't just get lost, though. I got LOST! I got lost on a scale so epic that it could be seen from space. I took an hour and a half to do a journey that should have taken twenty minutes. When it comes to getting lost, I was so far out of it I couldn't find first prize. It was awesome and just what I needed.

Eileen - I've had a few technical issues with 'Deepest Desire' and unfortunately issues are continuing. It's only a short novella, around 9k words (Out of the London Mist is around 55k). I don't feel that comfortable charging the minimum price for it, which is currently around 80p here. It's on KDP so you can read it for free if you are on that, or you can get a review copy on Booksprout for free here

I think you would have to join Booksprout, but it's free. I've set the thingy to last until the end of September. I think you are expected to leave a review, but I'm not stressing about that. 

Or, if you wait until this time next week, I should be able to set the price to free.

Thank you for taking an interest. I feel so hugged by all the positive feedback and I'm really grateful.

I'm planning a very easy dinner and an early night. Hugs to all. 

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Damp and Cold

 Bless - 109F? 42C? !!!!!!!!!!!! I think I would expire. I couldn't cope with that sort of heat at all! Just wow! It is around half of that inside my home which is remarkably well insulated. Outside they are rating it around 18C or 64F. This is far more normal for September (yes, it's August, but British weather is what it is). Is it so recently I was complaining about the heat? I'm looking out a sweater now.

Today has not been an epic day. Though it was black bin day, and DH remembered to take it out and bring it home, and I got it washed out, so that was a success. I forgot it last time and the thing was far from fragrant. 

I've done some more writing stuff. I ran a grammar check on one of the chunks from the White Hart and it found over 900 errors! I may need to do some serious work on that.

Eileen - thank you for that awesome review. I'm really grateful. 

Writing stuff - and it's another win as I managed to get my head away for a little flash fiction after the writing challenge here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Who Hid It?

I never have much 'get up and go' in the first place, and now I seem to have lost the last traces and I've no idea where to look. I am feeling completely shattered. Today has not been a complete fail. I called in on DH's auntie, who is absolutely amazing but has been poorly (not the virus). I've got some writing stuff done, some knitting and we had a decent dinner of mince. It sounds so unglamourous. It's mince or ground lean beef with mushrooms, pickled onions and peas, with some gravy granules, herbs and a little water added. The men practically inhaled it.

That was followed by gooseberry pie from the Farm Shop along with Bubblegum flavour ice-cream, also from the Farm Shop. They say that they have the ice cream made for them, and it's the good stuff. The Bubblegum flavour is blue, that is, it isn't just blue, but it's 


Seriously, the stuff evaporates near bear and DH and turns the washing up water a funny colour.

Bear is not happy about me posting on Instagram. He is on instagram to chat with his pals. I ought to know more about it and monitor it, but I don't. I'm certainly not following him - poor kid would be mortified. I've promised to keep the insta for books and writing stuff and keep the subject away from him. I'm good with that. I am trying to make it as easy as possible for a teenager to avoid parental embarassment. Of course, teenagers are nearly terminally embarassed just by having parents, but I'm doing my best.

According to the people on YouTube talking about 'how to insta' I should be posting four or five times a day. This makes sense, but is incredibly unlikely to happen. My natural inclination is four or five times a month - or less. 

It's all a work in progress. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 16 August 2020

Damp Sunday

Kate - trust me, writing a book is a lot easier than working out instagram. I think I've got some pics up, but I'm not really sure.  

It's been rainy here but we've been spared a lot of the storms. It feels very cold and damp, though, and I feel like autumn is in the air, which is ridiculous. 

I've been working on writing stuff for most of the day but had a lovely break knitting and watching bear absolutely hammer DH at Monopoly. It was wonderfully relaxing - at least for me and bear! We just had sandwiches for dinner which was perfect for the mood.

I've realised with some concern exactly how much yarn I have stashed. I have a cupboard full that I had completely forgotten. I have made a stern resolution to knit at least a ball a day and get through it. I may be knitting a lot of basic blankets, but I love a knitted blanket, so that's okay. In fact, if I amass enough, I may sell them on eBay, which is sometimes my friend and responsible for a certain amount of the stash. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Saturday 15 August 2020

Sad Day

Sharon - I'm on Instagram as lyssamedana, but it's an empty space at the moment. I've managed to upload a pic of a flower, but that's it. I can't work out how to upload items from my laptop and I only use my phone for reading kindle books. Please let me know where to find you, and let me know if I can share it. I'd love to see your glorious pics.

I need to get more active. Not only am I grossly overweight but water retention is becoming so serious that I need to act! So I had a very tiny walk in Batley Park before nipping in to Tesco where I forgot half my stuff.

Then I spent the rest of today sitting at a desk with writing stuff - lots of writing stuff - until dinner time. I made mince with pickled onions (the men seem to really like that) and now I'm off to hang out with them.

Writing stuff - it's sort of an Important Notice. I'm closing the White Hart blog, although I hope to be able to make the stories available for free. You can read the details here. Please let me know how you feel and if there is anything you would like me to prioritise. 

Hugs and good health to all. Also, pic, as I need to get used to taking them.

Friday 14 August 2020

A Good Day

 I had a really bad night with the weather, and then I drove out to pick up some bits. I noticed that there were plenty of berries on the rowan trees - I swear those berries ripen earlier every year.

I had some yarn delivered by Skynet (bear made a lot of jokes about that and he hasn't even seen the Terminator films) and I may have started a new project before finishing any of the gazillion and four projects already started

The yarn was on sale from Yarnparadise and incredibly inexpensive, unlike the shipping. 

The best bit of today was getting a review on Amazon of Out of the London Mist. It was pretty complimentary and I feel quite giddy - a review from a professional, unbiased book blogger! 

I'm going to have to work on publicity a lot more for the books, and I think that means things like learning instagram. I'll need to take pictures that look halfway decent and be creative. I'll share what comes up. To be honest, it's been amazing. I'm finding out all sorts of amazing stuff by checking out book bloggers. I'm getting so much out of writing that book that cannot be matched up with sales.

Writing stuff - I wrote a post on my writing blog that goes into more of my feelings on the whole publicity thing, here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 13 August 2020

Another Hot Day

 I know it's not really hot compared to the weather some take for granted, but the humidity is suffocating and I am feeling the fail.

Cherie - these are real beetle crushers! I've ordered some heel cushions from Amazon and we'll go from there. I would always tell people to avoid Clarks - it's the shop where I've had the most arguments! Most of them were me asking politely but with increasing iciness, if they could actually listen to me and respect what I was saying. 

Today I did a little gardening. It's still a disaster zone, but now it's a disaster zone with some repotted plants and a few less weeds. Then I kept on with writing stuff until dinner. And that's it. 

It has been desperately cloudy and threatening rain all day. We haven't had a drop. I did have a look in the garden about ten minutes ago and you could see the damp patches where I watered earlier so I didn't bother going out again with the watering can. 

I really need to work out what we are going to eat over the weekend as I plan to have a quick run to Morrisons for DH's favourite rolls. I'm wondering about perhaps going for some baked potatoes, as it's supposed to cool down a little over the next few days. I'll have a look and see what is on offer. 

Hugs and Good Health to all. 

Wednesday 12 August 2020

Possibly a Thingy

 Bless - it's not sturdy. When I came back today I could see how it was leaning. But it should manage and the fuschias will probably hold it up as they are such thugs.

Sharon - we had such a giggle.

Today I took bear for shoes. I would sincerely and seriously recommend Clinkards, because they were amazing. It was all sanitised and wiped down and there were protections, but that wasn't the big thing. The big thing was the amazing service. Bear has to have inserts and shoes that are not only fit for school but accepting of both bear's feet and the inserts are few. Bear walked out with a pair of Doc Marten shoes - not the boots, but still the sturdy, engineered, blister inducing footwear that will outlast this shoe size. Bear didn't want to take them off so wore them out of the shop, which contributed to a hole at the back of his ankle about an inch across. It should be fine by the time school starts.

We parked in our usual place, Edward Street and Templar car park, near the market. When DH got home, we were talking about parking and I mentioned to bear that the Knights Templar once owned quite a slice of Leeds, including what is now Temple Newsam Estate, in South East Leeds. There is a church there that is confidently dated to 1185 and was given to the Templars by one of the local lords. I've been there and it's a really nice church with some lovely people. I looked it up.

There's a thing called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon where you hear a word for the first time and then suddenly it seems you hear it all the time. Yesterday, on my writing blog, I posted a short story that referred to the death of a priest during the Black Death. Today, when I was curious and looked up some details, it looks like St Mary's Whitkirk went through three priests when the Black Death hit. The incumbent died, then his replacement, then the replacement's replacement, all very quickly and all marked 'died in office'. At least that's my reading of the info, you can check it here which is a list of the vicars of St Mary's but with the barest sketch. Other deductions would be possible, but I know from other reading that a lot of the clergy died when the Black Death first hit in 1348. 

Before the Black Death, many parts of the country were severely overpopulated (some places didn't reach the same level of population again until the nineteenth century) and there were more ordained clergy than there were positions for them. Some were taken on as chaplains or paid to say prayers for the dead, but it became something of a scandal with unemployed priests begging and generally being up to no good. But so many died in the plague that at the start it was easy to replace the priests, especially in places like St Mary's where it was likely that the fees from the church from burials and christenings went to the Knights Templar and the vicar (vicarious or someone acting in place of the official) would just get a wage. Some of them were barely literate. 

I hope I don't seem many more things like this. It's somewhat depressing. I'd rather think about the bat walks. I hope that they do them again next year, because if they do, I'll definitely want to go along. 

And speaking of bats, what is the first thing a bat learns at school? The alpha- bat!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Well That Was Tuesday

 It's been too hot to do anything, except a very little writing. However I have to drive to Leeds City Centre tomorrow, so wish me luck.

My response to this week's writing challenge is here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 10 August 2020

Size May Matter

 Patti - thank you! I am so glad that you enjoyed it, I feel so hugged for you for saying that. I'm hopeful that I'll get the sequel finished in the next few weeks and then it's up to the publisher's timetable. The sequel is set in Sudan and I'm having so much fun with it. Just to add - if I mention a Tube station, I've checked that it was open in 1901. If I mention a shop, it was operating then. I've checked contemporary street maps and all the streets I've mentioned are current. I've looked up special interest sites and old newspapers as well as taking shameless advantage of Wikipedia. I hope that helps with the enjoyment.

Bless - I've considered that (click and collect here), but they have slots for those as well, and they are also limited.

Eileen - I have a delivery coming tomorrow that I sort of swooped on. 

Sharon - it's so worrying! I'm near quite a few hotspots, so I have to take care.

Some time ago, I bought three inexpensive, self-assembly arches from Wilkos and I planned to put them over the three climbing fuschias. I had procrastinated and avoided and eventually this morning assembled the first with a lot of help from bear. It was somewhat larger than I thought.

Please ignore the evidence of weeds as the garden is a disgrace. The darker plants growing up on the right near the rose are the climbing fuschia which seem to have taken off. I'm going to have to go out and put string between the rungs of the arch. It's massive. At the end bear and I were sort of tilting and aiming it as we screwed the last few bits together. I also bent one of the rungs on the right. 

I expected it to be roughly a third of the size of this. I have two more and that may be too much for my garden. Bear thought it was hilarious.

The fuschias have been fine, of course, as they are generally thugs, but the lavender hasn't done so well. It's been a funny growing season, I think. It was very dry, then very wet, and now it's very hot. I saw these crab apples and I think that they are ripe quite early. 

Superstition says that the more berries, the worse the winter. I have a bad feeling about the winter.

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

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 7 August 2020

Trying to Make Informed Decisions

 The trouble with trying to make informed decisions, is that the information is missing, incomplete or has dubious authority.

For all sorts of reasons, mostly connected to it being near bear's school, when I shop instore, I shop mainly in Tesco and Aldi in Batley. I like Tesco stuff. Some other stores do certain items better, but on the whole and by and large, I like Tesco, with occasional preferences from Aldi. 

Batley has been considered a hotspot, along with all of Kirklees, so I switched to Morrisons, in Kirkstall. Now Kirkstall has been identified as a hotspot. 

I'm considering getting a delivery, but I'd rather leave those to people who need them. I think I will have to make a call and say that I'll go back to Tesco in Batley and be meticulous with the face masks and hand sanitiser.

That's my best guess. Cases are rising faster in Kirkstall than they are in Kirklees. I'm dreading the return to school. I just wish I knew what to do for the best. Do I watch the local hotspots and drive around? Do I keep doggedly going to the same places but keep all precautions going? 

On the bright side, bear has decided that he likes the mango sorbet from Aldi and wishes to heartily recommend it.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 6 August 2020

No Cats

No cat pics today.

My joints have been very bad, so I've taken it quite easy. But bear has been a lot better and started with some violin practice, which is pretty good. 

It's a very dull post, which I'm quite glad of, but I thought I would add a pic from my phone now that I can do it easily. 

This is a random, poor quality pic I took of a Victorian vampire killing kit that was exhibited in the Royal Armouries. I thought it was so cool. Apparently it was as much of a gimmick then as it is now, but I still enjoyed seeing it.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 5 August 2020


Today has been a tough day so I thought that I would just include a cute pic of a cat and call it evens. I put in 'funny cat' in the search engine. I got these.

I have not even included the pics of rubber ducks, squirrels or even a plastic egg, all shown under a search for funny cats. However this is a cat in a birdhouse, and is almost certainly a cat, and at least worth a faint smile.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 4 August 2020

I Am Having A Moment!

Bless - it's absolutely all experience. Now he knows a little more than he did and he'll learn a little each time. It's how we all learned.

Today I had an email from Scottish Power. They said that they were sorry that I hadn't been a customer for the last two years, but wondered if I would like to come back. This was a surprising email, because I thought I was still a customer. In fact, not only was I convinced that we were still customers, we've been paying them. A direct debit of over £100 left my account for them yesterday to cover our gas and electric. I even had an email earlier requesting readings from the meters. 

I left a message on Facebook for them (I'm not bothering with ringing them again) and I got a reply that sounded a little rattled. The poor customer service person had obviously had a quick look at my record (duplicate accounts, duplicate payments, strange cancellations etc etc) and was now really regretting picking up this query. And all the people at Scottish Power who I've spoken to have been awesome. I don't want to be horrible to some poor soul on minimum wage trying to work out what's gone on with an account that I am now convinced is haunted. 

I'm changing providers tomorrow. 

And I think I'm entitled to have a moment now.

Hugs and good health to all.

Monday 3 August 2020

Getting Back to Whatever is Normal

Pam - unfortunately the frosting really, really didn't work so I had to write it all off. I'm not writing off the cookbook, though, and someone else may have better results.

It's been a quietish day. I popped to Aldi for a few bits and was in and straight out. I've done some writing stuff, and pottered a little, but it feels like it slid away from me.

Last night I could hear a dreadful row. The soundproofing in the houses isn't brilliant, and my room is full of water pipes so sound carries when the street is generally quiet. I hope that they are okay. 

It felt weird without DH in the house. His day was okay, though, so that's not so bad. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Sunday 2 August 2020

The Cake Failed

Bless - that weather would destroy me! How can you function? I suppose you get used to things.

WitchHazel - thank you for the tip - it really worked.

Sharon - it did not go well.

The recipe came from Sorted Food, who have just released a cookbook. I'm not sharing the exact recipe because I understand that they are independents and don't need to lose their ideas around the internet quite straight away. The link is to their YouTube channel and I think they have instagram and a podcast and stuff as well. We watch them all the time, which is one reason why we bought the book. We get a lot of pleasure watching their shows and we wanted to give back.

Bear shooed me away quite early in the cake making process. This was okay in one way. He's thirteen and a sensible lad, but he's still learning and he doesn't know where all the things are kept. He couldn't find the bowls and spoons he wanted and then the frosting didn't work and the cake wasn't what he expected and it wasn't fair. To be honest, he dealt with it a lot more maturely than I would as if I got that frustrated then there would be broken china, and there were a few substitutions, like the non-dairy cream cheese for the frosting, which may not have helped. 

I think part of the problem is that bear is inexperience except in watching videos. We all know little tricks that we have learned over the years about how to stir stuff together and where you can add or alter, but he hasn't got there yet. And he still hasn't got his favourite bowls or a spoon he knows works just right and it will take time. Sorted Food are a group of lads, two of which are trained chefs, so their simple recipes are a little above my simple recipes. We will keep watching them, though, and we are picking up tips. 

DH has been working from home all this time, but tomorrow he goes back to the office. It's going to be odd. Then bear will probably be at school soon, though who knows how that will turn out. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 1 August 2020

What About Dinner

Fifitr - the discussion of beans came up when we were first married, nearly thirty years ago. I can remember some scorching debates then, not just about beans but such controversial topics as ironing jeans and whether the kettle has boiled properly to make tea. I'm not prodding that.

Jonathan - beans are always good!

I dived into Morrisons extra early today and picked up the ingredients for bear's cake. It's a recipe from a cookbook that has just been published by Sorted Food who are acting on their own and don't have a publisher, so I'm not comfortable sharing it, but it's an uncooked carrot cake with lots of things like dates and nuts as well as the carrots. The frosting is also a little problematic as it requires cream cheese which I can't have and bear is dubious with. I bought the lacto free fake non-dairy stuff and, as the quantities are strange and bear will want to stick to the recipe, I needed two packs. They were not inexpensive. With all the nuts and everything, I can see the cost of it coming up to £20. Tomorrow I need to practice toasting pine nuts because I am confident that although bear will be making the cake, I'll be doing a large slice of the labour. I think I will ask much more detailed questions about his recipe choice in the future. 

Bear and DH have been deep in some computer game. Every now and then I will look up, nod, smile and go back to my laptop. Dinner tonight was chicken cooked with tomatoes, olives and peas with mashed potatoes. Bear is suddenly a big fan of mashed potatoes, but it's the wrong time of year. It's nothing to do with the weather, more to do with mash needing old potatoes and there not being many of them around. I'll go with what I've got.

Hugs and good health to all.