Monday 30 November 2020

Not a Good Weekend

DH and bear went off and had a lovely weekend (and they deserved it!) so I thought I would sit back and enjoy myself. For once I had YouTube going in the background without wearing headphones. 

This meant that I could hear what the people in the house attached to our back wall were screaming. I'm no stranger to drama with the neighbours, but this was a little more intense. It was a woman screaming at someone who had tried to set their bathroom on fire. And apparently, listening to her side of the conversation, it's a bad habit of whoever she was screaming at which got them into trouble in their last house. She kept trying to get their lighter from them.

In the years I've lived here, I've seen a lot of drama. I've seen some cracking arguments (I've stayed mainly out of it), some serious drunken monologues, and some X-rated shennanigans that I really wish I could forget. There has been all sorts of fun drama, like when a kid stole their stepfather's uninsured car, reversed it at speed and demolished our front wall from one side of the house to the other (over two car lengths) and wrote off the wrought iron gate (and the uninsured, not paid for, almost new car). I've called the police on a few fights and a domestic violence situation. There was the couple a few years ago who were convicted of child abuse, there's been an alleged drug dealer (who was always perfectly pleasant to me) and there was a serious assault with a knife three doors down which we missed because we kept our curtains shut at night. An arsonist is a new one.

I'm feeling a little stressed by it all. I have actually smelled burning in the past but put it down to incense/candles/imagination. I wish I felt more confident. Mind you, they were also yelling about hating the house and wanting to move. I would be happy to wish them bon voyage. The previous tenants were the reason we got CCTV. The best neighbours we had in that house was a marijuana farm that was only discovered when there was a water leak. I know that, whatever you think of weed, the organised crime gets caught up with things like people trafficking, extortion, violence and counterfeit goods, and it's not a good thing, but it was lovely and quiet. 

I have to tell the truth and say that the current neighbours on our side of the block are absolutely lovely and not a problem at all. I want them all to stay neighbours forever. And there have been some amazing neighbours in the past, like lovely Mr Next Door who held down evil cat when the vet visited as he had welding gloves (which were completely needed) and fed her when we were on holiday. I have some wonderful memories of some of the neighbours - including the neighbours who used to carry a sofa from one house at the back to another at the front and back again on a regular basis. I used to glance out the window and see it go past again. They did that with a washing machine as well. I remained baffled but entertained.

So I am a little stressed. However bear came home with an interest in guacamole and salsa (I can't make either) and was happy to tuck into a bowl of couscous with chopped tomatoes, onion and coriander, so that was a win. Normally he won't eat when he gets home, but I'm hoping a few fresh-tasting, smaller bowls like that will give him a good nutritional boost before bedtime. Now is the time for me to come to terms with avocadoes. 

I normally post flash fiction on Mondays, but I haven't really managed anything, what with one thing and another. I'll have a go later in the week.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 27 November 2020

Not Exactly Unexpected

Bear has been very keen to make pickles and jams. He has been researching recipes and planning weekends. Unfortunately he has decided that the chutney he made doesn't agree with him, so he isn't making any more, nor is he making the pickles for which I got the pickling onions and pickling spice. I suppose all the empty jars I have been saving will now go to waste (well, recycling).

I may well make some stuff and see how bear and DH take to it over Christmas. 

I won't be doing it this weekend, though. DH and bear are away so I plan to spend the weekend either drunk or asleep. I will catch up on Monday, hangover permitting.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 26 November 2020

New Door

We finally got the front door and porch door replaced. Both were showing signs of wear. The lovely man who installed them had to use a crowbar on the porch door - the door between the porch and the living room. The frame had been there since the house was built, and it was comfy where it was. I took some pics (was impressed I remembered)

There is now a lot more light and a lot less draught. 

I spent the day on the computer nearby, freezing from the huge gaping hole where the doors had been, getting a headache from the fumes and unable to concentrate on account of how loud his radio was playing (I didn't begrudge him, though).

Now I am crawling off to bed, as I am somewhat shattered. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 25 November 2020

A Month

I don't know what to get bear for Christmas and his birthday. I wish that they weren't so ridiculously close. Normally I commit heavily to the Book People, but they have closed down. I have just spent a ridiculous amount at The Works online (via Topcashback), and I hope that I have something sensible. I have no idea what bear would enjoy reading, and apparently neither does bear. If he did have an idea, he didn't share it with me. I feel very out of touch. So bear has a selection of classics like The Lost World, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea ordered for him. He has different taste to me. He loved 1984 and Animal Farm, which I found incredibly depressing. All I can do is my best guess. He is getting a few bits and some money. He's nearly fourteen now. I can't get away with a selection of fancy pencil sharpeners wrapped separately. On the other hand, he's now old enough for a Lynx gift set in the stocking so that is something.

With Christmas now a month away, I've been having an internet rummage. I've ordered a large quantity of stuff from Wholefoods online and Justingredients, and I'm looking at getting some fruit and veg boxes cued up for the festive season. The thing is, we don't want much. However I may have to isolate at any point - I could get ill! So I need to get things sorted out early.

To be honest, I already have some goodies stashed, so I may try and stock up on frozen food next week and then it will just be any fresh stuff. 

And I know that I am really lucky. I know that lots of people will struggle over Christmas. Our family can afford food, heating and presents, and I am very, very grateful. Remembering this puts my whining into perspective.

Hugs and good vibes to all.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Quiet Day

 Fifitr - If you want deep purple, then purple carrots are the way to go, and the colour runs so everything goes cadbury coloured.

As for homework, well, I may be making it sound easier than it has been. Primary school set regular homework. This led to regular arguments and occasional warfare between him and I as he wrestled with writing two paragraphs about a pet or learning spellings. There were times that it was very tense indeed. I always tried to be supportive and helpful but refused to do two things - do the homework for him or make excuses to the teacher for him. A few times, when we were both at the very end of our resources, I was very helpful indeed, and I may have dictated one or two pieces, but on the whole, homework was on him, along with bribery, despair and hissy fits. I don't really approve of homework for primary school kids, but it was a helpful training ground.

When bear got to secondary school, the homework was definitely all on him and I couldn't help him much at all. I made sure that he had his desk and computer set up and a supply of pencil sharpeners (I bought a pack of fifteen in September and I think we have most of them left, which is a miracle in itself as they seem to evaporate in this house) and let him get on. I was blunt. If he got into trouble for not doing his homework, that was his problem and I would enforce detentions and raise Cain if he got into that much trouble. So while there have been scenes fit for the more intense late night dramas over homework, he now more or less gets on with it. There is still the occasional fit, or even quite regular fits as they have a lot of homework, but I nod, smile and let him get on with it, occasionally providing peppermint tea or toast as required. This means that I am sometimes waiting in the car for him to finish the dratted thing in the morning, but it's done, and I haven't had to sign off on a detention.

The one exception to that was a homework that I swear was set for the parents - build a motte and bailey over the Christmas holidays a few years ago. I found the post here

I did an awful lot of that, though bear approved. He wouldn't mind doing something like this again. I would. Besides, we got the gate house wrong. The towers should have been square. By the way, I am especially proud of my suggestion for the water in the moat - we painted bubble wrap blue.

I think that they have too much homework, to be honest, and it includes stuff like 'draw a satirical historical cartoon about Turkey 1923'. 

I had a short walk followed by a largish shop this morning. I'm trying to get as much of the Christmas goodies in now before the shops get too busy. 

Writing stuff - another review. It's perhaps not brilliant but it does describe the book as intriguing. I may have put too much housewifery into it, but I have a weakness for old cookbooks and it found me out. I'm just happy for the review!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 23 November 2020

Forgetting the Photo

 Bless - I forgot the photo! Today I had bright yellow soup for dinner as I cooked parsnip, carrot, onion and red lentils with garlic and spices and blended - and I rather overdid the tumeric. It was vivid!

Sarah and Elaine - thank you for the suggestions. I'll chase them up with bear. Sarah - authors have to stick together! Glad to share the good stuff.

I was going to call in on Tesco today, but I decided against it as there wasn't anything that I actually wanted that much. I called in at the farm shop and picked up the veggies that I had for soup. They had some nice looking cabbages there as well, so I shall have to think of some good recipes for that. 

It was cold this morning. There was a lot of dew and some hints of frost. It's cuddling in blankets weather. Fortunately, I have a blanket obsession so we have plenty of those. I think this week is a good time to get into Hygge. 

Writing stuff - a little flash fiction here

Hugs and good vibes to all. 

Sunday 22 November 2020

Food with Colour

 Fifitr - that may be a useful idea, especially when he's off on the school at home thing. I'm in West Yorkshire. Leeds is a hotspot. Bear's school is in Kirklees, which isn't as bad but not brilliant.

Today has been pleasantly quiet. I made a casserole for dinner. I used up the purple potatoes, a jar of the roast peppers (I'm going to miss them when they run out) some 'red' onions left over from bear's chutney experiments and I added some olives. Before I added the chicken (with stock cube, hot water, mixed herbs and garlic powder) it looked like this.

Which is enough to brighten any Sunday afternoon. I should have served it with bright green frozen peas, but couldn't be bothered. It tasted really great and dished up like this.

It looks like purple potatoes are more colour fast than purple carrots. DH dished all the meat, but there was a load of veggies left over, which means my lunch tomorrow is sorted out.

I've finished one of the bobble hats and started the other. I haven't attached the bobble yet as I'm building up my courage. If I manage it tomorrow, I'll share a photo. It came out okay, I suppose. 

I haven't had the courage to ask bear about his homework all weekend. At least I've remembered to sign his planner. Apparently I'm supposed to check but even the bits of his writing that I can actually read don't make sense, I just put my name down and hope.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 21 November 2020

Floral Saturday

Fifitr - they are getting a provisional timetable, so I will probably talk about it with bear. We have already agreed to discuss some English stuff. He is not sure what they want, although he seems to be okay with the texts (poor lad has the Tempest, which I had at A level and loathed). Tomorrow we are going to throw some ideas about and I can see whether to tentatively broach talking to the teacher. I'll be around for him, and see what I can do to help. He's pretty good at telling me what he's doing. I just struggle to keep up. 

As you may know, I have Tesco Clubcard Plus, which costs £7.99 per month (£95.88 per year). This means that I get 10% off two shops per month plus 10% off certain Tesco own brand stuff, like their fancier homewares and their clothing but not electricals. According to the email, not only had I saved £104 on the big shops but I also had a coupon for a £3 bunch of flowers. I don't think that includes their Clubcard prices (which I think is a lot of marketing but worth taking advantage of if you are going to buy the stuff anyway) and the extra 10% on various bits. I think that I would have saved more if it hadn't been for all the lockdown stuff. I picked up these flowers, shown in front of the dratted boiler (which is currently behaving)

I think I need to get a little more strategic about the Clubcard. I need to be careful not to buy something I wouldn't get anyway. I also have the Lidl thingy which I haven't taken advantage of and around £15 in Morrisons vouchers on their More card. I need to make sure that these things work for me. I'll share any discoveries.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 20 November 2020

Bear and School and Strange Time

Bear's school has been doing its best over the last few months. It is fighting against the flood. The area has been pretty badly hit by Covid and bear told me that eight of his classmates, out of around 30, were home isolating this week. He doesn't think that many teachers have been affected, but who knows? 

The school is in Kirklees, and there is a large Muslim population. It's similar to Bradford, and there is an article on the BBC here about the issues of multigenerational households. It refers to Muslim households, where three generations routinely live together, but it isn't confined to Muslims. Father lived with us for a few years and it was awesome and completely entertaining. Mind you, having father live with us was a positive experience, but if my mother had moved in I think that there would have been a murder within the month. I wouldn't recommend it as a general suggestion but on a case by case basis. What the article says is that the kids pick up Covid at school and, while not having symptoms or having mild symptoms themselves, pass it on to their grandparents, who are affected far more severely and sometimes tragically. 

To try and space things out, the school are having the younger three years, the ones furthest away from GCSEs, rotate having a week learning at home. So during the week beginning 7 December, bear will be learning from home for a week, before going back as normal the following week when a different year group will be off. It looks like for the time being it will be two weeks in and one week at home. They are insistent that pupils follow a proper timetable and also that they wear clothing appropriate for a non-uniform day - they aren't insisting on school uniform, but they are not allowing pyjamas. 

I wonder if it is some sort of trial run. It doesn't look like they will be getting the same sort of education that they would in the classroom, with quite generic lessons. And what if they need help? I was utterly useless to bear with the Treaty of Lausanne, and he wouldn't even bother me with anything scientific. He said he was enjoying the algebraic equations today. I assume he said that to confuse me as that sentence made no sense whatsoever. 

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have father around for this. I remember that he had a wonderful habit of nodding, smiling, and doing what he felt like with no idea of risk whatsoever. He did bomb disposal in the 1950s. He never seemed to grasp the concept of 'perhaps it would be too risky'. That, in his opinion, happened to other people. He also had a knack of talking to people and getting to know them and making them like him. I know that if he was still here at the beginning of the crisis, we would not have been able to move for toilet paper because he would know someone. He always knew someone.

The boiler is more or less okay now. I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 19 November 2020

Boiler Troubles

 Our boiler is getting elderly, and so I'm trying to keep on top of servicing, especially after the chaos from Scottish Power. Today someone came out to service the thing. Apparently it is just about legal but needs a big overhaul/replacing. I did get the impression of a mechanic who goes around kicking the tyres on a car and sucking their teeth. 

Now the dratted pressure on the dratted boiler keeps going up and we can't work out why. I did text the plumber (who, to be fair, was nice enough and pleasant) but he replied with some technical stuff and suggested that he came out for a small(ish) fee. 

And I have a banging headache. Back tomorrow, hopefully with some sort of calm.

Writing stuff - don't forget that Sarah Head's book, A Necessary Blessing, is out today. I may get to read it tomorrow in between trying to sort out the dratted boiler. 

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Failed to Save Money

Hester - I forgot about head torches! I have bought two. The first one was taken by bear and somewhere known only to him. The second one I hid so that bear couldn't get his paws on it, but I hid it so well that I can't find it! I shall have to have a good rummage.

Sharon - I'm making the most of the quiet times. 

And I also had a comment posted (which I haven't published) on a post from October 2018. I posted that I had failed my driving test. The comment was advertising driving instructors in Australia. They may need to refine their publicity style.

Today was not entirely a good day. I was a frazzled mess by the time I dropped bear off. First of all he was still faffing around with his homework, and was stressing over it and refusing breakfast. Then he was stressing in the drive to school because he was worried that he would be late. At least I only picked up the bread that I wanted and nothing else - that was a win!

Then I managed a little writing before loading up the car and heading off to the tip. The slot I got was too late to return home afterwards but too early to be sensible to go to pick up bear. So I planned to go to a car wash and then pick up the TV. The car wash was closed, of course, due to the latest lockdown. If I had any functional braincells then I would have realised. Then when I tried to use my vouchers at the till for the TV, it wouldn't accept a load of them. I only saved £63. I ended up getting it anyway, but I should have been able to cover it all with coupons and vouchers. I plan to call customer service on Friday to work out what happened (busy tomorrow). 

I ended up in Morrisons car park to wait for bear around an hour and a half early again. Still, I finished off the blanket and started the next one. 

I don't know if you can see the different textures on that. It was an easy knit, and has come out around 44 inches by 54 inches (112cm x 137cm) roughly. It is an Aldi yarn that knits like cotton 4ply or lightweight yarn, knitted on slightly bigger needles than called for. It is a few rows of garter stitch, then broken rib with a border of ten knit stitches at either side until I was running out of yarn and then a few more rows of garter stitch. The yarn for the new blanket is thicker, around an Aran weight, and I'm using the same 'pattern' but with fewer stitches. It's Aldi again. I couldn't resist the colours.

It will live in the car while I continue with the bobble hat in the house.

I think after all that I will have an early night.

Writing stuff - don't forget that Sarah Head's book is out tomorrow A Necessary Blessing 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Knitting by the Street Light

Bear was going to be late today. He told me that it would be some time between 4 and 4.30pm. So I trundled over quite a bit later than normal and settled down in the car park with my knitting. My normal spot, near the trees and the water, was taken, so I was near the car park lights and a trolley shelter. This was a good thing.

It gets dark earlier now and it was quite overcast so there wasn't much light, but I'm at the end of the blanket so I'm just doing a garter stitch border. I can knit without looking at it much, which was just as well. I got to the car park around 3.50pm, got out my knitting and settled down. 

I'm glad to see the end of this blanket. It's in 4ply, and it's 200 plus stitches, and it seems to go on forever. It was only ever in broken rib, so not complicated, and now I'm just working garter stitch at the end until I can't face another row, when I'll cast off. As time went on, it started getting darker. I kept on with the knitting, which didn't need much attention, until around 4.45pm when it really got just too dark and I started reading a book on my phone. Bear turned up around 5.10pm. 

Fortunately I had left a carton of soup for DH which he could heat up, and bear had eaten while he was hanging around with his pals (no idea about how socially distant it was, but schools aren't brilliant anyway, so I take what I can get. I didn't get many details.) Then we hit rush hour on the way home. This could have been a lot worse, as there are so fewer cars on the road these days. 

This evening I hung out with the men, watching them play a computer game while we all chatted and joked. I carried on with the bobble hat (blanket stays in the car).

I need a light for my car to use for knitting. I don't really want to use the car light as I worry about running down the battery, and the wind up light that I have already proved useless today. But over December and January, it will be a real help. The knitting is incredibly relaxing for me, and I don't want to lose it. I shall have to do some browsing.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 16 November 2020

Stormy Weather

Fifitr - you are right! There is a lot of silver around.

I didn't go on a walk this morning. It was blowing a gale and I was worried that if I went to the park, I'd get hit by a branch. The car was rocking from the wind on the school run. It has calmed down now, but I was glad to get home and when I got to my usual spot to wait for bear, the trees were almost completely bare when they still had quite a few leaves on Friday.

I enjoy keeping an eye on the weather forecast. It doesn't make much difference, I still have to drive bear to school, but I suppose I can be prepared if it is really bad and I know to set off early or plan particular routes. I have a feeling that it's going to be a bad winter, but feelings can be wrong. It's supposed to be cold at the end of the week. I know that the classrooms have doors and windows open (the poor teachers!) and bear's school uniform is very strict, so I bought a couple of white teeshirts for him to wear under his school shirt. They are completely plain, round necked and short sleeved and hopefully invisible under the shirt, tie and blazer. 

Writing stuff - trying to shake things up a little so I'm back on the flash fiction here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 15 November 2020

Damp but Determined

Sarah - that is awesome news!!! So glad that you are getting out there. I'm really looking forward to reading your book A Necessary Blessing  

I'm still having issues with the writing stuff because I'm struggling with some things that I'm not comfortable blogging about. Bear is fine. Bear is completely bear. He managed to get elected onto the school council. I should say that there were two places and only two volunteers so he now has a shiny badge that he has to wear. All I can say is that it's never too early to learn to manage a committee.

No purple food today, but I really need to get the purple potatoes used up soon. I'm wondering about a soup. I would start with the basics - lentils, onion, lots of garlic, tumeric, cumin, possibly some paprika or chili. Then I could add the purple potatoes, plus some other sweet root, like a sweet potato, parsnips or some carrots. I could even add an apple. If I do make soup, that will be Tuesday, as I will have to have it ready to go before I leave to pick up bear later than usual. 

I am trying to plot my week. Bear will be later than normal on Tuesday and Thursday for drama, if people are back from self isolation. This doesn't leave me much time to make dinner, so soup is a good choice as I can do all the work before I leave and then just heat up when I get back. The trouble is, every time I think that I have a plan in place, something happens. I shall see how things go.

I admit to feeling very low. So I am determined to keep blogging and looking for the silver lining in life. There is always a silver lining. Blogging encourages me to look. The weather is currently extremely rainy, but there is still lots of good stuff around. And speaking of good stuff...

Writing stuff - Sarah Head has her novel, A Necessary Blessing, out on 19th November. She gives awesome advice in her comments to me and I am proud that I know her. You may have seen her posts on Tales of a Kitchen Herbwife. I can't wait to read her book. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Saturday 14 November 2020

Quiet Day

Fifitr - I remember watching bear doing an experiment with red cabbage water, turning it different colours depending on how alkali or acidic the addition was. It was wonderful fun.

Sharon - it tasted fine!

Bless - I have some purple potatoes to have tomorrow. I think I will just roast them.

Tonight I only had the energy for basic chicken with korma sauce. But I did find a photo of a meal I had a few weeks ago with purple potatoes.

 The pic shows gluten free breaded chicken (if you are going to get breaded chicken, I really recommend getting the gluten free stuff. It's nothing to do with the gluten. But because it's more fiddly and isn't as mass produced, you get some really nice chicken like that). With that was multicoloured carrots and purple potatoes. 

I am planning on getting a new TV. We relocated the one in the living room to DH's room as his monitor went and he needed the screen for work. I recently checked my Tesco Clubcard balance and I have over £150 of clubcard vouchers plus a recent receipt also spat out a coupon for £50 off electricals (including TVs) if I spend over £150 on an item before 22 November. Tesco sells TVs. DH had a quick look over the selection (I took photos of what was on offer when I was grocery shopping) and decided that the Toshiba 32 inch for £199 was probably the best bet. I don't know if I can use the vouchers and the coupon together, but if I can, I could effectively get a TV free. I consider this a good thing.

This means that the space where the TV is going needs to be cleared, and it's a great chance to clear out all of the junk in that corner. Which means that this afternoon was spent sorting through DVDs. It was sort of sad as a lot of them had belonged to father and some were still in the shrink wrap. It brought back some great memories, though. I shall start looking for homes.

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 13 November 2020

Dinner Was Purple

This is what happens when you add purple carrots to red (purple) onions, a couple of chicken breasts and some mushrooms.

There were absolutely no artificial colourings added, but I wouldn't blame anyone for doubting that. Purple carrots are not only PURPLE but they are generous sharing that PURPLE with the rest of the food. I was considering serving some yellow sweetcorn with it, and I'm glad that I did't. Also, purple carrots are tough - but PURPLE.

Today was quite dull. I did some writing stuff, a small amount of housewifery and a lot of driving for the school run. I also booked the Tesco slot - eventually! I'm still not sure it's right for me to have it, as we can get out and about. I think I will make a list from it and stock up over the next few weeks. Any fresh stuff I can almost certainly get from places like Deliveroo and Uber Eats (who do stuff like grocery delivery these days as well as pizza) if we have to isolate. So far bear hasn't had the call to leave, but who can tell.

And speaking of bear, one of his teachers ran 15 miles and arrived at the start of school wearing a multicoloured tutu, some elderly curtains altered to be a cloak and some Pudsey Bear ears. Apparently it was for Children in Need and not his usual style for school. Cloaks get caught in things, and are not suitable for a busy classroom environment, so I was glad to hear it, especially after I saw the pics on the school website. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 12 November 2020

Weird Times

I managed a walk today, though just a little one. The geese weren't blocking the path this morning. Instead they were having some sort of war all by themselves and travelling in flotillas on the lake.

I don't know what was going on, but it sounded like a right scrap! 

The days are getting shorter. I saw this - the sun was so low even after dropping bear off at school, that half the tree is in shadow and the rest in sulight.

It was getting dark on the way home. Bear had something something something drama something which meant I didn't pick him up until after 4pm. Whatever it was, it was less than successful as half the group had been sent home to self isolate. I am waiting for the call for bear to come home now. Tomorrow I'll pick up some fresh stuff and look into booking a delivery. I'll keep it on the back burner, and cancel it if I don't need it. I think that it's only a matter of time.

I sort of miss giving a lift to bear's pal, but I am enjoying the chance to spend mum and son time with him on the drives. It isn't quite the same when it's just him and I at home. There are too many distractions.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Very Autumn

At least the fog has gone. It was a relatively straightforward drive to drop off this morning. I'm quite relieved as I have decided that I don't like driving in fog. 

In fact, it's been a fairly straightforward drive on all school runs today, and long may that continue. I'm treasuring the wait for bear. I park in the corner at Morrisons car park, get out my knitting and relax. Today I watched a magpie chase a squirrel away from a morsel of food. Most of the car park is barren concrete but the corner I head to is a little more interesting.

It's definitely autumn. And it's now raining.

I didn't get a walk today as my knee was acting up. It's been okay this evening, so fingers crossed for a walk tomorrow.

Writing stuff - the sequel to Out of the London Mist, Under the Bright Saharan Sky, is available on pre-order. It's a lot less expensive now. As I type, Under the Bright Saharan Sky is available at 77p for the ebook. Out of the London Mist was around the same for pre-order but is now £3.13 for the ebook. If you are going to buy it, now is a good time. 

And I have an article published on the gorgeous blog of Jeyran Main here. I feel quite grown up having articles published.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Still Foggy!

I'm so sorry for causing concern. I apologise. Fifitr - still neck deep and sinking, but editors are awesome.

It was another really foggy morning today - in places. There would be a beautiful clear patch and then really thick mist where I was crawling along trying to see a hundred yards ahead. The drop off run was 'interesting'.

I managed to get another walk, with a few doggy cuddles thrown in.

I wasn't sure I would get past this lot, but I did. They are very assertive.

And it was such a gorgeous morning.

I thought that this would turn out a little more mysterious as there is mist beyond the trees. 

And before we even got into the car, I thought I would try and capture the delicacy of the dew on the cobwebs. It was a little hit and miss. 

It is great having a chance to get some doggy cuddles. When I am walking in the park, I know that, on the whole, the dogs there are the ones likely to have owners who care enough to exercise them and so are likely to train them. I am nervous of dogs as I was bitten when I was little, and I worry that I'll upset one because I don't know how to act. Fortunately most dogs recognise that I am a complete soft touch and good for as many cuddles as they want. I am a complete sucker for them. I'm hoping that if I keep going at the same time, I'll get to know the regulars and be in for extra cuddles.

Hugs and good health to all.

Monday 9 November 2020

Many Many Apologies

I am so sorry that I disappeared. I sincerely apologise for causing any concern. I've been busy with a deadline and other stuff has been happening, but I am fine and so is bear.

Bear is actually doing quite well. He got an early report (the school must be worried about further lockdowns) and he got some good remarks on 'attitude to learning' which was all at 'at expected level' or 'above expected level'. I'm really pleased about that. There have been some extremely tense moments over homework, so I'm glad that he is still showing well. His predicted grades (in just under three years time!) are reasonably awesome, but I'm more worried about how he's approaching his work. So far, so good. 

I've managed to get a walk or two in, as you can see above. And I've called in a few shops, as it's allowed during lockdown. Unfortunately, Aldi sell yarn as well as groceries and I fell for this.

True to form, I've abandoned the current blanket and started this, although I'm continuing with the blanket at home and just knitting the hat while waiting for bear at pick up time. The pattern is very straightforward so far. It's cast on 132 stitches, rib for 8cm, then broken rib for 17cm giving a total of 25cm, then purl two together all along. Then you cut a long length of yarn, run it along the stitches and gather together, before attaching the pompom. I'm cautiously optimistic of finishing it, so I'll share when I do.

In other, random, news, I found that not all coloured pencils are vegan. In fact, apparently hardly any are. I am not against veganism, or vegetarianism, but I'm not sure I could manage it 100%. You have to be so careful, and I get distracted easily. Gluten free is tough enough. 

Writing stuff - You can catch up with any of the short story stuff I did for Halloween here, I shall no doubt revisit a few old favourites next Halloween.

Hugs and good health to all, and sorry if I've upset anyone.