Friday 31 December 2021

The End of the Year

It's been a very odd sort of year. It's been an odd sort of two years. I don't know if the year about to hit us will be any better. Tonight I have made up my mind that I will face the oncoming year with whatever joy and humour I can find. That I'm not going to allow whatever happens to discourage me. I'm going to head into 2022 with gusto.

I've not done many lists, as I planned to, but I've been through my Google bookmarks. There were literally hundreds. Some were in folders, a lot were just spread out. It was an interesting exercise. Some of the places bookmarked hadn't been updated for years. Others that I had forgotten were still active and interesting. Some were reminders of what I ought to be doing. My bookmark bar is still stuffed, but there's a little more wiggle room.

Brother ordered bear a set of modelling tools as part of his birthday present and warned us that it may need someone over 18 and with photo ID to take the parcel. Although we were waited with straining ears, we barely heard the knock at the door (we have loud doorbells, clearly visible). The bear took in the parcel before I could get to the door. Bear is a strapping lad, and he looks mature for just about 15 years old, but there is no way he could pass as a legal adult. He got the kit given anyway. 

This evening is planned to be calm, warm and with alcohol. Tomorrow I plan to start as I mean to go on.

Hugs and good health to all. 

(finally found a copy of South Horizon Man by Essie Summers, converted to Kindle by an amazing man and guaranteed to put me in a positive mood)

Thursday 30 December 2021

Failing at Lists

I got some stuff done, but less than I wanted. But I took a car full of rubbish to the tip and I went on the really fast bypass instead of the back roads. This would have been more of a challenge if I hadn't got stuck behind a really slow van. 

I'm going to block out tomorrow and write to do lists. I intend to settle down and plan the year ahead, at least a little bit. I'm particularly thinking of my writing, as I have a lot of stuff that I could do with getting finished, but there are other bits as well. Then all I will need to do is stick to the lists. I may not have managed to stick to the lists, but just the fact that they exist may help. 

One thing that I'm happy about is that I didn't shop. I was checking my emails and saw a link to the Yankee Bundles. I could spend a fortune on there, and have in the past. I was looking at the candles and thinking how much I enjoyed the candles and how reasonable the prices were. Then I grabbed hold of reality. We have an abundance of candles - dozens of them. We have scented tea lights, votives, jars and some ridiculously over sized ones that I picked up in Home Sense. We do not need candles. I walked away from the website. I hope I can continue to keep a hold on my impulses for that.

I could do with some new tops, though. I've ruined a couple of them and the ones that are left are looking shabby. As usual, I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it. I could probably get by for a while, so I'll see if anything good comes up but won't rush into anything. I've not seen a bag I liked either, but I think I've got at least six months left of the current one. I would normally head to a charity shop, but I don't know if they are staying open. These are strange times.

I'll let you know tomorrow if I manage to get lists made. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 29 December 2021


I didn't get too much done today. Bear is happy with his birthday presents, which is wonderful. I nipped out early afternoon to pick up a few bits and struggled with the wind. It nearly blew me over in Aldi car park and I thought I would be blown off the road when I was driving - it was 'branches in the road' sort of weather. At least it was dry while I was driving.

I failed in list making yesterday. Today I have been depressing myself by reading a 'How to' housekeeping book. I cannot imagine being able to work to their timescales. They think that washing, drying and ironing could take fifteen minutes for a load from start to finish. I think it depends. I first have to excavate dirty clothes, then I separate and check for any obvious stains. Bear is getting old enough to make the collars on his white school shirts an issue. Loading up the washer takes no time, especially if I don't run out of powder and have to fossick around in cupboards for it. You can't count time when the washer is running, but I'll need to check the lint trap and make sure that the water tank in the condenser is emptied before setting off the dryer, or taking the time to arrange things properly on the airer. It's still not much time, but the ironing eats it up. Bear's school shirts really need to be ironed. There is a visible difference if they aren't. It's not so bad with DH's polo shirts, but I like to put an iron over them for a finish. Hardly anything I wear needs ironing, and I keep to clothes that don't need it, but there are always bits like pillowcases. I never iron sheets. Then it takes me forever to sort the socks before getting stuff put away. I suppose if I was in the rhythm of it, and didn't have backlogs, then it wouldn't take so long. It just seems unobtainable. 

And today's random shopping was three lap trays from Aldi at £6.99 each. They will be a real help, I think, but I will wait and see.

After this, I plan to settle down and make some serious lists for tomorrow. If a miracle happens and I follow them, I'll let you know. Apparently it's 'Still Need to Do' Day, a day dedicated to finishing off to-do lists. I've written my take on it on my writing blog. If I can make lists and stick to them, I'm fine. It's just making and then using them. 

Writing stuff - I'm not sure what is happening on my writing blog. I got two hits on the 'Happy New Year 2020' I have no idea why. It was published almost exactly two years ago, before all the craziness, and it seems so optimistic. I am going to spend a little time thinking about how it all went wrong, and where I can get better. The chat piece is here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Something of a Pause

I've been crippled by a panic attack today. I tried going for a drive, which helped a little, but I could really do without it.

In some ways, I'll be sort of glad when things go back to the every day stuff. We haven't had a proper meal today, just bits of this and that plus one of the spare Christmas puds. I think if I can get into some sort of rhythm after New Year then it will really help. I'm making tentative plans about tomorrow. I daren't risk sharing them, but I'll let you know how I get on.

DH got me an amazing Steampunk notebook for Christmas, and I'm wondering how best to use it. I really need to actually use it, but I want to use it for something awesome. I may use it for planning writing stuff. I can bung it in my handbag and refer to it easily.

Speaking of handbags, mine is looking a little worn around the corners. I bought it for £4 a few years ago, and it has been thrown into the car, the boot and various corners every since. It's lasted really well, and I suspect that it may have been a Cath Kidston or a Cath Kidston second because there was no label but the lining is definitely her style of fabric. Her purses last forever. I've been checking eBay but haven't seen anything. At the moment I can hold out for something weird, but not too weird, that's small to carry but has the capacity of a shipping container. I can wait. 

EBay is always fun to browse at this time of year. I've been putting 'unwanted' in the search bar and it's surprising how many 'unwanted' presents are listed. I wonder how many are genuine.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 27 December 2021

Still Can't Move

I am still overstuffed. I got far too much food in again. Mind you, it's less than last year. 

It's been a quiet day. I overslept, then I took bear to visit my brother and his partner. It was great to see them. Their oldest dog is starting to look a little frail, and the muzzle is becoming almost white. I called quickly into Tesco (no decent mark downs) and then home to make dinner before bear went climbing. 

Writing stuff - today's snippet is here. I've also thinned out the writing blog so that only one version of each story or poem appears. I am a little ashamed that I repeated myself so much. There are still over two hundred entries on there, but some of them are book reviews. I'm working on some other ideas which I will share if they work out. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 26 December 2021

Happy Boxing Day

Sharon - thank you. I bet the pictures are amazing. Sending hugs.

I hope everyone had a wonderful, marvellous, safe and warm Christmas. It's the darkest time of the year and we need a little light. But it is getting better. I had a look on and today, at my location, is 8 hours and 26 minutes long, but tomorrow will be four minutes longer. The sun will still be setting before dinner time, but it will be a slightly longer day and I'm holding on to that hope.

Also, too full of food to move.

Bear is happy. Part of his Christmas present was a set of properly weighted juggling balls. I can see a claim on our insurance looming and I keep begging him to stay away from the electronics while he's juggling. It's making him happy, though. DH seemed happy with his stuff, and I am thrilled I got candles and an wonderful steampunk cat figure. When I can move properly, I will take a picture.

I managed to go for a short drive yesterday. My poor car needed a bit of a run, so I headed up the ring road and got up to 70mph for a short stretch. I really didn't enjoy it though and ended up lost in Bradford, which is a scary place to drive. I was planning on getting a little more of a run today, but there was a faint dusting of snow. It wasn't enough to really be a hazard, but it was slushy, wet and deceptive and there was a lot of standing water. I went back home.

And it's been wonderfully, fantastically dull. I even dozed off.

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 24 December 2021

Magical Time

Davey - thank you, I'm feeling a lot better.

Drink has been taken, but I feel that it's not just the rum talking. I'm feeling relaxed and calm and content. We watched A Muppet Christmas Carol this afternoon, which I swear I could recite now, but it wouldn't be Christmas without it. Bear had an early night, and I have all his Christmas presents wrapped. Everything is ready for tomorrow and all is quiet. I'm watching the Google Santa tracker and, at the time of typing, he's in the Balkans. 

Now that bear is mid teens (he will be 15 in a few days!) there isn't so much to wrap. We got him a few bits and put some money in a card. It's still sort of magical. It's been a lovely, relaxed, calm day and I hope I get the same tomorrow.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, magical, restoring Christmas.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 23 December 2021

Grumbling On

 Sharon - thank you!

I have a headache and I broke off part of a tooth. I do not approve of this. I therefore have been playing this quiz on Sporcle.

Christmas Jokes

Back tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Start of the Holidays

Sharon - I hope that you've had better sleep. As for the Winter Solstice thingy, it's just from a template on Canva. It's a graphics site with some free basics I have to admit that I struggle with it. I suspect that you will have better luck if you try. Some people seem to understand how things fit together to look good. I am not one of them.

DH is finally on leave so we can now hang out, relax and enjoy the holidays. There is a ridiculous amount of food in and a certain amount of alcohol and I'm looking forward to enjoying it.

Tonight bear and I had mince and mash while DH had his favourite pasta bake. It's not the most glamorous or Christmassy, but it's one of our favourite meals and we all feel warmed by it. And speaking of warmed, I turned our heating down. We're not used to it and it was getting a little too much. Sometimes it's better to snuggle in a shawl or blanket. 

Writing stuff - As I mentioned, I'm putting more chatty pieces up, and there is one here about our Christmas traditions. I probably won't link to them after today, just the fiction, but you can catch up when you like. I'll also start pulling down a lot of the older fiction over the holidays, so now is a good time to browse. The main site is here

Hugs and good health to all.

(Another practice with Canva)

Tuesday 21 December 2021

It's Yule!

Sharon - I agree with you. I'll be glad when it dies down a little. I'm sure the shop owners like it busy, but I'm looking forward to a little more quiet.

Today is Yule, the Winter Solstice. I'm a (not very good) Christian, but I've always felt that there was something about the solstices and equinoxes. I don't know how exactly to phrase it, but it's like a quirk of the year. Anyway, to all those who mark today as a festival - Merry Yule.

I think that it looks sort of almost nearly flash. Not fancy, but it's an improvement on other stuff I've attempted. I'm trying to get better at stuff for instagram and Twitter, so I had a go at this.

And for all those who mark other religious festivals that I have completely forgotten - I apologise. Your celebrations are worth noting. I think I've not long missed Hanukkah and Diwali, but I have a fair chance of remembering Christmas. Apparently it's also national Robin Day today. The agressive, feathered, red splashed blighter that dive bombed me as I went to the car does not deserve that!

I've not done much today. Everything aches. It's the usual joint stuff, so nothing new, just a little stronger than normal, and on top of that I think I'm starting with that cold that's going around. I am unimpressed. 

I'm throwing away the part done latch hook cushion thingy from Aldi. I can't see me ever getting it finished, I can't see me keeping it clean once it was done and I can't see it lasting for more than a month or two. I've enjoyed what I've done, and established that I quite like latch hooking. Now it is another half done project that is weighing me down. Keeping it will not do me much good, but getting rid will make me feel better - the looooong list of outstanding projects is a sliver shorter. I've already had a lot of pleasure from it, so I've decided that I've had my money's worth and it has served its purpose. That's the good thing about Aldi kits. They are inexpensive and allow you to have a go at a craft to see if you like it. One day I will make a latch hook rug made of thin strips from old denim shirts. I am not going to even start shopping for it until I've cleared my outstanding projects. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 20 December 2021


I had an awful night last night - the sort where the covers have fourteen sides. I managed to drag myself out, though, and called in at Aldi and Tesco. I have everything now, apart possibly from some salad leaves that I may need in a day or two. 

It wasn't too bad when I got to Aldi at 8am, but Tesco was starting to fill up when I was leaving there around 9.30. I am now taking the view that if we don't have it in, we do without. 

Bear was awesome. My back is playing up and my knee keeps giving way. Bless him, he got all the fizzy pop and water out of the car - and the car boot was full! He was sooo good about doing things for me. He's grown so much over the last month. The jeans that sat easily on his trainers with a little bit of spare at the start of September are now over his ankles. I took a really good pic of him at the dentist. He was wearing his black hoodie with the hood over his head and falling foward with a black fabric mask and he looked like an awesome ninja. I won't share as not only has he not given permission, but his expression is clearly 'I am done with having my picture taken, mother'. The dentist wasn't too bad. He needed a couple of tiny fillings, but was otherwise fine. 

I picked up the fresh peppers that I had forgotten at the Aldi near the dentist, then I headed home. 

And if we haven't got it now - tough!

Writing stuff - the series of short pieces continues here. I've made a separate page on my website which was good as it made me check. I don't think that all my pages were visible, but hopefully you can see them all now. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 19 December 2021


As is traditional, I turn the heating up at the start of the Christmas holidays. Normally the Central Heating is set to go on when the temperature falls to 18C on the landing outside the bathroom. It's permanently on, because it takes so long to warm up DH's room, where he works full time, that it may as well be on all the time. If we are feeling cold, we can put on the electric heaters. At Christmas it goes up to 21C for the holidays. 

The landing is one of the cooler places in the house, so we are mostly snug, and the boiler doesn't have to work too hard because it is only topping up the heat. I don't think constantly on is as fuel efficient as some people think, but it could be worse. It would be just as important if bear was at home again for school. It would keep a regular temperature where he would be working. 

I may have to rethink this, with the rise in energy prices, especially if bear is home all the time.

Regardless, over Christmas, the heating goes up a little. We all have been hanging out in the study. First of all there is the radiator, under the almost new double glazing. Then we have a fairly large scented candle burning for most of the afternoon. I got in a load of Christmas candles and there are enough to keep us going up to the New Year - which reminds me that I need to dig out the carbon monoxide detector. As well as the large candle and the radiator, there is the heat from three human beings, a laptop, a PC and an Xbox. It is tropical in here.

As an aside, if there is a powercut, we are likely to snuggle down in here. Everyone has a comfy chair, there are bookcases full of books and plenty of blankets. We have been lucky enough to escape the powercuts so far, and I hope we won't need to make plans. At least we have a room to use.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 18 December 2021

Cosy Day

Today we have spent it hanging out together. Bear has got a new truck driving game, or a new add on or something, and DH was, I think, just glad to relax. 

I was considering going out later on for some bits of shopping, but it was far too misty. I will go if I have to, for the school run, for example, but it's silly to add to traffic when the visibility is bad if you don't have to.

And I have been so energised that I slept for half of the afternoon, which I practically never do! What is worse, I was listening to the audio of The Horse, the Wheel and Language and I believe there was something about neolithic and bronze age mass migrations so goodness only knows how that will turn up when I dream. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 17 December 2021


Sharon - sending hugs. It is so hard when the anxiety bites. I haven't found a way of turning it off either. One thing that helped me was bear finding his kit. The compulsory lanyard that he is supposed to always wear was with it. Bear was so blase about it, and I was fretting myself to pieces! Seriously, I hope you find little things to help. With the latest wave, I use a mask all the time in shops still, I never got out of the habit, though I don't really enjoy it. I always put my own sanitiser on when I get back to the car as well. Lets hope that this passes us by.

I popped into Morrisons after dropping bear off and picked up a few last bits. I've practically nothing to get now. I just need the steaks. I filled up the cooler that I can plug into the car with the frozen stuff and I swear that the freezer winced when I finally shut the door. I'm pretty sure that I will need frozen peas before the end of the holiday, but we can manage. I bung frozen peas in curries, casseroles and all sorts. 

I was barely home before I was out again. Bear had a half day so I was picking him up at lunchtime. The car park was absolutely rammed full! I barely found a corner! I have no idea how the shopping will go over the next few weeks. 

Now we are all hanging out together, we have the fire on and it's nice and quiet. Long may this last. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 16 December 2021

Another Half Day

Bear has half a day left of term. I just want to get through that then I can relax. I picked up some bits this morning, then got home and got caught up in writing. 

Bear has been in a good mood and got caught up in model making - and long may that continue! We are bracing to see what will happen in the New Year. There is a lot of talk of schools being closed after Christmas. It's a worry. Bear's school keeps on with live teaching when they are learning from home, so on the whole it could be worse. I've heard some horror stories from other parents, with kids almost abandoned with worksheets and little or no support. Bear is incredibly lucky as he as space and a laptop, and I know that he is blessed compared to some. 

On the other hand, teachers are getting sick, and kids are taking illness home to vulnerable family members. If it has to be, it has to be. Right now, I feel like we will never get back to normal. I'm feeling quite gloomy, so I am going to get myself some chocolate and pull myself together.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Lukewarm Okay

Ranee - that sounds like you had an awful time, so sending big hugs. Sometimes things fight back and that apple pie sounds like it was being just awkward. Mind you, utter respect to you. I've never even attempted almond bark and my pastry could be used as roof tiles. 

Sharon - it sounds like you, and I, and Ranee, are all having the same issue. It's tough. Sending hugs to you and a reminder that you are awesome.

Bear found his games kit. This saved him a lot of bother. On the whole, by and large and in general, bear isn't much trouble. He's generally polite, helpful and gets good grades. He keeps getting positives at school for things like maths homework which I know he did in the car on the way to school. Every now and then I have to be stern. I'm not good at being stern. DH can do a good shout, but he always feels bad afterwards. Honestly, I'm sometimes surprised that bear has turned out as well as he has. I'm not sure how much we had to do with it. I'm just glad I don't have to deal with the missing kit.

I've picked up the brandy butter and brandy cream this morning. I could have made both, but I am happy to buy, and the 'use by' date is 6th Jan 2022. I had a look at the stuffing in Tesco and the 'use by' dates were quite close, so I will leave it until later. I have some dried stuffing, and I could, in theory, make my own, but I would prefer to use the easy stuff. I know some people get immense satisfaction from a home made Christmas. I envy them. Perhaps one year I may do so, but at the moment I am happy to have it easy.

To be honest, I spent a lot of today struggling to breathe. I suspect that it is nerves of one sort or another, but I don't appreciate it. 

Writing stuff - I'm trying to be more active on social media as a writer. I posted a chatty sort of thing on my writing blog here, and I had a go with Canva at making a sort of pic for instagram. I'm unconvinced. I've put the pic below. Any constructive criticism incredibly welcome. Also, I am likely to start pruning the writing blog soon so please dip in and re-read any old favourites. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Must Make Lists

Ranee - I agree - if you love it then it doesn't matter about decorating schemes. Your house sounds lovely. I understand why you have the fragile and precious things away when you have four cats. To me, cats are proof that the world is isn't flat. If it was, cats would have pushed everything over the edge!

I am not getting much done. A lot of it is down to lack of sleep, but lack of focus isn't helping either. I need to sit down and make a list. One thing I need to do tomorrow is get the jars sorted out. I have a gazillion and four (well, nearly a gazillion and four) jars. Some are empty but dirty, some are clean, some have the last half inch of sauce, pickle or mustard in, some are full of forgotten and furry pesto and there are some out of date pickled onions. I looked out loads over the last week or so, and I need to get them empty, clean and to the bottle bank.

Also, after all that praise for bear, I think he may have lost his sports kit. With shin pads and football boots included, it's well over £100 lost if he has. He is being blase but I am not impressed and I shall find consequences if he has.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 13 December 2021

Ranee - I usually say 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy New Year' but I don't stress. Merry Christmas to you. I hope you have a wonderful and quiet Christmas. I agree that it's likely to be tough in the New Year. Thank you for your kind words about bear. I am so proud of him. 

Riverside Hermit - I am sooo proud of him. One of the lovely bits of yesterday was that he offered. I didn't ask him to help. He just did it! 

Sharon - Thank you. It's scary how time ticks away and before you know it you are facing decorating right before the day. Good luck. I bet you make them awesome! 

Ranee - Our home is over a hundred years old, but the coving was probably added by the previous owners about forty years ago. It's not a fancy place - it's right at the bottom of properties. There are nice bits and odd bits and DH and I have never grown up properly so we end up with weird stuff. On the mantelpiece opposite me as I type is a lot of dust, some random letters, a life sized flock covered raven from the last Halloween but one, the steampunk owl, a sort of weird plate that may be Swiss (inexpensive from eBay), a plaque with a copy of a Minoan fresco (extremely inexpensive from eBay), the clock my grandparents got for a wedding present in 1938 (doesn't go) and a pic of bear as a baby. The smoke stains from the candlesticks aren't really that bad, it just is showing more I think from the light. I think the pic above the mantelpiece is a few decades old, but don't know as it's one that father brought with him. 

None of it was particularly expensive except for the owl (I think just over £30 which is a lot for me) and the clock which was a good one when it was bought but has been overwound.

I type a lot of good things about bear. They are all true. I think that he is growing into an awesome young man. I don't feel I can take much credit. He seems to manage the whole 'mature and sensible' by himself. I don't put all bad things in. It could be that one day his kids could see what I have written about him. So me putting stuff where he's been mischievous or creatively awkward is okay, but I don't want to put stuff down that would embarass him. I am careful what I put about his friends as well. So I may grumble about being kept waiting, or trying to work out what to feed him, but there are some places I won't go. I hope that he extends the same courtesy to me. 

I have been so tired today that it hurt. The nightmares are really becoming a bother. But everyone is fed, everyone has clean clothes for tomorrow, and I remembered to cancel my Tesco order. 

Writing stuff - Today's snippet is here. I've also been trying some ideas about sharing stuff on Twitter and Instagram, but I don't know if it will help. I am so bad with pictures that I fail at Instagram in general and Twitter is scary. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 12 December 2021

Let There Be Lights

Sharon - I usually plan shopping to go when it's quiet, even when it isn't Christmas. I think I just need to look out for steak, fresh stuffing, brandy butter (though I could make my own) and fresh fruit and veg. This is a deliberate tactic.

It's been another quiet day, with some accidental changes. Bear admitted that he wasn't using the piano much at all. I can't remember when he last played it. So we took it down and then bear put it in the junk room. We also got rid of a computer chair, as it was worn out. It sagged when you sat in it and the cover was split from use. I took it to the tip. I struggled when I got there, but a very kind man helped. He was lovely and said that he had had help in the past. I promised to pay his help forward. It was sort of nice going to the tip. The encounter made me smile, and the workers there had tinsel all over the fences. 

When I got back the men had put the lights up. They did an awesome job. I'm not taking too many pics as the house is still in a disgraceful state, but here's one corner. It feels very magical. 

Bear is really growing up. He did a load of the lights by himself and he not only got the piano (electric and fold up) into the junk room by himself up two flights of stairs, but he helped me get the computer chair into the car. He's just so centred. He is also growing. I bought him a onesie a few months ago. It was big on him when I got it. It's now looking a bit short in the leg. He's taller than me, is getting strong with the climbing he is doing and he is just seeming so steady. I don't know where we went right.

Writing stuff - got quite a bit done on some little bits and pieces. I was putting together some stuff for the launch of The King's Silver next February and I have a horrible feeling that it's getting away from me. I can see it becoming nearer book length than the 500-1000 words that I was hoping for. Bugger.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 11 December 2021

Random as Ever

Wherethejourneytakesme - after reading your comment, I wonder if the owner was planning on leaving the dog. He did look very well cared for, though, and the Morrison's staff would look after him.

Sharon - I believe that a lot of dogs are really suffering with separation anxiety now. It's completely understandable, but it doesn't make life easier. 

Meanqueen - I don't like seeing dogs tied outside a big store. The dogs tied at the doorway at the newsagents at the end of the street, where they can see their owner pick up their paper and a loaf of bread, that's one thing. Some of the dogs get unhappy with just that. But to leave a dog outside a large supermarket, which will take a good while to get around and then pay, seems cruel to me. It was a little cutie as well, like a Scottie dog, and it looked so well cared for with a lovely coat. 

I really haven't felt up to much today. I ought to be doing so much. I don't feel that I've achieved much either. On the other hand, I've rearranged the furniture in the living room. It's been on my mind for a while, and I just got on with it today instead of sorting out the study. I may not have got done what I needed to do, but at least I got something done. It was a matter of moving the small sewing table next to me instead of the drinks cabinet (which we use for junk and medicines), the drinks cabinet to the corner near the door where the blanket chest was and the blanket chest under the window where the small table was. It has made a difference because the drinks cabinet blocked the light more so the room looks a lot more airy. I'm also failing at pompoms for the pompom wreath. 

I nipped out for some bits in the late afternoon, and it's already going a little crazy in the supermarket. I think I'll go in first thing after school drop off from now on until after Christmas. I don't need much, but I will want to keep up with fresh fruit, a few bits of veggies and I need to keep an eye out for the good stuffing and the brandy butter. 

Writing stuff - I need to do a lot of writing as well. And while I'm talking about writing, the sale on ebooks at Three Furies Press has been extended to 20th December, and you can find them here. It's as good a time as any to pick up a bargain!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 10 December 2021


Wherethejourneytakesme - thank you!

Today has been a quiet sort of day, with some pottering around and a little writing. On the way to pick up bear, I nipped into Morrisons. I liked the look of their fresh Christmas wreaths and I also liked the little robin planters. They are not nearly as aggressively assertive as the actual robins that call on our feeder, but they look cheerful. 

On the way into the store I passed a little dog. This dog was not happy. Its owner had left it tied up outside and the dog felt abandoned. It was lost, alone and suffering. Surely its owner would never come back and the dog would be left in the limbo of Morrison's entrance for ever! Woe! The dog was not keeping its feelings to itself. It was heartbreaking, it was loud and it was persistant. 

I whizzed around Morrisons, as I only really wanted the wreaths, and I picked up a litre of the rice milk that bear likes as I had 10% off with the Morrison app. I ended up paying at the far end of the store. As I was waiting, perhaps ten minutes after I entered the store, I heard an announcement over the tannoy. "Will the owner of the dog at the entrance please come to the... dog." There was such desperation in that last word. Whoever was announcing this couldn't take another whimper - and I couldn't blame them. The dog looked safe, well tied up and in a sheltered spot. It had looked well fed and looked after. Unfortunately, after the lockdowns and the owner no doubt being around all the time, a lot of dogs don't cope well with being separated. All I know is that when I dashed out and back to the car, there were no sounds of canine anguish. 

Bear had a non-uniform day today. Apparently it was supposed to be a Christmas sweater day, but bear just went in a red shirt. I can't say I blame him. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 9 December 2021

Bear is Awesome

Wherethejourneytakesme - thank you! It's quiet now. When bear was younger and father was with us, it was a fair take on chaos!

Bear had his report today. He's expected to get mainly A+ in his subjects and he's doing okay. There was a blip with English, which I will worry about later. However his attitude to learning was amazing. I told him to pick his reward.

It's been a funny sort of day. I'm still feeling quite under the weather. And I can't find bear's favourite jeans for non uniform day tomorrow. 

Writing stuff - I wrote a quick chatty piece on my writing blog here about my favourite author. I'll be putting in more articles like that in the new year. I'd be grateful if you would share any thoughts or opinions you have on this.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Expensive Day

Bless - forty years ago I was in the car with my mother, father and brothers. We were driving near Llangollen in Wales, with the road in a river valley between two steep hills. As we drove, a triple rainbow appeared, three of them, right on top of another. I've never forgotten it. It looked so magical! I think you are right, rainbows are special.

Sharon - I felt very lucky that the pic even turned out. Thank you for the well wishes.

Wherethejourneytakesme - I'm glad that you're feeling better. One day we will pass and, at the very least, wave. As for the Christmas dinner, we are very clear about what we want. We want easy, uncomplicated and tasty. I buy the special stuff for Christmas, but otherwise we just have a big but easy meal with loads of stuff pre prepared or frozen. To be honest, we usually spend the rest of the day unable to move as we always load up our plates, but that's part of Christmas.

Good things today - I called in to Aldi after picking up the car from the garage and got four lots of 250g of minced 10% fat lamb for £2.48 total. It expires today, so I shoved it in the freezer and I'm looking forward to the shepherd's pies. 

But speaking of garage...

Bad things today - I shrunk one of my favourite tops after years of remembering to keep it out of the dryer. I also had to pay around £400 for a new catalytic converter. The car is definitely feeling the benefit, though. She was a lot nippier afterwards and I had to keep a close eye on the speedo so that I kept under the limit. She's six years old now, and I suspect that the battery will be next. She is still a great workhorse, with her own little ways. She doesn't like the cold, first gear or short journeys. She's great on a long journey, hills (despite only a 1 litre engine), corners and junctions. I'm not in a hurry to change cars.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 7 December 2021

More Meh

Wherethejourneytakesme - DH has had a few issues with a sore throat as well and has been left very run down. The usual bugs and lurgies seem to be a little worse this year. I guess because of all the isolation. I hope you feel better soon. As for the warning lights - I'm sort of glad that there is a warning but it is so strange to need a computer after a childhood of watching father work with cars. You can't maintain your own car the way that you used to. 

I may have picked up DH's lurgy. I have felt really rough today, and the weather has been worrying me. I was braced for a school run with snow, but instead got high winds and driving rain. I wasn't thrilled, but I can deal with that. At one point I was quite worried as I waited for bear. The rain was really lashing down. Then I saw the most amazing rainbow. 

The pic doesn't do it justice. It's taken by a fairly poor phone camera through a windscreen running with rain and it's still incredibly vivid. It had been so dark and dismal that the car park lights had come on, but the sky behind me was really brightening up. 

I've been watching the story about the Tesco strike unfold. I think I'll cancel the Christmas delivery and just pick stuff up myself. I'm able to do that, so any spare slots should be for those who can't. Besides, I don't need much. 

Our Christmas would appal the glossy magazines. It's incredibly basic and with very little alcohol. We just have what we like, take advantage of frozen veg and relax. It's about hanging out with each other. I've got practically everything stashed except the steak and the brandy butter. Every year I get less in, and we never seem to miss it.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 6 December 2021

So Much for Monday

Wherethejourneytakesme - I don't take any steps forward on a regular basis.

Sharon - I promise, not organised at all. I hope bear is taking it in, but I'm not putting on bets. You always seem to have an instinct for wildlife, so you must have paid attention somewhere.

My hip hurts. I'm struggling to get around. I definitely do not approve. Today's progress has been a little slow. I'm about to take some more pain killers and then I'll see how I go on. I had a shocking night last night as well. 

And the car engine light is on again. DH drove to some shops and came back slightly apologetic. I rang the garage and the lovely man who answered recognised me. Mind you, I left chocolates last visit. It's been a while so there may actually be something wrong with the car this time. I'm taking her in on Wednesday. I had hoped for a lie in on Wednesday as bear has the day off. It goes something like - the Queen has her jubilee and is giving everyone a day off next June. This does not work so well for schools as it's in the middle of exam season. Therefore the schools do not get a day off in June but instead take a day off some other time. With bear's school, it's Wednesday. I had planned to sleep in until at least 7am, but it looks like I will be out nice and early taking the car to the garage. Again. I shall take my knitting. Again. Also, possibly more chocolates.

Writing stuff - A further snippet in the flash fiction is here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 5 December 2021

Surprising Myself

Wherethejourneytakesme - They had less than they had a few years ago, but there were still piles of stuff, like a 500g bag of dark chocolate gingers for £1.30. There is no parking there, but there is a free car park a few hundred yards away. Their times are quite restricted (here) but if you are passing, I think it's always fun to have a look in, even if you don't buy anything. They had loads of things like brandy snaps last year and I didn't see any yesterday, so I suppose it's what they want to shift. 

Bless - I am assured that they are wonderful and the men have already started making dents in the haul. I know that they don't stint on the chocolate.

Sharon - I'm not sure when I last saw a hedgehog. It must be decades ago! Bear was unimpressed but I was thrilled to see it and so worried! I miss Fox's biscuits too - they're not gluten free. 

Bear is very much a child of the city. I point out the different birds and plants and he smiles politely and nods and gets on with whatever he is doing. He was unimpressed with the hedgehog. I grew up in a town, but both of my parents had quite a country background and taught me quite a lot about the wildlife. I've done my best with bear, but it bounces off him. DH is a townie as well. 

I was supposed to be clearing out the study today. Instead I started clearing stuff out of the kitchen. Yesterday I managed to get enough rubbish and bits to fill the car boot for DH to take to the tip this morning before he went into town. While he was out, I filled three more! It's mainly bits of packaging and oddments that should have gone out ages ago with a lot of cardboard. I've started rearranging the stuff in the walk in cupboard now, and that is making quite a difference. It's helping me work out what I have in for Christmas and what I'll need to get it. I've got an order booked for Christmas, but I may just do it in store in stages after school drop off. I think I need less than I've put down. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 4 December 2021


Wherethejourneytakesme - it is sort of cute, and I suppose that you get all of the stuff ready made with less waste, and I hope to hang it somewhere cheerful.

I forgot to add yesterday - one of the successes I had was that I didn't run over a hedgehog! Due to an odd set of circumstances I was heading down the slip road to Matalan carpark near us and saw something brown crawling across the road. I slowed down, think that I didn't want to squash a rat, but it was a full sized hedgehog! I parked in the carpark and rushed back, but there was no sign of it, and no squished bits either, so it must have got safe. I thought that hedgehogs would have been hibernating. Of course, if here had been some disturbance in their sleeping place, they may have been looking for somewhere else, and there would have been some good places nearby, I think. I would have been happy to lure it to our garden as I believe that there are a lot of slugs.

There are certainly a lot of sparrows. They were being very assertive today. I also saw two robins fighting, so it's been a wildlife sort of day.

This morning bear and I went out to the Fox's Biscuit Factory shop in Batley. The weather was awful on the drive, but not too bad as we walked from the car park to the shop. The building always looks out of date to me.

Then we loaded up with chocolate biscuits, paid £15.35 for a heavy bag full and staggered out.

I think that there were around a dozen or so packs of chocolate biscuits of all sorts in the bag - at a good price. I think that the shop was emptier than when we went last, but I'll keep an eye on it. 

Bear had a full English breakfast at Tesco, which was just around the corner, and then we have been chilling for the day. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 3 December 2021

Small Success

 Wherethejourneytakesme - I've taken that advice

Sharon - I've got the binder that I really need to get back to. It makes things so much easier. I'll dust it out later.

I had a shocking night last night, with lots of nightmares and very little sleep. I finished off the Christmas bunting. It's okay I suppose, but I feel like it's £2.20 I'll never see again. I also did a little on the rug thingy, which is chipping away at an older project. I'm too tired to do any more of it tonight. I feel flattened.

I managed a walk this morning. I hoped to wake myself up, but it didn't work. I was mainly looking out for more like the little door, but I didn't find anything. Most of the leaves seem to have been shake loose and are over the ground.

I came across what happens if you get strong winds while there are still leaves on the branches. I meant to take another pic to show all the leaves. It must have landed with a heck of a crash.

I tried to take a nap, failed, and I've been drifting every since. I plan to have a stiff drink followed by an early night. I'll start again tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 2 December 2021


Val - I can't remember what half of them are. Some a bits of writing, other snippets from the internet, knitting patters, craft ideas, recipes etc etc. But I forget that I have them and get distracted!

Wherethejourneytakesme - I plan to go heavy on the lentils. Bear is very keen on healthy eating. 

Sharon - I've got to the stage where I don't even know what's what! You can probably tell. Sending hugs for all that you have on your plate, and a reminder that you are completely awesome.

Today hasn't been successful. I was planning the curry, but bear decided to skip dinner so DH and I had a quorn version of beeferoni. I was taught this by an American. You brown 'some' mince, add an undiluted can of condensed tomato soup, season as you like (Italian seasoning with extra basil here, with perhaps some worcestershire sauce) and then stir in 'some' cooked pasta. It's surprisingly tasty, incredibly filling, relatively healthy and quite inexpensive, depending on the mince. I can't have the standard condensed soup anymore as it contains gluten, but I browned some quorn mince, added some standard tomato soup, went mad with the Italian herbs, added the cooked gluten free pasta and called it done. It was okay, but not as good as the original. DH enjoyed it, though. 

I think I can sum up my issue with a brief overview of what I could do this evening. I am knackered, my girlie bits are not co-operating and I had a shocking night, so I am not feeling enthusiastic. First off, I have six solidly needed bits of writing I could be getting on with. I mean, looking at getting a few hundred thousand words sorted by the middle of January at the latest. I don't know where to start and prioritising is an issue. Then I need to finish off sorting the walk in cupboard and kitchen, there is a heap of ironing nearly as tall as me and I could do with clearing out the cookbooks. Of course, if I want to get the Christmas decorations up soon, I should deep clean the living room and study as well, while I'm at it. I also need to make six curtains (weird window sizes make buying them tricky) to help keep in the warm (current curtains aren't working or are lacking) and I have a few craft kits I'd like to make. I also could do with finishing bear's knitted blanket before Christmas and also finishing off a wrap I have started to add to my own layers. 

Also, I could do with an early night, I still haven't watched Hawkeye and I could do with reading through some articles on writing.

I have no idea what I will do, if anything, after I press the 'publish' button. I share if I manage anything between all the indecision. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 1 December 2021

I Need More Lists

Wherethejourneytakesme - I'm sure that your granddaughter would enjoy the kit. It cost £9.99 and I took a pic of the contents.

There is the wire frame which can be re-used, the pompom makers in three sizes, which are sure to be a hit with young crafters and they seem sturdy enough for a decent amount of wear, plus the ribbon and yarn. It is much better value for money in my opinion than the £2.20 I paid for the Tesco 'make your own bunting' kit, although it did give me a few ideas. This is how far I have got. I just have to glue the felt dots on the right bits and hang the fabric pieces on the ribbon. 

I've got some bits done today, but less than I had hoped. I've done some work sorting through my laptop. I counted and it had 153 icons on the desktop. I've managed to reduce it a little, but I've some way to go. I've also done quite a bit of writing stuff (see below). Then I dropped off some stuff to a former neighbour (scary driving) before picking up bear. 

I used a list, and I got a lot of it done by working through that list, but I think that I can use it better. I don't have so much time at home. I can't see the school run taking much less than three hours out of my day tomorrow, and I won't be getting a walk. 

I also need to work on what I'm supposed to cook. Bear does not like Quorn. DH and I like Quorn. Bear has been refusing to eat dinner because he has eaten at school. This means that DH and I have been eating Quorn without him. Bear now says that he doesn't want to eat much at school as it isn't healthy. I stopped off at Tesco this afternoon after pick up to get petrol and while I did that bear nipped in and picked up something he fancied for dinner. He could have had almost anything and he picked up a tuna salad. I don't know where I went right. I'm going to have to work around fresh and healthy eating for bear while sneaking the huge Quorn mountain (delivered this weekend) into DH and I's meals. 

Writing stuff - I'm planning to add some chatty non-fiction pieces to the blog, starting in the New Year. It's to keep movement and interest and hopefully be entertaining. I drafted a couple this afternoon and I've started afresh with the plan for the newsletter. I will almost certainly be taking down some pieces as I go, to convert to books, so dip in and have a browse if you feel like it. I'm not exactly sure when they'll be taken down, but probably before March. I'll give more notice nearer the time. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Things I Should Not Have Bought

Sharon - I really feel for you. I'm so nervous about snow, but fortunately we only get it a few days a year here. That is, there is only a few days where it really matters. I would feel unfair asking DH to drive as he would be in an unfamiliar car on an unfamiliar route, and generally I like driving so much more. But if things are silly, I'll ask.

Wherethejourneytakesme - that is incredibly brave to be in a caravan in this weather! Today is actually quite warm. The British weather is going up and down as ever. 

I was supposed to be dropping something off, but I got the wrong address. I am mortified. It gave me a moment to nip into Aldi to pick up some cola that I like, and I sort of got ambushed by these.

I do not need a pom pom wreath. On the other hand, I'll have a wreath form for next year. There is no way that the woollen pompoms will survive a year in storage here. And the candle holder called to me. I have some pillar candles that are perfect for it. 

I have a lot to do tomorrow. I have to avoid all shopping, drop off the things at the correct address, and I have to finish sorting the cupboards and kitchen. I did a microscopic amount today but I need to be better. 

This evening I'm going to spend some time breaking down the tasks into small chunks and getting them in order. Then I may have a look at some of the craft stuff that's half done and try reducing my stash that way. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 29 November 2021

It is Too Cold!

 I know this is not likely to be the coldest it gets this winter, but it's cold

The grit did its job. It was like this when I went out in the morning. The steps were safe.

The car was very frozen. I got it defrosted with antifreeze, scraping and the heated windows but it took some time. This is the roof of the car after driving around sixteen miles with the heating up to 'absolutely ridiculous)

And I guess that I've seen the last of the fuchsia flowers. It was looking droopy this afternoon.

Bear's school were allowing for difficulty travelling, but they said that as it was not a snow day, they wouldn't be putting on internet lessons. I suspect that the days of freedom when it snowed are gone. Bear will have to make do with a little longer in bed.

Driving wasn't too bad, but I was careful to stick to easy routes. Tomorrow should, in theory be easier.

Writing stuff - today's flash fiction is here. I hope that it rings bells for those who have read 'Tales from the White Hart' but still makes sense for those who haven't. 

And while I'm at it, it's the last day of the Three Furies Black Friday Sale, if you are interested.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 28 November 2021

Can Move But Didn't

 Thank you for all the wonderful comments about vinegar. 

Barb - I will try that whenever I open a new container.

Peggy, Jackie and wherethejourneytakesme - I think if I'm keeping it for cleaning, it should be fine. 

There are currently four types of vinegar in our house. There is the older white distilled vinegar that I got in for cleaning and laundry softening, which should be fine. I mean, it's being acidic in a cleaning setting. As long as it hasn't lost that then it should be fine. There are some small bottles of white vinegar I bought last month for pickling mushrooms, as it's the good stuff, but slightly more expensive. There is red wine vinegar and I can't remember why I bought it. If it hangs around much longer, I'll be using that for cleaning as well. Then there is the brown malt vinegar for at the table, which DH insists tastes different. I can't have it as it isn't gluten free. 

Sharon - I didn't do a list today and got nothing done. I'm going to have to go back to it tomorrow. I hope to keep up with the walking but I am nervous about the leaves. I hope your friend healed quickly. As for covid - I believe it exists and can be serious, I believe in masks and hand sanitisers and I believe in being sensible. I hope you can stay safe.

DH went out for his usual Sunday potter and bear went out to meet his pals. I was settling down for a quiet afternoon when I looked out of the window and saw snow. I was unimpressed. It hadn't been in the forecast. I got more concerned as it carried on and got heavier. I mean, it wasn't as bad as it could have been and it was definitely only a little snow, but I didn't fancy driving in it, especially to pick up bear at 6pm from a random place. I asked him to come home, and he was awesome about it, even though he was missing out on a trip to the ice skating rink. He got the bus back and came in covered in snowflakes. DH came in a little later and said that the car had lost traction at the corner of our road, but that things were otherwise okay. 

I get stressed by snow. I didn't see much growing up, and never got the hang of it. Besides, I have a bad track record of dislocating or spraining things when I fall, and my feet will only fit into slippers, so I find walking around with snow and ice terrifying. But I got salt and grit down in the garden, down the front steps and over to the car. I hope that it will be okay. I have to get bear to school tomorrow regardless. As it is main roads all the way once I get out of our street, I'm not too stressed. Okay, I'm incredibly stressed but mildly confident that it will be more or less okay. A hard frost is forecast for tomorrow morning.

I wonder if my fuchsia will survive. It was lovely and bright yesterday. 

I mean, the plant will be fine and as ridiculously overgrown as ever next year, but I wonder if we have seen the last of the flowers. I expect so.

The birds have also been hanging around the birdfeeder. Early on today, DH loaded the car with rubbish for the tip and the local robin hopped in on one of the bin bags before flying off! I don't think that it's tame. I think it knows that we are complete soft touches. It may have been planning a mugging.

Writing stuff - there is a sale on at Three Furies Press. There are some amazing authors on there, so if you are interested, have a quick look while the going is inexpensive!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 27 November 2021

Still Can't Move

I only did around 2000 steps today, but I still can't move. 

We had some weather, but we escaped the worst. Sending all good thoughts out to those who are still without power or suffering from a lot of damage. I still didn't go out into the garden. I did, however, start sorting out the walk in cupboard. I may be some time. At the moment the kitchen, the dining room and the cupboard look pillaged! There is stuff in heaps everywhere. I am sort of more or less mainly kind of confident that it will look better soon. 

I found some gallon containers of white vinegar. The container said that they were past their sell by date, but I'm not sure. I would only be using it as fabric softener or for cleaning. I'll have to have a think about it. Suggestions are welcome. There is a medieval manuscript that suggests that to test if vinegar is good, you need to see if it makes stone (presumable limetstone) bubble. I don't think that I've ever had vinegar that strong in the house, and I am not sure that I want it either.

I'm worried about the news of the Omicron variant. It sounds like a science fiction or horror film. Unfortunately it's real life. I suspect that things will become a lot more closed again. 

Sending hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 26 November 2021

I Can't Move

Heather - you are not helping!

Jeanie - I don't know how long I'll be able to hold out against the lamp. I fail against temptation.

I was a little stiff when I got up this morning, dropped off bear and went for a walk. I thought I was going to get lost as the leaves were covering the path. 

It took me ages to find that tree again, so I thought I would show three pics from further away, closer and closer still.

Then I added considerably to my step count at Tesco. I still forgot a few bits, but I had a list and stuck mainly to it. However I went down the list in a logical order for loading the trolley and packing the bags. This meant I crisscrossed the large store about a dozen times. Also, Tesco school uniform only goes up to age 14. Bear is growing out of that. I've had to order some new school trousers from Matalan.

This means that I've done all my steps again, and I can't move. I was planning on doing the garden (again!) but I just can't move. I'll have to force myself out in between gales and blizzards (strong winds and possibly sleet forecast but I'm feeling dramatic). 

Speaking of the weather - sending good vibes to all those caught up in this awful storm. Stay safe!

I picked up groceries at Tesco. I wasn't planning on doing any Black Friday shopping. I couldn't think of anything I actually needed, and I am deeply suspicious of a lot of the Black Friday deals. However I couldn't get through to the sewing machine place, though I tried all day. The phone just rang and rang without any answer. Out of curiosity I looked on Amazon, and picked up a reconditioned Amazon own brand sewing machine for what I thought was £25 but after the whole Black Friday discount was £20. It will do for what I want, will considerably save eye strain which was becoming a problem and is almost certainly cheaper than a service and repair. Even new it would be £30. Now all I need to do is feel the fear and do it anyway. The six curtains plus mountains of cushion covers can be done in a couple of afternoon instead of taking weeks. 

I now have a surplus sewing machine that has been extremely lightly used (because I was scared of it) but is dreadfully dusty and been kept in a damp place. I'm so annoyed at myself. There is a repair thingy that meets in Leeds that repairs stuff like this. I wonder if they would consider going over it and then it could be donated. Or I could look for a YouTube channel about servicing sewing machines. I suppose that would be a fun way to get confidence.

That makes tomorrow a knitting day before the sewing machine arrives. Then I really need to sort out the curtains with all the incoming weather.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 25 November 2021

Almost Did It!

Jeanie - thank you! I think I've made a day of it.

Kate - At least you are keeping on top of stuff. Here, things are never finished because a lot of the time they're never started!

Yesterday I wrote a list of things that I wanted to get done. I'm reporting back. 

The first job was to drop bear off and then pick up some salad for DH. Pic for proof.

Morrisons have the fresh wreaths in, and I have been considering how soon I should put them up. I love the fresh scent. 

I picked up some other bits we needed, like cereal and water (our water from the tap tastes foul) and then went for a walk in Batley Park. It is well and truly autumn here, and I was slipping on the stones and holes underneath the leaves.

I also noticed this. I'm sure it must have been here for some time, but I don't remember seeing it before.

It was set into the foot of a tree, and I thought it was very intriguing. I'll try and get a better pic tomorrow.

I took a slightly longer walk than I would normally do, but not too much. Bear likes to be dropped off at around 7.45am and Batley Mill Outlet doesn't open until 9.30am, so I had some time to kill, even after nipping into Morrisons. I still got to the Outlet early, and went to see what the opening hours on the sewing shop were. 

I was unsurprised that it was closed. I can never follow a plan, a recipe or a knitting pattern to the letter. But at least I have their number now, so I can ring them tomorrow to see how I can book in my sewing machine for a service. I went to the Works Outlet anyway and bought some bits for bear for Christmas. There wasn't much that I thought he would like. He likes what he likes and I am not getting a load of rubbish for it to gather dust until it hits the rubbish bin or is added to the next charity shop run.

I then headed to IKEA, which is on the way home, and picked up the veggie meatballs and some of the horseradish that bear likes. I took another photo for proof. 

And this is the lamp that I actually resisted buying. I am a little surprised that I managed it. I'm not sure I'll be able to resist on a regular basis.

Then I went home, stopping off at Matalan to pick up some jeans for bear (did I mention the growth spurt). 

My average number of steps over the last month or so has been a shameful 2000 or so steps. By the time I got out of Matalan it was over 6500 and I was feeling it. By the time I dragged the washing from bear's room and put a load on, I could barely move. It was 11.45 at this point, so I made myself some lunch and gave up on the garden for today. I did, however, completely empty the car, so I can have a go tomorrow and take the weeds and trimmings to the tip.

I left to pick up bear around 2.10pm. It's tricky, because if you time it wrong, you can end up stuck in traffic. In the morning, without the traffic, the run takes around 25 minutes. In the afternoon, with other schools getting out and all the business traffic, it can take a lot longer. But if I go at a time that doesn't mean I sit in traffic queues for half an hour, I'm usually there at least half an hour before bear is due at the car park, but I did get my knitting in.  

On the way home, bear shared that the costume designer in his drama GCSE group was expected to create costumes with a budget for the group of five or six of £50. I can't sew for toffee, but I know a few things about shopping, and I told bear I was willing to share links and ideas if he wanted. I mean, half way decent cotton that isn't see through is around £4-5 per metre in the shops. Then you have to add on thread, buttons, zips and all the rest of it. £50 is barely going to touch it. Bear said that they had access to some costumes, and they could alter charity shop finds, and that the £50 was what they would be reimbursed and that they could top it up, but even so, it's a hard ask. The students who are identified as costume designers are going to be judged on what they produce. I passed on suggestions about charity shop curtains and beddings, and cheap second hand wedding dresses, but what a stretch!

Unfortunately, this led to me seeing if I still had the fabric that I bought years and years ago. It's around a roll of the stuff, nice and shiny and still fairly okay. I cut off a hank to show bear and it wasn't rotten or fading. Unfortunately, I was reminded of why I need my sewing machine sorted out because I really want to make the cushion covers and curtains that I planned with it. Or donate it, of course. 

I'm making a list of what to do tomorrow. I'll share how that goes. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Not Planning

Yesterday I wrote about what I planned to do today. None of it happened. 

On the bright side, I posted a parcel that I needed to get away quickly and the kitchen looks better. I tided up my author Twitter profile and I also gave the wheelie bin a good wash, which is something.

I am so annoyed with myself. I need to get past this. I'm making up my mind. I am going to make a plan for tomorrow, and I'm determined to stick to it!

1. Drop off bear

2. Pick up salad from Morrisons

3. Walk - my joints are getting so stiff and if all I can manage is a turn around the bowling green, then I'll do that.

4. Call in at the Works Outlet and sewing machine shop

5. Call in at IKEA for the frozen veggie meatballs and the horseradish (I'll be using all the shortcuts to avoid temptation in the kitchenware section)

6. Get home and attack the garden. When I need a break, I can write. I won't have much time before I need to go out again on the school run.

7. Pick up bear, knit while waiting because I need to reduce my stash.

8. During the day, fit in a couple of loads of washing, raiding bear's room if necessary.

I can pick up some more writing in the evening. I'm under pressure.

And speaking of dratted plans - I really wanted to go to Oakwell Hall on Saturday for research purposes. That is the day when the weather is the worst! I've been on that road when it has been heavily raining, and it's not fun.

I'm going to have to break this block. All joking aside, I'll let you know how it goes. I'm going to get an early night tonight. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 23 November 2021


I fail at planning on a scale so epic it can be seen from the Moon. I'm trying to plan out what I should do tomorrow. I could do with calling in at Tesco for the flavoured water that the men like. I could also do with calling in at the Works Outlet shop in Batley and going wild for bear's stocking and bits. While I'm there I could do with checking the sewing machine and sewing shop and seeing if they will take my sewing machine for a service. And a walk wouldn't hurt. 

At the same time I need to get the garden sorted out, which will involve a run to the tip. And I have sort of started some clearing out some cupboards. Of course, I have a massive writing deadline as well. And I could really do with finishing curtains for the porch and living room this week (which would be easier if I had a functional sewing machine and the nerve to use it). The current living room curtains cover the radiators, and curtains in the porch would really cut down on heat loss. 

And I could do with moving furniture around in both the study and the living room. I definitely need to do the study as the curtains (of appropriate length) keep getting caught on the unit and so heat from the radiators gets trapped behind them instead of getting into the room. 

And if I sort out the study then I need to move a piece of furniture to my room which is currently a rough mound of stuff as I emptied out some drawers and I'm picking through bits here and there. 

Did I mention the writing deadline?

I think if I concentrate on One Thing, then it will lead to order, as after One Thing is done, then it will be easy to keep while I do the Next Thing. But between bear and DH, I always seem to lose focus and the time I allocate to the One Thing gets caught up in something else. 

Also we have a big bag of things next to the porch. DH took it while I was on the school run and apparently it was left for someone who moved out of the house next door but one over a year ago. The people that moved in after knew the first lot, but I haven't seen them for a while either. I've no idea what to do about that. 

The theoretical plan for tomorrow is to do the shop thing, then dip in and out of the garden, interspersed by writing. To be honest, I would have got a lot more writing done today if I hadn't lost the floor plan that I had found from a Tudor mansion and then re-labelled with all the stuff I needed for the plot. Instead I've been scrabbling around trying to find it again on the internet and failing. I may have used harsh language. 

I'll let you know if I manage any of that.

Hugs and good vibes to all. 

Monday 22 November 2021


Sharon - I'm glad I'm not the only one who is baffled by tech. As for the fox, it was a few miles from the house, crossing the road as I drove and it gave me such a look of utter disdain. I love seeing foxes, and I love that the black paws look like evening gloves. 

I scraped frost from the windscreen this morning. It was definitely cold, and I'm a little apprehensive that there will be snow on the way. I called in at Aldi after drop off (and picked up a few goodies) and spotted these flowers. 

They looked almost springlike. When I turned around 180 degrees, I had this.

Much more autumnal. I think that you can see the frost.

I still haven't got the bulbs in. If I put them in this week, I hope that they survive. I haven't seen any more of a squirrel, and the pigeons seem to be visiting slightly less, but the sparrows, or spadger squad, are still around in force.

Writing stuff - today's writing snippet is here. Something I found interesting is that I keep getting a hit on an old snippet about chestnuts, which is entirely fiction and hasn't been linked to since it was published - 5th October 2019. Well, I'll post it here now and if you want you can see that it's pretty uninspiring. I think people may have got carried away with google. I think that they must have been disappointed when they landed. They may have been looking for how to cook chestnuts, which isn't included. And, in an orgy of self promotion, here's a poem I wrote about sparrows. It's not my best by any means, and seriously underrates the speed of the dratted things, but I may was well include it. I haven't linked to that since October 30 2018. Seriously - don't feel that you need to click on it, as I was being a little experimental. I just felt that if old stuff was bobbing up, I may as well share. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 21 November 2021

Bear in Trouble

Sharon - thank you! I feel very hugged by your comments, and you are very kind about the pics. Your pics are always amazing. As for the garden - I think it's a case of 'watch this space'. I bet yours is a lot nicer. With the driving, I may get my courage. I used to be much more adventurous. Who knows what will happen next. 

As for bear, well...

I saw a fox on the way to pick up bear from his afternoon out. The fox gave me a 'who do you think you are looking at' look, which kept me amused for some time. Which was perhaps just as well, as bear was late to pick up. 

I was not happy. Bear had got last minute notice to hang out with his pals in Heckmondwike. I said that I would be leaving the house around 5pm to pick him up at the estimated pick up at 5.30, and to please let me know if there was any variation. Bear waltzed off, forgot what I said, had his phone on silent and ended up meeting me at 6.20pm next to the local McDonalds. Morrisons car park, the usual pick up, closes an hour after the store (5pm on Sundays), which meant I was driving around looking for a safe, well lit, accessible parking spot at 5.55pm. Unimpressed didn't start to cover it.

I wasn't in a good mood anyway. I had spent a lot of time this afternoon trying to get my microphone to work. I had been invited to a writer's workshop for steampunk, which I didn't realise was a stream. I don't know how to write. I just do it. I think some of it is good. Sometimes I feel better about my writing and sometimes I feel bad. I usually think it's okay, but I have no idea how I get there. As it was, I ended up messaging my sincere apologies and swearing at the headset. And I only have tomorrows piece half written, darn it.

It could all be worse. Bear wasn't very late and took my lecture without backchat. It's pretty harmless stuff for a nearly 15 year old. And I had a good reminder to check my equipment. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Saturday 20 November 2021

I Got a Pic!

I sat on the front step, casually aiming the camera on the phone around, and the robin came out to complain about lack of fat balls. I've shaken the dirt out of a few more tyres which will be on their way to the tip soon as well.

I need to get the garden sorted. Also, I need to learn to take pics.

Otherwise it's been a fairly nondescript day - but I got a pic of a robin!

Hugs and good vibes to all.