Tuesday 31 August 2021

A Little Stressed Today

It could all be a lot worse, and I know it. However the stress is still real. 

It started off waking up tired after another nightmare and not being able to get back to sleep. I would say that I started on the wrong foot. Then I remembered I needed to leave the house before DH started work so I rushed out of the house without my phone charging cable and my knitting.

I didn't really have to. It's just that the way that one of the neighbours has parked means that we have to shuffle the cars a lot and if I left before DH started work then he could move the car before I got back and it would be easier all round.

I could have managed without leaving the house today, but I found that there was a The Works store (not just a store - an outlet!) within a very reasonable distance from my usual Tesco, and I had a craving to visit. I trundled off, found the place without too much trouble, and parked up at 8.45am. The shop is in a Mill Outlet complex which didn't open until 10am. I was unimpressed at myself for not checking and then went to Tesco and had a rather unsatifactory hot chocolate and planned a shopping list. 

After a trundle around Tesco, I went back. It's Batley Mill Outlet, but I only called in at The Works and stuck my head into the garden centre (they didn't have the rat repellant either). I plan to spend some time there one day, but I had plans. I enjoyed my rummage in The Works, though, and I'll be going back for little bits for Christmas later. There was a nice little bench area which I plan to try later.

Then I took a wrong turn out of the centre and got lost. I wasn't really lost lost. I sort of knew where I was, but hadn't been there since my driving lessons. It was unfortunate that I was on an unknown road when the 'Warning, Engine Fault' light came on. I had no idea what to do! What was worse, my phone was losing charge and was at around 11%. I managed to warn DH that I would be longer than planned and got through to Kwik Fit who said that they could fit me in.

I actually stopped for a while at Birstall Retail Park, as I was worrying about the engine overheating. This meant that I killed time wandering around the Range and Wilkinsons. Money was spent, and I wasn't happy about it. I need to get some control. I picked up some more knitting stuff because I thought I would be hanging around for ages and I couldn't read on my phone. I did take a pic of the Christmas stuff in the Range because it's August. It isn't even Halloween. I couldn't believe that they had the unmitigated gall to put up Christmas stuff when it was still the school summer holidays. The pic pretty much finished off my phone.

 Then I trundled off to Kwik Fit. They are very nice to me, especially as I keep turning up with a baffled expression, a warning light and no explanation. I didn't get much knitting done, though, after all. The warning light was to do with the catalytic converter, but once they reset, they couldn't find a problem. It could just be gunked up sensors, which need to have a few runs over 40mph and longer than a few miles to keep clear. I really need to learn the motorway. 

I went back home, but went out later for a run to not only check the car but also try to charge my phone in the car. It's being very temperamental about charging and I am a little worried. I was nearly completely stranded! 

Now I am feeling like a t-shirt that has been in a boil wash and I think I will settle down and be quiet tonight. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 30 August 2021

Eight Days to Go

 It's nearly the end of the summer holidays. Today hasn't been a brilliant day. So...

Why does the cemetery have a wall around it? Because people are dying to get in.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 29 August 2021


 Col - you obviously did something right! I hope bear turns out as well. I suspect that he appreciates my rather laid back attitude. Most of the time he can out think me and out stubborn me and he can definitely out argue me, so I pick my battles. And our family usually never visit without some sort of little gift, and I'm always looking out for stuff for DH and bear (and them for me!). I think it's just a small way to show affection.

A lot of bear's friends seem to have tiger parents or helicopter parents with lots of stress and pressure about studying. After getting near to a nervous breakdown in primary school about trying to get bear to do homework, I stepped back but told him that I would definitely enforce any punishment the school gave due to missing homework, and that as it was his homework, it was his problem. Apart from the stupid castle that they insisted bear did in history (which I swear was a punishment for parents), I've kept to that. I don't stress over his grades although I will ask a pointed question or two about effort if I think it's necessary. It means that the work is all down to bear, but so is the credit. 

Having said that, we have been negotiating over flash cards today. Bear wanted to get the flash cards for revision done over the summer holidays, but hasn't really applied himself. It was his goal, so I've left him to it with an occasional reminder. I checked with him today, and I'm supposed to be more stringent from now on. He explained what he wanted on some of the physics flash cards. My brain left the room as I nodded and smiled. I swear I got a blue circle as he talked about formulas. 

It's been quite quiet. I've done a little on my latch hook project and I've regrettably got caught up in YouTube videos about how to make bottles that look like they're magic potions. I don't need another craft project. I really don't need another craft project. But it would be sooooo easy to get hooked. The worst thing is, I've found a branch of The Works that is actually incredibly near my favourite branch of Tesco. It is ridiculously easy to get to. And it would have all sorts of paints, glitter, beads and such that would make it easy for me to get carried away. I need to go away and have a long talk with myself.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 28 August 2021

Bear is Awesome

Today has been extraordinarily quiet. I haven't even seen a rat. But bear went for a walk and, without any prompting, brought in some chocolate buttons for me. It was the biggest hug ever.  

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 27 August 2021


Bear had his alarm go off at 6am this morning. I had had a bad night and was unimpressed at being woken. I waited for him to turn it off. And waited. And waited. And waited. Bear slept happily through a full half hour of extremely loud alarms. I was ready for murder. 

After five minutes I realised that I would never get back to sleep, so I got up and went downstairs. I didn't bother trying to wake bear to get him to turn the alarm off. If he could sleep through the alarm, then the effort of trying to wake him would make both of us grumpy. I decided to stick to just me being fed up.

I could still hear the dratted alarm downstairs. Fortunately DH didn't hear it so at least he got some sleep. And, of course, so did bear. He is now a fully qualified teenager. I'm not looking forward to getting him up for school in a couple of weeks' time. 

Now I am going to have an extremely early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 26 August 2021

A Little Worried

We have just had a new heat exchanger put in the boiler. I wasn't surprised it was needed. I think the boiler is around eleven years old. The new part will hopefully add a few years onto its lifespan. And there was the new sump and brake discs for my car. And I got a new halogen cooker as it was starting to get very iffy on the heating. The microwave isn't cooking as hot as its rating these days, either. I think we got it when father was living here, so that's a good seven years ago. It probably needs replacing, but I think I will wait until Aldi has something on sale. 

The rice cooker isn't doing so well. It's a Tefal Multicooker thingy. I cooked rice in it yesterday, washed up the inner bowl, and now the bowl won't fit back in properly. Darn it to heck. I don't know if it got sort of squashed on the draining rack, but I've never squashed steel things before. The question is now - what do I do? I suppose I can see if I can get it to fit, but I don't want to be too heavy handed on something powered by electric. I looked on Tefal's website, but the product is quite old and they didn't have replacement parts on it. As I cannot cook rice well, and love my rice cooker, if I can't get the pot back into the cooker, I'm going to have to get something to replace it.

The six month period that included getting the current boiler installed all those years ago was a little like this. I don't know if it's on earlier posts of that time, on this blog or another, but it was horrific. It was a new gear box for DH's car, new tv, new printer, new boiler, new washer-dryer, etc etc etc. It was an horrific time. I'm a little worried that we are going back to that. 

I am just going to have to be disciplined enough and watch the pennies with total attention. I can't go spending like I did today. I spent just over £20 on top of whatever the Make and Mend Latch Hook Kit that I fell for in Aldi. I've always fancied a go at rug making, so I picked the kit up yesterday. Today I picked up backing fabric to make a cushion and some PVA glue to spread over the back because I don't trust my knots.  

I had a go last night and found it very soothing. I'll have another go tonight.

I went out to try and find some of the rat repellant. The peppermint oil is doing okay, but the stuff from Amazon that broke was amazing. There was a garden centre next to the uniform shop we visited Tuesday which I knew had weird slug pellet stuff, so I thought I would try there, but there was nothing. Fortunately there was a haberdashery and craft shop opposite, which is where I got the backing fabric, cotton and glue. I also tried at a garden centre on the way home. They also had nothing. There was poison, but I am a little reluctant. I've seen falcons and herons around and there are rumours of a fox. There are definitely cats. Even if I was happy about poisoning the rats (not entirely sure), I am not really ready to add poison to the food chain if I can help it. Of course, I didn't get any gardening done today. 

I also got a delivery today. It wasn't too bad for substitutions, so I was happy. These are strange times for shopping. I couldnt find any mention of the rug kit on Aldi's website when I looked to check the price, and I wonder if it was old stock that had been dragged out to fill a gap. 

I am now utterly exhausted, so I think I will sit and see how the latch hook stuff goes.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Minty Fresh

The dratted rats are driving me nuts. One of them actually ran across the actual kitchen window while I was washing up. I am not a washing up ninja. I make a lot of noise and the window was open (closed now!). How very dare it!

I splashed some washing up sponges with a generous amount of pure peppermint oil and put them near the (seriously and totally closed) window. I also put one in front of the bird feeder which is unlikely to bother the birds but seemed to deter the rodents. I could see them through the kitchen window ducking around and trying to get to the bird food without going near the peppermint. I wasn't going to take a pic of the state of my garden, so here is a generic pic from Unsplash.

They seemed to be very much put out by the broken bottle that we got from Amazon, so tomorrow I'm going to do the rounds of local garden centres.

I had already been out today, just for some bits in the run up to Bank Holiday, but after seeing the (actually quite cute looking and very sleek) rats, I went out to the Co-op for something alcoholic. 

I'm going to tempt fate, but tomorrow is going to be 'clean up the garden day and cut everything back!' I'll pick up a stiff brush with the rat deterrent and I'll let you know how it goes.

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

I Survived School Uniform Shopping

It was a close run thing. I may take some time to recover!

I dragged bear out of bed and we went along to the school uniform shop in Dewsbury. I took a list with me as bear is a little bolshy about the school PE kit. The car park was weirdly fenced off. I don't know if there is something going on, but I'm glad I didn't go on market day. Instead I found plenty of space and paid 40p for two hours, confident that we would be in the shop for as short a time as possible. There were a lot of berries on the tree there. I wonder if it will be a hard winter.

We sorted out the games kit okay. There was a top, another top, PE socks, tracksuit bottoms etc etc. I think I forgot shin guards, but I'm confident that if I got them then bear would forget to pack them. Sigh. I went to look at the blazers. There were none left in his size. 

It is almost exactly two weeks before bear goes back to school. I didn't leave it until the last minute but wanted to leave it late enough to allow for growth spurts (and I'm fairly sure one happened a few weeks ago). There were very few blazers there at all. The lady at the counter, who had obviously had enough of it all, told me that there wouldn't be any more for three months. 

I called DH who managed to get through to the only other shop that does the required blazer and reserve one. It was eleven miles away at Brighouse, and the sat nav took my down some back roads. That meant a few wrong turns, a few u-turns due to being in the wrong lane and a closed road that meant that I had to detour. I was a nervous wreck when I finally found the place. But at least we got the blazer, and the way home was quite straightforward. 

I don't know how people are going to manage if they can't get blazers. The school are ridiculously strict about uniform. Their blazer is brown, as well. You can't just get a black blazer from M&S and sew on the patch from the last one. I would add - it wasn't inexpensive either!

I've spent the rest of the day hanging out with DH. I still can't believe that it's only Tuesday after a whirlwind of complicated driving and panicking. Bear was also livid that I didn't get the blazer online, but that was one thing that I really wanted him to try on. 

I think I will get away for an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 23 August 2021

Relatively Quiet

The man came and sorted out the boiler. I have hot water again and I am thrilled. Then I spent the afternoon hanging out with DH, who has the week off. He's taken bear to climbing

In other news, I've been trying to get a story together for flash fiction and just had to junk around a thousand words. I think I'm just tired. I'll have an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 22 August 2021

Wonderfully Quiet

Nothing happened today! I mean, stuff happened, but nothing that I needed to worry about. It's 8.30pm at time of typing and so far nothing has broken. There hasn't been any drama yet either and I'm hoping that there won't be any.

The weather has been foul, but I've hung out with bear and DH and made a dinner (curry) and it was all generally calm. Obviously tomorrow is another day, but right now, it's quiet. 

I'm not sure if there is a leak somewhere near the kitchen door. There's often water there, but it could be from the drains overflowing or something. I opened the door when it was raining hard and I saw water dripping off the apples. So I took a pic.

I want to get better at taking pics.

I've got some writing done, and I'm now planning to switch over and do some knitting and then an early night. 

Fingers crossed for a quiet day tomorrow. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 21 August 2021

Another Dinner Fail

I am waiting for a quiet day. My awesome brother came around to do something with bear's computer. Bear understood what was happening, and brother understood what was happening. I had absolutely none. But they seemed happy. Well, sort of. Something didn't fully fit. All is currently working and that's all I know.

This meant that dinner was not the casserole that should have been yesterday. It wasn't yesterday because I had to nip to the shops unexpectedly, so it was too late. And today it was too late because there were issues with the computer. Which means that the chicken from the farm shop is now probably past its prime. 

Regardless, I made some frozen breaded chicken with pasta and pesto (which took 15 minutes to make), and DH and I settled down and watched Macbeth with Christopher Eccleston. I very much enjoyed it. 

I am not planning on doing much tomorrow. I may manage the casserole at least. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 20 August 2021

Finally Friday

My life is usually quite dull, so when I have a week like this week, I get overwhelmed. There's been scares with the car, bathroom estimates, men about the boiler, and today I picked up my glasses. I think I should have had them at the start of last week, but things went wrong. I feel like it should be the middle of next week!

Today I woke up tired, then raced out to pick up the glasses, then wandered around Tesco. I forgot a lot of stuff. Then I got absolutely bewildered by road closures and road works and went all over the place before getting to the farm shop. I took a pic as the field of cows seemed a little undecided about whether it would rain or not. 

As soon as I took a pic, the donkey appeared, so I took one of them as well.

I think the donkey was wanting to pose but neither of us realised that the pole at the back would affect the pic. 

The car park was utterly full, but it was for the soft play and cafe, so I was able to get some very nice veggies and chicken. I planned a casserole, but, as usual, it didn't quite work out.

Bear managed to knock the plug out of the socket when he hoped to settle down and play computer games. When he went to investigate the wires, he found such confusion that he started clearing up and has done a magnificent job. DH has a slot at the tip on Sunday and it's just as well as bear was quite ruthless. So I went out a second time to search Tesco for stuff for cable management and the bits that I forgot earlier. This included Starburst, which I was hoping to pick up for a friend, but it seems that Starburst has fallen foul of the whole supply issue. But I picked up some bits and dived home. It was too late to make the casserole so we had quorn in a curry sauce with potatoes. The men almost inhaled it, so I suppose it's a win. I added some onions to the sauce. Next time I think I'll add more veggies. 

My girly bits are having a pity party. As I've hit my step target (mainly by wandering around Tesco in bewilderment) I am going to have a nice quiet evening and an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 19 August 2021

Insert Pun Here

Ann - thank you so much! I really appreciate you saying that. I feel hugged. 

I was tempted to title this with 'Oils well that ends well' or 'Oil better' or similar. There was a very, very small leak in the sump, which they sorted out. And I feel smug because I reverse parked between two cars without any bother. Mind you, I'd tried to go in head first twice and failed before I reversed. It goes to show what I practice. 

To be honest, Kwik Fit were great. They had me come in, were happy for me to sit and knit in their waiting room and were generally awesome. Then I headed towards Tesco, which is my happy place. The direct route between Kwik Fit and Tesco includes a stretch of road that I always find scary because it's 50mph and I'm not used to it. I thought I would practice going faster, but got stuck behind a very slow lorry.

I forgot half the things that I meant to get in Tesco, then tootled home and I have failed to do much apart from make dinner since. I keep thinking that I ought to be doing this or that, but I'm so busy dithering that nothing gets done. Tonight is going to have to be a planning sort of night.

It's been an interesting sort of week, all told. I'm glad that that it's almost over. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Darn it to Heck (again)!

Fifitr - there is a sewer down the middle of the street, I guess twenty or thirty yards from my kitchen door, and there's a beck just a few hundred yards away. Rats are inevitable. And they did look very sleek. I'd just rather pay for birdfood for the birds. I agree, the walk is the thing and I may have a good opportunity to have a long one tomorrow, back from the garage again. I couldn't drive anywhere today. As far as I can tell, there is little or no oil in the engine. I'll probably be just about okay getting my car to the garage two miles away, but I don't want to go further. Also, I hate throwing things out. I think I'm a hoarder, or at least a potential hoarder. I can see the use for so many things, or the potential, so it's hard to let go. And I am incredibly sentimental about things so it's hard to part with stuff from family.

The nice man came to service the boiler today. He found a leak in the heat exchange. It's going to be expensive. To be honest, the boiler must be around 11 years old, and this is the first major part that has needed to be replaced, so it could be worse. However he had to shut the boiler off, which means that we are without the boiler until Monday - if the part comes on time! We have a shower and a kettle, but it's still a nuisance. The cost of this is on top of whatever is needed for the car, plus the halogen oven is on it's way out and I ordered a new one before the blow about the heater. I could also do with a new microwave. It's not heating up to the standard it used to. I have been trying to remember when we got it, and I think it may have been when father was still here. It's probably just wearing out. I think I shall just see what I can get cheap. 

We got the boiler when bear was little and paid cash. However in that six month period, we also paid cash for a new TV (had to), new printer, new washer, new gear box for DH's car, etc etc etc. In fact, that may have been when we got the microwave as we went through a spell where we had to replace everything

And to reinforce that we need rewiring, the kitchen sockets circuit just blew because I had the brass nerve to have the washer, dryer and the kettle on at the same time. No more excuses. 

Having said that, I'm planning a knitting evening tonight as running down the stash is sort of a valid decluttering activity. 

On a bright note, I found some sweet pea in with the honeysuckle. The planters originally had sweet peas and I think this may have self seeded. I love sweet peas.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 17 August 2021

The Rats are Back

There were three or four rats in the garden this afternoon. I think it is the ones from before, but a little more grown up. They are reasonably large with gorgeous glossy brown coats. They look incredibly cute and the picture of health. I still don't want them in my garden. I put some more peppermint oil down which seemed to deter them, but I think that I need to get the spray that broke during the Amazon delivery. The rats seemed to utterly recoil from that. 

I don't really want to stop feeding the birds. The sparrows are great entertainment, and I saw a blackbird, a blue tit and a robin this afternoon. The bushes across the road are growing back slightly thicker, so that should be a great place for birds by the end of next year. My garden is turning out accidentally to be good for wildlife. There is a huge patch of alyssum (that badly needs weeding), the flowers on the beans and the fuschia which all attract insects, as well as the few remaining flowers on the honeysuckle. The berries on the honeysuckle and fuschia are good for the birds as well as any insects they scrounge. And if a toad every comes back, they are very welcome to the slugs. 

The man from the bathroom place came around today. It's looking like it will cost over £6k, but that's what I expected really. I think we need to sort out the re-wiring first. As the house is FULL that may take some getting ready. Mind you, I've been meaning to get it done since bear was in primary school and he's been in high school three full years so I need to shake myself.

I'm feeling a little run down. I have a cold sore and I feel very achy. I also haven't gone out for a walk. I find it incredibly hard to get out of the house still unless I'm using the car. I may try and push myself after the boiler service tomorrow.

On the bright side, I have a much cleaner bathroom and I've got some writing done, so today is not entirely a fail.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 16 August 2021

Probably Productive

I didn't get a walk this morning, and I'm regretting it. I had a race around Tesco and picked up some baby clothes for a friend and the mop head I needed. Then I came home very carefully. I drove more carefully than normal because as I reached Tesco carpark I had a red STOP! and oil warning light come on. They didn't come back on during the drive home, but I was extremely worried. I checked the oil once the car cooled down, and I don't think that there's much in there. It looked like there was barely any at all. As I had had a full service at the beginning of July, I was worried. I have the bathroom man coming tomorrow and the boiler service Wednesday, so my poor little car is booked in on Thursday.

I felt very grown up when I checked the oil. Father had shown me how when I was a teenager, and it's part of the test now anyway, but it's the first time I had done it all by myself. It was also nerve wracking as I had just put some birdfood out and the pigeons were getting very stressed about me being there. The wanted peace and quiet. I got quite an avian telling off. At least I wasn't getting it from the sparrows. 

I had an Aldi delivery later on. I ordered some revision books for bear from them and some hangers. Revision books are remarkably inexpensive after the exam season. I should also mention that Yankee Bundles have what look like some very good deals on Christmas candles at the moment. I checked against Amazon prices, but I always double check discount sites anyway. I'm expecting a delivery from them as well. 

The bathroom is looking considerably cleaner now, and I've done quite a bit of writing, and everyone has been fed. I think I would count today as almost productive. Nothing earth shattering has been achieved, but at least some things have. I'll take it. 

Writing stuff - I'm back at the flash fiction and today is a slightly more steampunk flavour, though I think is a good read even if you don't usually bother. It's here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 15 August 2021


I went for a very short walk today. It would have been longer but there were a group of older men gathering in the carpark and I didn't really want to take up a space. I think they gather to race or demonstrate remote controlled boats on the pond. I may go back and park somewhere out of the way to leave room for them and go and watch. I think it looked fascinating. I managed to get a pic of some tiny fungi on the walk. I'll see if I can keep an eye out and watch them grow.

I called into Tesco and bought some snacks for bear (currently something like a bottomless pit) and a mop, but I forgot the mop head. I'll go back tomorrow for it, and it's an excuse to walk in the wood again.

The fuschia is back to being roughly the size of a car. It also rustles. It sounds alive. The sparrows who used to colonise the hawthorn at the other end of the street seem to have relocated here. Or it may be a different family that has been dispossessed when the laurels got pruned. Whichever it is, the fushcia is apparently big enough and leafy enough to contain a tribe. It is also convenient when we put out bird food. I counted nine sparrows on and around the bird feeder the other day, and the arguments they have wake me up!

I suppose it means that I have to be a little careful about cutting the fuschia back. I've resigned myself to it becoming a massive, sparrow filled nuisance. I've had a quick google and it seems that sparrows can eat the berries. I hope that they get the ants as well! I'll cut the bush back from the path and the lilac and hope for the best. Currently it looks overdue for a trim, but it could be worse, I suppose.

I must make time to have a real clearout in the garden. I want to tidy up early enough so that there's enough regrowth to shelter any birds or toads passing through - though definitely not rats or slugs! I keep on with the peppermint oil, and so far it seems to be working. 

Hugs and good health to you all. 

Saturday 14 August 2021

Much Nothing

Fifitr - your dad sounds awesome. I love the idea of checking out canoes. I daren't go near the middle of Lidl or Aldi's aisle of wonder. 

Today has not been a good day for exercise. I've been bunging things in the washer, and trying to set things up so that I don't use the dryer so much. I don't like line drying outside because I often feel that there is a smell. I'm setting up a clothes airer next to a dehumidifier and that works extremely well. I've been pottering around, just doing bits and bobs. I'll have another go at exercise tomorrow. 

It's been that sort of day. I've done a little washing, a little sorting, a little cleaning, a little writing, a little work for the editor about future plans - nothing that I can say - look! I have done things! Even dinner was made by DH. I watered the garden, but I think that it's about to rain, and the one tomato that has ripened against all odds now has a bite taken out of it. I'll have to start with the peppermint oil again.

I forgot to ring Specsavers, where I'm supposed to get my glasses. I'll try again tomorrow. I did get a call about getting a new bathroom fitted. It's likely to be a wait until February or March! They also recommended that the rewiring be done first. My house is so full it could burst. Re-wiring requires an incredible clear out. I'm starting that tomorrow. I have been saying that I will do it for years. Procrastination has to stop now.

Mind you, I've promised bear that I will nip out first thing and get some bits from Tesco for him tomorrow, and I may fit in a walk before that. And I have some vouchers for Morrisons that expire tomorrow, so I may call in there. Who knows what the end number of steps will be?

I think that I had better have an early night. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 13 August 2021

Not Too Unlucky

Fifitr - that's what I'm concerned about. I need to get active and then I need to stay active. After years of not doing much, I need to push myself. I'm aiming for small wins, so yesterday was something of a blip. I'm so impressed that you are still going on an iffy ankle.

Today I couldn't move. Well, I could, a little, but I'm very stiff. I forced myself to have a short walk in Batley Park. I really need to get better with the pics.

Then I called in at Aldi and Tesco. I did more steps there, which is a lowering thought. I got home and spotted that there were some runner beans lurking, so I picked some for tomorrow. To be honest, I think some are past their best. They seem to go over so quickly. I'm considering runner bean soup. Even if I don't use them, I'm going to keep picking because I love the flowers and I'm hoping that I'll end up with quite a display. 

Apart from that, I've been tootling around. The tumble dryer hasn't been playing nicely. The filter (not the lint trap) was encrusted. I took it out, had a furtle around and scraped a large handful of fluff out. Now I'm hoping that it will settle down as I am re-washing some clothes that have been stashed in the corner. Slugs have got in! I clean the lint trap every time I use the thing. I think I need to be more pro-active with the filter.

Bear and I sat down and discussed the whole stationery thing. I was firm and told him that he couldn't lose this stuff (he will - I'm just hoping it will take longer). I was tempted to order a multipack of cheap plastic rulers. As it was, by the time I had cued up the stuff on Amazon, I had spent a fortune. Mind you, I did pick up a massive box of black Bic pens. Both bear and I will use them. I had a rummage in Tesco earlier, but was uninspired. I am also interested at where the huge pack of pencils has disappeared to. 

Bear seems to think that his shoes and trainers are still fitting him properly. I am hoping that is still the case in three weeks time!

I don't think that I'll hit the steps target today, but it could be a lot worse.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 12 August 2021

A Little Worried

I took Red in to get her brakes sorted out. They were lovely, only took a couple of hours and while it cost a significant amout (though less than bear's school uniform) I was pleased with the service. Those couple of hours away from my car felt very odd, though. I felt like I was missing something, like having a pet at the vets. I'm sure that it isn't healthy to miss a car that much. Mind you, it is very much my safe space, so I suppose that also was a factor. 

I have a step counter on my phone. It took my height, weight and age and gave me the target of 6,000 steps. I usually manage more than 2,500 and I'm aiming to get better, but the 6,000 target seems like an impossible dream normally. Today, however, I managed to hit the target as I dropped off the car and then walked home. It's two miles. It isn't really far, not in an absolute sense, but it's a lot further than I normally manage. But I couldn't bring myself to use a taxi, and there are no direct buses. DH would normally do drop off and pick up, but he was working. When the car was ready to collect, I walked back to the garage. It's another two miles. I've done well over 10,000 steps and now I can't move. I'm not sure that my feet belong to me. 

It wasn't a bad walk, though, as it was dry and sunny. The route took me mainly past car dealerships and garages, with a few offices and small factories interspersed. There is a certain attempt at landscaping at some of them, with lots of rose of sharon and a few roses. I wish I could take a cutting of this one, as it looked so pretty.

There were lots of abandoned or ignored spaces as well, which had been heavily colonised by buddliea, and the flowers smelled awesome. I was getting whiffs all the way home. 

And doesn't this look like it ought to be a story instead of a short cut?

I've fed DH, but bear isn't too hungry so I'll feed him later, if I can move. I really need to go for a long walk tomorrow, or I'll never move again!

I now need to start on the campaign to get bear to tell me what supplies he actually needs for school next term, what he has lost (including some really nice brass protractors) and what he thinks he is going to get. Wish me luck!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Another Dull Day

I'm being very dull. My girly bits are not being nice, which doesn't help, and I'm feeling exhausted. Bear is being awesome, but settled on the computer game. I feel bad not taking him to climbing. I've booked the car in for a check up tomorrow. I shall be leaving extremely early and taking my knitting to wait until they open, as the only route to the garage involves busy main roads and I'm really worried about something going wrong.

Bear has been cheered up by a 'new to him' shirt arriving in the post. I still go on eBay for all sorts of stuff for him. I pick up most of the out-of-school stuff from eBay, and a lot of it is second hand. He's fine with it, on the whole. He has his preferences, but don't we all?

Pretty soon, bear will be in adult clothing. I shall have to get a tape measure out and start taking his measurements. He doesn't approve when I do that, but, in his view, it's better than going into real shops. We will have to go to the school uniform shop in a week or so, though, as he needs to check the fit of the blazer and also pick up the games kit. I am not looking forward to paying out. He needs special socks, trainers, jogging bottoms, sports tops and sports jacket as well as the new blazer, new tie (current one is in worse state than my dishcloths) plus anything else that I spend on shirts (actually okay at the moment), trousers, shoes and such. The school branded stuff is just so dear! 

I suppose it's boasting. Bear's blazer costs, according to the website, between £53.95 and and £65. The nearest high school to bear's has their blazer priced at £22.99 to £29.99. However bear's school is ranked one of the top state schools in the area, so I suppose they know that the parents will pay to keep their child in that school. 

And that reminds me - I need to check on the current state of his backpack plus contents!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Dull Day

It's been a dull day. I've chipped away at some writing stuff and at the ever decreasing ironing. It's just bits and oddments left now. 

And I made a very pleasant chicken casserole this evening, with pepper, olives and broccoli. The men devoured it. That was a win.

I'm a little worried about Red. She was driving like a cow tonight. I think I'll see if I can get her into a garage tomorrow. 

And that's it. I haven't even got an interesting photo. So here is one from Unsplash, taken by Karina Vorozheeva which I think is cute.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 9 August 2021

Moving Onward

I'd say that today was mildly successful. I had a walk this morning and took some photos, more the the feel that they could tell a story, or could be used to tell a story. I branched off my usual path, so it made a nice change.

I was going to go for a wide loop, but there were a lot of geese, and they are scary!

I really need to get better at photos. If you look really carefully, you can see the heron sitting majestically on the island in the middle of the small pond.

It felt quite like autumn as I walked around.

And it looks like this year will be a good one for conkers. I really need to get better at photos. The tree was covered in horse chestnuts. I think this pic, that I got on the way to the doctor for this year's routine check up was a little better.

I then went to Tesco where I saved £3 with the clubcard deals and with coupons, and I didn't actually buy much. I feel quite proud. I had ignored the Tesco magazine for years. Now I shall be paying more attention. There are coupons for magazines and fish, which I don't think I'll bother with, but I used the coupon for hot sauce (DH was very happy) and some greetings cards. I got 50p off the cover price of a notebook when I used my clubcard so it cost £1 and I am working out how to make it into a price book. I've started numbering the pages, which could take some time. There are 160 of the dratted things. I'm trying to save time by only writing on the odd numbered pages. This went as well as you can expect as I lost concentration and started thinking about something else so started trying to number sequentially. 

I'll come back with more ideas later, and how it works out for me (if I can get it to stick). The idea is that in the front I'll have an index. I can list down such things as beans, tomato soup etc and then put the page number against it. Then I can put other page numbers against it when I run out of space. Then on the page I can make a note of date, price, shop, number needed for deal etc.

I'm not tracking the numbers of everything, but I want to track the prices for things like Heinz beans. They are something that I buy regularly, but only when they go on sale. I want to track how often they go on sale, what is the price I should buy at and when the price is so good that I should buy a pallet load. If I use it correctly, I should be able to recoup the cost of the notebook well before Christmas.

I'm trying to stick to places that I would drive to anyway, or that are on my way. That means Tesco, Morrisons, the Farm Shop and the Co-op. There is a small Asda and Iceland next to Tesco, and I can call in at a smallish Sainsbury if I take the right route, but they probably won't carry all the good deals. I want to try and get as much meat and fresh produce from the Farm Shop as possible as well. 

Another thing I did was spend £1.50 on a magnetic notepad. I plan to use it to stick on the freezer and try and track what's in there. I'm not optimistic at how well I'll keep it up. I hope, however, that it will help me avoid situations like tonight, when I didn't have the frozen mince that I thought I had. 

And the ironing pile that, at the end of last week was something like the Himalayas, then reduced to the Alps, is now nearer the size of the Penines. I've also managed to do a little writing stuff.

Writing stuff - I'm getting back on track. Today's story is here, where Darren and Flynn finally catch up with Mercury.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 8 August 2021


Today I pottered around and reduced the pile of ironing the size of the Himalayas down to the level of the Alps. I wrote a short flash fiction and cued it up for a week on Monday. I did a lot of pottering. I feel that I could have done more. 

I had a Delifresh order delivered today, and it was a little underwhelming. I had to pitch the broad beans and the peas in the pod (my weakness!) looked a bit on the skinny side. Mind you, I'm just glad to get them after all this weather. 

I think that there may be some parking wars going on on the street. I'm keeping my head down. DH and I park carefully in front of our house, though I think I will practice tucking closer to the curb. There may only be an inch or two gap, but at the moment, every inch counts. All I know is that there has been some parking without perhaps realising the flow of traffic, and then late last night I was half woken by all sorts of shouting and car noises. Cars had been moved when I came down this morning - thankfully not ours.

There isn't really enough room to park. That is the top and bottom of it, especially if the clients of the hairdresser on the corner get carried away. I've had some very severe glares when I've been parking in front of the house, which is usually tight and at least a seven point turn. I've had a few narrow misses when someone, high on hairspray, swings around our corner with a little too much enthusiasm.

On a more cheerful note, I found that the magazine given away free in Tesco has coupons in. I probably knew it already, but had forgotten. However there are at least two or three coupons for things that I buy regularly, and a couple of bits that are worth me picking up this once. If I get the things that I buy anyway, and the hot sauce and the dessert as a treat, then I may save two or three quid, and that has to be worth something.

I have tentatively put together a meal plan for the next couple of weeks that references what is on the coupons and what is in the cupboards. I can almost hear Fate sniggering as it never seems to go well when I try it. I'll share if it ever works out. But I've checked against boiler service, bathroom appointments and bear's climbing lesson, so I'm hoping that it will work out. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 7 August 2021

Where Did the Day Go?

Witch Hazel - so sorry about your aunt. It's great to have those reminders. It's funny what can remind me, just little things, like you say. It's good, though.

I think I blinked and missed today. I have done a very little ironing, some washing, and that's really about it. DH and bear sorted out their own breakfasts and lunches and made dinner, so all I had to do was wash up after. I fed the birds, after the pigeons came to the window and gave me a very pointed look. While I was out, I thought I would take a progress pic of the climbers up the arch.

I was so thrilled when the first tendril wound around the support. I think it's going to be awesome, and if we get a good growth spurt in August and September, it will provide some shelter.

I think I will start getting a little stocked up for winter. I feel like the weather may be bad, so I will pick up a tin or packet extra every week. Bird food is something I must make sure is there, as we are getting the benefit of the birds and I would hate to run out in bad weather. I imagine the birds in the street would have views as well. 

I spent a lot of the afternoon and evening hanging out with DH with something soothing on the tv. We were watching Bob Ross, which is perhaps the most relaxing thing ever! I got some knitting done as well, which is a help.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 6 August 2021

So Much for Today!

Kelly - The electrician was supposed to sort out the electric switch on the shower, which was one an electrician from the Able group installed. I don't know watt I expected in the current situation, but troubles are amping up. Sorry, I couldn't resist. Poor bear has a mum who does dad jokes. 

Pam - I really should just get on a ladder and sort it out myself, but who wants to risk me on a ladder with my track record? 

Hopefully the shower will get sorted out with a new bathroom.

Last night I made the mistake of telling DH of my plans for today. Of course none of them happened. I'm sure I have a syndrome. But all the household are still alive and have been fed, so I'll take that. I put a punnet of that 'living basil' that you can get from the supermarket into a tub and I'll see how it goes. I was planning on pruning the berries from the honeysuckle. They look lovely and bright, but I'm more likely to get another round of flowers if I cut them off. 

I'm quite surprised I got this pic, as the wind was blowing around like crazy!

Then I saw a bird eating them, so I thought I'd leave them in place. It looked a little like a female blackbird, but I thought they ate insects. I'll keep an eye out. It wasn't a sparrow or a pigeon. 

I even managed to spray the garden with a mix of peppermint tea, washing up liquid and sodium bicarbonate. It's supposed to deter rats, get rid of aphids and sort out the rust on the plants. I hope it doesn't put the birds off the berries. I'll let you know. All gardening suggestions welcome. What I really should do is actually make a bit of effort. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 5 August 2021

Sort of Sad

It's been a mixed sort of day. I washed out the black wheelie bin which completely needed it! It was missed for one collection so had rubbish sitting in it for a month! So that was a win. I did some pottering, more or less kept on top of the kitchen, and booked someone to come in and quote for a new bathroom. Ours is a disaster! This is an actual 'need a new bathroom before there is a crisis' type purchase. I've been putting that off for ages, so that was a win. I also texted the plumber about getting the boiler serviced, but I haven't had a reply back from that.

On the downside, the electrician that was supposed to sort out our shower is no longer going to peoples' houses and so I'm going to keep on until we get the new bathroom. It should be okay. I hope.

But back on the good side, I split the huge doc of the White Hart into three and hope to get it into three volumes soon. And I got a short story cued up on my writing blog for next Monday, which is the first proper writing I've done in months.

As I got a call from the Opticians cancelling my appointment with them tomorrow, I thought I would pick up the stuff for the weekend this evening and stay in all tomorrow. I also remembered father. I'm not sure how healthy it is, remembering him so often, but it would have been his birthday this month. I called the church where he used to give sweeties to the kids, but they aren't having proper services still. So I went and bought a load of little bags and fun sized bars and left it for the food bank in Tesco. I think that father would approve. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 4 August 2021


I met up with a friend today. We called in at a very disappointing farm shop, had a brief tootle around some shops, complained about everyone else's driving and had a great lunch. I am shattered, and I just checked that I drove 60 miles today on unfamiliar roads, many of them country roads with tricky corners and speed limits. 

Yesterday I was caught up in writing stuff and forgot to post! Again I was pottering around and I took some stuff to the tip. 

There ought to be more exciting stuff to write, but there isn't. I've been very dull. Hopefully I'll have something more to say tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 2 August 2021

So Much for Monday

I have an awful sinus headache, and I have all day. In fact, I'm under the weather and I've been wrapping myself in blankets and even put the fire on for a while!

I haven't got much done, but I did call in at Tesco and my clubcard got around £15 knocked off the bill. A lot of it was down to Pringles, as the men like them so I got a load which were £1.50 instead of £2.50 without a clubcard. 

Also, writiing stuff is a bit tough at the moment, so I'm throwing a pity party. I shall be better tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 1 August 2021


 Col - that's how we got the plant there. The originals were planted nearby but it self seeded in a crack, and stuff happened and the original plants died off but this one in the crack comes back every year. I'm going to have to save the seed heads next year and sprinkle them around. 

Pam - I love that they are called lady's bonnets. I shall have to call it that. 

Fifitr - thank you for the hugs. I'll let you know how the hat goes on. I'm starting on the scarf, and the way I go on, it could be a while for the hat. I agree that a lot of the veggie stuff tastes like stuffing. I'm trying to go down roads that use less meat but sort of traditionally. As bear doesn't like eggs and I can't have cheese, there are a few restrictions and I can't have anything with proper breadcrumbs, but it's worth it, I think. 

I think it's sad that the horse chestnuts were felled by rust. They are such majestic trees and I'm glad that some were saved. I'm having a long think and some YouTube searching about rust, aphids and the chances of me having a functional garden, especially as I'm deliberately making windbreaks and nooks where such things as rust and aphids and dratted rats could easily lurk. The fuschia is once again nearly as big as my car and I'm considering a flame thrower. 

As for the beans...

I went out and picked the ones that seemed a decent size. I had a look on YouTube and tried to remember the beans when I was a kid and went out picked some. There are loads of little ones coming.

They feel sticky. Even after a good wash, they still feel sticky. I consulted Google and apparently it's aphids. Those dratted things are driving me demented! They have almost seen off the courgette plant (with help from my neglect, I admit) and the tomato plants are looking very poorly. Between that and the rust, I'm wondering if I should bother trying to eat them. I may try soaking them in salt and vinegar water. 

We didn't have them for dinner. Instead I used half a jar of roasted pepper with some pickled onions with mince, some gravy granules, some peas and some brown sauce, served up with mashed potatoes. The men very much enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed the beans more. 

Hugs and good health to all.