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.

Friday 19 November 2021

I Nearly Got a Pic

The robin in our garden has seen that we are complete pushovers. It was complaining bitterly this morning about the lack of fat balls and came so close that I nearly got a photo. I think I'll try sitting quietly on the step and see if it comes to give me a piece of its mind. 

The pic I got was this. 

It was very strange. It's across the street and I noticed it when I was loading up the car. The plant looks the same as the ones surrounding, with the same shape and sized leaves, but is that incredible bronze colour. DH wondered if it was an early autumn, but I think it may have been diseased. I'm not sure of the plant. I'll have another look tomorrow.

Poor bear is loaded with homework. It looks like he will be spending large chunks of the weekend on maths revision. Of course, he also plans to spend large chunks on video games, so I will see what I will see. He's complaining of being tired, which may be a side effect of a growth spurt that has sent his jeans and school trousers heading north. I'll have to pick up another pair soon. 

Today was another bitsa day - bits of this and bits of that. I took a load of stuff the charity shop and some glass jars to the bottle bank. The man collected the broken microwave and then that was that. I didn't get to make the vegan curry I was planning, because it takes time to peel and grate a two inch piece of ginger and bear was late at pick up. To be fair, bear decided to take his time as he got sprayed with girl's deodorant at the bus stop, along with all of his mates, and he didn't want to turn up at the car smelling too floral. Instead he called into Morrisons and the watch shop and got the battery changed on his watch. 

I think bear is more self possessed and confident than he realises. I would have been quite daunted to go to a shop or business that I had never used, that was unfamiliar and ask for something I had no experience when I was fourteen (though I had my moments). He also wouldn't mention female friends to me, as he knows I would be all over the slightest mention like a gossip magazine. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 18 November 2021

More Shopping

I had a very short walk after dropping bear off at school. It was very overcast and damp, and there was hardly anyone there. 

Then went into Tesco to pick up an inexpensive microwave. I also picked up several cans of corned beef and tuna. Tesco are collecting for the food banks and between 18-20 November they will add I think 20% cash on top. There is always a food bank basket in the big store, but this is a big push. 

One of the reasons I added the tins was because I would be using some of the Tesco vouchers I had accumulated from my impulse buying. The computer wouldn't accept any more after I had used around £50 worth, but after vouchers and clubcard discounts, the £79 bill dropped to £20.75. That was fine. I still have some vouchers to use. 

When I got home, I called Aldi, and they sorted out the issue. It was less than 60 days since delivery, so there wasn't any problem. DH boxed it up and hopefully it will be picked up tomorrow. The new microwave is set up and ready.

I'm quite disappointed that the Aldi microwave didn't work out. Still, their customer service was great, so I won't worry about buying stuff from them in the future. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Funny Sort of Day

 Sharon - the thought of dealing with the lorries terrifies me, but I'm determined to get there.

It's been a funny sort of day. The microwave stopped working, which was a nuisance. I know that it's possible to do without a microwave, and people have managed for centuries without a popty ping. But we use ours a lot. And the microwave is only a few months old, so I'm going to have to negotiate a refund with Aldi.

I didn't get anything done today that I had planned, which is not at all surprising. The highlight of the day was a chat with bear. For his Biology exam he has to study eight diseases. Between my habit of picking up weird info, and DH's habit of picking up weird info, and bear's habit of picking up weird info plus school, we had a very interesting chat. Apparently, only 1 in 20 infected with cholera show severe symptoms, and many have no symptoms at all. That is from bear. I could contribute that the cemeteries in York rose above ground level during a cholera epidemic and DH talked about disecting rats when he was at school. We make our own entertainment at our house.

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Felt Brave

 I went to the tip today and I felt incredibly brave. I went on the bypass, with it's scary sliproads and high speed limit - not only on the way there, but on the way back! And there weren't big gaps to get onto the road, but I had my speed up, matched the speed and slotted in. I had to have a sit down afterwards.

Normally I go to the tip on the way to pick up bear. It isn't exactly on the way, but I can do a sort of loop. Besides, it takes less time out of my day if I call into the tip on the way to somewhere else. However it was a late pick up for bear today, so the timing was off. I went around 10am and was back by 10.30am. 

I've hacked back some more in the garden, and moved another tyre. There was no sign of any rats. Apparently they don't like things being disturbed. Neither did the sparrows and DH counted twelve of them at lunchtime as they turned up to complain. I can't find the heart to cut back the fuchsia as well. It's packed with the sparrows on a regular basis. They're going to be disappointed when I get rid of the weeds - if I actually manage that!

I didn't take any pics of my progress. The only pic I took today was this, which I think is a ladybird settling in to hibernate in the door jamb. I tried to take a close up to see what it was. She may want to find somewhere that isn't regularly exposed to draughts. I hope she'll over winter okay. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 15 November 2021

Made a Start

My garden is this bad. But I've started hacking back the honeysuckle, jasmine and sweetpeas in the tyres. I forgot to take a 'before' pic and I ran out of steam and missed doing an 'after' pic, but here is a during.

I think I will miss those tyres. I had a blast, painting them with bear years ago. It was absolute chaos and a lot of fun. But I want to keep the rats just passing through. A few of them were seen later. One of them was seriously broad in the beam as they squeezed between the tyres. I think I'll be working on how we use that space later, and what routines I need to get in place to keep it clear. 

I also did a little writing, a little ironing, sorted out some old jars and did some washing. I need to up my work rate, but it was better than nothing today. Also, tooth is bad again. I need to chase the dentist, but I keep forgetting.

Writing stuff - today's flash fiction is here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 14 November 2021

Minty Fail

Sharon - the mint didn't work. DH caught a rat sniffing happily at a peppermint oil soaked sponge, so that's a fail. To be honest, I think that it's a deterrent, but not a big one. I wonder if the rat cleared its sinuses.

I'm going to risk outlining my plans. By the end of this week I plan to have got rid of the tyres and honeysuckle and moved the yellow salt box. DH and I suspect that there are rats nesting behind there. Mind you, my initial plans have had to be modified as bear has changed his schedule. I'm sure that I will manage something. 

I was considering leaving it over winter. Not only do we have the sparrows but I'm sure I saw a wren as well as the robin and blue tits. It looked a little like this, but it was at a distance, so it could have been a sparrow with a different hairdo.

The way that the honeysuckle has grown is a great shelter for hedge birds. Of course, the fuchsia is still a thicket all by itself, and the bushes across the road have recovered some growth, but losing the tyres will take a source of shelter. But I don't want a rats' nest in the garden. 

And typing this - should I get a professional to deal with a rats' nest? I don't want to use poison or anything, just remove their habitat. I mean, it's still not nice for the rats, but they are around to feel that it isn't nice and are still part of the local food chain. I plan (all things being equal, and knowing my track record) to start by cutting everything back tomorrow.

I am also a little concerned that any conflict with the rats will end up as our version of the Emu War (for those who are interested, the emus didn't come second)

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 13 November 2021

Minty Fresh

Sharon - I love watching the sparrows squabbling and bickering. It really is an entertainment. 

There were a lot of rats around yesterday, so today we put down peppermint oil again. DH brought in a pack of cheap washing up sponges and we soaked them with peppermint oil and threw them around the garden (which made no difference to the standard of the garden, unfortunately). The wheelie bins now smell of toothpaste and the porch is like being punched in the nose by a very large polo. Hopefully that will cut down furry visitors.

Apart from that, things have been wonderfully, splendidly boring. Bear was out today with friends in town and will be out again tomorrow. I think that we are starting the shift to 'see him in passing' now that he's getting older. It's quite nice, as he was happy to talk about what he saw and did, so we haven't lost that. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 12 November 2021


Chris - sending hugs and good vibes. It's so tough, and even recognising it is a huge step. Fingers crossed the progress continues.

Today has been, well, a lot of writing stuff. I've finally got the sign off to the medieval fantasy and it's off to another editor. That should come out around the beginning of February, all being well. I'll share more nearer the time.

Of course, as is the way of things, my editor (who is awesome!) mentioned a couple of other things and while I need to get the third of the steampunk novels finished, she is also keen on a prompt delivery of the sequel to the medieval fantasy. And I have a load of other urban fantasy stuff that I want to get sorted. I've spent most of the day in a daze with ideas bubbling - while wearing makeup!

I suspect that I will spend most of this week driving bear to and from places, which will give me time to work stuff out. I want to move furniture around, so that will take a little planning, and I need to get things set up for Christmas decorations. 

I've been a little worried that there didn't seem to be any berries on the fuchsia. There have been gazillions of flowers, but I only saw a few unripe berries. Today I realised that it was because the sparrows had been eating them. I guess I wouldn't have got fuchsia jam even if I had wanted to make it. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 11 November 2021

A Little Worried

Sharon - thank you! There were several rats today, all looking quite charming but they're rats! I spent more time watching them than I did watching the robin bullying the sparrows. I think I'll put more peppermint oil down and see how that goes. 

And I remembered a pic of the owl. 

As for make up, well, I did all sorts of multicolour eye shadow with blue lipstick and glitter and all sorts. I never got the hang of things like foundation, though. The main reason I went to speak to someone in Boots was to get a good recommendation for colour. I have been looking at tinted moisturiser and I'll take it from there. It was nice that we had the two minute silence half way through the consultation. It was nice to take the time. I spent a fortune. I don't want to think about it.

The thing that worries me is that I am now absolutely exhausted - just from interacting with someone who isn't DH or bear. I normally have half a dozen words with a postman or checkout clerk, but that's it. I am so unused to dealing with other people that it is literally draining me. I feel like overcooked spaghetti. I feel utterly flat. I never used to be like this. And it makes me worry about how I am going to cope getting a job. I think that I need to prioritise getting a volunteer place at something like a charity shop and start working out from there. 

Right now, I'm going to scrape off the makeup, read a book and get an early night.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Need More Movement

I couldn't do my walk in the park as the man was coming about the door (again) and I had to rush home. The lock is still sticking so it's a devil to open. The man had left before I got home from the school run at around 8.30, but DH had spoken to him. DH was somewhat unimpressed. On the whole, the people who have done the windows and doors have been amazing, but they seem to have a blind spot with this.

I feel like I almost did things today. I moved this and dusted that but I achieved less than I would have liked. One thing that I managed was washing out the wheelie bin once it had been emptied. That is when I saw a rat that looked nearly the size of a badger. Okay, not very nearly, but it didn't look like it was following Slimming World. It looked chunky. Later on, as I was about to take out some rubbish, I stopped to watch the sparrows squabbling on the birdfeeder and I spotted another rat. It seemed very polite and pleasant, and gave the impression that it would wipe its paws if it came in the house. I didn't feel like chasing either the rat or the sparrow off. 

I bought some make up today. I haven't worn make up at all since before bear was born, and I haven't worn full make up since around 1990. But I really need it. I'm self conscious about the scar on my face, so I need to learn how to use the darned stuff properly and so I picked up some basics to have a play. When I started wearing make up, back in the 1970s and 1980s, there were a lot of crimes against blusher, and I need to aim for age appropriate stuff - at least when I leave the house! I shall spend some time on YouTube tutorials. I dread to think what bear will say.

I also filled up with petrol. It was £1.42.9 per litre, up from around £1.20 per litre during the first lock down. I think I need to get my adventures in before the petrol gets out of my price range. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 9 November 2021

A Trip Out

 I went to York with a friend today. She was driving, so I didn't get a practice on the M62, but I did watch with interest. We went to the Park and Ride, and then had a wander around.

Of course we ended up visiting the York Armoury on Stonegate, and I bought a steampunk owl that I definitely did not need at all and will share a pic of when I have the energy. I managed a pic of one of the gates

I'm absolutely shattered. A lot has caught up with me after finishing the last book and handing it over yesterday. I'll share when I know how it's going to go on. I'm already looking at the other writing stuff that needs doing, and hopefully I'll have more to share soon.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 8 November 2021

Unnecessary Purchases

I shouldn't be allowed out. Today I bought a dressing gown and I didn't need it. To be fair, the current dressing gown is older than bear, but there is nothing wrong with it. The new one, however, is bigger, softer and cuddlier. I am wearing it now, over my normal clothes. I plan to use it for keeping warm when I'm writing. I'll use the old one for the actual putting over night clothes. I'm almost tempted to wear it out instead of a coat! If it saves me putting on the fire then it is £18 well spent (Morrisons). At least, that's what I'm telling myself. 

Today the mead for Christmas arrived. We got two bottles (Christmas and New Year) from Raven Forge. It isn't inexpensive, but it is very pleasant and is kept for special occasions. While I was on the page, I couldn't resist these. It was £12 for three, just what I would like for my knitted shawls and entirely frivolous.

They are properly forged and I can feel the oil on them. That would be no good for the knitted shawls. My instinct is to give them a good wash with soap and then rinse and spray with hairspray, but I think I will do some research. Sometimes a regular polish over time can bring up a beautiful glow. Many years ago (very many years ago!) I was a girl guide and polished my badge every week for around four years. By the end of it, the cheap brass trefoil gleamed like gold and polished up incredibly easily. I wonder if I could get the same effect with wrought iron. 

It doesn't feel like Monday. It feels like Wednesday at least. I did the usual drop off, got things like washing done, decontaminated the fridge, sorted out a few Christmas bits and did a load of writing which I have now handed over to the editor. I also did a lot of chasing around various bits and bobs, like checking on what bear wants for costume for his drama mock GCSE and picking up some bits of shopping (which led me into bad ways for the dressing gown). 

Morrisons are doing their Christmas saver again. If you spend £55 for four weeks out of five in the run up to Christmas, then you get a voucher for £20.50. As I pick bear up from Morrisons car park, it is ridiculously easy to spend that money. I may even look to picking up some clothing from there, as DH likes their polo shirts. It's only worth it because I'm always calling in, though. As it is, I may as well use the £20.

Writing stuff - Monday snippet is here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 7 November 2021

Wonderfully Quiet

Sharon - thank you! I feel hugged. You are right about nightmares, they can drag me down all day as well, and I have far too much imagination. I had another last night.

Today has been wonderfully quiet. We had bangers and mash tonight, with peas and gravy. They were vegetarian sausages and very flavourful. I did a huge pan of mash and the men seemed to inhale it. We are sort of accidentally having less and less meat for various reasons. One reason is that quorn chunks and mince are fine for us, healthier, (probably) better for the planet, and quicker to cook. The price is pretty good as well. Bear is also a huge fan of the chickenless nuggest which he would eat by the shovel load if he got a chance. As he continues to shoot up, I'm happy to keep shovelling.

Tonight is definitely a 'sit down with knitting and be quiet' sort of night. The wind is getting up. We finished off the last of the fireworks earlier, so that is it for the year. I quite like that it is just for Bonfire Night (we don't bother at New Year). As DH and I are both on the older side, we were talking about how things aren't kept special now. So we have satsumas, or at least easy peelers, all year round instead of just at Christmas. I used to only ever seen turkey in the shops at Christmas, but now it's much more available, and you can strawberries whenever. I am holding on to keeping fireworks for Guy Fawkes and some goodies like lebkuchen for Christmas. I think I may try a little harder to keep things seasonal. It's much more fun.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 6 November 2021


It is far too cold and windy to do the rest of the fireworks tonight. Also, I have had a dreadful night last night with lots of nightmares and I've been struggling all day with nerves.

Mind you, I did go for a quick drive this morning and got to nearly 70mph on the bypass, so that is a win. I think it's the fastest I've ever managed.

Now I am going to drag out my knitting and watch Strictly, followed by an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 5 November 2021


We had the first installment of fireworks. We got out into the garden which is barely big enough to leave the recommended safe distance, and we all enjoyed it. I have a box left (I really need to get over special offers where it's two for a reduced price. It rarely helps). The vampire firework was awesome. It was very sparkly and fizzy and the eyes and mouth on the side of the box glowed! We'll do the other box tomorrow. 

We started early, around 5.30pm, and had dinner afterwards. It's like an artillery barrage out there now, 7.30pm, which is probably not helped because it was Diwali yesterday (Happy Diwali to all who celebrate) and I suppose people got the chance to have joint celebrations with those who celebrate Bonfire Night.

We did have a moment. DH lit a rocket with a broken stick, and it ricocheted off the study window and whizzed across the street away from us. So memo to self - check rockets for broken sticks. Also, I have to clean the dratted window as there is now a black smudge right across. It could have been so much worse!

I didn't take a pic of the fireworks, so here is one from Unsplash, taken by Lewis Zhao

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 4 November 2021

I Remembered!

I finally remembered to pick up the fireworks. There don't seem to have been so many on sale this year and DH didn't find any in town last weekend. As I had left it until almost the last minute, I didn't have much choice, so I got a selection and I'm hoping for the best.

DH is the one who normally picks them up. It always used to be father. He was in charge of fireworks and setting them off. In some ways it's about father as much as anything. Regardless, we are all looking forward to it. Mind you, we still have the Halloween things in the garden. DH moved them and I nearly had a fit when I saw it unexpectedly. My garden is a mess, and I'm ashamed, but I thought I could share this small corner.

(It's to plastic arm and a skull on prongs you put into a flower bed, or, in this case, the stand for the honeysuckle)

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Normal Life Continues

Bear told me this morning that he needs a khaki green jacket of some sort by around the 10th for rehearsals for his drama thingy. He suggested going to Tesco at the weekend. I am fairly confident that Tesco are not currently carrying army style khaki jackets.

I did call in to TK Maxx this morning on the way home just in case they had some nice shirts (bear has had another growths spurt. Nothing fits). I looked at some jackets, but there was nothing in the kids. I checked the men's XS and S (bear is getting taller) and they did have a rather nice quality khaki green jacket but I wasn't paying out that much for something that bear would maybe wear three times before he grew out of it. It may have been marked down from £100 but it was still £39.99. I picked up some unintended candles on the way out.

It was a 6pm pick up again, but I've a new, rechargeable, solar powered (probably, I charged from laptop at home) lantern. This made knitting completely possible, even when it was dark outside. 

It gives a lovely clear light. I shall probably need it as the nights draw in, even if it's a normal pick up time. I think it's incredibly useful.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Nothing much to See

 It's been wonderfully quiet. So far, nothing much to report except some writing.

The school run was fairly awful today, though, and I wasn't able to pull as much information from bear as I would like, but apparently some of his friends are getting compulsory tutoring from school, even though they are apparently doing well. 

I'm not sure how much of this bear has got right, and I'm not sure how much is stressed parents, exaggerated grades and confusion. However the last thing I need is bear being put in for tutoring at 6pm. His school finishes at 3.15. I get home around 4.15 on a good day. If I need to get him back to school by 6pm then I would need to leave the house by 5pm at the latest (today was pretty grim). I picked him up after school drama practice at around 6pm and we didn't get home until 6.45pm - the traffic was awful and the roadworks are not helping. I'm hoping that bear has not only got hold of the wrong end of the stick, but that he's got confused along the way. I'm not really worrying, but I will keep an eye out. Despite his best efforts, bear seems to be doing fine with homework, and I've had no complaints about his grades, so I will see what happens. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 1 November 2021


I don't know where the year went. I swear I just blinked in January and that was it - gone!

The man came about the door this morning. I think he was a bit off balance as he got lost looking for us. To be fair, UPS once got lost looking for us, so I don't blame him, but I think he wasn't expecting it. There is still an issue with the handle, though, so he'll have to come back again. At least this time he knows where to look. 

It's been a funny sort of day. Bear was remarkably chill on the way to school, which I greatly appreciated. I love it when he's calm. I've pottered around a little, done some washing, sorted out a bit of rubbish, before settling down and attacking my emails - again. My main, housewifery emails had not long been sorted out, but I found a link to bear's school photos which I should have dealt with in September. I've ordered them now. Some for us, some for friends and family, and a few to keep for the future. It's not a bad pic, for a change. Normally he looks like he's just sat on something unexpected. 

I also spent some time on my writing email account, which was deeply depressing. I'll just have to keep chipping away at it. After all these years, though, it's finally been found by spam. I do not appreciate this, especially as half of it appears to be in German. I don't understand any German. I can make a few guesses, though, and I'm not old enough for that sort of thing.

I'm still getting used to the clocks going back, and it's looking very dark now. I think I'll settle down and crack on with some knitting.  It's that time of year.

Writing stuff - back to the old schedule with flash fiction on Mondays, and today's little piece is here. I've been kicking around some ideas for the writing blog. I want to get back to reviewing books. Hopefully I would then read a lot more widely than I do now, and a writer has to read. I was also wondering about some chatty bits, or some little fun snippets. I also need to get myself ahead of the game as I want to have a lot of stuff stacked up for when the usual slump hits mid January. 

If you feel able, please leave any comments or ideas about what you would find fun on a writer's blog. I can't guarantee that I'll take everything on, but I'll gratefully read and consider everything polite. You can post on here or the writer's blog. 

Hugs and good health to all.