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Friday, 1 July 2022

Unsurprising

Eileen - thank you so much for setting the challenge. I shall definitely work on this month's challenge! Bear is still practising the violin without ever being told, and he seems to be building his own coping mechanisms. I'm letting him find what works for him. The GCSEs are next year, and it's better if he finds something that works for him rather than having something imposed from above. He's much more together than I'll ever be! As for the fuchsia, I absolutely blame father!

Lady Ella - is it like this?


It's in the car park where I wait for bear and I think that it's a variety of mahonia, but don't quote me. I'll try and get a better pic next week.

Bless - I feel absolutely hugged! Thank you! I absolutely need to count my blessings, though I sometimes think that bear managed most of it by himself. Looking at father and thinking about how he would enjoy it made me smile. As for the bargains - I celebrate where I can.

Sharon - thank you! I'm so glad that bear has a physical outlet as well. I think it will make all the difference. As for lists - still failing here!

I utterly failed to do any of the items on my list today. This will be of no surprise to anyone. I think I need to keep to very small targets. When I was badly depressed, I used to break down making a phone call into a half dozen steps. I think I may need to revisit that. 

Mind you, I was distracted. I was thinking about my writing blog, and how it would appear to someone seeing it for the first time. It's very plain, which suits me, but I definitely need to shake a few things up. I thought I could group together the flash fiction in an easy to find place, so that if you hadn't read anything of mine, you could get a good taste away from all the extra bits of reviews, chat, articles and such. 

I have 170 separate flash fiction stories. That's one hundred and seventy. I've reposted some a few times during October over the years but that 170 doesn't include any re-posts. It's 170 separate pieces. I'm trying to work out how to make the best of them. It's a sitting down job, and as my knee went when I was going upstairs earlier, I think a day of sitting down jobs is in order. I'll share when I've made changes. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday, 30 June 2022

All Tired

Sharon - I sometimes feel that my attention span is like when you drip water onto a red hot pan and it hisses and sizzles and scatters everywhere. I will share if I find the secret of how to get things done. It sometimes seems impossible.

Eileen - that is great advice, and I feel incredibly hugged. Thank you. 

I took another pic of the fuchsia. The rest of the garden is something of a fail, but this at least is glorious.


I dropped bear off this morning, then called in at Tesco. They had some frozen stuff that we like which they hadn't had for a while, so I stocked up. I thought that while I was at it, I would do one of the two 10% off shops that I get per month. I'm sure I forgot loads, but I remembered things like toothpaste and stock cubes. I also picked up some candles that were on sale for me and some fruit and nut mixture for DH. The candle that I started with is very disappointing. It's quite a large one, and if I had paid more than £3.50 for it, I would have been very upset. I also picked up half a dozen packs of cereal for bear. There are so many cheaper ways of getting breakfast into him, but this works and he finds Tesco own brand acceptable. All in all, with offers, Clubcard prices and the 10% off I got a total of around £15 off. There wasn't much fruit and veg - there is plenty of frozen veg in and I only buy fruit as needed, but there is enough of the frozen stuff to make family dinners for weeks. I need to make an ongoing list, so that when I come to the next 10% off (not until 20th July) then I can get all that I need. 

I didn't get much done today. By the time I had got home from shopping, it was nearly time to leave for pick up. DH isn't well. He's had to go to the doctor today, and I'm quite worried. I'm trying to think of good ways to make a fuss of him. Then I picked up bear and, after he got changed at home, took him climbing. It's a new place that they have just opened and it's awesome. Bear spent an hour or so there, which I think is great for him. He didn't have any exams today, and he just has one tomorrow. Tomorrow's exam is quite long, so he may be late out of school, and then he has some sort of presentation thingy before the whole dratted thing is over by 6th July. I'm encouraging him to go climbing regularly, as often as he likes, because I think the exercise is good for him among the studying. He was doing a practice paper tonight for his exam tomorrow, so it's not as if he's neglecting his schoolwork. 

Bear is exhausted after climbing and all the exams. DH is exhausted because he isn't well and they aren't sure why. I'm just exhausted. I'm going to make a list of things that I need to do tomorrow and then crawl off to bed. I'm hoping that if I make the list, even if I only tick one thing off, it at least makes it harder for me to forget things. 

I think that will be my first step - to commit to making a rough list of things I should remember for the next day. I won't expect perfection, it's just a way of organising my thoughts. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Leaf or Leaves

I had so forgotten about this! But I have got a few pics, so I'm sharing. I didn't get a pic of an exit (where someone 'leaves') or leaves of a book, but I have a few from this month.

Such a lovely red for June!

My laptray has a leaf pattern, and I love it.

Some dead leaves in the remains of the honeysuckle - the reason we bought all of the dratted expensive trellis

A mystery weed that looks incredibly vigorous next to the dead honeysuckle

These looked so autumnal for June

I thought that these were lovely colours, but they haven't come out brilliantly

This looked such a vivid and bright individual among the dark leaves

So many different shaped leaves on one branch!

I hope that I do better next month. Thank you, Eileen, for setting this. 


Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Blast from the Past

Sharon - thank you for the compliment about the pic. I wasn't sure if it would work. Bear is definitely in the throes of a growth spurt. The trousers that bear considered far too long at Easter are now creeping up his ankles. I'll buy him new in September when I know how tall he'll be then. And bear is fine about exams, thank goodness.

Eileen - thank you for the comment on the photo. I have been trying to get a good pic of the twisting for a while. The school have ideas about revision and are quite vocal, but I'll tell bear about Bitesize, as I know that isn't a scam or misleading. 

Unknown - thank you. I feel incredibly flattered that you feel I have wit.

Bear had physics and Business Studies exams today. He said that the Business Studies exam was pressured, but he enjoyed the physics exam. When he said that I nodded and smiled and said that I was glad he enjoyed it but inside I was screaming - you enjoyed a physics exam?!?!?!?!

Someone listed as 'Unknown' kindly commented on a post of mine from 13 January 2014 (Online Test). That's eight years ago! I had a look back at the posts around then, and it was a lowering experience. That was the time when father was driving me daft and uncle was in hospital before being transferred to a nursing home. Bear was still in primary school and I could still eat gluten. Back then I was fretting about exactly the same things, except now things are worse. The house is more cluttered, I'm more bewildered and without direction and all the plans to get organised are dust in the wind. 

I've seen Eileen and Sue's posts about setting goals and making plans. I know how bad I am at sticking to plans. But I'm sinking day by day, one way or another, and those posts from the day are a reminder. I need to find a way of keeping motivated and focused. I just don't know how. 

Tonight I'm going to let my mind go into neutral, knit and watch the Sewing Bee Final. I am still full of aches and pains and quite weary after another dreadful night. Tomorrow I can see if I can work out how to keep me going. 


I haven't got anything decent for Jan 2014 in my photo reel, so here is one of my favourites from March 2020.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

I Worry

Cherie - I'm considering a bin bag! Bear has not given me access, but hasn't complained of losing anything so I'll take it as a win. I can't remember whether it's the cheap one, the expensive one or what. There's three and a half weeks left until the end of the term and then we can work on getting something (inexpensive) that he wants.

Bless - thank you. I can walk but I'm not enjoying moving. I first had it when I had bear, and that pretty much crippled me!

Eileen - thank you!

Bear had Chemistry and Biology exams today. The poor kid is shattered. He thinks he did okay in them, but we'll have to see. He said there were a few bits that he didn't know from last school year when he was spending so much time at the hospital. He is so much better now that it's hard to remember how much time we spent going back and forth to the hospital. I asked him if he would be okay to catch up and he said he would be fine. There are loads of YouTube videos about the exams, he said.

And this is where I started to worry. Bear told me that there are dozens and dozens of sites that promise that they could get kids 9s in their exams. 9 is the top mark these days, with 1 at the bottom. A 5 is considered a reasonable pass and I think it's the mark that is the equivalent of a C and will get you into most basic 'needs half way decent maths and English' starter jobs.

There is so much pressure on kids, though, that I worry. I wonder how many of these sites are scams, or misleading, or just wrong. I haven't got a hope of telling which is which myself. How could kids of 15 and 16 be expected to know? I hope bear can find his way through this, and I'll do all I can to encourage him, but it's a worry. 

I'm off for an early night now after failing at sleep last night. I did get a pic earlier about some strands of the healthy(ish) honeysuckle that have intertwined. I think I need to get some string over them and coax them along to the trellis that we bought for the dead honeysuckle. Sigh.


It's not brilliant, but it's the best I've managed so far.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday, 27 June 2022

Thinking of Something Else

Sharon - I love the lacy look - and the yarn does all the work! Lists are a challenge if, like me, you forget to look at them. I'm enjoying the fuchsia. There is another one of what I think is the same type on the way to school, and I think ours is looking so much better. I gloat!

Bless - the two clocks are showing different times because only one is working. I seem to remember there being quite a bit of fuss as the one with the figure on the top is really old and tricky to maintain. I think that there is a preservation order of some sort on it, as it is such a landmark and I believe the mechanism is distinctive, but it's crazy expensive to keep it going. Or I could have misremembered and they just forgot to wind it. 

Cherie - I'm failing so badly at gardening at the moment, I don't think I could put an innocent cutting through my attempts.

Eileen - bear is completely impressing me. These are only the mocks, though, so I hope that he can keep this attitude.

I thought I would skip posting on the weekend, as I usually run out of things to say. Unfortunately, stuff has happened, but I have so much going on in my mind and I haven't transferred stuff to lists, so I'm sure that I'm forgetting stuff. Here is a rough overview in no particular order.

One of the trellis panels blew down in the wind, but DH and bear sorted it out.

The honeysuckle is pretty much dead right now. This is the honeysuckle against the wall with the neighbour, the one I felt bad because it was almost impossible to get rid of and the reason we got the dratted trellis in the first place! 

I have sciatica. It hurts.

Bear forgot his pencil case this morning and had to pick up a spare pen from Morrisons on his way in. He had English and Maths exams today. He told me that he thought he had failed English (thank goodness this is only a mock!) but that he had enjoyed the maths exam. I adore my son without reserve, but who the heck enjoys a maths exam? Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong with the lad. And what is happening with English? DH has an English degree. I write books which have spelling and punctuation. We talk about all sorts, and I'm fairly sure that there are no issues with comprehension. We'll have to talk with the English teacher (there have been several over the last two years so not exactly sure who they are) at parents evening. 

Bear has also grown a few inches since Easter. He is now at least as tall as his father and growing. I looked at him this evening in the shirt that was recently slightly too big and now is a little on the small side. He has been saying that he was tired, and that would explain a lot.

Bear's backpack has a massive hole in the corner which he only just noticed - when he couldn't find his phone. That is, the phone that has to be put in a backpack during exams. He found the phone, thank goodness, but there were an anxious few moments. I'm not sure how to mend it. It's big, and the fabric seems to to have split. I may just have to go for a (cheap) replacement.

I had washing outside on an airer to dry and there was this moth. 


According to google, it's an elephant hawkmoth, which likes honeysuckle. This makes sense as the one at the front (which I was also considering getting rid of) is flourishing like crazy. The scent is amazing. I turned everything inside out to make sure that I didn't accidentally bring it in. 

Someone came to have a look at the bathroom, so hopefully a new bathroom soon. I wonder where it will go wrong. I'm sure that I'll find some stories in it. 

Writing stuff - The latest instalment of Under Dark Hills is here

For those who are kind enough to follow my writing blog, I'm thinking of changing a few bits around. At the moment I have links on the menu bar to pages which have ongoing stories like Under Dark Hills, Kane's story and Dark Picture. I was considering adding pages for the one-off stories and poems where they could all be grouped together. I'd still leave them in the blog, but also have an extra page for anyone wanting to dip into just fiction and not have to wade through my chatty pieces. Let me know if that appeals to you. I thought it may make it easier for someone finding my blog for the first time, but I'm open to suggestions.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday, 24 June 2022

Out of the House

Deborah - I blame father. He planted a allegedly small fuchsia in the house where I grew up. It was massive, cracked a sewer pipe and had to be hacked back regularly so that the postman could get through. My mother took cuttings before we left during the divorce, but they never really did anything as it was her and not my father. This is just the same. I am absolutely stealing that tip about thread and socks. Currently, bear has grey socks for school, but that won't last and then it will be black socks all round!

Bless - Thank you. Lists are such a help. I love seeing pics from your garden.

Cherie - I may try rooting honeysuckle cuttings. Do you recommend rooting powder?

Eileen - I am definitely the shortest now. Bear is no longer a little lad. He hasn't been for some time. I am also the least intelligent of the three of us, and I don't consider myself particularly slow. You learn to keep up or switch off in this house. I am still annoyed by the bag. I hope I have learned my lesson - haunt the charity shops and be patient.

I spent most of the day out of the house. I dropped the car off at the garage for a full service and MOT. I got all the fancy add ons for the service. The poor car rarely goes above 40mph and spends a lot of time in queuing traffic, which isn't good for the engine. She is 7 years old now, and I hope to keep her going for a few years yet. She needed two new tyres and some parts for the suspension, which isn't surprising given the condition of the roads. I could have held off on these, but I thought I would get them done so I didn't worry. 

I called into Leeds, but I was too hot and headachy to want to shop. I took a pic of the inside of the Corn Exchange (didn't get anything) and the Time Ball building (used to be a noted clockmaker).



As the buses to the garage are only one per hour, I got the bus back before they called me. They were happy for to sit in the waiting room where there is complimentary tea and coffee and no pressure. They were also fine with me sitting there and knitting for a few hours. They were really awesome. It's a chain called In n Out Autocentres, and they are described as 'female friendly'. They are also recommended by Which. I didn't bother with the tea or coffee, but I really enjoyed the chance to knit. I took a pic of the start, but forgot to take a pic at the end of the afternoon and I've knitted another inch or two since. This is the start.

And it's about double the length now. I'm knitting a lace curtain (King Cole's Opium in white, cast on 101 stitches, plain knit for the first three rows, then eyelet stitch to thread the curtain wire, then plain knit until it's long enough). I need two - one for each side of the porch and one slightly longer for the inner door. I'm hoping that they will provide some protection from heat and cold while still allowing light through.

Bear had a day at home pretty much to himself, as DH was working upstairs. He looked a lot more relaxed when I got home, and he was talking about the maths revison he had done. He said it was something about proofs and circles. I hadn't a clue. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Lists Continue

Deborah - that's awful! I hope that you are keeping a paper trail. I hope even more that you are keeping alright. There is just so many boxes that they have to tick that I'm surprised that they can find the patient sometimes. Having said that, the nurses at the clinic have been pretty awesome so far.

Sharon - I have the same technique that I make lists and then forget to look at them. I think if I can remember to look at the dratted things, I'm half way there.

Bless - thank you.

Kate - I swear that knitting does me more good than all the tablets. 

Eileen - thank you. I have a notebook in my knitting bag which I use for to do lists, ramblings and general mental organisation. I think it's worth repeating that depression may not be feeling sad or unhappy. At times I was perfectly cheerful, but so badly depressed that I couldn't function well enough to make a cup of tea. It's a tricky thing. 

The fabric near the handle of my new bag has split. I am so unimpressed and I can't find the receipt. I'll take a pic later. I know that there are all these articles about spending £100s on bags, but £30 is a lot for me. I think I will use gaffer tape for now and make an effort to go into charity shops. It won't feel so bad if the bag goes after a short time if I've only spent £5 (though I would still be disappointed).

Here is another pic of the fuchsia.



It's wonderfully full of flowers and the sparrows will have a wonderful time with the berries, I hope. As you can see, it's pushing over the yellow rose. I'm going to have to prune it soon. If I don't get cracking, I'll need a chainsaw instead of secateurs.


Father had a way with fuchsias. I don't know what he did or how, but he grew some monsters!

Bear had the cultural day today. He said it was more like a 'no uniform' day. He looked remarkably sharp in the black shirt and black jeans. He is now in a men's size shirt, so I can see me having to label stuff soon to know the difference between bear's stuff and DH's stuff. Both like plain black, so it should be interesting. 

I'm doing okay. Lists are continuing. I'm very grateful for all the kind thoughts and wishes. They make a big difference. Thank you. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Making a List

Eileen - it's ridiculous how much the uniform can cost and the school is very strict. For example, the football socks have to be in the correct house colours. Bear is starting to get men's sizes as well, which gets dear. I suspect the school gets a kickback from the shop. Rawcliffes in Dewsbury stock the uniform for most of the schools in Kirklees, and the shop is crammed. I think there are rules that there have to be two suppliers, but the other one is so far out of the way. And there isn't a sale rail either - it's all expensive! Bear's been relatively happy with the drama performance and the two exams so far, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Deborah - it's beyond a yurt and more a marquee at the moment! The staff at the clinic are awesome and I'm not expecting it to be trouble, thank you for the good wishes. As for the knitting - I love it when the yarn does the work!

Cherie - that made me feel hugged. Thank you.

Bless - the uniform rules are really strict. There are two places in the county where we can buy the blazer, and it has to be a particular blazer. He has to have a particular tie with the correct house colours on. He can only wear the designated tops and joggers or shorts for games - it's so expensive. At least we can still get the shirts and trousers at the supermarket for bear. The girls have to wear regulation skirts that are even more expensive!

Sharon - bear seems to be coping okay. Both DH and I did better on tests than on coursework and I'm hoping that bear takes after us. It's far too hot here, but it's supposed to get cooler thank goodness. The fuchsia was planted by father and is a thug. It does flower well, though, and I'm really enjoying the colours. As for the chair, I couldn't resist!

I've had a wake up call about my mental health. When a nurse is trying to insist that you call your GP for an urgent appointment, it's not good (I declined). I have been making a lot of lists. I don't feel upset or down. I feel annoyed with myself. I need to get myself moving. Apart from anything else, bear needs me to be a little more on the ball. DH could do with more support as well. There will probably be a lot of posts coming up about trying different things. I had quite a long wait for bear today. The school had an early finish, but traffic is so odd that I couldn't risk setting off near the estimated pick up time. There is a bus strike going on here and some roadworks in awkward places. This means that there is queuing traffic on most of the routes and delays are very likely. Today, as it worked out, I didn't have a bad run, so I had time to think (and make lists and notes). I've decided that while I need to make a lot of changes, I'm going to find the fun in them all. I plan to make it an adventure (with lists).

I took a pic of the honeysuckle which is currently dying, but decided it was too depressing so here is a pic from my camera roll. It's from winter and a nice cool change from the heat today.


Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

£108 and Culture

Happy Litha, or Midsummer Solstice.

Sorry for dashing through. I'll answer your wonderful comments soon. I thought, however, I should pop in, share writing stuff and add what has been happening before I forgot everything.

Yesterday I took bear to Dewsbury to get his new games kit and blazer. After the spectacular fail last summer, I didn't want to wait until the last minute for the blazer. Bear has gone up a couple of sizes in the last year. His current blazer, apart from being only fit for rags, is creeping past his wrists and is far too small. Thank goodness there are only a few weeks of term left. As it was, a blazer, a pair of jogging bottoms and a short sleeved top came to £108. I flinched. 

Bear has had two more exams. With the drama on Friday, and the written drama test and history test, he thinks he has done okay. Then it's an early finish tomorrow, an early finish Thursday and Friday off, with a stack of exams next week. The tests should in theory be spread evenly over the fortnight, but bear has got all of his lumped together.

Yesterday bear shared that Thursday is culture day and that everyone has to turn up in clothing suitable for their culture (and pay £1 for the privilege). One of the reasons I like the school is that it is incredibly multicultural. It's great that bear has a chance to enjoy so many different ideas. On the other hand, it's three days notice and we are bland, boring, white British, with no particular culture. I asked bear where I was supposed to get a bowler hat at this short notice and informed him that I would not allow him to turn up to school dressed as a Morris Dancer. Bear has planned to turn up in black jeans, black shirt and with a plausible story. 

I took this photo in Dewsbury, as it looked so cheerful.


I spotted a ladybird feeding on the aphids, which now seriously limits my ability to attack the aphids with my usual methods. Washing up liquid would not be good for the ladybirds either.


You can just about see it on the central bud. And I was fascinated by this tiny feather hanging from the fuchsia blossom.


Writing stuff - the flash fiction is finally up and the latest installment of Under Dark Hills is here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday, 17 June 2022

Very Warm

Bless - kids here choose so many subjects at age 12 or 13 and concentrate on them until the summer when they are 16 and take separate exams in them. I was happy for bear to take drama as he had so much pleasure out of it. I think that he sometimes wishes that he had taken Religious Studies instead. Though I think he is sort of enjoying it, under all the stress. I love the yarn and I'm thinking of knitting lace curtains from it as the yarn would do all the work.

Cherie - last summer we went to get a blazer for him mid August and the main shop had sold out. Their blazer is brown, and they want a particular style. You can't just buy a cheap jacket and sew a patch on like we did when I was a kid. It was a frantic scramble to find one for him. I'm going to try and get one that's a little on the big side and keep my fingers crossed. I'm also hoping that his shoes keep going until the end of term. According to bear, they fit, but they're falling apart. They've already been glued together twice.

Eileen - that is one of the biggest hugs I've had all year. Thank you. I'd love to see a pic of the actual Charter, whenever you get over there and if it's possible. What a wonderful thing to see.

Today has been too hot. Bear did the performance that counts towards his exam - and he will find the result out next year with the rest of his grades! Poor kid, but at least this part is now over and it should calm down a little. He has exams over the next fortnight so will now be up to his armpits in revision. 

I seem to have failed in getting much done at all today. I hope to get more done tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Drama Drama

Eileen - I'm somewhat envious that you have seen an original copy of the Magna Carta. It is such a turning point in history! I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I'm considering a few more like that, but I'm not sure. I don't have any qualifications in history, so I don't want to get ahead of myself.

Chris - sitting and watching tennis sounds utterly awesome!

Bear's missing kit remains missing. I'm unimpressed. It looks like it was left in school, as we are also short the backpack and trainers that would have been with the kit if it was at home. I can see me buying next year's games kit early. I mean, the branded jogging bottoms were creeping up bear's legs, and I swear he is growing by the minute, but I hoped to hold out for a little while. I may as well pick up his blazer for next year as well. With lock down, I managed to miss buying a blazer in Yr9, so that was something. I still haven't forgotten what I went through last summer, though, trying to find a dratted blazer that would fit. We are getting in early! I don't mind losing the trainers as they were falling apart and I had already replaced them, but I'm not happy about the backpack either. 

As for the drama costume, well, it's a whole performance in itself. As far as I can tell, different people in the group are getting marked (for the official GCSE) in different things. Bear is getting marked on performance but others are getting marked on things like lighting, make up or costumes. The person in charge of costumes for bear's group has not exactly hit the mark. I don't like to say too much, as I don't want to cast shade on a kid of 15 and I'm not exactly in a position to criticise. I leave things to the last minute all the time. I fail at getting things done. And bear shouldn't be affected by the costume issues. On the other hand, I am not impressed at having to run around yesterday to find grey trousers before the school trousers start really hitting the shops for the start of the next school year. 

I picked bear up at 6.30 today. Tomorrow's pick up is some time between around 3pm and 6.30pm. The weather forecast is that it's going to be the hottest day of the year so far and I'm going to be stuck waiting in a hot car. I plan to take plenty of water and my knitting. It's the day of the big performance so bear is going into school in normal clothes. For bear that is plain black jeans and a plain black t-shirt. He will be in drama rehearsals and marking all day. Poor kid will be shattered by the time he gets home. I plan to pick up ice cream. 

I started knitting some curtains today. I hope that I finish them.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Not Caught Up

Bless - thank you for your kind wishes. I should have St Anthony on speed dial!

Cherie - it absolutely is! Mind you, I'm not good at any knitting that requires thought at the moment, so I see a long stretch of knitting blankets ahead.

Eileen - thank you.

Kate - I've heard people describe their laundry as 'Mount Washington' and right now, I sincerely identify!

I've lost track of where I am and what I've done. I've had a few bad nights on the run, which haven't helped, but it could be worse.

Bear was in for drama all of Sunday, with packed lunch. Apparently the issues with the costume continue and yesterday I was combing the area for a pair of grey trousers that bear will never wear again. Bear told me in the car on the way in that he needed these trousers the next day at the absolute latest. I would have been less forgiving if he had found out earlier, but he got the 'or else' text that morning!

Bear had to stay late on Monday, today and will be late tomorrow and Friday. Because he was due out at 5.30, I got there tonight around 4.55, which was okay for me as I dodged the rush hour traffic. Unfortunately, he didn't get out until 6.30. I used the time to knit, though. Here is 100g of King Cole Opium, starting with one stitch, increasing in the first stitch of every row, plain knit throughout, and a lot of waiting.

I need to get a better pic, and will once my brain starts working again. Close up of King Cole's Opium just being knitted, no fancy stitches at all. 


The thick and thin texture does all the work.

When I was at the hospital, most of the chairs didn't have notices except this one. 



I wondered whether that particular chair was haunted. That's a much more interesting explanation that social distancing and infection control, so I'll go with that. 

I still haven't found bear's kit. He thinks that he may have left it somewhere in school. I could cry. He got a negative in school for forgetting his kit and another one yesterday for forgetting a maths book. I think it's not surprising given how much pressure he is under from the teachers with drama and exams. However one more negative and that's a detention, and I think that would sink bear. 

By the way, did you know that it is an anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. Most of it has been repealed or replaced, but it was an important moment in history. I've written a few words on my writing blog here

I need to get more writing done but I'm sinking with a disaster area in the kitchen and dining room, bear's drama stuff (he was rehearsing the make up today), feeding everyone, getting new kit for bear (don't get me started), working out what he needs for climbing, etc etc etc. 

I'm giving up this evening and going to watch the Sewing Bee. Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Dashing Through

Couldn't leave it a second longer without saying thanks for the good wishes which felt like wonderful hugs and I have been so grateful.

I am also grateful that bear found his keys after a year of them being missing. It's a mixed blessing as he was actually looking for his gym kit which has apparently evaporated and he needs it tomorrow. Due to more than average chaos, I need to try and find it in the miscellaneous heap that is my ironing pile/textile heap/dining room so I will be gone for quite some time. 

Writing stuff - and link to Unwelcome Instructions, next in the Under Dark Hills series is here. 

Monday, 13 June 2022

All Clear

Bless - thank you!

Cherie - I may suggest that, though there may be a certain wastage along the way! I've always accepted that he would be a bottomless pit, and I swear he's grown an inch or two since Christmas. He needs the fuel. I'm just trying to work out the healthiest way to get that fuel into him.

I'll catch up more tomorrow, but I had to wait around for hours today between various consults and painful examinations. I didn't want to take the bulky blanket in to keep my hands busy while I waited so I started a few rows at home and took in a very basic triangle shawl - knit only and increase on the first stitch every row, but with King Cole's Opium, which looks very fancy knitted up. Look how much I got done!


It's about twenty inches long, or half a metre. Mind you, it was lovely and mindless knitting. 

I got an all clear apart from a very slight question mark which I'll get followed up in a fortnight. Then I picked up bear (who had a late drama practice) and staggered home for dinner and now I am exhausted enough to collapse.

Hugs and good health to all. 


Friday, 10 June 2022

Staggering On

Bless - I think the best way to describe what happened to bear's lunch is 'devoured' or possibly 'inhaled'. We have to go through it again. I have volunteered to make anything he wants, but he wants a trip to the shop for wraps and pasties. He has to go into school on Sunday between 8am and 4pm for drama related stuff as well as the normal Monday to Friday. As the caterers won't be there, he needs to take in his lunch. He laid waste to Tesco's sandwich counter at the start of the day last time, but the supermarket isn't open until after the school session starts so we are working out the best way to supply him. Anything but take in a sandwich, apparently! But now you've mentioned that the fuchsia flowers are edible, I suppose I could send him in with a pack of those - or not.

The squirrels have been keeping DH very much amused. He was on hold for ages but didn't mind because he was watching a stand off between Johnny Squirrel and a local magpie. 

Today has been a funny sort of day again. My hospital appointment is on Monday. I got a call today from someone awesome talking me through attending and making sure that I knew where to go.They were absolutely wonderful and lovely and after the phone call, I fell apart. 

I went shopping as a stress relief, and called in at TK Maxx, but saw absolutely nothing I fancied, which is an absolute first! I may spend some time on eBay later, although drink has been taken and it's usually a bad idea. 

I haven't mentioned anything to bear, but he must be aware that I'm feeling fragile as he brought down a load of washing from his room without me asking. That is a definite win.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Bear is stuck with a week of two exams per day coming up. Nobody is happy, but there is limited room for manoeuvre as the timetable has to fit over 200 pupils studying a variety of subjects. We'll just have to keep it calm at home. He's been practising to keep himself calm and he seems to be doing well. 

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Bear is Not Happy

 Sharon - I saw the pic of the hanging basket and it's awesome!

Cherie - for some reason, I decided to grow runner beans up the fan trellis. I hope that I do alright with that. The square trellis is east facing in a south facing garden, and between to central heating vents so it's quite a warm spot. Someone like you could grow anything there! I mainly manage honeysuckle that refuses to die and weeds.

Eileen - bear bought huge amounts of food, but I didn't see the exact details. All I know is that not only did he hoover up every crumb, but he wandered up to the car eating a bun from Greggs that he had bought on the way down from school. I take it as normal for teenagers. 

I'm not sure whether it was Johnny or Amber Squirrel tap dancing on the bins this morning. However I see a lot of squashed squirrels on the roads at this time of year, and I saw one hit by a car earlier this week, so I think it's the time of year when the young leave the nest and try and find new territories. We may be a new territory. I'm not sure how long it will last, as there is a lot of rat poison around, but for now we have a cute, bushy tailed thug or two hanging off the bird feeder. DH said he watched one this afternoon going through all sorts of contortions to get to the bird food while being harassed by sparrows. 

Bear got his exam timetable today. The exams are supposed to be spread over two weeks, but most of his are concentrated in one week. His head of year has protested, but I don't think they can do much. 

Apart from that, I managed to dither to an Olympic standard today and I think I shall crawl off to an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

An Improvement

Eileen - the honeysuckle is in a south facing garden and I don't always water as I should. It's doomed! I'll spend some time on the net and have a look for some ideas.

Sharon - thank you. The rose smells amazing as well. I bet your garden has a real sense of beauty in it, though. You have such an eye when you are taking pics.

I've still not got caught up with reading the blogs I enjoy. 

Today was another 'off balance' day. We had to leave the house early as bear had a school trip. He needed a packed lunch. I thought about the days when I was sending him to primary school with the packed lunch and the absolute torment I went through. No matter what I packed, no matter what I suggested, he didn't like it. What is worse, he would never tell me something that he would like. That lad has driven me to the edge. This morning I put some ice packs in an insulated lunch bag and took him to Tesco. I told him to go to the sandwich counter and get whatever he wanted. He did. He took some time fitting everything into the lunch bag, which wasn't that small. I'm just glad if he'll eat. 

The school trip was to Huddersfield University, where they spent some time with the Holocaust Exhibition and there was a workshop. I haven't had the full details as bear was shattered and fell asleep in the car home. They also got a tour of the university. Bear thought it was awesome. 

After dropping off bear, I waited in for the man to come and replace the shower. This meant that I couldn't settle to much as I was up and down turning electricity off and on, then turning the stop cock off. Then there was an embarrassing moment when I had to ask the plumber to turn the dratted thing on again because I had been so enthusiastic turning it off that I couldn't turn it back! He was a sweetheart, really, and so patient. 

Then the button didn't work, and he had to come back and jiggle things around, and then by the time he had gone and I had caught my breath, I was on my way out to pick up bear. Poor bear was shattered, but voluntarily practiced his music. I think that it relaxes him.

I snapped a few pics this morning. The fuchsia is really blooming

It's like a curtain of flowers. And the white rose looks like it will be full of flower, despite the black spot.


And I'm not sure whether it was Johnny or Amber on the fence this morning, but they were very disappointed that the pigeons had got to the peanuts first.

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Another Ditsy Day

Sharon - I've had a slow leak in the past, but they could patch the tyre so it wasn't too bad. I'll have to keep an eye on it.

Bless - I think a good prune may be in order. I don't want to use chemicals if I can help it as there are so many birds coming now. I've given the mechanics chocolates before now - my car has a very touchy set of sensors! Thank you for the compliments on the plants. The fuchsia is a thug, but the yellow rose is a miracle! I bought it for pennies from a garden centre when it was marked down because it was nearly dead. It's far older than bear, has survived aphids and the encroaching fuchsia and smells absolutely amazing. I think I accidentally got it right. Here is a pic of the rose.


Eileen - I've always left the berries for the birds. The sparrows are definitely in charge of that bush! 

I wasn't meaning to buy a frying pan, but I have a new one. I popped into Morrisons first thing for some salad, and I saw a Tefal frying pan 32cm for £18. My frying pan, which has had some meals cooked in it, is starting to show a small amount of wear. As it is non-stick, I want to get rid of it as soon as it starts flaking. I've been looking around a little half heartedly, so when I saw a decent price, I got it. It's a decent depth as well, which is useful. I use the frying pan for chilis, pasta sauces, curries and mince. I practically never just fry something. 

The little honeysuckle is looking very sad in the corner. I had a quick look at the big honeysuckle near the gate



And that has some poorly looking leaves as well. Even the white rose that father planted is covered in black spot. 

This is quite frustrating because we arranged the garden around that dratted plant. We had honeysuckle in the tyres near the wall between us and next door but I wanted to get rid of them because they were becoming a rat run. I managed to get rid of the tyres, but I could not uproot the little honeysuckle for love nor money and when it started sprouting all over, I thought it ought to live and so we ended up getting the trellis. I was also planning to get rid of the big honeysuckle, but that also started flourishing. I think I'm going to have to spray them with something. The apple tree looks half dead as well. Really I should just dig everything out and start again, but I don't really want to. I love these plants. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday, 6 June 2022

A Sort of Busy Day

I'm still catching up with the blogs, but I'm enjoying it when I feel able to dip in.

Sharon - I'm still getting used to the bag. DH is definitely getting more done working from home. Daughter's work sounds fascinating. Bear is practising hard, which is awesome. I'm enjoying the garden so much. There is so much to see if you just look. The sparrows are currently zooming in and out like Spitfires. Your garden sounds more active and a lot of fun! Thank you for the kind thoughts.

Bless - thank you for the hugs and the kind thoughts. They are so much appreciated, and you and your scan are very much in my thoughts as well. Thank goodness DH will continue to work at home, apart from the odd occasion. It makes life easier for him and he gets more done - a win all round! Bear's revision is carrying on, and thank you for your thoughts. I know what you mean about getting one the right size. It's so tricky to get one that fits all my stuff and yet isn't the size of a shipping container. As for peace in the garden - it is anything but! But it's so entertaining.

Cherie - squirrels can do so much damage, and I've pretty much abandoned the idea of growing much productive. Uncle loathed them. They used to fight on his roof, and it was a tin roof, so it wasn't exactly subtle. He put out rat poison in apples in his garden to try and thin the numbers. We had a huge stand of hazel trees and we never got a nut.

Hazel - I'm so glad that you are enjoying the books. As they are on Kindle Unlimited, I'm having a lot of fun dipping in when I am waiting for bear instead of knitting!

Eileen - I can't tell you how much I appreciate your good thoughts. Thank you. 

Sarah - I know that squirrels and foxes aren't strictly urban but will try out city living, and I've even seen a squirrel in the trees in Leeds City Centre, years ago, but I always thought that it was too urban here. I may try the chili trick, as we are enjoying the birds but I know that squirrels are trouble. As for foxes, I am soft enough that I wouldn't stress too much if I saw one, as long as it kept a distance, but I've heard too much about the wanton havoc they cause to complain about a farmer going after them with a gun. I suspect that they don't flourish here because Matalan puts down a lot of poison for the rats, and foxes don't do well on a diet of poisoned rat. 

Today was sort of busy. I dropped bear off and then drove to Kwik Fit to get the tyre check pressure light sorted out. Apparently there is nothing wrong, but we've been here before. They didn't want paying so I left a box of chocolates for them. Then I organised a plumber for the leaking shower and rearranged the time at the breast clinic as I needed it to be later. Normally I would let bear make his own way if I had something to do, but all the buses that go that way are on strike. The trains aren't too bad if bear walks two miles, but if the buses aren't running then they will be jammed to the fill line. The walk between his school and us is eight miles, with some very busy junctions, so I would rather drive him. 

The small honeysuckle in the corner appears to be dying off and it looks like mildew. If I am going to spray it with something chemical then I need to pick my moments as there are a lot of bees in the big honeysuckle. Here are some pics




I've heard that milk could help get rid of mildew, so I may have a go with that. 

The fuchsia is as robust as ever and overrun with sparrows.


There will be a lot of berries later on, but I won't have a chance to try fuchsia berry jam. The sparrows are definitely going to get there first!

Writing stuff - Today's flash fiction is the latest in the Under the Dark Hills serial and it's here - Something Hidden. And I also have a small piece, part 1 of 6, on the Three Furies website all about research - Researching, Writing and Rabbit Holes. I finished the series last week, and I'll share when the next one is posted. Three Furies Press are the wonderful people who published a couple of my novels, and they have a load of books on there as well as some lovely merchandise. I'm trying to resist the cute stuffed panda on there.

Hugs and good health to all.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Our Garden

You are all awesome. I'm rushing to catch up with writing, but I want to keep posting here. 

In our garden we have a senile rat (which we haven't seen for so long that I think that it may have gone to the great tunnel in the sky), a walking magpie and now we have squirrels.

I spotted one, and as DH went to look as I picked up some stuff, he said, 'and there's another one! How sweet! We have a Mr and Mrs Squirrel.' There was a pause, then, 'actually, we have the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp of squirrels.' Apparently war broke out and there was a massive squabble. The sparrow squad took advantage of furry backs being turned to dive in and raid the bird food, but the squirrels have been doing all sorts of gymnastics all day as they stuffed their furry faces. 

If you squint at the pic, taken through our window, you can see two of the terrors.


Our area is urban enough that squirrels and a possible fox are a surprise, but near enough to rural areas and farms to make it plausible to be raided by squirrels. Later on I saw one fall off the Matalan roof. 

Bear didn't have a long day out as his friend had to go home early which was a shame. He has had an extremely early night after a quiet evening. Mind you, the quiet evening may have been because the books on music theory were delivered today. He was intrigued.

I would also like to say that yesterday, the video of the Queen having tea with Paddington Bear was about the highlight of my year.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Failing at Inner Peace

I am so sorry that I haven't caught up with reading blogs or comments. Please don't think that I am underrating the awesomeness of those who are wonderful and share blogs, and who are kind enough to comment. I'm a little off balance.

I am almost 100% guaranteed certain sure that when I get checked out for suspicious bumps and lumps in the chest region, they will find nothing. I feel guilty that I'm taking up a place. I have to follow up, though, because there might be something. I got an appointment through today, but I will have to ring up and try and rearrange as it's very early in the day. It's not that bear won't take the bus in a pinch, it's just that the buses are going on strike. Eight miles is a long way to walk to school, and there are some extremely iffy junctions for pedestrians to cross. 

As for driving him there, my headlights went as I was picking him up from another late night excursion. It was just the bulbs which were fixed this morning, but now the tyre pressure light has come on. I have chocolates to take in to Kwik Fit as I don't think that they'll find anything in the tyres either. 

Bear is having a major teenage moment about going out tomorrow. He was planning to go with friends to the Cow and Calf Rocks at Ikley, but they have changed their minds in view of the weather forecast. The weather forecast has been ridiculously inaccurate recently, so I'm not relying on it for anything at the moment. I'm not stopping the move away from hiking on the moors, though. I'm not keen on bear going hiking as a teen with a group of other teens who are no doubt sensible on their own, but, well, a group of teens has no sense at all. Also, bear has the hiking and outdoor experience and knowledge of a curtain pole. 

I ought to be just dealing with this. There are just so many other things that hang on this. If there is something bad, then I have a lot of other stuff that tumbles down like a house of cards. I realise that I have spent the last few days dithering without any sort of movement on any front. I suppose I should embrace my inner panic and get some work done. And I read on the blogs of people going through much scarier stuff and I feel a self indulgent fraud. As it is, I haven't even caught up with the Great British Sewing Bee. 

In other news, there is a lot of lovely blossom this year. The bushes and trees seem to be overflowing. I took this pic in an Aldi car park, but I've noticed it everywhere.


Hopefully back with more sense later.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Weird Sort of Wednesday

Eileen - Thank goodness, DH was only going in for the day and is more or less permanently at home. It's made a huge and beneficial difference to his life. As for bear, I keep looking at him and wondering where I went right!

The garden is looking beautiful, and signs of Spring and early Sujmmer are all around.



I had a doctor appointment this morning, and I've been referred to the breast clinic, as there are some issues. I don't think it's serious, and it's more as a precaution, but it's left me off balance today. I am not worried particularly about it - I've had too many scares to get too stressed - I think I need to spend some time working out my priorities. 

I'm looking forward to a long Jubilee weekend and some thinking time.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Bear Had Fun

Cherie - the only other bag I fancied in TK Maxx was £105, and I daresay there were more expensive ones as well. I have no idea what a bag costs these days. I just have a sense of How much?!!!!!

Eileen - I'm not a fan of too many pockets myself. I can see me spending the next few weeks rummaging frantically through zipped partitions while I mutter darkly to myself.

I feel weary to the bone. I have no idea why. Perhaps it's the weather. I also seem to have been hanging around waiting for other stuff to happen, which is never helpful. 

DH had to go in to work today. It's a shock to the system after working from home for over two years. He has a system, and he's used to it. His productivity has gone up amazingly and he is much happy now that his comute is a wander across a room instead of three hours out of his day. It was odd without him here.

Bear met up with a new violin teacher today. We were lucky to get a chance to meet as she has a very packed schedule. He'll be starting full time lessons in September, but he had a great time, and seemed to really blossom. The teacher seemed happy with bear and very much approved of his attitude. I am so proud of him. He was just so assured, playing in front of someone for the first time. He didn't get everything right, of course, but he listened, paid attention, made notes and is happy to work on stuff. The drive there and back, though, was grim. Lots of rush hour traffic, weird parking and awkward turns - and I took the easy route!

I am definitely feeling 'that way out', like a cat with their ears on sideways. I think I'll sit down and get some notes made while I'm in a reflective sort of mood. I need to start living up to bear. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday, 30 May 2022

I Shopped.

 Bless - there has been no sign of the rat. I feel like an evening of knitting wouldn't be a bad thing.

Eileen - I'm not sure I can cope with potholing. I find the climbing quite terrifying enough.

I found a hole in my handbag today. It cost £4 from a charity shop, and I got it well before the first lockdown. It's the only bag I use and I think it's worn well. I used it for the Winter Scavenger Hunt Photo Challenge as something I used everyday. And I do! This is it, looking less battered than it has any right to. The hole is in a corner - not yet big enough for my purse to fall out, but a threat to any coins.

Today I called in at Tesco to pick up cheese and on the way back called in at TK Maxx. I couldn't find the new handbag that I had got. My heart wasn't really in it. I ended up getting this. It was £29.99 and is rather over endowed with pockets. It will do, it's about the same size as the old one and will keep me going. 



Bear is near a mental collapse with the dratted revision. I'm encouraging him to practice his music and he went for a walk which helped. There is a new climbing wall opening up soon, and I said that I would take him as often as he liked. The combination of music and exercise will hopefully help. He's making a lot of notes. School are really strict about the revision and bear is taking it very much to heart. 

I'll keep the fuss coming for him. It's all I can do for now.

Writing stuff - today's installment is a little longer than normal, though I hope still a good, snappy length. You can find it here Company for Dinner

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Quietly Quiet

Sharon - that may explain the bird crowds. We are not doing anything fun. I asked for suggestions but bear is stressed to the armpits with exams and DH is shattered. I may go and do something myself!

Cherie - I definitely felt sorry for the poor thing. I don't really have much against rats as long as they keep their distance. I know, however, that there have been issues in neighbouring houses, so I'm keeping up my guard. DH and I were seriously considering calling the RSPCA because the poor thing looked so bewildered. It had wandered off before we came to a decision.

Eileen - I'm glad to hear that it may be a glitch and not just me. It's always reassuring to see evidence that it may not be my fault.

Bear got his Grade One NICAS award this morning and is very happy. I am so proud of him. It isn't a bad sport to follow, he doesn't have to travel too far to get to some really good climbing walls and he is happy. I am, obviously, terrified of him falling, but I would never tell him that.

I don't seem to have done much. I've done some sorting and a lot of writing, but I don't feel like I've done much. It all feels wonderfully quiet. I feel a little unsettled, to be honest, and I think that I need to have a clear out. I hope that I follow through with that feeling. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday, 27 May 2022

Very Windy Here!

Bless - no sign of the rat. The garden is now too exposed and there is too much activity for most rats.

Just Jane - DH's biggest fear is that the rat passes away somewhere in a corner of the garden and we have to rummage for the remains! I am not up to seeing a crow having a rat dinner just now.

There have been no further rat sightings, and I am happy about that. Instead there have been a lot of birds. I suspect that the weather has had a lot to do with it as the wind has been intense and the bird feeder is an easy place to get food. The wind has been bad enough that it was affecting the car on the school run, so I thought it might put some of the birds off coming around. Instead, every time I looked out the window I saw something small and feathered whizz past at mach 2. Any time I went near to the window or porch, there was a cloud of birds. The sparrow squadron was well represented, there were far too many pigeons and the robin showed up, of course. There were also quite a few blackbirds around, which I don't usually see. 

Checking back, I don't think that all of my comments on blogs have been saved. I will go back again and see what I have missed. You are all awesome.

I've spent most of the day on writing stuff. I know I won't have much chance over the next week as bear is on holiday and DH has Thursday and Friday off. I haven't taken any pics for a while, so I thought that, instead of leaving the post without a pic, I'd go back and find a favourite pic from Batley Park



Hugs and good health to all.