Sunday 25 December 2022

Merry Christmas

You are all awesome! I hope that you have an amazing Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Bear is happy with his presents, and all is good here. I'm taking a break until the New Year when no doubt I will be sharing chaos.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Trying Things Out

Valer1e - it costs £7.99 per month. You get to have 10% off two shops each month. You can choose which shops but you can't carry them over. Then you also get 10% off the Tesco brands like Fox and Ivy and F&F clothing. I saved a lot when I was buying bear's uniform there. So if you don't buy clothing, branded houseware or baby stuff then you need to spend two shops that total at least £80 when put together to cover the cost. Tesco works for me, but for the next few months I can see me dropping bear at school, swinging down to the massive Tesco, picking up a few bits there and at the Aldi next door and then straight home so I wouldn't be getting the big shop and saving the money. Tesco suits me, but these days I want to drop into the local Co-op and also a M&S food store is on one route home and marks down the stuff first thing. I could be there when it opens... Honestly, there should be a degree in how to get the bargains!

Bless - you really need to work the numbers these days, and I fail at numbers! But I was really cheered up by the carrot bin, so that was something!

Sharon - I avoid Pringles as they can have gluten, so that keeps me safe. And before loading up with them, I checked the 'use by' date. I learned about that the hard way! I'm trying to structure things so that I can make things for me regularly. It's just getting everything set up. As for bear, what he will eat changes faster than the weather!

I took the car in to sort out the washer fluid. I want to shout out to In n Out at Pudsey, who are awesome. They are used to me, they let me knit while waiting for the car to be sorted, they are lovely and polite, tolerant and friendly. It turned out that the car had blown a fuse when I tried to get the washers going when it was frozen, which is a known problem for the Citroen. They just dealt with it so quickly and are so reasonable. 

This morning I had a huge box delivered. My current chair is in a state of collapse, so I got one inexpensively from eBay and it was delivered early. I was expecting it tomorrow. So the huge box got left at the bottom of our steps this morning when DH was out and bear was asleep. It wasn't hugely heavy, but the battle to get it up the steps was real. I sort of hoicked one corner up a step, then the other, then the next step and so on. There were no convenient handles and our steps are not shallow. Here's a pic from a while ago to give you an idea.

DH and bear put it together while I was out with the car, and it is awesome. I'll try and remember to get a pic, but I'll have to do some furniture shifting to get it in place. 

I've been playing around on Canva again. I made a bit of a mess of the Merry Yule message that I made for Facebook. The one that I made for this week's chatty bit turned out a lot better. 

Writing stuff - I'm sharing the chatty stuff because I mentioned the pic, but it's here. As a Christian, I don't celebrate the longest night of the year, but it feels like it should be marked, like a point of balance. It's definitely a writing time of year.

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Eighteen Tubes of Pringles

Bless - that is so impressive of your daughter! To get student of the year and to keep up her grades is amazing! It is so good that you managed to get there to see her. I hope that she feels better soon and can visit you. 

As I get 2 lots of 10% off a big shop with my clubcard extra, I did one of them today. I have a delivery booked for the 22nd, but it's just the fresh stuff. I can't get a 10% off on a delivery. I also plan to have a quick run around on Christmas Eve to see if there is anything exciting marked down plus some salad stuff. 

I picked up pickles and relishes for Christmas (as there are usually left over type meals) and also some plates. The plates cost £2.50 each and I remembered with fondness the days when I could pick up a cheap white plate for 99p. 

I got the pic from Tesco, but as I'm giving them full credit plus a sort of advertising, I hope that they won't mind. They're nice and sturdy.

I picked up crisps and a few bits of regular chocolate and some non perishables that will take me to January like peppermint tea and honey to help bear and DH's sore throats. We've got the goodies in already. I also picked up some salad stuff for bear for lunch - that he had asked for! I didn't randomly decide what he was going to eat. I gave up on that years ago.

I also bought Pringles. As I explained to the really lovely lad in the queue (who was an absolute sweetie) as I unloaded my trolley, Pringles cost £2 without the clubcard markdown, but are usually £1.65 with a clubcard. Today they are £1.50 with the clubcard and with 10% off they are £1.35. The 'use by' date is in 2024, so I bought 18. The men really like them and will have a handful here and there most evenings. As they seal up nicely and don't go stale, it works. Again I remembered previous prices with fondness - once upon a time I wouldn't buy Pringles if they cost more than £1. I have been tempted not to get them, but the men enjoy them so much. They will probably last until February, depending on how people feel.

On a more positive note, I also bought 18 one litre bottles of flavoured fizzy water. The men really like it with their evening meal, and it's the only one DH will drink as it doesn't have aspartame. I got that many to see the month out, and it was nice to see a price drop. A few weeks ago I picked up two and they were 60p each. This time they were 50p. Mind you, when bear was younger and before I could drive, they were often 3 for £1. 

On the way out I saw this - free carrots for Rudolph.

I am feeling officially flattened. Bear doesn't know if he is hungry or not. This means that I have no idea whether I am cooking for him or not. This means that I don't know what I am going to eat as I'm not sure if I'm eating with him or not - and this is why I end up eating crisps and chocolate for dinner so often. 

I'm still not sure about the Clubcard Extra. I mean, the original at the till (which also included alcohol, but still) was £174 plus change. By the time all the discounts and the 10% were off, it was £150 and change. This is still a lot of money. I mean, it was £24.30 on Pringles and £8.10 on water (after discount) and I got enough basics like the pasta bake sauce that DH likes and the pasta to go with it, for it to take time to put away, but still! But apart from this time of year, I wonder if I would be better off doing lots of very small shops just as I need them rather than a vast and weighty shop of everything that I think I may need twice a month to take advantage of the 10%. You also get 10% off F&F clothes and own brands thoughout, but I don't buy much clothing, bear has his own views and DH shops in M&S. If I was really scraping the pennies, I don't think that I would do the two shops of at least £80 that would cover the cost of the clubcard which is £7.99 per month. 

I wish I had bear's grasp of numbers.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 19 December 2022


Briony - thank you. I've now started taking Vitamin D (when I remember) and I'm sure that it will help.

Bless - thank you! I am so proud of bear. It's funny how you hear about other people's children on the blogs here and you get all caught up and really wish them well. I say funny, but really it's wonderful and amazing that we are connecting. We sort of know people even if we don't physically meet people and it's wonderful. I'm glad that you liked the laundry video. This isn't a blog about anything in particular (except possible that fuchsia) but I think most people passing through are interested, or at least entangled, with laundry and I like to share.

Sharon - thank you. Feel free to print them out. I could get them put on Redbubble if I had the mental resources to navigate it, but I made them in Canva and you can't sell stuff that you made in Canva. I may have a play with it at some point with my very basic paint programme. 

Eileen - Thank you. I am so proud of bear. He has a track record of not telling us when he has achieved something, such as the Bronze and Silver awards he got this term for hitting a certain number of points for stuff like homework and participation. I found them referred to in the report. It makes it very hard to brag about him. 

The car windscreen wipers still don't work. However, it's been warmer today and tomorrow I'll have another go and then perhaps go to the garage. When I had a look under the bonnet, it looked like there was a white block between the old fluid and the stuff I topped up with, so it may still be thawing. I'm aware that I could do expensive things if I try and prod at it, so I'm waiting and seeing. 

Bear has been awesome with a great report and working hard. He has also cracked the panel behind the toilet. I have had a word. 

I'm not sure that I have everything ready for Christmas, but it is what it is. I can't remember the start of a sentance by the time I get to the end. I'm confident that it will be good, though, and we will have some good times together. Writing is helping, and speaking of which...

Writing stuff - Today's flash fiction is something a little gentler than the horror that I've been writing lately. I was browsing the pictures in Unsplash for inspiration and I thought of this - Birds

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 16 December 2022

All Normal Here

 The fuchsia is looking washed out. Most of the colour has gone with the frost.

And I probably won't post pics of it again before around next May, when it gets going after the winter.

Today the car looked like this after an hour of driving - still with a roof covered in frost!

And the windscreen washer fluid froze. It's a lot colder than normal here. Annoyingly, I had some 'works below -19C' washer fluid to use for the car but the service I had a week or so ago topped it up with normal fluid. It should settle down by Monday, and I'll see what I can do when the weather changes.

Bear has finished for the holidays. Poor kid has already started revising. But - and the reason that I am posting - he has had a really good report with excellent scores on 'attitude to learning'. I am so proud of him. He also got a certificate for being the best in the form or something. He is not exactly sure what it is and so his explanation is a little vague, but I'm proud of him. 

My mental health is a bit hit and miss at the moment, but you are all awesome and I want to remind you that. And as I am more random than usual (which is going some) I thought I would share a video from a channel devoted to getting the best results with laundry - here. They have some interesting stuff, if you have to face laundry on a regular basis, so I keep watching them. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 13 December 2022

That Car!

 Bless - thank you! When it comes to yarn, I'm not sure if I'm a bad example or a dreadful warning! It was very inexpensive, though, and while it splits, it feels nice and soft.

Sharon - thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed the poem. It's one I'm proud of (and wrote in the heat of a July afternoon, which is me all over). I love the image of you melting the frost. I remember those cold windows as well. 

I took the car to the garage. It was fine. The mechanic tried everything and the car was a darling. It all but rolled over for him. The clutch was as smooth as butter. DH has had it stick, bear witnessed the awful sounds, but, because it's intermittent, they can't do anything. The lovely man at the garage suggested that I try turning the car off and then trying the gear then, or pumping the clutch pedal. After driving home, I pulled up outside the house after doing a swift three point turn to face the way I came, which is how I normally park. The damn car reversed as sweet as you like. I turned the car off, tried to put it into reverse and the dratted thing stuck! I was also getting evils from the robin. It was incredibly fluffed out with the cold, which reminds me that I need to go out and top up the peanuts and suet pellets. I swear that bird sniggered, though.

That's how I know what the new yarn is like - I felt so despondent that I started a new blanket, even though I've nearly finished the shrug. I'll go back to the shrug this evening.

Bear is full of cold. I shall pick him up tomorrow and have a hot chocolate waiting for him. I asked him for washing but it's a 'Christmas Sweater' day tomorrow. Bear has refused to wear a Christmas sweater so he will be going in a black hoodie. It could be worse. 

I'm barely managing to get one foot in front of the other at the moment, but I'm keeping on with things like Facebook for the professional reasons. I'm playing around with what I can do with Canva (I have no talent, so less than I should), and this sums up my day.

And I'm sure that everyone will recognise this in me.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 12 December 2022

Hello Monday

Eileen - it was as sweet as a nut this morning.

Mary - bear has also mentioned that Warwick is awesome, and that he would rather go there than many of the fancier sounding ones. I just hope he ends up somewhere where he is happy.

Sharon - thank you! The sky was such a delicate colour, but my camera phone didn't do justice to the moon which was very clear and bright and seemed much bigger than in the pic.

Bless - thank you! That fuchsia is much tougher than me.

The car ran perfectly this morning. Bear still came home on the bus, though. I'm taking him in to school but then it's off to the garage and he's on the bus home again. I'm hoping that they can find the problem tomorrow. 

The trouble is, the usual route I come home goes through Birstall roundabouts and if I break down there then the traffic jam will be horrific. I'm working out where to go based on the chances of me causing road chaos. 

I've also been feeling the stress of a few things and have had panic attacks all day which I haven't appreciated. I caved and started knitting with this yarn.

I'm going to try and get some cables in the blanket.

Writing stuff - I wrote a very short story about Christmas which is here. I'm also sharing a poem I wrote about the cold and a bright moon, called Frost on the Moon, which I wrote in a July afternoon. I'm sort of proud about the poem, although normally I avoid all poetry involving the moon as I get carried away. The writing has been helping.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 11 December 2022


Bless - thank you! I'm trying to rest my leg as it is still a little sore.

Sharon - thank you! Bear is at 'choosing sixth form college' stage with university two years after that if all goes according to plan and if he wants to. I'm trying to give him room to make his own choices so that he doesn't feel forced in a direction, but I think that he will end up going. At the moment, bear would like to go to Oxford. I'm not saying he'll make it, but he may have a chance.

Eileen - thank you for setting the challenge. This month's challenge is intriguing, so thank you for setting it. I'm really worried about the car, but prices have gone up so much since we bought Red in 2019, so I'm worried about that as well. I'm keeping it all crossed.

DH drove into Leeds today and said that the car was fine. I am terrified of driving it tomorrow. There is a particularly steep part of the drive where I usually wait at traffic lights and if I can't get into first there, I will be utterly beyond stuffed. The car is booked into the garage for Tuesday, though, and hopefully they will sort it out - if they can find it. I'm driving bear to school, as he likes to get there around 7.30am (school starts at 8.40am) because it gives him time to do his homework. However I've asked him to take the bus home, and he is fine with that, having been in the car with me when it went wrong. 

I'm shattered for some reason, so I've bunged a casserole in the oven and we'll have it with mash. I still haven't caught up with everything, but I thought I'd share a couple of pics that I haven't posted.

The fuchsia may have lost its leaves, but a few flowers are still hanging on. It is far more resilient than me.

And this was the moon early in the morning one day last week, just as dawn was breaking. It made the Tesco car park beautiful.

England lost last night. I didn't watch it. We went out to a good team. Next time will be crazy with the added teams. 

Hopefully I'll have more fun stuff to share next week.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 10 December 2022

Food Picture Challenge

I'm seriously late to this, but Eileen was kind enough to set a picture challenge for November, with the subject as food. This month has been a little challenging for me, but I've taken a few pics with food in mind, and I am determined to share them. The subtitles should explain them.

One of the only pics I took in November that was of human food - beans that I had soaked overnight in my flask.

Plant food, or leaves ready to rot down and return their nutrients to the earth.

This was the Yule Log that had an expiry date of the 25th November, which shows that I'm not the only one severely deficient in will power.

Food for the birds

Food for love

Food for the mind

Food for fire

More food for the birds and also the local squirrel who waddles over on a regular basis.

Thank you again, Eileen, for setting the challenge. 

Friday 9 December 2022

What a Week

Bless - I may come to you for advice. When bear was in Year Five (he's now Year Eleven), he found some practice test papers for Year Six and corrected the questions. 

Sharon - thank you. Frosty mornings, for me, are best seen through a window when sitting in the warm.

Mary - that is really encouraging to me. I love that bear has so much joy in it. To know that it can continue to be a joy is a real hug and reassurance. 

Eileen - At the moment, no uniform is required in any of the sixth forms that he's looking at, but I may have to get him some new trousers. He's shooting up and around ninety percent leg at the moment and I think one more good growth spurt and they will be comedy ankle length!

Cherie - it seems like no time at all that we took him to school for his first day in primary. Fortunately we hang out together a lot, so we'll have some memories when he disappears.

Hazel - I saved your advice somewhere safe.

My leg still hurts. 

On the way home, traffic was queuing past the turn off across traffic to our street, so as usual I followed around the corner to Matalan car park. I usually turn around and go back so that I'm turning left into our street without having to wait for traffic. It makes things easier as there's usually lots of double parking, double deckers and queues for the traffic lights at that time of day. I got half way around Matalan when my clutch went. There was the most awful, sickening crunch and I couldn't get it into gear no matter what I did. Bear thought the gear had slipped. DH rang the AA and I waited in the car, knitting again, though it could have been worse. I had ground to a halt in a gap so I could roll downhill easily into a parking space and the carpark lights were fine for knitting.

Finally the AA man turned up. He got in, turned the ignition and the car worked perfectly. Dammit. At least I didn't have to get her towed. I'm going to have to take her back to the garage, though, and get it check out. 

And then as I was sitting and recovering, the lightbulb in the study blew without warning. I am so unimpressed.

Bear is applying for a lot of different colleges, just in case. This includes a Catholic college, despite him not being a Catholic or anything much and a college in Huddersfield which is fifteen miles away and, without traffic and at this time of night, takes at least half an hour in the car and probably nearer an hour during rush hour. 

At the risk of jinxing things, tomorrow I'm going to catch up on the blogs that I'm missing and get some serious housewifery sorted out. Also, England play France and while I may not watch the match, because of Qatar, I'll be keeping an eye on the updates.

Writing stuff - I'm catching up with reading as well, and I managed to publish a review of A Kiss for Luck by Isa McLaren here. It isn't my usual fare, but I had fun reading it and got carried away to Italy and the South of France with all sorts of scandalous shenanigans. 

Now I am going to go to bed. 

Hugs and good health tomorrow. 

Wednesday 7 December 2022


Briony - thank you!

Bless - thank you, and you're right! It was a very Monday-like Monday.

Eileen - DH has been a complete hero. The phlebitis is likely to come and go. 

My leg still hurts. I think I'll need a lifestyle change. I am not sure how to change or where to start. I'll share achievements. Whenever I even think of sharing goals, they fizzle out.

Bear had a 'taster day' of sixth form life at school today. This meant that he didn't need to wear school uniform. Instead he went in wearing a plain black hoodie, a plain black t-shirt and plain black jeans. He had left his school kit in the car, which meant that he had to go out and get his trainers this morning - and they were frozen! He was unimpressed and I hope he didn't realise how funny I thought it was. He had a wonderful time as he had a lesson in Further Maths and explained it to me. Nope, no idea. But I am so happy that he loves his maths. 

It was cold this morning. The roof of the car looked beautiful.

The frost was wonderfully irridescent. The drive was uneventful, but it looks like it may be tricky tomorrow. And I had a stagger around Tesco and found some half priced mushrooms.

The closed cup mushrooms weren't very closed, but they were fine to chop and bung in the freezer as I was running low on them. And I got around another half inch knitted on the shrug while I was waiting for bear, so it wasn't a bad day.

I hope everyone is staying safe.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Disappointing Six Inches

Bless - it's one of those things where you have to laugh. I'm starting to wonder what else I don't know about the stuff in the house.

Sharon - I think most people would do something like that. The question is, how many would admit it? I couldn't resist the story - I thought it was hilarious.

Eileen - I'm looking suspiciously at other electronics, just in case. 

Yesterday I did some knitting. It looked like this at the start. 

To be fair, it is 175 stitches or so wide, but I had hoped that I would manage to knit more than six inches. It's 32 inches long now, with only ten inches to go before another two inches of rib and then making up. 

It started off with a visit to the garage. The steering is iffy, the handbrake had started slipping on steep slopes and the gear stick has a trick where it sometimes refuses to get into reverse. I also wanted an interim service as I drive such stop start driving that it clogs up the poor car. The steering was because when I said to replace the tyres in the summer, they hadn't, and had worn down ridiculously. This affected the steering and meant that it was a tiny bit off. That was easily fixed with new tyres, and they tightened up the handbrake without any problem. However they couldn't find the problem in the gear stick. I completely understood. It had gone into reverse with no trouble at all when I parked at the garage. It had completely refused to behave in Morrisons car park earlier that morning. I had been utterly stranded in a corner and had used up about a month's ration of bad language. It comes and goes, so finding the problem isn't easy. I just hope that it perhaps eases up a little so nothing expensive needs doing to get it sorted.

The trouble was that the tyres had to be ordered, and they were delayed. I was stuck there for four hours! Thank goodness I had brought my knitting! Fortunately they had a coffee machine that also dispensed hot chocolate as all I had had so far that day was a yellow sticker Marks and Spencer gluten free cake bar. I was so glad to get out of there. Not only about the wait, with bear having to get the bus home, but because I had called in at the doctor. I was worried about the state of the other leg, and the locum (who really didn't deserve me on a Monday morning) was worried that I had a blood clot there, so I had to trundle off to A&E. They didn't make me wait long, but it felt like ages as they took blood tests which took time to develop. I was around another three hours there, though I indulged in a puzzle book as well there, as it's tricky to pick knitting up and down when you are being called all over the place. The only pic I remembered to get while there was this.

As it reminded me of a pic I took in June - here

Apparently all the chairs are safe now. Perhaps the man-eating ones have been disposed of. The leg is probably suffering from phlebitis, so painkillers and elevation. 

I didn't get home until late and DH, bless him, made me something to eat before I pretty much collapsed. 

Today has been a bumble around sort of day. I'm still shattered and I haven't been able to look my knitting in the face. The laptop has been playing up and I've not been able to get on many blogs either. 

Writing stuff - trying to work on a short short story and came up with this on my writing blog. It's not the shortest piece of writing ever, but it's shorter, and I'll take that for now.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 4 December 2022

Unexpectedly Revolving

Briony - I don't do numbers. Bear has been correcting and checking my sums since he was seven. I write books, DH has an English degree but bear does numbers. I just watch from a safe distance.

Bless - thank you! I'm keeping everything crossed for bear. I'm possibly considering the doctor, but it's hard for me to point at much particular. I'll have to have a think about things. 

Sharon - thank you! I have never been tested for Covid once, because I've always just stayed out of the way if I've felt poorly. I may have some stuff dragging me down though. 

We put up the Christmas tree today, well, DH and bear did. We have had a holographic tree, with different coloured lights for the last few years but this year it wasn't playing. We got the occasional flash of colour, but it wasn't working properly at all. So DH raced to B&Q and got in through the doors at the last second. He got a nice white holographic one that was 25% off in the sale, plus 10% off as it was ex-display (last in the store) plus £5 off as it didn't have a box. As he fiddled with the plug and the new one didn't work, he had a look at where the power strip was plugged in - and it was only half in. The old tree worked fine, it's just that the plug needed pushing in. 

We considered taking the tree back, but instead we now have one in the study and one in the living room. But we kept the old one in the study as that's where we sit and we like that the best. DH got it all set up, checked the plugs twice and then turned it on. The tree lit up and started revolving.

We've never seen it turn around before and we have had that tree for years. It's the only one that bear can remember. It's a nice table top size and it looks great. It doesn't even need decorating. And we found that when DH put it together after all the fiddling around that there is a switch in the base that we hadn't realised, and the tree is supposed to turn. Watching it made me feel seasick, and we switched it off. You learn something new every day.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 3 December 2022

Hit and Miss

Sharon - thank you! Everything just seems so expensive!

Bless - thank you! The casserole was even better the next day! I shall have to do more.

Eileen - thank you! I've always praised him for effort as much as I can, and not so much for achievement. I think that it's great that the people on our blogs come together and share our lives. I am getting caught up in everyone's struggles and inspired and encouraged by people that live so distant and that I'll likely never meet. I am grateful that I can talk about bear on here. It feels like gloating if I talk in real life.

Speaking of blogs, I'm coming and going at the moment. I feel out of sorts again, and I don't know why. I feel achy and tired, and my mental health is more erratic than normal.  Activity on my blog may be a little here and there. I'm also not keeping up to the blogs I follow, and I'm finding that a little hard as well. You are all awesome and I'm missing the news.

Bear went to the open day for the new college - Leeds Mathematics School. He really, really, really wants to go there, but they are only accepting 80 pupils this year so competition will be fierce. I hope that he can get there, but we will see. He's been revising tonight. 

I just wish I could share how he lights up when he is talking about Maths or Computer Science or Physics. It's truly wonderful. I hope that never leaves him. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 1 December 2022

Parents Evening

Bless - that is so hard, when you lose some hard won stores! Cleaning supplies have expiry dates as well. I'm running mine down a little (slowly as I'm not doing enough cleaning) with a view to simplifying mine, so mainly things like vinegar and washing up liquid or dish soap. I'm sure I saw something about British Army instructions on how to roast an ox. I can't find it now, but I think it involved chains and scaffolding poles. I don't have scaffolding poles, but I have a lot of candles!

Cherie - no stress. That money is a big deal these days. Pop in whenever you feel like it and know that I think you are awesome!

Eileen - it always comes back to plain white plates for me. I look at some of the gorgeous plates on sites like Nordic Nest, but they always seem so expensive, or complicated, or delicate and I think of how well they'll do washing up or with a meal of something beige and then go back to plain white. And it won't be much in the way of fancy food if the prices keep going up. I'm finding myself putting things back regularly. Thank you for your good wishes for bear - I'm keeping everything crossed!

Tonight's meal was relatively expensive. It was only afterwards that I worked it out and realised. It started when I saw a pack of ready-to-eat chestnuts in Aldi for 99p. I picked up a pack and then wondered what I could do with them. I thought a beef casserole would be nice. The beef was £3.39 for 400g and I added a carrot, turnip and parsnip (around 80p), gravy granules, a bouquet garni teabag, some olives from a jar, and a sprinkle of some of that diced chorizo I got in a few weeks ago. I fried up the chorizo with some frozen onion, and I guess the store cupboard stuff came to around £1.50. I also added some dried split peas soaked overnight in the flask, though I think next time I'll give them a second boil. I suppose they could add perhaps 50p to the total, as it wasn't much. The power wasn't huge as I put it in the slow cooker for eight hours. So it came to at least £7, although it came to three portions tonight and there is plenty for two more portions tomorrow. It tasted pretty good, and the men seemed happy with it. I think I shall have to think again about casseroles and food. 

We had Parents' Evening tonight, done online. We couldn't get spots with all the teachers, and the English teacher, who I really wanted to talk to, was poorly, but the feedback was that bear was doing well, was hardworking, conscientious and and good to teach. I am so proud of him. It was the biggest thing that happened today, but there is little to say as the teachers were happy. I think the praise for his work ethic is what made me the proudest.

I shall glow with pride all week!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 30 November 2022


Wherethejourneytakesme - You must have been within yards of our house and absolute respect for you driving in those conditions. It was really scary and the ring road is a deeply unpleasant drive. I have my own opinions on the football. 

Eileen - bear has to apply to sixth forms and colleges, and will know if he gets in only after he gets his results. As for the power cuts, the chatter that I've heard is that they will initially be for 3 hours at a time. I've made the decision that we can manage with a biscuit or packet of crisps if hunger strikes for that. Notice should be given, according to what I've seen, which gives a chance to prepare. I have that wide mouthed flask, though I'm looking for another one, I have a kettle that allegedly runs in a car (must remember to test) and we have pot noodles and pasta. If all else fails, we have some huel in, which is a meal replacement drink and is relatively healthy. Also, lots and lots of candles. I have so many candles I could probably roast an ox on them!

Bless - I'm watching the USA's progress with interest. The men's game there has come on so much, and they are a powerhouse waiting to happen. 

Sharon - I'm hardly watching anything of the World Cup, although normally I would be absolutely glued to the matches. I struggle to get past the way that Qatar has done things.

When Qatar was selected as a host for the World Cup, England was also in the running. They rolled out Prince William and David Beckham and got a lot of overt support. Unfortunately it is a secret ballot that decides who gets to host a tournament, and Qatar won despite all the promises. Since then there have been a lot of accusations of bribery and foul play. 

I grew up with football all around me. I was around six months old when I went to my first football match. Father was a director of an extremely non-league club and later coached the works team. He played for the Army - not his regiment, but the Army as a whole, including against Juventus in the 1950s, and he played semi pro for places like Worcester. He played his last competitive football match at the age of 50. I don't follow football closely. Bear and DH aren't that interested, and are somewhat bemused by me, but I keep an eye on how Liverpool are doing and the general drift of things.  Normally a World Cup is an opportunity to sit and enjoy the matches when I don't normally take the time. I just can't relax into it, though. It's wrong. So I'm picking up the headlines from the BBC, dithering about watching England (who won with a reasonable game), and feeling very hypocritcal.

I know that when FIFA pick countries to host world cups, they are looking to grow the game. That's why the World Cup ended up in places like Japan/South Korea and the USA when there wasn't necessarily a huge following there. The interest in the game grew from hosting the tournament and you can see the results now as those countries expand and flourish in football. England had all the supporters, and all the stadiums already. And despite the issues at the recent Euros, we have the set up to host these sorts of events. It would be breaking new ground in Qatar and could encourage the game there. I don't think that FIFA and those that supported Qatar realised how dreadful the publicity would be that went alongside the World Cup. And the climate really isn't suited for a game that is about running fast for 90 minutes. 

The weather wasn't too bad today. I did a 'shop' in Tesco. I had two separate coupons for £5 off a £40 spend on homewares. my clubcard, plus my 10% shop. I took the opportunity to replace a couple of baking trays as mine are scratched and battered and the Salter trays were £11, but £5.50 with a Clubcard and then they added to the £40 I needed to spend to get £5 off. I also picked up an extremely non stick bathmat, and three plain white cereal bowls. They are very dull. I was tempted by these.

However they look like I should only eat dramatic and exotic food from them and not something beige with baked beans. I can't imagine a casserole on them, or egg and chips, and certainly not ketchup. 

As it was, I spent a fortune, although the boot was absolutely full at the end and I saved plenty. I got some of DH's favourite flavoured water and a wide selection of chocolate biscuits as requested by the men who had almost run out. I also stocked up on Pringles as the men like those a lot, and at £1.65 per pack, I really prefer to pick them up when I'm doing the 10% off shop. I spent nearly £200, but it was stuff like a bin and batteries and such like as well as basic food cupboard stuff to keep us going until the next 10% shop at the end of December. It also included a hoodie for bear, who has lost his, which was wonderfully and refreshingly cheap at Tesco with the discounts. 

I was glad to get home with it all! I'm starting to build up stocks of the boring stuff as there are mutterings about a cold winter. I always prefer to build stuff up at this time of year. It means that we aren't struggling if we have a day or two of bad weather. Then I can run the stocks down during summer.

I've got a huge list of stuff to do over the next two days, so please send good vibes that I'll get them done. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 29 November 2022

It's Going to be Awkward

Sharon - thank you! I don't mind watching rats at a safe distance as they are often cute. I'm not keen on them moving in! If bear gets into the fancy maths college then I no longer have school runs as the bus is frequent, easy to get to and cheap(ish). If he doesn't, then it's two more years of at least twenty to twenty five minutes driving, getting stuck in traffic, setting off early to avoid that traffic and then hanging around in carparks waiting. On the other hand, I lose the easy 'on the way' shopping, the nice walks and the knitting time. I don't mind so much in half way decent weather.

Bless - I've driven in fog quite a few times now, and sometimes seeing the lights of the car ahead of you is just so reassuring. I'm determined to get proactive for these attacks.

Cherie - the rose absolutely makes me smile. And it's a sort of nag to me. I should hack that fuchsia back to allow it to grow better. The bush is around twenty years old or so. I bought it from a garden centre and it was marked down to something like 50p as it was half dead. It's flourished ever since, even though it suffers from a lot of greenfly. I've always loved it. I can grow things if I put the effort in. I just don't put the effort in, and it's a shame. 

Tonight England play Wales in the World Cup. My father's family are English. There are a lot of Welsh in my mother's family and I got married in Wales because that's where so many relatives lived. And I don't entirely want to watch it because of the way that Qatar has gone on. I mean, every country has their own ways of doing things. But this feels so wrong. I wonder about donating to charities that would support the LGBT+ community there. And I can't get over the number of deaths and lives ruined in the building of the stadiums and infrastructure. I want to support my team, or teams, but I feel very uncomfortable supporting the host. I've been catching the highlights of the England games so far on the BBC text commentary. It seems a little flat compared to watching the game. I'll worry about it at kick off.

I'm sniffling as I've raised dust looking for stuff under all the junk. I got some neck lights last year for the car when I want to knit while waiting for bear and it's dark. There are going to be a lot of demands on the power grid tonight and on a day without wind or sun, we aren't going to get much power from renewables. I think that the powers that be are preparing us for some cuts, so I've been looking those out. Next I need to get entirely on top of the washing and ironing. I also need to make sure that there are plenty of safe places to put candles should we need to. I'm also working on keeping my phone fully charged. Bear is coming home on the bus and it's giving me some extra time. Although I had a nap today after another night of disturbed sleep, panic attacks and nightmares. It's a work in progress.

Tonight I hope to spend time dithering about England v Wales and knitting. When I was looking for the neck lights, I found the wash cloths I was knitting and I can crack on with some of those and get them out of the way. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 28 November 2022

Weather Continues Scary

Bless - thank you. I think it's going to be an ongoing process.

Sharon - thank you. With the price rises, sometimes I just refuse to buy stuff that I can afford. I just can't bring myself to pay the new price for it. I suppose I get used to driving in rain, wind and fog. The thought of snow terrifies me.

Deborah - thank you. Unfortunately I was on anti depressants for so long that I developed a bad reaction to them. I think this is a long haul.

There is always something good if you look for it. Today I managed to pick up some seriously cut price yellow sticker Tesco finest stuffing and I intend to cook it and have some for dinner tonight with veggies and the rest cold over the next few days. I love stuffing. One Christmas we had so many different types of stuffing and pigs in blankets and sprouts with chestnuts and relishes that we forgot to put the meat on the plate. We didn't notice until afterwards.

Panic/hissy fit feelings continue. I had a very disrupted night. This was unfortunate as I then had to drive bear to school in some of the thickest fog that I had ever encountered. I dosed myself with large quantities of diet cola and was very careful indeed. There were times when visibility was down to something like twenty yards. Then there were clear patches and no trace of any mist, which was a moment for me to catch my breath. 

After calling into Tesco for salad for DH (and unexpected bargains), I called in to the carpark where I've been before to knit and took a few moments. I had a very small walk away from the car park for the first time. It's quite lovely.

Though there are a few interesting looking paths that I will wait for a dry spell to try.

I had a few serious doggy cuddles. I'm not good with dogs (though I am a complete soft touch as most woofers quickly find out) so it was nice to be able to make a fuss of the beautifully behaved dogs. Then I came home through some very peculiar conditions. I needed sunglasses for the first half as the sun was so bright, then I hit fog again and the visibility dropped dramatically. It was down to a few yards on some scary roads. I was glad to get in. 

I took some more pics when I got home. The fuchsia is now looking thin, although the flowers are holding on.

But the yellow rose that has been swamped by the dratted thing is flourishing.

And there was a little mist where we were, but it wasn't so bad. 

Pick up for bear was terrifying! I was so glad to get there in one piece. Of course, the car park was lovely and clear. I watched the rats running backwards and forwards across a stretch of road like they were playing at some sort of game. I didn't catch the rats in a pic, but you can see that it goes between the beck and the 'landscaping'.

They were zooming backwards and forwards like some sort of races. I thought that they looked sort of cute. I wondered if they had been flooded out. The beck is currently low, but you can see that it has recently been a lot higher with the heavy rain we had earlier.

The drive home was equally scary. Visibility was unnervingly bad at the roundabouts and I was glad to get home. I've had a word with bear and said that while the weather is like this, and it's predicted to last at least another day or two, then I will take him to school but he can get the bus home. It isn't ideal, but I think that it will be safer all told. 

I've been chasing ideas around in my head about the panic attacks. They are not exactly new to me, but there seems to be more than usual. I'm going to try a little exercise (very small walk), a better diet (I had a proper lunch of soup today) and to work on my writing. I'm also going to try meditating if I remember. I suspect that it needs to be a sea change to get things to settle down, but we will see. 

Thank you for the kind thoughts.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 25 November 2022

Bored of This

Deborah - I'm so proud of bear. He told me that he isn't satisfied with his grades and wants to do better! I'm keeping a safe distance and loading up with healthy snacks for him. The Methodist church was so lovely, and the people were amazing. It's hard. A Church of England church up the road has closed as well. It leaves gaps in the community and social fabric, but people aren't going to services and so I suppose that they can't keep going.

Bless - I'm sure that you aren't used to rain there!!! I'm okay with rain on the whole. I'm used to the British weather. Yesterday was a little more than normal. 

Eileen - being fussy is good. I keep plates until they break, so I need to get something that won't get on my nerves after a month. This is why most of my 'china' (pottery!) is plain white. On the whole, it more or less goes together even though my kitchen has plain white tableware from Morrisons, IKEA, Tesco and probably other places as well. That floral set is so pretty, but you need a pasta dish, because pasta dishes are good for so much more than pasta. 

Today has been full of panic attacks. I am fed up with them. I managed to drive bear to and from school, but apart from that I've been a wreck. I may disappear for a day or two as I'm going to try and work out where they are coming from. I am disappointed with myself, to be honest, but at least I got bear to and from, fed everyone, found clean clothes for the men for tomorrow (bear has an open day and then he and DH are going to the theatre), and followed the very limp England game on the BBC text commentary. I'll be glad when this settles down. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 24 November 2022

It Rained!

Sharon - I avoid sunshine as I had a very easily treatable and non-threatening skin cancer a few years ago so Vitamin D is a good idea. I have picked up a spray.

Bless - I have picked up a Vitamin D spray so fingers crossed that it will help

Hazel - Well reminded! I've got Blueiron Liquid Supplement which is apparently 100% RI of iron. If I take a dose every other day then it may even out. It won't be a hardship to skip a day - it tastes like overdiluted generic squash! I'll have a look into getting a test - I can't believe that I never thought of it!

Eileen - if you have an IKEA nearby, they do extremely inexpensive china (or pottery at least). The big Tesco I go to has some very pretty plates, as well as some extremely inexpensive ones (which are the ones I usually go for) and I get clubcard points and, with this coupon, get £5 off if I spend £40. I quite like the idea of matching with a friend, though, so I will share pics when and if I buy.

Thank you for all the kind thoughts.

I called in at Tesco again today to pick up some fruit for DH. What with one thing and another, I spent just over £30 as they had some frozen stuff in that I wanted. This meant that I got another £5 off £40 spend. I am now having a think.

It is ridiculously easy to spend £40 these days. It's pretty easy to spend £80. I could do with some plates and definitely some cereal bowls, but that won't come to £40 in itself. At least, the plates and bowls that I would consider won't as I'm not planning on going silly and I'm not buying matching mugs! Included in the offer is stationery (I have all the stationery I will need for the next several years), home accessories (which may or may not include candles), toys (bear would sneer) and Christmas lights (we have plenty, thank you). It also includes textiles but I have plenty of blankets and towels. I suppose I could do with another sheet or two but I don't want to buy something for the sake of it.

I can find the £80, which is probably best done in two separate trips, but I am asking myself whether I want to. I suspect that what I need to do is spend some time going around and having a think about what is on offer, what we need and whether it is worth it. I need to study the small print. Shopping needs a college education these days.

Picking up bear was unnerving. The weather forecaster referred to it as a 'squall line' and it was heavy rain as I went to pick him up. I'm quite used to driving in rain, but this was ridiculous. Water was running in sheets over the road and the rain was coming down so hard that it was bouncing up from the road as a sort of mist around a foot high. I was so glad to get to the pick up - and then the rain just stopped! I was so relieved!

I failed to take a pic today, so here is a pic of a cereal bowl that is tempting me, though I think that it's quite dear at £4.50 for one bowl - link to Tesco shop 
Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Keeping On

Sharon - thank you! It's hard. I went first thing in the morning to avoid crowds. Of course, you have Thanksgiving going on and that won't help. If anyone does local deliveries, that may help. Sending good vibes.

Bless - thank you! I'm incredibly proud of bear. The tubs of sweeties were on an offer that ran out that day, so I wasn't going to miss it. 

Eileen - Thank you! I think I'll be relieved when the exams are over - almost as much as bear! I think a lot of people have become more shut in and isolated due to the pandemic. It's certainly been easier to just hide away. As for the churches, twenty years ago I heard an argument that a lot of churches should be just sold off and the congregations rent a hall for services. I remember hearing about a vicar getting tetchy because he had to fund raise for repairs on a twelfth century church and the repairs cost so much that could be better spent on the poor and on the Church's mission. I've been to a few services at York Minster now, and I can honestly believe that it would be better sold off for a museum. I am absolutely devoted to history, but I think that the church, of whatever denomination, shouldn't be held hostage by it. The exceptions are the churches that are being warm places for people in the winter, or hubs for things like the foodbank (like the Methodist Church that just closed) or advice centres. I don't go to church regularly, so I don't feel that I have a right to much of an opinion, but I worry. Of course, you can now follow services from places like Canterbury Cathedral on YouTube...

I am absolutely beyond shattered. I don't know why I'm so tired. I'm starting to take some iron supplements on my own behalf. I shall have an early night while dozing off to some shopping calculations. 

You see, when I got the goodies for Christmas, I got a coupon with my receipt. You get those coupons when you spend over a certain amount, so I don't see them that often. The coupon is for £5 off a £40 spend on homewares. I don't know if it would stack with the 10% off I get some of the Tesco range of homewares due having the Clubcard extra. According to the coupon, it covers plates and I could do with a few more plates. We have three large and two small plates and that may be a little inadequate at Christmas. We also only have three of the deeper bowls, and that will almost certainly be a little lacking when it comes to the various desserts. I may check and see if it covers candles, which will only incite me to shopping. In fact, I think that there's quite a lot included, although no groceries. The question is - would I spend £40 anyway without the coupon. I could easily spend £40, especially as it covers batteries and we have the growing hints at powercuts coming up. I can find the money, though again, it's not that I could but whether I should. I shall have to make some lists. 

And I still haven't started the dratted price book. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 22 November 2022

I Heard Sad News

Eileen - I'd send bear around to do it for free! He loves putting furniture together and I suspect that there's a competent handyman in there, given time and opportunity. The goodies are stashed. It was something of a shock because I think I bought less than last year, but it came to so much. Prices have gone up by such a margin.

I went back to the doctor again. I have a huge bag of creams to deal with the eczema and infection. The infected patch is still lingering despite loads of antibiotics and steroids, so the doctor - who was lovely - is trying some different stuff. While I was there, I bumped into someone who used to go to church with father at the local Methodist Church. Apparently, they've deconsecrated it and sold it off. It's quite heartbreaking. 

When father first came here, having moved 100 miles at the age of 80, he immediately wandered along to the church at the end of the street and just settled in. He was instantly part of it. They made him so welcome and were so friendly that it was if he had been there for years. There was an amazing, friendly, kindly atmosphere to the place. After father passed, I used to take sweeties there for his anniversary instead of flowers as it was much more him. It had been a big part of the community for many years, but it just faded. New people weren't going. It just dwindled. I think that Covid put the final nail in the coffin. 

It's one of those awkward truths. People want the church to be there in the background, and they want the history and the funerals and the weddings, but they don't want to take part in running the church. The people surrounding the building don't realise that an elderly lady was responsible for trying to keep things like the boiler working, and they aren't going to show up and help paint things or clean things or work out how to keep the bills paid. I have some pics somewhere, but I'll have to have a rummage. Here's a pic from WikiCommons

So now they can't have the weddings and funerals there. People who want to worship can go to another Methodist Church quite near or the local Church of England, so it's not like a religous desert. It just feels sad. 

I feel a little guilty because while I would prefer to go to Church of England services, perhaps I could have done more. I know I helped out with a few fairs and sales, and I never minded, but I wasn't a worshipper there. But now the place where father had his funeral, and where bear had a birthday party and tried martial arts as a little one, has gone. 

On a brighter note, bear had his results from his Mock Exams. He got four nines (the top mark allocated to the top 5% of results), three eights, a seven and two sixes. By the old grades, his lowest score was a B, and I am thrilled with him. He got nines in maths, chemistry, physics and computer science - all the ones that are important to him. I am so proud. The school had a little presentation. The Ofsted report severely marked down their sixth form (to 'good') and now a lot of the kids are planning on going elsewhere for A levels (like bear). The school are now doing all they can to encourage kids to stay on to their sixth form. I suspect that I will see a lot of fuss made as they try and regain their 'outstanding' status.

Bear is completely absorbed in tests, revision and studying, and I suspect I will be caught up in it too. I hope that we can get through the next few years okay.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 21 November 2022

And Back to the Start

Thank you for the lovely comments. DH and bear painted the table white and did a wonderful job. I'm not including the full pic as the kitchen is awful, but it looks a little like this.

I had a lot of panic attacks yesterday. Today I feel full of aches and pains. I'm getting very bored of it all.

This morning I went to Tesco and bought a load of Christmas goodies. I spent nearly £100 after my 10% discount, and around £80 of that was goodies. It's loads of stuff like nuts, pickles, relishes and biscuits. The £80 includes some plastic 600g tubs of Heroes and Celebrations which were going for £3.50 at the Clubcard price which made them very affordable and suitable for stashing for emergency presents. I shall certainly pass a tub to the lovely people next door. I winced at the total, but it's slightly less than I expected. This time next month I will pick up fruit and things like meat, cheese and stuffing which are perishable. I forgot crisps, which is a nuisance, and I'm sure there are plenty more things that I need to remember. I'm going to have to get a list together. As it is, I doubt that I'll be picking up much in the way of biscuits and pickles until February. 

I didn't watch the England match. Mainly because it was on during the school run, but I feel very uncomfortable about the whole Qatar thing. I'm keeping an eye on the Wales match on BBC text commentary. Normally I would settle down with my knitting, but it feels sort of wrong. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 19 November 2022

Safe and Awake

Thank you for your lovely, kind comments.

Bless - the fuchsia seems fine and you should have heard the abuse I got from a blue tit sitting on one of the twigs. I was getting serious assertiveness from something that weighs less than a damp tissue. I never realised how tiring queuing could be. 

Sharon - thank you. The fuchsia is definitely in better shape than me.

Eileen - thank you! I managed it somehow and bear had a blast.

Thursday was awful. I don't often take that route as it takes me past the IKEA junction which often gets bunged up at that time. It's where two motorways (M62 and M621) meet together with the Bradford to Wakefield A650. It's busy and it's been a little slower with roadworks but on Thursday there was an accident on one of the ramps on the east side and at the same time an accident on a ramp on the west side. I pulled off into a car park (after a loooong queue) and we had a hot chocolate in Costa. Next time we are in that situation, I think we might as well stay in the car park or cafe, relax and wait for it to clear. As it was, I spent a lot of time while stationary with the handbrake on and the clutch in neutral with my feet off the pedals as I hoped to protect the car that way. 

Yesterday I was so shattered. I had a short nap but basically struggled along. I picked up some brushes and sandpaper for the men who assembled an IKEA table (this one) and are currently painting it with a view to varnish it later. The old table in the kitchen is a drop leaf and I want to put my microwave there. This was inexpensive, I suppose, but cost an extra £15 because I couldn't fit it in my car and had to get it delivered!

I also called in at Tesco yesterday in search of caffeine. I spotted a Yule log for sale.

It looks very pleasant and I'm not sure that I could resist it if I bought it. That's perhaps the thinking because the Yule Log is best before 25 November this year. I think that you can just make it out.

I'm so careful these days when stocking up for Christmas.

Another pic is one I took late at night when I was about to pick up bear. I almost caught the beautiful gleam of rain on the toadflax

It looked magical. 

Bear had an amazing time at the theatre. He didn't get back home until gone midnight and flaked out pretty much straight away. He's spent the day assisting DH in painting the table and something something something programming challenge. I'm scared to ask in case he explains it to me.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 18 November 2022

Second Verse Same as the First

Thank you for your amazing good wishes. I'll be back tomorrow to update properly.

Right now, I'm utterly tired, unable to nap, I napped earlier but had nightmares, and I have to pick bear up from a school trip to see Othello at 11.30pm. I shall be taking vitamins before I go out!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 17 November 2022

So Tired

I left the car park where I picked up bear at 3.30pm. I just crawled into the house at 7.15pm. I was stuck in a queue leaving a car park for one hour of that. Driving conditions were dark and rainy. Bear was awesome. I feel flattened.

Back tomorrow when I may make sense.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 16 November 2022


Bless - DH and I are quite keen on letting bear follow his heart. He wants to work in computer science, and maths and physics are such a big part of it. We're doing what we can to encourage him, but it's so competitive!

Eileen - It's a sort of sixth form college, linked to the University of Leeds and it says that some teaching will be done by university lecturers, undergrads and PhD students. If you are interested, the link to the college is here and the Wiki page about the concept is here. It's a new college which worries me a little but we shall have to wait and see. Bear may not get in, but it would be good if he could, I think.

I cut the fuschia back. I only trimmed the part overhanging the path, but it was a job of work. 

The sparrows are not amused. I had a very close fly by earlier and I saw them congregating in what was left (quite a lot, actually). They seemed very indignant about the whole thing.

Hugs and good health to all.