Thursday 31 March 2022

I Do Not Approve of the Weather!

Eileen - thank you. The metal trellis will look amazing. I really need to get on with the projects. I'll share if I manage to get anything done.

Cherie - I bet it will look amazing and I'm hoping that it will be full of flowers, bees, bugs, sparrows and life in general. Thank you.

I woke up this morning to this. Before I even had a mouthful of food or drink I was out with a long handled soft brush knocking the snow from Red

On the school run, bear and I compared ideas on whether a car had been in a garage, had been cleaned off before driving or was just randomly shedding snow. The drive wasn't too bad, apart from the cars randomly shedding snow. It was lovely and sunny (briefly) when I got home and I settled down to some writing stuff.

When I was sorting out some stuff this evening, I noticed that the snow flakes had melted into droplets on the step. I don't think I managed to catch how beautifully the light caught the droplets. It looked jewelled. It's just water droplets on a stone step, but it looked exotic.

Bear's cough is back and he is sounding quite rough. He doesn't look too bad in himself, which is why he got as far as school today, and he wants to protect his 100% attendance record. He has taken a covid test and it isn't that, but the poor kid is full of it. I've spent an evening listening to him cough and splutter. 

It is supposed to be icy tomorrow. I am not looking forward to that!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 30 March 2022


Eileen - the trellis panels were quite expensive - I got them from Premier Garden Supplies, on eBay. I asked them about postage and they charged the full price for the first panel but a reduced price for the other two. I always knew that the p&p would be dear, and I didn't think that it would be much less if it came from somewhere closer. As it was, the panels were delivered in their own truck, driving from Telford to Leeds, and the driver was an absolute sweetie. He was so helpful about where I was putting them. I took a pic this morning.

They seem pretty sturdy. I will definitely go back if I need anything else similar. As for the pyjamas, if I get around to doing them, I think I would like to start with wincyette, for winter, and something in a light cotton for summer. I prefer wearing t-shirt type material but I know enough to be cautious about sewing it.

Christine - thank you! They are pretty chunky.

Sharon - Thank you. I can't imagine that you can get much done in the garden with the ice and snow you are having! 

I had a rough night last night - not much sleep and when I did, there were nightmares. I've been zonked today until I finally managed to nap before picking bear up. But the rosemary is flowering and I have some hope that I will pick up tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Actual Size May Be Larger Than You Think

Eileen - that's a good idea. I feel like making some loose pyjamas or pyjama bottoms and they should be easy. I shall have to make time or this time next year I 'll be back on complaining that I'm still scared of the sewing machine!

I ordered some fence panels. I may have miscalculated. I thought they would be great for the honeysuckle to climb and provide shelter for the sparrow squadron. I got three 6ft x 5ft panels which are chunky. I cannot put off dealing with the garden any longer. I've put it off for today, but tomorrow I shall have to get out there in the health sleet. They look a little like this.

It's been a funny sort of day. I've been too tired to think, but I've still been too awake to nap. Hopefully some serious garden work will sort me out. I need to work out where to start, drag stuff around and generally figure things out. 

None of the panels are secured. I hope that they don't get nicked!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 28 March 2022

Monday Grumbles

Cherie - I always ask for candles as presents. As for the weather, my experience is that March comes in like a lamb but goes out like a lion. It was rough around April last year as well.

Bless - it really was!

Kate - I have a weird shape so I worry. I think I just need to get over it. 

I don't seem to have much done today and I'm feeling out of sorts with myself. I've done some writing stuff and I've been confusing things like 'your' and 'you're', and 'they're', 'there' and 'their'. I'm thoroughly fed up with myself and I didn't grind up the dried mushrooms. I feel like I need to give myself a shake. The clocks going forward hasn't helped.

Writing stuff - in the run up to the release of the Grumpy Old Gods V anthology, in which I have a spot, I've posted some flash fiction on the theme here

Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with something more enthusiastic.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 27 March 2022

Feeling Fungal

Bless - I'm sure that you look fine. But it's always a help to get clothes given. 

Eileen - I had forgotten about the online theatre stuff. I know that yesterday bear was looking around at the different lighting rigs and stuff for his drama GCSE, which may not be so obvious when screened, but it's all grist to the mill and still cheaper than a trip to McDonalds!

I have these ideas, and then sometimes I wonder what I was thinking. I bought a dehydrator last year and, for some reason, I bought five punnets of mushrooms yesterday. I thought I could dehydrate them. I have quite a few of the dehydrator rings, but putting the slices in a single layer with tiny gaps in between took up a surprising about of space. So I chopped the rest and bunged them in the freezer, apart from the attempts at pickling.

If you are going to pickle mushrooms, please do not follow my example. I was planning on getting all jars cleaned out and sterilised in the microwave and then doing a load in a go. Instead I grabbed the only thing available, a sort of kilner jar with the metal clip lids. I couldn't use the microwave to sterilise it as the metal would not have been helpful, and the plastic seal meant that the oven method wouldn't work well either, so I settled for washing well and keeping it in the fridge. I heated 'some' white vinegar with 'some' pickling spice for a few minutes using a glass jug in the microwave. While that sat, I chopped some mushrooms into the jar and covered with strained vinegar. The pickled mushrooms are meant for casseroles and stews to give a little bite, and I'm hoping that it works out okay. 

I've put the dried mushrooms in a ziplock bag. If I remember, I'll take pics tomorrow. I plan to grind them up for a seasoning powder. I'll let you know how it goes. 

I just did a quick comparison. It is cheaper per kilo to buy sliced mushrooms frozen than it is to buy even the cheapest fresh. I think that if the dried mushrooms work out, I'll save the next attempt for when I find mushrooms marked down or on offer. 

It is feeling springlike enough for me to look at the disaster area that is my garden. What I hoped were self-seeded alyssum were in fact shepherd's purse. 

But the gooseberry bushes survived. We may get a few ounces this year.

I just hope that they get through the snow that's forecast for the end of the week.

Bear got me a lovely card and a really nice candle for Mother's Day. He then went out with a friend and, according to his pedometer app, walked around 20 miles around various roads and fields. I didn't lift a finger to make dinner, which bear practically inhaled, and DH cleared up. I am incredibly grateful for them both. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 26 March 2022


Sharon - thank you. I don't really worry about what I look like as I'm either at home, in the car or walloping at speed around a supermarket. I think I need to raise my game.

Eileen - one day I will learn to dressmake. Before then, I need to get over my fear of the sewing machine! It's still cheaper to buy (the cheap stuff) than make, but I'm not sure how much longer that will last. 

Today we went to the theatre. We went to see Clue at the Grand Theatre in Leeds, for the Saturday matinee. It was awesome. It was wonderfully funny with people belting in and out of doors and just missing each other and being murdered in strange circumstances. The timing was immaculate. We all loved it. I didn't get many pics, because it feels bad manners to take pics in a theatre, but I got a poor one of the stage before it started. 

And they had opera glasses for us in the cheap upper circle seats - for £1

The view out of the ladies seemed very Dickensian and Victorian.

And the whole place was incredibly highly decorated, like this, but a lot of the paint was chipped and scuffed. It looked like it needed a good clean and a major renovation.

Bear has to comment on a play he has seen that isn't a musical or Shakespeare for his drama GCSE, which is why I was scrabbling around for something suitable at the last minute and found this. I'm glad that I did. 

And now we are all tired. I am so unused to going out to anything that it took me by surprise and I'm ready to fall asleep. We are looking at doing something similar again as a family, because we had such fun. I'm going to go out of my way and see if any amateur productions are coming back as they can be the absolute best. 

I also picked up a small book on British birds on the way from the car, and I hope to get use out of it with all the traffic at the bird feeder.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 25 March 2022

Other People's Blogs

Bless - thank you! I feel hugged.

Wherethejourneytakesme - Thank you.

Eileen - you are so lovely and encouraging. Thank you.

Deborah - I have a deal with DH - when it comes to potatoes, I will peel, chop and bung them in a pan. He mashes them. In fact, the rule is that he 'dishes up' so he will mash potato and put the dinner on plates. I leave everything ready for him, like the potato masher and any gravy ready in a jug (I use granules) etc. So I am fine about mashed potatoes and the men will eat all I make. Mince is a great standby here. As for alcohol, I really don't seem to do well with wine as it gives me horrific heartburn (father offered me gaviscon) and mead has been giving me nasty reactions as well. Fortunately I can drink rum, brandy and vodka in quantity with only the usual effects.

I was reading Angela's blog Tracing Rainbows about fast fashion and mending things here. On one hand, I rarely mend clothes, apart from repeatedly sewing buttons on bear's ridiculously expensive blazer. I don't know how. On the other hand, I wear stuff to rags. Most of the clothes I get rid of is cheap stuff that I've worn until the fabric has just about had enough. I bought a night dress today. It's a Morrisons own brand one that cost £10 but it's a lovely colour, a nice length and has a great feel to it (here, if you are interested). It will look bobbled and a bit sad in next to no time, with my experience with Morrison's clothes, but will last forever. I'm going to get rid of an old night dress. It is a little stained, extremely worn and older than bear. It started off as t-shirt material but now is so worn that you could use it to strain peas, if you didn't mind all the stains, bobbly bits and general shabbiness. It doesn't need mending, but it's had it's day. At the same time, I could really do with some soft, thin cleaning clothes that I can either wash or throw. Thinking about it, I buy cheap 'fast' fashion but wear it for years. Perhaps I need to buy better and mend. I also need to get some sweaters knitted. My hand knitted ones have always lasted a lot longer than shop bought, including the bought one I'm wearing now. It's shrunk - not too much, but just enough to show my wrists. It's bobbled to bits as well. If I get myself a new one knitted, perhaps using the yarn that I shouldn't have bought from Aldi today, then perhaps I can do a little alterations and tidy it up a little.

Eileen talked about lists on her blog, and I really need to get back to mine. If I use lists, I get so much done. At the moment, I'm dithering between loads of different things and forgetting important stuff. Bear's school are asking for clothes as part of their eco school green week. The idea is to donate clothes rather than throw them away and waste them. If I finally get a little organised, then perhaps I can have a good clear out and make things easier on myself. 

Other people's blogs are really inspirational. 

I still didn't get an awful lot done today, apart from some writing stuff. It was lovely and sunny while I waited for bear, though, and I caught a pic of some blossom. I love this time of year. 

 Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 24 March 2022

Was that it?

Sharon - the door is driving me mad. As for school uniform, I think it's now a legal requirement that there is more than one place selling the dratted blazers (and sweaters, ties, sports kit etc) but bear's school have two places which are both much of a muchness for price. At least you can get shirts and trousers from the supermarkets these days.

Cherie - last summer was a nightmare as the main store didn't have bear's size in the blazer and I ended up going miles to a tiny store in a portacabin to get one for him. I didn't even leave it to the last minute! At least I can go to the supermarket for shirts and trousers. As it is, I still end up spending hundreds every September.

Eileen - the door is currently closing. We have an inner door which is the same standards as an outer door so I can lock that, but it's not really acceptable. The door has been trouble since it was installed. I would honestly recommend them to anyone for windows, but I couldn't in all conscience recommend them for doors. 

Nothing much has happened today. I made mince and mash for dinner which bear practically inhaled, and that was the highlight of the day. I didn't get the will to do a walk and I haven't any pics. I would say that today was a fail. I'll start again tomorrow. 

Wednesday 23 March 2022

The Front Door

Cherie - I'm sort of giving up on sleep at the moment. If it isn't issues with breathing or heartburn, it's aching joints and nightmares. I've decided that my sleep stuff is just my subconcious being difficult for attention and I'm ignoring it. 

Eileen - I hope you had a wonderful walk. It's a great time of year for it. As for school uniform - I could grumble for days. Bear has got into an amazing, free grammar school. It went from local authority to academy status, but it's like most secondary schools. It just has competitive entrance exams. We travel eight miles each way and there are a lot of kids which travel much further. Apart from the exams, there is another, not so good, way to filter admissions. It's parents who can afford or are willing, one way or another, to pay twice the cost of a blazer compared to the nearest school - and second hand uniform is discouraged! Yesterday I picked up four school shirts for bear from Matalan. It's not exactly the most expensive store, but it was still £15 and the next size up is men's shirts. It will be men's trousers next. Added the horrific cost of sports kit and the ties that seem to unravel even though bear isn't particularly hard on clothes and it mounts up very quickly indeed. Last Friday we called in to Tesco to get the sole of bear's shoe glued back on as the cost of replacing the school shoes that still fit was ridiculous. The school is awesome, but I'm dreading the next round of school uniform buying. 

I couldn't shut the front door today. It's been a problem for ages and we've had them out before. Last time I told them that I couldn't get back from the school run before 8.30. The man arranged to come at 8.00. Fortunately DH was able to deal with that, and I left DH to it today. It seems like when it was installed there was some stuff in something - I'm not clear of the details but it is infuriating. I would recommend this firm to anyone for windows. They are awesome, they had nerf gun fights with bear, they have been amazing. But the trouble we have had with the door and all the issues trying to get some satisfaction from them and I couldn't suggest them for that to anyone. It's really frustrating.

While I was writing my Wednesday chatty snippet on the writer's blog, I found this quote and thought I would share. It sounds about perfect to me.

The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for use to ignore it and wrong to often for us to rely on it - Patrick Young

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Sort of Busy, Sort of Not

Cherie - I couldn't face it. Father once bought something similar and I thought it was fit for cleaning drains.

Sharon - thank you. I don't want to speculate about anything that was written down on a brown paper bag...

Eileen - the thing about picking the wild garlic is that it's in a small, wooded park where lots of dogs get taken. Lots and lots and lots of dogs. Even at 7.30am, when it's barely light, there are lots of dogs. I am not exactly sure how much they stick to the paths when they answer the call of nature. I am reluctant to pick any. 

Yesterday I had quite a long walk. I couldn't breathe in the bed, so I ended up sleeping in a chair again last night, so today I have been comically stiff. I can hardly move. I made myself go for a walk in the woods, which I enjoyed, and there was some lovely blossom.

Then I picked up a fair amount of shopping from Tesco. I was using the Clubcard Plus thing where you get 10% off two shops per month. I stocked up on various bits, like the jar sauces that the men like, the chocolate biscuits that they like and some rice. The 10% off saved me £7.34, and I have another one this month. The subscription is £7.99 per month. I'm considering it carefully. The real saving was on bear's school uniform, but it only goes up to age 14. I would have to spend more than £80 in two shops to break even. That could be regrettably easy. But I want to get more into the habit of shopping daily or at least just bits as I need them. Of course, come next winter, I'll want to stock up. I suppose stocking up on tins and frozen twice a month isn't a bad thing. 

Then I sorted out some climbing stuff for bear. He's switching from something I don't quite understand to something else that I don't quite understand, but that's settled. I've got some washing done, picked up bear and then picked up some more school shirts for bear at Matalan. His are looking like they have been through the rubbish dump. 

I plan to spend the evening not moving. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 21 March 2022

Funny Sort of Day

Sharon - I have to confess. It had been a sunny day, but that pic was taken after sunset with the benefit of a street light right next to me. I'll try and get some better pics when I remember. The weekend was wonderful.

Bless - we had a great weekend, and it was incredibly relaxing. I'm going to try and train the honeysuckle. I haven't got green fingers like you, though, so I'm not sure how it's going to work.

Christine - I pretty much had a nervous collapse over homework when bear was in primary school. I'm not really as involved now, apart from reading through stuff, but his homework is stacking up like crazy, poor kid.

Eileen - every now and then, bear tells me thank you. It's the most incredible hug. The school he goes to has, I think, a greater percentage of helicopter parents than average, so he's quite grateful that I'm not standing over his maths homework with a stop watch or carting him around tutors most evenings. I feel sort of lucky that bear doesn't mind that DH and I take interest in what he does. He is happy that we ask questions and pay attention to what is going on. I know that things can go wrong with teenagers, but, so far, he's been such an awesome kid. 

Today has been a funny sort of day. I had problems getting going this morning. For some reason I started off quite stiff so I didn't get the car defrosted and moving until around 7.15am. I forced myself to go for a walk, because I really didn't feel like it, but I'm glad I did.

I got some pics. 

There is going to be a lot of wild garlic flowers here in a month or so.

I thought it fascinating to see berry and blossom so close together.

The frost had got to these flowers. I hope that they recover.

Then I pootled along to Tesco which was a sort of fail, wut, win. I was reversing into my usual spot, against the beech hedge opposite the trolley shed, when I caught a driver staring at me. I sort of gazed back, forgetting that I was moving backwards, and went straight into the hedge. 

I don't reverse fast, so it wasn't too bad. As you can see, a few dead leaves got knocked off, and red wasn't scratched, but I did feel a fool.

Then I went in to claim my prize. I had bought some raffle tickets when I called into Tesco on Saturday and got a phone call saying that I had won third prize, a bottle of prosecco. I agreed to turn up on Monday morning where the prize would be at Customer Services. I tootled up, handed over my ticket and baffled the assistant. You see, the note very clearly states my name, my mobile number and a completely, utterly, drastically different ticket number. I wasn't sure what to do and neither was the assistant, so in the end, I walked away with it. I think that I may just donate it back. I won't drink it, and neither will DH. It's massive - 1.5 litres, or the size of two normal bottles. It doesn't help that those 'champagne' type corks make me nervous. Besides, it's the sort of cut price stuff that is usually fit for cleaning brass.

I'm hoping that they let me volunteer in one of their shops. It would be great to get out and about. 

But - here's an amazing thing - I left Tesco without buying anything! I couldn't think of a single thing to get. I'm doing a proper shop tomorrow, but I didn't want to be bothered with doing bits today. That is definitely a win. Of course, I had to pick up the salad I forgot for DH in Morrisons later, but that is when I found a pack of vegetable soup mix marked down to 65p.

I've had one bowl. I added some lentils and perhaps a little too much water. I expect to get at least two more meals from it. So that was another win.

And then we had a quiet time while bear and DH discussed card tricks and I stayed very quiet. 

Writing stuff - with the Grumpy Old Gods Anthology (with a contribution from me) coming out, I thought I would write something that fitted in with that and you can find it here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 19 March 2022

Scottish Play

Sharon - I love watching squirrels in general, but not around nests. Mind you, magpies are not exactly saints. As for the cars and vans, it's normally the drivers I worry about, not the rust bucket.

Eileen - What would Christmas be without a small amount of present-related havoc.

Today was good. We pottered around in the morning and then bear and DH exchanged ideas on card tricks while I kept my head down and knitted, then we read through some Macbeth together. There is a few issues with the English lessons at the moment, so while DH and I have no idea how things go in exams these days, we can at least read the books and plays with him and talk about them. 

We took it in turns reading the different parts and it was a lot of fun. We only got through the first few scenes. DH and I are used to picking out tiny, tiny details in the text, which bear probably won't need for GCSE. He may have found it a little more intense than the average English class. I told bear that he should follow his teacher's lead for the exams, but discussing the shades of meaning will help him remember what is going on. I hope that i'm right. 

I took a very poor pic of the honeysuckle that is going absolutely wild. I was planning to dig it right out. I don't think I could bear to lose something so vibrant. 

I'll try and get better pics tomorrow. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 18 March 2022

Squirrel Again

Cherie - bear would utterly, utterly die. I wouldn't, but I may suggest it to him, though, if I'm feeling wicked.

Nethergreen - that is a promising idea. Unfortunately, yesterday I wouldn't have thought to check. The satnav said 'left' so I confidently did the far harder right turn, without any hesitation. At least it makes life interesting.

I may not make much sense. I'm nodding off as I type. It's been a quiet sort of day, with some bits and pieces done. I dropped bear off and then decided that I was too stiff to walk so I came straight home. I paused half way along the street as I finally spotted the magpie nest - and realised that the squirrel was raiding it. The magpies were doing their best to defend, but the squirrel seemed quite determined. I rolled down the car window to get a pic, but they disappeared. Here is the scene of the crime. You can just about see the nest. It was such a beautiful morning as well. 

I was really surprised, but I checked and apparently grey squirrels are omnivores that will raid nests. I wonder whether the magpies will drive the squirrel out or whether it will continue to hang around. Thinking about it, it's a little early for the magpies to be laying eggs, and I think that they are still building the nest as I am sure that I saw one with twigs at the beginning of the week. Perhaps it was a squabble over territory. I shall keep watching out for them.

DH and bear have spent the evening practising card tricks. I think I will be spending the weekend being asked to 'pick a card, any card'. There are worse things.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 17 March 2022

Error of Judgement

Bless - I had noticed a lot fewer squirrels around, but thought that there may have been a cull or something. I know that they can be destructive, but I adore seeing them. I'm not sure about the scraps. I haven't really explored them yet as it's very much a random selection. And every time I see the drinking horns, I smile. So not a bargain, but they make me happy.

Cherie - I will not 'put on something hippie' on account of me looking like a tie-dyed bell tent if I try. Neither bear not I are fans of loud music, so I shall stick to YouTube. Also, bear is utterly mortified if he sees me even humming along to a tune, so a gig may be terminal for him!

I wanted to go to Asda. I had heard that they have awesome gluten free stuff but the big store is a scary drive involving dual lane carriageways and speeds of over 40mph. However if I take a relatively small detour on the way home, there is a slight smaller Asda which may well have some goodies. So I dropped bear off this morning, set the sat nav and off I went.

The start of the new part of the route was fun - narrow country lanes, blind corners and varying speed limits. It was a lovely drive and I may try and go along another time and see if I can enjoy the scenery more and perhaps stop and take a pic. As the drive went on, however, I realised that I had made two errors of judgement. One - that if you are trying a new route to a place you have never been before on some busy roads, don't try it during morning rush hour. Two - I really need to remember which is my left and which is my right. I had to do a few unexpected three point turns.

I also got stuck behind one of the oldest camper vans I have ever seen still moving. I was stuck in traffic as I watched a couple climb into a very old van and I let them out in front of me. I don't know if they had just bought it to refurnish or something, but it belched smoke as it sputtered along in front of me in the slow traffic. I had a quick look on the internet about registration plates, and my guess is that it was registered in 1985. They were quite young and looked happy, so I don't know if I saw them on the first leg of an adventure, but I wish them all the luck in the world. 

I had to do lots of lane changing and roundabouts and got very bewildered before I got to Asda. I am not good with changing lanes, especially not across three lanes, but I managed. And this was on the outskirts of Bradford. Even the police don't like driving in Bradford. I was a little disappointed. I just don't feel at home in an Asda, for some reason. Also, the frozen gluten free stuff was caked in ice. There were icicles that looked epic hanging from the shelves, so I decided against anything from there. I checked on their delivery site. Gluten free pasta is £1 in Tesco, 85p in Morrisons and 75p on the Asda online shopping site. It was 70p in store, and there was a lot more variety embedded in ice in the store than there was online. I'm just going to have to pull myself together and go to the big one. 

Bear has been watching Penn and Teller. DH has handed him a book on card magic. I think that bear has forgotten that he learned to palm cards in primary school, and I'm not reminding him. However, there is an active group of card players at school which bear is part of. I am hoping that I don't get called in to give an explanation for anything.

I haven't taken a pic today, but I'm adding this one from Unsplash. As I was sat waiting for the traffic lights, I saw an enormous spider web, at least a metre across, and it was so delicate and iridescent in the light, I was almost dazzled. It was caught between a tree and a fence post and was so wide, like the laciest shawl. There was no way I could stop anywhere near to take a photo, but it really made me smile to see it, so I am putting in a stock photo.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 16 March 2022

A Lull

Wherethejourneytakesme - we had tickets for the Mikado just before everything shut down. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I thought it would be fun for bear. He was just coming up to 13 and a very different child than he is now. I was mainly looking for amateur productions rather than the expensive Grand Theatre (I flinched when I pressed 'pay'). So much has changed.

Sharon - As I said, it was almost unheard of for us as kids. I hope you have happy memories. It's what I want to make for bear. It's not just part of bear's course, though. I want him to feel okay to go to places like the theatre or a concert, so that he's fine with things like that when he's older. Someone else is going to have to take him to a gig, though, as I'm too much of a fuddy duddy.

Yesterday I got quite a few bits done. I sorted out various bits in the kitchen, did a little washing and generally got a little further. Today was not nearly so productive. I feel too tired to do anything that needs thinking but too wide awake to nap. I kept trying to get on with things, but failing. I think I should have just given up, listened to a book and done some knitting. But while I was staring out the window, I saw a squirrel. I didn't get a pic, of course, but I wonder if we'll have one moving in. There is a lot of rat poison around from Matalan, so I'm not sure if it will be okay, but it would be sort of nice. I shall have to keep the bird feeders well topped up. It made me smile, so I took a pic of where it had been.

Writing stuff - My mind was off on its own today without adequate supervision, and I remembered an old poem, which I've reposted here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 15 March 2022

A Pleasant Surprise with an Impulse Buy

Ranee - that must have been incredibly frustrating. I suppose you could always get one of those deep picture frames and mount them on velvet as a 'conversation piece'. I'd be tempted to do something! But you're right - all you can do is laugh.

Wherethejourneytakesme - if we ever meet up and shopping is involved, you can watch from a safe distance.

Sharon - Raven Forge has some epic pieces, really nice stuff. I got an email from them with 5% off. I didn't dare click on the link.

KJ - I've warned bear about this so many times, that buying stuff on offer that you don't need is wasted money. He talked me out of some towels. They were a good buy from Tesco, but we didn't need them. I said that we would be saving a lot. Bear said that we would save even more if we didn't buy them at all.

Today I got a package. It's actually pretty flat, like two pieces of paper taped together.

I was waiting on some ribbons and fabric scraps and I guessed that the package wasn't that. It was this.

I thought that the blanket had arrived earlier in a more conventional plastic type envelope thingy, and I hadn't opened it as I didn't want to be bothered with it right now. I saw the blanket on eBay (my friend) and it looked sad and thin, but I thought it would be perfect to go under a table cloth to protect the table. It was bigger than the fleece that I already had, and I thought I could use any off cuts to line place mats. Apparently it's 100% wool and was described as a 'camp blanket'. It's a double blanket and I wasn't expecting too much for around a tenner including all postage. It's not very fluffy at all, but sort of rough, and I'm going to take it to the dry cleaners as there are some faint marks, but it would be fine on a bed under a sheet. 

I checked the plastic type thingy and found this.

Which is what I am hoping to use for crafts. I've got some ideas. I also want to try and get some sort of background stuff for instagram (author purposes).

Bear is still shockingly full of cold, but he's better in himself. Apparently he is supposed to see a play that isn't Shakespeare or a musical for the purposes of his drama course. I have just spent an absolute fortune at The Grand Theatre in Leeds for Cluedo. It isn't even the posh seats, either. DH and I have also promised to go through Macbeth with him. He isn't really catching up with the English teaching at the moment, and at least we can help with that. We would have no chance with anything scientific, but we both did English Literature at A level, DH has an English degree and we both love words and stories. We can't teach him exam technique, which has changed phenomenally since we last sat an exam, but we can talk about the texts. 

There is another play at a smaller theatre that sounds slightly promising, but it also sounds dark and edgy. It recommends ages 16+ and bear won't be 16 until next December. Bear is more worried that something modern will come up about S*E*X and I'll ask him to explain it to me. We're holding fire on that. 

Bear doesn't appreciate how lucky he is. We live in a major city with some large and small theatres and lots of amateur groups (at least, before the plague). When I was his age, living in a small town, it was a huge deal to get to Liverpool or Manchester to see anything. The internet makes it easy as well. I could just go onto my laptop and search the local theatres. 

Also, DH and I now have an excuse to go and see all sorts of wonderful shows. I'm going to have to check the budget, and stop buying random blankets on eBay, but it will be awesome.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 14 March 2022


Sharon - thank you. Bear is much better.

Bless - I knew that we would find it straight after the change. It always happens that way.

Eileen - Thank you. The pendant is handmade glass. I think that she melts different coloured glass together but how she gets the shape is beyond me. I shall be gloating about these pendants for weeks.

Two fails in today's post. The first is this weekend. I deliberately stayed away from blogs to get writing. I swear that I must have a condition or something because all I did was make myself miserable and write about 500 words. I still haven't caught up with what I want to read on the blogs. The other fail is this.

For once it isn't a photo taken on a throw over the armchair. I think I may need to repot that spiderplant. It went something like this. Raven Forge make awesome stuff and I have a weakness for it. They had a sale. With every two bottles of mead sold, you got a free drinking horn. We ordered four bottles of mead to get a drinking horn for DH and I. This will last us at least two months. However drinking horns do not naturally stand by themselves and Raven Forge had sold out of the epic iron stands. I ended up getting two horn stands from ebay.

We spent a fortune on mead that will last us for months, then over £20 on stands, for something that is just decorative and was 'free'. That is a fail - when 'free' stuff costs over £50! And we won't even be drinking out of them as I'm worried about getting them clean afterwards!

On the bright side, I love them. And I found the bit of writing that I lost - more details in the 'writing stuff' section below.

Writing stuff - today's flash fiction is here and was far too much fun. 

And I got accepted for an anthology which will be out on April 1st - quite fitting as it's all about trickster gods

With everything else going on, I'd forgotten all about it, but I got the amazing news last week. I'll be able to share the links later. And this is one of the things that made me rummage in my 'forgotten writing' folders. It was a very short story that leads up to the longer piece that is in the anthology. I'll be sharing that on the release day on my writing blog. I actually found it in some stuff that I had sent the awesome people at Stormdance Publications. Today's flash fiction wasn't linked, but I suspect that there will be a few posts on disgruntled deities showing up on Always Another Chapter in the next month or so.  

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 11 March 2022

Of Course

 Briony - bear is my darling son. He's fifteen, and lovely and calm with it. So far he seems to be the sensible one out of me, him and my husband. He is the light of my life and a sweetie. He is also very much his own person and I generally let him work his own stuff out. So far, it's worked well for him. 

Bless - I passed on your good wishes and he said thank you.

Eileen - he took a test at school, so it's 'just' a cold, but it's a stinker. I've passed on your good wishes and he said thank you.

I found the car keys. They had got into a tissue box and I found them this evening. This is less good news as we paid £169 for them to be replaced this morning...

I'm not going to be posting this weekend as I have realised the date and I have a massive deadline that I need to get moving with. I have to share, though, that I got to know Amalie Stoneman through my writing, she was complimentary, she mentioned her store and I saw this...

Isn't it just like Under the Bright Saharan Sky? I'm not sure what I'm going to use as a chain, probably ribbon. I got another one as well. She's based in the US, but she was happy to send it to me, and I am in shiny heaven. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 10 March 2022

Bear has a Cold

Bless - thank you. I'm still feeling sorry for myself, but it's mainly self pity now. I'm considering praying to anything for those dratted keys!

Wherethejourneytakesme - I may give it another go, but change around some ideas. I feel a little defeated about it currently, but I'm sure that I'll bounce back.

Sharon - daydreaming is seriously good for your mental health, especially daydreaming about good stuff.

Eileen - When I worked, I was really sensible. Things were saved under case number, file number, client name or even post code. This was a short story written around three or four years ago, kand I think it's gone for good. It's sort of annoying, as I suspect that it was a fun story, but, strangely, I don't get too attached to my writing. This was something out of my usual path of writing, so I may have just forgotten all about it.

Bear has a cold. It's one of the snuffling, coughing, sniffing type. I'm pretty sure it isn't covid, as it looks exactly like a cold. I suppose I could ask about a test, but I'm not sure that he would be able to stop coughing and sniffing long enough to take it. 

It's strange, because until I started to post, it never occured to me that it could be anything but a bad cold. I'll have a word with him tomorrow. Bless him, he is determined to keep his 100% attendance record, though, so he would be devastated if he had to take time off. Especially as it has all the signs of a classic cold.

And that's a thing. Once upon a time I would have kept an eye on him and judged whether he should be dragged into school to fester or left in his bed. Now there is the plague to worry about. If I send him in, am I risking serious implications to his classmates, teachers and their families, or is it just a cold? 

To be honest, I can't see it as anything but a cold. And the discussion we had - bear, DH and I - about the implications of the different rules of succession in 11th century Normandy and England seemed to cheer bear up. I will see how he is tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Losing Things

Wherethejouneytakesme - I've tried an air purifier, but it didn't work. Good for your daughter! I respect most teachers but some of them need to be taken down a peg or two.

Sharon - I love the blue skies.

Briony - Apparently I have some arthritis in my knee and ankle, but I suspect lack of movement and being overweight do the worst damage. Marriner Yarns don't have a huge huge range, but I've always found them easy to deal with.

Eileen - it's been drab here today. I spent most of last night sleeping in a chair again. It's been going on for a while, but it's getting worse and worse. It only affects my room and the landing really, so at least the men are okay. I think it hasn't helped.

I lost my car key. I have absolutely no idea where it is. There are normally three places that it could be in and it isn't in any of them. I have a spare, but that's not the point. It's very worrying. I suspect I had the key in my hand and put it down while I was thinking of something else, but I've been all over, and so the dratted thing could be anywhere. 

I've also lost a piece of writing, which is rather annoying. I can't remember what it's called for the life of me. I've been trying to sort out some stuff, and I found a short story which I added to today's chatty bit. 

Writing stuff - I found a piece of writing that I had forgotten about, so I added it on to my Wednesday chat piece here. The pic is from the post, because it made me smile to find it.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Tuesday Has Happened

Eileen - thank you for the heads up. I'm glad you liked the story.

Briony - all my favourite things are done sitting down as well. I daren't go into yarn shops. Unfortunately I'm on the email list for Marriners Yarns (I'm not linking for your safety - cheap yarns), and I call in at Aldi which has yarn with distressing regularity. My next challenge is using the dratted stuff up! I hope tha the arthritis settles down soon.

Sharon - I couldn't resist the yarn, but then, I didn't try that hard lol

Wherethejourneytakesme - bear explained it as having issues with his calculator. I suspect overconfidence. At least he nailed the computer test. Bear is expected to get A or above in everything except English, I think, and possibly Drama. As the school has a teacher whose job is solely to get the marks as high as possible, I'm not putting extra pressure on at home.

Aches continue a little. Also, I suspect that something is happening next door as I feel that everytime I go into my bedroom I feel choked with dust or fumes. I've been struggling with breathing all day. 

I had some quiet moments knitting while waiting for bear. And that's when I took the pic that made me smile. The sky was so blue and the air so fresh that it made me smile. 

It reminded me of the phrase 'halcyon days' which I vaguely remembered as something to do with the idea of kingfishers having a short spell of calm weather in winter to build there nests. I had a quick look on Wikipedia (which is a reasonable start for this sort of thing) and found it is apparently a lot more complicated and there's mythology involved - the article is here, if you are interested.

I am so aware of how lucky I am, and praying for those in Ukraine. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 7 March 2022

Just Monday

Cherie - All I can say is that if you dislocate both shoulders at the same time you find out exactly how hard it is to use the bathroom when you don't have functional arms and they hurt

Briony - I quite enjoy some of my dreams. The one that my husband remembers most is the one about the shark infested sweetcorn. I'm glad that someone else understands.

Eileen - I went a lot further with the threats. I was talking about hammers. The test was, as far as I can tell, a sort of mock GCSE. They call them 'milestones' and are used to predict grades. 'Stepping stones' are tests that are sort of end of topic tests. But though bear may have only got a B in Maths, he totally rocked his computer science, so that is something. 

I have absolutely no right to complain with everything going on in the world, but I feel very run down. The fall on the stairs has caught up with me, together with a really bad night last night. My joints are complaining. They would complain a lot less if I lost some weight and took exercise, but I feel too weary for that. 

I called in at B&M this morning as I wanted some slate place mats. We have some large, multiwick candles and I worry about them being hot on the surfaces, so I thought slate would be a suitable insulator. I'll share how it goes. Of course I picked up some other bits, but the garden centre was closed. I want to look at some trellis type stuff. I then called into Aldi where I saw some yarn. I should have just backed away, but I remembered that it was Lent, and I usually make something for Lent to donate. The last few years have been a fail, but I need to be more focused. I picked up three balls of yarn and cast on for a blanket. I suspect, sadly, that there will be many places grateful for a donated blanket. I'm a bit worried about the cast on being a little tight, even though I used a needle several sizes bigger than the main needle. If it pulls the knitting in too much, I'll undo the knitting and start again.

The yarn looks like fun. I started it as I waited for bear when he went climbing. 

Writing stuff - Today's flash fiction is here and I used a pic that I took myself. It isn't brilliant, but it's okay, and it's exactly what I wanted. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 6 March 2022

My Fault

Apparently my laptop doesn't like me running two browsers at the same time. I have done some serious backing up and actually learned to use the cloud. 

It's been normal here. I slipped on the stairs and fell backwards. I haven't dislocated anything this time (four shoulders so far) but I'm feeling the ache of it. Bear didn't do too well in the maths test. That was hard. And I had a cracking dream last night involving crocodiles living in chilly Cheshire. So all more or less normal. 

I've got a load of washing done today. This means that the ironing mountain has grown, but I'll worry about that some other time. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 4 March 2022

Darn it to Heck

 Iffy internet and laptop issues. I'll get on as and when. Hugs to all.

Thursday 3 March 2022

A Little Further On

Eileen - Aunt Edy dated it 1893 but I think it was a little older. There is a cool guide here how to tell the age of a map. Not all of it to be taken seriously, but helpful. I know that there was a part of what is now Bulgaria (I think) that changed 10 times during the period 1870-1945 covered by my A level course.

Sharon - I am a little worried as bear is confident, but we will see. It's wonderful having really old books. There is something comforting about them.

Bless - thank you!

My laptop continues to be erratic, so there may be a few gaps. 

I managed to make myself go for a walk today. This was amazing for me, as I've struggled a bit over the last few weeks. I got a load of pics for this months photo challenge and some doggy cuddles.

I took this pic as it looked so colourful. I think the flowers are a little later in the park, but still beautiful.

Bear didn't need picking up until six due to some rehearsals, so I set off quite a bit later. I got there by the skin of my teeth as I forgot about rush hour traffic. I am definitely keeping the P plates as I stalled both on the way there (I was thinking of something else and tried to set off in third) and on the way back (correct gear, but going uphill on a small roundabout with iffy visibility where I need to be able to dart out). The last one is definitely me not getting the biting point right. 

I've had a go at one of my favourite games - Farmington. It's old, unexacting and perfect for when I'm trying to work out a plot. I realised today that there are lots of instances of the Ukraine flag, and it felt heartbreaking. I am praying for the people there, and will be donating to Shelterbox and the Red Cross.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 2 March 2022

Cold and Wet

Sharon - thank you. The rats are an issue, but something has survived!

Bless - It feels wrong to get rid of something living so much. But I suspect it will overtake the garden. Also, I don't want rats.

Eileen - yes, it seems to be quite vigorous. I just haven't seen the neighbour to get an opinion. They could consider it a cheap hedge. I noticed a smear or two today on the windows, but, to be honest, it seems to have worked better than vinegar and water or glass cleaner, so I think that I'll keep using it.

Today has been horrible and wet. It's been that fine rain that doesn't seem aggressive but gets everywhere. There has been some nasty spots on the road and I'll be glad when it stops. There are a couple of places on the way to school where the water gathers in deep puddles and they are less fun than you would think.

I smiled today when I took a picture of an old atlas. It originally belonged to my grandfather's aunt, and I have spent hours enjoying it. I posted it on my writing blog for today's writing type chat. 

I could get lost in it for hours, but I resisted and only got caught up for a short while.

Bear's tests continue. Tomorrow he will be later than normal at the pickup. He has no idea how much later. I could be picking him up at 3.35pm or around 6.30. I'm insisting that he narrows it down. As it is, I'll make sure that I take knitting. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 1 March 2022


Bless - thank you. I think the blanket will eventually be warm, snuggly and bright!

Eileen - the tests are stacking up. I think he had another one today and then there are a few more scheduled next week. He seems to be managing fine, though, so I'm letting him get on with it. 

Cherie - I love the signs of spring.

Patio - I had so much fun with the circles, even though I didn't get out much. I wouldn't be surprised at what washed up in the local floods, so I guess what could be under the snow could be even more surprising.

Here is my dilemma. Normally, anything I plant dies. I didn't plant the fuchsia, which takes over the front of the garden every summer, so it flourishes. There are a few other exceptions, but there are a lot of fails. I also planted some honeysuckle which I recently hacked violently back to get rid of the rat run along the wall to the drains. It is now sprouting vigorously. I don't really want to get rid of something that has actually survived my attempts at gardening, but I don't want a rat run.

Besides, it looks like it would be awesome curling through the wrought iron top to the neighbour's wall.

I can't ask the neighbours because they never answer the door and don't really hang out much. If the honeysuckle is like this now, then with time, water and a little feed, it could look like a flowery hedge.They may or may not want this. 

I'm going to have to have a think about it. It goes against the grain to cut back something so alive, but rats!

I haven't got a pic of the thing that made me smile today. I haven't had a chance, so I'm using a stock photo to show something similar.

Today I used hand sanitiser and a microfibre cloth to clean my windows. The windows were filthy, but it really worked well. It is now my go-to glass cleaner. And that made me happy.