Friday 29 April 2022


Sharon - thank you. I can see me fighting to keep that rose bush against the forces of rust, ants and aphids. I am also perimenopausal, but I think that the cellulitis took it out of me. I'm hoping that I pick up soon.

Cherie - I'm planning on as little dig as possible. I was just trying to loosen the dirt around the dandelions and the small bramble. I'll have to take some pics. It really was like iron - I could barely get the fork into it.

Eileen - I swear that the bag was wrongly labelled as I can't lift 15kg. It was heavy enough, though, and I was glad that DH unloaded it. 

I pottered around a little today. I called in at B&M Bargains as they have a garden centre in Batley and the plants are quite nice looking. I picked up some random bedding plants, some windowsill mizuna kits and a sturdy dustpan and brush for the garden. I didn't get anything planted out, as I was feeling quite shattered, so I will have to get cracking tomorrow. Hopefully this means that we will miss the frost. 

As I waited for bear, I noticed that the giant hogweed in Morrisons car park had grown. It looked healthier than most of the bedding plants they were selling!

I am sitting wrapped in a shawl and blanket, trying to resist putting the fire on. I must look a fright. I should nip upstairs and pick up my dressing gown as it's lovely and fluffy and warm. Together with a hotwater bottle, I should be able to avoid putting the fire on before bed.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 28 April 2022

I Didn't Know I Could Do That

Cherie - I was glad to see the back of yesterday!

Patio - It's washing up liquid, or dish soap, that gets aphids. Apparently insects breathe through pores in their exoskeleton and the soapy water bungs them up. I've had reasonable results with them in the past. Unfortunately, somewhere near here is a massive ants nest, and, according to what I've read, ants will protect aphids over winter in their nests and then take them out to feed so they can 'farm' them properly. I can see summer being a battle. Mint is supposed to deter rats, and I've seen a passing rat recoil from it, so fingers crossed that helps.

Eileen - I am not a morning person at all! Bear has trained me, as he is ridiculously good at mornings. The stitching is holding fine, but it is not a thing of beauty. I'll have to take a pic at some point. I'm taking it steady.

I really enjoyed the Great British Sewing Bee last night, and it was filmed near me. According to Google Maps, it was filmed around 7 miles from me and bear had a birthday party at a soft play there - it's a mix of studios and businesses. Leeds Market used to be great for fabric. It isn't so much now, but I wonder if they popped on to have a look.

I haven't been brilliant today. I'm not poorly but I'm very tired. DH picked up a block of wood. He hopes to get the new trellis up on Saturday. I forked over the tiny border near that wall. The ground was like iron! I'll have another go at it tomorrow. 

I also need to plant out the coriander seedlings that came today with the runner bean plug plants. They were in a 'post box friendly' box but the postie still squashed them. That is why I dragged myself out, drove to Aldi, picked up some nice tubs, some compost and some gravel and drove back. 

The bag of gravel (which I want for the bottom of the pots) says that it is 15kg. I can't lift 15kg. On the other hand, I got it into the trolley at Aldi, then out of the trolley and into the car. I'll ask DH to unload the dratted thing. I may have to weigh it out to see if it's short weight, because I really can't lift 15kg. 

And I forgot to take any pics. I'll try and remember tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Still Cold

Sharon - at least we aren't likely to have snow here. I've looked for glasses while wearing them before now, but that is up with me worrying about where my car keys are while I'm driving. 

This morning was epic in a bad way. I felt like absolutely nothing on earth, and just about managed to drag together the energy to get bear's bowl of cereal. Then, at 6am, bear asked me to mend his backpack for school. I do not function well at 6am, even in good health. My optimum time is early evening. And then I couldn't remember where I left my cotton. I don't have one single place where I keep cottons so I turned the house upside down looking for the dratted stuff. then I did some very ragged back stitch which has held through the day just fine, but I wish he had talked to me earlier. I'll need to get another backpack ready for him for when the dratted thing frays beyond repair. 

Then bear asked me where his PE kit was. This came as something of a surprise as I had checked with him last night to make sure that he had it. It ended up having been tucked behind a load of stuff, which meant that the house was even further upside down. Then I couldn't find my handbag. I've never been so glad to get out of the house in my life.

I've spent most of the day aching, but I'm feeling a lot better. I think tomorrow is going to have to involve a lot of housewifery whether I like it or not. It needs to include gardening. I took a pic of the gorgeous buds of the yellow rose.

It's looking the healthiest it has for years. Unfortunately, when I looked closer, I found the first few aphids, some rather languid ants (they were feeling the cold as well) and some signs of rust. I'm going to be spraying them with peppermint tea, peppermint oil, washing up liquid and bicarb of soda, all mixed and well diluted. I'll let you know how that goes. 

Writing stuff - Fortunately, today's entry into the Stormdance blog hop had already been set up and you can find it here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 26 April 2022

Still Cold

Eileen - there's always one, and it's usually me

Cherie - I'm not sure what sort of film star wears two pairs of glasses and I'm a little afraid to ask.

I'm considering putting the fire on. I think that it is me that is cold, rather than anything else as our house picks up the sun and stays warm. I think I have some sort of bug, like a cold or flu. My sense of taste is fine, but my joints are aching, I can't stop sniffing and I have started coughing. I need to find a test to check, but I'm fairly sure that it isn't Covid. I have a few bits to pick up tomorrow if I'm clear, but I'll still be completely masked and sanitised to keep this lurgy from everyone else. On the bright side, my cellulitis is slowly easing. 

I could do with being on better form. We have managed to lose a single shin pad. Bear is fairly confident that it will be either tennis or cricket for his PE lesson tomorrow, but there is always a chance of football. I'm going to have to turn everywhere out.

I haven't got much done in the garden today, and I need to crack on while the weedkiller has still had an effect. Also, DH saw a rat in the garden yesterday. I'm going to spray around the bottom of the bird feeder with peppermint tea spiked with peppermint oil and a little washing up liquid. I have the tea and teabag steeping on the kitchen windowsill right now. I don't want to spray around the fuchsia or the roses on the other side as there are usually a lot of aphids there and the sparrows seem to like them as a snack. One of the uses of washing up liquid is to kill aphids and insects as they apparently don't like soapy water.

I called into the farm shop this morning and this time it was open. They didn't have any of their lovely bedding plants. They had some lovely, healthy looking lupin plants, though. These were tiny, the sort you get when you first plant a seed. However I know what lupins are like. You start off with a tiny leaflet and the next thing you know you have to go at it with a machete. It will be the fuchsia all over again, and the leaves are the sort of shape that could confuse the weed smoking locals. Mind you, I love lupins. I haven't taken a pic today so here is one of lupins from Unsplash, taken by Annie Spratt

While I was at the farm shop, I picked up a bottle of rapeseed oil as I was running low. They are expecting prices to go up across the board.

Writing stuff - I finally finished my flash fiction which is here. 

Hugs and good health to all 

Monday 25 April 2022

Style Over Substance

Cherie - there is nothing like the scent of bluebells.

Eileen - DH and bear are getting so much satisfaction, it's wonderful. Though I don't mind taking on the watering. It can be wonderfully calming.

Mind you, I haven't watered anything tonight as it's far too cold. A frost is forecast and I don't want anything to be damaged. 

Speaking of gardening, I called into a farm shop that sold the amazing alyssum that I got last year. It has changed its opening hours, however, and isn't opened on Monday. The farm shop is next to what I think is the farmhouse and an older gentleman was sitting outside and he explained. I apologised and walked back to the car and that is when I realised. 

There had been a gap in the clouds this morning and one particular part of the route means that the sun is in your eyes like lasik at this time of year. So I had put on my sunglasses, but then I perched them on top of my head when I got away from that stretch. I didn't want to wear them if I didn't need to, but I didn't know when I might need them so I wanted them happy. I should also mention that I'm longsighted. I need glasses for reading and such but I can't drive in them. So I got out of the car, knew that I would be looking at prices, and put on my 'normal' glasses. I forgot that I was still wearing the sunglasses on top of my head. I walked towards the unsuspecting man wearing two pairs of glasses. I was mortified when I realised.

Still, I got this pic of almond blossom - I love almond blossom.

Writing stuff - I haven't got today's flash fiction posted as I have been working on a few different things and forgot the time. It should be fine by this time tomorrow. However, if you are interested, I have a guest post from today on Eric Lahti's blog called 'Research and the Author'. I felt incredibly flattered, and Eric was very kind. It's just a few ideas about research, so not my normal stuff.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 24 April 2022

Quiet Day

Sharon - to be honest, I love bluebells. When I was a kid, we lived near a patch of woodland that was literally carpeted with them every spring. They covered the woodland floor. I miss that so much. 

Bless - Thank you.

Eileen - I'm incredibly flattered that you listened. I listened to the podcast myself and, to be honest, I had less of an accent than I expected. I was trying to be careful, though, and sound confident. Lynn was lovely with the interview, and made it so easy. I'm cold again tonight! I hope it warms up again soon.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts. I'm feeling a little better. I was feeling it a lot yesterday, but it's fading so keeping my fingers crossed.

The trellis for the runner beans arrived today.

DH and bear have been making plans for it. As we have another bank holiday coming up, I think they will want to spend time in the garden. That means that over the week I need to clear out any flower beds I want clearing and then wash down various bits that are likely to end up painted. I'm not putting down what I am intending to do, as that is usually a guarantee that it won't happen. 

However I have some runner bean plug plants ordered, and I know a farm shop that had bedding plants last year, so that will be a start. I gave the garden a good water this evening. It's not a bad way to get a tiny scrap of exercise as I get to breath in the fresh air, enjoy the growing things and listen to the birds.

And that is that. Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 23 April 2022

Minor Grumbles

Bless - thank you for your good wishes. I am very flattered that you have started on the podcast. Don't feel you have to listen to all of it if it doesn't appeal.

I feel very off colour and very achy. I suspect that I may have to go back for proper antibiotics and I don't approve. Mind you, I had a shocking night last night, so it may just be that.

I took a picture this morning of the bluebells.

It's a rubbish picture. I'll have another go tomorrow. Father and I have thinned these bluebells out over the years but we never managed to ever get rid of them. To be fair, I love seeing them and now that the fuchsia has taken over that bed, it doesn't really matter. I'm giving it another day or two for the weedkiller to do its stuff before digging out the other beds.

It's been a little cool here. We've even had the fire on. 

Now I plan to get my knitting out, watch one more episode of NCIS and have an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 22 April 2022

Mainly Writing Stuff

Cherie - tea total sounds awesome, but the target is a way off for me.

Eileen - I had cellulitis bad years ago (2014, I think) and I ended up on an antibiotic drip. It is not fun. It's settling down though thank you.

I did a little washing and ironing this morning, but my heart wasn't in it. I was waiting for the podcast to come out. 

Lynn, or L Bachman, was kind enough to interview me, and then edited nearly three hours of nattering down to just under thirtyfive minutes. It was my first time as a guest on a podcast, but she made it really easy. I shall be keeping up with it. You can find it on Spotify as the Dark Jottercast, and my interview is here, if you are interested.

I was worried that my accent would be too strong, and that I would talk to fast. As it is, I think I may talk too slow! I am still incredibly giddy about it. I don't know how many people will hear it, but it makes me feel a lot more of a proper author.

I think I will aim for an early night, as I am very tired and achy. My hip is really painful. I think I know what is wrong with it, though. It's being overweight and not moving enough. Still, bear is back at school next week so I will be able to get moving a little, I hope.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 21 April 2022

Serves Me Right

Sharon - I know that 'what's for tea' sinking feeling. Except DH and bear have Views and I never know when it's all going to go wrong. You are carrying a massive load so it's no wonder that sometimes you find it tough. Sending hugs 

Bless - I warmed up nicely thank you and I'm especially proud of resisting temptation.

Eileen - I think some shops don't reduce much at all and sometimes you need to be lucky.

Cherie - May I suggest rum + Tia Maria + cola. It is wonderful and you don't feel a smidge of cold afterwards, if the measures are large enough. You are awesome, but, unlike you, I fail at seeds.

I took this picture while coughing.

It's one of the gooseberry bushes and it seems to be coming on nicely.

I sprayed the weeds with weedkiller but it left me coughing and spluttering all day. I feel that this serves me right. I don't like weedkiller, but faced with buttercups, dandelions and a bad back, I thought it was necessary. I am also feeling out of sorts as I have cellulitis again. I had a quick consult with the doctor this morning and this evening I nipped out to Tesco to pick up my prescription. 

While I was at Tesco, I picked up a chicken tikka pasty for bear as I know that he enjoys them, and some stock cubes. I didn't pick up any parsnips. If there had been a hint of room in my freezer I may have picked up a few packs as they were down from 42p (21p clubcard price) to 10p. They looked a bit battered.

I think that tonight definitely needs to be an early night, with an extra blanket or two.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 20 April 2022


Bless - I fail so much with meal planning and I'm learning to be flexible. It's why I'm always so fascinated by your meal plans. Any time I try to meal plan, it goes wrong. But the honeysuckle seems very happy with the trellis.

Eileen - I get all my cola from Aldi. I have an unfortunate caffeine addiction and, despite what I sometimes put on facebook, coffee gives me headaches and tea can make me sick. I turned to cola but  Tesco/Morrisons/Adsa/Sainsburys own brand colas all contain gluten, and Coca Cola and Pepsi are too expensive. I've had some good meat from Aldi, and quite often pick up bits. I remember getting an amazing bargain on lamb mince once - I picked up 4 lots of 250g for £2.84. I'm considering changing my shopping habits to pick up better bargains. I don't go into Lidl so much, though I may change around. There is one quite near bear's school. 

Following on from that, I am wary of yellow sticker stuff. Quite often, it isn't marked down that much when I go into my local Tesco or Morrisons and can be quite battered or unpleasant. I get some good bargains from the Co-op first thing in the morning, but it depends. The mushrooms are usually marked down to 77p for 300g, and they are really nice mushrooms. The frozen mushrooms at Tesco aren't nearly as nice and are £1.10 for 500g. However the mushrooms at the Co-op at full price are too much (if I remember correctly, £1.05 or £1.15 for 300g before being reduced). I think you have to know the prices. If Aldi or Tesco are having an offer on mushrooms, they can be quite reduced in price, but not nearly as good quality as the Co-op ones. 

Sometimes I think you need a black belt in shopping just to work out the deals.

I had rebooked the delivery that missed on Saturday for today. I was in two minds about cancelling it, but I went ahead. I thought that I would get the bagged salad that way. It was the only item that was missed in the delivery, of course. If bear hadn't been there, I may have said some rude words. I had a quick word with the driver who said that they were getting used to a new system. To be honest, I felt for him. Once he had left, I nipped out to the Co-op to pick up salad and I didn't look at anything else! Mind you, the freezer is so full that I swear I saw it wince when I shut the door.  And I forgot to take any pics.

Cherie - I'm going to have to take a leaf out of your book and start growing some salad leaves!

While we were hanging out after dinner, I was reading and I got cold before I realised it. I feel cold to the centre! I just can't bring myself to put the fire on, though, so I am sitting here with one of my shawls around my shoulders, a blanket on my knee and a severe rum and coke. After this I think I shall get out my knitting and watch some NCIS.

Writing stuff - just a little chat about how I came to write Monday's story here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 19 April 2022

What Just Happened?

Sharon - I'm looking forward to seeing pics of your garden. You have a wonderful way of looking at things.

Eileen - We had rain last night, but the forecast is clear for the next few days, so I'll be getting my exercise hauling a watering can up and down the kitchen steps. It's worth it.

Today has been, well, odd. I woke up reasonably early and got started on a piece for the blog thingy that the publishers of the Grumpy Old Gods Anthology would like. Then I realised that I didn't have salad to go with DH's pasta bake that was planned for tonight, so I popped out five minutes to the Co-op. Today I drove, but one day I will walk!

I completely forgot to pick up the bagged salad. On the other hand I picked up three packs of yellow sticker mushrooms (either in the dehydrator, the freezer or eaten with dinner), two perfectly good reduced swedes, some reduced coleslaw for bear (who loves the stuff), some reduced gluten free rolls and some fruit for DH. As I had a coupon for £4.50 if I spent £30, I picked up two bottles of rum as well, and saved the money. The rum will last a while (I hope) and was worth the saving.

When I got home, I gave bear some lunch, then finished the story. I then put together a little chatty piece for tomorrow. I also spent the afternoon prepping the mushrooms and I peeled, diced and blanched the other reduced stew pack and bunged it into the freezer for making soup next week. I even peeled the potatoes for dinner early. As I had forgotten the salad, we all had mince and mash with broccoli which bear almost inhaled. I need to feed him more. After dinner I started another piece that I'm hoping to have as a guest post on someone else's blog. 

Today has been strangely productive. I didn't plan to be productive and I just got on with stuff. Mind you, I haven't got any pics. But without feeling pressured or stressed or under a deadline, I think I've been the most productive I've been for years. I wish I knew how I got here, because I would love to get the same or more done tomorrow.

I'm sorry for all the writing stuff mixed in, but that has been the odd thing about the day - it's all been mixed together. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 18 April 2022

And That was Bank Holiday

Cherie - I couldn't imagine getting either of the men to consider it, and I am a bit worried about the local rats bathroom habits. 

Bless - I love the apple blossom. It's the best that it's been for years. I know that last year the runner beans got away from me - they grew like crazy and the trellis will not be tall enough! M may be worried about how enthusiastic they are. Forgetting the dry cleaning that I had gone to get is normal for me. 

Eileen - we currently have four very small gooseberry bushed planted in each corner of the centre square. I think I need to water and feed them and perhaps I'll get some decent gooseberries next year. I got them last year from Aldi and they survived my neglect. I think I will just get some generic supermarket bedding plants. Then runner beans on the wall that's currently empty and massive amounts of lavender under the study window. We had a huge bank of it years ago, but had to get rid of it when we had the windows replaced. I've dug out a pic 

That was years ago, I think in 2018. It was almost extra security. No-one was likely to try and climb in those windows as the bees were always so active there.

Speaking of plants, I nipped out to stretch my wheels, called in at Morrisons and took this pic in the car park.

According to the Google image search, it's probably Giant Hogweed. I told bear this, and he thought it was amazingly cool. Apparently the blisters you get can last up to ten years. I'll give Morrisons a ring tomorrow to let them know that they may want to get it cleared. 

And other plant news - the honeysuckle seems happy with the new trellis on the other side.

I'm now checking the weather forecast for rain, to see if I will need to water the garden. I'm more used to checking for driving conditions.

Writing stuff - today's flash fiction is here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 17 April 2022

Happy Easter!

Eileen - I'll keep an eye out. They've been pretty good in the past, but in the past they've managed to get the delivery here. 

Deborah - the Range is such a tempting place! I could buy half the stock!

Today has been nice and quiet. I reluctantly put weedkiller down, which may make a dent in the weeds. Bear was happy sweeping up dust and generally being outside. Mind you, he also spent a few hours playing a racing X-box game. 

I've been tootling around and as I sat down to write the blog, I realised that I hadn't taken any pics today. So I went out and took pics of the garden - all the good stuff is bear and DH. There is something about pics taken in the dark which is very kind to my gardening skills. The border around here is full of dandelions and buttercups. I sprayed it with weedkiller this morning. I have some more trellis on order and I'm planning runner beans up them as a screen.

And this is the bird feeder and the trellis that DH and bear attached to the wall. There is actually quite a bed there, but I plan to let the honeysuckle just run over it. Which reminds me, I need to put some plant food on it tomorrow. And also perhaps take some pics in daylight.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 16 April 2022

There and Back Again

Bless - a lot of bear's pals have had hollow legs. At the moment, bear seems happy to pack away the food and he is looking pretty skinny at the moment. Those hares definitely had attitude and I was seriously tempted by them! I wasn't so tempted by the grass. I did think of cats when I saw it. I don't know if Dancer raids the grass or green things often, but I was told that indoor cats should always have access to grass. When we had indoor cats, they treated grass with contempt. Gifts of flowers and houseplants, however, were fair game. That's cats for you!

Eileen - There will definitely be photos.

DH and bear have been slogging away at the garden. They have done wonders! So much has been cleared away. I'm going to be putting down weedkiller tomorrow. It's very much against my inclination, but I have dandelions, brambles and buttercups and I just need a clean slate. Bear has been awesome and has, according to DH, really enjoyed himself. Sometimes I wonder how he turned out so well. I've ordered some more trellis. I plan to have another go at runner beans. I don't know how much we will eat, but I loved the flowers and the heart shaped leaves. The apple tree is looking good at the moment. The amount of blossom seems to hint at a tough winter next time. 

I dug out my spin scrubber from Aldi. It failed on an epic level. It is what looks like a giant electric toothbrush and it whirred about fearsomely until it was actually pressed against the stones. Then it seemed to fade away. 

Tesco were supposed to deliver between 9am and 10am. I spent the morning waiting around and wondering. Apparently there are 18 vans that operate out of my local store and 15 of them were marked as not running. Mine was missing from the list, but around 1pm I got a text letting me know that the order was cancelled. I was a little fed up about it. I could have done without the upset. However it could all have been worse. I nipped over to Tesco in Batley and, before I went in, called in on the dry cleaners who had the blazer and blanket ready. It was pretty bulky, so they suggested that they keep the dry cleaning until I had finished shopping. I whizzed into the store, picked up some bits and completely forgot about picking up the dry cleaning on the way out! I didn't realise for ages.

This meant that I ended up going all the way back, picking up the stuff I had forgotten at the supermarket in the first run and then picking up the dry cleaning. I have to do some mending, which I'm not looking forward to, but bear's blazer is looking a lot cleaner! 

I was shocked at the cost of pine nuts. DH likes to add them to stuff, just a pinch here and there, so I get them in. I thought that they were expensive at £3 per 100g but the only ones I found were £5 for 150g! I don't begrudge DH his pleasures, though, and I've not mentioned the price to him. He works very hard and he deserves to have things that he likes. 

It's been a wonderfully quiet evening. I'm looking forward to a peaceful day tomorrow. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 15 April 2022

What Day Is It?

Eileen - I don't think the interview is too scary. To be honest, I don't read or watch much scary stuff. I write scarier than I can read. Dinner at Dark which I loved writing is far scarier than I would chose for myself. I will share absolutely everywhere as soon as it's available. 

I don't know what day it is. I keep thinking that it's Sunday (it isn't) or Thursday (it really isn't) or even Monday (not even close). I think the combination of school holidays and DH having a day off, together with me being on pins for a book being released on Sunday (Caleb's Kingdom by Essie Summers), has left me out of synch. 

DH did loads in the garden today. He moved a load of stuff, cleared a load more stuff and was generally a hero. I pruned back the fuchsia, to the absolute dismay of the sparrows. Though I think it was the robin that dived past me at speed as the sparrows normally travel in packs and it was just one feathered threat. I haven't cut it right back, but just enough that we can walk past it and that it doesn't swamp the yellow rose and the lilac. I found a small flower bud on one of the pruned bits, so I'm hoping to see flowers soon.

DH took some stuff to the tip and there's more to go tomorrow. I hope to spend time clearing more stuff so that he needs to do another run on Monday.

Bear is complaining of feeling tired. I suspect that a growth spurt is about to hit him hard, but I also worry a little. He doesn't eat a lot, even of sweeties and treats. I told him that I was worried about whether he had enough fuel. Dinner tonight was veggie sausages with a huge mound of mashed potatoes, steamed cabbage and microwave-roasted carrots. He didn't have a small portion put in front of him, but he cleared it in record time. I am planning to look up some healthy snack recipes, so that I can perhaps get nutrition into him that way. 

As an aside, I found this channel Chesterton Radio. I haven't checked it out, but it looks like old radio plays and audio books. I plan to dip into it, as it has a few stories that I'd like to hear. It will be great to have something to listen to while I knit. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 14 April 2022

I Relaxed

Sharon - thank you. I shall listen to the podcast first, but if it turns out like I think, I will be sharing it with everyone! I really need to do the 'no shop' thing. 

Eileen - I was very proud of myself. The Range that I went into has two floors, with Arts and Craft supplies on the upper floor - and I didn't go there! I wandered briefly past the candles, forced myself away from the home decor and marched around the DIY and the garden bit. It was tough. The throws that they have there are gorgeous.

I haven't done much today, and I very much enjoyed it. I called into Tesco this evening for some stuff for bear, and I took this pic.

They look cute, but as far as I can see, it's just grass. It's great if you have cats, I suppose, but rather pointless in a small yard. 

The podcast should come out a week tomorrow. I'll be sharing it shamelessly. If you are into scary horror stuff, the podcast (without me so far) is Dark Jottercast L Bachman was really kind to me.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 13 April 2022

Could be Worse

I've got quite a bit of writing stuff done, with all sorts of little bits finished off. Bear put together the chair for me (with some assistance from DH as he wasn't used to some of the things he needed to do) and sent me out for some gorilla tape. He sticks the steering wheel for his computer to his desk with yards of the stuff. Mind you, I don't think he will be playing many driving games for the next few games as he had some books delivered today. 

I ended up calling in to the Range, near IKEA, where I remembered to pick up fat balls as well as the tape. I was so tempted by everything there. They had the most disdainful hares.

Writing stuff - Dinner at Dark is free as an eBook until 17th April. And there is a very short snippet about how it came to be written, back in 2016, here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Something of a Rollercoaster

Bless - thank you for that vote of confidence 

Eileen - it was an interview with me as an author who writes some horror. I hope that it lives up to your expectations.

The podcast, well, we chatted for something like two and a half hours and she is editing it down to thirty minutes. I have no idea what she is keeping in. L Bachman made me feel so at home and comfortable. I hope I did her proud.

Today, well, it was hit and miss. I took bear's blazer to the dry cleaner's next to Tesco and called in. I found the 'breaded' gluten free chicken nuggets in stock, which I love and which are a great meal in a rush. They haven't been in since the start of the plague. As it is Ramadan and Tesco is in an area with a lot of Muslims, there were a lot of goodies. I resisted a lot of them, but I couldn't resist them all and there are more dates in this house than in a crate full of calendars. Unfortunately I forgot the bird's fatballs and the pasty that bear requested for lunch. 

After some discussion with bear, I nipped back out to the Co-op where not only did they have the pasty that he liked, but they also had some yellow sticker mushrooms. I picked up over a kilo (leaving some for everyone else) and they are now peeled, chopped and in the freezer. I don't bother blanching them or anything and it doesn't seem to make much difference when they are bunged into a casserole or cooked up with mince or stirred into a sauce. I've seen a nice recipe for mushroom soup which is basically simmering mushrooms in stock with flavourings and then liquidising. I may add a little onion and garlic, but I'm saving all the stalks from the mushrooms separately and I plan to have a nice bowl or two of the soup. I also remembered to put the left over mashed potato in the fridge which I plan to mix with beaten egg and fry. I'll share if I manage to do that.

Then I stumbled, fell sideways into a chair and broke it. The angle didn't help, but the diet is now! I realised in the nick of time that IKEA was still open, dashed out and picked up a replacement chair. I also picked up some vegetarian meatballs which I really like. They are gluten free, relatively healthy and cook in the microwave in no time. 

IKEA seems to have broken out in artificial flowers. They were everywhere. I was wondering whether there would be an attack of MDF aphids! There was even what looked like wedding dress store set up. I suppose it hides any gaps, but it felt like I was pushing on through the undergrowth.

Yes, the pic above was taken in actual IKEA. I'm still not sure what that was all about. 

I didn't get much time to take pics, as the store was about to shut and I was belting around at speed, but there were real plants, plastic plants, and some stuff I couldn't tell and there were absolutely swathes of the stuff. I'm quite disappointed that I didn't manage to get a pick of the sunflowers and greenery in the food shop. 

Speaking of plants, bear put his hand down on a plant yesterday and came home with blisters. It's still sore and itchy today. I wondered if it could be giant hogweed, as I think I saw some by the beck a few years ago. Bear said that it was spiky and small and wasn't giant hogweed big? I pointed out that giant hogweed didn't start big, but, like all plants, grew. I put some antiseptic cream on it and I'll keep an eye out.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 11 April 2022

Fail Continues

Bless - thank you! I'm proud of him too. He had a great time at the theatre.

Eileen - the men have sorted the trellis and it looks amazing. They did a great job. I'm more proud of bear's attitude than anything else. 

Ranee - thank you so much! I sometimes look at him and wonder what I did right. But his dad and I will always do our best to be there for him and his studies. He is such a blessing (and I suspect a lot more mature than his parents)!

Sharon - thank you! The trellis is really sturdy and the men did a great job. I am so proud of bear. The poor kid is planning on revising for most of the holidays, but I hope that he'll get some relaxation too.

Cherie - thank you! You are right, it's the attitude that will take him places. He is so much more practical than I am, and he is wonderfully steady. I don't know where he got it from.

KJ - thank you!

I haven't caught up with the blogs I enjoy reading yet. I was in a tizz about the podcast all yesterday and then, due to time differences, I was up until 2am! L Bachman, the host, was so lovely and put me at my ease and asked all sorts of interesting questions. I hope I did her proud, and I felt very comfortable at my first attempt at a podcast. Of course, pride comes before a fall and spent most of today trying to get the writing to work (and it didn't). I will listen very carefully before I share it, when it comes out, just in case I've said something that I shouldn't.

Writing stuff - Today's flash fiction is here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 8 April 2022

And Then I Found Myself Here

Dashing through in haste. I did a shop late at night last night and completely forgot about the whole blog thing. Today I got an invite to a podcast so I've been researching frantically so that I don't sound like an idiot (it hasn't been recorded yet, and I'll let you know if it ever makes it to air). 

The weather has been silly. It was the most gorgeous golden morning on the school run, and we had hail, sleet and snow on the way home and I was glad to get in. The men are planning to do things with the trellis in the garden tomorrow, which is just as well as the honeysuckle is already starting to twine in after a few days with absolutely no encouragement from me.

I didn't put it there. It managed to find it all by itself!

The main reason I am posting is that this is one of the few places I can tell people that bear got an awesome school report today. It looks like he will get great grades, which is good. He is earning a reward, however, for having impeccable attitude to learning scores. His willingness to learn and to work is far more important. I am so proud of him.

I will be back and probably more sensible tomorrow. Though I'm pretty sure that I've picked up bear's cold.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 7 April 2022

Nothing Much to See Here

Sharon - Thank you! It must be a nuisance trying to find your way around a new supermarket. It always leaves me a little off balance. Fingers crossed that everything goes back to normal by October. And bear got home fine!

Cherie - I will be taking full advantage of better access to Tesco! The graffiti is sort of mixed. There is actually some cheerful stuff, like 'you're never fully dressed without a smile' as well as the awful tags. I shall take some more pics.

Col - that made me smile. Some of the local roads are more pot hole than road. But that stretch of water wasn't a hole. There had been heavy rain and that part of the road had flooded. I don't think that it was that deep, but I avoided it when I was driving out!

Eileen - I plan to take advantage of Home Bargains. The theatre trip was part of the drama groups 'thing' but it isn't for his course. I think it was just a chance for them to get exposure to the theatre, especially after the last few years. 

I've been armpit deep in writing stuff today. I don't feel that I have got that much done that I should have done. I didn't even get stuff that I wanted done. I'm still not caught up with the blogs. I think I shall have to seriously settle down and get some lists made. Bear is on leave from school next week so I need to get all cleared for that. I need to plan a shopping trip and stock up.

Bear came home fine, of course. He was shattered today, but he did well, apparently, in his tests. He should be getting his report through soon. I hope that he has done well. From my point of view he has spent more time working on his riffle shuffle than his homework, but his teachers seem fine with it so I'm not rocking the boat.

Writing stuff - I'm keeping up with the Wednesday chat stuff, and today I put a little about how I looked at research here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 5 April 2022

A New Tesco!

Bless - thank you.

Cherie - He's already volunteering to carry heavy stuff for me, bless him. 

Eileen - I plan on having fun in the garden and I will share when it's fit. Thank you for setting the challenge. It's a real inspiration to look outward. I'm looking forward to the next one. I have a photo of my car with snow on taken on April 1st, so that has to be part of the challenge!

KJ - thank you, I know that you have an eye for these things so I feel very pleased with myself.

Briony - I was trying to think of ways of getting different H's. I never managed to get 'hiatus' or 'halt' in a pic, to my disappointment. Thank you!

I came home the usual route but, because I had been looking for something else, I found that was a Tesco even more on the way home than the massive one at Batley. It's much smaller and older. It reminded me of the supermarkets that were built in the sixties and seventies, which were quite square and not nearly as big. It was still nice and clean, though, and while there was less choice, there was still enough for me. The graffiti overlooking the (small) carpark was also good. I'll have to get some better pics.

There is also a Home Bargain next to it. I picked up some planters to push against the fence, but DH has had some other ideas, so I'm not sure what I'm doing now. 

Bear's school has had a trying day. It is the first Ofsted inspection since 2007 (school standards inspectors). This is obviously stressful, especially after a change of headmaster followed by all the disruption of the plague. It is also their 'Green Day' where pupils were supposed to bring in books, stuff for the Foodbank and unwanted clothes to be donated to appropriate places. This was supposed to happen after 3.15pm when school finished, so I didn't bother sending stuff in as I had to get bear home for the other thing that was happening (that bear knew about) - the school trip to the Grand Theatre to see School of Rock. Bear wanted to go in early to look around a particular shop so there wasn't time to drop stuff off and then get home for him to get changed and out. I said that the teachers would be getting deliveries of draft gin by the tanker. 

Bear, by his own choice, went by himself into town to get to the meeting point, and DH is picking him up. I'm glad that the school insist on the kids being met as Leeds City Centre isn't brilliant for kids when it is late at night, even on a Tuesday. Bear told me that I didn't need to wait up. I suppose that will be a little more relevant in a few years time. Right now, of course I'm going to wait up!

I've been caught up with writing stuff today, so I haven't caught up with all the blogs that I want to read. I am looking forward to them! 

Hugs and good health to all. 

March Photo Challenge - Things Beginning with H

Eileen - thank you so much for setting the challenge. I am quite disappointed that I couldn't find a really good 'hill' one as I pass several great views on the school run, but there is nowhere safe to stop! Thank you for giving me something that makes me look outward. 

I looked through my camera reel for March and found more than I thought!

Harry Potter







Ivy (aka Hedera Helix in Latin)






Hawthorn (honest! I didn't get a good pic)



I got more than expected, and repurposed a few pics. I'm looking forward to next month!

Monday 4 April 2022

Keeping Busy

Thanks for all the kind words on the WSPH. I had such fun. Eileen - thank you for setting it up. I was a little upset about some personal stuff over the weekend but I hope to catch up with blogs soon.

Bear is becoming awesome. Over the weekend I cleared some stuff and he was casually lifting the trellis over his head and hefting it around. I was deeply impressed. He is very helpful. 

The garden is starting to look a little better. It's still not fit for pics, but getting nearer.

Writing stuff - thank goodness I had this cued up from last week. A little story with the Grumpy Old Gods - and it made me snigger writing it. You can find it here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 1 April 2022

Sort of Busy

Bless - thank you. I wonder if I could have convinced bear to have honey and black pepper. It may have really helped. 

Cherie - the weather is awful, but there are compensations. I wish I could have captured the absolute glitter and shine of the droplets. It looked magical!

Eileen - your garden is going to look amazing. As for the weather, it should have a long hard think about what it's done!

This was the view from the bathroom window this morning when I got up. It hadn't turned icy as the forecast said, which I was glad of. Instead it was snowing.

It had only just started there. By the time we were getting out, I had a terrible time clearing the windshield, far worse than yesterday. It was a combination of ice and snow, and the snow kept coming in huge flakes. The road was looking quite white by the time we left. 

And, to make things worse, the temporary traffic lights on the road works were playing up and I think snow covered the sensor that encouraged them to change. We were stuck in the queue for ages. We didn't get to school until 8.15. It was thirty minutes before bear needed to be there, but we are normally there around 7.30 to 7.40am! 

I picked up some bits for the weekend and filled up. There was a queue at the pumps and that took ages as well, but the snow had mostly gone by the time I started back.

Writing stuff - today an anthology Grumpy Old Trickster Gods came out, including a story by me! The anthology is on Amazon here, the trailer video is here and a little story leading up to my piece is on my blog here. I had so much fun writing it that it should be illegal. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Picture Scavenger Hunt - the end!

 This is in response to the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt set by Eileen T on Bracelet of Days (thank you Eileen, it has been something of a sanity saver). I have made a right mess of copying things over, but here we are with my list so far...

1. Party Time!

I saw this and thought that it looked like the bush was having a party!

2. A Star - I was browsing the candles when I shouldn't when I saw this.

3. Something you use every day - my battered handbag (also holder for keys, pens, notebooks, lipgloss, hand sanitiser, etc etc etc

4. Form or Shape - Just some fancy sign in the supermarket 

5. Diagonal - the stairs at the car park where I wait for bear

6. Currency - A sort of sad one. When father was alive, I used to help out the Methodist Church fairs and events. There was a 'roll the two pence' where you rolled a two pence coin down a chute and see which square it landed in. It had to be exact and not touch any margins, but if you made it then you could win 2p, 4p, 6p or even 10p! There was just enough return to keep a young kid with 50p in tuppences busy for long enough for parents to catch their breath. It didn't make much money for the church, but it was very popular. I saved all the 2p pieces, but the board has fallen to pieces and they aren't having the sales and events that they used to. I'm going to use it in the self checkout now.

7. A Rainbow - I wasn't happy to spot this - my car has an oil leak.

8. In Profile

9. A Single Letter of the Alphabet

10. Trees - taken one morning in a supermarket car park

11. Represent your zodiac sign or your Chinese year animal - I'm using the fake birthday I have on my writing Facebook as I don't like giving out my birthday. I think it's Libra, but couldn't find scales, so I went for balanced.

12. Symbolic of the country you call home - sort of, I think. It's supposed to be an English Rose, and a white rose is the symbol of Yorkshire. Yorkshire may not be a country, but it has it's own international football team. (sad note, this bush blew over 5 Feb 2022)

13. Graffiti/Street Art - I spotted this a while ago, but I took another picture for the challenge.

14. A tea break/coffee break snapped at a cafe as I don't drink tea or coffee much these days.

15. An External Light - a rather rubbish one of the moon, which I guess is fairly external. 

16. Half - half a dishcloth because the yarn ran out!

17. Wheel(s) - I thought it looked sort of cool.

18. A Gift - my son's Christmas gift to me

19. A Decoration I thought this looked cool

20. Small - a small elephant

Alt A Free Choice - who can resist taking a pic of a mannequin's disassembled leg?

Alt B The Weather Today - when the weather was interesting

Alt C Square(s) 

This is what I have on 6 February 2022, but I may update with some better pics if I see them.