Friday 30 September 2022


Eileen - bear spilled wax due to one of those strings of events that are almost inevitable. I was burning a large candle in the centre of a very stable table. Bear stood up too quickly, had a dizzy moment and, as he is rapidly approaching six foot tall, had a sort of blast radius as he stumbled and knocked over the candle. The candle went out straight away, but there was wax everywhere as it had been burning for ages and was mostly liquid. Some of the dratted stuff got onto my newish bag and soaked in. I was so unimpressed.

Wherethejourneytakesme - you need a black belt in shopping these days. I wish I had the energy for the challenge.

Sharon - I think we are all going to see a sudden jump in costs and it's going to be hard to keep up. I hope that you don't need too much of the ibuprofen.

Bless - I think I'm going to have to have a page per item in the price book as you suggest and work around it like that. I used to wait every year until the tinned soups came down to 50p per tin. The sale was around the same time each year in autumn and I bought loads. That was at a time when a tin was normally around 80-95p per tin outwith a sale. Now the same soup and the same brand is £1.45! When I saw a sale a few weeks ago that worked out at around 60p per tin, I bought a dozen. They will last maybe two months. It's a challenging time.

DH and I both have sore throats, sniffles, coughs and are full of aches. We can't call it flu, but it's not very pleasant. I ended up cancelling not only the hair dresser appointment, but also our trip to the theatre that we planned for tomorrow. I didn't do a big shop, though I booked a delivery for Sunday. This morning I was seriously worried that I wasn't in a good state to drive! I am not a ray of sunshine.

On the other hand, I made the soup! And it is so much of a win for me. Months ago I bought a pack of stew vegetables that had been marked down. There was a carrot or two, parsnip, swede, and an onion or so. I chopped them up and bunged them in the freezer. Today I pulled them out of the freezer ready to go, added some lentils, a stock cube and water, a little oil, turmeric and cumin. It took very little effort because all the veggie prep was done and I could leave it on the simmer for half an hour and it would be ready. Then DH liquidised it and it was lovely. It felt really warming. I think I shall watch out for those marked down veggies more often and make sure that they're prepped. 

I feel really good about it. And it's made me rethink the freezer and how I use it. At the moment there is a lot of beige stuff in to suit bear, but I can pick that up quite easily on a day to day basis. It would make more sense to freeze bargains. If I remember correctly (which is not guaranteed), that bag of veggies cost something like 43p, down from about 80p or 90p. There aren't any packs currently on the Tesco website, but Morrisons have a kilo of frozen casserole veggies for £1.55. Even with the lack of waste, the frozen stuff is still a lot more expensive. DH and I had a good meal out of it, and DH had seconds. I'll probably throw the dregs away because there isn't much space at the moment, but even though bear utterly rejected the soup, there were still three good portions. If I had managed it better and perhaps added a potato, there could easily have been two or three portions going into the freezer. If you add the (probably) 43p to the cost of the stock cube, lentils, spices and oil, and even the bit of bread we had with it, it still would not have been a lot per portion. It didn't even take much cooking. 

And that is where I need the price book. Not everything that is marked a bargain is actually a bargain. I'll still be buying my frozen onion. But I need to recognise a bargain when I see it and use it properly. 

Writing stuff - I put a small post about what is happening on my writing blog here. I'll be taking a few stories down on Sunday. It will be incredibly good for me to have a sort through.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 29 September 2022

Second Verse

Sharon - thank you for the lovely comments on the photos. Your opinion means a lot. The shop is so amazing that I'm trying to think of excuses to go back. There is a sort of similar bookshop in Holmfirth (or was) and I'm planning a trip there. Being able to rummage for the unexpected is part of the fun!

Bless - I think this hardward store is a similar age to yours. He said that it had been open for 67 years. There is something so reassuring about those shops. 

Well, my stomach is currently behaving but I'm having all sorts of fun with what feels like a sinus headache. I am not looking forward to the hairdressing appointment tomorrow. I'm definitely feeling under the weather. I suspect I'm getting a cold, and with all that has been happening, colds seem to be so much worse now. DH is also rough. He has a sore throat and is not on top form. I picked up a wide selection of throat sweets for him and we are all having an early night.

I am going to settle down after this and write some lists. I've been having a little success with them this week, and they are keeping me on track. I've got a notebook for my price book. I thought I'd share my processes and mistakes on here, because it may be useful to others. 

This is my new A5 notebook.

The tabs are marking sections as it's a project book with inbuilt dividers. I thought I would mark them as 'Fresh', 'Frozen', 'Food Cupboard' and 'Misc' (I had some rude ideas about something that would represent a mish mash of cleaning and health and that would start with 'F' to keep the theme, but I'm going with 'Misc'). 

I'm not entirely sure how it will work. For example, there is no point in me buying bagged salad in bulk when there's a good sale, so do I track it? DH has a bag every week. As it is such a regular buy, I may keep an eye on how it goes and just track the price so that I have an idea of how the budget will work. On the other hand, if I see mushrooms at a good price, I can chop and freeze them, and the same for root veg, so that is probably worth recording. 

I jotted down some prices.

I will never win prizes for penmanship. But I think I need a separate page for each item, and I need to be more specific. Currently, on Tesco's website, there are Rosedene cheap small pears at £1.73 per kilo, Conference pears at £2.79 per kilo (half price with Clubcard), Seasonal pears at £3.82 per kilo and organic pears at £5 per kilo. I need to check out the farm shop for these as well, as they may or may not be equivalent prices, but they may be better quality. I'm working through ideas, and I'll share as I go. I'll get rid of this page and start again. I knew that I would be changing my mind a lot, which is why I'm starting out with an extremely inexpensive notebook.

I'm still keeping my shopping list notebook. I use it intermittently, but I've been using the same one for ages. I try and use up all the page so stuff gets squeezed in all sorts of corners. 

It's getting a bit battered, but I'm using every scrap of it. 

I still haven't found a handbag that I like, after bear spilled hot wax on the current one. I dug this out of the back of the warddrobe. I got it ages ago from my friend eBay, but there was a smell. The smell has pretty much gone.

It's a little bigger and will take both the shopping list and the price book as well as the rests of the rubbish I lug around with me. 

I need to sit down after posting this and make a shopping list. I could do with getting the 10% off shop done tomorrow, and my ideal schedule would go - drop off bear around 7.30am (his choice!), then go straight to Tesco and do the big shop, hopefully finishing not much later than around 9.30. I don't need huge amounts, but I need a few bits and I may as well group them together and then get the money off. It costs £7.99 per month for the Tesco Clubcard Extra, so I need to get more than that using the 10% off shops. Ordinary clubcard reductions don't count as you get them with the free clubcard as well. I want to pick up some clothing (10% off F&F clothes if it's not already on sale) and shop for some Christmas presents. I also need to call in Aldi for a tiny bit or two before diving home and grabbing a shower then heading back towards Heckmondwike for my appointment at 12pm. By the time it's finished, it will barely be worth going home to come back, so I'm planning on getting some serious knitting done as I wait to pick up bear. 

Then home, and I'm risking letting you know that I'm planning homemade soup for DH and I. Bear has utterly rejected soup, so he will have something beige. Normally if I even whisper what I am planning for dinner then it all goes wrong, but I'm hoping it will work out. 

Writing stuff - I'm still planning on removing some of the stories under A Whisper in the Shadows so dip in if you feel like it before 2nd October.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Sort of Busy

Thank you for the compliments about the pics. I'm feeling a lot better. 

Today has been an off balance sort of day. I didn't have a clean shirt for bear (and it's one bit of housewifery that I'm usually really good at). I finally packed a parcel that I'd been meaning to pack for ages. I had a bit of a fail printing the label, as the ink is getting sparse, but I got there.

I met up with a friend for a coffee and I had a blast. Her son was at primary school with bear and while they are at different high schools, they are both doing well. I forgot the time and had to rush back. 

I failed to take the right turn off for the post office at the Co-op so I ended up lugging the parcel around Heckmondwike to get to the post office there. Most post offices seem to be in shops these days, like the Co-op, and this is one of the few stand alone ones that I know. Then I went to get a fuse.

You see, bear has a heater in his room. That room is the coldest in the house, and bear has a small, oil filled radiator for when he's up there. This was vital a few years ago, when bear had so much trouble with his legs. The medication they gave him made him absolutely crippled with cold. He went from a furnace to an iceberg. It is a known side effect of the damn tablets (which didn't really help) and it's only now that he's getting back to not feeling the cold at all. However, after the warm summer, it feels chilly and he does a lot of homework up there, so I'm happy for him to have that radiator. Of course, now it's stopped working after some sterling service. I wondered if it was the fuse, so we checked and it needs a 10amp fuse, so I thought I would call in at the hardware store that I had noticed at Heckmondwike. 

It was amazing. The store is so full that you can barely squeeze around. There are peg boards on every wall with screws and washers and padlocks and bolts and wires and plugs and string and, well, everything. Things hung from the ceiling (I got a decent sized pan at last!), things were propped up in corners and against shelves (I did not expect to see a warming pan) and there were relics like oversized purple brandy glasses. The nice man (who was lovely) had to move half a dozen ladders to get to the fuses, and he pulled out a pack of four with three left in them. He pulled out one and charged me 30p. 

It had a story to it. The store had been going 67 years and once had nine people working there plus two drivers supplying the local mills, workshops and factories. They have all shut now, and I think that it's much reduced. He told me he had the old imperial measure drill bits in the back room but that there wasn't a call for them. I shall be going back there whenever I have an excuse. It reminds me of the sort of shop that my grandfather used to use.

I took a view of that fuchsia from a different angle. I swear that next year I'm going to be measuring it.

You can understand why I'm worried about it blocking the path, but the flowers are such a lifeline to the bees and I'm worried that the sparrows would get even more assertive with me.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Stomach Continues

Thank you for the kind comments. The stomach stuff is a well worn theme - there is something out there that my body really hates, but I'm not exactly sure what it is. I'll have another day of it, I think, but I should be able to get more done tomorrow.

I got some pics first thing yesterday, before it really kicked off. It didn't look entirely like autum in the canopy, but it looked quite autumnal on the ground.

Those are acorns. I should have got a little closer, but I was already feeling off. The paths had dead leaves on them, which made it more like autumn.

Bear's workload continues. Poor kid doesn't seem to know which way is up at the moment.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 26 September 2022

In Haste but Showing Off

I am in the middle of a stomach upset and sinking under the writing but I wanted to share that another of the articles I wrote on research is on the Three Furies Press site here

Also, you are all awesome.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 22 September 2022

Unexpected School Event

Col - I'm absolutely looking at that site! I don't bother with washing powder for stuff that isn't really too dirty, just some white vinegar for softener. It comes out just fine. My cloths are a random assorted of microfibre, cotton, knitted and unknown. I have a poly cotton nightie that is so ragged that it's next step is dusters. An egg sounds like it's a win for the environment and my pocket. 

Sharon - thank you, and so far so good.

Bless - thank you, you are really kind.

I had another bad night, so was less than thrilled at getting a text from bear just after I dropped him off. He asked whether I was going to the Parents Information Evening that night. My instinctive reaction was - what Parents Information Evening? It was just before I called into Aldi, and I got so flustered trying to work out logistics that I bought yarn and forgot icecream! You see, bear had late drama tonight, which finished at roughly the time the Parents Evening started, and the buses at that time are sparse and complicated. So as soon as DH had finished work, we drove off, met with bear, gave him money for snacks, went into the meeting with all the other parents, listened to 'Death by Powerpoint', made notes, got out, picked up bear and went home. 

I didn't get too much done apart from a little writing. I managed a walk, though, and took a few pictures, including what looked like a very inadequate fuschia compared to mine.

In comparison, the most recent pic of my plant thug.

It hasn't got smaller. 

Now I am going to crawl off to bed with a view to pulling myself together tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 21 September 2022

A Fail Day

Hazel - thank you. I think that makes sense. I hardly ever buy kitchen roll as I use cloths, and the microfibre ones that are, if I remember right, older than bear are still holding up. I could do with some bigger ones, though and at least the new ones are a better size. And I use a front loading washing machine, which is apparently a good thing. And the comments are getting harder to navigate I swear!

Bless - the bathroom is clean.

I managed to clean the bathroom and I got some washing done, but it's been something of a fail day. I called in to Marks and Spencers on the way home but their gluten free bread is more expensive than Schar (which is the good stuff) and they don't have the rice milk that bear and I use. I picked up a bag of salad for DH and it was more expensive and I'm not sure that it was nicer. I think it will be worth bobbing in if I have time spare first thing to see if there are any bargains, but perhaps not get most of my shopping there. 

I feel very fed up with myself. I'm giving myself a good talking to and then I'm going to bed for an early night. Last night was a shocking night's sleep and in one of the few snatches of sleep I got, I dreamt that I was defending Morrison's car park from zombies. My first thought when I woke up was that it was soooo not worth it.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 20 September 2022

I Can't Put That in the Title

Bless - It's all very odd how comments are ending up in strange places. At least this comment made it to the proper place. I love that we can all get on enough to just be around each other. 

Cherie - It was a good send off, and done well. The organisers can take pride in their achievement.

Sharon - I'm expecting the price of potatoes to go up here after a very dry summer. There's hardly anything that's cheap.

Bear had today off so disappeared to meet up with friends for the day. He seemed to have a good time. While he was out, I called into In n Out Garage to get a sidelight replaced. I was ridiculously early, but they have a waiting area where you are welcome to wait, and they have a tea/coffee/chocolate machine as well! I didn't bother with a drink, but settled down with my knitting. They didn't take long, but then we hit a snag. They charged £5, which I was happy with. However their card machine wasn't working and they didn't have change for a £10 note. I ended up nipping next door to Wickes to buy something. I ended up buying a pack of microfibre cloths, which I regretted almost straight away as I know that microfibre is not as ecologically sound as I thought. I've had a quick google, and there seem to be some people that thing they are good, but others who condemn them. I may have wasted the £6 (£4 change plus the £1 I had in my purse). Anyway, I paid for the light. And they are a nice colour.

I called in to Aldi after that (forgot the beans and sausage that bear liked, darn it) and they had even more yarn. I didn't buy any. That is not to say that I wasn't tempted.

On to why I've called the post that - DH and I have just spent hours unblocking our toilet. There was a lot of stress, splash and odiferous content. It was disgusting. 

We started with a sort of wire snake, went on with washing up liquid, then boiling water, then baking-soda and vinegar. I had a kilo of baking soda and a gallon of vinegar and we went large, but it still didn't clear it, though it made a lot of nice bubbles in the washing up liquid. In the end we went to B&Q and got a plunger that really helped. Currently there are a lot of clothes in the washer, with an extra rinse and at the hottest temperature they'll take. I need to deep clean the bathroom tomorrow. DH was an absolute hero throughout.

And this throws out the plans I have for tomorrow as well. I think I shall have to micromanage the lists. I have so much that I need to do that's time sensitive. I think I will have an early night and worry about it in the morning.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 19 September 2022

Drink Has Been Taken

Bless - your lovely comment about the candle ended up in my spam folder. Thank you. It's all very relaxed here.

Eileen - it's been incredibly relaxing.

I didn't watch the funeral. I wasn't sure about it. I was glued to the screen about the sad news and the announcements at the Privy Council. Today, I thought I would look away. 

Drink has been taken so I'm not sure how much sense I'll make.

Bear has tomorrow off school. At this time of year, the school closes for at least a day for entrance examinations. They should have been today, but they closed for the funeral. I can still remember bear's exam day. His exams were on a Saturday so DH and I were there. The queues were huge and ran down both sides of the street. I know that the year that bear applied, 800 kids sat the exams. Most of them queued with a lot more family members. It was very chaotic. A few years ago it was 1000 applicants, and I have no idea how many now. Bear was very calm about the whole thing and far less stressed about it than us. We took him to get a lego set, so that he had something to take his mind off things, but he didn't see what all the fuss was about. I hope that calm carries on to his GCSEs. 

I was, and am, very grateful that bear was able to not only sit but also pass the exams. He didn't get much prep, and I tried to make it safe for him. He was fine. We have been so blessed with him. 

It's been so quiet today. We have, as usual, spent a lot of the day in the study. Bear has been playing computer games while listening to YouTube channels. I've been pottering around and reading. DH has been listening to podcasts. As the days get a little colder, it will make more and more sense for us to settle down in one room and stay warm together to save energy. It also feels emotionally warm. We're not intruding on each other, but still in each other's company. 

Speaking of saving energy, dinner was relatively low energy. We had veggie sausages cooked for fifteen in a halogen oven, which is relatively energy efficient. I also boiled potatoes for mash with a steamer full of frozen peas on top. We also had gravy, which was the granule stuff and so only cost the energy to boil a kettle. 

I got a sack of potatoes in the Morrisons delivery. I was wondering what sort of quality I'd get. It was £2.99 for 7.5kg so I wasn't sure, but they look pretty good.

They were lovely, fresh and firm and made delicious mash. There is going to be a lot of potatoes eaten over the next week or so.

I think it's going to be interesting to see how cooking changes over the the next year or so as energy prices stablise. I bunged a steamer on top of the potatoes because that's what I've been doing for most of my married life. It's only a few pennies, but it all adds up. I suspect that we are going to see a lot more about how to use an airfryer, or a slow cooker, or even a haybox. I look forward to seeing the new ideas.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 18 September 2022

Another Wonderfully Quiet Day

Sharon - there's something about a candle that really makes a psychological difference. Unless it's a heatwave, we almost always have a candle on when we get together, like a sort of visual hug. 

Eileen - thank you. It's a wonderful feeling where three introverts are doing their own thing together and feeling okay about sharing snippets as we hang out. I hope we are building good memories for bear.

Deborah - most of my needles are cheap bamboo, but these are my posh ones, and they make the knitting so much easier.

It's been a wonderfully quiet day. I've done a little knitting, a little writing, some reading and a lot of relaxing. Bear has had a quiet day as well, though he went climbing this afternoon. DH has also had a serious relax. 

I'm not sure about tomorrow. Part of me wants to watch. Part of me thinks that I won't really pay full attention. However I'm confident that most of tomorrow will be bear, DH and I in the study, with a candle on, keeping quiet company.

We may even have the fire on. Our central heating is on timer, and if the landing falls below 19C then the heating will kick in for a few hours in the morning and evening. It's been kicking on in the morning for the last few days, including the new towel rail. I'm going to try and resist putting the fire on, though. If it's the three of us with a candle, a blanket or two each, plenty of sweaters and all the electronics, we should be able to avoid turning it on. It's not even that cold, really. It just feels colder compared to all the heat we've had. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 17 September 2022


Cherie - The way Tesco are working things is sneaky. They are effectively 'paying' for information on shopping habits by giving lower prices. The £7.99 I pay for Clubcard Extra (with the two lots of 10% off a shop each month and extra 10% of F&F clothing, Fox & Ivy stuff etc) is a way of getting people to commit to Tesco. After all, it makes sense to do the majority of your shopping in two big shops in Tesco if you are paying £7.99 per month. At the moment, they are the cheapest for me for a lot of things that I can't get at Aldi, so I'm keeping it, but I'm trying to keep a weather eye on the other stores as well.

Bless - thank you. Bear seems to be getting very good at relaxing. He has so much homework, though! When it comes to shopping, it seems so finely judged sometimes, and I feel that you need to be a military strategist to find the best way to do things. I think that it's really important that you protect yourself and look after your health. 

Eileen - I checked and I wasn't charged. I wonder if there is a poor person who was relying on those prawns for a special occasion. I know that the driver really didn't want to take them back, so I got them for free. I am not as grateful as I should be.

Today was nice and quiet. It's been very relaxing, and it felt good to just hang out together. I was reading a book on the kindle app on my laptop while knitting. DH was listening to podcasts and bear was playing a computer game - a train driver simulator, of all things. I think that we all feel a little better for it. 

Because it's the weekend and we are all hanging out, I got out one of the 'good' candles that I got inexpensively from Homesense. It's only after I lit it that I considered the safety of a candle with three wicks in a wooden bowl. It's got some really good flames on it as well. I don't know if it shows up properly (please ignore evidence of slack housekeeping).

The thing about Homesense candles is that they are knock down prices because they are unwanted end of lines or over stock from the bigger stores. You can't guarantee that you'll get a particular type, you just see what's there. You can sometimes get some serious bargains, though, and you get a better quality that you do for the price. The scent has been disappointing, but the flames have been lovely and vivid and we are absolutely keeping the wooden bowl - if it doesn't get burned!

I had a Morrisons delivery today. It came late, so that I could get a cheap delivery price. I had a voucher for money off if I bought some frozen stuff and they have a particular type of gluten free frozen breaded chicken that I like. I didn't get much else, apart from a small sack of potatoes that will be quickly used up. The freezer is pretty full at the moment, but I suspect that won't last. As it is, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't need much for a week or two.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 16 September 2022

I Am Not Tesco's Friend

Bless - I think I want something like a price book, because I'm looking at stuff and thinking that it's too expensive, but realising later that it was a real bargain. I'm just not keeping up with the prices. It would help with the fake sales as well. I'm glad I'm not the only one with some works-in-progress.

I was supposed to be getting a Tesco delivery today between 10am and 11am. So I dashed back from dropping bear off for school and waited. I couldn't really settle to much as I kept waiting for the delivery. Which turned up at 11.55am. And it contained a pound of frozen prawns that I didn't order. What also bugged me was the van was parked half way down the street, so I didn't get a warning and so opened the top door to find the first of the box of groceries precariously balanced on the top step and trapping me inside to make it so much harder for me to unpack, even if I didn't want to take the groceries in through the bottom door. I had to beg to get the man to put the next crate on the ground near the gate and not on the steps!

The prawns, apparently, are because the order is picked by machine, which makes mistakes, and the delivery driver really didn't want to take them back. Bear will have them, I suppose, so they won't be wasted. But I haven't had a moment to check if anything is missing, because they don't have the paper list anymore and the poor driver (who was pretty fed up himself) was running something like an hour late. I couldn't ask him to wait until I found the dratted order and checked through. All the main stuff came, though, as well as the prawns. There was a good deal on Heinz tomato soup (still haven't had the recommended Morrisons, but that's on the list), which was almost at pre-plague prices. I would have considered it an okay offer in 2019. But now a pack of four tins of Heinz tomato soup for £2.50 (Aldi price match) compares to an individual tin of soup at Morrisons costing £1.45! Once upon a time I would only buy Heinz soup when the offer dropped the price to 50p per tin. Those days have gone! I got four packs - they'll be gone by the end of December.

As I have the 10% off twice a month thing with the Clubcard extra which doesn't work on deliveries, I wondered if it was really worth keeping the Delivery Saver. I only got an order today because there was a deal giving £5 off a delivery if you spent over £15 on designated frozen products. I nearly gave it a miss, but there were a few bits that we would absolutely use, so I placed the order (without any hint of frozen prawn). However my Delivery Saver apparently auto renewed last month. At this point I'm definitely feeling a little less impressed with Tesco. I cancelled the auto renew (and made a note in my planner to check again next July), and I'll probably get the savings out of it, but it made me even grumpier. I'm a little ashamed of my grumpiness, but Tesco were not my favourites today! 

Bear is shattered after his first full week at school, finishing with a rousing session of football. I bought him the requisite football socks but I'm not sure that he wore them. He retreated to his room around 5pm and I don't expect to see him before noon tomorrow. He has said that he has a lot of homework already. I'm planning to do as little as possible over the long weekend, with hopefully a lot of knitting while watching history.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 15 September 2022


Bless - the trip was through the World Challenge programme. This year I think that they went to Morocco, and I know that they went to Iceland in 2015. It seems like the aim is to give students something of a culture shock, and immerse them in the unfamiliar.

Eileen - I agree. And while there is an element of students signing up to things that will look good on university applications, I would rather bear found his own passions. It's his life and it's up to him to live it. 

I have been grumbling about the shrug pattern, and the yarn, and the fact that they don't actually work, and that I would wait and that I had a gazillion and four projects on the go anyway. Look what was waiting for me when I popped into Aldi for some bits first thing this morning.

I swear I could hear sniggering - it was a complete ambush. And look how much will power I didn't have.

But I was determined that I wouldn't start anything until I had at least finished the curtain. Here is a pic of my lack of determination.

It may be 171 stitches, but I had ages to wait for bear as he stayed on after school for drama (he asked permission and let me know which is amazing for a teenager). The yarn looks nice, but a little like it was designed by an art student.

I fail at finishing one thing before I start the next.

I went past the Marks & Spencer Food Hall at Birstall on the way home from drop off and popped in. Next time I will park in the nearby car park and walk as their carpark is not only tiny but awkward. I thought I would have a rummage around their food to see what the prices looked like. If they aren't much more than Tesco or Aldi then it may be worth getting the fresh stuff from there and saving waste. As I went in, there were not just mushrooms but marked down mushrooms. 39p instead of 89p isn't bad, and 89p isn't bad for 250g of mushrooms. 

I just had a quick look at Tesco, and their large flat mushrooms are £1 for 250g, or 80p clubcard. I bought four packs which are now chopped and stashed in the freezer. I ate junk today, but the idea is that I can soften perhaps a small spoonful of the frozen mushrooms and onions and have with peas and pasta with some pesto stirred through and an egg as a main meal. It saves a lot of waste.

Some of the stuff wasn't much off the prices of Tesco, I think. Some of it seemed a lot, but then all the prices seem a lot these days. I am going to have to sort out a price book. I keep saying that, but I find myself looking at prices and thinking that they are far too dear when actually they aren't a bad bargain. Prices are going up so much.

I could definitely be more productive, but I'm still using the folder with a calendar. It helped me to plan my time at the garage, as one of the sidelights isn't working, and I don't want to go into winter without good lights.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 14 September 2022


Deborah - thank you! It's hard to believe that was five years ago - I'll have to get him to model it again. He's grown about 12 inches since!

Bless - that kitty definitely ruled the small courtyard of shops. The owner there didn't actually own the cat, but was still trained to give treats on demand!

Cherie - I love Skipton, and need to go there more often. The charity shops are really good there. There were a load of bargains if they were what you were looking for.

Eileen - There are a lot of shops in Skipton like that. I could have spent a fortune, and I'm not sure how I resisted. If you are ever in the area, the castle is also pretty good.

Today I managed a small walk. I took some pics for the scavenger hunt and I noticed that the flag was, of course, still flying at half mast.

Today wasn't terribly productive, but I did consult the lists and I used them to get the little I managed finished.

Today we had the zoom call about the trip to Vietnam. Bear was very thoughtful at the end. He wasn't bothered about travelling to the other side of the world with foreign languages, visa requirements and requirements for innoculations. Nor was he put off by the insistence that he should earn the money by working and fundraising, nor the hike through forests and jungles or the work helping in the village. However, as a complete introvert, he was not sure about spending fourteen days in close proximity to twenty other people. It looks like he won't be going. 

I'm not exactly disappointed, but I'll be encouraging him to get involved with other things that perhaps suit his introvert nature a little more. The Vietnam trip may not be for him, but it won't hurt him to push himself a little.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 13 September 2022

A Day Out

Deborah - if I remember correctly, the shawl works by casting on three stitches, increasing in the middle and carrying on until you are a third of the way through the yarn. Now, for example, if you have a hundred stitches (it was more like a gazillion and four when I knitted this, but it's an example), then you divide the stitches in half, knit to half the stitches (fifty) and put the rest on a stitch holder or length of yarn. Then you increase another fifty stitches so that you're back to the number you started with. Then you decrease in the centre the same amount as you increase, down to one stitch, then you cast off. Then you take the stitches on the holder, increase to go back to the original number of stitches, decrease in the centre until you are down to one stitch and cast off. If I'm remembering rightly (and who knows?) you have to make sure that the cast on stitches go towards the centre, but I'd have to look again. It drapes beautifully, and is so warm. I'll have to see if I can get bear to model it again. These pics were taken in 2017, and bear has grown about twelve inches since then, but you can get an idea.

It's incredibly warm and feels like a hug.

Bless - yes, it looks like what I would call double knitting, which seems to be slightly finer than worsted. The shawl pattern is all garter stitch, though, and that always does a little better on a bigger needle than recommended for the yarn. I guess a 5mm or a US 8. 

Eileen - bear seems to enjoy the lessons. I leave him to it. I need to have a good rummage in my stash or wait until the next Aldi yarn special buys for the shrug.

I met up with a friend and we went to Skipton for the day. We had a blast and she even knew a pancake shop that did gluten free pancakes! We had a wonderful time, and I was picking her brains about writing. She is an amazing and dedicated reader and I feel quite inspired. 

I forgot to take many pics. I got this pic from outside The Magpie which had all sorts of fun things, including the most amazing pot of chutney. I'll try and remember to get a pic of that tomorrow. The Magpie is full of curios, antiques, collectibles, chutney, art and all sorts of good things.

And there was a shop cat that I found. It didn't actually belong to that shop, it actually belonged to a shop next door. It just visited and shook the owner down for treats.

He's called Sherlock and he didn't approve of having his pic taken. The shop is called The Ragged Dragon and was full of all sorts of sparkly stuff like crystals and jewellery. I was so tempted by so much.

We had an absolute blast, and I avoided going into the Fent shop. Every time I've been in there, I've felt like I needed to start sewing. It has all sorts of roll ends and leftovers so you get amazing fabric at a very reduced price. I don't need fabric, I really don't!

We went in all the charity shops. I found a Regatta jacket for bear for £12 that looks immaculate. As bear normally has to be forced into a coat at gun point, I'm hoping that it will last more than this winter. It's a men's medium, and so may be a little big on bear, for now.

And bear did really well in that maths test he enjoyed. I am so proud of him.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 12 September 2022

Sort of Good, Sort of Bad

Deborah - it sounds like you are in the middle of a lot of leaks! I hope it all gets sorted soon. They always feel so relentless and water ends up everywhere. At least you're spotting them and you're not finding yourself with a bill for water damage after months of damage. Thanks for the tip for the delivery. I've got an anytime one, which worked well before the plague, but I think the 'any day after 3pm' would work fine for us. I'm even considering getting rid altogether as I can only use the 10% discount in store.

Cherie - thank you. I'm not sure what's going to happen to it!

Bless - it was very tasty, and I'm looking forward to lots of bitsa dinners. Mind you, today I've eaten junk.

Eileen - a blanket is looking increasingly likely...

I thought the yarn that I picked up was aran weight, which is what I wanted. And it looks a little like aran weight. However the ball band says needles should be 3-4. It doesn't say 3mm-4mm but it looks too thick for the US sizes and too fine for the old UK sizes.

I suppose I could try knitting it to an Aran weight pattern with lots of swatches. It does look awfully like double knitting to me. I was hoping to knit this. It's 'Date Night Shrug' using Lion Brand 'Shawl in a Ball' yarn, which knits as aran.

(I love the shawl in a ball idea and wish that it was less expensive here).

I suppose I could try it with this yarn, but I'm less than confident. It says that it will fit a lot of sizes, but I'm extremely large. The self striping yarn would have been perfect, though. And it looks great to keep the drafts off. 

I have a shawl that I love, which is sort of an odd ball - it's called the bauhaus shawl which is a funny sort of thing where you cast on three stitches (I think) and end up casting off one and end up with a lovely, enveloping shawl that drapes brilliantly. I may make that again.

So today I got less done than I wanted, but I had a walk in the morning and I got some writing done, and then this evening I took bear for his violin lesson. Due to covid, I waited for an hour in the car and got loads done on the curtain I'm knitting. I'm determined to finish at least one project. I'll keep you all informed.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 11 September 2022

Staying Quiet

Bless - I have six 'big shops' with 10% off between now and Christmas, so I think I'll try and get a few bits in each shop. I know what I'm like - halfway through December, I will be convinced that we are about to head into a sparse and lacking Christmas and try and buy everything. I'm checking the 'use by' dates on all the stuff that I'm buying ahead. And thank you - that fuchsia is so outrageously and extravagantly exuberant that I can't help but take pics. Thanksgiving sounds like a great idea - a time to be thankful. The food sounds very complicated, though.

Eileen - bear likes maths, computer science and physics. They make him happy. I am baffled by it! DH and I would never have been able to go on a trip like this, so I feel that bear is very lucky. Bear also thinks that he is very lucky. He wants to go, but I don't know if he'll make it onto the team. I bet Austria was amazing. I'm also a Royalist and watching the traditional announcements and formalities gave me a sense of an anchor - of a continuity of history. And a guilty sense that watching as an author and taking notes for possible plots for future books isn't the spirit it's meant to be seen. 

Cherie - I feel so much for the human beings that are there behind the titles. Sophie was apparently really close to the Queen, so must be finding it tough. They must be still in shock. As for Vietnam, it's soooo expensive if bear gets on the team and far beyond anything DH and I ever had a chance for. Bear knows that he's lucky, though, and wants to go. It's a little 'wait and see'.

It's been quiet today. I've quite a lot that I'd like to do tomorrow, but today has been mainly writing. I'm using up bits in the freezer as I have quite a lot of stuff ordered for next Friday. Today we finished off the end of a bag of chicken breasts, with some of the frozen carrots that have been lurking in the back and some frozen onion and mushroom in a jar of curry sauce that has been hanging around for a while. It was served up with the last of a bag of frozen green beans and the four hash browns and handful of sweet potato fries that were left over from previous meals split between us. DH and bear approved, and as I let it cook for a while, the chicken was wonderfully tender. DH will be having pasta bake, and all bets are off for bear, but this week my meals are going to be based on bitsa - bits of this and bits of that. I'm sure that there are four fish fingers in the back of one drawer, and I seem to remember that there are meatballs as well. I may end up making a large pot of soup of some of the vegetables that have been there for a while, with a huge wallop of red lentils and some cumin and turmeric. 

I'm failing to resist temptation as well. A few weeks ago, while still waiting for results, I weakened and bought some inexpensive yarn. 

To be fair, it was extremely inexpensive and in a colourway and weight that I was looking for. I have a sweater pattern that could use it, or I could do my usual 'cast on, knit, cast off and call it a blanket'. I just feel the call to start something new even though I have a gazillion and four things already started. I wonder how long before I start looking for needles for it. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 10 September 2022

Standing Water

Bless - GCSEs replaced O levels here, but it's the same. Bear has to get certain grades at GCSE to do A levels and certain grades at A level to get into university. The school has forecast high grades for him but they're being demanding. And Vietnam! It's probably as safe as anywhere these days, but so far away!

Wherethejourneytakesme - I wouldn't mind bear getting the travel bug in many ways. Uncle was a ship's engineer for nearly twenty years and went to every continent except Antarctica, and father went all over as well. But it's a big step for bear who didn't fancy going further than Yorkshire until now.

Deborah - sending all hugs as that sounds like a lot! I call them 'high gravity days' because if anything can fall, it will. And then it will break. But at least you spotted the leak, which puts you ahead of quite a few people.

Sharon - today wasn't so bad, but yesterday I was in junk food all the way, sigh. I'm just taking it a little by little. Thank you for the compliments on the photos, that means a lot from you.

Eileen - Thank you. Not only was bear happy to get back but yesterday he told me that he had a maths test and he enjoyed it! I really can't identify with that.

Cherie - I'm devastated as well. Hugs.

I feel that there is standing water between a death and the funeral, like the standing water between the tide coming in and the tide going out. I felt it with father, mother and uncle, and I sort of feel it now. We've lost our queen. Whether you were a royalist or not, she was a massive part of our lives and a steadfast fixture in the background. Now that's gone and it feels like you have to watch your footing as things aren't the same anymore. Everything is not quite in balance, and won't be until after the funeral and things settle down. I wish His Majesty well and I'm remembering him and his family in my prayers. When I see the statements he makes, I keep seeing grief behind his eyes, like the loss hasn't quite hit him yet but that in a few days it will catch up and it will be so hard. 

I found out how much the trip to Vietnam will be and I whimpered a little. The trip itself will be several thousand, and then you have stuff like visas and shots and kit on top. Bear may not even get a place on it. There is also a little niggle that perhaps he is being spoiled. But we can, if we are careful and perhaps even a little creative with the budget, find the money, and I suspect that it will be one of those times when the way that he looks at the world will change.  

Added to which, bear has been put on an intervention for his English. I'm glad, even if bear is a little sniffy about it. It means that he gets extra lessons at lunch time (the teachers are saints, I swear, because they have so much more than the classroom hours). He has a new English teacher who scares him. I'm not entirely sure that's a bad thing, but we will see. It's so frustrating to see bear struggle with English when, as far as I can see, he understands stuff. And, to be clear, if he carried on as he is, he would get a pass, a 5 or 6, what was C, the minimum required in job adverts. However the school seems to think that bear can do better and are pushing him. 

As for that fuchsia (the most interesting thing in my life) - here is as close as I dared on the day. It was full of sparrows and, while they may be small, they are very assertive and I'm staying at a safe distance.

If you zoom close, you will see no berries. The sparrows have very clear views about what is theirs and what isn't, and fuchsia berries are definitely theirs!

Yesterday I did a big shop. Because I spend £7.99 on the Clubcard extra a month, I get two 'big shops' where I get 10% off (terms and conditions apply etc, it's never quite straightforward) per month, which can't be carried over. Well, I saved plenty, but I still spent nearly £200! I got a haul of candles, as we like them, and we will probably have a few going instead of putting the heater on when we all hang out in the study. I got inexpensive ones which will add a psychological warm as well as a little heat. I also picked up a couple of tubs of sweets for Christmas - yes the Christmas stuff is out.

And I picked up a load of crisps and treats that were on offer. They should keep us going for a good while. I'm hoping that they last until November. I also have a delivery coming on Friday, as there is an offer that if you spend £15 on qualifying frozen food then you get £5 off. As a lot of the frozen stuff that qualifies are regular purchases, I've stocked up on some of that as well. 

I think that I am going to have to be more disciplined in my shopping. I wouldn't say that I had been reckless, well, not always, but now I think I need to be tactical. I need to use the twice monthly shops with 10% off to their full advantage. That means getting non-perishables fortnightly. I want to get my fresh stuff from the farm shop. I guarantee that anyone reading this is better at this stuff than me, but I'll share any inspiration that I have. 

Writing stuff - with the whole Vietnam thing, I'm going to be trying to earn as much money as possible from my writing. That includes taking down a lot of the spookier stuff that you find under A Whisper in the Shadows and putting them on Amazon as an inexpensive ebook - with some new stuff as well! I'll play fair. I expect to take down any that will be included in the book on 2 October, with a view to the book itself coming out around 25th October, for Halloween. If you want to dip in to the stories before 2nd October, please enjoy! And some stories will stay.

Speaking of Halloween, I've got some ambitious plans for October, so watch this space. There will be some older stuff, but I'm hoping to be able to share a lot of new stuff (though that will also eventually migrate to Amazon).

In an attempt to try and get some pennies coming in, the flash fiction that I usually post on Mondays may end up in other places. I'll give as much notice as I can, and I'll be honest and clear about what is going on. I'm also cautiously optimistic about the sequels to King's Silver (sorry for linking, but it's compulsory)

Mind you, we all know what happens when I post on here saying what I'm going to do. Anything is possible. However, that's what I've got planned, so fingers crossed. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 8 September 2022

History Has Turned a Page

I turned the tv on for the weather this afternoon and saw the news about Her Majesty's decline in health and then her passing. I couldn't look away.

It feels like something solid has suddenly gone and left an unexpected and unnerving gap. Nothing I can write seems important today. I'll be back tomorrow.

God Save the King.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

New Term

Deborah - I feel for you. At one point I had lists of lists. Now I'm starting to pick one thing and break it down into micro tasks. It sounds really hard with the dogs. Please pass on cuddles to both. I may believe in treating animals as animals, but every pet I have ever come across had their own distinct personality and their own view of the world, just like people. I feel you have to make at least some allowance, just like you have to do for people. 

Bless - I think I found out early on that people are people and have good and bad in them. I don't want to sound like a saint, though. We had some storming rows! I'm donating to food banks in memory of people instead of paying for flowers in church now. I've also donated when people in another country move house and instead of a house warming, I donate food. It feels like little enough.

Sharon - I want allllll the stationery. I don't do scrapbooking, but I've picked up pretty paper and washi tape before now. I can't be trusted at a display of pens. Mum was interesting. She had sixty thousand postcards when she died, all sorted by continent, country, county/department/canton/state, town and even district. Meal planning is a work in progress, but I'm getting a little better. Today I had falafel for lunch and I'm thinking of fish fingers with mushy peas for dinner, all of which are easily cooked, quickly prepared (as ready made) and relatively healthy. I think I will be using my freezer a lot!

Kate - fuchsia jam may be great but the sparrows are beating me to the berries and, besides, I can't be trusted with boiling sugar.

Wherethejourneytakesme - sending so many hugs. And it's not you. I read your blog, and your comments and I am struck again and again at your awesomeness. 

Eileen - Thank you for that amazing hug.

To all - that fuchsia is a thug, but a pretty one, and I suspect that it's supporting a lot of wildlife in its quiet way as there are always a lot of bees and the sparrows have made it a regular stop. I don't know what else is lurking in there. 

Today was bear's first day back at school for his GCSE year. For those not used to the English system - it's big. It's really, really big. It's the exams at the end of the year that determine what he can study after that, and can even affect university offers. If they don't go on to further study, it can have a massive impact on the jobs that they go for. Bear has some good predictions, and is taking it seriously. It's a big, big, big deal, though. 

I dropped bear off to meet his friend in good time with all his kit and correct uniform. Then I went for a very short walk, but I remembered to take pics.

One of the three trees has decided that it's autumn.

I loved how mossy this tree was. I may use it for the photo challenge.

And I thought this was a good pic of the structure in the lake. I don't think I have seen it properly from this angle before.

I also didn't realise that there were fish in there! I don't know if you can tell but it looked like a massive koi and a smaller trout like fish. I don't know how healthy the fish are. The water is like soup and not in a good way. 

The flower beds in the park are still lovely.

Bear came home with news of a school trip to Vietnam. This is a little further than I was expecting. I had breathed a sigh of relief when the History field trip was a day out to a college ten miles away to see a Holocaust exhibition instead of a trip to Berlin. However this is something that they do in sixth form. They talked a lot about things like leadership and being student led. Cost has not yet been mentioned, but, if it's in 2024, they are giving us a lot of time to save up. This is not reassuring. 

I didn't get huge amounts done today, but I got some bits and I consulted with my lists which helped. I've also booked a trip to see the Canterville Ghost at the Carriageworks at Leeds, and marked the date down. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Nearly There

Eileen - I found your comment on Tiny Steps in Circles in the spam folder, but I still felt hugged. Thank you. As for meals - it was far worse when father was here. I'm working on it.

Bless - working around the men has driven me daft over the years. However over the last few weeks I've been changing my mindset. I've spent so much energy on feeding my husband and son that I've been running on empty for me, so I've filled up on chocolate and crisps. I'm trying to change that mindset now, and getting stuff available for me. The men eat at night, but I'm planning on having my main meals three days of the week (when DH has pasta bake) at lunchtime. It's a work in progress, but it's getting better. 

The fuchsia is now as big as my car. I took the pic out of the bathroom window, and I think that the angle doesn't do the fuchsia justice. 

I think that the darned thing is now wider than my car.

I'm worried about it hanging over the pavement, but I think people can still get past. And it is glorious.

It's so full of bees that I'm reluctant to prune it. It was so damp when I took the pics, as you can tell, but the fuchsia was alive with bees. They crawl right inside the bell of the flower, which I guess would be unaffected by rain, and there were dozens of them. If I was going to prune it, I would have to wait until night time or I'd be stung to pieces. As it's now warm and wet, I expect the dratted thing will expand even more, but I can't deprive the bees. By the way, this is what it looked like in May, four months ago. 

I am blaming father. He had a habit of planting fuchsias that got out of hand. 

Today is my late mother's birthday. She would have been 84. I didn't get on with her. Quite a few health care professionals have put my mental breakdowns at her door. When I moved 100 miles away from her, the rest of the family saw that as a minimum safe distance between the two of us. I can remember no encouragement from her, no hugs and no affirmations. If this was fiction, I could paint her as a really bad mother. 

Real life isn't like that. She had a grim childhood, and didn't get to have sweets until they came off the ration in 1953. Her father was a cyclist and raced. All her sweet ration went to him for his training. She should have gone on to further education, but she was badly hurt in a cycle accident and messed up her exams. And she was amazingly knowledgeable. She read biographies and travel books and paid attention. She had a gypsy soul, but had never really been in a position to follow her wanderlust. She was hit by a lot of ill health and bad luck. And sometimes, like everyone, she didn't make the right decisions. She did her best. She fought for me in her own way, and I'm grateful for it.

People are people. Sometimes I talk about a memory to DH and he winces and sympathises, even though it's something that I saw as absolutely normal at the time. He saw how hard it was at times and used to hide when my mother visited. But no-one is ever completely bad. No soul is completely dark. I remember her generosity and her sparkling mind. Next time I am in Tesco, I will put a load of stuff in the food bank in her memory. She would approve of that, I think. 

I know I get things wrong with bear. I just hope that he feels safe with me. I know he got as many hugs as he would permit (not so many now he's a strapping fifteen year old, but I'm sure that I'll get more later). I'm always telling bear that I love him, that I think that he's great, that I'm proud of him. I hope I haven't swung too far the other way (but his teachers seem to think that he's a nice kid, so perhaps I'm getting it right). I hope that the things I get wrong with bear don't hurt him later on. I do my best, just like my mother. Just like any of us can. And that's my rather sombre thought for the day.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 5 September 2022

Creeping Forward

Bless - the way that my planning escapes and ricochets around like a badly made firework is a constant source of bemusement.

Yesterday's food is a good example of what happens when I try to plan. Bear didn't want to eat with us. Bear preferred to eat other stuff that I had got in for lunches (which, to be fair, needed using up), except that he didn't get downstairs until way after lunch so he was eating two meals in one. This meant that I ended up cooking just for me and DH and what with one thing and another it ended up with pasta. It was the same today. I never know how many  I'll be cooking for. I shouldn't give in to bear so much, but I'm a little fussed. Until recently he was a bottomless pit. Currently he's picking at his food. I've always tried to let him judge what food he needs, but I'll confess to being a little worried. Still, I'm sure that he'll make it up on the run up to his next growth spurt. I think he's got a few more inches height left in him.

The point remains - I didn't get out the rice cooker, I used up some stuff from the freezer, but not the stuff I had planned, and I feel completely out of the loop with it all. Tomorrow I know that I'll make DH's pasta bake, which only he eats and which lasts him three days. I will be working out what on earth to make for bear and I, but I think it's going to have to include rice as I forgot to get potatoes and bear isn't keen on pasta, except when he is. Or bear may get lunch from the chippy or sandwich shop (as the last day of the holiday) and then fill up so much at lunch that he'll not be bothered for dinner and I'll be wondering again what to do for myself. 

I haven't got much housewifery done today, but I took bear to get his stationery. I may or may not have picked up a few things myself. I admit nothing. Bear picked up pens, a ruler, paper, notebooks, a folder, and all the protractor type things that they seem to need. I got him a lovely brass set one year, but he lost it, so I haven't bothered after that. Even without the dividers and project notebooks I picked up, it still cost a few quid. I wouldn't mind, but we went to Tesco, which isn't the dearest place for stationery. At one point I thought that we would end up in some of the more expensive shops and I was really worried. I may have spent over £20 on the stationery but at least this way I got the clubcard points. 

I also spent out on the boiler repair. We had a leaking air lock, and that got fixed today. But at least that's another thing off the list. 

Writing stuff - I've got quite a bit of writing done as well, so that is something. Today's instalment of Under Dark Hills is here. As I forgot to take a pic of anything today, here's the pic I used for the writing.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 4 September 2022

Tiny Steps in Circles

Cherie - our meters aren't too bad to read in one sense. But the gas one is set so far down that you could do with lying on your tummy and the electric one is in a really high cupboard. I guess those are my stretches for the day lol.

Bless - I think a timer may happen, but at the moment I'm switching between tasks, sort of, with the occasional diversion into browsing. 

Rae - that is so helpful, thank you! I'm working out the best way to approach things, and you are right that the long lists are intimidating. I'm just starting on small corners and not even looking beyond that at the moment. Good luck with the drive.

Helen - seeing those small, achievable goals are really helping. 

Eileen - I am sometimes upset that bear never got into comics. I would have loved to have read them - after him of course!

Hazel - my family had their own little ways, like most people. With us, we saw the stories and re-told them. I hope bear will be able to have the same share of stories to fall back on. They are hugs when you remember them. I always take pics of the meter readings - the gas meter is so low and the electric so high that reaching with a phone to take a pic is the easiest way to see it.

I swear that I have a syndrome. If I decide to do something, I seem to instantly do something else. Yesterday I had a neat list of what I wanted to do next, in order. This morning I thought about how I needed to empty the freezer and I could make a dent with a casserole which meant cooking rice and DH only likes rice from a rice cooker, bear won't eat microwave rice (understandably) and the rice cooker was in the kitchen behind a pile of stuff.

So I rejigged the list and the boiler repair man is coming tomorrow to fix the boiler so if I get the kitchen clear then it will be better so I thought I should start there. And I did some stuff but then I ran into a problem that some of the stuff in the kitchen really needs to go into the walk in cupboard which is not only full to overflowing with stuff but also incredibly badly organised. So I should at least sort that before I do anything else. Sigh. I'm rejigging the list again after posting this.

However, I've done some bits, made some decisions, and things are a little further forward. This is how I find out how I need to organise my thoughts and work. And I've started mapping out the short stories I post on my writer blog for September, which is more organised than I ever am. It could be a lot worse.

Tomorrow I have the boiler man (who is awesome and not connected to the farcical bathroom) and then I will be taking bear to top up on stationery. I may pick up one or two bits myself. Apart from all the stuff that I don't need, I could do with some dividers for ringbinders. I want to organise info on my writing as well as splitting stuff up about the house. 

A cautionary tale - when I was last in Tesco, they had a stack of refill paper, on sale, on clearance, 80p for 50 sheets. But further away there was a pad with 300 sheets at a regular price of £2.50. 300 sheets of the clearance pads would have cost 6 x 80p = £4.80. If you barely use it, then the 80p would have been the perfect price. As it is, I can see my lists taking over - and using a computer/phone/app/word doc just doesn't seem to work for me. The physical act of writing helps me to focus. The clearance pads had prettier cover sheets, but that wasn't important to me. At the moment I need reams of the stuff. 

I could probably do with picking up some more pens as well. We have a stack of green biros, but they don't work for me. I'll see what they have in Tesco. I hope that we're not too late and that bear can get all of his stuff. 

Hugs and good health to all.