Monday 31 October 2022

Poor Bear

Eileen - I think just being a teenager is agony and he went back to school to face the exam room today.

Bless - Thank you. I may have to try and get an appointment. 

Today bear went back to school after the holiday and had his first two exams - History and English Language. I think he is feeling the pressure. He's chatted to me more over the last four days than he did over the entire summer holiday. Last night was spent meticulously sorting out the particular pencil cases he needed and arranging his bag. He even got me to wash his tie, which was sprung on me at the last minute and was nervewracking. The school are sooo strict on correct uniform and if I got it wrong, it could spell disaster. He may even get kicked out of his mock exams. He has got some older ties, but they were rags when they were retired and I've no idea where they are anyway. As it was, the handwash programme on the washing machine then drying it flat next to the dehumidifier worked, but it still shows signs of wear.

Bear was in a pretty good mood when I picked him up. He seemed to think that he had managed okay, so we will see what the results are. Tomorrow is Maths and Business Studies. He has a really packed week and then it dies off. He's looking forward to the Maths exam as he he enjoys them. I cannot in any way, shape or form identify with that!

Bear is out at a violin lesson. It isn't going well and the teacher (who is utterly awesome) wants to speak with me. Lack of practice may come up as a subject matter. 

I didn't take any pics today, so here is a Halloween one from Unsplash, taken by Vino Li

Writing stuff - I managed to get a piece posted on my blog. It's an old favourite and I've always been proud of it. You can find it here.

Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 30 October 2022

Grumbling Again

Sharon - sending hugs, hope that you are okay.

Bless - he would totally read it!

Breathing is a little bit of a stretch today. Also bear is having a stressy time and while he's keeping it lowkey, he's doing a lot of hanging around and chatting which he hasn't before. 

And DH is being awesome.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 29 October 2022

Bear is a Happy Bear

Sharon - hugs. That sounds like a great way to toast your mum. 

I am still fair to middling exhausted, but planning to take vitamins.

Bear, while having a good cough now and then, seems fine. He's revising hard and apparently enjoying the maths revision. He asked nicely and I spent out on some revision books. They are the ones with topics, questions, answers and explanations that are published by the exam board. Bear is on cloud nine, grinning from ear to ear while reading a maths textbook. He has the books for maths, further maths, physics and computer science, but isn't particularly interested in others. I'm letting him get on with it. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 28 October 2022

Bewildered As Normal

Sharon - thank you

Bless - the weather seems upside down all over the place.

Today I roasted the bones. I guess they were around a pound in weight, and were probably beef ribs that had been trimmed.

As I roasted them, I realised that the rice cooker has a 'stew' or 'slow cook' function, so I bunged in the soup mix, some vinegar (thank you, Sarah), some worcester sauce and a couple of veggie stock cubes. 

I would make my own mix in future. I roasted the bones for around twenty minutes on the highest heat and added them.

Then I topped it up with water and ignored it for six hours.

There wasn't really enough fat from the roasting to do much with. I have left it out, but next time I may try and save it to fry an egg in.

The men loved it, but it was a little too much for me. Next time I'm going to add something like dried peas or perhaps haricot beans. If I am sensible, I can probably get two lots of three meals, or one lot of three meals and some broth stashed for later. As these are crazy times, I'll cost it out. The bones cost £3.19, the soup mix veggies cost 99p, the stock cubes, when I bought them, were 5p each (currently 7.5p each, or 75p for ten), and I suppose the splash of elderly red wine vinegar from Aldi and the worcestershire sauce didn't add up to too much. The cooking costs of the initial roasting was high, but the slow cooking worked quite well for long simmering. It could work out as a cheap meal that has the approval of the men if I got my act together. On the other hand, I was so flattened, I'm sure I haven't got the most out of it. 

I spent a lot of the afternoon listening to bear talking about maths, especially equations and cosines. I perhaps understood two words in ten, but he was having a lot of fun. It baffled me. 

I nipped out later to do a quick shop. I'm visiting a cousin and wanted to get some dog treats for her gorgeous and fierce alsatian. While I was there I picked up steaks for us as we are going to make a bit of a thing of Halloween, and a cake and some treats, with some Christmas presents and some basics. Some of the presents are the Tesco own brand clothing, which was on offer and reduced for clubcard extra owners, and I used my 10% off shop, so I took the cost down from £89.43 to £74.17. 

Now I am going for an early night as I need to get up in the morning. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 27 October 2022

With an Extra Cough

Sarah - that sounds amazing! We eat a lot of breaded chicken and mince as well as quorn so we don't often have bones. I want to roast the bones as I think that will render down a lot of fat and add to the flavour. I shall definitely add vinegar of a sort now that you have mentioned it, as I want all the goodness.

Bless - some plants just run away, don't they? One minute they're a demure twig and the next minute they take over the garden. It's always unexpected as well.

Sharon - thank you!

I rang the doctors this morning and had a coughing fit half way through the conversation. They decided it was probably best if I come next week. 

I didn't do the bones today as I was on taxi duty for bear who was meeting up with someone for pumpkin carving (apparently he had a good time but I have no idea what happened). I had no idea when I would be called away so I thought as the bones were marked best by tomorrow, I should be fine going for it then. Tomorrow is a quiet day and then I'm back on taxi duty. 

I noticed a second tomato plant, and the honeysuckle by the gate definitely thinks it's spring.

I think this evening is going to be a blankets, knitting and an early night. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Nothing Much Continues

Sharon - Thank you! 

Bless - Thank you, and I hope that you had something amazing for lunch.

Today has been somewhat of a fail. I'm waiting until tomorrow to cook the bones. I'll take pics etc then. I'm sure that it is a good way of getting some flavour in. 

I don't seem to have managed much. Everyone was fed at the end of the day, bear has his clothes ready for tomorrow (meeting with friends and it all sounds quite teenage) and I even managed a brief article about writing (here, if you're interested).

I took a pic out of the bathroom window earlier when it was raining.

Yep, it was raining, but that's British weather for you. 

I also noticed that the fuchsia is starting to fade. As soon as the first frosts hit and the bees stop coming, I'll hack it back. I may need a chainsaw.

There are only a few flowers at the end of the branches now, but I've still seen enough bees around to be reluctant to hack them back. The sparrows are going to be livid, of course, but I'll have to live with that. 

I am supposed to be getting my Covid and flu vaccine tomorrow, but I still have a rough cough and I'm going to be exhausted just walking over there. I'll ring tomorrow morning and see whether they think I should go.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Still Nothing Much

Thank you for the kind wishes.

I'm still flattened, but moving a little more. Bear and I had mince and mash for dinner while DH had his favourite pasta bake.

I may have got a little carried away as I ordered beef bones to go in the Morrisons order. It's too late to change it. I have no idea whether I'll have the energy to deal with it, but I was thinking of roasting the bones and then simmering them with veggies and possibly some dried beans or lentils. 

I hope that everything fits in the freezer. 

Bear continues with studying. He was talking about his maths revision. I have no idea what he was saying, but I nodded, smiled and offered food. 

Writing stuff - A small and slightly spooky story is here

Hugs and good health to you all. 

Monday 24 October 2022

Nothing Much Again

Eileen - his first mock is the first day back after half term. Poor kid is stressed to the eyeballs. 

Bless - I remember my sister-in-law giving bear olives when he was a toddler. He couldn't get enough. He's the sensible adult in the family.

And nothing much has happened. Still so tired. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 23 October 2022

Another Quiet Day

Thank you for all the kind comments. I feel hugged!

It looks like bear is catching it now. He's definitely been under the weather. I had a delivery today and we are stocked up with salads for bear. Sometimes I look at him and think that he's the responsible adult in the house. He asked for salads and healthy food. 

I'm also feeling a little run down, and slept ten hours again last night. I'm feeling much better in myself, but I get exhausted very quickly. Sending all hugs to anyone else out there feeling this. It's a tough one.

Bear has decided that he likes some of the Itsu stuff in the supermarket, and as Morrisons have a reasonable range of it, I now have enough stuff that I actually want to get from Morrisons to make the £12 off a delivery of £60 worth it. To be honest, I'm barely scraping up to the £60, but I thought I would stock up with some stuff and stash things away for Christmas. I can't go overboard on any frozen stuff, though. The poor freezer is stuffed!

As bear is studying, I'm happy to stock up on fuel for him. There are worse things than Itsu. And watching him use chopsticks is a wonder - my son definitely outclasses me.

I was just looking through my old pics as I haven't taken any today and I found a pic of a soup kit. I think I'll wander off and see whether they are doing those again. This pic goes back to November 2017 - five years ago! But it was such fun. I'll have a rummage on Morrions site as the delivery isn't until Wednesday.

Hugs and good health to all.

Saturday 22 October 2022

Wonderfully Quiet

Bless - thank you.

I've had a wonderfully quiet day. Poor bear has been studying his socks off, and DH has been busy with his own projects. 

I'm still a little under the weather. The room is quite warm, but I have a top and two sweaters on and a blanket over my knee. I'm refusing to put the fire on. Last night I slept for ten hours and woke much better. I'm going to aim for an early night again and hopefully keep going tomorrow. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 21 October 2022

Tired Continues

Sharon - I know! It seems no time at all that I was fussing about bottles and baby baths. Now he's a teenager. I still worry about him, though, of course.

Bless - thank you! I'm so proud of him. And I can share on here without upsetting other mums.

Cherie - if I've done things right, he'll be off to uni without a backward glance. I have no idea at all what's going to happen then! 

Because I couldn't find the throw in IKEA, I booked online for collection between 10am and 2pm. Around 11am I set off for IKEA - and it wasn't ready. I wasn't sure what to do, so I decided to wait in my favourite car park.

When I finally got the text to pick up, I went first to Aldi and picked up some pomegranate flavoured Turkish Delight that the men liked and then into Tesco for some salads for bear. I thought that the leaves in Aldi car park looked particularly crimson, especially compared to the weeds.

There seem to be quite a few plants under the impression that it's spring as it's warmer than normal and we finally have rain after a long dry spell. 

Then I picked up the throw from IKEA and came home and I was shattered. I think I'm going to have to plan what I do. I just about managed to make a very basic dinner. I'm off for an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 20 October 2022

A Little Tired

Bless - There's often difficulty getting tomatoes to ripen after September here, but I'm curious to see what happens, and I'll share. I envy you having hummingbirds in your garden. I've only ever seen them on TV or video and they look so amazing!

Sharon - that squirrels sounds awesome. It is normal for me to have top, another top, sweater and blanket while the men are just in shirts or t-shirts. Bear likes a blanket sometimes, but I suspect that's just for comfort rather than warmth.

This morning I dropped bear off, then went to the nice car park.

I decided to go there and get some knitting done before IKEA opened at 10am. I watched a squirrel digging up some stashed food - it bounded across the car park to a patch of grass, looked around, had a dig, then bounded back to the trees with something in its mouth. It looked very cute. 

I then called in to IKEA. I didn't have a big wander around, but I had a little look. I usually get bear a form of blanket for Christmas/birthday, and they advertised a black furry one which I thought would do well. I am starting to think about what he might like to take away to university, and a black blanket would work. I couldn't find it anywhere when I looked, so I came home with some teaspoons, a couple of candles and a bath squeegee and booked it for click and collect tomorrow. 

I got home, had a bite to eat, then was out again as bear had an early finish as they were setting up for a sixth form open day. For those not familiar, after 16, when kids take GCSEs, they have choices and can (if they get the good grades) go to the sixth form or a local college for A levels. 

I really want bear to be able to go to the sixth form in the school he is at. They have an amazing ethos there, and I don't think bear realises how positive it is. They have such high standards for behaviour and achievement, and I hope bear will not only choose to go there but also get the grades he needs. I also had a major proud mum moment. He was talking to one of the physics teachers about some work in a textbook and was discussing something and I could see bear working it out and getting enthusiastic about it (something something force something angle - no idea). The teacher for a moment looked at him with such respect and appreciation, I was so proud. Bear would like to do maths, further maths, physics and computer science. I know diddly squat about any of that, so I shall practice nodding and smiling. We also had a look around the dedicated sixth form centre in a separate building down the road. It looks amazing. A lot of students from nearby schools are also applying for the sixth form, and there are limited spaces. 

Bear is also applying to a local college, which may not need the same sort of grades. There is an open day in November, which he's booked for. The college is quite near and I wouldn't have to drive him anywhere, and my life would be a lot easier, but I still think that he would be better off in the school. 

I am shattered walking a few yards at the moment, so I am currently utterly exhausted and about to drag myself to bed. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 19 October 2022


Eileen - we had a lot more before the laurels were cut back, but now that they're spreading again (though not quite as much!) I'm hoping we'll get some finches and a few years ago we saw a black cap. It took time for them to get used to the garden, though. And the times vary. Sparrows and tits seem to turn up first thing in the morning, with magpies and pigeons more about lunchtime. I keep threatening to get a cheap camera to film them as we get so much pleasure out of them.

Cherie - the foliage (there's a word!) includes a self sown tomato plant

As no-one in this house has eaten a fresh tomato for some time, and the remains of any tomatoes go into the actual bin, I am blaming the birds, either directly or via bird food. It's lodged itself quite near the central heating vent, and is in a corner that will get sun when the rest of the garden won't, so I'm leaving it to see if anything happens.

Bless - I love watching squirrels but they are an absolute menace! Uncle was at permanent war with them. You may need to encourage another cat. Good luck!

I've done a rough calculation and I spend roughly £5 per week on birdfood, give or take. I have a bucket of wild bird seed, a bucket of peanuts, some flutter butter (you can't make it up) and a large bag of suet pellets every two months via Subscribe and Save. It's considerably cheaper to pick up the fat balls from somewhere like Morrisons or Wilkos, so I pick that up as and when. We have so much pleasure out of the birds that I think it money well spent. 

Bear told me at 9.30pm last night that it was a no-uniform day today and he had left his hoodie in his locker. So he wandered into school at 7.30am in black t-shirt, black skinny jeans and a lanyard. Apparently he doesn't feel the cold. I felt frozen just looking at him! Still, he was happy. 

While he was all in black, I noticed that there were some gorgeous colours around when I was waiting to pick him up. 

And one bush that was thinking about it.

There seem to be a lot of berries around. I noticed one rose bush absolutely laden with haws as I was queuing in traffic. I hope that doesn't mean a cold winter. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Peanut Butter

Bless - thank you! Bear seems to be doing okay, though a little tired.

Sharon - The way things are going, that fuchsia will outlast me! I'm going with 'post viral' now. It's awful.

Cherie - It's absolutely grim. I hope that you feel better soon.

Eileen - Bear has always been good with maths and science. DH and I emphatically not good with maths and science. We are both baffled. As for that fuchsia, it was a dwarf fuchsia when father planted it. 

The fuchsia is the most amazing thing that I have going on at the moment. It was only a little one when father planted it, probably around ten years ago. He had form for getting 'small' fuchsias that got out of hand, so I shouldn't have been surprised. I think I will track it next year and take a pic on the same day of the week and, if I can, the same time of day, every week for a full growing season, so that I can compare the start and the end of the year. I pass a fuchsia that looks similar on the school run and I have a regular moment of smugness as that one is nowhere near as flamboyant as ours. I mutter about flamethrowers and chainsaws sometimes, as it does take over our tiny garden, but I love its brightness. It has been a boon for the bees and the sparrows have enjoyed the berries in their own rowdy way.

And speaking of rowdy, as I left to pick up bear this afternoon, a squirrel was armpit deep in a jar of peanut butter that we had put out for the birds. I had bought a bird feeder with peanut butter in, that looked something like this

Except I got mine from Aldi and it was considerably less expensive. It was very popular indeed. Then we tried with some inexpensive peanut butter from Asda. The birds were equally impressed, and so was the squirrel. I came home to this.

Which took some cleaning up as the jar was glass - lesson learned! I've ordered some 'Flutter Butter' from Amazon which, on Subscribe and Save, comes in at the same price as the cheap peanut butter.

The bird food station looks like this (please ignore the weed filled garden in the background)

We have a very assertive robin, blue tits, great tits, sparrows, jackdaws, pigeons, magpies, blackbirds, thrushes, starlings and I think I saw a wren the other day. Plus the dratted squirrel!

By the time I had finished tidying it up, I thought I was going to pass out, so I'm going with post viral and I'm just going to have to pace myself. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 17 October 2022

The Fuchsia is Fine

Bless and Eileen - thank you. If it continues, I'll definitely try and see a doctor at half term.

I'm going with 'post viral' at the moment. I'm still coughing a little, and my stomach is having a few moments, but on the whole I'm just flattened. Bear is apparently still fine apart from a cough, and is happily (yes, happily!) doing maths homework as I type this. However we both overslept. I was appalled when I realised the time and we both more or less fell out of bed and into the car. The poor lad was nodding off on the way to school. I think the half term is coming in the nick of time. DH is pretty much recovered. 

I planned to have a nap on the way home, but the violin teacher (who is amazingly awesome) needed paying and I couldn't find the card reader that I need for internet banking for love nor money. I ended up taking around an hour to drive to the cash point, over to her home, push the money through the door and then driving back. Then I finished off some writing and went to pick up bear. 

I've made dinner, and now I'm just about finished. I think an extremely early night is in order. 

The fuchsia is still going strong.

Though the flowers are very much just on the end of the branches now. The leaves on the lilac have turned the most amazing burgundy and gold. 

They make me think of old tapestries.

Writing stuff - the third of a trilogy of vampire stories is here. Now I am working on getting an anthology of spooky stories together. I've taken down the ones that I had on my blog, and I hope to collect at least the same again in new stuff. Whether I'll make my self-imposed deadline of 25th October, I don't know. However I hope that I'll manage it before Halloween. I'll share how it goes.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 16 October 2022

Day of Rest

Bless - Thank you. I think I am going to have to speak to a doctor if it doesn't clear up soon. 

Sharon - I don't think it's Covid and they aren't currently testing for it unless in particular circumstances, but I'm taking precautions now. Even if it's just a cold, I have to be considerate. No-one would want this lurgy!

Eileen - Thank you.

Cherie - Thank you! A whole leg from a roast ox should keep you going for a bit!

I feel like rubbish. I'm not sure that I'm poorly anymore. I think that I'm just tired and feeling the end of the virus. DH had it earlier and it really wiped him out, so I suppose I can expect to drag on for a while yet. Bear has a cough but doesn't seem ill in himself. In fact, he seems fine. 

I am going to get an early night, and after drop off tomorrow come straight home to avoid spreading any of this (though I think it's pretty much over apart from the after effects), and then spend some time working out a self-care strategy. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 15 October 2022

Self Pity Continues

Sharon - thank you! There is just something about a candle that is a psychological warm!

Bless - thank you.

Cherie - I've enough candles in to roast an ox! And I'm seriously considering what sort of food I can serve cold. 

Eileen - We have another week of term and fingers crossed bear is fine so far. 

My stomach is now affected. No-one needs the details. I am still coughing a lot and I'm making a conscious choice to avoid shops as much as possible in case I'm spreading something gruesome. I am also feeling quite run down. 

Writing stuff - I'm still a little off balance about how well the free book went, but quite proud. I hope that I can keep up the momentum. And speaking of which, the last piece for the October Frights Blog Hop is here. Three Furies press have published the last instalment of the pieces I did on research here as well. I had such a blast writing it.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Pull Myself Together

Eileen - thank you so much! I know that it's a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but it's a big deal to me.

Bless - thank you! I'm still feeling a little under the weather, but improving.

This cold/cough has seriously taken it out of me. At least I was able to pick up bear this evening and I was glad to do so. The poor kid was falling asleep in the car! And I also managed to pick up bear's trousers which have been at the Click and Collect point for nearly a week. I'm starting to make plans for tomorrow. I'm still wearing a mask and a load of sanitiser if I go into a shop. I do not want to spread this!

I need to be more aware and not buy random stuff. I bought bear school trousers from Marks and Spencers as they had the best combo of long leg and skinny waist. While I was there I sort of accidentally bought another candle. It was £7.50 and advertised as up to 75 hours burning so it could be worse. I'm sure that we will get the benefit. I just don't need another dratted candle. 

Writing stuff - Today is Day Three of October Frights Blog Hop. I missed an installment yesterday, but here's the start of a horror story - Rat

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Lots and Lots of Writing Stuff

Bless - thank you. I wonder if it would be too warm for virginia creeper in your garden. I'm considering sneaking a cutting next spring (if I can work out how) and see if I can stealthily plant it against the laurels and the fence facing us. 

I'm feeling a lot better, though still sniffly. I've had something of a surprise. You see, it's October Frights and I put Dinner at Dark free until 14th October as a sort of promotion. 

It has got as far as Number 3 in the Sci Fi and Fantasy short reads section for free books. I took a screen shot to prove it to myself.

I'm technically a best seller. It's not a proper best seller because it's free, but it's done quite well. I feel all giddy about it! I have to say, I am not being flooded with offers or contacts or anything. It's not best seller like that. But it's giving me a glow and leaving me somewhat dazed. I put a post of it on my writing blog here.

I'll catch up tomorrow when I hope that I've not only floated back to earth but also got rid of the last of this cold!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 10 October 2022

Fed Up But With Extra Writing Stuff

Cherie - I'll have plenty of practice getting the waffles warm. For some reason I bought boxes of the things!

Bless - thank you - I feel hugged.

Yesterday I fell apart because I couldn't find bear's school trousers (he'd taken them and put them away). Today I fell apart because it took me ten minutes to find the sauce that DH likes for the pasta bake (it was where it should be in the cupboard!) I drove bear to school, but was worried on the way home. I took an easy route, and it was before 8am so not the busiest, but I found myself losing concentration as I queued and I have been feeling very low. In the end, I told bear to get the bus home. DH is going to have to take bear to his violin lesson. I don't feel safe to drive. I wish I could nap - that would really help, but it just isn't happening. I'm considering upgrading this to a mild flu. 

In added news, the microwaved didn't heat the falafel at lunch, which was not only a waste and made me feel worse, but makes me suspect that we need a new microwave. It seems hardly any time since we got this one, but I remember that I got it extremely cheap. 

There is always lovely things to see, though. As I parked up, I saw this. I may have posted a pic of similar before, as it happens every year. The virginia creeper on the school fence turns the most amazing shade of scarlet and crimson and then the rising sun hits it.

That is not paint on the leaves or photo shop. The shadows look odd, but it's a genuine pic. It made me smile. I'll see if I can get another shot tomorrow.

Writing stuff - Today I finally got the last instalment of Under Dark Hills finished here. Be warned, it's quite long. It's also the first day of the October Frights Blog Hop so Dinner at Dark ebook is once again free on Amazon. I think I set it to be free everywhere, but I'm not brilliant at the whole Amazon thing. It seemed the obvious choice as it's the story before Under Dark Hills. There are links to other authors taking part in the blog hop, so feel free to check them out. If you are reading it, Please let me know if you are interested in seeing more of the characters from Under Dark Hills, I'd love to know know what you think. And now I am going away as I need to get tomorrow's post set up and I'm feeling like some steampunk horror. I can more or less find the keyboard, so let's see if I can get some writing done!

Sunday 9 October 2022


Eileen and Bless - thank you!

Today I have failed at writing. However I got enough done so that tomorrow should see the end of the 'Under Dark Hills' story and the first part of the October Frights Blog Hop. 

I'm hit and miss at the moment. I can do well for hours and then I'm collapsing. It's not fun. I suspect I have a few more days of it left, but I'll see how it goes. The cough is wearing me down.

At least I managed dinner. I got a delivery and we had fresh chicken fried up with curry sauce, onions and peas served over frozen potato waffles. It hit the spot. I have also eaten a ridiculous amount of ice cream. I've managed to make sure bear has clean clothes for tomorrow, and that we are all more or less in one piece. 

I will have to stick to writing tomorrow if I'm going to hit any goals. I'll share if I manage anything else.

Hugs and good health to all.

Stories coming soon...

Saturday 8 October 2022

Could Be Worse

 Bless - thank you.

Eileen - I get whta I call 'sick headaches' which are usually better if I am sick but can be fairly foul until I do. I suspect it's currently sinuses but I'm so unimpressed.

This morning, I went to the bin and noticed some new leaves on the honeysuckle.

If it thinks that it's spring, it's out of luck.

I'm dotting between watching Strictly Come Dancing, reading the original version of Dracula, researching Victorian London and coughing a lot. I'm sure that I'll be better tomorrow. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 7 October 2022

Sort of Scary

Sharon - thank you. I'm sure it's just a cold, it's just particularly malevolent.

Bless - I may have a rummage and dig out all the elderly towels. There is a cat rescue place near us so I could try them. That's if I don't try and mend/reuse. I'll check and see if they'll accept it. That's a great idea.

Cherie - if I hadn't seen the length of a duvet cover while thinking about my awkward window sizes, I would never have thought of duvet covers for curtains. I mentioned it to the neighbours, but they all prefer floor length curtains, which would cover our radiators. You can probably pick up secondhand curtains for the price of the duvets, but they just fit my window nicely. 

Kate - I wouldn't say that bear was a goth, but it's all in black. Mind you, he's colour blind and choosing clothes can be an adventure so perhaps he's best sticking to black! He can't tell the difference between green and brown or blue and purple and never seems to spot pink, poor lad. 

When I was thinking about the duvet covers, I checked on Morrisons site and they have some quite nice sets that are cheaper than the crushed velvet ones I got from Aldi. I noticed, however, that if I added the duvet covers to the grocery order I could set it to add duvet covers on a weekly basis. Who is going to order duvet covers weekly? In my case, every decade or so is nearer the mark! I mean - why?

Mind you, I'm not in my right mind. I was driving to pick up bear this afternoon and I kept having to stop. I had a shocking headache and felt very sick. I told bear to get the bus home and that I'd follow in the car when I felt a little better. I was waiting for painkillers to kick in. I felt so poorly, but picked up enough after an hour or so to drive home, but I drove the long way around to make sure that I had the minimum of complicated junctions. 

The parcel of what were described as tray cloths arrived.

It's not really what I wanted, but I know I'll be able to use some of it and it included a gorgeous pin tucked duvet cover. 

And That Fuchsia is looking like it is settling down for winter. The blossoms are now only on the end of the branches though they are still busy with bees. The sparrows are also being very vocal about staying in there.

I intend to spend tomorrow very quietly indeed.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 6 October 2022


Bless - the duvet covers are perfect for curtains for me. They are the correct drop and there is plenty of fullness (which will keep in the heat). They are already seamed. There are two layers of fabric. It's often cheaper to buy the duvet covers than the fabric. If I felt particularly dedicated, I could sew something between the layers. I can even use the pillow cases that come with the sets for matching cushions in the room! Hopefully they will last a good while.

Cherie - if you lived nearer, I'd definitely let you sew them. 

Eileen - the sewing thing is quite irrational. I suspect that it's just lack of practice. The whole performance of setting everything up seems quite overwhelming, but the dining room isn't used on a Saturday so I should perhaps just knuckle down then. 

Hazel - I never thought about an eyelet kit. Hopefully this will settle me down. I never thought of looking for pre-owned, not because I'm fussy about that (because I'm not) but because the drop is unusual. But I could have just added a little fabric on the bottom and I think it would be fine to get 72 inch drop.

Sniffles have started. I swear I've used half a dozen tissues since I started typing this and sneezed relentlessly. I'll be glad when this is over. Bear is denying that there is anything going on while sniffing relentlessly. DH is much, much better. I'm organising a delivery for Sunday as I don't want to take these germs into a store. 

We have a hole in a bath towel.

We have plenty of towels, and this isn't a brilliant one. I should work out how to mend it, or cut the thing up for a hand towel and face cloths. It wouldn't take two minutes to hem on a sewing machine (if I had the courage). I am very tempted to dump it in the textile recycling at the tip. On the other hand, there are always lots of uses for this sort of rag. I shall have to have a think about it.

I wish I was more enthusiastic about it. But we have a load of towels, I've just bought some microfibre cloths and I wonder if I'm just hoarding rubbish rather than saving waste, especially if it can be recycled. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Facing the Fear

Bless - thank you. The commute isn't usually that bad, so I can't really complain. Sometimes I really treasure the fifteen minutes or so I have with my knitting and the peace and quiet while waiting for bear. I've turned up quite early in the past due to traffic issues, and I've got a lot of knitting done, but I've found a few short cuts that miss the worst of it so don't have to set off so early these days.

Sharon - thank you. DH and I both adore good home made soup, so we can lap it up and work around bear.

Eileen - I think all schools are having trouble keeping teachers at the moment. At least they are taking it seriously. English is a keynote subject. 

Bear has started coughing. I'm keeping an eye on him. I feel grim, but DH is definitely picking up, especially if he doesn't get carried away but takes it steady.

I had a delivery today. I've spent a fortune on duvet covers from Aldi. Well, at least a fortune for me. In the scheme of things, with the cost of thread and heading tape added, it should still work out at relatively inexpensive curtains compared to ready made. I'm still wincing at it, though. I have bought two king sized duvets and two double duvets. That gives two layers of fabric at the window, one window is 90 inches wide with 76 inch drop and one window 46 inches wide and 76 inch drop. You can't get ready made curtains for a 76 drop. You have to either get 81 inch or 72 inch. These duvet covers are 'crinkle velvet' which feels quite unpleasant but which should be useful in keeping in the heat.

And they are roughly 78 inches long, which by the time I have finished adding heading tape will fit very nicely. Of course all the radiators are under the windows, so I don't like them to hang down too much, but I don't want them too short to leave space for a draft. All I need to do is sew heading tape on one end of four duvet covers. I can line them later if I like, but with double glazing and my lack of skill, I'm leaving that for now. 

It's the sewing that's the problem. Really I should set up the sewing machine as soon as the heading tape arrives in the post and get cracking. But I'm still not comfy with my machine. It's ridiculous. It will take maybe an afternoon to do all the tape with the sewing machine, including setting up the new machine, having a practice and working out what goes where. If I sew by hand, I get sore fingers and it will take ages! As it gets colder, we need warmer curtains up soon, so I need to face the fear and do it anyway. I'll share if I get my courage up. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Rice Continues

Pam - rice is one of the things that I don't check the sell by date on. I'm strict on some things, but not rice or pasta. And filling up with rice makes a lot of sense. I may check out the local Asian stores, but I shop at Tesco in Batley, with a high Asian population and this rice was on a deal for Ramadan, so hopefully I can keep an eye on things there as well.

Bless - thank you! That casserole sounds like a great idea for a dinner. I've thrown in raw rice with chicken, stock, herbs and loads of veggies and baked for a while, and it has always worked, so the soup idea sounds even better.

Eileen - thank you. I have a habit of throwing all sorts into soup, and it hasn't failed me yet!

Today's commute was grim. There was a junction on a nearby motorway closed, which led to nearby roads getting bunged up, which led to near gridlock. We left the house at pretty much 7am sharp, which normally gets bear to school around 7.30am. Today I dropped him across the road from the school around 8am after sitting in queues for ages. I waited in Tesco car park for a while to let the worst of it die down before trying to get back, and there were still challenges. I'm checking the local travel maps and that junction is still closed so heaven help us tomorrow. Bear said that he was in a classroom overlooking Reception, where late comers have to check in, and he said that there were loads of buses and coaches running late and dozens and dozens of kids having to sign in. Bear travels eight miles to the school, and there are lots of kids who travel further. If we had left at a reasonable time, bear would never have made it to school before the bell. 

This meant that I set off for pick up ridiculously early and so ended up sitting for an hour in a country park car park. It's not a very big country park, but there is a cafe and a toilet and lots of good dogs. I saw a lot of dog walkers around. I actually took some pics.

The horse chestnut wasn't looking too healthy. I didn't spot any conkers, but I saw a few cases.

I got a notification on my phone asking me to leave a review of the park on Google maps. I haven't. I've only really been to the car park. I suppose I could praise the rather basic single toilet. I was there at the weekend as well with my knitting. I found the car park incredibly relaxing but I'm not sure that Google maps are after that. 

A sculpture near the cafe. Apparently there was a cold mine here before.

We had rice with the chili con charlie tonight. It's rice all the way. I'm making notes of all the hints I'm getting from you awesome people.

DH and I were supposed to be at a meeting at school tonight. They were discussing English Language and Literature for the pupils. It's a compulsory subject and apparently all of the year are struggling after going through dozens of teachers over the last couple of years. The new teacher sounds a little more effective and bear is very much in awe of him. However as both DH and I are coughing, spluttering and aching, we decided not to share the suffering and stay home. I'm sure that we'll hear about it in due course. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 3 October 2022

Darn it to Heck

Cherie - I'm going to have to try that, and I love rice pudding with sultanas.

Col  - I think that may be a good way to go, though I'll have to clear the freezer first.

Sharon - I've had a couple of 'bitsa' meals and I guess that I'll have a few more. I'm glad that you liked the leaves. I thought they were gorgeous.

Bless - I always feel that I'm letting the men down with jar sauces, not that they would notice. I'm going to have to try that trick with adding rice to salsa. We may not get through as much rice as you, but I think that we'll get through it fairly quickly. It won't do us any harm.

Eileen - I have heard about freezing uncooked rice. I heard that it gets rid of bugs, but I haven't spotted any so far.

I woke up this morning with a very scratchy chest and achy bones. I do not approve at all!

I have no real idea of what I did today. We had rice again, and I've got the rest of the sack in tupperware containers, so it should keep. The leftover cooked rice got thrown into the freezer and I'll use it up as I go. I was thinking about throwing the frozen cooked rice into a nice veggie and lentil soup. Legumes and grains together give a complete protein, and with loads of veggies in there, it would be a powerhouse of nutrition and still coming in as an inexpensive meal. I noticed in Morrisons, when I stopped to get comfort food, that the stew packs were 99p for a kilo that included a swede, carrots, onion and parsnip. Even if I was ridiculously generous with the lentils, spices, stock cube and oil, and even with the cost of the electric, that would still be an inexpensive feed. 

Bear, of course, is utterly rejecting soup. DH and I fully approve of it, especially my home made version which can often be eaten with a knife and fork. I may try variations on the theme of dal and rice with lots of good veggies on the side. Mealtimes can get complicated. 

I have been more random than usual on eBay. I'll share when it arrives, but the eBay pic makes it look like there is a fairly large pile of vintage tray cloths, napkins and doilies heading my way. I got it for 99p. The postage was nearly £15. I have no idea what to expect.

This morning had the most gorgeous sunrise.

Writing stuff - latest instalment is here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 2 October 2022

Rice With Everything

Bless - thank you!

Cherie - knitting in the car park is actually really good for me, if there are lots of trees and nature around. I can only take so much excitement.

I'm still feeling slightly out of sorts. I had far too much rum on Friday night. I mean, rum to an excessive amount, in large quantities, almost a vatful (maybe an eighth of a bottle, which is a lot!) and it burned a lot of the lurgy out of me and so while I had a hangover and I'm not feeling utterly top form, I'm doing okay, though worrying that I'm going to get it later. DH is really struggling, though. It's lodged right in his upper chest and throat and the poor lad is seriously croaky. Bear currently is unaffected. 

I'm slowly chipping away at the stash in the freezer. Today I put three chicken breasts, which were the last ones in three separate bags (which cleared a surprising amount of space), in an oven dish and poured over a jar of curry sauce. The men will enjoy it, and it's cheaper than anything I can make, and better tasting. I also added some frozen mushrooms from the stash when I got a load marked down and some frozen onions. I feel low enough cooking a jar sauce, but at least I add to it. It's rumbling away nicely. I'm going to cook some frozen peas in the microwave as an experiment, and I'm going to serve with rice.  

I'm nearer sixty than fifty. You would have thought that I would have learned some sense by now. However there was a deal on rice a few months ago and I bought 5kg of basmati rice (which DH very much prefers) at a very good price. I can't currently find it on Tesco website, so they may have been getting rid of it, but it was something like £1 per kilo, which you can't get now. I thought I would bung some in the rice cooker (and it's so long since I used it that I'm hoping that I got it right). I tipped some into a large, airtight storage container. I now have a sack with roughly four and a half kilos of rice being held shut with a bulldog clip. I cannot imagine that this is an acceptable way to store rice. I refuse to allow it to go to waste. So now I'm wondering about the best way to store it and also how much rice we could sensibly eat over the next few weeks. It is less than you would think. DH likes his pasta bake and bear has terms and conditions about food which usually ends up either buying a salad or eating something beige. I couldn't face taking a pic, so here is a stock photo from Unsplash.

Faris Mohammed is obviously a better cook than I am. If I don't use a rice cooker, my offering is always extremely soggy or burnt. 

The bag should be okay for now, but I think I should decant into something slightly better soon. I think that I'm going to end up in IKEA. You see, tomorrow I may as well do the big 10% off shop which I had planned to do Friday, then I can call in at IKEA on the way home. IKEA doesn't open until 10am, which is a lot later than I'm normally headed home, but if I have a good walk followed by a big shop then it should be opening as I go past and I want to pick up some frozen veggie meatballs from there. And I could do with calling in at Wilkos which is just along from there as I am out of fat balls for the birds and the magpies are starting to give me meaningful looks. 

I may or may not get the storage from IKEA. I don't want to spend the money. I think this evening is going to involve rummaging in the backs of cupboards for decent airtight storage. There may be a haphazard tower of random rice containers by tomorrow. 

I also need to use it up within a reasonable time frame. I refuse to let it go to waste, and I quite like rice. If I make a large quantity at the beginning of the week, it could end up stirred up with all sorts of scraps that I can use up. And as bear's preferred liquid with cereal is rice milk, I suppose I can have a go at that, though it wouldn't be fortified like the commercial stuff. 

I have also measured up bear's trousers. There is now a surprising amount of sock on show when he wears them, which is not surprising giving that he's thankfully growing like a weed. I bought school trousers for him but, after measuring up, he's really in men's trousers now. What a milestone - men's trousers!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 1 October 2022

Sniff Continues

Bless - we rarely have proper chicken but it may be worth it if I get a chance to use up all the scraps. I'm sure that it would taste better. Sometimes soup is an edible hug.

Sharon - I used to have a load of soup frozen, the type that was mainly veggie and lentils with lots of spices, and it really hit the spot. I need to get back to that. 

Lurgy continues, but I did manage a brief run out to do a little knitting in a nice car park. 

Hugs and good health to all.