Wednesday 30 November 2022


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 29 November 2022

It's Going to be Awkward

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 28 November 2022

Weather Continues Scary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for the kind thoughts.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 25 November 2022

Bored of This

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

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

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

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 24 November 2022

It Rained!

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

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

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

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

Thank you for all the kind thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Keeping On

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 22 November 2022

I Heard Sad News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 21 November 2022

And Back to the Start

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

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

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

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 19 November 2022

Safe and Awake

Thank you for your lovely, kind comments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It looked magical. 

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 18 November 2022

Second Verse Same as the First

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

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 17 November 2022

So Tired

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

Back tomorrow when I may make sense.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 16 November 2022


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

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

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

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 15 November 2022


Sharon - I think I will wait and see. Bear will be sixteen with another year or so before university interviews, and I suspect there's a little more growing left in him. He'll grow out of anything we get him. He was talking about blazer and trousers, but I think a lot depends on what everyone else is wearing. 

Bless - thank you! We are all on pins as we wait for the full set of results to come out next week.

I've felt so tired today and had so much caffeine to try and compensate that I'm fit mainly for rags. Bear has been explaining maths to me and it hasn't helped. I wish I could share how his face lights up and how joyful he is when he is talking maths. I wish I could help him more. 

He's talking about applying for a college specialising in maths, with physics and computer science as a side. The intake is only 80 pupils from a wide area, so it would be incredibly tough to get in. However, he is bright and determined so there is a greater than zero chance. I suppose I'm worried about the pressure on him if he gets there. It seems to be a place where they push pupils hard. I worry. He already has loads of pressure from an admittedly academic school, but this college could be another level. But if he applied and didn't get in, I think it would also be hard on him. So far he's sailed through things, but this could be a nasty wake up call. 

I may be an utter fail at maths, but I'm a top expert on worrying about things that may never happen. It all seems so overwhelming, though. 

Tomorrow I am determined to have nice pics for you.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 14 November 2022


Thank you for all the kind good wishes. I'm still feeling tired, but better today than I have been. 

The fog was pretty thick this morning on the school run and was still an issue for the afternoon pick up. I'm not as worried by fog as I am by snow. I suppose it's because the first time I took bear and his friend to school, the fog was desperately thick and I couldn't see a hundred yards. I sort of got over the fear. It wasn't as bad today and I just watched my stopping distances and got on with it. 

Bear is talking about prom. When I was at school, sometime back when Stonehenge was still shiny, it was a school disco with dubious hotdogs and small bottles of pop. Now it's proper dresses and tuxedos and fancy dinners. Bear has got some insider knowledge and is talking about them trying to keep the cost of the tickets below £38. I told bear that he was going in a rented tuxedo. I swear that he has grown six inches this year, and he's starting to broaden out. What will fit him in May 2023 is very unlikely to fit him in May 2025! I expect he's a few inches growing at least before next May, so there is no point in shopping around now. I'll wait until later. I am just relieved that I don't have to go through the prom dress/hairdressers/nails etc that parents with daughters have to face. I'm sure it's a bonding and fun experience for many, but it's my idea of purgatory. I told him it was a great chance to look like James Bond. Bear was unimpressed, but definitely wants to go to prom. 

He got his Chemistry result today and, bad mother that I am, I can't remember what it was, but I think it was 79% Whatever it was, I remember it was a good one. He was happy about it. He'll get his full set of results next week, so I'm keeping it all crossed. He is not happy about the current state of his homework - he is supposed to 'learn' Othello for drama this week, which seems a little optimistic. He is also supposed to be consistently revising. I'm researching healthy treats for him. It's going to be a long few years. To those who have been through this - all advice is sooooo welcome!!!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 13 November 2022

Not a Happy Bunny

Eileen - thank you! I'm thinking about all the quirky nooks and crannies that we could lose now, and I'm a little sad. Who knows what will happen over the next few years.

Sharon - thank you! Sometimes the skies can be fascinating to look at. I'll be glad when this lurgy goes.

Bless - thank you! The yarn just called to me.

I was pretty good yesterday. Today I ache all over, I can barely keep my eyes open and I'm not sure which way is up. Hopefully back tomorrow with something more upbeat. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 12 November 2022


Eileen - Thank you! I am sure that learning to make an omelette in a pan would be a lot more effective, but I love gadgets.

Bless - it was good to speak to the doctor. They are very good at our surgery. 

Rae - sending good vibes for the glucose results. It's good that they're keeping on top of it so you can take early action. Our surgery always sends us home with a little tube to fill and it is so much easier to provide a sample in the comfort of your own bathroom. Bear has finished exams now until January - thank goodness!

Today I went and sat in a car park for a few hours and read a little and knitted a little. It's a very nice car park for a country park with a cafe and a toilet attached and there are some cute dogs being walked. Unfortunately, with budget cuts, the cafe and toilet will be closed after this weekend. This is a shame, but the Tesco toilet is only around ten minutes away so I suppose I could still go to the car park and drive along for comfort stops. I managed a nice pic of the sky. 

It looks gloomier than it was. The clouds reminded me of soft toy stuffing. Most of the time the sky looked a little more like this.

And the trees at this time of year are beautiful.

My shrug is now around 21 inches or 54 cms (give or take) long. This means that I'm nearly half way as I need to knit until it's 42 inches long and then another two inches in rib. Then it gets folded and becomes a shrug. I didn't have much luck in taking a pic.

I think that it's going to be so much fun to wear, and nice and warm.

I've been thinking about the whole writing thing. There are parts of me that are as easily influenced as a balloon in a hurricane, so it makes sense that what I'm writing affects me. I don't approve of it, though. I don't mind other people having 'artistic temperament'. I just don't believe in having it for myself. I suspect that I will do better if I can embrace my inner Bohemian, though it feels very self indulgent. I can't see bear approving of me being obviously unconventional. He has enough to put up with as it is. I'll have a further think about things and if there is anything worth sharing, I'll share on the writing blog. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 11 November 2022

Keeping Moving

Bless - Thank you! The thing about kitchen gadgets is that you can do practically everything with a sharp knife and a decent pan. But a shiny kitchen gadget is such a want!!!

The cellulitis isn't improving, but at least it hasn't spread. I spent the day ringing the doctor, waiting for a call back, talking to the doctor and then rushing out to get the new prescription - more antibiotics and some cream plus an appointment in ten days time. 

I am currently so tired I could cry, but I'm not feeling so poorly. Bear is also tired. I think that the exams have got to him. 

Mind you, I've been doing some writing and found that the combination of a tank of decent petrol plus writing a character slightly darker than my usual hero or heroine makes me a lot more assertive driving on the school run. I was still ridiculously law abiding, but found it a lot easier to get out at a roundabout. I may have to rethink my writing style. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 10 November 2022

Picking Up

Sharon - thank you. I admit to feeling very worn down. Bear is definitely glad that this lot of exams are over. Now he is looking at revising for January! 

Bless - thank you. The model I have is not what I would consider a classic omelette maker, but it will cook two eggs with some 'fillings' like a little softened onion or some herbs and that is not a bad meal. 

I'm feeling a lot better. To be fair, I still feel like I've been mugged, and my joints are giving me grief, but I've managed a couple of thousand words over the last few days and that always makes a difference to me. 

I took bear to school this morning. The dawn was beautiful.

And I even managed a little shopping. Picking up a bag of potatoes from Tesco does not seem like much, but it was impossible earlier in the week. Bear came home on the bus. I possibly could have gone and fetched him, but I wilt as the day goes on. I should be fine to pick him up as well as drop him off tomorrow. 

I didn't use the omelette maker today. I hope to do so tomorrow. I have those tiny dice chorizo in the freezer, plus frozen chopped onions, plus frozen chopped mushrooms. I can just soften them, let them cool a little and then add to the egg mixture. The handbook suggests two to three medium mushrooms per two egg mixture that is split between the two hollows. It makes things so much easier if I can take a teaspoon or so out at a time. 

Now I think I will crawl off for an extremely early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Only an Omelette Maker

Cherie - thank you, I feel hugged. 

Bless - thank you. I suspect that this may run and run. I always seem to need a little more antibiotics than most. I'm being careful.

Sharon - thank you! The doctor was really sweet.

Kate - I'm going to have to top up my vitamins, and I may wander into somewhere like Holland and Barrett and see what sort of things that they can recommend to top up the treatment.

Eileen - thank you! I am so proud of bear. I feel incredibly lucky with the cover. It's only going to be some short stories, and quite a small collection as I'm aiming at the same market as Dinner at Dark which was a very short book, but I'm spending some time editing and trying to get it nice. I am also deeply envious of those people who are able to make book covers. I fail epically on that!

I'm not good with antibiotics. I'm almost the opposite of allergic, and doctors never seem to believe me. I had glandular fever at around the age of twelve and I was pretty poorly. I ended up in hospital for a few days and I was away with the fairies for some time after. There is always a bright side, if you look, though. I was given vast quantities of antibiotics - ridiculous amounts, absolutely over the top dosages. There was still enough in my system so that when I went to Guide camp a few months later and everyone got sick from the dodgy water supply, I was fine. It just goes to show. But since then, I've always needed a second course of antibiotics. I currently feel like I've been severely mugged, but hopefully I will pick up soon.

Bear had his last exam today, which was Maths, and he is feeling pretty confident about it. He told me he was trying to learn about calculus a little ahead of the class. I asked him what calculus was, and he told me. He told me at length. It took a surprising proportion of the drive home. I wish I knew more. He was so joyful talking about it.

I had an Asda delivery today. They have some useful gluten free meat pastes which I added to the order. I have been running something of a temperature and I was worried about what I may have ordered, but the only random thing was an electric omelette maker for £10. I'll probably get some use out of it, and it could be a lot worse. I can't cook eggs in a pan to save my life, but I think having an omelette or similar regularly would be extremely good for me. 

I think that I shall have an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Pity Party

Thank you for all the wonderful comments and well wishes. It has been such a boost and I swear I'm better for them. Eileen and Sarah - I'm listening to you about the teacher. I'll have another talk with bear about it once things have died down on the GCSE front, but he has just finished a set of mocks, has two more sets of mock exams scheduled for January and March and then the real deal in May and June. I am tiptoeing around him. Mind you, today hear learned that he got 97% in his computer science exam, so he's in a good place today.

I will be honest, I'm still feeling quite poorly. There's a patch of skin that has been giving trouble for around a year and it's finally kicked off enough for me to actually speak to a doctor about it. For those feeling strong, it's from eczema (or dermititis herpetiformis) that has got infected and I'm quite fed up of it. I currently feel ridiculously wrung out.

This means that I have been at a low ebb when it comes to will power but with more time to sit and stare at the computer with all those lovely shopping sites available. I have an Asda delivery coming tomorrow, because that was the only supplier that could deliver and I'm not sure that I'll be up to walking around a supermarket. I think that it should be mainly normal stuff, but all bets are off. Poor bear is likely to end up with a ready meal tomorrow. We've agreed on chicken and bacon pasta, and I've ordered some extra fruit. I have no idea about anything else.

Writing stuff - I'm trying to pull together some good new stuff for the collection of short stories. I have already removed the stories I'm planning on using from my writing blog, which I'm ashamed to say has had nothing new on it for a week. It's only going to be a small collection, and I'll be pricing it as low as I can. It will almost certainly be put on free offer at some point. However my pride says that there has to be some good new stuff in there, so I've been working on that. 

I mentioned that I had ordered a cover from Get Covers for the story, and it came yesterday! Check it out!

The stories are the slightly darker supernatural ones. I'm not sure if there is a market for the more mundane stories, especially as I want people to be interested enough to go and read the full stories like Out of the London Mist and King's Silver 

On the bright side, feeling slightly detached from reality with the temperature and everything can only be good for generating slightly darker and spookier ideas, right?

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 7 November 2022

You Are All Awesome

Thank you for all the hugs. You are all so wonderful and I feel so much better hearing from you.

I'm on antibiotics for cellulitis. I feel dreadful and somewhat floaty. Off to nap and hopefully back and more sensible later. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 6 November 2022

Fed Up

I'm running a temperature and feeling like death. Back tomorrow, hopefully after I've had a chance to call the doctor.

Hugs and good health to all.  

Friday 4 November 2022

Cold Start

Sarah - I wonder if there is the worry that bear won't excel at violin. He's started too late to be a high performer, and the tutor has a lot of kids with pushy parents. She would have been happy to have him change to piano, which I suppose needs less correcting. As bear has lost the last dregs of his enthusiasm, I'm not pushing it now, but I'm paying attention to you and Eileen. Poor kid has been unlucky with the violin, with losing two teachers (to moving country and unexpected pregnancy) and then Covid before this. I'll keep an eye on him and see what he wants.

Bless - DH had the second half of it tonight and thought it was even better after a rest! I really hope that I can duplicate it after all this!

Eileen - bear only has two exams left. Poor kid has had them all loaded on him in the first week. He is still planning on revising most of the weekend. 

There was ice on the car windscreen this morning. It was only a tiny bit, but it was there. I took a pic of the fuchsia as I'm not sure how long it has left for this year. 

There are still quite a few buds, but it's coming to the end.

Bear had Biology and English today. He was indifferent about Biology but said that he had done much better on his English than he had expected and was bubbling over with enthusiasm. I had picked up reduced price cupcakes from the Co-op which he very much enjoyed before disappearing to his room. He only has two exams next week, but one is Maths and he is making his target to get 100%. He came down a little later on to get something from his bag and explained something about differential equations to DH and I. I have absolutely no idea what he was talking about. He was happily chatting about square roots, x, y and negative numbers and I could feel myself switching to autopilot. 

I should add - bear is setting his own targets and, as far as I can tell, while 100% may be a little over-optimistic, he has as good a chance as any of getting a very high score. He has in previous tests before the mocks. I'm not pushing him. Between his own determination and school, I think that there's more than enough pressure. I'll leave him to it, but I make make some of his favourite meals over the weekend.

For me, today was a washout. I felt so tired this morning, despite a reasonable sleep, that I was worried that I wasn't safe driving home after dropping bear off at school. I went straight to sleep and slept for two hours before being woken by a delivery (DH has a new computer chair). Then I had another hour's nap. I loaded up with caffeine before picking bear up from school, but I'm still feeling flattened. I think I shall have to see the doctor, but I think I will try an iron supplement first. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 3 November 2022

I Finished the Meal!

Bless - thank you! The stock sounds delicious and warming.

Sharon - thank you, and yes, I am totally excited.

Eileen - I really enjoyed them.

I took pics. First some unsoaked peas.

Then the soaked peas.

I left them overnight for around 12 hours and the water was still hot when I opened the magic braised burning pot. I think that I should have boiled them for a little while the next day, because they were still quite firm after slow cooking. 

I added a small amount of chorizo.

Plus veggies.

That's swede, turnip, parsnip and a carrot and a half from the back of the fridge. I also added peppercorns, minced dried onion, stock cube, rice, and dried herbs with lots of hot water and then left it to slow cook. 

DH loved it and asked for it again. I started talking about tweaks, like adding celery and DH was unimpressed. He wants it again, exactly the same. That could be tricky as I didn't measure anything exactly. 

Bear wasn't interested. He is showing a few signs of stress, poor lad. Apparently Physics was tough, and he told me he may just have scraped the top mark. He is driving himself hard. Computer Science was, apparently, easy. To be honest, I'm waiting on the exam results as he got stuff wrong before. I'm keeping it all crossed for him, though. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 2 November 2022

I've Started So I'll Have to Finish

Eileen - I think that she may have persevered if bear had been more enthusiastic (he's flatter than a burst bubble at the moment) and said that she was happy to substitute piano lessons, so I'm not writing her off. The problem from my side is that I don't think that bear would put in the work, and until he is willing to do that then I will sit on my hands. In general, I'm incredibly indulgent of him, but I believe that he is at an age where if he wants to do something then the effort has to come from him. He's been getting plenty of hugs, though. 

Sharon - buying books is good (well, I would think that!). I am getting to the stage where I'm not exactly sure what's likely to land next. 

Bless - it's a funny year for plants. And to be honest, it's not a bad price for that amount of basic yarn, so it could be worse. I suspect that bear will rediscover an interest in music in the future but right now I think that it's a little overwhelming. 

A little while ago, I ordered a selection of dried peas and beans from Hodmedod. They sell that sort of thing and is British based, and I'm trying to support British farmers. Apart from anything else, it's less distance to travel, so better for the climate. Besides, they have awesome stuff like blue peas and black quinoa. Tonight I put some mixed peas to soak - that's a mix of Red Fox Carlin, Black Badger Carlin, blue peas, yellow peas and marrowfat peas. I brought them to the boil. Meanwhile I filled the thermos (magic braised burning pot) with boiling water. When the dried peas were at the boil, I emptied out the thermos, added the drained peas, a stock cube and fresh boiling water. Tomorrow I plan to drain them and put them in to slow cook with some rice and veggies cut small. I forgot to take a pic, of course, so here is the old pic of the magic braised burning pot.

And because I've started, I'm hoping that I'll finish. I also have a small bag of finely diced frozen chorizo, which I plan to sizzle briefly to get rid of the 'frozen' and add. The meat is a garnish rather than the main course. Both of the men approve. I have turnip, parsnip and swede in the fridge and some onion. I'll add black peppercorn and perhaps some mixed herbs with a stock cube and I'll see how it turns out. 

The veggies that I picked up came to maybe £2. I can't remember exactly and the turnip isn't on the website to check. The frozen diced chorizo is and costs £2.35 for 250g (just over half a pound). The reason I got the frozen stuff is that I'll probably use less than a quarter of it, and continue to add it as required to various bits, so say 60p. I used maybe a quarter of the 500g bag of mixed peas, so say 60p again. Even with the rice and all the seasonings, I hope to feed three of us tomorrow and then perhaps feed me again on Friday lunch, and without stinting on the portions, for less than £4.50. Mind you, I may cook up some of the frozen cabbage in the freezer as well, or some peas, to round the flavour out. It won't bump the price up that much. The frozen cabbage has no waste, lasts, and a quarter of a kilo bag of frozen shredded cabbage is 50p. 

Bear only had one exam today, but had retreated to his room by around 6pm as he has physics and computer science tomorrow and he wants to do well. He is a lot more relaxed than he was at the start of the week, so fingers crossed that things will go well for him. 

Writing stuff - another thing that I've started is getting together some short stories from my blog, adding some new stuff and getting ready to publish as a very short collection. The promotion of Dinner at Dark as a free book went quite well, so I am hoping that this will be able to do the same thing. I'll keep you updated as I go, but today I spent $20 on a book cover from Get Covers so now I need to get on and finish the dratted thing. I want to make sure that there is some new stuff included, and I'm tidying up some of the old stuff as well. But now I've ordered the cover, I need to get it all finished as if I publish it in print, they will need a page count to get things like the spine correct. Please wish me luck. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 1 November 2022

A Setback

Eileen - thank you! 

Sharon - he's been studying so it's really not so surprising.

Bless - thank you!

The absolutely lovely violin teacher rang. She doesn't think that bear should continue violin lessons. He's having a few issues distinguishing pitch and the patchy teaching he has had so far (through no fault of anyone) has left a mark. Part of the problem is that bear has been working really hard on revising and, as Sharon perfectly put it, the violin has taken second fiddle. We've shelved further lessons for now. The violin teacher said that she would not lose out too much as she had a waiting list, but that bear was welcome back any time to learn the piano.

We've had some success wedging the peanut butter tub into the honeysuckle. 

It had a tendancy to swing about when it was on the birdfeeder and the tub kept ending up on the floor. This is also a place more suited to the smaller birds instead of the pigeons, who are bad enough as is.

The honeysuckle seriously seems to think that it's spring.

It's all fresh new leaves. The fuchsia is still going, though I didn't notice many bees this morning. That may have been due to it being windy.

The flowers are only on the ends of the branches now, and I'm not sure how much longer they can keep going. I know they will definitely go at the first frost.

I need to get out and sweep up the fallen flowers, but they are such a splash of colour

Also, the yarn that I really shouldn't have ordered arrived. It was relatively inexpensive, but I did not need it! I'm determined to finish off at least the next couple of blankets before I do anything else. I think that I shall very much enjoy knitting it up, but I need to clear some things first.

That is 1600g of double knit which cost £25.96. Maybe I can sell the blankets they make. 

Hugs and good health to all.