Tuesday 31 January 2023

Dark and Stormy

Cherie - I'm so proud of bear. I look at him sometimes and wonder where I went right. 

Ruth - thank you! I'm glad you liked the Kane stories. I admit to a soft spot for Kane and I've been wondering about setting him up with a girlfriend for a while. I think I would like to make it into a proper novel, though, or even a series, because I think that he has a lot of stories to tell, he's such a sweetie and the ghosts are so difficult! Feel free to remind me as I have a lot of ideas and projects flying around at the moment and it's easy for things to slip under the radar.

Eileen - I'm keeping everything crossed for bear. I've been rummaging around my freezer and making room. I think I've got enough space to stock up on some frozen chicken. As far as I can tell, the offer of 5 for the price of 4 at Tesco is valid until 13th February, and I am seriously thinking of either eating my way through a load of the veggies that have been hanging around or just throwing out the sad remnants at the back of the freezer that I won't use. Being able to save 20% on the expensive stuff is a great incentive for me to really look closely at what's in the freezer and whether I would use it. By the way, the cashier said that they are only allowed to give the offer for 10 items at a time. I spaced mine out, so that five of each price point was rung separately through to get the best deal, so I wasn't affected. You may have to do more than one transaction if you commit.

Sharon - thank you - I'm so proud of him as well!

Bless - thank you so much. I'm keeping everything crossed.

Unknown - you wrote, 'This is incredibly boring. Do you have a life beyond Bear?' I think you missed the groundbreaking, earthshattering news of the 5 for the price of 4 on all frozen stuff at Tesco! There is also supermarket shopping! Seriously, my life is pretty dull, and I'm okay with that. In a few years time, bear will leave home and my life will get even quieter, and at my time of life, that's not a bad thing.

Poor bear is still overloaded with homework. He managed to get the 19 items down to 14 by today, but it's still incredibly overwhelming. He's planning on taking advantage of the strike action tomorrow to catch up with that and the revision. 

I've spent a lot of the last few days editing The Forgotten Village which was the first novel I've published. There were sooooo many commas, but a lot of the accepted style has changed since I published it in 2012. Back in those days, you put two spaces after a full stop or period, but now the convention is for one space. That took some checking! I used 'find and replace' that did most of the heavy lifting, but so much needed sorting and I re-wrote a few segments. I've ordered a professional cover for ebook and paperback, so it will be available in paperback form for the first time. When it's all set up in a few days, I put it as a free ebook, so watch this space. I've started on its sequel, Digging up the Past. I've also promised to record a podcast where people discuss horror movies. This is somewhat ironic as I find a lot of them too scary, but I think it will be fun and I know the people involved - who are awesome! I have three pieces I also need to get written, the editing to the sequel to King's Silver and the sequel to Under a Bright Saharan Sky to get sorted. Then things should settle down a bit and I should be able to catch up. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 30 January 2023

Bear Did Awesomely

Eileen - it's a specialist maths college. The offer may be made as early as in a week or two, but we will have to wait and see. Bear is still aiming for good grades, regardless. It's a point of pride with him.

Bless - Your daughter is amazing. To be able to get through that amount of work shows real dedication and talent.

The sixth form college that bear has applied to is a specialist college that focuses on Maths. It's part of a programme where maths based colleges are affiliated with universities. It will be the first year for bear, but the colleges linked with King's College London, Lancaster and Liverpool are up and running and seem to be doing well. Bear said that over 30% of those who went through the King's College one ended up in Oxford or Cambridge, which is insane. 

Bear said that the interview was great. He said that the aptitude test was hard but he enjoyed it (I've no idea how he manages to enjoy maths!). Then he said he had a wonderful time with the teacher going through some problems. He just glowed afterwards. The teacher said that he was recommending that bear be accepted, so we are all keeping our fingers crossed. It now seems to depend on the aptitude test and the final grades in the summer. Also, he looked incredibly handsome.

Tesco are doing 5 for the price of 4 on ALL frozen food. My freezer is now stuffed with around six months' supply of gluten free breaded chicken. It's almost impossible to get offers on that, so I'm taking advantage. I'm going to have a rummage and see if I can't squeeze in some 'normal' frozen chicken as well, though that sometimes goes on sale. To be honest, I would absolutely stuff two or three freezers and keep it going for a year if this sort of sale came around when I had the opportunity. I spent £43 plus change. It would have cost £53 and change. It's something that we would eat and it won't go off and that is normally expensive. These days, buying five bags of frozen peas and paying £4 instead of £5 has an attraction, but I'm looking at the more expensive stuff that we would use to justify their space in the freezer. I'm also going to keep an eye out for gluten free week. Before the plague hit, I would save a fortune by buying up a year of gluten free pasta at the only time it went on sale. 

Bear likes the frozen vegan dippers, but they are often on half price sale so it's not worth stocking up on those. The same goes for the Quorn mince that DH likes. I absolutely need to get the price book sorted. 

My tyre pressure warning has come on. I'm sort of looking forward to ten minutes knitting time at the garage as they sort out my tyres.

Writing stuff - I've abandoned the idea of a newsletter. Legally I have to put a physical address and for some reason I don't feel comfortable putting my home address. I can pay for a postal address but it's more than I can really manage. I'm sure I'm being silly because anyone who really wanted to find me could, but there you are. However, I'm now on Substack under Lyssa Medana's Writings (not exactly original, but at least it works). If you sign up there then I think you will get emailed anything I post there. I'm duplicating all the stuff from my writing blog onto there now, so that is a way for anyone who wishes to keep up to date.

And speaking of which, this week's flash fiction is here.

Friday 27 January 2023

Still Dashing Through

Bless - thank you! Poor bear is getting it all thrown at him. I'm glad that you can understand my accent.

Eileen - thank you! I'm unimpressed with the workload. I can log onto his school account and I see how his homework is being loaded up. He keeps clearing stuff off but more and more gets added. Last I looked it was 15 items. He's doing okay but I'm worried about how he'll be when it's all over after his GCSEs. I think it will catch up with him then.

Sharon - thank you! The homework is getting ridiculous 

IMPORTANT - I'll put links to things like podcasts, but it's really okay not to listen if you don't want to. I put things here to be useful, but there is never any obligation to even look. You are all utterly awesome and I would hate to drive you away by putting the writing stuff on you. 

Yesterday morning I was stuck in my car while the dogs from next door but one were loose. They are strong dogs and lack training, exercise and a functional gate to the yard. They have chased people in the past and I think they could bite. I've seen kids tease them. It's heartbreaking. I had to wait until they were dragged in the house before bear could get from the house to the car for the school run. What is perhaps the most heartbreaking part is that I think that the dogs are sweethearts deep down. I would love to be able to cuddle them, but it's not possible. I don't really blame the neighbour next door but one as they are doing the best they can. However it's incredibly scary. I bought a dog training spray just in case. It makes a rather limp 'pft' noise but it may help.

This morning I had my first walk in a while. It was just a short walk around the flat part of the park, but it was something.

I've been entangled with writing stuff all day, but now I'm at home and bear is fretting about things. The interview is tomorrow morning, then he has to wait until March, I think, for a conditional offer, then he gets it confirmed if he gets the expected grades. It's going to be tense. I suppose it's as good training as anything for the application to university. 

Writing stuff - yep, more of it. To go with the podcast, Dinner at Dark is free until 29th January. It's here on the UK site and here on the USA site. I think it's on most Amazon national sites. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 26 January 2023

In Haste

Just passing through, while spending time listening to bear worrying about his interview this weekend, but I'm on a podcast and it's here.

The Hidden Bookshelf Club Podcast 

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Nothing Much Here

Bless - I was glad of the blanket and every now and then I would turn the car on to get some heating. Next time I'm taking the car kettle and making a hot drink! But the tranquility of it was so good for my mental health.

Sharon - oddly enough, I'd probably find it easier to go by myself. I'm okay at talking to strangers for short periods of time. I could do with going for the whole 'being a writer' thing.

Eileen - there are a lot of candles currently lit. It isn't that cold in here, either, as the central heating has been on, but I'll be glad when the new one comes. I think I will keep mending the old one separate for a while. Bear is stressed.

There's not much going on here. I've done writing stuff and I've put some washing in. I threatened bear with going into his bedroom, which is currently better guarded than Mordor, if he didn't bring his laundry out. The laundry came out double quick. I'm not asking.

To be fair to bear, he has fourteen separate homework assignments outstanding. I can check this sort of stuff online and I had a quick glance over and none of them seemed quick or easy. I suspect he is doing a lot of it in school as he gets there early and goes into the library there. I'm going to be keeping an eye on him. He seems okay, but that's a lot to put on to a kid, especially as it's also expected that he's revising. I'm not sure how much revising he's doing, but I know he did a lot over Christmas so I'm not pushing. 

And that's about it. I hope to be more interesting tomorrow but as I am feeling that I need to clear a load of writing stuff, it's unlikely. 

You are all awesome.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 23 January 2023

Continuing Slightly Bewildered

Hazel - I know! I am editing like crazy and bringing it up to standard. Thank you for the support that you have given my stories and never underestimate how much it means. I hope to keep telling them for a long time to come. 

I am not sure which utterly wonderful person said that the years since bear had started Grammar School had flown by, but thank you for the hug. I am so proud of him.

Eileen - the relief over the clothes is real. And I am just so proud of him!

Sharon - thank you. I think he looks quite handsome as well as smart, but I may be biased.

Bless - he may be glad that I insisted on the jacket, but I doubt that he would ever admit it.

I went out to sit in a car park and knit this weekend.

I'm glad that I knit blankets.

I can't knit properly in the car with straight needles. They stick out too much. I'll have to knit at home or invest in the garotte needles. Or I could save knitting the hat for at home and knit the ongoing blanket that's on circular needles in the car. Today I was knitting the blanket while I waited. 

I won tickets to go and see the evening entertainment at the Shrewsbury Steampunk Shindig and I am thrilled. The only thing is, I suspect that I may be a little old for it. I won by sharing a Facebook post, and I actually shared it because I sort of know the people involved vaguely and they seem lovely. I didn't expect to win anything. 

I may be a little hesitant about going to the evening do, but I quite fancy going to the day do (details here). Not only would it be loads of fun to go to a steampunk fair, but it's really near to Oswestry, where I'm setting my next steampunk book. I could get some atmosphere. The big drawback is that it is over two hours' drive on the motorway, over three hours on the side roads. I'm used to driving for maybe up to an hour at a time. I would also be on unfamiliar roads as I haven't been in that part of the world for nearly forty years. I ought to go for it, but I'm not sure...

Also, the electric fire in the study has broken. It turns on but instead of warm air all that comes out is a very unpleasant burning smell. We've had it for a few years, so I'm not too devastated. I'm putting it aside to see if bear can mend it to keep as a spare and I've ordered another inexpensive one. 

Writing stuff - I am editing and writing and have a gazillion and four ideas going around my head. This week's flash fiction is here. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 20 January 2023


Eileen - if some of those trolleys were horses, they'd be shot. I'm not sure it's the trolleys having a mind of their own or being possessed by evil spirits! I didn't have to drag the dratted thing around corners yesterday, so I'll take it as a win.

Aileen - we take a very hands off approach to bear. So far, so good. We never expected that he would think us worth listening to, but we will discuss stuff and he's incredibly easygoing. Mind you, he is an only child who has always been calm. 

First off, bear took part in the Oxford Computing Challenge. He was pleased with how he did, but he didn't think he did brilliantly. As it's a big deal just to take part, I'm so proud of him.

And his clothes came. The jeans are dark blue, so they're going back and being swapped for black, but at least we know that the fit is okay. He looks sooo good in the shirt (which he says is incredibly comfortable) and jacket. The jacket is a little tricky. Bear takes after his father who has broad shoulders. DH can't really wear Matalan shirts or jackets as they just don't have enough room for his shoulders and bear is nearly there. The jacket is a little snug. So while I got the jacket from Matalan this time, the next one will have to come from Marks & Spencer. Bear is still growing and has limited opportunities to wear a jacket, and Matalan's jacket cost £39. A similar one from Marks and Spencer would easily be double that as it's a slim fit tailored style with a nice lining. I'll stick with the less expensive decent enough version for now. As it was, bear loved it. He wants all the opportunities to wear it again. He looked so pleased with himself and so comfortable in it. It looked a lot better than his school blazer!

Writing stuff - In the podcast, we talked about the Forgotten Village and Digging up the Past. I wrote them ten years ago. My writing has improved significantly and when I went back for a quick look, I cringed. I am going to be editing like crazy and effectively re-writing chunks of both and I'm going to try and get it done before the 26th. I need to get in quickly as Amazon take time to load things up. So I am going to be caught up with that for the next few days. As the author I suggest that you wait a week or so before looking them up if you are interested, and they will probably go on free promotion in the next few months, so don't stress. I've also had a few thoughts about the characters there, so watch this space.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 19 January 2023

Bear Continues Awesome

Eileen - Thank you. I hope that Marriners Yarns can be saved. I think that the sixth form interviews were about firstly managing expectations in kids and parents, and secondly trying to persuade the more able ones to stay at the school. There is a lot of competition from a sixth form college in Huddersfield.

Sharon - I know! He's sixteen now and taller than me. 

Cherie - I still am holding out hope that he'll go in looking half decent. I've seen a picture of the principal and he is wearing a bow tie. I'm not sure that I'm ready for bear in a bow tie. As for the driving, I passed my test in March 2019, nearly four years ago! Now I'm zooming about all over the place. 

Aileen - you are a genius. I spoke to my brother who suggested that bear look up stuff on the psychology of interviews and what to wear. I passed this on to bear who looked thoughtful.

I called in at Tesco this morning. 

The narrow wavy track is me. I need to work on my steering.

Bear attended the headmaster's breakfast this morning. It is a small pastry, a carton of juice and a lot of praise. I think it was around thirty from their year, and they all got a lot of encouragement from it. I am so proud of bear. It all seems to be happening for him at the moment. He has two more interviews coming up and something to do with computers. 

Writing stuff - today I recorded a podcast with Hidden Bookshelf Club which should hopefully air on 26 Jan. I'll share the link when it comes out. They were lovely to speak with, really kind and fun.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 18 January 2023

What Day Is It?

Bless - thank you!

Sharon - us complaining about the snow must seem silly to you considering  you have the proper cold stuff. My car isn't too bad, but she really doesn't like the cold and she has been incredibly creaky the last few days. I personally would consider a tie appropriate but I didn't even bother mentioning it to bear.

Aileen - always glad to hear someone passing by. I'm incredibly flattered that anyone reads this. I don't really know anyone that fits that bill. My brother is the other male role model and he's in his fifties and goes for comfort over style. But that is incredibly good advice and I'll have a think.

The rear window this morning looked like this.

So not too bad. The roads we take are main roads and well gritted, and it's not too bad really. It's just uncomfortably cold getting it sorted. I could do with some driving gloves as the handbrake was icy

I have got so many different things going around my mind at the moment. I've signed up to Substack in a moment of madness. It's a sort of blogging/newsletter/info site that I'm still trying to understand. I may be able to get some money through there one day, but that's a way off. First of all I have to work out what on earth I'm doing there. I'm not charging people to see me make an idiot of myself. That's always been free. 

My favourite yarn site is marked 'under maintenance'. Marriners Yarns have been in existence since the 18th century. As far as I can tell, their parent company has gone into Administration. I hope that someone buys that side of the firm. They had sheep and had just started posting crochet tutorials on YouTube. It was looking really dynamic.

Bear has a lot going on. They are raising money to subsidise their prom and he's supposed to be helping organise the sale of roses in school for Valentine's Day. And he has a computing thing tomorrow which is sort of important. I've got a gazillion and four writing things whirling around my mind. I lie down to sleep and my mind goes into overdrive with worry over clean shirts, what's for dinner and plot lines. I've got visits and appointments and deadlines all spinning around. I think I will just get through this week and then block out next Monday to try and work out what the heck is going on. 

This comes under writing stuff, but when I get this overwhelmed, my mind goes all over the place. 

My thoughts on that are over on my writing blog here. I sometimes think that my imagination shouldn't be let out without adult supervision.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 17 January 2023

It's Cold!

Bless - I suspect that I'll be seeing plenty of the squirrels. They are so full of life!

Barbara - I definitely will be mentioning that!

Eileen - I am always comforted by your blog and I find it an encouragement. I think that I need to get back to them for my own sake.

Sharon - it's only a matter of time before the squirrels start but this morning it was a robin pointedly pecking at the empty peanut tray and looking hard at me that got the nuts topped up.

This morning, the car looked like this

Fortunately I had the cover thingy on the windscreen which helped.

It's a really sad, thin one that's held on by weak magnets. I may invest in a better one, or rather two. It would be a help to keep the rear window covered as well.

On the way home I called in to Marks and Spencer just in case and they had two bags of onions marked down, so I got 2kg of onions for £1.38. They're still more expensive than the cut price ones at Tesco, but they look so much nicer and I think that there will be less waste. 

DH called the sixth form college and smart jeans with shoes will be acceptable. So the current plan is for bear to wear a new pair of black jeans from Marks and Spencer, a nice new shirt (that he may actually wear again) from Matalan and a suit style jacket from Matalan that may also be dragged out later but I may be better off trying to re-sell. Bear thinks that he will look ridiculous. DH and I think he will look good. He's relatively tall, quite slim (more meat on a butcher's pencil) and holds himself well. We shall see. 

And tonight after dinner I drove him all the way back to school so he could have an interview with their sixth form transition teacher where she said his grades were fine, his plans for his future reasonable and sensible and that she would recommend he be accepted. Six minutes later we were back in the car and on our way home. I could have done without it. 

Now I am going to bed. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 16 January 2023

Clothes Maketh the Man

Bless - thank you!

Sharon - when bear was younger, he didn't want to leave town. Now the sky's the limit. If he stays in the UK, 600 miles won't take him far, but I sort of hope that he goes within reasonable difference - if he wants!

Eileen - Thank you! All the things that they do now are so different, and so much more is on the kids. I can't keep up. 

Wherethejourneytakesme - I was on that road around 4pm. It's a horrible road. You have a gazillion and four speed cameras, double parking, some weird road layout, commercial vehicles, cyclists and some 'interesting' junctions. I do it most days as well, and I must be mad.

Lovely unknown commenter - Because it's a new school and bear (if he gets in) will be one of the first students, it's hard to know where to pitch it. It's such a worry.

Bear wants to wear jeans for the interview. DH and I are strongly not in favour of this. Negotiations are ongoing and complex. I am suggesting a blazer or suit jacket. Bear is objecting on the grounds that the interview is not supposed to be in school uniform and all schools have a blazer as part of their uniform. I would get him a less formal jacket, but I don't have time to swing through all the charity shops and new it would cost quite a bit. The ones I've liked have all been over £30, which I would unhesitatingly pay if I thought bear would wear it again. Bear doesn't wear jackets or coats. I can sometimes persuade him to wear a hoodie. Bear is holding out for black jeans, plain black t-shirt and plain black hoodie. The best I can say about that lot is at least they would be clean and without holes. 

I got one row knitted on my hat.

This morning when I got home from dropping bear off, a squirrel ran out of our garden. Then another one followed it. Then a third shot across the road in front of me. We had three squirrels in the garden. I had some bulbs that I was seriously looking at putting in as we are just about in the last gasp, but I can't see the point if the squirrels are going to be raiding. I think all I can do now is get the garden tidy and hope for the best. 

I apologise, I'm missing the blogs. I've been caught up in a storm of stuff and now I've missed so much of people's wonderful posts. I'll be dotting in and out, because while I should be concentrating on other things, I miss the awesome people I read. There is a lot of writing stuff and a lot of bear stuff and housewifery stuff all happening. I'll share when I can or when something actually happens. There is so much going on in my head that I can't get to sleep. 

Writing stuff - speaking of which, this week's flash fiction is here. I really want to keep up with this as it's incredibly healthy for my writing. 

Hugs and good health to all 

Friday 13 January 2023


Eileen - I suppose so. I feel guilty about messing people about. And having a writer's mind is entertainment in itself!

Bless - I'm a convert to circular, but I think that there's a place for all tools. They are so small though! I suppose it's socks all the way with them.

I'm not convinced that straights are for me. I feel like I could accidentally do damage with the free ends. They feel so pokey. 

Today has been a good day. I was concentrating on the sequel to King's Silver which is provisionally titled Castle Viberg. I was at the end, rattling out the final stages of the conflict with all the tension and threat I could manage, when half way through a sentance I realised that I had to get out now if I wanted to pick up the trousers I'd ordered for bear from Marks and Spencer then I would have to leave that very minute. I shot out of the house and drove down the ring road like Boudicea. He still hasn't tried them on, and I'm on pins. They are his first pair of men's trousers and I hope that I got the right fit.

I managed to start the hat while I was waiting for bear. I hope to finish it if I work at it this weekend as it looks like it's going to be cold next week and I could use it.

Bear has a date for his interview for the fancy new sixth form college. Discussions have started about what he has to wear. The letter says that he shouldn't be in uniform but should dress appropriately. I say that means proper trousers. Bear is holding out for jeans. Negotiations are ongoing. 

I never had to jump through these hoops back in the 1980s. Bear has had to provide a personal statement and will go for an interview which includes an interview, an aptitude test and a session solving maths problems with a teacher. He's quite nervous about the interviews but looking forward to the maths. Mind you, next week we have an interview for a place at school, just in case. I just hope that it goes okay. And bear is dealing with it all. It was all done by parents in my day, but all the emails are going to bear and he's the one completing all the statements, getting documents together and sending stuff in. We have to sign consent forms for a few bits, but it's all on bear to work through it.

Writing stuff - Castle Viberg is now in with the editor. I may or may not have poured an extremely generous rum and cola, but I have already opened one of the stories I'm working on for the collection of slightly darker short stories. Some are from my writing blog, but I'm determined to make sure that there's some good new stuff in there. That should be sorted soon, and then I'm re-editing some old favourites so that I can start getting them into a cycle of there being one of my self published books free every month. I've got quite a few bits of writing stuff going on and I'll share when I can, but I'm desperate to get things moving quickly. 

Hugs and good health to all.  

Thursday 12 January 2023

Another Shopping Fail

Sharon - thank you. I am concerned about what a squirrel could manage if it got in. 

Cherie - I dread to think what a squirrel could do. I've heard so many horror stories.

Bless - thank you. I was tempted to try the banana blossom vegan fish, but I was fairly sure that it wouldn't be gluten free and, besides, I had already put on such a show with all the reversing that I didn't have the courage to go in! I had an internet rummage and found this recipe here but I don't think I'll be trying it. 

Eileen - we now have a computer thingy competition and the applications for sixth form in the mix as well. He's doing okay, considering. Today's wildlife havoc was a blackbird going past my ankle at around Mach2 when I got out of the car after the morning school run. I thought I was pass out from shock. At least a sparrow hasn't flown into the window recently. I rather envy the local wildlife's attitude to life, to be honest.

A while ago I bought some yarn that I absolutely didn't need but it was 99p and was basically enough yarn for a hat, furry bobble included. It needs 4mm needles. I have some 4mm needles but they are caught up in one of the myriad unfinished projects and I was thinking about upgrading from the rather poor bamboo-and-cheap-plastic, I ordered some 4mm from Amazon. But I got it wrong. I wanted circular 100cm long 4mm needles. Instead I clicked on the 25cm long. That's about 10 inches. 

This is completely inadequate for practically anything that I'm likely to knit. I can't believe that I wasted my money. It wasn't huge amounts, but these days it all makes a difference. I know I can return it, but it seems a little dishonest that the shop should be out because I messed up. I plan to keep it as a reminder to check the dratted details When it came today, I could have cried. Instead I dug under the bed and found the straight needles my mother used and got out a pair of needles from there. I don't like using straights as my track record for losing the other needle is quite impressive.

When I was checking everything on Amazon, I noticed that they had some impressive circular needles with a metal cord. I thought that they would make excellent garottes - as a writer, my search history does not bear looking at. I may need a character statement.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Away with the Fairies

Today I had a Covid booster after two hours sleep and around 2 litres of diet cola that was meant to keep me awake enough to drive bear to school and me to the clinic. This means that I am somewhat out of it. I tried to hang my keys up on the light switch. 

I haven't got a pic but I parked near the pharmacy where the clinic was held in one of the smallest, least practical, worst designed miniature car parks I have ever had the misfortune to suffer. I swear that there are living rooms bigger than the space outside the pharmacy, mini Sainsburys and Fish & Chip shop. The fish and chip shop had a number of notices in the window. It sold Vegan fried fish, that is, banana flower. It also sold deep fried mars bars. The notices were next to each other. I didn't feel able to take a pic, though, as the staff had just watched me make a 347 point turn to get into the space. For added embarassment, the gear stick wouldn't go into reverse again but then worked fine after I was suitably mortified.

I told bear to get the bus home as I didn't think that I was safe to drive. He didn't get home till near 6pm instead of just after 4pm and I felt desperately guilty. School have not helped. Today I got a cryptic email saying that all pupils who have a school sweater should wear one tomorrow, or at least a vest. Bear refuses to wear sweaters and I haven't got him into a vest since primary school. He hasn't even got the right sized white t-shirt. Buying anything is tricky as I have the directional capability of a helium balloon. I got less than 24 hours notice and I am unimpressed. 

Here is a pic from WikiCommons of the vegan fish banana blossom thing, served in Hackney

And now I am off for an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 10 January 2023


Just whizzing through with a reminder that you are all awesome.

Also, apologies but I'm having some writing happen. I'll be back with something hopefully interesting tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all.

Monday 9 January 2023

That January Feeling

Bless - I've failed at compost in the past, but I may have another go. I think I shall keep an eye out for any nests. And I never thought about using the onion skins, but it makes sense.

Sharon - thank you! There is a reason that I've switched to reading a lot on kindle, well, the kindle app on my phone. It saves a tremendous amount of space. I'm also taking full advantage of Kindle Unlimited. It's £7.99 a month and I've read three books from there already this month. Your squirrel sounds adorable. Mine is just well padded.

Eileen - I've already bought some reusable ziplock bags. As I've been buying the frozen onion, they've separated out easily enough, and the mushrooms haven't got that much moisture in them before cooking, so I hadn't considered freezing them in smaller portions, but I think that will be the way to go.

Cherie - I'm not sure about our robin being tame. I can't help feel that if I try hand feeding him, he'll headbutt my ankle and have my hand off at the wrist. Seriously, I suspect that I'm in the middle of a territorial dispute as the one that was glaring at me on the way in tonight seemed a little bigger and somewhat ruffled. I may try, though. I love seeing the birds in the garden.

We may have a problem squirrel. I came home on Saturday from my 'sit in a car park and knit' session (which I find amazingly therapeutic) to this.

Yep, that's Spenser Squirrel sitting in the top of the drainpipe on our porch. When he realised that I had spotted him, he flattened himself against the porch and froze. I got DH to come down and make noise from inside the porch and eventually Spenser shot across the garden, saw me, did the squirrel equivalent of 'oh bugger' and zigzagged away into the bushes across the road. 

The porch roof is incredibly rickety and I am worried about Spenser getting in there. I think that's where the bat got in. Fortunately, the porch was added on some time after the house was built, so the only way in is the inner door - which we are keeping firmly closed. As the roof in there leaks, I suppose it's time to get it repaired. I've been putting it off. Today I found that the peanut butter tub had been removed from the bird feeder, chain and all, and was stuck half way up the gate. I suspect Spenser may have been involved as the tub is relatively heavy and the wind hasn't been that strong. 

I think we are all feeling the January feeling of it being dark, damp and after Christmas. Bear has a pile of exams coming up, plus he's been asked to take part in some sort of maths competition. I'll share what I find out. It's also quite a sad time. There used to be about a gazillion and four birthdays in January, for both DH and I, but so many of our older family members has passed on that there are far fewer cards to buy. It's also coming up to the anniversary of my late mother's death. I think I will call in at Tesco tomorrow and buy a load of sweeties for the food bank as a way of remembering. 

Writing stuff - I managed to write a little flash fiction here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 6 January 2023

And Then It's Friday

Bless - thank you! and thank you for the tip about freezing onions. The frozen ones I get are almost exactly twice the price of the fresh ones, but the frozen ones are already peeled and have less waste. I am also rubbish at chopping onions and never seem to get them as small or even. The maths goes - normal onions are around £1 per kilo. Really cheap onions where you will perhaps lose a quarter of the weight after peeling are 55p per kilo. Frozen onions are £2 per kilo. I think that I will experiment a little and see how it goes. Going over the numbers like that makes me rethink things. After all, I already freeze chopped mushrooms and that works fine for me.

I'm not worried about chopping a load of onions. Back in the early 1980s I had a summer job that had me chopping a very large net of onions every morning. It didn't make me an expert as they wanted it done quickly and quite roughly, to fry at the hot dog stand. For years afterwards I was never affected by chopping onions as I had got immune, and even now I can usually get through a lot before I'm affected. 

It was dark when we left the house this morning at 7am, but that robin was perched on the fence giving it heck as it was claiming the territory. Because I actually saw the assertive avian, I could put it together with the birdsong that had been rattling the windows at 3am when it sounded like there was a feathered dispute. Because we are next to a street light, I think the birds are awake longer and this robin was not holding back. I didn't get a pic, so I found this on WikiCommons

I guess our bird feeder is a good patch to claim. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 5 January 2023

Shopping Fail

Bless - thank you. I suspect that the kestrel may have been blown away from their normal patch as the winds here have been pretty strong. For a relatively urban space (though you can see farmland from my window) we are not doing so bad.

Eileen - Happy New Year. I am not keen on the rats, though they can actually look cute from a safe distance. I think the squirrel comes with a side order of serious attitude. 

Cherie - squirrels caused so much havoc in uncle's garden. They also fought on his roof, and it was a tin bungalow. He used to hide rat poison in apples to leave out for them. I know that they do massive amounts of damage, but I love the way they seem to float sometimes, with their tail drifting behind them. Mind you, this one seems to have the same Glaswegian attitude as the robin.

This morning the sunrise was beautiful. This is what Aldi looked like this morning.

I popped into Aldi to pick up some of the beans and sausage that bear likes, or, rather, will sometimes eat. Sigh. And I failed at shopping. I picked up some yarn. I DO NOT NEED ANY MORE YARN!!!!! But it was only 99p for a skein with a bobble and a hat pattern on the band and I have been tempted by it for a while, even before the price was cut. I also picked up a couple of food thermos as well, at £7.99 each. They are smaller than the magic burning pot thing, but I want to experiment with 'cooking' frozen veg in them. I'll share any results. But when I called in to Tesco, there were food thermos for £6 at clubcard prices, although they weren't quite as big. I'm so annoyed at the fail, but it is what it is. I just need to get my money's worth out of them.

To add insult to injury, I was just planning on walking around Tesco for a while to get my steps in and picking up some water for bear for school pick up, but my knee went half way around and I had to limp out. Next time I'll take a trolley that I can lean on. 

There is 85g in the bobble hat yarn, according to the band. Getting it for 99p was a bargain but I didn't need it! A bargain that you don't need is not a bargain.

Talking about frozen veg, I'm hoping to get more creative with it. I use frozen chopped onion, because I can just use a bit and not worry about using the rest of the onion up and the frozen stuff is chopped smaller than I manage. I chop and freeze mushrooms as it makes it more convenient and reduces waste. And I think I want to expand my use of frozen veg.

Over the holidays we had a casserole and I used a 1kg bag of frozen veg which was freshly frozen, no additives and no waste and I could probably have used half to three quarters as there was plenty for all. It was £1 for swede, turnip, celery, onion and carrot. A 1kg pack of fresh veg, what I think of stewing veg and mother used to call pot herbs, is £1.10, with parsnip, carot, swede and onion. It has to be peeled and chopped and goes off quickly if you don't keep an eye on it. Of course, if you see a marked down pack and then take it home, prepare it and freeze it, that's different, but the frozen veg was probably frozen quickly and therefore has better nutrition. As it is likely to be used in things like soup, the thought of being able to bung a handful of frozen veg in with something like lentils, a stock cube and some herbs, cooking and then using a hand blender has a lot of attraction. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 4 January 2023


Wherethejourneytakesme - yes! And adding ricrac to hide the line where you've let a hem down! I can imagine bear's expression if I suggested that with his trousers that are, despite my careful washing, apparently shrinking. By the way, I once saw a tip of sewing a strip of fabric to the end of a short blanket to help with tucking it it which I thought was a great suggestion. If I didn't have duvets, I would definitely try that.

Sharon - candles always feel like a hug to me. Bear is currently quiet on how well his shoes fit, but I daresay that I will hear about it soon enough. School is so strict with shoes as well, so there is no chance of getting cheap ones.

Bless - thank you!

Cherie - It is so scary how the time has flown. It seems like no time since I brought him home. We are having some good times hanging out.

The weather this morning was foul, and it was just as well as a fox dashed straight across the road when I was least expecting it. I shouldn't be too surprised. I've seen rabbits around there before, and as it's near some light industrial/commercial areas then there are bound to be rats, but it woke me up!

I've had a somewhat naff raff morning and was caught up in a lot of writing, but I was cheered up, sort of, when I left the house ready for pick up and the squirrel was staring at me from the bushes. Here are two rather poor pics. 

I was definitely getting the feeling that I needed to load up the peanuts to the bird feeder and get out of the damned way. I got in the car and looked across and saw what I think was a kestrel. I couldn't get any sort of pic through rain spattered car windows and I didn't dare move, so this pic is from WikiCommons

This gave me a lot of food for thought as there are a lot of sparrows and small birds in general around here and a lot of rats. There is also quite a bit of rat poison down, and I hope that the kestrel won't be affected. According to Wiki, they eat mice and voles, and there are plenty of places for those around here. 

I'm caught up in writing at the moment, but hope to be back in real life soon.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Happy New Year

Ranee - I'm sorry. My mind has been elsewhere.

Thank you for all the kind comments. I'll be catching up with blogs as I go, but I hope that you all had wonderful, calm, joyous holidays. I, of course, completely failed to take any pics, but it was good.

Bear was back at school today and the homework has already started to pile up. I am now buying him mens sizes in everything, and he has requested new shirts. I winced a little as his current shirts fit him around the chest but are getting short on him, so I said fine and we can always dye them black for summer wear. Bear gave me a Look and told me that he would just wear a t-shirt, which is fair enough. Three shirts will probably last out until his exams in June, with luck.

I think bear had a good holiday. I certainly did. He was happy with the goodies he got and particularly happy with the money that I put in his cards. The days of wrapping individual sweeties have long since gone. I got some wonderful candles that made me particularly happy. They will make me feel hugged for a long time. DH got audio books, which are surprisingly fiddly to buy, along with some other bits.

The food was good as well. There isn't too much left in the Christmas goodies box, apart from turkish delight which I rather overdid. I'm pleased about that as it means that I didn't get too much, well, not as bad as it could be. We had steak for Christmas with all the trimmings and it was perfect.

Tomorrow I'm going to try and get a pic of the squirrel that is regularly waddling across to the bird feeder. Wish me luck as it is remarkably spry despite its width. Of course, the bulldogs next door but one don't help as they are always barking at it. 

Hugs and good health to all.