Wednesday 31 January 2024

Last Day of January

Today is the last day of January and it was pretty unprofitable. I got hardly anything done. One day I will come on here and give a list of achievements, but that feels like something of a distant dream at the moment. 

I dug out the scarf I'm knitting for the nice garage man and decided that I didn't like it.

So I ripped it all out and tried my tried and trusted pattern.

But I think that it looks a bit girly. I think I'll rip that out and just knit it up plain. 

I've been looking at portable hobs on Amazon, the sort that are a single hob that you plug in. Everything that I've fancied eating today has involved a saucepan. It could be weeks before we get a new cooker. I'm more concerned with bear, as he does a lot of meals that are on the stove top. I think I'll hold fire for a bit. There's a basic looking one that's around £15 that is next day delivery on Amazon if I get completely desperate.

The washing machine was making a funny noise as I was washing the towels. I've checked for launderettes on Google Maps. It may just have been extra soap or something. Of course, the washing machine has been going strong for some time. I think we bought it when bear was in primary school as I have memories of being stuck with a load of half washed school uniform that included green sweaters.

Writing stuff - inspired by things breaking down, I wrote a piece on saving writing in progress in places other than the PC or laptop here. Now I need to start sorting out all my files. There are a lot. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 30 January 2024

I Went Out

I'm practically never out of the house these days, but I nipped out to Aldi this evening to pick up some of their chocolate. DH makes fancy hot chocolate and he likes to grate a little of the dark chocolate into it. For a change, I took a pic of the tubs of birdfood stashed in the back of the car. 

My phone did not appreciate the low light. There's another couple of tubs as well. One is peanuts without their shell. I'm cautious about those as we feed the birds where a lot of dogs are walked and I don't want any pup getting poorly from them. 

I've had a clean behind the cooker and fridge but it will need another sweep. I'll wait until I know when the cooker will be delivered. 

Otherwise it was a pretty quiet day. I'm going to settle down now and start making lists to do tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 29 January 2024

Still Cooking

This is a very poor picture of the back of the cooker.

I made DH's favourite pasta bake tonight. Normally it's 200g of uncooked pasta with a jar of Tesco pasta bake sauce plus half a jar of water, baked for 25 minutes then sprinkled with cheese and baked for another 20 minutes at 180C (350F, Gas 4, moderate). I knew that I had to reduce times and I was worried about the pasta not having enough time to absorb the water so I decided to briefly cook it first. I rinsed out a thermos with boiling water, added 200g of pasta, topped up with boiling water, screwed on the top and left it for around fifteen minutes. It looked like this.

The pasta was extremely well done. Then I stirred together with the sauce plus around a quarter of a jar or less of water in a baking dish and cooked it for 15 minutes at 160C, then sprinkled with cheese and cooked for a further ten minutes and DH said that it was amazing! So even when the oven is replaced, I think we'll carry on doing it this way. 

We made a claim on our insurance online yesterday and DH spoke to them today. He didn't get a sense that there was any issue with getting a replacement. I hope it goes well. We splashed out last time and got a cooker that cost £549. We got a good deal in the sale and I think we got discounts, but the general rule is that they replace like for like so it's the stove rather than how much we paid, which is just as well. The equivalent now is over £900. Prices have gone up so much, and when you see the contrast over six years, it's a shock. The gluten free pasta has gone back down, along with some food stuffs, but the handcream that I like from Tesco that was £1 maybe four years ago is now £1.80. 

Gladys is still bare.

Though other parts of the garden are sprouting, so I'll have to give her a good prune. The rose bush next to her looks very lively.

Writing stuff - Another instalment from Back to the White Hart is here

Hugs and good health to all.

Sunday 28 January 2024

The Cooker Blew Up

DH makes dinner on Sunday and he is amazing. Tonight was supposed to be sausage, sauce and caramelised onions in a casserole with a mashed potato topping. DH was prepping the onions and bear was washing a chopping board when there was a loud bang, all the lights went out and bear noticed flames coming out of the back of the cooker. They weren't very big flames and DH (who is a serious hero) blew them out, but there was definitely a fire thing going on. 

We had the expensive sausages (it was Sunday so we have the good stuff and they were nearly cooked so DH finished them in the air fryer) with microwave rice, then DH took the potatoes that had nearly been boiled for mash, sprinkled them with a little olive oil and bunged it in the air fryer and they came out lovely.

Next time I'll cut the potatoes bigger but they were cut to boil quickly. 

We are not exactly left high and dry. I took a quick look around the kitchen and we have a microwave, a rice cooker, an Instant Pot (still haven't worked with that), an omelette maker and a halogen oven. None of which are brilliant to make the pasta I fancied for tomorrow so I'll use yet another kitchen appliance and use a kettle and a thermos flask to try cooking pasta. I've been meaning to have a go at it for a while. 

I'm hoping that this isn't the start of a run of expenses. My experience is that once something expensive goes, something else follows quickly and then in a run. We've put in a claim with insurance. Thanks to this blog, I could check back and see how long we've had it. I thought we had it when father is here, but it was actually delivered January 2018. I would expect a cooker to last a little longer. The fridge was delivered on the same day. We've had the washer a good while as well.

Apart from that, it's been a quiet day. I hope it is quieter tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all

Saturday 27 January 2024

The Crows Were Fed

We dropped off some jars and clothes at a charity shop this morning. I wanted to go to one near parking and there's a charity shop for a Children's Hospice near a free car park in Cleckheaton, so we went there. Then we went along to the park where we fed the crows and magpies. 

There were a lot of them but they scattered at the first sign of my phone. We spent around an hour watching them squabble and chase each other - it was so much fun. 

Since then we've been hanging out at home. Bear has been doing a lot of homework, but he came in and out just to spend some time. I'm hoping that we can perhaps watch some Doctor Who together later.

It's been lovely and relaxing. 

I had a fairly realistic dream last night. I may have been chased by yetis up a crazy climbing wall in the middle of Tescos, but it's because I had taken a longer route to avoid a difficult junction. I need to get driving more to get my confidence back. I'll share if I ever manage it.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 26 January 2024

Unproductive Week

The whole week has been something of a fail. Today's fail was the casserole - it was inedible. I'd added the chorizo left over from the chorizo and chickpea thing to chicken and veggies and put in far too much liquid. The chicken could have been used to sole shoes. Fortunately the baked potatoes (done in the Air Fryer and very pleasant indeed) worked so we had them with beans. 

Also, bear has been explaining complicated things to me. This hasn't helped.

On the bright side, I finally published a book review on my blog after 'getting around' to taking pics. It should be under 'writing things' but I really enjoyed it and it's not the normal type of book I review. The British Library has an online shop and I may or may not have lusted after a lot of the contents. I admit nothing. Anyway I subscribed to the monthly Tales of the Weird which is absolutely the sort of thing that I should read for inspiration. Subscribers get it a little earlier than general sale and my first volume came with two pics and a bookmark. The review is here but I can tell you that I am happy that I have it. It even includes Carmilla which is one of my favourite gothic tales of all time and a story by Mary Shelley called The Invisible Girl

It's not just that I enjoy the book, but it's supporting the British Library. It feels like I'm contributing a infinitesimal fraction to something important. I confess that I plan to look up the previous editions on Kindle Unlimited, or even purchase the eBook. Here are the pics - suitably gothic!

Hopefully next week will be better.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 25 January 2024

We Have an Air Fryer Oven

The Hysapientia 24l Air Fryer Oven has turned up. I feel seriously inadequate when looking at the control panel. Bear had no problem and made himself a frozen steak bake. It cooked a lot faster so I'll have to keep an eye on it. DH is raring to go and found a recipe which is like a cross between sausage and mash and shepherd's pie. One of the reasons I went for the Hysapientia oven was because the company keeps adding recipes to its YouTube. I'll share what happens as I go.

It's been a lot quieter here weatherwise. Deirdre, the honeysuckle by the gate, is sprouting a lot of leaves. 

I need to get out and get the garden sorted. Instead I was pootling around in the kitchen. I have huge stashes of clip top jars, but the square plastic boxes with good seals on the lids are so much easier for me when it comes to digging out flour or sugar. I think that I'm going to have to get rid of them. I'm not going to try selling them, as I'm not keen on anyone picking up from my home. I'm also not sending out glass as I don't trust my packing. However I hope to go out to feed the crows early on Saturday and I can drop them off at the Salvation Army charity shop. That means that I have to overcome my aversion to following a plan and get as many as possible packed up tomorrow. As I've just unloaded the last box of the Heinz beans subscription which I am never renewing, I have a big box and some packing material. Please wish me luck. 

I've actually got a lot that I want to sort out tomorrow. This does not include eating any more of the bake. 

I switched out a lot of stuff, but I think that deep down, it just wasn't very pleasant. 

Writing stuff - The Prince and the Paladin Chapter Three is here

Hugs and good health to all 

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Slightly Less Dull

Yesterday was so dull that I couldn't think of a single thing to write about. Today was slightly less dull. I started a scarf for the lovely man at the garage. I also baked banana bread. I forgot to take a pic until after it had been sampled. 

It turned out quite well, but I didn't follow the recipe perfectly. The recipe called for self raising flour, and I didn't have any so I used gluten free plain flour and a lot of extra baking powder. It also didn't include spice, and you have to have some spice in banana bread. The men very much enjoyed it, however, which was the main thing.

Immediately after, I dislodged the glass on the oven door. DH managed to fix it, but we agreed to order the Air Fryer oven with a view to using the oven less. I also made a breakfast bake

You sprinkle the bottom of the pan with some frozen blueberries, then stir up two grated apples, two mashed bananas, some honey, milk, eggs, baking powder, spice and oats and pour over the blueberries and then add more blueberries on top. However the extremely ripe bananas had gone too far over. The last of the good ones had been used for the banana bread, so I subsituted four extra grated apples. I'll share how it eats tomorrow. 

To be honest, I've found that the only time recipes really work for me is when I don't follow them exactly.

My new bag came today. It's not the fancy one. It cost £36 and that's around £26 more than I'd like to pay, but I'm hoping that the extra pennies will help it last longer. 

I also feel that I'm turning into my grandfather. He never kept up with the price of things. I think he got stuck with how much stuff cost around 1957 and there were some awkward conversations between him and my grandfather over the years. Spending over £30 on a bag seems ridiculous, but I keep seeing articles about bags costing thousands. 

Writing Stuff - yesterday's writing prompt is here and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. Today is Wednesday's chat about me failing at research and you can find it here. I was looking at books that would support research, and there are a surprising amount of non-fiction books that are not exactly well written. Or they're well written for Martians. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 22 January 2024

There Was a Tyre Problem

I had been worried whether I was imagining the iffy steering because I was over influenced by the sensors going off, but there was a nail in one of the tyres. The wonderful people at In n Out charged £25 for the repair and let me wait while they mended it. Not only did they let me wait but I knitted and had a complementary hot chocolate. Also they politely didn't mention the tubs of birdseed on the back seat that I forgot to move.

Before I started today, the hat was this much done.

I only got a couple of rows done.

It's been great to be knitting again as I couldn't over Christmas as my arm was too sore. 

I've been making some plans for tomorrow. I'm not going to share them, because that always goes wrong, but hopefully tomorrow I'll come back with some good news and possible pics. 

Writing stuff - Another instalment from the White Hart is here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 21 January 2024

Quite Windy

I found the pic that I thought I'd not managed to get of the sunset a few days ago. I thought that I'd lost it.

It's warmer now but very stormy. We've locked down our bins and right now the wind is howling down the chimney. Our fireplace is blocked in, but the wind is still rattling down it. 

That's my blocked off fireplace. The candle is a present from bear which was flickering like mad. I made bear laugh when I told him that I'd take his present and burn it! It sounds so dramatic compared to 'light the candle you gave me'. 

I opened the bathroom window earlier to look out and I nearly couldn't shut it again. We're under an Amber weather warning for wind, and there's an alert for possible flooding in Leeds. By the way, there is a flood warning map here that shows updated info. It's only for England, but it's kept up to date and I used to keep an eye on it when I was doing the school run as there were a few routes that could be affected. 

I think it's time to get to bed and hope that I can sleep through the storm.

Hugs and good health to all. 

I Went Out

DH and I went to feed the crows again. It was awesome. We're sharing the bird food that we got in for the bird table. It was fascinating watching them. Crows can fit up to three monkey nuts in their beaks at the same time, but magpies can only fit one no matter how hard they try. There's also a mix of bigger and smaller birds and we think that it is adult and juveniles. Crows tend to strut around and weigh things up. Magpies watch from a distance then swoop in and grab something before darting off. 

The birds showed their appreciation by leaving a deposit on the windscreen. I did take a pic but decided not to share it.

Tesco are doing their 4 for the price of 3 on frozen stuff - but only online orders and only selected lines. Chicken is not part of it. I'll weigh up my options and try and get the best deal, but the pickings are slim. Most of the items on sale aren't stuff that I'd buy anyway. I've got a good deal on sweet potato fries, which we have on special occasions (the recommended price, which is the usual price, comes out at £14.60 for four packs, but the four packs under the deal are £7.50). I'm going to keep an eye on things. I think real bargains are going to be hard to find at the moment. 

Bear was helping with his college's open day, but when he got home we spent some time sharing stories about cats. It was great fun. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 19 January 2024

Still Incredibly Dull

Not much has happened today. I failed to get a pic of the glorious sunset, but I did get a pic this morning of the car and it's frosty here.

I definitely need to something more pic worthy.

I drove out to Aldi and the car was wallowing a little. She's fit to drive, and managed fine for the unscheduled emergency stop when an idiot pulled out in front of me. I swear that they looked in my direction, I'm in a bright purple car and I have my lights on. I was somewhat unimpressed. I'm still glad that I can get her booked in on Monday to get the tyres sorted.

Bear was home quite late tonight, and is likely to be home later tomorrow as he's helping out with the open day at college. I suspect that there was a fair amount of hanging out with his friends as well, and I don't begrudge him.

Now I'm in the position of being cold and not wanting to turn the electric fire on as I keep getting static shocks. I wonder if it would help if I put a rubber mate under it. It's an occupational hazard of being me - I get tiny shocks regularly. I think I will get one of my many blankets and light a candle.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 18 January 2024

Seriously Dull

Nothing much has happened here at all. Bear had a bust on a competition he was supposed to be doing at school, DH is swamped at work and I've been pretty much under the weather. 

Tomorrow I'm going to have to do something worth posting on here. 

Writing stuff - the main reason I'm on here because there's so little to post - The Prince and the Paladin Chapter Two is here now

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 15 January 2024

Half Way Through the Month

The month is half way done and I'm feeling underwhelmed at my achievements. I'm still feeling under the weather and I thought I was going to pass out when I got the delivery today. I daren't drive - the pressure light on the tyres has come on again and I need to take it back to the awesome garage, but that will wait for a while. As it's quite cold and my battery is elderly, I think that I'll spend maybe twenty minutes with the engine running tomorrow to keep things moving. 

I took the top of the feeder down. 

I'm not sure how we're going to get the pole out of the concrete, but we'll work something out. As for the rats, our road looks like this.

There is a sewer running underneath the middle of the road, there's a pizza place, Thai place, sandwich shop and fish and chip shop within staggering distance and there is a small stream around a hundred yards the other side of the building on the left. Rats are going to happen, but I owe it to my neighbours to stop tempting them to come and visit.

As you can see, it's been a crisp, clear, cold day. There are mutters about snow hitting us tomorrow, but today was lovely. 

Writing stuff - my response to last week's writing prompt is here. I am having so much fun that it should be illegal.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 14 January 2024

We're Going to Lose the Bird Table

A Nice Man knocked on our door today and showed us a video he'd taken of seven rats on the bird table. Apparently the bird food was a draw for the furry fiends. He asked nicely, so we're getting rid of it. I don't blame him at all. 

I haven't got any pics today, so here's an old one of the bird table. 

It's from back in November 2022 and before the squirrel did too much damage. I'm going to research plants that are good for birds and see if I can support them that way. The berries on the honeysuckle and fuchsia are a help. And now I don't have Gladys (whose dormant) or the birds/rats/squirrels to talk about, I'm going to have to be energetic to have something to put in here.

On a slightly cheerier note, DH made an epic dinner. I was talking about using up things in the cupboards and we have some tiny bottles of wine in the cupboard. I wandered around the internet for a while and found a recipe which turned out completely and unexpectedly gorgeous. It's chorizo and chickpeas in red wine from Tesco. You fry half a pound of chorizo for a few minutes in olive oil, add a tin of chickpeas and fry for a few minutes more. You add 100ml of red wine and reduce by half, then add another 100ml and reduce that by half. When it's syrupy, add a good dollop of honey, cook for a minute, add fresh rosemary and serve. They suggest that it's eaten with bread. I quite fancied eating it with peas or cabbage. DH made a carrot risotto to go with it. It was splendid. And it was quite quick as well. It was supposed to serve 6 but made a decent but not over substantial portion for the three of us. It wasn't desperately inexpensive, but we will absolutely be bringing it out for another time. We finished off the last of the cake afterwards, which was also a recipe from Tesco. 

Perhaps that's what I can write about - new recipes. 

Bear today has learned a valuable lesson - if all your clothes are black, don't leave tissues in your pocket. I left a lint brush on the table for him.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 13 January 2024

I Broke Another Bag

It's been so long since I actually went out. I can't remember going anywhere since before Christmas. I couldn't find my coat. As it was, I nipped out to Aldi in a new location to pick up some Chorizo for a recipe DH is trying tomorrow. I'll share if it works out. 

The new location was bigger than I'm used to, or at least it felt that way. I think it's fairly new.

But the drive there was horrible - it was dark and there were lots of mini roundabouts and fiddly bits. It was only around 5.30pm, though, so having no lighting in the car park made parking a little tricky. I missed the road markings and went the wrong way around the one way system. 

This is the car park as I left the store - and it was going to be open for at least another four hours!

While I was out, my bag self destructed. The zip became ridiculously jammed and the thingy that attaches the shoulder strap made a hole in the sleeve of my sweater.

I am unimpressed. I'm going to have to get another bag. The trouble is, I loathe spending money on them and I don't seem to be able to see any that I like. I ended up ordering one from Amazon that cost over £30 and I wanted to cry. 

(and I'm going to be knitting a sweater to replace this as it's on it's way out anyway but I didn't appreciate the hole)

I also saw a bag that I really liked, which was £40, and I was desperately tempted but it's a goth bag. I'm not goth. I'm grey haired and saggy. But it's just that I liked it. It's all straps and spikes and intrigues me, I guess as a writer. I can't imagine that it would fit in with me as I shop in Tesco. Mind you, I can't imagine anyone noticing what sort of bag I'm carrying. 

We had some more slices of the cake but it was pretty dry. I'm sure that I overbeat the eggs and sugar.

Otherwise it's been a lovely, quiet day with a hope of the same tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 12 January 2024

I Made a Cake!

I'm still feeling washed out, but so much better. And I made a cake. 

I used a recipe from BBC Good Food for Country Apple Cake. It's supposed to look dark with two tablespoons of cocoa powder in the mix, but I singed it a little as I forgot about it. It ate very well - the men were very happy but I suspect that I over-beat the eggs and sugar at the start and I wasn't very efficient folding the dry mix in. The apple chunks rose in the cake.

I also think that it sank as it cooled. It was very pleasant, though, and cream or custard is a big help. 

I also did a huge casserole for dinner which also got good reviews from the men, It's definitely casserole weather. 

Writing stuff - I'm lagging behind this week, but I started a successor to Invitation Accepted, called The Prince and the Paladin. For those interested, this is the story that started it all. This is the idea running around my head when I wrote The Forgotten Village all those years ago. It's been kicking around on the back burner for over a decade, but with a few tweaks, I think now is the time to bring it out and it can finally be done. As it is set in Leeds, it's a great incentive for me to get out and about to take pictures of locations. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 11 January 2024

Very Very Very Quiet

I slept most of today. I am ready to fall asleep again now. 

I'm feeling a lot better, though, and hopefully will start moving with more purpose. I'm supposed to be making a cake tomorrow. I'll let you know how that goes.

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Watching the Weather

Apparently it's been one of the warmest autumns ever here which has brought a lot of plants forward. The honeysuckles are really sprouting.

The forecast is for the weather to turn much colder, however, and I'm worried that it will affect the plants. 

I've spent another quiet day, but I've got some plans to start more tomorrow and hopefully I'll have more to report.

Writing stuff - I remembered the 'Research and the Author' pieces that I did a while ago and today I added one about, of all things, fruit - here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Being Sensible

It's not like me to resist a sale, but I have. Tesco have money off vouchers for bedding or towels (which I don't need), cleaning products (I know that there's a good sale coming up), food storage (I am overwhelmed by the boxes I already have and I'm getting rid of loads) and various items on the theme of plant based (which wouldn't be eaten in time). I've ignored them as I wouldn't get the benefit. Obviously I'm taking advantage of the £1 off if you spend £5 on frozen fruit or veg because while a frozen food event is looming on the horizon, when it's the big deal I usually go for the higher priced meat stuff and ignore the frozen peas. I love peas, so it's worth getting a few bags and getting the money off. 

I've also ignored the Knitting Network emails, though that was an effort. The latest offer was for £10 off a minimum of a £20 spend. That's not a bad deal. On one hand I regret signing up to the marketing emails as they tempt me, but on the other hand it's a great incentive to knit to clear space for the next bargains. By the way, I put in 'knitting yarn pile' to the search engine on Unsplash and got this taken by Ed Robertson, which I thought was interesting.

It sort of makes me think of the rich colours that can be found in a good stash, but it isn't exactly what I was looking for. 

I'm taking it easy today. For those interested, I read Anyone But the Boss and I laughed so much that I thought I would need an ambulance. It is only suitable for those who are okay with what I could call marital aids or adult massagers, but I nearly fell off my chair laughing as I read it. To put it in perspective, there is a hairless cat, one of those sphinx cats, called Mike Hunt in it. It's hilarious but you have been warned. I'm not writing a review. 

Writing stuff - the writing prompt for this week is here. I have no idea what I'll write, but I'm sure that I'll have fun writing it. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 8 January 2024

First Proper Monday

I just remembered to print out the weekly checklist that I started to try before Christmas. I managed some of it today, but not so much as I would like and reading through the list helps.

I've only been outside to feed the birds, and then I forgot to take a pic. I did get a very poor pic of a squirrel on the bird feeder which I took from the bathroom window, but it was so grainy that you can't see anything. Instead here's an old one of a squirrel that was on the drainpipe.

It was actually taken 5 January 2023, almost exactly a year ago. 

I'm a lot better and I plan to spend the next few days hunkered down. My shoulder is a lot better - apparently the trip to the hospital worked even though nothing happened - but I'm still wheezing and sniffling like a professional. At least I can type a little better now. 

Writing stuff - My response to last week's writing prompt is here. One of my tasks tomorrow is to sort out all the writing I want to do and try and work out how to work around it. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 7 January 2024

Well That Was Fun

I'm fine, but today I had a couple of classic signs of a heart attack - pain in left arm, shoulder and neck and breathlessness. I headed to A&E (Emergency for those not UK) and was treated pretty quickly. I had an ECG and chest X-ray and all is clear. I noticed that there is a new sign of the times - power banks to rent.

You could rent a power bank for £3 per hour, keeping your phone on. I could make jokes, but it's a vital way of keeping family, friends and neighbours informed and being able to sort out things like lifts and taxis home. I didn't need it, however, as I dozed for most of the time. 

I'm really upset that I worried bear, but at least now all I need to do is try and work out what's going on with all the aches and pains. I think I will have an early night and start again tomorrow. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Feeling Better

It's been a few days since I've posted, because there hasn't been much to post. I've been reading my bodyweight in romance stories, and as that's ebooks and I'm a well built lass, that's a lot of romances. 

I spent a very small amount on what was described as a sort of escape room game. I took this pic because I remembered that I needed a pic for today and I had to fish the leaflet out of the bin, which should tell you how good it wasn't.

I mean, it wasn't bad for a £3 box which included a 'fit pieces into pattern' puzzle, a deduction puzzle, a logic puzzle that bear leapt on as it was mainly algebra and a code. I'm used to the puzzle codes being something like, 'a = q, b = f, c = z' which is a basic substitution thing. I watched the two men in my life argue about it being a Caesar code and talking about different cyphers. It was a basic substitution. It was fun. Then we watched a truly surreal few episodes of Doctor Who - Doctor Who and the Zarbi which I think came out in 1964 or 1965. We may have heckled some of the special effects.

And this time five years ago I was posting about bear's Christmas homework. He was sent home by his history teacher to make a model of a castle, also known as hell for parents. 

I swear that I still twitch at the site of old lollypop sticks. 

Writing stuff - I've put some thoughts about poetry on Hazardous to Your Sanity here, but it's my usual thoughts. It was supposed to be a poem, but the poetry I wrote was dreadful.

I also finally published the next instalment of Invitation Accepted here. That story has nearly finished, and I know exactly where I'm going with the next one. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Continuing Unproductive

Cough continues and I haven't done much at all today. I keep stopping to cough or blow my nose so I haven't tried to knit. I am coughing everywhere so I'm not wandering around the house. I haven't taken any pics, so I looked through to see if I had a nice one from last year and found this from 5th January 2023.

It was a beautiful sunrise. I'd just dropped bear at school and was picking up a few bits before heading home. On days like that, I would leave the house between 7am and 7.15am, drop bear off, pick up some bits and then be back home by perhaps 9.30 or 10am. Then I would leave again around 2pm to 2.30pm to pick up bear and get home around 4.15pm if the traffic was kind. Looking back, it wore me down over time. 

I haven't taken enough advantage over the last term now that I have the luxury of spending the time at home, but after seeing that picture and realising the changes, I need to do all the planning I can between coughs to make sure that I get a little more accomplished over the next few months. I should not spend it devouring romance novels with questionnable dialogue like I did today. 

Sharon mentioned that one hazard of Kindle Unlimited is the self-published books that aren't exactly brilliant examples of good spelling and grammar. Anyone can publish anything on Amazon. There are a few guidelines about sex and violence, but I could publish a shopping list. I could publish a collection of posts from this blog, and, to be fair, Tales from the White Hart is exactly that (sorry about the link but it's compulsory for authors). Amazon don't check for spelling, grammar or accuracy. This means that you or I can write a story, put it through the Amazon formatter, create a cover with Amazon's own software or using the free tools on Canva and no-one will check if you know the difference between they're, there and their. There are some gems, but you have to pick through them. I may or may not have been picking through a lot today. 

Writing stuff - talking about planning, I've posted my Wednesday chat about my hopes for the New Year and my lack of planning here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Start of the Year

It's continuing quiet here. DH is back at work but bear isn't back until next Monday. I didn't post yesterday as there wasn't really much to post.

My cough continues, and it's very trying. I abandoned bear to look after himself (which he was fine with). It's got a lot worse over the day, but if it follows the pattern that DH suffered, I should be fine soon. So much for going out all the time. 

I picked bear up from a MacDonalds on New Year's Day. He was incredibly stingy with any gossip. He seems to have had a good time and there doesn't seem to have been any trouble, so I'm happy about that. 

As I have Kindle Unlimited, I've probably got my money's worth from a whole year of subscription reading rubbishy romances that I don't want to admit to. I've picked up on a surprising amount of typos and I'm praying that my stuff isn't that bad. It's so easy to miss stuff. Also, there seem to be a lot of fake date billionaire brother's friend's secret werebear special forces going on. When it comes to my reading so far this year, I admit nothing!

I haven't taken pics, so here is a pretty one that I found on Unsplash, from Europeana There has to be at least a ghost in there - right?

I may use it for a writing prompt. 

Writing stuff - speaking of writing prompts, today's writing prompt is here, with a much less interesting pic. You may notice that the title reads 'Writing Prompt Number 5' but the url refers to number 6. That's because I stacked up a load ready to go as I'm normally rubbish in January and February, and I lost track of the numbers. We all know that's normal for me. My response to last week's writing prompt is here

Any and all are invited to play with the writing prompt. You can share or not as you wish. I'm using it as a writing gym, and that's why I'm posting, but it doesn't mean that others can't benefit, if they feel like it and it's fun. 

Hugs and good health to all.