Monday 29 April 2024


I'm not exactly shopping for fun, but I'm having a little bit of fun thinking about shopping for bear.

I think I last went camping back in 1980 or 1981. It's definitely been a while and neither DH nor bear has never gone camping. We are woefully inexperienced, but I'm sure bear will have fun. Angela mentioned in a comment, what would happen to those who didn't have the money. While I think that there are bursaries and grants, it must be a real barrier to those who are struggling with their pennies. 

What is more, my brother got membership prices from Go Outdoors plus some additional discounts, otherwise we would have been charged £901.20! We could have saved money on the clothing (which may not fit him next year as he is beginning to broaden out, but he can wear it in general anyway) and things like the mess kit by searching online for cheaper options, asking around and borrowing it or getting second hand. I was happy for bear to have a proper look in an outdoor shop, though, for boots, backpack and socks. 

This doesn't include the sleeping bag or sleeping mat, tent, and camping stove either! That's part of the rental. Plus he'll be issued with things like a compass and maps. I need to pick up matches for him so I was looking on Amazon for matches in tins. It's around six weeks away, so I have time to think about it, so I can at least entertain myself with looking around. Col pointed out that it was good to label everything, so I'm ordering some black nail polish. Thinking back to my time in the girl guides, the nail varnish on the plastic plates that I had lasted for ever. I am so grateful that we can do this and comforted that a lot of the kit will last through this practice expedition, the real expedition next year and whatever else bear manages to find himself in. 

Speaking of shopping, I'm still struggling to walk so I'm getting deliveries. I've already got a delivery saver with Tesco and I'm getting my money's worth, but the minimum order is £50. I don't really want to spend that. However, I've found that Tesco practically never have the potting compost that I want for growing coriander. It registers as it's in stock, but it's always missing off the order. I've done quite well ordering a realistic amount of that compost, that I'd use anyway and which bumps up my order total. It takes it nicely up to the minimum order and then I don't have to pay when it doesn't turn up but I still have the groceries I wanted. You can get a delivery for under £50 but they add on a £5 surcharge. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Saturday 27 April 2024


My brother took my son to get his kit for the Duke of Edinburgh expedition. It cost £541.14. That's backpack, boots, proper hiking socks, waterproof trousers, jacket, mess kit etc etc etc. £60 covers the trip (already paid) and £35 covers what we are renting, such as the tent and camping stove (already paid).

It's worth it. Bear looks so good, clumping around in the boots with his very skinny jeans and t-shirt. He still needs to get the meal pouches that they suggest, but I thought that we could get those nearer the time. 

It's all good stuff, and I suspect that there are a couple of pieces that he'll get lots of use out as he goes on, but it was a shock. It's worth it.

Antibiotics continue.

Thursday 25 April 2024

Pity Party

I've finished the course of antibiotics and I still have cellulitis. I also have a load of aches and pains, thrush and cystitis. Finding the bright side has been something of a struggle, but while I'm stuck in the bathroom, I'm catching up on my reading via the Kindle app on my phone. I haven't finished either series but so far I would recommend the Ghost Mountain series by Audrey Faye which contains some of the sweetest werewolves. Almost all of the characters are shifters of some sort, and it's the story of a pack in Canada rebuilding after an evil leader was defeated. It's a wonderful, gentle story of people recovering from trauma. I'd also recommend The King's Watch series by Mark Hayden which is not only a paranormal series of mysteries but very British with it - although while I'm fine with references to Classic FM and cricket, I find it weird to see cigarettes called 'f*gs' (I've done the weird * thing because I don't want the blog to be flagged as homophobic). I used to call them ciggies back in the 1980s. Regardless, the main character is ex RAF and knows the sort of tricks such as 'let's get going - if we start before 12.30 we can claim lunch on expenses'. Both are on Kindle Unlimited. I am really getting my money's worth out of that subscription.

I got a delivery today and forgot a load of things. I'd heard that mealworms were good to feed to crows, and we still go every Saturday so added them to the order. When I saw the packet, however, I regretted my choice. They looked icky. I refuse to let them in further than the porch and the whole lot are going to get dumped out the next time we feed the crows - which may not be this Saturday if the darned cystitis doesn't ease up. 

Fortunately, my tether to the bathroom wasn't in place when I was driving all over to pick up bear last night at 10pm. He told me to pick him up at the Co-op. There were three possible Co-ops and when I finally pulled over to pick him up, he raced into the car as there were nefarious goings on and he was glad to get out of there! 

The call of writing a werewolf story is calling to me now, though there would be less baking cookies and more sarcasm. As I don't have a pic, here are some pretty wolves. 

Photo by Debojyoti Dutta on Unsplash

Hugs and good health to all.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Too Cold!

I was about to prune Gladys as the longer branches aren't sprouting but there are some smaller leaves lower down that could potentially spring up like last year. However the weather has got a lot colder and there are frosts in the forecast. I'm leaving it for now, or rather, leaving delegating it as I think bear rather enjoyed pruning last year. 

There's a lot of blossom about that I hope is unaffected.

Besides, I can't do much at the moment. I'm full of aches and pains again. Perhaps it's the weather. I was looking at the curtains and thinking that the radiators won't be on much now so it's worth keeping the curtains long for their other job of keeping out the heat of summer. Now they're muttering about frosts and there was snow in Bradford at the weekend. It's a work in progress.

I'm currently taking vitamins, so hopefully it will all settle soon. I feel a bit guilty complaining as I know that so many people are worse off than me, but between the cellulitis and the effect that the antibiotics are having on my stomach, I'm feeling very sorry for myself. I'm sure that I'll pick up soon.

Bear has got a huge amount of homework so I don't want to push him too much. He's got the study for the four A levels, all of which have big workloads. There's also an extra thingy that he's working on that follows on from the extra physics course he was taking along with the Leeds Maths Certificate (no idea, but extra numbers thing) plus if he wants to do maths then there are some tests he has to do if he's applying to certain universities. He seems to be fine. I'm just keeping an eye on him and DH just made him a freshly baked apple turnover with leftover pastry from the beef wellington. 

Writing stuff - honouring St George's Day, here's a little flash fiction that should appeal to anyone who remembers Ken Dodd and Les Dawson. My salute to St George's Day is here.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 21 April 2024

Getting Better

I've definitely been under the weather with the cellulitis, and I seem to also have caught a cold. I'm also a little tired after running around after bear's social life. Bear's Friday night meet up meant that I picked him up after midnight, very early Saturday morning. I didn't mind that too much. I got to call in to Tesco very late which fascinated me. I got this pic, but I could have got better ones. 

Despite the pic, the store was far from empty and the staff were restocking the shelves with boxes and packaging everywhere. If I want the marked down items, I should get there between around 8am and 9am. Sometime in the evening, the items going out of date are donated so going in late means that you don't get the bargains. It's still a nice to wander round and see how things work. Of course, my back went half way through self-scanning and I almost didn't manage to finish the shopping before picking up bear. 

Yesterday I took bear to his social engagement. All I can say is thank goodness it was overnight because it took an hour to drive there, an hour to drive back and part of the route was tricky in the extreme. He got the bus home this morning. He seems to have had a good time. 

DH has been watching Gordon Ramsay, and as a result is having a lot of fun cooking on Sunday. We had Beef Wellington today and DH did a wonderful job. We got ready made, gluten free puff pastry, but he did all the rest himself. He even made a thing of mushrooms, onions, red wine and honey that tasted amazing. He's having so much fun that I expect that he and bear will be disappearing together quite a bit - bear is his willing assistant! I wonder what we'll eat next. I need to be canny as DH has pasta bake between Monday and Thursday so I need to make sure that I use up the extra bits of salad and herbs and stuff over the week - and that's not a bad challenge to have.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Easily Distracted

I'm extremely easily distracted and I deliberately look for distractions when I'm feeling tense. I've been happily knitting a few rows here and there on the blanket I'm making from the yarn I couldn't resist from Aldi a month or so ago. It's knitting up really nice. 

But then I found some yarn when I was clearing stuff out of a corner and investigated. I thought I had 16 100g balls of DK. As it was, I have 16 50g balls of what is described as aran but I suspect is nearer chunky. It was always intended as a blanket or throw as I think the unicorn colours are cheerful and may cheer someone up.

I've cast on and, while it isn't knitting up as nice, it's not so bad.

I wanted to be distracted as the equipment list for bear's Duke of Edinburgh expedition has come through. For those unfamiliar, the Duke of Edinburgh awards are for teenagers and they encourage independence and taking the initiative. There's things like volunteering involved, plus they have to go on an expedition where they camp. 

Bear has never been camping.

At least the school are offering an option to rent things like tents and camping stoves and are providing stuff like a compass and light sticks. However they have a list of things like clothing with the preferred brands. Some of those are somewhat expensive. Some of those are so expensive that they can only be described with swear words. 

I'm willing to go for the recommended brands when it comes to things like walking boots and backpacks. I have no idea how to judge those things and they are important, so I'll take advice. I'm not sure about £40 for a t-shirt! I can see that there'll be a lot of discussion. 

Writing stuff - I'm catching up with the White Hart here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Nothing Much Continues

I haven't posted because there hasn't really been anything to say. I think there may be cellulitis going on, which is a nuisance, so I'm doing less and feeling a little under the weather. Fortunately I have a lot of driving coming up for bear at the weekend as he has a fairly active social life. 

I've just checked the pics I've taken over the last few days and they are spectacularly awful. I think that I'll have to commit to coming back tomorrow with some pics - which will hopefully happen. 

In other random witterings, we had a meatloaf on Sunday that was made with minced beef, lentils and veggies and was gorgeous. It was a nice change, full of the good nutrition and I ate far too much of it cold the next day. We've been doing quite well off the Tesco recipe site. I suppose I should check out the recipes on other websites, but I'm usually on Tesco anyway. If you use the recipe finder, be wary of adding stuff to the delivery automatically. You always end up with the high end stuff added in large quantities. I now have a lot of lentils to use up and I had to throw some carrots out because I didn't get them in the freezer quick enough.

Writing stuff - and I've got at least one story on the blog here, but I've stalled over a couple of details. I'm hoping to get up some momentum later this week. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Spring Feels Very Early

We have bluebells that grow under Gladys. They've already started showing and it feels very early for me. I normally expect them around May. 

As you can see above, they're starting to crowd out Gladys. I need to get bear out to hack her back again. It did wonders for her last year. 

It's been a fairly quiet day, and I'm glad of it. Bear decided to skip the pub quiz today and I'm glad I didn't have to drive. I'm shattered at the moment. I had a dreadful night with lots of nightmares and I was glad to wake up.

Writing Stuff - I was watching some YouTube videos as part of my research for the next instalment of Back at the White Hart and I made some decisions about what types of research I was not going to do. You can read my thoughts here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Stupid Bathroom!

The man came today. I am not convinced that there is a water tight seal between the bath and the wall. 

It looks like a gap at the bottom of the trim - and, yes, that is what it was left like. There is no sense that there is sealant behind it and that's the side where the gap was before. It's the third attempt to seal it! The lad dashed out of the house before I could check it. I'm just so fed up. DH is talking about getting a caulking gun and finishing it off himself. The problem was that the tile board was cut too short and replacing it would mean redoing the whole bathroom walls to keep it matching.

But we've got a new microwave, so that's an improvement. The lining on the old one was bubbling and flaking, so we got an inexpensive replacement. We use it mostly for heating baked beans, reheating leftovers and very little else, but it's used regularly. I've made some nice microwave sponge puddings in the past, and I may have another go at them. I've also had some good results with potatoes diced and stirred with a little oil and flavourings like curry powder or garlic granules. Perhaps this is a chance to get more creative.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 8 April 2024

Changing My Mind

I'd been planning to get rid of the apple tree in a big pot as it's been in the way. Except today it had flower buds.

Though I don't think that the apples will stick there. And I'd planned to fill in the square at the centre of the yard in front of the study.

But that extremely poor pic shows a very pretty miniature acer that I'd love to keep. It may be surrounded by four gooseberry bushes that are armed and dangerous and all the weeds plus Gladys overflows into that space, but I think that it's beautiful. I'm rethinking my very theoretical plans here. 

I'll be glad when the weather settles down. 

Writing stuff - I've put up another instalment from the White Hart here. I've been having a few thoughts about what should be happening next which has taken up a large amount of today, but watch this space. I feel like I'm waking up!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 7 April 2024

I Finished Another Thing!

A couple of weeks ago, when I finished the last blanket, I started to re-knit a previously failed blanket and today I finished it. 

That's not static. It's the way that the colour worked out. As it is, it's very approximately 160cm by 90cm (63 inches by 34 inches) which is a ridiculous size and I ought to re-knit it again, but I can't face it and it's lovely and warm and squishy. 

I decided to use the same needles for the same drape and squish with the yarn I failed to resist at Aldi the other week. I got 8 balls of 100g (175 metres, or just over 190 yards) at £1.29 per ball. It's a wool and acrylic mix and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out. 

As far as I can tell, the yarn is the same sort of weight and I cast on 115 stitches instead of 175 so it should be a more manageable shape. It knits up easily as well. It's funny how some yarns seem much easier to knit than others. I miss Marriners Yarns. 

I am also pleased that I resisted the Mystery box that was advertised on the knitting network. I do not need more yarn!

It's been a quiet day today, with bear and DH hanging out all day. It's incredibly relaxing. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 6 April 2024

A Little Draughty

We are on the edges of Storm Kathleen here, but it's still quite windy. I had a pot of hyacinths that my brother had kindly given me on the front step.

The wind had literally blown the hyacinths out of their plant pot and I couldn't find the pot. When I went to Tesco to have a walk, I picked up a pot. 

But I decided to put them in with Deirdre, and I can top up with soil tomorrow when I'm able and leave them there for the next year.

By the way, when I called into Tesco with an excuse to shop and to attempt a walk, I noticed that all the bottles of spirits were wearing girdles.

Even the cheap stuff was tied in. There must be some issues with theft. From what I saw, the mesh around them was like the wire bit of a bike lock and they had security tags on. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 3 April 2024

I Got Out of the House!

It was fine when I got into the car. By the time I got to Tesco, it felt like the skies had opened. I tried taking a pic of water cascading down the shop window where the guttering had failed.

But it doesn't really show what it was like - a river running down the glass and bouncing off the pavement. 

I only picked up a few bits, but I'm finding walking hard and wandering around Tesco while leaning on a trolley helps me get some movement going. 

I've got a few bits sorted out but now I'm shattered and need an early night.

Writing stuff - I wrote a chatty piece here where I invited opinions on what I should be writing. With my track record, I'm making no guarantees, but I'll do my best if you want to drop ideas about what I should be doing next.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Bathroom Continues to Fail

There is still a gap between the bath and the tile board that is in the splash zone whenever anyone has a shower. Bear has a shower daily before school and any other event, and I thoroughly approve, but not at the expense of potenitally rotting my floorboads. This is 22 months after the start of the refit of a bathroom that's maybe six feet square and with nothing moved around. It's a mess. 

I am not a happy bunny.

I'm considering my options. I am just so fed up. Also, very tired. 

However I'm on Day 2 of 'Getting My Act Together' and while it's not brilliant, it could be worse. I've done a few bits while waiting around for the dratted plumber, but I couldn't focus on much. And I've nearly finished off another big project, so that's something. I'll post a pic if (when) I finish it. I'll start again tomorrow.

Hugs and good health to all.