Monday, 18 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  I had a great night's sleep last night, thankfully, and am looking forward to the drive home in a little while.

The weekend was OK but, inevitably a worry.  We none of us get any younger!  However, it's always lovely to see my parents and we managed to get a bit of sorting out of cupboards done, which was good.  I'm coming home with a list of clothes to get or look for, for Mum, so I'll be Internet trawling.

Their snowdrops and crocuses are a picture right now so I took a few photos which I hope will come out.  I don't really want them saved on the laptop so I'll wait until I get home to upload them and show them tomorrow, if they are worth the space.

Today I shall take life easy, do the weekend's washing, change my sheets and generally do normal stuff.  It is half term round here so no Knitter-Knatter Club, no helping out in FS and no tuition.  Plenty of time.

I was thinking of a train jolly on Tuesday but I'm rather hankering towards my first trip of the year to Hyde Hall.  The winter stuff should be lovely and there will be bulbs to see too.  Really, I ought to go once a month to get the full picture of change and maybe I will.

I did look to see if there was a bus to Hyde Hall and it seemed that there was until I noticed that it didn't actually go completely there and it looks like quite a long walk from bust stop to the actual place.  So I will take the car and console myself with the fact that I am a member of the RHS so will get in free.
Weather permitting, obviously.

Better start packing, not that it takes all that long really but I like to be ready.  Then coffee.
Enjoy your day.

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Good morning - very early!  I've woken wide awake so I'm doing what I always do and what 'they' say you shouldn't do but which works for me, and opening the technology.  As I'm not at home, I'm not going downstairs and won't bother with a coffee but I can feel myself getting a bit tired again so, hopefully, it will work soon!

Yesterday passed well.  I made a lovely big bowl of 'everything' soup which will be on the menu again today, did some washing and ironing, made some salmon fishcakes and sorted out this, that and the others as well as getting on with some knitting.

Mum really loves the fishcakes I make.  They're very simple.  I use mashed potato with butter and cooked salmon and I just form the resulting mix into patties which I flour, egg and crumb before open freezing.  Yesterday there were no eggs so I tried milk instead and that worked fine while the breadcrumbs were a mixture of fresh ones from the freezer, a zizzed piece of unwanted toast and some commercial breadcrumbs. 

It was a day for using up bits and bobs - the breadcrumbs, bits of veg in the soup and for dinner I found a small amount of sweet crumble topping in the freezer which went over some tinned mango to make an absolutely delicious dessert.  I only tasted it as I'm being a good girl and sticking with the SW plan but Mum and Dad polished the lot off with cream on top.  Most satisfying.

Today is likely to be more of the same, more or less.

The chunky yarn I got from Aldi is knitting up quite well.  It took me three goes to get the panel pattern correct which was a bit frustrating but I have it now.  Because it was so cheap, it's quite a 'thin', chunky and the jumper will be fairly 'soft' which is perfect for what is a sort of over-tunic type thing, quite long so I can wear it with my newly and bravely acquired leggings.

What I want to know is what do you do when the legs of the leggings are a bit too long?  And what do you team them with on your feet?  Advice would be most appreciated, please.  Someone, some fictional character, I think, can't remember who, once said while one doesn't mind appearing wicked, one doesn't want to seem ridiculous (or words to that effect) **.  I know what they meant!

I'm starting to feel tired again so I'll see if I can get back to sleep.  Have a good day.

** Just thought - was it Miss Read talking about the Provincial Lady?

Saturday, 16 February 2019


Here I am, sat in bed, laptop on a pillow, fragrant hot coffee beside me, feeling relaxed and content.
A very pleasant start to the weekend.

There's not much to say about yesterday really.  I got all the chores done and it was an easy drive over to Mum and Dad's.

Today should be a quiet day.  There's a bit of ironing and maybe a bit of clearing out to do and I hope to get out for a bit of a walk this afternoon, weather permitting.  Yesterday was gorgeous and very mild so fingers crossed for today.

A short entry today so I will just wish you a very happy Saturday and sign off.

Friday, 15 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's another lovely, frosty morning, cold and sunny.  I reckon it will be a beautiful day.

Yesterday, as soon as I could, I hit the road and headed off for the bus into town (can't use my pass until after nine) and stayed on the bus until it got to the bottom of Moulsham Street where I hopped off and headed up Moulsham Street.  I used to go there pretty often because there was a superb music shop, Dace's, where I got all my recorder exam music as well as recorded music and where they repaired instruments, etc.  Such a good place but it's moved elsewhere now.  Maybe it got too costly right in the town centre.

Anyway, opposite what used to be Dace's was Franklin's, so in I went.  What an Aladdin's cave!  It made me wonder why I ever go to Hobbycraft for 'fixings' when there's Franklin's almost right outside a bus stop!

I spent well over an hour in there (it's on two floors), choosing patterns (sewing and knitting), drooling over fabrics and yarn and generally getting to grips with what they offer.  It is also a sewing machine shop and the nice young man (young to me, anyway - and I swear they get younger every day) does demos and so on.  I have suggested to Beth that we book a time with him to go over what's out there in the upper market quilting machine line.

I found a pattern to use the chunky yarn I got in Aldi's and a very nice pattern to make up some Aran I have.  It's not really a traditional Aran pattern but it has 'elements'.  I also got a pattern that's a plain round neck chunky which I can adapt with Guernsey-like patterning.
Downstairs, I wanted four paper patterns but they only had one in, for a skirt, so I will look online for the others.

Finally and very reluctantly, I decided enough was enough and left the shop, making my way back into the town centre, hopping in and out of shops as I did so.  It wasn't until much later that the impact of this really hit home.  I, fat old me, was going into 'normal' shops, looking at 'normal' clothes, trying on 'normal' sizes and rejecting, not because they didn't fit but because I didn't fancy them.  Pre-gallbladder, if it fitted, I had it, regardless.  Well, not quite, but I did wear things I wasn't too keen on because there wasn't anything else.

Once home, my disabled persons railcard had arrived so that is now signed and tucked inside the little card holder where my bus pass can be found.

In the evening it was Slimming World group and, to my great delight, it was another two pounds off.  Woo hoo!  I also won one of the raffles as the slimmer of the week didn't stay so the basket of goodies was raffled off.  Not a bad evening, eh?

Today, I have a home to tidy before my lovely cleaner arrives, some ironing, some packing, some meal planning, a little bit of shopping and an hour's drive.  Better get going then, don't you think?  :-)
Have a lovely day, everyone.

Thursday, 14 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's Thursday and nearly half term!  I can't be bothered to open the door and check the weather as I'm nice and warm but BBC says that it is freezing out there (all the more reason not to open the door yet) and today is going to be pleasant - sunny with a gentle breeze.  I'll take that, thank you.

It was another lovely day yesterday.

I arrived at Val's just before twelve and we talked almost endlessly for a few hours.  She made up a Tom Kerridge recipe that she found in one of the Times add on magazines and it was scrummy - smoked haddock and spinach egg pots.  Tom is, of course, very aware of calories and more healthy eating nowadays, and this recipe (with a bit of adapting) works very well with the Slimming World ethos.  Definitely one to do again.  Thanks, Val.

Val would like to come with me on one/some of my coach day trips so when the next lot come out - which should be very soon now - I'll look through online and see which sound likely.  It's always nice to have a friend around.

Talking of trips, I want to test my new railcard next week with a trip to Norwich or Ipswich, both of which are on the line from here.  I must look up what there is to do in each city and where the stations actually are.  I've decided to leave 'Sarfend' until a later and warmer date.
Any ideas about those two cities, anyone?

Or, looking at the map, I could get to Kings Lynn although it is a slightly more complicated journey.  That's supposed to be quite nice, I think.

All of the above depends on the weather, of course.

Does anyone enjoy the Great British Sewing Bee?  I watched it yesterday morning while doing some ironing and I thought it well up to standard, inspiring me to look up how to do a concealed zip on youtube.  In my day (getting old) we weren't taught that and I've never used the relevant zipper foot but I think my machine has one - must check.
I would never wear it myself, but I liked the 'wriggle dresses' but I think jumpsuits are the most impractical things out.  Imagine having to practically strip off to go to the loo!  The winner's jumpsuit was fabulous though - that lady has style.

Anyway, as I watched on, I could feel myself getting twitchy in a way that I always recognise.  I want to start sewing!  I want to make some clothes for myself, now that I can use standard patterns and they will all be in my size.  I also have my mum's lovely sewing machine to get used to so I want to do that too.  I think I need a few more days in each week!

So I'm off into town as soon as we hit nine o'clock, straight to John Lewis where they have a good selection of books to see what's available.  I might wander off the town centre to see if the dedicated fabric shop - Franklins - is still around too.  Call it a fact finding mission!
That will take up most of the morning, one way and another.

It's SW group this evening so, as always, my fingers are crossed.  All day!  :-)

Wednesday, 13 February 2019


Good morning.  It looks as if it might be another really pleasant day today, weather wise.  The sky looks pretty clear and it looks 'bright', if you know what I mean.

Good news for me:  I got an email yesterday letting me know that my application for a Disabled Persons Railcard has been approved and it's in the first class post.  That was impressively quick; I only posted the request off on Sunday afternoon.  It might even arrive today.
I must plan a jolly using it for next week as it's half term so no tuition to get back for - very little tuition anyway.

Pottery update:
I neatened up around mousehog's eyes and it's in the kiln again - forgot to take a photo, sorry.  I will, I promise.  A good laugh is always a pleasant thing! 

The leaf glazed OK . . .

. . . but not perfectly -  there were a few white-ish patches around the edge so Alex (tutor) helped me re-glaze those patches and that's also back in the kiln.  I now know that dabbing is better than painting, more like stencilling.  I'm really pleased with it though and I'm sure it will look great.  I think I need to get some stick on felt spots to give it some 'grip' underneath.  Also, I quite fancy making some coasters at some point and some felt underneath those would be essential.

I finished the first part of the coil pot and now it's drying before I can neaten it all up.  It's not great but I enjoyed starting to learn the technique and it will suffice as a pencil pot - unless I can't handle it looking (leering?) at me all the time. Also, the sides are very - er - undulating, and that might bug me.
See what I mean?

Detail of the top.  It will look better once I have smoothed it all off.

And Alex thought the buttons a great idea when I explained what they were for so I punched out eight butterflies and they will also be finished off next time before firing and glazing.

Sadly, next time does not equal next week.  It's half term.  Never thought I would be sad about half term!  However, that gives me a day for a jolly (with my new rail card, maybe) somewhere which is nice.

The rest of the day passed pleasantly, so all in all it was another super day.

Today I will be off out to have lunch with Val and I'm looking forward to that very much.  Val is an old friend who used to keep an eye out for my two after school when they were younger but had moved on from Primary when they could usually stay with me in school until I could go home.  She lived just down the road from me so it was very handy and I was very grateful to her.  Since then she and Mike have moved away and we recently got back in touch again - there's time now that we're both retired and have a bit more time for fun things.  Our get togethers have settled to once a month and I shall take my diary with me so we can fix the next one today.

Apart from that, there's just a spot of tuition so it's going to be a very pleasant day indeed.
I do appreciate how fortunate I am, I truly do.

Have a great day yourself too.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019


Good morning.  It feels a bit chilly this morning but I don't think there was a frost and the forecast is optimistic.
After the early frost, yesterday was a gorgeously sunny day and it turned out quite mild too.  However, I don't kid myself that winter is over yet.  There's plenty of time still.

I enjoyed yesterday.  After dropping Al off at the station, I came home, got some finished washing out of the machine and decided it was nice enough to hang them out for the first time in goodness knows how long.  After a good clean of the line (it was absolutely filthy) out it all went, rejoicing my heart as it waved in the sun and breeze - yes, I am easily pleased.

School was lovely as it always is.  Tuition was also great.  I get such a feeling of satisfaction from both.

And my parcel arrived.  I'm afraid I have succumbed, as I said on t'other blog, to the prevailing fashion and treated myself to an Instant Pot.  It looked more than a little daunting as I lifted it out of the box but an hour later I was cooking my dinner in it (mushroom risotto) and it was a great success.
I think this might become my second favourite gadget - after Thermione.  Nothing can replace her prime place in my culinary heart!

Today, being Tuesday, is pottery class and I'm hoping my leaf is finished.  I have a coil pot to carry on with and I want to make some decorative buttons (if I'm allowed).  I'll tell you more tomorrow about all that.

The rest of the day, in contrast to last week, is pretty low key with not a lot happening.  Ironing calls and I have beds to change so I'll get that done and the sheets in the machine although there won't be enough daylight left to dry them outside, I suspect, even if the weather is good.

Oh - I've finished my coffee.  Time for a second dose.  Have a great day, everyone, and, as the great Dave Allen used to finish off with, may your God go with you..