Tuesday, 21 November 2017


Good morning, everyone. 

Yesterday was very busy but a lovely day.

The journey home was good.  A bit slow at times but rarely at a stop and there were no hassles.  As soon as I got home I set to making the dinner so that by the time Alex arrived it was all on and doing.  I had a lovely time chatting to him - he seems very happy at uni, is getting good grades and thoroughly enjoying his studies.  Dinner was nice but the roastie was a mistake.  The evening was uncomfortable and there's still some twinges now as I type.  A lesson learned, I think: mustn't get too complacent.

After seeing Alex off, I whizzed off for tuition and then relaxed for the evening (starting to feel sore, unfortunately) and, after weeks with very little I want to watch, found that there was actually a clash of programmes so thank goodness for iPlayer.

Did you watch the programme about the Queen and Prince Philip?  I enjoyed it in a very light sort of way but it was ridiculously superficial and 'reverential' and told us nothing.  I guess we are used to documentaries that are a little more informative and analytical nowadays and this was neither.

I got the annual letter yesterday, informing me of the winter fuel payment which I had forgotten about.  Very nice too and I look forward to it arriving in the next few weeks.  Another advantage of getting old(er).

Today is hair day - well, hair evening anyway.  Now that Beth has a job, we've had to change the time to evenings so the lovely Sharon will be arriving here at six, ready to work her usual magic.  Can't wait - I always feel better afterwards.

I'd better get going; it is past six o'clock and things won't do themselves.  Have a good day.  I gather it is going to get more chilly again through this week so stay warm and cosy.

Monday, 20 November 2017


Yet another new week starts.  This year is racing along so quickly now that it's blink and you miss a week.  Yesterday was one of those days you wouldn't want to miss though - not warm but gloriously bright and sunny and very, very cheering.  Just a beautiful autumnal day with still enough leaves on the trees to provide rich, shining colour.  One of those day that totally contradicts the poet, Thomas Hood.

 No sun - no moon! 
No morn - no noon - 
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day. 
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, 
No comfortable feel in any member - 
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, 
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! - 

I am looking forward to today.  I'm at my parents' right now but will be whizzing home because Alex is home from university and will be coming round for lunch.  I gather he lives on typical student fare so I will be boiling a ham and making a roast dinner - a bbq sauce, roasties, roast parsnips and, probably, broccoli or peas.  No dessert though - we both have to stay awake in the afternoon, after all.  And he will be taking what's left back with him too.  😃

Should be good!

Sunday, 19 November 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to Sunday.

Doesn't it get dark quickly now?  Yesterday was a pretty gloomy day anyway after a beautifully sunny start that faded very quickly but by four we shut the curtains on the gloom. 
On days like that I can quite see why people want some glitter and shine to brighten things up and why decorations go up so early.

I wonder if today will be any brighter.  Hope so.

Saturday, 18 November 2017


Good morning, everyone. It's turned jolly cold at the moment, hasn't it? No frost today as far as I can tell, but brrrrrrrrrrr, all the same.

Here are the happies I posted on fb yesterday.
In no particular order.
1. I continue to feel well and have only had occasional slight twinges, nothing to fuss over.
2. I got round to having my flu jab - the first one! I'd better not get flu now!
3. It's been fun hunting for fat free recipes. I've found some goodies.
4. I got an appointment with my GP quickly. :-)
5. Blood tests to check liver and kidney function came back - and there's no problems.
6. Life is getting back to normal again. I do like routine!
7. It was lovely to see some dear friends last Saturday and have a chat.
8. An empty ironing basket!
9. It's a gorgeously sunny day today.
10. Now Beth is working, I don't see much of her any more :-( , so it was great that she came over last Sunday afternoon and we had a really good chat.
. . . and two for luck
11. The Christmas turkey has been ordered.
12. Lovely flowers from friends. Thank you so much.

Re number 11, Kelly's of Danbury must be feeling the pinch like everyone else.  For the first times since I have been using then, they are charging for delivery (it's free if you pick it up from the gate).  I did um and aha and ponder but decided to treat myself so paid the fairly substantial amount they asked for delivery.  Maybe during the coming year I will pin down exactly where the farm is and do a collect next time.  It can't be all that far away but I've never seen signposts to it while driving around here.
Having ordered it feels nice though - the start of the Christmas routines!

Time for coffee.   Have a great day, everyone.

Friday, 17 November 2017


Good morning, folks.  I'm a bit late this morning as I had an early morning appointment at the surgery and decided to leave this until afterwards.

I'm seeing more of that surgery waiting room than I have in the last ten years all put together!  Today was flu jab (the first one I've had) and the one-off pneumococcal vaccine that all over 65s are recommended to have.  I had the flu one but it appears that there's a shortage of the other and, as I don't fall into any of the target groups,  I didn't have it.  Try again in January!  I wasn't particularly sorry really.

On the off-chance that the blood test results were back (they were only done on Wednesday), I asked at reception and they were.  No further action needed.  I didn't think there would be but it's always nice to know.

I had a few twinges yesterday but they came to nothing and were certainly nothing like a fortnight ago so I'm not fussed.   I just hope I lose some weight as a result of all this 'being careful'.  I shall be cross if I don't!

Well, I have a bit of a busy day ahead of me so I'd better set going.  Have a splendid day and, Diane, I am so glad all went well.

Thursday, 16 November 2017


Good morning!

Yesterday was a very ordinary, fairly dull day once the blood tests were done.  I set to and emptied the ironing basked but, inevitably, there is now more which I am determined to do this morning!  If I do, that will mean washing and ironing can be off my mind for a few days.

Apart from that, it really was a very 'nothing' day, just like the weather, and I think that today is going to be more or less the same really.  Hopefully, by the end of the day, I will have a tidy house ready for the cleaners tomorrow.  That's the aim, anyway.

I'm sending all best wishes to my blogging friend, Diane, who has an operation today.  Hoping it goes well and recovery is quick.

Have a good day and stay warm and dry!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


Hooray!  Yesterday I really enjoyed eating for the first time in a fortnight.  When I first got home from hospital, I didn't feel hungry and didn't want to eat all that much, but yesterday was fine.  And still no gallbladder discomfort although things did go somewhat Purple Ronnie in the morning.  Once that settled, I felt great.

Tuition continues.  I had two sessions yesterday and it does feel nice to get back to it.  It's been three weeks, you see - half term week, then the week I was unwell and admitted and then last week 'recovering'.

Dinner was nice yesterday.  I got the recipe out of one of my low fat cookbooks and basically it was chicken with a limey-mint marinade.  Very delicious and one to remember for another time.
Tonight I want to try a lasagne with a topping of cottage cheese/quark.  It might work, it might be a horror-monstrosity but I will give it a go and see.  Watch this space!

Today I set out early to go to Broomfield for some more blood tests.  That particular department opens at 7:00 and I got there at just after then so parking was a doddle.  Even at that time there was about 20 mins waiting - people wanting to get to work, I guess.
It's the first time I have tried to park there for a very long time.  Since the last time, they've had a big rebuilding project and it's all considerably better now and much, much easier.  Now I've found my way around a bit I won't be so anxious next time.

Having done my duty, medically speaking, I have come home to a pile of ironing that really HAS to be done.  I will need to use the steam iron and I just hope there's some decent rubbish on the telly!
I'd better get started, hadn't I?

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


Good morning, everyone.

I'm feeling very cheerful this morning for lots of reasons.

Firstly, yesterday was another pain free day and I really do think things are settling again.  Of course, I am not taking any risks, only gradually reintroducing certain things and I know I will need to stay very low fat probably for evermore, but the poached egg I had for breakfast did no damage at all and neither did the little bit of low fat soft cheese that I slipped into the fish pie for dinner.

I got down to the surgery, got an appointment that meant it was more sensible to wait there and saw a very pleasant GP who sorted stuff out, made referrals. wants me to have more blood tests (to re-check kidney and liver function which sounds pretty sensible) and booked me in for a twelve-hour-strapped-to-a-blood-pressure-monitor-test thingy (it does have a proper name which I am sure Diane will know).  I've also booked in for the flu jab and another jab I ought to have had before and can now make appointments online - cheers!

I've had another great night's sleep.  I'm not waking with a backache like I was and I do wonder whether it was a sign that things were rumbling on underneath, ready to flare up.  I don't know but maybe, and it's nice to wake up without feeling stiff and a bit achy.

I resumed tuition and it was great to get back to it.

So lots of reasons for being cheerful.  Fingers crossed that today works out just as well. 

Monday, 13 November 2017


Good morning and welcome to a new week.  It's jolly nippy out there although no frost as far as I can tell, not yet anyway,

Yesterday I finished searching through my three low/no fat cookery books and now have a whole selection of likely looking recipes to consider trying.  I eliminated all the ones that required me to get obscure ingredients (there were quite a lot) or expensive ingredients or too many ingredients or which  would take too long or which I just didn't fancy and I have marked the rest with bits of post-its.  There's plenty of variety there, for sure.

In the afternoon Beth came round and it was lovely chatting to her about stuff.  Now she is working, I see a whole lot less of her and I miss her quite a lot but she's loving her job, which is great.  Alex seems to have settled at uni too.

Today I shall be hammering on the door of the surgery.  It been so long since I needed an appointment that I totally forgot on Friday that if you don't phone at eight, you don't stand a chance unless you have registered for online booking, which I haven't - yet.  Well, with my hearing I have huge problems with phones so I shall go down, thanking my lucky stars that I am an early riser, so fingers crossed.  I'm nervous (I always was where medical GP stuff was concerned, no idea why) which isn't going to do my BP any good but, dear me, it has to be done so it's teeth gritting time.

Once I have recovered from that, I will sort out my tuition and then potter in the kitchen, I think.  My idea of using a bit of the dough to create a starter has worked in that it's produced a new loaf but I'm not sure I like the loaf!  It's come out a bit doughy and very heavy but perhaps it wasn't risen enough or baked long enough so I will persist a few more times and see.

I'd better stop now and get on with other stuff that always needs doing early morning.  Have a great day and stay warm.

Sunday, 12 November 2017


Good morning, everyone.  At half past six, it is just starting to lighten up fractionally and it feels chilly.  No frost though!
I find I'm sleeping later at the moment.  Waking after six is becoming the norm rather than waking between four and five and I'm not complaining.  I have the day free so don't need to get started all that early.

Life is slowly resuming normality.  After two 'uncomfortable' days, yesterday was much nicer.  I take the last antibiotic this morning.  All being well, tuition resumes tomorrow so I have a bit of planning to do for the two I did a fortnight ago before being unwell.

I won't miss the antibiotics, I have to say.  They are huge, like tombstones.  I don't usually have problems swallowing tablets but need great swigs of water to wash it down and even then it feels 'stuck' for a while.  Having them intravenously in hospital was a gentle stroll in the park in comparison - in fact, a couple of nights I fell asleep while it was going in!  And while I'm on the subject, aren't canulas clever?  They don't hurt unless they get knocked and can be removed in the twinkling of an eye.  They didn't have them last time I was in hospital which, admittedly, was just under 40 years ago.

I had a visit yesterday from my friend Jackie and her mum and after a while Lesley turned up to on her way to the shops.  It was so nice to have people to chat to and we had a good old natter about all sort of stuff.  I'm afraid in the afternoon I went to sleep!

Today is another gentle day.  Some planning, some washing and some ironing and this afternoon Beth is popping over for a while which is nice.  I even have biscuits to offer her.  I bought a small packet of shortbread biscuits for my visitors yesterday and, for the first time in ever, have not even been tempted to go at them.  It fact, the thought makes me feel a bit yurgh.  Interesting!

Talking of feeling yurgh, I think I pinned down what started the discomfort(it was just discomfort, nothing more) on Thursday - some banana pancakes that I made a while ago and froze.  I'm afraid the rest has now gone in the bin which goes very much against the grain but needed doing.

Time for coffee, I think, so I will shut up and get going.  Have a good day!

Saturday, 11 November 2017


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

We will remember them.

Friday, 10 November 2017


Good morning.  It's all dark and gloomy here, of course, but everything is warm and cosy inside. 

Yesterday was an uncomfortable day.  I think breakfast disagreed with me and it just went downhill from there, livened by paracetamol now and again.  Didn't get a lot done, especially later on in the day.

Today I must do a bit of tidying because the cleaners are coming and I have a friend coming round tomorrow.  Apart from that I have no plans which means I can't fail, doesn't it.

Have a good day, one and all, whatever you do.

Thursday, 9 November 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull start to the day here but maybe the sun will break through later.  That would be nice.

Yesterday, I went shopping but didn't get to the GPs.  Maybe today or, if not today, tomorrow will do.  I was a bit zonked when I got home but didn't have a sleep which I was pleased about.  While there, I invested in some low/no fat stuff.  Cottage cheese, yogurt, etc, that sort of stuff.  That, with my habit of slight stockpiling, means I'm well set up for a number of days now apart from milk.  They didn't have any small cartons of skimmed milk and I'd never get through the bigger ones.

I treated myself to some 0% fat Greek yogurt.  Yes, I know that is a contradiction in terms but it's nice and thick and behaves a bit like softly whipped cream.  I can use the last bits to make my own again which won't be thick, not made with skimmed milk, but never mind, I can let it drain for a while, maybe.

I've found several likely looking recipe and, with the link Rachel sent me - many thanks, I am sure I can concoct a tasty and varied diet that will work for me.

Today I have soaked chickpeas to cook and I'm going to try the sourdough starter I concocted from a bit of the previous dough in a loaf.  The main problem is that I don't know how much to use and none of the recipes say; it's all too if, but or maybe and it really does my head in!  Maybe it doesn't matter really, maybe it's the feel of the dough.  I'll give it a go again and see.

Apart from that, I really must sort out my messy house.  There's piles of bits and bobs everywhere and it is getting me down.  Maybe half an hour of fun, ten minutes of tidying, half an hour of fun, then . . .
We will see . . .

Have a good day!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


Good morning, everyone.  My system is much more socially inclined again this morning after a number of grumbles and protests yesterday!  Things are well on the way to what passes for normality in my home and today I am off to make an appt with a GP.  Given that I haven't been there for over a decade, they'll have brush the cobwebs off the records!

Then I hope to do a bit of food shopping.  I have a list which contains such delights as 'extra lean mince' and 'low fat cottage cheese'. I might not bother with some of the items and just do without.  I'm more impressed with the fruit and veg list as it's been nearly a fortnight and I'm out of basics like carrots.

Yesterday was lovely and easy but boring to write about so I won't.  I think that's how this week is going to be really - pleasant but boring!

And on that note, I shall sign off and make my first boring coffee of the day.   :-)

Tuesday, 7 November 2017


This morning I got out of bed and burped.  Sat on the loo and burped.  Got up again and guess what . . .  Thankfully they are not the Purple Ronnie kind and aren't uncomfortable!

Morning, everyone.  It doesn't seem to be quite so cold this morning from this side of the glass - no frost.  I've still turned up the heating, being a self indulgent so and so and not really into self flagellation of any kind whatsoever now I am retired!

Yesterday I took a good look at my recipe book, the ones that had survived the cut earlier in the year, and found three.  One is pretty useless and will probably make a trip to the charity shop.  The other two are more promising.  One is a Readers Digest tome called Low Fat: No Fat and the other is the definitive Rosemary Conley Low Fat Cookbook.  Both seem sensible and adaptable after a quick flick through so I will give them closer attention.
(I love having something to read)

They look as if they will be of help although it's quite funny to read all the somewhat didactic advice in the intro and realise how much nutritional thinking has changed in the last twenty or thirty years.

Yesterday went OK with just one ouchy session.  I baked bread as I'm nearly out now and, on a whim, decided to go all Ma Ingalls and broke off a little bit of dough to make a starter for next time.  It'll probably not work but it's like making yogurt - I love the ongoing idea of making a new thing from an old thing so am giving it a go.

I managed the no fat cooking although there's an indefinable flavour and texture missing.  Oh, well, one can get used to anything and the carrot and lentil soup certainly was tasty and filling.

Another lazy day is planned today.  Two huge books to investigate and I really ought to resume knitting.  I've got all behind again . . .

Rachel - you really did go through the wars, didn't you!  Blimey!
I'm thankful it was eventually dealt with and that you are fine again now but it can't have been much fun for you.

Well, it's time to exercise my culinary skills with beans on toast (no butter) after which maybe it will all turn a bit more Purple Ronnie.  I'll be glad when my 'system' sorts itself out again!


Monday, 6 November 2017


Good morning, everyone.  We have a frost!  Quite a heavy one, judging by the car roofs and bonnets.  What a change over the past week, eh?  The heating is on, the winter dressing gown is on and I need to get some more slippers as my old ones are rather past it now.

It's been an interesting week.  I started feeling quite poorly over Tuesday night last week, continued feeling rotten through Wednesday and finally, over Wednesday night/Thursday morning, gave in and dialled 111 for advice and the rest, as the saying goes, was history!

The 111 ended up with paramedics and a short drive to Broomfield hospital with severe chest and back pains (me, not them!).  I came home yesterday afternoon.

Thankfully, very thankfully, it wasn't heart, it was 'just' a misbehaving gallbladder and this was confirmed when various tests showed no heart issues: but blood pressure was sky high, cholesterol isn't great and I had some blood thinning injections because the blood they took kept clotting too fast (or something) so there are issues there too which need sorting. 
Blood tests and being poked in various places accompanied by me going 'ooooh, ouch' from time to time confirmed internal inflammation and I had intravenous antibiotics, now changed to oral ones because I'm home.
It's been all go!

Anyway, I'm home, hardly fit and well but an awful lot better than I was, with strict instructions to rest, to take the abs and blood pressure tablets and to get to know my GP asap!  I haven't troubled them very much over my lifetime so far so maybe there's some catching up to do.

Oh, it was wonderful to fall into my own bed again last night.  Those hospital beds are surprisingly comfortable and supportive but the non-fitted sheets slipped about an awful lot and the pillow cases kept sliding off the pillows!  Last night, on went the electric blanket and I drifted off in peace and quiet and darkness.  Bliss.

I know I have minimal experience of hospital but I have to say everyone was wonderful, starting with the caring and reassuring chap at the other end of the 111 line, continuing with the paramedics, moving into the A&E staff and then everyone, without exception, on the ward.  All lovely, all gentle and kind, all very, very efficient, caring and reassuring, making a bad experience a lot less traumatic.  There were some very poorly patients there and they were hard worked at times, but I never saw anything less than complete respect and dignity.  I can't praise them high enough.

On to today.  I've been told to take things very easy until I have finished the course of antibiotics.  Any excuse, eh?  So this week is go-slow week.  Everything is cancelled, the heating is on, the rubbish daytime telly will be scrutinised and I shall be researching food plans via Google.  Diane will know much more than I but I gather minimal fat and lots of plant based food is the way to go, even after I have had the offending organ removed.  Is that on the right track?  Well, I love a food challenge and don't mind a bit (only a bit, mind, last week was wa-a-a-y too much) of discomfort while I find out what's going to work (and not work) for me while losing some weight can only be a good thing, especially with an operation on the horizon.

Coffee, thank goodness, is fine.  Caffeine might even help (I read) so maybe I will need to re-think the decaff thing. 
Time for another one then!

Sunday, 5 November 2017


Look at that gap in entries.  Really sorry for the silence.  I've had a bit of an unwelcomed adventure but am now back home, wobbly but recovering and by the time I've milked it all in next week's posts, you'll be sick to death of me, I am sure.

Just wanted to say, I'm OK.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


The normal entry!

Good morning, everyone.  The last day of October today and it's been a weird old month one way and another!  Hallowe'en strikes and I'd better get on with my annual poster.  I don't 'do' Hallowe'en but there are lots of children I know locally from school so I always make and put up a poster on the front door saying, in effect, no T or T but enjoy yourselves and stay safe.  It always works and in all the time I've been here I have had just one egg on the door - and that wasn't kids from the school!

You can really tell the difference with the clock change.  This morning I went to the freezer in half light rather than darkness and yesterday I walked home from tuition in the almost dark.  In a couple of sessions it really will be dark and I will be wrapped up in coat and scarf, I expect!

Yesterday's birthday lunch didn't come off because of illness, which is a shame but couldn't be helped.  I got on with my knitting instead! 

Today I am doing some shopping for a friend, carrying on with the washing (there was more than I thought) and - guess what - knitting!  The nice thing about knitting - one of the nice things, anyway - is that I can watch telly or iPlayer as I do so.  Somehow it grows much faster when my mind is on the screen and, fortunately, it's not a tricky pattern so my mind can be half elsewhere. And then this evening I have a couple of tuition sessions, all being well.

So now it's time for my second coffee before I start the day.

Tuesday: these are a few of my favourite things . . .

Remember the song?

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens . . .

I was reading this article in a blog all about simple living and it set me thinking about my own life.  I've been fortunate really.  Despite all the ups and downs, and there have been loads of them, I am in a position where I have choices of what I do, where I go, how much I want to fill my life with 'things'.

So . . . these are a few (just a few) of my favourite things.  Not favourite people - that's quite a different matter.

1.  A hot bath
I love my bathroom and I love my corner bath.  It is sad in a way that I am being sensible and thinking of converting it into a wet room next year.  I'm wearing my 'preparing for the future' hat and I realise that a wet room will be way more accessible than a bath or even a shower that you have to step into and step out of, all wet and slippery.  It may allow me to be independent in my own home that much longer which would be good.
But I do love my bath so, for now, I am using it with the utmost appreciation.

2.  Knitting
I like crafting in general, as you might have noticed, but since I was quite a little girl, knitting has been a specific pleasure.  I learnt by watching my Mum so there's some very fond memories lurking in the background, aren't there?
I'm just entering the knitting season.  In the summer months it's a bit too warm and my hands get all sweaty and uncomfortable but when the weather chills, it keeps my hands warm and agile.

3.  My Thermomix.  Nothing more to be said really, is there?

What are your favourite things?

Monday, 30 October 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to the start of a new week.

I've just popped out to the freezer to get today's food in and, oh, my word, it is cold out there.  No frost (I don't think) and not really cold in the wider scheme of things but what a contrast!  I certainly didn't dwardle out there and my toes are still warming up again.

Yesterday turned out very nice in lots of ways.  The biggie for me is that I gritted my teeth and set to planning this week's tuition sessions and I only have one more to do now!  All the resources are made and printed out too.  I'm really pleased as it always niggles at me until it's done.  A clear conscience is a wonderful thing.

At midday I set out to the parcels office which, incidentally, never used to be open on Sundays, to pick up a parcel that came while I was away.  Nothing very exciting, just a few skirts, but I am now all set up for winter.  I tend to dress much the same, just in different colours, never posh but rarely scruffy either, just comfy, easy clothes.  Glamour doesn't get a look in!

Then I settled down and got out my knitting as I have a couple of projects that need to be finished asap and recent events have conspired against me.  While I knitted, I carried on watching the Duchess of Duke Street which I am still enjoying very much.

So I didn't do any washing and I didn't make any bread.  The latter wasn't necessary as I had one loaf in the freezer but I've taken that out now so I must bake today.  The washing isn't urgent either but I don't like it hanging around.

Beth and Jane are coming round for lunch.  It's a sort of belated birthday thing for Beth as I was away last week.  It should be fun.

Well, time flies and I guess I ought to get going.  Bath first and then breakfast!  Back tomorrow!

Sunday, 29 October 2017


Good morning!  It's another early awaking day here and combined with the clock change it has made for a stupidly early start to the day - not quite half past two!  I shall go back up again at some point, of course, when I turn tired again, but I may as well make the best of the wakeful time.

Did you remember to put the clocks back?  It always marks the end of the warm and the beginning of the cold for me, whether or not the weather itself takes any notice.  From now on the curtains are drawn early to shut out the cold.

Brrr - it hasn't half turned cold.  When I got home yesterday, the first thing I did was turn up the heating.  I've gone soft in my old age maybe but also I have been living in a very warm home for a week or so and the contrast was a bit marked.  One of the pleasures in life is being able to keep comfortably warm after all.
I gather there's a chance of frost over Sunday night/Monday morning.  Well, we will see!

I downloaded onto my Kindle a book that had those wartime leaflets with recipes and I thought I'd have a go at making potato pastry.  Not that it is more frugal nowadays, not with everything going up and potatoes costing more than the equivalent weight in flour but I thought I'd have a go anyway.
The bottom of the pot pie I made had bacon, chicken and veg so definitely not wartime nor Woolton, but it was lovely and it used up more stuff from my freezer so that's all to the good.

I got the recipe here .. .
. . . and I adapted it a bit.  I used SR flour, oil and instant mash and, obviously, reduced the amounts.  OK, I adapted it a lot!
But it was nice.  More like a suet pastry, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  There's a bit left over which I wrapped up and I will make some sort of tattie scone thing for breakfast later on with a poached egg on top!

Well, I think I will start some planning - that might send me off good and quick!!  Then, later on, more planning, some work in the garden (oh, my poor garden), some bread making and some crafting.  Also, I have to go to the parcels office to pick up a failed delivery.
It's a day for myself and I intend to make the best of it!

Saturday, 28 October 2017


Well, after a very damp day on Thursday, yesterday was absolutely glorious.  Well to wall sunshine from start to finish.  We could do with more more days like that - it might cheer up the mood of the nation no end!

Good morning, everyone.  I haven't got much more to say right now except to remind us all (me included) that the clocks go back overnight tonight.  An hour extra in bed?  Not a chance, an hour earlier awake and ready to go!  Mind you, I often say I'd like an extra hour in the day.  Tomorrow, I will have it

Time for coffee and then I'd better get going.  Have a lovely day, however you intend to spend it.

Friday, 27 October 2017


A while ago I waffled on about posting my weekly Facebook Happies in here and then I forgot!  Not this week though, so here they are, copied straight across.

Happies time! It's been another week when I need to look for happies but it's a good thing to do - Pollyanna-ish, I know, but I've always liked playing the Glad Game, one way or another.

So - here we go!

1. Happy Birthday to Beth for yesterday.

2. Some lovely family get togethers this past week. I love my family.

3. A new reclining chair after a long time in the planning and saving. The old one (third hand when I got it) has started shedding screws when I move it so can't have much time left! It'll take four weeks for the new one to come so will be well run in by Christmas..

4. A council that will pick up the old chair for about a fifth of what the shop would have charged! That's a lot of money saved.

5. Two new Bags for Life because I liked the pictures!!! After all, can we ever have too many shopping bags?

6. Early evenings and warm curtains. And it'll be even earlier on Sunday! I love these dark evenings because shutting them out by drawing the curtains gives me a warm, cosy, secure feeling.

7. Some gorgeously bright and sunny days this week, wall to wall sunshine and colourful leaves.

8. Another weekend before the end of half term. Teacher friends, have a lovely few days before getting back to it.

9. Some new recipes tried and enjoyed this week.

10. Runner beans (again). Dad planted some late ones and, because it has been such a warm Autumn, they have grown really well and we're still picking. There's no flowers now so they're nearly over but there's still a couple of meals-worths to go.


Good morning, everyone.  Having said that I might not post every day, I have done.  :-)  However, don't be concerned if there are some gaps.

It's been a funny old week, weather wise.  Yesterday was perhaps more typically Autumnal.  Dismal, dark and drizzly.  That drizzle that pervades everything and against which an umbrella is worse than useless.  Fortunately, I had no reason to go out once I had done a shop at Tescos before the rain started and had no prejudices against drawing the curtains early to shut it all out!  I don't know how people manage without curtains on these dark, damp afternoons.
I haven't looked out yet so have no idea about today but I gather it is due to get colder over the weekend.  I'm yearning for the first frost (frosts are so beautiful) so you never know!

Half term is nearly over now,  I do hope that all my readers with school aged children have been able to have an enjoyable week with plenty of  fun and excitement.

I impulse bought at Tesco yesterday.  You know those 'bags for life', the plastic 'woven' ones that have nice pictures on the outside.  Well, I saw one that had a flowery patchwork pattern and one that had a Chr*stm*s design and I got them both.  No, I don't need any more bags but . . . so that's 90p down the drain!

Have a good day, one and all, and stay dry!

Thursday, 26 October 2017


I may have mentioned it once or twice but I have been on the lookout for a new reclining chair.  I have on that is just about dead on its castors and which keeps shedding screws when I move it.  One of these days it will die a death and never revive.

It's ever so old.  It belonged to my parents and they bought it reconditioned so it could be up to twenty five years old and it has been well used.  Every day, several times a day, I have fallen back into it with a sigh of relief.

It was time to replace the dear old thing.  I found what I wanted but had some difficulty in choosing a fabric.  I thought I'd found an exact match with my other chairs but no, it was different.  Two other possibilities weren't right either but finally I went for a darker shade that tones in beautifully.

I went back to the shop yesterday (they know me by sight now!) and the order is now in.
So in four weeks' time it will be out with the old, courtesy of the council's pick up service (£12 but so much better than the shop's price of £60 that I'm not complaining one bit), and I will be watching the likes of Pointless and Strictly in even greater comfort than now.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It's not a particularly bright morning at the moment but we have had some absolutely gorgeous Autumnal days recently.  Clear blue skies, bright sunshine and all those colours.  It really brightens the spirit and lifts the soul.  I love it when there's a breeze too and down come those leaves, catching the sun and flickering the light out to us.  Wonderful.

I had a bit of soup left over from a can of chicken broth.  It's not like cream of chicken, it is a thinner soup with added veg and shreds of chicken.  I'm not fond of it as a soup (it's OK but nothing beats home made, does it?) but I fried up some onion and yellow pepper, added the soup leftovers with a splash of white wine and a bit of a chicken stock cube and added some chicken breast fillet, sliced, before thickening it with some thickening granules.and it was absolutely delicious!  I shall remember that!

I also had a bit of tinned pineapple left so stewed it with one cooking apple and had it with custard (good old Birds, of course).  Totally scrummy!

That's the height of my haute cuisine!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Just to let you know that things are a bit difficult right now so I won't be blogging every day.
Thanks for your understanding.  I'll be back!

Sunday, 22 October 2017


It was a lovely day yesterday.  A family gathering to celebrate the birthday of a very special lady in our lives.  It was just a happy time.

Today is back to normal.  All the clearing up (there wasn't much) was done yesterday so no hassles.  I think I will rest as much as I can.

Have a lovely day.

Friday, 20 October 2017


Yesterday my lovely Mum had her 90th birthday.

It was a quiet but happy day and tomorrow we're having a family gathering!

That's about it as far as yesterday is concerned.
Today I'm going shopping and that's about it too.  That's the good life!  Have a great day yourself.

Thursday, 19 October 2017


Good morning!
Wasn't yesterday dreary.  It was here anyway.  Drizzle and mist all day, very damp indeed.  TOday looks to be better but time will tell.

I had to pop to Aldi and Lidl yesterday so I seized the opportunity to buy butter.  I dearly love butter that has salt crystals and a friend told me that there was some West Country butter in Aldi that was cheaper than Morrison's ordinary and had the required salt crystals.  I'd tried some and it is, indeed, delicious so I stocked up.  Then I saw that Lidl had similar and the same price so I had to try that too.  So now my freezer is stocked with nice butter to infinity and beyond!  The way dairy is going up, it'll be a butter investment than ISAs or Funding Circle!  (sorry!)

Today is a Very Important Birthday so I'm looking forward to that very much.
I might not be around much over the weekend but should be properly back afterwards.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Apart from a bit of a 'weird sky/light colour at one point, the weather yesterday was pleasant.  Not too cold but not too hot either - not that I noticed anyway.  It's still mild this morning but the first frost cannot be too far away, can it?

For the first time in ages I woke feeling energetic yesterday so I set to and got all my planning done for the week.  One of the things I rejoiced over when I retired was No More Planning.  Now I have walked voluntarily into more - and it may not be so many children but it needs to be detailed and individual so does take a while.
So now that's off my mind I can enjoy life.  Tuition went well yesterday and, as it's half term, there's none next week.  Maybe I can get ahead with resources.

Beth invited me over for a take away Chinese last night.  Chinese is one of those things I find hard to fake.  I can manage a curry, a pizza and fish and chips is a doddle but not Chinese.  I really enjoyed it and it looked as if there would be plenty of leftovers for today for her and Jane which means no need to cook.  Gotta love the microwave!
Thanks, Beth.  Happy Birthday, Jane.

Over the weekend my order of the Duchess of Duke Street DVDs arrived so I've been watching them at spare moments.  It's as good as I remember it, somewhat formulaic but well done.  Most entertaining and visually attractive.  Today I have a great pile of ironing that absolutely HAS to be done so - perfect!

I also have a very untidy home so guess what the other main task will be today.  Housework is like death and taxes - it can't be escaped!

The morning coffee is made and spelling fragrant so I'd better go and pour myself one.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


I missed yesterday, I know.  So sorry.  Back now.

On to happier things - well, sort of.  I do hope all my readers are safe and sound after the strong winds that have travelled across this part of the world.
In 1987 I totally missed it, slept right through it and looked out of my window with complete and utter amazement the next morning, took the children to school (just round the corner) to find it closed until the afternoon and spent the morning catching up on what had happened.

This time, it's not been too bad here in the south east although we had some very strangely-ominous skies yesterday afternoon followed by one of the most incredible sunset it has been my privilege to capture on my simple little digi-camera.

Good, isn't it?

A strong wind is something I find exhilaration, like high waves, providing I am safe and sheltered.  However, many people had serious difficulties with yesterday's weather and my heart goes out to them.  Schools are closed and there's been a lot of damage further north and to the west.

I popped round to Morrisons yesterday and I was so glad I did.  A while ago they had long cardigans for sale and I bought two of them and have worn them on and off (mostly on) ever since.  They fit, they wash well and they have worn well too.
Yesterday they had the same thing in four new colours at a tenner a go and I bought all four.  That's me set up for ages to come.  So pleased.

Today is planning, housework, sewing and then I'm having a takeaway Chinese round at Beth's.  Should be great!

Sunday, 15 October 2017


Just a quickie to say I'm fine, just rather busy and feeling a lot better.  Thank you for your kind messages.
Back tomorrow.

Friday, 13 October 2017


A mild niggle has developed into a banging headache.  Today is cancelled and I am back to bed after telling the cleaners not to come


Good morning!   I forgot to take in the washing yesterday evening so I'm thankful that it seems to have been a dry and pleasant night.  It was certainly a warm one that found me sleeping over the covers rather than under them until my toe cramped as it does now and again when it is cold.  Very annoying it is, extremely uncomfortable rather than painful and requiring me to walk around a bit until it wore off properly.

As a result, I am feeling quite weary at the moment but, dear me, isn't that one of the many plusses of retirement?  It doesn't matter and I can snooze later, if necessary.

Jules, the fish stew was lovely although I did my own thing with the vegetables.  I used onions, garlic and chilli from the very lazy range and smoked paprika.  I added peppers, peas. corn, courgette, some mini potatoes that came out of the garden potato growing bag and green beans.  I cut the fish into cubes.  Amounts were much reduced but it still made loads and I have another portion ready to be frozen, to which I can add another piece of fish.  It was jolly nice and very adaptable.  Worth doing, for sure.

Today I have to get things ready for the cleaners and do some ironing.  I'd also like to get ahead with the planning so that next week is easier.

So I'd better get started - after another coffee.  :-)

Thursday, 12 October 2017


Good morning, all.  It looks brighter outside today and we might even get some sun, you never know.

Yesterday I managed to get the parcel posted but didn't pick up the Tuesday delivery so that's top of the agenda for today as soon as the milk run has died down.
It was one of those days where I felt busy all day but didn't seem to get much done.  Quite frustrating really.

So - today will be busier.  There's washing and ironing, planning (always planning - anyone would think I was still at school!), cooking, bit of gardening - a normal day, in fact.  Nothing exciting, just a string of normal things.

I'm looking around me and the little piles of clutter are starting to build up again.  I have accepted that it's just me and I am unlikely to change after all these decades and so many attempts.  The strategy is just to deal with it all now and again and I can feel myself working up to this.  It won't be this week but maybe early next week or over half term (no planning over half term).

Did you see Eat Well for Less yesterday?  I'm going to have a go and an adapted version of the Spanish fish stew today but using what I have in rather than getting the set ingredients.  Should be nice, I think.

Well, the coffee is smelling fragrant so it must be nearly made and then it is bath and get dressed.  I hope everyone has a good day. 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


This was the allotment in early summer.

And here it is, photo taken yesterday.

Quite a change but over winter it will have chard, kale, leeks and broad beans and we will have planted out the raspberries and the strawberries too.  It may look a bit dead but it won't be, not really.

There's still loads to do, plenty of tidying and neatening as well as getting out the plantlets and sowing the broad beans, covering the areas not in use with tarp and keeping the grass neat.  When it's really cold, the grass doesn't need much attention but when have our winters been really cold recently?

However, I'm not going down there today.  I have parcels to post, a parcel to pick up (why did they try to deliver it when I was in the bath yesterday?), the Lovely Sharon is working her usual magic on my hair and I have to plan, plan, plan.  It might help to tidy out the kitchen as well. 

So I'd better get started, hadn't I?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017


Yesterday turned out to be a pretty busy day.

First of all, I got the message that Beth was poorly and wouldn't be able to make it to the allotment.  I wasn't surprised - she seemed unwell on Sunday and got worse as the afternoon went on.  Undaunted, I went down anyway as there's loads of stuff to do that just requires working through steadily - like the ongoing weeding.  The weeds aren't as bad now as the temperature drops and the days shorten, but every weed out is worth the effort, isn't it.

The front patch looks so big now that the remains of the cage have been taken out.  It wasn't too bad at all but I decided to be thorough so I did what we did at the start of the season - forked over a couple of rows and then sat down and went through each bit, breaking any clods and removing any big stones and any root systems.  If we get a hard winter, the frost she work on any other clods and break it all up nicely!  If we don't, I've made a good start anyway!

Encouragingly, there were far fewer 'nasty' roots and stones to be removed that in April.  The worst was where the cage had been which is only to be expected.  The soil crumbled nicely because it was damp and I got well over a third of the area done before my back protested and I decided to be sensible.

I also mowed the grass again, not because it had grown much but because last week it was so long that I had to set the mower on the highest setting.  Unfortunately, the battery ran out before I had finished.  My fault: I forgot to recharge it after last weeks mega-mow.

Anyway, I did two and a half hours of work and then came home. 

In the afternoon, two friends came round for a discussion and then I popped along the road for tuition.

Come the evening I was so tired I went to bed far too early and woke in the middle of the night.  No problems, I just read until sleep returned and didn't re-wake until after six which is great!

Today is more of the same really.  Allotment (just me again but with a recharged battery now), home, housework and preparation/planning, tuition . . . and Bake Off in the evening.

With the washing up all done and a hot coffee beside me, what more could a girl ask for, eh?

Monday, 9 October 2017


Good morning!
It's half past four, way too early to tell what they day will be like, but it's not feeling particularly cold and the heating isn't on yet.
(having just written that, I have sneezed five times and now have shivers but that's the sneezes, not the room temp)

After tuition yesterday, I knocked together a vegetable crumble (I love cheesy crumble topping) and then got on with next week's planning.  Half way there for the week now!

Beth turned up and we had lunch, followed by some serious spending.  No, not that bad really, all allotment stuff.

We have a fancy to try asparagus so we looked at some that Beth had tracked down earlier which is already in manure blocks and just needs popping into the ground and bought ten plants.  We'll see how that goes and then decide if it's enough or whether we need more (or whether it becomes a 'no, thank you'.  According to the bumph, while we cannot harvest this year, we can pick very lightly next year and the third year will be all systems go!  A bit like rhubarb really.

Then we looked at raspberries.  We got a golden autumn fruiting one (All Gold) , another autumn fruiting type (Polka) and a long fruiting July to October variety (Joan J).  They all fruit on that year's growth which makes them a lot easier to control and with any luck they will give us some fruit next year.  We had to buy them in threes although we only wanted two of each kind, so we may have fruit in the garden as well as down the allotment.  I read that raspberries are great for containers.

Still working hard in front of the computer, we bought some hardware - netting, ground cover membrane, pegs, etc.  However, we couldn't find garden gloves that were a) small, b) simple, c) cheap and d) latex free so off we went to Wyvale to have some fun looking round.  We found gloves on offer although there were some lovely ones, all girly and flowery that were also on special.  Sadly, they only had medium size and the fingers were just too long for comfort.  Never mind, we got six pairs of plain ones for a tenner (we get through gloves quite quickly) plus some bulbs to pop into corners on the allotment and they were on special too, much to our delight.

I nearly forgot - we also got some over-wintering broad beans which we will sow before the ground gets hard (if, indeed, it does get hard!).

All that spending was a bit exhausting really but never mind, we got more or less everything that we need.

Today Beth intends to do a dummy run in the rush hour out to where she will be working, to see how much time she needs to allow.  Then she's coming here and we're going - guess where.  Today we are planting out the rest of the leeks and some survivor kale.  I call it that because I sowed seeds, they came up, they got nibbled to death and then, over the summer, they resurrected themselves and we have little plants that deserve a chance to make their way out in the big old allotment world.

So even though winter is coming, it won't be so dead down the lotty!

What we didn't do is pot on the strawberry plants or deal with the tomatoes, so I have that delight to come.

Should be a good day.  Now we just need cooperative weather!

Sunday, 8 October 2017


Good morning and welcome to a lovely, bright, sunny Sunday morning.  Much more promising than yesterday although there is a pinkish tint to the sky so who knows?

Yesterday was, as usual, a good day.

I caught The Duchess of Duke Street and it was as enjoyable as I remembered so I went online to Amazon and splashed some cash on DVDs of the series.  There were some comments and one expressed annoyance about subtitles that wouldn't go away and that sold it to me.  I need subtitles to support my hearing and a lot of these DVDs of older shows don't have subtitles.  Also I couldn't help noticing that, even with accents, articulation was much clearer than it tends to be nowadays.  Win-win for me.

Today I have a pupil coming round at nine o'clock and then Beth will be round for lunch.  We're going to do some work in my garden, potting up some strawberry plants for the allotment and I might get the now dead tomato plants into the brown bin for collection this week.  That would be good as they're looking decidedly unlovely now.

I'm going to have another coffee now and then check over the planning.  Have a good day!

Saturday, 7 October 2017


Good morning.  Saturday again.  It doesn't seem a week since I finished my holiday but it is.  Amazing!

Yesterday turned out to be lovely.  Not all that warm but sunny and cheerful.  Beth and I did about two hours on the allotment and it's now looking better.  After the general clear up (see below), there's stuff to move but there's time for that and I intend to spend several sessions there next week, just working through what needs to be done while tomorrow Beth and I are going to get some needed stuff online as well as potting up some of the strawberries in my garden to replant there.

With the disruption over the summer, it's been nearly two months since I last put in a session and Beth did her back in, so we are both more than grateful that some friends of hers all met up there a couple of weeks ago to clear, harvest, weed, tidy and generally get things sorted, rewarded by veg, cake, shortbread and jam!  Bartering is good.

The remains of the 'cage' have now gone which has opened out the space and given us more growing room.  It's now a question of deciding where we want the pathways to be.  We know we want to make it interesting, not just strips going from side to side but more like a sort of patchwork.  Daft, I know, but we do.  We have plans for an asparagus bed - just a small one - and to plant the aforementioned strawberries as well as raspberries.  At the moment there is rainbow chard and leeks and we have more leeks and some kale to plan out next week too.  Before the winter hits, we are going to try broad beans for the first time and the rest of the ground will be covered over until the spring.

I got back home just as the cleaner was finishing and spent some time planning and then relaxed with my kindle for a while before popping out for a tuition session. 

All in all, a nice day.

Today there's not much planned until the evening when Jackie and I are going into town to see a plan, 'A Princess Undone', at the Civic.  I hope it's good - it is supposed to be.  J is coming round for an early light meal and I think I shall make a wrap based 'pizza' and a salad.

Before then, I notice that on the Drama channel they are showing back to back episodes of the first series of  The Duchess of Duke Street.  Now that really is a blast from the past so I will give it a go.  I loved it first time round but things move on and I wonder if it will come over as well nowadays.  I will see, won't I?

I've just realised I haven't put the coffee on so I will remedy that now.  It's still completely dark so I might take my coffee back up and read in bed for a while.  After all, it is Saturday.

Or I might just get on with some of the planning for next week.  😁

Friday, 6 October 2017


The end of my first week back in routine and all's well.  Yesterday turned out to be a lovely sunny day (so much for me feeling rain was on the way!) and I'm hoping that today is the same because not only is it cheering, it is allotment morning.

My three tuition sessions went well yesterday evening and I have just finished the planning for tonight's single session so that is off my mind! 

That's more or less all the news really.  Boring but uncomplicated today which is a Good Thing.   Allotment, tuition and housework in the gaps.  I have to get the house tidy for the cleaners and I have a load of washing that needs a re-wash before I peg it out because I forgot it yesterday.

But first - coffee and breakfast!  Thank goodness for coffee.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It's surprisingly mild out there around here, despite the stiff breeze, but it is dull and it feels as if rain is on the way.  Beth's cancelled the allotment session for reasons not weather related so we're going there tomorrow morning instead.  I can't say I am sorry: the aches are retreating but are still there a bit.

Yesterday ended up being quite busy.  I had a quick meeting at school to get out of something I had got into without thinking about it enough (which was OK, thank goodness - in fact, they were unflatteringly quick to agree  😀).  I had the first tuition session for a new student which went really well.  I went to Morrisons for eggs and some printer paper and came home with reduced eggs as well.  I did plenty of planning.  I went to another meeting in the evening which was easy, simple and not too long, thank goodness.  I warmed up my bed (got to love that electric blanket) and slept like a log all night.  I'm waking later again, more between six and seven than between four and five, which is far more civilised.

Today I have time I hadn't planned for which is a real blessing.  I shall use it to get ahead with my tuition planning and I will bake a loaf.

In fact it is all rather lovely right now.  I have a cup of freshly brewed coffee beside me, I have ham and lentil soup bubbling away in Thermione, I have bread to make, the house is warm and fragrant
and the water for the bath is hot.  Simple bliss.  Sheer satisfaction.

And it is Extra Slice on the telly this evening!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017


Good morning, everyone.  I've just realised I didn't write an entry yesterday.  It was rather a busy day so that's my excuse!

In the morning I was up at school at the Y5 Greek Food Morning.  This is the third time I have attended in my role as link governor for History and it was great fun.  I taught both Y5 classes, one in year 1 and the other in Y2 as my last ever class.  They are both lovely classes and it was a treat to be with them all.
Then it was home, supposedly for lunch but, in fact, I was too full after plenty of pitta bread, grapes, honey cakes, etc, etc.!
The afternoon was spent planning followed by tuition and then straight out to a meeting.
Quite a day!

I climbed into a lovely warm bed as my lovely dad treated me to an electric blanket and I fitted it on yesterday.  It has a quick bed warming functions before turning itself off but you can also have it on overnight and there are five different temperature settings and two different timings - one hour or nine hours.  In other words while you're reading and falling asleep or all through the night.  It's cheap to run, much cheaper than having the heating on so it should be great through those very cold nights when I like a cold room but a warm bed.  Lucky me.

Today is better.  Nothing specific until tuition but then I have another evening meeting.  The main problem is that I have woken with a sore throat, sneezes and aching all over so I guess the first cold of the season has landed.  Urgh!

That's about it really.  Nothing very exciting is happening, thank goodness.  I shall finish prepping the tuition sessions (I want to keep ahead as time is short and I can't get behind) and then do household stuff interspersed with resting if the aches continue.  I have my first coffee beside me, caffeine based, and will enjoy it.
Have a good day

Monday, 2 October 2017


Good morning.  It looks quite nice out there.  It's obviously been raining but is dry now and there's a bit of a breeze but nothing as bad as we were predicted.  Fine by me.

I'm driving home from my parents in a short while, back to a home that has been well cared for and which will be clean and tidy.  Cheers!  I'm not so confident about the garden - it needs it's pre-winter beauty treatment and is unlikely to get it today!  I think I need to do the 'half an hour a day' thing - that should get it sorted within the week as it's not a large space.

Frugally, I need to get myself back in line again.  That means using what I have in as much as possible and that means finding out what's lurking at the back of cupboards and in the bottom of the freezers.  That means spending some time inventorising as time is in short supply this week so it's on the list for the weekend.

Well, I had better get myself out of bed, wash, dress and pack.  Coffee will have to wait!

Sunday, 1 October 2017


A pinch and a punch
For the first of the month!

There, that's got the formalities over and done with.  I can't say 'white rabbits' because it isn't May, but how about 'red leaves' seeing that the trees are now looking increasingly colourful.  It seems appropriate.

I gather it will be quite windy today but here in the south east, we shouldn't be too troubled.  For those of you further north, I'm hoping it won't be too difficult.

Yesterday I finished the holiday washing AND did the ironing too.  How's that for good housework.  Today I need to check the old bank balance and today or maybe tomorrow I will update the accounts, whap any left over money into savings and start a new sheet for the new month.
I wish!

I do like to know where I am with my finances, more than ever I did when I was working.  Then it was a weekly/fortnightly thing, just to check that things were going OK.  Now I try to do a daily update and feel quite uncomfortable that I haven't checked for a week because of being away.  I know they will be OK as I haven't been using my card much on holiday and I still have some cash left over but even so, it's just the act of checking that I haven't done.
Maybe that sounds weird but it suits me!

Tuition resumes this week too.  It really does feel as if I'm getting my life back again after some upheavals over the last two months.  I'm not a terribly organised person but do feel happier when things are in order so things are looking up again after a fantastic holiday.

Mind you, there are changes.  Alex has gone.  Beth has a job so I will be allotmenteering on my own, which I feel sad about, as it was fun doing it together.  Still, we have this month to get everything into good order for winter and a couple of visits a week to check and deal with any problems should do it!

Have a great start to October!  Back tomorrow.

Saturday, 30 September 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Last day of September - where has the time gone, eh?

First of all, thank you for your kind comments in here and elsewhere about my photos.  I'm a point and clicker and maybe one in about ten is worth looking at so thank goodness for digital cameras.  I used to spend a fortune having useless photos developed and then, of course, you couldn't crop them or edit them in any way. 

The journey back was OK although I have decided I don't like Mansfield.  I went wrong going and I went a different wrong coming back - twice.  The first needed a sat nav save but the second was easily sorted (and no U turns needed).   Once on the A1, I was about four cars behind a wide load with an accompanying van with flashing lights behind it in the outside lane to prevent people from trying to pass.  I bet some would have too.  Fortunately, it was going at between 50 and 60 mph (depending on whether it was uphill or down) so that wasn't too bad but there was an enormous tail back with a few opportunists bobbing in and out until realising that they could go no further.  It did make for an easy drive anyway!

I was shattered last night and went to bed really early but woke at around two ready to start the day.  After a couple of hours of reading, etc, I nodded back off and now have a slight mugginess around my head!

Today I'll be washing and ironing the holiday clothes and resting mostly, I suspect.

Some good news.  Beth has a job!  Now that Alex is off to uni, she needed to get some employment and was anticipating a bit of a struggle, given the circumstances, but she applied on Wednesday, was contacted for an interview on Thursday and was offered the job after the interview on Friday.  Even if it doesn't last long, it's a foot on the ladder and is a definite confidence booster.  Well done, Beth!

Friday, 29 September 2017


After yesterday's gorgeous Autumn sunshine, it is now dull and damp again.  It does make it easier to leave, that's for sure.

Yesterday it was the turn of Thornbridge Hall Gardens.  I'd never heard of it before and am sure it wasn't 'there' (i.e. open) last time I visited.  I almost didn't go but I would have missed a real treat because it was a beautiful garden on a beautiful day, quite the best weather of the whole holiday.

I meandered around at my leisure, stopping, looking, exploring (a bit) and generally taking it easy and it wasn't until near the end that the old foot/ankle started muttering a bit.

And because of the sun I got some nice photos too.

And now my holiday is over.  Everything is packed and loaded, the cottage is tidy and I am just waiting until the end of the milk run before setting out.
Back to Real Life, Responsibilities and Routine again.

Sigh . . .

Thursday, 28 September 2017


. . . and last full day.  Today I have to pack and make sure I leave the cottage in reasonable order, not that I have really messed it up much at all and it will be cleaned before the next guests anyway.

Yesterday I was very tired so wasn't out for too long, but long enough to give Eyam Hall and Gardens and the Museum a good going over.  The Craft Centre was - OK.  I got a few decorations for Christmas - two nice wooden night light holders (I have some Christmas fragranced night lights at home) and some red stars for the Christmas tree as well as a book about Eyam Hall.

I was puzzled at first.  Eyam Hall is a National Trust property and I was sure it wasn't last time I went.  Turns out the family handed it over about five years ago.  A shame in a way, but it is quite a  responsibility to keep up and, as a NT member, I got in free.  Because of that, I decided to have lunch there and got a very substantial toasted cheese and bacon sandwich which must have been very salty because I was downing water all evening!

If you don't know the story of Eyan, the plague village, you can read it here.

and here

I vaguely remember watching a programme about it decades ago and the story stuck in my mind, somehow.

On the way home I stopped off at the Derbyshire Craft Centre (not the Eyam one) and it was rubbish - just a gift shop, not a craft centre in any way.  Shame.

A few photos.
Whisk for half an hour?  My arm would drop off!  Taken in the kitchen.

This would have had a cast iron range in it.

Someone etched a poem to his beloved in this small window pane.  Graffiti!  Vandalism!

Gorgeous hand made lace.

The colours on one section of tapestry were as bright as if it was newly made because for most of its life it had been hung back to front!

Today I plan to go to Thornbridge Hall Gardens.
I'm not sure how well my stupid ankle will stand up to a lot of walking around and the weather may have the final vote on this, but it should be good, even at the end of September.

I was umming and ahing about eating out this evening but it's never much fun on your own so I think I will pay one more visit to the Farm Shop.  I wanted to go back to buy some little family gifts anyway.  Might be steak, might not - I will see what they have.  They do have some 'ready meals'.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Another holiday dawns, just today and tomorrow left now.  I've taken a peek outside and it is cloudy but dry.  Maybe the clouds will lift but if they don't, no problems.

Today I think I am exploring Eyam, the plague village and if I need a brolly, no problems.  I'd like to go to the Hall, the museum and the craft centre (I'm a sucker for craft - I'm sure you hadn't noticed that!!!).  There's also another craft centre en route, if I remember to stop off.

Yesterday I mentioned making bread and ending up with too much dough, due to my own carelessness.  I wrapped up that extra dough and popped it in the fridge.  Last night some of it made a couple of flatbread-naan type things to have with my curry (I had to keep flattening them as they cooked in a frying pan because they wanted to rise!) and this morning I'm using the rest to make a couple of rolls, one for breakfast with bacon and the other for my packed lunch.  All very delicious and satisfying!  😇
Yesterday's loaf and very delicious it is too.  I love this flour from the Mill and will definitely get some more next time I am this way.  I wonder if the sell it over the Internet.  Must check.

Yesterday was Chatsworth Day.  One can't come to the Leak District without doing a bit of Chatsworth and, of course, they have this Style exhibition which I have wanted to see since I heard about it.  Only just in time as well - it's closing soon.

It was great.  Loads of fascinating historical artifacts, info, etc, some big and shiny and some small and intriguing.  Loads of gold and glitter that didn't photograph well, hand made lace, embroidery, costumes, pictures.  How the 'other half' lived, eh?  Still do by all accounts.
It was well worth the rather high entry charge (and no concessions either - huh!).

One big change.  Last time I was at Chatsworth and asked about photography, the response was a shocked 'No, sorry'.  This time it was a friendly 'As long as there's no flash, it's fine'.  A lot of my snaps turned out too dark and most were taken through glass so not brilliant but they're a good way of remembering.

These were lovely.

Now that's what I call a christening gift!!  All gold too.

How on earth did they manage to breathe properly?

This one is even worse.  I don't even think it is attractive and I shudder to think of the internal damage it must have caused.

The tour ended up in the gift shop (very canny of them) and I bought a couple of paperbacks.  One is called 'A Visitors Companion to Tudor England' which explores palaces, country houses and castles of Tudor England and the people who lived there.  The other is by the historian I mentioned yesterday, Ruth Goodman, and is entitled 'How to be a Tudor - a dawn-to-dusk guide to everyday life'.  They both look extremely interesting and are both my sort of reading.  I won't start them until the holiday is over as I still have a stack of Miss Marple books on my Kindle that I haven't read and I got them specifically for this holiday too.  I suppose I'd have read more had there not been such a good internet connection.

Then I had my picnic lunch (along with thousands of others) and after that I wandered around the grounds but by then my ankle was playing up quite a lot and when I put the support bandage on, I must have washed it too hot because all the elasticity had gone and there was a distinct lack of support which was annoying.  I will need to get another one as soon as possible.  Ah, well, Amazon, here I come.
A very interesting greenhouse with three weather zones.

I meant to focus on the colours of the trees but, of course, the cascade is dominant.

There's quite a rock garden there.

It was a misty day despite the hazy sun .  I suppose that's that you have to expect in Autumn.

Once home, I made dinner (curry and naan and very nice it was too) and then settled down for an evening's telly including Bake Off, of course.  All most enjoyable and I could do with another week.  Maybe when real life settles, finances permitting, I will consider a fortnight rather than a week.  I'm just getting into the swing of things.