Tuesday 31 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Amazingly, I slept until nearly seven o'clock today.  That's a lie in for me and very nice too.

Yesterday was quite busy one way and another.  Kitchen stuff in the morning, school in the afternoon and I picked up my friend from the station in the evening after which we chatted endlessly!

Today will be more of the same - chatting, I mean - but apart from that we haven't yet made any specific arrangements so this is a shortie.

Have a lovely day.  I'm sure I will

Monday 30 January 2017


Good morning!  It's a damp and dismal day out there but not icy which is a mercy as the roads would be terrible if it was.

Yesterday was a busy morning and a less busy afternoon.  Apart from a good dinner it was mostly unproductive and I had a good snooze in the afternoon.

Today is busier.  I have a friend arriving this evening so I have a bed to make up and a bedroom to tidy up - not that it's that messy, just a few things not out away.

I have bread to make (it's rising as I type), soda bread to make, a batch of savoury mince to cook and some shopping to do.

I have planning and looking up resources to do.

Over lunch time it is Knitter Knatters and then I'm staying at school and doing my afternoon with foundation stage on Mondays from now on as it works well after the club.

It's going to be all go!

Today's food:
B:  porridge with sugar and yogurt
L:  maybe I will skip it - depends how busy and not-hungry I am.  But maybe an apple and an orange.
D:  a bit of leftover roast beef, bubble and squeak from the leftover veg and some runner beans from last summer's garden.

Have a lovely day, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Sunday 29 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It's Sunday; the Day of Rest.  That means, of course, that everyone is busier than ever, either continuing to work or rushing round getting all those things done that they would really like to spread over the whole week but can't.  The food shops seem busier on Sundays than they are for the rest of the week too!

Yesterday was a pleasant enough day.  Rain and sun in more or less equal measures and it was considerably warmer than it has been all week.  It feels chilly now but if one will wake and come down before the heating clicks on . . .

Before Christmas I had intended to have round the girls I dine with at the Hare - Beth, J and L, for a meal but it never materialised.  Yesterday we sorted it all out via Facebook communication and they're coming round one Friday evening in February.  Beth is bringing drinks, L and J are bringing desserts and I will start the meal off with dips and nibbles and then provide the main course.  I will do my broccoli and macaroni cheese for Beth but will have to have a ponder about the meat element.  I know the girls like a good selection of vegetables, so that's easy enough, it's just the meat.

I meant to do some ironing yesterday evening but totally forgot so it is on the list for today.

I have three round for lunch today and have been exercising my mind as to what to do, which is ridiculous as it is only one more than I usually have.  I got a lump of beef out of the freezer yesterday so I have that for the omnivores but I'm not quite sure what to do for Beth. I'll have to risk frostbite and have a good rootle in the freezer to see what I have in the vegetarian line.  The usual accompaniments will be fine for us all - roasties, sprouts, carrots and parsnips and very nice too.

After lunch, I will need to make the usual batch of bread and then I can settle with the sewing machine and start piecing together some of the squares I have been cutting out to make bags for our summer stall.

My food plans today:
B:  porridge with jam and yogurt (must make some more yogurt)
D:  roast beef, roasties, broccoli, sprouts, carrots and parsnips
T:  broccoli soup, bread and butter

It's warming up nicely now and I think, early as it is, I will treat myself to a first coffee.  Have a lovely day, whatever you are doing.

Saturday 28 January 2017


Good morning.  It's a bit warmer, thank goodness, as I've had another wakeful night.  Thank goodness my life's my own nowadays so it doesn't matter if I go back to bed later and sleep beyond waking time (not that I ever do sleep that late).

Oh, how I am enjoying my 'new' books.  Miss Read has such a turn of phrase, makes such pithy comments, that I am inwardly chuckling most of the time.

Yesterday I collapsed in my chair after bustling around clearing and tidying when I realised I had left Village School upstairs so, lazy thing that I am, I just started the next one - Village Diary - instead.  I found this, which I love.
"  There are some foolish and narrow-minded theorists who would condemn the use of the sweet tin in schools, dismissing this valuable and pleasant adjunct to discipline with such harsh words as 'bribery' and 'pandering to animal greed.'  I stoutly defend the sweet tin. If the good Lord has seen fit to provide sweets and children's tastes to match them, then let us take advantage of the tools that lie to hand."

Yesterday was another pleasant day.  The cleaners came, did their usual magic and left.  I had a good snooze after lunch.  Tuition.  Cut out some more charms.

Today I have some mince to cook, some bags to make, some knitting to do and I might go out somewhere for some fresh air if it's not too cold.

Today's food plans
B:  porridge with plum jam and yogurt
L:  broccoli soup, bread, crispy cake
D:  spicy pork pizza with coleslaw

Have a good day.  I'm back off to bed soon!

Friday 27 January 2017


Good morning, lovely people in blogland!  It's certainly warmer in here than it is out there where there is a heavy frost that makes me glad I don't need the car first thing.  Yesterday stayed dreadfully cold all day, not rising about -1, as far as I could tell.  I walked to a friends and my eyes were watering when I got there, it felt so cold.

Never mind, I don't have to do outdoor games lessons, playground duties and the like any more, but I feel for those who do.

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  I received good news about something that has been worrying me quite a lot over the past week.  Sorry, I can't say what as it is someone else's story but I am so, so glad.

I had my chat with my friend and I now have another pupil.  That makes four, which is as much as I want to take on at present.  We start next week.

When Beth and I make something, we keep all the useable left-over bits.  They are starting to bulge out of the drawer so yesterday I sorted some out and cut them into five and a half inch squares (I think they are called 'charms', for bag and quilt making.  I'mm do some more today - when I first started sewing after retirement, I bought some very cheap fabrics that never really got used, so I need to dig them out and seem if they are suitable.  As I said before, I'd like to make some patchwork bags to sell at the June Fair and to use as gifts for people and each bag takes eighteen squares.

Today the cleaners come so I'd better do a bit of a clear up.  It's not really messy, just a bit unkempt round the edges.  Half an hour should sort it all out.

Today's food plans:
B:  toast with peanut butter; apple
L:  leek and potato soup, bread to dunk, clementine
D:  chilli con carne with rice; natural yogurt.

Now it is time for a second coffee.

Thursday 26 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  There's no frost today but there's an icy 'smell' out there, if you know what I mean.  I think it is supposed to warm up a bit tomorrow.

Yesterday was pleasant but it felt busy, even though it wasn't really.

Swimming was great.  For once the water wasn't chilly and I could get in without shuddering.  Beth and I did our lengths and then went back to mine for coffee and some warming porridge before sorting out some 'stuff''.

After Beth had gone, I sorted out some stuff, made a batch of savoury mince and generally faffed around until my student turned up.  I didn't make the bread that I had intended to make so that's on today's list.
In the evening I watched Further Back in Time and it was most enjoyable.

Today I have a meeting with a friend who might want tuition for her child.  After that my time's my own until the afternoon so I think I will get the baking done then.

It's tuition again this evening and then I think I shall finish off a bag I am making.  It needs the lining and handled doing.

Today's food plans are:
B: porridge with pineapple and yogurt
L:  leek and potato soup, bread, crispy cake
D:  macaroni cheese with broccoli and peas, fruit

Have a good day, one and all!

Wednesday 25 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It's Wednesday and it is still cold and misty out there.  It's nice to have some winter temperatures for a change, I think.  I love a cold and frosty atmosphere and the mist here isn't bad enough to cause problems (I hope)

It was quite a busy day yesterday and I'm glad that Beth and I cancelled swimming.  I remembered to take photos of the quilt before wrapping it up and I fussed around in the kitchen for a while too.  Foundation Stage reading was great fun, as usual, and the baby shower after school was very pleasant indeed.  K seemed to like the quilt and the bag and people said nice things about it too, so it was worth the time and effort and now I know I can make a bigger quilt!  The trouble with this sort of thing is that as soon as you have made one thing, you want to go bigger or more complicated.  However, for a while I will avoid the big stuff and let Beth get on with hers while I stick with shopping bags which will make nice gifts for people, if they don't sell.

Here's the quilt (sorry about the light) . . .

. . . and here's the bag I put it in, made using two disappearing nine blocks for front and back.

In the evening I wanted to watch the new Back In Time programme, Further Back in Time for Dinner, but it was on at nine and by then my eyes were drooping, so I shall watch what I missed on iPlayer at some point.

Today is swimming, then pottering around at home and then tuition.  Not a terribly busy day but I have various culinary things I want to do which should keep me busy and out of trouble and I will need to do a tidy up before my pupil turns up.
I want to make a savoury pork mince mixture that is packed full of vegetables and lentils and I also want to make some bread dough to turn into rolls.

Today's menu is:
B:  before swimming:  apple
      after swimming: porridge with pineapple and yogurt

L:  carrot and lentil soup, ham sarnie, clementine

D:  small jacket potato with cheese, baked beans

S:  carrot batons

Tuesday 24 January 2017


A bit late today, sorry.  I've been quite busy organising kitchen stuff for the day and so on.

I'm back home now.  The journey wasn't too bad and I didn't encounter fog until just outside Chelmsford.  Most of the way it was freezing with just a slight mist and, oh, the views were heartbreakingly beautiful.  I wanted my camera so much.

Once home, I got sorted quickly and popped into school for KK.  It was fun.  The girls have come a long way since the first session (I was told) and some of them have taken to it like a house on fire.

Then it was home again to get on with the quilt which I have finished now.  I've also made a bag to present it in and which can be as a shopping bag or whatever later on.  I'm pleased with it and I do so hope my friend likes it.
I'll post a picture or two tomorrow, once I have given it.

In the evening I was contacted by someone I know to ask about tuition.  It seems that someone has been singing my praises, which is nice.  I'm going to have coffee with her on Thursday so we will see.

Today is school pm and then the baby shower.  Free cake!  :-)  Possibly free wine too so I will walk.  I ought to walk anyway - it is a fine day with sunshine and mist!

I've started a food challenge, linked with a group on Facebook, Feed Yourself on a Pound a Day.  It's £30 for 30 days of food.  Me being me, I have started a blog and if you'd like to take a peek I'd be very grateful.  Here's the link.

Well, I'd better go.  The soup for later on is smelling good and I need to get myself cleaned and dressed!

Monday 23 January 2017

Monday (just)

I'm having a wakey night so thought I'd get this done early as I might not have the time later.  It's frosty out there and I'm a bit worried about the forecast of freezing fog as I have to drive.  It's clear right now so here's hoping.

As I thought, yesterday was a quiet, gentle day.  Lots of reading and chatting and generally taking life very easy.  I did the dinner and made a nice sauce to go with the ham - if you have the old Reader's Digest book 'The Cookery Year', it is in there, p 119, I think.  It's actually a sauce to go with spare ribs but it makes a nice spicy partner for ham with a few adaptations.

Virtue being rewarded, I shall be taking some of the ham with me plus some left over lamb from Saturday.  Nice!

I pass a large Aldi on the way so I think I will pop in and get a few bits and bobs that I need.

It will be a rush shopping put away and then I'm off to Knitter Knatter at school.  When that's done I shall be finishing off that quilt.  I've checked instructions for 'hand binding' (which is half machine really) so I know exactly what I need to do and it should be all finished by the end of the day, leaving me time to make a nice little matching bag to keep it in or use as a shopping bag, I don't mind.  I wish more friends were having babies as I have really enjoyed making this gift.

While quilting, I will also be making bread; one for my friend, one for this week and one for the freezer.

I'm in charge of my own food again from lunch onward so . . .
B:  toast and apple
L:  something or other - whatever is in the fridge
D:  probably the lamb with assorted veg as it ought to be used up.

Have a great day and, if it does turn foggy and you have to be out, take care and stay safe.

Sunday 22 January 2017


Good morning again.  I haven't peeked out yet and can't be bothered to get out of bed and look but I bet it's not all that warm out!

Mum and I popped into town yesterday morning.  Dad politely declined our invitation to come too, what a surprise!  We wandered around a good charity shop (didn't buy anything though) and then hopped across the road to David's Bookshop to browse the second hand books.  I did rather well there as they were fifty pence each or three for a pound.  I got Akenfield (portrait of an English Village), Evening Class by Maeve Binchey which I haven't read and a cookery book entitled The Green Kitchen, which looked interesting.  Now I am a lady of leisure, I need books, you know.  I know there's the library but it's a small branch and doesn't have much of the sort of book I like.

After that we popped into a very cramped and crowded fabric shop but most of what was on offer was silky, sparkly, sari-type fabric, not what I wanted.  However, right at the back there were some rolls of cotton, reduced to £4.99 a metre, so I got a metre of cream and a metre of white.  It will do brilliantly for the inside of my patchwork shopping bags!

After a coffee in Morrisons and a bit of shopping (bread and apples) we came home again and in the afternoon I snuggled down with The Green Kitchen book.

While in the bookshop, I looked for some Miss Read books but couldn't find any.  I don't know if you know them - wonderful stories about life in Cotswolds villages.  I first 'met' her first book, Village School, just before I went to college for teacher training as it was on the reading list and I was immediately hooked.

As I didn't find any, when I got home I looked on Amazon and found loads second hand but in 'very good' condition.  They're all around the same price, under £3 including p&p.  So now I have five winging their way to me and I am really looking forward to being reacquainted with them.

Today is going to be a quiet day, I think.  Reading, knitting, chatting - bliss.

Saturday 21 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Cold again!  I do love a crisp, frosty, winter's morning.

Yesterday I carried on with the quilt.  The machine quilting is now finished, all the edges have been sewn in (that took for ever!) and now all I have to do on put on the backing and the edging.  Phew.  It's looking good too.
I won't be able to do that until Monday.

Mum, Dad and I went out for a meal yesterday evening.  I had nachos and, mmmmm, how delicious they were.  I must find a recipe!

I have no idea about today yet, but I am sure it is going to be good!  I hope it is for you too.

And now - coffee!

Friday 20 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Yet another sold and frosty morning out there and I gather we have several more to come in the next little while.  Unusually, I felt jolly cold overnight when I did my usual meander down the landing to the loo but I soon warmed up again once back in bed.

After a busy morning, I enjoyed my time in school with some very enthusiastic young readers before my two hours of tutoring.  Then I got on with the quilt which is just as well as I gather the baby shower is next Tuesday.  It's looking good though!

Today I will be rushing around getting things ready for my house sitter before I drive over to my parents' for a few days.  Should be fun!

I'm keeping it brief this morning as I have a lot to do.  Have a great day and stay warm.

Thursday 19 January 2017


Morning, everyone!  It's cold and frosty again.  Yesterday's frost lasted until into the afternoon - that's how chilly it was.  I didn't even think of hanging out the washing because it would have frozen solid.  A shame, because the sunshine was glorious.

We had another rather lovely sunset yesterday too so here's a few photos.  No, the sky wasn't really on fire but it does remind me of that scene from Gone With The Wind!

Beth came round and was busy cutting out squares for her quilt which is going to look really nice.  I ended up emptying the dishwasher and doing a whole load by hand as my machine seems to be on the blink.  Very annoying indeed!  I did find time to discover a nine block pattern - I think it is called a disappearing nine block.  I want to have a go at it today.

We had to tidy up properly as I had someone round for tuition and, as the dust looked horrendous in the winter sunshine, I dusted too and now downstairs looks pretty good.  Comparatively neat and tidy - just for a change!

Unfortunately, all through the day, on and off, I felt not wonderful again.  Maybe it's just the weather.  Thankfully, I slept well last night which is a blessing after several fairly fragmented nights.

Today is a morning at home followed by Y2 reading and then two hours of tuition.  The planning is all done so I shall indulge myself by trying out that disappearing block pattern using pieces from the scrap drawer.

I forgot to mention above - the wadding/batting (I never know which to call it) arrived yesterday so I washed it in the coolest, gentlest cycle and it seems to have come to no harm whatsoever.  Cheers!  I might carry on with the quilt I'm making too - sandwiching the wadding between the front and some backing and then starting to quilt.

I need a coffee now so I'll sign off and get it.  Enjoy your day!

Wednesday 18 January 2017


Brrrrr - it is so, so cold today.  There's a hard frost out there.  I'm not surprised because yesterday evening, when I rushed out to take some sunset photos, one of which is now at the top, I was out for a maximum of three minutes and it took me about twenty minuted to warm up again!

After a comment yesterday from Annabeth about the Knitter Knatter Club, it set me thinking.

I learnt to knit at a very young age - about six or seven, I think.  I just watched my mum who, in the 1950s, like most women, made just about all our clothes both knitter and sewn.
As far as I can remember, I only made little things like dolls' scarves and other such trifles for quite a long time.  When I went to college I knitted some tops for myself and when I got engaged, I tackled my first Aran sweater for G, one which he wore for years and years - it was very hard wearing!  That got me going and since then I have usually had a project on the go.

When they first moved me into Y1 at school, I was given a very sparky class and, after we had done our historical project a few asked me how to knit (because that's what girls did in The Olden Days) so I showed them.

Two weeks later, a little lass turned up with a parcel.  When opened, it proved to be a scarf that she had painstakingly made for my teddy bear.  I had brought my teddy into school when they brought their teddies in and we had looked at the similarities and the differences.  This little lady thought my bear must be cold because most of the fur had rubbed off.  Wasn't that lovely?

Tubbelina still has that scarf round her neck.

So when I read about this new club, I just HAD to offer my help!

Today Beth is round and she's going to start cutting out for her quilt.  I'l looking forward to that.  It's also tuition later on and a governors' meeting in the evening.  Quite a busy day, in fact, but it should be good and I hope yours is good too.

Tuesday 17 January 2017


Good morning and welcome to a cold and frosty start to the day here in Mid-Essex.   I didn't manage another lie-in today but six thirty isn't so shabby, is it?  Not when the norm is between four and five anyway!

Yesterday turned into another dull, drizzly day with just a little bit of watery sun for a very short time.  I was hoping to dry things outside but not a chance!  Out came the drying rack instead.

I finished the bag I am making but haven't taken a photo of it yet.  I do hope the recipient likes it!  I certainly do and I might make one for myself!

I noticed that the school has started a club for year six called Knitter Knatter which is a knitting club.  I offered to help as you know me - I love knitting, so next Monday I will be heading off to school for half an hour of what will probably be hard work at first.  I'll take some knitting with me but I bet I won't get much done!

Today I am making bread, doing planning and, after granny reading with FS, doing the weekly shopping.  A nice, homey, productive day!  Lovely.

I hope yours is as good.

Today's food plans
B: porridge and fruit
L:  home made soup
D:  fish, home made wedges and peas
plus fruit

Monday 16 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Wonder of wonders, I have only just got up - at about quarter to eight.  That's virtually unheard of in my world!  OK, so I've been reading for a while but even so, it's very late and it feels good.

Yesterday was lovely.  Well, the weather wasn't; it drizzled and mizzled all day and was very unpleasant but everything else was great.  Beth came over and we had broccoli and macaroni cheese for lunch which was absolutely delicious; I shall do that again because we both loved it.  Then we went off to Blake House Craft Centre.  The target shop was And Sew On, of course, me to get fabric for the quilt backing and Beth to get fabric for a double bed quilt she want to make, using some stuff she already has.  So we got what we wanted and then went into a new shop there, a yarn shop called Sconch, which wasn't there last time we were!

Oh, it was lovely.  The colours and textures were so beguiling AND they didn't cost an arm and a leg either.
What is lovely is that they do what they call 'Crafty 'n' Cake which is basically just what it says.  You turn up with your craft and they provide coffee and cake for two hours.  I'm definitely going to try that from time to time, although it's a bit of a distance to go.

What else is lovely is that already they are outgrowing the corner shop they have moved into and in a short time they are moving to a bigger unit in the centre - two and a half times the space, I think she said.

Another nice thing - despite the very unpleasant weather, there were loads of visitors to the centre which indicates a very successful concern at the moment.  I usually worry that these centres aren't making enough to pay their way but I think this one is pretty safe at the moment.

Then we came home again, Beth and I, and looked at what we had got.  The fabrics are now drying after being washed or in the machine.  We always preshrink rather than take the risk.  It's a bit of a pain when you want to get going, but necessary.  I can't get on with my quilt until the batting arrives and that also has to be washed first.  By hand, I gather, but blow that for a bunch of bananas, I'm doing it in the coolest, gentlest wash that my machine has to offer!

We had planned to have a crafting day today but she can't make it now so I shall craft alone - all together now . . . aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!  😉
I shall knit (I've nearly finished the shepherds), sew and do a bit of housework.  Nice.

Now it is time for coffee so, if you will excuse me, I shall sign off.  Have a good day!

Sunday 15 January 2017


Cold but not icy, wet, dark and gloomy.  What a lovely winter morning!!!

Yesterday was a day when very little happened.  I ended up having a PJ day but I'm not sure it was any help.  It sort of sets my mind in a certain way.
So I knitted and I knitted and I read and I watched some telly and . . . well, you get the idea, don't you?

Today Beth is over and I'm making broccoli and macaroni cheese for our lunch.  That will be good.  I am baking bread this morning and Beth and I have plans to discuss together.   Should be fun.  I wonder if we might take a trip to And Sew On too.  Maybe, maybe not.

I've realised I have forgotten to post about my food recently.  Sorry to anyone who is following them.

B: toast and pate - the pate is an unopened pot that I bought for Christmas and never used. It is out of date tomorrow so I've frozen the rest in single portions.
L:  broccoli and macaroni cheese as mentioned above, with a tomato salad.
D: I have some left-over veg/tomato mix to use up so I'll cook some rice or orzo to have with it.
Plus assorted fruit.

Saturday 14 January 2017


I've had one of my 'can't get back to sleep' nights.  Awake at two, came down at half three.  Now I'm dropping off in my chair so after doing this I will go back up and, with any luck, will get some more shut-eye.

Yesterday I had absolutely no problems whatsoever getting into town.  The roads were clear and the traffic was light.  When I got to County Hall for the course, I discovered that only four were booked for it and two hadn't turned up so it was just the two of us!  I usually manage to hide behind someone with more knowledge/experience at these courses but no chance!

Fortunately it was very good (although not what I had expected) and the speaker was very clear and well articulated so there were no problems with hearing whatsoever.  Lots of time for discussion too, which the other attender appreciated a lot.  I now have to write a report on it for the Governors' Meeting next week.  One of my weekend tasks.

While I was there, we had quite a flurry of snow but it didn't affect the roads at all and by lunch time the sun was out and shining brightly.  So that was OK!

In the afternoon I planned for tuition and then knitted for a while before my student arrived.

Today is clear so it's crafting all day.  Excellent!  I can't get on with the quilt any more yet but I am making some patchwork shopping bags and I can get on with them.  I want to play about with some irregular log cabin patchwork and see if that works, using some of the leftover bits and bobs of fabric.  Should be fun.

I gather it is going to be cold today so take care.  As for me, I am fighting to keep my eyes open so I'm off upstairs again.  Night!

Friday 13 January 2017


Well, it snowed.  Not a lot, but it snowed.  It started while I was doing tuition and carried on for a good couple of hours, really heavy at times, which is why it started settling but the roads are clear at the moment.  I see that we are due some more between ten and twelve this morning but I will, hopefully, be safe and sound at a course (Monitoring Made Easy) and might not even see it, depending on whether the room has windows or now.

It was funny, the shrieks of laughter I heard from all around as I walked my pupil back home.  All the local littlies were clearly and noisily making the most of what was actually very wet and unpleasant snow!

Yesterday passes as Thursday's usually do.  I did work inside in the morning and went to school in the afternoon for reading.  I even did a bit of clearing up and sorting out as today is cleaners day!

As a governor, I get sent courses that match my 'profile'.  Most look jaw achingly boring but, at the time, the one I am going on today looked more helpful than most so I checked with the governor in charge of courses and booked.  I will be the first education course I've ever gone on where there are no heavy expectations for afterwards.  Yes, I have to feed back to the governing body, but that's all really.  No pressure.
It also helps that right next door there is a large car park!  I've checked the fees and they could be a lot worse.  I just have to make sure I have the right coins for what will be a four hour stay.

After that is it home to a (hopefully) clean house and a bit of prep for this evening's tuition session.

So, actually, quite a busy day!

Thursday 12 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It ain't 'arf chilly at the moment, it's real shiver creating stuff out there and I'm wondering whether folks in other parts have been visited by the white stuff yet.

Yesterday I was idling my way through some blogs by following the link at the top that says 'next blog' - a sort of pot luck meander through blogland - just for something to do; and any number of them had stopped suddenly.  No warning, one day there was a bright and breezy entry, often accompanied by a photograph, and then nothing.  I couldn't help wondering why.  Family disaster?  Sudden boredom?  Loss of Internet for a long time?  Personal catastrophe?

That occasionally happens to blogs I follow too.  However, more often than not I can see why.  The event is done, the writer has moved on, the blog doesn't sit easily in their new or changing life.  I do slightly grieve for the ones that have just stopped and even more for the ones I can't access any more.  I wonder if I have accidentally said something wrong in a comment or on my own blog or I worry for their well being . . . and I miss the regular visits.

Seems to me a blogger builds up a sort of relationship, not only with their readers but also, in a way, with the blog itself.  After a while it develops a sort of self perpetuating momentum, a part of the everyday routine.  It would take a fairly cataclysmic happening for me to just suddenly stop without any wind down or explanation.  I seem to be getting more readers now (which is nice) and there's a sort of sense of responsibility there.  If people can make the time to come in and read, then I should make the effort to give them something (albeit ordinary, mundane stuff) for their commitment.

Funny what you do and ponder on when you're not really feeling wonderful, isn't it?  I'm actually feeling a fair bit better today, thankfully.

Yesterday was a weird day.  I wasn't feeling wonderful so stayed indoors, cancelled tuition and didn't even get dressed.  So lazy!  In between feeling rough, I did a bit more patchworking and have now finished the front of the quilt  I'm quite pleased with it so far.  When I do the quilting, it will be fairly minimal - round the central squares, round the border and round each block - so should work fine.

What do you think?

I cancelled today's swimming yesterday so have the morning in before going to school for Y2 reading.  Then it is tuition and after that a lazy evening.  I must remember to charge up my hearing things and my laptop for a course tomorrow.

Ah - the kettle has boiled.  Coffee time and very welcome it is this cold winter's morning.  Have a good day and stay warm.

Wednesday 11 January 2017


Good morning, gentle readers.  It still feels fairly mild here although I gather colder weather is on its way.  I bet we don't have much in the way of any snow that's around though.  We never do!

As expected, yesterday was a bit on the busy side, not helped by me feeling somewhat shivery and achey.  I have no idea if it's connected with the swimming aches but there you go.  End of whinge.

I made the bread, got the books to the charity shop and then called into the upholsterers to sort out what I want now I have chosen the fabric.  They can't start the work until the middle of March which is reassuring.  As I said to Beth, to be fully booked for two months when what they do is really pretty expensive, is reassuring and it will be so nice to be able to look at my chairs and not sigh inwardly because they look so scruffy.

I have also asked them to make a couple of fitting cushions for a couple of wooden tub chairs (I think that's what they are called) that I bought for practically nothing.  I've tried my ordinary cushions and looked at ready mades but they don't fit or I don't care for the colour.  The cushions will cost several times what I paid for the chairs but never mind!  In for a penny . . . and that's what savings are for.

In between ins and outs, I managed to get on with the quilt.  I definitely got a lot better at it as I went on and I have now finished the log cabin part.  I can't do much more now until I get the wadding so I'd better get on with that!  It's on today's list of things to do!

I'd better go and start doing and ticking off the many minor things I have on my list.  The sooner I start, the sooner I finish!
Have a great day.

Tuesday 10 January 2017


. . . and a very good morning to you.  A third of the way through January already.  Time never stops flying, does it.

I want to make an apology.  I know that sometimes, when you, my readers, click on my blog, a new page opens up which is what someone described as a 'most unsavoury site'.  Google don't seem the least bit interested in sorting it out or helping in any way, sadly.
Because of my setting I get a warning (yes, it does it to me too) so I click 'cancel' and then just shut the page down.  Behind it, this blog is still running.
Once it has happened once in a day to me, it doesn't seem to happen again.

I'm really sorry about this, I know it stops people from commenting, which is a real shame but please, just close it down and you can still comment.

We really enjoyed our swimming yesterday, did Beth and I.  We took is easy because we are both out of practice and we both ached afterwards, especially around the shoulders and upper arms (I still do, in fact), but we're going again on Thursday and the aches should soon subside.

A late breakfast of beans on toast and a hot coffee was most welcome afterwards!

I finally started the cot quilt I am making and I think I'm perfectly safe to post about it because the intended recipient doesn't read my blog (doesn't know I blog).  I'm quite pleased with how it's turning out.  Each square is taking less time than I expected now that I've got into the flow and, as long as I am careful with the measurements and iron each seam carefully, it's all piecing together rather well.

After I have done the patchwork, I will have to stop as I realise I don't have any appropriate wadding and need to get some.  Amazon, here I come.  I also need fabric for the borders and the back.  However, it's good to get the first bit completed and I do have about a month to get it finished, so that is fine.
This is the half I did yesterday - it's going to be a 3x4.

Today is somewhat busier.
I have some bread on the make so I can take one loaf in for the friend who I make for.  I am a bit out of rhythm as I haven't needed to make bread since before Christmas and had to write it on a list to remember!
Once that is done, I have to take some more books to the charity shop and also stop off at the upholsterers.

Then it's 'home, James' for some sewing, then lunch and then off to school for reading with Foundation Stage this afternoon.

And, at some point, I need to do some tuition planning too - I should have done that at the weekend.  I'm definitely still not quite back in routine!

Today's food:
B:  porridge with dried fruit and yogurt, apple
L:  soup and an orange
D:  chilli con carne, rice, natural yogurt.

Have a lovely day, whatever you are doing.

Monday 9 January 2017


. . . and into the second week of January.  Time is flying already!

Looking around the living room, you'd never think that Christmas happened now - apart from a few bits and bobs that got overlooked yesterday.  Beth and Alex were a great help and Al did all the lifting to the garage which was much appreciated.  It's sad, it's less colourful but, undeniably, it all looks less cluttered.  I wonder how long before I manage to fill the spaces.  A week?  Less?

The roast worked out well and there's just enough beef for another meal for me, which is good.  Just before Christmas I bought a lump of 'roasting beef' which was on special and cut it into four pieces, each costing under £2.00 (I was wearing my frugal hat at the time, you understand).  I slow roasted one of the pieces today and it was nice.  Not your pink and trendy beef but it had a good flavour and wasn't chewy.  I dislike meat that is too chewy.  And Alex does like a roast dinner.

Beth's vegetarian crumble made enough for two so I also have that to finish off.  I've got soup for lunch so will probably have the beef today and the crumble tomorrow with just some fresh veg.

Yesterday evening we had a power failure.  Rarely do we get anything like that so it was something of a shock but by the time I had felt my way to the candles it was back on again.  I have a battery light (not a torch) and I knew where it was, amazingly, but it didn't work.  I changed the batteries but it still didn't work (it's quite old now) so I've fired off an order to Amazon for another one.
I had to look up the oven instructions to remember how to reset it.  I have a bit of a blind spot where that's concerned - it certainly isn't intuitive.  It wouldn't matter as I don't use the timer, but I can't stand the thing blinking at me if I don't reset it!

This morning I'm off swimming with Beth.  We've decided to take it steady as it's been a while since we swam, either of us.  Then it is home for breakfast.  Hope it's not too cold - weather, I mean, not breakfast!.

Then I have sort out something with the teachers pension people who seem to have got their knickers in a twist.  A bit of a pain, that, but, hopefully, easily sorted.

Today's food
Before swimming:  apple
After swimming: beans on toast
Lunch:  broccoli soup
Dinner: roast beef with vegetables.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Sunday 8 January 2017


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's another dull, no frost morning and there's not even much of a nip in the air either.  You know how you can smell the cold?  Well - I can't today!

I got my shopping done yesterday.  Morrisons was quite full but it was an easy paced fullness, not the stressed and panicked crowding of a fortnight ago.  I didn't need much anyway.

Once home, I did some ironing, some tidying, some cooking and then did the final design for the quilt.  I've got what I need for the actual squares (it's going to be based on log cabin) but will need more fabric for the borders and the back.  Oh dear, another trip to And Sew On, what a shame.  It's just as well February and March are slightly more affluent months as I pay the rates and water over ten months!  Also, as I get my state pension every four weeks, there's one month in the year when I get two lots, one right at the beginning and one right at the end.  That's March - woo hoo!  Mind you, with a holiday to pay for, most of that extra, if not all, will go straight into savings!

I impulse bought a knitting magazine last week - and I really should have looked at the price before buying but I didn't so more fool me - which had some 'free' (ha ha) yarn and some patterns inside for ways of using that free yarn.  I have to admit, the patterns aren't bad at all and I've just finished knitting 'Sherbet Bear'.  Now I have to put him all together, which is the bit I like the least, but it looks like a useful pattern.

Today, Al and Beth are over and the last of the decorations, the Christmas tree, comes down.  I'm sad about that as it has looked lovely this year but there you go!  On the plus side, I will have more space again and also, not connected, I get to make a roast dinner.  Alex loves roast dinners!

So it should be a very pleasant day today - good food and good company!

So - today's food is . . .
B: scrambled eggs, yogurt and fruit
D:  slow roast beef, roasties, carrots and sprouts.  I might do Yorkshires, I might not.  Then fruit
T:  beans on toast, fruit

Have a great day, whatever you plan to do.

Saturday 7 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  There's no frost this morning and we had rain overnight.  It's still looking very gloomy as it gets lighter and it may not be frosty but it's still jolly cold.

Yesterday was one of those days when you get a lot of little things done but end up feeling you haven't really done very much, if you know what I mean.

Today looks like being the same really, except that I really want to start cutting out the pieces for a quilt I am making for someone, now I have done all the planning of it.  If I start sewing, I have to bring the machine back down from my bedroom which is a bit more clearing up in my room.

Later on:
Really horrible out there, it is, cold and raining.

I forgot to finish this and post earlier.  Ooops.

Anyway - today's food
B:  bacon and tomato, apple
L:  broccoli soup, orange
T: 30g cheese, cuppa
D: flat iron steak, mushroom sauce, salad, natural yogurt.

Friday 6 January 2017


. . . and it is also Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, so I have changed the picture at the top.  It's still a winter picture - frost on my rosemary bush.
Talking of frost - brrrrrrrr again.   Yesterday was so cold that the frost didn't thaw on the shaded parts of the grass and come the evening I turned up the heating a bit, thankful that I could.

I got quite a lot done that I had planned to do which was good.  The kitchen is a lot tidier now and more of the decorations are away.  The tree stays up until Sunday when Beth and Alex come over to help, so I shall enjoy just a few more days of bright sparkle from that corner.  There's no doubt, the decorations do brighten up what is often an extremely gloomy time of year.

I went into school in the afternoon in hopes that I would be wanted and I was, which was nice.  I do enjoy doing the reading with the year 2s who are full of chat about what they have done.

Thankfully, the internet seems to have picked up again.  It's not perfect, but it is loads better than it was.

Today I have some ironing - the bedding wasn't dry by the evening so I couldn't do it then) - and I will get the last bits of decorations done and dusted.  The Friday page on my lovely new diary is pristine and unmarked so once I have done the necessary I can take it easy - knit, sew, read, whatever.  Life is good!

Today's food:
B:  granola and natural yogurt, orange
L:  soup and an apple
T:  30g cheese, cuppa
D:  sausages, home made wedges and either sprouts or a salad.  I'll see how I feel.  Then yogurt.

Given that it is the last of the Christmas festivals and which celebrates the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, I thought one more festive carol might be appropriate so here it is - the old favourite, We Three Kings, sung by guess who!

Thursday 5 January 2017


. . . and it feels like Thursday too, for a change.  It's frosty out there again so I'm glad to be warm and cosy inside.

The biggie for yesterday was the car service.  All done and dusted now with nothing to do except for the usual general service stuff.  They always give the car a little wash and a valet as part of the service so it came back looking more shiny than it has for ages.  The next thing is the first MOT but that's not till September so I have written in my diary to help me remember!

After the car had been collected, I got going with the ironing.  I've been avoiding the fitted sheets which are my least favourite thing to iron but yesterday I bit the bullet and got them all done while watching daytime TV.  I'll have two more sets to wash and iron by the end of today so I had to really, didn't I?

After the car came back I was tempted to go for a little drive, just to see how she handled, but I was strong and resisted.  There probably isn't any change anyway, except that the flashing neon light saying 'your car is long overdue for a service, stupid' will have gone out.
OK, so really it's just a small 'service' on the dashboard but it seemed to get bigger and bigger the longer I left it!

Today I have a kitchen that needs a bit of a clear up, sheets to change and wash, my bedroom needs a tidy and it's time I did my meal plans for next week so I know if I need to buy anything.  I am trying to be a bit more organised and food shop just once a week.  It's not any kind of resolution or target, just me making a bit more effort.

Today's food:
B:  porridge with dried fruit and natural yogurt
L:  leek and potato soup, apple, orange
T:  50g nuts, cuppa
D:  more of the turkey casserole of which I made loads and it's very tasty too!  The rest will go into the freezer for an easy dinner in the next few weeks.

But first - a coffee.  I love the first coffee of the day!

Wednesday 4 January 2017


Good morning, everyone.  After a very cold day yesterday is seems to be a bit warmer now.  There's no frost anyway and slippers and dressing gown are fine, no need to put the heating on early.

This will be a short entry as there's not much to write about really.  That's the main problem with uneventful days - they create boring blogs!

It's not being helped by the fact that my internet is very, v-e-r-y- s-l-o-w at the moment.  It's like the bad old days when it could take over 20 seconds to connect.  I gather there's problems the other end so I won't nag them right now but it's better be back to normal soon because it's most frustrating!

Today's food
B:  bran flakes, orange
L:  home made soup, apple
D:  turkey casserole, rice, yogurt

Stay safe!

Tuesday 3 January 2017


Well, it's all over now, bar the tidying up.  New Year is over and done and 2017 is well under way.

I've started clearing some of the decorations.  The flower 'arrangements'(aka chuck 'em in a vase and see) are dying and will see the compost heap today, always assuming I want to risk frostbite to do so!  The (artificial) wreath is off the front door too.  Today I will sort out all the candles.  I'm hoping that by Epiphany, which is Friday, all that will need taking down is the Christmas tree - and I might leave that until Sunday when Beth and Al will probably be here to help.

I got on with my knitting quite well yesterday evening and have about 3/4 of a shepherd knitted.  There's the making up on top of that, of course, and I am undecided as to whether I make up as I go or leave it all to the end.  It's nice to see progress but, on the other hand, it takes up much more room once made up.  I think I might do the latter.

Hopefully it is back to normal with the old food as well.  Back to planning and frugality most of the time.  Back to swimming, which has taken a back seat recently.  Back to saving up leftover money for next Christmas.  And next week, back to tuition too.  The circle of life continues in all ways..

As I type, I am looking at my pound coin tin.  The round coin is being replaced, of course, by a rather handsome, twelve sided, bimetallic affair with lots of security features.  I wonder how that is going to affect the supermarket trolleys.  After many years I now have a token that goes on my key ring so I am now never in need of a trolley coin so fingers crossed that they produce tokens for the new shape too.
As for the cash in the tin, I shall just have to make a point of using it/replacing it as I can.  I have until September, I gather, and after that the banks will change any random coins that turn up.

Today is a normal day.  Housework, some tidying up, some quilting (planning size and maybe cutting out) and knitting.  Doesn't that sound nice and normal.  And there's no underlying knot of worry about going back to school and thinking of all the things that still need doing.  The most worrying thing on my plate right now is the car service tomorrow and whether they will find anything expensive (don't think they will) but I have money tucked away for that so it's not major - lucky me.

Today's food:
B:  granola and natural yogurt, apple
L:  curried parsnip soup, orange
D:  mixed pulse stir fry (I'm going vegetarian today)

Have a good day and, please, mind how you go.  It is very icy out there.

Monday 2 January 2017


. . . but I had to check that it was Monday.  The first of two bank holidays, I gather.  After a nasty, wet, mild day yesterday, it has turned cold again so watch out if you're out early.  It's possibly going to be a bit treacherous under foot after the dampness yesterday.

Thank goodness I didn't need to be out very much apart from dropping Alex off home.  He could have made his own way but it really wasn't nice walking weather at all.  He stayed for most of the day, which was lovely, although he didn't emerge from the bedroom until late morning.  I remember when I was his age I could stay in bed all morning quite happily.  Not any more!

It was rather a nothing day.  I didn't do the ironing so that's on this morning's list.  I did sort out the kitchen after the 'Christmas dinner' but that was self defense really!  I watched a lot of DVDs, did some social networking and knitted.  The doll is now done apart from the face and hair and I won't be tackling that until I can see my way through how to do it.  I've started on the first garment now but might take a break from that to produce a couple of shepherds or wise men - start on them anyway!

I have absolutely nothing in the diary for today.  Zilch.  No complaints as I have another lot of bedding to deal with as well as the usual 'must do to keep the place habitable' chores.  No shopping needed, no going out, just a nice, peaceful, gentle day in my own space.

I haven't decided on meals yet but it will all be stuff I already have in.

Have a lovely day, whatever you are doing, wherever you are going and whoever you are seeing.

Sunday 1 January 2017

Sunday: New Year's Day

Good morning, gentle readers, and welcome to a New Year.

As the saying goes . . .
Pinch and punch
For the first of the month
A clip round the ear
For the first of the year!

So that's tradition satisfied!

Yesterday was good, even if the weather wasn't.  I was right about Hobbycraft, it was more or less empty when I arrived and the only cars were those of people who work there.  They had plenty on sale but nothing that really caught my eye but it is always fun looking around the store anyway.  I went upstairs to the yarn and they had three for the price of two which was great.  I found the colours I wanted - some realistic skin tones plus some red.  They also had the ombre fat quarters back in so I got a couple of packs of the pink ones to make something for a friend who is having a baby this year.

And, joy and delight, I handed over an old gift card, explaining that I didn't know if I could use it or how much there was on it and got a tenner off the bill.  Really can't complain about that!

After a Morrison's stop off to get a few bits and bobs for the evening, I sorted stuff out at home, prepped all I could and then sat down with my knitting and some DVDs.  I've nearly finished the doll, apart from the face and hair, so I can start on the clothes.

When Alex arrived, later on, we had his Christmas dinner and I have to say it was very good.  I'm pleased that there's enough left over to reheat and have with a couple of rashers of bacon on the side.

I shall spend the rest of the day planning that gift I am making, knitting, ironing and all the usual daily stuff that goes with daily living.  I've no idea if there's anything decent on the telly but, if there is, I will watch it.

Today's food
B:  I'm still recovering from last night so fruit for me and toast for Alex.
L:  soup
D: reheated veg with some bacon - and all yesterday's roasties have gone so it's just veg, which is great
I also have some leftover cheesecake but Al will take some of that home with him, I expect.  I wonder if it freezes.  I'll pop a little slice in the ice box and see.

A review of 2016

I found these questions on the site of one of my new followers, Eileen, and thought I would borrow them (thanks, Eileen). I know my life is rather ordinary, no exciting happenings, no utter disasters, but it has taken me all this time to appreciate that that's what I want from my life. My so-called 'bucket list' is plain and simple and I am happy that it is so, however boring it may appear to others.

So, prepared to yawn if you read on!

What did you do in 2016 that you’ve never done before?
I don't think I am that adventurous really. I made two Christmas Crib sets from a pattern I have wanted to use for a while and am now taking commissions from friends which is nice. I had a holiday in Suffolk which I thoroughly enjoyed - the first one on my own for well over a decade. Oh, and I did some willow weaving and went on a weaving weekend which was fab.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?

I don't think I made any really. Why set myself up for failure?  If that sounds defeatist. so be it.  I am sure there will be challenges - I can already think of some - but resolutions won't help.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
An ex-colleague did and all went well.

Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

What countries did you visit?
Just this lovely country of ours.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
I am very happy with the life I live now. Retirement is great now I have got over the considerable changes of lifestyle. I loved teaching but having fewer pressures is wonderful.  To be honest, on the personal front, I lacked nothing essential in 2016.

What date from 2016 will remain etched in your memory and why?
There isn't one really.  Maybe the day I woke to find that we were leaving the EC or the day I woke to finmd that the most powerful nation is the world had incomprehensibly voted in a . . .  but that'; enough!  And I don't recall the actual date.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Oh, goodness. I'm not into 'achievement' stuff really. I crafted, I had my bedroom decorated, I enjoyed the fruits of my garden, I stayed happy . . .

What was your biggest failure?
There's no such thing as failure, just successes that haven't happened yet.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Apart from the usual problems with my feet and ankles, no, not really

What was the best thing you bought?
My new Thermomix.  And it was a joy to be able to give my old one to Beth who uses it a lot.

Where did most of your money go?
Day to day living and into my savings account.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Goodness knows. Do I get really, really excited? I prefer to go with the overwhelming sense of contentment that I feel increasingly often.  Much better than the ups and downs of 'excitement'.

Compared to this time last year are you:
Happier or sadder?
Happier - but then I would say that almost every year!

Thinner or fatter?
< cough >

Richer or poorer?
Hmmm - one would think retirement would bring less but I feel a lot richer in the things that matter to me - and there's enough cash to live a contented life.  What more can any sensible person ask for?

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Gardening at the allotment

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Not sure really.

How did you spend Christmas?
With the people I love best - my family.  It's all I ever want to do at Christmas.

Did you fall in love in 2016?
ROFL - er - no, thanks.

What was your favourite TV show? 
Oh, the usual. Bake Off, Strictly, Eggheads, Pointless.  I missed Doctor Who.

What was the best book you read?
I enjoyed Hugh F-W's Love Your Leftovers and I get a considerable delight in re-reading old favourites. At the moment it is some of the Miss Read books.

What was your greatest musical discovery of 2016?
I have no idea!

What did you want and get?
I wanted to wean myself away from teaching. I had a contract until the February half term and since then I have had very little supply offered and, to my surprise, I am OK with that. More than OK, in fact. The further away from it I get, the more I see the damage it did, especially towards the end.
I love my volunteer work at school though.

What did you want and not get? 
Ooooh - a hard one to start with. I suppose I would say I intended to get my suite recovered and didn't, but it is now in hand for next year.

What was your favourite film this year? 
 I don't watch films in the cinema, I wait until they are out on DVD. That's what I prefer but it is also sensibly frugal. If it is good I'll want the DVD, if it is not, what a waste of money. So, recently I have bought the BFG - brilliant - and I shall get Fantastic Beasts when it comes out.

What did you do on your birthday? 
How can I remember that? I shall have to wander back and check. Hang on .
Well, checking my blog post, I had a lazy day and didn't do anything much. Oh, and the weather was cold!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I tend to be satisfied with whatever life throws at me in a general way.  Before retirement I was very worried about how I would manage, both financially and in other ways too and I was slow to sort out my pension.  I think I wish I had bitten the bullet earlier rather than relying on my ongoing contract and my savings (which have now been replenished).  I should have had more faith and a lot less head in the sand and it would have saved me a lot of silent, hidden worry.
On the other hand, I did get to grips with my finances out of necessity which was definitely a Very Good Thing

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
My what????? :-)

What kept you sane?
My family and lack of work stress.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Fancy???? No, thanks!

What political issue stirred you the most?

Anything that involves animosity, insincerity or dishonesty affects me negatively. There seems to have been a lot of that this year, sadly

Who did you miss?
A few ex-colleagues who have lost contact.

Who was the best new person you met?
Mt daughter's partner.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Go with the flow and appreciate what you have.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
'That's what friends are for'.

Maybe I should be more adventurous in 2017, but I bet I won't be.