Saturday 31 March 2018


Good morning, all.  I'm sat here in my warm, comfortable bed with the laptop on my knee and it's all so cosy and comfortable.  One of life's simple pleasures.  It's wet outside, sadly, and, as Sooze mentioned in yesterday's comments, the longer range forecast for next week isn't great either.  Rain, heavy rain, torrential rain and showers.  Not great for pegging out the washing or for working in the garden.  At least with the latter I can dodge the showers and do just a bit at a time.  I so enjoyed the work on Thursday I'm raring to go again!

I did go to Sainsbury's yesterday and I did come back with clothes!  I'm not usually so extravagant but I wanted to take advantage of their 25% off.  They didn't have the same kind as I bought earlier in the length I need (one size smaller than I am now) but they had some others, straight leg - you will never, ever get me in skinny jeans, the thought makes be go all faint with horror! - and a bit cheaper.  Very cheap, in fact, with the 25% off.  So, bad me, I got two pairs plus a couple of T shirts in the next size down.

When I got home, I tried them on and, you'll never believe this, I didn't, but they fit!  They all properly fit.  Not too tight, no problems doing up the button, they fit me.  Wow!

I know it's not a big deal really but this is a biggie for me.  Without going into any details, I had a 'thing' about wearing trousers/jeans when I was so big.  I haven't worn them for a very, very long time.  I know it sounds stupid, I can see that as I write it all out, but I just couldn't.  Imagine doing allotment gardening in a skirt!  So I am trying to change a mindset, overcome a sort of fear.  Wish me courage.

Enough of the personal stuff.

Today is a quiet day, a day for catching up with little things, reading, sewing, etc.  It's been a bit of a rough week for the gallbladder and I'm weary so another day doing nothing too strenuous will be just the ticket.  It's now the Easter holiday for my pupils so I have very little planning to do and plenty of time to get ahead for the next term's work.  I may be nearly three years (almost) out of teaching full time but I still feel the excitement at the start of a holiday.

I still haven't heard about the gallbladder op.  I'm not really surprised - after all the difficulties the NHS has had with flu, snow, etc, they must be so far behind and, although it is important for me, in the wider scheme of things it's not that urgent.  I guess if I still haven't heard by the end of April, I will see if I can find anything out.

Well, time to get on with stuff.  Have a pleasant day, whatever you plan to do.

Friday 30 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.Despite turning the clocks forward last weekend, it's getting light at half past six and the lighter evenings are just lovely.  Unlike many, I like changing the clocks.  In the winter you get earlier mornings and lovely, dark, cosy evenings and then, in the spring, you suddenly get much lighter evenings again which are a delight too!

I did get out at last yesterday, and was in the garden for about two and a half hours before coming in for a late lunch.  I meant to go back out later, after tuition, but it poured so I didn't.

I wrapped up warm because, despite the sun, it was quite chilly and that, with all the bending, kneeling, etc, kept me cosy warm.  I sorted out the strawberry bed, digging up the runners and repotting them and now, even if only half of them survive, I have enough to plug any gaps in my own bed as well as starting off a strawberry bed at the allotment which is great.

There are three plantlets in the big pots and one or two, depending on size, in the little peat pots.

This is the end of the strawberry and tomato bed - I've planted babies all around the end but they will definitely be dug up and taken to the allotment.  The green frame thing is for the tomato plants, when they are ready to go out.

Note to self - must get some more pots.

After that I sorted out some messy corners (for an almost square garden, I seem to have a lot of corners!) and tidied up the mint pots.  I have three mints - apple mint, chocolate mint and the usual mint sauce mint - and the aroma as I clipped back last year's dead stalks and removed some impertinent weeds was very evocative of roast lamb and long summer days.  I love making a simple infusion of mint and boiling water and noted, with delight, that the faithful mint is coming up yet again.  So is the oregano, despite being cut back severely and I've started using the chives already  The rosemary has survived The Chop and is growing well and, fingers crossed, the sage has also survived that cold weather.  The thyme looks a bit weary so I'll keep a good eye on it and replace, if necessary.

I moved on to the middle bed where I pulled a few weeds but it's rather thick with bulbs and hard to see if anything naughty is coming up underneath.  I wonder if the lupin I planted last year will come up again or whether the very cold weather has killed it off and I must remember to put down the old slug deterrent before the delphinium starts growing.

I also had a go with my leaf hoover and it sucked up some, but it was hard going because everything is damp, so I gave up on that and will wait until we've had a few days of better weather before trying again.  Despite that, the whole area now looks a lot better and is not so 'oh dear' to look out on any more.  What I have got to do now is sort out the little strip at the front and also deal with all the little piles of garden clutter that really are a bit of an eyesore.  I suspect that means giving the shed a good sort out too, in order to make room.

I feel a lot better for the fresh air now, and it looks like the start of the 'Bore Everyone With My Garden News' blog posts!   :-)  Spring really is here at last and now I'm looking forward to sitting out in the sun in my little arbour with my morning coffee and a good book.  Sheer bliss.

Today isn't too clogged.  I hope to be in Sainsbury's in an hour and a half as I have decided to get some of those jeans closer to the size I am now so fingers crossed that they have the size and length I want.  I also want to get a few Easter goodies for people.
I also need to tackle the end of the month accounts which I will do today as there will be no further action over the weekend.
And I might just possibly get out the front and do a spot of much needed weeding.  

Have a lovely day, whatever you have planned and whatever the weather.  I'm sure I will.

Thursday 29 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It ain't 'arf cold out there this morning.  Frosty and there's ice on the water in the bucket.  I've just shivered my way out to the freezer and back in again to get the food I need for the day.  Mind you, the sun looks promising at the moment so maybe it will be a more pleasant day today and one can always wear hat, scarf and gloves, if necessary!

Yesterday was full but pretty relaxing.  Family assembly was lovely, reading with 1 was fun and the Y3/4 Easter show was absolutely amazing.  Tuition was great too.  So no complaints about yesterday whatsoever!

Today I feel energetic again so am intending to spend time in the garden to do what I should have done on Tuesday.  I don't mind cold - after all,. gardening warms one up - but if it rains I won't go out.  Fair weather gardener, that's me!
And that's about it, with some tuition early evening.  I shall indulge in my daily dose of River Cottage and the cleaner is coming today instead of tomorrow this week.
It should be a good day!

What are your plans for today?

Wednesday 28 March 2018


Good morning!

I was a bad girl yesterday and spent some money.  OK, so not a lot and Sainsbury's did have 25% off all Tu clothings.  The problem is that a lot of my old favourite clothes are now way too big and some have already been handed on.  I was thinking ahead a bit so looked for summer stuff.  Sadly, there wasn't much, or maybe I mean luckily!

I ended up with new slippers (which I needed), a black T shirt with white flowers on that's just one size too small so I can use it as a measure of how I'm doing and, the biggie for me, a pair of jeans that aren't just one size too small, nor even two sizes but three whole sizes too small. Blimey!
They will be my motivation thing over the next months because one of my dreams is to look OK in jeans.

More mundanely, I bought some tights BUT in the next size down and THEY FIT!  No longer need I look like Norah Batty! Woo hoo!

I nearly bought a skirt too but I have fabric and patterns at home so no, not skirts!

Unfortunately, after yesterday's plans for a busy and productive day, as I went round the shop the gallbladder decided to play up and instead of tending my garden (it was raining too) and my upstairs, I spent most of the rest of the day feeling a bit sorry for myself.  Tuition was cancelled as was Beth and Al coming over.  BY the time it had gone, I was very weary and had a good sleep as well as sleeping well all night.
I feel better today, just a bit tired.  All the chores can wait, it's not the end of the world if they don't get done until tomorrow.  Or even next week, in fact.

Grumble, grumble!

I shall be careful today but it's OK again really.  It's quite a full day but not too energetic.  I am in school this morning to watch the other FS assembly, then back in school pm to hear reading in Y1, then back in school AGAIN in the early evening to watch the T3/4 Easter show.  There's tuition too but that's all planned and ready.  In between times I must do a bit of housework, but I will be careful.

Well, seeing as I overslept this morning, I'd better get going with stuff.  Bath first and then some clearing up/out.  Have a great day!

Tuesday 27 March 2018


Good morning, everybody.  I'm up extremely early this morning and getting stuff done - blogs, adminning on Facebook, updating finances and baking bread.  Making hay while - er - while the moon shines (except that you can't see it right now)!

Yesterday was a gorgeously sunny day after the dull dampness of the weekend so I made the most of it.  As soon as I got home from Mum and Dad's, I dumped a load in the washing machine and within the hour it was drying nicely on the line.  I meant to do the ironing last night but got stuck into my cross stitch instead so I will do it while I get my daily dose of River Cottage at ten or eleven this morning.

The rest of the day was taken up with helping in FS, a meeting in school and a bit of tuition.  I popped into Morrisons and they still had the Mullerlight yogurts at ten for £3 which is great value, so I stocked up again.  I eat a lot of yogurt right now.

It's been raining overnight which is extremely annoying as I had planned at least half a day of gardening and I'm a fair weather gardener.  Perhaps it will clear up later and at least the ground won't be hard, will it?

I have a huge list of Things To Do today.  I won't get it all done, of course, but I will get some done and the rest can wait until tomorrow.  It's much more likely to be done if it's on my list anyway!
It says:
Garden:   strawbs, hoover, toms, weeds (and I know what they all mean)
Upstairs:  clear book space, tidy books, tidy desk, back of wardrobe

Hopefully, it will be a really productive and satisfying day today, whatever the weather.  Hope yours is too.

Monday 26 March 2018


Good morning!

I once taught a song to my class that we performed in a Family Assembly:

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the birdies is.
Spring has sprung, the buds do break.
Spring has sprung and nature wakes
Spring has sprung, the winter's gone
And now we sing a happy song
Tra la la la la la lay
Sweep those old dead leaves away!

They enjoyed it, the parents enjoyed it, it was a very nice family assembly.

I was thinking about my plans this week.  Given that it is likely to stay fine most of the time, I want to give the garden a spring clean because, boy, does it need it!!

1.  Sweep away those old dead leaves and other gunk that has accumulated in corners, nooks and crannies.  Fortunately, my leaf vacuum thingy should make easy work of that.  It churns them all up too so maybe I can bag up the results and take it to the allotment.

2.  Clear away the old runners from the strawberry bed and pot up some of the rooted runners for the allotment.  I have pots and I have spare soil so no excuses.

3.  Move some of my planters around.  The two blueberries are leafing rather nicely and, as I have read about how much the birds like blueberries and given that I am trying to encourage birds back into the garden, I shall be buying a small 'cage' - a frame with netting - to put over them as soon as the fruit has set.  That means putting them somewhere more roomy.  I've also ordered some 'cage corners' so I can make my own cage for the strawberries, if necessary - it never has been yet but . . .

4.  Start feeding the soil, especially where I know I will be planting veg.

5.  Scrape out the emerging weeds form between the patio slabs.  The more I do it, the fewer they become!

6.  Sort out the front - little weeds are starting to show and are spoiling the effect of the spring bulbs there.  Not having that.

7.  And I might spend a few happy hours in front of the computer looking at plants, veg, maybe fruit.  I wonder how gooseberries would do in a planter.  Anyone know?

So - a bit each day and by Friday the garden should look much better. just in time for the Easter snow!

Have a great day.  :-)

Sunday 25 March 2018


I was driving out in the country on Friday afternoon and, although it wasn't the best of days, weather wise, there were signs of spring everywhere.  Some of the trees, hedges and bushes were covered with a green 'fuzz', swelling buds increasing ready to pop open and reveal the baby leaves within.  There were flowers beside the road and I do love this modern tradition of flinging bulbs on the grass verges and leaving them to grow.  They added such welcome splashes of colour as I drove along.

At home, the snowdrops are over but the daffodils and the hyacinths are opening now and my small clump of tiny, shy-blue scillas are also coming up.  My clump of bluebells (proper bluebells) are making good progress, the strawberry plants are sending out new growth, the blueberry bushes, new last year, have tiny leaves and even the tayberry that refuses to die is working its usual magic and showing that, once again, it's alive and kicking.  I might even get some fruit from it this year, you never know.  That's the lovely thing about gardens, even tiny ones like mine.  Hope is always there; hope and magic.

Yesterday I watched a blackbird gathering material for his nest.  He had a large piece of something - straw, twig, dry grass, I couldn't quite see what - and was obviously having trouble balancing it in his beak before flying off with it.  He tackled the task with utter determination and was rewarded finally as he flew off triumphantly with it.

It may snow next weekend but I don't care.  Spring is all around and the more we look, the more we see.  British Summer Time has well and truly come!

Saturday 24 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to the weekend, even if it is rather dull and damp after overnight rain.

Yesterday was one of  those days when it seemed quite busy but afterwards it felt like I hadn't done very much.  I did a bit more cleaning out but not an awful lot and I think I shall have to make bookshelf space in the smallest bedroom before I can do much more in my bedroom.

Today, I think, is more of the same.  Not terribly exciting really but it keeps things ticking over and it's quite satisfying in a way.

I was thinking, it's about time I paid another visit to Hyde Hall.  The bulbs should all be out and looking lovely.  Maybe next week at some point, if I can fit it in.  If not, maybe the following week.  I wonder if I can walk up the hill without getting so puffed out this time. 

Have a lovely day.

Friday 23 March 2018


Good morning and welcome to a dull, damp start to the day here in Mid-Essex.  It feels chilly too, as I realised when I waved my friend off half an hour ago.  Not a drying day today unless it changes significantly.

Yesterday really went very well indeed.  Two very helpful meetings, a delightful family assembly and the play was brilliant.  I got it wrong , it was actually Lady Windermere's Fan which I have never seen and it was such fun from beginning to end.  Costumes, staging, acting were all superb and, of course, Oscar Wilde's words are just so witty it was a chuckle from start to finish.

I was very angelic, you would have been proud of me.  I'd got some wine and nibbles for when we got home after the show but I stuck to an apple and some diet Lilt, both of which I am allowed on this liver shrinking diet!  J went home earlier with the remains of the wine and the remains of the crisps!   No-one could say I am not trying, could they?  Actually, it wasn't much of a struggle because I've had twinges this week and I know the crisps, at least, would possibly make me feel quite unwell.  A no-brainer, as they say.

Today, in contrast, is a very quiet and gentle day.  The lovely cleaner will turn up at some time and work her magic and, for once, the place is reasonable tidy and clutter-free.  I shall get my daily dose of River Cottage on the telly, do some knitting and some cross stitch and finish the ironing that I couldn't do yesterday evening because of being out.  And I will browse through the fitted bedroom brochures that have arrived in the post this week. 

It should be lovely!

Thursday 22 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  After a beautiful Spring day yesterday, BBC weather tells me it is going to be lovely again today; maybe not quite so sunny but mild and Spring-like with some sun.

Yesterday I managed to get three loads of washing on the line by ten a.m. and it did my heart good to see it billowing on the line in the sun and gentle breeze.  Later on I ironed it all and, yet again, appreciated how much easier it is when the items have been line dried.

I tackled another bit of my bedroom,recycled some extremely old magazines, found two Which? magazines I've been looking for for ages and cleared two boxes of  'stuff'.  How fortunate that the bins are being collected today!

I had a great time at tuition and then settled to watch some evening telly, not that there's much on at the moment!

Today is usually a free day until early evening but during the main Beast weather, school was closed and the FS assemblies I was going to watch were, obviously, postponed.  One of them has been rescheduled for today and the other for next week. so I shall pop off to watch it and then whizz over the road to Morrisons to do a bit of shopping before coming home.

Later on, I will be attending meetings at school followed by tuition and then my friend, J, is coming over and we're off to the theatre in town to watch a live live broadcast of The Importance of Being Earnest from the Vaudeville Theatre, London.  I'm really looking forward to that!
J is staying overnight before going home tomorrow.

Apart from a bit of tidying up, all is ready so there's not too much to do.  I shall tackle another dark spot in my bedroom and also start making some more space in the smallest guest room.  I know I did this a while ago but books reproduce and I now know which ones I have had no interest in opening since the last time.  I must be bold and ruthless!  I desperately need that shelf space for books I do want to keep!

First things first though.  It has to be coffee first, doesn't it?

Have a splendid day!

Wednesday 21 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's going to be a gorgeous day today after a gorgeous day yesterday.  Yes, it's cold, but it's so sunny and bright, it lifts my spirits.  Lovely.

I got remarkably little done yesterday - little housework, that is.  I did make inroads into my stitching though.  I did some errands, a bit of clearing and tidying, some paperwork and some cooking.

Today I have washing (drying and ironing), some clearing, some helping out at school, some planning and some tuition so I'm keeping this short so I can get going because I really don't want any of it to carry over until tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Tuesday 20 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday's weather was lovely - more or less wall to wall sunshine and the snow all but vanished.  There's just a few little patches left on the raised beds and containers.  It looks cold though, through the window - bleak, cloudy and with quite a breeze.
There's a lot of talk about the beast returning for Easter.  I do hope not but what will be, will be and neither wishing nor whining will make an iota of difference, will it?

I enjoyed yesterday, busy as it was.  It was the last Knitter Knatter Club (it just runs for this spring term) and we were very proud of the way all the girls have made such progress.  In less than three months, most of them have turned into very confident knitters and they were all talking about how they were carrying on with it and what they planned to make.  Indeed, one young lady has already started a little garment for an expected baby.  Impressive.

Tuition was great.  This week will be all about what was said at last week's TLCs (Termly Learning Conferences, formerly known as consultation evenings) and so far all the news is good.  Significant progress made, catching up well, etc.  I'm very happy.

I didn't mention the Paddington film yesterday.  I meant to but forgot.  Anyway, I loved it.  Beautifully made and a big smile from start to finish with plenty of downright laughter all the way through.  Paddington is such an engaging character, beautifully animated (very clever), and there's some big named in the cast that do a wonderful job (I think).  Well worth getting, if you haven't already seen the film and even if you have.

I'm getting on with the cross stitch in between knitting and sewing.  After a while, I realised that I'd mixed up two colours (I wish they came pre-sorted) but it doesn't look too out of place so it will just stay that way as it's quite a complicated design and I couldn't face unpicking!   I've moved the colours around now, of course, so the rest should be OK.

I've decided I will do one room at a time AND all the back stitching (not my favourite part) before moving on to the next room.  I'm also doing the biggest rooms first.

Today is a day at home except that I might pop round to a friend who is stuck inside all day.  I have to get the guest room ready as a friend is staying overnight on Thursday but that won't take long and I'd like to tackle a few higher cupboards in my bedroom.  I have a little footstool, one of the unfolding kind, which is very useful and, being the lazy type, I have bought another one to be kept upstairs.  No excuses now!

It should be a good day, whatever the weather.

 Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

Monday 19 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and, although the snow is still around, I am sure it will disappear today.  This really has to be winter's last fling, doesn't it.

I love this even though the light isn't great.  Taken yesterday morning, it is Spring's promise!

Yesterday was utterly lazy.  I don't think I did a spot of work apart from the washing up.  I sat with my cross stitch and watched back to back DVDs - Paddington 2, of course, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and an old Strictly DVD.  How idle is that?

It's back to normal today with a very busy day.  The morning is clear so I will do some tidying up and some clearing out.  Then it is into school for Knitter Knatter and helping out followed by some tuition.  That should keep nme out of trouble.

Time for coffee.  Have a lovely day, wherever you are and whatever you are doing!

Sunday 18 March 2018


Good morning, everyone!  What weather, eh?  Nothing bad but it snowed most of yesterday and when I drew the curtains it was still snowing.  It's stopped now and I guess it will be inconvenient rather than restricting but if we've had some, it will be a lot worse in other places.  Fortunately, 'they' reckon it will warm up again pretty quickly.
Poor old daffodils (taken yesterday morning).

Indoors was much better!

Given that the roads were clear, I drove along to Morrisons yesterday and got the few things I needed.  I also found Mullerlight yogurts at 30p each which is very good and treated myself to a DVD - the Paddington 2 film as I heard it is lovely and is guaranteed to have no naughty bits and certainly no nasty bits so suits me just fine.  I shall watch it this afternoon, I think, as it's too cold and nasty to go out.

I finished the snowdrops cross stitch and here it is.  There's a few errors which I won't point out but it's pretty.  Now I have to decide what to do with it.

I've started another one - much bigger this time.  Sorting out the silks was a bit of a brain-acher and I had to do it by the window but I think I've got it right now.  I did the old trick of punching holes in a bit of card to thread the silks through.
This is it (a scan of the picture that came with it).
I might cross stitch the house shape rather than use the frame that came with it.  Mounting it isn't going to be easy otherwise.

Sorting out some more cupboards in my bedroom, I found some things that I was so pleased about.
A decade or so ago I got down to more or less the weight I am now - still too much but getting there - and, as an encouragement, knitted a couple of jumpers.  One was in chunky with a knit-purl pattern similar to a Guernsey and the other was a proper Aran and they are both long (bum covering).
I can get them on but they are tight and anyway, something as chunky as that needs to be looser fitting but they are lovely, I remember how much I enjoyed making them all that time ago and, all being well, they will be absolutely perfect for next winter, being the sort of traditional thing that really doesn't date..
It feels like a gift - a treat from me to me.  :-)

Must dig out my patterns and maybe knit myself a few more things over the summer.

Today will be more or less the same.  Paddington to watch, knitting, crochet and sewing to be getting on with and some planning to do for next week.  Should be good!
If you have to go out, please take care and be safe.

Saturday 17 March 2018


It's funny, this blogging things, isn't it?  The chances of ever meeting those whose blogs you read and follow are minimal but, over the days, weeks, comments and replies, you feel a liking, you engage with them, in a way you empathise.  There's definitely a friendly relationship going on there.  I'm sure some of you will know exactly what I mean.

And then it stops.

Several months ago, Frugal Queen suddenly shut up shop and disappeared.  Now, I didn't really feel any sort of 'friendship' with Jane, it isn't something she really encouraged, but I enjoyed her some of her entries and admired the way she pulled her life together and helped others to do the same.

Now someone else has stopped blogging.  I don't know why and I'm certainly not nosey enough to ask around; that's her business and I am sure there are clear and important reason, but there's a great sense of loss in me at the moment.  S, whatever the reason, thanks for sharing your home and life, for all the advice, info, accounts, recipes, photos and everything else that made your blog such a delight to read each day.

Be happy.  Have a good life.

I hope she reads this.


Good morning everyone! 
The so-called Beast from the East 2 has arrived although it's hardly roaring.  It's the usually slightly soggy snowfall that is less like a roar and more like a gentle miaouw really, settling on grass and roofs but not on the roads and pathways.  A bit unusual for mid March but it won't last as long (I hope) nor be as cold.  My boiler is still on, thankfully!

It was quite different yesterday, mild and sunny with a gentle breeze that dried my clothes nicely on the line.  I got two loads done which means the basket is now nearly empty!  I didn't get any ironing done so that's a task for this morning.

Lunch with a friend was really lovely.  Bless her, she brought with her some daffodils for me and now my downstairs looks very bright and spring-like.  I found a recipe for chicken thighs which turned out really nicely and was absolutely delicious.  I had to sub a few ingredients but it worked fine and I am very glad there's enough left over for my lunch today!

Here it is although I used orange marmalade, not having any lemon)

We had a good old chat and catch-up too.

I didn't get much more clearing out done yesterday so it is double dose today.  I must tackle the pile of books that seems to have grown beside my bed and then the mess on my so-called 'dressing table'.  I wonder - if I had a plant or two there would it stop me from dumping stuff?  Who knows!

Oh - and after sorting out an old swimming bag, I now have three more swimming costumes.  Who needs seven!  I've washed them but I think they will need to go into the charity pile as they are now too big (cheers).

Beth and I were going to take a trip to the allotment this morning, not to work but to develop our Plan of Action.  I was going to pick Beth up but, given that her road is narrow, on a hill and with parking both sides, we've decided to give it a miss.  Beth had the very unpleasant experience of losing control and sliding down backwards one icy day a few years ago and how she managed not to hit anything on the way down, she will never know.  Neither of us take any risks on that road now; it may be in town but it is a minor road and is never gritted - I doubt the gritting lorries could get down, in fact.
Maybe we can go tomorrow.

As the weather doesn't look exactly promising today (it's just started snowing harder, more like a snarl now), I think it will be heating turned up, windows closed and a warm snuggle under the fleece.  Stay warm and take care, whatever the weather down your way.

Friday 16 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's a nice, dry morning today but Baby Beast is definitely on the way according to the weather bods, so I expect it is chilly out there.  No frost though!

Yesterday ended up lazier than expected as tuition was cancelled.  Never mind, the planning will suit for next week instead.  I did a little bit of shopping as I have a friend for lunch today and the rest of the day was spent watching cookery telly, knitting and continuing to sort out the bedroom.

I have a really nice Cotswold Company shelving unit with wicker baskets in my bedroom and over the years it has not only collected plenty of rubbish, it's inches deep in dust.  WAS inches deep, I should say because yesterday I cleared the lot, threw loads out (who wants 'What's going on in Norfolk' dated over a decade ago?),  moved my many counted cross stitch kits to a better place (I have enough to last me the rest of my lifetime) and put some in my charity shop case, dusted everything down and shifted stuff around.  I want it to be properly used again and so it will.

Unfortunately, some stuff is just being shifted into the small spare room.  It's hardly used as a bedroom now and I have a few plans for it but even so, not a brilliant thing to do, is it?  I can't say I've de-cluttered just because the clutter is in an unused room, so there's a way to go yet.  I do wish I wasn't a hoarder < sigh >.

With my bedroom in mind, I looked online and ordered some fitted bedroom brochures.  I know more or less what I want and am prepared to take time and wait (and save) rather than act impulsively.  It doesn't matter if it takes two or three years - it will need to be a complete bedroom refit anyway, decorating and re-carpeting, with the changes I want to make so it gives me time to finalise my ideas.  With the changes I want to make, there will be the outside wall space for an air con unit (at the moment there's a fitted wardrobe in the way) so that's something else to consider seriously.  Time is my friend here!

Come the evening I opened one of my little cross stitch kits, the one I got from Anglesea Abbey called Snowdrops at Anglesea Abbey.  It's pretty, not too challenging and will look lovely, maybe on my bedroom wall.  I haven't done any counted cross stitching for ages, absolutely ages, so it was nice to get back to it.

I also found a whole stack of little Christmas cross stitches, finished apart from making up into cards.  I must have done them over a decade ago!  As I also found a whole pile of card mounts, guess what I will be doing in the next week or so.  I shall have to start doing 'real' Christmas cards again rather than virtual ones!

Today, though, I have a friend coming for lunch.  I have some chicken thighs and found a nice, simple recipe online so we will have that with salad and I might do her a jacket potato too.  Not for me as it won't work with the liver shrinking thingy but I really don't mind and won't feel deprived at all.

And, last of all (sorry this is so long) - another 3 lbs off.  Woo hoo!

Thursday 15 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Sadly, it is chucking down with rain this morning, unlike the lovely bright morning yesterday when she sun shone and all was fair and lovely.  It feels chilly too!

Yesterday really was gorgeous.  Inspired by the sun, I got two loads of washing done, out on the line and dried and then, in the evening, ironed and put away.  I now know I have four swimming costumes I can use - goodness knows why four but there you are, four!

I bravely (yes, it was, it was very brave, as I am dreadful at getting rid of old things!) set to and tackled my clothes yesterday.  Out came all the tops, bottoms, jumpers, cardigans, etc, for a ruthless sort out.  By the end I was sneezing madly but now I have more hanging room, a suitcase full of stuff for the charity shop and a bin bag full of stuff for the Sally Army recycling bin.
I've always kept stuff before - a sort of 'in case' insurance, but this time there is no 'in case' scenario.  The weight that has gone won't be coming back.  In fact, more will be joining it and by the end of the summer most of what I kept will also need to be replaced.

I have another almost free day today so I shall make hay while the sun - er - doesn't shine and tackle some more dark corners in my bedroom furniture sandwiched round my daily River Cottage viewing!

I need my first coffee now so I will sign off and get the day started.  Have a good one.

Wednesday 14 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's a very lovely early morning with a faintly pink sky that looks encouraging for a fine day to come.  Here's hoping, because I gather there's another, shorter blast of cold air coming our way from the east again over this next weekend.  I do hope not but we will see if the beast has reproduced or not.

As expected, yesterday was a very pleasant day.  I got bits and bobs done, sorted out a few more of my old clothes, put some in the washing basket for refreshing (so now I have plenty of washing to be getting on with), cooked and dealt with one of the chickens and generally pottered around gently.  Just what I needed!

Today is perhaps a little busier but not too much so.  There's that washing to get done and in the afternoon I'm helping in Y1 before a spot of tuition and a nice, gentle evening.

My mini-daffs are looking lovely.  A very cheering sight after some dull and bleak times.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday 13 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  After a very wet day yesterday, today looks more promising and just as well because Y1 are off to Marsh Farm today.  I did my washing yesterday but if today looks to continue fair, I will probably change my bedding and get that washed, dried outdoors (smells so much better when dried in the fresh air) and ironed.

Yesterday was a very busy day.  I drove home from my parents' home in the morning and it was a wet journey but there were precious few hold ups and every line I got into was moving at a fair old lick so that was good.

Unfortunately, as I went inside, case in hand, there was a most peculiar and not terribly pleasant smell.  Yes, I had forgotten to empty the bin and there was something fishy inside it so phew!
I sorted that out, got my weekend washing in, did my bit of planning and then popped off to school to do my voluntary duty.  After that it was tuition.  No time for lunch which wouldn't please Dr C one bit but tough, there just wasn't time.

For dinner, Diane, I made the soup you gave me the recipe for and it was absolutely delicious, many thanks.  I used orzo for the pasta and added some tomato puree and mmmmmmm . . .
I'll make that again, definitely.

Before I went to bed, I tried on a few more things from my wardrobe.  More now fits but most I really don't want to keep so there's a little pile for the charity shop.  I'm just doing a few things at a time, so will try a few more things on today.

The very nicest thing - one of 'my mums' (i.e. students' mums) emailed me to give me some very good news, something people have been working towards for a very long time.  I was so, so pleased, there might even have been a few tears of happiness this end of the modem.

Today, in absolute contrast, is a very easy day.  I have to pick up a prescription at some point, go to the charity shop, maybe change the bedding and there is some tuition later on but the day is gentle and spaced out and I feel really relaxed as I type.  Beth is round for dinner so I'm very much looking forward to that!

And my too-late planted daffodil bulbs are now showing above the soil.  You never know, maybe . . .

Monday 12 March 2018


Good morning!  I have no idea what the weather is like and I'm too lazy to get out of bed and walk the one metre it would take to open the curtains and look!  The forecast wasn't great yesterday so I am assuming it's raining.

Yesterday was very quiet.  I cooked some meals, did some washing, drying and ironing and then just generally rested and relaxed the day away.

Today is busier.  I will drive home and then there's planning, washing and drying, knitter knatter club, helping in FS and then some tuition, so that should keep me out of trouble, shouldn't it?  I also have two chickens to cook - or maybe one and keep the other frozen whole for a while which might be more sensible.

I rather like a very busy day from time to time, don't you?

Sunday 11 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's Sunday and I'm tired.  To be fair, Dr C warned me that I probably would and it's not the sort of tiredness that is a result of lack of sleep.  It's OK, just a bit wearing.

I popped into Tesco's yesterday and bought a couple of chicken because they were half price.  Two was all customers were allowed which is just as well as two was more than enough!  Such a useful thing to have available, I think?

I also indulged in a Weight Watchers magazine but I think that's the last one because it really wasn't much use at all.  No recipes I thought I might use and I don't do the slimming club thing anyway!  Rather a waste of money really.  I found more in the Tesco's freebie mag, to be honest.

Today is another easy day.  A bit of planning, a bit of housework including some washing and ironing - just everyday stuff.  and, probably, a few snoozes!


Saturday 10 March 2018


Good morning!  It's a very wet morning but thank heavens it's not snow!  I think we're done with that now for this season and the temperature is predicted to hit double figures which should suit the garden.  It'll be nice to go out without being bundled up in coat, scarf and gloves.

After the nice weight loss yesterday (-4 lbs this last week), I decided to devote an hour to going through my old clothes, the ones that used to fit, and I have another pile that I can now wear again.   The problem is not of fit, it's of style and I looked at a few and thought 'why on earth did I keep you?'

I suspect I will be making laden tracks to the charity shop again soon.

It must be the sap rising in spring - I also looked at my bedroom cupboards at things I have not taken out since the last time I tidied them and thought that their time surely must be up now.  I'm really bad at getting rid of stuff but the clutter is getting me down a lot again now.

So I guess it is one room at a time and just keep going until it's all done.

But I can't start this weekend which is a bit frustrating.  Never mind,  I can plan, work things out and decide on an order.
Here's to a less cluttered home.

Friday 9 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to Friday!  It's fine and dry right now but it's all so changeable at the moment, who knows if it will stay that way?

Yesterday we had some very squally showers with strong winds but it had all calmed down by the evening and there's a slight frost this morning.  I thought it was a bit chilly as I went toi tuition!

I was pleased to get all the washing and ironing done and, even more, all put away!  It's my sticking point, putting ironing away and I'm working to overcome it, hopefully successfully.  Such a silly little thing to leave!  That corner looks a lot better now.

On Wednesday, I was hearing reading and one little boy made me chuckle.

Little Boy:     [reading something about Kipper (a dog) crashing into something]
Me:                Oh, no, poor old Kipper.  Whatever will he do? (expecting some sort of predictive response)
Little Boy:     [looking at me with a mixture of pity and scorn].  It's not REAL you know, Mrs Clark.  It's only a story!

That told me, didn't it?
Today is a nice, quiet day (fingers crossed) with cosy little things, homey things, to do starting off with a coffee and moving on to a nice hot bath and a warm, fluffy towel!  :-)

Enjoy your day.  I'm sure I will.

Thursday 8 March 2018


Good morning, everyone. 
Yesterday ended up very pleasantly with sunshine and mildness which was very cheering and good to see.  Ten minutes ago it looked very promising for today too but I've just looked out of the window and it's absolutely chucking it down!  Ah, well, at least I don't have to go into town this morning. 

My foray into town yesterday was most successful.  I strolled around the new Cotswold Company shop which had some fabulous stuff (for fabulous prices) and looking around gave me ideas for my smallest bedroom if the measurements work out (which they probably won't as it is a very small room.  That room does need decorating and there are now only two rooms with artex ceilings, that bedroom and the bathroom so that needs doing.  I'm having the bathroom done at some point this year which just leaves that room.  It's an awfully cluttered little room and, despite a cull of books (charity shop, mostly) I still have way too many so must get my act together.

I know - how can you have too many books?  Maybe it's just that the room is too small but there's nowhere else really.  If I wasn't someone who goes back and re-read again and again, it would be easier.  Maybe I just need to stop wimping!

Anyway, back to the point, after that I went to the White Company to replace that towel as the money was through from Premier Inn and, to my delights, not only did I have a £10 voucher, some towels were significantly reduces so I managed to get two jumbo towels for the price of one and, even with a room spray added, I still paid less that I'd got as a refund, so I went into Debenhams and treated myself to a small, ceramic quiche dish that I have coveted on many an occasion.  I shall use it - I'm using it today!

Then it was home, James, to a quick lunch and then off to school to hear reading followed by tuition followed by the governors' meeting which went on until past half past eight.  I also managed to get the new towels washed and dried so they are now ready for use.

I slept well!

Today is much easier.  Planning and tuition!  River Cottage is back so I will have some telly and knitting time and I have a spot of washing, drying and ironing to do before the weekend.  Living the good life, eh?

But first I must have my bath and christen one of my new towels.

Wednesday 7 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's rather damp in these parts today.  Misty and drizzle - mizzly, my mum used to call it - and the forecast isn't great!  Oh, well, let's be glad it isn't snow!

It was a very pleasant evening here with Beth yesterday.  She is getting on with her quilt really well and should have finished it in a couple of weeks' time.  While we chatted, I got on with some knitting which I then had to undo because I'd used the wrong size needles.  Doh!

Today is busier,  Reading with Y1 this afternoon, then tuition, then a governor's meeting, so I must print off the paperwork this morning.  It shouldn't last too long though - I hope not, anyway, because I will leave my dinner until after the meeting.

This is short and sweet today so have a good Wednesday and stay dry!

Tuesday 6 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  I'm feeling oodles better this morning, just a residual backache, so that's great!  Thank you so much for all the good wishes.

I didn't do much yesterday after pulling out of granny-helping in school but that was OK; I did sleep rather a lot which helped considerably.  There doesn't seem to be any snow at all here now and there's definitely a freshness in  the air.  I was even able to walk to the shed bare-footed this morning.  We just need a bit more sun now but the rain did help to melt everything so no complaints!

I was intending to go to the White Company shop yesterday and then again today but that didn't happen.  I'm getting lazy.  Never mind, there's no rush, is there.  I also have to get myself to the hospital for a blood test early one morning (just as the sun was rising) in the next week or so, so I need to buck my ideas up a bit.
Still no news about the op date so I'm guessing not March now although I have no idea how much notice one is given, not being used to this sort of thing.  Being on the third week of the liver shrinking diet, I could go in almost at a moment's notice really.

Today I have no commitments until tuition but I do have a loaded ironing basket and more clothes and stuff to wash so that will get sorted today.  Beth's coming to dinner - three cheers!
I got going on preparations good and early and now I have the lunchtime soup and the component parts of the cottage pie for dinner all ready.  The house is smelling gloriously good and my conscience is clear.

Well, better go and get myself sorted.  Dinner may be ready but I'm still unwashed (apart from my hands, of course) and in my night things.  See you tomorrow!

Monday 5 March 2018


A very good morning to you all.  It's sunny, really, properly sunny not just sun trying to peep through like yesterday.  After a promising start, it clouded over and rainer quite heavily for the rest of the day but at least it cleared the remains of the snow completely and this morning it is so mild I don't even need slippers on.

As I expected, it was a very gentle and lazy day.  I dozed, watched telly (back to back River Cottage programmes, three cheers), knitted and generally wasted my time.  Very nice it was too.

Today, unfortunately, I have woken up with an upset tum.  Very rare nowadays although I used to get what was going round in the class a fair bit before retirement.  I was due in school today, with FS, but, as they had a dreadful to-do with sickness and diarrhoea earlier in the year when almost half the children were off and they had to put 'measures' in place, I don't think I would be very welcome so I have emailed to cancel.

I'm still feeling weary so will take it easy and, hopefully, will feel loads better by lunchtime.  Fingers crossed!

Sunday 4 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Well, the beast seems to have returned from whence it came and things are back to normal again.  The snow almost visibly disappeared as the day went on, the roads, which were still quite treacherous in the morning, were as clear as clear by early evening and there was almost a mildness in the air - although that last might just have been a comparative thing.  And my boiler was on this morning!
The forecast is for rain today (not snow, thank goodness) which should wash away any residual slush.

It's a relief but I am minded that there are plenty of areas in this 'green and pleasant land' that are still far from green, pleasant or mild.  Drifted snow takes much longer to clear and, my word, haven't there been some drifts!

In the morning, I tossed out some seeds for the birds and saw one I've never seen before.  On asking via Facebook, it turned out to be a pied wagtail.  I just managed to snatch a photo although it's a bit blurred and the colours are not great - it was more blue and it was very attractive.

Matt the Plumber got in touch and will be coming to deal with the condensate pipe in a few weeks.  No hurry now, of course (I sincerely hope).  He seems to know exactly what needs doing and he's the expert.

Beth did come over and got on with her quilt.  She achieved quite a lot over the day and is almost ready to bind the edges, after which we will sit opposite each other and hand stitch around the binding on the back, her starting at one corner and me starting from the opposite corner.  Fortunately, we both stitch in the same direction!

Today is another quiet day and, as the sewing machine has been warmed up, maybe I will, at last, get on with my duvet cover.

It should be a pleasantly quiet day which is great because I'm feeling very tired for some reason.  A day of rest is just the ticket.
I hope your day is as pleasant.

Saturday 3 March 2018


Good morning, all.  Welcome to the weekend!
We had another shedload of snow yesterday but it has sort of 'retreated#' from round the house which indicates that things are a little bit warmer that the last three mornings so perhaps it's all nearly over now.  Certainly, according to the weather forecast, things should be warming up considerably by the middle of next week so that's cheering.

I gave that pesky pipe the hot water treatment at regular intervals during the day and the boiler stayed on all day and through the evening.  Great.  It was flashing red this morning, which I kind of expected, but ignited when I pushed the button, which was a surprise.  Another indication that perhaps it's a bit warmer.  I should stay warm today too and the extra expense I have had will be balanced by not using any gas as well as the winter fuel payments and the cold weather payment which, I noticed, has been triggered, according to the Gov web site.

I had a nice surprise yesterday.
I didn't mention it before, but when I was staying at the Premier Inn at Cambridge there was a bit of a problem.  I took my own towel with me because I love my big White Company bath sheet.  After using it, I draped it well away from the bathroom so it wouldn't be taken (as per the notice) but when I looked for it later, it had gone!

I reported it, of course, and the young man on reception was very helpful, made enquiries, asked around, checked the laundry dept. but the laundry had already been sent off.  He said he'd take it on for me and, after filling in an online form last week, yesterday I got an email from Premier Inn to say they are refunding me a night's money to cover the cost of replacement plus a bit for compensation.  I'm very pleased.  I'll replace the towel and maybe put the rest towards another towel, just as a treat.  We have a White Company shop in town so I can pop in next week, once the refund is safely in my bank account or I might just order online.

You hear a lot of grumbles about Premier Inn but, I have to say, I can't fault the way they have dealt with this.  Quick, courteous and a positive outcome for me.

With all this sitting inside, I have been getting on with some knitting.  Part of it has been more clothes for knitted doll.  I found some fluffy yarn in the cupboard and now she has a keep warm sleeveless jacket thing (I forget what they are called) to add to her wardrobe, plus a crocheted poncho.

Today Beth might be coming over for a day's sewing.  It really depends on how bad her road still is (untreated, narrow, parking on both sides and on a hill!) and also how worn out she is after a week of driving to work in less than ideal conditions.  She, like me, worries about skidding and sliding on the road.

Assuming she comes, she will be getting on with the wonderful quilt she is making for her bed.  She's done all the tacking so, I think, is ready to start quilting.  It's not going to be heavily quilted, just round the 'ditches' of the rectangles.

If she doesn't, I may do some sewing on my own behalf and get on with that duvet cover.

Have a super day, whatever you plan to do, and, as always, stay warm and safe in this extreme (extreme for us) weather.

Friday 2 March 2018


Good morning, everyone.  What weather, eh?  That red warning must have been pretty scary both in anticipation and in reality.  I'm hoping all my readers are well and have coped.
We may be getting another load of snow here today but the general trend is getting a bit warmer so that's positive.
The schools are closed again (so no Family Assembly* to go to) but should be open on Monday.  It's nice that the children have had the opportunity to play out in the snow for so long.  Round here we get so little usually. 

After my pipe froze yet again, I gave up thawing it - I get colder going out to thaw it than I do staying in with the heaters on.  My feet are warm with tights, socks and knitted slippers - hardly stylish but who cares?  My fingers were getting a bit cold but it wasn't too bad and I kept the electric blanket on all night which was absolutely lovely and so snug.  I know it is costing but that's what the fuel payment is for.

I'll thaw it again this morning when daylight comes and then turn the heating up to much higher than usual to warm up the house good and proper because I expect it will freeze again before nightfall!

Apart from that it was a normal day really.  Washing and drying got done so I have the ironing to do today, I sorted out the kitchen, did some planning and generally 'chilled' in front of the halogen heater which has really earned its space this week, as have my two furry fleeces.  I bless the people who gave them to me.

As for today, well, I know I can have a hot bath because I turned the immersion heater up yesterday and then I will promptly cool off again, defrosting that pipe with kettles and pans of boiling water.  My cleaner comes this morning - she contacted me yesterday and expects she will be here - and I am just wondering whether a kettle of boiling water every half hour or so might stop it from freezing again later on.  Might try that and see.  Then there's the ironing and a load of whites to wash and dry.  As for planning, I have a lot of this week's planning left as it mas mostly cancelled so I am hoping to get the rest done today and maybe a bit tomorrow so that the slate is clear for next week.

So that's today.  How are you managing?  Have you had much snow where you are?  Take care and stay warm, wherever you are.

* I don't usually go to family assemblies nowadays, but I am FS social governor and was invited to both of the assemblies.

Thursday 1 March 2018


Good morning! 
Pinch and punch!
Looking out, who would ever think that it is March, eh?  It's more like January and there's more of a wind this morning, making it feel extremely cold.

Well, yesterday was quite a day one way and another!  When I woke, I turned up the heating because it was still on night setting, and did my usual social media-ing stuff.  It took me a while to realise it wasn't getting any warmer so checked and uh-oh, the boiler wouldn't ignite.  After emails to my plumber (so helpful) and advice from my neighbours, I tacked a frozen pipe with hair dryer and kettle and, thankfully, it all sorted out.  Big thanks to Matt, Elaine and Neil.
Despite the heating coming back on, it took me ages to feel warm again and fingers and nose remained chilly more or less all day.  I'm feeling the cold a lot more nowadays! Oh, well!

And then it went off again - same problem - early evening and it's gone again this morning.  At least I know what to do this time, the immersion has been turned on and the halogen heater is on half heat which is plenty to keep the room warm until I sort out that pipe again (which won't be until I am bathed and dressed and it's daylight!

I shall get Matt the Plumber to come and take a look as soon as he can.  Lagging will be the answer, I suspect, and maybe setting the pipe at a steeper incline so the condensation drains away faster before it can freeze.  I'll see what he says.

Back to yesterday, in the meanwhile, I'd been in communication with Tuition Parent and TP sensibly decided not to turn out.  The decision was helped by the fact that school was closed anyway so that also put paid to both family assembly and helping out.

However, Sharon did battle through, worked her usual magic on my hair and now I feel human again.

So - today.  Well, it's a day in, there's nothing in the diary until tuition and one of them has already cancelled as they live out in the country and their roads are untreated and in a nasty condition.

I have a stack of washing to do, a bit of planning and a pipe to defrost!  I wonder if we will get more snow before it starts warming up.

Some parts of the country are due for another bashing so, please, stay safe and warm and take care.