Monday 30 April 2018


Morning, everyone.  Brrr, it was cold yesterday and it's cold now too, so cold that the heating has clicked on.  I have on my warm towelling dressing gown and slippers and I can still feel it.  It's also windy and rainy and, in fact, absolutely disgusting for the last day in April.  It has to warm up properly soon, right?

Firstly, for Sue:  here's the jam recipe you mentioned.  I hope you like it.

As predicted, yesterday was a lazy day, a gentle day, a get-on-with-your-cross stitch day.  It was also a day when the aches came back somewhat so I was glad to take things easy and go with the flow.  There's always one day, isn't there?  A reminder, if one were needed, that I am listening to.  I'm fine now, don't worry, but maybe I needed another poke apart from the ones some of you are giving me!

I had a little mooch around the Approved Foods site.  I don't use the place much as most of the 'bargains' are unhealthy, fatty, sugary, processed stuff which doesn't appeal at all but today I got lucky and they had bags of Hovis granary flour.  I love that flour and use it half and half to make a delicious loaf but it's virtually disappeared from the shops now, for some reason, and I had used my last bagful.  I ordered loads of bags and will keep them in the freezer which works well.  I also got a few more bits and pieces, like chicken stock powder which I use quite a lot, but the flour was the main part of the order.

I'm on the beetroot juice now.  I'm not sure whether I like it or not and certainly I don't look forward to it with unmitigated pleasure, but I will plug away at it and we shall see.  It can't hurt anyway.  Also I'm going to get down to the gym today to join.  I NEED to get that done and then started as soon as I am able. 
So - exercise, low sodium, healthy diet, losing more weight, lots of veg, beetroot juice and meds from the GP.  Can't do more!  Unless you know better, of course.  :-)

I've decided, after yesterday, that I'll leave tuition another week before restarting.  You never know and it's less than a week so that seems the right thing to do. 

So - today I will pop to the gym, I have some washing to do and I ought to change my sheets as well, I want to Google for some more nice, low fat and healthy recipes.  I have to sort out that bedding I mentioned before and it's a nice, gentle task so it's on the list.  For the rest of the time I will continue to indulge myself by sitting and resting and making lists - at the moment it is 'what to take to Center Parcs!).
Sounds a nice day, doesn't it?

Sunday 29 April 2018


Good morning.  Another dull, damp morning and the forecast for next week isn't any better.  It'd better brighten up before June, that's all I can say!

Yesterday was good.  I spent some time in the kitchen making some fruit cordial and sort of candying the citrus peel afterwards so as not to waste it.  I also made some lovely tomato and lentil soup using some tomatoes frozen last summer (must do that again - I peeled them and froze them whole and they've been very handy).  I also contacted my friend who is going to get me some more bread flour from our local mill (she gets it at cost price).

Then I ploughed on with the cross stitch while watching back to back River Cottage episodes.  I've nearly finished the most boring bit, the bowl, and have started the leaves and flowers.  No major errors requiring massive unpicking - yet (fingers crossed).  It's when I do that, that the project tends to be shelved!

Oh - and I ordered another of those swimming costumes from Cotton Traders.

Today looks like being more of the same except that Beth is coming over for lunch which will be lovely.  And I must contact my 'exam' families to organise tuition for after the bank holiday.  I've decided I will take two more weeks off and then resume, mainly because I feel very tired still and it seems the most sensible thing to do.  However, a few have exams coming up and I have made them a priority.

Given that I'm feeling OK and have no pain (I'm off the tablets too), I shall probably drive to Morrisons and do a bit of a shop, particularly for fresh veg as I'm getting through them a lot faster now!  It's nice not to have to weigh out the carrots any longer.  In the evening, I have ironing and at some point I want to sort out my bedding shelf as there's some old stuff I don't use any more and it could or should be handed on/recycled.

So a nice, quiet, restful day really.  I hope yours is good too.

Saturday 28 April 2018


Morning, everyone.  Dull and dismal, raining, blah, blah.  I always feel so sorry for kids (and their parents) when the weekends are wet.  It's not warm either and yesterday I turned the heating on for a while.  I want my spring back again!!  Don't we all?

Never mind, I made use of the time inside to sleep (several times, lazy me), watch daytime telly, bake crumpets, make some orange and lemon cordial and get on with my cross stitch.

I've finished the house one and here's a scan of it.  It needs pinning out and pressing properly first and I still haven't decided how to mount it (or even IF to mount it).  I enjoyed doing it and am pleased with the results.

I've started another one, chosen from my box of kits.  Here's a scan of the picture that came with it.  It's more challenging than the house, especially at first, but it's going OK.

(apologies for the colour - it's brighter than that really)

I'm continuing to feel extremely well.  So well that next week I am going to pop down to the gym and take out a membership.   I think I've already mentioned this (more than once!!!) but I am taking out a year's membership, about half of which will be while I finish losing this weight and then. after that, toning up.  After a year I will think again.  It'll be mostly swimming and they have a lovely pool there.
I'll see if I can pay for the whole year at once, the reasoning being if I've paid, I will go and also I have saved the money so I may as well.

With that in mind, last week I ordered a new cossie which arrived yesterday.  I already have several but I wouldn't dare wear them - they keep falling off!  This one is a reinforced, armour plated one a size smaller and - it fits!  It actually fits.  Snugly, admittedly - but then that's what swimming costumes do, don't they?  It gives me a proper shape and I'm really pleased with it so I think I'll get another one the same.

I'm still feeling quite tired at times so I'm going to have another easy day - an easy weekend, in fact - and just do friendly, familiar, homey things as and when I feel like it.  To celebrate the end of the veggie restriction, I am going to make a tomato and lentil soup - it goes with the weather, after all!

Have a good weekend and stay warm and dry!

Friday 27 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.
Although I think it is fairly dry right now, there's rain forecast all day and tomorrow and Sunday are supposed to be shockingly awful which is a shame as it will stop an allotment trip (me watching Beth put the potatoes in).  There's even a weather warning out for those two days so I guess it means staying in and chilling.

It feels extremely odd to have to keep reminding myself to chill, stay sitting down, rest.  It just doesn't feel right but it's very nice, all the same.  I've nearly finished my 'house' cross stitch and have dug out another nice one, a bowl of flowers.  I'll try and remember to scan the picture so you can see it. 

Yesterday (and this morning), I was and am feeling amazingly fit and well.  Most of the aches have disappeared and yesterday pm I walked along to school (with a friend/ex-colleague, not by myself) to attend a safeguarding update that I have to do soon, giving everyone a surprise at the same time.  It's not far and I wasn't alone and, oh, it was lovely to be out in the sunshine and fresh breeze for a while.  When I got back, after dashing out to get the washing in and out of the rain, I rested and felt splendid.  It must have been a very good anaesthetic because I'm having none of the dizziness, etc, that I had last time.
I shall be careful though, I promise, and listen to my body.  If I need to rest, I can and will rest.

I stepped up to the plate - or, rather, the glass - and started the beetroot juice.  It's a fairly individual flavour, isn't it, and I'm not sure whether I liked it or not.  I bet a shot of something would improve it - no, not vodka (shame), but maybe tomato juice and a shot of Lea and Perrins or similar.  I must try some mixes and see.

In the afternoon my bp monitor thingy arrived so I checked it out.  Dead easy to use and while maybe it is not totally accurate to compare results from different machines, it looks as if things have settled a bit now.  Still too high but nothing like earlier in the week or last week.  Reassuring, if nothing else.

No weighing myself this week.  I'm leaving it for a few weeks to let everything get back to normal again.  I still feel like a little tublet, still bloated from the 'inflation' and things are - er - releasing themselves only slowly.  Very little discomfort yet though  maybe I have that to come.  :-)

This morning someone is coming round about some repairs and then the cleaners come and work their weekly magic which takes off any pressure to go any housework over the weekend, apart from washing/ironing.  Goodness, how spoilt I am!!!  I still haven't got those seeds planted so that's fairly high on the informal agenda or harvests will be late this year.

I'm going to take the regular tablets for just one more day and then tomorrow see how it all goes without them.  I don't think they're needed today really but I'm being sensible and doing what I am told for once!

Thursday 26 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It was a bit of a mixed up day yesterday, weather-wise.  Lovely sunshine in the morning but by the afternoon clouds had rolled over and we got several short and sharp showers breaking the sunshine.  True April showers, I guess.

Two friends came round.  Each time I was asleep!  Oh, dear.  One of them came back in the afternoon and we had a nice chat.  She bought a little bag of fruit with her for a laugh and I will certainly enjoy eating the contents.  What a lovely idea.

Two lots of flowers also arrived so the house is looking bright and lovely at the moment.  I've been spoilt, I really have.

Everything is quite manageable with basic tablets taken regularly.  I'll carry on with them today and then, tomorrow, I will see how long I can go between doses.  I went all night without any which I was pleased about.  The main 'problem' is the shoulder pain which is referred pain from my liver (they tell me).  The rest is just windy aches now and again!

The skirt arrived and it's lovely although, as I suspected, a maxi on short me, not a midi.  It is far too nice to turn up though and has that hippy-ish air I like so much.  It'll look nice with either a white or navy T shirt.  Very pleased.

Inevitably, the weight is yo-yoing at the moment.  I suppose I shouldn't weigh right now and I'm certainly not recording the results as I know it will all settle again.  It is lovely no to have to worry about no protein at breakfast or no carbs at lunch at lunch !  I am stewing some of last year's rhubarb for breakfast as a celebration!
(it should also help the old bowels to get started again)

So all's well really.  And the sun is shining.  Lovely!

Wednesday 25 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Wasn't it a dull day yesterday - dull and damp by the end of the day.  Good for the allotment, mind you.  Today is supposed to be similar, dull and breezy with light rain showers.  Just as well I'm not planning to go anywhere!

Well, I didn't need to have worried.  Yes, the BP was raised, even more than last week because - you know - hospital and all that.  But it didn't matter.

I arrived at 7:15 (thank you, Beth, for dropping me off) and was quickly taken to my room, a neat double room with an ensuite and a wall mounted telly, not that I took advantage of the latter.  By 10:45 I had been 'processed' , met surgeon and anaesthetist, signed forms and was taken down to the anaesthetic room (sign on the door saying 'Welcome to our operating theatre' - cute) and was feeling woozy from the first bit of anaesthetic.  A bit like alcohol but without the hangover!
No idea how long it took as I was very sleepy but by 4:00 I was awake, had enjoyed some hot toast and black coffee, been to the loo and was getting dressed.  Very slick without the least sense of rush.  Everyone was lovely, friendly and reassuring.

It had to happen.  As I was coming to in the recovery room, the nurse caring for me looked at my notes and said 'You're Mrs Clark from N... S... school, aren't you?'. 
'Ye-e-es,' said I, slightly warily.
'You taught him in Y1,' came the reply.  'Z O [child's name].'  Fortunately, I remembered him and, after a little chat, she said, almost as an after thought, 'You were his absolutely favourite teacher there.'
Wasn't that nice.
(Last time I was in hospital, I met another mum working on the ward I was on too.)

Mr Charalampopolous (I can say it at last) came to see me afterwards and said it had been 'very, very inflamed' so I guess I have got off lightly with pain over the last months, thanks to sticking fairly religiously to the given diet.
By six I was home and feel no more than uncomfortable.  The sense of relief is huge.

So now I more on again.  I get used to wearing some oh, so stylish compression socks (I think that's what they are called, anyway) for six days - nice! I work out a less rigid food regime, I put blood pressure lowering strategies in place and I move on!  It' so lovely to look ahead again!

I just want to say many grateful thinks to everyone who has been so understanding of my ups and downs over the last week.  I worried more than I ought to have done which is something I need to work on.
You have been wonderful.

Tuesday 24 April 2018


Well, reading the 'what to do when you come in' instructions, I realise that they will check blood pressure, of course they will, pre operation and high BP is one of the things that might cancel the operation so now I am full expecting to be writing an update to say I'm home again.
I rejoiced too soon. 

What a pessimist I am turning out to be over all this!  I'm surprising myself!

Monday 23 April 2018

Monday update

He didn't ask; I didn't say. He had a list of questions but none about BP. All the other results are good-plus - I'm a healthy, active person - he said!  So it's all on. Three cheers!!!  

(I reckon if it had been important, he would have asked.)


Good morning to you, everyone, and a Happy St George's Day. It's looking nice out there at the moment although the forecast is for showers. That will be good - no need to worry about watering the allotment.

Talking of which - I met Beth down there yesterday pm. She weeded around the rhubarb, I did a bit more digging and then we sat under the tree on the bench and had cold sparkling water while we chatted about stuff. It was lovely. 
The new raspberry canes all seem to have taken, ditto the strawberries apart from one very tiny one.  We will give it a chance to shoot anew and, if it doesn't, no problems as I have several others at home.  Last year's chard is still sending up loadsa growth and all four fruit trees are doing the blossom thing now.  They look a picture!  Beth said she will plant the potatoes next weekend. 

Then Beth went home with stacks of rhubarb. I went home with nicely aching muscles!

Goodness, I was tired. I forced myself to keep awake but finally gave up at around nine, went up and was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I woke a couple of times for the loo but slept until half past five so it was a very good night's sleep.

Today, I plan to have a very gentle and easy morning with sessions of deep breathing.  It won't bring the BP down if the cause is physical but it might if it is stress related.  After lunch I'm off to meet the anaesthetist and have another blood test after which I will know what's happening. With a bit of luck and a following wind I will then need to see who (if anyone) can drop me off at the hospital tomorrow morning.  I've planned salmon and SW chips for dinner, either as a consolation or as a celebration, whichever it needs to be.

I am so grateful for all the comments and wise advice yesterday (and Saturday too). You are all so kind to take the time to help and it has made a great difference.
I took a quick look at the 'Yoga with Adriene' channel on youtube and saw that there was a clip for absolute beginners so I am pretty sure I will give it a go. What clinched it was that it has subtitles! For deffies like me, that is very important.
I'll also look up the Tai Chi. I've seen it before, I'm sure.  One thing - either yoga or that should improve my balance considerably!
I will also give the beetroot powder a whirl and see. There must be recipes I can use it in if I don't like it as a drink. Worth a go anyway.
The BP monitor should arrive in a few days and I can then check for results.  

Welcome to the new, more healthy me!  😇

Sunday 22 April 2018

Sunday - and strategies

Good morning, everyone.  Another nice day is predicted for today but I feel for the Marathon runners as it's expected to be hot in London.
I'm awake early and there's a lovely breeze moving the curtains although it is too dark to see what the weather is doing.  I don't think we had any storms but my hearing is so bad that it wouldn't wake me anyway.

Well, I did Google and everywhere I looked came up with similar points.  Whether the op goes ahead on Tuesday or not, I have to do something to sort out the hypertension so this is what I gleaned . . .

1.  Lose weight.  Tick.  I can't lose weight any faster than I already am doing so it's an added incentive (if one were needed) to carry on.

2.  Eat a healthy diet.  Definitely tick - and using a doctor given regime so can't do more!  Sooze, if/when I have to come off the LS diet, I'll try what you suggested.  How big a glassful?

3.  Reduce salt.  Specifically they mentioned eating fewer processed meals.  I hardly ever have a processed meal, most of my meals are made from scratch; fresh ingredients and a recipe.  I can gradually cut down on the amount of salt I add to the cooking water, etc, and  I am sure I will notice other ways now I'm more aware.

4.  Exercise.  Well, this * is * something I can work on and had already planned to do so.  I have decided that after recovery (or next week, if the worst happens (!) ) I am joining the local Nuffield gym because they have a lovely pool - nice changing room, great individual showers, hair dryers, etc.  I do belong to the pool in town but it's not as nice (there's a new one being built but it will take ages before it is open and then I can reconsider) and it's not as simple to use either, there being lots of times when it's used by schools or for fun swims in the holiday.  I have no problems with that, it's just that if you want to just go up and down, up and down, it's not so easy at times.  It'll be more expensive, of course, but not as bad as it first appears as I will cancel the other membership for now.
I hate exercise classes - dodgy ankles being one of several reasons - and am getting some weight exercise from the allotment work which can be quite heavy, so I think swimming is the way to go.  I know I can stick to that.

5.  Limit alcohol.  Tick.  I'm totally off alcohol at the moment anyway and have been since Christmas, more or less.  It is banned on the liver shrinking diet.

6.  Stop smoking.  Never have smoked, so there.  :-)  Tick.

7.  Cut back on caffeine.  Nearly tick.  Well, most of the coffee I have is decaf nowadays but I'll go 100% again and see.

8.  Reduce stress.  Er - how?  I do have quite a lot of stress in my life right now, but it is associated with other people  and situations over which I have no control (which is why I don't talk about it here - it's not my story to tell).  I try to manage it and I do remain pretty positive but maybe I need to do more.  Deep breathing is supposed to help with that so, yes, I will give that a go and see.

9.  Monitor.  I ordered a home blood pressure thingy yesterday so I'll do that as soon as it comes.  It'll give me some idea of how it's going anyway.

10.  Visit your GP regularly.  Huh!!!  Whoever wrote this has no idea of how hard it can be to get an appointment but I'll ask about regular monitoring when I next go.

So there you go!  There are some things I can do but an awful lot is already in place.  The biggie is more exercise, I think.  As if life wasn't full enough already!  :-)

What do you think?  Any other advice?  Thank you all for your splendid comments yesterday.  I'm fine about it all now as they helped a lot.

Today, after the drive home which is cross-country and very pleasant, I intend to do a bit of allotmenting this afternoon and then go home and rest/relax.  I might get out the sewing machine and catch up.
I've realised I'm a bit short on summer skirts (I tend to wear skirts and tops a lot) but am reluctant to shell out loadsa money on clothes that I might only wear this season if things go according to plan.  I have a few lengths of fabric but am not sure if I want to use them to make something short term.  I found a lovely skirt (well, I think it is lovely) online yesterday which I have ordered in one size smaller than I am now and it can be my next target - to be able to wear it before I go to Center Parcs.  And while I'm thinking of that, a big thank you to my friend, S, who has agreed to 'house sit' for me again.  What a good friend.

Here's the skirt (taken from the web site).  It won't look as good as that on me but nevertheless, I love it.

Well, better stop rambling now.  Have a great day and may the sun shine for you.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Saturday - and an apology

Oh dear, oh dear, I was in a bad mood yesterday morning.  Apologies for the very abrupt reply to a number of lovely comments.  I was quite upset and was throwing a bit of a wobbly!  :-)

The reason is that the twelve hour blood pressure monitor results were not wonderful which was, in itself, a disappointment, but the nurse at the surgery hinted that it might be enough to stop the operation on Tuesday.  I won't say what it was but it was higher than it ought to be.  So I came home and very childishly sulked!

I don't know what else to do really - I've taken the meds faithfully and I've lost loads of weight.  I don't have a lot of salt in my diet and, as you know, portions are small and balanced.  I have an appt with my GP but not until 10th May, the first date they could find!

I may be troubling trouble, of course.  The op may go ahead but I won't know that until I 'meet the anaesthetist' on Monday afternoon.  Ho hum.

I have to be reasonable - if it's not safe to operate, then it is better not to have the op.  I will have more time HAVING to eat carefully and sensibly.  The liver shrinking regime seems to have minimised the discomfort most of the time so, although it can ache, it isn't a fully blown gallstone pain (thankfully), so it could be a lot worse.

I will Google about how to lower blood pressure and see if there are any sensible strategies out there that I can put into place - I need to do that anyway, regardless of what happens or doesn't happen next week.

Thanks for listening, folks.  Back to normal tomorrow!

Friday 20 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Another lovely day expected today - very cheering!

I've been ba-a-ad and booked a holiday.  Not till June so a couple of months down the line but the weather should be nice then.  It's at the Elveden Center Parcs and it's a posh self catering thingy (eating out there is not cheap) with nice views.  AND it gets cleaned every day - how's that for spoiling myself.

I've always loved Center Parcs.  When we (me and the children) had not long moved out of the 'marital home', I got a month's supply and decided a holiday would be a nice idea.  I went down to the tracel agents in town and the girl showed me details of this 'new' kind of holiday that the weather couldn't spoil - the first ever Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest, opened just that year.
We had a wonderful week and when we left both Beth and Dave cried because they didn't want to leave so as soon as I got home I booked another week for the following year.

I'm looking forward to it already.

Yesterday was a day full of half hourly blood pressure checks.  I'm really not sure how good it will be - I peeped at the machine once and it was high!  It was very discouraging as I've taken the meds faithfully AND lost oodles of weight too.  You'd think that would send it down.  I get the official news this morning when I take the machinery back to the surgery.
And to add to my feeling of unease, I've gained 1lb this week.  It was bound to happen at some point but I'm not happy, all the same!  It might be down again soon - I hope so anyway.  Whatever, it is still Carry On Regardless!

I did my last tuition for a week or so and all went well.  Apart from that, it was a day in, windows open, doing this, that and the other.

Today, after the surgery visit, it is back home to do some clearing up and then off to the allotment for a couple of hours and a few rows of ground clearance before the heat builds.  Then it's more pottering at home.  Nice.

Have a lovely day and enjoy the warm weather.

Thursday 19 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Thanks for the nice comments about the allotment yesterday.  I thought I'd dig out an old photo from a year ago to compare.

This is when we started on it last year.

And here's the day before yesterday, taken from the other side.   About half of that strip has now been done as well The polytunnels are not ours.

As we keep on telling each other, we'll get there.

I'm having a day off from allotment duties today as I am having my blood pressure monitored for 12 hours and I really don't want to dig while attached to medical stuff, however small it is.  There's plenty to get on with around here including a stack of ironing and more washing, preparing the guest room, and the ever-present planning (not a lot of that though).  I also want to make a vegetable and bean 'mixture' for the freezer to sit alongside the other stuff I have made recently so that post op I don't have to do all that much cooking.

After making the rhubarb cordial the other day (lovely stuff), I found a recipe for orange and lemon cordial which is remarkably similar to the one I used to make when Beth and Dave were tiny, both in ingredients and in method.  Then it was called St Clements squash.  Anyway, I shall make some but I don't have any citric acid so have had to order some for Amazon and I'm going to have to wait until it arrives.

I have some rhubarb to cook, some bread to make and, generally, I will happily potter around my home all day.  No complaints here.  And all the time, every ten minutes, I will have to stop and relax while the machine checks and records my blood pressure!  Yippety-doo!

Wednesday 18 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's dry, clear and looking good this morning.  Fingers crossed for a nice day.

Oh, I was tired yesterday evening.  I was in bed by eight thirty and , apart from a meander down the landing to the smallest room at some point, slept soundly until after half past five.  Now that's what I call a good night's sleep.

The recent digging aches and pains are subsiding now and I'm feeling energetic, which is great!

I pootled off to Springfield Hospital yesterday and emerged twenty minutes later having had a very efficient blood test and an ECG that showed that I have a healthy ticker.  I know that really but when one has been so overweight - well, I wondered.  The next visit there is next Monday to have another blood test and to 'meet the anaesthetist'.

I did more digging and de-weeding/rooting.  In fact, apart from a bit of watering, that's all I did and, while it doesn't look all that much, it is getting done slowly.  I shall do more later on this morning.

Tuition was cancelled as pupil has gone down with a bad cold and the last thing I want is to catch anything that will mean a cancellation next Tuesday.  That's OK - it means that when we start back again, the first session is all planned and ready!  Excellent!

So today looks like this:  allotment, school (Y!, reading), tuition, crash out!  That'll keep me out of trouble, for sure.

I'll finish with a few photos I took yesterday.

Getting there.  Maybe, by Friday . . .

Plum blossom

Pear blossom

They all seem to have 'taken' and are sending out new leaves.  Strawberries in June!

Lovely rhubarb

Tuesday 17 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday was nice - I mean really nice.  Mild, some sun, a gentle breeze, just what the doctor ordered, in fact.  Today?  More of the same, maybe up to 20C, according to BBC weather.  Fantastic!

I got to the allotment, I did my share of digging (getting there slowly), I planted out the rest of the strawberries and gave the grass a lower cut.  It was still a bit too wet but never mind, I got it done anyway.

In school, pm, my back was aching quite badly and I wasn't sure if it was muscles or gallstones but came to the conclusion that it was the former as it was a different sort of ache really.  A few tablets sorted it out and I've had another good night's sleep.

Today is - guess what - more digging. 

Must remember to take a photo of how the digging is getting on.  I'm continuing to check through the forked soil by hand.  I got out a lot of ground elder roots yesterday so it is well worth the effort.  The Weed War has resumed!
I also want to pull some rhubarb for a friend and some for the weekend as I am making a crumble for someone.
I think there's also going to be some watering, especially with the forecast of such warm weather.

That's this morning.  This afternoon I have an appointment for a blood test and ECG and I may or may not get tuition done.  It depends how long I am really.

Beth's round this evening so I'm doing our old favourite, beans on toast, and Beth can have cheese on hers.  We love beans on toast and I always add a squidge of ketchup and a squidge of brown sauce to the beans.  Delicious!

Monday 16 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It looks OK here - the sun isn't up yet but the skies look clear so fingers crossed for a fine day if not a sunny one.  We got a spot of rain yesterday late afternoon, just as the BBC forecast said we would but I was too zonked to care after two and a half hours of digging and mowing!

I cut the grass on a high setting and left the mower in the car because I will run over it again on a lower setting and then that's the grass done for the week!  Then I tackled the front bed and did the same as last year - turned a row over with the fork and then sat down and went through it with a hand held gizmo to break it all up and remover any nasty rood systems (the ground elder is beginning to come up so it was worth doing - I got a lot of roots out!  Very slow work but, as I say, pays dividends
I worked until I I wanted to stop and then did one more row!  I would say we've done nearly half of that bed now so it will certainly be finished by the end of the week!

When I got home, there were a few kitchen things to get done and then I made that rhubarb cordial.  It's really very nice indeed and I shall certainly make some more when this is used up.  I can't have mch myself as it is high sugar but I'll give Beth some and I know my Dad will appreciate some too.  When the strawberries come in, I am sure rhubarb and strawberry cordial will taste just wonderful!

I was a bit cross with myself though - after you've pushed the mixture through a muslin lined sieve to get all the cordial out you are left with the sweetened, flavoured rhubarb pulp and I chucked that away before realising that it would be delicious added to yogurt or into porridge.  Doh!  I shall remember next time!

Then I crashed!  I was in bed and fast asleep by nine fifteen AND I slept all through the night too.  Great!

Today is busy.  Firstly I shall put in a couple of allotment hours.  This afternoon is my time for helping out in FS and, as I shall be missing the next two weeks, I must go today.  Then some tuition and then I can crash! 

After all that exercise, I was very thirsty so got through quite a lot of nice, healthy water and today I have gained a bit of weight.  I remember reading that your body holds onto water after hard exercise (which that digging was) to help the muscles repair so I looked it up and yup, that's right.  It's not a problem in any way, but it's interesting.

I've been thinking ahead a bit and I will need to continue not only the healthy eating plan (what I'm doing now with more veg and less meal content restriction) but get more active.  I have a few ideas which I will discuss in the then month or so but allotmenteering is certainly working towards that as well as providing nice, healthy, fresh veg for the summer.

Better stop waffling on now and get moving.  I have things to do. 
Have a good day!

Sunday 15 April 2018


Ooh, ouch, ouch, oh, aargh, ouch!

From the above you might guess that we got the the allotment yesterday, put in four hours of fairly solid work and are now suffering (Beth and me) and, if you did, you would be quite right.  But it's a nice, fulfilled, satisfied, productive 'ouch' and it's not that bad really.  :-)

It turned out to be sunny and warm when we met there and got going
At the beginning of the day, this bed was more or less covered with weeds and after a couple of hours it looked like this . . .

. . . and then we had a coffee or two and a good chat.

Then we set to again and by the time we had finished, we had our soft fruit bed - Autumn fruiting raspberries and strawberries taken from runners in my garden.  We should have put the raspberries out last autumn but, for very good real life reasons, we didn't.  However, they have survived and are shooting so our fingers are crossed.  We might get a bit of fruit from them this year.  Ditto the strawberries but next year will be better and the year after that - loads!

It's bit muddy but the first rain will sort that out and we intend to sweep it tomorrow anyway - if I remember to take my broom!
We do feel pleased with ourselves!

Given fine weather, today is mainly mowing and strimming the grass, planting out the last four strawberries (I didn't take quite enough yesterday and moving some old pallets to the back behind the shed.  Then we have two large beds to sort out another time but that won't take too long as the soil is more crumbly and weeding will be easier.
And then it will be time to plant and sow.

I came home with a few little leeks (the last of the row) and some more rhubarb.  I don't know if you can see in the photos but the rhubarb is doing really well so I am going to try this.
and this
Don't they sound good!

Apart from the above, I am going to Aldi for ten o'clock to get some bits and bobs and later on I will have ironing to do and also planning, as school starts again tomorrow.  Poor kids; a rotten holiday, weather wise, and the day they go back it is wall-to-wall sunshine.  That's life.

It should be a most productive day today, I think.  :-)

Saturday 14 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to another weekend.  It's supposed to be much nicer today, thank goodness.  Indeed, the sun broke through for half an hour yesterday teatime which was extremely cheering so more today is a happy thought.  Fingers crossed.

Yesterday turned out to be quite a busy day!  I arrived at Broomfield Hospital bang on seven and there were already people waiting in the blood test area!  Never mind, I had my Kindle with me so I read until it was my turn and a very pleasant gentleman did the necessary while we chatted about allotments and growing potatoes.  He really cheered me up with his friendly conversation, bless him; I hope he had a good day!

On the way home I did intend to stop off at Springfield Hospital to hand over the pre-registration form I had filled in but I forgot, so after tuition (fun) I set out again and got it delivered.

Coffee with C was great with lots of chat and catching up.  We were colleagues at school for a long while and she only lives over the cul de sac so why we haven't done this a long time before is beyond me but never mind, we have now.

The beginning of the afternoon was quiet but then another hospital thing arrived, necessitating a phone call to the pre-reg nurse by the end of which two more appointments had been made, one for a blood test (yes, another one) and an ECG and the other for yet another blood test and to 'meet the anaesthetist'.  What with allotment and resuming tuition next week, plus the 12 hour blood pressure monitoring already arranged, next week is going to be pretty busy, isn't it?

I am very thankful that I have a lovely family which has rallied round and made sure I have someone with me for the 24 hours after coming home.  Now all I have to organise is someone to take me to hospital on the morning of the op and, failing all else, I can always order a taxi, can't I?


On to today and I am meeting Beth at the allotment for a morning of muddy digging and weeding but, I sincerely hope, not as muddy as last Monday.  I have some washing, drying and ironing to do and I'm starting to think about making sure I have some home made ready-meals in the freezer for post op to make my life easier.

I'm on the last lap of the cross stitch project so I need to dig out another one from my box soon.  And I really MUST get on with my patchwork duvet cover and I have knitting too.  No excuses for idleness!

Have a lovely day and may the sun shine on us all today.

Friday 13 April 2018


Morning, everyone!  It's dry right now although it has been raining yet again earlier and it might clear a bit later on.  The forecast is for warmer, brighter weather and it's cheered me up no end.

Yesterday was good.  Tuition went well, the house and inside windows are not sparkly clean, the financial meeting in the evening was very helpful and informative and I'm getting on with my cross stitch quite quickly.

Today it is one more tuition session before the weekend but before that I have to go for a blood test at Broomfield hospital.  I intend to get there before the dept. opens at seven so minimal waiting and, of course, no parking problems either.

Later on, a friend is coming round for a chat over coffee.  She lives just the other side of the cul de sac from me but we've not had a good chat for ages now so I'm looking forward to it very much indeed.

The afternoon is mine and I will probably check out the allotment to see if it's fit for a little digging.  I do hope so as I won't be able to do much for some days after the op.  After that it should be fair sailing for several times each week.

It's going to be a nice day, I think.

Thursday 12 April 2018


A quick one today as I slept in until after seven - wonderful - and have quite a lot to do before my one tuition session at nine!  Not planning, thankfully, but other things.
It's another damp start to the day.  Not exactly raining, but foggy.  Goodness knows how it will turn out but I'm making no bets.  It would be lovely to see some sun though, wouldn't it?

Yesterday ended up damp and soggy all day.  Dull and boring and it does depress your spirits after a while.  I concocted some beanburgers, did some housework and some planning and generally pootled around and rather wasted my time really.  I must got more achieved today!
After tuition, the cleaner comes.  She's had to do three weeks on a Thursday and this is the last one so it will be back to Friday next week which actually suits me better.  No complaints though - having a cleaner is lovely.

In the evening, it is the second of the financial meetings.  This time it's for me but Dave will be coming along to support and advise, which is nice and reassuring.  I hate that sort of thing and, with my dyscalculia, find that the numbers sort of 'explode' in my brain and it's very hard to understand but, dear me, I did pass the 11+ over a century ago so must have some kind of mathematical ability!  I have to admit, I will be glad when it's all over.

Now I need to stir myself, have my bath, get dressed and do a bit of getting ready.  Have a lovely day!

Wednesday 11 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's dry outside - three cheers - and it was a warmer night too.  No electric blanket needed! 

Thank you for your comments yesterday.  You know, I am not the least bit dismayed about the timing of the op.  In a weird way, it's a sort of gift because things are becoming increasingly uncomfortable at times  and I just want to get it over and done with so I can move on.  It will be nice to eat out occasionally and to have a bit more flexibility in my meals again - I really miss beans on toast for lunch and egg on toast for breakfast!

Yesterday the sun came out.  Yes, it did, and how lovely it was to see it again.  I wouldn't call it blazing sunshine but nevertheless, it was cheerful.

I got to the allotment in the morning after tuition (during which time my brain ached - 11+ maths is loads harder than when I did it in the early 60s and also when my two did it in the late 80s - makes me wonder why people say standards are falling because they certainly aren't!) but the ground was absolutely waterlogged.  I did a bit - all the woody remains of last year's baby corn plants, which are very thick, solid and not really suitable for our compost bins, are now in my brown bin at home for collection on Thursday.  I started digging over the fruit area but it was so-o-o-o-o waterlogged and heavy, I gave up after doing a quarter of it.  It wasn't just the heaviness of the soil itself, it was the fact that I was carrying around a ton of mud on each shoe too.  Nevertheless, the ground is in so much better condition than last year, it will be easy to turn over once it has dried out a bit and the weed roots are coming out very easily and completely.  At least I got a bit done which is better than nothing..

Once that bed has been dug over, we can plant the raspberry canes and the baby strawberries (with ground cover membrane to keep the weeds down) and then we can tackle the potato area as they will need to go in soon.  The seed potatoes, on trays in the dining area, are starting to sprout nicely now. 

Back home again, I did a mega de-mudding of everything and then settled down for a bit of a rest as my back was sore.  Later on, Sharon came and now I look respectable again.

Today is more or less clear but the weather forecast has changed to rain this morning which is really frustrating.  I'm not going down to the allotment in the rain, it was bad enough yesterday with all the mud but I might spend some time in the back garden (if the rain stops) as it's paved over so not so muddy.  There's still plenty of bits that need sorting and tidying.

I also have a bit of planning.  Another of my 'parents' has asked about a session this week which is fine.    I do enjoy these sessions and will miss them straight after the operation when I will have one week off completely and the second week I will just have the exam/SATs students as time is getting short.
There's also the ubiquitous ironing.  When I was working it used to pile up until the basket was full and running over before I got stuck in.  It's nice to be able to deal with it as it arises nowadays and it is no hassle done in front of the telly.

Beth is coming to dinner tonight so I shall make some bean burgers and serve them with home made chips and a simple salad.  Very tasty!

A nice, homey, contented day today - it should be lovely.

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Tuesday and some good news

Good morning, everyone.  I'm having a sleepless night (mutter, grump) so am posting this really early.  No idea what the weather is doing outside at the moment.  Yesterday was a right washout though.  Rain, rain, endless rain so no allotment again.   To be fair, it did stop raining later on but everywhere was still dripping wet so I wasn't keen on going out.

As Longfellow once wrote:

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
(The Rainy Day)

The good news - I have my op date!
Over the weekend I started thinking about it and decided that saying that I would contact 'them' in a fortnight if I hadn't heard was just procrastination.  If it needs doing, do it NOW!

So I shot off an email to Mr C.'s business manager, mentioning the weight loss, having been on the liver shrinking diet since mid Feb, asking if she could give me some idea of roughly where I was on the waiting list and approximately when I could expect the op to be.
Yesterday morning I got a reply.  A fortnight today.

I do wonder whether the email pushed it forward.  I do hope not because I'd hate to think I'd pushed in ahead of other waiting and unwell people.

I laughed when I read the date because, of all the days in the year it could be, it's on my birthday!  What are the chances of that, eh?  Yeah, I know, 365 to 1!
I know it might easily change but am hoping it won't because I want this over and done so I can get on with a jolly, retired life again.  The first thing I will do is book a return holiday to Cambridge!

So there you go!  That's my good news.

Without the allotment, yesterday passed without much fuss really.  Some parcels arrived.  I attended that meeting in the evening - or rather, it came here to me.  It was the first of two and was for my son rather than for me.  Mine is on Thursday.  Oh, and I learnt how you can find a square root or, at least, very close to it!  It might possibly have come close to exploding my brain but once I got it, it was easy.

Today (later on once I have had a bit more sleep, I sincerely hope), I have tuition first thing (that's why I needed to know about the square root), then I hope to pop off to the allotment and later on the lovely Sharon is coming to work her usual six-weekly magic with my hair.  Beth's not coming over tonight, she'll be here tomorrow instead.

And I have to do some serious thinking about how to tackle the rest of this weight, once the necessity to be very. very careful has passed.

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

Monday 9 April 2018


Good morning.  It's not raining outside right now but it's been a damp night, by the looks of things, and yesterday was dire and dismal.  It was cold too - or maybe that was just me.  I went shivery in the afternoon, my hands and nose were very cold and I ended up turning the heating on to warm up which is not what I expect in the middle of April.

So much for big plans for getting to the allotment 'when the rain stops' yesterday.  Ha, flipping ha!

I met various commitments that I won't bore you with and I did some sewing and some reading, tidied the kitchen, planned my meals for the coming week and had an afternoon sleep before watching telly all evening - the Painting programme, Countryfile and Generation Game - which I'm not sure about.  It makes me laugh but . . . maybe I have inflated memories of the old version and/or maybe I have matured somewhat since then!  Or just maybe no-one can really replace Brucie who was at the height of his 'power' at that time.

Today, weather permitting, I'd like to do what I had planned to do yesterday down the lotty (except for mowing the grass which will be too wet again) plus a bit more and I have just one tuition session this week for which I need to plan.  I also have a financial bod coming round this evening and son (Dave) and I will be talking about - well - financial stuff, surprisingly enough!
There will be some washing after the weekend and will I get it dried outside?  We will see.

Why does it feel like a Bank Holiday today?  Oh - I've just realised.  It's the middle of the school holiday and at this time of the year it has ALWAYS been Bank Holiday Monday.  I bet that's why!

Whatever the weather and holiday or not, have a satisfying and fulfilling day, whatever you are doing.

Sunday 8 April 2018


Good morning, everyone! 
It's a wet old start to the day, sadly, which puts the clappers on my plans to get back to the allotment and mow the grass.  It doesn't feel cold though which is good.

Yesterday, Beth and I spent a fair old time down the allotment.  We cleared some soil, tidied up some Autumn mess that we were not able to do then what with me and my health and Beth starting work, pruned some stuff back, pulled some rhubarb and some chard, dug the new asparagus bed, planted some tiny little asparagus plantlets that arrived a few days ago and generally rather enjoyed ourselves.  The sun shone, there was some proper warmth in the air and it was lovely.

The asparagus is a long term project. 
Decades ago, when I was still married, we moved from South London out to Essex to a lovely house with a decent sized garden and an asparagus bed.  A mature, productive thing it was and I enjoyed the produce very much for the two years I lived there before it all went wrong and I moved here.
It was so sad to hear later that ex and new had built an extension over the asparagus. 

Anyway, as I started saying, it's a long term project.  Assuming they survive, we can pick some of the fern for flower arrangements by the end of the summer and into next year but we won't be able to cut the actual asparagus heads until the third year.  Gardening is such an act of faith, isn't it.  An investment in the future.

Weather permitting, I will go back later today as there's some rubbish that cannot be left there so needs to be dumped in my brown bin.  I had intended to mow the grass, seeing as it was warm yesterday and I reckoned that it would be dry enough today   I suppose I could take the strimmer though. 

All our work last year meant that it's all loads easier this year and the soil is generally soft and crumbly, thanks to the very cold weather we had, I expect.  I may do a bit of the muddy stuff as well.
But none of this will happen if it doesn't stop raining.

When I got home, I sat down, had lunch and then fell fast asleep!  All that fresh air!  I slept really well overnight too.

Apart from the allotment, today I wanted to do a bit more in my own garden but never mind, I can still sow the tomato seeds, something that I really ought to get on with.

All this has to be fitted around various scheduled commitments I have today so, if I get it all done, I shall be a very busy lady!  Makes up for the last few days anyway!

Hoping it is a great day for us all.

Saturday 7 April 2018


I'm up earlier again today.  So much for sleeping until five!!
It's still dark outside but it looks dry and it doesn't feel all that chilly so fingers crossed.  Annoyingly, light showers are forecast for this morning but that might not happen - I hope not.

I didn't do anything wildly exciting yesterday in the end  What I did do was refresh the allotment related shopping list that Beth and I made on Tuesday and drive over to Wyvale with it.  Allotments are a frugal thing, but there are always some associated expenses, especially for fairly ignorant gardeners like me.

So - off to Wyvale I went.  First of all I wandered around the outside area, making a few notes of what they had.  I'm still umming and ahing about a gooseberry bush but they had a very poor selection.  They did have some lovely primulas and some oxslips so, as I've lost my cowslips (very careless of me), I bought three plants and they are now filling a few gaps in that front strip.  I'm doing my best to fill that patch with perennials so that they come up year after year with minimal effort on my part and they fit that bill nicely.

Then I went indoors and bought seed potatoes, sticking to our favourites, Maris Piper and Charlottes.  Not very interesting, I know, but our space is limited so we get what we know we like.  I bought some seeds - baby corn, runner beans, cress (for the window ledge), mange tout and tomato.  I got my favourite and reliable sungolds and I already have some gardener's delight which I've never grown, although I know they are great favourites.  Like last year, I couldn't find any yellow courgette seeds so will have to look around.

I've been umming and ahing about a bird table for a little while; if I was a wood worker, I could knock one up, but I'm not.  However, in Wyvale they had a rather twee but quite attractive hanging feeder so I got that - call it an early birthday present to myself or even a reward for being a Good Girl with my food - as well as one of the usual cylindrical feeders.  They are now both hanging out (one has seeds and one has peanuts) but I guess it will take a while for the birds to start using them.  Fingers crossed!

On reflection, it is daft to start growing soft fruit and attracting the birds in but that's what the fruit cages will be for!  I want it all!

Once home, I sorted out the shopping and laid out the seed spuds in two trays and I even remembered to label each tray!  Over the next week or so, I will sow my other seeds, keeping them inside for a number of weeks because I am sure we have a few frosts to come yet.

It was a beautifully sunny afternoon so I pottered around, enjoying the sunshine and doing little things.  I stitched quite a lot more of my cross stitch project and generally took life easy.

Today I am meeting Beth at the allotment so tomorrow I will be whinging and whining about aches and pains, I expect.  I don't think I will take the mower today, the grass might still be a bit damp, but maybe tomorrow or Monday I'll get the grass short again.  I'm hoping we can clear some residual junk and get the asparagus area ready and the little plants in.  I'd also like to sort out the bit at the back where the raspberry canes will go.  Realistically, that's probably all we will get done today but next week I will try to go every day for a couple of hours (weather permitting).

In the afternoon I have ironing and more bits and bobs to do in the garden.  I think it's going to be a productive and pleasant day really and I hope yours is too.

Friday 6 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Last day of the working week, not that this means all that much any more.  Fingers crossed for another fine day.

Yesterday was lovely.  It wasn't desperately warm but it was very pleasant in the sunshine and I got quite a lot done in the garden.  There's now just one area that needs a good clear out and some stuff shifting around to new places and then it's a case of keeping it all going while I get going with the seeds.

Tuition went well and I now feel I'm on holiday as I only have one session next week.  J and L came round for a cuppa later on in the afternoon and we had a lovely chat about this, that and the other.  All in all, a very satisfying and happy day.

As for today, I shall see how the weather pans out before deciding what to do.  I might drive out to Hyde Hall, I might go to the allotment, I might go to Blake House Craft Centre I might stay at home and relax in the garden.  I shall change and wash my sheets and enjoy watching them billowing dry on the line.
The time is my own, nothing in the diary and the sun will shine (yes, it will!).  Lovely!

And, to cap it all, three pounds off and I'm into the next stone down,

Hope you have a good day too.

Thursday 5 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's a clear, rather chilly early morning and the weather forecast looks wonderful - sun all day and up to about 11C which means probably a bit more.  Wouldn't it be great if it were warm enough to have coffee in the garden?  Fingers crossed

Well, it took me longer than you'd think to sort out the front patch yesterday, considering how very small it is.  I did a thorough job though.
I forgot to take a before photo so you'll have to take my word for it that it was scruffy.

Now . . .

See what I mean - small!

On this side the bulbs are on the way out now but it's been very pretty.  The aquilegias and the crocosmias are coming up to take over and we just have to get over the tatty bulb leaves stage.

Probably needs splitting once the flowers die back but it is lovely.  I had cowslips too but they've not come up for the last couple of years so I have obviously lost them.

This side is boring but I've planted some summer bulbs/corms so maybe it won't look so dull in two or three months' time.  I've also popped in the snowdrop bulbs and the mini-irises that I brought home from Anglesea Abbey so they should look lovely next year.  In the top-right corner the bluebells are growing well.

And this little bush gives colour all year round.  There's loads of buds/shoots on it this year after a few dodgy years.  Maybe it likes the colder weather.

I tossed down some slow release fertiliser and some slug pellets (safe for animals, not safe for slugs)

I also tidied up another corner at the back but it was getting cold so I went in and a short time later it started raining so that was that.  

Today I have holiday tuition first thing and then another in the afternoon and that's that for the fortnight, I think, and the cleaner is coming round too.  Later on I have a friend and her daughter coming over for a cuppa so I will dig some banana bread out of the freezer.  Not for me though, sadly, which is a shame as it's delicious.

If it is fine, I'll work on another corner between all the other stuff and maybe sort out some pots/planters too.  If nothing else, it should burn up a few calories.

So that's the day more or less sorted.  Fingers crossed for that promised sunshine.

Wednesday 4 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's dry outside and definitely milder: although there's a bit of a chill in the air, it's nowhere near frosty.  Looking at the forecast, it's expected to be dry this morning but drizzly this afternoon.  That's OK.

It was yet another good day yesterday although I didn't get half as much done as I'd planned.  I was a bit uncomfortable so rested for a while.  It helped so was time well spent.  I did get all the ironing done and put it all away, which was good, and I sorted a few books too.

Last night, Beth and I had a quick plan of the allotment for this year.  We're meeting there on Saturday and hope to do a fair bit of clearing, weeding and digging over.  This is what we hope to grow (or start growing), even if we won't harvest this year.

(skip over the next bit if you like, I won't be offended!)

cherry plums (on the tree at the back which is already starting to blossom)
rhubarb (already producing!

runner beans
mange tout
yellow courgettes
spring onions
potatoes (Charlotte and Maris Piper)
baby corn

We won't get any asparagus this year - the plants are just on their way from the plant company, I forget which one, as we ordered them last October - and maybe not much in the raspberry and strawberry line as they are also new plants.  The rest should go well providing we get no late frosts - it wrecked our plums last year.

At home I hope to have
loadsa tomatoes
runner beans (we love runner beans)
tayberries (fingers crossed)
blueberries (eyes and legs crossed)
potatoes grown in bags
various herbs

Not nearly so much but that's the point of having an allotment, isn't it?  Should be good!

Today I have nothing in the diary.  No tuition, nothing.  It really depends on how the weather pans out and whether I feel OK but, all being well, I want to get out in the garden and tidy up a few more corners.  I'd also like to move some planters about if I'm feeling strong!  I have a bit of planning for tomorrow too plus my daily River Cottage dose.  They seem to have started some Eat Well for Less repeats on the same channel - I do enjoy that as well.  Daytime telly might be rubbish but there's some very entertaining rubbish at times.

I'm just wondering about a trip out to my beloved Hyde Hall on Friday, weather permitting.  I could do with a stroll in the fresh air to clear my brain and I'd like to catch the bulbs and early Spring action.  Things will have changed since the last time I was there and I could take a packed lunch and buy an extravagant black coffee to enjoy with it.  I have a few engagements on Saturday but Friday is relatively clear.

Well, better get on, I suppose.  An early start would be good, instead of lounging about in bed things for ages.  If I get all the things I have to do done this morning, I can chill out this afternoon and maybe even get out the sewing machine and do a bit of whatever!

Have a good day!

Tuesday 3 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Another wet start to the day here, just like yesterday.  I'm hoping that it will cheer up a bit.  I've checked BBC weather and it looks as if they expect the rain to be intermittent with dry spells in between, like tomorrow, but Thursday and Friday look much brighter. 

Well, I got out and did all the things I had planned yesterday morning.
Aldi was emptier than I think I have ever seen it which made shopping really nice.  I got other bits and bobs too, but no impulse buys.  I'm now well stocked with washing stuff for several months to come.

In Matalan, I was really pleased to get not only a parka for the summer (picture below) but also some target jeans (really target this time - I can't do them up now but give me another month . . .).  The parka is nice.  I can do it up when not wearing my jumper/cardigan but it's too tight when I am, so just right for the next four or five months and just exactly what I was looking for right down to the striped lining.
Taken from the Matalan site.

Then I picked up Beth and we drove to the allotment.  We were pleasantly surprised - OK, it's messy but nothing like last year's disaster zone.  The waterlogged grass needs cutting, the beds need weeding, etc, but the rhubarb is growing (Beth took two stems home), there are a few leeks that have survived, the chard (aka guinea pig food) looks very healthy and there are promising buds on the fruit trees.  We both felt motivated as we looked around and today, when Beth comes round for dinner tonight, we will have a good old plan together and then I can start spending time there during the week!

I got quite a lot of cross stitch done.  I like this one, although it's quite big, is is compartmental so easy to see where I am and if I've gone wrong at all. 

I've done the middle floor and the right half of the bedroom above that.   I'm still not totally convinced I have got the colours completely right but tough.  It looks OK and it's too late to change over now!

Today I have an early tuition session and then the day is my own.  If it dries up, I will get all muddy by tackling the little front patch as the baby weeds are growing rapidly now it's a little bit warmer.  I would like to get all the weekend washing ironed and put away and I need to tackle some piles of books.

Looking around, I realise that there's stuff that I haven't got round to taking to the charity shop so maybe that's on the list today as well.  The corner would look nicer, that's for sure, if I did.

I'd better get going now.  Bath and hair wash, get dressed, empty dishwasher, organise meals - all the morning routine stuff, in fact.  I think it's going to be a nice day today filled with positive and productive things.  Perfect!

Hope yours is too.

Monday 2 April 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's throwing it down here and has been since I looked out at about midnight.  Nice for ducks, great for the water table, not so wonderful for families at home who had planned a bank holiday expedition somewhere. 

Also not great for someone who is itching to get back in the garden but maybe it will brighten up a wee bit later on, you never know.

I'm sure there were plenty of April Fool things around yesterday, it seems to be the thing to do nowadays, but I loved the one from Jamie Oliver.  I love it when 'famous people' can take the mickey out of themselves.  I can't see how to post a link here and it's no longer on his site (because it's no longer April 1st) but if you are my 'friend' on Facebook, you can catch it on my timeline or the link just below seems to work if you are on Facebook.
Made me laugh a lot.

I've been away over the weekend, at Mum and Dad's, and it was really nice.  I go quite often now.  A while ago, Dad bought me my electric blanket - I mentioned it here at the time - and I've been singing its praises ever since.  When I arrived there, there was one, still in its packaging, sitting on my bed.  Poor old Dad, thought I, he's forgotten he's already bought me one.  I should've known better.  He's bought another one for my bed there as well as one at home.  Wasn't that just lovely!

Today is the start of a new week but not quite a new month; that was yesterday and I totally forgot the pinch and punch thing.  Too late now!

Today I have several plans which may or may not happen.  I've checked opening hours and hope to be able to get to Aldi at eight, Matalan at nine and then pick Beth up for a trip to the allotment at ten!
I am right out of washing capsules and use Aldi's ones so need to stock up again.  I'll probably get a few other bits and bobs at the same time, washing up liquid, for example.

My light summer coat/jacket thingy is no longer a thing I can wear.  It's falling off me and looks terrible.  I don't want to spend a lot on a 'good' one yet so did a bit of internet trawling and saw that Matalan seems to have a good selection at reasonable prices.  I've bought Matalan coats before and they've been fine so that's the plan.  I looked in the Tu sale but there was nothing I liked so, Matalan, here I come.

Then the allotment.  No, we're not working there, not today, but we need a plan so I can get started on weekdays.  Beth and I used to meet there, if you remember, about twice a week, over last summer but that is not possible now she works, so I will have to do it on my own.  I'm really sad about that as we had some great times but there you go, life moves on.  We will probably take photos and then sit in the car and develop a plan of action together.  I'll then get going as soon as the weather picks up and then we can plant and sew.

Once home and after thawing out, I have some soup to make, some clothes to iron and some telly to watch.  I will knit and sew and stay nice and warm.  Not exciting bank holiday stuff but then life is rather like one long bank holiday nowadays! 

Have a lovely day, whatever you have planned.

Sunday 1 April 2018


Happy Easter, everybody!