Thursday 31 May 2018


 Good morning, everyone.
It's another misty, damp morning although I don't think we had any rain overnight.  Yesterday the sun came out around tea time but decided not to stay for long.  Maybe today he will come earlier and hang around for a while.

Yesterday was a very good day even if I didn't get to the allotment (again).  MUST do some today. 
I did do early morning swimming, housework and tuition and again, I pottered in my garden so I guess I didn't totally waste the day.

The swimming must be doing some good - yesterday I had another go and a 'half plank' which I've never been able to hold for more than a few seconds and you know what?  I managed about thirty seconds.  OK, it's not the full one and it wasn't long but it's a lot better, all the same.  Getting fitter!

For a while I have been doing the occasional survey/questionnaire thingy (Not YouGov, I do that as well) and yesterday I 'claimed' some points and got an online card valued at £30, good reward for ten minutes now and again.  I've never used a prepaid card online before so a new experience and I spent some of it on a silicone muffin tin so now, hopefully, my mini frittatas won't stick so badly!

So today . . . I have morning aqua and swimming and no tuition so absolutely no excuses, none whatsoever!   Unless it rains! 

Have a super day, whatever you have planned.

Wednesday 30 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's another dull, damp, dismal start to the day and it has obviously been raining quite a lot overnight.  No watering needed today, not on the outside plants anyway.

I posted this on my other blog too so apologies if you read both and if you know anything about it, please do comment.  Thanks.
I'm loving my new yogurt maker and especially loving the mesh filter that makes thicker, almost Greek style yogurt.  However, I have been puzzled about what to do with the whey: I know it can be used in bread and scones but I'm not eating much bread at the moment and scones are a bit of a no-no.  However, I have picked up that you can use the whey, very much diluted, on acid loving plants and, as I have two blueberry plants, I thought I'd give that a go.  Right now, watering them is not an issue but in the hot dry days it is more problematic so this sounds a good way (geddit?) to go!  I gather you can also use it on strawberries and tomatoes too.
Any comments, please?

I had every intention of allotmenteering yesterday but by the time I came out of the gym it was drizzling and half way round the Pound Shop the heavens opened - you couldn't even see to the other side of the car park - so guess what!  I didn't go.  Maybe today as the corn really needs to go out, as do the courgettes and cucumbers and the mange touts need to be sown or there won't be any.  I bet the grass is metres high again (not that I shall cut it while it's wet as the mower goes on strike) and the potatoes need trenching.  So much to do before I go on holiday!  Rain, rain, go away!

Beth came round for dinner and, as I haven't seen her in ages, we had a jolly good chat.  She and I have been very busy recently but things seem to be easing off a bit now.

Today I shall go go an early morning swim before doing some housework and a bit of tuition planning.  Allotment is on the list as long as it isn't too wet too but, if it is, there's plenty to do at home as I have got a bit behind with things.

I hope the weather is nicer where you are.  Have a great day, whatever it is doing.

Tuesday 29 May 2018


Good morning!  Thank you for the friendly comments over the weekend.  I love getting them and do my best to reply.

It ended up a very hot and humid day yesterday so, once I got home, I decided to stay close to home and set my own grounds in order.  Firstly I tackled the little front strip which, being extremely sheltered by home and cars, was very dry and hard to fork over but that hadn't stopped a variety of weeds from taking hold.  I think I need to give it a good watering and then have another go in a few days, when the weeds fight back!  There were still some bulb leaves and I pulled them away, reckoning they've had their share of 'saying back' time.

Then it was round the back where it was a lot more rewarding.  Look at this!

It's now ripe and ready - once they get going, they do ripen quickly and there's more following on.  As I feared, the great majority will likely be ready while I am away but I can come to an arrangement with Beth about that!  Interestingly, this is from one of the new plants that only got separated from mummy and planted on its own a few months ago.  Strawberries are most resilient!

As I feared, the tomato plugs came while I was away this weekend, on Friday by the looks of them.  They were in a bad way - two dead and the others dying.  I have gently planted them on and fingers crossed but my hopes are not high.  I'm not having much luck with my tomatoes this year, am I, and am seriously considering a trip to one of our several garden centres today or tomorrow to see if they have any little plants.  Fortunately, Sungold is a popular type so my chances are good.  I simply can't not have enough tomatoes!

I say bad luck, but on the other hand, I have three little tomato plants coming up from tomatoes that dropped and rotted.  I'm encouraging them on but don't know how they will fruit, being second generation.  I'm not relying on them, anyway!

I got the gardener's delights out and they looked very happy this morning, thank goodness.

Then I planted out the runners and they have also grown since yesterday and some have started twining around their supports so they are obviously happy as well.

Finally, after a general weeding and watering, I moved the blueberry pots and put up the cage I bought a number of weeks ago.  Not a great design and it looks very 'clunky' but it was cheap and it will do the job!  I just hope they're OK where I have put them - I'm not sure and might do a bit of general moving around to make space for the pots and cage in a sunnier position.

So - on to today.  I start with an early morning tuition session followed by a bit of pottering before aqua around lunch time (I've missed my swimming - it's been four days without and it's not nice!).  Then I will pop to the allotment. 
So a busy day but a nice one.
Fingers crossed it doesn't rain!

Monday 28 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  After a couple of days off, here I am back again after a quiet weekend with my Mum and Dad.

I gather we had a stonking storm here on Saturday night, not that I noticed anything as I slept sweetly through the lot.  Ditto for anything last night too!  One of the plusses of being as deaf as a post!  We havfe had some substantial falls of rain though - good for the garden and great for the allotment!

Major fail:  I've given up on my first attempt to grow tomatoes from seed!  For a start, I left it too late but then I did have other things on my mind earlier in the year!  Then the sungold seedlings just died on me and the others stopped growing.  So I've ordered sungolds frm online now, already growing and possibly waiting for me on the doorstep, and on Saturday I bought some gardener's delight plants from Bickerdykes (in Letchworth) which are ready to plant out. Maybe I will try again next year but maybe not.  Buying the plants is so easy and you still get profit from them in that they are so prolific in fruiting.  I love it when I can pick and eat them like sweets, still warm from the sun, and they are so good for you!

All the other seedlings are doing well and I shall get the baby corn out in the allotment this week, maybe even today (depending on weather and other stuff).  Even the chilli peppers are coming up although I suspect that, like the tomatoes, they should have been in much earlier.

This week is half term, of course, so most of the tuition isn't happening, I just have a few sessions and nothing today.  I know every week is like half term nowadays but with little tuition and no nanny helping at school, it feels holiday-ish for me too.  Spare a thought (I am, several thoughts, in fact) for teachers everywhere who have to spend the week stuck in front of the PC writing lengthy school reports that conform to the requirements of school management, get read once, maybe twice or three times, and then filed and never looked at again.  One to the most thankless and time wasting things a teacher has to do and that is saying something!

No swimming today but I will be back with it tomorrow.  I've missed it over the weekend.  Another thing I've missed is eating well and that's my own fault, totally.  Two days off and it's not a good feeling at all.  I'm looking forward to getting back to it properly.  This week's meals are all planned and they look good.  I have two weeks before I am off on holiday and I intend to stick at it until then.  It won't be a lazy holiday either - swimming in the morning and walking in the afternoon (or the other way round) and good, healthy meals through the day.  I will splash out but it will be things like steak instead of mince, etc, for a holiday treat.

I'm back on the wagon and it's rolling!

Have a lovely bank holiday.

Friday 25 May 2018


Google seems to want me to tell you about my data policy.  As far as I am aware, I don't collect and use any data about my readers.  Google does and they have their own policy now regarding that which, presumably, conforms to the new EU laws regarding collection of data.  They say they have posted a notice about it on here about it, not that I can see it but maybe you can!
(hope that's what they meant anyway, I am confused).

Good morning, everyone.  After the rain yesterday, we had a very warm day and more rain overnight.  This is perfect for garden and allotment, really lovely.  Fingers crossed for more of the same today.

The weight has stayed the same this week.  I suppose that, with two meals out, it was inevitable, but it's disappointing.  It's all a bit puzzling at the moment but it does happen from time to time.  Ah, well!

Just to let you know that I won't be posting for a few days but will be back on Monday.  No problems, just taking a few days off.  :-)

Have a lovely bank holiday weekend

Thursday 24 May 2018


 Good morning, everyone.  I woke up this morning to the sight of falling rain and a lovely, soaked ground which did my heart good.  Just what the garden ordered!  It looks as if it's been going on for a while so the soil will have been given a good soaking and it will make the allotment so much easier to fork over.

Diet or no diet, healthy eating plan or not, yesterday's meal out was gorgeous.  We all (all 30 of us) had the set meal (£19.95 for three courses) which starts off with sharing platters.  I managed to stick with the vegetables - tomatoes, carrot, pepper and cucumber.  They were dressed in, presumably, olive oil but it wasn't too oily.  My main was skinny pizza primavera which was 'goat's cheese, spinach, artichokes, roasted peppers, balsamic tomatoes, olives and rocket on a wholemeal, white and spelt base with a 'summer slaw' in a citrus harissa dressing' (a quote from their web site!).  I got a shock when it arrived as it was HUGE, but it was OK, the base was paper thin and the toppings were only a reasonable amount.   It was delicious and I didn't manage to finish it all.  Dessert was naughty though - three scoops of delicious ice cream.

Although the food was lovely, the best bit of the evening was socialising with old friends, people I have worked with years and the real highlight was someone who started at school not long after I did who retired at the same time as I and who I haven't seen now for nearly three years.  She didn't recognise me!!!  Yay!
I keep getting nice comments from people - I think one doesn't realise the change because it is day by day and gradual but there does seem to be a significant change, enough for people to look twice and then look again and say something.

It's been a lovely week for eating out but it is back to normal life again now and fingers crossed for those scales; I have tried not to go overboard and I think I have more or less succeeded.  A maintain would be great!

On to today!  Normality rules again.  Aqua is at 9:45 so I will do my usual, get there early and warm up with twenty minutes or so of up and down, then do the class, then another time of swimming (to avoid the post class queues for the showers) before a relax in the spa.

I will need to go to Matalan.  About three weeks ago I needed to get a belt (to keep my jeans up!) and had to get the larger one because the smaller one wouldn't quite do up.  Well, it is now on the tightest notch so I need to get the smaller one.  That's how I know for sure that, although the weight is a bit up/down/plateau right now, I am still losing those inches.  I reckon that's a result of the swimming.

Well, after that I shall come home and take a rain check - literally.  If it has cleared up, I'll pop along to the allotment where the forking over and weeding should be loads easier and I won't need to water.  If it hasn't, I won't.

Then it is a lazy day until tuition.  I have ironing to do and stuff to get sorted so I can use the time usefully.
Despite the rain, a nice, cheerful day!

Wednesday 23 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  So the glorious weather continues - at least, it does round here although I gather there have been storms and rain elsewhere.  No such luck here though.

As expected, yesterday was busy, busy, busy although there were rest times in between all the activity!  It was nice to see more potatoes coming up at the allotment and I will soon start trenching them up (I think that's the phrase anyway) and the peas will go in soon.  They are mange tout and the pack is a mixture of types that should keep fruiting for several months which seems like a very good idea!  I need to pot on the courgettes and the outdoor cucumbers  while the runner beans are doing so well they will need putting out soon.  There are spaces at home but there will be plenty left for the allotment as well.

And, great excitement, at home the tayberry that refused to die is sending out flowers in several places while there are blueberry fruit appearing (not on the tayberry though!) and there are loads of little strawberries and  I bet they all ripen while I am on holiday!  Someone-or-other's law.

I rather fancy planting a clematis in a pot I have down the end of the garden.  One with loads of flowers, like Montana or Nelly Moser, both of which are very pretty and will brighten up the area next to the compost bin and take ones eye away from said bin which is hardly a pretty sight.  It's too late for this year but I might very well invest in one for beauty next year.

Getting back to yesterday, my hair is now chopped again, looking a bit short but give it a few weeks and it will be just right.  Tuition was fun, as usual and the evening out was brilliant.  I had the smaller plate salad as planned and couldn't finish it all!

Today looks just as fraught but actually it is less busy.  Early morning swimming again, a trip to the allotment to water the poor plants and, hopefully, to put in an hour's forking and weeding.  This afternoon I am hearing reading in Y1 followed by tuition (all planned) and then, bad me, another meal out, this time with ex-colleagues to say goodbye to someone who is moving on to another job.  She will be sorely missed.  We're going to Zizzi's, easy for parking, and they link some of their meals to 'under 600 calories', not that there's any guarantee that it is accurate, of course, but one can hope.
I have more confidence that I can stick with my good resolutions after last night; being alcohol free helps a lot, of course.

I'm hoping for another lovely day today and that yours is too.

Tuesday 22 May 2018


Good morning.  I thought we might have a bit of rain overnight but I don't think we did.  It would have helped but never mind.

Yesterday's meeting went on longer than I expected but it was a very, very good meeting and I think we were all pleased with how much got covered.

When I popped into the staffroom just before the 'nanny helping'; in FS, everyone was going on about how I was 'fading away' (ha ha - I wish) and as I walked back to the car, another friend stopped her car as she was leaving the car park to wow at my weight loss.  I think it's the contrast really because there's still quite a lot of chubbiness still to lose, plus the fact that I wasn't out and about all that much when I was losing the weight because of feeling rotten quite a lot of the time.

Things seem to be plateauing rather at the moment and two meals out this week isn't helping but never mind.  I might go back on the liver shrinking diet for a week or so to kick start it all again.  They did warn me that things would be up and down after the op and I am exercising a lot more plus a change in medication but by now things should be stabilising again.  Fingers crossed.

Today is busier than yesterday.
I'm not missing my swimming again so I'm going when the gym opens at 6:30 and it will be up, down, up, down for an hour.
Then it's home for breakfast and to iron my hair decent again before popping out with a friend to visit a school (she's visiting, I'm accompanying)
After that it is straight back home because the lovely Sharon is coming to work wonders with my hair.
I should have a quick hour to have lunch before tuition and not long after that I am meeting friends down the Hare for a meal out.
I should sleep well tonight!

Thankfully, tomorrow is easier (during the day, anyway).

Monday 21 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Another lovely day yesterday, wasn't it?

Yesterday I tried to make amends for Saturday's slip-up with the food and I think I did, more or less.
I really pushed the swimming and managed to get a bit breathless - not too much but enough to raise the pulse a bit which, I believe, makes it more fat burning.  After an hour of that my muscles were buzzing.  Then I went to the allotment and did some lifting, mowing, strimming and forking/weeding for a couple of hours.  That has to be good for burning a few calories, surely.

After all that, I was feeling tired so I had my lunch in the garden and then sat out and read the paper.  The sun was shining but it wasn't all that warm in the shade which is where I like to sit out.
I'm not a great fan of barbecues.  I think the taste of barbied food is OK but not worth doing just for one.  What I do love is the smell though, it's much better than the taste.  They were having a barbie next door so I reclined in my comfy garden chair, read the paper, sipped my sparkling water and enjoyed the aroma while the sun shone and the birds sang.  It was bliss.

I also had a very peaceful evening and another early night.  It was a really lovely day.

Today I have a meeting at school, am helping out in the afternoon and then some tuition.  I'm hoping that between the meeting and the helping I can get to the allotment for a bit more work.  No swimming today though, there just isn't the time.
The cleaner couldn't come on Friday so is coming today instead.  It'll be great to have a clean home by the evening.

That's about it really so have an enjoyable day.  I'm awake very early so I shall get the planning all done and off my mind!

Sunday 20 May 2018

Sunday extra!

I forgot to mention The Wedding!

I thought it was lovely.  It was blessed with sunshine, gentle warmth, happy crowds and beautiful music.  I rather took to Meghan's mum, sitting there all on her own, and wanted to give her a big hug.  I thought the way Charles took her hand when they went to sign the register was lovely.

Harry looked scared to death at a few points and Meghan - well, she looked just as every bride should look on her wedding day, fulfilling everyone's hopes and expectations and it was really rather clever of her.  She has such a beautiful smile.

And yes, the tears came when Harry lifted her veil and again at their confident responses and promises!

I'm just a soppy old romantic at heart!


Good morning.  Looks like another lovely day, not too warm yet but gorgeous.  It's almost getting boring but no complaints this end!

Yesterday was lovely but - oh, dear - I overdid the food totally and the weight has shot up.  I probably shouldn't have checked!  Never mind, back on the wagon today and it will settle again - I know it is just temporarily and some retained fluid won't have helped.

It was a lovely party.  Extremely noisy, of course, but the children were well behaved, there were only a few tears, the way the food was done was very clever, I thought, and all in all, they had a super time.  Enough parents stayed to make it all relatively easy to manage.

I was shattered afterwards and went to bed early again.  Unfortunately, I forgot about the little plants I had left outside - forgot to water, forgot to bring in and this morning just about all the sungold tomato seedlings are dead while the gardeners' delights are looking none too healthy either.  I've whizzed online and bought some baby plants to replace the sungolds so fingers crossed.  I was growing them for someone else as well as for me so it's rather a disaster!  How could I be so careless?

Today I am umming and ahing about going swimming.  I think I will because I need to but maybe I won't do a whole hour because I have to do allotment today and maybe Beth is coming as well.  I hope so because there's some heavy stuff to move and I can't do it by myself.

There's no ironing left now, three cheers, but I do have some planning to do for Monday and Tuesday.  Better get started then.  Have a good day!

Saturday 19 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  A lovely sunny day for a wedding, don't you think.  Yesterday was great too, very cheering.

I really pushed myself yesterday at swimming, thinking it was about time I moved up a little notch.  The result was lots of aches and a very early bedtime!

Once home, I made fifty nine little cakes, each with a swirl of butter icing (a shame my old icing bag split half way through and lucky I had another in the cupboard) and forty eight also ended with a little pirate picture topper, that being the party theme.  I'll be taking them down at about 1:30 today.
They took ages, longer than I expected, and my kitchen looked like a bomb site when I had finished.  It's amazing how icing sugar gets everywhere!  It's still a bit messy as I was too zonked to do all that much but it'll get sorted today!

A terrible photo as they are covered with cling film, but you get the idea!

In between cakes, I did some ironing and there's just a bit more to do today (while watching the wedding).  My back ached too much to finish it off yesterday but that's all worn off now and I am fine.

Later on, a lady called Sue came round and we went through my wishes and requirements for my new will and for an Lasting Power of Attorney thingy.  I'm just thankful that my affairs are relatively simple and really shouldn't take too long to sort out.  Selling the house will be the most complicated thing.  I'm really glad things have been set in motion.  The will should have been done a long time ago and the LPA is just sensible really. 

As I mentioned, I was so zonked that I was in bed well before eight and fast asleep soon after and I didn't stir until half past five this morning - nearly ten hours' sleep.  Lovely!

No swimming today, I reckon my body needs a day off.  Not my mind though - I sort out a lot of things while trudging up and down, up and down!  It's a useful time.

After the wedding and the ironing and the sorting-out-the-kitchen, I'm off to a party for a little girl (who absolutely loved her Darcy doll, by the way), taking the cakes with me.  I should get some exercise there and just need to avoid the food - typical little girl party food so that shouldn't be too hard as long as I can resist the crisps.  It was another two pounds off yesterday so that should be an incentive not to go bonkers.

And then I reckon I will be wiped out and get another early night!

Friday 18 May 2018


Morning, all!  Thankfully, after a chilly start, yesterday turned out gloriously sunny and warm but not too warm.  A perfect day.  Also a very energetic day.  I did about 90 minutes of swimming/aqua and it was lovely.  Then I 'ran some errands' as we used to say, before going to the allotment and working there for around four hours. 

The weather was perfect and it was so peaceful.  I was really pleased to get the front bed finished and ready for planting and I tackled the middle bed which is now well on the way to being ready too.  I know it sounds as if I work very slowly - maybe I do - but I fork over a small area and then I kneel down and go over every bit with my hands, breaking up the clods and removing as many nasty roots and stones as I can find.  What was last year's potato patch didn't get this treatment last year so there's a lot to do but the bit I did last year was a lot easier this time round.  I think it's worth it and saves time later on.  There's quite a lot of nasty, invasive weedy stuff there and I intend to win the war!

We plan to put the baby corn in the front (to go alongside the asparagus and the large patch of potatoes) and the middle bed already has chard and one, solitary potato plant from a potato we obviously missed last year (I've left it there for now as it's obviously a survivor)!  We intend to put courgettes, cucumber, mange tout peas and probably a couple of wigwams of runner beans.  Not a very wide range, I know, but we're aiming mostly for veg that is more expensive (or not so nice shop-bought, like the runners).

To coin a phrase, potatoes are popping out all over while the asparagus only has three out of ten plants doing anything much, but it will be a few years before we can pick anything there anyway and we are acting in faith that things are going on below soil level.

Three of the five new little strawberry plants that seemed to have died are sending up leafage so, while we may not get fruit from them this year, we will next year.  Three of the raspberry canes are also not doing anything yet but we live in hopes and won't be replacing them quickly.

I came home with a bag of rhubarb so will have to organise something with that.  The freezer for now, I guess, although I will make some more cordial as that went down a real treat and I might also have a go at rhubarb liqueur with either gin or vodka.

Today I'll be going with the mower as the grass is a disgrace to any self respecting allotment!

I got home from the allotment in time to clean up, change and then pop out to tuition which went well although my student flaked out towards the end of the session!

Today is a baking day.  I have to make fifty little cakes for a party tomorrow.  Just fairy cakes with toppers, so easy to do, but my will power will be seriously tested, I think.  If I have one, I will have loads, so best not to have any at all!

Later on this afternoon, my solicitor (who does home visits) is coming round to update my will and to start the proceedings for putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.  This is something I have been considering for a while.  It seems to be a very sensible thing to do and, while it will be a bit expensive, it's a good move for the future.  Both of my 'children' have agreed to be named so it's all go!  The will is very out of date now and should have been updated ages ago so I will be relieved to get that done too.

The day starts with a good old swim as early as I can drag myself down to the gym and the rest of the time will likely be spent snoozing as I woke ridiculously early today.

Have a great day and may the sun shine on you.

Thursday 17 May 2018


Morning, everyone.  Wasn't it c-c-cold yesterday?  I actually turned on the heating which is daft for the middle of May, really stupid, in fact.  My student turned up in winter coat and woolly hat!  No wonder the runner beans I planted outside are refusing to come up!

I didn't do half the things I had planned yesterday
Yes, I did my hour's swimming but it was late because I'd received an email from eBay telling me someone had tried to change the email address I had with them.  Well, I hadn't, so I spent the next hour or so having an online conversation with someone who couldn't see why I couldn't log in and sort it out.  I haven't used eBay for years and have totally forgotten all my details.
In the end I sent a message to them and goodness knows when they will see it and respond,. asking them to just close my account.
I rushed off to swimming to work off the tension this generated and it wasn't until I had ploughed furiously up and down for half an hour that I remembered that even if someone does have access to my account, they won't get very far as any details I have there are very old and very out of date.
I've changed my email password anyway and will keep an eye on my bank account and if the emails were scams, I didn't give away any more details than the obvious and unsecret ones - I wasn't asked to, which makes me think it was genuine.  But how can you tell?

I was worn out after swimming and it was so cold that I didn't do any allotment stuff so I really MUST do some today or Beth will hit the roof (no, not really, but she would be entitled to).

I popped into school to do my Y1 reading duty and half an hour later I popped home again because it obviously wasn't going to happen what with one thing and another (observations, etc).  Instead, I had some nice chats with friends/ex-colleagues and got invited to a dinner out next Wednesday.

Tuition went as normal and I had a lovely coffee and chat with my friend over the road early evening.

So a mixed day but, all in all, a good one!

Today is not as busy, thankfully.  Aqua at 9:45, allotment after that and no cancelling today unless it actually rains and then the time's my own until tuition.  I might even get some housework/ironing done; the ironing particularly is essential as my basket is fuller than it has been for a long while.  Hopefully there will be no security hassles today!

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday 16 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to Wednesday which is supposed to be a fine day again, starting with sunshine but then getting hazy later on and not as warm but that's OK.

Yesterday started off with a trip to the parcel office to pick one up.  It was a top I had ordered and I really like it so will be keeping it.  A good start!  Then a popped down to the allotment for a couple of hours of weeding, forking over and watering.  To my delight, the potatoes are starting to come up so we will have to cover them again at the weekend (there's a phrase for that but I can't remember it).  Then I went home for a brief time before aqua class which was good and then it5 was tuition.

When I got home between allotment and swimming, there was a message from a friend opposite me in the cul de sac, so I'll be popping round there at six, after tuition, for coffee and chit chat!  Nice

As well as that, it's another satisfyingly busy day.  I am so enjoying being back to 100% again and being able to do everything without discomfort or pain. 
So today's swim is early morning - the gym opens at 6:30 - followed by more digging.  Then I will come home to iron my hair smooth again before popping off the school to hear readers for the first time in absolutely ages.  Then it's tuition which is all prepared and last of all, that coffee and chat.  I guess I will squeeze my three meals in there somewhere, somehow!

The busier I am, the less I want to snack between meals which is a Very Good Thing.  I'm a shocker for boredom eating and need to either be up and doing or to keep my hands and brain very busy.  Today should be OK though, there's not much time to sit and do nothing.

Hope you have an enjoyable day too.

Tuesday 15 May 2018


Good morning.  Yesterday was lovely and sunny for moist of the day but it never really warmed up much and in the afternoon, when it clouded over a bit, it felt positively chilly.  Today looks positive according to the forecast.  Wall to wall sunshine and warmth as well.  Good-oh!

Yesterday flowed very nicely - there was quite a lot to do but it all flowed really well without any rushes or last minute panics.
The drive home from Mum and Dads was free of hold-ups or problems and when I walked into my home I was delighted to see that the seeds are sprouting and now I have baby runners, courgettes, baby corn, etc.  Because they are a bit late, It is nice to see them coming along speedily.  Out in the garden I now have loads of baby strawberries, untouched by any frost, and at last the delphinium is coming up (the first shoots were snail fodder).
It was nice to get into school again after some weeks away and also lovely to get back to tuition.

I was pleased to see that the additional meds seem to have done the trick with the bp - it was down to within the normal range yesterday after three days of no measuring because of being away.  I'll continue to monitor it, of course, and I'm taking nothing for granted, but I feel encouraged.

Today is a busy one too.  Well, sort of busy, anyway.
First of all I have to go across town to pick up a parcel that arrived over the weekend and which needs a signature (I wonder what it is).  When I've done that, I'm off to the allotment for a couple of hours of hard work.  After that I am booked into an aqua class so I'll get there a bit early, do some upping and downing, take the class, relax with some more upping and downing, spend a bit of time in the spa and then smarten myself up for tuition.
So, yes, just 'sort of' busy.

It's going to be good!

Monday 14 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  The skies are clear and the sun is shining as I type this but I bet it is none too warm out there.  Fine by me, I love the sun but too much heat can be unpleasant.

Yesterday was a quiet, peaceful day with plenty of opportunity for snoozing!  That's about it really, as far as yesterday goes.

Today is much more eventful - it's the week where all my old activities and responsibilities resume after my op.
I'm away right now but will be driving home after breakfast.  Once home, I will check over the garden and the seedlings, unpack and get a load in the washing machine.
Then I will look over my tuition planning for today and get tomorrow's done (not much to do).  After that I am off to school to help in FS, followed by tuition.  In the evening I will have ironing which I can do as I watch telly!

Today should be a nice, ordinary, busy sort of day and I'm looking forward to it very much.
I hope yours is as good.

Sunday 13 May 2018


One of my most favourite blogs, if not the favourite, out of all the blogs I regularly follow is 'The Cottage at the End of a Lane'.  The writer, Sue, has the gift of making you feel that you know her personally as she writes and publishes her daily thoughts and doings.

It's a lovely, lovely blog, full of wisdom, folklore, history, literature, recipes, frugality, nature, gardening, fun and a rich and keen enjoyment of life in all its facets, joys and sorrows both.

Sue's husband, Col, has been very poorly, and they have faced the ups and downs of this with humour, courage and fortitude, always looking on the bright side of life, always looking forward to the future, always positive.

On Friday, after a rapid deterioration, Col died in hospital.  Sue and their children were there.

My heart goes out to Sue and the rest of the family and I send her love and deep sympathy at this sad time.  I won't forget the lovely man Sue painted in her blog and I know I'm not the only one of Sue's many readers who will remember him with affection.

RIP, Col.

Saturday 12 May 2018


Good morning.  The lovely, sunny weather continued yesterday morning but by the afternoon it had clouded over and it really wasn't that warm.  I gather rain is forecast for today but I can't muster the energy to get out of bed and look.  It's too early!

After a lovely early morning swim yesterday, I set to and finished sorting out the leftovers from the family meal.  Nothing wasted, everything has been used or frozen although apart from the bolognaise and the chicken, there was precious little left anyway.  Beth took the birthday cake with her and the vegetarian option and I finished the salad for lunch.  I was pleased at how everything worked out.

Today is a quiet day.  I'm doing an early morning shop and at lunchtime Beth is coming over for a family meeting but apart from that it's all rest and relaxation, which is going to be nice.
Have a lovely Saturday, whatever you intend to do!

Friday 11 May 2018


Good morning and a Happy Friday to everyone.  After the rain, yesterday cheered up, albeit remaining chilly, and the evening was beautiful.  It looks as if today is going to be sunny - it's a good start anyway.

Yesterday morning, after doing a bit more prepping for the family meal, I trundled off the the surgery.  The doctor was running really late so by the time I saw him, I reckon my bp was higher anyway, just because I had started fretting that maybe I had missed the call or something (it has been known!)  Fortunately, he didn't need to take my bp, he looked at the memory on my monitor thingy instead and agreed that it was lower but still too high.
(He also confirmed that the last blood test was fine and that my cholesterol was back in the normal banding - cheers)

So he's given me another kind of med to go with the ramopril and wants me back in six weeks.

In the chemists, I was ushered into a private room to 'talk' to the pharmacist which I hadn't expected, but it was good.  She chatted to me about what I was doing, made notes about the current problems and told me about a few possible side effects of the new meds.  It was all very helpful, I thought, and it's nice that the medications are being monitored by both GP and pharmacist.  Mind you, what with the lateness plus the extra session, what should have been forty five minutes actually lasted over two hours.  It was lucky I had the time - if |I'd had time off school for that, I'd have been going bananas by then!

Once home, I did more getting ready while the lovely cleaner did her bit so by about 1:00 I had a clean, shiny home that was all ready.

We had a super evening.  Loads food eaten (but not all by me) and there's a comfortably amount of leftovers, some for this weekend and some for the freezer.  I was tired afterwards and, yet again, was extremely grateful for my dishwasher.

Today I will be having an early morning swim before having a bit more of a chill-out day.  Leftovers are on the menu!
Have a super Friday!

Thursday 10 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  We've had rain overnight which is a bit of a surprise but very welcome as I just didn't have allotment time at all yesterday.

I'm hosting a family meal later on today so yesterday was spent shopping, cooking, baking, tutoring and collapsing in my chair later on.  There's still a bit to do today but it's mostly organising, clearing the decks a little bit and moving the furniture.

Rather fortuitously, last week the cleaner couldn't come so she arranged to catch up this morning.  So that's one thing I won't need to worry about!

First thing I have my GP appointment regarding the blood pressure so I expect I will come out with a new prescription and, maybe, advice.  We shall see.

I'd better make this short and get into the kitchen.  I can relax after its all ready!
Have a super day.

Wednesday 9 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Yet another warm and sunny day although it got a bit black and humid at one point without turning into anything before the sun came back.  I'm loving this great weather - sitting out for my meals is delightful.

On the spur of the moment I went into town yesterday.  Remember I bought some new bras around the New Year.  Well - they are now getting too big so I went in to M&S and bought a couple of new bras.  Ditto for pyjamas - Beth now has my 'old' ones (which really weren't that old), definitely the flip side to losing the weight.

And then I went into Lakeland.  Oh, dear.  They had in the new electric yogurt makers.  Yes, I already have a yogurt maker but the new one is much better and it cost little more than I paid for the old one so guess what!!!
I look upon it as a reward for being a Good Girl (or whatever)!

When I got home, I popped the new clothes into a super speedy wash (15 mins) before pegging them out and setting off for Aqua.  It was really good and there was plenty of time to get dried, dressed, hair done and home before tuition - in fact there was time to spare, so maybe it will be a part of my regular routine after all.

I was shattered in the evening so Beth and I sat and stitched.  I finished Darcy, the knitted doll for a special little lady, while her clothes now have all their buttons.  Just as well because she's being handed over tomorrow.  Here she is, with her suitcase of clothes.

Today, as I didn't go allotmenteering yesterday, I MUST go and water everything first thing.  Then I need to do a shop and then I have plenty of cooking because there's a family meal round mine tomorrow evening.
That, with tuition, will keep me going all day really!

Time to start the bread dough!  Good old Thermomix!

Tuesday 8 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.

Phew, what a hot day it turned out to be yesterday.  I gather it was the hottest bank holiday for however-many- years but I was pleased to say that since I've started losing weight, the plus side of feeling the cold a lot more is that the heat isn't so hard to tolerate, so I was a lot more comfortable than I expected.  Definitely another plus.

It's supposed to be warm for several days to come which is very nice.  Maybe Beth and I can eat out in the garden this evening.

It ended up quite a satisfying day.  I did my swim - an hour of up-down with a few sort of exercises from aqua and the occasional 'water jog' (harder than I expected), finishing off with ten minutes in the spa (bliss).

Then it was home for a relax and to do some ironing before Beth turned up and we set off for the allotment where I mowed the grass (long overdue), weeded around the asparagus, cleared a bit more ground and watered while Beth planted the potatoes.  They are now all in (none left for me to plant at home!) which is a great relief.  We were delighted to see that some of the baby asparagus roots we planted several weeks ago are now sending up titchy little fern heads.  We have to take the long term view about our asparagus - there will be no harvest this year, of course, and not next year either when we just have to leave whatever comes up in nthe way of asparagus to develop and die back again, although we can pick some of the fern for vases.  The following year we should be able to pick some and after that it will be established and we can pick to our hearts' content.

Four of the baby strawberry plants haven't survived but I have more to replace them.  More annoyingly, three of the raspberry canes don't seem to be doing anything either but we'll leave them until next year to see if they're just not doing anything this year and will be OK next year or whether they will have to be replaced.

The grass will need another cut today or, more likely, tomorrow.  There's more forking over and clearing to be done, we have to sow the peas in the near future and everything else is being nurtured  about five metres from where I am sitting.  Should be good.

Today I restart some of my tuition so I have planning to do.  Then I hope to have about two hours of allotment (weeding and watering) before I pop to the pool for an aqua class that starts at twelve.  I'm still feeling my way with all of this and twelve is not a helpful time for me really so I may not book the Tuesday class again.  Going at six thirty is much more workable, I think, but I shall see how it goes in the next few weeks.

Anyway, after that I have to be home by around three to tidy myself up for tuition and then Beth is over in the evening.  So quite busy but fun as well.

I'd better get on with planning now.  Have a great day and enjoy the sun as much as ever you can while we have it.

Monday 7 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Wasn't it a glorious day.  Today looks like being similar too which is great for all those who are able to take the bank holiday.  My sincere thanks and appreciation to those essential services for whom bank holidays are a dream, something that other people have.

All those flowers!!

Yesterday was great.  By mid morning I was feeling fine again so I went into the garden and blitzed everything that needed doing, weeds, paving, sweeping, clearing the bulb leaves and so on (maybe too early but I was fed up with the mess), after which I sowed some seeds.  All being well, I/we should have
yellow courgettes
baby corn
chilli peppers
gardeners' delight tomatoes
sungold tomatoes
runner beans (white and red)

The courgettes, corn and cucumber are for the allotment.  Some of the beans and tomatoes might be, depending on space.

I sowed some runner beans in the ground but, if they don't come up as they didn't last year, I have more in pots to replace them.  If they do come up, we can have some down the allotment as well.
Now it's a case of keeping them alive.

I have a number of blueberry flowers on one plant but not so many on the other - yet.  They are different types so maybe that's why.  There's lots of growth on the tayberry so fingers crossed this year and the strawberries are looking fantastic.  The autumn raspberry is sending out strong leafage but I don't expect that much fruit this year as it's the first year.

Also the herbs are coming on well and I'm already picking them.  Also the plant that I think is a passion flower and which died back over winter is sending up several shoots.  It didn't get anywhere last year: maybe it will this.  If that's what it is, of course.  If not, I shall see what it turns into.

Now I've cleared the middle bed, the flowers are coming on.  Two strong clumps of pinks and the phlox candystripe is spreading nicely, the irises have spread a bit and, as usual, I had to dig out several spreading clumps of the Japanese anemone.  I've lost the two fuschias in pots but the one in the bed is sending up growth while something is coming up near where I've planted the runners - not sure what but it isn't a weed.

I nearly threw these out last year because they were all leaf and no flowers.  I'm glad I didn't; they're one of my favourite flowers!

Not bad for a little garden with minimal growing space.

Today it is swimming followed by a rest and then Beth and I are allotmenteering pm.  I think we need to get the potatoes in today and I'm hoping that she can fork over the soul and then I can sit and clear the weeds from the rest of the big patch.  There's bound to be weeds on what has already been dug over and I will either dig them out or hoe them down, depending on what they are.  The potatoes have sprouted well or is that 'chitted' well?  If there's any left, they will go in bags in my garden like last year.

Should be a good day and I'll probably sleep most of the evening!  :-)  What are your bank holiday plans?

Sunday 6 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  The fine weather continues and all my current washing is done, dried and waiting to be ironed.  That's todays little task!

Yesterday was glorious.  Swimming, followed by some housework and then a lovely relax out in the garden or watching Next Gen.  So lazy!  I didn't really get much done at all but it was very pleasant.

I was tossing up whether to go swimming this morning or to Hyde Hall for a craft show.  I had decided on the craft show and to go early because later on there will be queues and parking will be a nightmare.  However, overnight solved the problem as I was awake with an upset tum which isn't 100% right this morning so I will do neither; I will have another restful and relaxing day and just potter in my own garden.  You know, that feels just right, just perfect.  I might do a bit of Youtube exercise later on, I'll see how I feel, or go for a little walk but right now staying near a loo seems the most sensible action!  I'll have another swim tomorrow!

I have a whole load of flour to make room for in my cupboards and some to bag and freeze - must get that done today.  There's also some sewing and some knitting and I shall have enough to keep me occupied while I R&R

Have a good Sunday!

Saturday 5 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Wasn't it a gorgeous spring day yesterday, so sunny and comfortably warm too.  Really good  for sitting out with a cold drink and my kindle.

After swimming yesterday (early morning swimming is lovely) I came home and finished clearing out all my bedding.  I'd forgotten just how much I have which was a bit embarrassing but the plus side is that apart from some new quilt covers for the guest room, I won't be needing any other bedding, probably for the rest of my life!.  Some hadn't been used for ages so I popped those items in the washing machine for a quick 15 minute freshen up before drying them in the sunshine.  Some is very old now so that's being recycled.

In the afternoon I thoroughly spoilt myself.  I made a delicious strawberry, blueberry and rhubarb slushy and reclined in the garden with my kindle.  Bliss.

I have a friend whose other half works in a local mill and gets flour at cost price.  Yesterday she brought round some wholemeal, white and spelt strong flours so now I am well set for bread making.  Excellent.  Now I need to find people who need bread.  :-)

After that, Dave came round bearing gifts.  He had bought me a Blue-ray player which was lovely of him and he has lent me his Star Trek boxed sets - Next Gen, Voyager and Deep Space 9.   So guess what I will be doing on and off today and certainly while I am ironing the quilt covers I didn't get done yesterday.  How lucky am I?
I wonder if they have boxed sets of the original series.  Must look and maybe treat.

I have no hard and fast plans for today so will just wing it.  It is promising to be another lovely day so I guess the garden will feature mightily in what I do.  I think I will get the ironing done now, before popping off to swimming to start at eight.  After that, who knows.  The world is my oyster as they say!

Friday 4 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.

What a lovely day it turned out to be yesterday although I was glad I'd dashed out early morning with my fleece to cover my strawberries as there was a bit of a frost.  I don't know whether it would have touched the plants, you never know.  I covered them again overnight but it seems much milder, there's some high cloud cover and no frost!

The morning was spent at the Riverside shopping centre.  A bit of a trawl around Home Bargains and Matalan first and then into the gym pool.  I did 15 mins of up, down, up, down before the aqua class started which was really good and I felt I had a thorough work out, even though I didn't push myself too hard.  I finished off with another up, down session before ten minutes in the spa (lovely and hot) and a shower.
I was expecting to be quite sore this morning but, although my muscles are sort of 'buzzing', actually I'm fine.  Great!

When I got home I did a couple of loads of washing as it was a gorgeous drying day and did the ironing in the evening so my conscience was clear.

Today starts with swimming.  I've just heard that my cleaner is poorly so that won't happen today but things are OK and it won't hurt me to run a duster and sweeper round the place.  Then, assuming sun and warmth, I shall sit out in the garden and be lazy - I won't have any excuse to take life easy soon so I'm making the most of it while I can!  The only remaining issue is that I'm still a bit 'windy' and maybe that's a result of the op but it causes no real problems.

And in the last fortnight I have lost 7lbs so a very happy start to the day!

Thursday 3 May 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It really was a wild day yesterday but by the evening the beast had blown elsewhere, the sun came out and it was lovely.  I covered my strawberries overnight, just in case of a touch of frost.  Now it looks like endless sunshine for the next several days and also warming up.  I'm fed up of having to put the heating on!

After the health check I came home and made downstairs presentable for my friends.  We had a lovely afternoon catching up with all sorts of news while the rain lashed against the windows and made us thankful to be inside.

I was bad and bought another top, a hippy sort of thing to wear with jeans or whatever.  I maybe won't dare to wear it out and it's very vintage and perhaps too young but I just like it.  I can always return it if it's not right!

Then the evening was spent watching telly and stitching.  What a frivolous retirement!  :-)

Today I have Aqua and I shall go back into Matalan (which is more or less next door to the gym) to have another look at some T shirts.  If I do get a couple, I am more or less set for the summer apart from a couple of skirts I am making and I'm waiting for a bit before starting them.  Once I get going, they will take less than a day to make.

There's nothing else in the diary so it's an organise myself kind of day.  Things continue to pick up and I've taken no painkillers for several days now - not being brave, I just haven't needed to.
So all is well in my little world.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Health check

Well, it seemed very thorough although what do I know - I've never had one before.

One shock, a couple of pleasant surprises, mostly as expected and it's nice to have confirmation that my scales are spot on.

So . . .
BP taken twice, the second was a lot lower than the first but still too high.  I'd already told him about the BP issue and that it is being followed up.
Blood sugar levels are very good.
Cholesterol has shot down.  Normal is below 5 and mine was 5.01.  That's a huge change from before Christmas and I was really pleased.
Weight and BMI as expected.  No surprises.
Waist to hip ratio wasn't great but I know that's improved because now I HAVE a waist!
Lifestyle questions - smoking, alcohol, water, caffeine, sleep, etc - came out well.  No need to change anything.
There was one important test he couldn't do because just where he needed to place a gizmo is still covered by my dressings.  No problem, I will have that done next time.

The one surprise was my height.  I'm 5'4" but came out an inch smaller.  Posture, I bet, I will stand better.  I refuse to be any smaller and I don't think I am old enough to be shrinking.

I went through my diet at the moment and my plans for using the facilities, sticking to swimming at first and then moving on to perhaps other exercise in due course.  To my surprise he thought it was all fine and had no further suggestions to make at present.

I shall have another one in three months (it's part of membership perks) when I hope the graphs will show a downward trend, especially the BP one.  Fingers crossed.

So it was all very helpful and affirming.  Phew.


Good morning, everyone.  It appears to be dry out there although it has rained a little overnight but yesterday was gloriously sunny, if not all that warm.  Such a change from the weekend and a very welcome one too.  Sadly, the forecast for today is not good - rain, rain and more rain - but after today it looks as if it is going to brighten up considerably.  Let's hope so.

I got my act together and went swimming early yesterday morning.  Very nice it was too, slowly up and down, up and down, stopping myself from pushing it too much, followed by ten minutes in the jacuzzi.  It helped the aches too, they were much better after all that stretching.

I was so cross with my iron yesterday.  As I was ironing a skirt (navy pattern on a white background) it decided to spit brown gunk over it!  Grrr.  So I threw it back into the washing machine.  It (the iron) then behaved itself while I ironed some darker stuff and then, would you believe, as I started on a white T shirt, it did the same again!  How did it know?
To be fair, the iron was long overdue for a descale and a plate clean, which it has now had, but all the same, grrrrrrr!

I'm off to my health check at the gym this morning.  I'll talk about that in a separate post so, if I am boring you rigid with all this natter about getting healthy, you can just ignore me!  :-)  I have to have nil by mouth (as they say) for two hours before so I'm grabbing a very early coffee now and that's it until I get home again.

Apart from that, I have a free morning but this afternoon two dear friends are coming round for a good old gossip over coffee and (for them) biscuits (posh ones from Morrisons.  I'm really looking forward to it - we all get on well and always have plenty to chat about so it should be great fun.

May your day be great fun too and stay dry!

Tuesday 1 May 2018


The traditional bit - a pinch and a punch and, as it is May 1st, White Rabbits as well!

Good morning.  It ain't 'alf cold this morning and I've just whizzed out to cover my strawberries with a fleece because the skies are clear and it only takes a touch of frost.  That happened last year and I lost some fruit.  Mind you, clear skies could mean sunshine.  I do hope so, a bit of bright weather would be cheering.

Well, I did it - I joined the Nuffield gym for a year and I have my first 'health MOT' tomorrow early morning.
You'd not believe it though - do you remember I said a while ago that I keep meeting school folk in 'significant' places?  The last three times I was in hospital, I met someone whose children I had taught (separate someones, I mean).  Well, yesterday, out came a young lady to show me round and do the introductory spiel, we shook hands and she said something like 'I wondered if it was you - you're Mrs Clark from NS (name of school), aren't you?'  It turns out not only was she in the choir, I had her younger brother in my class.  I remembered him but not her and I'd never have recognised her.  So we got on very well and had a great chat as she showed me round.
You couldn't make it up, could you?

I think I will pop down early morning today and have a gentle swim.  Got to start somewhere and I promise I will be careful and not push things too much.  I'm so looking forward to it.

One nice thing that I only realised yesterday - when you are a member, you can use any of their gyms.  There just happens to be one in Letchworth where I often go to stay with Mum and Dad so that's really good.

Before I went to the gym, I had a wander round Matalan and came out with clothes.  It's so lovely to be in 'normal range' sizes, it opens up a world of choice.  I didn't get loads but I am mindful that if all goes to plan I will be needing summer clothes at a time when they are stocking the autumn clothes - not terribly helpful really.  So, no, I can't wear them yet but I will do before the end of summer.

I was brave after my bath and took off one of my small 'dressings' - that's what they called them but really they are just plasters.  I knew the incisions were small but the one I looked at was minute!  All was well, it was totally dry, 'glued' together rather than stitched and all healing up nicely so I popped another plaster over and left the other three in place.  I'll give them more time and then remove them completely, maybe at the weekend.

Isn't the internet wonderful?  I mentioned a while ago that when I tidied up my bedroom drawers I found a  simple little silver ring with a garnet that now fits on my finger again.  The trouble was, the silver was so tarnished and silver polish is expensive.  Yesterday I found this hint on Facebook, looked it up and now I have a lovely, shiny ring.   Watch this.  I did the first bit but watch the second method too.  Amazing!

Then I looked up about gold for my engagement ring, found out what to do and now that's all shiny and gorgeous again.  It still only fits on my little finger but it'll go on my fourth finger (right hand!) soon, I am sure of that.

I also did three loads of washing so, for a nice easy day, I managed to pack quite a lot in!

Today's diary page is absolutely empty.  Apart from that gentle swim, that's it!  If it stays fine, I might attack the middle bed in the garden.  All the white bells are up and out and, as I'm trying to get rid of them (an endless task, like bindweed and ground elder), I can dig them up while I know what I'm digging up..  I also have some thyme to plant and maybe I will put together the cage for the blueberries as well.  As long as I don't lift anything heavy, I should be OK with that.

Have a great day, whatever you have planned.