Thursday 28 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a less bitter start to the day today - no frost but a cloudy sky and the forecast is for rain later on.  Needed, I have to admit, as the ground feels quite dry, but I do hope it doesn't signal the end of this wonderfully spring-like weather we have been having.

After a gentle start to the day when I checked my planning and did a bit of sorting out, I drove off to Hylands to meet a friend.  Now, there are three car parks at Hylands, one by the A12, one up by the house and stables and one the other side near to the adventure playground.  I've only ever used the one by the house so assumed that was where F and I were to meet.  She, on the other hand, thought it was the one by the playground.  Ooops!

After a bit of hanging around and wondering, I decided to make the best of it and stroll around for a while which is when I took those photos I posted yesterday.  Fortunately, F decided to do something similar and we met by the old flint house.  Over coffee and non-stop chat, she told me how to get to the other car park which, I have to admit, is a lot easier to get to from my end of town so I'll probably use that in future.  There's a bit of a walk up to the house but that's one of the things I'd go for, a good walk in pleasant surroundings.

We ended up in the little plant shop where we both indulged in flowers for our gardens.  I got two lovely double-headed purple primroses and a yellow hyacinth (you don't see yellow hyacinths much, do you?) and they're now planed out round the front which looks really pretty after my work of the weekend.

I must go there more often.  It's an easy and speedy drive, free entry, very pleasant surroundings and a perfect place to spend a couple of hours with a picnic lunch to enjoy.  There's not an easy way to get there by bus, sadly, but come the better weather, you will find me there rather more.

Once home, Beth helped me lift the furniture out to the front of the house and, hopefully, they will be collected by the council at some point today.  They'd better, anyway - I've paid them to do so!  It will be very nice to have them gone, finally.
Beth worked upstairs in the room that is being converted to a sewing/work room and found she got so much more done than downstairs where there are constant distractions, so that's great.

After tuition I set off for the governors' training which was really very good and it was nice to realise that we are more or less doing the 'right thing' with our governor visits (which is what it was about).  I was very tired by then so once home it wasn't long before I was tucked up in bed and fast asleep!

Today is a lot easier.  The diary is empty until tuition and then there's a couple of hours free before SW group.  I plan to pop into town this morning.  I need to get some bras for mum and I want to look at the summer clothes that are not popping up!  One of you suggested I look in Fat Face so that's on the list, and I want to look around the 'little' shops as well as the bigger ones.  I might take a look at some paper patterns in John Lewis too.  And at their yarn . . . bliss!

So I will be at the bus stop just after nine for a morning's retail therapy, even if most of it will be of the window type!  I hope the promised rain holds off.

Thank you for all your comments yesterday.  I do enjoy reading them and I hope I have replied to each one - I think I have.
Have a great day.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

A couple of hours at Hylands.

The bumph on the web site says this about Hylands.

"Hylands Estate is a prestigious grade II* listed public park encompassing 574 acres of historic parkland."

The house isn't open in the way that Chatsworth, etc, are open but the grounds are open more or less all the time and they are lovely to just stroll around.

I spent a couple of hours there this morning and here's a few photos in no particular order

Just look at all that sunshine - it was glorious!


Good morning, everyone.  There's just a hint of frost on the cars this morning and a forecast of yet more sun, which is lovely!

Yesterday was gorgeous!  Wall to well sunshine and it was so mild it was incredible.

The day started with me setting off for pottery.  It was pleasant to see everyone again.

The leaf is now finished - the extra glazing worked and I'm extremely pleased with the result (the white in the photo is reflection, not fault).  It didn't work so well on the mousehog who still looks as if he's spent the night in tears but never mind.

I was expecting to continue working on the coil pot before firing - some smoothing off, neatening up, more work to sort out the inside and so on but, unfortunately, Alex (tutor) had thought it was finished and had fired it - or maybe. knowing my perfectionist tendencies, she felt it wasn't worth any extra effort and pre-empted things by firing it.  I was sorry about that but it was never going to be something I'd want to show off so never mind.  I got it glazed and next week it will be finished.  I'll take another photo then when I have it home and it contains my pens.

Before I did that, I worked on the butterfly buttons which, thankfully, hadn't been fired.  They very much needed the edges neatening and smoothing (rather fiddly!) and I also needed to sort of 'drill' the button holes which I should have done last time but I thought there would only have been a week between sessions, not realising that there isn't one over half term.  After the week off, they had dried out so much I had to be very careful and, sadly, snapped two of them as I made the holes.  A learning experience.  However, I still have six and I need four so that will be OK as long as the glazing works.  They're in for firing now and next week I must remember to take the bag I want them for, to choose the glaze colour.

Then it was home for lunch/dinner (main meal) before doing some furniture moving.  Turning the second spare room into a sort of sewing room is a work in progress and the bed needs to go.  It's not a 'real' bed, it's a metal chair frame that fold down into a bed (from IKEA) and it's been very useful but really I have no need for it - it hasn't been used for over a year now.  What with that, the mattress (very old) and an old recliner downstairs, there's enough heavy stuff to warrant getting the council to come and take the stuff so that's what is happening tomorrow.  So today I need to get it all out the front (with Beth's help) and yesterday I got the bed and the mattress downstairs (without Beth's help).

For now, there's a gopak table up there for Beth to work on while we get the rest of the room sorted.  I'm really very excited about making good use of the room again and it will be great to get all the crafting equipment up in one place although I shall miss my dumping ground.  For the rare occasion when I do need a bed in a second spare room, I am going to invest in one of those air beds that inflate and deflate rapidly.  They are very comfortable and can pack away small.

After tuition, I went out to the Civic to see My Fair Lady and it really was very good.  The singing was strong and Eliza was particularly well played.  The costumes, which are a great part of the overall charm, were fantastic.  All in all, a great evening out.

Today is most complicated! 
I'm meeting a friend at Hylands Park for coffee, a good chat and some 'Body Magic' (SW's term for any form of exercise - twee, I know) as we stroll around the grounds.
Then Beth and I need to get that furniture outside for pick up early tomorrow morning.
Then it is tuition and there's only half an hour between that and a couple of hours of governor training this evening.
I usually manage my days better than this but never mind, at least it will all be over and done with.

Wishing us all a good and successful day!

Tuesday 26 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  We have another frost this morning which bodes well for the day to come.

After a cold, frosty start to the day, it did indeed turn sunny, warm and springlike.  It was really lovely in the sun but a frosty morning also has its own beauty too!

It was a bit of a busy day one way and another.  Knitter Knatter was great with a new member who took to knitting like the proverbial duck to water.  I did my bit helping out with foundation stage before popping over the road to Morrisons for some decaf (I was nearly out) and a few essential bits and bobs.

Then I rushed home for a late lunch before getting the cushions out  on the arbour seats (looking very summery in the sunshine) and then going off for a tuition session.

Today is even busier.  I have pottery in the morning (it was half term last week so I've been a fortnight without my creative fix!) and then, after tuition, I am off to the Civic Theatre to watch a local operatic and drama group in My Fair Lady, something I am very much looking forward to.  For choice, I'd have gone to the Saturday matinee (as a friend remarked, it's harder to to fall asleep at a matinee) but I won't be around this Saturday - in fact, tonight is the only evening I am free.  It's just that sort of week.

The back is a bit better; thank you for the good wishes.  Have a lovely day, whatever you have planned and may the sun shine on you

Monday 25 February 2019


Good morning, everyone, welcome to Monday!  After the early mist and slight frost yesterday, the sun soon warmed everything up and it ended up a glorious day again.   Not quite warm enough to eat in the garden but quite warm enough to have the windows open to freshen everything up nicely!  There's another frost right now but BBC weather shows bright sunshine all day with a possible high of 15 degrees so fingers crossed!

Yesterday, I spent the day at home, doing this, that and the other.  When I went to B&Q on Saturday to get some granular salt, I took a look outside, as you do, and also came away with some bedding flowers; very pretty pink primulas which I planted out the front yesterday.  I'm pleased with my efforts round the front - now the bulbs have some light, they have greened up nicely (good old photosynthesis) and have grown noticeably while the new bedding adds colour.  I seem to have a colour theme in my garden as it's mostly green (obviously), pink and bluey/purple shades.  I find them very restful colours.

Round the back I set to with scrubbing brush, spray and cloths and gave my lovely little garden arbour a good going over and swept up all the autumn and winter debris from that quarter of the garden.  That corner now looks inviting again and, if the sun shines today, I will put out the cushions for a while, just because it all looks so pleasant!

There's still more to do - the strawberry bed needs tidying up and all the old leaves removed while I properly plant the runners, the blueberries need pruning and there's still plenty of leaves, etc to sweep up.  I've filled my brown bin, finished filling the bin from one neighbour and am now using the brown bin from my neighbour on the other side (with their permissions, obviously!) and must remember to put them all out on Wednesday evening for Thursday's collection.  Don't I have nice neighbours?
But I've broken the back of it all now, the rest is really bits and bobs!

And talking of backs, what with all the bending and brushing, digging and weeding, lugging heavy bins about and carrying heavy granular salt bags to the garage, my back is now killing me so I will take it a bit easier for the next few days.  After all, just ten minutes here and there will help; one bite at a time, slow and steady wins the race and so on.

One thing I definitely will do today is this.  I have an empty planter (apart from soil) near the house and I bought a little pack of summer flowering bulbs in Aldi.  They are  Triteleia Queen Fabiola, also known as wild hyacinth (yes, I did have to look it up!), need a sunny and sheltered spot and are supposed to flower from July to September so that particular planter will be a perfect spot.  We will see!
This photo is from Google Images and you might well recognise it.

Apart from that, today is quite busy - well, all week is quite busy, in fact.  Now that half term is over, I have knitter knatter club, helping out in FS and tuition, for which I think I have enough prepared but need to check over it all.  It should keep me out of trouble and off any illegitimate nibbling!  I'm determined to show a bit of a loss this Thursday after last week's small gain!

Sunday 24 February 2019


Good morning.  What gorgeous weather we are having at the moment.  Yesterday afternoon, I even had the French window open to freshen the living room and it was warm!  To be fair, it chilled off fairly pronto once the sun started dropping but even so - it's just February!

And my mini daffs loved it!

I was out in the morning, first to Aldi, then to B&Q to get granular salt for the dishwasher and water softener.  Then I had a stroll to Morrisons to look for some tins of chickpea dahl and just look what I came back with.  Brilliant!

I got on with my knitting and realised I've been very silly.  Remember I said the yarn was knitting quite thinly but that it's OK and right for what I want.  Well, the reason is because it's not chunky at all, it is Aran.  A basic, fundamental error on my part! 
However, it's going to be fine and will work so no problems and I've just started on the first sleeve.

Today is empty in my diary and I'm glad because the week coming up is pretty busy.  I have gardening, a bit of tidying, some sorting and some planning to do but in my own time, not regulated by any outside happenings.
Should be good and I hope yours is too!

Saturday 23 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a lovely sunny day yesterday, today is misty again so I have every hope that it will burn off and be bright and sunny.  For once, it has been good weather over half term, something that must have rejoiced ther hearts of the parents!

Sharon came, worked her usual magic and left so now I feel human again!  It's amazing how much better a cut and blow dry makes one feel.  I then got everything ready for the curry meal, including a comparatively last minute decision to make some Bombay potatoes and the whole thing was really delicious!

I didn't get out into the garden so that's now scheduled for today plus some washing, etc, and a bit more shopping as a few things got missed off yesterday's list.

I'm getting on well with the chunky yarn sweater I am knitting.  I did the front and am now on the armhole shaping for the back.  Unfortunately, I realised that I did the front shaping wrong so I will have to undo that and redo it properly - it won't take too long.

That's more or less it really.  A simple day with nothing too strenuous, I hope.
Have a good one yourself too.

Friday 22 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a beautiful day yesterday, it's rather misty this morning and the forecast doesn't mention sun today but, once the fog clears, it should be dry so no complaints!

I had a very satisfying day yesterday!  The washing was out on the line early so, by mid afternoon, it was all ironed and airing before being put away.  While that was going on, I got the tools out and sorted out the herb/foliage bed.  It's always a very fragrant experience and I end up smelling like a bouquet garnis!
It's a comparatively weed-free bed so it was a question of cutting back, tidying up and planting out the thyme which has lived (and thrived) in a pot since last year.
I don't have any exotic herbs, just bay and mints (in pots), oregano (so useful for Italian type meals), chives, sage and two kinds of thyme.  Oh, and the rosemary bush which is as decorative as it is scented.
I had a go at repotting the mint and managed to sort out the apple mint, but the usual mint and the chocolate mint are in rounded pots (not a sensible thing) and I couldn't get the jolly things out so I had to just scrape as much soil as I could plus a few reachable roots, and then topped the pots up with new soil.  I have just remembered that I have some liquid herb food in the shed to I will give everything a good dose of it and hope.

Then I tackled a pot of lily of the valley, repotted some of the roots and moved the rest round to the front, something I have thought about doing for years and never got round to!

So that's another corner done and dusted and my brown bin is now absolutely full.  Collection is next Thursday so I shall see if I can beg for some bin space from the rest of the cul-de-sac and hope!

The next task really is to sweep out all the corners which are very messy with fallen leaves, etc.  Then it will pretty much be sorted and it will just be a case of keeping on top of it and considering what, if any, bedding plants I fancy this year.
(plus the ubiquitous tomatoes, of course)

It was half a pound ON at group.  I'm not dismayed, I know why and it'll be gone by next week, with more to keep it company!

I'm having a couple of friends round for dinner and am doing a most unauthentic meal of a sort of chicken tikka, dhal and basmati rice.  I've made the tikka (second day curry is always nicer) and it may not be genuine but it's jolly tasty and I'm rather hoping that there will be leftovers.  It's just a shame the house now smells like an Indian takeaway!

Apart from finishing the preparations for the meal, the lovely Sharon is round to do my hair, thank goodness, and I just have to do a little bit of tidying around which gives me plenty of time to sweep the garden and put the sweepings in a bag if no-one has any space.

It should be a very pleasant day!  I hope yours is too.

Thursday 21 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's still dry outside so I'm hoping for another pleasant and sunny day, just like yesterday which was lovely.  It was nice to go out with just a sweater on and no coat.

Here's a few photos taken in the garden

The snowdrops are spreading nicely after a good clear out last spring

. . . and the mini daffs will be a picture in a while.

The clematis, new last year, is sending out new growth.

Soon there will be chives to pick again.

And this little lady was having a good crawl about on the iris leaves.

Yesterday I got loads of washing done AND dried on the line.  I had early morning tuition which was lovely.  I spent a couple of hours out the front, clearing a shocking mess of weeds and leaves and revealing some extremely sunlight deprived bulbs which will look great once they have recovered and regained their colour.  The hyacinths were so covered and protected that they are actually in flower!

It looks a whole lot better now and I'm sure the neighbours will be relieved that they don't have to stare at the mess any more.  Now I have to think what bedding I want in there this year.

Today is a 'nothing scheduled' day until SW group so I will tackle the books in the yellow room, plan some food for Friday when I have friends round for an early dinner and maybe plan next week's menu!  I'd also like to get the herb and foliage bed neatened up.  It's not in such a bad state really but things need cutting back and I must dig out some of the oregano.  It's quite invasive; not as bad as mint but it needs to be kept down.  I wouldn't bother with it if it wasn't such a very useful herb.
I need to get some parsley at some point too - plants, not seeds as parsley is very difficult to germinate and it takes longer than my patience permits!
And finally I have to sort out the mint pots - the soil in them must be so stale by now so I want to get all the mint out, split the roots and replant in fresh, fertilised soil back in the pots again.

I want to get a fair bit achieved while the weather is still good enough

I'll leave you with a photo of the rather attractive sunset we had yesterday.

Have a great day.

Tuesday 19 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a lovely day yesterday, it seems to be dry again today so fingers are crossed for more sunshine.

Well, there's no way I can claim that yesterday was a lazy day.  It was a very pleasant day but lazy?  Not a chance.

I set off for Hyde Hall feeling very 'country' in my walking shoes and hand knit Aran jumper, carrying my backpack containing a flask of soup and some smoked salmon pate!!  Oh, and wearing sunglasses as a finishing touch!

As it was half term, there were loads of families there - mums and children, grandparents and children, not so many dads, all having a marvellous time.  At the beginning of February there had been a 'make a scarecrow' day and all the creations were assembled on the hill.  A bit spooky really, as in the Family of Blood from Doctor Who or, less engagingly, the scene near the end of the movie, Spartacus.  I'm not going into any more details on that one!

For a winter month, there was a lot going on, plant wise.  Loads of colour and new growth and I had a lovely wander around the path, up the hill and in and out of the different areas, taking stacks of photos as I did so.
Here are some . . .

And here's some photos of the non-plant things.

Sorry for all the photos!

It looks lovely and sunny and it was but, being on top of a hill, it was chillingly cold in the wind.  However, I managed to find a sheltered spot in the sun and enjoyed the first picnic of the year - sittng on a slightly damp bench!

I also found the bus stop and now need to find out how it all works as it looked like a diversion from the usual route.  I shall ask at the bus station next time I'm that way because it's very close to the car park so, if I used the bus, it would be a lovely free day out for me.

Once home, I had a coffee with Beth and then went out the back to start getting some order into my disgracefully messy back garden.  I did about two hours' worth of work before deciding enough was enough and coming back in.  I won't start showing any garden photos yet, but exciting things are happening underneath all the mess.  Nice.

Today, this morning, I have the only tuition of the week and it is first thing, which suits me fine.  Then I have some paperwork to do and, weather permitting, I want to get back out into the garden again.  I'm tired of looking at mess!

I should burn plenty of calories, that's for sure.  :-)


I have lost my list of blogs I follow.  It's completely gone.  Damn you, Blogger.

Really sorry, everyone.  I will try to find you all again and, if you could post a comment in one of my messages, I will see what I can do to get you back on some sort of list.

Really upset about this and, if I don't make any comments for a while on your blog, please let me know.

(hoping it's just a blip and not a Blogger change)


Good morning.  In contrast to the weekend, yesterday was a right dismal disaster of a day.  It started off dull and then decided to rain.  Not nice at all.  However, I have just checked the BBC weather and it looks as if today is going to be lovely!  Cheers!

As usual, it was a good journey home yesterday and it's nice to be back again.  Beth was round which was great and just before we left, we started clearing out the yellow room (which is the dumping ground) because she's going to use that room as a work room-cum-office for various good reasons.  I have to harden my heart and do a sort of KonMari - not that I go with that particularly but the 'useful, valuable or seriously sentimental' thing needs to be applied fairly ruthlessly.  Or I do I mean Anthea Turner (in 'Perfect Housewife'?)
After all, I can't take it with me!  :-)

Over the weekend at my parents' home, I took a few photos and here are some.
Their bulbs.

What's left of Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary flowers (from the end of January) with foliage from their garden.

And a random shot of a rather lovely house over the road from them.  You can't really see it in summer because of the leaves.

Providing the weather doesn't disappoint, and I don't think it will, I'm definitely off to Hyde Hall.  I've got a picnic lunch planned and my walking shoes are out and ready.  Great exercise and I do love the place very much.  It'll take my mind off there not being any pottery, won't it?

I've decided to take the car as I don't want the extremely long walk from the bus stop to the grounds; I'd rather do my walking to some purpose around the gardens.

When I get home, I might start going through my books in the yellow room.  To be fair, there's some I haven't looked at in decades, some are disgracefully battered and some can go to the charity shop while others will just go in the recycling.  It goes against the grain but needs must . . .
Oh, dear!  :-)


Monday 18 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  I had a great night's sleep last night, thankfully, and am looking forward to the drive home in a little while.

The weekend was OK but, inevitably a worry.  We none of us get any younger!  However, it's always lovely to see my parents and we managed to get a bit of sorting out of cupboards done, which was good.  I'm coming home with a list of clothes to get or look for, for Mum, so I'll be Internet trawling.

Their snowdrops and crocuses are a picture right now so I took a few photos which I hope will come out.  I don't really want them saved on the laptop so I'll wait until I get home to upload them and show them tomorrow, if they are worth the space.

Today I shall take life easy, do the weekend's washing, change my sheets and generally do normal stuff.  It is half term round here so no Knitter-Knatter Club, no helping out in FS and no tuition.  Plenty of time.

I was thinking of a train jolly on Tuesday but I'm rather hankering towards my first trip of the year to Hyde Hall.  The winter stuff should be lovely and there will be bulbs to see too.  Really, I ought to go once a month to get the full picture of change and maybe I will.

I did look to see if there was a bus to Hyde Hall and it seemed that there was until I noticed that it didn't actually go completely there and it looks like quite a long walk from bust stop to the actual place.  So I will take the car and console myself with the fact that I am a member of the RHS so will get in free.
Weather permitting, obviously.

Better start packing, not that it takes all that long really but I like to be ready.  Then coffee.
Enjoy your day.

Sunday 17 February 2019


Good morning - very early!  I've woken wide awake so I'm doing what I always do and what 'they' say you shouldn't do but which works for me, and opening the technology.  As I'm not at home, I'm not going downstairs and won't bother with a coffee but I can feel myself getting a bit tired again so, hopefully, it will work soon!

Yesterday passed well.  I made a lovely big bowl of 'everything' soup which will be on the menu again today, did some washing and ironing, made some salmon fishcakes and sorted out this, that and the others as well as getting on with some knitting.

Mum really loves the fishcakes I make.  They're very simple.  I use mashed potato with butter and cooked salmon and I just form the resulting mix into patties which I flour, egg and crumb before open freezing.  Yesterday there were no eggs so I tried milk instead and that worked fine while the breadcrumbs were a mixture of fresh ones from the freezer, a zizzed piece of unwanted toast and some commercial breadcrumbs. 

It was a day for using up bits and bobs - the breadcrumbs, bits of veg in the soup and for dinner I found a small amount of sweet crumble topping in the freezer which went over some tinned mango to make an absolutely delicious dessert.  I only tasted it as I'm being a good girl and sticking with the SW plan but Mum and Dad polished the lot off with cream on top.  Most satisfying.

Today is likely to be more of the same, more or less.

The chunky yarn I got from Aldi is knitting up quite well.  It took me three goes to get the panel pattern correct which was a bit frustrating but I have it now.  Because it was so cheap, it's quite a 'thin', chunky and the jumper will be fairly 'soft' which is perfect for what is a sort of over-tunic type thing, quite long so I can wear it with my newly and bravely acquired leggings.

What I want to know is what do you do when the legs of the leggings are a bit too long?  And what do you team them with on your feet?  Advice would be most appreciated, please.  Someone, some fictional character, I think, can't remember who, once said while one doesn't mind appearing wicked, one doesn't want to seem ridiculous (or words to that effect) **.  I know what they meant!

I'm starting to feel tired again so I'll see if I can get back to sleep.  Have a good day.

** Just thought - was it Miss Read talking about the Provincial Lady?

Saturday 16 February 2019


Here I am, sat in bed, laptop on a pillow, fragrant hot coffee beside me, feeling relaxed and content.
A very pleasant start to the weekend.

There's not much to say about yesterday really.  I got all the chores done and it was an easy drive over to Mum and Dad's.

Today should be a quiet day.  There's a bit of ironing and maybe a bit of clearing out to do and I hope to get out for a bit of a walk this afternoon, weather permitting.  Yesterday was gorgeous and very mild so fingers crossed for today.

A short entry today so I will just wish you a very happy Saturday and sign off.

Friday 15 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's another lovely, frosty morning, cold and sunny.  I reckon it will be a beautiful day.

Yesterday, as soon as I could, I hit the road and headed off for the bus into town (can't use my pass until after nine) and stayed on the bus until it got to the bottom of Moulsham Street where I hopped off and headed up Moulsham Street.  I used to go there pretty often because there was a superb music shop, Dace's, where I got all my recorder exam music as well as recorded music and where they repaired instruments, etc.  Such a good place but it's moved elsewhere now.  Maybe it got too costly right in the town centre.

Anyway, opposite what used to be Dace's was Franklin's, so in I went.  What an Aladdin's cave!  It made me wonder why I ever go to Hobbycraft for 'fixings' when there's Franklin's almost right outside a bus stop!

I spent well over an hour in there (it's on two floors), choosing patterns (sewing and knitting), drooling over fabrics and yarn and generally getting to grips with what they offer.  It is also a sewing machine shop and the nice young man (young to me, anyway - and I swear they get younger every day) does demos and so on.  I have suggested to Beth that we book a time with him to go over what's out there in the upper market quilting machine line.

I found a pattern to use the chunky yarn I got in Aldi's and a very nice pattern to make up some Aran I have.  It's not really a traditional Aran pattern but it has 'elements'.  I also got a pattern that's a plain round neck chunky which I can adapt with Guernsey-like patterning.
Downstairs, I wanted four paper patterns but they only had one in, for a skirt, so I will look online for the others.

Finally and very reluctantly, I decided enough was enough and left the shop, making my way back into the town centre, hopping in and out of shops as I did so.  It wasn't until much later that the impact of this really hit home.  I, fat old me, was going into 'normal' shops, looking at 'normal' clothes, trying on 'normal' sizes and rejecting, not because they didn't fit but because I didn't fancy them.  Pre-gallbladder, if it fitted, I had it, regardless.  Well, not quite, but I did wear things I wasn't too keen on because there wasn't anything else.

Once home, my disabled persons railcard had arrived so that is now signed and tucked inside the little card holder where my bus pass can be found.

In the evening it was Slimming World group and, to my great delight, it was another two pounds off.  Woo hoo!  I also won one of the raffles as the slimmer of the week didn't stay so the basket of goodies was raffled off.  Not a bad evening, eh?

Today, I have a home to tidy before my lovely cleaner arrives, some ironing, some packing, some meal planning, a little bit of shopping and an hour's drive.  Better get going then, don't you think?  :-)
Have a lovely day, everyone.

Thursday 14 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's Thursday and nearly half term!  I can't be bothered to open the door and check the weather as I'm nice and warm but BBC says that it is freezing out there (all the more reason not to open the door yet) and today is going to be pleasant - sunny with a gentle breeze.  I'll take that, thank you.

It was another lovely day yesterday.

I arrived at Val's just before twelve and we talked almost endlessly for a few hours.  She made up a Tom Kerridge recipe that she found in one of the Times add on magazines and it was scrummy - smoked haddock and spinach egg pots.  Tom is, of course, very aware of calories and more healthy eating nowadays, and this recipe (with a bit of adapting) works very well with the Slimming World ethos.  Definitely one to do again.  Thanks, Val.

Val would like to come with me on one/some of my coach day trips so when the next lot come out - which should be very soon now - I'll look through online and see which sound likely.  It's always nice to have a friend around.

Talking of trips, I want to test my new railcard next week with a trip to Norwich or Ipswich, both of which are on the line from here.  I must look up what there is to do in each city and where the stations actually are.  I've decided to leave 'Sarfend' until a later and warmer date.
Any ideas about those two cities, anyone?

Or, looking at the map, I could get to Kings Lynn although it is a slightly more complicated journey.  That's supposed to be quite nice, I think.

All of the above depends on the weather, of course.

Does anyone enjoy the Great British Sewing Bee?  I watched it yesterday morning while doing some ironing and I thought it well up to standard, inspiring me to look up how to do a concealed zip on youtube.  In my day (getting old) we weren't taught that and I've never used the relevant zipper foot but I think my machine has one - must check.
I would never wear it myself, but I liked the 'wriggle dresses' but I think jumpsuits are the most impractical things out.  Imagine having to practically strip off to go to the loo!  The winner's jumpsuit was fabulous though - that lady has style.

Anyway, as I watched on, I could feel myself getting twitchy in a way that I always recognise.  I want to start sewing!  I want to make some clothes for myself, now that I can use standard patterns and they will all be in my size.  I also have my mum's lovely sewing machine to get used to so I want to do that too.  I think I need a few more days in each week!

So I'm off into town as soon as we hit nine o'clock, straight to John Lewis where they have a good selection of books to see what's available.  I might wander off the town centre to see if the dedicated fabric shop - Franklins - is still around too.  Call it a fact finding mission!
That will take up most of the morning, one way and another.

It's SW group this evening so, as always, my fingers are crossed.  All day!  :-)

Wednesday 13 February 2019


Good morning.  It looks as if it might be another really pleasant day today, weather wise.  The sky looks pretty clear and it looks 'bright', if you know what I mean.

Good news for me:  I got an email yesterday letting me know that my application for a Disabled Persons Railcard has been approved and it's in the first class post.  That was impressively quick; I only posted the request off on Sunday afternoon.  It might even arrive today.
I must plan a jolly using it for next week as it's half term so no tuition to get back for - very little tuition anyway.

Pottery update:
I neatened up around mousehog's eyes and it's in the kiln again - forgot to take a photo, sorry.  I will, I promise.  A good laugh is always a pleasant thing! 

The leaf glazed OK . . .

. . . but not perfectly -  there were a few white-ish patches around the edge so Alex (tutor) helped me re-glaze those patches and that's also back in the kiln.  I now know that dabbing is better than painting, more like stencilling.  I'm really pleased with it though and I'm sure it will look great.  I think I need to get some stick on felt spots to give it some 'grip' underneath.  Also, I quite fancy making some coasters at some point and some felt underneath those would be essential.

I finished the first part of the coil pot and now it's drying before I can neaten it all up.  It's not great but I enjoyed starting to learn the technique and it will suffice as a pencil pot - unless I can't handle it looking (leering?) at me all the time. Also, the sides are very - er - undulating, and that might bug me.
See what I mean?

Detail of the top.  It will look better once I have smoothed it all off.

And Alex thought the buttons a great idea when I explained what they were for so I punched out eight butterflies and they will also be finished off next time before firing and glazing.

Sadly, next time does not equal next week.  It's half term.  Never thought I would be sad about half term!  However, that gives me a day for a jolly (with my new rail card, maybe) somewhere which is nice.

The rest of the day passed pleasantly, so all in all it was another super day.

Today I will be off out to have lunch with Val and I'm looking forward to that very much.  Val is an old friend who used to keep an eye out for my two after school when they were younger but had moved on from Primary when they could usually stay with me in school until I could go home.  She lived just down the road from me so it was very handy and I was very grateful to her.  Since then she and Mike have moved away and we recently got back in touch again - there's time now that we're both retired and have a bit more time for fun things.  Our get togethers have settled to once a month and I shall take my diary with me so we can fix the next one today.

Apart from that, there's just a spot of tuition so it's going to be a very pleasant day indeed.
I do appreciate how fortunate I am, I truly do.

Have a great day yourself too.

Tuesday 12 February 2019


Good morning.  It feels a bit chilly this morning but I don't think there was a frost and the forecast is optimistic.
After the early frost, yesterday was a gorgeously sunny day and it turned out quite mild too.  However, I don't kid myself that winter is over yet.  There's plenty of time still.

I enjoyed yesterday.  After dropping Al off at the station, I came home, got some finished washing out of the machine and decided it was nice enough to hang them out for the first time in goodness knows how long.  After a good clean of the line (it was absolutely filthy) out it all went, rejoicing my heart as it waved in the sun and breeze - yes, I am easily pleased.

School was lovely as it always is.  Tuition was also great.  I get such a feeling of satisfaction from both.

And my parcel arrived.  I'm afraid I have succumbed, as I said on t'other blog, to the prevailing fashion and treated myself to an Instant Pot.  It looked more than a little daunting as I lifted it out of the box but an hour later I was cooking my dinner in it (mushroom risotto) and it was a great success.
I think this might become my second favourite gadget - after Thermione.  Nothing can replace her prime place in my culinary heart!

Today, being Tuesday, is pottery class and I'm hoping my leaf is finished.  I have a coil pot to carry on with and I want to make some decorative buttons (if I'm allowed).  I'll tell you more tomorrow about all that.

The rest of the day, in contrast to last week, is pretty low key with not a lot happening.  Ironing calls and I have beds to change so I'll get that done and the sheets in the machine although there won't be enough daylight left to dry them outside, I suspect, even if the weather is good.

Oh - I've finished my coffee.  Time for a second dose.  Have a great day, everyone, and, as the great Dave Allen used to finish off with, may your God go with you..

Monday 11 February 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After another blustery day that started off wet and then cleared to give us some sunshine, the wind settled and this morning we have a hard frost to remind us it's still very much winter.

On Friday, Al came bearing gifts - a gift anyway.  It was this book.

Isn't it lovely!
Unlike the other cute things I have been knitting, these are made with 4 ply, of which I only have a little, so I absolutely HAD to get in some more yarn, didn't I?  Oh, dear, what a tragedy! 
I'll have to keep my eyes open as I couldn't find any browns in 4 ply (for hair) in Hobbycraft.

Ofr course, I have started making one.  It's fiddly and there's some very attractive little details.  Some of the clothes come on and off which would be nice for a young child and there's some gorgeous little accessories like bags and hats.

We spent the evening catching up on recorded 'Have I got News For You' programmes, which we both find hysterically funny at times and, after so much laughing, I slept like a log.

I will be taking Alison to the station this morning.  She has a busy week ahead of her so I hope the weekend has been a welcome break for her.

Then it's home, plan, Knitter Knatter club, helping out in FS, home, tuition and then ironing in the evening.  A busy but satisfying day.

I'm expecting a parcel, too, at some point today.  I'll tell you about that another time though.

Sunday 10 February 2019


Good morning, everyone. 

Yesterday was a hoot!
We took the bus into town to get the train to Southend.
We actually had three choices.  We could have taken the X30 bus straight to Southend but decided not to do that as, though I have a bus pass, Alison does not and it costs a tenner plus she had vouchers for the train.  So train it was.  Two choices there as it's not a direct run from Chelmsford to Southend.  We could go Chelmsford - Shenfield; Shenfield - Romford; Romford - Upminster; Upminster - Southend - so three changes OR we could go Chelmsford - Shenfield and then get a 'replacement' bus as there is work on the line from Shenfield to Southend.

We decided on the latter as we thought we'd get some nice views on a bus journey.  Big mistake!

It was actually great value what with Al's vouchers, getting day returns and travelling together so no complaints there.  Nor was there anything untoward on the first leg.  We then got on the bus and, oh, my!  Talk about snail's pace!  And, of course, it had to stop at every station on the route to Southend to pick up passengers.  And there were some very long hold-ups because of road works mostly.  We didn't actually arrive in Southend until nearly one o'clock.

We went into the station to ask about bus times back to Shenfield later and the lady we asked grinned at us and indicated that if she were us, she'd cut her losses and get the X30 back.  Good idea but our tickets were not transferable.  We got the times anyway and decided to think about it!

So off we went.  It's a short walk down to the sea front but took longer because we kept stopping and looking in shops, etc.  Once on the sea front (oh, OK, estuary front, to be accurate) the wind fairly took our breath away.  It was extremely gusty!  The sun was shining though and it was cheerful and, Diane, we waved to you!

The fish and chips were gorgeous!  I haven't had bought fish and chips for at least eighteen month and thoroughly enjoyed them.  Piping hot and fresh cooked while we waited.
We wandered up and down, enjoying what we saw, although seaside resorts tend to look a bit scruffy and worn out when not in holiday season and Southend is no exception.
Then we went to the pier but decided not to go down it as it was so, so windy.  It wasn't cheap either - just over a fiver each for both ways on the little train.  Not to worry - that's now on my list for another visit as I have a friend there who couldn't meet up with us yesterday so will be returning - when it is warmer!

Time passed and it was time to think about heading back.  Decision time and we decided to try the four train option back.  That was a better choice although we just missed a few connections and had to wait around a bit.  However, we could stay warm and it wasn't nearly so bumpy and bouncy as the bus.  It was well dark by the time we got home.

So all in all a good day and the company, of course, was great.  I haven't seen Al for quite a while so we have plenty to catch up on.

I took some photos - the ones into the sun are deliberate!

Adventure Island - closed!

Walking along the front

Fine dining fish and chips.  It was lovely and warm - venue and food!

Very upmarket, don't you think!

There weren't many people on the beach - everyone else was far too sensible.

Into the sun.

A cheeky little chappie begging for crumbs.

It came over cloudy in the afternoon and we had a few drops of rain.  Nothing much though.

So that was Southend.  I shall go back again but not on the train until they have finished all the work which is every weekend until June or July!  Next time, I will take the bus and use my bus pass.

However, I learnt a few interesting things en route.  You can get a disabled rail card that entitles you to assisted travel as needed and a 33% discount and it's a lot cheaper to buy than the golden oldies railcard.  I took out a three year senior citizen railcard when I first retired but never got my money's worth so didn't renew.  However, I think I will go for this one and plan trips that use rail more  - it opens up a lot of possibilities. 

For example, the line goes direct to both Ipswich and Norwich.  Norwich would be particularly good as that's where Alex is at uni, there's a Premier Inn  close by the station and a bus that runs from there straight to the UEA campus. I could do a day trip or I could stay over a couple of nights.  It also goes to Colchester but I want to do the bus on that trip.

I didn't think I was entitled to a disabled persons railcard as I'm not formally registered as disabled, but it covers hearing and visual impairments and my hearing aid paperwork is acceptable as evidence. 

Sorry for rambling on.  Hoping you haven't fallen asleep yet, I'll just add that we are probably taking it easy today and staying in.  The weather forecast is for 'heavy rain and a moderate breeze' and I think we both had enough of breezes yesterday - and that was in sunshine!

Have a lovely day, everyone.