Sunday 31 March 2019

Mothering Sunday

This is just to let my Bloggy friends know that my lovely Mum passed away at around 03:30 this morning, peacefully and, we think, without pain.

Saturday 30 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a glorious day yesterday, it was quite hot in my bedroom so I opened the windows a bit before I went to bed and woke up this morning feeling cold!  The weather seems to be turning a bit although it won't be that chilly down here, it rarely is!

After a very stressful and distressing day on Thursday, yesterday was much better, more hopeful and encouraging all round.  Mum may continue to be very poorly but, my word, she's a fighter!

John goes back to Scotland today - it's been lovely to have him down but, like me, he has responsibilities and a life at home and needs to get back.  He did a bit of shopping yesterday and came back with a bottle of cider for me.  It didn't help the healthy eating but I don't care, it was delicious and very thoughtful of him.

I go home tomorrow late afternoon/early evening.  I dislike driving in the dark (or near-dark) but, as the clocks go forward tonight, that won't be a problem.  I've cancelled some of my 'stuff' for next week because I think I need a more gentle week, but other things will continue as usual.  No pottery as that's now finished for the term, but I have some air drying clay so may very well do a bit of playing around with it or I might even buy some 'proper' clay and make things to the first firing stage to take back with me when classes resume.

I've given my 'parents' the option of tuition or not as it's the last week of term and I hadn't intended to offer holiday sessions this time anyway (apart from the 11 plusser).  Some have accepted and some have said leave it until the new term so it's an easier week all round.  That, plus a few sessions out in the open air at the allotment and in the garden, maybe a bit of swimming and getting back on the SW plan properly again should really help to clear my head.  I will have gained weight, I know that, and delayed reaching target by a number of weeks but it's just a setback, not the end of the story.  I'll go on Thursday, find out the worst and carry on down that old road.

Well, I see my coffee mug is empty so I had better stop rambling on and start the day with a smile and a bath.  Have a good Saturday, everyone, and may everything go well for you.

And remember - we spring forward tonight!

Friday 29 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  What a lovely, sunny day it was yesterday.  Everything is starting to look so very green too which shows that spring really has sprung.  It's supposed to get colder again for a while but it doesn't sound as if it will be too extreme for the time of the year, thank goodness.

What with one thing and another, I have paid no visits to the allotment at all and it will be looking like a disaster area.  I hope to be home next week and am determined to spend some time each day doing exactly what I did last year - digging and weeding!

The healthy eating has disappeared over the horizon over this last week so that's another thing I need to get under control.  While I really enjoyed the Chinese take-away we had last night, the first for me since before the gallbladder crash, I HAVE to get back on plan so fingers crossed (and mouth shut!).

Thank you again for all your messages of good will and hopes for better things - it shows the good side of the Internet when people are so very kind.  It makes a difference and you are all lovely!

Thursday 28 March 2019


Good morning.
Sorry about yesterday's non-appearance.  I just slumped and couldn't get up the energy (not that it takes much, does it?).
Mum is still very poorly and the hospital holds out little hope.  We agree.

Pottery on Tuesday was, as always, good.  It was the last one until the beginning of May when the new term starts.
I neatened off the second leaf coaster which has now been fired, I expect, and is ready for glazing in May.  I started the third one and, at Alex's suggestion, have brought it home to let it dry and neaten it up.  She suggested that I bring it in on the first Tuesday, if I can, and she will get it fired for the Thursday evening.  I probably will do that and I can say hi to my new friends at the same time.
Two of the pendants are now finished and the clay cost the grand total of 9p!!  I now have to get some leather thongs and maybe a few beads to embellish before I can wear them.  I glazed the other three pendants so they will be finished by the time the new course starts.  I now have to find a fourth leaf shape for the last coaster and to decide on a new project.  Some kind of bowl, I think, and maybe terracotta rather than the white clay I have been using thus far.  I must remember to ask whether I can bring in some porcelain to use and I want to look at glazes as there's a fairly limited range of colours on offer in class.  When I make some Christmas tree decorations, I want to find some sparkly glaze too!
I forgot to take photos - my mind was on other stuff!

My brother is now down from Scotland, which is a relief.  My other brother lives in the US so a quick trip over is not really on the cards!

I was going on a coach trip tomorrow but I've cancelled it as my heart really isn't in it at all.  There will be another time, I am sure.  I emailed the coach company explaining as otherwise the driver would be waiting for me to arrive at the pick up point.  I didn't expect any kind of refund at this late date but they emailed back with their best wishes and to say they were sending me a credit note for the full amount minus a small handling charge.  I thought that was very nice of them.

I may be going home on Sunday but that does depend on whether anything happens.

I think that's everything, more or less.  Thank you all for your very kind words.

Tuesday 26 March 2019


Good morning.
Again, thank you for your lovely comments and please forgive me for not responding to each one individually.  Believe me, they mean a lot.

Mum remains very poorly.  They are not talking about a minumum of a fortnight but things aren't positive really.

I've come home for my pottery class as I am committed to that.  I'll get on with the leaf coasters and a couple of the pendants should be finished.  I also have to glaze the other pendants.

Then I will go back up to be with Dad.

Monday 25 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.

First of all, thank you very, very much for the kind comments yesterday.  I haven't replied individually but, believe me, they are like a warm and comforting hug for my heart.

Mum is in hospital and will remain there for a week at least.  We are exploring nursing homes as there's no way Dad will be able to provide the care she is going to need.

I have to go home for a few things this week although tuition is cancelled.  However, my brother is coming down from Scotland on Wednesday so that will help.  One of the things is the last pottery class of the term - I'm looking forward to that.  I'll drive down after the rush hour this evening and come back straight after class tomorrow.

It's a funny old life at times, isn't it?

Sunday 24 March 2019


Just home from hospital.  Mum has been admitted overnight.
Probably no blog entries for a few days - but I will be back.

Saturday 23 March 2019


Good morning.
Thank you very much for all your lovely words yesterday.

I can't go into details;  Mum and Dad would hate that.  I'll just say that it appears that Mum had another mini stroke, complicated by a urine infection.  The latter is sorting out with the usual treatment.

I shall stay here today and overnight and go home tomorrow morning unless there are any changes that require me to stay.

That's all for now - I will be back tomorrow, I expect, to bore you with tales of my ordinary doings, such as they are.  :-)
Again, thank you.

Friday 22 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a cool, dry early morning and there's no need to turn the heating up from the overnight setting. 

Yes, I'm up early but, for me, it's not stupidly early, so no complaints at all.

Yesterday was a bit complicated.  Mum is ill again but, as my road was completely blocked, I couldn't get out so I'm going up this morning instead.
I say 'complicated' but, in fact, I suppose it wasn't really, just in my brain.  I had two shows booked for this weekend and now I have no idea whether I will be able to get to them or not.  Fortunately, I was going on my own so I don't have anyone else to let down.  And I'm jiggling a few other things about too.

I've lost another student.  It's not bad though, it is because they've made great progress and no longer do they need any extra support.  The best way to lose a student!!

At SW group, I'd lost one and a half pounds, gained my two and a half stone award and shiny sticker and am back into the healthy BMI banding after last week's half pound gain.  Sounds good to me.  If I hadn't dropped my target, I'd only have five pounds to go to target but as I have, it's twelve pounds.  Not much at all.  After that it will be another adventure - to maintain!  I do like a bit of a challenge of that sort!

Today - well, I have a lot of sorting and reorganising before I leave for Mum and Dad's.  I tend to pack things into the weekends I'm at home, which usually works very well.
I don't know when I'll be home and I will try and post but, if I don't, don't worry - I'll be back!

Thursday 21 March 2019


Good morning, everyone!  We're due a dull but dry today so really a bit like yesterday.  It doesn't look as if it will be too cold but, like yesterday, the lack of sunshine makes it feel colder than prehaps it really is.

I had a lovely time with Val yesterday.  She arrived late afternoon and we had lunch before setting off fo a stroll and a good natter.  We've arranged the next one which is, coincidentally, on my birthday, and she's going to take me to Marks Hall Aboretum which isn't too far from where she lives and to which I have never been.  I'm looking forward to that!

It was a noisy morning as they were doing the road just outside our little cul-de-sac.  Fortunately, they had finished the noisy stuff by around midday and peace returned.  Today they just have to finish by, I think, adding the top layer.  And then we can all drive along our road again.

Apart from tuition, my day is clear until weigh-in this evening so I will do some more book sorting, ironing and generally continuing with the decluttering.  I need to pop round to the shop at some point too.  Quiet and gentle.  I did um and ah about going into town but I won't today, maybe tomorrow, we'll see how things go.

Regarding decluttering, I have realised that my two towelling dressing gowns, perfect for drying myself after swimming at Center Parcs as well as at the gym and at home, are simply too big.  I've used them for years but, after considerable dithering over the last month or so, I'm going to retire them to the recycling point and have ordered a couple of new ones which should be arriving in the next week.  Size small!!!!  That's because all the reviews said they come up larger than you would think but - really? - small? 
Well, I will see when they come.

My coffee mug is empty so it's time to refill it and empty the dishwasher while the kettle boils.  Have a great day, whatever you plan to do, and may it all go well for you.

Wednesday 20 March 2019


Good morning, one and all.  It's another dry morning.  No sun yet, but after it broke through yesterday, it was a very pleasant day, so fingers crossed.  It doesn't have to be warm, just not wet!

Pottery was, as always, great.  The last session of this term although there is an add-on session next week for which we just turn up and pay on the day.
I didn't finish anything but I worked on the pendants, two of which are now glazed and in the kiln.  The others were rubbed and scraped and generally neatened off and are now ready for firing.  I did the same to the first leaf coaster and that will be fired by next week too.  I cut out and moulded the second coaster (different shape) and had some leftover rolled clay so I cut out another little pendant (I'll need to wear these, won't I?) in the shape of a leaf.

(I seem to have forgotten to photo the first coaster, the one that's ready for firing)

Next week I will do two more leaf coasters so I have a set of four and I have to think what to do next term.  I think I want to do some kind of bowl with some relief on the edge, although I have other sketches too.  This is why I need to keep on going - it would be awful to stop now.

They've started the road repairs down our road although they started at the other end (it's a cul-de-sac) and didn't get as far as where I am (about half way down) yesterday.  I guess it will be our turn today.  I don't need the car for anything so I won't bother to move it out of the road.

I'm not sure what I thought of Sewing Bee yesterday.  It was all about tailoring and there were some simply gorgeous woolen tweeds and linens in use but - oh, I just kept thinking 'what a waste'.  My mum used to go to tailoring classes (her verson of my pottery, I guess, although her work was an awful lot better than mine will ever be) and I remember how long one garment would take her.  She made some simply gorgeous skirts, jackets and, especially, coats (some of which may be mine one day) and I know what time and patience she expended to get it all absolutely spot on right.
To make them panic and rush and create items that, frankly, were terrible in many cases, seemed so wrong and a great disrespect to the fabrics.
Bake Off is the same - they just don't have enough time to show what they can really do.
And, in the end, the lady I had down as a possible winner went out.  So sad and she was such a help to the others, she will be greatly missed.

(It won't stop me watching it though!)

Today I overslept which was a pain as I had early morning things to do (which I have now done).  I have my friend, Val, over for lunch and then, weather permitting, we will go for a stroll in the woods close by.

I also have a bit of tuition to plan for and some ironing to get on with but, apart from that, it is an easy day.
I hope yours is too.

Tuesday 19 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday turned out quite pleasant - not as much sunshine as the early morning had promised, quite cool and a little bit damp at one point, but it was light and calm.  No strong winds, thank goodness.

Thank you so much for the lovely comments yesterday - they were so understanding and heartwarming.

The journey home was as trouble free as it usually is and I was home in plenty of time to get everything done before heading off for school.  Tuition also went as well as it usually does.

So, all in all, a pleasant day, if rather busy.

Today is pottery day so three cheers.  I hope to tidy up the first of my coasters and put it out for firing, make a second one (I think I have decided on same shape, different colours - I think - but maybe not), glaze the pendants that have been fired and - goodness knows what else!  Some folk are doing the most fantastic sculpture like things, big and extremely creative.  Not within my capability but they are fantastic and it's a joy to watch them work.

Our road is blocked off for three days while the 'micro surface' it - which means patching defects followed by stone dressing (quoting from the letter here).  The practical consequence is that those of us who want out cars between nine and four today, tomorrow and/or Thursday need to get our cars out of the road (which is a cul de sac) before they close it off each morning.  That should cause havoc with the school traffic, some of which uses our avenue to park and to turn, not to mention some of us having moved out cars the night before and used space that is usually used for dropping off their children. 
I need the car today for pottery so I got it out of the road yesterday but I think I'm OK for Wednesday and Thursday so can park on my drive as usual.

After tuition, I will have a basked of ironing to work my way through while watchin telly or dvds.  A productive day but not too heavy so I'm looking forward to it.
Now it's time for another coffee.

Monday 18 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.
The weather was very up and down yesterday - blazing sunshine, then strong wind and a sharp shower of hail, then sunshine again.  Rather unpredictable to say the least!  It is supposed to calm down this week and we should get plenty of sunshine, which sounds very pleasant.

Yesterday went well.  The soup was lovely; I do like these 'throw it all in together' soups which end up so very tasty.  Dinner also was good. 
I'm leaving a fair number of home made 'ready portions' for my parents which Dad finds helpful. 

Being Monday, today is busy.  Home, planning, Knitter Knatter club, helping in FS and then some tuition.  It's all go which should keep me out of trouble!

I'm coming home with a few extra clothes which is somewhat bitter sweet. 
My mum has some lovely clothes - not high fashion, just classic style and great quality.  She's not going to wear most of them again.  I tried a few on - two jackets which fit perfectly and four skitrs, two of which I can wear now and two which are just a bit too tight - so I have a couple of target skirts.  Maybe wearing your mum's clothes sounds odd but these really are lovely in a simple and 'normal' way.
I couldn't believe how well the jackets in particular looked and now I have something for smarter occasions - if even needed!  I also couldn't believe that I could fit into those clothes - very motivating!
But, as I said, it is also sad.

Well, better go down and get myself a first coffee, much needed, before I start packing and getting dressed.  Have a good Monday, everyone.

Sunday 17 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's the middle of the night and I'm wide awake so the laptop is out and I'm getting my morning messages written.  I'm rather hoping I will be in dreamland early morning!

It was a wild old day yesterday - high winds and some rain although not as much rain as expected.  It's supposed to be nicer today; I do hope so.

When I looked at the shopping list, it was obviously a bigger shop and meant a trip to the main Tesco in the car.  Even then, we missed something but my brother (who's staying over this weekend too) got it in the afternoon so no harm done.

I got all the cooking done and there's several single portions tucked away in my parents' freezer now.

Today is more of the same really.  I shall make a bean and veg soup for lunch and dinner will be leg of lamb steaks with trimmings.  Nothing too complicated.

Have a super day, everyone, whatever you have planned.

Saturday 16 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.
Apologies for the briefness and abruptness of yesterday's entry - I was in a right grumpy old mood and feeling very, very tired.  No idea why the tiredness as I didn't sleep badly, but I've slept like a log overnight and am feeling much more cheerful today.

The journey over to my parents' was as easy as it ever is with, amazingly for a Friday, no hold up in Little Hadham.  The roadwork holdups in Standon more than made up for that but it was all straightforward, no complications.

I cook the meals when I visit but Friday's is always very straightforward.  I wrap salmon in foil, pop some potato waffles on a tray and they bake at the same time while I cook some frozen peas on the hob.  That, with a fruit salad for afters, always makes us a delicious meal with practically no effort and it gets wolfed down!

Today I am off to the local shop this morning.  I'll walk unless it is lashing with rain as I need some fresh air.  Then I usually make up for the lack of effort the evening before by concocting something for dinner.  Today's it's a savoury mince with a macaroni cheese topping, something that works with Slimming World and is absolutely delicious!  There should be several portions left to freeze for mum and dad to have over the next fortnight so it is win-win all round.

This afternoon I will do the bit of ironing that's in the washroom and then sit and knit.
So that's me today!  What are your plans?

Friday 15 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a fine, mild morning here which is nice after all that wind and rain.

Yesterday was very restful for most of the day, although npot so restful come the evening when I found I'd gained half a pound.  Not much but it's a gain and frustrating as I have stuck to the plan pretty well.  Ah, well, that's life!

Today I'm off to Mum and Dad's.  Better get sorted, packed and empty the bins, etc.
Have a good day.

Thursday 14 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's blowing a storm outside right now - lashing rain and strong winds.  I am so glad today is a much easier day and I only have to go out once before this evening's SW group.  I've just been out to put the rubbish round the front (collection day today) and, while it's not really cold, it feels chilly in the wind.
Definitely an indoor drying day today.

Yesterday worked out OK in the end, everything fitted in nicely, thank goodness.

They really have sorted out the problems with heating the pool and I thoroughly enjoyed my half hour swim and the five minutes in the spa afterwards was lovely and warming.  I took half an hour afterwards to stroll round Matalan but there wasn't one thing I liked enouigh to be tempted.  There were some great styles but the colours were wrong and when I liked the colour as well, they didn't have my size.  At least my money was safe!

I had a lovely chat with my friend, catching up with all the news and, as always, tuition was a lot of fun.  I am losing one of my students because they no longer need any help, they've caught up and are happy and confident in the subject.  I shall miss them but I'm so happy that I've done a good job and made a difference.

Governors' meeting was, as always, very interesting although it went on a long time!

Finally, I slept the best I have slept for a long time overnight.

Today, aftyer several packed days, is much easier so I'm going to potter and generally chill.  I have to pop into school to arrange some dates but that's all until tuition.  I shall catch up with washing, drying and ironing and get things ready for tomorrow and then just chill.  It should be nice.

Wednesday 13 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a fine dry morning at the moment but will is stay like that?  Who knows!  Yesterday was a fine old mix of high wind, sunshine, lashing rain . . . no snow or hail though.  It felt cold in the wind but probably wasn't all that cold really.

As always, pottery was great.
The buttons were finished and I have now sewn them onto the patchwork bag where they look great, although I expected the glaze to come out a bit brighter.  You never can tell!

There's four, placed where the handles join the bag.

I didn't have much luck with the pendants I started last week.  One of them (a butterfly on a circle) came apart, although Alex says when I glaze them, the glaze will probably (!) stick them together, so I will give that a go and see.
The other snapped in half as I was 'buffing' it up - I'd rolled it too thin.  That wasn't savable!  Ah, well!

I started some more, making them a bit thicker so, hopefully, they will survive.  I forgot to take photos - silly me!

I've decided I want to make a set of coasters in leaf shapes so I started the first one, a maple leaf.  It's quite big because I'd also like to be able to use them on the table for my smallish serving dishes.  I learnt that to prevent the clay from curling up a bit as it dries, you gouge channels into the back and then sandwich it between two boards.  That was a new one for some of the others too.
Here's what I have done so far.  After it's dried, I will smooth it off (very carefully) and then it can have its first firing.  Now I have to decide whether to do the same shape in different glazes or different leaf shapes in the same glaze.  I'm just not sure.

Next week is the last session of this term, but enough of us want to continue for extra weeks so I think the LEA has agreed.  We have to pay, of course, but we expected that.

We were talking about next term and I discovered that some were able to book well after I had been told on the web site that it was fully booked which I found distinctly annoying because we gel really well as a group!  I followed it up at the office and got apologies but, as it now is genuinely full with a waiting list, there's no chance to transfer across, especially as I have a place on Thursday evenings.
So I will do the Thursday evenings next term and make darn sure I book really early when the Autumn term courses are published so I get back into the Tuesday group.

Back home, I sorted some books - spaces are now appearing on the shelves - but forgot to do under that kitchen sink.  I've printed that poster out now and will attach it to the fridge door in the hopes that it will remind me.

Today is a very full day.  First of all I go swimming - I must as I missed Monday - and then there's a small window of time before a friend comes over.  After she goes, it is tuition and straight after tuition is is governors' meeting.  I have to fill in a form for that plus reading the paperwork, so I'll need to do that this morning.

Phew - at least there will be very little nibble time - I've had enough problems filling my meals in without extra nibbles!

Well, time to get ready for swimming so I'd better stop rambling.  Have a great day.

Tuesday 12 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  As I hoped, it was a gorgeously sunny day yesterday although there was a chilly breeze, albeit nothing that a warm coat and a pair of gloves didn't sort.  Today it's damp and dull right now and the forecast is pretty dire so I will be thankful for four stout walls and a sound roof, I expect.

I got everything done that I hoped to get done.  I'm really not motivated to sort out the books but that's not fair on Beth so I'm doing this:  each time I go upstairs, I will sort five books - just five.  That's nothing really and worked well yesterday so I will continue so to do.

I found this doing the rounds on Facebook yesterday.

I thought I might work through some of them although not all of them apply (which is nice as five years ago they would all have been needed - with bells on).  None of it looks too hard.
Today I will do under the kitchen sink - it's not too bad but it is starting to collect a bit of clutter again.

The biggie for today is pottery (cheers!).  The buttons should have been glazed by now so I am taking the bag, a needle and some thread to sew them on there and then (assuming they are OK).   I have done my homework and have decided to make a few more pendants (I'm thinking gifts here, if they're nice enough) and a set of leaf mug coasters.  Useful things.  Things with an everyday purpose that will be used rather than just making clutter.  I have the pendant thingies I made last week to smooth off and neaten up before firing as well.  So there's enough to keep me busy and happy!

Then it will be home for lunch and later on there's tuition.  And under the kitchen sink, of course.
It should be a busy and satisfying day;  I hope yours is good too.

Monday 11 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a lovely early morning out there - clear and cool and the forecast is good - but not so great for Tuesday and Wednesday with rain and strong winds - yuck!

Yesterday was going to be a nothing day but, after swimming and before lunch, Beth came over and we set off to get a couple of second hand Billy units (IKEA) for the little room that's going to be (already is) the sewing room.  The sellers had very kindly dismantled them for  us which is just as well as they'd never have fitted in the car otherwise, so when we got home we (Beth mostly) put them together again and they're now up in the sewing room, waiting to be shelved and loaded.  At £30 for two you really can't complain that they're not quite the same colour as the existing units, can you - well, we're not anyway.

Then I got my ironing finished while Beth got on with some work - she's making a 'memory quilt' for someone and had a huge bagful of old clothes from the customer to sift through and salvage all the usable fabric.

Today, being Monday, is busy.  I will do housey stuff, pottery homework and tuition planning this morning before knitter knatter club and then it's helping in FS followed by tuition itself this afternoon.  That should be enough to keep me out of trouble!

And now I need a coffee so I'll stop rambling on.  Have a great day!

Sunday 10 March 2019


Good morning, everyone, and a happy Sunday to you all.
It was a fully old weather day yesterday.  Sunshine, strong winds, rain now and again, then more continuous rain . . . maybe it wasn't so funny really though seeing as it is March!  The washing played hokey cokey - in, out, in, out, until I gave up and finished it off inside, some on the drying rack and some in the dryer.

I popped off to Sainsbury's pretty early and came back with a few bits and bobs that seemed to come to an alarming sum.  That's why I don't go very often!  However, they did have the foodie magazines I have been looking for and a good, solid milk pan to replace one that is peeling teflon everywhere now, so I'm glad I went.

I also found my summer light coat/jacket.  I bought one last year in Matalan and, at the time, was very happy that I could get the size I got but now it's falling off me.  That's the worst thing about this losing weight lark - I've tried very hard not to get too much but one has to wear something!

I suppose, taking all that into account as well as needing a new black ink cartridge for the printer, it explains the bill really!

The rest of the day was spent doing normal, housey things.  I did the first lot of ironing but there's a bit more yet to do, I finished one sleeve of the jumper I'm knitting and started the other sleeve.  They're my least favourite because the rows just keep getting longer and longer!

First thing today, I intend to go for a swim, after which it depends on the weather really.  The forecast is not great until the afternoon when it might clear up.  If that's so, perhaps an afternoon walk might be nice.  I could pop over to Hylands, couldn't I?  I feel like a good walk to clear the cobwebs! 

My mug is empty so I will stop now and go and fill up again.  Have a lovely day, everyone, and pack in plenty of enjoyable stuff.

Saturday 9 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  The weather report today is that it has been raining but seems dry right now.  However, it's cloudy so no frost.

In town I did a bit of spending but all useful stuff.  I bought some more jeggings as I like the ones I have and I bought another longer top to go with them.  I also got some no VPL undies for obvious reasons.  That was all in M&S.

I found a stall on the High Street that a friend had recommended - a spice stall that sells their own curry spice mixes.  They're always there on Friday's and Saturdays but it's never impacted before.  I bought four mixes - not cheap, but each mix makes at least four portions (more, for me|) and come with a recipe.  I got an any bean mix, a cauliflower, peas and potato mix, a kheema curry mix and a shish/kofta mix so, what with the challenges, etc, should keep me in good flavour for a while to come.  They have a little web site too.

Then I went to the market only to find that the yarn stall seems to have disappeared.  Now that's a shame!  I looked at the fabrics but there was nothing I fancy and, to be honest, I forgot to look out my paper patterns before I left anyway.  I did find a packet of larger needles for sewing up Aran and chunky garments which was a very good thing as now the first Aldi yarn jumper (the one that was supposed to be knitted in chunky) has been sewed up and is ready to wear.

I got home earlier than I expected so the cleaner was still there and she told me she's leaving that company as she has a job caring for some elderly people.  My loss is their gain, I guess.  She had very kindly bought me a book (second hand but that's OK) called Gifts from the Kitchen; it's very interesting and I'm sure I will make some of the things.  I was able to slip a little something inside a card for her as a thank you so I am extremely glad I came home a little earlier.
I will still have a cleaner as it's a company, not an individual, but it's sad.

The rest of the day was spent in knitting, housework, usual and everyday stuff.

Today I'm off to Sainsbury's first thing while the first load of washing does.  Then it's another inside day, although I will go out into the back garden and do some more leaf sweeping up, seeing as the back has now eased off.  I want to sort out some books too - half an hour should see me making great inroads.  Later on there will be some ironing and I still have loads more of the Poirot programmes to watch.

So, a very everyday sort of day for me.  I hope yours is good and, maybe, a bit more exciting.

Friday 8 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After some pretty gusty wind yesterday (brrrr), it's supposed to be 'moderate' today.  I bet it will still feel chilly.  However, we're supposed to have a fair bit of sunshine which will be nice.

Yesterday was dominated by SW group in the evening.  I made the chcken pasta which turned out very nice and I'm very happy that I made far too much because now I have three portions, one portion of plain pasta (I'm dreadful at judging pasta amounts) and a portion of nice tomato sauce as it was too liquidy (but not runny or weak flavoured) so I ladled some off, all hiding in the freezer.

The taster food people brought in was all delicious and there are several things I want to make now.

Best of all, I lost two and a half pounds and am now in the healthy BMI range.  Woo hoo!  I know I've had a tum upset but that's balanced by me making a mega-piggy of myself at Mum and Dad's last weekend so I think it is swings and roundabouts really.  I have one pound to go to get my next award so that's do-able, and less than a stone to go before hitting my amended target.

Today there is absolutely nothing in the diary, not even tuition as it's Friday and I am home this weekend.  I think that I will have a leisurely breakfast, tidy up the house for my cleaner and then take the bus into town as the market is open on Fridays and I want to look at the fabric stall, at the knitting patterns and maybe get some cheap veg as well.  I'm getting to be a right gadabout now I have a bus pass and it's good fun!

Then I will come home to a clean house, thanks to my lovely cleaner, and I will sit and knit and generally have an easy day watching back to back Poirots.  Bliss.

That's the plan, anyway.  What's yours?  Have a great time, whatever it is.

Thursday 7 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  The skies are clear and we have just a touch of frost but what amazes me is how light it is at just after six.  It won't be long before the clocks spring forward and what a difference that will make to the evenings.  I know it won't happen yet but I am really looking forward to sitting outside of an evening, reading and relaxing and I must go and get my runner bean and tomato seeds soon.

Yesterday was a very 'easy' day.  I knitted and did a bit of housework (but not much) and caught up on my sleep a little bit.  Also, I was brave and wore my jeggings for the first time - they don't half hold you in!!

Today is another careful food day.  It's taster evening at group this evening and I do want to enjoy it so I'm going easy through the day to make sure I am totally recovered.  I'm making a chicken and bacon pasta dish which is easy and tasty.  As well as being a pressure cooker, the Instant Pot is also a slow cooker and I will use that function.

My coffee mug is empty so I'd better go and refill it.  Have a good day, everyone.

Wednesday 6 March 2019


Good morning, everyone!  It's a rotten morning, chucking it down with rain (good for ducks and plants) but at least that means that it isn't too chilly.

It's so dull that, to brighten things up, here's a photo I took just now (so the lighting isn't great).  My mini daffs are a real picture this year, so thickly flowering that picking some wouldn't created any gaps.
So I did.

Yesterday, I set out earlier to go to my surgery in town to pick up my repeat prescription (for blood pressure and it seems to be working) before stopping off at Aldi's (near to where pottery is) for some bits and bobs, mostly fresh veg.

As always, pottery was great.
The butterfly buttons fired well so I brushed them off and chose a glaze called 'Royal Purple' which should go well with the bag they are intended for.  It took ages as on the pot it advised three coats and each coat had to dry on each side before applying the next coat.  I did take some photos but they have come out all blurry, sorry.

Then I decided to have a bit of a play.  I wanted to make some pendant thingies and someone else had brought some internet photos for me to use as a guide.  I had a play and started finding out what worked and what didn't work.  As I've said before, I'm no artist, so much of what I did never saw the light of day but I kept these and they are now drying in the cupboard for tidying up next week before firing.

The oval circle was an accident.  I cut the circle (using an icing cutter, my hand's not that steady) but it was too big so I used a smaller cutter and decided to keep the resulting ring which turned into an oval as I picked it up.  I might cut out some tiny flowers and arrange them around the ring or - this has just come to me - a tiny little bunch of flowers as a sort of relief thing.
I need to do some homework this week and plan what I want to make in the pendant line as I like the 'free flow-ness' of the flower shape but it's a bit unfocused (if you know what I mean); a bit of design planning might make a big difference.
Anyway, as a first go, they are OK and, with a decent glaze, they should work.  Come Christmas, I should be able to make some original decorations for the Christmas tree too.  I wonder if you can get sparkly glaze.  I must ask.  You can buy and use your own glaze if you want.
The coil pot is finished and it's pretty horrible, even the glaze didn't turn out as I expected, but I made it so it is now sitting on my desk, looking at me with a decidedly Bart Simpson glare.  As a pencil pot, it will earn its space!

When I got home, I had a good rest as I was feeling a bit wobbly and got on with my knitting.  I've finished the back and have started the front.  This is the second jumper I am making with this yarn and I was filled with a sudden panic that I wouldn't have enough (you know how it goes when you don't use the set yarn) so at Aldi I looked to see if there was any more and, as luck would have it, there was just one more ball left although I had to rootle to find it.  So now I have plenty and probably won't need that last ball but I guess peace of mind is worth £4.95!

Come the evening, I managed to stay up to watch Sewing Bee but crashed out half way through and went to bed so missed the results.  I thought it was hard - who is going to make a swimming costume anyway?  I can see why they chose Juliet's as it was super and the fabric was gorgeous but thought it was hard on Janet who must have spent at least a third of her time generously helping everyone else and still managed to produce a fantastic result.
I shall catch up on iPlayer after finishing this!

Today I am still feeling decidedly dodgy from the upset tum, whatever caused it, so won't be going swimming.  Not a great start to my new resolution but I just don't think it will be sensible feeling like this.  So I will take it very easy today, probably catch up on sleep (it was a disturbed night) and get on with my knitting.  Oh, and do some pottery homework!

Have a great day, everyone, and stay dry

Tuesday 5 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a right chilly morning and there might even be a bit of a frost, it's hard to tell right now.  However, it is supposed to be not too bad today so I'm looking forward to a bit of sunshine.

Yesterday was up and down.  I had a good journey home although the road from Bishop's Stortford to Sawbridgeworth was closed by police cones and a police car so I had to go another way.  I looked it up later (how did we manage before Google?)  and there had been an accident that caused an awful lot of problems for traffic all over the place so I am glad I didn't get caught up in it.

Once home, everything was nice and tidy.  I sorted out my clothes, etc, and checked over my planning.  Then I went off to do my bit at school but started feeling yucky, nopt helped by the fact that just as I started walking back, the skies darkened and we had a short, sharp, very cold shower with high wind that left me chilled to the bone.

After a session in the smallest room, I cancelled tuition.

I'm fine now, I think it might be a reaction to an anxious weekend, but I've explained to today's family and left it up to them to decide if they want me to come and tutor or not.

It's pottery this morning so I'm very glad I'm better.  The coil pot should be finished and I have to glaze the butterfly buttons after which I need to settle on another short term project before the end of the term.  Another lady had a print-off of some lovely and simple pendants and I might have a go at one or two of them, just for fun.  Alternatively, I might make a few coasters for my coffee mugs.  Or maybe both!
I want to make useful things!

Thyen it's home to check over my planning unless I hear otherwise, followed by a rest as I expect I shall be knackered!  'Rest' means sitting with a book and my knitting!

Yesterday evening my Kindle flashed up that it needed recharging so I hunted in my tech bag for the cable only to realise with a sinking heart that I'd left it at my parents'.  Thanks to the miracle that is Amazon Prime, a replacement is winging its way to me today and I console myself with the thought that having a spare is a Good Idea anyway!

The sourdough starter is sitting there looking still and pensive!   There won't be any action yet but, hopefully, by Thursday, I will see a bit of action.  Everyone says you can't hurry a sourdough and given that all my past efforts have been singularly unsuccessful, I'm not even going to try!

Well, I'd better get going.  Have a great day, everyone.

Monday 4 March 2019


Good morning.  A bit blowy at times, wasn't it?  I guess it's been worse in other parts and there's even been some snow on higher ground so I hope everyone is OK and there's been no damage.

After breakfast I will be going home and then it's back to the usual routine - Knitter Knatter Club, helping with FS and a bit of tuition before settling down to catch up with recorded programmes since Thursday.  Not a bad life, eh?

At some odd moment I shall start some sourdough again - give it another go (again) and see if I have more luck this time.  This time, it has to be wholemeal, to fit with Slimming World.  I'm not sure if that makes it harder or not but - well, if you don't try, you'll never know and this time I have some really good instructions - don't I, Sooze?!  :-) 
Fingers crossed.

Have a good day, everybody, whatever you have planned.

Sunday 3 March 2019


Good morning, blogland friends!

I was thinking about the swimming 'want' and how to fit it in.
I could do every other Monday.
Tuesdays are out until May because of pottery - don't want a mad rush.
I could do Wednesday's and Thursday - usually, anyway.
I could do every other Friday and ditto for Saturday and Sunday.
So, really, there's no excuse.  I think I must write it onto my meal planner - by that, I mean the days I want to go each week to a maximum of three a week (for now anyway).
So it's do-able and I have the time.  Now I just have to DO IT!  :-)

Fingers crossed!!!

If you have bad weather today, take care and stay safe.  xx

Saturday 2 March 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Here, I am, sat up in bed at Mum and Dad's, laptop on a pillow, coffee to the left, electric blanket control to the right, warm and cosy and relaxed.  What a lovely start to the day.

After yesterday's mega-entry, this will be shorter today.  I had a good drive over although there were some traffic hold-ups along the way.  A bit of a lucky 'escape' - driving along, I noticed (I could hardly miss it with all the signs) that the A120 from Bishop's Stortford all the way to where it joins the A10 is completely closed today and tomorrow but will be open again on Monday.  I could go via the 414 and Harlow, but I'd much rather not!

I had a nice walk in the afternoon to the local mini-Tesco and back which was pleasant.  By then the sun was trying to shine.  Apart from that, it was not a busy day so I was able to get on with one of my favourite books, Sense and Sensibility.

Today is more of the same really.  I hope to finish the jumper I am knitting with the not-chunky (oops) yarn and I have another pattern that is for Aran plus so much Aran yarn left over that I will be able to start that jumper as well.  I have to say, the one thing I am now not at all short of is rather lovely (I think they're lovely, anyway!) hand-knit jumpers!  They are very 'forgiving' in size and will continue to be fine for me when I am at target.

I'm now three days into taking the vitamin E capsules and I have to say my skin is feeling less itchy.  Maybe it's all in the mind but, hey, if it works, however it works, then it works!!  No complaints!

I said this would be shorter so I'll stop now and move over to t'other blog.  Have a great Saturday, whatever the weather!

Friday 1 March 2019

Friday and some achievement wishes

Good morning, everyone.  Pinch and punch and white rabbits to you all.

We had the predicted rain later on yesterday and it feels very much milder this morning.  No need to turn up the heating a notch and no need for a dressing gown.  It's very dull outside though, no sun trying to break throught the lowering clouds.  Shame.

I went into town at nine, leaving behind me on the car parking space a mess of very old recliner chair (broken), fold down bed frame and mattress, having apologised to the neighbours before hand and when I got home again, it had all gone.  Three cheers for the council refuse men who do such a good job with little accolade.

In town, I visited different shops.  I went into FatFace and they did have some nice tuncs but they were all too long for me (yes, I could have turned them up) and, a problem I found everywhere really, I am sort of between sizes again.  I don't want to buy some nice summer things and find that when I get to target they are just a bit too big big and, while one or two target garments can be helpful, I don't want loads of stuff that's just too small cluttering up my storage space.  So I looked, noted but didn't buy.

I had more success in M&S.  I found one bra in Mum's size and will order the others online and I bought one for me a size smaller as a sort of 'prompt' bra.  It just fits now and when it feels 'right' I will know I have to replace the others, hopefully getting my forever size this time.  Also I found a top that will work with my leggings and now I must wear the outfit at home so as to feel a bit confident before facing the world.

I looked at the ballet pump shoes that one of you recommended and yes, they were nice (and I have gone down half a shoe size and am not extra wide any more) but when I tried them on I felt as if they were going to fall off at every step.  I also tried some heels but, of dear, talk about unsteady.  I nearly toppled over!  I expect I have to bite the bullet and get used to them at home but maybe not yet!
Does that sound silly?

I went in and out of several shops, taking note of things and generally enjoying myself.  In Primark, I did buy a dress that will look nice over leggings but when I got home I found I had made the classic error of not checking the label.  The hanger said one thing, the label another.  Fortunately, it is only a little bit too small (and cheap) so that's my target dress!  Now I have to decide whether to go back next week and buy another in my current size.  Decisions!

I have quite itchy skin at the moment, maybe because my diet is pretty low fat, and I read that vitamin E capsules might help so I decided to get some and give it a go.  I'll let you know!  No, I don't want to know how many syns!!!  😀

By that time my silly old back was playing up so I came home!

Sue, from the absolutely wonderful blog ' The Cottage at the End of a Lane' , reviewed a list of things she wanted or needed to do over the next months, that she made last August (the list, I mean).

I thought this was a jolly good idea and was thinking about what I'd like to achieve this month - realistically achieve, I mean.  So here we go.
I want to:
1.  Be about half a stone lighter than I am now by continuing to follow the Slimming World plan and going to group each week (and staying for the whole session)

2.  Use up lots of the home made 'ready meals' currently clogging up my freezer.  This is a bit of a sacrifice as I love trying out new recipes and making them SW friendly but I can't go on putting stuff in the freezer.  Space is limited - very limited at the moment.  I will do this by finishing off an audit of the meals I have and making sure I plan them in when I do my weekly meal planning.  Starting today.

3.  Have sorted out all the books in the newly named sewing room and appropriately disposed of many of them.   That means allocating time and just DOING IT!!!

4.  Put all the sewing stuff on the shelves vacated by the books.  That will free up space downstairs.  Beth will have to help with this as she has to work with where everything goes.

5.  Linked with 4, track down a couple of second hand 'Billy' shelf units as there's now room for them in the sewing room.  Actually, this is a bit of a cheat as Beth has undertaken this, so my share is to keep my fingers crossed and come up with the readdies!

6.  Resume swimming.  I can't use the 'too cold' reason much longer and I do miss it.  I find my early mornings are pretty tied up with socual mediating so maybe I could get some of the messaging done the day before.  That would give me time to swim when it is least crowded (which is not very early, it's between 8:30 and 9:30 when many people are either at work or getting their families to school.  Then I just have to get back in the pattern again.

7.  And finally, to have started acquiring my summer wardrobe and if that sounds spendthrift, it is because I have hardly any clothes from last summer that still fit.  Last summer I was still very much trying to make do with clothes that were already too big and I'm some stones down from there now.  Anything I have left from then looks absolutely terrible now.
To do this I will need to wander around shops, taking notes, trawl the internet and make some sensible choices that all work together.  Oh, the hardship!

This entry is all rather solid so I'll liven it up with a few photos of my pretty, new flowers out the front.

Well, better get going if I want to achieve anything this morning.  Have a great day, everyone, and I hope it isn't too wet for you.