Tuesday 30 April 2019


The annual photo of my phlox candy stripe which is looking very pretty at the moment!

Good morning, everyone.  It looks as if it is going to be a lovely day today.  No mist, pretty clear skies and it doesn't feel cold enough to think about turning up the heating.

Yesterday was punctuated by a very worrying situation which was more or less sorted by mid afternoon, thank goodness.  It worked wonders for my food intake though - rather than comfort eat, I felt quite sick for a while and didn't want to over-eat at all, not even in the relief later on.  I'm glad about that!

In the afternoon I did my school duty and came out with a headache.  I'm not sure whether the children were noisier than usual or I was just more sensitive but ouch!  In contrast, tuition was lovely.

Today I will be going into town, to John Lewis, to get Dad some new sheets, his being rather threadbare.  Yes, he could get them himself online but I always appreciate an excuse to have a good nosey around John Lewis and nearby shops.  I haven't been in Lakeland for a while . . .

The biggie for today is a girls' night at the Hare.  I've been online and looked at the menu to make my choice.  I like to do this anyway as I'm a terrible ditherer at the best of times!
I'm really looking forward to this evening.

Have a super day, everyone.  Fingers crossed for some warm sunshine.  xx

Monday 29 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a still, misty, moisty morning, a huge change from the blustery weekend.  Perhaps the sun will burn off the mist and we will have a pleasant day.

Yesterday wasn't great - I had a bit of a down day and did very little of any note.  I suppose it is to be expected and I must understand that but I feel cross with myself all the same.

Today, the diary looks quite busy, so I won't have much time for introspection which is not such a bad thing.  I have to go down to the tile shop to choose tiles for my bathroom, then it is helping out in FS, something that rather died the death towards the end of last term because of Mum, and then I have tuition.  I think that busy-ness will help.

Have a good day and may the sun shine for you.  xx

Sunday 28 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.
Thankfully, the weather seems to have moderated somewhat.  Yesterday was very windy although, as almost always, we didn't get the worst of it round here.  There's still a breeze but nothing too out of the ordinary - yet, anyway.

It was a very ordinary day apart from that wind.  I went to Sainsbury's for a few things I can't get in Morrisons and came back with a new top.  Ooops!
The rest of the day was spent in knitting, loads of ironing, watching telly and knitting and falling asleep.  I guess I was quite weary after Friday's trip and I woke very, very early on Saturday morning.

Those tulips are still going strong.  A couple have started drooping but the others are still upright and looking pretty.  Amazing!

I've started using the new camera.  As it's the same make as the old one, quite a lot of things are in the same place/give the same message, so there's a familiarity about using it which is good, but it seems to do a lot more and I need to start 'exploring' some of the less automatic features.  It came with a CD with 'operating instructions for advanced features' so that will be a good place to start, I think.  I just wish the language wasn't quite so technical.

Today is a diary-empty day but there's more ironing from the washing I did yesterday, there's a kitchen to tidy and clean and that everlasting decluttering to carry on with.  Plus, of course, planning for tuition this coming week.  It should keep me out of trouble!

Have a great day and, if the wind has been bad your way, I hope all is well for you.

Saturday 27 April 2019

Saturday and a trip to Sandringham

Good morning and thank for all yesterday's comments.  Yesterday was a most enjoyable day.

Jackie turned up at seven, as arranged, and we had a leisurely breakfast before walking to the pick up point where the coach turned up after about five minutes.  After going all round Chelmsford picking others up, off we went, heading towards the M11.

The traffic was quite heavy which was OK this end and on the motorway but rather held things up, especially past Mildenhall where the roads are narrow and there were quite a lot of very slow moving vehicles - mostly farm vehicles.

Once there, the first thing we did was locate the loos (ladies of a certain age - you know!) before we decided to have lunch first.  There's a very good eating place at the visitor's centre where the food is fresh cooked.  I'm not sure how they would cope on a very busy day but yesterday it was fine and the mushroom soup I had was absolutely delicious.  Jackie had frittata with a salad and she also said it was wonderful.

We went along to the church first.
It was smaller than I had expected, and very 'intimate' with such a 'friendly' atmosphere, despite the monuments to many royals, including Victoria. 

There was a huge amount of silver in pulpit, altar and rederos which must cause a bit of a security headache.  I just wondered how much work it must take to keep it all shining so brightly.

The font is very old and was used for the christening of  both Charlotte and her grandmother, Diana - we were told that was why Charlotte was christened there - because of Diana.  I though that was lovely.

Then we took the long walk through woodlands to the house.

Only a few rooms downstairs are open for viewing which is fair enough as it is a family home, but, s Sooze said, it's lovely.  However, it was here that I had the only quibble of the day - there are no infowmation notices in the rooms - or very few - and visitors are given ear phones connected to little ipad thingies that given info.  However, I can't use earphones because of my hearing aids and feedback and there was no substitute.  Even a transcript sheet would have been good but even better would have been a round the neck loop to replace the earphones, like the one I have that works with my TV.
So I felt I missed out a bit there and I might say something at some point, if there's any 'contact us' link on the site.  It wasn't good and certainly not reasonable adjustment.

Then it was on to the Stable Museum which was good.  Lots of old cars and carriages, including child sized ones for the younger Royals, some of which I have seen before, of course, in TV programmes.  Lots of info on the walls here and we both agreed it was well done.

Then we just had time for a cuppa before strolling back to the coach the other way so we more or less circled the house.

The journey home was much quicker.  The drive took another route which went past my beloved Center Parcs and on to the A11 and the first hold up we had was back in Chalmsford along the Broomfield Road.
We spent some time on the coach looking through the booklet of other coach tours/trips this summer and, to be honest, I could go on one every week if I wanted to, there's so many to choose from.  Today I will take another look online and have a think.

So it was a super day all round and I certainly slept well last night!

Friday 26 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.

Of course, once I had bought a replacement point and click, my camera stopped sulking and decided to cooperate again, assisted by me running a nail not terribly gently around the moving zoom parts of the lens in a certain amount of frustration/annoyance.  Maybe there was a bit of something in it stopping it from moving smoothly.  Anyway, never mind, once one things starts going wrong, other things follow and it gives me time and room to consider a better camera as well.

All I can say is it'd better behave today as I'm off on a coach trip with Jackie to Sandringham House and Gardens.  I'm in a bit of a hurry as Jackie is coming round at seven for a quick breakfast before we leave to be at the pick up point by eight so this will be short.

I've had to cancel the last couple of booked coach trips doe to family stuff, as you know, so am looking forward to this one.  It's somewhere I've wanted to visit for ages now so it should be very satisfying.

Just as long as the camera behaves!

Thursday 25 April 2019

Little garden update

I finally managed to get my camera to open so here's the one photo I managed to take at Marks Hall before it started sulking.  The weather was sulking too so bad light.
It's part of the visitors' centre area.

I love the sign - it's advertising tree climbing on Fathers' Day.

A little photo update of the garden.

 The mints were looking decidedly rusty and raggedy last year so I refreshed the soil and now they're lovely!

This is the clematis I bought last year - it's called 'Oooh la la' and the few flowers it had were beautiful.  It's budding really well this year so fingers crossed.
 Some of the Autumn fruitint raspberry canes that are coming up really well.  For just a container, I should get a good harvest.
 I shopuld have sorted out the strawberry bed last Autumn and didn't so I don't think the crop will be so good this year but what I will get should taste fab.
The oregano is going great guns - It spreads like crazy so I will need to be very firm with it.


Good morning, everyone.

Thank you, thank you for the lovely comments yesterday.  I had a very pleasant day, one way and another.

On the way over to Val's, it started raining which was a bit of a downer but by the time I got there it had stopped and, apart from a few warning drops at one point, it stayed dry and, occasionally, sunny.

You're right - Marks Hall is lovely.  It's wilder than Hyde hall, less 'managed', and much more natural and it's huge!  After lunch we took a leisurely stroll around half the lake and the walled garden - LOVED the walled garden - before leaving.  We talked the hind legs off a donkey as the saying goes, catching up on each other's news.

I will definitely be going back!

One annoying thing though  - I have no photos.  My camera decided to be awkward and wouldn't fully cooperate.  I definitely have to get a new one and fairly quickly.  Eileen, you asked whether I wanted a point and click or a DSLR and, having looked up what a DSLR is I think the answer is 'both'.  It looks as if a DSLR will be great for taking photography a bit further with more creativity and effect while a point and click is so useful for what it says on the box - quick, instant and lightweight.  I gather you can get different lenses for the former - is that right?

Today is a nothing day until tuition and SW group (which I am dreading after the last few weeks) and, as the weather is dull, I will spend it sorting out the mess I call my home and researching cameras.  Oh, and also spending some time walking around in my shoes with heels so I get used to them.  Sounds daft, I know, but if you'd gone over on your ankle as often as I used to, you'd be very wary.  :-)

Have a good day and wish me luck, both with SW group and with camera research.  Any advice would be gratefully received.

Wednesday 24 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday remained dull all day but it was dry, as today is predicted to be too.  A bit of sun, some cloud, rain tomorrow. 

I'm glad they're not expecting rain because I'm out for a little jolly today.  Friend Val and I are off to Marks Hall for a few hours, taking in lunch as we do so.  It's quite a local place (very local for Val) but I've never been there so it will be quite a treat and I must remember my camera!
If it's worth it, I can go again another time.

Yesterday passed as days usually do.  It was pleasant enough, I did some knitting, some housework, pottered about, etc, leaving little piles of 'stuff' in my wake which I need to sort out first thing.

A parcel arrived.  I'm being very brave and branching out a bit by buying some shoes with a bit of a heel.  I've always worn flatties as my weight and slightly dodgy ankles made heels a Dangerous Thing but I'm a lot steadier nowadays and Hotter shoes are always comfortable.  I have to admit, I'm pleased with how they feel and look and I wasn't wobbly on them.  Fingers crossed.

Apart from the trip out, later on I have tuition and I'm looking forward to that very much.  You can take the girl out of teaching but . . .
As they say!

Have a great day.  xx

Tuesday 23 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's Tuesday, the start of a new school term and I'm as free as a bird!  I know I keep saying this at the start of every new term but will I ever lose that surging sense of unchained-ness?  And I really did love teaching!

But where's the sun?  Oh, dear.  I've just checked BBC weather which says it is bright sunshine here.  No, it isn't, it's dull and cloudy.  Fingers crossed for it clearing up/

Sue (Beechcomber) suggested the other day a way of keeping tulips fresh and, when I went shopping in Aldi, they had some bunches of multi coloured tulips so now each stem of the bunch I bought has a little hole close to the bud and I'm hoping for a nice long display.  They have picked up really well since yesterday so, Sue, thanks so much for the tip.
(I can't help wondering why it works)

(slightly out of focus and not very well arranged but never mind)

Using my camera reminds me that I need to start looking out for a replacement.  It's becoming increasingly unreliable and sometimes doesn't turn on or off properly.  Any recommendations?

Right, well, yesterday turned out to be a busy morning and a lazy afternoon.  In the morning, after tuition, I drove down to the new(ish) Aldi because I like Aldi and prefer several of their products.  It was pretty busy but nowadays I try to park the opposite end of the car park to get a bit of 'body magic' (SW term for exercise!) in, so there was a good choice of slots.  I found everything on my list, plus those tulips and, although the checkout queues looked horrendous, they cleared pretty quickly so no complaints.  I then had a meander around some of the other shops in the retail park - window shopping only - before driving home.

I did a little bit of clearing up in the afternoon and then sat out and did some more knitting.  Very satisfying all round.

Today I have an almost blank page in my diary.  It just says 'schools back' and 'chairs picked up between 10 and 12'.  That latter comment refers to the fact that my increasingly wobbly dining chairs are going off to the local upholsterers, not for re-covering (there's nothing wrong with the upholstery) but for a bit of sticking/fixing back together and generally making them a bit more solid and less wobbly.  Yes, it will cost, but not that much per chair and when you think how much dining chairs cost . . .

I'm feeling a bit more energetic again today so I will do a bit more decluttering, I think.  I have to make myself start but always feel better after doing a bit.

And the other thing I want to do is get the planning for the rest of the week done and dusted.  There's not an awful lot to do and I'm doing more or less the same thing at different levels anyway - some recount writing - which is not merely writing, it is reading, analysis, looking at features and how the author gets a specific effect, planning, writing and evaluating against aforementioned features).  Plus involving the usual SpAG as well, of course.  Phew!
Poor kids!

Well, as I was sp extremely lazy yesterday, I failed to clear the kitchen at the end of the day so I'd better start in and do that first of all.  After coffee, obviously!
Have a super day!  xx

Monday 22 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a simply beautiful spring day yesterday, today looks like being much the same which will be nice.

After all my good intendions yesterday, I found myself feeling very lethargic and ended up doing not-a-lot.  I did do some washing and drying and some kitchen stuff and I sat and knitted quite a lot.  The funeral jumper is now pretty much half way through.

Today I have two tuition sessions this morning and then I'm off to Aldi as I discovered that I have left most of my salad stuff at Dad's, silly me.  Of course, shops were all closed yesterday, weren't they?

When I get home after that, I will see how energetic I feel - I've decided to be kind to myself for a few days and not push things too far.

That's about it really.  Basically, a lazy bank holiday!
Have a good'un!

Sunday 21 April 2019


Good morning.  A very Happy Easter Sunday to everyone, whatever this day means to you personally.

Phew - what a lot of lovely comments again.  I think I have replied to everyone but if I have accidentally missed anyone out, please forgive me.  You have all been so encouraging and uplifting that I feel very fortunate indeed.  Bless you all.

Well, I'm home.  A good journey it was too although there was more traffic than I had expected.  However, it was mostly local, short journey traffic with nothing slow moving and precious little big stuff so no problem.
There was an unexpected hold up in Sawbridgeworth which has a ground level crossing (which I am always rather wary of).  Something had gone wrong with the traffic control/level crossing gates (shudder) and the road was closed by a rapid response police car.  Luckily, I do know a couple of alternative routes so I just turned and took another way instead, very thankful that there had been no accidents.

Beth was here when I got home so we had a mug of coffee apiece while I enjoyed the warm fresh air from the open French windows.  Then I set to with unpacking, washing, drying (on the line - yay) and so on. 
I have some bits and bobs to sort out still.  Mum had a few bits of Wedgwood, nothing particularly valuable but it will look nice in the blue guest room and the pot without a lid (it got broken ages ago) will be perfect for some pot pourri - how old fashioned is that, eh?

One lovely thing - lovely to me, I mean - is that decades ago (I think more or less half my lifetime ago) I made a matching pin cushion and needle case for Mum using canvas and needlepoint stitches.  She loved them, always had them out and in use, took them to her tailoring classes where it was generally admired (she said) and all in all it was probably the most useful gift I have ever made.  Anyway, Dad insisted that I take them as he won't need or use them so they now have pride of place on the table beside my recliner whenever I do any needlework.  They're somewhat battered but in surprisingly good condition given their age and use and I'll see if I can show them off with a few photos at some point.

I did manage to do a bit more decluttering although not the books as Beth was busy in her work room and I'd have been in the way.  However, my bedroom is now that little bit tidier which can only be a Very Good Thing.

Downstairs, I sorted out all the stuff on the hooks in the hall.  Two things went to the Sally Army recycling as they are way too large now and one needs washing before it joins them, a couple of washable winter jackets are waiting to be washed and my good winter coat needs to go to the dry cleaners before being put away for the summer (although I am dithering about trying it on the very coolest, gentlest wash cycle my machine has - any advice?). 
At least now any visitors can hang up their coats easily!

I think I mentioned last week that I found a pile of useful knitting patterns in Mum's office, some of which I had been looking for at home for ages!  Well, I found the specific pattern I had wanted and took it with me to Letchworth on Monday with some yarn I already had.  It's not genuinely Aran yarn but it is Aran weight and much softer - quite nice, really, and the garment will be lovely to wear.
Anyway, I started on Monday and it is a measure of how well organised Dad is that I had enough spare time to finish the front and am half way through one sleeve.
I'm having to invent the sleeve as the ones in the pattern are clunky and bulky and packed with Aran whereas I just want moss stitch.  As it's a dropped shoulder pattern, it's not a difficult thing to create.
Dad laughed and said I would have to call it the Funeral Sweater.  Oh, dear!  :-)

On to today, there's a bit more washing and plenty of ironing to keep me out of trouble.  I want to do some more knitting as I catch up with some recorded TV and I want to declutter some more as well.  Beth will be round in the afternoon which will be nice and I have some planning to do.  The Easter break is nearly over and I have a couple of sessions tomorrow morning.  Yes, Bank Holiday, I know, but life moves on and it is parental request!

In between chores there will be plenty of time to relax and enjoy the predicted warm sunshine so I reckon it's going to be a lovely day.  I hope yours is too.  xx

Saturday 20 April 2019


Morning, everyone.  I will be setting off home after breakast this morning and what a lovely day it is to be out and about.  Yesterday was glorious too and we had all the french windows open to enjoy the spring air.

Thank you for all your lovely comments.  After reading them all, I was so grateful for such lovely bloggy friends.

All went well on Thursday.  I won't pretend it was anything but heartbreaking much of the time but everyone rallied round and there were absolutely no hitches.  Now we all move on again.

I will still be coming up regularly - to keep Dad company.

Once I am home this morning, there will be things to do.  Unpacking, shopping, washing (and drying on the line - yay) as well as throwing open all the windows and dealing with dead flowers in vases, etc.  I might treat myself to some more, just because.

I will catch up on everyone's blogs - I haven't commented much this week because I haven't read much (sorry) so I'm looking forward to getting back into my stride again.

Have a great day and enjoy the lovely weather.  xx

Wednesday 17 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.

I'm taking a few days off blogging while I'm at Dad's.  It's the funeral tomorrow and I'll be back here by the weekend, I am sure.

Hoping all is well for you.

Monday 15 April 2019


Good morning!  The sun is shining and there is no frost which is nice.  Hopefully it will stay that way as the sun is very cheering.

Yesterday was a simpler day but there was plenty to do.  I cleared my head with a walk to Morrisons and back, getting the things I needed for feeding family with a nice, big cottage pie this evening.  I cooked the mince in the slow cooker because I like it that way and made it a bit spicy with some cajun spice.  It all now sitting in the fridge, ready for transporting to Dad's in due course.  I did what felt like loads of washing (where does it all come from) and have a stack of ironing to do this morning.

I did a bit of clearing and tidying and loadsa washing up so there's not too much in the kitchen to get done today.

Well, better get going .  For a start, I need some coffee!
Have a lovely day.

Sunday 14 April 2019


Good morning and welcome to a lovely, sunny, frosty morning here in mid-Essex.  My head is muggy after yesterday's celebrations but the rest of me is surprisingly OK!

This was a real surprise around lunchtime yesterday.

I thought it felt rather chilly as I walked around town but the shops were well heated and the precinct was also warm enough while today's buses are enclosed and nothing like those old open back-doored buses of my youth (thank goodness).
So when I heard a clattering on the window, I looked up and got quite a shock.

Poor little strawberry plants!

While in town, I got some stuff for Dad's pantry and some clothes for me.  One of my monthly targets was to sort out a summer wardrobe for myself and I think I am getting there, albeit rather monotonously.  By that, I mean it'll be a lot of T shirts and jeans/trousers, but that's OK.  If I have one or two smarter outfits, it will be more than I used to have although, to be fair, I was mostly fairly smart anyway, for school purposes.

I went to the Craft Fair but, sadly, it hadn't been that well advertised so there wasn't a lot of selling going on.  I bought a present for a little friend from Beth's stall so that's sorted that out nicely.
We're now thinking about having some sort of open house round mine so Beth can set up her wares.

And then there was the family meal out.  It was lovely to get together again, albeit not everyone (and I don't mean just Mum) was there and the food (and drink) was lovely.  I had already decided to forget about Slimming World and thank goodness I did because there really was nothing I could have had. 
We ate and drank and laughed ourselves silly and towards the end Alex gave a delightful and impromptu speech about Mum that was just perfect and so right.  Sometimes that young man just amazes me.  Autistic he may be but he can be very empathic in his own way and yesterday he was spot on, bless him.

Some of the more energetic members of the family decided to carry on elsewhere.  Some of us lightweights decided enough was enough and the non-drinker among us, bless her, drove us home.  I hate to think how some heads and tums are feeling this morning but I think we will all agree that it was completely and utterly worth it.  And I must sort out some flowers for the non-drinker who not only drove us, she also put up with an gaggle of increasingly silly people as the wine went down!  You know how it is, I am sure.

Now it's back to reality again.  Today I shall walk to Morrisons at around ten to get some mince and then it's home, James, to make the components of a big cottage pie for tomorrow evening.  From the sublime to the cor-blimey after yesterday's feast, isn't it, but I make a good cottage pie so I am sure it will be eaten with relish.

I also have to pack and to make sure I have everything for five days away.  My home-sitter is ready to move in and guard the place for the week and I think everything is organised.

Thirdly, the paper recycling sack is not emptly again so I could set to and start dealing with my books again.  Whether I will or not is unsure but it's on the list anyway!  Or I could tackle the other pile of books beside my bed instead.  We will see!

Have a good day and stay warm.  xx

Saturday 13 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.
It's going to be a busy day today.  There's the usual daily stuff with a bit of cookinjg needed.  Then Beth comes to load up her car for a craft fair.  I will go to help her for a while and them family are descending on my home to be taxi-ed to the Blue Strawberry for the evening.  Should be good!

So this is a very short one.  Have a super day, whatever you have planned.

Friday 12 April 2019


Good morning and apologies for the lateness of this.  I managed to get all my other social media stuff posted but not this one.

It's a bit of a dull old day today but not raining so let's be grateful for small mercies. 

At weigh in yesterday, I found I had maintained which was a relief.  Things are quite upsy-downsy at the moment and will probably continue to be until after the funeral when I'm hoping to get things back on an even keel again.

Earlier this morning, I went round to a neighbour for coffee and a good natter which was nice.  The rest of the day has nothing definite planned but I must hang out the washing and look up a menu online.

That's because tomorrow we are having a family meal with my brother and family and we're off to the Blue Strawberry Bistrot, a very nice place I haven't been to for ages now.  It should be fun!

Well, I'd better stir my stumps and sort out the washing or it won't get dried.  I'll try to be back at the right time tomorrow. 

Thursday 11 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  How did yesterday go for you?  It was beautifully sunny here although not that warm really, and I managed to get quite a lot done.

I took Diane's advice (thanks, Diane) and used my timer when I sorted out some of the books. 
I moved some of the ones I want to keep to the new bookshelves.
I put some in the paper recycling as they were just not in a fit state to be handed on.
And quite a lot are stacked up beside the new bookshelves.  That's because they are either for the charity shop or, perhaps, will stay there until the Friends of the school group start collecting for the summer fair.
There are more very battered paperbacks to be chucked, but the recycling sack is heavy enough already.  They are collecting today so I can get on tomorrow and/or over the weekend.

Unfortunately, the road is closed today while they resurface.  It was supposed to me yesterday but I think the heavy rain on Tuesday delayed things.  I'm just crossing my fingers that the recycling lorries will be allowed down otherwise it will be a fortnight before the collect the paper (or I will need to go to the dump).

I then cleared some stuff from my bedroom too.  I think sorting Mum's things has made me realise quite how much unnecessary stuff I have - much worse than Mum's which wasn't that bad really, not as bad as mine anyway. 

I also tried using my sourdough starter but, sadly, I couldn't even get a bubbly 'sponge from it'.  I reckon it's just not Meant To Be, so I will stop trying.  The rest of the starter (presumably dead) has gone down the plug hole and I will stick with my ordinary bread.  I'm glad I tried though.

I need to go shopping this morning, just for a few bits and bobs so it will give me a nice walk to Morrisons and back, after which I intend to carry on with the junk in my bedroom. 

And then, this evening, it is SW group and my weigh in.  I was a bit naughty with food over the weekend but, on the other hand, I was running up and down stairs all day which is reckoned to be great exercise so fingers crossed I've lost something.  I'll be happy with just a little bit.

Have a super day, whatever you have in the diary.

Wednesday 10 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's the tenth - we are a third of the way through April - how on earth did that happen?  Where's the time going?

At least it's not raining today.  Yesterday morning it was chucking it down as I drove to Sainsbury's; pretty unpleasant driving conditions, in fact, with a lot of semi-flooding to drive through (which had drained off by the time I came back).  I managed to find what I went to look for, which I was pleased about, but decided not to then cross town to Tesco.  I'll go there another day.

At home, I'm afraid I didn't move a single book although I did think about it!  I got sidetracked into going through my clothes again as I'm short of space since I inherited some of Mum's clothes.  It was worth doing, definitely, and the Sally Army recycling point is now a little bit more full!  There was one skirt that I've never worn but I can now - it was too long, however, so I turned it up and once that was tacked and ready for machine sewing up, I started on the half finished skirt that I found in Mum's office.

Looking at it more carefully, I now think was intended to be the skirt part of a dress with a double row of buttons from top to bottom, but is easily adapted, the main problem being that as the wrapover at the front is bigger than I thought, I'm not going to get into it for a while.  I'll finish all but the buttons and button holes (and hem, of course) and it can be a 'target skirt'.

I was going to take the bus into town this morning to get some things for Dad but I have time to do that so I'm going to stay home and get properly stuck into those books instead.  That's the important thing really and I need to devote a couple of hours to it.  Once that's done, my bedroom needs a good sort out.  It's amazing how books seem to escape into my bedroom and I'm sure they are breeding in there!!!

All that, alongside a bit of ironing and the usual everyday chores, should keep me busy and out of trouble today.  Have a good day, everyone.

(edited to add - I didn't get the sourdough bread started yesterday - maybe today!)

Tuesday 9 April 2019


Good morning, everyone!  It was a day of two halves yesterday.  It started off misty and damp but in the afternoon the sun came out and it was quite nice although none too warm, I felt.

The day started off well with an hour of holiday tuition and now that's it until Bank Holiday Monday which is the day before the new term.  It's really quite nice to forget about planning for a short time, just like a real holiday!

After that, a message pinged through to tell me I was getting a delivery.  You see, I am having real issues sorting out my books in that right at the moment I cannot bear to throw out quite a lot of old, battered childrens books that Mum kept from our childhood and gave me several years ago plus the fact that I sorted my books out a few years ago anyway.  So late week I ordered a couple of plain, low, three shelf bookshelves to go in the blue room (my guest room) and I will move some of the nicer books into there.  It will look OK (I do love a bookshelf!), be convenient for guests and clear some space in the sewing room.

They arrived late morning which was impressive as they had initially said Tuesday and later on in the afternoon, Beth and Alex helped me make them up and get them upstairs.  I was right; they do look nice, even empty, and I can put some of my knitted toys on the top.  Emily (remember Emily, the doll I knitted?) is back again as I had given her to Mum and Dad didn't want her, obviously.  She can go there for a start.

Just after the bookshelves were delivered, Beth and Al turned up.  Beth went up to work while Alex and I walked round to the Flyer/Hungry Horse, only to find a notice on the door saying the kitchen was closed due to stall illness.  Disappointing, but we popped next door to Morrisons and I got Al some nice salads (his request) and some garlic bread.

Later, after they had gone, I got out the ironing board and got the ironing basket empty.  I stitched up the hem of a skirt and did some knitting.
The skirt has a bit of history.  It's one of those pre-gathered length already set onto a waistband either by gatherings or pleats (this one has both) so all you have to do is stich the back seam and turn up the hem.  You nused to see them a lot but not so much nowadays, I think.
I bought it decades ago from Liberty's but never made it up because it was too small around, but it is beautiful fabric and colour so I didn't get rid of it at any point.  I'm glad I didn't because now I have a lovely skirt, great quality, something that I will wear quite a lot.

Anyway, that was yesterday - quite a bitty day!  Sometimes I think this blog ought to be entitled Diary of a Retired Teacher Who Doesn't Do Anything Very Much But Takes a Ridiculously Long Time to Talk About It!

Today, there's nothing in the diary.  I intend to pop to Sainsbury's and Tescos for specific things that they have and Morrisons - I will do that first thing.  Then I think I might read over Sooze's notes about her sourdough bread and give it a go as the starter is well established now.  The other thing I plan is to move some books and therefore clear more space for Beth to put her work.
(I'll explain about all of that in another post, another day)

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

Monday 8 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It was an extremely dull day yesterday until mid-afternoon when it cheered up a bit so I'm wondering how today will turn out.  A bit of sunshine would be a Good Thing and would encourage me to hang my washing out!

Well, the weekend is over.  It was hard: harder than the previous two weekends, oddly enough.  Maybe it was the emotional impact.  But by yesterday lunchtime, Mum's office was mostly sorted with just a few more things still to do which can wait.  Beth was happy with all the 'new' supplies she now has for her little business and I have more knitting stuff which I really must sort out today.  There were lots of single balls/half balls of chunky yarn and, with what I already have, there's enough to make a striped/multi coloured jumper of some kind.  I rather like that idea although I will need to think carefully to avoid it just looking a bit daft!

In one of the drawers was a half made up pile of fabric that was obviously a skirt and, I think, some sort of top.  No pattern.  I've brought the skirt home to finish off as quite a lot of it was made - all the long seams and part of the waist band and I can see that it should be a button up the front skirt.  Now, I know my Mum wouldn't have made it button through completely; she would have it buttoned to about half way down and the rest would be fastened together with buttons just for show.  She always said (and I agree) that the bottom button holes were far too vulnerable to tearing.
The fabric is lovely so I shall finish off and wear it with happiness.
(Mum was smaller than I will ever be on top so I didn't keep those bits - anyway, no pattern!)

It was a bit tough at church, especially when a long time friend of Mum's came bouncing up to me to ask how she was - she has no Internet and hadn't heard.  Poor M was very upset when I told her, so that was difficult.  But people said some lovely things, which helped them.

It's nice to be home again for about a week before going up for funeral week.  I shall take things easy but not too easy and will do some fun things just for me.

Today I have the only tuition session of the whole school holiday.  I got the planning done yesterday so my conscience is clear.  After that, the cleaner is coming (should've been Friday but they needed to change the day) and Beth and Alex are over.  Beth comes to work but Alex and I are going out to the Hungry Horse for lunch.  Beth is invited too but may not accept.
Then I will need to sort out some things, chuck some rubbish, do some sewing and some knitting and generally enjoy myself.

I'll finish with a lovely thing.  My good bloggy friend, Sooze, made a lovely card for me which arrived on Friday - the postman handed me the envelope just as I was heading for the car so this is the first chance I have had to show it.  Thank you, Sooze, it is so kind of you, one for the memory box, I think, and I will enjoy the fancy tea bags as well.  :-)
(the photo doesn't do it justice but you can see how lovely it is)

Sunday 7 April 2019


Good morning, everyone! 

Yesterday was a pretty busy day and I got loads done!
First of all, I popped out to Tesco to get a few things on Dad's list (and a few on mine too).  There weren't many shoppers at that time of day but there were a lot of staff fulfilling Internet orders so it seemed quite crowded.

Once home, I had breakfast with dad before starting off the washing (his sheets are changed on Fridays) and then going up to Mum's office.  Mum was a very tidy individual but she was also, like me, a hoarder, so there was a lot of 'stuff' that really was only fit for chucking.  I got waylaid several times - for example, she used to edit the church magazine for several years and has kept every copy in files.  It was fun to read back and remember things.  I didn't chuck those, of course.

I found photo albums and a photo of Mum that is perfect for the order of service.

I went through her sewing cabinet that Dad made for her in the early days of their marriage and which is such a part of my childhood memories as it was so often out and being used.  It wasn't a sewing machine table, just a thing on wheels for storing all her sewing stuff and, if I had room, I'd take it but I don't.  I now have enough sylko/sewing thread to last me and Beth for several years to come, all the colours of the rainbow, some very, very old.

I had to laugh.  For months I have been searching high and low at home for some knitting patterns I know I didn't throw away and which I wanted but couldn't find them anywhere!  You've guessed what, haven't you - yes, there they were in a plastic box.  At some point I must have lent them to Mum and we never got round to handing them back again.  So now I have plenty of choice of what to make with the pack of aran yarn I have in my cupboard.

She also had lots of paper patterns but most were very old and incomplete and had to be ditched.  I have a few though that I am sure I will use over time.

I haven't started on the chest of drawers yet although I did go through them about a year ago (at Dad's request) and filtered out some stuff.  I may do a bit after church this morning.

So, yes, bitter-sweet, not as tearful as I expected but plenty of warm memories as I went through things.

Today I am accompanying Dad to church.  He didn't go last week, obviously, so it might be a bit emotional for us but the ice needs to be broken, so to speak.
Then I may do some more clearning out and this afternoon I'm setting off home again.  Once home, there will be plenty of unpacking and finding homes and also a bit of planning for the only tuition session I am doing over this holiday, for my eleven plusser tomorrow morning.
So a busy day ahead of me today but it should be OK.  Hoping yours is too.

Saturday 6 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's another early start to the day!  I'm finding that I am sleeping well but seven hours is enough and if one will go to bed at 8:30 . . .
I don't mind early starts although half past three is a bit much, especially when not at home.  So I'm sat here, socially mediating, coffee to my left, book at the ready for when I finish this and it's all very peaceful.  I unloaded the dishwasher while waiting for the water to boil and set the table for breakfast so all's well with my conscience!

Yesterday was a funny old day, what with almost forgetting the governor's meeting plus everything else.  I have responsibility for monitoring assessment and progress so need to have some sort of schedule for these meetings but at the last meeting we discussed strategies that were being put into place so this time we talked about how they were going as well as looking at progress data and how the Pupil Premium childen were coming on.  We managed to fill a good hour with discussion.  Then I want round to say Happy Easter to my ex-colleagues.

By the time I got home, sorted things out and packed, it was time for lunch and then I set off.  It was a very pleasant, surprisingly traffic-light journey and how green everything has become in just four or five days!

We had a good talk with Malcolm, the minister.  The more we talked, the more we remembered, so now he has plenty of material for his eulogy.  Dad's got all the paperwork well in hand and everything is well organised.  I'm not surprised - I know my Dad!

When Maria, the care assistant, came yesterday, after doing the usual bed changing she set to and carried most of Mum's clothes downstairs, bagging them all up for collection on Monday.  Thanks to her, there's not very much more for me to do today so I should be able to make great inroads into the sewing room.  Dad's more or less given me a free hand with that and Beth's sewing supplies should be well reinforced as a result.

I guess it is because of talking about Mum in such depth, but I dreamed about  her for the first time since she died.  It wasn't a bad dream but it was quirky as dreams usually are.

So - today I am doing an early morning shop, sorting out some washing and getting that done and then it's upstairs for a mega sort out.  I bet I will need a shower after all that!

Have a great day, everyone, and enjoy any sunshine!

Friday 5 April 2019


Good morning! 

Sorry this is so late.  I had just started writing when I remembered that I had a governor's meeting at school so had to rush to get washed, dressed and in.  Thank goodness I remembered! 

Yesterday went fine.  I did some washing and some ironing, I did some houseworkl.  Just usual stuff until after tuition.  Then I went off to the Y3/4 show at school which was absolutely amazing.  The best one yet.  They did Roald Dahl's 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears' which I hadn't seen and it was - well, just wow!!!

Then it was straight on to Slimming World.  Yes, I gained two pounds but I was delighted that it was just that and no more.  I've done my planning for next week and it should go fine.

Now I need to clear things up and out before going up to Dad's again.  He has mentioned getting all Mum's clothes downstairs so that the Care Assistant can collect them and take them to a charity shop for him on Monday, which is going to be very helpful. 
I would also like to sort through all Mum's sewing and knitting things as Dad will never use them.  I think that will help.

We've got a 'meeting' with the minister of the church Mum and Dad went to.  He's coming to talk about Mum to get info for his eulogy at the funeral.  That will be tough but it might be releasing too - I hope so anyway.

If I don't post over the weekend, don't worry.  I'm OK and will be back.
Have a lovely day and I hope the sun keeps shining!

Thursday 4 April 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Hasn't it turned chilly?  We actually had a bit of sleet yesterday and I gather there was some very wet snow in London yesterday.  Have you been affected?
I've just checked BBC weather and the forecast is optimistic for today.  Quite a lot of sunshine which always makes one feel warmer anyway!

I had a nice day yesterday.
I got the bus into town and wandered around some shops looking for shoes and a bag.  I saw some very attractive bags in John Lewis but nearly fainted at the price of one I really liked - a cool £280!  Now, I know some people have expensive bags but that's not my thing, so I hurriedly returned it to the shelf and moved on.

I decided to try Debenhams as I know they have an excellent bag department and, lo and behold, there was a neat little navy bag with my name on it in invisible lettering.  Pretty ine3xpensive and not showy at all.   In fact there were several and if I hadn't already 'inherited' a number of handbags from Mum (three black and one brown/tan), I'd have bought another one as well.

I walked through H&M, a shop I never frequented in my fat days, and bought two tops on impulse, one for summer days and one that will go very well with my funeral outfit, so that was good.  They weren't too expensive either.

No shoes anywhere, not ones for me, although if I was going for the high high heels and very pointed toes look (double ouch) there would have been.  How do people manage such discomfort?  Anyway, I remembered that we have a very good independent shoe shop locally, a real family business with high walls, stacked shoe boxes and old fashioned ladders and I am sure they will have something there.  I might pop down this morning.

Anyway, once home, Beth and Alex came round and then it was time for tuition.
I'm delighted to say that after all that I slept like a log last night!  A great relief to feel human again.

Today I have nothing planned until late afternoon when I have tuition followed by a visit to school for the Y3/4 Easter performance.  As soon as that's over I will walk 150 metres to the community centre for SW group.  So I will use the day to pop to the shoe shop and then to get on with my clearing out, etc, and to take some bags of stuff to the hospice shop or the recycling point.  I am short on clothes space with Mum's clothes to accommodate so I need to sort out the clothes that are now too big - jeans, for example - to create a bit more space.
I also need to plan next week's meals which will keep me happily occupied for half an hour or so.
It's a relief to be getting some normality back.

Have a good day, everyone, whatever you have to do.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Wednesday and some new targets

Good morning!  Sleep is evading me right now so I'm down getting stuff done instead. 
Yesterday was a dull, slightly damp day and today is predicted to be the same although maybe a little less damp.

I popped out as soon as the milk run was over to get a few things from Sainsbury's that I can't get in Morrisons and ended up spending - er - too much!  Fair's fair, I got some new undies (I'm still needing to go down in size) and some ink for the printer but even so, it was a bit ouch.  I then picked up a parcel before going home.

Once home, I wasn't feeling all that brilliant.  Stiff neck, slightly aching back, shivery, all just a bit of a reaction, I reckon, so I was sensible, cancelled the tuition session that had been provisionally arranged and rested until the door bell rang and Interflora delivered a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

Diane, thank you very, very much for such a heart-warming, kind and loving gift.  They are absolutely gorgeous.

Then a friend popped round with a card and almost immediately after that, Sharon arrived and sorted my hair and Beth's too.  Now I feel a bit more human again.
I was so tired, I went to bed just before Sewing Bee so I don't know who won.  I'll catch up with that later on.

So I am awake at stupid o'clock, having tossed and turned and generally not having slept, despite the tiredness.  Ho hum!  I might go back to bed but I suspect not as it's rather close to my usual waking time.  I've done some clearing, some tidying up, put some washing in, set off the dishwasher which I forgot to do yesterday evening, fed the paper recycling bag and when I've finished and posted this I will plan next week's meals.

I rather feel like a trip to town this morning so I'll catch the bus straight after nine and follow my nose.  It may sound daft but I 'need' a navy bag and some navy shoes for the funeral.  No, of course I don't really NEED anything of the kind but I'd like to, if I can find something suitable.  I want to visit the spice stall on the High Street and I'd like to stock up on some tins of M&S chunky steak which is the nicest tinned steak I have ever had.  And really I just need a walk around, not on my own but on my own at the same time - if that makes any sense at all!

I have one tuition session this evening which I won't cancel as it's quite important and I ought to go to the allotment but I'm not going to, not today.  Maybe tomorrow, we will see.

April targets:
1.  Lose the weight gained over the last two weeks by 'comfort' eating and maybe three pounds more.  I don't know what the bad news is yet but I will by tomorrow bedtime.  I'll do it by continuing to plan carefully, attend meetings and work on dealing with my bad habit of turning to food when things get tough.

2.  Continue to use up stuff in the freezers and, as a result, minimising my April food costs.  By the end of the month, I would like to be able to defrost the smaller of the freezers but I can't until there's room to move stuff over to the bigger freezer.

3.  Finish sorting out the books in the work room.

4.  Give my 'gadgets cupboard' a good sort out.  There's stuff in there that hasn't seen the light of day since the last time I sorted it out so they must go;  however 'useful' I may think they are, they obviously aren't, they're just a waste of space. 
Actually, I might even start this one today.

5.  Allotment - get it as sorted as possible.

I've waffled on far too much so I will stop as I'm sure you've all fallen asleep by now.  Have a good day, whatever you have planned.

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Tuesday and March's targets

Good morning.   Wasn't yesterday a gorgeous day?  It was here; wall to wall sunshine although not terribly warm in great contrast to today's predcted weather which is rain, drizzle, more rain.  No allotment today then.

I have to say, it is very pleasant to be home.  I love my home.  It's my safe space, my bolt hole and I've missed it.  I can now get right back down to healthy and controlled eating again without lots of temptations around.

When I got home yesterday Beth was at mine and helped me carry in the bags of clothes, etc, and to go through them.  There was some stuff for her as well.  Later on, while she was still there, Dave and Anna came round and we had a good talk which was lovely.
Later on, I was so zonked that I fell asleep quickly and had a reasonable night's sleep, much needed.

Today is quite busy but not complicated.  I will go to Sainsbury's early-ish and then to pick up a parcel from the parcels office.  After lunch the lovely Sharon is coming round to do my hair and never was a hair appointment more needed!  I feel so messy and scruffy at the moment.
Then I have one tuition session.  I'm looking forward to that.

So there's enough going on today to keep me busy but it's not too hectic.  And it is the final of the Sewing Bee this evening.

At the beginning of March, inspired by one of the Sues whose blogs I follow and enjoy reading so much, I set some targets for March.  It's time to review them.

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)
Well, I was on track for this one but recent events have caused this to go right belly-up.   I don't know what the bad news is yet and won't until Thursday, but I'm on the right track again now.  Stuff happens sometimes and Real Life gets in the way - or maybe I mean my reaction to Real Life stuff.
However, I have gone to group and I have stayed for the whole session each time, even though I missed the last session.

2.  Use up lots of the home made 'ready meals' currently clogging up my freezer. 
This has gone well, even though more than half the month has not been spent at home.  There's a long way to go but I'm getting there with this one, slowly, using up not only the ready meal stuff but also other frozen food as well.  And a positive is that I really haven't spent an awful lot on food this month, as I've not been at home so much as well as the freezer challenge.

3.  Have sorted out all the books in the newly named sewing room and appropriately disposed of many of them. 
I've started.  That's all I can say really.  Better than not starting at all.  There's a stack of books waiting to go to the hospice shop and my paper recycling bag is now empty so I can start refilling it.  All good.

4.  Put all the sewing stuff on the shelves vacated by the books. 
Beth's done most of this, bless her.  Much appreciated.  I need to keep clearing shelf space though as she needs more shelf space.

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. 
Yes!  At least I've achieved one target.  Beth tracked them down and she and I went across town to pick them up.  £30 for two units was great value and they've made a huge difference.

6.  Resume swimming. 
I did start, honest, but Real Life got in the way.

7.  And finally, to have started acquiring my summer wardrobe 
Yes, done that.  I also have some clothes from my Mum's wardrobe, some for summer and some for winter.
I have enough lovely winter coats to last a lifetime, I reckon, some shirts, some skirts, a dress, three jackets . . .

New (or reset) targets tomorrow!


Monday 1 April 2019


"How lucky I am to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
(Piglet to Pooh Bear)

Beth sent this in an email to Dad yesterday and it made such an impact on me I had to Google it.  Isn't it lovely? 

Thank you, thank you so very much for all the lovely comments yesterday.  Some I answered more than others but, in truth, every single comment was appreciated and made a hard day a bit easier, like a supportive hug.  So thank you to every one of you.

Yesterday was a weird day.  Lack of sleep didn't help but the difference between knowing that Mum would never be able to come home again (Dad would not have been able to care for her) and finally believing that she won't is a very wide gulf that we both had to leap over.  In the morning, we both stumbled in our own ways when landing, but picked ourselves up and kept busy.

Dad did some communicating while I started sorting some of Mum's things out (with his agreement, obviously).  It was hard but it means Dad won't have to do so much.  As agreed several weeks ago, I was able to find some clothes that I will be able to use.  The rest will be offered to various other close friends and what is left will go to the local charity shop.  In due course, of course.

I'm coming home today.  I'll leave it until the afternoon but Dad will be busy with the legalities and practicalities of a death and wants to do them himself.  The hospital gave us a very informative and helpful information booklet so he knows just what to do and where to do it.  I'll finish off the last bit of washing and ironing and he has plenty of food, etc.  Beth should be there when I get home, which will be lovely.

Thank you again, everyone, and I will finish with something I usually start with:
A pinch and a punch
For the first of the month
White Rabbits!

But no April Fooling for me today!