Friday 31 May 2019


Good morning everyone.  I'll start off with an apology to any of my lovely readers who saw quite an unpleasant comment yesterday.  All I will say is that someone seems to have a big problem.  It was deleted, of course.

Wasn't it a beautiful day yesterday?  Sun, sun and more sun until late afternoon when it was cloudy and I wondered if it would rain.  It didn't though and I got my walk to SW group and back without getting wet.

For a day with not much planned, I think I did rather well.  I went round to F to give her something and stayed for coffee and a chat sitting out in her lovely garden during which she mentioned a local garden centre I'd never visited.  Then I came home to check the washing that I had pegged out earlier and brought it in.  After that it was off to Beth's to talk to her cats for a while as she's away for a couple of days and on the way home I decided to pop off to that garden centre rather than weeding the front bit.  Well - it was garden related activity.

F is right, it's a lovely garden centre with quality plants that are not too expensive.  Of course I succumbed - to a perennial geranium and two upright fuschias, all for the front plus a sweet pepper plant and a chilli plant, just to broaden my range of produce, you understand, and that motivated me so much that, when I got home, I went straight out and weeded the front before planting the first three new plants out.  The front isn't totally finished yet, there's some scraping between slabs, etc, but it looks so very much better.

I know it doesn't look much right now but there's lots of things there that should look lovely in the coming months.  There's unknown summer bulbs, a dahlia, crocosmias, poppies, and what I put in today as well as the bushes (one's very tiny still) and I have a couple of lupins to go against the wall, if I can get them a bit stronger.

I will plant out the chilli and the pepper this morning.

Then I had time to sit out in the back garden with my copy of Jack Monroe's latest book, Tin Can Cook; it was all very pleasant and restful and very pleasant to have a pretty clear conscience  if you forget about the decluttering, which is something I'm always happy to do!

Slimming World group was fun and it was super to be back with my own group for a week, even though a number of friends weren't there due to half term.  There were some good things to taste and, to my surprise and pleasure, I lost 4 lbs and was slimmer of the week.

Today I have quite a lot to pack into the morning, not to mention into my suitcase, because after lunch I'm popping off to Dad's for a few days.  I'm taking him out to dinner this evening and we're both looking forward to that.  The forecast for the weekend's weather looks positive - I doubt I will need an electric blanket over the next few days.

Have a great day.  xx

Thursday 30 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and it feels cheerful!  Yesterday, however, was miserable with drizzle, wind and, to me, it felt cold.  I actually turned on my electric blanket when I went to bed, that's how cold I felt.

Yesterday passed!  Tuition went well - a longer session for an eleven plusser. I did a bit of shopping round Morrisons, Beth came round and we did a bit of stuff together and then Jeff came round and now my patio garden is clear of weeds between the slabs, bless him.  I did a bit of gardening myself but am avoiding the front and I really mustn't!  Maybe - today?

Also, I picked and munched on some strawberries and they were just luscious.  I give them another week before I have loads and every day my menu plan will feature strawberries one way or another.  There are a few gaps in the strawberry bed and a few plants are really rather old so I must remember to use some of the thousands of runners my plants send out every year.

In the evening I watched telly and did all my idoning so now I have an empty basket, always a joyous thing to see.

Today I am gong round to a friends and then over to Beth's for a while so that's the morning sorted.  After lunch, I will either garden or declutter or, if I'm very energetic, both!  And pigs might fly!

The evening is SW group (no pottery class over half term so I'm back to my old group) and it's a taster evening which I always enjoy.  Fingers crossed for a bit of a loss this week - I've been trying very hard.

Have a lovely day and I hope the sun shines for you.  xxx

Wednesday 29 May 2019


Good morning.  Well, to quote a song, what have they done to the rain?  We were supposed to get some yesterday and, while it did turn black several times and I wouldn't say it was warm, not a drop fell here.  BBC weather doesn't seem to think we will get any for several days either, which is great for the kids on half term but not so great for the garden.  And the sun is just starting to shine.

I managed to get out for a lovely early morning swim yesterday morning and was home by 8:30 so it really didn't interfere with the day at all.

Chris and I had a great old natter about this, that and the other before she left and I went to do a bit of shopping.

I'm struggling to recall what I did after linch, probably because I didn't do very much.  Oh, I know, I got three loads of washing done and dried.  How exciting!

And that was about it really.  I sat and knitted, finishing off the little jacket I have made for a friend's son and starting another with some left over yarn.  I read part of the new Good Food magazine.  Er . . . obviously not an exciting day!

Today I have a tuition session from nine until ten thirty, for which I am all ready and prepared.  I'm very much hoping Beth will be round later and this afternoon Jeff (sort of gardener) comes and I will show him the way I want him to get the weeds off the patio, using my tool to scrape the roots out, not just cutting them off at ground level which does no good at all (unless you are a weed!).

As it is half term and there's no pottery class, I won't go to Slimming World this evening, I will go to my 'real' group tomorrow evening and I'm looking forward to that.

And that's about it although I am sure I will find plenty of stuff to fill any gaps.  It's amazing how life does that, isn't it?
Have a good'un, everyone.  xx

No relevant photo so here's another clematis one.  :-)  Flowers are so beautiful close up, I think.

Tuesday 28 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Most of yesterday was fine and bright and we had some sunshine.  The rain came in the evening but not really enough to soak the ground.  Today is supposed to be a bit sunshiny in the morning with rain showers after lunch and through the afternoon.  We will see!

Yesterday was a funny old day in some ways, a bit emotional (and that's all I am saying).  Tuition was great; I really enjoyed it and I hope the children did too.  Then I went home and made some soup for me and some for Beth with beans instead of turkey.  By the time I'd finished packing all the veg in, there was enough for two more portion for Beth (now in the freezer for her lunches) and two for me (one for today and one for the freezer).

I planted out the cucumber mini-plants and contrived a sort of Health Robinson-ish contraption for support as I don't want the plants trailing all over the patio any more than I can help.  They're still alive and not wilting so I guess they have survived the move (for now)

So now I have or potentially have:
loads of tomatoes
runner beans
autumn fruiting raspberries
and cucumbers (well, maybe)
(the cucumbers are planted in the container I had intended for carrots so bye-bye, carrots)

And the ooh la la clematis looks as pretty as a picture.

In the afternoon I did some washing, sewed and knitted and helped Beth finish off a few orders.

Here's one of them.  Applique owl cushions.  Just what the customer ordered.

Today I am going for an early morning swim.  When I get back, Chris over the cul-de-sac is coming over for coffee and then the day's my own.  I need to do a small shop at some point and I shall grab the sewing machine as Beth isn't over today.

Yesterday morning, when I surveyed my domain, I saw that some evil cat had deposited a not-so-little message slap bang in the middle of my tomatoes, pesky thing.  I googled and found that citrus peel can be a deterrent as they don't like the smell.  This was a very good excuse reason for demolishing several easy peelers, the outsides of which are now in the appropriate place.  I surprised the same moggy just now as I drew back the curtains, but not over by the tomatoes and he ran a mile when he saw me.  Guilty conscience, maybe?
Seriously, I hope that sorts that particular issue out but there are other things I can try, if necessary.

I counted just now and I have eight strawberries almost ready for picking.  They do show up well on the straw, making them easy to spot.  That'll be my breakfast in a couple of days, topped with yogurt!

Well, better stop and do my other messaging.  Have a super day, whatever your plans.  xx

Monday 27 May 2019


Good morning and a very happy Bank Holiday Monday to us all.  It's dull out there but not wet and the forecast for today is very good!  Cheers.

I was so tired yesterday.  It took me a while to cotton on but on Saturday I started taking my hay fever meds and they do seem to have that effect at first.  I bet that's why I was feeling so tired and kept falling asleep yesterday.

So I didn't do very much at all.  No gardening (it rained anyway), just a bit of knitting and so on.
Today I have some tuition first thing and then I believe Beth is coming over.

That's about it really.  If it's fine and I'm not so tired I will do a bit in the garden and maybe have a walk out.
Have a lovely day, whatever you plan to do.  xxx

Sunday 26 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Didn't yesterday turn out beautifully after a rather dull start?  It was warm and sunny without being in the least bit humid.

It turned out to be quite a busy day!
I got to the gym at eight and was in the pool by about 8:05.  It wasn't too busy, which was nice, and I enjoyed the swim very much.  After drying and dressing, seeing as I was half way there anyway, I went on to B&Q where I found the curtain runner thingies and some stick on numbers for my recycling bin and food recycling thing (to prevent them from wandering off and getting lost) before going out into the garden area where I was tempted but stood firm . . . until I say some healthy looking cucumber seedlings.  Even then, I'd have resisted but one pot had two seedlings, not one so, of course, I had to have that!  I have just enough pots to plant them out, plus the tomato plants I ordered last week.  I'll have to do a bit of moving stuff about as they need to be in a sunny spot but I can do that this morning.

In other garden news . . .

I was right, it did open and another one decided to imitate.  It's lovely and really brightens up what is a pretty gloomy corner really.

The Tayberry That Refused to Die has started showing off too.  It has a number of buds at the moment so I'm wondering how much fruit I will get.  I got a few tayberries last year and this year looks more encouraging.  Given that it was a hairsbreadth from being chucked, I'm happy with anything.

And one of the tomatoes has started budding.  Yay!

Enough of that!
When I got home, I decided to stop off at Morrisons with the car as I wanted to treat myself to some sparkling water (just the Savers kind) and they are heavy to carry. 
When I got home, after sorting things out and putting things away, I had a very late breakfast and then sat down for a relax.

Then Beth turned up.  She's had a last minute offer of a table at a craft fair in Colchester to raise money for SANDS, would I like to go with her.  Obviously, the answer was yes (thank goodness for sat navs) so it was all go most of the afternoon.  I grabbed some fruit while she threw things together in a box and suitcase and off we set.  Sadly, it didn't seem to have been advertised all that much and there were hardly any customers though, but Beth did some 'networking' and is going to be recommended for a much bigger fair that is usually pretty packed and anyway it was a nice afternoon out, so no complaints.

By the time I got home I was pretty shattered as well as hungry but the evening was peaceful and I had an early night.

Today I feel quite weary so I'm going to stay in, potter around, do some gentle decluttering and sort out the front patch which is what I had planned to do yesterday afternoon.  Maybe there will be time to sit out in the sun, assuming we get some.  Fingers crossed!
I hope your day is good too.

Saturday 25 May 2019


Morning, everyone.
Some more garden photos - sorry.

The clematis will have its first open flower today or tomorrow, I'm pretty sure.

Thw chives are flowering - I love chive flowers, they are so lovely.

See what I mean?

The irises are all in flower.  They don't last long but they are gorgeous for about a week.
This might do for 'Two colours of the rainbow' in the photo scavenger hunt.

And finally, a week or so ago I splurged in a pot of peas (feeling very naughty) and look - I have some pods!  They are peas, not mange tout and they're not pickable yet, but they will be.  Must remember to feed the pot.

If the birds notice they are there, I shall shove the lot into the little cage with the blueberries.

I got myself into town yesterday on the bus and found a curtain shop.  I now have fabric for replacement linings plus the appropriate tape.  I popped into Franklins, the fabric shop and found buttons and some sylko I needed.  Then I strolled into the high street and bought a skirt in M&S (bad me) and those net bags in Lakeland (which now have veg inside them and are in the fridge.
It was lovely and sunny, warm and happy.  Everyone seemed smiley.

When I got home, I set to with needle and assorted thread and stitched up the hem of some trousers, did a bit of mending and sewed the buttons I bought onto that little Aran jacket so that's now finished!

Today I need to go back to B&Q to get the appropriate curtain runner thingies and I might just possibly take a wee peek at the plants at the same time.  Apart from that I have no plans so I might go for a swim as soon as the pool opens (at 8) first.  Other plans involve getting ahead with my planning for next week for those unfortunates whose parents want them not to miss a week!  And I would like to tackle the front patch as those weeds are fighting back, pesky things!
That should be enough to keep me out of trouble!

Friday 24 May 2019


Morning, everyone!  It's one of those stupid o'clock days but I don't really mind.  I can just get started earlier and maybe do a bit more decluttering.
It's too early to tell the weather except that it's not raining.  Yesterday was very warm, the warmest this month, I would say, and very sunny too.  Sitting out in my little arbour with coffee and my knitting was really lovely and long may it continue.

I had a nice swim early yesterday.  There are people in the pool (or heading for the pool) as soon as the place opens, but not too many and all fairly intent on swimming rather than chatting which suited me fine.

AFter that I went home for breakfast and then set off for one of the smaller retail parks  - well, I say smaller but it's not tiny, it has just two shops, B&Q and Wyvale, both of which are large with lots of outdoor space for plants, pots, etc.
I tackled B&Q first:  I bought a nemesia and a lupin.  Both are perennial although I think lupins are hardier.  They will fill a few spaces in my middle bed and, together with the delphinium, I rather think that's my middle bed sorted, especially once the runners germinate and take the space up at each end.
I also got a cordeline for a container.
When it came to the last container, I decided to go for some carrots so bought a pack of seeds and will sow the first sowing today.
I also picked up (just - they're heavy, even the smaller ones) a bag of general potting stuff for the bush tomato pots, when they arrive.
Then I went to Wyvale where they have a big pet area and got some straw which is now under the strawberries to protect them from the damp earth.
See . . .

I left the tomato soil un-strawed but I think I will put some there too - it'll protect any tomatoes that fall off.

After a spot of gardening and some lunch, I did yesterday's bit of decluittering by going through all the folders of pupils, past and present, shredding all the old stuff before getting it out for the bin men, just in time for collection.  I'm glad I got that done!

Pottery was, as always, good.  Three coasters are now finished and home, although I don't like the one on the right and will look for a better leaf shape to replace it, I think.  The fourth one is now all smoothed off and ready for firing - in fact, by the time the class was over, it was in and the kiln was on.  Then I worked on the bowl and the individual leaves (I call them leaves but they look more like flames to me!) are now wrapped in cling film to keep them soft until the next session which insn't for a fortnight as next week is half term.

So that was yesterday!
Today, after such an early waking, I think I will do a spot of decluttering before breakfast.  I intend catching the earliest bus I can use my pass on to pop into town where  I need to get some curtain lining fabric and tape and I also want to pop into Lakeland to get some of these.

They're net bags for food storage in the fridge, especially vegetables.
I anticipate getting good use from them, especially at this time of year.

(thank you, Sue, for mentioning them)

Once home again, maybe I will declutter a bit more and I have the weekend meal plans to do, hopefully using what I have in as I really don't fancy more shopping.

No swimming today but I think I will be very active, all the same.  It should be a good day - I hope yours is too.  xx

Edited to add - thanks for all the lovely comments about Beth's cushions.  The customer was so pleased, they ordered two more asap and some more for Beth to make next month.  I guess if anyone is interested, please do get in touch with me and I can pass you on.

Thursday 23 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.

Beth finished a couple of cushions she was making for a neighbour yesterday.  I think they're lovely so I'm showing them off! 

Yesterday went well.  I had a great old natter to my friend over some good coffee before heading off home to do a bit of gardening and get the runner beans in.  I also fed the soil where the seeds are planted with some garden compost and some slow release granules so, fingers crossed, they will be good and prolific this year.  And I reckon I will be picking and eating two strawberries at some point today!

After lunch, L came round and I had another good gossip with her over a cuppa.  All very sociable.

And then, later on, after umming and ahing, I went off to SW group.  I was going to dodge it after some horrendous scoffing over the weekend as I was absolutely sure I would show a big gain but, guess what - half a pound off.  I'm really not sure how I managed that bit I'll take it with gratitude and I'm glad I went!

Today starts off with a swim, followed by some more gardening, scraping weeds out from around the paving slabs.  All that bending and squatting is great exercise!  I shall walk round to vote at some point and this evening it is pottery.  I have one coaster to glaze, two that should be finished, fingers crossed, one to smooth off before firing and a leaf bowl to start on, having sorted out the leafy shapes last week.  That should keep me busy.

I have tuition too, so I have a bit of planning to do and I shall tackle a bit more clutter.  Doing a little bit everyday seems to be working at the moment; it's never too daunting.

Well, the gym opens at half past six and I have my SW blog to write before I go so I'd better stop rambling.  Have a super day with lots of good things.  xx

Wednesday 22 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a jolly chilly morning but there's no frost, thank goodness.  It's sunny but I'm not sure how long the sun will last, unlike yesterday when it shone brightly and warmly pretty much all day.

Well, the big news is that I have my home back again now.  For the first time in a fortnight, I don't have to be dressed by eight o'clock.  Everything is back in the bathroom, behind closed doors, and I can't tell you how pleased I am with the way it looked.  I couldn't have my bath though - Matt said to let the sealant harden (or whatever the term is) around the bath so it's todays treat instead.  I was allowed to use the loo though!
I think it's a great use of a very small space so let's see if I can keep it looking so shiny/new!

Photos are sort of scanning round from left to right.

The other big news is . . .

(taken this morning)
Once they get going, they don't take long to ripen.  I'm really not sure why they are so ahead as all the others are like the others in the photo - small and green.
No complaining though!

I had a list of things to do yesterday and it all went pretty well.
It was a perfect drying day and I got four loads washed, three dried and two ironed, aired and away.  One load needs getting out of the machine and, as it's mostly knits, needs careful drying.  I'll iron the rest today.

I sorted out the bathroom stuff, obviously.  It was surprising how much I had in those baskets and I certainly don't need to buy any soaps or hair products for some time to come.  Not having baskets on the high window ledge makes the whole space seem airy and bright, something I hadn't thought of.

I planted out the delphinium (blue) next to a geranium (red) - although neither are showing colour yet, just buds.  However, I didn't get the beans planted so that's a small task for today.  I got sidetracked into scraping some of those everlasting weeds from between the paving slabs instead.
Still garden related, I was ever so naughty.  Realising I didn't have any bush tomatoes (I like to have a bush tomato, they are so prolific), I went online and bought a couple of Tumbling Toms.  It's just as well I love tomatoes, isn't it, and I do like to have loads to give away as well.
I can't wait for the clematis buds to open . . .

. . . but I will have to!

Today is a social sort of day.  I'm meeting a dear friend/old colleague for coffee down at the Tiptree Tea Rooms opposite the Writtle Ag this morning.  Then home for some housework (a bit more clearing and creating space for myself) before a friend comes over for a cuppa this afternoon.  I might also do a fair bit of peeping through the bathroom door to enjoy the view as well!

Have a lovely day, whatever your plans are.  xx

Tuesday 21 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It looks like being a lovely day!

The end is nigh!  The bathroom is nearly mine again and I think the first thing I shall do when Matt leaves is have a bath!  I can't say 'relax in the bath' because it's not big enough for that, but I have to christen it, don't I.  The next thing will be to put bathroom things in the new storage and the plant I bought for the purpose (just an ivy) on the shelf that used to hold a basket with bathroom bits and bobs in it.

I'm getting ahead of myself . . .
Yesterday, once home, I unloaded and then went out into the garden with the little tomato plants that Dad was so kind as to get for me from Bickerdikes.  I also took out the few plants I had and now all twelve plants are out in their forever bed/pots, encouraged by some slow release food and a good watering in.  It's now a question of watching and watering and telling them what good little tomato plants they are!
I have a few different kinds this year.  Sungolds, of course.  They are so sweet and juicy and wonderful for just picking and scoffing.  Gardeners' delight, an old favourite.  Then three I've not tried before.  Supersweet which, according to Google, produces slightly larger than usual cherry tomatoes with thin skins (good) on long trusses; Sweet Million, another cherry tomato and Sparta which is a medium sized variety.  They're all cordons so I will be busy tying up and pinching out once they get going.
I know they don't look much - yet - but they will.

As I planted, I was delighted to notice something else.
Yes, the first strawberries have started to ripen.  I need to get some straw/hay to lift them off the damp earth but give it a fortnight or so and I will be picking my own breakfast fruit!

After all that, I rushed off to school to do my bit for the youngest generation before coming back for tuition.

Today there's nothing in the diary until late afternoon.  However, there's plenty to do.
Change the sheets
Sort out the bathroom
Plant the runner beans
Plant out the delpinium (blue)
Deal with a pile of 'stuff'
Washing, drying (outside - yay) and ironing,
A bit of planning
Have a think about if I need bedding plants and, if so, what
And time to sit, knit and read out in the garden, weather permitting.

Oh, it's such a hard life, being retired!

Monday 20 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's dull and gloomy out there but we don't appear to have had any rain (yet).

Sorry about yesterday.  I drove up to dad's and forgot to do this blog.  There's no problems; this is the weekend to visit but I couldn't get up until yesterday because of Saturday's theatre thing.

Oliver was excellent.  Great singing and some surprisingly good acting.  We had a very good time.

Yesterday, after a most frustrating journey over (every single traffic light was red and the only thing that worked for me was the level crossing at Sawbridgeworth which is where I usually have to stop), it was nice to sit and chat with Dad.

I will be leaving for home in a couple of hours and by the time I get there, Matt will have arrived and started on the last two days of work.  I should have a working upstairs loo by the end of today.  Three cheers - no more having to go downstairs in the middle of the night!

Apart from that, it is normal stuff - helping at school and tuition. 
Have a good day!  xx

Saturday 18 May 2019


Morning, everyone.  Well, the good weather had to break and yesterday it did.  Instead of brightening up, as I hoped, it got gloomier and then it started to rain.  It was nothing heavy, just a pretty persistent drizzle that dampened everything.  Good for the plants!

After Thursday's lazy day, yesterday felt very busy.  A bit like the hokey cokey, in, out, in out!  I was again very thankful for the car.
I had my swim first, followed by a shower and a visit to Home Bargains, before going home for breakfast.  Then I went out and about, here and there, getting this, that and the other.  I found a couple of half decent tomato plants, a delphinium (blue*) to replace the one that doesn't seem to have come up this year, a plant and a container for the bathroom and all sorts of other necessary bits and bobs.  I wernt home to drop all that stuff off before setting off to Beth's to take a present for a young friend.  On the way back, just round the corner from Beth, as the rain eased off a bit, I popped into the flooring place and picked up my 2x2m roll of bathroom 'lino' which, to my great relief, goes very well with the tiles.  Phew.

After all that, late-ish afternoon, I went home and that was that for the day.  I spent the evening knitting and watching saved funny programmes.

Today is also busy but different.  The tiler is coming to grout the tiles and think she will be done by ten.  At twelve I have a couple of friends coming for lunch and then we're taking the bus (we all have passes) into town to see a local operatic/dramatic society doing 'Oliver' which should be huge fun.  One of us then has to go home but the other two will possibly have an early meal in town before getting the bus back.  Today should be fun!

I hope you have a good day too. xx

* does anyone else think this - 'geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).  I can't think of either without recalling that old AA Milne poem, The Dormouse and the Doctor.

Friday 17 May 2019


Morning, everyone.  Welcome to Friday!  It's dry but dull out there at the moment which is OK but I hope it brightens up a bit.

I had plans for yesterday but didn't actually get going quickly so most of the plans came to nothing.  I didn't swim (but I did wash), nor did I go to the garden centre, so that's on the plan for today instead.
Tuition was fun and pottery was lovely.

The glaze had arrived so I got the three coasters glazed and made the fourth.  That's now drying out for smoothing off and firing next week.  That took most of the time so I tidied up, got out my printoffs and some paper and drew out the leaf shapes I will use for the bowl I want to make.  I have kept the shape fairly simple and I do think it will work OK.  No photos - I forgot my camera and am probably the only person in town not to have an iphone!

So, on to today.
Matt and the tiler are due to arrive at eight and I will bomb off to the gym.  MUST have a swim today!  After that I will drive on to the garden centre before coming home.
The cleaners come later on so I will need to clear what can be cleared so they can do the best they can with whatever space they have.  They do know!
Then it's a nice quiet evening of telly and knitting!

Lovely.  xx

Thursday 16 May 2019


A few photos of a very small room.

I'm standing in the doorway, the loo will be where the pile of dustsheets is, the bath is titchy and there will be a shower over it and a sort of bifold screen that will fold up to beside the taps.  The wall to the left has the window.
A good thing about the bath there is that if/when I get to a point where I need something more accessible, it will be comparatively easy to take out the bath and fit a nice walk in shower - it's just the right size.

Turning right and facing the opposite corner from the door . . .
To the right of the tall cupboard on the right is another corner so you can see how small it is.

And finally, turning right a little bit more - I have storage.  With doors, obviously!  That means I don't
have to have stacks of stuff lying about and looking messy, nor do I have to keep the spare loo rolls in my bedroom which can be awkward when I get caught short!
And the ladder radiator will be just to the right of the door.

And that's it so far.  I think it's going to look lovely when it's all finished.  Clean lines, very simple and making the best of a small space.


Good morning, everyone.  More sunshine this morning and BBC weather says it will stay nice for some days to come.   I'm going to need to water my pots and containers, I think.

The bathroom is starting to look like a bathroom again now.  The next job is tiling and the tiler has been held up somewhere and can't come today so I have a day off!  That means it won't be finished until Tuesday now but never mind, what's one more day between friends.

The gardener came and worked.  To be honest, he's not really a proper gardener but he did the necessary so no complaints.  It now looks a lot nicer again.

I was a bit surprised and, if I'm honest, disappointed at Group.  Maintaining is OK but I need to lose, not maintain.  I've followed the plan fairly carefully this week, hence the surprise.  Ah well, on we go!

Today I think I will start with a swim before going on to a garden centre to see what tomato plants they have in.  Later on it is tuition and then pottery this evening, so quite a full and pleasant day.
Here's to a good one for us all.  xx

Wednesday 15 May 2019


Morning, everyone.  Guess what - it's another sunny start to the day, three cheers.  Still quite chilly but it should warm up a fair old bit as the day progresses.

Yesterday was wonderful.  It was so sunny and ended up reasonably warm too.  It was cardigan-but-no-coat weather really.  I wondered about sitting out but, when I got the washing in, it just didn't feel warm enough for that so I didn't.

I did get washing done though - and ironed come the evening.  Big white sheets that looked lovely on the line and ironed up a real treat while I was watching telly.

Swimming was, again, very pleasant and I remain clean!   I'm giving it a miss today so it's a top to toe wash instead.  Not nearly so much fun but a lot faster!  The bathroom is coming on.  The titchy wee bath is in and the storage and vanity unit are also in (but not usable yet).  It's all very encouraging and I wish I could get a good angle to take a photo but it's such a small room, I can't.

I finished the little jacket I was knitting, apart from buttons.  I think I will turn them into a fun feature with different coloured buttons;  here's a photo - what do you think?  It's for a two (ish) year old and has a hood which I folded under for the photo.

Now I've made it once, I have ordered some more yarn in a teal colour and will make another for the little boy of a friend I am going to see at the beginning of June.  I only made this one because I had the yarn left over plus itchy fingers and I'll probably give it to Beth so she can sell it for Kitty Stitches (unless any of my readers are interested - if so, give me a shout).
It's a lovely, soft, aran type yarn so very suitable for soft and tender skin.

Today is another fairly blank day as far as formal engagements are concerned.  I was going to pop into town to get some curtain lining, etc, but I've just realised that Beth has all the measurements so, unless she emails them across to me fairly soon, it will have to be tomorrow.

The biggie for today is that the chap who might be my gardener is coming over to do a couple of hours of work.  It should all look loads nicer once it is all done so fingers crossed.

The other biggie is - no tuition.  Wednesday was Y6 day and it's their SATs this week so I wouldn't have them anyway, but I've fulfilled my brief with them, the parents think I've done a good job and that's it - done and dusted.  It's quite nice to have a free day in the middle of the week.  I'm not actively looking for more students but if one came along looking . . .

And finally - Slimming World group this evening.  I hope I've lost more - I've stuck to the plan this week - but you can never tell.  Fingers crossed again!

And my fingers are also crossed that we all have a lovely Spring day in our various ways.  xxx

Tuesday 14 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's yet another gorgeously sunny morning although it doesn't feel any too warm yet but I don't care about that.  It will warm up later and wall-to-wall sunshine is lovely.  If it's like yesterday, I will be happy.

The bath arrived yesterday and it is titchy!  I'm not sorry, that's what I wanted but I kept thinking thank goodness I lost all that weight!  Mind you, if I hadn't, I wouldn't be getting such a small bath, would I?  It will make for a great saving in hot water, that's for sure.  However, it still has a nice ledge for me to prop the current book, magazine or Kindle!

Yesterday was extremely noisy, Sooze!  Hammer, hammer, bang, bang all morning.  Probably afternoon too, but I was out at school.  Getting there though.  Matt said that today he will shart getting some of the furniture up and in which sounds great to me.

Today, apart from tuition, I have a blank diary.  I will go swimming early, in the time between workers and Mums and the day traffic, when most people are either getting to work of taking the milk run!  I'm very glad that this has got me back in the swimming way again, I do enjoy some ups and downs the pool, working things out in my own mind while the lovely hot shower is absolute bliss!

After that - well, the usual.  I'll change the bed and wash the sheets, get the meals sorted, do some knitting, look over my paper patterns, plan tonight's tuition and generally have a good day.  I Matt hadn't been here, I might have considered a trip out but not at the moment.

I hope you have a good day too. xx

Monday 13 May 2019


Good morning, everyone!  The sun is shining, there's no mist, it looks lovely out there.  A very cheering sight.

It was great yesterday too.  I got four loads of washing dried on the line (and washed and ironed) although, to be fair, one load was just the fabric that arrived for Beth.  There was plenty of it and my line looked very cheerful at that point!

Tracking back to the start of the day, swimming was good again.  I'm not doing long because I've got very unfit again and don't want to push it while I'm still snuffly.  I'm not waking very sore and achey which is good as that's what puts me off.  The 'gossip girls' (remember them) are still there but this time they've started smiling and exchanging a few friendly words which is nice. 
Best of all, the powers that be have obviously sorted out the problems with pool temperature and getting into the water is now a pleasure, not a shivery pain.

I was back home for breakfast by ten and then started on the washing.  That's all done now, ironed and ready to be pit away this morning.  Very satisfying.
I did think about sewing but came to no conclusions as to what so I have shelved that for a while.  I'm hardly short of clothes now!

Today, Matt arrives at eight.  I have planning to do plus the usual post weekend housework before popping off the school after lunch.  Then it's tuition before what I hope will be a peaceful evening.  Just a normal Monday, in fact.

Have a good one!  xx

Sunday 12 May 2019


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a chilly morning but the sun is shining and it should warm up fairly quickly.  I popped out into the garden to take a few 'photos of promise'.

 Despite the cooler weather, I should have a nice little crop of strawberries soon.

Longer standing readers mar remember the saga of the Tayberry that Refused to Die.  Well, here it is this year - definitely flowering at long last.

I have really enjoyed my swims this week, mostly because of the chance to have a proper hot wash afterwards.  I'm so glad I didn't live two or three generations ago when a standing wash was the norm.  Somehow, it is just slightly unsatisfying, even when you know you've done a good job.
After I left the gym yesterday, I somehow lost my way and wandered into Matalan.  I'm glad I did because I wandered out again with . . .
one nice top (not needed but . . .)
two summer cardigans (needed)
one small, black handbag (wanted)
four small, ovenproof dishes (useful)
I've been looking for lighter weight cardigans for a while so was really pleased to find these which are 60% cotton.

I really didn't need the top but it was so pretty and quite cheap.

Need isn't really the word for the black handbag but I've been looking for a cheap one for evenings.  I have a small brown one (from Mum), a small blue one (bought for the funeral) and wanted a black one for times when the blue and brown ones don't 'work'.

As for the dishes - well, it's just too easy to let portions get bigger and bigger and these are just right for single (smaller) portions of things like cottage pie, etc, when I don't need to make anything bigger because it's just for me.  I was really pleased to see these and snapped them up quickly.

Once home, I pottered around until Beth arrived.  She has several parcels (connected with Kitty Stitches) and I watched with interest as she opened them and produced several lengths of fabric, either fat quarters or larger lengths.
It was all gorgeous but here's just one photo of fabric I think is so cute.  I have no idea what she is going to make with it.

The colour isn't right on the left; there's no pink!

Today I am going for another showe . . . swim and hope to be there as soon as the doors open.  After that I have some washing, some ironing, some telly and some thinking about sewing and What to Make (if anything).
This retired life is just such hard work!!!

Have a super day and I hope the weather is good for you too.  xx

Saturday 11 May 2019


Good morning!  It's Saturday, weekend, no workmen!  It will be nice to have my home to myself although, to be fair, they have been very good.  The plasterer has done his work, the artex ceiling is gone and I have nice, new walls with no triple layers of tiles (they were good insulation, I guess).  Matt is back on Monday and the reconstructions will continue.  Matt is an old friend - I had his now adult daughter in my class in Y1 and he's been my plumber ever since.  He is excellent and I don't mind him being around all that much.

During the day yesterday my cold broke up and decided it was time to leave.  Yes, I have snuffles and sniffs but it's all 'loose' if you know what I mean.  The tight head and chest and the very sore throat are no more and life feels good!

I popped off at lunchtime, went to Aldi for a few bits and bobs (coming back with some flowers which were not on the list but dear me, never mind!), got my flooring for the bathroom and visited Beth's cats while she is away.

There was plenty to choose from in the flooring line.  None of it was terribly costly and I came away with the comfortable feeling that if, a year or so down the track, I get fed up with my choice, it won't be terribly costly or difficult to replace it.  I have to pick it up next Friday which is perfect because it won't be hanging around all week and Matt needs it for a week on Monday.

On to today.  I'm going for another swim and hot shower - bliss - first of all and then the day's my own.  I have no plans worth speaking of so I really don't know what I will do.  I have some lovely fabric I want to make something from but a) I haven't decided what and b) I want to wait until I know what size I will end up as!

I might tidy out a few cupboards in the kitchen and I've just remembered that I do have some washing, etc, to be getting on with.

Beth will be round but she will be busy upstairs.

Another photo for the scavenger hunt but not an original idea (thanks, Eileen), just my take on it.
1.  An outdoor clock

Friday 10 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  A lovely morning yesterday and it chucked with rain in the afternoon.  It's semi-bright at the moment so could go either way.  My fingers are crossed for fine and sunny.

Yesterday was rather a wash out.  The cough got worse, the voice disappeared and I ended up cancelling everything and staying warm.  A right pain but the right thing to do as this morning I feel loads better.  Not a lot of voice and a nuisance cough but much better in myself.

Today I have very little in the diary but do need to get downstairs tidy for the cleaners and I also need to hunt out some floor covering for the bathroom.  Hopefully I will have enough voice to manage to talk to the shop people.  The biggie is that I'm going to the gym.  The main motivation is to have a good shower, of course, but I shall be good and have a swim first.  This stand up washing at the sink is all very well but . . .  I have to wait until the plasterer comes but then I will be out like a shot.

Have a great day, everyone.  xx

Thursday 9 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a simply disgusting day yesterday, today has dawned bright and sunny.  What a change.  It rained almost all day, cleared up late afternoon for a short time and then rained agtain.  Splendid for the garden, not so wonderful for anyone needing to be out and about and I didn't half feel sorry for the teachers!  Wet playtimes are a right pain.

Yesterday went well.  The bathroom destruction is now completed and putting it together again starts today when the plasterer comes to deal with the artex ceiling (shudder) and any other bits and bobs.  I guess it will be a dusty day which isn't going to do my cold and cough any favours but never mond, maybe I can go out for a while.

Sharon duly turned up and now my hair is decent again.  She does such a good job, bless her, and I'm so lucky to have her.  Again, it is supporting a local small business.

In the afternoon, Jeff came to look at the garden and yes, we're going to give it a whirl.  He's doing two hours next Wednesday and then we will see.  I wasn't sure what to expect but he's a 'retired' chap with his own small business and he brings all his tools, etc, with him.  He was also happy to do a one off (or maybe a two off) at the allotment as well.  If we can get that sorted before the end of the month, maybe it won't be too late to get some runner beans in.

Tuition was fine but sad as it was the last session for this student.  The brief was to work on maths for the SATs and they are next week so this was the last session.  I now have a few gaps but I'm not going out of my way to fill them.  If something (or someone!) comes along, then fine, but if not, no problems.

And then it was off to Slimming World where, to my enormous relief, I found I had lost four and a half pounds.  I'm on the way again!

Today, there's very little in the diary until a spot of tuition followed by pottery.  I have to do some homework for the latter or I will have nothing to do!

I'll leave you with a few snaps of the garden this morning, carefully taken to hide the fact that it's a bit of a jungle out there!

The strawberries are looking pretty healthy and I'm looking forward to enjoying them no end!

I won't get any raspberries from these canes until late summer/autumn, but there are a number of healthy canes coming up so it's looking hopeful for a nice little harvest.

So many buds on the clematis 'ooh la la' so it's going to be a picture once they start opening.

The fuchsia (I always have to check that spelling!) plants are now sending up growth.

And finally, I've never known the mint so prolific.  Replacing some of the soil in the pot really has worked wonders.  I'm going to start freezing some of those leaves, I think.

Wednesday 8 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's not nice outside.  Raining heavily and, by the looks of it, has been raining for some time and will continue for some time.  Good for ducks, worms and the garden.
It's just as well I have no ourside plans for today.

Yesterday was cold and noisy.  Cold because for much of the day the front door needed to be open, as did the hall to living room door so that Matt could take my bathroom out to the skip, bucket by bucket and half a bath at a time.  I had already warned him that there were several layers of tiles on the walls so it wasn't a surprise of any kind and he made great inroads into the work so there's just a bit more to get off the walls now, but it did add to the number of journeys he had to make.

In a way, I will miss that bath.  It was big, way too big for such a small room really, and so comfortable when I was twice the size I am now . . .

. . . but there's no way it's of any use now.  Matt had to cut it in two to get it out.

It was a spa bath and this is the tangle of pipes underneath.  Would it qualify for 'A Curving Path', Eileen?  A water path?  :-)

I have no idea what's on the bathroom schedule for today except to finish getting the tiles off but I bet it will be noisy!  And yes, Matt did have a radio going but it was normal volume and not intrusive.

Today is rather more complicated.  At ten, the lovely Sharon is coming to do our hair - that's mine and Beth's.  It's going to be - er - fun getting my hair damp and Beth is having a more complicated things done and will need to wash her hair in the kitchen sink - twice, I think.  It sounds very olden days-ish, doesn't it? 

I can't get to the pool today so will have what Mum used to call an 'all over flannel wash'.  Tomorrow morning will see me setting out for the gym as soon as Matt arrives!

This afternoon I have someone coming to look at the garden with a view to doing a bit of maintainence now and again.  Lazy me, I know, but it's just the same as having help inside the house really and, if it goes ahead, will be supporting a small local business which is something I like to do.

I've also got to write a reference for someone and drop it round to their home.  Well, I haven't GOT to but I have said I will.

Later on there's tuition and then SW group.  I'm nervous about that - I really don't know how it's gone this week, especially after a gain last week when I genuinely expected a loss.

I'd better get on with stuff as there's a lot to do in the kitchen before Sharon arrives and anyway, Matt is knocking on the door bang on eight o'clock.  Stay dry today and have a good-un!  xx

Tuesday 7 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull old morning at the moment and the rest of the week is supposed to be horrible - rain, rain and more rain!

Yesterday was OK.  No disasters, just a sort throat but, let's be positive, it made eating quite slow work!!

Today Matt is due to arrive at 8:00 and to start ripping out my bathroom.  A skip will arive at some point and at some point this morning my dining chairs will come back, all mended and solid again (one hopes).  Apart from that, I have a tuition session so will need to prepare for that.

So quite an easy and restful day, all in all.  Just what's needed as I fight the bug!

Have a super day, everyone.  xx

Monday 6 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  A happy Bank Holiday Monday to you all.  It's still chilly here although I don't think it's quite as cold as yesterday started off.

The sore throat has been joined by the snuffles and sneezes.  Oh, well, I've been very lucky with colds.  Mostly they have just been threats and have gone again without setting up home for a week or so.  I can't complain about that and the meds are taking the edge off the aches.

I ended up staying indoors yesterday afternoon and snuggled down with my Kindle and knitting.  I kept making mistakes with the knitting and had to undo sections, some than once.  It shows I wasn't 100% as I don't usually do that, not with Aran anyway.

I'm driving home this morning and then I have to clear out the bathroom as Matt is starting tomorrow.  It'll be a good opportunity to clear out the baskets I use for bathroom storage.  I have a tuition session for which I need to prepare a few resouces but apart from that I intend to wrap up and rest.  It's going to be a muddled old week!

Are you doing anything special for Bank Holiday?  Have a lovely time, whatever you have planned.  xx

Sunday 5 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  I've woken to a chilly morning with ice on Dad's flat garage roof.  Thank goodness for central heating.  Yesterday was a funny old day.  Bright sunshine and clear blue skies one minute and lashing rain/hail with gusty wind the next.  And cold!
They reckon today and tomorrow will be fine and pleasant although not all that warm.  That's OK, I'll take the sunshine and be glad.

Yesterday was a gentle day.  I went to Tescos and did Dad's shopping.  He'd already put the washing on so I finished it off.  In the afternoon, I read and knitted (the jumper is now finished) and resisted the temptation to raid the pantry!!!

Today is more of the same, I think.  No shopping but a bit of ironing and a bit of knitting.  The pattern book has a nice pattern for a child's knitted aran jacket and, as I have enough yarn left, I will give it a whirl.  Maybe Beth can sell it through Kitty Stitches.  The main thing is that I have the yarn already and I need to keep my hands busy.

Come the evening I'm cooking haggis for dinner.  No, it's not Burns Night, not are we Scottish (although my ex was Scottish) but Dad does love it and hasn't had it in these latter years because Mum disliked it.  It's not hard - I'm just boiling it and we're having new potatoes, swede and gravy (and Dad will have some whisky with it).

That's about it really.  Maybe I will get out for a walk this afternoon; that would be nice.  Yesterday I was feeling a bit dodgy and this morning I woke with a very sore throat and an aching neck/back.  It's easing with some ibuprofen so that's OK but maybe some fresh air will be just the ticket!

Have a great day and stay warm!  xx

Saturday 4 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  I'm at Dad's, sitting up in bed with the curtains open, the sun shining in, coffee to hand and laptop open in front of me.  It's lovely.

Yesterday turned out to be a good day, especially in the evening.  I got the house tidied and ready for the cleaners, packed and then set out for Dad's.  There was quite a bit of rain on the way and at times it was slow moving.  I was glad to be in a line of vehicles so I didn't have to worry about not being able to see too far ahead.

I was also glad to see Dad looking so much better.  He is looking much less strained and more relaxed and seems to be very much on top of things.  For example, I said I'd change his sheets and use the new sheets I bought during the week but he did it himself, no problems.  I'll wash the sheets for him and, as it seems to be a lovely morning, maybe will get them out on the line.

Dinner at the Millstream was great.  Neighbours A and Z (honestly!) came too and we chatted endlessly.  I did go OTT but enjoyed every mouthful and don't feel bad about it.  Sometimes there are more important things than SW programmes, aren't there, and last night was one of those times.

Today should be a quiet and gentle day.  I'd like to pop to Tesco or Sainsburys this morning for a few things I need for meals today and tomorrow and there's the washing and drying to do.  I'll ask Dad if there's anything he'd like me to do but now he has so much more time and freedom, he is getting things done himself and I'm here for the company, not to provide respite.  I can feel the worry lifting.

Well, I'd better stop rambling now.  Have a great day and stay warm - it's expected to feel quite chilly today.  xx

Friday 3 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.   It seems to have turned quite cold here, so cold that I have turned the heating on.  In May!

Yesterday was a really busy day.  I did the school visit (fun again), did a bit of shopping, picked up some shoes and my prescription before coming home for lunch and planning.  Tuition was, as always, interesting.  Then I went to vote and to be weighed (same place, different rooms) and that was when my world crashed.  Oh, OK, so I'm being overly dramatic, but I've gained more weight and this time I truly wasn't expecting it, I was expecting to lose.  So a bit of a shock really, made all the worse because I have gone into the next stone up!  Oh, blimey!!!

After that, in no positive frame of mind, I went off to pottery.  A new group to me but they all seem very pleasant.  The glaze I needed hadn't come so I couldn't do that, but I did neaten up another leaf for my set of coasters ready for firing and then thought about what I want to make next.  I think it will be a leaf bowl - a bowl made from leaf shapes, moulded in a plaster shape.  I didn't have the leaf shape ready so had a practise with an old template and I think it will work OK.  Ideally, I would go out for a walk and select some real leaves to press print but it's the wrong time of year for that!  My practice attempt ended up back in the bag again but I do think I know where I'm going with it.  I also picked up three pendants that I glazed last term - I'd take a photo but I left the pottery bag in the car and I'm not dressed yet so I will edit this later on.

The new bathroom is on schedule so Matt will be starting on Tuesday.  I have no idea when/how I will have washing facilities so may HAVE to go swimming so I can have a shower afterwards.  Not such a bad thing as it will get me back into the way of it, I'm hoping.

I also heard from the upholsterers who has my dining chairs for repair.  They're coming back on Tuesday too. 

I was still quite stressed in my mind and didn't sleep all that well so today will be a bit of a dozy day, I suspect.
I need to sort out the clutter so my lovely cleaner can do her work properly and I need to pack as I'm up to Dad's this weekend.  We're out to the Millstream this evening - lousy timing but can't be helped.  I will just have to be very strict with myself for the rest of the week until next Wednesday's weigh in, that's all.

And I MUST cheer up!  :-)
Have a great day!  xx

Thursday 2 May 2019


Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining, it's warm inside without the heating, all's right with my morning so far!

After I wrote yesterday's blog, I remembered that I had arranged to go into school wearing my governor's hat to visit Y1 as I'm the social governor for Y1.  So I shelved the other plans and did just that, having an extremely enjoyable time watching phonics and then literacy.  It felt just like coming home as I taught Y1 for just about all of my teaching life and it is where I feel most comfortable.  It was fab.

Then I came home, did my ironing, did some housework and then Beth had some visitors.

It's probably the right time to explain that when Beth was made redundant early this year, she decided that she would explore turning Kitty Stitches into a proper one person company.  She did all the paperwork, got all the necessary insurance and so on, got it OK-ed with the benefits people as 'gainful employment' or whatever the term is and so on.

I have turned over my box room (which was really only used as a dumping ground) into a small work room for her, hence the ongoing clearing, sorting and reorganising which was somewhat interrupted by other family stuff but we will get there, eventually!

Anyway, Beth is making a memory quilt for someone pout of old clothes and the person in question came round to look at what she's done, bring some more clothes over, etc, hence the visitors.  I just say and knitted!

So - from time to time, despite this being an advert free zone, I will feature things that Beth is selling for your edification!

Right - back to usual stuff.
I have the second visit into school today, back to Y1, the reason being that one class has two teachers so I will be meeting the second teacher today, the one who wasn't in yesterday.  I believe I will also be watching PE.  Fun!

Then I will do  some shopping, get to the shoe shop and maybe also pop into town for the prescription.  Get it all done in one fell swoop, as they say.

After that, it is planning, tuition, a quick weigh in and then the first pottery session.  It's a busy day today!
The quick weigh in is because the hall we usually use is being used as a polling station so Jennifer is using one of the small rooms and will have the scales out from around five to eight for people to just pop in to be weighed.

Well, with all that on the agenda, I had better get started, hadn't I?  Have a good day, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 1 May 2019


Good morning, all.
Pinch and punch for the first of the month and White Rabbits!
April is over and May has begun so, of course, the weather is supposed to get colder again this coming weekend but, hopefully, only overnight for most of us.

Yesterday again felt as if I was walking a tightrope in a rather wobbly manner at times but I got things done, all the same.
I went into town but was very good, just getting the sheets I went in for plus a nice summer top from M&S.  I noseyed round Lakeland but wasn't really tempted (makes a change) and looked in a few smaller clothes shops too.  This season's colours really aren't me which is a Jolly Good Thing as far as my budget is concerned.

Once home, I popped the sheets into the washing machine before pegging them out to catch the sunshine.  I shall iron and air them today and then one will be ready to pop on Dad's bed on Friday.  Job done!

I've nearly finished the 'funeral jumper' now.  I'm just working on the neckband and then have a few seams to sew up.  As it's a nice, soft, light, aran 'weight' yarn, it might be good for more chilly summer evenings as it is not too solid and heavy.  If not - well, it can wait for next winter!

As always, it was nice at the Hare although in the three months since we last met up the prices have gone up shockingly, even for the smaller plate meals.  Par for the course, I guess, but the bill was a bit of a shock in comparison to last time.

Today I might go into the GP surgery early to pick up a repeat prescription and then on to the local shoe shop to look at some shoes they got in for me.  There's a bit of tuition planning to do and that ironing I mentioned earlier, plus the usual housework stuff.  Enough to keep me busy anyway, which is good.

Just a normal day and fingers crossed other stuff stays steady and doesn't create any more waves.