Sunday 30 June 2019


Good morning.  Again, I am sitting in bed, looking over the garden, windows open, feeling very relaxed.  It's cooled off, the sun was shining but right now it is a bit dull.

Yesterday was so hot but not humid in the least which made it much nicer and, again, I realise the difference losing weight has made.  Two years ago, the heat would have been pretty difficult to cope with.

After a leisurely start, we headed off for Petworth.  On the way, I spotted a signpost to Lurgashall which rang big bells.  It's the village Jacquie Lawson lives in and which features in a number of her interactive cards.

On the way back, we took a detour through some extremely narrow country lanes and found the village which was absolutely delightful.  Very small with a cluster of buildings around a large, triangular green and a small estate just off the green.  It was a cricket day and the players were having afternoon tea at the pub, the Noah's Ark, which conveniently situated next to the clubhouse.  Over the green from the pub was Pear Tree Cottage, the cottage that features in her very first card, with the chimney, the gate through which Chudleigh comes running and the corner where the Christmas Tree stands. 

Lurgashall really is the quintessential English village and it was a delight to look around.  I took some photos, of course.

The green (always covered in snow in her cards), the pub and the clubhouse

The post office

Pear Tree Cottage and The Gate!   Next to the post office . . .

The third side of the green.

Behind the bus stop (just because it is pretty)

I'm home today, leaving around ten as that works for Suzanne.  We've sorted out a lot of detail about the holiday, Suzanne has shown me some photos of the 'estate' and talked about when we will do, etrc.  It all sounds lovely and I am increasingly excited at the prospect.

More photos tomorrow!  Have a great day and enjoy the cooler weather.  xx

WIll it work? (written on Friday)

I know - three in a day is daft but I don't know if I can delay these appearing so that I can delay-post for Saturday and Sunday.

Oh - just noticed a 'schedule' button.  Now I wonder . . .
I'll have a go and if you get this on Sunday, not today (Friday), you will know it works!

The other day I took some photos of some poppies round the front and just wanted to share.

Saturday 29 June 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Yes, Suzanne has wi-fi so I can get online.  She's a later waker than I so I have some time to spend blogging as usual.  It's one of those feel-good moments - coffee to the side, windows thrown open, sunny and the promise of a very warm day. 

I can't say I totally enjoyed all of the journey.  It was a toss up between going north around the M25 or south and I chose south because I know that way a bit more; either way is about the same distance and both have their disadvantages.
As soon as I hit the M25, there were lorries.  Huge, lumbering lorries, far too many of them, so one feels somewhat like ants on the pavement, likely to be trodden on at any moment, but things were moving OK until we hit the Thames crossing where it did slow down considerably.  After that, gradually, most of the heavy stuff peeled off and the driving was easier, although pretty slow.  Off the M12, it was a lot easier; the A3 isn't a bad road at all and from there it's a short distance to Suzanne's home.

She has a lovely home - a bungalow built on a slope.  I could be highly jealous of her front and back gardens which are terraced, pretty low maintenance and most attractive.  I took a few photos and have permission to post them.
The patio closest to the back of the house, where we had our lunch and dinner.

Steps down one side of the sloped bed.

The lower patio.  A real sun trap!

A hidden water feature.  You hear it well before you see it.

And the stairs up the other side.

The slope from top to bottom is packed with bushes of different foliage and shape and is pretty much trouble free apart from pruning.

I'll take some photos of the front today.

When I got there, we had a pretty late lunch and then set out, first to have a look around Greyshott's Pottery for a look (Suzanne rather specialised in pottery at college) and then on the the Devil's Punch Bowl, a nearby National Trust site, where we strolled around happily for an hour or so, chatting nineteen to the dozen, before returning home and sitting at the bottom of the garden with a restorative cuppa.  I, of course, forgot to take my camera!  Doh!

Today we hope to visit Petworth House and Park which is not too far away.  We're both NT members so it should be a busy (it is a sunny Saturday, after all) but pleasant time with lots of opportunity for exercise (SW would be pleased!).  I will remember my camera!

We've had a good old chat about France in August and I now have a much clearer idea of what to take and what we will do.  There's a few things I need to get sorted - travel insurance, a bigger but very lightweight suitcase (luckily there are loads around nowadays) and some money, plus, maybe a few pairs of cropped trousers.  Must ask about the insects though!!

Well, it is now seven o'clock so I have another hour to enjoy before things are likely to get going.  It's still so peaceful and quiet and I can feel any anxieties drifting away (albeit temporarily).  I'm looking forward to today.
I hope you are too.  xx

Friday 28 June 2019


I just found this youtube clip and MUST try it.  Awesome.


Good morning!  It's a bit dull out there right now but the weather forecast is positive and as for tomorrow, the expected temperature just keeps going up!  Yesterday was gorgeous, all warm sunshine and gentle breezes.  A true English summer's day.

I popped off to Infants' Sports Morning feeling very cheerful; and it was a lovely time.  All those little legs running and jumping nineteen to the dozen and little arms throwing for length and accuracy, faces alight with happiness, waving to parents and friends and there were surprisingly few tears.  A lovely atmosphere all round - well done Dee and team and very well done, children.

By the time I got home it was almost lunchtime so I got the bedding out of the tumble dryer, pegged it out and then enjoyed my lunch in the sunshine.  It took very little time to dry so, not long afterwards, in it came again and I ironed the lot.  It's so quick and easy on these lovely days.

I started thinking about what I want to make in pottery in the future so did some googling and printed out some photos.  I have a few ideas.  I want to make some plates, seeing as I have just started learning how to do that, I'd like to make a vase and I'd like to make some pasta bowls - all sort of 'rustic', using terracotta clay.

Viv, this is the dish I really loved.
I was shocked at how expensive it was.  I found other photos of the sort of shapes I wanted and took some photos of the ivy plant I had in my bathroom as I want to make a cylindrical vase and decorate it with ivy.

More about pottery below.

Tuition was great.  This week is the penultimate one for my longest standing student as after next week I'm on holiday and then it's the last week of the school year and Junior Disco is on Thursday evening.  He can't miss the leavers' bbq and disco. 
Then he's off for adventures at secondary school.

While my second student was working through an 11+ paper, Paul the Painter arrived.  Paul has done work for me before, he's a lovely chap, and he will be finishing off my bathroom by painting the ceiling, door and frames.  He was going to do it next week but has an unexpected free morning today.  He'd come for the key as I won't be in. 

Then I was off to pottery!
Oh, I did enjoy it yesterday.  I had taken with me a plate and saucer from the set I use most of the time so I could match up the glaze colour for my not-leaf bowl - there wasn't anything that really caught the eye but I think I found something will work (fingers crossed).  It'd better because I've done it now, glazed the bowl which has turned out so much better than I thought it would after all the struggles I had.  They say you learn best through your mistakes and that's certainly true of this item.  I find glazing really hard - I never know how the glaze is going to behave - it's all very confusing.

The terracotta bird bath bowl was also ready for glazing and I learnt that glaze behaves differently depending on the clay you use, something I hadn't actually realised.    Anyway, for a first attempt, it was OK.  Satisfyingly rustic and a bit uneven (which is what I wanted as it's for the garden) and glazing it was very satisfying.  The glaze covered easily and dried quickly and the texture is pleasing.

So next week, I should have two finish items to photograph and show off!

Alex (tutor) and I had a chat about what to make next, I showed her the bowl photo above and she reckons it's very natural, just how the clay cracks and behaves as it is curved around the base.  She said the difficulty would be not losing that effect while you smoothed off what needs smoothing and I see what she means.  She also mentioned minimal glazing and a few other things she will need to repeat at the appropriate time.

Anyway, I decided to have a go at getting the right shape, just checked that I had the order of things right and set to work and by the end of the evening I had a half decent tapas/pasta bowl sort of shape made, not great, very uneven but it's a start and can only get better!.  I investigated using my tools to get different textures for the outside using scraps of rolled out clay and managed something that looks a bit like bark so next time I might give that a whirl.  If it doesn't work it can go back in the bin and I can try again.  After my mistake with the leaves drying out, I wrapped this bowl in wet J cloths before covering in cling film so, hopefully, it won't dry out.
I have so many ideas now, I HAVE to book next term!

Today, I'm off to Suzanne's late morning, after my lovely house sitter arrives so before then I will be busy packing, getting the house tidy, revisiting my route and generally sorting myself out so I had better get going.  Don't be too concerned if there's no blog tomorrow or Sunday.  It depends on Suzanne's connection and how much time I have..  I'll definitely be back on Monday though.

Have a lovely day and a great weekend.

Thursday 27 June 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a very dull morning yesterday, the sun came out and the humidity lifted, making quite a pleasant afternoon.  Today looks as if it's going to be nice.  The sun is trying to shine and there's a fresh breeze a-blowin'!  I have a front window and the back French window open and it's freshening the house nicely.

For all the dullness yesterday, it was a good drying day.  I got three loads out, dried and in again and then ironed.  Lovely!  Today I have bedding to wash and it's perfect for drying again.

I drove out yesterday for a number of things.  First I filled up with petrol - always a bit ouch but it has to be done.  Then I drove on to a garden centre to got bird peanuts, some garden lights and a rather lovely calla lily (as a thank you gift) before then stopping off in Writtle to get a birthday present.

Jeff turned up nice and early and by the time he had done his hour, he'd nearly finished covering that little patch at the front.  He will finish it off next week.  Thanks to his help, it's all looking very nice now and will look even nicer once I have attacked the flower bed with my new hoe again.  Those weeds don't half fight back!

The garden lights, mentioned above are the spike in the ground ones, not the twinkle on a flex ones and it was a set of six, two for each of my little beds.  As it got dark and they lit up, it really did look nice and I'm glad I got them.  The one I already had in one of the beds now lights up the front by the door and that looked nice too.

I did my ten items clear out of the shed - more than ten, in fact - although it doesn't look much different yet.  It won't for a while and then, suddenly, there will be daylight and I can start actually organising things better.  I stopped because the black bin was full.  Today is bin day so there will be plenty of space for rubbish again; in fact, I think they've already come and gone.

It was Slimming World in the evening which wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared.  Just one pound on, which I will accept with thankfulness and move on!

Today is a bit busy but not too bad.
I have been invited to Infants' Sports Day this morning.  I well remember when I was in charge of organising this, the dread with which I watched the sky for rain clouds and I remember, with some amusement, how a gaggle of infants gathered together on the playground over lunch chanting:
Rain, rain, go away
It's our sports day
This was when we held in in the afternoon and it didn't work - the heavens opened!
At least Dee won't have that worry on her plate today.  It is beautiful.

After that it's home again for more shed sorting.  Fifteen minutes this time. 

I also have some tuition planning to do and it is pottery this evening.  I should be glazing the bowls, both the not-leaves-any-more bowl and the bird bowl and I think I would like Alex to show me how to make a slab pot with a cardboard tube.  Time is short so it probably won't get finished until next term but that's OK.  I have a sort of 'picture' of ivy leaves on the outside or, maybe, some holes through.  It's a bit vague so I will need to rough something out on paper.
Also, I want to make some more plates of various kinds - I find my way of working is to try something and then make more until I have really got the idea, like the coasters.  The last one is so much better than the first one.  Perhaps I could make some 'rustic' pasta bowls in teracotta and glaze them in a transparent something.  I need to talk about this to Alex, I think.

Anyway - should be a good day and I'm looking forward to it very much.  I hope yours is good too.  xx

Wednesday 26 June 2019


Good morning everyone.  When I wrote yesterday, the forecast was for storms between eight and ten.  The sun came out so I checked and it had changed to storms and heavy rain all afternoon.  Certainly, it got very black and extremely humid and felt very threatening but no rain, not a drop and then out came the sun again!  Weird.
Right now, it's dark and gloomy with a breeze so maybe something is blowing up but it's all very odd and a bit disappointing.  I was looking forward to a good storm.

Yesterday was much easier.  I drove over to Jackie's and we had a good chat/catch up.  She's just home from a holiday in the States, a sort of coast to coast coach holiday which she thoroughly enjoyed and it was great to look at her photos.  We went for a walk and never stopped chatting - my throat was really dry by the time I got home.  As something of a world traveller, she was able to advise me as to some things I need to do before France.

The afternoon was spent planning and then doing bits and bobs of housework.  The airing cupboard is now very neat and tidy, although I was gobsmacked at how many towels I have!  I've put a couple out for repair (the ends have unstitched) and a few out for the Sally Army.  Nothing wrong with the towels but I don't need them and the bedroom I bought them for is now Beth's work room so . . . not needed.

Today, Jeff is coming at eight to start work on the little patch of gravel at the front that is really weedy.  I sprayed them a few weeks ago on a very still day and they have now died off and what he's going to do is remove the existing dull and bogstandard gravel, cover it with membrane and then cover that with some of that nice bluish flat slate that won't keep rolling away.  I think it will look loads better when it's done.

After that, the diary is empty until Slimming World this evening.  I have a stack of washing to do (the first load is already in) and must get things sorted for the weekend away at Suzanne's (the friend who is giving me that lovely holiday in France in August - well, not giving, but invited me).  I've Googled the route and must remember to pay the toll online for the Thames crossing . . . in fact, I will do it now (if I can) . . . hang on.

Well, that was easy!  Two crossings paid for.   Blimey, it ain't half expensive though.  The last time I did the crossing, it was still money in the bucket and long holdups.  Hopefully paying like this has sorted the worst of the queues!

As I am more than a bit neurotic about driving to places I have never been before, I have looked it up in meticulous detail and it looks fine until right at the other end and by then the sat nav will be on it so it should be OK.  Must remember to take some printouts though, just in case.  Another job for today!

The bird table is out and I have seen a grand total of two visitors, a pigeon (not wanted but I suppose even pigeons have to eat) and a very dashing magpie.  I really wanted little birds, not big ones, but never mind, at least someone - something, I mean - has discovered it!  At the moment, it is as far from the house as I can manage, which isn't all that far, and in the shelter of a bush in a pot and the shed.  I'd like it nearer but am thinking get them used to it first and then gradually move it further away.  Is that OK, Annabeth (as my residential expert!)
And, again at Annabeth's prompting, I have realised that the peanuts in the cylindrical feeder are pretty old so I will pop out to the garden centre this morning and get some fresh ones.

Today's clear out (weather permitting) is the shed.  Not the whole shed, that's way too daunting, but I thought if I have a target of chucking out ten bits of rubbish each day (that's how bad it is right now), I should start making some inroads without too much hassle.  Once some of the rubbish has more or less gone, I can start sorting and re-organising the stuff that isn't rubbish.  Something of an ongoing project here.
And then it will be the garage!

I'm dreading SW this evening.  Last time I was at Dad's (not last weekend but the one before), my eating was horrendous, I put on loads and have struggled to lose it all, failing miserably.  No, not miserably, I have lost some but not enough to avoid showing a gain tonight.  I'm not going to duck out though; I couldn't go last week because of governors' meeting so it's important that I go this week.
The weekend with Suzanne will be fine.  She messaged me to ask what sort of things I could/didn't want to have and, as she's very slender and elegant (always was), my weekend eating will be fine, I am sure.

Well, I do seem to have taken ages to say not very much so it's time to wrap things up and get bathed and dressed before Jeff arrives.  Have a great day and enjoy yourselves.  xx

Soy yogurt update

The questions were:
a)  can you make soy yogurt at home from soy milk?
b)  can you strain any resulting yogurt to get a thicker result?
c)  will it then freeze?
d) can you cook with it - does it split?

The reason was because a very good friend can't have much dairy now and, due to various intolerances and downright allergies, her diet is pretty restricted anyway.  I'm experimenting before she comes to stay!  She's not really a cook and she's certainly not a food experimenter so I'm doing it for her.

a)  Because she can still take a little dairy, I mixed nearly a litre of unsweetened soy milk (from Aldi) with a couple of spoons of natural yogurt and used my Instant Pot on the yogurt setting.  If I didn't have that, I'd have used my little electric yogurt maker from Lakeland.
I don't make my yogurt any other way!
The simple answer is yes, you can.  Seven hours later it was beautifully set.  A pretty plain taste, pleasantly neutral and it will be easy to flavour.
From the wonderful Lakeland, you can buy non dairy soy yogurt starter so, in the interests of culinary progress, I have invested in a packet and will report back when I have used it - which won't be for a few weeks.  There's also the option of using some from the last batch which is feasible if you only use soy yogurt and make batch after batch.

b)  Yes, it strains really well to get a thicker product more like Greek yogurt.  I have a yogurt strainer but you can easily use a metal sieve with a piece of muslin, cheesecloth or a very clean tea towel to get the same effect.  It doesn't look creamy but the texture is nice and smooth - it's not 'grainy'.
 I'm looking forward to using it.

c) and d) I haven't tried these yet.  I'll pop some of what I have made into the freezer today and we will see.  As far as cooking/splitting is concerned, I suspect that it will but Google has let me down on this one so far.  All the recipes I have looked up use the yogurt at the end as a dip or a cooling sauce so I need to keep looking.
I can definitely use the unstrained version in soda bread instead of buttermilk or in scones, not that I make scones right now, but you can.

So far, so good!

Tuesday 25 June 2019


Good morning!  I was up at stupid o'clock after a poor night's sleep.  It's still a bit stupid but not as unreasonable as an hour and a half ago.  I think it is because it was a sticky night and my brain was over-active after a very busy day.  Things are cooling off now; it's raining quite hard although I have no idea about any storming as the hearing aids are out, the light is on and the curtains are drawn.  BBC tells me that we may have a storm between eight and ten o'clock so - we will see!
It is actually rather lovely at this time of early morning.;  everything is as quiet as it ever is round here, it's shadowy as light just starts to emerge, it's cooler, it's raining so everything is reflective and a bit mysterious and it's just so relaxing.  Really pleasant.

Yesterday was very busy!
I whizzed around the house getting properly tidy for the cleaners - I've said this before but I do hate leaving a mess for them to either tidy up or clean round; either way, they can't do the job I want them to do properly which is an awful waste.  It does mean that, once a week, not only is my home clean, it is also as tidy as it's going to get!

In between bits of clearing up, I loaded the car boot with books and dropped them all off at school.  This included some that were still in a pile upstairs so that was my bit of clearing out for the day (poor neglected airing cupboard!)

Then Beth turned up and off we went to Computer World.  We were a while in there but by the time we left, it was all sorted for her and they will be getting her new PC ready.  They confirmed that the monitor I mentioned yesterday will (should) be fine and the computer comes with a mouse and keyboard so that was good.  All the other peripherals (Office/anti-virus, etc) needed sorting out but by the time we left, she was happy.

Then we went next door to Hobbycraft and were very, very well behaved, only buying what we went in to get - storage boxes.  We did have a good look round and did a wee bit of coveting, mind you!

Once home, I rushed off to school and did my bit there before tuition.  School things are slowing down too and there wasn't a lot to do so I had some good chats with old friends.

In between times, I had parcels.  One for Beth and two for me.  One of mine was a Lakeland order for me and Dad which is still waiting to be opened and the other was the bird feeder!!  Yay!
It was simple to put together (good instructions) but required a bit of strength and I can't say I did it terribly well but it's up, it's steady and it won't fall apart.  I didn't put it out overnight but as soon as the rain stops I will load it up and put it out and then we will see how long it takes for word to get around the local bird population.
I'm wondering if I should paint it Somerset Green to match the fence and shed but perhaps that is just affectation on my part!  :-)

So, by six, I was pretty tired so I'm a bit surprised I didn't sleep well.  Never mind, there's always an afternoon doze today, if necessary!

Today is easier.  I'm over to Jackie's for coffee and a chat this morning and then the afternoon is mine until tuition followed by an easy evening.  No excuses not to do the airing cupboard today!

Have a good day and stay dry!  xx

Monday 24 June 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After quite a dull day yesterday, the sun is shining brightly at the moment but will it stay that way.  Who know?  Probably not, according to the Beeb!  I'm enjoying it while it lasts with big windows flung wide open to catch the fresh air.

I ended up getting a lot achieved yesterday.
I started off by taking all the junk off the top of the high bookshelves in Beth's workroom (oh, the dust) and discovered several really useful things.  Fabric, yarn, patterns (I'd been looking for them!) and various items of haberdashery plus, would you believe, a computer monitor still sealed in its box.  What????
Then I remembered that a while ago, I got a new PC in a 'bundle' which included a monitor that I didn't really want because the one I already had was better.  The deal was a good one though so the monitor, still in its box, went on top of the shelves and was forgotten.
As it fortuitously happens, Beth really needs a new monitor so she has taken this one and our fingers are crossed that it is OK.  It should be, they don't change much and it is a flat screen one, not one of the old, almost cuboid ones.

The Beth arrived and we decided to carry on and give her whole room a sort out/ tidy up.  With limited space, things get out of order really quickly unless you are meticulous about putting things away and Beth takes after me in that respect, poor lass! 
Added to that, she took over quite a lot of Mum's sewing stuff and all of that never got sorted properly.
So it all came down, we had an almighty sort-out and up it went again.  Now the whole place looks so much better and will be much easier to work in again.  She has quite a big order to fulfil and needs a bit of order in her work space.  Now she has it.

Add to that the fact that we went through the remaining fabric in 'my' sewing cupboard downstairs, quite a lot of which is actually for Beth to use, and I now have lots of space in there, enough space to bring my few remaining sewing bits and bobs down from the blue room and to put away Mum's Bernina sewing machine, which I took over.

So I still have a messy airing cupboard but we did some good work, none the less.

Today is pretty busy too.
First of all I have a stack of books to take to school and I will take them before the TA parking slots get filled.
Then the cleaner comes (changed from Friday) and I will use the time for a bit of planning.
At ten, Beth and I are going out to find her a computer (but no monitor, fingers crossed) and to get some boxes for bobbins/sewing thread from Hobbycraft.  You would not believe how much sylko-type stuff we have between us now and it makes sense to keep them all together.
Back for lunch and then school for a couple of hours followed by tuition. By the evening, I will be very ready for bed, I suspect, but it will be a good day!

If time permits, the sort out thing today will be that poor airing cupboard.

Better stop and get going.  Have a lovely day, whatever you have planned.  xx

Sunday 23 June 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a simply gorgeous day yesterday, it looks like being fine again today although with some cloud at times.  Good oh!

I sneezed so much yesterday in the high pollen count and then realised I had forgotten to take my tablet.  Once taken, things settled down again and, once more, I was grateful for the availability of such things.  I always get a generic version - Morrisons or Aldi, and they are absolutely fine.  No need for the dearer brands.

After breakfast in the garden, I set some soya milk on to make some yogurt.  I've not turned vegan but I have a friend coming to stay next month who has a number of intolerences and downright allergies and dairy is becoming an issue for her.  I thought I'd give soy yogurt a whirl in my instant pot and it worked!  I was so pleased.  It's a bit runny so I researched (oh, OK, Googled) and, yes, you can strain it like ordinary yogurt, so this morning I will give that a go this morning.  I read that if you strain it for long enough, you end up with a non dairy soft 'cheese' so that might be worth trying as well.

I popped out the front and gave my new hoe a work out.  My goodness, a sharp tool does make a difference.  The pleasure of chopping the heads off weeds so easily is immense but watch out for the legitimate stuff!

In the afternoon, rather than get the machine out, I settled down with some hand sewing.  As I've mentioned before, I've 'inherited' some of Mum's clothes and the summer skirts are (were) just a bit too long so I've been shortening them.  Yesterday, I turned up the hem of one skirt which is now ready to wear and I also did the hem of the other skirt which needs a bit more work.  It was an unfinished dress but I discarded the top and turned the bottom into a skirt.  I just need to put some poppers down the front now.  Not buttons - apart from the fact that my button holes are not great, I find the bottom one always tears after a while, whereas poppers (the ones you 'click' on with a tool, not the sew on kind) work much better. 

Yesterday's sort out was simply moving some bits around.  I don't have a lot of hanging space and it's been a bit of a pain since I brought Mum's clothes home so instead of hanging up my jeans, I took them down, folded them and put them on a spare shelf which has relieved the crowding in the wardrobe a little bit
However, I have decided that somewhere down the track I will get my bedroom done out with fitted stuff, Sharps or similar or I gather John Lewis does fitted bedrooms too so I might go into town to take a look.  At the moment there's an awful lot of wasted space in my bedroom.  I guess that's the next big project now the bathroom is finished and, as with the bathroom, I will take my time and get exactly what I want.  I can save up while I take my time.

I have two things on the list for today's sort out.  The airing cupboard which is just untidy and the top of the bookshelves in Beth's workroom which has goodness knows what on them.  Beth could use the space for her stuff and at the moment it really is just wasted space.

The other thing on the list is 'feed the plants'.  Now that I have baby tomatoes, etc, I really should give them a weekly feed and I forgot last week so MUST do it today.  Can't starve the poor things!

Today was going to be a very busy day as I was accompanying Beth to a village fair where she was setting up her Kitty Stitches stall but not only had she got the day wrong, she had the month wrong too.  No, it wasn't last month, it is next, thank goodness.  I'm glad she realised yesterday rather then when we got there today.
She will still be over though as she has a nice order for making some bags and wants to get going with them.  I'll try and get a photo of them when they're finished.

Well, better stop wittering on and move on to other things.  Have a great day and enjoy the fine weather. xx

Saturday 22 June 2019


Good morning!  Wasn't yesterday gorgeous weather?  It certainly was here, despite clouding over a little bit later on.  Perfect drying weaths.  Perfect sitting outside and being lazy weather.  Long may it continue!

Yesterday morning, I ended up going to Aldi and then on to Abercorn Garden Centre and over the road to Lathcoats.

I had some shopping to do for Beth.  Alex is home from uni and, typical young adult with a very healthy appetite, he is eating her out of house and home, so now she's all stocked up.  I also grabbed a few more veggies for myself and they had one large white, flat sheet left so I grabbed that as a backing for the disappearing nine square duvet cover I have been making for about two year now.  I started making it to use when Mum and Dad should come a-visiting and only needed one because Dad uses sheet and b;lanket, but things got complicated and I never finished it and didn't get the backing for it.  Now I can. 

Then on to the garden centre where I looked bewilderedly (is that a word ?) through so many bags of bird food of different kinds - who knew there was so much on offer.  Given that I don't have a feeder yet, it was a bit immaterial but I got a couple of little bags of stuff anyway.  I also got a Dutch hoe to add to my collection of Wolf Garten equipment.  Do you know it?  You buy heads and handle separately and they are interchangeable.   Here's a link.

Then it was just over the road to Lathcoats.  I've mentioned Lathcoats before - they are basically a Pick Your Own but with a fantastic farm shop and they have just started using dry goods dispensers and encouraging people to bring their own containers.  I got some jumbo oats (because I'm nearly out) and some brown rice.  I will maybe go back next week for strawberry picking although I think the week when they will be at their best is the week I will be away and after that I doubt there will be much left.  We will see.

So I had a pretty enjoyable morning.

In the afternoon, Beth came over and she finished off some cushions she's been making to order.
Apologies for the photos not being great.

If you're interested, say in a comment and I can pass you on to Beth.  She makes these to order rather than keeping a supply in and will design to what is wanted.

At the moment I am sorting out one thing each day.  It doesn't take long but one a day soon mounts up and makes a difference.
Yesterday it was my tea towel and wipes drawer.  Yes, I have a dishwasher but I stll wash some things by hand.  However, I had way too many tea towels, some decades old and far too thin to be of any use nowadays, just taking up space in a drawer that was difficult to close.  And I won't go into the number and types of wiping cloths that I never use as I prefer to just use muslins.
Ten minutes later I had a tidy drawer that closed properly and is well organised.  Yay!

Today the sun is shining, there's a lovely breeze moving the leaves and it's perfect for a bit of garden tidying (using my new hoe, obviously) before I sit out with a cold drink and a good read.  Or maybe today is the day I get out the sewing machine and have a good stitch-in!  Decisions, decisions. 
One thing I will do is my bit of sorting out.  I'm not sure what but there are a few doors that need to open onto something a bit more organised.

Have a great day! xx

Friday 21 June 2019


Good morning and happy Midsummer's Day to us all.  Today is the longest day and the shortest night and from here on winter creeps towards us again.
BBC tells us that it's going to be light rain and a gentle breeze but it isn't, it's lovely and sunny!  Maybe it's lurking nearby, ready to pounce when washing goes out but right now I'll take the sun with gratitude!

Yesterday was indeed a cheerful day.  I got ironing done (and those sheets iron up very well so three cheers), did a wee bit of weeding but not enough, enjoyed tuition and whizzed happily off to pottery in the evening.  My last leaf coaster was done (bottom left)and I think I like it the best in shape and also in glaze.  It's weird; all four have been glazed with the same glaze but have come out so differently.  Lesson number 7,492 - things that belong together should be glazed together.  Never mind, they are nice and I will use them with pleasure although I still don't like the top right one as much as the others!  It doesn't mean I don't like it, it's just doesn't work as well and anyway, the stem broke off!

Only a couple of bits had dropped off the bowl and they didn't matter really.  I worked on it, smoothing and neatening front and back and Alex put it straight in the kiln to be fired.  Then I had to think of something that can be done pretty quickly as I only have two more sessions as I will be on holiday for the last session (I mis-timed things, silly me) and ended up using terracotta clay for the first time to make a simple, plain bowl that I will use as a bird bath/drinker thingy.  By working really fast, I managed to get it done and ready for firing too - it really is extremely simple with four holes around the edge  and no other decoration and I will use garden twine make a hanger using macrame and beads.  If it doesn't work with water (and I don't see why it shouldn't), then I can use it as another feeder instead.

So next week will be one long glazing session and as I have no idea what colours I want, I need to think fast.  I think the water bowl should be a pale green but the 'leaf' bowl (they really don't look like leaves any more) could be any colour really.  It won't hold anything like crisps, etc, as they would fall out at the side but it would work as a bread bowl, I think.  Maybe I should choose a colour that works with my china.

Really sorry, I forgot to take my camera - again.

And finally, I asked Alex when the next term's courses would be live and she thinks it is July 1st so I will be on the look out then.  'They' might give her another day course as they are proving very popular.  Beth wants to come along come the Autumn which will be really nice.

Today I have absolutely nowt in the diary, nothing at all.  Not even tuition.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do but I'm sure I will enjoy it.

To finish - a few more garden photos.

Baby tomatoes.

Cucumber potential.

I'm so glad I bought this - it's ongoingly lovely!

Thursday 20 June 2019


Morning, everyone.  The sun is shining - woo hoo!  It might stay that way on and off too; BBC weather doesn't predict any rain for today which would be very nice.

I had a rummage in my fridge yesterday and realised that, for someone who will be at home all weekend, I was seriously low on veg, so any excuse for a trip to Aldi!  I was very well behaved and (almost) only got what was on my list, but did seize the opportunity to stock up with a couple of the Aberdeen Angus sirloin steaks which I will cut in half before freezing (they were on the list!).  Half is more than enough when battered out.
So I have plenty of veg to keep me going.  Nice.

The 'almost' is because they had some flat bed sheets on sale, the perfect colour for the backing on my quilts that Beth is going to make, 80% cotton with just a bit of poly to make them easier to iron, king sized and - well, just right.  So I bought two.  I thought king sized would be big enough and so it is!  They are now hanging out in the sunshine as I washed them overnight, and then they will be ready for Beth to use when she needs them.
It was one of those times when you just have to!

I feel neat and tidy now after Sharon's hair ministrations.  It's amazing the difference having my hair done can make to the way I feel.  It's just a cut and dry but it's such a treat to have someone finishing it off so professionally.

Governors' meeting went the way most of them do.  It's a good team with some very committed people who really want to 'serve' the school and there were some useful discussion and decisions. 

Today I have an empty diary until tuition late afternoon.  Then it's a quick freezer dinner before shooting off to pottery.  I missed last week because of the old back but that's pretty much better now with just the occasional twinge to remind me to be careful.  I shall be working on that bowl and I need to think of something else to start so will be pondering on that today between doing stuff.

It's a stay at home weekend coming up which makes me feel pretty relaxed.  I have in mind to get on with plenty of small scale sorting out/tidying up.  Nothing major but it makes a big difference.  I know it sounds a bit twee and pathetic, but I really enjoy opening the new cupboards in the bathroom and seeing everything tucked away, all nice and organised and out of sight. 

Well, better stop and get the day started.  I've already hung out the washing which is blowing merrily in a good breeze and I've picked today's strawberries for breakfast.  I reckon another coffee is just the ticket, followed by bath or shower, getting dressed and then - well, the sheets should be dry by then so the iron will appear.

I think today will be cheerful - I do hope yours is too.  xx

Wednesday 19 June 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a fine morning (good drying weather), it poured yesterday afternoon and then drizzled on and off for the rest of the evening and, for all I know, through part of the night as well.  It's dry this morning but the ground is very wet and there's no need to water the pots.  The general forecast is for light rain and a gentle breeze but there's a warning of possible thunderstorms.  I suppose we might have had some storming overnight - it wouldn't disturb me once my hearing aids are out!

I got all my washing done yeserday, including my bed sheets which are now also nicely ironed and ready to put away.  I still have the darker washing to iron - jeans and the like - and that's a task for this morning.  I also have a messy pile of books in the living room that need taking to school but I'm not risking my back going again by lifting them, not yet.  Maybe Friday . . .

Apart from that, I frittered the day away really and it did help as, although there were still some ouches, things are definitely easier and without painkillers too while overnight it didn't wake me at all.  All good!

Today I have ironing and a couple of report things to write.  This afternoon, the lovely Sharon comes to work her usual magic with my hair and with Beth's and then, early evening, there's a governors' meeting so I must download the papers for that and read them.

As far as the garden is concerned, over the weekend, Dad offered me some fuchsia cuttings from a neighbour's bush (taken with her permission, I hasten to add).  It's an upright plant, not trailing, and is a 'wild' fuchsia that grows fairly tall and wide.  At first I said thanks but no thanks, not knowing where it could go as all my beds are full but then I remembered that, at the new garden centre, I had spotted a tall wooden container, part of the range I like and use and, as I'm always wondering how to introduce a bit more height into my garden, I had another think and said yes, please.  They won't be ready yet anyway as they have only just been taken and started off.
Something to look forward to for years to come.  That's something I love about gardens, they are promises for the future as well and pleasure in the present.

I do seem to be spending a fair old bit in the garden right now but never mind, I do get the reward of that ongoing pleasure.  Yesterday's little splash out was something I have been thinking of for quite a while - how to encourage little birds to come into the garden more (I can cover the strawberries!).  I've ordered a freestanding wooden open feeding tray after looking around for quite a while.  It isn't actually all that fussy and I wanted an open one because I have a little covered one but it's so well covered, the birds haven't spotted the goodies!  Once they get the idea with the open tray, I will try it again.
It's all go in the garden!

Have a lovely day and stay dry!  xx

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Tuesday and garden update.

Good morning, everyone.  After a dry day yesterday and overnight, I need to water my pots this morning.  That's a shame because we are forecast rain; however, that has changed from a weather warning of heavy rain and wind yesterday to light rain and a gentle breeze today.  No storms.  What a shame.

 The journey home was great.  Very easy and hardly any holdups at all.  Once home, I sorted my things out a bit, picked a satisfying number of strawberries and the rest of the day was more or less mapped out with time in school, tuition and dinner!

I wandered out into the garden, camera in hand, a short while ago.

Yes, I have baby tomatoes - sungolds.  Tiny and cute.

I should get a small harvest from the Tayberry that Refused to Die at long last.  Not loads but far more than a handful and next year's fruiting growth is already looking hopeful.

The herb and foliage bed looks really good.  The euphorbia from Mum's bed that I planted in that little gap in the middle is dying back but I expected that and it may very well come up fine next year.

The pinks are - well - pink!  Very pretty and fragrant, they are one of my favourites, alongside sweet peas and freesias.

The geranium (not red) has really flourished this year . . .

. . . as has the delphinium (blue).

Finally, the ooh la la is such a lovely splash of colour in a fairly dark little corner.  There are still loads and loads of buds.

The runner beans are running madly and the peas have popped through.  The only thing that hasn't done all that well is the blueberries, sadly.  Ah, well, there has to be something, I guess.

Round the front, the two new fuchsias are flowering so must be fairly happy while other stuff is coming up, both legitimate and not.  I might give it all a gently hoeing before the rain is due to start.

Today, I shall be taking things carefully.  It's getting better and I certainly slept better but the back still makes its presence felt and I will not be lifting stuff or bending too much today.  I do have some washing to do (didn't do it yesterday) but that's not too onerous and I ought to have a swim but I won't.  The diary is blank although I do know I have tuition this afternoon, so I can take life easy and rest.

I must go and take my anti-sneeze meds - I went out to take those photos and can feel the itching beginning to build up.  By the middle of July, whatever I am mildly allergic to will all be over - some unfortunate individuals react all year round which must be a miserable situation for them and I sympathise very much.
And I need my coffee.   Fresh today, I think, rather than instant.  My insulated cafetiere is very useful!
Have a super day.  xx

Monday 17 June 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's been a pleasant weekend with dad and I will be sttting off home after breakfast.

It was lovely to see Diana and Tom after so many years.  They haven't changed much apart from the 'ravages of time' which happens to us all but one thing was rather touching - Diana said that she used to think that I looked quite like Dad (and I do) but now she thinks I look more like Mum.  Beth's said that too and puts it down to the weight loss.

The back is still a bother but I think it's easing somewhat now, fingers crossed.

Today is a usual Monday.  Home, usual housework, helping at school, tuition.  I think I have enough planned but need to go over it, just to be sure and to have it all at my fingertips.

I wonder what I will find in the garden.  More strawberries, I hope and, maybe, a few tiny little tomatoes.  Perhaps the newly sown peas have come up and the runners will have grown more.
I'm looking forward to seeing.

Have a lovely day, everyone.  xx

Sunday 16 June 2019


Having a nice time, back to normal tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest!  :-)

Saturday 15 June 2019


Good morning.  The sun's shining and it feels warm.  Lovely.  Yesterday was pretty good too; a few showers, some cloudy spells and a satisfying amount of sunshine.  Lovely!

I'm well pleased:  Beth has accepted my commission to make two patchwork quilts for my guest room so now we are in deep discussions about it.  It's a win-win for me.  I think it is a very 'meaningful' way to use a bit of my retirement lump sum, they will be useful, beautiful and enhance my environment, they will be a sort of heirloom and I get to support my daughter in her small business.  What could be better?

I had a good drive to Dad's yesterday.  With all the road works on the A120, holdups are inevitable, but there was only one lengthy hold-up whiloe the usual queue at Little Hadham was minimal.  Can't complain!

Dinner at the Millstream was lovely as always. 

Today, we are driving over to Kettering to see Diana and Tom.  Diana is my Mum's much younger sister and I haven't seen her for absolutely ages.  They weren't able to come to Mum's funeral as Tom is very poorly. I'mb looking forward to it very much.  Before then, I'll pop into Baldock to do a bit of shopping for Dad.

It will be a quiet day and should be very restful.  Nice.
Hope yours is too.  :-)

Friday 14 June 2019


Good morning!  It's still dull and dismal outside and we've had yet more rain; not as much as some parts of the country though where there's been flooding.  Not what one expects in 'flaming June', is it?
Having said that, today's forecast, according to the BBC, looks much more hopeful.  Wall to wall sunshine.  I can't see any sign of that yet but I live in hope!
The pollen count is going to be high but I am taking my anti-sneeze tablets every day at the moment and they stop the worst from happening!

Yesterday was a bit of a washout in more ways than just the usual bad weather.  On Wednesday, as I was lifting and carrying stuff about, sorting out the blue room, I was aware of something twinging in my back but, being busy, ignored it.  Overnight it was a bit uncomfortable and yesterday - ouch.  In the end I cancelled pottery as I didn't want to be bending over the clay, etc, as one has to do.  It's still a bit sore today but I'll keep taking the tablets and it should be OK as long as I'm careful.

I got half lucky with the bin collection.  They took one of the electrical items but not the other; I guess it was too heavy for comfort.  I now have to decide whether to sneak it into the bottom of the black bin for normal collecting in a fortnight and hope they don't wonder why the bin is so heavy or to be a Good Girl and take it to the dump (when my back's better).  One of the few disadvantages of living down a cul de sac is that we tend not to to get opportunists coming along to see what people have left outside and taking whatever they can use, sell or otherwise deal with.  I remember, when I was little, we had this wonderful man, the Rag and Bone Man, who came weekly through the village with his horse and cart, just like Steptoe and Son, and he would have taken something like that!  I can't remember when he stopped coming but by the time we left the village in 1966 he no longer came.
I think one of the many reasons I love the Miss Read books so much is that they remind me of my extremely happy village childhood, attending the village school and doing village-y things.  I doubt I will ever move back to a village now but there's still a yearning . . .

Beth has finished the memory quilt now and has laid it on one of my spare room beds to take some photos.  This is one I took (in rather bad light).
It looks absolutely gorgeous and I have decided I will use a bit more of my lump sum and ask Beth if I can commission her to make two for me, to go over my spare room beds when they are not in use (when they will have duvets).  It won't be a memory quilt, of course, and I will buy new fabric, but it will be something that can become a bit of an heirloom.  It's not quilted, it's patchwork, so it drapes nicely, which is exactly what I want.
So fingers crossed she will accept the commission.

Today I have to get the house tidy for the cleaners, pack, write a few things for school and then set off for a weekend with Dad, leaving my home in Beth's tender care.  This evening, Dad and I will be going out to the Millstream for dinner which is nice, and I guess I will be examining the ground I weeded a fortnight ago and getting going with the hoe!

In the time I've taken to write this, the sun has come out and gone away again.  I hope that's not it for the day.  :-)
Enjoy your day. xx

Thursday 13 June 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It wasn't a particularly nice day yesterday, undulating beween dull and dry to dull and rather wet but the sun is trying to shine right bow.  It might be temporary but it's very cheering and, if it's the only sun we get today, I will be glad I saw it.  I have a whole load of strawberries on the cusp of ripening and all they need is a bit of warmth and sunshine so my fingers are crossed.  It would be great to take some to Dad's tomorrow.

At least having to stay in yesterday focused my mind wonderfully well.  I'm delighted to say that the blue room is now finished apart from a pile of books and remaking the beds.  I got the old (clean but dusty) bedding off and in the wash so I will get it ironed this morning, aired and back on again and once the books are down, that will be that.
In the process I discovered that two of the drawers under the beds are empty and, as they can only store light stuff, I could perhaps pop some of the Christmas fabrics there - bunting, napkins, fleece and tablecloths, which would free up a shelf for heavier things.  Hmmm - it looks as if there might be a little more adjusting to do but, really, I am happy with it right now, so any such thing can wait.

All of upstairs is now sorted, done and dusted apart from what is now Beth's workroom and that is not my responsibility (apart from the books and, yes, I do have more work to do there).  But both the bedrooms and the bathroom are now in good nick.

I've just thought - the airing cupboard is a bit of a shambles so I guess that's the next task.  There's always something.

On the garden front, Jeff turned up and put in one hour's work on the front which now looks pretty respectable apart from a little strip of gravel that is all weeks and pretty persistent ones at that.  We had a talk about it and I decided that it needs all the gravel removing, the remaining weeds dug out as much as possible, the ground flattening and covered with membrane and I rather fancy some of that blue slate on top.  So that's what he is going to do next time he comes.  In the meanwhile, if the weather permits, I shall attack the weeds with some spray.

Finally, I lost two pounds at SW so I'm very happy about that!

It's bin collection day today, thank goodness, and as well as the green box with glass and metal recycling, I have rather hopefully put out some 'small electrical equipment' that they should take at the same time.  We will see, won't we?  If they don't, it'll mean a trip to the dump at some point - I am sure I can gather together enough stuff to make a trip worth while.

This evening, it is pottery class.  the last leaf coaster should be finished and I will struggle on with the bowl which will have dried and now needs smoothing off.  What's the betting it will break apart in my hand - with the luck I've had with it, I wouldn't be at all surprised!  :-)

I'd better get started by sorting out the kitchen and ironing those sheets, etc.  Have a good day, everyone, whatever you're doing.  xx

Wednesday 12 June 2019


Good morning.  I think we must have been very lucky yesterday as it was dry, bright, sometimes sunny and no rain at all.  All my washing dried out!  It just wasn't quite warm enough to sit out.
It's really dull at the moment with light rain showers and a gentle breeze forecast.

I really got going with the blue room yesterday.  It looks terrible right now but, inside the cupboards, things are a lot better than they were and today is just a case of putting things back (or chucking them).
I have bags downstairs for various destinations.
Three bags of 'small, elecrtical items', which the wheelie men should take tomorrow
Two bags for the SA drop off point.
Two bags for my neighbour's bin (I have asked!)
And a seriously large pile of books to take to school for their July Fair.

I also found (and finished) a virus shawl that I started ages ago.  I had done all the crochet work and just needed to sew in the loose ends.  It's quite big, perfect for wrapping round myself on cool summer evenings.  I  took a photo of it draped over a chair - the colours aren't completely accurate in the photo but you get the idea.

Beth turned up and finished a memory quilt she is making for a client, using clothes that her daughter used to wear and, I believe, that she had kept for this very purpose.  She then washed it and here it is drying on my line.  Again, the colours aren't quite right (the light was bad by that time) but you can see the general effect and I think it is stunning.  I don't envy her ironing it, mind you!

While sorting out a top cupboard yesterday, I was pleased to find two Clothkits.  You might remember Clothkits and I'm sure I have mentioned them before - they were a wonderful company that put together kits to home make, screen printed onto fabric, plus tights, socks, T shirts, knickers, jumpers, etc, to match for adults and children.  I used them a lot!
I found this image on Google and it's a kit I made for Beth - she had blue jumper and tights to match and looked lovely.

The name has been taken up by someone else and they now have an online shop that actually looks quite good and which I will explore at some point.

Anyway - I found two kits that are old enough to be called vintage, I reckon, and, even better, I am now in that size!!!  I vaguely remember that I bought them in one of their (excellently priced) end of season sales in a bit of extremely wishful thinking.  One is a sundress and the other a skirt and suntop (I won't be wearing the suntop!!!) and I intend to make both up. 
I wonder how many people will go 'Is that Clothkits????'

Jeff's turn up to do some scratching, scraping and digging up of weeds round the front, after which the front should look as nice as the back (I hope).  After than, the day is mine and I intend to use it well.  Top of the list is to finish off the blue room, followed by taking all those bags and piles to their various destinations.

I might defer changing the sheets until tomorrow and do some sewing, but I'll see how I feel.  Then, in the evening, it is Slimming World where I hope to redeem myself after last week's disaster!

I have a hem to tirn up on one of Mum's skirts (I still can't believe I can wear them) so that is something I can do while Jeff is here.  Better get going then!
Enjoy your day! xx

Tuesday 11 June 2019


Good morning, everyone.  What a disgusting day yesterday was as far as the weather was concerned!  Torrential rain at times and rarely less than reasonably heavy.  Definitely a day for staying in and chilling.  BBC tells me that today is 'light rain showers and a breeze', whatever than may mean, but at least it sounds better than yesterday.  My plants look very happy though, and I have peas plumping up in their pods for another little picking soon.  The adopted runners are also spurting on, seemingly undeterred in any way by their change of habitat.

I got my early morning swim, pleasant as always, and came home for a leisurely breakfast (inside).  I made a somewhat listless start on the blue room but didn't get very far really.  I had a fair old shopping list so drove off to Morrisons and got that done before settling down with a good book and my knitting.  Add tuition to the mix and that was yesterday.  Pleasant but not much achieved so today I am determined to do better.

I'm not going for a swim today so early morning is more gentle.  After breakfast, I shall take my timer upstairs and do 30 minute slots in the blue room, interspersed with mugs of reviving coffee.  Unfortunately, my bin is full but I can save the rubbish in bags until Thursday, ask my lovely neighbours if they have any space in their bins or, the most unlikely option, take a trip to the dump.

Looking around, the downstairs area is also looking a bit messy but fifteen minutes will sort that out.  Then, if there's time (and I bet there will be), I will set to and start planning the next week's meals.  I plan from SW group to group so my planning ends tomorrow evening.

And that, with a spot of tuition, is my day today.  Not the most exciting of days but it should be satisfying!
I hope yours is as good too.  xx

Monday 10 June 2019


Good morning!  Well, what a contrast with yesterday early morning.  Yesterday t was bright, warm and sunny.  Today it's chucking it down and looks set to continue for a fair old while to come.  No picking strawberries this morning - they will have to wait.  And, certainly, no breakfast (or lunch) outside.  Can't grumble though - I was digging and weeding yesterday and, below the first few inches, the soil was very dry.

I started off yesterday with a good old swim.  The gossip girls arrived in force soon after I started (they're really very pleasant, it's just that I go to swim) and took pretty much the whole width of that half of the pool so I moved into the 'slow' lane and had to push myself to keep up and not hold up the other two, so I had a good workout which was nice.

When I got home, I had breakfast (and lunch) out in the garden and it was lovely and peaceful.

Once that was sorted, I took a deep breath and went upstairs, carpet sweeper and bin bags in hand and worked.  My bedroom is now done apart from a bit of cupboard sorting.  It looks nice and welcoming again and I think I would like a couple of plants in there - I find plants very relaxing.
So while I'm on a roll, I will get started with the blue room which, at the moment, would not be able to accommodate guests of any shape, size or description.
It's just as well the bin is being emptied this Thursday!

My other bit of exercise was to take the long way to the clothes drop off point with a bag of stuff that I can no longer wear.  I heaved it in with a great sense of satisfaction!

Today I am having an early morning swim and then will be starting on the blue room.  Cupboards first (of which there are several) and then all the stuff on the beds, although I don't think I will get that far today.  I have planning and tuition as well so there's plenty to do to keep my mind off any thought of food!  It's all going well so far this week and I don't want to sabotage it.

Unless it clears up, I doubt I will be taking any walks though.

Stay warm and dry and have a good day!  xx

Sunday 9 June 2019


Hiya, everyone.  It's Sunday, traditionally a day of rest and relaxation - unless you happen to be the one (usually female) who cooked the Sunday roast.  Then it was quite the opposite!  No Sunday roasts around here nowadays!

It's a lovely, lovely morning here.  The wind has completely subsided, the sky is blue and the sun is shining.  BBC tells me it should last all day although tomorrow will be a bit wet and Tuesday looks like being horrible.  Ah, well, it saves me having to water my container plants (of which I have a number!)

I now have properly working back garden gates after a chap called Paul came to repair them.  He seemed competent, knew exactly what he was doing, worked well, did the job and the cost wasn't too high.  He does all sorts, an old-fashioned 'handyman', and seems happy to come from Southend as he does have a client base here, so I guess I will use him again in the future.  I felt sorry for him, working out in all that wind and occasional splats of rain but he seemed unfazed.

I'm trying to think what else I did.  Nothing in any way dramatic, I think, just pottered and did a bit more decluttering.  My bedroom is now almost finished at long, long last.  There's just one more surface to deal with and then some dusting and sweeping.  Then I have to tackle the guest room that has a lot of clutter moved from what is now Beth's office.  Again, there's plenty of rubbish to chuck so I will adopt the same system that has worked for my bedroom - half an hour at a time.

I did a little bit of ironing and now the basket is empty again.  It's a good feeling!

I have a bit of exciting news - well, I think it's exciting although the globe trotters among us will think it mundane, I am sure.
The back story is that about two years ago I reconnected with an old college friend, Suzanne.  We always got on very well at college but lost contact as she went to teach in Papua New Guinea and then joined World Vision.
Two years ago she came to stay for a short time and have stayed in touch ever since.  I'm going to hers for a weekend at the end of this month.
Anyway - she facebooked me to say that she always spends a week in August with her cousin in France (Suzanne is French Swiss/English) but the friend who usually goes with her can't come and would I like to?  Of course, I accepted!  She's done all the arrangements - she travels a lot for World Vision and has loads and loads of air miles to use - and the flight and a car are all booked. 
It won't be a high powered break - it's a rural area with one really nice town with a good market (yay) and many interesting little villages which we will explore - just what I like to do, in fact.  Suzanne will drive (thank goodness) so we can go a bit further afield, if necessary.

I'm very glad I renewed my passport!

Today, I am starting off with at early morning swim, then home for a leisurely breakfast, before finoshing off my bedroom.  Beth is coming round, so that will be nice.  In the afternoon, I want to do a bit of hoeing of the front patch - those weeds are coming up again and a bit of a hoe should slow them down considerably.  The back is in reasonable nick and the adopted runner beans are all looking extremely happy and have already grown a fair bit.  I love that with runners - you can almost see them grow if you watch!  Almost.

And that's about it really, although I am sure I will find other bits and bobs to get on with.  It should be a very pleasant day and I hope yours is too.  xx

Saturday 8 June 2019


Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the weekend.  As BBC predicted, we had some horrible weather yesterday.  Horrible if you were going out, that is, but great for worms, ducks and the garden and I am sure farmers were most thankful.

I ummed and ahed about whether to walk to Morrisons or take the car as the clouds had gathered and it was getting darker and darker.  I decided to walk, wrapped up well and set off, bag containing things for the Salvation Army drop off point in hand, and was very fortunate that it was only drizling until I got there, when it started raining harder.  I did my bit of shopping and came out to find it had eased off a bit.  Then, when I got home, the heavens opened.
I really was very lucky!

I had similar luck later on.  Those beans haven't come up, despite several stern warnings, so I drove off to the garden centre to buy some plantlets.  There they were, looking just as healthy as they had done the last time I was there so I got them and I also got some pea seeds (Kelveden Wonder), some garden twine (I was out of it) and a few other garden bits and bobs.  No more plants though.  It was raining hard there and back but, as soon as I got in, the rain stopped and the sun came out for just long enough to let me get them planted out before it started again.  How's that for good fortune!  No need to water them in whatsoever and this morning they look very cheerful and are winding themselves happily around their supports.

I got the peas because I so enjoyed those I had for dinner the other day that I thought I'd so something similar myself, just in pots, and see what happens.  With any luck, I will get a tasting all the way through August/September, if I stagger the sowing over the rest of June.  It says on the pack that they are particularly good for June sowing so . . . well, we shall see and if it doesn't work I have only lost a few pounds.  The soil can be recycled!

On to today and I was going to accompany Beth to a school fair where she has a table for Kitty Stitches, but then remembered that I have someone coming at ten to repair my garden gates which have dropped and are hard to open and close, so I can't.
Then, weather permitting, I will dig out (no pun intended) one of my garden pots and sow some pea seeds.
I have one load of washing which will have to dry indoors and, seeing as Beth won't need the sewing machine, I might bring it down and have a bit of a sew.  Maybe, anyway!

Have a great day and stay dry!  xx