Wednesday 31 July 2019


Morning, everyone.  Well, yesterday's weather started off beautifully - bright and sunny - but bu the time I had finished tuition, the clouds had rolled in and there was dampness in the air.  By midday the heavens had opened and we had a number of good downpours through the afternoon which, I am sure, rejoiced my garden's heart.  Today, BBC thinks it will be a dull but dry day with none of the expected rain further north.

Yesterday was pleasant, despite the weather.  I had a good time at tuition before coming home to get all the copying of important documents done.  I bless my printer; it is so useful to have a copy/scan function and I use both regularly.  As CrystalWitch suggested, I made copies to keep here too and Beth knows where they are - that was so helpful, thanks.  I also took copies of my driving licence as I am named as a second driver for France.  Not that I will, I have no idea of driving in France and would be most unsafe but, in the direst emergency, I would be legal!

Just before midday, Alex turned up.  He came over by bike and was so, so lucky.  He dropped his bike in my shed and then came round to the front door as he has a key.  Just as he arrived under the porch, the heavens opened.  Even twenty seconds later and he would have been soaked through!

We went off to the Flyer by car and he insisted that it was his treat which was lovely.  We had a really nice time and did lots of talking.  He's now just about to start his third year (out of four) at Uni and was telling me about the six modules he has chasen for this coming year.  Incomprehensible things such as Mathematical Topography, Mathematical Cryptography and Mathematical Biology.  I Googled a few of them afterwards and was none the wiser but he's really looking forward to starting them!
It takes all sorts . . .

As it was still raining later, I dropped Alex off home and he will pop over today or tomorrow to pick up his bike.

This morning is just one thing after another.  At seven thirty, Jeff is here to make my garden nice and shiny.  Straight after that I am off to tuition (the last this week).  Once that's finished, I am popping over the cul de sac to have coffee and a chat with Chris and I shall take her one of the three cucumbers I picked yesterday.  then, over lunch time, it's the lovely Sharon here to work her usual magic with my hair before my holiday.

After that, things calm down a bit, thankfully.  I want to get a load of washing done and to start laying stuff for packing out in the spare room.  I really don't want loads of washing after the weekend at Dad's - there will be a bit - but, until then, if I can wear things I don't want to take to France, it would be good.

Thinking ahead, tomorrow, Beth and I are off into town to get me a smart phone.  Now, I have never had a smart phone and am a bit ignorant so I'm asking for help - if you have any hints, tips and advice about what to ask for/get, I'd be super-grateful.  Thanks.

So that's today - a frantic morning and a much more relaxed afternoon.  Nice.
Have a good one too, whatever your plans and commitments. xx

Tuesday 30 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday was gorgeous and today seems to be going the same way although the forecast is for light rain later on.  A shame but good for the garden.  Sun and showers is perfect for growing.

I've been on a stroll around the estate!  There are now three baby peppers, all looking very happy.  There are three cucumbers ready to cut plus another one to take to Dad's at the weekend.  I have just picked six tomatoes - four sungolds and two gardeners delights - and, for the first time ever, one truss of tomatoes is threatening to break off because it is so heavily loaded with fruit.  I need to concoct some sort of support for it.  And there are three runner beans nearly ready as well.  If I can, I will save them for the weekend because Dad's might also have a few to pick and we can have our first mouthfuls together.
I do love this time of year in the garden!

Yesterday ended up not quite as nothing a day as I thought it might be.  After tuition, I meandered to the bus stop and took the bus into town.  One arrived, just as I got to the stop, which was great.  Once in town, I sorted out the euro cash first and checked with my bank that I didn't have to do any notifying that I would be using my debit card overseas next week (no, I don't, just take details of the card in case it is stolen).

I then popped into WH Smith and bought two A5 plastic wallets.  One for my passport, medical card, etc, and the other for scans of the same to be kept elsewhere in case the former gets nicked or lost.  This was a useful tip Jackie gave me, being a bit of a globetrotter herself.

After that it was into M&S for some bras.  I knew what I wanted but the M&S at Biggleswade where I looked last time I was at Dad's didn't have the appropriate size.  Yesterday I went up to the rack and there they were - colour, size and cup size, both hanging there and no need to search.  It must have been 'meant'!  (!).
I also bought another watch which sounds more extravagant than it really was as they are not all that costly.  My current one is looking increasingly scruffy now.

Then I set off back to the bus but detoured off into H&M and found just the shirt I had been looking for; long, light and blue and white striped, it will be perfect over jeggings and great for what will probably be very hot weather in France.

When I got to the bus stop, lo and behold, along came the right bus.  I really was very lucky with buses yesterday.

Once home, I washed the shirt and bras alongside some other 'lights' and it all dried very quickly in the warm sunshine.

Then I had a parcel.  I am afraid I have been very bad and bought Nadiya's book to go with her TV series which I am thoroughly enjoying (I really want to make that beetroot sauce for pasta and the egg roll and . . .) plus Phil Vickery's Save Money: Good Diet which show I am also enjoying a lot.  Ooops!
So I sat down and dived in!

That was yesterday.  Today starts off with a tuition session.  Just to clarify, I offer tuition through the holidays when possible but no problem if it's not taken up.  This holiday, I an continuing with my eleven plusser as the test itself is the third week in September and also there's one family that always takes me up on the offer.

After that, it's housework and dealing with those weeds that have the nerve to spring up whenever it rains before Alex comes over and we're going out for lunch.  It's nice that Al wants to eat with his old Nan.

The other thing I want to do is to take copies of the relevant pages of my passport, medical card and debit card and start putting a few things together for next week so Monday isn't too much of a panic.

So - not too busy a day but there's enough to keep me going.  And I have a couple of books to carry on reading too!

I think it will be a lovely day and I hope yours is too.  xx

Monday 29 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After quite a miserable start to the day, by late afternoon it had all cheered up and the sun was shining.  According to the Beeb, today is going to be lovely -  reasonably warm and sunny.  No complaints from me.
At the moment, the sun is just emerging and I'm noticing that it is getting just a wee bit later.  We are in the second half of the year, after all.

It was a lazy old day.  I did a bit of stuff but not all that much really.  I cut a cucumber for Beth to take home (such an effort!!!) and in the evening I sorted out my travel insurance and finished the planning for the little bit of tuition I have today.

Tuition is first thing and then I will be going into town to get some cash and do some bits and bobs before coming home and chilling.  A bit of a nothing day really . . . I can be so lazy sometimes, can't I?  My rather poor excuse is that it is the school holidays!

I've just popped out to view the veg and the pepper plant must have read my blog the other day because, lo and behold, today there are two little baby peppers.
Apologies for the poor photos but aren't they cute?

So that's it really.  Have a good day, everyone.  xx

Sunday 28 July 2019


Good morning, everyone!  It's still wet out there, still rather dull and the clouds are low.  It's cool too, a real dressing-gown-and-slippers sort of morning which is absolutely fine by me, no complaints whatsoever!

Yesterday was a funny old day.  It started off OK, I got some housework done, sorted out a bit of mess and finished off the ironing.  After lunch, I sat down with my kindle and the telly (lazy me) and started to feel very uncomfortable.  I suppose you'd call it 'trapped wind' so I won't go into details but I was pretty anto-social for ages.  It's just as well Beth didn't come round really.

It was still a bit of a nuisance when I went to bed but, after restless nights for nearly a week, the house had finally cooled down properly, I was able to snuggle under the cover and had a good night's sleep for the first time in over a week.
I feel great this morning!

Today there's nothing in the diary.  Beth should be round to work at some point.  I've already picked four sungold tomatoes which I will have with salad for lunch.  My computer desk needs a good old tidy up as it is in a dreadful state, so that will be my main task for the day and I will remake the guest room bed which will take all of five minutes!

I don't know about going for a walk today.  The forecast is for more rain so we will see.  I ought to get out really so perhaps I will dodge the raindrops at some point.  I need motivation!

It may be damp but have a great Sunday anyway.  xx

Saturday 27 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's fairly fresh outside this morning, there's a 'funny' light to the sky so I reckon rain is coming and, indeed, BBC weather predicts 'heavy rain and a gentle breeze' for much of the day.  There's a yellow weather warning for rain too.  Oh, well, good for the garden and it will keep everything cool.

I'd love to say I had a great night's sleep in a cooler bedroom but, in fact, I tossed and turned for a long time before getting to sleep.  There were occasional flashes of lightning so I guess the atmosphere was somewhat 'charged' and maybe that's why.  Also, it's taking a lot longer to cool off inside the house than outside.  Great news for the colder months, not so wonderful in a heatwave.

Yesterday saw me more or less back to normal after taking Al to the train at midday.  I had changed the bottom sheet and pillow cases on my bed after three sweaty nights and there were Al's sheets as well so I got them all done and dried and will do the ironing thereof this morning.  Apart from that I took it easy and caught up with some missed telly.  I'm particularly enjoying the Nadiya cooking series.  Her recipes are a bit calorie laden but very sensible and adaptable and I've sent for the book that goes with the programme.

Today I have already done my tour of the estate and came back in with another cucumber.  That's the fourth so far and there's another that will need to be picked on Monday, I reckon, another the next day and several clamouring at their heels.  Well, that sorts out my offering for the Slimmer of the Week basket next Thursday, doesn't it?

I looked up my chilli online as the label had given no indication of heat and discovered that it is a pretty hot one.  A little will go a long way!  They're not ripening yet but they go all shades of red, yellow and orange, it said, the redder the sweeter - but there are loads of them popping out all over the plant and it is, indeed, a very prolific variety.  They dry well too (says the article, I read), and they freeze fine.  It's just as well I am finding that I can tolerate hotter foods now as these little beauties pack a punch!  Next year, however, I might also look for a milder one (I'm hoping I can overwinter this one indoors) to grow alongside the hotter one.
It's a bit like a 'Count the Chilli' competition at the moment!

I wish the pepper plant would catch on.  There's plenty of flowers now but precious little to be seen in the way of fruit.  Perhaps I should have had two plants. 

The blueberries have some fruit but not an awful lot.  However, there's strong growth coming up for next year so I must do a good pruning at the right time  (during the winter months).  As the BBC says:
"Prune them between November and March when the plant is dormant. When pruning, take out any dead, dying and diseased wood. Locate the oldest canes and remove one or two at the base each year. Remove the old canes that don't produce much fruit to make way for younger, more productive canes."

The few fruits I will get will be very sweet and delicious though.  Last year's were lovely.

The autumn fruiting raspberries are now starting to flower.  Can't wait!  There's different plants so some berries will be red and some yellow.  Very ornamental as well as tasty!

Well, as I have been typing this it has turned blacker and blacker outside with a stiffening wind; something is on the way and rain really can't be far behind.   It will be lovely and cool and fresh and the garden will get a good soaking so absolutely no complaints from me whatsoever.

Time for another coffee and then I will have my bath and get ready for the day.  I hope it is a good one for us all.  xx

Friday 26 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Well, it was a horrible night at first.  Despite all my efforts, the bedroom was oven-like and sleep was very restless (and damp).  Later on there was some lightning and some rain.  In fact, it is raining as I type, there's still a storm grumbling around and it is so much fresher, the contrast is amazing.  Despite the rain, I have all possible doors and windows thrown open and inside is cooling off and feeling much fresher again.  Sheer bliss.

We didn't do very much yesterday.  I popped to Morrisons for an early morning shop and then, as it was still not to hot, got the ironing done and away. After that we stayed as still as ever we could in front of the fans and that, really, was the rest of the day.

At one point in the afternoon, Writtle (local village) was the hottest place in the country alongside Kew at 37.9C which is majorly hot by any standards!  The cucumbers and tomatoes love it; me, not so much!

I went to SW but the scales showed a massive gain which has now disappeared again this morning.  I know one shouldn't use different scales but mine are always very close to the group ones so there was something odd there.  Never mind, onward and downward and I reckon the extreme heat played its part.

Today, it is so much nicer again.  It's raining so no need to give the vegetables an early drink and I've just had to almost close the French windows because the rain was coming in.  How lovely is that?  It's expected to be around the mid twenties which is hugely less than yesterday and, once the rain does away and the sun comes out, it might very well be a snoozing-in-the-back-garden afternoon, you never know.

I take Alison to the station at midday and am most relieved that she won't have to endure so much heat in a stuffy train carriage or lug her case around London in such heat.
Despite the heat, we did manage to do some interesting things during her stay.  Hanningfield Reservoir was lovely and I will definitely be going back there again.  The new Chelmsford Museum was great and I need to revisit there as well as there was so much to take in.  Writtle church was, as always, a haven of peace and cool.  It just shows you don't need to spend a lot - all these were free with the only additional cost being the petrol to get there.

Well, my coffee mug is empty and it's time for a refill.  It's nice to want a hot drink again!  Have a lovely day, one and all, and, if it is cooler for you, I hope you can revel in it.  I'm going to count my blessings, for sure.  xx

Thursday 25 July 2019


Good morning.  It was another scorcher yesterday, wasn't it?  Far too hot to go out after lunch and I kept to the minimum the need to go out (to the shed or to hang/take in clothes) although I have to say, it was a great drying day as there was a breeze as well as the heat. 
Today?  Worse, they say.  Oh, my!

Matt came round to service the boiler (all done and OK) and to see if he could work out why the downstairs radiators are so reluctant to come on.  He's going to have to come back another time to sort that one out but it will probably involve new thermostats on the radiators and a trip up to the loft to investigate stuff up there.  Lovely!!!

Al and I were able to go out in the morning, to Writtle church.  I've been there before and done a post about the church but I was pleased to be going back.  I always seem to notice something else.  It was new to Al, of course.

One thing I had got wrong.  There's a chest/box with three locks and what I thought was that box wasn't at all!  A very pleasant lady showed us where it was and she also unlocked the vestry so that we could see the oldest stained glass window in the church that dates back to the early 1600s.  I hadn't taken my camera as I already have photos of the church but I wish I had.

We spent a couple of hours in that cool, peaceful place before coming home to try and keep cool in front of the fans.  Not the easiest thing to do!

Today I am popping to Morrisons early to get various bits and bobs but, apart from that, we will be staying in.  I've already given the back garden a refreshing drink and picked three tomatoes (yay) and one cucumber with more on the way.  They, at least, are loving this hot weather.
I have some ironing but that might just have to wait.

And that's about it.  Yesterday afternoon was eerily silent - obviously parents and carers were sensibly keeping their little ones inside - and I expect today will be the same.
There's bottles of water (tap water) cooling in the fridge and I guess it will be salad all the way today.
Stay safe, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 24 July 2019


Good morning, and all I can say is phew!  Hot, innit?  :-)

After tuition yesterday, Al and I decided to go straight to the newly re-opened Chelmsford Museum (which has recently had a facelift and only opened again last Saturday) and then to decide whether to take a look at Writtle Church afterwards, the reasoning being that the church was more likely to be cool later.

However, the museum hasn't just had a facelift, it has had a complete redesign and it is now fantastic.  It started off as a museum for the Essex Regiment, then, over time, other items were added but it was small, gloomy and a bit pokey.

But now - well, amazing is perhaps the right word.  Packed with history of Chelmsford and surrounds, loads of artifacts, bright, interactive displays, informative, well lit, well ordered and . . . air conditioned!  Woo hoo!
I learnt so much about my home town.

It was all so very interesting that I forgot to take photos so here's a link to their site so you can take a peek.  I will be going back and, if you live locally, please do go and take a look.  Entry is free and - did I mention - it's got air conditioning?

By the time we had finished looking around, we decided to come home again and to do Writtle church this morning when it may be cooler anyway.  And if it isn't, the church will be.

So today starts early with Jeff coming and then Matt the Plumber will turn up to do the annual boiler service.
After that, hopefully, we will pop off to Writtle to look round the church before coming home for lunch and spending the afternoon in the comparative cool of my shaded and fanned living room.

The garden is enjoying the weather.
The next three or four weeks is when my two archways look their very, very best.  The runners are up and over but not too thick.  By the end of August, they will be hanging down and really a bit in the way but I let them go because of the beans (obviously) and those flowers are very decorative.  You can see why the Elizabethans grew them for the flowers.  I reckon I am about a week and a half off the first of this year's crop for dinner.
(very early morning photos so the light isn't that good, sorry)

There are so, so many flowers and babies on the tomatoes this year.  I had my first one yesterday, picked while warm in the evening sunshine and eaten straight away.  Oh, my, is there anything quite as delicious as that first tomato of the season?

There's six cucumbers coming along now.  I hope the neighbours like cucumbers!!!

It's not all veg.  There were from a box of mixed summer bulbs from Aldi and I have no idea what they are.  Very pretty, though.
Does anyone know, please?

Well, if I am going to be dressed before Jeff arrives, I had better get a move on.  Have a good day and, if you can, stay in the shade and keep as cool as possible.  It's going to be a hot 'un!  xx

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Tuesday (photo heavy alert)

. . . and a very warm 'good morning' to you all - in more ways than one.  Yesterday was pretty warm but there was a refreshing breeze and where we were was nicely cooler.  I gather today will be hotter but right now, with all the windows thrown open, it is lovely!

I had a great journey home from Dad's.  All the 'improvements' on the A120 have finished for the time being and not having all those holdups really makes a difference.  I now look forward to when they finish the Little Hadham by-pass.  That will also make an enormous difference to my journey.

My friend, Alison, arrived on Sunday evening and let herself in with the key I left for her, so when I got home, there she was, which was nice.
After unpacking and a bit of food shopping, we decided to pre-empt the heat and take our trip to Hanningfield Reservoir (which is a bird sanctuary) straight away.  We threw together a speedy picnic, set the sat nav and off we went.

Basically, it was a stroll from hide to hide through woodlands and it was lovely.  The dappled shade from the leaves kept it quite cool most of the way round - well, maybe 'cool' is a bit of an exaggeration, but it was very comfortable.
As well as the birds, they had a 'Wind in the Willows' trail for children so I took some photos of the wooden sculptures of the characters which, I thought, were delightful.

Here's some of the photos I took.  Al did tell me the names of the birds but I forget now.  I remember that some that we saw were an oyster catcher, lots of mallards, some geese of various kinds, swans and cormorants and, I think, a heron.

Anyway - photos!
Birds . . . (good old zoom)

And characters . . .

And a general view from one of the hides . . .

And lastly, with apologies for all the photos, finally I have ripening tomatoes, more cucumbers for next week and - and - baby runner beans! .  Evidence . . .

Today starts with a spot of tuition before it gets too hot and, right now, I don't know what we will do after that when I get home.  I'll see what Al fancies doing and what the heat is like.

Take care in the rather unusual heat and don't stint on the old water.  xx

Monday 22 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's cloudy and rather warm right now and I really am not looking forward to the week at all, weather wise.  In other ways, it's going to be nice as I have a dear friend staying until Friday.  We're hoping it won't be too hot to go out and about a bit and we'd like to visit places like Hanningfield reservoir, but we will have to see.

Yesterday, Beth gave my garden a good soaking and I'm expecting that things will have grown again.  As I picked the cucumber than was ready, I expect some of the baby ones will have come on and I'd like to see a few tomatoes ripening, although I'm not so sure really.  Dad's runners are at the same point as mine - plenty of flowers but none setting yet.  They will, given time.

I'm still at Dad's as I type this, but will be making tracks after breakfast.  I'll keep this short as I'm really not sure what's happening today, except that I will need to do a bit of food shopping and I can't do that until I have talked to my friend about it.  No tuition today but I need to do a bit of planning as I am doing some tomorrow morning, early.  I think I have another student for September, after losing several after SATs or good progress.  I'm pleased about that.

Well, I'd better stop and get my things into the car - I like to be ready, more or less, before breakfast.  That way, there's no last minute rush.
Have a good day and stay hydrated!  xx

Sunday 21 July 2019


Morning, everyone.  It looks as if it is going to be a lovely, sunny day today, probably a day to eat out in the garden.  Yesterday turned out beautiful too, despite a few dark spells when we thought it might rain.

I got my walks in as I'd hoped.  The first was to the local Tescos for a few bits and bobs and in the afternoon I walked further, to Bickerdikes.  The original intent was to get some liquid tomato food but Dad says he will get some from the local Garden and Allotment Holder's Association Shop which is open this morning and where it will be loads cheaper, so I just had a stroll and a look around before walking back again.

Apart from that, I helped Dad defrost the freezer, not a difficult job at all, before setting off and helped him reload it when I got back.

Today, I will drive fifteen minutes up the A1 to Biggleswade where there's an M&S as Dad needs a few things from there and I think I'll walk a bit of the Greenway this afternoon, just for the exercise.  And that's more or less it!

Have a great day, everyone.  xx

Saturday 20 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's dull, damp and there's a dodgy weather forecast for today.  What a shame for the first day of the holidays but next week is supposed to be totally the opposite.  I have three working pedestal fans and it sounds as if they will all be needed!  Thank goodness they use minimal power.

Yesterday was so busy!
It started off with a meeting in school.  I'm the governer with responsibility for monitoring assessment and progress so three times a year I meet with the assistant head for a fairly in dep0th meeting.  This one was interesting because all the final assessments and tast results are now in so there was a lot to look at and discuss.
After that, I wandered around, wishing people a happy holiday before it was time for leavers' assembly.  That was great fun although I got a bit tearful as those two classes are the last two I taught at the school and from now on I only know individuals, not whole classes.  End of another era for me.
By the time that was over, it was raining hard, much to my dismay, as I had no coat.  I did, thank goodness, have a brolly which did the trick.
Once home, Beth arrived, we had a natter, she went up to work while I finished packing and set opff to Dad's.  For once there were no holdups apart from the usual one at Little Hadnam.  They seem to have finished the improvements to the A120 at last, thank goodness.

Talking of improvements,  for well over a year now there's been a dip at the opening to the road where I life (which is a cul de sac so you can't go the other way) that has gradually got deeper and deeper until it has started causing damage to cars.  Finally, at long last, after numerous complaints and damage claims, they are repairing it so there's a three way traffic light system in effect.  I bet that caused havoc at school times as the parents use our road as a parking place when they drop off their dears and pick them up again and behind the school parking is all taken up.
It's obviously a fairly big job in a small way, it's not just a case of leveling it off with tarmac or whatever they use nowadays.  They've done one half by digging a huge deep hole and filling it up solidly.  Well, it'll be lovely when it's done, that's all I can say.

In the evening, we went out to the Millstream with Ann and Zoe from next door and had a lovely time.

I expect today will be quieter.  The forecast isn't great but I do want to take a walk to Bickerdikes for some liquid tomato food so I may be dodging the raindrops.  Apart from that, I will be reading, chatting, doing not a lot really.  There may be a bit of shopping to do for Dad although he keeps up with that sort of thing pretty well.  I'll see if there's any clearing or sorting out he would like me to do.

Have a lovely day, everyone, whatever the weather.  xx

Friday 19 July 2019


Good morning, all.
One and a half pounds on at weigh in.  After a holiday, I am relieved and will lose that next week, I am sure.

Yesterday was quite busy but went well.  I got all the washing and ironing done, including the metres of new fabric Beth and I chose at Blake Farm.  We had a lot of fun picking and choosing and in the end we were extremely happy with what we came away with.  I think I will end up with two beautiful quilts.

Today is busy.  I have a meeting in school, I want to go and watch the leavers' assembly, I'd like to pop into FS and Y1 to wish them a happy holiday, then home for lunch and after that I will be off to Dad's.  All go!!

Time to stop and get going so have a great day and enjoy whatever the weather sends us!  xx

Thursday 18 July 2019


. . . and a very early good morning to you.  It's been one of those sleepless nights and I ended up coming downstairs and doing stuff rather than things going endlessly round and round in my mind.

In the end I got a reasonable amount of stuff done yesterday.  I went to Aldi fairly early which was good because it was comparatively empty and I didn't have to queue for long at the checkout.  I managed to get everything on my list, which was good.
Then I wandered along to look at floor coverings and saw a couple of definite possibilities that, I think, will go nicely in the downstairs loo.  I won't get anything actioned until the middle of August anyway so there's time to just ponder.
After putting everything away, I did some housework and a spot of gardening before Beth turned up to work.  Then, later on, I did some mending/turning up clothes so I'm glad that's done.

Today, Beth and I are going to 'And Sew On' to choose fabrics for the bed covers and the bunting she is going to make for me.  We had planned to go about three weeks ago but other stuff got in the way.  It should be fun - expensive but fun!

Then, this evening, it's SW group.  Now that pottery has finished for the term, I'm back to my Thursday group and I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again.  I'm not looking forward to the weigh in results quite as much after a holiday but what will be, will be.  Ho hum!

I'm starting to feel tired now so I think I will try for some sleep.  At least I don't have to worry about getting to work after a sleepless night nowadays.

Wednesday 17 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and the forecast for today is very promising so fingers crossed for a good day, like yesterday.

I now have a new electricity meter after the chap came, as expected, to instal it.  So that's off my list.
The letter came about the boob squash.  All's fine, next one in three years after which time I will have to organise my own - as if breast cancer stops at the age of 71!!!
Beth came round to work here.  She said Indigo hasn't ventured out since her little adventure!
I sorted out the messy pile of magazines, recycling most of them and replacing them with the most recent mags that I bought to take on holiday and hardly read.
I did the tuition session.
The biggest excitement was probably spraying the blackfly on the new dahlia at the front.  I've just been out to take the photo below and it seems clear now so that's good as it's definitely one I want to keep.  I'm not sure if the multi-colour will continue or if it's just an accident of nature and it will revert - I hope it's the former!  There are plenty of buds so I will find out soon.

Apart from that, I can't really remember anything much - it must have just been one of those 'nothing' days.  I suspect today will be the same.

I need to go to Aldi as I suddenly find myself out of things like loo rolls, frozen salmon, etc.  The result of running down your supplies before going away is that you have to run them back up again afterwards!  I need to make some more yogurt and have no long life milk and I am getting through salad veg like there's no tommorrow.

I'm also thinking of replacing the lino in the downstairs loo.  The flip side is that there's nothing wrong with it so doesn't actually NEED replacing but it was a hand on off cut from Mum and Dad, it's dark and makes an already small-windowed and gloomy room a bit gloomier.  I think a nice, light replacement would make such a difference.  There's a couple of flooring places near to Aldi's so I will take a look and see what's there.  I'll have to get them to lay it too but that's OK.  It's a tiny room with some awkward bits so better for the pros to do the job.

The garden is looking so exciting right now - apart from the runner beans which have plenty of flowers but none are setting yet, they just drop.  It shouldn't be long though and then I will be swamping the neighbours with offerings!

The ready cucumber does need cutting as you can see below but I will leave it until Friday so it's fresh to take to Dad's with me.  There are loads more baby ones so I hope the neighbours like cucumbers as much as runner beans.

Still no sign of ripening tomatoes but it can't be long now, surely.  They are definitely lightening up.  Dad has already picked a few so he's won that particular race - yet again!  Grrrrr . . .

Well, it's nearly seven, more than time I started the day off with a tidy and clean around the kitchen so, as Diane sometimes says, I will love you and loave you!  Have a splendid day and I hope everything goes well for you!  xx

Tuesday 16 July 2019


Good morning!  Yesterday was such a happy day because of Indigo's return.  Thank you for all your lovely comments sharing in our happiness - and if that sounds soppy, that's because I feel soppy!  :-)
I went round to Beth's to take some shopping and found an atmosphere of euphoric bliss there - and that was just the cats!!  Inds kept snuggling up to Beth whenever she sat down and followed her around if she was up.  She's never done that much before so I guess she had been thoroughly scared, poor puss-cat. 

I looked up info about footpaths around here and got side tracked into a site that informs about regular organised walks in and around town between 30 mins and about 90 mins which I might get a little bit involved in.  There's a local one on Thursday morning although I think I have something else on then.  Never mind, they happen once a week so another week will do.  This is the site.  Has anyone heard of Walking for Life?

I got my act together and have resumed my early morning swims.  It was lovely, well worth the effort and I was home by half past eight so it really doesn't cut into the day at all.  I can't go today but may well go again tomorrow.

The other happy is that I cut the first cucumber yesterday and, oh, my word!  SO delicious.  Cool, fresh, crisp and juicy, it was lovely, so much nicer than bought ones.  It will see me through the week and there's another one ready which I will cut and take to Dad's with me on Friday.

Today they are changing the electric meter any time between eight and twelve so I have to stay in.  The power will be off for about thirty minutes so I will then have to go round resetting a few clocks afterwards.

Apart from the above and a tuition session (the last this week), that's all the planned stuff for today.  There's a few messy corners in the living room so today's task is to get them sorted out.  It shouldn't take long and will look so much the better for it.

Well, better stop and get going with the day.  May it be a great day for us all.  xx

Monday 15 July 2019


Good morning.  I have woken to some very, very happy news.
For the last four and a half days, my daughter's beloved cat (one of them, anyway) has been missing, AWOL, causing some extreme anxiety and deep unhappiness for Beth and Alex.  For longer term readers, Indie was the mother of those lovely litters of Tonkinese kittens I posted about in the past, although she is neutered now and getting elderly.
When that happens, you imagine all the worst things, don't you, and the chances of ever knowing what happened are quite remote.  Beth and Alex had started leaflet dropping in the neighbourhood, done the Facebook publicity thing, etc, and I was going to print out another load of leaflets for rather wider distribution today.

However, overnight Inds came home again, very stressed, starving hungry and glad to be home.  She's eaten a shedload of catfood, hidden under Beth's bed for a while and is now, I gather, out and accepting love and fuss.
Obviously, I was worried about Indie, but even more worried for Beth and Alex.  There's nothing you can say or do that makes things any better in a situation like that and I am just so glad and happy that she is home again and seems none the worse for the experience, physically anyway.

Such a good start to a new week.

Back to yesterday.  After finishing off the ironing, etc,  I went for a walk, just an hour around the local coutry roads.  It was very pleasant and I took a few photos.  It's just a shame it's so very flat around here - a few hills and dips would make it very attractive.  There's plenty of  brambles flowering so guess who will be back, punnet in hand, later on in the year!

When I arrived home, nestling at the bottom of my front door, was this.

From next door's garden and very, very delicious.  She's top of the list for a cucumber in a few days' time - I have two almost ready to pick, not just one - the other was doing an Indie and hiding!

I have also noticed that the chilli plants is peppered (excuse the pun) with little chillis  which should be pickable in three or four week's time.  I must start looking up ways of preserving them.

Today starts off with joy, of course.  I intend going for an early morning swim before the usual daily stuff - tidying, bit of cleaning, sorting out the kitchen for the day and so on.  Later on, Beth is round and I have tuition this evening - definitely back into the daily round now.

There were, I noticed, a number of footpaths marked on yesterday's walk so I must look them up.  It's a bit shameful that I've lived here over thirty years and don't know the footpaths but it's never too late to start, is it?

So that's today.  Nice and ordinary with, hopefully, no hidden traps along the way.  Have a good one too, all of you!  xx

Sunday 14 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It is home sweet home for me after a really excellent journey home yesterday.  Driving on the A12 is a whole lot better on Saturday than it is on Friday and I had absolutely no holdups whatsoever apart from the occasional roundabout.  It was busy around Ipswich but not slow and round Colchester was a doddle!

I stopped off at Sainsbury's on the way home for provisions and had intended to get one of the car washing men to do my car but they weren't there.  I've never known them not there on a Saturday before.  D'you think they knew I was coming?  Grumble, grumble!

Once home. I unloaded the car and got going.  Most of the stuff is now away again, all the washing has been done and half the ironing.  It all took longer than I expected and I was then glad to sit down and catch up with some of my telly recordings.

So that was yesterday.  Today, I will finish off the tidying up, type up my meal plans, get the ironing finished, prep for a bit of tuition and go for a walk.  It won't be a beach walk, sadly, but it will be a country walk.

The garden has come on.
The runner beans are not at the top of the archways and there are more flowers, although no baby beans yet.  There are loads of little tomatoes, loads of baby cucumbers and one nearly ready to cut, a few baby chillis, some unripe blueberries and some ripening fruit from the tayberry-that-refused- to-die at long, long last.  Not loads but enough to keep the hope for future crops up.  Finally, the autumn fruiting raspberries are starting to bud.

Cucumbers . . .

(Not so) Blueberries

The tayberry-that-refused-to-die - the darkest one, out of focus, at the back is the ripe one.

Tomatoes - barring accidents and blight, it should be a good crop


Better give them all a good feed today!

It's dull at the moment because it's early, but the sky looks pretty clear so we may get some sunshine, fingers crossed.  Have a lovely day.  xx

Saturday 13 July 2019


Good morning, everyone.  I wasn't going to do an entry until I got home but, for the first time here, I didn't sleep all that well and am up very early so I thought I may as well . . .

I think the bad night was from two causes.  There's a few things going on back home that concern me (personally but not directly, if that makes sense) and - well, I did have a big dinner last night!

Yesterday morning it was raining but by mid-morning it had all cleared up and the sun was shining so off I went, down to the beach, walking shoes and back pack on.  Both have been a real blessing this week.  The shoes (just Karrimor ones, nothing special) have given my feet great support and the back pack (just a small one) holds money, roll up mac, sun cream, book, etc, very comfortably.  The tide was out and, I think, pretty much on the turn so I strolled right by the edge down to the estuary and back.  On the way back someone caught up with me and, lo and behold, it was my friend, Faith!  She and her husband have a cottage a bit further down the coast and they had come to Southwold for the day with a couple of friends.  What are the chances, eh?  If it had just been her and hubby, I'd have suggested a coffee together, but as she had friend with her, I didn't like to.  Maybe next time.

I carried on after a refreshing chat, putting on my mac as it started to rain lightly, but that lasted something like five minutes before the sun came out again - the worst was out at sea where it looked very black and you could see the rain falling.

After lunch, I wandered up and down the high street and just bought some Southwold rock to take back.  I gave the item I was thinking about a miss because I liked it but I didn't really love it.  Then it was back to the shed to watch some Wimbledon.

As expected, the fish and chips was so delicious.  Freshly cooked in beef dripping, the flavour was wonderful.  No wonder it is a popular place and, as they fry to order, there was quite a group waiting but fifteen minutes or so later, I had my order and ten minutes after that I was tucking in.

Another coincidence - when I went on Facebook in the evening, there was a photo of an ex colleague who retired the same time as I did (but who is back teaching on and off) leaning against one of the beach huts by the pier.  She was here for the day with an aunt who lives not too far away.  Three of us, all from the same mid Essex primary school in the same holiday town on the same day!

The packing is pretty much done now with just a few bits and bobs left out.  When I'm dressed, I'll get it all into the car and then lock up the shed and take the key back to Suffolk Secrets before coming back (maybe the long way) to collect the car and leave.

And that will be my holiday over.  It's been fantastic but it will also be fantastic to get home again too.  In three and a half weeks I will be off again, this time to France on my Unexpected Holiday.  What a gadabout!

I know the house will be nice and clean because the cleaners were in yesterday and the garden will be fine as people between them have kept it watered.  There will be some weeding but that won't take too long.  There will be some washing too - I have a big bag of clothes to deal with so fingers crossed it is nice and warm this afternoon so it all dries well.

Friday 12 July 2019


Good morning.  Long entry alert!  Text and photo heavy!

On my last day here at Southwold, I realise I haven't said much about where I'm staying.
When I booked it, it was called the Garden House but somewhere since then the name changed to Garden Studio.  A sensible change as it certainly isn't a house, more like a glorified shed.  No, that's not at all fair, it's really pleasant, very comfortable, well laid out with just a few personal niggles and the bed is just about the most comfy holiday cottage bed I have ever slept in.

However - garden?  No way (although I suppose the whole area was probably a garden long ago)!  It's actually sited up a narrow gravel road off between the High Street and Victoria Street so perfectly placed for everything.  One or two minutes to the shops, three or four to the coast but, because of where it is, pretty private and away from any madding crowds.  Not lovely though as it's behind the shops and you know what back of shops can be like.  However, it is perfectly safe, the other cottages are a mix of holiday and residential and, huge, great, enormous plus, it has its own off road parking.  A bit tight but absolutely fine!

Inside is just one room with a separate (tiny) loo/shower room.  The cooking area has enough in the way of tools/equipment, although personally I would prefer a little more working space, more than two rings in a small hob, and one empty cupboard for my own food would have been welcomed.
See what I mean!

As I said, the bed (a pull down bed that I just left down all week) is great

. . . but the lack of clothes space is the weakest point in the whole place.  I found it was not quite enough and it's supposed to accommodate two!
The living area is great.  Roomy and comfortable.  No complaints there whatsoever.  Oh, yes, one.  A little coffee table would have been nice.

Looking down from the front door:

And back up again:

Then, through a French window (that sticks at the bottom when you try to open it), a little courtyard for sitting out.  I didn't, it wasn't that sort of weather at the right times, but it was nice to have the door open to let the fresh air in.

I've described Southwold as 'sleepy' and so it is early mornings and evenings too.  During the day, the High Street and the shops are bustling but you don't have to go too far away to lose most of the crowds.  I'm sure it is more crowded once schools are out but right now it is perfect and I guess (at risk of sounding a bit snobby which I don't mean to) the lack of 'popular' amenities wouldn't attract those out for a noisy night life.  It doesn't have much (if any) in the way of  the usual seaside stuff - night clubs, amusement arcades, funfairs, marinas, etc, and you have to search for ice cream/seaside rock/bucket and spade kiosks or shops and, for me, that all suits me down to the ground.

So I've seen young families happily doing seasidy things with buckets and spades, people walking dogs which have to be kept on a lead in certain parts of the shore (great), people enjoying their beach huts (which you can hire by the day - might do that next time) and people of a 'certain age', retired and enjoying life, strolling around in sensible shoes and clothing looking, like me, perfectly happy with their lot.

The beach is beautiful, a mixture of sand and pebbly patches (but hardly any shells).  Most of it is well washed by the tide twice a day, there's a beach cleaning scheme going on and there are designated 'safe places' for swimming with a lifeguard on duty whenever people are swimming in the sea between the flags.

I know Southwold has taken some stick for fighting to stay as it is now but I wish them all power in their fight.  There aren't enough places like this and those who want the livelier type of break have plenty of places to choose from.

Yesterday we had some rain here so the day started slowly as I stayed in, pottering about, doing a bit of cooking, sorting, tidying up, etc.  I went for a sand stroll again (lovely) before coming home for lunch.  I hadn't taken lunch with me because it hadn't looked promising but the sun came out and it was gorgeous so I could have!  Never mind.
The market was up again and I saw some garden chairs that I truly coveted and, if I had been at home, I'd have bought at least one, stuff the price.  For what they are, they're not shockingly expensive anyway.  But I'd have had no way of getting it/them home.
Aren't they gorgeous?

In the afternoon I spent some time looking around the Church of St Edmund, Southwold. 

I started having a good nosey round and then saw a notice saying that there would be a free tour of the church every Thursday afternoon, starting at two thirty.  What luck.  So I waited and joined the group and it was well worth it; the guide pointed out lots of things I would never have noticed or seen the significance of by myself.  I took photos and will do a separate post about it.  Here's just a few photos.

Sue (from The Cottage at the End of a Lane), have you ever visited it?

As it is last day, I'm just going to do all my favourite stuff from this week.  A stroll along the beach to the Blyth estuary (while I am there I will have an ice cream and look round the RNLI thingies) and back again right along to the pier and back to the middle (depending on the weather - it's raining as I type).  Then I will do a bit of shopping for little gifts for folks and maybe for me as well.  I did catch sight of something in the amber shop that wasn't really exhorbitant but I'm not sure.

Then I have to pack and I'd like to load up the car with as much as possible to make for an easy morning tomorrow .  Packing to go home is always so much easier and quicker than packing to come, isn't it?  I also ought to just give the place a quick wipe around and sweep the floor.  I know they properly clean places between tenants but I always like to clear the worst evidence!

And I will finish off with fish and chips from the Little Fish Shop and a free beer from the Adnams shop (we were all given a voucher after the tour).

Tomorrow, I may not post until I get home later in the day.  I should be home by early afternoon.  All's well with the house and garden, I gather, and I'm looking forward to seeing how much things have grown (except the weeds - I'm not looking forward to them at all).
And now it's time for coffee.  Enjoy your day, everyone; I am sure I will.