Saturday 31 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday was another perfectly lovely English summer day round here.  Warm, sunny, a gentle breeze . . . just gorgeous.  It's due to change as some rain comes over but then should be pleasant again into early September.  No complaints.

Tuition went well yesterday.  My student was less than enthusiastic about going back to school on Tuesday but doesn't mind really.  I will miss hearing the children's laughter as they play in their gardens around me; it's lovely to hear them so happy.

Before setting off for Dad's, I gave the garden a good soaking so I'm hoping that will last it until this evening when Beth can stop off to water again.  It should be OK as it's not going to be baking hot.  The cucumber has decided to get energetic again - one picked, one ready tomorrow and I thought there were three babies but no, I counted four as I watered it.  I wonder why I never thought of growing cucumbers before.
The tomatoes, likewise, are now ripening at a great rate of knots.  There will be a bowlful when I get home with more to follow so they will be featuring majorly in my food plans for the week.
Ditto runner beans.  I picked a load to bring with me and then Dad said he also had plenty so they were prepped and are now in the freezer. 
It's just as well I really like cucumber, tomatoes and runners, isn't it?
I also noticed that there's a handful of pink blueberries ready for picking and the yellow raspberries are also producing daily now.  It's going to be a good raspberry crop this year.

I'm also finally making great inroads into some little piles of 'stuff' that seemed to be reproducing downstairs.  Yesterday I sorted out a small part of the kitchen that was a dumping ground for lids and other such paraphernalia.  The place is looking much more restful now, which is a relief.

An email arrived, informing me that pottery will be starting later than expected due to 'tutor commitments'.  Sessions aren't going to start until more than half way through October.  Disappointing, but it does mean I won't miss a session due to my Center Parcs holiday and they are refunding the missed classes.  I do hope things are OK.

So here I am at Dad's.  I will be doing an early morning shop and then there's a little list of things to do. 
Helping him get some things down from the attic.
Signing some stuff relating to Mum's will.
Sorting out some books.
Preparing for dinner when Beth and Alex will be coming up.  Al's asked for pizza, etc, so that's what it shall be!

In her blog, read this morning, Cherie asked about cloud pruning a lavender.  Now, I'm quite naughty about pruning - or not-pruning - lavender and it's about time I did it properly (not cloud pruning though, that is something different) so I looked it up and discovered that the time for normal lavender pruning is now, right now, to give new growth a chance to establish before the colder weather so that's on the list for when I get home.  I have a very neat little bush in my middle bed and have never managed to keep any previous ones in good shape so I will give it a go as described and see if it makes a difference.  I hope so as I dearly love the fragrance.

Today should be a pleasant day and I hope yours is too.

Friday 30 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.
Yesterday was one of those gorgeous summer days when the sun shines, the skies are blue, the breeze is gentle and the temperature is just right.  Today looks like being more of the same.  Lovely. 

I had a nice lie in (a lie in for me, anyway) before getting up and doing my tour of the estate!  Just before midday, Beth turned up.  We had lunch and then, because Beth needs it, we popped over to And Sew On to see if we could find the fabric to do the border and binding for my two bed covers.

It was harder than one would think.  There were plenty of blues but some were too dark, some too light, some too grey, some too patterned . . .   In the end we decided on some but there wasn't enough for both beds so we asked the lady to hold the fabric while we went next door to the cafe to have a diet coke apiece and to discuss it.

The outcome was that we bought what they had and took the fabric details to search elsewhere on the understanding that if we didn't find any, as long as the edging was the same, it would be fine if the inner border was different.  It just needs to 'go'.

Once home, Beth did pin some down and fired off an email.  There was an answer this morning - yes they have some (but it possibly isn't enough) and it is out of production so they won't be able to get any more.  Pan B may become plan A!

Trust me to choose something out of production!

At least Beth can get started on one of them.  Once home, what we bought went in the machine and then out on the line and, being a perfect drying day, by the time Beth left, it was all dry and ironed and ready to use.

Today starts off with some tuition and then I will be packing and off to Dad's after lunch.  Must remember to give the garden a good old soaking before I leave.

Have a great day and a lovely weekend.  xx

Thursday 29 August 2019

Holiday: Figeac

I've finally got round to editing some more of my photos from my holiday in France so here we go.

We went into Figeac twice; once on the Friday to get Suzanne a change of clothes and again on the Saturday for the market and a proper look around.

Figeac is a fairly substantial town in the Lot Departement of the Mid-Pyrenees, so quite Mediterranean in many ways. It's sited on the River Célé and has a large number of old houses and other building that date back to the 13th to 16th centuries when it was an important trade centre plus a large market that is held every Saturday and which is extremely popular.

The market covers the main square and many of the little roads that branch off from there.  The stalls are amazing - lots of fruit, veg, cheese and olive based stalls with produce that looked of incredibly good standard.  I've never seen so many varieties of tomatoes all together in one place and if we'd been self-catering, I'd have bought plenty.  I just took a few photos of the market because there were so many people around.

I was sorely tempted, but the thought of trying to get it home unbroken was just too daunting.  Maybe I could have a go in pottery class?

We had lunch at a roadside cafe where some market stalls had been earlier.  We each had a croque monsieur, a beer and then a mini-coffee and it came to €14 which I thought was pretty good.

Suzanne checking her phone!

We had a good wander around.  

The 'Museum of Ecriture' in Figeac, in a modern redesign of a medieval building on Place Champollion, is a very interesting, and looks at writing across the centuries, including an explanation of how the writing on the Rosetta Stone was decoded. The museum is based in Figeac because it was the birth place of Francois Champollion, renowned for his work in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics - the museum is based in the house where he was born.

We didn't visit the museum but we did go down an alleyway to the side to the Place des Ecritures where there's a room sized model of the Rosetta stone set in a pretty courtyard.  Very impressive it was too.

We visited the second church in Figeac, the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Puy (Our Lady of Puy) which is set high up on a hill with fabulous views over Figeac.  It is very ornate, very colourful and yet has a peaceful feeling at the same time.

Outside the church, there's a stone 'map' showing the view over Figeac and naming some of the buildings and places.  

I took various other shots of interesting little buildings, etc.  I loved the narrow alleyways with towering stone houses on both sides and the rooftop open galleries/balconies which were a feature of many buildings.

There were lots of very old, 'stoned up' window and doorway arches.  We wondered if they were closed up for tax purposes.  Does anyone know?

I really loved Figeac.  It was so old, so interesting, had such a great vibe to it and that market was . . .  well, I just wish we had something similar round here.  We even got free parking for just a five minute walk into the centre.
Well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in southern-central France.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Wednesday: 73 things about me

. . . well, not actually 73 because I can't answer some of the questions.
I saw this on Cass' blog, Diary of a Frugal Family, and thought I'd do one too and post it today.

1. What is your usual Starbuck’s order?
I don't frequent Starbucks. Shockingly expensive, packed with calories and I bet I can make a nicer black coffee at home anyway!

2. What does your workstation look like right now?
er . . . Just don't ask, OK. Let's just say 'cluttered'.

3. All-time favourite food?
Anyone who reads this blog regularly or my other one, Frugal Food on Slimming World, will know that I just like food. All sorts of foods. I honestly don't have a favourite although I would go for savoury rather than sweet and much prefer home cooked food.

4. Favourite author?
I think it has to be Miss Read, author of the Village School and Thrush Green series of books. I love her pithy comments, dry wit and perceptive view of everyday life and her characterisation is great.

5. What do you think of open relationships?
Not for me, thanks but whatever rocks your boat, I suppose.

6. Favourite video game?
I don't, really, although I go onto every day to play sudoku and patience. It wakes me up each morning!

7. Guilty pleasure treat?
Eating meals while watching telly!

8. Favourite film?
I think it has to be West Side Story. It may be old now but it is still fantastic. I also love a little old film that appears on telly now and again called 'Batteries Not Included'.

9. Favourite book?
So many, I really can't say, sorry.

10. Twitter or Instagram?
Neither. Facebook, now, that's a different matter!

11. Desktop or laptop?

12. Best advice you’ve ever received?
Always look on the bright side of life.
(try to) love your neighbour as you love yourself - which, to me, also means if you want to be nice to others, you also need to be nice to yourself.

13. What project are you working on right now?
Nothing really although with Christmas starting to appear at the end of the tunnel, I ought to get my thinking hat on.

14. Favourite colour?
Blue in all its varying shades.

15. Did you get good grades at school?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - er, nope. Mostly I did what was necessary, sometimes not even that. I didn't meet my potential in any way until I moved schools just before O levels started and was captured by music. Then I worked, oh, how I worked.
Generally, I got what I needed to do what I wanted.

16. Dream job?
Teaching. It always was teaching and I consider I have been so, so lucky to have had a lifetime of it. 

17. Played any sports?
Not competitive sport, I'm not in the least way inclined to competition, but I like swimming and walking and (don't laugh now), I have booked five sessions with a local personal trainer during September.
I suppose you could say I compete against myself.

18. Do you have a degree?
No, I didn't need a degree to go into primary teaching in the olden days, just a Cert. Ed. I did some OU study as some of you know, but it interfered with my teaching and, although I enjoyed what I did, it never got me anywhere. Now it is so expensive and I really can't be bothered.

19. Nationality?
British but I'd rather be called a citizen of the world

20. What is your favourite kind of blog post to do?
The ones where the ideas just flow. 

21. What do you like to collect?

22. Describe yourself in 3 words?
One will do. Pollyanna! 

23. If you were a rapper what would your rapper name be?
I know nothing about rapping so really couldn't say.

24. Who was the last person you dmed?
What is dming???

25. What’s on the top of your wishlist right now?
This made me think - I don't believe I have a wishlist for myself right now but I have wishes for those I love. No, I'm not saying what, that wouldn't be right at all.

26. Hogwarts House?
Gryffindor, of course.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry,
Set Gryffindors apart;

I can wish, can't I?

27. How many tattoos do you have?
None. Don't like them and have never been tempted.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?
My family and the love and support we give and take from each other!

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
I had a lovely holiday and my weight started dropping below what it was before Mum was so poorly and died. I gained more than I wanted to then and it's been rather yo-yo-ish ever since, but it seems to be on the way once more.

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
I strained the blackberry vinegar I was making and it is amazing!  Also I finished making some creme fraiche and that is also gorgeous.  I won't be buying creme fraiche again unless for an emergency.

31. What’s the best thing ever?

32. Favourite season?
All of them in their different ways. Spring because life comes back to everything and the days get longer, Summer for the sunshine, the rain and the garden, Autumn for the wonderful colours and the nights gradually closing in making me feel safe and warm and Winter for Christmas, snow and frosty mornings..

33. Favourite holiday?
Holidays - the first day of every school holiday still sends a shiver of excitement and freedom through me.
Festivals/Celebrations - it has to be Christmas really.

34. Which fictional character do you relate to most?
What a question! I have no idea. Maybe Miss Read or maybe Professor McGonnegall

35. Do you like surprises?
Nice little ones, yes, although generally I prefer to be prepared.

36. What’s the biggest surprise you ever got?
Being asked to take on the 'head of key stage 1' role at school. It came totally out of the blue.  Oh, and my first OFSTED 'outstanding' grade.

37. What’s a surprise that’s made you cry?
Both of the above, silly me!

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given anyone?
I have no idea, sorry.

39. Do you like muffins?
They're OK, I suppose, but not my favourite thing. I can take them or leave them.

40. Do you cook often?
Oh, yes! For sure.  Almost always.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?
A really fresh fruit salad with my own natural yogurt on top. I know that sounds naff but I really do love it.
And lemony things.

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like?
Anything too sickly and sweet 
43. Cake or pie?
Fresh fruit, please.

44. What’s your least favourite food?
Pickled onions and most shellfish
I'd not have frogs legs or snails either.  Urgh.

45. What’s your favourite condiment?
To quote Delia, freshly milled black pepper (although home made mayo is lovely as well).

46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?
I can't see myself being awake from the night before.  If it was an early start to the next day, an apple or orange and a coffee.

47. If you could teach a college class what would it be called?
Slimming World friendly recipes!

48. Best animated film?
It has to be Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  It was just so revolutionary and amazing for its time.

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?
er - well, I do remember my central heating system was making a really scary noise (it was when the children were young) and I was afraid it might blow up and my general builder cum workman came round at half past ten on a Sunday night to sort it out, bless him.

50. The best thing to do on a first date?
Just a meal out, equal shares, and a good chat.  Nothing else.

51. The worst thing to do on a first date?
Anything that would make either of us feel uncomfortable in the slightest.

52. What’s the funniest pickup line a guy can use on a girl?
Nothing - they're generally not that funny, just sexist.

53. Best comic book character?
Dennis the Menace!  Every time.

54. What are the three things that are always in your bag?
There's more than three but they include my purse, my hearing aid control and my keys.

55. Favourite drink?
Sparkling or 'still' dry white.  Or campari - I adore campari.  Plain water is best for thirst though.

56. If you could play a historical character who would it be?
As long as it was only acting, someone 'worthy', I suppose.  Not for real though; even the most important women in history generally had incredibly difficult lives with all the sexism that surrounded them.

57. Kittens or puppies?
No thanks.

58. Favourite sushi roll?

No thanks.

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?
No thanks.

60. What kind of foundation do you use?
No thanks.
(one of these day I might grow up and start using make up!)

61. Blow-dry or air dry?
It has to be blowdry.  To see my hair after it's been air dried is enough to give you heart failure

62. Who is your fashion icon?
There's some very girly quesions in this, isn't there?  I don't have one.

63. Favourite Disney character?
Some of the most recent 'princesses' have been great.  Elsa, Anna, Moana . . .

64. What are you doing tomorrow?
Alex is coming round for lunch and has asked for a roast beef dinner with all the trimmings.

65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?
There have been some but I honestly can't remember what.

66. Movie that made you cry?
West Side Story.  It still does.

67. If you could sing a duet with someone who would it be?
Aled Jones.  Because I think he would be nice enough not to either laugh or wince at my terrible pitch until after I'd gone.

68. If your life was a song what would the title be?
Bridge over troubled water.

69. What’s your favourite animal?
Horse - at a distance.

70. Favourite illustrator?
There's some great childrens' illustrators out there; I honestly couldn't choose.

71. The person you want to have coffee with?
I suppose this means someone famous.  er . . . I think Sandi Toskvig would be fascinating to listen to.

72. What’s the country you wish to visit?
Somewhere Asian, I think.  Or Italy - for the culture.

73. Best way to decompress?
I guess this means unwind.  Sitting with a good book or a magazine and with nothing outstanding to get done.  Or watching something that makes me laugh a lot - Have I got New For You, QI or Would I lie To You would work.

I'm not tagging anyone to do this but if you want to, please feel free to copy, paste and edit.
It takes longer than you'd think though.

Have a great day.  It'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Tuesday 27 August 2019


Morning, everyone!  What a scorcher it was yesterday!   Wall to wall sunshine and vividly clear blue skies, a decided lack of humidity (thank goodness) and temperatures in the low thirties.  Phew!  Today is predicted to be more of the same so I am very glad the only thing in the diary is some tuition at nine.

After popping to the shop in the morning yesterday, I was able to chill in the warmth (if that makes any sense at all) until it was time to go over to Julia's.  I had intended to walk but that would not have been sensible.  Mad dogs and Englishmen, as the song goes, and even though it wasn't the midday sun, no thanks.

What a feast Julia had provided.  I'm afraid Slimming World took rather a back seat although I did try to be moderate.  Sandwiches, nibbles, spicy little things in filo and then strawberries, clotted cream and scones.  We ate outside under a big sunshade and it was delightful.

It was quite a hot night at first so I haven't slept all that well but, dear me, with very little in the diary, that doesn't matter all that much.

I think today will be an easy, gentle, don't move too much kind of day.  I might change the bedding as it's going to be a good drying day, for sure, and I will definitely give the plants a good drink both morning and evening.

Following Diane's instructions, I have been making some creme fraiche.  I bought a small carton of double cream and used about half with a dollop of my natural yogurt, mixed up and just left it out in a container.  I started it on Sunday and this morning it is lovely and thick and with a definite tang about it.  It's rather nice but, I think, not quite ready.  I am assuming that when it is ready it goes in the fridge.

The chillies are popping out all over, there are runners and tomatoes to pick and another cucumber is ready.  There's also raspberries and a few pink blueberries, so I need to spend a bit of time out there a-picking!  Now, where's my sun hat?

Take care today and drink plenty of water!  My bottle is already in the fridge!  I hope it is a good one for us all.  xx

Monday 26 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It was a scorcher yesterday and it looks as if today will follow suit.  Some of the plants looked a bit sad so I set to and gave the roots a good soaking which seems to have perked them up a bit.

After that busy start to the day, I made the double batch of pancakes and was so glad I did because at about eleven thirty there was a knock on the door and there was my friend, Jackie, who has been passing and thought she'd pop in on the off chance.
So she stayed for lunch and we had pancakes with fruit and yogurt and very nice it was too, really tasty. 
We had such a lovely chat; it really made my day.  We talked about some outings together, maybe to an opera, and also the possibility of some time away next year, maybe to Italy which Jackie loves and to where I have never been.  Early days, I know, but wouldn't that be nice?

It was so hot in the afternoon that, after soaking the plant roots, I pretty much stayed in the shade and chilled in front of a fan.  By bedtime, it had cooled off enough to be comfortable, another reminder that autumn is definitely on its way now, and I slept like a log again.  I'm still waking between five and six but that's normal for me.

Today is an ordinary day - that is to say, just gentle and pleasant - until this afternoon when we're having one of our girls' get togethers, this time at Julia's home as we're having afternoon tea to celebrate her birthday.  It was actually a few weeks ago but none of us was available then.  It makes food planning for the day rather complicated, but should be OK and I'm very much looking forward to catching up with the girls.

The other thing I have to do is a bit of planning as I have my eleven plusser for a session tomorrow morning.

And that's about it really.  Maybe I can snooze in the garden before it gets too hot; I have some magazines to catchy up on.  Also, I do need to pop to Morrisons at some point this morning, before it gets too warm.
Do you have any special Bank Holiday plans?  Have a great day, whatever the diary promises, and stay cool.  xx

Sunday 25 August 2019


Good morning !  I feel energetic this morning and have been buzzing around like a bumblebee!  I've watered the garden, sorted out the kitchen, set some yogurt a-making and made up a double portion of banana oat pancake batter.  It feels great!

Yesterday I got into town. 
I decided to take my pink bag with me (I was having a very pink day) so moved stuff across before setting out for the but.  Just as I got to the zebra crossing, I remembered I hadn't moved my bus pass across so, muttering something fairly unladylike, I turned round and walked home again, decided to get the next but instead - there's only twenty minutes between buses.
Setting out again, when I got to the bus stop there were two 56 buses there.  The one I had intended to catch had developed a problem so even if I'd remembered my bus pass, I wouldn't have taken that bus anyway.  It certainly upped my steps for the day too!

I had fun in town.  It's not a huge market, just half a dozen or so stalls, so doesn't take long to get round.
Firstly I looked at the spice mixes and I know what I said but I bought a dahl curry spice mix because I decided to make it up for the evening meal.
I stopped off at the fruit and veg stall to get a ripe melon (must plan it in today) and a few Victoria plums, just to see what they were like, plus a sweet potato for when Alex comes over for lunch and a punnet of strawberries.  Then I was sorely tempted at the bread stall but managed to contain myself to one wholemeal sourdough loaf (which is now sliced and in the freezer).  Finally, on the fish stall, there were some sides of salmon so I got one and that is now cut into portions and frozen.
I thought there was a meat and cheese stall but maybe I was confusing it with somewhere else.

Once home, I dealt with everything before starting some washing.  By the end of the day it was three loads washed, dried and ironed.
I made up the curry (which was to go with a chicken and veg jalfrezi I had already made - nice to have a bit of variation) and now there are several portions in the freezer.  I used a few of my little chillies from the garden and they do have some ooomph but not too ouchingly so.

So really, just a rather ordinary day, better in the living than the describing.

Today is more of the same, I guess.  The forecast is good so a good excuse for reading, relaxing and generally being extremely lazy.  Such a hard life!
I hope yours is hard in that way too!  xx

Saturday 24 August 2019


Hi de hi, everyone.  It's a bit misty right now but the forecast is for warm, sunny weather, maybe even touching 29C around here so it's arbour cushions out, nice reclining garden chair set up and maybe meals out in the garden (unless it's too hot)!  Better put a jug of water in the fridge too.

Yesterday sauntered through the hours, behaving itself nicely with only one excitement.  That was when the power suddenly went off.  At first I thought the TV had broken but then realised it was everything.  As usual, several people on the cul de sac all met out the front to check it 'wasn't just us' before going back in to spend an hour doing something really useful like reading a book or magazine in the garden.
The word is that someone cut through a cable.  There's fairly extensive works going on around here so I wouldn't be in the least surprised if that's indeed what it was.

This morning, I am off into town to explore the street market and may very well come home with foody stuff enough to tempt me off SW for a day or so.  I must remember that I am NOT short on fruit and veg and, yes, I have plenty of herbs and spices, thank you!

One sad thing - sort of sad for me anyway.  Some of you may remember that I treated myself to a couple of coats last year from the new Holly Willoughby range in M&S and very nice they were too - well, the one I wore was very nice, the other I set aside for this year.  Anyway, I tried the worn one on and - you can guess, can't you - it is now way too big.  That means the other one is too.  I'm pretty gutted about that as they're nice coats, fully lined, etc, etc.  Beth's going to try to sell them on eBay for me so we will see.

And a happy thing - many, many moons ago, in the dark ages, my then husband bought me a most beautiful coat that cost an absolute fortune, at a time when I had worked very hard to lose my baby weight and was as slim as I ever have been (didn't last long because I got preggy again!).  I loved that coat so I tucked it away and brought it with me when I moved out.  Anyway, I tried it on last night and, yes, it now fits!  Buttoned up and everything!  The only thing is that it's quite long so I will have to think about having it professionally shortened.  Woo hoo!  So, what with that plus the things I have inherited from Mum, I am more than well set up in the winter coat department.

But I am sad about those two coats, all the same.

The coffee is going down a treat and time is ticking along so I will stop rambling now and get the day started.  Thanks for listening and have a lovely day, whatever your plans.  xx

Friday 23 August 2019


Good morning.
Yesterday was such a nice day.  The sun shone, the breezes blew and it got nice and warm but not too hot.
I had a bit of a potter before going into the garden and now it's all a lot better, front and back.  It wasn't dreadful before, just a bit frayed around the edges.
I had a nice chat with my friend over the cul de sac and handed over half a cucumber and a bag of tomatoes.  I love sharing my stuff.
After lunch I set out on a country walk and came back with a few blackberries (they've not really got going yet) and some damsons.  Lovely!  I picked some but left loads for the next person and next year I will remember.  I also spotted some sloes but they're not ready to pick, and there were some magnificent mushrooms but I don't know enough about mushrooms to do anything but leave them where they are.

Damsons are quite tart but they make wonderful liqueur and I expect that's what I will use them for but for now they've all gone into the freezer.   This is the recipe I will use.
 I'm making some fruit vinegar with the blackberries as there are so few so they are steeping in cider vinegar for a few days.

Later on I went off to SW group and was very pleased with a pound off, especially as I was away at the weekend.

I've just surveyed the estate (!) and there are tomatoes, a cucumber, raspberries, blueberries and chillies to pick but they can wait until later.  No runner beans; I picked them last night to take to SW for the Slimmer of the Week basket.  I knew it wouldn't be me so that was OK!  I took half a cucumber too.  The cucumber plants show no sign of giving up yet - there's another that really needs picking and a number on the way.  It's the first year I have grown cucumbers but it won't be the last.

I was going to take the bus into town to look round the High Street market which is rather more 'artisan' than the covered market but I'm a bit slow to get going today so I will do it tomorrow instead.  It's only there Fridays and Saturdays but I can get the bus in earlier at the weekend.  On weekdays, the bus pass only starts after nine.  I might make a treat of it and have a breakfast coffee on one of the pavement cafe thingies that have sprung up.  Extravagant, I know, but my teacher's pension went in today so maybe, for a treat . . .
So that's what I'm NOT doing today!

Today, it will be the same old.  Tidy up for the cleaners and I didn't sort out the strawberries yesterday so maybe that will be a job for today, while it's so nice and warm.
But first, I'd better get washed and dressed.
Have a great day.  xx

Thursday 22 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.  For the fist time in a week I slept beyond five and was very pleased with myself.  It was actually not completely dark when my eyes opened although it is increasingly obvious that the nights are drawing in and hanging around for longer and the early mornings and the evenings are cooler.  A shame, although September is often a very pleasant month so fingers crossed.

One little excitement yesterday was having some golden raspberries and pink blueberries with yogurt in the evening.  They tasted so good.  There aren't that many blueberries (although more than 2018, which was the plant's first year) but the raspberries look as if they will be prolific given that there's just two plants and I'm wondering if I might get some earlier fruiting ones too, at some point.

The blue blueberry has been a disappointment - although I had a few fruits last year, there has been nothing this year and, as it is behind netting, it's not the birds.  I need to look up the pruning instructions and see what I need to do.

There's two more cucumbers to cut, more red mini chillies and the runners and tomatoes keep a-coming so my meals are rather laden with them right now (not complaining in the slightest).   If we have the promised warm and sunny weather this coming week, that will be great for them. 

Beth was round yesterday afternoon and we ordered the batting for the spare room single bed quilts she is making.  They're going to look really lovely when they're done.

I've just been out to water as I remembered that I didn't yesterday evening and I really do need to spend an hour or so out there today.  There's more weeds than I like to see, clutter that needs to be binned and some dead heading, plus if I want more strawberries next year, I need to do something about all the runners that are currently trying to invade the rest of the garden.  Now, where did I put those pots?

Apart from that, it's an ordinary day doing nice, ordinary things.  Tidying up, for a start - I do seem to attract piles of messy stuff in corners of my home and it's starting to irritate considerably!  As there's no-one else to blame but me, I'd better do something about it!

I'd better get started with the old kitchen then - that's probably the easiest one.  And coffee - I need coffee!
Have a great day.  xx

Wednesday 21 August 2019


Morning, everyone.  We had a very pleasant and sunny day here yesterday, although it was none too warm at times and when I had to leave the front door open so the gutter cleaners could access the power socket, the hall radiator came on!

I now have nice, clear gutters.  Hopefully the rain will now go down the proper way rather than dripping over the sides.

It was something of a kitchen day yesterday.  In the morning I made some ratatouille using a big courgette from Dad and tomatoes from the garden.  It's one of those things that is easy but which takes a bit of time - the way I like it does anyway, but by the end I had a lovely, thick-tomato, flavoursome dish that tasted wonderful!

Later on, I had a go as a sort of chocolate 'cake' that someone had posted about in our local SW Facebook group.  The main ingredient was, would you believe, chickpeas!  I wasn't sure but I'll give most things a go and I was very pleasantly surprised.  One to make again, that's for sure, and if you're interested, I have posted the recipe on t'other blog!

I had a nice walk which blew the cobwebs away and in the evening I caught up on a few recorded programmes and then started watching my box set of that old series, 'Civilisation'.  Very interesting it was too and, with thirteen episodes, I can see I will be educated for some time to come!

Today starts early with Jeff coming round at seven thirty to sort some garden bits out for me.  Then my time's my own until half ten when I'm going round to Faith's for coffee and a good chat.  After that, there's nothing in the diary but I really must do some housework as the place is a bit of a tip right now.

So it's just an ordinary day with ordinary things today.  I like ordinary days.
Have a good one too.  xx

Tuesday 20 August 2019


Good morning all.

I was delighted to see, when arriving home yesterday morning, that my chilli plant was showing flashes of red amongst all the green.  Yes, that have finally decided to start ripening.  I cut the seven that were red.  They are small and fairly hot and I handled them with care.  These, the first picking, went next door to say thank you for watering my garden over this weekend, accompanied by a cucumber.  There will be more very soon; they are like tomatoes - once they get the idea, they ripen rapidly.

At last, the pepper plant is producing more fruit.  They're still little and green and I will be giving them (and the other plants) a good liquid feed today as I missed that over the weekend, but they will grow and ripen, I am sure.

Another thrill (what a sad life, eh?) was that there are a few pink blueberries ready to pick and one yellow raspberry.  Just one, but more will follow.  I daresay they won't make it into the house!

I was also greeted by a shedload of tomatoes and several portions of runner beans.    Great!!

After unpacking, I started a load of washing and checked the tumble dryer.  The sheets had dried, thankfully, no damp and musty pongs greeted me, so they went in the ironing basket.  It was a good drying day with a fresh breeze to compensate for the lack of heat so I was able to get all the washing dried, ironed and put away.

Apart from that, I roasted a chicken, boiled up bones to make stock and watched some telly.  Not an exciting day but a very pleasant one.

Today, a local company is coming round to clear my gutters, check the down pipes, etc.  It's something that is long overdue and I am hoping they find no problems.  After that, weather permitting, I think I will drive into town and take a walk around one of the parks there, just for the fresh air and exercise.  I'm not sleeping very well again (writing this at about quarter past four is not sensible really) so maybe it will help.
The other thing I want to do is make a nice, big pot of ratatouille as I came back from Dad's with a large, round courgette and there are tomatoes in all corners of the kitchen!

Well, it is nearly five now and I'm starting to feel a bit tired so maybe I can grab a little bit more sleep.  Have a great day, everyone.

Monday 19 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It was another mixed weather day yesterday and not particularly warm at times.  However, as we go through the week, it's looking more and more optimistic so fingers are crossed for a really nice weekend.

As expected, yesterday was a gentle day.  I read, did my food plans for the week, social mediated and generally took life easy.  Today I need to wake up and get more active again!

After breakfast, I will head off home, stopping in Tescos to get a few bits and bobs on the way.  Once home, there will be unpacking, washing, drying (fingers crossed for a good day), rescuing the bedding from the dryer (I do hope it dried properly - if not, it will need re-washing) and generally settling in again.
I might also pop to the gym for a swim this afternoon - it's been a while what with holidays, etc, and I'm missing it.

Have a super day and may everything go well for you.  xx

Sunday 18 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday turned out to be very pleasant, despite a short rain shower in the morning.  It wasn't all that warm but we had cheering sunshine for most of the day.  It looks pretty good for today as well - bright and sunny although hardly reaching 20C here.

As expected, it was a lazy day.  A very lazy day, in fact.  I cooked and cleared a bit but mostly I read and chatted with Dad.

He's in the process of writing out a bit of family history.  Several years ago Mum wrote about her childhood and Dad's doing something similar, planning to combine the two into something just for the family to read and enjoy.
Yesterday, I read through Mum's narrative to check for any repetitions and typos.  It was lovely and chatty, just like Mum was.

Then Dad showed me some of the photos he has been sorting out to include.  That was a bit emotional at times but a truly lovely time.  He also had photos of his time in the RAF at Biggin Hill after the war and I'm encouraging him to get that recorded too as he has such interesting stories to tell.

Today will be more of the same, I think.  While Dad's at church, I will see if there are any runner beans to pick and, if there are, I will prep them and get them into the freezer for him.  I also need to do my meal planning for the week;  I've got a bit out of routine with this and need to get back into a pattern again.  There's two weeks until the end of the month and in that time I'd really like to get as close as possible to single digit stones weight!

Beth has been away for the weekend and is going to pop into Dad's on the way home for dinner so that will be lovely.

So - an ordinary day doing nice, familiar, ordinary things with a treat at the end.  What more can one ask for?
I hope your day is as pleasant as mine looks like being.  xx

Saturday 17 August 2019


Good morning.  So here I am with Dad for the weekend, happy in the knowledge that my home is being well looked after.  The sun is shining after the heavy rain and I have a lazy day ahead of me.

Yesterday was a bit busy in the morning and the tum was a bit slow to settle but all was well eventually.  I got my bed changed and washed and dried the bedding but have just realised I forgot to take it all out of the dryer (it weas raining so no line drying, sadly).  A job for my house sitter (sorry)!

In the evening, Dad and I ate at the Millstream as usual.  I had some chicken with coleslaw and, alas for goot intentions, some chips - and they were lovely!

Today, there's very little planned.  I might take a walk down to the garden centre and I need to pop to Tescos to get some peppercorn sauce but apart from that I will read and chat and generally enjoy life.  I'm still feeling a bit tired after the holiday but it's nice, relaxed tired so I'm not complaining.

Have a good day, everyone, and enjoy the sunshine I hope you will have.
I'll post some more holiday photos after the weekend.

Friday 16 August 2019

Holiday: Trados

Trados is a small hamlet in the hills about fifteen minutes to the north-east of Figeac.
Or, rather, it WAS a small hamlet but a long time ago everyone left and it became deserted and derelict until it was finally put up for sale, lock, stock and barrel.
Viviane's mother bought the lot and started doing each of the houses up, one at a time, starting with the 'big house' where they intended to live.  Then it was passed down to Viviane and she and her husband, Roland, have carried on the work.

Here's some photos I took.

The room I was in had a velux window in the roof and this was an early morning view from there - not part of the Trados estate!

This is the big house, the one where Suzanne and I were staying and where Viviane's parents had their home.  We were right at the top which has been renovated into a very nice, self contained area with two bedrooms, a shower/loo (see the small oval window in the wall above the two windows in the first photo) and a sitting area.  The kitchen is on the ground floor (the open windows in the second photo are the kitchen windows.

This is the house where Viviane and Roland live.  We ate all the meals on the veranda which is up the steps to the left and along.    You can just see the fencing along the veranda behind the greenery.  The pool was lovely.
(The house in the distance is the big house and you can just about see my Velux window in the roof.)
The second photo is the same house from the other side, the veranda being up the steps and through the door.

And here are some of the other houses.  While we were there they were all occupied with members of Viviane's family and friends escept for the little 'hut' by the gate ( see the view from the loo photo below), which is a sort of storage place, I think.

(the steps and the wall on the right are part of the big house, the rest is the otherside of the pathway down to the pool and Viviane's home)

And finally, here's the View from the Loo, showing the little building and a bit of the estate beyond.  Yes, it does close, there's a frame and window out of camera range.

And finally, Viviane loves flowers and there were great earthenware pots of them everywhere.

More another time.


Good morning, everyone.  It's rather dull this morning but I'm grateful that it is not actually raining (yet).  Yesterday was a great drying day with a stiff breeze as well as sunshine.

I got myself into town, had  quick look in M&S and then walked over the road to Debenhams.  Nothing there.  So I went on to John Lewis and there was quite a choice.  I finally decided to go simple with plain white bone china, tiny and just like a doll's tea set!.
Here's a photo, copied from their site.  Sorry it's so white!

Then I looked around and a small espresso coffee makes (an 'on the hob' one) somehow jumped off the shelf into my hand.  Funny, that!

On the way back to the bus, I passed the perfume shop and, remembering that I am just out of one of my favourite perfumes, bought another bottle.  Not cheap but it lasts ages.  It is, appropriately, called 'Joy'.

When I got home, I looked up on a china search site and found a couple of small coffee cups that go with my old 'occasional' set of bits and bobs from Royal Doulton's 'Belinda' range so ordered a couple.  The saucers are the same as the tea cup saucers and I have a few so didn't need saucers.

So that's me all set for months and years of good coffee when I feel like it!  I suppose the next step is to grind my own beans!  :-)

SW grouip was very exciting.  I had gained just half a pound in a fortnight so I was really happy with that.  And then the group voted me 'Woman of the Year' which was lovely although I reckon Sue and Mel, the other nominated people, deserved it just as much as I did.
So now I have a shiny sticker, a certificate and a banner thingy, all on my fridge door.

Today I have to do a lot of tidying up so that the cleaners can do their job.  I don't feel much like it, having had an upset tum overnight, but needs must.
Later on, I'm off up to Dad's so that will be very nice indeed.
It should be a good day and I hope yours is too!  xx

Thursday 15 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After the really shocking weather yesterday, we have sunshine!  As I still have some washing to do, I'm very pleased!  It's pretty chilly at the moment so there's no desire to sit out and be lazy.

It was nice to get home yesterday.  I like being away and I also like being at home with all my familiar little things.  After dodging the raindrops to get everything from the car, the first thing I did was put on the kettle and the second thing was to take advantage of a break in the rain to pick thousands of tomatoes, runners and four cucumbers.

The coffee I made tasted dreadfully insipid after a week of good, strong French coffee so on my shopping list went 'French coffee' (which I am now enjoying as I type this), closely followed by 'extra virgin olive oil' (three syns per half tablespoon)!!

Just about everything is now sorted and put away.  I did some washing which needs ironing today and there's a bit more plus some sheets to do today.

I uploaded the photos (it took ages!) but have only just started dealing with them so I'm going to be back to front today and post a few photos of the clouds from the plane, taken on Tuesday.
The first is just after take off and the second is just as we crossed the coast back into the UK.  It was pretty clear really with gorgeous, puffy clouds over the land although we were above thicker cloud as we crossed the channel.

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way
. . .
I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

There were some amazing views of London but I'd put the camera away by then and seatbelts were back on.

Today is free according to my diary.  I have to finish the washing and the ironing, make the food for taster evening at SW group (while crossing my fingers for the weigh in) and I want to go into town to see if I can find some nice little espresso cups to go with my lovely, strong, French café noir!

No clothes though, not today. I was naughty about clothes in France, but I'll tell you about that later!

Oh! While I've been typing, the sun has gone in. What a shame. Never mind, that's why God invented raincoats and umbrellas! I'd better go up and get myself ready to face the day before aiming for the twenty past nine bus into town for a cup hunt. I reckon Debenhams or John Lewis should have some choice, don't you?

Have a great day, whatever the weather.

Wednesday 14 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.  The holiday is over and I'm back in the good old UK again.
I'll be driving back around the M25 (shudder) after breakfast, probably in the rain, assuming the weather forecast is correct.  Yuck.  It'll be so lovely to be home again though.  I like being away and I like coming home again.

Beth tells me she has been picking tomatoes every day so I'm anticipating a tomato laden diet over the next few weeks which should be great.

The journey home yesterday was great, in huge contrast to a week ago.  Suzanne had booked business class (using air miles) and what a difference.  I may never travel like that again as normally it is jolly expensive but it's nice to have had the experience.  We arrived good and early at Toulouse airport and relaxed in the lounge, enjoying a range of things on the breakfast buffet and reading the papers.  Once on the plane, we had what I thought was quite a nice lunch.  I had smoked chicken salad with a tomato and mozzarella salad starter, a sort of lemony dessert and a little bottle of white wine to wash it down.

It was nice to understand what the airport officials were saying without need to say apologetically "je suis Englaise" in apologetic tones.  I have to say, everyone was very nice about translating and speaking so I could understand.  I do have a bit of basic French but between fast French and my hearing loss,  I understood embarrassingly little.

Today, after driving home, I will unpack and start on the load of washing.  While that's doing, I have to do a bit of shopping after I've made a list and I'm looking forward to uploading and editing some of the many photos I've taken.

Also, I have a fair old bit of recorded telly to watch while I start in on the ironing this evening.

Back to earth with a bump again. 😉

Tuesday 13 August 2019


Well, here I am, back in the UK, after a very pleasant flight (business class).  Suzanne used lots of airmiles!!!

We left Trados in the dark, before six this morning which was before five in UK terms. Now we're both pretty worn out, especially Suzanne as she did all the driving.

I'll be back home tomorrow and my house sitter says the garden is doing great and all is well.

I hope you're all having a good day! (it's nice to be saying that again)

Monday 12 August 2019


Good morning, everyone.

One more day before we fly home, hopefully without the adventures we had on the way here.

Once home  I will upload my photos, most of which are on my camera, and then I can show them off - er- I  mean share them with you!

I hope all is well and that you have a great day.  xx

Saturday 10 August 2019


After a good old storm overnight and plenty of rain, there were some stunning views over the hills early this morning with pockets of low lying mist in the dips. 

After breakfast, we set off for Figeac as there is a really good Saturday market.   We shopped and spent, spent and shopped until it was lunchtime when we had a croquet monster and a beers piece followed by a tiny and strong black coffee ina street cafe.

And now we're back at Trados for a lazy afternoon.

Friday 9 August 2019


Such a hard life .

Thursday 8 August 2019

Still here

Morning, everyone.

There are times when I love that I wake really early. I enjoy the sense of cosiness in the darker months when it's cold and maybe blowing a gale outside.  I love watching dawn break and the sun coming up in summer.

However, there are times when sleeping a bit longer would be nice, especially right now. We were late to eat and to bed here in this Travelodge and I woke bang on four thirty, despite a very comfortable bed and air conditioning.  A shame because I reckon it is going to be a long and tiresome day today and we still don't definitely know whether we will actually be flying out this evening.  Fingers are definitely crossed.

I am looking forward to breakfast though.  The last time I was able to have an 'unlimited' breakfast was between the gallbladder crash and the operation and I couldn't indulge.

And I am so glad I am with a very experienced traveller who knows what's what.  Yesterday was extremely frustrating and wearing for Suzanne, much more so than for me, and I do hope she slept well (and still is).

Hope your day is good.  xx

Wednesday 7 August 2019


... But not quite what we expected.
Yes, we were affected by the IT problems at Heathrow.
We arrived with plenty of time, saw that we couldn't drop our bags until eleven so went to have a coffee.  While we were drinking that happily, the notice came through that our flight had been cancelled.  To cut the first half of a long story short, after what seemed ages, we were booked on a two step flight, to Munich and then on to Toulouse.  We handed over our cases, went through security and had some lunch, courtesy of BA.  And while we were having that, another message came through that the flight to Munich was also cancelled.  So I am typing this in a Travelodge where we are staying overnight and expect to travel tomorrow evening.  All courtesy of BA.
 Here's my room - not quite the country cottage we were hoping for tonight. 😕

As I said - adventures.


Suzanne's front garden is lovely.

Tuesday 6 August 2019


Nearly packed.
A quick pretty from the garden - my Japanese anemones are a picture this year.

Monday 5 August 2019

And via phone

Here we go.

Another go

Trying a photo.

Monday - the last post

. . . probably.

Not for ever, of course, just for nine days or so.  I have failed to work out how to post photos into blogger although simple text seems to work OK.  Text without photos isn't great but better than nowt so there may be a few laboriously typed posts from time to time but that all depends on whether I can get a connection.
What is really frustrating is that it it dead easy to get a photo into Facebook, so why . . .
Son Dave, who is now here until leter on today and, I hope, sleeping sweetly, reckons that it might be some sort of incompatability issue

Also, I haven't worked out how to access other blogs that I follow so please forgive me for not reading/answering and I will catch up on you all when I get home again.

Look what I got after I arrived home yesterday.  I had the runners for dinner plus the two big tomatoes (delicious) while what's left of the others I will take with me to Suzanne tomorrow. for dinner.

It's nice to put the woven trug to good use again.

Today is hectic, to say the least.  First of all there's two lots of tuition after which I have to go into town.  Then I need to be home so someone can come and give me a quote for cleaning out the gutters, something I don't want to tackle myself.

And, of course, there is packing, sorting out the frudge, tidying . . ..  It's all go chez moi today!

ENjoy your day.  xx

Edit:  re the holiday photos, find me on Facebook, if you like.  I will post some photos there through the week, probably.

Sunday 4 August 2019


. . . to send a post and failing miserably!  


Good news - Dave is out of hospital.  He came out yesterday and is now at mine for a few reasons, the main one being Anna's brother is staying until tomorrow and they only have one loo.  The loo still figures strongly in my poor son's life.  So Dave is at mine and will stay overnight.  There will be a lot of handwashing and disinfectanting going on, I suspect!
I gather he is not contagious any more, just his poo so we should manage OK with careful hygiene.

Let's raise the tone now.
Yesterday's first runner beans of the year were absolutely delicious, teamed with a yellow courgette from Dad's garden, some Jersey royals and a lamb leg steak.  Hopefully there will be more for this evening or, perhaps, tomorrow when I get home.  Plus tomatoes and a cucumber!  Fingers crossed.

Apart from cooking the dinner, it felt like the rest of yesterday was spent struggling to understand the phone.  I'll get there!

Today, Dad is off to church and I'm going to stay behind and get 'my' bedroom ready for my brother and his partner as they are coming next weekend.  Then I will start the midday meal which will be the main meal as I'm off home afterwards.

When I get home, it will be a whirl of activity what with packing, getting the house sorted for the sitter, garden, washing, etc.  Oh, and some tuition tomorrow morning!  I must be bonkers!

Actually, it's not that bad and, as long as I stick to my list, it shouldn't be all that frantic.  Plenty of time to catch up on some recorded telly. 

I think I need a coffee so I will sign off before popping down and making one.  Have a good day.

Saturday 3 August 2019


Just a quick one this morning.  It's dull outside and feels nice and cool after quite a warm night - at least, it felt warm to me and quite sticky.

I reckon I had too much to eat last night.  Or drink.  I had some very odd dreams overnight, some quite sad so, between them and the heat, I am feeling unusually unrefreshed and a bit frazzled around the edges at the moment.

I've got one of the basics sorted out on the phone - how to text.  I'm taking the advice of a friend and just learning a bit at a time.  So you may very well only get very brief entries next week, or, indeed, nothing at all.  There has got to be a way of moving photos into a blog but I haven't found it yet.  Maybe that should be the day's new thing!  Youtube, here I come!

With all the fuss at home about packing for next week, I've only gone and left my Kindle at home which is a right pain and something I had better not do next week!  I was feeling a bit lost without it so had a good browse of Mum and Dad's bookshelves and emerged with an old one, The Ascent of Man.  People of a 'certain age' might remember the TV series that gave rise to the book.  I am sure it's very dated now, discoveries and scientific understanding have both moved on considerably since then (the early 1970s, I believe) but it's fascinating in a broad sweep sort of way and very readable.  I like how understanding he is of older ideas and theories that are now demonstratively simple and foolish and his understanding that the theories and ideas of today could be equally so when placed in the context of time.  As he says:
"That seems a terribly childish theory today, a hodge potch of fables and false comparisons.  But our chemistry will seem childish five hundred years from now.  Every theory is based on some analogy and sooner or later the theory fails because the analogy turns out to be false."
I like that!

Today I will be popping out early to get some meat from Bob the Butcher (Chapman's of Baldock, the best butcher for miles around) and then on to Tesco to get bits and bobs for next week.  Things like luggage labels, small tubes of things, etc.  I've decided to have a small, overnight bag with just the things I will need for my two nights at Suzanne's, totally separate from everything else so I don't have to go rootling in my suitcase.  So I need a few bits and bobs. 

Apart from that, I think the main event of today is to sort out Mum's collection of cookery books.   With Dad's permission, I will keep her personal collection of hand written family classics, penned by Mum and very splashed and stained over the decades, and a few others, such as her good copy of Delia's classic, but most can be picked over by Gail (cleaner) and Maria (care assistant) and then, I guess, Maria can take them to the charity shop her company supports or they will be recycled.

For the first time ever, I have runner beans to share with Dad before he has any to share with me.  A triumph, believe me, and one we both had a chuckle over last night.  On the other hand, his first-planted tomatoes are ahead of mine by about a week, I guess. 

Well, I had better stop waffling on and stop.  Have a good day, whatever your plans.  xx