Saturday 30 November 2019


Morning, everyone.  Here I am, comfortably settled in the Premier Inn, in a typical room - not lavish of course, but perfectly comfortable, especially the bed.   I've had a great night's sleep and it's a cold and frosty morning, indicating a lovely winter day to come.

Yesterday, I kept my appointment with the surgery nurse who gave me my flu jab and checked my blood pressure.  It's up, darn it, so I have to fill in a sheet through the coming week, measuring my bp and recording it.  And then I have to 'see my GP' about it all - as if the dental issues weren't enough.  At least the GP will be free.
A sign of old age - bits of me are crumbling or dropping off!!

Reminded by pottery tutor, Alex, on Thursday evening, I went into the Adult Education Centre and booked me and Beth on the course next term.  That makes both of us very happy; Beth has taken to it as quickly as I did and it's so pleasant to be sitting side-by-side, working with the same materials, sharing tools and ideas and generally being good friends.  I'm so lucky.

I left home early afternoon and it was a very easy journey up to Bury St Edmunds, rather busy around Braintree but after that very straightforward and light-ish traffic.  Once in Bury, finding the hotel was dead easy, an absolute doddle.  Even I would have found it hard to go wrong.  Really!  There were plenty of slots in the car park and, all in all, it was very stress free.

I dumped my stuff, unpacked and then went out for a stroll around to get my bearings (and managed to lose them fairly quickly but you can't really get lost round there).  I located the place where I will meet up with Sue on Sunday morning (it looks lovely) and then strolled around the shops as it got darker and darker, enjoying the Christmas decorations and some quirky little shops to which I will return later on today.

Ah, yes - today.  There's far too much to do in just one day.  I'd like to visit the Cathedral and St Mary's as well, but can't really do both.  I want to explore the Saturday market.  I want to visit the museum.  And then there's the gardens and ruins and so on.  I really should have booked three nights

I see another visit coming on.  Maybe I will investigate staying at the Angel next time.  Apart from looking lovely, it is very historical and Dickensian and worth consideration.  Dad tells me that he and Mum enjoyed their stay there.
And it has parking!

Anyway, I wandered around until it was completely dark, enjoying the Christmas decorations and the Christmas trees that are dotted around here and there, literally smelling the coffee as I walked past the many coffee shops and eating places and feeling very content!

I've booked the meal deal for both days.  Eating out isn't much fun when you're on your own (not feeling sorry for myself here, it's just how it is) and it's more convenient and, perhaps, safer to eat in the hotel. 
It's pub fare, not haut cuisine, but I was perfectly satisfied with  a chicken tikka burger (yes, really, and it was lovely) with chips and coleslaw followed by coconut sorbet and that last was absolutely gorgeous!

Right now I'm sitting up in bed, coffee at the side, feeling relaxed and happy.  Today I think I will 'do' the museum, the Saturday market and St Edmundsbury Cathedral and, rather than reserving (i.e. nicking) some of what will be a very substantial breakfast, I will treat myself to a lunch out somewhere.  After all, there's enough choice to kill a cat!
And I still have tomorrow to look forward to as well.

Here's a few photos I took.  Not many, because although it was sunny, the light was fading.  I'll try to take more today and the camera is currently charging in readiness.

 A wonderfully clear, blue, winter's sky.
 I love a good window and there are plenty here!
There are so many really old buildings, one is spoilt for choice.

It's time to stop!  My room has a proper bathroom, not just a shower, so I shall enjoy a good wallow before breakfast.  Have a great day, everyone, and stay warm.  xx

Friday 29 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday was odd.  It started off rainy and horrible, then it dries up and we even saw a bit of sun and finally it was wet again.

Yesterday morning I was fully occupied in being out and about.  I went to B&Q to pick up some granular salt and a few other bits and bobs before heading back to Tescos to fill up.  Tesco's car park is an odd design.  There are two ways in but only one out and, if the road is busy or if there are queues to get into the petrol area, the whole place clogs up very quickly.  Yesterday, as I drove in, the latter was happening so I decided to park, go in to get a few other things that could have waited until after the weekend and hope that the place would have cleared.  That's exactly what happened.  I filled up and set off for home.

The afternoon was spent knitting and sewing before I made dinner for me and Beth and we set out for pottery.
It was good.  I now have the candle holder at home, I glazed the decorations, made a couple of heart decorations and experimented with sme textured wallpaper samples I got in B&Q.

Today I have an early morning appontment at the GPs and then I will be sorting things out, packing, etc, before Beth comes round and I set off.  I hope that I can unpack t'other end and then go for a stroll around before dinner.
Fingers crossed!  xx

Thursday 28 November 2019


Morning, everyone.  It's been a soggy, windy night and now everything is soaking.  Nice for Jeff who is going to come this morning and do a bit of garden stuff.  I've told him not to worry about it; he'd get so very wet!

Yesterday worked out fine.  Knitting, bit of housework, all the usual stuff.  I went to Morrisons in the end to sort out the prescription and to get a few bits and bnons amd I'm glad I did because they had marzipan in this time.  I got two packs, partly because one didn't seem quite enough and partly because I want to make some stollen and you need marzipan for that.  We all like stollen and when it's a bit dry it makes the most gorgeous bread and butter pudding!  I've dug out a recipe from BBC Good Food which is usually reliable and have also found one by Nigel Slater that uses cardomom - I love cardomom in sweet things.  I'll decide which one to follow later but did you know the cake is meant to resemble the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, hence the roll of marzipan down the middle of the loaf?  I didn't!

Most of the Christmas makes are now on a list but I do have a question for those who make their own Christmas cakes - how long do you leave the marzipan to dry before adding the icing, please?

The air dry clay decorations have dried on one side and I've turned them over to dry on t'other side.  I think I will make a few more today as I don't have any heart shaped ones and I quite like that shape.  Aso, I want to see what the other bits of lace look like when pressed on and I have an idea using yarn to make lines.

I've made progress with the little mouse but not as much as I hoped because when I got home after personal training I fell asleep and slept for ages.  I think the main thing is that this virus hasn't totally left and keeps biting in different ways.  This week it's been sinuses that have ached.  It's not an infection, just playing up.  I took some tablets and when the ache went, I relaxed and slept.  Must have needed it!
Anyway, I hope I will finish the mouse today and, given that they are fun to make and so cute, I think I will add a little extra - a Father Christmas mouse.  I can't find a decent photo to show you though.

The main thing today is filling up the car at Tesco because I have a 10p off voucher (don't I live an exciting life?) and ironing/packing for my outing to Bury St Edmunds.  Yesterday, quite independent of each other, two people said, in effect, that there's a lovely Christmas Fair there.  I was excited until I realised it was last weekend.  Drat!  Never mind, maybe next year, eh?

Oh, I nearly forgot pottery.  There's pottery this evening.  I need to do a bit of designing so I can start my candle holder thingy, the one I saw in the magazine. I will start with quite a small one so as to learn the technique and, if that works, make a few more of different sizes, as a set.  When I was in Wilkinson's last week, I found some 'transparent protectors', like little felt pads but transparent soft plastic.  They are perfect for putting on the bottom of things like the leaf coasters and the leaf bowl and will work for this project as well..

I seem to have taken a lot of words to say not very much at all so I'll stop now and get going.  May your day be a good one.  What do you have planned?

Wednesday 27 November 2019


Good morning.  I've just been out to the freezer and it's raining yet again.  I know we needed rain but I hate to think of the problems it is causing in other parts of the country.

Yesterday was a very quiet day.  I didn't get out to put in my prescription so must do that today.  However, I did tidy my pottery bag which had got itself into a mess and then I got out the air drying clay and had a play.  This is what I ended up with.

They're now sitting on a covered chopping board to dry before I paint and varnish them and, hopefully, put them on my bedroom Christmas tree.

It was a different clay to handle, not as easy as white clay in some ways but easier in others and it will be interesting to see the differences in the end products.

I finished off the mince pie seller mouse and very cute she is too.  I'll take some photos and post them another time.

In the evening I decided I ought to deal with the ready made (and rolled) sweet pastry I bought but didn't actually want to make the mince pies themselves as they would be far too available to eat so I had a brainwave.  I cut out the bases and the tops, carefully layered them on an oven tray with easyleave between and now they are in the freezer.  So I can take out however many bases and tops as I need, give them fifteen minutes or so to thaw, make the mince pies and bake them.
I hope it's a brainwave, anyway.  Fingers crossed

Has anyone been watching the Kirsty Whatshername Home Made Christmas programmes.  I think they're repeats but they appeal to me and I've set the box to record them.

Today, being Wednesday, is personal training day.  I missed last week so today will be a bit heavy but not to worry.  Apart from that, it's another not-a-lot day so I will blitz the housework and do some ironing before I sit down with the knitting.  Also, I need to make sure the things I want to take to Bury St Edmunds are washed and ironed and ready to pack.

Perhaps it's not such a nothing day after all.  xx

Tuesday 26 November 2019


Good morning.  Guess what - it's dull and damp and not cold, just like yesterday and the day before and . . .
I hear rumours that there's cold weather a-coming.  I'll believe that when I see it though!

Yesterday, everything worked out really well.
I picked up my prescription after having a blood test at the hospital, arranged for a blood pressure check and had a work with the receptionist about preferred method of contact.  They keep trying to phone me and I have told them on more than one occasion that I don't answer the phone (hearing issues).  They've got it nice and clear on my records but . . .  Anyway, she was very nice and is taking some action.  We will see if it improves matters.

Then it was home for breakfast, shortly after which I set off for the bus to go to Riverside for the organised walk.  It was damp and drizzly but, all the same, so nice to get out again after a week indoors feeling not great.

Then it was school.  I do my usual thing of marking their 'homework' and getting the new sheets into their files.  This year the teacher has changed the system and now it's a whole load easier to do which is nice (for me).

Then it was on to tuition.  The planning was all done last week so it was a question of turning up and delivering, which went fine.

And that was more or less it.  I helped Beth with some bunting she is making for a customer and did some knitting.  I'm half way through the mince pie seller.  This photo isn't mine, it's cropped from the pattern cover but, apart from some colour differences, mine should look more or less the same.

Sewing those tiny little pies to the tray was just about the fiddliest thing I have ever done!

Today is much easier.  There's nothing planned until tuition but plenty to do.  Housework, for a start.  Then knitting and I want to make the time to get out some of my air dry clay and get on with some ornaments for my bedroom tree.  If they look nice, I'll take a photo!

Have a lovely day, whatever you have planned.  xx

Monday 25 November 2019


A bit of a late 'good morning' to you all.  I went out early for a blood test at the local drop in.  An hopur, that took.  Then I stopped off at the GP surgery to pick up a repeat prescriptiona and arrange for a bp check.  Now I'm typing as I have my breakfast!

Yesterday was a very lazy day.  I stayed in my PJs all day which as nice to start with but maybe a little 'something not right-ish' as the day went on.  I did a lot of knitting and helped Beth turn out her bunting triangles and iron them as she needed to make up an order from the Open House.

Today is rathjer different.
I'm off out again in about fifteen minutes for a Heart and Sole walk, travelling by bus.  It would be faster by car but I enjoy the bus.  I take my Kindle and it is a chance to sit, rest, read and people watch.

At one, I'm due in school to do my weekly duty and then it's tuition.

It's all go today.

Sunday 24 November 2019


Good morning.  Apologies for the lateness but I overslept and then got started on other stuff.  It's a gloomy old day, not cold, now warm.  A nothing sort of day really.  I thin k I prefer those crisp and frosty mornings, even if the heating does have to work a bit harder to keep me in the warmth to which I have become accustomed now that Matt has sorted out my radiators.

I got my trip into the town and had a really good old wander around, looking here, there and everywhere for those perishing dried cherries.

I went into Holland and Barrett but no luck there.  All sorts of dried fruits including some I'd hardly heard of but no cherries.  I decided to take a detour through the Riverside Centre because I haven't been there for ages and, lo and behold, we do indeed have a Grape Tree shop.  A lovely place with all sorts of things, including some not-so-sweetened cranberries (which I got) but no cherries.  I asked and she looked a bit blank.  Surely I can't be the only one?
(I bought some dried pineapple, thinking it would be a nice substitute, if necessary).

I tried M&S although I was sure they wouldn't have any - and they didn't.  They did have some Christmas loo paper though so guess what!

Along the way, I picked up all sorts of other bits and bobs.  A nice ribbon for the cake, some white baubles for the bedroom tree (there's spoiling for you), some white acrylic paint for the clay decorations, some poly bags in Lakeland, oh - all sorts of bits.

To get to my preferred bus stop, I have to go through the market.  I stopped off at the haberdashery stall for some lace and then was just turning into the pathway to the bus stop when I remembered that there's quite a good little wholefood stall.  Herbs, spices, pulses, fruit, grains - really, all sorts of stuff, loose so you can get the amount you need (within reason).  How could I have forgotten?

So I went there and, finally - YESSSS - he had sour dried cherries, just what the recipe had ordered.  It was lovely and old fashioned, 100g (not that old fashioned) scooped out into a paper bag can carried home triumphantly.
Those biscotti had better be the best ever.

In the afternoon, I got on with knitting the Dickensian mouse I had started (as part of a rather late order) and this morning I got her finished.  A cook, holding a Christmas pudding on a plate.  I think she's really cute; what do you think?

Onto the next one now which will be the main focus of my day!  Tomorrow's tuition is all planned and ready so I can concentrate on crafty things.  Should be a really nice day.  I hope yours is too! xx

Saturday 23 November 2019


Good morning!  It's wet and dull out there this morning which is a right nuisance because I'm off into town.  I'm glad I have 'waterproofed' my grey trainers although it's not pouring, just drizzly.

I set out yesterday armed with a great long list and managed to get most of it although there were some missing items.

I couldn't find marzipan anywhere.  I'm sure ready made marzipan is a thing, isn't it?  I suppose I could make it; as always, I've consulted Delia (shocked at how much sugar it contains) and it looks easy enough.  Have any of you made your own marzipan?  How did it turn out?  Was it easy?

I also wanted some posher dried fruit for some biscotti I am making as part of a gift.  Could I find dried cherries and blueberries anywhere?  Not even in our big 24 hour Tesco.  When I'm in town, I will look in Holland and Barratt and see if I can find any there.  If all else fails, the recipients will have to make do with cranberries and the usual instead.

So I'm off into town, rain or no rain, with a not quite so long a list and some shopping bags.
I intend getting the bus just after nine.  There's no way I would take the car and try to find a slot at this time of year; parking can be tricky on a Saturday anyway but at this time of year it is a bit of a nightmare.
Once in, I shall admire the lights (I hope) before trotting off to try and fulfiul an increasingly long list that also includes ribbon for the cake, some lacey bits, the fried fruit and so on.  I might take a detour to Lakeland to have a nosey there too, just for the fun of it, and The Works is close by, as is Wilkinsons - I haven't looked around there for simply ages.

I can see that I will enjoy this morning!

Once home, I will deal with the washing that will have done while I'm out and then sit down with my size twelve knitting needles and get on with five Dickensian mice that someone has ordered from Kitty Stitches.  It's a good excuse to sit and do not a lot (apart from the knitting, of course) and the house isn't too messy at the moment after the cleaners worked their usual magic yesterday, bless them.  Beth will be round but she'll be here to work so I won't see much of her apart from plying her with coffee.

Saturday evenings are now dominated by Strictly which I enjoy very much indeed.  Fingers crossed Anton (and Emma) get through - he's my favourite as dear old Brucie used to say!

All in all, it should be a pleasant Saturday, I think.  I hope yours is too.  xx

Friday 22 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  No frost again and, in fact, yesterday evening it started drizzling; according to the Beeb, it still is drizzling but is expected to clear up before it is properly light.

Yesterday morning was lovely.  I had been going over to Val's for lunch but when I was given the dental appointment, we changed it to coffee.  I have known Val since before I moved into this house in 1985.  In fact, she and Mike lived just down the road from here and she was my first visitor, gifting a plant while Mum and I were still receiving boxes and trying to restore some order to the house.  When they moved and we were both working, I didn't see her for ages but now we're both retired it's a once a month thing.

We had a good old chat over a lovely cup of coffee, which was nice, and the journey there and back was very easy, very light traffic and only taking twenty minutes each way.

The biggie was the dentist, of course.  The dentist I have been assigned to is very young (to my ancient eyes), very kind and very gentle.  She expressed no surprise at the state of my teeth which was polite of her although I guess she's seen a lot worse.  I was most surprised that apart from the obvious things, there were no other issues, thank goodness.  The bad news is that the bridge can't be replaced (I knew that anyway) and the options are either a plate or implants. 
I now have an appointment to sort out the teeth on one side with fillings and an implant consultation so I will have an ugly. gappy smile for some time to come but eventually it should be better than before. 
I can relax for a few weeks now.

I could easily have skipped pottery as I was so tired afterwards but I am glad I didn't as it was good.  The Christmas candle dish that I glazed last week has been fired so I applied the transparent glaze and it should be finished once that's been through the kiln.  It looks a right mess as you can see, but once it's glossy and the colour comes through again, I think I will be very pleased.

Then I set to and started some Christmas tree decorations.  Don't laugh but I have decided to have a little tree in my bedroom.  I am using the tree I used to keep at school and put up in my classroom and I'm going white as my bedroom is mostly white.  I do need a few new decorations so what better than to make some.
I made these by rolling out clay, using my patterned rolling pins and then cutting out the shape.  I think that, once glazed white, they will be just what I want.

This is the one I'm not sure about but we will see.   It might look better once it's finished and anyway, on the tree, it will be OK, I am sure.
I have some air drying white clay at home so might get rolling and make a few more.  You can paint them with acrylic paint so no need to glaze, meaning that one can stick shiny things on.  I suppose it's a cross between clay and fimo and I'll give it a go.  I like the idea of making my own decorations and, if they work, maybe Kitty Stitches will have some to sell next Christmas.
You never know!!!

At the end, I looked through some 'Claycraft' magazines and I think I've found my next project.  Another candle holder but not for Christmas, and there are step by step instruction.  I scanned the photo of one of a set of three so you can see the idea.

I will need to get a few stamp blocks for this project.  There are loads on Amazon so I will need to choose carefully.
I think I will learn new things making this and so far most of what I have done hasn't involved construction and this will.
I don't have any circular candles - yet!

On to today.  Normally, Dad would be here for the weekend but for various reasons (none bad) that's not happening so I have three totally empty days in the diary.  They won't be empty, of course, they will be full, but they can be more free flowing.

I need to tidy up the kitchen before the cleaners come and also my bedroom.  They do upstairs once a fortnight and a few little piles of 'stuff' have appeared in my haven and refuge so they need to go.

The other thing I have planned, definitely, is to make a comprehensive list of things I need to get for Christmas - things like marzipan and icing, ready made pastry (if it's good enough for Delia . . .), frozen cranberries, etc.  That means checking recipes, seeing what I already have in, etc, before shopping.  I intend to start with Aldi as I can get several things there and then going on to the nearby Tescos which I know has a few items I need to get.
(yes, I have checked the bank balance - next month's teachers pension is in, as is the winter fuel payment - lol)

I might then go on to Hobbycraft as there's a few things I want to get there - thin paint brushes, for a start, and to look at the acrylic paints.

Quite a nice day, really.

Thursday 21 November 2019


Good morning!  It's still dark out there, of course, but it looks as if it will be rather dull.  There's no frost that I can see and there's little nip in the air.  Maybe it will be be of those dull and boring nothing days.

Yesterday was a bit dull and boring.  Even Dave cancelled coming round because he has a heavy cold and was off work.  I managed to finish the much neglected ironing, which was a relief, and in the afternoon Beth was over and she helped me get the large gopak table back into the garage and the smaller one back upstairs to her work room.  Now downstairs looks back to normal again.

Today, there's three things so it's quite packed.
I'm off to Val's for coffee this morning.  I can take the knitting pattern with me and swap it for the one she has.

This afternoon it is my dental appointment and I'm really not happy about that, not happy at all.  I'm trying not to be dramatic because probably all that will be done is a poke around my mouth (shudder), some X rays and a plan of action before I make another appointment but . . . eeek

I think I will be gappy for weeks to come.

This evening, it is pottery.  I have to reglaze my candle holder in a transparent glaze and then I need to get on with my tea light holder plus I might see if I can make a few tree decorations.  I must look for some ideas.

Have a good day, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 20 November 2019


Good morning.  It's another cold morning but nothing like as frosty as yesterday.  I do rather like these bright and white starts to the day when everything looks so clean and frosted.

Thank you all very much for your lovely comments yesterday.  I'm feeling a bit better today, not 100% but definitely on the mend.  I've cancelled personal training, sadly, but it means I can continue to rest and relax and, hopefully, will be back to normal tomorrow.  Son, Dave, is coming round for a chat and to show off his operation scar this afternoon so that will be lovely.

I had a lot of time to think yesterday and I was pondering over things I need to do for Christmas and things I would like to do.  I fear I am a bit childlike where the festive season is concerned.  It might go right back to childhood with beloved family traditions making it both familiar and exciting and later it was certainly helped both by making traditions for my own family and also creating a memorable time for my little students in school.

Since retirement, I no longer have the familiar school/class traditions and, with my Mum's illness and death, many things have gone by the board.  That's OK, things do change and I have long recognised that not everyone in the family holds the same things dear.  In a way, I now have more control than ever I had and I intend to make the most of it while I can.

Christmas this year is going to be relatively low key but it's still going to be fab because really it starts in the mind and in my mind, I am excited.

I've decided that I will make my own Advent event.  Every day from the first to the twenty fourth, I will do something specifically Christmassy and I've put together a sheet to record this, starting with the beginning of burning my advent candle and opening the first bauble in my online Jacquie Lawson Advent Calender as well as visiting the Christmas and Craft shops at Blackthorpe barn because I will have spent the weekend in Bury St Edmunds.

Here's what I've got so far.

The blank days will be filled with things.  It might be as simple as putting out some candles or it might involve some kind of food prep such as making and freezing the pigs in blankets but whatever it is, I will do it with a sense of celebration, spirituality, festivity and sheer joyousness.

Also, I think I will do what I've done before and post a link each day to some favourite Christmas music.  Christmas seems to inspire and there's so much lovely stuff of all styles and genres to share around, isn't there?

There will also be charitable giving, both local and national, but that remains private between donor and recipients!  :-)

What is your favourite Christmas thing?

Tuesday 19 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It really is a 'cold and frosty morning' at the moment, very shiversome indeed with more than just a touch of frost.  I'm glad I'm going nowhere.

The sad news is that the virus I was fighting last week (and thought I had defeated) has come back with a vengeance and I'm feeling proper yuck, as a friend says.  To be honest, I think it's just a cold - bunged up, sore throat, shivers and aches and a headache - but enough for me to cancel tuition yesterday and today and I'm staying in and feeling sorry for myself.  I used to rather resent the feeling of HAVING to go to work when feeling a bit rough, even if it was probably the best thing to keep going and now I don't have to any more, I can go on my own inclinations in the matter and at the moment it's saying stay in, stay warm, don't push it.

Poor old me, eh (imagine a mildly sarcastic/cynical tone of voice here, please).  At least it gives me a chance to get on with my knitting.  I was going great guns, finishing a cowl neck so quite a lot of knitting, cast off and was about to start sewing up when I realised I'd knitted the neck the wrong way around, darn it.  So I have to undo it and try again, being more careful this time.

Once that's finished, I have plenty more to do.  On the list is a jumper, a cardigan and a pair of socks.  The only one I can start today is the jumper as Val has the cardigan pattern and the sock pattern but I have the yarn all ready.
I really don't need any more jumpers or cardigans but there's a lot of pleasure in the making.

To that's today.  What are your plans?  xx

Monday 18 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.

The great news is that we had a really lovely afternoon yesterday.  Just about everyone who said they would come did come - and stayed and socialised and bought stuff and donated . . .
There were lots of comments about how warm and friendly everyone and everything was.  For a while, my downstairs was comfortably crowded but not too packed, I was kept busy making coffee and tea and chatting to everyone and the home made biscuits went down a treat, especially the biscotti.
Clare, the lady who ran her Dog Treat Stall was really lovely.
I was so glad I have portable ramps to my front door as two people in wheelchairs were able to come and enjoy themselves.  They've been a real social investment, those ramps.

Beth sold lots of her stuff, including some of her bigger items.  All the robin cushions and two of the owl cushions went quickly (they really are cute) and Beth now has to make another for me to give to someone and she also has orders for bunting and a couple of Christmas fabric wreaths.  She had a felt robin Christmas tree decoration, left over from some she made up for a customer, which I coveted greatly but some other meanie bought it - so now she is going to make some more for me.

Here he is - a jolly little fellow, I think.

These craft fairs in halls can be a very discouraging experience as people walk past, often not even giving the stall holder a smile.  Since Beth started selling her creations, I've had a lot more understanding, believe me.  Now I make a point of stopping and looking and having a little chat to the person behind the table and, if I can, I buy a little something.
Beth's last two events have both been at private homes with invited guests and have been much more successful, not just in terms of things sold but also in terms of friendliness and warmth and overall good experience.

My lovely friend, Jen, turned up with a big bag of quality yarn, mostly sock weight, as a donation, saying that if people bought any, it could go into the charity box.  I now have a pair of socks to knit but not until another friend, Val, has made hers, as she bought a ball and borrowed my sock pattern! 

Best of all, after counting donations of various kinds, we have £131 to donate to the Alzheimer's Society.  I'll do that online today when Beth brings over a code that she has from the Society that came with the fund raising pack (which we only wanted for the collection box really!).

I was so tired last night but not so tired as to miss Strictly (bit of a shock, that, but no spoilers in here or in any comments, please) and so zonked that all I did was make a plate of chips in my actifry.  Really healthy, don't you think!!!   No?
I thought I'd sleep well but I think my brain was too much a-buzzing as I didn't really and was up far too early!
Never mind, it all sorts out eventually.

Today isn't too bad either. 
Beth will be round this morning to sort and put away her things (we were both too tired yesterday evening) and we can get my furniture back into place and carry the gopak table back into the garage..  It's not messy at the moment, it's really very tidy, but Beth's things need taking back up to her work room, something I can't really do for her.  Because I had to sort out little piles of clutter, once that's done my downstairs will be tidier than it's been in a long while.  Definitely a Good Thing. 

I'll keep out the few Christmas things I put up - the seven candle thingy at the window, the new red candles on the holders on the sideboard and the Christmas bunting that Beth made for me last year as it's all very cheering on those more gloomy days.

I digress.  Beth will be round and I have some soup leftover from yesterday to share with her.  Then I'm off to help in foundation stage followed by a tuition session (so I'd better check over the student's folder, although I am pretty sure I have everything ready).  This evening is free so after finishing off a bit of ironing, I will relax and get on with my knitting, smug in the knowledge that downstairs, at least, is lovely and tidy again!

I do seem to have gone on rather.  Sorry!  I'm hoping that yesterday was good for you too and that today will also be great.  xx

(I need to add - if anyone is interested in anything Beth makes, please say as she does post things out as well as doing face to face stuff)

Sunday 17 November 2019


Good morning.  I'm up with the lark today which means that I have plenty of time before Open House starts at two and no need for any panic - not that I would anyway as all is ready apart from shifting one chair and getting the coffee making stuff ready.

I made some flapjacks first thing yesterday.  It's a remarkably simple recipe (like all flapjacks really) and comes from a book that means a lot to me.

While I was off at college, my mum, being new into the area, got involved in some social 'helping out' kind of stuff as soon as she got her driving licence.  One of the things she did was drive people to and from the local hospital, either for appointments or to visit loved ones.  She regularly took one elderly gentleman there and back to visit his very poorly wife for quite a while and got to know him quite well so he heard all about the arrangements for my forthcoming wedding, etc.

When his wife passed on, he gave Mum one of her old cookery books, saying that it was for me because she had said it was the best book for a new wife to have (in the days before Delia, of course).  That book was the 'Good Housekeeping's Cookery Compendium', actually three Good Housekeeping books in one:  Basic Cookery, Picture Cookery and Cake Making.  It was in a 'used' state then but that made no difference and it's been used by me quite a lot since.  It's a bit dated now (it's as old as I am) but there are still some great recipes and the demerara flapjack recipe is one of them.  Mum used
 the same recipe too.

So it was rather lovely using the recipe again yesterday - and the flapjacks it makes are always lovely!

I was rootling through the freezer yesterday and, to my delight, found some puff pastry that I forgot was there.  That means I won't have to buy any to make Delia's vegetarian sausage rolls, another family tradition.  We like them better than the meat ones.
Here's the recipe but forget about making the pastry unless you really, really want to.  Even St Delia said 'use shop bought puff pastry'.  The filling is wonderful;.

I've started my list of Things To Do on my scheduled Christmas Prep Day.  It's going to be long so I'll do some stuff beforehand, I think, keeping the real fun stuff for that day.

Beth and I worked hard to get downstairs ready for this afternoon.  Here's a few photos.

 Bags galore.
 Lovely cot quilts watched over by four cute mice.
 Prehugged dolls and lots and lots of clothes plus felt Christmas tree decorations.
 Loadsa cushions.
And two boxes of Christmas cards.

Lovely home made biscuits . . .

And a comfortable area to sit and chat in between biscuits.

How I hope people will come.  xx

Saturday 16 November 2019


Good morning!  It's cold and dark and that's all I can say really!  Hoping for some dry weather as I need to get some things in from the garage today.

I took it gently yesterday and was rewarded by feeling more and more with it as the day went on.  I did some of rather a high pile of ironing (and will do the rest during Strictly this evening), I gave the kitchen a good tidy up, popped some washing in the machine and I went online and ordered some little bottles.

You may remember that a short while ago I made two fruit liqueurs, one damson and the other clementine.  I checked the damson one yesterday and it's coming on a treat.
Anyway, I want to give some as gifts and that means nice little bottles, hence the order.

I can say in here because the recipients don't read my blog - we're having one of our girls' meals next month.  It's a Christmas lunch as a local eatery and we always do gifts for each other with a price limit.  I've decided to go home made and, for the limit, I can make up a Christmas treats pack with a little bottle of damson or clementine liqueur with a little bottle of sparkling something to go with it (I will have to buy that), a small pot of Jamie's festive malted chocolate drink powder (it's lovely, I've made it before) and a pack of home made biscotti to dunk in the chocolate drink once it is made up.  I'm not counting the cost of the bottles as the chances are I will get them back again.  I think I can also squeeze in some of my home made cranberry sauce, made with frozen cranberries, sugar, orange zest and a shot of cointreau.  It's ever so nice!
It's amazing how much more you can get if you home make and none of the above is at all difficult to make.

Here's a link to the Jamie hot chocolate powder (and how to make it up into a drink).
Serve with a dollop of squirty cream, a few mini marshmallows and some grated chocolate with biscotti to dunk for a really special treat.

I just have to work out how to gift wrap them all.

Another thing I did was to look up how to ice a Christmas cake on you tube (lots of clips, all saying much the same thing so fingers crossed) and then some ideas for decorating.  I think I will do something like one of these, but all white with maybe  a few silver baubles and a tartan ribbon round, to go with the overall Christmas colour theme.  I have snowflake cutters, so that's OK.
(photos borrowed from Google Images with thanks)

Today is a busy day as tomorrow is the Kitty Stitches open house so everything needs to be got ready today,  I will spend the morning dealing with all the little piles of stuff in the living room and then Beth and I will be shifting furniture around and getting everything ready.
I've decided to make one more 'biscuit' (flapjack) for tomorrow.  I have too many biscuits now but they will all freeze/keep so no problem!
I need to do a little shop too, for milk and squash.  I have everything else in.

Friday 15 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  We're in the second half of November now with weather to match.  It's gloomy, breezy, damp and cold out there but at least we haven't had snow around here, thankfully.  A bit early for all that!

I've got round to uploading a couple of photos I took at Stratford on Tuesday.  I didn't take many, it wasn't that sort of a trip, but there was this absolutely massive Christmas tree just outside along The Street and strolling back I spotted something appropriate, especially with the shop name in the background.  Everyone seemed to be rushing . . .

The light wasn't great and actually it's a lot bigger than it looks in the photo.

I spent a lot of yesterday dithering about whether to cancel tuition and pottery but in the end I didn't and it was OK.  I'm still feeling around 90% and, as my friend and her husband who was going to drive us are also not very well, we've postponed our jolly until things are better.  A shame but I am relieved that common sense has been applied.

At pottery, I spent the whole time painting glaze on my Christmas candle holder.  I used 'underglaze' which I haven't used before.  It goes on just like paint really so it was all a bit daunting and, not being steady handed in that way, I don't think the results will be great, but, hey, who's going to notice when there's a lovely big candle burning.
This is glaze you can colour mix.  That was nice and I enjoyed getting three different shades of green - one for the background, a yellowy one for the ivy and a deeper one for the holly before adding little touches of red for the holly berries.  I forgot to take a photo until the end, rushed into the kiln room with my phone and found that it was already in the kiln so sorry.  It has to be glazed and then, next week, I will add a transparent glaze to make it shiny.

I did take a photo of Beth's work.  She was taught how to make a coil pot and ended up with this.  Very cute.

Today, thanks to the jolly not going ahead, I have a totally free day and I need it, I think.  I'm feeling very 'bleary' and tired.  The cleaners come at some point (thank goodness) and Beth will be over, but apart from that, nothing and I intend to enjoy it.  The teeth remain pain free (lucky me) and, at the moment, next Thursday is just a tight little knot somewhere inside me that I am managing to keep fenced around and out of the way.  Beth, bless her, said she will come with me.  What a star!

Have a great day and stay warm and dry, whatever weather you are having.  xx

Thursday 14 November 2019


Good morning, all.  After a gorgeously sunny day yesterday, it's been raining this morning although it's clearing now and looks more promising than the forecast would indicate.

Yesterday was a funny old day.  I forced myself down to the dentist after the milk run was over and got myself an appointment.  It's not until next Thursday afternoon as it's a busy practice (which is reassuring) and it's not an emergency.  I'm not in pain or anything, thankfully, just getting a twinge now and again.  I've got the bridge that fell off but it's very old, well over twenty five years old, and I think bits have broken so it's not as simple as just sticking it back in.  And there's the other three teeth to deal with as well so I really am going to have to woman-up and face the music.  Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!!!

Thanks for all your comments.  It helps to know I'm not the only one with an absolute dread of all things dental.

By the time I got home, I was in a bit of a wobble but things had to be done before I went off to training with Lindsey, so I had no time for a 'poor old me' session, thankfully.
After PT, Beth was round and we had a prep session for the Kitty Stitches Open House on Sunday.  She made cards and I made biscotti!
We also made an almighty mess!

If you're interested in coming, do get in touch via comments and I can give you the details.

Then it was off to Governors' Meeting.  It was a good one this time, interesting enough that I didn't need to fight to stay awake.

However, I don't think it's just the dental tension, I'm feeling a bit achey and around 90% so I'm taking it easy today.  I've cancelled the Aqua class I was booked into and I'm just going to potter around until tuition when I ought to be feeling a lot better again.
I do hope so because I'm not missing pottery again!

Have a good day, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 13 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's another cold start but the frost has gone and there's rain forecast for later.  Jeff is out there, working his magic on my garden to make it look at least reasonable for a few days.

Yesterday as good. Transport worked really well for me.  A bus came almost straight away, I only waited five minutes for the train which only stopped at Shenfield before Stratford and on the way home I got onto platform 10 and in pulled a train, first stop Chelmsford.  Then I waited two minutes at the bus stop before along came a 56.  It really couldn't have been better.

As for Stratford, loadsa shops in the centre, some that we have here too and some very posh ones with up market assistants and no prices on show.  I had a lovely time meandering up and down the three levels of shops but failed to spend very much at all.  All I got was some snowflake icing cutters because that's how I'm going to ice the Christmas cake; very simply with whiote icing and white showflake shapes and maybe a shiny spray over the lot and then a nice, red, gold and green ribbon around the outside.

I enjoyed myself but once was enough really.  Chelmsford is really good for shops now so there's no need to go further abroad for the shops, just for the experience.

Looking at my colour coded sheet, the next one is this Friday when I'm off out with a friend to visit another friend who has her own yarn business.  The chances are much higher that I will spend on Friday!

However, I'm feeling quite down today and it's my own fault totally.  I have a real problem with dentists.  Not quite a phobia but not far off, to the extent that I totally neglect that part of my life and always have done.  However, deeds (or lack of) are coming home to roost.  I've had some bad teeth for a while, that's one issue.  The other is that for a long time I have had a bridge after I lost a tooth more or less at the front.  I lost the tooth as a teenager and, after lots of unsatisfactory false ones, I finally had the bridge fitted so, obviously the teeth either side were also affected.  For a while I've been aware that the bridge has felt a bit wobbly but yesterday late afternoon the worst happened - the whole thing came off. 
So this morning I am off to a local dentists to see if I can get an appointment or five to have all the dental stuff sorted out and, to be honest, I am terrified.  I know you're thinking 'grow up' so I will do my best but oh dear!

The other stuff today is Personal Training and a Governors' Meeting this evening, so I'd better drag out the paperwork and give it all a good read.

I will be glad when today is over.

Tuesday 12 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's cold this morning again although there's no frost as far as I can tell.  It's definitely much more like the Novembers I remember as a child that recent ones which have tended to be mild and muggy.  BBC says that the morning will be nice but the afternoon will be wet.  We will see.

Yesterday wasn't complicated, unlike other days this week.  In fact, it was positively gentle.  The drive home was great with very little traffic and no hold-ups at all.  I remembered to pick up the Christmas tree on the way and later on Beth and I opened the box to take a little peep.  It's heavier than the old one, I think, but is going to be easier to put together and it does look nice.

We have a little family tradition regarding the Christmas tree that started when Alex was a little boy.  It was the Sunday before Christmas when Beth and Alex came around for Christmas Tree Day.
I got plenty of goodies in and both of them helped me to put up and decorate the tree after a buffet lunch (and a bit of alcohol for Beth and me), after which we admired for ages, popped under the pressies we had wrapped and then settled down to watch Christmas films with more Christmas nibbles.

It's changed somewhat since then as Alex has grown up but the basics are the same.  Because of events this year, Christmas Tree Day is a week earlier on December 15th and I'm not sure Alex will actually come but it will still happen.  OK, so refreshments will be more restrained but I have the same old favourite films, the same decorations (more or less) and the same schedule.

I'm delighted that Beth has found a home for the old tree with a charity that works with the homeless and will use it in their shop/cafe over Christmas.  Brilliant!

Today, because I did two tuition sessions yesterday, is a free day and it's my first jolly of the new regime.  I will be catching the 9:08 bus into town and then the train to Stratford.  The tickets are in my purse and, fingers crossed, there's nothing to stop me!
OK, so it's hardly an adventure, just a treat but I'm looking forward to somewhere new.

Wish me luck and have a great day yourself.

Monday 11 November 2019


Good morning.  Start of a new week and I head off home after breakfast, stopping off at Bickerdikes on the way to pick up the new Christmas tree.  Beth's already found someone who would like the old one which I am very pleased about.

It's been a quiet weekend.  Dad is still not 100% but getting there.  We've sorted out a few Christmas arrangements and had some good old chats.

Today is INSET at school so I won't be off to Foundation Stage but I will be having two lots of tuition in order to free me up for tomorrow's jolly to groovy Stratford!

That's about it really.  Is your day more interesting?  xx

Sunday 10 November 2019


An exerpt from
by Lawrence Binyon

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

As important to remember now as it ever was.  Time does not change this.

Image result for poppies

Saturday 9 November 2019


Good morning.

I'm getting to grips with my 'new' planning routine.  Colour coding is really helping as I can see at a glance what sort of things I'm doing and whether there's a balance.

I was able to get a pack of five different coloured pens so my 'colour groups' are school and tuition, family and friends, health and fitness, creative and outings and holidays.  I'm happy to see that I have a purple (outings and holidays) each week in  November, not all biggies but nevertheless an outing/treat.  This coming week there's Stratford and also out with a friend (so that covers two categories), then there's visiting two local garden centres and at the end of the month there's my weekend in Bury St Edmunds.

I've also been able to book in an aqua class and a couple of walks ahead of time and can see that I'm getting in enough organised fitness stuff.  For the first time ever, I have blocked in a 'Christmas Prep Day' when I can get the house sorted, vegetables prepped and in the freezer, cranberry jelly and mince pies made, etc - all the traditional stuff, you know.  That's instead of a bit here and a bit there which is how I had to do it when working full time and should be a better use of time and easier to keep on top of.  I'm rather looking forward to it - in case you hadn't realised, I do dearly love Christmassy stuff!

It's taken some time to get it all worked out but once done, it's done for the month, more or less, and it will get faster as I get used to it.  I just have to remember to make sure that diary and grid keep up with each other.

Well, here I am at Dad's.  He's a bit under the weather so I'm glad I'm here.  Right at the moment I'm sat in bed, looking at the glorious autumnal sunshine and colour, everything slightly frosted, with a coffee beside me and feeling pretty rested.  This morning I will pop along to Tescos to get some fresh veg and this afternoon I hope to take a walk to Bickerdikes to look at their range of artificial trees, having checked the old bank balance first!

I suppose I ought to think about getting up.  Dad's not set his alarm and I'm hoping he will sleep in a bit this morning.  Have a good day and I hope that you haven't been personally affected by any of this terrible flooding.  xx

Friday 8 November 2019


Good morning!  Yesterday turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day, sunny and mild at first.  Overnight, we've had a frost though so right now it's somewhat shivery outside and I reckon it is time to bring in the chilli plant that I'm going to try to keep alive until next Spring.

Yesterday was a busy day.  It started well and ended not so well.

I got online to Kelly's of Danbury, the happy turkey people from whom I always get my Christmas turkeys.  So that's one thing off my mind - the Christmas turkey has been ordered.  Not such a big one this year, just 5k, but they always come heavier and there will still be plenty of leftovers - we love turkey leftovers.  Delivery day is the Monday before Christmas and it will be a lot simpler than last year when I had to pick it up a couple of days earlier as I did an early Christmas dinner at Mum and Dad's and then another one here at home.
Their turkeys are more expensive, significantly so, but they are so good, the birds have a wonderful life and it's a very local business which I do like to support whenever possible.

On the same track, I've ordered a front door wreath and a table centrepiece from a friend who has her own small business.  Inevitably, I taught her son in year one many years ago and, as she was the SENCo at our associated pre-school, we stayed in some sort of contact after that so when I heard she had started up a small floristry business, I was happy to support.
(and it means I don't have to faff around with holly, etc!)

Christmas is looming large on the horizon now and I'm well up with things!  I love it!

I caught the bus into town and got off at the station as planned, to get my tickets to and back from Stratford next week.  However, tragically, further up the line towards Colchester, someone had been hit by a train so all services were seriously delayed and the ticket area was swarming.  I decided to leave it, go on into town and walk back later, which is what I did so now I have my return tickets and HAVE to go!  Yay.

In town, I wandered around, enjoying the sights and sounds.  I bought some red candles in a shop that sells them very reasonably and then had a good nosey around John Lewis.  I liked their decorations but nothing grabbed me.  They had some lovely Christmas trees but I have decided I will take a look in Bickerdikes, a garden centre local to Dad, as I remember they had some beauties last year before making any decisions.

I've been looking for my next year's diary.  I'm not that fussy but I do want a page to a day and it must have an attractive cover.  It's amazing how many of the really nice covered diaries are the whole week ones and how many of the page to a day ones have boringly dull covers - for business, I expect.  Also, this year, I wanted to get a titchy little one to keep as an exercise log.
I got both in WH Smith, would you believe, so I'm pleased about that.

On the way back to the station I headed off into Primark and got the cardigan I actually went in to town to get and, right next to the cardigans were some zip up fleece hoodies so guess what!

By the time I got back to the station, everything had calmed down again so I popped in there before catching the bus home.

The afternoon passed peacefully enough, as did tuition.

Later on though, there was a bit of a stressful and worrying thing.  I can't go into details and things are fine again now but I didn't stay very long at pottery and, once home, dived into the carbohydrates!  A shame about pottery but there's always next week!

Today, I have the morning at home and then I'm off to Dad's.  We're eating at the Millstream this evening so that should be great.  As always, if by any chance I don't get to post over the weekend, don't worry, I'll be back on Monday.  xx

Thursday 7 November 2019


Good morning.  After three or four lovely days, the weather has broken today.  It's been raining through the night and is still doing so, although not too heavily and it's predicted to clear through the morning.  Fingers crossed.

Yesterday ran according to plan pretty much.  I picked up the parcel and on the way home stopped off at one of the three Aldis we now have in this city of ours.  Three!!!  Still, having one en route was handy.

I found the sausages, bought some and have them planned for breakfast.  I also bought some of their happy chicken and some vodka for the clementine liqueur I had planned to get started, plus a few more bits and bobs that occurred to me as I went round.

So when I got home, I set to and made up the liqueur - some clementines, sugar, vodka (or I could have used gin but I used that for the damson liqueur) and star anise.  It also asks for a lump of fresh ginger but I didn't have that so I used some very lazy ginger instead.  Same difference!  Now it has to all steep together in the jar which needs to be shaken each day until all the sugar has vanished and then put into a dark place until needed.  Then it just has to be strained to remove all the bits and it's ready!

I feel I'm really getting a lot fitter and stronger thanks to Lindsey's personal training.  Now I'm getting three sets of each exercise done in the time and with more intensity.  It's very satisfying.  We had a chat about ongoing sessions (and my need for more time) and agreed that once a fortnight would be the way to go, providing I keep it up between sessions - which I will.  So now I have a 'free' day every other week - assuming nothing comes along to fill it - and intend using that for jollies.  There's also other weeks with no PT but they're rather filled with Christmas and New Year.
I might change my mind and go back to once a week at some point but I'm giving this a go and we will see.  After all, originally I only intended to have one block of sessions, just to get me on the fitness road.

I've also roughed out a table in Word so I can see almost a month on a page, each day divided into am, lunch, pm and evening.  The November one is a bit unclear (there's a lot on it already) so I might colour code it with highlighter pens - one for family and friends, one for tuition/school, one for fitness and creative (like pottery) and so on.  At the moment there is no completely clear day in November but there are a few outings booked so I'm not complaining.

I'll get there!

This morning I am off into town.  I suppose it's a bit of a jolly as I don't HAVE to go but I want to stop off at the station to get a return ticket and to hunt out a nice cardigan thing that my friend, Alison, had and which I rather liked.  I also need a fleece or similar - I have plenty of winter coats, thanks to my lovely Mum, but nothing casual/warm-ish.

Then there's tuition late afternoon and pottery in the evening.

So a very, very nice day, despite the rain.  I do hope yours is too.  xx

Wednesday 6 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  I gather that parts of the country had pretty nasty weather but here all was sweetness and light.  Pretty much wall-to-wall- sunshine after the clouds had lifted and mild too.

For the first time in ages, I have had a proper night's sleep, not waking until half past six which is almost late for me.  Three cheers!

Yesterday's walk was pleasant.  Pleasant walk, pleasant people and a good mug of coffee in the Writtle Tea Rooms afterwards.  I think that's one I will do again although it's a sort of longer term aim to do them all in the next year or so.

I've got myself stuck in a bit of a corner really, as far as my growing wish to get out and about is concerned.  Monday is tuition, Granny-helping at school and, once a month, travelling back from Dad's, Tuesday is tuition, Wednesday is Personal Training, Thursday is tuition and every other Friday is travelling to Dad's or him coming here.  Plus swimming.
It's not loads, I know, but t all gets in the way of a day out as I'd not be sure I could get home in time and would have the stress of not knowing.  The walks are easier to manage though, I just have to be organised and book them in good time, before other things come along and get in the way.

So a longer term aim (over the next year or so) is to make sure that I have at least one totally free day now and again.  Once a week would be idea; once a fortnight is probably more sensible.  I can't stop tuition immediately and wouldn't like to stop it all anyway, but I could manage the times better as I lose current pupils and, maybe, take on replacements.
I'd like to continue with the personal training too but maybe I could have sessions once a fortnight rather than once a week.  That would be better for my pocket and would offset the cost of a day out.

I guess what I'm saying is that I need to manage my time better to fit in things I would really like to do and, inspired by Eileen, I am taking a harder look at my days and doings!

Today, being Wednesday, is personal training day.  Before then I need to pick up a parcel, the one I meant to pick up yesterday and didn't get round to, and on the way back I could stop off at Aldi and see if there's any of their skinny sausages that I want to try on the shelf!

In the afternoon, I have a pile of ironing.  It may have been a lovely fine day yesterday, but the washing didn't dry properly on the line so it's been draped over things to dry overnight.

And in the evening it's Slimming World group so fingers crossed and hoping we all have a really good day.  xx

Tuesday 5 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  After a pleasant day yesterday, it looks promising again this morning.  Cold, of course, but it is November after all.  It's actually bonfire night tonight but the celebrations have spread out all week with muffled bangs and zoomish sounds at odd times once dark has fallen

Everything slotted nicely into place yesterday. 
Mr Windows-Man came, measured, wrote everything up and went again two hours later.  After years of 'thinking about it', I am finally getting those house improvements done.  It's giving me a very satisfied feeling inside.

After he'd gone, I prepped all the veg for dinner and made some pink fluff (basically a sugar free jelly and a mullerlight) for dessert.

At one, I arrived at school having taken the long walk there and it was nice to see people again.  Increasingly, though, I see unfamiliar faces who look oddly at me when someone else shrieks 'Joy, how lovely to see you, you look great', as invariably happens at the moment.  I guess people will eventually get used to the weight loss but it seems to be taking a long time.
The littlies seem very settled and organised in their class and were very friendly.  A good start, I think.

Then I did my tuition hour before coming home and getting started on the dinner.  A simple roast dinner is lovely and also one of the easiest things in the world to make.  Meat in early, potatoes in the actifry to roast, veg in the double boiler . . .  I'd made some cranberry sauce earlier with a few frozen cranberries I found lurking in the freezer, some sugar, orange zest and a small slug of cointreau and it was lovely!  The only last minute thing to do was the gravy and even that wasn't so last minute as I like the roast to rest for a while.

It all went down really well.  I thought I'd done way too many potatoes and veg, hoping for leftovers today, but by the time Dave had finished, only chicken and gravy was left.  The chicken got stripped and the carcass went in the instant pot overnight.  Now I have some lovely stock, a pile of meat and a house that smells gorgeous!

Obviously it is early days and Dave's arm/hand was well wrapped and protected with plaster, bandages, etc, but the surgeon said that the op went well and, apart from a continuous ache, Dave felt fine.  He's being good and taking the pain killers, of course, but is hoping to ease up on them from today.

On to today.  I have a parcel to pick up as whoever delivered didn't see fit to leave it behind the bin.  However, the main event is a Heart and Sole walk at twelve, this time around Writtle, a local village that just escapes being joined to Chelmsford by a 200m or so strip of countryside.  I'm looking forward to that.

Then there's tuition followed by a nice, quiet evening.  I think I'll take advantage of the fine weather and get some washing done and out on the line so there will be ironing to do as I watch telly.

I think it will be a very pleasant day; I hope yours is as well.  xx

Monday 4 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's still damp outside and feels a bit chilly but the forecast is for sunny intervals and a gentle breeze which is quite cheering.  I hope that's right.

Yesterday worked out well.  The kitchen got a good tidy up although it didn't last long, that being the nature of kitchens.  Never mind, at least things have been put away and there's more working surface space.

After lunch, we set to, Beth and I, and made cards.  Sorry, no photos.  We were busy and I just forgot.

Today is busy.
First of all the surveyor is coming around to measure up for the windows, etc.  I gather that should take a sizeable chunk of the morning. 

This afternoon, I am back granny-helping at school.  As I help out in Foundation Stage, I always leave it the first half term as they have enough to cope with settling in, etc.  I'm not sure what they'll want me to do but it'll be nice to see everyone again.

Following that I have tuition again as half term is over, so I need to do some prepping for that.

I had a text from Dave yesterday.  On Saturday he had an operation on his wrist so now he can't use his hand much for a while until things heal.  Anna has to be out this evening so he's coming round here for dinner.  I shall get a chicken and just roast it with roasties and some veg.  Nothing difficult and all easy to cut up.

So today is all go, one way and another.  It'll certainly keep me out of trouble anyway!
Have a good day, whatever you have planned.  xx

Sunday 3 November 2019


Hello, everyone.  What a blustery day it was yesterday.  Rainy too, at times, although we also had a very little bit of sunshine.  After the wind, many trees are now looking decidedly less leafy and much more autumnal.

I had fun strolling around Abercorns and managed to end up with a few bits and bobs including some tree decorations, a couple of cheap and very cheerful door mats, one for the front and one for the back, some Christmas socks (gifts) and a few other things.  I was saved from buying a very lovely cardigan because they didn't have my size and I totally forgot about the Christmas hats so that's probably very good.  There were some Christmas goodies to nibble (stollen, shortbread, chutney) so I did (ooops) and the free coffee was very nice.

Then I popped over the road to Lathcoats where they had an exciting range of apples.  I love that they have a taster table where you can chop off a bit to taste before you decide.  I bought three different kinds - some Coxes, some Lathcoats Red and one which name I have forgotten, all for £1.95 a kilo which I thought very good value indeed.
Now I have to eat apples, not that I'm complaining in the least.  I love apples!

On the way home I stopped off at Aldi for a few bits and bobs so I'm well stocked for the week now.

When I got home, Beth was there.  We sent off some invites to a Kitty Stitches sale she's holding at mine in a fortnight and then set to making cards.  Well, Beth did.  I made some lunch and my dinner (to heat up again later) while she sorted out her buttons and made some button cards.  They're very simple and I really like them.
She very much approved of my fabric choices (phew) and this afternoon we will make more cards as a joint effort.

I woke extremely early this morning (again) but not to worry, there's plenty to do.

I've started today by finally making the damson liqueur.  I bought the gin yesterday and got the damsons (the ones I foraged) out of the freezer and half an hour ago I pounded up the fruit, popped it into a large kilner jar, added the sugar and the gin and gave it all a good stir up.  It stays out for a week with regular shakings and then it will do into a cupboard to mellow!

Now I need to get going with the spiced clementine liqueur I also want to make.  I will use vodka for this one and it also has some star anise.  Should be nice!

This morning I need to attack the mess in the kitchen.  There's a whole lot of stuff out that really ought to be put away as it is looking extremely cluttered.  After I've done that, I might ditto in the living room.

As mentioned, Beth's round for lunch and then we will be card making.  It should all be fun.

So that's today.  I hope it's good for you too.  xx

Edit:  I looked the other apple up.  It's Falstaff
You might be interested in this link.  It's their growing diary and lists all the different varieties they do.

Saturday 2 November 2019


Good morning, everyone.  What a shame the weather has turned on us for a few days.  Yesterday was damp and drizzly and today looks like being wet and windy.  Well, it is November, I suppose!

Yesterday was a day of two halves.  In the morning I dropped Al off at the station and then popped off to Blake Farm.  In And Sew On I managed (I hope) to get what Beth wanted and then I popped into Sconch (the yarn shop) where I accidentally < cough > fell for a jumper pattern and some yarn .
My excuse is that I've pretty much finished the front and the back of what I'm currently making and NEED (yes I do) another project to work on after it's finished as it keeps my hands busy and off the food!
SO there!

When I got home, the cleaners had come early and nearly finished.   After lunch I say down and promptly fell asleep, waking a couple of hours later.  Oh, well, I must have needed it!

After a very early start today, I have a few plans, the main one being a trip to as local garden centre Christmas open weekend.  There's a free coffee in it for me plus £5 off if I spend £25.  I can't guarantee the latter but the former is pretty much a given!  In the bumph accompanying the invite, there's an ad for 'festive door mats' that are so cheap that they can't be all that great but they don't need to be really!  Also some novelty hats.  I'm sorely tempted but will see exactly what they look like in real life.  Yes, I know, not terribly frugal or sensible but I get worse about Christmas as I get older!

The other thing, much bigger, is that I'm on the hunt for a 'quality' artificial tree to replace the current one that is very, very old now and every year it loses another few 'twigs' and loads of 'needles' to the extent that it's starting to look increasingly threadbare.

Later on, Beth is round and we're making more cards as the last lot sold pretty well a fortnight ago.
I need to do a small food shop too.

And I'll probably fall asleep at some point, making up for such an early start to the day!

Have a good 'un, everyone.  xx

Later edit:  I managed to get back to sleep and slept until hearly half past eight - phew!

Friday 1 November 2019

Friday . . .

. . . and a pinch and a punch for the first of the month!  Where did October go, eh?

Yesterday was great!.  We left my home to catch the 9:08 bus to the station.  When we arrived, Al showed me how to use the pre booked ticket machine before the went to the platform.  Five minutes later, a train arrived and from then on we really didn't have to wait around much for any tube or train.

It's easy to forget how crowded London is.  One of the less pleasant aspects, especially when one has to push through.  Never mind, it was a price worth paying!

At the Natural History Museum, they had the outside Christmas ice ring up and running and people were having a wonderful time.  I thought it looked a bit like a Jacquie Lawson advent calender.  Very festive, especially with the aroma of roasting chestnuts wafting around.

In the museum, it became quickly obvious that not all areas are on half term this week.  There were a lot of school groups around and, while they were excited and quite noisy, the behaviour was exemplary.  I didn't one instance of less than good behaviour and they all seemed to be busy with assignments, work sheets, etc. 
(teachers, even old ones, notice that sort of thing)

We looked at the volcano and earthquake areas and then wandered through, stopping and looking as the fancy took us.  The dinosaurs were amazing and as for the blue whale . . .

I didn't take loads of photos (there was too much to see) but here's some.

We spent ages looking at the magnificent suspended blue whale skeleton but none of my photos do it any sort of justice.  It was so big and I couldn't get far enough away so I've Google-borrowed one.  It was a highlight of the whole day.

Image result for the blue whale skeleton

The journey home was just as easy and, although we just missed a bus this end, they are pretty frequent and another came along in five minutes.

All in all, a great time was had and I'm now looking forward to the next one!
I think the next jolly will be to Colchester.  I've looked it up and not only is the train fare very reasonable, it's also very quick.  The bus is free (with my geriatric pass) but would take well over an hour so train it is!  I'm not sure when as my days are hedged around with scheduled stuff.

I'd also rather love to go into London to look around Hamleys and Harrods before Christmas.  I used to that in my younger days and, once the decorations are up, it is a magnificent sight.
But terribly crowded!! 
Ah, well, can't have it all, can we?

Today, I am dropping Alison off at the station at just before nine and then, at some point, I'm off the Blake House Craft Centre to get some fabric for Beth.  That will be nice.  I'd also like to pop into town at some point but I think that will have to be tomorrow.

The rest of the day is my own.  I have bedding to deal with, a house to tidy for the cleaners (although it's not too bad and won't take very long) and some meals to plan.

It should be good, as I hope yours is as well.