Tuesday 31 March 2020


Good morning.

Thank you for all your lovely, kind and comforting comments yesterday.
It was what I would call a subdued day.  I didn't get an awful lot done but that's OK.  There were a few tears on and off with plenty of memories, mostly very happy and loving, and I hope it was the same for Dad too.

Well, the algebra course is moving along.  I intend doing about an hour a day which is more than enough for me!
Because it's lifted from a longer course, it occasionally refers to elements covered in other parts but, fortunately for me, so far I've met them all in my work as a tutor, other wise I'd be totally confused with terms like BODMAS/BIDMAS.  So far, I've not met anything that I don't understand but, knowing how OU course difficulty peaks like covid 19 after the first few chapters, I expect that will change in the next few days!
It's bombarding me with mathematical definitions though and I do wish I hadn't got rid of my card index box and cards.  I have called upon Amazon . . .
How's it going, Eileen?

A major disappointment yesterday was that I didn't get my live chat with Beth for very good and understandable reasons.  Hopefully we will catch up soon.  On the positive side, I'm hoping that us four ladies wot lunch can get together for an online chat, given that there's absolutely no way we're going to be able to go out for a meal.  Even if the eating places were open, two of us are isolating for three months and the other two, while not being over seventy (yet), are being very careful anyway.

On the creative side I made this.

A bad photo, I know.  I tried to take one in daylight but there was too much reflection on the window and the colours were bad.
It's very rough and ready, made up as I crocheted along and the thing at the bottom is a knitting needle because it needed something to keep the shape and I don't have any dowelling.  You can't see the needle from the outside - from a bit of a distance, it looks fine!
I just wanted something a bit more individual than a computer print out.
Now I am wondering about making some smaller, firmer, rainbow circles to hang as well.  Done with a smaller hook, they might hold their own shape pretty well.

Today's maybe plans:
Something energetic:
An hour of personal training via live link with Lindsey.  I might do PE with Joe later on.

Something social:
Apart from the PT thing which fulfils a social need as well as being physical, it's the first online Slimming World meeting tonight using Zoom.  I have no idea how much I will be able to be involved, it all depends how organised it is.  If several people talk at once, I won't be able to hear, but I can live with that.  It will be lovely to hear other voices and faces.

Something in the house/garden:
I may have abandoned tidying up the jumper cupboard for now but I notice that my T shirts are in a right state of disorder and I can get that done as it's not a case of 'what do I want to keep', they just need tidying and re-sorting.
Some weeding.
I rally fancy making some bread today but I don't NEED any.  Ho hum!

Something relaxing/creative:
I've finished the first pair of socks made with the new yarn - I'll try and remember to take a photo.
I've dug out a few possible patterns for the top but am not sure if I have enough fabric so I have a bit of fitting and manipulating to do.  Maybe, if I do the sleeves sideways and make them short (which was my intention anyway), it will work.  We'll see.  I'll try to get that done today.
Plus, of course, knitting and crochet.

And the algebra.

Alongside all the usual daily stuff, that should keep me occupied and happy today.


Good morning, everyone.  It's still dark outside; this time last week it was quite light.  Never mind, it won't be long before we have lovely light mornings and evenings.

I started sorting out my winter woollies yesterday before realising that there wasn't much I can do with the 'discards' right now, they'd just be sitting in a pile gathering dust.  So they all went back in and this particular task will be finished off once lockdown is lifted, whenever that will be.

I finished the skirt.  In fact I finished two skirts because I hadn't done the hem for the Clothkits skirt so now they are both hanging up in the wardrobe, waiting for warmer weather.
Here's the one I made this week.  It's a nice pattern, just three pieces, waistband at the front and gathered at the back which is what I like, and very easy to make up.  I love the fabric too although I realise it's not necessarily everyone's cup of tea.  It's just right for sunshine.

There's some fabric left over so I must see if there's enough to make some sort of top, not necessarily to go with the skirt though.

What shall I make now . . . ?  well, apart from a top, there's that other skirt, same kind but cut on the cross so actually it will hand quite differently.  Plenty to do.

The other biggies yesterday was signing up to one of the Open University Open Learn courses.  There's loads of them and they are all free.  They don't carry any sort of accreditation (I am pretty sure they don't anyway) and that's OK because it take off all the pressure.
I've started with 'Algebra for idiots' - er - I mean Introduction to Algebra- - because that really is my stumbling block with eleven plus tuition and I hate only being one step ahead of the students, sometimes not even that.
Given my mild dyscalculia and mental block with algebra, this might be more than a bit challenging but that's OK, anything learned is a gain.  As there's no time pressures or constraints, I will just do a bit every day.  One bite at a time.
Many thanks to Eileen for inspiring me to do this.  Keeping an active brain is definitely a Good Thing.

Today is going to be a bit of a sad day - already is, in fact.  That's because today, one year ago, my lovely Mum left us.  In fact, at the time of typing but a year ago, Dad and I had just arrived home from the hospital.
I had planned to be with him today but that can't now happen.  I'm more than sorry about that.

However, things go on and here's a few plans for today.
Something energetic
As always, PE with Joe and some of my personal training programme

Something social:
Beth and I have a video chat 'booked' for three this afternoon.  Really looking forward to that.

Something in the house:
I think I will blitz the bathroom today.

Something relaxing/creative
I shall look through my patterns to see what I have in the way of tops.  I could use the same one as I used last time but I'll see what else I've got first.
I want to catch up with the very last 'Back in Time' programme, the one about the corner shop.  Somehow, I missed it when it was on but it should be on iPlayer.  Also the Mike Jeavons video; I suppose you would call it a vlog?  Is that right?

And, of course, a bit of algebra.

Stay in (if you can), stay warm and be safe and well.  xx

Monday 30 March 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It wasn't half cold yesterday; we even had a bit of snow/sleet/hail at times.  I was glad I could stay in and keep warm.

It was a much better day, thankfully - and thank you all for your lovely, supportive messages yesterday.  They truly helped considerably.

I got quite a lot done although not everything on my list (but that's OK, there's always today).
I got the fruit and veg in the fridge sorted out properly and dealt with a few things.
I had a bag of lemons, won in the slimmer of the week basket nearly a fortnight ago so I now have slices of lemon frozen for my sparkling water (I make it in my soda stream) and some to use this week from one that really was a bit too manky to keep.  I could have made lemon curd but I'm keeping off sugar based things as much as I can.
I got all the other veg more organised and into the nylon veg bags I have for that purpose.  There were a few bits and bobs that I prepped and froze - some mange tout and some sugar snap peas which will have to go into something long and slow cooked.
There were a few root vegetables that needed using and I made a tray of roasted root veg, some for yesterday, some for tonight and two portions for the freezer.
And now my fridge is a vision of loveliness!  Ha!

It was too cold to potter outside; I didn't even get the washing out because at that time white stuff was falling from the sky.  I cleared the ironing basket but, of course, there's now more to do today.

Finally, I spent the afternoon chatting for nearly an hour to Beth and then cutting out and starting to tack up the skirt I want to make.  I'll probably get it more or less finished today.  It's a very simple pattern.

I intend keeping busy again today.
Something energetic:
This will be PE with Joe and Lindsey's PT programme.  It really does help to do these although two years ago I'd never have believed I would ever say this.  Sometimes, maybe pigs do fly!
Depending on the weather, I might get out and do a bit of gardening - or I might not!  It feels so cold, that's the problem.  I never used to feel the cold like I do now and it takes ages to warm up again.

Something social:
Apart from the usual things, nothing extra today.  I don't need to go to Morrisons or anything like that.

Something in the house:
That bedroom cupboard is becoming a bit of an elephant in the room.  I know it needs doing but conveniently manage to avoid it.  It's top of the list today; if I get straight down to it after getting dressed, I'm sure it won't take too long.

Something relaxing/creative.
Socks (of course), getting on with the skirt, watching telly.  Sadly, I've finished the episodes of The Crown and the next lot won't be out until Autumn so I'll have to find another fix.
And I do want to give that pea planting a go!

Have a great day, whatever your plans are.  xx

Sunday 29 March 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It's quite dull this morning although the Beeb says we may get some sun, it's feeling pretty chilly and it's likely to remain so. 
On the plus side, I remembered about the clocks going forward and now our evenings are lighter for longer.

I'm ashamed to admit that I had a bit of a slump yesterday.  Suddenly, everything seemed too much effort (what a wimp!) and as the day went on, it got harder and harder to stay motivated.  On the plus side, the only thing I didn't do on my list was the outside stuff and the bedroom cupboard and that's not a disaster really.
And now I know what's in my pull out drawer and know that I will only need to shop for fresh and perishable stuff for a little while.  That's good.

Today I am really going to work on staying cheerful and busy.  Perhaps yesterday was because I had woken up so very early and felt weary all day.  Last night I was asleep by nine and woke at a better time.  Still early but reasonable and that's without considering the hour forward.

Something energetic:
I have Lindsey's PT programme and her short clips, saved on Facebook, and maybe I'll move those strawberries and de-weed the front today too.  There's ironing to do and there may be more because I have another load of washing and, if I do the gardening, that's bending and stretching.

Something social:
Beth and I have planned a video chat this afternoon so I'm really looking forward to that.  I've finally heard from Dave and he's fine so that's great.  Facebook is always there and I love reading around the blogs, commenting and answering comments in here too.  It would be a lot harder without the Internet.

Something in the house:
MUST sort out the bedroom cupboard and, while I did most of the ironing yesterday, there's a bit left for today.  I also need to check through my fruit and veg and make sure anything looking a bit wobbly is used up sooner rather than later.  Thank goodness for soup.

Something creative/relaxing:
The socks are going great.
I'm still dithering about which skirt pattern to use - one is cut on the cross so will sit nicely but be a bit more difficult to make while the other is cut straight so will be easier.  I think I might do the latter as maybe the pattern on the fabric isn't quite right for the former.
In yesterday's comments, Heather mentioned about planting dried peas to get pea shoots.  I might very well give that a go - after all, gardening is creative, right?  :-)

Keep smiling, keep shining, everyone.  :-)

Saturday 28 March 2020


Good morning.

My thanks to Sue from A Smaller and Simpler Life for the tip about ordering the Radio Times online as a subscription.  I always get it if I can - it's a good read, there's quizzes to entertain, and keep your brain going and, of course, programme listings.  Also, it will be really nice to have something popping through the door each week.

Well, I did the PE with Joe again after Thursday's little cop out . . . or, as the subtitles have it, 'Pee with Joe' which really does put a whole new slant on the thing, doesn't it?  He probably shouldn't have done it yesterday as he had an operation on his hand (something broken, I think) later in the day and was 'nil by mouth' as they say.  The poor chap kept looking round for his non existent water bottle and by the end he seemed knackered, he really did.

I caught up with the Jamie Keep Cooking programmes.  There were three available and now I've set a series link so won't miss any.  OK, so his idea of store cupboard ingredients is maybe a bit more lavish than mine but that's a very personal thing and it's not hard to swap in other stuff.  Some really good ideas so good on ya, Jamie - and Joe - and all the other celebrities who are rising to the occasion and helping out in their own way.

After that I walked to Morrisons, gloves on and scarf around nose and mouth and feeling a bit foolish and rather over-heated but I wasn't the only one.  There was a queue, a long queue, but they let me in because I was just going to the pharmacy so ten minutes later I was walking home again, feeling all the better for the exercise and the fresh air.

The washing went out on the line, making me feel good as it billowed out in the breeze.  It was all white things which always look great and fill me with satisfaction.  I saved the ironing for today!

Beth and I had another video chat which was really lovely.  We've decided to do this every other day so the next one is Sunday.  It's very reassuring to actually see her and we chatted about all sorts of things.  I do wish Dad did this too, but he doesn't.  Never mind, can't be helped.

To my surprise and relief, the cleaners turned up, professionally garbed in gloves and masks.  I suppose they are counted as a support thing; I know they clean for quite a number of elderly people.  I sort of hoped they might as I hadn't heard they wouldn't but you never know at the moment.  Anyway, they washed hands and faces, gave me space to vanish upstairs and worked their usual magic before calling up that they were leaving.

Today has started early with a two o'clock wake.  I did try to get back to sleep but it eluded me so I'm downstairs at just before four.  I've done an inventory of the pull out unit in the kitchen and now all I have to do is the main part of the chest freezer.

I'm combining some of my 'somethings' - there were far too many.  I guess they are a work in progress until I'm totally happy with the headings.

Something energetic (inside and out):
No Joe today, it's not a school day so I'll stick with Lindsey's programme and maybe some salsacise
The front strip is showing a few weeds so I can rake over that and I want to move some strawberry plants that seem to have strayed along the bed rather too far.

Something social:
It's quite hard when you can't see anyone.  I do try to be really encouraging on our local SW fb group page and I'm in touch with family via email very regularly - must do an update today!

Something in the house:
An inventory of the pullout cupboard in the kitchen - already done.
Ironing and sorting out one of my bedroom cupboards
Having found an embarrassingly old pack of dried marrowfat peas, I'm in the middle of turning some of them into mushy peas.  When they're cool, I'll portion them out and freeze them.  They're great as a veg and in soups.

Something creative/relaxing:
Knitting.  I rarely sit down without doing some.
I'm loving The Crown and looking forward to watching a few more episodes today.

What are your lockdown plans for today?

Friday 27 March 2020


Good morning!  Wasn't the weather lovely again yesterday?  Today looks like being just as lovely, according to the BBC.  Long may it continue!

Such a lovely thing happened yesterday morning.  I opened the front door (actually to put a thank you note out for the bin men) and there, beside the door, was a box of fifteen happy-hen eggs.  It was from one of my mums who can get into the shops early, being an NHS worker.  So, so kind and it brought tears to my eyes as you may imagine.
Image result for thank you
I may freeze some of them in little pots as most of my egg usage involves whisked eggs and this seems to be a sensible way to preserve them.

Of course, it was a really great start to the day?  Acts of kindness really help so much.

Bang on eight, I went to Morrisons in the car.  It actually opens at seven but the first hour is for NHS workers who have to wear their badge to prove it.  My heart sank a bit as I saw a bit of a queue but it was only the changeover and people were moving in easily.
To my delight, I managed to get just about everything on the list Beth had emailed over to me.  No flour, of course, no baked beans, no anti-bac stuff (I got her some bleach that she can dilute and use) but there were eggs and there was plenty of fresh fruit and veg, bread (restricted to three items only) and even some paper tissues.

The check out queues were pretty long as people were maintaining distance but the shop seemed empty enough by then.  I chose a checkout with a friend manning it.  She seemed to be having some trouble with customers trying to buy too much and arguing the point but the till wouldn't check out more than the permitted amount of anything so, even if she'd been so inclined, she couldn't give way!  Bottles of wine seemed top be the main point of contention for many!  Oh, dear.

When I got to the front, we had a good old chat as she checked me out which was nice.  The only thing I couldn't have was because they seem to have lumped chopped tomatoes and pulses in the same category.  Why?  I have no idea and neither did C but no point in arguing, I decided to hand back the can of butter beans as I had given Beth some pulses last week so I reckoned she was OK for them (and so she was).

When I got out, I realised why there weren't many people in the shop.  Because of the early rush, they had started a one out and one in routine and the (distanced) queue spread right along to the end of the shop and down to the end of the car park!!  Rather like those old clips of WWII.

I shall definitely go early next time again!

After getting the shopping back to Beth (still maintaining distance), I went home and, I'm ashamed to admit, I rather slumped for the rest of the day, not in a sad and depressed way, just in a lazy way.  I was very tired, of course, after being short of sleep; maybe that's my excuse.  I even skipped PE with Joe, bad me.  So, if you see anything reappearing as a Thing to Do - that's why!

Today's plans.
Something physical:      
PE with Joe and Lindsey's PT programme.  I MUST do some today to make up for yesterday

Something outside:       
My prescription has arrived so I will walk to the chemist in Morrisons and get it made up.  In the sunshine, that will be lovely.  If there's a queue, as I'm just going to the chemist, maybe they will let me in.

Something for someone else:      
I shall be checking round the family today.  I know Dad is being well 'looked after' by his lovely support network which is a great weight off our collective family mind.  He even asked me how to cook mince - that's pretty much the first cooking from scratch he has done in a very, very long time.

Something in the kitchen:  
Prepping some peppers for the freezer.  I lay them on easy leave on a tray and open freeze them before bagging them so they don't stick together.

Something for the house:  
changing the sheets, washing and ironing - should've done this yesterday, I know

Something creative:  
knitting - I started on my new yarn yesterday.  I just couldn't resist it, even though I only have one sock from the yarn I was working on before.  At least I didn't start a new one half way through a sock!  That would have been daft.
Pink and pretty!

Next winter, I will have cosy toes!
(it looks as if I've made a mistake in the ribbing - I haven't, it's just uneven and will even out after wearing and washing)

Something social:  
As I'm off to put in my prescription, I'm sure I will exchange smiles and brief words with people as we pass.  Everyone wants to engage now.  And I might have a vid-chat with Beth, if she wants.

Something entertaining:  
The new Mike Jeavons thing will be up on YouTube and I want to finish the last week on Muscle food too.  I'm well into The Crown now and must have my daily fix!

What are your plans for today?

Thursday 26 March 2020


Good morning!  Another stupid o'clock waking this morning.  I've stopped worrying about them.  I just settle down to something and go back to bed if and when the spirit moves.

Yesterday turned out to be quite a day in a small way.
Last week, Beth got my laptop set up for an online interview she was having and I'm grateful for that because yesterday it came in useful!

First, though, after getting the message from Chris, I popped over the cul de sac with one of the sliced, frozen loaves, left it on the door step, banged on the door and stepped back.  We had a brief shouted conversation at a distance which was jolly nice before I came back in for PE with Joe.  I found it a bit of a killer - it seemed to have more squats and I'm not good with them!  I'm afraid I wimped out of a few sections!

Then it was general housework, prepping meals properly so it would be easy to stick with the plans, until midday when, after a bit of a hassle, Lindsey and I had an online personal training session together, using the bits and bobs I have at home - balance ball, balance plate, some of the resistance bands, weights and a step (actually an old Wii step with a riser).
You know what - it was brilliant!  She'd worked out a programme for me and it was almost as good as f2f with all the chatter and jokes, etc.  Lovely to be interacting with someone.

In the afternoon, Beth and I were facebook chatting when we thought - why not give a video chat a try.  So we did and yes!!  Because I could see her face and she knows me anyway, I could hear pretty well and we had a good old chat with Alex joining in now and again.  It was really lovely!

And then, as if that wasn't enough, Jennifer (SW consultant) had set up a meeting using Zoom and some of us were in the first group to give it a go.  There were a few teething problem, I got chucked off once and when I got back in the band width was low so the picture kept freezing and, due to that and the fact that several people talked at once, I really couldn't hear a lot.  Never mind - it was great to see different faces.  I wasn't the only one to have connection issues in the first group.  However, the second group had fewer issues so it's really a case of live and learn with what was a new medium for a number of us.

So an exciting day in my own, small way.

Add to that the fact that my yarn arrived (yay, cheers) . . .

 . . . and so did five 10k bags of granular salt.  Heavy things but I can get them stacked in the shed one at a time.

Today, I think, will be calmer!

Beth has sent me a shopping list.  She can't get out, of course, having been ordered to isolate for health reasons.  Alex doesn't drive.  So I will pop to Morrisons at eight and see what I can get before dropping it round to her.  There's a fair old bit of wishful thinking on her list, I think, but I will do the best I can.

I will miss the live PE with Joe, but that's OK, I can do it later.

I have a few YouTube things to catch up on.  I enjoy the Mike Jeavons 'A week on . . . ' series and he's started one called 'A week on Apocalypse food' which should be funny is an understated, ironic way.  I can catch up with days one and two of that.  There's another one I'm half way through watching called 'A Month on Muscle Food - do the unthinkable' and I want to watch more of that too.

I'm going to deal with my peppers today!  I seem to have rather more red and green peppers than I need but I know they will freezer well because I've done it.  I de-seed them, cut them into slices and open freeze them before bagging them and I'll just keep a few for salads.
I know it's my fault - there was a bag of wonky peppers and I love getting wonky veg!

I also had some - cough - red wine left over from the blowout on Tuesday so that's going into small pots to be frozen too.  I can use it for cooking.

After reading an entry on Sue's blog about simple living where she talked about her activities going under headings, I thought of my own to organise my day.

Something physical: today that's PE with Joe
Something outside: shopping for Beth
Something for someone else: ditto
Something in the kitchen:  avoiding food waste by prepping and freezing
Something for the house:  changing the sheets, washing and ironing
Something creative:  knitting and sewing
Something social:  difficult but I do email Dad every day and Beth and I might have another video chat
Something entertaining:  That's the Mike Jeavons things

God grief, that's twice as many headings as Sue had but I do like her idea and I won't have something under those headings every day.

Have a positive and safe day, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 25 March 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It's another fine and frosty start to a day that looks as if it is going to be sunny and bright again, thank goodness.  The sun shining through the glass makes downstairs lovely and cosy without any need for thicker jumpers, etc.

Yesterday was a very odd feeling day indeed.  I spent most of it in quite high anxiety.  It would have been fine if BJ hadn't made his announcements on Monday evening, stopping unnecessary journeys, staying at home, etc.
Yesterday morning, Beth set off in the car for Norwich (about two and a half hours each way) to pick Alex and all his bits and bobs up from Uni and bring him home to security and safety.  All day I was envisaging police blocks, being stopped by the army, all sort of worrying and highly improbable stoppages such as arrests, having bail them out, etc.
Of course, it was all wasted worry - it was fine, the traffic was quite light (well, it would be under the circumstances, but the A12 can be horrendous so it was a relief), she wasn't stopped once and she was able to have a good rest while Alex went to and fro loading up the car with all his stuff.  She stayed in the car as, officially, she is isolating for health reasons.
It came under the heading of support for a vulnerable person so most likely would have been OK anyway but - oh, the worry.  Not a nice day.

Other things were also just slightly off beam.
Last week, I mentioned about getting some bread delivered.  It came yesterday but, of course, now I have no way of getting some to Beth as originally intended so I had four pretty large (and very delicious) wholemeal loaves to deal with somehow.  I sliced them all and, fortunately, managed to get them into the freezer so when we can move around a bit more again, they will be there for her.  I asked round the cul de sac (we have a FB/Messenger group thingy going on) but everyone seems fine for bread.

And then there was the paper.  Last week I needed more printer paper which I use for printing tuition work out.  I looked all around but there was none because, I guess, parents had bought it all up for the work the schools are sending home.  Fair enough!
So I went online to Amazon and ordered some.  It seemed more sensible to get five reams and certainly more economical.   And then lockdown happened so no tuition anyway!
Now I have five reams of paper that certainly won't be wasted but need a home.  Upstairs in the guest room is probably the best place and, thinking positively, great exercise if I run them up one at a time!

After the sudden release of tension when Beth let me know she was safely home, I'm afraid I lost it a bit, food wise, so yesterday's carefully thought out food plans ended up in great disarray but not to worry.  It was one part of one day, that's all.   Back on plan now!

The good things were that I enjoyed the PE with Joe half hour (I adapt some of it, in case you're thinking I can do more than I really can) and, having very much in mind that I was almost out of granular salt for the water softener (talk about first world problems), went online and found places that deliver and now I have some 10K bags being delivered today.
Also, I am thoroughly enjoying The Crown, I really am.  I wonder what the Royal family itself makes of it.
Finally, Dad is being very well looked after by Ann, the next door neighbour.  She got a next day 'geriatric' slot with Sainsbury for home delivery and added Dad's requirements to her order so he's well stocked.  Also, like me (after all, we are father and daughter) he doesn't believe in running stocks down too low anyway and has a one open and one on the shelf policy.

Goodness, I have gone on - sorry.  It's really helped to type it all out and I'm left with a very thankful feeling that Beth and Alex are safely home.

On to today, there's three organised things.  Firstly, PE with Joe at nine which I really don't want to miss as it's a great start to the day, no matter how irritating I find his perpetual chatter!
Then, at twelve, Lindsey and I are going to attempt an online PT lesson, she recording and me typing in answers and doing what she says.  We'll see how it goes.  A good thing is that I will have a recorded work out for the rest of the week too, if it's needed or wanted.
Finally, at four thirty, Jennifer (SW consultant) is going to start some online training of a system that SW is setting up in place of the real meetings.  I have no idea what that will involve but I will give it a jolly good go.

Between times, there's a kitchen to tidy and clean, washing and ironing, knitting, sewing and telly.  I won't be bored, that's a fact!

Last of all, one positive thing - it may be that working on allotments might be allowed, perhaps under the 'one form of exercise each day' heading and also because it is, by its very nature, an isolated experience and, of course, food production in a small way.  Fingers crossed.

On that positive note, have a great day, whatever you have planned.  xx

(Just as I was about to click on 'publish' a message popped up from Chris over the cul de sac.  She will take one of the loaves.  Three cheers!)

Tuesday 24 March 2020


Good morning.
More changes, eh?  I stopped all tuition last night (shame I'd planned a session before hearing the new rules, darn it) and Lindsey is now delivering my personal training online.  I've sent her a photo of the equipment I have.  It looks a bit feeble but she says it's fine.

Yesterday went fine.  I now have a complete and working back gate again (thanks, Jeff) and tuition was good.
After tuition, I went on to YouTube to find the Joe Wicks PE half hour and enjoyed it very much indeed.  I'm sure I will be able to keep up with this every day, Monday to Friday.  Come the warmer weather, I could even do it in the garden, couldn't I?
By the time I was able to sit down and relax, it was half way through the afternoon so I got the paper pattern for the skirt cut out but no further.  I can carry on with that today.  In a way, I don't want to go ahead with it too quickly; I want it to spread out and take time.
I got the sock finished so that's another pair done.  Maybe the new yarn will come today, fingers crossed.

Also, I have got round to ordering the tomato plants plus some strawberry plants (the strawberry bed is looking a bit thin) so if I can't get to the allotment (likely), I will still have a bit of produce and I always plant runner beans in the garden too.

So - on to today.
I am hoping to:
do the Joe Wicks PE lesson
wipe over everything
get the skirt cut out
start a new sock
watch more of The Crown
I want to see if Morrisons has any eggs - I'm getting short of eggs.  Life will go on without them but it would be handy to have a few more.  Hopefully, that counts as necessary grocery shopping.
I'm hoping Jennifer will do an online SW meeting this morning - that's when the 'real' group would be.  I'll be there, if she does, that's for sure.

Have a good day as you get used to a new way of living, whatever you have planned.  xx

Monday 23 March 2020


Good morning.  The sun is shining brightly, the sky is a beautiful blue and Jeff is mending my gate which fell off its hinges on Saturday morning.
Admittedly, it had been going for ages and he was scheduled to mend it this morning anyway but the gusty wind just finished it off.

I slept very badly over Saturday night so yesterday ended up a very long day indeed.  I sorted out the fridge and one compartment of the chest freezer.  Precious little to discard, thankfully, and I dealt with the buildup of ice by getting a plastic thingy and scraping most of it down and then out.

I did all sorts of bits and bobs, just one little thing after another really.  I was going to take a tentative trip to Hobbycraft to get sylko for the fabrics I want to make up but first of all had a look through they sylko Beth and I already have and I found matches for each one which is great.  Then I went online and ordered some waistband elastic so that was off my list.  If I need zips, I can do the same thing and if the match isn't quite right I can look upon it as an opportunity to practise the perfect concealed zip!  Fortunately, I'm still at the simple pattern stage!

I finished one sock and started its partner.  That's gone well, I'm past the heel so should finish that today.  Then I wait for my order to arrive. 

Dad and I had an email conversation regarding me going over - well, he said don't and I agreed!  It's not sensible for him.  He's very much in the vulnerable category for many reasons and, although I'm distancing and feel fit and well, you just don't know.  I shall miss him but it's par for the course at the moment and I message him every day.

Today, once Jeff has finished the gate, I'm off down the road to tuition and then back home for the rest of the day.

On today's to-do list is less housework and more stuff I enjoy.  I've dug out the patterns I want and have the fabric and the sylko so I will start on a skirt and a top (not matching) and see how far I can get today.
If I feel like it, I may start on the main body of the chest freezer but only if I want to.  It can wait and I feel like being a bit more lazy - or maybe I mean self indulgent - today after a bitty and busy weekend.

I did get round to starting The Crown yesterday and it really is great entertainment.  I can see it will keep me well occupied for a while to come, interspersed with less serious things like Star Trek and whatever offerings there are on the telly.  I'm loving House of Games at the moment; a much more cheerful choice than the news!  I see the Great British Menu is back - I approve of the changes - and there's always the latest version of an old favourite, Ready Steady Cook.

I'm not going to be able to catch all of the Joe Wicks PE lesson today so I'll do what I can and catch up with the rest later.  I must write it in my diary until it gets to be habit.

It's a very bitty entry today, reflecting how things are at the moment.  Most of the usual and ongoing things that give the week structure and shape have gone.  It won't be long before I have to check the PC to remember what day it is!!  No grumbles, one can get used to anything!
Stay safe and well, everyone.  xx

Sunday 22 March 2020


Morning, everyone.  This is even more stupidly early than usual.  I knew when I went early to bed that it would happen but maybe not quite as early as this and I was falling asleep anyway.  Too many thoughts buzzing around in my head, I think.  Hopefully sleep will return in an hour or so.

After realising I was getting a bit low on things like washing up liquid and hair shampoo and conditioner (definitely first world issues), I popped round to Morrisons yesterday and got them.  There wasn't a full shelf there but enough and I just got what I needed.  At half eight on a Saturday morning, Morrisons is usually deserted but not yesterday.  I wouldn't say it was teeming but it was definitely busier than usual and almost all the checkouts were open.
It was nice to walk out in the fresh air - and boy, was it fresh yesterday!  Quite a stiff breeze at times and chilly, despite the bright sun.

I got the ironing done and there's not much more generated for today as most of what was on the line could be folded, aired and put away.

A little bit of the chest freezer is now tidy.  I'll tackle the fast freeze compartment today.  Little and often is the name of the game here. 

Beth came round and it was good to chat although we both kept distance from each other.  She finished off a weighted quilt she is making for a friend although goodness knows when it will get posted.  When she left, she took with her the sewing machine, some fabrics and other bits and bobs plus some rhubarb from the allotment and a bag of Delia's veggie sausage rolls from the freezer.

Today is more of the same really.  I'll get the ironing done, such as it is, and I think there's enough for a load of darks; the weather forecast was good so they can go outside to blow and freshen.
I think I will turn out the fridge, not that it needs it but as I'm doing all the other kitchen cupboards, etc, I may as well do that as well and it's never the wrong time to wipe over the shelves, etc.

I have some planning to do.  Tuition is continuing for now as long as it is possible (and, hopefully, it will remain possible because that will mean everyone is fit and well).

I started watching 'The Crown' but didn't get very far because Beth arrived.  Maybe I can watch a bit more today.

The top didn't get started but maybe today . . . it's not that important.  However, I finished one sock and have started on the other.  I was hoping they would do for Beth but they aren't wide enough so I will make some more in a larger size.  The yarn I am using is old yarn that I bought because it was £1 a ball so I have enough.  Mother and daughter matching socks - how about that!

Today is a bit sad because it was Mothering Sunday one year ago when Mum died.  The actual date was the last day of March.  I will keep busy and do useful things to keep positive.

So my list for today (which includes things that didn't get done yesterday) is . . .
washing and ironing
wipe all surfaces
order plants (again)
cut out top

Nothing terribly exciting or innovative there.
What's yours?  xx

Saturday 21 March 2020


Good morning.

Does anyone recognise these which are coming up in the front strip.  I know it's not a lot to go on but I don't recall anything there last year.  I know I did plant some cheapo summer bulbs of some kind somewhere in that bed which didn't come up at all last year.  They were very cheap (from Wilcos) so I wasn't surprised and I can't remember what they were anyway.  Maybe it's them!
I love garden surprises - nice ones, anyway!

Yesterday, realising that I do have a lot of clutter out in the kitchen making the surfaces hard to clean, I did a bit of a tidy up.  It looks loads better now.

And I made an up to date list of what I have in my food cupboard.  I won't starve, that's for sure.
I also finished the inventory and sort out of the upright freezer and now have a list of meals, etc.  Helpful.  I was pleased that nothing needed to be chucked but somewhat ashamed at the disorder.  Never mind, all done now.

More than all done, in fact because I decided that while the motivation was high, I'd defrost the thing and when I say defrost maybe I mean de-iceberg.  It was solid.  Very shaming but it's all shiny clear and clean now and I can use the top tray again < blush >

In the afternoon, the cleaners turned up so I, in the interest of social distancing, went upstairs and sorted out all the Christmas tablecloths, sheets, bunting, etc, and got it all up on the top shelf.  Then I made up the beds so they are all prepared.  You never know.  It means I no longer feel I have to shut the door to hide the mess - the landing is so much lighter with the bedroom doors open.

I thought yesterday was a downstairs only day but I was wrong, they did upstairs too although, sensibly, they both went up first so I stayed down and then they both came down so I went up.  I had emailed the company to let them know I was distancing so they changed their routine accordingly.
I'm going to keep the cleaners for as long as possible, partly for selfish reasons but partly because things are hard enough right now without redundancy as well and this is a local company which must be taking a hammering at the moment, as all are.

I didn't get the ironing done (again) so it's top o'the list today as I'm doing some more washing.  Nor did I start watching 'The Crown' but that won't go away!

Today's to-do list reads:
ironing (double underlined)
start on chest freezer
order tomato plants and others
cook mince
cut out top
Beth here
(and the usual knitting and reading and watching telly)

Beth's coming over because she's been told to go into three months' isolation because of her asthma so she wants to finish off and post a commission, get some sewing things plus the machine which is now hers (as I have Mum's) and 'tidy' the room that was her work room.
It'll take more than one day really and I have it down as a special project over the next months as I think I want to use it as a work room as well.  Goodness knows, I will have the time.

The chest freezer is a worst mess (if that's possible) than the upright one and it will take several goes to get it sorted so I'm sort of partitioning it out and doing a bit at a time.  Then, when it is all sorted, I will take the lot out and defrost it, although it's not as bad as the other was, not by a long shot.  I guess it will take several days but will be great when it's done.

At the moment it's comparatively easy to keep busy.  The motivation is there, the mess is there!  Later on I will have to work harder so I'm practising positivity now so it remains a habit in harder times.

Did you read that on Monday Joe Wicks is starting online PE lessons at the beginning of every school morning, 9 to 9:30, I think.  I think it's a great idea and have subscribed (free) to his YouTube channel so I can exercise along with them all.  It'll be interesting to see what he does, given that he can't assume any equipment and such a wide age range.  I wonder if the small number that are still at school (parents are 'key workers', special needs, etc) will have it as a consistent factor in their day.  School is going to be very, very different, that's for sure!
Well done, Joe, what a star!

Well, it's nearly six, day has dawned (must check when the clocks go forward) and I'm hoping for a good drying day!  Better get the washing in.
Have a good Saturday.  What are you planning to do now going out is not an option?

Thursday 19 March 2020


Good morning.  First of all, updates.  Beth is fine, Dave is fine and Alex is (hopefully) coming home from uni on Sunday.  He has coped amazingly well, I am so, so proud of him but he needs to be enfolded by a family environment and the love and care of his Mum (we never really stop needing that, do we?).
(for newer readers, Alex, my only grandchild, has Autism Spectrum Disorder and is currently reading Mathematics at Uni)

Yesterday, I decided to wear the top I made.  The sewed one, I mean, not any knitted ones.  I'm glad I did as there are a few changes I will make to the neckline and the sleeve length when I make the next one.  Generally though, the verdict is 'very comfortable'.

When I looked through the planning for yesterday's student, I realised that I had done it after last week's session (feel free to bow before my organised awesomeness if you so wish) so that was good.  Tomorrow's student is now coming on Monday during the day so I can do that planning over the weekend.

I'm quite into sock making at the moment using that self striping yarn that has added nylon for strength.   I think I can safely say happiness is buying a stash of sock yarn online and knowing you will have the time to knit them.
I've promised Beth some now that her 'nibble-everything-knitted-in-sight' cat has gone the way of all good cats.  He really did have a fetish for knitting and Beth refused anything I would offer to make for her because it wouldn't last more than a few weeks.

Today is a totally empty day now that Friday's student is coming on Monday (all being well) so I shall consider doing the following.

1.  Start watching The Crown on Netflix.  It's supposed to be good and I've never watched it
2.  Wipe over all surfaces upstairs (the cleaners are coming to do downstairs)
3.  Sort out the guest room which hasn't recovered from Christmas yet.  Not that I am likely to need it at the moment but - you know - needs doing.  I can do that while the cleaners are downstairs to maintain distance.
4.  Get on with my knitting and sewing.
5.  Go online and order some tomato plants

I feel so much for my ex colleagues and other teachers as today is the last day of school for what could be many months, perhaps into the next school year.
Please think of them today as they say 'goodbye' to everyone without all the preparation that goes on at the end of a school year.


Good morning, all.  Well, the big news is about schools, of course.  What a muddle it will be at first as schools have two days to work out who still needs to attend and who cannot, how and what they will be taught so that it corresponds with what they're sending online, etc.  All sorts of questions come to mind, don't they?

There's such an odd atmosphere around at the moment, I think.  Trying to feel and remain 'normal' in very abnormal times is hard work instead of - well - normal!  I suppose it will settle down after a while, albeit different to now.

So - yesterday.
First thing I drove over to Lathcoats Farm Shop to see if they had any wholemeal flour as Beth had asked me to make her a loaf.  As luck would have it they had both flour (not strong but that doesn't matter all that much) and some bread so I got her a nice big sliced wholemeal loaf and some lentil and veg burgers (plus the flour because I shall need it).  I also got some oats as mine are getting low and I do use oats quite a lot.  I was sorely tempted to get some Tiptree fruit liqueur, which is gorgeous, but was strong and good and didn't.  Oh, and I got some apples and some pears because their fruit is fantastic.

Personal training was as good as it always is.  Lindsey, of course, is very concerned about her business and we talked about ways round it all as I worked away.  She already does Facebook real-time sessions so will probably extend that somewhat, if she can.

Jennifer (SW leader) is also getting to grips with maybe doing some online real time meetings and had a very creditable go in the afternoon.  The closed fb group has livened up considerably today with lots and lots of comments and input.
Jennifer posted this which made me laugh.
~Get those bathroom scales flat on a hard floor
~if you stand them up on their side for storage, lay them flat for at least 30 mins before weighing to get a more true reading
~pretend you’ve just rushed around for 20 mins to get to me
~ put 50p into a jar for parking
~ now go for a last chance wee
~ now come out of the bathroom and take £4.95 out of your purse and put it in that same jar as the 50p
~ pretend ive just smiled at you and said hello love!
~pick up a SW magazine and ask yourself do I have this one? Then remember you have coz you’re in your own house!
~ get ready to stand on those scales...take off your watch and jewellery and heavy items....you can even do it nude this week!
~ make a wish!
~stand on the scales
~ count to three and make a high pitch beep sound yourself - now you can stand off
~ now this is the important bit! Whatever your scales say....and it doesn’t matter if it’s way out with my scales (because they’re all different). This is the new line in the sand! We all need to use this as the benchmark between now and coming back to group! Now write it in your book! Next: in the comments below commit to me your action plan and desired amount to lose this week! We will review it here next week on Facebook live and make some noise for you (albeit just me and the dogs in the background...we will do whistles,glow sticks & gogo dancers again when we regroup) !

How's that for Keep Calm and Carry On, eh?

You will be glad to know that I got my sewing cupboard sorted - well, as sorted as that sort of thing can ever be.  There was no chucking out, just reorganising, and I seem to have plenty of fabrics long enough to make something with as well as finding some more paper patterns.  Sadly, two of them are size 18 upward so won't really work for me.  Never mind! 

Sadly, Dave didn't come over.  He's not feeling well.  Of course, I am worried about this but keep telling myself that it could be anything . . . 
Alex, on the other hand, is out of lockdown.  There was some sort of misunderstanding about it.  However, all lectures are now online, no face to face things at all.  Quite lonely, I think.

Today is more or less empty apart from an hour's tuition.  No pottery < very sad > .  My brain feels rather dead but I'm sure I will find things to do - for a start, I need to give everything a good wipe over with cleaning fluid, especially the kitchen.  Also, I think I will check the contents of the upright freezer and make an inventory.  If it's fine, I could do a bit of weeding too.  I could make another top with some of the fabric I tidied up today - between us, Beth and I have loads and loads of sylko so I am bound to get something that matches.  And I have ironing.  There you go - I do have things to do after all!

I'd better stop, make my second coffee of the day and look through the planning before I get started on today's stuff.  
I'll leave you with a collage of photos I took yesterday of my poor little front strip that's actually looking quite nice at the moment.  The crocus is the first one ever after planting a few bulbs earlier, late because the bulbs went in late, while the little scilla is the best it has ever been and it's my favourite, so sweet and shy among the more gaudy daffodils and hyacinths.

Stay safe.

Wednesday 18 March 2020


Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday was interesting.
I met with Jeff at the allotment, let him in and arranged when to come back.
Then I went off to Slimming World which was very, very quiet indeed but I was glad I went as I got slimmer of the week and won the raffle which was this.

Useful for the allotment, don't you think?  I will get them planted indoors at some point this week and, if they grow well, they can go down the allotment and if not, they can go in pots in the garden.  Win-win and a very good raffle prize for a slimming group!

After the meeting, Jennifer opened an email that said that all SW meetings would be cancelled for three weeks (at least) so I'm jolly glad we got yesterday's in.  We'll have to keep in touch via our closed Facebook group instead.

I went back to the lotty to pay Jeff.  He'd done the larger part of the heavy digging but there's more to do (it was harder than he expected - I could have told him that) so he might be back next week.
I came home again with an armful of early rhubarb - lovely!

Tuition was fine, no problems and the rest of the day was good.  I've done what I've been intending to do and signed up for Netflix so there's no lack of stuff to watch when there's little else to do.

Today, personal training with Lindsey is still on as it's pretty much a safe thing to do and I know Lindsey is meticulous with hygiene while, in the evening, Dave's coming round which will be nice.  He's in the 'high risk' category too and is working from home at the moment so we should both be OK with each other.

In between times, I would like to take all the stuff out of my sewing cupboard, sort it all out and put it back in an organised way.  It won't last, of course, but it will be good for a while.
I've decided that, while stuff is cancelled and I will be at home a lot more, I ought to have one clearing out/tidying up/getting organised thing to do each day.  In the last hour, I've sorted out the tins and packets cupboard in the kitchen so now I have a clear picture of what's available.  When things like chopped tomatoes are a regular on your shopping list, it is too easy to build up too much of a supply and right now that's not a particularly thoughtful thing.
So, instead of filling my diary with places to go to, I will fill it with the daily spring tidying project!

On that positive note, have a good day and stay safe and well.  xx

Tuesday 17 March 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It's stupid o'clock and I'm wide, wide awake with a brain that seems to be going round in circles so I thought I'd start my morning routine early rather than toss and turn and get nowhere.  It's dry outside and the forecast is quite good today which is nice.

It's good because I've arranged to meet Jeff at the allotment where he seems to think he can get some work done today, although he'll make a decision when he sees the condition of the soil.  It's outdoor work and socially solo so I'm sure he will be OK.  I can't stay anyway as I will be going to help out at Slimming World where the consultant has put certain measures in place so it should be OK.  I know a number of our members won't be going now so I feel some group support is needed.

Then it's back to the allotment to pay Jeff.  Very important as, what with the bad weather cancellations plus the current situation, his finances have taken a big hit, I think.

Later on I have tuition which is just down the road.  The family I go to are all fit and healthy and will let me know if there are any issues, as I will them, and I don't have to get close to anyone outside so it's as OK as anything is.

Yesterday (I'm doing this backward today!) I decided to cancel my school based responsibilities and I don't think it was a surprise to the school, so I stayed inside in the afternoon.  I also got an email to say that the governors' conference I was supposed to attend on Saturday has been cancelled and will hopefully be rescheduled in the Autumn term.  We will see.

I checked with the school to see if they still want me to go in next week for my scheduled Governor's visit and that's been cancelled.

However, I am still keeping up my personal training sessions.  They are one to one and as 'safe' as anything can be and, again, I want to support a local business as well as a friend for as long as I can.

I won't be going to pottery though.  That's quite a different scenario and, actually, I expect they will be cancelled anyway.

It's all change and I expect you have your own changes that you've made in the light of yesterday's developments.  Whatever you do or don't do, please stay safe and cheerful as much as you can.  xx

Monday 16 March 2020


Morning, everyone!  The sunshine didn't last very long yesterday and by the afternoon it was raining.  I have no idea what it's doing now as I'm too lazy to get out of bed and look!!

There's not an awful lot to mention about yesterday except for Alex who went back to uni yesterday afternoon after coming home for Dave's birthday meal and found that there are three cases of covid-19 on campus so he (and all the other students) are in a lock-down situation, confined to his room.  Tricky as they have shared cooking facilities.  Poor old Alex.

Today, I will be driving home as soon as the school run is over and then I am umming and ahing about going to school.  I probably will.  I will definitely do tuition; I've spoken to the parents and they all wish to 'play it by ear' so to speak.
Of course, all this might very well change by the time I need to set out anyway!

Stay safe, folks!  xx

Sunday 15 March 2020


(copied over from t'other blog)

Good morning.

My evil deeds (ie too much alcohol on Friday evening) caught up with me by giving me an 'uneasy' tum all day and then, overnight, a proper upset tum.  Thank goodness I remembered where Mum and Dad kept the old enamel potties from our childhood (we called them the sick-pots).

So today I have a sore tum, aching muscles and a day off food.  My own fault, serves me right.

Back to normal again tomorrow.

Oh - and the sun is shining!

Saturday 14 March 2020


Good morning.  Guess what.  The rain is back and the forecast looks gloomy for today and tomorrow

Had a bit of a scare yesterday.  Beth facebooked me to say she wasn't feeling well.  Of course, one immediately thinks of The Virus, doesn't one.  She's fine, it was just a reaction to something that happened the other day - no dry cough, no temperature.  Phew.
But, with the best will in the world, Pollyanna outlook notwithstanding, we're all a bit on edge at the moment, aren't we?  All we can do is follow advice and be sensible and unselfish - not so easy when one in uncertain and worried.
I hope all my lovely readers are coping.  Thank goodness blogging, texting, emailing, etc., are not affected by any sort of virus, new or old.

Chris came round for coffee and we had a good old natter.  Our next get together might be a trip to Hyde Hall with lunch there - that would be really nice, if it comes off.

Then I popped to Aldi and now I have my anti-cholesterol yogurt drinks up to the end of the month.  I suppose it's not the end of the month if I don't have them, but I am trying to get the old c-levels down before the blood test in June (assuming routine blood tests are still being done then).  I also got a few more bits and bobs that came to mind, but nothing all that much.  For the first time ever, I saw empty shelves in Aldi - usually they are refilled almost before there are gaps.  They were out of all the current things - loo roll, pain killers, pasta, etc, but there was plenty of meat and other protein foods and plenty of fresh veg.

The cleaners turned up a wee bit earlier than usual.  That was good because of T coming round for tuition after school - there was no clash this week.  It's lovely when they've finished - everywhere is shiny clean and peaceful.

Then it was clean and tidy myself up for the family meal.  It was a lovely time and, frankly, I am very lucky not to have a splitting head this morning.

I'm off to Dad's later on this morning which will be nice.  And that's about it really for today.  Have a good one and stay safe.  xx

Friday 13 March 2020


Good morning.

We had a lovely time at Hyde Hall, despite a very cold and stiff wind blowing. 
When J arrived here, it was gloriously sunny, as we set off, it started raining, iot rained all the way there, as we got out of the car we saw a beautiful rainbow and then the clouds rolled away and it was glorious again.
We walked up to the top and started with a coffee before we had a good meander around.  There was so much colour.  The bulbs were lovely, of course, and they seem to have a speciality in different kinds of daffodils/narcissi which were an absolute picture all the way round, but shrubs were in bloom and so much was coming up freshly green, yellow or red.

Here's some photos which say it better than I can.

Today there's several things on.  Chris is coming round for coffee at ten, I have tuition later in the afternoon and then it is last-born's fortieth birthday today so we're off the the Blue Strawberry for a celebration meal and Alex is back from uni for it.  Lovely!

Have a good day.  xx

Thursday 12 March 2020


Good morning, everyone.  More sunshine!  This is great.

The sun was lovely yesterday and I took a few photos of my tiny little front patch.  I think it is at its best at this time of year.

I was motivated to start sorting out my sewing shelves in the cupboard and look what I found!  I'd moved it downstairs a couple of years ago (I think I mentioned it in here) and had forgotten about it but now I'm more or less at my forever size, there's nothing stopping me making and wearing a genuine vintage Clothkits skirt (and maybe top too although I'm not sure about the top really, I might make it a little girl's skirt instead.

I have another kit too, that I cut out decades ago and never got any further with.  It's cut out 10 to 12 so will be rather too small now, all the buttons and sylko, etc, have disappeared and I don't think I'd wear it anyway, but I'll think about it and see.

I have no idea how old either of them are but they have to be at least thirty five years old.

Today was going to be an adventure - a coach day trip to Bruges with Jackie.  However, given the current situation, the fact that both Jackie and I are in the vulnerable group for more than just the age reason and given that all my descendants (for want of a better term) are health compromised in one way or another, we're not going.  Very disappointing but others are coping with worse; a good friend may have to cancel a planned holiday to sunnier climes next week.  One just has to be sensible and that's what it feels like - being sensible.

However, we were determined not to mope and, as we both love Hyde Hall, that's where we're going today.  Driving there this morning, having a nice lunch there, looking at all the bulbs and other signs of spring, coming home again just before the rush hour after stocking up with summer bulbs and maybe a plant or two before we leave.
It should be much safer, out in the open air and not particularly crowded.  We will enjoy ourselves!

In the evening, just to finish off a lovely day, it's pottery!  I have some dishes to glaze, one to neaten off before its first firing and a few ideas to think about.

So we will not get to Bruges but we will have a good day, all the same ans the sun is shining.  Probably plenty of photos tomorrow!

Wednesday 11 March 2020


Good morning to you and we have sun.  There cheers!  Actually, we also had sun yesterday afternoon; you were completely correct, Sue.  A shame I did some washing yesterday and draped it all over the drying rack.

So yesterday passed as usual.  Slimming World, then home for a while, then off for a tuition session and then home again for the evening.

Look what arrived!

A few weeks ago, I saw this ex-shop window mannequin display thingy that had more or less my dimensions (apart from the waist which I don't have so much of due to flabby skin, sadly) and was really, really cheap.  I had been umming and ahing about getting one of those adjustable body form things but they are very expensive for anything of a half decent quality and I don't know if I would actually get on with one so this felt like a half way thing to get.  It's foam, covered with a fabric so one can pin things into it and it will be good for adjusting pattern pieces.  It's also very light.

I tried my two recent makes on it and apart from the waist, it all fitted nicely so I think I have a useful bit of kit there.

I just have to work on my waist!!

I think I need a name for it/her.  Any ideas?

Today there's a few things going on.
It's all quiet until nearly twelve when I'm off to Lindsey's for personal training so I will do some housework and the ironing from yesterday's washing.
Then, in the evening, it is governors' meeting.  I've downloaded the paperwork and need to re-read it all before I set out.

Have a good day; wishing you sunshine and spring warmth.  xx

Tuesday 10 March 2020


Good morning!  Sadly, yesterday ended in rain although it seems to have stopped now.  It's very dull and gloomy though.  Goodbye, sunshine.

After a gentle day yesterday, today is likely to be more of the same.  There's Slimming World first thing and tuition later on this afternoon and in between I will be doing homey things again.  Nice, but not much to write about so I'll keep it short and sweet.  Have a lovely day, whatever you plan to do and achieve.  xx

Monday 9 March 2020


Good morning!  For the first time in I don't know how long, I slept until half past seven which feels really great!  To add to that, the sun is shining for - oh, must be the fourth day in a row.  Fantastic!  We got a bit of rain yesterday and we might get a bit more today but how cheering it is to see the sun so much.

On the other hand, I notice my internet connection has just gone down which is a bit of a pain.  Fingers crossed it doesn't last long.

Something not so cheering - I notice that the local surgery, next to Morrisons and the school, has been closed for 'deep cleaning' due to the coronavirus or whatever it's called nowadays.  It brings it uncomfortably close to home, doesn't it?  I'm well stocked and have plenty of loo roll (!!!) so, should it get awkward, I can and will survive.  :-)

Yesterday was a lazy day.  I did some sewing, some reading, some cooking and generally lounged around watching old Poirots on playback.  Very nice it was too.

Today I am following the instructions in the manual to give the machine a clean and an oiling, like one is supposed to but rarely does and then it's going away for a few days.  Apart from anything else, I need to get some tidiness into my living room, just because I do, not for any specific reason.

Being Monday, today is knitter knatter, helping out in FS and a tuition session.  Apart from that, it's housework today apart from one more trip to Morrisons to get some dishwasher soap and some rinse aid.  There's always something you forget, isn't there?

Have a good day

Sunday 8 March 2020


Good morning, everyone, and a happy Sunday to you!  My heart sank earlier (much earlier) when I peered through the curtains to be greeted by . . . rain!  More rain, sigh!  However, right now the rain clouds have rolled away and it's sunny and really cheerful.  Fingers crossed it lasts.

I had a lovely day yesterday, mostly doing the same thing which was getting to know the sewing machine a bit better.  Thanks to a whole series of YouTube clips, I sussed out the 'embroidery' part of the thing and stitched a whole set of 'samples' on some old cloth.
Here's one of them - I won't bore you with the lot!

Because it is old in sewing machine development terms, the lettering is very limited and there's no USB port but there is limited programming and I now know how to program in a set of patterns and letters.
What I would use it for, I have no idea at present, but it's fun to play with!

I now also know how to do various useful bits and bobs to make ordinary sewing easier.
Now I have to revise zips - the method has changed since I learned as a teenager - and how to use the buttonhole thingy.  Maybe that's today's focus.

I also had a pleasant walk in the sunshine.  It didn't feel warm until one was out of the wind and then it was very spring-like.  I've just been to the shed and it's mild again.  Long may it last!

That's about it for today.  Nothing very exciting but I'm sure it will be a happy day and I hope yours is too.  xx

Saturday 7 March 2020


Good morning, everyone.  I hope your weather yesterday was like here as it was glorious.  Out of the wind, there was some real warmth in the sun and the breeze made it a great drying day!

Yesterday was so pleasant.

Firstly, I finished off the skirt I was making.  It's nothing special, just four pieces with an elasticated waist, perfect for under a T shirt on those hotter summer days.     However, I think I prefer the shape of a six piece pattern so will look out for one.  Elasticated waists are very comfortable as well as making the sewing up so much easier and, as I don't wear things tucked in, it makes no difference to the look.

Then, rather than tidy up, I got out the manual and investigated some of the things the machine can do.  The manual isn't great on detail, which is a bit frustrating and I'm glad it's not my first machine!
I had a reply from Bernina about some presser feet that are compatible with the version I have with a link, so I went online and was amazed at how many there are and how much they cost; my jaw dropped when I saw how much the walking foot is - and that's something I want to get. 
I have ordered the overlocker one although I discovered that the usual foot is fine for overlocking anyway.  Yes, this lovely machine does a perfectly acceptable form of overlocking, not just a zigzag, which will make life easier in the future.  Maybe I could have a go at a T shirt!

I then had a bit of a brainwave and went onto YouTube and yes, there are a number of instruction videos there, hooray!  I went through one of them and learnt several new things about the basic sewing functions.  Increasingly, I am realising that this machine may be old technology now but it is a seriously good bit of kit!  Thanks so much, Mum.

I needed to clear up a bit ready for tuition which was great; one of those sessions where I feel I made a difference.  I'm not saying my teaching is any better than school teaching, I know it isn't, but there's a big benefit to having that extra time to go over things, teach, practise, explain, listen (very important), ask the right questions to help the student to work it out and see them become independent, while being able to stop mistakes/misconceptions before they become ingrained.  An hour of one-to-one isn't an all-in solution, far from it, but there's no doubt that it can really help.

And my lovely cleaners came and worked their weekly magic, bless them.

All in all, a lovely day.

Today the machine is still out and I want to go through that tuition clip again, using the laptop beside the machine.  I have plenty of bits of fabric so might do some 'examples' of stuff with an attached note of the settings to get that stitch/effect.

Then I have ironing, the usual homey stuff and I'd like to go out for a walk.  I'm nearly out of cheese (perish the thought) so a walk round to Morrisons the long way round will get me some fresh air.

Have a lovely Saturday, whatever your plans.  xx

Friday 6 March 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It looks much more promising out there this morning with clearing skies and a drying ground.  Maybe the weather forecast has got it right for today; I so hope so because I think we all need some sunshine at the moment.

I set out to Jackie's in light rain and by the time I came home it was pouring and stayed like that for most of the day.  The heating was turned up and all was warm and cosy inside in contrast.
It was Jackie's birthday so I took over some flowers and we had a good old chat about all sorts of things and have arranged a day together at Hyde Hall next Thursday.  We'll have lunch there and then enjoy the (hopefully) spring air and the early spring flowers.  We both love Hyde Hall and it's so cheering to have treats to look forward to!

The afternoon was spent in starting to sew up a skirt, a very easy one with an elasticated waist so no zip or waistband.  I'm very short of summer skirts and it's not always the right weather to wear jeans so this is the first of a few.
I wanted to use a certain stitch but found I don't have the appropriate presser foot so I've contacted Bernini to ask about it.  They no longer make that model but there might be something compatible or they might have some old stock!  Fingers crossed.

Then it was tuition.  Poor old T turned up rather damp but the session was great and I can see real progress.  Very encouraging for us both.

Pottery was good, as usual, but I was very, very tired for some reason.  I now have the candle stands at home and the three oval dishes are to be fired before next week.  I set to and made a straight sided sort of rectangular bowl using another mould and that's now drying.  Alex lent me some of her magazines to browse through as I need another longer term project now.  I'll also take a look online and see what I can find.

With the ball candles on top, they almost look like people, don't they - all it needs is a smiley face!   Quite a bit smaller and different colours, they could be a very stylised nativity set - rich colours for the kings, rustic oatmeals for the shepherds, blue for Mary . . .
Now, there's a thought!

Today has already changed.  I was going to personal training this morning, moved from Wednesday as Lindsey wasn't well.  She's still not so good so it's cancelled and I hope she'll be feeling better quickly.

Then I am free until three thirty.  I shall change the sheets and get them in the washing machine, I shall finish the skirt and then my bedroom needs a bit of a sort out after which I may make the most of the fine weather (fingers crossed) and go out for a walk down the lane.  There's also a bit of planning for tuition with my new student who is having an occasional session until after Easter when they can come regularly at another time.

I'm looking forward to today!

Thursday 5 March 2020


Good morning.  It really isn't a great weather forecast for today.  More rain, what a surprise!  Thankfully, tomorrow is supposed to be better so I think I'll save the bedding for then so I can get it out on the line.  There's practically nothing nicer than getting into a bed with fresh, line dried bedding!

I finished the tunic top.  Like a lot of clothes, it looks much better on me than on the hanger but here's a photo so you can get the idea.  It's a super pattern and very adaptable.  I could change the neck to a V neck, the sleeves could be any length really, gathered or not, with a cuff or not, with a frill and it could be longer or shorter.  With a bit of a thought, it could be much longer as a dress of some kind.  I do like an adaptable pattern, always have done.  As it's made up, the sleeves are three quarter length and it covers my bum in length.
Standing back, the fabric has a definite pattern repeat to it so I've shown it close up as well.

When I make it again, I will make a proper neck facing.  Most of it is just binding and a facing would be so much easier, I think, and sit better.

Sadly, personal training didn't happen as Lindsey messaged to say she wasn't feeling well.  We've rescheduled for tomorrow morning, assuming she's better. 

Jeff turned up and affected some temporary repairs on one of my back gates.  It was pretty ropey anyway but the winds of a fortnight ago finished it off.  He's going to get the necessary to do a proper job next time he comes and we discussed him giving the whole fence and shed a coating of paint (Cuprinol's Somerset Green) too.   He's also going to pressure clean the back at some point and has given me a quote.
I'm so pleased to have found Jeff, he's worth his weight, he really is.

Today was almost free but now I'm off to Jackie's for coffee and a chat this morning as we have something to sort out (nothing bad).  Later on this afternoon is some tuition and the evening is taken up with pottery. 
The last candle holder should be ready and I have the ball candles although I might have said something very naughty the other day when I saw that Sainsburys has ball candles at about a third of the price of the ones I got online.  Oh, well, the online ones are far better quality and they'll be used, I am sure.  Thinking ahead, I will get some red ones before Chr*stm*s (apologies) as I dearly love my red Christmas candles.
I'll be carrying on with my oval dishes and I noticed that there's a mould for a straight sided rectangular dish so I might make a few of them too.  The oval dishes need smoothing and finishing off so they can be fired for next week and then I can play with the glazes.  I need to plan some patterns!

And I want to go through my paper patterns and and fabric stash and decide what to make next.  That will be fun.  Also, I want to start exploring the more complicated aspects of Mum's sewing machine.

Perhaps it WAS a more or less free day, but I've managed to fill it with some very nice things.  It's going to be good and I hope your day is as well.  xx