Wednesday 30 September 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  Here's today's offering, called Cormorant Upright.  It is quite a small one and I've tried the next size but that comes out huge.  I do have a liking for these italic-y type letters, don't I?

Yesterday it rained.  All morning  it mizzled and drizzled before the sun finally struggled out, gave up and misted over again.  It wasn't cold, thankfully, and once the rain stopped it was quite bright, pleasant enough to make the harvesting trip to the allotment a pleasant experience.

I didn't go to aqua in the end.  My neck/shoulder ache was niggling and I though it better not to so I cancelled online, stayed home and pottered.  There was a bit of ironing, some trying on of new clothes and some sorting out of things I want to take for next week so that kept me occupied.

Tuition was great.  I always like it when there's something new to the student to get their teeth into and, almost always, the reaction is very positive.  By the end, place value with decimal numbers, rounding to a specific number of decimal places and long multiplication of decimal numbers had all been gobbled up with great glee!  There's three weeks before the next session - holiday and then the dental implant surgery - so I'll need to revisit it all.

Today is, again, blank in the diary apart from personal training and a tuition session.  I have a load of washing on and hope to have that all sorted out before bedtime and will set out the rest of what I want to pack in the blue room.  

There's more shifting things around to do, weather permitting, and a bit of general tidying up as well.  That should keep me occupied and happy!

I saw mentioned, on a vlog, that Dunelm has got its Christmas stock in.  Oh, dear, what a shame, how sad, etc.  That's a pleasant visit for some time in the future, lockdown permitting.  I do love looking round Christmas tut, even in October!

That's enough of the C word - thanks for reading and I hope this font isn't too small.  Stay safe and be happy.  xx

Adding just a bit to show the next size up.  It looks enormous to me; how does it seem to you?

Tuesday 29 September 2020


 Good morning.  I wonder if this 'handwriting' style font is clearer than the cursive type ones.  Italic style generally is clear and easy to read although, for me, you have to go a long way to beat the Nelson handwriting font.  However, that's one you have to buy so never find it on a list of free fonts.
I'll stop exploring soon - most of the available fonts are either (to me) pretentious, dull or a bit ugly - but beauty is in the eye of the beholder so that's a very personal perspective, isn't it?

Yesterday turned out to be a glorious day.  The sun gradually emerged and it warmed up significantly.  I went into town wearing layered tops and my duffle coat but by the time I got home, I was feeling warm and glad to take the coat off.  Jeff clearly enjoyed working in sunshine again as he made my garden look neat and tidy.  It's a bit of a Forth Bridge job at the moment with the leaves starting to fall but if we keep on top of it, him and me, it won't get too bad.

I got into town just before nine, a good time to arrive as there's not many people about and loads of parking spaces.  Lakeland was closed until nine thirty so I went past it and on to look for my vitamins.  
I'm not jumping on the bandwagon here, I have taken vitamin D for quite a time now and also magnesium after it was strongly recommended to me.  However, recent events (!) have highlighted that some 
supplements could play a part in making one less vulnerable to viruses and where I have been able to get what I needed in Morrisons in the past, not they are usually sold out.  I went to Boots, Supersomething and Holland and Barratt and ended up getting more than usual of each so I don't have to search again for a while.

Then it was on to M&S where I found what I was looking for - a pack of two pairs of leggings, one pair black and the other pair navy.  They also had a wide selection of jeggings and I got a purple pair (not as lurid as it sounds) too.  I decided to not bother with Primark - I can go another time.

By that time, Lakeland had been open for a while so I went there and, darn it, they didn't have the baggie ties I really needed - that's pretty much the first time I haven't got what I needed there.  However, I did find a small saucepan, the perfect size to replace the one I had to chuck.  More expensive than I had planned but great quality and it should last well.  Then I was naughty (yes, Eileen, I was!) and saw a display of Lekue (imaging acute accents on each e) microwave grills.  I've had my eye on one for ages but thought that it was just a bit too big for my microwave which is pretty small.  They seem to have more sizes now and the smallest one looked about right so I'm afraid I fell good and hard.
Here's a Lakeland/YouTube video that demonstrates.

I will have to build some toasties into my meals, won't I?

I went back through a precinct and wandered off into Roman - which was a big mistake or a lucky accident, depending on your point of view.
Suffice it to say I ended up with this really lovely dark navy long shirt with silver stars over - perfect for Christmas although I will have to get or make a vest type top to go under it as it's a bit gauzy, a long jumper (to go with those leggings!) and a couple of pairs of their cropped jeggings which I love so much and which were on sale.  I wear the last a lot in warmer months so they will definitely get used.

So, really, that trip was either a triumph or a disaster, depending on your point of view!  It was fun though.

When I got home, there were a few Amazon orders on the doorstep.  The best was the plastic pudding basins I ordered.  Now I am ready to make those Christmas puddings!

The rest of the day was pleasant, tuition was great and it was all generally very satisfying although I went to bed thanking my lucky stars I had received a refund from the pensions people not long ago!

Today is another gentle day.  Nothing scheduled until Aquacise at twelve and then a tuition session later.  I should get plenty done at home, I think, which would be good.

Better get started then - I'll write up yesterday's tuition notes and plan the next session and then get going in the kitchen.
Have a wonderful day, whatever your plans are.  xx

Monday 28 September 2020


 Good morning.  I had chosen this handwriting style font today, very similar to the style I was taught as a little lass around sixty (eeek) years ago.  I find it clear and legible but I think some would find it harder to read so I'll leave this bit as an example and change it to one called 'Schoolbell'.   Please let me know.  By the way, this fancy one's called  'Homemade Apple'.

Yesterday worked out extremely well.  After whizzing around at home for a while, I popped off to swimming which was really lovely.  I happened to be first in the pool and breaking through that clear, calm, still surface is a lovely feeling.  They must have had a full list (sixteen max) because they were checking names but the most there was at any given time was seven and for most of the time it was five or fewer.  Fine by me, I like a clear space to swim.

I did my half an hour and then went home to shower and sort myself out.  After breakfast (lovely pancakes!) I say down with my planning files and worked my way through the lot so now the whole week's work is ready, resources and written out.  All that needs doing now is to have a quick read through as I get everything out for each session.  I won't have to do any for the following week, of course.

I finished off the ironing, bedding and all, before enjoying my lunch and then driving round to daughter Beth's for coffee and a chat.  It was lovely.  I sat down and almost straight away Freddie came to investigate, decided he liked me and plonked himself down on my knee for pretty much the whole time.

I've told Freddie's story before but, just to recap, he was one of Indigo's kittens (Indi is Beth's Tonkinese cat) and was born with a damaged back leg.  A lovely lady said she would have him for her son and Fred (not called that then) departed happily and settled well.  A while later Beth got a message from the cat chip people, whatever they are called, to say that Fred had been picked up living rough in a barn and could she come and pick him up, please.  This came right out of the blue for Beth and she was upset and shocked; she loves all her cats and worked very hard to get good homes for each kitten.  After investigation, she decided to keep Fred as part of her own 'menagerie' of cats - she really loves cats! - and she travelled a considerable distance to pick him up.
Fred had other ideas though and, after settling for a while, he decided to explore the area and, eventually, to adopt Beth's neighbours - a sort of reduced down version of Six Dinner Sid.
After discussion, they decided that the neighbours would take over the responsibility for health and welfare but Fred could use either house as home (and nick Beth's cats' food if any is lying about).
So when I turned up yesterday, Freddie decided to come in to investigate, as he often does, decided he remembered me and promptly allowed me to tickle his chin and do other tactile stuff that cats love so much - on their own terms!

After some chat, I managed to sort out Beth's birthday present and sundry family Christmas gifts as well so that was very helpful.  

Once home and after dinner, I was so tired I went to bed early, accepting that it might mean a very early awakening, but no - I slept pretty much through until five, my usual time, a solid nine hours of sleep and I feel so much better this morning.

Today is quite a simple day.

I'm planning to go into town early (in car not on bus - I don't feel quite that brave yet) and I have a list of four things.  I need some baggies from Lakeland (oh, dear, what a shame), some magnesium tablets from Boots of H&B, a non stick pan (mine decided to not-non-stick yesterday) and, last of all, I am being very brave and going for some leggings for the winter.  I think they will look OK as long as my tops are long enough and M&S do different lengths.  I may look in Primark too - I'll see how it goes in M&S first.

Jeff is round this afternoon to do some garden magic, good old Jeff, and then it is tuition.

So a full day but not a hard day.  I'm looking forward to it.  Have a good one yourself and stay safe and well.  xx

Sunday 27 September 2020


Good morning.  Today's font is called Happy Monkey and it is definitely a nice, clear, school appropriate font.

It was so chilly yesterday.  The wind picked up again although, thanks to the new front door and upstairs windows, there are now no draughts coming through any gaps and things are a lot more comfortable, thank goodness.  It didn't stop me turning on the heating, mind you, and this morning it has come on automatically so it must have been a fairly cold night.  I put an extra cover over the duvet yesterday evening and was as snug as a bug, as the saying goes, all night long.

I stayed in yesterday, only venturing out to the shed to get things from the freezer.  I got the washing done and a bit of the ironing, although the rest is still on the drying rack.  That's this evening's job.

Apart from that, I did precious little and feel so much better again this morning.  That's just as well because there's more scheduled for today.

First of all, I have a swim booked at nine - I cancelled the last one because of feeling rough but I'm looking forward to this one, a good sign.  The other fixed thing, only decided yesterday is that I'm popping round to Beth's for coffee this afternoon.
Between those two events, I need to do all my planning for the week, do some shifting from shed to garage and from house to shed (I thought I might do it earlier but it never got started) and take a good look at what's in the fridge because I need to use it all up this week.  That, with ironing in the evening, should keep me busy and out of trouble.

Have a good day yourself too.  xx

Saturday 26 September 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  The font for today is called 'Architects Daughter' for some reason.  It's a bit more arty than some but, I hope, easy on the eye.
My trouble is that, after decades of teaching five and six year olds, I can read most types and styles of handwriting (and some very bizarre spellings too), so the fact that I can read it easily doesn't mean it is easy to read!  :-)

Sunset sky after the rain cleared yesterday evening.

The weather seems to have settled down a bit this morning.  It is now just breezy instead of howling around the trees as it did for most of yesterday.  The skies are clear and the sun is knocking at the door.  It won't last, says the Beeb.  The clouds will gather and there will be rain later on but for now I am happy with those blue skies!

It was flippin' cold yesterday too.  I had the heating on and snuggled into my fleece as I rested, relaxed, knitted, watched rubbish telly and generally watched the hours pass in great contentment.  I did a few bits and bobs, notably getting some old clothes to the Sally Army collection point and doing a bit of Morrisons shopping while my cleaner got my house shiny.  I'm not being stand-offish - they prefer to have a clear run and in these Covid times, it is easier to keep distance and feel safe (both of us) if I pop out and do stuff.  

As a result of such a restful day and a splendid night's sleep, I feel a million times better this morning, thank goodness.  There are, of course, a list of things to do as long as my arm, but very few are urgent so I will be going with the flow again on another no 'official' commitment day.

There's washing and drying.  Most stuff can dry on the rack but the bedding will go in the tumble dryer with the added advantage that it will need minimal, if any, ironing afterwards.  There's some stuff that needs shifting from shed to garage and from inside to shed but that is dependent on weather and energy.  There's veg to pick down t'allotment, weather permitting, so I will probably go down there good and early before any rain decided to visit.

I've started getting things prepared for my holiday.  I will be at Dad;s the weekend before and back to Dad's for the night on the way home so, to make life easier in the longer term, I will be packing two bags, the weekend one for Dad's and the bigger one for Warner's.  Some things will work for both - shoes, for example, and they will go into supermarket bags for simplicity.  Masks are already in the big case!!
I've printed off the paperwork and am looking at the route - not that it's hard.  Straight up the A1 and turn left is basically the route.
I'm also looking at Things To Do.  I gather there's a really nice place called Southwell very close by that has a splendid church, Southwell Minster, that is well worth a visit (and which is open for visitors on weekdays) as well as other really interesting places.  It appears that the first Bramley apple originated in Southwell.
Lots of interesting info here.

There's also Clumber Park, Sherwood Forest is close by and I gather Newark is well worth a visit too.  Given that I have three days, if I manage that much it will be a miracle, especially as there's plenty to do within the hotel and grounds.  I can definitely see a second visit coming on, perhaps when there's more chance of better weather.

So - house sitter is organised, packing is sort of in progress, paperwork/printouts are building up.  All part of the fun of the whole thing.  Fingers crossed that Covid doesn't stick out its foot and trip everything up now.

Well, it is half past seven, time is racing away and I had better pop into the kitchen, unload the dishwasher, get the clothes washing on and generally start the day.  Have a good 'un and, as always, be safe and be happy.  xx

Friday 25 September 2020


Good morning, everyone.  Today's font is 'Artifika' and it's a bit like a handwriting style that used to be taught in schools (apart from the a and the g); sort of slightly italic-y and very 'square'.  I rather like this one but, please, do shout out if it causes any problems with clarity.

It's raining at the moment but much of yesterday was gorgeously sunny although really rather cold.  I opened the French windows to let in some sunshiny air and didn't keep them open very long, sadly.  Maybe today will cheer up later on.

I had a lovely chat with Jackie over lunch yesterday.  The soup (tomato and sweet potato) went down a real treat and there was none left.  We had a good look at the Warner's site and agreed that a holiday there together would be a Very Good Thing indeed.  You can ask for rooms next to each other, for a fee, of course, and there would be plenty for us to do.  So here's hoping!

Tuition was super.  My student was in a very cheerful mood and had brought some homework spellings so we could work on them.  By the end, they were all learnt so fingers crossed for the Friday test!

Then it was Slimming World group.  A pound on this week but that's fine - last week it was half a pound below the target, this week it is half a pound above.  I'm more than happy with that; slight fluctuations are normal and natural.

Today, amazingly, there are no commitments whatsoever in the diary.  It's a relief; I've been feeling very tired this week for some reason and a few days 'off' feels wonderful.  The cleaners are coming at some point, but that's not the same thing.  The place is reasonably tidy so they can work their magic without mess getting in their way.

There are, of course, Things To Do and maybe I will do some of them (I will make a list, gotta love a list) but the thought of a day doing not a lot feels, right at this moment, absolutely wonderful.  No plans for today, precious little for tomorrow and just a swim booked for Sunday.  Bliss.

Goodness, aren't I a lazy so-and-so!!  And you know what - I don't care.  I feel like I've been let out of school!
I have no idea why I feel like that because life truly isn't that hard at the worst of times, but it's rather nice.

Hoping you all have a lovely day too.  Stay dry, safe and happy.  xx

Thursday 24 September 2020


 Morning!  Today's font is called 'oxygen' and it looks good and clear - if it were not for the 'a' formation, it would have made nice display cards at school.

The weather broke, didn't it?  After some early rain yesterday, it cheered up and we even had some sunshine but there was more rain in the afternoon, evening and overnight.  I can't sleep so I'm getting this written now (and it's still raining!) so that when I do get back to sleep and when I sleep longer in the morning (I can hope!), this will be all done and dusted.

The sleep patterns aren't great again but this is the first sleepless spell in the night I have had for a while.  I've been waking stupidly early but that's OK.  Middle of the night is not!  Oh, well, I'll feel tired shortly, go back to bed, turn on the electric blanket for an hour and I should be out like a light!

Yesterday all went according to plan.  Personal training was fun and so was tuition.  I got bits and bobs done, including the ironing, dug a few things out of the chest freezer and have put them into the next several days of menu planning.

Today there's three things:
Jackie is coming round for lunch and a good chat.  I am so glad friends can still visit under certain guidelines.
Then I have the last tuition session of the week.
Finally, it is Slimming World group.
I need to do a bit of tidying up before Jackie arrives but that won't take long, and I must just read over the planning and make sure everything is in place.

OK, I'm starting to feel sleepy so I shall finish this and go back up again.  Have a good day (when you wake), enjoy what you're doing and, as always, be safe.  xx

(Later edit - I slept like a log until 6:30ish.  Lovely!)

Wednesday 23 September 2020


Good morning!   Today's font is called 'calligraffitti' and I just hope it is readable.  I find it so, so fingers crossed.

It's been raining a bit overnight.  I went out to the freezer earlier and the ground was wet.  I felt a very few drops but no more but  Beeb says there's more on the way although nothing all that heavy.  I hope they're - I want to go and pick allotment beans!

Yesterday felt very busy but it was also a very enjoyable and satisfying time.  

I popped to Morrison's first thing, to get some essentials.  Definitely NOT panic buying, just one more of things like loo rolls, bleach, that sort of thing.  It's good to know that the over 60s are not being told to isolate (yet) but I like to be prepared and now I feel so!

Once all that was sorted and put away, Christine came round.  We weren't able to find a slot where both of us were free last week so we had two weeks of gossip to catch up on.  Put it this way - we made the most of the opportunity!

Then it was a quick breakfast before I rushed off to the gym for the aqua class which, as always, was great.  All the 'distancing' issues earlier have been sorted out and everything is now done in a safe and orderly way.  We clean our own float weight things but they watch to make sure we do and offer us the wipes so no-one slips through without doing the necessary.  Everyone keeps a safe distance and - well, no worries..

Once home, it was shower, dry hair, hang out washing, have lunch, go over planning, get the table ready and wait for students to arrive.  I'm mentioning to each parent that I'm keeping an eye on the situation and, if tuition has to stop, then I will let them know immediately.  They're all fine about that and I'd be most surprised if they weren't..

Once that was all over, I was a bit shattered really and most thankful that dinner was more or less ready apart from actually cooking the vegetables.
I slept well!

Today is a much easier day, thank goodness.  There's nothing timetabled in until personal training at midday.  I will be popping to the allotment to pick - there will be tomatoes (plenty of them), beans and, maybe, courgettes so I will be well stocked with those plus what I got from Morrison's yesterday.  

The other scheduled thing is more tuition.  It's all prepared but I want to go over all the planning and make sure everything is in the folders.  There's nothing worse than starting a session and finding something essential is missing.  It was always a recurring nightmare of mine just before lesson observations and OFSTED inspections, a bit like that dream where you're sitting in an exam room and find that either you've studied the wrong curriculum or the wrong subject!  

In between PT and tuition, I have things to do, obviously, but plan to take it easy and not rush around too much.
I have a stack of too-big clothes to bag up and take to the Sally Army recycling point, I want to explore the dark and chilly depths of the chest freezer as I've totally forgotten what's down there and I have a messy kitchen to sort out (sadly, an ongoing situation although easily remedied!).  Also, there's a basket of ironing to get on with but I can do that and watch telly at the same time.

I almost forgot - look what arrived yesterday.

I've had this on order from Amazon for over a year and they have been sending me messages to say they were still looking, still looking, no luck yet, etc.  And now it's arrived.  It's a personal-social-historical account of wool's history and its influence on our landscape and customs (paraphrasing the blurb here).
I'm dying to get started but I think I am going to be strong minded and put it away for my holiday (which is still on so fingers crossed).  Also, I'm devouring Bill Bryson's 'The Body' at the moment and very much enjoying it; I have no wish to leave it half unfinished for something else.
I think it was Sue who mentioned it on her blog so thanks very much, Sue (or whoever), for the recommendation.  It looks brilliant.

Well, enough rambling.  I'd better wind this up and brave the kitchen clutter!  I get so tired of an evening, I can't get motivated then.  I really should, it will make the mornings easier.

Anyway - have a great day and stay dry, safe and well.  xx

Tuesday 22 September 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  Today's font is called Margarine and I think it's rather nice, although the name could be nicer.
(and thanks to Sue for the fonts info - I didn't know there were so many available fonts now)

The journey home from Dad's yesterday was fine.  A bit slow with lots of road works and traffic lights but nothing too bad.  Just one idiot who overtook an oncoming lorry, forcing me to brake rather suddenly.  He made it but if I hadn't slowed . . .
The lorry driver just shook his head - I suppose he sees a lot of terrible driving!

I stopped off at the allotment and picked a load of beans and tomatoes plus a few courgettes.  The tomatoes are getting blighted now, all over the allotment site, not just in my patch, so I need to deal with ours fairly soon.  The courgettes are small because this year, if we leave them, they rot from the blossom end.

Then I arrived home and got these from the garden.  I know some are a bit green but they will ripen in a few days (a few already have) and I feel it's a bit of a race against time now so I get them in early!

I did mean to plant the crocus bulbs Eileen so generously sent me, but by the time I had sorted everything out, dealt with the garden produce and the bags of shopping I got in Tesco's on Sunday, had breakfast and lunch and sorted out dinner and looked over my planning, it was pretty much time to set off for the tuition session.  It won't get done today either but there's bags of time so no panic.

I was looking online for some freezer baskets.  Once I get my over abundance of freezer food sorted out, it would help to keep the chest freezer in order if I had a few more baskets.  I searched and searched and found plenty but they were possibly just marginally too big to fit.  The freezer is a Bosch and the official replacement baskets cost an eye watering £105 each.  Not. A. Chance.
I think what I will do is order one of the baskets that are possibly a bit too big and just see.  After all, we are talking mms here not inches.  Amazon is pretty good for returns.

But £105!!!!!!!  Blimey!

Today is busy again.  I've started it off by making a soup like the one I made for Dad on Saturday.  Thermione is loaded with leek, carrot, sweet potato and a shedload of tomatoes, simmering away nicely and making the house smell great.  I've also added chicken stock, seasonings, fine herbs, tomato puree and garlic puree.  Once everything is soft, I will blend it and push it through the mouli to get rid of the tomato seeds.  The main reasons are that I have so many tomatoes to use up and that Jackie is coming over for lunch on Thursday.  I think things like this improve as the flavour develops so it should be good by Thursday.  I'm also hoping there will be a few portions left over for colder winter lunches!

At ten, Chris is popping over for coffee and a catch up before I whizz off to the gym for aqua.  Then it's shower, dry hair, check planning and my two students will arrive.  All go today so I'm very glad the day has started early when I can just ponder and potter and generally get things organised for the day.

I say it's a busy day but it's all self chosen stuff, none of it has been imposed on me in any way so no complaints.  What do you have planned for today?  Whatever it is, fingers crossed it's good and goes well.  Take care and stay safe.  xx

Monday 21 September 2020


 Just a quick one today as there's precious little to write about after a quiet weekend.  I'll be leaving after the milk run this morning and goodness knows if I'll be able to come back in a fortnight, the way things are going at the moment.

Fingers crossed!  

Just playing with new fonts (sorry).  Back to normal waffle tomorrow, but not necessarily normal font.  😉xx

Sunday 20 September 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  How's your weekend going.  I'm having a very pleasant time here at Dad's, as always.  The sun is shining - well, not right now, but it has been and will be - his garden is still producing and the squirrels are going nuts for nuts in the back garden.  Letchworth has a very rare colony of black squirrels, based on Norton Common which is only five to ten minutes' walk away from here, and they visit the garden every day.

Yesterday was quiet and pleasant.  I was up early and pottered around before Dad came down and the day started.  There's nothing to report, it was a restful day.

Today looks like being exactly the same.  Dad has his days organised so that there's very little to do, just the occasional bit of washing or mending or maybe a bit of clearing out.  

Things will be back to normal tomorrow so I'm going to make the most of the gentleness of today while I can.  I hope your day is just as satisfactory!  xx

Saturday 19 September 2020


 Good morning!  I've woken very early here at Dad's, been down to make my coffee and empty the dishwasher and come back up, coffee in hand, to get on with my social mediating!

Yesterday went well.  I got everything done that I intended to do, including sorting some kitchen clutter and getting the ironing done.  I picked some tomatoes but they are finally starting to slow down and, although there were some, there weren't bowlfuls, thankfully.  I picked some that were just starting to turn so they should ripen on the window sill by Monday.  I noticed that some of the plants are now pretty much all picked out and I can deal with those next week before the green bin collection on Thursday.

When I set off, I detoured to the allotment and came away with a bagful of green beans, another bagful of tomatoes, three little courgettes and some nice apples, all of which came with me to Dad's.  I'm going to make some tomato soup with the tomatoes as Dad has his own as well so there's plenty.

It was a good journey over, sunny and warm and, while the roads were a bit busy, the traffic was moving and the only holdups were the usual ones.

I find Dad very well and it's nice to be here.  He loves the dried pear so I will leave it all with him and get going on a new batch when I get home.  Goodness knows, I have enough pears!  I also want to make some apple and pear leather and I am wondering about tomato leather too.  I've bought the book with me so will look it up and, probably, give it a go and see.

Today will be a quiet day.  I'm thinking maybe I will take a walk down to the Garden Centre to look around their plants and packets of seeds.  I'm nearly all prepared for the spring planting but might see a few more bits and bobs.  Apart from that, I have my kindle, books and knitting, plus the meal prepping so the day should pass very pleasantly.

Stay safe and have a good day.  xx

Friday 18 September 2020


 Good morning.  This lovely weather goes on and on, doesn't it?  Mornings and evenings are cooler but it's beautiful through the day.  I'm very much hoping it continues when the leaves start changing in earnest as the effect of sunlight on autumn leaves is one of the outstanding sights of each year!

The early morning swim was great.  The booking system may have told me that I was number fifteen on the list but actually there were just seven of us in the pool, plenty of room and lots of smiles.  For the first time, the lifeguard had a list and was ticking people off as they showered.  I could see that the list was, indeed, much longer than seven.  One is supposed to cancel if one can't turn up and that's very easily done online via their website or by phone.  I wonder if they are clamping down on no-shows.

I still haven't got round to asking them to guide me through their 'machines' and how they work - I really must get my act together.

Tuition was great fun - I like all my students but this one is such a character in their own, quiet way and we chuckle and smile our way through the session.  Like the parents, there's no nonsense about this student, what you see and hear is what you get.  Never rude or impolite, just straight speaking.  Fantastic!  Oh, and they work hard as well!

SW group was lively.  It's just a shame I hear very little but the vibes are good and I can help out and feel useful that way.  Numbers have picked up at our particular time and, I think, generally, and we're getting some new members so fingers are very firmly crossed that there's not another lockdown.

In between morning and late afternoon/evening activities, I pottered around at home.  The tomatoes were escaping from the window ledge so I set to and made another large bowl of passata which needs to be strained as I didn't get around to that yesterday, and several containerfuls of small, peeled tomatoes, frozen whole.

The dehydrated pear slices and the apple and plum leather both worked out really well and I popped in another batch of pear which I've just cooled and jarred to take to Dad's.  I think he will love it.
I made three strips of leather and, as Beth and Alex popped over in the evening, that was one each, and a huge success they were too.  A real burst of flavour.  After the weekend, I will have a go at some apple and pear leather.  It seems a good way to use up the allotment fruit, seeing as none of it is 'keeper' fruit.

As it was a good drying day, I got two loads of washing done and dusted and in a short time I will get out the ironing board, turn on the telly, connect the sound to my hearing aids and have a 'Homes Under The Hammer' fest as I iron.  I do like to get it all done fairly quickly - such a change from working days when some items might stay in the basket for weeks!

I also managed to get the place reasonably tidy for the cleaners today; there's just a few things to clear away this morning.

After getting all the chores done, I will pop down to the allotment to harvest as I'd like to take some produce up to Dad's when I go.  For decades, he and Mum have been so generous with their food stuffs.  Mum used to load me up with cake and shortbread for the children and Dad with fruit and veg.  It's really nice to pay it back a bit now.  It's not an obligation, it's a pleasure.
So I will be taking (refreshing my memory here) some home made chilli for dinner and freezer, some tomatoes, green beans and, hopefully, courgettes and the dried pear slices.

Alex goes back to uni today.  Beth's taking him with car loaded to the gills with all his stuff.  I think there's mixed feelings - he's been at home for six months now so part of him is wanting to get back and part of him is very apprehensive.  I'm sure he won't be the only one although his autism does present a big additional challenge.  I'm very proud of him.

As always, I will try and post while I'm at Dad's but if I don't, I will be back on Monday.  Take care and stay safe.  xx

Thursday 17 September 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday's gloomy start with even a very few spots of rain gradually evaporated into sunshine as the morning progressed and, again, it was quite warm, almost a bit humid, I thought.

It looks as if it will be similar today and for at least the next week.  What's the betting by October it will have broken and we'll get rain, wind and more rain - just in time for my holiday!

I seemed to be doing a fair bit yesterday but it was a nice, gentle day all the same.  I am just finishing off another lot of dried apples and pears which are tasting delicious.  Dad will like some when I take them over tomorrow.  I also had a bash at a fruit leather, apple and plum, as I had three plums that needed using.  I removed the skins and stones, blended the flesh, then peeled, cored and chopped two redlove apples and added them for another zizz.  Then I blended in some corn syrup, cornflour and lemon juice before transferring it to a pan for a couple of minutes simmering.  Finally, I spread the thick puree out in strips on parchment on a tray and into the dehydrator it went for the rest of the day.  I shut it off overnight (because you're not supposed to have it on for more than twenty hours) and it's back on again for a few more hours.  I think the leather has worked - they peeled off the paper fine and are now sitting on one of the wire shelves to finish off.

The pears are now ripening so I've started eating them.  I must let Beth know so she can come and claim her share and on today's list is 'check wrapped pears'.

I decided to make a chilli to take to Dad's so I dug out a pot of JD Seasonings and the relevant amount of frozen mince.  I added things, of course - courgettes and more red pepper plus some sweetcorn.  I didn't have any kidney beans so I opened a can of borlotti beans instead and I also used the last of the frozen chickpeas.
I'm now rather low on pulses but need the freezer space for tomatoes, etc, so I will stock up on some non-frugal but useful cans of various pulses instead.

Personal training as fun as always.  I felt quite sluggish but Lindsey said I'd done really well so maybe it was merely a feeling, not a fact.  We're working for stamina and core strength so I did a lot of 'cycling' and 'stepping, both on the stepper machine and on the step before moving on to balance stuff.  We both notice I am recovering faster now which is great.

Tuition was great although one student forgot - or rather the mum forgot!  No problem, that's one lot of planning done for next week!

I've saved the best until last - a parcel arrived from Eileen who often comments in here and whose blog I follow.  She had been sent some crocus bulbs she hadn't ordered now wanted and the company said 'just keep them' so she passed them on.  So kind of you, Eileen, thank you very much for the bulbs and the pretty card.  I have set a date in my diary for planting them out next week.  I bet my front will be a picture next spring now and I might look for a suitable pot among my collection as well.

Image borrowed from Google, thank you!

I've just remembered one more thing.  A very nice thing although not quite as nice as a kind gift of spring bulbs.  I heard from the Teacher's Pension Agency.  A while ago, they said I had underpaid into my pension and wanted £xyz (a reasonably substantial amount) from me.  Being a good girl, I made a payment and thought no more of it.  The letter informed me that they had made a mistake and were refunding the money.  I have checked, it's in my account so I will be whizzing it over to savings later on today.

When I looked in my diary for today's events, I was delighted to see that I have an early morning swim at seven, a late afternoon tuition session and then the Slimming World meeting, and between those, a nice, healthy blank!
I've filled it with lovely, homey stuff such as:
finish fruit and leather
process tomatoes
check pears
sort out kitchen mess
. . . you get the idea.  Not a lazy day but a restful and happy one, just what the doctor would have ordered!  I hope your day is just as pleasant.  xx

Wednesday 16 September 2020


 Good morning.

Yesterday, I wrote:

I am determined that it is going to be an easier day as I'm still weary (my own fault this time).  I have some ironing to do and I might pop to the allotment, just to water and harvest at some point but I won't be doing anything too heavy and I am sure that I will nod off from time to time.

. . . which just goes to show that '
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley,' as Burns so wisely wrote.

It started off according to plan.  I picked some tomatoes from the garden, got myself washed and dressed in a leisurely way, albeit feeling slightly guilty about cancelling the swimming although I knew it was the right thing to do and anyway I have a strict rule about not drinking and driving that made it the only option.

I checked over the planning for the afternoon, watched some YouTube, did some mending, set up the ironing board and got that done, sorted out the kitchen and thew day's meals and then went online to check emails.

To back track a little, Tuesday is usually the day I have an aquacise class now that the gym is open again but I left it a bit late to book and all the places were taken.  I clicked the 'waiting list' button without any expectation that I'd get a place.

You can guess, can't you.  Yes, there was an email saying I had a place.  I glanced at my watch.  Fifteen minutes!  However, it felt right and I knew I was OK to drive so went into full speed mode to change, pack the swimming bag and dash off.  Yes, I was a bit late and missed the first five minutes or so but it was really nice to be in the water, working away, and I was so glad I went.  My shoulder had been playing up rather but the exercise smoothed that out nicely so that was an extra bonus.

On the way home, my petrol warning light came on so I took a detour to the filling station and then to the allotment where I harvested green beans, tomatoes and courgettes (lovely!).  By the time I got home, it was time for late lunch, followed by shower and hair wash and there was just time to sit down for fifteen minutes before my student arrived.

So that put paid to any ideas I may have had regarding a leisurely afternoon with a few snoozes but, on the other hand, I felt great!  The positive feeling continued with a good tuition session with an enthusiastic student who, according to the mum, 'really loves coming here'.  Nice.

So, while the plans for an easy day were blown right out of the water (sorry), it was a super day and I feel loads better this morning.  

Looking at the diary, I see that I have personal training midday and some tuition late afternoon but that's it.  So perhaps I will have that relaxing day today instead.  I can hope!

I know it sounds rather previous, but at this time of year we (the family) like to get our Christmas arrangements sorted out and, fingers crossed, rules permitting, I should have five for Christmas dinner, six counting me.  It's time to start thinking about things like making the Christmas cake, something traditionally done over the October half term, ordering the Kellybronze turkey (expensive but superb) and this year I shall make the Christmas pudding too.  This last is bitter-sweet because Mum always made the pudding and after she became not able to there were some in her freezer or we bought one she particularly liked.  However, how difficult can it be to make a steamed fruit pudding so I want to start looking up recipes.  Delia, of course (the cake is a Delia one with additions) and maybe Jamie, Nigella and Mary will all get a look in before I decide, but I will go all traditional and not make it until stir-up Sunday.

Stir-up Sunday is November 22nd this year and this is what Wiki says about it:

Stir-up Sunday is an informal term in Anglican churches for the last Sunday before the season of Advent. It gets its name from the beginning of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer, which begins with the words, "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people". But it has become associated with the custom of making the Christmas puddings on that day.  . . . . Most recipes for Christmas pudding require it to be cooked well in advance of Christmas and then reheated on Christmas Day, so the collect of the day served as a useful reminder.

As I get older, I do love a bit of tradition.  However, there will be no charms in my pudding.  Like Mum, I reckon it's not that safe and one could easily break a tooth or choke.

I've gone on for long enough.  It's cloudy this morning with no early sunshine (shame) but things still need to be done so, as Diane says, I will get this show on the road - after another coffee!
Have a great day. xx

Tuesday 15 September 2020


 Good morning and here we are, half way through September already.  Incredible!  Yesterday was a gloriously warm summer-like day and my fingers are crossed for today as well.

As expected, yesterday ended up more busy than I had hoped although it was all home based.  I got two loads of washing done and dried on the line, did tuition, tidied and cleared, cooked and dishwashed up and, generally, it felt much busier than it had looked on paper.

Jeff came round, did the necessary, we discussed the allotment work and agreed that the end of October would be the best time, and left it at that.  Good for Jeff.

The evening was lovely.  There was not a scrap of food left in the serving dishes and somehow (can't imagine how!!!) the evening turned out to be more alcoholic than expected.  I will not shame myself by letting on quite how much very nice wine was consumed by the three of us but, suffice it to say, I had enough sense left to cancel the early swim today because I'm not sure I am fit to drive yet.  It takes longer for alcohol to leave the system than one would think.

We talked and laughed and laughed and talked and it was late before Dave and Anna left (they walked, no problems with transport) so small wonder I found it hard to relax and slept badly.  It was a hot night too, which didn't help, so I'm feeling very bleary eyed this morning and the black coffee is more needed than usual.

I am determined that it is going to be an easier day as I'm still weary (my own fault this time).  I have some ironing to do and I might pop to the allotment, just to water and harvest at some point but I won't be doing anything too heavy and I am sure that I will nod off from time to time.

Take care, have a lovely day and be safe, everyone.  xx

Monday 14 September 2020


 Good morning.  It's the start of another beautiful day, if Beeb weather is to be believed.  Yesterday started cool (dressing gown necessary temperature) but finished pretty warm and it was an on top of the quilt night's sleep.  This morning it doesn't feel warm but it doesn't feel cold either, it is just right.

Yesterday was super.  I pottered around in the kitchen first thing, making some soup and that quiche, before setting off for the gym and a swim.  I thought the pool would be crowded (well - up to sixteen swimmers which isn't crowded really, is it?) but the most was seven of us so loads of room all round.  I've just realised that I haven't seen the Gossip Girls at the pool very much and not at all in the last two or three weeks.

Once home, after breakfast, I caught up with some of the YouTube channels I follow and finished all my planning so now I'm completely set for the week ahead before Beth arrived.  After lunch (no quiche left), we set off for the allotment, mower in the back, and ended up doing a couple of hours of work.  Beth's back isn't great so she took it carefully while I went for it!  Getting the grass cut took ages, especially round the sides, but it is now done and dusted and looks loads better.  I'll just finish off the edges with the strimmer today and that will be that.  It may need a couple more haircuts before it's too cool to grow but not for a while.

Beth went home with some courgettes and some dwarf beans and I mowed my front patch before putting the machine away.

So it was a simple day but quite a physical one and I was shattered by the evening, slept until half past six this morning (most unusual) and I'm still feeling weary so I've cancelled today's swim and will just do an hour or so down the allotment this morning.  In that time, I should be able to strim, finish digging and weeding that middle bed and get some manure from the communal heap to spread over.  We've also decided to dig in some of the rotting apples - windfalls that are too bad to want to pick up and cut up - to enrich the soil somewhat.
Getting there!  Slowly!

In the afternoon, Jeff is over.  I must remember to talk to him about something we want him to do down the allotment at some point and I think I will ask him to get out my runner beans in the garden as they are now over as well as weeding round the front.  He just does an hour once a fortnight but it does make a difference.

Then it is tuition time followed by Dave and Anna coming round for supper.  I'm doing meatballs with rice and broccoli and fresh fruit for afters.  I'll make the meatballs and sauce this morning and the rest is easy!

I had intended today to be an easy day as I'm feeling weary but things have a habit of pushing in, don't they.  I think I'll get the kitchen stuff done first and then see how I feel about the allotment.  

Have a lovely day, enjoy the fine weather (if you have it) and stay safe with all these new 'rules' which I don't think will make much difference to me as I don't go into larger social gathering very much anyway.  xx

Edited later to add something I forgot to say.  We have baby butternut squashes!  At least two, assuming they mature.  Fingers crossed.

Sunday 13 September 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  What a lovely day it was yesterday.  It got warmer as the day went on and being out at the allotment in the afternoon was sheer bliss.  Today and tomorrow are supposed to be similar - how splendid!

I pretty much got everything done that I'd planned.
I wasn't sure about Hobbycraft - they have started stocking some Christmas craft stuff but, at present, it is mostly children's stuff.  I was sorely tempted by some Christmas themed fat quarters but I already have some and would be buying just because I liked the patterns.  Let's face it, Christmas fabric has limited use really.
I did get a book of tear-out themed papers, the kind you use for scrap booking, and one ball of a pretty pinky 'ombre' yarn with a metalic thread through it because the ball band had a simple pattern for a shawl and I though it would be useful either in bed or sitting down when it's a little cooler.

Then I walked on to TK Maxx and came out quite disappointed really.  There was loads there but nothing much, if you see what I mean.

On the way home I saw the B&M car park had loads of spaces (on a Saturday morning!!!) so I popped in and managed to find some bits and bobs I genuinely needed - or wanted; more baby beets in a jar, some Mayflower Southern Style gravy mix, that sort of thing.

Next to B&M is a newish Aldi so I hopped over there too.  There are things that I like to get in Aldi, such as their washing capsules which I was nearly out of, and I also bought a bag of frozen smoked haddock (the very yellow kind!!) so I'm now well off for fish in the freezer.

By the time I got home, the first load of washing was done so that went out, joined an hour later by the second load.  That's now all ironed and needs to be put away.

As I said above, it was delightful down the allotment.  I dug and weeded and weeded and dug - I always feel I don't get as far as the actual hard work would warrant, but not to worry, I managed to make good inroads into the bed where the corn, runners and potatoes were.  The aim is to cover it for the winter apart from a little strip for broad beans but now I am wondering if there's anything that could be grown and be done and finished by the spring. 
As always, all ideas gratefully received!

Then I proceeded to fill (well, half fill) two pedal bin bags with goodies.  I came home with loads of apples and pears, dwarf french beans, courgettes, tomatoes and three little potatoes that we missed the first time.  All most satisfactory and there's still loads more to come.

Today is, I think, easier.  I have a nine o'clock swim and then I can chill until just before one when Beth comes round for lunch.  I've made a garden and allotment quiche (crustless!) using some of Dad's leeks and our beans, courgettes and tomatoes.  In fact it's just come out of the oven and smells wonderful.

Please excuse the poor light - the kitchen isn't the best place for photos!

After lunch, we're off to guess where and I might take the mower with me as the grass is an utter disgrace to any decent allotment!
Then it is more chill until bedtime.  It sounds good, doesn't it?  

Have a super Sunday.  xx

Saturday 12 September 2020


 Good morning!  It's fine outside with clear skies although it's still dark.  I now take my first, early morning trip to the shed for the day's frozen food requirements in the dark again as the year crawls on.  Sometimes it is almost as clear as day but the moon is just a wedge at the moment and, without the street lamps, it is delightfully dark and shadowsome!

Yesterday was another disrupted day - and by that I mean the plans had to change quite a lot.

The main thing was that while I thought Jackie was coming to mine, she thought (and needed) me to go to hers.  Fortunately we got that one sorted out and, as I had made that soup for lunch, it went into a flask and it and I went over to Jackie's home.  We had a good laugh about that, especially as two or three visits ago, I drove to hers and she drove to mine.  We must have passed each other on the way!!
It was earlier than I had originally planned as well although not a problem, it just meant that the meal times got jumbled up for, I think, the third day in a row.  However, as the song goes, I will survive!

When I got home, the cleaner was there so I got myself out of her way, went upstairs with tablet and kindle and promptly fell asleep on the bed.  I was tired, obviously.

Chris came over later on and we had a great chat with plenty of laughs.  Lovely!

Today, I am really looking forward to a quieter and more restful time.  I have plans, of course, but they are flexible and pleasant.
First of all, I'm hoping to take a little trip to Hobbycraft, just for the sheer fun of seeing what Autumnal things they have in and, just maybe, taking a look at their yarns.  My fingers are getting twitchy now the evenings are darker and I want to be knitting something although I have no idea what.  There truly is a limit to how many hand knits a girl can have, isn't there!  They might have something in the cross stitch line, perhaps.
And then, a short stroll away in the shopping centre, there are some other shops that I might stroll around.  If I go when they open (and half nine), it shouldn't be busy at all.  If it is, I can come home again instead.

I have washing and drying to be getting on with and then ironing come the evening.  It should be a good drying day today.  I'd also like to de-skin some more tomatoes for the freezer and, maybe, research some tomato chutney recipes.

After lunch, I will head off to the allotment.  I plan to have the gherkin plants out and do some more weed clearing.  There should be tomatoes, courgettes, dwarf beans and raspberries to pick as well and I shall water some of the plants as there seem to be a number of warmer and dry days coming along.

So - a gentle, happy, simpler day today, just what I need after a fairly busy week.  In between times, when I sit down, I will just go over next week's tuition plans to make sure they are written up and create a list of resources I will need to track down.  It won't take long as I have a column on the planning sheet for 'next steps' and I fill that in as we work together; all I have to do is transfer that over to the new plans in a bit more detail - very little brain power needed and SO much easier and manageable than the planning I had to do for school.

Have a great day, everyone.  Stay safe, well and happy!  xx

Friday 11 September 2020


 Good morning!  It was a glorious day yesterday, plenty of sunshine and nice and warm.  Lo9ng may it continue!

I have found out that the dehumidifier can be used to help my bread dough rise.  Excellent!  I have also discovered that unripe allotment pears make the most delicious dried pear chips.  I will definitely be making more!  Also, I've ordered some corn syrup from Amazon, so will hold off making the apple leather until that comes.  

Yesterday's plans rather unravelled.
I had my early morning swim and very nice it was too.
Then I messaged Beth because she didn't look all that well the day before and I wanted to check that she was OK to come over.  She has IBS and it made its presence felt yesterday as well as the previous day so she didn't come.   I was going to go to the allotment myself but then Kevin came, gave me a quote and said he might very well be able to come back in the afternoon to do the job.  So that was the afternoon taken, more or less, waiting in.  He did come and he did the job and now I can move on to the next stage of the work - ordering the shelving.

I spent some time making tomato soup for me and a friend who is coming over for lunch today.  Lots of garden tomatoes, the dregs of a jar of roasted red pepper, some onion, some tomato puree and various seasonings.  Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, there's also loads left over for the freezer and other meals.  Three cheers!

Throughout the day, in next door's garden, there was a rumbling and a banging while two big trees were being cut back.  Suddenly, both our gardens are a lot brighter and sunny which is really nice.  The poor trees look a bit 'dismembered' but they will recover and come spring, when the leaves return, they will be fine - just smaller.
Another bonus is that there will be significantly fewer leaves to sweep up next month!

You can see the difference looking over the fence.  Those two trees would have reached the top of the photo yesterday morning and met in the middle with no light or sky showing between them.
Such a difference.

Tuition was lovely.  Without exception, all my students have turned up this week bright eyed, bushy tailed and full of enthusiasm for what they are doing at school.  It was lovely to see.  Apparently, they have all been 'playing games' all the time (something of an exaggeration!), although on further questioning, it turns out they have been 'learning games' as one of them put it.  The year sixes, wise in their mature years, explained that it's to ease them gently back into learning after such a long time off.
Well, it seems to be working if enthusiasm and happiness is anything to go by and a positive attitude makes my work with them all the more pleasant and fruitful too.

Finally, I walked around to Slimming World group.  It was very well attended and I enjoyed it very much, despite the distancing, etc.

So that was yesterday.  Not exactly what I'd planned but good, all the same.  I'm having a more restful day today as I'm going to pick up that friend and bring her back for lunch and a good chat before dropping her home again.  After that, Chris is coming over for our regular natter.  All very simple and sociable and it should set me up for a busier weekend with lots of allotment work!
Have a lovely day and I hope you have the the same beautiful weather as I'm expecting here.  xx

Thursday 10 September 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  As the nights get longer, I'm finding more and more that I wake in darkness and today is no exception.  However, Beeb tells me that we're going to have a fine day with some sunshine this morning although temperatures will remain below 20C.  Fine by me - it all sounds very comfortable.

I've decided to allow the switch over to the new version of Blogger rather than constantly switching back.  Since the last time I tried it, there have been several changes, presumably as a result of feedback received in the meanwhile.
I had particular niggles around the posting of images where one had to go all round the houses to do what one used to be able to do in a few clicks and they have simplified that considerably, thank goodness.  It's also much easier to find the 'new post' button.
Now to get to grips with new-look Facebook as well.  Two at the same time seems like very poor organisation to me (if these huge companies do actually talk to each other at all).

Yesterday turned out to be a very busy and very satisfying day.

After setting off the dehydrator, checking the planning, sorting out the kitchen and getting dressed, etc, I went down to the garage to do whatever needed doing.  I flattened some cardboard boxes which are now in the recycling bag, put some glass jars in the metal and glass recycling box and put the wicker baskets in the car.  When I looked through what remained, there was very little left to sort out so I just pushed a few things around to make it quite clear what's staying and what's going and it's now ready for Kevin to give me a quote.

One quick change later and I was off to Lindsey's for personal training.  The hour passed very quickly and very enjoyably (whoever would have thought I would ever say that about physical exercise) with lots of chatter about this, that and the other.

Another quick change, a snatched lunch and a flask of coffee later and I drove down to the allotment where Beth had just arrived.  We transferred the baskets to her car before getting going.  We dug up the rest of the potatoes (real beauties) before tackling the runner beans.  This wasn't the easiest task and I'm glad there were two of us but eventually the canes were all released and back by the shed and the tendrils of stem and leaf were all gathered up and on the compost heap.

We had a good chat under the tree over the flask of coffee before sharing out the potatoes - two for you (Beth and Al) and one for me - and admiring the dwarf beans.  As there was time and Beth needed the loo, we both went back to mine for half an hour before she went home and my students arrived.  After that, I was able to relax and check the dehydrator.

I think I may have cut the apple slices a bit thin - it's something I will learn - but I have to say they are delicious!  Ditto for the one pear I tried.  They are now in air tight jars with little bags of silica crystals to draw off any residual moisture.  Beth wants me to try making an apple leather next  so I will read up about that.  I don't have quite so many apples as she took some home plus all the tomatoes I got from the allotment but there's still plenty.  The book I got is American and says to use corn syrup which we can't get over here so I am assuming hone y will be an acceptable substitute - we will see.  I'm also assuming cornstarch is the same as our cornflour and is a thickener.

Today is much easier, thankfully.
It starts off with a swim at seven be fore home for shower, hair and breakfast.  Kevin comes around this morning to look at the garage rubbish so I have to stay in and will use the time to look up making apple leather and doing generally houseworky things as well as making some tomato soup.  Beth's coming round for lunch and then we're popping back to the allotment for an hour or so of digging over and weeding.
Then it is tuition, followed by this week's SW meeting before I crash out for the evening.

After all yesterday's photos, today's post is photo free!!  Maybe I can take a few photos of the mess down the allotment as we work to give it the autumn haircut!  How exciting!!!
Have a super day and, as things look to be tightening up rather, have a safe and happy day too.  xx

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Wednesday (photo heavy alert)

 Good morning, everyone!  The sun is shining, it feels mild, there's a gentle breeze and those wonderful; autumnal colours are starting to shine through the late-summer green.  I've just been out to take a few garden photos.

Everything is looking somewhat bedraggled now, Autumn tatty old!

However, the tomatoes are still producing mightily, both in the bed (these) and in the pots, where the leaves are definitely turning autumnal.  I've been very lucky - despite numerous blight warnings, it's all been fine (so far), both in garden and at allotment.
The ones in the photo are in the bed.
I had decided to have the mini cucumber out but it's sending out some new growth, amazingly, so let's see what it does.

Yesterday I went early to the allotment.  There were a few folk around but not many and it was mild but not warm, so I was able to set to and comfortably do a couple of hours of work.  Everything takes longer than I expect - you'd think I would have learned by now - but in two hours even I can get a nice chunk done.
First of all I tackled the two little raised beds.  They were covered with weeds but, underneath the weeds were a few small carrots plus five strawberry plants, moved from where they have been all summer - two moved, I mean, the other three are runners.
I then moved on to clearing the weeds around the dwarf French beans which we planted at the beginning of August (thank you, Diane and Sue for your advice), and was able to pick about seven or eight little beans for dinner with promise of loads more to come over the next three weeks or so.
Finally, I dug out all the baby corns which were well and truly over.  That was heavy work as they need to have good, tough roots in order to remain standing!

Aren't the beans doing well?  They tasted wonderful too.
Still a mess but this is where the baby corn stood.  I was ready for a break so didn't finish clearing and digging over - that's first on today's list!  I was glad to get them up and dealt with though.
The front strip looks incredibly messy with tomato plants on the ground and courgettes doing their best to take over their world but, after producing a lot of rotting courgettes, they have now started producing properly again so have earned themselves a respite.  Ditto for the tomatoes with loads ripening and a lot more still green.  Green tomato chutney?  Why not, it's good stuff!
One plum.  Just one late and lonely plum on the whole of the tree.  I suspect the rest of the blossom got caught by a frost earlier in the season.  A shame but, maybe next year?  In the meanwhile, the tree needs a good pruning as it's taking over!
And five strawberry plants!  It's nice to have the babies - that's three I won't have to buy (must get round to this).

Then I did the nice bit - the picking and pulling - and came home with . . .

. . . veg - although the baby corn had to go on the compost heap, it was well over . . .
. . . and fruit.

The pears are now well wrapped and in a box to ripen, a few of the apples are now no more (and very delicious they were too) and some others are now sliced and drying because . . .

. . . although the dehydrator was supposed to arrive today, it came yesterday, which was perfect timing.
I spent what time I had yesterday perusing the book I had also ordered and getting the dehydrator ready for use, wiping over everything and giving it half an hour of heating empty, as the manual ordered.

When I came back from the allotment, it was time to dash off to aquacise class which was great, as always.
When I got home again, I had intended to spend some time in the garage but I had a whole load of fruit and veg to deal with which was more pressing.

Tuition went well.

And then I cooked dinner using loads of stuff I'd just picked - a tomato sauce, courgetti, carrots and dwarf beans (see t'other blog for a photo) and then I crashed out as I was so tired!

This morning, I washed, sliced and towel dried some apples and they are now drying in my new toy!  I'll let you know!

It looks loads more professional than the previous one, more substantial, the warm air goes from back to front which is supposed to be the right way (not down from the top or up from the bottom) and it sits nicely on the range while in use.

We will see!

I have ideas - drying oranges and lemons for festive decorations, drying herbs, chillies, maybe even sunflower seeds (if I get any from the flowers), maybe drying more 'exotic' fruits such as pineapple and mango for gifts . . .

Today is another pretty busy day.  I guess it is down to three things all coming together - the allotment needs a lot of attention, ditto the garden and there's the garage to get sorted.  The last is pretty much a one off as, once it's sorted, the shelving is up and everything is properly organised, it should remain nice and tidy with just the occasional sweep and sort out.  The other two are annual things and just have to be done but things will sort out and settle down again in a fortnight or three weeks and then I'm off for a short holiday - perfect timing there.

I've cancelled my chat with Chris (I think she was quite relieved too) and will spend the morning in the garage as Kevin comes tomorrow afternoon to look at what I want him to take.  Then it's an hour of personal training followed by a quick lunch (instant soup!!) before whizzing off to the allotment to meet Beth there.

Finally, I have a couple of tuition sessions to finish off the day.  Phew!

It's very busy and full but extremely satisfying but being busy with such positive things keeps my spirits high and happy!  And I'm burning off the calories!  No complaints.
Take care, everyone, and be safe!

Tuesday 8 September 2020


Good morning.

Yesterday's weather was rather nothing.  Not much sun, a bit chilly but it felt humid at times, a bit breezy . . . it dried the clothes OK so I guess I ought nor to complain.

It was a good drive home apart from getting stuck behind something wide and slow moving on a road with precious few passing places at the best of times.  In fact, one impatient idiot behind me nearly involved me and an oncoming car in a nasty accident by trying to overtake unsafely.  You really do get some nellies on the road at times!

Once home, all the bits and bobs took longer than I expected and I decided the allotment could wait as I wanted to sort out washing, planning, tomatoes . . . etc.  I'm glad I did because the washing basket is now empty, the ironing is all done (I felt energetic after the meal out and got it all done while catching up on weekend telly) and some of it was put away while the rest has aired and will go away this morning.

Tuition was great.  You can tell they are back at school again - they were alert and much more 'together' as far as learning is concerned.  We all enjoyed yesterday's sessions.

Then it was a rush to get changed and to meet Beth and Alex at the Hare.  We had a lovely time.  it was so nice to have the time and space to chat properly and to enjoy food together and the distancing thing was done very well indeed.  We felt 'safe'.

One of the things I did was upload a few sunset photos I took from my bedroom window at Dad's and here's one of them.

Another was to follow up on an impulse and look at various dehydrators on offer.  I used to have one but it wasn't great and was 'clumsy' to use.  They look as if they have improved significantly since then so I ended up getting one that wasn't the cheapest by a fair bit but also not too expensive, together with a basic book and some sachets of silica crystals which you pop in the jars with the dried food to absorb any residual moisture and keep the food good.
Being Amazon, it should arrive tomorrow and I will have a go with some of the allotment apples as we have so many!  Beth is quite keen to have a go at fruit leathers too which sounds fun.
Fingers crossed.

The above isn't quite as naughty as it sounds because I have just had a refund for something I'd booked to do in December that isn't now happening, sadly.  So it more than covered the cost.

On to today and it is a busy one.

After lockdown started, I started going early to the allotment and got loads done before the day had really started.  As my days seem to be getting busier now that tuition has restarted, I'm going to resume the early morning visits today so I want to be there by nine.

Then, after breakfast, I have aquacise booked; I'm looking forward to that and must remember to book next week's session which should be up by now. 

Then it will be home for shower, hair wash and lunch, to get tuition things set out and ready and then I'm hoping to be able to spend half an hour or so sorting out in the garage.

After tuition I will probably fall asleep!!!  :-)

So, a busy day but, I think, a very satisfying one.  I hope yours is also good.  xx