Saturday 31 October 2020


 . . . and the last day of October, incredibly.  I know everyone is saying it but this year . . . it seems to have gone so quickly and yet, at the same time, it feels as if it has been going on for ever.  Very strange.

Thankfully, the rain held off yesterday, although there was some very light drizzle in the air, so I was able to go from house to garage, still organising things and putting stuff into some sort of order.  It's going well.

In the afternoon, a couple of parcels arrived for Beth so I took them over, stayed for a chat and then did my shopping in Aldi which is close by.  I managed to get a few Christmas pressies there so was pleased with that.

Beth and I both decided that this year we will start getting the Christmas stuff out and up early.  We need the bright lights and shiny glow.  One of our traditions is Christmas Tree Day.  It started when Alex was little.  They came round to mine, we had party food (and wine), put up and decorated the tree and then watched Christmas movies.  Alex has outgrown that now but neither Beth nor I have, so it will probably be the first weekend in December rather than the last weekend before Christmas.  Alex will still be at uni so that works well.
I'll probably do it in stages.  The tree first and then the other stuff as and when I feel like it.  It will be nice to have some cheer.

The rest of the day was relaxing and watching recorded stuff on telly - very nice.

Despite the very dull day, there was still some colour in the garden which cheered me up no end.  Here's a few photos.

Today is more of the same really.  I have a chat with Chris scheduled for ten which I MUST remember this time.  I've written it down on a post it and stuck it on the monitor.  Apart from that, I'll do some more clearing and then snuggle down with the Kindle, the knitting and the TV.  The weather forecast is not good, especially for the afternoon so I expect I will be glad to chill and draw the curtains early.

I'm not going to bother with the 'no trick or treat' sign I usually put on the door.  I doubt there will be many out this evening, what with the weather and the virus.  It's all organised round here anyway, not random calling.

Stay warm and dry today and have a happy day.  xx

Friday 30 October 2020


 Good morning.  Looking out, it's dry but the sky is shrouded in cloud, although the forecast doesn't predict rain, unlike tomorrow and Sunday when it's expected to pour!  Oh, well, I'm planning an easy and unchallenging weekend anyway.

I goofed up a bit yesterday - I was so busy getting the washing sorted, dried, ironed, etc, I totally forgot the chat with Chris.  We've rescheduled for tomorrow morning but I did feel a right idiot!  Thankfully, Chris was OK about it but even so . . .

It was such a horrible, wet day that I decided to cheer myself up by looking for ways to decorate the Christmas cake.  I found some and have put them into a photocollage.  What do you think?  Which ones do you like?

The blue and white star one is perhaps a bit too similar to last year's but still nice.  And whatever pattern I choose, I'm not sure whether to make it red/green coloured or keep it white with sparkly glitted stuff on.

Dentist was fine.  Just a check up but I have one filling, one crown and one (another) implant in the near future.  The crown is for a tooth that lost its filling right at the start of lockdown and, as it didn't hurt in the slightest, I had no grounds for requesting treatment.  The filling is just a filling - not nice but necessary.  The other is a choice between a plate (no way, no, no, no - I've had more than enough of that), a gap (affecting chewing) and an implant (which should sort it out for good). 
I now have three appointments for December, one for the current implant treatment and two for the above work, plus one they will send regarding the new implant work and am hoping against hope that any forthcoming lockdown will allow dentists to keep working.
For someone with a bit of a 'thing' about dental work, I seem to be putting myself through it rather but the inside of my mouth is horrible right now so it's a balance thing.  One is, possibly, worse than the other.
And thank heavens for lump sums and AVCs.

Apart from the dentist, I spent the day gently pottering about, sorting, clearing and tidying.  The kitchen is now looking significantly better, so much so that the cleaners will get a shock, I think.  There's some more cupboards to sort out in there before I tackle the living room.  My last major sort out was five years ago, after retiring and I reckon that if I haven't used something between then and now, I need to seriously consider whether it is worth keeping.  Probably not.
Doing this does seem to be helping.  Organising and retaining some control over the small things.

The pottery bags are now empty and everything is in boxes ready for taking out to the garage.  It was sad but, at the moment, there is absolutely no point having them sitting around, taking up space.  It will be simple enough to get it all back together again as and when needed.

Today there is nothing in the diary but I will need to do a bit of a shop at some point, probably when the cleaners come.  I like to stay out of their way as much as possible anyway and it does make sense in the current situation too.

Before then, I have a bedroom to sort out and cupboards to go through, boxes to take out and put on shelves.  I'm also aware that the allotment really does need a good fortnight of work but one bite at a time.  House first, then allotment.  There has to be a fine spell coming at some point.

Have a good day, be safe and stay well.  xx

Thursday 29 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  Thanks very much for the kind messages and understanding.  It was weird - on Tuesday I woke and it felt as if I'd just hit a brick wall at speed - I felt mentally very low and completely empty bit with incoherent thoughts racing around in my head, plus I was aching all over, like some virusy thing (but not the dreaded Covid 19, don't worry - no cough, no temperature and taste and smell are normal).
I have no idea what was going on there; maybe it was just that everything was getting on top of me.  I shall take things easy at home again today apart from one thing - no, two things - and should be fine by the weekend.

Beth's birthday evening went really well.  We had a good old chat, enjoyed my cooking, ate far too much and watched two movies on Netflix, Matilda and The King's Speech, neither of which Beth has seen.  Alex joined us via Messenger when Beth opened her pressies and that was nice.  Not the same as him actually being here but definitely a good option. 
We've decided to have some movie evenings from time to time as there's such a wide choice and it was so enjoyable.
I'd decorated the table and the party shop was open so I got a balloon thingy which Beth took home with her on Tuesday.

I did manage to get some things done in the last two days.  It would have been very easy to just curl up and be miserable but I remembered what Eileen said (thanks, Eileen) and felt that doing simple, de-complicating stuff would probably help - and it did!

I made the Christmas cake!  Oh, it did smell lovely as it was cooking and it came out looking beautiful.  It's now well wrapped and in a tin and I will start feeding it at the weekend.  Now I have to decide how to ice it.  I'm no artist so it will have to be shapes cut out of mouldable icing (on top of the marzipan/icing covering, I mean) and I have no idea what.  I did stars last year so maybe I could do leaves this year.  I have holly and ivy leaf press things although they're going to need a jolly good wash first as they are currently in my pottery box!
I'll do a bit of Googling to see what I can find and there's plenty of time.

Yesterday in particular, I did a lot more tidying and moving stuff around.  As I sorted out 'things' it seemed to help my mind to sort out and between times I rested and that helped too.  I've been able to declutter several kitchen cupboards - for example, bakeware, seldom used but still wanted, is now in a lidded box out in the shed and the shelving in the garage is filling up nicely.  With the corner unit and three more ordinary units still to come, I think I will have all the storage space I need in the garage.  I'll never be able to put the car away but that's been so for decades now.

There's still a fair bit to sift through and sort out, but I'm getting there.  Piles of stuff have been dealt with, things that have been sitting out are now away and it's just a whole lot nicer.  I think today I shall tackle my pottery bags.  I'm not going to need to use the tools, etc, for some time to come so a good clean up and sort out will give some sort of 'closure' to it all for now.  I can do that while sitting down in the warm.

Chris and I have an online chat schedules.  Yes, we're back to online again for now, it being much too chilly to sit out now and inside being banned.  We haven't met since I went on holiday so there will be plenty to chat about and I am looking forward to it.

This afternoon it is the dreaded dentist!  Nothing to do with the implants; this is a normal check-up, the one that was cancelled at the end of April and I have three teeth that require attention that I know of, let alone anything else simmering below the surface.  I tell myself that I am lucky that check-ups are resuming and that I survived all the implant stuff so I can survive this but even so . . . oh, well, she's unlikely to actually do anything today and, even if she does, by three o'clock it will all be over.

Have a good day, everyone.  This latest turn of events with tiers and strong rumours of another lockdown, maybe over Christmas, is hitting everyone hard, I think.  I hop you are OK and coping.  Be safe and stay well.  xx

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Something to think about - please read with compassion.

 Beth posted this on Facebook and I though it worth a different audience.  Copied and pasted, typos and all.  No editing whatsoever.

"There have always been hungry kids.

15 years ago, one of the best things I found, working with six year olds, was that they generally did not have a well developed sense of shame. Therefore a hungry child would tell you, or act out in such a way that necessitated a quiet 'is something on your mind' chat, and then they'd tell you they hadn't had breakfast. Or dinner the night before. Or they had, but not nearly enough.

Many is the time I would mop up a tear or three, then hot foot it along to the canteen to beg a slice of bread and marg to keep them going until school dinners, with the inevitable big chunk of cakey stodge and custard to fill them up.

After that I worked with the ten year olds. By ten, they wouldnt tell you any more. Their pride and shame wouldnt allow it. That didnt make them any less hungry, of course. Didnt mean it wasnt happening.

And yes, there were those few children who were perpetually neglected. But I also realised that, quite often, there were families who had just fallen on difficult times. A benefit delay, a change of circumstance, a sick relative and bus fares to the hospital to pay for, a lack of work for a contractor... all these could lead to shortages. Those families were there at the end of school with a big smile and a wave, always there for parents evenings etc... these weren't feckless individuals, they were people struggling, people who needed help. A judgeypants attitude was missing the point.

People are losing their jobs all over the place. Every new job has hundreds of applicants. Universal credit, which wasnt fit for purpose beforehand, frankly, are drowning under the weight of new applications. They havent hassled me for months, too busy with new applicants! And delays are built into the system; I have already shared that Universal Credit left me with no money for ten weeks last year, that was three lots of rent etc to find. I used all my savings, sold some stuff and mum bought me essential shopping when I still fell short, but not everyone is that lucky. And I did not have a child at home by that stage.

Fast forward to now and a whole load of people are facing short term but severe shortages of money. Parents being useless is not the problem, parents struggling financially in the middle of a pandemic- induced recession with high unemployment and a failing benefit system is.

There are more hungry kids, now. Probably short term, but happening now. And for whatever reason, it's wrong. Even if it is a case of parental ineptitude, or neglect, is that a reason to turn a blind eye? No child deserves to go hungry because of the circumstances or failings of its parent.

Just feed the bloody children, Boris.  "

Taking a break

 I'll be back soon.  xx

Monday 26 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  Didn't it get dark early yesterday (stating the flippin' obvious, I know)?  It really shouldn't but it always comes as a bit of a shock right after changing the clocks.  By four, the sun was going down and the colours were starting to fade.  Winter really is on the way.

The chat with Dad didn't go 100%.  First of all there were issues getting him in (my fault/inexperience) and then we just couldn't get a video of him on screen.  It was showing as on, he could se himself and me, I could see me and a black rectangle of him.  Obviously, we were able to chat and it was fine for Dad but . . . does anyone have any idea what the problem might be.  I'm assuming his end, not mine.

I got started on the great Shift Around, moving stuff from the shed to the garage and starting to full up the shelves.  At the moment it looks a right mess, worse than before, which is to be expected.  This morning I will be moving everything out of the garage and then putting it all back in a more organised way.  It might take all week but I will get there.

It's Beth's birthday today.  She's coming round here in the afternoon and I'm cooking her a nice meal (with alcohol) and she's then staying over for the night.  The plan is to live link up with Alex so he can chat while she opens her presents - I hope that comes off as he was a bit sad at not coming back.  Much better not to in these odd times.  Before Christmas, Beth will be able to go and collect him but none of us, including Al, was very happy for him to take the train.

I've got some table confetti, a candle shaped as a B, a badge and this morning I will go down and see if the local party shop is open and, if it is, to get some floaty balloons.
And then I'm popping to Morrisons for a few nibbly bits and some flowers for her.

In the afternoon, I'll be prepping dinner and then, after she comes, we might put up the other shelf unit before settling down.

Have a great day and be safe and well.  xx

Sunday 25 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  It's dry out after a bit of a wet night, which is good because I need to be out quite a bit today.

Beth and I got going on those shelf units yesterday.  The first unit took quite a long time but we followed some YouTube clip instructions.  It's very helpful to see exactly what's going on rather than follow diagrams.  It wasn't complicated, just a bit fiddly in places, and although the instructions show one person putting it together, there were plenty of times when another pair of hands was very helpful.

It wasn't a nut, bolt and screwdriver job, everything sort of slotted in and the kit provided a very business like mallet for hammering things firmly into place.  As we went along, we worked out a few simpler ways of doing certain bits and the second unit went up in a third of the time.

The kit.  Kindly note the methodical approach (ha ha)

Going up!
(The tablecloth is now straight, by the way)

They were actually heavier than we had expected and we carried the 'shell' down to the garage before putting the shelving on.

Eileen - we were pretty impressed with them.  They were OK to put together although I think you'd need someone to help, they're sturdy and, all in all, just what I wanted.
I'd recommend them.

We constructed two of the three that have arrived and then Beth's back started aching a bit so we stopped.  I might have a go at putting one together myself today, just to see.  If it proves too tricky, I can just leave it until tomorrow.

Also on order are three more straight units and a corner unit and I'm thinking maybe I can get a few more.  It's going to be so good to get everything organised and onto shelves and I'd like to have enough and to spare, if you know what I mean.

In the evening, I chilled with some catch up TV and the first proper week of Strictly which I really did enjoy so much.  It was bright, cheerful and sparkly and, no, I didn't miss Bruno one little bit!

Today has two main things.  The first one is going to take most of the day and that is moving things about and getting them onto shelves.  I'm starting with moving the gardening stuff from the shed which is getting a bit cluttered again and I am sure I will be feeding the black bin so I'll wheel that around to the back first.  Before I get anything onto the new shelves though, I need to measure and make sure I've got the made up units exactly in the right place with room for the third unit and the corner unit to the right of them.  Once I'm sure of that, it will be back and forth, back and forth!  I'm glad that today is a bit longer!

The other thing is that, after quite a lot of gentle persuading, Dad has decided to dip his toe into the world of Zooming.  These latest restrictions have hit him quite hard, I think, after the last long gap and then me being able to resume my visits again.
So yesterday I sent him the info to sign up to Zoom and become a 'contact' and today, at eleven, I'm sending him an invite for a chat.  Fingers crossed for that because I think it will be very useful and, in time, maybe he can have family based chats with more than one person.  That would be good.

So that's today.  I think it will be good.
Stay safe.  xx

(copied from Amazon, here's the units still to be delivered)

Saturday 24 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  It seems to be a dry start to the day and I just hope it stays that way because today is Shelf Building Day (at last!).  I've been down to the shed for some freezer stuff and it isn't particularly cold so that's all good.

Yesterday was a very quiet and gentle day.  I tidied, got some of the ironing done, caught up with some telly, planned some meals and generally pottered around happily.  Nice.

This morning, I will spend some time in the kitchen prepping stuff.  It's Beth's birthday on Monday and she's coming here for an evening meal as we are 'bubbled' and, right now, she's not going out with friends, etc.
After discussing it with her, I'm going to make a veggie lasagne, some actifry chips (she loves actifry chips) and a nice salad with a fruit platter for afters.  She's staying overnight so we can open a bottle of something or other.
It should be good.

Back to today - Beth's over for lunch and then we set to and work.  Hopefully, by the time it starts getting dark, I will have three shelving units up in the garage with stuff on - all the garden stuff from the shed, for a start.  I want the other stuff to be sitting in the middle of the garage, waiting for the other shelves, and there are sundry items from the house that also need to go out there.  It's going to make a big difference, I think.

And that's about it.  There's Strictly to look forward to this evening and that's the day over!
Take care and be safe.  xx

Friday 23 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  It was another really lovely day yesterday with lots of sunshine, although the sun is quite hazy so late in the year and without the strength of summer sunshine.  Still, it was cheerful and happy!

Dave arrived bang on eleven and, after a coffee and chat, he proceeded to make sense of the AVC thingy for me and the forms will be arriving in the next week.  He works in the financial field at the moment and knows what's what!  He stayed for lunch and afterwards went over my ISA stuff (which he 'manages') with me so that is another thing ticked off my list.  Before he left, we fixed another date for him and Anna to come round for supper so, all in all, we got a lot done.

At Slimming World weigh-in, I was very pleased to find that I'd lost around half of my holiday gain.  Cheers!

So all in all a really nice day.

Today the diary is blank but, seeing as I didn't actually get any ironing done yesterday, guess what's top of the list today.  Also, it is cleaner day so I must sort out carious messy corners and surfaces.
A day at home doing homey things and catching up on stuff sounds just the ticket!

I hope your day is as nice as I would like mine to be.  :-)  xx

Thursday 22 October 2020


 Good morning.
Again, it is totally stupid o'clock, I've been up for two hours or so and sleep is not returning.  Great start to the day but there's not an awful lot of scheduled stuff so it will be OK.

It was a fairly busy day yesterday.
I realised that I had a huge pile of washing so in the morning I got that started.  The weather was shocking so no drying outside, sadly, but it's all done now and today I will tackle the resulting rather big pile of ironing.  By this evening, it should all be done and dusted.

No, it's not as bad as this, thank goodness!

I went to my first personal training session in three weeks and it was hard work.  I was still feeling bloated and lethargic after the week of penicillin (I think that was the cause) and it is frightening how quickly fitness levels go down.  Never mind, I'm back on it now and next week should be easier.

The stitches are now out and it was absolutely no trouble whatsoever.  Mr C (dentist) was very pleased with his handiwork and my seemingly excellent powers of healing, not that I can take any credit for that - it is what it is.  I now have a date for what should be the very last part of all this so by Christmas I will, fingers crossed, have my new forever smile and can retire the dental plate (cheers).  It's taken a long time but we're nearly there now.

And then, at six, the first online governors' meeting started, using Teams.  I'd have preferred to use Zoom but there you go.  There was something about being online that really focused our minds and I think it was one of the best meetings in a long time.  I heard just about everything, there was no 'overchat' and it stayed on point throughout.  Despite a heavy agenda, we finished before time - just about unheard of.
We're pretty sure they will take this form for a while to come and I, for one, am very happy that it will.  The monitoring 'visits' will also be online meetings.  Not totally hands on but as good as it can be right now.  Hopefully, at some point next year, schools can become more open communities again, but right now they aren't and shouldn't be so we have to make the best with what we have.

At around eleven today, son Dave is coming over to help me sort out my last remaining little AVC pension thingy that I've been meaning to deal with for ages now.  The main trouble is that it has to be done by phone and I can't cope with phone, especially not when money decisions have to be made and I'm not hearing properly.  So Dave will do my talking for me and they'd better like it!
I'll be glad when that's sorted; it's been on my mind for a while really.

The only other scheduled thing is Slimming World at five-ish.  I'm looking forward to that; it's always nice to see everyone and people are very good at sticking to those distancing rules.  I'm on the social team and help to weight people but, most importantly, as soon as the meeting finished, I whizz round with sanitiser in hand, wiping down all the surfaces before the next meeting.  It means Jen can focus on any individual queries.
I like feeling useful!  :-)

Wednesday 21 October 2020


 Good morning!  I've just been down to the shed to get today's frozen stuff out and it's chucking it down.  What a shame; yesterday was lovely.  It looks as if it's going to be wet all day too.

I did an early morning shop yesterday, deciding to take the drive to Sainsburys as I haven't been there for a while.  Good decision - they had 25% off clothes, not that there was much I liked but I did get some more jeans, a nightie and a top.  
I don't think I have ever spent so much at a supermarket but it wasn't clothes that did the damage, it was Christmas gifts.  When we talked about it, Beth said what she'd really like is some new ovenware as her stuff is so old and terribly battered now.  Things like a few roasting dishes and low sided trays.  SHe likes what I have which is from Sainsburys, quite good and very sturdy.  Nothing buckles, for a start, and it is easy to clean.  So I got what she wants and will wrap it up and tick it off the list.  I also got a few bits and bobs for her birthday next Monday.  Her main pressie was some cash for a specific purpose but I want her to have some little parcels to open too.
Then I got some stuff for Alex's Christmas box too.  I'm putting together a sort of student's comfort box with all sorts of bits and bobs that he can dive in to.  Things like drinking chocolate with marshmallows and long life squirty cream, some pens, choccies, a mug, and so on.
All of that, plus the normal shop and the clothes made for an eye watering bill but it's now rather than later so that's OK.

Then I came home and put everything away.  Beth texted to say she couldn't come; she had needed to arrange a GP appointment and was given one over lunchtime.  Never mind, Saturday is still on and we will get the shelves done then.

I popped out to pick up the pottery and had a nice chat with Alex, the tutor.  She said they had been making noises about restarting after Christmas but we agreed that this was highly unlikely and even an April start wasn't all that likely really.  I collected all Beth's things but was disappointed in mine.  One bowl that should have been finished wasn't there at all and the other hadn't had its final firing so I left it there.  Oh, well, out not with a bang but a wimper!!!

I forgot to mention yesterday that in the evening I had some Governors' online training.  I'd like to say it was exciting but, in fact, it was all about being ready for OFSTED and it brought up old feelings of dread and fear that I used to feel around the whole issue when I was teaching.  Not nice really.  The training itself, what I could hear of it, seemed good but, oh, that black cloud.

Anyway - today also looks busy.  I'm resuming personal training sessions after a three week break (two sessions - holiday and dental) and I guess it will be hard work.  Mixed feelings really but it'll be fine when I'm doing it.

At two, I'm due at the dentist to have the stitches taken out.  I think that should be OK, we will see really.

And then, at six, there's an online meeting of the Local Governing Body.  Yesterday's meeting was using Zoom with which I am familiar.  Today's uses Teams which I have but have never used so that might be 'interesting'.  I need to spend some time this morning reading through all the associated paperwork, not the most thrilling of activities but I like to know what I'm agreeing to (or not).

So that's my day.  Not the most exciting agenda in the world - or maybe I'm just feeling negative after yesterday evening.  It's just one day, it'll soon be over.
Have a good one yourself and be safe.  xx

Tuesday 20 October 2020


 Good morning.  It's another very early start to the day but never mind, I feel fine and can snooze later on if needed.

I've started a new family tradition; I shared it with Dad and he thought it was lovely so here it is.  From now on, October 19th (Mum's birthday) is going to be Christmas Cake Day (start of, anyway!), a bit like Stir Up Sunday is the day for for puddings.  Mum always made such gorgeous Christmas cakes for as long as I can remember, beautifully and traditionally iced with little rosettes, silver baubles, etc, and carefully transported to my grandparents' home where we spent Christmas.  It used to sit out on display and we kids looked and coveted but didn't dare touch!  After Christmases transferred to my home, Beth took over making the cakes and a mighty fine job she did too, bless her.  Now I am retired, I have taken it over and last year was the first time.

I took a photo of the fruit mix I put together yesterday and here it is!  Maybe it will evoke an aroma for you, Sue, because it smells very good!

(I need to add the glace cherries still)

Some of the shelving came but not all.  I ordered it in two 'lots', one of three units and the other of three units and a corner unit and, being Amazon, it didn't all come together.  I have the former and Beth will hopefully be over for lunch and maybe to help me assemble one of them.  I have no idea when the others will arrive but they will come when they come!  They are heavier than I expected but that's OK.  We intend making them up in the house and carrying them to the garage before placing the actual shelves on the frame.

Another parcel arrived.  It was a flat box of flowers, the kind that posts through your letter box and perks up once you get them into  water.  What a treat.  They were from Beth to say thank you . . . aaaaahhhhhh.  Thanks, sweetheart.
(Not a great photo but you get the idea and they have opened out beautifully since this photo was taken yesterday)

Today, having been given a time slot, I'm off to the adult education centre to pick up some pottery.  Because of lockdown in March, pottery finished very suddenly and abruptly while people were in the middle of projects and it hasn't resumed since .  They've arranged for people to go and pick up any finished work (or unfinished, if we want it) at our own specific time and I will also collect Beth's work as well.  I can't see these classes resuming in the near future, can you?  To make it economically viable, the pottery room would need to contain too many people for safe distancing - it's very sad but one of those things.  I wonder if it will ever resume.

As already mentioned, Beth will probably be round and we will have lunch together again.  Nothing as posh as a roast dinner today, just jacket potato and salad.

I'm looking forward to today.  I think it will be good.  xx

Monday 19 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  It's early, it's dark, but I feel so much better.  I had two long naps yesterday, one in the morning and one in the evening, went to bed at eight, slept through the night and woke just after four so I think I'm catching up with things a bit.  Just two more days of meds and the stitches come out on Wednesday and we will be on the last lap!

Yesterday was lovely.  Beth came round for lunch and we had a really good catch up.  It's been three or more weeks since we last met, what with her job hunting, my holiday and various other happenings so there was plenty to talk about.  We sorted out Christmas (!), talked about presents, etc, and how it will all pan out.  As she said, we will celebrate somehow, it just depends on external circumstances exactly what we do.  

Alex seems to be doing fine.  There are outbreaks of Covid-19 at UEA but the uni authorities seem to be responding to the situation extremely well, as are the students, and it doesn't seem to be spiking.  He was going to come home next weekend for Beth's birthday but won't now, leaving it until Christmas when he will have to come home.  It's a month's break so he will be able to isolate at home for a fortnight before the Christmas stuff starts so that should work fine.

Beth's coming round here again for her birthday (next Monday) and I am making us a really nice meal.  Neither of us want to go out and she can't meet up with friends at the moment but we will have a pleasant time anyway.  I might get the Scrabble box down - talk about living the high life!!!

Today, the shelving I have been going on about for ages is due to arrive.  I've cleared space in the living room (I have quite a large space, luckily) for the packs and there they will sit until Saturday when Beth is coming over to help me put it all together.  They sent a link to a youtube video showing how to put it all together and I have to say it looks very straightforward, just easier with two pairs of hands.  Once it is all together and in the garage, I can judge if there's room for more.  My thinking is that if there is space for one or more units, I may as well get them while I can - I am sure they will come in useful  This has all been in the planning for a very long time now and it will be lovely to have it all finished and completed.

I have to stay in until the delivery is made.  They don't give a time, nor do they contact me before delivery is made, so I need to be within earshot.  Any excuse for an easy day, that's what I reckon.  There are no other plans.  No tuition, of course, and no need to go out for any reason, even if I could.  I'll do some washing, etc, and my herb and spice cupboard is long overdue for a sort out so maybe I'll do that.  

The other thing I'm hoping to do is get out all my bits and bobs of dried fruit and put it all in soak (in cointreau, yum, much nicer than brandy) for the Christmas cake.  I like to soak it all for about a fortnight before mixing and baking the actual thing.  The house smells wonderful, as you can imagine.  I use the Delia recipe which hasn't let me down yet!

Today will be a bit bitter-sweet as it was Mum's birthday.  This is the second year without her and I do miss her a lot.  Dad does too, of course, and I hope he will be OK today.  I expect we will be emailing each other and I will be doing plenty of remembering with love and thankfulness.
Have a good day, everyone.  xx

Sunday 18 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  It's early and dark (where did summer go?) and the clocks go back next weekend (it is next weekend, isn't it?) but inside it feels safe and cosy.  A lovely feeling.
I did sleep a bit better, thank you for all the lovely comments.  I felt a bit 'odd' last night - not poorly, but 'windy' and uncomfortable and I wonder if it is a bit of a reaction to the penicillin I am currently taking.  It's fine this morning so no worries.

After a slow start to the day, I set off to Hyde Hall, arriving bang on checking in time.  Earlier, I had fired off an email to let them know that Suzanne wasn't able to come, in case someone else needed that space.  I'm rather glad they didn't because when I checked in, both of us had been taken off the list, not just Suzanne, although I did specifically say I'd still be there.  Never mind, the lady was very pleasant and there were no problems.

I had a gorgeous time wandering up the hill, round the gardens and slowly down again.  It wasn't sunny, sadly, so the autumn colours were rather muted, but there was plenty to see and enough people about to make it feel sociable, even with distancing.

Of course, I had to finish my visit with a trip to the shop and I was so pleased that they have their square based pyramid Advent Candles back in again.  They are perfect for the holders I made at pottery in 2019 (how long ago that seems now) and I bought one with the numbers on and another with just a Christmas design.  I saw no outstandingly 'must have' decorations but there were some Christmas cards with 'Joy' on the front so I got a few packs.  In past years I haven't sent many cards, making a charitable donation instead, but I think this year cards might matter a bit more.
I will still donate, of course.

As I drove away, car heater on to warm me up (it was quite chilly), out came the sun.  How frustrating was that!  I was well out of my checking in slot so no way could I turn back and, in fact, it disappeared again after ten minutes or so anyway.

The rest of the afternoon was spent sorting things out for dinner, for Sunday lunch today and chilling in front of the telly.  I've now caught up with a number of programmes I missed while on holiday.
I enjoyed Strictly although it is, obviously, very different, there were some very heavy handed Covid references and the squeals and shrieks of both celebrities and professionals didn't really compensate for the lack of pace caused by the necessity to distance.  There's some interesting partnerships this year, however, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all develops.

Today, Beth is round for lunch.  I've not seen her for a while so I'm very much looking forward to a good chat and catch-up.  Apart from that, there's very little on the 'to do' list - which doesn't mean there's nothing to do, of course!!

There's no tuition planning - no tuition this week which feels odd, like a half term.  The following week there wouldn't be too much anyway because it will be hall term and then maybe one more week and the restrictions might lift again if this is indeed just a 'circuit breaker' and it works.  I'm placing no bets though.  Time alone will tell.

I'm still planning for Christmas, mind you.  I don't mean getting things like biscuits, etc in, I mean I will be making The Cake and The Pudding and the turkey is already ordered.  The first two keep and the last can freeze so why not?

Well, better get another coffee.  Have a great day, have fun and be safe.  xx

Hyde Hall, 17-10-20. Photo heavy

 Just some photos I took there.  The light was very poor and, annoyingly, as I drove away, out came the sun for a short time.  In any other circumstances,. I'd have turned and gone back to see if I could get more colour but in these times one can't do that.
The autumnal colours are muted, but it was a lovely visit and I'm glad I went.

A good way to show the results of a photo competition at the moment.  Every single photo was absolutely stunning.

Saturday 17 October 2020


 A very early good morning to everyone.  It's middle of the night, I've been awake for a couple of hours and there seems to be no sign of any tiredness galloping over the horizon.  I know it's naughty to have technology on but what's a girl to do when there's nothing to do, eh?  So I'm typing and will send really early before going back up to try and settle once more.  
It's a nuisance but just a phase.

Yesterday was very quiet and I didn't do all that much which is perhaps why I'm not tired.  I did various bits and bobs - planned the week's meals, did some more tidying up, kept in touch with Suzanne, disappeared upstairs when the cleaner arrive - all that sort of stuff.

I had a text from the shelving delivery people with a link to a video about how to construct the things.  I'll probably give that a good watching at some point today, after I get home from Hyde Hall.  I'd booked an arrival slot for me and Suzanne and I'm not going to waste it.  I will go, have a good wander around and see if there's anything in the shop that could be used as little Christmas gifts.  Beth has a birthday coming up very soon and, although she'd had her gift from me already, a few little parcels to go with her card would be nice.

That's it really.  Fingers crossed for a bit of sunshine later on (I haven't checked) and I will probably go even if it is drizzling a bit for the fresh air and exercise.

Finishing on a positive note - because tuition sessions have had to stop again, I will have that much more time to get that shelving up.  Wouldn't it be nice if it were all done and dusted by next weekend.  Here's hoping.  As well as the actual shelving, I saw a couple of sort of storage units for garden implements - spades, forks, brooms, etc., so got a couple of them as well.  They weren't expensive and should really help.

Right.  Time to go back up in hopes.  Have a great day and do stay safe and well.  xx

Friday 16 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  The big news around here is that Sunny Essex is going up into Tier Two.  The reason seems to be that 'they' (the county council or whoever makes these decisions) can see a spike on the horizon and wants to be pre-emptive.  Fair enough - I'll follow whatever is required to defeat this horrible virus.

Sadly, though, I was having a friend over for a few nights and that won't happen now.  Disappointing, but a minor sacrifice in relation to what some are making.

I got into town yesterday, picked up my prescription, bought some food at M&S (plus jeggings and a top, ooops) and then came home, sorted out the guest room which is now ready for when Suzanne CAN come over again, did some tuition planning for next week which will be there in place when I can resume the sessions again and had a most enjoyable session with one of my most enthusiastic students.

During the afternoon, I made some cupboard rubble bread.  I found I had lots of fag ends of bags of different flours so I just bunged it all in together topped it up to 500g with strong white and made a plaited loaf, the idea being that Suzanne and I could cut at the plaited loaf over the weekend.  
I found out about the tier change half way through proving so it wasn't a process I could stop!  :-)
It looks nice though, doesn't it?  I couldn't sleep overnight so I came down and sliced it up.  Now it's going in the freezer.

At Slimming World, weigh in was a bit of a disaster but it will be fine; I know what to do and how to do it so no problems.  It was a very good meeting and it's nice to see everyone.

So, a funny old day in a way with some disappointments but very nice too.

Today has suddenly become calm and empty.  I want to walk to Morrisons to get some yogurts as I'm nearly out but, apart from that, the day is empty.  I shall do some garden work and some more sorting shed and garage out.  I can order those shelves now and when they come next week, I can really get some order into my outhouses.  I'm getting there, I just need those shelves now.

Take care and stay as safe as possible.  xx

Thursday 15 October 2020


 Good morning.  It's nice how quickly life settles down again after upheavals, isn't it.  Things are right back to normal again and the old routines back in place.  

Thank you for all your lovely messages yesterday.  I promise I won't go an about the dental stuff much more but just to say I was so surprised how comfortable everything is.  I decided to not take any pain killers yesterday and I totally didn't need any.  It was all fine and I think most of the previous day's evening ouches were from the injections (there were quite a lot of them).  This morning I have a slightly puffy upper lip and the inside is a bit black and blue but it feels, it doesn't hurt.  It's just a bit trout-pouty, if you know what I mean.  The plate fits comfortably still and all is well.

It was lovely to have some sun yesterday.  Fairly watery sun, admittedly,  but it was brighter and cheering.  Jeff turned up in the afternoon and now most of the tomatoes are in the bin.  I asked him to leave the ones in the bed just for the colour because they are still nice and green.  He also chopped some other brown stuff and generally swept and tidies, bless him.  He's not a gardener like yours is, Eileen, but he makes such a difference.

One thing I did was go onto Amazon.  There were a few things I needed to order for others but I got something for myself.
Last week, one of the nice things was that in the hotel room there were towelling dressing gown things and I really liked having one to put on after my bath/shower, rather than wrapping a towel around.  It was warmer, for a start, and just more convenient.  So I looked on Amazon and they weren't terribly costly, so I bought one.  If I find I use it a lot, I may splash out on a second one.

I've put the garage shelving units onto the list as I really don't want it arriving until next week.  I have a friend coming Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon and can do without the complications of huge boxes piled in my living room which is where they will have to go until Beth can come over and help me with them.  That's next week's biggie - that and starting the allotment clearing (at least the ground should be nice and soft and damp).

Today, though, first of all I am off into town to pick up a prescription and I will also go to M&S to get some food - they do nice small loaves and joints of meat and while I'm there, I've run out of instant coffee so will get some.  Just bits and bobs really.

Once home, I need to get Suzanne's room ready.  It's in a bit of a mess having been used as a bit of a dumping ground but it won't take long.  Then I just need to read through some tuition notes for later and make/copy a few resources.  I've got some of next week's tuition plans in place but it would be nice to do the rest, from the sessions I missed Tuesday and yesterday.  Then I won't have them on my mind over the weekend.

To finish the day off, it's Slimming World group so I'll be around there early evening.

See what I mean?  Back to routines again.

Wednesday 14 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday turned out to be a soaker around here.  Rain, rain and yet more rain all day and into the evening.  The forecast for today is better, not wet, so fingers crossed.

I'm glad yesterday is over.  I was well numbed up all round the op site so that was good.  Relaxation strategies did seem to help, as did keeping my eyes firmly closed throughout.  I don't think I let myself down too badly although there were a few times when I started shaking, the whole chair almost rattled and the light above, which is fastened to the chair, was also shaking noticeably.  In any other situation, I'd have laughed!  With a mouthful of machinery and dental fingers, it wasn't an option but an internal chuckle is just as helpful!

They were very good, ignored my reactions (which is best for me) and just carried on.  All done now, the worst of the whole procedure is over and it has been - well, I can't say a 'good' experience, but it's something I would go through again, should it be necessary or to avoid a dental plate which has been a trial because I just haven't enjoyed the feel of something like that in my mouth.  I was glad to have it but . . .

I go back next week to have the stitches out and a check up and then, a couple of months after that, on go the toppings.  Maybe I will have my new smile by Christmas, Covid-19 permitting.

I'm taking today easy.  I didn't sleep well, I still have a bit of a tension headache and am feeling jittery; silly but there you go.  I'm very lucky to be able to cancel the day and enjoy some R&R and the shivers have stopped now.  I have penicillin to take for five days (upset tum, here I come) plus some tablets to start off the bone growth.  I'm also staying on the pain killers for a day, not because it hurts but because it might if I don't!!  My middle name is Wimp!

To balance things out, I got some really good news yesterday which I will be happy to share with you as soon as I can.  It cheered me up no end.
I will use the day to get on with sorting and moving things.  It's all going very slowly but it is going and that's the main thing.

Have a good day, whatever your plans and do stay safe and well.  xx

Tuesday 13 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  It's gloomy and damp right now but seems to be dry which is nice after the rain that arrived just as I set out for tuition yesterday!  I don't intend to go out but it would be lovely to have some nice weather for my trips between house, shed and garage.

Yesterday went well (apart from a food blip which I have whinged on about on the other blog).  I have pretty much got all the washing and ironing done with just a few things airing on the rack because they were a little damp when I ironed them.  That's a relief.  Most of the other bits and bobs are now sorted and away too.  It still doesn't look tidy but half an hour's work will see that sorted.

Sharon, hairdresser, came yesterday to give me the cut and dry that had to be cancelled from just before my holiday because she did her back in.  I hadn't realised but yesterday was actually the start of her holiday and she had no other appointments but she slotted me in because it was the earliest I could have her.  Wasn't that nice.  I'm very relieved because it really was getting shaggy - still manageable but it wouldn't be long before it would start driving me crazy!  That's done for another six weeks now and we also fixed a date just before Christmas so phew!  Fingers crossed they will come off; there's no certainty at the moment, is there?

The other thing was tuition and that was great fun.  I found an 'Algebra Alphabet' thing that involved a few basic algebraic conventions (such as the difference between 2A and A squared plus the BODMAS principle but in a fun way and a way that required a systematic approach.  I'm going to use it for another student too - it was really good.

Today is a biggie for me and I'm nervous.  It's dental implant surgery day!  Eeeeek.  I won't be walking out with a big new smile, it's the day he puts the implant bases (whatever they are called) into the bone.  What then happens (I hope) is that the bone grows around the implants and when that's all nice and secure, the bits that show are sort of screwed on.  
I expect that it will all be pretty uncomfortable for a few days but no gain without pain - or whatever.  I'm glad the treatment is moving on as I'm fed up with the dental plate and can't wait to have 'proper' teeth again.

I've cancelled tuition today, of course, and am taking it easy this morning, just doing indoors things and sorting out stuff.

So that's today.  What are your plans - good, I hope.  xx

Monday 12 October 2020


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a bit dark to really tell but it looks pretty dry outside at the moment and yesterday was a lovely autumnal day.

The journey home was so, so easy yesterday.  I left straight after breakfast and three hours later I was home.  Very light traffic and absolutely no holdups whatsoever.  I really couldn't have asked for better.  The sun shone, the trees were noticeably more golden than when I drove up and if I'd been wandering or exploring, I'd have taken some photos.
I've been quite lucky this last week.  There has been some rain but nothing too bad and often overnight.

After unloading the car, I decided to go to Aldi and do a slightly bigger shop than originally planned.  I doubt I will need to do any more shopping this week now.  Then it was home for a mega sort out.  Food first and then suitcases.  I'd been away for ten days so there was plenty of washing; most is now done and the last load is in and doing as I type.  I guess it will be ironing this evening.

Apart from that, Sharon is coming to do my hair.  It was supposed to happen the Friday before my holiday but she did her back in and couldn't come.  I'll be glad to get rid of the Claudia fringe - it's long enough to be a nuisance now.  Before then I must sort out all the bits and bobs I didn't put away yesterday - the place looks a bit of a tip right now.

Then, later, it's tuition - all planned and ready and I just need to read it all through.

That's it for today.  Nothing too stressful, thankfully.  Tomorrow is a different matter but I will tell you about that tomorrow.  Have a super day, whatever you have planned.  xx

Sunday 11 October 2020


 Good morning.  Well, the end is nigh, as they say.  It's been a lovely week, full of enjoyable things to do, nice food, good entertainment.  I'm glad I came and I'm glad I stayed an extra two days.

Yesterday was lovely.
Because I went for a walk in the park and watched some of the cross country, I was a bit late for the quiz so just sat and listened.  Then five of us went for a gentle stroll round the grounds with one of the entertainment team and I took a few more photos in the sunshine.

After lunch (a very nice ham and grain mustard sandwich with a coffee), I turned up for the line dancing and had a fun half hour stepping it out - or whatever the term is.  I have really enjoyed the two sessions I was able to book. 
Then it was straight on to the cocktail demo.

Now, this wasn't one you had to book and, unlike the gin and wine tasting sessions, it was free, so I assumed no tasting.  I was wrong and very nice they were too.  Just sips and I cannot for the life of me remember what they were called but two of them contained chambord, a raspberry liqueur I have never tasted and I liked it.  Must get some for Christmas as, to me, it had the festive vibe.   It'll be so nice in a spritz with prosecco or similar.
Have you ever come across it?

I also managed to sort out the packing and took most of my stuff down to the car, just leaving evening, overnight and morning stuff which I will bundle in a supermarket bag.  It will make this morning very easy.

One more thing I did was to go into the Kelly Turkey site to order the Christmas turkey.  Christmas has to happen now, at some time, some point, even if it means chucking it in the freezer until we can all be together.  
Christmas at Easter time - well, why not!  It is what we make of it, after all.

I remembered to get a photo of my room from the outside.

The light isn't great but it's the bay window just below the clock.  Definitely in the attics and most likely servants quarters originally, wouldn't you say?

Well, I'd better bring this to a close and sort out the last of my stuff.  I have breakfast at half past eight and intend to leave straight afterwards.  It's around three hours from here to home so I will have time to do a bit of fruit and veg shopping when I get home.

Have a super day and things will all be back to what passes for normal again tomorrow.  xx

Saturday 10 October 2020


 Good morning.  Well, here I am in my new room and it is lovely.  On the fourth floor - but there are lifts - and the view over the park is amazing - see.  Photos taken different ways from the bay window.

And this is the room.

This is up a couple of steps, a low sort of gallery affair.
You can see the steps to the first photo bottom right.
Beyond the sleeping area there's a very nice bathroom and various storage units - much more storage that the previous room, in fact much more room, full stop, except for ceiling height.  This room was originally part of the attics - the servants quarters, I guess.  No complaints.

If/when I come back, I now know what to ask for by way of rooms.

So, my last day here is full of activities.  Having learnt from earlier in the week and because I was booked in before lunch, I decided straight away what I wanted to do and got it booked.
I'm going to the quiz followed by a 'midday stroll' around the grounds.  Then, after lunch, I got a place on the line dance workshop, the one I was too late for earlier in the week.  Finally, there's a cocktail demo, a bit like the cookery demo, I expect.

Once I've worked my way through that, I want to get most of my stuff down and into the car, leaving just bed things and clean clothes.  And the laptop, of course.

In the evening, I think I will stick with the easy listening entertainment in the Great Hall

Friday 9 October 2020


 Good morning!  Today was supposed to be travelling home day and I am quite happy that is isn't really, much as I love my home.
At eight I will be going to reception to finish off the Monday to Friday stay, check in for the weekend and find out what there is to do today and when I can go into my new room.

The rain cleared up yesterday and I went for another nice walk around looking out for autumny things to photograph and below all this waffle I will post some of them.
The Thoresby Concerto was a selection of songs from shows and very nice it was too.
The evening do, the Bohemian Rock, was fab.  I really enjoyed it.

And I'll leave you with some of the photos because I need to pack and get everything sorted.

I call this last 'If I were at home . . .'

Thursday 8 October 2020


 Happy Birthday to Warners at Thoresby Hall.

Yesterday was twenty years since the hotel opened and there were various celebrations.

This was one.  Every hotel guest was given a balloon, a cup cake, a mini bottle of sparkly wine, a card, and in info sheet.
They delivered two to my room but must have realised their mistake (shame) because when I came back from a historical talk there was only one.  I bet they ran out!

It was another lovely day yesterday and I am falling into a pattern.
After breakfast I go for a saunter round, then there's the quiz and various other organised things.  I go back to my room around four for a rest, read, knit, etc before getting changed and going to listen to pre dinner music.
Dinner isn't over until around half seven and then I decide whether to go to the entertainment or to go back to my room.  I didn't last night but I think I might tonight.

Despite a few concerns, once I got into the line dancing, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  There's a whole load of dances on YouTube so I might pick up on it when I get home.  Even me of the two left feet managed fine.

The cookery demo was likewise enjoyable.  I didn't learn anything really but it was entertaining and I had what he cooked for my evening main - not the exact same meal, obviously, but the same thing.  It was lovely and I will make an adapted version when I get home!

The history talk was also interesting and the chap who was talking and answering questions is a member of family who owned/still owns the kit and caboodle so had loads of facts and funny stories at his fingertips.  The hour went very quickly.

Today is reasonably and pleasantly busy.  At the moment, it is raining so fingers crossed!
I need to sort out my things and start packing because of moving room tomorrow.  I'll bung all the things I have used and therefore non longer need in bags and take them to the car which should make a difference to the stack of things to move.  If I get that done first thing, it is then off my mind.
There's the quiz and then a sort of re-enactment of 'the history of Thoresby Hall' that sounds as if it will be good fun.  Then there's an afternoon matinee, Thoresby Concerto - goodness knows what that is but I'll find out.  After that, there's time for a swim and a leisurely shower/rest before dinner.

The entertainment is 'Bohemian Rock' a celebration of the music of Queen (quoting from the bumph here) so I may very well go.

I can't believe it is Thursday already - where's the time going?

(edited to say that I'm doing my best to keep up with blogs, etc, but apologies if I've missed yours.  I'll do a proper catch up when I get home.)

Wednesday 7 October 2020



I've been a Very Bad Girl.  I went along to reception and booked two more days - over Friday night and Saturday night.  I've justified it by reminding myself that I've lost two holidays this year so why not! (No need to answer that one.)
Thankfully, S is quite happy to stay over and house mind for a few more days - phew.

I have to move room but all I need to do is pack everything up and they will porter it to my new room at some point during the day.  It's a 'new' historic room, rather than a 'not new' historic room.  What difference that makes remains to be seen but it's still in the main building, just up several flights of stairs (which I will use rather than the lift unless very tired).  My current view looks inward so isn't all that inspiring - maybe a higher up view will be prettier.

Here's my current room.  It's very brown, very 'old' in style but with a large, modern bathroom and behind the suitcase stand there is a fireplace with a notice warning one that in no circumstances whatsoever should one try to light the fire!  I suppose that, at some point, someone did and, originally, it must have been lit regularly.  The ceiling is so high and the window is huge.  The proportions, furniture and decor are perfect for an historic feel - very Jane Austen-y, if you ignore the mod cons!

Yesterday was great.  After a leisurely breakfast and the booking of a few activities (and extra days), I sauntered along to the quiz which was enjoyable but not personally 100% successful and then I set off for a stroll around the grounds and into Thoresby Park.  They're getting set up for some Horse Trials over the weekend so there were interesting looking jumps and other obstacles either already set up or in the process of being set up.

You could make a good few bowls of parsnip soup with what's along the bottom of this one!

Here's a few more snaps of my walk.

After lunch back in my room, I went to the pool for a half hour swim and a relax on a poolside recliner before a hot shower and a very comforting cuppa tea.

The pre-dinner cabaret in the Great Hall (seen from above in the photo below) was most relaxing and after dinner I was so relaxed and tired that I came straight back to my room and had an early night - and slept pretty much all the way through so I must have needed it!

Today I have three things planned - no, four.

The first is today's quiz which I may or may not go to.  Then I have booked - don't laugh - a line dancing workshop.  I've never taken a line dance step in my born days so we will see!  There's what's described as a cooking demonstration at two; no further info but it should be interesting, I hope, and then there's  talk on 'The History of Thoresby Hall' which I'm looking forward to.  No time for a swim today but I might have another walk around the park, weather permitting.  Yesterday was lovely and sunny but there's been rain overnight so we will see.

Have a great day, whatever you have planned.  xx