Monday, 30 November 2020

Monday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull and gloomy start to the day round here.  Misty and damp, not nearly cold enough for a frost but too cold and too damp to hang the washing out.  Maybe it will clear later on, fingers crossed.

Well, we have had our Christmas Tree Day and it was lovely.
We started off with lunch - lasagne, chips and salad (the salad makes it healthy, right?) and then tested one of the little Christmas puds I made.  It was very, very good indeed.  Lighter than the usual kind both in texture and colour but with that Christmas spice vibe and a gentle citrus tang about it.  I'm really looking forward to having some more.
Getting the tree up and decorated was great fun.  I dearly love real trees but have a beautiful artificial one for a number of reasons.  Quite apart from the shedding needles that can get in the eye (that happened to me once; it was horrible and the devil to get out), dealing with a real tree is a nuisance, they are comparatively expensive over the years, given that my last tree lasted, oh, it must have been well over twenty years with me and then, two years ago, it went to a charity that uses it in their shop and I'm expecting this current one, new last year, will see me out (or until I can't manage it any more)

After a while we had a break and our first G&T.  It helps to take a break and then take a critical look over the tree to see where the gaps are.  At that point it looked like this - photo taken on Beth's phone.  Explosion in the Christmas tree factory!


After a bit more work and some general clearing up . . .

. . . and that's pretty much how it will stay now in that corner until twelfth night.  You can see that the duo of Guardians of the Christmas Tree (yes, we're bonkers!!) have become a trio - Beth's old ted has joined the honourable pair (sitting in the middle).  In front of each is an owl holding a letter to spell out J O Y - most appropriate!

The rest of the day passed as planned.  A buffet tea and we watched The Snowman and Father Christmas (I thought I also had The Snowdog, but it seems not) followed by the Polar Express and then The Muppets' Christmas Carol.  

All in all, it's been great.

Today should be quieter.  Jeff has just finished doing his fortnightly tidy up and general maintenance in the garden, bless him, Beth is still fast asleep upstairs, I've cleared everything from yesterday (too tired to do it last night) and there's washing in the machine.
This afternoon, I have my post purchase 'demo' with Leonie where we make something in tandem.  I've chosen meatballs which will show me how the blade cover and the slow cooker functions work so guess what I am having for dinner tonight!  I wouldn't usually slow cook meatballs and will be interested to see if it makes any difference.

So that's my day.  How about you?  xx



Sunday, 29 November 2020

Sunday

 Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday was lovely in a rather untidy and messy way.  I did my early morning shop and got what I needed for the week so that was all done and dusted.  Then I set to and made a number of trips to the garage, empty handed on the way there and arms full on the way back to the house.  First of all the gopak table which is now in a corner with a suitable tablecloth over it.  Then various bags followed by three huge plastic storage boxes and, finally, the tree.  I wondered if I was going to be able to manage the tree - it is surprisingly heavy and the bag it's in is big.  However, with some pushing and pulling and general puffing and panting, I got it in and now it's just sitting there in another corner, still in the bag.

I got the candles out and onto the sideboard they always go on.  I got out the Christmas knits - Mary Christmas, the Victorian mice, various snowmen and festively garbed little teddies that all sit on top of the radiator beside the tree with the Guardians of the Christmas Tree (my old teddy and my brother's ditto) underneath them.  


It all took a surprisingly long time but I'm glad I did it today as we'd not have time to do it all today.

Beth is turning up at lunch time and, after lunch, we will set to and decorate, accompanied by a bottle and some mince pies.  When that's done we will eat more naughty nibbles and watch Christmas movies starting with The Snowman, The Snow dog and Father Christmas.  It should be a lovely day.


Saturday, 28 November 2020

Saturday

 Morning, everyone.  Sorry I'm a bit late but I did an early morning shop to avoid any crowds.  They I needed to put things away and after that I was so hungry I had my breakfast and I've only just remembered!  Ooops.

Yesterday was quite a productive day.  I made some cranberry sauce in Thermione after a bit of a panic when I thought I didn't have any frozen cranberries (they were hiding) and that is now in the freezer in two containers.  Then I rather fancied making some caramelised red onion chutney as Leonie (my Thermomix 'consultant') said it was a great recipe.  And so it was - I'm definitely making more (did I say this yesterday?) for gifts.

The chat with Jackie was really pleasant, as was coffee with Beth.  There's a M&S food hall fairly close to hers so I seized the opportunity to pop in there and pick up a few things.  They do a nice range of sweets that are OK for vegetarians/vegans so I got some for Christmas so Beth can dip into the bowls just like the rest of us.

That was about it really.  In the evening I stitched and watched telly and got all tearful at THAT moment in 'An Extra Slice'.  Very aaaawwwww, wasn't it?

Today, I've done my shop and really the rest of the day  is going to be spent moving things from garage to house and sorting bits and bobs out because - just in case I haven't mentioned it enough already - tomorrow is Christmas Tree Day.  Woo hoo!

Right, well, having remembered to write and post this, I will love you and leave you and get on with stuff.  Hoping your day will be as pleasant as I expect mine to be.  Take care and be safe.  xx

Friday, 27 November 2020

Friday

 Good morning, everyone.  My goodness, it's cold outside.  There's a heavy frost and a freezing mist, everything is white (not snow, just frost) and, yet again, I am so thankful for central heating and a cosy home.

On that subject, I got the annual letter yesterday, telling me that my winter fuel payment will be landing in my account at some point.  It makes me feel a little easier about turning up the heating from time to time, especially in the evenings when I'm not so active as well as a bit guilty.

Yesterday was, of course, a day for playing with my new toy.
After all my comments about never making puff pastry, too much hassle, etc, I noticed that there's a recipe for quick puff pastry and, as I had small amounts of butter in the freezer, I decided to give it a go.  In went the butter (it has to be in small portions, not as a chunk) and the plain flour plus a bit of salt and some cold water.  On went the machine and after a very short buzz, out came puff pastry dough.  After a brief chill, I did the rolling and folding (even Thermione doesn't manage that!!) but without the resting in between and ten minutes later I had a slab of puff pastry.  I had to test it, of course, so I used a very little to make cheese and marmite straws and the rest was cut into four portions and is now in the freezer.
And it was delicious - so, maybe, from now on I will be making puff pastry!  You never know.

The chat with Chris was lovely.  For people who live very quiet and uneventful lives, we always seem to have plenty to talk about and yesterday was no exception.  It was great fun.

Today is comparatively full.  I need to tidy up before the cleaners arrive and, as today is a whole house day, that means my bedroom.  It's not awful, it just needs a bit of work.

Before then, I have a scheduled Zoom chat with my friend, Jackie.  We missed each other last week so fingers crossed for today.

In the afternoon, while the cleaners are here, fingers crossed, I'm popping over to Beth's for coffee and a good natter.  We can sort out Sunday's arrangements and generally have a good time.

So that's today.  I will probably do some more thermo-playing as well but I have no definite plans yet.  I'll see what I fancy doing.  I've got a post purchase demo with Leonie on Monday afternoon where we make something in tandem.  She said she has a lovely recipe for meatballs that uses some of the new features and a new addition, the blade cover which fits in the bowl, over the blades, to keep the food off.  I'll look around Cookidoo and see what else hits the eye.

Well, I will sign off now - have a wonderful day, stay warm, safe and well.  xx


Thursday, 26 November 2020

Thursday

 Morning, everyone.  It's mildish and dry outside and we had some sunshine yesterday after a very dull morning.  Nice.

I really enjoyed personal training yesterday, delivered online with a programme devised to match the equipment I have - a step, a balance ball, a balance board and weights.  My balance has never been amazing; as a child I was fine on a bike but anything like roller skates were a disaster.  Now I'm getting old(ish), balance becomes more important so it's worth working on and it's definitely improving.  We might be back to face to face next week, maybe not.  It depends what Lindsey's 'ruling body' comes out with and she says I have the choice anyway.  

Not long after that, Thermione III arrived and I had a joyous hour or so unpacking her, connecting her to my internet and washing all the bits and pieces that came with her.

Here she is in the kitchen, taken just now, with apologies for the lighting.  My Thermos have always stood on a thin plastic chopping board.  She has built in scales which can be damaged if you drag her across the surface but it's safe to slide the board.  Life is too short to remember to lift!
Diane, the scales now weigh in one gram increments.

This is a close up of the interactive bit, the touch sensitive screen.  I called up a recipe that I intend to make, we always have home made biscotti for Christmas and I often bag some up as gifts.
If you press the down arrow, it scrolls to the full recipe.  When you press 'start cooking', it takes you through the whole process, step by step, setting the machine for you and prompting when you need to add something.
I will probably use cranberries as well as or instead of apricots and make sure I use Christmas spices.

I started with rice yesterday, which could be done in the old one but which now has a rice cooked setting and uses the absorption method.  I'm usually poor with rice and it comes out claggy but this rice was much better.
Each meal today will use Thermione but breakfast and lunch are not now things, it just uses a different method now.  I will be boiling some eggs for breakfast, using the egg function - Diane, a new feature is that on some settings the blades no longer turn or turn intermittently, like an occasional gentle stir.
Lunch will just be a reheat.
Dinner will be a Cookidoo recipe, chicken with peppers as it uses one of the new features.

After a chat with Beth via Facebook, we have decided to move Christmas Tree Day to this coming weekend.  There's every chance that the following weekend she will be going to pick Alex up from uni and that, of course, takes priority.  I didn't want to leave it for a fortnight so it's this weekend.  So I will have to get all the presents, currently on one of the beds in the guest room, sorted and wrapped.  Maybe a very pleasant task for today.

I'd better stop now and start the day.  I'm on my second coffee so it's about time really.  Have a lovely day and be safe.  xx




Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Wednesday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's dull, it's dry and it might cheer up later.   Yesterday turned out very pleasantly with some lovely late-Autumnal sunshine to cheer everyone up.

Yesterday morning I set to and made - yes, actually made - some sweet pastry for mince pies.  I didn't make it by hand, that's always a disaster, but I used Thermione and it seemed to work out really well.  The baked mince pies don't look too rock solid although I haven't tried one, they all went into the freezer when they had cooled down.

(apologies for the light)

I also got the vegetarian sausage rolls made although I'd bought the puff pastry a few days ago.  I had to taste the inside for seasoning and I follow Mum's trick of taking a little and frying it in a pan to taste.  It was absolutely delicious - Eileen, I added some garlic granules to the mixture and that worked really well.

So now my freezer harbours:
turkey stock from last Christmas (for gravy)
pigs in blankets
a small gammon joint
Christmas puddings
a dozen mince pies
two dozen vegetarian sausage rolls
. . . and a partridge in a pear tree . . .  (not really)

Stuffing next, I suspect, but not yet.  I need to clear more space first.

We won't starve, will we?

Dad and I exchanged emails yesterday about Christmas.  He's pretty much decided it would not be a Good Idea to come over.  He's has several letters telling him that he is in the super-extremely vulnerable group which he most certainly is, for both health and age, and what's coming out 'officially' at the moment is hardly reassuring.
Assuming he doesn't, I'm thinking I will drive over at some point just before Christmas, taking with me some goodies and gifts.  I won't go in but, all being well, we can talk in the car port for a short time or even ion the drive or pavement.  Then, on Christmas Day, maybe we can have a family Zoom for a short time.
We will work something out, definitely.

Did you see the final of Bake Off.  I still wish Hermine had not been eliminated but I think maybe it wouldn't have changed the outcome.  I won't give anything away in case you have it recorded to watch soon but I'm very happy with the result, well deserved.

I got notification yesterday that my new Thermione will be delivered at some time today.  Woo hoo!  So I will be going onto Cookidoo (the TM recipe site - rather silly name, isn't it?) to put together some collections of recipes to try out over the next week or so.
The machine connects automatically to the site when you turn it on and then any recipes you have put into a 'collection' can be called up on the screen at the front of the machine and it takes you through the recipe, automatically setting everything correctly for each stage.  It's really ever so clever.
As I said yesterday, there are thousands of recipes available with more being added regularly so it really is worth the annual subscription.

The only thing I find a little - er - limiting is that at the moment there is no way you can upload your own recipes.  I suppose there's considerable scope for Getting It Wrong and it might muck up the settings/machine/site - I don't know.  You can still use your own recipes, it's just that all the settings are manual.  Oh, the hardship!

Anyway - I'm sure you will hear more in the next few weeks.  Diane, which version do you currently have?  I ask because I'll let you know what I think and it will help to know what you are currently using.

The other event for today is my hour of personal training which I'm looking forward to very much.

Well, I'd better get the day started with a bath and getting dressed.  The kitchen is reasonable but my corner of the living room  is . . .  not!  So I will start there.  Then I will go upstairs to the spare room and go through all the Christmas bits and bobs - cushions, tablecloths, etc, and lay what I want to use on one of the beds.  That will be fun!
All the while keeping my ears open for the front door bell, of course!

Have a great day, everyone.  xx

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Tuesday

 Good morning, everyone.  As I'd hoped, yesterday morning was beautifully sunny although it stayed cold and frosty well into late morning.  It's much milder this morning so we will see.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Thermo demo yesterday.  Not quite the same as a real demo but thoroughly effective all the same and did the job!  On a real demo, the consultant (Leonie) cooks a real dinner (you provide the ingredients) and you have your dinner made and ready for you.  Yesterday, Leonie cooked one thing to show one of the new features and that was her dinner!  It's really only the new features I need to see anyway.

Another difference is the speed of delivery.  My first Thermomix took two to three weeks to arrive, ordered through the consultant and only through the consultant.
Now, it takes one or two days and the customer can order it direct from the site.
Maybe it won't be long before you can buy it in certain shops, although one really does need a demo to understand quite how versatile it is.

As you have probably guessed, I have bought the latest model and when it arrives Leonie and I will do another demo, each making something in tandem, something that uses one of the new features.  I'll have to either sort out a laptop Zoom connection or set up a gopak table in the living room in front of the PC.  It should be fun.

Dad's chat was trouble free although I had to invite him.  He says he has Zoom installed but I wonder if he's done it properly and as soon as we are allowed, I'll go over there and take a look and see what, if anything, he has done (or not done).  However, for now it's OK so that's good.

In between the two Zoom things, I set to and made some cheese straws - biscuits really as I used Christmas cuttyers.  They're not in the freezer away from temptation (I hope).

Today the diary is absolutely clear so I think I might get on with some Christmas cooking.  I have everything I need to make what we call Delia's Not-Sausage Rolls so I will get them made and into the freezer.  It's very handy because they cook from frozen so I just open freeze the uncooked rolls and pop them into a box so they can be cooked a few at a time when needed.  I expect Beth will have some on Christmas Tree Day - she absolutely loves them.

Then there's the mince pies.  I may as well and do the same thing; pop them in the freezer although I may freeze them cooked rather than raw.

I really must start making a list of what needs making and then tick the completed items off.

This afternoon, weather permitting, I might very well go for a walk.  People are saying there's big changes on a local new development so I, being nosey, would like to take a look-see.

So that's today.  A day on my own but it should be a really good one and I'm looking forward to it.  Have a good day too, happy and safe.  xx

Monday, 23 November 2020

Monday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's a cold and frosty start to the day and I was glad to get back inside after taking the Christmas Pudding to the freezer!  Maybe that means another sunny day like yesterday which was gorgeous here.  Very cheering!

Well, Stir Up Sunday lived up to its name here.  I'd set the fruit to soak in Cointreau (not so fond of brandy or rum) on Saturday and I got all the other ingredients together because that's what one is supposed to do, not that I usually follow that rule. 


 After our gourmet lunch of beans on toast, Beth and I did the necessary and here they are, steaming happily.  This was the bit I was most worried about as I've not steamed a pud before although I am very familiar with steaming veg.  I was reassured by a Good Housekeeping online article that said it's actually very hard to over cook a steamed pud.


I had difficulty finding pans that were tall enough.  In the end the larger pud went in the Instant Pot bowl and three little ones fitted nicely in my everyday steamer. something I bought for a fiver ages and ages ago in Matalan and have used regularly since.

And here are the little puds cooled and out of their containers.


The recipe I used was from BBC Good Food magazine, lighter than a conventional pudding, no suet, just breadcrumbs, but it was much easier to do than I had expected and, of course, we both stirred and wished and although we didn't share our wishes, I wouldn't be surprised if they were much the same.
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/lighter-christmas-pudding

They all smell absolutely amazing!  We will be taste testing one diddy one next weekend (of course) while the others have been carefully wrapped and are now in the freezer as the instructions say keep in a cool dark place for two weeks or in the freezer for three months.

I finished the owly cross stitch yesterday too.  It's very cute; there are a few mistakes but not many and you can't tell unless you know what they are.  I have found my Christmas blog banner, I think.


I'll see if I can take a better photo, with better lighting but, if not, this will be fine.  
I've started the next one now which isn't hard but will take considerably longer.

Today there's two main events, both Zoom related.
The first is an online intro to the most up to date Thermomix.  Yes, I have one but they've updated it and there are loads of new features.  Do I need one?  Of course not.  Do I want one - yup, to my shame.
I can't remember if I said at the time but a while ago now, not long after my gall bladder op, Dave and Beth were round here having coffee and they both spoke very seriously about how I ought to start treating myself a bit more and to 'spend the inheritance'.  It's ended up as a standing joke now - I tell them I've spent more of their inheritance and they both say 'good!'.
Since then, I've made a bit of a dent in the lump sum I got when I retired and, if I do get a new machine, it'll be a slightly bigger dent!
Anyway - after that attempt at self-justification - it will be really nice to see Leonie again and to learn about the new features and so on.

Then, Monday is Chat with Dad day.  That will be later in the afternoon and fingers crossed for the technology.  I'm looking forward to that very much.  

Those two events, plus the usual housework, cooking, etc, should fill the day very pleasantly, I think.  I'm looking forward to it.
Enjoy your day too - stay safe and well.  xx


Sunday, 22 November 2020

Sunday

 Beth sent me this yesterday, an addition to the family history.  It moved me to both laughter and tears. She says it's not finished, she needs to polish it up but it looks great to me.
I thought you might like me to share it with you.   The address edit is mine
Here it is:


A visit to Letchworth

The excitement as we rounded the corner into C***** Lane! Granny would always be at the kitchen window as we pulled in, waving merrily. We used the kitchen door, the ‘family entrance’, coming past the pantry and utility to a kitchen fragrant with baking smells. After hugs all round, Granny would usher Dave and I into the pantry and show us the goodies she had made. Ginger biscuits, pinwheels, something crumbly with coconut in; there would always be two or three batches prepared for the beloved grandchildren. Grampy, being hard of hearing, would frequently miss this, and we would be dispatched upstairs to let him know we had arrived, and for more booming hello’s and big squeezes.

If the weather was good, before much time had elapsed we would all be ushered into the garden, where Dave and I would fidget and interrupt our way through the inevitable garden tour. As frustrating as I found these garden tours at times, interestingly enough both us kids developed a taste for gardening as adults. I suspect seven-year-old Beth would have been baffled at adult Beth’s genuine enthusiasm for tomatoes and marigolds. The adults would admire, plan and discuss the finer points of the garden while attempting to quell two energetic children, with the occasional use of the full names from an exasperated mother adding to the tension- I knew I was pushing my luck when I was called Elisabeth, and heaven help me if it was followed with Joy Fiona because then I really was for it. Grampy was very proud of his lawn, and if it had been wet we weren’t allowed on it, which I suspect was usually the reason for the reprimand.

Eventually the ladies would stop admiring the flowerbeds and retire to the garden chairs to drink coffee, and Grampy would turn his attention from tour guide to children’s entertainer. That usually meant the blocks would come out; oversized wooden bricks kept in Grampy’s workroom, with which we could build forts, schools, houses, boats… the list was endless. If we were persuasive enough, and we generally were, we would also be taken for a spin round the garden in the wheelbarrow. I note that when it came to Alex’s turn some years later, Grampy was not quite so enthusiastic about these joyrides and Alex would get once round the garden rather than the multiple laps we used to take. Poor Grampy!

With the children gainfully occupied, Grampy would then retire behind a coffee cup for some more adult conversation. At some point Granny would slip away to pull together another delicious meal- they were always delicious at Letchworth- and it seemed no time at all before the instruction came to pack away the blocks and go and wash our filthy hands.

At some point in the afternoon, Granny would produce the paper box, a big tub of typing paper, with the holes down the side, scraps of coloured paper, gift wrap and other interesting oddments, plus the tub of pencils, scissors and glue, and that was me occupied until it was time to clear for dinner. Granny never expected the production of a ‘nice picture’; she encouraged experimentation and just having fun with the materials, something that delighted my artistic soul. I remember paper box afternoons as times of freedom, no expectation to conform and permission to just be creative and see where it took me. The end product was never the point, the creative process was, and originality was praised over conventional art. I felt understood with the paper box scattered messily all over the dining room table, and often the chairs and the floor as well, with piles of pens and rolls of Sellotape and stickers. It is one of my happiest childhood memories.

At just over an hour’s drive away, day visits were frequent, but sleepovers even better, with different books, toys and tall beds complete with sheets and blankets. Beds had to be made every morning with baffling ‘hospital corners’ and eiderdowns; at night those corners had to be tugged out a little or they’d squash your feet, but my goodness they were warm. I’ve never quite grown up enough to get through the night without needing a visit to the loo, and was comforted by a soft glowing plug-in light to guide my way. Evenings meant games of Sorry, Whot or pick-up-sticks and staying up late ‘because you’ve been so good’, whether we had or not. I can’t remember ever losing that privilege and don’t suppose I would have done it again if I had! I do remember being sent to sit on the stairs and ‘think about what I had done’. At home I was sent to my room when I was naughty, and I rather liked my room and my own company so it was rather ineffective; at Letchworth the stairs were ideally situated to be glared and tutted at by anyone passing through, getting a coat or visiting the toilet, and as such was utterly mortifying. I vividly remember several stair sitting moments, although the crime that sent me there in the first place has long since been forgotten.

To go back a little, meal times should have their own mention. They were, as I’ve said, always delicious. Both grandparents were early risers, and the house would be woken with the smell of hot coffee. Us children would start with fruit juice, and on the table would be a variety pack of mini boxes of children’s cereal; a novelty, as we were never allowed these at home. ‘Shocking waste of money’, Mum would say, reaching for the large, value packs, and having raised a child with a good appetite myself I concur, but as a child it was a wonderful treat. The poor Cornflakes would always be left at the end, but Granny would never insist we ate them, there’d be a fresh variety pack that morning and a bowl of cornflakes for Granny, insisting she didn’t mind a bit and really liked them. We’d round off with hot buttered toast and feel stuffed.

At the main meal, second helpings were expected, and encouragement would be given to finish off the last potato or slice of pie ‘lest it get lonely on it’s own, dear’. Hot meals were served the old fashioned way, in warmed dishes to be served at the table rather than plating up in the kitchen, with Granny at the head of the table and Grampy presiding over the water jug and wine bottles. Cold meals would include big dishes of crunchy salads and items we never had at home, like pickled onions, which Mum hated, and home made vinaigrette. Cloth napkins with special rings would lie by the side of the plate, and there was always a dessert spoon in place promising of more yumness to come. Even the water was made exciting by the addition of ice cubes, complete with a spoon to fish with if you were unlucky enough not to get a cube or three in your glass.    

There would also be those exciting extra meals, ‘Elevenses’ and ‘Supper’, which felt a little naughty somehow, these not being meals we had anywhere else, but always welcomed. At mid-morning, Granny would mix the Nesquik or pour out fruit juice and bring down the tins of home baked biscuits. We could choose two, with a frequent third being offered conspiratorially, with Mum gazing out of the window and saying it was a good thing she hadn’t seen that, and that she did hope that children who ate THREE biscuits wouldn’t leave their dinner in a few hours. We never did. Supper was taken post bath, in pyjamas, just before bed. Whether it was a reward for good behaviour, or a bribe to get us up to bed, I don’t remember too many bedtime shenanigans.

Longer visits would include an outing, be it to Woburn animal park, Standalone Farm, picnics on the Common or a visit to the sweet shop, which still sold old fashioned sweets from two for a penny, meaning you could get a pretty decent haul for your 20 or 30p. Sundays would mean dressing in one’s nice clothes and being taken along to Norton Methodist, to be cooed over with a multitude of ‘I don’t suppose you remember me’s and ‘My, haven’t you grown’s, with several of the old folk calling my mum by her full name, Joyce. After all her ‘Elisabeth!’s it was very satisfactory to hear Mum being treated to the same! Granny regaling us with tales of ‘Naughty Things Your Mother Did As A Child’ was another favourite, and I seem to remember there was a partner in crime called Pamela who featured rather heavily too.                                                

All too soon, the stay would be over. The final morning would involve Stripping The Bed, a task thought of in capitals and taken very seriously. It is a courtesy everyone seems surprised and touched by when I do so elsewhere as an adult, but it was an integral part of our stay. Top sheet, bottom sheet and pillowcases in the washpile, cellular blankets, eiderdown and bed cover neatly folded on the end of the bed. Sheets would be taken down to the kitchen, where Granny would be packing biscuits and cakes into a big margarine tub, for us to take home. Then toilet last hugs and into the car for the drive home, with grandparents smiling and waving at the roadside until we rounded the corner, and out of sight.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Saturday

 Good morning, everyone.  Another  Saturday swings along and we are now into week three of Lockdown.  Even now, time is flying.  I have no idea of the weather this morning but yesterday morning felt much cooler inside than today does so I am guessing no frost.

Today passed the way most days do.  I had a good old tidy up early which was just as well because the cleaners arrived a bit earlier than usual.  It was a downstairs day so I went up and spent the hour with my kindle and cross stitch.

Unfortunately, the planned chat didn't go ahead as my friend couldn't make it.  Fingers crossed for next week.

The highlight of the day was the Thermomix Christmas cooking demo in the evening.  By the end, I was inspired by all the good things I could make and am going to have to hold back just a bit.  The largest number here, all being well, is six and, to be honest, how much can just six get through in one day?
For the first time in my Zoom experience, people made use of the 'chat' function - the ability to type in comments - and that worked really well.  Lots of good questions and helpful answers.

Today, looking in my diary, I see that today was supposed to be the revised date for a Governors' Conference, a face to face affair, but that obviously hasn't happened.  I've heard nothing about anything online so I've crossed that out.

I have to pop round to someone's house to pick something up and, most importantly, go to Morrisons to get a few items for the Christmas pudding which I am making tomorrow.  I can also feel the urge coming on to do some other baking, especially after last night.  But it is going to be a lazy, gentle, pottering sort of day, checking recipes, looking things up, reading, stitching and with Strictly in the evening.  Can't ask for more, can I?

Beth has put up her Christmas Tree and posted a photo on Facebook which I will pop below.  She and my Dad made it together and it is just right in her limited space.  I love it.


 On that sparkly note, I will finish.  Be good and stay safe, everyone, and have a super day.  xx

Friday, 20 November 2020

Friday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's a chilly Friday morning and there's a frost.  As the kettle boiled for my coffee, I watched Jenni next door scraping her car and was very glad that's no longer part of my life!  Perhaps it means we will have a clear and sunny day - hope so anyway.

Dad had a lovely birthday, I gather.  Lots of good wishes via email, cards and pressies (but my card hadn't arrived, boo to British Mail) and a bottle of Scottish gin from my brother, John, which Dad made inroads into before dinner!
Thanks for the good wishes in your comments yesterday.

Everything went well yesterday.  Chris and I had a very good chat about this, that and t'other, even though we've neither done anything particularly much.  The weekly chat is important to me now and, I think, maybe to Chris too.

Lindsey worked me hard, as usual.  Well, hard for me but although I am loads fitter than I used to be, I'm not that fit really so my hard work is another's gentle stroll in the local park, I strongly suspect. We are noticing that my balance is improving though - it's never been great, partly because of wonky ankles and, we think, partly as a side effect of dodgy hearing.  She's given me things to work on this week so I will be a Good Girl and do my homework.

Then it was round to Beth's for coffee and a really good chat/discussion about all things family Christmas related.  We sorted out Christmas Tree Day arrangements, we sorted out Christmas meal menus, presents, organisations - oh, we had a lovely chat!

Zoom Slimming World was also great fun.  I'm so happy that I'm back in my 'zone' again after gaining weight during and after my holiday.  One is 'allowed' to be three pounds above/below ones target weight to stay as a non paying member so I'm glad in that way too but the main gladness is because I can do it and have done it!  

Today I have (surprise!!) a chat scheduled, with Jackie this time.  The only other thing in the diary is 'check ingredients for Christmas pudding' so I can do that and then I must do a general clear up and sort out so the cleaners have a clear run.  One week they do upstairs and downstairs and the following week the do just downstairs only and give it a more thorough clean, including windows.  This week is just downstairs so I will disappear upstairs with kindle, tablet and stitching for an hour of enjoyment (or I might just have a snooze!).

Better get going then.  I'm late already.  Have a super day and stay safe and well.  xx


Edit:  I've remembered I've been invited to a Zoom Thermomix Christmas Cookery Class this evening with voluntary contribution to Age Concern.  I'm definitely going to that and am really looking forward to it.  I'm not sure if Leonie reads this - I expect not - but, just in case, thanks for inviting me.  :-)

I'm wondering if Zoom-type things are the way to go, even when things are easier and we can mix again.  It's much easier than driving to a venue and I tend to hear much more the Zoom route.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Thursday

 Good morning, everyone.   Thankfully, we did get some sun yesterday morning and it was lovely.  The afternoon was more gloomy with spots of rain but never mind - the morning made up for that.
It's cloudy and breezy at the moment but who knows?

I had a lovely chat with Val in the morning before settling to some housework and some reading and sewing.  I started the ironing in the evening but was too tired to finish it off and, to my disgust now, I left everything up and out so it's a right mess.  That's first on today's list.

It's Dad's birthday today.  Ninety two and going great guns at the moment, looking after himself really well and is great form.  Happy Birthday, Dad.

It's a busy day today!

First of all there's a chat with Chris over the road, a weekly event and much appreciated.  Lockdown can be tough when you live on your own, as some of you know first hand, and I so appreciate these opportunities.

Then it's personal training, also online.  Lindsey had to do a course yesterday so we moved it to today.  I'm looking forward to that.

When I went onto Facebook earlier, there was a message from Beth, inviting me round for coffee.  I accepted with pleasure, of course.  SO that will take up the afternoon.

And finally, it's the Slimming World meeting on Zoom at half past five.  I must remember to weigh before midday and get the results to Jennifer.  Fingers crossed.

So it is a fuller day than usual and I need to get going.  Have a great day and be safe.  xx

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Wednesday

 Good morning, all.  This week is proving to be dry (as in no rain) but a bit damp (in terms of misty spells), dull, mild, a but nothing really.  It would be nice to have more sunshine, please.

Yesterday I did my shopping, found some Christmas presents, got on with the washing, etc, and generally mooched around doing not-a-lot.  I was pleased with something I found in B&M - a battery light that fixes to my garage shelving with magnets.  There's no power out to the garage so no lights and I don't always remember to take the torch.  This way there's always a light available, if needed.

The stitching is coming on.  I have done all the owls apart from the back stitching and I'm on the lettering.  Barring accidents, it might be finished by the weekend.

Today I have a chat with Val but personal training has been put off until tomorrow so I feel I have a gift of a day!  I found a nice, easy recipe for gingerbread biscuits in one of the Christmas magazines (it might have been Good Food, I need to look for it) so I thought I would have a go.  Gingerbread makes nice gifts and I have a good selection of cutters to use.

I'll get the ironing done and everything tidied up and then I can catch up on bake off.  I gather there was a shock but don't know who so please be kind and don't tell me!

Have a good day, one and all.  xx


Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Tuesday

 Good morning, everyone.  

Yesterday passed as these lockdown days tend to pass.  Jeff came and gave the garden a haircut, bless him.  Dad and I had our chat.  It was not without some start up problems and Dad doesn't really know what he did to resolve them but never mind - we got there eventually.  He seems very well and is seeing people - all in a safe and socially distanced way, of course.

We discussed my visits and decided that it is highly unlikely that I will be able to resume going there at the beginning of December;  Whatever replaces lockdown 2 is going to be pretty restrictive and fair enough.  From my point of view, it looks as if Christmas Tree Day will be as planned, the first Saturday or Sunday in December.

I've nearly finished the owls of the cross stitch which tells you how much other stuff, such as housework, I have (not) been doing, I guess.  There's still the outlining and the letters to do but it's looking really nice, it's keeping my fingers away from nibbles (have to keep them clean) and I'm really enjoying it.

However, I did get some washing done.  Just one load because of drying inside although there's an overnight wash waiting for me to do the necessary - the dry things into the ironing basket and the wet things onto the drying rack.  It's just too gloomy and damp to dry anything outside right now.

Today the diary is bank.  No chats, no visits.  I think I will do some early morning 'essential' shopping at B&M before coming home to do some ironing, some clearing and - guess what - some cross stitch!  A nice, simple, undemanding day.
Hope yours is good too.  Be safe.  xx

Monday, 16 November 2020

Monday

 Good morning, everyone.  Here we are at the start of another week, well into the second week of lockdown 2.  I've unlocked the front door to put out some recycling stuff and it's dry and doesn't feel too cold, which is nice after the amount of rain we had yesterday morning.  To be fair, the sun did make an appearance from time to time but never for long before the clouds rolled over and more rain fell.

It was a very pleasant day.  Beth came around for lunch and we had a good old chit chat before setting off back to her home with the computer monitor.  Unfortunately, it seems that it is her PC that's on the blink, not the monitor, so when she went home late afternoon, she took with her my old laptop which will be hers when various bits and bobs have been repaired anyway.  She can't be without a computer right now the reason being . . .

Do you remember that a few weeks ago I had received some really, really good news.  It's OK to say now but, after a long time of searching, she had found a job and one that I think is right up her street.  It's supporting people with mental health problems in the workplace.
Several years ago, people from Access to Work came to school to look around my working environment and to advise senior management what could be put in place, etc, to support me with my hearing difficulties.  This seems to be the mental health version of that.
It's been very tough for Beth over recent years and we're hoping this will be a fresh start for her.

She hasn't been given a start date yet (lots of paperwork to fill in and get actioned first) and, initially, she will be working from home.  A laptop should be provided but, until then, she needs technology to stay in contact with her future workplace.

Anyway - she has my old laptop!

Sue was right in her comment; Strictly was more than a bit of a surprise but I was so relieved that none of my real favourites was out.  Bill is number one in my book because not only is he proving to be a super dancer, he has so much humour and character that he demonstrated very clearly in his dancing.  I like Caroline too and my third favourite is Ranvir.

No spoilers but, as it wasn't the couple it really should have been who left, it would have been my second choice for dance off. 
(that doesn't quite make sense but you know what I mean)
The other was a real and utter shock!

Today there are three things in the diary but none of them are anything to fuss about.  Jeff comes round this morning to sweep up leaves and generally make the garden look neat and tidy.  I have to get in touch with someone from school to arrange a governor's monitoring 'visit' which will be online.  Thirdly, I have a chat with Dad arranged for later on this afternoon.

As well as that there's washing, housework and clearing out so I certainly won't be bored today (am I ever?).
Have a really good day, everyone, stay warm, safe and well.  xx

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Sunday

 Good morning to everyone and a happy Sunday to us all.  I don't know about where you are but here it is absolutely chucking it down and has been for some time, judging by the puddles.  Not nice.  I can't even console myself by saying it'll be good for the plants either.

I drove over to Sainsbury's yesterday to do some shopping (some was essential, I promise you) and splashed some cash on some scented Christmas candles, a couple of items for the Christmas food store and a rather lovely (I think) Christmas jumper.  I also got the Christmas edition of  the Sainsbury's magazine which I shall open and enjoy at some point this coming week.

As I have said, Christmas starts chez moi on the first of December this year.  That's when I will start wearing Christmas jumpers of which I have far too many really.  Last year I had re-gained some weight after my holiday in October and had continued to gain so some of my jumpers were too tight.  This year I've lost the holiday weight and they all fit - cheers!

Christmas tree day was going to be the first Saturday in December but perhaps, just possibly, I might be able to get over to Dad's that weekend.  It's not very likely because  even if lockdown is lifted, I bet we won't jump back down to tier one straight away.  If that happens, Christmas tree day will be the second Saturday.

I think I will start using Christmas tablecloths much earlier too.  It will brighten up the home no end!

Back to yesterday.  The replacement shelving finally arrived yesterday afternoon.  On Friday, after five days of non-appearance, I emailed the company again to ask if they could follow it up and half an hour later I got a very apologising reply saying that the order had 'gone missing in transit' (whatever that means) and she was on it, ordering more to arrive Monday.  There may have been a bit of damage and one blip but I still say I will go with them again, they respond very quickly and sorted out the second problem very fast.  Mistakes can happen, it's how a company deals with it that is important.
So I have completed shelves now and I celebrated by putting some stuff on one of them!

I did enjoy Strictly last night. No spoilers except to say wasn't Bill great?  He's definitely my favourite - such a character and a very funny and musically gifted man.  And he's working so hard too.  I know who I think should go but you never can tell with Strictly and there will be at least one couple in the dance off who really don't deserve it.

On to today and I am so thankful I don't have any plans to go out apart from round to Beth's this afternoon.

I'm going to spend the morning sorting out a high cupboard and making a good old Sunday roast for me and Beth.  After lunch, we're popping round to Beth's home with my monitor because her screen is blank but she doesn't know if it is the monitor (hopefully) or the PC itself.  Then it's back to mine to order her a printer and, probably, a monitor.  Hopefully!

The rest of the day will be spent catching up on things at home, cross stitching (it's going well) and generally chilling out in between loading and unloading the washing machine.
Just a normal day, in fact.

Have a good 'un and stay safe and dry.  xx

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Saturday

 Good morning, everyone.  

Yesterday turned out to be a very pleasant day, gentle and relaxing.  Everything went according to plan.  A lovely chat with Jackie in the morning, some family emails, an important document came through and the cleaners turned up in the afternoon, something I had forgotten to mention.  Fortunately, by the time they arrived, I had done the clearing up I planned so they had a clear run.

The cross stitch is coming along nicely and it's a very relaxing thing, even more adaptable than knitting as you can stop at any time you want.

Today there is absolutely nothing in the diary although I plan to do an early morning shop in Sainsburys in hopes that they have various festive items in (like crackers).  Once home and with everything put away, I guess I ought to tackle the washing basket, rain or no rain, before settling down to some more serious relaxation and a bit of meal planning.

I looked up Hyde Hall and it seems that lockdown hasn't closed the place this time.  I might book a visit at some point, for the fresh air and a pleasant walk.  Apart from that, next week's diary has an online chat more or less every day and very little else.  I can live with that.

Have a super weekend, everyone.  Have you got anything special planned?  xx

Doing the rounds on Facebook

 . . . and rather early, I know, but it made me laugh so much.
(please excuse the language!)


Patterson’s Butchers Sheffield
πŸ˜‚Just in case anyone is stressing about Christmas Day..............! πŸ˜‚
Here's my top tip
πŸŽ„Christmas Dinner....
I have concluded that the inevitable stress of Christmas dinner is created by adverts, supermarkets and TV chefs...
It's a Sunday dinner for goodness sake!!! πŸ™„We do it quite happily 51 weeks of the year but can we the consumers be trusted to manage by ourselves on one day of the year...apparently not!

Here goes...πŸ’“
1. Turkey... It's a big fecking chicken that's all, 20 minutes per lb plus 20 minutes at 180 degrees - jobs a good un! Get yourselves a meat thermometer £3 off the Internet poke it in the offending bird if it says 75 degrees or over its cooked!πŸ‘πŸΌ

2. Stuffing - regardless of what Jamie Oliver says you do NOT need 2lbs of shoulder of pork, onions breadcrumbs,pine nuts and a shit load of fresh herbs to make stuffing....( no fecking wonder he's bankrupt if thats what he spends to make stuffing!)😜
What you need is Paxo and a kettle!! If you wanna liven it up squeeze 3 sausages out of their skins and mix that in with your Paxo before cooking πŸ˜‰.

3. Gravy - Jamie Oliver is copping for this one as well....
Bisto Jamie.... All you need is Bisto!
I ( nor any other woman I know) has got time on Christmas Eve to piss about roasting chicken wings and vegetables, adding stock and flour,cooking it for another half hour, mashing it all up with a potato masher and then straining the whole sorry mess to make gravy 😠😠😠

4. Vegetables...πŸ† Never mind faffing round shredding sprouts and frying them with bacon and chestnuts to make them more palatable... If you don't like them don't buy and cook the fecking things!! If your family only eats frozen peas then that's good enough!

5. Roast potatoes... Yes I par boil mine then roast them in goose fat but Aunt Bessie also does the same πŸ˜‰.

6. Trimmings /Christmas pudding and the like.... Aldi or Lidl!
(oh and while we're on the subject of pudding- if birds custard is what your family likes on the wretched thing then that's fine - you do not need brandy butter /rum sauce etc or anything else that costs a fecking fortune and takes 2 hours to make!)

7. Family....
Children.. Feed the little blighters first separately, if they only want turkey with tomato sauce - fine leave em to it, it doesn't matter. Once they are fed bugger them off to play with their Christmas presents so that YOU can enjoy your dinner in Peace!
Adults... Anyone that can manage to get their sorry arse to your dinner table is also capable of helping to serve up/ sort the kids out/ clear the table /wash up /dry up etc.
And Finally.....
NO ONE.... And I mean no one APART FROM THE COOK IS ALLOWED TO GET PISSED AND FALL ASLEEP BEFORE THE WASHING UP IS DONE!!!
Rant over πŸ˜‚
πŸŽ„Merry Christmas!πŸŽ„

Friday, 13 November 2020

Friday

 Good morning!  Sorry I'm late - I didn't wake until seven thirty (lovely) and have various other things to do first.  The weather looked very promising at seven thirty but it's clouded over, the wind has got up and it's started raining.  I'm glad I don't have to go out!

Yesterday went as planned apart from one thing and that was Beth turning up in the afternoon - a very welcome visitor.  She needed to use my printer and it was a good excuse for a chat as well.  We've made an arrangement for her to come for lunch on Sunday so I need to find a nice, vegetarian friendly recipe to try.

My chat with Chris was great, as was the SW meeting on Zoom.  Lots of laughs in both, just perfect!

And I started on the third owl!

Today I have another chat coming up in about ten minutes but after that the day is clear.  I think I will leave the washing until tomorrow, in case the weather is nicer and it can dry outdoors although the weather forecast isn't that promising.  Apart from that it's same old really and I'm happy with same old.

Take care, stay safe and well - and dry!

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Thursday

 Good morning.  It looks as if we might be having quite a pleasant day today, fingers crossed.  It doesn't feel particularly cold either so I'm counting my blessings.

Yesterday passed more or less according to plan.  I had my chat with Val and we stopped just in time for a two minute silence which was intended but forged as the sound suddenly.  Val said maybe Messenger was observing the silence too!!

Personal training was great.  I really worked up a sweat and a bit of puff which is the intention.  When I do the step activities, I use my old Wii step with a riser but I've just ordered a proper step which will be wider and longer and more suitable.  It should arrive before next week.  As well as the PT sessions, I'm not dipping into Lindsey's online sessions.  She has moved as much as she can online and made them available to her PT clients as a very reasonable fee per month and a couple each week are step sessions.

Annoyingly, I found that I had made a mistake with the cross stitch.  A couple of the owls are on two pages and there is no pattern overlap and it's on one of those changes from one page to the next that I made the mistake.  So I did what I should have done in the first place and scanned one page, sticking it next to the other to make the whole chart visible at the same time and then it was easy to see the mistake.  

Like this.
( I dearly love the Christmas tree owl)


Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as it might have been.  It took a while to unpick and it was very fiddly but I got there.
I shall do the same thing with the other split section before I start that owl!
Apart from that, it's all going very well and it a great way to avoid housework!  Today I must go around and clear things away instead of just dumping them.

The other slightly annoying thing yesterday was that the replacement shelving didn't arrive.  I will wait until tomorrow and then fire off an email, if necessary.  The bin gets emptied today so I can start filling it with more of the unwanted stuff and that will help.

To be honest, today is more of the same.  I have a chat with Chris over the col de sac this morning and the Slimming World Zoom meeting early evening and between those two I will clear the decks, bit a bit more stuff, do my exercise stuff and give the kitchen a good clean before carrying on with my cross stitch.

It may be quiet but it suits me fine.
Have a lovely day and, whatever you do, be safe.  xx

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Lest we forget


 I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
I am not a fashion statement,
To be worn but once a year,
I am not glorification
Of conflict or of war.
I am not a paper ornament
A token,  I am more.

I am a loving memory,
Of a father or a son,
A permanent reminder
Of each and every one.

I am paper or enamel
I'm old or shining new,
I'm a way of saying thank you,
To every one of you.

I am a simple poppy
A Reminder to you all,
That courage, faith and honour,
Will stand where heroes fall.



They shall not grow old as those who are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them or the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest we forget

(found on Facebook)

Wednesday

 Good morning!

A pleasant day yesterday with plenty of sunshine after a dampish start.  The days are starting to assume the same low key and slightly subdued vibe as last lockdown which is OK by me.  I like a peaceful life.

We had another go at a chat, Dad and I, and this time it was successful.  Dad's obviously taking this seriously; he has always liked a challenge and has never taken kindly to being beaten by a machine!  Through the rest of the day I received several invites to chat as he played with the system and get more to grips with it all.  Fortunately, he had warned me so I wasn't alarmed!

What else?  Well, the shelves didn't arrive so I expect they will be here today.  I did a bit of housework and quite a lot of stitching and, all in all, it was very pleasant.

Today is mostly more of the same.  I have a scheduled chat with Val this morning, followed by an online personal training session with Lindsey.  After that the day is my own.  I will watch Bake off, which I always record, and then whatever I fancy as I read, stitch and knit.
If the shelves come, that's quite different, of course!  The day will be a fair bit more active.  I just don't see the point in clearing cupboards out to create a pile of stuff somewhere else, so I'm waiting until the storage is sorted.
Sensible or lazy?  Well, maybe both!

Have a great day and stay well.  xx

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Tuesday

 Good morning.  We've had rain overnight as I found out when I started to go to the shed barefoot.  It's still a bit damp but today's forecast looks quite pleasant.  Excellent.

When I went into my mailbox yesterday morning, there was a message from the shelving company, apologising and asking to see the photos I had taken.  I fired them off and within the hour back came a message letting me know that they were sending replacement shelves out right away.  Two hours after that I got a link to the tracking service thingy and they will be arriving today.  Really great service and I have sung their praises in my feedback.

Dad and I tried another chat but hit the same problem as the first time - he could see me (and himself) but I could only see me.  I could hear him but his box was blank with his name at the bottom.  Really weird and we honestly don't know what the issue is, especially as it was OK over the weekend.  Then his doorbell rang so we shut down and will have another go tomorrow.

Can anyone help?  The camera is obviously working, the audio is fine, he says the video button is not crossed out, what on earth is the problem?

I popped into school to leave some forms that I completed ages ago and then forgot about.  I found them under a stash of paperwork waiting to be filed so, when I got home, I set to and sorted out all my filing followed by sorting out my car file which had stuff going back years and years.  It's still a bit chunky as I like to keep all the service stuff but it is better than it was.

That took quite a while and I was just wondering what to do next when a couple of packages arrived.  A few weeks ago I looked for some Christmas Cross Stitch kits and ordered three, one not being Christmas related.  Two of them had arrived so that was the end of the clearing out.  I spent the rest of my free time starting one of them and enjoying myself very much.  I've always enjoyed counted cross stitch.


This is the one I've started.  Apart from the fact that I love owly things and I love Christmas so this is combining two separate loves, I thought each individual owl would make a nice Christmas card for next year too.  It's been a long time since I did much of this and it's about time I started again, I think.


This will take some time and probably won't get finished this year!  Not a problem.


Here's the not-Christmas one.  I got it because I just loved it!  No idea where it will go but it will go somewhere and it will be such fun to make up.










I have promised myself that by next Christmas (2021) they will all be finished and framed, always assuming the local framing shop has survived the lockdowns, of course.









Today the diary is blank apart from another attempt at a vid chat with Dad.  We will get there!  There's a bit of housework, some work to get together for my eleven plussers (something the parents have requested) and a cupboard to sort out, not to mention two shelves to put in the right place when they arrive.  Then I will finish putting the garage stuff on the shelves and sort out one specific cupboard before I settle down with my knitting, my Kindle, the Christmas Good Housekeeping that I treated myself to the other day and whatever is on the telly.

It sounds like a very cosy day, doesn't it?  Fingers crossed that it all pans out.  Also fingers crossed that your day is just as pleasant, if not more so.
Take care, be safe and have a happy day.  xx



Monday, 9 November 2020

Monday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's a bit too early to tell what the weather is like, just that it seems dry, but the forecast is for a mostly dry but cloudy day.  I can go with that as I have plenty to do inside right now.

When Beth came round yesterday, we had lunch and then got going with the last of the shelving.  A couple of hours and a few breaks later it was all done and dusted apart from just one thing.  The very last unit had two damaged shelves.  I think the corner of the box got bashed at some point.  I fired off a message to the company via Amazon so I hope to hear from them today or tomorrow.  

I'd found an old DVD of Alex in his first Christmas show at the special school he attended when he was narrator in a nativity.  How he enjoyed having control of the mike, especially during the two carols!  There was quite a scuffle when they needed the mike back again and Beth and I were in hysterics!  He was a very cute little boy dressed up in a choirboy's costume!

Today I have a scheduled chat with Dad in the afternoon and the remainder of the time is going to be sorting out cupboards and moving stuff around.  This house is surprisingly well endowed with storage, the flip side being that there's a lot of turning out to do.  
I'll get there.

It should be a very positive day and I hope yours is too.  Be happy and stay safe.  xx

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Sunday

 Good morning, everyone.  Sorry I'm a bit late; for once in my life I overslept!
It's misty and dull outside but perhaps the sun will break through later on.  Hope so anyway!

Yesterday was nothing like I had planned.  Beth wasn't feeling so great so I said we'd cancel and, I hope, she is coming round for lunch today instead.  So much I said about yesterday applies to today instead which is going to make for a shorter entry!
(did I hear a few cheers?  lol )

I did get into town though, to pick up my meds.  M&S was completely open including clothes, Holland and Barrett was open and the pen street market food stalls were all going great guns.  I was surprised how many people were out and about too.  Not as many as one would expect on a Saturday morning but it wasn't empty by any means.  

I found I was running out of my favourite vegetable stock powder, Marigold, so I put together a short list and, late afternoon, I popped round to Morrisons.  No crowds, no shortages, no gaps in the shelves - I don't know where all this panic buying in going on but it is certainly not in Mid-Essex.

To my delight, Dad has totally taken to Zoom now.  I sent him a link to a 'How to . . .' site after he asked how one starts a Zoom chat and yesterday evening I got an invite from him, just to check he'd got it right.  Well done, Dad.
(He doesn't read this so I've said it to him elsewhere too!)

Today, after a late start, I'm doing very little until lunch time.  After lunch (fingers crossed) it is shelf building and then I'm doing nothing again.  Well, nothing that could be seen as 'work' anyway.  I'm looking forward to the Strictly catch up.  I know who I think should go but you can never tell with Strictly, can you?

I'd better go and get myself sorted out after my oversleep.  See you all tomorrow xx

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Saturday

 Good morning!  Another cold start to the day but not quite as chilly as yesterday.  There's no frost and I doubt that any will develop now as dawn is breaking.

Yesterday went according to plan.  To my delight, the washing did dry outside, helped by a bit of a breeze, which made it all much easier to iron.  I got all of that done so I can feel smug as I walk past the ironing basket each time.

Both my scheduled chats came off.  The one with Jackie ended with us arranging to have another one same time next week and the one with Dad was fine and I think I'm converting him.  Both sound and visuals were appreciably better on the desktop so the webcam has already earned its cost as far as I am concerned.  He's also suggest a regular time each week, much to my delight, and is finding out how to do the inviting himself.  Three cheers.

Out in the garage, it didn't take long to get stuff sorted out so that we can put in the last two units.  All three walls will have shelving units along them by the end of the afternoon and it looks a bit like a warehouse but that's the idea.  It has been a long, long time since I put the car away so it was, really, wasted space but no longer.

The whole project won't quite be finished.  I have some high cupboards that I can now sort out, both in the kitchen and in my bedroom, so I will start them today and, I hope, finish them tomorrow.

The cleaners did, indeed, turn up and I disappeared into the garage as planned.

Today also feels a bit busy although it isn't really.

First of all, I need to go into town to pick up a prescription from Boots and I can take the opportunity to see what is still open and what isn't.  For instance, I wonder if the M&S food hall will be open.  There should certainly be no problems with parking whereas, by this time of the year, usually the Christmas shoppers are out in force and one may need to queue to park.

Once home again, I will start the high cupboard sorting and then Beth's round for lunch before we do the last two units.  After that I will probably crash in front of the telly with my knitting and wait for Strictly to start.

Should be a good day - stay safe, well and positive, everyone.  xx

Friday, 6 November 2020

Friday

 Good morning.  It's another very chilly morning with a bit of a frost so I am hoping it signals another lovely, sunny day.

Christmas is one more step nearer.  Yesterday I bought this year's Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar.  I think I've bought it every year now since they first started so it is very much part of my countdown.  Already there are games to play so it will certainly liven up lockdown.


A screen shot

Beth came round for lunch and then we assembled two more shelf units so my first task of the day is to get more stuff off the floor and onto the units.  Definitely on the last lap now, thank goodness.

Slimming World on Zoom was good.  There were eight of us will more coming next week.  Some of the Thursday people went to the last face to face meeting on Wednesday evening but will be with us on Thursday next week.

Today I have two chats scheduled!!
The first is with my friend, Jackie, this morning and as I haven't seen her since before my holiday, we have a lot to talk about.
The second is with Dad because the web cam arrived yesterday and we want to check it works.  That one should be quite short.

The rest of the day will be filled with the usual - washing, drying and ironing, tidying the house for the cleaners and carrying on with sorting things out.  On second thoughts, I won't start on the garage this morning, I will wait until the cleaners come and then I can get out of their way by disappearing to the garage.
There's plenty to do, anyway!

Take care and have a great day.  xx


Thursday, 5 November 2020

Thursday

 Good morning.  It's another cold one with a frost and a mistiness to the air, just like the Bonfire Nights I remember from my childhood.  Those were the days when firework danger was not really recognised and me and my brother sat for hours with our collection of fireworks on the table, writing out the order list for Dad for the evening while Mum concocted toffee apples, sausage rolls and cake.

It was a beautiful day round here yesterday.  Well to wall sunshine all day which was cheerful, even if it wasn't all that warm.

The chat with Val was great and we've set a date and time for next week.  Everyone her end is well although, as a head teacher, her daughter is worked off her feet right now.  However, she is, like her mum, very grounded, sensible, practical and hard working so I guess it could be worse.  Val helps where she can.

Lindsey changed the time of my personal training to later in the afternoon which actually suits me better although it's not a time she can usually make.  It might be the last time I go to that house because now we are in Lockdown, of course, and Lindsey and family are supposed to be moving house some time this month.  Whether that will actually happen is in the lap of the gods, of course.  There's many a slip in moving house and Covid 19 is just one of them.  We will see.
She's not moving far, thankfully, so personal training will continue.

This week it went really well, much to my relief.  A fortnight ago, at training, I felt very lethargic and lacking in stamina and asked to stop before the end of the session.  I felt a right wimp!  The following week, last week, I cancelled because I wasn't well, so maybe I had been incubating something the week before.
All I can say now is that is wasn't The Virus.  Phew
So I was glad this week's session went well.

Next week we are back on line, using my small collection of equipment.  I have a step, a big balance ball, some weights, resistance bands and a wobble board and Lindsey will put together a programme using those instead of he studio equipment.  

Today is quite busy.  After a chat with Chris at ten, I will scuttle down to the garage and start moving stuff around.  It's not a complicated job as everything is organised and pretty tidy.  The aim is to make space for the two shelving units Beth and I plan to put together this afternoon - or rather, to clear the space where they are going to go so we can carry them down and put them straight there.  All the things still on the ground can then go onto the shelves apart from a few items that are going to stay on the ground - the big bag holding the Christmas tree and three stacking boxes with the other Christmas stuff in them.

It's really nice to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I must remember to weigh this afternoon as it's the first SW lockdown Zoom meeting early this evening.  They've got their act together very quickly this time.  Last time, I weighed  at the usual optimum (or maybe I mean minimum) time - first thing, after the loo and before coffee with nowt on.  This time I'm being realistic and my weigh ins will be half way through the afternoon, dressed and with shoes on, just like it would be at f2f group.

So that's today.  Busy but very pleasant.  Hopefully, your day will be a good one too, whatever you have planned.
Keep well and be safe.  xx