Sunday 31 January 2021


 Good morning.  The temperature has dropped again, as has the wind, and we have a light frost.  It would be lovely if the day turned out to be fine and sunny after yesterday's rain.

What did I do yesterday?  Well, precious little, to be honest.  The weather didn't encourage one to go out and indoors I felt lethargic and a bit weary so I took it easy with a bit of exercise now and again, ringing the changes.  I put one load of washing in but didn't take it out again (does anyone else do that?) so I've just started it off on a quick wash this morning to freshen it up.  The rack is unfolded and ready and I do feel a bit more motivated this morning.

All being well, I rather fancy going out for a walk today, weather permitting.  I need some air to blow away those cobwebs.  Apart from that, by late afternoon I will have ironing so that will keep me busy in the evening and there's always more episodes of Voyager to enjoy while I iron.

It's short and sweet today because there's not a lot else going on really.  Maybe I can have a chat with Beth this afternoon in lieu of out usual Sunday get together.  We'll see.

Take care and have a pleasant Sunday.  What are your plans for today?  Anything nice?


Saturday 30 January 2021


Good morning, everyone!  How has the week been for you?  It seems to have cooled down quite a lot after a fairly mild day but yesterday's forecast of snow today has changed to sleet.  Yuck!

While I was out shopping on Thursday morning, a recipe book jumped into my trolley.  Honest, it did!!  Until Eileen mentioned this book, I'd never heard of Dr Rupy Aujla so I'd looked him up and found and found a series of cookery programmes on iPlayer that had been broadcast in 2019.  How did I miss them, I ask myself.

Anyway, this book is called Doctor's Kitchen 3-2-1 and, basically, it has recipes that have three portions of fruit and veg, serve two and are cooked in one pan, hence the title.  The recipes look lovely; some of the ingredients are rather outside what I usually use but I am sure they can be substituted.   I'm looking forward to a good stroll through the contents.

The chat with Jackie was lovely yesterday morning.  We missed last week as something had gone wrong with her car and it had to be taken in for repairs.  As soon as it is permitted, I will be back on her front door step, Christmas present in hand, to have a face to face chat again, but in the meanwhile, these online chats are a great substitute.

That was pretty much it for the day.  I did a bit of housework but the place is pretty up to scratch anyway and I then enjoyed the usual knitting, reading, watching telly (I'm enjoying Star Trek: Voyager on Netflix at the moment), snugged up in my warm and comfortable chair.  I'm still working through the Christmas candles too; there's something very cosy and comfortable about a lit candle, isn't there?

Today is going to be exactly the same!  I have some washing and then drying and ironing, there's always the daily stuff - wiping things down, bathroom and loo, making the bed, meals and clearing up and so on and so forth.  It's supposed to be wet all day so staying indoors sounds the best thing.  I really need to get outside for walks more but maybe not in the rain/sleet/whatever!

Time to start in the kitchen by emptying the dishwasher and then getting everything ready for the day, not to mention the second hot drink of the day.   Stay warm, dry, safe and well, everyone, whatever your plans and expectations for the day.  xx

Friday 29 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  

Yesterday went well.  I started off with a shops, some for me (not that much really) and some for Beth.  Alex is now home after finishing his end of module exams and, I think, intends to stay home for a while.  I'm quite relieved in a way and I'm pretty sure Beth is as well.  So she needed to stock up on things.  Feeding a nearly 23 year old with a hearty appetite takes some doing and a laden fridge!

I went to Sainsbury's because attached to the shop is the Specsavers I use.  Before Christmas I picked up one of my two new pairs of glasses; the other pair hadn't come so they said they would let me know when.  I thought I had better check with them what was going on as a month plus is a long time to wait.

So, one laden trolley later, I went to the entrance, explained the situation, said I didn't have an appointment but . . .   They checked, found the glasses, invited me in and five minutes later I was walking out wearing them.  They were my first choice frames and the ones I had intended to wear all the time.

I did also note that the bag with my glasses in also held another case and I suspect that they had sent another pair of the ones I took home before Christmas or, possibly, the later pair that had been made before Christmas but not sent.   I didn't ask and they didn't say!  Not my problem!

Once home, I popped the frozen stuff in the freezer - I've been looking for ages for bags of frozen Chinese stir fry vegetables, as the fresh packs never keep very well, and nowhere seemed to have any so when I saw Sainsbury's did, I pounced and bought three bags which should see me through a good number of fakeaways - and then started my chat with Chris

The chat with Chris was, as always, lots of fun and a good laugh.  We're both looking forward to warmer days and an easing of rules so that we can again meet in the garden for a good chat.

Beth asked me not to take her shopping round until the afternoon because she had a meeting.  However, when I turned up, we could only chat very briefly as she had another meeting!  Both online, of course.  Not to worry, there's always online.

The Slimming World Zoom meeting was good fun - we were all enjoying it so much that the meeting finished without us realising it and we all got chucked out!!  We've got a few new members so there are more contributions to the chat and it's all really pleasant.

Today is the two usual Friday things.  A chat with Jackie this morning and the cleaner this afternoon.  I much clear my clutter corners, as usual on Friday, and make sure she doesn't spend half her time just moving my stuff about to get to the corners.

And that's about it for the day.  It's very much the same thing each week and I expect you know very much what I say each day before I say it really but that's life at the moment.   Apologies for the mundane-ness of it all.  :-)
Stay well, keep warm and, whatever else you do or don't do, please be safe, both for yourself and anyone else you are in contact with.  xx

Thursday 28 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  So sorry this is late - it's been a busy morning.  Right now it's mild and the sun is shining brightly.  So nice after overnight rain.

Yesterday was a good day.  It started off with a trip into town to pick up my prescriptions.  The car park, which is usually jam packed full, had just one other car in it when I arrived just before nine and, while there were enough people that it wasn't totally deserted, High Street felt very empty.  I got my tablets from Boots and popped into M&S for some f&v.  They're blocked off the top floor but have been very sensible and moved more essential clothing downstairs.  All the fashion clothing has gone and instead there's underwear, children's clothing, sleepwear and basics like jeans, jumpers, etc.  Yes, I did, I bought a top and a bra.  The latter was planned!

Once home, I had my chat with Val and very nice it was too.  She's well and so is her family.  Once that was finished, I bustled around getting ready for my personal training session with Lindsey - change of clothing and getting out the equipment, such as it is.  I have a balance ball and a balance plate (I think that's what it's called), some weights, a step and resistance bands and with these Lindsey is able to put together a progressive programme that works for me.  It was fun.

Then I went over to Beth's for coffee and to take the rest of the ironing, etc.  I only stayed half an hour which was her break but it was nice.

So, all in all, a busy day, but a good one.  Today is progressing well but I won't go into that now.  I'm late because I did an early shop, went to the optician and then had a chat with Chris.  I'm back over to Beth's in a short while, to take her shopping.  Alex is coming home today (his exams have just finished) and is staying for at least a fortnight which means that she needs more in the way of food!  It also means I won't be seeing her face to face for ten days.  He's coming home in the train so we thought it wiser really.  I will miss the live interaction but thank goodness for the Internet/Zoom, etc.

Well, I'd better sort out my breakfast.  Better late than never.  Take care, have a good day and be happy.  xx

Wednesday 27 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone!  No frost this morning and we had plenty of rain yesterday afternoon so I stayed inside in the warm and dry.

I sorted out the high cupboards - two of them, in fact.  They contained glasses, really cheap, everyday glasses and the ones at the front, often used and washed in the dishwasher, had gone cloudy.  I got them all down, washed them, discarded all the cloudy ones into the recycling box and put the others back.  I now have an empty  small, high cupboard and must have a think about what could go out there.

The chat with Dad was lovely.  He seems well, considering everything, and in good spirits.  As he says, his life now isn't much different to how it would be without the virus.  The only difference is no visitors.

Today is a bit busier.  I'm off into town in a while to pick up my meds from Boots.  My weekly chat with Cal is this morning and then I have my online personal training with Lindsey.  Finally, I need to take some things round to Beth in the afternoon.  Nothing major but It will keep me nicely busy.

Take care, stay safe and well and have a happy day.  xx

Tuesday 26 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  After a fairly unpleasant weekend, yesterday's weather was lovely.  Very cold, sure, but bright and sunny all day with clear, blue skies and no wind.  It was so cheering.  Today's forecast is not so nice with rain predicted this afternoon.  We will see.

I seized the moment (or the ideal conditions) to get out into the shed and finally get the upright freezer sorted.  It wasn't a difficult job, there was very little rubbish in it, but the shelves had become a bit untidy and the top was very iced up.  About an hour later, it was all done and dusted and, for the first time ever, I think, I have two defrosted, tidy freezers at the same time plus a complete list of contents.  Cheers!

It was jolly cold work though so I decided to go in and get warmed up rather than do anything else outside.  Maybe I will pop out this morning and deal with the least cluttered bed which is just getting a bit weedy and needs sorting before it gets warmer and the weeds take over.

The rest of the time was spent doing the usual routine-y stuff and very pleasant it was too.  I caught up with Pottery Throwdown and agreed with the elimination this week.  I loved the bowl but the fruit wasn't great at all, very messy.  I'd have definitely given house room to the bowl though, it was wonderful.  You could tell where they had devoted their time.

Some time this week, I have to pop into town to pick up my meds, but not today.  Maybe tomorrow, I'll see how I feel.  And when I do my fruit and veg shopping, I'm going to Sainsbury's as I need to pop into the optician there to ask what's happened to my second pair of glasses!   Unfortunately, I won't be able to go very early but if I arrive at eight, I can do my shopping and then go to Specsavers when they open at nine.

As for today, the plan is to tackle the raised bed and a couple more higher cupboards in the kitchen while this afternoon I have the weekly Zoom chat with Dad.  Before then, weather permitting, I might pop out for a walk.  I'll see how I feel.

That's about it really.  We're all living the quiet life at the moment really.  How's the week started for you?

Take care, stay warm and be safe.  xx

Monday 25 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Monday!  Well, we had snow but it was very disappointing (or satisfactory, depending on your point of view) as it was very wet snow, didn't settle at all and didn't even slush really, just melted away.  It was pretty to watch it falling, I suppose, and I'm glad the roads and pavements are clear, not to mention my route out to the shed and back.
Today is predicted to be a pleasant day with sun in the morning (great!) and high cloud in the afternoon.  No rain but fairly chilly.  That's OK!

I fired Beth off a message yesterday morning and she replied saying let's make it an online chat as she was feeling achey and a bit 'fluey' (vaccine, we suspect) so that's what we did and it was really nice.  As it happens, it was perfectly safe to drive over but I'm glad I mentioned it as she didn't really feel up to having a visitor.  We managed to chat non-stop for around forty five minutes anyway!

I did get the bedding changed, washed and, get me, even ironed!  There are times when the tumble dryer is a real blessing.  It's one of the small but huge joys of life to get into a bed with fresh sheets, isn't it.  Such a pleasure.

The other useful thing I did was to finally start on the upright freezer.  I sorted out the top two shelves (which were the worst of the lot) and wrote a list of what's where.  Later on, I will do the other shelves and defrost the thing, using my fan heater and hair dryer to speed up the process.  I'll be glad to tick it off the list.

I have quite a stack of knitted hexagons although not nearly enough to make anything useable yet.  At the moment, there's three of each colour, same knitted pattern (e.g. a heart, a cable, etc) so I think what I will do is make another couple of each pattern and then lay them out and see what size blanket they make.
I've ordered some silver grey yarn which sounds daft when I'm using up bits but I need more of one colour for all the sides, top and bottom half hexagons to level the edges before crocheting a trim.  It's nowhere near ready for them yet but, as I will need a lot of them, may as well start making them sooner rather than later.

So today is freezer, the usual housework, meal prep, etc, the flower beds in the garden could do with a bit of neatening up so maybe, if the soil isn't too hard, I will tackle one of them and there's always the telly, reading, knitting, staying warm, etc.  

What a hard life, eh!!!

May your day go well for you, whatever you have planned.  Stay safe.  xx

Sunday 24 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's so cold here ( in comparison to how it usually is, I mean) and there's a very heavy frost.  We had such a lovely, pink sunrise this morning I just had to grab my camera and click.  It's not an amazing photo but it's a reflection.  It's now just dull and grey and the Beeb says 'heavy snow' - which I'm taking with a large pinch of salt as we rarely get heavy snow here, it's always heavy rain!

Yesterday turned out to be a very lazy day indeed.  I got my bit of early morning shopping done which turned out to be not a 'bit' after all, by the time I'd got some 'in case' things.  I was a bit shocked at the bill but everything's going up so much at the moment, it's hard to predict what it's likely to come to.

Finally, Chris and I had our weekly chat and it was lovely.  I know I keep saying this, but I'm always amazed at how much we have to talk about when we can't go anywhere or do anything much.  She's very well, as is her family, which is always good to hear.

Beth had no repercussions apart from a very slightly sore arm and a bit of a headache.  I'm really hoping to go over to hers this afternoon but that's going to depend on what the weather does.  She lives on a hill, the road is narrow, there's parking either side and it rarely gets gritted so I will be taking no risks.  You have to take it pretty slowly at the best of times.  If it comes to it, we can have an online coffee instead.

This morning I have a few little bits and bobs to do - some ironing to finish off, for instance, and I ought to change my sheets today too so I will have washing to do.  I might tackle a cupboard or I might just snuggle up in my recliner by the radiator, telly on, knitting to hand, Kindle within reach and a nice hot cuppa.  I'm not going to push myself, that's for sure!

Have a good day, everyone, stay warm, safe and well and, if you do have snow, I hope it's not too heavy or difficult.  xx

Saturday 23 January 2021


 Hello again, everyone.  Yesterday may have been cold but it was a very pleasant day indeed.  Nice and sunny moist of the time and very cheering.  It looks as if today will be more of the same but perhaps not as sunny.  

Cherie, these are the napkins I mentioned in my comment of your blog.  They're not the colour I would choose but Mum always liked brown and she got a lot of pleasure from hand sewing the patchwork pattern (she didn't make the actual napkins).

Yesterday turned out to be a series of changed plans.  Jackie couldn't make the chat as she had to take the car in for something or other.  Chris and I decided the afternoon chat was just too uncertain so we've rescheduled for this morning.

And finally, fantastic news, yesterday morning Beth (as an NHS employee) was able to book a vaccine for yesterday evening.  I took her, intending to drive around if there were parking problems.  Parking at Broomfield hospital is notorious.   However, it turned out to be fine, Beth got her first vaccine and that's two out of the five I worry most about done for the time being.  I know the jury is still out on how specifically effective it is but it's certainly better than nothing, isn't it?

This morning, the reason why I'm up and dressed early is because I'm going round to Morrisons to get the things that I couldn't get in the last shop plus a few items that have some to mind since.  Morrisons opens at seven so I'll be there soon after that, avoiding the crowds.  I don't think they do the NHS hour any more but, if they do, I will just come back and try again an hour later.  :-)

I'm hoping and expecting that Chris and I will get our much delayed chat today.  There's plenty to talk about so it should be enjoyable. 

After that, it's going to be a lazy day after several comparatively busy days.  I'll finish off the ironing, sort things out in the kitchen and then the day's my own.  Lovely.
What are you planning for today?  xx

Friday 22 January 2021


 Morning, everyone.  We have a hard frost here this morning and a very sunny forecast for the day.  Cold and sunny is my idea of a perfect winter day, cheerful and encouraging, and the sun keeps it warm this side of the windows.

Yesterday went well.  Chris could make an afternoon chat so we hope to be able to chat this afternoon instead, fingers crossed, although I had forgotten the cleaner/cleaners will be here at some point.  

Dave came round as planned and we set the finance thing (it's cashing in a very small pension, I don't mind saying) in motion.  I now have to wait for paperwork to arrive which should take two weeks, maybe more with the postal problems at the moment, fill in missing details such as bank details, etc, send it back, they have to get in touch with IR to get a tax code, take tax off 75% of it and then dump what's left into my bank account.
So I reckon we could be looking at a couple of months, but that's OK, it just seems that I could use the money better in my ISA really.  If I can get it in this financial year, that would be good, but if not, no problem.

The online funeral was sad, as they always are, but well done.  I loved that it started and finished with the Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah.  It really set the tone and  I am so very glad I was able to be there online.

I had enough darks to make a load so I was able to test the cover to the drying rack and it was great.  It's less obvious covered and I thought it did dry the clothes more quickly.  It's never going to be as quick and the tumble dryer but it's loads more economical.  It's also good for airing if things are slightly damp after ironing.

Zoom SW was fun.  Last week, Jen started organising it more as the face to face sessions used to be organised and I think we are all appreciating that very much.  After last week's disappointment, I had a better loss this week so I'm happy with that!  There's still Christmas poundage to lose but it's going and that's the important thing.

Today I have two chats, hopefully, and a downstairs clean, so before the latter I will do a little bit of clearing up any clutter.  It really won't take long as I've been  pretty good about clearing up after myself this week.
As it's a downstairs clean, I will disappear upstairs and tackle some books, some cupboards or something like that.  There's plenty to do!

Better get going, I suppose.  All the best and have a very good day, whatever your plans, stay warm and safe and positive.  xx

Thursday 21 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone!  It feels a bit chilly and I have my nice warm dressing gown on this morning.  Yesterday was dull, damp and quite breezy and, from what I can see, the wind has now died down for a while.  Saturday's forecast looks 'interesting'!  Sleet and heavy snow showers for a while.

The drying rack cover did arrive.  It's a fairly substantial (although lightweight) thing with a zip to turn in into a cover bag for the folded up rack and two zips at the front for access plus ventilation 'windows' covered in netting.  I'm looking forward to the next load of washing - must check my washing basket!  I've popped it in a concealed corner which just happens to have a socket nearby.  My downstairs area is pretty much open plan apart from the kitchen but there's a little 'corridor' leading to the kitchen and it fits there very nicely.  Usually, it will be folded away between use.

Yesterday started off with a trip to the shops.  I'm glad I can make the effort to go early; there are very few people there at eight o'clock when the shops open.  I did an M&S shop first as I am quite converted to their fruit and veg which seems to be great quality and stays good for ages.  I then went cross corner to Aldi and mopped up most of the other things on my list there.  I was able to get everything on Beth's list but there are a few items I still need so I will do a Morrisons shop early tomorrow and then I'm well stocked.

I had just got home, sorted out, put away and made my breakfast when it was time for my chat with Val which was lovely.  How we find things to talk about in these quiet times, I don't know, but we do!  We stopped nearly an hour later as I had to get ready for personal training.

As always, I really enjoyed the session with Lindsey, something I could never have said even four years ago.  In fact, if you'd told me I would enjoy any form of exercise then, I'd have laughed you out of the house!  Weird.

After lunch, I popped round to Beth's (my support bubble buddy/daughter) for a coffee and to deliver her shopping and something she'd asked me to bring over.  I didn't stay long, just half an hour, because she had to get back to work, but it was lovely.

So it was another lovely day with three scheduled things.  And today had four (probably).

The first is, and I will explain carefully, that Dave (son) is coming round early.  There's a reason, of course.  He is my financial adviser and there is something that he needs to support me with that has to be done over the phone.  That's problematic for me because of my hearing so he makes the call, I do the security stuff with him 'translating' for me and I give verbal permission and then he tells me the questions and I answer them.  It's connected with cashing in a pension and needs to be done so it is counted as essential support for a vulnerable person - and in this area my lousy hearing makes me 'vulnerable'.  So it is permitted under current rules.

Mid morning, there's something sad and that's an online funeral which I would like to attend as I had known the lady concerned for a very long time.  Not the virus as far as I know.  To go to the funeral, I have to postpone my chat with Chris, so I've asked her if she can make this afternoon.  Fingers crossed.  I know she won't mind.
Then, finally, it is the Slimming World Zoom meeting early evening.

What with all that, my exercises and ironing as well, I won't have much time to be lazy today, will I?  Take care, everyone, and be safe.

Wednesday 20 January 2021



I'm glad to say I managed to get all my washing, drying and ironing done, despite the weather.  I got the other drying rack out of the shed, shuddering at how many spiders webs it had, showing just how long since I last needed to use it.  I had forgotten it was a heated rack and it should have a cover but I have no idea where the cover is.  It might have got chucked at some point.  

So here's my modern equivalent of the clothes horse.  The one (on the left) heats up each of those side to side rails so it's a good even heat.  I think it originally came from Lakeland but I bought it off a friend.

I went onto Lakeland and Amazon to look for a replacement cover and found that although Lakeland was cheaper, by the time postage had been added, it was more expensive than Amazon Prime which also has next day delivery.  So I should be getting a cover today because, to be honest, it worked brilliantly yesterday so the smaller rack is going back into the shed and the electric one is staying inside from now on.

I sorted out two things on my list.  Just small things but now they've done and crossed off the list.
One was sorting out the paper box on my work table.  That's all done now and, while it isn't empty, it isn't cluttered either.  The other was a financial thing and that's well on the way to being done now.  It was good to get them both done.

Today is another comparatively busy day.
I'm going shopping early morning, great long list in hand containing items for both Beth and me.  I have an online chat with Val later in the morning and my personal training sessions with Lindsey over lunch time.  After that, I need to take the shopping over to Beth.

I will be ready for some chill-out time later on in the afternoon, won't I?
What are your plans for today?
Take care, stay safe and have a good 'un.  xx

Tuesday 19 January 2021


 Morning, everyone; how are you today?  The rough weather has landed - well, semi-rough - with a stiff breeze and plenty of rain.  According to the Beeb, we are not expected to have much rain through the day but it will land again overnight.

At first, yesterday felt like a nothing sort of day although I did get that cupboard under the sink sorted out.  I couldn't believe how much air freshener I had tucked away!  Not to mention just-about-empty bottles of this, that and the other.  And duplicates - so many!  Anyway, they are now sorted, all the spares are in the shed, neatly on shelves, and now I know what I have.  Now there is room to put the washing up liquid and the daily spray sanitiser away and out of sight.  My kitchen is starting to look more minimalistic.  Just more, not entirely!  I like a few things out.

Then, just as I was looking at my list and thinking that I didn't really feel like doing any of the things listed, along came a distraction.  My ordered rebounder arrived and working out how to set it up and having a preliminary bounce plus finding a YouTube channel with some relevant and achievable workouts cheered me up no and and took a reasonable chunk of time.

In the evening I produced more hexagons!

So it wasn't a nothing day after all.  It was good.

Today has started well with overnight washing drying in the tumble dryer, one load done and on the rack and another load in and doing.  I've done the washing Beth brought round so will be ironing that later on and have started on my own which I should get finished today although I may have to dodge the raindrops to get the other drying rack in from the shed.  Sometimes I am reminded very strongly of my childhood.  No tumble dryers in those days, of course, so if the weather was too bad for line drying, it all had to go on clothes horses and in winter they went in front of the fire (open with a fire guard), blocking the warmth from the rest of the room.

When the clothes had dried, Mum would let us turn the clothes horses sideways and give us a couple of old blankets to make a tent.  If we had been VERY good while she was so busy, we were allowed to have tea in our tent.  What a treat that was!  Before bedtime, we would have to tidy everything up so that Mum could iron and then air everything in front of the dying fire.

We had one like this - this was the one that was our tent.

And one quite like this except that it had three leaves, not four, I think.  It was amazing how much washing/ironing it held.

(both photos found on Google Images)

Lovely memories but I'm glad it's different nowadays.

I have my weekly chat with Dad this afternoon, courtesy of Zoom.  He seems well, no side effects from the vaccine.  Good news from Beth - she may be getting hers soon, possibly early next month, because of her job.  That would be another weight off my mind.  The rest of us will just have to wait our turn, I expect.

I'd better go.  The second lot of washing must have finished and needs getting out.
Have a super day, whatever you have planned.  I hope the storm isn't too bad where you are - be safe and warm.  And positive, always as positive as ever you can manage.  xx

Monday 18 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  First of all, just to say a big thanks for all your kind and supportive comments yesterday.  I wasn't exactly upset, just rather taken aback, but it's all done and dusted now and, hopefully, that's the end of it.

Beth and I had a lovely few hours together yesterday.  She arrived in time for lunch and stayed until around four thirty, departing with ironing, frozen meals, basket and railing that she used to use to hang things on at craft fairs. It was great to catch up on everything.  She read my blog yesterday and laughed, saying that I had definitely gone into 'kind but very firm teacher mode' - apparently it is a recognisable me-thing that I've done before on many an occasion and probably will again.  I do know what she means!

I've ticked off one thing on my 'to do' list.  Admittedly, it is the simplest thing on the list, that of sorting out my poly bag drawer, but it's now spick, span and tidy and things will no longer keep falling down the back.  It was a great feeling,. ticking it off!

I thoroughly enjoyed Throw Down again yesterday evening although I disagreed with the elimination choice.  Having said that, I am no expert so who am I to judge?  Again, there were some fantastic creations and how they do it in the time they have, I cannot fathom.  The winning creation was stunning, I thought.

Today the diary is absolutely empty but I have a stack of washing to do, both mine and Beth's, followed by the drying and ironing, and I will pick another task from the list, probably sorting out the cupboard under the sink which really is a dog's dinner of a mess right now.  I also want to complete my shopping list as I said to Beth that I'd do her shopping as well as mine so we made a rough list.  I want to get everything into some sort of coherent order and then I'll go tomorrow or Wednesday early morning.  It make more sense for one of us to go out instead of both and I'm running short of some items, mostly fresh stuff.

Well, I'd better stop as it's time for the second hot drink of the day.  Have a great day, whatever you have planned, and take care.  xx

Sunday 17 January 2021

Sunday - and a fairly long explanation, sorry!

 Morning, everyone.  Well, the snow didn't last for long.  It turned to sleet, then to rain and in the afternoon the sun came out and it was lovely.  That's the way to do it!!
And we have sunshine this morning too.

I'll start with the explanation.  There was a comment to yesterday's post that really needs a proper answer, not just in comment reply, in case others have misunderstood too so apologies if you already know all this, but it's for everyone.

The comment was this (edited only for spacing issues):

Hi Joy

I live in Kent & have 2 children & 4 grandchildren under 10
They live in Aberdeen & North London.
I have not been able to see any of them other than very short periods for the last 12 months soI find it distressing that you can have a ‘bubble’ of 3 people none of whom appear to live together.
Doubt whether you will publish this

I feel quite upset about your ‘bubble’ of 3 people who don’t appear to live together.

I am in my seventies & have 2 children &=

Hi, U,
First of all, I can understand how distressing and difficult it is not to see loved ones face to face at the moment.  I'm so lucky that my daughter and grandson live in the same city so can be my support bubble.  Not everyone is so fortunate and I never cease to be grateful for what I have, believe me, nor to take it for granted.

Beth isolates as much as possible, shops by click and collect mostly and works from home.  Ditto for me except that I do my shopping early morning in order to avoid crowds.  Apart from that, pretty much the only time we go out is to each other's homes.  It's as safe as it can be.

My son, Dave, and his partner, Anna, also live close by (yes, I am really very, very lucky, I know) but I don't see them apart from online.  Dave came round a couple of times to put things in my freezer but we didn't spend time together face to face.  I miss them but there you are.

Ditto for Dad.  He is very vulnerable and, when it was allowed, I used to spend every other fortnight with him, making sure things were OK.  He is also isolating and has a bubble with his next door neighbour.  I miss him too, very much.

I've explained all of the above, not for any sort of sympathy, but for clarity.

So - Beth (and Alex, her son, who lives at home during the vacation) are my support bubble.  The rules for support bubbles can be found here , we stick to them and I will just say that Beth and I maintain some distance anyway, just to be on the safe side.  No hugs at the moment, sadly.  As an aside, I wonder how long it will be before we feel safe hugging again.

The sender of the comment may have been referring to my weekly 'chats' to Dad, Val, Chris and Jackie.  All of these chats are online chats with people I used to see very regularly.  Dad is - well, my Dad, Val used to live down the road from me, Chris is just over the cul de sac so we can wave to each other out of our windows and Jackie is an old friend and school colleague in the past.  I have seen none of them face to face for any kind of get together since last summer when we were allowed to under certain restrictions.  I am so thankful for Messenger/Zoom/technology in general to enable some sort of interaction.  It's not as good as proper, real, interaction, but it's a very good substitute.

Lindsey is my personal trainer and she delivers sessions via Messenger.  They are not face to face.  

So, just to recap - I am very firmly  sticking to the rules, including the support bubble rules.  I am not meeting face to face with anyone else, not even in the park, for exercise, maintaining distance.  When I go out for a walk infrequently, I go on my own.
Does that clarify and explain?  I do hope so.
Thanks for the comment; I didn't realise that there might be misunderstanding and I'm glad I've had the opportunity to put things right.

Right - back to normal now!

As I said, the snow was minimal, as you can see.  It looked pretty for a short time and thank goodness it didn't freeze as it would have been very nasty underfoot.

I spend most of the morning in the kitchen, making some bean, tomato and veg casserole type stuff which is now frozen in single portions for Beth to take.  I did syphon off three smaller portions for myself - it tasted rather good!

In the afternoon I was very lazy, sitting, reading, knitting, watching Netflix (I'm working through the Star Trek: Voyager programmes) and generally having a good time.

Today, the morning is lazy apart from meal prep and then Beth's round for lunch.  She can take the finished ironing and the frozen meals and I'm hoping she will bring another load of washing with her.  It's something I can do while she's so busy with her new job and, goodness knows, I have enough time during the week.
I'm looking forward to hearing how the work is going too.

Once she's gone, the kitchen will need tidying and then I'm settling down with telly.  I think it will be a really nice day!
Take care, all of you, stay safe and well.  What are your plans for today?  xx

Saturday 16 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Finally, we have snow.  Well, I call it snow but there's not enough settling to make a snowball, let alone a snowman.  It's very icy and slippery underfoot though, as I found when I went to the shed just now to get today's supplied from the freezer.  No way am I going out unless I really HAVE to today.  Brrrrrr.

When I was sorting out a cupboard, I found this.

It's a really old on the hob coffee pot that Mum and Dad used to use when I was young.  When I went off for college, they gave it to me as they had a 'better one' by then and anyway the pyrex top kept breaking and had become unreplaceable.  They said it wouldn't last long - they got that wrong, didn't they?

I used it all through college and for a while afterwards until husband and I got a 'better one' but I never threw it away because of associated memories and, anyway, I rather loved the look of it and still do.

It's got to be between fifty five and sixty years old so it's become a treasure in its own right now.  I cleaned it up and have started using it and it makes jolly good coffee.  You can see how it works - put the grounds in the basket thing, fill the pot to about two thirds of its height with water (just boiled makes the whole process much faster), pop the basket into the pot, close the lid and let it percolate away on the medium heat until the coffee is done.

It seems a shame not to use it now I have discovered it and I just have to accept that when the glass top does go, that will be it.  I'm just loving using a part of my family history.

Dad got his vaccine yesterday.  He didn't have to queue, there were chairs everywhere that kept being wiped down and now he just has to get over any after effects.  He said that my aunt, Mum's sister, Diana, had hers yesterday too so that's good to know.

And the flakes are getting bigger - it is proper snow now.  :-)

Well, looking out, it's still snowing and it's heavier too.  Tiny, icy flakes that are now starting to settle on the ground as well as on the soil.  It's definitely a day in the warm for me.  I have some batch cooking to do, some ironing and the ever present clearing out.  Enough to keep me occupied anyway.

Do take care if you have to go out and have had snow.  It's more slippery than it looks sometimes.  Be safe and stay warm.  xx

Friday 15 January 2021


 Well, here we are nearly at the end of another week with the weekend looming large and pretty much half way through January already.  Good morning, everyone, how are you?  I have no idea what the weather is doing right now and I can't be bothered to look out but Beeb says it's going to be cold and dry today.  I like the sound of dry anyway as yesterday was wall to wall rain all day.

It was a good day.  Chris and I chatted for a good hour on Messenger and Lindsey's personal training was great.  I've said it before, I know, but she's really very good at what she does.

Then it was the SW meeting and everyone was most sympathetic about my pound gain (I'm back down two pounds this morning so go figure!!) and we had a good laugh about things.  I had a good time.

Some good news arrived which cheered me up no end, not that I needed cheering up but you know what I mean.  I can't share it with you as it's not my story to tell but it was great!

Today I have a scheduled chat with Jackie at eleven and the cleaners are here this afternoon.  Before our chat, I need to do my usual Friday clear up, not that there's an awful lot of clutter right now but I like to give the cleaners a clear run.  I pay them to clean, not to move my stuff around before they can clean.  :-)

Apart from that there's really nothing else so I have plenty of time to knit, read, attack cupboards, etc.  Fine by me!

What do you have planned today?  Take care, be safe and stay warm.  xx

Thursday 14 January 2021


 Hi, everyone.  After a very damp yesterday, it looks as if it has rained all night and it's still raining this morning.  My dressing gown has a hood (and I lie in bed and . . . sorry, wrong place) and I usually never use it but I pulled it up to go out to the shed for today's food fifteen minutes ago.  Today's Beeb forecast looks horrible.  Rain, rain, rain, turning to sleet, sleet, sleet all day as the temperature drops.  I am SO glad I don't have to go out for anything.

Personal training yesterday was cancelled and Lindsey has rescheduled it for today.  That's one thing to look forward to.  

The chat with Val was great.  We nattered on for almost an hour about this, that and the other before agreeing to meet again next Wednesday.  I have a chat with Chris this morning at ten and am looking forward to it very much.

The corner of the kitchen is now clutter free.  I have a stack of books to take upstairs and another stack of paper to go through and, hopefully, put mostly in the recycling bag for collection tomorrow.  I think today's main task will be to sort out all the books in the spare room and generally get them all organised in there.  Then the books in the yellow room too, but that's a task for next week as it will take a fair while and won't be nearly so satisfying as there's still an awful lot of Beth's stuff there..

The other thing for today is my SW meeting at five thirty on Zoom.  I'm looking forward to that very much as Jen says she will restart what they call 'image therapy' and I always rather enjoy that - hearing how others have done and what new things/good recipes/helpful ideas they have.  I think it will be good.

So there's my three things for the day - chat with Chris, personal training and SW.  Between times I aim to sort out the guest room books and that pile of paper, mostly printouts, get on with my hexagons and read.  A useful sort of day.

Nearly forgot - the foil dishes arrived and they are a perfect size.  I ordered two different types - a single portion size and a small portion size - with fingers crossed that they were OK and they are.  I don't have time to start the cooking today but tomorrow or Saturday is fine.  Beth's coming for lunch on Sunday and she can take them back with her afterwards.

Stay safe and positive, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 13 January 2021


 Morning, everyone.  It feels a bit chillier this morning nd it's drizzling a bit.  Never mind, it could be worse.

First of all, the very good news (good to me, that is); Dad has his vaccination scheduled for Friday afternoon.  Excellent, I'm very glad.  I will lift that vague underlying anxiety somewhat, I think.  He's taking a drive to the place today, just to check parking, etc, as it will be dark by the time he has to be there.

Yesterday passed as days pass at the moment.  I did the extra moving stuff around and now there's room for what I wanted to put away (the actifry).  There's more room, in fact, as some more stuff went down to the garage.  Excellent.  Even further away, things are much more accessible now, which is great.

I went onto Amazon and ordered some foil dishes and tops.  Generally, I freeze things either in poly bags or in plastic pots but I thought it would be helpful to have some containers that can go from freezer to oven without need to defrost.  I can also make some freezer to oven meals for Beth which I know she will appreciate now she is working full time (yay!!)
They should be coming today, as should a silly little 'My weight loss journey' plaque that you write on in chalk.  It * is * silly but cute and not terribly expensive either.  You may have seen them - there's three chalk board spaces to write pounds lost this week, pounds lost in total and pounds still to go to target.

Apart from that, I got all Beth/Alex's ironing done so they are ready to swap for another pile as soon as Beth is ready.  In the meanwhile, I have just a few things of mine that didn't dry completely yesterday.

Apart from the ironing, I have a clutter corner in the kitchen behind where the actifry was (and I'm still using it, it was just taking a bit too much room really) so I'd like to sort that out today.  It is mostly cookery books which could just as easily be upstairs with all the others.  Once that's done, I can have a good long look around the kitchen to see if anything else could go away.  The bread bin is scruffy and unused, so that might get chucked.  I don't keep loaves of bread anyway - they get sliced and frozen.

I have a chat with Val scheduled for this morning and personal training later on, not at the usual time because Lindsey has to do some online training.  Then I have a meeting early evening so it's all go really.

Take care, have a lovely day and stay safe.  xx

Tuesday 12 January 2021


 Morning, everyone.  Goodness, it feels a lot milder this morning and checking Beeb weather, it most certainly is!  For the first time in ages, I didn't come downstairs and head straight for the thermostat this morning.  Yesterday stayed sunny for a short time but then clouded over and we have had rain overnight.

Well, I finished that high cupboard.  The reason for that was to move some not so much used stuff from a low cupboard so that I could put something away in it but I now find it doesn't quite fit.  That means a bit more shifting stuff around bit I'll get there - eventually.  I doesn't hurt to give cupboards the occasional sort out anyway.
I now have to make several journeys down to the garage.

Apart from that, I got the washing done and generally idled and relaxed.  I need to do what I did last lockdown, from March onward last year and have some projects.  It's the wrong weather for allotment but, hopefully, from the end of February onward, I can get started there as well

Today I have a chat with Dad scheduled and that's it as far as the diary is concerned, but I do have plenty of homey stuff to be getting on with so I won't be too bored.  As far as Dad's concerned, he's been contacted regarding his covid vaccination so I am absolutely delighted about that!  The sooner, the better.

That's about it really.  Have a pleasant day and stay safe and well.  xx

Monday 11 January 2021


 Hiya.  Another new day and a new week, packed with possibilities.  I guess I'm feeling pretty upbeat this morning which is nice.
It has definitely warmed up since yesterday.  The really heavy frost has gone, there's blue skies and have you noticed the days are getting noticeably longer now?  Very cheering.

The frost was very pretty yesterday and I took a few photos.

I didn't get half the things done that I planned but, dear me, there's always today and tomorrow and . . . so on . . . so I'm not repining.  I did half the high cupboard clearing which is better than nothing and I sorted out some cluttery piles.  I swear I have no idea where they come from.  Maybe they reproduce overnight!

It was great seeing Beth and having a really good chatter.  I came home with a stack of washing; it's brilliant to be able to have the time to help out nowadays.  One load is in the dryer, one in the machine and one waiting as I type.  Then I think there's a load of darks and one of whites in my washing basket, so that'll keep me busy.  There's something very satisfying about a stack of clean and ironed clothes.

In the evening, I thoroughly enjoyed the first Great Pottery Throw Down.  The standard seems very high this year and I would have happily given cupboard space to several of those cheese sets.  They were amazing.

So today is clothes, sorting out and between these, plenty of sitting and knitting, reading and/or watching catchup.  I really can't complain, can I?  xx

Sunday 10 January 2021


 Hi, everyone.  Day two of Lazy Weekend and things are great!  Yes, it's jolly cold again but that's OK.  Yesterday, the frost/ice didn't go all day, despite some cheerful sunshine, but I gather it is going to be getting a little warmer over the coming week.

I've finished the first round of tea bags which was a Twelve Days thing.  

I've liked them all apart from the chamomile one which I didn't take to.  I didn't actively dislike it, I just didn't like it much.  I don't think I will bother with any more - maybe Beth likes chamomile tea; I'll ask her.
I'll start the second round today.
I might also have the second speciality coffee with breakfast.  Ooooh - indulgent day today!

I think I've sorted out the hexagon thing.  It really just wasn't a terribly carefully thought out pattern.  I now have several options for the way I do the increasing and decreasing so I'm do some one way and some another.  After all, it is supposed to be patchwork.  Definitely a good way to use up leftover yarn.  It doesn't take much to make on so I am going to rootle in the small ball basket and see what I have there.
The main aim is to keep my fingers occupied and it's certainly doing that!

Today is not as empty as yesterday as this afternoon I'm going round to Beth's for coffee and a good old support buddy chat.  I'm looking forward to hearing all about her first week's work - as much as she can tell me anyway, although there must be a lot of confidentiality there so she can't say everything.

This morning I am finishing off a higher cupboard in the kitchen.  I've been putting it off because it involves going up and down a step ladder but it's about time really!  It should keep me warm anyway!

Have a great day, everyone, whatever your plans are.  Please - stay warm and be safe.  xx

Saturday 9 January 2021


 Good morning again.  Another cold and frosty start to the day, a bit misty and I'm so glad I don't need to go out this morning.

Yesterday, I had a lovely chat with Jackie.  We haven't 'seen' each other since before Christmas so there was plenty to catch up on.  I first met Jackie just after I had started working at school.  I was doing two terms maternity cover as a way of getting back into teaching once my two were back at school and was standing at the photocopier outside the head's room while she was waiting to go in to be interviewed for a post.  We exchanged a few words and I wished her good luck.  That was in the mid 1980s.  She got the post and things went on from there - she ended up as head and I ended up as Key Stage coordinator and SENCO.
Anyway, we had a good old natter together yesterday.

When the cleaner came, I disappeared upstairs and sorted out the guest room where all the Christmas fabric-y things were lying around.  I got them all sorted and put away and made up the beds.  It was then that I realised that the beds have drawers under and the draws are empty.  They would be an ideal place for all the Christmas stuff which is light.  So today or tomorrow, I might very well move the newly cleared stuff to free up more cupboard space.

I've been trying to make a Lakeland order all week.  However, they've been out of a certain item all week so each day I've been going in to check.  At last, yesterday, they had it back in so I was able to complete my order which should arrive middle of next week.  Another thing ticked off my list.

Today I have absolutely nothing in the diary and I think I'm going to have a very easy day.  I might even stay in my pjs until later on.  There are the aforementioned Christmas things to re-sort and my bedroom is a bit of a cluttery mess but I don't HAVE to do them, only if I feel like it.  Nice.

I hope you all have a lovely day today, whatever your plans and commitments are.  Stay safe . . . xx

Friday 8 January 2021


 Good morning!  It's the end of the working week already - almost, anyway.  Time is flying right now and I have become used to staying in and staying as safe as possible.  The most difficult thing (and that's a very relative term) is thinking something like 'oh, I will need some more xyz soon' and then remembering it has to go on a list rather than me just popping round to the very convenient Morrisons around the corner!  Then, when I have a long enough list or really do need something, I will go as soon as whichever shop I want opens first thing in the morning.  There has to be an advantage to being an early riser.

It's cold again.  The car is covered with ice (not frost).  It's good and cosy inside though so no complaints.

I've dug out some yarn and needles and started knitting hexagons.  However, I've hit a few snags.  Firstly, the pattern is, as far as I can tell, not correct.  The increasing and decreasing is not as neat as it could be and there seem to be rows missed out so that suddenly the right side becomes the wrong side which is weird.  The moss stitch hexagon knits to a different size although I will try that again just to make sure it wasn't my bad knitting.  And finally, the pattern specifies DK yarn and size 4.5 needles and it's all rather loose and floppy.  Perhaps that's the idea but I prefer the hexagons to be a bit firmer so I will try with fours instead and see how that works out.  I also have some ideas for different patterns on the shape.  Each hexagon really doesn't take long at all and I will enjoy the experimenting.

My two online thingies were lovely.  I had a great chat with Chris in the morning and the Zoom SW meeting early evening was a good laugh.  All very cheering, in fact.

Today is pretty much more of the same.  I have a chat with Jackie organised for this morning and the cleaners, bless them, come this afternoon.  I've sent off a message saying I'd prefer them to focus on downstairs this time.  I gather there's a brand new series of Would I Lie To You starting this evening so I'm really looking forward to that no end.

It's going to be a good day.  You have one too and stay warm and safe.  xx

Thursday 7 January 2021


 Good morning!  It's yet another  chilly morning, this time with a frost to pretty things up.  Beeb thinks it is only going to rise to 1 C so the frost may stay all day.  Brrrr.

Yesterday was sad.  Down came the baubles, down came the bunting, down came the Christmas tree lights and finally the three, in three sections, was carried down to the garage to be bagged there.  Yes, I had a brainwave, must unusually for me.  Instead of filling the bag in the house and struggling to carry it to the garage (it is a heavy tree), after years and years I have finally realised I can do it the other way!  Doh!
There's a few odds and ends to deal with but, generally, Christmas has been packed away and, so that the tree corner doesn't look too dull, I've brightened it up a bit.

The cushion came in a set of Christmas cushions but it isn't specifically Christmassy so it can stay there and the 'JOY' was a gift and the giver said she chose it because it could stay all year round, given my name and character (wasn't that kind).
OK, it's not the most stylish of corners but, if it was, it wouldn't go in my house.  lol

Before all of the above I had a lovely chat with Val before there was a knock at the door and my bags of granular salt had arrived, accompanied by a very pleasant chap who was happy to take them round the side to the back as they were destined for storage in the shed.
I had ordered ten bags and each bag came in its own packing box.  Goodness knows why; the bags are very heavy duty and they could have slapped labels just on the bags rather than put each into a box with paper inside to pad out the rest of the space.
Now my card recycling sack is chocka full and I'm glad they're collecting this week!
The bags of salt are now neatly stacked in the shed, ready for use either in the water softener, the dishwasher or, if necessary, to put down on the hill that is our cul de sac so cars can get out (it's been done before!) in snowy weather.

Personal training was really good.  I was a bit puffed after the Christmas laziness (and I didn't have a session last week) but at long, long last my neck and shoulder issues have cleared up and I didn't feel so much as a twinge.  I wonder if some of it had its roots in dental issues.

So that was yesterday - fairly busy really under the circumstances.  Today, I think I have a chat with Chris this morning and Slimming World Zoom early evening.  Between those time, I can sort out the remaining clutter downstairs and then go up to the spare room to put all the Christmas fabric stuff away.  At the moment it's all laid out on the two beds.

My fingers were getting twitchy after reading Frugal in Essex's entry about some knitting yarn(thank you) so I went to Deramores to look at what they had.  I rather fancied a kit, something blanket related, maybe, but all the kits I liked had sold out, darn it, so I went for a downloadable pattern for a hexagonal quilt which has the advantage that it will use up some of my everlasting yarn stash.  Basically, it is hexagons in four different stitches to which I can add another, reverse stocking stitch.  
As well as that, I have a cross stitch to finish and another waiting to start as well as a jigsaw puzzle, so I do have plenty to be getting on with when I am sitting down. 

What do you plan to do today?  Whatever it is, stay safe and be happy.  xx

Wednesday 6 January 2021


 Good morning.  I doesn't feel so cold this morning, perhaps because there's no breeze, and it's certainly a bit brighter - at the moment!  The forecast is for light rain but  we will see!

I started yesterday off with an early shopping trip, the reasoning being that early would mean less crowding.  There were a fair number of people out early, not loads but perhaps more than usual but I saw no panic buying - what I would call panic buying anyway.  What I did see was people around my age or older, getting what they needed for the week and then adding a few extras.  I saw one lady getting two cans of tuna and then going back for another two as an afterthought.  I have to admit, I got a few more things myself, both in M&S and in Aldi (they are close to each other) and now I have the comfortable feeling that I probably won't need to do much shopping for a while; I can stay at home and be safe(r).

But there was no panic buying by which I mean people filling their trolleys with multiple items and there was plenty on all the shelves.

Once home, I sorted everything out and put it all away and, I have to admit, I felt more 'secure'.  Is that silly?  I don't know but I'm finding this latest lockdown plus the new variant spreading so fast has shaken me more than I would have thought.

I had a lovely chat with Dad late afternoon.  He's managing very well with help from Ann, his neighbour, plus Gail and Colin who help with housework and garden respectively.  Beth finished her first day and celebrated, I believe, with a G&T.  She has plenty to do/read/learn but that won't faze (or is it phase?) her.

Today I have a scheduled chat with my lovely friend, Val, in the morning, followed by online personal training.  However, sadly, it is now time to take down the Christmas tree and all the other decorations - bunting and cushions being the main ones - and that's my job for the afternoon.  It's been lovely and bright but things move on and the sparkly much go back into boxes and bags for eleven months or so.

Well, I need to stop.  This is quite late because I slept until an unheard of half past seven this morning.  I wish that would happen more often!

Stay warm, stay safe.  xx

Tuesday 5 January 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's the same old, isn't it?  Back in lockdown.  I am so pleased that the support bubble thingy hasn't been discarded; it has meant a lot to me one way and another, to be able to socialise face to face with someone

Apart from that, the biggie yesterday was the extraction.  I was so worried because the tooth was in a bad way, not a lot to get hold of, so to speak, but Francesca was so gentle, numbed me up the the eyeballs, explained everything and, despite a bad attach of the shakes on my part, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  Even if I wasn't planning for another implant, I wanted that stump out.  It hurt intermittently, food got stuck in it, I'm sure it tainted my breath and it was too far gone for anything else.  By half five the numbness had worn off and it was fine - with ibuprofen, obviously.  Taking no risks for twenty four hours.  And I have slept very well too.  

The rest of the day was spent doing bits and bobs.  I put some more salt in the water softener, ordered more bags of salt from B&Q, to be delivered, changed my bedding, washed, dried and ironed them, sorted out another freezer bag and dealt with the Christmas cake which is proving far too much of a temptation.

It's now in three chunks.  I took one chunk round to Dave and Anna and the other two are well wrapped and awaiting some boxes from Amazon so I can post one chunk to John and one chunk to Dad.

Today I have a chat with Dad lined up but other than that the diary is empty so I will fill it with sorting and tidying and getting more things back into order.  It's a biggie for Beth though - it's the first day of her new job so my fingers are very, very crossed.   She had to drive to Maldon today to pick up her technology and get some training in how to use it and she is allowed to go because she cannot do her job otherwise.  After today, she should be working and undertaking training from home.

It's not a very good photo, but I found this in the little front garden strip and it cheered me up no end.  It may seem far off but it's a sign of brighter things to come.  Loads of bulbs are also coming up.

Monday 4 January 2021


 Morning, everyone.  It's really cold and rather wet this morning.  The rain started yesterday afternoon and it's still damp now.  Just light drizzle but not nice.

I got some of the clearing done yesterday.  The table is more or less clear now and most decorations are away but the big boxes they contain it all are lined up in front of the French window and don't look great.  They're staying there though until the tree, etc, is all finally down on Wednesday and I will take everything down to the garage together.

Also, I tidied up two of the four baskets in the freezer which was satisfying.  If I do the other two this morning, I can then tackle the other freezer.

Dave came round in the afternoon, not to come in as that would be breaking rules, but to deposit some meat that they don't have room for right now in my freezer where, miraculously, I now have room.  When Anna was shopping, she found some joints of cooked ham at, would you believe, 10p!  OK, not like gammon, but fine for sandwiches, in soups and casseroles, etc.   The one they got for me I took inside and sliced before interleaving and freezing, and it gave me around twenty slices which should provide me with breakfasts, lunches and the occasional dinner.

Today, I have the morning for chores and I'm rather dreading the afternoon.  Dentist!  No problems with the work already done, it's that last treatment that I hinted at last year, a really bad tooth that needs extracting and I've decided to go the implant routs for this one as well.  At least I now know what to expect!
I must be bonkers!

I nearly forgot the eleventh gift of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Today it is some bath salts:  Christmas Dreams(pomegranate scented), Winter Berry Magic (wild berry scented), Party Girl Bubbles (peach scented - and chance would be a fine thing), and Cosy Spiced Hugs (cinnamon scented).  Fancy!  Now, which do I fancy this morning?

I hope our rain isn't your snow as the country goes back to work after the Christmas holidays (if and where it can).
Round here the schools weren't due to start again until Tuesday but, being where we are, they are officially staying closed for a couple of weeks anyway.  Tough for parents who need to work too.  Tough for teachers who have to modify plans at very short notice and create online friendly lessons.   Tough for the kids who were looking forward to seeing their mates again.
Tough times indeed.

Have a good day, stay warm and be safe, whatever your plans.  xx

Sunday 3 January 2021


 Good morning.  An early start to today although I'm not sure why.  I was very tired yesterday evening and didn't go to bed too early.  Not to worry, it really doesn't matter two hoots.

It's still very cold outside.  I've just been to the shed to get some chicken stock (for once, able to put my hand straight onto it).  I've got some almost going over tomatoes which I am turning into tomato soup; it's all boiling away in Thermione as I type.  I do rather like an early start - one gets a lot completed.

I think the word that describes yesterday is 'satisfying'.  I did more ironing and more washing, I sorted out some Christmas stuff and, best of all, I got the freezer defrosted and sorted out.

Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.  There was a lot of loose 'frost' but what was on the sides came off relatively easily with just a bit of warmth from my hair dryer and encouragement from my plastic fish slice.  Because it was so cold, I wasn't the last bit concerned that the food would start to thaw - in fact, the frost that I chucked out against the fence was still there quite a while after I'd finished and everything was safe in the freezer again.  See . . .

(it's still there now and it wouldn't surprise me if it were still there by the end of today)

I had bought some stiff sided bags with handles to put everything in.  I really wanted proper wire baskets but the only ones that fitted my particular model cost a king's ransom.  Everything's now sorted out into beef, pork and lamb, chicken and turkey and fish, and other with vegetables in the two wire baskets that came with the freezer.  The ready cooked and portioned meals are pretty much all in the upright freezer.

I haven't quite finished; it was so jolly cold, enough was enough and all that, but what I need to do now is just properly organise each bag so that, for example, all the chicken fillets are in one poly bag rather than scattered about.

I wrote everything down too so now I know exactly what I have and where it is.  Very helpful.  Now to keep it organised.
Actually, I was more than a bit horrified with how much there is there - I won't have to do much shopping for the next few months, apart from fresh stuff and dairy.

Today, I will get each individual bag sorted out but the main part of the day will be devoted to clearing most of the decorations away because . . .

. . . and more!
The tree is staying up, as is the bunting and the cushions will stay out, just until Twelfth Night.

If I have any spare time, I may brave the cold again and tackle the upright freezer.  The drawers are fine but there's ice at the top and if I don't deal with it soon, the top drawer will ice up.  I have to admit, it will be nice to have both in good nick at the same time.

Beth takes Alex back up to uni today.  I will miss him; it's been so nice to have him around.  He is keen to get back though; there's plenty of study and he finds he works better at uni than at home.  I'm a bit worried but he is very sensible about distancing, isolating and so on so should be as safe is it is possible to be.

And finally, the Twelve Days gift is a set of mini bottles of flavoured gins - plum and vanilla, premium pink and rhubarb and ginger.  It's a bit ooops because I'm now 'dry' until I get back down to target so these will go with the rest of the alcohol, well out of sight, in readiness for a bit of a celebration at some point in the future.  Something to look forward to.
Yesterday's coffee was delicious.  I had the Columbian coffee and it was lovely.  The tea was ginseng and raspberry and I was surprised how much I liked it.

So that's today.  Maybe I will have a more organised home by bedtime.  Wouldn't that be great?  
What are your plans for this cold and frosty winter's day?

Saturday 2 January 2021


 Good morning!  It's still jolly cold ( by Essex standards, anyway) outside.  It's cloudy so no frost, but it feels bitter and I'm not looking forward to later on one bit.  We've had no snow and it doesn't look as if we will, not in the near future anyway.  Just a little sprinkling would be pretty but it's not the sort of thing one can order from Amazon so not to worry!

Beth and Alex stayed most of the day yesterday, which was great.  While we chatted, I periodically loaded up the washing machine, tumble dryer and drying rack and by the evening there was a mega pile of ironing (including bedding) which I dealt with while watching the festive University Challenge and Only Connect plus a few vlogs that I follow.

At the moment, the house is looking messy.  It's all very superficial mess, caused by washing, ironed stuff to put away and an increasing amount of Christmas clutter on the dining table as I move it all from where it was, but it's getting me down just a little bit so it's time to take action!  :-)

I have a mega job today which is to empty the chest freezer while it is too cold to defrost too quickly, scoop out the snowman's-worth of frost from the bottom, defrost inside properly (I love my fan heater), sort out all the food, discard anything that needs to go (hopefully there won't be too much) and make a list of what I have before getting the whole lot back in again.  It's a big job and I've been putting it off until the first cold snap.  So here we are - cold snap and a window of time.

Before that, I will put all the ironed stuff away properly and do the next lot while the last few washing loads rumble away.  Tomorrow, I will get in the Christmas boxes and put away most of the decorations.  The tree is staying up until the sixth but I'd like to get pretty much everything else sorted and packed away by the end of tomorrow

As I mentioned yesterday, there's a pile of candles to burn down.  I will enjoy their light and colour through January.

Today's Twelve Days present is some flavoured coffees.  They can be made in the cafetiere and there orange brandy coffee, chocolate coffee, Irish cream coffee, amaretto coffee, Columbian coffee and hazelnut coffee.  I think each one is enough to use my bigger cafetiere but I will soon find out.  Maybe three quarters fill it to start and see how it works out.

Time to stop and get some things out of the dryer and folded.  Have a good day, everyone, and thanks for reading.  What are your plans for today?

Friday 1 January 2021

New Year's Day, 2021

 Good morning.  So here we are.  A new day and a new year (and some might say it is a new decade as well, depending on how you count them).  It's still cold outside but not frosty today (yet).  No snow and we probably won't get any now although, with my past record of prediction, this probably means there will be shedloads before the end of the weekend!!

I lit the Christmas candles yesterday for the last time and they burned all through the evening.  Some of them are quite low now, too low to stay in their holders but I won't waste them.  I have plain holders that have no fancy decoration around so I will, throughout January, burn them until they have no wax left.   It actually might be a good time to look online for next Christmas' candles.  Maybe there are some special offers around.

The day ended up very pleasantly with Beth and Alex over for a buffet, games and a DVD.  The time before they arrived was spent getting things ready.  When they arrived, I was more than a bit surprised, as they both had cases.  Yes, they were staying overnight and no, they didn't mind sharing a room.  Just as well I keep my guest room pretty much ready, isn't it?  There were a few bits and bobs on one of the beds which were easily shifted into my room.
Just a bit of a mix up and a very nice one too; I was so pleased.

We had a nice buffet; the only thing missing in this photo is the baked camembert which was still baking - and the alcohol which was sitting outside the French window chilling nicely!  There's not an awful lot of food left and what there is will go home with B and A later on.
The Christmas cake finally got cut and it is absolutely delicious.  I've hacked off a hunk for Beth to take and I've ordered some 4"x4"x4" cardboard posting boxes and will be sending some to Dad and some to John.  Dave and Anna will also get some.  I can't send any to American brother because of rules!  That will leave just enough for me to have some now and again as a treat.
I'm glad fruit cake keeps well!

I was up at five and got everything cleared up from last night.  I have no idea if Beth and Alex saw the New Year in but I was up in bed by just after nine and well asleep by ten; we just left most of the post-feast mess and it didn't take me very long this morning to get that all sorted.

I have, sitting before me, today's Twelve Days gift.  I know what it is, it's one I remember, a pot of instant gingerbread porridge.  As I have today's meals all planned, it will go on the menu tomorrow.  I must remember to start on the tea bags.  The first is Assam which, I think, is fairly mainstream.

When B&A come down, we will have breakfast and then, at some point, they will leave, leftovers in hand, and I intend spending the rest of the day doing a bit of clearing up of decorative bits and bobs, planning meals and so on.  I have yet another new cookery book that arrived yesterday.  This one is the new Chubby Cubs book so I have such a lovely big pile of interesting books to dip into and enjoy.  Bliss.  Well, seeing as we are tier four with nowhere to go and strong encouragement to stay inside anyway both from the government and from the cold weather fairies, it's nice to be able to do my duty and enjoy it as well.

(Actually, don't tell anyone, but I have two CC books - I made a mistake and pre-ordered twice, silly me.  Not to worry, Beth was interesting taking the other one so that's a New Year gift to her).

I don't really do 'resolutions' as such but I do like to set mini challenges as I go through the year and sort of determine things (if that makes sense).
I was thinking backwards and forwards and I have decided that I need to aim to be as positive as I can, as much as I can and wherever and to whoever I can.  Given the current situation, that's not as vague and wishy-washy as it sounds and, at times, will take some real determination but I think it's worth it!
If I had a 'word for the year', it would be 'positive'.

What have you decided for the New Year?