Monday 31 January 2022


 Morning!  Another dry start to the day, not particularly chilly or windy and Beeb says we might see some sun today, as we did yesterday.

I had quite a busy morning getting the food ready for lunch before Beth and Alex turned up as well as making some freezer soups to use up slightly old veg.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself having them round - I think the last time they came round was New Year which, ridiculous as it sounds, is now a whole month away!  Oh, my word, where is the time going?

While Beth was there, we discussed all sorts of family things.  We took the first steps to booking a Greenwoods spa day at the end of March, when Beth has her next break from work and we decided that we will have a meal out at Prezzo that week too.  Nice.
(I tried to insert a photo of the spa here but Google didn't like it)

And that was it really.  I was very tired and had to fight to keep myself awake until a sensible bedtime hour.  I didn't have the energy to do any camera course and I even forgot about Throw Down.  Oh, well, I've got it on save anyway.

More wildly extravagant living.  I have taken  a year's subscription to 'Outdoor Photography'.  I blame Sharon really!!  ;-)
It would have been cheaper to take out a direct debit but I am awful at remembering to cancel after the year.

Today, being Monday is get-the-house-in-some-sort-of-order day so a bit of clearing, dusting, etc, there's things that need to go down to the garage and always the garden!  The snowdrops are starting to look pretty now.

There's circuits at Lindsey's today but no tuition.  It's my student's birthday today and the last thing they want is for me to come a-tutoring when you are celebrating being eleven!  I'm going tomorrow instead.  

I've started prepping today's meals (I always get as much done as I can first thing) so I guess I'd better go and see how it's all doing.
Enjoy your Monday and stay safe, everyone.  xx

Sunday 30 January 2022


 Morning, everyone!  Welcome to Sunday.  We did get some sunshine yesterday but the wind picked up a bit too - nothing like more northern areas had it, just a bit gusty, and I do hope none of my readers have suffered any damage to property.  It is still, dry and clear right now but too early to tell is there's a frost although I wouldn't be surprised if there is.

I spend some time in the kitchen yesterday making a batch of savoury mince sort of bolognaise style, some hash browns and a few rather tasty meals.  The mince and the hash browns are now chilling in the freezer for use over then next few weeks/months.  The new wall fan did its job admirably, I am pleased to say.

You will be delighted to know, I am sure, that I finally got the ironing done - just in time for some new washing to go on the drying rack.  Never ending but I don't really mind that much.  Having such a selection of clothing is a privilege, isn't it?

It was just a nice, gentle, unexciting day, the highlight of which was popping over the cul de sac to Steve and Chris, new will, instruction sheet and pen in hand, so they could witness me signing my will and do the necessary themselves.  Then it went straight into the prepaid return envelope and it should now be winging its way back to James.  All done now apart from receiving my copy and paying the bill and it is a weight off my mind, for sure.

We had an interesting sunset.  It wasn't one of those gloriously red and gold affairs, it was more dramatic with the sun behind some clouds that were banking up on the horizon.  I was lucky to spot it; it didn't last all that long.  Obviously (!), I grabbed the camera, dashed out the back and clicked.  As always, the photo doesn't really do it justice but never mind!

It's a shame it was quite short lived because I could have played around with settings.  Never mind.

Today is going to be nice.  I haven't seen much of Beth and Alex this month so they are coming over for dinner today.  Roast lamb for me and Alex and a bean crumble for Beth.  I do enjoy cooking a Sunday meal!

They will stay for the afternoon - well, Beth will anyway, Alex might go home - and have various good things to talk about, including starting up our eating outs together again.  Two years ago, she and I had a lovely time at Zizzi's, taxis and all, and decided we would do this once a month when possible.  Then Covid landed so, of course, we never did.
Maybe it's time to start again, we will see.

Before then, I want to do a bit more camera course.  I'm moving on from ISO - I'm not sure I've truly got it but never mind.  The tick lists at the end of every chapter make me smile.  they all start with 'I know . . .' and I'm not entirely sure I do in that I'm most unsure I will remember it in two weeks' time.  I need loads of experience, that's the thing.  
Anyway, I'm moving on to The Exposure Triangle and it says it's the most complicated chapter in the entire book so what are my chances, would you say?
We will see!

What does your day look like?  Are you doing anything special or having a gentle homey day?  Have a lovely one anyway - be happy, warm and safe.  xx

Saturday 29 January 2022


 Morning, everyone.  It's not that cold right now and it's cloudy but maybe it will brighten up a bit later.  You never know.

Yesterday was quite a lazy day.  In fact, when I think back, I can't remember doing all that much at all.  The day started with the Slimming World meeting which was really good and most enjoyable.  Most people weren't wearing masks (the chairs are distanced though and some were) and I have to say I found it all much more accessible - in other words, I heard a lot more.  Bad me, eh?

After that I walked home again, had breakfast and just idled the time away really.  I did some tidying but I didn't do the ironing so that really is top of the list this morning.
When the lovely cleaner arrived, I got out of her way by going out for a while; I went over town to Tesco as I've not been there in ages and I'm glad I did.

In five weeks' time, Lindsey is taking a group of us to Potters for a long weekend.  This is Potters . . .
When I say 'taking us' I mean she has organised it all and it's an activity weekend.  She has the use of a room Saturday and Sunday morning for her exercise classes and guests all have use of the gym and the pool.  I'm really looking forward to it.
Anyway, I was getting a bit concerned about what to wear in the evenings - I know that sounds silly but I gather people dress up just a bit and I don't really have much in the way of smart stuff.  I do have some nice tops though so I though if I could get a good pair of leggings, that would work.  And what did I find at Tesco but some nice leggings, slightly more expensive but much better quality that the ones I already have.
(and just about everyone was wearing a mask)
Shoes was another thing but I do have a pair of slightly more dressy Hotter shoes with a bit of a heel (around one inch which is as much as I can cope with) and I'm going to wear them for a while every day through February to get used to them.
And that will just have to do!

When I got home there were two parcels waiting - one was a pair of more robust looking secateurs and the other I had forgotten about, having ordered it before Christmas.  It was a Villeroy and Boch Christmas plate, supposed to be seconds although I can't see why so that's good.  It's a nice contrast to the brighter coloured one I have already.

Today looks like being another lazy day.  This morning I must do the ironing and this afternoon I am popping over to Chris and Steve's so they can witness me signing my will (which arrived yesterday too) before I post it back.  Once that's done I will be relieved.

Have a good one, everybody, and keep safe.

Friday 28 January 2022


 Hi, everyone.  I can hardly believe it is Friday already.  This week seems to have raced by so, so quickly.

If feels chilly outside this morning and there's a little bit of frost.  I made my dash to the shed for provisions a quick one just now.  We didn't get much sun yesterday and it doesn't look as if we will get much today either, but we will see.

Chris and I had a good old chat first thing yesterday.  It's just an hour but we manage to pack a lot into that hour.  Won't it be nice when we can sit out in our gardens at these times like we did last summer?

Then I had some breakfast and looked up the way to the picture framing place.  It wasn't easy to find as it is part of a farm complex out in the country with several entrances, only one of which is open and the sat nav was no help at all.  I went up the wrong track first, wouldn't you know!
Anyway, I found it eventually and have left my lovely prints with him.  The cost was a bit eye watering but - you know - riotous living and all that stuff!   I asked and he said he frames fabric based work too - like cross stitch, etc.  I think I might dig out a bit of my old cross stitch if I am happy with what he's done.

The afternoon was spent doing ordinary stuff in ordinary ways.  I didn't get onto any camera stuff so that's fairly top of the list today together with some ironing and maybe a walk, once I come home from the Slimming World meeting.

Have a lovely day, enjoy everything you do and, please, as masks are abandoned right, left and centre, do take care and be safe.  xx

Thursday 27 January 2022


Good morning, everyone.
After a very dull start to the day, out came the sun and it was absolutely lovely.  A gorgeous day's weather.  The wind seems to have got up just a little at the moment but it's not super-cold at all.  Beeb says sunny intervals and a moderate breeze which sounds pretty good to me.  Bring it on!

Yesterday was a day of bits and bobs.

It started early morning when I decided that instead of going to Morrisons for a few things that I missed on Monday, I would go to M&S/Aldi - just because I like it there.  So I did and, of course, came back with more than I planned for which is very naughty but there you go!

When I checked my mailbox, there was an email from James (solicitor) with attachments to read and amend, if necessary.  It wasn't, all seemed to be in order although I asked about one thing that wasn't clear - however he assured me that it was there, just wrapped up in the necessary legal language.
The proper will that needs signing will come by post, of course, as will the letter of wishes that goes with it.
So later on, I posted the 'accept' sheet back to him after having to go and get some more stamps - so I did go to Morrisons after all!
So that is all in hand.

At around eleven, Sharon Blackman came round to deliver three prints that she has had printed for me.  I can't remember if I've mentioned her before, I probably have, but just in case . . .
I first met Sharon when she had a mini craft open day at her then home, not far from here, quite a long time ago.  She has a very individual style in pictures created with fabrics and stitchery and, I think, they are absolutely lovely in their own way.   That sort of work/style appeals to me so strongly.  Anyway, at this sale Beth and I bought bits and bobs, enjoyed her excellent coffee and shortbread and generally enjoyed ourselves.  She is a very generous lady and threw in for free a lovely shopping bag which I still use - it's in the car at the moment but I'll try and remember to take a photo of it later.
(She still does - every order I have made with her has contained a few extra items for free and this latest one is no exception - two cards with envelopes and two postcards)

Since then, Sharon has started an Etsy shop where she sells prints of her pictures in various forms - cards, postcards, calendars, etc,   Her Christmas cards are fantastic, I think. She also has a Facebook page.
Here's a link to her shop - please do go and look.  She posts her work out very quickly.

And I lifted this off her Facebook page - thanks, Sharon.

She brought round these three prints that I thought would look really nice in the guest room.  They are entitled 'blue jug and bowl', 'blue window box' and 'blue flowers' - see the common link for things going into the blue room?  They have been beautifully printed onto quality paper/thin card and now I have to find frames.

As they're not standard sizing, I looked for and located a framing shop just outside town.  I know where it is so either today or tomorrow I will drive over and see what they can do.
Photos will follow at some point!

Anyway, moving on - later on I drove around to Lindsey's for an hour of hard work, chat and laughter.  I always come away feeling invigorated and mentally refreshed.

Today * should * be a bit less busy but you never can tell.  I have the usual Thursday coffee and chat with Chris and I may drive out to that framing place - in fact, I probably will.  Their website says there's a ten to fifteen day turn around so the sooner I get them there, the sooner I will be able to put them up.
Also, I want to worry away at the ISO chapter a bit more.  I'm not finding it as easy to understand as it says I should.  I think it's all the numbers - I'm mildly dyscalculic and there's a lorra numbers in this part of the course.
And that's about it really for today.  I'm looking forward to it all.  
Take care, stay safe, masks or not, and be happy!  xx

Wednesday 26 January 2022


 Good morning.  It's stupid o'clock but I'm wide awake and ready for an early start.  It's just the same as yesterday outside - chilly but not freezing (at the moment, anyway).

I  started my attempts at wildly riotous living with a trip to B&Q and The-Shop-That-Is-No-Longer-Wyvale.  How about that for living it up, eh?  I went to treat myself to some poor, unfortunate house plants (I don't have a good track record with house plants), some big ones that cost a bit more and at which I have always shaken my head and walked away.  To go with them, I also bought some pots to put the plant pots into.

I took a few photos using the Exposure Compensation thingy.  I like these - the one in the middle is the default and the one just to the right is, I think, about right for that situation.  It ranges from -2 through to +2 in increments of a third; I just did the whole numbers - -2, -1, 0, +1 and +2 but I'm going to do something similar but using all the increments and, probably, the tripod.
It's not strictly speaking ISO though.  I need to consult the online manual.  (I wish I could find my hard copy - it would be much more convenient.)  However, even if it isn't strictly speaking part of the chapter, I am learning a bit more about what my camera will do and that's what this whole thing is all about, isn't it?

I had my online meeting with the solicitor, James.  One is always terribly aware of how the clock is ticking where solicitors are concerned and, no doubt, the resulting bill will make my eyes water but it needed to be done and I'm glad.

I also did a bit of washing but there's more to do today - in fact I must put some in as soon as I have finished my social mediating.  And I didn't do any gardening - it was bleak and chilly and, come the afternoon, a little bit damp as well.  No rain, just a damp atmosphere.

Today feels emptier than it really is because normally the day is cut in half by my personal training session and for the next three weeks Lindsey has changed the time to later on in the afternoon because she is delivering some school based training in the morning.  It feels nice and I hope to get plenty of homey stuff done, the sort of stuff that never really goes away and renews itself regularly!

What are your plans for today?  Have a good one and stay safe and well.  xx

Tuesday 25 January 2022


Good morning, all.  How are you all today?  It's chilly outside but not icy, as far as I can tell ,  and the forecast is for 'cold and boring'.
Yesterday was quite nice at times but not much sun.

It was quite a busy day, one way and another, and I was zonked by the end of it.  Everything went well though; nothing particularly exciting but no big problems either.  The biggest one was fighting to stay awake until a reasonable bed time!

Today is a complete contrast in that there's just one thing in the diary, a Zoom meeting with my solicitor who just happens to be the chap who is handling Dad's affairs too.  It's just to update my will, a sensible thing given some changed circumstances.  Once that's done, the day's my own.
There's washing, etc, to do, a certain camera course to work on and I might spend some time working in my rather scruffy garden.  I'm going to have to start dealing with the allotment again some time soon as long as the ground isn't frozen hard.

Have a good old day, everyone and, as restrictions lift, stay safe and well.  xx

Monday 24 January 2022


 Good morning!  I'm up early again but I don't mind because I had a great night's sleep.  It's definitely milder this morning with no hint of frost although Beeb says the temperature won't rise much and will probably drop to freezing over Monday night.

Thank you to all of you who asked about my aches.  I do have a slightly dodgy back but it's fine, it's just occasional twinges and doesn't stop me doing anything I really want to do - so that's all good.  I just like a good grumble now and again - I'm getting old!!   :-)

Yesterday was a quiet day.  I washed, dried and ironed my bedding and there's more washing to get on with today.  I did some of the camera course, understood a bit more, cursed my camera limitations once or twice but managed to get a couple of reasonable examples of different shutter speeds snapping cars going past. 
Like this . . .

 I'm now on to ISO which is, I think, the last technical chapter for a while.
The thing I find a bit frustrating is they you learn how to do something and then you change the setting and it doesn't do that any more, it does something else!  I guess that's my way of saying even a simple camera has hidden depths!
Anyway, I have recovered from the aperture grumbles, accepting that there are limits to what my camera will give me in that way.
(You're all going to be bored to tears by the time I finish this course, aren't you?)

I put into the slow cooker the ingredients for a beef tagine and let is slowly cook all night.  The house smelled lovely when I woke this morning - I love my slow cooker!

Today is a much busier day.

I'm starting off with an early morning shop and I think it will be Sainsbury's today which means I can take a good nosey around the clothes too.  I've got a fairly long list which needs reorganising before I leave as it's a bit random and it contains things like loo rolls and kitchen towels, items I only need to get once in a blue moon.

Later on, it is circuits at Lindsey's and after school it's tuition so I need to do just a bit of planning for that.  In between those, I have washing and the usual housework to do plus I MUST get some information off to my solicitor so quite a busy day really.  It should keep me out of trouble anyway.

I hope your day is hassle free, satisfying and happy.  Take care, stay safe and be positive.  xx

Sunday 23 January 2022


Morning, everyone!  It's a bit warmer this morning so there's no frost.  Yesterday remained pretty cold for ages  but was so gloriously sunny and bright, I didn't really mind.  The drives to and back from Dad's home were very pleasant and at last, at long, long last, the Little Hadham by-pass is finished and open.  It does go a long way round the village but is so much better.  The road through the village centre is only wide enough for one car's width so there's four way traffic lights - you can imagine the rush hour tailback on a busy road like the A120.  I bet the residents are delighted that it's all done.

Well, yesterday was an interesting day and a very useful day.  The estate agent had talked John through various things he felt the house needed to be selling-ready, none of which were particularly difficult to do, mostly involving clearing bits of clutter, etc.  I set to and got everything done apart from John's bedroom and the kitchen, both of which John will deal with before he leaves this morning.  John helped with a bit of heavy lifting and decision making and then I did the rest while he sat down with a stack of keys to identify and label.

We also talked finance as there's now a pretty fair idea of how much is in the estate and how much we should inherit.  Obviously, I'm not going into any details but will just say it lifts any concerns about any reasonable future needs and, wisely invested, should make a good sum to hand on when my turn comes - always assuming I haven't frittered it all away in wildly abandoned living in the meanwhile!
And I won't feel guilty about treating myself to an occasional roast lamb joint which, as we know, costs an arm and a leg at the best of times.

I came home with a few more bits and pieces including a nice tripod for my camera.  I shall use it when doing Eileen's focus homework (probably today).  I've also got a fold down baize covered card table which won't be used for cards, just as a useful extra surface when needed, and a hearing aid/telly gizmo.  I already have one of the latter but another is always handy as they seem to be quite hard to get hold of.  They connect up to the telly, you put the thingy round your neck and it connects with the loop function on my hearing aids so I can hear the telly clearly without needing to have the sound up at all.  Very useful when one lives in a semi detached home and one doesn't want to disturb the neighbours.

I played with the camera again and this seems to be the best it will do in terms of a fuzzy background.  It's not really a good 'Bokeh' effect which, as any fule kno (cough) is, and I quote Google . . . 'the aesthetic quality of an image's background blur'.
So now we know!

On the other hand, isn't it amazing that from each of those stubby little buds will come spring leaves and blossom and autumn apples.

Today, I feel a bit achey after lots of running up and down stairs yesterday so I will be taking things easy.  There's nothing I absolutely HAVE to do so in terms of housework so I'll take it as it comes.
Hoping you all have a lovely Sunday.  Keep safe and be happy.  xx

Saturday 22 January 2022


 Good morning, everyone!  It's another cold start to the day but fair enough, it's January after all.  To be expected!

Yesterday was all higgledy piggled!  
Thursday evening, I had received an email from Seth's company saying they'd be round on Friday to fir the fan.  I sent a message straight back saying 'after ten thirty please' as I'd be out.

I walked round to the SW meeting - very busy, loads of people stayed, six new members - and at the end checked my phone to see that they were waiting outside my house.  Drat!  So I excused myself to Jen (I usually help to clear up afterwards), dashed home and there they were.  It was OK, they had seen my message but a bit later than they needed to see it and decided to wait.  So now I have a working kitchen fan again.  Not a pretty thing, it's just a box on the wall, but that's fine.  When I redo my kitchen, I can have another think about what I want but that won't be this year and probably not next year either.

I popped round to Lathcoat's (our local farm shop/pick your own) because they have 10% off frozen meat on Fridays and I needed some other bits and bobs too.  I came back with a nice looking chicken (now in the freezer) for when I have people round and other stuff including nice nibbly bits for John (brother) and Gina.  They didn't come down for Christmas so I didn't get their pressent(s) in December but as I'm seeing John today, I needed something.

When I got home, my cleaner was there and, as it was the one, she was here for two hours.

So it was a bit of a muddled day really but plenty got done!

Today is a bit different in that in a short time I am out and up to Dad's.  John's already there and we're having another day of clearing out.  I'm hoping I will come home with a list of things to do so I can spend days there and do my bit.
He met with the estate agent yesterday, the house will go on the market shortly and John has a list of things we need to do/get - neither of us has ever sold a house before and, as we're not actually on site, we will be very reliant on the good services of the agent and Ann and Gail (neighbour and cleaner), both of whom have been generous with time and support.
There's things to sign and things to decide as joint executors so it should be a useful day.

To that's today.  I have my meals packed to take with me (can't count on a full fridge, freezer and larder any more), John and Gina's Christmas presents, a lump of Christmas cake and my notebook and pen.
So I'd better get dressed.  It's getting light now and I want to leave in around fifteen minutes.
Have a good day, everyone.  Take care.  xx

Friday 21 January 2022


 Morning, everyone!  It's yet another cold and frosty start to the day with a clear sky and a bright moon.  I'm just back from the shed, getting in the provisions for the day from the freezer and my hands are so cold.  Brrrrrrr.

I picked up a little flyer about courses at Hyde Hall when I visited on Tuesday, went online yesterday and have booked a couple of them.  As an RHS member, there was a bit of a discount.
The first one is 'Hand Stitched Applique' which should be really satisfying, and the other is 'The Art of Garden Photography' which might help me make the best of my visits to Hyde Hall in the future.  Both are for beginners and the second says any camera will be suitable.   Phew!
That's cheered me up no end!  It's nice to be able to go to these things again.

I had a grand old chat with Chris first thing - lots of laughs and things to share.  We keep it to an hour, more or less, although come the warmer weather we might make it coffee out somewhere, or even lunch.  Nothing like pushing the boat out, is there?

Thankfully, Lindsey was feeling much better yesterday so I turned up for personal training and had a really great time.  Anyone who knows me from past times will know how weird this is - but it's true, I really do enjoy her sessions so much and know they are doing me loads of good at a time when if I don't use it, I will lose it, as the saying goes.

In the afternoon, thanks to Eileen's emails yesterday, I was able to make a bit of sense of the aperture instructions, got a couple of photos that show depth of field to stick in the work book, have some homework from Eileen to help with one area focusing and the next chapter is shutter speed which looks more straightforward.

See the slightly fuzzy background??

My confusion wasn't entirely me - just mostly.  However, the lens I have is quite limited and won't do much in the way of fuzzy backgrounds - sorry, I mean small depth of field - something to bear in mind if or when I replace my camera with something a bit more whizz - which won't be until I have finished this course.
Eileen - many thanks - and to everyone else who offered help too.

Today, being Friday, starts with the Slimming World meeting which is always really enjoyable - and it will be nice to hear people better again once masks are off.  Not this week but next.  I am sure some will choose to wear masks still and that's fine but I won't feel quite so guilty asking them to lower their mask so I can hear them.

Then I have to whizz home because someone from Seth's company is coming round to fit a new kitchen fan.  Not a fancy oven hood thingy, just a sort of hole in the wall type fan.  The one there at the moment hasn't worked properly for years!  It'll be nice to defug the kitchen without opening a window.

Finally, I must just do a bit of tidying for the cleaners.  It's not fair if the have to spend time moving piles of clutter before they can do their job, is it?

So that's today and I suppose I'd better get going and sort myself out.  Have a great day, everyone, and take care.  xx

Thursday 20 January 2022


Good morning everyone!  It's a cold and frosty early morning here with a brilliant moon and twinkling stars in a clear sky.  Gorgeous!

Thank you so much for all your helpful advice regarding my camera.  I dug out the other two batteries I have and also the other memory cards.  The new battery seems to be holding its change fine so that's sorted that and why I didn't consider that is beyond me!!
It looks as if I've been doing things wrong so I need to consult the relevant part of the manual and start chapter two of the course again.  It puts me rather behind but not to worry.  And if I really can't do what's required in the course because of camera limitations rather than my own limitations, then so be it.  For those who might know, it is a Panasonic DCM TZ70 (if that means anything at all).
(and apologies for being so grumpy about it yesterday)

I thought I had most of the day to concentrate on all of this but I don't as Lindsey contacted me to ask if I could go to personal training today rather than tomorrow as she was feeling a bit rough.  I agreed, of course.  

I got the rest of the ironing done - three cheers - and I spent a most enjoyable time online looking at middle of the road country cottages in the Peak District, ending up with a short list to send to Suzanne to see what she thinks.  Does anyone reading this have any suggestions - two bedrooms, Wi-Fi and off road parking space are the three must-haves.

I think I was just generally feeling a tad grumpy and down in the dumps yesterday.  Maybe it really is a thing - third week in January - January blues (that rings a bell)?  Anyway, time to pull myself together and move on, I think.  After all, even if I can't get my head round the camera course (grrrrr), I am still lucky enough to have a nice little camera that takes pretty OK photos all by itself without me needing to understand how or why.  And some lovely friends in here who take the time to comment and advise.  That makes me both happy and blessed, doesn't it?  
(I've been testing for Covid because I've been a bit achey as well, but all's clear in that direction)

So - after that bit of pondering, what about today?
Well, fist of all, Chris is coming over for out usual Thursday hour of coffee and a good old natter.  I'm looking forward to that very much.

Then I have less than an hour before I drive over to Lindsey's (assuming she is feeling well enough) and in that time I will have my breakfast and get changed and ready.

Once that's over, I will tackle the camera stuff again and see if I can 
a) understand what it's going on about in chapter two and
b)  get my camera to behave!!

I took a few more flower photos - just because it cheered me up to see them.

Well, better stop rambling and get on with other stuff.  Have a really super day, everyone, stay safe and warm and happy!  xx

Wednesday 19 January 2022


 Good morning, everyone!  I've just been to the shed and it feels a lot milder than yesterday morning.  The sky is pretty clear but there's no frost; my fingers and toes feel warm, always a good thing!

Yesterday never really brightened up - it was misty pretty much all day so I didn't bother with putting any washing out.  Despite that, I got four loads done and dried, one way or t'other, and three loads got ironed and out away - yay!  The last load dried overnight and now just needs an iron which I can do this morning.
It's so nice to have empty washing baskets!

It was so dull and dreary yesterday that I felt quite unmotivated so, after breakfast (I eat late), very much on the spur of the moment, I jumped up, got a few things together and set off for Hyde Hall.  There wouldn't be any views and it was cold but, on the other hand, it was very still so it would be OK on top of the hill and I just needed to get out into the fresh air for a while.

I am so glad I did.  There were enough people there to make it pleasant without being in any way crowded.  Also, it was a bit clearer out in the country and the sun almost - but not quite - nearly broke through.
There wasn't much to see in the way of flowers but their snowdrops are more advanced than mine and there were loads of little green bulb spikes sticking up.  I'll go again in about a month - there should be plenty to see by then.
There was a lot of work going on all over the place and I noticed that they have planted a small orchard of Japanese cherry treelets which will look a picture once established.  So pretty.

I spent quite a while watching a cheeky robin who was far to bouncy for a good photo, a blackbird who was more accommodating and some ducks on the bigger pond who were idly dabbling in and out, while I chanted to myself as much as I could remember of the delightful 'Ducks' Ditty' from Graham's 'The Wind In The Willows'. 

All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!

Ducks’ tails, drakes’ tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim—
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call—
We are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!

(I can hear Mum reading it to me as she did when I was a little girl)
I don't think Mr Blackbird agreed though!

I was frustrated with my camera.  I think I must have changed some setting somehow and things were going wonky so I did a factory reset and now I can only take a small number of photos before the battery is empty which is so annoying.  Today I must got back to the manual and find out what I have to do to sort it out.  

Also, discouragingly, I'm not doing very well at all with the camera course - and by that I mean I can't get my brain around it and I hate to go on when things aren't sticking.  Maybe I haven't got a good enough camera for things to be able to work in the way the book says they should.  
I am obviously lower in the pecking order  than an absolute beginner and I really must sit down, first with manual and then with book and try to sort something out.  

So today is ironing, personal training and seeing if I can make head or tail of the camera course.  I won't throw the book in the bin in frustration, I promise, but I may come close!!  But I have to sort out the battery thing first!

I hope your day goes better than mine promises to go - lol!

Tuesday 18 January 2022


 Good morning, everyone.  We have another frosty start to the day here with a crystal clear sky and a shining not-quite-full moon.  It's beautiful out there.

After a leisurely breakfast, both of us chatting nineteen to the dozen, Suzanne collected her things together and departed and I got my things together and set off to pick someone up and head for circuit training  The sun was shining, the roads were pretty clear and it was very pleasant.

Lindsey worked us very hard during circuits - which is just what I pay for so no complaints - and I'm beginning to be able to do some of the higher impact stuff - so I'm doing, for example, ten star jumps and then ten of the no jump alternatives.  That's a bit improvement on even just before Christmas and it felt great!  After the summer injuries, I am being extremely careful, but it's great to see progress.

Suzanne let me know she was safely home after a remarkably easy journey, considering she was on the M25. 

Later on, I set off down the road for tuition and that was good too.  My student's teacher is back today having 'had his baby' and some time off.  I am guessing there will be a few celebrations in the staffroom at some point - cake, for a start!  I remember playground cake with great affection.

When I got home from that I suddenly felt absolutely shattered.  I'm very much an introvert and, while I love meeting up with others and enjoying their company is absolutely fantastic, it does drain me - I get my energy from being on my own.
I was so tired I ended up in bed before eight o'clock, thinking that if I did wake early, so be it.  I might have had a wakey spell in the night, I don't remember, but I woke just before five this morning and feel a lot livelier again!  Phew.

It's nice that I have a day in today.  Nothing in the diary at all.  Normally, I would think about doing my weekly shop but, looking at what's on the list, nothing is particularly urgent so I will give it a miss this week and just use up what I have.

The biggie is washing.  I have a full basket plus towels and bedding, so that's top of the list really and, assuming a sunny day like yesterday, I might get some of it out on the line.  It might not completely dry, but it will freshen up nicely in the sunshine.
The other is sorting out the Sunday chicken.  Having boiled up the carcass overnight in the slow cooker, I have to sort that out, get it into little pots and into the freezer.  Ditto with a bowl of chicken 'bits', always useful for pies, pasta, pate, etc.  
I also want to start looking for country cottages in the Peaks.  Suzanne has never been and I would love to go back, so it seems a good place to start our holiday adventures.

Well, better go.  The first load of washing should be fairly close to finishing so I can put in the next load which will then go in the tumble dryer so there's no piles of wet washing waiting for space on the drying rack.  The third load can probably go outside on the line.

What are your plans for today?  Have a good one and keep safe and well.  xx

Monday 17 January 2022


Good morning, everyone.  I'm back properly after a lovely weekend.  This morning, unlike yesterday morning, is clear, dry and frosty and looks lovely in the light from the street lamp.

We went to two places.
On Saturday, as I said, we drove out to Greensted Church which is a lovely small wooden based church, the oldest surviving wooden church in Europe at least.  Their bumph actually says in the world.  We spent a while wandering round the outside, getting thoroughly chilled, and than we went in to look around.  It was a bit warmer inside but still quite cold and, because the day was very dull and misty, it was rather hard to read all the stone tablets, etc.  The last few times I have visited, the sun was streaming in through the stained glass and it made such a difference to the lighting.
We had a chat to a very pleasant gentleman who goes around taking photos of these old churches in hopes of increasing interest in them.  He was very concerned that many of these wonderful old building might be lost to future generations in a short time and was really interesting.

Yesterday, we changed our minds as the day started out misty and damp again and, instead of Hyde Hall, we went to Cressing Temple Barns.  I love it there.
Of course, while we were driving over, out came the sun and the rest of the day was glorious!!
After lunch at the Tiptree Tea Room (tomato and red pepper soup - yum!), we just wandered about, dipping into all the old buildings, reading the information and chatting nineteen to the dozen.

It was been such a lovely weekend.  We've decided that it would be nice to have a few holidays together in the UK so I'll be doing some research over the next few week.  We're both retired so we can go whenever it suits us.

Back to normal life again - well, when Suzanne leaves this morning it will be - so I have circuit training midday and then tuition after school.  I haven't prepped anything yet but there's things left from last week that we can work on so I'm not so concerned really.

I didn't take my camera with me on either day so no photos but both places have sites.

Have a great day, everyone.  It's pretty cold so stay warm and cosy and be safe.  xx

Sunday 16 January 2022


 Thank you for your comments, everyone.  I'll be back properly some time tomorrow.  We're having a lovely time - well, I am and I expect Suzanne is too.  We're making happy plans!


Friday 14 January 2022


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a very cold and frosty morning today but, so far, lovely and clear.  The threatened mist never developed yesterday and we were treated to a beautifully sunny day that felt almost warm in the direct sun.  It would be lovely to have more the same today.

I had my chat with Chris - as always, it was lovely.

Then, after breakfast, I drove down the the car valeting place and sat in splendid idleness while they washed and wiped, polished and dusted, swept and shone until the car looked an absolute show model (apart from sundry marks, etc, that won't come off - it is about eight or so years old, after all.

Then I came home and stopped off at Morrisons to get my meds and, fingers crossed, some lateral flow tests, only to be greeted by a sign saying the chemist was shut for an hour over lunchtime, apologies, etc.  My slight irritation was thoroughly swamped by my pleasure that somewhere still had a lunch break, just like the olden days!  I suspect it was more covid related, but never mind, it gave me a little jolt of reminiscence.  When I was little and went home from school for lunch, I knew that if Mr Beresford had opened his shop for the afternoon, I was likely to be late.  The number of times I ran from Berro's to school . . .
And it wasn't a problem as I am there again this morning after Slimming World, to get a few things for the weekend.

Today, I've fixed with my cleaners to come a bit earlier so they are finished before Suzanne arrives.  They are very obliging in things like this so I don't like to take it too much for granted or mess them about too much.  I don't know when they are actually coming so I need to leave for SW knowing that the place is ready for their ministrations, bless them.

Then it's just a case of getting stuff ready for the weekend. My LFT was negative, as was Suzanne's, so we're on for a pleasant weekend, I hope.  I've planned a couple of outings.  One is to Greensted Church (I'm pretty sure Suzanne hasn't been there) which is the oldest wooden church in the world (it says) and the other is to dear old Hyde Hall, weather permitting, on Sunday and we might possibly have lunch there.

We will take things as they go though so nothing is tablets of stone.

I have a leek and potato soup bubbling away nicely in Thermione and smelling very good so I'd better close now and soo how it's doing.  It is most unlikely that I will be in here over this weekend but I should be back later on Monday.
Have a good weekend too.  Be safe and stay warm; it could get quite chilly.  xx

Thursday 13 January 2022


Morning, everyone.  It's a typical winter early morning - frost, clear skies and a light mist to the air that might or might now develop into something thicker.  Beeb says it won't, it's going to be a lovely day, cold and sunny.  Bring it on!

I'm very happy to say that I went online yesterday and paid off the rest of my holiday in May.  Southwold once more; last year things were pretty restricted because of the big C and I missed out on Sutton Hoo because it was closed due to high winds.

It means I can take another trip to Framlingham - I really love Framlingham - and maybe look around the lovely church next to the castle.  It was closed last year.
See - holiday planning already!

My pillows arrived, oddly in two separate boxed delivered by two separate companies.  They feel great and I road tested one overnight.  Very comfortable.  It's nice to know that my guests will be more comfortable and I am now umming and ahing about some for myself.

I so enjoyed personal training yesterday.  All the hard work and the squat challenge each day it making such a difference.  There is still a slight residual weakness in calves and ankles but the rest of me is stronger and fitter than before Dad was ill and I had to stop for a while.  It's really odd that I am enjoying it so much because I've never been a sporty person.  Show me a competitive game and you'd be surprised how far and fast I can run - in the opposite direction!  This is different.  It is personal and the only competition is myself, Lindsey listens to me, take what I say seriously and adapts things accordingly.

I have a List for today.
Pick up meds and LFTs - I have a collect code for the latter but the chemist may not have any, of course
Tidy out car - I have a whole load of stuff from Dad's in the back - garden chairs mostly - that I haven't got round to moving to the garage.  It's time to do it.
Take car for wash and clean out.  A treat for me and they do a really good job.  The car will end up shining!
Make bolognaise - that's for the weekend when Suzanne visits.
AYWMC - get back on it again!  I'm devoting an hour or so to it because I'm a bit behind.

Before all of that, I am popping round to Chris' for coffee and a chat.

What a nice day!  I hope you have some good things planned too.  Whatever they are, stay safe, warm and positive.  Love to all the recovering 'invalids' < grin > - I am very glad things are looking up for you.

Wednesday 12 January 2022


 Morning, everyone!  What a good night's sleep I have had.  I woke once overnight, my bladder not being what it was, but managed to get straight off again and it was light before I came to again.  I feel so, so much better this morning!  And, just to add to it, we have sun this morning.  Sun and a good frost that makes everything look brighter.

I got loads achieved yesterday.  It started off with a food shop in M&S and Aldi, quite a big one (for me) after using up Christmas leftovers, etc.  Goodness, aren't the basics expensive nowadays.  I suppose we will get used to it in time but even so . . .

Once home and with everything sorted out and put away, I had breakfast, sat down and promptly dropped off for a short time.  When I came to, I went up and started in on the tip that is the blue room.  Several hours and two mini accidents later (bumped head and bruised knuckle), all was done.  The Christmas things are now away neatly and logically, there's both shelf and hanging space for visitors to put their stuff and both beds are made up.  Mind you, I hadn't quite realised how manky some of the pillows are so I have ordered some new ones from Amazon which should arrive before the weekend.  Did you know that pillows costing over £100 each - EACH - was even a thing?  No, I didn't, I went for middle range ones and am hoping they will be OK.

I've just realised the one thing I didn't do was sort out the bedding.  Not to worry, it can go on the list.  When I do get round to it, I also need to think about 'upgrading' some of it.  It's really the blue room - one bed has a single duvet and the other has a double duvet - Beth and I both prefer doubles, me since divorce days when I took most of the bedding with me and that included the double duvet which I used on my single bed.  I'm thinking I will get another double for the other bed, keep the single in case and either get new covers for both or use the plain white ones I pretty much always use.   But that's all for the future and needs thinking about and looking around first.

Then I went into my room and gave my clothes a proper sort out, discarding any I haven't worn.  Inevitably, this included some of the clothes that were Mum's and it was all a bit emotional at times, but it had to be done so I'm glad I did it.  There's now several black bags to take to the Sally Army drop off point.

That took pretty much all day but needed doing and it's a relief to have done it.

Today I'm taking it easier.  There's a few more things on the list but they depend on other people doing something first so that's OK.  My bedroom still needs attention and the kitchen drawers could do with a bit of a sort out but, generally, things are good.  I have personal training around midday so I think I will stay in PJs until I need to change into my gym wear.  I might then go on to the-shop-that-used-to-be-Wyvale (I can never remember what it is called now) as I need to buy a few gifts and that's a good place to find 'pretty' things.  That's about it really - the rest is the usual bits and bobs things that happen all the time.

I'm so glad Cherie and Diane are both feeling so much better now - Rachel, I hope you are improving too.   Love to everyone - have a good day and keep safe.  xx

Tuesday 11 January 2022


Morning, everyone.  I seem to be in another phase of not sleeping terribly well.  It's half past four and I've been awake for quite a while.  There's no point fretting about it - it doesn't help and only makes things worse - but it's a bit of a pain, all the same.  I think I need to start something one usually does for toddlers - a consistent bedtime routine.  They say it helps, don't they.

I was very pleased to get all the decoration boxes and bags into the garage yesterday morning.  It took a bit of huffing, puffing and pushing, especially the Christmas tree bag which is very big and pretty heavy, but I got there in the end.  So that's all tucked away for another eleven months-ish now.  The way time is flying, it really won't seem very long at all before it all comes out again!

Circuit training at Lindsey's was brilliant  The whole group - all six of us - turned up and Lindsey pushed us through a variety of stuff, all designed to get the heart rate up and the blood flowing.  I was particularly pleased because I've been working for a long time on calf and ankle strength after I damaged them last June - do you remember - and was hobbling around for ages afterwards.  Lindsey always suggests low impact versions of everything which I have always chosen but yesterday I decided to try a bit of the higher impact versions and managed some without any discomfort.  I'm not sure things will ever be quite as good as they were before June but they're definitely very much better, to my great relief.  
That gives me a good personal target for these Monday sessions when we do higher impact stuff and I'll continue working on the specific strengthening exercises at home too.

It was also nice to start the tuition sessions again after a longer break than usual.  My student very proudly informed me that they had a different teacher because, and I quote, 'Mr T has just had a baby'.  Very nice for Mr T and I am sure Mrs T had something to do with it too!!

Today starts with an early morning shop.  However, the biggie is the blue room which is a very posh name for the guest room that happens to have blue curtains!
By the end of the day I want to have sorted out sundry big cupboards, have all the Christmas fabrics (cushions, tablecloths, etc, etc) tucked neatly away, the bed made and everything ready for my weekend guest.  I have 'bin bags' on the shopping list!
If I can get all that done, I will be a happy bunny.

Have a lovely day, whatever your plans.  Stay safe, well and happy and much love to anyone feeling less than 100% today.  xx

Monday 10 January 2022


 Good morning.  Round here, yesterday was lovely with sunshine pretty much all day.  A shame the low sun shows up how dusty my windows are but not to worry!  It could be worse.

Thanks you for all your lovely comments about the document I was looking for particularly.  It turns out I didn't actually have it so that's a great relief but I didn't actually find that out until I had gone through every single blessed folder in the filing cabinet!
I don't mind though.  The thing needed a good clear out anyway, especially the middle and bottom drawers, and I found several things that - well, I knew they must be there but I didn't know precisely where.  Now I do.
I've also reorganised it so the the top drawer is 'personal', the middle one is 'house, car and possessions and the bottom drawer is 'finance'  They were a bit higgledy piggledy before.
I've also started copying what Dad did and the first folder in the top drawer is marked 'Read This First'.  In it I have put my funeral plan documents (not being morbid, just sensible), info as to where the LPA documents are kept plus my will and I will also put in any letters of intend I might wish to write and info like access to various financial stuff - basically, anything that Beth and Dave might need to know straight away, should the LPA need to be enforced and after my passing - plus a sheet listing what's actually in the cabinet.  It was so helpful to have that after Dad passed away and the least I can do is the same for Dave and Beth.
How do you organise all that side of things?

All that took quite a while and I was rather worried for a time about this document I couldn't find, emailed to the person who asked and got the reply that it was OK, he had the most important one anyway, the rest was not particularly crucial.  I still think I don't actually have anything else, I seem to remember sending it all off earlier in the year. 
I couldn't be cross as it had made me get everything cleared, sorted and properly organised, something that has been niggling at me for some time.  I certainty wouldn't have sorted everything if I hadn't needed to search.

Then I set to and dealt with the Christmas tree.  I deliberately didn't turn on the lights in the morning because if I did, I knew I wouldn't want to dismantle it - I love those pretty lights.
Anyway, it is all down, away in sundry containers and waiting by the back door.  I just didn't have the energy to take it all to the garage which is behind the house, away from the garden.  It does look nice and uncluttered again now.

And finally, ironing, and I was really glad to get that all done too.  Not that it will stay done for long, of course.

Phew!  I was shattered come the evening which makes it all the odder that I haven't slept all that well.  I think the brain is too active.  Not to worry, one of the very nice things about being retired is that I can sit and relax pretty much when I want to.  Good, isn't it?

Today there's two things in the diary.  One is Lindsey's circuits session at midday and the other is tuition after school.  However, I also have a List!!  I'd like to get all the Christmas stuff down to the garage this morning, weather permitting and I need to start in on the blue room, the guest room.  That's a priority because I have a friend coming to stay over next weekend.

Cherie and Rachel, I hope you're felling loads better this morning.  Everyone - take care, stay safe and be happy.  xx

Sunday 9 January 2022


 Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday felt like one of those do-not-a-lot days, what with the wall to wall rain, but I managed four loads of washing, mostly dried, but not ironed.  So guess what is on today's list!

I also started took for a document that I thought I would find easily.  However, it wasn't where I thought it would be which was extremely annoying, so I started turning out my filing cabinet to find it.  My goodness, what a load of old stuff.  I did a sort out of the top shelf after retiring but I didn't really do the other two drawers.  Long overdue!

Today I MUST get the Christmas tree down.  It's nearly a third of the way through the month and it's ridiculous to still have it up.  So, sadly, today it goes.  If the weather is better than yesterday (and it is at the moment, it's lovely and bright), I will see if I can get all the Christmas boxes carried out to the garage too.  That would be great!

I need to continue looking for that document

Then there's the ironing while I watch the telly.

And finally, tuition starts tomorrow again so I have a wee bit of planning to do for that.

And that's about it!   Enough to keep me out of trouble, for sure.
Have a great day and ongoing love and healing vibes to those of you still feeling rotten.  Stay safe and well, everyone.  xx

Saturday 8 January 2022


 Good morning, everyone!  It's definitely not so cold at the moment but it is a bit wet and the forecast is for rain on and off pretty much all day so it's just as well I have no plans to go out, isn't it?

Isn't it nice to see things coming up again.  I snapped a couple of things from my little front strip.

These are bluebells and have been steadily and slowly growing since the beginning of December.  They will be a picture in April/May sort of time but the green shoots make me smile - they're right by the front door so I smile quite a lot!

Year after year these come up.  I seem to have lost some over the year and might get some more as they are so lovely in these early months of the year.  We will see.

Yesterday was just one of those pleasant days when you just potter happily from one thing to another without any stress.
I walked to Slimming World (it's just round the corner and I ought to walk every time really) and it was a very busy session with lots of returners who took time 'off' over Christmas and were biting the bullet, so to speak.  Also there were four new members which was lovely.  Lots of people stayed to the second half which was great and Lindsey did her usual first session of the year which is just going through the SW approach - a sort of Back to Basics thing.  It's always helpful to do that now and again.

Then I walked home and enjoyed breakfast!

I did pop out in the afternoon.  I went to Homesense, Matalan and Home Bargains but there really wasn't much.  HomeSense had lots if interesting bits and bobs but very little that really caught my eye apart from some no added sugar apricot jam which I got because it seems to be rather thin on the ground right now - even online has pretty much sold out.
Matalan was rather dull and dreary but I did get a pack of 'big girls pants' (style, not size).
And then in Home Bargains I bought two jars of roasted red peppers in brine because I use them quite a lot and was down to my last jar.
So - nothing at all exciting which is probably just as well.

When I got home, the cleaner was in the middle of making my home all clean and shiny so I got out of her way, went upstairs and read for a while.

And that was that really.

Today is pretty empty as far as diary stuff is concerned but I have washing to do, plenty of sorting out to get on with and I need to plan the week's meals and start the next shopping list, so I won't be lazy.
Sending love to all my friends in here who are not feeling 100% right at the moment together with as many positive vibes as I can muster for you.  Take care, rest up as much as you can and I really do hope you all feel loads better very soon.

Friday 7 January 2022


 Good morning !   Brrr, it was so cold yesterday morning.  By the time I needed to leave to go into town, the frost had gone but I was very glad of my warm coat and gloves.  Also, the mask does keep ones nose nice and cosy!  Right now it is cold but not icy, dry but wet underfoot and I can see the stars.  Quite pleasant for January.

Yesterday was interesting.  I turned up at Specsavers fifteen minutes early and was taken into the waiting area where I thought I would check my phone while I was waiting.  There was a message for me, from them, dated five minutes earlier (how useful!!) saying there were problems and please could I phone (!!!!???? argh) to reschedule.  Well, obviously, I was there, hadn't been turned away and was just wondering what was going on when a young man I hadn't seen before came out of the consulting room, ushered me in, sat me down and explained that the audiologist hadn't been able to come in 'for family reasons' but he was a trainee audiologist and, if I didn't object, he could take a look at my aid and see if he could help.

Absolutely fine by me.

So he checked, changed the wire from the aid to the ear piece and lo and behold, it whistled beautifully!  All sorted.  Fantastic.  I discussed with him about getting a new pair and he said someone would text me with a few dates.
And he apologised - they had been trying to phone me on Thursday and it wasn't until Friday that anyone checked and saw I wasn't to be phoned.  Ho hum!
I was very impressed with him, he was nice, efficient, well spoken and, best of all, he sorted out my aid.  What's not to like (except for the phoning, I guess)?

Before that, earlier in the morning, I had a really good online chat with Chris and we're hoping, all being well, to be able to meet up next week - but we will see.

The Christmas tree is still up.  By the time I got home from town at three and had finished a very late lunch, I just couldn't be bothered!  I'm leaving it now until Saturday or Sunday when I have clear days.  However, I have started sorting out my clothes and have a bag of redundant t shirts to pop in the Sally Army collecting point at some point soon.

Today starts with Slimming World and then I'll be home checking that it's tidy enough for the cleaners.  
I might take a drive to Matalan, just to see what they have there and maybe I can pop into HomeSense at the same time, just or the fun of it.  I do like looking around HomeSense.

So a nice, easy day with not too much stuff going on.  I hope yours goes well too.  Stay safe and warm and, to all of you suffering with Covid or other nasties, take care and I'm sending over healing vibes.  xx

Thursday 6 January 2022


Good morning again, everyone.  It's another cold start to the day; we have obviously had a very cold night but it is due to warm up soon and we might get rain (not snow) later on today. 

Well, I trundled into town yesterday just after nine and walked to Specsavers (where the audiologist is centred) to make an appointment.  You are 'seen' at the door and the very pleasant young lady gave me a card and asked me to phone (argh)!  I explained my difficulty with using the phone and she was great - took my name and contact info and said someone would get back to me.  When I checked my phone just before going into Lindsey's, there was a message for me.  It seems that someone had cancelled their appointment for today so I'm going back in for one thirty.  I'm happy with that.  Whether it can be repaired there and then or whether it will need to be sent away, I will find out this afternoon.

My brain seems to have adjusted to the older hearing aid and it's much more comfortable today.  Also, thank goodness, I was able to tune it into the mini loop system for the telly yesterday evening.  Much better and goodness knows what I was doing wrong the day before.  

On the way back to the car, I popped into M&S and bought a few bits and bobs, nothing very exciting, and then into Lakeland where I treated myself to a 'crinkle cutter', the tool that cuts crinkle chips and veg, etc.  It's a good, large, sharp tool so I'm looking forward to having pretty chips next time they are on the plan.

Personal training was great.  Lindsey's pushing me just that little bit each time and it was a very invigorating time.  I always feel great afterwards - all those endomorphy-thingies floating around, I suppose.

I've just opened the last Twelve Days present.  It's not clear on the photo but it's fruity-type infusions:  lemongrass and ginger, peppermint and peppermint and liquorice.  I'm drinking much more of this sort of thing nowadays so these will go down a treat.

Pretty much all the Christmas stuff has now been cleared apart from the tree itself so that's the big job for today.  I have an online chat with Chris (she and Steve are isolating this week because they are going to see a vulnerable person over the weekend) and then I have the audiology appointment early afternoon.  That should give me plenty of time but I do feel sad that all the twinkle and sparkle has finished for another eleven months.  That corner is going to look rather dull for a while, I think.
I might pop into M&M as it's on one of the routes home from town.  See if they have anything in the sale although I bet they don't.

Take care, everyone, stay safe and look after yourselves.  xx

Wednesday 5 January 2022


 Good morning!  At last it feels proper wintry!  Frost and everything.  Yesterday it got colder and colder as the day progressed and by evening it was pretty close to zero.
It looks as if it's going to be pretty chilly through today too.  Brrrrrrrrr.

I was really pleased yesterday to get so much done.  I got all the Christmas decoration boxes down from upstairs and cleared them out, judging that if I hadn't needed or wanted it this year, it could go.  Then I started dismantling stuff and putting it all away.  Nativities are now away, as are all the candles, wreaths etc apart from the one on the front door which can stay until Thursday, the bunting is down and the Guardians and the knitted toys are away or where they should be.

I've just changed the cushions over and the Christmas tree will get sorted out tomorrow.

It's all looking a bit messy at the moment.  The tops of the sideboards, etc, are looking neat, tidy and clean but the table is full of clutter and as for the blue room, where all the Christmas fabrics go, it's a right tip.  However, I need to give the room a good sort out this and next week so that's fine.

In case you're wondering, I did my squats yesterday (the kettle beat me) and I did a couple of other sessions (fifteen of each, not twenty five) as I was waiting for something to cook.  I also tried my playlist and managed half before I decided to stop.  I thought I might be aching today but I'm not, not at all.

Yesterday's Twelve Days pressie was another reed diffuser.  Honestly, anyone would think my house is really smelly!  I've put it away for now because it's really more a summer fragrance - cherry (whether fruit or blossom, I have no idea).  Just two more to go now.
I've just opened todays, earlier than usual.  It's a Yardley's spray perfume - English Rose.  Another for the summer months.
One more to go!

I had a bit of a disaster yesterday though.  Half way round Morrisons, my left hearing aid packed up - it just stopped and refused to restart.  I recharged it overnight and tried it this morning but no - dead as a doornail.  I'm hoping it is one of the connections rather than the actual aid.  The former can be repaired in the shop, the latter means it will need to be sent away and lord only knows how long it will take in the current situation..  I had my spares with me but the one I am using now is not very good; it is refusing to connect to the mini loop for the TV and the sound quality is dreadful, all muffled and fuzzy.  I have decided I'm getting another pair so I have decent spares. I can afford it and they do contribute hugely to my well being.  I could be weeks with this less than satisfactory aid seeing how long the last one took to come back.
I will have to go into town this morning to get an appointment as I can't phone and I might just do a little trawl around seeing as I am there.

So today starts with town, segues into Lindsey's personal training and then it's more clearing and sorting out.  A busy day but a very satisfying one - I hope the hearing aid thing is satisfying anyway.  I'm being positive!

Have a great day and stay safe and warm.  Cherie, I hope you are feeling OK.  xx

Tuesday 4 January 2022


 Morning, everyone!  It's dry outside but it does feel a fair bit chillier than the last few days.  Yesterday ended up as a nothing sort of day - precious little sun, just a bit dull and gloomy.

Thank you for your ironing comments.  I seem to be in a minority here < grin > ; after all, I even iron tea towels although there is a practical reason for this.  They fit much better in their limited storage space when they are nice and flat and ironed and not crumpled up at the edges.

It was nice to get back to circuits yesterday.  Lindsey had little pity on out week of festive indulgence and worked us hard.  It was good fun - four of us there, one online and one with an injured foot, I believe (nothing to do with Lindsay) who should be able to come next week.

Lindsey has set us a challenge which is to do a hundred squats each day this week.  She has a YouTube clip of this - twenty five repeats of four different squats while the kettle boils!
If you want to see what Lindsey is like, here's the clip from her YouTube channel.

I caught up with the new Pottery Throw Down on record yesterday.  Obviously, having a 'clean bottom' is the 'soggy bottom' of the pottery world - I wonder if Channel four decided it must have a 'slightly naughty hook' like Bake Off.  It doesn't come over nearly as well as when uttered by Mary or Paul, I have to say!
However, the programme was great and there seems to be some fabulous potters taking part this time.   I'm looking forward to how it all develops.  Did anyone else watch it?

Yesterday's Twelve Days present was a suncatcher.  You may remember that, before Christmas, I went into town and bought some glass tree ornaments from a stall on the market.  As well as those, I bought an owl and decided to make it a Twelve Days gift.  I'll take off the cord loop and use one of those removable stick on hooks (assuming it sticks to glass) to fasten it to a window but I'm not sure which one yet.

I didn't really get an awful lot else achieved yesterday apart from the ironing so I definitely have to use my list today or I will get all behind.

I want to sort out that bedding, get the candle decorations away, take the Christmas tablecloths, etc, up and away, dismantle the snow village and do some dusting/polishing.  That ought to keep me out of trouble, don't you think?
Oh, and I must pop round the corner to Morrisons as I'm very low on fresh food and some dairy.

What are your plans for today now that things are getting back to normal?
Stay safe and warm.  xx

Monday 3 January 2022

Monday (really!)

 Yes, I am sure it's Monday today!  Phew.

Good morning all.  I have had the most amazing night's sleep, coming round about quarter past seven and emerging from my room just before eight.  I wasn't late to bed yesterday either.  I can't remember the last time I slept so late - definitely a lie-in for me!

Yesterday was another muddled-weather day with a right mix.  I saw on Beeb that something was blowing up and might hit us late afternoon - wind and rain - but I can't say I particularly noticed anything.  The only thing I noticed was that it did seem to get colder through the day although it doesn't feel particularly chilly now.

Yesterday's Twelve Days present was a really nice notebook, narrow lined.  I love a good notebook and the cover is so pretty - marbled with a bit of gold foiling.

I wonder what I will use it for.

I didn't get any Christmas clearing done (my heart really is not in it) but I totally blitzed the washing, drying and ironing through the day.  There's a little bit more ironing to do of items that hadn't quite dried enough and I will get that done first thing this morning after I have bathed and got dressed.  

All the bedding is clean, dry, ironed (yes, I iron bedding, I can't imagine not) and now I can pack up the Christmas bedding and get it up high until next December.
I really must go through all my bedding - some of it is getting very tatty now and could probably do with being replaced.  Maybe that should go on the list of mini-projects for this year - I'll pop it in the diary.

Apart from that, I caught up with the Christmas University Challenge with great enjoyment.  Miles Jupp is a very clever chap, isn't he, as well as being very funny.
I pretty much got the turkey sorted and now there are sundry pots of this and that in the freezer.  I have one more turkey based meal planned for this evening (risotto) and some  turkey bits to wrap and freeze or maybe to give to Beth for her cats before getting back to normal again.

Today is punctuated by circuit training which is why I KNOW it is Monday!
Before then I want to get the ironing finished and everything put away which means sorting the bedding out a bit.
I ought to have started tuition again today but the mum contacted me to ask if we could leave it until next week and I was very happy to agree.

Thinking about that inspires me to do another clothes sort out.  There are clothes I don't think I have worn all year, including some of the garments that were Mum's and which I took for sentimental reasons.  I think I am ready for that now after nearly three years.

So - better get going.  It is later than I thought.  That's the trouble with sleeping in.  
I hope you've had a really good weekend with plenty of good things.  Be happy, stay safe and warm and enjoy your day.  xx

Sunday 2 January 2022


 Good morning.  I haven't even looked out yet but it doesn't feel in the least bit cold.  Yesterday turned out quite pleasant after some early rain, so that was nice.

Beth and Alex stayed around until about midday and then set off home, loaded up with all the left over naughty things from Christmas.  The only thing left now, apart from a few bottles of wine, is about half of the Christmas cake, some stollen and some tea loaf.  The last two are safely tucked away in the freezer and the cake will be cut into thirds, one for me, one for Dave and Anna and one for John.

I was quite pleased with how much washing/drying/ironing I managed to get done yesterday.  Some was bedding (Beth and Alex's) and there will be more bedding (mine) today plus a few other bits and bobs but nothing too difficult.

I set to early to deal with The Turkey.  I stripped off all the meat and then pressure cooked the carcass in the instant pot which is really useful for things like this and saves a lot of time and effort.
Beth and Alex took home some of the cooked meat and I am dealing with the rest.  

Yesterday's Twelve Days gift was this.

Apologies for the bad photo.  It' one of those metal house boxes with a battery tea light instead.  I saw some with biscuits inside but the one I got had tea bags - much better for me!
The tea bags are now in the tea caddy and I will test taste them later on today.
And in the dark.  It's rather pretty and I will be very happy to tuck it away for next year's decorations..

I'm getting most confused about what day it is at the moment and, judging by the comments I have read in other blogs, I'm not the only one.  Yesterday felt like Sunday all day and today feels as if it ought to be Monday.  It's a weird feeling.  Do you do that sometimes - confuse your days?

Today is really all about clearing up and sorting out.
My bedroom is a bit of a mess but half an hour will deal with that.
There's the aforementioned washing/drying/ironing to do - I like an empty ironing basket!
I also need to deal with what's left of the turkey.  I've made four portions of curry which are now in the freezer, I intend freezing some of the good slices with the leftover gravy for Sunday 'roasts' just for me and some just as slices, wrapped in single portions.  I must ponder what to do with the chunks but, for now, I think they will just be packed in single portions and frozen too - by the time I take out what I need for today and tomorrow, there won't be all that much left anyway.
Finally, I have some lovely turkey stock which is useful for all sorts of things.  At the moment, it is in the fridge chilling so that the layer of fat is as solid as turkey dripping ever is.  I'll take that off and freeze the liquid.

I remember Christmasses at Kettering with my dad's parents, Nanna and Grampy.  There was always a lovely bowel of dripping on Boxing Day and it was a real treat to have it on hot toast with a good sprinkle of salt, sitting in front of an open fire.  I can taste it now! 
  I could do that on Slimming World, if I measure carefully, and maybe I will.  It's not everyone's thing, dripping, but I loved it as a child.

Looking at the above, I think I need a List.  I'd better stop and get that written then!
Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.  Do you have anything special planned or are you simply chilling and having a gentle day?

Saturday 1 January 2022

New Year's Day

 Good morning and a Happy New Year to you, whatever time you have emerged.  Me, I woke at the usual time of five, having crashed out before nine yesterday evening.  I was so tired but then I'd been up since four a.m. so small wonder.
I've slept like a log, have only a slightly muggy head and am ready to move on!

We had another right mixture of a day yesterday - sunshine, rain, wind . . .but no all at the same time!  The next few days look like being much the same thing before cooler weather arrives.

Thank you for your lovely comments on yesterday's blog entry.  In fact, thank you for your lovely comments through the whole of last year.  I do try to reply to everyone although I am sure I have missed a couple from time to time.

I don't do resolutions as such but sometimes I do sort of decide it's a good time to change things around a bit and I remembered that I had decided something last New Year.
We were just in a lock down, Christmas plans had been changed, I was concerned for Dad - actually, for everyone, seeing as we seem to be a family of Covid vulnerable people, and things felt like they were going downhill rapidly.
So I decided I would make a real effort to be positive in my blogs from then on and I think I managed that quite well really, I did a real Monty Python (always looking on the bright side of life) and it helped a lot, especially as parts of 2021 turned out to be pretty upsetting one way or another.

I'm going to carry on with that because it's helped me so very much.

I've started this 'A Year With My Camera' course and I want to finish that although I've crashed rather quickly - in the second section about aperture.  Oh, dear!  I understand it (I think) but can't see any depth of field difference between the large and small aperture photos - not much anyway.  
I'll read through again and have another go.

There are other things but I won't bore you with them now.   :-)

Yesterday was lovely.  Beth and Al arrived, we had a delicious dinner (though I say it myself), played games and watched DVDs.  My Twelve nights gift was more smellies - a selection of bath crystals this time.  I thought I had taken a photo but it seems I didn't.

Today I have three quarters plus of a turkey to 'process'.  I'll enjoy that, definitely.  I'm also using one of the spice mixes to make some leftover turkey curry.  Yum
I have sheets to wash and, I think, some decorations to sort out, a living room to dust and sweep and ironing already in the basket.

Wishing us all a very good first day of 2022 that starts a year when things get increasingly better for us all.  Thank you again for reading this blog and for all your encouragement and support.
Stay well, stay safe and be happy and content.  xx