Saturday 31 December 2022

Saturday, 31-12-22

Good morning, everyone.   It's a dull, drab old start to the last day of 2022 - par for the whole year really, at least as far as national and world events are concerned.  Thankfully, speaking more personally, 2022 might have had its ups and downs but it hasn't been such a bad year really.  There's something to be said for being Pollyanna-ish in approach; I know it can be hugely irritating to others at times but it's pretty healthy really.

That's probably all the reflection I'm going to do . . . 

It was really nice to see so many people and the Slimming World Weigh and Go yesterday.  Because Jen couldn't get a venue for the two Thursday groups, some went to one of the Wednesday groups and some came along to the Friday morning group and I was able to put some faces to names I have seen in out Facebook group.

Jen's really struggled to get any response from the people who organise the good number of little halls/venues around here because it's been the 'dead' week between Christmas and New Year and even official organisations haven't been responding to her emails.  I bet they'll all be pinging back to her on Tuesday but, in the meanwhile, she has no idea where half her groups will be next week which is a worry for her.

I gather SW is being very helpful and understanding but the local stuff needs to be done locally, of course.  Poor Jen, it has really messed up her Christmas.

It was really nice to see three new members coming in to join, looking at them and realising I knew them all.  It has been quite a while and they didn't recognise me in the least.  Fair enough, the last time I saw them, I was working (haggard expression??), had long hair and was extremely large.  
Jen said she's never known anyone who recognises so many members as me!  It's to do with having taught in the area and living round here for so long.  Anyway, it was good to meet E, M and A.

Once home again, I was more energetic than I have been all week.  Did some washing, did some ironing, did some kitchen stuff, changed sheets, made up my bed and generally got a bit more organised again which was nice.

Today Beth and Alex are over for the evening and staying overnight too so I must make up their beds (no hassle).  I'm doing a buffet using up all the bits that didn't get used up over Christmas.  There's plenty so no need to go shopping at all.  Apart from that, I think it's a relatively easy day with just a bit of tidying and hoovering to do.

This was my Twelve Days gift today.  Some of you might remember me knitting them earlier in the year.  What you can't tell from the photo is that they have just a slight sparkle about them which kind of lifts them.  I shall wear them today!

And that's about it for 2022.  Next time I post, it will be a New Year.
Are you celebrating in any way?  For me, tonight will just be a happy, family time and the chances of me seeing in the New Year are so slight as to be virtually impossible.

Wherever you are and however you spend this evening, I wish you a lovely time and a very Happy New Year.
See you tomorrow.  xx

Friday 30 December 2022

Friday, 30-12-22

 Morning, everyone.  I'm really sorry about yesterday's non-appearance.  Those of you who read both blogs will know that I posted on the other one but not here.
I wish my sleep patterns would settle back down.  I'm guessing it is because I've been eating and drinking all the wrong things and it's thoroughly unsettled my system.  I haven't been exercising properly, or getting much in the way of fresh air either.  Not good.

Yesterday was quiet apart from when Beth popped round to collect a couple of gifts I had for a friend and those presents she left behind after Boxing Day.  I stayed in and slept, mostly, between catching up on Christmas recordings.  Very lazy and definitely not good for me!

Yesterday's twelve Days of Christmas gifts was a couple of 'slabs' of very nice hand made soap.  They came from a nice shop in the Peak District shopping place in Rowsley, bought during my holiday there in September.
I'm already using one of them and the scent id gorgeous.  I love citrus aromas.
Today's gift is these two small bottles of flavoured vinegars.  I can use them as dressings and will look up some recipes/mixes.

Today starts with Slimming World.
Poor Jen: on Christmas Eve she was told that she wasn't going to be able to hire the hall for the foreseeable future.  Whatever caused the flooding, it sounds as if longer term damage has been done.  Of course, this last week has been the very worst time of year to get hold of anyone, let along hire anywhere else.
Today we're back at the place the Wednesday groups use and it will just be a weigh and go.  Jen will be looking for alternative places.  As I have a big downstairs, I offered my house as a temporary thing but SW  'Central Office' have said not allowed.  Insurance issues, I expect.

After that, I have a home to get in order.  No cleaners this week so I will have to get my act together.  As Beth and Alex are staying overnight tomorrow, I have two beds to make up and I MUST do some washing and so on.
Life has to get back to normal again, the sooner the better, I reckon.

How has this week been for you?  Have you spent it feasting, fasting or asleep?  Is it a relief to get back to a more normal routine again?
Take care and stay safe.  xx

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Tuesday, 27-12-22

Second time lucky!!

Morning, everyone.  After all the shenanigans of the last fortnight, today starts the walk back to normality again.  I don't really make a thing of New Year although Beth and Alex might possibly be over.

It's been a lovely Christmas.  I know I say I've had a lovely day rather often and it makes me realise how lucky I am to be able to say it in all honesty.  It was a bit different with just Beth and Alex on Christmas Day and two non-family gusts on Boxing Day for pretty much the first time ever but it was great.  Maybe a new tradition starting up.

I've been wanting to do this for ages - crackers with tuned bells inside and some music to play.  Eight crackers and an octave's worth of notes plus labels, 'music' and a little baton.

Mind you - some of the tunes were a bit - different.  Eileen and anyone else with a bit of music training will understand the limitations of one octave, no sharpened fourth or flattened seventh.  However, we managed and had enormous fun doing it.  I'm keeping them for next year when there will be a wider range of tunes to have a go at - I've already worked out a few.

Beth played her now traditional trick with the wooden nativity.  It started a long time ago with simple things such as hiding the baby or replacing him with a jelly baby and they became more sophisticated as the years went by.  Do you remember last year's?

Here we go . . .
. . . just to remind you . . .
. . . very topical
And very funny too.

This year's was brilliant but I will need to do a separate post on it.  Suffice it to say that it was based around my favourite ever Star Trek episode.  Can you guess which one it is?

My present from Beth and Alex this year was a Nespresso Inissia and she and Vincent must have been collaborating because he brought along a whole load of pods of various flavours and colours.
(as a side note, I had bought a reusable pod but it turns out that they are completely recyclable and make new pods - much better than some other coffee machines)

Beth didn't want my Dolce Gusto as she already has a Nespresso so I am now a posh person with two coffee machines.

After dinner and bells, Beth set everything up and we had a taster session.  She and I, being light-weights, gave up after three small, espresso sized coffees as we were all caffeined out, but the other two carried on for ages.  Where they put it, I have no idea!!  The Nespresso makes smaller amounts of coffee so I can use the other for mugs and the new one for the cheffy stuff!

Once everyone had gone and all was still and silent (apart from the dishwasher doing all the hard work), I set to and finished off the first of the mittens I am making to use up some of my four ply/sock yarn stash.

It's quite nice and fits well.  The pattern itself is not always clear and I'm not sure if I like the shaping at the top which I might adapt a bit when I start another pair, but it is OK for a more experienced knitter and the actual knitting is simple once one has mastered using double pointed needles.

I think this could be the first time I have started preparing for next Christmas before this Christmas.

On to today and there is absolutely nothing in the diary at all.  No commitments, no guests, nothing.  I did um and ah about staying in pjs and oodie all day but decided I wanted to have a bath and use one of my bath bombs so that rather means getting dressed afterwards - it does to me anyway.  
I have stuff I can do.  For a start, while the Christmas tree and certain decorations are staying up until Twelfth Night, there's quite a lot of other bits and bobs that can go away as and when the spirit moves, there's leftovers to deal with including quite a lot of turkey.  I stripped the carcass yesterday and boiled it up so I have some lovely stock to sort out.  There's also an untouched Christmas cake, sundry mince pies, etc, and way too much cheese.  Such a shame!!!
Then there's reading, knitting, Christmas telly recordings . . . oh, yes, plenty to do!

Here's today's Twelve Days gift to myself, some little scented candles.  Not the heavy, spicy scent of the Christmas season but, I hope, nice, light, floral fragrances to look ahead to spring.

Are you able to have an easier day today or are you still living it up?  Do say in the comments.  Whatever you have planned, have a great day and take care.  xx

Wednesday, 28-12-22

 Good morning, everyone!    Sorry this is later than usual - I got working in the kitchen and time flew!

Yesterday was just one of those days.  I had slept badly, woken early and what with this and that plus losing my blog post and then publishing the start of today's by mistake (I've left Sue's comment there), by late morning I had crashed out and spent the rest of the day mostly snoozing, even while watching things I was interested in.

To my surprise, I slept like a log and woke at seven thirty (so late for me), feeling so much better again.  Phew.

I was hoping that an ex pupil and mum would come round for coffee this morning, but he has woken with a nasty cough and very sore throat so they have cancelled.   I have mixed feelings.  Obviously they were absolutely right to cancel;  he's not up to it and I don't want yet another cold.  It's very disappointing though as I was looking forward to a good catch up chat with them both.
We will reschedule.

It's a day for cancellations.   Chris and I had planned to have lunch out tomorrow but that's been put back to next week as Chris and Steve have had to reschedule family things after Chris was unwell last week.  Another disappointment but I totally get why and another couple of days doing just homey stuff is probably just what I need!

Here's today's Twelve Days gift to myself.    Apologies for the slight blurriness - maybe I need to give the lens a bit of a wipe.

I've had some before and it makes a lovely drink - just as it comes, no milk, more like an infusion really.  I have some oranges so maybe I can add a slice of orange for extra yum.

So today has turned out to be another restful, stay-at-home-and-do-very-little kind of day.  I have had fun in the kitchen making some wholewheat pasta leftovers ravioli (I'll let you know!) for dinner tonight and now it is time for breakfast - I know it is a bit late I'm trying to get back into intermittent fasting again after letting it slide over the last few weeks or so.  A 16-8 suits me so well and it had become a habit so I need to work on re-establishing it.

Seeing as I fell asleep during Mary Popping (recorded from over Christmas), I need to rewind it and finish it off.  The last bit I remember was 'Spoonful of Sugar' so I didn't get very far into it, did I?  There's reading and knitting, as usual, and one of my gifts was an insulated coffee mug to go with my machine and it's brilliant, so I will be able to sip it long and slow without needing to reheat it several times.  Goodness, the luxury!

I was planning to do a leaflet drop for Jen (SW leaflets) up and down my road and the two avenues off it but it is absolutely pouring with rain today so this will have to wait.  Maybe tomorrow?

Are you finding this week is a bit of a nothing week between two celebrations too or are you buzzing around and keeping busy?  
Have a lovely day, however you are spending it.  Stay warm and dry and be happy!  xx

Monday 26 December 2022

The poems of Peter and Friends


Once in Dickens' hated city,*
Lived a fearless feline four.
Till one day, to test their brav'ry
Came a knocking on the door
Be it monster, friend or beast
Who will stay to greet our guest?

Won't be I, says Baby Kitten,
Darting headfirst under bed
Peter's braver than his sister
Dons his danger floof instead
Stands his ground, well, for now on
But eyes the place where Lucy's gone

Fred decides a stroll might suit him
Bangs the cat flap as he leaves
Says not scared, just can't be bothered
Not that anyone believes.
And with utmost bravery
Quiet Ava comes to see

Sitting in the hallway shadows,
Bends a most suspicious glance
Friend or foe- who could be leading
Kitties on this merry dance
There is no more need to fear,
Favoured person - Grandma's here!

* Dickens once stated Chelmsford was “the dullest and most stupid place on earth”. It tickles me no end that there is an estate in Chelmsford called Dickens' Place, named, I like to think, entirely out of spite!

(Edit:  It's not actually called that, one of the roads is - all the roads on the estate are named after Dickens characters and books although the actual estate name is something quite different)


You better not shout
You better not bite,
You better not pounce
Or you'll get a fright
Thwappy Paws are coming to town
I'll give out a hiss
Of warning- I'm nice-
You better take heed
Not warning you twice
Thwappy Paws are coming to town
Why are you not sleeping?
You should not be awake,
I know that you're excited but
You're a cat, for goodness sake!
So settle down, squirt,
Give pouncing a rest
You don't want to put
Sister to the test
Thwappy Paws are coming to town
Lucy is the baby kitt-unnnnn
Thwappy Paws are coming to town!!!


Purry night,
Furry night
Ava sleeps
All is right
Rumpled kitty in beautiful pile
Sweet old lady so gentle and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Purry night
Furry night
Fred's all cross, took a bite
Lucy's leaping and Pete's on the prowl
Ava wakes with a hiss and a growl
Someone is needing a thwap
Someone is needing a thwap.
Purry night
Furry night
Matriarch, stop the fight
Hush the kitten with moderate paw
Hard Stare issued and order restored
Ava, keeper of peace
Ava, keeper of peace.

A slightly out of focus Ava

Oh little cats before me
How still I see thee lie
You look so deep in slumber
I know this is a lie
You will not twitch a whisker
Through utterance or cough
But if I shake the Dreamies, you
Will take my hand right off.
All the cats (can you sort them out?)

While Hooman watched her cats by night
All sleeping on the bed
There came a burning quest-i-on
'Now is that Pete or Fred?'
For Pete had grown up big and strong
So different from the start!
That in the lamp light shadows, they
Were hard to tell apart.
Fear not! Said Hooman, for I have
An easy rule of thumb
A Pete, when stroked, will stretch and 'brrrrp'
While Fred will show his tum!
So both blue boys were given pets
And answered happily
A Merry Christmas Pete and Fred
You are so dear to me!

One of them - Peter, I think.

Oh sleep ye lazy kitty cats, let nothing you dismay
And dream of plates of turkey meat to come on Christmas day
We know you don't get fed a lot, you're wasting right away
Oh pining for Christmas turkey joy, turkey meat joy, oh pining for Christmas turkey joy.

Peter again - Beth has lots of photos of Peter!

Away from the strangers
Right under the bed
The sweet baby kitten
Is hiding instead
'I don't like the strangers
I run and I hide
But when they are gone
I'll be out by your side
For I'm the baby kitten
And happy I'll be
When the people are gone
and it's just you and me
So goodbye all the visitors
Send them off, shut the door
And put down lots of turkeys
Because Lucy wants it all'
Oh Lucy, silly kitty
You will just have to share
With your sister and brothers,
there are four who live here!
But you'll have a quiet Christmas
Lots of cuddles from me
And you'll get your plate of turkey
For you are the bay-bee!

Lucy and Beth

Monday: Boxing Day edited

 Good morning, everyone.  I was so tired yesterday evening but woke at two and couldn't get back to sleep so here I am, good and early, writing this.  I'll go back to bed soon and see if I can manage a few more hours.

Going back to Christmas Eve, the wine saga finally finished with the delivery mid afternoon.  It took ages to show as out for delivery and I had given up but it flashed up just before the 'cut off ' time for a refund.
Just the one box, thank goodness.  I'm now swimming in the stuff although my shed will look a lot less alcoholic once I give out the late gifts!

Some of you will have seen Beth's poetic feline efforts on Peter's group (Facebook).  I asked her and she said I could post them in here so it's two posts for the price of one today.  

I very much hope yesterday was lovely for you.  I enjoyed myself with Beth and Alex.  Today, two of Beth's friends are round for lunch which will be great.  Beth's doing some of the meal but basically it is leftover turkey, a vegetarian savoury crumble and veg.  Nothing too hard.
I don't think anyone will be staying too long and then I think I have the evening to myself.

Thank you for your lovely Christmas messages yesterday.

I'm off to bed again now and will do the 'poems' later on.  xx

Later on!
I got back to sleep, now it is nearly half past six and I feel loads b righter, thankfully.
Really, I have a couple more things to add.
One is that is that my Twelve Days of Christmas gifts start.  Today's is the only one that needs to be opened on a specific day - the others are in a bag for lucky dip.

You can see why.
The twelve smells of Christmas!

The other is that although the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar is now finished (and it has been brilliant this year), the word finding game carries on with one new word a day.  I wonder for how long that will continue.

Right - coffee calleth and I have to get going in the kitchen, I think.  Have a lovely Boxing Day - do you have any exciting plans for today.  xx

Sunday 25 December 2022

Sunday: Christmas Day 2


Thank you to you all - for reading, commenting, writing your own blogs which I enjoy so much and just being there.  Have a wonderful day.  xx

Sunday: Christmas Day


In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke ch 1: 1-7

Saturday 24 December 2022

Saturday: Blogmas day 24

 Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Christmas Eve.  I've had a wakeful night and a very early start but, somehow, it doesn't matter in the least.  I have plenty to do so it's probably just an overactive brain and later on, once everything is done, I will sit, chill and snooze.  And why not?

Yesterday started off with Slimming World group.  During the week, Jen heard that there had been a pretty damaging flood in the Community Centre we usually use (frozen pipes) but she managed to get the other venue she uses, out in Writtle, for a couple of hours so that's where we went.
As I thought, not an awful lot of folk turned up but enough to make it jolly and friendly.  It was just a weigh and go so no second half to wait for but folk stayed and chatted and it was just really pleasant.

The wine saga continues.
I had another email from the company, still very apologetic.  They're obviously keeping a close eye on things, have been in touch with the local depot (Yodel - sigh) and have been 'assured' that it will be loaded and delivered today.
They also said that if it is not actually out for delivery by eleven this morning, they will be refunding me the whole cost of the wine.
You have to laugh and, to be fair, the wine company really are doing everything they can.  It's not their fault.
I will know by midday!

(Edit at 10:40:  it is showing as out for delivery.  Yeehah!!)

Another expected delivery arrived with minimal fuss and bother and that was the turkey.  I just shoved it out in the shed (It's 'cold packed') and will deal with it all today, getting it oven ready and using the giblets plus saved stock to make a nice gravy.  I'm not a posh gravy person - good stock and some bisto is fine by me.  It does mean I have to make some vegetarian friendly gravy for Beth but that's OK, I use the same method but with vegetable stock instead. and I'll make that tomorrow.

Victoria (the flower friend who runs the wreath workshops) brought round a Christmas display I ordered from her.  It's very sweet and pretty and will look really nice on the table.  No photo right now because of the lighting but I will try to remember to take one later.

I had fun in the kitchen, making some fresh pasta - I haven't made fresh pasta for simply ages, but it is easy in Thermione and using the pasta roller is just so relaxing.  Half yesterday and half today and I think I'll be doing this a lot more in the coming months.

Today, because of the super-early start, I think I will get some washing on as soon as I have sent this to make the most of the night time rate.  It also gives it a fighting chance of drying through the day so I can get it away before bedtime.

I have a good, long list of things to do:  make gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce; washing/drying/ironing; prep turkey and work out timings; prep veg; tidy living room and kitchen; and, finally, make bread? (Yes, the question mark is on my list.)
I'm sure there's more and the list will grow, but none of it is major and by the afternoon I will be pretty much done and dusted and I can sit and relax.

So - washing on, make a coffee and off we go!

It's Christmas Eve so today's music just HAS to be . . .

Not sung by Kings' College Choir this time - we can watch that on Carols from Kings' this evening, but by Libera.

As a little Christmas Gift from me to you, I have put all this year's music into a playlist which I hope you can access and enjoy through the Christmas period.
(I also hope it works - it did last time!)

Friday 23 December 2022

Friday: Blogmas day 23

 Good morning, everyone.  
I've not looked out yet but Beeb summarises it as 'heavy rain and a moderate breeze' round here.  In other words, thoroughly nasty and a day to stay warm indoors and count your blessings.

That I can do.  I have enough in to feed the entire cul de sac after yesterday's shop.  As always, there are several bits and bobs in the freezer that, really, I didn't need to get, and I have an abundance of cheese, but Beth can have some and none will be wasted.

There was a bit of a panic yesterday afternoon when some money I had sent electronically seemed to have gone astray but it hadn't, it was all fine.

I searched for, and found, a set of double pointed needles in the size needed to start a pair of mittens.  The pattern really does look remarkably easy once you take away the colour patterning faffiness.  I'm starting with blue - solid blue cuffs and self patterning blues for the main body of the mitten.  I'll take a photo once I've made one.

Then, come the evening, I laid out a buffet, the family arrived and we had a really lovely evening - well, I did, for sure, and I have to believe they did too.  Lots of food and drink, chat and laughter.

Today, Dave and Anna are off to Anna's family for Christmas although Dave has to work half the day first.  Beth and Alex are doing their own thing and I have just one scheduled thing and that is a 'Weigh and go' session at Slimming World.
Not that I'm weighing - I'm not, not after last night, but I'm helping to weigh anyone who dares turn up.  I doubt it there be many.  I also want to pick up the new magazine - always a good read and it's not one that Readly covers.

Once home from that, I have a day of laziness planned.  I have several recorded programmes to watch, some crochet, some knitting, a bit of cooking and a lot of reading.  Nice.
I may not have had much luck with wine but at least the turkey is on its way.  I got notification last night that it was loaded and ready to go!  Christmas really has begun when the turkey arrives!

Today it's two well loved carols that take an awful lot of puff to sing . . .

Ding, Dong, Merrily on High . . .

. . . and 'Angels From the Realms of Glory' . . .

. . . both sung by the choir of Kings' College, Cambridge - of course!
Are you looking forward to the Carols from Kings programme tomorrow.  I am!  

Thursday 22 December 2022

Thursday: Blogmas day 22

 Good morning.
Day twenty two - aarrgghh.
Yesterday was quite nice and sunny once the clouds decided to go and play somewhere else.  It looks dry right now but rain is predicted later on.  We will see.

I'm loving these day leading up to Christmas.  Yesterday was the last 'sort of busy' day but, in fact, it was all self indulgent really.

My hair has now been tamed again.  Sharon and I both arrived at Beth's at the same time and, as Beth was having some colour put in, she did half of Beth's while I played with Fred the cat, then she did me and I came home while she finished Beth.

I got a message from Lindsey to say her 12:00 client had cancelled so, if I wanted, I could go early.  That worked perfectly with the cleaners and, as I drove away, they arrived.  I like to keep out of their way and it is so nice to come back to a cleaned home!

I did bed changing, washing, drying and ironing.  Now my bad has my lovely, cosy, red on one side, green on the other tartan duvet cover and pillow cases, all ready for Christmas!  There's no way I changed my sheets on Christmas Eve - why make more work for those days?

And there has been further communication from Naked wines.
They nwt think my box has gone astray as there's no info from the delivery depot so they have packed a new box and sent it off speedy delivery.  They have also popped £15 in my account to which is fair enough, I guess.  It, like the other one did, shows as being at the local depot right now.  We will see.
It is strangely reminiscent of the box of beers affair earlier in the month.  Will I end up with two boxes of wines too?  Time will tell!  Mind you, they're a bigger company so could possibly arrange for a pick up and return.  

However, it's too late for tonight's family party unless I get notification that it's being delivered today very soon so I will be popping over to Morrisons to buy what's needed - no, not needed, wanted - in terms of alcohol first thing at eight o'clock, before the crowds build up.  I really don't want to go later.

This is what I've been making with my Advent calendar yarn.  Not terribly innovative, I know, but all I could think of at the time and I did want to do a bit of whatever each day.
Each mini-skein makes three and a bit granny squares and while I was sorting them out for the photo, I found one little skein I hadn't made up which is why there are 20 piles of three rather than twenty one.
The extra bits I have made into multi coloured squares and the edging I bought separately once I had decided what to make.
It will be the most expensive blanket ever but this calendar is giving me a great deal of joy.

After I've done the shopping, I will be home all day so plenty of time to potter and prepare for this evening when Dave, Anna, Beth and Alex are over.  I'm doing a buffet with pizza and bits and bobs - plus Morrisons wine!  It should all be very pleasant.

(Edit just after nine:  shopping done and I am NOT entering another shop until after the New Year, I sincerely hope.  It wasn't crowded but busy for Morrisons at eight o'clock.)

Today's Christmas music starts with a fun one.  'Jingle Bells', sung by the fantastic Voces 8 . . .

. . . and a previous version of the Kings' Singers giving us 'Es ist ein Ros' Entsprungen'.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Wednesday: Blogmas day 21

 Day 21 - can you believe it?  Time is simply flying along at the moment!

Good morning, everyone.  How are things?  It is so mild here that the heating isn't coming on at all which, after heavy use last week, is something of a relief.  Yesterday was a lovely, sunny day too.  Today looks like sunny intervals and showers and tomorrow, rain.  Oh, well . . .
I've given up trying to dry washing on the line at the moment and my little drying rack, molto cheapo from Wilkinsons and big enough to take one load of washing at a time, has been very helpful.  I have to use it anyway as the washing rarely dries properly outside at this time of year.

Yesterday was yet another good day. 

Groove, at Lindsey's studio, was so much fun.  There were seven of us there and three online, really good for the week before Christmas.  We did the same routines as last week, to Christmas music.  There's such a good vibe in Lindsey's studio - I can't explain it really but it just feels great.

After a drive home and a quick freshen up, I was into school for my governor's visit, speaking to the SENDCo.  It was very straightforward as I had an agenda, a series of headings within which to explore provision and whether all the statutory requirements were being met, etc.
On a less formal note, it was brilliant to see how the role I held for so long has changed and developed in recent years and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole visit.  A shame about the written report but J is not expecting anything back quickly and, as I will send it to her school mailbox, she might not even see it until the new term starts anyway.

After that, I popped into Morrisons and then went home, had lunch and then started in on the ironing.  That's all done now although I will be changing the sheets, possibly today, so there will be another load soon.  I know a lot of you don't iron bedding but I do - I love a new made bed with lovely, smooth, ironed bedding.  I know - I'm bonkers!!

The box of wines still hasn't come and yesterday evening saw another apologetic message from Naked Wines assuring me they were doing all they can.  To be fair, no-one could have foreseen how much disruption the snow and, more specifically, the ice would cause over the whole of last week.
It is a bit frustrating though, because some bottles are earmarked for gifts and some for the family party tomorrow evening.  The gifts can be given later but I'll have to get some more for tomorrow which was not the idea at all.  Oh, well - first world problem and not the end of anyone's world.

Today is, I think, the last of the more busy days, and it's not that bad really.  
It starts with a trip over to Beth's where Sharon will do our hair.  I woke in a panic in the night thinking I didn't have anything to give her (it should have been one of those bottles) before remembering I did have some appropriate fall back gifts so all was well.

Later on, I'm off to Lindsey's for the last time this year for personal training.  I was still making part of her Christmas present yesterday evening but managed to get it all finished and wrapped up to take with me today.  Phew.

Also, today is cleaners day as it's the last day they work before Christmas (some are flying home for the season).  It's hard to know how to gift them so I always pop a tip into their cards so they can choose for themselves.  I don't think they are working next week so I will have to knuckle down and do some myself - oh, the hardship!!!

The rest of the day will be spent as it always is - bit of housework, bit of crafting, bit of reading, bit of telly.

I've been thinking ahead to next Christmas (don't all shout at once) and gifts for the girls.  I'm still working to greatly reduce my yarn stash without wasting any and have a whole load of four ply sock yarn (quite a lot gifted to me a while ago).  I found this pattern online which won't be nearly as complicated as it looks because the sock yarn is self patterning.  If I start now, I will have several sets to gift by next Christmas.

I just have a bit of a gift for Beth to finish crocheting and then I can start on the mittens.  I hope they will make nicely - they do look nice, I think.

If it works - here's the link to the pattern.  As I'm not doing the patterning, it's a lot easier than at first appears.

Today's festive music is a couple of John Rutter carols (I do love his Christmas music).
The first is the Star Carol, a lovely, jolly, bright, foot tapping piece.

The second is the Candlelight Carol. The words are just wonderful.

How do you capture the wind on the water? 
How do you count all the stars in the sky? 
How can you measure the love of a mother, 
Or how can you write down a baby’s first cry? 

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and starglow 
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn. 
Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo! 
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born. 

Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him, 
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep; 
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Saviour, 
But Mary will hold him and sing him to sleep. 

Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger: 
Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay. 
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation: 
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day.

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Tuesday: Blogmas day 20

 Good morning, lovely people, and welcome to my blog.  What a change in the weather!!  Snuggling in my oodie is now a thing of the past - for a while, anyway - as the temperature has gone up pretty much twenty degrees in a day and a half.
The snow was very pretty and, because it was so, so cold, remained pretty all week but it was dangerous and difficult to walk on and the side roads were very icy and treacherous.  I'm not sorry that has gone.

So yesterday, which would have been difficult in the ice, was busy but a doddle.
I went to M&S and then Aldi early morning (they both open at eight) and did a main shop designed to last me until next Tuesday.  It was pretty busy but I was lucky with checkouts.  There was an empty one in M&S and in Aldi, a new one opened just as I got to the checkout.  

I unpacked and sorted out before having to whizz off to play Santa.  First to Julia's and then to Beth's to pick up, then on to Linda's to drop off her share and pick up, then back to Beth's to drop off hers and finally to Julia's for her pile and then the rest was for me.  It worked too!  I muddled up Beth's and mine from Julia but they were the same thing so it didn't matter one bit.

Then I put away all the shopping I had left out (sorted but not tidied away), tidied up the kitchen and then I drove over to Lindsey's for circuits which was lovely as always.

Then I could rest, so rest I did.  I got a bit of washing done but no ironing so that is this afternoon's main task.

The evening girls' Christmas chat was just lovely.  We nattered away for well over two hours (we used Messenger, not Zoom, so we could) before phones started running out of charge.  I was using my desktop so no problems that way.  We called it a day and decided to have another one (without gifts, obviously) in January.

Yesterday was just a really lovely day.

Today feels equally busy.
It starts with Groove class which is at Lindsey's studio and online this week.  She can have up to seven, plus her, in her studio (insurance requirements, I gather) and there's some who will be with us via Messenger.  Should be good.

Then I am home for a quick breakfast before going round to school for a governor's visit.  It's not a great time for this, being the last day of the Christmas term, but it was the only time J and I were both available so it has to be, even though the chances of observing any meaningful work is minimal.  On the other side, I have always loved the Christmas atmosphere in school.

I have no idea how long that will take but, once done, I will pop over the road to Morrisons to see if I can get a few items I couldn't get yesterday before going home and doing the rest of the day.

I am so enjoying the Advent Calendars, especially the Skein Queen one and the Jacqui Lawson online one.  With the latter, I'm up to date with the gnomes although it took me ages to find Saturday's one.  I'm loving the work maker and the new activity or 'thing' in the house each day.  I think it could be the best one she has ever brought out.
As for the yarn one, I doubt I will ever get one again as it was eye wateringly expensive but the excitement at opening each door and seeing what colour the yarn is - well, it's probably pretty sad but I don't care.  It creates joy!

On to today's Advent music and I am running out of days!  Eeeek.  I'll just do a pick 'n' mix, I think.

I love this first carol.  It's so lilting and the accompaniment, which I played in my salad days, is lovely.  It's the Sussex Carol, sung by guess who/what!!

The other is that gorgeous carol, Silent Night or, in this one, Stille Nacht, arranged by John Rutter.  The score you see in the clip is Rutter's own.  This one is performed by the Kings' Singers

Monday 19 December 2022

Monday: Blogmas day 19

 Morning, everyone.  It's extremely mild this morning and, as far as I can tell pre dawn, the snow and ice have pretty much gone so the roads will be reliable again.  Phew.  None of the forecasts seem to think that we will get any more very cold weather in the next week and, much as I like the idea of a white Christmas, I am glad.

I've just picked up a tip that makes me feel very silly - well, not silly exactly, more why-didn't-I-think-of-that-ish.  If the condensate pipe plays up in the future, I won't bother with boiling kettles, etc, I will just get my hair dryer on an extension cable and . . .  there you go!  So much better!  Doh!

Sonja departed after coffee and got back safely - she was just ahead of some pouring rain but the roads were fine, she said.  By the time she left, the temperature was touching zero and by later afternoon it was in positive numbers - the end of this particular freeze was in sight

To my great relief, I was able to unlock the garage and get what I needed.  I was a bit worried in case the security thing at the bottom had actually broken but it really was just frozen.  However, I had already arranged with the girls to be Santa today rather than yesterday because I was a bit concerned in case the rain was freezing on the roads.  It would probably have been OK but all of us live down side roads, three on slopes that remained pretty icy, and I was just being a bit over cautious.

The other nice thing I did was bake some bread.  I haven't made that much recently but I just fancied some nice, home made wholemeal bread so I brought Thermione into use, found the Cookidoo recipe I like and now I have a delicious, sliced loaf to pop in the freezer for the coming days.  I didn't take a photo of it but here's the Christmas sandwich I made for my evening meal - turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce - and all home made (apart from the turkey).

The wine I was expecting didn't arrive yesterday so goodness knows when it will arrive.  It had better be here by Thursday, that's all I can say!

Moving on to today, it's busy this morning.
I want to do an early morning Christmas shop using M&S and then over to Aldi.  That should sort out the great majority of what I need/want.
Then I will be playing Santa, picking up and giving out the gifts prior to out online girls' chat this evening - I'm so looking forward to that.
And finally, it's circuits at Lindsey's studio.
The afternoon calms down a bit so that's when I will do some ironing and general houseworky stuff.

It's all go!

Today's Christmas music is on the theme of love.

Love Came Down at Christmas, performed by John Rutter's choir, the Cambridge Singers

and Love Came Down, written and performed by Pete and Nicki Sims, two local church leaders and fine composer/musicians of their genre (modern worship).