Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Snow and fear

Fear one - I am terrified of slipping in the snow. I have so far in my lifetime sprained both ankles, dislocated a toe and both shoulders - one shoulder three times now - sprained a wrist and I have suspicions that something iffy happened to a thumb. I also have a dicky, clicky knee. I think to be concerned about slipping in the snow is a reasonable concern. I shall probably give it another week, then pluck up my courage and get out again. The big problem is that I have an extremely steep slope one side of the house that is impractical to attempt if iced up. On the other side is an unadopted road, full of potholes which, if last year is a guide, will be ice, covered by snow. Of course cars belt up and down leaving some really awful patches of compacted snow, ice and pothole and there are some lovely areas that favour black ice just by the end of the road. Even the pavement outside our house has a slope to steep for the guidelines, and the pavement doesn't extend all along the road.

Fear two - I dread OH driving to work in these conditions. He hates driving in snow, he has to travel on lots of B roads and the approach to work is a B road up a hill to a place where all the neighbours are sheep in fields. I am fairly confident he is a good enough driver to be safe. But he is going to be exhausted and fed up. All the good work of a break is about to be undone in twenty four hours. Also last year cost us a gear box.

Fear three - darling father insists on going out. I admit that his joints are probably more robust than mine, but he is eighty next birthday. Tomorrow, despite seeing a weather forecast full of snow, he is insisting on going into town on the bus. I shall be on pins until he is safely back.

Fear one is really just smoke and mirrors. I can take a common sense approach and a steady pace and I will be fine. Fears two and three are a bit more grounded in reality. Darling father will not be without his paper under any circumstances. Last year he fell and, apart from being a bit stunned, was fine. But I am on edge every time he goes out.

And of course there is a battle with little bear looming. So far I have let him get away with short sleeves, but it is now just too cold and I think I need to be firmer. On the other hand he was wandering round in bare feet today. I could not convince him to wear slippers and his feet were icy.

And I can't help worry about darling uncle, on his own, who refuses to try and get the temperature of his home above 10 degrees Centigrade.

Roll on spring when I can find other things to worry about.

Anti Clutterbust 2

Fed up...

Two balls of yarn only coming in the post. Plus some games for little bear, some vests (he finally agrees to wear one, no idea why but as he currently won't wear long sleeves I'll take it), and some bits for OH.

Darling father cleared some more out of his room today so that there was another black bin sack of extra rubbish (mine, not his) to go. That doesn't balance it, not really.

Besides, I have the last Approved Food order of the year coming (weather permitting) and I have just taken delivery of a HUGE Asda order, that is supposed to carry me through until January. Mr S didn't show as they were worried about the weather. It was only a few bits, including brandy butter, that I couldn't get from Asda, and tbh I can always make my own - it just never tastes as good.

My kitchen is even more stuffed, even without Mr S's contribution, and it may go pop. I shall have to do more sorting. My arm is almost back to normal, give or take a twinge, but I am still treating it with respect.

Tomorrow I am going to gently, and in quiet stages, clear the living room and rearrange the furniture - to a certain extent. I don't mind dragging light chairs one handed but the metal filing cabinets are staying put! At least that is the plan.

Little bear calls his daddy's bluff

OH knows I am blogging this and has asked me to be clear. He would never hurt a hair on little bear's head and doesn't even threaten to unless in an obviously playful way. I am the most physical of the disciplinarian's in this house as I have tapped the back of little bear's hand when he was refusing to take his fingers away from a plug and when he pulled evil cat's tail. Both times were designed to shock and not hurt, and both times were completely ineffectual as he just giggled. Darling father is always threatening little bear with a smacked bottom but he never laid a finger on me and I am confident that little bear is safe from all but tickles. OH does shout at little bear sometimes, but crumbles as soon as little bear is upset. Right...

We had tidied little bear's room while he was out at nursery. We told him to expect a surprise. 'Is it pink?' 'No.' 'Why not?' Well that put us in our place.

So we are getting ready for bed and little bear is having a lot of fun and refusing to allow OH to get him into his pyjamas, giggling and generally being nearly four. Then he stood next to OH and demanded medicine. For emphasis he pounded his fist on OH's knee. OH was obviously not hurt but told little bear not hit him, or 'I'll turn you upside down and bounce you.' Little bear couldn't stop giggling. He pounded on OH's knee again. 'Now, daddy!' OH looked at me in despair as the threat had been chosen to be lighthearted and not taken seriously. 'Now, daddy,' little bear repeated and thumped OH imperiously. 'Okay,' OH said, baffled. 'Ready...' 'Steady, Go!' little bear shouted and giggled manically as OH held him upside down and jiggled him up and down.

We are going to have to pick our words very carefully.

Monday, 29 November 2010

OH Clutterbusts

OH took the lead. He has a day booked off today, so while little bear went reluctantly to nursery we went upstairs. OH did the most, but three more bin sacks are out. We could do with pruning a lot of what is left, as I am confident Christmas and his birthday at the end of December will add a certain quantity of 'stuff' but we will do what we can when we can.

I appear to be almost out of coloured bags. I probably have loads, but just can't find them. However I am trying to attack the dining room where, under the heaps and mounds, I think I shall find further supplies.

On the other hand I have ordered a vast quantity of groceries to be delivered. If they turn up - which is not a give due to too much weather - both Asda and Sainsburys should deliver some time between 2pm and 4pm. I do not want to do much more in the way of shopping after that, planning on getting everything else from local shops.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Little bear learns bad habits

I love little bear. He is a happy soul. However he is learning such bad things from me.

First of all he couldn't do things because of his 'bad leg'. This appeared after my torn ankle ligament and it was an intermittent condition that didn't slow him down but was trotted out every time he was asked to do something he didn't want to.

Then there was the poorly tummy. He is so rarely sick, thank goodness, that the last time made a huge impact. So now he regularly demands a 'big bowl' to be sick in. This is especially true if he is trying to prolong his bedtime. I think sometimes it is genuine, but I am usually unfeelingly sceptical.

Now he has a poorly arm which completely prevents him putting rubbish in the bin, and is rather a coincidence that it has appeared when I dislocated my shoulder. Previously it was his bad leg that meant he couldn't manage the two yards to the waste paper bin.

This morning I was getting him dressed and I asked him whether he had slept well. 'No, I had a bad night.' he said mournfully. Grandad's insomnia and Daddy's sleep apnoea here. As far as I can tell he had slept like a log. I asked him what he wanted for breakfast. 'I no want anything, I poorly.' he said sadly. Actually he had two bowls of cereal and cheered up remarkably. But I am going to have to be careful what I say in front of him.

Brand Names

Last night I slept on the study floor. I would like very much to add that I think this the best billet in the house. I have a thinnish mattress, peace and quiet and it is one of the warmest rooms in the house. It is also the best for my back. As it was forecast for a cold night I put a duvet under me and over me I put a slanket and a Cosy Pad blanket http://www.lakeland.co.uk/F/keyword/cosypad/product/22694

Neither the slanket nor the Cosy Pad were inexpensive and they are the real deal, the brand names. However I was as snug as a bug in a rug. I was toasty. Around 6am I was woken by heartburn and got up to get something. Just sitting up in the room was incredibly cold! In this case paying the extra was definitely worth it.

I have a kettle. It must be at least ten years old, it is much older than little bear. I spent a fortune on it in a moment of madness. Not only does it still work really well but it is still really fast. I noticed it in Pickering. The perfectly adequate kettle in the cottage took twice as long, or more. During the time I have had this I estimate that my darling uncle has spent more on kettles because he buys the cheapest kettles from Tesco and they do not last (and take longer, and ours is one of those that has a flat element so you don't need to put in enough to cover the element, just the minimum for a cuppa). That was worth the money.

Then there is the matter of my pans. I spent an absolute fortune on my pans - I was almost shaking when I paid for them, and they were half price! However I am confident that they will outlast me.

I think that sometimes it is worth buying expensive, but the judgement call to work out what is worth spending on and what isn't is a hard one. But the above spends comfort me a little for the odd bargains I have that have not worked out quite as I thought.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Digging up the Past Chapter Six

Chapter Six is up.

Total - @ 18,500 and three days to go. The novel in November isn't looking good, but I am optimistic I will get near it.

Operation Clutterbust 6

I have just finished listing all the tins in the cupboard - which include such gems as ten tins of chopped tomatoes!

That is one small cupboard. I will put a total up when I get a chance. Now I need to assess eg packets, stock cubes, etc.

Also little bear helped and my arm survived though it is a bit sore now. It is going to be much better putting it all in a list and then knowing whether we need to add to the eight tins of tomato soup or not (really, I must have been away with the fairies).

Clutterbust confusion

The bins have been collected, but not the bric a brac.

Now I need to juggle my absolute psychological need to stock up against the coming chill with the full cupboards and need to use up some stuff. I shall do some stocking up, because there is no way that I am walking in the snow for another month, I daren't risk my arm. However I shall consider carefully what I stock up with.

Recently I have only been buying four toilet rolls at a time, as I want to keep all things pertaining to the bathroom in there and our bathroom is smaller than many cars. However I shall be buying a bigger pack next time, as that is one thing I could not bare to run short of. Also soap powder and tissues.

Obviously darling father's whiskey is important in this, plus lemonade. Also I want to try to feed the birds without feeding the local cats. Scarface Claw (also known as Oscar) is confined to quarters - he has been pulling all his fur so he is back in a cone of shame and inside. Other hunters, however, frequent these streets and I brought back a filled coconut from Pickering.

I think the first thing I need to do is log everything in my cupboards. With a sore arm and a low energy level that may be a challenge, but it is infinitely worth doing.

Net curtain twitching

I have missed being here.

I heard some knocks as I was getting dressed and looked out of the window, hopeful that it was someone who was picking up bric a brac. Alas, it was not. It was half a dozen police knocking (fairly politely) on the door of next door but one. There are two big hurry up vans parked outside as well. The child of Her Three Doors Down was stood outside watching with interest.

I finished dressing little bear, made darling father's tea, put away dishes, emptied a dehumidifier, grumbled about my arm and shoulder and then looked out again. The vans are still there, but no sign of the police.

Now, the story so far... The police were observed carrying out vast quantities of stuff, including bits of four huge marijuana plants. I was told they were marijuana as I am not an expert. They could have been aspidistras but police rarely confiscate those. A little while later, as I was passing the house, the lady of the house shot out, told me that the gentleman of the house had given her a black eye and shot back in again, and the police were then called. I have seen the gentleman of the house recently, and yesterday I was informed that he was one of a multitude that had rung the council complaining about lack of binmen, so I assume he is back in residence.

So it could be any of a number of reasons why there is such a strong police presence. I am not sure I shall find out the full information, but I shall keep my ears open.

The sad thing is that while it is wonderful to twitch the curtains and gossip, the eldest lad is coming up for seven. He will see all this and remember it. There is a real bond between the gentleman of the house and the two sons. The younger son is about four months younger than little bear, around three and one half, and he may or may not remember it, but he will be affected by the stress and upheaval. The twin girls, about a year and a half, will probably not remember but be similarly affected by all the horrible stuff going on. It is heartbreaking to think of them.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Marine, Whitby

Our usual fish n chip shop in Whitby wasn't open, so we went to the Marine, because it was near and little bear was freezing.

It was fantastic. It was lovely and clean and gleaming. There was some pleasant and soothing jazz playing, and the atmosphere was brilliant. Little bear was not at his best, throwing a wobbler because he just wanted doughnuts and then deciding after the man had gone out of his way to make a vanilla shake for him that he wanted to be sick 'in a big bowl.'

Despite little bear's best efforts at being a brat, they were lovely to him.

And the food was fantastic, cooked to order and really, really tasty. I cannot recommend them enough.

(they were, in my inexperienced opinion) extremely reasonable in price as well).

Operation Clutterbust 5

I have a box of bric a brac waiting to be picked up tomorrow morning. I shall update my box when the stuff actually leaves the house. I don't like to count my chickens.

On the downside there have been no bin collections for several weeks. Here in Leeds, after a bin strike that left bins uncollected for weeks, new rotas have come in which in practice as they try and sort it out mean that bins are uncollected for weeks.

I really enjoyed being able to throw all sorts of stuff on the fire.

On a positive note, we have just come back from a small cottage in Pickering. It really is a tiny cottage, and of course there isn't much clutter. There are a minimal quantity of ornaments, a few things in cupboards and that is it. So we come home to our stuffed house and OH immediately feels like throwing lots of things out. All we need to do is take advantage of the recharge of our batteries and the instinct to minimalise and we can make huge inroads.

However I do feel that part of what we need to do is use stuff up rather than throw things out. I shall work on that next.


Physio was okay. Sort of. Mustn't grumble (actually it is compulsory for me to grumble on a regular basis, but not on this occasion).

I actually quite enjoyed the longest spell away from little bear I have had in nearly a fortnight, and a bus ride where I could sit in comfort on the lower deck instead of chasing a giggling little bear up the stairs. I went to a hospital I hadn't visited before which was interesting and thanks to the very clear directions that I had when I rang to make the original appointment I had no problems at all in finding the correct department.

When I got there the people were pleasant and the physio was friendly. The physio carefully put me through my paces and took all the relevant information and - almost unheard of in medicos, she listened to what I said. She also got a little nervous and I think far more alarmed when I nearly passed out - I think I nearly was away, and I am glad she caught me before I fell over.

Afterwards, feeling a little sore and fed up (and woozy) I stopped off for a cup of tea. That was my grumpy bit - I watched it being stirred with a dirty spoon, but decided that the hot water would kill most germs and the antibiotics would probably get the rest. Also the bus stop was a dangerous distance from the yarn shop - less than thirty yards. I just can't think how I came home with two balls of strange pompom wool that I cannot wait to get confused by and some glittery stuff that I had been coveting for some time. This glittery stuff will be ideal to wear in a scarf for OH's works Christmas do and that is of course the only possible reason I somehow ended up bringing it home and casting on a scarf that I had no right to cast on but I did need cheering up.

I am back to physio on 6 Dec. I am not entirely sure that I am looking forward to it, but it won't harm me, especially if I am accidentally lured into the yarn shop.

Back again

Back from Pickering a day early on account of snow. It was not too bad, but we came home before it got worse. Little bear and OH had a marvellous time, as did darling father.

Little bear is a bit too clear thinking. He is not four until after Christmas. When he was running up and down meowing OH asked if he was a cat. 'No, I me pretending to be a cat.'

We had a log fire going all day every day and I thoroughly enjoyed that. As our bins have not been collected for nearly a month, the thought of being able to burn all sorts of bits and bats is wonderful. Perhaps in the new year I can find the funds for a stove.

Little bear exhausted, swollen of tonsil and now diagnosed with eczema, through the most almighty tantrum last night and was asleep with exhaustion within five minutes of finally calming down. I felt like joining him. I shared a bed with him over the holiday and one morning he woke me up so early I could hear the owls.

Infection in arm continues.

I cannot imagine that I will get the word count for Novel in November done, but I managed, thanks to OH, to get just over 3,000 words done in while on holiday and I will get them posted up later.

Now off to physio, the first session after I dislocated my shoulder 3 November. It could be worse, I didn't get any last time I dislocated so I won't grumble. I shall just panic that I can't find the place in an unfamiliar hospital.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Looking for faces

Apparently comic artists often use a famous face as a 'reference' for a character, to keep the features constant. I have found that very useful in the past.

With The Forgotten Village and Digging up the Past, it hasn't been like that. I have a really, really strong image of Mike Doyle, but I suspect that it comes from a brief glimpse of an advert for an xbox game. I can't remember exactly where I saw it, but it is very vivid. Karen is quite like this person in looks, with a bit of that, and Darren is definitely almost like someone I worked with twenty years ago.

Last night I saw some of the England game. And suddenly I saw Joel. I had no strong image for him, but last night I saw Gourcuff for France. I know nothing about the man, I had never heard of him before, but his looks are quite close to how I see Joel, except Joel is more a rugby build and a little older. http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/star/pictures-512308-yoann-gourcuff.html

And just think, all this writing gives me license to look at pictures of good looking men. What a hardship!

Drat and poot

I shouldn't really be sitting here. I have the same symptoms as I had when the dr diagnosed me with phlebitis in my leg. Where I have to keep the leg up. Not cramped on a typist's chair. Not tapping away at Chapter Six.

Ever feel that the universe is trying to tell you something?

Except that said 'phlebitis' - if it is that - is probably caused by long sitting on said typists chair and lack of other exercise. It is a symptom of my determination to do the challenge.

Having said that, I am currently hoping that I have enough plot to make 50,000 words. Raymond Chandler, when he was stuck, used to have a man with a gun enter the room. It may have caused a few hiccups on the plot line but it got him going. Watch out for men holding guns

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Digging up the Past Chapter Five

Chapter Five is up.

I am just under 14,000 words, or 36,000 words to hit the target. I've got a bit of a challenge. But it could be so much worse.

I am just about to start Chapter Six.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Digging up the Past Chapter Four

Chapter Four is up, rather against the odds.

My left hand and arm is swelling up so I am hoping to type and generally move around my fingers to try and keep the swelling down.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Double double darn and drat

I have an infection in my left arm. A mole was trapped and lost circulation with my arm being strapped up and it has become infected. The arm has now also become infected.

I have felt better.

Ebay is my friend

My shopping has come home to roost. The nine blankets have finally arrived. They are gorgeous, clean, immaculate baby blankets. I will stash the best for gifts and the others may well turn into cosy cushion covers.

Little bear has graciously condescended to wear one of the gilets that arrived today. Sigh. He will only wear short sleeves and he won't wear sweaters. He has made a brief foray into trying to wear all three at once, but that was not entirely successful.

Even with postage, three very good quality gilets which little bear may actually wear and nine very lovely cot blankets all for under £20.

Of course, not spending £20 and saving the room is also good, but little bear needed the gilets (or at least something to help warmth) so only the blankets were an extravagance. And I can see uses for all of them, it would be just a little better if I had room.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Smoke Free

I was looking on ebay - I'm feeling a bit low and was definitely not looking at 8 kilos of wool for a ridiculously reduced price and besides the auction will be over by the end of Monday.

Well, anyway, after not looking at the 8 kilos of yarn in actually quite nice colours I spotted something. And it came from a smoke free, pet free and child free home.

Smoke free is understandable because if you do smoke you cannot smell it the way a non smoker can. Evil cat's mission obviously includes allergens so you wouldn't want something covered in cat hair going to someone with extreme allergies, which covers pet free. I am not sure about Child Free.

There are some odd people in the world.

Why do I do this?

I am knitting a little sleeveless hoodie for little bear. It is designed to have stripes. I am zooming up the back. It is lovely and light on my shoulder.

1. Why can I never stick to the yarn that is mentioned. If someone mentions that a pattern should be in a particular yarn I automatically try and work out what to substitute it with. If someone designed a pattern to be knitted in cheap acrylic I would probably start researching Wholegrain Manila.

2. If something is in a particular colour, why do I always have to change it? Okay, I haven't changed much this time. It is in main colour grey, which I have kept, but instead of having lime green and dark purple stripes I have substituted royal blue and scarlet. I like to think I have the more tasteful idea, but each to their own. However no matter what they suggest, I have always got to try something different.

3. Why do I always fiddle with the pattern. I am following the instructions for 3 years size because little bear's chest is about four inches smaller than the measurement given and my tension errs on the generous side. But when I came to shape the armholes it looked a bit short. So I added a few extra rows in the end, after much dithering and measuring of little bear's t-shirts. Of course, being me I bought enough yarn for two hoodies, one with a royal blue hood and one with a red hood (little bear currently likes red but the wind might change any day now). The original superwash merino was in fifty gram balls and I needed 150g for each top in grey. So I bought 3 x 100g balls of the acrylic (lovely quality, soft and really washable) for two. But now I've gone and added a few extra rows in grey. I may need more yarn than allowed for. The next size up needed 200g of grey so there is not much wiggle room. I am considering knocking two rows off each armhole edging, as I don't think it will be too noticeable.

4. Why can't I count the dratted rows properly. I now have a red stripe two rows out because I was too busy dithering about whether or not to lengthen the dratted hoodie to mark the rows properly. Drat, darn and poot. I can either undo back, including all the armhole shaping or make sure I add the extra two rows to the front to make sure that the stripes line up.

Knitting relaxes me. Honest.

Anti Clutterbust

In a low mood - browsing yarns - saw something...

I do not need 8 kilos of yarn that isn't even in balls but sort of bundled up. I really do not need this yarn. I don't care if it looks like useful acrylic, or how inexpensive it is, I do not need it I HAVE NO ROOM

On a related note, we need a draught excluder for the door. Actually we have needed one for a few years and now I think is a good time to sort it out. I could get a firm pillow case (some of the former hotel ones I got from ebay are extremely firm) slit down the sides, make into a tube and stuff.

Preferred stuffing is unravelled machine made, shop bought sweaters. I can probably pick up something hideous from the charity shop for less than £1 to adequately stuff. I did have a stock, but I got rid of them clutterbusting as at one point it was cheaper just to buy cushions and it just isn't any more.

The big question is - would it look okay? Probably not. And would I get round to doing it? Possibly. Mind you, there are a couple of places I could rummage round for remnants on Leeds Market, half a yard of denim twill would be fine and I could even splash out on some fabric crayons for little bear's amusement (and keep them under lock and key when not in use). And little bear would love, absolutely love stuffing a tube, especially if he helped unravel. Also keep emphasising that only mummy decides what is unravelled.

I could even use one of the 9 blankets arriving as the casing.

Do not need more yarn. Must not look again at yarn. I HAVE NO ROOM.

Of to have a rummage to see if there are things in house that I could unravel after all. Then it would be a clutterbust and not me buying things in.

Do not need yarn.

Just realised - I have not yet got rid of all the baby blankets of little bear and some are in an extremely well used condition. The fleece ones would be ideal - opaque, washable and so tatty that it didn't matter how trodden on they got.

Do not need yarn

Friday, 12 November 2010

Little bear

Little bear has been referred to Special Educational Needs. On one hand is the potty training issue. I feel that little bear will decide what is happening with that, but I am willing to do my best.

The other reason he is being referred is because he is so bright he is 'academically off the scale'. That is a direct quote.

I feel a bit thrown by it. OH is bright, darling father is bright, my late mother's family included some extremely scarily bright people. My brothers are both very intelligent. So if he is bright it seems normal, but I think he is hitting a lot of targets ahead of time, and effortlessly. I am certainly only playing with him, not pushing him.

I am scared about letting him down, but it isn't about me, it is about him and doing the very best I can for little bear. Who has been giving my shoulder lots of kisses to make it better.

Operation Clutterbust 4

I have found with frightening ease two large boxes of bric a brac that I am passing on to the Green Party for their stall at the Indoor Car Boot Sale. It had better be collected tomorrow!

None of the stuff is particularly significant or with memories. The only moment I had was when packing up a small, donkey shaped money box, about three inches long and two inches high. This is totally inadequate for little bear who keeps mugging darling father for pennies. But someone had given it to little bear at some time. I found a sticker for Nestle milky bar on the bottom, and I guessed it was probably part of an Easter Egg or similar. Usually I can remember everything about an item, eg the cardi I wore just after I dislocated my shoulder cost £18.50 from Leeds Market in 1989. But I cannot for the life of me remember where it came from.

I am wracking my brains because the kind person left a £5 note in it and I didn't thank them properly as I have only just found it. I am mortified.

Anyway, as a result my shoulder is on fire so I am calling it a night. But I can add to my total, which is marvellous.

A Faux Pas from Mr Sainsburys

OH thinks I'm overreacting.

I was a bit fed up when I was doing my Sainsburys online order. The computer didn't have options for eg Nesquik Banana Milkshake, and other odds and ends that aren't particularly vital but can be extremely useful for a cantankerous nearly four year old.

When the delivery came it appears that I have been transferred from one store to another. The one I am now attached to, Bradford, is smaller and thus less choice. And, insult to injury, they are having a refit so temporarily even less!

I was not happy with this. I have a working relationship with the men from the White Rose who are lovely, they humour me, they joke with me and generally are lovely.

Now, I want to be clear. I did not ask for help. So I cannot complain really, because if I had asked for help I am sure that I would have had help (well, almost sure). However I cannot imagine the men from the White Rose Centre, seeing a woman with one arm in a sling, and over one hundred pounds worth of groceries (two weeks, inc whiskey, and lots of juice drinks for little bear on account of tonsils) would not offer to at least help carry the stuff down six concrete stairs. I was absolutely finished at the end of it.

So I rang and complained. I was pleasant, because why shouldn't I be, expressed reservations particularly about choice, mentioned the lack of help but stressed that I had not asked. And I also pointed out the many times I had rung to praise service, the complications I had had to deal with and kept the good humour, the weekly order for years, and asked nicely if I could go back to the White Rose. And if I don't get back to the White Rose I am seriously considering going to Asda. So there!

Needing Clutterbust

Also today I found three (!) large boxes of matches. The day after a delivery from Mr S, where I ordered more matches and two lighty thingies because on Bonfire night we couldn't find any matches and both the lighty thingies failed. OH lit the taper supplied from the gas hob.

This is because I have too much stuff and the things I have are not properly stored. The matches normally are in the cupboard where the gas settings used to be, before the central heating went. I relocated a load of stuff before the central heating was replaced while I had a torn ankle ligament and they ended in a lot of very random places. I must have missed these matches when I put things back as they were in a fairly random spot and they may be useless now as the area is prone to damp. What a waste of money and resources.

And the cupboard they should be in is full because Mr S had an offer on vitamins and I stocked up so I HAVE NO ROOM.

I need Operation Clutterbust because:

1. I cannot keep the house clean because things are all over.
2. I have too much stuff
3. Stuff is being wasted because not kept properly or kept too long.
4. I could use the things I am keeping more effectively if I could find them. And I can't do a place for everything because I HAVE NO ROOM.

I have eight rooms in my home, not including the bathroom. That includes four double bedrooms. Each one is crammed to the point where they are extremely difficult to clean. This is why I need Operation Clutterbust

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Working on Clutterbusting philosophy 2

Morgan and Ian - it is the, 'you never know, it might come in useful.' feeling. The feelings from parents brought up in the war. Darling father saves all screws, nails etc, because you just couldn't get them. Now you can buy them for pennies in Wilkinsons.

Part of me doesn't want to buy them for pennies at Wilkinsons because I don't want to spend any money at all. Part of me is frustrated when something perfectly usable has to be thrown out. At one point I saved all the formula tins for little bear, as they were a great size. But anything damp rusted them, and they just mounted up. The day I thought, knickers to this lot, was a wonderful day of liberation. However I was still desperately frustrated that while they went into the recycling bin they were, potentially, extremely useful. I also hate the amount that goes to the landfill. Because I am struggling to get to ebay or charity shops - even before the shoulder incident I was so tired - I often don't have any other choice but to get rid of stuff into the bin.

It is a huge clash of philosophies and feelings. I don't want to add to landfill, I don't want to have to keep buying expensive (okay, inexpensive) food containers when I have a perfectly good bucket formerly holding honey. I don't want to buy a box for nails when I have perfectly good former Vanish tubs. I love having things handy to store yet another of little bear's treasures.

I also feel comforted by large quantities of bedding, especially blankets - no idea why. And I feel really comforted at the bulging cupboards and stocks of supplies.


(and another Approved Food order on the way)

Operation Clutterbust - minor breakthrough

I finished a tub of the Sainsbury version of Vanish. It had done sterling work on the shirts. Also I use bars of soap. But there I was, left with a very handy sized tub, sturdy, with a well fitting lid. I am sure it could have been useful for any number of things.

Apparently you should never use something that had contained soap or detergent for food. And as I type this I can think how it would be useful for putting things in for little bear. But what things? I could fill up my shelves with oodles of useful pots.

But I didn't. I threw it away. Because if little bear needed one then I could wait until the current one expired, I get through them at a steady but not too fast rate. Or I could use something else that was already to hand. I could use expiring margarine tubs, or takeaway cartons or anything, really.

It was really hard, however, to throw away something so potentially useful.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Just wanted to say that I am sorry if my recent posts have been a bit of a grumpy selection.

Regardless, the sun is shining, little bear has just given me the most gorgeous smile and really, things could be a lot worse. I have had the heating on earlier, and thanks to OH's hard work I am not worrying excessively about the bill. My shoulder seems to be healing up nicely.

And I have had a lot of kindness, especially Ian who sent me a dvd of Lily Savage which little bear will NOT be allowed to watch.

Things could be worse indeed.


There was a spot of confusion at nursery over little bear's toilet functions. They are brilliant, but even so, last night he was hysterical at the thought of the potty or toilet and too scared to use a nappy in case it leaked. He just held it in!

I was up until 3am. OH helped a lot until around midnight, but there was nothing he could do and he has work. He was really good with little bear.

There are now suspect spots on little bear which I am watching. He is currently taking penicillin for his tonsils (still absolutely huge). He is really upset now because his throat is hurting, which is better than the horrendous tummy ache last night which at times made me consider A&E.

So, anyone want to do a sweepstake on how much writing I will be doing? I feel selfish for even considering it, and I love little bear. But I will have to get off now for fuss and cuddles.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Morgan - Thank you

I just wanted to say that the lovely sticker books which I was hoarding for Christmas (which is why you haven't had a thank you note from little bear) were raided when I hurt my arm and kept little bear almost quiet while we waited in the clinic on Friday.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Clutterbust Epic Fail

I am feeling low.

So that is the only explanation that I could think of why I was browsing yarns on ebay I HAVE NO ROOM.

And I saw 9 blankets, for 99p start, no bids, finishing in 43 seconds. And a poor description. Even adding in the postage it was extremely inexpensive. BUT I HAVE NO ROOM. And, tbh, I do not need blankets. I have a stash of wool marked to make blankets. I have blankets already made, I have duvets, I have fleece throws and I have en route super duper blankets from Lakeland that cost an arm and a leg but reflect the body heat back onto you. They actually work - I was toasty under the test purchase. And let us not forget that darling father will be moving up, with, I hope, blankets that include some bought when he and mother got married and were state of the art in 1963 and still going strong.

9 blankets.

Darn and Poot. And how do I explain this to OH who is remarkably tolerant of my shopping but even at less than a fiver, well, really!

9 blankets

Monday, 8 November 2010

Digging up the Past Chapter Three

Digging up the Past Chapter Three is up. I hope to get more done tomorrow.
I hate trying to thing up blessed names for blessed characters, especially the ones that will be in the story for a paragraph, but might be referred to later so I need to have a name and it can't be the same name as anyone else in the story. I know about a zillion Daves but I can only use the name once in a story or it causes confusion. And it can't be the name of someone I know. And the current heroine nearly ended up being called after a Fireman Sam character.

And breathe

Thinking of randomly picking from phone book


Evil cat is out of sorts and creaky.

So I was not thrilled after there being lots of building work in the house behind when I thought I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. It could be a trick of the light, hallucination, etc. But I think it is a mouse.

We had mice at the start of the year when the scallies tried to steal the pipes at the back. Now we have building work. And it is cold out. And our cat is creaky.

OH can set the traps again tonight.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Digging up the Past Chapter Two

This is now up. My current total of words is 6,764.

Little bear is in nursery full time Monday and Tuesday, for the sake of my arm. He seems bright enough, so I think he will be fine. I shall, of course, be leaving strict instructions to call me if there are any problems. However as I have just used some really bad language trying to iron a shirt I shall not be doing much except writing.

Also, I have made references to Christianity in the story. If anyone finds them offensive, please let me know and I will edit them. I don't want to upset anyone.

Little bear is feeling better

The doctor told me to get any rubbish I could into little bear as his tonsils were extremely swollen. Today little bear is demonstrating an appetite.

He has had six yogurts, half a carrier of prawn crackers, a marshmallow with every dose of medicine, half a tin of cold tomato soup and a small tin of pasta and sausage. He is also currently demolishing a packet of french fries.

He is now back on normal rations as far as I am concerned.

As for me, I have emptied two dehumidifiers, pegged out washing, fed and watered evil cat, opened and closed curtains (apparently I am the only person in the household that is able to do that) but my shoulder only really acted up when I tried to cast on some knitting. I managed six stitches. I am fed up.

It could be worse.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Naughty step doesn't quite fit

Little bear called OH a goblin last night.

I can't think where he gets it from - hang on a minute, yes, it was OH who was fooling around.

We are going to have complaints from teachers I can tell.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Poor evil cat

Normally she watches fireworks from the top window. Tonight I found her on the floor in the dining room, half under ground. I think she is feeling her age.

One the other hand little bear has just had a marvellous time with fireworks. Good old darling father for providing them (bogof at Sainsbury). Little bear is still getting the hang of 'scared'. Sometimes I wish he would hurry up!

Digging up the Past

Chapter One of the Novel in November is up.

It is under 5,000 words so far, I need to motor. I hope you like it, it is the sequel to the Forgotten Village. I intend to have fun!

Absolutely not fair

OH has a chest infection and is being referred for sleep apnoea.

Little bear is really suffering with tonsillitis, and ended up having an ice cream for breakfast.

The clinic was today. I didn't even get my coat off, I was just whizzed through the talk and I am being referred to physio, which is more than happened last time.

Good news - I can touch type for short periods, so I am going to push the Novel in November. I hope to have something to go up by the end of the day. I'm pleased with what I have done so far.

Darling father is out looking to buy fireworks. Eeek!

Evil cat is currently killing a coloured pipe cleaner, and spent most of last night sulking because I wouldn't let her sleep on my sore shoulder. At her age it is pretty impressive.

I know it is not major stuff that lots of people suffer with, but I am feeling a bit fed up.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Really not fair

Little bear has bacterial tonsillitis.

Who broke a mirror?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Not fair

Dislocated left shoulder tonight. Now back in but sore.

Fed up
Little bear has been up since 5.30am. He is current driving darling father nuts. I need to go and rescue him. I really lack motivation.

He is a bit iffy on the tummy, absolutely exhausted, and determined to wear his (now clean and dry) knight's outfit everywhere.

However I have managed a few more words on the sequel to the Forgotten Village - I'll put up a link as soon as I post some.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


The Forgotten Village is finished.

Off to start the Novel in November. Only Fifty Thousand words to go.
Today little bear got honey on the toilet seat, then informed me it was disgusting.

I have not had a quiet day.

Goods inward

In quick succession I received more yarn (fantastic service from http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/poppykess), an Approved Food order and a cosypad throw, which should be ideal for sleeping on the sofa.

The yarn is to make two sleeveless hoodies for little bear, as he is currently complaining about anything with long sleeves. Also the Approved Food included some extremely inexpensive baby wipes (ideal for the aftermath of little bear and paint) and a quantity of antibacterial wipes. It would be less expensive to just use hot soapy water, but this is more likely to get the house clean.

I am going to carefully place the yarn in front of me, as an incentive, as I finish off a shrug for a friend and the final sleeve and neck of darling father's sweater.

I also received the Lakeland Christmas catalogue. I foresee more Goods Inwards.

Before 10am

Little bear woke me early (clocks have gone back) telling me in a mournful but piercing voice that 'Mummeeeee, it's morning.'

So OH, sleeping on the sofa, got woken up around half an hour earlier than he needed to, and if you have been on short rations then half an hour is a lot. But he was very patient. I popped out for darling father's paper and some milkshake for little bear before he went to work.

A little later I was just calling darling uncle when little bear was gloriously, copiously sick, with milkshake, all over the dense pile carpet in the study. So, first things first, I clean up little bear. He is beside himself - I won't just wipe down his fabric knight's costume (which he slept in last night) and insist that I wash the sick off it. This is NOT FAIR! I also have to wipe his sandals (in November!) but they are not too bad. He tearfully supervises me washing the knight's tunic in the sink, then allows me to change him.

At this point darling father pops out to get a second copy of the paper, because I was too caught up to mention anything until the door closed behind him.

Then I scrub, and scrub, and scrub, and I think I have got most of the yeurk out. I used vast quantities of Stardrops Antibacterial spray, followed by Febreeze. I have put a pan of cloves and water on to simmer, and I have opened a window. It is not quite enough.

Then I dash downstairs to make darling father's bacon buttie. All I can say is, who the heck cuts themselves on a plastic bacon carton - it's plastic for crying out loud! I mean, cutting myself on plastic!

So the bloodstained rasher goes in the bin, and now I have to call back darling uncle.

I want laminate flooring!

Operation Clutterbust 3

I have gritted my teeth and thrown out the fizzy water. I was the only one in the house ever likely to drink it, and it made me feel sick and gave me a headache. It was only 17p for a 2 litre bottle, but it was so hard to pour the stuff down the drain. I hate the waste. I also threw out some hot chocolate sachets that I had got from Approved Food which were foul.

I have looked carefully at the contents of the tea cupboard. There is the decaffeinated coffee for one guest, a small jar of Nescafe which is slowly setting into stone, some fruit teas and a stash of teabags, even after I threw out the ones that were opened and left.

Right at the back are some boxes of hot chocolate from Whittards, at least three years old. I didn't like the Whittards hot chocolate that much anyway, so they may go.

Of course, if the bins had been taken then I would have more room to chuck stuff. OH did take a lot to the tip at the weekend, but it is still mounting up.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Okay, panic

I am struggling with the new keyboard, none of the keys are in the right place. However it is a softer touch so I should be able to speed up.

Little bear is shattered, achey, refused to walk earlier and running a temperature. I am going to try and get him to the drs this afternoon. So the gap when he would have been at nursery has evaporated. The only reason I can be here now is because he has colonised my chair and I have to be able to go and fuss at a moment's notice.

OH has had the first half way decent weekend for nearly a month - I hope he doesn't pick up what little bear has.

Normal chances to write - when little bear is at nursery (quite poorly, looks like he is off for a week), when everyone else has gone to bed (but OH is sleeping on the sofa, and sleep deprived so I am chased upstairs at an early hour), or sometimes when little bear naps (if he naps, not guaranteed, I need to try and tackle the foothills of the ironing and the health hazard that is the kitchen).

On the bright side, yesterday in the slow cooker I managed to cook a bacon joint and in the liquor I have cooked overnight some lentils, dried yellow peas, barley and dried onions. It almost makes up for the takeaway last night.

So I am going to buy some more yarn. I may have no room, but at this exact moment it is the least of my worries.