Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Grumble grumble grumble

I have been sick all last night, with all the fun that goes with that.

Definitely a takeaway for the men tonight.

And yesterday cat wars in the garden - except it was two black toms!  Someone is selling tickets, probably Raymonde the Rat. 

On Monday I did loads, and got rid of four black bin sacks of rubbish from clearing out kitchen cupboards.  The ironing was going well and I was feeling confident.  Yesterday I felt poorly.  Last night was a disaster.  Today I have slept. 

Tomorrow start again. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Far too hot

It is too hot!  I am rubbish in the heat, so melting.  My hands have also swollen quite a lot - I can't actually close my right hand, so I suppose that I will have to call in on the doctor.  Sigh. 

Little bear went to meet a friend at softplay.  I carefully put him in the absolutely gorgeous shirt the mum had bought little bear for his birthday.  Despite my best efforts, little bear has a light tan and the white polo shirt with true blue styling looks amazing on him.  The first thing he did on leaving the house on his way to meet was hug the car (no idea) and get the top absolutely black.  So we had to go back in and change. 

The car is still being expensive, and not quite right.  We have a long car journey on Saturday. I suppose that it is normal for us. 

As my hands are swollen and gin and tonic has a very diuretic effect on me, I do not intend to end the evening entirely sober. I was entirely sober when I watched the Eurovision, and it didn't help, though I did wonder what was in the diet cola I was drinking. France's entry intrigued me - I can feel a story line coming on.  I very nearly voted for it.  Actually, there were a few that I seriously considered voting for - the German entry was great and I was very taken by the Iceldandic.  I also liked the swing of Italy.  However I couldn't find the phone.  

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Is this a lightbulb moment?

I feel the healthiest I have felt for around a year.  I have had lurgy after lurgy. 

Today I have looked around, thought about how the money is going, worried about how the house is going and got really concerned at the diet we seem to be following. 

I can't go on like this.  I have said this so many times before, but I really need to stick at this.  Each time something gets that little bit better, but I need, need, need to get things functional, on all levels.  I need to try and get a budget, get rhythm to my writing time, and I need to get a rhythm to the house or little bear will never learn how it should be. 

I need to really think about things, and the first step is that I am going to be thinking about things while I try and scrape all the rubbish and clutter out of the study and living room. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Summer is here

I sent little bear to school in a pirate costume with sun cream on.  The pirate costume was because the school had insisted.  The suncream was because it is getting very sunny.  I am not used to this. 

I had to go to the shops and M&S had two for the price of one on suncream.  I thought about the British summer and got the 'free' one.  So I came back with two pots of suncream - one for this year and one for next year!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Affected by dreams

Last night I dreamt my grandmother had just died.  It had been very sudden and I had to sort things out and go around telling everyone again and again and again.  It was awful, not having a moment to grieve but having to keep going and tell people and book things and start sorting things out.

My grandmother passed away in 1987.  I had no part in her funeral or her affairs after she passed away, although it was very sudden.

Despite this being such an odd dream, so implausible and inconsistent, I still feel weighed down by the grief and the burden of comforting so many.  I do believe dreams are a way of our deep minds sending messages to our surface minds.  I just wonder what this was saying. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Wean - don't know why the comment box has been blocked, but there seems to have been a few hiccups with the new layout.  It's still quite new.  And I'm really glad that you liked Forgotten Village.  Just under 7000 words into the sequel.  If it is as long as the Forgotten Village then that is about one tenth.  And I have sold 19 copies so far - all giddy about that!!!!

And thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has bought a copy.  The Forgotten Village is number 54,551 in the list of sold books, but it has been as high as around 14000.

And this has reminded me to put a linky somewhere easy for people to click...

Edited to add - I have lost my list of followers, which has rather depressed me.  I wonder what is happening, the list shows on my blog layout

Evil cat at war

Well, evil cat would be at war if she could. 

She is still quite spry, despite all the problems.  She happily balanced on her back leg last night despite her back problems as she tried to steal from darling father's dinner.  He was there, minding his own business, eating his dinner and watching Last of the Summer Wine, when this tabby paw kept creeping over the edge of his plate to try and hook some meat off.

She got some in the end.  Darling father is a complete soft touch.

Today I let her play in the garden as I ironed.  I realised that the door had clicked shut, went to open it to make sure evil cat could get back in, and found her at bay - ginger gentleman had cornered her and was behaving like intact tom cats do - he was being a complete thug.

He ran when he saw me, and evil cat hissed at his back.  As I coaxed her down the steps into the kitchen she hissed again, then inside when she was safe and the door closed she sort of grumbled, started climbing the first two steps up to the living room, thought, turned around and hissed again. 

I think she went back out in the hope of another face off as she likes a nice fight, but she is now recovering on a soft patch of sofa in the sun.  She weighs less than a kilo now, has bony growths on her spine, iffy kidneys and very iffy sight as the vet thinks that the retinas have detached - but she still won't back down to anyone. 

Iron purpose

Felt flattened last night, so secure that little bear always wakes me at 6am I decided to iron his uniform in the morning rather than the night before, my usual pattern.  Little bear didn't wake until 7.45am.  That is okay, though, because we don't need to leave the house until 8.45am. 

So I pottered around, fed little bear, ironed his uniform (no sweater today, but I put a vest on, just in case) and put the clothes ready on a spare chair.  I want to be very clear, this chair is one that little bear doesn't sit in.  He sprawls on the sofa or sits in his own little furry chair.  Except today he sat in Grandad's chair and creased the freshly ironed shirt into a wrinkled mess.  I could have cried, as I only realised this just before we were due to go upstairs and get him dressed. 

I always wait until the very last minute to get little bear dressed in the morning, to protect his clothes.  Today this was a tactical error. 

Of course we got to school in plenty of time.  Now I am off to do more ironing in the hope that I can get to the stage where there is always another ironed one as back up!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Dead tree

We have a dead tree in the garden.  It was alive a fortnight ago, now all the leaves are brown/black and curled up. 

I am less stressed about this than I could be.  The tree self seeded at a time when the street was too bad to garden in, people waving guns around and stuff (these days I complain about a ginger tom, it is so much more relaxing!).  Then I left it in because it gave a bit of shelter from the building works going on across the road and stopped people sitting on the wall.  And I then couldn't work out how to get rid of a tree, but got it hacked back when it was two inches away from the phone lines.  At least we won't have the problem of leaves again.

I am minded to ignore it and see what happens.  It could spring back to life, but it does look pretty far gone.   And I have no idea how it got like this.  None of the surrounding plants seem affected, so I don't think it was something thrown into the garden.  The local toms have been using that corner as a convenience, but I am sure trees can cope with this - it wasn't a sapling, it was at least twenty feet high! 

I shall have a think, and look for copper nails - though I have no idea why anyone should try that.  I shall also see if any other flowering cherry trees have been affected locally. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

I need a different alarm clock

I am getting good at waking up quickly.  I am used to him waking me up with, 'mum, can I have breakfast?' and 'mum, I need the toilet.' without much warning.  This morning it was, 'mum, when's mother's day?'  Try waking up from a deep sleep and working out what part of the year it is. 

Little bear went to his darling auntie yesterday.  My SIL is lovely, incredibly generous and doting.  Little bear apparently lapped it up.  He came back with a back of Peppa Pig foam sweets, three chocolate lollipops, a very large plastic lollipop full of sweets, a cybermat, which is an expensive Dr Who toy from Argos, a LFC bag for darling father, a dvd for OH, two necklaces for me which I will have to wear forever (they may not be my taste, but they were bought by my little bear and while they may be plastic are valued above rubies) and a pair of lonsdale trainers. 

I am going to have to ration his visits to her, so that she doesn't go bankrupt. 

And apparently he behaved very well, was polite, sat nicely when required, held hands in town and generally was a joy to be with. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Should be asleep but evil cat has a snore like a Doberman

Born to shop (online)

I trudged out to the White Rose Centre.  It is a nice place and there is a variety of shops, but they aren't my sort of shops.  They are mostly expensive or expensive-ish, so you have M&S and Debenhams, which while not couturiers are relatively upmarket.  There is topshop and Evans, and there is Primark (which I don't like to go into, I feel uncomfortable).  It is just a bit, well, bland for me. I do most of my shopping online anyway, I am not a follower of fashion, and I get bored easily. 

However the White Rose Centre Sainsbury's (which is vast) has vitamins for youngsters with iron.  Little bear is stuffing himself with fish and a little chicken, but until I stuff him further with spinach and dried fruit his iron levels are likely to be a bit low. 

While I was there I found that Holland and Barratt also have children's vitamins that contain iron, so if I can persuade little bear to look past the orange flavouring then that means I have one less reason to go out to the White Rose Centre.  This is not a bad thing, and Holland and Barratt not only are in Leeds Centre but also are online.  I lurve internet shopping.

I popped into Mr Sainsbury for the sake of it, really, and found a large 72 wash box of Fairy for £10.  Yes, I was the idiot dragging a box of washing powder nearly as big as little bear home on the bus.  I feel like I've been on a weightlifting session.  I do have a stash of washing powder.  It is just that I couldn't turn down the bargain.  Little bear is prone to eczema, and looking at this it occurred to me that perhaps non-bio would help.  I also picked up a joint of pork and some mince. 

Other things that fell into my basket were two v necked sweaters for little bear as his head is so large that it gets stuck in the sweat shirt version and some alcohol for my sister in law who is babysitting little bear tomorrow.  Obviously she will not drink in charge - she is incredibly safety conscious and protective of little bear.  However she may find it useful to recover.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Night terrors

Lesley - I did wonder about this.  Little bear has crashed into sleep and I am about to crawl off far too late, but last night I really wasn't sure he was awake the first time. 

My instinct is to cuddle - I hope that is okay.  I also hope that he has a long, peaceful sleep tonight.  Thank you for the hug. 

Really hope it was just me being too lenient with fizzy water. 

Evil cat is evil

Evil cat was playing out despite the damp weather.  She was happy slowly wandering around at her own, elderly pace.  Then she froze - Oscar, the huge black tom cat from next door had just crossed her path.  Oscar froze as well. 

I was not sure what to do.  Any sudden movement could trigger an attack instinct in either of them, and they were only inches apart.  Oscar is around three times the length of evil cat, four or five times the bulk and has the tom cat set of fangs and claws that are much tougher than evil cat's old lady version.  And poor Oscar is feeling very under siege - the ginger gentleman has been attacking relentlessly and Oscar has been defending his territory with all his vigour.  Things could go so badly.

Then Oscar ran away.  Evil cat has obviously not lost all her mojo. 

Sleep shouting

I was just winding down for sleep last night when little bear suddenly started letting out the most horrific shrieks.  I was half way up the stairs before I realised what was happening.  I shot into his room and the poor little lad was sitting up, wide eyed, pointing to his mouth.

I rushed over to cuddle him, and he just stared at me.  I asked, as it was looking a bit urgent, 'do you want to be sick?'  Little bear nodded and I dug out the bowl and put it in front of him, cuddling him as best I could. 

Little bear looked at the bowl, cuddled up to it, lay down and went to sleep.  I felt very silly trying to tuck up a large metal bowl with my little bear, but he didn't stir.  He was deeply, soundly asleep.  In fact, I am not sure he was actually awake at any point of this.

Of course, then he decided that he could only feel better by sleeping on the sofa at midnight, and he could only feel better by going to the toilet with mummy there at 2am, but he was awake for those.  It was trapped wind - too much fizzy water.

I still dragged him to school, little bear was most disappointed. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

My little ninja

Little bear is now a red belt in his martial arts. 

He is so sweet - I am incredibly proud of him. I am not sure his heart is in the sparring, but that's not the worst thing.  He is my darling!

Now all I need to do is get him to the piano lessons.  That is a bit of a challenge!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Thinking about food

Morgan - that comment has given me pause for thought.  I do the usual routine of clicking on all sorts of stuff, then going back and taking lots of unhealthy stuff off when I order from Approved Food. 

This last year our diet has changed a great deal.  One reason is that darling father has moved in and another is little bear is now at school and some of the old standbys need to be rejigged for timing. 

You have reminded me of a few times recently when I have started to put together an Approved Food order and then reviewed it, taken off all the rubbish and found it not worth getting the order at all.  There are still good things and useful things, but I need to look less.

Another habit that lingers on is from when I first did internet shopping, when I had injured shoulders and literally couldn't shop in person.  In those days, late nineties, the delivery charge was comparatively high so I ordered once every month to six weeks to spread the cost of the delivery.  That meant that I would order dozens of tins of catfood, piles of pasta and soup and all the staples - all in huge quantities to last me for some time.  Now I order around once per week.  If I time it right the cost is @ £3, which is less than the petrol or bus fare would cost.  I get a lot more fresh food.  However there is still that habit niggling at me that says I can never buy just one tin or just one packet.  I have to buy in bulk, just in case I run out.  That has to change.  The local shops now sell okayish ranges of food.  And there are things in the back of the cupboards that are staples for meals that I used to make, but don't any more.  Some meals I need to start cooking again, others I could adapt.  However there is no point in stockpiling food that is not getting used. 

In six months time I will want a well stocked cupboard, against Christmas, winter and any problems with shopping or delivery.  However I think now is a good time to get rid of the old stuff to make way for food that I will actually use, and space to see the good food so it doesn't go to waste.  I think it is long overdue to rethink my cooking and meal planning as well. 

Food for thought

I need to change a lot of my patterns.

For example, little bear used to really enjoy Angel Delight type desserts.  OH also enjoyed them, so I got a large amount when they came up on Approved Food.  This coincided with them going off desserts.  Yesterday, last thing, I picked one up and checked the 'use by' date.  It was June 2010. 

This afternoon after I came back in from shopping (I actually went out of the house to do shopping!) I started to go through a cupboard or two.  I have filled three black bags with out of date stuff.  There is a lot more to go, I will update after having a mad spree tonight.  Tonight is a good time to go a little crazy as tomorrow is bin day. 

It is a huge wake up call to me.  I could not believe that I had had those things in the cupboard that long - but I had!  Time had just slipped away.  And also I am deeply, intensely ashamed.  So many people do not have enough wholesome food to eat, and I am throwing out so much.

I really need to rethink my patterns of shopping and cooking.  However now there is so much more space in the cupboards I can perhaps see what is there more clearly, and use it up earlier. 

Now all I need to worry about now is how to cook the herring I bought today.  It's looking like poached in milk, but I may get more adventurous. 

Monday, 14 May 2012

Witch Hazel - thank you!

Witch Hazel - something you have asked re the Forgotten Village has helped me work a major plot development.  I was working on it before, but I really need to make sure you get the credit - and I am posting this on Lyssa Medana's blog as well!  So thank you!

What to have for tea?

Little bear will not eat potatoes or onions. 

OH does not want mash

Darling father does not like pasta (which little bear loves) but likes mash on account of his teeth

OH likes oven chips (which little bear won't eat) but likes them so crispy that darling father with his lack of teeth and me with my bad teeth from grinding them all night, can't manage them like that. 

OH would like frozen roast potatoes more which I am not as enthusiastic about as I don't like their cost or the room they take up in the freezer. 

And the slow cooker has stopped working, which is a nuisance as it was also the rice cooker, and my ability with rice is somewhat hit and miss.  I have finally reached the end of the microwave rice that I had from Approved Foods.  I can't bring myself to pay full price for it. 

I want to have more potato dishes on account of the benefits to health and purse.   Obviously little bear is vehemently against this. 

I cannot imagine a meal without starch - apart from anything else, it is a real saver on the food budget.  I am sure, however, that I shall think of something. 

Little bear is full of pow!!!

Little bear watched at Power Rangers marathon yesterday.  In my defence he started watching it while I was doing my ironing, and OH was keeping an eye out (although he was a little busy as well).

There is nothing desperately, awfully, despicably evil about Power Rangers.  And I had to watch some of it just for the sheer awfulness of some of the cardboard box scenery.  However I am now fully fed up with the 'pow' 'crash' 'Ah-ha!' that is even worse than dratted Ben 10. 

Television is getting out of control - I already sneak in as many documentaries as I can.  I may lose the remotes...

Washing on a Sunday

Lesley - my late grandmother was very strict about never, ever washing on a Sunday, because it was wrong to do work on a Sabbath.  That applied, of course, to those who got the copper out on Monday and did one of those horrific Victorian style wash days which I am convinced I could never manage.  My late grandmother's father was also an extremely strict observer of the Sabbath.  From what I understand he did a very good line in hell fire and brimstone and had over forty grandchildren - my darling uncle was number 48!

My late grandmother had a few little ways, apart from keeping the Sabbath.  You were only allowed to stir cake mix one way (can't remember which way) or the mixture would curdle.  You always had to put your right sock and shoe on first (I dimly remember being proud of getting a sock on, I must have been about two or three, and she was really cross because I had put it on my left foot first).  She would only use one type of perfume as she had been told she should in a seance.  I can't remember all of them, but it made life more colourful. 

So I always joke about never washing on a Sunday.  And really it is good for everyone to have a day off.  However when the weather has been as 'interesting' as it has been, I don't care - if it's sunshine, there is washing on the line!

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Serves me right for washing on a Sunday. 

Spent two hours ironing and reduced my ironing pile to merely massive, mainly by targetting shirts.  However I washed and dried more than I ironed. 

Darn and poot!

Friday, 11 May 2012


I really don't exaggerate on this blog, I never need to.

Today it was lovely and sunny, but started to rain just as I reached the gates of little bear's school.  That was not too bad as it was not heavy and I dived in, retrieved him and his errant sweater, and dived out.  The rain started to really pick up as we waited to cross the Matalan slip road, which is really busy at this time of day.  And then, as I got to the bottom of our steps, it stopped.  By the time I had got my house key from my pocket there was bright sunshine.  And I felt a right fool standing looking out on all this lovely sunshine when I had rat-tail hair from rain just a few minutes ago. 

I am sure I heard a snigger, but that could have just been evil cat dreaming about the vet. 

Home cooked food

Last night was an okayish meal.  I had some meatballs OH had bought, which were lovely, and OH insisted on beans though I think greens would have been better.  The starch part, however, I am not sure about.

I got the recipe out of the 'I Hate to Cook Cookbook' by Peg Bracken which is a brilliant read.  It is so funny - chapters titled, 'Leftovers, or why every family needs a dog', and 'Potluck, or how to bring the water for the lemonade'.  It is very witty.

This was Mushroom Spuds.  To paraphrase, you coarsely grate four medium potatoes.  You heat a tin of condensed mushroom soup with half a tin of milk and stir it into the potatoes.  Cook for 1 hour fifteen minutes at a moderate/warm oven gas 4, 350F, 180C. 

OH loved it.  I am really not sure.  Little bear refused to touch it, but then he is currently refusing all forms of potatoes.  I am not sure about darling father.  He is always nice about my cooking, but he didn't polish his plate like OH did. 

Next time I may try cooking it at a hotter temperature.  Or in the Remoska.  Or try with parboiled potatoes.  Or just do chips. 

Grumpy again

I have hurt my shoulder in my sleep.  When I woke I could barely move my left arm.  It is a lot better now, but I am unimpressed.

I think I shall see how my shoulder stands up to the ironing.  It is the left shoulder and I am right handed, but it is surprising how much your left shoulder gets used when you are ironing.  Due to lack of sleep, I am not sure I am fit for anything else. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Evil cat has been checked over.

The vet has visited.  Nice Mr Next Door has been present with welding gloves.  Evil cat has been confined to one room and has been very cross about it all.  The vet completely failed to get a urine sample this time, but she did manage to get some tartar off evil cat's teeth, so that was at least a consolation prize. 

She is still tiny, skinny and very stiff in the back end.  However she is still maintaining a quality of life.  She can jump onto laps although she prefers to sink her claws in and pull herself up.  She eats, she begs and she sleeps in warm sunny patches. 

The only thing that has perhaps changed is that her eyesight has deteriorated.  I have noticed that she can't always see the food dishes, and she often misses when she gets a drink of water, but she isn't bumping into things, she is managing.  Apparently high blood pressure, associated with kidney disease which evil cat definitely has, can do this.  As it does not affect evil cat's quality of life in any way, I am not stressing about that.  And otherwise she has not really deteriorated at all. 

I gave the vet a box of chocolates and breathed a sigh of relief.  Evil cat has gone upstairs to sleep off the nice fight.  That is that for a few months. 

Another rainy day

The water in the local beck is getting higher and higher.  It is only a small stream, but it is far, far above the normal water levels.  I shall be keeping an eye out.

The beck itself doesn't really flood, apart from into some local water meadow type fields.  However further down is a small reservoir which can get really full.  Then rubbish clogs the drainage channels and the reservoir overflows and runs down the nearest outlet - the big dual carriageway next to it. 

I have seen it flood twice, and it is very scary to see a huge river of water where there is normally traffic. It reached halfway up a telephone box (remember them?) last time. 

Hopefully the drains have been cleared and all is okay.  The poor plants and flowers that were so full of spring life just a while ago are now under water.  I hope they will be okay.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Hoarding has struck a nerve

Robyn - I definitely felt for the wife.  But I did wonder at the sort of relationship that allowed that sort of thing to develop.  How can you watch a partner effectively put your home beyond your ability to live comfortably in it?  And how do you feel so alone that your main relationship is with things while you are still with the wife? 

Lesley - cooking stuff is definitely next on my list.  I have already got rid of a lot of stuff.  I looked round my kitchen and decided it wasn't organising that was needed, or cleaning, or getting on with it. I just need less stuff.  And you are right.  So much stuff is sitting round until I get round to doing x, y or z, and I get so overwhelmed that I feel almost paralysed by it. 

And the clothes I was supposed to be getting rid of?  Still waiting to be ironed, and some of them need to be re-washed again.  

I really felt for all the hoarders in this, because it was so emotionally tough for them all.  They were really suffering, stuck in such a dreadful place and yet unable to part with anything - even rubbish. 

One thing I have started doing is keeping a Google document on the go where I keep account numbers (never passwords!) and details of electric and gas and pensions and all those bits and bobs and then I shred all that comes in and I am shredding a backlog.  That should take care of a few boxes of papers.

I want to get into a routine of cleaning my cupboards at least once a month.  I used to be very good about this, but have lapsed.  Because if I am cleaning my cupboards then I can't forget what is in there, so I don't buy more.  And I need to have very defined places for things, so that I don't have duplicates of stuff everywhere. 

I have got rid of a huge stockpot.  I wasn't really using it, as I have got a slightly smaller one that is only very large.  I kept it because it was the only thing big enough to cook some fancy popcorn-with-oil-and-flavouring from Approved Food that I wasn't really getting round to popping, and I had nowhere to store it, and it was getting on my nerves.  I will say, you do not know how many ridges and dirt traps there are on a pan until you go to donate it to a church full of blackbelt housekeepers. I did my best but couldn't get rid of all the popcorn stains.  The ladies in hats will be tutting at me. 

I also think that while we see the extremes on tv, milder versions affect so many - including me.  That urge to say, don't get rid of that, it may be useful, it reminds me of a good time, I'll need it for when I get round to doing x, I'll be able to sell that when I get sorted... I think that lurks in a lot of us, and it is hard to break free of it. 

Hoarding - still thinking about it

I am still thinking about the hoarders on the programme.  One man would not let a carrier bag of papers leave the house unless he had looked through it first.  The papers were old and yellowed - they must have been at least ten years old.  However there was that awful fear and compulsion that he would be losing something vital if he didn't check the papers.  He was even checking through bags of mouldy food and challenging about tins of beans that were rusty because he said that they would be fine. 

Morgan - the skip was their idea.  The sons have moved into next door but one, which is nice for me as they are lovely neighbours.  They have had to almost gut the place and start again from scratch, so they have a lot of rubbish to go.  There are lots of bits and bobs of rubbish from Nice Mr Next Door.  We have a huge compost bin that darling father wants nothing more to do with (it really is far too big for our garden) and a broken exercise bike which are too big to take to the skip in a car, along with the pieces of darling father's old chair. 

Another thing I noticed when I watched was some of the 'aspirational hoarding'.  I'll do that when I have time, I'll use that item for this project that I have been planning to do for five years and still not started, I'll need that when I get round to sorting things in the garden...

The exercise bike is a case in point.  At this moment there is no room in our schedules for actually using it.  It is in the top room and my joints won't always let me get up there.  When OH is home then using it is likely to disturb/disrupt little bear and it would cause a lot of noise directly over darling father. OH prefers to go for a long walk anyway.  And now I can't work out how to fix the thingy on the wotsit and I suspect bits are missing from it being moved from one place to another.  So it is going, and because it has spent time buried under stuff and because it has been lugged around etc it is now no use and wasted.  

I think Operation Clutterbust has had a bit of a kick start.

Lesley - I think you are absolutely right, just to bin, without looking which was so hard for that poor man.  I know that potentially I should sell/recycle/donate, but when you are drowning you need to make at least enough space to swim.  I read once that you can concentrate on selling and recycling and donating once you have reached some clear space, until then, just get it out of the house!  I hope you gloat over your spaces and the increase in air to breathe - you definitely deserve it after forcing yourself through that barrier. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I've just watched the programme about hoarding on BBC1.  It is one of the saddest things I have ever watched.  People keeping and keeping and keeping stuff until there is nowhere to sit, there is nowhere to sleep and there is nowhere to wash or cook. 

I think there are elements of that in so many people.  Yesterday I threw out a little plastic pot.  It had had a snack meal in and it was just a handy size.  I could have saved it for little bear for crafts, or darling father for seeds, or for me for use in a dozen ways.  I consciously threw it out.  Because I can have lots of snacks and if I need a pot I can get one then, and until I actually need the pot (which I don't at the moment) where am I going to store them?  Still part of me was crying out - it could really come in useful!

My late grandfather would save all sorts of things like margarine cartons.  After all, a margarine carton can be a useful container.  But you were left with an empty margarine carton around once per fortnight, and still they were not used.  Still it was a shame to throw it out, when it could be of use, and you ended up with stacks of the things twenty or thirty high.  Unfortunately I am not exaggerating.  They collected dust, took up space, got in the way and continued to grow, but they couldn't go out, because they might come in useful.

I really struggle with this - getting rid of something that is bound to have a use somewhere.  It is really hard for me to just get rid of old sheets to next door, to lose the excess stuff that creeps up on me.  I look at the pot of curtain hooks, old shirt buttons, fasteners from shirts to use as paper clips, treasury tags and carrier bags and think that there is so much use in them.  But if I don't then I will end up living in a house where you cannot walk up stairs, or cannot use the bath.  And truthfully, I am not using them.  I am merely housing them and quite often I can't find something I need because of all the stuff so I have to go out and buy more. 

I have gone shares with Nice Mr Next Door in getting a skip.  It should be here by the weekend.  I think, after watching that programme, that I shall have plenty of use for it.  Despite all of the things I have thrown out, and the care I am taking to try and limit what comes in, the house still feels so full of stuff that it is hard to breathe.

Busy morning

I did not expect to get a lot done this morning.  Little bear demanded breakfast at 2.30 am, and evil cat followed on by demanding feeding at 2.45 am (after I had firmly explained to little bear that breakfast was eaten in the morning and not the middle of the night). 

Then evil cat woke me up with a bravura performance of being noisily sick at 6am, and produced about half a teaspoon, which was at least easy to clean up.  She then woke up little bear who must still be feeling fragile as he was watching Cbeebies instead of Ben 10 (thank goodness!). 

I rang school, and while little bear is neatly between not being ill enough to stay home and being that bit too run down to go to school, he is still on antibiotics so he stays home. 

But I have now put two loads of washing out (that have been rained on, but never mind) and I have now registered as self employed.  Not that I am likely to earn enough to pay tax, but there you are.  

Now off to try and find some way of amusing little bear.  May delegate computer to him

Non kindle kindle

Wean's post that she didn't have a kindle got me thinking.

Okay, just so you know, and this is definitely not a hint to buy Lyssa Medana's stuff...

You can get free apps for your computer or smart phone here  Not only can you buy books, but there are a shedload of books that are copyright free, like Treasure Island etc which are free like these.  So you could download these apps for free on your pc/phone and then get armloads of books for free from them!

There is also a thingy called Kindle Owners Lending Library where you can borrow books for free, see here.  I think you actually need the Kindle for this, but it may be worth a go, there look to be some cracking books on it. 

I didn't know about this.  I haven't got a kindle either. 

Early start

Actually, it's not an early start as such, just early for me.  I hate waking up early!

So I've hung out some washing, taking the gamble that it will stay fine long enough to dry the things.  It was odd because the sky is lovely and clear but it was obvious that there had been really heavy rain overnight - everywhere was soaked and I was wiping lots of drops off the washing line. 

So I have another wash load in of things that say do-not-tumble-dry so that I can get them out quickly to make the most of it, and I will do the rest of the washing and hopefully get that line dried as well.

I know that there are some places where you are not allowed to dry clothes on a clothes line.  This would break my heart because apart from the rising cost of energy, you get much whiter whites and a fresher smell. 

Another token of housewifery is that I had neglected a teapot and decided to clean it.  The teapot was long overdue, it is my favourite teapot as it is actually a vast jug flask teapot that is incredibly efficient and the tea still steams 24 hours after brewing.  I have to boil the kettle twice to fill it. 

The inside had been lacquered by year after year after year of brewing up, so I decided to do something about it.  I had bought a tube of denture cleaning tablets to use (as per the household tips) to clean coffee stained cups, but hadn't bothered.  Apart from anything else, we usually only brew two cups of coffee per week, one each weekend morning for OH, so they don't really get that stained.  I tipped the entire tube into the teapot, added the hottest water I could get out of the tap and left it. 

You would not believe the lumps of tannin that fell out of that teapot when I rinsed it out later.  It was seriously gunked and I was ashamed.  It was also strangely satisfying to get the huge lumps out and look into the shiny metal insides of the teapot, looking gleaming for the first time in years.  I shall get some more tablets as there is still a tiny corner of gunk, but otherwise it is pristine.  I feel so housewifely.  I shall also try and keep de-gunking it early on, as it looks so lovely as it shines. 

Monday, 7 May 2012


Just tried boiling some eggs in the microwave in a microwave egg boiler.  They went bang.

They went enthusiastically bang, there is yolk everywhere - and I followed all the instructions! 

We had ham sandwiches for lunch

Saturday, 5 May 2012

I'm published!!!!

It's official, I'm selling 'The Forgotten Village' on Amazon Kindle here

I am just soooo giddy.  And thank you to whoever liked the book - OH was almost disappointed that he couldn't be the first, but just as thrilled as I am that it has been liked. 

I can't keep the smile off my face, and OH is being equally giddy with me - it's brilliant. 


An up day

Little bear is nice and quiet and sprawled on the settee eating cucumber sticks. 

I shall wait and see how he does with the antibiotics.  Of course, timing is everything, he is supposed to be doing a grading in his martial arts next Saturday, so we will have to see how he is training.  I would hate him to miss a grading. 

I will be glad when he has a bit more energy.  I miss my little whirlwind.  

Writing stories

I have taken 'The Forgotten Village' off Fiction Press and I have left it a few hours and then pressed 'publish' at Amazon.

It is only on kindle, it hasn't got an ISBN, it is priced at £1.49 as I couldn't go any lower, and it is pending, and should be published in a day or two.

I'll give main updates on here, such as if I manage to get another story together, but most of the writing stuff is now on Lyssa Medana Always Another Chapter

OH has taken little bear out for a drive.  Little bear is not his normal hurricane self, but good to get out. This is going to be the best opportunity for several days to crack on with some cleaning

Thank you so much!

Thank you so much for the good wishes.  I really appreciate them.  I really, really, really do - I do get fussed, and I worry a lot.  Your good wishes really help.

I suppose I am only considering glandular fever because this has dragged on so long.  He has been bobbing along with flu-like stuff for a month.  When the doctor suggested it may be a possibility my heart sank as I had it and was quite poorly.  I think I am fussing a bit though.  Fingers crossed though, the antibiotics will sort him out. 

He is well enough this morning to be driving me nuts with stickle bricks, so he can't be that bad.

Marybelle - evil cat sends back purrs and a friendly tail twitch.  Bless her, she is on cuddle duty. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Poor little bear

We are back from the doctors.

The doctor hummed and ahhed and said that initially he would just treat the symptoms in front of him - badly swollen tonsils (which I missed, though I had been trying to coax ice lollies for his sore throat).  So little bear has antibiotics for tonsillitis. 

However the doctor is not entirely convinced and if little bear is not better at the end of a week then I have to take him back to have a blood test for glandular fever.  Unfortunately glandular fever would explain a lot of little bear's symptoms, especially the length of them and their vagueness.  And the doctor is really good, spot on, very clued up, has practiced for years and years, and is brilliant with little bear.  Not a young locum who could easily be mistaken. 

If any of you are feeling charitable, please send good wishes and prayers for little bear so that he escapes glandular fever. 


I voted yesterday. 

It was about 5pm when I dashed out and voted while darling father watched little bear.  And as I knew one of the ladies doing the count I asked if they had been busy. 

Only 136 had voted when I called in, including me. 

I was so tired, so stressed and so worried about leaving little bear with darling father that I sort of shot in, said hello etc and shot out.  I can't remember who I voted for.  That is very embarrassing indeed. 

I normally vote for the Green councillor who works really, really, really hard for the ward, and lets us know where her allowances go and what she does with what complaint.  I hope I did this time, but I can't be sure.  It's like that awful feeling when you are half way to town on a bus and you can't remember whether you have locked the door.  And you can't remember whether you locked the door because you were thinking about something else when you locked it (and you always have) and I was worrying about little bear when I voted. 

So that was my contribution to the democratic process.  I hope it's enough. 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sorry about this...

I'm ready to publish the book, I've done all the checks (considering reloading for one typo) but to my frustration the lowest price they will allow me is £1.49.  I am not sure how they work that out, and I am a bit frustrated.  It is supposed to be on file size, but my file is down as a low size, so I am not sure. 

I am too tired to work it out, little bear has been sick and has run a wonderful series of temperatures.  I will be glad when I get him to the doctor.  He is finally asleep so I have been able to finish the checking, and to be honest, I am more worried about him than a typo. 

Regardless, at the end of Friday (GMT) I will delete The Forgotten Village from Fiction Press, publish it on Amazon Kindle and keep my fingers crossed.

I will also start another blog.  I am going back to the Year of Cookery when I have a chance to get glasses so I can read the print.  But I will put up a separate blog for matters regarding the writing, so that people don't have to wade through that stuff if they don't want to. 

Hiding from Ben10

I am hiding in here from Ben10 and trying to preview the Forgotten Village.  I have noticed a problem with a conversation - but I think that means going back to the original, reformatting and re-uploading.  I may leave it. 

Darling father is talking about buying a car.  I am unconvinced. 

Another £100 for the car this weekend - totally reasonable, needs doing, could do without spending it. 

Upward and onward. Little bear is about to bring 18 toys downstairs.  I am starting a new project knitting, as a comforter.  I look forward to a quiet evening

Little bear still poorly

Little bear was poorly, big temperature and all achy at 1am.  Insisted on going to school.  Got sent home from school. 

He is on the borderline of being kept off school.  They said he was running a bit of temperature, and he was listless and not running round at playtime - which is really not like him. 

I have a doctor's appointment for him tomorrow.  I am hopeful that this will help work out what is going on.  He has never really bounced back from chickenpox. 

Of course, this flattens any hope of proof reading the Forgotten Village, catching up on ironing or trying to get the house fit.  I may be a bit under the weather myself.  Yesterday I crashed asleep at around 7.30pm, slept until little bear woke me, couldn't get back to sleep for some time, woken by evil cat 6am, dozed for another half hour, now ready to fall asleep except little bear is currently creating as I have been out of his sight for ten minutes. 

Glass half full - I get to get lots of cuddles today!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


I have a dehumidifier in our 'walk in cupboard' which helps the air circulate, takes the damp out of the vented air from the tumble dryer, dries clothes on an airer and generally takes in a lot of moisture.  It is attached to the room known as a dining room and since we had that outer wall sealed we only needed to empty it once every 24 hours, and when the tank is full it stops.  Except the little thingy on the tank that tells the thingy when it is full was stuck.

This meant that no matter how full the tank was, the dehumidifer kept pulling water out of the air and it spilled over and ran down onto the dining room carpet.

Over the last week or so I have been quite busy with trying to knit for next door and little bear being poorly.  So while I have kept up to washing, I certainly haven't kept up to ironing and it has spilled out over the carpet and the floor.  It has been on the very wet carpet.  The clean ironing has been getting wet and is going to be smelling musty.

In addition, I haven't been able to get to the dehumidifier to check that it was full or even empty it because of the huge swathe of ironing as I had caught up with my washing and I was also washing a lot of little bear's old clothes 'to get the dust off'. 

So I am going to have to go and try and work out what needs washing again (if it has got damp, it is going to get washed) and what just needs ironing.

I could cry.  There is just so much!  I think my best bet is to start with just ironing the stuff on top, sorting when the volume is a bit less and carry on with the washing. 

Glass half full - I fixed the dehumidifier.  And it is a great incentive to get working on the ironing.  And I need the exercise, and ironing is supposed to be a great exercise.  And while I am ironing I get a chance to think of the next bit of writing I am doing. 

Struggling to find the next bit of glass half full, but it will be there, I am sure.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Red cross on the door

In the olden days, when there was plague in a house then a red cross was painted on a door.

In the last six weeks little bear has had chicken pox, fake flu, a nasty bug which started with him being sick and then escalated and now he has come home with a whopping temperature (again) and fallen asleep on the sofa. 

I think we are going to have to get creative with fruit and veg.  He is already getting vitamins. 

He is still going to school tomorrow!

Dreary Day

I don't know if it is the weather, or the tail end of the really dreadful headache I had, or just me, but today is the sort of day when just washing the dishes is an achievement.

It shouldn't be. I saw little bear in his class spring show.   He was one of the narrators, and he just wasn't that into it.  I think he was just too tired.  He was doing tiny gestures when the rest of the class did big ones.  But he read well, looked adorable and I am so proud of him.

Evil cat is laying siege to the keyboard again - I am struggling to type.  Her repeat medicine came in the post today, along with a cat urine sample getting kit.  I looked at it and shuddered.  The idea is that you put these clean, non absorbent plastic balls in her litter tray and when she does a widdle you can get a sample of the results. 

We've been here before.  24 hours locked in a room with the sample tray, nothing happened.  Evil cat kept her paws crossed.  A further, continuously running on, 24 hours at the vet and nothing happened, evil cat had put a cork in.  Eventually the vet tried to squeeze some out of her.  That was when the quote 'she got a little bit hissy and a little bit scratchy' passed into the legend of evil cat.  They had to sedate her. 

I am not putting myself through that and I am not putting evil cat through that.  At the moment her tummy sounds like some strange and fermenting chemical works, I don't want to add to any stress. 

Though I wish evil cat would respect that and not add to my stress.  She is giving me the '110 decibel purr while sitting on the mouse' treatment and my headache is coming back.  

Hope I am being fair

Part of the deal with Amazon means that I will have to have the text of The Forgotten Village unavailable anywhere else for 90 days. 

So I will be taking the Forgotten Village down from Fiction Press on Friday for anyone who wants to have a last look there, all I ask is that you respect copyright.  I will hopefully be putting The Forgotten Village on Amazon soon after that, depending on how quickly OH finishes the art work - and I am not pushing him, it is a favour to me.

After 90 days I will put it back up.  Hopefully by that time I will be finishing off Digging up the Past. 

I hope this is fair to everyone.