Thursday, 31 January 2013

What do I do with a mango?

Polite answers only please!

I think it's a mango - it looks like a picture on Sainsbury's website that is a mango.  I suspect it needs to ripen up, so I have time to gather my resources.

I love this challenge!

Veg box has arrived

Dear heaven the veg box has arrived.  It is a lot more varied than I thought it would be.  There is things that look like kohl rabi, and sprouts and all sorts!

The carrots, parsnips and potatoes are all dirty, so that should help them last a bit longer.  I shall use the mushrooms tonight.  The future is looking remarkably like spaghetti bolognese - my version of course which involves a tin of condensed tomato soup.

And I will have to sort out the kitchen just to have places to put stuff.

The Approved Food order has come, but I shall wait until bear is home to unpack that.

I can also see a long spell of casserole ahead!  Lots of lovely root veggies.  I also have a lot of greens, I need to get to grips with cabbage, and bubble and squeak looks probable.  There is mustard greens in the box, which I am not sure about, and courgettes which are all mine to snack on raw.

I think I shall have to sort out the fridge, sort out cool spots, sort out ledges and generally sort out.  I have a cheapo chip basket which in the past I have used to blanch veggies before freezing, so I can do that if pushed.  It is a wonderful stimulus.  There are also lemons included in the fruit box I got.  That means honey and lemon chicken, which we all love.  Or possibly lemon curd.  Bear has become quite keen on lemon curd and I would like to make some lemon curd tarts.  The smartprice lemon curd may not be quite the thing as as far as I can see from the ingredient list it the lemon curd hasn't actually got any lemons in.

Many of the smaller veggies are in paper bags - I like that a lot!

Hmmm, it is really stormy today, so perhaps mince with lots of onions and fresh carrots and parsnip with a side of greens of some variety and a big pile of mash with extra for bubble and squeak tomorrow...

Veg box a success!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Evil cat had a nice fight

The vet has been.  Evil cat is very thin (this is really obvious),  more or less stable (physically perhaps, not mentally) and is doing 'okay'. 

After evil cat put up firm resistance to the examination, the vet declined to either get a blood sample to see how her kidneys had deteriorated or clip her claws.  Evil cat's claws are a hazard to everyone at the moment, but the vet thought it would distress her too much to be held and clipped.  Just trying to get a look at her teeth had been quite a challenge.  The poor old cat didn't manage to draw blood though, she is really feeling her age.

The dosage recommendation is for a cat of 1kg.  This may be overestimating her weight.  There is nothing to her, I am scared to pick her up in case I hurt her.  This is a recent thing.  When she was younger I had no hesitation in lifting and dropping when necessary. 

The vet thought that she may be around for a few months only.  I think it was this time last year that a vet first said that.  I expect I shall still be bullied by evil cat next Christmas, and possibly the Christmas after.

Evil cat is now sulking in front of the fire, feeling very sorry for herself.  Long may she continue to be a hazard. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I may have sold some books

They may be a pause for a day or two.  I went on the sony page for an ego trip and looked up the Forgotten Village.  If you rank the 445 books in contemporary fantasy at 99c or under in Bestselling order, the Forgotten Village is No 7.  I may have sold more than a dozen on there.  I am not sure how it will work because if they sold after 5 January then they will not show on my Smashwords statement that is due out.  I am not assuming a lot of sales because I don't know how the bestselling is calculated, and it could be within a very narrow margin. 

I am scared.  I should be giddy and happy but I am scared.  If lots of people are reading, and buying then that theoretically makes me a proper author.  I thought I would only be a proper author if I got my life together.  I don't have a plan.  I feel very adrift and alone.  Also silly because that is a ridiculous and self indulgent way to think. 

So I am going to allow myself another day to wallow, then I need to pull myself together, get over it and get on with it.  Also vet visits tomorrow and there is nothing like a bit of warfare to concentrate the mind.  

Beginning to hate lunchboxes

Bear came home from school and proudly announced that he had eaten everything except his sandwich, 'because it was green'. 

I checked his lunchbox as soon as I got home - and there was nothing wrong!  It was fresh ham, fresh bread (woolly Warburtons, sigh, as OH prefers it) and the crusts had been cut off!  Apparently because the ham was breaded and there were traces of breadcrumbs at the edge it was unclean. 

I had carefully bought a number of small packets of ham as a more expensive option but to keep the ham fresh and nice all week, delivered by Mr S, all breaded.  I can see my lunches looming in front of me - the future is ham.  Evil cat may well profit from this. 

I sent him in with tuna paste sandwiches, and the scotch eggs/tomatoes and the sugary frootz buttons.  However the first of the impulse bought 'how to make packed lunch' books has arrived and I shall dip into that.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Aaargh! Shopping!

Came back from Matalan with trousers for bear which are needed and three shirts for OH which were quite unnecessary! 

At least I avoided the t-shirts for bear.  He has far too many to be going on with as it is.  I am particularly fed up that he has chewed holes in the sleeves of his beloved Ben 10 long sleeved t-shirt.  I am not letting him out of the house in clothes with holes in, that is the point of the new trousers.  In a few years time I am sure that bear will go out of the door looking frightening because that is normal for teenagers.  Until then, the clothes do not have accidental holes. 

I will have a go at shortening the sleeves, and if I ever get the courage I will post pics.  Do not hold your breath, this may be a long wait. 

Not so smug...

Lesley - I think I was under the impression that other mums were doing better, and that the lunchbox police were particularly harsh.  Asking bear a few questions has taken a load from my mind.

Morgan - I am so looking forward to the day that bear makes his own lunch.  It will no doubt be an interesting time as bear seems to manage that a lot!  He has Views. 

Well, today bear went to school with a ham sandwich, mini apple pie, frootz fruit buttons, cherry tomato (which bear swore he liked yesterday), two mini scotch eggs and a drink.  I feel quite proud of such a feast.  Of course, I would feel an even better smug mum if the clothes he was wearing to school had actually been properly ironed and not just shaken as they came out of the dryer. 

To be fair, the clothes didn't look rumpled and when you have a little boy aged six then if the clothes stay unrumpled until the end of the school day then there is something wrong. 

My next dither is a fairly minor one.  The hems of bear's trousers are frayed to pieces now.  I am about to get new ones.  The hems of the new ones will be frayed.  I don't want to turn up the trousers for the half mast look.  I don't want to turn them up at all really because when they are let down I am not convinced I will get the crease mark out.  And unless I turn them up severely then I suspect that they will be frayed to nothing very quickly.  Bear is a bit of a slim jim, especially following a growth spurt.  School trousers tend to slip down.  I have seen iron on material that may match the trousers, or I could cut up older trousers but I cannot think of anyway of patching hems frayed to holes that would not look ridiculous. 

I am also a bit irritated.  Bear's trousers did not do this last year, even though they were just as likely to trail on the floor.  The M&S trousers have been the worst culprit, but the school changed from black to grey trousers and I think they are worse. All the rest of his school uniform is in one piece and more or less fitting, so I really resent having to get new trousers.  So far I have not had to patch his knees.  I am considering putting an iron on patch inside the trousers to reinforce those.  I am not going to consider that for a bit, though, not until it is actually an issue. 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Slightly Smug

Every morning I face bear's packed lunch with a sense of despair.  He does not want an apple or banana in there, or an 'orange' (any orange coloured citrus fruit), but will tolerate grapes.  Or cucumber chunks.  He insists on the fruit buttons and bear pointed out that they were 75% fruit. I pointed out that it didn't mean it was healthy.  Bear currently refuses raisins.  He will sometimes tolerate a mini scotch egg, or a cooked cocktail sausage.  He has a sandwich with the crusts cut off (which means he actually eats more bread as he doesn't leave the huge margin next to the crust and they actually fit in the Ben 10 holder) usually ham but occasionally chicken roll which he insists on. 

I could imagine other mums sneering at it.  In despair on Friday I ordered a book from Amazon on how to create lunchbox meals.  Bear was insistent.  He didn't want crisps.  He would not have a chocolate bar, he only wanted healthy things.  Healthy things do not include cheese, which bear treats with scorn.  Healthy things do include things like fruit buttons that have vast amounts of sugar in.  Fortunately is is very fond of his minecraft drinking bottle which had double concentrated low sugar juice in. 

Today I asked a few questions about bear's experience of lunches and particularly what he sees in the lunchboxes around him.  His answer ranged from chocolate spread sandwiches to boxes with cheese sandwiches, cheese strings and crisps.  I suspect that there is some simplifying going on, and that actually there are some healthy meals there, though I do know of one child with chocolate spread sandwiches on a regular basis.  Bear has decided to refuse chocolate bars in his lunch box as he only wants healthy food. 

So I need to work out inexpensive food that is healthy, that includes no cheese, limited and more expensive fruit, limited vegetables but does include overpriced, over processed fruit buttons.  But from the sound of things I am not doing too bad.  I'll take that!

Still shopping

I had booked both Asda and Sainsbury to deliver today, potentially at the same time.  I could live with that.  I have also succumbed to an Approved Food order, but there seems to be less and less that I would actually need on there.  I've ordered a veg and fruit box, with some greens, from someone extremely local.  This morning we also picked up some odds and ends from Makro.

Makro was useful.  I picked up a 22kg bag of salted grit for £6 (inc vat) at a half price offer and the tins of coca cola that OH likes.  I also picked up some cereal bars that bear eats and when I am not feeling good I can give him them in the morning and know that there are worse breakfasts (although not many).  All of those were a lot cheaper than the supermarkets.  The salted grit is to be stashed for next year.  I also picked up some mini scotch eggs that bear likes and some tomatoes because bear insists he likes tomatoes.  It is only a few months since he was vehemently protesting that he hated tomatoes.  Before that he loved them.  I go with the flow. 

Mr S delivered including the squeezy honey which was such a good offer and the half price mild olive oil.  They were a few minutes early, but I didn't mind. 

I waited and waited for the Mr A delivery, and it didn't come.  Eventually I checked online, at all the orders had been cancelled, even those ones amended today.  I could order again for delivery after Tuesday and have a free delivery on us.  The great deal on Famous Grouse 1l had evaporated.  I decided to save the voucher until I actually wanted some stuff.

The cooked ham for bear's packed lunch came with Mr S but I did have to go out in some unpleasant rain to a local and unreliable shop a little way away for the bread for his sandwiches.   I shall pick up some marg/butter type spread from the lovely newsagent tomorrow, if I remember, just a little one.  I will then pick up what I need from Morrisons on Wednesday. I can do without all the other stuff that I had ordered. 

This made me think carefully.  How much am I buying that we don't actually really need?  And how much am I paying too much for? 

The bread at the local Nisa is a lot dearer than the supermarkets.  The bread at Makro is slightly dearer, but I get a walk normally, though today OH gave me a lift.  If I go to a shop I suffer from impulse buying.  But I can manage that online anyway (cf Approved Food!)  btw while Asda were selling Heinz soup at 50p, and Sainsbury at 6 for £4, Makro had them on a tray at 83p per tin plus VAT.  You really do need to put the brainpower into shopping. 

Basically I need to buy less.  I have been saying this for a while.  We have had a delivery cancelled and only have minor inconvenience.  I really, really, really need to wake up to this. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Blackbirds have been eating the cat treats

The cat treats had got soggy in the snow and the blackbirds were tucking in.  It is the first time I have ever seen them in the garden, but I may be putting out soggy cat treats later in the year in the hope that they will also attack the legions of slugs and snails that call our garden home.  And not just our garden.  A few yards away is a stretch of grass that in the right conditions is silver with slugs. 

I was terrified all morning that I would never see Strawberry again.  Fortunately she turned up after lunch and while I didn't let her in I did give her two pouches of very good quality cat food.

Evil cat has been a bit quiet.  She didn't beg for food until around 10am.  Normally she starts around 6am.  She also is very attached to the radiators.  I think the weather is affecting her.  I am making the most of it. 

Bear, after much coaxing, started his homework and then once he got into his stride he raced through it.  One of his new spellings is Mr.  I wonder how much of a pushy parent I should be?  Bear seems to be managing in all sorts of other ways, so I am not stressing - yet. 

The rubbish did not collected.  It has just changed days.  So not only do they have an extra helping of weather, but they have a new routine.  I shall be clearing up cat-attacked bin bags for months. 

I am not managing 'chirpy' today.  I may manage 'moving with a purpose'.  Still, it is only January.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Not stopping the shopping

I have decided to go with a Mr S delivery on Sunday.  Darling father brought in the very inexpensive tins of soup and I can save quite a bit on the honey etc.  I have a delivery of around £100 and savings on full price (which is actually misleading, but hey-ho) is just over £32. 

I actually booked a slot on each website to make sure I got it, and I haven't cancelled the one for Mr A yet.  Mr A has a reasonable deal on 1l Famous Grouse, which is darling father's favourite tipple, £17 instead of £24.99.  You can usually manage to get £20 for 1l of Famous Grouse somewhere, sometime each month, but £17 is a good deal and not as common.  So two bottles of that (and yes, they would easily get drunk in a month) would save the delivery charge.  Also Mr S doesn't do evil cat's favourite cat litter.  I am not a big fan of evil cat at the moment, as I ended up spending half of last night on the floor, but I don't have the heart to change her cat litter.  Some things are personal.

The deliveries could happen at the same time.  I wouldn't be mortified but OH would be home and he might. 

I shall have to have a think about this. 

I am seriously considering getting a veg box just so that I have a box which I have to do something with.  On the other hand, I have a watermelon that has been looking at me since Christmas and the pumpkin was an epic fail.  And on the third hand I get so bored with the same old veg but never know what to try, especially if I call into Morrisons in all its glory and they have some seriously exotic fruit and veg.  On the fourth hand, locally I can get carrots and sometimes leeks.  There are usually potatoes and onions.  This is not a varied selection.  On the fifth hand, I don't usually cook a varied selection and I'm not sure I have an audience for this varied selection.

I may be over thinking this. 

Up late again

It is nearly 1am.  I am awake because bear woke up crying again because his legs hurt (pretty sure it is growing pains) and because I have foul heartburn, I am waiting for the antacid tablets to work and I am scared to lie down in case I am sick. 

I will be a rag tomorrow after a week or more of this. 

On the bright side I managed an extra 500 words on Digging up the Past. 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Just January

I feel all washed out, buggering about like a burp in a bottle.  I feel like I am not even good for spares. 

Strawberry has been very cross at not being let in, although she has only been in a time or two.  I have put down some food for her but my conscience has been eased a little as it appears that the local pizza parlour have been feeding her.  They have form for feeding strays and good for them!  She has spent a large part of the afternoon glaring at me through the kitchen window whenever I have made token efforts in there.  I still haven't managed to get the pan clean, the one that had the curry which set the fire alarm off.  I have been simmering it with oxyaction in, and I am waiting and seeing if that does it. 

I've managed to write 1200 words today, and I should have written a lot more as it is a big bit of dialogue and I usually get lost in those bits.  I may have to abandon this story altogether as it is fighting back.  Or it may just be January. 

My Lakeland delivery arrived.  There was a new cutlery tray.  I didn't need it at all.  On the other hand, the current one was bought in 1994 (from Lakeland) and has a thingy that slides across the top.  It has been driving me nuts recently with the influx of cutlery that came with darling father which meant the bit that slides across is always bouncing off things.  And I keep losing the scissors under the tray and this new one has a bit of a space.  I didn't need the utensil tin either, but the Remoska is now on permanent station near the cooker, and I like to keep my big utensils near my cooker, and there is only the top of the fridge near my cooker which is in a corner next to the door so there is a limited place to put my utensil holder - which was a large plastic 3kg plastic Vanish tub.  I had taken the label off, and the Remoska hadn't melted it yet.  But I didn't need it.  Nor the new bathmat which will be infinitely easier to wash.  OH had insisted on the wipes for the tv and he would be a bit tetchy if he found me cleaning the tv with anything but something specialist - but that is not unreasonable. He deals with a lot of damage reports that include, 'I was trying to clean the tv when...'  The only thing I really needed was the mould killer - and that could have waited until the roof was fixed. 

I saw a soup maker on offer and nearly bought one.  It is still touch and go.  The thought of being able to just switch on the stuff and forget about it is lovely.  I also saw a Tefal 8 in 1 cooker advertised.  I love Tefal, I have had some really good results from Tefal.  But I don't really have the counter space for anything new let alone a soup maker or a 8 in 1 thingy maker. 

We had a home made tea tonight, and it is looking like it could be chicken with a jar of hoi sin sauce tomorrow.  I need to get more enthusiastic about cooking.  I also need to learn to make pastry.  I watched a recording of Gordon Ramsay making pastry on YouTube and while he looked very confident about it all, I have never yet created edible pastry. 

Strawberry keeps me busy

I really appreciate all the comments about Strawberry, as I am feeling a little on the back foot.  This is normal for cats. 

Last night I was tormented with worrying about Strawberry out in the cold, picturing her frozen and feeble.  This morning she was ready to come in and have something to eat, thank you so much, full of life and cattitude.  So in the middle of making bear's packed lunch and trying to get organised I was refereeing two cats and trying to make sure Strawberry didn't get hold of any of evil cat's Metacam.  Everyone knows that a morning is busy even with just one child, though my morning is fairly straightforward, I could do without cats being cats.

Strawberry demolished a couple of pouches, some crunchies, the remains of evil cat's breakfast and then when I went upstairs to monitor bear's breakfast intake Strawberry attacked evil cat.   I know it wasn't the other way round as poor evil cat is really just too frail.  She can't defend herself.  So half way through the 'make sandwiches and find uniform' routine I am growling, shouting and chasing Strawberry out of the house when she really didn't want to go.

If evil cat was a few years younger I would be a bit more resigned to warfare, and evil cat has dealt out a lot of aggro in the past.  However there is just nothing to her.  Even her fur, which used to be gloriously thick, is now thin and a bit spiky.  She is not able to defend herself and Strawberry is a big Yorkshire Lass. 

I don't know if Strawberry will come back after that, but I think I will just have to feed her outside if she does.  Strawberry was just being a cat, but I have a duty to evil cat. 

I feel a little like I have led Strawberry on.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

We do our best

Morgan - you speak wise words.  I don't really want to make evil cat more distressed than she needs to be (I wish she extended the same sentiment to me) and she really is in her Twilight Years. 

OH tried to coax Strawberry in.  She decided to stay out.  No doubt she will be in tomorrow. 

Strawberry is less good

Strawberry has attacked (claws in ) OH's hand and was advancing on evil cat.  When evil cat started growling I evicted Strawberry. 

I felt guilty before I saw her sitting on the study window sill looking plaintively at the fire.  Then I remembered the problem we had just had disentangling her from bear's bed. 

What have I got myself and everyone else into?  I would be immediately letting her in if I wasn't fairly sure that she had somewhere decent to kip.  Probably.  I mean, she has been fine all through this cold spell and it's only tonight that she is willing to stay in so she will probably be fine. 

I shall consult with OH.

Still calculating

I am still thinking about the dratted delivery.  I was even lying awake last night thinking about it (when bear wasn't waking me up in the small hours with 'pains in his legs'). 

The current position is that I will stick to a Mr S order but without the soup.  Darling father is looking for an excuse to go out and has a free bus pass so popping along to Asda will be inexpensive for him, he will have a bit of fresh air and he can pick up the other bits he wants at the same time. 

Mr S may have an inferior offer of Heinz soup but has a much better offer on squeezy honey.  I feel a bit ashamed that I use the squeezy honey, but bear has honey on his cereal (which is a bit over sugared already in my opinion, but that is another battle) and when I am dashing around the squeezy honey is so much easier.  Mr S also has a decent offer on olive oil which I use at a rate of about one litre per three months, so I can't over buy that, but as I am getting to the end of my bottle then it is nice to top up with a reasonable priced item. 

Also the delivery is that bit less.  Though the delivery men aren't really as nice.  And I can still get the chocolate pots for bear, though I am a bit reluctant to do so.  Also the inexpensive cat litter is superior and I may soon be providing for two. 

I am putting the emotional and mental energy into a shopping decision that some people put into business deals and mergers. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Careful Calculations

I had booked a Mr S delivery for Sunday, in nice time for the start of the week and delivering ingredients for bear's lunches.  There was an offer on for tins of Heinz soup, six tins for £4, or 66p per tin.  This isn't a bad price, though I was aware that Morrisons had had soup lower in the past, but I was tempted to put a few in the trolley.  I really don't like the taste of other soups, especially other tomato soups, and they are a useful lunch.  Also relatively lower calorie, quick and suitable for me and darling father if I was trying to get other stuff done. 

Darling father went out today which I thought was very brave.  He popped to the local Asda, and reported that the tins of Heinz soup there were 50p per tin.  50p per tin is about the lowest I have seen it recently, and it is worth stocking up, especially as bear will eat tomato soup and it counts as one of his five a day!

So I am considering switching my delivery to Mr A.  However I will pay £3.95 for the Sunday delivery from Mr S and £5 from Mr A.  I would have to buy eight tins of soup, or eight times 16p, the difference between the soups, to recoup the difference in delivery charge.  Both delivery charges are reasonable deals when it comes to bus fare, as a day ticket costs £3.80 and I would probably have to do several trips.  I rarely ask OH to take me - shopping is hell for him, even if I leave him and bear in a cafe. 

I do actually want the soup, as it will be a good standby, and I don't think 50p deals come along every week.  I shall be watching to see when the do come along. If it is a regular pattern then I can plan and buy accordingly.  I would just not bother if it wasn't a product I liked.  There are issues with home made soups here, which I am working on.  Also bear is less willing to eat it, and I am trying to get some nourishment into him.  So buying a quantity of inexpensive tinned soup is a good idea. 

Mr A has the inexpensive mince that we really like.  I did get some from Mr S, but I haven't tested it yet.  Mr S has some chocolate pots that bear likes, but to be completely honest, bear has too much chocolate anyway.  Mind you, he has a friend at school who has chocolate spread sandwiches for his lunch box!  I am not sure which is cheaper, to be honest, and I can't face Mysupermarket at the moment.  They don't compare the way I would anyway.  

Over the next few days I am going to try and get parallel orders booked and see which works out best.  I shall dip into Mysupermarket, but with care.  I shall report back. 

My curry set off the fire alarm.

I kept bear off school again today, he is still on antibiotics and still very run down.  This meant that I spent a lot more of the day than I actually wanted watching Minecraft videos with him.  Not only was I watching these 'how to play Minecraft' videos but bear was chopping and changing all the way through, so I am no wiser than I was this time yesterday.  However I am sure I shall dream of strange blocky creatures hitting things. 

Evil cat is in a seriously bad mood.  Not only is it far too cold, and not only did I utterly fail to put the fire on until late afternoon as bear and I were warm enough, but Strawberry came in and had a long rest.  She is still not keen to stay in, and she did have a wonderful moment of utter catness as she sat in the porch just on the edge of the door so I couldn't shut it - in this weather!  Strawberry does seem to be comfortable with us.  OH came home to the sight of Strawberry sitting in the study window, giving him the, 'who the heck are you' look that every cat owner recognises. 

Evil cat may sulk and hiss, but really it is a bit of payback.  She made psycho cat's life an utter misery, and I can remember her trying to push the bottle away from bear when I was feeding him.  She is called evil cat for a reason. 

And the re-heated stew would have been more of a success if I hadn't first set the wooden handle of the simmer mat to smouldering and then forgotten the stew with the very small amount of curry in while trying to sort out bear and the current minecraft video.  I was concerned that the stew would be heated enough for health.  The scorched flavour overpowered the curry, so I am confident it did. 

I have cleared and gritted the steps and a channel to the gate.  The gate is particularly tricky if it freezes as there is a sunk patch next to the gate where water always collects and the snow has very very slowly been melting.  There is still a lot of snow about, and I am terrified of taking bear to school tomorrow.  I can't justify keeping him off, but I am not looking forward to it.  Still, it will mean a few precious moments when I can hear myself think, which I don't think I have fully had since before Christmas. 

So tomorrow I am going to see what targets I have and what I can do to hit them.  I intend to start again with the resolutions, as they are really important to me.  I also intend to eat chocolate. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Pale blue Monday

As ever, things could be a lot worse here.  Our house is warm and comfortable, OH managed some work from home so had less driving, Strawberry wandered around a bit and we had a lovely home made dinner, with bacon ends, turkey breast, lots of root veggies and some packet soups instead of stock.  Tomorrow I will add a tin of tomatoes and some curry powder to the second half.

On the other hand I am tired, run down, worried about evil cat and bear.  Bear couldn't be bothered with chocolate cake tonight. 

Also I have found a damp and slimy patch in one corner, in the eaves in the junk room.  I need to get in touch with a roofer as I think we have a link.  Sigh.  At least I will have a good reason for an economy drive.  Well, the roofer can wait until the weather is fit to go up a ladder. 

Doing my best

Strawberry has once again wandered in, eaten and wandered out.  She wasn't quite as polite.  She drank from evil cat's dish and sharpened her claws on the stair carpet but she is still far more polite than any other feline I've known.

I have a fairly large, crisp box sized plastic box which I have placed on it's side, near the house and about twelve inches from the kitchen window which is at ground level due to some nifty cellar conversion.  I didn't put any fabric or cushion in as I thought it would just get damp.  The box is facing the window and a little way away from the drain, but hopefully close enough to benefit from the microclimate from the warm water from the sink, washer and dishwasher and the air from the central heating exhaust. 

Anyway, I will see what happens, and now I am off to make a warming stew for dinner.  There may be dumplings.

Poor old evil cat

I realised I hadn't seen evil cat for a while and I started to worry.  I had last seen her when I was feeding Strawberry - what if evil cat had got out and was even now shivering in the snow, with her fur so thin from being not only an indoor cat but a very elderly indoor cat?

I checked all her main kipping places and then opened the kitchen door, wondering where to start looking.  At that point evil cat emerged from the litter tray area looking very grumpy and irritated that the Strawberry Tart might be coming back in.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

Evil cat is now almost permanently attached to the radiator - poor old lady.

Unwelcome snow

OH is driving through particularly unpleasant snow to work.  I have just had Strawberry sitting in my porch as she refused to come inside but looked so cold - she has wandered off now.  Evil cat is sitting in front of the fire recovering. 

And I need to get my courage up and go to pick up darling father's paper. 

It could all be worse.  It isn't really that bad.  I am not saying I like it though. 

Also need to try and get some energy together to catch up with neglected house, but this is unlikely to happen.  Roll on summer when hopefully I will be able to complain about being too hot. 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Strawberry visits again

Yesterday Strawberry called in to say hello.  Actually she timidly edged into the kitchen that was getting colder by the second due to the open door to wolf down a pouch of catfood in record speed.  The pouch was followed by scarfing down a large handful of treats.  Evil cat was not happy.

First of all evil cat approached warily and then sort of touched noses.  Then she hissed.  Then, grumpily, she trotted upstairs to the living room at her top speed (slow).  Strawberry had a bit of a look around, a bit of a sniff here, a quick glance there, her head all elongated and curious.  Every time I moved she rushed back to the door.  Eventually I shut the door as she investigated the dining room, because I was perished. 

Strawberry was not keen on this, but trotted upstairs and asked politely to go out of the front door.  I was quite sad to see her go.  Evil cat wasn't.  She was hunkered down next to the radiator in a defensible place made where the under the window unit and the tv cabinet meet. 

After a while we noticed that evil cat hadn't moved.  OH and I exchanged glances.  The vet had not expected her to reach this Christmas, evil cat was living on borrowed time and surviving mainly on malice and being awkward.  What if the stress of the strange cat had been too much for her?  What if she had crawled away to a dark corner to fade away, feeling unloved?  OH tentatively touched her and the noise evil cat made should have blistered the paint from the radiator.  She has never made gentle cat noises, and this time she was quite clear, she was just resting, thank you so much and would like to be allowed to continue next to the glorious radiator.

Strawberry has been very polite to evil cat, not hissing or in any way being aggressive to her.  In fact, although Strawberry hoovered up the catfood like a dyson, she left evil cat's food strictly alone.  But it is obviously a strain on evil cat.  And we cannot guarantee that Strawberry will leave evil cat's food alone - she is a cat, after all.  This means that we cannot take her in just now.  I am fairly sure that Strawberry is with kitten, I suspect she is eating for six.  However if she had some of evil cat's food she would risk getting a dose of the Metacam, which is making evil cat's life mainly bearable, but would probably be very bad for a healthy cat, and certainly not good for kittens.  Any cat who has Metacam is supposed to have blood tests every three months to check that the kidneys aren't failing due to its use. 

I shall take all opportunities to feed Strawberry and give her a chance to warm, though, as she is such a pretty cat, and just so polite.  I am not used to a polite cat.  I shall enjoy it while I may.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Janet - I am sorry

Janet - thank you for your lovely comment, bear is feeling a lot better and I am always so proud when he thinks of others. 

I am embarrassed because normally of course I would publish that comment, but for some reason my mouse jumped and I ended up deleting it by mistake.  I don't want you to think that you are not valued. I am always incredibly flattered by anyone reading this and I really appreciate all comments.

So I will be working on my mouse control so I don't lose any more lovely messages, thank you again. 

Bear is lovely

Bear has officially got an ear infection.  The doctor was lovely, as usual, and prescribed a penicillin based antibiotic, which as usual with bear seemed to start working straight away.  So little bear, under doctor's orders, is getting calpol and amoxycillin three times per day.  Last night OH administered the dose, and bear was very concerned. 
"Daddy, you must be careful." He said firmly.  "Are you sure that you will be okay?" Bear knows that OH is allergic to penicillin. 
"I will be fine." OH says, giving bear his spoonful of yellow gloop.
"Well, be careful to wash your hands." bear said sternly.

I am so proud of my loving little boy.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Need to stop shopping - again!

I kept the Mr S order, knowing it was a 'comfort' shop as well as necessities.  I've got salt and grit on the pavement outside the house.  I have put some basics on and some goodies.

Bear has now got a doctor's appointment - the only one I could get was at the same time as the delivery.  Bless them, Mr S have confirmed that darling father can accept the delivery and that all should be okay.  Fingers crossed it will all be well, it is a good chance that we will be back before they deliver.  But this 'comfort' shopping needs to stop, it is not just costing money, it is getting in the way of so much.

The important thing is that bear has his appointment.  The cough and sniffles have moved on to aches and pains and now ear ache. I was dithering a lot over the doctors, I didn't want to make an unnecessary visit, especially with all this weather, but I won't risk earache.  However I know that getting bear out of the house and into the cold will be a work in itself.  It will be worth it. 

And me a married woman

Quite often bear will get up with the first sparrow's cough and I will sleepily make him breakfast, put a large glass of squash next to him and then crawl back into my pit to doze as bear goes on to the computer.  Bear loves watching YouTube videos of people playing minecraft, including someone called Duncan who has made a series of videos on how to play the Tekkit minecraft. 

I am starting to get really fond of Duncan.

It isn't anything to do with what he looks like.  I have absolutely no idea.  Unlike a lot of the other videos Duncan does not use Bad Words.  He seems pleasant enough, and he has the most lovely, soothing voice.  It gently expands on the details of the minecraft game as I doze happily knowing that bear is safe watching that.  I have even slept enough to dream, which I rarely do when bear is around, and I have been dreaming to that voice carefully explaining something to do with the game that I haven't quite grasped and I have little or no intention of trying. 

So soothing and comforting is his voice that I have seriously considered setting off one of his tutorials to run while I drift off to sleep.  How OH would react to me dozing off to another man's voice, albeit one probably young enough to be my son, I am not sure.  But it is so calming. 

So far so good

So far today things have been okay - bear is definitely not well, but things are okay. 

Of course, it is only 7am. 

Bear is coughing, aching and complaining of earache.  He doesn't look in need of a doctor, it is a mum-worry not a doctor-worry.  I am keeping him warm and cuddled.  And I haven't been sick yet, so that is good.

The snow here is minor and trivial, but the forecast is not brilliant.  So today is definitely a day to snuggle down and keep warm.  Today is a hot chocolate day.  We have milk, hot chocolate, and a safe place to snuggle.  Things could be a lot worse.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Should I or shouldn't I?

I have got a Mr S delivery booked - rather against my better judgement.  I had a Mr A delivery today, but they missed off the most important item, the item that was the reason for the order - cheap mince.  Mr A does frozen mince, in 454g bags for £2, which cook up nicely, seem low in fat and go in a lot of different dishes.  As far as I know it is Shergar friendly mince.

The only delivery slot I could get was tomorrow afternoon at Mr S. I  have had some awful service from Mr S in the past, but the last one was okay, and to be honest I feel too poorly to get very stressed about it all.  I really would like the mince - but that is the point.  I would like it, I don't need it.  And it seems a hard thing to bring a delivery man down our street in the snow forecast for tomorrow. 

But I could do with a few other bits as well, tissues (bear is very much in need of them) and some bits and bobs, nothing major, nothing urgently necessary.  I could manage without a delivery next week if we get the order tomorrow, and next week is likely to be worse with frozen and re-frozen old snow.

I am swaying like a pendulum on this.  There are some bits for bear, who is really not well.  There are some bits that will be helpful, bits that will keep me going.  I know how nervous and stressed I will be just getting to the end of the road, so I am not so keen to go out if I can manage without, and so a delivery tomorrow will be useful. 

I think I will stick with the order, go over it one more time, put in some 'just in case' stuff and see if it is cancelled or not.  If the worst comes to the worst, we will manage fine.  If the order comes it will be useful, otherwise I shall just see what I can work out. 

I suspect that this is feeding two really bad problems that I have - the need to stockpile and hoard and the pleasure I get from shopping.  However it looks like I will have a lot on my hands for the next few days as bear is looking like he may have actual real flu, I definitely don't feel like going out in snow and my body is telling me that I am likely to be sick again tonight.  OH is not well, I feel rotten asking him to do shopping as it is a form of hell for him, and it looks like he may be unable to get out anyway for a day or two.  I am definitely not sending darling father out!  That leaves evil cat and I don't trust her with my debit card. 

After all this, I suspect the order will be cancelled.  It will serve me right!

Interesting day

Bear is still poorly, running a temperature and has a nasty cough.  He went to bed last night at 5pm, woke enough for calpol at 2am and then slept until 6am.  I checked on him regularly all last night until around 4am, as I was going past his room to throw up anyway, and OH took over the night shift then as I was worried I couldn't look after bear. 

Today is likely to be a bit of a challenge. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bear is not thinking clearly

Bear has just complained because he has had a raspberry rumble yogurt, and he can't taste the rumble.  I don't think he is entirely with us at the moment.  I hate flu season. 

Not so little bear

Little bear is now six.  I am writing about his cute ways, his attitude (dear heaven help me when he is a teenager) and I hope I am conveying how loving and kind he is.  However while little bear is a good name for a little one taking their first steps, in ten years time you will still be able to find these posts on the net, somewhere.  I don't suppose little bear will want to come face to face with this at age sixteen!

When I am in the playground picking him up or dropping him off I never dream of calling him by the names I used when he was tiny.  I call him 'sweetheart', 'sweets', 'handsome' or 'tiger'.  Very occasionally I call him by his real name.  One of the other mums calls her very lovely lad by a nickname that is more suited to a toddler.  This is a lovely mum, really lovely, but I don't think she is thinking things through.  Playground-cred is very important at age six, and certainly onwards. 

So little bear is being promoted to 'bear'.  And bear is currently lying on the sofa watching some minecraft videos and feeling very poorly, I am waiting for the last lot of calpol to kick in.  Fingers crossed this will finally get out of his system soon!  It has been in his system for at least a month and I will be glad to see the back of it!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Here we are again

Little bear was fine this morning.  Now he is running a massive temperature, can't be bothered eating chocolate, aches all over and is feeling very sorry for himself. 

Plans for the week may get put on hold.

Poor little man is really suffering.  I am starting to seriously worry.  I shall be promoting lots of fruit juice and cuddles. 

And I haven't managed to tempt Strawberry in again.  I did have one go, but she was a bit too timid.  I shall keep trying.  I suspect I will have a better chance when she is hungry again. 


I am sitting here freezing because the door is open.  The door is open because I am trying to entice Strawberry in. Strawberry seems so very grateful for a few biscuits and a slightly less cold spot.  Evil cat has inched a cautious nose around the door, and is picking at the treats that I have put down for her, while watching Strawberry scarf down as much as she can. 

It is difficult because despite evil cat being evil cat, she is old and frail and I don't want to upset her too much, but this is no weather for a cat like Strawberry to be homeless if there is a warm patch available. 

I've pulled the porch door over a tiny bit, with Strawberry hesitating on the outside, and so far no explosions but a small draft 

Thank you for the hugs

Thank you for the hugs.  I am, I think, suffering badly from self pity.  This blog is a bit of a safety valve, to have a grumble, moan and whinge. 

I wrote a huge swathe of words, worry about pensions and trying to find work with all the health bits and practical bits, and what I could and couldn't and what it would mean to little bear - and then I deleted them.  I really do need to pull myself together.  I can work this out, and I will!  So many others are in a worse position than I am and I need to focus on what I can do and not what I can't do. 

And I really appreciate the hugs - I felt so despondent last night and the hugs have really helped - and I will be trying to get the Child Benefit in my name. 

Also, had some lovely hugs off little bear this morning.  That is as good as a tonic. 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Ashamed of myself

I am ashamed of myself and I ought to be.  I have forgotten two close birthdays.  Fortunately I had sent the presents over at Christmas, but I forgot the cards.  Also a birthday I like to remember, because the person is really nice, is tomorrow, and I have forgotten to send a card. 

I could say that the last few weeks have been people being sick, people coughing and sneezing, people really not well - even evil cat seems scraggier than normal.  However if I was the slightest bit aware of anything outside the home I would have at least posted the cards.

For every two steps forward I seem to take three steps back.  I need need need to get this under control - and I have lost count of the number of times I have said that.  Also I need to get a job, or I will not get a pension.  The child benefit is not in my name, so I don't get any NI credits unless I am working.  And I really don't know how I will go on then. 

I think I will go to bed now, far too late, and hope that some sort of inspiration and 'get it together' bolt of lightning strikes tomorrow.  I am completely out of ideas. 


I am pathetic about snow.  I have already nervously tiptoed around putting out extra grit and salt, though the snow is barely sticking.  I feel so silly - getting so het up about a few bits of white stuff.  People in Russia and Scandinavia, and even places so close as Scotland manage fine.  I am really sick of the irrational fear I have. 

On the other hand, the slope on the pavement outside my house is nearly 45 degrees.  I have rough ground, then steep slopes, then more rough ground.  I am so timid and tentative as well that I do myself no favours.

Tomorrow, after all this white stuff is due to have frozen and the buses are crazy due to road works, I am supposed to go in to a hospital appointment.  I am not looking forward to that, but I will have a look while I am in town to get a really cheap saucepan, from a charity shop if I can, for my first batch of gloop.  Until then I can watch the snow falling hypnotically, and try and find some motivation to get my stock take started. 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Bit worrying

I have bought 200 dishwasher tablets and I am feeling inexplicably reassured.  I think I need to watch my need to have stocks.  The dishwasher tablets were a good deal, 10p per tablet, and I know they will last a while but it was definitely comfort shopping.

I am seriously considering only buying what I absolutely need at that moment, just in time buying from the local shops.  I can't at the moment, as everything is just too chaotic, and I am unlikely to get much further tomorrow as it looks like the snow will affect school.  I also want to stock up on the inexpensive frozen mince from Asda, which means a delivery and then I will suffer from '...and while I am getting a delivery and there is x offer on...' syndrome, which won't help.

I am getting a little better, but I am not there yet.  Once again I know that making a list of all that I have in store is the key, and once again I have no idea where to start.  Well, I shall start with a bit of a shelf and see how I go.  I cannot see a chance of me doing a grand swathe, so I will start with a tin at a time if I have to!   

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Cat Cafe

According to the BBC someone in London is opening a cafe where you can go and get a coffee and cuddle a cat.  It is for those who cannot have pets but have a deep, deep yearning to stroke something feline.  The news story is here and it isn't even 1st April!  Apparently they are going to have segregated areas so the cats are not in the food area, due to hygiene regulations.  Two things occurred to me when I read that.  The first point was that someone has obviously never had to keep a cat out of a place that they wanted to get into.  The second thing was that the sort of person who wants to go into a cat cafe is likely to have a calm attitude to cat hair as a garnish. 

Last night OH watched, laughing helplessly, as I tried to pour a glass of diet coke while evil cat was sitting across my throat and objecting to every arm movement.  First the paw stretched out lazily in front of the bottle, then the tail wafting and shedding over the glass, it was a masterclass in how a cat can interfere with a drink.  And they want to open a cafe.

All I can say to them is, 'Good luck!  You will need it!'

Friday, 11 January 2013

Bedtime surprise

We are settling little bear down for the night.  This is not a short process, partly because little bear is expert at negotiating extra songs, stories and play and party because we love spending time with him. 

Little bear was having a wrestling match with the HUGE panda and rolling around on top of the stuffed rat and the fabric dalek that are currently his bedtime companions.  I was really pleased with the dalek.  It is actually a pyjama case, and I wasn't even searching for it when I saw it on my friend ebay.  I normally don't go for auctions, and it was second hand which I don't mind in general but wasn't actively looking for when it came to presents, but couldn't resist.  It is about two foot high, immaculate and little bear was highly delighted with it.  One of the things that he liked was not only did he get a sneak look at it before Christmas, when he came downstairs unexpectedly, but I also forgot to actually give it him on his birthday so the dalek was a New Year's present. 

It is a surprising present as well.  Because until little bear rolled on top of it carrying the full weight of a four foot panda we didn't realise that it had sounds as well.  Just as we were about to read a Thomas the Tank Engine story we were told that we were the enemies of the daleks and had to be exterminated.  I nearly fell off my chair. 

Little bear has probably explored the full range of noises.  I am just wondering what other surprises are lurking. 

Pulling harder

Today I think I have broken every one of my New Year's Resolutions, except that I like to think of them as not broken, merely slightly dented.  I may not have managed to stick to them today, but that doesn't mean I can't keep on trying. 

So far I haven't bought yarn. I have, however, gone slightly mad for scented candles.  Mind you, the last time I really enjoyed the candles and they lasted for six months for myself and darling father - and we have them on all the time, so it could be worse.  And I got the simmer mat I have been after, and the bucket for making my own washing gloop, and a jug that I can keep for measuring washing soda.  Intellectually I know that washing soda is not the same as caustic soda, but I treat it with undue respect.  I shall put one stirrer aside to stir the gloop with gaffer tape around the handle to show that it is 'not for food use' and then all I need is a largish pan from a charity shop.

btw the containers that soap and detergent have been sold in actually shouldn't be used for food.  Apparently they can affect the plastic and leave a residue.  This does not apply to glass.  However a lovely big tub that once held Vanish is probably not good for sugar.  I have a couple of tubs that once held very large quantities of Vanish but now are a lovely size for holding the utensils next to the cooker.

Speaking of Vanish, I am trying to work out whether the deal at Makro for two v large tubs of the stuff for £11 plus VAT is better than one kilo of Asda own brand stuff for £3.  I will be popping in on Monday to pick up vinegar, so I can check weights then.  And they have a deal on dishwasher tablets, and that is almost exactly equal to the best deal I have seen on the supermarkets, but in a very large packet.  There is something about a very large box of 82 dishwasher tablets that I find so reassuring. 

I will think about it over the weekend.  Going to Makro is okay exercise, but not necessarily cheaper.  I suppose that the trip to Makro may be a penny cheaper or dearer than the supermarket (allowing for VAT), but it is still cheaper than the gym.  I'll take my shopping trolley. 

Pulling myself together

It's what I need to do.  Yesterday started to look promising, as soon as I decided I was going to do nothing I was loading the dishwasher, sorting laundry, walking to Makro, dealing with BT etc.  However darling uncle did his usual tactic of ringing and asking, 'did you just ring me?'  The answer is invariably 'no!'  I cannot remember a time when I said, 'yes, I did ring.'  What I think it translates into is, 'I know you didn't want me to ring before 3.30 but I fancied a chat.'  And that was one hour thirty minutes of me adjusting his next online delivery. 

Today is not going much better.  I thought I had a hospital appointment, but I had washed my appointment card.  I got the day wrong, and the time wrong, but as I pointed out at the reception desk - I got the month right. 

Little bear was in a foul mood this morning.  I may hide from him once he gets home. There was a lot of stamping and angry arm folding.  Mind you, a day in school with his friends is likely to have cheered him up. 

It's January, it is cold, dark and gloomy, and there is a risk of snow.  I can feel myself shutting down.  This is a normal response to January.  I think I will definitely concentrate on my knitting for a bit.  That will free up space, make me feel better and giving me something to keep moving for. 

Roll on summer. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Duvet Day

Today is going to be a duvet day - definitely!  I am so tired and grumpy and fed up and flat and unenergetic and uninspired I think the safest thing I can do is hibernate. 

I started a new project and I am ashamed.  But evil cat has nested in the half finished blanket and I can't cope with a pattern at the moment, so I started a new one.  Mind you, I have been wanting to start it for a while just to get rid of the yarn, it is the thickness of a tow rope and I am knitting on 15mm needles that actually are not too big for it.  And everything is still all chaotic so when I was trying to find a book with different varieties of casting on instead of my usual version, I couldn't find one.  Somewhere I have a book on it.  I often end up with a too tight cast on edge, and I wanted to avoid it.  I think it has worked, but I will see when I cast off. 

In the Lord of the Rings you have a reference to feeling 'like butter spread to thin.'  I feel like that, except less likely to go on a major quest and do heroic things.  The nearest I get to heroic today will be putting the dishwasher on. 

I am going to go away and count my blessings. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Loo Roll and watching the pennies

Little bear is currently trying to use his body weight in loo roll per week.  I did get a large quantity of the stuff from AF a while ago, but it is finally used up, I am down my last pack of nine, and little bear's usage mean's that it won't last long.  Plus we have all had funny tummies over Christmas, so the bathroom has been a high traffic area.

I do have access to Makro, but they aren't always less expensive.  I actually do prefer the bigger roll packs, that is, six bigger than average rolls.  It works out a lot less expensive, the rolls last for ages, even with little bear, and there is the ecological benefits (less packaging, less number of trips to buy etc).

You really do need to be so on the ball with these things in all areas.  I have just been on the phone to darling uncle putting on an online delivery for him, and he wanted tinned kidney beans, the half sized tins.  I said that he could save money by buying the basics version, but that was only in full sized.  Darling uncle didn't want to buy the bigger tin, because of waste.  I pointed out that the smaller Sainsburys own brand tin was 45p for 215g.  The basics 420g tin was 21p.  He could throw half away (anathema to darling uncle) and save 24p.  He got the bigger tins.

I think the biggest thing is to get a stock take of food and cleaning products.  I must have been nattering about doing it for six months.  It isn't going to happen while I am full of cold and my shoulder is bad.  However if my shoulder gets slightly better and I can go for up to fifteen minutes without needing to wipe my nose I need to get that done.  Because buying cheaper is good but not buying it if I don't need it is better. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Taking care of the pennies

I was considering an Approved Food order.  I went through and put some goodies in my electronic basket - and then looked again.  I actually needed none of it.  I had been tempted by the toilet roll as I am finally down to the last pack of nine but it looked quilted and I didn't want to risk blocking my toilet.

So while I am getting in a supermarket delivery, with plenty of things to tempt little bear, and some nice easy stuff for meals, I have watched the pennies. 

So that is a plus for today. 

Shamed again

We are thinking of switching from Sky and BT to Virgin (reluctantly on my part as my experience of the customer service of any of them isn't great) and a man called to see how things could work.  We need thingies to happen, and there were lots of 'well, we could drill a hole here' statements.  The house is going to have more holes than a sieve. 

The house was a real state.  I don't think mortified covers it, the house was just so upside down.  And he sat next to where evil cat had nested in the half knitted blanket and I had to warn him.  Evil cat is now tiny, and her fur is camouflaged in the mottled wool - and evil cat is very good at not being seen anyway.  I managed to stop him from trying to tickle her.  It never ends well. 

I am looking around and the place is beyond dirty.  I have not got better during the last few days, my left shoulder is very painful and I have averaged around three hours sleep for the last few nights.  I don't have the resources to do much.  Darling father is also poorly, OH is at work and on antibiotics and I think I am going to have to keep little bear off school tomorrow.  On top of which the dining room where all the ironing is has been turned all to pieces as I had to move so much stuff (which was hotch potch anyway) to get a the gas meter for the meter man.  How I am going to iron OH's shirt for tomorrow I do not know.

I don't even have the energy to work out a plan.

It is only day 8 of 2013.  It will get better.   

Monday, 7 January 2013

Day Seven

Today is Day Seven of the New Year, and so far I haven't managed to do much about any of my resolutions.  Today was definitely not one of my high spots.  I am sitting here sniffing, having reached the 'sneeze' part of the cold cycle.  I have also hit the Tia Maria again as little bear has gone some time without coughing. 

In fact, today has been a pretty bad day all told when it comes to all the aspirational things I want to do.  I am not sure how much I'll get done tomorrow.  I have to call darling uncle and put in an online order in for him as well, and that is hell.  I don't know how dealing with such a lovely person can be such an ordeal.  OH usually goes out for a walk if he is in, and darling father hides.  Darling uncle could actually look at the site himself.  He has a computer and an internet connection.  Actually he has a lot of gadgets that could connect to the internet and he uses them all for watching BBC i-player and playing patience. 

So tomorrow darling father will hide as I say things like, '...they have it in a pack of 200g.  That's about half a pound... they have it in 100g as well... about four ounces.... they only have the 500g in diet... yes, they have the skimmed... no, but they have the kiwi... we've got to £21.48 and we need to get to £40 for a delivery... yes, I put that on... and that... and that... did you say you wanted that?.. not in purple... no, little bear doesn't need one of those... don't you dare get little bear one of those!... it's 454g to the pound... actually there's quite a lot there... about two pints per litre... will you eat it up before you it goes off?... are you sure... that's £21.72...'  Then the only thing that keeps me off the gin is the thought of me turning up in the playground swaying and singing a song about a goblin.

However I actually am quite glad that I can do an order for darling uncle, as I know that he isn't as strong as he was, and that perhaps at this time of year it can be best if stuff comes to him.  I also like to stock him up in case of bad weather - the electricity still goes off sometimes if it is bad, and having a few tins and some UHT milk in will be a help.  It will write off about three hours, but he is worth it. 


I saw some squirrels this morning.  I haven't seen any squirrels for ages and I was getting a bit worried that there had been a cull or an epidemic or similar.  I hadn't seen them in any of the parks.  Mind you, I didn't manage to get to the parks very often this autumn anyway.  So it was quite reassuring to see a couple of squirrels bounding over the grass with a feather lightness. 

Of course, in the first week of January all squirrels should be tucked up in their dreys and sleeping.  The squirrels I saw playing over the grass probably haven't read the rule book, and it isn't really that cold. 

Mind you, with the weather all over the place as it has been for the last few years, I am not surprised at anything out of season.  There are shoots on the heathers in the garden and flowers on the rosemary bush.  I wonder what the weather will do this year?

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Anyone seen my motivation?

I am sure I had it here somewhere.  If anyone sees it lying around, could they let me know?  It may be next to the plot because I think I lost that a long time ago. 

Back to whatever passes as normal in this house tomorrow.  Please let it be easier than the last week. 

Spending in the Sales

This is not me, but little bear.  He was given money for his birthday and went yesterday to town with his father to spend it.  OH takes him to a particular shop which has lots of Doctor Who merchandise, the same place he got the enormous cardboard cut out of the Dalek.  And though it is a nuisance having a birthday at Christmas, it is great if you get money because you get more for it in the sales. 

However little bear didn't fancy that much of the stuff there.  He came back with some goodies, but also quite a bit of his money.  OH was thrilled - little bear didn't spend for the sake of it.  He bought what he wanted and only what he wanted and then stopped.  We must have done something right. 

Today OH has taken little bear to Toys R Us.  Little bear is quite subdued at the moment, definitely not his normal self, but they trotted happily off to Toys R Us.  They have been gone some time. 

Little bear will probably be a lot better with money than I ever will be.  He was very clear about exactly how much money he has to spend, and while he is picking out a present for his friend's birthday he was very clear who was paying for it - not him! 

He will do alright.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

I am doing it again!

I am doing it again and it is driving me nuts.  No-one in this house is feeling well.  This is normal in January after a wet autumn.  We all have colds, darling father is designed to hibernate so he suffers regardless of germs and it is dark, gloomy and we are on the fag end of Christmas. 

Little bear has a cough and a bit of an upset tummy.  In fact, he is feeling so under the weather that he can barely be bothered to beg for chocolate.  The lad who seems to aim to eat his own bodyweight in sugar seems a bit disinterested in goodies at the moment.  He also has a nasty cough.  I have been watching this cough creep slowly up over the Christmas holiday and it is edging very near to a doctor's appointment. 

This is all normal. 

On Monday, the first day back for little bear, I have an appointment at the hospital at 9am for a lung function test. 

If we are all feeling fine then that means getting little bear up at seven, getting him fed, watered, washed, dressed and out before 7.45 so that he can go to the before school club so that I can get in to the hospital on time.  Normally it takes around thirty minutes to get to the hospital, but at morning rush hour, the first day back at school, I'm allowing a generous hour.

So I am hovering and twitching over little bear to see how well he is.  Will he be well enough at 7.45am on Monday?  What if he isn't - he has had a few days off last term, and the school has targets to meet.  I don't want to send him in poorly, but I don't want to get into trouble.  I will have to pay for the school club regardless - I have no chance to get in touch to cancel. 

And then while my iffy tummy is calming down, I am starting with a nasty sore throat.  Will I be okay taking that into a clinic of potentially poorly people? 

So I am fretting and twitching about something I have no control over, that I cannot possibly know and that will only be made worse by worrying. 

The current plan is to take little bear in regardless, unless he is actually sick, and have darling father on standby to collect if necessary.  I will go in to the test as planned unless I am actually sick as a minor cold is not an emergency.  I will get the dratted test done and come home.  And I will stop worrying!

Little bear is a dude

Little bear has decided - he loves braces, just like Dr Who.  And he has just had a delivery of a pair of braces (ebay is my friend). 

He will probably want to wear them with his pyjama trousers.

Also, little bear was building a castle out of the sofa cushions when he found the padded Dalek pyjama case that I had hidden there in a moment of panic and forgotten about.  This may be a very useful distraction at bed time. 

Quack remedy

Little bear was awake for a lot of the night coughing.  I went up a few times, but he was not in a humour to be comforted.  Then I remembered a quack remedy I had heard in the playground.  I rubbed the soles of his feet with vapour rub - my version is a generic rip off of Vicks. 

And it really helped! 

Little bear as ever did not sleep in but was not as grumpy as he could have been.  I shall try it again tonight before he goes to sleep.

Great big ginormous huge pandas

Little bear had a thing about pandas when he was little, and he still loves his IKEA pandy, even though it has been superseded by Ratatouille.  So both darling father and darling uncle provided him with large pandas.  Darling father provided the smaller, more manageable one.  It is a mere two and a half feet tall, and an absolute nuisance to lug around, store and generally manage.  Darling uncle provided a four foot tall, overweight, cheap furred monster that when we brought it back needed its own seat in the car.  It was exactly the same length as little bear's cot.  I feel seriously outclassed when I try and manhandle it to get it anywhere.

They have both been left in the junk room, but that situation can't continue as I want to move into there. I was trying to convince little bear that they took too much room and moved them into his large bedroom.  This was an error.  Little bear loves his pandas, he loves them, he adores them, he needs them in his room and to be specific he needs them in his bed.

I am up in the middle of the night due to an upset stomach and going past little bear's room I crept in and tucked him in as he is never properly under the covers.  And there he is, in all his glory, sharing his single bed with an enormous panda and an even bigger one that is still taller than him.  There is more panda in the bed than little bear. 

It could be worse.  Little bear is still sleeping on the very edge of the bed.  He does even if it is empty.  I regularly creep in, empty the bed of books, shift over stuffed toys and try and coax a sleeping little bear nearer the centre of the bed.  It doesn't matter.  Little bear always sleeps as if the bed is full.  And at the moment, it certainly is. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Seven years to go

Little bear is officially six.  However I can see teenage years foreshadowed.  I am already on the, 'will you shut the door after you,' and 'will  you flush the toilet after you,' and 'will you turn that down.'

I have already had an 'I hate you' from him - but he was feeling very guilty at the time.  I said I was fine with that but I still loved him so he didn't get off the hook and still had to take his bag upstairs.  He loved me later, anyway, due to the excellence of the beans on toast for tea.  I am not terribly worried about it.  He seems fine to tell me he is angry with me, fine to give me cuddles, and while he gets upset when I catch him out in trying to bamboozle me, he seems to feel very safe with me.  I would rather he was able to shout at me (within reason) than be too scared or insecure to say anything but nice things. 

He is also getting keener on brand stuff - or rather stuff logo-ed with his favourite game.  He apparently has forgotten about the DS XL thingy he wanted for Christmas, but no doubt will remember when he gets in with his friends and starts comparing loot.  He had £10 which he could put towards it or for a surprise toy (or bank it, but I wasn't hopeful on that one, I don't usually give him a choice) and he didn't go for the DS so I think we are off the hook there. 

I have had an interesting time with little bear over the last few days - we are both a little poorly, we are tired and fed up and the dregs of Christmas are draining us both - but he has just interrupted me with a lovely cuddle and smile, and I am happy with that!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

And onwards

I feel a lot better today, but little bear has definitely not had enough stimulation.  We are going out tomorrow, and I know I will feel like death warmed up but it is absolutely necessary.  I shall post if I survive.

OH now has the chills.  It has been really horrible. 

Clever Dr Who

I am a bit away with the fairies due to a lovely temperature and I was thinking about Christmas Day's Dr Who.  There were vicious snowmen, a firm called Great Intelligence, a psychic entity that became self sustaining and disembodied by the end, and the Doctor gave a vital distraction to the Great intelligence in a biscuit tin with a map of the London Underground in 1967 on it, even though the programme was set in Victorian times.

In 1967 an episode of Dr Who was broadcast where a disembodied psychic entity called the Great Intelligence tried to take over the world using Yeti, or Abominable Snowmen, invading through the London Underground.  I was too young to remember the episode, but I read the book.

Clever Steven Moffat.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Speaking of Resolutions

The screen had hardly got dark on the 'take care of the pennies' resolution when I spent £124.99 on a mini fridge.  Darling father has his kettle, tea supplies etc in his room and a little cooler that are usually sold to keep beer in.  It has not been up to the job. 

I suspect that darling father has not always been keeping the milk in there, but he has been keeping a pint over night in it, and the next morning it is cheese.  So we have got a proper mini fridge with proper temperature control.  It means he can keep a small tub of butter, his milk, bits of cooked meat etc if I am not available or he just wants to hibernate (usually December to March). 

I really gritted my teeth over the price, though.  Five days ago it was £104.99.  I am not impressed at the assertion that inflation is around 2%.  That figure doesn't seem to apply to fridges or frozen peas. 

Actually, when I think about it, it's quite worrying. 

Grumbling again

Two days into 2013 and I am on a pity party again.  I am so fed up. 

Today I have shivers, shakes, chills and aches.  I also feel I am about to be sick.  All the time.  I do not need this. 

I may not be up to the New Year's Resolutions, but they are merely postponed, I will get things on track. 

I am most worried about little bear.  I am looking after him tomorrow, and he is an easy child, but I am not up to much apart from groaning.  OH can't take time off as a third of the workforce where he is are off sick, little bear is not really well enough to go in with him either as he is recovering from a sickness bug, and I daren't rely too much on darling father as he is not on fine form as well.  I can see me relying on evil cat. 

(if it is really serious OH will of course be able to come home or the neighbours will help out, but it isn't ideal). 

Resolution dilemma

I use tins of condensed tomato soup a lot in cooking - perhaps as much as once a week if I am cooking properly.  I sometimes use other varieties but have a backlog of the condensed vegetable soup that I have failed to use as much as I could. 

Asda have these on sale at 3 for £1 and they were over 60p last year. 

My instinct is to buy by the crate, but I want to try and stick to Resolutions - spend less and stockpile less.  I am trying to work out how to juggle the different instincts.

Realistically, if I stock take my food and keep track, I am likely to use the tomato soup, and it is worth me stocking up.  It isn't worth me getting the other flavours.  However it is more than ever necessary to me to make sure that I use what I have, and I need to make sure that I know what I have. 

I am going to buy six tins - just over a month's supply.  And make a mental not that a 'good deal' for condensed soup is 3 for £1 or better. 

Thinking about coupons

Wean - I have hardly seen any coupons in the papers recently (though don't look so much).  Years ago my grandmother could do things like pay for holidays using this. 

I suppose my style of shopping is currently not really suited to the Extreme Couponing.  I tend to buy Value or Basics or Smartprice, and it has been difficult to get coupons that take the price lower.   However the Value/Basics/Smartprice ranges seem to be getting not only smaller but more expensive - I noticed a 13p hike in Morrisons Value tissues within a month.  BOGOFs and apparent deals are a not always as good as they look. 

A lot of coupons are to entice you to buy products that you would not normally buy.  As I am a brand tart, it is not a pull to get one brand rather than another in some things so coupons to try new stuff are very welcome, as long as they are inexpensive.  However I like to fit my money saving around my lifestyle not my lifestyle round my money saving (to some extent).  There is no point in my buying value beans because OH wouldn't eat them.  They would end up as nothing much more than paperweights. On the other hand, if I can get his favourite brand at a good price I need to stock up.  And some things are fine as generics.

I think I will have a go at a price book and I will also research the very few products I am actually loyal to to see if I can hover around their websites and see if they do promotions in stores. 

I think it is a way of looking at the world.  How do I best fit food we eat to the food available for the best nutritional value per penny and allowing for a house full of fussy eaters.  To some extent I am reinventing the wheel but I need to work things out. 

I am thinking about it...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

So far so more or less wishy washy okay

I had a no spend day, as I had nowhere to go and spend. 

OH is back at work tomorrow, little bear on Monday.  I should be able to get things moving next week. 

Tomorrow I think I will try and log my cupboards, see what is there.  I can do that in small increments as I will also be playing with little bear.  Tomorrow we are going to do his homework.  He is also going to show me how to start playing minecraft. 

I may regret suggesting that, but I think it will be a great way of engaging with him.As far as I can see it is a harmless computer game, and if it isn't then at least I can find out!  At the moment he is begging for an Xbox to play it on.  I am practicing my 'you have got to be kidding' look.  It is working so far. 

Writing is at a bit of a standstill until I can work out some sort of rhythm.  Little bear is likely to monopolise the computer but that doesn't mean I can't work on plots. I think that it is all about how determined I am to succeed with my resolutions, and the determination is holding. 

I hope everyone had a good New Year and that this year 2013 is kind to all!