Friday, 31 May 2013

Day Seven

Absolutely gorgeous weather!

We had a trip to the museum.  If you are ever in Whitby I recommend the museum.  It has 82,000 exhibits and they are all cuddled together, mammoth tooth by ammonite, jet jewellery by local medal, stuffed seagull by model ship and all local.  I was fascinated by the jet this time.  I am still not sure about the ethics of showing a dead man's hand, but I am happy to leave it be.  Here is a picture of snakestones taken from their website (link here)

And the link to the page of the Hand of Glory here.

We have to pack up tomorrow.  This time there actually isn't that much to go back as we have been relatively restrained this time.  Bear is very sad at the thought.  I have been instructed to book the same place for the same time next year.

The cottage is magnificent, it has four stars and it has earned every one of them!   I have mentally tried to work out whether we could actually live in somewhere like this, roughly one quarter the size of our own house.  Probably not, but I can feel an attack of decluttering coming on.

I have an order ready to be delivered for Sunday.  I hope that will be the last for a bit.  This will be followed by an Approved Food order on Monday and a Veg Box (which I hope to photo) on Thursday.   Then I will be staying as local as possible for as long as possible.  The trick now is to avoid all unnecessary shopping so that I don't bring anything I don't need into the house!

DF, formerly of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers, has been explaining mortars to bear.  Bear has also made a great many notes concerning Doctor Who and Plants vs Zombies.  He intends to tell his teacher everything when he gets back to school.

Here is a picture taken from the website where we book our cottages (link here)

It is a view from our cottage.  I really recommend the cottages, they are so well put together and the owner is very pleasant and friendly.

I am still looking forward to getting home.  I think then I will be able to relax a bit and I hope get back into a rhythm.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Day Six

Ravylesley - after what the ducks have been up to I am not sure I have the energy for webbed feet.

DH has been absolutely wonderful and taken bear to soft play.  That is, if he can find the soft play in the vast quantities of fog.  I am unimpressed.  I would prefer rain as then at least I would get to see a view of a wet Whitby Abbey

My brother took bear to the Dracula experience yesterday.  It hadn't got better.

One of the most wonderful things about DH taking bear to soft play is that it stops bear reciting all the statistics about Doctor Who which is how he has spent the morning since 6.30am.

Memo to self - buy more alcohol.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Memo to self

Memo to self - just because it's a shopping trolley does not mean you can fill it with twenty kilos of stuff and expect it to just glide back to the holiday cottage.  There are kerbs.  There is an incline.  There are half a dozen concrete steps down to the door.

Also, if you have dumped a trolley full of fizzy pop all the way down those steps, don't open the bottle straight way.

Dog sitting is great.  We may end up with a dog instead of/as well as a cat.  Weather is typical for British seaside holiday - coming down in stair rods.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Day Four Whitby Dracula Experience

Whitby Dracula Experience  - £2 each, ten minutes, no refunds.  However if extremely dim lighting and shop dummies rock your boat then go for it.

Drinking Amaretto Cream.  Will regret this tomorrow when dog sitting.

Utterly exhausted

DH has been a star, cooked all meals today, cleaned up as well.  Going to crawl off to bed.  Bear was up at six this morning.

Bear is utterly rejecting going to the beach but insisting we come back here next year.  I think the drink is affecting me because it makes no sense of anything, but what the heck.

And we have romantic ducks outside our door.  Please insert jokes here.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Day Three

Bear was up at 6.15am - he had at least twelve hours sleep.  He had a marvellous time at Whitby Abbey, and is now on the way to the House of Mouse which he adores.  DH, bless him, made lunch and is going out with bear to keep an eye out as he is in the fun house.

It's a lovely warm day, I hope it lasts.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


Bear asked to go to bed at 6pm tonight.  He was flat out by 7pm.

I am running a sweepstake here for the time he wakes me up tomorrow.  I think that today's 5.30am may look like a luxurious lie in.

Mind you he had been paddling, running around, eating ice cream and helping me win a toy dog from the Guide Dog tombola.  Perhaps he may sleep until morning.

Day Two continues

Bear's most favourite toy, Ratatouille, which isn't around anymore, got dropped in a puddle on the way here.  I washed it (successfully washed before) in the washer in the holiday cottage but the tumble dryer proved too much and melted the plastic balls in the feet.  Bear hasn't mentioned it and I am staying v v v quiet.

Today we had a full melt down because we hadn't gone to the House of Mouse (bear does not consider the beach), a melt down when we found that the House of Mouse wasn't open until 10am (or two hours), a melt down when I suggested watching the waves for a while, a melt down when he realised we had to go yards before we got back to the cottage, a massive charm offensive at the newsagent who was absolutely charmed and now he is drawing pictures of plants versus zombies.

He is going to be devastated when he realises that as soon as the tide is out we are going for a walk on the beach.

About to be kicked off the laptop again.

Day Two

Bear is up at 5.30am.  I am on my knees.  About to lose use of laptop for rest of day.  Is 6am too early for gin?  Bear is explaining about Plants versus Zombies again.

Off to try and work out the kitchen.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

On holiday, at point of collapse.

Friday, 24 May 2013


There hasn't been much sight of the ants.  An hour ago I noticed a few ants huddled nervously around the ant trap but there have not been many.  I suspect that they are coming up through the brick work surrounding the drains, or even the drains as there is a big pit where the drains from us and next door empty and the ants could get there.  This may explain the lack of ants, as I have had the washing machine and dishwasher going all day.

Also there is a phrase in the Bible, 'Go to the ant, you sluggard.'  Today I have been far more slug than ant.  Try again this evening and tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Taking Five Minutes

Finally back home after a frustrating trip.  We seemed to hit bad traffic, roadworks and awkward junctions all the way there and back and the satnav had a hissy fit and sent us around most of the Pennines.  This left us running late to drop DF at his snooker.

Holmfirth, where they filmed Last of the Summer Wine, was nice but we didn't have much time there.  Fortunately we were in a cafe when the hail really came down, there was half an inch at least in the corners.

We visited Daisy Lane Book Shop.  If you go to Holmfirth and you like books then I recommend it.  We went in there today and wandered out with one or two books, though we could have bought many.  It is a converted house, absolutely crammed with books, I don't think that they could get a single other book in there.  It is jammed floor to rafter with second hand books at very reasonable prices, and they are hard to get books as well.  I bought a book on grammar, a book on conspiracy theories (research) and a book which may be from the 1930s which explains how to choose an electric cooker and how to use it.  I am considering getting an electric cooker, so it may be useful.  DH came away with some Enid Blyton books for bear and DF bought a 'History for Beginners' book to share with bear.

The above picture is taken from the Daisy Lane internet page.  It shows two cats sitting on books.  I think that the one at the back is the one who got my mother many years ago.  I have seen them in ambush a time or two.  Currently there are two newer cats who we didn't meet, but who will certainly have access and napping rights.  We were warned that if we see the larger of the two that we should not under any circumstances try to tickle his tummy.  In my experience, trying to tickle a cat's tummy never, ever ends well. I have heard of people managing it.  For me it has only ever ended in tears. 

On the way back to the car we called into the Age UK shop.  I wondered if they had any clothes for bear (not that he needs them) and somehow found myself walking out with a table.  It looks a little like this

I need a little side table for the study and at £9.99 to a good cause I thought it worth while.

There is also an old fashioned hardware store in Holmfirth so we picked up some ant traps (thank you for the tip, RavyLesley) and a bath mat.  It was another place were there were all sorts of things I could do with, but I will hang fire for a bit.  It even smelled like the old fashioned hardware store and was full of racks of seeds and clothes lines and spare bath plugs.  I think I shall save up and come back and have a rummage.

Regardless, I now have to woman up and try and sort out the bottom floor.  I have visions of going away for a week and coming back to a nest in the middle of the floor!  Kitchen and ironing here I (very reluctantly) come!

Today is not a good day

As I type it isn't even 8.30am and I am about to start the battle to get bear into uniform.  However I know what is coming up.  After a series of bad nights and disrupted days I have, have, have to finish sorting the ironing out so we can pack for our holiday.  I don't have any choice.  Tomorrow will be more sorting out and packing and steam cleaning the area where the litter tray was so we can put the tyres there, though I suppose as it has been cleaned it will do without the steam at a pinch.  However we are committed to taking DF out for a run in the car today because apart from everything else we need a decent run in the car to make sure all is working after a service.  Everywhere is upside down and I need to be in all sorts of places at once and I have taken my eye off the laundry basket and it is now overflowing - and it is not a drying day here!

I haven't had a chance to pick up my prescription.

And this morning bear slept in until 7am but I still managed to get bits sorted but the first thing I noticed as I was getting his breakfast was ants in the kitchen.  Ants!  There were only two, around the sink, and I don't leave packets open as I always either put things in jars or bags, but I am so unhappy about this.  I had noticed them in the garden but hadn't thought anything of it.  I do not have a vendetta against ants except in my kitchen!

So I need to pick up variations on the theme of chemical warfare while I am out and do a much deeper clean than I had hoped to get away with.  Sigh.

Now I need to dash off and get bear's disco gear sorted out as well.  Today he is happy to go.  Yesterday he was lukewarm.  At the start of the week he utterly rejected it.  I'm getting used to it.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


If anyone is interested the latest offering for the challenges at Trifecta and Write on Edge is here.  I hope you like it.

I am finding it a bit more of a challenge than the set up is asking, though.  I find myself trying to fit the story into two different prompts, together with Steve, Elaine and the background for the Forgotten Village.  It is fun though.

Grumpy start to the day

I was woken again by the kids behind  us screaming.  I then was faced with the ginger gentleman miaowing to come in.  Even though we no longer have evil cat I do not feel up to dealing with the ginger bully.  Then I watched a load of wheel barrows of what looked like what you get when you wash a concrete mixer out being fly tipped as I tried to get bear to school.

On the bright side I managed to get this picture on my way back

It hasn't come out as well as I hoped as it looks quite patriotic close up with white wild garlic, blue love-in-the-mist and very dark pink red campion.  I read somewhere that you could eat the seeds of love-in-the-mist instead of cumin.  I will believe that when I see packets of love-in-the-mist seeds on the shelf at Sainsburys.  I suspect there are a lot of wild stories out there when it comes to herbs.  I think I will reserve judgement.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Yesterday I sent in a fully functional, reasonably decent shirt to school to be dissected.  The shirt was chosen as bear utterly rejected, I was very lukewarm about it and every other stitch in the house was spoken for.

Today I am ironing and find a pair of bear's school trousers with a hole starting.  It isn't worth patching like I would with the denim so I am somewhat unimpressed.  I am unimpressed that there is a hole.  I am also unimpressed that the shirt went in that could have been used elsewhere when I had a pair of trousers now destined for Nice Mr Next Door to use for rags but would have been fine for dissecting.

That will teach me to keep on top of the ironing pile.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Not bright but early

This morning was very unusual.  I woke before bear.  There is no working clock in the room and I surfaced gently to the sound of the people at the back screaming.  I couldn't work out the time.  It was definitely light but at this time of year that doesn't mean much.  The people at the back scream at all sorts of times, so that wasn't a good guide either.  Normally I would have risked just trying to get back to sleep as DH is always out by eight and that gives me plenty of time to get ready.  However DH is off this week.  I couldn't risk bear oversleeping for the first time in his life.  

I dragged myself out of bed and looked at the clock in the next room.  It was 6.45am and I wanted to go back to sleep.  However I didn't dare.  Just as I was about to start getting dressed bear woke up and thundered downstairs.  

Memo to self - remember to take your phone to bed.  

Sunday, 19 May 2013

How do you wash a crisp packet?

I googled but without success.  I think you should probably turn them inside out and scrub with lots of washing up liquid, but I couldn't face the risk of tearing them as we haven't eaten that many packets of crisps this weekend.  I did my best and swished them around in hot soapy water and rinsed them out.  They are drying on the tops of wooden spoons and spatulas upright in the cutlery drainer.  I wonder if they would have   been any good in a dishwasher?

btw there is a video clip out there showing how to open a packet of crisps.  Maybe I should video my attempts at washing the crisp packets.  There are some very odd things out there and I am very happy that I am not the oddest.

I have also ironed a perfectly good shirt to go into school to have things done to it.  Bear may not want to wear it but I am confident that it would have done for someone else.  Grumble, grumble grumble.  I think I have the end of a hangover from the Eurovision as I am feeling a bit unimpressed.  I could never really reconcile to pictures made out of pasta and coloured rice either.  I couldn't shake the feeling that it was a waste of food, though I did try my best to be enthusiastic with bear.

Incidentally I can't remember where I read of someone who bought some sturdy sandwich bags and kept reusing them, washing them out every time and drying them on something like my wooden spoon set up.  When my current stash of flimsy ones runs out, around 2015 (on offer for about 50p for 300 at Approved Food years ago, I bought a boatload), I may even try that.  The way prices are hiking up it will probably make sense soon.  I daresay I will also reuse as many bags as is practical.  I am still working my way through a box of envelopes bought in 1998, and I am happy to do so.  Some stashes work.  Others don't.  I will be checking on the stash of soup mix I have, the bags of barley and lentils and stuff.  I think some of that is very elderly and while it may not technically go off in my life time it isn't earning its shelf room.  I'd cook it up and leave it out for the birds if it wasn't for all the rats and cats around.  It's too far out of date to donate.

I've scratched around for the bright side in all this, and the bright side is that I haven't been this prepared for a Monday morning since bear was in Reception, so that is something.  He has new shoes, which is also something.  Also tomorrow I shall go for a long walk and feel better and that is a big something.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Watching Eurovision with gin

Gin and subtitles are the only way to watch Eurovision.  Sambuca is also good.  I can't remember the last time I was this tipsy.

I will so regret this tomorrow.  And I have seen this and I am wondering if the gin I bought was entirely legal.

Clothing sorted

I bought a bundle of four shirts from ebay for a total of £6.70 inc p&p.  They are lovely, clean and nice and bear will look great in them.  They are all short sleeved shirts which are the type he prefers and he is quite keen on all but one of them.

This shirt is in the latest crack of fashion (or if not latest then more recent than I have caught up with) and has blue stripes and pretty blue flowers on it.  I looked at it extremely doubtfully.  DH was not impressed.  DF liked it, but he enjoyed fashion during the 1970s and the shirt fits right in there.  Bear decided that this shirt could go to school and be cut up.  I will get it washed and ironed for Monday.  I shall also wash out the crisp packets.

I am going to get a supermarket delivery and I am not happy.  It is bear's lunches that have broken it.  I am beyond my wit's end with them.  He is refusing sandwiches and all my attempts to add protein.  I wish he would eat cheese, but if he doesn't like it then he doesn't like it.  I am going to be doing some research.

He is not eating much at all anyway, so I may be able to swing back to sandwiches later.  Until then I have caved enough to get some packets of ready to eat chicken (which hurt) and I will also pick up some drumsticks to make for him to have with the goodies in his box.  He loves cucumber sticks and cherry tomatoes and he has been having apples, satsumas and grapes as well.  All I need to do is get protein into him.  He cannot do an afternoon of learning on grapes alone.

Interestingly, while I was looking for a good image from I found some inspiration.  Home made pizza here I come!  Just don't tell bear it has cheese in it.  

Friday, 17 May 2013

It's for research - honest!

As someone who wants to be a writer I do have a habit of looking at things that no respectable person should even consider.

Yesterday bear's daily melt down was because he doesn't want to go to the school disco.  He doesn't want to, it isn't fair, he doesn't know how to dance, it isn't fair and none of his friends are going (and it isn't fair).  I tried to talk about dancing, jigged around a bit to the music that goes with the times tables song we found on you tube and generally tried to be optimistic.  I even looked at 'how to dance' videos on you tube.

All I can say about the how to dance videos that I found is that discos must be a very different place to when I was young.  Also they must be extremely different from when I last went into one in 2005 (works do).  Also they must be extremely different to any I have ever heard about.  Mind you, there was no alcohol involved which may explain a lot.

While I was on you tube I found a video showing how to fold a t-shirt in two seconds.  I quite enjoyed watching it with bear and I had a go while bear supervised.  I shall be doing this each time I iron t-shirts now,  although my t-shirts will probably not have seams straight as they are not expensive at all.  I may put in 'how to' in you tube and see what comes up.

Of course one of the things that I saw on you tube was 'how to pick a lock'.  As an aspiring write I had to look at this, who knows when it will be useful to describe.  It was a yale lock, and I know enough to say it was a five lever action.  However what with how to make a Mickey Finn (research for 'The Forgotten Village') and slow match ('Digging up the Past', out soon I hope, and you wouldn't believe what you can get on ebay) and now how to pick a lock (not yet part of a story but who knows) all I can say is that I hope no-one needs to check my browsing history.

I checked in the playground this morning.  Two of bear's closest friends are going to the disco.  This is not making him happier.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Quiet Day

I am having a quiet day.  I walked to Makro for bread and milk and it was nearly an hour all told.  The walk was brisker at the start than the finish, but it was something.  I have spent a lot of the day taking commas out of Digging up the Past.  That is a job of work in itself as I suffer very badly from excess commas.

Someone is spreading out tarmac in the street.  As the road looks like something out of a historical drama and the potholes are more like swimming pools in some places I am not asking too many questions about where the tarmac came from or exactly who they are.  They are tamping it down nicely as well.  This is going well with the late eighties music coming at full volume from the house behind and will soon be mixing with bear's piano practice.  So while it is technically a quiet day with just stuff like washing and dishwasher and so on it is still remarkably noisy.

The Chilli vacuum cleaner is not playing nicely either.  I think I need to wash the filter after use.  Still the stairs and the easy bits of the living room and study are less dusty so that is something.  I keep yearning after a dyson but I think I will have to wait for that.

I am waiting to see what bear will say about his lunch.  He has been grumbling about his sandwiches for a while.  He wants to go back to the wraps and lunchables that he had when I was poorly and I am not willing.  Negotiations are ongoing but as he has complained about chicken and ham he got fish paste today.  At least he is back on a proper breakfast.

And now I have washing on the line it has started to rain - have to go!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

School asks nicely

Bear brought home his homework book today and in it was a note saying that for science week they need to take in empty crisp packets (bear was very clear about type) and old or unwanted clothes.  It seems that the crisp packets will be shrunk in an oven and the clothes may be cut up.

The crisp packets I can live with, but I am not impressed by the clothes request.  I have no idea whether the clothes should be adult, child, complex, simple, with or without trimmings and haberdashery or what.  I know I over think things and that the school was being vague to make it easier for families but every garment in this house is spoken for.  There are clothes to be donated.  There are clothes to be sold.  There are clothes that are fine, thank you, and we would like to keep them.  DF is scouring the house anyway for clothes for the nearly new stall and we are not so extravagant that there are just random garments lying around.  It is only three weeks since the Martial Arts fundraiser which wanted clothes (I forgot about it, which is normal for me at the moment).

Bear's hoarding tendencies will not be helped either if he is asked to cut up any of his own clothes as they will immediately be his favourite, the most favourite garment ever and he will be utterly devastated.  No teacher deserves that.

I was grumbling about this to Tom Marlowe.  He is in a dark, gothic mood at the moment (check out his blog here) and he suggested sending in a shroud with soil around the edges.

I really miss evil cat.  Not only in general, but sometimes she made the most sense.

Father and Handbags

I was going to post a picture of all the handbags, but half of them have been whipped away.  DF will be taking some to the nearly new sale, one to a little girl and some to his lady friend(s).  I am still left with half a dozen lovely handbags and purses that will do me for years and I shall be very happy with.  The handbags are all in lovely condition and the parcel was well wrapped.

I really should go and do something useful now.  I have washing in, dishwasher on, meal for tonight planned, windows opened, changed DH's bed, noticed that the mattress that will be my bed is now moldy and more or less recovered from getting bear to school.  Time to get a bit further on.

generic picture of handbag from  as most of mine have been nabbed

Wild Garlic

Found my camera!  I thought I would take some pictures of the banks of the beck a few hundred yards or less from our home.

As a poor picture taker on a wet and overcast morning, these aren't too bad and you can see the drifts of wild garlic that are covering the banks.  There are a lot more plants upstream.

This is the north facing bank with all the buds ready to burst.

They are very pretty but it does have a certain 'back of a kebab shop at closing' scent about it.

The beck is quite full from rain.  I'm just grateful it isn't snow.  I am an official bad mother as bear was the only child in the class not wearing a jumper.  As he had a vest on under his shirt and I normally can't keep anything on him I am not too worried.  The school is normally quite warm anyway.  I'd have a jumper ready for him when I pick him up but bear will take off his jacket and jumper to walk home when there is still snow on the ground so I think I will save my effort.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Writing again

The latest piece of writing is here.

I quite enjoyed writing it, but following the weekly prompts are getting me all embroiled in continuing characters, which I never meant to use, and I can see yet another series.

I need to write more for the sake of my mental health.  However at least one thing I am working on looks like it will have a sad ending and I loathe sad endings.  In another piece two characters that weren't supposed to be having much to do with each other are falling in love despite my reservations.

All things considered I think I will go and get some ironing done.

Bear foot

I was checking bear's shoes this morning as it is ages since he had them fitted and I keep waiting for there to be problems.  I asked him whether the shoes felt tight.
'Oh yes,' he said.
'Why didn't you say something?' I asked, a little concerned.  I am used to bear being quite forward at coming forward.
'You never asked.'

As there is still a bit of give in them and he still races around at high speed, I don't think they are very bad.  However new shoes time, I think.

It was a fuse

It was a fuse that blew all the lights on the ground floor.  The wiring in all the houses in the street is apparently eccentric and as That Landlord skimps on maintenance and we don't know what we are doing it is likely to get even more eccentric as the years go on.  I suspect that by the time we are ready to move into a retirement home this house will have reached the end of its life.  There is already the beginnings of a suspicious bulge in the wall of the outside steps down to the kitchen.

Ninety rolls of toilet paper have arrived.  I am still waiting for the handbags.  OH is still unimpressed at the thought of two dozen handbags arriving, no matter how inexpensive, because there is nowhere to put them.  I am trying to stay way from internet shopping as I am a bit more random than normal.

As for yesterday, I seemed to spend most of it being talked at by people who didn't know what they were talking about but were saying it repeatedly and loudly regardless.  By the time bear finally went to bed I felt like I had been repeatedly hit hard on the head by a brick wrapped in a very fluffy towel.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

That's blown it

I was muttering about a delivery.  I don't want to have a delivery until I need to.  However we are out of rice and the rice at Makro is over three times dearer than the Sainsburys value long grain rice.  There is nowhere within walking distance to get value rice and it would cost me £3.90 to get the bus, whereas a delivery if timed well could cost as little as £3.00.  I could ask DH to call in to Morrisons but he has a week from hell looming so I don't like to give him anything more on top of that.  If I got a delivery then I could get some frozen mince as the stuff from the NISA isn't as good as the frozen stuff.  Even so I was reluctant as I need an emptier freezer and a fuller bank account and I didn't want to get a delivery just for the sake of a bag of rice and I could walk to Makro and get a two kilo bag without that much effort even though I would spend more.

I was still debating when the fluorescent light in the kitchen and the small light in the walk in cupboard both blew at the same time.  I have just checked the dining room lights and they are also dead.  None of the fuse switches have gone, so it looks very complicated and it will almost certainly involve a trip to B&Q.  And if I have to go to B&Q then I can call in at the Aldi next to it and buy some rice there.  As long as I stay away from the chocolate I should be fine.

Computer Security

I have just read an article in the Guardian online here which covers the basics of computer security.  I am off to check exactly what is where, which passwords are guessable, and to follow their advice.  I may be some time.  It would be far worse if I didn't follow it and got hacked.

Bewildered by shopping

A few weeks ago, at the same time as the grocery delivery for sixteen bottles of pop and five tins of condensed tomato soup, I ordered clothes for bear from Matalan.  I should have known there would be a problem as bear was poorly and insisting that I played plants versus zombies for him and I was exhausted, bewildered and confused.  I have had good experiences with Matalan and their clothes do little ones very well.  When bear was tiny I would always go to Matalan for his vests as they were really good quality for the price - or even just good quality.  I am always happy to get stuff from there for him.

I checked the delivery today.  For some reason I got a duplicate order, including one pair of jeans that wasn't duplicated and an extra tshirt.  I took them back to the shop.

They were lovely about it.  I explained that it was my fault.  They reassured me that it was probably not (which I suspect was a kindly white lie) and happily took back the excess.  I picked up a casual shirt for bear and six shirts for the next school year for him while I was there.  I also picked up a pack of kid's coat hangers and a pair of sunglasses for bear.  Bear inspected them, approved and now is wearing them while playing on the computer.  I give it thirty six hours before he loses them.

I think I could do with perhaps two more shirts for summer for bear to supplement the ones I thought I had got.  I will have a quick browse but to be honest I think he can get by with what he has.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Not safe with paypal

Apparently vast quantities of handbags are on their way to me.  I don't 'do' handbags.  I am looking for something to carry a purse in.  I am sure I will cheer up when I see them.

Last night was busy.  This morning has been quite active.  I am low, tired and feeling a bit fed up.  These are dangerous times for me to be left in charge of a paypal account.  Normally I would be sorting out an order for a grocery delivery but I am holding off on that.  I am desperate to keep away.  It has helped that Morrisons are running a deal on Famous Grouse so I have had DH bulk buy there.  The deal from Asda from over a month ago has just run out, so I am hoping this lot will see us through until the end of June.

I need things for bear's sandwiches and a few bits for DH.  He likes Trackers and it is a lot less expensive to buy those in a box in Makro.  I also could do with topping up on the lemonade the men like with their whisky.

Bear has rediscovered his pandy, which he had forgotten about.  It is always a bad sign when he clings on to soft toys.  I suspect that it is basically ear wax build up after a minor cold and DH has put in olive oil drops.  I am not looking forward to the battle to finish off his homework, I will face that one later.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Poor bear

Poor bear, the ear ache is back.  As is usual with bear the pain started when there was no chance of a doctor's appointment.  It would be nice if he just once was poorly on a Monday.

He is dosed up with calpol and keeps half waking and crying.  I suspect I will have a busy night.  However it does not explain or excuse why I managed to buy a job lot of handbags for under £15 including postage.  I could do with one bag, and just one.  The one I thought was okay isn't, the straps have gone, and I thought that eventually I would replace my current one.  Perhaps by Christmas.  This does not account for nearly two dozen bags and clutches winging their way to me.

Half of me is hoping that the seller will refuse to complete because they haven't reached a decent price.  I can't imagine why I bid on them in the first place - one of them is pink!  I don't do pink.

I am sure I will be able to do something with them.

Writing from someone else

My friend Thomas Marlowe has been writing again and won the Trifecta challenge, where you write a story using a prompt in 333 words or less.  If you like dipping into very short stories, and his are not really suitable for young people but this one isn't too dark, then get over and have a look here.

I really enjoyed it and I am so pleased for him.  


I was reading an article about Grammar in the Guardian online here.  I found it desperately depressing.  I didn't know what half of the words meant.  I was educated during the great educational experiments of the seventies and I was never taught grammar.  In fact during my first three years of school I wasn't taught to read or write either.  I was introduced to the whole idea of nouns and verbs aged eleven when I started to learn French.  I have never quite grasped some of the grammatical terms introduced by French either.

It was quite reassuring to find that my regular sin of starting a sentence with 'and' isn't so bad.  Apparently it is okay to boldly split infinitives.  I was drilled never to start a sentence with 'however' but I learned later that actually it is quite acceptable.

My first aim when I write a story is to write something that people can enjoy, with believable characters, interesting plots and room for a reader's imagination.  When it comes to the technical side of writing my general rule of thumb is, 'can someone who has never met me understand what I have written?  Is it clear?  Are there places which are ambiguous?  Is it consistent?  I suspect that using grammar correctly will help me achieve these goals.

I picked up grammar through reading.  I write what I think sounds write, listening to the words.  If I am a writer (and I suppose I am) then I really need to learn these things properly.  It's like a decorator not knowing how to paint a wall.

I think I had better look out for some evening classes.  I am not enthused by the prospect, but I am quite determined.  Can anyone recommend any books?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Bear's choice

Bear has the option of four coats/jackets at the moment.  There is the warm winter coat which will definitely be too small next year but we have had two year's wear out of it and it was inexpensive from Matalan, a red thin rain jacket (ebay is my friend), a red and blue slightly sturdier summer jacket (ebay is my friend) and a small brown bomber jacket that is supposed to look like leather (ebay was my friend last year).

Only one of these is without a hood and I am about to go out to pick up bear and it is raining.  Guess which jacket he chose this morning. I can take a different one out with me and there are places he can get it on.

I am a bit unimpressed with the rain, actually, as it is enough to make bear complain, enough to make my hair flat but not enough to get me out of watering the garden this evening.

Odd start to the day

Bear woke me up at 6am, as usual.  He is utterly exhausted and in need of sleep but he doesn't seem to be able to sleep in.  Need to foreshorten bedtime, I think, but he was asleep by 8.30 last night.  However if he is tired then he is tired.  I am suspected a collection of growth spurts as we haven't had some for a while.

I also feel utterly exhausted after trying to write last night and failing.  I feel completely weary, tired and lacking in inspiration.  However it isn't yet 8am as I type and I have got myself ready, watered the garden, made bear's breakfast and lunch, sorted out clothes for bear, loaded the dishwasher and actually remembered to get something out of the freezer for dinner.  It usually takes me all morning to get that lot done.

I shall wait and see what happens.  Theoretically I don't have the energy for writing or  housewifery.  However I shall keep my fingers crossed and see if I sleep walk into something useful.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Not a good day

Not a brilliant day today.  At least the ninety rolls of toilet paper heading my way won't go off.  I shouldn't be allowed access to paypal in this sort of mood.

I am about to collect bear and drag him to his piano lesson.  I am not sure who is less enthusiastic, him, me or the poor teacher (who is really, really lovely) when she has the full benefit of bear.

Vampires keep out

Bear has decided he likes garlic.  DH is enjoying the fat cloves of garlic from the veggie box and the IKEA garlic crusher finally put to use and is encouraging bear to like garlic.  Garlic is being included in all sorts of meals.  DH added garlic to baked beans along with some paprika, which I quite enjoyed.  Bear was less enthusiastic but I suspect that was more to do with the beans than the garlic.

I am happy that bear likes garlic, it is tasty in a lot of things and it is a healthy thing to add to food.  However you can only imagine what the kitchen bin smells like after a few successive nights of garlic.

This actually wouldn't be so bad, as it is just a small amount of garlic and the scent soon fades.  However the local beck has swathes of wild garlic on its banks which are just coming into flower at the moment and their scent is wafting gently over Matalan and in through the ever open windows.

I keep comforting myself that at least it is keeping the vampires away.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Cooked a successful dinner

I defrosted some turkey breast steaks that I had bought on offer.  So I softened a clove of garlic, added and softened two small diced onions and some mushrooms that were in the freezer from the veggie box and when they were cooked through I added the turkey that I had sliced into small strips.  Once the turkey had cooked through I added a tin of condensed tomato soup with some garum masala and paprika.  I served with rice.

It was a success!  Bear loved it, DF and DH loved it and I quite liked it.  I shall definitely be doing it again.  I'm putting it here so I remember the recipe.

Why bear gets colds

Over the years I mentioned this, but it may well explain the constant and every growing colds bear suffers from.

Last night I went upstairs and put the covers back over bear.  Then I went to the bathroom, came out and put the covers over bear again.  I have never been able to keep the covers on him, even when he was a baby.   This may also explain why he wakes at the first sparrow's cough.  He is finally aware that he is cold so wakes up and comes downstairs, complaining he is cold. I have his dressing gown hung downstairs as he never remembers it when he leaps out of bed no matter where I put it in his bedroom, so it is easier for me to just have it ready for his early morning grumble.

This morning wasn't a grumble.  He was just lovely.  He was certainly lovelier and nicer than I ever am at 6.15am.

Writing Again

Every week Write on Edge and Trifecta give a prompt for people to write a story about.  My take on their prompts is in my other blog here

The stuff I write is usually family friendly.  If you are okay with something a lot darker then check out the story by Thomas Marlowe here  I should say that it isn't suitable for youngsters, but I do think it is an interesting story.

I hope you feel able to enjoy them.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bear gets away with it

Bear is a bit under the weather, he is still suffering with wax in his ears and it was bad today.  As it's a bank holiday I couldn't get to the chemist for olive oil drops.

So I let him camp out on the bedroom floor on the fold out bed.  He has been wanting to do that for ages, and I thought it would not harm on a warm night.  He is away from the drafts and is safe.

I think tonight must hold the record for the quickest sleep on record.  I think the fold out bed may stay there for a bit.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Having faith

Ravylesley - I started to do a reply to you, but realised that I couldn't do my feelings justice in that small box.  

You said, 'Children dont want another friend they want a strong Parent who loves them enough to stand up to them'  And I cannot agree with that enough.   It sounds crazy to say, 'I am not my child's friend' but as a parent we can't have that relationship.  It doesn't mean we can't be close, or loving, or enjoy each other's companionship.  However one person in the relationship has to be able to say, 'No' and take a longer view.  I try my best to do that.  

Bear's relationship with piano lessons is a case in point.  He doesn't want to go, he objects, he grumbles and he complains.  He turned to me once and bitterly demanded why I forced him to go.  I said something like, 'It will make you more intelligent, more co-ordinated and give you insights into things that others who do not have music lessons don't.  It will give you chances to make friends, have fun, impress girls and you may be able to pick up extra money by playing the occasional bit here and there.  You are going.'  Bear is still trying to think of answers to that lot so he just says he doesn't want to go.  He goes.  

The difference between the two churches is not vast.  Methodism and the Church of England are not widely separated when it comes to theology.  As far as I can tell, the Sunday school lessons are not hugely different.  I think the CofE church would give bear wider experiences. I could list a lot of positives for the closer church.  I am not managing much more than lukewarm about them, but I suspect that is me.  

The brutal truth is that physically it is hard for me to get to the CofE church, it would easily take over an hour to walk and the buses are erratic.  Bear is willing and comparatively enthusiastic about the church at the end of the street, which is full of nice people and a theology that I am comfortable with.  At the moment it is bear's best chance of a relationship with God.  

So I will take bear to the end of the street each Sunday, and concentrate on other battles, such as once again working on his basic manners which seem to be evaporating at the moment and on enforcing healthy eating.  This way bear will learn about faith and that is far more important than my reservations and tepid reaction.  

Thank you for your comment.  It has really helped me and I really appreciate it.  

Bear and Church

Bear has been unimpressed at the idea of going to church where he was Christened.  It is more than five minutes slow walk away.  I am getting seriously bothered about bear's reluctance to travel, in fact I am beginning to worry.  The Church I was hoping to make him a regular is a working church, energetic, lots for kids, great atmosphere, and, shamefully, would help him get into the CofE secondary school.  I do believe, I do read the Bible and pray but I feel that I am not quite enough of a Christian to look 'right' to get bear into a better school.  Regardless it is five years away and I am more worried about missing the music, the teaching and the new circle of friends.

Today I caved and we went to the Methodist chapel at the end of the street.  It is very much DF's stamping ground, he has a lot of friends there and is very involved.  I am worried I will make him look bad.  It is the sort of church where 'Sunday best' is required.  I don't have a problem with that, except my feet are still too swollen to wear shoes so I sort of stand out in trainers.

Bear was beautifully behaved, although at the moment that is always a bit of a challenge.  I seem to be once again drilling him with 'please' and 'thank you' but he did very well.  I went with him to Sunday School, and I will wait and see how things go.

It's odd.  There are some really lovely people there, and it will be comforting to me to have bear taught my belief system by others more knowledgeable, and DF is really happy there, but I can't help but feel really, really, really tepid about it.  I am sure that it is just me, and I know that the lovely people there will make bear very welcome.

(c) Betty Longbottom

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Smoke in the wind

Next door but one are having a barbecue.  The wind is pretty brisk today and our street acts like a wind tunnel.  It is quite a cold wind as well.  I have had all the windows open all day since I saw that infection decreased in NHS hospitals when the windows were open.

As I look out of the window I can see horizontal gusts of smoke.  I'll find out tomorrow what happens, until then I shall stay safely inside.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Need to write more

I need to write more.  As I have written I have been becoming more alive.  Yesterday I raced to get the small story written and got it finished in 30 minutes.  Today I have had a walk even though my joints hurt, watered the garden, one load of washing on the line already, boiled eggs for lunch, remembered to get sausages out of the freezer, unloaded dishwasher, washed up, got bear to school and done the duty call to darling uncle.  It isn't even 10.30 and the walk took half an hour.  I'm feeling quite good about it all.

So today is writing and ironing.  I am going to make the most of this energy while it is here.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

I've written some more

About ten days ago I followed a prompt for writing.  I've had another go, but added in a prompt from another site as well (thanks, Tom, for the challenge) and this time I am limited to 333 words!  The result is 'Another Door Opens' and if you enjoy my writing please feel free to dip in.

Fingers crossed 'At the Sign of the White Hart Pt 2' should be up by the end of the weekend as well.

And a huge thank you in advance to anyone who reads it.

New vacuum cleaner!

It's finally come, the Ewbank chilli vacuum cleaner

I took it up to DH's room to vacuum as that hasn't been done in living memory.  For years I haven't been able to physically get up there myself and I certainly haven't been able to lug a cleaner up there.

The cleaner is really, really light.  It was so easy to carry up and down.  It was so pleasant, there is even a carrying strap but I suggest that the strap isn't used permanently because I kept sucking the strap into the suction thingy.  It fills up quick but it's not too bad to empty and at least you don't need to change bags.  It wasn't so good on the pet hairs left by evil cat but as evil cat used to spend the most time there and I thought that perhaps I should have started with a shovel it may be the conditions.  Also the carpet isn't flat, you can see the grooves of the floor boards underneath the carpet and I think I would need a handbrush or one of the tools to get into those hollows.

It is really tiny, so it probably takes a tiny bit longer, but it gets under beds etc really easy because it is tiny.  I will start trying the attachments soon, and will let you know how they go.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

More spending

Again I have been spending for the holiday.  I got two short sleeve shirts for DH in Matalan for £12 each.  I also picked up some new soup bowls as I have happened to a couple and we are down to three.  As four of us live in the house I picked up 3 for the price of two (so three for £4) and the extra two can be used for when I break the next ones.  I also picked up a cheap pack of microfibre cloths (£2 for 5).  I have a lot of cleaning and decorating in mind.

I was going to get a new handbag as I am beginning to loathe mine, but it can wait and actually it is ideal for the holiday as actually I can use it for most of my bits and pieces.  I am quite confident that I have another one stashed somewhere and really all I need is something to keep my purse in while we are away.

DF has been stashing wipes from KFC which I will be taking with us.  He likes to call in there when he is in town for a snack and always brings his hhome, and they will be brilliant for the holiday.  I have sunscreen stashed from Approved Food.  Any food etc we can pick up at the local co-op, fishmonger etc and I will take a small box of seasonings.  All things considered I don't I need to get anything more for the holiday.

btw I quite like Matalan.  The sizing is a bit skimpy but they have a lot of clothes very similar to M&S and actually the quality has been pretty good.  I am buying more and more stuff from there for bear and they sort of count as local, as I looking out of my window onto their back wall..  They are on Topcashback and Quidco.  I have just had a quick look at the men's shirts online and interestingly they have a much greater variety online but don't have the ones I got for DH.

Beautiful morning

I have started to have a walk each morning after I drop bear at school.  Some mornings are more enthusiastic than others and some mornings are brisker than others but I usually manage half an hour before picking up DF's papers on the way home.  I walk past a Nisa and this morning I popped in and picked up some mince.  It was £3 for 500g, and I am waiting to see the quality, but that means spaghetti bolognese tonight.

I use a lot of mince.  Normally I get the free flowing frozen stuff which currently at Asda is £2.50 for 454g.  But if the mince from the Nisa is decent quality then I can pick it up most mornings, support someone local, and avoid the delivery charge.  I picked up some crackers for bear as well.  I can also free up space in my freezer for stocking up from the farm shop for meat, freezing the stuff from the veg box to use later in the week and generally good stuff.

So if, and that is a big if, the mince is decent quality then that is a step further away from the supermarkets.  I will still have problems with impulse buying but I can work on that. And that is also a bit nearer me saving money.

I am looking forward to more walks.