Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Just a quickie

Hello all. 

Just want to wish you all a Happy Christmas. I know it's only Christmas eve eve but am working tomorrow. Also shopping to get, cleaning to do and a final present drop. So may not get the chance. Thanks for all the follows, comments and to other bloggers - all the interesting posts.

Take care x

photo from the splendid Farne Island Blog - hope they don't mind I used it. Well worth following the wonderful blog x

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


Hello. I think I have a new follower, thanks very much. And to everyone else for following me.

Hope you are all well. Cannot believe how soon Christmas will be. I am making my lists now and feeling relieved each time an email arrives telling me another package has been despatched. Trying to clear a space in the freezer for Christmas meat so we had a dinner of chips, fish and ready made cauli cheese tonight. It's made a nice chicken sized gap. Need to eat our way through a bit more to create space for the Aunt Bessie spuds. I know...cheater.

I have been keeping up with the gluten free although a few errors have occurred. I have tried gf bread and if you can get over the grey pallor and chewy texture it's not too bad. Well it's somewhere to spread the honey and marmite. Although I would pay a tenner for a loaf of Happy Shopper white, gently toasted and covered in butter. mmmmh.

Had a Christmas works do. My first in years. It was very interesting and good fun. I remained sober and can remember every bit of it. Another first. Had to sit opposite a lad that luckily I rarely have to see and will never work with. The sort of person I would hate for my son to be and if I had a daughter, for her to be near.

I'm getting on at work ok. The boss seems a very fair one and doesn't sigh (to often) when I make a mistake. Each week I remember and understand more of the work and he is always willing to explain all aspects of the job.

Whose looking forward to spring? Lighter mornings and evenings. No scraping ice of the car. I am planning what I will grow this year. I will cut back on the courgettes and toms and really go for it with peas/beans. Can't decide whether to take down my mini greenhouse/shelving thingy. Wonder if it will increase it's life if I do? I do a have few things in there but it is mostly a storage /dumping ground.

My car has been suffering from old age this winter. Had to call out the AA twice in the last few weeks. And now one service and new battery later she is ticking along nicely. Probably looking forward to easing off on the school runs like I am. In fact the household does seem to be limping along towards this holiday. I think it will do us all good and give us a chance to rid us of the lethargy and germs that seem to have established themselves.

Take care everyone x

Thursday, 27 November 2014



Thanks for yesterday's comments.

I thought I was doing very well with my gluten free experiment. But a while ago I began to get familiar pains in my gut. Sharp pains that double me up, bloat my stomach and make me feel sick. Puzzled, I turned to Google.  It turns out the rice cakes I ate for lunch and again this afternoon are not gluten free. I have eaten 5 all together today. It's the Kallo range, the spicy chilli ones. I had them in from ages ago. I've been on the website and when I do the tick box for gluten free they disappear.
Flipping heck, I may as well have had the toast I have been craving. least the pain would have been worth it.
Have got corn thins for lunch tomorrow.yay.

Take care

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

26th November


It would have been my mum's birthday today. I did not place flowers at the grave like some did. I may go nearer to Christmas and leave some bright fake flowers. She liked colour, a lot. I find it hard to visit there and don't need to visit to remember. My son and I had to do some shopping together so we sat in BHS cafĂ©, one of her regular places and shared a hot choc and a plate of chips in her honour.

I wrote these words a while ago and decided to save them for her birthday.

When your mum dies everything is tinged with sadness. You may hear a favourite song, shop in a particular shop or eat a particular food that triggers a memory. You may laugh at a joke and momentarily think that you will share it with her and then you remember.The phone rings and you wonder if it's her, just for a fleeting moment. You miss the shared glance that needs no words but says everything.
It needn't have been a perfect idyllic childhood. It may have had bad patches, tough times, fallings out and failings. But there was always unconditional love and when it goes so does a little of yourself. The deep deep feeling that something has gone for good that will never be replaced.
Life goes on and you are a changed person. Celebrations are missing a vital person and family photos have a space.

Take care


Monday, 24 November 2014

Day 2.


Thanks for helpful comments yesterday, given me some ideas.

Am on day 2 of strict gluten free. Am bloody starving ha. But that because it's Monday and it's our rush day - as the Bangles sang. Normally would grab a few cheesey pittas but have had crispbread instead and olives. Going to reheat yesterdays stew for supper when I pick up son later. So looking forward to it already. No time for breakfast or lunch today so had a banana and yoghurt in between tasks at work today. Will get in order eventually with it all I'm sure and as soon as things calm down timewise will be able to cook some proper meals. Probably by Wed.

If I can keep this going for 2 weeks will be interesting to see if it makes a difference. It's probably a coincidence but my back and legs are comfortable and my neck, which is always sore recently, is manageable.

Was such a frosty morning that de icing the car made us late leaving for school. It turned out the ice we were scraping away at was in the car. Is that normal? On the way back a van decided it wanted to be in the exact spot I was in at a busy roundabout. A huge swerve avoided disaster as he (definitely was) sailed away unconcerned and I think unaware of me. From the erratic way he turned the corner he was either lost or ....well a bad word that I shouted loudly at him.
I then spent nearly an hour on the phone to the council about a £300 council tax bill they have sprung on me to pay by the new year. With that and the error on my rent account I think I would have been better off by not working this month. Or at the least I will be a very few pounds better off. I know people say it's because benefits are so high - it really isn't honest. Last winter was really choosing between eating or heating. I didn't expect it to be like this again now I'm working. Although I really do love this job and at least I'm not home freezing(try not to put heating on unless both of us are home).   Anyways all of  that was before I got to work ha.
I tell you what no matter if we only break even for a while at least I'm not signing on. Probably if I have the chance to increase my hours in time things will get better. Just imagine if I hated my job.

Oh and good news will see a friend tomorrow who is an expert in gluten free living, timing or what.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Gluten free?


Hope you are all well. Raining away at the moment but sun is forecast for the afternoon. 

Yesterday I was like a proper keeper of a house and did cleaning and baking. I baked a loaf, not from scratch I just added water to a packet mix. I have tried many times and many ways to make bread without success and this joined the pile. However I did salvage the ends and we had jam on them. I also made a pizza base but unfortunately the scales broke at the moment I was weighing up the flour. Hence a rather doughy pizza was made and eaten. Shame as it was the scales from my childhood.

After my pizza lunch I felt sluggish and kept yawning on the dog walk. Then when I had the bread that evening I started aching all over - legs, back and neck. I have arthritis in my neck, I suffer from lower back pain and often get a heavy achey feeling in my legs. However this was quite a quick onslaught of all 3. I did a google and apparently gluten can cause inflammation and not just gut problems. I knew a long time ago I needed to limit the amount of bread I eat as I can verge on suffering from IBS and bread was definitely a trigger.

I know a little knowledge can be a bad thing but I am wondering whether to do a little test with myself and see if I can eradicate gluten for a couple of weeks and watch for results. My only drawback is it may get pricey and laziness: the thought of planning and cooking meals quite strictly. I'm not a planner and  but for having to feed someone else would happily live on toasties. I have avoided taking sandwiches to work for a fortnight but end up going hungry as the alternatives have been yucky. However I did have an Uncle Ben's rice pot thing and it had plenty of sauce and was quite edible. Cannot bear dry food. The rice is white though and so I was really hungry a few hours later. Bread and pizza fills me up for hours.

Does anyone have a few tips please? I am going to try a meal plan for this week to avoid gluten. If I can manage to incorporate it into meals without having to cook separate meals I have more chance of sticking to it. Breakfast could be yoghurt instead of cereal I suppose. Not sure for lunches yet.
Off to plan.

Take care x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

the sadness

I sit here content with a full belly, hair straightened ready for work, good documentary on the tv and my son happily flitting around doing his own thing. Yet just a few miles north families are mourning the loss of their children in a car crash.

It happened in the damp mist of last night and now instead of normal Sunday prep for school tomorrow they are dead and books of condolences have been opened.

My son is of the age where his friends are getting ready to drive. Some have scooters while they wait to reach 17 and can then apply for their provisional. Between us and them are many twisting country lanes. I drive them many times a day and night in awful conditions and know how difficult the bends can be to negotiate. A while ago I made him promise not to get in a car driven by any new or young driver. I will provide a lift whenever I can or pay for a taxi.
It only takes a little inexperience, a moment of anger or a headrush of racing and they could be gone. If he becomes a driver I would not want him to be have the responsibility of youngsters in his car either.

I never faced this problem as a kid. Only one person I knew passed her test and borrowed the family car. The rest of us made do with buses or a begged lift. But then I lived in London with a good transport system. Although I do remember a long walk home in the snow along the A13 one night.

I don't want to even begin to contemplate the loss being faced, it is too painful.  I wish they were rushing to finish last minute homework, packing their school bag and having a quick game of Fifa.


Decided to  chop and change yesterday's post. It seemed to moany.

Colouring my hair at the moment. I had the beginnings of grey in my thirties now in my forties I reckon if I ever saw my natural hair colour again it would now be fully grey. When I last had my hair cut properly the hairdresser told me the back isn't as grey.
I had a spell of blonde highlights, then blonde. But the upkeep was a pain, I don't enjoy hairdresser visits that much. Now I get a cheap bottle from super drug and splash it all over. Not tested on animals but loaded with chemicals. I tried a less chemical formula but my hair laughed in its face, went very dark for a few days then an awful colour. It didn't even touch the mallen streak I seem to get on the side. Dyeing the back is awkward now I don't have my ma to help. Still I can't see that bit.
I seem to spend a lot of time these days disguising or removing hair. It must be my age. Still beats spots any day.

Taken me ages to write this so...afternoon.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

gimme gimme

Hello and thanks to new follower.

The shops are decorated, the films are festive and lights are being switched on. None of which I mind as I'm totally able to ignore it all till I'm ready. But I do object to the TV ads which just show object after object that we might like to own. The consumerism of Christmas this year has jarred me for some reason. Maybe because we have been quite poor this year it has made me aware. But I think not as I have never had a lot of money. And yet the jaunty ad's are really irritating me. I'm not religious, had too much of a bellyfull of it as a child. Although the image of nativity advent calenders send me right back. No choc one for me. It was a simple card one from church. Each year I would push the little windows down ready to re use them. I loved the pictures they revealed. The gimme gimme attitude is wrong. Frantic shopping is boring.

It must always have been like this so I don't know why it's bothering me so much. Although I have become intolerant of adverts generally this year. Maybe why I am ignoring all offers from sky to rejoin but gladly pay my bbc license.

Take care all.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

day off...already

Hi all

Not in work today as my boss who is training me had to go on site to one of the jobs. Without him being there there's not much I can do yet. I am part time but he is so flexible/casual with hours that I can make up differences whenever. It's a great attitude and nice to be trusted from the off.

It was odd doing my usual unemployed routine knowing I was actually employed. I gave Susie a nice long walkies then took my friend shopping and of course the school run.
I'm not sure but I think I may be meeting a little hostility from someone now I have work. They have had difficulty finding work. Could be my imagination but it feels like something has shifted, could be the politics row we had though. I can't help it when someone honestly thinks UKIP are the answer to the country's problems. Not someone I am close to though so not gonna worry...will probably try and avoid for a while. No one is going to take the shine of this for me.

Wish the fireworks would finish. Poor Susie suffers. She copes by hiding all night when she can eventually calm down enough to stop running around in fear. Trouble is by 5am she is raring to go. I'm not. She sits staring at me willing me to play. 5 hours sleep for the last 2 nights are not enough, especially this week. Go to bed earlier maybe you think. I would but need to wait for the bangs to die down enough to coax her out of her 'kennel cave' and then carry her outside for a wee. I stay with her the whole time willing the skies to stay quiet for 30 seconds. Can't go to bed and relax when she may be busting and she is always ready for one.
Was meant to go out this weekend - a rare treat anyway except this is with someone I have not seen for 25 years. But there is no one to sit in with Susie and I just know there will be more fireworks on Saturday. Luckily I have rearranged and can stay in with her. My bestie will come over and keep me company and continue our experiment to find mixers that will make my cheap bottle of limoncello drinkable.

I hope that wasn't to boring, not much happens here.


Monday, 3 November 2014

Made up my mind

Hello all

Sorry for lack of posts and hello to new followers.

Hope you are all well, I have been reading just not posting.

Still with my employment issues...but it's good news.

I did self employ but the work was not coming through as quickly as I needed and we prepared to tighten our tight belts. Then 2 job offers came through. One as a self emp for a while and one as an employee. Both great jobs and both very different. What a wonderful dilemma. I accepted the employee one as it was a more practical choice. But also the interview was one of the most casual and relaxed I have ever had. It has an atmosphere that really suits my character as well as a good future career choice.

I started today and had great fun. What a relief.

How are all the pets coping with fireworks. Suse is doing better that last year but still really suffering. She has her special collar on.

Few changes with my son he has given up on his football team but is now running his own 5 a side team and is a lot happier. He has also given up his music lessons that he has been attending since he was 4. He gave up on grading a while ago - he was meant to have his grade 4 on the day my mum died and it was like his heart was never in it since. The school tried to accommodate by adjusting lessons etc and that gave his enthusiasm a boost. But it has since become obvious his heart was no longer in it. It saves money I guess but I never minded that as he really has a great ear for music. I have a feeling that studying music at GCSE put the final dampner on it. Goodness knows what they did but he was miserable through it all and yet had always loved his private lessons. O well.

Keep well


Monday, 20 October 2014

free ranging

A few weeks ago I got to a bit of a fork in the road. Going one way led to signing on  the other way was becoming self employed and making my own chances till the ideal job came along. I signed on. And my oomph left. It was a big deal at the time and I faced my job centre demons. A job offer came and I accepted knowing that I had panicked and not put any thought into any of the practicalities and if it had any future for me.

I am now in the process of releasing myself from that decision. I registered as self employed this morning and before lunch had bagged my first 'job'. It's only handing out leaflets in our local city centre but it's 3 days work at quite a good rate. I am now pitching some ideas in my head and to some magazines in the tentative hope this may come to something. For some reason as I signed on my writing mojo slipped away and for the last few weeks  I have not even blogged. It's coming back now.

My friend is a crafter and I hope to get involved in that although am keeping that as a hobby.

Another idea is to approach local companies to see about oddments of office work where there is not enough work to employ someone but enough to need a little help now and again. At the same time I am keeping my eye on the job market and even have a job interview on Thurs.

I am not terribly motivated by money but I am motivated to be interested and happy in what I do. I think this will be a stop gap while I figure things out.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

decisions decisions


When you have a career break as long as mine for whatever reason you realise beggars can't be choosers. So imagine my astonishment when I got offered a half decent job this week. The wage isn't that good tbh but the prospects could be. All fine then I went for an interview yesterday morning that had been arranged before the job offer. I really liked the job. The hours are more workable, the wage not known yet and the environment a bit more familiar. I really liked it. I will know on Friday if I'm to be offered it.

Now the dilemmas start. I am meant to start the other job on Monday so a bit rotten of me to back out. The hours are less on the prospective job so it gives me more freedom for all the other things I would hope to try out and make money with. The other job the hours aren't enormous but they are everyday and will involve careful planning and a lot of rushing around. It's an argument raging in my head of money vs time (and my contentedness to some degree). Goodness knows we could do we some extra money.
Less hours appeals not out of laziness but out of wanting the flexibility to be able to be on hand when needed by my son and also to keep just a little of the routine I have had over these long years. In fact it would spur me on to look for supplementary work such as I have been offered in the past and I know is available.
It's very hard to be free range hen and then be a battery hen.

Of course this is all subjective as not even had a job offer on the other one yet.
Then another problem arises in my head to turn down a job without the other signed sealed etc could be risky.
And so it goes on....


Sunday, 5 October 2014



The irony after my last post was a self induced health scare. I've had a red mark on my boob for a while and in the early hours of a morning about ten days ago I sat bolt upright and thought breast cancer. I quickly switched the router on and started scrolling on my tablet all about tell-tale signs. Depending on the interpretation of the info I may have a sign I may not. No clearer the day had to begin as normal. Unusually proactive I found a minute to log on and book a doctors apt with my favourite GP. Not had the apt yet as it is this Thurs.

The mark did not get bigger yet was not shrinking like a spot or bite might. I tried to avoid looking or thinking about it but could not. The sick feeling of doubt remained no matter what I did. Of course I knew it was there and just had to keep prodding in the hope it would morph into a spot. The skin peeled painlessly away and it stayed red. Eventually one evening some ick came out of it. It started to act like a spot/bite but also looked more like some of the pictures I kept looking at. I kept thinking 'not while he is doing his A levels' - go figure this tiger mum?

I have always resented my boobs. A tomboy and early developer I hated them and denied needing a bra for as long as my mum could let me get away with it. In my twenties I was used to men having conversations with my large chest rather my face. But had no idea how to deal with it. Now in my forties I am at peace with my size. Just in time to lose them I thought.

Happy to report the 'spot' is getting smaller and smaller. I will keep my apt but the worry is over. I will keep the apt to learn more about it and also to find out when I can have a mammogram.

So sorry for being distracted and not blogging or commenting recently.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014



Am not posting much at the moment. Not much is happening really. Same old same old and although not too boring for me could potentially send you to sleep.
My job search area has widen and my chosen occupation is as flexible. Sixth form for the lad seems to be going well and the dog is getting more and more neurotic. Did I mention her aversion to loud engine noises, which makes a walk in a city park a bit tricky. I am trying to find rescue remedy for pets...if anyone has found a shop that sells it I would appreciate a quick comment telling if you've time. My poor little doggy I hope it may settle her a little, the human version is no good as is preserved(!!) in alcohol.

I did my work experience/voluntary data inputting this morning. Always nice to be sat at a desk working away...even better to receive some pay one day. There was a mention of some petrol expense a while ago but that's gone by the by for now I reckon. I get a great referee for my cv for it so fair play. Then I had a couple of hours with 2 great friends. We became friends through our boys playgroup and 13 years later we are consoling and comparing the terrors of having teenagers.

I'm having car trouble. It's an old un and at the weekend I spent £340 on her. Now there is a rattle noise that has replaced the shake of the old clutch. Sigh. She has a new clutch, new tyre, new exhaust and a handbrake that now works. Weirdly one of the hubcaps is getting very overheated. So back I go...as soon as I hear back from my mechanic. Who is a wonderful and trustworthy youngster who keeps me on the road with the odd assist from the AA - one tiny screwdriver in the road but my little car managed to seek it out and drive over it and blow the tyre to kingdom come. Probably the same locator that finds every single pot hole.

But you know what none of that matters. I have a regular band of people I dog walk with. And there's a few we meet occasionally. One of who is very ill and having a lot of medical treatment. When I see the look in the eyes of the partner and carer - the helpless half - I know that nothing matters other than having health and happiness for the people around me and myself.

Take care. x

Thursday, 18 September 2014

21 again!!!!!


It's my birthday today. Have had a lovely day with cards and loving greetings from family and friends. It's my 2nd birthday since my mum died and the gap she left seems larger on days like these. No card with a beautiful message where she truly meant every word.


one our happy days

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Oi Snow White your men are in the jobcentre

Hello. Thanks for comments need to start answering them like I used to as I enjoy that bit.

I did my 3rd signing on this week. I have had Ballbreaker, Nicey and this week I had Jobsworth. Maybe it will be Dopey next time. It's a fairly painless process for me as I can present a good list of searches and applications I do every day. I mentioned the voluntary data input work I do for a few hours each week. It's at the adult learning centre where I have done all my courses. It's a way of keeping my hand in with the software I have learned and also the manager acts as a current referee for me. Apparently next time I sign on I must sign a form giving the details while the jobcentre then decide if I can continue with it. Even though it's probably the main thing I do that will convince someone to employ me. It's not with a charity and so they have to assess if I am doing something I should be paid for. God give me strength or is just me.

I nearly gained a cat today. A tiny ginger cat who I suspect is still a kitten was hanging around. Have fussed it a lot and also been clawed when she spotted Susie. I have kept an eye all day and she kept reappearing until school out time. But a while later a gentle knock of the door, that always produces hysteria from Susie. I eventually caught up with her and shoved her in the kitchen. Opening the door revealed a mum and 2 little children and a tiny ginger cat happily held in little arms. They had been followed home and were now trying to track the owners. I explained and she decided to pop to the vet in case of micro chips and then would decide what to do. The eldest girl knew what was needed as little ginger curled up for a nap in her arms and I had to agree with her. Sadly I knew that little kit deserved all the love the little ones were desperate to give. I asked them to pop back one day and fill me in on Ginger. We were all unanimous on the name.
Half hour later they were back. No chip and unusually Ginger is a girl. But also the man of the house has spoken and Ginger cannot live with them. I wish he had been there to see his little girl crying clutching the cat. Tears dropping into her fur while all the little kids off the street wandered into the garden to see what was occurring. Lots of volunteers to take the cat home until I pointed out it was not mine to give away. Wonder how many angry parents would have been round this evening if I'd agreed.
My plan was to make her comfy while we were out at football practise but with the outhouse door ajar. Dinner time may be the time for her to return home. We dashed back equipped with kitten feed but so far no kitty. O well. Will keep looking though. Hopefully she is happily curled up asleep at home with a lovely full belly. Still think she was too tiny to be out and about all day.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

sssh! don't tell

Hello, thanks for comments on my last post.

I've not told anyone I blog. Well except my son and big sis, although they don't know the title to look it up. I'm not secretive, private yes, sometimes shy but not often.  And  I do not write anything I would not say aloud. And yet it has become quite a personal thing for me but I can be like that with things I write.

I love the wide variety of people in my blog feed. So many people I would probably never get the chance to hear from ordinarily. And some even post photos which is great for a nosey person. I blame the nursing for nosiness. I do love to know how people live their lives. I still have that bouncy puppy enthusiasm/curiosity for  blogging. It's like when I first started home ed and was happy to discuss all aspects of it. Then all of a sudden 10 years later I was a bit burnt out by it all and avoiding the happy puppies that bounded up to me full of enthusiasm because they had just started it. Bet I sound a right narky cow ha. But doesn't matter I suppose cos it's my blog and I can be narky.

Now just so there is a point to this post I will mention this website. It has just been on a tv show and sounds wonderful.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Distracted by fresh air


Have been terribly distracted so have not been posting. Have not even been able to settle to read a book. Other than job hunting my brain won't settle to much. I have made myself sit still for this as not posting anything has begun to irritate me. I've not even settled to read many blogs either, not even the ones I have read avidly for a year.
I am not sure what the distraction is. It's like my brain is in a jumpy anticipation state. I have no idea as nothing is particularly happening apart from regular life.

Sixth form is under way and there is much excitement and motivation. Me, I'm just enjoying not ironing uniform. I hate ironing. I love washing and drying the clothes but that flipping iron is my nemesis. The clothes just get all creased again. It's like floor cleaning and dusting - the dirt is back in days. It could just be that the house is very shabby now and it irritates the virgo core of me. Not worth updating the stuff even if I could afford it.

The job hunting carries on. Yet another rejection today for a job I could do blindfold. But have found another few to apply for that I much prefer. Cannot get down about it yet as we have enough to eat etc etc. It's not like me to be so glass half full. I may even become irritatingly perky one day. But I doubt it not with these bloody early mornings. Even fell asleep this afternoon for a few minutes. But that may be the bread.
Bread. I love it but it hates me. It's back in the house because of packed lunches and the lure of marmite toast in the morning is too strong. The IBS cramps that may ensue will get me back on the straight and narrow.

Potentially the early mornings will soon disrupt the sparky electric currents in my brain and lull me back to normalness.

I know David Sedaris gets mentioned on a few of the blogs I read and I enjoy him as well. But today on radio 4 Tom Wrigglesworth did a programme that had me in tears. I could barely focus on the bol I was cooking. It was the 6.30 pm comedy slot.

I am a bit broody. But not for a baby (oh no I meant it when I said never again as that really bloody hurt). I would like another dog. However I feel Susie would not. Keep looking at websites of the local animal rescue centres. Have seen so many but I get the strong feeling to wait. Something may come along that needs me/us.

Well have posted even though its not the one I planned and I may even be a devil and not preview it.

No I previewed. Didn't edit though.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Bad timing


Thank you for following me new and old - I know many can list and name new followers I'm sorry I don't as I lose track and am bound to get it wrong.

I signed on for a second time this week. What a difference. The lad was great - softly spoken and polite. I left feeling fine and not a failure.

I missed a phone call today. No message was left but I called the number back within half an hour in case it was about a job. It was. Apparently though I was too late as she had filled all the interview slots. Now  that's a new one on me. Bad timing or what. What if I was their ideal person for the job? Now they will never have me. Bit of a bugger as it was just up the road.

Where was I when missing the phone call? Neat Segway to next bit.

I was cutting back a tree at my friend's house. My (second) cousin and friend's son - both seven then spent the next few hours creating a magnificent den. In fact she had to hack at a second one (lots of overgrown trees in a tiny garden) for more branches. Simple play that gave them hours of pleasure.
I was babysitting for the day and within 2 hours of him being with me he needed his spare set of clothes and new shoes and socks from Asda. But he had great fun in the brook with the dog...until he slipped over. My cousin knows me well and never sends him over in his 'best'.
The two 7 year old boys were a great lesson in social skills I think. One is schooled (cousin) the other home ed so they rarely meet. I think perhaps this is their 3rd meeting in all. They picked up where they had left off months ago, cooperated and played for hours.

I wonder if that is his first den as I had to take plenty of photos of it and I heard him say it was his best day. Which was NEARLY worth missing that phone call but not quite ha.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

I bored myself


My tomatoes taste horrible and seeing as they are the reason I started all this well...bit of a pain. Will stick with them and then think of something. Have now started some broad beans and onions in the old compost. The seeds were very cheap so no problem if they don't work. but something for me to tend over winter. The spinach is coming along.

I am trying to change how I eat. We eat fairly healthily and although we have the odd treat and takeaway we usually avoid processed food. However my metabolism cannot compete with my teen son's and changes are needed. I am not a natural cook so to contemplate cooking totally different meals is not the best option. And I did a lot of that when caring for my mum. So I need subtle changes.
At the moment I am reducing my fat intake. I love cheese and that is a big downfall. But if I reduce not eliminate it from my diet I may win that battle.
...I had written more about this then realised how bored I was writing it so can imagine reading it is even harder.
I made lemon chicken and we loved it. Had fat free natural yog instead of mayo. it's a start. Just got to watch I don't substitute it all with sugary stuff. If I don't tell myself its a diet I may just get away with it.

Concise diet info - that was much better.

I love to read the ins and out of lives on blogs, the more detail of regular stuff the better. Especially when accompanied by pics. But the minute I try to write about my mundane my brain tunes out. Bullet points could be my way forward.

Well at least I didn't mention Bake off in this post.

never got the job I interviewed for, big shame as it's the first one I left the interview really excited by.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Nearly Norman/Bin gate!!!!! breaking news edit

hi all and thanks for your comments yesterday, will pop back and answer them.

I reckon Norman was saved by Ian's strop tonight. Although why on earth was his ice cream left on the side? Ice cream gate!!!!!

Love Norman tho and the old fashioned posh lady (with the messy hair and trainers) and Martha and lovely Luis.

Can't bake
Don't want to
Can't cook
Hate competition
love the bake off though.


Thursday now and the bake off kick off has hit the news. 'Bingate'... but prefer my ice cream gate. Poor ol Diana (that's the one) is taking the blame. Nice lady like that, never.

People took time to contact the bbc and complained. Really? Surely not.
Maybe Diana and stroppy baked Alaska lad are actors and this is a publicity ruse. Maybe Mary was worrying her book sales were down.
Maybe I should really get a life.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Lazy scroungers unite

Hello, thanks for comments and hello to people who have followed.

I looked up the Harcombe diet after reading Sue's (Our New Life in the Country) post about her blog pal. I stumbled to the Daily Mail website to read what I thought was an article about it. Was more of a promotion. Foolish me read the comments. Someone managed to mention lazy benefit scroungers. Even in a article about a diet. How? The genius of the bigot. Or a wind up?

Why do the words lazy and benefits seem to go hand in hand nowadays. I received carers allowance and was anything but. 'Oh we don't mean carers' they may backtrack. Well I'm claiming jobseekers now I would tell them. Backtrack yer way out of that, you ignorant idiot. I cannot get employment because I took years out to care and now no-one believes I have a functioning brain.
on benefits - yes
lazy - no
scrounger - no.
Then I would poke them in the eye and run away because I'm not that big or brave.

Nothing like an imaginary conversation to help ease the anger.


Monday, 25 August 2014

Funny Irishman

Watching Dave Allen tonight takes me back.  Laughing at nuns and priests, so daring. He still makes me laugh. The lovely Irish brogue, so familiar.
I went to a convent school but I stopped going to church in my early teens. Was not something to brag about so used to keep quiet if we were quizzed on the Monday what the Gospel readings had been. When we did go I found it amusing that the priests would be round the front of the church after mass, fags lit having a laugh and a joke with all of us traipsing out. I did love choir though and miss the hymns and carols. Don't miss the parables though; could not make head nor tail of them. My poor mum never forgave the church for not letting her take communion once she divorced only when he died could she take it again as she was a widow in their eyes. But she had long since stopped attending mass by then. One story she told was how in a works canteen every Friday they produced a gorgeous roast dinner however she had to have the fish dinner. Catholics weren't allowed meat on Fridays. She followed it faithfully even though she longed for that roast dinner and was probably to poor to have one at home. I believe that rule has been lifted now.
Best thing a nun ever did for me was introduce me to Gerald Durrell books. Although that could just have been the curriculum, if that existed then. If not that means I don't need to be grateful to a nun for anything at all. That's good.

The priest didn't even turn up to issue last rites  for me mum. I think a nun turned up and prayed although was a bit worried what she might say as the dementia had made her blurt things out. The chaplain from the home where she had respite turned up and they prayed together. Would have liked her to have received the last sacrament though. She would have had a full set then. Bloody church let her down loads. Priest didn't even do the funeral mass as she had the audacity to die at Easter. The nice chaplain man did a lovely reading. A good man. Stupid barriers of religion.

'May your God go with you' cheers Dave.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

O not another post about results.

Have started to post a few times this week then abandoned  them. Have no idea why. Have not written a story or article in weeks either. Even composing the cover letters with my CV send outs have been a struggle. Probably need to just buckle down and get on with it. I lead a mundane life (happily) and so often figure who wants to read about that.

My son got his GCSE results. Results that would have left me on my knees crying in complete gratitude at 16. But he was not so impressed. A couple of A*  and loads of A's and a C. He did impress me when he said he would just have to work even harder for his A levels. Ever since he discovered universities it was all he wanted to do from that moment on. He accepted that school would be his best option as there was no way I could afford for him to do 11 GCSE's from home plus the tutoring as my knowledge has many limits. He loves school and now cannot wait to be in 6th form. He wants to study maths, physics, geography and history. Quite telling that he said that now the GCSE's are over he can get on with learning.

Many of his friends are going to do apprenticeships. I have lost track which government initiated this scheme. The one size fits all schooling system loses many by the wayside and hopefully these apprenticeships will find them again. I do hope they are genuine and not just an excuse for cheap labour.

I also hope the A levels get left alone. Gove managed to nearly send the teachers to an early grave with his instant changes with GCSEs. I believe this is the last year that AS levels will occur. The school do seem quite good at keeping on top of these changes and are quite pro active rather than reactive. The only change poor son howled with rage at missing was the banishment of 'Of Mice and Men' from the curriculum. He hated it with a passion. Luckily it came too late or we might have had to thank Gove we can sit happy in our contempt of him.

Monday, 18 August 2014


Hello all.

MOT today. It passed...just. Going to need a new clutch, front tyre, something to do with the handbrake and something to do with the exhaust. Like with directions I only hear the first two things. Could be worse, I could be scouring the ads for a new old car.

I also signed on today. I arrived at 8.57 for a 9.15 apt and was promptly told I could only arrive 10 minutes early. After waiting outside for 7 minutes I was seated and then finally got seen at 9.35. The man was obviously trying to give a hard man impression and be a right ball-breaker. He spouted some absolute rubbish. The worse bit as the false empathy when he told me he had been unemployed for a year. Then one booklet I had been told I must use he said not to bother with and the forms I liked using he said not to and to do it online. Even though I said how helpful I found the forms. I guessed the interview was over as he walked away while I was still talking to him. I know he went lightly as I'm a newbie.
And I've not even had a penny yet.
If I could find a way of making £70 most weeks then I would happily jack it in. The only bright side has been not waking up in a panic because there is no money coming in. I guess their plan is to make you feel like a piece of dirt then you won't bother.
My sis emailed me a link to some companies that pay you for your opinions on tv progs and other stuff - just in time for me to cancel Sky ha. Have registered for that and to be a mystery shopper. If that works and you really can make the money they say we could live of that while I look for work.

I do not mean to sound ungrateful it's just all new to me. I appreciate the safety net that this country's tax payers provide I just wish we were not treated like an underclass when we need to use it.
Good things are:
still have a functioning car and a mechanic I can trust.
we are well.
2nd footie match on the way.

Anyone with teenagers...results on Thurs. Got any fingernails left?


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Autumn in August?

Hello. Thanks for all the comments.

The weather has been almost autumnal at times here. Which if it was Sept/Oct I would accept and enjoy

Apart from tomatoes and some late planted spinach my gyo experiment is over. The tomatoes are showing signs of ripening and the ones that dropped off (football miss hit) are now on a sunny windowsill in the hope they may ripen. I am trying to keep some of the compost I used, as all my growing was done in containers and the compost was the greatest expense. I am wondering whether to buy a decent compost bin to put it all in. The one I have is a material one and the foxes ransacked it. I have used some of the used compost to pot up my Christmas pine into a larger pot as it was in a tiny.
The whole growing thing started because I wanted some tasty tomatoes and they cost too much in the shops. So far the few I have eaten are delicious.
The main things I have learnt are:
  • I need to learn to stake the beans a lot better
  • I do not need 10 courgette plants
  • I know nothing about growing tomatoes
Will I do it again? Definitely. Probably in pots again as I feel we will still be in rented accom next year. I considered an allotment but I don't think I will have time once we get back to our regular routine. And hopefully I will have work soon. Although it is tempting.
I have my tomato books on order from the library and I have my eye on getting some decent seeds next year. Has anyone used the real seed company before? It looks interesting.

Cannot wait to do it all again.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Where is the empathy?

Glenn Close said this about Robin Williams.

Robin was incredibly sensitive and gentle and loving. He was very self-critical. During Garp we had a press conference and I was asked to go along with Robin. I watched this quiet man, who I'd never seen reading a newspaper or magazine or watching TV, explode into the press room and do an amazing turn on all the most current events, people and issues. He wove it all into a cohesive whole with no notes, nothing but his genius. It was breathtaking in its spontaneity and brilliance. Everyone was completely blown away. When we walked out of the room together, Robin turned to me with a worried look and asked in a whisper, "Was that all right?" I gave him a long hug and said, "Yes! You were incredible" He checked to make sure I really meant it and then went to his trailer.

The fragility of his character and his genius all summed up.

Have taken a while to post about this I realise but had to think about it. A face of my childhood gone so shockingly and sadly. Apparently people have taken to 'social media' to condemn suicide as a selfish act. Do they have any idea? You only have to skim the surface of mental ill health to have a rudimentary understanding of the depths that people can fall to. Are they the lucky few that are untouched in life by any vestiges of mental health problems. Even if they have no understanding where is the empathy?

A less serious example was a tv programme on i player where people were complaining about the use of mobility scooters. Two elderly ladies were really moaning about how the shopping centre they use gets so busy with them. They did not pause to think how else the people would get around. Would they have them stuck indoors? A lady whose son was knocked down by one was calling for speed restrictions. Had to agree there as have had to move out the way of a 'speedster' every now and then.
I turned it off as just could not tolerate the two ladies anymore. My tolerance is always low when I am tired.

What is that quote about walking in my shoes for a moment to fully understand how I feel.

Every day I get updates from BUAV about the harm we do to animals in experiments. Every time a new shampoo is developed I wince as I picture the animals in labs bred so we may have lustrous hair.
There was a mini video doing the rounds yesterday of a dog trying to splash water onto dying fish. He scraped his muzzle into puddles and tried to splash it onto them. Possibly a fluke or a fake. Or was this animal showing empathy. It was for entertainment but the video overwhelmed me. What must they think of us? A harrowing story told to me about fake/faux fur. A man I dog walk with saw a video of a dog being skinned ALIVE for his fur to be used. He described the look of uncomprehending pain on the dogs face.

I have no conclusion to sum this up. Its just so bloody sad that so many lack a fundamental emotion that could make things better for so many people and animals.

Thursday, 14 August 2014



My MOT runs out tomorrow. I take my car to a great lad who never cons me and does things as economically as possible. Have texted him a few times over this month but with no reply which usually means he is on hols. I did not worry as for some reason I thought I had a 2 week leeway either way to get it done. I have NO idea where this thinking comes from. What an idiot. I am not an airhead. Honest. I just have moments of big fails.
Going by the dates of the texts I sent I figure the wonder lad has been gone for nearly a fortnight so would be home by Sunday ish. I know clutching at straws now I am. SIGH.
So dependent on the car now because so much we do is flippin' miles away.

To wait or to risk another place.

My poor little car is near to being on her last legs/wheels. Her indicators are still held on with tape and glue.

Yeah I think I just answered that.



Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Rusty beans

Hello. Thanks for all the nice comments and good lucks.

The interview was very informal as the job is a newly created role and they do not have the specifics ironed out. If I'm on the short list I will know if a fortnight and they should have all the details then. I keep thinking about the stuff I should have said. O well. I did like the place and it is quite undefined as such which I like and have done before.

Can anyone help with my French beans? I am storing them in the fridge and when I went to get some they are rusty.

They were not like this when I put them in the fridge. I've picked out the unblemished ones to eat now. Wonder if a rogue bad un got in there?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Hello. Thanks for the kind comments. We had a lovely weekend. With a houseful on Saturday and champagne a good time was had. Then my brother and sis stayed on till Sunday. I am now the mother of a sixteen year old...quick some hair dye to cover the grey. As my sister pointed out its genetics we all go grey early - and we are sticking to that story.

Not much else is occurring at the mo. The tomatoes are ripening nicely and I have just received a letter to say I shall receive a little help with paying the bedroom tax till October. So that's a huge relieve. I  am now in rent credit by over £200. I don't think I shall see a penny of it ha but it should stay in place for when the help runs out. It's been about about £13 a week extra to find so it's going to be really useful.

Interview tomorrow. Better wash my hair. Working does require a certain level of care about the old appearance and that's not something I have ever cared much for. I can manage clean and at a push neat ha but beyond that then effort is needed. Never been a fan of make up and rarely remember where my stash is. Glad the tomatoes and veg don't care what I look like as most of my gardening gets done first thing in the morning whilst in jammies. Can veg scream?

ps the footie went well (poor sons very first match). They drew 2-2 as opposed to the 8-0 defeat last week. He was nervous but loved it. He had to be a linesman for the first part as they had not  turned up. I took my camping chair and enjoyed sitting in the sun watching. Knowing that very soon it'll be a different story - frozen feet and more no doubt. Incidentally it was a game of 3 halves!!!!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Staying alive

                                                         My lovely son is 16 today.

                                  I remember gazing into his see-through hospital cot and thinking
                                          'Bloody hell I have to stay alive for 18 years now.'
                                                                      16 down 2 to go. x

Friday, 8 August 2014


Hello thanks for comments and follows.

Plodding on with the job searches and faithfully filling in my forms, although I believe some of it should be online. But sticking to paperwork for now.

Busy with housework...boo. Poor son is 16 tomorrow...hooray. So plenty of visitors tomorrow but no time to clean in the morning as he has signed for his first football team and plays the first match in the morning. Big excitement all round. Cannot wait to watch, am just hoping it is not rained off.

Living where we do meant to watch TV we needed Sky or Cable, in the old days of analogue, as the aerial signal was too weak. Not sure what occurs now in these digital days as we still had Sky. The aerial lead is now corroded and just swings in the wind. Had the cheapest package going and due to good deals over the years we have stuck with them. But we just do not watch enough to warrant the cost anymore but had some lovely films and progs taped and ready to watch so kept on as they wipe them when you cancel.
Just as Big Bake Off was about to begin the box went kaput. It seems the hard drive is fried although we can still watch TV for now. I was not prepared to pay for an engineer so have cancelled and will now have free to air channels from Sept. Now it got me thinking do I really need them. I can access so much online after it has aired.I really do not moind the BBC license money as I think it's good value(apart from the over paid celebs) - I am a true advert hater.
But one step at a time as it is nice to pop the box on and take a lucky dip with viewing without planning. Not a big planner for anything really.

How could I forget to tell you -  I have a job interview next week. No proper details as yet except its admin. I refuse to get my hopes up anymore...well maybe just a little hopeful. Interviews are a funny ol' business these days. Have had them last from 15 mins to an hour and a half and then nothing, not a word. Shall dust off my smart trousers and try to cover the grey hairs and who knows.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Another brick in the wall

Thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday. Hugs are returned in the memory of people you have lost.

Today I am an official government statistic as I signed on for the first time ever. Must have been nervous as I got there 50 minutes early. It was all pretty straight forward, well so far. Maybe because I have everything in place to job hunt. My CV is up to date and I regularly check job vacancies. It's just a matter of recording everything I do now. Quite patronising paperwork to fill in each day bit I realise it's one size fits all. Well it's done anyway.
They were not the ogres I was expecting (so far). Years ago I was in a job centre getting some advice and the lady was so awful and negative that she had me in tears. I think that is where this all stems from.
I know the image is given of work shy people claiming everything they can. But I do believe that is a clever bit of propaganda to divide and conquer the common man. I'm sure there are some that don't want to work but I am troubled for those that truly cannot and are in a conveyor belt of a situation. Myself, I cannot wait to be signed off so I never have to go there again. It was a freaky place and I was brought up in quite a rough area, in fact if anyone attended the Olympics then you would have been treading on my ghosts. Do you think they put them in dodgy areas on purpose?

Another hurdle faced. Up and up now I reckon.

Nooooooooooooo 13 mins to British Bake Off and tv won't switch on noooooooooooooooooo

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


Was going to post some photos of my ripening tomatoes with artistic raindrops beginning to drip. Then stumbled upon an untitled photo. Opening it up it was a photo of my mum, approx. a year before she died and before we knew just how ill she was. Its a side on view while she sits quietly, I suspect being my willing model for a new camera.
I stared and knew every part of that person. Every line, every hair, every mark was familiar. The scent and the feel of the skin etched into my memory. How can it possibly be 16 months since I have seen her. Surely she has just popped out to the shops and she'll be back laden with toilet roll and kitchen roll bargains tied to her shopping trolley. Which she will sort while I put the kettle on and get ready to listen to whatever saga had ensued on her outing - as there nearly always was one. She will tell who helped her in whichever shop and which neighbour stopped to say hello.
When I look at a photo it's like ten minutes ago. When I look at her empty room it's like 10 years ago. To have had a person for 44 years and then not to have her takes a lot of getting used to.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Not waving hello...drowning.

Hi all. Thanks for the follows.

I gave myself a personal challenge, last year, not to sign on. I have no odd qualms about people that do or anything-so no judgment going on here. It was a combination of wanting to be free of a benefit (had been collecting carers allowance) and also the horror stories I had heard about jobseekers since the changes came in. Having watched my mum descend into her dementia fog and then watch her die my nerves were affected and I knew I would not be strong enough for any obstacles. I just wanted to be left alone.

I knew we could survive with drastic cutbacks whilst I got my IT skills up to date and did some voluntary work to plug the CV gap. Interviews have come and gone so we tightened the belts a bit more. The swimming went to doggy paddle to now where we are splashing about. So before we sink I have applied to receive jobseekers benefit. Moneysaving was becoming obsessional and frugal pah... I was becoming mean. Everything we did or ate I was seeing pound signs.
So do I feel relieved? Nope. Stomach clenching nervousness. I hate forms and officialdom with a vengeance. My nirvana is an off grid piece of land with its own source of water and very little intervention from anyone. Minimal bills and minimal hassle.

I know voluntary work is forced at some point and I have a dreadful feeling they won't accept the vol work I have sorted for myself. It is totally relevant to the work I seek you see and looks great on the CV. Also I am fearful of them forcing carers work onto me. I truly am not recovered from caring for my mum. Some people do it effortlessly others not. Make or break a person. Well it damn near broke me and I'm just clawing my way back. I will not let there rules send me back down to that despair and do you know what? They can't. It was a despair that only watching one of your most treasured people dissolve and disintegrate can induce. A permanent feeling of panic that grips the heart and wakes you suddenly from a deep sleep and never lets that sleep return. A feeling that clouds every moment. The silver lining in that ol' cloud has been that I truly understand that health is the be all and end all to everything. I have found a contentedness I never had before although I still strive for better I am more patient (mostly). Its like a bungee cord - I stretched and stretched till I nearly broke and have now sprung back. Currently swinging in the wind ha.
We shall remain frugal and waste conscious. Save where we can and then if they force these issues I shall walk away.

Who knows? This could be the catalyst for a job acceptance. Or for money from writing to start pouring in. x

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Indulge me?

Hello, thanks for the comments yesterday.

Having a bit of an indulging post today. Twice in my life I have been accepted onto photography courses. Once as a teen and once a few years ago. For various reasons had to turn the offers down. I still like photography although the tech side has totally left me behind these days. I'm just a point and click kinda girl these days. Can I show you a very small (I promise) variety of my favourites shots I have taken?

A bit fuzzy but I like the colours, a bit like a watercolour

Always a puffin in there somewhere.
Thanks for that.x

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Hi all
thanks for the comments and follows.

2nd attempt at this post as I just managed to delete. Lack of sleep catching up.

Been quiet on the blog but still been dipping in to read them all. Talking of dipping...went for a swim today.

Until Xmas I was swimming regularly 4 or 5 times a week. But gave up to save money. It was a cheap little private pool, bit shabby but was so warm and had no deep end. I am terrified of deep water. No traumatic reason. But if my feet don't touch the floor its a sad sorry splashy sight.
Todays was a regular pool. I figured out where the deep end was and walked around the shallow end ...just to make sure. Then swam for my life. I had to it was freezing. A good swim around an obstacle course of people stood talking or doing handstands. Only got kicked in the head once.
Only managed 50 mins used to do 2 hours.
The best bit - the showers were private with their own doors. Luxury.

The reason for the swim. Football. The season is upon us poor parents of enthusiastic amateur footballers. A season of car parks for me as I wait. We live too far from the team for me to drive home. So car parks in summer, Tesco in winter. 3 lots of training a week so I think I better get me a reward card. x

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Greece, Greece, USA, Wales and Egypt.

Is everyone going away but me. Feeling proper sorry for myself. The title is the just the tip of the iceberg of a list of places where people either  are or about to go. Greek Islands are popular as you can see. This could be the first year without a glimpse of the sea and it's all wrong and odd. Finances and family dictate otherwise now. Sure we could pack a tent and some pot noodles and go seek a field but there's no wi-fi (poor son) and who would water the tomatoes (me).

The urge is so strong to go sometimes but I think I'm kidding myself and searching for something that has been and gone. The freedom of a beach holiday somewhere warm where the only dilemma is what to have for dinner. Or the ravages of a UK seaside  where we had to hide from the wind whipping the sand against our skin. Just so we could say we had made a sandcastle. Backpacking on ferries hoping the bus runs on Sundays else it's a long walk to the hostel. All holidays from different stages of life with none to be repeated.

Staying in the here and now can be a drag. I tried sitting in the sun but lasted less than 10 minutes. Without a pool or sea breeze to cool down in it was uncomfortable. Also washing needed hanging and the beans picking. But home is comfy. Dressed in slob clothes, windows open to catch a breeze, pile of books to read and to be written and some days we can have just to ourselves.

Maybe we'll head of to London, where I'm from, for a few days. When this heat has gone. Tried to describe the hell of tube travel in this heat to 'poor son'. Seems a more suitable place for a teen and have oyster card will travel. He should learn about it as he seems headed that way one day. No fields and mountains for me but my time will come. Could truck on down to Brighton, my other homeland. Would get my sight of the sea at least. x

Friday, 25 July 2014

Top up


My weekend top up shopping list is:
Flea treatment.

All bases covered I reckon.x

Thursday, 24 July 2014



Aldi are selling slug tape at only 2.49 ish. Much cheaper than it was at the beginning of summer so have bought some for next year. No idea if it works though as I favoured the cheaper 'torch at midnight hunt for snails and slugs'. Could almost hear them crunching away some nights. It worked though as everything survived, although it's been so much dryer this year. Beginners luck.

Daddy courgette, mummy courgette and baby courgette.
Perspective on a photo not great but baby is quite big and mummy and daddy resemble marrows. Will have to eat the bloody things now. Well baby did get chopped in half for dinner but most of him is languishing in the roasting tin. Courgette overload now for real.
Dessert was odd tonight had forgotten to serve the French beans and was so dismayed to waste stuff I have grown 'poor son' grabbed the pan and ate his way through them while I had a few in an ice cream bowl.
Last scrap.
Just watched a documentary on beeb 2 Penguin Post Office. Brilliant and recommend it....if you like penguins.
superb documentary.
Night x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cage me in

Once a week for a few hours I do voluntary data inputting. It's a way of having current IT work on my CV and also my 'boss' will be an up to date referee. It's in a very stuffy room with no windows and one fan that cannot turn due to blowing all the papers around. I sit there knowing I don't need to be there and boy do I have to make myself stay. It's very boring work and repetitive but a means to an end. I think it's helpful to get used to an office environment again as I only realised today I have not worked in an office since 1992. Before nursing and home ed/carer I worked with visually impaired people in a uni. It's a long time and I feel like a free range chicken getting herself ready to be a battery hen again.

On the up:
I have made £25 from a magazine for one of my 'top tips' - no idea which one- which top tip I know which mag.
And I have made my first risotto that did not crunch.

Thanks for all the lovely comments yesterday and people joining me. I daren't list like some people do as I am never sure was here before but it is very much appreciated. x

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Lovely distraction

I'm a real newbie to writing blogs but have been reading them for over a year now. And I love them. I sit and log on to find out the next chapters in peoples lives. Be it a house move, a nosey in the cupboards or a sadness they share I read away and share joys and pain. I worry if they have not blogged for a few days and hope everything is ok.  I have learnt a lot about so much and now have a wide range of blogs to read. I have not joined all the ones I read yet as the list increases and my pile of library books is gathering dust.
Last night I sat to blog but got distracted by other blogs. I'm a sucker for the lists of blogs that people read and also the comments. Then I click on the people that comment if they have a blog. So it goes on till I have a whole line of tabs open. Like a million diaries to read and I seem to be trying to read through them all.
My own blog has no identity yet. A scrapbook rather than a defined theme. But maybe that is my life at the moment. I am without definition at the moment. I used to be a carer, I used to be a home schooler, I used to be a nurse. But what am I now?
This is not a sad post, I'm not sad. How could I be when I have so much. I have my health, love from my son, family and friends, a mad dog that adores me, a home and I have potential to do something now. It's the confusion of knowing where to go next. In the panic to earn and the chase of paid employment the potential can be left behind.
Confidence is the key. In myself and talents I may have. I doubt that this blog will entertain and yet I still keep going as hopefully it will bring clarity. Also though it's like being in a great big friendly gang. So thanks bloggers.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sewing help


Have noticed that some very talented people read my blog. Can I ask for some advice please?

I would like to make the top an open top. Will it work to cut down the middle and hem the sides. It is half cotton and half polyester. Only £2 in sale so doesn't matter if I wreck it. Just wondered if it would hang funny.

The brown skirt is my fave but I never wear skirts these days. I have attempted to follow a you tube video to turn it into wide leg trousers or palazzos. But could not follow what she was doing. It is made from silk.
Does anyone have any advice or know a good place for some? My skills are basic - can hem, invisible mend a bit, put buttons on. So real basic, am just replacing some elastic in some trousers to try and get a bit more use. Am very proud with that so that shows you my level. I do have a sewing machine but we don't get on so I tend to hand sew.
Any advice is great even if its a good book.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Fisherman's Friend and Flash Floods

Cooking is not my forte but I struggle on and try as I like to know what ingredients I am eating, I also like to be able to pronounce them. So many convenience foods have chemical sounding things in them. Same with dog food. I source the good stuff and proudly serve it up to the gremlin. She then looks at me and lays down next to her bowl with a sigh. Most times 'poor son' attempts to tuck in, in fact sometimes he actually enjoys it. I appreciate how he always tries it and have now twigged sometimes he lies to please me. So now he says it was lovely but he doesn't think he'd like it again for a while - oh the tact.
But place cheap rubbish in front of them and the joy is evident. Cheap Asda dog food is barely chewed its that popular - just gremlin on that one mind. And the  Aldi fisherman's pie(not friend as I keep calling it) is treated as a gift. Dinner in quarter of an hour, now that's my sort of cooking.

It rained and rained and then it rained a little bit more today. We had to pile out the old towels and sheets against the back door. There's a bit of design issue out back and the water does not drain away and tends to seep over the back door. We've been on red alert as the larder (old coal shed) is in the firing line. I popped out to try and sweep some down the drain and have tried catching some in tubs. I hoped it may help. So far its just a trickle now and the sun is shining. Certainly woke me up.
spot the snails-rescued and released now.
Hope all well with everyone in this eventful weather.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Highly illegal

I've been looking after my friends children today. They are home educated like 'poor son' was. Being out and about with them reminded me of the two main questions I was asked when people discovered we did home ed.
'Is it legal?'
The times I wanted to reply 'Sssshhhh no but don't tell anyone.'
As if I would tell perfect strangers about it if it was illegal. Still grin at that one.
The other
'How can you bear to have him at home all day? 'or 'I couldn't have them at home all day'
Sad eh?  Never said much to that one. Often as a home ed person I encountered people that seemed to think it was a slur on their choices of school. Not at all it just worked well for us. He's at school now and loving it. Home ed was an absolute blast and then equally it was lovely to stop being the teacher and be mum on the school run - did miss him though ha. I feel we've had the best of both worlds.

Hope everyone is coping in the heat. My morning dog walk was in a thunder storm and we were drenched. My evening one was a paddle in the brook and we were drenched. x

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Waiting in the heat.

It's been a funny ol week - funny in my head sort of funny. Having just gone from a busy timetabled regime we have had a few weeks of not much and it was great really. Exams, courses, schooling all over for both of us. I concentrated on my growing(plants not myself) and writing and worked up to writing this blog.

Then all of a sudden this week I'm just waiting around.

Waiting for words to come into my head. It's like they are swimming around in there but the minute I pick up a pen they hide away. Maybe it is all to do with discipline and motivation. I made myself complete a job application this morning - quite an involved one that wanted to know so much with the same info being repeated under different headings. Bigging myself up on forms is not my cup of tea. I know also that I need to get some stories out there and experiment with a few factual articles. And that's when the words hide.

Waiting for the plants. The deluge of peas is over, the toms are slowly growing, the beans are ok and the courgettes are waning(thank goodness). Am letting two just grow and grow out of interest. There's not much to pick now and I miss it.

This slump needs to stop as I need to earn. And this in itself creates a barrier. Almost like a panic.

I need to stop mooning about and get on and just do what needs doing. Not moaning as I appreciate just what I have. I'm just trying to focus and this seems to be my place to do it. My motivational trick....looking at crofts on Right Move - whatever works I guess.

And this heat is not helping, strewth it's hot. Last night I did a dog walk in the rain then picked that evening's beans in the rain and it was lovely. So cold Tried a bit of deforestation in the garden today but it was just too hot. Perfect drying weather tho on the bright side.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Take my chair....please

For two days I have been ringing the council to book for them to collect a big armchair. I even got up extra early to get in first but did not work. I can hum the hold music I know it so well and was doing earlier when breaking for some lunch.
Get in before they shut then and finally at 4.45 today a human voice not a robot spoke to me. Trouble was it made me jump and I nearly cut the call off. Hit the correct button and spoke to him. No he had no idea why it was so hard to contact his department and yes I could have it collected.....at the end of August.
'You're kidding?'
But no he was deadly serious.
I remembered my brother was coming to visit in a few weeks and he has a white van. This cheered up the council man immensely who told me all about the permit he could send me for free. I just needed to give the registration number of the van.
Silence. I have no idea and knew what was coming next.
'Ring back with it' he suggested.
'Noooooooooooooooooooo! Don't make me' I suggested back.

Am now trying to figure out if I know someone with a chainsaw.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Could have been my tip top moment.

I followed the instructions:

  1. Place knobbly end of romaine lettuce in water
  2. Wait.
Ok so far so good

Cut some up with my dinner and the result was .... disgusting. I like a bit of peppery oomph in leaves but this was so wrong. An awful taste where instinct took over and it was despatched. Was it me or was it the lettuce?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Frugal Ethics.

Hello and thanks for following me.

Ideally I would buy fairtrade, organic, free range, chemical free and cruelty free. Reality is so different these days, especially as the income decreases.

The two I try hard to stick to are cruelty free and free range although with a bit of chemical free thrown is as well. The co-op own brands are superb; cheap and with the bunny logo. Sainsburys and Superdrug are not too bad although they are not totally bunny logo'd up yet. M and S are good but I have to avoid them as the food dept is my biggest downfall. But they are superb in all ranges and surprisingly the cost is reasonable.

To be chemical free and still afford to eat can be a struggle but looking to ideas from my nan's era give great ideas. Would not be without my vat of bicarb of soda these days. I did try the shampoo and conditioner free idea. Not my finest hour as the natural yoghurt curdled in my curls. So have compromised...don't wash my hair, not really but have reduced amount used. Dr Bronner's castile soap is a beauty but boy does it strip coloured hair. Am on a grey refusal trip at the moment. But it makes a great cleaner for everything. And of course good old coconut oil that I first bought to cook with but is now my conditioner and moisturiser (but ssssh lets not tell anyone as every time something gets popular the price increases - I remember when pomegranates were not a luxury).

I was vegetarian and can be most days quite happily but 'poor son' is a right little meat eater. So I try to stick to animals that have had some semblance of the life they are entitled to. We spent a summer in the countryside a few years ago, near dairy and meat farms. That was the closest I have come to being veggie again. Seeing and hearing them made me really connect and the guilt intensified. Goodness knows I want to give up milk but I love the stuff. Chilled skimmed milk is my drink of choice.

A local butcher sells locally produced free range pork at a great price. The bacon is the same size cooked as uncooked. I guess it's not pumped full of water. Also the free range chicken is good. Mostly it's not much dearer than the supermarket, apart from their real super duper low priced stuff that seems to taste of nothing and is purely from intensive farmed animals.

So that is why a lot of my time is taken up with trying to maintain my frugal ethics. I stare enviously at people filling their trolleys in one shop and not stopping themselves from picking up the pretty pork skewer kebabs, that I really like the look off. I pick up the packs of meat and then remember the trucks of tightly packed cattle I packed that week. Did I mention I live near to a cattle market!! I try and picture the fields of free range pigs that get to snuffle in the dirt. Happy pig meat we always called it. Then I put the pack of meat back, sigh and try and figure out when I am next passing the butchers I use. Then go find the quorn range and wonder if I will ever be able to stomach it.

Thanks for reading x

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Boogie night

Saturday night. Clubbing, boozing, dancing....nah. Just downloaded Gardeners World as it's all about container gardening. Might even have a bit of cheese on toast after watching it.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Here's one I wrote earlier

At the end of last month the Nursing Times website (popular nursing magazine) put up a few words I wrote. My intention to make anyone who works on a ward to stop and think next time they encounter a patient who also suffers from dementia.
May I share the words with you, rather than link to it as you sometimes need to register to read it in full.

My mother, Rachel, was admitted, via a clinic to a liver ward. She had pain free jaundice due to an obstruction. She was also suffering with medium stage Alzheimer’s. She presented well and could communicate, laugh, joke and had no behavioural problems sometimes associated with my mother’s level of dementia. However she was also likely to forget any conversation, not be able to find the toilet, not remember where she was or why she was there. She would also be very scared and bewildered, bored and fed up.  Rachel a lifelong voracious reader could no longer process the words in a book and no longer had the concentration to watch a TV programme.
I was formerly a nurse then full time carer of my mum, as well as a single parent. By being on the ward I could sit with her, reassure her, wash and dress her, sit in on conversations with medical staff and then explain it all to her as many times as she needed. My face was truly the only one she could recognise anymore and just my presence reassured her as she trusted in me totally.
Decisions were a hard one for Rachel. Choice of a sandwich or which colour lipstick to put on could be too much for her. She needed the decision being made for her but at the same time not taking her control away. Patience was always needed as any sign of impatience seemed to shut her down and rendered her unable to cope.
We were lucky in that the ward soon realised how helpful having me there was and the hostility and confusion of staff soon dissipated. I realise not all carers can be there though and often can use a hospitalisation to rest up a little. My family relieved me at visiting hours so I could go home and check out the rest of my family. We lived like this for a full week until a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was given. Then we were given a side room and all family could come and go as needed. This enabled us to set up a 24 hour vigil of family carers so she never had to be alone again.
The conclusion was that by the flexibility given the hospital admission was not as stressful for my mother as it could have been. Patience and flexibility made it a positive experience.
Rachel, my mum died on 11th March 2013.She had peace and dignity in her last few days thanks to the NHS.
I feel it's important to get the word out there using any means possible because it just may help one person for just one hospital visit.
Thanks for reading this.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Hide and seek with the beans

The GYO is going well.

 My clever tomatoes are working away. They are getting quite jungle like and I have to keep separating them from the other plants as like naughty children they are bullying my mange tout and taking over their space. I really should have marked up which are which at seedling stage still I like surprises.

Courgettes plod on - nuff said (have to hide em now else poor son is going to start giving them away...to anyone).

Mange tout are my little stars. Gently and unobtrusively they sit in their pots producing little pods. Found a huge one yesterday that bully tom had hidden and is was like a normal pea pod and beautifully sweet, unlike the flat ones I normally pick. Does that happen? Can I let the others grow like that? Mostly they just seem to get longer so I pick them.

I discovered a cluster of French beans last night. Hidden from view they had reached an Amazonian size. It is the best game of hide and seek ever with my produce and I get to eat the hiders.

Hey bonus I planted some American land cress in a tray with no drainage. Forgot about it and now have lovely peppery leaves although the compost is a green, slimey, shiny mess.

PS thanks to people who follow me and comment - you make my day x

PPS any idea what these are?

I know that's an apple.
The mug, apple and 2 p are my clumsy attempt at size perspective. I call them cherry plums but I think I made it up. But they are yellow with a stone, plum like, kinda bland and make the garden smell like a brewery when they drop and rot.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Thanks but no thanks.

Never got the phone call today from my latest job interview. So many job descriptions say 'such and such' desirable not essential. Then you get there and they are so flipping essential it turns out. Could have saved me petrol money. Although its all good practice (practise????). For instance I now know to not have such a shocked expression when I am told the hourly rate for the job. Knew I blew it on that occasion, but gosh was it low.
My age doesn't help I think and the gap I had to care and bring up 'poor son' but gosh some of the jobs I've gone for a monkey could do. Obviously not as desirable as a monkey these days. And don't get me started on the attitude to being a single mum. I have returned to an age of sexism and ageism, unless it never actually went away and I've been out of the loop.
I have updated my accounts and IT knowledge and now do voluntary date input and am doing well there they have said, they are aware the work is brain numbing but have said I have shown initiative etc. Even the cv was done by a professional as a favour by a very sweet person.
Could it be that my heart is not in it. Deep down I want to remain my own boss but we desperately need a wage coming in. No job I have interviewed for has excited me but that's ok. Isn't it? I don't think that comes over - I knew the am dram stuff would come in handy.
I know I have skills it's just deciding what to do with them and how.

Oh and to top it all the story I submitted to People's Friend was rejected today. I don't flinch normally but I loved that story and the characters.

Never mind we are in good health, have enough food for the week(ish) and love each other very much. What more could an aged, unemployed, single parent ask for.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Susie is the name of the gremlin type dog in the header photo and producer of said dog poo. Gremlin as in the bad ones not the cute teddy type one. She is supposedly a jack russell but theres something else in there for sure. Some suggest corgi, others chihuahua and one suggestion of a Lancashire heeler (the colouring is spot on). We have had her for four years now and she seems to get odder each season.
                                                                  hiding in the bed

No jack russells and no small dogs were my only requests as we visited the rescue centres. So we came home with a tiny jack russell.She had half a tail and a persona like Eeyore. Goodness knows what life had thrown at her.

She does have issues, a long list of dislikes and fears that make her tremble. She growls for 50 per cent of the day especially at 'poor son', luckily he chose her and adores her - even when she nips him. She will not tolerate visitors. On a side note we discovered the only room in the house that has a door that will actually shut is one of the bedrooms (took us ten years to discover this so we must do a lot of open plan living) -she's imprisoned in there when small children are involved in the visit, we let adults take their chances.

She's about a foot high and protects me from the postman and the dog that sneaks into our garden. She has sat and mourned with me, twice. Once when my mum had to go into a care home for long term respite while I staved off a nervous breakdown. Then a second time when the tiny lap that she had snuggled on for many a peaceful nap had had enough of fighting illness and left us.

I've not even started on the escapology. To date:
one lead (snapped in half when she saw a cat)
two collars slipped out of regularly
two harnesses eased herself out of
one tiny gap in the fence(in her slim youthful days)

                                                              it's my lolly stick now