Friday, 19 November 2021

Friday 19th November 2021

 It's been a busy couple of weeks here at Number 38, or at least that's how it feels now I have somewhere to go nearly every day. I've been writing this post for 2 weeks and as time goes on I keep adding bits. If I carry on doing that it'll go on forever, so I gave myself a deadline of today. 

On top of being out most days, there's also been a fair bit of socialising taking place which is unusual for us. We're not ones for going out, I'm happy to get my PJ's on as early as is decently possible in the evening, so when we do have somewhere to go, as much as I always enjoy the evening, several outings in a short space of time can leave me feeling drained. 

Bonfire Night was lovely. We headed over to Matthew's, had fireworks, ate take-away, played UNO then us girls had a little karaoke and boogie session before we came home. I absolutely love the company of my older children. They're so much fun to be with and the best bit is no matter what time we get home, I don't have to do anything more responsible than lock the door and roll straight into my bed, leaving them to sort themselves out. We took Sienna a few little bits including some hair accessories which she decided she'd wear all at once. 

Thomas turned 16 on 8th November. It was a quiet affair with just the 4 of us here to celebrate, but the fillet steak and chocolate cake he'd requested for his birthday meal made it special. I don't post many photos of Amy and Tom now but I've definitely got to include a 16th birthday one for when I look back in years to come.

I'm still enjoying the food pantry and I'm really getting to know the people who use it. Sadly, some of them have needs that are impossible to meet and 2 of our young men have recently passed away. One in his  mid 20's, was a real character, and he died in what I suppose could be called accidental circumstances, the other young man was just 21, and he committed suicide. When I think about how hopeless things must have felt for them both it makes my heart ache. 

In other news, I've been busy packing shoeboxes at church. I spotted some red bows in The Works and had a brainwave to use them as bow ties for the teddy puppets. I think they're a lovely finishing touch, even if I do say so myself. 

I really need to start thinking about Christmas. The gift list is smaller than ever this year now Mum and Aunty Edith are no longer with us, and I really only need to buy presents for Sienna and Ken because everybody else gets money, but I like to buy some small gifts for Amy and Thomas so they have something to open on the day. 

My wisdom tooth has healed nicely which means this week I've been able to chew on both sides again. In celebration of this I've been enjoying a slice or two of white chocolate and strawberry cake. 

It's new notebook time and I chose this vivid pink because I'm spending far too much time looking for things lately, so at least I'll be able to see this. 

And I popped these nativity stickers in my basket on a recent trip to Home Bargains. It would seem although the sheep made it in there, the shepherds were left behind!

I've started the next book in the Kate Shackleton series - A Medal for Murder. I didn't think these would be my thing, but I really look forward to taking a cup of tea to bed at night and reading a chapter or two. She's a very sedate detective and solves her mysteries in a calm manner which makes for perfect bedtime reading. 

Other snippets of news. Mark slipped and fell coming through the front door and has really hurt his ribs so he's struggling to move around at the moment. I thought he needed to go to A&E but felt reluctant to take him, given the waiting times and Covid situation, so I consulted Google. We decided the fact he didn't have any chest pain, could breathe normally and there's nothing they can do for cracked ribs anyway, that he'd probably be better staying home. It was the right decision. He's sore but OK.

Amy is getting on fine with her teaching. There's a bug going around school so they're low on staff which means she's had to take a few lessons on her own, something that shouldn't really happen, but she's handled it well. Maybe the big tin of sweets and stickers she gives out helps. I wasn't convinced high school children could be bribed to behave so easily but Tom confirms this is definitely the case lol. 

Wendy hasn't been well and had to go to the vets where she was promptly injected with an anti-inflammatory. She's still not 100% but is getting there slowly. It doesn't help that she's so greedy and has a habit of eating berries on her walks. 

And looking through my diary it was a year ago last year that Mum was in hospital with Covid. Time just seems to whizz by lately. 

Right, I think that's all for now. Hope you've all been keeping well. I've been very lax reading blogs, but I'm hardly on the laptop at all these days. I've a quiet weekend ahead of me though, so touch wood I'll be able to catch up with what you've all been up to. 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.  xx

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Tuesday 2nd November 2021

I had a wisdom tooth out yesterday. I was eating a piece of liquorice a few weeks ago when I heard a crunch and thought oh-oh, that doesn't sound good. I had a tentative feel with my tongue and discovered the back of my wisdom tooth had broken. I managed to get an appointment at the dentist on the day to have it temporarily fixed but I've had to wait 4 weeks to have it removed. I was nervous to say the least as I've never had a tooth out before. The extraction didn't hurt and neither did the injections around the tooth, but blimey, I certainly felt the 3 injections that were administered to the roof of my mouth. I actually squeaked like a mouse when he did the first one. I brought my tooth home to show everybody then promptly binned it. Don't worry I'm not going to post a picture! But I will post a photo of a tattoo Amy had last week. Her pain threshold is a lot higher than mind to the point where she's happy to self inflict it! 

In preparation for possibly being in pain and looking like a hamster I didn't go to the food pantry today. Instead I've been faffing around at home. I gave the radiator cover a little make-over this morning and took down 2 pictures I've had up for years which have left light dust marks, but I can put up with that over winter and it'll inspire me to decorate next year.

The Christmas cupboard has had another 3 things things added to it, After Eights, a chocolate orange and a box of crackers. The local butcher is taking orders so I popped in last week and asked for a piece of fillet. We'll have turkey as well but I'll sort that out nearer the time. 

I finished the baby boy blanket and it would seem I can't sit at night without doing some crochet because I started another one a couple of days later. I couldn't find white wool anywhere so had to settle for a pale pink which has crocheted up lovely. 

We're going to Matthew and Sophie's on Saturday for fireworks. No doubt Matthew will have bought the biggest, loudest rockets he can find, which I'll be super happy about as I love fireworks. Thomas will be 16 next Monday so we're taking birthday cake with us. I'm trying not to think too much about how he's got to this age, all I know is it seems to have happened far too quickly. I look at photos like this and I'm instantly transported back in time as though it were only yesterday. 

Hope you're all keeping well. xx



Monday, 25 October 2021

Monday 25th October 2021

There's no toddler group in the school holidays so I had nowhere to be this morning. We've been needing to go into Manchester and do some banking business for a while now so I asked Mark if he wanted to do it today and he said yes.

Usually we take the train to Victoria but we needed to be on the other side of Manchester so we took the tram instead which pretty much dropped us at the door in St Peter's Square. 

Just a few steps from the tram stands this bronze statue of Emmeline Pankhurst who was born in Moss Side, Manchester in 1858.

After we'd done what we needed to do we walked to Annie's for brunch. This has got to be my favourite place to head for a good breakfast/brunch and not so many years ago we used to drive into Manchester when it was a lot easier to park, have a walk around and then head here for something to eat. We both ordered eggs benedict with orange juice and coffee. Delicious. 

 Afterwards we headed to my favourite row of shops. Most of the trees were decorated with pumpkin paper lanterns ready for Halloween.

A trip to Whittard is always a must. It was looking very festive today with it's Christmas selections of tea, coffee and hot chocolate on display.

I might not be a lover of flavoured coffee but I certainly enjoy a flavoured hot chocolate. Cinnamon, nutmeg and spiced plum should tick all the boxes nicely. 

I also came away with a few samples to try. 

Believe it or not, I hardly eat any chocolate these days, but even so a few treats from Hotel Chocolat are a must. The pink champagne truffles were my choice, Mark chose the coffee and walnut cake and the salted caramel were a joint decision.

By now, Mark had lost interest in my type of shopping so we went our separate ways for a while, which gave me the chance to have a leisurely browse in The Body Shop and choose some bar soaps. I had a nice chat with the girl behind the counter and came away with some little sample pots of plum body butter. 

Then I nipped across the road to M&S to pick up a tin of shortbreads that come in a light up house tin and some gingerbread men, but they'd sold out which was disappointing. Never mind, I've come home with some lovely goodies so mustn't grumble. 

Hope you've all had a lovely day. x

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Thursday 21st October 2021

Thursday is my full day at home. The shopping was delivered first thing and then I seemed to spend the rest of the day washing and cleaning. The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze so I pegged out. The dryer is a real help, but in my opinion you can't beat the fresh smell of washing dried outside.

The open evening went well and Tom applied for the course as soon as he got home. Uniformed services covers everything from police, fire brigade, paramedics, military etc. and while there are some core modules that everybody attends, students also take relevant modules for the career they're choosing. Some of Tom's extra modules would be criminology, forensics and law which all sound really interesting. We had a good chat to 2 tutors, an ex army officer and a retired policeman, and Tom came away happy with everything he'd heard. The course is split 70/30 academic/physical and he'll have to attend for a whopping 14 hours per week which is marginally better than Amy's 9 hours per week in her last year of university!

The college is set in 70 acres of woodland and they also run animal management and animal nursing courses. I knew they had animals but I had no idea they have over 600 of them, including horses, ponies, meerkats, alpacas, flamingos, reptiles, farm animals, cats and dogs - you name it, they've got it. 

I've had an irritating cough for a few days now which is driving me crackers. I've taken several LF tests but they've been negative so I expect it's just something that's going around. It seems all things covid related are slowly ramping up, and this week we were informed masks are once again compulsory at Tom's school.  

This was supposed to be a blanket for a single bed but after crocheting 20 x 8" squares I lost the will to continue. Instead I've parcelled it up with another blanket I made months ago and will post them to a local Palliative Care Unit who need lap blankets. I've got even more space in the wardrobe now :) 

For some reason half term has arrived a day earlier than usual so tomorrow we'll all be home together for 10 days. Thankfully, it's not long enough for anybody to get too bored but even if they do I'll be out most days so I get a break from them all haha. 

Hope you've all had a good day. xx

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Wednesday 20th October 2021

Amy and Tom went for their ECG's on Saturday. They were carried out through a charity called CRY and their tests were in memory of a young man called Neil Wickers. I thought the results were being sent to our GP but there was a cardiologist there who saw everybody afterwards. Thankfully, the tests didn't show any problems and although he was interested in my history and that of my cousin who died of a heart attack aged 44, he decided there was no need for them to have any further tests done. I know it's not a guarantee of anything, but an ECG can show underlying problems, so it's given me some peace of mind. 

There was a bit of a rumpus at the food pantry yesterday. A customer got banned for 2 weeks after becoming argumentative in the queue and telling another customer to F*** Off. He was allowed to shop yesterday and was his usual polite self with me, but obviously, like a lot of people, there's another side to him. 

Afterwards I went and did a bit of shopping and picked up some brioche and chocolat au pain for Amy and some toffee caramel syrup for Mark. I don't drink a lot of coffee but flavoured coffee is definately not my thing at all.

The coffee morning went well today. More people are coming in and the local characters certainly keep me entertained. We have an alcoholic, a reformed alcoholic who falls off the wagon fairly regularly and a lovely guy who struggles with depression. But they're all really nice people to talk to. One guy asked for a bacon butty and when I said we hadn't got bacon said, Ok I'll have cheese on toast instead. We didn't have any cheese either lol, so he settled for a pile of toast. I sent him home with cake and kit kats though so I think I redeemed myself. As one of the ladies said to me it's a church cafe not a full monty breakfast club. 

I make a point of putting 3 scones to one side for myself and the 2 ladies who help me, and after everybody has gone and we've tidied up, I make a brew and we sit down and have a good old chat. Today we moaned a lot about the state of teenage boys bedrooms!

I said I wasn't going to do this but I've started another baby blanket. I love this pattern because it grows quickly and has a lovely squishy feel to it. I'm going through a white wool stage, then using colour for the border.I can't crochet as fast I used to any more so projects last longer these days which is good as it means the wardrobe shouldn't fill up as quickly!

We're off to a college open evening tonight with Tom. He's interested in finding out about the uniformed services course. Hopefully, it will be what he's looking for because he really doesn't want to do A levels and isn't keen on university. The qualifications from this course can still lead to university though, which I'm happy about as it leaves the door open in case he changes his mind. 

Hope you've all had a good day. xx


Friday, 15 October 2021

Friday 15th October 2021

I was back at the food pantry this morning. One lady came in right at the end and was really upset about something so I made her a brew and we had a chat. By the time she'd left I was behind so needed to do my bits of shopping in double quick time. Hopefully she'll feel better for getting a few things off her chest. This is my little haul of stuff. Shampoo, moisturiser, and a few final bits for the shoeboxes. 


I've picked the last of the tomatoes, emptied the trough and planted up the remainder of the bulbs. I've noticed the squirrel has been digging in one of the pots already which I'm not very happy about. I thought he'd just be burying his goodies, but I've had a google and apparently they're partial to eating tulips and crocus bulbs so I'm going to have to buy some netting. In the meantime, I've sprinkled washing powder and squirted white vinegar in the pots as they don't like the smell of that. I didn't realise they ate bulbs, but I'm guessing that's why none of mine have ever grown - because there's a big fat squirrel sat in a tree licking his lips and laughing at me.

Before I came indoors I gave the bird bath a good rinse and because I was too busy to feed them this morning my feathered friends got afternoon tea instead. Then I cut a few more sweet peas for the bud vase. I love these little flowers which is just as well because there's still lots of them flowering.

I've had a bit of a thing for a mid afternoon hot chocolate this week. It warms me up and also staves off the munchies. My taste buds must be changing because I'd usually have cream and marshmallows on top but it just doesn't appeal lately. 

I've started a new Kate Shackleton Book. I try to get through a chapter every night but it depends on how quickly Mark follows me up to bed. It is definitely not relaxing reading with him tossing and turning next to me asking me how long will I be! It's not overly obvious but the bedside cabinet is in desperate need of a good dust so that's a job for tomorrow. 

Tonight I'll be settling down with All Creatures Great and Small and Grantchester. I've stopped watching TV programmes 'live' because the adverts drive me crackers, so I record everything I like then watch it uninterrupted the day after. Much better in my opinion. 

Hope you've all had a lovely day.


Thursday, 14 October 2021

Thursday 14th October 2021

 After dropping Tom off at school yesterday, I carried on to church to start getting things ready for the coffee morning. Not that there's much to do. A few vases of flowers on the tables, cakes on plates, teacakes cut ready to be toasted and we're good to go. I arrive far too early but it's one of those situations where because of rush hour traffic it's much easier to just stay in the car and carry on rather than come home and set off again.

The coffee lounge is lovely and we also use this room for snack time at toddler group. A lot of playgroups get children to sit on the floor for their snacks, but we set tables and chairs up for them so that by the time they start school sitting down properly for lunch is one less thing they need to get used to. The kitchen is really well equipped which makes everything so much easier although I've still to completely master the dishwasher which is some sort of industrial contraption that needs bits removing and then replacing before and after it's used.

Today I finally got round to dropping the blankets off to the baby charity which has cleared some space in the wardrobe. Then I did the usual bits of housework including 3 lots of washing and cleaning the bathroom before settling down to finish off some teddy puppets.

I received a text from Tom's school this morning advising all Y11's to book a PCR test after 10 confirmed cases of covid were reported in his year group today. In a change of protocol though, students can continue to attend school while they're waiting for the results. I can't quite fathom that one out but if I'm honest I've given up trying to get my head around the whole thing. 

We're having baked potatoes tonight so that's an easy meal for me to prepare. Chili for Mark and cheese and beans for myself and Amy. Thomas will decide what he wants at the last minute but whatever it is there'll be the usual mountain of broccoli on the side. 

Hope you've all had a good day. xx