Monday, 31 May 2021

Monday 31st May 2021

It's my birthday today. Celebrations have been quiet but that's fine by me. We had a great time at the BBQ on Saturday and being an absolutely rubbish drinker, I'm still feeling the effects of the G&T's! 

I've received flowers, perfume, chocolates and gift cards and I also have an afternoon tea with Amy to look forward to. The birthday cards this year have been extra special with some lovely messages written inside them



Instead of traditional birthday cake I decided on fruit and individual cakes. The only disappointment was the nectarines weren't ripe enough to eat, but that's a deliciousness to come.

And to top it all the weather is gorgeous which is certainly unusual for a Bank Holiday in the UK. I hope you're all enjoying it. xx


Friday, 28 May 2021

Friday 28th May 2021

I'm not going out with my friends today because I'm a week ahead of myself and it's next Friday we're getting together. Luckily I checked the calendar before I text to ask what time we were meeting! I'm definitely going out tomorrow though. We're off to a BBQ at Matthew & Sophie's to celebrate my birthday which is on Monday. 

I passed on the offer of a bacon muffin this morning and opted for honey clusters, yoghurt and fruit instead. 

Then I hitched a lift with Mark to Middleton to return an ironing board cover that was ridiculous to fit. I didn't have the receipt so I had to choose something else. Mark picked this room spray up a few days ago. I'm really not keen on air fresheners, sprays or plug ins but occasionally one finds its way into the basket and then within a couple of day into the rubbish bin because I find them overpowering and they get on my chest. But this one is lovely. It's really delicate and all I can smell is a hint of honey which is fine by me. So I bought another one and a few boring but useful bits like tin foil, sandwich bags etc. Then I went and bought a cover from another store which was marginally better to fit but not much.

Tom finishes for half term today so that's nice. Not so much because I'll see more of him, I won't, but I get my enjoyment from him being home by hearing him laughing with his friends. He gets on a roll and can't stop and they're really deep belly laughs. It's the sort of laugh that's infectious. The main reason it's nice him being home is because since LD I've become quite used to slower and later starts in the mornings and I've got 9 days of these ahead of me.  

Amy submitted her final Uni assessment today, so in effect she's now finished. Those 3 years have certainly flown by. She moves back in with us on 22nd June and without a doubt it's going to take some getting used to on both sides. Having 2 adults in a house is fine, but 3 can definitely be a crowd at times!

Friday night is fish and chips night so no cooking to do today. I think I'm going to take my book outside with a brew this afternoon and make the most of the dry and much warmer weather. 

Have a lovely weekend. xx

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Thursday 27th May 2021

 It's been a busy couple of days. I've painted all the doors downstairs but forgot the radiator cover, electric box in the porch and the walk through into the dining room also needed to be done so I'm not up to speed with my plan. But energy levels are good this week and downstairs is now finished. 

I'm leaving upstairs for now anyway. We've decided we're going to rip the stair rail off and I do mean rip it off because it's 50 years old and looks like it's been built into the wall. We'll also change the balustrade on the landing for a new one. We're thinking glass so that after all our work it does actually look different and not just like for like but new. 

I've got a friend coming round for coffee today which will be really nice. And tomorrow I'm going out for lunch with 2 other friends who, apart from one of them dropping a plant and book round for me when Mum passed away, I've not seen for coming up to 18 months. We can talk for hours even when we see each other regularly so you can imagine what this reunion is going to be like. 

It's also been a few days of education and work related conversations. Amy has an interview for a teaching course a week on Monday. She's not totally sold on this particular route so if she doesn't get a place I don't think she'll be that disappointed but would probably take the place if she was offered it. Instead of going back to Uni for another year, it's 'learning on the job' training. Much better in my opinion, but it will mean she needs to take out another loan for £9,250. Bad enough having to pay for the Uni course to get the required PGCE, but if you ask me, extra cheeky if you're another body in a classroom helping out and taking lessons, even if you are only training. 

And Tom has started to bring college prospectus/information home. He still wants to join the police force but definitely isn't keen on having to do a degree. He just wants to get out on the beat and get on with the job. But a degree is a requirement now although he can also do this while in the job. I don't know what all this degree malarkey is about for something like the police. Even the upper ranks are questioning it. I read a piece written by a Chief Constable who said graduates are actually surprised to learn they need to work shifts and weekends and they're not over keen on the violence, with some walking out of self defence classes. Good grief, no wonder we're in the state we are.   

Right, off to do a quick tidy round before I settle down for a long natter. Have a lovely day. xx

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Saturday 22nd May 2021

For the first time in a while things feel like they're getting back to normal. I've sat here for the past few weeks and simply chosen what I've wanted to do and not given much thought to anything else. But now I feel rested, my batteries are re-charged and I'm ready to do something productive. 

So, I'm going to give the house a mini make-over. Nothing too drastic. It needs a lick of paint and I need to buy a few new bits because I'm fed up of looking at the same things. I'm not really relishing the painting part, but I know it will make me happy when it's done. I'll start with the doors. Rather than trying to get them done as quickly as possible, I'm going to pace myself. If I spend some time each day painting a door, by next Sunday every door in the house will be done and that sounds pretty good to me.

I've already started the make-over in the porch. I took 2 pictures down and put this up. Then I went to Wilko and bought 4 mini plants. It's not an expensive makeover but it definitely looks different. 

I've uploaded another video using my new found speed button on some shots! For any eagle eyed readers who are good at spotting inconsistencies in TV programmes and films, all I do is take little clips of things all week, so nothing is in any particular order, I just try to match them together. 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. xx

Friday, 21 May 2021

Friday 21st May 2021

Tom went back to school today. I had to email for his new timetable because while he's been off they've started to move to different classrooms for lessons, rather than staying in the same one all day. Masks are still mandatory, although this must be a school rule as I'm sure the announcement by Boris on 17th May said they no longer had to be worn in schools. 

Me and Mark were at a loose end, the weather has been awful and I was definitely feeling the effects of being cooped up in the house so we decided to have a trip to Dunelm. It wouldn't be Mark's first choice of a day out but he was happy to do the driving. 

First we popped up to Mum's to check on the house and leave the gardener his money. I know Mum would want to keep it looking neat and tidy so he's still cutting the grass and the windows are still being cleaned. The house went on the market last Wednesday and by Friday lunchtime was sold - or as sold as houses are until the person has actually signed on the dotted line. It's gone to a young couple who are first time buyers so if all goes to plan it should go through smoothly as there's no chain. 

It doesn't make me sad that it's sold, probably because Mum told us to put it on the market straight away so I know she'd be happy that we've done that. We moved around a lot with Dad's job when we were children and by the time I was 16 I'd lived in 6 houses, not including sometimes having to squeeze in with grandparents between moves, so there is no 'family home' as such and none of us ever lived at this house. 

Shopping felt much more relaxed today although I'm not sure why. People are still wearing masks but that element of fear and panic to get in and out as quickly as possible was less palpable. It was nice to hear the clatter of cups and saucers in the cafe and the chattering of people sat in there. It almost felt normal. 

I'm trying to bring a bit of colour to our bathroom so picked up some pink towels and this lovely hummingbird soap dispenser. I also bought some fresh blossom diffuser oil.              

I put the last piece of the jigsaw in today. This is such a pretty picture I don't really want to break it up, but it's got to be done. 

I've discovered a speed setting on video editor. Not that there's anything to discover, the button is there as bold as anything on the page, but dilatory me didn't see it until last week. Needless to say I have been playing with it. Brace yourself for some fast movement this weekend lol. 

Hope you've all had a lovely day. xx

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Wednesday 19th May 2021

So, hands up how many of you laughed when I said I still use an iPhone 5. Mark is constantly telling me to buy a new one but mine does everything I need it to do so I'm keeping it. The main reason is that it's small and fits in my hand perfectly. He bought a new one a few months ago and gave me his old one but within a matter of weeks I'd dropped it and smashed the screen because it was too big for me to hold comfortably. What can I say. I like what I like. 

I have listened to him about this little gadget though. A small bendy tripod with camera holder and remote control. I can already tell it's going to to be useful. 

I made an executive decision and put the book I'm not getting on with in the charity pile. Then I ordered The Diary of a Nobody and My Family and Other Animals. I read TDOAN in my early 20's and can remember it made me laugh, something I could do with at the moment. I've watched the TV series of MFAOA but I find books are more detailed so I'm looking forward to reading that as well. 

I had a little change around in the kitchen today and put the tea boxes away, moved the tray to the opposite side of the hob and changed the set up for this. I tell you, it's all rock n roll here!

Thomas is just one day away from going back to school so it looks like we're in the clear, Covid wise. While he's been off another 2 groups of pupils in his year have also been sent home. It does seem as though positive tests in children are on the rise. I just hope he manages to stay in school now until the summer holidays. 

As a treat for being cooped up for 10 days Mark has taken him for a round of golf with Matthew this afternoon. I think they're only playing 9 holes but the fresh air and exercise will do him good.

Hope you've all had a good Wednesday. xx


Monday, 17 May 2021

Monday 17th May 2021

When Mark opened the blinds this morning on the other side of the french doors there was a pigeon looking straight at him. He wouldn't have thought much of it but he noticed 2 rings on its feet. Two hours later and it was still there quite happily wandering around the patio. The fancy photo is courtesy of Mark's phone. I'm still using an i-Phone 5!

By this time Wendy needed to go out and I was beginning to feel a prisoner in my own home. I'm happy for birds to visit the garden but as I've said before I'm frightened of them especially when they flap their wings. Any photos I take are through the windows. And this bird wasn't for leaving. When I rattled the door handle instead of flying away it walked nearer to the windows as though it wanted to come inside!

Then Mark remembered a guy who doesn't live far from us who races pigeons so off he went with Wendy in tow to see if it was his. It wasn't, but he kindly offered to come round and take it. The first thing he did was spread it's wing and there, much to my amazement was a name, address and telephone number of the owner. Hopefully, there was a lovely reunion today. 

In other news, I finally collected Mum's ashes from the funeral director. I don't know what will happen about scattering them. There has been a big issue which has caused a huge rift in the family and I honestly can't see it ever being repaired. There was a will but because I lived with her for several months I've had to clarify certain things she said. The whole situation has left me feeling unsettled and has put me in a position I never expected to be put in. The worst thing is witnessing the knock on effects of it all which isn't nice. I really do just want to get back to my own normality now. 

I uncovered the Morning Glory yesterday to take a peek and can't believe how much they've grown considering I only planted them on Thursday. If they carry on like this they're going to perfect for the pots. 

Hope you've all had a good day. xx

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Saturday 15th May 2021

It's been a quiet day today. I've done a little bit of reading, but I'm honestly not sure about this book. It's very slow. I'm about one third of the way through and nothing much has happened yet. I think I might have to relegate it to the charity pile and pick up Nella Last again. I can tell if I'm really enjoying a book because I go to bed early to read, but I've had a lot of late nights recently so I think that speaks for itself, especially when the best bit seems to be opening it and seeing my new bookmark. 

I've not finished the flower blanket yet but I thought I'd get organised and write the covering notecard. Doing this made me want to tell you about a vlog I watch of a housewife and Mum in the USA. Her videos are undeniably beautifully shot and I watch for that rather than for what she has to say. She's become a very savvy vlogger recently though. She has an Etsy shop and Patreon which I think are pretty standard if you're wanting to make some money. 

But recently she asked if anybody would like to be penpals. I thought she meant she just wanted to write to people and receive letters back, but no, it's something that's for sale. You have to pay her $35 (£27) per month and I'm not even sure you get a personal letter. I think she just uploads what she's written and everybody who is a penpal reads the same thing. It's an odd concept to me, especially as I'd be happy to write to anybody for free, but it's worked for her.

I'm making stir fry tonight. During LD it's become a habit to get the tablecloth and wine glasses out on Saturday and set the table properly. Afterwards we watch a film or a Netflix Series. We've just finished Breaking Bad. I know we're very late to this party but we got there in the end. We're now watching Better Call Saul which is linked to BB characters. It's fun to watch when we know what's going to happen to people further down the line. 

I've no idea what we did with the video yesterday but it ended up on 2 YT channels, an old one Mark mainly uses now and a new one I set up for the videos I'm doing. I'll have to watch out for that in future. I don't like my videos being all over the place, it feels untidy.  

Hope you've all had a good Saturday. xx

Friday, 14 May 2021

Friday 14th May 2021

One of Mum's favourite films was The Sound of Music and it was the first film her and Dad took me, my brother and sister to see at the cinema. When the grandchildren were little she'd put it on when they visited and they'd spend the afternoon warbling their way through the songs. I can see Amy now, about 4 years old, stood right in front of Mum's TV watching The Lonely Goatherd puppet show and singing along to Do-Re-Mi.  

Anyway, because of all the memories this held for us we decided to play the instrumental version of Edelweiss by Andre Rieu at her funeral.

All that is leading me up to telling you that on Monday when I went to the garden centre would you believe right by the doors as we walked in were racks full of Edelweiss. I've never seen any before although to be honest it's not something I've ever looked for but it goes without saying one came home with me. 

I think my work in the garden is done for now. There's just a little bit of tidying up to do which won't take long and then it's a case of sitting back and letting Mother Nature do what she does best. 

Hope you enjoy the video, uploaded courtesy of Mark. I caught a bit more of how to do it this week but no doubt by the time I do another one I'll have forgotten again. 

Have a lovely weekend. xx



Thursday, 13 May 2021

Thursday 13th May 2021

Tom did his lateral flow test last night and thankfully it was negative. We're not out of the woods yet but hopefully he'll be fine and back in school next Friday. He'll only be there a week before he's off again for half term. Then there's just 7 weeks before the summer holidays.

My last gardening job was to sow some Morning Glory seeds. A lot of people consider them weeds but I want something to grow quickly up the obelisks and bees love them so I'm happy to have them in my garden. 

I ordered these lights from Asda which arrived today. They change colour and I love the design of the bees and butterflies on them. At £3 each I thought they were a bargain.  

This week has been all about gardening although I seem to have spent as much time dodging showers and thunderstorms as I have planting. But it's got me out in the fresh air, given me a focus and cleared my head which has been nice. 

I'll put together a little video tomorrow if I have time. They're easy enough to do but I'll need Mark to help with the uploading part again. The problem with trying to learn from him is that he takes the laptop off me and he's done it before I can even get my glasses on to focus on the screen! Ah well, I'm sure I'll pick it up soon enough. 

Hope you've all had a good day. xx


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Tuesday 11th May 2021

 I spoke too soon last week about Tom still being in school. This afternoon he was sent home for 10 days  because he's been in contact with somebody who's tested covid positive. He's not in the slightest bit worried but this is the first time it's happened and it feels odd. 

Guidelines state me and Mark don't have to isolate and there are some things I will have to do over the next 10 days, but there are also some plans that I'm now choosing not to go ahead with. I don't need to meet my friends for coffee and I don't need to sit in church with a group of people, some of whom are of the older generation, so I won't be doing. It wouldn't bother me if anybody else chose to carry on regardless, I personally just prefer to hang fire as much as possible and when the 10 days are up and Tom is still, (fingers crossed), testing negative, all will be good. 


This morning I went into Middleton and bought a few things. Three new hanging baskets which are plastic but I really like the basket weave look.

A new jigsaw. These days I choose 500 pieces which take anything from a couple of days to a week to finish. They're challenging enough to keep me occupied without having them hanging around on the table for too long. I don't know who Kim is but I love her garden!

Some notecards. There are times when I need to drop a quick line to somebody or a covering note to a charity and I like to send a card when I do that. 

A waterproof mascara. I bought brown by mistake but it'll be fine. I chose it simply for the colour and design of the container. The cap has what I'm assuming are 'drops of water' on it.

When I got home I planted the rest of the pots up and the new hanging baskets and filled the garden trough with peas, tomatoes, chives, spearmint and pepper plants I'd bought. 

And we've also bought a new microwave. I've come full circle with colours and I'm now trying to get my appliances back to white. I'm pretty much there with the kettle, toaster and new microwave. Mum gave me a mini oven which is brilliant but it's old and black and now I know I actually get a lot of use of it, I'll be changing that in a few weeks. The fridge/freezer is silver but that's fine. It's too expensive and decent to change just for the sake of it but when I need a new one it'll be white.

Hope you've all had a lovely day. xx


Monday, 10 May 2021

Monday 10th May 2021

Thanks to everybody who clicked on the video. It looks like lots of you are happy to spend a couple of minutes watching, unless of course just 10 people watched it 100 times lol. It wouldn't let me upload it straight on the blog this time so I had to faff around uploading it to YT then downloading it on here which has made the job a bit more tricky but I'm sure I'll get used to it. 

We had a trip to The Range today. We had a rogue birthday candle on Amy's birthday that burnt a hole in the tablecloth so I wanted a new one. It's just plain white. Not half as nice as my other one but it will do the job. 

Then we popped to the garden centre on the way home. I didn't manage to look after the veg seeds with everything that was going on and only the peas have survived, so I've bought some tomatoes, peppers, mint and chives. 

I checked the weather forecast for the next fortnight and although showers feature heavily it's going to be much warmer so I decided to plant some pots up. I can always cover them up if there's an unexpected frost. I bought some bedding plants and also some perennials so the garden should be nice and colourful this year. 

I need to go the funeral directors and collect Mum's ashes this week. Later in the year my sister will come up and we'll scatter them in the garden of remembrance at the church where Mum and Dad married, where we were all christened and where Dad's ashes and her parent's ashes are also scattered. 

I also need to go and check on her house but apart from that the 'things to do' list has considerably shrunk and I'm finding myself  thinking more and more about her and not what needs doing. Two things have brought a lump to my throat recently. The first is that I couldn't ring and tell her Amy had a work placement at school and the second, that I've arranged to go to my sister's for a weekend in a few weeks, a trip she'd definitely have been included in and which she'd have loved.

I've dug the little flower granny squares out and I'm in the process of adding the green border. There's 16 of them and by the time they've been crocheted together they should make a nice lap blanket which I'll post to the Macmillan ward with the other blanket. 

Hope you all have a good day. xx

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Saturday 8th May 2021

When I returned to blogging I mentioned that I'd wanted to come back and do something different but that my life and writing style is what it is, and I didn't know how to change that and still keep it authentic. 

But I think making the videos is the answer I was looking for. I really enjoy putting them together and this week have delved into the 'live' side of things. I'm no professional but it's re-awakened my enjoyment for blogging and it's also a lovely creative diversion that I've needed without actually getting anything crafty out and making yet more mess on top of the mess we've been working through the past few weeks. 

I know watching videos isn't everybody's cup of tea but I hope some of you enjoy them. If you do watch it then imagine the clip of me crocheting with my phone wedged underneath my chin because that's the reality of it. Also know I'm such an amateur that I forgot to reverse the camera so I ended up with a load of double chin footage! Maybe the out-takes would be better than the end product thinking about it. All good fun though. 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. xx


Thursday, 6 May 2021

Thursday 6th May 2021

After the hectic morning on Tuesday, I've managed to have a quiet couple of days just bobbing along doing whatever needs doing in my own time. 

This is the first of a few small steps I'm taking to look after myself a bit more. Drinking a daily glass of Vit C, which is no hardship because it's really refreshing.  

I've taken a few petals from Mum's funeral flowers to press and keep in her china pot. 

And I've finished the blanket which will be posted to the Macmillan ward at Manchester Hospital. I thought I'd use the last bit of the gold to make 4 tassels for each corner. The wool is reduced to a more manageable pile and I just need to resist buying any more until I've worked through the rest. 

I'm not in the mood for getting anything out craft wise but I'm finding making the videos is filling the creative void. I'm putting one together that will include little clips of movement as well as photos, so that will keep me busy for the next couple of days. 

75% of Tom's year group were sent home on Tuesday because somebody had tested positive for Covid. Tom wasn't one of them which I'm glad about on 2 counts. Firstly, that he's not been in  contact with the positive person and secondly after so many weeks off, I really want him in school. The teachers did a great job with on line lessons but even he said it's not as good as being in class. But sending so many pupils home makes me realise we're not out of the woods yet with this virus.

We're off to vote now. Our usual voting station, the local community centre has been sold so we're going to the pub instead, armed with our own pens as instructed. 

Hope you've all had a good day. xx


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Tuesday 4th May 2021

Today has been another busy day but at least we had a relaxing Bank Holiday thanks to the weather being so bad there was nothing to do but stay indoors. 

First job was to get Tom off to school, then I had to go to Mum's. She gave strict instructions to clear the house and put it on the market as soon as possible so that's what we've done. The YMCA have taken a lot of things but they wouldn't take the double bed base because it didn't have a fire sticker on. Frustrating as I can't imagine anything being made these days that isn't fire retardant. Anyway, I had to go up this morning and put it outside for the local recycling centre to collect. 

Then I drove down to the tip with more things we've cleared from our house. I feel like I've lived there this past month, but I'm really hoping that's my final visit for a while, although I have a feeling I've already said that. 

After that it was into Middleton where I dropped a couple more bags into the charity shop and a few bits to the foodbank. Then I did my shopping. I also picked up these trays of geraniums and lobelia but they'll be staying tucked up in the shed until it gets a bit warmer. It's freezing today and really windy. 

I did all that in double quick time because the dog groomer was also booked this morning. I literally made it home with 5 minutes to spare before she turned up. By 12.15 she'd left so I made a bite to eat then sat down for an hour which I felt was well deserved. I decided to deconstruct the flower arrangement and make a couple of smaller displays with them. 

Tonight it's pasta ping for tea so at least I don't have to cook. And then I think I'll run a bath and have a long soak and try and warm my cold bones up. 

Hope you've all had a good day. xx



Sunday, 2 May 2021

Sunday 2nd May 2021

Mark took Amy and Thomas to meet Matthew at the driving range yesterday so they could whack a few golf balls down the green. I really enjoyed having the house to myself. More than the peace and quiet it's the lack of movement I appreciate, although after a while I look forward to them all coming home again. 

This week/month I plan to spend some time getting the house back into order. Over the years I've gradually relinquished my quest for show home perfection and have come to accept our home is for living in. Having said that I have red lines and lately we've all crossed them, mainly because I've not been here to raise an eyebrow, or I've purposely re-drawn the line myself because I've been too tired to do otherwise. But it's time to get myself and fellow Number 38-ers back on track. 

Amy has decorated her lounge and the set up now is exactly what she needs - a space of her own to retreat to that isn't her bedroom. She's on the last leg of her Uni journey, just a couple more assessments and she's finished. Those 3 years have certainly flown by. 

She's veering towards a career in teaching and in June starts a placement at her old high school in the English department. I told Tom and he was fine with that until I jokingly said she'd be able to wait for him at the gate and they could walk home together. His face was a picture haha. He's given her strict instructions that if they bump into each other she's not to talk to him. She's told him she can't wait to give him detention. I'm not sure how this is going to pan out but it'll make for some interesting conversations around the dinner table. 

I've done a little video. It gives a flavour of the slower pace I'm trying to achieve, but trust me there's the usual household activity, noise and mess here as well. Oh, and if you could all take a minute to appreciate the bird photos I'd be grateful. They leave a lot to be desired but even so, it's taken me days to get them, our birds seem to be very camera shy!

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend. xx