Monday 30 November 2015

Me on the last Monday in November

The last Monday in November ... Oh my goodness!  Time to give a big 'get well soon' wave to Sian and join in with the rest of the Mondayers.
So with Christmas just around the corner it was a weekend of gently embracing the forthcoming festivities 
As I took a short cut through the grounds of the local hardware shop I had to weave my way through the Christmas trees. Too early for such shenanigans in our house; we don't decorate until the weekend of my husband's birthday so we have another couple of weeks to wait.
Sparkly shoes? Have I been invited to join the celebrities on Strictly Come Dancing? No, we have a 50th birthday party coming up soon in a posh golf club and although I had a suitable dress, I had no suitable sandals to go with it. I was pleasantly surprised to find some with 30% off, in my size and comfortable too.  This has been a good month for new footwear!
Time to start making a few things to put in the freezer ready for Christmas so I can now cross sausage rolls off my 'to do' list.  Time also to sample this year's sloe gin.  Happy to report that it already tastes very good, although I may need to try it again next weekend, and the weekend after ... just to be sure!
Our daughter is on holiday in Mauritius and we had a FaceTime conversation with her which was lovely. They're having a great time, temperatures are in the high 20s, they'd just got back to their hotel after a five island speed boat tour, seeing amazing waterfalls, feeding monkeys, eating barbecued chicken and lobster on the beach, snorkelling, it all sounds fantastic.  What a shock they're going to get when they come home next week to wind/rain/sleet/frost.
It's back to working a half day on a Monday today - which was not welcome at all.  I liked having that long weekend for two weeks in a row.
I'd ordered some things on the John Lewis website to pick up at our local Waitrose store so I had a slight detour on my way home.  I'd only gone online to order a wok but you know how things go once you get clicking ... 

Hope everyone else is having a good start to the week - next time we meet it'll be December!

Wednesday 25 November 2015

An unwanted guest

We have a mouse.  I say 'mouse' because although I know they don't live solitary lives, I don't like to think we have a family of them.  He's in the garage and he's a cheeky little thing.  The first we knew of his existence was a hole appearing in the bag of Coco's food.  Now, if Coco had been out there and got hold of that bag, there is no way that she could have made such a small neat hole, she'd have been head first in the top, so we knew it was a mouse.

So the mouse traps came out.  I don't like the thought of killing anything, even an unwanted mouse, so we have a humane trap which just captures them.  It's like a black square tube, slightly angled at one end.  You paste peanut butter on the end, the mouse comes in, the tube overbalances and a door shuts behind the mouse.  You know there's something in there, because the trap is lying on it's side.  With a happy mouse covered in peanut butter inside.

The first morning, we came down and the tube was on its side.  My husband was summoned, well, actually I screamed 'get in the garage now, we've caught it!'  He picked up the trap, took it to the nearby field and opened it.  But it was empty.  The peanut butter was gone so we knew the mouse had been in there, but how on earth had it got out?

The second morning, the tube is on its side again.  Again, nothing inside.  Very curious.

The third morning, the tube is on its side and as he picked it up, my husband said 'there's definitely something in there this time' and took it over the field.  It trotted off in a peanut butter haze and we reset the trap in case he'd left his brother behind.

The fourth morning, tube is on its side, something inside it but as my husband picked it up, the door flipped open and the mouse ran out, into the safety of the far corner of the garage.

It has not been seen since. 

Our garage is integral to our house and we have to walk through it to get to the utility room where the washing machine is.  Needless to say, I will not be doing much washing until that trap is on its side again! And you've never seen me park my car and run into the house so fast. Now, does anyone have a cat I could borrow? 

Sunday 22 November 2015

Me on a frosty Monday

Well the temperature certainly dropped this weekend and it's not much warmer today as I wave to Sian and her merry band of Mondayers.

It was a Saturday where a light dusting of snow turned to torrential rain which dried up and let to a 'meh' kind of afternoon.   The kind of day that gives us Brits lots to talk about!
It was a Saturday evening of having our daughter and her boyfriend over for dinner as a farewell before they went off on holiday to Mauritius.  They didn't really get much of a holiday last year as although they had a relaxing week in my sister's holiday home in Portugal booked, Rachel got appendicitis 2 weeks before they were due to fly out.  Although they still got to go away, it was a very different type of holiday to that which they had planned - more of a convalescence!  So this year they decided to 'push the boat out'!  Lucky things.

It was a Sunday of waking up to the first real frost of the year, of finishing off that quilt, having a traditional Sunday roast and making a batch of vanilla fudge.  That was prompted in a most unusual way.  You see, at work I have been asking for ages if I could have a second monitor screen linked up to my computer.  It makes life so much easier if you are working with two documents at a time and despite the fact that we had two computers in our office not being used due to people leaving and not being replaced apparently it was not possible to 'borrow' one of the screens.  So I said to the Network Manager that if he arranged for me to have a 2nd monitor, I would give him some homemade vanilla fudge.  When I came back from lunch - I had two screens.  Who knew that homemade fudge could be a bartering tool?  Now what else do I need? ...
It was a Sunday of catching up on TV we had missed, of trying a new pudding recipe for dinner.  Individual panettone bread and butter puddings.  The husband reckons they were the best pudding I've ever made.  Which made me feel a little guilty as they were so easy to put together.  Just slice up half a panettone and cut into squares and fill two large ramekin dishes.  Make a custard with 2 eggs, caster sugar, vanilla extract and milk, then pour that over the panettone.  Leave to soak in for as long as it takes (half an hour?) then put in oven at 160 degrees for 15 - 20 mins.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sit back and wait for the compliments!
So here we are at Monday again - and another Monday off (must remember that I'm back in the old routine from next Monday onwards).  Paul suggested a  shopping trip to Cambridge so I was in my boots and coat with the car keys ready before he had time to change his mind.  It was pleasantly busy without being crowded and we got a few early Christmas presents so all was good.  I loved this sign by a small stall selling very fancy cupcakes:
"You can't buy happiness, but you CAN buy cupcakes ...
and that's kinda the same thing"

Well it's freezing outside, which feels even colder when I look at the photo of the infinity pool by the beach that my daughter's boyfriend has just posted on Instagram.  How's Monday looking in your part of the world?

Monday 16 November 2015

Me on a mid November Monday

It's Monday and we all know what that means - time to give a wave to Sian and the rest of the Me on Mondayers.

It was a weekend that was full of shocking news. Where views of Paris were on every news report and the world mourned so many lives lost.
We had a very busy weekend, full of food and drink, friends and family.  Our weekend started on Friday night with a meal out with friends. It was ironic that as we sat and enjoyed a meal in a restaurant which specialises in French food, horrific things were happening in Paris.  I couldn't believe what I read when I saw the news the next day. 
Saturday was a very 'social' day - we were invited over to our neighbours for a cup of tea in the afternoon.  I had met and got on well with the wife of the couple who live diagonally across from us but the husbands hadn't met properly so it was really nice to go over and see them as a couple.  She is a very talented lady and a brilliant quilter so needless to say we had lots to chat about and I learned a lot in just a couple of hours.  Then onto friends for an Indian takeaway - two late nights on the row!
Our daughter had invited us over for Sunday lunch and our son and his girlfriend came up too so that was lovely, not only to have someone else cooking Sunday lunch but to have everyone together again.  I don't think we've ever had a long weekend with so much eating and drinking - but it was really lovely.
How fortunate then that I have an unexpected (but very welcome) Monday off work.  (I'm really not busy at the moment but in a couple of weeks time it's going to be crazy so it makes sense for me to 'bank' a few hours and then make the time up when there is more to do) Of course I'm using it wisely - there's a quilt to be finished and after learning so many hints and tips at the weekend, I'm itching to get it done:

Be prepared though for a future Me on Monday post which sees me moaning about having to work a whole day on a Monday as payback for not working this morning!
How's your Monday looking?  Hope it's a good one wherever you are and however you're spending it.

Monday 9 November 2015

Me on Monday

Hello!  How quickly these Mondays are rolling around!  It seems like only yesterday I was giving up a wave to Sian and yet here we are again. 

It was a wet and soggy weekend around these parts but what better excuse to give my new boots an outing on Saturday? These were what some may call an impulse buy or as I like to think of it, a perfect example of not realising how much you need a new pair of boots until they call to you from across the road.  You see, last Wednesday I'd popped into town to buy some white thread and a zip.  As I came out of the shop I looked across the road and saw a new display in a small independent clothes shop.  Now, I do like to support local shops so I went over for a proper look and noticed that they were also selling a few styles of shoes and boots.  One pair in particular caught my eye ... I went inside ... the pair on the display was a size 4 ... which is my size ... I tried them on ... they fitted perfectly.  It was clearly the universe telling me that these boots were meant to be mine.  With a quick swipe of a credit card, they were mine!

I'd bought my first ever copy of The Simple Things and there was a recipe for Danish Dream Cake.  So once I'd come home from taking my new boots on their first jaunt into town, I got baking.  It's like a very soft vanilla sponge on the bottom with a coconut flapjack type of topping.  It's getting the thumbs up around here!

Then of course it was Remembrance Sunday for a time of quiet reflection.  Grandma here for lunch - dog returning from her walk caked in mud and soggy leaves - and trying to work out why the programmer on our central heating system doesn't seem to like us wanting hot water and heating at the same time.  I predict an engineer's visit in the near future.  We've tried all the normal things, giving it a stern look, tapping it gently, putting the hoover nozzle up close to it to suck out any dust, blowing on it and even shouting 'why won't you work?' but nothing will convince it that hot water and hot radiators are a good thing. Thank goodness the weather is so mild.

And how does this Monday find me?
Pleasantly surprised by finding this in the mail ...

A premium bond win of £25 - just in time for Christmas, lovely!
Today it is really blustery; thankfully the central heating is behaving itself but I mustn't get too comfortable, I'm about to go out and meet a friend for afternoon tea.  Maybe those boots will be seeing their second trip into town.
See you again next week?  Same time?  Same place!

Monday 2 November 2015

Me on a Monday in November

It's so foggy out there this morning that I'm not sure Sian will see me waving hello and joining in with Me on Monday, but I'll give up a wave anyway.
What a glorious Autumnal weekend we had. Bright and dry and sunny right up until Sunday late afternoon when the fog rolled in.
I got lots of sewing done and my sister's surprise Christmas present quilt is now complete. I'm pleased with it and I hope she will like it.  We had some lovely long dog walks in the countryside; scuffing through the fallen leaves and appreciating the beautiful colours.  I know we moan about our weather over here, but without it our seasons would not be the same.  I do like the fact that we have very different seasons through the year.
The fog set in about 5pm here and we had already planned to go to see the fireworks in a nearby town.  So we set off with our warm mulled wine in our flask and wrapped up warm in winter coats and boots.  The display was fantastic despite the fog, although a few of the fireworks went up so high, it was hard to see them through the cloud and mist but they still lit up the sky with beautiful colours.
On Thursday I had decided to get a new hair style.  I'd become bored with my bob and had considered something drastic for a little while now.  I decided that the time had come, so went into the salon with the brave words 'I want to go a lot shorter'.  We had a discussion about what my idea of 'a lot shorter' was compared to that of the guy who cuts my hair.  Turns out his idea of 'short' is very short and we had to go through a process of negotiation!  However, I'm pleased I've been brave although it still takes me by surprise every time I catch sight of my reflection.  Washing it was fun too, I'm certainly not going to be using so much shampoo!  You can guess what my 'Me on Monday' photo is going to be can't you?
(I couldn't work out what the white splodges are on my lips in the photo, turns out that when I was using the hairspray I stood too close to the mirror and I have a covering all over it!)
So yes, this morning saw me returning to work after a lovely relaxing week of Half Term holiday.  Why is it that half terms go by so fast?  After a few hours at my desk it felt like I hadn't been away at all!