Wednesday 30 June 2021

Scavenger Hunt 2021 First link up

 Just like that, we are at the point where we share the first photos for the Scavenger Hunt.  Where did that first month go?  How are you doing?  It feels like I've made a slow start and some of these I share now may not make the final cut but here we go

1 A breakfast of champions

Does anyone else enjoy avocado on toast with a poached egg on top for breakfast?  I love it!  Seasoned well with salt and lemon juice and a sprinkling of chilli powder in the mashed avocado - yum.

4 Head in the clouds

Now, bear with me.  Use your imagination and look carefully. Can you can kind of see a side profile picture of Coco?  

5 Art of the fold

I'm going to try and redo this one - as I'm not sure that an origami crane is supposed to look so crumpled from where you fold and refold the wings.

7 What's in bloom

Rosie very kindly picked one of each coloured flower she found in the garden, put them in her kettle to make some flower tea for us.

10 The delivery van

I had been having weekly grocery deliveries during lockdown, but have now gone down to about one a month, here is my Ocado man and his 'red cabbage' van.

11 The shape of round

We bought this bug house at the beginning of Spring hoping that we would have some occupants by now but we haven't seen much activity coming and going apart from a ladybird now and again.  I guess that all manner of creepy crawlies could be inside without us realising!

That's it, six out of the twenty.  Are you joining in too?  Please do pop over to Patio Postcards  and see what other people have found.

Monday 28 June 2021

Paws for thought

 I heard them talking about a day out -- couldn't believe my luck when they put my car harness on me and strapped me into the back seat of the car
Hey, I remember this place, it's good to get the sea breeze in my fur
Hang on a minute, I'm sure that last time we came here there was sand at the bottom of these steps, who put all that water there?
Oh no.  My human really needs to get a bit more practice with her selfies, I think she needs longer arms.  And why does it look like I'm being strangled?  I couldn't look at the camera, there was a seagull further down on the wall and I needed to see him off. #alwaysprotectingmyfamily

Yes, we had a day out to the coast on Friday.  Friends have moved three miles from Frinton and we decided to sneak in a walk along the front before we went to their new home for lunch.  It was so nice to be out and about.  Then to finish off a sociable day, we came home and went out to friends for drinks in the evening.  😊

So here we are - Monday has come round again.  Rachel has her vasculitis biopsy this afternoon, I think she's going to be very sore.  I have my little partner in crime (Rosie) coming back again this afternoon.  

Now, in theory this should be a busy blog week.  It's the end of the month roundup and the first check in for the Photo Scavenger Hunt.  I probably ought to be putting a little work into those now or it will be a last minute 'don't miss the deadline' post!  Are you joining in with either of these?  Either way, I hope to see you back here in a couple of days time - enjoy your week!

Monday 21 June 2021

Me on Monday

 What a difference a week makes - goodness we've had a mixed bag of weather!  We had friends over for dinner on Saturday but there was no eating outside on the patio this week, it was definitely an indoor get together.  We had a very busy day on Saturday tidying up the house as three under fives in and out of our house over the past week meant that toys had been left in every imaginable place.  The friends who came over have the most immaculate house, I don't know how they do it, there is not a thing out of place.  So the bad thing was that I spent hours tidying, polishing and hoovering so that the house looked neat and clean, but the good thing is that this morning when we came downstairs, the house was neat and clean and not a speck of housework needs to be done!  Which is handy as Sunday was Father's Day so Paul had permission to do nothing but rest and relax while I cooked him a meal of his choice.

So.  Monday.  It's now under a month to our holiday, I need to start making a list or two.  Fine weather lists and bad weather lists.  I shall be packing for all eventualities which means that we will not be travelling light, thank goodness we won't be having to worry about suitcase weight restrictions!  (Got to find a slim silver lining to make up for the fact we won't be jetting off to the sun!)

More childminding in store this week, that's going to undo all that good work tidying that I did on Saturday isn't it?  Also I want to see how I'm doing with the Photo Scavenger Hunt as we have our first check in at the end of the month.  Are you joining in?  The list is here, I think I've got five so far (although you do have to use your imagination quite a bit a lot for one of them!)

While tidying up on Saturday, I came across a book that I had received as a Secret Santa present many years ago and as I looked at it I suddenly thought 'Number 5 - The art of the fold'!  I don't remember doing many of the projects in the books but in the interests of scavenger hunting I got my paper, opened the book, did some folds, screwed up the first attempt, started again, almost managed to make sense of the diagrams, ended up with way too many folds, headed to the computer, checked Youtube and after careful research - I would like to confirm that not all 'easy' tutorials are created equal!

First attempts

After watching three different Youtube videos - ta dah!  Practice will hopefully make perfect, I'll have a few more goes ... Now you may need to use a bit of imagination to work out what it is so I had better tell you what it is supposed to be - it's a crane!  Apparently to legend if you make 1000, your wishes will come true.  One down and 999 to go 😆

Thursday 17 June 2021

Keep crafting and carry on

 A little while ago I mentioned that my new found enthusiasm for crochet was impacting on my health.  'Trigger Thumb' was causing a lot of pain and there was one morning when I honestly thought the top of my thumb had locked forever in a bent position (dramatic?  moi?) So with a bit of help from my resident consultant (Google) I found some exercises to do, popped over to eBay and found a reasonably priced thumb splint to wear overnight and I am happy to report that normal service has been resumed!

I'm taking it slower now and restricting how many rows I do a day - there is a possibility I may have been doing too much in one go as I was enjoying it so much.  OK, let's be honest, I was doing way too much in one sitting!  I'm now on row 90 of 157 so I'm over half way now.  My friend is doing the same blanket and realised that she had lost several stitches on the way and had to undo 40 rows this weekend - how disappointing!  Memo to self - count stitches more often than you think you need to!  Fortunately at the last count I still had 180 per row - phew!  One thing helping me to restrict the time working on it has been the heat that we've had this last week, because the last thing you want on a humid evening is a wooly blanket over your knees!

Another thing I almost stopped was my Duolingo.  I thought I'd reached my optimum point.  The endings of the verbs was driving me to distraction and I was quickly running out of hearts (you get 5 hearts per session and then you lose your unbroken daily streak). However, Paul suggested that I go back to an earlier lesson to do some revision so that I have a finished lesson for that day, and then try the impossible more challenging one so if I lost all my hearts on that more advanced one I hadn't lost the daily streak.  

Ta dah!  I'm still Duolingo-ing!  AND I finally managed to crack those pesky verb endings.  Turns out that when I didn't feel under so much pressure I didn't make the same silly mistakes. 

I must say that there has been quite a sense of relief and accomplishment on both things and I'm really pleased I persevered. 

Monday 14 June 2021

Me on Monday

 Welcome to my little corner of blogland this sunny Monday.  Did you have a good weekend?  Funny how, even though we are retired, we still feel like the weekend days are different to the others!

It's been a social time over the last couple of days.  The weather had been glorious and we've taken advantage of that.  We invited some friends over for afternoon tea in the garden on Thursday which was lovely.  We hadn't seen them face to face for quite some time so we had lots to catch up on.  

Saturday we had invited friends over for drinks but with good weather forecast we decided to extend the invitation to cooking a meal for them to eat outside on the patio.  One thing that the last 18 months has taught us is that we should grasp opportunities to socialise as much as we can because who knows when it may all be locked down again!  But of course having sent the 'let's do a meal rather than just drinks' message I then had to think of something to cook.  I fell back on a tried and tested dinner of salmon and cherry tomato skewers wrapped in parma ham, with new potatoes, tender stem broccoli and fine green beans.  Easy to prepare in advance and light to eat with a nice glass of chilled white wine.

But ever so best of all ... on Sunday we were able to have our family together for a meal in the sunshine!

You can almost see us all in the photo (I need more selfie stick practice!).  What a lovely day.  We haven't all been together for a meal since November last year due to lockdown restrictions so it felt so good to all be round the same table.  Not to mention getting the three cousins together playing in the garden.  I was a very happy nanny!  The sun shone all day, hottest day of the year maybe?  Then England won their first Euro 2020 football match.  It was a good day.

So ... today we learn about whether or not we will be released from all restrictions in two weeks time ... it's not sounding optimistic. I think all lifting isn't likely, but it would be nice if a few areas could ease, especially for the cap on 30 people at a wedding, wouldn't it be nice if all those postponed weddings could take place?  

Time to get back to the garden and enjoy the sunshine, apparently we only have 3 days until it breaks with a storm so we need to make the most of it!   

Monday 7 June 2021

Me on Monday

This week I am

Channeling my inner Dane

I listened to Helen Russell being interviewed on a podcast about her time living in Denmark and how different their way of life, their attitudes and work/life balance is over there.  It sounded interesting so I downloaded her book, and then had* to buy a Danish pastry to eat while reading it. 
* OK, it isn't compulsory but it did help immerse myself into the Danish way of life. 

Bemused by the fact that Coco can spot a squirrel from the end of the lane, yet when sniffing around the base of a tree in the park, failed to notice this about 1m above her head.

Somewhat frustrated
by my car insurance renewal.  It came through for £20 more than it was last year.  As always, I decided to do a bit of research to see if it was still competitive.  The first company I tried was only £5 cheaper and so I thought I would just stay with the original one.  About an hour later I decided to try one of the price comparison websites.  Whoah!  Quite a difference.  Of course, once you do all the add ons and excesses the quote goes up and some of the companies I had never heard of.  But the first one that I knew to be reputable was £52 cheaper.  That's quite a hefty percentage!  So I saved the quote and then rang my existing company to cancel the renewal.  At which point they said they couldn't reduce it that much but could offer a price of £48 less than that in the renewal letter.  What?  So I have stayed with them because when someone did drive into my car 4 years ago they were really good about the claim against his insurance, hire cars etc and will renew at the lower price but it leaves me with the question.  If they could quote me that low a price when I queried it, why didn't they just offer that price in the renewal letter? If I had just left it to automatically renew, they would have charged me £48 more. 

Slowing down on my crochet.  I seem to have developed 'trigger thumb' (diagnosis via Dr Google) In the morning my left thumb locks at the first joint near my thumb nail and is very painful to try and straighten.  The only thing I can think of which may have caused it is crocheting so I am not doing so much in the evenings at the moment.  I made a kind of splint for it to wear overnight (elastic strapping over the top of a nail file!) and today it wasn't quite so painful to straighten so I have ordered a thumb support from Ebay and see if that helps.    

Looking for a new series to watch.  We just finished watching Mare of Easttown with Kate Winslet in the main role.  I was so pleased to hear that when they suggested cutting out a little 'belly bulge' she refused and she also asked that they not airbrush any facial lines in the promotional pictures. She apparently said 'I know how many lines I have by the side of my eye, please put them back'. Good for you Kate!  It was a good series and certainly had a twist at the end.  She played her character brilliantly and it was good to see her in a very different role to what I've seen her in before.

So that's how I am feeling at the start of this new week, how about you?

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Days out

 On Saturday we actually went for a day out.  Oh it felt good!  

While we were in lockdown we would talk about places we would go when we were released back out into the world, and one of those places on the list was under an hour away, safely outdoors, and somewhere to give us inspiration for our own garden.  We checked the weather reports and booked tickets to go to Hyde Hall, which is owned by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Fortunately the weather forecasters did not let us down, and on a bright and sunny Saturday morning we packed up our picnic and headed off.  We were not disappointed!  

Luckily the weather was still nice the next day, when we had been invited to a friend's house for a barbecue. This visit also included my first mojito of the summer.

Our final 'out of lockdown outdoor experience' did not start so well.  We were due to have Leo and Rosie for the day on Tuesday, and decided to take them to a small local zoo as a surprise.  You had to book tickets in advance and they were not refundable under any circumstances.  I left it until Monday evening to book them when I knew that the weather was still going to be good and everyone was fit and well.  However, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, two small members of our party were anything but fit and well and seemed to have succumbed to a stomach bug.  What are the chances?  So rather than waste the tickets we rang Jon and asked if Max was available for the day - luckily he was so we took him.

It's only a small zoo, and more of a conservation centre but we saw lions, tigers, snow leopards, kangaroos, zebras, huge tortoises

Beautiful Maribou Storks - just look at his fancy hairstyle!

But his most favourite animal?

The giant dinosaur models!  

Tuesday 1 June 2021

A Sentence a Day in May

 May started with sunny skies and the promise of more relaxation of rules mid month.  Let's see how things gradually unfold

Day 1 Started the day with an online class of Zumba, nothing like a bit of belly dancing to wake you up!

Day 2 What a gloriously sunny day, even if it is a little breezy, Rachel and family came for an al fresco lunch

Day 3 Bank Holiday Monday was a chilly and blustery day, caught up on housework and a bit of crochet

Day 4 Childminding day - the weather was crazy today, sun, high winds, rain and then hailstones, I thought we were supposed to be in spring?

Day 5 Max came for the day which kept us on our toes, Rachel popped by to pick up something she'd left behind yesterday and we got to see all three grandchildren together for about 10 minutes, was lovely to see them play together and made me realise I can't wait for restrictions to lift so we can get everyone together for a decent amount of time.

Day 6 Polling day for local county council elections, voted in the morning then went to our local farm shop to stock up on our favourite ice cream as our supplies had run out!

Day 7 Actually left our locality and had a trip to Cambridge - oh it felt good to be out and about in one of our favourite places!

Day 8 Babysitting for Leo and Rosie while Rachel and James went out for a meal with friends - those children were absolutely determined not to fall asleep, but fortunately both were in bed and sleeping by the time their mum and dad came home.

Day 9 A productive day for Paul in the garden, making the natural pond that he wanted in the garden, now all we need is some wildlife to come visiting!

Day 10 Jon's house purchase has fallen through, a week before they were supposed to move, the seller has decided to put it on the rental market instead - we are all very, very cross.

Day 11 Spent the day with Rosie which took my mind off feeling very annoyed about house owners who leave it until the last minute to change their mind

Day 12 Looked after Max today, had a long chat with Jon, it's a rubbish situation but totally out of anyone's control and it's time to be philosophical and start the property search again.

Day 13 Zumba on line - for the last time hopefully!

Day 14 Max had his first proper haircut, all those baby blonde curls have gone

Day 15 Queued up at the walk in centre and got the second dose of our vaccination two weeks early!

Day 16 Sore arm from my injection yesterday, had an hour long nap in the afternoon, hopefully they will be the only side effects

Day 17 Coco went to the groomers and came home looking fluffy and fresh

Day 18 Rosie was here for the day, she spent quite a while trying to teach me how to do the splits (oh to be as flexible as a 2 year old) until we realised what the problem was, my socks apparently weren't right.  After we picked Leo up from school we went to a neighbour's garden so that he could catch some newts from their pond to put into ours - oh the excitement!

Day 19 Max came with our son for the day, Rachel popped over for a little while with Leo and Rosie - it was lovely to see all the grandchildren together in the garden.  Can't wait to be able to invite them over for a meal INSIDE!

Day 20 Zumba in the hall - oh boy did it feel good - I work so much harder when I'm in the same room as the instructor ;-)

Day 21 Our first night out since December!  Went to a friend's house for dinner, weather was atrocious so it was lucky we can now go inside other people's homes!

Day 22 Quiet day at home, made a banana loaf, did some crochet started watching Mare of Easttown on tv

Day 23 Rachel & family here for lunch - so nice to be able to invite people for dinner and not have to rely on eating outdoors!

Day 24 Went to lay flowers on my parent's grave, my sister and I take it in turns to go once a month, the churchyard is right by my old primary school, isn't it a lovely building?

Day 25 Rosie was here for the day and we also had our son working from home in our home.

Day 26 Max came for the day, we took him to Pets at Home where he was very interested in the hamsters.  No we didn't buy it for him!

Day 27 Zumba in the hall again :-)

Day 28 Rachel had her vaccination

Day 29 Went out for our first 'proper' day out since December to Hyde Hall, it was a gloriously sunny day, lovely walks through the many different types of garden and a picnic overlooking the lake.

Day 30 Out again! (I could get used to this!) this time for a late afternoon/evening barbecue with friends

Day 31 Went over to Rachel's to help them in their garden, the previous owners of their house were keen gardeners and R&J have not had time to spend in the garden so it was in need of a good tidy up. 

Now it's time for the one second every day roundup

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