Friday, 30 September 2022

Summer Photo Hunt 2022 - the final!

It must officially be the end of summer, as it is the time to share the photos that we have found for this year's scavenger hunt!

I shared the first of my finds here so I won't duplicate those.  Are you ready to see what I've found?  

1. Path

I love the way they cleverly add mosaics into the cobble stones of the promenade along the beach in Praia da Luz

2. Peek-a-boo

Sunset over the hills between Luz and Lagos

4. Faceless selfie

Or actually half a face selfie!

5 Looks like a number or letter

Zero or O?  You decide!

6 A corner

Rounded corners on one edge, square corners on another for a building being built on a corner of a street.  I loved the coloured mosaic they have inserted into the decoration

8 Sipping on

A holiday cocktail - a locally made gin with fresh raspberries

10 OMG the shoes

Well, not actually a shoe but quite a fancy boot that doubles up as a fairy house!

11 Yellow and blue together

Blue and yellow is a popular combination on the Algarve and you see lots of homes painted in these colours

12 Fuzzy wuzzy texture

This plant has self seeded itself in a crack between our paved driveway and a gravel bed in the front garden.  The leaves are beautifully 'furry' and it's hard to resist touching them when you are out there.

13 All gone - empty

Who ate all the After Eight Mints?  I couldn't possibly comment.

16 Oh so colourful

Beautiful coloured glass fish displayed outside a shop in Lagos

17 Out of place
Where else would you find a Venetian style gondola in a dried up garden next to the sea?

18 In the distance
The Cotswolds hills seen from the top of the hill in Burford

19 Culture

What's a chicken got to do with culture I hear you ask!  In Portugal the rooster symbolises faith, good luck and justice through the story of the 'Old Cock of Barcelos'.  A pilgrim is accused of stealing silver and sentenced to death.  The judge is about to tuck into a meal of roasted cockerel and the pilgrim says that if he is innocent the cockerel will stand up on the plate and crow.  The judge laughs - until the cockerel miraculously stands up and crows.  The judge quickly reverses the decision to hang the pilgrim.  Years later the pilgrim returned to Barcelos to carve a statue of the cockerel and to this day, these roosters are considered to be symbols of good luck and faith.  This cockerel is situated in the alcove of a building in the town square of Lagos.

20 You grew it, made it

The epic summer make - talk about a labour of love!  I still can't quite believe that I managed to make it.

21 Invokes a childhood memory

I made this little egg cosy when I was at primary school, probably about age 9 - it kept many an egg warm when I was growing up!

22 Add 1 - 2 To change the taste

Hibiscus tonic water - adds a certain 'je ne sais quoi' to a glass of gin!

And for the one I didn't find 9 Changes shape when wet I have used 
Alt A Recent purchase

Destined to be part of a birthday present for a friend who has also recently taken up crochet, some cute stitch markers.

 That's it!  Every one ticked off.  I can't wait to go blog hopping to see what everyone else found.  
Many thanks for Mary Lou for organising this again, and finding some fun and challenging subjects!

Monday, 26 September 2022

Me on Monday

 One of us had the luxury of a spa day/morning last week, look how soft and white she is - quick - before she disappears into the garden in her quest to enlarge that big hole she thinks we don't know she is digging behind the tree.

She may be an older lady nowadays but she still draws a lot of attention whenever we go out and she was very popular over the park on Sunday morning.  We had gone to the town park to see Leo take part in the Junior 2km Park Run.  He's just started going so we thought we would go and see him before the weather got colder/wetter.  It was a glorious autumnal morning and afterwards we walked through the park, bought a cappuccino from the coffee stall and sat and drank it beside the river in the sunshine.  A lovely way to start a Sunday.

It had been an odd week, with the whole of Monday revolving around watching the funeral of Queen Elizabeth on tv.  I am pleased that the media seem to have let the family grieve in private for the rest of the week.

We had friends over for a takeaway curry on Friday evening, which meant that I spent most of Friday afternoon tidying, dusting and hoovering the house but at least we started the weekend with all chores done. It's a nice feeling.

So what does this week hold?  Friends over for coffee this morning - the wife is trying to organise a surprise get together for her husband's birthday in a few weeks time and I shall be on tenterhooks while they are here hoping that neither Paul nor I accidentally slip up and mention seeing them again then!  

Hoping to pop over to Saffron Walden on Tuesday morning - they have a lovely food market there on a Tuesday and I shall be stocking up on fresh fruit and veg for the week. Our new routines have kicked in - it still seems strange to know that we have the whole of Tuesday up to 3.15 free now.  

I need to crack on with knitting Rosie's ballet cardigan so my winter crochet blanket is on pause at the moment.  It is nice to have something small and light on my needles. I took her to her class on Saturday as Rachel and the rest of the family had dentist appointments which had been booked 6 months ago before she signed up for classes. It did seem very strange as they are still run by the lady who ran them 32 years ago when I used to take Rachel!  Rosie is a totally pink and glittery girly girl and she was so happy to be dressed in her pink leotard with sparkly tutu.  She is so like her mum!

It will be nice to have a week which (at the moment!) does not have lots of calls upon our time for childminding as the last couple of weeks have been peppered with an hour here and an hour there, dropping someone somewhere and picking someone up from somewhere else to the extent that I am neurotic that I am going to forget someone, somewhere if I don't write it down in at least two different places!  No parent is climbing a mountain and no parent is going away on business so fingers crossed.

The other thing on my to-do list for today is my flu vaccination, I guess that (as well as thinking about putting a thicker duvet on the bed) is the first sign of winter approaching.  How long can we go before we switch the heating back on?  Quite a controversial subject this year!

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Me on Sunday

 I've brought forward my 'Me on ...' post because I think Monday is going to be quite unlike any other.

How things have changed since my last post.  England appears to be centre stage in the world's media and there is a real feeling of living through a period of historical moments.  It has been fascinating to watch the pageantry of such a momentous period of time, and one cannot but admire the organisation of such ceremonies.  I have no anecdotes of meeting a member of the Royal family and I have never been present at an event where the Queen was attending.  I am sad that she has died, and my sympathies go out to her family who, in the midst of grief, are having to be seen to be doing their duties in the public eye.  Anyone who has lost a loved family member knows that there are times when you just want to closet yourself away and hide from everyone while you weep.  They do not have that option.  She was an amazing woman.  To have taken on the role of Queen when she was least expecting it; to have to alter her life plans so dramatically when she was still so young and to take on the role at a time when it really was still a male driven world.  But I am pleased that as well as having lived a good life, she had a good death too.  We have seen photos of her smiling and healthy just two days before she died and that is so fortunate.  She died in the place she loved most, Balmoral, and she had family members with her up until the end.  For that we must be grateful.

Whilst all this is going on, of course life continues and it this week held some unexpected aspects for us too.  We won't dwell too long on the gastroenteritis which struck me in the early hours of Friday.  Despite no one else in the family having it and having eaten nothing different to Paul in the 24 hours before, it just hit me.  Let's move on! 

Paul had his Covid booster.  He is a volunteer NHS worker and was scheduled to do a shift directing people who had been called for their boosters at a local clinic.  At the end of the day there were vaccines left over and so they asked the volunteers if they wanted to be jabbed. That was an unexpected bonus.

The most unusual thing that happened in the family was that our daughter climbed Mt Snowdon in Wales.  No, she isn't a keen climber or hiker.  No, she didn't do ANY training beforehand.  No, she didn't wear any specialist warm clothing and yet, Yes, she made it to the summit!  It was part of a team building exercise with the directors of the company that she works for.  Just her and five men.  What an achievement!  I think it was harder going than she anticipated (she had done the Three Peaks Challenge about 10 years ago and I think she expected it to be similar to that) and certainly colder and worse visibility than she thought.  But lovely views from the top!

Let's finish with something that was expected.  I started a new blanket.  I knew that my crochet hooks wouldn't stay idle for long!  This is a Christmas inspired one and I have to say that it is a little more challenging with a lot of mosaic work.  Being confined to the sofa on Friday has meant that I have been able to get going on the snowflake panel without interruptions.

I am sure that many of us will be watching the Queen's funeral on Monday.  Viewing the ceremony and traditions that make our country what it is.  The end of one era and the beginning of another.  

Thursday, 8 September 2022

A long weekend in the Cotswolds

 You probably haven't ever visited the village of Burford, but I bet you have seen it in a magazine, a jigsaw or even a biscuit tin.  Whenever they are looking for a photo of a quintessential example of the English countryside Burford ticks all the boxes!

We were staying at an apartment which was part of the old mill and which has the River Windrush passing through the courtyard.  

Can you see the little ducklings the other side of the wall?  

Burford is considered to be the 'Gateway to the Cotswolds' and is so picturesque, it really was a lovely base for our weekend.

We were up bright and early on Saturday with an eager Coco looking forward to a day of dog walks.  First stop Bourton on the Water which was a lovely place to wander around

Then in the afternoon we went to Batsford Arboretum - a perfect place to explore, and Coco found another bridge for a photo opportunity

After a day of walking, we were all relieved that I had pre booked a table at a nearby pub which advertised itself as 'dog friendly' and it certainly was.  Here is Coco enjoying a delicious side order of dog treats

I'm happy to report that the human food was absolutely delicious too

After a good nights sleep we discovered that it there had been a storm overnight and everywhere was very wet!  Rain had been forecast for the whole weekend so we had made the most of the day before.  But by mid morning, the sun was out, the pavements were dry and we headed out to Lower Slaughter, where Coco found another bridge to pose on

This was yet another pretty village, and I loved the sign on the door of this cottage

Hard to see in this photo but it says 'oh no, not you again'.  The cottage was right next to the mill on the river, so I suspect they get a lot of people taking a photos

Back to Burford for Sunday lunch at a local pub

I don't know if we just struck lucky or if all dog friendly pubs in that area serve restaurant quality food, but it was absolutely delicious.  After a lovely lunch and a couple of glasses of wine we had a slow stroll back to the apartment where we just chilled for the afternoon.

We have friends who moved to this area about six years ago and we still hadn't been to visit them so when I realised we were staying half an hour drive from them I contacted them to ask if they would be home for us to pop in and say hello.  Not only were they home on Monday, but they also had friends who emigrated to Australia 18 years ago visiting, and another friend who moved to Devon staying for a few days!  So we stopped there for a few hours, had a lovely lunch whilst catching up on all the news, before heading home late Monday afternoon. 

All in all it was a lovely long weekend, and we certainly walked off all those delicious meals exploring the local area.  It's an area I would definitely recommend.  Coco gave it 5* too! 

Friday, 2 September 2022

Let's sit and have a cup of tea - September

So pleased that you found us ok.  I forgot to mention last month that we would be away for a long weekend.  Isn't the scenery around here lovely?  Before we get chatting properly, let's put the kettle on and make a drink. There’s a nice table and chairs outside on the patio, let’s sit there.

That's better!  We've only just arrived ourselves to be honest and Coco is still getting to know all the smells of her holiday home.  

We always try to take a few days away with her every year, I do a lot of research for 'dog friendly accommodation' and 'dog friendly pubs'.  We've always been pleasantly surprised how welcoming pubs can be and quite often she is served first with a treat and a bowl of water.  We're planning to also pop in and see my friend Julia who moved out this way a few years ago.  Coincidently this weekend she has some other house guests who are mutual friends who emigrated to Australia many, many years ago. Plus another friend who moved to Dorset is coming too so it is going to be lovely to see so many people that we haven't seen for far too long.

When I last invited you for a cuppa and a chat we were still in the middle of our heatwave but that broke in a spectacular fashion with a thunderstorm which shook the house and that front lawn which was so parched last month does now actually have a few blades of green grass growing through.  

This week was my last of my normal childminding activities and it felt a bit strange but I am sure I will soon get used to my new normal.  Coco is also pleased that we have a high chair sized visitor on Wednesdays because that's a sure bet that there will be a few bits and pieces thrown over the sides at lunchtime for her to clear up!  Once children get bigger and eat more politely there's much less heading towards the floor.

Apparently I’ve been on my iPad long enough and Coco is anxious to get to know the lay of the land around here so I will say goodbye for now and will share more details when we get home. Bye for now, have a safe journey home!

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

A sentence a day in August

August really did make itself a record breaker - first a heatwave and then the deluge of rain.  Let's see how the month unfolded. 

Day 1 Caught up on some housework, did some crochet, and made the most of a free day

Day 2 Leo and Rosie here in the afternoon, went to the shops to look at samples for flooring in our conservatory

Day 3 Max here for the day, Paul was doing his volunteer work so it was just the two of us

Day 4 No Zumba - went into town to sort out birthday presents for Leo and Rachel

Day 5 Finished crocheting my blanket - now I 'just' have to weave in the ends

Day 6 Went into town in the morning to collect some things I had ordered from John Lewis, a nice relaxing day, reading in the garden and finishing off those dreaded ends of wool.

Day 7 Zumba summer party was so much fun!  We danced all afternoon!

Day 8 Went to Chelmsford to buy some birthday presents for Leo and Rosie plus a basket to store my collection of blankets in the lounge

Day 9 Leo and Rosie here today, we had a busy day making some birdhouses that I bought in a kit yesterday - messy?  yes?  Did they enjoy it?  Definitely!

Day 10 Max here for the day - we had a lovely day even though it was so hot in the garden we had to stay indoors for most of the day.

Day 11 Emergency childminding today as R's childminder had to take her husband to A&E, Paul manned the fort while I popped out for an hour or so in the afternoon for a hair cut.  The only crafty activity I could think of doing to keep them occupied at short notice today was decorating gingerbread men

Day 12 We are officially in drought conditions, can't even remember when it last rained!  Dinner with friends where they cooked us their signature dish - paella.

Day 13 The hot weather is really sapping my energy, I never thought I'd hear myself saying this but we really do need some rain!

Day 14 Another day of doing not much at all, apparently this heatwave is on its way out now - thank goodness!

Day 15 The temperature has definitely dropped today, went to Hobbycraft in search of craft projects to do with the grandchildren over the next 3 weeks.

Day 16 Leo & Rosie were here - made some monsters with them from the Hobbycraft kits

Day 17 We finally got our rain!  I've never been more happy to hear raindrops on the roof of the conservatory, Max was here and I don't think he could understand why we were just standing at the window watching the rain!

Day 18 Zumba was good, but today a piece of my tooth fell off (while eating some chocolate, that should be a message to me about healthy eating!)

Day 19 Had emergency dental appointment, the piece of tooth was very slim and at the top of the tooth so there is not enough base to put a filling onto apparently, all they can do is smooth down the rough edge.  Leo had an early birthday party at the local bowling alley - he had such a fun time!

Day 20 A mega babysitting day/evening - Max and Olive here in the daytime while J&S celebrated their anniversary and went to look after Leo and Rosie in the evening while R&J went out to celebrate R's birthday which is on Wednesday.

Day 21 A well deserved day at home with nothing to do except cook Sunday lunch for just the two of us, read my book and bake a cake

Day 22 A Monday to myself - went into town, wrapped birthday presents for Rachel, caught up with my ironing while watching the last episodes of Greys Anatomy

Day 23 Leo & Rosie here for the day, had a busy crafty morning making pop up dinosaurs and princesses and an afternoon spent repurposing an big old box into several imaginative games.

Day 24 Max here today, it was also R's 36th birthday

Day 25 Had the most horrendous thunderstorm in the early hours of the morning and although the rain stopped before I went to Zumba, it was SO humid, boy did I need a shower afterwards

Day 26 Lunch at Franco Manca Pizza with friends, was so nice sitting out in the courtyard in the sunshine with a lovely chilled glass of wine 

Day 27 Paul was out for most of the day with his art class which meant I had a lovely day to myself with the only chore being baking a dessert for tomorrow night

Day 28 Had friends over for dinner in the evening which meant a daytime of tidying and cleaning before they arrived!

Day 29 Leo's 6th birthday - popped round in the afternoon for cake - he was very excited with all his new presents

Day 30 Our last summer holiday day of having Leo and Rosie here all day

Day 31 Our last childminding day with Max, so many changes going on, time to put the older toys away and get the baby ones out again ready for Olive next week!

Another month over and done - here's the recap, 1 Second Everyday

Monday, 29 August 2022

Me on a Bank Holiday Monday

 Today isn't just special because it's a bank holiday, it's also Leo's sixth birthday!  They have been spending the weekend in a Wigwam here.  I must admit that when they told me they were going to be staying in a wigwam, this is not what I was expecting.  Pretty sure that the wigwams I had in my imagination are not anywhere near as glamorous as these with their en suite showrooms and hot tubs! They are travelling back this morning and I have just been round to their house to set out all his birthday presents for him so he is surprised when he walks in.  We'll pop back later this afternoon and hopefully there will be cake 😋

There was cake yesterday too.  

I made an impromptu offer of dinner to some friends that we hadn't seen for a while.  Then of course had one of those 'whatever shall I make for dinner?' moments.  I had said it would just be a light meal so put together one of my favourite 'put it all in the middle of the table and share' dinners.  A big plate of salad with a delicious ball of burrata in the centre, Italian meats, a selection of cheeses, olives, white anchovies, ricotta stuffed peppers and halloumi skewers.  But what to do for dessert?  As the main had a bit of an Italian theme to it, I remembered a lovely dessert cake that Nigella Lawson made in her Nigellissima recipe book.  It's gluten free as it has ground almonds instead of flour and it is made with olive oil rather than butter or margarine so it is lovely and moist.  Served with fresh raspberries and a dollop of mascarpone - bellissimo!  I sometimes think it is better to make a quick 'come for dinner tomorrow' invitation rather than have a month to wonder/worry about what to cook.

Of course having people over meant that the house had a good clean before they came so we start the week with a sparkling house (downstairs at least!).  Even the garden had a tidy up.  The horrendous thunderstorms of early Thursday morning have made the garden green again which gave us a bit of enthusiasm for mowing the lawn and doing a bit of weeding.

Now, I am just realising that this Friday will be my first Friday of the month to invite you to join me for a chat over a cup of coffee and I need to let you know where to find me as I won't be here!  We are having a few days away so I will still be posting, it just won't be until later in the day as we can't get into our property until 6pm (hopefully we will have wifi!). 

Have a good week and be sure to pop back late on Friday or Saturday when hopefully I will be sharing a cup of coffee in the Cotswolds!

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

What I've been reading in August

 Let's dive straight in and see what our book club chose for this month's book

Imagine waking one morning to find a box on your doorstep.  A small brown box, delivered to every adult over the age of 22.  Seemingly made of wood, each one identical, except for the name of the recipient.  Inscribed on every box is the message 'The measure of your life lies within'.

Inside every box is a single string, hiding under a silvery white piece of flimsy fabric.  The box is warning you to think twice before lifting the fabric, because once you have done that, you cannot go back.  The length of your string will allegedly tell you how much longer your life will last.

Imagine.  What would you do?  Would you want to know the answer?  Would seeing a short piece of string make you give up your job, withdraw all your savings and travel the world while you could?  Would a long piece of string make you reckless, knowing that whatever happened you still had a long life to lead?  How about if one of a partnership has a long string and the other a short one?  How would that affect the relationship. A long string does not necessarily mean a charmed life, you could still contract illnesses or have life changing accidents.  

So many questions - and whilst you know it is just a work of fiction, what do you think you would do?  Would you want to know?  How would it change your decisions?

I don't know what I would do, or how it would affect how I would make decisions based on what I discovered.  What I do know is that this book challenged me to think about things and I am pleased that I have read it.

Now onto book two, Still Life by Sarah Winman

Now, this book was recommended to me by a guy I used to go to school with.  We used to be in the same English Literature class and when we have our reunions the conversation often turns to what we are reading.  Last time we met he had heard this book being reviewed on Sara Cox's 'Between the Covers' programme on BBC and was throughly enjoying it. 

It is 1944 and two strangers sheltering from falling bombs in a wine cellar in Tuscany share an evening together.  Ulysses Temper is a young British soldier and Evelyn Skinner is an older art historian and possible spy who has come to Italy to salvage paintings and relive the time that she met E M Forster.  Their meeting has a profound effect on Ulysses and over the time period 1944 - 1979 their lives almost cross on several occasions.  Unbeknown to either of them, they end up having several mutual acquaintances and it is so clever how their two stories are intertwined.

It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book but once it had drawn me in, I had trouble putting it down.  The characters are just so interesting and love is quite a theme in this book, love for friends, love for family and romantic love.  It is set in London and Florence and I really feel like I would like to live in that little square where Ulysses makes his new life after a very unusual set of circumstances which mean he goes from penniless ex-soldier in the war ravaged East End of London to a man of property running a Pensione and making hand made globes in Italy.  

The time period covers some huge historical events and it is interesting to see how these things affect the motley crew of characters in the book.  Don't ask me to choose a favourite because I couldn't - for many reasons I became fond of them all.

Do I recommend this one?  Yes I do!

And finally - one that sounded like it was going to be similar in style to Richard Osman's Thursday Murder club.

The scene is set in a bed and breakfast hotel in the Loire valley in France which is run by Richard, a middle aged Englishman.  Richard is happy with the normal routine of everyday life, so is somewhat upset when one of his guests disappears, leaving just a bloody handprint on the wall and smashed spectacles in the bathroom. A fellow guest, Valerie, persuades Richard that they should investigate the disappearance and he reluctantly joins her in the hunt.  

This was an easy read, and I can imagine it being made into a light hearted tv programme.  Poor Richard is dragged into the investigation, often out of his depth and all the time trying to come to terms with the imminent break up of his marriage.  It seems that whenever his daughter chooses to FaceTime him, she finds him in what looks like a compromising position and he is convinced that this is not helping his cause in trying to get back with his wife. There is definitely a wide range of characters, from the naturist 'swingers' running a nearby establishment to the Italian couple who seem very suspicious and the aged judge who is the twin of the man who has disappeared.

It was a light hearted read to end the month, a little bit predictable and a little bit cliche at times but it certainly held my attention to the end.

Monday, 22 August 2022

It's Monday!

Well, we really danced up a storm last week!  That request for people to join in a rain dance definitely had the desired effect.  We had torrential rain and a bit of a thunder storm on Wednesday which was such a relief.  Temperatures are now back to normal range and life is a lot more comfortable - at last!

 I am hoping for a more restful, less stressful week this week!  Not that I didn't enjoy last week but it had its ups and downs.

The biggest 'down' was having a sliver of tooth come off - while eating a square of chocolate, that's got to be teaching me a lesson hasn't it? So an emergency dental appointment was made only to be told that because it's a small slice at the tip of my tooth, there isn't enough base there to add anything to fill in the gap as there isn't enough for the material to adhere to.  So all they can do is smooth over the rough bit.  But while she was looking around my mouth she noticed that I did need a filling in a back tooth so guess what?  Another appointment in a week or so time to have both things tended to.  Did I mention that I really don't like going to the dentist?

There was a lot of childcare last week.  I really do mean a LOT.  Tuesday Leo and Rosie as normal, Wednesday Max as normal, an unexpected Leo and Rosie again on Thursday as our daughter and son in law were both working from home and the children were in one of those moods that ends up with everyone being very cross and two small people getting into trouble.  'Mum, I don't suppose you could have them for a couple of hours could you?'  Then on Saturday we excelled ourselves.  Jon and his wife asked if we could have Max and Olive for a few hours (ended up being six) while they went out during the day to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary.  We handed them back at 4pm, then at 7pm went over to Rachel's to look after Leo and Rosie while they went out to celebrate R's birthday.  Another 5 hours on the childminding clock!

In the short period of time I had to myself I managed to find a pattern for a little bit of appliqué to go on the infamous Postcards with Love blanket

I think I may now say this mammoth project is now finished!

At the time of typing this, I have a free day ahead of me - wish me luck that it stays that way!  I have to go into town first thing but after that I intend to read the last few pages of my book (although I don't really want to finish it, I'm going to miss reading about all the characters!) while having a slice of the marmalade cake I baked yesterday with a cup of coffee.  

It's birthday time around here, R's on Wednesday and then Leo will be six next Monday. He had an early birthday party at the local bowling alley with his friends on Friday - he had a wonderful time

He took part in his first Junior Park Run on Sunday, running 2k around the park in town.  His dad would have loved to have run it with him but he's in a surgical boot following an achilles tendon injury playing football.  I told you it has been an eventful week.  Our weekend away in a couple of weeks time has never felt more needed!

Monday, 15 August 2022

It's Monday!

 The weather forecasters have been saying for a week that the heatwave will end today.  Much as I don't like it when the weather is cold, this hot weather has really worn me down and I am more than ready for cooler temperatures.  I feel like I have wished the days away over the weekend, I couldn't settle to anything and just moved from outdoors in the shade to indoors by a fan.  What will the week bring I wonder?

Last week we had more childminding than planned as R's childminder had to take her husband to hospital on Thursday.  In case you were wondering, temperatures in the mid 30s added to two energetic children three days in a row really saps your energy!  

By the end of that we had earned a relaxing night out!  We went to friends in the evening on Friday for our annual paella evening - it was delicious. 

It was such a gloriously warm evening.  The intense heat had gone and it was a perfect temperature for eating on the patio.  We were still sitting in their garden at 11.30pm when we realised what the time was and thought we should head for home.  

A much needed quiet weekend was on the cards and the most that I did was investigate places to have a meal when we go for our long weekend in the Cotswolds. There seemed to be quite a few dog friendly pub restaurants near where we will be staying so I have booked a couple of places. 

Today I need to go to the shops to find a craft project for the children to do when they are here this week.  Last week I found some wooden birdhouses to decorate and whilst they made quite a bit of mess, they really enjoyed it so I think a trip to Hobbycraft is in order for this week's activity.

Three weeks of the school holidays left so maybe I need to find triple the amount of craft projects!  

Before I go, please join me in a group rain dance - our garden is so dry and the plants are scorched, let's see if we can join together and make it happen.  {we have a good chance of being successful if the weather forecasts can be believed!}

Monday, 8 August 2022

Me on Monday

 The start of a new week, but before we talk about that, let's have a chat about some things that made me happy in the last one!

On Friday I met up with some of my ex work colleagues.  Boy there was a lot of news to discuss.  Four children involved in house moves, two with new jobs, discussions on how exhausting looking after grandchildren can be, holidays we've taken and those yet to come, and celebrating the publication of a new book.  I am privileged to always read the first edit of my friend's books and this is the most recent.

Imagine how thrilled I was to see that I am mentioned in the dedication 'To Debbie, Who reads them first' 

and also the acknowledgments.
She was telling us the general theme of her next book and it sounds very intriguing.  I don't know how she keeps coming up with new ideas.

The other big event of the week was the final stitch being made in my blanket

I want to add a couple more appliqués on some of the oblong postcards but it is more or less finished now.  It's been quite the project and although I'm pleased to have it finished, what on earth am I going to do in the evenings now?

It was the Zumba group summer party yesterday so there won't be need for exercise much today!  I had the best afternoon, we danced nonstop for about three hours, it was so much fun.  There were about 60 of us, the food was good and the singer was amazing, I think everyone was up on the dance floor for most of the afternoon. The Christmas party has already been booked for December! 

So today I am thinking about a trip to Chelmsford to do some birthday shopping as our daughter and Leo both have August birthdays.  I also need to find some kind of storage for the blankets which seem to be piling up in our lounge!  I want to find a way to keep them tidy before Paul notices that the pile is growing and is starting to look untidy. I also need to find most things in the same shop so that no too much walking is involved.  Three hours dancing the day before has taken its toll on my poor weary feet and legs!

Happy Monday!

Friday, 5 August 2022

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

 Well it's been a while since I invited you round for a cup of tea - or coffee if you would prefer - September 2014 to be exact.  We have a lot of catching up to do!  

Excuse me while I get Coco a dog biscuit while we wait for the kettle to boil, she seems to think that doing her ‘halt, who goes there?’ barking when someone comes to the front door deserves a treat every time.  I wonder if this resolves the mystery of why the numbers on the scales at the vets are going up a little bit every time we go?  

You've caught me on a tidy day.  If you were to come round on a Tuesday or Wednesday it would be a different thing altogether.  We have so many toys here that people would think I ran a creche.  I shall be packing some of them away soon.  Our routine is in for a major overhaul in September as they all move up a year in school and nursery. So my Tuesday duties will only be for a couple of hours after school ends and instead of Max on a Wednesday we will be having his little sister for the day as our daughter in law's year of maternity leave will be over.  Time to get out that box of baby toys again!  Oh, and how lovely to be looking after a little girl who still naps twice a day - quite different to an energetic three year old.

That wooly pile on the armchair?  

That's the blanket crochet-a-long I started.  Yes, it was a 6 week project and yes, it is now 10 weeks since it started it, that initial enthusiasm waned a little, then I had a holiday, then the weather turned hot ... does that sound like convincing excuses?  I've been working on it while binge watching the new season of Virgin River.  Do you watch that?  It's nice easy watching and I've come to really like all (or most of) the characters.  I have only one more row of edging to do and then 'all' I have to do is weave in the loose edges (the worst part of any wooly project!) then I will be sharing the completed project.  I have to get it finished as I shall be using it for prompt 20 of the Summertime Photo Hunt.  Nothing like a deadline to spur you on to finish!

I'm looking forward to an evening out tonight with ex-work colleagues; we used to all work in the same office. Now I am retired, one works at Cambridge university overseeing foreign students, one is a cover supervisor at the school and one is an author.  Quite a motley crew!  If past meals out are anything to go by I can predict that we will probably be the last ones to leave the restaurant as we haven't met up since March and there is lots of catching up to do.  I thought I knew what I was going to wear but then I came across a photo we took when we last met up and that's what I was wearing then - I shall have to go through my wardrobe again or they will think I only own one dress 😆

Did you notice how awful our front garden lawn is looking?  I've never seen it so scorched.  

In the interests of water conservation P has been adamant about not using hosepipes or sprinklers in the garden so our lawn has not looked good for a while.  Strangely though, the lawns of our neighbours who do use hosepipes don't look any better than ours!  I know it will grow green again but it's horrible to see it so brown.  We have two water butts in the back garden and he's been using the water from those to water the pots in order to keep a little bit of colour out there but it's looking very sorry for itself isn't it?  There is not much water left in them now and no rain forecast for the next few weeks so I don't think it will look better the next time you come round either!

Well, that last row of blanket isn't going to crochet itself is it?  I ought to do a few more stitches.  Thank you for joining me for a drink - please come back again next month!