Monday 28 March 2022

Me on Monday

 Here we are on the last week of March, a quarter of the year gone already! 

It was Mothering Sunday yesterday.  Even though I have now had 25 Mothers Days without my mum, the date is still poignant but how lucky I was to have her for the years that I did and it is the happy memories that keep you smiling.  We spent the day with our son and his family with Jon cooking a wonderful meal followed by a lovely walk around the village and then tea in the sun in the garden.  Rachel popped round to see me in the morning with some beautiful flowers and she then spent her Mother's Day jetting off to Dubai in the afternoon!

So, this Monday sees the start of a week with reduced childminding duties! I don't have too much planned for this week, the weather seems to be cooling down quite a lot with wintery showers predicted for the weekend ahead.  So that plan to go through my wardrobe and pack away the winter clothes has been put on pause!  

Getting caught up in the excitement of R's holiday has made me think that I need to give some serious thought about what we are going to do this year, first step will be arranging holiday care for Coco and then working around that!  We went to friends for an Indian meal on Saturday with another couple and they are off to Sri Lanka at the end of the week, I don't think we'll be aiming for anywhere quite so exotic, I'm still a bit unsure about the way all the health requirements keep changing.  It was stressful enough seeing it second hand through Rachel!  

Do you have plans for the summer yet?  Maybe I'll get some inspiration from you!

Friday 25 March 2022

Coast to Coast

 We have had the most glorious week of good weather here this week (much to the dismay of friends who booked a week in Spain and have had seven days of solid rain and wind) so it seemed a bit ironic to be spending my time continuing my latest crochet project of a wooly blanket.  Hey, if it keeps the sun shining I may just keep crocheting from now until autumn!

With a view to decluttering a box of leftover wool from previous blankets I have started a pattern which I can mix and match colours and stop when I run out of wool as it is worked in a square rather than stripes.  I aim to just use leftovers for this and not buy any more wool.  Please remind me I said that as the blanket gets bigger.

The pattern is from the amazing Coastal Crochet blog.  Eleonora is the most talented designer of crochet projects and honestly, before last January I had never crocheted yet now I am the owner of three handmade blankets.  Her patterns are not only written on the blog, but when a new stitch comes up there is a brilliant youtube video to accompany it.  It makes it so easy to crochet along with her - with a lot of pausing while I make sure I am doing it correctly!  The pattern I am doing this time is called Changing Tides and the first rows represent the changing blues of the sea, with the white frilly one being the froth of the surf as the waves hit the shore revealing patches of yellow sand.

Next comes the pebbles that get washed up onto the sand

I love the texture of this stitch!

Then we have a green row which represents the plants which get washed up onto the shore, s
ee how the long stitches look like the long strands of seaweed?

Then there is a row of white foam bringing the seaweed to shore, followed by a couple of rows of waves out to sea.

I am really enjoying this project.  It's a bit of a challenge to be making something new without having to actually buy anything, plus I just love the texture and designs of the pattern.  If you've ever considered trying a new hobby but thought crochet wasn't for you, please do give it a go and head over to Coastal Crochet.  You don't have to go crazy and buy enough wool for a blanket; one hook and one ball of wool will be enough to make a little sample and then you'll know if you're going to be 'hooked' like I was!

Sunday 20 March 2022


Or should that be 'Quizzicle'?  It seems that the Wordle quiz was just the tip of the iceberg.  Six attempts to find the five letter word.  The letter turns yellow if it's correct but in the wrong place and green if it's in the right place.  

Then I discovered Quordle.  Like Wordle but with four games going at the same time and you get nine attempts.  For some reason I find this easier than Wordle!  

On Thursday I saw someone mention Heardle, a musical intros quiz.  You hear snippets of the intro to a song starting with one second.  You start to type your answer in and you will get a choice of artists and/or songs.  If you get it wrong you hear a little more of the song.  Six attempts before you are timed out. 

Then I discovered Worldle.  You see the silhouette of a country and you have to guess where it is.  When you have guessed, it tells you how many miles your guessed country is from the one you are looking for and in which direction the correct one can be found.  You get five tries for this one. I am not a geographer so this one involves a lot of guesswork.  This 64 year old brain is getting a good daily workout!

The weather here has been glorious and was a good excuse for tidying up the garden.  Also cleaning windows and window cills as the storm we had on Wednesday brought with it horrible orangey coloured dust which has settled everywhere.  

I had also planned to have a good tidy up in J's old bedroom.  We have a cubed bookcase in there and my intention is to keep the grandchildren's toys neatly stacked in the cubes but in order to do that I need to empty all the stuff that J left behind.  I came across a folder in which he had all his travel documents from when he went to Tanzania in 2012.  Tucked in amongst everything I found a batch of photos of us that he had printed off and taken with him and I suddenly felt very emotional that he had done that and imagined him all those miles away possibly feeling homesick.  He had such a wonderful time over there that I doubt that actually happened but it still distracted me enough and needless to say that was the end of my tidying!

So this week sees us on our usual routine, plus the bonus of cakes after Zumba as part of the fundraising for a local hospice. The weather forecast is looking good and I'm hoping that we will be able to spend a bit more time out in the garden. After the cakes on Thursday I'll need to do a bit of extra exercise!  


Monday 14 March 2022

Age is just a number

 In 1967 The Beatles released a song which is very, very appropriate for me this week.  'Will you still need me ... when I'm sixty four' I would have been nine then, and 64 would have seemed ancient - not quite so funny when you've actually reached that milestone though eh? 😆

So while today is my actual birthday, we had a lovely family day at our daughter's house on Sunday.  Just look at the amazing cake my son baked! I do love seeing the grandchildren all playing together, although not quite the 'Vera, Chuck and Dave' that the Beatles mentioned.   Max thinks Leo is hilarious and the more Max laughs, the more Leo plays to his audience.  Rosie is just longing for Olive to be old enough to play 'babies' with her!  

I started my celebrations on Friday with a meal out with friends, had friends over for drinks on Saturday, all the family together yesterday and today Paul and I are going to my favourite Thai restaurant for a Thai tapas lunch.  By this evening I think that at the grand old age of 64 I'll be ready for a nap in the armchair and an early night!

After all the excitement it will be back to business as usual for the rest of the week.  

So with the rest of the lyrics of that song in my mind, 'Will you still feed me?' I guess I had better start thinking about what I'm going to wear for my birthday lunch!

Have a good week x

Monday 7 March 2022

Me on Monday

 Oh, what a week this has been around the world.  It's impossible to put into words how upsetting the news is at the moment isn't it?  It feels like the only way we can help is to donate money to charities who can get whatever is needed to the people who need it most.  We have donated via the Disasters Emergency Committee  but I am sure that there are many others who are helping too.  

I ended last week with a fun meal out with 16 ex-school friends - it was so lovely to see everyone again after such a long time.  We were very lucky to make life long friendships and whenever we meet up it feels like we are still sixth formers!  Of course sixth form was 45 years quite a while ago 😉

It feels like a long time since I had a crafty project on the go so I have tentatively started a new crochet blanket.  I think we can safely say that there will be little ironing done this week #anyexcuse. This one is called Changing Tides by Coastal Crochet and it wasn't until I got to row eight that I realised that I had inadvertently chosen the colours of the Ukrainian flag for the central piece.

Last week I told you about the promotional video being filmed at our Zumba class, would you like to see my 15 seconds of fame?  

Can you spot me?  Wearing a pale peach top and black crop leggings.  You can see me in the very last frame, wearing my belly dancing skirt and shaking my maracas to the song which had the misheard lyrics!  The fundraising event is in a couple of weeks time, so we will exercise for an hour and then spend the next hour eating cake - that sounds like about right doesn't it?

It was our son's birthday on Saturday and they booked to go for a couple of days to Burnham Market.  Now here's a name from the past - they were in a restaurant having dinner when Fatima Whitbread walked in.  At the time Max had become bored and was inspecting something very important under the table and she was amused and came over to ask him who he was hiding from!  

Coco and I are both having hair cuts this week and I shall be starting early birthday celebrations at the end of the week with a meal out with some ex-work colleagues (I seem to have been able to organise things for the three days leading up to the big day and then on the actual day itself) 

Have a good week x

Wednesday 2 March 2022

What I've been reading - the February edition


The first book that I read this month was Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman.

I saw it mentioned on
Jo's Blog and thought it sounded good.  Fran and Will first meet when they are seven and are inseparable friends for the next eleven years when fate splits them apart.  Will's father decides to emigrate to Australia, taking his two sons with him and Fran goes to university, devastated that her best friend has disappeared from her life.  Twenty five years later they meet again in a coffee shop and rekindle their friendship.  Both have children from relationships that have broken up.  Both have secrets that they are keeping hidden.

I knew from the reviews of this book that it was going to have a mix of happy and sad moments.  From half way through it is obvious what the sad bits are going to be but that didn't stop me enjoying the story.  The title 'Before we grow old' refers to a bucket list of things the friends draw up when they are young, all the things they want to do before they get old - at that point they set an age of 'old' being forty.  No comment!


Our book club's choice this month was The Paris Bookseller by Kerry Maher

This book is inspired by a famous Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare and Company and set in Paris in 1919 where a young American woman, Sylvia Beach, opens an English language bookshop to cater for the English speaking expatriates living in the city. The bookshop is a wonderful success and is soon 'the' place to go.  It is frequented by the popular novelists of the time who would go there to buy books and discuss literature.  Sylvia befriends James Joyce whose latest novel, Ulysses, is very controversial and no one is prepared to publish it. Sylvia takes on the challenge and publishes the book.

I hadn't realised that this was a true story until I started reading it, I thought it was fictional.  To be honest, I didn't find it easy to 'get into' at first.  People in the book club who were listening to it as an audio book seemed to enjoy it more than I did.  It was an interesting story, although at times I could not understand why Sylvia tolerated Joyce's behaviour and put so much at risk in order to support him.  It opened my eyes to the time in history when so much censorship was in place in the US and also the very different attitude of the French.

And so to my third book, Still Life by Louise Penny.

 I had seen Alexa mention this series of books and thought I would investigate for myself.  I quite liked the idea of finding a series of books that I could dip in and out of and this seemed to fit the bill.  This is the first in the series that involves Chief Inspector Gamache and is set in Canada.  I'm enjoying reading books set in places other than America or the UK!  

Who would murder a well loved local artist in the village of Three Pines?  A close knit community with such a low crime rate, it has no police force of its own.  Inspector Gamache is brought in to investigate.  It's an unusual crime, the victim has been shot through the heart with an arrow.  Was it an accidental shot by someone hunting deer in the woods or something more sinister?  It was an incredibly accurate shot to have been an accident, and the arrow, which passed completely through the body, has not been found.  Just the day before, the victim had submitted a painting to be displayed at the annual fair, could there be a clue hidden in the artwork?

This book exercised my detective skills and I didn't guess who was the guilty party before it was revealed.  It was an enjoyable book and having got to know the inhabitants of Three Pines I think I will be downloading another in the series to read after our next book club choice.

Tuesday 1 March 2022

A Sentence a Day - February


Day 1 Rosie had a taster session at a local nursery today so we only had her here for half a day - it seemed to go very well

Day 2 Max came for the day, Paul was doing his volunteer work over the Country Park so I was solo-grandparenting

Day 3 Zumba was really good today, it was quite busy, almost back to pre-lockdown numbers for the first time

Day 4 Today it snowed - for about half an hour! Booked a short break for the end of April using our voucher that J&S gave us for Christmas, had friends over for dinner in the evening.

Day 5 Babysat in the evening for Leo and Rosie while R&J went out for dinner with friends as an early birthday celebration for James

Day 6 Sunday was a very windy day - it was also the 70th anniversary of our Queen acceding to the throne.

Day 7 Rachel is having a new floor laid so came to work from 'home' at our house, Coco was not impressed that Daisy came too

Day 8 We had Rosie here for the day and she decided it was a good day to be out in the garden so we actually got quite a bit of tidying up done out there.  Plus two outfit changes because one got soaking wet watering plants and the other became 'quite' muddy!

Day 9 Had Max here for the day, was good to have Paul around this week for back up!

Day 10 Thursday is Zumba day - an hour of dancing always lifts your mood.

Day 11 Had a day to myself as Paul was out for the day with a friend - was nice to spend time relaxing, reading and cooking

Day 12 Drove half way to town and walked the rest, had a coffee then popped into M&S to buy the dishes for a Valentine's meal on Monday, long walk with Coco in the afternoon as it was gloriously sunny in the afternoon.

Day 13 Woken at 5am by my car alarm going off - just like it did last month when after a week in the garage they said there was nothing wrong with it!  Recovery vehicle took it away at 5.30am - watch this space!

Day 14 Had Leo here for a few hours in the morning where we spent a lot of time drawing Harry Potter characters by following youtube tutorials - hire car arrived in the afternoon, it is a lot bigger than my Mini, a BMW 3 series, diesel rather than unleaded and automatic rather than manual.  I may only use it in an emergency!

Day 15 Rosie and Leo were here today, we made gingerbread men and gingerbread teddy bears, then decorated them before lunch then had to sample some for dessert! Popped to the shops in the hire car and it is actually really nice to drive.

Day 16 Max was here for the day, we have two large tubs of random Lego pieces here and he loves to tip the whole lot out and play with the little Lego men - it takes forever to put away again but he absolutely loves doing it.

Day 17 Zumba was fun - we had a new photo taken for the teacher's Facebook page

Day 18 Storm Eunace blew through the country - our neighbours lost two fence panels but we were lucky to escape unscathed

Day 19 Picked up my car from the garage, they replaced a circuit board so fingers crossed ... Leo and Rosie came for a sleepover

Day 20 The house seemed very quiet and calm after our two houseguests went home in the afternoon

Day 21 My car was at a different garage today, getting it's first MOT while I helped making teas and coffees at Paul's voluteer group's AGM at the local council offices

Day 22 Had Rosie here today - Leo was sent home from school early with suspected chicken pox - I had a quick inspection when I dropped Rosie home at tea time, I'm not convinced, there are only four spots but we will see what he looks like after a night's sleep!

Day 23 No chicken pox for Leo so back to school today! What a weird day of weather - we had a little bit of everything today while Max was here, nice conditions for rainbows though

Day 24 Zumba in morning, practising for when we have a videographer coming to film us next week

Day 25 Dentist appointment in the morning - nothing needs doing, my dentist is not going to take NHS patients anymore though so I will be assigned to another person at the practice, just as I had started to feel comfortable with this one

Day 26 An unexpected visit to Jon in the afternoon to deliver a garden table and chairs, had a lovely walk through the woods behind their house and then went to friends for dinner in the evening

Day 27 Sunday was a gloriously sunny day so Coco was treated to a longer walk in the morning

Day 28 Went to Cambridge looking for inspiration for possible birthday gifts (mission accomplished!) very happy to find that our favourite lunchtime venue has reopened after a year of refurbishment - their pizzas use authentic Sicilian ingredients and are absolutely delicious!

A good way to end the month and my last month of being 63 😳

So that's a wrap for the shortest month of the year - and here's it is 1 Second Everyday

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