Friday 29 December 2023

#WBOYC in December

 Time to link up for the last time this year with  Deb in Australia for What's Been On Your Calendar


It was a month that started with temperatures in the minus figures - but I guess we shouldn't be surprised by that in the last month of the year!

D

Deicing my car never gets more enjoyable - although I did read a very handy tip that if you pull your sun visors down when you put the heat up the windscreen it recirculates the air up and down the glass rather than inside the car and the ice will just melt away.  So I started the month with a valuable lesson which saved me being out in the freezing cold too long.

E

Everybody here for a meal to celebrate Paul's 66th birthday and him officially becoming a pensioner!  

C

Christmas - what else could C stand for?  Apart from the big day itself, Christmas Nativity Concerts for Max and Rosie this year.  We were so lucky to have such a lovely family Christmas, I am very thankful for time spent together.


Leo still enjoys a Snapchat filter!

E

Ending the year with a good book club choice - The Berry Pickers. I have read so many books this year that are of varied genres that I would never have chosen myself.  The sign of a good book club is to introduce you to authors and books you wouldn't discover yourself.

M

Meals out with friends to celebrate Christmas. I wonder why we feel the need to meet up with everyone in the weeks leading up to December 25? This year we have a post Christmas meal already planned so we haven’t used up all our social events in the busy time.

B

Buying gifts for family brings so much happiness. I love picking something that I think will make them smile.  I still ask everyone for ideas about what they would like, but try to add a little surprise (or two)along the way.

E

Eventually completed my Scandi Meadow blanket 


And now time to start a new one πŸ˜‰

R

Remembering my dear Mum who loved Christmas so much and died on the 18th December in 1997.  She made Christmas so magical for us when we were growing up and we have tried to maintain her traditions while also making new ones of our own.

So that is my last monthly round up for 2023, here’s a month’s worth of pictures 1 Second Every Day …



Tuesday 19 December 2023

What I've been reading in December

Just one book to share with you, and that was the book club choice of The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters



Before I start my review I should explain that although people said that it was an excellent book, I put off reading it for a couple of weeks after I picked it up from the library as I wasn't sure that I would be able to comfortably read it.  Those of us in the UK will remember the heartbreaking story in early 1993 of a little boy called Jamie who was taken by two ten year old boys in a shopping centre in the seconds that it took his mum to let go of his hand to get money out of her purse.  Little Jamie was just two years old and at the time and my son was almost three so you can imagine that the story hit me hard.  It is true to say that this affected me so much that I had a real sense of panic if I ever lost sight of my son at a park or indoor play area and the rule of holding hands whenever shopping was ingrained.  Little Jamie had unspeakable things done to him and whenever reports of his death appeared in the press I could not help but wonder how on earth his mum managed to cope with the loss of her little boy.  Whilst I knew from the reviews of the book that nothing untoward happened to Ruthie in the story,  I could not help but find the storyline of a child being snatched emotionally triggering.  

So that is why I was late starting the book, but having finally read it I can agree with the reviews that it is a very emotional, well written story.  On a summers day in the 1960s, a four year old Mi'kmaq girl called Ruthie disappears from a field in Maine where her family are picking berries.  Despite extensive searches by her family Ruthie is never found and the family have no alternative but to move back to their home in Nova Scotia when the berry season comes to an end.  Ruthie's six year old brother Joe was the last to see Ruthie and for the rest of his life he feels the guilt that maybe he could have done something to keep her safe.  

Meanwhile, in Maine a girl named Norma is growing up as an only child with an emotionally distant father and an overprotective mother.  Norma is plagued by dreams of herself in another life and as time moves on she is unsure if they are figments of her imagination or distant memories.  Was she adopted?  There are no photos of her as a baby and she clearly has different skin tone to her parents.  She is unable to discuss this with her mother as the moment she would try and broach the subject, her mother would develop a dreadful 'headache' and take to her bed.  

I have to agree with the reviews about how good this book is.  How one moment of impetuousness affects the lives of so many people.  How the unknown fate of a little girl threads tendrils of fear, loss and guilt to two very different families.  Apparently the author is a writer of Mi'kmaq and settler ancestry, and her knowledge of the lifestyle of these people at that time shines through her writing.  

This was a good end of year book and I'm looking forward to seeing which title our book club chooses for the first read of 2024.  

Monday 18 December 2023

Me on Monday

 These Mondays are coming round super fast aren’t they? This photo of a wobbly inflatable polar bear, that we passed in the park while walking Coco, sums up how I’m feeling


Still smiling, and standing, but feeling a bit under inflated now and again depending on which way the breeze is blowing!

We’ve had a busy few days with dinner out with friends on Friday evening and friends coming round for drinks on Saturday night. Every now and again it hits me exactly how much we missed out on during the Covid period.  Maybe that's why we are taking advantage of any invitations to see people over the holidays.

I must confess to having a tear in my eye on Thursday when we watched Max's nativity.  These children have been in school for just 12 weeks, a lot of them are barely four and the oldest is just five.  Yet they knew all the words to the songs and joined in with all the movements and spoke their lines clearly.  There was no toenail event this week, but when the third camel from the left had to escort the kings to the stable he suddenly went very shy and pulled his t shirt over his face and wedged it under his camel ears so no one could see him!  How he made it back to the right place on stage without mishap I don't know as I'm sure he couldn't see where he was going!

So this Monday finds us counting down to the big day, food shopping being done, the last presents being wrapped (what a time consuming job that is!) and making lists to make sure nothing is forgotten.

There won't be a Me on Monday next week because I feel that everyone will be too busy to read it so my next Monday post will be next year - sounds funny to say that but 2024 is approaching very quickly now.  Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas and thank you for your Monday visits during 2023.

 

Monday 11 December 2023

Me on Monday

 Oh hello! Is it Monday again? We’ve had a busy weekend, which ended with a drive by from a very important person just as our grandchildren were about to go home after a pre-birthday dinner for Paul.


Olive was a little bit apprehensive about going out to see Santa so stayed safely in the doorway with her mum. It’s a bit scary when you’re only two! It's organised by our local Rotary Club and such a lovely thing for them to do in the lead up to Christmas.

We started the weekend with a show by Leo and Rosie’s drama classes. I have nothing but admiration for those people who spend so much time organising events like that. The children did so well and obviously enjoyed themselves. We’d also had Rosie’s nativity play earlier in the week so I think we are now well in the Christmas spirit!

So this Monday finds me popping into town to pick up a couple of things I had ordered on click and collect, then having friends over tea and cake in the afternoon. Tuesday is Paul’s birthday and at 66 he is now officially ancient enough to get his state pension. Wednesday we will be looking after Olive and then Thursday it is the turn of Max to have his nativity show. Friday we are going for a meal with friends, and we have friends coming over for dinner on Saturday. That’s another week done and dusted. With a lot of eating and drinking!

Is it just me that finds that the closer Christmas gets, the faster the days fly past?




Tuesday 5 December 2023

It must be getting closer

 Because we've just come back from Rosie's first Nativity Play


and I've started constructing a gingerbread house


I had tears in my eyes before the first angel had walked on stage because I cannot help myself when I see those little five year olds desperately searching the audience for their mums and dads.  There are sixty children in each year group so this meant the cast list was quite enlarged from the original Nativity story.  Rosie was Inkeeper 1's wife.  She'd chosen her husband wisely as Inkeeper 2 sat down and started chewing his toenails part way through 😱

I think I would quite enjoy decorating my gingerbread house myself but I've promised Rosie and Leo that we will finish it off when they get home from school today.  There will be squabbles no doubt about who wants to be doing the icing and what sweets and sprinkles they will use to decorate, and there's a very good chance one will lean too hard on the roof while doing it and the whole thing will collapse.  I'll try and get the 'after' photo to share another time.

We went to Chelmsford for some Christmas shopping yesterday (which is one of the reasons I forgot to do a 'Me on Monday') I managed to tick a few more things off my list and it was a nice atmosphere there, not too busy.  We stopped for a coffee and a scone mid morning, I liked this sign they had in the John Lewis cafe

We have a busy weekend ahead with watching Leo and Rosie in their drama club concert on Saturday and we have all the family round for lunch to celebrate Paul's 66th birthday a little early on Sunday.  Fancy that, I'll be married to a pensioner!  So tradition dictates that we need to put our Christmas tree up very soon, then it really will feel like Christmas is getting closer!

 


Friday 1 December 2023

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

 Here we are with the last 'first Friday of the month' of the year!



Thank you for taking the time to join me for a cuppa and a biscuit.  It's getting busy isn't it?  Please do sit down and sample one of the brownie cup cakes I made yesterday.  It's a new recipe for me, salted caramel brownies made with Carnation caramel condensed milk.  What do you think?  They've been a hit so far with Leo and Rosie, not to mention me and Paul!

Are you organised with all your Christmas prep?  I'm gradually working my way through the list of presents I want to buy and we'll probably put our tree up after the weekend.  Family tradition dictates that it goes up just before Paul's birthday on the 12th so we have a deadline!  

Our grandchildren are getting very excited now, they are the perfect ages for Christmas, young enough to still believe, and old enough to understand what's going on.  We will be going to see Max in his first nativity in a couple of weeks and Leo and Rosie are in a Christmas concert next weekend.  I will definitely be shedding a few proud tears I know!

Hasn't the weather turned cold?  I was late collecting Olive this Wednesday as I simply couldn't get into my car!  The door lock and handle were fine but the window seal had frozen solid.  After a lot of googling, I found a recommendation to use a vinyl and rubber conditioner and luckily had a bottle of it in the car in amongst all the car washing products.  It seems to be working!

By the time we meet again Christmas will be done and dusted and we will be a few days into the new year isn't that hard to believe?  Have a happy and healthy Christmas!


Thursday 30 November 2023

#WBOYC in November

 Once again I am linking up with Australian Deb to share what's been on my calendar this month


New wallpaper and vanity unit in the downstairs loo.  This is a project that has been on the cards for quite some time now.


I was a little sceptical when Paul said he could instal a new vanity unit along with all the associated plumbing issues but he's made a good job of it all.


Oh how tidy Coco and I both look after having our hair/fur cut and blowdried



Very enjoyable show from our local musical theatre group at the South Mill Arts Centre (used to be called the Rhodes Centre after Cecil Rhodes who was born here, but was controversially renamed recently in view of his history)We were amazed by how professional it was, we will definitely be returning for their 2024 production.

Evenings spent consoling Coco around Guy Fawkes night - she really doesn't like all the bangs. Also Eleven teeth removed when she went to the vets.  November hasn't been the best month for her!


Feeling a bit sorry for herself after her op 😒

Meeting up with friends three times this month - getting all those pre-Christmas meals in before everyone gets too busy!

Birthday celebrations for our Granddaughter Rosie who has had her fifth birthday this month.  She kicked off proceedings early, telling her teacher it was her birthday the week before it really was so she could sit in the birthday chair twice, cheeky!

Reminded of how ancient I am becoming by receiving a letter inviting me to apply for my state pension πŸ‘΅ 

So that’s almost a wrap for November, and here it is day by day, 1 Second Everyday







Friday 24 November 2023

What I’ve been reading in November

I've read three good books this month! 

I've been waiting to read this book for months now and I finally reached the top of the waiting list at the local library.  On the cover there is a quote from Nigella Lawson which says 'I am devastated to have finished it' - I know how she feels!

I don't think I would have fared too well as a housewife in America in the early 1960s.  I could not have coped with the blind acceptance of inequality between men and women.  Neither did Elizabeth Zott, a highly intelligent chemist who captures the heart of Calvin Evans, a fellow chemist at the Hastings Research Centre.  After a freak accident whilst out walking their dog, Calvin dies, leaving Elizabeth pregnant, alone and unemployed.  (Because of course an unmarried mother could not possibly be allowed to stay in her job). Needing income, Elizabeth begrudgingly agrees to host an afternoon tv cooking show.  Her unusual, scientific approach to cooking gains her an unexpectedly large female following, and the powers that be in the TV studio are not happy that she is not only teaching women to cook, she is daring them to speak up for themselves and challenge the male dominance in 'normal' life.

This was such a good book, it has moments of genuine wry humour and an intricate storyline that gradually unravels as the story reaches its end.  I am so pleased that I have finally read it!

Then it was on to the book club choice of the month, The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson. 


Mabel Beaumont's husband loved writing lists.  He would leave them for Mabel on a daily basis.  When he dies, she finds one last list which simply says 'Find D'. Mabel knows that he means that she should try to find her childhood best friend, Dot, who suddenly and unexpectedly moved away and cut all contact after the death of her fiancΓ© Bill, who was Mabel's brother. She has not seen her for more than 60 years. 

Mabel's husband, Arthur, felt that Mabel would struggle without him and unbeknown to Mabel put into place a care visiting package to see her through the first few weeks after his death, whenever that may be.  After a small period of denial, Mabel enjoys her visits from Julie and realises how isolated she had become.  The line between carer and friend blur and when Julie hears about Arthur's request to 'Find D' she joins forces with Mabel to help track her down.  Further unlikely friendships evolve for Mabel: Patty the American ballroom dance instructor, Kirsty the young neighbour, and Erin the young shop assistant who is worried about her parents reaction when she tells them she is gay.  Through these tenuous connections the group embark on their mission to find Dot.

I enjoyed this book, it was a gentle read and I grew to love the characters and see how their interest in caring for Mabel in her time of grief changed each one of them by the end of the book.  At the end, the mystery of why Dot disappeared is revealed and showed that no matter what your age, there is still time to take risks and live your best life.

And finally, Husband and Wife by K.L. Slater


Luna and Parker are seriously injured in a dreadful car accident.  Parker's life hangs in the balance.  Their son Barney is staying overnight with Parker's parents, Cal and Nicola as Luna's parents have just returned from a long haul holiday.

The police are investigating the murder of Sarah, a single mother who has been strangled by her own scarf in an alleyway late at night a few weeks ago.  The scarf is missing.  Until Nicola goes to Luna and Parker's house to collect clothes for Barney and finds it in a bag behind their bins.  She now realises why Parker reacted the way he did when she told him that she was going to go to his home to pick up a few bits and pieces for Barney to have while his parents are in hospital.  "Don't.  Go.  There."

Did Parker murder Sarah?  Or did Luna think that he was having an affair with her and kill her in a fit of violent jealousy?  Nicola doesn't know what to think.  She idolises her son and cannot believe that he would be capable of such a crime.  Her husband, who does not have a good relationship with his son, seems to have his suspicions. They both know that Luna has a violent temper and is obsessively jealous.  Who could it be? 

Well, my guesses as to who killed Sarah and why went backwards and forwards.  Each chapter is written from the point of view of the different characters and in different time frames and with each chapter I changed my mind.  I've enjoyed other K L Slater books that I have read and this one was no exception!


Monday 20 November 2023

Me on Monday

 Coco is hoping that this week will be less traumatic than last week.  When I wrote my post last Monday we knew she had a vets appointment but she didn't.  When we dropped her at the vets on Tuesday morning none of us had any idea that when we picked her up she would have eleven less teeth.  Eleven!  Poor Coco.  So she is quite enjoying specially cooked dinners of poached chicken or fish, rice, scrambled egg and pasta.  It doesn't seem to have bothered her at all thankfully and it all seems to be healing nicely.

The downstairs loo is finished - I was pleasantly surprised that Paul managed to remove the old basin and replace it with a nice new streamlined sink and vanity unit all by himself.  Towel rails and mirror still need to go up but both are quick easy tasks.  Clearly I need to find him another project to keep him from getting bored!

Very hard to take a photo of such a small room!

We had a fun night out on Friday at our local theatre.  Our friend is in the local musical theatre group and we decided to get tickets to support them.  Our expectations were exceeded - it was so professional and we had a really fun evening.  

So what does this Monday hold?  My friend Dani will be celebrating her 65th birthday next weekend and a group of those of us who used to work in the same office as her are getting together for a lunch in a nearby pub restaurant so that is a nice way to start the week.

Then another birthday girl will be celebrating - Rosie will be five on Tuesday.  She had a wonderful party at their home on Saturday with six friends.  The highlight of which was a visit from a Disney princess who entertained them with songs and games.  Lucky girl!

We're hoping to squeeze in a shopping trip to Cambridge at some point, I really need to start some Christmas shopping.  Have you started yours?  We were at my cousins yesterday and she has finished - yes, finished - hers and even done all the wrapping too!  

Monday 13 November 2023

Me on Monday

 We’ve been busy since you last visited, the redecoration of the downstairs loo has moved up a gear. We have quite the team effort, I cut the wallpaper, carefully sorting out the pattern match,Paul pastes and fixes it on the wall, and Coco … well 


Coco walks on it when I turn round to get the scissors.  Anything you put on the floor, that dog thinks it’s there for her to lay on! Hopefully, today will see the end of the wallpapering and Paul can turn his attention to fitting the new taps and unit.

I wasn’t too well last week, I picked up some kind of 24 hour stomach bug which started Monday afternoon. Fortunately I was well enough for my hairdresser appointment the following day although I did ask him to cut and colour it as fast as he could, just in case!  Luckily it was a short lived thing as we were at a friend's house for a curry night on Saturday, I must admit that on Monday evening I was not looking forward to it but was feeling a lot better in time to have a nice evening and enjoy my meal!

Coco has an operation booked for tomorrow. She refuses to let us brush her teeth and although she has a daily dental stick, her teeth are in need of a descale which has to be done under general anaesthetic. I know I will be anxious about her all day.

It's a wet and miserable day here today - perfect weather for staying inside and decorating!  How are things where you are?


Monday 6 November 2023

Me on Monday


I couldn't help but take a photo of this gorgeous acer tree while we were out on a dog walk yesterday, isn't it beautiful?

I wonder if, when you read this, my new washing machine will have arrived?  Today is supposed to be the day and boy do I have many a pile of washing to do!  It has been lovely knowing that my ironing pile was non existent but that is all about to change.

I have a week off from Zumba this week.  My teacher boarded a plane for South America on Saturday and won't be back for six months!  She runs her classes with someone else so there'll be no excuse for becoming unfit while she is gone but just for this week there are no lessons.  She is originally from Venezuela and has family dotted around South America so is spending time with her new husband travelling ... on motorbikes! What an experience.

So last week I 

  • Finally found a pair of trainers that I liked and seem beautifully comfortable (I have been looking for almost a year!)
  • Halloween happened. We had no trick or treaters again this year - thankfully I hadn't bought a lot of sweets 'just in case' so I don't have to eat it all myself.
  • We met up for lunch with two other couples which was lovely
  • Although it was Guy Fawkes time, there weren't too many fireworks nearby, hopefully people had gone to organised displays.  However we did have an hour where Coco was terrified and we just felt so helpless, she just stares at us as if to say 'do something, make it stop'
  • Another unexpected Saturday of seeing Jon and his children. Sophie has a series of hosting work events in the lead up to Christmas and as the weather was wet and miserable, coming here for the day was a good way of entertaining the children!  Funny how 'a few hours' becomes 10.30 - 6pm!
  What does this week hold - apart from doing quite a few loads of washing?  Not to mention the inevitable ironing?  Actually not too much, apart from a hairdressers appointment and a curry night with three other couples.  Thankfully not our turn to host as the renovation work on the downstairs loo has started and there's a lot of 'making good' to do after removing the tiles by the sink.  It's going to look very different in there when it is done - let's just say it will be a little bit tropical!

Friday 3 November 2023

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

 Thank you for braving the elements to get here today - at least the flooding around here seems to have subsided a little.  Yesterday we had two main routes into our town shut because of flooding but they have reopened again.



I have to say that I am dreading this weekend.  It's the traditional time to celebrate Guy Fawkes by building bonfires and having firework displays and Coco has become terrified of the bangs and flashes now she is older.  We will have to have the TV turned up to maximum to try and drown out the sound.

I've been having a bit of a grumble this week, but I hope you will agree that I am justified.  Last weekend my washing machine made the most awful noise, like a helicopter flying overhead, and on Monday the repair man confirmed that at almost 12 years old, it has come to the stage where repair costs almost as much as a new one.  After much research on the internet, I found a machine which was the most up to date version of the one I had.  I found it on three sites, each for £444.  I'm trying to convince myself that if I divide that by the number of times I'll use it over its lifetime, it isn't quite so expensive at it seems!  I ordered it, mentioned it to my daughter who said 'what a shame you couldn't wait for the Black Friday offers'.  The following day I had an email from the retailer through whom I'd ordered it, inviting me to browse the departments which had special offers starting that day.  Yes of course I had to look, just waiting to kick myself for not waiting 24 hours to order!  Imagine my surprise to find that in the 'special offers', the exact machine I had ordered was now ... £135 MORE than it was the day before.  I then looked at the other two sites and yes, they too were selling it for £579.  Are they inflating prices in the weeks before the sales so they can seemingly reduce prices later whilst still selling at the price they should be?  All I can say is thank goodness I ordered it when I did!  

Have you noticed that the shops are now in full swing for Christmas?  I probably need to start making lists for cards and presents but it still seems so early.  I know I put some left over wrapping paper up in the loft with our decorations but daren't go up in the loft to check.  You see, the neighbours who live opposite us have discovered they have bats living in their loft and one animal which I find particularly creepy is the bat.  Not to mention that they are a protected species so once they are there, they are there for good 😱. I need to send Paul up there to investigate, but as he knows how much I am scared of bats can I trust him to come back down and tell me the truth if he sees any?  Ahhh, it's not been a good week!

Fortunately we have a nice lunch out with two other couples today so that will be a good way to take my mind off what may, or may not, be living above our ceilings!

Have a safe journey home, but on your way, why don't you pop over to Ruth's, there's drinks and biscuits there too!


Tuesday 31 October 2023

What I’ve been reading in October

 Not so many books were read this month, in fact only one!  I have started another one I've been waiting a while to read, Lessons in Chemistry, but will save that to share for next month.


This was our online book club choice. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams.

Set in two time lines, the book alternates between the voices of Vivian Schuyler, a young girl trying to make her own way in the world in 1964, away from her privileged family and Violet Grant, Vivian's long lost aunt who seemingly murdered her husband and ran off with her lover at the beginning of the first World War.  

Quite out of the blue Vivian receives a parcel in the mail which turns out to be a suitcase which belonged to Violet.  The collection of the parcel involves meeting the handsome Dr Paul who Vivian falls in love with, little knowing that he is already romantically involved with her friend.  The mysterious contents of the suitcase lead Vivian to become determined to know more about this unknown relative who lead such a dramatic life. 

In 1914 we meet Violet who is living in Berlin, married to her much older professor who has given her the opportunity to pursue her dream of becoming a scientist.  As she realises that any love she once felt for him has gone, she discovers exactly why he married her and how manipulative and unfaithful he has been. The arrival of Lionel, one of his former students makes Violet realise how unhappy she is and together they plan to run off together.

However, nothing is as it seems and the rumours that Violet had murdered her husband may not be true.  He died, that is for sure, but who was responsible?  Violet goes on the run against a deadline to escape Germany before the inevitable war begins.  However, the people who are in her group of escapees are not really who she believes them to be.  

There's a twist in the tale, of course there is!  But it's a good one, and not one that I was expecting.


Monday 30 October 2023

Me on Monday

 I will start this post with a quote that my friend sent me:

"An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again.  Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly."  Gene Perret

So I think I'm starting this week quite a few years older than I started last week!  Let's just say it was half term and so I had two full days of excited children.  Followed by a 2nd birthday party for Olive on Saturday 



and then Rachel and family here for lunch on Sunday.  I bought a pack of loom bands that I thought would be fun to do with Leo and Rosie, I think I enjoyed making things with them as much as they did.  However I keep finding the little bands in the most curious of places in the house - they do travel when they ping off the loom!

I'm hoping today to go to an Outlet centre not far from here.  I am still on a quest for a new pair of trainers and they have lots of sports shops there.  They also have a Lindt chocolate shop, so if I don't find any trainers, I can at least console myself with some delicious chocolate 😁

We have a meal booked with friends for lunch on Friday - we haven't got together as a six for almost a year so that will be nice.  We're doing a lunch rather than dinner in the evening as I think we will be in for a traumatic couple of evenings at the end of the week. It is Guy Fawkes celebrations this coming weekend and there will be fireworks going off in lots of places.  Poor Coco, she really does hate the flashes and bangs.

Have a good week!

Friday 27 October 2023

#WBOYC in October

 


OK October, let's see what you had in store for me ...

Osteopath appointment within the first few days - not a good start to the month! Fortunately I'm following the exercises she gave me and I'm seeing an improvement as the month progresses. 

I ended the month with an O too - my annual opticians appointment. I was really expecting to need a new pair of glasses but apparently my prescription doesn't need changing.  My bank account was happy but I was a little bit disappointed as I'd convinced myself it was time for new frames!

Crocheting is still coming along nicely, as the nights cool down it’s very comforting to have an almost finished blanket on your lap in the evening 


Also Catching up with a friend I met when we both had our first jobs forty three years ago - can it really be that long?  We lost touch for a few years in the early 2000s but have started meeting up more regularly again in the last few years which is so nice.

Not to mention Central heating being switched on again - the early mornings definitely have a chill to them now.

Tree in our back garden had to be cut down as it has died.  It was about 40 years old so we were sad to see it go but the gap where it was doesn’t look so bad as we thought it might.



Out of the ordinary sunny October days meant we were able to add a last beach day of the year to the calendar not to mention a summer barbecue in the garden with friends 😊

Bye bye to our Zumba teacher for 6 months while she travels around South America - what an adventure!  

Exciting Latin flavoured party as part of her farewell celebrations (thank goodness the osteopath had fixed my back as part of the afternoon included a salsa class!)

Receiving our Flu jab and Covid booster, thankfully no side effects to either. Both were easy to book and were sorted nice and early before winter sets in. Also Replacing our summer duvet with a heavier weight one once the temperatures dropped.

Another month bites the dust and here's a 1 Second Everyday recap



Deb in Australia Co-hosts the WBOYC blog posts, so please do pop over there to see what she has been doing this month.


Monday 23 October 2023

Me on Monday

 A new week dawns.  It will be good to see the back of the wet weather, boy did it rain on Saturday!  It was a day for doing not very much apart from staying indoors and catching up on some jobs we've been putting off for a while.

First up, changing the summer duvet for an autumn one (we still have another higher tog one to go for the true winter months!) I must be honest and say that as I smoothed the covers down I thought to myself "That feels better, I can't wait to get in there tonight"!  

Then the big job of the day, and the one I'd been least looking forward to, was installing a new lock on the front door.  The old one broke on Thursday, just before we were due to go out and babysit for Max and Olive.  Great timing eh?  Fortunately we also have a mortice lock on the front door so were able to secure the house by using that.  Of course the size of lock that we needed wasn't in stock in any local shops so had to be ordered in and Saturday was earmarked for installation.  Although Paul's confidence was high and he assured me that of course he could replace it, there was just a little teensy bit of doubt in my mind.  Let's just say it wasn't as straightforward as it could have been, and although the dimensions on the website said it would fit perfectly, a little extra work had to be done (through gritted teeth) but we now have a fully functional lock!

Last week was quite full in places and at one point I ended up stripping off in a vet's surgery to swap clothes with Rachel. Let's not go into the messy details and just say that Daisy got very scared whilst in the waiting room πŸ˜³πŸ’© Actually we didn't really swap, because trust me, no one would want to be wearing the clothes that R had been wearing!  I was out shopping before going to Zumba when I received the distress call, so popped into Tesco for a cheap pair of leggings and gave Rachel the jumper I was wearing so she could drive home in clean clothes and I then had to drive home in a sports bra and waterproof cagoule!



This week is half term and so we have a couple of full days of childcare but to start the week off I am meeting my friend Judy for coffee at a lovely farm shop which is in between both of us. 

A trip to the optician is on the cards for the end of the week and then big party celebrations for Olive who turns two on Saturday.  Where does the time go? Hope you have a good week ahead.


Monday 16 October 2023

Me on Monday

 It was a busy week for vaccinations here last week. Flu on Monday and Covid booster on Saturday, thankfully the only after effects were the normal aching arm. I’m thankful to have had them now before the usual virus laden months arrive.

Around here we are ankle deep in conkers, even when the grandchildren aren’t with me I can’t resist picking at least one up when out walking Coco.

We put the central heating on yesterday 😬 the temperature overnight was forecast to drop and I sneaked over to the programmer before we went out on Saturday evening and moved the lever to ‘timer on’. Just for a couple of hours in the morning but it was so nice to wake up and not notice a chill in the air! It also influenced our Sunday lunch decisions and I made a comforting chicken and leek pie - autumn really has arrived.  Today I believe that we woke to a very light frost so I am pleased that I changed that dial.

So this morning finds me heading off to town to collect some birthday gifts I ordered for Rosie. This is a busy time for birthdays; our daughter in law on Thursday, Olive turns two on the 28th then Rosie is five in November. Needless to say we are booked in for babysitting duties on Thursday eve so our son can take Sophie out for a civilised, quiet, uninterrupted dinner for two!

I'm off for hopefully my last osteopath appointment today so I'm hoping she has turned the thermostat up in her consulting rooms before I have to get undressed!



Monday 9 October 2023

Me on Monday

 We start the weekend after a busy weekend of sunshine and good times!

We are having the most unusual weather here in the UK at the moment - lovely sunny days and temperatures in the 20s.  Which has been very fortunate as on Friday we had to have a tree in our garden removed.  It was sad to see it go but it has been dying for the last three years, we've tried all we can to save it but it to no avail.  At least with the nice weather Paul has been able to spend time in the garden preparing the soil for the replacement (very much smaller) tree to be planted.

On Saturday we had plans to visit friends who have moved close to Frinton-on-Sea.  When we put the date in the diary we could not have predicted that it would be warm enough to have a barbecue in the garden, or a nice sunny walk along the seafront afterwards.  Nor could we have known that it would be the weekend that they decided to close one whole carriageway of the A12 which meant a diversion which added 30 mins onto our journey!  

Then on Sunday it was party time for our Zumba class.  A combination of three things, the launch of the new name for our teacher's health and fitness company, a pre-farewell party before she leaves to travel around South America for six months (when she is originally from) and a fund raiser for a charity called Meninadanca . Raising money to help save the girls who are 'sold' along the 2,700 mile BR-116 highway in Brazil.  One girl every ten miles of the road on average.  The charity raises money to build 'Pink Houses' where girls can find support, refuge and a place to dance and have fun.  It was a huge eye-opener and very thought provoking.

Later today we have our flu vaccinations so I am expecting a bit of a sore arm tomorrow, then our Covid jabs are booked for Saturday.  It will be good to have all that done before Winter sets in!  

Warm weather predicted for the rest of the week so just time to tidy up the garden before we return to autumn. How’s your week ahead looking?

Friday 6 October 2023

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

 Is it really a month since we last sat together and had a chat?  

Last time we met we were at the beginning of a new school term and here we are, very close to half term already.  The children are all settling into their new routines and life is getting very busy for them - it's so lovely when they start to get their own interests isn't it?  

Rosie's had to miss a couple of things lately as she had to have grommets inserted to correct her 'glue ear'.  When she was admitted they were unsure if her adenoids would have to be taken out but thankfully that wasn't the case so instead of two weeks off school, she could go straight back.

My return to Zumba was interrupted by a bad back but fingers crossed that seems to have resolved itself with a little help from the osteopath.  I'm sticking with the exercises she gave me in the hope that I can avoid it happening again.  I think that I had fallen into bad habits with my posture and ways of lifting shopping and small children.

Tomorrow we are going to visit friends who moved away to a village close to the coast.  Weather forecast looks like we will have fine weather for the day so hopefully we will be able to have a walk along the sea front after our lunch.  It will probably be the last time we get to feel sand between our toes/paws this year.

Excuse the noise in the garden, a tree surgeon is here to cut down our tree.  We noticed several branches dying a couple of years ago and we have done all we can to save it but we have to admit defeat I'm afraid.  We have a new tree waiting in the wings to be planted but it is going to look very feeble compared to the 40 year old one we are losing.  

I have a 'farewell' party to go to on Sunday.  My Zumba teacher is going to travel around South America for six months!  She is originally from Venezuela and I think she wants to explore more of that area and show her husband where she grew up.  I have no doubt that her travels will be influencing new Latin American dance routines when she returns next year!  What an adventure for them both.  

Thank you for visiting, let's arrange to meet up again next month, the first Friday in November!

Monday 2 October 2023

Photo Hunt Final check in

 So here we are with the final contributions for the Summer Scavenger Hunt 2023 arranged by Mary Lou over at Patio Postcards. Please pop over there to see her latest finds too!

Here are my missing finds (Previous finds can be found here and here )

Number 12 Summer Tools


Somewhere in amongst the flowers are a trowel, secateurs and a watering can

Number 13 A sold or for sale sign


Now this is not strictly a 'For Sale' sign but it is indicating items for sale on a local market stall.  If this isn't suitable for this category I'll claim it under Favourite Summer Taste - all the gorgeous summer fruits!

Number 14 Something that rolls


This is Rosie's Trunki which she always brings if they are coming for a sleepover.  Crammed to the brim with her treasures even though she's only here for one night!  

So that is it for another year - I always enjoy this challenge and Mary Lou always manages to find things that can be interpreted in many ways so everyone can join in no matter where in the world you live!

Me on Monday

 Hello!

I'm very happy to report that this week I am not writing about bad backs - other than to report a vast improvement, strict following of back strengthening and stretching exercises and a follow up osteopath appointment.  I even managed to go to Zumba last week.  It has been a bit of a week for medical appointments one way or another though.

Our granddaughter went into hospital on Friday to have grommets inserted to help with her 'glue ear'.  They were possibly going to remove her adenoids as well but it wasn't necessary in the end thankfully. I'm so pleased it has been done now, it's been delayed and cancelled quite a bit due to doctor's strikes.

Coco had her heart scan and has just tipped over the border line for needing treatment so she now has tablets to take but will hopefully keep her asymptomatic for a while longer.  You'd never know it was an issue, she's still always up for a long walk twice a day!



Regular readers will know I am a total wimp when it comes to dentists so I wasn't happy about the prospect of a check up on Friday but I was quickly out of the chair and skipping down the street when I was given the all clear for another six months.

So this Monday finds me starting the week with another osteopath appointment this afternoon where hopefully I will be told I am well on the way to full recovery.  We are ending the week with a visit to friends who live near the sea side so I'm hoping the weather forecast is correct and we can squeeze in one more walk along the beach this year.  

Now, can anyone help me with a problem that I seem to be having with regards to leaving comments on other blogs?  Not all blogs but a few that I used to regularly comment on.  Sometimes I see no comment box at all, and sometimes I think I've filled everything in and left a comment, only to get a message saying 'your comment could not be posted' - it's very frustrating and there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to it.  It seems to happen mostly on my iMac computer and I wondered if it was Safari playing up, but then I can comment on my iPad and that uses the same operating system.  So if I used to comment on your blog and I seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth, I am still here, I am still reading and enjoying all you have to say, and if the technology would let me, I would be leaving a comment!



Friday 29 September 2023

#WBOYC in September

 



This is the month with the most amount of letters so far so might be more of a challenge this Month!

September 6th was our 43rd Wedding Anniversary.  Starting reception class at school for Rosie and Max. (Max lives in a little village a short distance from us so not both at the same school)

East Runton was the destination for a long weekend away - what a lovely few days we had on the Norfolk coastline.  Perfect weather and lots of 'dog friendly' places to visit. The weather was glorious and perfect for exploring the local area.




Planning the revamp of the downstairs loo started with the purchase of a new sink unit followed by a rather bold wallpaper choice - watch this space.   

Trying to put on a brave face for Rosie when she had to go to hospital for an operation to insert grommets into her ears. Also tooth inspection at the dentist for me, all appears ok, not needed to be seen for another six months. Which apparently takes us up to Easter!

Extra voluntary NI contributions under much discussion as pension age gets closer and closer!  I've been pleasantly surprised how easy it was to speak to a human being about whether or not it is worth my while filling in a couple of the years I have not been working.  Surely I'm not nearly old enough to be a pensioner?  Spoiler alert - I am!

Making up a small deficit in my national insurance contributions to ensure that I get the full pension when I am officially of retirement age in March next year.

Blood tests as I haven't had one for a few years and I'm now officially in the 'over 65' age group πŸ‘΅ results were ok but I need to monitor my blood pressure as I am creeping over 'higher end of normal' into mild hypertension territory.

Excruciating pain after twisting awkwardly putting washing in washing machine.  After chatting it through with an osteopath I think that was the final straw in a sequence of things but it really brought it home to me how we take for granted when we can get out of bed or out of a chair without thinking 'oh no!' Good intentions abounding now to keep up the stretching exercises she gave me and to be more mindful about how I pick things up or load a washing machine!

Return to school and Year 3 for Leo. I think everyone needed to get back to their daily routines after six weeks away. It is so lovely to see the world through the eyes of a seven year old!

So that’s it for another month and here it is, 1 Second Everyday.


Joining in with the other Deb, on the other side of the world! She's been far more energetic than me, pop over there to her blog all about it!



Thursday 28 September 2023

What I've been reading in September

I've started off the month with two books that my daughter lent me.

'It Ends With Us' and 'It Starts With Us' both by Colleen Hoover 



And it is very important that you read them in that order!  Apparently the author wasn't planning on there being a sequel but public opinion demanded that the next stage of Lily and Atlas were published.

Lily hasn't had the easiest of childhoods but she works hard and makes her own way to eventually start the florist shop she has always wanted.  She meets Ryle, a neurosurgeon who appears to be everything she hopes for in finding a happy future.  Despite claiming to not want a committed relationship, Ryle suggests an impromptu wedding and life seems to be falling into place.  When her childhood friend Atlas appears after years of being away, Ryle feels threatened and a different side to his nature is revealed.  Lily can feel her life mirroring that of her mother's which she will not stand for.  

This isn't always an easy read but oh boy does it grip you!  There are humorous aspects to it where instead of keeping a teenage diary, Lily writes letters (which are never sent) to Ellen Degeneres who she feels would be able to help her with her problems.

It Starts With Us picks up the story but it is hard to review it without giving away spoilers to the first book!  Each alternate chapter is written by either Lily or Atlas.  But I felt like this book is more about Atlas' side of the story.  You certainly learn more of his back story, and he has a few surprises in store.  

What can I say but I loved these books.  Some of the subjects covered don't always make for easy reading but I was engrossed.  There were times when I was worried that Lily wasn't going to make what I thought were the right decisions and times when I thought her kind nature was going to make excuses for other's bad behaviour.  But she obviously heard me and stuck to her principles!  Would I recommend these?  Absolutely! 

Something completely different next 

The Woman Who Lied by Claire Douglas

Emilia is a happily married mother of two children who is the author of a series of crime novels featuring the detective Miranda Moody.  Keen to change the genre of books that she writes, Emilia decides to 'write off' Miranda by making her the victim of a serial killer thus ending the series.

Then an incident that is part of the plot of one of her earlier novels happens in real life.  Emilia assumes that it is pure coincidence.  Until it happens again.  And again. Things that happen in the book she has not yet published.  Strands of her stories are happening in real life and she cannot help but be afraid that she will be the next target. The perpetrator can only be someone who has read the early copies of the last novel, which narrows it down to friends and family or her editor. 

 It took me a little while to get into this book but you can't help but sympathise with Emilia as she doubts who she can trust and sees maliciousness in people she previously considered friends.  There are many twists and turns, with a final surprise just when you think you know what happened!




Monday 25 September 2023

Me on Monday

Hello!

There's a TV programme here that may not, at first sight, seem as if it will be interesting.  It's called Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing.  Now I have no interest in fishing but I enjoy this programme.  Two comedians in their mid sixties going to various locations around Britain, fishing local rivers while chatting over the subjects that mid sixty people chat about.  I know, it doesn't sound thrilling does it?  But their friendship and camaraderie shine through their conversations and now and again they say something that really makes you think.  

Last week we saw an episode where Bob Mortimer says something along the lines of the fact that as you get older you get more into the habit of saying 'no' to things.  Then after a while people stop inviting you to join them and you find yourself increasingly alone.  Saying no is the start of the path to isolation. Isn't that true?  

So this weekend I have found myself with that at the back of my mind, and said 'yes' to three invitations!

I've hurt my back.  Really hurt it. Bending down awkwardly to put washing into the machine I felt something twinge and next thing I knew I couldn't stand up!  It's been gradually improving every day especially if I keep standing or walking, it's the sitting down and laying down that is doing me no favours.  (Osteopath appointment booked for lunchtime today!) We had been invited out for dinner with friends to a new restaurant which opened in town and I was really on the verge of cancelling but then I thought about the quote and decided to take painkillers and go.  After all, if I'd stayed home all I would be doing was sitting down so I may as well sit down with friends eating a lovely meal someone else had cooked!  It was a good evening and my back was fine right up until the moment I tried to stand up after sitting for two hours - but a bit of a stretch got it moving again and by the time we'd walked back to the car it wasn't too bad.

Then on Saturday we had spoken about going to an open day at a group of art studios in a nearby town.  I wasn't feeling like it but then ... I thought, the sun is shining, I will be walking around and it will be nice to get out and about rather than sitting at home while Paul went on his own.  I was pleased I went as it was a lovely location and lots of talented artists working in their studios.


Have you ever wondered what happens to old Wii and Nintendo controllers after they die?  They become a sculpture!


The last thing I said Yes to when my immediate thought had been 'no' was booking tickets to see a show at our local arts theatre.  A guy we know is part of an amateur dramatic society and every year they put on a musical.  Every year we think 'we should really support the local community events' and every year we don't get round to it as we don't really enjoy musical theatre.  But we have taken the bull by the horns and booked tickets to see him in this year's production in November.

So, this Monday finds me booked in for a physio apt for my back. I think I have to admit defeat and realise that waiting for it to right itself quickly is a little optimistic. The week ends with our granddaughter Rosie having an operation to insert grommets into her ears to resolve her 'glue ear'.  So all in all a bit of a week of medical appointments!  I hope your weekly plans are a bit more pleasurable!