Friday 31 March 2023

#WBOYC in March


March, 'In like a lion, out like a lamb' well it isn't exactly spring like here today, and it would appear that April showers arrived a few days too soon.  There was much to celebrate in the first half of the month so let's see what was on my calendar!  Last month's way of recording my month seemed to work well so let's go again for March. 


My birthday on 14th March and Mother's Day on the 19th.  Double celebrations!  Had a lovely birthday lunch at a new-to-us restaurant in town - delicious.It's been open a couple of years and I'm not sure why we haven't been there before, but we will return, that's for sure.


Also my son's birthday on 5th March - it was a good month for birthdays! 

Anxious about the dentist.  Why do I get myself in such a state?  Twice a year, thankfully nothing to be done.  


Reading The Woman with the Cure by Lynn Cullen for our monthly book club choice and Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon. I heard Donna being interviewed and liked the sound of her series of books featuring Commissario Brunetti set in Venice. These are nice easy reading books and she describes Venice so well, I just want to be wandering around the alleyways and canals - popping into a coffee shop for a drink and a pastry.


Catching up with my author friend Dani and Celebrating her winning the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers at the Romantic Novelists Association Awards Ceremony. 

Crocheting project finished!  I really enjoyed this one and am pleased with the colours that I chose.


Hospital appointment yesterday for a DEXA bone density scan.  My sister has osteoporosis so it will be interesting to hear if I do too.  I hate worrying about being late for appointments so always allow plenty/too much time to get to places and then find a parking space (always a problem at any of our local medical sites)so I arrived at the hospital half an hour early as there was no traffic, no temporary traffic lights, and no diversion routes. (Although the hospital is only in the next town along to us, it is a 'one road in and out' town and notorious for becoming gridlocked at the drop of a hat) Pulled into the car park and there was just one space free right at the end.  Booked into reception 25 mins early, got called into the DEXA room almost straight away and ended up leaving the hospital at the time I was originally supposed to be having my appointment!

Hoping that now we have officially put the clocks forward into British Summertime we will see some warmer weather.  The return of freezing temperatures and the snow at the beginning of the month was not welcome in this corner of Deb's World!

Only five letters to complete this month - would you like to see how the month looked - 1 Second Everyday?

Now please do pop over to the other side of the world to the other 'Deb's World' and see how things were in Australia.  Spoiler alert - the other Deb had much better weather and was able to get out and about a LOT more than I did!

Wednesday 29 March 2023

What I’ve been reading in March

 This month's choice for the book club with The Woman with the Cure by Lynn Cullen.

Nowadays children are vaccinated against Polio as a matter of course and we can easily forget that back in the 40s and 50s it was a deadly disease with no knowledge of how it paralysed the body.  It seemed to mostly affect children and in America once a town reported an infection the residents went into lockdown to try and control the spread.  

The most educated and inspirational doctors were in a race to find a vaccine and this would make them the most prestigious and admired doctors in the world.  Dorothy Horstmann is a woman in a man's world and has to fight to find her place in the race to find a cure.  Whereas her competitors have the end goal of making their place in medical history, Dorothy just wants to stop the disease from killing so many children.

Dorothy suspects that the experts are looking at the wrong aspect of the disease; she suspects it may be transmitted through the body through the blood stream.  When proved correct, her discovery means that along with her male colleague she is suddenly ahead of their competitors in finding a cure.

This was certainly an eye opening book.  I was born in 1958 so thankfully was given my polio vaccine on a sugar cube as a matter of course.  Dorothy certainly had to struggle to take her place as a respected professional in a time when the world of science was not considered to be a place for women.  How fortunate the world is that she persevered and had the tenacity to keep going not for the prestige of being the person who develops the cure, but for being the person who saved the lives of so many children.


I then heard Donna Leon being interviewed on a podcast and liked the sound of her series of books that are set in Venice.  I love Italy.  I loved Venice when I visited years ago and I love a good mystery.  Needless to say I was soon downloading the first book of the series onto my Kindle! Death at La Fenice.

This book introduces us to Commissario Brunetti who is called to investigate the murder of a prestigious conductor at the Opera House 'Teatro La Fenice'. The murder takes place during the interval of the opera and one by one, suspects come to mind.  The much younger wife.  The other musicians.  Someone from his past life in Germany during the war.  Who could it be? The author has lived in Venice and just reading her descriptions of the narrow alleyways and canals, the little coffee houses and general day to day life transports you there.  I wanted to be sitting having a morning coffee and pastry while the day to day routine of Venetians went on around me.  I could envision Brunetti getting on and off the water buses around the city, wandering along the bridges in the early morning fog, climbing the well worn steps of his apartment building hidden behind a wooden door on the cobbled street.

I had a sneaky feeling that I may have an inkling as to the perpetrator of the crime towards the end of the book, but there was an added twist I hadn't anticipated.  I liked the style of writing, the ease of reading and the atmosphere of Venice so much that I downloaded the next book of the series straight away!

Monday 27 March 2023

Me on a Monday

 OK Mother Nature, here is the deal.  We have had the Spring Equinox on March 21st and we officially put our clocks forward and began British Summer Time yesterday.  We have kept our side of the deal.  So why does it still feel like winter?  You rained for most of Sunday, and the forecast for the rest of this week isn't much better.  I spent Saturday going through my wardrobe and drawers to find things that I don't think I'll be wearing again to donate to a local charity shop - now I would like to actually wear some of those warmer weather clothes that I had put away at the end of autumn.

We had our garden wall repaired last week and it's inspired us to get out in the garden to tidy and plan a bit of a re-plant.  At one point on Friday the sun was shining and I decided to mow the lawn because that always makes things look neater.  I had just finished when the first 'plops' of rain started - and the rest of the day was wet and dreary.  I am hoping to go to a garden centre today, not necessarily to buy anything as it's still a bit early, but to get some ideas. I don’t want to tempt fate but at the moment there is sun breaking through the clouds!

I'm missing having crochet to do as I finished my blanket, but I do have to admit that I have found myself making a small sample of a blanket my friend Denise sent me - she knew I wouldn't be able to resist.  Especially when it looks like I could make it out of leftover balls of wool from other projects - it wouldn't cost me a thing.  We know where this is going don't we?  I mean, is it better to have a box of oddments gathering dust under the spare bed or do I make them into a blanket?  

My round up of the month will be here at the end of the week, please do pop back and see what's been happening in March.

Monday 20 March 2023

Me on a Monday

 Good Monday morning!  I hope it is quieter where you are than it is where I am!  We had builders arrive at 8am this morning to do some work to our garden wall and they are currently at the 'removing the old bricks' stage.  My neighbours must love us 😖  This work is something that has been on the 'to do' list for several years now, the top layer of bricks have been crackling and crumbling for a while now.  Forty years of rain, snow and ice have go into them (due to the original builder of the wall using the wrong type of porous brick for the top row!) So this Monday finds me trying to think of things I need to do away from the house to escape the noise.

It was Mother's Day yesterday and I had thought that I wouldn't be seeing either R or J due to them having families of their own now who need to spoil their mums for the day.  So I had planned a nice special meal for Paul to cook me - two new recipes I liked the sound of - pistachio and apricot crumbed roast lamb and dauphinoise potato, celeriac and leek bake.  

Plans started to go awry on Friday.  R's builders decided that they needed to remove her existing kitchen that day in order to knock through the extension wall so the chance of her family cooking her a lovely lunch were non existent.  No problem, come round and have lunch here, we'll double the quantities and have a combined Mother's Day.  Then my trusty sous chef came down with a severe case of gastroenteritis!  So he spent most of Saturday and Sunday upstairs in bed keeping his germs to himself and in the end I cooked my own lunch.  It wasn't quite the relaxing day I envisioned but looking on the positive side, the new recipes were scrumptious!

So this Monday finds me feeling a little like my birthday balloons

A little crumpled, a little deflated and a little past their best!

Monday 13 March 2023

Advice for a Monday

 I bought a get well soon card for a friend last week and on the back of the card was this advice

And I thought, what excellent suggestions, so I thought it would be perfect to share!

It was a wet, snowy and wild week last week and I had little inclination for leaving the house unless I absolutely had to.  The midweek highlight was a lovely lunch celebrating my friend's win at the Romantic Novelist Organisation's awards evening.  Her latest novel won the Romantic Thriller Award.  Then we ended the week on a lovely high note.  Early celebrations with all the family which involved balloons, party games and cake.  I'll say no more!

Monday 6 March 2023

Me on Monday

 Here we are again at the start of a new week - forecast for even lower temperatures so I can feel myself slipping into hibernation mode again!

It was a funny old week last week with more medical appointments than I would like. P was ok, his was a blood donation appointment and he's just heard that his 51st pint of blood has been sent to the Royal Middlesex hospital to be used.  Mine involved blood too.  A routine request for a repeat prescription of an allergy spray turned into a 'we haven't checked your diabetes risk for a few years now and you really ought to be sent for a bone density scan' (the joys of approaching 65!) So I was having an HbA1c blood test.  I'm starting to regret all the chocolate I ate over Christmas now!  Watch this space.  R then saw an ENT consultant for what she thought may be labyrinthitis as she has been very congested with dizzy spells.  But no. They think it may be Meniere's disease so she's been for MRIs and is due for a hearing test too.  Now, if anyone reading this knows anybody who has this I'd love to hear from you as it is a bit of an unknown to us.

It wasn’t all medical visits though, there was some of this

Crocheting in the sunny conservatory while Coco had a little doze!

And my son turned 33.  Thirty Three! How did that happen?  It does seem strange to think that my youngest is now that old, and that he's now a year older than I was when he was born.

So this week is cold and damp and it would be very easy to just stay home in warm comfy clothes.  But I am meeting up with my author friend tomorrow for lunch.  I am hoping that we will be in a celebratory mood, as tonight she is going to the Romantic Novelist Awards where she is nominated for her most recent book 'Six Days' which is in the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller category.  We'll still be celebrating even if she doesn't win as it is such an honour to even be shortlisted.  She won the Contemporary  Romantic Novel award in 2022 so we are hoping that she will be successful again this year.

Keep you fingers crossed for her!

Friday 3 March 2023

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

 Well, January seemed to last at least a whole year and February then flew by but here we are again for our monthly chat.

So, this month I think we should talk biscuits - or cookies!  What are your favourites?By the way, the biscuit tin is open, please help yourself.

I have different favourites for different times of day.  Do you remember the old advert from the 80s for Rich Tea biscuits - 'a drink's too wet without one'?  That's how I feel about my afternoon cup of tea.  That always has to have a plain biscuit to accompany it but instead of Rich Tea biscuits my favourite's are called Abernethy.  They have a delicious butteriness about them with just a little bit of crumble.  In the absence of one of those, a plain oaty biscuit will fill the gap.  Do you dip a biscuit in your hot drink?  I don't, but my grandchildren like to dip one in my cup and I hate the end of the drink where you have lots of soggy crumbs lurking in the bottom.  There's always a split second between 'just soft enough' and 'sorry Nanny my biscuit has fallen into the mug'.

Mid morning will usually involve a bit of chocolate somewhere.  Either a dark chocolate digestive or a Chocolate Liebniz.  If I have a friend come for coffee and I haven't baked a cake I will try to have a stem ginger cookie to offer as well.  I like it when you go out for coffee and they offer a Biscoff biscuit (or two), the lovely caramel crunch is perfect.

Please don't ever leave me alone with a box of Cadbury's chocolate finger biscuits, it won't end well and there'll be none left for anyone else.  If you are looking for pure luxury the pistachio and clotted cream biscuits from Fortnum & Mason are delicious but just look at the price!  I wouldn't be handing those around the grandchildren!

Have I made you hungry?  Please let me know your favourites and I just may have to sample one to see if it makes my favourites list!