Friday 28 April 2023

#WBOYC in April



Appointments - I'm always pleased to get my hair tidied up and all those 'colourless' roots disguised.  This month I also had an appointment for a mammogram.  Here in the UK we are called every three years to have a check up.  Last time I went was about the week before we went into lockdown.  I can remember lots of signs saying don't touch the handrail on the steps and it was a novelty to see hand sanitiser on the counter, not to mention being asked to wear a mask.  Little did we know that such things would become second nature before the month was up!


Power washing the patio and decking.  Now this may not seem exciting to you, but to me it meant that the sun was shining, and I had visions of soon being able to sit outside and enjoy warmer weather.  I've never tried my hand at power washing before, it seemed something that could become very messy and I've left it to Paul but now I know how easy it is I think it's fair to say that we will be having a very clean patio this summer!

Project 'repaint the hall drawer unit' happened this month.  It's been discussed for many a month and there came a point when I suddenly decided that it 'had' to be done - now!  So we popped to Homebase and picked up some tester paint pots.  It's only a small unit so three little testers was just enough to put on two coats of paint.  A quick, cheap project but it makes the hall look fresher now. Not only that but Paul can now stop sighing every time I say 'that drawer unit is looking really tatty' because it doesn't look tatty any more!

Project 'paint the garden fence' happened too - a year or two ago we painted our garden fences grey and it gave such a good background to our plants rather than the normal 'wood' colours that we decided to put on another coat this year before the plants started growing up again.


Reading Weyward by Emilia Hart which was recommended on Sara Cox's programme Between the Covers.  It was also a choice in our online book club but didn't get the most votes but I decided to read it anyway!  I also read 'The Last Party' which is probably the first book that I have read that is set in Wales.  It was a good murder mystery, and by the time I reached the last chapters I was ready to add my name to the list of suspects, no wonder someone wanted to get rid of Rhys, what a nasty man he was.  I also read 'Leave me to lie' by Clare Mackintosh which had more than one twist and turn before the end.  I'd recommend them all! This was the first book I borrowed from the library since renewing my membership there.  


I would probably stand for indoors, as that is where we spent most of our time due to the changeable weather. If I'm honest, April didn't include many things outside the house!  We caught up on a lot of chores that we had been putting off, and spent any dry, warm time in the garden.  Not sitting on the patio reading our books but washing, painting and tidying. When the better weather comes, we are prepared!


Lunches with friends and family. Our daughter still doesn't have a kitchen but the builders should be installing the new one very soon.  So we have had visitors on quite a few occasions this month as there is only so much you can cook in a microwave!   

So all that is left to do now is my 1 second everyday round up of this month so far and to tell you to pop across the other side of the world to check in with the other Deb's World.  

Tuesday 25 April 2023

What I've been reading in April

 First up is Weyward by Emilia Hart.  

This was one of the choices for our online book club, but it didn't get the most votes so wasn't our book of the month.  I had already been interested in reading it after hearing it being discussed on Sara Cox's TV programme Between the Covers so I decided to read it anyway!

What links Altha in 1619, Violet in 1942 and Kate in 2019?  Kate is fleeing from an abusive relationship and heads north to the cottage that she has inherited following the death of her great-aunt.  Violet is a nature lover who does not comply with her father's idea of how a young girl should behave and whose innocence is destroyed by her cousin Frederick, and Altha is on trial for witchcraft.

What is the connection? What aspect of their lives repeats itself through the generations?  

I don't always enjoy books which cover many hundreds of years but this one held my interest.  All three women in the story are sympathetically described and all find a kind of sanctuary in Weyward Cottage over the generations.  You cannot help but feel yourself drawn to them.  The author captures the strength and resilience that they have and I did enjoy it. 

Next up is a book that just caught my eye on Kindle. The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh.

I think this may be the first book I have read that is set in Wales! Well, mostly set in Wales - it involves a body being found in a lake which has the Wales/England border running through it so there's a bit of mix and match as to which police force need to investigate.  

The body is that of Rhys Lloyd, part owner of a group of exclusive holiday homes along the shore line of the lake. As the book progresses and the lives of people in and around The Shore are revealed it becomes clear that there are many people who had good reason to dislike Rhys.  Every character becomes a potential suspect but the actual person responsible for his death took me by surprise.  

The relationship between the detectives investigating the case, Leo and Ffion, is written so well.  I don't know if there will be more books with these characters, but I really hope there are.

Finally, the first library book that I took out on loan since renewing my membership.  Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh.

When we meet Anna she is grieving for the loss of her parents who have both taken their own lives in 'copy-cat' circumstances within months of one another.  She has recently had a baby with her partner, Mark, who she met while having counselling after the death of her mother.  

On the anniversary of her mother's death she receives a card with a cryptic message inside 'Suicide?  Think again'  She contacts the police, convinced that her mother was murdered and the case is unofficially reopened by a retired police officer.

And so the story unravels.  Nothing is as it seems. Each chapter is from the point of view of the different characters, but every now and again a chapter is written from the perspective of an unnamed person.  

This book certainly kept my interest going, and my ideas on 'whodunnit' changed from chapter to chapter.  The police thought it was suicide.  Anna thinks it was murder.  They were both wrong.   

Monday 24 April 2023

Me on Monday

 Hello!  Here we are again with another Monday.  How was last week for you?

I've just had to check my calendar to see what I did 😆 I know it was busy but there isn't actually much written down!  It was a week of thinking I would get a lot done, and then not getting much done.  The garden got quite a bit of attention; fences are painted and the patio has been jet washed.  That makes you realise just how dirty rainwater is - the difference in colour between the paving slabs that were cleaned and the ones still to do is alarming.

Talking of alarming - if you are in the UK you should have received the test emergency alert yesterday afternoon.  Even though I knew it was coming, it still surprised me when it happened!  Turns out it wasn't a total success and some people didn't receive it.  A friend wrote on Facebook "I didn't receive the alert, am I to assume that I'm not old now to save?"!

We looked after Leo and Rosie yesterday while Rachel and James went up to London to support a friend who was running in the marathon.  I was already feeling tired before they arrived at 8.30am (we had friends over for drinks on Saturday evening who went home after midnight) and I was very tired by the time they went home!  Despite all the crowds, R&J managed to see their friend three times on the route and he has raised over £3000 for his chosen charity, The National Autistic Society.  

So today we are going to collect Paul's new car.  There have been a few delays along the way so I hope that doesn't change.  We often wonder if we really need the luxury of having two cars but these last few weeks of having just mine made us realise that we are still at a point of it being much more convenient.  Since early retirement we have kept up our own interests and it has been a little tricky to coordinate being in the right place at the right time.  Not to mention the amount of times I've had to move child car seats around!  They definitely weren't as heavy or bulky when our children were young.  

There's another teachers strike on Thursday which I suspect may impact on me although no one has actually said anything yet!  I am anticipating having to collect L&R after my Zumba class .  We have a different Zumba teacher this week as our normal instructor is going to New York for 5 days.  The stand in instructor is very young, I wonder if she will take pity on us oldies?  I have recklessly signed up for a Zumba masterclass in a few weeks time - I should definitely have checked out the youtube videos of the very young, male Argentinian instructor before I let my friend talk me into booking my place.  I'll tell you more after the event!

Have a good week!

Monday 17 April 2023

Me on a Monday

The sky is blue, it isn't raining, it feels a bit warmer and we have a back to normal week this week - which is handy because last week wore me out!  

We started the week with Easter Monday when we had all the family here, that's now ten people to cook for - lucky I enjoy cooking eh?  It's fun to see the cousins playing together, but typical of me, I forgot to take any photos!

There was a hairdressing appointment on Tuesday, followed by an afternoon of looking after L&R.  We had Olive here all day Wednesday.  Zumba was on Thursday and then I had a mammogram at lunchtime.  Followed by an afternoon of looking after L&R.  We had to be up early on Friday to take Max and Olive to their nursery as our son was on a cycling weekend with his friend in Norfolk and Sophie needed to be in London for work.  As you can see, there was a lot of grandparent duties and everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that schools return today!

So, what does this week hold?  I have a project or two in mind!  At the weekend I completed project one which was to repaint the table that we have in the hall.  It has had many guises over the years, it started off a plain teak wooden unit.  A few years ago we/I decided it was looking a bit dated so painted it white and dark grey.  Recently we/I decided that it was looking tired and needed a bit of TLC.  So we popped into Homebase on Saturday and bought a few tester pots and it is now a very pale grey and slightly darker grey.  Now I just need to get a new basket in which to store Coco's leads and harnesses.

My next project also involves paint, but of the garden fence variety.  Today I plan for us/Paul to start brushing down the fence panels to repaint them before the plants start growing back with their summer growth.  Paul has been allocated the rubbing down process and I will be painting.  That's the plan anyway!

There is a possibility that Paul will be collecting his new car at the end of the week which will be exciting.  The weather forecast also seems to be confidently saying that temperatures are on the rise - about time too.  When I took Olive home on Wednesday it was hailing and only 2.5 degrees 🌨

How's your week looking?

Monday 10 April 2023

Me on a Monday

As you can see from the newspaper article above, I have a confession to make.

I decided to take a trip down memory lane on Saturday afternoon and look through some previous April posts and I came across this one.  In April 2014 I was trying my hand at crochet.  Yet 6 years later, I claimed that I was learning for the first time!  I really did not remember those first practice squares.  I am hanging my head in shame for misleading everyone 😔

Yet it shows that back then we were all visiting one another for a cup of tea/coffee (one of us was talking about crochet!) and some of us were participating in a patchwork square swap.  I was awaiting my squares from around the world and apparently stalking my postman with the 'interesting' hairstyle - he's no longer a postman, I do hope that was nothing to do with me anxiously asking if I had any post every day!  Coco was up to all kinds of mischief - some things never change. The idea for sharing news over cups of tea came from Abi who is no longer blogging.  Her time is now taken up with being a mum to a cheeky, lively little boy.  I can understand that any spare time she has is precious and blogging has to take a back seat. But if you click here you will see how her April 2014 looked, and just look at the names included in the link at the bottom. We were quite a blogging tribe back then weren't we? 

What is it about looking back over old blog posts?  It's a rabbit hole and once you've fallen in, it takes a long time to crawl back out.  But crawl out I must, as I have eight guests for lunch today, four of them (the littlest ones) full to the brim with chocolate no doubt.  No doubt Crazy Daisy will be with them too {don't tell Coco} so the house will be full and noisy as we celebrate Easter Monday.  

Have a good week!


Friday 7 April 2023

Let's sit and have a cup of coffee - 7 April

 Thank you so much for taking time out of your Easter weekend to come and visit.  

It's Good Friday so there are plenty of Hot Cross Buns to go round.  Do you like yours cold or toasted? Buttered or with jam?  When I was young, you could only buy Hot Cross Buns at Easter and there was something very special about them, melting butter oozing into the soft, spicy bun.  Nowadays you can buy them all year round, which has taken some of the 'specialness' away.

April certainly came in with its traditional April showers.  Not so much showers on the first day, more like torrential downpours and there was awful flooding in the next town along from us.  It was so bad that it was actually cut off in both directions at one point.  Today, however, has dawned bright, warm and sunny - just right for a Bank Holiday.  

Do you have plans for the Easter weekend?  We keep to the tradition of fish on Good Friday so R and family are coming for fish and chips tonight (their kitchen is still completed gutted so no cooking going on there!) The only other plans we have are for all the family to come here for Easter Monday and I'm planning to repeat the meal I cooked for Mother's Day and keeping my fingers crossed that everyone is well enough to enjoy it this time 🤞

Have a lovely weekend; let me know how you plan to celebrate the Easter break.  

Monday 3 April 2023

Me on a Monday

Here we are on the first Monday of the new month. Did you get caught out by any April fool pranks on Saturday?  I saw on Instagram that Waitrose were offering a double necked wine bottle that was half red wine and half white - Merlonay!  

We definitely had April showers to welcome in the new month - Coco was absolutely filthy when she came back from her walk on Saturday morning.  Apparently she had insisted on going over the park - yes I know it sounds crazy to say that she chooses which route she goes on but believe me, when she decides she wants to go somewhere she is impossible to move!

It's the school Easter holidays for the next couple of weeks so there are some extra childminding duties on the calendar.  Paul is out today and it will be nice to have a day to myself before the busyness of the next few days - although if Coco thinks we will be heading off over the park later she will either have to give in to my route which involves pavement walking or miss out on her afternoon walk!  

I had a rather uplifting moment on Saturday.  I have decided to use our local library more rather than keep uploading books to my kindle but my library card had expired, so I did my online application and then headed into town to take proof of address to get the actual card.  I sat at the desk while the librarian went through my details and then I noticed her frown.  She came round to the front of the desk and bent close to say quietly 'I think you've made a mistake on your online form. Have you had a birthday recently?' I confirmed that I had and she smiled and went on to say 'I think you've accidentally entered the wrong year.  You've entered 1958, but that would make you 65!' 'Yes, I am 65' I confirmed.  At which point she seemed genuinely surprised and said 'well I thought I ought to check because you certainly don't look it!'  Paul suggested that she probably says that to all the people over a certain age (even though she is probably a very similar age to me) to compliment them but I am choosing to believe that she was genuine!

Well, the sun is shining and the forecast is for a dry week ahead so fingers crossed that it will be nice for the lead up to the Easter weekend. Here’s a picture of a little sunny corner of the garden; isn’t it lovely when a bit of colour appears in the garden?

I'll be back on Friday with a cup of tea and a chat - please do come and join me 😊