Thursday 31 August 2023

#WBOYC in August

 

This month could be a little more challenging, with more letters to use, but let's have a go

A

Another pet comes to stay, smaller and less sociable than the last visitor, but noisier at night - my niece's children's hamster.


Advance booking for tickets to see Average White Band in their farewell tour in April next year! I've liked them since I was at school in the 70s and this will be the last chance to see them in concert again.

U

Untidy hair be gone!  Time for a hair cut

G

Getting together with myself sister and brother in law and cousin and partner is such a lovely thing to do.  My mum and my cousin's mum were very close.  Out of a family of six siblings they had a special relationship so it is so nice to know that our generation are keeping in close contact.  

Grandparent duties have increased since the start of the six week school holidays!

U

Unusual amount of celebrations this month (yes I am struggling to find two things to start with U) Jon & Sophie's wedding anniversary, Rachel and Leo's birthdays too.

Upgraded my phone.  The battery on my old one was not lasting long at all so I decided it was time to upgrade. This new one has face recognition rather than fingerprint to open which I feel sure is going to take a while to get used to! 

S

Smoked slow cooked pork ribs and salad - we were invited to my cousin's for a barbecue with my sister and brother in law and it was my turn to choose part of the menu.  They have a fab outdoor cooking area complete with smoker so instead of the actual BBQ grill I asked if we could try something smoked instead.  Oh my goodness, I have never tasted spare ribs so delicious 😋

T

Trying to find a date to go to our nearest seaside resort for the day was tricky due to the changeable and very wet weather that the beginning of August brought with it.  We trusted the weather app which assured us that while it was raining at home, the weather on the coast just an hour and a half away was dry and sunny - fortunately they were correct!

I wondered if my 1 Second Everyday app would transfer nicely to my new phone and it did, so here is my video for the month



Linking up with Deb's World in Australia!

Tuesday 29 August 2023

What I've been reading in August

 The first book that I've been reading is Unholy Murder by Lynda La Plante.



I saw this book on a display in our local library and decided to borrow it as I've always enjoyed dramatisations of Lynda La Plante's books.  It's hard to read a book where the main character is DI Tennison without thinking of Helen Mirren playing that part in the TV drama 'Prime Suspect'!  This book is set in the late 70s and it makes you realise how life has changed in the intervening years.  A woman's place in the police force was very different then!

Builders working on a development in the grounds of an old convent dig up a coffin which contains the body of a young nun.  When the coffin is opened they find scratch marks on the inside of the lid indicating that she was still alive when put in the coffin and so begins a murder investigation.

DI Tennison's superiors seem reluctant to take on a cold case where the identity of the victim is unknown and the church seem keen to conceal any information which may help her solve the mystery.

I had high hopes for this book but I'm not sure it lived up to my expectations.  It's not that I didn't enjoy it, but it seemed to drag in some places. Just my opinion but don't think I can offer a 5* review.

Our book club's choice this month was The Last Lifeboat by Hazel Gaynor

This story is based on a true story.  Set in Liverpool in 1940, Alice King is boarding the SS Carlisle to chaperone a group of children being evacuated from London to safety in Canada.  Two of these children belong to Lily Nicholls who has reluctantly decided that they will be safer there than staying at home.  She anxiously waits for news of their arrival overseas, only to learn that the ship has been hit by enemy u-boats and has sunk.  The siblings on board the ship are separated in the panic to board lifeboats, and Lily receives news that one child has been rescued but there is no news of the other and after a few days, is missing, presumed dead.  But those in the last lifeboat to leave the ship are alive and surviving against all odds in treacherous seas.  For eight days they are at sea, losing hope of being rescued.

But Alice's sister is adamant that her sister is still alive and through her influence at work, ensures that the search is not called off and search aircraft return just one more time.

Such an emotional read when you realise that this story did actually happen.  How brave and desperate you must have to be to sign your child up to be a 'seavacuee'.  My mother in law was evacuated from the East End of London during the blitz and spent a couple of years on a farm in Devon.  I can remember talking to her mother about it and the anxiety she must have had to put her children on a train, not knowing where they would end up living.  No telephones to keep in contact, she had to wait days for a letter to give her the new address.  She was quite matter of fact, it was something they just had to do to keep them safe.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes I would!

I then read Three Sisters by O J Mullen.

A cold icy night in London.  Three sisters out on the town, one falls into the path of a car and is killed.  The surviving sisters cope with their grief in their own way.  One is dealing with the breakdown of her marriage and one is determined to have her revenge on the man driving the car despite the fact that it was an accident that he could not have avoided.  

Lewis Stone is distraught to have caused such grief, which impacts on his situation at work where the company that he co-owns with his friend Damien is about to embark on an exciting new chapter.  But Lewis cannot concentrate and steps back from the business for three months and returns to the remote Scottish family home, dropping his phone in the lake to ensure he has no distractions while he comes to terms with what has happened.

You may think that you know what is likely to happen and you may think that you understand the background behind that night but trust me, you don't!

So that's quite a wide variety of reading material to share this month - I would most definitely recommend the last two!

  




Monday 28 August 2023

Me on Monday

 We had overnight visitors on Saturday.


Their luggage ticked off another photo hunt challenge - something that rolls! Our daughter and husband went out to celebrate her birthday and so we had the grandchildren here for a sleepover.  Not that much sleeping went on! It always makes me smile to see the things that they pack to bring here for one night.  My daughter puts in a change of clothes and a pair of pjs and leave them to do the rest.

Today is a bank holiday and we have been invited to theirs for lunch today which will be nice. I am taking a salad to go with the meal and also the easiest, yet tastiest dip to have with tortilla chips. You just mix together cream cheese with natural yogurt until it is soft and creamy then layer that in a bowl.  Then add a layer of sweet chilli dipping sauce, then a layer of chopped coriander.  So tasty!

Our son will be waking up with his family under canvas - they have gone on their first camping trip, it will be interesting to hear how it went.  They have gone to Holkham in Norfolk which has a fabulous beach but the weather forecast was for a little rain last night but dry from now on.  I think they have rented a beach hut in Wells-Next-The-Sea today so I hope they have a fun beach day.  Kids don't care about how warm it is do they?  Then home tomorrow, they thought two days might be long enough for their first tenting adventure.

So last week held a lovely meet up with someone I first met when we worked together back in the late 70s/early 80s, making a birthday cake for my daughter with Leo and Rosie, picking up my new phone with Olive on Wednesday, Zumba on Thursday then a nice pub lunch in a dog friendly pub on Friday.  A busy week which flew by!

It's Leo's 7th birthday tomorrow; they are taking him and some friends bowling as a special treat so no childcare for me, but it will be a normal week after that. Last week of the summer holidays so not quite so much childcare from here on.  Hard to believe that both Rosie and Max will be starting 'proper' school next week.  Even though Max is eight months younger than Rosie, they will be in the same school year. The start of a new chapter!

I guess I had better go and make that salad and dip - have a good week!



Monday 21 August 2023

Me on Monday - Photo Hunt update 2

 I've made sure that this time I am joining in on the right day for the second in the Summer Photo Hunt posts!  So Me on Monday finds me sharing these finds:

Number 2 A wordless directional sign


Number 3 Something netted or webbed

The floating reed bed is netted and the ducks feet are webbed!  I was ridiculously happy with this find!

But then in Sicily we walked past this shop selling fishing nets with the fisherman making them outside the doorway and I could not decide which to use.  


Number 4 Something berry, berry delicious


Sweet and succulent, strawberries, freshly picked from the garden

Number 7 Something that dangles


Such pretty earrings in a shop in Cefalu

Number 8 Some shadows


The cloisters in the cathedral in Cefalu made such pretty shadow patterns

Number 11 Extraordinary water


The Mediterranean Sea - warm, clear and so very relaxing

Only three to go!  Are you joining in with the search?  Pop along to Patio Postcards for more information.

I'm looking forward to a little more 'me time' this week - we did a lot of childcare last week and we have fewer hours booked in this week.  I'm exhausted!  I'm starting the week with meeting up with someone I worked with back in the late 70s/early 80s.  We had a few years where our lives went in different directions and we lost touch but we have met up a couple of times in the last year and it's been nice to reconnect.  So that is a good start to the week!

We had a good Monday last week too with a trip to the beach with Coco.  We awoke to rain but the weather app assured us that it was dry and warmer at the coast so we packed up our picnic and trusted the information - luckily they were right and the more we headed east, the bluer the skies became.




Then there were three full days of childcare, a day to recharge our batteries, get a hair cut and go out for dinner at a friends house before another 8 hours looking after Max and Olive while their mum and dad went into London to celebrate their wedding anniversary.  I was very relieved that Sunday involved no cooking but lots of relaxing at my cousin's house!

How many weeks of the summer holidays are left?  😉

Monday 14 August 2023

Photo hunt check in 1

 Oh dear, I missed the official date to share the first findings for our Summer Scavenger Hunt - are you joining in too?  It certainly makes you keep your eyes open when you go out! 

Number one, a plant with thorns


Apparently this is a Black Lotus Tree - look at the size of those thorns!

Number five - a bridge


This was taken on the day we visited Capel Manor, nothing fancy but an interesting view through to a bench behind that archway

Number six - A school 

Not just any old school, This is the school that I went to between the ages of five and eleven.  Now a private house but when I see it I always remember it as a school.

Number nine, A pothole in the road


This was not difficult to find, our town has a major issue with potholes this year and this is one on the exit road from our local supermarket car park that I frequently have to avoid.

Number ten - A white flower


I was spoiled for choice on this prompt when we went to Capel Manor but I liked the way this was growing up, over and through the old wall.

So that is the beginning of the hunt for me.  I think I have ticked off a few more on my recent holiday but need to have a proper look through before I share them.

Me on Monday

 Last week was a week of lost teeth for Leo and new lunch places for me. Leo lost both of his front top teeth so he looks very different nowadays! They were so wobbly they made me feel a bit squeamish as he showed me how close they were to falling out. So he is keeping the tooth fairy busy.

A couple of weeks ago the food critic for The Guardian, Grace Dent, reviewed a new cafe which opened in Saffron Walden which she said ‘promises little and completely over delivers’. Two things I enjoy are Saffron Walden, and unpretentious rustic styled lunch places so of course we had to go! I had one of their ‘small plates’ of mortadella with cornichons and focaccia bread with burnt butter. So simple but so delicious and the coffee was lovely too.


We have a different house guest for the next couple of weeks, meet Pumpkin


Which is confusing Coco as I refer to her as my 'little pumpkin'.  I'm hoping that this visitor will be a little less demanding than the little black dachshund we had recently!

Not much time to talk this morning, we are off to the coast very soon.  Yes I know it rained overnight and yes it is still a bit damp underfoot but the weather report assures me that it is better on the east coast and things will brighten up as we get closer.  I have the picnic made, the coffee in a flask, and a bewildered dog sensing something is different this morning and not sure if she is involved in the plans.  She can relax, she is definitely coming too!

Have a good week x

Monday 7 August 2023

Me on Monday

 It’s just me and Coco here this Monday.


Paul’s gone into London to the National Gallery to see an art exhibition and do some sketching in the city so we are having a girls day.  Although in reality that probably means that she will spend the day moping about because her favourite has dared to go out on his own!

It will be nice to have a quiet day, we had quite a busy one yesterday with all the family coming for lunch.  There's ten of us around the table now so food prep takes a little longer than it used to!  Lovely to have them all here though and the cousins have fun playing together.

There's something weird happening here today though.  We woke up this morning and ... it isn't raining!  Not only that but the sun is shining! How long will it last?

The weather has been so miserable here and the only thing to do is crack on with my crochet or read but that's not so bad really.  I think we are all just hoping that summer is about to begin again. How are things in your part of the world?

Friday 4 August 2023

Let’s sit and have a cup of coffee

 I apologise in advance if the coffee isn’t to your liking, we bought a new machine and I’m still getting to grips with it!

I have definitely mastered the milk frother now so my cappuccinos are much nicer!  I would offer you cake, but before you decide I should show you the shenanigans we had making them yesterday.  I cannot guarantee that a spoon wasn't licked or a finger dipped in the mixture 😉. (Actually, I know both things happened so I'm not sure you should risk it!)

                                    

If all else fails, let's dip into the results of my trip to Majestic Wines this morning.

We have been invited to three social events with friends in the next few weeks where we need to bring a bottle of wine so it was nice to have an excuse to go and buy something different to the wine from our local supermarkets!

Without wishing to sound too British and dwelling on the weather - when is summer going to start here?  I would never want to be experiencing the extreme weather that some of America and Europe is suffering at the moment, but honestly we have not had one day in the last few weeks where we haven't had rain.  It doesn't look much better for the next week either!  I would like to be able to wear my summer clothes again sometime soon, they haven't seen the light of day since we came back from Sicily.  How are things in your part of the world?

We have a busy Sunday ahead with all the family coming for lunch (Coco is apprehensive about her little dachshund friend returning) which will be lovely but frantic in the kitchen as I try to cook for ten with four children and two dogs running around.  

In fact the rest of the month is busy, J&S have a wedding anniversary, Rachel has her 37th birthday and Leo will turn seven.  So excuse me if I look frazzled when we get together next month!

Thanks for popping by!