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 😳💩 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


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!