Monday, December 31, 2012


 I forgot my word for the year for 2012. 

Probably somewhere around the 5th January. I am a star. So, I went in search of it in the January archives, and discovered it in my last year's State of the Nation Address. And what is more, it is a simple short word, and I have it all over the house.  It is also Mum's name, and I STILL forgot it! And, after reading last year's end of year effort, I decided that I have turned into a grumpy old woman. What happened to the woman who wrote last year's post? 
She seems to be MIA. 

My word was JOY. 

And that is when I realised that I was an idiot, because you see, somewhere along the line, I also forgot to consciously look for that joy. To go in search of it. I was so busy paddling in circles, trying to stay afloat, that I lost sight of it.


Joy. A little word of three letters. With so much meaning. I almost feel like keeping it another year. Now I remember why I bought the little red word and put it in the nook. Now I remember why I have it up in scrabble letters. 


I am human.

I forgot it.

So let us hope that I do better in 2013.

I do believe I will re-read a couple of the Mindfulness books which line my shelves. To remember how to focus on the small things and see the world through wide open eyes. I sometimes miss the beauty of the small things under my nose when my focus is on the horizon. The distant. The far away. 

I am still a dreamer, you see. 

Oh, you would laugh.... Yesterday, I saw this question posed somewhere - What is your greatest achievement of 2012? 



I need an achievement?

I nearly had a panic attack trying to come up with something. Every single thing I could think of was small, insignificant, and totally useless. Well, I thought so. Crochet? Toss it over the shoulder. Piddling. Doll's clothes? Ditto. Full tins of biscuits? Sigh. Clean windows? Groan. Standing Christmas tree? Don't be ridiculous. Garden? No. Not in 2012. How about "I survived"? Don't be dramatic, Linds. 

Achievement. Accomplishment. Success. Plaudits. Medals. 

I even asked my sister. 

Something measurable. Visible. (If only to me.) (Insert much drumming of fingers on desk) (Insert even more dramatic sighing.)

And then I remembered the nook. Oh Eureka! Something visible! Tangible! Pretty! Never mind that friends had a great many hands in it too. I am happy to share the collective praise. The nook! My achievement of the year! Well, that and the new study and the organisation of the sewing room. And then I was on a roll. What about the UFOs and WIPs that have been finished. Yes, add them to the pile. 

I have an achievement. I can rest. 

Sometimes you cannot measure things in your life only in terms of achievement. Sometimes, just the everyday enjoyment of life, the laughter and the pottering is enough. Is contentment an achievement? It may be fleeting, but it comes now and then! In all seriousness though, I do not see achievement in and of itself as a goal of mine. That implies success, recognition, and all the hoopla. Let's be frank here, that is unlikely to happen. Mind you, I did once dream of being  serene. It was just a dream. 

So I will not be worrying about achievements at all. Not now that I have found something. Actually, what does concern me a little is that for the first year I can remember, I have not been able to cross off something from the List of Things To Do Before I Die. It is a comprehensive list of many things from books to read to seeing the Aurora Borealis. And this year has been a slow year. I may have to add the nook to the list and then cross it off. Hah. Genius. 

Actually, what is even more concerning is the fact that I couldn't come up with a Best Song or Best Movie in the "Best Of" list either. I have only seen one movie this year. In a cinema. That would mean a new current movie. And I haven't listened to a great deal of music either. Music and I have been having a love/hate relationship lately. 

I need to make a few changes around here. 

New Year's Resolution #1: Do things. 

That is enough, I do believe. Oh yes.............. and remember the word of the year this time. I am waiting a while to see if I am meant to keep "Joy" for another year. You will be the first to know, believe me. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Linds's State of the Nation Address............

So, does anyone know where 2012 has gone? The speediest year on record, I think. Or maybe that is just because I am discovering that Mother's words of wisdom are, indeed, founded on truth after all. Time speeds up as you get older. And there is no doubt that I am getting older, I am sad to say. But, it is reassuring to know that it happens to us all. You too. No-one escapes time.

It is a little disconcerting when you realise that the entire world is ruled by children people younger than you. Ministers, presidents, doctors, policemen, the lot.

I woke this morning with my right hand clenched in a fist which did not want to unclench. I have no idea why. Something new for me to examine with a certain horror disdain. Fingers, you will obey commands. I remember my Dad sitting with a squash ball which he used to squeeze to work his fingers but, so help me, he was a great deal older then than I am now.

You creak when you grow older.

This is turning into a new version of Lamentations. I need to get a grip.


Twenty twelve. Twenty Thirteen doesn't trip off the tongue so easily. Or is that just me? 2012 started well with Jean joining me for a couple of weeks in the snow up in the Alps and then medically, it sort of slid off a precipice. So we will ignore that part of the year. It did mean huge changes to what I did, where and when and how too, for that matter.

2012 is also the year in which stellar friendships have become so much more precious. The people I cherish have been around to prod, poke, threaten and restrain this year. And to laugh and have fun. Thank God for friends, especially mine. And family. My Mum, my sister and I are very close, and more than ever this year, that closeness has proved to be invaluable. Families are so easily taken for granted, and yet where would we be without them?

This year,once I had accepted that the CRPS had flared and spread, instead of worrying about everything and thinking of what I couldn't do, I tried to focus on handing all - every single one - of those panic stricken thoughts over to God, who is more than capable of coping with them. (For me to admit a mega meltdown is really something, by the way. The wheels really did come off.) And so I concentrated on making the most of each day and what I could do instead. So tough at times, and yet it worked. Works. As a born Grand Controller, this has been a bit challenging.

I also seem to deserve the title of Grand Understatement Utterer.

I just made up that word.

Another moment to dwell on is that this year marks the first time in recent years that I actually asked for help. The experts at Bath had to field some unexpected calls from me. But they were all I had. They were the ones who knew what was going on, when I was up the creek without a paddle. And heaven knows I was. Up that creek.

Actually, I can't ignore the fact that it has been a turbulent year, can I - the medical matters have bearings on every single aspect of my life. Like church. And music. I can't sing with our village choir right now. Vibration. Sound - it all knocks me off my feet. I have managed to Make a Plan at church with earplugs (thanks, Kelli!) standing on a kneeler on stone floor, sitting on a special fold up seat on the pew with feet on a huge soft cushion. But I go. I can be there. And I can do coffee duty with Jean.

The aquarobics and aquazumba classes continue to be a delight. Three times a week I get to dance in the water, and I am just like all the others - I am free. I love, love, love it. It is hard work and it hurts, but it is so worth it. Glynis, who has had her own mega medical issues this year, and Jean, who has morphed into a global trotter this year, are usually there with me.

So, my world has been reduced to a physically small one, yet a mentally huge one, courtesy of this aged computer, the modem and the World Wide Web. And all of you. Skype. Facebook. Blogs. Messenger. Texts. Smart phones. All things science fiction just a few years ago and now common place everyday things even 3 year olds manage to work. For people like me, they are gold. I can be all over the world in an instant, and believe me, I so appreciate the advances of science and technology.

My world has the dimensions I dare to let it have, you see. I choose to interact with people around the globe, so, in fact, I have no borders. I have learned so many new things - creativity has always been a huge part of me. No matter what I want to try - like new recipes - it is all right there. I have information at my finger-tips. I can edit photos, turn them into works of art, I can write a million words. I can read trillions. I can buy or sell. I can learn, sing along, laugh till I cry, and no more can I, or anyone ,say that they didn't know what was happening in Syria, Africa, India, around the globe, because the news is right there. The information.

In fact, there are times when information overload just makes me want to retire to the too-hard-basket and crawl in and shut the lid.

While we are talking re information overload, I am sitting here, watching the news and wondering if I am the only person in the UK who is seeing a weird anomaly right now. The US is about to tumble over the "fiscal cliff which will lead to immediate higher taxes and spending cuts and that means a return of the recession" and our PM says on the same bulletin that "the spending cuts and welfare cuts (and our very high taxation) are the RIGHT thing to do to avoid a triple dip recession". So why is it right here and wrong there? Huh? Am I missing something?  Ignore me. I am not looking for a political conversation here, but I am intrigued as to why our news editors have not seen the contradiction. 

Politics. I swear not one of the politicians has a clue about how most of us live. I am not wildly thrilled about being ruled by millionaires who have never had to peruse the bargain shelves of the supermarket for vastly reduced food either.

So how about we ignore all the above, the nasty part (except for the friends, family etc etc etc ), and look rather at the lovely part instead.

I finally got the house organised and the new study, the nook and the sewing room are wonderful. Eureka! Oh, how I love being able to work at projects and have everything I need right there. And seeing friends and/or family sitting in the nook is a huge delight. See - having friends who come and paper and paint and fix lights is a blessing too!

The greatest joy of the year for me was having all my children in residence this Christmas, and Mum too. The first time in many, many years. Not to mention the little one, who is a "BIG girl now, Moregranny!". Of course she is. She will soon be 4, can you believe. A very girly girl, with her long blonde hair, her babies, her new Barbies, her love of the Little People, ironing boards and all things pink and blingy. Baking and dancing and having fun. Oh how I love the scrap!

Diana is home at the moment, and hearing her laughter just makes me smile. I don't know how long she will be home, but it is wonderful having her here. I can see her feet as I speak. She is sprawled on the couch. And she sounds like a New Zealander at times, which makes me grin. And upstairs is David, home from uni for a couple of weeks. He leaves on Friday to finish his Masters degree. And how he has matured this past year - helping my sister and her husband, helping here - getting to know a different campus, town and group of friends and specialising in a part of forensic science which really fascinates him. This year has been good for him.

And my oldest son - Andrew. He and Ann have had a Year of the House. Changing things about, making it really theirs. Leaking showers helped to speed the progress. The new bathroom wasn't anticipated right now, but had to be done! And it is lovely, of course. Soon Missy will be starting school - next September, can you believe. Ann works part time at the moment - she is a teacher. I am really looking forward to the ballet displays, school plays and other assorted granddaughter activities which are sure to be part of the new year.

Ah yes. And here we are. Me. I am happy. I have a home, and I have ordered a DVD of a fireplace. This is how I have chosen to use an Amazon gift token from my youngest son. He thinks I am crazy. So does Diana. BUT given the absence of a real fireplace here, I am more than happy to have a DVD of a real fire with the crackling sounds playing instead. Stop laughing. Vee says it works. Vee has one and so I decided I needed one too. I will let you know when it arrives. I can't wait.

I didn't know what to do for Christmas presents this year, so I turned to the sewing room, and the saw, and I made small gifts for everyone. And I have been SO thankful that I have the world's best stocked sewing/craft room ever. And when I was with my sister, I managed to find textile glue as well, and now I am set for anything. Pinterest has been an inspiration, a revelation and the most wonderful source of ideas. So many things I fully intend trying. Paint lasts for decades, by the way. Wonderful.

So you see, it is not the end of the world that I can't gallivant all over the place any more. I have stuff here. In fact, I have been asked to teach the basics of sewing to the daughters of some friends, so maybe that can be a part of 2013 as well. There are books, of course. The next dream purchase is a kindle. I have been downloading books which are free to the computer and one day they will go on a kindle too. It is so worth checking the free list, because often people like John Ortberg, Philip Yancey, Francis Chan and others have offers of free books. I have been so lucky to download some amazing ones. Free. I love free.

And I have a pile of books to read as well. The  CRPS means concentration is very short and fiction is still hard to read. Impossible. I forget everything. I may try a few audio books and see how they work. That reminds me, I did try a relaxation tape on my iPod, and I got as far as the 6th minute where you are letting your fingers relax and I fell asleep. I have no idea what the rest was like but it clearly worked.

This is turning into a lengthy treatise.

I do have adventures, and after Jean's wonderful gift of 12 adventures this year, one a month, I know for sure that there are definitely going to be some in 2013. I need to make up a seasonal list. So much fun. And don't forget the garden. 2012 was challenging for gardeners after the drought then the floods, but the allotment was amazing and I still have gem and butternut squash here in store. So there will be lots to plan and do and watch growing.

This stage of my life seems to have a great deal of watching and growing in it. I watch as Missy grows. I watch as the vegetables grow. I watch as my children grow. I watch as relationships grow. Flowers grow. I have done my part, and now comes the watching, and wondering too, if I have done or been enough. As a gardener, a mother, a crafter, a friend, a daughter, a writer, a sister, a woman, a Jack of all trades. But that is part of looking back and life is all about now. Today. The present. The future remains a mystery, as it should. Who knows which highways and byways I will plod or dance along this year? God knows. And whatever happens, it will be an adventure of sorts. And I am always up for adventures.

Just ask Missy.


So, my friends, enough for now. I just want to wish each and every one of you  very happy New Year. 
May 2013 bring you all wonderful adventures too!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Best of Everything 2012..........

I was driving home this morning, after a mad dash to get to the bank before it closed, in the torrential rain, when my car suddenly started spluttering and gasping, and emergency STOP!! lights started flashing. So I crawled home, tossed the shopping bag into the house and took it around the block with fans and radio off, so I could listen to the sound. It is either yet another ignition coil (probably) or a part of the exhaust.

Meet Linds, aka Mechanic.

Maybe not.

I am very well acquainted with ignition coils, however. I even have a spare in my storage compartment in the boot. Trunk? It is weird having to translate perfectly good English!


So I stomped into the house muttering about cars and how the world was grey and dismal, and how 2012 had been a disaster and a great many other things, and re-heated my cold coffee. (See? The world conspires at times.)  And, after leaving a message for my trusty car-angel, Bob, I scrolled through Facebook, and came upon Ann Voskamp's link to her (in)courage post about listing the Best of 2012. Books, songs, jeans, movies, risk, beauty find, link, you name it - anything. ANYTHING.

I just checked. At this very minute, there are 1557 comments, all listing something good which has had significance in the writer's life during 2012. From beauty tips, to devotionals, to gizmos and to recipes, best friend, challenge, drink, best thing I didn't want to do but did anyway, and the list goes on.

I defy anyone to read just a few of those comments and not to grin and start making a list of their own, and I have scrawled all over my desk notepad here. And I am still smiling.

Yes, I have a gratitude journal and yes, I write in it all the time. The lists are long and full of memories, but this - this is a different way to look at a year which , for me, has meant more physical challenges, more emotional challenges, more intellectual challenges and every other challenge you can think of and which has needed more prayer and patience than I thought possible. I am becoming a master juggler.

Here are some of my Best Of Everything of 2012 answers then.

Best book: Doing Life Differently - Luci Swindoll - I loved this book.
Best recipe: - Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings, which are village favourites now, as well as a firm family favourite.
Best Beauty find: Naked eye shadow by Urban Decay
Best gizmo or tool: The blade scraper thingy to get paint off glass (I have small paned glass doors) which I found in Geoff's toolbox. Wonderful tool!
Best devotional: Jesus Calling. I cannot tell you how often this has been seemingly written just for me. I love it.
Best risk: Flying to my sister, even though I knew the vibration of the plane would seriously hurt me. (Vibration triggers waves of pain.) But I got to spend a little time in the mountains, and I survived the trips there and back.
Best gift: Having my daughter home - I haven't seen her for two and a half years. AND having all my children here for Christmas this year!
Best drink: Black coffee. Costa's is my favourite at the moment!
Best meal: Lamb cooked by my brother-in-law. Perfection.
Best teaching blog: Attic 24 - all I know about crochet ,I have learned from Lucy. She has such clear tutorials, anyone can learn!
Best lesson: To be thankful no matter what life throws at you.
Best indulgence: Having my hair cut regularly

So many things and so many more already springing to mind. You know, my days are ordinary - I potter around here at home, in my garden in the warmer months, and in my sewing room. I play with the wood and the saws, I paint, I dream, I write and I read. I listen to music, I watch some TV. I crochet or quilt, or sew tiny dolls clothes. I love being here in my home. I am never bored. Nowadays, I have to listen to that P word. Pace. I have to pace myself, so everything takes a lot longer than it used to. Days, at times, but that doesn't matter any more. I have learned to listen more closely to the demands of the body. Stupid thing. I don't have to like it, do I. Just listen. Hmmm.

And then there is the gym and the aqua and sometimes, pilates classes. The head massages Glynis does. The adventures with Jean. The coffee with friends. The popping in and the walks and the allotment and the games we play trying to live frugally and to grow as much of our own food as possible. And flowers. Everyone needs flowers in their lives. And church and music. With earplugs, kneelers to stand on and other bits, but I get to be there, and that is what counts.

My children. Here there and everywhere. Skype. Text messages. Phone calls. Cameras. My Mum - she is a marvel at 87! My sister. Friends. In Real Life and Friends Far Away and Blogging Friends.

Life is so different now.

In fact, we - I - forget that the Internet is still in its infancy - just a decade or so old. It seems to have been here in our homes forever, but suddenly I can hear that old dial up sound. Do you remember it? Not so many years ago. So much ease of communication. Science fiction has become reality without us even noticing.

But I am digressing into what was intended to be my end of the year speech chat. So the rest can wait. Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend wherever you are, my friends. I will be back.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Another wet and grey day in Middle England........

The news of the day is that 2012 is officially the wettest day since records began. We know that. I have never been as damp in my life, and seem to have lived in the waterproof jacket which was never intended for constant use. Oh well.

Isn't it typical - at the start of spring, we had a hosepipe ban after the driest winter since records.....etc etc. It began AFTER we had all planted drought resistant gardens, and bought extra water butts. The ban, that is. And the day after it came into force, the heavens opened and lo, the waters poured forth day after day after day......

We are blessed to have so much water.

We would happily share it with drought stricken parts of the globe.

Drought resistant gardens do not thrive in monsoon like conditions.

So the moral of the story is just plant stuff, and then water if necessary.

If one can ever get the green stuff off the paving slabs and kill off the slugs, which (according to the news) have multiplied in humongous numbers. I believe in slug pellets. I do not like slugs and they can go next door if they want to, but come onto my turf and you will be HISTORY, slugs.

I am quite sure I didn't intend to chat about slugs this morning. I am awake and up early because daughter had to get the train at some unreasonable hour, and therefore needed a lift to the station, which was deserted. I gather all London offices have stayed shut all week, because we are in the commuter belt here and no-one seems to be commuting, judging by the empty car parks. And the extraordinarily cheap ticket.

So I may gather strength in a while, and take mother to visit a couple of shops.

Since the wee one departed, I have failed to take any photos, because I have done nothing exciting. Just pottered about and tried to get the fridge under control. I gathered up all the leftovers last night, popped them in a pot with some stock and made soup. It had to be modified quite a lot, because I overdid the stock bit, but milk to the rescue and a spoon of sugar and we were good to go. I liked it, anyway.

The washing continues to add a unique ambience to every room in the house, and so help me, the laundry basket is full. I am trying to ignore this fact.


Well, since I hammered out the above post, I have been in to town with mother to check out some sales, buy some bargains - did you know the 99p shop has a half price Christmas sale on? Four Father Christmas hats for 50p? Haha. We will have hats for next year. Well, 4 of us will. At 12.5p each one can't lose, now can one?

Panettone £1.50 at Wilcos. Bargain.

Now I need to go and hang up more washing, defrost something for supper, tidy the kitchen, younameit. This is to stop me from wandering through Amazon's corridors adding to my wish list. Oh I do love wandering through Amazon's corridors, don't you????

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Linds's Christmas 2012 Pt 2...................


Part 1 is down below this post - so it would be better if you scrolled down and read that one first!

iPads are wonderful things. Granny was doing a crossword puzzle here, ably assisted by grandson #1. (It is Ann's iPad, by the way!) She cottoned on very quickly. Maybe everyone needs iPads. Maybe I need to win the lotto too. Sigh.

- I decided that I really needed - wanted - to have some family photos, because heaven knows when we will all be together again, in the same place. This is not an easy thing to do when the family members are not altogether thrilled by the idea, and the small granddaughter is not only not thrilled, but vehemently opposed to it. Loudly. Think wails and screeches and much gnashing of the teeth.

My daughter-in-law, was, however, very happy to oblige, and that meant my kids all took part. You can see how excited they all are, can't you????

We came up with a wonderful way to get some photos, at the very least, when our friends arrived for coffee and mince pies yesterday morning. I handed over the camera, and asked them to take some of the grandchildren with Granny, and also to try to get some of the family in vaguely the same spot. And to try to get Missy included one way or another.

A tall order.


But success!!! Of a kind. At least we are all there! I could post all the wild attempts to get some co-operation from the 3year old, but you can use your imagination instead.


And then Diana played with the timer and we have a wonderful photo of all of our extended "family" together. Just Missy who went awol. 


The Christmas cake was duly cut (I sent some home with A and A, who left shortly after the marathon photo and mince pie session) and it tastes delicious. 

Did I mention that my 2 girls, Diana and Ann kicked me out of my kitchen on Christmas day after we got back from church in the morning, and they did the cooking?? Or that I poured too much brandy over the Christmas pudding and had to hit it with a spoon to put out the flames as I served it? Or that the cinnamon sticks are still missing after our hunt for them to make mulled wine on Christmas morning? (Ann and Google did a fine job anyway!) Or that we ate so much we all needed naps after lunch? Or that the lights on the bottom half of the Christmas tree went out yesterday morning, and I had to get David to grab some more old ones from the loft, which we tossed on on top of the decorations? We need the tree to stay lit till the 6th January - 12th Night. Mum took ages untangling them. She has the patience which I am sadly lacking. 

And here we are..........

Diana is in town looking at all the shops (and the sales) and Mum is making another blanket for the homeless from the wool stash. David has been fixing this computer, and me???? Well, I am very tired. 

I didn't tell you that the tumble drier bit the dust did I? Yes, I think I did. Then the toaster expired and a piece of the microwave fell off. The house looks like a Chinese laundry with things drying all over the place. 

But I have had all my family under one roof for a few days and we all lived to tell the tale. And it was good. Very, very good. 

There are still times, though, when I wish they were all little again, and...........

Linds's Christmas 2012 Pt 1.........


I really did mean to pop in and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and to say that I hope you all have a wonderful time with your loved ones. 


I never actually made good on my intentions. So here I am to say just that - I hope your Christmas was filled with laughter and love and that you all made some wonderful memories together. 

I had my home overflowing with my family for the first time in 5 years. 

It was noisy and loud.There was laughter and also squabbles. We are real here, people. I didn't raise my kids to be doormats and they most certainly are not. So it was a typical family Christmas! 


The girls - Diana, Ann and Missy - went ice-skating,and after a slight hiccup when Missy refused point blank to set foot on the ice, they managed to turn the penguin around and she stood on his feet as they took turns to whizz her around the ice. Andrew, Mum, David and I took photos and watched, and then retired to the restaurant and ordered hot drinks to thaw. They had fun. And that was what I wanted. 

My house is not big. In fact, it is small, but it seems big when there is only me, or only Mum and me. Add all the family, and it seems tiny. Thank heavens for lots of wall sockets and space to spread out a little, minding the toys as you go, of course!


On Christmas Eve, Missy's little friend popped in to play for a while before we all went off to the crib service  here in the village. Missy wanted to be an angel (every child can join in as angels, shepherds, kings) and she was not going to be dressed in her white dress. No. We were going as an angel in a shocking pink princess dress instead. Pink angels are quite acceptable. She had a wonderful time with her friend. They seemed to go for a walk in the middle of the tableau, but that was also fine. It was hilarious when the shepherds, and then the kings, paraded around the church - by the time they reached the front there must have been about 14 shepherds and 20 kings. Excellent. 


And here is my daughter with our friends, K and M, suitably attired in their outrageous Christmas jumpers. Ann was gutted - she wants one too! 


The family really liked the nook, and all our dinners were eaten here, except for the Christmas dinner, of course. 

The village square is closed to traffic on Christmas Eve, for the carol service out in the open. Up to 3000 people go each year, and the rain, thank the Good Lord, stopped for the singing. I don't actually think it would have kept anyone away though.


People everywhere as far as the eye can see. Lovely music, and great singing. Now if we could just get the young lads to stop their noise and join in properly, it would be wonderful. Diana and I went down to the square, because the rest wanted to stay in the warmth and get one excited little girl into bed. After she helped her Auntie Diana to write a letter to Father Christmas, and put out his mince pie and drink, and a carrot for Rudolph, of course. 


After the carols, there is always a firework display in the church grounds - and taking firework photos is not my best talent, I am afraid...............


And then we popped in to see some friends so Diana could catch up with their visiting family too, sipped mulled wine in front of their fire and munched mince pies too. Wonderful.

Once home, and after the world had gone to bed, I got the table set for Christmas dinner............


And I happened to be in the background when Father Christmas did his rounds and dropped off some parcels for all the good children in this house...........

And then, I headed for bed, under the tree. The next post will be a continuation of Linds's Christmas 2012....... Pt 2.

Friday, December 21, 2012

We are still here...........

Just so you know, Europe is still here. 11.11 came and went with a count down to the end of the world on Sky News, and no aliens emerged from the French mountain with a spaceship to save the selected few. So the dusting still needs to be done, the bills still need to be paid, and the washing still needs to be dried.

I could have done without that list.

I can't tell you how great it is to have David home - one child back and the rest arrive tomorrow. I started cooking supper when we got home and he immediately came to the kitchen and started prepping the veg. It was so good to see him across the table too. And we chatted till late about life, uni, work, dreams and the end of the world. Which was supposed to be imminent.

I am happy to announce that New Zealand, Australia, South Africa Switzerland and France have all checked in so far. We are still rolling on. Towards Christmas.

I do not want to see another shop. Ever. We will of course, need milk and bread but the kids can sort that one on a daily basis. I don't need either! We picked David up from the centre of town last night, and wandered into a couple of shops while we were there. Lots on sale, but not lots of people. Queues were short, if any at all. And this has to be a real problem for retailers and for the economy. To have fiscal growth, one has to have a populace which is spending, and from what I am seeing, no, they are not. On-line sales are high, but town is becoming such a depressing place. I simply have no desire to go there.

I was on duty in the Traidcraft shop for a couple of hours this afternoon with Glynis, and bought a 2 litre bottle of milk on the way there, which I left in the car. Well, when the time to make the coffee rolled around, there was no milk, so I got the one from the car and that was when I discovered that it had a hole in it. Shriek. The car seat is damp, and I have a very good idea of what it is going to smell like soon. I took it back to the shop over the road, and they finally replaced it. I did mention that they may be hearing from me if my car ended up smelling the way I have a suspicion it will. Thank heavens it is winter.

I remember one of my children being sick all over the handbrake area between the front seats of my car when only a baby. That milky smell in summer lives on in the memory. That was in Cape Town many moons ago. Leaky milk bottles do not thrill me. Bear in mind that today was also the day when, despite what I said up there at the top of this post, I had to return to another very nice supermarket because my mother discovered some enormous label thing, which she worried was a plaster, in the middle of the fresh soup she was heating. The fresh soup she had already started on yesterday. They were very apologetic and will be writing to me as soon as they have investigated further.

THEN (my life is really exciting) I stopped to get a little petrol, and the already wonky petrol cover fell off, and I couldn't find my trusty roll of gaffer tape, so had to drive to a DIY store, buy some more, queue for ages and then stick it back on. Gaffer tape becomes more dear to me as time marches on.

So, after paying the phone bill, which arrived today and has to be paid by 28th December - how unreasonable is that - I was ready for a rest while sitting in the Traidcraft shop. Chatting to Glynis.

The rest of my family arrive tomorrow afternoon, so life is about to shift up a gear or ten, and it is going to be lovely. I can't wait to have them all here under my roof for a few days! A cinnamon cake will be baked in the morning. Then the baking will grind to a halt for now. Unless we run out of anything..........

And I still have a pile of Christmas cards here waiting to be delivered. Oops.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rest. Ice. Elevate.......

The rain still falls leaving Britain very damp and with frazzled hair to go with the frazzled people, just a couple of days before Christmas.

I am not frazzled in the slightest, I hasten to add. No. I just have a to do list which shows no sign of getting any shorter. And I actually popped down to the village supermarket and spent £15, but not one thing (apart from the milk and I will have to buy that again anyway) can be crossed off. They were all optional extras I had no business buying. This is why I hate shops. I will send the kids in next time and I will wait in the car.

I then noticed the little light which comes on when you start the engine in the car. It usually flashes "Oil OK", only now and then it has been just flashing "Oil". So I tend to forget these things. Today, however, I thought that checking it may be a sensible idea, so took it to a motor spares shop, and it was indeed almost empty. One should check these things the first time one notices them, which I have not. Oops. Oh well. For the princely sum of £1.99, a helpful young man came and did the grubby part in the engine, while I looked on in a quasi helpless fashion. Of course I know what to do (I did point out the whereabouts of the dipstick) but he didn't have to know that, did he. I think helpless may be quite fun, actually. I need to practice a little more. And my delicate lily white hands did not get dirty.


David is making his way north, and will be home late afternoon, and so the chicks will have started their return to the roost. And that, quite frankly, is all that matters. The people will be here. The rest can take care of itself.

Yesterday's post was all over the place. I started talking about one thing and drifted into another, and then just hit the publish button. So, some of you may have wondered if I had lost the plot a little.

Actually, I was in a bit of a daze. My knee has developed some interesting new bulges, and because I suspected it was fluid, and why the heck was more fluid pooling on the other side if the knee when it was horrible enough as it was, I went to see the doctor. The fact that I got an appointment was by divine intervention. I called in at the surgery at 11.15 to find out when my doc would be on duty and they said that she was there yesterday, so I asked them to get her to give me a call, which she and I have arranged so I can get past the front desk when I need to. "Oh," said the receptionist "you can come and see her today, if you like!". Huh? An appointment on the same day??? Wow. So I said thanks and 20 minutes later I was talking to her.

"I do not have the plague" I announced as I walked in the door. Half the village has this vomiting virus, you see. "I think I have housemaid's knee". Well. She started laughing, until she realised that it was the bad knee which was bulging all over the place. (I have no real idea what housemaid's knee is, by the way.) So she asked me to lie down and she TOUCHED my knee and I did the world's fastest sit up, while screeching. She was very apologetic and announced that I needed to rest, ice and elevate and that I had been doing way too much. I looked at her and said "Rest? Ice? Elevate? A few days before Christmas? Hello?" She tried to hide a grin, but failed.


So I came home and tried to listen to her and failed too. I did ask whether it would stay bulging forever or go down. That is my worry. But she didn't know. No-one knows these things.

And so this morning I went to our last pre-Christmas Aquazumba class with Jean. (Not so much of the rest or ice, but I did elevate it. Quite a lot actually.) And it was a real pool party today, with our teacher in the water with us. Hysterical. Just as well we all know the routines, because we couldn't see her legs. And yes, we had our bouncy stars and baubles on the heads. Oh, did we laugh. I have to admit that I did cut what I normally do by half, and certainly didn't push myself at all. I was just glad to be in the water.

So, people, I have to sit and ice my leg in winter. Why bother with heating. Arghhhhhh. I haven't got room in my freezer for an icepack. My kids need to come home and eat some of the food out of there. (It is a very small freezer, believe me!) And I don't have time to sit either. I am a Mum.


Isn't it good that I have done the shopping (mostly), wrapped the presents, and decorated the house? There is still the cleaning to do of course, and a little baking, but we will manage that. I will do the little baking and they can clean. Sorted. Missy can help me.

I am now off to bale out the water in my potting tray................





Maybe on Boxing Day.......

Wednesday, December 19, 2012



This is post number 1800. How on earth have I managed to find so many words to write here? I just happened to see the number as I was opening this page - a new one - another one - to write today. 1800. (She shakes her head.) 

I have just scrolled through my news feed on Facebook, as one does, and a couple of things caught my eye. A question was posed "Should an 11 year old boy who has zero interest in designer labels be given designer clothes for Christmas?"  And another one - "What is the most memorable home made gift you have ever received?" And more " Does anyone remember that Christmas is a season for giving?" 

Giving. Not getting. Giving, just as we were given the gift beyond imagining 2000+ years ago which has saved our souls. As we were out doing the grocery shopping this morning, Jean overheard a young couple with a baby discussing what 4 tins of beans cost, and how many they could put back on the shelf in order to afford to buy one of something special. And the news on the TV earlier had talked of how gifts donated to 2 childrens' hospitals had been stolen, and the trees wrecked. And how people had stepped forward to replace those gifts. And then I thought of the story of Les Miserables, and how the stolen silver was turned into a gift instead.........

You know, this year, I have not had the funds to go out on a spending spree, and nor have I had the inclination. Even if I had the money, I would still have chosen to do what I have done and make most of the presents. 85%, I reckon, are made by me. Not big things - little ones, but made with the recipient in mind, and with a whole lot of love. My time. I chose to spend my time making them. 

It is not about how big and shiny the gift is at all, nor is it about the amount of money spent. It is about the love and care that went in to either choosing something special, or making something special. Money has nothing to do with it. Of course, the mother in me would love to shower everyone with whatever their hearts desired, but hey, I am not a millionaire. So this year, not once have I been to the big stores. I don't want to see things I may be tempted to buy, blowing the very tight budget to smithereens. Nor do I want to know what I may be missing, because I am happy right now, in my ordinary way. 

Of course, I have dreams. Don't we all? Of course I hate finding that the prices of the food on my list have rocketed upwards in 4 days. Of course I have re-jigged my own lists. But we lack absolutely nothing. There are gifts for everyone, and enough food to keep the family healthy for a very long while. There are books to read, DVDs to watch, games to play, puzzles to do. Crackers to pull and chocolates to savour. 

More, more more than enough. 

How can I, you, we do something small to make a difference to a stranger's Christmas? Have you thought of perhaps doing something like that? I keep thinking of how in 2008 there were no food banks in this county and how now, there are so many churches or organisations helping to feed the hungry, the homeless, the cold, the elderly, the alone. 

Something as small, perhaps, as parcelling up some home made biscuits and giving them to anyone who may need them, with a message of hope. An acknowledgement that they are seen. Noticed. 


Small things come full of joy and hope, and we can do that. 

I am off to pack up some of those biscuits with a few other essentials........

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daughters, cakes and a day without disasters........


Heavens, it does get dark early around these parts - I keep thinking it is time to cook supper and then discover that it is 3.30pm. Thank heavens the shortest day will soon be here and we can look forward to lengthening days. I will take a couple of extra minutes. Anything. I just don't like the darkness. Gloom. 

My daughter has landed and is with my daughter-in-law and Missy as I speak. Her brother is at work, of course. I won't see her till the weekend, but she has a little girl to get to know again, and shops to visit and things to do in London and the weekend will soon be here. 

I seem to have a slight problem with the knee right now. It is growing. I may have attempted a little too much. And this is not convenient, because I intend participating in the Christmas excitement, and don't want to just observe. So I should have it iced and elevated or something, but really, there is stuff to do. 

Like ice the cake.

See? I think of words and use them by choice, in more exciting places. Like cake. Icing anything should mean cakes.


I slapped the royal icing on it this morning and then realised that I need some larger decorations, so they are On The List. Do you have a thousand lists? I do. And I don't know why I don't just toss them over the shoulder and wing it, because everything will change anyway. I know that. I just want it to be a wonderful time for everyone. So I am pretending that the lists will mean I will remember everything. This would involve a serious miracle occurring, however, so I am not holding my breath. 


Jean and I stopped at the farm shop on the way home from Aquazumba this morning. It was so funny - I picked her up and we set off, and she said "I may just have coffee and skip the aqua" and I said "I would love an excuse not to go and coffee is sounding great" and we got there, parked,  and who should march up to us to chat as we were getting out of the car but Debbi, our teacher. So the coffee plans were scuppered. But we were both glad we actually did the class, which we love anyway. We were just both feeling like we were running on empty early this morning. . 

So how about this for a tree of Brussels sprouts??? I swear each of them is almost the size of a small cabbage! I suspect 4 will feed the family. But I love them, and so does Diana, so we will get through the lot, I am sure. It is still out in the garden, and can stay there for now. I love getting my eggs at the farm shop, and they were the real reason we stopped there, but a wooden crate of clementines also found its way into the car too. And tomorrow, we are heading out early to try and do the final food shop for perishables with Jean as well. Most schools around here break up tomorrow, so it would be wise to get there early to avoid the last minute rush of mothers sans children! 

I have indeed been researching tumble driers, but that will have to wait until later, along with the freezer, the oven, the.......... 

We will manage. 

Winging it. The way I come to regard most of my life - I have a broad idea of what needs to be done and then I sort of find a way to make things happen. It has worked so far! The intricate  plans always seem to hit an unscheduled dead end, so being able to switch course and muddle through has proved to be an essential life skill for me. 

And now I really do need to go and start cooking something, because I have forgotten to defrost anything and supper is going to involve a whole lot of winging it here tonight. It is something to 6(pm) already. 

There are always peanut butter biscuits, of course.................

Monday, December 17, 2012

Appliances and their insides...................

I have taken no photos today. This is a very good thing, because I look like a turkey. That would be because I have had my head inside the washing machine trying to clean the *********** thing after a feather and down (note the DOWN) pillow exploded in there. Down is fluff. It gets everywhere. I know this from experience.

For good measure, I am wearing a navy jersey. It has ample evidence all over it of my attempts to masquerade as a turkey. In desperation, I unwound sheets of that sticky de-fluffing paper from the wand thingy and stuck it all over the inside of the drum and then ripped it off, a la leg waxing. You have NO IDEA how much I managed to extract from the barrel. Then I googled "where is the filter" because I couldn't be bothered to find the instruction book, which is clearly in a Very Safe Place I have completely forgotten. And, with baking sheet in hand, levered the cover off, found said filter and cleaned it out. While lying on the stomach muttering unladylike things. Actually, I was not muttering, if truth be told. I was voicing them quite loudly. In a snarl. Maybe a screech.

Then I looked at myself in the mirror and thought - "There is no hope - you look appalling with your hair covered in fluff and feathers with added straw like texture from the heat, and the make up history and clothes dire from the fluff on the floor while you bonded with the exploded pillow, which was also, of course, wet."

So I baked more Custies.

I may have eaten some.

And then.................

Wait for it.............

There is more.................

I ripped off the gaffer tape which has been holding the door of the tumble drier in place ever since the hinge snapped and it fell off. The tape has worked very well, thankyouverymuch. I am inventive. Only, that pillow which blew up was the second one I had washed. Number one did not explode, and it was in the drier. So I needed to see if it was dry, and so I ripped off the tape, and I SNAPPED the plastic trigger thingy, which makes the machine start, right off, and it fell inside the machine and now the drier is dead. It is no more. It is deceased. And nothing I have come up with, including the insertion of a pencil into the innards to try and trigger the on switch, works.

Oh yes...........the pillow was not dry. It is now propped up in front of a hot air vent.

It is winter. My house will be full of people who will need their clothes washed and dried and I have visions of the entire place being covered with wet clothes. Why, I could tie rope across the lounge from the light to the top of the tree and we could add the wet clothes to 2012's Christmas decor.

I am nothing if not classy.

I need a nap.

Or a bottle of gin.

Or something.

Tomorrow I will ice the cake.

Or sit and suck my thumb and rock back and forth in a corner.

Oh yes - my daughter sets foot on British soil sometime before dawn tomorrow........................

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The weekend vanished.............

We are just home from an evening of carols, candlelight, mulled wine and mince pies at church. And it has been cold, but not like it has been recently. It is beginning to feel like Christmas.

Speaking of mince pies (the fruit mince), I had my hands covered in flour from cutting out the pastry when the doorbell rang yesterday, and my friends from Scotland appeared at the door for coffee. And tea. This is England. So I shoved the first lot of mince pies in the oven and relaxed and chatted. Consequently, the first lot are a little too well done. One does not want brown pastry on one's mince pies. However, I watched round 2, 3, 4, 5 etc and may just have whipped them out of the oven a little too soon, so had to shove them all back in for a few more minutes. Then I discovered that the pastry was actually cooked, but the extra brandy I added to the mincemeat was dampening it.

I do realise that this is mind-blowingly boring, but so is my life at times, so we will just have to accept these minor irritations. Where was I......

I added brandy because, when I opened the new jars of mincemeat from a well known supermarket starting with "S" it was rock hard. Mincemeat should be squishy. So I turfed it all into a bowl; and added some KWV 10 year old brandy to the mix. Well, it was Ten Year Old Brandy when Geoff bought it about 20 years ago, so make that 30+ year old brandy. It must be worth a fortune now. But it is destined to be added to Christmas cake and mince pies instead.

Yesterday, I also marzipanned the cake, so that is now drying before it is iced. And, because the pastry for the mince pies only uses egg yolks, I had some spare egg that meant meringues, of course.

I tell you all this, because I asked my kids what else they wanted for Christmas (to eat). No biscuits (cookies), they cheerfully announce, when I have a mountain of them made. No. They want apple muffins. I can make those. But only on the day when they will be eaten.

Mountains of biscuits.

Ah well. They will go. One day. I think. (The biscuits.)

So the weekend has been a combination of taking things slowly, trying to rest while marzipanning, etc, and having coffee with friends, as well as time spent at church. Hmmm. There were a couple of supermarkets as well, and the wrapping of presents, and a few other things now that I come to think about it, but that is not important.

My daughter is in the air on her way home. I won't see her until next weekend, but she will be on British soil on Tuesday morning. And David heads home on Thursday. Just in time to help his mother deliver cards and other assorted things one needs help with now that one is no longer young and sprightly.

The wrapping is finished, and items on the lists are being crossed off. I must remember to take some photos! I have lists everywhere, and about everything. Micro management, people. Think it will work????


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Such sorrow.....

Long into the night last night, I lay in bed, watching the news in utter disbelief. No matter how many times I heard the words, the numbers, the little lives, the teachers, it still could not be real. Could it? Oh Lord on High, it is real, and my soul weeps for all those families, the empty arms of the mothers, the dullness of shock, and the tears....oh the tears.

How can I talk of Christmas baking, wrapping of parcels today? I keep thinking what those parents are doing now, packing away gifts for children whose hands will never be ripping through the papers on Christmas morning again. Or of children who have lost their parents. Of men and women who have lost their friends, their brothers or sisters, and then,  going about ordinary life on a Saturday in December just seems wrong.

So for today, I am joining with mothers, women, daughters, teachers and people all over the globe who will be lighting a candle for those who died yesterday.And I pray, oh, how I pray for those whose pain is unimaginable.

God, please heal - help - the broken hearted.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I have been baking peanut butter biscuits (cookies) this afternoon. I know they are popular, so I thought, OK, I will double the recipe, and so in went double the amount of ingredients, and I looked at the poor 36 year old Kenwood, valiantly stirring this heaving mass around, and realised that I had doubled the already doubled recipe, and so I actually quadrupled the original one. And that is probably the longest sentence in history.

The maths, people... My brain is fried, and so am I after standing there timing tray after tray after tray. I now have 3 large Quality Street tins full, and another large tin full of the Custies from yesterday.

I think most people will be getting the peanut butter ones for Christmas. Mince pies are next on the list. The fruit mince. I have already done the Christmas cake and I will put the marzipan on that one later I think. I loathe the stuff, but I think others like it, so on it will go.

Jean, Glynis and I went to aquazumba this morning. The groan as I bent to get into the water (wearing a festive Alice band on my head with red waggly stars) was heard by all. We were all wearing festive head gear, by the way. Maybe I can arrange a photo next week. I am sure they will still be about. On our heads. Tomorrow is our Aqua lunch, and that should be great fun. I will be taking the camera with me. It is wonderful knowing most of the people, and when we have been away, they are always SO welcoming when you appear again. Lovely lovely girls. Ladies. Old ladies. Young ladies. Girls will do.

And now we are off to Jean's for supper. I will be back...............

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I aim to amuse......

I am being challenged, people. 


So would you be, if you were sitting where I am this very second. Hang on, and I will show you the exact spot.


There. On that chair. 

Right. My ever so comfortable spot to write here. Well, there I was, typing merrily away when my arms started feeling a little achy. And the next moment, my sister skyped with me, and I could not for the life of me work out what was wrong with my camera, because I could just see the top of my head. And that was all she could see too. I was craning the neck (which knocked 10 years off my appearance, let me add) and then the light bulb moment occurred. Why exactly, were my knees so high, my bottom so low and my arms at an incline??????

Yes. My wonderful desk chair has begun deflating itself. As in, I sit on it in the right high position, and slowly, millimetre by millimetre, it sags toward the floor. It takes time. Like about 20 minutes to sink, but sink it does, and here I am, chin level with the desk and arms .......

Oy. Life does throw curve balls, doesn't it? I did not expect my chair to descend to the depths. And of course it has nothing to do with my not inconsiderable rear end. It is just a tired seat. That is what I have decided, because I am all about not depressing myself any further. (I have remembered my declared intent to lose 20 kgs this year. All I will say is I FAILED and we will never ever return to the subject again, do you hear me????? )

Up. Down. Up. Down.

I am amusing myself. I can provide entertainment. Just remind me not to sit with my feet under the chair. They may get trapped as I sink. Yes. I can feel the floor approaching.



I am sitting down because I have just finished making batch #1 of the Christmas biscuits (cookies). (Here is the link for the Custies recipe )This would be because we have a house group Christmas get together tomorrow and one is supposed to take edible goodies. My non-working oven and I had a little prayer meeting together, and I suggested that ANY working format would be better than nothing, and I tell you, the prayer was answered because it worked with just the elements and no fan. Sort of. It did take exactly 26 minutes to reach 180C (350F) but I am patient. Haha. Hoho. It was a miracle and I have biscuits to show for it too. I thought that I would try a more refined approach instead of glaring at it and perhaps giving it a kick. What do they say? Gently, gently, catchy monkey???

In a fit of enthusiasm, I then cooked supper. It was dark. And once I was ready to serve it, I discovered that it was 4.50pm. Ten to five. Supper. Groan. We should be about ready for the next meal at 9.30pm at this rate. Always providing my bottom has not become glued to the floor.


Today has been a white day. A hard frost left the world spiked with white, and it was absolutely beautiful. Every spider's web became visible. 


Leaves were outlined with icicles. 


I was out taking photos of the trees, and I walked a few metres down the road and turned to take photos, and the trees seemed brown. Back to the house, and they were white. Just one side was frozen. Incredible.

Blue skies too! But oh, so cold, as Jean Mum and I headed for the supermarket. We have a system, you see - we go to Lidl and buy as much as we can there because we get really excellent bargains, and then pop round the corner to Waitrose to have a coffee in luxury and comfort, made even more exciting now that we have loyalty cards which entitle us to a free coffee! Oh the bliss. I do like my coffee. Especially when it is free. 

I am starting to feel a little hungry. Hmmm. It is just after 9pm................

Monday, December 10, 2012

I actually charged the camera and downloaded the photos.......

Time has flown today. I had lists to see to and we have managed medical and dental appointments, braved the chaos and endless queues at the Post Office, ticked off things like stringing snowflakes, and had a happy lunch with Jean. The butternut soup is never ending. I also charged the camera batteries and even remembered to download the photos. A miracle. or more to the point, the written lists work. 


I found a few photos I took on the day I flew home, which were never downloaded in Switzerland so here we go on one last look at the Alps. For now. The skies were so blue in the early morning, but by lunch time, they were grey and it was about to snow.


How beautiful can it get?????


And back to the second Sunday in Advent. Two candles burning in my advent wreath, which is the hanging one on my kitchen table. I love it. 


Well, the tree is done, and the Nativity set is out, and we are getting ready for Christmas around here. 


The reds are out on the couches, and we are looking quite festive here............


Ooooh! Back to the stunning blue skies and the snow and the sun on the snow and I am sure you know what I am saying. This is the view from my sister's lounge. Can I just remind you all that green is not a very nice colour and doesn't suit you. I know. I know. I wish you could all come with me and let me show you where I walk........ Just ignore the graffiti on the house in the foreground. There are imbeciles everywhere, it seems. 


Sun rising behind peaks where the snow is blowing in the wind............



What can I say. 

There are no mountains outside my windows here. Or snow. Or blue skies. Or hang on, maybe we did have blue skies this morning for a while - I seem to remember sun shining. It did not last. I think I will start on the wrapping of the presents soon. They will make the tree look a little less forlorn. Trees need presents under them. I have no idea where I put the tree skirt. I may or may not bother. It really is not going to matter! 

Remind me to tell you of the time I tried to take photos of my little metal lady in the rocking chair in the snow. I might show you some photos tomorrow.........

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The tree is finally finished.......

The tree, my friends, is finally done. I am beginning to realise to joys of pre-lit, fold up trees. And this one has no star on the top, because I have zero intentions of repeating last year's catastrophe, with me clinging to the top of it as we crashed to the floor. We can  imagine the star. That works for me.

And yes, Diana, there are bows. We needed to balance the colour, aka Granny wanted more red in places. You will adapt.

I also managed to find the larger objects, like expanding-to-5ft-snowmen. They are now standing in the lounge and I am quite sure Missy will either love them, or be terrified of them. So we are sufficiently festive at the Casa de la Rocking Chair.

Now I have to move on to the delights of finding a light to fix to the wall, and fixing it, hammering some hooks in to the one remaining blank wall in this house, and then moving things about so we are ready for the invasion. And I must either sort out the oven or do something. Ditto the freezer idea. Something. Anything. I will make a plan.

Marge tells me that they have so much snow in Engelberg. It did not stop all last week. Next weekend is the ski jumping, so they are at least sure to have enough snow for that to be spectacular. She has been making the most gorgeous snowmen out of white tree baubles. We saw some in a shop and she copied the idea at home for a fraction of the price. That is the fun when going shopping. It is for the ideas more than anything.


My day has consisted of church, my friends' dogs, butternut soup, which I made yesterday - love it - trees, baubles, ladders, searching for the little hooks for the ornaments, packing away washing and tidying things away. And little twinkly lights. An average December day. I have yet to get round to cleaning the rugs but seriously, who cares apart from me. And this is my family returning to the roost, not visiting royalty, although they would be very welcome should they be passing.

I must make a list of all the things my children can do for me, like sort out the computer and printer, and a million other things. I want to wrap parcels and listen to the Christmas music I found yesterday - EUREKA! At least something was where it was supposed to be.

Red and gold. My house is predominantly red and gold. Or red and white. Red. Just think red.

I keep remembering things I have to do, like string snowflakes. And then I get up to go and do it, and forget what I meant to do by the time I reach my sewing room, then find something else I meant to do and we end up like this, with a list I am writing at the same time as chatting to you. I have to say, being in Switzerland was a lot simpler, because I just posted photos. I must remember to change the camera.....on to the list it goes..............

See? My brain is all over the place. Nothing new there. Maybe sleep would help. I need to think clearly tomorrow. And tomorrow I will get round to sorting the template too. I just added that to the list, and the posting photos bit I am about to say as well. Time for bed. I hope you are all having a wonderfully peaceful and stress-free day!

Christmas cards... I need to do the cards. Post the cards. Make the shopping list. Wash the bed linen.......

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Decorating - in stages.......

Hello, everyone, from under the mountain of Christmas boxes. The house is not in a good place right now, and if I sit for too long, I will seize up and have to spend the rest of my life in the chair. Or so it feels.

The skies were blue and the sun bright, and it was very cold out, so this afternoon, I decided to Put Up The Tree. And re-arrange the lounge at the same time, and then get the ladder and climb up 3 steps of it repeatedly to get down some of the boxes of Christmas decorations which David and I managed to leave right at the hatch to the loft. I can tell you now that I have to repeat this ladder thing tomorrow, because half the things I need are still up there hiding. Somewhere. That had better be somewhere very close to the entrance, believe me.

So, in the process of putting up the tree and sorting 7 boxes, and discovering things I will not be using until I move into a house around the size of Downton Abbey, I mislaid a packet of chocolates. Somewhere. I have no idea where and I had just opened it and sampled one. Wail. I have searched high and low and have concluded that I must have thrown them out. They are nowhere, but I draw the line at emptying the black outdoor rubbish bin. I did consider it for a very short second.

Ah yes, I must tell you - I read through my spam folder earlier, and one comment for the last post was this: "Very boring post". And then some weird link to a page I have no intention of visiting. Very boring. Hmmmm. Maybe.

So where was I......

The house. We are in between chaos and order, at the point where I know it will get a lot worse before it gets better. The part where you tend to lose the will to live. I also tossed out my coffee machine today. I looked at it and calculated the age, and when last I had used it, and into the bin it went. I have one of those cafetiere thingys and that works fine. Then I tossed out a great pile of magazines. Followed by a bag of oddments. I was like an express train zapping all around the place. Mother went and hid upstairs when I started assembling the tree. Things sort of ground to a halt when I couldn't find the lights for the tree, so she returned to her couch, and then I found them, while trying to find place for candle holders in my hi-fi unit.

Do not ask.

So I got into an almighty tangle with two strings of lights, so had to be rescued by mother, who undid the knots, and they are on the tree. At last.

And then I discovered that I could not get up from the floor. Or bend. Or anything.

"Pace yourself, Linds" I hear the words echoing about the brain. But I wanted things done. NOW. You know the feeling? Patience and I are not best friends. Anyway, things are not done yet, the tree is not decorated, and I have retired for the night. No more. If I could find those chocolates, things may be different, of course. But they are lost. Sniff.

We went along to the village church's bazaar this morning. Glynis was very involved, and her handicrafts stall was lovely. After looking around at everything on offer, we made some purchases, and then had coffee and cake, and chatted to our friends for a while. A lovely start to the day.

And now, at the end of the day, all I want to do is sink into a hot bath. Provided I can get out again.

And I would completely understand if someone left a "Very boring post" comment after this lot.

I will be back tomorrow, and I may even take some photos of the finished decorations, providing they are get finished, that is.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Life is a tad hectic around here..............

Well, it is definitely winter around here. We even had some snow. Not much, but some. And it is still there, but it is now ice, or it was before the rain started falling. At least I think it is rain.

Life has been very busy since I got home. Tuesday was a sorting out of everything day, and then yesterday was Jean's Mum's funeral in Kent, which meant a frustratingly long day on the motorways in stationary traffic, and thanks, I am quite sure, to many prayers, the roads suddenly cleared and we got there in time. It was a beautiful service, and I am just so glad we were there. On the way home, we stopped at Andrew and Ann's home for supper and play time with the small girl, and I am happy to announce that Billy is no longer cold. He has pyjamas and jeans and a sweatshirt, and that will do until they come here. He proved to be a great deal fatter than anticipated, and the PJ top was too small, but I slapped the dressing gown on and announced a new Judo style set of pyjamas, and she was happy.

The trip home was exhausting, and as a result, I woke at 10am today. I am getting old. And we have not left the house. I decided that I should make a start on the Christmas/Winter changeover, and so I did all the rugs and cushions, because they were downstairs, and then unpacked 3 boxes of stuff which were down as well. The ladder is inside as I speak, but it can wait until someone is here to help with all the boxes in the attic. I am already doing my hunchback of Notre Dame impression, and the tree is not up yet. So the next few days will be somewhat challenging.

I have hardly touched the computer, because since I got home, it has decided that "something is wrong so we have given you a temporary user account". Huh?? I want my old pages open, and I can get to aspects of them in a roundabout way, but I can't get ME back. Groan. I hate computer malfunctions.

So I am in a funk about that and it is not fun to sit down and have to start over with everything. So I am just doing the basics. It is all backed up, but that is not the point. I want ME and my account open. The sons may be able to sort that but their arrival is a few weeks away.


I am home. There is tons to do. And I have to start the Christmas cards, wrapping, baking, shopping younameit soon. Maybe tomorrow. And then there is the tree.......

I will get there. I am leaving the aqua classes till next week. I need a holiday!

Monday, December 03, 2012


By the time I click on the "Publish" box, I will be home again. Bless her cotton socks, Jean has offered to get the slow cooker going, so there will be no need to cook anything, and the house will be warm. Hallelujah. 

Leaving here is always a sad event, and tomorrow will be no different. There is the pull to stay and the tug to go. It is not just distance, it is a cultural separation and, most of all, a family one. Different countries. My family has a lot of different countries in its life. Needing to be in one place, wanting to be there. Needing to be in another place. Wanting to be there. Needing......

There is no easy way to say goodbye. Is there ever? And mothers hate saying goodbye. Daughters hate saying goodbye. Sisters hate saying goodbye. Grandchildren hate saying goodbye. 

Yes, of course things like Skype help, but it is too easy to disconnect a call when you don't want to talk, and the same with the phone. Sometimes, being there is what is best. And sometimes being there is not ideal. 

Oh heavens, I am sounding morbid and depressing, but I hate saying goodbye. This you may have gathered. If not, go back to the top and re-read. 

Going home. I must remember I am going home. Jean, my dear friend, lost her mother just after I left, and, while everyone knew it was probable, I just knew it would be while I was away, and not around to be there to support her, as she supported us through so many dark days. I have been so sorry not to be there. Sad for her, and sad I could only help from afar. 

Christmas is coming and I worry that my sister won't have any of us here this year. To make the mince pies and custies and roast a chicken with stuffing. Well, of course her husband will be here, but he is not a fan of the mince pies! 


I know this is all silly. But it is the mood right now, as midnight approaches, and the fact that I will have to unpack the suitcase and repack leaving most of the things in it behind, so I can fit in Billy's new wardrobe, assorted other essentials like chocolate and angels, and metal ladies in rocking chairs. I nearly forgot them, and that would have been a disaster. And of course we will be back. And of course the world will keep turning. And of course there is so much to look forward to in the coming weeks, and Christmas is coming, and I have no decorations up yet and there is stuff to bake and things to make and parcels to wrap and post and trees to decorate........

And it is a season to be filled with wonder and awe, after all. I always remember that. It is just right now. Tomorrow. Soon to be today.


My head hurts. 

Snow is still falling gently. 

Why can't we all live around the corner from each other?

Actually (she says, pulling herself up by the bootstraps) being here is a calm period for me. The phone rings but it is unlikely to be for me. I don't have any post to open, lawyers to talk to, or diaries to consult. And I really need a break from those pressures now and then, believe me. The stairs here are easier to climb, and there is space in hallways so I don't bump into things. And, ironically, this village centre is flat, even here inthe valley up in the mountains. Walking about is relatively uncomplicated, given that there are benches wherever you look! Ah, the things which become important as one gets more creaky and notsoyoungafterall any more. Groan. 

Right. I need to sink into the deep and wonderful bath of hot water now for the last time this trip, and then flop into bed with my book and gather strength for the epic trip home. Trains, planes and automobiles. They are not so much fun any more. I really need teleporting to be perfected asap. If all the other science fiction things like computers and phones and the like are common now, why isn't teleporting?? I suspect the airline giants may be responsible. It is already tomorrow. Today. And tonight I will be asleep in my own bed in my house. 

Over and out, for now, my friends.................