Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daffodils etc........

Growing on the roadside already

Good morning!

 These daffodils are in full bloom on the roadside in the next village - there will be nothing left for Spring! This is a very strange winter indeed. 

Life in Middle England is poddling along in a slightly frenetic way, what with teeth, appliances and all the rest. But I am happy to report that the new dryer is in place. It arrived in the middle of pancake creation for Shrove Tuesday last night. I miss the old timer kind of dryer, where, if it wasn't completely dry, you could pop it on for another 10 minutes. This one thinks it knows better than I do. I foresee clashes of personality. However, the fact that it is unlikely to kill us is certainly in its favour. 

Speaking of pancakes, I made normal delicious ones for the family, and then decided to make low carb ones for me, seeing that I am avoiding all inflammatory foods like gluten, sugar etc. Well. "Pour into the pan" they said. What? That lump of clay? It was rigid. So I quadruple-checked the recipe and the delighted comments and wondered if I had suddenly landed on a foreign planet, lost the plot or lost my mind. No. I had followed the recipe perfectly. Pour? So I started adding almond milk to the mixture. Then it didn't thicken. So I attempted two which were inedible and tossed the whole lot down the loo. 

This is expensive. Especially when using almond flour here. I heated some leftovers for my supper instead and tried to ignore the delightful aroma of cinnamon on pancakes wafting past me. 

Ah well. Pancakes should be pancakes. Proper ones. I shouldn't mess with perfection. 


So this week, my daughter has a birthday, and next week, Missy will also be celebrating. Can you believe my granddaughter will be 7? Time really has flown by so fast. She is a delight, tall and skinny and full of energy and smiles. And dance moves. 

Her aunt has just been on a kayaking adventure with friends. She sent us a message to say they had been kayaking around a beautiful area and had seen a giant stingray and that was all delightful, but then at midnight, I read a NZ report about a great white shark being seen in the waters in exactly the same place. 2-3meters long. Well. The text messages were immediate - Shark. 2-3m. BIG shark. And a link to the article. By then it was midday there, and I had visions of her being eaten a la Jaws. Then I get a message saying - "That was where we were kayaking!"Glory be. I knew that. Imminent heart attack territory. 

Happily, she survived and loved her time away. 


My study is decorated with post-it notes by the hundred. And books of lists. I appear to be trying to control the entire universe, or so you would assume given all the bits of paper lying around. My short term memory is not stellar and I grab a post it note and by the time I find the pen, I have forgotten what I meant to write. Important things, of course. Thankfully, the dentist visits are, I hope over - David has had his wisdom tooth out, and Mum has finished all her appointments as well. Cross the dentist off the list. Doctors appointments are also almost sorted. The sense of satisfaction I get from crossing things through is immense. Every contract we have in this house seems to need rejigging at the same time, as I have said, and every rejig has its own list of things to do over set periods of time. More lists. 

Quotes. Insurances. Contracts. Regulations. The bits of life that no-one enjoys. 



Time to go and eye the freezer and decide on supper. Oops - I have defrosted something for the slow cooker already - it needs to go on! 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

In which I continue the white goods search......

Our exciting routine has meant yet another dentist appointment (Mum) today,  and that was followed by a quick trip Down South to get a few things from Ikea, Tiger and John Lewis. Like a tumble dryer to actually enable us to have dry clean clothes. An essential, one feels. 

My constant dithering makes these epic trips. Where is the woman who used to do the research, decide on an option and then go ahead and buy things without humming and hahing and vacillating back and forth endlessly? 


It is now a major mess when I have to decide. I try to out-think myself, and it is always a disaster. I nearly changed the decision once I was there, and then reverted to the initial one, written down in my book, moments before I paid the saleslady. Tuesday. We will have a tumble dryer on Tuesday. 

I also started a discussion re the oven. Bear in mind that mine has been 85% broken for the past 4 years, and using it is a hit and miss affair, and you will understand why the acquisition of a new one is rather urgent. In my defence, I have attempted to buy one a good many times over the past 2 years, but the sales team at our local JL has been less than stellar, and not very interested. 

But that was then, and this is today. 

I asked about ovens. I have an electric oven and a gas hob. I like the combination. It suits me. Well, apart from the time when I set fire to my hair by accident. That was not good. I like the instant heat - cooking speeds up. 

However, buying a new oven is not that simple. I am mortified by that state of mine. I will also need a new extractor hood and hob. But I can't even go there at the moment. The oven is top of the list of essentials right now. 

And then they change the rules. Safety measures.  Free space surrounding the appliance. New switches. Different amps. Check plugs. Oy. I have visions of being told I need an entire new kitchen to accommodate the new rules re ovens. Stoves. Things to cook on. So the oven I liked, I am told is old stock now. New ones are "better". Some say pyrolytic cleaning is best, some say catalytic lining is best. 

And the dithering grinds on. 

The ones I fell in love with (can one love an oven???) are not the ones I went to check out. But they have more complicated rules attached to them. And, of course, elevated prices. I have a list of measurements I am supposed to take, and the lady will call me on Friday and we will discuss what is allowed now and what is not. I am not thrilled that I can't just get one and install it. Scratch that - have it installed. 

So we came home for a late lunch and a nap. The brain is addlepated. 

I will be back tomorrow and I promise we will not talk about appliances. Not even once. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

And it is February already......

The days, weeks and now months are flying by at speed. The weather is totally off course here, and we have spring bulbs in flower and the blossom on the trees is opening more by the day. Heaven knows what this will mean to the actual spring and planting, and BUGS....

These are photos of flowers in my garden, taken in January. The garden should be in winter sleep mode in January, and wouldn't normally be photographed, so please excuse the dead stuff and empty pots. It is not supposed to have flowers in bloom either. 

January 2016. Crazy.

I wonder what would happen if winter rolled in again? And here I am thinking that soon I will have to take the winter decorations down in the house and get out the spring boxes. Time flies....

I keep repeating myself.

January 2016. Crazy.

Not a great deal of note has been happening here - well, apart from the normal for us - medical appointments, dentist visits, paperwork, trying to get things ticked on the ever growing to do list. Things which cannot be put off. The start of the year heralds the phone contract, the mobile contract, insurances, car services etc and I loathe having to do battle each year. It really is a battle. We are expected to shop around to get good value, and old fashioned things like customer loyalty are seen as a licence to print money by companies here - and I am sure all over the world. If you do not challenge a new quote from an existing supplier, they make a fortune. 

For example, my home insurance renewal arrived. I looked at it - up nearly £80 from last year. So I went on line, and got some cheaper quotes, then called my existing supplier. The quote immediately dropped substantially. To below what I paid last year. So why didn't they just do that in the first place? It enrages me, and then I sit here resenting the fact that I let myself become enraged. And then I resent the fact that I resent the fact. You get the picture. 

I should be all sweetness and light and skip happily through the process, treating it as a sweet game. Only no. I am not that kind of skippy person. 

January 2016. Crazy.

Still, the flowers are pretty. And once I wade through the mess, I can relax until this time next year. Unless I have forgotten something vital. 

So, on to more sunny subjects. 

We have blue skies and sunshine again in Middle England. And the sun makes such a difference to one's mood. Until one sees the state of one's windows in the sunshine. I apparently lack Vitamin D. I suspect we all do in winter months. Ironically, we probably do in summer months too, given all the advice to keep out of the sun and the associated cancer risks. I see that rickets has re-emerged in some children once again. Interestingly, your face and hands only have to be exposed to sun for 15 minutes a few times a week in Spring and Summer to get enough Vitamin D. 

This is England. Sun is usually in very short supply. 

I have no idea how I ended up googling rickets. 

Last week, I went to see Jersey Boys at a local theatre. It was an excellent performance, even if I struggled to understand the Jersey Boys' accents initially. The singing was superb. The volume was very loud, and the theatre is not the most modern, so seats were rather thin, and consequently, I made some decisions re my next attempt at a musical outing. 

I will take the wheelchair, with cushions in place to minimise vibrations, and that way I will, hopefully, manage the entire performance. I absolutely loved the first half, but called it a day after the crashing booms of the finale, and left. BUT I went to the theatre and saw part of a show. This is huge  progress. 

We are getting there, people. 

Ear plugs, cushions, wheelchairs. Whatever it takes. 

It would help if the road surfaces were smooth, of course......

Happy Tuesday, to all of you!