Sunday, 23 December 2018

Winter Wonderland.



I couldn’t help myself and changed the sun room into a winter wonderland for the children.  Everything that needs doing has been done so now we can enjoy some family time. This is our third Christmas without our boy who loved Christmas. It doesn’t get easier but makes me more determined     to make an effort for the children. There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas. Whether you are alone or with family, Seasons Greetings to you all. 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas...


I made some mince pies to take to a family occasion.  I haven’t made my own mincemeat this year so cheated. It is Aldi’s with  a handful of mixed dried fruit, chopped cherries and dried cranberries. I zested a satsuma and squeezed the juice in with a pinch of cinnamon. A quick slosh of brandy and mixed well and if I do say so myself, it tastes like homemade. The pastry was shortcrust made with 4oz of cold butter and 8oz of plain flour. 6tbsp of water and this never goes wrong for me. I never buy readymade pastry although a lot of people do. I was trying to be trendy and topped them with little Christmas trees. I think I like the traditional pastry tops best. Local folklore is that if you take the top off your mince pie, you count the currants underneath that are stuck to the lid, and that will be how many lucky months you get in the following year. I don’t think you would have much success with these tiny tops. Nothing like a warm mince pie to get you feeling festive though. They go down a treat with some mulled wine.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Nanny duty.

Blogger won’t let me leave any comments atm. I have googled and tried all the advice but something has gone wrong. When my tech savvy son comes to visit I will give him the task to sort it out. Meanwhile this will be a diary for whoever cares to read it.
Nanny duty. Over night stay as parents had a Christmas meal in a hotel. I have been saving lots of recycling bits for modelling. They had great fun this morning just creating and chatting. I took my eye off them while tidying the beds and now I have been banished from the kitchen by a giant spiders web. Hey ho!
Apparent my red wool has turned in to magic lasers.
Meanwhile Grampy has been busy making a spiders web on the lounge ceiling.

I think he is a kid at heart.
He also has been working magic outside before they came yesterday evening. At least you can’t miss where we live.
    
I had planned to do some baking with them but seeing as I can’t get in the kitchen it will have to wait.
I’m sorry I can’t leave comments on some blogs I read. I don’t think anyone can access this either. I have reset everything I can. I will just keep going until it gets sorted. Keep blogging everyone!


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The North wind must blow, and we shall have snow...

This big boy was made out of plastic cups stapled together.  They were the crackly kind that split. They had been in the miscellaneous cupboard for possibly years. The snowman’s head was just not going to work so he has a 2d paper head. The children are happy with their “snowy room.”
We will be busy making Christmassy bits to hang down from the ceiling.
As for home, progress is slow. No tree up yet. I do have some Christmas Robins around the house though. Robins are not the nicest natured birds but I love their arrogance. You can get up close and personal and they don’t scare easily. Now I’m not a believer, but many are comforted by Robins as a sign that departed loved ones are near. 

 I keep a couple in Steve’s corner. Now I say I don’t believe but a Robin was the first thing I saw when I opened the curtains after that terrible night. A Robin was sat on the garden table chirping away. Now I can’t explain it but I will always remember that.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Let there be light.

It is that time of year where I feel the need for extra light in my life. The sun has not made an appearance today. The solar panels have not been active. I try not to be wasteful and only light the room we are in. It has been so dark today that I have needed a lamp on just to see what I am doing. My yearly energy splurge is Christmas lights. The ones I have are all led and as economical as I can get. To show willing about saving energy, I have bought a timer and they shall only be on from dusk until 8 pm. It is the children and dog walkers who will appreciate them and I hope they spread a little light in the lives of others. They are going up two weeks later than usual. The weekend of the 14th of December will be the lighting up time. I’m feeling very Scroogeish this year.
 At work, tomorrow will be decorating day for the preschool. We will put up the necessary Christmas bumfluffery after the session, ready for Monday. I have been given some old net curtain and have decided to do a snowy theme in one room. The other room will have the tree and a more cosy theme.
I made a cardboard fireplace. The roll of wallpaper was given to me some time ago. I knew it might come in handy for something.
I haven’t made it 3d as we have no space where I need it to go. The major cost here was the battery operated fairy lights from the pound shop. The stockings have been around for many years and need a new lease of life.


I sat and cut snow flakes to festoon around the net curtains in the snow grotto. All for pennies and I have two sets of donated white lights. The children will make decorations over the next few weeks so I’m sure it will soon look a lot like Christmas. 


   Just a few  tea lights lit to get my light fix for today. Too warm for a fire tonight.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Soggy pumpkins

Glad to know this because ours were rather big and soggy for the compost bin. It doesn’t feel such a waste now. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The best things in life are free.

Very true. However I'm talking about free things of the material kind. I have been given two matching chairs by a family member. I have one in the lounge and one in the sun room.
This one was stopping the two year old sorting out the cupboard and switching on the lamp. They are a good neutral colour and just the right height for my Dad to get out of. He can’t manage a low chair. They are light enough to be portable from room to room. I’m very happy to give them a home.
The next thing was a plastic bin store.
  
I would never have bought a plastic one as there is enough plastic in our world. It is neat and tidy and maintenance free. I hope it will last for many a year and by then recycling will be possible. It hides the unattractive wheelie bins so I’m happy to give it a home.
The next thing is a bag of apples. 
  

They were eating apples. A bit scabby so they have been prepared and cooked to freeze. An apple crumble for dinner will be made.
The last thing was actually homegrown and technically I did buy the seeds. A munchkin pumpkin. 


A cheeky little lantern to entertain the grumpy two year old. He has a cold and has been spreading his joy all over the sitting room. It is like a snail trail. I have been following him around wiping snot of of the furniture. I love him lots though.I suspect his wet snotty kisses will give me his cold. The joys of Grandmotherhood.






Sunday, 28 October 2018

Down the Road

How lucky are we?! Just down the road we have glorious countryside.

The Cotswold in Autumnal splendour. We kept to the back roads and saw very few vehicles. The villages of Chedworth, North Cerney and round the edge of Cirencester. Back home through East Leach, Southrop, Filkins and home. The van is going well and being a Diesel engine needs regular trips out. We filled up at £1.36 a litre. Shocking price as she only makes 30mpg. A bit cold here for a night stopover. There was sleet yesterday and the fire is lit.
  
The hot summer evenings seem ages ago already. Back to work tomorrow and my woolly hat has been laid out with my warm coat.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

There is a time for everything.

A Time to blog and a time to be silent. I am enjoying reading blogs but not inclined to write any. The words have not been there for a while. All is as it should be at Cotswold Corner. The world turns and the days turn into nights and vice versa.
The van has returned and the bill for the welding was 1,950 so not as bad as we first thought. Since it has been back, family stuff has got in the way of trips out. We are saying goodbye to children and grandchildren who are relocating to The North of Scotland. They have been living with us until the house is ready. Excited for them but sad for me. 567 miles is a bit far for a short trip to visit. It might have to mean booking flights and lots of Skype.  They fly off tomorrow, so the house of chaos and noise will become quiet once more. It has been a healthy distraction. Yesterday it was 2 years ago our lives changed forever. Anniversaries of those days change nothing. The brutal truth is still the same. It was a day of brilliant sunshine. Some early pumpkin carving has been done. We had a trip to Cotswold Farm Park on Sunday. In the price there were 2 free pumpkins. They won’t be going with them on the plane so they had to be carved and lit. Busy is good.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Heaven in Devon

 

 


 

 


 
Blue skies and grey. Green fields and fresh air. Just took the parents away for a week. We rented a cottage in Instow. I’m exhausted as I have looked after people all week. My dad wasn’t very mobile so we did what we could. My mum is a North Devonian so she was happy just to be there. 

 The OH has been a real trooper driving us around and pushing th wheelchair up hills.
The cottage we stayed at had a lovely garden to sit in. Good to be back home. Although it was  a lovely place I am appreciating my home today.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Mellow mornings

Late summer is my favourite time. Not too warm, cool mornings and evenings. I have the energy to get on with tasks. A walk around the garden with a cup of tea. The flowers are hanging on.
  

 

 
All this lovely colour colour came from budget packets of seeds. I thought the sweet peas had given up but the cooler weather has brought them back to life. The asters are the easiest thing to grow from seed. They always put on a good late summer display. The cosmos hasve been flowering the whole summer.
I have had such a glut of these plum tomatoes. I can’t even remember what variety they are.
I picked so many and just froze them in batches for cooking with.

We are still eating runner beans most days. I haven’t frozen
 so many this year.  I feel I want to absorb as much sunshine as I can while it lasts. I took a long walk today but didn’t take a tub for blackberries. They are quite small this year but plenty of them. I freeze them on a tray, then transfer to a pot and use them on my porridge in the winter. We do like a blackberry and apple crumble. My apple tree hasn’t done well. I’m hoping that some apples come my way soon. People are very generous this time of year. We visited Evesham last week. Someone had left bags of Victoria plums on a table outside their garden 
gate. There was an honesty box there for a charity donation. They were the best plums I had tasted for years. I have an elderly neighbour who has a plum tree. They always go to waste. It seems a bit cheeky to ask if I could pick them for him and have some. The wasps are enjoying them at the moment. Looking forward to some more mellow days in the week ahead. Back to work at preschool next week. It will be good to see everyone again and meet new little people.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Bank Holiday Housework

Today I shall be mainly doing housework. Boring but necessary. I have had a week of family staying and it has taken its toll on the house. Toys and baby equipment will be moved and tidied.  Bedding will be washed and dried. A vacuum and dust is due. I love having them but a little piece of me is pleased when they go. Maybe it is an age thing and I’m getting set in my ways.
I like to procrastinate so I have been reading blogs and catching up. My photos from holiday have now uploaded. Or should I say some of them. Technology is such a mystery tome.  It was lovely to relive it. Although just a week has passed, it seems ages ago. My brain is awash with the things I saw and did. A few highlights of County Durham.




 There are so many. I don’t know what I expected really. I had no idea the coastline would be peaceful and remote. I suppose I thought it would be quite industrial in places, which I suppose it is.  The last picture is Easington Colliery. I did not expect a stunning coastal walk. Going through the village there a is decay, but a reminder that this community a few decades ago was a thriving  backbone to our economy. Things change and they have changed with it. Apart from just a solitary mining tower up on the hill,  and a faint smell of coal you would not guess what went on here. I had no idea that the mines went under the sea. A dark job full of danger. Boys left school on the Friday and worked on the Monday. From boy to man in hours. The women were the heart of the place. Their men were consumed by hard work and often health problems. We visited the Beamish museum and saw a row of miners cottages as they would have been lived in. Sparse but homely. Vegetables growing in  the back yard, chickens roaming. They shared what they had between families. Life was hard but they had each other. This holiday made me reflect on many things. 
Some photos of the stunning scenery of Wearedale and Teesdale have not arrived on the iPad  yet. I read a book Daughter of the Dales while I was there. The woman Hannah,  farmed alone hardly seeing anyone. She lived many years without electricity and running water. Her farm was just a few miles from where we stayed. We never managed to find it. The landscape was beautiful but harsh if you had to make a living there. 
No news on our motorhome as yet. The welding person hasn’t been in touch either. I am missing it sitting in the front of the house. Hopefully we can have a little ride around before the weather gets too  wet and cold.
Procrastinating too much now. I need to get my house in order. The sun is trying to come out and I can see little finger marks and stickiness. Souvenirs for grandparents. We will clean up and gather our strength for the next visit. 

Friday, 17 August 2018

County Durham

As the van is out of action we rented a last minute cottage. There was hardly anything left for our modest budget but we found one just outside Barnard Castle. I have never been to this area before and I have been amazed. I knew Yorkshire was beautiful but County Durham is stunning. A county of stunning landscapes. We have been all over the county. It has been a fabulous break. The cottage had been reduced by a hundred pounds. The owner said that the new air b n b movement has meant less bookings for them. A lovely cottage with a beautiful view.




On the way home we decided to swing over to the East and stopped for a coffee by the Humber Bridge.


Impressive bridge. The Country Park viewing place was a welcome break. A nice cuppa, clean loos and a walk to view the bridge.
I have appreciated being cooler in the North this week. It was lovely to see green grass too.








Monday, 6 August 2018

Faking it.

Days of high temperatures have left me no option. I can’t keep up with the flowers at Steve’s memorial place. In the churchyard it looks barren. Dried yellow grass and sunbaked tributes. I went to one of those “ Plastic Fantastic” outlets on Saturday and bought 2 sprigs of flowers at 2.99 each. There is actually little plastic in them. The wire is covered by a thin green plastic coating and the petals feel like a woven fabric, probably polyester based. I cut the sprig and separated the flowers. They were then stuck in some dry oasis. If you don’t look too closely they look fresh and pretty. I will take them over later. No watering required for these.


We have been seriously grounded. I think the van would have been uncomfortably hot to travel in at the weekend anyway. We decided to try out my Dads new toy. A folding wheelchair. I bought it for his birthday. He is getting less mobile now with his Parkinson’s disease. We took them to breathe in some sea air. We went to Clevedon where it was a lovely 26 degrees instead of the 30 plus we have been having here.

The wheelchair worked well as the seafront is quite smooth and flat concrete paths. The pier was interesting. We had to travel zigzag with it to stop the wheels getting stuck between the planks. I took a picnic and we ate it in a shady seating area by the bandstand. They really enjoyed being able to roam around. I was conscious that He and Mum have been really restricted to what they can enjoy. I hope the chair will help them get out and about a bit more.

My son and daughter in law are staying with us until their house sale completion on Wednesday. They had been away camping at Gatcombe Park for a horse event. There was a cheese stall there and son bought me my favourite black bomber cheese.
I shall enjoy this in moderation of course, over the next few days. Nothing much going on here really. Just keeping cool and comfortable is enough for me this week. The heats saps me of every ounce of energy. I thought my body would have acclimatised by now.