Saturday, 28 December 2019

And so this was Christmas...

Seventeen people ranging from age 2 to 95. Food prep shared by daughters and sons and their spouses. Nothing much for me to do but enjoy.

Everyone full and lots of lovely leftovers for all. A sunny day for a change too. A period of rest and reflection now and no more family get togethers until after the new year. Teamwork made it a lovely day for all.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Long time absent.

I have managed to resolve my security problems on the iPad so I can now comment on other blogs.
This is the outside Christmas tree in the back garden. It was a tiny potted one from Waitrose. Steve came home for Christmas in 2014 and brought it with him as it had been in his flat. We planted the tiny thing in the garden and what a blessing it has been to watch it grow. Our last conversation was by phone on that life changing day. “Mum would you mind if I went to New York for Christmas? I said we will miss you but what a lovely opportunity, you should go. Make sure you send me a picture of the Christmas tree in Times Square. Well sadly, he didn’t get to New York but we are creating our own Times Square tree in the back garden. It is growing at a rate that is alarming the OH. Taller than the 6 ft fence this year. These 600 blue lights were in the Wilko Christmas sale last January. We will add more colour as the tree grows. We also got a timer that comes on early evening when I am cooking dinner. I can see it from my kitchen and it just makes me remember how lucky we were to have him.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Rain dodgers.

The grandchildren from Scotland are here. They have grown hardy while they have been away. Rain and wild weather is embraced. They brought wet weather gear and wellies so out we went. Bourton  on the Water is just 9 miles away so we went to Birdland just beside the main car park. I haven’t been here for years. If an attraction is on your doorstep often you don’t bother going there. It has improved greatly over the years. An enjoyable time. The rain took a break while we were there. The children enjoyed the puddles.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Blogger bother

I really appreciate all your comments but sadly can’t reply or leave any comments on my favourite blogs. This has happened before but resolved itself. I hope this will be the case again.

Snack attack

I was listening to the radio earlier and the discussion was about childhood obesity in the UK. I do believe there is a problem as children are definitely kept indoors more ”to keep them safe” and eat too much sugar and fat laden processed food. The above is a picture of a deep fried pizza in batter. My horrified step daughter took a picture of this in her local takeaway. She now lives in Scotland. I’m sure these are available in English takeaways as well.They also had deep fried battered Mars Bars on offer.  She told me school children were buying these to snack on. When you are young you don’t really see the bigger picture. I hope these children are going to be better educated in the future. They will be the next generation draining the resources of our crumbling NHS. Literacy and Numeracy are all very well but this generation will not be fit enough to get a job and contribute to our economy if we don’t act soon. I would like to see Food and Nutrition along with Health and Wellbeing as statutory in our school  curriculum. I get it not every child is fond of PE and sport. There are many other ways to get healthy exercise.  Our food preferences have to change or we will be robbing these young people of their lives. Rant over. I don’t want to be a total killjoy as I enjoy the odd calorific treat. I don’t think I could eat a deep fried battered Mars Bar though.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Laundry 1960’s Style

Thanks to everyone who left comments. I am amazed at how many people read my blog.
Yesterday I did a washing machine clean and service. Cleaned the drawer and pulled it out to see what was beneath. Apart from usual filth there was the added bonus of  two pound coins and a trolley token I had lost somewhere. While I was doing this I was thinking of days gone by. No filth under my mother’s twin tub years ago as it was pulled out every week to do the weekly laundry. Nowadays we have liquids, tablets, stain removers and powders to baffle us. My mum had a scrubbing board with fairy soap bar for any stains and then in the tub it went. There was a box of Tide or Surf powder. I don’t remember any measures. No fabric conditioner. It just got poured in. I loved the deep sloshing sound and it tossed back and forth. Emptying was always tense. My job if I was there, was to hold the rubber pipe steady as it emptied down the kitchen sink. This hooked over the sink but occasionally slipped out causing a mop situation in the kitchen. Then some huge tongs were used to slop the wet soapy laundry into the spinning section. This was when you really had to watch over the pipe in the sink. As the motor  revved up, the whole machine used to vibrate and move around.
 It was a significant weekly effort to get the laundry done, dried and ironed. How fortunate are we? I have a washing machine. I put capful of liquid in, shut the door and press a button. Zero effort is required. I always try to line dry my washing but I do have an intelligent tumble dryer that senses when the washing is dry so I don’t waste precious energy. This gets used very rarely. I remember walking through damp sheets in our back porch when I was young. 

I remember having one of these cabinets and my mum rolling out pastry on the pull down shelf? It dawned on me that technology moves along without stopping, and soon we are desensitised to change. It is good to reminisce from time to time.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Hurrah for UK holidays!

Back again. I am an all or nothing kinda gal. I don’t do air travel anymore. Bad for the planet. Don’t like airports and parking, delays and stress. I don’t feel my life has become narrow due to this. More the opposite. I managed to swap some work days around and had a week off in the beginning of September. We took the parents away for a break in Somerset. I hired a disabled van at the Hoburne Park at Blue Anchor. It was well equipped and clean and did the job for the week.
This was our view to Wales over the murky sea in Blue Anchor Bay Somerset.  The weather was dry and breezy. There were high tides and we could often hear the sea crashing against the sea wall. I got really wet taking this photo

Dad has Parkinson’s and after a recent fall and injury to his shoulder, it was wheelchair for him most of the week. We did trips out in the car. Exmoor and Porlock Bay was stunning as ever.

At the village of Bossington we enjoyed morning coffee at a tea garden.


Back at base it was good to wander along the seafront and onto the beach at low tide. We enjoyed watching the steam train going backwards and forwards from Minehead to Bishops  Lydiard

As a surprise to the old folks, we met my brother and my youngest son who were on a business trip in the West Country. They stayed in The Ship Aground in Minehead. We had an excellent meal there. The  service and food was outstanding. All in all the week was a success. I did the cooking apart from going out once. This was because Dad finds eating difficult at the best of times with Parkinson’s and a poorly shoulder meant he wasn’t comfortable for very long. I have to confess I was tired when I got home. I’m glad we did it though. It made me appreciate good health and hanging on to it as long as I can.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Busy but blessed.

I have not written for ages because of severe writers block. Still reading and following blogs but sitting on the fence rather than jumping in.
I am having a rare “day off” from being a carer. My Dad is 94, a newborn in the family, and lots of ages in between have needed a piece of me recently. I’m not complaining as I am healthy and well enough to take on this role. 
We have managed a few short weekends in the motorhome. She has passed her MOT and is good to live on for more adventures.  Blogger is as difficult as ever to use on my iPad so nothing changes. It won’t let me access photos today.
The little veg plot has done well. Still wading through tomatoes, runner beans and courgettes. There is still a handful or two of raspberries every day.
I’m finding working difficult to fit in at the moment. There are many appointments and care needs for the parents. Seven years until retirement so need to pace myself. My Mum has a carers  allowance for looking after Dad but needs support now. She is 84 and finding it harder to get everything done in the day. I am enjoying sunshine today as another storm is on the way tomorrow. The garden awaits attention. Have a lovely day Bloglanders.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

‘‘Tis the season

She is out!! It wasn’t as warm as the met office suggested but we got out and about this weekend. With lots of conversation over the winter where we should go, we decided we wanted to go everywhere we had never been. Our destination was Rutland, the smallest county. I knew there would be water there but it is so much more. The villages have stone cottages with thatched robes not unlike the Cotswolds. So many colourful Spring gardens here. Rolling hills and lots of sheep.

This is the OH’s new satnav. Instead of the usual monotone voice, he has downloaded John Cleese, the instructions are very direct and at times very funny.

The cycle route around Rutland Water is lots of miles so we decided to take walks at various points around it. There were lots of walkers and cyclists but it  was still peaceful and lovely to hear the lapping water. There is something so relaxing about walking by water.

We heading further out into Leicestershire and stopped by Melton Mowbray. It has a wonderful cathedralesque church.

The guide in the church told us that it was often said that it is only one window short of a cathedral. The OH stopped by the pie shop to buy a authentic Melton Mowbray pork pie. Not my sort of thing. It actually made his weekend. 
The caravan park was called Rutland caravan park and it did the job nicely. It was just outside the village of Greetham. The facilities were warm and spotlessly clean. In the Ladies there were lovely home from home touches.

There was underfloor heating and piped music . The park was neat and tidy. There was a small shop and a cafe called Tealightful Teas. We didn’t use it, but it was open for light bites well into the evening. I would score this site a 9/10 . I wouldn’t give it a 10 just because I could hear the hum of the A1 road a few fields away. 
On the way home to took a detour to see the Harringworth viaduct. The weather was a bit foggy so we could hardly see the end of it. A good first weekend out but hopefully the next will be a bit warmer.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Royal Berkshire.

we fancied a stroll by some water today. I looked at the forecast and it seemed a bit windy with a wind chill if we went westward. We decided to go Eastwards where the Thames gets wider. The OH looked at the National Trust Website and we decided on Runnymede in Old Windsor. I think we got into Surrey and Bucks as the sat nav took us up the M25. My nerves were shot to pieces as I try to avoid motorways. The OH doesn’t care and is a an excellent driver so I don’t understand why I get anxious. When we got there, the river was wide and racing along towards London.
It was far from a peaceful walk. The main road to Windsor runs alongside the riverside path. Above
there were planes ascending one after another from Heathrow. It made me wonder how polluted the
air was around this pretty riverside place. The Magna Carta was signed here by King John in 1215. There is a timeline and statue of her majesty by the river.

We decided to have our picnic in the car as there were a few hailstones flying around and the traffic noise was annoying. I’m glad I went as I have never been there before. We decided to go back the scenic route which was lovely. Through Windsor, Wargrave, Henley upon Thames and back into Oxfordshire, Dorchester upon Thames, Abingdon and home. The willows were  budding and there were beautiful magnolia and blossom trees. Daffodils and narcissi. Against the bright blue skies it made everything stand out. There were dark storm clouds too. We saw lightning and a rainbow. It made a nice change to go out after the wet and windy stuff that has been relentlessly hitting us. We left Vera the van at home today. The car had an outing. I have been busy washing the utensils and wiping out the cupboards so she wasn’t quite ready for an outing today. 

Thursday, 14 March 2019

spiders and worms

One of the grandchildren showed me her new toy on Skype,  paid for by her birthday money. It was a plastic egg with a soft toy inside. I tried not to look horrified when she told me it cost 25 pounds!! She looked very pleased with it but I wondered how long it would be before it found itself at the bottom of the toy box, forgotten.
At pre school this week our theme for learning is nursery rhymes. This week it is Incy Wincy Spider. As funds are low for resources, this is what I came up with.
This was three packs of spaghetti, 20p per packet, some plastic spiders from the bug play box and a sprinkle of glitter. This provided a whole day of sensory fun for pennies. I suppose the food waste is sad but after 28 sets of little fingers all day, the best place for it was the bin.
This is my home made Incy Wincy play board. It is my old dishwasher cupboard door, a bit of waste pipe and brackets from the OH’s useful hoard in the shed. Two holes in the pipe,I drilled top and bottom. With some string threaded and tied, Incy Wincy can be moved up and down the pipe. Incy Wincy is an old pram toy out of my toy box at home.  Two offcuts of wood screwed to the bottom to make it stable. Made in moments and will provide lots of lasting fun.
Providing entertainment for pennies gives me great job satisfaction. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

I have been hibernating from Blogland. I have been just getting on with what I can manage. I feel Spring is on the way. I have been in the motorhome cleaning and preparing for new adventures. It has been a long grey winter. The sunshine we had some weeks ago was missed as I was in bed with a virus for most of it. Back to full health and looking forward.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Old Father Thames

Down in the flat Thames valley,  just a few miles away is Chimney Nature Reserve.  It is a series of paths and bridleways around the Thames. It is a great place to walk away from traffic and roads. It is on the flight path to RAF Brize Norton so a bit of whining aircraft noise above. 

 There were splashes of colour in the bare winter hedgerows.

A row of pylons that seem to go on forever to the horizon. 

  A rickety wooden bridge that reminded me of the story Billy Goats Gruff. It really was rickety and in places rotten when I stood on it.

 A dark and cold Thames on its way to London and out to sea. Not so wide here but boats do come up as far as Lechlade. I didn’t see any today. We weren’t far from where the river Windrush joins the Thames to give it a bit of a boost. This is a relatively straight bit of river but it meanders with the odd ox bow lake. I remember learning about these terms in Geography lessons in th 1970’s  A great example of an old river. Slow and steady, always brown. 
As per normal my phone ran out of battery but I saw catkins and snowdrops. The birds were singing and the sky had blue bits in it. It certainly wouldn’t have been so pleasant yesterday in the drizzle.    The air had a chill in it and I was glad of my hat.

 A satisfying Sunday stroll.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Light of the day.

It has been dark and dull today. I have had to have a light on to see what I was doing. At the end of the day there were  shafts of sunlight and a beautiful sunset. Red sky at night , Shepherds delight. Hopefully tomorrow we can have some sunshine as I need to get on with some garden tasks.  
My plan this year is to grow as much as I can manage. This won’t cost me anything, only time. I have seeds and my own compost and plenty of pots. I need to get on with it.
I have been hibernating watching YouTube. On holiday last year we stayed near the home of Hannah Hauxwell. I read the book Daughter of the Dales while I was there. On YouTube I saw footage of interviews with her. She was a serene unspoiled human. Amazing woman who got on with things and was content with what she had. Her face reminded me of my Great Granny. She used to say to me “Blessed are they who expected not, for they shall never be disappointed.” When I was little I never understood what that meant. I certainly do now.
My Steve loved a sunset and when I see a spectacular one like today,  it makes me smile.