Sunday, 29 December 2013

Review of "resolutions"

I've just had a look back at my post where I put my aims for 2013.
I haven't managed to cover all of them, but I have done some of them, and done things that weren't on the list yet needed doing
So.....What did I manage to do?
I've managed to lose around a stone in weight, but it has gone off gradually, more needs to be lost but I am happy with having lost some weight.
I read some classics.  I even read Madame Bovary by Flaubert, which was originally banned as it was a scandalous book, but by today's standards it is quite tame and almost boring.  You have to be good at reading between the lines to get what could have been construed as "racy" back in the 1850s.
My fabric stash is undented, although I did have plans for the next couple of days, but it will just scrape the surface slightly.
Denting my yarn stash has been slow and steady.  As part of my plan to dent it, I decided to make a crocheted bedspread, for extra warmth in winter and to be use in place of my duvet on the warmer nights in summer.  I needed 400 squares, and have currently got 375.  I also made some of my Yule gifts with yarn from my stash.
And I am going to at least swatch an entrelac square before the year ends
The patchwork has remained untouched.
I have made bread, including a couple of focaccia breads, malt loaves and pain au chocolat, although I think pain au chocolat is technically a pastry,
The pot garden did get weeded, but as weeds are living things, it needs doing some more, and I am considering knocking the soil out of some of my pots and starting again.  The reason I am reluctant to do this is because there are quite a few bulbs and primulas in my pots, which are not visible.  If I do knock the soil out I might do it in the alleyway against the wall, so the primulas can then grow to their hearts content.
The kitchen was not decorated, however I have , with the help of Edwin got all the gloss painting and ceilings and landings done in the stairs.  The walls need stripping and painting.
So all in all, although 2013 has been a struggle in some ways, I have managed to complete some of the tasks I set myself.
Perhaps for 2014, I should set myself tasks/goals again, rather than making any resolutions?  After all, I have completed some goals.
I can't say that 2013 has been a happy year for me, but the festive period has been spent in the company of my three and their partners, and I'm happy to have them around.
Perhaps I'll make myself a list of aims for 2014?

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Weirdest day of the year

Boxing Day is the weirdest day of the year for me.
After the boys have finally got up, they went up to their Dad's for Christmas Day mark two.  Ever since my divorce they have done this, and I know they are going, but it doesn't make it any easier on me.  I think there has only been one Boxing Day that I have enjoyed, and that was with my lovely friend, Zenonas.
Maybe one day in the future I will meet someone very special, but I am not going to hold my breath until they come along.
I did try joining a dating website in January of this year.  I only met one person, as far as I know my profile is still up there, but as I changed my email address, I have no way of knowing if I have had any more replies.  There were too many men who would swap emails, say they wanted to meet, and when it came down to it, they just stopped contacting me.  All I can presume was hey were most likely in some sort of relationship, and were cheating on their partner, or about to, and thought better of it.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Lowering the age of consent.

There has been a call from a "leading health expert" to lower the age of consent here in the UK.
Thankfully it has been rejected by "Downing Street".
I say thankfully, as currently teenagers here in the UK are required to stay in full-time education until they are 17, an there are plans to put the limit up to18 before teenagers leave full time education.  If the age of consent had been lowered there would have been a situation where girls could have sex and possibly get pregnant, and still have to be at school.  (Yes, I know that happens now, but usually the pupil is "educated elsewhere" once she starts to show.)  IF...and thankfully it is not happening, but if it had, where would schools stand?  Would there have had to been a change made?  After all if sex at 15 had been made legal, then surely schools would have to allow for the possibility of pregnant students?  And as I work in a school, I can't see that as a good thing.  Not because of seeing pregnant teenage girls around, but because sometimes schools can be extremely busy, and walking down a corridor at the change of a lesson can be difficult, as they can get very crowded.
So, for once, I think the current government has made the correct decision in rejecting this proposal.
And have you noticed, when proposals like this are rejected, they never name the "expert".  I, for one, would love to know why they truly thought lowering the age of consent would benefit any teenage girls? I believe the argument was to stop sexual abuse, how, it would stop it is not explained.  However, I would think that sexual abuse can still be carried out whether the girl/woman is over the age of consent or not, as any unwanted attention constitutes sexual abuse as far as I can see. (That's my opinion though.)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Windfarms and windbags

Here in the UK we are getting  used to the sight of wind turbines...in a large group referred to as wind turbines, or wind farms.
OK
So why does a person, who is not a |UK resident get to take the Court of Sessions, (in Scotland,) to court, because an off shore windfarm will "spoil", (in his opinion,) the view from his "second UK golf course"?
OK, the man might be planning to build a luxury hotel and a "village" nearby....but the money this man is going to spend, the "village"  will be beyond the budget of the local residents.
Why is he contesting the windfarm....other than it will "spoil the view"?
From my perspective...at first the turbines jarred with the landscape, but once you understand their role in energy production, they don't look so bad.......Plus...a row of "Windy Miller" windmills just wouldn't look right.
I'm all for alternative energy, and have said before that there is a huge "untapped" resources in London....perhaps we should see what power that "hot air" could generate first?
By the way,   I truly hope the windbag from the USA does not succeed in his case...after all the windfarm if a joint EU project...not just UK based!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

This should not happen.

What shouldn't? you are probably wondering.
Read this story.
Female genital mutilation, which entails removing the clitoris from usually pre-pubescent females.  Or at least that is the theory.  The removal is usually done with no pain relief, and often without the young girl's consent.  It is basically an operation similar to circumcision, or that is what the supporters of it would have you believe.
There's more information here in this Wikipedia entry
The practise is barbaric.  Yes, I know in most instances it is explained away as for "religious" reasons, but true religion is about a person's spirit and not their earthly body.  I am not religious in the purest sense of the word, meaning I do not follow a "recognised" religion, or "One of the Big Five", the major world religions, but due have beliefs, which I won't air here, or anywhere else, as religion/beliefs are personal choices and should not be forced upon others.
However, back to the subject.  How can removing part of the female anatomy without anaesthetic be anything but detrimental to the health of the person?
What the Wikipedia entry does not say is that until recent times this practise has been used in the USA, UK and Europe as a means of preventing female masturbation in patients in mental health institutions.  (At the time it was thought that masturbation was a sign of madness in females, so that was probably why it was done.)
On the whole we need all the parts of our body that we are born with, and removal for purely religious reasons seems barbaric to me.
These are just my thoughts, and I'm just sharing them and not saying that you have to take them on board.
What I do think however, is if we in the UK want this practise to end in the UK, it needs more publicity.  Yes I know that would make some people uncomfortable if documentaries were made, but to my knowledge the only time it has been mentioned on TV is as a subplot on Casualty.

Also, how is bringing this subject up on Facebook going to get to the notice of the government?  Until the cultures accept that the "operation" is barbaric, and a way of manipulating women, nothing will change.  As indeed it isn't doing, as it goes on in the UK by immigrants who claim it part of their way of life, within their male dominated cultures. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Dear soap writers

Dear Soap script writers,
Why are you giving the child actors bratty things to do? 
That brat Grace in Corrie is a nasty piece of work, a mini Tracey in the making, and as for Gabby in Emmerdale has been a brat ever since they gave her lines.  It's about time Bernice went off somewhere and take her with her.
I know children can be brats and downright rude to adults, but does this have to be shown on TV before 9pm?
This is just my opinion.  It just annoys me to see children being shown to be completely without any parental control, Bernice's reaction to Gabby's outburst seemed to be very dismissive. 

Feeling grotty

I'm not at work today, or rather haven't been, as it's past my finishing time.  I've been cooking a cold or fluey thing for the past week or so.  Yesterday by the time I got in from work I was drenched in sweat despite there being quite a fresh wind.  This morning my neck, which has been intermittently stiff for well over a week is really stiff and my throat is sore and feels swollen inside.  I've been having to use my inhaler as breathing is not as easy as it should be.  If my neck is still like this when I go to see the doctor about something else on Friday, I'll mention it as it is quite uncomfortable.  I think an early night is in order so that I'll be fit for work tomorrow.  I hate feeling ill.

Friday, 1 November 2013

It's already on it.

Latest Thing in the news today!  Health "bodies" want to put a 20% tax on soft drinks such as Coca Cola.  Perhaps they've never worked in the retail sector, but there is already 20% tax on such drinks...it's called  VAT, and is on all non -essential items.
There are a few oddities in what are deemed non-essentials.  For example, there is VAT on energy, not at 20%, but surely energy is an essential for modern life?  (I mean gas ans electricity here.) 
Also there is VAT on "feminine hygiene products", OK, it's on men's shaving essentials as well, but it is not anti-social to grow a beard, however it would be fairly difficult for women to go about their normal routines without using feminine hygiene products as and when needed.
My point is, people should check out facts before advocating things

Saturday, 26 October 2013

What would you do?

OK...now it's 5 past one in the morning...around fifteen minutes ago I was going to bed, but as it is still really warm for the time of the year I have one of my bedroom windows open.  I heard some shouting..."get up Mum"...I looked out and it was a neighbour, she was collapsed in the middle of the street, (thankfully a cul-de-sac,) and her son was trying to get her to stand up and go into the house.  He isn't very robust, so I went out to help him...after all..some help is better than none!
After a few minutes we managed to get my neighbour on her feet and slowly towards her house...just as we got the door open   an elder son appeared, (called by the one I was helping,).
Result, my neighbour is in her house...I hope she's OK tonight as she'd had a good night out
I hope I did right helping, but I probably won't ever know

Grr, Nosey Parkers!

OK, at the moment Shadow has a swollen toe.  This is because she cracked her claw inside her toe several weeks ago.  It formed an abscess, which she has had lanced, and is seeing the vet.  It is getting better and now the flesh is almost normal colour.
Shadow is a feisty dog and would rather walk than stay at home and rest, and the exercise is doing her good.
What annoys me, and even is upsetting me is that people seem to think it is OK to ask what is wrong with her, and point out that she is limping.  Fair enough I suppose you are saying, but when total strangers quite rudely ask what is wrong it gets me mad, after all, if I was on crutches, they wouldn't ask me what I'd done....friends might, but not strangers.
It makes me feel like I should go out with a placard around my neck stating what is wrong....or I might just tell the next person to mind their own business.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

What the heck? Rickets?

SO according to research around 40% of under fives in the UK are in danger of developing rickets!  I find this a terribly high figure. The government are proposing giving free vitamin supplements to all under fives. 
Hey! I know this might be reactionary, but instead of giving out vitamin tablets, why not make sure the Mothers know how to cook a nutritious meal.  After all, there is no excuse for this vitamin deficiency.  In this day and age there really is no excuse for children to develop this condition.  As for the excuse the Mum's interviewed were giving, what right thinking parent allows their child to be using game systems and watching TV for prolonged periods of time, so that they don't have time to "play out" or spend time outside?  For pity's sake.....it's UNDER FIVES that are being said to be in danger, do these parents allow their under fives to set the rules? 
I used to love taking my three out for walks along the canal, down to the village, to the library, to the playground, as they got older we used to go on longer walks to "explore".  Don't get me wrong, they did watch TV, and on a miserable rainy day we liked nothing better than spending the day baking, making things, or even just curling up and watching a good Disney film....but we would do lots of other stuff, even invented silly games that we'd just thought up on the spur of the moment.
So..instead of throwing sticking plaster answers, the government should look at the cause and not the consequences, after all things don't happen without a cause.
Right...I'll get off my soapbox and shut up.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sometimes I really worry about things

It's the Tory party conference in Manchester at the moment so we are getting "news" articles in most news bulletins.  In the past two days we have learnt that the Tories wish to make long term unemployed work for their benefits.  Which might seem fair on the surface, but IF there are jobs for them to do, why aren't there paid jobs for them to apply for?
And today's little gem.  They propose that doctors, your town/village GP work a 12 hour day for 7 days a week.  This in itself again sounds fair, but...hold on!   Why should doctors have to do this, I know we do not have enough GPS and that in most areas they have far more patients than they can cope with, but surely the answer to this is not make the doctors work longer hours, but make sure we have more doctors wishing to be GPs.  They are under a lot of pressure as it is without piling on the pressure by asking them to work longer hours.
The GP surgery where I go already offers appointments most days between 7.30 in the morning and 7.30 at night Monday to Friday.  But so many of these appointments are wasted.  You sit in the waiting room, and there is usually a notice saying how many appointments were broken in a previous week.  It is usually around the 200 mark, at 10 minutes approximately for each appointment that adds up to a lot of time.  (Around 33 and half hours.)  If this figure is standard for most GP surgeries, that is a lot of lost time, that other patients could have used.  And I don't know if this is widespread, but I had an appointment one day, and it was dreadful weather, raining hard, strong wind and the waiting room was empty.  I commented on this to the receptionist, and she said that people don't turn up in bad weather.  Surely if they are ill and need to see a doctor, they should either turn up, or cancel, not just not bother?
Anyway, I worry about what the majority part of our government is hoping to achieve.  Will they stop when we are back to a social system like there was in Victorian times? As the gaps between the higher and lower paid are widening quite alarmingly. 
If you are on a high wage a wage freeze might mean holidaying somewhere a little cheaper, but at the lower end of the scale a wage freeze can mean skimping on things that are essential.
As usual when I have a moan about this "wonderful" government of ours, I have gone off at tangents.  I don't have the answers, except that I think anyone who can vote, should vote in the next General Election.  The current government was elected by default as many voters stayed at home on election day, and I don't think it should happen again

Saturday, 28 September 2013

What a run of bad luck!

It started in August with my fan oven going and I had to get the element replaced.  Then at the start of this month I took Edwin up to Carlisle with some of his things , and the alternator went on my car, although I was lucky in that I managed to get back home, and to drive it to the garage, but that cost money as well.  Then Shadow, my Scottie, was limping, but when I looked there was nothing in her paw, nor was it cut, and there didn't seem to be any broken bones.  I though she had sprained it slightly or overstretched herself.  Just around two weeks ago I thought that perhaps she had jarred her nail as she was still limping, I hadn't taken her to the vet as there was nothing obvious going on.  Anyway, on Wednesday evening around bedtime I noticed that her claw was at a funny angle, she must have broken her claw inside the toe and it had only just emerged. SO the next day I got someone to help me and I bathed it and got some of the puss out of it.  I rang the vet, but the only appointment they had was when I was at work, so I took her down last Saturday morning.  The vet cut her damaged claw off and then bandaged her foot, he gave me antibiotics, (the strongest they have for dogs,) and said he'd like to see her mid week.  I made an appointment for Wednesday. Unfortunately it wasn't the same vet, and this wants to lance the swelling and x-ray the foot....to the tune of around £220 with the x-ray, £120 maximum without an x-ray.  I don't have that kind of money spare, so I paid for the appointment and another lot of antibiotics, and said I would think about it.  After doing some research, and bearing in mind that Shadow is much more active and the swelling is going down slowly, I have decided to put off it being possibly lanced.  What I have found out is that an abscess occurs to stop infection spreading, and when the threat of infection has gone the abscess is reabsorbed into the body, so lancing an abscess seems to me to be going against nature.  I will see how she progresses.
Anyway, all in all over the past 6weeks I have had three unexpected expenses and just hope that is all for now.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Well, how did they go down?

I asked for feedback about the chocolate scones, and I got it.
You see, I shouldn't eat chocolate as it gives me a migraine.
The general opinion was although they were good scones, they were dry.  (Cocoa powder does tend to dry a mixture.)  Also, one person said the walnuts did not "go".  If I make chocolate scones again I think I will use hazelnuts as they are a "wetter" nut, and possibly raspberries or blueberries in place of the chocolate chips.
But, unless you try new things out you don't know whether they work or not.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Baking "experiment"

I'm not 100% sure why I decided that I would try to bake chocolate scones, but I did.  I have never seen, or heard, of chocolate scones before and wondered why.
I'll not say what changes I made to the recipe, only that they were logical changes, if you bake.
They are just about ready to be put into boxes to keep them fresh, but they smell great and look like normal scones, only they are brown, due to the chocolate.
After they have been sampled by my "guinea pigs", I'll add feedback to this post.
For the record, I made chocolate scones that have chocolate chips and walnut in them.  And....isn't experimenting how people create new recipes?

Friday, 6 September 2013

Not too bad

After the first week of my long summer break I made a list of tasks which needed to be done.   There were more on than I thought I'd get around to, but looking at it, the only things I haven't, are some sewing, and strip the remaining wallpaper in the stairs.
Other than those two things, I've been knitting and crocheting, wine making ,(4 gallon,), jam making,(strawberry and apricot,), jelly making, (blackcurrant and chilli,), trying new recipes, and decorating.
I surprised myself with the gloss painting, the one coat gloss paint is much easier to use.
I've completed the front of a 4 ply jumper for Edwin and now only have 95 squares to do for the bedspread that I'm working on
Perhaps I should stick to either knitting or crochet until I get one of them finished.  The bedspread was supposed to be to throw over the sheet in place of my duvet in summer, but as we are now almost a week into September there's no hurry, and the jumper is for Edwin as part of his Yule gift.
I did have a drive out to Carlisle one day with Edwin, and spent a day fixing my fan oven as well, so on reflection, I have had quite a productive summer break.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Cars!

Is it really worth me having a car?  I have wondered this a few times recently.  My car spends more time parked outside the house than it does going anywhere.  To give you another illustration of how infrequently I use my car I'll say that yesterday is only the third time id have put fuel into it, the previous being mid to late April and the very first time was the day in January when I brought her, Aurora Rover, home.
Yesterday, Edwin and I went to Carlisle to take some of his stuff up as he is going back on Sunday in readiness for his second year of his Illustration Honours course.
As we got near to the lowest of the Carlisle exits, (there are three,) the battery light came on, and didn't go off.  I did go off when we set off back, but soon came back on again, and stayed on for the rest of the journey home.
I rang John where I got the car from and he said it sounded like the alternator and I should bring it in this morning.
So, after a bad night's sleep, tense and tired from the drive, (I was worried that we wouldn't make it back home,) and Edwin had gone to a party, I thought he'd be back around two at the latest, but he wasn't back at gone five, but did come in around 5.30am.  So...I didn't sleep much last night, I took Aurora, she does need a new alternator, so that is an expense I hadn't anticipated. 
I'm really worn out now, and half asleep, due to the rather long walk back from John's, both dogs are flopped on the floor, dozing.  The funny thing is Spark, who was 12 on the 21st of August, seems to be less tired than Shadow, and she's not 8 until the 18th of this month.
If my arthritis wasn't getting worse I would seriously consider selling my car, but I don't think I should in the long run as there will come a time when I will need to use it more than I do now.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

On reflection

I'm sat here watching "Ade in Adland", and thinking back, some of these adverts we used to discuss and have a good laugh about, during form period.
He does point out that many women went out to work who would have normally stayed at home.  They were able to do this and still produce meals with the help of fridges, convenience food.
If you follow this blog you'll know I work at a school and one of the things that is now on the curriculum is being able to produce simple home cooking, as part of the government's push towards healthier eating. 
It is true some families do opt for "convenience foods and takeaways, sometimes for speed, and sometimes because the person in charge of putting a meal on the table knows no different.
I think it is probably time people took much more notice of what food they actually put into their bodies. 
I am willing to accept that making a meal from scratch takes more time to make, but you ensure that your meal is as healthy, or unhealthy as you want it.  And I know everyone is different, but testing out a new recipe and seeing it well received by my family is reward enough for me.
I hope it's this makes sense, my thoughts have just connected in a chain that although logical to me, might not be to the reader.  If it doesn't quite make sense to you, I'm sorry.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Decorating update

Last week, I managed to emulsion the ceilings, and a high part of the wall at the top of the house.  Adding the white ceilings , some were bare plaster, has brought the light level up even more.  When the decorating is completed there will be some mirrors going up to help make the stairs a lighter place.  This week's task is to strip off the remaining original paper from the last few walls.  Then I'll fill any holes in the wall. Oh, there are pictures to go up in the stairs as well.  Three Faye Whitaker prints that I bought years ago when the kids were only young.  I do have some unframed cross stitch as well.
I've started brewing wine again this holiday, and currently have a gallon of banana, one of nectarine, one of blueberry, and have just started one of fig off.  The banana is probably almost ready, as I have made it before and it never takes long to be ready.  I also plan to make a gallon of sweet potato wine.
I'm still trying out new recipes and last week made sesame snaps.

Kids

You have to see the funny side of this story from the Yahoo homepage. 
I never had any embarrassing moments like that because of my three, and I think I might have done something right, as ever since we moved in where we currently live, it seems that my kids friends gravitated to here.  Nearly every week there were extra kids here.
To my mind I am not a soft touch, in fact I would warn any visitors that they get treated the same as my own kids, and if they didn't like it, they knew where the door was.  I don't think even one kid left.  I do remember telling Oliver that one of his friend's boyfriend was not welcome, and I didn't even want him in the house, and Oliver and some of his other friends went out side and convinced the girl not to try to bring him in.  I don't know what was said, but some of the others had said that he was/is involved with drugs, they didn't want him in the house either.
The only time I have had to actually chastise someone was when they lit up in the house.  I have always said that if anyone did that they would get a bucket of water over them.  The boy in question had gone out into the yard, I didn't know he had lit up in the house, I didn't have to, I got old about it.  I suppose they wondered if I would do what I said I would, yes I did, the lad got drenched, but he never smoked in my house again, and yes, he did come again, but asked if he could smoke in the yard, to which I said yes, but away from the door, please.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Jobs I havedone, part 2

I've had a few jobs, and been made redundant four times, but you pick yourself up and carry on.  In 1980-81 I worked as a dental nurse.  Back then dental nurses learnt the job as they worked.  The pay wasn't brilliant, and when I did leave it was due to the low rate of pay.  However, I really enjoyed the job, and would have stopped in the job much longer if the pay had been better.  I have even looked into training as a dental nurse in the past.
The dentist I worked for was in a small town in the middle of a large stretch of countryside.  I won't name the place or the dentist I worked for.
We had some very interesting patients.  There was a special constable who came in regularly, he was six foot plus and "built like a brick outhouse".  One day he was to have some teeth taken out, (this is back when dentists gave general anaesthetics.)  He came in and took a seat in the chair.  The dentist who was administering the anaesthetic gave it to him, (a barbiturate injection,) and then the operating dentist started to pull the teeth that needed extracting..unfortunately as he was a large man, as the dentist pulled at the teeth, the very large patient was being pulled from the chair.  This bit is a little embarrassing, the dentist asked me to sit on the patient's lap in order to keep him in the chair.  (This was not unusual...if extractions posed these sort of problems, the nurse was normally asked to sit on their lap.)
We also had a young dentist who only ironed the bit of his shirt that would be visible to the patients.
And we had a regular patient whose teeth were in a pretty good condition, but as he was a pig farmer, he was passed through the surgery as swiftly as possible.

Friday, 30 August 2013

seaside regeneration?

So the government are thinking of putting money into the regeneration of seaside towns
I might be wrong, but wasn't it the previous government, of the same coat, who contributed to the degeneration of most seaside towns.  In the 1990s the government relocated unemployed persons to bed and breakfast establishments in seaside towns. 
As I see it, the relocation of unemployed persons to seaside towns was counter-productive.  Seaside towns are usually "kept alive" by small businesses....these small businesses only employ a small number of people, seaside towns tend not to be bases for large businesses or industries, therefore there aren't a huge amount of jobs, there aren't now, and weren't back in the 1990s.  So why were the unemployed of the 1990s rehoused in an area where they had less chance of finding a job, than the place they were from?  Surely saving short term on housing has been more than outbalanced by them being longer term unemployed?  I might be missing something, but the reason this seaside town went into decline was for several reasons, and I don't think housing unemployed here long term helped in the least.  It did make the small job market even more competitive.
I am all for the regeneration of seaside towns, but suspect that Morecambe was not the only seaside town to suffer in the way I have argued, so think that the regeneration help is well deserved.

Goodbye to Seamus Heaney

Today we have lost a brilliant poet.
You can read his obituary here
I studied some of his poetry during my degree, and found it very accessible
I would like to offer my condolences to his family.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Is it just me?

I have a book blog.  On this blog I say what I think of books that I have read.  On the whole I read fiction, but occasionally I will read a factual book.  When I do there is one thing that annoys me about them, above all else.
What's that I hear you ask?
Simple really, when you take into consideration factual or non fiction books are based on truth/real life/basic facts, and it's the fact that some authors put erroneous information in their book. If your book is intended to be non fiction, get your facts right!
I have recently read a book in which the author meets several unusual people around the British Isles, one of which is a female hermit, living in Yorkshire, but the author starts by talking about the Pendle Witches, which is correct, (also know as the Lancashire Witches,) but goes on to say they were executed at Pendle, which he also moves into Yorkshire. It's very close to the border, but it is still in Lancashire. 
I probably shouldn't have, but I did e-mail him to tell him where the Pendle/Lancashire Witches were executed. 
Just as an additional piece of information, my sister-in-law has researched her husband's side of the family, (my brother's and mine.)   It turns out that there is a link to the Nutter family from the Pendle area.
Does it annoy anyone else when non fiction writers get their facts wrong?

Friday, 23 August 2013

Tada!

After three afternoons painting gloss paint, (both Edwin and myself,) the dreaded gloss painting is complete.  I took Michael Gradwell's advice and put some music on and just absorbed myself in the painting.  Between us it took a total of 22 hours, there's an awful lot of woodwork in my stairs and landings.  But it looks great now, all white and shiny.
My next stage in decorating the landing and stairs, will be emulsioning the ceilings then putting up new light fittings and putting the smoke alarms back.  I hope to get that finished before I return to work.  The walls can then be done.
The butchered spindles don't look as bad painted white, mind you I did smooth parts of them down with the sander, but I had to leave the newel posts covered, as the person who boxed them in took 3/4 inch square chunks out of them in order to box them in, and sanding them down wouldn't make them look any better.
My list of jobs I hoped to do over the holiday is dwindling, and I am still managing to try at least one new recipe per week, which is good.  This weeks recipe is pain au chocolat.  The dough is currently rising and has to for a further two hours, before I have to start to shape it by rolling it out, dotting with butter, folding, and repeating twice.  I'm sure Edwin will appreciate them.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

I'll get there...in the end

If you follow this blog, you will know that I am in the process of decorating my stairs and landings.  In a three storey Victorian terrace house, it entails a lot of wood work.
I finally got everything sanded down and ready to paint and on Wednesday intended to start the painting.....only to find that I only had very narrow paint brushes.  Good for fiddly bits but no good for a huge cupboard , three more cupboard doors and four more doors.  So on Thursday I bought wider paint brushes, but as Mum had been here for the day, no work done. Friday, after a doctor's appointment and I was thinking of starting, Oliver let me know that he was going to be home for the weekend.
Which brought me around to today.  I decided I would make a start, and stop wasting time.  Guess what?  The undercoat has gone solid in the tin, so now I need to buy paint.  I am debating buying some of the one-coat gloss, so that I will only have to paint each surface the once.  This job has gone on long enough, and it's about time I put paid to the delays and got stuck in.
Next time I blog, I will most probably have white streaks in my hair, as I seem incapable of painting without getting it in my hair.
After the gloss is done I can then emulsion all the ceilings, and strip the remainder of the paper, prior to painting the walls with emulsion.  A warm sunny colour above the dado rail and Victorian red below.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

An achievement! Well, it is for me.

On Sunday, I switched my oven on in order to bake some part baked baguettes. Around half an hour later I remembered and went to put them in, only the oven appeared to be off.  It had in fact tripped the circuit breaker.  So I flicked the switch and left the oven for a few minutes to warm up.  Nothing.  The element had gone.  I hunted out the oven handbook and left it where it would remind me in the morning.
Yesterday, Monday, I looked online for a replacement part, and after a discussion with a very helpful man at www.elementreplacement.co.uk I found the right replacement part. I ordered it & it had arrived before 10am.
It wasn't that difficult to fit, & after watching a You Tube video I set about the task.  I did have to do it twice though, as the first time I didn't push the spade connector on properly and it came off as I fastened it in place.

That was yesterday.  Today I intended to get stuck into the undercoating, but found that I only have extremely narrow brushes, so I will buy some broader ones and get stuck in on Friday.
I have been baking/cooking things though, and so far this week have made butternut squash and tomato soup, cauliflower cheese soup, ciabatta bread and a pork pie.

By the way, the achievement?  Fixing the oven myself of course!  :)

Monday, 12 August 2013

good for tourism?

I know these posters need to be displays, but..........one of the most prominent posters in most shop windows here at the moment are A5 posters showing a hand grasping for purchase.  There is semi-liquid sand around the wrist.
The writing on the poster says
"If the quicksands don't get you, the tide will!" in large red letters.
This is produced by the RLNI and Coastguards, and I whilst I can see the need for them, and the need to make people aware of the dangers of the sands around here, I just can't help thinking it can't be very encouraging to visitors to the town.
Coupled with that, there was a dead body found on the central beach early on Saturday morning....all in all, absolutely brilliant for the tourists.

Then again, the Coastguard helicopter and the lifeboat have been out pretty regularly over the last couple of weeks.  (You can hear the lifeboat warnings go off, and both hear and see the helicopter flying low.)  The problem is the sea goes out such a long way, people walk down to the sea to paddle, and not notice the tide coming in around the back of them.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sanding done

Well, I've sanded down everything that needed to be sanded down prior to gloss painting.
It's all wiped down as well.
Besides that I have also made some banana wine, done some knitting and crochet alongside all the normal jobs that need doing.
On Thursday I went swimming again, but only did 16 lengths, (that's 1/4 of a mile,) as I was aching everywhere.
I was supposed to go out for Afternoon Tea with some colleagues on Thursday, but as I have been suffering from reflux for over a week now I cancelled.  (Sometimes I am actually being sick as well.)  I wouldn't have enjoyed the Afternoon Tea knowing I would feel bad after eating. We were going to the Clarendon Hotel who do a very good afternoon tea.
It has been a cooler week here, but most of the rain that has fallen has been during the hours of darkness.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Making a start

I've made a start on the decorating that I have been threatening to do for a long time now. 
I've sanded down some of the paint work, only to find on close inspection some of the gloss painting has been done.  It was a cream colour, you know the one that was everywhere in the 70s and 80s, and I am painting it brilliant white, and in other places undercoating has been done, so all need to do in those places is the top coat. (I remember the name of the paint colour now.  It was called magnolia, but I've never seen any magnolias that colour.)
I really hate painting woodwork, which is why the stairs have remained unfinished for so long, also, there's an awful lot of gloss paint in the stairs as my house is a three storey Victorian terrace, and the stair case rails were boarded in, but I have ripped the ugly boarding off.  Eventually the rails, the spindles, and the newel posts will have to be replaced.  Reason one, the person who boxed them in flattened some of the spindles to make the hardboard lie flatter, and reason two, the banister at the top landing is below the specified height of modern day banisters.  (Although it was the correct height when originally put in.  It could also do with a newel post where the banister takes a right angled turn and a half newel against the wall for the banister to be fastened to. 
But as you can probably guess all that will cost money to buy, and then it all has to be fitted.
Originally I was leaving the stairs until all the rooms were done, which they are now, and I would have liked to put a Velux window in place of the small pane of glass that serves as a skylight onto the stairs.  Again, the cost is prompting me to try to finish the decorating and do the other jobs as I scrape together the money for them.
In a perfect world I would take out the large cupboard at the top of the stairs and replace it with a tidier one, or maybe utilise the space for something else.  This again is a bigger job than I feel can approach by myself at the moment.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

This day in....

This day in 1980 my second eldest niece was due, she didn't put in an appearance until two days later on the 6th.
This day in 1900 Elizabeth Bowes Lyon was born.  Mother to our Queen, but sadly no longer with us.
This day in 1983 I should have taken my driving test, but it was cancelled.
This day in 1984 I should have married by finance, who I would have been with for almost 8 years, however we split up earlier on in the year.
So on the whole, I have always looked on this day as one on which things are meant to happen, but don't for one reason or another, apart from the Queen Mother being born, but then again, she was born before I was, so perhaps that doesn't count, and all the things that should have happened but didn't were whilst I was in my early 20s, so maybe I have grown past that point.  Perhaps it's time for me to look upon this day as any other in the year.   Who know?
(I know this is quite introspective, but that's what August 4th does to me)

Thursday, 1 August 2013

An observation

I am no longer eligible for a tax credit prescription exemption certificate.  So I have been looking into other ways of sorting out my prescription.  I am on several different medications so have decided to get a prepayment certificate, but I did check out if I was eligible on low income grounds, after all, I do get tax credits because of low income, but no apparently my income isn't low enough.
What annoys me about this is that I am working, and I pay all the normal deductions from my wage, I then pay for all the utilities, and council tax.  Yet if I wasn't working, I would get my council tax paid, housing benefit, (if I didn't own my own house,) and all NHS services would be free, including prescriptions, (in certain cases, but not all.)
I have worked out that I am probably worse off than people who are out of work....surely this isn't right?
I know the government is looking to put a cap on benefits, but surely they would do better to make sure that it made economic sense to find a job? After all, where is the incentive when you are better off not working in some circumstances?
It is time this government, or any future one did something about wages, and got rid of the minimum wage and replaced it by the Living wage. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Back to swimming?

Earlier today I went swimming.  It's the first time I've been for a while, so am rather proud of the fact that I managed to swim 32 lengths, which is 1/2 a mile.  I didn't really stop for any length of time between lengths either, so perhaps I am a little fitter than I thought I was.
I'm going to try to get to the pool at least once a week over the summer break, twice a week would be better.
I have always liked swimming, and if I could carry on swimming at least once a week after I return to work in September I know it will do me good both physically and mentally.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Another observation

It's funny what you notice when you are walking around.  This observation seems only to apply to 50%, roughly, of the population
I bet you'll have seen it too, no matter where you are, and it's always men that are doing this thing
What? What are men doing?  I hear you ask.
Well, it's simple.  I think this is a fairly recent thing, but whenever I go out, if I pass men dressed in jogging pants you can almost guarantee that they have their hands down the front of their pants.
Are they checking that they are still there?  Why do they feel the need to carry out this fairly personal task in public?  If you have any theories why this sort of thing is becoming more frequent, I'd like to hear your theory.
You wouldn't see a woman walking along sticking her hand into her bra and rearranging herself, or have you seen different?

Friday, 26 July 2013

Silver Cross

Ok...most parents will know what that title means, I will explain to others.
Last night I was watching a "documentary" about how much it cost to "raise" a child...all very topical given that the Duchess of Cambridge has just given birth.
They kept going on and on about how much everything cost...of course every new parent buys brand new for every child....get real...they don't!
Anyway, the MD or whoever he was from Silver Cross was saying how good for business it would be if the royal couple chose a Silver Cross pram/pushchair for the new baby, and how disappointed they all were that the royal couple had chosen a Bugaboo, (hope I've spelt that correctly,).
It got me thinking...if it was really good for business, why didn't Silver Cross gift the royal couple a sturdy Silver Cross pram or pushchair? Surely that would have made economic sense in the long run, gift one item to ensure the sales of many more?
Maybe I'm wrong...I seriously hope that Silver Cross baby transport is as good as it always was, and the canny parents will still chose to buy Silver Cross.
There were many other items I was cringing at during the documentary...of course the royal couple can not be seen to be using second hand goods, but the money conscious parents do....
And I hope the new baby will be using terry towelling nappies rather than disposable ones, after all, it isn't as if Kate will have to actually wash them!  After all, "Grandpa" Charles might have something to say about the eco  unfriendly disposable nappies.
And in answer to your question...Yes, all three of my children had a Silver Cross pram and pushchair.  The pram was given to me by a colleague of Dad's who had three girls, and had used the pram for each of them.  And the pushchair...bought new for Samantha ....but was still in good condition after Edwin no longer had use for it, around 8-9 years later.
So...yes, by all means buy cheaper baby items, but if you do...be prepared to have to replace them!
And the four dozen nappies I bought for Samantha lasted through all three babies as well.

Summer clothes

Usually the summer here in the UK is warm, but not over hot. We haven't really had protracted periods of sunshine in recent summers.
And I'd almost forgotten what hot summers bring out, can you remember?
Hot summers bring out summer clothes. For men this just seems to be t-shirts and jeans, and in cases of extreme heat shorts, or cut-offs.....and no, I'm not going to say anything about men's legs.   Although, it is obvious that some of them are usually wrapped up in long pants, and resemble well cultivated celery.
No...my observation is that many women don't seem to possess underskirts, or for that matter think about their undergarments, mainly their knickers.  The other day I saw a woman in a beautiful white linen skirt, it had some very pretty applique on it and some heavy cotton lace fastened to the lower edge of the skirt, it really was a pretty skirt, then I noticed that she mustn't have been wearing an underskirt, as you could clearly see her knickers, and what is more, they were black, so really did show.  Given the person, I don't think she knew that her pants were visible through her skirt, as I'm sure she would have been mortified. It wasn't a case of visible pantie line, but visible pants
Other things I have seen when walking around are skin tight dresses clinging to the wearer's body, as they should, but to such an extent that the underwear might as well have been worn over the top.  Skirts riding up the wearer's legs is another thing I've seen, both these would be prevented by wearing an underskirt, but I'm guessing that the women wearing these dresses, etc might normally wear trousers or jeans most of the time, and didn't even consider that an underskirt might be necessary.  Or is it just a generational thing, as I have always worn one, and when my daughter was younger she did, but she "lives" in trousers.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Difficult post

This has been on my mind for ages, and I keep thinking I will blog about it, but it is very difficult to put into words.  It is my emotions about it that make it difficult, and should I write about it?

Here goes...
Three or four years ago I got a telephone call from my next door neighbour.  He told me he was struggling to get out of bed and could I go around and help him.  (What you have to bear in mind about this, before you judge me is his age.  At the time he was somewhere around 85-87-ish, I was definitely under 50 at the time.)  Now people who know me in person will know that I am what my Mum calls a "soft touch" and will help practically anyone, so I took his request at face value, and went round.  He had said the door was open, now if I hadn't been so na├»ve that should have set an alarm bell ringing...but I just went in assuming that he had forgotten to lock up the previous night. 
I went into his bedroom expecting to have to help him from the bed as he had asked.  As I got close to the bed he pushed the covers back....me still thinking things were as the seemed on the surface...however I was shocked to find out he was exposing himself, and then he asked me to "relieve" him.
I'm sorry this is very difficult to write about.  Needless to say, I left quickly.  I was so shocked that he could have been so devious and act as he did.  This neighbour had been accused, and found innocent of making sexual advances to three young girls who used to live close by, and at the time everyone presumed because the girls sometimes embroidered the truth as young children do, that they were lying about this.  They had moved away because of the court case, etc.  I now found myself in a position where I wasn't sure if anyone would believe it of an old man, and I phoned their Mum and told her what he had done, and that I was sorry that I ever doubted the girls.
A couple of days later he came to my front door and apologised for his actions, but the incident set me on my guard.
Last year after a conversation with another neighbour, I found out that he had made indecent suggestions to her whilst her husband was in hospital. 
Since then I have felt even more uncomfortable around him.
He keeps knocking at my front door with the flimsiest of reasons, and I have since a couple of weeks back, started to ignore it, if I know it is him.  (Again, if you know me, that is against  my nature.)
My reason for this is, a few weeks back he went into hospital, his son and daughter-in-law brought him home, yet shortly after they left he was knocking on my front door, I'd had a bath and was ready for bed.....the day had been very warm...yet he asked me to go round and put is central heating on.  Another neighbour who knows him well was actually outside doing something at his car, so I said "No" and suggested he ask the other neighbour, he had the cheek to ask me why, and was quite nasty when I said that I was going to bed soon.

As I've said he keeps knocking with flimsy excuses.  This man makes me feel very uncomfortable, despite his age, and then I get annoyed with myself, but I honestly do feel threatened by him.

It isn't nice to feel like this about someone who lives so close to your own house.  I wish I knew a way of making myself feel not so bad.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Early birthday pressie

Thanks to Samantha, John, Oliver, Edwin and Becki for taking me to Saffron tonight for a meal.
It was an early birthday pressie, and Samantha rang me on Wednesday asking me what I was doing Friday night....When I said nothing much she told me she'd booked a table at Saffron on Friday night, and she was treating me for my birthday!
***Happy Dance***
I really do like Indian food.  Saffron is a "BYOB" place, with a corkage charge.
We had a lovely evening, and I did wonder if Oliver would come as he is off to Italy next weekend.
***Smiley face*** Yes, he did, he has brought me a tiny owl ornament from his trip to Japan.
Right now I am full of delicious food, and happy

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Are public sector wage rises fair?....across the board

Mr Osborne has decreed that public sector workers should only get a 1% wage rise per annum for the next two years...after having their wages frozen for THREE years!
But the public sector workers he doesn't include are MPs!
MPs are elected by the public and on paper, work for their public.  To be nit picky, they are supposed to work for those who elected them.
In my books they are also public sector workers, but has their wage been frozen for the past 3 years, are their unions now in negotiations with the employers?  NO!
These fat cats at Westminster are raking in their wages....plus expenses...when the people who put them there are struggling to pay essential household bills.
I do not wish to discuss my own financial position here, but the gap between the "workers" and the "bullshitters" is getting greater, perhaps it is time for a change?

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Ante natal sessions should be compulsory, or should they?

If you don't want to read a gripe, move on to the next blog.
You know how you can say "What's on your mind?" on Facebook?  Some of the recent things that have been posted on my wall have riled me just a little.
Last week, a friend posted how she couldn't wait for her "son", (and she has already given the baby a name.....my sister-in-law was assured she was expecting a boy, and had a beautiful baby girl,) anyway, I digress.  She posted how she wanted to hold her babe and nurture him, she's still got around 8 weeks to go, so babe would be premature and more than likely have to be put in an incubator if he had been born then.  So I just put how as much as she was looking forward to baby arriving, she shouldn't wish a premature birth, for various reasons.  I got a snippy reply, and I mustn't have been the only one to post similar, as she took the post down.  This person has moaned all through her pregnancy...publicly on Facebook.  She just needs a copy of Gordon Bourne's Pregnancy, then she would know what to expect. 
The second "mum", (and she is actually a Mum and has been for 17 months,) posted that her baby's nappy had exploded after only 16 hours of wearing!   Why was the baby in the same nappy for 16 hours, she then went on to say that nappies usually lasted 20 hours before they were due to explode. 
I was taken aback by this.  Surely that poor baby has a very sore bottom.  I'm not speaking out of turn here, as I have three children, well they are all young adults now, but mine were only left, at the longest for around 8 hours, without a change, and that was if they slept right through.
I blame disposable nappies for the "it only lasted 16 hours" comment, as they just get heavier and heavier as the resin in them absorbs the urine.  But what the manufacturers don't say is that the filling can react with urine, as it did with my daughter.  She had disposable nappies for a holiday we went on, and I decided to use the pack up when we returned home.  I carried on changing her as I usually did, when she was fed, when it was obvious she was wet, or dirty, but she developed a rash and I can only conclude it was from the disposable nappies.  They don't let the skin breathe as easily as a terry nappy does.  I stopped using them there and then, and her sore bottom cleared up immediately.
So....prospective parents should go on ante natal classes, to learn the basic good practice of caring for a baby.  And possibly to have explained how heart breaking having a premature baby can be.
I've finished having a moan now.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Just who's bright idea was it?

I know I have posted about this before, but they rake the beach every day in the summer season.  I don't know who had the "brilliant" idea to do this, but they need shooting.  Before they started doing this, the beach next to the Midland Hotel had a small stony area, directly in front of the Midland, but the rest was, on the whole, sandy.
Now, thanks to the raking, there is only a small area of this beach that is completely sandy.  I know the beach is raked to take away flotsam and jetsam that washes up, and rubbish the people leave behind, but surely........it would be better to put more bins on the prom, allow the person who patrols the beaches to fine litterbugs.  Raking the beach has spread out stones along the length of the beach, and it breaks up the lovely little shells.  What child doesn't like collecting seashells?
SO....what some bright spark at the council thought would make the beach look tidy has spoilt it in my eyes. I much prefer the beach in the winter months when it is not raked daily.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Austerity measures aren’t working?


Austerity measures aren’t working?

Yes, that is the conclusion I found in an article I was reading today.  I wonder whose viewpoint they were viewing this from.

My wage was frozen three years ago, and although we have been told that we will get a wage rise this year, it has been limited to 1%, with a clause tying everyone into a limited wage rise for three further years.

This wage freeze and now very small wage rise has been worked out to be in effect a wage cut.  How is it a wage cut, I hear you ask?  Well, no one has put a price freeze on foods, energy, etc.  So consequently, even those who have had annual pay rises at the rate of inflation have less buying power, and disposable income than they had 3 years ago.  And people who have had a pay freeze are beginning to struggle.

The people who are saying that we are not under austerity measures, must be those who had plenty of money to start off with.

One price rise that might illustrate the squeeze the less well off are under is this, around 3 years ago you could buy three packets of standard own-brand pasta at Asda for £1.  Recently they have “price freezed” some prices, the same packs have been cut to 50p/pack. I think the highest was 69p for these packs. Therefore at 69p that is only one and a half packs per £1, and even with the “rollback” two for £1.  So your £1 buys you 33% less food. I don’t think this is across the board, but it is no wonder the “economy” supermarkets are becoming the most popular.  And if the wages ever become less regulated, I can’t see people going back to the dearer supermarkets.

Incidently, I had some of this discussion with my plumber, and the company he installs boilers for has given them a generous pay rise each year he has worked for them, without any negotiation.

Farewell to two authors


In the past month both Tom Sharpe, (Blott on the Landscape, Porterhouse Blue, and others,) and Iain Banks, (Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and others,) have both died. 

Sharpe was a popular comedy writer, Blott on the Landscape being televised with David Suchet in the role of Blott, before he became Poirot.

Banks wrote fiction and science/fantasy fiction.  I read The Wasp Factory in the first year of my English degree, a very though provoking book, with a twist at the end that5 I certainly didn’t anticipate.

There are many brilliant authors writing today, but Banks and Sharpe’s input will be missed.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Time for celebration :)

Why?
I have my desktop pc back, no more dodgy laptop with missing keys on the keyboard.
Also, Happy Solstice to one and all.
It's been a lovely day here in Morecambe.  There's a bit of a wind getting up right now, but otherwise it is still fine.
I have at least one post stored on my memory stick, the lovely owl one I got for Mother's Day, but I couldn't load it via the laptop as it had an older version of word than I had written the post in.  And I couldn't post at work, because of the filter that stops the students going on sites that they shouldn't for various reasons.
So, I'm back and will be posting more regularly.
I should say a special thanks to Stephen  from work who sorted my pc out.  Thanks, Stephen, whirly sweets will be with you by Monday.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Still here

I haven't abandoned my blog, just without my pc at the moment & typing on this erratic laptop keyboard is not easy.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

What do you do with "stuff" you no longer have a need for?

That's a good question.
Yesterday, the city council delivered their "calendars" for bin collections in the coming 12 months. Along with this they delivered a leaflet for "Bulky Matters".  This used to be a free service run by the council whereby household items that householders had replaced by newer items could be collected, refurbished and then sold on to the less well off for a fraction of the price of a new item.  However the purchaser would know that the item was as good as new.  They ow also take electrical items and PAT test them, and again sell them on for a fraction of the cost.
A worthy cause you might think....
BUT....this collection service used to be FREE.  I know as when I replaced my table with a better one, they took away my old but perfectly serviceable drop leaf table.  I remember clearly that there was no charge, and at the time was happy that someone would be able to have a table for a low price.
The leaflet delivered yesterday said that there is a collection charge of £18 now, for up to 3 items and then an additional charge for each item above three!  That means you are paying for the privilege of having your item removed, and they will be profiting a second time when they sell it on.  If you are rolling in money, I don't suppose you would care too much, but let's face it, in the current financial climate there aren't many who are.
So what is the point of this post?  You might well ask.
My point is, these days most people can access the Internet at some place or other, and there is a website called Freegle, (used to be Freecycle,) on this site you can post items you no longer need, and for items you might want.  If you know the item is sound advertising it through this medium means it finds a home where it will be needed, and the person who wants the item collects from the person giving it away usually.
I know which service I will be using in the future if, or when I have items that are still good and no longer require.
I have found new homes for several items and have also found some items I required. 
Which would you use?  The council one, at a cost now, or the free one?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

My kind of weather

OK, it's the 11th May today, and here in Morecambe we have what can only be termed "Autumnal weather".  There is a very strong wind, that is gusting, and it has been raining.  The rain, I can take or leave, but the wind always makes me feel invigorated.  I'm sure there are many people who would think I'm crazy for loving windy, gusty weather, but to me it always feels like it is blowing away the stale air, and maybe stale ideas, scouring the area so it is ready to accept new ideas, and new events.
I have had a walk along the prom and the wind is playing with the sea, teasing it into waves with sea foam along the top of them, and as they hit the sea wall, the reflected waves are making lovely pointed waves topped with more sea foam, as they meet with the incoming waves.
In my book, a perfect Autumn day, plucked from the back end of the year and dropped into spring.
There are even some brave kite surfers out on the bay enjoying the wind.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

How do you like your toast?

Apparently how you like your toast is a clear indicator of what class you are.
Really?   I hear you say.
OK, let's ask...How do you like your toast?
Warm, and buttered whilst still warm?
OR...
Cold, hard and cracking when you butter it?  (or inedible as the survey said)

Well....How do you like your toast?

Apparently working class people like their toast warm, with butter melting into it, the upper classes prefer their toast cold, hard and inedible.

What I think is the actual difference here is that working class people sit in the kitchen where the toast is made, and therefore have access to yummy, edible, warm, buttered toast whilst the upper classes sit in their breakfast rooms awaiting delivery of their toast from a distant kitchen!

This is one instance where although we might be worse off financially, at least we know how to enjoy our toast....so if you are upper class...use your Sat Nav and find the way into your kitchen and have a taste of what you have been missing!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Overheard yesterday.

Isn't it funny how people who wear lots of make up, or have really greasy skin, are the ones to say that water is bad for them.
The person I heard saying this yesterday went on to say that some people can be allergic to water!
Now, I don't know if that is true, but I suspect a bad reaction to water is through not using it often enough.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Resolutions? An update

I thought I'd have a look at my list of non-resolutions to see how I am progressing with them so far

I have read Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White and Boris Pasternak's Dr Zhivago, and am currently reading Villette on my Kindle, so the read one classic book this year has already been completed.

I am still trying my best to eat healthily, although it did stumble slightly when I kept getting viruses.

I have made some of my own bread and will continue to do so.  I have also decided it would be good to try at least one different recipe per week.  Today I cooked a chicken and mushroom gougere.  I have never made choux pastry before so that was definitely a first.

I have been making dents in my wool stash, but did have to buy a ball of wool to complete something which I thought I had two balls the same , (enough to finish, ) but when I looked in daylight they were totally different. But the stash is diminishing.

I have only made a skirt so far from my fabric stash, and not done any more on the patchwork.

Entrelac knitting is going to be my next project in knitting.

The pot garden is being tidied slowly.  I bought mini tools suitable for using in the pots, but the extended cold spell put me off trying to weed, as frozen earth does not give up weeds readily

The kitchen, I think, is a summer project.

All in all, I feel I have managed to keep pretty much to the promises I made to myself back in January.


Happy Birthday

I would just like to wish Queen Elizabeth a happy birthday, and may you have many more.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

It always surprises me

What does?   I can hear you asking yourselves now.
When someone asks my age and then doesn't believe me when I answer.
I know that I do look on the young side for my age.
I always have.
I remember visiting my brother on his ship when it docked in Liverpool, not long after he'd joined the Royal Navy.  Back then he was on a weapons tester, HMS Penelope.  We went down to his mess, and were introduced to some of his crew mates.
I remember one asking Ann, my younger sister, how old she was.  She answered 14, so the sailor asking turned to me and said, "Well that means you're 12 then" (Obviously Chris' had told them that his sisters were two years apart in age.)
At age 23 I had a 16 year old boy chatting me up and asking me out, he was shocked when I told him my age, his Dad was teaching me to drive, so he presumed that I'd just turned 17.
At that time I'd also got on a bus and been asked if I was half fare. So shocked I aid no and paid full fare.
Since then I have had my age underestimated several times.
The latest was today when I was walking Shadow and Spark, this man started talking to me, and asked my age, when I answered, he said he wouldn't have put me any older than around 35.  To convince him I told him that my daughter is 26 in June.
Ah, well!   I wonder what will happen when I'm old enough to get OAP fare on the bus, will I have to carry something stating my age?

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Trying to be positive

No wonder I was feeling so down.  Virus return has clogged my head up with mucus, and nothing seems to be shifting it.
But when your head is clogged with mucus it gets in your nasal passages, and throat, and makes it harder to breathe.  Not a good thing for someone with asthma.  Yesterday, it took my voice away, well almost.  My niece has been trying to encourage people to not use their voices for one hour.  I think I did more than that, as it was hard work to talk until later on.
It's eased over night, but is still making me light-headed....there are people who I know who would argue that I am light-headed anyway.  Cheeky mares/stallions/geldings?
I think maybe an early night tonight will make me feel much better.
Last night I put Ylang ylang, patchouli and lavender in my vapouriser and had a relaxing sleep... Two of the oils are said to lift your spirits as well, so that might account for why I feel much happier in myself.
I did look online for a natural decongestant remedy, and I'm not sure I really want to try the one that came up top.  It said to thinly slice an onion and sprinkle it with two tablespoons of sugar.  Then leave it for 1/2 hour and take some of the resulting liquid as and when necessary.  Another suggested honey in place of the sugar. I don't like honey at all the smell of it makes me queasy, so would using it do the same?  I don't know.  I think I might give it a try....apparently you can use the same onion over a longish period of time, just put the mix in a sealed jar in the fridge, adding more sugar if necessary.
Does anyone know if this does actually work?   If so, please could you let me know

Monday, 15 April 2013

Negative energy

I won't go into the causes of the ton weight of negative energy in my life right now, but I sure could do with a skip full of positive energy to disperse it.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

A little research

I have just been looking through the last 200 of my posts.  There were two that came out top
The top one was referring to a previous post, which hadn't had as many "reads".
However, the second one was about me buying a birthday card for Mum last year.
I'll be honest, I don't know if this year will be any easier, (Mum's birthday is late October,) but I will try my best to be sensitive.
Mum and I are sort of in the "same boat"....Mum lost Dad when he died early on the 17th February 2012.  I lost my "partner" on the 26th August 2010.  OK, he didn't die, but apart from very short phone messages, I have not seen him since then
The difference is...I am still relatively "young", and could possibly find someone else...but how do you replace a man who treated you like a princess?  Especially when all you feel like is some sort of frog?

Joined Twitter

I just joined Twitter.
I'm not sure if I'll ever tweet, but I was invited to join by a distant cousin.  One of my son's is on there.  Possibly something he was encouraged to do as part of his illustration course, as he was encouraged to start a blog.

And why doesn't Blogger's spellchecker recognise the word blog?

Sad Saturday

Edwin went back to Uni this morning.  
Well, actually, his Dad picked him up, they dropped his stuff of at the halls of residence, then went up to Hadrian's Wall.
I striped his bed and washed and dried the bedding.  Now it's fresh as a daisy for when he comes back again at the end of the semester.  Becki was here as well, but she has gone to see her Grandad on her Dad's side.
Yeah! It's quiet, there's no one else here and I can please myself exactly what I do, but do you know something?  I'd rather have other people here.

On that topic, perhaps I should update you how disastrously the trying to find someone is going.
Over half term I eventually met a bloke for tea and a chat.  Snow had stopped us meeting once, and I was nervous, so I took a few days to contact him again. He took even longer to get back to me.  The upshot is, I think he was seeing who else he could find, and keeping me in "reserve". I'm not being anyone's second best.
And today I just logged into the site and got a pop-up asking me to chat to a certain user. I had a quick look at his profile....it looked OK so I accepted the invitation, within two messages, he'd switched on his webcam, no warning and was rummaging in his underpants, no sign of his face.  So, I've blocked him. 
I do seriously wonder if there are any normal people on dating sites any more, as this is the second time I've had someone be "over familiar" with me.  I really don't know what is wrong with these men.  They put on their profile that they are looking for a serious relationship, yet obviously just want , to put it crudely, a quick thrill.

I really don't think I'll bother, maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to meet someone in the same way I met my lovely Lithuanian friend...who knows?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

What do you think?

Apparently each and every MP will be paid the sum of £3,750 to attend Margaret Thatcher's funeral!

My first reaction, as I'm sure will be the same for many others is...I'll go if you get paid that much...but what I really want to know is exactly WHERE the funds for this are coming from?  I sincerely hope it will not be the tax payer.
For £3,750 the people who disliked Maggie could have a damned good party, maybe even get an entertainer, (see my previous post.)
If anyone should wish to attend Maggie's funeral they should do so under NORMAL employment restrictions.   That is where I work, if the deceased is a close relative you have the day off with pay, nothing more.  If you wish to attend the funeral of a friend, you lose a day's pay, or take a holiday...Just why is it MPs get to distort the rules so much they are no longer recognisable as rules?

Yet another "news " headline?

Well, I heard this one on the radio yesterday, and today it has made Yahoo' home page.
What this time?  The cost of children's parties.
Over the last 50 years the children's party industry, I suppose that is the correct name for it, has grown beyond all recognition.
My best childhood friend's birthday was the day before mine, and I always got an invite to her birthday party.  She was an only child and her Dad was a builder and property repairer.  So...the well off end of the the working class, or normal middle class.
Her parties consisted of a "finger" buffet, jelly, ice cream and a birthday, and children's games.  such as pass the parcel, musical chairs, etc, and we would have some playtime in her garden, which boasted a proper swing. To me, and most of the kids invited, they were posh parties.  But if you read the article, and have heard about this story elsewhere you will know that practically all children these days expect a party, and expect to invite the whole class.
I suspect this practice came about by parents aping the parties of the better off in their children's circles.  After all if you read a novel about "Yummy Mummies" in Chelsea, or anywhere else, they always mention how competitive the parties get.
Why can't people live within their means?
We found one year that a "venue" party was the cheapest option, I'm only talking about around 15 years back.  I priced up several options that fitted the budget for Edwin's party, and found out that a football party for ten children at the local football club was the best deal. 
What did they get?
I think it was an hour and half football training before a lunch of chips and either sausage, fish fingers or pizza, then a sweet. I provided the cake, homemade, of course, and then the birthday boy was kitted out as the club's mascot for the day's match and all the children then watched the match.  It was around 5-6 hours long, the birthday boy also got a programme with his name in it as mascot for the day.  How much did this all cost?  Back then it was £50 for 10 children....Oh and I got to watch the match for free as well, (as did my daughter.)
It is more expensive these days as you can find out here.  But I would hazard a guess that it is still excellent value for money.
But all in all, why bankrupt yourself to give your child a party, that is just basically parental one-upmanship?  Sell the idea of an exclusive party for just a few friends as the more tasteful way to go, also, you will probably not have to sit down with a stiff drink afterwards, as less children means less chance of unpleasant bickering breaking out.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Baby milk rationing?

I've just read this story on the Yahoo homepage.

Now, I have three children of my own and for the first few weeks they were all breast fed.  Two of them had, unfortunately, to be put on formula.
From what I can gather the rationing of baby milk here in the UK is to prevent bulk buying which is then sold on to China, of all places. 
I don't think anyone wants to prevent Chinese babies from being fed, they are just making sure that babies here in the UK, and their parents, don't find themselves faced with a shortage.
It does say that producers of baby milk for and in the UK are trying to step up production for export.  I don't know if the problem is anywhere else besides China, but Chinese formula milk has been found to be contaminated, resulting in six infant deaths since 2008.  I know that is a small number, but there may be babies who have had their health affected by the contamination, even though it has not resulted in their death.
To me 6 deaths, even spaced out over 5 to 5 and 1/2 years, is six too many.  Deaths should not be the result of ingesting a manufactured product, which SHOULD be safe, given is is for babies.  I hope the Chinese government are investigating how this could have happened.

Monday, 8 April 2013

RIP Maggie

She was one of the most famous women of the 20th Century.  Love or or hate her, she certainly shook up the UK
When she said something, she meant it.  Maybe many women thought she might fight the side of women , but she never represented anything, in my opinion, than her own party.  She didn't seem to mind whose feathers she ruffled in getting what she wanted.
She had to be like that as she was a very strong woman, who unfortunately didn't seem to be bothered whether women loved her and what she stood for.  She could have been a great feminist figurehead, but she was just a very strong politician who happened to wear a skirt.
She was the first UK woman PM, will she be the only one?  Time alone will tell, but I don't think there have been any female politicians as forceful as she was before, and as far as I can tell there still aren't.
Like I said at the start, love her or hate her, you could not fault her for standing her won ground.
We could do with a few more strong politicians in this country, is she the last of that kind?

Sunday, 7 April 2013

A simple thank you would have done.

Anyway, I went shopping  to Aldi the other day.  The one near me has traffic lights to enable customers to use the car park. I was sat in the queue to get out for around 10 minutes, and the lights didn't go green once.  I've seen this happen before, but never been sat in the queue.  I got out of my car and looked where the front car was.  Sure enough it was around 6 feet away from the white line.  So I walked to the front of the queue and pointed out to the driver that he wasn't over the sensor that trips the lights, essentially, the lights didn't know there was anyone waiting to use the junction, so they weren't changing to green.
Did the man say "Thanks" or anything else similar...no he muttered something like, bloody sensor should be further back, I should be over it.  Why not "thanks I wondered why the lights weren't changing"
I found it very rude and totally unnecessary.  Mind you I didn't fancy sitting there all day waiting for the lights to change, I don't suppose the others in the queue wanted to either, but I was the only one who bothered.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Strange pet for the circumstances

Is it just me, or am I correct in thinking that this particular pet is a strange choice.
Someone I know is around 20 weeks pregnant, and has got themselves a pet python. 
To me it seems a very strange choice of pet to have around a small child, unless it is never under any circumstances to be taken out of it's vivarium.
My reasons for thinking it is a strange choice.
1)snakes eat live prey by swallowing it whole
2) Pythons kill/immobilise their prey by squeezing
3) unlike a dog I don't think a python, or any type of snake will respond to verbal commands, as a dog does.  Therefore, if your snake gets hold of something it is unlikely you would get it back unharmed.

All I can say is, snakes are not obedient pets and I hope nothing untoward happens.

In control of our economy?

Just read this article.
I wondered, when did the lunatics get to take over the asylum?
If you read the article, it argues that our chancellor is completely out of touch with real life.  Showing disregard for things when he sees fit.
Should such a man be in control of the economy of the UK?
I know that the chancellor of the exchequer is a doubled edged sword for most who hold the post, because although it is a cabinet post, it is also possibly the most hated post, by the electorate.   It doesn't matter who lives at number 11 Downing Street, whoever they are, sooner or later they will make tax savings, etc. which will make people unhappy.  The only people who are possibly happy in the country right now are the millionaires who got a tax cut that they probably didn't even need, and possibly will not notice either.
I'm not particularly political, and just wish that politicians could get together and run the country for the good of the country despite party differences, but that will never happen. 
Although this government seems to be hell bent on increasing the gap between those who work for a living, and those who don't have to, into a crevasse that wouldn't look out of place in a glacier.
Yes, everyone gets a vote, but the politicians don't always keep their word when they are elected, which to me is gaining the post under false pretences.  I'll leave you with that thought.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Benefit changes

In their infinite wisdom?   our government has made certain changes to the benefits system here. 
Some I find difficult to get my head around.  Like the friend I have who suffers from Arachnoiditis, and has had his Disability Living Allowance taken away from him.  Even though he could become paralysed with no warning at all.
Many people are complaining about the so called "bedroom tax". 
I did wonder exactly what the "bedroom tax" was, so I looked it up.  Basically the government are saying that people existing on benefits can not expect everyone in their household to have a separate bedroom.
Now from an in all fairness viewpoint.  Why should families on benefits, and not working, have the luxury of separate bedrooms for everyone in the household?
My Dad worked right up until his early retirement, paid his taxes etc.  Didn't claim any benefits at all.  My sister and I shared a bedroom right up until my sister got married. We would have loved a room each, but Dad didn't earn enough.
I'm sure there are families where both parents work...or in the case of single parents....the parent works, and work very hard, but can only afford to have shared bedrooms for their children.  So why should they subsidise people who don't work?
Although the bedroom tax seems harsh, it only applies to people who are on housing benefit...in other words...the state puts a roof over their head...so why should they have better than the lower paid hard working people who claim no housing benefit?
And what prompted my deep thinking about this subject? 
I have a niece who has not worked since she left school pregnant at 16.  She has three children, one of which is disabled in some way....yet she has a roof over head  paid for by the state...a mobility vehicle, again, paid for by the state, she has a much better standard of living than I have, yet she is  dissatisfied with life.....
She hasn't spoken to me for 8 years because I wouldn't take time off  from a job I had just started....in order to look after her middle child., but that is another story.  I'm not jealous of her in any way, but can see exactly what the government are trying to achieve in her case.

Are we decent?

Well, I am. On the very odd occasion I have had to go out with my nightwear on, I have covered it up with day time clothes, a skirt and a coat covering a night dress, or pyjamas.  ( I do tend to wear long skirts)
But around where I live I have recently noticed young women, and some not so young, walking around in what is quite obviously their nightwear.
Why is it obvious, because no one walks around with teddy bears on their trousers, unless they are less than two years old.
And I do have a pair of the boot variety of slippers, but I don't walk around outside in them.  I can't walk so far without my insoles, and the floppy nature of the slippers would not support my ankle enough.  The people I see out in these have usually trampled them sideways, or the backs down.
And these people usually are wearing an obvious wraparound dressing gown, you know the type, the style that used to be just for bathrobes, but is now almost universally used as a dressing gown.

After seeing more than one on several concurrent days, I mentioned it to my Mum when I spoke to her.  She said, partly in jest , I think.  "perhaps it's a new fashion trend."
So I looked online, and yes, it was started by certain famous women around two years ago, but they were wearing silk pyjamas that were too pretty to sleep in, as lounging daywear.  I did find a picture of a certain male person wearing silk pyjamas and silk dressing gown...All I can say is I am glad I wasn't about to eat, as the sight turned my stomach.

So... I came to the conclusion that ...yes there is a fashion trend for wearing your pyjamas in public, but what the people around here need to get their heads around is....the PJ's should be pretty and not have the ..."just crawled out of a jumble sale reject pile look" about them.  Oh, and the pictures I found...the pretty PJ's were dressed up further by heels and jewellery.
There might be a very valid reason for these young women to have been outside in their nightwear, but unless it was a matter of life and death, they really should have got dressed before going out.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Just a conclusion

And my conclusion is, that spending a lot of time on your own makes you introspective. 

Yes, I've come to the conclusion that I think about things quite deeply and I wish I didn't at times.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Should this have happened?



On Tuesday the government has announced the sale of the search and rescue service. It will no longer be manned by the RAF.  The ITV news story is here.
Now I’m not sure, but it seems rather strange to sell the service to an American company from Texas.  I can appreciate that the government might want the cash input, but what do Texans know about the British Isles. Should they have had to pass some sort of test?  I realise that rescue services are probably transferable, but the UK on a whole varies much more than Texas.  And yes, Texas has a coastline…on the Caribbean.  I know they get hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes, but I seriously hope they employ UK helicopter pilots to fly the rescue helicopters.  Pilots who are used to the UK and all its foibles.  At this present moment I suspect that the sale went to the highest bidder as is normal, but it remains to be seen if the company who has got the service, is the best for the job, and only time and successful rescues will tell there.  Also, I hope the government are going to put the money they have acquired to good use in helping our economy, and it benefits every man, woman and child in the UK, as after all, it was a public service that they sold off, supposedly in the public domain.
Another point has just occurred to me, will the new PRIVATE company charge for their rescues?  Because I don’t know of any private companies who give their goods/services away for free.  Is this a retrograde step for the search and rescue service of the UK?  What do you think?