Sunday 29 October 2023

Am I just spiting my own face?


           I do have 'glimmer' moments in my life and I need one now.

In 2003 I started a Smart Group's chit chat group with another woman, who decided after getting a job, she was too busy to run it. It was called '12 Friends;' I carried on and in 2023 we are still going strong.
Numbers have changed over the years and so have the members. Smart Groups ceased and Yahoo took over, but we kept going. 
In recent years we left the 'umbrella' of  Groups to just using our email addresses and so we have continued. Over the years we've had babies born, grand children, not us! Two members have died, which was very distressing, as we didn't know right away. I got married, one other member's partner died and another member's husband also died. 
We are like a family looking out for each other, writing every day.
 Our daily emails reporting, what we were doing, family news, weather, cake making, dieting, gardening, crafting, moans, just the sort of things women talk about. 
In this last four or five months, it has been just 4 of us, but we still managed between us on average, 30 or more posts a day.
But.... someone who hadn't replied or written for months on end has suddenly popped up and said she hadn't any mail and said she thought she had been dropped off the group posts, as she wasn't 80!!
I feel insulted and aggrieved, if she had written, we would have answered her, but there has been nothing for months. She was always saying her large garden took all her time and we thought just that. She doesn't have a TV,  so her evenings would be free to write?  
I want to quit the group that I started and feel she has in some way sullied us. I've thought about it and worried about it and feel very unhappy about the situation. 
What shall I do?


Saturday 28 October 2023

Rain, and on a Saturday too!

 Don't you hate it when you've planned something and rain stops play! We wanted to garden today and the rain is coming down in sheets. There are some very healthy dandelions that have popped up in our new 'fence flower bed' So annoying, I even noted a Rose Bay Willow herb growing!  

 Where did that come from? A very pretty flower but they spread like mad! Years ago the rain would not have deterred me, but as these days I'm not able to style my own hair and visit a hairdresser, I'm loath to get it wet.

But very good news on the weight front, I lost 2 pounds last week! I was amazed. I did have some very, very good days but Thursday, the day before SW we went to Costa and had a cheese and ham toastie and a mince pie. We didn't have it warmed with cream, but might do nearer to Christmas!

And I am knitting socks again, I can manage with DPN as they are shorter and I've even bought a new sock knitting book.

My youngest GS wears them all the time when he gets home from work and requested some.
Last evening on Gardeners World Monty spoke about his dog Nellie who died last week. It's been a whole month since our Nell went over Rainbow Ridge so my tears fell again. 

Run free Nell we'll never forget you.


Two books that made me think very differently!

Summer people are what the residents of Unity Island off the Maine coast, call the many summer visitors, who come to holiday there during the summer months. The inhabitants are a very tight knit community, who have lived there for generations and who pass their properties down through the generations, as most are too expensive to buy.
The story is set around four people, who all go on their own emotional journeys, discovering things about themselves and others. I cared for and liked all the characters, and it was hard see them to go through the confusion and pain, but it was addictive and I was immersed in their world.
 Vee, who left the island without an explanation, when she was a teenager leaving her best friend Stirling, returns for the summer with her rich husband Mike. They meet up with Stirling and his wife Rachel, and the two women are drawn to each other. The plot follows the developing sexuality of Vee and Rachel with a great deal of sympathy.  
It is written with great sensitivity about the women and while usually this sort of storying doesn't appeal to me, the author gets so deeply into the psyche of the characters, she evoked my sympathy for them. I was totally immersed in the story; I was there on Unity Island and loved it.  
There is the hint of a secret as to why Vee and her mother left the island secretly at night years earlier, which is revealed at the end. 'Summer People' will appeal to readers who enjoy romantic novels, especially ones that focus on gay relationships. It is a book brimming with love, hope and loss and I loved spending time in this world. I highly recommend this book, that will remain with you long after the final page.


This story is told by two voices, Olivia Acfee a single mother, survivor of domestics abuse,  raising her son Asher, while running a bee keeping business, that she has inherited and Lily Campamello. Lily is 18 years old, who has left her old life behind and moved to New Hampshire for a new start, with her mother Ava.

The story goes back and fro between these two points of views and back in time to tell the gripping story. The characters are highly believable and the subject matter is disturbing and controversial, including abuse, suicide, abortion, gender equality and interracial couples. This book opened my eyes and heart to issues that I'd never understood before.
We are left on the edge of our seats many times and there are the usual twists and jaw dropping moments thrown in. I never would have thought I'd enjoy a book so much that was about transgender, but I did.
And we learn about bees, there were long depictions and elaborate descriptions about bee keeping and the nature of bees and the magical healing power of honey. I loved the way Jodi Picoult weaves this into the story seemingly effortlessly.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it is well written by the two authors and I'd recommend it as a great read.



Wednesday 25 October 2023

A different phone call with a very happy result!

I wrote a little while ago about how I felt really hurt when I received that horrible phone call.
I had decided that I wouldn't send her a birthday present.
But I couldn't not. I've always just sent a small little something, just a token pressie.
I saw this on line and it looked just right.

It was very nice, and the socks were very pretty too, as well as the chocolate drink.

She was delighted and we had a long phone, which was lovely. I reminded her that I didn't have a mum, as she died when I was two years old, so we're talking which is lovely. I've missed her, as it had been months since we had spoken.

Thank you to all of you who suggested that I let bygones be bygones. A  happy result.  I'm knitting socks as my grandsons have worn theirs out and my DD had claimed one pair to wear with her boots so my needles are clicking!

WHEW!! I feel amazing as also I've seen a Dr yesterday and have had some gentle tabs to help with my insomnia and I've slept really, really well. 


Tuesday 24 October 2023

That was a nice afternoon.

 Although we still have our groceries delivered (started in the first lockdown) we now pop to Tesco for individual yogurts, because they don't deliver them. We go on a Monday afternoon, because it is usually quiet. Having slept really well Sunday night, after 3 nights of insomnia, I walked into the store quite happily with my wheels, Dh has the trolley, but after half an hour of walking up and down the aisle my legs were saying.. no more! We were looking for a Welsh firm that made beef products like beef pies with pastry, as that's what Dh has chosen for his birthday with mash, greens and gravy. So we were looking to see where they were stocked on the shelves; a while ago I'd seen them in an end of aisle fridge. They were opposite caws (cheese) Yes, all the labels are written in Welsh with the English under

By the time we got home I was shattered, so no cleaning, no gardening and no clearing out, but we had taken a bag of books to the charity shelf in Tesco, so some clearing done! And I did get a nice card for my GD who has just passed her last Accountancy Exam, so now fully qualified as a Chartered Accountant. My youngest GS phoned on Sunday to tell me he is now a practicing Paralegal and his brother has now got his Doctorate and can now be addressed as Dr.. I've always included  their qualifying letters after their names so now he is Dr...... BSc Hons and it seems with even more letters, wow! It seems my grand children are very clever, obviously taking after their grandma!

When we got home, the builder from number 14 was just finishing and came to chat. He is the son in law of the lady who was living there. She has been living in a flat that he and her daughters own, while the work has been on going. Now over 2 years, covid, shortage of materials and he had an accident so wasn't able to work for months.  She isn't coming back,  but he, Ian, and his wife, Debbie hope to move in after Christmas. He was very nice and when we remarked that we liked the design of the house, he told us he had drawn the plans. It is very pretty, a house now from a bungalow. When the skip and all the bits have gone I'll take a photo.

And we have bought our first Christmas item, a jar of Fig and Balsamic chutney. Yeh!

So overall a pleasant afternoon, altho no cleaning  etc completed there's tomorrow?


Monday 23 October 2023

Just stuff.

 Dh and I have had a crisis talk this morning, we have loads of things that need doing but we keep avoiding them, we've let things get on top of us and so hence the talk.

We've had everything major that needed doing,  done, but there are some little things that only we can do and that is sorting out the end bedroom. We have pictures, photos, books, and other stuff. And that's it, it's just stuff. Do we really want it all?

When my aunts died I had the job of clearing their house. They had lived there for over 60 years and never threw anything away. There were suitcases as well as wardrobes full of clothes, that hadn't been worn for years, but also as well as personal items there was china, boxes and boxes of it and bedding. Years earlier they used to run a  B&B business,  hence the china. The three of the four bedrooms were full. It took me several weeks with my daughter helping on one weekend and my school friend who used to come after work. I did have a firm to take some furniture and boxes of saleable items, but it was hard work.
Our end room isn't that bad but I feel if we had a concerted effort it would be clear and I could sew in there, if, if, if!!

Its a beautiful day, dry and bright and as we had a good front garden tidy on Saturday we feel ready to tackle that end room. I peeped in there and its not that bad, so I should soon be sewing again.
I have this quilt on the go, and with the weather getting colder plenty of time to sew.
We must get that room cleared of stuff.

Friday 20 October 2023

Good day; bad night!

 We still like our coffees in the town and sometimes we are joined by my old school friend, but more often I talk to someone I met one day in town.

She, Pat, lives in a flat in one of the sheltered houses near the town.
Its always interesting to speak to her, she is very informative. Like me she walks with a Rollator, (wheels) which is how we came to speak.
I wheeled up along side her one day, and said, 'Do you want to race?' 

And we both laughed.  Like me her family lives away and she walks to town every day and then often through the main street to the promenade. It's all pedestrianised, so a pleasant walk. She always looks a bit lonely, so I look forward to seeing her. She's always happy to chat.

We managed to wander there yesterday afternoon before the heavens opened. I wanted a card for my GD, who has passed the last of her Accountancy Exams. I wanted to get a really nice one from one of the very pretty nick-nac shops.

We'd been to our Reading Book group  meeting at the library, although why I'm still going I don't know. We were given lists of books last May to choose the next 10 books and so far not one  I had chosen or one of Dh's choice have been our monthly read! In fact I haven't read the last two because I couldn't get into either and also one had very small faint print, so a big no no from me!

But today I've struggled as I'm back to bad nights. We've been to the Slimming World meeting (I lost a miserly pound!) And then drove to Costa, not our own town one, but out of town, just for a change. It was crowded and very noisy so we sat outside under the awning in the dry. We weren't cold, but then we both wear wool. me a cardi and Dh a jumper, under our coats. It was really pleasant in the fresh air and interesting to watch the cars and people. 

Home now and the plan is to do some housework!

But I'm back to bad nights. I started to cry about Nell when we switched off our lights last night and then couldn't get off to sleep. I kept remembering her warm, chunky body pressed against my legs when she wanted something. Strange but true, when she wanted nibbles in an evening, she came to me to ask Dh for her. It was always quite funny how she turned back to face me and then looked to Dh; such a love.

Dh talked me through it stroking my back, he is so good to me and eventually I dropped off.. but woke at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep. Stuck it in bed for an hour and then went into the lounge with my kindle. I crawled back into bed about 6 ish and bliss went to sleep, till Dh gently woke me to get ready for SW. I was in a deep sleep, warm and comfortable, the best sleep I've had for ages. And all for a miserly pound!

So I have to get myself together and crack on, as our SW consultant once said was said to her, when she complained about her weight to her then Dr.

So another week has whizzed by!

What have your nights or days been like?


Thursday 19 October 2023

Holy Foot Steps.

 I walked here in 2002 in the  footsteps of Jesus. So its with a great sadness to see all the devastation with this on going war. 

We stood across the other side of the Kidron Valley looking at this magnificent dome.

It was an amazing 10 days and something I will always remember.
We stayed out in the desert in a Kubutz, and on the first night we walked out into the desert and sang by the light of the stars and the moon. Whenever I hear or sing, ' Be Still for the Presence of the Lord.' I am right back there. 
We walked through Jerusalem and went to the Wailing Wall to put our prayers. We had communion in the Garden of Gethsemane and at Galilee. I picked and still have some little pebbles from the shore line.
It was an amazing experience, but even then, there were bombings. We spent our last 3 nights in the seaside town of Natalya. The feast of the Passover was being celebrated and a bombing happened a short distance from our hotel.  Quite frightening, we walked to see where it had happened the next day, 5 people had been killed and buildings with every window broken. 
The war is still going on in the country of the 'Chosen People.'
But I have been there, and walked in Holy Foot Steps.


Wednesday 18 October 2023

A better day.


,,,,,,,for the comments on my post. After spending some time in the garden, putting my dahlias to bed for the winter, I felt a lot better and my mood lifted. I have so many blessings to be thankful for.
Nothing like the fresh air to blow away the cobwebs and there was plenty of wind yesterday to do that, but I wasn't cold. Dh mowed the back grass and strimmed the edges, so although we've still weeds and growth to deal with, it is looking a lot better.

Shame the rudbeckias blew over in the gales of a few weeks ago, although they still look bright, they are my favourite flowers and I grow them from seed every year.
It's been quite successful growing the cosmos in a pot, thank you Monty for your idea.

I 'm having a reading block again, even authors I really like can't hold my attention. But I saw a book on a blog that interested me by Elizabeth Berg. I've down loaded 'Talk Before Sleep' on my kindle and it reads a bit like Anita Shreve, so my sort of book. She was my favourite author and I felt really sad to read of her death in 2018.
I should say my new Kindle Fire. My 15 year old kindle would no longer down load books, so I treated myself to this new one and I love it, it's back lit, so you don't need a light to read it. I happily read this in bed as it light to hold and I can enlarge the font. 

We're enjoying living here and walk along the promenade most afternoons. The light house is one of the introductory pictures on Songs Of Praise; it always gives me a joy when I see it on the programme.
So I've had a pleasant day, and although the rain arrived just after 3, we just missed it and arrived home from the Library Reading group dry and ready for a welcome cuppa. Life is good, what do think?


Tuesday 17 October 2023

Hurt that won't heal, what would you do?

My mind will not always remember exactly what happened, but my heart will always remember the feeling. 

And as much as I try to forget, its like my heart feels that 'punch' again and I die a little again inside.
My sensible #1son says let it go mum and I've tried, but it won't go away. Worst times are nights when I can't sleep and there are lots of those thoughts; what did I do, or what didn't I do?
Years ago in her teenage years, she was asked to join some friends to play badminton and to bring a friend to even up the numbers and she asked me to go with her. Of course I didn't and she phoned a neighbour to asked her daughter to go with her.
When she was having her first daughter, I was phoned to be with her while she was in labour, her husband had been sent out for arguing with the Dr. I drove the 64 miles like the clappers and stayed right into the late evening.
I was there for every baby crisis; why wouldn't she sleep? Feed? Stop crying? 
And later with the birth of her sons, I was always there if I was needed, although some evenings after a day at work I was tired and ready to put up my feet, but I still drove those 64 miles.

But one afternoon, that phone call ended it all.
A tirade of abuse, shouting and screaming, I burst into tears and hung up.
And since then? I've tried but the hurt I felt has never gone and altho' we have spoken and in fact, she and her daughter and the daughter's boy friend stayed a Saturday night, when we lived in Suffolk, we hardly speak these days. And for the first time ever I didn't send her a birthday present. 
I've decided to let her go, sometimes in life when you're so hurt you can't get back to how things were. I think some days I'll phone but the memories linger and the hurt is still there.
What would you do if you were me?

Wednesday 4 October 2023

An away time.

 It seemed the ideal time to have a break, we haven't been away since we moved house from Billericay, so where to go?

We're not very adventurous and with losing Nell, we just needed somewhere we knew and loved, so we went to Southend. We spent so many very happy days there, summer and winter as it was just 17 miles from where we lived, now its 254 miles!

Rossi's was a firm favourite, their Italian ice cream and outside seating facing the sea, perfect.

So there we were at the weekend, watching the little boats and enjoying the sunshine.

It was also to meet up with my #1 son who still lives in Suffolk, a sort of half way place to meet.  And when you're at the seaside you have to have and chips! 
It was so lovely to see my son, it had been 18months since we last saw each other. I hadn't realised how much I had missed him, till be gave me that first hug. Of my four children he is the only one, who keeps in touch regularly and to whom I always knew would help in the past, if I had a problem. 

And of course we had to have one of their delicious ice creams.

It was such a relief to get home, driving on the M25 isn't for us anymore and all the traffic in Essex was horrendous. It was sad when we did get home, no dog to greet us, but we have lovely happy memories of her; she loved Southend too and Rossi's ice cream.