Thursday 30 November 2023

Icy morning.

 Some days we don't do a lot, we pop out for coffee, come home and enjoy sitting and talking. But today we made real effort to cross off some items on our 'to do' list! Our groceries come Thursday mornings, so all the more reason to be up showered and dressed early-ish!

Dh was outside first thing...and now our number can be seen from the road.

We did sit to have our midmorning coffee and then did the next few things on our list. Me plant white daffs in this container.

Pop hyacinths in  pretty pot, had to dig around in the shed for it.
And Dh set up bird feeders where we can see from the lounge.

We can include fat balls now; but not when we had. Nell she picked up the dropped bits. which upset her tum, and we had to clear it up! I peeked in the little greenhouse and the pelargoniums are all good.

Our garden is looking very winter weary, but one penstemon was still flowering.

So a few little jobs done, doesn't seem a lot, but I swept the patio, Dh planted garlic in our little veg patch and we tidied the pots. So a good morning, but oh was it cold; the water in the bird bath was ice and so were my toes by the time I came in! But we're happy with our efforts. The kitchen and bathroom were also cleaned.(yes I donned my tiara!) and 'Sharkie' was pushed around the lounge; no dog to play games with now. She hated all vacs whether they were switched on or not! And love to play catch me dashing round the furniture with the vac !

So we're more or less ready for the weekend. And very importantly we discussed Christmas food, will we make Jamie Oliver's gravy with the roasted veg and chicken wings?? Its only us two, but yes probably!  'We're worth it' 
What about you?

Tuesday 28 November 2023

To walk or not to walk???

It's certainly colder and yesterday and today have been slow days. The garden tidying has been halted and porridge is back on the menu for breakfast. I do really like it but with sugar! Dh's grandson eats it regularly... plain!.. In weather like this, cold and 'misserly' rain all I want to do is stay in the warm, with my book and maybe a nibble or two, except I am staying strictly on the SW food plan, so sweets, crisps, biscuits are not on the plan.  I'm fed up of fruit and so its not easy, but I can make an orange last a long time. In the long ago days, when I was  young, I used to have an orange cut up with thick cream and demerara sugar and never put on an ounce. Well truth be told, I might have, but I never weighed, in fact I didn't even own a pair of scales.

My cousin has lost five stone since June and I've struggled to lose  one! Ok she's much younger than me and walks everywhere. So I need to walk more.  Yesterday we needed some more top soil and there were no suitable parking spaces outside Homebase, so we parked a considerable way away from it. But it was ok, I walked there and back and round and up and down the aisles of the store. The thought of new plants will spur me on to walk!

I'm thinking of getting one of these 'Walks' that are a virtual visual of different places,   Kirsten of  A Letter from Home is doing this and I think it would suit me as 2000 steps a day is about what I can do. I find walking on the treadmill really boring, so this would be ideal. Have you seen them advertised, what do you think?


Thursday 23 November 2023

A pleasant afternoon, but am I getting too old?

 I've spent a very pleasant hour in the garden; these cosmos were well past their finest! I'd left them because I couldn't decide what to put in the pot instead. Then I could picture tulips towering above Wall flowers.

I'd bought the bulbs a few weeks ago, but then we had days and days of rain. My days of gardening in the rain are gone. I did once dig over a veg plot in a storm, ducking in the shed when there was lightning! I must have been mad. No just young! 

I didn't buy the Wall flowers, why? Because I didn't have the picture in my head then. Of course when we went to buy some yesterday, there were none anywhere.. So I bought polyanthas instead.
And it looks very nice, can't wait for them to flower now. 

 And here are the bulbs I planted a few weeks ago.
They have start to shoot already, after all its only 29 days till the shortest day of the year, (22nd Dec.) and then we are down hill to Spring! 
I also pruned the grape vine and tied in the main branches on to the post.
All the dead growth of my Sea Holly was cut back;

and this Verbena Grandiflora Brampton, old growth, gone.
Two of my absolute favourites, especially the Verbena, it's so delicate.

Three roses lightly pruned, and a few weeds pulled
I'm pleased with what I did but I'm really feeling my age, I didn't find it as easy as I used to..
Dh weeded and feeded the grass, front and back, as it is very tumpy because of the big dandelions. So hope it will look a lot better next year. Truth be told, the garden is a lot bigger than we wanted, but we'll keep going and then find a gardener when it really is too much for us!
How is your garden growing?

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Do you binge?

 Usually on a Monday we have a 'Diane' morning.. ie cleaning, called that because our cleaner we had, while living in Suffolk was called Diane. We needed someone to help with the cleaning immediately after my arm/shoulder ops. I am sometimes reminded of her when I use my face cream every morning, because she used to screw the lids back on really tightly. I suppose that was because she had picked them up when she polished my dressing table. But on Monday morning we were waylaid with the need to find out how Helen was in The Archers.

The Archers, is no longer a radio programme of the 'Everyday Story of Country Folk,'  its a lot more, but we still like it and listen to it every day, except last week we missed a five episodes. The Archers Face Book group were discussing Helen's plight, so we had to listen to find out how she fared.

    Rob Titchener, Helen's ex for whom she went to prison, because she  stabbed him, has come back into their lives. Now dying of a brain tumour, he'd ask the local vicar to Baptize him. It divided the village and caused unpleasant memories to immerge for Helen and her family, as there's Jack, age seven, his son; the result when he raped Helen.

It was so good, still the evil sociopath, trying to manipulate Helen on his death bed, but she resisted, yeh!! Good on you Helen. We were almost cheering, daft or what.. I can get very invested in it and I cried buckets when John died; he was killed when his tractor over turned. (1988)

I've so much of my life involved in this programme, I started to really follow it in 1964 when I was a young married house wife. I just love it!!

Have you ever listened to it?

Monday 20 November 2023

What to do when you're fed up with rain and diet...??

I'm not a person who likes rain, I know its good for the garden, (in the summer) but I hate getting wet, so avoid going out if I can.
It's been like this off and on all day.

So what to do?
I picked up my knitting. I have had a request for knitted socks from my youngest grandson.
He's the one in the middle, finished UNI with a First in Law. He is now practicing as a Paralegal.  When asked what he wanted to do when he was a grown up, he always answered ' a job where you wore suits and did a lot of talking!' And when he had a Saturday job as a teenager, his first buy with his wages was..... yes a suit! He is very chatty on the phone and I've always said to his parents, 'Don't speak secrets in front of him!'
He has to tell me what's happening.. a lovely young man, who likes every thing tidy and when he did leave home, my daughter really missed him, as it was he, who whizzed round with vacuum. I just love him to bits!

So more socks it is..The navy cuff and heel caused me big problems. as it is very difficult to knit a dark colour, in artificial light. I had to get out the spot light I used for cross stitching and wear my reading glasses rather than my varilex.

And then when I was feeling fed up with not eating cake, this popped up and it freezes. Unfortunately, we are very good at de-frosting too!
One of the trees, I bought for the new bit of garden in front of the new fence, was a Bramley apple tree with apples on it! So perfect for this....  Bramley Apple Cake.

275g plain flour.

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon 

150g butter

150g soft brown sugar

250g Bramley apples peeled and chopped into small pieces.

1 egg

2 to 3 tbl sp milk

Demerara sugar to sprinkle


Add baking powder and cinnamon into flour

Rub butter into flour until it resembles fine bread crumbs.

Add apple

Pour in milk with egg mixed in.

Mix all together.

To cook

Spread mixture evenly in a greased tin and bake 200 C/ 180 CFan oven for 35 to 40 mins until golden brown and risen.

Sprinkle over demerara sugar while still warm.

Allow to cool in the tin before tipping out and cutting into bars.

You should get 16.


So not a bad afternoon in the rain was it?


Sunday 19 November 2023

A Pick Me Up

It's nearly 50 years since this amazing singer died.. just loved her and she raises me up!

What do you think?


Saturday 18 November 2023

Good advice? But do we need telling?

 In 'old fashion' terms I'm a bit down in the dumps and can't for the life of me pull myself together. The weather doesn't help. dull and dreary and although its not actually raining, its very drippy out!

I am not usually affected by the weather, although a sunshiny day makes me feel happy and more capable to face anything.  But yesterday I felt so old and weary.

According to Professor Chris Whitty,  Chief Medical Officer of England, older people are at a disadvantage. People are living longer but some are in bad health.  Certain areas of the country have a higher aging population and these areas are poor cousins of the big cities, that have more than adequate provisions for the population.

He advocates that 'we'  (The Government?) need to get serious about these areas or we'll end up with large numbers of people leading much more dependent lives. So providing services and an environment in these areas is an absolute priority.

I love,  but also was a bit cynical about his advice for us oldies, to look after ourselves the 'old fashion way.'  ie Eat healthily, exercise and keep fit, I would add to that dress warmly! We already know that and its within our own capability, money allowing ( I do acknowledge that some older people have only their OAP to live in)

He also suggests that housing, transport and other parts of the environment are made more elderly friendly, so people can live out their lives as independently as possible.

Shame some local councils haven't read his report, because here in my home coastal town, a redundant £2.8 million bus terminal is being built, but all but two buses have been cancelled! And its away from the town centre, so why was all that money spent on what the towns' people are calling, the youngsters hang out place?

We feel very blessed that we were able to buy this bungalow and had the money, to make it comfortable to suit our needs; and we're still able to look out for ourselves.    So there's no real need for me to be down in the dumps, the rain has started, but its doing my garden good, with very sandy soil it needs it.. so pulling up my big girl pants and with the radio up loud, I can face what ever life throws at me!

What do you think?


Friday 17 November 2023

Such heart ache.

 This morning at SW the scales showed I hadn't kept to the plan, a half pound gain, so not too bad.. but on the way out, June stopped me to thank me for commenting on her FB page about her mothers' photo and I started to weep. My mother would have been 106 on the 13th of November, and I never knew her. I was just two and a half when she died. This photo was taken when I was nine months old. 

Although my grandmother bought me up. it wasn't a happy childhood and really I was in the way; pushed from pillar to post, to different relatives on buses and trains each summer, to make room for the summer guests.  Born 1887 she had a Victorian attitude and so when I was home, she didn't spare the rod and often screamed at me she could have let me go to the workhouse.
My father had remarried and it was all arranged that my grand parents were to be my legal guardians. Speaking to June brought a flood of memories to my mind and this too. 
I remembered that instead of going home to this pretty little bundle of joy....

There was this on the spare bed. All her things, her bed, blanket, cushion which she loved and her coat with its hi-fiz stripes so she could be seen safely at night, and lead washed ready for the charity shop.

Who would think we'd have such heart ache, I can't stop crying.

Thursday 16 November 2023

An Evil man but a delish mince pie.

 This was our Library book group choice for November. 

    I read it and it was readable, but in my opinion 100 pages too long! I wouldn't recommend it as a good read, in fact one member of the group gave up on it, as she found the main character, a man got into her head, as he was so unpleasant; a sociopath, I knew what she meant. Of the seven of us in the group only myself, my husband and one other member read it. It wasn't liked by any of the others and so they didn't read it. I was disappointed as when we were first given it,  I recognized the author as John Fowles, who wrote 'The French Lieutenant's Woman.' But this was a book of an evil man, a disturbed obsessive who stalks and ultimately captures the object of his desires, a young woman, it was creepy and horrifying.

But when we left the library, the sun was shining so we decided to walk into the town for a coffee. (De-caff in the afternoon or I'd never be able to get to sleep) and with it we indulged in a warmed mince pie with squirty cream and it was delicious! Such a very pleasant change in the weather. We strolled to the fruit shop, bought some russet apples, Dh's favourite and some pears for me. 
We drove home along the sea front; the sea had just some gentle ripples as it came up over the rocks and with the setting sun quite lovely.

It's such s lovely place to live.


Wednesday 15 November 2023

Wheeeeeee !!

Could I do this?

If I could, how do you get up off it when you got to the bottom???


Tuesday 14 November 2023

On a wet afternoon.

 What do you do on a wet horrible afternoon? Well if you're a person who likes to cook, you make marmalade!

Its not Seville oranges season yet, so today Dh has used the prepared tin of marmalade oranges you can buy. Something he didn't know about till he married me! He always used oranges. One year when we were living in Coventry, we hadn't seen any of the oranges for sale, so when someone I knew in my  library book group told me about a green grocer who had some, of course we had to go.
As soon as he got home from work, we shot off to find the shop.
I waited in the car, and then suddenly at the other end of the car park, there he was, running and jumping, holding a bag up above his head.. my Dh over the moon with his Seville oranges!

While he was busy I've donned  my 'Tiara' and cleaned the bathroom.. why a tiara?? Well, I once said to a friend, that when I clean the toilet, I often think  'I bet Kate Princess of Wales doesn't do this,'  and her quick reply was... do you wear a tiara??

I've tidied and cleaned in our lounge..who makes such a mess? Books, papers, empty envelopes, the odd sweet paper and some sewing bits waiting for me to put a tuck in some knicker waistbands, because they are too loose. I must get round to doing them! 

And then I sat in the warm, admiring my lovely cyclamen. 

What are you doing on these wet days?


Sunday 12 November 2023

Do you cry reading books?

 I've just had a weepy session about the book I've just finished reading. I got so engaged with the main protagonist, I wanted her to choose the happy ending. Perhaps it was what I thought was the best for her, or was it what I would have wanted for myself?  Anyway I bawled my eyes out! This was the book, another Julie Cohen and it won't be my last by her,

A romance but not a bit 'chick lit'. Good writing, well thought out and a story to keep you guessing. It was 12:34 am when I finished it last night.

Once when I was first married, to a bit of an unfeeling bastard, (that's a story in itself, which I might tell one day) We were reading in bed and I started to cry, quietly, I add.. and he had switched off his light, and said I was annoying him. He suddenly sat up in bed, grabbed my book and took it and threw it out of the window! 

It was a library book and got very wet and had leaves stuck to it. I dried it out and did take it back to the library and offered to buy a new one, but the assistant said it was ok, it was due to be replaced soon anyway. 

I really knew all the library staff well,  as it was my favourite place to be. And they knew me really well too, as there weren't that many members who came every week or more,  trailing 4 small children behind her!  I even sent them post cards from holidays, to say where their books had visited. I took my children there every week, in fact one of my sons, when grown up had told his girl friend,  that every Saturday morning was spent at the library. And when she asked 'why?' His response was to change our books of course! The library. where ever I've lived has been my first port of call and I've always made friends with the librarian. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn. ( A big thank you )They speak Welsh here!  

Do you love your library?


Am I boring?

 Questions in a 'You gov.' survey I did last week.

Tick what you did in the last 6 months.

1. Rode in a helicopter

2. Did a bungy jump

3. Swam in open water.

4. Ran in marathon.

5. Visited the Arctic.

6. Watched TV.

7. Went skiing.

Guess what I ticked??

Honestly, do you know any one who has done any one of those activities, except watch TV? Even walking I'm careful, thinking of my trip that changed my life. I walk looking carefully at where I'm stepping, paving slabs make me nervous but  the newer Eastern promenade is perfect for me, a flat surface and no pavers.

Altho the new patio isn't what I really wanted it is very flat and no gaps between the paving slabs. Its so flat I am confident enough to walk on it without a walking stick. 

I remember the physio's advice, stride don't tippy-toe, look ahead not down, lift your feet up higher than you think you need to; so I try to just that.  But I still feel nervous. so I don't think I'm ready to do those other activities just yet, what do you think???

Shame there wasn't a question about walking on a beach. This is one of the 5 Porthcawl beaches where I have walked, hard flat sand, super to walk on,

 It looked like this, when I was a child in the summer time.

I played here every day. summer or winter. We even swam by ourselves without adult supervision, from when we were still quite young.
 A care free childhood and we all survived, perhaps we are tougher than I think, so perhaps I could do something in the future apart from watching TV.. ha ha|! What do you think?


Saturday 11 November 2023

Wednesday 8 November 2023

My biggest problem!

 Once again I'm struggling to lose weight. I indulged when it was Dh's birthday on the first of November and have found it really hard to get back on track. I know when I keep strictly to  the Slimming World plan it works, but there are so many things that are pitfalls for me.

An example is just this morning I had an email from a friend who ended her post with,....just going to have my toast and marmalade breakfast...Toast, butter and marmalade is a trigger for me, I could eat it till it was coming out of my ears!!

Just the thought of it makes my mouth water. Yes, you could have this on the SW plan, but not copious amounts!  You can boost your weight loss with the SW plan of SP, which is speed food and protein.. basically veg, fruit and protein no carbohydrates. I have done this and had a good loss, however you are advised to only do this for three days in a week.

I tried this last week, but it was really difficult and at 9:00pm I had some pasta, because I felt hungry. (I really would have liked toast)

So my weight looms large in my mind and probably causes my insomnia because I'm always thinking about it. WTMMF! (will this make me fat!)

We've hesitated to book our places for the U3A Christmas dinner, but it's a way of meeting up with other members, so we will go.

So I struggle on; our SW group meetings are lively and fun, with lots of support from other members, so why oh why can't I just get on and do it??

Any ideas anyone?


Saturday 4 November 2023

It's raining ; mae'n bwrw glaw

I was up and awake at a very early hour, probably because I was in bed before 10 and sleeping not long after that. I don't know why I was so tired yesterday, because I am sleeping a lot better.

With all the rain, we abandoned our SW planned meal yesterday and I made Welsh cawl (lamb broth) with thyme dumplings and it was very filling and just what we need on such a rainy day, comfort food.

There's enough left for today, maybe add another leek and some baby carrots. Dh wolfed it down, and so did I! First meal I've cooked for ages, as with my duff arm I find it all very difficult, but Dh helped by lifting the heavy saucepan and I managed really well. 

We usually go to the library on Saturdays but much too wet today, so I'll pick up my three books, which I had reserved on Tuesday when I have my hair appointment. I'm really enjoying this book by Elizabeth Berg, 'Say When.'

Because this is a new author to me I looked her up, she was born 1948 so just a bit younger than me and she is an amazing writer. Such an insight into people, I love her characters and I'm delighted to see she has written 30 books and this is only the second I've read.. so many, many more to delight in.

Do you do this when you find an author you like, read everything they've ever written?


Friday 3 November 2023

What weather!

 The number of people who think running under the waves is fun is  extraordinary! But I did it, as a child with my friends, all of us getting wet and screaming when the wave caught us!

The wind and the rain, like a lot of the south of Britain, has been really squally and heavy, we even had hailstones. 

But no damage unlike some poor people in other parts of the country, who were flooded. How do they cope with that? My son said a work mate of his's house had been flooded. They had full insurance but the sight of seeing their home in such a mess caused them such heart ache and they were told, it would be at least a year before their house would be livable again, poor family.

The RNLI here had put out warnings to keep away from the sea shore and to my knowledge no one  had got into difficulties.
We often hear the helicopter flying overhead, as we're only 10 mins from the nearest beach.
Hope everyone has survived the storm and not suffered any damage.
How was it where you live?


Wednesday 1 November 2023

A much happier day.

 First I must thank all who gave advice or commented on my last post, I haven't left the group, which in some respects was my own, but I'm not interacting to posts as I used to. But that's all I can do at the moment for my own piece of mind, I'm just taking things slowly.

On a much happier note, today is my lovely husband's birthday so yesterday we bought foods that he fancied; and what he wanted the most was a steak pie made by a Welsh farm company with mash, greens and gravy. So that's our evening meal and for lunch we've had pork pie, coleslaw and green salad. All definitely not SW! And we've been out for a Costa breckie, a cheese toasty and a cake. When you have a Costa loyalty card you get a free cake on your birthday.!

We missed the showers, which when they came have been horrendous, but this little fellow got caught in one.....

He's been scurrying back and fro across our fence sometimes with an apple in his mouth as big as himself. Hope he doesn't notice the figs on our fig tree! He is so entertaining and very busy. I know a lot of people call them tree rats, but he's so cutie looking, how could you not smile when you see him.

I love watching him (or her) as he darts back and fro. Was he always around, because before we had the fence we never saw him?

As it is Dh's birthday I did offer him a birthday treat!! No nothing like that!!  But a walk on the sea front promenade, which isn't my favourist thing to do, but fortunately, rain, hail, wind and thunder and lightning stopped us, whew saved again!!