Friday, 1 August 2014


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There is a commemorative event at the Royal British Legion tonight, and UJ is coming over so that we can go together.  I have had a quick look at a programme this morning, and there will be readings, sketches, songs, prayers, and a Drum head service, as well as an act of remembrance, reading out the names of all local lads who were killed.  It will last just over 90 minutes, and I think it will be well worth attending.

Editing to add that we have had a lovely evening - some local singers, lots of war poetry, rolls of honour read out and remembered, the village band playing their hearts out, and some great company.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Catching up with friends

I've had a tour around the countryside this afternoon, visiting.  It's been good.  I started off close to home with my sister and another very good friend in the local town, and then went a little further afield and went to the FHS's flat, where I gave him some veg and eggs, and pickles and potatoes [like Harvest festival!] and he gave me the casket he has made for the FH's ashes.  It is made of cherry veneer and will eventually darken in to a beautiful rich red wood, and I am told I need to polish it properly with wax polish....have to get some!  We had a chat whilst he had his lunch and then he went back to work and I went on my way.  I eventually got to my friend, B's house at about 3.20pm, much later than I had intended, but she didn't mind.

We have been friends for so long, and used to see each other and talk all the time but then our paths diversified and she has become a HLTA in a secondary school, working with SEN children and low ability English groups - she is fantastic and even has her own classroom come September!  The school really appreciate her, and she is just lovely.  Even though we keep in touch, it had been some years since I had seen her in the flesh, so to speak, until she came to the funeral last week, so we determined to meet up this week, and I think we will do so again before school relaunches.  She knows me so well that she said that she had imagined me watching a DVD of Monarch of the Glen, and enjoying the peace and quiet - she was so right as I watched three or four episodes Sunday afternoon whilst trimming beans.  We both had a bit of a thing for Lloyd Owen back then when MOTG was on TV every Sunday night!

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A good friend is to be cherished, and I have been doing just that this week - I have written several letters to people and enjoyed the therapeutic nature of putting pen to paper and writing my thoughts down.  I'm not sure what the recipients will think, but the thought is there.  Friends and family have been our lifelines in the past weeks, and I am sure that they will continue to be - we just have to be careful not to overload any particular friends, I think.  I am pretty sure that I made a new friend tonight as well - a lovely lady, E, is looking after my sister's farm on FB, and I started chatting away, knowing that my sister is away camping at Carfest this weekend but thinking that she was using her mobile to connect to FB.  It was actually a kind soul in the USA who met my sister through the farming game about 5 years ago, she was telling me, and they have chatted near on daily ever since......the wonders of the internet, eh?!  Anyway, I had a good chat with E tonight - she's near Goshen, I think.

I'm away to my bed now with my heap of library books......I'll let you know about that knitting book when I have had a good look through it, Vee.  Night, all xx

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

It's back...

My baking mojo, that's what.

It had rather a forced return today when I dropped a carton of eggs on the kitchen floor and four of them I had to rescue them and make the first sponge in my new oven.  The oven has been in at least two months now, probably longer than that, and I hadn't made a sponge in it!  The ladies at the chapel were wondering, the head coach at gym was wondering - has she stopped baking?!

I suppose I had - the FH and the EFG were supposed to be losing weight, and that meant that it seemed mean to bake lovely cakes and scones and biscuits and then not let them eat them!  However, today, I made a coffee sponge, and UJ has taken half home with him, and the other half is going to the jigsaw club at the chapel for their afternoon tea tomorrow.  It does look rather good - I'll edit in a photo tomorrow.

My Skoda has just passed its MOT this afternoon, so it is good for another year, and UJ and I went shopping at Lidl to spend the £5 voucher I had, and to get some food for the week ahead.  He came armed with a list, and we managed to get all that he needed, as well as bits and pieces that I had run out of, and between us we spent the requisite £40.  He was very pleased with the prices in there, and think he may be back!

I have also been to the library this afternoon, and luckily found a copy of a knitting book that I have been looking at on The Book People's site for a month or two.  I can have a look at it for free now, and see whether it is worth buying - I suspect I won't buy it now anyway.  There are SO many patterns available cheaply and for free on the internet that books are almost outdated for some subjects.  I can't get to grips with reading novels on the computer at all, I still want a real book for that - but printing off a knitting pattern is simple and easy to file.  I have downloaded one from Ravelry to make myself a wee short sleeved cardigan for next summer - the challenge is that it is knitted on circular needles and I have never done that before, so I shall be on a steep learning curve there.  Just a few more hats to knit for the OCC boxes yet, before I start any thing new!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tuesday's top tips for our holidays

Back to moneysaving today and delighted to report that I have discovered that Tesco Clubcard are offering Cineworld vouchers for just £2.50 in Clubcard points for adult or child tickets.  They are now usually £4/adult and £3/child, so this does represent a saving on the usual Clubcard charge, and could save us a packet on the full cost of a trip to the cinema.

Once the girls are home from the cruise, they are going to have to come back down to earth with a bump - no waiters in the dining room or stewards to tidy the cabin...but I am planning a few wee treats for them, and finding a deal like this makes it all the easier.  I hope that they can agree on something that we can all watch!

One I took on a past visit to Oxburgh Hall

I renewed my National Trust membership in May, so we will be able to make use of that in the holidays as well; I feel a trip to Oxburgh Hall coming on - I love it there, as it is so peaceful and relaxing.  I may not be able to afford to renew the membership next year, so I am hoping to fit in a trip to Blickling Hall as well in August, as I haven't been there before and it is somewhere I have long wanted to visit - it is a bit further afield though.

We shall, no doubt, do a fair bit of mooching around locally with friends, and I dare say that each of the girls will have a shopping trip to Cambridge or Peterborough before the end of the holiday, as their birthday money will probably be burning holes in their pockets - both have birthdays in August.  There will be some shopping to do for the EFG's new life at uni, although my sister has bought her a bale of towels, and I bought a set of crockery from a charity shop in Ely last week, from which she will be able to take some plates and dishes, as she won't need the whole set.

We are helping to run a gymnastics holiday club every morning next week, which will definitely keep us occupied - busy in the mornings with the children and shattered from the experience in the afternoons!

I don't think that the three of us will be going away for a holiday, so we will be having a break at home.  We need time at the moment to come together and enjoy one another's company whilst we can, but try telling that to two teenage girls - I have been refereeing them today via text and I am probably 700+ miles away as the crow flies!

Thanks for all your comments - it is always lovely to hear your thoughts xx

Monday, 28 July 2014

Influencing others

I had a wee cheer to myself this afternoon whilst chatting with my aunt.  She had visited in the week before the funeral with my cousin and cousin's husband and I had sent her away with some pickles for my uncle, from the FH's stash in the garage.  She came out there with me to see which pickles he might like and was impressed with my two back-to-back wardrobe store cupboards.  She came back today with my cousin and in the conversation over a cup of tea, we were chatting about shopping.  I have been encouraging her to try Aldi, and asked her if she had been yet.  She shared some of the bargains she regularly picks up in Farmfoods and encouraged me to have a look in there too!  Then she said it - she has been inspired by my storecupboard and has started her own wee stash in a little cupboard in her bedroom - woo hoo!!!

Thanks to our cupboards, and stashes, I still haven't done a "big shop" since the FH died.  We have veggies aplenty in the garden, and it is no hardship to get our five-a-day from the variety we have there.  The two fruit baskets we have received have kept us well supplied in that respect, and I am going to have to make apple sauce with the last of the apples so that they don't go to waste.  I am going to go to Lidl this week, as there are a couple of things we are running out of, but we don't need an awful lot.  There was a £5 voucher for when you spend £40 last week in a newspaper which I saw quite by chance, so I shall endeavour to make use of that, but I may go on Wednesday afternoon and take UJ along for the ride in case he wants anything too.

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Life without the girls here is definitely quieter, but I am doing OK.  I have had lots of phone calls and texts from them, and they are having a lovely time - they were in Stavanger today and it was HOT they reported!
Life on the ocean wave seems to suit them, and they are doing their own thing a lot of the time and just meeting up with my dad and MB for meals.  Dad is happy that they are having a holiday and he gets to see them often, but he isn't actually having to take them places or amuse them, thank goodness!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

We are sailing, we are sailing!

The boat has set sail and they are heading into the straits of wherever, out in to the North Sea tonight.  I have had photos of the cabin on Google Hangout tonight, and they have had dinner - I have had several phone calls from them too!  Good to know that they are settled in to the cabin, and I have told them to be nice to the steward, who has already tidied up after them whilst they were at dinner - I told them to leave the place tidy so that he doesn't have any tidying to do!

I would say that I have had a quiet time, but I haven't - between answering the phone to them about four times, I have also had my sister on the phone!  I called in to see UJ on the way home this morning, and have had a mooch around the interwebs tonight so I haven't had time to be lonely.  I like my own company, and I am looking forward to reading for a while now, in peace and quiet.

Church in the morning, and then I may tackle sorting out my bedroom - I am concentrating on the north facing rooms whilst it is hot, and then I can do things in the south facing rooms later on - I do have to do the washing up now before I go to bed, but the sitting room is nearly sorted.  I have also picked a big colander full of dwarf beans tonight, from just one short row of plants, and must pick the other two rows in the morning before it gets hot again.  This variety is called Ferrari, and they are rather prolific!

Scandi adventure beckons

I'm about to wake the girls up!  They are off on their travels this morning - 0830 in Cambridge is the first stop to catch the bus down to Southampton.  We have suitcases packed, krone stashed in purses and Graze boxes [courtesy of the EFG's generosity] for the journey.  They are a wee bit excited!