Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Back in the swing

I've got good intentions of getting back into the habit of popping in here each day for a chat with you, but some days it just won't happen between now and the end of term........there are so many dilemmas to resolve with the girls and their plans, to start with!

Choosing a sixth form college has got so many challenges that I think that the YFG would almost rather someone took the decision out of her hands, but no way!  She has to make her own plans, and this is as good a place to start as any.

She had a fantastic prom last Friday night - she looked lovely, and had a trip in a limo all the way to the venue [shame about coming home in a beat up old Skoda but I joked that the carriage had turned into a pumpkin!] and had a great time with her friends......we did NOT go down the route of spending a fortune, though, as you know us better than that.  The dress was a £50 long affair from the Asos website - she ordered three, one after the other, and we sent each one back until she fell in love with the one she wore.  She bought some high heels in nude, and a gold clutch bag, which will be useful to use again for another event - and I hope she gets more wear out of the dress too, for that matter.  One of her friends spent approaching £500 on her dress and I was shocked!  This was a Year 11 prom, for goodness' sake, not a wedding........sanity and reason and proportion seem to have gone out of the window for some people.  And that dress definitely was not ten times better than the YFG's although it did have more sequins.

I am waiting to hear whether I have been shortlisted for interview for the church job: closing date was today so I have got my fingers crossed.  Will let you know if I hear anything - the interviews will be next Thursday, so I hope I get the chance to go!

And the weather!  "Scorchio" seems to be the new word for describing this heat wave weather we are having here.  I think that the mercury got up to 27C here today - probably a bit higher but I didn't spend long enough in the car to check and that is the only place I see the temperature!  The YFG has turned down a planned trip to Lincoln uni tomorrow with the school as she didn't fancy 4 hours in a tin box [coach] sweating, for about four hours walking around the university, sweating, in the sun.  I took the EFG to Lincoln to an open day and have agreed that I will take the YFG it it turns out to be somewhere she would like to consider - but not tomorrow.  They apparently don't do an anthropology course, so she may not be that interested in the place anyway.

L-o-v-e-l-y to hear from all of you, and  I shall sort out the knitting pattern for the one who asked very soon - I didn't publish your comment as I didn't want to put your email address out there!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Morning, all!

I'm back: the job application is handed in, the final trial service is done, the prom is over and the quarterly Bible study group met on Saturday.  There are still tax forms to be done, but we can get those done very soon!

I've had a breather, but not much of a rest, and, sad to say, no knitting has been done!

My dad was here for lunch on Father's Day, and the FH's son is out of prison, so he came over to visit yesterday afternoon - bit of a surprise and I may have pushed a couple of speed limits to the maximum to get back from the north of the county when I heard he was here, as I knew he would have to be getting home for the curfew.  It was lovely to see him - and he did not stop talking for just over an hour!

The garden is looking good - full of food - we have lettuce aplenty and I had my first tiny courgette of the season in a risotto for my tea last night!  Strawberries and raspberries are being eaten straight from the plants, warm in the sun, and there are cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes growing well in the greenhouse.

Would love to linger and chat longer, but I have to join a panel interviewing for new Teaching Assistants this morning, so I had better get a move on - lots to share so will be back soon!  Thanks for your patience these past two weeks xxx

Friday, 19 June 2015

Voucher news

Just popping in to say that I have just been told that there is a £5 voucher in the Sun today which is valid when you spend £40 in Lidl - and it is valid for 5 days.  Hope that helps someone!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Toodle pip!

I am signing out for a while - there is too much going on in real life at the moment, and I don't want to post meaningless twaddle, so I hope you will bear with me if I have a little time off.

Tomorrow is the YFG's last GCSE exam so I want to spend a little time with her, celebrating......I've got Tax returns and tax credits forms to fill in, a very important job application to fill in, and some house work and decorating to get done before our EF students move in at the end of August.  I need to take a breath and just catch up with myself here a little.

I will keep reading your blogs, and hopefully I will only be away a week or two.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

We've had visitors!

We've had some lovely doggy visitors - and their owners are pretty lovely too!

Here we have Belle on the left, her dad George in the middle and mummy Tilly on the right.  Tilly is the leader of the pack, but somehow George seems to have got out in front on this occasion.
George is a Bichon Frise, Tilly is a Westie, and so they call Belle a Wee-chon!

We have had a relaxing weekend, with late nights and lie-ins, lots of chatting and endless cups of tea, just like old times.

The girls loved the dogs and took them out for walks each morning - and now I am getting lots of beseeching looks, asking whether we can get a dog!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Just one day

But it has felt like three, I think!

The EF exchange girls we are hosting this September found out today that we are their host family and the YFG has been talking to them both via Facebook and Skype, answering their questions and telling them more about where we live.

Image result for AustriaImage result for denmark
(images from en.wikipedia.org and telegraph.co.uk)
One is from Austria and one from Denmark.  

And, excitement - the application form was released with the job description for the church job that I want to apply for!  It has been S-O long coming, and now I am really apprehensive about filling the forms in and making sure I "sell" myself to the panel....

I've done four hours on the phone, been to a governor training session, and am about to go to bed!  Visitors coming tomorrow for the weekend - so pleased that they are coming, and excited, but the girls are finding it hard to get motivated to be excited because they can't remember the folks, because they were so young when we left Cupar, and we haven't seen these friends in the flesh for 15 years - some serious catching up is to be done this weekend!

Image result for Cupar
(image from en.wikipedia.org)

Preston Lodge, one of the oldest buildings in Cupar - and I used to clean the communal stairwell and hall here when I did cleaning for a local agency!

Image result for Hopetoun monument
(image from geograph.org.uk)

Hopetoun monument was our "homecoming" land mark for Cupar - as soon as we could see that tower on the hill in the distance, we knew we were nearly home.  

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Spending Nectar points

If you go over here you can see a lovely lady modelling a dress I "bought" today - the second one in the post, with the plums on it!   The dress is very well made, fully lined [skirt and bodice] and has lovely covered buttons at the back.  I love it!

The girls and I spent time on the internet at the weekend looking for a dress for me - I have two occasions coming up for which a dress would be appropriate attire, and I don't have many dresses [any!] that would do.  We looked all over the place and they were all too flashy [too much skin showing] or too long, or for holidays, and altogether just not ME!

I had seen the dress in Sainsbury's a few weeks ago at full price and liked it at the time, but at £20 and without a specific reason to buy it then, I just admired it and carried on.  Then a few of them ended up on the sale rail at £10 but I didn't think the sizes available would fit.  

But the futility of the internet trawl at the weekend persuaded me to make a purchase yesterday!  I took a chance on a size 14 from the sale rail, and bought it with my Nectar points.  I had over £50 in points on my card, a benefit of being awarded £25 of points sometime after using a set of vouchers.  So, it is really a "free-to-me" dress, and when I got home and tried it on - it fits beautifully!  Now I just need to find a cardigan or shrug to go with it - although I do have a jacket which would be great if the weather is a little chillier.  

I don't buy many clothes at all, so it was a luxury for me to splash out yesterday and not feel the pennies pinch at all!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Free is good

Just a quick note tonight to say that I have noticed that Fishpond.com has free worldwide shipping, so if anyone wants any of Rhonda Jean's books from Australia, this is a good opportunity.  I bought her first hard back book a year or two ago on one of these offers and I am so glad I did as it is a great book, and I just couldn't wait for it to be released over here!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Counting down

The pressure is on as the YFG enters her last full week of exams - it is a good job that the EFG is home now as they have been sat at the table most of the afternoon going through Maths stuff, and I have forgotten all the rules about sin, cos and tan, so I wasn't much help!

We've also got houseguests arriving on Friday from Somerset and we are still a bed short....we are working hard on making the EFG's old room into the guest room for these people and then for the students, and we are going to be hard pressed to be ready by Friday!

AND the girls are going to a John Barrowman concert in Cambridge with my sister Friday night for their birthday treat.......and I have a chapel event on Saturday afternoon, which is going to need baking doing in advance - nothing fancy though: cheese scones and ginger cake - plain but so good!

Just got to iron the YFG's uniform and then I am off to bed - had a lovely snooze in the sun this afternoon with the cat by my side, as well as about an hour's knitting out there too, so I am not complaining - if I wasn't busy, I'd be bored.  Hope you have had a great weekend.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

A day on the move

I've been hither and thither all day today - gymnastics, a tip run for the stuff we are clearing out, a church service a little way away and then pottering in the garden: two lawns cut tonight, three more to go tomorrow!  Had a lovely chatty evening with the girls, and a game of chase the ace, which I hadn't played before and lost both times.  The YFG cooked my tea whilst I was grass cutting, so I enjoyed not having to cook tonight too - luxury.

The church service was the recognition service for another new local preacher, and she is a lovely lady so I wanted to go along to support her anyway, but the minister rang up last night and asked me to do one of the readings, so I had that to do too.  It was an interesting afternoon, and gave me food for thought for my own service next month.

My dad's back from his latest jaunt around the Med, and on antibiotics for a chest infection. His partner has a terribly sore throat and can hardly speak, so they are not in the best of health between them!

Hope you are all having a good weekend - we had planned to watch the Space Station fly over tonight but we were too busy talking and forgot all about it!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Food banking

The EFG toddled off on the train Tuesday morning to go one of the Fens food banks, and what an eye opening day she had.

There was a clear lack of communication to start with, as the only address she had been given was one of the venues where the food is actually distributed, so she turned up there at the appointed time, to find the place deserted.  Thinking wisely, she went to a local church cafe in the town and made some enquiries there, and was directed to another venue about half a mile away, where the food is actually stored and sorted.  So she arrived there half an hour late to a cheery lady saying, "Oh, you found us then!" to which my sassy teenager wanted to reply, "Well, no thanks to you lot!" but held her tongue, thank goodness.

She did two shifts, to make the train fare worthwhile since she had to travel at a peak time and couldn't therefore use her Young Person's Railcard, and had two sets of people with her over the two shifts.  She reports a lot of tin-shuffling, from this box to that and back again as people could not decide, for example, whether pork and beans was a "meat" or a "vegetable" and whether condensed milk was a "pudding" or an "extra" - and she noticed that people in the second shift reversed decisions that the first shift had made, which made for a lot more re-jigging of stuff!

The food bank depot actually supplies several distribution centres so there was a lot of stuff coming and going, since it seems that the distribution points don't store the food and it all has to be taken in and brought out again each time.  A lady in a van does all this picking up and dropping off each time.

The EFG is an organiser, and likes to be efficient, so all the tin-shuffling frustrated her, and the reversing of decisions made her fume when she got home!  She will continue, and reflect on the lot of the volunteer in these situations.  I am going to give her some money next week to buy some bits and pieces in the local shop on the way to the food bank so that she can make a donation there on our behalf, so she will be sussing out what they are short of next week so that our contribution is of things that they need - she reports that there can't be a lot of tea left in China as most of it is there!

There is another food bank more locally that she is investigating to help out at on another day, so we will see what her experience is like there.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Sharing the love

I found a new recipe site tonight, and I had to share!  Especially when the writer has great looking recipes like this Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bar - looks great!  And then over on another site I check out now and again, there's a list of frugal bloggers you might already know - but there's a couple in there who are new to me, so I am sharing in case you hadn't found them yet either.....

Great news from the Circuit meeting tonight in that the service to accept me as a preacher in the circuit has been arranged for Saturday 18th July - so pleased to have got this far at last!

And now, after a hectic day here and there, I am off to my bed.......the foodbank will still be there tomorrow.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Some days

Some days, I wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew, and wonder in which areas of my life I could cut back on the responsibility......

This week is stacking up with phone work, church meetings, school responsibilities and challenges, gym, and meeting the lady who will place the students with us - so some manic tidying up is on the cards tonight and tomorrow!

I desperately want to start knitting that sock, and just haven't got head space for it this week.....maybe next week will look more promising - I doubt it though.  The end of the month is looming in my mind already and the need to find another 100 quiz questions for the chapel quiz!  Next time I volunteer for something, I need a gob-stopper!

The EFG has been to the food bank today, but that's a tale for tomorrow x

Monday, 1 June 2015

Early days

Monday and Tuesday each week, I usually feel like I have a cliff face to scale, and then by Thursday, I am coasting, and the weekend is a breeze!  I can never really motivate myself to start work on a Monday - of course, I do eventually - but it is usually late in the morning or even in the early afternoon.  Today, it was about ten to two before I dialled a number......there is just so much else that I want to be doing and today I did two loads of washing, cleaned up the kitchen, watered the houseplants, finished the ironing and put it all away, enjoyed a cuppa whilst I did a few rows on the scarf I am still knitting,  had a chat with the EFG and prayed the YFG through a history exam......

Tomorrow the EFG is off for her first shift at the food bank: she isn't quite sure what to expect, but I am looking forward to hearing all about it when she gets home.  She's doing a double shift, which is two two-hour shifts, as she thought that would be more worthwhile since she has got to pay the train fare to get there.

She was disappointed to get an email this morning saying that her claim for a refund on her train tickets has been denied.  I was not happy, and told her to get Tweeting about it - she is a regular customer on the Virgin East Coast mainline and that is not the way to treat good customers!  She soon had a Tweet back telling her to ring a helpline, which we did, and had a helpful chat with a chap who is understanding and keen to progress her claim for her.  Watch this space on that one!

And my little circular needle arrived this morning - so I am all set to start my sockalong, as soon as I finish the scarf......which should be soon, I hope!