Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Tragedy and good things

Thank you for comments.  The 'accident' on the motorway appears not to have been a traffic accident, rumour is that it was somebody (a pedestrian) jumping in front of a lorry.  How horrible.  I thought it odd that there were no mangled vehicles when we were finally allowed to drive past 3 hours later, just the 2 lanes and hard shoulder all coned off and little numbered markers placed everywhere, with lots of police milling around.  There was a lorry on the hard shoulder, with the driver sitting on the barrier looking shell shocked - as he would even 3 hours later if someone had indeed thrown themselves in front of his lorry.  Poor man.  My husband had a middle aged man throw himself in front of the bus husband was driving many years ago...fortunately, he managed to stop in time.  He jumped off the bus, dragged the man out of the road and gave him a tongue lashing for putting a busload of passengers at risk.  The man was apparently startled enough to apologise and walk away...Husband still remembers it vividly 40 years later.

Sleep no better, still up in the (very) early hours, I'm sure it will sort itself out soon.  

All my books have now been sorted, with another 2 boxfuls parcelled up to go to Zapper - Ziffit didn't want them!  I have left just a dozen or so I really want to keep, plus another few that even Zapper didn't want that will go to the charity shop.  3 bags of clothes will also be going to the charity shop today.  I'll start on kitchen equipment and crockery next, we have loads collected over the years that we no longer use.  Decluttering is very freeing and strangely addictive!

I continue to lose weight, 1 stone 3 lbs so far.  I now have a 'thigh gap'!  Not had that for years, always had fat inner thighs rubbing together before.  Oh, and whilst sorting clothes, I found 2 pairs of Next jeans, brand new with tags still attached...I'd bought them I think a couple of years ago, they didn't fit, rather than taking them back I obviously kept them thinking oh I'll slim into them.  Ha, they got thrown into the spare room wardrobe and forgotten about.  Well, now they do fit!  So I have 2 lovely new pairs of jeans that I haven't had to buy (ok, so I did buy them originally!).

Raining today, and rain forecast pretty much every day for at least the next week.  Autumn is well and truly here....And it's October tomorrow, hasn't this year positively galloped by, and it's not as if we've even done anything, life has pretty much been on hold for all of us.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

One of those nights

Thanks for your comments, the car's all fixed now, and wasn't eye wateringly expensive either.  Well, I say all fixed...the engine stuff is, there's an engineer coming today to change the passenger airbag, the safety recall thing I think I mentioned.

We went to Devon yesterday morning to meet up with someone, our planned thing from last week that had to be postponed when the car broke down.  All good, except that on the way home traffic came to a standstill just after we'd got on the motorway, we were stuck there for 3 hours, a fatality around 300 yards in front of us.  4 fire engines, 4 ambulances, the air ambulance and a dozen or more police vehicles in attendance...not sure what happened but it was clearly extremely serious.  I'm so glad we weren't involved, but very sad for those that were.  I'm so not cut out for travelling nowadays, I was shattered and really achey by the time we got home - and I don't even drive!

It's stupid o'clock again and I can't sleep, been up for an hour.  I'm having a run of nights where I wake up around 2 or 3 am and am unable to get back to sleep.  I've learnt not to stress about it, it will sort itself out eventually.  I just get up and go downstairs, make myself a hot drink and curl up on the sofa with my tablet, Betty usually comes and snuggles up beside me, she hasn't today though, she's snoring in her bed.  Think yesterday wore her out too, even though she slept in the car virtually the whole time.

I don't have anything important to do today, fortunately, as I'll be fit for nothing come the afternoon.  I'm going to sort through the rest of my books and see if Ziffit or Zapper will take them.  Husband brought in the last of the tomatoes and a huge boxful of apples over the weekend, so I've got those to deal with too.  Quite a lot of the apples are bruised or pecked or wasp nibbled, so obviously won't store, I'll have to process and freeze them for puds or breakfasts, or apple sauce.  I'll roast the tomatoes and freeze in boxes, ready to make soup or pasta sauces through the winter.  The big freezer in the utility room will be full then, there's only just enough room in it now.

Friday, 25 September 2020

The decluttering continues

The car was supposed to be done yesterday but owing to a cock up by the person concerned, it didn't get done, husband quickly made arrangements for it to be done 9 am today somewhere else.  Minor panic when the bloody thing wouldn't start again this morning for him to drive to the garage, but he eventually got it going.  They reckon it's an easy job and should be done in no time...fingers crossed, as I have lots to do in town this afternoon.

Still decluttering, and it's a very liberating feeling.  Have sold my collection of ginger jars, an ergonomic back kneeler stool that just made my back ache 😂, and a tool set of husband's....all for cheap prices, but making a fortune isn't the object, getting rid of stuff we don't use or need is.

I dragged all the plastic boxes containing spare bed linen out from under the beds and went through them all...I knew there was a fair bit, but it was even more than I thought.  7 spare duvet/pillowcase sets that I'd acquired over the years, several fitted sheets and a load of spare assorted pillowcases have now been bagged up to take to the new big cancer charity shop that's opened in town.  I've kept 3 spare sets.

Sorted a boxful of books to Ziffit, £22 worth.  The scanner rejected a lot, but I've now found another book buying app, Zapper, that's similar to Ziffit.  Out of curiosity I scanned a couple of books that Ziffit didn't want - Zapper accepted them, so today I'll scan all the rest.  The only thing is, Ziffit will collect if over a certain weight...Zapper won't, you have to take them to a collection point yourself.  No real trouble, there's plenty of them about.

I've decided most of my yarn can go as well....I only ever crochet in the winter, and it's mostly blankets - I don't do fiddly small stuff anymore (no patience and eyesight not good enough now) and hate sewing in ends.  Fortunately, I've broken my past habit of buying yarn just because I liked the look of it, despite having enough to open a small yarn shop anyway (sound familiar, crafting ladies?!).  I'll bag it up (it will be several bags!) and offer it on Facebook Marketplace and our local village page first, if no-one wants it, it can go to a charity shop.

I've got empty shelves, cupboards and boxes appearing everywhere, it's magic!

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Not as bad as we thought...

Thank you for comments.  The new starter motor is being fitted today, and the cost is reasonable, so much better than we expected.  I do tend to think the worst when things happen, but then it's a pleasant surprise when they turn out to be not as bad as first thought.  Better than the other way round, I guess!

Having seen lots of empty shelves on my brief run round the supermarket the other day, and the queueing measures they're reinstating, clearly expecting hordes of people to start panic buying again, I thought I'd have a look at doing an online shop for delivery.  I expected slots to be booked up for the next couple of weeks but, to my surprise, they weren't at all, there were even a few slots for next day delivery.  Although I did notice the delivery cost had gone up.  So I might do a couple of online orders to cover the next month or so.  

Has anyone got a Food Warehouse near them?  They're basically Iceland frozen food shops on a much bigger (supermarket size) scale, but also do fruit & veg, chilled and store cupboard food, as well as some homewares.  They do frozen foods in bigger package sizes at a very good, 2kg bags of frozen sweet potato fries for £3 (they're generally around £2.50 for a 500g bag in the supermarkets), and big bags of fishcakes also £3.00.  I do like to buy British where possible, meat especially....a lot of their meat isn't British though (sorry but I'm not buying chicken from China!) so have to read labels and be selective.  Another bonus is that they have wide aisles and the shop, on the few occasions we've been in, is rarely busy.

They also do dog beds for £5!  and seeing as Betty likes to chew hers sometimes, I don't mind buying one there regularly.  She used to rip her bed apart a lot when she was younger, but doesn't do it nearly so often now.  And buying a £5 bed even once a month means I don't have to keep trying to stuff it in my washing machine.

A new big Aldi opens in the town next week....we do have an Aldi already, but it's small, tired, decidedly scruffy and limited with stock.  So that'll be good, I don't like sticking to just one supermarket, I like a choice as you can get different stuff in different places.

Funny old weather again, sunny one minute, chucking it down with rain the next.  It's definitely autumnal now though, got a lot colder.  And it's so blooming dark in the mornings when I get up, and seems to take hours before it gets light (well, it would I suppose, seeing as I'm up between 04.00 and 05.00 most mornings).  And dark earlier too, of course....I'm putting the lights on around 7 pm, even earlier yesterday as it was so gloomy.

I've been trying out a few watercolour backgrounds for cards, not really got the hang of it yet but will keep trying, it's quite fun trying things out anyway.  Husband's not done any more on his new wood carving hobby, he's been a bit preoccupied with other things, like the car and clearing stuff out of his garage, and digging up finished veg plants.  He's got the tools now though, so the hobby will be there for him during the winter.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Best laid plans....

So much for feeling so good...

Yesterday morning Betty went to the groomers, we'd intended to go shopping whilst she was there, but had to wait in for someone who'd made arrangements to come round and collect a tool set that husband had decluttered out of his garage.  Well, he didn't turn up and no contact from him so we waited in for nothing (some people are just so bloody rude!).  So we collected Betty and rather than take her home then come out again for shopping, we decided to go straight into town, husband would stay in the car with dog whilst I whizzed into the shop, I only needed a few fridge and freezer bits.  Thought it would save fuel and time, having had a wasted morning.

However, when I came out and got back in the car, it wouldn't start, dashboard lights all came on (so the battery was ok) but engine dead as a dodo.  So we had to call the RAC, who said they were extremely busy and it would take 3-4 hours to get to us.  And this on a day when it was very hot and read 29.5 degrees.  And we had the dog, and I had 2 bags of chilled and frozen shopping....

To cut a long story short, I rang round some friends and eventually found someone who could come and collect me, Betty and the shopping and bring us home, leaving poor husband there.  I'd nipped back into the shop and bought him several bottles of water and a chocolate bar to keep him going, Betty drank nearly a full bottle, poor thing, she doesn't do well in the heat, just like me. The shopping was mostly defrosted by the time I got home, luckily it was mostly veg, and poor Betty was all hot and bothered (as was I).  Husband finally arrived home 5 hours after ringing the RAC (a friend had arrived at the supermarket and kept him company whilst he was waiting, fortunately, else he'd have been a lot more stressed than he was).

The starter motor is knackered, so another expense.  Bloody cars, they're just money pits.  And the most annoying thing is that today (I'm writing this in the early hours, being unable to sleep), we were supposed to be having a day out in Devon, having made arrangements to meet someone, obviously that's off now.  We could possibly reschedule for next week....that's assuming we're not all back in lockdown, seeing as the covid crisis is getting worse, the news is all doom and gloom.

The supermarket clearly think another lockdown is coming and it's going to be busier with people stocking up again (it was) - they've got the barriers for the queuing system back up at the entrance and at the checkouts.  And the shop looked like a plague of locusts had been through it, the shelves are back to being half empty.  Sigh.

I'm up because my mind is churning again (too much to think about) and my hip is agony.  The pain is definitely getting worse, looks like I'm going to have to go back to the GP. I've had to resort to taking codeine as paracetamol is doing nothing, unfortunately I can't take anti inflammatories, they disagree with me.  Will try going back to bed to see if I can go back to sleep, but am not hopeful.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Feeling lively!

Thanks for the comments - several of you said how liberating/freeing and good for the soul decluttering is - oh yes it certainly is!  I feel galvanised into action, steaming through rooms, cupboards and boxes, haven't felt this lively in months.

Yesterday husband sorted more stuff out of the garage (there's now almost room to fit a small car in there, shame ours is a big one 😂).  I filled a dustbin bag with old clothes, and another with old shoes and slippers....why on earth didn't we chuck out old slippers at the time we bought new ones? 😜 Betty 'helped' me with the shoe sorting - she kept grabbing one at a time and running off with it, a lovely exciting game as far as she was concerned.  She does make me laugh, every day.  She's intrigued with all the sorting out, by my side all the time, watching, sticking her nose in boxes etc, sniffing everything.

We did another tip run, after having to queue for an hour the day before, it was fine yesterday, straight in with no queueing.  There's no restriction or appointment system at our tip...there was some restriction on car numbers to begin with but they've done away with that now, all back to normal.  The only current restriction is that the staff won't help with unloading your car, for social distancing purposes I guess.

It's gratifying to see empty spaces appearing - the wardrobe in the spare bedroom is now almost empty, one double cupboard in the utility room completely empty.  Today I'm going to tackle the plastic boxes under the beds....spare bedding under our bed, boxes of books and yarn under the spare room beds.

Dc, you commented that joy shines out from my posts at the moment...yes I do feel fantastic right now and there are several reasons for that, some of which I can't mention, sorry.  Suffice it to say that, Covid stuff aside, life is looking good at the moment, long may it last.

Friday, 18 September 2020


 Thank you for the lovely comments, I am actually starting to see a difference when I look in the mirror, the fat stomach is getting smaller.  At present though it's beginning to sort of empty out, leaving wrinkly saggy skin....pretty disgusting really.  Hopefully, that might improve in time...although my skin's not youthful and elastic anymore so it might not!  Still, nobody has to see it (except husband, poor bloke 😂) and it's got to be better than fat!

We've finally begun doing a major declutter - like most people, having lived here for several years we've accumulated a lot of stuff, a lot of which doesn't even get used anymore.  I've been wanting to do it for ages (years even) but husband wasn't really on-board with it before.  Now he is though, as his garage is so full of junk he could barely get in it and could never find anything.  Yesterday he filled the trailer with an old sofa and fridge, plus more assorted junk, and we did a tip run, the first of many I expect.  I sorted out my wardrobes (one in the spare room) and drawers, accumulating a huge pile of unwanted clothes on the bed.  I'm washing them all then will bag them up and sell them as job lots on our local FB marketplace page.  The same with bed linen - I reckon I have about 8 or 10 many do we need for goodness sake?!  Only 2 really, one on the bed and one spare.

I have lots of surplus kitchenware cluttering up the cupboards, so that can go too, along with ornaments and collectable china.  Years ago I used to collect Chinese ginger jars and pottery, none of it worth much, just bits I picked up for pennies at boot sales simply because I liked them.  Well, ever since we've lived here (8 years), it's all been wrapped up in newspaper in a cupboard in the utility room, so it's not like I'm going to miss it.  Besides, I don't fancy dusting it all if I did have it out on display 😂.  So very busy for the next week or so, but we'll have a lovely uncluttered house (and garage and shed) at the end of it.  The trick will be not filling it up again....

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Big smiles

 Thank you for all the lovely comments about my drawings, you're all very kind.  Special thanks to you Jill - praise from a real life very talented artist is amazing!  Any tips would be welcome!

On the dieting front, we're still going strong, it's become a way of life now and we're both feeling the benefits.  I'm very pleased to say that I've now lost a stone - can't see it in the mirror, although husband says my face looks slimmer.  I can definitely feel it though, my clothes are looser - in fact I've had to stop wearing a favourite pair of cropped jeans as they are now so loose they practically fall down.

I'm losing very slowly, at the rate of about half a pound a week, sometimes a whole pound, occasionally nothing but then a pound or 2 the following week.  Whilst it would be lovely to lose 5 or 6 pounds a week 😂, I know it ain't gonna happen and losing slowly means we have time to really adjust to the new eating way of life.

Not been on the exercise bike much recently as I've had loads of pain and stiffness in my hip and back, although it's easing off a bit now.  Didn't help that I ran out of my cbd oil, have stocked up again now so that's helped.  We're off to the beach with Betty and a picnic today, not been for 3 or 4 weeks partly due to my hip/back (walking on sand or rough terrain inflames my hip), but also because the little chalet park was full of tourists, so more people and dogs about.  Most of them will have gone home now.  It's cloudy at the mo, not cold at all though and is forecast to be sunny in a while.

Friday, 11 September 2020

Lovely week!

This week has just rushed by, it's been a busy one and I can't believe it's Friday already.  I've been to the chiropodist and had my hair cut (not by the chiropodist!), took Betty to the vet for an ear check, been grocery shopping, went up on the Quantocks with a couple of friends for another lovely dog walk, did some more watercolour painting.  But the highlight of the week was an arranged meeting for lunch with my brother and sister in law, and on a different day a visit from my best friend, all of whom I haven't seen for months.  It was absolutely wonderful.  When we'll be able to do it again I don't know.

To reply to a few comments:-

sb - I'm hoping to get a new laptop, but in the meantime I'll look into getting a stand or some sort of holder for my Fire tablet, thank you.

Heather - There's a Mens Shed in Bridgwater, apparently, I did mention it to husband some while back but he wasn't interested.  In any case, it's closed currently.

Hazel, good idea to crochet blankets for the RSPCA.

Mrs Tiggywinkle - I do know about blankets for babies ideally not having holes in (so their fingers/toes don't get caught), the design i'm using is a very close weave.  And i'm using Stylecraft Special baby acrylic DK, no wool fibres.  But thank you.

Husband is really getting into the idea of wood carving, he's done a couple of practise pieces and come to the conclusion he needs some other attachments for his multitool thing, he's ordered some.  He's after some stencils now, to make letters and numbers for house signs (we need one for a start).  He also picked up a thick piece of tree trunk discarded on the roadside and brought it home, he's going to cut it into slices and use those.  It's all keeping him busy and he seems to be enjoying himself.

Some photos:-

Ponies on the Quantocks the other day.  Betty was quite keen to go play with them....fortunately she was on the lead.

Some of the watercolour drawings I've been doing lately:-

Lavender.  The bow's all wrong, need more practise with that, but I was quite pleased with how the flowers came out.

First time I've tried a sunflower.  It's not right yet, I hope to do it better with practise, as I'd like to use one as a card topper.

A get well card for a dear friend.  I've drawn quite a few lily flowers now, in different colourways, think they're my favourite flowers to draw.  Although I don't actually like lilies much - well, it's the smell I don't like.

I tried drawing a rose, but just couldn't get the shape of the petals right.  I'll get there eventually, will watch a few more youtube tutorials.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

H for H - looks promising!

This morning I mentioned the idea of wood carving or whittling to husband...hmm, he said, looking mildly interested.  I set him up with some appropriate videos on youtube, then left him to it while I got on with making soup for lunch (roasted red pepper and homegrown tomatoes, yummy).

Looks like success!  He found several videos of wood carving, some with stencils, on blocks of wood, using a small dremel multitool thing - he's hooked!  Must be, he spent an hour showing me things and telling me all about them...I'm just glad he's finally found something that seems to really interest him.  He's placed an order for some tools, and has sourced some small blocks of wood - a neighbour has loads from a home project he's doing.  I'm very pleased he's so keen.

We're off up to the Quantocks dog walking with friends this afternoon, it's sunny and fairly warm, if a bit breezy.

Look! And H for H...

Look what arrived in the post:-

The lovely bag that Rachel (Rachelradiostar of Eternally 28 blog) made for me.  It's a dog walking bag, the zipped pocket at the front holds poo bags which you can pull out through the cleverly designed hole, rather than scrabbling about for them in the bottom of your bag, or searching all your pockets.  It's just so me, I love it, in fact I'm using it every time I go out, not just for dog walking.  It's beautifully made, my favourite colours, has 2 front pockets and another inside, and a cross body strap so I can be hands free, which is my preferred choice of bag.  Thank you Rachel.

We've not had much luck so far finding a hobby for hubby (ooh, a campaign slogan!  H for H 😁), thank you to everyone for all your suggestions.  He's quite definite about what he doesn't want to do (jigsaws, any kind of artwork, model railways, small model kits) but hasn't a clue what he WOULD like.  It'll have to be something practical, he's dyslexic so anything that involves reading or writing is out.  One of the suggestions from you lovely readers (Gemma's Person) was wood carving...Now I'm fairly sure that's the sort of thing that would appeal to him, I'll ask him when he gets up.  He could do it in the utility room, or at a pinch the dining room (there's no heating, other than a portable electric radiator, in the utility room, which is an old extension which originally held a bread oven on the side of the house).

Meanwhile, I've got a new hobby to add to my collection 😂😂.  I saw a post on FB the other day, saying that the neonatal unit of the hospital needs small woollen blankets for their prem babies.  I like crocheting blankets but only during the winter, too hot the rest of the year.   Tiny blankets are thus perfect!  I started the first one yesterday.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

To save my/our sanity

I'm going to be brutally honest here.....lockdown has put a bit of a strain on our relationship, it's the result of us being together 24/7.  And before anyone says it, yes I am lucky to still have my husband around, just as he's lucky to have me.  It's not just me, OH feels the same.  Now don't get me wrong, we do love each other, we've been together 40 years next year (38 years married) and have no intention of parting.  But throughout our entire lives together, I've always had hours most days when I've been home alone, and I didn't mind that at all.  When I was working, it was normal office hours, and then part time, whereas husband always worked shifts, generally 12 hours, earlies, lates and nights, weekends included.  Since he's been retired he's worked outside, in our garden or helping elderly neighbours with their gardens, or doing odd jobs for them...he's very sociable and loves to be outside, his whole life is outside really (it's ok, it's not overnight, I don't make him sleep in the shed!).

Well, lockdown curtailed all that, he's not doing nearly as much for neighbours....for the first few weeks he didn't do anything for them at all.  Now he does some brief bits of gardening for them, but no diy - well, not inside their homes.  And when the weather's bad (it's rained a lot on and off here lately) he can't work outside.

So he's been inside with me a lot, and therein lies the problem....he has no interests or hobbies indoors.  So what does he do?  He puts the TV on, does the man thing of sitting there with the remote in his hand constantly flicking through the channels, then falls asleep (medication makes him do that) leaving the TV blaring out daytime rubbish or some repeated car prog that I'm not remotely interested in.  I almost never have the TV on, I prefer to listen to the radio or cds.  He will do the odd bit of housework (he does the hoovering as he knows I find it a problem for my back and hips), even cooking if I ask him to...he used to make the bread but we rarely eat bread now.  So he's here either snoring with the bloody tv playing to itself, or talking at me giving me a running commentary about what he's watching, or cars he's looking at on the computer.  I am SO not interested in'd think me repeatedly telling him that over the years would have sunk in by now.  I guess it's because he has no one else to talk to, Betty's not that interested either 😂

I have plenty to do during the day - housework (not that I do much of it, just what's necessary), washing, meal planning, cooking.  And I do crafting....crochet, which I generally do mainly during the winter, cardmaking, and now watercolour drawing.  I also like time on the internet, reading blogs and newspapers and watching YouTube videos of drawing and getting new card ideas.

So we've had a few chats about it, and came to the conclusion that husband needs to find a couple of hobbies he can do indoors.  He has no idea what though, I suggested a few things, which didn't really appeal.  So we're going to go to The Range (a big home and garden store which has a large crafting section) and see if there's anything which takes his fancy.  And we might see if the local college is going to be doing any adult education things he might be interested in.  Any other ideas gratefully received!

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

A bit of normality

Like a lot of us with this pandemic situation, I keep losing track of what day it is (or perhaps it's my age!).  Not that it matters much, except when we have appointments to go to, or something else to do.  I keep thinking it's Monday today.

Had a lovely time at our friends' house on Saturday, it's the first time we've had a long face to face chat and gone inside someone else's house since before lockdown.  We started off in the garden but moved inside when it came over cloudy and got a bit chilly.  It was so nice a) to see them, and b) to do something 'normal', albeit socially distanced so no hugging.

Yesterday I didn't feel very well again, having been up since around 3 am unable to get back to sleep, hip very sore and head feeling like it was stuffed with cotton wool.  We decided to take Betty and go up on the Quantocks for a walk to get some fresh air.  The Quantocks is a beautiful hill range, spanning around 38 sq miles of hills, moorland, heathland and woods.  Lots of ponies and sheep grazing freely.  Tons of rabbits and birds, deer too if you're lucky enough to spot them.  Loads of parking areas, which were mostly full, it being a bank holiday, however we found one that was half empty.  Even with that amount of cars it wasn't at all busy, it's such a vast area it's never going to be, except for people picnicking right beside their cars.

Some photos, taken on my phone so not brilliant:-

Gorse and heather as far as the eye can see

Looking towards the Bristol channel and South Wales in the distance.  Not another soul to be seen, although we did pass a few people and dogs.

I just love living here, moving to Somerset 10 years ago was the best decision we ever made.  All this beautiful countryside and a lovely beach within a few minutes drive, and wonderful views from our bedroom windows.  Livestock all around us (cows and calves in the front field, sheep in the back one), the very busy farmers and tractors to watch.  Hardly any traffic, very peaceful, we know all our neighbours.  Ok, so there are no shops or any amenities at all nearby and no public transport, meaning we have to drive whenever we need anything, but it's a small price to pay for the privilege of living here, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thank you for the nice comments on my last post.