Monday 31 May 2021

Getting Ready To Travel

 We went to B&Q yesterday morning and it was packed. It was very different to last time we went and made me realise how things are getting back to normal. Although coronavirus numbers are going up in lots of the country, in our area they are very low now and I suppose if it doesn't turn into hospitalisations then there is no problem. I spoke to eldest son last night and he is going back to work today as it is 10 days since his first symptoms. He says he feels fine, just tired but he has his own business and says he can't be a way from it for too long. Tom has his second coronavirus vaccination today and eldest daughter had her first one yesterday so it is nice to think we are all getting protected and am really grateful that we live in a country where we are so lucky to have this opportunity. I know there are many countries not so lucky.

It as lovely and hot and sunny at my Dad's house yesterday when we were working on the caravan. Tom and I worked away while my Dad sat on his bench giving instructions! The waste pipe from the shower room fits perfectly and the new jockey wheel was put in place and looks very smart. We managed to connect the water heater to the water pipes but need someone to connect the gas and then we hopefully will have running hot water, which will be a real luxury as last year we had to boil water all the time. We're nearly ready to use the caravan this year now and it's a lovely feeling. 

I have been working really hard on my Welsh lessons on the Duolingo app and today have been promoted to the Gold League. I have realised the leagues are really to show how hard you have been working, not how well you are doing as I'm sure I don't speak Welsh well enough yet to be so high up. Youngest daughter is so impressed with my progress she is learning Japanese, which seems even harder. She has travelled to Japan so is not a total novice but has still come on in leaps and bounds since she started on the app. I am determined not to lose the momentum whilst away in the caravan and may not have very good internet connection so have bought a second hand children's Welsh/English dictionary on ebay. I imagined it would be one of those little picture books similar to the sort I used to read with my children and Scarlett but it's much harder. 

However it has explained some very simple rules of the language that are not covered in the app. Much of youngest daughters knowledge of Japanese has come from watching Japanese TV programmes with English sub titles. I wonder if I could do the same with Welsh! It would probably have to be a children's programme though, I'm not sure "Do you eat bread and sausages?" or "I like drinking good tea." would get me very far with much else.

I'm going to try and do lots of gardening today as there is always so much to do. I have lost lots of my seedlings to slugs and snails sadly but I'm still hoping that some will survive after all my hard work .It's strange all my collected seeds seem to be doing quite well but shop bought ones not so much. This autumn I think I may not bother buying any, just start planning my collecting whilst all the flowers are coming out now, I hope everyone has a really lovely Bank Holiday Monday and is able enjoy this lovely weather. xx

Sunday 30 May 2021

Cassie Goes Visiting Neighbours

 It was another nice warm day yesterday. I worked on my websites in the morning and then in the afternoon set to tidying up in the garden. It was so nice youngest daughter lay on the sun lounger with Cassie our Yorkshire Terrier sitting with her. Cassie is an absolute sun worshipper. If there is one patch of sun in a little crack anywhere she will find it and be asleep in it. I had to smile as I was working away to see them both stretched out in the sun. Two sun lovers together! Youngest daughter took this photo of Cassie, face up to the sun, one of her favourite positions to be in.

We had to be very careful though as the foxes have dug a tunnel under our fence into next door's garden and it is perfect for Cassie to crawl through if we don't keep an eye on her. The day before while youngest daughter and I were up in London, Tom was out getting the washing in and obviously not keeping the close eye on her I always do, as she got through into next door. She turned a deaf ear and ran about refusing to come back through the hole while Tom was calling her, much to his annoyance. Then there was a lot of drama for a long time as next door were all too scared to pick her up and pass her back over the fence! In the end, one of them braved picking her up and she was unceremoniously dumped into the laundry basket and taken back inside in disgrace. It was pointed out to Cassie that this is why yesterday, she had to wear her harness and be tied to the sun lounger while she was out there. Not that she looks particularly bothered! 

It doesn't seem quite so sunny today but I think it may brighten up later. Tom and I are off to B&Q again to buy some waste pipe and screws (how exciting!) and then we are going over to my Dad's house to work on the caravan. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday what ever you are doing. xx

Saturday 29 May 2021

An Afternoon Out On The South Bank London

 It felt almost like normal yesterday as youngest daughter and I went on the train to London Bridge. Apart from having to wear masks on the train, underground and the stations it seemed almost as if none of the past 14 months had happened. We walked to the London Eye and just sat there enjoying the atmosphere and being out in the sunshine. There was a very nice feel, as although it was quite busy it was not crowded, sadly though most of the food stalls that usually line the Thames were not there. I hope the people who run them have survived financially and will be able to set up their businesses again. 

We walked along and had a lunch at Wagamama which is a Japanese restaurant. It was so perfectly and safely run, we sat outside enjoying our meal and commenting how things had changed so much in the past year. To pay our bill, we just had to scan a code on the menu that had been given to us that takes you to the Wagamama website, then give the number the waitress had given to us and your itemised bill appears on your phone and you can pay directly. You don't have to pay like this if you don't want to but the pandemic has certainly made businesses adapt in a clever way and lots of good ideas will carry on after it is all over.

After our meal we walked down to all the second hand book stalls and browsed for ages. Some of the books were really expensive but I wanted to try and support the people who own the stalls, who must have had such a bad year and bought an old ladybird book for my collection of old children's books.

Even though the sun had gone in and it was quite breezy sitting by the river we sat for a long time just chatting and planning more days out this summer. It feels as if we need to take advantage of everything just in case it all goes wrong again. There are some positives to the last year and the pandemic in that we seem to appreciate times spent with friends and family so much more. I made a short video of the afternoon there and the busker at the end of the video is worth watching, he was wonderful and really added to the atmosphere while walking along the river.

The weather stayed fine until we got home and I phoned eldest son who was much brighter and said he is definitely on the mend, which for me was the perfect end to a really nice day. I hope everyone has a lovely Saturday what ever your plans are. xx

Friday 28 May 2021

Walking On The Sunny Side Of The Street

 It was so nice to have some sunshine yesterday again when Scarlett was here. We spent the afternoon in the garden planting out our little plants. I'm sure not all will survive but some will which I'm hoping will add add some nice summer colours. One little plant I put out, Scarlett and I had collected the seeds from when we were out walking last September. I had just written on the pot, "Little blue wildflowers collected by Scarlett" The plant has come up looking very healthy so I'm particularly looking forward to seeing if these flower and what they are. This autumn I'm hoping to collect more wildflower seeds while we are out walking and grow them as perennials in the garden. I have discovered that native wildflowers seem to be the plants that slugs and snails completely ignore. They also really add to the natural look I try to have in our garden. 

We went out for a walk in the morning and there was much discussion as to whether she should take her jacket. She was desperate to leave it behind as the sun was shining. I said to her "It will be cold when we walk in the shade." "We'll just walk in the sun then" she replied. I laughed as I remembered when my children were little we used to try and do that all the way to school and I would sing the old song "The Sunny Side Of The Street" while we walked. It's funny how you forget things, that suddenly pop back in your mind. I sang the beginning of the song to Scarlett and said "Alright that's what we'll do!" We sang it together as we walked along, even though we bumped into my next door neighbour who looked at us as if we had lost our minds! We managed to stay in the sun for the whole walk and it was lovely and warm. For anyone who doesn't know the song it is a wonderful old Frank Sinatra classic my Mum used to sing when we were little, but I remember the Doris Day version better, probably because my Mum loved Doris Day. 

I spoke to eldest son yesterday, who was still feeling quite miserable after catching coronavirus and has a really bad cough but he said he definitely feels a little better. I reminded him to drink lots of fluids and do deep breathing exercises every hour but he said it's very hard to eat and drink as he can't taste or smell anything. I reassured him it will get better but didn't like to say it can take months for that to come back. Youngest daughter is still suffering over a year after we all caught it. There are still  lots of things she can't eat as the taste has totally altered. It is a very strange virus.

Youngest daughter is off work today and we are going to the South Bank to have lunch. I haven't been into central London since before the pandemic and I'm really looking forward to the day. The sun is shining and we will definitely be walking of the "Sunny Side Of The Street" . I reminded myself yesterday to try and do that mentally no matter what worries there seem to be.  I hope everyone has a lovely day and enjoys some sunshine. xx

Thursday 27 May 2021

Back To the 70s And Family Sickness

 We actually had a day yesterday without rain! It looked as if it may rain a few times but the dark clouds passed by and the sun came out again, it was lovely. Not exactly a heat wave but so much better. Tom was off work and we went to my Dad's to work on the caravan again. All exciting stuff, waste pipes and pumps, I'd rather be sewing throws and curtains but it all has to be done. We really want to take our caravan to shows when coronavirus is all over and everything we buy, we try and make sure is an original 1970s item. I couldn't believe my luck this week when I was looking for a hair dryer to keep in the caravan. I managed to find the same hair dryer I had as a teenager. Still in it's original box and only £5!

It is very strange looking at this box I could be 16 again, drying my hair while listening to Diana Ross on my record player, before going out on a Saturday night. It's strange how I had so many LPs but my Diana Ross one was new in the summer of 1976 and I always listened to it before I was going out. I only have to hear some of those songs and I am taken back to that wonderful hot summer and the fun we all had. No matter how many good times there are it is hard to ever beat those summers when you are young and carefree. 

Sadly yesterday there was some news I sort of knew was coming. Eldest son has caught the Indian variant of coronavirus. He is at home feeling really unwell and worse all on his own. I wanted to go down to help but the trouble is I can't. He is self isolating and getting food delivered so he says there is no point in us dragging all the way down. I can't help but feel angry that these drivers have all caught it while working on a government contract and giving them tests twice a day is not good enough. They should have been vaccinated before they started but where not in the right age group so couldn't be. I would be interested to know how many of the security guards working on this contract taking people flying in from India to quarantine hotels, have caught it too. It seems to me a really bad mistake and now so many people are suffering because of it.

Scarlett is coming today and with this lovely sunshine we should be able to get out and about. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Caravan Tales and Toys For Fox Cubs

 We had such a busy day yesterday I was exhausted by the evening. Tom and I went to B&Q first thing in the morning and bought lots of things we need for the caravan. All rather boring things like, grease and silicone spray but there is so much maintenance to do on caravans after the winter, especially this prolonged winter we have had. We arrived at the storage yard, which is an hours drive away and we got the caravan hitched up fine which was a relief as Tom has been really worried about the jockey wheel at the front as it was playing up last year. He wanted to order a new one but I persuaded him that it was nicer to keep  the original one if we could. All seemed fine through on the journey to my Dad's house and it felt so wonderful to being seeing our lovely caravan in the wing mirror again as we drove along. 

We arrived at my Dad's house at about 12.30 and my sister was already there. We parked outside next door to unhitch the caravan and that is when the problems started! The jockey wheel wouldn't raise enough to lift the caravan off the tow bar. The thread seemed to have gone on the winder and after an age of trying the bottom of the jockey wheel dropped off into the road. There was a fraught time while my sister and I held up what felt like 3 tonnes of caravan while Tom struggled to try and re assemble it. A helpful delivery driver slowed down and shouted "Do you need a hand?" "No we're fine thanks mate!" Tom shouted back as my sister and I continued to hold up the caravan like contestants from "Britain's Strongest Man" In the end we decided we would have to guide the caravan back into the drive, whilst holding up the front of it. To cut a very long story short, we finally got the caravan into place, the legs were put down and apart from aching shoulders and backs and one damaged shrub there seemed to be no harm done. We had planned to try to check all the water pipes yesterday, but after doing my Dad's shopping and all the other little jobs we have to get done while we were there it was 5 o'clock and we were too exhausted to start anything else. I couldn't resist trying out the flags on the front though. 

After we got home, fed all the animals and birds and had eaten our evening meal I ordered a new jockey wheel. Tom to his eternal credit didn't say "I told you so" once. I had been looking forward to Springwatch but fell asleep and missed most of it. Oh well, it's another day today, the sun is shining and we have to go back to my Dad's to start work on the water pipes. I'm going to write a list of all we have to do and just try and work our way through it. 

I was so tired yesterday I forgot to set up the wildlife camera but youngest son was up early at 5 o'clock and he sat by his window watching the fox club playing in the garden. He said it was having a fine old time running about and rolling on the ground. It it's a shame it doesn't seem to have any brothers and sisters to play with, I may buy it a couple of toys! Have a lovely day everyone, the weather is set to get a bit better which is really something to look forward to. xx

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Getting The Caravan Ready And Mice

 I spent yesterday getting things ready to take to the caravan at eldest son's yard today. We are then going to take the caravan to my Dad's house so it can stay on his drive for 10 days before, to do some work on it before we take it to the caravan site. As Tom is working such long hours at the moment we have really limited time to get much of it done and of course this weather is going to make it so much worse. We're having an early breakfast then off to B&Q to get some items we need. What a rush.

I set our wildlife camera up in the garden last night and can still see only one fox cub, but what a lovely little cub it is. Tonight I'm going to move the camera further down the garden and see if I can see a bit more of it.

I also caught on camera these cute little mice. Cleo is always hanging around up there so I really hope they manage to stay safe. 

I'll have lots to write about tomorrow, hopefully of how well the day went and how the sun shone at times. I'm sure I've jinxed it now! Have a lovely day everyone what ever you have planned xx

Monday 24 May 2021

Moving Up The League Tables

 As it was another day of very heavy showers yesterday I spent a lot of the day sewing. I have been trying to use up all the retro fabric I have bought on one project or another. I have cut and pinned pieces ready to make pillow covers at the caravan but don't want to sew it until I check the sizes at the caravan tomorrow. Then I will see how much fabric I have left and decide what to make with it. You wouldn't believe the amount of time I have spent trying to make a Snoopy pennant for the small flag poles on the caravan roof. I made one with fabric but it turned out too floppy, unless it was a really windy day it would just of hung there so in the end I bought the cheapest old pennant I could find on ebay, which was a Swedish scout one for £1 and sewed my Snoopy badges over to it. I never miss a chance to share Snoopy with everyone!

I tried to spend regular five minute bursts all day on my language app learning Welsh. It is a really hard language! The further on I get the harder it gets and I don't think learning languages is my skill either. When I was at school I was hopeless at French and failed my O level miserably so have spent my whole adult life saying things like "My brains doesn't work that way" or "I'm better at practical things" when faced with learning a language. I have been reading a lot about helping your brain as you get older and I have decided there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to train my brain to learn how to do different things I have always found hard. Yesterday I was starting to question that! Apparently in studies done on people learning a language the size of your brain actually grows in size on MRI scans. This fact is going to keep me going and I have even ordered a children's Welsh picture dictionary to help me but it's the pronunciation! I find it hard to believe I'll ever get my tongue around it. Yesterday we were all trying to say milk for the whole afternoon! Oh well I have been promoted to the silver league on the app now and unless I want to be relegated back to the bronze league at the end of the week I'll have to keep trying. 

Talking of leagues a really exciting thing that happened locally yesterday. Sutton United have won the Vanarama National League and are being promoted to League 2 of the Football League (The old 4th Division for anyone else who still thinks that way). Tom said while he was in the bus garage yesterday he could hear the crowd cheering and cheering. We used to live so close to the ground in one of the houses we lived in at Sutton we could hear every word that was being shouted by the crowd, believe me I was starting to feel really sorry for referees! We ended up getting swept along with the excitement and since then have always followed Sutton United. They are such a good team, local people who really care about doing well and have pride in their club. Premiership here we come!

Although the sun is shining at the moment I think it's going to be more of the same today, weather wise and what I am doing. They say better weather is on the way and I do hope so. Last night it poured and poured for such a long time. I kept thinking of the little fox cub at the end of the garden, I'd buy them a kennel if I thought they would use it. Now there's something for me to think about. Well I'm off to make a "coffi a llaeth" I hope everyone has a lovely day even if it is pouring. xx

Sunday 23 May 2021

Snails And Fox Cubs

 All this wet weather is causing one type of wildlife in our garden to increase dramatically. Slugs and snails. Last year we had a thrush nesting in the hedge at the end of the garden and the parent thrush nearly cleared our garden of snails. It was like a snail graveyard, literally hundreds of empty snail shells that she had discarded were covering the garden. I could really do with her this year and if ever there is an example of natural pest control being the best it was this thrush. My one tree peony that has grown from seed in the greenhouse has been eaten by a snail and the culprit was even still sitting on the seed tray looking very pleased with itself. I have one cosmos left and only a few sun flowers, I have decided that dumping them all in the hedge at the end of the garden isn't far enough! The garden at the end of our garden is really overgrown but I can't quite bring myself to chuck them over the fence into someone else's garden so I'll have to think of somewhere else. It may have to be a car ride to the local woods for them!

After Tom had seen a fox cub looking through the fence the other evening, yesterday evening when I put some food out for them I set my camera up to see if I could catch anything. I was thrilled to see this short clip of one cub. 

 It seems quite big, so must have been hiding away for a while. I'm not sure if there is only one as youngest daughter was woken last night by fox cub noises in the garden and she said it sounded as if it was playing. I had hoped to set up my wildlife camera but the rain was so heavy yesterday evening I didn't fancy going out in it, hopefully I'll be able to today although there is more rain on the way.

I'm hoping I manage to get a bit of tidying up done in the garden before more rain arrives later. I will definitely be finding time for a some more Welsh lessons on my app. I have worked so hard all week, I'm top of the bronze leader board. If I stay near the top I will be promoted to the silver league tomorrow. We talk in Welsh so much at home now I nearly made a mistake and thanked the waiter the other day in Welsh! I hope it's improving and awakening little brain connectors that had long gone to sleep. It's definitely giving me a sense of achievement. Have a lovely Sunday everyone and I hope you manage to see some sunshine. xx

Saturday 22 May 2021

Out And About In The Rain

 It poured and was so windy yesterday my sister, my Dad and I abandoned our plan to search the local graveyard for our ancestors and went to the garden centre instead. The cafe opened again on Monday and we were looking forward to going back there. It felt so nice sitting with a pot of tea and a piece of cake looking out at the rain pouring down. The system seemed a bit of a muddle though and my sister and I ordered carrot cake and got toffee cake but the waiter was so lovely we just went along with it and it was still very nice. It had almost stopped raining when we came out of the cafe so we had a look round all the plants. I was going home on the train so didn't buy anything, but had a good look around the trees they were selling and decided I would keep going with my plans for a tree business. I would never charge garden centre prices but I'm hoping may be able to make a bit of extra money into retirement doing something I really enjoy.

The board I ordered for the caravan to display the old caravan club badges we used to collect in the 1960s has arrived. When I was ordering a photo for my Dad on Photobox last week I noticed they had a 40% sale of all items until the 24th May. I chose a photo of the the caravan we used to holiday in when we collected the badges to make a small canvas and I'm going to stick the badges along the bottom of it. I feel it is a part of the history of my caravanning adventure displayed on one board and I love the way my Mum is looking out of the caravan window watching my sister and I play. 

When I arrived home yesterday evening Tom was already in from work and had fed all the birds which I was grateful for as it was still raining. He told me when he went up to the end of the garden a little fox cub was looking through the gap in the fence. How exciting. I have not been setting up my wildlife camera as much as I had planned as the weather had been so dreadful but will try to from now on and see if I can catch it on film. No matter how brave the parents are I have found the cubs always are really timid so it is not easy. The weather forecast is a little better today but there is more heavy rain on the way so I better get going with my plans. I hope everyone has a lovely day and manages to enjoy a little bit of sunshine. xx

Friday 21 May 2021

Toy Story And Royal Story

 Yesterday morning when Scarlett arrived the weather wasn't very nice at all so after we had eaten our breakfast she asked if she she could watch her new favourite film Toy Story. Apparently she has watched it a few times at home and just loves it. I haven't seen the film for years, but it was always one of my favourites from when my children were young. We settled down and watched it together and I was reminded why I liked it so much, but it also reminded me why I struggle to get rid of any toys!

I was always soft hearted, I have kept so many of my toys as I could never bear to get rid of them. I have so many teddies from my childhood and I even have my Tiny Tears and Amanda Jane from when I was about 4 or 5. They are still in the original toy chest they were kept in when I was a child, this is one I got on my 5th birthday. It has gone everywhere with me since then, all ten homes I have lived after I was five and even sat on the shelf next to my bed in the nurses home I lived in in the late 1970s. 

Youngest son is just as bad, he has kept all his toys and entirely blames Toy Story for not being able to get rid of them! He has all his old games consuls and games in the loft too, old Sega Master Systems and Mega Drives with games all packed up. He can't bear to get rid of them and I always joke he will be the only one of us to be a millionaire as one day they will be worth so much. As I watched Scarlett clutching her little toy dog with her little lip quivering as poor Andy was so heartbroken when Woody and Buzz went missing I thought "Oh dear, it has started."

Despite the bad weather we did manage to get out for a walk and the sun shone for a while so we were out in the garden, even though it was terribly windy. Scarlett loved it as the male fox was sitting there for all the time we were out there, she tried so hard to get really close but he would only let her get so close before he ran through the gap in the fence. I did have to smile as she kept saying "Oh fox, please come here." with a big sigh. She loved him.

In the evening we were sitting eating our evening meal watching the documentary about the Panorama interview with Princess Diana. It was horrifying and so sad. I felt as if I could have been watching a programme about the demise of someone like Anne Boleyn with Oliver Cromwell gathering evidence. It's hard to believe now after how famous she was, but youngest son and daughter, who have no interest in the Royal family at all, have never really seen Princess Diana talk before. Their only knowledge of it all is short extracts they've seen on TV from The Crown. They thought she was absolutely lovely and not what they expected at all. They both agreed she had a charm that no actress on a TV drama had ever managed to quite capture.

Well it's another windy day today, though so far we haven't had rain. I'm going over to see my Dad with my sister and we were hoping to go and investigate some more on our ancestors who lived locally so I really hope the rain keeps off. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans.

Thursday 20 May 2021

Business Ideas And Coronavirus

After early rain it brightened up a bit yesterday and for a while was quite sunny. While it was raining  I dashed about getting jobs in the house out of the way then straight after lunch when the sun had come out I went out into the garden. Everything has grown so much and weeds are appearing every where so I sorted out as much as I could then I re potted some of my little trees. I have taken such care growing them I don't want them to die through neglect now. I have about 10 little crab apple trees grown from one of our crab apples that has a lovely rusty red leaf colour. It is interesting as about half the trees are growing in the same colour as the parent tree and half are just plain green. I have read this and am looking forward to seeing how they turn out over the next few years. The oak trees and hawthorn trees all look exactly the same. I would love to have a bit more space to grow more trees and maybe set up a tree nursery business. It would be really eco friendly as I could grow from locally collected seeds and berries. I'll just keep experimenting for now and see how things turn out in the long run after coronavirus.

One of my favourites, our aquilegias are growing beautifully now, but these are a plant that can take over if you are not careful so when they have finished I think I may have a bit of a clear out and save seeds for next year.

Eldest son phoned me and his friend who is working with him on the coaches taking people from India to quarantine hotels has caught the Indian variant of coronavirus. He said he is at home but feels really unwell. I was horrified. I have worried and worried and eldest son said "Don't worry we have no contact with the people who are travelling." Well his friend has caught it somehow. Luckily as they work at opposite times they have not had any contact for several days. Now I feel like phoning eldest son a couple of times a day to make sure he is OK but don't want to be appear like a panicky mother. He is the only one of us not to have caught coronavirus and the rest of us have all recovered so I'm sure he would too but I worry as he lives on his own. I will be so glad when all this is over. 

Scarlett is coming this morning and I'm really hoping it is dry as we love getting out for our walks. I bought four more flags to finish the bunting and they have arrived so if it rains at least we can finish that. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Rain, Rain, Rain And Learning Welsh

 Well it poured and poured yesterday on and off. I can tell you the exact moment it rained at it's heaviest. It was when my sister and I were out shopping for my Dad! We were soaked, it was bouncing off the pavements and stupidly I had forgotten my umbrella as it had been glorious sunshine when I left home, so had to share my sister's one. What a sight we were carrying bags of shopping and trying without success to avoid the massive puddles on the pavement, under one little umbrella. As my sister said "Oh to be in England now that spring is here!" The annoying thing was, the second we arrived back at my Dad's house it stopped and the sun came out again. I think it will take days for my shoes to dry out! Despite all the rain and cold my Dad's beautiful orange azalea has come into flower. I look forward every year to seeing this. 

Yesterday I made a decision for Tom and I to try to learn to speak Welsh again. Tom's Dad was Welsh and he would love to find out more about his family tree on that side. His Mum and Dad are long dead and his Dad never talked about his childhood at all, Tom didn't even know his grandparent's names. I have tried to find out more on online sites but having one of the most common names in Wales doesn't help at all. I found his Grandparents names but that was it. At the beginning of last year we had planned a trip to Wales to try and find out more but of course along came coronavirus. Tom and I decided we needed to fully embrace "The Land Of His Fathers" as Tom likes to call it and learn the language. 

I downloaded the Duolingo app and started learning while I was on the train. I'm not sure what my fellow passengers must have made of me sitting with earphones in saying "Welcome Dragon" in Welsh but I felt I was making progress (I'm not sure how useful that would be, but still that is what the app said). We started talking Welsh at home and even youngest son and daughter entered into the spirit of it all, although it was hard to take youngest son seriously as for some reason he insisted on taking on the demeanour of Merlin casting a spell in the TV programme as he said that is what it sounded like. Then we all caught coronavirus and for several weeks forgot all about it, after that we had unfortunately lost the momentum. 

Yesterday I downloaded the app again and was amazed how much I remembered. By the time I got off the train I was saying things like "Good Afternoon Owen" in almost perfect Welsh. I was very pleased with myself. In the evening, after we had eaten we were all practicing again . The app has a leader board of people who are learning and you can see how well you are doing in comparison to other people. After all my efforts yesterday I had jumped into 10th place, there I was Jane, above people like Domingo and Gustavo. I was so pleased! I was showing youngest son as I have never been on one of these boards before and it definitely has awakened my competitive spirit. "Who's number one?" asked youngest son. I looked "Someone called Sayeed" He has a profile picture and there is a young Asian man smiling back at me. "I can get there" I said. Youngest son replied "Mum you need to learn something  I learned years ago, on every online leader board, there will be a young Asian at the top, it is the way it it is!" Well that is a challenge I intend to take on!

It's raining again today so I think apart from trying to coincide walking the dogs with a dry spell I will be inside most of the day. Plenty of time to practice my Welsh whilst I'm working! I hope everyone has a lovely day whatever the weather. xx

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Money Saving And Stormy Weather

 The weather has been very strange this spring. We had a brief lovely warm spell and then very cold, frosty dry weather with virtually no rain and now May is making up for that. We have some sunshine followed by such heavy showers if you are unfortunate to be out and about in it you get soaked through. I have been caught several times out with the dogs and its not much fun. I did manage to re pot sickly tomato plant which is now looking wonderful and re potted some of my apple trees even though the whole time I was out there, I was accompanied by rumbles of thunder in the distance. There was an article on the news yesterday with Prince Charles calling for us all to plant a tree for the Queen's platinum jubilee next year. I hope Her Majesty will be impressed with all my efforts! My trees are doing so well and actually seem to be really thriving in all this rain. This adverse weather has caused everything else in the garden to be much later than other years though. Youngest daughter was showing me photos of the roses in our garden from three years ago yesterday. There were quite a few in full bloom looking beautiful, but this year nothing yet. There are lots of buds so something will happen soon but it's just taking it's time.

I have been continuing with my Too Good To Go Bags and they have been really successful. Everyone says they have tried new foods they never would have thought to try. Who would have thought sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella would have been such a hit with our quiche the other evening. I have saved so much money on our food budget this week I'm on track to buy a new drill for Tom out of saved money that he has had his eye on for a while. The bags wouldn't do for vegetarians as there is always a lot of meat which I freeze straight away for the rest of the family but there is usually one vegetarian item for me. I'm also quite enjoying the walk down just before nine, I rarely walk that way so am getting a totally different view point of out area in the evening. It's much busier in that direction and it has a  different feel to our little row of shops but already I'm bumping into the same people and having a little chat with people I see each evening. I just can't resist having a little chat! The sky was so dramatic when I walked down last night I had to take some photos.

I scanned lots of photos yesterday which was very time consuming but a good job out of the way. Even though I am very pleased to have got through so many, this morning I really must try and get further with the caravan awning curtains as our break away is getting closer. I hope the weather improves, three dogs in a caravan with this rain would be a bit of a challenge! I'm going to my Dads to do his shopping today and my sister and I will be able to spend some time with him all together inside his house now. How wonderful, I just hope nothing gets worse again to spoil this freedom we are having. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Monday 17 May 2021

Photos, Letters And Pen Pals

 It was another day of rain yesterday but not a bad day at all, we definitely had a day of laughter and nostalgia. Tom's main mission in life at the moment is to try and get the loft clear. The trouble is he's up against youngest son and me, the hoarders of the family! We got down some boxes of old cards, letters and photos. The photos are the reject ones, the blurred, off centre, "I look fat in that" sort of photo that never made it into the photo album. Today they would be deleted without trace but back in the 1970s, 80s and 90s we obviously put them in the loft. We laughed so much, remembered rooms and houses long gone, people long gone and boyfriends who I am grateful are long gone! It was a mixture of sadness and laughter but even though they were rejects at the time, so many of them will be scanned today so they are safe. 

I sorted through old birthday cards, letters and wedding invitations. We found two letters I wrote to eldest daughter when she was on a school trip to The Isle Of Wight when she was 11. It's full of little bits of family information, youngest daughter had learned to say her name, youngest son had fallen at nursery and grazed his knees so I had bought him some Lego on the way home to cheer him up and there had been a big spider in my bedroom while Tom had been at work so I had slept in eldest daughter's empty room. (What a baby, I must have toughened up since then!) I couldn't remember any of these bits of information now. 

Another pile I found were letters from old pen pals. I was a real letter writer back in the 1970s I had several pen pals from different countries, most I met through the magazine Fab 208. Some of them I wrote to for a few years and have photos of these young teenage girls. I didn't have time to read all the letters but the couple I looked at where full of news about pop stars, places they had been and boys they liked. I wonder are my letters still out there anywhere, it's a rather worrying thought but I would love now to read what I wrote in those days.

One girl I wrote too for a long time from Lancashire has the same surname as a cousin's married name, I wonder if she was related to her husband! I had to share this wonderful photo of her. Look at her, a fifteen year old in a 1970s bedroom with her life all ahead of her. I really hope life has treated her well.

The coronavirus restrictions have relaxed more today so we can visit people in their houses which is such good news, I just hope everything goes according to plan. The weather doesn't look too good again today, I really hope I can get out in the garden for a short while though as sickly tomato plant has recovered so much it is taking over the kitchen window sill and I want to re pot it . Tom is off to the dump this morning and I managed to find an old printer and some computer keyboards that almost look like museum pieces for him to take with my Dad's old microwave so he is slightly happy. I have boxes of photos to scan now as well as curtains to finish off for the caravan, so whether it's sunny or rainy I'm sure I'm going to be busy. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are planning to do. xx

Sunday 16 May 2021

Getting Through A Very Rainy Day

 Yesterday felt like a bit of a right off in many ways because of the weather so I kept busy inside. I designed my new pin board for the caravan which I am really thrilled with and just hope it turns out as nicely as I had planned and ordered the new item I need for the old Robert's radio. I will definitely be taking it to a repair cafe when all they start up, but until then I'm keeping my fingers crossed my plan works. I just hope my brain waves work! I get these ideas, usually when I'm out walking the dogs and have time to think and often they come to nothing but sometimes they work out well. I love it though as I feel so enthusiastic about things when an idea comes to me and it can get me through the darkest of rainy days. I often see items on the news about mindfulness and relaxation and I always think that's not really for me. It's new ideas and being busy that get me through. 

For a short time in the afternoon the sun came out and I went out and fed the birds, changed the ducks pool and checked the greenhouse. All this wet weather has really brought the slugs out and I have to do a snail and slug "sweep" in there every day as they have been munching on some of the seedlings. I carry them out and dump them in the hedge at the end of the garden, no doubt for them to return the next day, I'm sure I recognise some of them! I have bought my cosmos and sun flower seedlings into the house as I have lost so many. This reminds me why I should try to grow plants in the garden that slugs and snails just ignore, it is so much less trouble, I have to battle through with my dahlias yet! After only an hour this was what the sky looked like as I was returning into the house.

Within five minutes and after a large clap of thunder that set Layla off barking and barking this was the sight in the garden. I was very glad I got inside in time.

It looks like it is going to be another day of rain today, I can't believe I was moaning about how dry the garden was in April. Tom is off work for two days and he has a spot at the dump booked tomorrow as we are getting rid of my Dad's old microwave for him. He is obsessed with getting the loft tidied up which I can't really be bothered with as we can't see it. I have managed to get so much sorted out in the house during lockdown and now the boxes have all gone to the charity saleroom, I'd rather not have to sort out any more for a while but I suppose it is a way of passing this rainy day. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday and you manage to avoid this heavy rain we are having. xx

Saturday 15 May 2021

Adapting So Well And New Ideas

 The weather wasn't very nice all day yesterday so I spent most of it working on my photo website. There is always a lot of sorting out to do and adding of photos. I have a local area section and have so many local photos to add I have taken in the last year of "coronavirus related" subjects. People queuing, signs, mask wearing. All sorts of things that we couldn't have believed would become normal just 18 months ago. Sorting through the photos it made me realise how incredibly we have adapted.

I have got into a bit of a routine while trying out these £4 "Too Good To Go" bags this week. I walk down to the M&S local at the petrol station at 9pm, collect my bag and meet Tom off the bus as this is the time he has been finishing this week. Last night youngest daughter said she would walk down with me but she wanted to pop into the Co-op first. As only 8 people are allowed into the Co-op at a time at the moment and I didn't want to get mixed up with the people queuing I stood a little bit up the road waiting for her. It was so interesting watching people's behaviour. People were pulling up in their cars and effortlessly popping on their masks as they stood at the end of the queue, happily standing two metres apart (I would have struggled to estimate two metres at the beginning of this but now it is easy!) and entering the shop when one person left. How wonderful we all are I thought. We adapt so cheerfully really, I know there are exceptions which the news loves to report, but on the whole all I have seen is people politely going about their day and fitting in. Who would have thought a traffic light system would be operating at a local petrol station.

I often think when I see reports of World War 2 and the blitz spirit how wonderful people were in those days. My Dad who grew up in Liverpool during the war, which was terribly badly affected by bombing, loves to tell us stories of how they all adapted. From his Mum planting a beautiful garden on top of their air raid shelter so it blended into the garden to the other terrible times of calling out "He's dead Miss" to the teacher when she was calling the school register after a bad night of bombing.  Although of course we can't compare this situation to how bad it was during a war in another way we can. Between 40,000 and 43,000 civilians were killed in the Blitz during WW2, approximately a third of the people who have died from coronavirus in this country, yet still we carry on with our days, cheerfully (well mostly!) Maybe one day people will be talking about the "coronavirus spirit" to a certain extent they already are, celebrating all the people who have volunteered and helped, but just living a "normal" life is important to me. I don't mind following the rules but I want my family to be happy and still enjoy their days as much as possible. Eldest son phoned last night, he is working so hard on this government contract driving people to and from quarantine hotels but of course he has no idea when it might just suddenly end. It is impossible to plan but as he said he is simply going to take one day at a time, which is all we can do really. 

It's raining here this morning and it looks like it will be on and off for the whole weekend which is a shame but I have lots to get on with. I have given up trying to fix my 1970s Robert's radio. I have tried everything, trawling through YouTube videos and online radio fixing forums (yes there really is such a thing!) but not a sound. I have another plan for it now which I hope will work out soon. I also had another idea how I would make a unique board at the caravan to display our old caravan club badges we collected in the 1960s. I have given up trying to find a retro looking pin board as they are either too expensive or too big and will be working on my new idea today. Hopefully I will be sharing my success's not failures with these ideas later next week! Have a lovely day everyone and I hope it doesn't rain on you all day. xx

Friday 14 May 2021

Making Bunting And A New Job

 It rained for much of the day yesterday. It has made the garden look even greener but it wasn't much good for Scarlett and I trying to get out in it. We stayed in and made some bunting for our caravan from old 1960s and 70s flags. I bought a couple of very old flags for our little flag pole on the caravan roof from Etsy and they came on an old bunting cord, with the original rings still in place on the ends. I thought it would be a nice way of displaying them and if in the end we ever get round to showing our caravan keep the unspoilt original look. I had to remove the ring from one end and as they were so old it was quite tricky and attach it to a knitting needle to thread them through. Scarlett as usual entered into the whole thing with such enthusiasm. I thought I had enough flags to go end to end but was four short which was a bit annoying but I will search them out and add them before we go away. When I have finished the large Caravan Club one will be in the centre. When eldest daughter's partner picked her up Scarlett was so excited talking about flags he said "That's it she'll be talking about this for days!" She loved the solar bee too and was thrilled when I told her she could name it. Mr Bee was what she came up with so that is what he is called. I suppose it could have been worse!

The evening was quite exciting as youngest son started a new job yesterday. It is working for the same company as he and youngest daughter work for now but he has been promoted to a much more responsible role. He will still have a part in looking after the disabled children he cares for at the moment but it is more community based now too, training them as they travel around and hopefully becoming more independent in society. He is really looking forward to it as he loves being out and about. It was really nice to sit in the evening chatting about his day and hear all the new things he will be doing.

We haven't even reached Monday the 17th yet when restrictions are lifted a bit more and there is already talk on the news about new local lockdowns because of the rise of the Indian variant of coronavirus in this country. Sigh. I'm just going to keep on with my little life and try not to worry too much about  B1712 variant or whatever. There's lots I need to get on with today, inside and outside. so I'm just going to enjoy and carry on with that. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Thursday 13 May 2021

Growing Trees From Seeds And Not Reading Clearly Enough

 It was a nice sunny day yesterday and I managed to get quite a few small plants in the greenhouse planted out. I planted meadowsweet, poppies, echinops and hollyhocks, all grown from collected seeds last autumn. They are all plants that bees love so I'm hoping will attract more to the garden. I had kept some of the geraniums I grew from seed last year in the greenhouse over the winter and I put them out now too. This left more space and spare flower pots so re potted some of the trees I  have grown. I potted oak trees grown from acorns from the oak tree in my Dad's garden and plum trees from plum stones from the plum tree in our garden. I still have lots more to re pot so I'm going to clear an area at the side of the duck run as my tree "nursery". I was really pleased as, after I was starting to wonder if there was no hope, my Silver Birch trees are starting to come up. I planted them last September and there had been no sign of life. They are only tiny but I'm hoping they survive. These are the oak and plum trees. Some of the oak trees still haven't got leaves on yet but I had put two acorns in each little pot so they had to be separated out.

Our garden is really filling out now. I hate gaps anywhere! I still  have lots of plants to put out and 24 free (almost) geraniums coming. I have bought some seeds before from a company called Thompson and Morgan and they often send me emails about offers and the other day I received an email from them saying I could have 20 free geranium plants, postage was £5 so it didn't work out totally free but it as still a good deal and should fill any gaps.

I had ordered another £4 bag of food and and Tom and I walked down to the local garage together at 9pm with Tom telling me how much he had enjoyed his sandwich and Danish pastry at lunchtime. When we got there I realised I had chosen the wrong petrol station on the app and it was the one on the other side of our town. We had to walk home and then drive to collect our food with me apologising the whole way. I'm not making that mistake again! Even though we laughed about the state of my eyes I was really cross with myself. There wasn't such a good selection either which was interesting to compare but still lots of food for today and Tom got his Danish pastry to take to work so he wasn't too fed up. When we got back it had got dark and now I have worked out where the little solar panel is on the bee he has finally lit up!

Scarlett is coming this morning and I'm sure she will want to help me in the garden today. I was hoping we may be able to have our lunch sitting on the bench by the aviary after it was so lovely yesterday but the weather forecast is not as good and showers are expected so I may have to rethink. I hope everyone has a lovely day and enjoys what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday 12 May 2021

The Little Pieces Of Information In Family History

 Yesterday at my Dad's house we were talking family history research again for a while. We have found out so much information about my Dad's side of the family recently it has really given me a push to keep looking. My Dad's family, from Liverpool were a really interesting mix. His Dad, my Grandad, was one of 12 children, and a butcher like his own Dad (They must be turning in their graves at your vegetarian shenanigans youngest son likes to tell me!) My Grandad, like my Dad won a scholarship to a grammar school and was bright, funny and very political. After he was widowed he would come and stay with us for a week at a time and take himself off on the train and then the bus to explore London. He always had a funny tale to tell us when he returned and I really enjoyed his visits. My Dad tells us he was so ahead of his time believing in equality for all, women's rights and despite being a butcher hated any form of animal cruelty. Apparently he and his five brothers would have long political discussions for hours. 

Rightly or wrongly I have built up a picture in my mind of what each brother must have been like from the conversations I have had with my Dad but in my family tree searching I have come across a few old newspaper reports that have given me so much more of an insight. The third eldest boy was called Francis and Dad told me he was the quietest of the brothers. When he was a child he had been involved in an accident being hit by a tram and nearly died, in adult life he was a French polisher, restoring furniture and Dad said when he came round and restored a table for them and he couldn't believe how beautiful his work was. He kept himself to himself and didn't really get heated in any of the political discussions. I built up a picture in my mind of this quiet, artistic type maybe his injuries from childhood still affecting him. Then I found the newspaper report of a court case.

When Francis was walking home in Liverpool late one evening in 1933 he came across a crowd gathered around two men fighting. One of the men had a knife and had stabbed the other man who was bleeding heavily, Francis went straight into the foray despite the crowd shouting "Look out he has a knife" and the attacker shouting at him "Do you want it too" He disarmed the man, despite being stabbed in the hand himself and wrestled him to the ground. Sadly the man who had been stabbed died later in hospital but Francis was hailed a hero and the attacker was arrested. Suddenly the quiet, artistic young man became a completely different person to me! When I showed my Dad he couldn't believe it he knew nothing of the tale but there it was, with Francis's full name and address in the paper. It has made me realise how important family research is for future generations. Although  finding birth certificates and marriage certificates is so important, it is the little snippets that make up a personality that can be so much more helpful. I really must try and find more time to do more research.

Yesterday I bought another bag of food to be collected on my Too Good To Go app. I'm trying really hard to plan our meals around these £4 bags as it will save so much money, and Marks and Spencer food is really good quality. Tom took the salad and a pastry to work yesterday, and as he normally spends about £5 a day on his lunch in the work canteen that had already saved us money. I made sausage and mash with some steamed courgettes for Tom and youngest son and daughter so all I had to add was a veggie burger from the freezer for me. I  froze the rolls for another day and the salad and hummus I will eat over the next couple of days. I bought another bag last night which I froze the sausages from straight away. There are lunches for Tom and youngest son and daughter today too.  So far I'm finding this a really good money saving exercise. This was last nights bag for £4. 

It's a lovely bright day today and I have planned to plant out some of the young plants in the greenhouse. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans are. xx

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Food Too Good To Waste

 It as really windy again yesterday morning with some heavy showers. I managed to get the second curtain for the caravan awning cut but not pinned ready for sewing as it took me so long, checking and double checking. It has been made so much harder as the original curtains were enormous. I thought when they first arrived they must have been curtains for French doors, but I was checking the length yesterday and we live in an Edwardian House with very high ceilings but they would hang from ceiling to floor. It has made them really hard to cut and manage but I am so thrilled with all the fabric. 

The other task I put aside five minutes for yesterday morning was to check my Too Good To Go app on my phone. I used it a few times before the first lockdown but then deleted it off my phone as it wasn't really worth keeping it on. A month ago I thought I would give it another go and I have bought a couple of takeaways for the rest of the family. You buy £12 worth of food the restaurant or shop advertises and collect it near the end of the day for about £3 or £4, it is to help reduce food waste and also boost local businesses. You can buy one, two or three meals if they have them available but it is a mystery bag and as I don't eat meat the take away option hasn't been any good for me as so far no vegetarian restaurants are taking part. The rest of the family have loved it though. I had decided to try the shop at our petrol station which is an M&S local selling other brands as well and has a little cafe. I purchased my bag for £4 and my collection was booked for between 9 and 10 pm. 

I spent a few hours of the afternoon gardening. There always seems to be so much to do at this time of the year. I re potted my hydrangea my eldest daughter had given me for my 50th birthday. I realised it must definitely need it as I have had it 11 years this summer! It was really heavy to move about but I'm glad I finally got it sorted out. I have lots of plants I will be putting out from the greenhouse in the next few weeks, poppies, echinops, and hollyhocks and am looking forward to seeing how they will do. I kept Cassie up there with me while I was working but tied her to the garden chair on a long lead as she would chase the poor foxes if she was loose. They walked by a few times looking a bit worried at the sight of her, but she only growled. She may be little but terriers can be really feisty and she certainly is, even though she looks as if butter wouldn't melt in her mouth!

After Tom had got in at 7 o'clock and we had all eaten our evening meal I walked down to the petrol station at about 8.45. It was a nice walk as it was still light and very quiet. I showed the man who works there the code sent to me on my phone and he gave me two bag of shopping and when I thanked him he said "No, thank you this would all be thrown out at midnight otherwise." I'm sure we would be horrified if we saw all the food thrown out in our local area. I was really pleased, all this for £4.

Sadly I heard yesterday evening the young whale in the Thames had been found but had to be put to sleep as it was in such poor condition. The poor thing, it made me feel sad the whole evening. There has been some good news though as coronavirus restrictions are being relaxed a bit more next Monday. I'm going to my Dad's house today to do his shopping and have quite a bit to get through before  To think by the summer things may be back to some sort of normality. No more queuing and mask wearing when we are shopping I hope. It's an exciting thought! Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Monday 10 May 2021

Garden Bees And Looking For A Whale

 Tom and I left really early to walk the dogs yesterday and were out for our walk before 9am. Incredibly it was still really crowded. I find it hard to believe on this walk, through the horse farm and following the walls of the old mental asylum which is now the prison. We never saw another person and it was the walk we took the dogs on several times a week before the pandemic. Now we have to stop at least ten times to put the dogs back on the lead while a large group of joggers runs past or our latest stress while we are there, mountain bikers! I'm not knocking mountain bikers, eldest daughters partner is an avid one who dreams of him and Scarlett spending time "off road" together when she is a bit older, but surely there must be a better place than a little narrow path through woods and fields. I'm terrified daft Layla who runs around in circles will knock someone off or even worse little Cassie will get caught in the wheels. I think we are going to have to have a complete rethink of where we go walking. Youngest son is always reassuring me "Don't worry Mum, they will all have got bored with this cycling and running soon and be back on a beach in Spain." Much as I am glad people are trying to keep fit, I really hope so! 

When we got back I started tidying up in the garden. There was still a lot of debris around from all the windy and rainy weather. I also pruned back some of the large shrubs like our Snowberry and Forsythia which have really grown in the last few weeks. Our garden is full of trees and large shrubs, we get so much pleasure watching them flower each year. We have really noticed everything is very behind this year. Google photos are always reminding me of photos I took a year ago, two years ago and even ten years ago, and everything was much further on a few years ago. My Dad has a beautiful yellow azalea and I photograph it every year. Google was reminding me in the last few weeks of all the beautiful photos of it around the beginning of May but this year it is still only in bud. I suppose it has been very cold this year.

One thing I have noticed is our Whitebeam tree. It is quite a large tree in our garden and I do slightly worry it has got away from us and will cost a fortune to ever prune now but birds love it. It is strange though some years it is a mass of white flowers, covered with bees for weeks and in those years it is covered with red berries in the autumn which the birds love. Some years though, including last year there is not a single flower on it and I am never sure why. This year however, despite all the late frosts, it looks to be covered in buds. It is something that really lifts my spirits, it is so beautiful when in full flower so I am really pleased.

Talking of bees I put our little solar light bee up on the arch yesterday. I love it, it looks so cute bouncing around in the breeze. I'm sure Scarlett will love it and I will get her to give it a name. 

I've been following a story on the news about a poor whale trapped in the Thames at Richmond Lock. The fire brigade and the RNLI manage to wrap it in inflated giant "bubble wrap" (that's my idea of it not a professional one!) and took it further down the Thames to try and release it out to sea. Sadly the whale broke free from it's "bubble wrap" and has escaped before they could take it to safety. Now it is lost in the Thames and they are appealing for people to look out for it. You wouldn't think you would be able to lose a whale in the Thames in the middle of London but there you are. I'm going to be worried about it all day and I really hope those wonderful rescuers who are trying so hard to help it manage to locate it before it is too late.

I am planning to re pot several of my plants that have got too big for their pots today so am hoping for a nice day weather wise but I have a back up plan of starting on the second curtain for the caravan awning if that's not possible. I hope everyone has a lovey day and if your in London keep your eyes open for the whale! xx

Sunday 9 May 2021

A Special Birthday And Helping Memory With Photos

 Scarlett had a lovely 4th birthday yesterday. Eldest daughter and her partner had taken her to Drusillas Park in East Sussex the day before which is a small zoo and park for young children which she loved. Yesterday we went to my Dads for a small get together in the garden but the weather was so miserable we had to sit in the conservatory with the doors open. Not that it bothered Scarlett though she was so excited and it was the first time she could remember going in the conservatory because of all the lockdown restrictions. Youngest daughter had to go with her to search out my Dad's cat Millie who she always talks about and she had to use Great Grandad's binoculars that he keeps by the window to watch the foxes to check everything out.

I was just so thrilled to be having some family time again. It was only a small group of us but it feels as if we are getting back to some sort of normality and so importantly making memories for Scarlett. Youngest daughter filmed a few lovely videos of her around the house including one of her watching the Grandfather clock chiming and her face is a picture. 

I thought how wonderful it would have been to have the same of my Grandparents houses. I can remember being inside them but have such sketchy memories of what their houses looked like. I was probably about Scarlett's age when I was last in my Mum's, parents house. A lovely terraced house overlooking a green in Netherton just outside Liverpool. I can remember standing in the kitchen watching my Nana cooking, wearing her apron, she looked so in control I can remember! I can also remember being in the garden with my Grandad, that beautiful garden with flowers and a greenhouse. My memories of my Grandparents are much clearer over the next few years, after they moved to my Auntie's house as they got older but I would love to have clearer memories of their own house. Imagine if I had photos or even videos of the inside, it would be such a wonderful thing. Scarlett is lucky to have these memory prompts for later in her life.

We have had a long conversation on Facebook recently about a day out we had when we were at school.  A large group of us, my sister and some of her friends and me and some of my friends went to see David Cassidy at White City in London together in 1974. It was such a special day that for lots of reasons I'll always remember, but for the life of us we can't remember all of the people who went. We have all remembered and forgotten different things. My sister has found some photo booth photos she and her friends took at Waterloo station on the way there and I can't believe I didn't do the same but have no recollection. It's worrying how we have all forgotten so much. Of course we just didn't take photos in those days, if it was now it would be all over Facebook to remind us who went and what we did for ever. Maybe we were lucky not to have reminders forever of our teenage years or will teenagers today never have problems with their memories in later life as it is all there to look back at. Only time will tell.

I do have one little reminder of when I went to see David Cassidy at Wembley in 1973. One little photo before we set off and it reminds me so much of the day. 

It's much brighter today and we're planning a nice long walk with the dogs, although I think we may be dodging showers. I hope everyone has a really lovely Sunday what ever you are doing. xx

Saturday 8 May 2021

Vegetable Steamers And A Special Day

 We decided yesterday morning we would go back to the garden centre and try and find a little round table to put with our two chairs by the aviary, and use the last of the money on my Christmas garden centre voucher. I had planned to buy a little folding garden table we could put our cups of tea on while we have a sandwich at lunchtimes like my Dad has in his garden. Although my Dad always has a wine cooler and a bottle of wine on his! I was shocked when we saw the prices though, you could only buy them in sets and they were over £200! We did buy a cute little solar bee. It looks enormous in the photo, like something from War Of The Worlds descending on our garden but it's actually only a couple of inches long. I'll take another photo when it's in place. I think I'm going a bit bee crazy! 

We decided we would drive to the charity salesroom and see if we could find a small round table I could paint. Sadly nothing was suitable but I still found an old 1950s steamer. I have been looking for one for a long time but these old ones have always been too expensive. I was so pleased as this was only £3.

Another item I just couldn't resist was this Snowman ceramic money box. I thought it would be lovely to use as a Christmas decoration. He's so sweet I think I will leave him out until Christmas, Scarlett will love him. He was only 50p! I also managed to buy another Ladybird book for my collection of old matt covered books. 

I used my steamer last night and we had sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli with our salmon, accompanied by the  second bottle of wine our youngest son bought us after our disastrous evening the other day. It was lovely and I'm already planning all the other meals I can have now with my new steamer. 

Today is a really special day. It's Scarlett's 4th birthday and we are meeting up at my Dad's later. We are hoping to be in the garden but Tom and I are going a bit earlier to get my Dad's conservatory ready so we can sit with the doors open if we need to dodge the showers. I hope everyone has a lovely day and you manage to enjoy some nice weather after this rain stops. xx

Friday 7 May 2021

Voting Day

 Scarlett was so excited to go and vote yesterday. She even forgot about going to the bakers she talked about it so much. Mid morning Tom, youngest daughter who was off work because the school she works at was closed and being used as a polling station, Scarlett and I set off for the walk to vote. We took our pencils with us as we had been told to do, to stop the risk of virus spreading. It was only when we were half way there and Scarlett asked "Where is the boat?" we realised quite why she was so excited! Disappointment over, and a boat trip promised this summer, she brightened up as for some reason, us just all going somewhere and taking pencils with us seemed exciting enough. After we had all hand sanitised, that's exciting for Scarlett too, we queued to vote. I'm pretty up on politics and follow it all closely, but even I get a bit bewildered by these London Mayoral elections we were voting for and for some reason everything seems harder when your wearing a mask! The man seated passes your three ballot forms and explained from behind a mask and a screen, so it's hard to hear, about first and second choices, London assembly and something else I missed but because I was hanging on to Scarlett, didn't bother to ask again. There was a whole page of candidates listed from the most obscure parties you could imagine. You have to be so careful when you are distracted not to accidentally vote for Count Binface (yes really) , that actor I used to like in Lewis on the TV but don't at all now he has shown his true colours as a politician or even the YouTube star. There are all these new parties The Let London Live party, the London Real Party, it's all starting to remind me of a Monty Python sketch. I put my crosses in the boxes I wanted posted the ballot paper in the box and hoped for the best. When we got outside, after carefully following the one way system. I asked youngest daughter who she voted for as her second choice  "The Animal Welfare Party" she answered. I didn't even notice them! 

Eldest daughter and her partner were going to look at some houses for sale after they had finished work in the evening so we had Scarlett with us for her dinner too. After we had eaten we were all sitting talking about how we had voted with youngest son. He is the most political out of all of us, yet had refused to vote. He said he was sick and tired of voting for people who are just lying to get the vote. They are all the same and are only ever thinking about their own benefits. They never deliver on what they say and get away with it year in year out. Oh dear! I think he is probably right. Maybe I should have voted for Count Binface after all! He may have turned out to be more trustworthy.

Tom is off today and we have lots to catch up on. We have shopping to do but I still don't have a new debit card which is annoying so we must try and get most done today while Tom is off. The two men putting up the fence are still struggling with fence posts but I will have to tackle the garden at some point regardless as it looks so messy after all the wind we have had. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx
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