Monday 31 August 2015

Weekend Round up 31/8/15

August?  It felt more like November today.  Wet and chilly.  Typical bank holiday weather really.  But the whole weekend has been pretty damp and dismal.

After a restful week away the weekend has been busier.  On Saturday I went shopping with my daughter in central London.  Not my idea of fun but she needed to get her shoes and underwear for the wedding.  Her dress has arrived so she needs to arrange her first fitting.  Hence the need for shoes and underwear.  She managed to get both sorted.  And we managed to fit in lunch so it was nice to have 1:1 time with her.  Once done I carried on looking around for a wedding outfit.  I saw a few things but nothing that leapt out at me so the search continues.

Yesterday I spent much of the day working in the front garden getting it weed free before next week's jumble trail.  We also checked out what we have in the loft and started sorting out books and other stuff we can put out for sale.

Today we met some friends for brunch and then continued sorting stuff.  We have So Much Stuff!  Hopefully some of it will get sold and what doesn't will need to be disposed of one way or another.  I'm determined that whatever is left does not get put back into the house.  My lounge might look a bit messy for a while!

I am getting much better at not hanging on to things though and it's obviously rubbing off on hubby - he's not only sorted out some CDs to go but also some records!  I never thought that would happen.

I don't think my house will ever look minimalist but hopefully we will be able to see the walls from the clutter.

Sunday 30 August 2015

Catch 22, a WIP

Oooh I'm all embarrassed.  My blogger friend Lorrie nominated me for a Liebster award.  More of that in a separate post as it will require some thinking about to respond correctly.  But it did make me think I need to up my game again when it comes to blogging.  

Taking part in the A-Z Challenge got me back into the swing of blogging regularly and it came at just the right time for me.  But recently I've dropped off a bit but I do love a challenge so it was good to get a new prompt.

Today I have finished chapter 19 of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.  That means there are only 23 chapters to go.  It's been a WIP (work in progress) for a long time now.  Some of you may be thinking why bother?  I've had the same thought many times.  It's not an easy read.  The subject matter, an American bomber squadron based in Italy in WW2, is hardly something I would usually read.  But it's on a list of books that I challenged myself to read purely for that purpose.  To get me reading different things.  To be able to acquire knowledge that I wouldn't otherwise have.  

The chapter I've just read was all about contradictions.  The majority of sentences were contradictory.  I'm beginning to appreciate why the book is so highly rated.  The writing is very clever and the language has huge variety.  I will get to finish it.  Eventually!

I do love a challenge and will persevere to complete things.  Crosswords and number puzzles are one of my obsessions and I hate leaving them unfinished.  During our week away I was in my element as there were lots of newspapers around so lots of puzzles on hand.  It's good doing them with other people as well.  I'm not very good at cryptic puzzles but I'm improving.  Practise might not make perfect but it does make better.

Perhaps I'm really just stubborn.  I hate things getting the better of me.  Give me a tangled ball of wool and I have to get all the knots out.  When something goes missing I have to find it.  That came in useful when we were away as my son misplaced his phone.  In the huge house we were staying in the possibilities of where it could be were numerous but I suddenly remembered seeing him on a sofa in one of the quieter areas at one point and on searching it found the phone tucked down the side of the seat cushions.

Now if I could just channel by perseverance into clearing my house of clutter.......

Saturday 29 August 2015

Friday Five News 28/8/15

Well it's Friday again so here we go with another round up of news items that have caught my eye this week:

INTERNATIONAL:  This is the sad story of over 70 migrants being found dead in an abandoned lorry in Austria.  The plight of migrants and the lengths they will go to trying to escape from war torn countries is very prominent in the UK news at the moment as the problems with security at Calais continue and migrants persist, understandably, to escape from some of the awful situations they are in.  It’s easy to say the problems in their home countries need to be tackled to reduce the exodus of citizens but much harder to do.  In the meantime desperate people continue to take desperate measures and traffickers take advantage of this.  And people continue to die.  This latest tragedy is particularly awful and we can only hope that having made arrests, the Austrian government will be able to make some progress in reducing the trafficking taking place.

Moving on to SPORTS:  This is the clip of the cameraman on a Segway knocking Usain Bolt of his feet just after winning the 200 m race in the World Athletics Championships taking place in Beijing.  It made me laugh but I’m sure the camera man must have been so relieved that he didn’t actually injure Bolt.

In LOCAL news, when I switched my PC on today when we got home I noticed this story about HSBC payments to customers failing.  Our own bank is part of HSBC and my husband’s salary payment was due today.  As you can imagine I was checking my balance pretty quickly but we weren’t affected.

The ENTERTAINMENT item I picked out was the announcement of the final contestant in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.  I haven’t been following the announcements so I made a point of checking out the the article to see who will be taking part.  I will be glued to the TV on Saturday evenings once it starts or making sure it’s set to record! 

And finally MISCELLANEOUS: This is the story of prospective Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn being reported as supporting the possibility of having Women Only carriages on trains to try and cut down on sexual offences.  This could lead to major differences of opinion in my house as hubby quite likes the sound of Jeremy Corbyn but I don’t think I can support someone who would back such a backward step.  Moving women to their own carriage won’t get rid of the issue and sends the wrong message to perpetrators.

All links are courtesy of the BBC website. Opinions are my own.

Friday 28 August 2015

I'm Back!

We're back from our week away with family which was great despite the picture above.  There have been several comments on this one including "We've had enough of being here" to "it must be bad if everyone is praying".

Actually it was taken during a game of Werewolf which proved a great hit with most people.  We played a lot of games during the week as the weather wasn't great.  Card games, board games, table tennis, poker and of course beer drinking games and karaoke.  Although we are a large number, 1 mother, 8 siblings + 6 partners,  19 grandchildren + 10 partners + 5 great grandchildren + 4 visitors coming and going over the week, the house we stayed in is large enough for people to be able to break into smaller groups, or go and find a quiet corner somewhere so that we don't end up wanting to kill each other.

Everyone mucks in - we cook all our meals so there's always washing up to be done not to mention pototoes to be peeled, onions to be sliced and so on.  Then there were papers to be read, crosswords to be done communally, knitting to be done and thankfully the house had wifi for the young and old that couldn't be separated from their phones/tablets/pcs!

All in all we had a great week although I need to catch up on some sleep.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge 26/8/15

Join in the fun by posting your answers to the questions on your blog then post a link on our host Joyce's blog here

1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September. What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends?

I need to sort out my jumble as I have a table booked in our local jumble trail on 6th September (bit like a U.S. yard sale but lots of stalls in a local area.)

2. When were you last at 'your wit's end'?

I can't remember being at my wit's end.  My patience has been tested recently though.

3. Describe a time you were figuratively thrown into 'the deep end'?

In my 20s I had to step in and drive a minibus in Europe so I was driving an unfamiliar vehicle on the wrong side of the road and following a police car for directions.  It took me ages to get the bus in gear but I managed.

4. Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means? Explain.

That's a hard one.  Sometimes I might do things to protect someone's feelings so I think it's more a case of occasionally.

5. What makes your hair stand on end

Nails scraping down a board.

6. I read an article on the website Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods. Basically it's a feed your brain so you're less anxious, grouchy and lethargic. The foods are-mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes, grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut. Which of those do you think would most help end your own bad mood? Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you into a bad mood?

Chocolate works for me all the time to improve my mood.  As for bad mood I wouldn't enjoy Swiss chard and blue potatoes don't look very appetising.

7. What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is 'no end in sight'?

Keeping on top of and filing all our paperwork.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

No colours or fancy fonts today.  Composing this on my mini iPad as we're away with family. It's also now Thursday as we've just finished the longest game of trivial pursuit ever! 

Saturday 22 August 2015


We're on a break away with family this week. Grandma, 8 siblings, wives/husbands, kids and grandkids. 45 including little ones plus visitors dropping in.

It's 27 degrees and sunny today although the rest of the week isn't looking so good but with a pool, tennis court, cards and board games to keep us amused plus alcohol and karaoke and we won't care about the weather!

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge 19/8/15

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at 

Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add your blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post.

Have fun!

1. Way back when (the Hodgepodge bicentennial to be precise) several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question submitted by Marla, who blogs over at Marla's Musings. Thanks Marla!
She asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?   
I think we all feel grown up before we really are.  When we can drive a car, when we can legally drink, live on our own etc. but to me one memory stands out of having to really be a grown up.  My father was dying of cancer.  I was really just helping out as my Mum was doing most of the caring stuff but their wedding anniversary was coming up.  Dad hadn’t remembered.  Mum didn’t want to make a fuss about it, wanting to just ignore it but I remember making the decision to talk to Dad about it because I knew if he realised afterwards that he had forgotten it he would have been so upset as he always took great care choosing the right card for Mum.  I had to get the card and help him write it.  It was a really hard thing to do but I felt it was the right thing to do.  I was 21 at the time.  What keeps me young?  My kids.
2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience? 
We bought our current car in 2010.  It’s a Skoda Superb and it’s an upgrade from the Skoda we had before.  It was an easy purchase – we bought it from the same dealer, part exchanging our previous car (also from them) so I would rate it as a 9.  We both drive the car but I use it the most.

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favourite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?
Definitely cornflakes which need to be served with cold milk, raisins and a sprinkle of sugar substitute.

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?
Hubby brings home the free evening newspaper most nights and we like to sit and do the cryptic crossword together.  I also do the number puzzles as well.  We also do the crossword and a pub style quiz from the Saturday paper which is the only paper we usually buy all week.

5. Share a favourite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.
The Harry Potter series.  We have the DVD collection plus the books.  Love them all.  Definitely kept my boys engaged in reading when they came out.

6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?  
Well those 3 R’s feature largely in my life.  I’m always reading with at least one book on the go if not more.  Plus all the blogs I visit and the newspaper.  I’m writing most days as well and whenever I get the chance I’m doing puzzles, especially number puzzles.  I think part of that stems from having watched my Mum succumb to Alzheimer’s and wanting to keep my mind as exercised as possible.   But of course the most important R in my life is my daughter Rebecca.

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?
My future DIL bought me an adult colouring book and some pencils.  It’s definitely as easy as ABC but it’s also relaxing and very distracting.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I’m getting used to not having the cat in the house but it’s hard.  Thank you to all those who expressed condolences last week.  Hopefully I got back to all my visitors but apologies if I missed you.  I’ll be cat sitting for my daughter when she’s on honeymoon and then we’re going to look into fostering for the RSPCA.

A busy few days....

It’s been a busy few days since I last blogged.  

On Saturday I got up early to get my hair done.  Just as well I did as I’d planned to get the train there and when I went online to check the train times I discovered I would have to go by bus as the trains weren’t stopping at my local station due to engineering works!  That meant a quick hike down to the bus stop to avoid being late.

Having been restored to my unnatural colour I headed off to my daughter’s to feed her cat.  I can’t have cuddle time with her cat as she’s not that friendly but she will sit next to me on the sofa and let me fuss her so I made do with that while I had my lunch there.  I miss my cat around the house.  Once home it was a quick meal and change before heading out to our local social club for a friend’s 60th birthday.  It was a lively evening.  Hubby played guitar with a few others and then there was a DJ session which involved some dancing and we finally left to walk home at about 1 am.

It would have been nice to have just relaxed on Sunday but my youngest son had invited himself and his wife for Sunday lunch, which was fine as we hadn’t seen them since they’d both got back from the US (visiting her family) but we also offered to have Nick’s Mum for lunch as his sister had been invited out for the day so that meant a trip to Brentwood to get her and then a trip to take her back again.  At least our diesel fuelled car is getting a few longs runs lately.

On Monday my daughter wanted to go shopping for wedding shoes but she also wanted to visit her aunt and grandma so that ended up taking up most of my day and she didn’t get any shoes!

Yesterday I met my “lunch ladies” plus a former work colleague who now works in New York but who’s over here visiting family members.  That was really nice.  Lots to catch up on over a nice lunch at a Greek restaurant.

Today I had a former work colleague here for breakfast, which ended up being more like brunch as she was running late.

Tomorrow I’m off to my sister-on-law’s to help her pack for our family holiday and then hopefully I’ll be home in time to get my own packing done.

In between all this I have been working on my scrapbook WIP.   Which I’m pleased to say is almost finished!  It took a lot longer than I anticipated but I am pleased with it.  I’ve stuck in all the 60 memories that were collected and there’s still some space for photos that were taken on the day.  I need to get them printed but I wanted to have the book ready for our family gathering as so many people have said they want to read the memories.  Some are quite funny and some are just such accurate observations of hubby’s habits and mannerisms.  The picture above shows the WIP.  Note the cup of tea but also the empty wine glass!  I'll try and get some photos of the finished project later.

Now I’m catching up on blogs and off to look at the Hodgepodge.