Tuesday, 31 January 2017

#JusJoJan - Day 31 - Detritus

The Just Jot It January 31st prompt, is brought to us by Lorraine of My Frilly Freudian Slip, and is: “Detritus.”   Thank to her for the prompt but special thanks to Linda for setting up this challenge and keeping it running smoothly all month.

Hmm detritus is certainly a challenging word to fit into the content of a post.  In checking it out for inspiration I learned TMI especially on how the composting process works.    I'm good at composting.  Well I'm good at filling the compost caddy in the kitchen.  I'm also fairly good at emptying said caddy into the big compost bin in the garden.  Not one of my favourite jobs but everyone else seems to be able to ignore the overloaded kitchen caddy until it starts to get smelly.  Even then hubby is more likely to moan about what to do with vegetable peelings when it's full rather than actually empty it.  

Hubby's good at doing that.  Moaning about problems rather than looking for a solution.  He also has the cheek to moan if there are glass bottles on the side making access to the caddy awkward yet although he consumes at least half (if not more) of the wine and definitely all the beer from said bottles he rarely, very rarely takes them to the bottle bank.  Just moans if I haven't removed them from the kitchen to the cellar where I store them before I take them to be recycled.

Hubby does have his good points too but I digress.
Anyway back to the detritus compost.  I empty it into the big bin and it makes compost.  Right?  Well it does, eventually.  So far so good.  That's where I fall down.  Because the next stage is to use the compost.  This year I need to actually use the compost.  I need to start dealing with the detritus of my life.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Review: The Secret

The Secret The Secret by Kathryn Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beth and Michael need a kidney donor for their son Jake. In trying to find any living relatives Beth uncovers a huge secret. We're then taken back to the summer of 1976 to discover the origins of the secret. Part of that involves an ill fated day trip to Blackpool for a group of friends and the aftermath. It's well told and there are a couple of surprises along the way.

It's not a masterpiece but it was an entertaining and ultimately feel good read.

View all my reviews

Review: The Butcher's Hook

The Butcher's Hook The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I read this as a book club challenge and that was the only thing that kept me reading. I really didn't like this book. The main character was a horrible person and I didn't find that all the things she did were plausible or believable.

It was set in Georgian London and was very gloomy. I'm glad to be able to say I finished it but that's about it.

View all my reviews

#JusJoJan - Day 30 - Blue

If you want to join in the fun or just see what others are jotting pop over to Linda's site.  You'll find all the rules there too.

The Just Jot It January 30th prompt, brought to you by John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing, is: “Blue.” Use it any way you’re inspired to. And make sure you stop by and say hi to John as well! Here’s his blog:  https://thesoundofonehandtyping.wordpress.com/

Well yesterday's prompt was History and my post was history as soon as I felt a migraine kicking in and took myself off to bed.  Better today, minor lingering headache and the general apathy that usual follows so Blue is a good prompt for me today.

It's really hard sometimes to understand why you can feel blue even when you have so much going for you including a lovely supportive family.  But there is often no rhyme or reason to it.  I'm better at pulling myself out of it than I used to be.  Giving up my job was the best thing I ever did on that front.  

Piling pressure on ourselves and trying to meet impossible standards seems to be a factor of everyday life for many of us but eventually something has to give.  I decided it wasn't going to be my health.  But January can be a miserable month.  It's anticlimatic after Christmas and often the weather isn't the best for getting out and walking.  I know that exercise helps to lift my mood and I have been getting out when I can and we have had some lovely blue skies even if the temperature hasn't been much above freezing.

One of the reasons I opted in to the Just Jot it January was to keep me focussed on something and keep me blogging regularly.  I haven't made it here every single day but have missed less than I thought I would.  Now I need to think of a slogan for February to keep me going.

Hmm, February Fables?  Probably not.  I don't count myself as part of the writing group that joins in here. Yes I write but it's not instalments of a novel or poetry or anything else that would be worthy of publication but that's fine.  That's not my aim.

Maybe I'll do a February Fitbit log.  Although if I don't move more than I did this month that might not be very interesting either.  I'll have to put my thinking cap on.

On a positive note there was a post today on the A-Z Challenge blog (find it here) which talked about a big announcement coming next week.  The heading has also been changed to 2017.  That's encouraging because I've already done some work on my posts for that.  Looking forward to finding out more.

John who supplied today's prompt is part of the organising team so thanks to him for that. 

Actually blue is one of my favourite colours.  I wear it a lot.  Jeans are meant to be blue.  Right?

Saturday, 28 January 2017

#SoCS plus #JusJoJan - 28th January

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January is: “wood/would.” Use one, use both, use them any way you would like. Have fun!

Our host Linda can be found over at Life in Progress with all the details  

Would you believe it.  I have 4 minutes to get this posted on time.  I have 4 whole minutes to waffle.  Could I?  Should I?  Well I would if I could see the wood from the trees and find something worth waffling about.  Or even something that you might like to read.

Oops only 3 minutes now.  Now how long would there be between me hitting the publish button and the date stamp being set.  The clock now says 2 minutes.  I'm taking no chances.  I would if I could but the axe is about to fall!

#JusJoJan - Day 27 - Incomplete

The prompt for Day 27 of the Just Jot it January challenge was Incomplete.  Pop over to our host Linda's site for full details. 

The prompt was supplied by Cyn of That Cynking Feeling

Well my Just Jot it January log is incomplete and this post is a day late but I'm persevering!

For a long time I felt my family was incomplete.  I am the youngest of 3 children but due to the big age gaps between me and my elder brothers, I felt very much like an only child.  I'd always wanted to have children but I was a bit worried when I met and married my husband who was the eldest of 8 siblings.  Of course we discussed how many children we wanted and hubby insisted he would be happy with 2 or maybe 3 children.  I was of the opinion that maybe we could stretch to 4.  His family are a great example of  how good it can be to be part of a large family but I was relieved at his expectations.

After the birth of our first child, which was horrendous, (culminating in a mad dash to theatre for an emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic) I can remember quite clearly telling hubby, when our daughter was only about 3 days old, that he should make the most of her because I was never going through that process again!

Of course that didn't last for long and our two sons followed in quick succession.  Yep we are a Catholic family.  Actually I wasn't at the time which was probably a good thing when it came to birth control, because considering how easily I became pregnant if I'd been a practising Catholic we could easily have got to 8.

Suddenly I didn't have enough hands!  Even with the baby safely in the pram there were two other little bodies taking off, often in different directions.  3 children seemed enough.  Except I always thought an even number was better avoiding the prospect of a middle child.  For a long time I felt my family was incomplete, especially when several of hubby's siblings went on to have 4 children.

Eventually though, as our children got older and the gap between them and any fourth child grew, it became easier to accept that we were done.  And we have 3 great kids.  We are definitely NOT incomplete.


Thursday, 26 January 2017

#JusJoJan Day 26 - Extraordinary

Just Jot it January is hosted by Linda over at Life in Progress.

Today's prompt Extraordinary, is provided by Kelli who can be found at https://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/

Well I'm happy to report that today was not extraordinary for me.  No catastrophic weather events, no family issues.  Everything was very ordinary.  Just the way I like it.

My son and his wife would probably not agree.  They completed on their first house today.  They are now officially home owners (well apart from the mortgage!)  My daughter also had her 20 week scan done today and all is well.  I expect for her it wasn't an ordinary day either.

To me having a family and watching them grow up is extraordinary.   The way we can track their development before they are even born and then seeing how they become their own person with their own minds that don't always agree with yours!  

Of course we live in extraordinary times.   It's not always easy to witness the events taking place around the world.  It's definitely not easy to see how some conflicts can be resolved.  It would be wonderful if we could all learn to live beside one another, despite our differences.  But I fear that is too extraordinary.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge 25/1/17

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 the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. "The cure for anything is salt water-tears, sweat, or the sea." (Isak Dinesan) Would you agree? Of the three, which has 'cured' you most recently? 
I don’t think everything can be cured by salt water but all of those can work for me depending on the circumstances.  Sometimes when I’m upset a crying session will ease the tension or when I’m cross getting busy and working up a sweat will take my mind of things but I love walking along a peaceful beach, preferably pretty deserted.
2. What's something you can't eat without salt? Do you normally salt your food a lot, a little, or not at all? 
I don’t use a lot of salt due to high blood pressure but crisps have to be salted.
3. Sands of time, bury your head in the sand, built on sand, or draw a line in the sand...which sandy phrase could best be applied to something in your life right now? 
Draw a line in the sand I think. Trying to move forward and be positive.
4. A favorite book, movie, or song with an island setting or theme? 
Stumped on this one!
5. Yesterday-did you run your day or did it run you? How so? 
I ran my day because I decided on what I wanted to get done and just did it.  I wasn’t having to answer to anyone.
6. You're on an island holiday. Will I most likely find you parked in a beach chair, shopping in town, on the back of a jet ski, or snorkeling off the back of a catamaran? 
Definitely parked in a beach chair, preferably with a good book.
7. What do you think we humans most take for granted?
I think we take our planet for granted.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I wonder if we spent as much time and effort on trying to work together rather than pulling up the drawbridge or building walls, would the world be a better place?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

#JusJoJan Day 24 - Elusive.

Just Jot it January is hosted by Linda at Life in Progress.  Pop over there for the rules, links etc.  Thanks also to Judy at Edwina's Episodes for holding the fort while Linda takes a break.

Today's prompt is elusive brought to us by Eclectic Evelyn  And thoughts of what to write about are proving elusive too.  My ability to keep to a knitting pattern also seems to be eluding me.  I'm making something where the main block consists of a 4 row pattern.  In theory it's really simple.  In practise it's a nightmare.  (As is my knowledge of when to use practice or practise.)  I've probably had to undo half of the rows I've knitted.  Well not quite but it's annoying and my patience is another elusive quality when I'm trying to unpick the rows.

It probably has something to do with trying to watch the TV and knit at the same time.  Works fine if it's a really simple pattern as in knit every stitch, but throw in anything slightly complicated and either I lose the plot of the drama I'm watching or I realise I have to backtrack on another row that's not quite right.

I suppose it doesn't help being a bit of a perfectionist and also convinced that I can multi task.  Whatever gave me that idea?  Nothing elusive about that.  I'm a woman!
Image result for knitting image funnyBe very afraid!

Monday, 23 January 2017

#JusJoJan Day 23 - Compromise


Today is Day 23 of the Just Jot it January challenge.  The prompt is Compromise.  If you want to find out more and join in click on the picture.  The prompt is supplied by Rita of But I smile Anyway.  So thanks to her plus Judy of Edwina's Episodes who is currently holding the fort for Linda.

Well I made a compromise yesterday and missed posting.  I'm not holding myself in contempt for that.  We had a family event which took up most of my day and I just didn't feel like posting once we were home later in the day.  

Sometimes life is full of compromises.  We look at all the things we'd like to do and then at the time available for them.  The two sides don't always match up.  Especially when you find yourself needing an afternoon nap! 

Saturday, 21 January 2017

#SoCS & #JusJoJan 21/1/17 - Glass

Click here for details of how to join in the fun and to post your link.

Today's prompt is glass.  This is my favourite type of glass.

Preferably full of red wine.  I'm probably a glass half-empty sort of person.  Trying to improve on that.  It's a WIP. (work in progress) But my wine glass actually is probably better totally empty, with just the tell tale stain of red at the bottom to show what was there.

I enjoyed a glass (or two) yesterday with friends for lunch.  I made a main dish that I'd done before so I knew that should turn out ok but in the aim of pushing myself I tried out a dessert I hadn't done before.  That was ok too.  Took longer to cook than the recipe said but it didn't matter as we were just happy being together, chatting and catching up on each other's news.

Hopefully I'm not sounding like an alcoholic here.  I'm actually not a big drinker at all.  I don't like spirits or beer so my drink of choice is usually a glass of wine.  Trouble is when you are sitting eating and chatting they can go down rather too easily.  I think because I'm usually the designated driver and don't drink that often, when I do have the extra glass or so I usually regret it.  I'm trying to take things slower.  Another WIP.  Everything seems to be a WIP at the moment but I guess that's life!

Friday's Fave Five 20/1/17


Well a day late for this but at least I'm here.  Completely missed last week.

Click on the picture above to join in over at Suzanne's site.

My five for the last week are:

1. Bright, sunny but cold winter days.  The sort it's good to get out and about on.  We've had several this week.

2. Lunch with friends.  Always good to catch up over a nice meal and a glass of wine.

3. Saying goodbye to an old family friend.  Yes funerals are sad but when the person has had a good life as witnessed by the number of people who attended the funeral it's good to be able to reflect on that and catch up with people that you don't see very often.  We did that this week for Eileen who had been friends with my hubby's Mum since they became neighbours and had their first child around the same time. 85 is a good age to achieve.

4. Saying hello to a new family member.  One of our nephews became a Dad for the first time this week.  Polly arrived safely on Tuesday.  We haven't met her yet but thanks to social media apps we've enjoyed lots of photos!

5. Keeping up with the challenges I've set myself and cooking a new dish.  I made a Peach Clafoutis yesterday for when my friends came to lunch.  It's very simple to make but not something I'd done before.  It was delicious - very light.  Of course I forgot to take a photo.  The challenge of taking more photos is probably the one that's doing the worst at the moment!  Here's one I stole from the web.  Looks like this one was served with cream but we had custard.

Have a good weekend all.

#JusJoJan Day 20 - Transcendent

Click on the picture for full details etc over on Linda's site.

The prompt for today is Transcendent and provided by Deborah who blogs at Notes tied on the Sagebrush.

This really is going to be just a jot.  I had to check out the meaning of today's word, but frankly I'm so tired that if I tried to write much of a post I would be transcending the limits of my brain.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

January Self Care Challenge

Some of you asked about the challenges I'm doing this month after I mentioned them yesterday. 
One of them is the January Self Care Challenge.

This has been set by my DIL Amy.  She has battled ill health and anxiety this past year but is determined to stay well and also tries to fight the stigma of mental health.  The challenge is linked in with Instagram and these are the prompts:

Each day Amy expands a bit on the prompts and then those of us taking part will comment and where possible post photos.

I'm doing a similar thing with a Facebook group.  

Some are easier than others.  Yesterday was look up as in when outside.

These are the pictures that I took while out and about:

The large picture was taking outside my house.  The others were taken in the Olympic Park in Stratford.

#JusJoJan - Day 19 - Rubbish

Click on the picture to visit Just Jot it January's host Linda for rules and other participants.

Oh goodness.  Today's prompt is mine.  And I have no idea what to write.  That's a bit rubbish!

I'm actually pretty good with rubbish.  Probably because I seem to be the only one that puts the rubbish out most of the time.  Although to be fair hubby will put it out if I ask him.  He just never seems to notify the overflowing bin or the pile of bottles taking over the cellar.

How can that be?  He's very unobservant although he will comment on the compost bin being smelly or complain if I've left rinsed out bottles in the kitchen.  Of course as I said, I'm my own worst enemy because I just quietly get on with things rather than asking him.  I think it's only fair now that he's still working and keeping me in the manner to which I've become accustomed to which is being a lady of leisure, and one that lunches!  Now that is definitely not rubbish. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge 18/1/17

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 the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now? 
All smiles and positivity.  I'm following a couple of challenges on social media that involve mindfulness and being positive. 
2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?
I would probably be the last to speak up.  I’m not particularly confident and I also like to weigh up my options before stepping in.  It’s good in that I don’t jump in and put my foot in my mouth but it also highlights my lack of creativity.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just how it is.  I’m the organised one in the family.
3. What do you remember best about being 12? 
Long way to look back! Lol.  I was in my first year of senior school and it was tough.  I’d gone from being one of the cleverest in the small pool of primary school to finding lots of competition in a huge pool.  Also it was an all girls schools and some of them could be mean.  Took a while to find my feet.
4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why? If you're stumped go here for inspiration. 
Well I took the quiz and came out as Kanga which is probably about right.
5. What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way? 
Well looking at the apps on my phone things like the calendar, reminders, notes and weather all simplify or make life easier.  I love being organised and hate getting caught out in the rain.  I also have Kindle on there so if I get stuck somewhere I always have something to read.  Whatsapp keeps me in touch with the family and Fitbit keeps me motivated to exercise.
Of course there are some apps (Facebook, Instagram, not to mention games) that have the opposite effect! lol
6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL)...you have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?
Well I have a French nephew in California so that’s where I’d head, to whichever was the closest to him, San Francisco or San Diego.
7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what?
Can’t think of one of the top of my head but anything old that makes me think of my parents would probably have that effect.
8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
We have a new Great Niece, Polly, born yesterday after what sounded like a fairly short and straightforward labour.  That brings the number up to 9 on hubby’s side of the family.
Our expected Grandson is almost half cooked.  Going shopping today for some patterns and wool! It feels like it’s going quickly but I’m sure my daughter wouldn’t agree lol.