Saturday 30 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - Z is for Zany, Zappy and Zingy

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Are we still talking Wendy?  You went very quiet on me yesterday after our discussion on youthful.

Of course Alice.  And to a degree you are right.  I’m never going to be youthful again but I don’t need to be old.  And of course I will be old but that will be easier if I’m fitter and in charge of my mind.  I can certainly work on getting fitter and being healthier.  Not sure about the mind thing with you inside it.  Time will tell on that front.

Right so do you have a word in mind for the letter Z?

Actually I have 3 Alice.  I chose them to sum you up.

Oh dear.  Are they nice words?

Definitely.  I wanted the challenge to finish on a positive note.

Ok.  What are the words?

Zany, zappy and zingy.

Do you really think they apply to me Wendy?

Yes.  Zany means silly or amusing.  You can be very silly at times Alice but you are also, according to our readers, amusing.

Oh so you don’t find me amusing then?  Bit of a back handed compliment.

Yes Alice sometimes I do find you amusing.  Anyway the second word, zappy, means energetic or lively which you definitely are.  You have much more get up and go than I have which is good although if you could curb your enthusiasm first thing in the morning it would be appreciated.

I’m trying Wendy, I’m trying.  And this week you seem to have been getting up earlier anyway.

The decorators are here working in the spare bedrooms so I’ve had to be.

Well you should try and keep to the earlier rising and work on going to bed a bit earlier.

We’re digressing Alice.  The final Z word I’ve chosen for you is Zingy which means striking, attractive or appealing.

I don’t go around striking anyone!

Striking as in your looks Alice which are also attractive and appealing.

Oh, now you’re making me blush.

Well Alice, despite being a grumpy, overweight, non-youthful, waffling idiot at times I have appreciated your help with this challenge.  I’ll even go as far as to say I couldn’t have done it without you.

Oh stop, you have me crying.

Well that would be a first.

Hey, does this mean we can do it all again next year?

Ask me in 6 months’ time Alice.

You’re not expecting me to be quiet until then are you Wendy?

Well that would be like asking for the impossible Alice so no.  And I’m definitely working on ideas for keeping you involved in my blog.

Oh goody we could….

Alice, don’t start getting carried away.

Yes but I have some great ideas….

Alice!  You have to learn when to stop which, as we’ve finished the A-Z challenge, is now!

Well there’s still a reflection post to be done Wendy so readers definitely haven’t heard the last of me yet.

Ok Alice, you get to have the last word.

Thank you Wendy.

Friday 29 April 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 29th April 2022

It's Friday again so time to reflect on the week and find five things to be grateful for and join up with other bloggers here at Susanne's site.

1)  A birthday party for Grandson Nathan.  He turned 5 back on 31st March but his party took place last weekend after the school holiday so that his school friends were more likely to be around and able to attend.  His last two birthdays were during lockdowns so were much quieter events.  This one was a go kart party and took place in a nearby school sports hall.  Unfortunately my daughter went down with Covid a couple of days before so she wasn't able to be at the party but our DIL, Nanny and Grandpa were there and my son, his wife and boys were there too.  Plus the staff providing the go karts and other activities were very helpful with setting up and clearing away.

Everyone seemed to have a good time and Nathan certainly enjoyed himself.

2)  Lunch with my youngest son Michael.  On Sunday I met up with Michael for Sunday lunch at a restaurant in the city.  It was my Christmas present from him and his family and it was a 3 course meal, including the traditional roast dinner.  I had mackerel pate to start, roast beef for my main and a lemon posset with raspberries for dessert.  The nicest thing though was just being able to spend some quality with him.  Too often when I'm picking up Vinny or dropping him off we're like ships that pass in the night and when the whole family come here it's hard to chat with the kids running around.

3)  Some decorating done!  Not by us I hasten to add.  Our neighbour used to work as a painter and decorator and although he is now retired all his 3 sons are carrying on the business.  Anyway 2 of them were here this week and our 2 guest bedrooms are now looking a lot nicer.  We haven't got the furniture back in yet but once I'm organised I'll post some pictures.  Really pleased with their work and they were such pleasant workers to have in the house.

4)  Good news from an extended family member who has been undergoing chemo recently.  Her blood test results were a lot better this week so now she's having a break from chemo.

5)  I've made it to the end of the A-Z challenge and haven't missed a day.  This is a blogging challenge that lasts throughout April (excluding Sundays) and involves doing posts based on each letter of the alphabet.  The last day is actually tomorrow but my post is already done and scheduled to post early tomorrow morning.  I'm thankful for all the nice comments I've had on the posts and apologise for not doing so much commenting of my own during this time - it's been a bit hectic.

Have a good weekend all.

A-Z challenge 2022 - Y is for Youthful

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Well Alice, what’s today’s word?

Youthful Wendy.

Great.  That might work for you Alice but it doesn’t apply to me.

Well this challenge, or anything come to that, isn’t all about you Wendy.  You have to consider the wider world, think outside the box and all that.

It’s hard to think outside the box Alice when you are contained inside my head.

Yes well maybe if you did think more widely you wouldn’t feel so restricted at times.  You keep talking about how things are opening up now and it’s easier to do things but you’re not actually doing them.  It’s very limiting for me too.  How can I help you with ideas if you don’t give me any new material to work with?


Yes I know, I have a point.

That wasn’t what I was going to say.

Are you sure about that?

Well…. Maybe.

And it’s all very well keep going on about how the grandkids keep you young but from my viewpoint all they seem to do is tire you out.

Yes but it’s a good tired Alice.  A satisfied tired.

You still need to up your exercise and lose that extra weight Wendy.

This is turning into a lecture Alice.  I lost a pound last week.

Yes but prior to that you’d gained another 3 so you’re still behind.  And I’ve seen you sneaking pieces of Nathan’s birthday cake when you think no one is looking.

Well it’s there!  I tried not to let Vicky give us such a big piece when we came home, I even tried to leave it behind but she spotted it and made sure we put it in the car.

You could just put it in the food waste.

But I hate wasting food.

You hate wasting anything but sometimes we have to think of the bigger picture.  In this case the bigger you and how you want to be smaller so you need to bin the rest of the cake!

Maybe….but Becca and Vicky sometimes read my blog and I don’t want them offended.

Given the choice of visiting you in hospital after a heart attack or having you around to babysit their kids I think a bit of wasted cake is the least of your worries.

I think that might be a bit of an exaggeration Alice.

Really?  When did you last check your blood pressure?


I rest my case.

Oh thank goodness for that.  Now I can have some peace and quiet and maybe a cup of tea with a piece of cake.

Not if you want to stay youthful Wendy.

Oh Alice, that ship has already sailed!

Thursday 28 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - X is for Xenopus

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Right then Alice.  What is the x word you’ve chosen for me?


What?  Are you sure that’s a word Alice?

Definitely is.

Hmm well according to google Xeno - means “alien,” “strange,” or “guest,” and is used in the formation of compound words so is it an alien cat Alice?

No, try again.

Strange octopus?

No it’s actually a species of frog.  Also known as the clawed frog.

Here’s the link to its Wikipedia page Xenopus - Wikipedia

A frog?!

I wanted something unusual.

Well it’s certainly that.  But it’s not a pretty thing.

Things don’t always have to be pretty Wendy to be interesting.  One of the things about this frog is that it uses its fore limbs to eat because it doesn’t use its tongue like most frogs do.


It’s also very useful in scientific experiments.


It was used in the 1930s to 1950s in pregnancy tests.


You’re not the least bit interested are you Wendy?

I’m always interested in what you have to say Alice.  But a frog? 

Well surely it’s more interesting than some of the other words on the list?

Can’t we just talk about x-rays or xylophones?  At least everyone knows what they are.  Frog should have been in the first week of the challenge not the last.

But it’s a xenopus. 

If you say so Alice.  Hopefully we haven’t bored our readers to tears and they’ll be back tomorrow.

I’ve got a great word for tomorrow Wendy.

Hmm we'll see about that.

Wednesday 27 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - W is for Wrong

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Are we talking about xylophones tomorrow Alice?

No we are not Wendy.  That would be very boring.  I’ve thought of a lovely word for tomorrow.

Thought or found Alice?  As in a word you already knew or one I’d looked up previously on the internet.

I’m not giving you any clues.  And no googling X words.

But that’s what you probably did isn’t it Alice?

Well of course you might have done to find an interesting word and then I shall just be the messenger.   After all I’m not able to use a computer like you Wendy so I just have to rely on you helping me out a bit now and then.

Umm I thought you were the one supposed to be giving me inspiration Alice.

Then you’d be wrong.  All of this is completely down to you Wendy.  I’m just you’re sounding board.

I’m not sure that’s actually true Alice.  You definitely seem to have a mind of your own most of the time.

I definitely have a mind of my own Wendy but it’s of your creation so really it’s yours too.

I see you’re in one of your argumentative moods Alice.

Well it would be boring if I agreed with you all the time.  Where’s the fun in that?  And boy do I need some fun sometimes.  Being stuck in your head is no picnic Wendy.

No definitely no food for you Alice.  Goodness only knows what damage biscuit crumbs could do.

Now you’re just being silly.

That’s right Alice.  Sometimes I like to have fun too you know.

Yes but it’s often at my expense which is very unfair and unkind!  You should be more appreciative of my help.

Now you’re sounding petulant Alice.  I’m assuming you know the meaning of petulant?

Ha ha very funny! Not! 

Tuesday 26 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - V is for Vinny

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Right so it’s Vinny’s turn to be in the spotlight today Wendy.

That’s right Alice.  Grandson Vinny is #4 in the order and he was the first to arrive during lockdown on 22nd September 2020 weighing in at just under 6 pounds (5lb 15oz) but he was over 3 weeks early.  He had an infection as well so was in hospital for about a week on antibiotics so it was a bit of a stressful time.

Yes because you had just moved house too.

On the day Vinny was born.  We had just arrived at the new house and were getting unpacked etc. when our son Michael rang to say I was needed to look after Grandson Rory as the baby was on its way.  I didn’t even get to sleep in the new house that first night.  I had to instruct Nick where to find the bedding for our bed and leave him to cope on his own.

Did he find the bedding? 

Of course.  I was very organised with the move – we’d had a long time to prepare.  But I’m digressing.

Vinny is a lovely little boy and I have him every Wednesday now both parents are back at work.

Is he good?

Well he usually is for me.  Last week for instance, the only time he got upset was when I asked him if he was ready for his lunch and he realised that, although he was ready, I hadn’t actually got his lunch on a plate yet.  He was not happy about that!  Otherwise he was fine all day, playing with the things here, napping for over an hour and enjoyed seeing the ducks at the lake.  Even the nappy changes were easy although sometimes he is a bit of wriggler and tries to escape the changing mat.

You’ll miss him in September when he goes to nursery full time.

Well of course Alice although that’s not completely certain yet.  Currently the nursery don’t have a space on Wednesdays but hopefully it will be okay by September.  Of course I will keep having him until the place is available.  Plus in September Vinny’s brother Rory will start school and the settling programme for the school means I’ll probably have Rory some days or part days at least, otherwise Michael will have to use up a lot of his leave.

September’s going to be busy then.

Yes, I won’t be taking on any blogging challenges then that’s for sure.

We’re almost there for this one Wendy.

I know, but I’m still worrying about what you’ve cooked up for the last couple of tricky letters Alice.

No need to worry Wendy.  All will be revealed.

Any hints or clues?

And spoil my fun at watching you squirm?  Definitely not!

Monday 25 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - U is for Unbelievable

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Hmm what are we talking about today Wendy?

Something I heard on the radio the other day Alice.

Which was?

That when self-drive cars become a thing, as in being used on the roads by ordinary people, there is a proposal coming forward that it will be ok to watch TV while the car is driving itself.

Umm that sounds crazy.

I know Alice.  I mean you can get fined and points on your licence for using a mobile phone in your car at the moment, or basically getting caught doing anything they can claim meant you weren’t driving without due care and attention but, when you let the car drive itself you can relax and watch TV.   I never heard anything so ridiculous.

You’re not planning on getting one of these self-drive cars are you Wendy?

Absolutely not Alice.  I like driving and I certainly like to be in control.

So, if you have an accident when the car is self-driving and you’re watching TV, who are they going to blame?

Good question Alice because apparently, even when the car is self-driving you have to be ready to take back control whenever necessary.  I really don’t see the point!

Hopefully the powers that be will see sense before this gets passed but on the Government’s recent history I’m not hopeful.

This is the same Government that’s planning to send anyone who arrives here illegally, trying to claim asylum, off to Rwanda for processing.

Yes.  I think the world is going mad Alice.

Says the woman who talks to a voice in her head.

Yes Alice.  You’re pretty unbelievable too at times.

That’s not nice Wendy.  You know you can believe everything I say.

Everything Alice?


So when I asked if my bum looked big in my trousers today you were telling the truth when you answered no?


I didn’t think so Alice.

I was just being considerate of your feelings Wendy.

That’s a first Alice.

I thought we were talking about cars, not being unkind to me.  After all I wasn’t unkind to you.

No Alice you weren’t but it’s unhelpful if you’re not honest with me.

Right.  Well if we’re being honest, yes your bum is not as small as it used to be but you are your own worst enemy Wendy.  You did not need to bring home 2 cupcakes from Nathan’s party yesterday and you know that Nick probably won’t eat his so you’ll end up eating both of them.  Yes I know you’ve already eaten one, and finished off the cheesecake from the lunch with your in-laws and that was after you’d been out for a 3 course lunch with your son!  Shall I continue?


How many steps have you managed today?

Just over seven thousand three hundred.

Well you need to get off your bum and start doing some more steps.

But it’s almost bedtime.

You’re the one who’s unbelievable Wendy.  You witter on about how you need to lose weight but do very little to achieve that aim.

La la la la la can’t hear you Alice.  Night night.

Like I said, unbelievable!

Saturday 23 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - T is for Tardis

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


So what’s the T word Wendy.  Thankful?

No Alice.  I was going to use thankful and combine it with my regular Friday’s Fave Five post but then I realised T will actually be Saturday’s post so that wouldn’t work.

And plan B is?

Well my original word was Tardis.

What’s a Tardis.

Well many people will know it from the television programme Dr Who.  It’s a time travelling machine but the big thing about it is that from outside it looks quite small but inside it’s huge.

Hmm ok you lost me at time travelling Wendy.

Anyway that’s how I think my brain is sometimes Alice.  It feels like I keep putting all this information into it and it feels like it should explode but of course it never does.

That’s because you don’t retain all the information.  Lots of it gets forgotten.

Are you accusing me of being forgetful Alice.

No, just stating a fact.  I mean you often forget about me and poor Rory and Vinny are still waiting for their Easter eggs!

Well hopefully I’ll see them tomorrow and they can have them then.

As long as you don’t forget to take them with you.

Good point Alice.  Try and remind me won’t you?

That’s not what I’m here for Wendy.

Hmm I sometimes wonder what your purpose is Alice, to help or to hinder?

Well you’re currently hindering me by not letting me sleep.  It’s gone midnight Wendy so you need to finish this post and go to bed.

Yes Alice. I’ll close up the Tardis for today.

I hate it when you talk in riddles Wendy.

Friday 22 April 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 22nd April 2022

It's Friday so it's time to link up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and look back on the week and find our five favourite things to be thankful for.

Here are mine:

1)  It was Easter!  The significance of Easter does not escape me although I might not proclaim it loudly but it is definitely something to be grateful for.

2)  A day with my son and his family on Saturday.  They came here for lunch and later dinner and in between we walked down to the lake and park.  The weather was lovely.

Rory and Vinny are on the middle 2 swings being pushed by Daddy and Mummy.

3)  A lunch out at a country pub with our daughter and her family on Easter Sunday.  We all had a typical roast dinner and my sticky toffee pudding dessert was delicious.

4)  Lunch with Hubby's brother and his wife here today.  Because of the pandemic it was the first time they'd been to our new house.  It was nice to be able to sit and relax and chat and catch up.  Often we only see each other at bigger family gatherings and you don't get the chance to really chat.

5)  My to be read pile just got huge!

My brother-in-law was clearing out some books and he has a similar taste to me in crime/thriller books.  Some of the books he brought over I'd already read but these I haven't.  Many of the authors I'm familiar with but there are some new to me ones in there too so we'll see how I like those - eventually!

Watch out for the reviews.

And as a bonus I'm thankful still to be on track (just) with the A-Z Challenge!

Have a good weekend all. 

A-Z challenge 2022 - S is for Short and Sweet

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Short and sweet Wendy?  That wasn’t the plan.  We were going to talk about sarcasm.  At which you and I can both excel.

Well yes Alice but I’ve been busy today catching up on chores and planning the shopping order and now there is very little time to get this post updated before it automatically posts tomorrow morning.  So it’s going to have to be short and sweet.  But I also want to talk about success today.

Success?  What were you successful at?

Finding things.

Oooh what did you find?  Buried treasure?

Well I did find a £1 coin down the back of the sofa.  Along with a couple of the toy cars that I didn’t know were missing but also the red racing car that has been missing for a couple of weeks and is a big favourite of Grandson Rory.

Oh he’ll be pleased.

But the thing that pleased me most was find the missing jigsaw puzzle piece from the Thomas the Tank Engine set.

Where did you find that?

That had got pushed underneath the sofa.  It was very satisfying finding that.

Yes we all know how you hate pieces being missing from toys or games.

Well there’s nothing more annoying than doing a puzzle only to find there’s a piece missing.

Oh I can think of lots of things that are way more annoying than that Wendy?

Really Alice?  Enlighten me.

Umm I think I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.  After all you did say short and sweet tonight.

Hmmm maybe I should have stuck with the original idea of sarcasm.

Thursday 21 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - R is for Right

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Alice, I don’t remember choosing this word.

That’s because you didn’t, I did.

Umm Alice, who’s in charge here?

Well I don’t think either of us should be in charge.  This should be a mutually beneficial relationship.  And before you start trying to remind me of my place, yesterday you commented on how I was right about something, twice!

Well yes Alice but that doesn’t mean you can stage a takeover.

Why not?  It wouldn’t be the first time.   But I don’t want to takeover Wendy, I just want to be treated fairly and for you to do what’s right.

I’m trying to Alice but you don’t always make it easy.  Keeping me awake in the early hours of the morning or just waking me up too early won’t get me off to a good start.

I didn’t wake you up this morning, your alarm did.

Actually Alice I was already awake.  That always seems to be the case when I have to be up early for something, it plays on my mind and then I’m awake on and off all night panicking about sleeping through the alarm.

Well it might help if you went to bed a bit earlier.

Yes well then my A-Z posts wouldn’t get done.  I’m really winging it at the moment.  With Vinny here all day today there was no chance of getting this post done earlier.

What about while you were watching senseless TV for 2 hours?  You could have done it then.

I could but sometimes watching TV is just what I need to be doing.

Not when you then down to write a post and you’re tired and then grumpy.  Especially if you try and blame me for you being grumpy.

Much as it galls me to admit it you are, Alice, once again right.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do about you when this challenge is over.

Yes well we need to talk about that.  You keep avoiding the subject.  I am not prepared to be hidden away until next year’s challenge.

No I definitely need to think of a regular item that I can involve you in Alice but at the moment I’m trying to get my head around some of the trickier letters still to be covered in this challenge.

Oh don’t worry about them Wendy.  I’ve got them sorted.


Yep.  We’ll talk about them nearer the time.

Oh, we will Alice we will.  But if I don’t agree with your choices don’t be surprised to see a different word in the post title.

Well I would be surprised Wendy because that just wouldn’t be right!

Alice, just because I accepted you were right about a couple of things yesterday doesn’t mean you are always going to be right!  I’ve already decided on the word for W.  Can you guess what it is?


No Alice, wrong.

Hmm I can see you’re already gearing up for tomorrow’s post.

Yes Alice you might be right about that but let’s not spoil the surprise for our readers.  Goodnight.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - Q is for Quarrelsome

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Well I don’t think that’s a good word for today Wendy.  I’m not quarrelsome at all.

Really Alice?  Are you sure about that?


Yet here you are arguing with me about the choice of word for today.

Well yes because it’s not an accurate description of me.  I’m often quiet.  I’ve been told I’m quaint.  I definitely know about quality and queenliness.

You’re also very questionable and often lacking in qualms.

Ooooh I love it when you try and find as many words starting with the letter of the day Wendy.  I’m also quirky.

Yes I did find a list of q words Alice, too many to check out all the meaning but there were a lot that didn’t sound very positive that would probably work for you.

I’m not sure I like your tone Wendy.  I was just trying to be helpful.  You sound very grumpy.  And quibblesome.

You know what Alice?  You’re right.  I’m not being very nice to you.  My only excuse is that I’m tired today after helping out with Ella and collecting Nathan from school because Mummy Vicky wasn’t feeling too well and tomorrow I have to be up extra early to look after Vinny because his Daddy is not working from home but going to his office.

And I’m now winging my way through these A-Z posts trying to get them done the day before because the templates are all set up and scheduled to post on the day and I’m worried that at least one of them will post with absolutely no content in it.

Would that be a disaster Wendy?  What happened to being kind to yourself?

Again you’re right Alice, it wouldn’t be a disaster but I’d really like to get to the end of the challenge without missing any days or my posts being late.

Ok so let’s call it a day on this one.  And don’t worry about tomorrow Wendy.  I’ve had a great idea for that one.

Hmmm now why does that make me feel a little queasy?

Tuesday 19 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - P is for Pandemic

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter
Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Is the pandemic over now Wendy?

No Alice I’m afraid it isn’t.  Things are much better here, thanks to better treatments and our vaccine programme but lots of people are still getting Covid they’re just not usually dying from it or being particularly ill unless they’re elderly or have other health issues.

That’s a good thing then?

Yes it is but in some areas of the world the vaccination process hasn’t been so successful and there are still lots of problems.

It’s been a strange time with everyone walking around with their faces covered.  Hard to tell what a person is thinking when you can only see their eyes.

Yes Alice, I would often forget that if I smiled at someone they couldn’t see I was doing that.

What was the hardest thing about it for your Wendy?

Not being able to see our family.  It was so strange suddenly being told we had to stay indoors, work from home.  Stay away from everyone.  We’ve never experienced anything like it.  It was hard, and of course worrying.  Especially at first when there were no vaccines and so many people were dying.

But it’s better now.

Well yes Alice things are better than they were but they’re also different.  For example many people will probably never go back to working full time in their offices.  There will always be an element of working from home and that will have an impact on how businesses work.  Many big companies won’t need so much office space and that has a big knock on effect.  For example the hospitality industry suffered hugely during the lockdowns but even now, with the reduced numbers of people going into cities and towns to work that affects hospitality and small businesses.

It’s not been a cheerful time has it?

No and the effect on people’s mental health is going to take a long time to sort out.  Mine included.  The toilet demon reared its head, I found I couldn’t settle to things in the same way. It was difficult.  And I had it easy compared to so many people.

But things are getting better.  We’re starting to get out more.  We’ve been away and I’m determined to do more.

Well sitting at home won’t get that extra weight off Wendy.  Although you’re easily meeting your Goodreads target.

I can always rely on you to be positive Alice.

Just being honest Wendy.  Just being honest.

Maybe you could try and be a bit more tactful.

There’s no fun in that Wendy.

You really do enjoy raising my stress levels don’t you Alice.

No Wendy, you’re perfectly capable of doing that all on your own.

Monday 18 April 2022

Chicken Cobbler recipe

Several people asked about the recipe I used for the Chicken Cobbler dish I made recently so here it is.  Hopefully it's clear enough to read.

The cobbler part didn't work so well for me because my slow cooker was pretty full (I'd made 1 1/2 of the recipe as there were 4 adults and 2 children eating)  consequently I couldn't really put the pastry rounds around the edge of the stew and still get the lid on so they were in the liquid and didn't really cook.  I had to remove them and stick them in the oven to finish them off.

A-Z challenge 2022 - O is for Outrageous

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.


Alice you are being outrageous!

No Wendy I am being truthful.  Having that chocolate mousse after you’d already had a sticky toffee pudding today is being totally indulgent and won’t help you lose weight one little bit.  In fact it’s probably put another pound on your hips!

Yes but I can’t let it go to waste.

And you were too lazy to make yourself something sensible to eat.

I wasn’t actually that hungry.

That’s my point.  You didn’t need to eat anything!  Let alone calorie rich chocolate mousse.  Laziness and overeating and you wonder why you’re gaining weight!

I wasn’t lazy yesterday Alice when Michael and his lot were here.  And we walked down to the park and back.

Wasn’t exactly power walking though was it?

Well toddlers don’t walk that fast.  And even if you have them on the buggy board it’s still hard to go fast when you’re pushing two of them on the buggy.

Yes but you weren’t even pushing the buggy.

I pushed a swing.

Hardly, Elizabeth was doing most of that.

What happened to being kind Alice?

Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind Wendy.  You need reminding that constantly eating yummy things like chocolate and not doing enough exercise will not help you lose weight.  It’s not good for you I I don’t do that.

But you’re making me grumpy Alice and you know what happens when I get grumpy.  I eat.

Right, so I should be all smarmy and say how delicious that chocolate mousse looks and wasn’t that sticky toffee pudding presented so well with the honeycomb basket on the top, just right for the scoop of ice cream in it and of course it still needed all that toffee sauce on top of the melt in the mouth toffee sponge?  Then, when you get on the scales tomorrow and they remind you that things haven’t gone well this week I suppose I should just sit back and let you lambast me for not stopping you from overindulging?


Exactly!  This is a no win situation for me.  If I try and stop you from ruining your health you moan at me and if I don’t stop you I’m still in the wrong.  And quite frankly Wendy that is what’s outrageous here!

Hmmm, I probably shouldn’t finish the last of the cake Elizabeth brought round during the week then?


Oh dear.  I seem to have sent her off in a huff again.  Such a shame when it’s been a lovely weekend so far.  Rory and Vinny really enjoyed themselves here yesterday.  The Chicken Cobbler went down well despite the topping not cooking very well in the slow cooker (I think there was too much liquid in the pot) and I had to finish them in the oven.  But the chocolate mousse definitely went down a treat.

Vinny needed a good clean up after this lol.

Today we drove out to a village in Essex and had a nice lunch in a pub with our daughter and her family.  The weather has been lovely – warm and sunny so we were able to have our desserts in the garden of the pub which was easier with the two little ones than being in the more formal setting of the restaurant part of the pub.

It was hard to get a great picture of all of us together but it’s good to be back to doing more normal things.

Happy Easter everyone.  Oh and Alice, I know you’re still listening, you’ll be pleased to know that I only bought Easter eggs for the grandchildren this year.  Hubby and I decided we didn’t need any extra chocolate.

Well that was very noble of you Wendy.  Shame you spoilt it by buying all those bars of chocolate to make that chocolate mousse!  And yes for once I’m having the last word!

Saturday 16 April 2022

A-Z challenge 2022 - N is for Not me

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to the conversations in my head with my friend Alice, previously seen in my 2019 A-Z posts and loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  At least that's the plan.

Alice?  Alice?  Are you listening to me Alice?

Unfortunately I cannot avoid listening to you Wendy.

So you just pretend not to hear me when you don’t want to engage with me?

No, I just choose not to answer you.

You can be very rude at times Alice.

Well one could argue that as I’m a creation of your imagination Wendy it’s not me who is being rude but just you being less than creative.

I’m not sure I like the way this conversation is going Alice.

Well as your creation if you have a conversation with me that’s still all down to you, not me and, if there is no conversation going on then that’s down to you too.  After all I’m just your muse, not a secondary personality.

God forbid!

It’s not good to take the Lord’s name in vain Wendy, especially at this special time of year.

Umm since when did you get religious Alice?

Since I started listening to you.  Although you don’t actually talk about God that much but he definitely crops up in your thoughts.

I think discussions on religion and politics are probably best avoided Alice, especially with someone who doesn’t share your views.

I won’t argue with that.  Some of the extended family discussions that strayed onto politics have got quite heated, especially when everyone’s had a drink or two.

Fortunately there haven’t been any falling outs.  We’re wise enough to agree to differ.

Well you agreed to differ but I’m not sure you’re wise.

Thanks Alice.  It’s good to know you have such a high opinion of me.  And actually it isn’t usually me that gets involved in those sort of discussions.  The same as things like Facebook.  I steer clear of being too contentious.

Unlike hubby?  What was he called the other day?  Lefty do-gooder?

Yes well he is much less restrained in his comments at times.  But some people do put stupid things up and he just can’t resist having his say.

It’s rather late to be doing this post isn’t it Wendy?

Yes Alice but if I leave it until tomorrow, the day it has to be posted, it probably won’t happen.  Michel and Liz and the boys are coming tomorrow so there won’t be much free time for me.

Hmm I suppose I’ll get ignored for the day then.

Well the evening will be free Alice, they’ll want to get home to put the boys to bed on time.

I see you’ve been busy preparing food for tomorrow.  That chocolate mousse looks rather yummy.

Well hopefully it will taste as good. 

And what’s the dinner going to be?

Chicken cobbler.

Chicken what?

Chicken cobbler – essentially a chicken casserole with a pastry topping.

Why on earth do they call it a cobbler?  Aren’t cobblers people who mend shoes?

Well yes a cobbler is someone who mends shoes but a food dish that has shaped pieces of biscuit or pastry on top is also called a cobbler.  It’s more usual to have a fruit dish rather than savoury but I wanted something I could put in the slow cooker and not have to worry too much about during the day when the kids are here.

I wonder who thinks up all these crazy words.

Not me Alice, not me!