Friday 31 March 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 31/3/23

Thanks to our host Susanne for keeping us on our toes on Fridays and finding the blessings in our week.  Find out more here.

1)  Grandson Nathan is 6 today!

This was taken earlier this month on World Book Day and this was when he was about a week old.

He gave us all such a scare when he arrived so early (@ 29 weeks) and so tiny (just over 2 pounds) but he did so well and now he is 6 - where do the years go?  We're joining them after Nathan gets home from school today.

2)  A better babysit with Nathan and Ella last Friday - no screaming from Ella and we managed to get them both to bed and asleep before their Mummies came home.  

3)  A Knit and Natter session Wednesday evening - our organiser is housebound at the moment due to breaking her kneecap recently.  She is on the mend and can actually walk short distances in her leg brace but she can't bend her knee more than 30 degrees at the moment so sitting on ordinary chairs is a bit difficult.  Anyway she asked me to collect the door key for the venue and host in her place and at one point it looked as if there were going to be quite a lot of us there including some new people.  I was a bit concerned we might be tight for space as the venue is not very big, plus I was worried that some of the new people might be looking to learn to knit and I don't feel I'd be able to teach anyone.  As it turned out it was very wet and windy that evening so only 5 of us turned up but 2 of those were new.  One of them could knit and the other one brought a crochet project so it all turned out fine!

4)  A few breaks in the rain this week so I could get some walking done.  Nothing exciting but I do like to keep my step count up.  I've also found time to get some of my April A - Z blogging challenge posts prepared and scheduled to post.  You can find out more about this challenge here.

5)  Online grocery shopping.  I know this is a regular one here but I'm grateful at the moment that I seem to get everything I order in my delivery.  Some things, eggs in particular, have been in short supply recently and, even though there have been no eggs in the supermarket, they've been in my delivery each week so I'm thankful for that.

Have a good weekend all.

Friday 17 March 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 17/3/23

And......It's Friday again!

Time to take a breath and look back on the good things of the last week and then link up here on Susanne's blog and check out other participants.

Apologies for not posting the link last week or responding to comments on my blog, although I think I did get around to visiting everyone that took part.

Anyway here are mine for this week:

1)  Lots of time with Grandkids.  We had the local 4 here (and their parents) for lunch on Sunday.  Totally chaotic but always lovely to see them all having fun together.  On Monday we had Ella here while her Mummy had lunch with her Dad.  An easier babysit this time as before Mummy left we walked down to the station together and Ella fell asleep.  Predictably she was a bit upset when she woke up but her other Mummy was working here so we soon got over that.  We spent quite a while playing with Playdoh.  I missed the opportunity to take pictures - Ella decided not to sit at the table while we played but ON the table lol.

Tuesday I spend a short time with both Ella and Nathan while their Mummies had a zoom call with Nathan's teacher - his school are still doing parent evenings remotely.  He's doing well.

Then on Wednesday I had to collect Rory from school as it was a strike day and he finished at 2pm.  I picked him up and took him home to his home and also got a bit of time with Vinny when he came back from nursery.

2)  A few walks this week although nowhere exciting.  It's been quite rainy on and off so it was a case of watching out for dry spells and also avoiding the very muddy forest areas.  Still good to get out for the fresh air and exercise.

3)  A knit and natter meet up on Wednesday evening.  There were only 5 of us but it's always a pleasant way to spend an evening.

4)  Reading time.  I've managed to get through 2 books this week but I'm still behind in my reading challenge thanks to taking so long to read A Prayer for Owen Meany.  Susanne asked if it was worth reading and I would say it is - Irving is a very talented writer but if you don't like long books or ones that are slow leading up to the finale then give it a miss.

5)  A surprise little payback from one of the mortgage companies we were with.  Apparently they calculated their charges incorrectly so we're due a refund.  Not a big amount but a nice surprise.

This was the only photo I took this week but it is cute.

Have a good weekend all.

Tuesday 14 March 2023

A-Z Challenge 2023 - Theme Reveal

AtoZChallenge theme reveal 2023 #atozchallenge

I was in two minds as to whether I would take part in this year’s A-Z challenge.  I found in February and this month that I lost my enthusiasm for blogging a bit.  Some days it felt almost like a chore to post a blog and many days I just didn’t post at all.  I also have the added complication of hosting guests during April so I know I will need to have as many posts prepared and scheduled to post in advance. 

But, I’ve always found that a challenge tends to reset my blogging rhythm so I’m in.  For the 9th year in a row.  However, I’m being a bit lazy in that my theme doesn’t involve a lot of research or travelling around.  I’ve decided to simply write about something I love – Being a Grandparent.

I am blessed with 6 grandchildren who, at the time of writing are all under the age of 6.  Let me introduce them here briefly.  (Of course they will get their own posts when the appropriate letter arrives!)

Nathan is the eldest (he will turn 6 at the end of this month) and is the son of my daughter Rebecca and her wife Victoria.  He is also big brother to my youngest Grandchild, Ella.  Ella is 2 and the only girl amongst them.  I’m sure she will be a princess or a complete tomboy depending on her mood at the time.  They live about 3 miles away from us so we see a lot of them.

My elder son Matthew and his wife Amy have 2 boys.  Noah is 4, and Miles is 2.  They live in Nottingham so we don’t see quite so much of them as the others but they often come to visit for a few days at a time.

Our younger son Michael and his wife Elizabeth also have 2 boys, Rory and Vinny (Vincent).  They are also 4 and 2 respectively and live about 7 miles from us and again we see quite a lot of them.

Between the lot of them they keep me busy and, hopefully, young!

Noah, Nathan & Rory
Miles, Vinny & Ella
February 2023

Friday 10 March 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 10/3/23

Friday again!  Time is flying.
Time to take a breath and look back on the week for the good things.

1)  We spent time with Nathan and Ella on Saturday - but again not a successful babysit.  Their Mummies wanted to get out for a meal but we had the usual screaming from Ella when they left.  Eventually she calmed down and even started to look sleepy.  However when I tried to take her up and get her settled for the night she was not going to play ball.  The screaming started again.

Consequently when their Mummies got back, fortunately at the reasonable time of 10 pm, both children were still up watching TV.  I had managed to get Ella to sit with me and I'd hoped she'd drop off to sleep but nope, she was still wide awake!

Still it was nice to spend time with them and fortunately we had eaten before we arrived.

2)  Supper with my "Lunch" ladies on Monday evening.  Ana was our host and we switched to the evening as Catherine's sister Monique was over from Holland and it was her last evening before going home.  Ana had also invited her elderly neighbour Kate who as a former actress is quite a hoot and full of reminiscences.  It was an entertaining evening with good food too.

3)  My house is finally straight again after the decorating and visitors.  Everything is in its rightful place and the bedrooms are ready again for our next guests.

4)  Maisie is knitted!  She isn't stuffed or assembled yet but the extra yarn I ordered arrived and she now has 2 complete shoes.

5)  A walk today - we had a covering of snow on Wednesday which fortunately didn't stay but the weather has been miserable all week including this morning, then this afternoon it seemed to clear up a bit so I was determined to get out for some fresh air.

I did the lap around part of the golf course.

Good to see some spring blossom

The water level is much higher than usual in The Ching

And the bridge needs a repair!

The sun was trying to break through behind the clouds.

Bonus - I've managed quite a bit of reading this week thanks to the horrible weather.  I finally finished A Prayer for Owen Meany and a couple of crime thrillers.  Thanks to taking so long to get through Owen Meany I have some catching up to do for my Goodreads challenge!

Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 8/3/23

The Hodgepodge is hosted by Joyce here.  Hop over there to see who else is taking part.

1. We're in to a season students call 'spring break'. Did you/your family travel over spring breaks when you were growing up?  Tell us something about a 'spring break' you remember (from childhood or adulthood, either one). 

I don't remember going away for spring break as a child - here it is usually in February and you can never guarantee what the weather might be like.  I can remember taking our kids to Ireland during a spring break and the crossing on the ferry was horrendous.  All 3 kids were sick, hubby was sick.  Lots of passengers were being sick.  It was awful.  The weather all week was pretty grim but fortunately we had gone to visit hubby's brother and his family so we still had a good week.

2. Last thing you broke? Was it a big deal? 

Hmm nothing important comes to mind although the handle of one of my photo mugs broke recently.  It was one of the older ones though with pictures of Grandson Nathan when he was little and having gone through the dishwasher a few times some of the pictures had come off so no, not a big deal.  Especially as I have some more recent ones.

3. March 7th is National Cereal Day...are you a fan? What's your favourite? If not cereal what's your favourite breakfast? Your typical breakfast? 

I do have cereal for breakfast but not every day.  I usually have something like cornflakes or raisin wheats or occasionally porridge.  Some days we will just have croissants but we'll often have a traditional English breakfast of egg and bacon with various trimmings.  Hubby will also make an omelette and I like to do poached eggs on toast with smoked salmon.  That's one plus of being retired - breakfast rarely has to be rushed.

4. Break ground, break of dawn, break down, break the bank, break one's stride, break the ice, break a law, break a habit, break bread...choose one of the idioms listed and tell us how it applies to your life currently. 

I'm not sure that any of those apply at the moment.  I'm trying to build habits rather than break them.

5. Where do you go to connect with friends and family? What do you like to do most when you're home alone? 

Immediate family usual meet here as our house is just about big enough for us all.  As an extended family we often get together at a social club some of us are members of as there are too many of us to use someone's house now.  

When I'm home alone I do a variety of things - read, craft, puzzle or just watch TV depending on my mood.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Well it may be spring but we woke to a thin covering of snow on the ground first thing!  It has disappeared already but the day is very miserable with rain/sleet and it's cold!

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Book Review - A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

A Prayer for Owen MeanyA Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend's mother. Owen doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying. At moments a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end the principal, tragic actor in a divine plan, Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created.

It took me a month to read this book! John Irving does not mince his words. This is the story of Owen Meany, a small person with a strange voice and a calling.

It's the 3rd book by Irving that I've read and although they've all impressed me they've all felt too long. This is a very slow story of Owen Meany's life as told by his best friend John Wainwright. I'd like to say it gathers momentum to a satisfying ending but it doesn't. Irving takes his time. He goes into great detail about everything. Set in America there is a lot of information about the Vietnam war and what was going on in America around that time. But the events revolving around Owen Meany are in the past for the narrator so we also get his views on American politics in the 1980s. There is also a lot about religion in the book, particularly the different churches in America.

I'm glad I made it to the end but it wasn't a compelling read for me. I hate giving up on books so I persevered. I've given it 4 stars because I couldn't in all honesty recommend it for reading without a lot of caveats but the way Irving pulls this story together is impressive.

View all my reviews

Friday 3 March 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 3/3/23

Not sure how but it's Friday again!  So much for trying to keep blogging on a regular basis - well I guess once a week is a regular thing.  Friday means it's time to reflect on the week and find the good things.

Susanne is our host for this over at Living to Tell the Story.  Hop over there to see who else is taking part.

1)  The decorating is finished!  (For now.)  It's been very chaotic here with the kitchen, dining room and utility room all being decorated this week.  We moved our dining table into the lounge and set up the kettle and toaster in there and we muddled through.  The team were very good at clearing up at the end of each day so we were able to prepare dinner without too much hassle.  They actually finished on Wednesday and I spent most of yesterday getting things straight.  We still need to put a bookcase back into the dining room and we're done.  Although of course the lounge then needs to be cleaned and put straight.  One thing leads to another...... lol

I haven't taken any pics because all we've had done is repainting rather than remodelling.  Our grey walls are now a pale green but everything looks clean and fresh.

2)  We've had a water butt installed in the garden so we can save some of the rainwater and use it for the garden.  Thankful to be able to find someone recommended and get that job done quickly.

3)  An impromptu meal out last Saturday with hubby.  We'd been binge watching a series on TV (Happy Valley - not for the faint hearted) and it had got late so we talked about getting a takeaway but in the end we decided to take the train up to Chingford and take pot luck.  We found a nice Italian restaurant that had a space and we had a nice meal.  Hubby had lamb chops and I had a pasta dish with chicken and bacon in a creamy sauce with a balsamic drizzle on it which was delicious.

We had Tiramisu (me) and Strawberry cheesecake (hubby) for dessert.  Again no pics - I am so forgetful!

4)  Time with Rory and Vinny on Wednesday - they were both at home as Vinny has had earache and Rory just seemed exhausted what with long school days and disturbed nights with Vinny so I went over in the afternoon to give my son a break.  Fortunately I had books from the library they hadn't read so we worked our way through them and then watched some TV.

5)  Maisie is almost ready to take shape!

She now has a dress, cardigan, french knickers and..... one completed shoe!  The other shoe is almost done but....I ran out of the pink yarn.  I was so cross because this was bought as a kit and I wouldn't say that I knit on the loose side, if anything I think I knit quite tightly so it was very annoying not to be able to quite complete the other shoe. Fortunately I was able to source the yarn online.  Hopefully the colour won't be any different, if it is I'll have to redo the top of the first shoe.

Of course I couldn't just buy the pink yarn - I would have had to pay for postage so I now have enough yarn to make a dog.  The clothes for the dog look much less complicated than Maisie's outfit.

The yarn arrived today so hopefully I'll soon have Maisie finished.

And a bonus for this week - a knit and natter evening on Wednesday.

Have a good weekend all.