Saturday, 18 November 2017

A Day At The Sunshine Coast

This morning we were up bright and early for a drive to
The Sunshine Coast...otherwise known as Eastbourne...although there wasn't much sunshine on view today!
Hubby and I spent a lot of our courting years ( and there were a lot of them!!!) visiting Eastbourne each year, so we have very happy memories of the place, and surrounding villages.
We had two reasons for choosing there today, firstly for a Bible Conference, where we knew we would meet up with friends we haven't seen for years.
We had a lovely day, with a delicious Meditteranean style lunch....yummm!
Teen One would have loved it!
We then planned to visit a family grave, to ensure the wording on the gravestone had been engraved as promised ( long story, should have been done years ago but the solicitor failed in his duty to organise it)
However, by the time we left Eastbourne the sun was starting to set  ( sun...what sun?) and when we did arrive at the quiet village chapel, it was pitch black!
We hadn't really thought through all the timings and couple that with the afternoons getting dark earlier, we must have looked a spooky sight walking through the graveyard with torches!
Happily we found the grave pretty quickly, and the wording had been done, but disappointingly was already started to fade, unlike the Uncle's wording, who had died 14 years earlier.
So I feel another letter to the solicitor is needed sadly.
Back home, I have sorted the bunnies and gerbils for Teen Two and am looking forward to a bit of knitting.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Just Call Us Darby and Joan!

This morning was an unusually early start for me...joining the early morning commute as well!
My car has had an unusual rattle since it came back from being mended, and the garage asked if I could call by sometime they would take a look at it.
Well as it is 25 miles away, passing by was unlikely!
However, as Teen One's Uni is only four miles away, I felt I could justify driving all that way, if I took her in, saving her a bit of fuel and mileage on her insurance at the same time!
The garage found the cause of the rattle which was simple to sort as it turned out.
I then had time to use the local Lidl's before picking up Teen One who finished at 11am today.
Very soon after leaving the garage the dashboard flashed up the tyre pressures needed checking, which made me think the mechanic must have done something wrong, but then I remembered Hubby had asked last week if my car would tell me when the tyres needed doing, as he felt there were on the edge, so he was quite right as it turned out.
Another more irritating incident then happened with the car.
Having parked in Lidl's car park, as I locked the car and walked away I thought I heard a weird noise...but discounted it thinking I was just getting paranoid with noises...but when I unlocked it later I heard the noise again.
I suggested to Hubby when I got home, it might need some WD40 maybe??
He went out to check, then came back in to say
"Well you are right, the wing mirror does make a weird noise....its because someone has broken it!"
Boo hoo!
Having being honest to someone else for a minor incident its a shame someone else wasn't as honest with me!
They must have got VERY close as my mirrors fold in automatically when the car is locked.
Funnily enough I did see some slight scuffs on the front bumper and wondered how they had got there, wondering if the garage driver had done it, but now suspect it was whoever hit me!
Oh well...worse things happen at sea, as my nan used to say!
This afternoon I had a sort through of the freezer, looking for inspiration for Sunday's dessert.
I found various bags of fruit from the summer, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, so thawed them out...
...and turned it into a flapjack layered pud, which always goes down well.
I also made an batch of Oreo Brownies...and made some extra work for myself along the way!!
It's not often I quote my mother, but this saying comes from my lips a little too frequently for my liking, and always about myself!
"Lazy people make the most work for themselves" she used to say....often if I was trying to pick up something dropped on the floor, whilst doing my best not to leave the chair I was sitting in.
Well today as I was shaking the cocoa out to be weighed, it occurred to me it would be much safer to walk about two steps to my right and get a spoon from the cutlery drawer...but nope....I decided to gently shake the jar....and promptly loosing a large compacted block which then scattered itself everywhere!
What a lovely mess to have to deal with (and ruin a pretty dishcloth at the same time!) all for the want of moving my legs!
Of course I wouldn't consider myself to be particularly lazy...I am usually trying to do something in a hurry and think the way I am doing something will be quicker, but invariably I end up making more work for myself....just when will I learn I wonder?
Well last night I indulged myself with the new yarn, which is knitting up lovely.
Tonight the house is very quiet as the Teens have gone to Somerset for a YP weekend.
Grandma has gone to stay with Hubby's brother for the weekend, not that we knew about Grandma going away until a few days ago, otherwise we might have made the most of the freedom and gone away ourselves!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

What A "Tweet" Freebie!

This morning was Parent and Toddlers as usual, followed by a quick trip to Aldi ( but they didn't have the gluten free products I wanted!) and then dropping Grandma and our Dear Old Friend home.
On the way I noticed a sign " yourself!"
When I took a second look, there were hand made bird boxes lined up....well I cant resist anything free, let alone something so tweet and useful!
So I hoped I wasn't being greedy by taking two, but intend to give one away.
Yesterday I had asked our Dear Old Friend to pick out some hymns for the funeral of my Monday Recycled Teenager.
Being ever organised, she brought it along today for me.
With the piece of paper folded over, I only noticed the long list of suggestions to start with, thinking how good it was she gave us so many to choose from.
But which ones to choose?
Then I turned the paper over and saw she had written "Hymns from their Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration"
They were:
Great is Thy Faithfulness
How Great Thou Art (the nation's favourite...and Hubby's too!)
The Lord's my Shepherd
I immediately thought how perfect they were...not only great hymns (and the family has asked us to choose well known ones) but they were ones chosen by the late couple, so must have been their favourites!
I am so thankful Our Dear Friend was so organised and had obviously kept a record/diary of that day.
Although I was there, no way could I tell you what we sang!
My delivery from West Yorkshire Spinners has arrived and you know what its like when new yarn/fabric are itching to get on with it!!
I love the colours chosen.
The multi colour is Kingfisher, from the British Birds collection, and the solid colour is Spearmint.
I had intended knitting one of the students a pair of socks using the left overs, and so wanted the "perfect" match....since ordering it I have of course discovered the two students are now "an item" so I will do one pair an inverse of the other.
Well with the new wool calling out to me....with the washing sorted, dinner organised and fire laid for tonight, I indulged in an afternoon of knitting, so I could get this pair of trainer socks out of the way, also for our student who likes to take her shoes off and relax in slipper socks.
She often forgets to bring a pair, so borrows a pair of Teen One' problem with that at all, but with no knitting on the go on Sunday, I decided to use left over yarn to whip up a pair which she could leave here.
I realised when I finished the first sock I wouldn't have enough for the second, so was going to have to incorporate other left over yarn.
Going through my stash, the Bullfinch red grey and white looked the best there is a red grey and white chequered design in the pattern....but I think the mishmash colour on the toe is actually a better match and I wish I had used that on the heel....but it didn't look so good on the ball!
However, they are only for wearing around the house so it won't matter.
So, with dinner out of the way and kitchen cleared up, you can guess what I am about to do...cast on that lovely new yarn!!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Back In Business!

This morning I decided to abandon looking for housework to do and went to see our Dear Old Friend instead.
I knew she would be mourning the loss of my Monday Recycled Teenager, not least because they spoke on the phone several times a week.
We both enjoyed reminiscing on our dear friend and hopefully it filled up an otherwise empty morning for her.
Back home I was feeling in need of some me time, so with the washing in and dinner planned, I finished off the trainer sock I had started a few days ago and of course cast on stitches for the second one.
As I am using left over yarn, the second sock is going to look nothing like the first that's for sure!
On checking my ebay account, I saw I had sold my first pair of children's knitting needles!
Its been almost 12 years since I embarked on this little cottage industry, but when I started working in school I found it too much, with family/church life to keep up with the orders.
However, as I mentioned last week, prompted by an online friend I have decided to kick start it, not really expecting too much if I am honest, but every penny counts aye!
Its hard to believe someone actually wants to pay money for something I have made especially with the cheap imports from China and the like, but today someone kindly put me back in business!
I like to wrap the needles up and make the whole buying experience a pleasant one...who doesn't enjoy unwrapping an online purchase!
I always add a little freebie as well, always made me "save a seller" when that happened to me!
You will be glad to know my surrogate daughter's news she has a boyfriend, was happily received by her parents.
Tonight the other students will no doubt come back for supper, so I defrosted some bananas to make pancakes.
They look pretty revolting in their skins...but peeled are fine and perfect for cooking.
I mixed 3oz gluten free SR flour, with 1oz cocoa, an egg and two mashed bananas... make a mud pie looking batter...
...for some of the pancakes I added a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds...
...I will pop them in the microwave for a minute to warm them up, and our gluten and lactose intolerant friend will be able to munch in with the rest of us, instead of having something separate, adding the cocoa powder means I probably wont fancy them (no bad thing!) but our friend can enjoy something chocolatey.
The rest of the afternoon was spent doing a pile of ironing, putting it away, some basic cleaning, and then enjoying watching Benjy flop on Teen Two after college...
...both in their element!


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

From Surrogate Mother To Agony Aunt!

As you all know, we have three students at our church at the moment...well technically one is not a student, as he graduated last year.
They are at our house most weekends and mid week too and have become a part of our family.
The only girl sent us a lovely card on our anniversary last week, addressing it to her
"surrogate parents," I must admit, I felt rather honoured to be considered suitable for such a role!
Having the young 'uns round so often, it hasn't been hard to notice two of them start to get close.
This morning however I was not expecting an early morning text saying
"can I call you please?"
It was the young lady, who tentatively told me she and one of the young men were now an item
(well needless to say I didn't need telling, I had seen it blossom in my living room!) and could I advise her on how to tell her parents today, when she meets up with them!
Poor thing, she was soooo worried.
Not knowing her parents, it was tricky to know how they would react, but I assured her that as parents, being told our daughter had a boyfriend would not be up there as a serious concern!
I think for her, its the worry of only having known him a couple of months, there is a significant age gap and of course she has a long course at Uni ahead of her.
I suggested she start by discussing her course throughout the visit, what she has enjoyed, what she is currently working on, then move on to church stuff...where we have been, what we have planned etc, then move on to the other young folk and how close she has become to one in particular.
I reminded her, it is only a boyfriend/girlfriend thing...she isn't going to spring any unexpected news, or tell them she has eloped ( now who would do such a thing!) or that she wants to quit her course, abandon her faith really is just a normal part of growing up and I am sure they would be fine.
Poor thing she really was anxious, so later in the morning I went round for a mummy hug and assurance this really would not be a big deal.
I also dropped off an advent calendar I had bought her, and assured her I would be praying for her during the day and eagerly awaiting news on their response.
With the unexpected phone call finished, I then dashed round to clear up and then take the car to my local Ford dealership to have the sensors checked.
I went prepared with my knitting intending to spend the time at a local Costa.
Unfortunately when they realised there was a claim against me, they said the car would have to be kept in all day.
Well I didn't want to be hanging around an industrial estate all day, and with no courtesy car available I re arranged the check for next week when Teen One can taxi me there (what goes around comes around!)
So, with time on my hands I popped in to town and got a few errands run before coming home to catch up on the washing.
I then indulged in some sock knitting, not least because I now what to knit a pair of his and her socks when the new yarn arrives!!!

For dinner I made a chicken pie, using 100% wholemeal flour....but I think next time I will go half and had a bitter aftertaste I thought.
Noone else complained though.
With the rag end left over I made a quiche for Hubby to take to work tomorrow.
No looker but will hopefully be tasty.
I must admit, it stank the house out!
I used the pecorino cheese I bought last week and only Hubby liked....I am NEVER buying that again!
Tonight Teen One and I are really looking forward to the second episode of "Secret Life of Four Year Olds" could watch that sort of programme all day long! And of course there will be some sock knitting too!
Today is a milestone kind of hundred years ago my paternal grandmother was born.
She was the eldest of 16, left school to help her mother look after twins ( who were born after about nine other children!) and was expecting her middle child the same time as her mother was expecting her youngest child! How strange that must have felt!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Another Early Start

My body clock seems to be set at 5am at the moment!
I did my best to get back to sleep again, but it just wasn't happening.
So I waited until Hubby's alarm went off, so as not to disturb him, then came downstairs for a cuppa, put a load of washing on and let the bunnies out for an early morning play.
By 8.30am, despite a leisurely surf on the net, I had cleaned the kitchen, three bathrooms, put out a load of washing, put another load in, put away a load, washed the conservatory and kitchen well as a few other chores, so decided to slow the pace a bit and have another cuppa and cast on a new sock!
Watching Homes Under The Hammer is rather decadent at any time of the morning, but to sit down and watch it at really just didn't seem right!
However, I abandoned any thoughts of doing anything else whilst I just chilled for a bit.
I finished the last pair of socks for family in Australia on Saturday and have them drying off up in the attic after being blocked.
I thought my sock addiction was at an end, but then one of the students asked me twice if I would knit him a pair, so having ordered some more yarn ( yes I know, I already have the free stuff to use up!) I then had the urge to start a pair for one of the other students, using left over yarn.
She often brings a pair of slipper socks to wear and when she forgets borrows a pair from Teen One.
So I thought I would knit her a pair of trainer style socks (which is probably all this left over will make) to keep here.
Of course the thing with a new project is, putting it down again!
However, I forced myself to put it down around 9.15am and tackled the interior windows, which the lovely sunshine streaming in, was showing up how badly they needed doing!
They are the original lead criss cross design..which might look pretty but are a right pain, each diamond has to be individually almost give up the will to live by the time you get to the other side!
Hubby had said Teen One's rear tyres needed replacing, so we went to the local tyre shop, armed with the information needed...only to find the price wasn't what Hubby had been quoted and the tyres we needed weren't in, despite being told to call in any time Monday!
So I called Hubby from the shop and put the assistant on to him....I have no idea what is the best tyre to pick or how good a price it is.....because of the mix up they gave us two Dunlop tyres for £150 instead of £200....which I am told is a good price...who knows!
So with Teen One £150 poorer, it was a quick whizz round Tesco's before heading home.
I had decided against going to Morrisons as usual, feeling the need to have a different routine for a while, although I must confess I wasn't happy with the prices at Tesco's! The only thumbs up was the fact I will earn Tesco points, which are rather valuable in other areas.
I got Teen One to choose herself and Teen Two an Advent calendar....thankfully her eyes didn't linger long on the Lindt one (£10!!!) and she chose Milky Bar for them both...purely because it is white chocolate.
When we came home I saw a friend's daughter had posted on FB the advent calenders....yes....
calenders  she had just bought her two year old!
Four of them!
One was the same as the Teens and the others looked like expensive ones....what is she setting herself up for I ask myself?
Tesco's had several samples out today, one was this cranberry, raisin and cashew bread...oh my....its heavenly!!
There was some serious resisting going on for me not to eat the whole loaf (did I just admit that was even possible?)
Teen One had some with cheese and grapes, I just had the grapes ( see I can be good!) and Teen Two had to avoid it of course due to the cashew nuts.
We discovered the other day that the bunnies LOVE LOVE LOVE bananas!
I had one going a bit black today so cut off a little slice each.
Benjy loves it so much he scoffs his down then pinches poor Flora's, who is always a little tentative when taking food.
Later in the day when I was pegging out more washing ( yes it never ends!) both bunnies were around my feet the whole time, no doubt eager for more banana!
However, they should only have little treats like that in small portions, so to get them from under my feet I took them in to Teen Two...who of course was delighted to take time out and just chill with them.
I had considered popping into town for one or two bits and to return one or two bits, but it was so bloomin cold out I decided against it.
With the fire blazing and the bunnies chilling, I felt rather overwhelmed with tiredness myself, so I had a rare power nap ( which I would liked to have gone on longer, but my guilty conscience wouldn't allow me!) before cracking on with some knitting needles to sell.
Hubby often says I place things in a precarious position....and quite possibly he is right, but its usually in an emergency and for just a second or so....but I fell foul of my bad habit tonight....boy did those peas get everywhere!
Birds Eye ones as well...what waste!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Tulips From Amsterdam?

Today I have been singing two songs more or less on and off all day...thankfully mostly in my head, but the usual Sunday visitors have had to endure the occasional slip as I busied myself in the kitchen!
As a child I loved to lie in bed on a Saturday morning listening to Ed Stewpot's "Junior Choice."
A regular song on the show was "I saw a mouse where...there on the stair..."
So this was one song I burst into from time to time.
As a result of my mum's passion for the likes of Des O'Conner and Max Bygraves, I know many of their songs off by of Max's songs was "Tulip from Amsterdam," so this too was spilling from my lips throughout the day.
I must admit, visiting the tulips fields of Amsterdam has long been on my wish list...and even more so after a few years ago I stumbled across aerial views of the fields on the internet!
Aren't they amazing!
I was also told that the first years blooms are not harvested so as to strengthen the bulbs for future growth.
And the reason why I have been singing these songs....
...our Medical Student had been to Amsterdam for the weekend and had very kindly brought us all back presents!!
For Hubby and I ( and Grandma) it was a sweet little windmill, with blades that actually turn.
He also brought a cumin flavoured Gouda for our tea...
...and some Dutch chocolate.
For the Teens and the other students he brought back a little wooden clog keyring!
How kind!
We really didn't expect that at all!
The rest of the day has been the usual church, lunch, Scrabble etc and some toasting of marshmallows for the young 'uns for supper, along with a round of the Name Game.
Since leaving work I haven't had that "Monday morning" feeling...but can feel it coming on, with the regular visits to my Monday Recycled Teenager at an end.
I need to make a new routine for myself I think to help ease the feeling of loss.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

A Leisurely Saturday

This morning we all had a lovely lie in, with a cuppa and ginger biccie of course.
The rest of the morning went leisurely, each of us doing our own thing...leisurely.
Teen One spent the morning ( and the afternoon!) at the dining room table, studying of course.
Teen Two spent a lot of the morning deep cleaning the rabbit hutch.
Hubby gave all the cars an "MOT" checking tyres, pressures etc.
Me...well in between the laundry, kitchen clean up etc, I made pumpkin soup for lunch...
...a lemon drizzle cake for tomorrow, which is dairy and gluten free....and I forgot that gluten free flour browns at a very different rate than regular flour, so its ever so slightly burnt bronzed!
This afternoon Teen Two had a bowling meet up with some pals, whilst Hubby visited a local museum...and I cracked on with making some bead ends for my knitting needles.
Tonight everyone has gone to Newbury for a Bible study...and extra super duper supper (so I hear!)
I have had to stay back as a colleague from Nottingham is back in town just for today, and she was selling a very expensive Lego set (almost £400!) for £50...with the promise of money back if it doesn't work ( its robotic) but I doubt I would be able to tell her it didn't work if that is the case.
I expect Hubby would be able to get it working though ( ever hopeful!)
So, with a quiet night ahead of me ( and the remote control!) I am looking forward to a chilled night with some knitting, just waiting for the door to go and take delivery of this unexpected surprise for Teen Two.