Monthly Archives: April 2015

Z heads West

I think I’m ready.  It’s been  rather difficult day, a lot happening and it’s so hard to get anything finished when there are so many people wanting my attention.  However, I’ve packed and loaded up the car – rather a lot of stuff to take for just one week, as I need sheets and towels, warm and waterproof clothes and the food and drink.  I may not need the wet weather gear, but I rather suspect I will.  The forecast says so – and besides, I’m heading West and we all know that’s the wet side of the country.

Charlotte is here dogsitting and Roses is on hand to look after the bantams and tortoises.

I still have quite a lot to do in the morning before I leave, so I”ve set the alarm for 6.30.  I don’t like getting up early, it makes the day too damn long, but needs must.

When we were turning out the attic, we found some photos from about 20 years back.  A number of them were of the children and others were of Chester, my setter/collie cross.  I’ll scan some of them in to show you, when I get home.

Now, bed.  Benj has been hogging the bed rather and I didn’t get much sleep last night.  He jumps up, or rather lumbers, while I’m getting out of the bath and pins down the bedclothes so that I find myself having to burrow well down to get warm.

Have a good time while I’m away, hope to manage a quick post or two in the next week but apologies if it isn’t possible.  Mig says that internet coverage in Wales lacks enthusiasm.

Z starts to get busy

A number of things done, but the most time and effort consuming still to come.  Never mind, I still feel quite awake this evening, which is not typical any longer.

I have mostly been cooking.  I’ve made a chicken casserole, a sausage casserole and braised beef, so that Charlotte will have plenty to eat while I’m away.  Have I mentioned this?  I can’t remember.  I’m going to be away for a week from Friday and will have little, if any access to the internet.  What I’ll probably do is write a post on my phone and, if I get a chink of wifi, post it.  If not, know that I’m not ignoring you deliberately.  I also made two cakes – fruit cake and gingerbread.

I love people to call but it takes time.  First it was Jamie this morning, then Graham – who was working again and is still absolutely wonderful.  Well, so is Jamie.  Good, good friends.  Then David, with daughter Nic and son Keith.  Then lunch with Graham.  What did I do afterwards?  Well, all that cooking, then I fed animals, fetched in logs (I don’t need coal on the fire now, but a blaze is still nice in the evenings, though I haven’t bothered tonight as it’s so mild) and watered the greenhouse and the veggies – it’s so warm and dry, my light soil has dried already.  Then more friends called round, who have altered and repaired bits of jewellery for Zig.  Then I went out to fill fuel cans with petrol, then did a few bits of admin, which I realise I haven’t quite finished.  One bill still to pay, must look for that.  Oh, two.  I’ll do them now.

Brief pause while I log on…

Right, they’re done.  Internal Drainage Board for which I get a fantastic service for 3p in the £, a total of £13.53 for a year – they dredge my beck as well as look after the river, it’s remarkable.  And one of my credit cards.  I was a late convert to internet banking, having been highly suspicious of its security, but it’s just so useful and I wouldn’t want to manage without.

Before I leave, I must do more governor stuff, including writing the agenda for the next meeting.  I need to pay cheques into the bank and post the bracelets for Ziggi.  Sadly, she is not well enough to come on holiday with us.  She hasn’t got over her last chemotherapy yet, which is so distressing for all of us who care for her, especially her lovely daughters.  She needs all willpower, prayer, positive vibes, love – whatever combination ticks your personal box.

I also have more plants to prick out and plant out.  Eeek.  Lucky it rarely rains in East Angular, I need a fine day.

Graham almost clears a space

Graham is still ploughing on through the barns.  He has immense fortitude and stays cheerful throughout, I’m not sure how.

My monthly cleaners came today – just two women for two hours a month, but it’s good to know that either a couple of rooms will be cleaned thoroughly or most of the house speedily when I haven’t had time.  I’ve asked them for a couple of extra hours next month, which will be a few days before the blog party, because I’ve a lot of sorting out before then, so having them to clean afterwards will be lovely.

As a reminder of that, Saturday 30th May, starting around 12 noon and everyone really is welcome.  You don’t have to be a blogger of course, anyone you’d like to bring is most welcome, including dogs (and tortoises) and if there are any dietary requirements, just let me know.  You’re also welcome to stay over if you like.

After the cleaners and Graham had left, I drove over to Weeza’s workplace, swapped my car for the van and headed for the north Norfolk coast area.  Thank goodness for satnavs, I’m not the best navigator, especially when alone in the car, and I found the house with no difficulty.  The mower is fine and we loaded it into the van (the front wheels had to be removed to make it fit).  That was an interesting job, I backed up to a walled area, he drove the mower up the slope to the wall, we wedged a wooden pallet across and he drove the mower in.  Then we had to take off the wheels and hump the mower another foot forward until the doors could be shut.

When I got home, I found a Premium Bond cheque for £25 – the fourth of Russell’s to have won since he died.  A nice gesture.  I also received a card which, as soon as I opened it, realised was another card of condolence.  Seeing the signature, from Angela, was rather disconcerting as the only Angela I could think of wrote to me months ago and I saw her too before Christmas.  I thought she’d forgotten and was surprised to hear it again.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  I have another friend called Angela, we used to be on a committee together.  How kind of her to write, I’ve been surprised at the number of letters I’ve received even months after Russell died.  She also mentioned that another mutual friend died before Christmas, so I must write to his widow.

One thing that Graham is enjoying in particular is the English spring weather.  He and his wife moved to New Zealand some 15 years ago and they really like it there and do not intend to move back.  But being here in April has reminded him what he has been missing.  Spring is a wonderful season and it’s just too abrupt in so many countries, if it happens at all.

Z starts to feel that the time will come when things will really be better

I’m neglecting my blog horribly.  For a while, I resolved to post every day as a sort of self-discipline and I sometimes tapped away tiredly in bed at nearly midnight to get my daily post written.  Then, I felt I should let go of that, in case it should turn into a sort of obsession, and decided to let a day or a few days go if that seemed all right, either because nothing much happened or if too much did and there was no time.  Now, I’m sometimes tired and disinclined to go near the computer.  But I do love blogging and my friends here and I don’t neglect it by real choice.

Catching up on a busy week –

Graham has continued to be wonderful.

Weeza has continued to be wonderful.

I spent Wednesday evening with Al and co, he and I started with a good chat that put some things to rights that needed to be discussed.

I am negotiating to buy a mower that could solve a lot of problems.  I’m hopeful that my visit to north Norfolk on Tuesday will be fruitful.  I was frank with the present owner about my situation and what I’m looking for and he seems very nice and honest.  Russell’s van is with Weeza this week, but I’ll fetch it on my way to NN and hope to pay and bring the mower home with me, ready for Wince to use it on Thursday.

Ben’s owners are away for the next week, so I have the doggie here with me.  He’s next to me on the sofa right now, dear boy.  When Dave brought him here, he was a bit stressed, which I could sense in him and also see, because he was panting (the dog, not the man) but he settled down quickly and let Dave go without a backward glance.  I’ll mostly be here next week and he will have lots of cuddles and walks.

We have cleared the big attic.  It’s empty, apart from a bed, which I can’t identify.  I don’t know where Russell got it from – I have an idea but there will never be any way of proving it, so I have to just take it apart and bring it down and get rid of the damn thing, resentfully.  I don’t want to be cross with Russell but – anyway, it was no more help when he was alive because he never answered questions then either.

I’m so grateful that I could cry, there’s nowhere for gratitude to go when you can’t repay it.  Lovely friends and family, I feel absolutely cherished and that is not a feeling I’ve ever been used to.  I hardly know what to do with it.  I can only accept.

Halting the flow

I spent three hours this morning just catching up, much of which could have been done the day before if only I’d had my phone.  I left to pick up my friends in Beccles a few minutes later than I’d meant to, then stopped for petrol but we were still in Norwich by 12.15, which was not late.

It often puzzles me that I’m so damn busy now, more than ever.  Why was I not at my busiest when I had children living at home?  I certainly thought I was.  But when my mother was here, we used to go out regularly together – she loved shopping, going to Norwich for the day with frequent stops for coffee and food.  I wasn’t very bothered about it, but was quite happy to go with her.  She was one of those people who gets little enjoyment from doing something alone. I rarely did much shopping for myself when I was with her, it was simpler to do what she wanted, but then I’ve never been that bothered about buying things for myself.  When I find myself in the mood and find things I like, I get ’em quick, the feeling might not come again for a long time.  However, my point is that I did find time for it, I don’t now.  Perhaps I do things slower now that I’m old.  Oh dear.

Good friend Graham helped me out in another way this morning.  When I arrived home last night, an overflow pipe was gushing from one of two tanks in the smallest attic to the ground outside the kitchen.  This happened a few weeks ago and my other good friend Jamie came round to help out.  He couldn’t work out what was amiss.  Roses climbed up into the attic too (this is through a small trap door with no loft ladder, it’s just a matter of clambering and even more dodgy to get down) but neither of them could work it out.  However, the water stopped and the problem seemed to go away for a bit.  I talked to Al about it last night, as it had happened three or four years ago and he’d gone into the attic under Russell’s instruction, but he couldn’t make out the problem either.  Well, it went on all last evening and quite likely the whole night.  I could make it stop by turning on taps and flushing loos, but then it started again.

Graham is remarkably agile.  He’s some years older than I am, not sure how many but I suppose he’s in his late 60s, and he shinned up there nimbly.  I left him to get on with it while I did some work and a few minutes later he came downstairs and went outside.  When I’d finished and was ready to go, he airily said it was not problem, he’d just tightened a screw a couple of turns.  But it wasn’t the tightening of the screws, it was knowing they should be tightened.


Z is grateful

I said to Weeza and Graham, I owe my friends and family a debt of gratitude that can’t be repaid and isn’t supposed to be.  Such kindness doesn’t expect reward but I’m immensely thankful for it.

And now I’ve duly held the Bible in my right hand and assured a solicitor that my application for probate is truthful as far as I know, and it’s winging off to HMRC.  In fact, that application doesn’t need the affirmation, it’s once it comes back and is sent off again.  They may need further clarification – HMRC, that is – but if not it should only be a couple of weeks or so.  Then I, or my solicitor, have to start getting things put in my name.  I think I’ve done most of my agonising about that.

I had gone a few miles down the road when I realised I’d left my phone at home, which didn’t really matter except that I was going on to have supper with Al and co afterwards.  They live near Diss, where the lawyer is, so I couldn’t really come back first – and I hadn’t had time to feed the bantams or tortoises before I left – that is, I forgot I wasn’t coming straight back.  And, not having my phone, I couldn’t ring Roses to ask her.  I wasn’t at all sure of my Facebook password to log in at Al’s.  I could have phoned Weeza of course and asked her to, but I’ve only just thought of that.  Anyway, there is usually some chicken food left when I feed them in the afternoon and Gus gave the torts some extra midday snacks, and I refilled all water containers this morning, so they will none of them starve. I do feel bad about it, though.

A lot of the attic has been gone through and a black wheelie bin is full, and a lot of stuff is on the bonfire ready to burn.  Last night, having done a lot yesterday, I slept like a baby – actually, none of mine slept well, but I slept like Zerlina, long and soundly and woke up at 8 o’clock this morning.  Everything that is accomplished is another burden lifted.

Z brings boxes downstairs

I’ve hit the gin bottle this evening – which is an entirely good thing.  A friend told me, some years ago, that gin is a mood enhancer and, since then, I’ve never risked it when I’m feeling down.  Actually though, I think that could always be said about alcohol.

My NZ friend’s visit has galvanised me into activity.  I have started turning out another attic.  I have a lot of attics, but only two are boarded and suitable for storage, and we dealt with one of them several months ago.  Russell had our gardener take a lot of stuff up to the other one, two or three years ago, to my utter dismay when I found out.

I just broke off there to shout “No, no, no, no, no, no” at the tv as I hurried to turn it off.  Party election broadcast.  UKIP as it happens, but I’m having nothing to do with any of the campaigning, nor the reactions to it.  I hate it and I think people are being horrid.

Anyway, darling Weeza is coming over tomorrow to help me, then I have the solicitor again and then supper with Al, Dilly and co.  My life will settle, I will cope better than I am now, I am coping all right under the circumstances.

There are newts in the pond!  I am thrilled.  I love newts even more than frogs, though it’s a close-run thing.

Z shows willing

I missed the last few meetings of the village festival committee, but had promised to go to tonight’s, so ambled down to the village pub in good time. I was welcomed cheerily as I went in and settled on a bar stool with my drink, chatting as I waited for the others to arrive. But they didn’t. I got out my papers to check – definitely the right place, date and time. Evidently, something had changed and everyone knew but me.

After an hour, I went home again and sent out an enquiring email and had two apologetic replies from the chairman and secretary. The venue had changed to someone’s house and I’d been missed off the email telling people. Oh well, I showed willing, went out for an hour and had a pleasant time, no harm done.

I’d put my dinner in the oven before remembering about the meeting, in fact, so had taken it out of the top oven (the hot one) and put it in the bottom oven (the warm one) so that it would be cooked slowly by the time I got home and it worked very well. I’d baked a trout en papillote with lemongrass, leek, red pepper, garlic and white wine and ate it with a slice of home-made bread.

On the way home, I met a friend whom I hadn’t talked to for some time, though he and his family live only a few hundred yards away. He walked down the drive with me to continue our conversation for an extra few minutes in fact. He’s a nice man, we’ve always got on well.

This morning, I had been woken by the telephone – just as well, I’d overslept – and it was yet another friend, wanting to call in and see me.  He’s visiting from New Zealand, it was a great pleasure to see him and he’s going to help with sorting out things in the outbuildings.

One way and another, it’s been a friendly day.

z has another early night

Al and co have been to Yorkshire for a holiday and arrived home yesterday. They were staying near Whitby – Dracula, I said helpfully, it being about all I know of it – and they’ve had a really good time, being lucky with the weather and all. They came round this afternoon and stayed for tea, I having got some sausages for no apparent (at the time) reason.  I also made Cake.

I’ve been feeling jagged recently and I finally succumbed to a thoroughly early night.  I’m propped up in bed watching Netflix on one iPad and typing on another, which is very useful to be able to do.  When I’ve finished this  I’ll read the papers too – real ones, not an online edition, that being adequate but not as good.

I removed some roses from the flower arrangement I did last week in the church.  The stems had wilted so that they drooped, but the petals were still fresh, so I gave some to the tortoises.  Edweena loves roses and she was very happy.  Tortoises should not be given fruit, but they love flowers.


Mooving in

Life gets more up and down and busier and busier.  I may come back to that, or I may not.  Sometimes, one just lets things go.  So I’ll just tell you about the cows.

Jonny the farmer who sells raw milk and home-made cheese at the farm gate puts a few dry cows on two of my (I typed our.  Oh damn, will I ever get used to it?) fields from April to November.  I arrived home on Thursday morning with Zerlina and Gus to find four ladies of the bovine persuasion in residence.  I congratulated myself on having checked the fence and got it mended three weeks ago.

We’ve become better acquainted with them today.  They’re friendly, curious, really quite lovely. Jonny and his dad Graham wouldn’t land me with awkward squad.  Actually, there was one a couple of years ago that really tested my courage, which was not found wanting though it was a close-run thing.  One more run and I might have stood aside.

Anyway.  Here they are.

This is Spotty Perdita, Perdi for short.

This one is Lily.

Monty is a Montbelliarde and this herd’s milk is used for making cheese. I think that Jonny will move over to this breed entirely in time. They respond nicely when you talk franglais to them. Haw he haw he haw will do, if you’re stuck for a word.


Which brings me to Sally, who makes the most extraordinary noise, nothing like any cow I’ve come across before and nothing like a moo.  It’s a cross between a peacock shriek and a donkey bray, high pitched.  She is quite sweet natured, as are all of them, but it’s like a knife across a plate and I hope she settles down soon.

It’s good to have cows on the fields again.  The grass hasn’t grown much this year yet but there’s quite enough for them, it’ll grow quickly soon and they’re very welcome.