Monthly Archives: January 2018

Z’s just blown in from the windy village

I’ve put the possible party dates on the header now, not that there’s any hurry to fix a date.  I’ll see if any of my family can be there – I think that Ro and Dora have been to every one and the others come when they can.  The year before last, little Rufus was only a few weeks old and this time it’ll be days or weeks after his second birthday.

LT is back here again, having spent much of his time at his own place installing a new front door lock.  We’ve spoken on the phone each day and there’s been some Facebook communication too, as well as blogging.  I’ve been rather more remiss in that respect though – I meant to blog last night but the internet speed was even more dismal than usual.  I thought of watching some television and that never means tv any more: it’s not that there’s *nothing* on, but that there’s never anything at the particular time that I feel like watching it.  So I tried iPlayer and Netflix but nothing would load.  So I gave up and went to bed and read.

I suspect the reason for the extreme work-to-rule slowness of it was the weather.  Unusually, Norfolk and Suffolk seem to have had the worst of it this time.  LT said that it was extremely windy in Reading (though there is debate over whether the escaped wolf got out because its fence blew open or whether someone opened the gate: all the same, it strolled through a field of sheep and left them unscathed, so it is rather the lupine equivalent of Ferdinand the Bull, it seems) but here, a lot of roads were closed because of fallen trees.  Yagnub wasn’t actually cut off, but you couldn’t get to Norwich nor various other towns without going a very circuitous route.  Trains didn’t run and electricity was off.  Here was rather less dramatic, it just kept me awake.  Yesterday morning, I discovered that several panes of glass had blown out (one of them in) of the greenhouse and the wild plum tree by the lawn had some cracked branches, one having fallen on another and a domino effect having happened.  Little enough damage and nothing to fuss about.  Fortunately, Wince the gardener was due that day and, as I had a haircut appointment at 9.15, he did the clearing up and cut back the damaged branches.  I have a boxful of glass in the greenhouse.  I should take it to the tip but that’s a 20 minute drive away, in a direction I never go ordinarily.  They closed the local free tip a few years ago.

At least it’s too early to have wanted to sow seeds.  I have plenty of greenhouse glass, but it’s the size for the other greenhouse and I doubt I have enough for the damaged one.  Cutting old glass is possible but not easy, it becomes more brittle with age.  We’ll measure up and see what we have. but we may well have to go and buy what we need.  At least the chickens’ greenhouse was unscathed.

Invitation to the blog party, plus Z’s day


Update on blog party date options – please let me know if there’s any date you cannot do:

Sunday 10th June

Saturday 16th or Sunday 17th June

Saturday 23rd or Sunday 24th June

Saturday 30th June or Sunday 1st July (preferably not)

Saturday 7th or Sunday 8th July (preferably not)

Saturday 14th or Sunday 15th July

LT is away at his place for a few days, so our hearts are growing fonder.  This evening, I went to Gardening Club.  I’m drawing a veil over the talk, there have been better … nice speaker, though her talk would have been better aimed at beginner gardeners.   And the good news is, I picked up our seed order for the year.  Yay and huzzah etc.

I had only a few minutes to cook and eat before I went, so had an egg on a crumpet, which held the fort quite well but, I discovered, was not going to stem the pangs until the morning.  I went shopping earlier and had a great need for cheese.  I bought gorgonzola and mozzarella (both Italian rather than fake and the descriptions read well and I thought the Co op deserved the custom for trying) and some goat cheese and some Boursin.  I had half the mozzarella at lunchtime and the rest, in its tub, went into the fridge for tomorrow.

Reaching for the gorgonzola, I knocked over the mozzarella in its liquid.  I was a bit cross with myself but mopped it up and hope I got it all out from under the fridge.  Then I wiped the bottom of the mozzarella tub, put it back in the fridge and the sodding thing, clearly not balanced at all, tipped again and the remaining liquid landed on the floor.  At this point I lost my cool and swore mightily, wiped it all up again and poured a glass of whisky.  And then I discovered that, at 9.30 pm, a helping of gorgonzola isn’t quite enough and nor was a tot of whisky, not if it was of modest proportions, so I was totally, totally obliged to go and replenish both.  I’ll probably gibber of cheese – toasted, mostly – all night.

While I was at the Co op, I thought I might buy myself some flowers because I was feeling a bit sad and missing LT.  They had Norfolk-grown tulips, which I thought was rather impressive in January, so I bought a bunch.  They were in bud but they’re already opening out.

In other news, I had my tax demand and I’ve paid it at once because, let’s face it, the country needs the money pdq as it’s all so mightily awry that every pound helps.  Or do I mean every billion?  Can’t help there, but they’ve had a modest couple of thousand: I overpaid last year because that’s how self employment tax works – you overpay every other year.  And the programme arrived for the Aldeburgh Festival.  As it’s Leonard Bernstein’s centenary and, as Britten lived in America for a while and knew both him and Copland, there’s a fair bit of their work in this year’s festival.  Which seems okay to me.  When LT comes back home – both homes plus the caravan are home – we’ll look and choose.  He’ll have to rein me in, I’d go to every concert I like the look of but he’s a bit more sensible.  Not totally sensible, of course.


Blog party 2018!!(!)

LT and I have looked through the diary – we each have our own diary, of course, but they only vary in minor details, so just one was enough.  And we’re reckoning on a date in June or July.  These are the most likely ones for us –

Saturday 2nd or Sunday 3rd June (this is the end of half term week)

Next two weekends aren’t out of the question but aren’t ideal

Saturday 23rd or Sunday 24th June

Saturday 30th June or Sunday 1st July

Saturday 7th or Sunday 8th July

Saturday 14th or Sunday 15th July

After that, the school holidays start and so, whilst we’re free the next weekend, I know there are others who aren’t.

If you’d like to come, you are most welcome.  If you’d like to stay, we’ve got two double, one twin and one single spare room and there is capacity for family roomness, as well as space for dossing down or pitching a tent; not that this has ever happened so far, but meals can certainly be provided with cheer and enthusiasm for any and all guests.  You’re welcome, truly, whether or not you’ve yet met me or Tim – in fact, if you haven’t then it’s about time you did. If there’s a preference for any dates, or a date you can’t come, let us know – last year, it worked out that there was only one Saturday possible and, as it so happened, the weather was lovely and, for the first time ever, we had lunch outdoors.  But I learned from the first blog party not to rely on the weather and to assume nothing at all.


Z pots sixteen jars and what does she get?

It’s been a reasonably productive week and I’m glad of that.  It’s too easy to drift and not that straightforward to get the balance between having too many responsibilities and not achieving much at all.  My sister Wink gave up full-time work when she was 64, was offered another job a year later and has just retired again, another four years on from that.  She found retirement both boring and demanding, as she was instantly claimed to be treasurer of this and secretary of that local good cause, on the justification that she had time, now.  She managed to give them up again when she no longer had time.

I did the voluntary stuff for many years, both where I used to live and, especially, here.  I’ve finally managed to drop nearly all of those things and refuse to do them again – there’s a fair bit of pressure for one job but I’m not going to give way – but I can see that it might be easy to slip out of the habit of being busy.  I have no idea of the balance.  I used to be too busy and now I’m nowhere near as efficient because I don’t need to be, yet we don’t seem to have that much free time.  Relearning to relax must be a good thing, though.

Yesterday, LT and I were talking about a blog party again.  We’re willing if you are.  Shall we look at dates, or have you all had enough, at last?

Z thinks about food. How unusual…????

I finished the china for the time being and have passed it on to my colleague David for the next bit.  I enjoyed it, very much, in fact.  The first part, when I was just typing, was quite boring, but the work I’ve done in the past two days involved handling the china and describing it and I liked that.  I’ve picked out my favourite pieces, several of them, though I don’t suppose I’ll put in any bids at all.  Or even, in the highly unlikely case that I might, that I’d be lucky or possibly unwise enough to buy them.  Hmmm.  Nothing like spending your profits.  I’m supposed not to be adding to my collection; though that’s an entirely self-imposed restriction.

I went out to my book club this evening, which is a jolly good, convivial dinner with a few minutes’ talk about a book quite early on.  It was lovely and I feel very cheerful.  Lovely Tim spent the afternoon making his famous leek quiche (it’s not that I married him entirely for his leek quiche, but it was certainly one of the things that attracted him to me, before I realised it at all) and he ate some of it for his dinner.  We will have it again tomorrow but eating it twice is no hardship in the least.  And the other thing that will certainly happen tomorrow is the making of a couple of batches of marmalade.  No doubt of that at all.  I’ve had the oranges all week, after all.

Z types

Things are a bit busy at present, mostly because I’m cataloguing china.  It’s going pretty well, but I’ve got another morning’s work and then can sit back for a week and let my colleague do the next stage, then it’s back to me again.  And LT, who will be Official Photographer this time.

I’m using the new satnav, even though I haven’t been anywhere I needed it, to try it out and I’m pretty pleased with it.  The best bit is that you can tell it where to go … no, of course I mean you can tell it where you want to go; that is it can be controlled by the voice.  This afternoon, I was visiting my friend Jan in Mendham.  So I said I was going to say the town (it’s a village, but they don’t count up how many houses) and, of course, said “Mend’m.” And I was offered a few different options in various parts of the country and the first was correct, so I said number one and that was fine, it directed me pleasantly.  When I left, I said “go home” and that’s what it did. I did have to use the search thingy yesterday to find out how to save an address I’d put in, and I’d have to do it again because I’ve forgotten, but it can do it.  And I’ve linked it with my phone, for updates on travel news – and, I discovered, it will read out your emails if you ask it to.  Not that I need that, driving is a nice break from emails.

Having spent three hours typing in an imperfectly heated room this morning, I decided we were going out for lunch.  What I was wanting was a warming bowl of soup at the local cafe but, even at 12.30, it was already full and a couple were just being turned away.  So we went down to the pub with restaurant that we visited last week with Rose and, though soup was on the menu, somehow that didn’t seem quite enough.  We both had fish and chips, which was very good, but we were so full afterwards that we both needed a little nap later.  And rather less for dinner than we’d planned.

Tomorrow, the rest of the typing.  The first stage, typing out the list I’d hand-written, was quite boring but today’s work, labelling them in lot number order, improving the descriptions, measuring height or width where necessary, was painstaking yet much more satisfying.  I’ve got halfway and am quite happy to take the extra day.  There’s about six weeks to do the work needed, we’ve plenty of time and I’m not going to leave anything to the last minute.

The Rufus monosyllables

Young Rufus is getting quite chatty.  He’s nearly 19 months old now and can communicate pretty well.  I heard him say hello and cat and bed and yes, for instance and, when asked, he can touch his eyes and nose and mouth, and make various animal noises on request.  Totes adorbs, obvs.  He tucked into chicken, potato, courgette and broccoli (mostly broccoli, to be truthful) and then was thrilled with the chocolate mousse.  He also likes Twiglets, which is a useful skill to learn early.

After they’d gone, I went out to the kitchen to clear up but got no further than the chicken carcase into a saucepan for stock before really, really needing to have a nap.  So LT did a remarkable amount of clearing up while I … didn’t sleep at all.  Sadly.  I’ve been sleepy all evening but I never go to sleep after about 5 o’clock and before bedtime.  It’s a recipe for a wakeful night and, besides, I don’t want to be someone who nods off in front of the tv.

We finished off the celery soup and shared an avocado for supper.  We’d eaten plenty.  LT did make some croutons though, right before he spilled a fair bit of the bottle of red wine onto the tablecloth.  It’s not one of the good Irish linen ones though and I expect it’ll wash out.  It’s soaking overnight before I can get around to dealing with it, anyway.

Three business emails this evening – well, one arrived on Friday at about 5 o’clock and I didn’t answer it until just now.  I don’t mind Sunday evening, as it’s often simpler to start Monday with nothing hanging around, but I reckon Friday evening to Sunday after lunch is out of bounds, whenever possible.  Not that I usually have business emails nowadays, anyway. Happily.

Z, driving

My family is always pleased if I think of a few things to put on a wishlist, as they say they never know what to get me, so I did – and then they had splendid ideas of their own.  It seemed a pity to waste the effort, so I bought most of the things I’d thought of for myself anyway.  Which means I have rather a pile-up of books to read now, amongst other things.  I have read three books in the last couple of weeks, but I used to read twice as many as that in a week, back in the days when that was the sort of thing I did, so it’s hardly anything to boast of.

I’d promised to buy LT a new camera but he hadn’t finished researching what he wanted in time for the Day so it finally arrived today.  I had an email first thing this morning to say it would be delivered by Royal Mail and needed to be signed for.  By 11 o’clock, we’d forgotten about that, until we drove down the road and spotted the postman’s van, with him just loading all the letters for that road into his trolley.  We went home to wait for him and did various odd jobs, but in the end I went out by myself.  It was only to the butcher and greengrocer.

Seville oranges are in, which is quite early (and they’re quite small) so I’ve bought enough for two batches, to begin with.  And I came home and made celery soup for lunch and an oxtail stew for dinner.  In fact, that was going to be for tomorrow but Ro and Dora – and Rufus, of course – are coming for lunch tomorrow so we’ll cook tonight’s roast chicken then.  Nice to be able to offer a choice when children say they can come over at little notice.  They’ll pick up more veggies, though.

LT bought me a new satnav, so i’ve been setting that up, rather belatedly, though I haven’t really been anywhere.  I’ve a very old one and otherwise use my phone, as my car doesn’t have one built in, but the phone leaves something to be desired.  Apple Maps are really inaccurate and Google Maps are useless at giving directions.  I also, while sitting in the car, cleaned the front inside windscreen.  At this time of the year when the sun is so low, a smeary windscreen doesn’t half impair vision and, though I’d cleaned dust off, I hadn’t realised that it was still smeary.  They’re really not easy to do, sloping away from you with the steering wheel in the way.  And I washed the lights and number plates – actually cleaning the car itself isn’t likely to happen any time soon, frankly – so I felt frightfully self-righteous.

One of the things we’ve discovered about each other – there are still many things to learn, I’m sure – is that neither minds getting lost: that is, neither of us gets annoyed when the other gets lost.  We reckon it’s just par for the course.  I’ve always been pretty effective at it, anyway.  And there was a time, about a year and a half ago, when Apple Maps got a pub so wrong that it took us about ten miles in the wrong direction and there was nothing at all where it said our destination was.  LT took it philosophically and we found another pub, and I resolved never to rely on that map again but, at least, always double check.  I do have that inclination anyway, I have to admit.  Belt and braces, at the least.  A length of bailer twine at hand, just in case, is usually a good idea.

I was reading, yesterday, about some vicar who has decided to fine brides and grooms who arrive late for their wedding.  They will have to pay an extra £100 deposit and, if they’re more than ten minutes late, they lose it and it’s shared between the bellringers, organist and choir members who’ve had to wait.  It doesn’t seem quite in the spirit of the thing, it’s an emotional and stressful enough day without having that extra cause for twitchiness, but I’ve become extremely punctual as I’ve got older.  Not for something casual that doesn’t matter, but for appointments – as relaxed and well planned as our wedding was, I had timed it all precisely and had to seriously pretend not to be uptight when LT and I were the only ones ready to leave at 12.25.  I chivvied a bit, I confess.  And then we left.  And everyone followed!

A tisket, a tasket

I’ve been falling behind in letter-writing, both the actual hand-written sort and emails.  It’s nice to have friends who’d like to hear from me and I did write one letter yesterday and one email today, but I’m still way behind.  I’ve never been the best correspondent,  I have to admit.

My sister is brilliant at keeping in touch with people, she still has a number of friends from her schooldays and, right now, is staying in Singapore with friends who are working there for a couple of years (that is, the husband is), she having been a work colleague of the wife nearly thirty years ago.  And Kamala, our friend in Chennai who she stayed with over Christmas and the New Year, she met in London in about 1968.  They didn’t see each other again until 2000 but always kept in touch.

I’m no good at that, I’ve always had much more of a tendency to live in the moment.  I think I’m too busy, but what that means is another matter.  Anyway, I’ll try to catch up over the next few days.  Tim gave me a lovely new fountain pen for Christmas, so there is every encouragement to write proper letters.

Five random paragraphs

It’s only the eighth day of Christmas but actually, it’s all over unless you have time on your hands and so do all your friends.  So even (sorry) Chrimbo Limbo is over.  We didn’t take down our decorations because we didn’t put them up in the first place, as we weren’t here on the Day.

Lovely Tim is blogging regularly at present, and he explained the reason the other day.  He may or may not keep it going for the next few months.  He feels no pressure nor obligation, but so far he’s been doing it.  He’s here, if you’ve never had a look.

We talk a good deal, LT and I.  We hardly ever turn on the television and only slightly more often listen to music.  Neither of us really “does” background music, it’s there to be listen to and so it takes away from our conversation.

We’re both reading a good deal at present.  Mostly Christmas books (one of mine is from last Christmas; ie 2016, hem hem) but I’m also reading for the book club that I never thought I’d ever join, ever.  But it’s great because we’re such good friends.

My poor chickens hate the wet weather.  They skulk at the back of the henhouse until I open up the tunnel to the greenhouse, then they scurry through there.  But at least it’s not dark so early.