Monthly Archives: December 2018

Z goes up the city, as we say in Yagnub

I’m going to Norwich after lunch, dropping off a piece of china, meeting Weeza and co, hearing Zerlina in her school choir singing at John Lewis, then going home with Dora to babysit Rufus tonight, leaving my car with Weeza as she’s borrowing for the week as Phil needs theirs.  They’re usually fine with just one car and prefer it – they think about when they need to use a car rather than just get in and drive and, of course, it saves a lot of expense.  Phil knows it would be very tempting sometimes to drive to work instead of cycle and, I daresay, the time will come when he can’t bear to cycle 45 miles a day, whatever the weather.  But anyway, he’ll bring me home tomorrow on his way to wherever he’s going – I didn’t really take in the details.

The only bit I’m less than cheery about is parking in the centre of Norwich on a Saturday in December.  I avoid the city as far as possible this month and especially at the weekend.  But I hope that after lunch some people will be going home and it won’t take forever in the queue.  i’ll leave plenty of time, anyway and if I can park unexpectedly quickly then I might even do some shopping.  Anyway, it’ll be good to see the family and I’m looking forward to the babysitting.  Dora says that Rufus talks about me almost as often as he talks about Gus, which is a huge compliment – those two boy cousins adore each other.

Z has a funny feeling that I’ve won….

We visited That London today, to see builders who we hoped might do the job at the flat, and we were bowled over by the loveliness of the flat all over again.  I often feel I’d love to live there, but it’s absurd, it’s far too small and I’m not a city girl at all.  But Tim has just the same reaction to it, it’s quite delightful.

The pub next door has been totally renovated, not before time – though I think that all the pulling around done there has brought about my problems – and it’s now an excellent restaurant, specialising in Creole food.  I’ve meant to eat there for ages but it hasn’t worked out – last time, at the end of October, i’d reserved an hour which was taken up with the extra travel caused by the signal breakdown on the East Angularian line.  Anyway, all went exceptionally smoothly today and we had a most splendid gumbo.  My mother used to make gumbo, with home grown okra, back in the 1960s and I’ve never eaten it since, but this was damn good.

We duly discussed what was needed with the builders, and have been edged towards a roofer, and hope to discuss matters with him next week.  And we got a train earlier than expected home, having sailed through changes on the underground – as we arrived on the platform, so did the Tube train, it was most fortunate.  So it’s been a good day overall.  I made omelettes for supper and we’ve been singing ever since, and LT has played his guitar.

I know, darlings.  Quite awful, aren’t we?  But it makes us happy.

Z starts shopping

A woman phoned while we were away, asking if we could spare some of our big pine cones.  She was welcome to them, but she didn’t leave her number so I had to wait until she phoned again.

If you’ve visited us, you may have noticed these huge pine cones that are dotted about, wherever they’ve fallen.  My brother in law brought seeds back from North Africa about 50 or 60 years ago and there used to be several of the trees in the garden, although only two are left now.  We’ve often given the cones away, they’re very attractive.  I’ve always understood the trees to be umbrella pines but, having just looked them up, apparently they’re actually stone pines and the rounded shape gives them the colloquial description.  Pine nuts come from their seeds – over here, it needs a very hot summer for them to set seed, but then that’s what we had this year.

She phoned again a few days later, and came over to pick them up on Monday.  She wants to use them as a decorative project at a local museum.  She was lovely, we had a very enjoyable chat, though I was given more advice on several matters, ranging from a tree to buy to inheritance tax planning, than I usually am given within half an hour of meeting someone in a social setting.

I haven’t done more from the to-do list today, I don’t think, though i have ordered quite a lot of Christmas presents.  Mail order (internet mail, that is nowadays, of course) or local is all I can do nowadays.  I am going to Norwich at the weekend, as it happens, but that’s for a different purpose, which includes lending my car and babysitting too; both of which are a pleasure, of course.

Tim cooked a particularly delicious mushroom risotto tonight.  There are leftovers, which I have generously suggested might be kept for when he’s home alone on Saturday night.  If he were to look hesitant, then I’d leave him with eggs and take it for myself.


You’ll be so pleased to know that I’ve ticked off two items and done a third that hadn’t even made it to the List.  Updating the satnav was a bit anxious though – it warns sternly about unplugging it while it’s updating, but it got stuck and nothing was happening, though the ‘Force Quit’ list didn’t have it as unresponsive.  So I ferreted around on the Garmin website and found nothing in the FAQs or the manual, so used the chatline.  And apparently it’s fine to unplug it, it just makes it a bit reproachful; and next time it uploaded the new maps as if it had been looking forward to that all week.  I printed off the manual, by the way, and have found out how to alter a route to the one I want to use, and to tell it how to remember it.  So hah, for the next time we travel south west.

RasPutin, father of the kittens, was – as you may remember – a poor old thing back in the summer.  He vanished for a few weeks and returned painfully skinny with a thin coat, so that I could see his skin through the hair.  It took weeks for him to start to gain weight but finally he recovered (from what, I don’t know) and his coat grew thick again and he grew plump.  How plump, I only realised today, when I went to the porch door to find Eloise cat sitting right by it, on the outside.  I had to chivvy her away to open it.  I saw her fixed gaze and I thought it was Rose and Lawrence’s cat Chip, who’s a big, long haired tabby that Eloise cat dislikes.  But it wasn’t; it was RasPutin.  He walked away and I realised how fat he’s become.  Honestly, his tum was so rotund that, if I hadn’t known he was a tom, I might have thought he was a pregnant queen.  We suspect he’s being fed all round the village, because what I give him isn’t enough for that and I don’t think he’s got that rotund by eating mice.  He clearly fancies coming in the house – and he can think again.  No.

Z ghosts her satnav

I came over all purposeful this morning and started a to-do list.  I’ve only got a few things on it and nothing that I jolly well know I’ve got to do, like get ready for Christmas – erk – or anything in the least worrying, more in the nature of sort out bamboo canes and take back library books,  but it’s still made me anxious.  I’m trying to identify now what it is that’s worrying me.  Maybe it’s simply December that’s the culprit.

Having said that, I’m doing rather well this back-end of the year.  Usually, I am running half empty during the winter months, but I feel quite with it, so far.  Although yesterday, as we left Reading, Tim had to point out that the lights I was slowing down for were actually green.  It got better once we were on the motorway.

Being an East Angular woman, I don’t drive on motorways that often – and never so much as since LT and I got together – so I don’t know them enormously well, but the A1M does seem to be a rather pleasant one of its kind; in that we’ve never been held up by the traffic.  It’s occasionally slowed down but never stopped and it’s usually 70 mph all the way.  So we’ve abandoned the M11, much to the dismay of my satnav.  You’d think she’d twig fairly rapidly that I’m ignoring her, but she begs me to reconsider for miles.  It’s shorter, it’s often quicker, so no.  Even if the apparent journey is faster, it’s also more miserable and there are often hold-ups that aren’t known about until it’s too late to change.

I must add another item to the to-do list.  Check out how to do custom journeys for the satnav.

You might wonder, by the way, why I bother to turn on the satnav for a journey I know.  It’s for two reasons – first, for the traffic reports and second, so that I know how far it is until the next junction.  Then I can position myself to the right lane or the one next to it in good time.  I like to be prepared.  It’s the sort of organised  Z that I am.  In some respects.

Driving on

We’ve been down to Reading and back, and Tim has had his MRI scan and we’ll be home here – as opposed to home there – for the next month.  Weeza is happily planning the Christmas celebrations – she reminds me of me, really, I used to go to endless trouble over it all when my children were young too.  All my children are good cooks and hospitable, and that makes me very happy.  I got that right, at the least.

Eloise cat is very pleased to see us, especially Tim.  She’s been sitting on him, whenever he’s been available, much of the day.  She tends to come to me more at night, because I’m usually awake.

We’re planning a few changes around the house.  Mostly, it’s the change of use from one of the spare bedrooms to a dressing room, though that involves the choosing and buying of wardrobes – and probably the assembling of them too – which is going to be some effort.  And there’s an alcove in the dining room which, until 90 years ago, housed a cupboard staircase and, for the last 30-something, hasn’t done anything much.  I think we’ll have to make shelves for that, because we can store stuff there.  It’ll mean moving the wind-up gramophone, though. I’m not sure where to, yet.