Monthly Archives: March 2022

Z falls back when she should spring forward

I was so tired last night that I went to bed at 9 o’clock. This was odd, as the clocks had gone forward, so it should have felt like 8, but no matter, I was tired so off I went. I woke twice before midnight, but I mostly slept until 6.30 this morning, so I really was knackered.

The children, Rufus and Perdita, were fabulous as always and Rufus is getting over his chickenpox. I counted his spots and found 106, though some of those were small. If Perdy is spotty by the morning, I’ll head on over but it’s more likely that she’ll get it next week. I do have a meeting tomorrow morning, but we had an email this morning from the Rector, who’s tested covid-positive, so asked if it could be online, otherwise he’d give apologies. I replied to everyone explaining that I’d rather it was online too, so that’s agreed. I must remember to print out the agenda, in case I have to minute the meeting from Ronan’s house.

It wasn’t the easiest journey home and thank goodness for satnav and traffic reports, because I was redirected away from the closed motorways. It all took so long, all the same, that I completely forgot that I was due to call on Al and co on the way home, and got a polite text around 7pm to ask if I was still planning to come? Grovelling apologies from penitent Z and they were very nice about it and called in here this evening. I must set up more alerts on my phone and not forget anything else. I must be anxious, I don’t usually do this sort of thing.


Wifi seems to be okay right now, so I’ll crack on.

It’s been a very good, sociable day. I have seen all my closest friends here in Reading. I went dog walking with one, had tea with the second couple and invited the third here for dinner. She’s just gone home.

Not everything has been as smooth as it might have been, but never mind. I arrived to find the electricity was off. Luckily, resetting the trip switch put it back, but in the evening I found that the main lights in the drawing room were very dim. That’s odd, they came on but were barely there. I wondered if the light bulbs had been damaged in the power cut, but this evening, when we went through to the dining room, those lights were completely out. My souffle was perfectly cooked, so I quickly fetched matches and candles and we managed, but I’ll have to check the switches in the morning and maybe ask my neighbour to get an electrician in.

I’m off again in the morning, I’m not going to worry too much about it. Tim had a new fuse box fitted a few years ago and, since then, the whole thing has been very sensitive. Even a light bulb failing can put all the electricity off. My electrician warned me about that when he put in my new box, but it’s not quite as bad as this one.

The clocks go forward tonight so I’m going to bed soon. It’s only half past ten, but I might as well get all the sleep I can. It’s been a good visit, I’ve got things done and seen friends and I’ll take some more stuff home with me. Decluttering works for the mind as well as for the house.

Poor internet

I found where im supposed to be able to control the rear doors but it doesn’t work as described. Tedious as it is, I will have to go to the garage.

i have been mostly dealing with paperwork and that has been as much as i can cope with. At present, I’m in Reading and the internet connection is so poor that im using data rather than wifi and i apologise that capitals etc are not kicking in.
It’s only a month or so since I was last here, but it is both home and not home. I am stepping back deliberately, though not happily. all the same, i choose something to be cheerful about every day and there is always something.

1 Spring. nuff said, it speaks for its beautiful self

2 Helpfulness and kindness. I have made phone calls and visited businesses and have been helped, over and above strict duty. I warmly appreciate this.

3 Friendship. always.

4 Family, of course. im being general because blogging on the phone is an absokute bugger and u am strughling, as this unedited sentence shows.

I will be home in a couple of days and promise a coherent post then.


It’s been a busy week, partly with admin but also with auction stuff. I’ve had several people contact me about the sale and David and I, either together or separately, went to visit clients. I’ve just finished labelling 45 lots, ready to have their descriptions typed out in the next few days. He picked up more pieces today and I visited potential clients in Walberswick, but their china was Chinese, apart from one very nice jug that is English but not Lowestoft. If they’d had other pieces for the sale I’d have taken it, but I can’t really as a one-off.

Still, the journey was nice on a sunny day. My only problem with the car so far is that I haven’t worked out how to turn off the childproof locks on the rear doors. Every time someone travels in the back, they have to be let out, which is a damn nuisance and, I think, dangerous, as a passenger couldn’t get out in an emergency. The manual is no help at all. I’ll go into the garage next week and ask them to do it.

Otherwise, all is fine. The car is now covered with Sahara sand, as are most of the house windows, so I may have to wash the damn thing, only days after buying it.

I bought some wild garlic at the greengrocer today. It is a fabulous substitute for spring onions in champ. I had a bit plateful with a couple of poached bantam eggs for dinner and am going to relax for the rest of the evening. Perhaps I’ll watch tv, if I can find anything I’d like to see.

I must steel myself to do the rest of the admin over the weekend. The probate papers arrived from the solicitor this afternoon and I haven’t opened them yet, but I want to have them ready to send back on Monday. Also other papers. I feel panicky at the thought, but it’s less worrying to do it than to think about it.

Meanwhile, I realised yesterday that it was 19 years since my mother died. I do not know whether that is a long or a short time, or both.

Z the granny

Al and co dropped in this evening, minus Squiffany because she’s doing her St John Ambulance training on a Monday evening. I asked what they do usually – either go to MacDonalds or, if Al is on his own, he just waits in the car park. The lengths he’ll go to, not to call on his mother, I mentioned acidly. He knows I’m not really acid and he didn’t need to dissemble.

It’s Squiffany’s 17th birthday in less than a week. My birthday present to her is driving lessons, though I’m not sure that it’s really much of a present as her parents are obliged to pay for them anyway. But learning to drive is such a rite of passage, I do want to be part of it. I used to see so much of her when she was little, growing up next door, and they moved about 9 1/2 years ago and we’ve not spent all that much time together since. It’s been rather the same with Weeza’s children: not that they lived next door, of course, but they used to come and stay every week in the holidays until Weeza took a job where she had the school holidays free and could manage without. Rufus and Perdita are likely to be my last grandchildren, so I hope to have a few years of closeness with them, at least while they’re young. I don’t want to be clingy or needy, even when I feel like it. I know what old people can be like, I’d rather not be an obligation. I don’t think I am, not yet.

I turned out the porch. Why does everywhere get cluttered? It’s all gone tits-up in the last few weeks. Back under control now, but I don’t understand why – well, I don’t know. Is it that I don’t understand why I get chaotic or I don’t understand why others don’t? Anyway, I’ve realised that I didn’t give Ronan the removable parcel shelf from the Focus (that I hadn’t noticed in a week shows what the situation was) and I reminded myself that the Christmas tree stand hadn’t yet been put back in the shed.

The difference between me and Russell is that I have cleaned and tidied and put things in their proper place and he never, ever did. If I asked him to clear some stuff, he shoved it in a bag or box and hid it somewhere. I found so much stuff, after he died.

But I digress. It was lovely to see the family and I’d planned to have trout for dinner, but couldn’t quite be bothered, once they’d gone, so I scrambled some eggs. Just one slice of bread left, for breakfast toast. But I have got sourdough proving in the kitchen, ready to be baked tomorrow. I have to go out at 10 o’clock, so maybe I’d better get up early, as there are two loaves. Oops. I didn’t think that through.

Z counts her chickens

My friend came round with her metal detector – she bought a new one as my old thing wasn’t quite up to the standard she needed. However, though she hadn’t used it for long, it turned out, to her dismay, that the battery was flat. She said the rechargeable battery on her previous machine lasted ages, she’s not sure if she’s done something wrong or what. Anyway, she’ll come back another time. We searched again, still no luck.

I went to church this morning, which I don’t do very often since the services were put back from 9.30 to 9.00 am. I wouldn’t have been ready in time if I’d dealt with the animals, but I sneaked out of the front door so that the waiting barn cats wouldn’t see me. Wink went out soon afterwards.

I caught up on all the local chat, which was good. Casual social interaction has pretty well vanished over the last couple of years. A tree has fallen from my field on to the churchyard back wall – whoops – luckily, it has done no damage, it’s not very big. I’ll ask Wince to deal with it, the Rector is pretty relaxed about it.

Later, out in the garden, I heard a cockerel crowing from Wink’s garden. I was surprised, I didn’t think that Pillock ventured in there – but when I looked, there were a number of hens as well as the cock. I checked. The door latch hadn’t quite caught and the greenhouse door had come open and nearly all the chickens had got out. I offered mealworms and quite a lot of them came back in, but there was no point unless they all did, so I waited until it was 5 o’clock and a bit drizzly and checked then. No chickens outside, I shut the door and scattered mealworms. Then I went to feed the cats and returned to count my chickens. More than I expected, so I counted cockerels. Pillock had finally returned, after six months of reluctant freedom, with all the others. He was happily sitting on the perch with his sisters and cousins and I trust all will be well. Wink was very apologetic for letting them out, she thought she’d checked the door. They kick earth and stones about, so the doorway often has to be cleared. But I’ve done the same thing myself, I know how easy it is and I appreciate her taking her turn with bantam-care. I assured her that it wasn’t her fault, it just happened.

Lovely lunch

We’ve searched and haven’t found the car key. I gave my metal detector to a friend last year, so I’ll phone in the morning and ask to borrow it back. We are at a loss.

But we went out for lunch today, to a café that had a write-up in the local paper a couple of weeks ago. It’s a new venture for a couple, he is a cook and she grows plants and they’ve combined the two into a place that serves meals and has pot plants all around on shelves. It’s tiny, fewer than 20 covers indoors, plus three picnic tables outside and it was very busy.

It was lovely. All tables were taken when we arrived, but we were invited to sit on stools at the counter until places were free. I told them where I’d read about the place and, a few minutes later, one of the customers came up as he was leaving, to ask if we lived in Yagnub? I explained that we were just outside and he said that he’d grown up in the town, his father was a local doctor. So I asked the name, of course, and it’s a very well-known one here, though Dr M had retired long before we moved here. He said that he and his wife had been in the café in Yagnub a week or two ago and had fallen into conversation with a couple – he mentioned a connection, and I was immediately able to recognise them as very good friends of mine. So that was a delight, we chatted a bit more and then we took their places at the table and received our food.

I had onion marmalade, feta cheese, fig and pine nuts on flatbread, Wink had creamy mushrooms on sourdough bread with poached egg, except she asked them to omit the egg as we are living on them at present. It was all really excellent, quite delicious.

While we were eating, a couple with their young daughter and their dog came in, so we invited them to join us as there were no other free tables. And we chatted with them too. The daughter was lovely and showed us her Pop-it toys, so I’ve bought some for Rufus and Perdita. And the mother gave me some good advice about driving lessons in the Diss area, which i’ve passed on to Squiffany.

Because Squiffany will be 17 years old in just over a week. Seventeen. My little baby granddaughter, darling child.

Later, I finally managed to pair up the phone properly with the car and to the app that will switch on the heater at a given time, and so on. The car is a pleasure to drive and it’s nice to see when you’re driving economically or not, and when the battery recharges as you slow down. Interesting. I haven’t recharged it yet, I will tomorrow probably, as I’ve a rather longer journey on Tuesday, so might as well give myself time to get to know what to do.

Z reads the manual

As ever, RTFM. The connection to the phone is controlled from the steering wheel. Both my old car and Tim’s car could do that, but I never use the controls there and didn’t think of it. Though, once I found it out, I vaguely remembered the salesman telling me about it.

Two people have viewed Tim’s house so far and two more are booked in over the next few days. Best not to dwell on it, there’s nothing to speculate about. Having said that, I do feel quite restless and I hadn’t realised why until this minute.

I invented a sauce to use up some kumquats I’d bought, for no reason, the other day (they were there, darlings). I halved the kumquats, 10 or 12 of them and put them in a pan with enough water to not quite cover them, put them on to simmer. I had half a red onion, which I sliced and fried. When the onions were nearly cooked, I added a few halved cherry tomatoes. When the kumquats were soft, I added a spoonful of sugar (I think balsamic vinegar would have worked and sugar might not have been needed). Then I added the kumquats with their liquid to the onions and cooked gently until the liquid was syrupy. It was excellent. I ate it with a piece of tuna, garnished with pea shoots and fresh herbs. I think it would work with any oily fish, or pork, maybe even lamb.

The sauce was cooking when my sister arrived home from swimming. She went to hang her keys up and she’d dropped her car key. We searched for at least 15 minutes, we can’t find it at all (and we’ve done the obvious things like checking in her bag and pockets). I’m sure we’ll find it at once in the morning, but it’s frustrating. There is absolutely nowhere it can have gone, other than where we’ve looked and failed to see it.

Everything is electric

I’m still getting to grips with registering my phone to the new car. I bluetoothed the connection, but what hasn’t switched yet is the Sounds radio and the satnav and I don’t know why. There’s nothing in the manual about it, so it must be in the – sorry – infotainment book and I haven’t looked at that yet.

As far as driving is concerned, it’s fine. What I’m happily getting used to is the function where the kinetic energy of the car recharges the battery. When I put it from neutral into drive, which is simply pulling the lever back, I have to briefly pull it back again, which engages that function. Then, when I take my foot off the accelerator, the car slows more than you’d expect normally and the battery takes the energy – and don’t expect a proper explanation, darlings, I am not going to pretend to understand more than I do. So if you know there’s a reduced speed limit coming up, you might take your foot right off so that it’ll slow enough without you braking, but if you’re just slowing for a bend, it may be better to ease off on the accelerator instead, to control how much you slow down. I like being able to learn how best to drive the car, rather more than finding out what to do with the software.

I’ve long been accustomed to letting the car slow as I approach a junction, rather than hitting the brake at the last moment. When you’ve got a carsick child, you do everything to minimise abruptness. He’s long grown out of carsickness, though he’s still not the best traveller, but good habits have remained. At the WI, many years ago, we had a speaker on ‘defensive driving’ – that is, driving to not get into trouble and to be smooth and economical to boot – and I already did most of what he said and probably will do so more.

Wince cut some of the grass today, so I drove to the petrol station and stopped by the pump in the electric car, to fill the can with petrol. Haha.

Z’s vicariously productive day

It all has gone well. Wink has gone through a couple of boxes of papers and found hardly any that are worth keeping and they’re from interest rather than need. I mostly caught up on laundry this morning. It’s mounted up because I couldn’t quite be bothered, but at least that means that each of the loads was at the right setting. I look for the silver lining, darlings.

The charger has been installed and I’ve downloaded the app to control it, which I don’t understand yet. But I’ve registered it to my address, my email and my credit card. Tomorrow, I’ll add the actual car.

I left the charger guy when I went off to the blood donor clinic and he was still there when I got back. I stood out in the cold for quite a long time, then went to deal with the animals and was freezing, so went for a hot bath. I got too hot and later I felt, not quite faint but pre-faint. I lay on the floor for a bit. I’m better now. I must do nothing after giving blood in future, I’m fine the next day but not in the hours afterwards. Age, darlings. I must embrace my old age and be glad that I can still do a bit of good, even if it’s just with three bags of my personal claret every year. Now, I’m sitting on the sofa with my cat by my side, feeling tranquil. I’ll have an early night.