Monthly Archives: January 2023


17 years. Can barely believe it. The diffidence with which I started, with a slightly pretentious post that reported on a book I was reading. I didn’t know what to blog about, so thought I might note books, music etc. That lasted a day. I was briefly paranoid about anonymity, but I relaxed.

It’s been a bit fraught for the last day or two and it’s going to be a busy weekend. Immensely grateful to Wince, my gardener, who is luckily also a good friend and a kind person. A tricky day would have had to waited until Monday and been even trickier, if he hadn’t given up a lot of his time.

I’ve officially joined a committee and know I’m a fool, but I’ll try to make it fun.

I’m going to a painting, or maybe a drawing class tomorrow with Rose. I have no idea how to express myself artistically, I express myself in words. But it’ll be interesting, whether I participate or faff around at the edge of things. I may enjoy it, I may well learn something.

In the evening, Wink and I have been invited out for dinner. Genuinely can’t remember the last time. I’ve invited a friend round for lunch on Sunday – of course, Wink will join us. My friend’s partner can’t come as he’d doing something sporty with his son, so it’ll just be the three of us. I’m going to have to whizz out tomorrow first thing to buy food, as I won’t have time after that.

The Zoe project

I started this personalised nutrition plan today, a couple of days later than originally intended, because Ro and the children came over on Sunday and I needed a day to focus on it. Most of the focus was on eating dispiriting muffins. Three for breakfast and two for lunch and nothing else until at least two hours after the lunchtime ones. It was hard to choke them down. Solid yet unsatisfying, sweet but not tasty. More than I wanted to eat, certainly within the 15 minutes stipulated. Still, it’s done, I’m monitoring my blood glucose levels (implant and app) and have posted off the blood test. I’m supposed to do a poo test too but my body has rebelled and it’ll have to wait until that becomes possible.

I don’t seem to have had massive swings in blood sugar levels as yet, but I’m to try different combinations of foods to see what effect it has over the next couple of weeks. I dunno. It’s an expensive way of contributing to research, I think, but I remain optimistic.


I forgot the password for my laptop. Not having used it for a few weeks, first because I’d been using my fingerprint and then because I didn’t need it for a while, I simply forgot. There are too many passwords to remember and, though I often use the random password generator, this is by no means foolproof either.

I spent most of last evening sorting things out and I’m still not there, but I left it in the end. At least I can use the laptop now. Trying to sign in to one email account, I looked it up in the (password protected, natch) list and discovered that there were three figure 1s, but one of them was in a different style and I couldn’t write it in. I was looking it up on my phone and attempting to type it into the laptop and it was literally impossible. Ronan agreed with me today, he’s found similar problems.

He and the children came over for the day today. His children love to visit here, which I’m so glad about. Their other granny died the other day, having been in failing health for some time. Ronan took them to visit her the other evening and she knew they were there and looked quite peaceful. He hasn’t told them yet, it’s been agreed that Dora, their mum, will tell them.

Weeza is coming over tomorrow as she’s helping me with some legal stuff. I ask for help, nowadays. We’ve got a Zoom call booked with the solicitor. Then Al will drop in for the evening, while Squiffany is at St John Ambulance. Not often I see all three of them so close together, but separately. It’ll be nice.

Outgoing Z

It’s not as cold today, but it feels colder because the wind is keen and the air is damp. There’s no point in grumbling about typical January weather, though.

I joined a society back in December – I’d known about it for years but not known much about it. But a friend invited me, which was very kind of her, because she’d just been diagnosed with cancer and was about to start radiotherapy. But, in her kindness, she thought of me. Darling Jenny, she’s not very well at present and she’s in my thoughts.

It’s an antiques society, there’s a very entertaining and knowledgeable speaker every week, with another as backup if he can’t make it for some reason. Everyone is very friendly, though remembering their names is a work in progress. And it’s been moving through from the 16th century with china, from English Delftware and the last three have included Lowestoft. J knows where my interest lies, and kindly includes me from time to time (I know so little, I’m contributing a small fact or interjection when asked, only) and today he showed a guglet and basin that Russell sold about 12 years ago and asked me what it fetched. I knew, of course, £30,000 on the hammer and it’s still a record auction price. I appreciated the kindness.

The cats all came for both meals today, though Solo ate separately again. Sometimes he joins the other, though then Barney eats on the ground with his mother. Barney is recovering, thank goodness. Poor Solo’s face wound must hurt in this cold weather, I’m sure the nerves are tender. If only I’d been able to catch him at the start of it all. But he’s still too wary, even now.

Though wary at heart, I know it’s better not to be. I’m not a feral cat. Opening out takes an effort, but it’s good.

Cosseting Polly

Most important news of the week, of course, is that Polly bantam settled in quickly. She and Hop are getting on well and all is tranquil. I’ve noticed that Hop’s claws are very long, so I’ll have to look out the clippers and deal with them – I don’t think that is the origin of her problem but the result of not walking about much, but it’s making things worse now. Anyway, while it’s so cold, it’s more pleasant all round for the two of them to be indoors. They’d be all right outside in the coop, but it’s not very nice to have to squat on the ground to care for them.

I had a couple of hours to kill in Beccles the other day, so ambled into the bookshop. It is lovely. There had been a very good bookshop for many years, but it came to the end of its lease and had to shut. They moved to Yagnub – unfortunately, there were hard frosts and very slippery pavements at the time, just before Christmas and they didn’t get the custom they’d hoped for. It was when I was about to have my hip replacement and I just didn’t dare walk about much, I was so ungainly, with poor balance and control, so I didn’t go in, though I’d intended to. By the time I’d had my new hip, the shop had closed down. There had been a discount bookshop in Beccles since then, this is something in between, with very reasonably priced books along with full or nearly full priced ones and an excellent selection. I bought three books, a card and a jigsaw. Today, I needed another card and something for Perdita to go alongside the shoes I’ve bought her for her birthday, so I went in again, as I was in the town. Wink was with me and we have decided to visit regularly. All I have to do now is read all the books I’ve bought. And do the jigsaw, which I’ll then pass on to Ronan.

I’d bought chicken feed, coal and kindling and taken cat food down to where they’re fed, a strenuous hour and a half before breakfast, I’m tired now, though it isn’t yet 8 o’clock. I’m very tempted to have a leisurely bath and an early night, surrounded by books so that I can read until I fall asleep.

Looking after Life at the Zedery

A month of poor sleep caught up with me last night and I was in bed by 8.30, so no time to blog. I was awake around half past four, but that was not bad, overall. I have not given up hope of learning the knack of reasonable sleep, but that’s the eternal triumph of optimism over experience. On the other hand, plenty of time to sleep in my dotage…just in my anecdotage now, of course (I wish I could remember who devised the portmanteau word – I know it was Gilbert Harding who called himself a telephoney, so it wasn’t him – but I don’t wish quite enough to look it up).

I’ve neglected my sourdough starter, so I’ve started feeding it lovingly. I’ve divided and fed it twice, which means I’ve now got enough for three or four loaves, but I’ve got plenty of bread in the freezer. I tried a recipe for sourdough crumpets, which was a disaster – in fact, I tried two different recipes, both of which failed – and some sourdough crackers, which didn’t fail but really didn’t tempt me enough to actually eat more than one. I’ve got a book which says I can dry it out and crumble it to a powder, to use as a topping sprinkled on a loaf, which at least gets rid of it but, in truth, I’ll probably bake it and feed to the chickens. Not raw starter, of course, goodness knows what that would do to their innards.

Talking of chickens, Polly bantam is looking under the weather again. So she’s up here in the coop with Hop, the limping one (still no idea what’s the matter, she may be malingering). I’ve put the coop into the porch, which will pong of chicken, but the forecast is cold this week and Polly is very old. She wasn’t pleased to be taken away from the others, without a high perch to fly up to, but I’ve overruled her. She will be cosseted, whether she likes it or not.

While I’m talking about animals, I don’t think I mentioned that Barney, the shyest barn cat, vanished for a few days last week. That was okay, he’s wary of Solo the tabby with the injured face and he’s the one most likely to forage for himself. But when he turned up, I realised that his offside front leg was injured. He wasn’t putting it to the ground at all, but hopping quite adeptly on three legs. I was worried that he’d been hit by a car and had broken it. No sign of blood or other injury. He seemed less wary than usual and I wondered about trying to catch him. But you only get one chance and, though the cats are not at all aggressive, you can’t blame them if they defend themselves and I’m scared of cats’ claws. So I watched him for a few days. And yesterday, he was limping but putting his paw to the ground. So, whatever’s wrong, it’s not a broken leg and I’ll let him be.

Humans and eCat are fine.

A toast to Indigo and Lisa

Today, my dear blog friend Indigo Roth and his equally lovely Lisa were married. Congratulations and very best wishes for your happiness.

If you’ve been to one of my blog parties, except the first one or two, you’ll have met Indigo (the tall one. The tallest one) and, a year or two later, you met Lisa too. They are among my very dearest friends. Indigo has always been here, right here for me, both when Russell and when Tim died. He lives a couple of hours away, but he’s come, he’s cheered me and he’s helped. That sort of loveliness deserves the very best and it’s clear that Lisa is his equal. Equally lovely, equally deserving of love.

Ladies wot lunch

I had lunch with Rose today at the pub near her present home. It’s a nice place – much more a restaurant than a pub, there’s a bar but not a bar area to sit, it’s all tables to eat at. But the food is good and what stands out most is that the staff are great. Cheerful and friendly, very good at their job, they make the atmosphere. I have the email of the manager and I will write and tell him so. It’s also very convenient as a more-or-less central place for the whole family, being 10-35 minutes from any of us, so I was glad that Rose introduced it to me.

Eloise cat went for her vaccination this week. I like the young vet there. He understands cats. I put her carrier on the ground, he unfastened it and then left her to come out and investigate the room on her own. I said that she is friendly and never scratches, but I think he’d have been fine if she’d been nervy. Which reminds me that the wariest of the barn cats, Barney, returned after a few days away this morning, not putting one of his front paws to the ground. He’s too cautious to hold and have a look, I’m wondering whether to try to catch him. He seems quite relaxed about life and he ate well, but it was more than just a limp. I’ll watch him for a few days.

A life in pictures – Clarissa

The young man must be David, the older couple her parents. The house by the river was the one in Norwich, the other house, from two angles, was the one in Lowestoft. The photo of the small children at school, I’ve no idea – I can’t see Clarissa, but maybe you can. The handwritten piece looks like a prayer, but I haven’t deciphered it yet. Pretty dreadful poem that her father wrote, but Queen Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting wrote a tactful reply. The photo of the four old ladies – obviously Clarissa on the left in her best party dress. It wasn’t her 100th, because it was taken in our Oulton Broad dining room. The lady in dark red was my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law, but I don’t remember – though I recognise their faces – who the others were.

Clarissa – Part 5

I’ll put up some of the pictures from the album in the next day or two. I’ve been looking again at the one that started it all, of Clarissa on her 100th birthday. I’m sure there are some from her party somewhere, but this one is lovely because she looked so happy. It was a great idea, to have a peal of bells rung specially for her.

She did love a party, she came to all my mother’s. By the time she was 100, my mother and stepfather had moved from Oulton Broad to Wrentham, so they invited their local friends to celebrate. I don’t really remember much about it, except that my mum had crammed 100 candles onto the cake and it set off the smoke alarm, there was such a conflagration and the candles had to be blown out in a hurry. I remember Clarissa thinking it was a great joke.

She was still able to come out to visit, though she always used a wheelchair by then. She was still in pretty good health otherwise. She became increasingly frail, not unexpectedly, but she was thrilled when I had a third baby, a month after her 102nd birthday. As she couldn’t quite make out his name, Ronan, she heard it as David, her sweetheart from 8 decades earlier. We gave Ronan to her to hold and she got the angles a bit wrong, so that his feet were lower than his head, but she was so happy to be holding a baby again. But she gradually faded away over the next few months and didn’t make it to Christmas and another party.

Her house had been sold to pay for her care, but there was some money left, which she left to my mother in recognition of all the years of friendship and hospitality. My mum used to say, if ever I’m cantankerous when I’m old, you only have to say two words – Miss Fitt – and I’ll mend my ways, I’ll know what you mean! But, when she was old (not that old, she didn’t make it to 80) and really quite difficult sometimes, we wouldn’t have dared! Though she once said, she could understand, as she got older, why Miss Fitt was so bad tempered. And yet, I do feel warmly towards her, she was such a part of my childhood. I’m not sure if that means I’m getting mellow and sentimental, or whether I’m getting a grumbly old woman and have fellow feeling.