Monthly Archives: June 2023

Z counts to 10

I just have to pack my clothes and sort out some food, water the plants and feed the chickens in the morning and then I’ll head off to the caravan. It’s a 7 hour drive plus stops, so quite as much as I want to do in a day. I was thinking of staying until Monday, but Publog John has invited me to the Hollybush for Sunday lunch, which is strictly Guys Only, so it’s a massive compliment. It’s also a 4 hour drive, so I’ll have to get ready to leave the night before, so I can go at 8 am.

I have done most of my paperwork and sent various emails. Someone has sent me pictures of a lot of china – that is, many individual photos, two or three of each piece and there are nearly 100 pieces – he’s sent them on iCloud, which is all very well, but I haven’t got time to look at them and my colleague doesn’t have a Mac, so he can’t see them when I try to share. A lot of it isn’t Lowestoft and, what is, is low value. I’m a patient woman, but I sighed a bit. It can wait for a week.

Other things, other people. I don’t want to grumble about anyone, so I won’t explain. I’m making an effort not to be annoyed, though. Clearly, I need some time on my own. Won’t have internet much, so I’ll be back next week.

Apostrophe S

It’s The Queen’s Club. I don’t know if it’s a specific queen.

The weekend was fabulous. Guys and Dolls was terrific.

We got home at 11.30 on Sunday night and eCat greeted us with brief warmth – this is cat language, we get it – and then wanted to go out, whereupon she lay down on the paving. Ten minutes later, she was still lying there, so I went out. It was faux relaxation, Barney Barn Cat was about, telling me that he was hungry. Ecat was doing her best “Get outa maa pub!” impression. I told Barney that I knew he’d been fed, but he was insistent. His siblings ganged up behind him. “Get outa maa pub!!” yowled Eloise cat.

I fetched a torch, went down to the cat feeding station, where there was still food in their bowls, and fed them again. Came back. Ecat came in. All was tranquil.

This morning, the phone rang at 8.20. I ignored it and finally got up to find a message from G, from New Zealand. He and his wife are over for a couple of months, so I rang back and he came to lunch. G was Russell’s best friend and it was a blow when they moved over there, 25+ years ago. I’ve told them the weekends I’m about, so hope they can come back for lunch when I can get the family here too.

Getting to grips with paperwork, which was planned for this morning, but seeing a friend was far better and more important. I’ll do the rest tomorrow. Planning to go to Pembrokeshire later in the week.

That London

We’re going to London tomorrow, to see Guys and Dolls in the evening, meet friends on Sunday morning and then spend the afternoon at the finals at Queens Club. Has that got an apostrophe? So Weeza is house sitting. She was willing to hand-feed Hop, but is glad that it won’t be necessary. I’ve provided a fan for her bedroom – she says she’s only able to get to sleep with a fan on, which I wouldn’t be able to do as the sound would keep me awake. I am awake because of the heat instead. I sometimes catnap in the day.

As we’ll have to carry our things all Sunday, we’re travelling light. A nightie (I’m sharing with Wink, otherwise I wouldn’t bother), knickers, toothbrush and paste, sun cream and a hat, plus what I’ll wear tomorrow. Phone, obviously, which takes care of everything else, and charger. Not much else. Hotels always have basic toiletries. I like travelling light, I learned a good lesson from having a mother who took everything.

I have occasionally packed too much and always have regretted it, so it’s not a mistake I’ve made for many years. I think of it as a failure if I haven’t needed everything I’ve taken, except for precautionary wet/cold weather gear.

Hold a ch1cken in the air…

Hop the poorly chicken is getting much better. She was on her feet this morning, looking her formerly-usual self. I picked her up – she is very tame now – and offered her food, but put her back in the coop with the food next to her quite quickly, as I don’t want to be doing this job forever.

I’d found it hard to get to sleep and then woke very early, so I got up at about 5, after listening to quite a lot of radio, and washed my hair and then got back into bed. Inevitably, I finally fell asleep again for a few minutes, which was useful as I’d probably not have got through the day otherwise. Norwich first thing, to the optician to pick up my new glasses, then Nadfas, lunch and home again for a meeting on Office.

I’ve regrettably broken my new rule of not cancelling a pleasure for an obligation. I did say it wasn’t convenient, but the Head – actually, he’s not a headteacher any longer, now I think of it, he’s a CEO – persuaded me and then asked if I’d turn up in a bad temper? Had he ever seen me in a bad temper, I asked? He’d heard of my reputation.

We’re friends enough to tease.

I’ve given Weeza the good news that she won’t have to have a chicken on her lap when she comes to housesit. She’s pleased about that. I must buy more cat food for eCat, so that she doesn’t have to eke it out. Ecat will tell her that she’s starving, at least ten times a day.

Z spins metaphorical plates

I had some paperwork to type up this morning, but the meeting wasn’t until 2pm, so I had plenty of time.

No, I didn’t. Of course not.

We have had repeated petty vandalism in the church over the past month or so. Children have taken to using it as a meeting place and they mess about. It cannot be proved who is doing what, so I won’t elaborate, but it’s getting to be more than a nuisance. More internal locks have been added and motion-activated cameras are installed. Until they were active, it was necessary to lock the church out of school hours, whereupon the locks were stuffed with bits of wood and the ancient oak door has been kicked until the joints started to open up.

Because of the pieces of wood in the lock, my fellow churchwarden couldn’t get her key out of it once she’d unlocked the door, so called me. I went down and managed to sort it out, then the Rector arrived and we discussed what to do. The police have been informed, there’s enough damage that it may come to an insurance claim and maybe more. Really a nuisance, we’re quite sorry for these disturbed youngsters but patience, discussion and kindness are not working and it’s escalating.

I finally managed the paperwork and then nipped off down to the deli for cake, to follow the meeting. There’s roadworks on the dam (that is, the road over the water meadows between here and Yagnub) so I had to go the long way round. As I came back, I saw the chairman walking through the village, so of course I stopped to pick her up. I wasn’t ready at home, but she helped put out water glasses, cups and saucers and it was all fine, though I’d missed lunch.

Also missed dinner, because I was out this evening too. I grabbed a chunk of cheese to eat on the way. Lovely, convivial get-together in a beautiful garden, so I was glad I’d bothered to go and I ate more cheese when I got home. Today has been a regrettably vegetable-free day, though I did have quite a lot of fruit to partially make up for it. Wink and I need to leave the house soon after 9am tomorrow, too. Why does everything come at once?

Cautious optimism at the Zedery

Hop, the lame chicken, has started to walk again. Badly, as one leg still has very little use, so she tends to go in circles, but she is much better and is enjoying the twice-daily attention when I pick her up and feed her. Amusingly, the barn cats are jealous and come to look at us, begging for food. I’ve started taking a pouch of cat food along, to put in dishes for them – this is after they’ve been fed themselves. I’m careful to go in the hen house first before touching Hop, just in case there’s anything contagious, though I would think that Polly would have caught it in that case.

I asked friends round for lunch today, which is a rare event. I did the simplest possible meal, with cold salmon and salads, but I took care over it and served a very good bottle of local wine too, following up with strawberries and local cheese. It was a cheerfully sociable event, followed by a visit to the local friend’s house, to show the other two people some antiques that they were interested to see. She doesn’t want to sell them, it’s just a matter of fellow enthusiasts. It turned out that they had friends in common, in a way that couldn’t have been predicted and it also transpired that one guest’s cousin had lived in Wink’s village in Wiltshire and they had been friends – another complete coincidence. All in all, I felt that I’d brought together some new friends, which is a good feeling.

I’ve got work to do, to prepare for a meeting here tomorrow afternoon, but I think it’s too late in the day and I’m going to have a bath and go to bed to read for an hour or so. I’m appreciating the feeling that it’s been an unequivocally good day.

The blog party, 25th July

This year’s lunch will be on a Tuesday, because that’s a day most people can manage. We may have other guests too, our friends Lawrie and Lynn. Wink and I have known Lawrie our whole lives, as his parents were friends with my father as they were growing up and were born in the same year as him. He and Lynn got married the same year as the Sage and I did, just a few months later and we are going to their Golden Wedding party in September.

They still have friends and relations in East Angular, though they have lived in the West Country for many years and they’ve a standing invitation to come and stay with us and use the Zedery as their base. They are very sociable and great fun and will not mind in the least if there are lots of people they don’t know. In fact, they’ll love it.

Sadly, Rose has found that she’s double-booked, so she and her chap won’t be joining us after all. But there are the other usual suspects and possibly some newbies. Over the years, our numbers have been anything from 10-30something, so I’ll just make lots of food and you’ll all have to eat it. I’ll see if I can inveigle any of the family to come – Ronan always enjoys it but, as it’s a weekday, he probably won’t be free. With school holidays, others may be, but the older grandchildren may not think it’s their idea of fun.

Talking of older grandchildren, Zerlina and I went to see Heathers: The Musical, at the theatre in Norwich on Friday. It was great to go to a play that wasn’t being pretentious. It was fabulous and the mostly teenage audience had a blast. There were parents and slightly older youngsters of course, but a lot of them were around z’s age and it was such a joy to see them, impeccably behaved, having a really lovely time and applauding enthusiastically in all the right places. Z and I have booked to see Six in February – she wanted to see it a few weeks ago, but it was sold out.

Gus was somewhat jealous that he’d missed out, but I’ve told him I’ll take him anywhere he’d like to go, he can let me know. I’m very gratified that neither of them thinks as a trip out with granny isn’t something to be endured.

Squiffany and Pugsley are finishing their exams on Wednesday, so they will be able to relax after that, though P will be straight back to school to start on the 6th form syllabus, I suppose. I’ll have to ask him. I’m rather hoping they’ll want to earn some pocket money in the summer, but relaxation may come first. I can’t blame them if so, there aren’t many opportunities to relax, nowadays and they’ve been working very hard.

Z really should have caught up on all the admin before this

I’m not sure why it is that I don’t have any free weekdays for the next three weeks, but that’s the case. Between social and business things, it’s all got very busy. New friends asked me to lunch a few weeks ago and I wanted to reciprocate, while also asking a local friend and, on speaking to her first, I found that there was only one possible day between here and mid-July.

Tomorrow, we’re picking three people up to go to lunch in Norwich. One of those will be taken home by another friend, as Wink has an appointment in Norwich later – the other two live near enough to be dropped off home first. On Friday, I’m out in the morning and then will stay in Norwich, because I’m picking Zerlina and Gus up from school, taking them home and then z and I are going to the theatre in Norwich in the evening. Then I’ll stay with the Weeza family overnight. Wink and I are going to a concert on Saturday evening. I think Sunday is free. Monday, the lunch here I mentioned, Tuesday is a meeting here in the afternoon and a visit to a garden in the evening, wednesday is getting my new glasses, a lecture in Norwich followed by lunch and then an online meeting, Thursday is free until the evening and then the theatre and Friday is another society. On Saturday, we’re heading for a weekend in London. Once we’re back, I’m off to Pembrokeshire, possibly taking Rose with me if she can spare the time and staying with Publog John on the way.

After lockdown, I found that any outing at all tired me out and I needed a nap. It’s just what one is used to, I suppose. One adjusts.

My friends whom I’m picking up tomorrow are in their nineties – two of them, that is. The third is the carer for one of them. Brenda has had a nasty attack of shingles and had to spend some weeks in a nursing home. It was in her face and head and is still very painful but, at 97, you don’t miss out on anything if you can help it and she’s determined to get back her social life. So I’m absolutely not complaining about feeling too busy, but glad I have things to do.

Summer finally arrived and Wink and I have been eating together every evening this week. We bought a whole lot of salad plus fish from Paul the visiting fishmonger – prawns, crab and smoked salmon – and I’ve been making a different salad every evening. I did make asparagus soup tonight, followed by prawn cocktail, but it’s the only thing I’ve cooked (except potatoes and hard-boiled eggs) since I reluctantly turned the Aga off at the weekend. Reluctant though I was, I’m not sorry to save the cost of it and the kitchen would have been far too hot, too.

Child-centered weekend

On Friday, it was Rufus’s 7th birthday – he was at school and his mummy and daddy took him and Perdita out for dinner afterwards. So Ro suggested a walk in a wood, between his house and mine, on Saturday. He’d checked it was suitable for a hot day – it’s described as a common, but I always think of that as fairly open ground. This really was a small wood, though. It was delightful and the children are always lovely. We met a couple with a spaniel, enjoying himself in the river and chatted to them as we admired and encouraged the dog and then roamed around, following Rufus’s choice of direction.

Today, I looked after a friend’s small children, as she was working (she’s a photographer and was doing family shoots) and we went to the park, after a while colouring and reading books. It was too hot to do such a thing really, but they wanted to go and find Mummy, so it was a distraction.

After they left, I had a nap. This evening, I took my dinner outside and ate it at the table on the lawn. It was lovely out there by then, I thought how much Tim would have enjoyed it and felt lonely. But that’s inevitable.


I’m gradually catching up with the days. On Thursday, I went to the optician. I’ve got a high opinion of Specsavers, though I usually go for the independent rather than the chain. In their case, they are both cheap and good.

I’ve been a bit concerned about my eyes. Sometimes, my sight was blurred for a short time. I’d noticed that my (uncorrected) long sight had changed, though I didn’t know if the left eye was better or the right eye was worse. I booked a test and added the glaucoma test (it’s an extra £10, which independents usually include as a matter of course, about the only price benefit – I get the basic test free because I’m a pensioner). A few days before the appointment, a woman phoned me to let me know that the optometrist would not be present, the test would be done through a video link, with a technician on site. Fine with me. She had a questionnaire. When we’d gone through that, she’d changed her mind. Better if I had a face to face appointment and a full exam.

Not to go through the whole thing, it was all fine. I don’t have any sign of glaucoma, my left eye has improved slightly, probably because of the cataract I was told about two years ago, but I probably won’t need treatment for those cataracts for at least five years. There’s the very first sign of macular degeneration in my left eye but it was only found because of the full scan and it’s nothing to worry about. Eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables and wear UV protection sunglasses whenever the sun shines, to keep it at bay for as long as possible. No sign in my dominant right eye – I should have asked if a contact lens gives any protection, but I didn’t think about that until later.

He advised new glasses, as mine are quite old. So I trotted down to see someone to help me pick out a new frame. He’d also advised an extra coating, can’t remember what that was, I chose anti-glare finish too. I explained to the young woman that I’m rubbish at picking a new frame and I needed her advice.

The first three were okay, the fourth I liked, the fifth I didn’t, the sixth was okay. ‘Let’s just go with the one we both liked,” I said. Really, why labour the point?

As I’d never had spectacles from Specsavers before, I was entitled to the 50% off introductory offer. So, with £10 for the glaucoma test, £35 for the finish I’ve forgotten about, £10 or £15 for the anti-glare, I paid £72. £72, yes. My last glasses cost over £250.

I went into Boots today and bought two pairs of decent sunglasses, so I’ll always have a pair to hand. One of them is photochromatic, the other has a bigger area of cover, which will be useful if there’s glare.

I can still read the lowest line on the card without a problem. I said that reading a hallmark on silver isn’t as easy as it used to be, the optometrist said there’s no reason why I couldn’t. My short sight is great and my long sight isn’t bad. Slight astigmatism, but my (right eye only) contact lens prescription hasn’t changed. I would, of course, have been shocked if there had been bad news, but it was actually better than I’d expected, which is really wonderful. The slight left-eye degeneration (albeit with improved sight for now) is a sign I mustn’t take my sight for granted and I won’t. I just feel lucky and so I need to keep improving the odds.