musings (188) fun Monday (76) friendship (63) K9 (12)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Saturday, 26 February 2011

tried n tested

Just assembled the replacement cleaner bought yesterday (cash from returns desk used as payment). Am pleased to report the machine did its job and worked well. Considering the mud brought in by two GSDs no wonder I need a good carpet cleaner.




Friday, 25 February 2011

another sunny day

Not that I saw much of it! We took the carpet cleaner back and got a new one...only a few weeks had passed, but today the price was lower...
The store is half an hour away, so along with another look round the store that was a lot of today gone.
Forgot to say this morning OH went to get M and escorted her round our garden to view the purple, golden yellow and white crocuses. Those are colours she can still glimpse if the light is right.
This afternoon was coffee and a chat, only the two of us as the other M had to go out. The knitted bunnies are coming on well, I passed across the arms and ears to complete another one. Sorry, Joy but didn't have a camera with me. Note to self, must try better next time.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

the wonders of

household gadgets :-(
My old, heavy, much-used and battered carpet cleaner went to be recycled. I bought my self the new version, allegedly 'much improved'...
Have tried it out twice and with the same unfortunate results. There's a big round switch on the front with two settings - floor or tools. But and this is the fun part...after a few moments, hot water spurts from the nozzle where the hand tools can be attached!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

baking again

I can go for months and not even think about doing any baking...but in the past couple of days I've made quiche and now a plate meat pie.
Mince, onions and mushrooms inside pastry top n bottom. This time I decided to use Worcester Sauce, Fruity Sauce and Tomato Sauce to spice things up a bit and instead of gravy.
It's baking in the oven with potatoes (roasting) and I'm having a short break before doing the veg.
Earlier I finished knitting the legs body and head for two 'bunnies'. M has them and is charged with doing the sewing up, stuffing and embroidered 'faces'.
I'm happy to report we had our MJM coffee afternoon (a day later than usual) as it depends on the state of M's health. Even the other M was feeling a bit creaky as she's been dismantling cupboards, ripping up carpet and stripping wallpaper!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Fun Monday - inventions

Molly of Return of the White Robin continues as our Fun Monday host... 
Tell us about your favorite invention or tool. Why have you selected this device? If possible, show us a picture of the invention or tool.

My fave has got to be...the camera, from being the subject of the photograph to now and for many years being on the 'business end'.
Now I have 4 DSLRs (two are versions of point n shoot) but my first camera took 127 negative film and if I was lucky I got 9 photos to a film! Dad's camera was more sophisticated, I never found out how to use it. You looked down and saw a reversed black and white image.
Dad had all the stuff needed to develop his own films and print black n white photos. We would black out the kitchen, changing the light-bulb to orange/red and there was our darkroom. Some of the equipment was home-made and a tad Heath Robinson but it worked and that was part of the fun.
Now my 'dark room' is on the computer/laptop and images can be altered in many ways. But I'll never forget learning to develop and print in the old kitchen.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

k9 alarm clock

6am on a Sunday morning and z-dog wanted to go out. He's very persistent. So, bleary eyed I marshalled him and then the girlie down the garden and back. 9am and OH presented me with coffee in bed! Lovely gesture but am not keen on juggling coffee when have only just awoken.
OH decided it's been ages since I made cheese n onion 'quiche' .Seeing as we seem to have several different types of cheese in stock it seemed a good idea. Dear guy went to the greenhouse to get more onions. 
I decided to take my time make the pastry and allow it to rest. Doing it that way let me wash up as I went along. Rather than have a plain short crust I added some smoked paprika and a dash of chilli powder.I always use a minimum of three different cheeses including a mature cheddar and topping off with sliced Emmenthal. Happy to say it worked well.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

and relax...

Hurrah for the weekend! No need to rush out and go anywhere this morning. Daft as it may seem as I retired from the 'rat race' in 2002, recent weeks have meant appointments to be kept. Mostly OH and his 8am appointments!
It's very rare for me to get out on my own!
Okay, I went to Dublin, but day-to-day and week-to-week we've got into the habit of going about together.
So, reluctantly have said 'No' to friend in Scotland and idea of cruise/mini break...I haven't been anywhere by ferry for many years, and am not about to start again.

Just come back from MJM coffee afternoon and what fun we had. Everyone in a silly mood so gales of laughter did us all the world of good. It's true laughter is the 'best' medicine. Sorting thro' rammle mostly yarn and ribbons.

Friday, 18 February 2011

it's not only

what is said, it's how it's said and who is saying it...
With my Northern upbringing and the instruction from a young age to
'call a spade a spade'
'not over egg the custard'
'do unto others as you would be done by'...

there are some things that 'make my hackles rise'.
Oddly enough one of which is the word 'madam'. An innocuous word you might think? But it has connotations...
During a recent phone-call I was 'madamed' nearly every sentence. No doubt the person on the other end with the Transatlantic accent was trying to be polite but...it grated on me.

You see, back home to be addressed as 'madam' is a put-down, it's used as a 'telling off'.
Someone is said to be
...a right little madam!
...or told 'that's enough of that, madam!
So having someone end every sentence with 'madam'...go figure...


Just had a lovely long phone conversation with M who has to go out this afternoon so the MJM coffee afternoon is postponed until tomorrow. Of course she wanted to know how OH got on with the GP. I forgot to tell her he (GP) had a Spanish GP with him taking notes and observing.
OH is staying on the meds for the next 6 months.
Phoned our lovely chemist and arranged to collect the prescription next week.

Now we have purple crocus appearing...Spring is advancing?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

compliment?

I'm going to take it as one...friend of OH said, 'now I know why you two get on so well'. Strange thing is that we've only met a handful of times and the dogs have taken a dislike to him. This was the first nice thing the guy has ever said. But, I trust the dogs and if they're not convinced then neither am I.
He's one of those folk that only turn up when they want something.

Even MJM coffee yesterday was interrupted by visitors. M's room was crowded as two extra people turned up.  Fortunately we'd had half-an-hour chatting and laughing before the others turned up. This led to a long chat by phone last night as M had thought of all sorts of stuff she hadn't had chance to say over coffee.
What makes some folk want to poke or prod when talking to someone? I ended up sitting even nearer the the other M to escape being poked/prodded. For once I was glad to leave early with the excuse of going to look after the dogs.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

It could only happen...

in the 'back of beyond' NE Lancashire...
The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment are to be given the Freedom of the Borough of Ribble Valley.  (Honour)
One of the local shops is famous for producing sausages (top quality and many varieties).
The award-winning team at the shop have named a new pork sausage, 'The Duke of Lancaster's' in honour of the soldiers! A local brewery are giving the Regiment bottles of their  'Liberation Ale' which they made originally in 2004 to commemorate the D-day anniversary.

 The Honour, Freedom of the Borough,  dates back to the Middle Ages allowing troops to parade through an area. Today it's a ceremonial honour to signify a close bond between an area and the regiment. 40 local lads are serving with the Duke of Lancaster's regiment. The local area is steeped in history as I've noted before...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

another Google doodle...

today it's the turn of Shackleton to be 'immortalized' on Google...
It's been an odd day, too many phone-calls not just the usual catch-up chat with the two 'M's.
I got 'lost' in retrieving data as part of my OU course. Try finding up to data stats on Haiti! What they said would take about an hour took most of the day. Not to worry, it's done and posted on the forum.
And the weather can't seem to make up its mind...it's turning cold and perhaps frosty again...brrr.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Fun Monday - Valentine

Our Fun Monday host 
Molly at Return of the White Robin asks about Valentine's Day...
To celebrate the day of love, your assignment is to select and complete one the following options.

1. Tell us about a favorite gift that you have received or given for the holiday.
2. Show us a beloved Valentine treasure or card.
3. Describe the perfect Valentine present.

Cynics have taken to calling such days 'Hallmark' days! 
Shakespeare 
"It was a lover and his lass,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonny, nonny no
That o'er the green corn-field did pass.
  In Spring time, in Spring time - the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
(hey ding a ding a ding)
Sweet lovers love the spring."
 
To know you are loved and that love is infinite is preferable to 
any number of cards and gewgaws...

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sunday roast

OH is a traditionalist where Sunday roasts are concerned. He loves roast potatoes (grin). Since we got a halogen oven, roasts have become quicker to do. Also, I'm partial to roasted butternut squash (thanks to my vegetarian friend Helen). Doing it the 'cheating way? Slice off a round from the butternut squash and cut into 'fingers' as you might do potatoes (chips).
Later on this afternoon the pork joint will go in the halogen oven. Potatoes for roasting will be par-boiled in the microwave. As it's only a small joint, the upper rack will go over it and take the baking tray for potatoes and butternut squash.

Joy of Diary of a teacher posted a delicious sounding recipe for tear n share bread. Maybe not today, but sometime soon I intend to have a go. If I'm lucky, I might find I have some strong bread flour in stock...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

topsy-turvy

A bright, sunny day gave OH opportunity to use one of his 'toys'; a form of whizzy aka  petrol-driven chainsaw complete with all the protective gear. He was gardening next door, creating piles of wood for H to burn to keep his house warm.
The day remained fine allowing jobs to be done outside.
But, we're in February, a most topsy-turvy month and fore-runner to the even more unpredictable month of March.
Weather forecast for the beginning of next week promises the return of icy conditions.
So what about my day?
Courier delivered some goodies ordered via the Internet. Having enjoyed the trailers for the film 'The King's Speech' I now have a copy of the book of the same name, and am looking forward to reading it.. That's only one thing...true but am not going to tell all now.
Yet to arrive are two more books - Terry Pratchett's 'I shall wear midnight' and another book that led to a film...'Never let me go...' from the book by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Friday, 11 February 2011

11-02-2011

a date that reads the same both ways!
Also, Google is celebrating Thomas Edison's 164th birthday with another of their doodles.

What a mixed day...
  • some studying
  • trip to recycling centre
  • then to DIY store
  • home via Garden Centre
  • bought seeds for M
  • chatted briefly with the 2 Ms
  • Admired sewn-up n stuffed version of knitted toy bunny
So only a brief note today...

Thursday, 10 February 2011

How lovely to hear birdsong, not just early in the morning, but also during the day. Every day more and more flowers and buds are appearing...



Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Thinking back

Visiting my on-line friend Joy at Diary of a teacher has awoken the memory-banks from years ago. She's teaching now at a primary school and her diary gives a glimpse of life today.
Reading, I came across PPA and this time I decided to look it up to find what it means. PPA
In 2005 an agreement was reached requiring all primary and secondary schools give teachers a guaranteed 10% of their working day, or half a day off a week, for PPA (planning, preparation and assessment).
 See how behind the times I am!
Long ago (1970s) I did teaching practice in a Junior School in Lancashire. What a refreshing change to hear 'my' dialect!
It was the school's anniversary year, the topic for the term was Water.

All preparation and marking was done after school when back at college. It was a Victorian building and the grassed area was across the road.

We even had a visit by the Bishop who came into each classroom.
Another TP was in Speke another Primary school. This was a girls school, to be more precise, it was one building, girls on the top floor and boys on the ground floor.  One of the teacher's was an Indian lady, what beautiful saris she wore! The staff were friendly, we joined them in tea and cakes on Friday afternoons. (There were two of us on TP).
But, one day the 'nit nurse' arrived to inspect the classes! I've never forgotten that day when after her inspection, I was left with a third of the class to teach...
No wonder that on the way back to college, I stopped off at the chemist! That evening it took ages before I began to feel clean!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Has Spring sprung?


The hellebores would seem to think so!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Fun Monday


Molly of Return of the White Robin has taken up the challenge of setting February's Fun Monday. A big Thank You to Molly!
"Imagine that you are the recipient of a large sum of money, say 10 million dollars (to account for inflation). Tell us what you would do with the gift and how would your lifestyle change."

Let's begin with the what wouldn't change...I'd want to keep on living where I am now and hope that would be possible.

$$$$ so much money would be far too much for me to deal with. I'd have to pass some on to others in my life.
OH, and the neighbours M and M plus my god-daughter and her parents...what a short list! I'd better add my Lancastrian friend that lives in Scotland.

I'd love to go to health spas and indulge in their top-to-toe treatments! There'd be money to spare for travel...but would I have the nerve to go? Perhaps I could have my own personal courier to arrange it all for me? Not forgetting that our GSDs would have a dog sitter so they could stay home in comfort.
What about OH you ask? That's a big, big question... He's the World's Best at Saving instead of Spending! I'd have to make sure he had a share to do with as he wished.

I must remember to include donations to various charities that are close to my heart.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

February

February fill dyke, black or white...is a saying from my childhood about the vicissitude of the weather at this time of year

"NOW the golden Morn aloft
  Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
With vermeil cheek and whisper soft
  She woos the tardy Spring"

So writes Thomas Gray in his poem "Ode on the Pleasure Arising from Vicissitude"
How aptly it describes the first week of February!
There's been strong to gale force winds, bright, calm balmy days and dark, sullen shrouded rainy ones.
Looking around the garden, I espied...a single, tiny camellia flower red against the greenery.

Bold, yellow crocus venture into view.

Snowdrops? The barest glimpse of white and promise of bells.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Post?

Posted something to a friend that lives in the Scottish Borders, and as if by magic it arrived the next day. Chatting with M she remarked that if anything's posted to her friends in Orkney it arrives their speedily! There must be something special about postal services North of the Border!  What a pity those south of the Border are so dilatory.
Now, I wonder what has happened to all the undelivered mail that was allowed to back up and stagnate in sorting offices prior to Christmas?  How might it have been disposed of? Yes, I'm showing my cynical side....oops

Today, the rain is persisting down but at least the wind has dropped. It's warmer and so are my hands and feet but folk would still comment on them being 'cold'. At least they aren't the 'blocks of ice' they were when the weather was colder.

Jabulah is a S. African restaurant on the Wirral, where they serve delicious and unusual food. My theatre-going friend has been dropping hints that it's ages since we went there. Somewhere to go for lunch perhaps in the not too distant future?

Friday, 4 February 2011

It's Friday and...

back with OH to see the GP. Big change from last week, OH seems to be doing well with the latest meds and when GP took his BP it was the best he'd ever seen from him!
Also, OH said he was not having the nasty side-effects any more!

I had to laugh, no not at the GP but at the gaggle of receptionists! They were all of a fluster, and I couldn't help thinking of 'a fox in the hen-house' lol
Why was there such a to-do?
Panic had broken out because...
None of the computers were working and...hadn't been working yesterday either! Better still (she says, laughing) no computers in their surgeries in the Borough were working either!!!

Door-to-door? 
Tea-time and the dogs began barking to let us know there was someone at the door. 'Bad timing', I thought
I went to the door to find a salesman from one of the electricity companies. So, I asked was the bell not working and he said that he didn't use them! I told him it was a good job the dogs knew!
I dislike cold-callers and sales in particular. 
Consulting his notepad, he called me Mrs. Johnson, so I said,'No, they left next door 3 years ago.' But didn't bother to say who I was...by now I was a tad 'cheesed off'. He had no ID apart from the company name on his  jacket.
He asked which company we were with  and suggested EDF as they're cheaper! Then he said not to tell him I was with Southern Electric; so taking him at his word, I told him 'No'.
After he'd gone I phoned my neighbour to give her the heads up. She's phoned back to say she'd sent him away with a flea in his ear (as the saying goes).

From previous writings you may recall that my neighbour is blind. One of her friends is taking her to the cinema tomorrow. The film that's all the rage is 'The King's Speech'. Another of her 'friends' upset M by saying there was no point in her going to the cinema! I've told her that on Monday when we meet for coffee, I want her to tell me all about the film...and I'm sure she'll have a good time.
      

Thursday, 3 February 2011

shopping day

Managed to keep to the list apart from when OH found a couple of 'must have' offers.
The roads are cutting following the hard weather before Christmas. Traffic was heavier than usual as one of the main routes was closed for bridge work. On the way home I noticed signs saying more road closures next week, Monday and Tuesday.

Sunny again today and birds are flitting in and out between the branches of the fuchsia outside the window. Swans and Canada Geese have returned to the river; Spring bulbs are beginning to poke the first green shoots in the gardens.

This was taken last year...

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

today is a dull day

Dull, overcast, it's hardly got light at all; what a contrast to yesterday. Another contrast being a decision to stay indoors and keep the dogs company. OH is busy being a most useful, helpful neighbour for M next door.
Youngster is restless, he doesn't do 'wait' and it's past the time for his walk with OH. Might I act as substitute you may ask...? It's the wrong time of year for me. Had it been a lot warmer, then, Yes.  Even here, indoors my hands and feet are like blocks of ice.
Would the exercise do me good and turn frozen extremities hot or even warm? Sadly the answer has to be 'no'. Raynauds doesn't work that way...
Now it's persisting down, the sort of rain that wants to drench you if you so much as look at it!
Youngster has calmed down...now they've both been fed.

Now the threesome have returned fro their walk later than usual and managed to find a weather window.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Oh, what a lovely day!

Had a dose of 'do it now' and went with OH on a round trip to
  • the post office in a nearby village
  • the next town
  • and back home

There was a message waiting from one of the Ms and she phoned again just now. She needs to go to the local library, but the last time she went she had problems crossing a busy road.
They are refurbishing the area where our local shops used to be. But, in the mean time access to local services (library, post office etc.) is awkward. The shops are being demolished and the new 'Centre' which opened last year is behind the building site!
The £5.5m plans including a new bus interchange facility, car parking with possibly a new pub or restaurant have been approved by the Council.
But, there is nowhere to cross the main thoroughfare in safety to reach the library etc. Hence, I'm accompanying M this afternoon.

 We made it to the post box, but it proved awkward because the slot is narrower than usual.


Nearly all the old buildings are either boarded up or have been demolished.

It's a very long road, but there's nowhere to cross safely. Our walk to the post box, library etc. was a success, and it made me realize how difficult it is for my blind neighbour to 'pop round to the shops'. OH had volunteered to take her by car, but she needed to have a walk 'to do her good'.