Saturday, 29 April 2017

Y is for Young...A-Z Challenge 2017

My theme for the 2017 challenge is waffling on about random words!

That might not seem like a theme but if you read on you’ll discover it’s not quite as random as it sounds.  The words were generated using a word generator (https://randomwordgenerator.com/) and I opted for 4 words each day.  I might focus on one or try and incorporate them all into the post.

Choosing the words this way has given me a challenge and a common thread to my posts but it has also allowed me to be myself and just waffle!  It’s what I’m good at.  (Don’t worry, I’m aiming for around 500 words per post so hopefully you won’t get stuck here for too long 😉)

And the words for today are….

Young
Yearn
Yard
Youth

Hmm not a great selection of words.  I could tell you about when I was young but it would end up being a pretty boring post.  I was a goody two shoes when I was little.  I did as I was told.  Listened at school and did my homework.  I didn't even particularly yearn for excitement.

I did have a period of rebellion during my youth.  At the end of my schooling I was very flattered to receive attention from one of the younger teachers.  Now I know that sounds really bad but I was almost 18, had finished my exams so technically had left the school and here was this attractive young man (25 I think) who wanted to take me out.  Of course it caused a big fuss at home.  What did I think I was doing?  Well I wasn't thinking.  But actually I was.  I don't know if he was just trying to show off to his friends or get another notch on his bedpost but he didn't succeed in either.  It was a very shortlived thing.  I wasn't totally stupid it seems.

Although there are other incidents I can recall not long after that I'm not particularly proud of but I escaped to proper adulthood relatively unscathed much to my parents' relief.  And then I was fortunate enough to meet my hubby.  Once I'd established that he was actually interested in me (our first few dates are a whole other story!) I never looked  back.

35 years on (33 married in June) we have a nice back yard or garden as we call it attached to our house and although I can't claim all the credit it's nice to be able to sit here as I am, looking out my kitchen window at it.  I'll soon be able to return to my other favourite spot which is one of the top bedrooms.  We got the carpet laid this week and the furniture, including my desk, is back in place.  It will be good to get back up there as it's usually quiet and peaceful and also overlooks the garden.


Do you have any youthful anecdotes?  Are you a gardener?

Friday, 28 April 2017

X is for cheating...A-Z Challenge 2017

My theme for the 2017 challenge is waffling on about random words!

That might not seem like a theme but if you read on you’ll discover it’s not quite as random as it sounds.  The words were generated using a word generator (https://randomwordgenerator.com/) and I opted for 4 words each day.  I might focus on one or try and incorporate them all into the post.

Choosing the words this way has given me a challenge and a common thread to my posts but it has also allowed me to be myself and just waffle!  It’s what I’m good at.  (Don’t worry, I’m aiming for around 500 words per post so hopefully you won’t get stuck here for too long 😉)

And the words for today are….

Not randomly generated - there seemed to be a problem with X words so I've cheated and resorted to an old dictionary (as in a Hardback version) and chosen the following:
Xerography (dry copying process - powder adheres to surface remaining electrically charged after exposure to light)
Xerophyte (a plant able to grow in very dry conditions)
X-ray &
Xenophobia (fear of foreigners) 

I have done a lot of xerography in my time.  Although we call it photocopying.  Having worked in a variety of clerical/admin positions during my working life the photocopier was a very useful machine.  Until it broke down.  Often because it was abused.  You probably know the scenario.  Someone is in a hurry.   The machine jams.  They think they've cleared it but it's still flashing up there's a jam.  Oh no worries.  Let's just turn it off and on again and it'll be fine.  Oops no.  Now it's totally jammed!  

I became pretty expert at clearing jams, installing new toner, working out the best way to copy complicated documents etc.  I was often the go to person if there was a problem.  I also got to know the repair guy pretty well in my last job.  We would share friendly banter.  There are definitely elements of my working life I miss.  But not enough to send me back into an office!

Now xerophyte is what all my indoor plants need to be.  I am pretty useless at remembering to water them.  I am improving though.  That comes from having more time at home.  Time to notice that the plants are starting to droop.  I don't actually have that many indoors, mainly because I do neglect them.  I have a spider plant that will cope with anything.  I also have an orchid that was in bloom when I received it and then I followed the instructions and cut it right back.  And then it did nothing.  For months.  I was on the point of throwing it out when I noticed new growth!  And it flowered!  Not at the top of a new elegant stem but close to the leaves.  But it flowered! 

I had two poinsettias at Christmas.  I've never managed to keep them far beyond the festive season but this year they seemed to be doing well.  There was new growth evident on the bare stems.  Until I stayed at my daughter's and forgot to issue hubby with watering instructions.  One has shrivelled and was beyond redemption, the other is hanging in there.  Time will tell if it's worth all my fussing around it.

I think my worst x-ray memory has to be when our daughter was about 15 months old and fell at my mother's house and bumped her head.  (The bump on her forehead came up like an egg.) The subsequent visit to the hospital was traumatic.  Partly because the staff seemed to give the impression we were terrible parents because we hadn't actually witnessed what she hit her head on (she was going to my Mum in the kitchen and fell somewhere in the hallway)  At one point I thought they were definitely considering contacting social services.  Then they decided Rebecca needed an x-ray.  Of course she wanted me with her but I was pregnant at the time, although it was early days so no obvious bump.  She had to settle for Dad.  Well she didn't.  She screamed the place down as I waited in the waiting area definitely subject to some disapproving looks from other people who clearly thought I was a bad mother not to be with my child.  I wanted to stand up and announce to the room why I couldn't be in the x-ray room but you know how I love being the centre of attention.  NOT!  Fortunately Rebecca was fine and I don't think she holds it against me.  Especially since I've now held her hand through childbirth.  Although the "yes you can, PUSH!" comments might not be so favourably remembered.

As for Xenophobia.  Not on my radar.  Born and bred in London it would be hard going through life that way. 

Are you an indoor gardener?  Got any funny bone stories to tell?

Review: Dear Amy

Dear Amy Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great debut novel.

Margot works as a teacher but, as Amy, she also writes an agony aunt column for the local paper.

When Katie, a student at Margot's school goes missing the search for her is quickly scaled down as Katie is believed to be a runaway. Then Amy starts getting letters from Bethan Avery. Bethan disappeared years before and although her body was never found she was believed to have been murdered.

Margot has a chequered past involving drugs and mental health issues and as she becomes involved with a criminologist to try and find out who is sending her the letters, off her meds she starts to unravel.

Gradually the mystery is solved and the twists and turns kept me reading. It was good to have only one POV in the book rather than lots of different ones which authors seem to favour at the moment. I hadn't totally worked out what had happened either so there were definitely a few surprises at the end for me.

View all my reviews

Review: My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It's quite a simple premise - during a prolonged spell in hospital Lucy is visited by her estranged Mother. The book recounts their conversations but also allows Lucy to contemplate her upbringing and come to a better understanding of certain things.

The story is told after the spell in hospital so Lucy also chronicles other elements in her life; marriage, work, becoming a mother herself.

There are no big surprises, no big dramatic events, just a story of a life seen through the first person. But really well told.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 27 April 2017

W is for Weakness...A-Z Challenge 2017

My theme for the 2017 challenge is waffling on about random words!

That might not seem like a theme but if you read on you’ll discover it’s not quite as random as it sounds.  The words were generated using a word generator (https://randomwordgenerator.com/) and I opted for 4 words each day.  I might focus on one or try and incorporate them all into the post.

Choosing the words this way has given me a challenge and a common thread to my posts but it has also allowed me to be myself and just waffle!  It’s what I’m good at.  (Don’t worry, I’m aiming for around 500 words per post so hopefully you won’t get stuck here for too long 😉)

And the words for today are….

Weakness
Weapon
Weigh
Wreck

As most of you know my weakness is for chocolate.  I love it.  My favourite are the round Lindor chocolate balls from Lindt.  I have made sure my kids know exactly what I like.  And Hubby of course.  I like all kinds of chocolate as long as it doesn't have nuts in it.  Not due to allergies just because I don't like eating nuts.  It's a texture thing.  One thing Hubby can be sure of is that I won't pinch any of his Ferrero Rocher which he enjoys.

As for weapon of choice well it certainly wouldn't be a gun.  I was going to say I don't think I could even fire one then I remembered that we went clay pigeon shooting last year and I quite enjoyed it.  But my shoulder didn't agree the next day!

I think I'm going to give up getting on the scales to weigh myself. The scales keep lying to me.  I can't possibly have done all the walking and moving around that I did recently while staying at my daughter's and not lose any weight.  It really wasn't fair.  I came home from there feeling a bit of a wreck but I was so sure I would be a few pounds lighter that it was a big disappointment to find I'd lost nothing.  Well except for my Fitbit charger and an iphone charger.

I located the Fitbit charger when I went over again earlier this week but was still trying to work out where I might have left the phone charger when I remembered that I'd thrown it out when the wires split.  Told you I was a wreck.  At least I started off with 2 phone chargers and I did remember where the other one was!

So all is not lost.  Yet!

What’s your weakness?

V is for Vigorous...A-Z Challenge 2017

My theme for the 2017 challenge is waffling on about random words!

That might not seem like a theme but if you read on you’ll discover it’s not quite as random as it sounds.  The words were generated using a word generator (https://randomwordgenerator.com/) and I opted for 4 words each day.  I might focus on one or try and incorporate them all into the post.

Choosing the words this way has given me a challenge and a common thread to my posts but it has also allowed me to be myself and just waffle!  It’s what I’m good at.  (Don’t worry, I’m aiming for around 500 words per post so hopefully you won’t get stuck here for too long 😉)

And the words for today are….

Vigorous
Velvet
Veil
Visit 

Well I need to be vigorous in my typing as I have 9 minutes to get this posted on the correct day.

When I think of velvet I tend to think of heavy velvet curtains.  The sort that keep draughts out and heat in.  I could do with some of those at the front of my house.  We face a large open space so when it is windy the house feels very draughty.  We don't have double glazing and we don't have a porch.  I'd like to get a porch added but hubby feels it will spoil the character of the house.  He's right about that but character doesn't keep the house draught free.  

We're working our way through redecorating the house.  When we get to the hall and stairs I will definitely be looking at installing a curtain behind the front door for the winter months.  Hopefully that won't upset hubby and it will help.

It's strange because hubby wants to keep the character of the house yet he hates a lot of the ancient traditions we still adhere to in the UK.  Especially things to do with the monarchy or parliament.  Fortunately he was happy to have a traditional church wedding (coming from a large Catholic family I think he would have found it hard to do otherwise!) so I had the full white dress, complete with underskirt and hoop (yes going to the loo was difficult) and of course a veil.  The dress was subsequently put to good use because I made a christening gown out of it which all three of our children wore.  The boys were too young to complain about wearing a dress. 

Oops midnight has just passed so technically this post is now late.  I guess I could always claim I wrote it during a visit to somewhere in a later time zone but I'm not sure anyone would believe me.  Timekeeping is not my strongpoint right now.  But at least I wasn't late for my wedding as my hubby was despite only being a 2 minute walk from the church.  Naturally I've never let him forget that one! 

If you're married did you have a traditional wedding outfit?  What's your timekeeping like?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

U is for Underline...A-Z Challenge 2017

My theme for the 2017 challenge is waffling on about random words!

That might not seem like a theme but if you read on you’ll discover it’s not quite as random as it sounds.  The words were generated using a word generator (https://randomwordgenerator.com/) and I opted for 4 words each day.  I might focus on one or try and incorporate them all into the post.

Choosing the words this way has given me a challenge and a common thread to my posts but it has also allowed me to be myself and just waffle!  It’s what I’m good at.  (Don’t worry, I’m aiming for around 500 words per post so hopefully you won’t get stuck here for too long 😉)

And the words for today are….

Underline
Unfair
Upset
Unpleasant 

I need to underline how tired I am and how hard it is keeping up with everything right now. But actually it's unfair of me to whinge and whine when I consider not only what my daughter and her wife are going through but also the other parents of babies in the NICU.  Some of them were even more premature than my grandson and are not progressing as well.

It's still hard though.  I was quite upset yesterday, I think everything just caught up with me.  I was trying to sort out what to have for my regular ladies lunch which it was my turn to host.  Plus we have a busy weekend coming up.  I had a real I feel sorry for me moment.  I just want to be able to cuddle Nathan and I can't - yet!  

Anyway I had a cry on hubby's shoulder and then just got on with things!

The lunch went well, courtesy of Tesco.  The chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and wrapped in proscuitto were delicious and the veg which I just threw in the oven and microwave were fine too.  Dips and pitta bread for starter and then tiramisu and lemoncelli for dessert and we were all nicely full.  Washed down with a glass or two of wine and lots of good conversation.  I hated being so unadventurous and not really cooking but of course my friends were understanding so it was fine.

Today we have been to my daughter's house and delivered a baby changing unit to them.  We also took away a chest of drawers they no longer need and delivered it to one of our nephews.  He did offer to collect it from us but with visitors due at the weekend I do not need an extra piece of furniture in the way.  We also planted some plants in a raised bed that was empty.  Hopefully this will show the cat who has just started going outside that this bed is not a nice giant litter tray!

Our house will definitely be crowded at the weekend.  We are hosting the aunt and uncle of my American DIL who lives with us.  They arrive on Thursday and stay until Monday.  They will be in our recently redecorated guest room.

We will also have my other son and his wife and their two greyhounds from Friday to Monday as he is running a half-marathon race near here on Sunday.  They will have to make do with an air bed on the lounge floor sharing the space with the dogs!

It's going to be cosy!  But hopefully not unpleasant.  I've also got a tall gate on order to be picked up on Thursday so that we can corral the dogs in the utility area off the kitchen while we prepare and eat food.  It's really just a small lobby leading from the kitchen to the downstairs shower room but it's just about big enough for the two dogs to lay down in.  Hopefully with just a gate between us and them they will be ok about being there.

Apologies to anyone finding their way here from the A-Z challenge as you won't have a clue what's going on here.  An early arrival of my first grandson on 31st March has impacted considerably on my A-Z posts.  But I'm determined to get to the end.  How many days to go? 

What’s your favourite meal to cook for guests?  Or would you rather go out to eat?