cleaning, mEAndering, nEAtening, out and about

up hill and down dale…

I had quite a busy weekend but mostly enjoyable.

I did my two hours of paperwork over Friday and Saturday (mentioned in my previous post) and filed all the papers and then moved on to the Mount Everest of an ironing pile and finally managed a half-way clean in our office and main bedroom.

A half-way clean in my books is one that isn’t exactly a deep clean of moving furniture or emptying cupboards but neither a lick and tickle with the duster.  It always feels good to me to have a good clear up – tidying up loose ends as I go and then giving all the surfaces a good clean.  What a shame it doesn’t stay in shape for longer!

On Friday afternoon I took my good friend and neighbour out for Afternoon Tea for her birthday at a local Garden Centre called Totties – only when we got there did we find we should have booked!  We settled on a Cheese ploughman’s with hummus instead followed by ice cream – both courses were delicious.  We both agreed it was probably more enjoyable than Afternoon tea as we both like savoury foods more than too many sweet cakes.  We will definitely go back though to sample the Afternoon tea another day – remembering to book next time.

We travelled up to the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday to meet my daughter and granddaughter at the Himalayan Garden at Grewelthorpe between Ripon and Masham. 

I was a bit disappointed that it was overcast and in places quite cool but depending on where we walked in the garden we came across unexpected pockets of warm micro-climates.

It is quite a stunning 20 acre garden with a mass of very colourful and showy rhododendrons and Azaleas on wooded slopes with winding paths that lead down into a valley with two main lakes.

Dotted amongst the planting are modern sculptures – some I liked better than others and although it is an interesting garden I personally found some of the features a bit too themed but it didn’t really detract from the beauty of the place.  

These are the sculptures we did find interesting…

perhaps not a sculpture but I quite like this feature below!

The Primula here grow in abundance…

and this jetty is my favourite spot…

You have to admire the sheer scale of the planting and dedication that has gone into this place and it is still a work in progress.  The garden has an interesting history which you can read about in the new visitor centre.  It is a private garden that is only open for a limited number of weeks in the year and you have the added bonus of being able to talk to the head gardener in the Nursery for planting advice.

In all it was a pleasant day we had a picnic in the grounds and a cup of tea from the new chalet tea room and a play on the roundabouts then set off gathering pine cones, sticks and fallen leaves for granny to carry.  I resembled a nature table by the end of the walk.  In the Plant Nursery we were tempted to buy a delicately flowered white Azalea (see below) which is now waiting on our patio for a trip to Scotland.  It is not too showy and likes shade and will blend in well in our wood at the cottage.

At the end of the day we went home with one happy little girl…

and one happy granny…

My garden tonight – a little smaller in scale than the 20 acre garden but my little corner of tranquility and how quickly everything is growing.

And now its back to work while the weather is warmer and sunny!



drEAming, general chit chat

too many tasks, not enough day…

Friday comes around quickly  but it is nice to have a day off work to get my house in order not to mention myself.

Yesterday during my lunchtime I visited the lending library for a browse.  It is a grand building built in 1937 with local stone and has a very central position in the town – but inside now it is quite a sad place.   Three self-service machines have taken over and the staff drastically reduced and are set to be reduced even more shortly.  I don’t like being ‘served’ by a machine and so rarely go now.

Over the last few years I became very friendly with one of the ladies who worked on the desk at the library – when there was a desk – we chatted quite often when I popped in every week but now we are limited to when we bump into each other in Sainsbury’s.  We are arranging to meet for lunch one day for a good natter – you can’t do that with a machine!

On the way to the library I took a short cut through Poundland and had to smile when I saw the bottles of thick bleach £1 each – I paid 50p in Sainsbury’s for the same size!  Not everything in the cheap shops is a bargain.

After the Library visit I went in to my bank only to find that the 5 counters have been reduced to two – I was told it is the effect of online banking and the hole in the wall machines – I even asked if they were closing down but was assured they were not but maybe they will start to install machines to do the counter jobs like HSBC did across the road.

Just having this stroll around town made me realise how quickly things are changing these days and how this upsets me as it does not feel like positive change.    With all the reductions in staff and increase in automation perhaps we will have to learn to converse solely with machines!

Anyway back to today and the task list.  This morning I took my car to the garage it had been washed and cleaned inside and out by my better half ready for the MOT and service.  All day I was keeping my fingers crossed that they didn’t find anything major wrong.  Already this year I have had a new exhaust so my car budget is a bit tight now.

After depositing the car I went on to the dentist to be patched up again – but this bill was less than £20 on the NHS for the repair of a filling – quite good value I think.

Meanwhile back at home the paperwork pile has certainly been in competition with the ironing pile and both have grown considerably during the week despite my best efforts to deal with some of it.  I keep trying to make the paperwork simpler but when the post arrives it seems to come with yet another problem to deal with.  This week we had a letter from our local council to say our Council Tax payment for December (which is sent by standing order) had not been received.  We have never missed a payment and it had clearly gone out of our bank account so where was this payment?  A few phone calls later and we are told someone will look into it.

After a flurry of cleaning downstairs and a cup of tea round at my neighbours at last the phone call came from the garage to collect my car before 6pm – we were given the news that it is probably terminal and might only have another year left as the underside is not in good shape.  Not the news we wanted to hear!

On top of all this I ended the day knowing that I had tried to fit in too many tasks and one or two of them had gone badly wrong.

The colour run wash I did on some stained sheets failed – the powder stayed in the dispensing drawer and formed a big solid lump whilst the sheets had a 133 minute @ 50 degree wash for nothing!  I only discovered this when the wash had finished.



The new recipe of Spicy Chickpea bakes that I was going to try for our tea tonight did not happen either – there seems to be a sudden shortage of courgettes around here and I forgot to check again in Sainsbury’s last night to see if they had restocked.  I tried the local Co-op and Morrisons down the road but they had none either (is everyone making Spicy Chickpea bakes for tea?).  I didn’t think it very economical to drive all the way to town for one so at the last minute  I had to improvise with the ingredients I did have and make Cheesey Leek ramekins – an old well-tested recipe – just as tasty, but it was a bit disappointing as I had spent time carefully choosing the menu this week and was looking forward to something new.

On the back of today’s disasters it made me think that I need to limit myself to doing a few tasks well and not take on too much – perhaps three new recipes in one week was a tall order.  As well I should have postponed the colour run wash for a time when I can give more attention to it and I will certainly remember to check that the water has washed the powder through the drawer next time.  When I make my list for next week I am going to try and single out only two tasks to do each day and make every effort to complete them.

Well here’s to a good weekend everyone.






drEAming, gardening, general chit chat, homestEAding

A Perfect Sunday…

We woke up to heavenly blue skies, warm sunshine and just enough breeze to gently dry the washing.

Washing Line

I took the opportunity of washing everything in sight, including those once in a while items like the mattress and pillow protectors


and one of my homemade quilts as part of my ongoing Spring Clean…

 but now I have the ironing pile from hell to negotiate!

I spent quite a bit of time tidying and cleaning in the house even though I actually longed to be in the garden – but I am being really good so I don’t over strain my back again at the moment.

The mountain of lotions and potions are beginning to stack up like the ironing! Back Aids

Hubby spent most of the day in the garden – cutting grass, trimming edges and generally tidying up.

  After all our hard work tea was an impromptu Al Fresco affair making the most of the good weather and

Al Fresco

listening to a chorus of birsong.   The flowers beds are coming into bloom now –  Aquilegia with their nodding heads


 drifts of pure white Honesty…


and Tulips slowly fading to a delicate pink.

Pink Tulips

Even the unwanted visitors didn’t spoil our day.

Unwanted visitors


How was your weekend?






fEAsible, getting things done, managEAble, taking stock, to do list

Getting back to ORDER…didn’t I do well!

Did I manage to get all my tasks done ?  Well I don’t think I have done too badly and in fact I am quite pleased with myself but I reckon it will take another week or two to get really on top of things again by which time we may be going away again.

Household Management and Maintenance

  •        Clear dishes each day and shine sink
  •        Putting things away in each room – most rooms done
  •        Empty bins and deal with re-cycling
  •        Clean basin and toilets  – both bathrooms
  •        Clean shower
  •        Sweep and wash kitchen, laundry and shower room floors
  •        Sort laundry
  •        Wash different selection each day
  •        Iron for 30 minutes each day this coming week – nope ironing pile still there!
  •        Put laundry away when aired – will do this once ironed
  •        Make a Menu plan for coming week
  •        Shopping list
  •        Shopping for week
  •        Check appointments for week
  •        Rearrange any if necessary
  •        Look at master task list and then make a weekly task list

 Financial and Money Management

  •        Sort and enter receipts – still waiting in the drawer
  •        Balance statements – can’t do this until receipts are entered
  •        Online banking tasks
  •        Print out mortgage statements for March
  •        Deal with any urgent matters
  •        Attend to letters – must get these done
  •        List of cards and presents required for the month
  •        Sort through miscellaneous pile accumulated –piles still there last time I looked!

Health and Self Management and Wellbeing

  •        Continue to use up old products not replacing
  •        Plan healthy lunches for coming week
  •        Shop for items
  •        Arrange repeat prescription from Doctors
  •        Check on supplements to take – I need to make a plan for when to take all the supplements I have – before/after meals and how many times a day and stick it to the kitchen cupboard.


  •        Tidying up desk and surrounding space – I had a quick tidy but it needs organising a bit more yet when I have more time.
  •        Make a task list of all matters outstanding
  •        Deal with any urgent matters
  •        Answer requests outstanding – I have made a start on this
  •        Delete unwanted emails accumulated – I have deleted about 50 so far

Special Project this Week – Daughters Birthday on Thursday

  •       Select and buy card
  •       Shop for a couple of small presents
  •       Write cheque and make decorative holder – must do tonight
  •       Make birthday Cupcakes – Tuesday evening
  •       Buy decorations for cupcakes
  •       Plan special tea for Thursday

Being able to refer to this list has been useful and has helped clarify exactly what I need to do this week to get myself and the house more organised.  It has prevented me from getting sidetracked and doing tasks that are not useful at this stage.  By completing some tasks daily from each section I am crossing things off the list quite quickly and both the important tasks (such as doing things for my daughter’s birthday) and the re-ordering tasks (such as put in some washing each day) are being covered.

Looking over the items that remain it is obvious that some of these tasks like ‘enter receipts’ are more of a project than a task due to the quantity waiting to be done and I may have to break these down into smaller activities like ‘enter receipts for first week in April’ then the second week and so on in a similar way to how I have tackled the laundry build up.

All in all not a bad weeks work but I am looking forward to my day off on Friday when I can really make an improvement.  I think it will be a difficult choice between the ironing pile and the receipts backlog. I don’t think the miscellaneous pile of papers stands a chance of getting done!