beach cottage, bEAching, drEAming, general chit chat, hEAlth, wellbeing

life at the moment…

I hesitate to write this post as I wish it could be more cheery – but unfortunately my life at the moment is all at sea and I do not seem to be able to recover from one blow before the next one happens.  But for the sake of documenting everything in my blog I feel I have to mention both the good and the ‘not so good’ even if at present it seems a bit weighted towards the not so good!

I am actually writing this from my sick-bed – yes my ‘wellbeing’ is not improving as I intended this year.  So far I have been out of action since Wednesday evening when I got home from work.  I haven’t seen a doctor but I am pretty sure the diagnosis would be tonsilitis or Strep throat (which I understand is the bacterial form).  My glands are so swollen I look a bit like I have mumps.  In some ways I quite like the plumpness as it smooths out the wrinkles!

The upside is I have enjoyed snuggling down under the weight of the extra covers and falling into a long blissful sleep knowing that I am of no use to anyone at the moment – and no doubt I have lost quite a bit of weight because the constant nausea and painful throat have prevented any food passing my lips!

So while I am out of action I thought this is a good time to catch up with my blog and write a long overdue update.

On the family front –

The funeral of my mum-in-law took place on 4th February, ironically the same day as my dear dad died 9 years before – so it was a doubly hard day to get through but I had lots of precious memories to console me.  It was well attended by family and friends who came to pay their last respects and after the crematorium we had a lovely service of remembrance of her life in the church she had worshipped at for many years, singing her favourite hymns and followed by a good cup of tea and a buffet lunch in the church hall.  She would have approved I am sure. It may well be the last time we visit Shrewsbury and I am sad about that – it is a beautiful place.


My Mum-in-law 1924-2015

– some of my favourite pictures of her in her younger days

My younger daughter had her operation to remove 3 wisdom teeth under general anaesthetic just days before the funeral and I travelled up to North Yorkshire to stay while she went into hospital.  I went to look after baby L for a whole day by myself – heaven!  Both are recovering well after their ordeal – my daughter and baby L!

Baby L

My elder daughter and her partner are still with us – still trying to complete their kitchen – but it is a slow job, the main reason being that the guy hired to do the job had to move on to his next job after Christmas before finishing theirs and ours (remember our bathroom – still not complete either) so he can only work on their kitchen on a weekend.  Tricky position – he is a friend!!  It is difficult though having them stay whilst we have only one bathroom operational and the house is full of our cottage contents.

That leads me on to the cottage flood progress report –

Cottage Kitchen Strip-out

The kitchen – now without units and flooring

Bathroom Strip-out

The bathroom without any conveniences or flooring!

All went well with the strip out although as the photos show it looks pretty dire to me and at the beginning of December we were called up to Scotland for a site inspection and to discuss the reinstatement works of each room.  We progressed around the cottage ending up in the old wooden conservatory.  This had now been stripped of the pine boards cladding the inside –  it was at this point that we noticed a few jagged remains of a material,  which we have since had tested and confirmed as asbestos sheet, lodged between the outer and inner frame.  So now as it is classed as an ‘elf and safety’ hazard no one, not even us, are allowed to go to the cottage as the whole conservatory has to be removed by men in white suits before the drying out and reinstatement can begin.

We also received the oil boiler report and it appears that the oil tank outside feeding the boiler probably moved during the flood and has caused a leak in the feed pipe – the worst thing is we had just had a delivery prior to the flood.  If it is not a leak then we can only assume the lack of oil to be able to test the boiler is maybe due to theft which is a pretty common occurrence where you have an abundance of oil tanks in an area.

I finally finished the contents list but on doing so realised I had not been correctly advised.  It turns out that they require the price for us to buy new items – I was led to believe they wanted the price we paid with evidence so I spent hours trawling through my box of receipts.  Now I will have to spend hours trawling the internet.  Nothing like doing a job twice!

And finally a word about work –

After a lot of thought recently I came to the conclusion that work was just not working.  I am feeling very tired and extremely stressed.  I had been looking to decrease my hours and this has not happened due to two things – my colleagues long-term sick leave and the powers that be – the management – deciding that it was a good idea to hire someone who is commuting from Cornwall, a distance of 350 miles, to help out – really?

This has turned out to be a bit of a disaster for me and increasingly difficult for the person concerned.  In fact his wife wants him to stop coming but secretly I believe he quite likes escaping up here for a week or two.  However, the week on week off agreed at the start soon turned in to one week on two off and even this has not really worked out due to commitments in Cornwall with his business there.  The ‘help’ is fast becoming occasional and spasmodic.  This has meant I have had to go in to work on both Saturday and Sunday for the last few weekends just to keep on top of the urgent work.

This is definitely not what I want to do – so I had made up my mind to leave and out of generosity or loyalty even said I would look at working until the end of May.  Once I made this decision and announced it to my line manager I felt heaps better and even though it seemed tremendously risky (and there is no way you could call me a risk taker) as I have no other job lined up I had settled my mind to it and whatever happens in the future cannot be as bad as I am experiencing at the moment.

Well that was on Tuesday.

On Wednesday my line manager called me in and asked if I would stay if things were improved in some way.

Well that was unexpected and has put a spanner in the works.

I won’t say anymore at the moment – you never know who is reading do you!!

Now to the good news – yes really… I do have a silver lining.

We get a new conservatory paid for on the insurance – I am not sure how I feel about this as I loved the shabby chic 50’s style of the old one but it would not have lasted for ever.cropped-cottage-gutters.jpg

Baby L is to be christened in March on the 15th – Mothers Day – a double celebration.  I have been preparing the dress – an old family heirloom – just hoping she doesn’t grow much more in the next few weeks LOL.

Baby L with trifle

Well that is all my news to date have a good week everyone.

PS – As I wrote most of this yesterday and finished it today I am in fact now feeling loads better.

managEAble, mEAndering, out and about, to do list

Monday is the new Friday…

…well for this week only as I have been at home today instead of Friday.

And what a gorgeous weekend.  We spent Saturday in Shrewsbury visiting my mother in law at her care home.  As usual we had a stop in Tarporley, Cheshire for lunch and walking along the main street I noticed the decorative writing on the outside of this old black and white frame house.  I love the words written under the window sill and thought perhaps this form of graphic art might prove quite popular with today’s fashion for writing on the inside walls of your house.

Writing on the wall

I have no idea what it says but here is a closer look – it was written in 1585

Window Sill Tarporley

After an early lunch at The Old Fire Station we drove on and arrived at the care home about 1.45pm only to find that my mum in law has taken to having a nap after lunch and doesn’t usually wake until 4pm – some power nap!  We had no choice but to go down into the town and have a look at the shops while she was in her deep slumber and return later.

I have always enjoyed shopping in Shrewsbury – it is a delightful town, full of independent shops and compared to my home town of Huddersfield there are a huge number of ‘fancy goods and gift’ shops to browse around.  However, after my seventh giftie shop some items were starting to get a bit repetitive and I did wonder who buys all this stuff, because although some of it is lovely it is also fashionable and will no doubt be out of fashion just as quickly.

Because we had plenty of time to kill we ventured into the Church of St Mary’s at the top of the town – inside is the most beautiful stained glass window  – like a colourful patchwork quilt, sadly this picture really does not do it justice.  It is one of those breath taking moments when you stand before it.

Stained Glass window

I worked last Friday on my day off – urgent business at work.  So today I decided to sort out one or two of those little tasks that I have been meaning to get around to.

  • I collected a letter from the sorting office in Holmfirth that required a signature and managed to run in and out to avoid any parking charges, saving 40p.
  • I rang Persil to find out if their Persil Original Non-Bio liquid was still available as Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Wilkinsons no longer stock it.    I was pleased that it is still available but only in Waitrose, Lloyds Pharmacy and by internet from Ocado.  I can see I will have to stock up on this as our nearest Waitrose is 30 miles away. Luckily the number was a freephone so cost nothing to ring.
  • I ordered 2 new filters at £1.20 for both our Russell Hobbs kettles (one at home, one at the cottage) which have had a good descaling inside.  Cost £5.39 including postage.
  • I returned my Library books on time whilst passing through the village.  Cost nil

Whilst I was out and about I called to see my newly retired brother who never knows what day it is now!  My purpose was to discuss Christmas…and presents in particular.  We decided last year that as a family we wanted to do something different about Christmas present buying.  With there being so many of us in our family now and growing it was taking quite a few shopping trips and a lot of ‘what on earth can I buy them’ moments.

We have agreed on a Secret Santa system where each person only buys one present worth £50 for one other member of the family.  Most of us are in couples so the cost will be £100 to us but that will be it.   Only the younger children up to 18  will be excluded and we will buy presents as usual for them but will probably join together to do this.  We will each produce a list of most wanted items as a guide for the purchaser.  I must say I am really looking forward to this new system and one of the great things is we will receive less stuff.

So all in all quite a productive day.

What are your plans to (if any) to reduce the Christmas Budget?


You may like to read about my September Challenge at Re-routed

fEAsible, gardening, getting things done, homestEAding, managEAble, mEAndering, out and about, taking stock, to do list

Four is the new five…

Apart from not sleeping very much last night and being exceptionally tired – today went rather well.  My only miscalculation was that it was almost 4 o’clock when I began to tidy my desk, close down my computer and get my things together to leave work…big mistake… I need to begin at a quarter to four as it takes longer than I think to get everything straight and ready for tomorrow.  It still feels odd leaving closer to four than five but at the same time feels extremely good to be getting home so much earlier. Four is definitely the new five!

At lunch time I walked over to the other side of town and paid in a couple of my mum in-laws cheques at the bank that have been waiting for ages and then popped to our Building Society next door and had our savings pass-books updated with the year end interest.  I even had time to zoom across the road and get a new battery fitted in my watch.  I was back in the office within 20 minutes and minus 3 jobs taken off my task list.  I am going to start running out of errands by the end of the week at this rate!

Tomorrow I need to go to the Health Food store and pick up some supplements at lunchtime and after work I will have to do some shopping at the big Sainsbury’s.  As we are still suffering the cool weather and endless showers I am finding it difficult to get into the garden after work to tend to the pots – but just wait – no doubt because I have to go shopping tomorrow evening it will be sunny.

Below is a picture of my garden in Yorkshire that I took last Friday in the sunny border. I decided to abandon the indoor Friday Fling in favour of some outdoor weeding and pruning while the weather was good.

I love the tall spires of the deep blue Veronica and the pretty pink Sidalcea (mallow family) and dotted in amongst are the last of the gorgeous Peony flowers (Shirley Temple). When the wind blows the whole border seems to sway from side to side like a huge wave.

Our Weekend away

Last Sunday we set off at 8.30 and  travelled down to Shrewsbury to attend the big Garden Party event at my mother in law’s care home. It is a comparatively small care home catering for only 28 residents in a large old Georgian house situated just off the main town square.  All the relatives were invited to go for the day and join in the party and we were greeted with a wonderful glass of chilled Pimms full of chopped fresh fruit, deliberately made slightly on the weaker side to avoid any drunken Zimmer frame drivers later on!!!

After a brief shower the sun shone all day and we had a delightful lunch which was served in the new marquee on the lawn in their walled garden, which was awash with flowers in hanging baskets, planters and borders, some of which the residents tend to themselves if they are able.  The marquee was all laid out as if it was a wedding – with bunting, crisp white linen clothes, well polished silver and glassware and very ‘posh’ menus.

For lunch we had a mixed bowl of salad, minted baby potatoes and a home made vegetable lasagne. (For the non-vegetarians it was Wiltshire Ham or Fresh Salmon). For afters there was a choice of desserts and I had the delicious Key Lime Pie, though I was tempted by the Trio of Chocolate desserts – hard choice!They had even organised a visit from Sasha the Eagle Owl who was attracting quite a lot of attention!

The carers worked so hard all day to make sure we all had a wonderful time – it was so nice being able to spend a leisurely summer afternoon with our elderly moms or dads.

mEAndering, out and about, trEAsure

Just a perfect day

On Saturday we had a lovely day out in Shrewsbury the weather being unusually dry and sunny after a week of never-ending rain although there was still that nip in the air.

A view of the Dingle in the park

We had lunch in the Good Life in Barracks Passage off Wyle Cop – one of our favourite vegetarian restaurants which we first discovered in the early seventies and their varied menu and quality of food is as good now as then.  If you like vegetarian food and are keen to try things like Nutloaf (the walnut and rice is the best) accompanied with a whole range of different salads then I can recommend this place.  I don’t have a picture although you can Google Image it and this is their website address –

Afterwards we visited my mother in law in her care home and had a lovely day together.  Before we set off for home we had a browse in Paperchase and Vinegar Hill and then found an independent stationery store called Write Here on the high street – find them at

Browsing amongst  the cards and stationery products, which is one of my favourite pursuits, I suddenly came across and fell in love with my new purchase – let me introduce you to the Lamy Logo.

When I went into the shop I didn’t even know I wanted a fountain pen but in the end I couldn’t bear to leave without one!  I would normally prefer the finer nibs but after being able to test drive a medium, a fine and an ultra fine I settled on the medium as this was the one that allowed the ink to flow on the page and didn’t feel scratchy.  The sales person  had the patience of a saint as I tried to decide between the selection of finishes, nibs and ink colour – it was already 5.30 on Saturday afternoon but he was as attentive as if I was his first customer and nothing was too much trouble.  So thank you very much Mr Write Here – I hope I didn’t make you too late for your tea and by the way if you didn’t realise before I absolutely l o v e my new Lamy it fits perfectly into my filofax pen holder. Ink pens are so much nicer than ball point or gel pens and I am convinced I make better notes!

Just a perfect end to a lovely day.