Wednesday 29 December 2021

Gosh, that went quick!

 It's gone so quick, I will track backwards. Well it's the 29th December, I am the only one up. It's delightfully dark outside and I'm typing by the light of my beautiful Christmas tree. I'm sandwiched betwixt two sleeping off their breakfasts spaniels, They are lovely and clean and fluffy as after their jaunt on the shore yesterday, as ever, they needed a shower and shampoo! It was a foul morning at first but then the sky brightened and it was mild and that is when we ventured out. I was dead chuffed with this shot! 

At first it was lovely and quiet but towards the end of our walk it was definitely more peopley. And with people came their out of control dogs just haring up to us. Mind you, Madam Bluebell at the end of the walk decided to pretend she couldn't hear me and buggered off out of sight onto the sand. She ignored her whistle. Freddie had set off after her but decided to be a good boy and came back straight away. As always she did reappear after a few seconds but she was then on  her  lead until we got to the car! Anyway the most awful stench ruined the fresh air - someone was smoking a joint somewhere - we couldn't place it which was a shame because I would have told them exactly what I thought. It was giving me a headache. I absolutely am so anti drugs it's unreal and absolutely against cannabis because of the stench and the damage it does. Don't even come at me with the it's good for certain medical conditions - well then a GP approved non stinky fully LEGAL prescription is none of my business, It doesn't affect me. Yes alcohol and cigarettes are toxic and affect the body etc but you can buy them legally. I watched Grange Hill. Just say NO! 

Weed absolutely STINKS AND MAKES ME FEEL SICK. So I will complain. It also does ruin lives. To those who say it's not a gateway/addictive drug I say I don't care/believe you etc. It ruins lives. I have had to support families with food banks ( I say families I mean the mother ) because the Father spends £100 a week on the filthy stuff. The children's clothes stink of it, they are lethargic in school. it exposes them to the criminality county lines, unsavoury people and I just HATE it. 

Anyway it STANK. If you oppose what I say then tough shit. I am never going to change my mind. You can stop reading and leave my bit of the internet thank you very much,

Blimey I got a bit ranty there! The rest of the day was taken up with visiting my Ma in law and nipping for some coal and a few bits. I needed foil and a new mop bucket and a new mat for the dog bowl area! 

At home we chilled out with me starting and getting on with one of my new from the Charity shop festive jigsaws - I got 2 for £4 each. Brand new too.

  We had turkey and chips for tea with the last of the gravy and I cooked the rest of the pigs in blankets. Miss 27 is still here but she went off to Blackpool with her best friend from her Nursery and primary school days. I love they are still pals. They went for lunch and the matinee performance of Hairspray. She said it was brilliant. We watched the Christmas edition of All creatures great and small and I went to bed after that about 9pm. I was tired out - I should have been going to my friend's for drinks and a catch up but after being ill the day before I wasn't really up for it. 

27th December -  I spent the most of it in bed recovering from the after effects of a hideous night of  how can I put it delicately D & V. I'd woken up at 2.39am with horrendous tummy pains and a night on the throne ensued! So it was a total write off. The dogs went out with The HG and Miss 27. I slept through the day and got up about 6pm to try a weak black tea, later on I was hungry and tried a little bit of the Christmas Ham cooked by Mr 24. It stayed on board thank goodness and I slept through the night intact! After effects of the V bit meant that my sides hurt as if I have done 160 waist and side bends! 

The culprit I think was the dish of salted caramel pretzels I had on Boxing Day night. It's the only thing I had except for my dinner. I think it is the wheat. Overload. I am never eating pretzels again. 

The 26th. Boxing Day. 

Got up. Prepped the veg for Turkey Dinner mark 2. I did glazed carrots, cauli and broc cheese, roast potatoes and parsnips, new pigs in blankets, turkey stuffing and gravy and massive yorkshires. The HG went to collect his Mum and we had lunch and managed some white chocolate and raspberry roulade for pudding. The kids walked the dogs -  just onto the park - for a run - muddy run. We watched Paddington and snoozed on the sofa. His Mum became a little confused ( sundowning ) and was ready to go home. I plated her up a little dinner for the next day and after the HG got back we watched the festive episode of the Larkins. 

The 25th. Christmas Day 2021.

The HG got up with the dogs. We had decided not to put the gifts out Christmas Eve as per because Freddie has started to help himself to things left unattended and in reach! I actually fell back asleep so was all groggy and perplexed for the rest of the morning! It was a perfect day as it was just us 4 and the dogs so no panic if Christmas Dinner was late.  The presents were put out. Bluebell and Freddie were besides themselves! But the HG and I carried out the ritual of doing the turkey, stuffing it , weighing it and shoving it in the oven. I had prepped all the veg the day before. So in it went ready to come out 12.30 ish give or take a prod with my meat thermometer.  

We then exchanged gifts. I had some lovely surprises. Some fancy gadgets for my sewing room. The new Festive Friend from Luna Lapin and Cool Crafting. It is quite the thing. You order it without knowing what it is going to be! You then enter an unwritten contract whereby in the FB group ( You must join Marlene hahahah ) you agree to not open the boxes and reveal the secret! You must resist! 

Anyway I opened it and it's the most darling polar bear kit to make in a gorgeous duffel coat!

 I also got chocs, smellies and a beautifully soft huge scarf from my daughter. We got a joint gift of a £50 gift card for our favourite pub chain - chef and brewer - the ones we have been in welcome dogs and we've yet to have a bad meal. I also got books, slippers a new wireless charger port thingy for my phone and this lovely lego set!! It's to make myself a bunch of everlasting flowers! 

They will never die, they will never be cut from their rightful place in the garden and there will be no stinky slimey water to change. This was from Mr 24! Very good at buying presents! 

Bluebell and Freddie had plenty of fun helping to unwrap the gifts, both ours and theirs. 

Christmas Dinner was served just after 3 and it was delicious. We all pitched in and washed up and cleared away as we went along so we were all able to then relax together in front of the tv and roaring fire. I can’t even think what we watched. I recorded the Queen and put her on as darkness fell. I thought it was a very moving speech. I love the Queen. 

Nobody could move and nobody wanted anything else to eat! Perfect! 

So now back to Wednesday 29th at 21.35 - I started this post first thing, then I got busy! My day started at 5.50am and just me and the dogs caught up with some TV in the dark by the lights of my tree after I started this post on the laptop. I watched the first programme of The very British Scandal and I could not fully enjoy it as for me, Claire Foy will always be the Queen ! So watching the Queen ‘at it’ was rather unsavoury! I’ve read up a bit about the scandal and it just wouldn’t happen these days. Women really were the inferior sex back then. I also fast forwarded through The Variety performance. 

Then I re watched Jamie Oliver so I could note down the ingredients for his hodgepodge pie. 

I made it for tea tonight as my Mum came. 


The sauce was easy enough to make. But after two hours of prep and make , I reckon a sachet of the Swartz chicken stroganoff would be a very acceptable alternative!!!! Into the pie went the leftover Turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, some fresh shredded sprouts and some chestnuts. The only deviation of mine to Jamie’s as well as not putting cranberry sauce in!! 

I also made some sausage rolls! 

Photos are out of synch. 

The pastry had a FULL PACK OF BUTTER in it and was bloody gorgeous too. And the best but is that my leftovers pie was huge so I can have leftover leftover pie tomorrow!!! 

Cheese and Christmas cake now with the last of my red wine I opened on Boxing Day. 

Till the next time! 

Friday 24 December 2021

Have yourselves a merry little Christmas.

 It's Christmas Eve night, I'm now sat, feet up watching the Royal carol service and I have to say I am loving it. I bloody love Kate and William. I find the readings and the words quietly comforting. It's that childhood nostalgia growing up going to church.

Sooo today I have given the house the tidy through. The HG and Miss 27 took the dogs to a lovely little place called Arnside. It was mostly because Miss 27 wanted to get some delicious cakes from a little Beach hut. They all came back absolutely sh*t up to the nines. They'd been on the beach and in the sea. so it was the dogs' second bath in two days. They've slept the rest of the day away. 

I've slowly softened in my own homemade butter, a load of onions and shallots for the sprouts and the stuffing. I did the same with some mushrooms for jusching up some packet stuffing.  I've prepped the veg, The table has been laid with my new table linen -it looks lovely. I'm tempted to take it all off before we eat hahaha.  I didn't even iron it!!!!

I thought I'd show and tell my very first embroidered tree decoration I made on my sewing machine. It's all just thread! 

I finally finished this jigsaw I got from a charity shop in the summer. It's 'only' a 500 piece but it's been deceptively tricksy and I have really enjoyed doing it. I wanted my board clear so I can start my new Charity shop Christmas jigsaw. 
It's just us 4 tomorrow and the 2 dogs. Miss 27's young man has gone back to the North East to spend some time with his Mum who has been a bit poorly. 

This has made me giggle today! We have watched Elf this afternoon which made us all laugh. I've declared the Christmas coffee table open for I have poured the chocolates into my Aunty Laura's posh trifle dish. 

So far me and mine ( including our parents ) have escaped Covid infection but our really good friends have all succumbed and then one of my best friend's has tested positive today. 
I just will post some pics of my decor before signing off.  Some of these things are as old as Miss 27!

This is the wrong wreath - I generally have white light in the lounge and warm lights in the dining room but it looks nice in real life.

Whatever you do tomorrow and who with, I hope it makes you happy and content. 
If it's hard for you, it's just one day.  Chase away the dark with some light - be it candle  or happier memories. 

Happy Rachmas to you!! 

PS Meant to say my sister has started posting again here   -so for a Harry update...Harry's Story so far

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Parsnips and memories.

 I am so glad I double checked my final online shopping order just now. I know they are a bargain due to the supermarket wars but I seriously would have been flummoxed with 20 bags of the things! I must have pressed the  add button extra hard - that or one of the dogs must have done it! Anyway I cancelled the whole lot because I bought some big fat organic more expensive ones because I like a big fat parsnip! 

Parsnips are lovely but one of the veg I detested when I was a child. I hated them. Also

I love to watch James Martin of a Saturday morning or when I fancy it off the planner and he made bread sauce. This is an unknown phenomenon to me. It's something we never had on the Christmas table when I was a lass. If we had cranberry sauce it was a small jar that my Mum used to get in the Park Hamper she used to get. I thought it was jam and could not understand why people would want jam on their Christmas dinner. I have made my own from scratch now as a grown up but I don't always make it. Haven't this year. I do like the sweetness on a sandwich but I can live without. We always had homemade apple sauce on the table in a certain pyrex white dish with a brown pattern on the sides. I may make apple sauce this year - infact I think I will do it tomorrow. Again, I like it on a cold turkey sandwich. Although after being bread free now for three full week I am doubtful I will be sandwiching at all! It sounds very strange but if I eat bread, my joints hurt. It's not strange really - lots of research in this. I'm trying to avoid sugar and have totally given up anything with artificial sweeteners in it. I am digressing here. Suzanne at No 38 made me chuckle when she talks of her Mum having to get the ingredients for a BFG out of the housekeeping for her cookery lessons at school. I have no idea why, but at Grammar I rather think the DS teacher thought she was Miss Jean Brodie or we were at her own personal French finishing school. The first dish we made was a mixed grill. And like Suzanne's mum, MY mum looked incredulous as she muttered 'where the bloody hell am I going to get watercress from?? I think it was expensive and she had to buy a whole bunch - and it was ONLY FOR THE GARNISH hahahahahah

Other dishes we made were Stuffed brown trout. I had to make do with a rainbow trout because my Dad had caught it fishing! Because none of us ate fish, my nextdoor neighbour's Dad had it for his tea! I made a Lemon Chiffon pie too which was a bit like a cheesecake but with a proper egg based lemon curd. The bus journey home was rough and by the time I got home, the lemon curd and poured out of the case all over my basket!  I was proud of that basket. A great big wicker one with a fancy split plastic cover when it rained, but we made do with a tea towel tucked in it when not. We all had them back in the day! We made duchess potatoes, swiss jelly ( The sorcery - carnation milk whisked into jelly before it sets! ), wild west scones - scones but with bits of bacon snipped in and mixed herbs hahaha. 


Christmas dinner as a child was always turkey, stuffing ( paxo ), pigs in blankets but a big sausage, not a cocktail sized one, carrot n swede mash, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, sprouts, parsnips ( only at Christmas ) and gravy. Followed by Christmas pudding ( I hated that too - not now! ) and custard. 

Then, and I don't know how we fit it in, a few hours later it was a big high tea - buffet style but sat at the table. Always a bowl of Nanna salad, a large pork pie, cold turkey, ham, celery sticks in a class, pickled beetroot that made my plain crisps go pink on my plate, pickled onions, deltas - these were a potato snack from Marks and Spencers, they were hard, ready salted potato crisp snacks in a triangle shape. There's nothing equivalent that I have found as an adult. Brown bread and butter in triangles, sometimes open topped egg mayonnaise finger buns.  There'd be cheese and crackers but never blue cheese or stilton.In later years there's be coleslaw and garlic bread and a dish of cold batchelors savoury rice. Sometimes Mum would do vol au vents - prawn ones were my favourite, but she'd make a white sauce and then make it pink and put the prawns in whilst the sauce was warm! 

Puddings - Black Forest Gateaux from the freezer in later years but prior it would be a ready made sponge flan base ( from the hamper ) filled with tinned mandarins arranged in circles and topped with orange quick jel. or sherry trifle. Mince pies. And a Home made Christmas cake usually baked by my Aunty Pat and decorated by my mum - always royal icing peaks of snow and a little Father Christmas nestled on the top. 

Happy days. I have probably missed lots off so I may get my sister to have a look see. 

What did you hate as a child but have now? Does your Christmas Dinner resemble that of your childhood? 

Ho ho ho Merry Rachmas!( Stone cold sober actually - saving the Baileys for the 25th. I SO sO wanted the Aldi version of the salted caramel one but there's NONE to be had! NONE.

Saturday 18 December 2021

The most wonderful time of year....

 ....I do, of course, mean END OF TERM! 

it was finally here. It was an epic day  which involved a minibus, some over stimulated children, getting bitten ( Ouch that hurts, teeth are for food ) and due to some serious safeguarding issues that needed reporting I didn't get to finish at 2pm along with the rest of the school but was still away by 4 and it was still daylight, so that was good.

One of my gifts was this wreath...! Isn't it a great idea! I love the fact it is original and handmade. 

I have put the decorations up that are going up. I've changed a few bits and bobs round. 

I treated myself to a new in the sale so it was a bargain tree for the dining room windowsill. Its my Santa spot and it is red and gold!  Much much prettier in real life. It's hard to get a good photo of Christmas decorations I think. 

Miss 27 and Freddie and here for the festive season. Her beau has gone home to feed the fish and spend Christmas with his mum who has been rather poorly. So Freddie and Bluebell had a day out in the lakes on Friday with Miss 27 and her friend from Uni. They had themselves a little swim, despite being told no, much to the amusement of all the onlookers! Look at the gorgeous skyline. 

Freddie is sooooo beautiful. Sooooo is Bluebell! Those jumpers they have on are Equafleece and were worth every penny of the ££££ they cost! Plus they look very cute! 

I have a story to tell....

Once upon a time, there was a stressed out of her tree menopausal woman on the edge just about to set off for work. She checked her coat pocket. Bugger it,  No keys. With a few swear words she systematically checked and re checked the pockets. Nope. No keys. With a few more swears, she stomped back into the lounge, tripped over the confused dogs ( why you back in??? ) and looked around wildly. Nope. Asked her offspring, had they seen/moved said keys? Every feasible hiding space was checked. Including coat pockets in case you know, the keys had miraculously re appeared. She pressed the tile alert thingy on her phone which is linked to the tile alert thingy on her keyring only to be told it needed a new battery! She said some very very bad swears. 
She sat down and mentally retraced her steps. 
 She had come home from work in a rush to get in because she was absolutely on the point of wetting herself desperate for the loo - all the doorstep Riverdance jigging about ensued ( I have blogged about this before!! ) and she used her key to open the door, ripped her coat and cardi off and dropped it, her school bag and her keys and work keys were flung on the bag and coat and she ran like the wind upstairs*
Once composed and empty of bladder, she went back to the hall, hung up her coat and emptied her school bag including the three teatowels she had brought home to wash. 

She then really retraced her steps, saying what she did out loud so Miss 27 could hear and assist. They searched everywhere and in the end the now hot and sweaty late for work woman on the edge said some more swears and went to work. She didn't actually NEED her keys as Miss 27 was going to be in with the dogs.  But now on the two minute walk to work, she started to worry that she had left the keys in the door and started to frantically to text Miss 27 to LOCK THE DOOR and keep her keys in the door because someone had taken her keys and was going to break in and steal the dogs! The poor frenzied woman got to work and then she received a photo...

Where were they?
IN THE WRONG COAT POCKET! You see, because the woman ate all the pies she has two green coats hanging in the hall - the larger one she had ripped off to get to the loo more easily and the one she is striving to get back into. 
She had put the keys in a green pocket. Just the wrong one! 

and breathe!  

The 18th December holds a very sad memory of my very very lovely friend who I first met age 11 in our first year at Grammar school. We then worked our first Saturday jobs together and even though life got in the way that strong bond of friendship meant we could pick up just as easily when we did see each other again. She had bowel cancer and no matter trying everything was told there was nothing more they could do. She died 12 months ago today, I have cried a fair bit today but I miss her everyday. so when the door went and a very lovely surprise arrived, it lifted the spirits. The HG's bosses had sent us a HUGE luxury hamper as a thank you to him for keeping it going during these difficult times. They didn't need to do that. But it really made me cheer up a bit. I contacted my friends who were equally feeling the loss and her sister and felt comfort in that. 
Here is a photo of Bluebell and the pile of gorgeous goodies.

 I just have to decide what to use the basket for afterwards! Ideas on a postcard please? ( or the comments section will do ) 
I'm thinking probably will house Bluebell's things! Or in my craft room. I don't think it will be sturdy enough for logs for the fire. 

I'm going to finish watching Bridget Jones now even though I have watched it 78 times before and then go to bed. Speaking of watching things. I was gutted that my favourites in SCD had to pull out due to injury. I think all three were definite contenders and will enjoy the programme on catch up in the early morning tomorrow. 

till the next time...

* staggered up as fast as she could with her legs crossed

Saturday 11 December 2021

Almost ready

Not the best photos and it does look better in real life - the second pic makes it look like it's leaning but it is the angle I am leaning at taking it!

 Well little blog of mine, 

popped back after being so so so busy since I last visited. 

School is full time Nurture group where small teeny, weeny steps of progress are made amongst the challenging behaviours of my little charges. I mean, on Tuesday and Thursday last week, NO ONE GOT BIT! This is a HUGE HUGE HUGE achievement of our little shark and I am very very proud and protective of my colleague and I and our charges. 

School is RIDDLED I tell ya with Covid. Two classes in particular have gone down like dominoes. I remain negative and had my booster last Saturday but oh my goodness,  in these peri menopausal days it would seem that the vaccines have proper messed things about in my body. Hopefully I'm now nearer the PAUSE bit in the menopause. It should really be called the menostop mind you. Enough moaning

The 2021 tree has been put up today by Mr 24, his sister and her beau. I have written some cards but need to post some off this week. I am fairly sure all presents are secured and I declare here that I will do better next year at being organised! The turkey has been ordered from the butcher and chocolates are stashed. I just cannot wait though for the days of not having to rush out to work and pleasing myself. 

Keeping this brief tonight. Off to bed now.