Saturday 30 December 2023

Dec 30th 2023

 The year has all but gone. Just me and the dogs up. We’ve all got a bit lazier, stretching the mornings a little I’m talking about me Bluebell and Freddie. 

I’ve STILL got that bloody cough I had weeks ago - it reinvented itself and settled properly on that last day of term which was only a week ago but feels like 50 ago! I’m hoping it’s easing again now. She types and sets off coughing. It’s a wonder my eyeballs don’t blow out of my head with the pressure of it. I’m typing with two dogs snoozing their pre breakfast snooze and I’ve got one leg gently being electrocuted with my Revitive machine! My tree lights are twinkling and I cannot understand those who wish to take them down early. They of course cannot understand why I want to keep mine up! I really love it this year. I say that every year hahah. 

So the Revitive is going to try and get me going. I’ve let myself become a blob of jelly. So am now doing all I can to reverse this. It’s a downward spiral isn’t it, walk  less, legs hurt more = walking less etc 

Think it was in September, I was going down into the cellar and stepped off what I thought was the bottom step but it wasn’t - I was on the second step and I jolted onto my knee. Being very very far away from target weight of 2018, meant my poor old knee got a nasty shock and I’ve really struggled to get it right since. Anyway it’s definitely improving so now I need to help it some more. So I’ve got these thigh pads on my leg and it’s zapping them for 10 seconds at 50 then resting for 30. I’ll do the other leg and then do the foot rocking bit. We are taking the dogs out today - I’ve not taken them recently yet due to cough - so hoping this therapy will assist the walk a bit! It’s a flat stroll that’s about a mile in total. A mile for me, 50 for the dogs! 

Am not doing new year new me stuff because it simply does not inspire me and sets me up to fail - like a challenge to self sabotage. I’m going with the thinking that any improvement work on my part is better than none. I’m waffling away here. 

So Christmas was lovely. The Turkey was delicious. I put the raw wings that I wrangled the skins off first, into the slow cooker with some carrot, sweet potato and butternut squash and some zero salt chicken stock. It simmered softly all day and then when done, I stripped the meat from the bones ( a rather surprising amount really ) and we gave it to the dogs! Oh my giddy aunt, the smells those dogs produced in thanks to my loving meal prep was up there with the rankest stench I have ever ever ever smelt! 

I purposely made more roast potatoes and parsnips and glazed carrots than I needed to go in my Christmas pie filling. I made it last year a la Jamie Oliver or John Torode or James Martin, can’t recall, but it’s so good. Basically it’s Christmas Dinner in a pie! I put everything in it last year but this year I left out the sprouts because let’s just say, on a par with the dog’s dinner- these sprouts were particularly vicious! I’ve not cooked my ham yet and have a large salmon cut of beef for new year and there will be plenty for sandwiches and dinners in Jan. I’ve a large beef stew already made and frozen for Jan and after yesterday’s tea I’ve a meal of Spag bol and chilli for the freezer. 

One thing I do want to be better at is using my freezer better than of late where I buy things with good intentions and then shove them in and forget about them . One issue last year was time that I have biggish news about and will announce it here and now!!

Sooooo for the last 10 years, I have worked at the after school childcare club. I first started to supplement my income after giving up the stressful job of HLTA. Mainly stressful because even though I loved it, school would not invest in the role full time so I was class support for the other half of the week. I did that for 8 years. Anyway as I couldn’t afford to just lose that chunk of income, I was able to increase time in classroom a little and as my kids were grown, I started after school club daily until 5.29pm when it closes! Over the last few years where my role again has changed into a full time pastoral mentor and one of the safeguarding leads, the mental strain and secondary trauma they call it is taking its toll, adding my stress of Bluebell and feeling so worried over leaving her ( which she is totally fine with and has been like this her whole life ) working til 5.45pm it was getting to everyday has got to me. The work itself was my favourite thing and I always said to the children who came, my favourite part of the day and that’s true. I ran it like I was their Mum! Freedom, snacks, play, crafting etc 

There was also a load of stressy management committee meetings. It is a not for profit organisation and even with very low prices in its early days it banked quite hefty reserves which were used to buy resources. Then Covid hit which meant it closed but staff were furloughed plus we had a new building, partly funded by the lottery - which I’d applied for - again highly stressful because it was to be used by school, had to be erected by school only firms who hiked the price massively - absolutely milking the system - corrupt Is call it. Anyway it meant that reserves were gone and school were footing the wages. So many meetings to discuss its future and what could be done etc. We put the prices up - only 3 times actually in its 10 year history - and parents still used it. Those fortunate ones who worked full time and lots of parents who gave in to their children’s asking - every single child in school wants to come! Anyway, once again, it is holding its own but I have been getting highly stressed dreaming up ways I could afford to pack it in. I hate getting in so late. 6pm, tea is late then fall asleep - especially in the dark Winter months. Parents who were arsey about paying- audacity of some who booked in with no intention of paying - clashed with my ‘daytime job’ of pastoral support including signposting those in severe poverty, then becoming almost bailiff like constantly chasing for money. The children themselves were starting to irritate me a lot. My colleague put this down to me working none stop with children - very very needy and challenging ones from 8.45am daily with barely an hour child free when I was taking my lunch at 1.30pm after supervising pastoral lunches which are  - safe indoor play and calmer space to eat for children with a whole host of needs - coupled with the constant Mum guilt about Bluebell. I was putting her with the dog walker more which I think stresses her out. 

Anyway when Miss 29 announced her pregnancy I decided to take the financial hit and give up my Fridays at the after school club after Christmas. I knew I could because my colleague had already given up a Thursday 3 years earlier for grandchild duties. I thought if I finish school at 3.15pm on a Friday ( 2.15pm if I work through lunch ) then either me and the HG can be away over in the North East for the weekend or I can get the train up and still be there by teatime. I was also cross with myself for not doing this years sooner. 

Anyway - I sent in my email and relaxed a little but it had lit the touchpaper.

I went to the Head, talked through my ideas. One reason the workload stress was so much was the lack of child free time we were getting on the Pastoral team - time to chat about families, share ideas, plan interventions etc DO interventions, liase with other services. This is due to at the moment I’m currently providing proper Nurture care every morning until 12. Then we are providing Nurture lunches on a timetable with different children and one thing that has impacted this greatly is after Covid, the staggered lunches that replaced the traditional 12-1 for all have remained. The children only get 50 minutes now - something to do with the calculated directed teaching time - but infants start at 11.55. Y2 and Y3 at 12

Y4 at 12.10 and y5 and y6 at 12.20 meaning lunch is for us 

11.55 until 1.10pm 

And then we take our unpaid lunch hour. Which in our role, means if a phone call comes in before we leave then we answer it etc. but even in a perfect world and we get away at 1.10pm - it still leaves us with little time  - barely an hour - for meetings and working with children and doing paperwork and admin before school finishes. Now my colleague did have more hours than me so had the scope for after school meetings etc but because I was always at after school club, my workload stress was piling up. 

Anyway to cut a long story short, the head said yes, If I gave up after school then I could have 5 extra hours ( an hour after school and 2 shortened lunchtimes ) per week including my still 3.15pm finish on a Friday. So I handed my notice in, giving 5 weeks notice, much to the shock of everyone! 

The feeling of liberation was huge. I felt a big weight off my shoulders and although it was a long notice and the worst part was breaking the news to one of my best friends I have no regrets. Well one, that I didn’t do it 12months sooner. 

So telling my friend never went to plan! Here’s my text! Yes, in the end, I had to tell her by message because of parents!! 

To explain the Barb bit, neither of us are called Barb, but we’ve adopted it due to our love of the TV show the Royal Family and we quote it often to each other. In fact, her Mum thinks I’m really called Barb! 

I’ve deleted names too for anonymity. 

*Oh Barb 

What a night. I’ve been waiting to tell you something but fecking L’s Mum was later and then fecking J’s Mum late then  decking T’s Mum came in like we had no homes to go to. 

Anyway I’ve only just rid of T’s Mum!  - 

 Explanatory background! 

Barb’s hubby works away, sometimes for weeks at a time and he’d got home early so we always let her go early to meet him and leave first. T’s Mum was an ex parent who had brought in a raffle prize and was very happy to chatter away ( I’ve also been friends with her for years and although was desperate to get rid of her to impart my news - couldn’t find the right way to do it so when Barb got her coat on and said you don’t mind if I go - I couldn’t say no you have to stay ! ) 


I was a while in school because I was taking my  resignation letter in to the Head. 

I’m giving up every night. I wanted to wait until we were on our own because I knew I would cry. It’s literally just happened today - I’ve got a few more hours in school - The  had to take it to Govs to get it approved and she only told me today. 

I said I need to tell Barb. I’ve felt sick all night at the thought of telling you!! 

We can still always have our Summer do and I’ll see you in the school day. 

- Barb works lunchtimes too - 

I’m sorry x

I carried on 

I was ready for the Friday nights but I said to Cathy, half the time I’m late to after school club which isn’t fair on you because I’ve been finishing off meetings etc with parents. 

I am fed up of finishing work so late every night and the kids and parents are annoying me even more and the chasing of the money all the time etc. I just have not got the time anymore - especially trying to do my Behaviour Mentor job as well which pays more. 

- forgot about this Job which I got last year - basically I am employed by something called the Inclusion Hub to advise 16 schools when faced with children with low level disruptive behaviour that if escalates, can result in exclusion. The truth is, all the schools have no low level - it’s all they bit the teacher level! The workload involves monthly phone calls, advice given, notes written up and feedback etc all in addition to my usual work. At first I displaced hours   - so would claim for 15 hours and have to deduct 15 hours. Since September however, I’ve been working at home 6am -7am when I am naturally awake so can legitimately ring my schools 2pm - 3pm in an afternoon . I don’t know how long the funding for this will last but I do enjoy it! - I carried on…

The things I love is basically spending the time with you and some of the children! 

But I can’t keep doing three jobs this way. 

I know you will understand and will be upset with me. It  is going to be advertised it internally first but I’ve given 5 weeks notice and my last session will be the Christmas one on Thursday 21st. I also wanted to tell you face to face because I didn’t want you to find out off X or Y if they would say anything to you by chance on Monday .

Eventually, she replied 

I'm absolutely gutted Barb.. but I do understand.. Hubby read the msg to me as I was driving... I felt like I wanted to cry.. I'll miss our nights in the cabin..& the great working relationship we have together.. it just won't be the same without out you 😢.. x

I messaged back 

I’m kinda absolutely gutted too and I would have told you tonight either way - the outcome- if I was just going to stop Fridays or all of it.  I’d had to put my request in writing to The Head by Monday - then it was Govs on Tuesday ( but I was training and I would have had to go out of the room as they discussed me. ) because had I not had more hours I would have kept it at 4 days. 

Then the head  was out on Wednesday and then busy all day yesterday. She finally said at 11am to go see her when I was going for my lunch. I was dead nervous and when she said that the Govs had agreed to the extra hours meaning I could leave, I felt happy for like a second and then sick and upset for the rest of the night.  I still feel strange now like omg what have I done?? But I know it’s right for me and sometimes we have to be selfish! I understand because when you dropped Thursday I was really upset!! Much as I love  the person I work on a Thursday with now it is NOT the same 🙅‍♂️ x

In the end she was fine as she could be as did say she understood my reasons. 

The last five weeks at work have carried on as normal - it took ages and I felt like I was there against my will and even right in the last two sessions, I wasn’t upset at all. Think I’d been most upset at the start of it all. I was ready for the end and walking home in the pitch dark, I was thinking, this is my last late finish ever ! I’ve been saying to myself that I’m semi retired now hahah. I chose not to pay into the pension scheme for that job. That hour each day will mean I can walk B rather than rushing at lunch. I can get in, get the tea on. Enjoy the house to myself and so on and so on! We will see. If my monthly money is down, I’m ok with that because my time is precious. I know my worth! 

I got a lovely card signed by the children and a beautiful plant for the garden that flowers now in the favourite colour of our nail varnish! Hahah

In other news 

Mum to be is cooking nicely and is 27 weeks now with a lovely round baby bump. The things she has missed this Christmas is mostly smelly cheese and soft boiled/poached eggs . With the eggs they are supposed to be safe with the red lion mark on but she’s not risking it. Dad to be journeyed home on Boxing Day alone as he had to go assist his parents with online booking travel down to Winchester to see relatives and he was at work on Wednesday. He also took most of the travel system they call it back. The carrycot and pram wheels are still at our house because we all believe it’s bad luck to have one ready  in the house too soon for a new baby -  but he has taken the car seat, the accessories and the side bed cot thingy she wanted. We’ve been buying a few baby grow in the sale in different sizes. All of the stuff she has been gathering is very cute woodland animal theme! The woodland stuff is very much either/or and will suit both. When we were doing this 30 years ago- there was barely any ‘neutral’ stuff in the sales whereas now, there is! Happy days! I also bought her an industrial sized pack of maternity pads! She said she’d not even thought about stuff like that! 

We are driving her halfway home in the morning. Her beau will meet us there at a rather nice Garden Centre. We will have a coffee and then each go our separate ways. The HG and I are off until the 8th so we could have stayed but wanted to get back really. We’ve been twice just before Christmas and the youngsters only have one more day off together before back to work. 

She’s her 28 week scan on the 4th. It’s zooming by. 

I’ve knitting on the go! A little cream cardi just needs the sleeves doing, but I ran out of the wool I was using and it must have been a random one from my stash. Despite having about a thousand shades that I thought would be a perfect match, none were! So I ordered about 10 balls to try! I can return the ones I don’t match. See, if I match it to a cream, the original looks grey, if I match it to a grey, it looks beige, if I match it to a beige, it looks silver etc!!! 

But I found one that’s the closest I’ve seen and I said he/she can just wear it in the house if needed!!! I need to finish it because I’ve another 55 I want to get started!! 

So off I pop to get knitting!! 

Lots of Love 

Rachel *see you in 2024* Radiostar xx 

Sunday 24 December 2023

Christmas Eve 2023

 Hi all, 

It’s been so crazy lately I’ve been briefly visiting blogs and hope everyone is well x 

My house is full of twinkly lights, festive food ( not really gone mad with it but have treated myself to a few goodies ), dogs, and family. Mum to be is blooming along nicely - 6 months gone now- but has sciatica poor thing. We went over in the first weekend of December - a hairy journey considering all the snow and ice but it was worth it to be present at a family scan! It’s a thing these days! Anyway it was magical and a real privilege as the sonographer or radiographer - nice lady doing the scan - actually explained what we were looking at! 

I’m writing this with Freddie on my knee now thinking I may have told you all of this already!

In other news, I decided this year was THE year to switch things about and I have changed the colour scheme on my tree! Gasp! So it was purple and silver and white lights and purple lights for 30 plus years. I’d started gathering warm lights and more natural and glass and bronzey things for the dining room so it was just a matter of bring those into the lounge. So I have only had chance really to finish prettifying the downstairs this week. Was working right up to Dec 22nd at 3pm. My job has got so so so hard and am basically an unqualified underpaid social worker now, so have been falling asleep every night pretty much at 7.30pm - 8pm.  Anyway 
I’ve put white lights up the centre of the tree, the rest are warm and have put my glass ornaments plus the favourite silver ones plus a few newbies on. And my Santa topper is now residing at n the dining room which is white light slight purple silver. Can’t get rid totally but have been paring back over the last few years anyway I am please and of course wish I’d done it sooner because it far suits my decor better! It is super cosy and lovely with all the lights on. 
You can see the photo from the last ever purple tree from last year haha 

Today I am taking last minute presents Miss 29 now aka M2b is spending time with her old school friend. The son in law and Mr 26 will briefly stroll the dogs as the weather is FOUL out there and then once home I’ve a few last tidy up n quick clean jobs. Will prep the veg and just enjoy Christmas Eve. We don’t go back until Jan 8th but I would much rather have the week before off as I love the pre Christmas feeling. You all know I’m not a New Year fan really! Probably sad because Christmas is finished haha 

Hoping to get blogging more as I’ve an epic knit to show and tell and I’ve many beautiful jigsaws to do! 
That’s all for now! 
Love from Rachel *cold feet so need to get my socks on* Radiostar xxx


Tuesday 28 November 2023

All is well


A wonderful feeling was receiving so many well wishes and comments, so thank you all xxx 

All is well. Work is very busy. So much to get down on the record but big huge wow I got assertive  change is afoot. 

I’m currently hemmed in by boxes and boxes. We’ve bought the pram and all the gubbins and it was all delivered today. It’s bad luck to be in Miss 29’s house yet. It was a Black Friday bargain and is one of those what they call ‘travel systems’ these days! 

When I got my pram, it was a Silver cross wayfarer and I loved it! It was a carrycot and then a separate pushchair for when she was older. I had the matching cosy toes, padded liner tht had a drill, rain cover, sun canopy and matching bag. It was an anbstract pattern of leaves annd swirls in peacock green annd blue annd my wheels had teal discs in annd I was so proud of it! I used to scrub the wheels weekly annd polish the chassis. It was then used for Mr 26z  And it’s all up in my loft!! I couldn’t part with it! I’m not sure what condition it will be in! In the New Year the HG will go in the loft and bring down our baby stuff. The cot is going to Newcastle. They will just buy a new mattress. It was a cossatto in beech. My sister borrowed it for her childers. I did once have a clear out of clothes but Inknow I’ve kept a few precious things like hand knitted cardigans that my mum knit and that I knit!!! Showing Miss 29 one of the patterns for a little romper suit I knit, she declared, it’s very 90s!! 

Well it would be seeing as she was born in 1994! These days they’d probably call it vintage! 

Right I’ll post a photo of Bluebell looking cute with her teddy, she caught me taking photos, and will sign off! 

What have you kept from the 90s?? 

Tuesday 14 November 2023

So I have exciting news!

 In approximately 20 weeks time, myself and the HG will become grandparents! Our beautiful daughter Miss 29 and her beau are expecting a darling baby at the end of March and we are so over the moon, I’ve been floating in Outer Space

Yes of course the knitting needles have been click clacking away as much as my shoulders will allow! I have been adding to the stash for a while and it can now be deployed! 

This is a little matinee jacket and bootees ( need the ribbons in ) which was knitted over summer in 4ply hand spun yarn. It is so soft.

They decided not to find out what flavour baby and I am so pleased about that. There are no real surprises in life that can be better! I know the practical reasons for finding out and each to their own. There is a baby shower in February- a totally alien concept to me and I’m quite glad there’ll be no gender reveal shenanigansl! 

My next post will be all about one thing she specifically requested! It’s involved a lot of planning and preparation and it is underway! I didn’t even know they were a thing!! 

Lots of love from a very happy Nanna to be! X 

PS SOOZE - thrilled to bits for you with your impending move! 

To Sue and Marlene and all my favourite bloggers - I am still reading and loving your posts - just cannot comment which I will make more of an effort and will deploy my laptop more! 

Wednesday 8 November 2023

Time has flown

 Time really has flown since I last posted anything! I’m here through a bout of insomnia! I have much to put down on virtual paper for posterity. 

But that will not be now! Off to catch up on my blog reading. 

Watch this space!! Til then, my best Wordle from last week! 

Sunday 20 August 2023

Catch up Weekend

Hi everyone, I love catching up with all the blogs I read and it made me wonder, not that I write this ‘for’ anyone as such, and some kind souls do say they like it when I post, if a new post from me, ‘delights’ in the same way those new posts of others delights me! 

Firstly, though, I’d like to say a great big fat thank you for those checking out my attempts at loading videos and then taking the time to comment. It is much appreciated. I may post more in the future now they work! ( Sooze I I changed the settings x ) 

I have so many favourite blogs to read and I think it’s because I would be friends in real life with the people who write those blogs. The internet is a strange old place. Twitter can be vicious, horrendoes, scary and poignant, emotional and joyeous. I’ve connected with a few folks on there but the way it’s going I’ll not be on there much longer

It’s late Saturday afternoon here, the wind and rain from Storm Betty’s outer reach have bogged off and it’s sunny now. The rugby is on the TV and Wales just got absolutely trounced by South Africa.  I’m making a chicken korma for tea tonight and there’s poppadoms and naan breads to go with - though I won’t have the naan. I’m off bread and am actively avoiding it much as it kills me. It kills me though to eat it! Even my own homemade sourdough starter loaves are hurting my joints and  I’ve got a right spare tyre bulge that bulges worse after bread! I know I’ve said it so so so many times before on here and on the other blog - very neglected that blog is ) I am boring! 

Bluebell went out for a lovely long walkies with Mr 26 and has dined on a treat of high quality Turkey n veg tinned food, a few biscuits and some magic seaweed powder that cleans her teeth! She’s at the vet Tuesday for annual jabs and check up. We are then going over to see Miss 29 and her beau for a few days away as the HG has a legitimate week off work. 

I say it like that as in the last few weeks work has been very scarce and he’s been home more than me! 

My neighbour’s hubby has just been made redundant in a last in first out way and as he’s not been there 2 years he’ll not be eligible for any payout. His wife has just got a new apprenticeship role as a Prison Officer so will be starting that ( £30k ) but said with their high mortgage they will struggle to manage. They’ve two young children and hopefully he will find something soon. 

We have less than 12 months now on our mortgage and when that’s done I think the HG will want a new car. On one of the blogs I read, the author is a teacher who has just retired and is enjoying the first none starter of the school year. That’s two retired teacher blogs I read. No three - Tracy, Joy and Luna’s Mum - Bloody hell that’s her name and my own 2nd blog’s name I cannot bring to mind whilst writing this. Scary. I hate it when my brain does this. I could, of course, look them both up before writing but wanted to record it here. I am a bit tired. But not too badly. Could be menopause - though the menos  have to to permanently pause. I got to 156 days without then like buses, two came along at once! Could be early onset dementia- I am seriously considering finding out. It’s scary to me when my mind draws a total blank. It happens a lot with people - not just names - but actual real people who will chat away to me and I don’t even recognise them - not - ahh I know you but shit  what’s your name type scenario. Actual zero recollection of knowing them. I’ve got quite good at masking/bluffing my way through. 

I had my hair done on Thursday and loved every second of it. I finished a jigsaw that I enjoyed doing so much I eked it out.

I have blocked out the little matinee jacket and will sew it up tomorrow.

I’ve enough of the wool left to knit some little bootees. I’ve not been baking much because I don’t want to eat it! Having said that, today at Aldi I bought a tub of clotted cream for some scones I plan to make tomorrow! I’m going to put the tea on shortly and then as the sun is shining I will sit out with my feet on my Revitive for an hour and read my can’t put it down book! I’ll share that next post. 

I’ve spent some time with my friend today. The HG replaced some glass in a kitchen window for her daughter and we went to have a look at the dooer upper she bought. It’s lovely and cute. We have been invited to the wedding next March and it’s something to look forward to. Also something to look forward to is the World Cup Football match tomorrow. Not a fan by any means but I do follow the major tournaments somewhat. I much prefer watching the women - they are faster and more interesting than the men! I hope the England girls can do it. 

The news yesterday was heartbreaking for the parents of those tiny babies murdered by a monster doing her evil ways hiding on plain sight. I cannot even begin to imagine what state of mind you’d have to have to want to do something like that. I feel for HER parents and wider family too. I think she should NOT be allowed to choose to not attend sentencing. She should be cattleprodded out and up the stairs into the dock to face her fate. I doubt it will bring any comfort to those bereaved parents at all. 

It’s now Sunday 6am ish. The HG already got up with Bluebell and it is absolutely bouncing down out there. I’ve the shopping coming at 9-10 and I was very very good this time, meal planned the week ish. Only bought what I needed to supplement some freezer meals and decided I was worth the £ for the lightly dusted cod fillets I like! Last night I made a rather delicious chicken korma - the HG is such a delicate flower you know and can’t go much hotter than that! I’m no chilli fiend and cannot understand how some people would want to burn their mouths out! We also then shared some licorice allsorts . Not as good as the ones I recall from my youth. They seemed sweeter and softer. The meals this week will be a little varying but no hardship to me the main cook. For example, the HG and Mr 26 will be having pork chops with veg etc tonight for tea - it was a pack of 2 chops from the freezer. I will have the same veg but with the leftover chicken curry! I’m not that fussy about what will go with things! We will all have gammon steak on Monday - with actifry chips and peas - I’ll have a side salad. The boys will have bread hahaha somethings I’ve bought that were on offer like some chicken kievs - not had them in ages and again a pack of two. I wasn’t buying two packs because I didn’t want a spare one in the freezer as I’m trying my best to empty the darned thing! I’ve written about it before and I’d never buy one again! It’s a side by side American style fridge freezer with water and ice dispenser and it must be getting on for 15-20 years old now. Each side has three shelves and then 3 drawers but the freezer side is smaller and if you don’t have things level - they will slide off the shelves and out of the freezer every time you go in there for something! Next time I’d still want a water and ice dispenser, but they now do them with the fridge on the top and big freezer drawers at the bottom. I’ve decided for now to keep the fridge freezer downstairs in the cellar switched on and I do like a store of bread and milk in it. I’ve also got things like frozen cauli rice and big bags frozen veg in there and it’s handy for frozen pizzas because it’s got wide drawers! 

Todays plans are shower, shopping away, take Bluebell for a run on on the field at the back of us,  brunch - bacon, sausage, hash browns, tomatoes from the garden, scrambled egg, beans and mushrooms with toasted soda bread for them ( no bread for me ), clear away, go see Ma in law to make her lunch and watch first half of England v Spain, go see my Mum and watch second half of the game, home, knitting/jigsaw/relax/tidying away more In my bedroom - I’ve been vacuum packing clothes away that don’t fit but I will get back in to them  in preparation for us getting new wardrobes. Vacuum packing things is as addictive to me as power washing! I find it strangely hypnotic! Make the tea, clear away, stroll the dog and go back to Kingstown* for a couple episodes then bed! Who knew life could be so exciting! 

This  made me laugh this week. 

Love from Rachel *lucky to have these days of non adventures described in my blog strapline* Radiostar xxx 

*Mayor Of Kingstown - TV programme by Taylor Sheridan who did all the Yellowstone series. It’s on Paramount+ which is a streaming service like Netflix. We had to watch the first episode a couple of times to get the jist and it’s a bit violent and far fetched but perfect escapism! 

Monday 7 August 2023

Bit of a test post EDITED

 If anyone could check that the videos I’m posting today work and comment and let me know I’d be really grateful! 

Thanks to all who have watched. I hope they can be seen properly now - something in the privacy settings! 

They are of clever Freddie using indoor voice and then both doing tricks for breakfast! 

Both from 2019 I think! They are both clever in different ways. She knows at least 20 toys by name and will find them and tidy them into her toy box on command. She also will find socks and put them in the washer for me! Freddie will fetch whatever you point to on ‘Fetch’ and Bluebell will respond to ‘Bring’ in much the same way except she gets frantic and brings all sorts first before the one you are pointing at! Bluebell will NOT do the indoor voice trick at all. Freddie won’t play hide and seek but it’s Bluebell’s favourite! They both have the basic sit, down, leave it, roll over, paw, put ‘em up more or less equally. On a walk they both pull like trains on leads/harness despite hours of training, but will walk to heel off lead perfectly. Her recall is 99% - I’d say his is 98% 
Never say 100% because they will prove you wrong! Freddie is super cuddly and daft and the reason why we got her. If it was the other way around….. she barks and barks when on a walk. Think it’s just excitement and demanding the ball. That’s something I’d not do if I got another puppy. But the barking gets on my nerves. Interestingly she doesn’t bark for my son or the dog walker! She is a spoilt brat! I have been advised to go cold turkey with her but because especially in winter I need her to have a good run in a short lunch hour - retrieval it is interspersed with hunting games and a bit of training. Freddie is quite happy to just bimble along and if someone throws the ball, happy days! 

I’m writing this boxed in on both sides by spaniels. Freddie is a deep booming woofer when he thinks someone is at the door. The house uo the road is having a loft conversion done so there’s been skip wagons to bark at and scaffolders and big delivery wagons. Plus it’s bin day. He jumps up at woofs then Madam Barkypants joins in. It’s all over in a few seconds but I keep using the phrase 

‘Bloody dogs’ 

Either muttered to myself or out loud! 

It’s the start of the third week off. I think my first tomato will be eaten today -

I’m going to wait until it’s been warmed by the midday sun to pluck it and stick it on a cracker with some cheese! I’ve no idea what variety it is as it was a surprise of my friend!

I picked a little posy to dry for my other friend who is collecting samples for wedding nonsense next year for her daughter. Those frilly poppies are just gorgeous and look like taffeta or silk fabric to me. 

It’s a mixture of sun and clouds today - got three loads dry yesterday and have washed the dogs car crate cover and blankets just now ready to peg out. I’m awaiting three parcels today and am undecided wether to do roast chicken for tea or lamb koftas. Think the chicken so then can have leftovers! I’ll do it with some hasselback potatoes I’ve decided and lots of lovely veg. We had a full English for tea last night. Really enjoyed it for a change. After the parcels come I’ll stroll the dogs. 

Not to the big handy field at the back of us because bloody travellers have different horses illegally tethered on there. I’m reporting them daily to the council for two reasons. 

1. The welfare of the horses - no shelter, no freedom to roam, danger from kids, dogs etc also some of them are vicious and will move to you to kick and bite. 

2. If you want a horse, buy or rent a sodding field. I’d have to. I actually do not give a flying fox about their Romany Gypsy heritage or whatever it is they will claim again for two reasons

1. The people who own the horses live in houses year round. Houses, fixed to the floor, made out of brick. Yes they may travel to Appleby horse fair but so what? That’s just like going on holiday. 

2. The field is not common ground. They are free to graze their horses on common land as os their right. That field is for public use. There’s two football pitches on it. There is horse muck all over. Great circles of grass are ruined with hooves and over grazing. Churned up mores especially after the downpours we’ve had. 

I was chatting to a man who knows a bloke at the council who are on the long legal process of doing things. So there’s loopholes. It beggars belief! These people who live in a house are also parking their carts and vans on the field - it gets me MAD. 

The council have to post a notice on the field saying whoever owns these horses has 4 days to move them else the council will come get them. 

These lawless morons pull out the posts and simply switch horses. So then the process starts again. The council ARE NOT ALLOWED to simply just turn up and remove the horses. I mean what kind of state is this country in? I think the council should just risk it and remove them anyway. Or remove the travellers - we always called them Potters as kids. I know a few spoil it for the rest but sadly stereotypes are born because of them doing what they do. 

Anyway. Huff hmph grrrr. 

Let me know if the links work if you can be bothered! The videos are only 8 seconds and you will need sound on ! 

Lots of love 

Rachel *riled up* Radiostar xx 

Saturday 5 August 2023

Saturday memories

 Well, after reading my lovely friend’s blog here

It sparked a memory of when I got my ears pierced. My Mum had hers done, my Aunty Laura had hers done but my beloved Nanna didn’t! Instead she had an amazing array of clip on earrings. I loved to see her clip one off when she answered her phone and until she was too elderly and frail to go out, she’s wear a carefully coordinated  pair with her outfit. She was very smartly dressed, my Nanna as was the generation I think. ( (1914 she was born ).

Anyhoo, the glittery coloured clip on earrings lived in her jewellery box on her dressing table. I remember going in and trying them on one time, admiring myself in the dressing table mirror, brushing my hair with one of those fancy big hair brush, mirror, clothes brush , comb and powder puff sets laid out on a crystal glass tray! Very much like this one I found after a quick internet search. 

Those earrings really squeezed my lobes and hurt a lot! But she would trot out one of her mantras that pride was painful! Anyway I wanted my ears pierced properly. My Dad said no, if I was supposed to have earrings then I would have been born with holes in my ears

So one day my Mum sent me to the shop for 20 Embassy regal king size and a loaf of bread. I was 7 I think. The route took me past her friend Dora’s house. We’d go there a lot and me and my sisters would play with Dora’s 3 girls. She was Italian and still spoke with a heavy accent and her English wasn’t perfect and she would often get words wrong. Anyway, unbeknownst to me, my Mum had hatched a plan with Dora. 

As I skipped past Dora was at her door and called me in. She said she had something for me to take to my Mum. I said I would go to the shop and then come back. Which is what I did. Back I went clutching my Mum’s cigarettes and a loaf! Ahhh the 70s, the good old days when children could buy fags! 

Dora said would you like me to pierce your ears? I’ll plait your hair over so Mum and Dad don’t know! 

Yes of course I would! 

So I sat in her kitchen on a high wooden stool. I didn’t even know what it would entail! A glass of whisky and a darning needle and cork is what it entailed! I sat still as she did the first one, numbed with an ice cube first and then the second. My ears were throbbing a little bit and she handed me a mirror to look. There, in my ears were a little pair of shiny gold sleepers! She told me to keepa your filthys mitts off little miss! 

Well she then plaited my long hair into two pigtails and told me to go wait in the living room whilst she got the ‘thing’ for my Mum. 

I remember strongly sitting in her brown sofa in her brown living room not daring to move my head a single millimetre! The ‘thing’ was a bottle of TCP and some cotton wool. It took me ages to walk back home without moving my head. I thought they’d drop out. Ahh the 70’s where you’d go to the shop, get maimed and eventually go home without anyone raising an alarm! 

When I got home I gave the bread, cigs and TCP to Mum. She asked me how come my hair was in plaits. I said Dora did it. She always used to do my hair as her girls had short thick wiry short hair whereas mine was long down to me bum and poker straight! Anyway my mum started laughing and asked me if I liked the surprise! The TCP was to bathe them on an evening and salt water in the morning and keep my filthy mitts off! My Dad never said anything in the end. But that was how I got my ears pierced! I never really had very dirty hands by the way! I was quite a clean child! 

I later got them pierced another 4 times as was the fashion when I was a teenager. It really bloody hurts as you go further up! These days I just wear three each side and I rarely change them and when I do, it’s just the bottom ones. 

I wear a pair of thin small silver sleepers ( hoops ) on the top one, then a silver stud paw print - present off Darren, in the middle holes  and then a pair of silver wedding ring earrings in my original holes. 

Thanks for the memory spark Joy! 

Freddie is here with us for the week as my girl and her beau and a load of their friends head to Cyprus for a week’s holiday and one of the group’s wedding. We went for a walk and then for a coffee! Some of us had a swim in the river and then some of us not only enjoyed a carrot with our coffee but we had an ice cream as well! 

Some of us enjoyed a raspberry ripple shortcake blonde  which was scoffed far too quickly for a photo! We then spent the rest of the day snoozing! I’d made a chilli for tea but as I like most things the next day - I had the night before’s chicken curry knowing full well I will enjoy the chilli today! It’s no big deal for me to serve two dishes up! Mostly we will eat the same meal but as I’m cooking, it matters not who has what! ( I can hear some people reading this recoiling in horror hahahah )
We had two lovely days of sunshine, Thursday and Friday but Saturday has started with a bit of rain. I got up at 5.30. I’ve cleaned all the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher etc. just need to sweep, hoover and mop at some point. The butcher is coming today. I love John the Butcher. He’s a proper traditional butcher who switched his market stall to home delivery during COVID and decided it suits him better! It suits me better too as often I would only go into town to go to his stall. Most of the meat comes from his brother’s farm. He has a really thick Northern accent and has a little white cab. He wears a traditional butchers coat and apron and hat and brings my meat to the door on a little fold up table! As we wait for the card machine to warm up, we’ll have a little chat! He texts me every Thursday or Friday to see if I need anything! Now I know I said to Sooze in a comment yesterday that my freezer is full of meat, it is but the wrong kind! I’m just getting some bacon, sausage, gammon and a chicken to roast today. 
I am about ready to do a stock take of my tins - I always have a little dehumidifier trap in the tin cupboard but my refills for it will be here in the week - cheaper from Lakeland than AMA zon and I had a voucher too. I’ll give the cupboard a good clean. I’m trying to find some good old fashioned dettol to do household jobs. I’m finishing I cannot stomach the strong smells of zoohlora and the like. I bought mIlton fluid last time and it’s changed and now smells minty which knocks me sick. I am awkward because equally I dislike non scented products! I usually stick to lemon but flash lemon has changed and again it’s not right! 
What do you use? 
Right enough waffling on. I’m going to run a nice bath for myself for a soak. My trotters need attention! My daughter asked me to paint her toenails for her holidays ( I have one of those home gel nail kits with an LED lamp ) and she did mine! Matching Paul pink with a smattering of silvery glitter! I need to have a good going over with a pumice! Hahah 

Lots of love from 
Rachel *feet like leather* Radiostar xx 

Thursday 3 August 2023

August Show and tell post

 So I’e been very busy helping my friend with a project with my other friend! They are two of my very best friends in the world and I love them both dearly. ( Last year we had the best caravan holiday ever ! ) 

So my friend J bought this Sherlock Holmes chair off FB for £40 English  pounds. 

This was in October 2021. We finished it yesterday ! She asked my very talented diy gal H to help her do it up. She’d bought the length of fabric because she really liked the cushion she’d bought. The fabric was NOT really upholstery fabric but never mind!

H started off by dismantling the chair piece by piece

and used the original fabric as pattern pieces. She sewed the piping on the chair arms and then asked me if I could help out by doing the chair cushion. So we’ve had a few lovely days together at J’s house. H been bending over the chair at all angles stretching fabric and trying to penetrate what turned out to be the most hardest wood in the whole universe with a variety of staple guns, drills, hammer and nails. Many fingers have been compromised in this chair.

J does not possess a single plaster it was discovered and poor H had to make do with comedy first aid on more than one occasion.

I’ve been sat at the machine sewing and swearing trying to fettle the cushion together. The added stress from H about the coloured spots going the right way! J made breakfasts, lunches, cups of tea and ‘held’ things! 

Her idea was to get the fabric and drape and staple/glue in place. No, said H, we do it proper. So H did all the hard work really. The cushion took a while as when I did the top I didn’t really have the right foot. So then I just did it bit by bit. My wonderful HG took me to the local haberdashery ( love that word ) so I could buy the correct foot and I fell in love with piping! 

So I was determined to have it finished by our next planned session as a surprise that I puffed and panted and wrestled the very stiff foam cushion into the cover. Stood back. Ooed and aaahed and BLEEEEEEPED *^#}{|~>>!!!!

I’d missed catching a bit it. I considered my options. 

A). leave it - it’d not be seen. ( never an option really )

B). Hand sew it and catch it in 

C). Re wrestle it with much effort and re stitch. 

I decided to sleep on it. Next morning, I puffed and panted and tugged and with much effort, took the bleeping cushion pad out of the bleeping cover and re stitched it. I wish I’d double checked it first!! It then went back in, all the time I was praying the zip wouldn’t bust under the strain but finally it was done! At the end, I said we should do a big reveal like we were on an episode of The Repair Shop. An episode? We’d take a whole series!! I said that J should declare it amazing and cry whilst we undraped it. It was pointed out that the use of bbq skewers, bits of card out the garage, screwdrivers being used as emergency chisels because the bleeping bits of wood in the bleeping way were stopping us reattaching the legs, the omg genius R suggestion of carpet tacks being used ( successful for about 8 inches of securing fabric ), the box of nails that were spilt 5 times, the gripper metal stuff that chewed H and J’s fingers to bits, the toilet roll, sellotape,  the automatic staple gun that seemed to fire at will and was more like a deadly weapon than a diy tool and plastic gloves used as  emergency first aid, the bleeping piping on the bleeping cushion that had to be redone with much bleeping might not be BBC friendly viewing! That’s J’s dog ‘helping’. 

J covered her footstool with a little help by herself and should be rightly proud. Finally her chair is in her lounge looking gorgeous. She said she will treasure it forever. I was not allowed to take the cushion and try and wrestle it out again to sort the front edge. You should NEVER  point out your mistakes says Janet Clare ( quite famous quilty  sewing lady)   and she is correct!! But I see it, I can’t stop thinking about it and next time we go round I may just take my sewing machine and fix it!!! 

As we are all Summer born, I made a H friendly black forest gateaux as a belated birthday cake. H friendly has to be gluten, wheat AND dairy free. So my cake is totally suitable for vegans!

I did use a packet mix for ease and this one makes a genuinely can’t tell the difference chocolate cake. I used Dr Oethingy chocolate spread stuff found on baking aisle which again is very convincing and doesn’t taste as artificial as some vegan things can and the grated topping is a tasty vegan chocolate bar that Mr MnS does. The cream is Elmlea plant based stuff that is actually a very good double cream substitute- much softer though and less stable. Tastes just like dream topping if anyone remembers that! I also used black cherry jam and some glacé cherries from Mr MnS. It was the second time I’ve  made this and again it was so lovely! 

Right, Miss 29 is arriving by train later, bringing Freddie for his holidays whilst her and the beau jet off to Cyprus for a weeks holiday and attending their friend’s wedding. Tea tonight is yet to be voted on. It’ll either be a chicken tikka masala or a Mexican chilli. Either way, delicious! 
I’ve been thinking a bit about the using up what I’ve got  method - which needs to be done freezer wise really and then in the cupboard. But. Here’s my thinking. What if I eat all my emergency tins of soup for example - using up what I have - and then maybe replacing them - the cost of replacing is going to be so much more! I’ve plenty of stuff in and just had a shop delivered today but I am going to try not do another big shop now until the last week of August. I’m going to up my regular savings amount direct debit by another £28.28 
I’ve done this the last 6 months or so, and it’s not so much a huge amount I miss, but the odd little 28ps are adding up nicely to the total! I’ve decided this year, as much as I love wrapping and squirrelling little things away for teeny great nephews and neice’s, I’m not this year. I’m going to write them a card and gift them some spending money. I’m going to do this in October 1/2 term to lessen the C word angst I get thinking what to get them! So I won’t be looking in the sales for bargains. It just helps my memory out a bit and I know how short of time I seem at school as 25th Dec looms! 
My lovely friend Tracey who blogs here
does what I have done in the past, and had a Christmas box and a list and pop stuff in throughout the year and it is a good system! But this year, spending money is the way to go for me. Last year I gifted money and a careful wow gift thought out carefully ( I do love giving presents ) but due to time restrictions and other stuff and giving some via my Ma in law who with dementia a had found them and hidden them, the HG’s side didn’t get their gifts until after Christmas. ( I found them carefully tucked under her knickers and vests in the dressing table drawer !! 
Anyway that’s my plans! 

Bye everyone, 
Rachel *loving being off work* Radiostar xxx