Tuesday, 31 March 2015

1950's housewife

I've felt a little bit like a 1950's housewife today.

I've baked cakes
Done a spot of flower arranging
And made another dress
A glass of sherry would have topped it off, but I don't have any. 

Simple activities, but very enjoyable.


Monday, 30 March 2015

Age Gap

Sometimes the gap between Amy and Thomas seems huge and today was one of those days.

Important things in Thomas' life at the moment.... 

.... Making the darlek for the Easter Egg competition. I drew the oblongs and Thomas coloured them in. Then Mark poked 2 holes in with a needle so he could stick the guns in.
.... The school concert. One of the songs Thomas' class are singing  is Aux Champs Elysees which he's been practising tonight.
.... Times Tables. By the end of Year 4 the children are expected to know all their times tables. I think once he's got his 8's sorted, he's pretty much there. 

And in Amy's life.......  

... Although we're not going abroad this year she's been invited to Bulgaria with her friend for 10 days in the summer holidays. So, today I've been filling forms in on-line to renew her passport 
.... Exams. She has geography GCSE exams this week so her head is buried in books revising.

.... Work Experience Placement. Proving difficult to find as most companies won't take on anybody under 16 due to insurance reasons. Those who can't find a placement will be 'put to work' in the school library. From the sounds of it, the library will be full to overflowing with Year 10 students. 

No matter how wide the gap between them though, they'll always be my babies.


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Over by 8pm

Our night out was over and done with by 8pm. The service and quality of food was dire. We made it halfway through the starter, then after Mark had spoken to the Manager, we left. On the way home we picked up a Chinese takeaway, which was delicious.

It's rained all day at Number 38, but this little splash of colour on the fireplace has made up for it. 
We went a bit retro with activities today which tends to the case when Grandma is visiting. Thomas loves it.

We played lots of card games and she also taught Thomas how to play clock patience. The anticipation of whether he was going to do it or not was practically giving him palpitations! I can remember playing this for ages when I was little. Oh, how easily we were entertained back then.

Tom had his usual delivery of 'meals on wheels' courtesy of Number 38 and seems to be doing a bit better over the past few days. The 'Macmillan' nurse came out to see him last week. Only she isn't a Macmillan nurse, she's called a 'specialist palliative care nurse'. 
The main thing she's done is allay the fear he seems to have of taking more than 2 spoons of oramorph each day regardless of the pain he's in. She's told him that he can actually take it every 2 hours if he needs to along with some paracetamol which seems to be doing the trick and keeping the pain at bay. If it comes back though we have to ring the hospice and let them know. 

It's been quite a busy weekend so it's feet up time now and a Sunday afternoon film recommended by mum. I really don't think you can beat a bit of Colin Firth. 
Hope you've all had a lovely weekend.


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Scrubbing Up Well

Amy and her friend got ready to go out last night. They weren't going anywhere special, just meeting some other friends and walking to the shops and back for some snacks. They spent an hour doing their make-up and hair for this event. When they returned they spent another 20 minutes upstairs re-styling their hair before going out again.

The array of make-up and hair products they use fascinates me. And I'm sure the amount of body spray they work their way through has definitely added to the destruction of the ozone layer.
They also made Thomas up. He wanted a scary, crazy face so this is what they gave him.
I remember all too well taking ages to get ready in my heyday. How the decades have changed me though. When I get ready to go out tonight it'll take me 30 minutes tops and that includes a shower, hair wash/dry and make-up. A bit of foundation, a quick swish of powder, a touch of mascara and a slick of lipstick. Done and dusted. But even if I say so myself, I think I scrub up pretty well. 


Friday, 27 March 2015

Car Crash

No, not me and Cherry thankfully. My aunty and uncle were in a car crash last night. They were driving along minding their own business doing 30 mph as they should have been when the two cars behind them decided to overtake at the same time. They crashed into each other then careered into my uncle's car, sending it into a verge. The car tipped over onto it's side trapping them both inside. Thankfully, some good Samaritan broke in through the back window and managed to get them out. Miraculously, considering they are both in their 70's they suffered nothing more than bruising and were back home a couple of hours after being checked out in hospital. 

Me and Mark had only been saying earlier in the week that drivers seem to be getting worse. They always seem to be in a rush to get somewhere and if they're not overtaking, they're undertaking and pushing in front of you. Years ago it used to be the 'young boy racers' who were the culprits, but probably due to cost we don't actually see many youngsters driving now. It tends to be your 30-50 year olds who should certainly know better.

I posted my parcel today and after taking 4 little dresses out I was back under the 2 kilos. I've made a note of how many dresses I put in so hopefully I won't have to mess around re-packing next time.

Thomas has put the first coat on the darlek egg. Looks like it might take a few more though.

It's going to be a busy weekend. Amy's friend is sleeping over tonight and Mum is staying over tomorrow. We can't find a film that appeals so we're going to go for a meal instead. I quite like people staying, although I tend to agree with one of Mum's sayings that 'fish and visitors start to stink after 3 days'. 


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Postage Prices

My weight loss page has been updated if you want to take a peek. 

More dresses ready for sewing. I took some to the post office today. The last 2 parcels cost £2.80 each to send. Today they said is would be £12.60! When I queried the difference it was because the weight had gone over 2 kilos by 120 grammes. I couldn't believe the £10 price hike for the slight difference in weight. Anyway, I brought the parcel home and I shall re-pack it. I could send 4 parcels for the price of that one. 

New books to read. Another 3 for £5 deal from The Works. These will take me on a journey with a couple desperate to adopt, losing a child and breast cancer. Reading the blurb on each one separately in the shop they didn't sound too bad. Now I'm not so sure. Maybe I should lighten up my reading choices or start to bulk buy my tissues.
Silver paint for Thomas' Easter egg decorating competition at school. We're going to do a darlek this year. We might even add a head teacher, (he has a great sense of humour), for the darlek to eggsterminate!
Fruit bowl replenished. I left some biscuits out for Amy and her friends last night but they ate their way through the entire contents of the bowl of fruit instead. 
Some bias binding to add a little bit of colour to the older girls dresses. At 35p a metre it certainly beats my Ebay buy of £2.50 per metre. 
Tickets for Thomas' spring show. As usual where school performances are concerned they are like gold dust and two per family are allocated. The head teacher might have a sense of humour but he can also be very strict where adults, concerts and tickets are concerned. 


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A Brand New Car

I have a brand new car! Aged 47, it's the first time I've actually owned my own car. Yes, we've had cars and at times we've even had two but I've only ever been named as a driver - the 2nd one! 

She comes courtesy of Tom trading in his car and also a trade in of our second car. Tom decided that as he was no longer able to drive he was going to sell his and Mark happened to mention we were thinking of selling ours to get me something smaller. I'm not a confident driver and the cars Mark chooses just keep getting bigger and bigger. Driving them isn't a problem, but parking and reversing them certainly is. Anyway, Tom suggested trading both cars in together and buying me a brand new one. How lucky am I? 

Today we picked her up and here she is. I'm not into cars in all honesty. All I know is it's an Aygo, it's automatic (I haven't done gears for several years), it's red, it has a sunroof and 4 doors and we don't have to pay tax. 
All cars at Number 38 are christened so henceforth she shall be known as Cherry. She's a little belter isn't she?

I was a bit nervy on the school pick up but I'm sure in a few days I'll be whizzing around in her. 

Mark's job tonight is to read the manual and then convey in very basic terms everything I need to know about her in order to get me to and from school, my Mums and Middleton. 

I have a feeling me and Cherry are going to get on very well together and Amy already has her eye on her for when she learns to drive in 2 years. Heaven help us. 
At the moment though Thomas has staked his claim. If I pulled the seat forward a bit more and sat him on a cushion he'd probably be able to drive it. He looks like he's just got home from a hard day at the office, don't you think?


Monday, 23 March 2015

Lots of ordinary

Not much out of the ordinary has happened at Number 38 today. Not that anything out of the ordinary ever really happens. My ramblings on here just cover our everyday life.

I have 'won' two more items from Ebay though. The pink quilt will be used for under 7's as it's a teeny bit see through and the one with circles is for the older girls. It's 100% cotton and will cover their modesty.
Amy picked up her new glasses last week. She is under threat of being hung, drawn and quartered if she leaves them hanging around again for the dog to chew. They really suit her, but she's too shy now to pose for a photo for Mum's blog.

I have finished 'If I Stay'. I read till well past midnight, probably due to the fact that I had to keep wiping the tears from my eyes and re-focus on the words. Since having Amy and Thomas my hormones have never quite been the same and the slightest thing can bring a lump to my throat but this paragraph made me cry like a baby.
Added to my long list of jobs that comes with a Monday at Number 38 has been Tom's back rub. Mark has also taken him shopping, sorted out some banking for him and been to visit Joan. None of these things are hard, there's just a lot of them to do some days.  


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Weight and Middle Age

For those of you who are interested, I have updated my weight loss page as I'm on yet another diet. Do have a look, I'm sure it will be good for a giggle over the coming weeks. I could put my weight down to middle age spread but it seems a bit of a cop out. So, I'm giving this dieting lark another go.

Mark took Amy to Manchester Fort this morning. He wanted a look around and she wanted to do some shopping. I stayed home to cook lunch, by far the easier option. The shopping expedition went better than last time and she came home with 2 pairs of leggings and some make-up. The 2 questions she used to ask me every morning were, "Does my hair look OK?" and "Is my skirt too short?" She's now added "Does my face look orange"?       
I took Tom his Sunday lunch and rubbed the gel into his back and shoulders again. He's always been a tall and fairly broad man but it's obvious now that he's losing weight even though his appetite is still good. Then we went to see Joan, who in all honesty, looks better than all of us put together. Obviously, the planet 'not a care in the world' is the best place to be. 

We popped into the garden centre on the way back for a cup of tea and a look around and Mark bought me this bleeding heart plant for the garden.
We have found ourselves another guilty secret to enjoy together in the form of Marco Polo and, (I am rather bemused by this), Mark is very much enjoying Poldark. 

Mind you, he bought a tweed type jacket this week, so I think he's decided to stop fighting the inevitable and slide into middle age gracefully. About time too. 


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Saturday - A random mix

Swimming with Thomas. I confess, I did ask him if he really wanted to go this morning. His answer was yes and if there's one thing we stand by at Number 38 it's a promise.
Another pile of dresses ready to parcel up and take to the post office. I don't know how I've done this, but there are 11 under 7's, 3 x 8/9 years and 3 x 13/14 years in this pile. 
A very much enjoyed afternoon treat. I'm trying to lose weight, again. I'm using My Fitness Pal app and apparently if I stick to 1200 calories a day then by 16th June I will have lost one stone. We'll see. The tunnocks teacake came in at 106 calories but was budgeted for (I had extra calories left over from the past couple of days), and tasted delicious.
The first page of a new book borrowed from Amy. Our reading gap is closing and we're able to swap books now, which is nice. 
Daffodils in full bloom. They're on the table next to where I sit and they smell divine.
Freshly washed and dried bedding for Tom. We went up to see him for half an hour and I changed his bedding while I was there. The Doctor came to see him yesterday and left him some gel to rub into his shoulders and back so I did that for him as well. "He says I can use it every day" Tom told me. Now Tom never directly asks for anything but I've known him long enough to know that's his way of saying "Will you come up and do it every day". Which of course, I will.
Coffee and chess with Mum during our usual Saturday afternoon get together. She's having a sleepover next Saturday with Thomas so me and Mark have decided to go to the cinema. 
I made a curry for tea and now I've got my PJ's and dressing gown on and my feet are up. 

Another Saturday over. 


Friday, 20 March 2015

Burial vs. Black Pudding

Tom's sister's husband died 2 weeks ago. As yet the funeral is still to take place. I'm sure it never used to take this long to bury people. My Dad was certainly done and dusted in a week although he died in a hospice so a PM didn't need to be carried out. 

Uncle Alex, Toms's brother, spends most of the year at his apartment in Tenerife, but has flown home so that he can attend the funeral, whenever it is, which I think is lovely of him.

Tom isn't quite like his brother though. He was speaking to his widowed sister on the phone yesterday while Mark was there and Mark couldn't believe it when Tom said "just think on when you're booking the funeral Betty that I go shopping in Bury every Wednesday". It obviously goes without saying that Tom's weekly purchase of a black pudding and a chicken leg takes precedent over anything else that's happening in the world!

I suspect this photo is one of many thousands posted on the internet today, but it's got to go on Number 38's blog for posterity. 
Amy's school ordered 1,000 pairs of glasses so they could go out and experience the eclipse and Thomas' school went into the hall where they watched it on screen. Then at 9.30am (our maximum cover time in Manchester), they were taken into the playground so they could see it 'live'. 

I was pregnant with Amy when the last major eclipse took place in 1999 and it will be interesting to see where we will all be in 2026 when the next one happens.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

It's on its way

Spring that is. It's definitely been in the air at Number 38 today. The sun is shining, birds are singing, we have daffodils and we even have a lamb, albeit a chocolate one.
It's been lovely to have the doors open, not least because the dogs can come and go as they please without me constantly having to get up and down.

I've had the sewing machine out and while I've been sat the sun has been warming my neck, shoulders and back - perfect for my constantly cold bones.
All this spring weather has led us into discussing the garden and what to do this year. It needs a good clear out and some more gravel and we never did buy that pond we discussed. Which might be just as well because Thomas has declared he's too big for a paddling pool now and has his eye on one of these. His selling point to us is "we wouldn't have to pay to go swimming".

There are vague discussions about building a conservatory; would we use it, would it just be another room to clean, would it become a dumping ground. Mark has always liked the idea of one though so it will probably materialise at some point, though whether that will be this year or not remains to be seen.

However, I expect tomorrow when spring decides she's not quite ready to play out and it's cloudy and raining again, all plans will be shelved. The heating will be cranked up, the doors firmly shut once more and the garden will be forgotten about until the next sunny day.


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Anniversaries and Flowers

There were 2 anniversaries in the family today. My Dad died 21 years ago and Tom and Joan have been married for 54 years. 

We don't do anything for my Dad, no flowers, no crem visit, no going to see the book of condolence. I think we just all remember him in our own time and in our own way. Which is exactly how he would have wanted it. I always remember him saying that after he'd gone we were to get on with our lives as normal. To be truthful, it was a bit of a tall order for quite a while, but we got there eventually.
Tom ordered a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to Joan and Mark took him to see her this afternoon. They found her sat in the chair with the flowers beside her, but bless her, she had no idea they were hers, who had sent them or why she'd got them. But she did ask if they'd brought her any sweets.

I took Amy's coat and underwear back. The refund on the coat was no problem, but they have a policy of no returns on underwear which means she's £10 out of pocket and has a dozen pairs of knickers that she can't wear. She was absolutely livid, it's so much more annoying when it's your own money that's wasted isn't it? Anyway, she was that indignant about the whole thing that me and Mark had to try hard not to laugh. We think it's a good life lesson though. Think about what you're buying and double check sizes.


Monday, 16 March 2015

When size really does count

Amy went shopping with her friends on Saturday. She bought:

A new school bag that her lunch box won't fit into.
A beautiful pale lilac coat which was on a size 10 hanger but is actually a size 20, ("did it not feel big Amy?" I asked. "Well, a bit but I thought that was the style and my friends said the colour suited me").
A hundred pairs of knickers, (slight exaggeration but not much), that are size 6-8 when she really should have bought 8-10. 

"You're going to put this on your blog aren't you" she said woefully. "I cannot tell a lie", I replied. "Yes". 

This means of course that on Wednesday I now have to queue up at Primarni customer services to exchange everything. That's if I can, as the receipt has been lost and everything was bought in the sale, (she did get brownie points for that). So whether there's anything in her size to exchange remains to be seen. 

Not that she's at all grateful. In fact there was a bit of face pulling because I wouldn't go today. Over the past week my beautiful little butterfly seems to have morphed into a rather chopsy big ugly bug. When I pulled her up on her attitude, the reply I got was "well I am a teenager, Mum".
Which of course, when you're 15 obviously covers a multitude of sins.


Sunday, 15 March 2015

How long did yours last?

Mothers Day that is. Mine lasted about 30 minutes. But it was a very nice 30 minutes. Lots of hugs, kisses, cuddles and gifts. There was even a bacon butty courtesy of Mark.

Thomas bought me this. He chose it himself.
And he made me these at school.
Amy knows me very well. She bought me a lovely notebook set and a beautiful scarf with a cherry blossom pattern on it.
Then after more hugs and kisses normality resumed. Amy slunk off to have a long, hot shower. Thomas meandered upstairs and got back into bed with his ipad. Mark turned on the gogglebox and watched a fishing programme.

And what did I do. Well, I prepped the veg for lunch, cooked the lunch, did a spot of uniform ironing, helped Thomas with his homework, put a load of washing in and pegged a load out!

After taking lunch up to Tom we all visited Joan who is in fine fettle. We took her a little flowering plant for her bedroom but to be honest she was much more interested in the bag of chocolate eclairs which she devoured there and then.
Back home I decided to indulge myself. I put my PJ's on, made myself a brew and watched Bertie and Elizabeth. 

And there endeth Mothers Day 2015 at Number 38. Hope you all had a lovely one.


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Swimming & Afternoon Tea

Thomas has finished swimming lessons at school, they must only go for 6 months. He loves swimming though so I've taken the plunge, pardon the pun, and promised him I'll take him every Saturday morning. I hate swimming so it's a big promise. Well, I don't hate swimming, I just hate getting undressed and dressed. Anyway, this morning we got our lazy bums out of our PJ's and went to the leisure centre. It's a lot easier than I remember. There's no armbands to blow up, he doesn't need goggles any more and he can go in his own cubicle to get changed. 

Mark didn't want to come but he did make me a boiled egg and soldiers to send me on my way. As lovely as it was, if he thinks that's getting him off the hook every week he's in for a shock.

We took Mum for afternoon tea today for Mothers Day. We did it a day early because we never go out on Mothers Day, it's just too busy and Mum's very easy going about such things. Amy was out with her friends again so Thomas had to come as well. He was quite happy playing tic-tac-toe with Grandma while waiting for his chocolate brownie.

Which, along with his DS, kept him quiet while we enjoyed our afternoon tea. We had a selection of sandwiches, a scone with jam and clotted cream, a mini Victoria sponge, a fruit pastry and a glass of blackcurrant jelly.

The jelly caused much frivolity and also Mum to choke while laughing. It came in a long glass with a small spoon, which I though was silver, but turned out to be plastic. We couldn't get much on the spoon to start with but by the time we'd got it to our mouths there was hardly any left. And as we got nearer the bottom it was a case of angling the glass and holding the spoon with our fingertips to get at it. It reminded us of playing pretend tea parties with Amy when she was little.
It was very nice though and we spent nearly 2 hours there. Mark said he felt 'sugar drunk' when he stood up, but I think that was more to do with the 3 sugars in each of the 3 cups of tea he had than the dainty cakes.

Tomorrow we'll go to see Joan. We've spread ourselves over 2 days as I get fed up of rushing to fit everything in. I want to enjoy what we're doing with the person we're doing it with instead of constantly clock watching and thinking about who's next on the list. 

I have to remember that Amy and Thomas will also have surprises planned for me so I need to be here to enjoy those as well.