Thursday, 30 April 2015

From sweet peas to cannabis

When I planted my sweet peas 10 days ago I watered them, popped a sandwich bag over the pot, (good to use as a propagator), placed them on the windowsill and left them to it. Today the plastic bag came off and here they are, looking strong and healthy. I will probably thin them out and plant them up sometime next week and they'll stay indoors then until the weather becomes warmer.
I picked up 2 bunches of daffodils from Lidl and they're opening up to reveal a lovely orange centre. I think they might be called Jetfire but there are so many types of daffodil I wouldn't like to put money on it.
There was no soup left for lunch today so I made an open sandwich of feta cheese salad. Delicious, even if I do say so myself. 
The district nurse and cancer nurse both came out to see Tom today. His pressure sore is giving him some jip and he's been sitting on a swimming ring to give him some relief. Trouble is it keeps going down, because obviously that's not what it's made for. He can be a stubborn old mule though and it's taken Mark a couple of weeks to persuade him that he needs to order a proper pressure ring. We could easily have gone out and bought one for him but without his say so, he'd have made a point of not using it. Hopefully it will be here in the next couple of days and then he'll be more comfortable. 

Mark was there when the cancer nurse came and Tom asked her about the cannabis oil. I had visions of her saying 'give it a go' and us having to do dodgy dealings on a backstreet corner, but Mark said she managed to get across to him in a very nice way that it wouldn't be a miracle cure for him. Instead she steered him onto the much safer topic of daycare and she's booking him in for a weekly day session at the hospice. He'll get picked up, have his breakfast, be able to talk to other people, join in with whatever activities are on, discuss things with the professionals, have his dinner and be brought home again. I think he'll enjoy it. He likes a bit of TLC and as much as we're there for him, at the end of the day not having his wife with him while he's going through all this must be hard. 


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A Job Well Done - Maybe Not!

Weight loss page updated - feeling happy :)

Today I have bought new shoes. Three pairs to be exact. They are only intended to get me through the summer months and are a cheap and cheerful ballet style from Shoe Zone. Total cost for all 3 pairs - £17. If Joan saw them on the table she'd have my guts for garters, although in my defence I'd never heard that putting new shoes on a table is supposed to be bad luck until I met Mark.
I also bought my usual 3 for £5 books which only cost me £2.65 as I had money on my loyalty card.
And I've gone all retro and bought some wagon wheels that I suddenly had a hankering for. Useless fact of the day coming up: Wagon Wheels were first launched in 1948 when wild west movies were popular. You can't beat a bit of John Wayne and cowboys and Indians can you.
The fencing job is done. The next door neighbours recommended the guy as he's done some work for them before. They must be more easy going than we are where DIY is concerned because it's not the best job we've ever had done and Mark went out a few times to get him to re-do certain things. I know he's been moaning to the neighbours about that, but if we're paying half I don't think it's too much to ask that the concrete post doesn't wobble. Mind you, the job was finished Monday and he's not knocked on for any money yet. Maybe it's because we didn't get what we asked for. Can you see the fencing at the back of the neighbour's garden? We pointed to that and said "we want that". 

Anyway, short concrete posts really are a first world problem. The plus side is the fence is better than it was and it's certainly not worth falling out over but I'm really glad we don't have any other jobs that require outside input


Monday, 27 April 2015

Fencing & Focaccia Bread

The fencing job was supposed to start tomorrow. Good job I looked out of the window before I let the dogs out this morning as he'd arrived a day early. I get the impression he's not enjoying doing it, there's lots of digging apparently. What is it with people these days? The only jobs they seem to want are the easy ones. By the way, before anybody feels too sorry for him, he's not waist deep in a hole, he's actually kneeling down.
Amy is making focaccia bread this week. I will admit, I had to look it up to see what it was. It looked yummy so I thought I'd have a go at making it myself, especially as we never eat Amy's offerings from school. The most therapeutic bit about making this is poking your finger through the dough to make little holes for the toppings. 

I used olives, sun-dried tomatoes and sea salt. It was really tasty and went well with the sweet potato and butternut squash soup Mum made this week.
The lights arrived for our 'summer shed'. They look a bit garish to be honest, more Blackpool circus that mid summer nights dream, but they're going up anyway. A little bit of colour in the garden won't go amiss.
The fuchsia bush I bought last Thursday has loads of buds on it. I'm still sore about missing out on the mandevilla though. 
We have 'marked with an X' and our votes are ready to be posted. I'm not overly into politics but I do vote, firstly because I'm thankful I live in a country where I can and secondly because I feel I have a right to moan about things if the party I voted for doesn't get in. I know a few people who have 'protest voted' in past years, but I've never really understood the point of that. Aunty Edith, bless her, votes for either the most handsome one or the one who wears the nicest suit. Actually, after enduring 92 years of UK politics it might not be a bad way of doing things!


Sunday, 26 April 2015

Testing testing

Not much waffle and only 2 pictures today. 

I bought an SD card for the new camera. It's a teeny tiny little thing, maybe a quarter in size of my old one. The camera is different as well, in that I have to connect it to the computer to download my pictures, rather than inserting the SD card into the computer.

I'm still getting to grips with all the buttons but rather than read the booklet that came with it, far too easy an option, I just keep pressing them randomly to see what happens.

I don't know, all this new fan dangled technology... I'm definitely behind the times.

Anyway, I've taken 2 photos as a test run.

The first is of the soap I bought at Skipton - saved especially for this experiement.
And the second is of these lovely pink roses - my weekly flower purchase from Lidl.

Yes, I'm pleased with those. I think this little camera will be perfect for my blogging needs.

The other thing I want to test is that for some reason when I type Middleton it changes it to 'town' after posting. I'm going to see what happens to that sentence when I post this.

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend. Number 38 should be all back to normal tomorrow with pictures to accompany the waffle. 


Saturday, 25 April 2015

For breakfast today Thomas requested a tuna mayonnaise sandwich and a packet of hula hoops. Each to their own I suppose. 

He didn't want to go swimming and told me he'd just wait now until our 'swimming pool' arrived. When he asked for one a few weeks ago, I think I might have fobbed him off with "we'll see", which he's obviously interpreted as "OK, you just need to wait while I order one".

My mission this week is to try and track down a paste board that we can borrow for the car boot next Sunday. I think I've pretty much gone through the house and sorted out what's going and my cupboards and brain feel better for doing it. I can't wait to get rid of it all and anything that doesn't sell will be taken straight to the local charity shop.

My camera has arrived. I just need to get a memory card now. According to PC World tracking service, after ordering it in Oldham, it was sent from Yorkshire to Manchester to town and finally Number 38.

It'll be good to get some photos on here next week.


Friday, 24 April 2015

Eye, Eye

Mark took his Dad to hospital for his annual eye check today. It's to do with his diabetes and is the one where drops are put in your eyes and then afterwards you're not allowed to drive. Thankfully, everything seems fine so no problems to sort out there. 

Tom has been reading in the paper about cannabis oil being used as a cure for cancer and is going to ask his nurse about it when she comes next week. I find it sad that even at the age of 84 he's still hopeful of a cure. None of us are ever ready to go I don't suppose.

After picking Thomas up from school it was his turn for an eye test. We took him last year as he was doing a lot of squinting but his sight was fine, even though we discovered he was colour blind. He's on their hit list now, so I expect he'll get called back every year. Once again he got a clean bill of health with the optician saying he had 20/20 vision.

And while we were there I chose my new glasses. Unlike Amy, I'm not fussy about how my specs look and I was the one who steered the sales assistant to the cheap and cheerful range. 

So, I'm happy to report that all eyes are present and correct at Number 38 and also Number 14.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Garden plans

Another lovely day here at Number 38. It was even warm enough for me to sit outside for lunch. I was very good and had a huge salad with feta cheese. 

I bought a fuchsia bush from Lidl which I've already planted up - I wasn't going to make the same mistake as last week and it went straight into the trolley this time.

We've decided as we're not going abroad this year we'll spend some time and money on the garden.

The first job will be to get the fencing done and we're just waiting on a quote for that.

Then there'll be some tidying up to do, old pots to throw away, patio to clean, shed to paint etc.

I've ordered some outside lights to hang on the shed to give us that 'abroad' feeling when we're sat in the garden drinking our zinfandel on those warm summer nights (she writes dreamily!).

And Mark also likes the idea of having artificial grass laid. I can hear the sharp intakes of breath from all you gardeners out there, but my sister and friend have it and it looks OK. We've had proper grass in the past but we've come to the conclusion over the past few years that although we like a nice garden we're not gardeners and we don't like doing any of the manual work that comes with it, especially mowing the lawn.

All sounds quite simple when it's written down doesn't it. We'll see just how much does get achieved over the next few weeks. 

In the meantime, one pictureless post down and four to go before the camera arrives. 


Wednesday, 22 April 2015


The weight loss page has been updated - without photos!

Just a quick post tonight. 

Mark took me to buy a new camera from PC World and I did find one I wanted, but typically they didn't have it in stock. I do wonder if their stores hold any stock at all these days as the last couple of things we've wanted they've had to order for us.

It wasn't a wasted journey though. The main thing I wanted to do was 'see and feel one in real life'. Anyway, I've ordered it on-line and it could be 5 days before it arrives. 

I can't imagine 5 days worth of posts without any photos to break up the drivel but you know me, I'll give it my best shot!


Tuesday, 21 April 2015


The weather was lovely for our visit to Skipton. It's about an hour from where we live so easily do-able while Amy and Thomas are at school. 

We've been to Skipton a few times before and market days and weekends can be hectic. There was no market on today though, so parking was a little easier and although still busy it wasn't as crowded as we've seen in the past. As soon as you get out of the car you're surrounded by beautiful countryside. 
Skipton is an old market town and is recorded in the Doomsday book of 1086. At the top end of the High Street stands Holy Trinity church which dates from around 1300, although extensions have been added throughout the centuries. 
 Next to it stands Skipton Castle which is over 900 years old. The church grounds are beautiful and there are plenty of benches to sit on to have a quiet moment and soak up the sun.
This is the view from the church grounds down the High Street. I've been to Skipton several times but have yet to see inside the church or the castle as it doesn't appeal to the majority of Number 38ers. Even today, when it was just the two of us, Mark made a point of walking in the opposite direction when I mentioned I might have a peek inside.
As you walk up and down the High Street there are lots of little cobbled alleyways that lead you into courtyards where shops, cafes and restaurants can be found.
And even the odd Ram celebrating the Tour de France which departed from Skipton last year.
As well as their lovely market town, locals also have the added bonus of being able to walk along the canals and look at all the colourful houseboats that are dotted everywhere. I thought these two were very sweet. Ideal for a 'his and hers' weekend break don't you think?
It amazes me how many boats are actually on the canal and how they line them all up so perfectly.

I might not have got him into the church but I did steer Mark up this tiny alleyway into Craven Court.
 Which leads into this lovely covered shopping area, which was certainly quieter than we've seen it before.
He even came into the apothecary with me, but only for a few minutes before he whispered "the smell's getting up my nose, I'll wait for you outside". As lovely as it all was nothing really struck me, so I just bought a bar of soap.
 Further into the courtyard and there is this lovely sweetshop. Mark didn't even feign interest in this and sat on a bench outside while I chose some chocolate for Amy and Thomas.
 After an hour of sauntering around the town we decided it was time for a coffee so we headed into the nearest cafe and ordered drinks and a trio of cakes. I couldn't stop laughing at Mark's face when we realised we were in some sort of green organic health cafe. I suppose the woman we sat next to who was drinking a glass of what looked like liquid mushy peas should have been a clue. And Mark's face was a picture when the cakes arrived with a side serving of natural yoghurt. They were actually very nice though. We even got 4! The waiter obviously took one look at Mark and thought portion vs body mass wasn't going to be right!
 After spending some more time mooching around the town we were ready for lunch. We've been here before and if you're ever in Skipton and fancy fish and chips I would definitely recommend it. This was much more to Mark's liking with not a pot of yoghurt in sight.
 Afterwards we had a stroll along the canal. The water was as still as a millpond on one side of the path
 While on the other side there was a lovely babbling brook
 Eventually it was time to head home. The dogs and children finishing school were beckoning. And look! A little claim to fame. Anybody who reads Attic 24 will recognise this cafe on the outskirts of town.
 A final view of the countryside and we were soon back on the M66 making our way home. 
Unfortunately, when I got in I dumped my coat, bag, phone and camera in a big heap on the table. Five minutes later I pulled the coat off the table to hang up and my camera came with it. Suffice to say the wooden flooring was unforgiving and I now have no camera. So, maybe it's just as well I only bought a bar or soap and some chocolate. At least I've got some pennies left to buy a new one.


Monday, 20 April 2015

The sound of silence

Amy and Thomas are back at school and it's been so quiet here today. No voices, no music, no phones ringing, no friends calling for Thomas, no teenage lads and lasses sat on the counters in the kitchen chatting. I must admit I love the hustle and bustle of the house at the moment. The to-ings and fro-ings of all the young people bring a totally different vibe to Number 38. But today I'm also loving the stillness. The peace. The quiet. The space. The ownership of my own home again. Even if it is just for a few hours.

I've been to Town for a few bits but really I've just pottered around doing nothing very much, apart from a tiny bit of token housework - not a lot though.

I've bought this little pot of grow your own sweet peas. I love the colours and scent of sweet peas and they keep my little vases filled for weeks on end throughout summer. 
And I've cleared the cupboard of all the odd cups we somehow manage to accumulate and bought 6 new ones. I'm very much a floral girl at heart.
I've also found a frame for the picture from Holy Island. After a little bit of measuring and cutting it's finally hung on the wall.
Mark is taking me to Skipton tomorrow. It's ages since we've done anything on our own so we're going to go for some lunch and a look around. 

I have some spending money and I'm hoping there will be time to have a mooch around Craven Court, especially the apothecary.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

In no particular order...

... Sunday at Number 38. 

Blue sky. 

Homemade quiche to have with salad for tea.

Back into the routine of making packed lunches.

First lily has popped open.
 Final part of Thomas' maths homework completed - eventually.
A 'thank you' bottle of wine bought for a friend who validated Amy and Thomas' passports.
A drop of toffee liqueur and candles.
Decisions - Amy is parting company with her dolls house.
Sunday night baths and showers.

Ingredients for cheese straws being made at school this week.


Saturday, 18 April 2015

St Mary's Lighthouse

The third and final day of our break was spent visiting St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay. Isn't it beautiful.
Thomas insisted I did a bit of camera trickery of him holding the lighthouse - 'for your blog Mum'.
I've never been to Whitley before and was really bowled over by how lovely the coastline is. The place is absolutely spotless and you can see for miles. 
And although we didn't venture onto the beach further up the coast, plenty of other families did. 
The only commercialised bit near the lighthouse was an ice-cream van and a kiosk in the car park selling buckets & spades and brightly coloured fishing nets. My big girl didn't want to go rock pooling but there were plenty of little ones who were having a whale of a time jumping from one rock to another dipping their nets in and out of the pools of water.
Access to the lighthouse is via a causeway and with a 6 hour gap to get there and back in there was plenty of time to walk over even at Number 38 pace. 

As well as a few souvenirs the lighthouse also sells drinks and had we not just gorged ourselves on a lovely breakfast we would have sat in the garden with coffee and taken in the views.

Buried under this building are bodies of Russian soldiers. On their way to fight in the Napoleonic wars they were struck down with cholera and quarantined on the island. Their remains were discovered in the 19th century when a local couple obtained permission to build and run this pub. That is until they were evicted from the island for rowdy behaviour!
Inside the lighthouse our very own Pirate Pete purchased this flag.

And Mark bought me this egg cup - there's a lot of love for boiled egg breakfasts going on at Number 38 lately.
There is also a small room full of information about the island, the wildlife, the lighthouse keepers and the families that lived there. Enid Blyton fans might also be interested to know they filmed a Famous Five series here in the 1990's.

The cost of a family ticket to climb to the top of the lighthouse was £7 and here are Amy and Thomas on the first level.

And did I climb to the top? Not on your nellie. I went dizzy and my legs turned to jelly just taking this photograph. Amy and Thomas waving to me even from the first level sent waves of panic over me with me telling them sternly to hold onto the rail.

I knew deep down I wouldn't do it, but the biggest shock was Mark didn't want to go up either. So like the good parents we are we sent Amy and Thomas up on their own.

I must admit that although I could hear them chatting to each other all the way up I didn't relax until they were back down on terra firma.

Which is where I like all members of Number 38 to be, just so I can breathe again.