Friday, 29 April 2016

Friday and Saturday Plans

We woke up to the white stuff this morning although it didn't stick around very long. I can't decide which is more unusual for April, snow or the warm weather we had last week.
Mum's car is off the road for a couple of days so I picked her up then we went into Middleton. She bought a few bits and treated Amy and Thomas to some chocolate and I bought a book for Little L to go with the finger tattoos.
I spotted some red pillowcases but I'd not been to the cash machine so Mum bought them and wouldn't take the money, which means she's sponsored at least 12 pencil cases :) 
After dropping her off I came home, made lasagne and did some sewing. Amy's maths tutor is coming twice a week now so we had an early tea. Mark said he doesn't mind McD's once a week with Thomas but he can't face going twice. Not sure if it's the food or the fact that Thomas fires incessant questions at him for the hour they're out. 

I'm sat here listening to the maths tutor and Amy and what she knows is actually quite astounding. It's like they're talking a different language. It's also equally astounding that he's just asked her what 7x7 is and she's replied 42!!! He says she's really good on the majority of things, but she's also the Queen of silly mistakes. 

I'm off to Manchester with her tomorrow shopping for her prom dress and shoes. Hopefully we'll find something pretty quickly. By quickly I mean within 3 hours. I'm not a lover of shopping and know my limitations. Plus we want to go to the cinema and eat out so we need to fit that in as well. We've decided to watch Eddie The Eagle, so we just need to decide where to eat.
Hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend. 



Thursday, 28 April 2016

Hearing Test/APD

It was a quick trip round Lidl this morning as Amy had her hearing test at 10.30am. Not that it takes long to do the shopping anyway, 40 minutes max usually. There are 5 aisles in Lidl so it's hard to spend hours in there, unlike some of the bigger supermarkets. My healthy treats today were raspberry and peach tea bags and some plums. 
I also picked up 3 geraniums. No chance of me going out to plant them up though. It's been pouring down and it's freezing.
Amy's hearing test went fine. Her hearing is within the normal range although she seems to suffer from APD (auditory processing disorder), which sounds quite dramatic doesn't it, but basically it means she struggles to hear people if there's background noise or a group of people all talking at once. It's just one of those things and there's nothing that can be done about it.  

At the table tonight Thomas was telling us he'd read a book at school about a man who is a micro-sculptor. He couldn't remember his name so I looked him up and he's called Willard Wigan. You may have heard of him, he sculpts things so small they can fit inside the eye of a needle. Anyway, while I was looking up his name I discovered he's got an exhibition at Manchester Central Library in May, so I've booked some tickets and we're off to have a look on Saturday.
And that's about it for today. I've been sewing more taggies, playing topple with Thomas and reading blogs. 
We're not going dancing tonight. I'm freezing and straight after tea I put my PJ's and housecoat on. I really don't feel like getting dressed again and going out. It doesn't start til 8.15 either so it's quite a late class. Instead I'm going to snuggle up on the sofa and watch Kirstie and Phil who I have a bit of a soft spot for. He only has to smile and I'm smitten.


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Burnt window frame

It's been another beautiful sunny day here at Number 38 although quite bizarrely we've also had the odd snow shower. The sun is on the back of our house all day and we've obviously had more than we realise lately because look what's happened. Amy left a mirror and a glass of water on her windowsill and the sun has reflected off them and burned the plastic window frame. Some heat must have been generated to do that. I dread to think what would have happened if it had been aimed onto her bedding. So my safety tip of the day is no mirrors or glasses to be left on windowsills, especially in hot weather.
After the usual morning routine it was off to Bury. This week I headed for the haberdashery stall to buy ribbon for the pencil cases and taggies. I love this stall and could spend ages pondering over the choices. I also picked up a couple of packets from The Works and some cards from The Card Factory.
My impulse buys of the day were a game to add to our collection which I'll be challenging Thomas to at the weekend, plus these finger monster tattoos which I'm going to send down to my niece.
This afternoon I  brought the sewing machine down and made my first ever taggie. I'm just using material I have in the house and I'm sure the babies won't mind. There are 20 little ones in the baby unit so I'm making one for each of them. A lot of the babies will grow up in the home but some are brought in if their Mum's have died and Dads can't cope. Regular contact is encouraged and sometimes when they're a little bit older and more independent they return home.  
For the backing I've used a pale blue soft fleece blanket which cost £1 and I've managed to get 6 squares out of it. You can just make out the teddy bears embossed into it. 
I did make a mistake though. I've caught one of the ribbon loops. I really didn't want to unpick it all so I'll let this one pass through quality control but I'm being extra careful with the others.
The house is very quiet at the moment. Amy is in her room, Thomas is in his room and Mark has gone to join a boating club which gives him access to a private lake for his new toy. I'm sat here enjoying the stillness threading ribbon through pencil cases waiting for Scott & Bailey to start. 


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Crossing Bridges with Thomas

Thomas had his appointment today with the orthopaedic consultant and the conclusion is that both legs aren't quite right.

His right hip/socket isn't aligned properly which is making him walk with his foot turned out (think 10 past 2) and his left leg, which is the one he broke, is definitely longer than the other. 

He's going to be referred for physio and will also have a wedge fitted that he can slip in his shoe. Lord knows how he'll go on with that, we have enough trouble with labels, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

We've also been warned during the next 4-6 years when he'll grow the most, there is a slight chance his hip could possibly pop out of it's socket, although it's a very rare occurrence so I'm not overly concerned about it. Another bridge we'll cross if we have to.

And I can't help but wonder if any of this will affect his burning desire to be a policeman but once again, if it does, we'll cross that bridge in due course. 
When we arrived home our neighbour had taken in a delivery for Mark. He's bought another boat. This one is a bit faster than the tug and can reach a speed of 30 miles per hour. Being the dutiful and interested wife that I am, I'll probably go to the lake with him and Ken in the next few weeks to see it in action.
I was dusting down the shelves in the games room this morning when I found a lonely Easter egg lurking at the back, so I indulged in a bit, (OK one full half), of choccy heaven. 
Knitting was the craft of the day. See how tidy it all looks in my new pink box. I keep taking the lid off to look inside! 
And it was really interesting to read all your favourite programmes. A lot of the same ones cropped up.  Tonight it's 'The A Word' which I really like, but as I said to MMC I can't get my head around the fact that Joe's parents seem quite happy for him to wander down those country lanes all by himself. 

I know it's only a programme but I always tut and think what irresponsible parents. Who in their right mind would let any child do that. And it riles me even more that they just sit outside waiting for somebody to drop him off back home.

Anyway, moving on, I've just made myself a cup of Berry Burst with Vit B6. The only one left to try now is the licorice. Rachel wrote such a descriptive post about how horrible it is that I've been bracing myself to try it. Tomorrow might, (I'm making no promises though), be the day. I'll let you know. 


Monday, 25 April 2016

Lifestyle Check

I went for my lifestyle check at the surgery this morning. My BP was fine at 120/70 and my weight was OK too. Surprisingly I didn't fall into the overweight range. I ticked the don't drink, don't smoke boxes along with the don't exercise one! She didn't seem overly concerned and said that as long I'm moving around that's fine. When I think about it I'm always getting up and down, popping in and out shopping etc. so although I don't get all hot and sweaty at the gym I'm not a total couch potato either. 

When I first had the HA I would take my blood pressure quite a few times during the day but I don't bother so much now. Today, because the machine was out I took it 3 times. It's surprising how much it can differ. First reading was 120/71, second reading was 119/82 and the third reading was 102/67. I think that's why I stopped taking it so often, it varied too much.
I stopped off at Middleton afterwards and picked up some wool so I can carry on with the cardigan and I also bought a couple more boxes so I can keep my crafting projects a bit more organised.
And I picked up these smiley faces and flowers which are perfect for sticking on the pencil cases for a bit of decoration. 
So far I've done 6 blue and 6 pink and I'm on the lookout for a more unisex colour for the next lot. I could go with cream or coffee but I want something brighter like orange or lime. Sadly there seems to be a lack of brightly coloured pillowcases in the shops although there are some red ones in Argos. 
I've managed to get some washing dry on the line in between the showers and hailstone and I'm in my PJs now just about to cast on a sleeve. There's nothing much on TV that I want to watch tonight, we haven't really got into Marcella. I might put a Whitechapel on.

Being nosy now. What are you all watching this evening? 


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Crafty and Medical Week Ahead

Apart from a quick trip to Middleton for a few bits and Thomas' sausages, today has been spent mooching about the house sorting out all the crafty bits I seem to have on the go.

First up, the front of the cardigan is done and my aim this week is to knit up the 2 back sleeve panels.
After receiving the photo of the children in Uganda I just had to start another batch and picked up a couple more pillowcases from Wilko. I've cut and ironed the first 6 and hopefully I'll be able to get these sewn up this week as well.
I've also decided to have a go a making baby taggies. No self respecting baby seems to be without one these days. My two didn't carry anything around with them, but my nephew had a special blankie and the label was definitely his favourite part. All you do is very very securely sew pieces of looped ribbon around the edges in between 2 pieces of material. They're supposed to be good for sensory skills and as a comforter. I'm hoping to get 3 done this week.
And I've also got my hexy project on the go. The next colours I'm using are blue scrappy bits from the pencil cases, then possibly lemon.  

It's really interesting arranging the flowers into patterns and trying to decide what to do next. I think I've decided on the pattern below as my centre piece.... I think!
In between all these crafty projects I'm back to see the nurse for my lifestyle check on Monday, Thomas has his hospital appointment for his leg on Tuesday and Amy has an appointment for her hearing test on Thursday. At some point I want to fit in another Middleton visit with Mum, quite enjoy our trips and coffee chats and of course the usual things like shopping need to be done.

So, a busy but 'nice busy' week ahead of me. Quite looking forward to it.


Friday, 22 April 2016

Surprise e-mail and photo

Look what I was sent today. A photo of the the children receiving the pencil cases I made. The red and blue ones are mine and I think the pink one as well. Apparently the children were thrilled with them which choked me up a bit, especially when I think of everything my two have got. The children live in Sonrise Children's Home in Jinja, Uganda and another lady had also made some which meant there was enough for every child to have one. A request for more, if possible, was made, so I'll be getting the machine out again soon.

Mark was out today, so I spent a good hour on the computer and phone this morning arranging things for his birthday. It's not until June and I can't really go into any details yet as he sometimes reads this, but I think he'll be happy with what I've organised.

Lunch was a panini with salad left over from tea last night and some slices of smoked cheese. I love salad, but I'm not that keen on assembling it, so to just go to the fridge and pull out some leftovers made lunch easy today. 
And if Amy sees this she'll kill me, but this is my diary and I have to put it in. It's the photo of her that school used for the awards evening last night. It was taken during a food tech lesson which is why she's holding her folder up instead of anything to do with English Lit.
I've just been outside to bring the washing in and there's a definite chill in the air. I was sunbathing (sort of) yesterday, I really hope I'm not snow boarding tomorrow!


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Awards Evening

Couldn't resist these today. Red roses tinged with yellow. Two of my favourite colours.
The weather has been gorgeous again so I've been out planting up some more bulbs and and this pelagornium. Will pop a few more in the trolley next week. I love them and they're great for filling spaces in between the bigger pots.
Tonight we went to an Awards Evening for Amy. She was one of the chosen few to be invited and had no idea what it was for. They don't tell the students until they get there. It didn't start til 7pm and to quote her "I've got to stay in uniform so it'd better be for something academic and nothing as lame as 'always tries her hardest'. She received the English Literature Award.
Had to laugh last night. Thomas came into the bedroom and said "I'm worried about the worry stone. We're not allowed to put our hands in our pockets at school so I won't be able to do it". Mark said by the time he's got a worry stone for the worry stone for the  worry stone he'll be carrying a sack of rocks around with him.

And finally along with thousands of others I'd like to wish our lovely Queen a very "Happy Birthday". I think she's marvellous and I love our Royal Family, the main players that is. I was thinking with 3 male heirs to the throne it'll be many many years before another Queen reigns over us. And maybe that's no bad thing. Whoever she is will certainly have a lot to live up to. 


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Wednesday Wafflings

Bury Buys today were: 3 books, material, a credit card holder and a worry stone. The credit card holder is for store cards that I use to collect points. I have about 6 of them and they bulk my new purse out too much so I want to keep them separate. I don't use them very often, but if I buy something I may as well get the points. 
I looked for a Mollie Makes magazine but couldn't find one so the material is from The Works again. It cost £1 and there are 40 squares. From each square I'll get 2 hexagons, so I don't think that's too bad.
The worry stone is for Thomas. He used to worry about everything and isn't as bad these days, but he really worries about forgetting his reading book and planner for school. He has a morning ritual that involves watching me put his books in his bag, then he'll ask me at least 3 times if they're in there. After he's put his coat on I have to open the bag and show him, 'just to make sure'. When he gets in the car the first thing he does is put his seatbelt on then he'll open the bag to check again. When he gets out of the car he opens it for another check. And as he's walking across the playground he checks for the final time. I've told him it's a special precious stone that takes worry away and he seems to like the idea.
I received a parcel today. Teabags from my bloggy friend Rachel. I've been sent a lovely selection which includes blackcurrant & blueberry, St Clements, Berry Burst, licorice and green tea with fudge and lemon. I started with a St Clements and it's absolutely delicious. These will definitely be on my shopping list. 
I put all our housecoats in the washing machine before I went out this morning. The weather has been lovely today and they dried on the line in no time at all. I sat out for quite a while this afternoon crocheting another border on the cardigan and doing my least favourite job of sewing in loose ends.
It was quite hot so I kept popping in and playing with the hexys, trying to arrange them in some sort of pattern. I'm taking the bull by the horns and aiming for a quilt. I'm thinking a circle of flowers in the middle to start with and then I'll take it from there.
The packed lunches are made, Amy's maths tutor has gone, the pots from tea are in the dishwasher and I'm off to put my PJ's on now. I'm going to sew a few more hexys, try another flavoured tea, then it's Scott & Bailey so that's me sorted until bedtime.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Quarry Bank Mill Apprentice House

We visited Quarry Bank Mill again today, but this time we went specifically for the Apprentice House tour. I know I've posted about Quarry Bank before but if you don't mind indulging me in a couple of photos again.

The weather was lovely. The sun was shining and it was warm so while we waited for the tour to start we had a stroll through the gardens.
Lots of bluebells and daffodils to be seen.
Garden ornaments hidden away in little nooks and crannies.
And the most beautiful camelia bush in full bloom.
The Apprentice house is a 10 minute walk from the mill. 
When we got there some NT volunteers were digging over the gardens that back in the day would have provided fruit and vegetables for the apprentices.Today potatoes were being planted.
We were given a fantastic tour by one of the National Trust employees. The house isn't very big considering it was home to 90 children who were looked after by a husband and wife team, known as  the superintendents. 

At any one time 60 girls and 30 boys aged between 9-18 years lived here.  The reason they had more girls was because they were considered less trouble than the boys and worked harder. 

The children woke at 5am, dressed, emptied their chamber pots, had a slice of bread and a drink of water then walked down to the mill. At 8.30am they would stop for a breakfast of porridge, thick enough to be served straight into their hand. There was no limit to what they ate and if they wanted more they were allowed to join the back of the queue for another helping. They were given one hour for lunch, (porridge again), then worked until 7pm when they would walk back to the house for supper and lessons.

They didn't get paid for working in the mill, (bed and board and education was deemed enough for them), but at the end of the day if they wanted to they could work overtime for 1p per hour. After already being up for 14 hours not many opted to stay on.

This is the schoolroom/communal room. Three times a week they had lessons in here. Girls and boys were educated separately and after learning basic maths the girls didn't have to continue to learn the subject as it was thought it would give them headaches and make them faint.

The Greggs didn't beat the children but any misdemeanours were punishable by fines. For stealing an apple from the orchard the fine was 2 shillings and for running away the fine was 5 shillings. As the children didn't earn a wage the only way of working off the fine was to do the overtime. At 1p per hour it would take 12 hours of extra work for stealing an apple - if you got caught!

They worked 6 days a week with Sunday off, but on this day they had to attend church which was 2 miles away. They went in the morning and again in the afternoon. So 8 miles of walking on their day off. 

Upstairs there were 4 dormitories. One for all 60 girls and three that housed 10 boys each. They slept 2 to a bed, considered a luxury compared to some living quarters, and the straw in the mattresses was changed once a year. Under the beds were chamber pots and it was one pot to 10 people. Lavender was hung up and scattered on the floor to mask the odours. There wasn't as much room as the photo suggests. The NT have taken half the beds out so people on the tours can get in, so the rooms would have been really cramped.
And here is their supply of toilet paper.
Back downstairs and into the kitchen where porridge featured on the menu quite a lot although for a bit of variation fruit and vegetables from the garden were mixed in. Two or three times a week they had meat and potatoes and occasionally there was bacon which was a real treat.
Although pretty dire and grim, this mill was owned by the forward thinking Gregg family who had the interests of the children at heart, making sure they had regular meals, a doctor on hand to sort out any ailments and a schoolroom for education.

At the end of the day though it all boiled down to labour and production. Workhouse children cost nothing in wages and were looked after because "healthier children meant better productivity". Still, the only winners were the people at the top who owned the mills. 

Which is probably still the case these days.