Sunday, 26 February 2017

February - Week 4

One of the more exciting things this week has been nipping to the local shops where there's a big car park so that Amy can have a go at driving. I'm not teaching her as such because we drive automatics and she'll be taught in a manual, but I thought it would be worth doing to give her a sense of what it's like behind the steering wheel. We'll stay on the car park for a few more days and then maybe I'll take her out on the road. It's very quiet where we live but as soon as you leave the area you have to deal with dual carriageways and motorways so we'll only stay local.
On Monday me and Amy had plans to watch La La Land. We'd really been looking forward to this and it turned into a bit of an event with Thomas and one of Amy's friends coming along as well. Unfortunately, none of us enjoyed it apart from Amy's friend, who quite possibly was only being polite. In fact, after an hour me and Thomas came out. I found it painfully slow, I wanted to wind them up when they were talking, and there didn't seem any story to it. 
In fact the best bit was the popcorn even though it caused an argument between Thomas and Amy. I bought Thomas a big box and he wouldn't let Amy have any. Now, I'm not defending him but we all know he has a thing about his food so there's no way he's going to let anybody dip their hands into his popcorn. Amy is totally the opposite. Nothing like that bothers her, (although I'm surprised she was willing to eat something his hands had been all over). Anyway, she called him selfish and an argument ensued. I offered to buy her a box, but no, and I quote "that's not the point". Strewth! I was glad when she stuck a bon bon in her mouth and couldn't speak.
The quilts and preemie set were parcelled up and posted off and I've had two lovely e-mails back from the charities. I've been strict with myself and not started anything new this week. Instead I've got the back of the sleeping bag on the needles and have been quite happily knitting this up.  

I also had a lovely e-mail from Tigerlily Trust thanking me for sending the gowns, cribs and angels. I feel quite honoured actually because I've been asked if I would make 50 angels for their annual remembrance service in October. Of course, I didn't need to think twice about it. More cribs have also been requested.

My friend visited on Wednesday, we've known each other since we were 11 when we met on our first day at High School. She came for lunch with her little boy who has Downs Syndrome. He's adorable and a little live wire. Luckily it wasn't raining and we managed a trip to the park to feed the ducks and run off some energy - his not ours! Back home, he decided he'd like a go on the Xbox. Thomas was very accommodating and after hiding his controller gave him the spare one that he didn't think was working. You should have seen his face when he realised it was connected and 'C' started moving things around on the screen! He actually blanched, probably worrying that all his hard fought for levels were about to go down the drain. 
I've had a hankering for cherry and almond cake for a while and finally got around to baking one today. My cherries always sink even though I wash and flour them. Still tastes good though.
Wendy went to the groomers where I asked for 'short' - you all know I like my monies worth where the dogs are concerned. I was a bit taken aback when I picked her up though. All her feathery bits had been completely cut off. Might need to clarify short and shaved next time. 
In a bid to not be too predictable I chose a different pastry from Lidl this week
My Valentine's flowers are still going strong
And my friend brought me cutest little rose.
And that really is about it this week. There have been no days out as planned mainly due to the weather. No shopping trip with Mum. No faffing around like I usually do with wool and material. No goodies bought from Bury. Not even much instagramming or blog reading. In fact the days have just all rolled into one really. 

But considering what I've not done, it's been a most enjoyable week. I really must get on and do something productive this week though. 

I'm now just waiting for some samosa's and spring rolls to come out of the oven to go with our Sunday tea and then we'll be settling down to an evening of TV.
Hope your week was more productive than mine - if you wanted it to be of course. If not, then never mind, it's good to relax and let things slip sometimes :)


Sunday, 19 February 2017

February - Week 3

The biggest event at Number 38 this week was Amy's birthday yesterday. I can't believe her sweet 16th year has been and gone already and she's now seventeen. Like any Mum I can recall every detail of her arrival as though it were only yesterday. She might have been a tiddler at only 5lb 6ozs but she certainly made a big impact on our lives right from the word go. 
I was going to make her birthday cake like I usually do but this year she requested a caterpillar one from the supermarket. You can buy these at any store but depending on where you go their names are different. This one is Wiggles and comes from Sainsburys. Curly the Caterpillar belongs to Tesco, Clyde lives at Asda and Morrisons have a Cheeky Caterpillar cake. We ate the cake for breakfast while she opened her presents and cards. She didn't get many gifts but the money rolled in, the lucky girl. 
In the evening my Mum came down with my niece and her partner who were visiting from Cirencester and we had a Chinese. We've not had a take-away for ages so it was a nice treat. I am a creature of habit where take-aways are concerned. Sweet and Sour Chicken from the Chinese and Chicken Tikka from the Indian. I have never deviated from these choices and don't expect I ever will. After we'd eaten Amy took herself to her room to do what teenagers do best - be on their own, doing their own thing, while we sat talking.

Sophie had a training day at work on Wednesday so we looked after Sienna. We had a trip to Bury and then she spent the afternoon playing with Granny's ribbons which kept her entertained for ages. I'm going to get a tub and put lots of different things in it for her to play with.
She's eating proper food now as well. There are no dainty crustless sandwiches for this little lady but there were cucumber slices on the side. Mark can't watch her eat food like this. He's convinced she's going to choke and it panics him so he has to go and stand in the kitchen. It's amazing how much she can actually eat by sucking food to death. 
Both me and Thomas had physio appointments this week. I was in and out within 5 minutes. All I had to do was show him how far I could bend, which wasn't very far but better than a few weeks ago. I just have to carry on with the exercises and go back in a month. Thomas' appointment was much more fun. He got to juggle again and play a game. It's been decided that he'll go back for a check up every 6 months for the next 3 or 4 years so they can keep an eye on him while he's growing, just to make sure his leg is keeping up.

We don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day at Number 38 so when a beautiful bouquet of flowers were delivered on the day (including lilies!) it was certainly a lovely surprise, especially as the night before Mark had clarified the situation by asking "we're not doing Valentine's are we?" to which I'd replied "No". Ever since Amy was born whenever he sends me a bouquet there is always one rose included. 
I've finished this little set for a preemie charity. There's the blanket I started last week, 2 bonding squares, a hat and a cardigan. 
And also an octopus which might seem a strange toy but they've been requested because the tentacles remind babies of umbilical cords. It's funny though because you're not allowed to knit or crochet anything with holes in just in case tiny fingers and toes get caught, but 8 tentacles in an incubator are obviously acceptable. I suppose as long as baby doesn't move too much it's fine but I wouldn't put one in with a wriggler. 
We had a late night last night and I didn't get out of bed til 11am today! After a breakfast of poached eggs and bacon provided by the  man of the house I finally got the sewing machine down to finish the lilac quilt. I've really struggled with the circle on this, the sewing machine went too fast and my hand sewing wasn't neat enough so I decided to try the machine again but this time I turned the wheel thingy by hand. Although it made my wrist ache it worked really well. I won't make a quilt like this again though!
It's half term this week and I'm hoping the weather will be kind so we can get out for a couple of days. It's hard to get Thomas out of the house so I think any trips will be local. He'll moan about having to get dressed and take part but I always feel better on his behalf when he's had some fresh air! I'm determined he's not spending all week exercising his thumbs. 
I finished reading Cast Off Kids so there are now 2 books on my Book Page. Reading about how things have changed in the care system since the 60's, some for the better, some for the worse, was really interesting. Next up is Fifteen Lives of Harry August and then one Amy has recommended called A Quiet Kind of Thunder. I won't need to buy any books for a while now because Amy has a shelf full that I've not read. Her reading genre is very different to mine but she chooses some really good ones and her bedroom is like my own personal library. 
It's been a long time since I cooked a Sunday lunch, I tend to do a roast one night in the week these days which seems easier. Instead I've started to lay the table every Sunday for tea. The tablecloth gets put on and then I put out sandwiches, cakes, nibbles and a pot of tea and we have a help yourself session. This week my dessert choice was lemon cheesecake with kiwi fruit. 
And that's about it. I'm looking forward to not having to get up early for the next 7 days although I don't think I'll be  rising at 11am again even though I think late to bed and late to rise is my natural sleeping pattern.

I'm not going to start any new projects with Amy and Thomas being off but I'm aiming to finish off the knitted sleeping bag this week. 

Tomorrow evening me and Amy are going to the cinema to see La La Land which we're looking forward to. I also fancy watching Lion and I Daniel  Blake but will probably wait for them to come out on Virgin.

My friend is coming for lunch on Wednesday with her 6 year old and if the weather is nice a trip to the park to feed the ducks is planned.

I wish we were out in the van for a couple of days but we both agreed it was probably a bit too cold at the moment and Amy and Thomas just wanted to stay home for their holiday as well which is fine. 

If you've already had your half term I hope it was a good one. If it's just started like ours, then I hope you enjoy it. And if half term doesn't apply to you then I hope your week is full of whatever you want it to be. 


Sunday, 12 February 2017

February - Week 2

Thomas was off school Monday and Tuesday. He'd not really eaten anything all weekend, still looked pale and couldn't face his breakfast so Mark made an executive decision for him to stay home. It was my turn for decision making in the afternoon and after being cooped up all weekend I thought it would be nice to blow the cobwebs away so we went for a walk in the park. 
I love Foxdenton Park. It's not very big and the gardens are well maintained - the gardener was busy raking up leaves as we walked around. Sadly the same can't be said for the house. It had some money ploughed into it several years ago but it seems to have been left to fall by the wayside again with rotting window frames and broken and boarded up glass. 
It's the same for the bowling green club house which is practically falling down. Again, it's not that long since this was re-vamped and was being used, yet here it is in all it's derelict glory. It would make a lovely cafe but I don't expect renovation is near the top of any Council priority list at the moment. 
I finished knitting the baby things this week and got them off in the post. Two gowns, 4 angel pockets, 2 cribs and 6 angels. Then, as I hadn't got any fleece for the lilac quilt I started to put together a fiddle mat. These are fun to make as it's a case of anything goes.
Sometimes I like to set myself a challenge to keep the old grey matter working and this week it was baby shoes. I've actually astounded myself with how these have turned out. I've no idea what to do with them so I won't bother crocheting up a matching pair - but they are ridiculously sweet aren't they. 
My shopping bargain of the week were these 2 fleeces from Wilko. They cost £1.50 each and I may go back and get some more. I thought the grey would go nice with the lilac quilt. It's not the most exciting of colours but the hearts bring it to life. 
Thomas came home from school all excited on Thursday. The other Y6 class had been evacuated through the fire door onto the field as one pupil had a bit of a moment that involved hitting the teachers, throwing chairs across the classroom and turning desks over. Thomas was fine about it, it probably made for an exciting half hour, but you know what he's like - before he went in Friday morning he'd worked out his escape route just in case it happened again and he got caught up in it.

Amy is 17 on Saturday and is now the proud owner of a provisional driving licence, Lord help us. We've bought her the theory book for her birthday and she's having her first lesson in a couple of weeks. She's not exactly chomping at the bit, it's more a case of having a go to see what she thinks. I don't mind paying for the lessons, but I won't be as keen to pay her insurance if she passes! 
Other bits and bobs:

My car tax demand came which I quite happily didn't pay!
Daffodils springing up all over the park.
Little wooden butterflies from The Works.
Wishing I was 7 again and not only so I could read Enid Blyton!
Pretending I am 7 with lashings of ginger beer and cream cakes for tea.
A new book on the bedside cabinet. Cast-Off Kids is about a lovely couple who fostered in the 60's. I'll probably get through this one in a few days.
Something blue on the hook. Loved these colours until Mark said it reminded him of a prayer shawl!
Just fancied a refreshing G&T last night. Thoroughly enjoyed it, although one was enough. 
And that's another week over with. I can't believe we're already nearly halfway through February - see what I mean about the weeks flying by after January. 

There is just one week left before Thomas finishes school for half term and 3 days before Amy finishes college. By the time they return February will be all but over. 

We have no plans for going away but I'm hoping we can have a couple of days out and if we can use our National Trust cards even better. 

Hope you've all had a lovely week and managed to stay warm and cosy. It's been bitterly cold and windy up here so I've only gone out when I've had to and most of the week has been spent inside pottering around. But I'm good at pottering, it's what I do best, so no complaints from me.  


Sunday, 5 February 2017

February - Week 1

I'm sad January is over and done with already. I love that it always seems a long month and after the hullabaloo of Christmas we're all content to just quietly go about our business doing our own thing. I find from February onwards the weeks fly by far too quickly and I fear Christmas will be here again before I know it!

Sienna stayed with us 2 nights this week while Matthew and Sophie went to Harrogate. The story goes that somebody bought them the break for Christmas, but I'm not convinced they didn't book it themselves. Surely the gift giver should have been looking after her, not us?
She's fairly easy to have at the moment, in bed no later than 7.30pm, dream feed at 10.30pm and sleeps through til the morning. She's growing up fast and is mastering the art of drinking from a cup at the moment. As long as the adult in charge controls the water flow she gulps away quite happily. Not sure how it will go when she wants to do it herself.
We took her to see Joan who didn't have a clue who she was. The name Matthew meant nothing to her so she couldn't connect Sienna at all. She didn't know us either, she thought we were Aunty Edith and Ken. What can you do. She's obviously in pre-1966 mode which means Mark hasn't made an appearance yet. There are 6 lovely cardigans hanging in her wardrobe, yet she's still wearing one that isn't hers. Nothing to get upset about though. She's well looked after and that's the main thing. 
As well as knitting for the baby charity I've decided to choose another charity each month and will make a couple of things for them, because I do like a bit of variety. February's choice is Project Linus although I'm cheating here because I already have 3 quilt tops made and I just need to back them. So far I've done two and I just need to finish the lilac one. I bought the fleece from Asda and I'll get two decent sized quilts out of each, which for a total of £7 is brilliant.
There wasn't much we needed from Bury this week but I can always find something to buy from the haberdashery stall. I've sewn the beaded rings onto the angels as halos which finished them off nicely and the zips are for some fiddle mats I plan to make at some point.
I was supposed to go out Thursday with my friends but one of them wasn't well so we've re-arranged for this week. It worked out fine because Amy had a parent's evening at college which she dropped on us at the last minute. There were excellent reports all round and she did really well in her mocks. Thomas came with us and the English Lit tutor asked him if he was as bright as his big sister. He replied "no" then after a slight pause added "I'm brighter". Classic!

Amy tells me they're knocking the college down in 2020 and building flats which I think is a shame. Yes, it's old and nothing like the modern colleges of today but the building has a wonderful history. It was built in 1897 and was the Central High School for Manchester and in the First World War it was turned into the biggest military hospital in Manchester. A lot of buildings have been converted into flats in the city but I suppose in some cases it's just easier to demolish and re-build. 
The surprise I mentioned last week was my sister and 3 nieces came up to visit. I told Mum I was treating her to coffee at a local hotel and when we walked in there they were, waiting for her. We had a lovely afternoon and then Friday evening they came round to us for something to eat.

On Saturday we all went to see Gas Light. I love the Coliseum theatre in Oldham. It dates back to 1885 and many a soap star has started their career here - especially the cast of Coronation Street. The play itself was dire though. It was billed as a psychological thriller which may have been the case when it was written in 1938 but there was nothing thrilling about it at all as far as I was concerned. 
There has been illness at Number 38 over the weekend. I've been shivery, Thomas has been sick, resulting in 2 changes of bedding in the early hours of the morning and Mark spent all of Saturday lay down not feeling well. 
With the exception of Amy we're still not feeling 100% so we've spent the day sofa surfing and watching TV. Yesterday me and Amy watched Bridget Jones's Baby. I laughed so much at her getting to hospital while in labour that my ribs were hurting. It was the sort of guffawing that turned into "ooh it hurts, don't make me laugh any more". Me and Amy keep looking at each other and saying "we'll walk 10, then rest 10". Brilliant.

And just a few photos from the week

A treat from Matthew and Sophie for looking after Sienna. Truffles from the famous Betty's Tea Rooms. I let Amy have the first one for getting such a good report at college.
 No shortage of lettuces, salad or vegetables at Lidl this week. These vine tomatoes were delicious roasted in olive oil and salt. 
Roses for the vase. I'm pretending I won't buy lilies again after last weeks mishap but really I'm just leading Mark into a false sense of security. 
I love a good mooch around the haberdashery stall and I spied some angel buttons which I've sewn onto the cribs.
A couple of weeks ago Amy brought some Bobo Juice home for us to try. It's a Japanese drink and this one was fruit flavoured. The novelty of it is you add flavoured bubbles to it. When you drink it through the straw the bubbles get sucked up and you can pop them in your mouth. A very strange sensation indeed. It was delicious and so it should be at nearly £4 per cup.
My monthly magazine and the 2017 NT handbook. Didn't really go anywhere much last year so need to try and rectify that. Hoping we can have a couple of days out when we're in the van in summer. 
More shower gel to add to the ever growing stock in the airing cupboard.
And that's about it for this week. There's nothing much planned for the week ahead apart from the re-scheduled night out with friends on Thursday.

Hope you've all enjoyed your week and the one ahead is a good one. Back next Sunday.