If Only Giving Up Was In My Nature!

If only giving up was in my nature I’d be a hermit by now living in a hovel on a windy Norfolk cliff edge. Why a Norfolk cliff edge? Why not, I like Norfolk.

I think I’m writing this today because I feel a desperate need to connect with a human being, any human being to be honest, who can relate to where my head is right now. You know me, I’m a jolly little person getting on with silly little mundane things, battling on against the incoming tide – sorry, for a second there I was already on my Norfolk cliff edge watching the waves coming in, munching a breakfast of dandelion leaves and clover. I digress . . .

I think it was the bloody washing machine trying to go into orbit, early last week, with a crashing noise like the house was caving in that started this latest desire of mine to metamorphose into a hermit. The whole kitchen vibrated. The crockery fell off the draining board and Chea (kitty) ran for the hills and no attempts to encourage her out from under the sofa worked until she heard the rustle of her favourite treat being opened.

Of course, ‘my man,’ said he would ‘look’ at it and in fairness he did, over a period of 3/4 days before announcing it was not repairable. Hallelujah! I could have told him that a week ago.

Then, two days ago, in my over exuberance to place the lemonade bottle to the back of the cupboard, over the top of 12 bottles of spring water the whole shelf collapsed. Chea ran for the hills.

This resulted in 3 smashed side plates, 1 halved dinner plate and 12 bottles of spring water landing on my toes.

Then, today, after catching on the news that people who lost a couple of kilos of weight were less likely to get diabetes and taking exercise is still the best way to beat depression (and/or in my case having overwhelming desires to become a hermit) I decided I wouldn’t sit on my bum, scoffing Nobbly Bobblys and Lidl’s nutty caramel bars while ‘my man’ went to the pharmacy for me, no, I’d go myself . . . and I’d walk.

The pharmacy is only half a mile (there and back) so a mile. OK, so my dicky hips, painful legs, old hernia repair wound might twinge a bit but so what, if losing a couple of kilos would help to prevent diabetes and a mile’s hobbling would lighten my mood it was worth it.

There was no one in the chemist so all good. On went my mask. I shouldered open the door and embarked, following the yellow floor arrows till I arrived at the counter. I gave my name and waited. I will at this point admit to having had a niggling feeling that there would be a problem. I’m jolly clever like that – predicting problems! I’m not sure if the assistant was grimacing beneath her mask put I reckon she was as she said . . .

‘Er . . . we don’t have these. They are due to come in later today . . . or tomorrow.’

‘Today . . . or tomorrow,’ I muffled (I’m wearing a mask, obviously)


‘And that’s definite,’ I muffled.

‘Er . . . I can ring and ask . . . oh, I have one, you can have that.’

She held before my eyes an opened box.

‘One foil,’ I said. (A foil holds 7 tablets)

‘No, one tablet,’ she said.

I admit I snorted, like a pig wearing a mask. ‘One tablet . . . no you keep it you might need it for someone else.’

I wasn’t picking up the elixir of life just a flipping acid reducing tablet. Why wouldn’t they keep a stock – and the order was placed over a week ago? And you wonder why I want to go and live on a cliff edge? Come to think about it I reckon I’m already living on a cliff edge? I gave her my mobile number and asked her to text when they were in, I’m not walking back and forth, back and forth until I know they are there for sure. You can have too much exercise, right?

The outcome? A new washing machine is due for delivery on Saturday – what could possibly go wrong? The delivery might happen but ‘my man’ fitting it? The shelf has been put back and I’ve taken some of the weight off it. It meant rearranging all the other cupboards to get the extra bits in because I’m nothing if not organised and neat and tidy. Thank goodness it wasn’t the shelf holding the 65 tins of baked beans, that gave way!

And before you accuse me of stock piling it isn’t true, I am merely ordering 6 tins of beans with each delivery. It’s called being prepared. I also have a jolly nice stock (if you don’t mind me using the ‘s’ word?) of toilet rolls – a necessity with that many tins of baked beans. See? Prepared.

P.S. I HAVE now moved the 65 tins of baked beans to a base unit – along with the 12 tins of mushy peas, 15 cans of tomatoes, 10 cans of . . .


Going Into Lockdown? Bored? Try This Little Offering?

From today till 9th November The Sleeping Field is offered for download for 99p.

It’s a decent enough read and some people have gone as far as saying they like/love it BUT – can you always rely on ‘some’ people?

Only one way to know for sure – try it? And if you don’t like it what’s 99p? You can’t even buy 4 Nobbly Bobblys for that! ( see last post).


I’d be hugely grateful if you’d spread the word. I’ve been so fragmented this year (haven’t we all?) that this is the first time I’ve brought my head back to my novels.

Take care, stay safe . . . and big love as always x

The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Men Often Go Awry

I’ve said now, one or two times, that I’m coming back and I am . . . but I wasn’t coming back today.

Today, because ‘he’ is out all day, I’d planned to do something with yeast. Nothing weird you understand, I haven’t sunk quite that low yet and even if I had I wouldn’t know where to start . . . I mean, who would? Though, Google probably would. Just a thought.

Anyway, the plan was still fresh in my mind as I manoeuvred my painful hip from my pit and wobbled to the bathroom.

It was there, in the bathroom, that all plans fell apart.

I sneaked the bathroom scales slowly towards me with my big toe and stepped on and it was at that point that I realised I would not be doing something with yeast until possibly 2022?

First, I haven’t the faintest idea where 5 extra pounds have come from and second I haven’t the faintest idea of how to get rid of them, although one small idea sprang to mind – stop scoffing bloody cinnamon swirls and don’t make another 2 batches today!

When I say ‘I haven’t the faintest idea where 5 extra pounds have come from,’ of course I know, I’m not stupid, it’s that old calories in/calories out thing but . . . if you could witness, just once, how hard I work at the wood pulling out mile-long blackberry brambles, lugging trees around etc. you would think, as I do, that there isn’t a floating calorie left in my blood stream by the end of the day.

I do have one theory. I reckon it’s 5 pounds of extra muscle that I’ve built up. Come on, who could work like a little carthorse and still put on weight?

I do have a second theory. Could it be that I’ve almost exhausted Netflix and Amazon’s series? In my defence I have to say that I don’t sit watching them in the mornings, just with my lunch . . . and afterwards while I have a couple of lollipops for pudding – Nobbley Bobbley lollies are to die for. Oh, and I do quite like Tesco’s own brand crisps. We have deliveries from Tesco now and it’s bloody brilliant, I mean, their mixed bags of crisps contain 30 packets, yes, 30 packets! I do leave the prawn cocktail ones for Richard – he’ll eat just about anything. The packets are quite small so you need 2 . . . or 3 while watching Corrie. Of course then you fancy something a bit sweet so I’ve also discovered Lidl’s peanut choco bars, again quite small so . . .

I think there are a couple of carrots in the bottom of the fridge – I’ll have a munch on those – should sort it out in a jiffy.

P.S And don’t for a minute underestimate how much energy goes into driving Eric – named after my late father because he too was old, grey and a hard worker.

Mind, he’s poorly at the moment.

Catch you soon. Off for a healthy fruit tea and a tiny piece of cake – left over from my birthday. Be rude not to eat it.

Seriously? Take care and stay safe xxx

Yeah, right, OK!

Well, as promised, here I am.

It’s Monday and that’s about all I know.

What the hell are blocks?

Why has it all changed/changing? I’ve only been gone a year! What’s a year between friends?

Blocks? Blocks? Bollocks more like . . . I’m going to have to go away and figure this thing out – unless some super-intelligent-life-force can fill me in?



I don’t believe it! According to this I haven’t posted since April 1st. How can that be true? Where has that time gone to?

I guess what can’t speak can’t lie so I’d better get my loins girded and think of something to say . . . soon . . . not now . . . but I will be back!

Mother’s Day – Great Start . . . Crap Finish!


It would have been too much to ask for a perfect day, wouldn’t it?

It started well.

I’d requested a Cornus plant/shrub thingy from my son, Matt, and went into great detail re colour and size. Yes, I would have loved a tree-size one BUT I’d visited the plant centre a week earlier and saw the price of the tree-size ones, and to be frank I didn’t think I was worth that much. That’s a bit sad isn’t it? But you know me – the original shrinking violet. Shut up it’s true!

So, knowing Matt obeys my every fancy and whim (mostly) I was pretty confident that a lovely little Cornus would produce itself from Matt’s car boot come Mothering Sunday.

10.00 a.m. arrived and right on time (another quality he gets from me – always being on time) his work truck chugged to a halt outside the house and there, swaying, slightly seasick was my pressie – a small tree-size Cornus.

Obviously I was overjoyed that, A. I’d got a super-duper big plant and B. that apparently I WAS worth that much.

The grand kiddies piled in followed shortly by a plant and Matt somewhere behind it. I showered him with thanks before scolding him for spending that much on me when I would have been perfectly happy with a titchy one – well, maybe not a titchy but it is the thought that counts, you know.

The plant was placed in the garden awaiting planting. I already had the area mapped out and I told Matt that I’d be planting it when they left. At this point he said, ‘You might like to water it first?’

Good point I thought.

‘It’s been in the garage for two days,’ he added.

‘WHAT!’ I exclaimed. ‘So it’s been in the dark for two days with no water and then rattled up the motorway in an open truck?’

He grinned.

‘You lazy git,’ I said, ‘you just couldn’t be bothered to carry it round to the back of your house, could you?’

He opened his mouth to deny it but then changed his mind and continued to grin.

‘And YOU call yourself a gardener? I said.

He laughed.

This information set me back a bit, so when they had gone I watered it in its pot and then this morning I planted it. It looks OK . . . well, brilliant it fact. I think if it could talk it would breathe a sigh of relief. I don’t think it enjoyed the M1 that much?

As I said . . . Great Start, Crap Finish, because . . .

Later that day I toggled up the garden to tuck-in the greenhouse plants. A frost was forecast so they had to have their little duvets pulled-up round their delicate stems. As I was saying goodnight to the baby cosmos (Prince Charles talks to HIS plants so don’t go thinking I’m mad and alone in this), through the greenhouse glass I caught sight of a bird, on the floor, in front of Richard’s shed. It looked perfect, not cat struck at all. I couldn’t bear investigating so I shrugged down to the house and asked Richard to go and see if it was dead. He did so.

It was dead. I believe it had flown into the shed window. He described it to me (he’s no ornithologist) and I realised in was a bullfinch. Last year there had been a pair visiting the garden and only yesterday I was thinking that I hadn’t seen them this year. I was devastated really. I don’t do ‘dead’ animals very well, but then who does. I kept thinking that its mate would also be devastated. I tried telling myself that it would be fickle and find another mate, a prettier, better-at-finding-food-for-the-chicks mate. Then I told myself perhaps it would be happy knowing that its true love hadn’t had a horrible ending in the jaws of some rotten kitty . . . but none of that helped. The vision of the little thing stayed with me for the rest of the day . . . and has carried over to this morning. Yes, I’m a dick. What more can I say?

Whenever I see roadkill in the distance I have to close my eyes until we have passed it. Last year a muntjac had been hit on the busy road at the side of the wood and it had managed to make it to the gate of the wood. It had two broken legs. I still have nightmares now. It looked perfect, except for the two broken legs – and the fact that it was bloody dead. How long had it been there until shock had claimed it? How much pain did it suffer dragging itself from the road and along the grass verge to the gate? Yes, I think too much!

Last week, as we arrived at the wood, we noticed what looked like snow around the shed. On closer inspection (I sent Richard ahead to investigate) it was, or had been, a wood-pigeon. Feathers were everywhere. I never knew they had so many feathers!

Two days ago I raked the feathers together and burnt them.

So, there you go. A lovely Mother’s Day in many respects . . . I spent time with my son and grand kiddies and received exactly what I wanted but how much nicer it would have been if Mr Bullfinch hadn’t committed suicide?

This I guess is the balance of life, hey?

Right, dashing off to sand some wood. A craft fair looms and I must focus on making stock.

Stay Happy xxx


Busy, Busy, Busy . . . Not Expired!

O.K. first things first . . . I’m not dead. This news will either be met with whoops of joy or total indifference, I suspect the later.

So, where have I been? Nowhere really. Just around and about doing my own thing.

To be honest that probably isn’t honest, you see, I think my ‘hermit’ tendencies are now running parallel with my ‘can’t-really-be-bothered-to-do-anything-that-I-don’t-want-to-do-just-to-please-people-that-don’t-warrant-it.’ So I’ve been doing anything and everything that I WANT to do, and although there were quite a few odd moments when I thought about bashing out another blog something else always got in the way.

Health issues have been at the top of my agenda – well, they are aren’t they, once you step over the line into ‘a certain age?’

I don’t think it helps that I won’t give in to them (health issues) or accept that I’ve crossed over that line into a ‘certain age?’

I’d list my health issues but I’m trying to keep this blog under 20,000 words!

I’ll move on.

So what do I do all day . . . besides Netflix? That’s a joke by the way . . . kinda! Well, I don’t write novels anymore . . . the retinal migraines put paid to that, (see how a ‘health issue sneaked in under the radar there?) but I do other things.

Remember I told you about the small woodland we bought two years ago this May, well that takes up a considerable amount of my time, and rightly so. We have titivated and tidied, erected insect hides, bird nesting boxes, bird feeders (18 to date) and loads of other stuff too numerous to mention, and it has been great. Wildlife has returned. We now have woodpeckers, tits of all kinds, squirrels, muntjac, squirrels, nuthatches, squirrels, foxes, pheasants, wrens, robins, a rabbit (only ever seen one) hares and did I mention the bloody squirrels!!! Such little sods. They carry screw drivers and wire cutters and take down the bird feeders, most of them never to be seen again. It’s an ongoing war with them. I’ve made it my life’s work to outsmart them – the jury’s still out on who’s ahead to date! If I had to hazard a guess I’d say 70/30 . . . in their favour. I do know one thing – after all the food they’ve scoffed over the winter their dreys will be bursting with squirrel babies this year and I’ll need even more bird-feeding stations!

Then there are the craft fairs.

I make all things rustic from the fallen, and trimmed wood – fairy houses, fat ball feeders, other very clever things (?) and toddle off to craft fairs with them. The money I make goes back into supporting the wildlife. Can you imagine how much it costs to fill 14 bird feeders and 4 bird tables? So if anyone wishes to make a donation into my PayPal account go right ahead? Actually, I’ve had a break from the fairs since Christmas but they are starting up again now and in fact I did my first one of the year last weekend










Also . . . my first love – the garden.

Spring has almost sprung and I’ve already got the garden and greenhouse in good order. Green things are springing up everywhere and today I actually SAT in the garden for one whole hour! A bloody miracle for me. You see, I love it but I always find something to do and can never sit still for a minute. I watched the birds coming and going. We have a wren nesting in the recently trimmed conifer. She makes one hell of a noise when Chea (kitty) is around. She really needs to be a bit more discreet – the wren not Chea.







So there you go. The wood, the garden, making the wooden things and the craft fairs. Oh! And I’ve just dug out my sewing machine and I’m having a bash at dressmaking – though they aren’t dresses that I’m making, they are tops. That’s going O.K. except for the first top looking like it would fit an elephant. I cast it to the back of the wardrobe telling myself I could wear it in the garden but then, being O.C.D and knowing it was stuck there, imperfect and as a constant reminder that it was wrong, I retrieved it and altered it. Now it would fit a hippo, so job well done, hey?

I’ll toddle off now . . .  you can probably only digest so much crap in one sitting?

I’ll catch you soon – I’ll add blogging to my nice list of things to do . . . possibly.

Take care lovelies x

If you’d like to take a look at my Woodland Crafts Page over on Facebook, and possible give it a like, a share or whatever, it would please the squirrels no end! (and me) xx



When Only One Word Will Do

I’m sure you know what it’s like – when only one word will do?

As a writer and author I’m supposed to have a whole dictionary of words at my disposal and in honesty I do – but do I use them? I do not.

I don’t flimy-flam (beat around the bush) I call a spade a spade. However, when my eleven-year-old grandson stood in my craft shed the other day, looking at the old, battered filing cabinet, and asked, ‘Grandma, why does it say crap on that drawer?’ I had only one answer, ‘because that’s what’s in it Jake, crap!’

He grinned a little (he thinks I’m a rebel) and opened the drawer.

Jake is a great ‘collector’ of things. Many, varied things. He collects coins, ‘interesting’ stones, pieces of wood, all sizes, all shapes, bits of metal, nuts, bolts, washers etc. I adore him. So this led to a rummage through the ‘crap’ drawer where he found this and that and rescued them for his ‘collection’. His father (my son) wrings his hands and exhales deeply when Jake goes home after a stay, and with great exasperation moans, ‘Oh noooooo, what have you got now? Do you really need all that rubbish?’

I’m tempted to tell my son that it isn’t called rubbish, it’s called crap. I think Jake has the same temptation but he’s a good boy and what happens at Gran’s stays at Gran’s. We are partners in crime and all things private, naughty and silly. I think Jake may become an archaeologist, or have a dusty shop where he sits with spectacles perched on the end of his nose reading one of his ‘must have’ books. Did I mention that he has hundreds of books already?

I think he may get some of this from me.

I mean, does anyone really need 10 wooden spoons, 3 shelves of Tupperware (I say Tupperware but it’s the equivalent) 6 doo-dahs of cling film, ditto foil. 500 padded envelopes, card of every colour, 6 gardening hand-forks etc. etc. I simply ‘like’ these things and in my opinion you can never have too many plastic containers with clippy lids – ever.

Another thing that is simply beyond me is this . . . I can’t plant two seeds together (like Monty Don does) and then discard the weaker. Nooooooooo! It should be illegal. How can anyone pull out a seedling and throw it away. I have to save everything. And I find it quite difficult pruning shrubs without shoving a dozen pieces into a plant pot to see if they root. This could be why my garden looks like the Amazon jungle?

Talking of having more of something than you need, I have a million tadpoles in the pond right now. When our only remaining fish went to fishy heaven, last year, we removed the filtration and U.V etc. and decided that it would be a wildlife pond. It could do its own thing and I would NOT fish out duckweed, fallen leaves etc. but leave it to its own devices. This is why the water, at the moment, is pea soup green and we have a million tadpoles and a thousand baby water snails. When we had the fish they would have polished off a few hundred tadpoles but right now they have no predators, other than a blackbird that I saw standing at the edge of the pond plucking them from the water.

Monty (that man again!) said you should place rotting logs in a wildlife pond and so I did. Yesterday I decided that the pond could take one more – just a small one – see, I even have too many logs in the pond! I turned my back after placing the log in the water and when I turned back a shoal (is that right – a shoal of tadpoles?) whatever – a shoal of tadpoles were having a feeding frenzy sucking-up the green algae off the wood. They remained doing this forever so I put another piece of green wood in and ditto – more arrived and pigged-out until the algae was no more.

Some might say that I have too much time on my hands. I disagree. I’m doing what pleases me. See, I am a rebel.

Anyway, I’m off to count my Tupperware and throw another log in the pond. I should clean the house (probably) but then again, why would I want to do that crap?

I’ve posted a very short video of the feeding tadpoles on my F.B. page if you want to take a look. I couldn’t post it here.    https://www.facebook.com/gail.orbell



Into The Wilds Of Derbyshire

This Sunday I’m popping over the border and entering the wilds of Derbyshire. I will have the car loaded to the roof with fairy houses and all things wooden as we make our way to a craft fair. I’m not expecting to have a fortnight in Hawaii off the back of this one but it is for a good cause and we all need to support those from time to time, don’t we? It’s at The Cat’s Adoption Centre.

This, you realise is tricky. I fear selling two tea lights and coming home having adopted eight cats and a litter of kittens! Chea (existing family feline) would do her fruit and we would never hear the last of it. No amount of Purina Gourmet Gold would swing it back round to our favour. She has principles. She is the one-and-only and there is only ONE in one-and-only.

I had a brilliant idea for changing the staging on the table – until I realised that it was less of a brilliant idea and more than likely a stupid idea. I don’t know what table they are providing but it would have to hold a small elephant if I stuck to my brilliant idea. Even my super-duper table in my craft shed would be on its knees so “brilliant idea” has been shelved.

I have a few new things to take to this one.

The Shabby Kinda-Chic Dwellings have extended into Shabby Kinda-Chic Cottages and are due to extend further, towards the Christmas fairs, as Shabby Kinda-Chic Snow-Scene Cottages – a suggestion from a friend of mine, Claire Chambers. I might have to seriously rethink the name though.

shabby 1
Shabby Kinda-Chic Dwellings

Another newbie is the Weathered Wood Fat Ball Feeder. This has been home-tested and I can vouch that it will hold a flock of flapping jackdaws in a feeding frenzy, the weight of which put my homemade rose frame thingy, under great pressure.

Weathered Wood Hanging Fat Ball Feeders

Along with the fairy houses I now have the Hobbit Homes – originally named Gnome Homes until I realised that the younger generation probably doesn’t have a clue what a gnome is, so I’m playing safe with Hobbit Homes. Everyone has seen Lord of the Rings, right?

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Fairy Houses

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Hobbit Homes

This week there has been a slight problem with something entering the closed outside run (ex chicken run) where I keep the mossed fairy houses so that the moss won’t dry out. Something has been in and removed the moss from one of the house roofs. It now looks like it has a case of galloping alopecia. I can only suggest a wren because I know of nothing else that could squeeze through the wire. Initially, I thought that I might have left the outside door open and something had accessed it that way, so blaming myself for my oversight I closed the door, top and bottom, closed two catches, two bolts and padlocked it. Nothing was going to get in this time. Yesterday morning I went in after having lost the key and taking ten minutes to realise that it was in my shirt pocket, in the wash basket, and lo and behold – the alopecia had spread. More moss had been taken. I do know wrens make their nests with moss and I do know we’ve had nesting wrens in the garden most years so . . . Jenny Wren is the main suspect as I write. Today I will repair the missing moss.

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Wren Wreckage?

Another new item – the Weathered Wood Succulents. These are made with the same kind of wood as the Hanging Fat Ball Feeders. I particularly like these and having recently removed a spider plant – that would look more at home in the jungle – from my kitchen window sill, I’m planning on nicking a couple for myself.

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Weathered Wood Succulents

So, that’s me for now. I’m off to repair the wren’s wreckage and see if I can come up with a better idea for the staging. I probably won’t. The thing is I have so much staging and backboards etc. that last time we had to take the trailer. This goes down like an arrowed balloon with Richard but, as he is from Derbyshire and knows where he is going, I’d better try to keep him sweet. Yes, it’s a hard call and quite a novelty to be honest but perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks . . . possibly . . . or not!

Wish me luck? Mainly – NOT to come home with twelve cats!!

Find me at https://www.facebook.com/GriddiesCopse/