Hardly Fairy Dust!

Again – I’m starting this with my too frequently used opener of . . . ‘Yes, it’s been awhile since the last blog post.’ Nothing new in that, hey? Except, there is something new in that – this – whatever.

Choose from the following which you think is responsible for my absence;

1  I won the lottery and took three weeks off to find a comfy country pad?

2  I finally pushed Richard to the end of his tether and he threw me out without my laptop and therefore any means of blogging?

3  I took a long cruise?

4  I almost killed myself with my lovely palm sander?

So, what do you think?

Obviously it’s the last one. I don’t do the lottery. Richard wouldn’t dare throw me out and cruising makes me seasick.

To start with I thought I was going down with a cold virus. This, in itself, is rare. I don’t really get colds. The simple fact that I don’t mix with many people might have something to do with this? Richard started coughing and spluttering around the place and I threw my normal fit and issued him with instructions. ‘Stay away from me. Use a tissue. Sleep in the other room.’ And whenever he made me a cup of tea etc. I bawled, ‘WASH YOUR HANDS!

Three weeks after his bug onset I felt a tickle in my throat whilst watching Emmerdale. ‘I’m getting a cold!’ I announced suddenly and woke the poor soul as he was about to doze off – he doesn’t watch the soaps, says he doesn’t like them, however, he’s always asking me what’s what. Weird that, but I digress . . .

Forty-eight hours later and I was barking like a dog. Then my nose started producing you know what. Buckets and bowls of it in lovely shades of cream and green – yes, I know, too much information. I very quickly fell under the spell of the ‘virus’ and was REALLY, REALLY, poorly, coughing until I was sick, and once I almost passed out because I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t taste a single thing for five days. I could have been eating curry or custard . . . no way of telling. My ears were blocked for five days and when the pain slicing through my head snuck down into my cheek, gums and teeth, I gave in and reluctantly took to my bed, after making Richard promise that he wouldn’t forget I was up there.

He forgot I was up there – even after promising to bring me a cup of tea and paracetamol at an agreed time. After the agreed time had come and gone I banged on the wall (always works) and five minutes later up he trotted saying that he’d set the alarm on his phone but it hadn’t gone off. See? This is why I try to address illness from downstairs and not take to my bed. Did he really need to set an alarm? Shouldn’t the fact that his beloved was up in the attic, dying, be sufficient for him to remember? Jeez, even Chea popped up now and again to see if I was well enough to get up to cook her a bit of buttery chicken.

After a fortnight with no improvement, and being pretty sure I needed antibiotics, I struggled to the doctor.

Needless to say I was just as ill as I’d imagined and came home with the appropriate antibiotics and a diagnosis of bronchitis.

It was at this point, or slightly earlier, that a ‘light bulb’ moment occurred and after thinking back I suddenly realised that this had started after using the lovely palm sander. Yes, I’d used a dust mask 70% of the time, but not ALL of the time. On bright, breezy days I’d winged it a bit, throwing caution to the wind and imagined I was side stepping the swirling wood-dust clouds.

It all made sense – even Richards so-called cold. He had produced neatly cut wood for me, length after length, and he hadn’t used a dust mask at all.

And the best of it is I really pushed myself to be fit enough to do a craft fair last Saturday. I didn’t honestly feel up to it but you all know me – an obstinate so and so. I insisted that Richard stay with me, just in case I had a coughing fit, couldn’t breathe and died in the middle of the display. He wasn’t impressed. I’ve told you before, he’ll take me, lug boxes, and fetch me back, but he won’t stay. Well, this time he had to . . . and guess what? For all my effort to survive bronchitis (brought on by my own stupidity) and to make it to the fair, it was utter crap. No one, including me, sold much at all and Richard parked the sodding car in the wrong car park and got a parking ticket! Bloody brilliant.

I have one fair left to do this year. I will review the situation in the New Year. Seems I can’t write books because of my retinal migraines and I can’t produce crafts because I poison and aggravate my lungs with wood dust?

What next I ask myself. So far I haven’t come up with an answer. But I will.

Take care . . . and if you are sanding wood WEAR A DUST MASK! 20161201_111135

Look Through Any Window?

So, this is how it went . . .

Me. “Richard, could you look at this booking form that I’ve downloaded because to me it doesn’t make any kind of sense.”

Richard. “Where is it?”

I stayed calm.

“Here, on my laptop.”


Me. “All you have to do is scroll down – once.”

Him. “Do you mean scroll up?”

Me. “No . . . I mean scroll down.”

“Well, can you pass the laptop along the table?”

I slid said laptop along the table and watched as he peered at the screen . . . and peered at the screen. I propped my head up by the palm of my hand, elbow resting on the table and gave him time to evaluate. You see, to be perfectly honest, while Richard falls down in many areas, where ‘forms’ are concerned he is quite good. This is because I read the first line, fill it in and then halfway down realise I’ve done it wrong. HE reads the whole thing three times, digests it, and THEN fills it in. So I waited . . .

Eventually I glanced over. The screen had a weird navy blue box across it and Richard squeaked, “I can’t get rid of this.”

Me. “What is it? All you had to do was scroll down. What have you touched?”

Him. “Nothing.”

I swung the laptop my way and there is was . . . bloody Windows 10 downloading!

‘What the *uc* have you touched? (yes, I used the F word) you only had to scroll down?”

I grabbed the laptop and banged and crashed every button in sight, trying to stop it, whilst screaming (yes, screaming) “It’s asked me a million times to upgrade to this shit and I DON’T WANT IT!”

You see, I’ve seen and heard so many bad things about Windows 10 that I just didn’t want the hassle. I was happy with Windows 8 and even THAT had taken a bit of getting used to.

I couldn’t stop it. It was a runaway train crashing down the track. So I waited . . . for what seemed like a day but was, in fact, probably 45 minutes, for the frigging thing to download. I then proceeded, huffing and puffing and cussing and swearing, to follow the on-screen instructions to set the bloody thing up. Yes, I know that you can uninstall these things but I also understand that it is more often than not that ‘bits’ get left behind. I’m sure there’s a technical term for it but bits will have to do.

At this point Richard wasn’t speaking, in fact, the poor sod was hardly daring to breathe. I’m such a tyrant – obviously. But tell me . . . what idiot scrolls down (or up) and download’s a whole new system?

However – I have to admit to you, and not to Richard, obviously, that I’ve continued using the laptop (with Windows 10) and the bits that I’ve used are not much different so . . . I’ll keep it.

I think it’s a bit like stepping outside of your  ‘what’s familiar zone?’ I’ve done this recently in another area too. I’ve never been drawn to watching ‘blood and guts’ stuff, especially the kind where it is done for effect and has a crap storyline but I can now admit to having stepped away from the normal and having watched Breaking Bad, Dexter, and we are just coming to the end of the sixth Walking Dead season – and I loved them all. Not my genre? Not my thing? In fact they are, so I will adopt the same attitude and give Windows 10 a whack.  Probably literally? But we will see.MB900440679

Take care x

Mange Tout Much Of A Good Thing?

Hi All

Just as I am starting to reap my bountiful harvest I have to question myself.

Whacking in seeds right left and centre and finding a bit of spare ground, here and there, to slip in just one more row of Brussels plants might, in retrospect, have been a bit over the top.

Richard is almost being force-fed mange tout peas and broad beans on a daily basis. He questions, now and then, albeit very quietly, if mange tout peas go with oven chips and baked beans? You can see I’m a jolly good producer of balanced meals?

It may have been the broad beans with the omelette that caused him to politely ask, ‘Are there many more of these left?’ Well, yes my little sweetie there are. Hundreds. Millions in fact. The mother plants are standing so close together, laden with swelling pods, that if you venture down the rows you may well disappear and never be seen again. Yes, it has most certainly has been a good year for the bean.

Billions of fat gooseberries hang, ready to be picked. They are jolly nice just to pluck from the bush and eat in passing. Although, once I start plucking and munching I fail to pass or to stop at the sensible stopping point and spend half the night in the loo, holding my lower gut and moaning to anyone who will listen that I’ll never eat another half-ripe gooseberry ever again. I’m not good with gut pain. All severe bellyache brings back the memory of the pain of giving birth and that is not something I wish to revisit. Dear God they really do need to invent an easier, less painful way of giving birth. Anyway …moving on…

The blackcurrants will need picking by the end of the week and that means resurrecting the jam making equipment, washing out jars, purchasing endless bags of sugar and suffering third degree burns to my lower arms. This year I am jam making at a weekend. This is so that Richard can help. He eats half a jar at a time so he can witness, and be part of, the hard work that goes into it.

I’ve actually started looking forward to things dying off. The first to fit this category was a tub of early mange tout that I’d started off in the greenhouse way back at the beginning of the year in my attempt to have a longer fruiting period. Had I known that Richard wasn’t that keen to have them with pizza and oven chips I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

So, dead keen to remove the spent peas to the compost heap, and the potting compost back to the garden, I grabbed the peas and attempted to yank them from the tub. They wouldn’t budge. Obviously they wanted to hang around for a bit longer just to pee me off. Not to be deterred I carried the whole tub over to the compost heap by the plant tops. Once there I gave it all a good shake and covered myself in compost. Still they held firm. I cut a bit of string and pulled out a few pea sticks and tried again, this time lifting the whole tub, with peas intact, up to waist level and shook it.

Something leapt at me. As it passed my head I recognised four legs and an open-mouthed look of horror on the frogs face as it missed my mouth by coat of paint.

Had I been cussing at the time my mouth would have been ajar and I would really have had a frog in my throat. As the creature from hell landed in the rhubarb I screamed, ‘Godddddddddd, for fucks sake.’

In retrospect I wish I hadn’t, as it alerted the neighbour – the one who lives under the conifer hedge waiting to ‘catch me’ for a chat. I then had to stand there nodding and smiling and contributing to the conversation with a smile on my face. Not only that, when I got back to the house the said face was covered in black compost, and with the odd greenfly thrown in for good measure. Don’t you just hate that? When you have a bug on your nose and the other person fails to mention it? You realise, in retrospect, that it wasn’t your riveting conversation that was keeping the other person glued to your features, but the insect that was halfway up your snout!

I love my garden. It is my escape. My little Shangri-La. I just wish the sodding frogs didn’t love it as well. And I could also do without half of the slugs and snails in Leicestershire congregating and planing their killing manoeuvres on all things green.

Oh well, off to dead-head the roses and pick a few hundred mange tout and broad bean pods. Might be kind and cook them with a piece of salmon tonight and give the old love a change.

20150708_101347Take care my lovelies x

Let Them Eat Cake?

Hi All

I told you in my last blog that I feared for Flight, that I thought she was on that downward spiral to chicken heaven – or should that be an upward spiral to chicken heaven? Possibly.

For days I tempted her with the odd squashed grape, watching while she cocked her head, as if half blind, to stare drunkenly at it until Little barged in and scoffed the grape in one. I tempted and wiggled cooked spaghetti beneath her tightly closed beak …until Little barged in and scoffed it in one.

As Flight grew thinner, Little grew fatter. I will be renaming her Big at this rate.

And then – Flight pecked at, and swallowed, a grape seed. An hour later she murdered an ant and managed to eat it after 4 attempts. I left them out in the sunshine for most of the day and by roosting time she had taken a few bits of lettuce and a piece of banana. Obviously not the best diet for a chicken but I didn’t care, anything down her throat was better than nothing. The following morning she looked a bit brighter and again spent most of the day in the garden, in the sunshine, pecking at a few strands of grass and occasionally accepting my humble offerings. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and for the first time actually thought that she might not be flapping up to chicken heaven.

The following morning saw her hunched up again and refusing everything. She remained that way all day and into the following day. I went to bed that night knowing beyond doubt that she wouldn’t see the sun come up.

Weirdly, Richard was up at the crack of dawn (it’s OK to say this as long as I don’t mistakenly spell dawn with a capital D) and when I came down ten minutes later he had let the chucks out. Little was bouncing on the spot, at the gate, waiting for me and my delicacies, and Flight stood some way behind her. Amazed to see that she was alive, let alone standing, I grabbed the only thing available for their morning treat – a piece of Victoria sandwich base that I’d removed from the freezer the previous night. As I approached the gate they spotted the cake. Little continued bouncing in expectation and Flight trotted to the gate to join her. As I crumbled the cake they BOTH dived on it and devoured it. Yes! Bloody devoured it!

Was that it? Was my home-made Victoria sandwich the answer? Well, I can’t say for sure but all I will say is that Flight took some lettuce, dandelion leaves, a few grubs and more cake yesterday and this morning she snaffled more and is looking much brighter.

Of course this could all still end in tears because she has bounced back before and then deteriorated again …but I am slightly more hopeful. I also put her on garlic and cider apple vinegar as I suspected a bit of sour crop. Not sure if this is having, or has had, any effect but it’s certainly jazzed-up Little, she’s running around the place like a creature insane, tail feathers flying!

Today I shall attempt to get Flight to take something more sensible but …if cake is all she will stomach right now, and admittedly only a teaspoon  at a time, then cake it will have to be. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Spring grass, vitamin D and home-made Victoria sandwich is on the menu just now …


To be continued …

Take care my lovelies x20150410_084033

The Games People Play …Eventually!

Hi All

To be honest, I don’t think I ever ‘pencilled in’ grandchildren as a possibility in my life. Don’t ask me why, I just didn’t. Maybe I thought that I would always be too young to have grandchildren? Yeah, well that moment has passed by on a fast bike – so here I am about to ‘mention’ them – grandchildren that is, not fast bikes.

Something else that I never thought I would do is play ‘games.’ I don’t mean monopoly or leapfrog or stuff like that, been there and done that, no, I mean games that you play on a tablet. In my opinion they are as time-wasting and pointless as anything else that I find time-wasting and pointless but …and this is where I link to the grandchildren…

Grace, 3, whose first words on entering granny’s house are, ‘Can I take my clothes off?’ (weird even by my standards) had a tablet for Christmas and insisted that I had a go at Panda Pop. Panda frigging Pop, I ask you. This caused great shrieks of fun and barely hidden scorn as grandma couldn’t pop a panda, and this was on level 8 after Grace had achieved all previous levels!

Soooo, Richard suggested that he put Panda Pop on his tablet and then grandma could practise in the week and show Grace how much she’d improved by the next time she came over. Big deal. Later that evening – in the middle of me ridiculing someone on The Voice – Richard passed his tablet to me and said, ‘Well go on then, get practising, Grace will expect you to be at least on level 10 by next weekend.’

Cheeky sod. Even I could do better than that. Do you see what he did there? He threw down a subliminal challenge, knowing that I am one of the most competitive people alive.

Long story short …I found myself addicted and merrily and greedily set about releasing all the dear, sweet little pandas from their prison bubbles, until …level 89. Then I got stuck …for 2 days.

Fortunately, Jake and Grace were due over last weekend so I explained to Jake that I couldn’t achieve level 89 and he set about helping me. It took him a few goes but he did it by storing up all the thingamabobs that you aim (haven’t quite mastered the lingo yet) and blasting the whole thing.

I cannot describe to you the look on his little face. It was one of those moments that you would like to capture in a bottle and to keep for all time. Priceless. The pride he oozed was almost palpable.

I have now trotted on from level 89 and I’m on level 112. I say this with a huge degree of embarrassment because I really do think these things are a waste of time, but hey-ho, until someone deems otherwise I actually do have the time to waste. If only I wasn’t so sodding competitive. Mind, I am a Scorpio, so our boredom levels are pretty low. Next week it could be something else.

I’m not sure how Jake and Grace view me. I think it’s a mixture of mad and fun. But then, most people view me that way …if you remove the fun bit.

I guess telling them that Little and Flight (chucks) have started laying cream eggs didn’t help. Grace’s eyes were as big as saucers as she said, ‘Really, Grandma, wow?’ Jake took a split second before he rolled his eyes and said, ‘Not really, Grace. It’s a trick, isn’t it Grandma?’

I wasn’t prepared to say one way or the other so I just winked. These children believe in Santa and The Tooth Fairy, so why not chucks that lay cream eggs.

Of course, Richard had to breeze up and say, ‘Blimey, I bet the silver paper hurt their bums when they laid those.’

Silly Richard.

Anyway, time and tide and all that. Must dash. I need to blitz level 113…or not!

Take care my lovelies2015-01-24 08.34.06

I Cuddle The Clutch …Apparently!

Hi All

Yep, it’s been a while, but as you know Richard had his shoulder op booked for New Year’s Eve and the aftermath of this has left me with little time and/or opportunity to do my ‘own thing’. In fact, it’s been so long since I did my ‘own thing’ that I can barely remember what my ‘own thing’ is?

We trotted off to the hospital at the crack of dawn, parked the car, where I received in-depth instructions of where and how I should park said car when I picked him up later that day. I obviously can’t figure this out for myself – and then we toddled in.

We sat and waited for a while, with Richard twitching a bit and with furtive eyes flicking to the door now and then. I squeezed his hand reassuringly (yes I did, I can be the bigger person when I have to be) and leaning in to him whispered, ‘try to remember as much as you can because I can put it on my blog.’ He looked at me and nodded. He had that blanked-out expression so my attempt to jolly him along failed.

Eventually they called him in and I, somehow, without his guidance and assistance, managed to get myself back to the car and drive home. I did take a wrong turn in Burton-on-Trent but it somehow worked out and I hit the right road eventually. I didn’t bother to mention this to Richard.

I did a bit of shopping in Tesco’s on the way back and then came home and waited. I figured I had enough time to watch a film on the T.V (to take my mind of the worry, you understand?) about a string of sled dogs that got left behind in the Arctic when the weather closed in and the humans had to make a quick exit out of there. The helicopter could only carry the humans so they were going to return for the dogs – which they didn’t because the weather worsened, so the poor things were left there, shackled, until the spring. One dog couldn’t break free and died where it lay, another fell and broke its leg, and died. I was pretty distraught by this stage with my mind flicking back to Richard, now and then, and starting to stress in case he died under the anaesthetic.

I figured the hospital wouldn’t ring to say he was ready to collect until 4.00 ish so when the phone rang at midday (with just ten minutes of the film left – I hate it when that happens) I stopped breathing. He’d died under the anaesthetic – I just knew it. Every psychic bone in my body was telling me so.

A cheery voice said, ‘hello, this is Burton hospital. I’m just ringing to let you know that Richard is ready to collect.’

Typical, now I was going to miss the end of the film!

Actually, I’d seen it before and the dogs were all rescued.

I parked where I’d been told to and hurried in. A door opened and my little soldier toddled out, arm in sling, tummy showing (I didn’t mention that or he would have been embarrassed) and off we went – slowly

I had to clip his seat belt for him, avoiding his shoulder. He looked a bit battered and dozy from the anaesthetic but still managed to ‘advise’ me on how to drive – every mile of the way home. I was … ‘in the wrong lane, cutting off the roundabout (he’s never liked my ‘racing line’ position) not looking in the wing mirror, going too slow, going too fast, jumping the lights, sitting too long at the lights, cuddling the clutch (?) holding the car on the clutch, blah, blah, blah’

All this I shouldered magnanimously, after all he had just had a bone scraped and a tendon cut. I figured he didn’t need his throat cutting or his head bashing in as well? I’m thoughtful that way.

The next two days were filled with painkillers, meals on trays – it took me a while to remember that there was little point in providing him with a knife and fork because he couldn’t use a knife. I had to cut up his food for him. I found this a little weird, like I’d fallen asleep and woke up in a care home.

I took him for his first check-up a few days ago and I had used the ‘f’ word three times before  I had managed to reverse the car off the drive and into the traffic.

I’m pretty sure Richard hates my driving as much as I hate driving him, but for now this is how it has to be. I am now over my sentimental worrying about him and can’t wait for the day when he can drive the bloody car himself. What he doesn’t realise is that this is payback time for all the times he has scared the shit out of me with his motorway overtaking technique and his attempts to move the car in front of us faster by accelerating up behind it. Yes! Payback time.

I do however have to put it on record that he has been nothing like I expected. I honestly thought he would be a sniveling, useless, pathetic wreck, and that I would be cutting up his sausages for him for the rest of my life, but no, he has shaped up like a good ‘un.

The sling was removed within 48 hours, he showers (by himself, thank God) twice daily, and he can now wash the dishes, put the bins out, empty Chea’s litter tray, bring in an armful of logs and various other things. He has amazed and astounded me, which, after twenty-three years, is pretty amazing and astounding.

I limit the trips out in the car, even though he is going slightly stir crazy by spending so much time in the house. I figure it is safer. Not because of my dangerous driving but because I know where there is a particular deep hole in the road and I might just be tempted to drive the car over it and cause immense pain and suffering to dear Richard.

And another thing …why, when I’m having to drive, does HE always pick up the car keys and hand them to me?

I shall continue to do my best …though obviously it won’t be good enough!dog_194826

Take care my lovelies x

Uh Oh! A Man Without The Use Of His Right Hand?

Hi All

Sometimes I’m wrong. No, really, I am. Here we are galloping towards the end of another year and in my tiny mind I’d decided that all that remained of note, in the remainder of this year, was to pick up a few stocking fillers for the  griddies (grandchildren), ice the bloody Christmas cake that I still haven’t got round to icing, tart up the lounge with a bit of berried variegated holly from the garden and attempt to cook a gammon joint.

I’d throw in a bit of cleaning here and there and that would be it. Then I’d unearth the T.V Christmas edition of ‘What’s On,’ (only ever buy a Christmas one) and settle down around 4.00 pm Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day.

Good plan? Yes. But then, you know what they say about ‘the best laid plans?’

I think I’ve told you in previous blogs that dear Richard has a massive right shoulder problem? He needs an op to shave a tendon and scrape a bone. I appreciate that this is hardly the technical term for such a procedure but other than Googling it (can’t be bothered) or listening again to Richard’s useless effort at telling me what’s going on (can’t be bothered) I’ll just stick to layman’s terms and repeat …he needs a tendon shaving and a bone scraping.

We have actually both been eagerly awaiting this appointment. Richard because he is in intense/immense pain and yours truly because the man makes such a performance out of bringing in a basket of logs from the log shed that I’m seriously considering enrolling him in the local amateur dramatics group. He plays the wounded soldier to Oscar level.

Back to the point. The appointment winged in with a Christmas card that had been delivered to the wrong address and lo and behold there it was …New Year’s Eve.

They want to rip, shave and scrape my sweet little Richard’s bones and tendons on New Year’s Eve.

But, as I explained to Richard, this isn’t as bad as it seems, at least it gets us out of the New Year’s Eve bash six doors up! And think of the money we’ll save not having to buy Fairy costumes.  See, ALWAYS a positive from every negative.

You may think that I’m making a bit of a joke about this and in reality I guess I am. However, I am concerned for him, obviously. He has never had an operation or any hospital procedure and I would be happier if I could be there holding his hand and offering encouraging comments like …breath …breath …pant …pant …that’s great, I can see its head. Or is that something totally different? Yes, OK, I am joking but I always do when I’m nervous. I would rather have the op for him. I always feel that I can handle things better than Richard, but I guess he is just going to have to shape up and go for it.

I’m sure that he will have the last laugh because they have advised at least 3 months off work …and it could be as many as six. Are they totally bonkers? Six months is half a year! Half a year of fetching and carrying for Richard? I don’t think so.

Spain sounds good – a couple of months at my brother’s place – just twenty or so miles from Alicante’? But for me or Richard? Richard I think, because let’s face it, how will he muck out the chucks and stuff like that? But then again, some Senorita might be taken in by his brown puppy-dog eyes and he may never return.  She will show him her castanets and he will show her his scraped bone. Let me think that one through …

Failing this, when my Florence Nightingale mode wears thin, I will shove him into the spare room, the one at the front of the house where he will hear the traffic going by, and still feel life’s pulse. I will leave him with everything he needs, drink, food, Land Rover mags and his charged mobile. To leave it flat would be rather cruel, even by my standards, and then, if he requires further supplies he can text me.

Yes, it might work out OK.

And guess what? I don’t believe that for one minute. I may have to risk the castanet-clicking beauty.


Take care my lovelies

I Can Truthfully Relate to Barry Manilow…

You know that Barry Manilow song, I Made It Through The Rain? Well, that’s how I’m feeling right now.

The week before last was horrendous. OK, so no one died, but it was still horrendous. Two steps forwards and one step back. Nothing went right, and then, as the week came to an end I thought, right, draw a very thick line under it and look forwards to next week (last week). Then came the killer blow…Richard announced that he was on holiday the next week (last week). It was at this point that someone did almost die…me.

The thought of another week, attempting to sort out the backlog of things that were still wrong, with Richard floating around, almost polished me off. It was at this point that I had to give myself a strong talking to and convince myself that I could, and would, get through this.

First on the agenda, bright and early Monday morning, was a ride out to my brother’s house. This was not a social visit. This was so that he could figure out what I was doing wrong in my futile attempts to contact the USA tax office. Richard did, in fact, come in quite useful because he drove and all this stress had given me a headache.

My brother fiddled with my phone before shutting me in his office and telling me to stop buggering about and just get on with it. With no confidence whatsoever I dialled the number and waited for the same old drivel, “I’m sorry but we are unable to process your call.” When that message didn’t actually slam back at me and a voice informed me, “Thank you for your call…the waiting time is 3 minutes,” I almost fainted.

So, job done. I’m legal. No, I am. Thanks to my brother, who is brilliant. Not sure why I’m bulling him up? He never reads a word I write. Sometimes I wonder if anyone does, but that’s insecurity…isn’t it?

On Tuesday, I took a day off from everything. In the morning, I let Richard take me to Melton market. This is a cattle market that is run every Tuesday. It also sells rabbits, chickens, ducks, garden produce, fertilised eggs, etc. It was here that I fell in love with a little duckling. He/she was all alone in a cardboard box and when I peered in, he/she peered back, and its little peepers said, ‘Buy me. I won’t be any trouble. Look how pretty I am with this little pompom on the top of my head.’ This is the point at which you just know that I came home with the duckling? Well, you are wrong. I zipped up my heart and walked away. I bought a dress instead. Did I mention that there was a dress stall? This is the only dress I own and it was purchased purely for sitting out in the garden…because I do a lot of that, don’t I? No. Hardly ever. Too much weeding, watering, hoeing, digging, compost turning….I think you get the picture?

Richard disappeared on Wednesday. I don’t mean he vaporised. I’m not that lucky (joke).  He roared off on his bike to some air force thing and so I was left with time to myself… and the chance to sort out some of the backlog.

I have now almost caught up. One thing is outstanding. An eBook is being reformatted. I know nothing about this but a virtual friend, who has now become so much more, is sorting that out for me.

You know me now, and you know that I believe that something positive always comes from something negative and yet again I have proved myself right. Through this very trying, hair-ripping-out time, virtual friends have stepped in, and for absolutely no gain of their own, have spent endless hours creating, advising, and just plain supporting me, and I will be eternally grateful. So, to these friends I say a heartfelt thank you… and my offer of returned support does not have a sell-by date.

You know who are you and I only refrain from naming you because I know you are all so God-damn modest. Oh, and the other reason is, if I tell everyone who you are, and that you are the nicest, most wonderful guys (gals) on the planet, they will all be scurrying to your doors and you will no longer have the time to get me out of my constant pooh pile! See, I’m not as stupid as I may appear.

Richard has gone back to work today. Weirdly, I’m kinda missing him. I have no excuse now to bugger around doing nothing. Sooooo I’m going to crack on.

Take care my lovelies x


Lastly…I can now announce with a triumphant fanfare that …..The Sleeping Field is now available in paperback! Again, produced by a dear friend and absolutely nothing to do with me.


The Path To My Inner Calm

Hi All

I still haven’t got through to the USA regarding the tax issue, although, in all fairness, I do have to admit that I have only tried once since last Thursday, and that was yesterday. I got the same old message, ‘Unable to process your request.’

I’m the kind of person who won’t give up until something is sorted and accomplished but by last Sunday I had reached the point where I wasn’t safe to be around and so I decided to take time out from this mental virtual world. 24 hours away from the computer.

Equipped with my mug of tea, and my feet rammed firmly into my wellies, I took off up the garden, letting the chucks out on the way. It was only 6.30 am and they blinked a bit in surprise at being allowed their freedom quite so early in the day.

I had a bit of a dawdle through the broad beans, fought off the million baby spiders hanging from threads in the greenhouse, and watered the tomatoes, and then, as I walked under the brick archway, decided to take up the entire path and replace it. Weeds had multiplied and pushed through the spaces making it look messy and untidy, and although the day was about to turn hotter by the hour it was nice and cool beneath the clematis covered arch.

It took me a couple of hours to lift the bricks and remove the weeds. It was at this point that Richard appeared and stood, with shaking head, and a scowl on his down-turned mush.

‘What!’ I said, which was pretty big of me considering that I wasn’t speaking to him because he’s a pillock and he’d caused me to have a major rant the night previously. I’d threatened him with putting the house on the market and sending him packing. I do this from time to time. It’s normal. He expects it. Anyway…I continued with, ‘The only other thing that pisses (yes I swore…and on a Sunday morning with church bells ringing in the distance) me off more than having to do this REALLY difficult job on my own, is YOU standing there WATCHING ME!’

‘Why are you doing this? I can’t be helping in this heat. If you did it at a sensible time I’d help,’ he said.

‘Sod off! I don’t need your help!’

He cleared off then, shuffling down the path in his stupid flip-flops, frightening pollen-feeding bees off the cosmos.

I found a roll of weed suppressant in the potting shed and laid that before embarking on the task of replacing the bricks. I found the whole thing extremely rewarding and, with each brick laid, I found the stresses and annoyances of the week evaporating. I can’t stay mad when I’m in the garden. It is my comfort blanket. Chea came and helped, laying on the weed suppressant and cleaning her paws as I laid the bricks around her.

Richard reappeared with a glass of iced water a while later and muttered something about, ‘Contrary to popular belief I don’t want you to get dehydrated.’

Well he wouldn’t would he? If I collapsed who would lay the path? Actually, I’d chilled by then and so I allowed him to fetch a bag of cement-type-stuff for between the awkward gaps. He wasn’t trusted to apply it though – so he watched.

Honestly, he drives me mad. The other night I caught him looking at me and when I turned to him with raised, questioning brows, he said, ‘When you lose weight your face gets thinner …and your hair looks thicker.’

What? What the hell did that mean? So normally I’m fat-faced with thin hair?

He can talk. At least I don’t hide my double chin beneath a stubbly beard – well, not yet.

Then, trying to justify the comment he said, ‘…or is it just that your hair needs cutting?’

I passed no comment. The look I flashed him said everything.  He blinked innocently a few times and then buried his nose in his laptop.

I’ve just had to close the door as Chea has come back to the house with a mouse. I don’t do mice. It has taken refuge behind the log basket. Richard will have to find it when he gets home. I’m making him a list, pick the broad beans, pick the peas, run me to the bank… and remove a mouse. At least I’ve calmed down enough to speak to him now, otherwise I’d have to leave him a note haha.

I think Chea must have found a family of mice because this is the third little creature she’s brought back. But here’s the lovely thing, she brings them back, gently releases them, and they scamper off back up the garden. Of course it could be the same mouse? If so it must be major peed off by now.

So, my answer to a week of hell? Turn off the computer. Take 24 hours – and go and smell the roses…or lay a brick path.

Take care my lovelies x2014-06-23 06.38.44

PS The promotion I set up for The Sleeping Field did actually work! I know, a bloody miracle, BUT it ends today at 6.00pm UK time, so if you would like a copy at 99p make sure you download before then. And a big thank you to those of you who have already supported me and purchased a copy. If I knew how to put a ‘smiley face’ here I would, but I don’t, so I can’t.





Trust Me…It’ll Wreck Your Back…

Hi All

Those of you who have been ‘with me,’ on this blog for some time now, know that I am a great planner and organiser of people, chores and myself?  Some might call it ‘control freak syndrome,’ But we won’t worry about the opinions of people like that.

So…I had plans. Things that I wanted to do. Like…start a fourth book. Which, in all honesty, I did, but exactly that…start a fourth book. 4,500 words. Bear in mind that running side-by-side with this is the garden to attend to and all the other irritating bits of life, like shopping, cleaning and breathing etc. When I get into writing the later tend to get shelved, except for breathing of course, even I have to do that, though some may question why.

This is all leading to the announcement from Richard that he’d decided to take a fortnight’s holiday. This met with as much enthusiasm on my part as a dose of the trots. I know, harsh, but honestly, Richard being stuck under my feet for fourteen days wasn’t conducive to my great plans. I have long learnt that he has to be out of the house, or asleep, in order for me to be left to my own devices, so the fourth book has been shelved.

Obviously I had to turn my planning skills to something else.

It didn’t take long to come up with a plan…we would lay a new bathroom floor. As plans go it wasn’t mind-blowing but it would sure please me not to have walk on black tiles each time I used the loo. The bathroom was totally ‘done’ some years ago, when black was the new black, and very ‘in.’ Now it just looked out! So, after some discussion that somehow managed to conclude without blood flowing, we decided to lay a new ‘bathroom proof’ clicky laminate floor in off-white. The flooring was purchased, at what turned out to be great expense, and, after having a massive argument in B&Q, regarding how much we needed. Obviously, I was right because as already mentioned I am the planner, the whiz with a calculator and brilliant with a tape measure.

Five minutes into the job and we started bickering. Ten minutes into the job and we started yelling and Richard had to slam shut the bathroom window because the neighbour was conveniently sitting in his garden, listening to my every obscenity. Twenty minutes into the job and we were both prostrate on the bathroom floor with laminate stuck behind the radiator. 2 hours later and we’d decided to consider it an exercise in stupidity and to scrap the box that we had opened and to take the three remaining boxes back. Then my ‘won’t be beaten at any cost’ attitude kicked in and I changed our minds. We would continue and we would succeed.

We opened the bathroom window after that because we weren’t really talking to each other.

Slowly we regained our humour and continued, that is until we were inches away from the airing cupboard door and with only a third left to do. Richard said a very naughty word that began with F and slammed the window shut again. I couldn’t see anything wrong, and certainly nothing to warrant the ‘F’ word, that is until Richard pointed to the airing cupboard door and then attempted to open it. To my horror it would only open six inches before banging against the heightened floor. And Richard couldn’t take it off because he couldn’t open it wide enough to access the hinges.

The floor came up.

We continued and an hour later we were back where we had started when I noticed, in the very first row, unclicked boards. Richard said he couldn’t see the problem.

I bellowed, Are you frigging blind?’

He bellowed,’ Yes I am!’

And frankly he isn’t far off. I had to tell him which way the screw heads were facing before he could get the screwdriver lined-up to take off the airing cupboard door!

I said, ‘That’s it! I’m making you an appointment at Specsavers!’

He said, ‘Well you’ll have to lead me there.’

The floor came up.

Eventually, we finished and trotted off to B&Q to get something for skirting etc. Unfortunately, Richard jumped into the car at an awkward angle and did his lower back.

The task of ‘No Nailing’ the skirting to the walls was down to me, with Richard, doubled-up in agony, (or so he pretended) hanging on to the door frame, issuing instructions, that is until I informed him that if he didn’t shut up I’d be ‘No Nailing’ his mouth to his gums.

As a last ‘nice touch’ I hung a lovely little beach hut thingy, which looked stupid because it had been threaded back to front, so I removed the string and rethreaded it. Except, because of my nerve-dead forefinger I couldn’t thread the second side, so Richard attempted to do it. Half-blind and with the string unravelling, he tried to push it through the hole and succeeded in buggering up the end.

I said, ‘You need to lick it! Lick it with your tongue! Put it in your mouth! Make it stick together!’

The sound of falling terracotta came from the neighbour’s garden, and for good measure, after realising how my instructions could be misconstrued, I shouted, ‘That’s it! Push it a bit more. You’ve got it in!’

Well, the bloody neighbour knows more about my life than I do – and I’m the one living it.

Lord knows what we will get up to next week, that’s if I can plan something that doesn’t require Richard’s poor eyesight or weak back. Just one more week and then I can get back to the new novel – probably?

Take care my lovelies x

A pretty little picture - that has nothing at all to do with this post - just to add calm.
A pretty little picture – that has nothing at all to do with this post – just to add calm.

PS I do have to own up to cutting the window blind an inch too short…but I’m sure it had something to do with Richard’s faulty tape measure?