Hello folks! I'm still around but my head seems to have been awol for a while. The lockdowns didn't help although they were rather refreshing in a convoluted way. Didn't have any visitors for a start which sounds like grumpy old woman speak but most of my visitors are comprised of family - I love them dearly (um - quite a bit) - but it's like they say: You can have too much of a good thing!
For the first lockdown the Sproglet stayed in Exeter - nice weather so she could get out to exercise. She was on holiday with us when the second lockdown came in so stayed with us as it was not ideal for her to stay in her flat with windows that didn't open and her view comprised of a long brick wall! Consequently, thought it best that she spent the last lockdown with us as the same conditions would apply if she stayed in the flat. And that's when her employer went into administration! It got bought by a company that had been set up fifteen days previously and where she worked (retail) was closed so she was made redundant. Howls of disbelief as it had good trading records as did others in the same chain which were also closed down. Apparently if the landlords of the premises involved would not contemplate a reduction in rent they (the new owners) closed the business. Seems a bit strange as one of the premises closed had the highest trading figures for the whole of the retail chain but it is what it is. With retail now on the floor we all decided that the Sproglet returned to the bosom of her family - ugh! She's hoping to set up her own craft business (and hopefully will get rid my accumulated crafticles as well) but we'll have to see how it goes. She can't do her radio dj stuff on the community radio slot either unless we can find an ultra soundproofed room for her to do any recording and, very sadly, her co-presenter died suddenly of a heart condition so she doesn't feel like doing any of that at the moment as she's too upset. Lovely chap so I can't blame her for feeling that way.
She's invited loads of people to come and stay - it's a two bedroomed cottage! - where am I going to put them all? On top of that the garage is full to the brim with boxes and furniture that she accumulated over the years - including 100's of CDs and vinyl LPs! Anybody got a spare couple of sheds and a tent? Anyone??????
Mr W, bless him, has given me a stocking filler gift for Christmas! I had the sewing machine early (and yes I'm still learning) but he wanted to get me something else. I'm now the proud owner of a pair of green wellies (farming variety not those flashy ones the toffs wear) and am sitting here wearing them. Very comfy! We worked out that I last had a new pair over 25 years ago. How time flies when you're squelching through mud!
Wrapping is not on Mr W's list of priorities - neither is removing the price tag but let's be charitable as it is Christmas after all - it's the thought that counts! Still smouldering over having a carrier bag shoved into my hands on my birthday though! Inside was a large mug covered all over with a blue pig design and, yes with price tag still attached. He said he thought I would like it as 'you like pigs because you grew up with them'! Ahem! Father was a pig farmer so not quite the right use of words there. I did indeed like the mug, I liked the size, I liked the design even . . . . finding the name on the bottom of the mug was not quite so inspiring! I mean draining the last drop of coffee from your mug so that all can read the name on it!!!! I mean . . . . PORKY!
Did our weekly 'big' shop today. We do smaller ones if we need the post office or a weekly local paper but mostly just one shop a week. Mr W decided he would come with me today. Sighs. He's off everywhere looking at everything and not the stuff on my list. Do they do leading reins for grown ups? It's always the same when you get to the check out too as items appear from your trolley as if by magic! Mr W then goes through his 'thought I'd like a change/fancied something different' routine' and puts on his hard done by face with his big, soulful brown eyes looking all sad. Cue the assistant gazing at me as if I had committed the largest crime against humanity known to man! Yes, you've guessed it, there will be half a dozen items with a minimal sell by date on them because looking at the date stamp just does not occur to the dear chap! Smoked mackerel (pack of four) and chocolate mousse (pack of six) not to mention the fancy yogurt and pack of blueberries anyone? All to be eaten before sunset tomorrow! And I don't like any of them - sobs!
I have threaded my new machine! Yay. I have also had a go at sewing with it. Double yay! Next attempt is to sew something with it. Bit nervous about but can't be as bad as my mother was when my dad bought her an electric sewing machine back in the 1960's. Mum had a wind the handle type before but dad was confident that she would soon get the hang of it. Dad aka 'Wonderman' sat at the machine, threaded it, got a scrap of material, slapped his foot on the foot control and promptly produced a perfect piece of straight sewing. Then he told mum to try! She did all the things he did but kept her foot hard down on the foot control as the scrap of material shot through the machine and flew off across the table. The machine rattled away like a machine gun and father was hopping about in a state of acute anxiety as he imagined she would break it before it had been in the house for less than 2 hours!
Lift your foot! Lift your foot! He screamed at her. She did - the left one whilst the right one stayed firmly pressing down on the foot control! Mother was never one for anything too technical! Lol
It arrived today - almost too excited to text. Haven't used it yet as working my way through the instruction book which is quite big!
It's a sewing machine that does everything from sewing to making a cup of tea (joke)! Mr W is suitability impressed (and banned from touching it)!!! He's a mechanic so I know how he approaches machinery - with an oil can, a large wrench and a hammer! However, he's pleased that I'm pleased. He's also pleased that as my last machine didn't have a zipper foot I'll be able to put zips in his jeans instead of having to do it by hand as I did previously. I mentioned being able to make bags, cushions, skirts, dresses, etc., my little eyes glowing with anticipation.
"After you've done my zips" he said tartly!
Dear Mr W - never one to lose his place in the queue! Lol
Mr W had to go to the quacks again and came back with the answer to what he was suffering from after almost a year of trying to find out the cause. Well, I say he was given the answer but we are talking Mr W here so what he told me the doctor had said was spoken in no language known to man! I'm quite deaf so he had to repeat the medical phrase several times. Eventually, I stuck a Babel Fish in my ear, translated it into cod Latin and - the joys of the internet - googled it!
Hmmmn! Well, it's not brilliant but it could have been worse although he'll probably be on medication for the rest of his life - side effects permitting! Side effects - occasional toileting at speed, tiredness and mood swings amongst other little traits!
Stuck Mr W in front of the pc and allowed him to read all about it. He was most impressed with my ability to find out about his ailment from his garbled repetition of what the doctor had said.
"Having a bit of Latin helped," I said modestly.
"Is that what that is?" he asked pointing to the title of the page.
I nodded: "Yup."
"Looks like gobbledegook to me," he sniffed not impressed. Closely followed with, "What's for lunch?"
Moment of glory over I got on with food preparation! You're not allowed to get big headed in this house!
After yesterday's little accident!!! Mr W turns on the charm.
Mr W: "That was a lovely meal".
Fj: "Yes dear".
Mr W: "You make a fantastic lasagne".
Fj: "Thank you dear".
Mr W: "And that baked stuffed apple was really lovely".
Fj: "That's good dear".
Flowers tomorrow possibly! It was ever thus. The charm offensive always follows one of his little disasters. Sighs.
Mr W: "Um . . . I've had a bit of an accident"!
Fj, surveying his hands and noting there's no blood to be seen, sighs: "Yes dear".
Mr W: "I was cleaning out the top greenhouse and I had a bit of a job to get one of the bamboo stakes out that was holding the tomato plants".
Fj, resignedly: "Yes dear".
Mr W: "I got it out eventually".
Fj raises eyebrows and waits patiently.
Mr W: "Came out with a big whoosh and went straight through the top of the greenhouse"!
Fj: "Cracked or broken"?
Mr W: "Broken . . . but I picked up all the glass", he added hurriedly.
Fj: "Well that's good".
Mr W: "Thought you'd be pleased. Didn't want any accidents with broken glass did we"?
And then he beamed at me as if he had achieved something miraculous. However, catching sight of the expression on my face he hastened to add: "But I'll get it fixed so no worries".
Fj: "Yes dear".
Now where's my gaffer tape?
The last apple is about to fall off the tree in our garden - always a sad moment. The tree itself is very old and part of the trunk is hollowed out. Every year we tell each other that the next storm will see it fall to the ground but it survives to confound us all. We are quite sheltered here and a large bank protects the garden from the majority of the gales that sweep up the valley so its position gives the old tree a fighting chance. I don't know the variety of apple - we call it a Jack Harry but that was probably the name of the person Mr W's grandfather got it from - but they are delicious apples. If the tree does fail we've taken a 'setting' so we've got another one in the orchard but you can't beat looking out of your kitchen window and watching its varying appearance throughout the year.
Sproglet arrived to celebrate her dad's birthday and a delayed celebration of mine because she couldn't come down to visit then. I made a strawberry cream gateau. Mr W was delighted as I don't make a lot of cakes these days. I hate baking but, goodness knows why, I'm good at it and the whole family call on me when they want a cake made. Thank goodness for the lockdown - no requests! Anyway Mr W, Sproglet and Mr W's sister fell upon it like locusts and it soon disappeared. Hopefully won't have to make more until Christmas! Yippee!!
We retrieved a rather large container of Yankee candles (along with four other 'slightly' smaller containers) from my late friend's house which her son said I could take away along with an alarming number of mostly new Kipling bags! Needless to say when Sproglet saw them she divided them up into her collection and my collection. Guess who had the larger of the two collections? She had so much stuff to take back with her to Exeter that along with the Kipling bags there were two bin bags full of larger travel and shopping bags bags two of which she had to use as her suitcase was now full. I did wonder whether they would allow her on the train because of weight restrictions! Some of the Kipling bags had never been unwrapped and most of them still had their tags attached and my friend rarely left the house so I just can't understand why she kept buying them. They're lovely bags and they're not cheap so why buy something you are not going to use? I don't think I will ever understand why she bought so much stuff - possibly it was an addiction I don't know. Hope they've got a big shopping mall in the bright blue yonder to keep her happy though!