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Wednesday, 29 December 2021

That was 2021


I've had a great year!  I know many people haven't but I'm a bit of an introvert and I've enjoyed my own company.

Few people realised a year ago that we would still be isolating and "being careful" but that's how it is and we are having to get used to the idea.  I'm not going to pubs and restaurants, going to shopping areas as infrequently as possible, and being very sparing in my (face to face) contacts with friends.  My pre-existing conditions make it somewhat likely that, if I get covid, I will be ill, and I feel that as I manage very well with just my own company, I can do my bit by being one less problem for the NHS.  

I'm finding plenty to do in my own home and am increasingly thankful for on-line shopping.  I've got a huge stash of crafty bits and pieces but there's often something I need to complete a project.  This year every Christmas present included something home-made, even if it was just a jar of chutney.  I've made great inroads into the fabric stash by making a lot of bags as presents.

I've taken myself well in hand weight-wise and have lost two stones, nine pounds (that's thirty seven pounds or seventeen kilos) even with the Christmas hiatus.  This means that I have lost almost six stone since the end of 2013.   I have had a (very necessary) knee replacement and am now walking again and  even with that set-back I have increased my annual step count slightly.  

Not only have I lost weight, it feels as though my house has lost weight too.  I will never be a tidy girl but decluttering and re-organising have made my bungalow rather more civilised and Annie-The-Home-Enhancer has made it super comfortable.  

I've had a couple of extra visits from my nephew, once to help out after my knee surgery and once to celebrate my seventieth birthday.  It would have been good to get out more myself but that wasn't to be.

My garden has flourished with the help of you-know-who so that my Christmas lunch included home-grown beetroot, onions, leeks, carrots and broccoli.  I've had flowers and veg and been able to enjoy sitting in the garden and eating meals out there.  

Life is good and I am truly blessed.  

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

It's an unwrap!

 I had a lovely Christmas although it was probably not much like yours and it looks as though most of you had a great time too.

I started my day with going to church at Market Rasen at 8am.  I offered to take the service there because the vicar has young children and I thought they might like extra time together on Christmas morning.  That's probably the best gift I gave to anyone.  

And it was a gift to me!  The 8am service is usually very quiet with maybe half a dozen people but many of my extended family came as did Annie-the-home-enhancer and her family so altogether we had twenty three people including nine children.  My cousin had brought a children's activity so there were just joyful, happy noises from the children's corner as everyone celebrated the birth of our Saviour.

After church we had a general present swap and then I came home to my traditional quiet day.  Except that I thought the phone would never stop!  So many good wishes (and quite a few making sure I wouldn't like to go for a noisy Christmas lunch as well!).  

Christmas lunch was a ham roll, mince pies and cream cheese.  I can never be bothered to cook much on Christmas Day and this year I couldn't be bothered to cook Boxing Day either.  Each day I opened a few presents, snoozed, listened to audiobooks and relaxed.

Yesterday I finally cooked my Christmas lunch: Three bird roast, pigs in blankets, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, peas, sprouts, tenderstem broccoli, chestnuts, lardons, and roast beetroot, parsnip, onions, carrots, and sweet potato.  All for me.  I didn't bother with pud!  

And after lunch I opened the last of my presents, a stocking filled with home-made treasures from my dear friend Bonnie, including these beautiful birds to hang on my tree.  

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Sneak peek!

 I've been quite busy making Christmas presents.  I've knitted and crocheted, made jam and chutney, and done quite a lot of sewing.   Here's a few of my creations.

I've made a lot of bags, using jelly roll strips from my stash.  One friend has quite a photogenic dog!  I made the wreaths to decorate plain brown paper carriers but a few friends have already removed them from the bags and hung them on the walls.  Which is all very well but it means that I have now given them a really boring paper carrier bag.  Hope they like the contents.

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

I think I might be on the naughty list

 because it's such a long time since I blogged. 

I was doing quite well on blogging my Christmas preparations then things went pear shaped.  I've still be preparing for Christmas but not blogging.

First of all the sewing machine had a major hissy fit.  So I tried to phone the nice little man who services my machine.  But he had closed down during the pandemic.  So I had to find a new nice little man.  Who (of course) was further away.  And he works only two days a week.  So off I went and delivered my machine.

And on the way back the windscreen wipers broke down.  This is not the season to be without windscreen wipers (and it's illegal anyway).  So I contacted the garage and they were fully booked.  But they fitted me in as I have been a customer for over twenty years.  But the part wasn't in stock.  And parts are (like everything else) a bit difficult to obtain at the moment.  So I had to wait a few days for parts.  When they came it was a two hour job with a correspondingly high bill.

And when I went to fetch my machines (I'd taken in two) the bill was also high so bang went the December budget.

And then I caught "the" cold.  It seems as though everyone who has caught a cold recently has said it's about the worst they've ever had and I would endorse that.  Over two weeks later I am still coughing for Britain.  It has really knocked me out

Those are my excuses.  But I'm hoping you will allow me to claim that I am

PS I'll post about some of my Christmas sewing later.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

23 more sleeps

 A poor little sheep has lost his way.  Sheep should herd together but this is a single solitary sheep.  Poor thing.  He can shelter in the stable.  I'd hate the posh cove who arrived yesterday to fancy a lamb chop.  

And I've posted all my Christmas cards!  Yay!  

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

24 more sleeps

 I've had this advent stable for the best part of twenty years now.  I think it cost about £60 when I bought it and that felt very expensive but it has given me far more than £60 of pleasure over the years. Each little cupboard contains a nativity figure so when I've turned it around and opened the cupboards on the other side, there will be just one more sleep.

Most years I put the figures back with a view to a logical order of getting them out the next year but last year I decided to go rogue and (apart from Joseph, Mary and Jesus) I put them away in a random order so I will be telling the Christmas story in an original style this year.  

First out is a very important chap, a king with a very expensive pot in his hands.  He looks very pleased with himself and he probably thinks he will be the most important person in the character.  For the time being he can stay near his camel - he's far too important to be in a smelly stable.


Otherwise known as That Was November, Now for December.

I feel that I should sign this post "Pincushion" as I have had my covid booster, my annual flu vaccine and the shingles shot which I was offered because I have passed seventy.

More progress has been made towards getting a wet room but it won't happen until the spring.  The landlord is also considering improving access to my bungalow and that has to wait for slightly warmer weather to get a good "cure" for concrete (apparently!) and all the work will be done at once.  I'm just deeply grateful for how much care is taken to keep me safe and well.

During November I've been out a little to shop in Brigg but the news of the omicron variant means that I shall now be minimising my social contacts again.  I've arranged to meet a couple of friends in a semi-outdoor cafĂ© and I'm taking two services over Christmas but otherwise I'm staying put.   

Christmas preparations are going quite well and I am sewing a little every day.  Using this blog as a record of my progress has been really helpful.  Your comments have spurred me on!

Monday, 29 November 2021



The "Oops" is because I didn't post this on Saturday

Last week's idleness couldn't be allowed to last!  I still have several Christmas presents to finish (and even one or two to start!) and hitting the "publish" button last week gave me the necessary kick up the proverbial.

I posted my overseas cards this week while the Post Office isn't quite so busy.  Post to and from the USA seems very slow at the moment - I sent some cards for Thanksgiving and I don't think they have arrived yet!  Next week will be the turn of UK cards and I always heave a sigh of relief when I've got that job finished.  I wrote most of the cards a few weeks ago.  

I've wrapped more presents but as that was mostly just in paper saved from last year it's not really worth photographing.  However, I have used the ecofriendly sticky tape and cellophane which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  I'm happy to report that both were very good: in fact I preferred the new cellophane (I just use it for food items) as it wasn't as springy as the conventional stuff and was easier to use.  

Thursday, 25 November 2021

,, , , with an English slant

 My cousins daughter has been living in Maryland for several years but she recently moved back to the UK and her parents' home.  She put in her request for a Thanksgiving meal.

I was invited.  It would have been ride to refuse.  I am rarely rude!

So we had our turkey (crown) dinner.  But we had it English style.  

And although I know Thanksgiving cards aren't all that common, I made one.  

That is Mary style.  


 A Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!  We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here but it sounds a lovely festival.  I hope you all have a lovely day.

Or should that be I hope y'all have an awesome day?  (I do my best.)

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

It's good to talk

 I went to Brigg today.  It was such a cold day but so bright.  I took the trundle truck (mobility scooter), of course and meandered along the riverbank.  And I found a new notice, pinned to a bench.  My trundle truck has a warmer seat than that looked but I hope it gets well used, even if not by me!

I went a little further along the river bank and saw an angler and remarked that he obviously took his fishing pleasures very seriously.  He was baiting his hook and he told me that this stretch of river has lots of pike and perch. 

Then I met a friendly dog which fancied a ride on the trundle truck so its owner and I had a chat.

Then a schoolgirl gave me a shy smile and wished me "Good morning!" on her way to school.

I hope lots of people use the chatty bench but to be honest, people talk in Brigg without any encouragement whatsoever.  Has anyone seen this initiative anywhere else?

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Five weeks to go


Those weeks whizz by, don't they?  The house feels a little untidy as presents wait to be wrapped and odd foods find their way into the freezer or store.  Cards are ready for the last letters to be popped in and sewing projects need to be completed.  It's definitely time to draw breath.

I'm also thinking about food, always a happy thought!  I've got the meat for my main meal (in the freezer already and I've cooked the pud but as I'm a little better organised than usual I've been thinking about doing some baking, a rare event in this one woman household.  I thought, "Should I make some puff pastry and make my own mince pies, sausage rolls and cheese straws?"  Then I thought, "Nah, I'll buy frozen pastry and cheat my own mince pies, sausage rolls and cheese straws."  Happy thought. 

Because, to be honest, this has been a lazy week Christmas preparation-wise.  I've had my covid vaccine booster and I've had my flu vaccination so I've been a little tired (my only reaction) so apart from a couple of hours sewing I've been a little lazy.  And it feels important to note for my future Christmas planning: start early and allow for weeks when very little will get done.   

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Six weeks to go.

I don't really enjoy wrapping things (but I love unwrapping!) so I need to get started before the heap of gifts to be wrapped becomes overwhelming.    Pretty paper, a sparkly bow, a bit of ribbon and it will look OK!   But that's not good enough.  I wasn't happy when I looked at my waste last year.  I salvaged what I could and will use what I have but I want to get more creative and less dependent on the plastics. 

I buy quite a lot of stuff on line and it all comes "well packaged" so throughout the year I have been salvaging the brown paper and cardboard sleeves sent by A****n and this is a pud wrapped in salvaged brown paper tied with raffia and labelled with card from an A****n sleeve.  I've used dried orange slices to decorate it and I've used an adhesive label on the reverse to list the ingredients.  This also covers some printing on the card - I'm not giving anyone free advertising!

I shall experiment with eco wrapping this year but that will include any "non eco friendly" stuff which I reuse although I won't be buying any more.    Nearer to Christmas I may go outside and collect a few natural bits and pieces to decorate parcels.  I've bought some zero plastic tape and ordered some compostable cellophane.  I'll let you know how I get on.

Zero waste wrapping takes more time than using the plastic stuff so I'm glad I've started early.  

I've done an inventory of the freezer contents so I can eat up the older items.  It's good to have space for those delicious leftovers after The Big Day!  And it's also good to be able to buy reduced food after Christmas.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Starting my eighth decade

A "tactful" birthday greeting

One or two "friends" have been tactless enough to point out that I am in my eighth decade which sound even worse than saying I am seventy!  
First nineteen colours

I decided that such an auspicious year (for me) deserves a special project.  I have admired the weather scarves or temperature scarves made by various bloggers  (Ang at Tracing Rainbows did a really good one) but I decided mine would start on my birthday.  I have a different colour for each degree Celsius and I'm using Jamieson and Smith 2ply jumper weight (which actually knits as 4ply) as there are 92 colours in the range.  (No, I won't need 92 colours but I do like to have a choice!)  I'm knitting it as a tube on a 3.5 circular needle as I found that to be successful for another scarf I knitted earlier this year.  This means that all the tatty ends will be held inside the scarf.

First sixteen rows


Saturday, 6 November 2021

Seven weeks to go


I'm trying to be organised but the weeks seem to be flying past!  These weekly posts are intended to be the basis for my Christmas planning in years to come and blogging about my preparation is a cue to assess the situation each week.  

This week I bought sausages and bacon and made and froze pigs in blankets.  I have Christmas Day alone but I enjoy a few PIBs through the Christmas-to-New-Year season.  I've put a three-bird-roast and some rather nice stuffing into the freezer too.  

My big brag of the week has to be that I have got all my Christmas cards written.  I don't think I have ever been quite as early as this, certainly since I retired.  I've written letters for some of them but a couple will get letters written just before I post them at the end of the month.  

Later on I'll need to think about decorating the house but most prep now will centre on presents and food.  

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Eight weeks to go

Family wedding in the mid-fifties.  Mine is the face almost peeping out!
 This week I really pressed on with the Christmas cards.  It's one of the most time-consuming jobs that I have to do in the run-up to Christmas.  I write a "round robin" type letter for some, others have a brief note written in the card and others are just signed.  I have a large collection of family photos, a few dating back over a hundred years, and I get one or two duplicated to put in family Christmas cards.  I find it all too easy to get in a muddle with cards so I like to get this job out of the way.  It will take several weeks at a few a day.  

I've continued making Christmas puds.  So far I've been asked for fourteen of various sizes.    Again this is a job which takes a long time but it's not "my" time - I just mix everything and then leave them in the slow cooker for a long time.  Using a slow cooker is slow but I don't need to keep checking in case they boil dry.  I've borrowed a couple of slow cookers from friends.

I've been making "hats" for jars of jam and chutney. I like giving things where it shows that I have taken extra care over a home made gift!

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Three score years and ten

Biblically, as of today, I am an old lady. At the moment my legs would agree with that opinion but my head still wonders how it happened.  

I decided a while ago that I wouldn't make a fuss about the Big Seven Oh as I'm still uncomfortable about going to pubs and restaurants so inviting friends and family out for lunch didn't seem like a good idea.  However, other people decided that such a day couldn't go unmarked.  As a result I had fudge brownies for breakfast.

And chocolate biscuits mid morning.

And steak, wedges and salad at lunchtime.

And THREE different birthday cakes,

But most of the seventy chocolates are still in the box.

My Mother told me that at 7pm seventy years ago she was cooking fish and chips for Father's evening meal and by 7.30pm she was nursing me.  I can't manage that sort of speed these days.  And certainly not this evening.  

Friday, 22 October 2021

Nine weeks to go (plus one day)

 I decided to check the last Christmas posting dates for the Royal Mail.  First class cards should be in the post by December 22nd and second class by 18th December.  I'm usually well ahead of that but I still like to know!

I've started to think about Christmas food.  I've already made some jams and chutneys and may make some more if my knee replacement is happy with the thought.  The next thing is Christmas puddings.  Considering that this is a household of one I seem to make quite a lot: my current list is for seven one-pound puds and eight half-pound puds!  This week I made my first batch using this recipe.  This quantity will do two one-pound puds with a bit over.  

Very Berry Christmas Pudding

100g (3½oz) sultanas

50g (2oz) each dried sour cherries, dried strawberries, dried cranberries and dried blueberries

50g (2oz) each ready-to-eat dried prunes, apricots and figs, roughly chopped

150ml liqueur, preferable fruity

Zest and juice of 1 lemon  

Butter for greasing

75g (3oz) shredded suet

50g (2oz) self-raising flour

125g (4oz) fresh breadcrumbs

½tsp each mixed spice and ground ginger

1tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch each of salt and freshly

grated nutmeg

75g (3oz) soft dark brown sugar

2tbsp black treacle

1 Cox's apple, grated

2 medium eggs, beaten

50g (2oz) pecans, chopped (optional)


1 Put the dried fruit, liqueur, lemon zest and juice into a non-metallic mixing bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight. Lightly butter a 1 litre (1¾ pint) pudding basin and put in a cool place. I use reusable plastic bowls with lids.

2 The next day, put the soaked fruit into a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix together until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, pushing it down firmly, and level the surface.

3 To cook, put the pudding in a slow cooker with water halfway up the basin.  Cook for an hour on high then reduce to low for about ten hours.   Store in a cool, dark place for up to three months. 

4 On Christmas Day put it in a slow cooker for about four hours.  You could microwave but using a slow cooker means a better flavour and less work just before serving and you could even cook it in the garage or other out-of-the-way spot meaning there’s one less thing in the kitchen.  I cook mine in my utility room.

And I've been making presents.  Actually I've been making a few throughout the year but this week I made lavender bags.  I used a cheap pack of five inch squares which were so badly cut that I wouldn't consider them for a larger project but they were fine for this.  

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Ten weeks to go

 You know what I'm talking about!  Sorry about that.

Every year I say I will be more organised at Christmas.  I will write things down.  I will plan better.  But somehow it doesn't happen and some time around 16th December I have a panic.  How those of you who have families manage, I have no idea!  Apart from toddling off to church Christmas morning I will spend the day alone.  My hope is that each week in the run-up to the great day I can write down a few of the pre-Christmas things I have done so that I have the start of a Christmas planner.  Well, that's the theory

I've volunteered to take an 8am service Christmas Day so that one of our local clergy can be at home with her children while they open their presents and the children won't have to wait until after lunch for that important time.  I think a lot of clergy children get a pretty raw deal at Christmas as their parents work so hard that they just don't see enough of them and I feel that this is a way I can help.  That vicar will still take her midnight service (when the children are in bed) and Christmas morning family service (when the children will go with her) but they will be her priority early morning.  

I've got my Christmas cards made and the labels printed.  Many years ago I created a database of Christmas cards to send so sorting the labels is a doddle.  I make all my cards the same and make sure it is a simple design.  Now the only thing is to write a message in each card.  Groan.  

Each time I have an on-line delivery from Sainsbury I include a few stamps on my order.  This makes sure that my order is always over £40 so I don't have to pay a supplement for a too-small basket and I don't have to buy a huge quantity of stamps at once.

What will I have done by next Saturday?   Watch this space!

Monday, 11 October 2021


 Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!  

And quite apart from the fact that I hope you have a lovely day, you have given me the nudge to do a gratitude post.

I'm grateful for problem free (so far) surgery and recovery.  I was worried before this op as so many people seem to struggle with recovery after knee replacement surgery but I am already managing some walking without sticks.  I'm having the clips removed today so it's probably good that I'm writing this before any discomfort that may cause.

And I'm grateful for several beautiful days lately.  My sitting room faces east so I've watched some lovely sun-rises.  The afternoons have been sunny and as my conservatory faces west I have been able to take advantage of natural heating just by opening the door from the house to the conservatory.

And I'm grateful for the benefits of modern technology, especially food preservation.  I know that might sound a weird thing for a gratitude list but I was able to freeze home cooked food a few weeks ago so I am able to have home cooked food now, even though I don't want to stand at the stove and stir.  I have food kept fresh in the fridge all the time nd I have a plentiful supply of tine when I need them.  Its easy to forget what a boon food preservation is but at times like these I couldn't manage alone without it.

And (I think!) I am grateful for Jack.  Yes, I AM grateful for (and to) Jack.  He's come today to sort things out in the garden for me  and he will take me to the Health Centre.  He's quite impressed with how well I am doing abd even more impressed that he will get home made leek and potato soup for lunch.  It's good to be able to impress him.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

A Special Day

 which I missed!

You may remember that a few weeks ago I wrote about hearing Kathy preach and I told you that soon she would be admitted and licensed as a Reader.  Well, today was the day - and I had to miss it!  This knee has a lot to answer for.  
Kathy with Revd Elaine and Revd Chris with whom she will serve

Kathy was admitted as a Reader in the Church of England today at Lincoln Cathedral.  According to the Church of England website "Readers (also called Licensed Lay Ministers have a leadership role serving alongside clergy to support people in faith and enable mission".   I was a Reader for a few years before I was ordained and I helped five men and women to train as Readers whilst I was a vicar,  I valued the Readers who worked with me because they were able to bring a wide range of gifts and experiences to the ministry of the church.  

I couldn't go to Lincoln to the service but I've been praying for her at home

Every blessing, Kathy

Thursday, 7 October 2021

It started with Clap For Carers

 My neighbours would all go out to our front gales at eight o'clock on a Thursday evening and clap or otherwise make a noise in appreciation of all front line workers during the early stages of the pandemic.  That went on for several weeks and I got to know more of my neighbours and I got to know them better.

We enjoyed this new neighbourliness and even when the clapping stopped we contined to go out at 8pm each Thursday and that continued throughout last summer.

Then summer moved into autumn with its dark, cold evenings and we decided to meet at 11am instead and that still happens most weeks today.  This Neighbourhood Nattering lasts about half an hour but it's really brought the little community on this Close together.  One gentleman has died and his wife has been supported.  One lady has had surgery and chemotherapy for cancer and she's always being offered lifts.  A couple go away regularly with their caravan but they know that neighbours will keep an eye on the house and put the bins out.  People shopped for me and are now taking me for medical appointments while I cannot drive

So many things about this pandemic have been terrible but I wonder how many communities have been drawn together as this one has.

Friday, 1 October 2021

A Visitor

 I've been having a lot of visitors this last week but most call and let me know they are coming.  This little man was a total surprise.  He's never been before.  He won't be here much more as I shall ask Jack to repair the feeder or Nutkin may deter the birds.  However, I enjoyed watching him today.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

How is it for me?

Thank you for all your good wishes.  I've now been home fr a couple of days.  There was a suggestion that I should come home the day after the op but I resisted very firmly as there would have been no-one here. 

My lovely nephew will be staying until Friday.  I have set up an "SOS family" on Alexa so that she can call for help if I need it.  It's quite a lot cheaper than the usual Lifeline system and I feel it is better as it doesn't rely on me remembering to wear the alarm.  I feel very blessed as there is no shortage of kind friends and family offering to be on my SOS family list.  

I also feel rather lucky that I don't have to wear those horrid surgical stockings!  My legs are in such a mess (from previous accidents and surgery) that I can't tolerate them so I have extra medication to prevent blood clots.  I've also got pain relief to take and that makes the exercises less uncomfortable as well as making sure I can sleep at night.  

Monday, 27 September 2021



Home again!  I had surgery Saturday and came home this morning.  All is well.  I am in far less pain than I expected, except at night.  My nephew has come to keep an eye on me.  God's in his heaven, all's right with the world

Tuesday, 21 September 2021


 I'm quite busy at the moment as I prepare to go into hospital for the knee replacement.  And I have so much to be thankful for!  

Today is World Gratitude Day.  And I am so grateful for all the love and care I am receiving right now.  My nephew is coming to spend a week with me which will be quite difficult for him and I am very grateful.

He will have to go into work one day while he is here but the friend I phoned to ask her to come that day not only said "yes" but also. "I'm so pleased that you asked,"

Annie-the-Home-Enhancer has agreed to come more often until I can do more things for myself.  Jack too, will be keeping an eye on me - and I'll bet no-one is surprised at that.

I'm grateful for the skill of the surgeon and the rest of the hospital team and I'm also grateful for our wonderful NHS.

Thank you!

Sunday, 12 September 2021


 I've been feeling a little anxious all week.  During the pandemic I haven't been much involved in leading worship and have only done so with another priest but today I was alone.  To add to my anxiety my service was at Sixhills, a church I had never been to before.  A dear friend and fellow priest e mailed me, . "Remember you are not flying solo.  There is a far greater high priest standing alongside you. "

All Saints' Church, Sixhills

So off I went to Sixhills.  Isn't it a dear little church!  And there was a lovely congregation of about eight.  There was an organist so we were able to sing (keeping masks on) and they've said I'm allowed to go again so probably I was OK. 

I probably won't be leading again much before Christmas as I have to isolate before surgery and then expect to take a while to recover and get on my feet.  The memory of today wll be important.  

It's good to serve that Great High Priest

Friday, 10 September 2021

It's good to talk!

Ever since the first lockdown started I've had a monthly zoom with a couple of friends, Sandie and Jan. (Before that we used to meet for pub lunches.)   They are sisters and I can't remember not knowing them.  We are "Coffee Kids", still kids despite our ages ranging from 69 to 77!

Back in 1954 a group of eight women decided to meet each Tuesday and they continued to meet every week for over fifty years.  At first it was a cup of Nescafe, a real treat in those years of post war austerity.  (Anybody else remember those tiny tins of coffee powder? )  They were The Coffee Girls.  It's hard to think of a similar group today as most women go out to work but I suspect that in those days some sort of a meet-up was an important defence against being driven crazy by the endless round of caring for husband and children alone at home.

As well as the weekly Coffee Morning they had days out together, they had parties, when one couple bought a narrow boat they had day trips on the canals.  Those women and their husbands were all Aunties and Uncles to me.  

The last four Coffee Girls in 2002

As years went by inevitably those Aunties and Uncles died.  Around twenty years ago I had a party for the four remaining ladies at that time and as many Coffee Kids as I could trace.  It was good to catch up with everyone.

So, once a month, Sandie, Jan and I, each in our own homes, make a cup of coffee and settle down for a chat to celebrate a friendship of 67 years.  

It's good to talk.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

At Last!

To be replaced with chocolate - please!

 "The letter" arrived yesterday!  I will be having surgery on my knee in less than three weeks.  I will be going as an NHS patient to a small private hospital in Grimsby and I expect to be there just one or two nights.  

I am inundated with offers of help.  I am so lucky!  I have offers to take me to hospital and to fetch me home.  Someone will sleep here to make sure I am OK.  Jack and Annie (my home enhancer) have both offered extra help.  Others will shop, cook and odd-job for me and I suspect I will be checked on so much that I will be lucky if I get any sleep.  

And I am so grateful!  Grateful not just for the offers of practical help but also for the love and care behind them.    I am truly blessed.  

Wednesday, 8 September 2021


 We may all speak English (of one variety or another) but we all manage to use words which confuse or puzzle other nations.

My American readers seem not to have come across greengages before,  Actually, when I think about it, some British readers may not have come across them either.  I've never seen them for sale in a supermarket or greengrocer, just the (very) occasional wayside stall and even then, I can't remember when I last saw them for sale.  

They are tiny plums, green even when fully ripe.  They have quite a delicate flavour compared to, say, a Victoria and certainly they are much less highly flavoured than a damson.  They are slightly tart and, other than in jam or chutney, I've only ever eaten them stewed.  They have a stone which is quite large considering the size of the fruit and I had to stone around 150 greengages to get one kilo of stoned fruit.  I've put a £1 coin with the gages in the photo to give you an idea of size.

Rumer Godden wrote a book, "The Greengage Summer" (never read it myself) which was made into a film starring Kenneth More and Susannah York in 1958.  It was released as "The Loss of Innocence" in the USA.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021


 Hi Everyone!  Jack here! Hope you're all keeping clear of covid.A few weeks ago the vicar asked me to clean and wash something which had been outside for a good many years,  To do this I needed to wash it with washing up liquid and I would need something to dry everything down.  Well, to my embarrassment she gave me something unusual.  I know she likes to recycle things when she can and get her money's worth out of everything but the item she gave me was a pair of old knickers!  I was flabbergasted!

Another time we were talking on the phone pone morning  we were discussing how well we'd slept the night before.  She told me she was "hot in bed", once again causing me embarrassment.  You don't expect a woman of the cloth to say things like that but at lest it proves she is human like the rest of us!  I wouldn't want her to change.

She's been a bit poorly of late and she asked me to pop in one night after I'd been to my caravan.  I pulled up outside her house and with me was a partially sighted lady whom I help a lot, and my twelve year old granddaughter.  She made them very welcome.  Homemade scones plus jam and cream were served up while I did some hobs for her.  Not only did I get scones there but she gave me scones, jam ad cream to take home.  I gave some to the lady who was with me.  There were still a lot of scones left so I asked the vicar if I could take some to her neighbours.  They also give me more stuff to take home.  

I'm pleased her garden is producing nice things for her to enjoy.  It makes my job worthwhile.

I'll blog again soon - in the meantime, keep smiling

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Getting ready for winter

For the first time this season I had the heating on.  Just for half an hour this morning but it went on.  First real sign of autumn.

Greengages galore¬
Another sign is the receipt of gifts of fruit and veg.  One of Jack's other clients has a greengage tree in her garden and she used to leave all the fruit to rot!  Jack changed that!   For the last couple of years I've had to get the jam pan out to deal with the fruit.  Yesterday he brought me "a few gages", about five kilos!  Anyway, today I have made four jars of jam for him and two jars of chutney for me.  I shall make more tomorrow.  Some of it will be useful as Christmas presents.

The freezer too is filling nicely, this time including produce from my own garden.  I've frozen loads of runner beans and a few carrots and there will be more to come.

Some of the broccoli prepped for freezing

Yesterday I got a "Waste not" box of fruit and veg from Lidl and there were about 600grammes of tenderstem broccoli as well as strawberries, mushroom, grapes, plums, nectarines, tomatoes, peppers, apples and celery.  This box of joy cost me £1.50 and I won't waste any of it other than one mushroom.  As tenderstem broccoli is on special offer at Sainsbury this week at £6 per kilo you won't be surprised that I've been extra zealous in making sure none of that will go to waste!  Even the ends of the stems got mixed with some asparagus stems from the freezer to make soup.

Jack planted quite a few broccoli in the garden last week so I will have lovely fresh veg with my Sunday lunch in the deep of winter.  

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Pews and stalls

 As you know I am retired.  Although I have been in demand for taking services in the eleven years since I retired I am gradually taking a back seat or rather a seat in the pews rather than the stalls.

Today I went to St Mary's Church at Claxby, high on the Lincolnshire Wolds.  It's a church where I have celebrated the Eucharist many times but today I was in the congregation while Revd Elaine took the service.  It's quite an odd feeling: it was good to sit and enjoy the worship without worrying if everyone is OK but I was well aware that Revd Elaine would be dashing off to another church to lead worship and normally I could have relieved her of one service.

But she was helped by Kathy a Reader in training.  In the Church of England we call our lay preachers Readers.  Kathy is getting towards the end of her Reader training and today she preached the sermon.  A long time ago she asked me to be one of her special supporters so I pray for her, and, from time to time I check on her.   Today I was helping her by listening carefully to her sermon so I can give her some feedback.

In eight weeks Kathy will be admitted to the Order of Readers.  As a sign of her office she will wear a blue scarf over her cassock and surplice.  She'll be great!

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

So, what happened?

 Jack came yesterday.  He'd read my blog and so had warning that I'd gone rogue and put some hanging baskets in the garden.  So, what did he do?

The first job was to fix a new hosepipe for me.  The old one had split on Sunday, drenching me.  New hose installed and tested.

My little fountain hasn't worked for a few years but I'd bought a new solar pump so he set that up for me.  It's only tiny but I like the tinkling sound it makes.

The veg patch needed a major clear out ready for winter planting.  That got done.  He brought in cabbages, potatoes and onions but there are still chard, carrots, beetroot etc out there.

He's made me a garden table so that was set up and used.

But the really important question is, what about the hanging baskets?

They were allowed to stay.  So I fed him home made soup with home made bread.  I think he went home happy so we can all breathe again.