Beastily cold (and a drippy boiler)


There is very little lying snow in our part of the country. Lots of flurries and icy winds are about it really. Although, as I type, it is snowing with a bit more purpose and more horizontally than usual.

Hannah and I have been living like bears. Keeping warm, eating nourishing food (and still too many sugary snacks, but far fewer than this time last week), watching films (Hannah) and starting then frogging numerous little yarny projects (me)…despite saying the goal is to finish wips first!

We were to meet youngest in Brixton tonight but that is all off due to the weather and its impact on transport.

The boiler was leaking this morning, evidenced by a damp carpet under the loft hatch, so once I had shinnied up into the loft to find the source of the damp and emptied the bowl under the boiler, (always wondered why it was there in the first place), I did some rapid Googling. Then I phoned the WC for some blokey reassurance…(he did not mention bleeding the radiators though, blokes seem to like to do that). Happy that it is a minor issue for now, we are in a watch and wait phase. Anyway, I can’t afford a heating engineer right now, and they are probably as hard to find as a unicorn poo.

We have decided to treat ourselves to a film today. There will be much searching for the cheapest ticket via cashback etc and no snacks at the cinema. We can take our own if need be.

These snow days can be quite nice.


Road trip, girlies, Beast from the East and tears


The WC (unfortunate anacronym) came with with me to Manchester and Preston this weekend. The journey was to bring Princess Hannah back with all her worldly goods in preparation for her MOVE TO JAPAN next month…

En route we caught up with youngest in Manchester and met her beau. Youngest gives little away and is not often in contact. She claimed the boyfriend wanted to meet me and as we were due to see each other at a concert venue in Brixton next weekend, she started to worry that we might just be shouting at each other and it would not be conducive to a ‘getting to know you’ first meeting.  So off to Wetherspoons for brunch we went and had a lovely time. They are obviously very fond of each other and happy and no mother could ask for more.

Her older sister on the other hand was teary and tired. Not only had she gone to a concert in Liverpool to see the previously mentioned Postmodern Jukebox, she and her man were invited to an after party in The Cavern Club with the musicians and were home in the wee small hours. There was. as a result of all the partying, quite a lot of disarray in her room and it was clear that her belongings would not all fit into my car, along with three people. The WC is a man of action and after tossing about ideas he suggested and arranged a rental van to carry her stuff back. Daughter covered the cost for this, and once it was all arranged, we headed off to really nice pub beside the Ribble River for an excellent meal with daughter and two of her friends.

Monday morning and the Beast from the East was looming and we were keen to get onto the road. Hannah was bereft saying goodbye to her friends and a bit tipsy as they has opened a bottle of Moet mid morning. So many tears for the first hour in the car, then a big sleep and she is more jolly now. We had a convoy, me in the lead with the WC following all the way down and apart from the odd flurry, no weather issues at all.

As for my girl, it is a big step leaving a life and moving to a new one in another country.

Going to miss her very much.

Still no alochol consumed

Money spent on windscreen wipers, petrol, a top up for insurance on the van and a discounted hotel room….eeek!







Sort of lost in space for the last few days as the little blue laptop cast off its mortal coil, (its motherboard apparently) and popped its little electonic clogs. Luckily for me although maybe not so much for you lot, (mwahahaha), the ancient old Acer can still be fired up to deliver a slow and solid service.

It was very tricky to get onto wordpress with a different laptop. Tricky for me and not made any easier by my conviction that the email address I was entering was correct. It was not! But here we are. How nice.

I passed the interview for the bank nurse job. Wooohooo. Now we are in that nebulous period where they check stuff, I scrabble around finding things for them to check, make phone calls all over to track down wee bits of paper and then, if all goes well, present myself for the taking of blood. This is to make sure I do not have a range of terrifying illnesses that would be a threat to patients and of course myself. (More to me I would say but that is not the point).

So, we are looking at weeks before the first shift. On the bright side, the next interview looms and all of this is good preparation. (How positive was that?)

Today I am off work. I needed a day to clear my head and took the opportunity to pop to the tip with a load of books, clothes, an ancient old dvd player and a pouf. (Pouffe?).

There is now a completely empty piece of furniture in the back bedroom. This will be sold – with luck.

Sobriety continues but has been replaced by an unhealthy interest in anything that has sugar in it. My poor liver has had to swap from processing alcohol to dealing with a higher sugar intake. But today is the last day for all that. We will be letting go of the sugary treats. They don’t really play a big part in my life (my drinking life anyway), so they can go. The scales tell me I am a porker right now, grams away from the heaviest I have ever been, so after this last salted caramel choc thingy…things get serious.

Proud of my spending control too. Although had to buy the window cleaner a coffee on Sunday, but in the local bikers cafe they are only £2.00 each, so that was not so bad. He bought my breakfast after all.

An afternoon of crochet lies ahead followed by some cleaning and preparation of healthy meals.

Hope you all have some sun where you are.





Sunny Saturday


The window cleaner is back from his swinging safari/golfing holiday in South Africa. In typical fashion he got off the plane and painted a few walls when he got home…

I was very excited to see the progress on the kitchen and was blown over by the size of the range that is going in. Can’t wait to put that baby to good use.

A trip to the tip to clear out a mountain of cardboard netted us some old vinyl records, mostly 80s stuff, but one irresistibly called ‘The return of the Gay Caballero’ featuring a song called ‘and then he turned to golf’. Originally recorded in 1929 there are clips on YouTube if you want to see them.

I am ridden with guilt as I write because he is still painting…and I am merely blogging. I have walked the dog however, and she has run her little socks off. I collected her last night from the friends who baby sit her and boy, is she CHUNKY. She has stacked it on. So much so that they have bought diet dog food. They have also downsized the snacks but have not stopped stuffing her with treats. She has very little exercise in the last month and while I appreciate their help, I worry about the health of the dog.

The weather is glorious today in our part of the South of England and birds are flitting on and off the bird feeders. Love to see them all.

Spends for Friday 47p milk for the office and an amount for the solicitor.

No alcohol consumed yesterday

Will shop for food for this house today.

No alcohol will be consumed.



is the sum total of spends today. This was for air to pump up my tyres. One is losing air more rapidly than the others and the car needs a service, next month.

No alcohol consumed.

6 rows away from finishing another blanket project. Pics will go up once it is done.


Home and thinking, 2


Thinking about money: In a nut shell I have all but run out of money – cash money in the bank that is. There is some in different investments that can be tapped into if need be.

It was inevitable that the impact of three trips to Australia since September, only a few short months of full-time work and an increasingly careless life style (loads of take away coffee, buying lunches instead of making them, breakfasts out at the weekend and a LOT of prosecco) that things would get shaky.

This morning I chased the hospital that has been sitting on my job application since November. Seems that something may actually happen as the manager was informed about the delay, so waiting for news. I have lined up as much admin temp work as I need for now and have an interview on Monday for nursing on the bank at the old hospital.

My lawyer has sent a bill for work on the divorce which has to be sorted tomorrow, but apart from essentials like food and petrol I have decided not to buy anything this month. This is quite a challenge and requires effort and planning, but there is not much choice…

Thinking about alcohol: I drink far, far too much and too often and too quickly so for Lent, there will be NO BOOZE. This will be a challenge. It has been done before and in fact one dry month led to 5 without a drop a few years ago, which was great for me and my health. As I can’t justify the cost and seem to struggle with abstaining for more than a few days at a time, I thought by saying it out loud, there is a better chance of sticking to the pledge!

Thinking about STUFF: The more stuff I have the more down I feel. This morning I put many, many items in the charity shop bag. I emptied three drawers, tossed out reams of paper work and aim to keep at it until I can walk into every room in this house and BREATHE rather than gasp at the mess.

Thinking about finishing projects: Yes I started two more projects in Australia (see previous post) but I FINISHED them both. The now navy bag went with me to Aldi today for the food shop…love that I made it and it is so practical. I have a brain full of ideas of things to knit and crochet but there are unfinished projects all around the house. So the aim is to work on them before starting something new…. this is going to be very, very hard. But it fits with not spending money and decluttering as once they are done they can go to Knit for Peace or maybe even to Etsy. (Still thinking about that one!).

Thinking about exercise. Like many, I do like Joe Wicks…and I have tentatively been doing some HIIT exercises. The gym membership is going and home will be the new gym. I have a headache thinking about it now. But if I am not drinking and making ALL my meals then it makes sense to tap into a healthy eating/exercise regime.

Now thinking about bed. The jet lag lingers.



Home and thinking, 1


I am home and it is early (literally about 2:00am), maybe too early to be thinking too deeply, too much but the mind is racing. The nose is also running as again, hours of exposure to dry cold air on board, has triggered the old hay fever symptoms.

Time with mum, as she wept and talked and started to learn that her life has irrevocably changed, provided time to think. I wept once, long and hard into the night. Mum and I pottered, read, binge-watched old TV series on Netflix at night and when she was up to it, went out. She loved our beach trip. There were five people on miles and miles of beach…the life guard in his tower behind us and just sand, sky and sea. It did us both good. We went to the huge shopping plaza a few towns away where mum practiced using her new bank card, remembering her PIN number….with a bit of prompting, but loving the tap and go element of shopping. The limit for this in Australia is $100 so if she does forget her PIN she should be ok for most purchases.

I finished two novels and more amazingly, two crocheted market bags….

The one on the left has since been dyed a gorgeous French navy colour and looks more chic by far. I used this pattern as my guide, but reduced the size of the holes in the net as larger holes make me feel insecure, (I can lose something in a zipped up bag so a string bag with big holes is a disaster waiting to happen for all my bits and pieces). By doing this I had to change the whole pattern, but it was a good exercise for my brain. It got me thinking though, about who owns a pattern if it has been inspired by one but recreated in a different way? The other bag is my least favourite, but artist sister and her knitting designer friend disagreed with my critique of it and suggested I try and write the pattern for this one…something to think about. I did like making the tassel, though. Going to dye this one too.

A dear friend from old (we met at boarding school as young teenagers) came to stay a night with mum and me. In sweltering heat we remembered some of our old crimes, adventures, her visit to Papua New Guinea one school holiday that involved pythons, working in the rubber plantation ‘shop’,  a picnic at the drive-in theatre as well as another time, getting drunk together with three others, and we laughed so much it hurt. She has since been calling mum to check on her which mum (and I) love.

I worked in the garden with this beauty

20180128_084512-1 (1)

In the last few days in Australia I left mum to stay with my artist sister. I did a 10K hike with her partner from the Spit Bridge to Manly and ended up drinking pale ale (so pale it was like lager, good for me) in the 4 Pines. I saw my awesome step son for a few cheeky margaritas in his bar in Darlinghurst. Another highlight was a two decade(ish) catch up with a uni friend who is now a writer. We had such a laugh and it is so good to be reconnected.

And now I am at home. It feels as if I have two homes really. When I am there I have family and a set of awesome friends, and here I have my girlies and another set of awesome friends. There are moments when I do feel torn. Where is the right/best place to be?

But enough. That is something I will have to live with for ever. The only solution is to keep spending what time I can in Australia….more things to think about.

This post is now long enough and I have not even started on what I am really thinking about. It might be prudent if I DID something about my plans and share a new update once that is done.

Happy pancake day people. x


After the event


It was not really an event. We went to see Dad on Thursday morning, laid out in a coffin with his summer flat cap on his head and his winter corduroy one under his folded hands. Always an Ulsterman was Dad. I did not like the fixed look of him and had hoped to find some solace in seeing him for the last time. But I touched his hand and kissed him on the forehead, he was icy cold. Siblings all had their reactions and feelings and Mum was very distressed.

We left him then, to be cremated. No service, no words; his wish.

We had morning tea at home. Morning tea can be very therapeutic. Cake for special occasions, maybe a biscuit for ordinary days, and tea or coffee. Lots of lovely cakes for this occasion. We asked the neighbours in to join us and enjoyed the wild tales of 90 year-old S.

S looked like he had settled for the morning, but we had to gently excuse ourselves as we were booked to eat lunch (yes, after a load of cake), at one of Dad’s favourite Surf Life Saving Clubs, in the restaurant that overlooks the ocean.  It was good; good food, casual vibe and all were relaxed.


This was followed by a dip in the surf on another beach nearby at the place where we had all had our first swim in the sea in Australia in 1973.

That was it, some had gelato, others none. We came home, talked, laughed, cried, had a few and ate again… we are not Italian, but may as well be I think.

All the siblings left the following day and I am now alone with mum. She is up and down, repeats things over and over but is less weepy. I am trying to step back and get her to lead on decisions and choices. To encourage her to recall things and to remind her that we have had certain conversations and that if she thinks hard she will remember.

We have been to the local market, bought a new toaster, watched some TV, I have worked in the garden and crocheted and she has been working on her jigsaw. Life is slow. We need this. We need to wander through the days without plans or pressure.



A goodbye


Two nights ago my sisters video called me from Australia asking if I would like to see Dad. Yes. Absolutely. He was so still I feared the worst, but when they put the phone near his ear and I called out to him, he moved his head, opened his eyes and the girls said that he said ‘hi!’. It was clear that he was near the end of life and so we just kept the phone camera on him and we all talked and laughed and they cried. (I have had so few tears I worry, but know this is my way. I seem to be able to keep it all in until one small thing sets them off).

I am awed by my amazing sisters and brother and how well they have looked after dad and mum. They have both taken time off from their own lives, spent hours on the phone negotiating care, appointments, equipment, treatment, wills, finances etc. They have learned to turn dad, keep his mouth clean and moist, fix a dicky syringe pump that was providing morphine while cooking tempting food for him and mum.

Dad always told me he feared an end where he would be sitting drooling in a wheelchair or bed, unaware of what was going on and being totally dependent on others for all his needs. He was dependent at the end, but he had all his marbles and was involved in and made choices about his own care. In addition he was at home with family around him and everything was arranged according to the different stages he went through. To me, it seemed like a good death and one that Dad would have approved of. He had often said in recent months how incredible he found his own family and how his children had rallied and that he felt loved. As mentioned before we are a rather weird mob, not all that close emotionally and far apart geographically. I think we have overcome so much of that because of Dad.

For me, so far away, I loved the video call. It meant it was possible to share some of what the girls and my brother have been going through. It made it so much easier to understand how close his death was and how it was likely to be.

Yesterday morning he died, his breathing simply slowed, then stopped.

Things feel much calmer, slower and sad. I fly home in two days and can’t wait to see them all. I will miss Dad.