Tuesday, April 26

O is for optimism!

ABC Wednesday is here.....
Not long to go now! I noticed there is bunting up in the village in preparation for the Royal Wedding on Friday. Looking through the TV schedule there are quite a few "wedding" themed programmes leading up to this mammoth event. I will be taking my seat early Friday morning and following the event with great interest and enthusiasm. The food will be prepared - English classics of course and we will be toasting the newly weds with bubbly. Other villagers will be popping in.
Whilst some have distanced themselves , as patriarchs we embrace such an event .

What are your plans?

Saturday, April 23

Downshifting Week

celebrating2 (1)

We have had a hectic few days – Friday was quite a day in itself. Our very good friends Keith and Dorothy came for lunch and we had a wonderful time.
No sooner had they left we had a visit from another really good friend Tracey Smith, founder of National Downshifting Week.
We have known Tracey for many years, it was great to catch up.

Tracey has written an excellent book and has left me a copy – which I am going  to give away – I have read the book and feel the only thing to do is to share so somebody else benefits from the wealth of information and ideas. Just leave a comment and I will draw names


Tuesday, April 19

Niggles and Negativity

This was yesterday…..

This is today!

Yesterday something was niggling me – you know the type of something which annoys you – and it hacks you off? So I took my revenge on the weeds and guess who came out best?
ABC Wednesday……N! Follow the link in my sidebar

Monday, April 18

It’s that time of the year again!




Time to remove the dandelions! I detest this job but there is no alternative. Our hens eat part of the weeds so I will not use chemicals. Any suggestions?

Now the weather is nice I am  working in the garden, so will be back in a while with improved patio areas – I hope!

Saturday, April 16

Hound Lemon!

Thanks to the information and tips you helped me with I chose Farrow & Ball Pale Hound (top) for the walls and Hound Yellow (bottom) for the chimney breast ! Our local decorator supplier mixed the colours for me, thanks to the tips you gave me I saved £60 on a 5 litre tin of emulsion – so am really excited about seeing the colours on the walls! The photograph doesn't really do the colours justice, but will give you an idea.


It has a definite green hue to it so when we get the carpet in it will all look splendid.Over the next few days this room will be finished and the furniture can be moved back in. Once finished Jon will do the chimney breast in the lounge. We want one room we can escape to!
The window fitter came last night and measured up for the replacement door/window in the kitchen. We all ready have the door and window so this will be a relatively small job.
We had a great day off yesterday – Jon had business in Kirby Lonsdale so it was ideal to go on the motorbike. We are off to Scarborough tomorrow as it is the Ian Watson Spring National Race at Oliver’s Mount Racing Circuit so all being well, let’s hold the weather is good! A good weekend in store me thinks!

Thursday, April 14

I have done it!

The walls have been painted today - photos later as the paintwork and ceiling will be done tomorrow.
A very very BIG thank you to all of you who encouraged me to think outside the box and be brave!

Watch this space!

Tuesday, April 12

Management and Magnolia!

Today we have the joiner here fitting skirting boards and architrave. I found his details in a local town magazine. We phoned him, he came when he said he would, gave us a price and a day he could do the work. he is now here on the designated day. Of course it was down to the plaster drying but I am glad to say it has dried beautifully. Tomorrow the room will be painted which means that today I have to take the plunge and go and buy the emulsion. My SIL's partner has set up a home maintenance business and having seen the great job he made of my MIL's decorating, we decided to ask him to do ours. We would prefer to keep such tasks within the family.
Having reliable people involved has allowed the whole project to run smoothly. All involved have been either recommended, or are people we know and trust. I guess the many years I was deputy headteacher have it's uses - I would like to think I am a good organiser and it is a joy when surrounded by good, honest people. Tomorrow we have a builder coming to price a door for the kitchen and then the icing on the cake will be choosing a carpet for the snug. This will be fitted by our good friend Spud, who we have known for many years.

I have been looking at the colour chart and keep focussing on the very modest neutral colours - I am losing my nerve - BUT I AM avoiding the magnolia - it just keeps creeping up on me! I have to buy the paint today so I had better get myself into gear and do some matching of colour ideas.

It's all happening!
Watch this space!

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Monday, April 11

View from the kitchen window and the Weekend


Just as we were having our breakfast yesterday we spotted this little chap nibbling away at the bird food! lol! The weather has been glorious. On Saturday we went to Harrogate on the motorbike to surprise our friends Dorothy and Keith. Dorothy is a fantastic cook, in fact they are great hosts but we didn’t want to put them to any trouble so it was just a cup of tea call.

Yesterday we went up to Northumberland with our friends John and Trish. We stopped at Corbridge for lunch then continued to Rothbury, we had a great day, travelling 200 miles in all.


It was great to get out and enjoy the sunshine. It is raining as I type, so we definately made the most of the weather I think. Now it is back to the DIY! We are moving onto the lounge now!


Watch this space!

Sunday, April 10

Not the Magnolia!



We are having a tootle up to Northumberland today so I will be thinking about colours! Have been greatly inspired by Farrow & Ball – we can actually buy this range in Whitby! The plaster is drying out nicely a few more days I think.

Got a builder coming round on Wednesday re fitting new kitchen door so he should be giving us a date for when he can come and fit it. Talking with Jon last night – once snug is finished and carpetted – ie by Good Friday we will move back in – and the snug will be our base whilst we work on the lounge. There is very little to do in there, compared to what we had to do in the snug. Jon has to move the aerial, re-position a couple of lights and build a chimney breast. We can leave the chimney breast for now – the laminate floor is to be replaced with a carpet. Fifteen years of tap tapping across the floor is quite enough! The carpet will be ordered at the end of June – ideal time to do the chimney breast – but other bitty jobs can be done!


Watch this space!

Friday, April 8

The plasterer has left the building!



The plasterer has done a great job. I think the coving will look great when all is painted. Hopefully it will take 3-4 days for the room to dry out. As the weather is good this should help the drying process.
We have to change the door round and replace the handle with a knob. Architrave and skirting need to be completed, then the decorating can begin! The switch panels too will be changed - brushed steel to match the doorknobs and my picture frame!
We have moved into the lounge so we can shut the door on the snug and leave it now. The weather forecast is good so we will have a couple of biking days! It will be a good opportunity for me to think about colour schemes. Definately white ceilings, coving, doors, architrave and skirting. Walls – hmmmm a creamy pale yellow and a sagey green? Will have a think!
Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, April 7

Spring in the Dales

We had a great day out yesterday. One big advantage about going in the van is we can share the driving. I drove from home to Sadberge, on to Penrith then Jon drove on to Kirby Lonsdale and then home via Ripon. The weather was lovely.
When we parked in Kirby Lonsdale I noticed this painting in a gallery window. It really caught my eye! It is by a local artist called William H. Jones. It is calling to me!
More of his work can be viewed on the gallery's website here
I think it will look fantastic on the snug wall - even the frame it was in will match the doorknobs! lol!
Talking of doorknobs - must get on! Plasterer is here tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 5

ABC Wednesday….L is for…….laying in the sunshine!

ABC Wednesday time!


There’s nothing like a dust bath in the warm sunshine! Here you can see Ernest with May, having a cuddle! It always brings home to me how caged and battery hens miss out so much on an experience which all hens love. To see them, like this so happy and content always makes me smile.
The weather has been rather changeable but whenever we have a warm day the hens enjoy it so much.
Well, it is 3.34pm Tuesday and I have JUST finished the final wall paper stripping! Jon has some socket work to do, but my part is finally over and I can relax! Well not really – will be an early night for me as we are driving over to the Lakes tomorrow re Jon’s business – returning home tomorrow night - a long day but will take my camera along!
So – nearly time for the plasterer and I will be able to think about colours! Way hey!

Monday, April 4

View from the snug window – Monday morning!



Says it all really! Just making sure there isn’t an inch of wallpaper on the walls ready for the plasterer coming on Friday. I only have today, tomorrow and Tuesday as we are in the Lakes on Wednesday re Jon’s business. The window is a nasty piece of work as it would seem gloss paint has been applied over old paper – so this is taking quite a bit of elbow grease to shift – but I’m on the case.

Had a lovely day out yesterday with MIL – went to local for a carvery – delicious, just a shame we had to share a restaurant with the family from Hell! We are ruined really I guess as I always cook for the family. Our nephews absolutely LOVE cooked dinners and woof up all vegetables prepared for them – a joy to cook for really, but yesterday we witnessed children who were not use to eating vegetables and were not going to either – so why insist they eat them when out in public I ask? The tantrums, screams and shouting followed and I am sorry but in a public place ignoring such behaviour doesn’t wash with me. As a child mum would never bring attention to any bad behaviour – no she would speak very quietly, very directed, very much into my face and utter the words I dreaded…”Wait till you get home!” Yes – oh yes, how I feared those words. Still my MIL enjoyed herself which is all that matters. Next year however I notice Mothers Day is near her birthday again so we will be here – peace and quiet!

Right – back to work!

Sunday, April 3

For mum, with love.

Each Mother's Day I wonder how I am going to deal with it. I try to be pro-active and busy myself with organising something family based as Jon's mum;s birthday normally falls round about the same time This year however, with Easter being when it is, Mavis's birthday was 2 weeks ago and we had the family here for Sunday lunch. Today we are taking my MIL out for Sunday lunch.

When my mum was alive, we often went for Sunday dinner, she loved cooking for us both especially as we had full-time demanding jobs. 

On one particular significant Sunday, Jon and I had gone to mum's for Sunday lunch. As always after we had washed up I would take mum to the local supermarket for her weekly shop.

On returning to the car I helped mum into the passenger seat with my usual joke..
"Do you want a hand up love" I would say as I patted her bum when she was getting into the car.
She always laughed, and this day was no different.
But as she turned to look at me, laughing I was shocked to look and see how old and frail she seemed.
As I walked round to the driver's seat I had to fight back the tears and put on a brave face.

On our way home I shared what had happened with Jon. That night I had the most vivid, graphic dream about mum's funeral. I awoke distressed and upset. The following day, Monday I went round to mums. Had a cup of tea and a chat.

The following day, Tuesday was a teacher training day and after school I popped in to see mum. She told me she had not been feling well, chest pains. I told her to make an appointment with the doctor.

Later that night she phoned to say she had made an appointment with the doctor,for the following day, Wednesday. Jon was on early shift so he said he would take her.
We were laughing with mum, as she said people might think Jon was her toyboy!

At about 3am I awoke with a start.
Jon awoke too.
I told him I had a void in my simple and as graphic as that!

He told me I was worrying about mum and he would ask mum to come and live with us.
I said mum would be very touched by the thought, but she was independent and would prefer to stay at home.

What I said went something like this...
"We will have to accept it Jon that one day I will be teaching away at school and there will be a message from the office to say there is a phone call for me. It will be Phyllis, mum's neighbour saying the curtains are closed.
I will go round and mum will have died."

I didn't sleep much after that.
The next day I went to school and Viv, the school caretaker asked how mum was.
I told her what I had told Jon , practically word for word.

And so the day started as normal.
Registration, assembly, teaching, I forget what now.

At breaktime I was just sending the class out when the school secretary came into my classroom to say there was a phone call for me.

I didn't give it a second thought, but as I was going into the office I asked Jan who it was on the phone,

"Phyllis" she replied.
My hand turned into lead and I could barely open the door, let alone pick up the receiver.

"Denise, your mum's curtains are still closed and it is 10.30."

I knew.

The headteacher, Christine said she would drive me to mum's, it was only a few miles from school.

When we arrived I let myself in and there was mum, she had died in her sleep on 7th September, on what would have been Dad's birthday.

A week later, at mum's funeral I chose this poem to be shared.

From Ye Wearie Wayfarer

Question not, but live and labour
Till yon goal be won,
Helping every feeble neighbour,
Seeking help from none.
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.

Adam Lindsay Gordon.

I am surrounded by so many things which were mums and in fact are part of our everyday routines and practices.

As a child, growing up there was one thing I always wanted, to make mum proud of me.
Life hadn't been good for mum and I, but mum always put me first.

The photograph I have chosen shows the love and pride in mum's face.
It was taken at her surprise birthday party at home, November 2nd 1986.

I am handing over the cake. As per usual, in our family, somebody missed my head off!
But that is unimportant, it is mum's face which says it all!

Mum always told me, that in the event of her death there would be a letter for me.
The day she died, as I sat with her waiting for the doctor I went to the place she had told me about and sure enough, there was the letter.
It stated how much mum loved me, was so happy for Jon and I, and we were to remember her with smiles, not tears.

Saturday, April 2

Back to the grindstone!



Electrics preparation – so we had to chase some walls!

Jon did this one…….DIY 149

and this one…..DIY 148


I did this one! Ahem!DIY 147

I have just removed the old skirting board and Jon is pulling wires upstairs – our bedroom, the landing and the bathroom!

Getting there!

Friday, April 1

Chicken happenings!




DSCN2356  DSCN2346

These photos were taken from the snug window! I could see something was of interest to Olwyn – it would seem that there are now 3 hens laying eggs here. I am having to make sure I remove all eggs on a daily basis as following the observed “activity” of Ernest the banty cockerel it would be quite possible that some of the eggs could be fertilised!

A good distraction from the DIY !