Friday, 17 October 2014

I won't be around for the next two or three weeks unfortunately Mikes father passed away last night. Not totally unexpected but we didn't realise it would happen this soon. As devastated as he is is Mike is out making arrangements as I type, playing the big brother as he is with his youngest brother.

We spent a surreal few hours together this morning, Mike received a phone call at midnight along with his brother saying he needed to get to the hospital. Sadly they were minutes too late & his dad passed away just as Mike was running through the hospital to get to the ward, he was minutes behind his brother. They spent some time with their dad which was a comfort to them both.

The surreal part came when Mike returned home & we sat up together drinking coffee & watching Christmas movies. He insisted on opening one of the curtains in the sitting room as he recalls after his mum died she looked through the window. Mike believes in that sort of malarkey you see, he saw my granddad in his bedroom when he was younger after he died, many moons prior to us getting together that is. It was an interesting story when I put two & two together after our third date that his parents lived next door to my grandparents.

We have also inherited his dads dog. I told Mike last week if the lady who was looking after the dog was unable to keep him we would be having him. I couldn't see him shipped off to a dogs home, his dad rescued him as a puppy you see after he had seen him being mistreated. I don't think I can have any chickens though with him, I shall have to see!

 The staff on the ward have been absolutely fantastic with the boys over the past couple of weeks genuinely caring & concerned. I don't think you realise until you are in that situation just how hard they work & the whole range of skills they need. The chaps on the same ward have also been a good bunch, the boys are popping in this morning to say their goodbyes which I think is one of the sweetest things ever.

Anyway I shall return in a couple of weeks or so, once the hound has settled down & the funeral out of the way. I shall post some photos, of the dog that is! - I am busy googling pet insurance.

Thanks for your comments on my last post, you really are a super bunch - take care xx

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Wooly bits & bats

The beauty of having a birthday at the end of the garden season (to me, my garden is a summer pursuit) is I can purchase lots of wool & books to see me through autumn & winter with my birthday funds.

Also we are in the middle of Wool Week   which gave me the perfect excuse for some British wool buying - a selection of wool (10 balls to be exact) from Jamiesonsofshetland & Jamieson and Smith to have a go at some Fair Isle cuffs found here
I also added to my stash because -
A) I have an addiction, B) It makes me happy C) I used a discount code & D) It never actually cost me anything as it was birthday money!! Would you like a closer look?
A total of 18 balls of 4ply yarn in three shades. I have a super easy cardigan pattern for this wool. As it's 4 ply it is taking me yonks plus I'm a slow knitter anyway. I think I only have 5 more shades to buy then I will have the cardigan in every colour way, in about 23 years that is as I am still on the first cardigan! Three balls of red chunky yarn because I liked the look of it
Three balls of sparkly yarn with a book to crochet snowflakes & last but not least

a selection of nice yarn which I collect a few balls of each month for when I am a proper knitter. Hopefully by the time I have grandchildren which in all honesty is at least ten years away I shall have lots of this lovely stuff stashed away, possibly in the walls if Mike gets his mitts on it!

Would you like to hear a funny story - I had completed my wool & books buying purchase with birthday funds & further additions from Mike. I came across this post  for a cardigan knitted in an aran wool. Oh I thought I like that & naturally investigated shades. I decided on three shades & happily transferred funds out of my savings account into my current account. Except I actually transferred the money into Mikes savings account & he won't give it me back until next month to teach me a lesson!! I was too peeved to buy it after that!!

I shall be back later on in the week with my books, Mikes dad was taken to hospital at the weekend & Mike & his brother were both called in last night. Thankfully it wasn't as serious as first thought & he should be out by the weekend. I'm getting a little peeved at what this last 18 months has chucked our way but am being positive as I feel my posts are getting more & more morose of late & I am trying hard to be positive because in real life I am a positive person. I need to play catch up again. Enjoy your day all xx

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


I feel I am being a miserable old crone of late & I need to snap out of it quick! I have no reason for such negativity so I am turning myself round double quick!

My return to the office went just as I suspected yesterday, one not in & the other popped into my office to say it wasn't them. I pointed out that I knew exactly who was involved & that they had started on the wrong person, I'm known not to take things lightly. I have also heard on the office grapevine that the other person has said she didn't mean anything! Like I said severe back tracking I shall leave it at that until it raises its head again or they start on anyone else. We have a couple of new starters at HQ out of the shops & I'm sure it can be quite scary for them. I don't like bullying or unfairness in any shape or form I am more than happy to step in if I see anyone else suffering!

Anyway drawing a line, positive thoughts, positive thoughts! I had the most divine Sunday & Monday, I have gone back to my two days off, I've done my fair share, I've kept my department up & running & to be honest I'm whacked. My second in command (I hate the word assistant) is due back on the 24th of this month, oh how I can't wait.

On Sunday the lovely Mike moved some of the fruit trees. Due to the garden being fairly small they are kept in large pots. I now have myself a little orchard of sorts.

It looks better in real life, I assure you! Can you see the higgledy piggledy concrete fence? This area was earmarked for Mikes new shed. He replaced the fence panels with these concrete ones, no maintenance you see when the shed was up. He though the higgledy piggledy look would be fine as you wouldn't see it. We spent a weekend preparing the base, mixing up concrete, laying it & I helped with the mixing I will have you know! Mike went shopping with his measurements for a work shop type shed & found his ideal one at a joiners who makes them to order. There was a ex display one you see, much larger than the space Mike had dedicated but much, much cheaper. Naturally Mike went for that one, which had to go in the seating area due to its size which also means I can't have a new conservatory where I wanted it so will be stuck with a smaller one at the back of the house. Plus I have higgledy piggledy concrete fences on show which I will have to cover with something! Mike is super happy with his new shed though & has all his work benches up with tool type things to make items with & I can have chickens in an orchard! Breathe Joanne breathe!!

My lovely day on Monday, my first day off to myself since the middle of July & what did I do. I knitted, I did some crochet, I received a delivery or two, I read, I polished, I hoovered, I eventually got round to planting wallflowers & sweet williams & I also prepared beouf bourguignon for dinner. A proper one too, not just ingredients flung in the slow cooker first thing in the morning & we had fresh potatoes & carrots with it from the garden.

Thank you for your comments on your my last post, it surprising just how often work place bullying occur. I can't really say it was work place bullying as I'm in the position to be able to stop it happening to me, I would also do my level best if I found anyone else in the office in the same position. Would you mind awfully if I didn't reply to your comments, I'm trying to find a proper balance with work, home & blogging & sometimes well often I struggle to post comments on your blog posts as well as reply to the kind ones you leave on mine. I know you wont mind, but I suffer from a severe guilt complex at times, I'm still feeling it from last week when Harry asked if he & a friend could play upstairs. The awful child knows he shouldn't ask if I'm working from home as naturally I need to concentrate & two boys on an x box doesn't allow me to do that! It doesn't stop him from asking & I normally give in to him, not this time though & I had puppy dog eyes all night.

I'm recovering slowly! Right I have rambled on enough already, enjoy your day all xx

Friday, 26 September 2014

Time of year

I can honestly say that autumn is my favourite time of year. Out of all the seasons I think autumn is the most unique. Hot, cold, sun, frost, hail, windy, rain, calm - you really don't know what you are going to get.

I like the first little tingle of the cold on my skin when I step outside. Not the normal chilly feeling when the sky is overcast, but the tingle you feel towards the end of September when there could be the threat of a slight frost, lovely! I like a good frost, at this time of year of course. A bad snap towards the end of spring can wipe out those carefully planted baby plants.. Not a good feeling at all.

It was my birthday yesterday, little old me 41 years old! I like getting older, one of my ambitions is to reach the age of 102. Each birthday takes me a little closer to that great age. I come from a long line of long lived relatives, I should get somewhere near it. I also come from a line of pessimistic, vindictive & just so unhappy not willing to make any changes, generally disagreeable people. I've been thinking of them lots lately & quite frankly its just a waste of life, to want to be that miserable & want to live that way - well its just shocking. My sister & I both work hard at making sure we don't turn out the same. Our children have been brought up with love, understanding & compassion. It makes such a difference!
Birthday flowers! My lovely Harry bought the two bunches you see at each end out of his own money along with a box of chocs.  I say out of his own money, each time Rob returns to uni Harry raids his room for any change he may have left. Rob leaves change on purpose hiding it around his room, on this occasion Harry collected £45!!!Rob bless his heart roared with laughter when I told him over the phone & said 'the little blighter can do without a birthday present this year, £45 blimey, how did I manage to leave that!' Rob has ordered something for me , something he said he thought long and hard about as he didn't know what to buy. It hasn't arrived yet but we  are used to getting a special card from the postman asking us to visit the sorting office when Rob first started sending things through the post. You know the ones, to pay the proper postage cost!!

The middle bouquet was an unexpected surprise, one that brought a tear to my eye, a knock on the door yesterday & I received it along with more chocolates. A gift from my brother, well it was actually addressed to aunt Jo from his dog!

I have been suffering from the most rotten cold lately, it really has wiped me out & I have been most fearful of it turning into a chest infection & then pneumonia. A third bout this year would see me in hospital for sure so I have been trying to take it easy & have been away from the office for a couple of weeks working from home. As my lovely 2nd in command may not be returning until after the 21st Oct I have taken the step of reverting back to two days off each week now, enough is enough!
I also seem to be suffering from an attempt of bullying, I can't stand bullying & unfairness & stamp down quite firmly with my size three feet. Small I might be, scared I'm not & the people involved seem to be peddling backwards as fast as they can, shame I am to quick for them. I shall certainly have some fun next week when I return to the office, I am most looking forward to it.

The lovely Mike was off yesterday & because I was working & ill we didn't go out anywhere. My lovely man cooked breakfast, lunch & dinner & brought me numerous cups of tea. We talked, we laughed, we made plans for the three of us to go out on Sunday. I stayed in my jim jams all day wrapped up in a quilt with my lap top on my knee. A most enjoyable day, even more so when Mike passed over his debit card & said pick what you want. Wool, books & baskets are winging their way over to me as I type. As always enjoy your day xx

Friday, 19 September 2014

Be careful what you wish for

Back when my vegetable garden was new I began trawling the internet for advice & tips. Along with gardening sites I became aware of blogs. Now it was a couple of years after I started my veg patch that I started my own little blog.

Back to the story there was one post & the blog name escapes me about raspberries. The post was mainly about how peeved the person was that their few canes of raspberries kept on throwing up runners far from the initial planting. Another peevement to these people was the amount of raspberries their plants produced were far too much!

What complete & utter tosh I though to myself, how on earth could you have too many raspberries!

Now while I may have a small garden I vowed to fill it full of wonderful things to feed me & raspberries were a definite. I had the ideal space in mind, there is a small path at the back of the veg bed which made the perfect spot.

I researched varieties carefully, autumn fruiting was the best for me being a lazy gardener. Short plants which could be cut down at the beginning of the year ready to sprout again, none of this tying in malarkey perfect!

Except nature rarely does what you want it to - roll on several years after my rose tinted specs moment!
I purchased approx 6 raspberry canes several years back, sufficient for what I wanted - a few punnet's of fruit & some for jam. Year on year these canes have multiplied despite careful culling, they send their vast runners through the veg patch. So much so I could pot them up & start my own little empire selling them. The canes have grown so large  & heavy with fruit they have broken the supports we had put up for them. There will be lots of culling next year!!

There is a thing of too many raspberries, even the birds are sick of them, so the moral of the story is be careful what you wish for.

Enjoy your day xx

Thursday, 18 September 2014


No idea if the spelling is correct but I liked the title. Now I do like a nice parcel through the post & whoever thought of the first blogger swap, well what a fantastic idea!

Trawling my way through blogland a couple of months back I came across a 'From my home to your home swap'. What a fabulous idea I thought to myself. Off I went to look properly & found it was being held by betty-thewoodfairy. So I promptly became a follower & expressed my interest to join. I was matched with Linda from Vintage Hearth.

The lovely thing about this swap was that we had yonks to get our gifts together & the way my summer ended up this was ideal.

So here is my package I sent off to Linda. Due to time restraints I couldn't get out shopping . I really can't tell you how thrilled Mike was, unfortunately for Mike we have the internet so I set about ordering things.

Excuse my jumbled up photo I leave everything to the last minute. The morning the parcel was posted Mike had finished work at 9:30am, he had started at 7 I think & had to go in for records or something like that but as he was way over his hours he finished early. I digress, I saw my chance & hurriedly wrapped my package of gifts so Mike could take them to the post office.

That is possibly where things started to go wrong, I was actually working at the time & no one could locate any sticky tape. Not to be put out as I was determined to post that day I hastily wrapped tissue paper round my gifts, naturally I ran out of tissue paper & had to wrap some of the gifts together. I would like to add this was nice coloured paper & not toilet roll.

I had bought some rather bright wrapping paper with Welsh words on it as after all my home is here in Wales. The lack of tape made me wrap the package together with a ribbon so far, so good.  The package then refused to fit into a large padded envelope I had bought! The parcel probably included strands of my hair at this point.

I was getting more & more peeved, Mike & Harry were battling for control over the TV remote, Rob was mooching around for the possibility of breakfast. I was struggling to wrap my gifts & was about to commit murder.

I chucked the parcel at Mike along with Linda's address & my debit card with the instruction Go to the village post office, buy some brown paper & wrap & address nicely! Get me next day delivery if the cost is suitable.' Now I have no idea what Mike thinks is a suitable price but he spent £13 of my pounds on next day delivery, ahem! Dipstick!!!! In fact double Dipstick!!

Anyway Linda did indeed receive her parcel & thankfully liked the contents. Mike had christened most of the contents as tourist tat but I like things like that I have cupboard full of them. In fact I nearly kept the slate coaster. Mike made me post it.

Our gifts were to include a handmade item, so I elected to make a lavender bag type thing. A little larger than I wanted but I embroidered some daffodils & naturally had to include them. I backed it with my favourite fabric which has all four UK flags. Depending on the vote I might have some valuable fabric on my hands!

I received my package from Linda the other day & it was full of lovely things

Look at this lovely crochet hook holder that Linda made for me, isn't it wonderful! It is now full of my hooks. A tea caddy too, I haven't had one of them before & a lovely tin bookmark, a sheep weathervane /teller thingamajig, a mug, a lavender heart made out of an old Durham quilt! Some books, the one on Beamish is fabulous, I am busy planning a trip there but as it is a three & 1/2 hour journey each way I don't think that will happen until next year. Anyway I received a lovely parcel & was thrilled with the contents. A very enjoyable swap. 

Enjoy your day all xx

Monday, 15 September 2014

Lost tribes!

I think there are one or two tribes of pixies & goblins living amongst the planting of the soft fruit bed, I'm afraid it is rather overfilled with this & that. One end houses the asparagus & the other the currants. In between there is sea kale, cosmos, dahlias, sun flowers gladioli, sedums, other plantings that escape me   & of course some weeds! The bed is then edged with alpine strawberries & backed with yellow fruiting raspberries, so it is rather full indeed.
Unfortunately last night whilst we were asleep in our beds, some of the pixies & goblins must have found there way into the house. I was woken at some ungodly hour by a faint whimpering, upon investigating I found Harry out of his bed & pointing at the curtains.

Now A I was still half asleep, B I didn't have my glasses on & C Harry is known for sleepwalking it was a rather confusing few minutes. Harry was adamant he was wide awake & gazing at his curtains waiting to drop off. Suddenly I was told with the great dramatics that Harry is also known for , that one of the curtains lifted in the middle & he heard a noise! The fact that his windows were slightly open combined with Mikes & my window being open & the landing window being open didn't appease him when I said it must have been a draught. Neither was he calmed down by Mike prowling up & down his room saying he has had some experience with hauntings & he was sure there was nothing there! The incident ended with Mike being packed off to bed with the words 'think before you speak dipstick' ringing in his ears & me spending the most uncomfortable night ever with Harry & his extremely noisy fish tank!!

I am rather sleep deprived this morning as while Harry has a double bed he also sleeps like a star fish. He also slept rather lightly last night so each time I moved he woke up & that fish tank was nearly thrown through the window!!

I did however have a lovely day yesterday, Mike was persuaded by my good self to take me out for tea & cake. Naturally the place I wanted to go was Abakhan where I was also treated to some more Christmas fabric, then again it was less of a treat as I'm pretty sure I bought it. Enjoy your day xx